Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Fellow Blogger Needs Our Support

Her name is Jen but she goes by Creamy Silver:

I've been reading her blog for a long time. She's mid-30s, happily married to Bob, lives in Indiana, wants a baby ever so much, and is incredibly creative when it comes to making jewelry. She made my earrings for my son's wedding.

Two days ago Bob was diagnosed with leukemia. They are devastated. Lots more tests and results to pinpoint exactly what he has. We can't do anything about the diagnosis, but we can offer her support, positive energy, prayers, Reiki and anything else you have to offer. I know it would mean a lot to her.

She was very supportive when my sister was so sick last year.

So I hope you will take time out, visit her blog and leave her some thoughts that hopefully will help her through these very dark days. I know she will appreciate it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

This Is Where I Learned How To Swear

I haven't provided much transition from being a locavore and quilter but I decided I'd like to write about this part of my life.

I stayed in Minneapolis for 14 months after college. It was just one more really bad winter that convinced me to leave the state. Instead of heading west I went east to Europe with a girlfriend who was tired of teaching. We each had a round trip ticket on Icelandic Airlines from JFK to London and $700. We felt rich.

Withing a few months my friend returned home; I was left on the continent without a soul who knew me. Sort of an amazing statement. Nobody knew me on an entire continent.

I discovered the Overseas Weekly newspaper in the PX bookstore (I was working at the commissary to bide my time until I found something better). The OW, as it was called, was run by a bunch of ex-GIs who didn't want to go home after their tour of duty was up. This was 1969; things were not so good for the U.S. military. Vietnam was hogging headlines, as it should have, and our country was not sure what to do about just about anything. Drugs were rampant in Europe with GIs. OW had nearly nude women on the front and back cover. It was very anti-U.S. military; it was owned by two lesbians. I think of it as the National Enquirer for the military only with better writing and truthful facts.

Keep in mind as a new graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in journalism, I worked for Miller Publishing; I wrote for Hog Farm Management, Feedstuffs and Feedlot. I took those clippings to an interview with the staff of the OW. I wore a simple green shift, pumps, panty hose, pearl stud earrings and a scarf rakishly draped around my neck. Got the picture.

Turns out that the staff had been drinking much of the day as they prepared to send someone to Saigon to open an office there. I showed up looking like Little Miss Sunshine. I was hired, but when I showed up the next day, few remembered hiring me. But I stayed. They weren't going to throw me out.

The biggest challenge that the staff faced with me was my naivete about life and language, especially when it came to female body parts. I covered a lot of rape trials. I would come back with a list of words I didn't understand.

I finally learned all those words and managed to say "fuck" in a convincing manner.

I also dated the advertising manager for the paper. He was cute; I was thrilled. He was also gay and needed a cover for his boyfriend who was the lead tenor with the Frankfurt Opera House. I would go to the opera with him (I love opera), then out to dinner with the two of them and then be chastely walked to my door at 39 Berliner Strasse.

Well, that's enough for the first installment. If some of you are shocked; stick around there may be more.
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Today's Field Trip

Here's what we bought at Chaffin Family Orchards in the Oroville/Chico area. Found them via Twitter, visited their web site and stopped by to buy stuff today. We got a 5 lb. pasture-raised chicken, a dozen eggs (including that beautiful green one), EVOO from their own very old olive trees and low sugar apricot and peach jam.

Then we went to Durham to pick up a quilt I had left there 10 weeks ago for quilting. It turned out just beautifully. I'll take a picture of it when I have sewn on the border. Then on to Chico to La Hacienda, a great Mexican restaurant that serves this wonderful salad dressing. We will be having leftovers for dinner.

I'm off to nap for a bit. Traveling can be tiring.

Check out Chaffin Family Orchards if you are in the area. Not fancy but wonderful wholesome locally grown food. Locavores Rule!!!
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Monday, April 20, 2009

Design Wall Part Two

This is another project that I'm working on. It's a block of the month (that's the three blocks on the right. There will be a total of 12 blocks with the medallion in the middle and four applique blocks in the corners. I really like this project. All the blocks have the same frame.

I've chosen the applique block pattern but have yet to execute it. In fact I haven't even chosen the colors.

I just love fabric. In fact, I describe myself as a fabric whore.
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Applique On Design Wall

I just finished the fourth applique quilt block for my Baltimore Album Quilt; it's the upper left hand one with the red flowers. When I'm done I'll have 12 blocks. I'm doing it as part of an applique block of the month class at my local quilt shop. Each month the pattern gets more challenging.

Click on the photo to biggify.
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Introducing Bailey

She's the reason Jean and I went to Santa Rosa last Wednesday. She's an 8-week-old Goldendoodle (part standard poodle and part Golden Retriever). Bailey is not a service dog in training; she's a pet.

We drove home with her in a small, soft sided crate in the back seat. First she threw up her lunch and was eating it again. That precipitated a quick stop and clean up in a mortuary parking lot in Sonoma. It was the closest, safest place to stop.

Then she pooped not too far from home. Cleaned that up and then took her to her new house. She is adorable. Jean reports that so far she is being a pretty good puppy. Up just once during the night to pee.

Another dog to chronicle. She weighs 10.5 pounds and lives with Jasmine, a 12-year-old golden retriever who seems to be tolerating her so far.
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Saturday, April 18, 2009


I have been waiting about ten months for morel mushrooms to appear on the forest floor and then somewhere that I can buy them. Their appearance coincides with the appearance of the lovely locally grown green spears known as asparagus. Well, the planets are aligned; I'm going to make a recipe from Barbara Kingsolver's book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle."

It's an asparagus and morel mushroom bread pudding with Swiss cheese. I'm salivating just thinking about it. I've never been known for my patience, but I've had to learn a lot about it now that I'm a locavore.

When I read the book last summer I could have made the recipe with dried morel mushrooms and asparagus that was grown in some foreign country and shipped to my local grocery store. I decided to wait.

Whole Foods is supplying the mushrooms. At first the produce guy said he didn't think he would get any; yesterday he called to say he had some put aside for me.

I could buy them on line, but two pounds of them, with shipping, would have been $117. The next day shipping accounts for about $40 of that. Just couldn't see spending that kind of money, so my treasure hunt began. None of the vendors at either of my farmer's markets said they had any or knew anyone who had any. Maybe...maybe not. I'm not sure I would tell anyone if I had them.

Usually the closest I get to Whole Foods is the Farmer's Market held in the shopping center parking lot where it's located. But last week I ventured in; I was feeling desperate. I found a very nice produce manager who promised to call if he got some.

First of all, I highly recommend the book. I actually listened to it on CD which was even better. Kingsolver has this wonderful soft southern accent. Her husband and daughter each recorded their own sections. The recipes can be found on the book's web site.

I'll let you know how it turns out, including photo. Oh, and we are have a baked ham from Coffee Pot Ranch to round out Saturday night dinner.
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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Harleen Goes Wine Tasting

Well, not really, but Kerry and I did. We went to the Perry Creek Winery in El Dorado County to pick up some wine from the wine club we belong to there. It was a great day for a ride in the country. Harleen behaved exceptionally well.

We had our Easter dinner at Mel's Drive-In; now we are all ready for a nap. Hope you had a good Sunday.
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A Lesson From Twitter

There's a new logo along the left side of my blog, "Quilting Bloggers." A quilter Twittered me with information on how to sign up as a quilting blogger. I did it and ever since my blog has been inundated with new visitors from all over the world.

Lately I've been writing a lot about food and being a locavore; I figured I'd better balance that out with a picture of a quilt. This one has been posted before, but it's all I'm ready to share at the moment.

I signed up for Twitter sort of on a lark. I'd seen it around but, just like Facebook, had not taken it seriously. What I've found is a wonderful community of people who have enriched my life. I block a fair number of people who Twitter me. If they already have 2,500 followers, why do they need me?

Blogging has been great; twitter is the frosting on the cake, which, of course, would be made with local ingredients.

So far I have twittered with a woman who lives in the country outside my town whom I hope to have coffee with one day soon. Another woman from about 60 miles north of here twittered me. I'm going to visit her farm soon and get some of her farm's extra delicious EVOO.

Plus I can easily stay closer in touch with my family and extended family. So, for those of you who haven't tried it, you might want to give it a whirl. It's kinda fun.

Oh, and the quilt. I'm in a stash busters class that is free. Each month we get a new pattern and have to pick fabrics from our stash to make it. If we bring a completed small quilt back for three consecutive months, we get a free fat quarter. From now on I'll try to talk as much locavore as quilting.
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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Soup For Dinner

It's cold and rainy for the third day in a row so it's time for soup. Cauliflower, leeks, green garlic, a few potatoes and cheddar cheese. At the grocery store I found the amazing item pictured here. It's an oyster mushroom from Canada. That breaks my locavore rules, but I just had to have it as did the woman who saw them first. I've seen them packaged but never like this. Just like it was plucked from a tree trunk. It's a pretty fragile mushroom so I won't add it to the soup until near the end. Cooking is such an adventure.
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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Happy Birthday Harleen

She's nine months old today. I went back through some pictures of her. The one on the left is the day we brought her home, all 11.5 pounds of her. Now she weighs 59 pounds. The most recent one shows her wearing her dog seat belt in the back seat of my car. And then there is my all time favorite which was taken at the CCI Christmas party. She still hasn't gone into heat. I check her about once a week but no signs of blood. Somebody told me that her dog acted goofy before going into heat. Well, Harleen acts that way most days of the week.

Not much else going on here. I'm busy working on a camping quilt for Mark and Julia. They bought a kit and then discovered that it really wasn's as easy to sew as the web site suggested. I need to have it to them in Albuquerque before next Monday. The directions for this thing are very hard to understand. Yesterday I reached an exceedingly high level of frustration with the directions when I called Mark and told him I wanted to burn the quilt. He helped me figure things out so I'm back on track. Definitly not as much fun as my kind of quilts.
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Sunday, April 05, 2009

She Is Home

She spent 24 days in the hospital after her surgery. I got a text message from my sister this morning saying she was headed home. A nurse will visit daily for a while just to check all her vitals and meds but other than that she can go home. No transitional care. The staples came out of her incision for the turn down. The others will dissolve over time.

She is going to be so happy to sleep in her own bed tonight with her husband and cats.

Thank you again for all your prayers, energy and Reiki. It worked.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Quiche And Car Cleaning

Today has been a weird kind of day. I had lots of energy when I got up but that soon dissipated and I settled into a state of ennui. I think it's my new meds. I've been weaned off Wellbutrin and Zoloft and am now on Lexapro. My doctor increased the dosage a few days ago at my request. It leaves me pretty sleepy for much of the day. I know I could take it at night but I find that if I don't get all my meds on board in the morning I forget them. So the fog was there for most of the day. This will change as time goes on.

I got a comment from Kirby3131 ( about my quiche recipe. Quiche is sort of my stopgap dinner. As long as you have eggs, you can make one. Pull other stuff from the refrigerator and make a quiche. The crust recipe came from someone or somewhere; I just don't remember. Please take credit for it if it's yours. It's really easy.

Quick Quiche Crust (try saying that three times really fast)

1 cup flour (any kind)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup ice water (I use refrigerated water)

Mix flour and salt with a fork
Beat oil and water with whisk or fork to thicken
Pour into flour and salt mix and mix with fork
Press into 9 inch pie crust.
Fill with quiche mixture and bake at 400 F. until done.

This is not suitable for a baked pie crust shell.

Here's what I found in my refrigeraator last night. Bacon, which I cut up into pieces, leeks, green garlic and one portabello mushroom. I cooked it all together in a frying pan. Finally I added the chard. I striped the green part from the stem, tore it up a bit more and added it to the other veggies and bacon. Mixed it all up and then put a lit on the fry pan so the chard would wilt.

Spread this mixture in the unbaked quiche crust. Meanwhile I had cracked six eggs into a bowl and added chunks of smokey bleu cheese. Poured that into the crust. I put the pie plate on a cookie sheet in case it overflowed during cooking. It took about 40 minutes to complete the baking; I did test several times to make sure it wasn't over done. Just stick a knife in the middle. If it comes out clean the quiche is done.

As some of you know Kerry loves cars and owns a lot of them. I refer to it as his fleet. Lately he has been talking about liquidating it. I didn't pay much attention until a guy arrived bright and early today to detail two of his vehicles: 1992 VW vanagon and 1998 VW Jetta TDI. My God he might actually do it.

Even Harleen has seemed a bit off today. Could be the portion of a ball point pen that she ate sometime last evening. Maybe she is part goat.

We are having breakfast with friends tomorrow at one of our favorite greasy spoons in Auburn, Edelweiss House of the Super Omelet.

My four little tomato plants are still alive.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Switch Plates And Dinner

Creamy Silver Twittered me about her new switch plates. I requested photos and said that in return I would post photos of the stencilling I did around some of my switch plates. It's pretty simple actually. Joann's has stencils that fit nicely around a switch plate. Just get stencil paint and a small sponge. Doesn't take long and dries in about an hour depending on your humidity. The best part is if you mess up you can wipe the stuff off the wall with a wet rag and start all over again.

Now for dinner: quiche with homemade crust (extremely simple), rainbow chard, green garlic, leeks, bacon, eggs and a smokey blue cheese. I'm hungry just thinking about it.

And it makes great leftovers.

Worked up an appetite today with all my weeding. It's actually coming along quite well. My newly planted tomatoes are doing well.

My sister may get to go home this Sunday. Cross your fingers and say a prayer.
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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Tomatoes In The Ground

This is a German stripe organic heirloom that I bought at the farmer's market the other day. One of the farms is selling various vegetable plants. I haven't had a garden in a couple of years. I just got tired of trying to keep things alive in July when it hits 105 here.

I got four plants for $8. The other two are Georgia streak tomatoes. We have not had a frost in a month so I think I'm safe to do this. The locals say the blackberries need to be blooming before you plant tomatoes. Mine are not quite there.

Don't know if I will plant any other vegetables. I'll see what he has to sell next week. I probably buy more tomatoes than anything else at the market so this was an economic decision.

My sister is still in the hospital but doing very well. Her CT scan showed everything is just fine. She's now eating solid foods. Her birthday is April 12th. Last year we celebrated it in the ICU. I sure hope she's home to celebrate this one, which is a biggie...60.
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