Sunday, January 31, 2010

Looking Back Sunday

Three years ago The Shepherd & I decided to take a trip up the Skagit River to see the eagles - the week before there had been reports of over 50 eagles roosting in the trees - the weekend we went - not so many - like we saw ONE eagle - can you see it just below the halfway point of this picture?

It was a beautiful day - cold and clear - but it was a long and disappointing drive - to top it all off, The Shepherd was in a huge amount of pain - this was right after he had fallen down a bank at work and hurt his back (the accident that eventually led to his being bedridden for a whole month and finally having surgery)

This is the yarn that I spun last winter for a sweater vest for The Shepherd. From the charts that I could find, I figured that I needed to spin up 1200 yards (!) of yarn. Whew- what a project! It was FINALLY delivered to the woman who is knitting said sweater last month at our spinner guild meeting. I got an email from her tonight - she said it is fairly easy to knit with - as long as she chooses skeins where the yarn is all the same size - and I thought they were ALL the same size - hmmm.... Guess that McMorran Yarn Balance that The Shepherd got me for my birthday this year will start to come in handy... (I finally got it ordered from Paradise Fibers in Spokane - hopefully it will be here next week)

Here is a picture of some of the plants in my rock garden from a couple of years ago - I just liked all the colors in this picture.

I feel like the Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland - so many things to do and so little time. We went to see a Japanese Taiko drumming troop called TAO this afternoon - I snuck some pretty decent pictures - I'll post more about it next week sometime.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Color's of January

It has been so warm this month - (we're on a course to have the warmest January on record!) that the witch hazel is in full bloom!

Bulbs are popping their little heads up all over the garden. The Shepherd/aka The Gardener is afraid that what happened last year will happen again this year - a hard freeze in February killed a LOT of stuff in our yard. Lets hope that doesn't happen this year.

Work is busy - 6 day weeks most of the month - but I took yesterday off - we went to Oak Harbor (about a 90 mile round trip) to have Chinese food. It was worth the trip. Saw swans and a lot of eagles - my camera was sitting on the kitchen counter. Darn.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bilingual barnyard

A flock of sheep are hanging out in the barn, having a little snack and happily going "baa baa" to each other and discussing life as usual when suddenly they hear a "moo moooooooooooooooo!"

They look around and see only sheep. They carry on playing as before.

"Moooooo mooooooooooo mmmoo!"

Pearl can hear it all too clearly next to her. She shuffles away a little from her friend, a worried look on her face, and then asks, "Andre, why are you mooing? You're a sheep. Sheep go 'baa'!"

Her friend replies, "I know. But, I thought I would learn a foreign language!"

(just for the record, Violet says that this is one of the silliest jokes she's ever heard)

Revised from Doc's Daily Chuckle.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I'd rather be........ Hawaii at the Maui Ocean Center -

I got to thinking about Hawaii tonight because I spent the ENTIRE day entering payroll items in our new computer program - and our Controller had done quite a bit of set up before hand -

Why does this make me think of Hawaii?

Because the last time I did this was just before we went to Hawaii in 2004 -

The Maui Ocean Center was the highlight - otherwise it was the vacation from hell...

#1 - The Shepherd came down with pneumonia -
#2 - We were on Maui in October - generally a fairly nice time of year to be there - but they were "havin' a heat wave..." - even the locals were complaining about the heat...

It was nice and cool in this underwater tunnel - not so much in our condo - NO AIR CONDITIONING! They had ceiling fans, but no AC - the only place we had AC was in the car we rented - but The Shepherd was so sick, we really didn't go anyplace for two days. Bummer...

We did go to some beautiful botanical gardens tho - this one specialized in proteas -

And I think this is my favorite picture from the whole trip - I can almost smell the fragrance from these beautiful blossoms when I look at this picture.

Oh well.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Year's at Nancy's

Every year on New Year's Day our friend Nancy has a brunch for friends - It started out being a bunch of us who used to hang out at a little restaurant called the Cookie Cafe. When it closed, we no longer saw each other on Friday nights - so what better way to get together - music and food.

Now, we have added new friends and even our neighbors come out - (how is that - go half way across the county to see someone who lives two blocks away!)

Since the start we've had a preponderance of old "rock and rollers" but now there is a contingent of great bluegrass pickers & singers - nothing could be better -

This year a couple of us brought our spinning wheel. Ellen's husband is one of the bluegrass players - I brought my wheel too - everyone was very interested in what we were doing -

And it gives us all an opportunity to bring our best dishes or try a new one.

I have traditionally made Aebelskivers - which are a little round pancake made in a special pan. But when I do that, I don't get to visit with anyone, because I'm in the kitchen making them - so I decided to bring a hot dish similar to a strata - Apple, Bacon & Cheddar Bread Pudding. It was very good. I doubled the recipe (as shown is the regular recipe) except for the apples and only used them in the middle - I think it would have been nice to have had some warm maple syrup or some hollandaise sauce to give it a little bit of "oomph" - Here is the recipe:


3 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)

3 tablespoons packed brown sugar

4 cups cubed firm bread

1 pound bacon, cooked, drained and chopped

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (8 ounces)

2 1/2 cups milk

1 tbsp Dijonaise (or other Dijon style) mustard

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

¼ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

5 eggs

1. Grease 2-quart casserole. In 10-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Cook apples in butter 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender. Stir in brown sugar; reduce heat to low. Cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender.

2. Layer half each of the bread, bacon and cheese in casserole. Add the apples. Repeat with remaining bread, bacon and cheese.

3. Mix all remaining ingredients; pour over cheese. Cover tightly and refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 24 hours.

4. Heat oven to 350ºF. Bake uncovered 40 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

I fried up my bacon bits the night before (on New Years Eve - woo hoo) and had planned to put together the dish so it would have overnight to sit - but the fridge was still full of Christmas ham, and other assorted leftovers, so, I got up early to make it on Friday a.m. - so it only sat about 1/2 hour before I put it in the oven - it was OK - (I mooshed it a lot with a big spoon) Using the packaged shredded cheese saved me a lot of time too - it's premeasured to two cups - oh, and I didn't peel the apples either - just chopped them up in 1/2 inch cubes...

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Was it just Dumb Luck?

Or am I getting better at this craft?

As you can see one bobbin is EMPTY and the other one almost EMPTY!

I have been able to do this spinning from top or from roving, but not from a batt before. I was quite pleased with myself, I must say...

This is Moni's lamb fleece - it didn't do too well at Black Sheep, but it has sure spun up nicely. In fact, I've had to concentrate on not getting it too fine -

Here's the finished product - ready to make into a skein. (yes, that bobbin is pretty darn full - wasn't going to get much more on it anyhow...)

I have decided to start spinning up all the Shetland wool that we have (trust me, there is lots) - The Shepherd wants a "sampler" sweater of some kind - (I still have not gotten the 1600 yards of the Regina/AnnaDee blend that I made last fall to Denise so she could start THAT sweater...)

Hmmm - maybe she'll be at guild on Saturday...

I'm supposed to be doing some "work from home" this evening but I'm playing hooky from my own resolve. I've been "working from home" a bit more lately - still trying to get caught up from the new accounting system installed in October. We're almost there - but not quite.

I hope your New Year is going well. I'll have a few pictures from the New Year's Day brunch at Nancy's Farm and a recipe for you this weekend - Cheddar, Bacon and Apple Bread Pudding. It was surprisingly tasty (well, there was almost 2# of bacon - yes, it was that good)

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Looking back Sunday

This was our driveway two years ago this week - last year's Christmas/New Year's was close to this too - I'm so glad that we've had good weather this year!! It hasn't been particularly sunny, but it hasn't snowed either - Yay!

Hope everyone is staying warm and safe.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Did you empty all your bobbins and drop the drive band off your spinning wheel last night so the fairy witch of Scottish peasants a Nordic, named Gyre Carline could stop by and inspect your wheel?

You can look to her for skill in spinning and if you are lucky, she will grant it to you. But if you have left a partly-filled bobbin on the wheel, she will spin up the rest for you, but will mutter and curse you for being lazy. (boy, I have enough trouble with that as it is, don't need any fairy witch adding her curse to my life...) So Gyre Carline found my fiber life in order - maybe she'll grant me some extra skills....

When I write my blog, I really try hard to write about things that I think my readers might find interesting - the following is my New Year's editorial column from my church newsletter - I thought you might like to read it too -

"January is the traditional time to take stock - the first of a new year - it gives us a feeling that we can “start over. Get a new hair-do - show off those new Christmas clothes, whatever you like.

I’m going to begin the new year by reading Debbie Macomber’s new book “ One Simple Act: Discovering the Power of Generosity". Even something as simple as buying the coffee for the person in the car behind me changed the day for me last week - it made ME feel good to have done something surprising for someone - It really brightened the day of my barista - he kept saying “That’s so cool” and I don’t know about the guy whose coffee I bought, but I hope it inspired him to do something nice for someone - give a kind word for the clerk in the store, or sit and read a book for his child without thinking “I should be working (or calling my friend or watching that show on TV - you know the drill)

I will keep you posted on what Ms. Macomber suggests in her book, but I know for starters that she encourages people to keep a gratitude journal - keep a list of 5 things every day that you are grateful for. So many times that one simple act can help you see that your glass is not half empty, it is actually half full.

One of the things I have liked best about writing my blog is reading the other blogs that I come across. I have made some truly wonderful friends and have been treated to some very interesting ideas. Robert Fulghum, a well known UU writes a wonderful blog (, no, he’s not one of the friends I have made, but I do enjoy reading what he has to say….)

In a recent column he wrote: “Out of my own desire not to drown in the news of evil, I search for the good stuff in the world in my own life. I don’t want to miss it. And when I find it, I pass it on. Often it makes me laugh. We are all characters in a comic strip at times. And I say, over and over, in one way or another, ‘Meanwhile, don’t miss the good stuff. Pass it on.’ If I have a message, that’s pretty much it.”

Now, I don't’ mean to sound like a Pollyanna - but, I really do feel that we ingest way too much “negative stuff” these days - murder and mayhem on the TV - and recently in real life - even TV shows that are meant to be “comedy” are filled with people being rude or thoughtless to each other. Maybe the idea, as Fulghum puts it is to take a step in the other direction."

My gratitude journal will begin with the folks who spend a few minutes and leave me comments on my blog - Thanks for thinking about what I say and I hope everyone's New Year dreams come true.