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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

This And That

I recently finished another pair of socks, this time in a pretty pink. I am so loving my knitted socks, they are comfortable to wear and very colorful.

I finished the animal print quilt.

Many years ago I purchased a couple of crocheted hot pads at a garage sale. The older lady hosting the garage sale took care of her very elderly mother, a little old lady in a wheel chair who loved to crochet hot pads. The elderly mother was busy crocheting another hot pad, to add to the many all ready on display and available for purchase. I thought they looked very cheerful and useful so purchased a couple. Well they were a good find, I loved the crocheted hot pads and they were in constant use. I still have one very worn hot pad from the garage sale, and luckily found a pattern for the crocheted double sided hot pads online. I have made a few over the years. Because they are in constant use they do eventually wear out. A couple of weeks ago after a bit of a mishap in the kitchen I totally destroyed one, burned a large hole through one side, it was ruined. Never fear, the next time I went to Walmart for groceries I picked up a ball of variegated yarn, color mistletoe, and after a couple of evenings of crocheting my little heart out I now have two new hot pads that will be in constant use for many years to come.

My husbands latest project dwarfs any project I have ever done, he is re-painting the house! We painted the house red many years ago, had to re-paint it after a number of years as the paint faded, and it is again time to re-paint. Actually it has been time to re-paint for quite a long time, but it is a big project.

All finished with the power washing.

Finishing up the application of the primer, we rather like the gray color, so think if we ever tire of the red and decide to change things up we will go with gray.

And, how exciting, the color is applied and the top front of the house almost done. Dave plans to repaint the shutters to freshen them up.

And on Saturday a pleasant surprise in the garden. Grandson Masen came over for the day and we spent most of out time outside as I have been on a yard clean up mission all week. Dave and Masen were helping to haul many, many cuttings from shrubs back to the garden so I could burn them. We were taking a bit of a breather and I wandered around the weedy, very weedy garden and noticed green stripes in amongst the weeds, and there was a gigantic watermelon. We all were very amused. And Masen and I were very happy because we LOVE watermelon.

Masen showing off the giant watermelon.

Masen and Grandpa decided the watermelon should head back to the house in the wagon. 

 We cut the watermelon open and it looked as if it was smiling at us. Oh, and in case you are wondering, it was absolutely delicious.

Friday, September 11, 2020

A Trip To Conner Prairie

 Last Saturday we took a trip to Conner Prairie, it is about a two hour drive away and located on the north-east side of Indianapolis. My last visit to Conner Prairie was about twenty years ago, it was very enjoyable and I was excited to go again. I have to say it was a pretty disappointing visit this time around. We were blessed with beautiful weather so that was a plus, pretty much the only plus. The price of admission was quite expensive, and probably should be reduced while Covid 19 restrictions are in place. 

A nice playground was added at some point since my last visit and the boys enjoyed burning off some energy after being cooped up in the car for a while. An added attraction was a giant tethered hot air balloon, it looked like fun if you liked heights, but I was unsure what it had to do with the early 1800's and seemed more of a way to extract money from visitors.

We toured the Conner farm house, built in 1823, due to Covid we were unable to go upstairs and could only peek through the doorway of each of the two rooms downstairs.  We meandered on to Prairie Town, a representation of a small community in 1836, again most of the buildings were either roped off so we could only peek through a doorway, or closed. There were very few "in character" people wandering around.

The Animal Encounter was a joke! We had to wait in a socially distanced queue and finally were allowed into the barn, to see a geriatric goat, a goat kid, and a crate of chicks placed so far away from where we were allowed to stand we really couldn't see them. I believe the people working were embarrassed by the lack of animals and apologized and said there are some sheep but they were at the Vet that day getting a check up. 

Our trek continued to the Tree Top Trail, another trendy feature added to "enhance" the visit, again I asked myself what on earth does this giant tree house, jungle gym have to do with the telling of life in 1800's Indiana.

Then over the covered bridge, this was the Civil War exhibit and it consisted of a few banners with brief statements about the Civil War and then on the other side of the bridge we "arrived" into the late 1800's, one building was open so we could peek through a door, and the very large, grand, Victorian farm house was closed.

I really feel the price of admission, $57 for myself and three boys, was a rip off. Surely over Labor Day weekend a full staff should be on hand, exhibits open, and plenty of animals to encounter. The whole experience was really rather lame and certainly not worth the four hour round trip of driving and the cost of admission. I surely hope Covid restrictions are to blame for the poor visitor experience and that this is not "business as usual" for Conner Prairie. 

Sunday, September 6, 2020

A Little Of This And That

 Last Sunday evening we drove to Witmer Lake, near Wolcottville Indiana to see our daughter Emily and her husband Joe be baptized. It was an absolutely beautiful late summer evening and a lovely way to finish the weekend. 

I made vegan bake beans from scratch. I soaked navy beans overnight. The next morning  I drained and rinsed the beans and popped them back into the pan with a quart of water, a chopped sweet onion, chopped garlic, salt, a generous glop of molasses, a shot of worcestershire sauce and a squirt of ketchup. I put the burner on low and let the beans simmer for several hours. Once done I had a scoop of beans for lunch and divided the rest up into generous half cup servings. I put the scoops of beans into a cup cake pan and put them in the freezer. The next day I popped all the frozen lumps of beans out of the pan and put them into a large freezer bag. Now when I want some beans I just pull out a "lump" and have a perfect serving to enjoy. 


Last Sunday I took a lovely fourteen mile bike ride, the weather was perfect, sunshine, light breeze, comfortable temperature, awesomeness. I love my bike and many years ago  named her Delores. My mom bought Dolores for me as a birthday gift about twenty five years ago, we went to a specialty bicycle shop, The Cycle Path, (sadly it is no longer in business) and I was instructed to select a good bicycle. I chose Delores, she was described as a road bike, and perfect for everyday riding, and she has certainly proven to be just that. 

After my bike ride I spent a lovely hour or so on the front porch  enjoying the beautiful weather and my library book. 

Captured, but only in a photo, one of the very fat ground hogs who have feasted on the bounty of one of our veggie gardens all summer.

And a picture of grandsons Ralph and Masen enjoying a dish of icecream.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Another Week Flies By....

We had a pretty quite week. On Wednesday Amber took the day off from work and we took four boys to the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, always a fun outing. Of course masks were mandatory and the boys did a good job in keeping their masks on at all times. It was an absolutely beautiful day and as we went early in the morning the heat was not an issue. The Fort Wayne Children's Zoo is one of the top attractions in Indiana, so if you ever are in the area you might want to plan a visit.

Charles 8, Ralph 3, Peter 6, George 4, ready for their zoo adventure

Charlie 8 is being home schooled this year, he is working on mastery of times tables, he earned an ice cream treat reward from the Dairy Sweet in Grabill. Good job Charles.

On Saturday I made my weekly trek to pick up groceries, as I drove through Leo I noticed there was some kind of arts and crafts fair getting set up, The Bloom Fest. Since I basically had the day to myself I decided to go. Later in the day I drove back to Leo, just a couple of miles, I would have preferred a bike ride but it was extremely windy, and parked at daughter Amber's house. Henry and Patick decided to walk to the fair with me, Amber took the younger boys with her to run some errands. It was a lovely stroll to the park listening to my grandsons as they talked about school, siblings, friends, and noticed giant lily pads in the river. We enjoyed the fair. I was touched when Henry said that since his mom had given them twenty dollars to spend they should really buy their mom a gift. What a nice unselfish thought. We walked past a booth full of crocheted items the boys wanted to stop there, they looked at everything and eventually selected a beautiful green and purple crocheted turtle and purple headband for their mom as she loves the color purple. We then proceed to walk around, I purchased a pair of earrings and a bracelet I really liked, and a vegan t-shirt from a vegan baked goods booth. I asked the boys if they wanted to get something to eat, they both said no and asked me if we could return to the crochet lady booth. I was a little amused that ten and twelve year old boys would ask this of their granny.  So we headed back to the crochet booth, they wanted to get some crocheted super heroes, they were 3 for $25, the boys only had $7 dollars left. I suggested they pay the $7 and I would pay the difference since they had been such good company. The boys picked out their superheroes and the crochet lady threw in a crocheted donut for free! Her booth was a hit with young boys, another grandma was drug in by her grandson while we were there.  The crochet lady said that the little crochet characters are a great seller, she had Ninja Turtles, Star Wars characters, I really rather liked the Princess Leia, Super Heroes, Peanuts characters, Princesses, and Harry Potter.

After the fair I returned home, the bread I had left rising was well ready to be punched down and made up into loaves. Then I sat on the front porch to finish my latest pair of socks. 

 Later in the evening I worked on the wildcat quilt and listened to a dramatization of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John LeCarre. The quilt is nearly finished, perhaps later today it will be.

Today we don't have much planned, I will head out for a walk in a little bit, do some much needed housework, and a bit of weeding. It is a nice calm day today, so perhaps a bike ride to return some library books might be in my future. We will finish out the day with a trip to a lake in Wolcottville, IN this evening, our daughter Emily and her husband Joe are to be baptized. What a lovely way to begin a new week. 


A Month Of Birthdays

 August is a big month for birthdays in our family. We start the month with three birthdays all on the same day, August 8. My husband, our son Ben, and our grandson Peter all share a birthday, our daughter-in-law Taylor follows up on the August 10, and our son-in-law on the 14th. Then a brief reprieve until the August 26 then our grandson Henry celebrates his birthday, and the following day, the 27th, is my Mom's birthday. Our youngest grandson Harrison just squeaked by the August madness and made September his very own birthday month, he will be one on September 6. It is a fun month of celebrations. And here are some pictures of all the birthday celebrants.

Peter 6, sitting to the Grandpa's right, Dave (grandpa) 62, Ben 29 holding his nephew Harrison, and in the back with the fine beard, Brad 35. 

Taylor on the right, 26

Henry celebrates his 12th birthday.

And finishing the month, my mom celebrated her 81st birthday.

And, baby Harrison got in a bit of practice eating birthday cake in readiness for his 1st birthday coming up on September 6th.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

A Satifying Afternoon

Over the weekend I rode my bike over to Grabill, about 5 miles away, to pick up some greeting cards at the Dollar General and some canning jar lids and bands at the hardware store. It was a lovely bike ride, all the more enjoyable because I took care of a couple of errands.

I needed canning jar lids and bands because of the amount of ripe tomatoes we have at this time, I can only eat so many tomatoes by myself! I headed out to the garden and pretty soon had a large bowl piled high with tomatoes. Our grandson Peter, who is six, was very, very interested in the whole process of canning tomatoes. It was a nice activity and didn't take too long as I only had one canner load to process. I finished with eight pints of tomatoes. I should have at least one, possibly two more batches to do.

  Back in the day, we would plant around fifty tomato plants and it would be quite a chore canning them all, a large bowl of tomatoes is much less daunting then several five gallon buckets stacked high with tomatoes. 

For me there is something very satisfying about jars of freshly canned produce cooling on the counter.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

A Week In Review

 As all weeks seem to do, this past one flew by. I am now officially working from home permanently and I really like it. As our office only has 9 employees, all but me have worked from home since April and I only work two days a week, our building has become a ghost town. The building lease is up next month and the corporate office decided to permanently close our physical location. Almost all of the staff at offices all over the US, Europe and Australia are working from home, and have been for the best part of 2020. Our company has found that productivity has not suffered in the least, employees are happy, and travel expenses are almost non-existent since very little in person contact is taking place. I am really enjoying the experience of working from home.

My "office" is set up in my sewing room.

I am knitting another pair of socks, I just love the colors. The yarn is by Yarn Bee and called Cozy Toes and the color is Fierce Flame, I found it at Hobby Lobby. 

While visiting my parents in June my Mom gave me this cute little bag she made several years ago. She thought one of the granddaughters would like it. I looked at the cute bag and thought how perfect it would be for small knitting projects, and it has become my sock knitting bag. Sorry granddaughters :).

I am busy hand quilting the wildcat quilt.  My Mom gave me the 7 wildcat blocks she made some time ago and then not knowing what to do with them she put them aside. I played around with the blocks and decided on the colors I wanted to use with them, made 2 more blocks in a similar style to the wildcat blocks, sashed everything together, added a border and binding and like the end result. I have a couple more blocks to quilt and I need to figure out how I want to quilt the sashing, then the project will be complete.

Earlier in the week my dear husband brought me a dozen red roses for no reason at all, isn't that the best reason to get beautiful flowers. 

We continue to get melons from the garden, the watermelons are small but mighty good. So juicy, so sweet, so delicious! I have enjoyed a lot of melon this week. Earlier in the week I made my usual vegan bowl of goodness for lunch, I thought it looked especially pretty with the dark green of the kale, the vibrant orange of the sweet potato, and the deep, deep red of the beets. I like to mix my cooked lentils and diced tomatoes together with some nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, tumeric, lemon pepper salt, and lime juice, then I add all of my steamed veggies mix it up bit and enjoy.

Yesterday we finished up the week with a wedding, Dave's nephew Alan married his bride Stephanie. We went to the marriage ceremony, held at the County Court House, but due to Covid decided we would not attend the reception. When we returned home Dave went upstairs to change his clothes, he only changed his dress pants for a pair of shorts. I laughed when he walked into the kitchen, I told him he really looked like an old man with that kind of dress sense, LOL. 

Earlier in the week a friend messaged me with questions about canning food and what kind of canner should she buy, we message back and forth for a bit and then I remembered my Ball Blue Canning Book. I took a picture of the book and recommended that she purchase a copy, it is very inexpensive, I think I paid $4 for mine, but that was a good number of years ago. If you are new to canning, the book gives very good step by step directions to get you going, and if you are an experienced canner there are recipes for pretty much anything you could ever imagine canning.

Well that is a little bit about my past week, I hope you had a good week too.