Friday, June 30, 2017

June Reading, Part 1

We have almost reached the end of another month, so I am posting my book list for June, as I have done for April and May. Those posts seemed awfully long, so I've decided to split this one up into three posts, rather than posting all three pages of text all at once. Here's part one:

Timekeepers: How the World Became Obsessed with Time by Simon Garfield
   Garfield organises this book around different aspects of time, how we measure it, and how these measurements impact culture and individual lives. He does this by using different aspects of life in which time plays a part, such as railways, music, film, Roger Banister’s 4-minute mile, timepieces, talking, work, photography, food, and museums. It’s a very readable book and quite thought-provoking. I learned things I did not know and thought about things in ways I hadn’t before. Also, as a result of something discussed in this book, I found myself on the library web page requesting another book by an author he’d mentioned. It’s always a good sign when one book leads to another!

Bloody Murder: From the Detective Story to the Crime Novel by Julian Symons
  As the title suggests, this is an examination of the evolution of what would today be classified as ‘crime and thrillers.’ Symons lays out the differences in the sub-genres and discusses early examples of each in the context of the cultures in which they became popular. The book is dated--the edition I read is from 1984--and his writing style rather dry at times, but I enjoyed it nonetheless for the historical content.

Selected Poems by Colette Bryce
   I found this book while scrolling through the library e-book collection and downloaded it. The poet is from Northern Ireland and the poems in this collection were about the landscape, the Troubles, her childhood, her parents’ relationship with each other and hers with them, and her adult relationships.

Walking on My Grave by Carolyn Hart
   I came across the e-book of this at the same time I discovered the poetry collection above. It is the latest in the ‘Death on Demand’ cosy mystery series. I quite enjoy cosy mysteries and used to read many of them. There has been such an explosion of these in recent years. I have particularly enjoyed the many knitting/crochet/needlework themed ones. I used to read a series that revolved around a tea shop owner as well. The series I used to read are not readily available in the libraries here, so I have not read one in a few years. There are other cosy mystery series that I am not familiar with, but will have to explore further. I’ve read a few of the Death on Demand books in the past and liked them well enough, so when I saw this one, I downloaded it. Death on Demand is the name of the mystery bookshop owned by the amateur sleuth, Annie Darling, who lives in a small town in the US. She has cats named Agatha and Dorothy L. She is, of course, surrounded by colourful characters. These are fun reads for people who like the genre and each book contains something of a puzzle in the form of a book shop contest.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Happy Accident

One morning last week, I forgot to turn off the yoghurt maker at exactly the 10 hour mark. By the time I remembered to turn it off, it had been on for about 10 1/2 hours. That turned out to be a happy accident, because that batch was a little bit thicker than previous batches, both before and after straining. I decided to leave it in longer on purpose next time and got the same result, so that's now how I will do it going forward. It's good when the yoghurt is thicker because then it does not get too thin and watery when I add fruit. We had some for dessert the other night with a bit all-fruit raspberry jam and thawed frozen blueberries (I had coconut; Bill didn't). It was so good!
We picked up some milk today, so I'll be putting a new batch in tonight.

Bill picked some more cherry tomatoes this morning at the garden. We'll have some of them in wraps tonight for supper, along with some herbs from the garden, cucumber, and some of the caramelized onion/red pepper hummus I made today. While we were getting milk, we snagged the last package of wholemeal wraps at the shop.
I always think hummus looks so much more appetizing in person than in photos, for some reason.

I'm glad to have a batch of that made--makes things easier to have things in the fridge and ready to eat. Now my lunch is sorted for the next few days.

Most amounts are approximate, because I don't measure for stuff like this, but to make the hummus, I used two cans of chick peas, the juice of 1 1/4 lemon, about 3 tablespoons of tahini, some granulated garlic, and some olive oil. There's oil on top of the tahini in the jar, so I used some of that as well. I used enough of the oil so that the texture would be smooth, but not so much that the hummus got loose and/or runny. Oh yeah, there was a bit of dried parsley and some fresh snipped in there, too. I chopped an onion and a pointy sweet red pepper and cooked those in some olive oil, before adding them to the chopper. Then I whizzed it all up. I sampled it, to see if I wanted to add anything else and it was good as is, so I left it alone. I can always add stuff later to part of the batch, if I want to change it a little!

Update--we just finished supper 😋

Here's hoping you're enjoying this day, wherever you find yourself!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Tomato Season Has Begun

We went up to the garden this morning. It was a nice morning to be there--no sun, not hot, and with a nice breeze. I'm a little clogged, so might take a bit more allergy stuff, but pollen is supposed to be low today, so I figured it was OK to venture out.

Bill watered the stuff in the hoop house and I did some stuff outside. He picked the first tomatoes!
I scraped the weeds off the top of the outdoor bed and discovered a few spuds.
I planted a few more spuds in a different part of the outdoor bed, since we have space. The chard continues to grow really well and I will pick more of that in a couple of days. I think I will be pulling cabbage soon, too. I will plant more spinach and carrots. The carrots sprouted but just turned rusty and didn't grow and the spinach bolted really quickly.

We are learning some stuff about what will grow and what doesn't grow as well. Bill said he'd really like to do most of the outdoor bed in spuds next year and that seems like a good idea. We won't plant cabbage again. I wouldn't have planted it this year, except I felt like we needed to put something in the bed and it was available at the garden centre. Cabbage is one of those things that Bill isn't crazy about and I like sometimes, but I can buy it at the store and it doesn't taste any different. He also has to be aware of how much Vitamin K he is consuming, so might as well use up his quota on stuff he loves, like chard and broccoli!  I'd rather use the space for something else. So we are talking about doing 2/3 of the bed in spuds next year and the rest will be strawberries, chard, and maybe another thing or two. In looking at what other people have in their outdoor beds, we find a lot of cabbage, onions of various sorts, and spuds. Some people have all spuds. So we get a sense of what grows well outside the polytunnel that way and that helps us choose what we want to do with our bed. Our experience with a CSA farm in Maine has also helped us recognise what is worth growing because it tastes better and what really isn't worth growing ourselves. Since space is limited, choices must be made!

After the garden, we went to the shop for a few groceries. When we came out, we saw a little dog waiting patiently for his person, who came out a minute later. The dog's name is Stuey and his person showed us the rolled up packet from the deli, saying it was for Stuey to take his medication with. He handed Stuey the packet. Stuey was pretty happy as he took the packet in his mouth and went with his person. So cute.

I have some yoghurt straining in the fridge. I have learned that if I keep the yoghurt maker on for a little longer than the 10 hours they suggest as a guideline, it comes out thicker even before straining. It was a happy accident that I even discovered this. I forgot to turn the last batch off until it was on for an extra half an hour and I noticed then that it was thicker, so I left the last batch in longer too. It'll be ready in another hour. In the meantime, I'm off to make some lunch!

Happy Monday--hope your week starts off well!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Yummy Chocolate Bread!

 I decided to experiment with the bread maker today, so I adapted a recipe for plain light wholemeal bread to see how light wholemeal chocolate coconut bread would come out. The answer is that it turned out to be delicious! The bread maker beeped a while ago and after a bit of cooling time, I cut a couple of slices, which Bill and I have just finished. We agree that we love it, so I'll be making it again.
I used three parts strong wholemeal flour and one part regular flour (slightly less of the latter than the recipe called for). I tossed in some porridge oats, increased the amount of sugar a little bit and decreased the amount of yeast by a third. I dumped in a 100g bag of mini dark chocolate chips, which melted as the paddle was paddling (I'd used hot water), some coconut, and a bit of almond extract.

I was really pleased with the results--slightly sweet, but not sickeningly so.

I've used that particular recipe before--it was the test loaf after we brought the bread maker home from the charity shop and it's quite good plain, but also works well as a jumping off point. Some of the other recipes in the book require more ingredients, but this one is nice, basic, wholemeal, and uses stuff I always have in the kitchen. It's a good one to tweak for varied end results using whatever I happen to have around on a given day. I am thinking that the next attempt might be some lemon poppyseed.

It's a lovely relaxing Sunday in our house. I hope it's the same for you!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Off Limits For Now

Bill went to the garden by himself this morning, to water the plants in the polytunnel. Fortunately we had rain last night, so the outdoor plants were fine. The tomato plants are loaded with fruit and it looks like the first cherry tomatoes will be ready for picking in a few days. It won't be me picking them, though, because for now the polytunnel is off limits for me.

We've reached that point in the year where grass and weed pollen are all over the place and the population of fungal spores is thriving--especially in places like that polytunnel. I'd already become aware that I had to limit my time in there based on how I felt whenever we went there. The other day, I tried to get things watered and tie up some tomato plants as quickly as possible. It was not as hot in there as it had been on our previous visit, but it was still far too warm (for me, but the tomatoes are happy!). Of course the plants are not the only things that like hot and humid conditions--the mold must be flourishing. It did not take long for me to feel the effects of my time in the tunnel. I spent the afternoon sitting on the couch with my eyes closed, my stomach upset, and my head pounding. I'm done in the tunnel until autumn.

In addition to avoiding the tunnel, I am getting into the habit of checking the Met Eireann website each day. They have a page where I can see what the levels of grass, tree, and weed pollen will be for our region, as well as the fungal spores. So some days I will also be limiting my time outside. Last summer I experienced many non-functioning days, feeling sick in bed, because of the allergies. Much of that was probably due to the mold-infested apartment, but some of it was also because of something in the outdoor environment. In the other places we lived since we came to Ireland, I had almost no issues, so last summer was a surprise. It was also extremely frustrating, so I am trying to be proactive this year and limit my exposure.

I know that I will continue to be uncomfortable no matter what I do. I am used to that and it's one reason I find summer so unpleasant. However, that is different than being unable to function because of pain, nausea, brain fog, and the rest. I would really like to limit those days so I have as few of them as possible. The summer will pass and the pollen with it. I'll be glad when it does. In the meantime, I will do what I can to take care of myself.

Today I went to the library, where I had a few books in--it always feels like Christmas when the requested books arrive. I started a new book this afternoon with a nice cup of tea. I have a knitting project started as a break from the large thread crochet project I've been working on for several days straight. I was starting to feel an ache in my wrist and hands, so will switch for a few days. A Good Read is on BBC Radio 4 tonight and I will knit while listening to that. I made pizza for supper and that was delicious. I'll be turning on the coffee maker shortly.

I've had a very pleasant and relaxing day. I hope you are having the same sort of day wherever you find yourself at the moment!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

More Discoveries: Books and Pepper Jack

It's been a week of small discoveries so far. Yesterday we discovered an access point to the river trail right across the street from our house. Later, we were looking at the cheese selection in the shop on Main St and Bill spotted some pepper jack.
It's the first time we've seen pepper jack cheese in Ireland. We used to eat a fair bit of Tillamook pepper jack when we lived in Oregon and Alaska and there was some other kind in Maine that was good, too (but Tillamook is the best). They only had two packages in the store, and they came home with us, but maybe they'll get more. We'll keep our eyes open.

On Monday, Bill discovered a new pop-up charity shop in town. This is something we'd not seen in other towns, but in Moville, in addition to the two permanent charity shops, there is one further down the main road that has one group for 6 or 8 weeks. Then they clear out and another group moves in. yard sales are not very common here, although there is the occasional (car) boot sale, so maybe these pop-up shops serve the same purpose. The one Bill found is on a side street--the shop is usually empty, but since we've been here, there have been 4 or 5 charity shops in there for a few weeks at a time.

Anyway, he came home with a pile of books, saying they had good ones in there. I was particularly excited about this one:
I started hearing a lot about ElizabethTaylor (writer, not the actress) a few years ago as her works was being 'rediscovered.' At the time, I read one of her novels, but wasn't aware that she also wrote short stories. I love short story collections, so when Bill saw this, he added it to the pile. Yay! Most of the books we pick up at the charity shops are ones we know we will read and then either re-donate or leave in the wee free library. Once in a while, though, we find books that we plan to keep--this is one of those. It will stay with my collection of short story collections!

He suggested we stop in again yesterday on our way to the shop, so we did. We came away with another pile of books. There was an older couple behind the counter and we were chatting with them. She talked about how great books are--much better than telly. She said that now she's not hearing so well, she has to have the volume up too high and it's not pleasant for the husband. At that, he joined the conversation, joking that this was just an excuse, because her goal is really to be able to ignore him.  She then commented about how frustrating it is to be near the end of a book and to be trying to get to the end, but having the eyes 'go funny' and to not be able to stay awake. He one-upped that, though, with his own book story. He was reading a book by Louis L'Amour, he said, which was some sweeping saga about the Middle East and migration and stuff like that (I was thinking that I had no idea that author wrote such things)--quite the tome, it sounded like! Well, just as he was getting to the point where he'd find out how it all ends, he turned the page and discovered that someone had torn out the last 5 pages. He looked and looked for a new copy, he said, but his search was in vain. Then he was in California and went into a Borders book store, where he found it, bought it, and read the last 5 pages. He said it was a happy day. I told him I think that, in future, I'd better check books before I buy them, to make sure all the pages are there. They were such a friendly, good-humoured, and affectionate couple. They made me smile.

I hope your world provides many opportunities for smiles and joy today.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Discovery: Bredagh River Trail

Shortly after we moved to Moville, we met a woman in the library who told us about the Bredagh River Trail. The way she spoke about it gave the impression that it was like a short muddy track or something, so we never made much of an effort to find it. She told us how to access it and we walked around the building she mentioned, but didn't really notice where we were supposed to go, and we never looked after that. Then I had all of the health issues from the mould and for me, walking sort of fell by the wayside, except when necessary. At some point during the past year, they put a sign up, visible from the road, and we commented that we should go down there sometime. Yesterday, Bill did. He was very pleasantly surprised! As he was walking, he looked up the hill and saw what he thought was another access point, which happens to be right across the street from where we live. We were on our way to the shop at the edge of town this morning and Bill wanted to walk over and see if we could access the trail across the street from us. We walked down the rather steep driveway (there's a handrail, which is handy) and sure enough, there, down some stairs, was the trail. I said we might as well go that way to the shop, so we walked along. What a hidden treasure! It's wonderful--wooded, shady, cool, quiet, beautiful, and there's the lovely sound of the river as you stroll along. There are a few benches along the way, too, so people can stop a while and just enjoy the surroundings.

bird hut--they were doing some work on it today--those are plants on the roof

It is not a very long trail, but it is so lovely and we have not seen quite all of it yet. It's a really nice way to get to the shop at the edge of town, too!

I hope you discover something beautiful today in your part of the world!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Busy Bees

There were some busy bees in Moville this morning.
We were busy (and hot!) for a while too--we went up to the garden to water stuff.
The chard that I picked last week has grown back to just about where it was when I picked some. The other chard plants, which I put outside weeks later than the first plant, have caught up. I will make a dash up there later in the week to pick more. The beans and broccoli continue to grow and the spuds are flowering--such pretty blossoms!
Inside the polytunnel, most things just keep on growing. The peppers--both jalapenos and bell--seem to be growing slowly, so I think we may not have enough time for any peppers to actually form and ripen. I have never had good luck with peppers, so that's not really a surprise. The tomatoes are threatening to take over, though. Last week, Bill put some egg cartons around the strawberries to keep the slugs away from the berries. Today he picked a few caterpillars or something off of the cabbage after he'd filled the watering cans. I worked quickly to get the weeds scraped and everything watered, including the bed in the hoop house belonging to the schoolchildren. They cannot get up there every day and I told their teacher I'd water when we're there, if needed. It's hot today and supposed to be so for the next couple of days, so I figured it could use a good drink. Once I had that done, I got out of there and came home.

I am heartened seeing the chard growing so well. I am hopeful that we will be able to keep some greens, including lots of chard, growing in the polytunnel through the winter. That would be nice. It would also be enjoyable. Right now I go when I must (trying to limit myself to once a week) and leave as soon as possible because it is so uncomfortable, but it should be a different story over the winter, when it is nice, cool, and past the grass, pollen, fungal spores season!

As I was quickly walking down the hill towards home, I walked by a house with a really lovely front garden. A woman was standing on the front step. I said hello and she commented on what a beautiful day it is. I have learned to just go along with this, even though if an Irish person is telling me it's a beautiful day, you can safely bet that it's a day that is too hot, too sunny, and making me miserable!! 😎😕 I heard myself sort of grunt a half-hearted 'yeah' to her joyful 'beautiful day' remark and then I told her that her garden was beautiful. She beamed at me and asked, 'Do you like it?' 'I love it,' I replied. And I do.

Hope you find something beautiful in your day today, no matter what the weather!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

That's Supper Sorted

The other day when I was at the garden, I picked some chard. We used to eat a lot of chard when we were part of a CSA farm in Maine. I have not seen it here, except for baby chard in bagged salad, so when we decided to have a garden, chard was one of the things we decided to plant. We could not find any seeds locally, but our friend, Karen, sent us some. It seems to like this climate and is growing well.

As I was thinking about how to use it, I remembered a rice bake thing that I used to make fairly often in Maine. It's one of those things--like almost everything else I cook--that is different every time I make it, depending on what I have around. It almost always had chard in it, though.
This time I cooked 1 1/2 cups of brown rice and dumped it in a bowl. To the rice, I added some cheddar cheese, some honey-mustard smoked mackerel (in the past I have made this with various sorts of fish, or sausages, or vegetarian) and a mix of veggies sauteed in olive oil.
The veggies were: chopped onion, a bit of sweet red pepper left from the pizza I made last night, broccoli, a bit of spinach, and the chard. I added some granulated garlic, oregano, and crushed chilli flakes, stirred everything together and then poured in 4 extra large eggs, beaten with a little milk. Once everything was well mixed, I dumped it into two foil pans that I'd buttered using one of the butter wrappers I'd saved for this purpose. The foil pans came home with us because sometimes, when we buy boneless, skinless chicken breast, they come wrapped in those pans. I wash them well and reuse them.

I baked these in a 180C fan oven for about half an hour. We had some with fruit on the side tonight and will have the same again tomorrow night. Looks like there will be enough for a breakfast or lunch on Monday, too. Yay!

I am happy to report that the shower is working again and much better than it has since we got here. The Shower Man called Thursday afternoon to say he was in a neighbouring town and had finished earlier than expected, so he could come and have a look at our shower. He came and repaired it, all the while explaining to us what the problem was, showing us how the shower works and what the various parts in the wall unit do, what the quirks of that particular model are, and how we could work around them to make it work better. he was great. We were impressed and I emailed the company to tell them so. Last night, as I was scrolling through my Facebook page, I came across a post from the company, which was a copy and paste of my email. The guy commented that it's nice to be appreciated. Isn't that true of all of us?!

I hope your weekend is wonderful!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


It's Tuesday, so the first thing we did after breakfast was to walk down the street to Market Square so we could call on veg man, the traveling greengrocer. We brought our produce home and I unpacked it, freeing the bags for the stuff we needed to bring to the garden. While there, I pulled the coriander (will plant more in a pot that we will hang in the polytunnel--this stuff was too woody). This freed the space for a pepper plant that was ready to spread its roots farther than the wee pot would allow. I picked a bunch of stuff--chard, parsley, fennel, a few spinach leaves, the last radishes. I scraped the weeds up by (gloved) hand in the side bed in the polytunnel and took a hoe and scraped up the ones in our outdoor bed. I was out there ready to plant a chard plant and thinking that there used to be something in that space when I realised that the large cauliflower plant we had there was completely gone. It was there Saturday when we were chatting with our garden 'neighbour' between our beds, but you'd never know anything was ever there to look at it this morning. I am not having good luck with cauliflower. Everything else looks good. I planted a few more bean seeds and the rest of the leek seeds I had in the outdoor bed. The tomato stems that I had rooted got planted in the polytunnel. We watered the stuff inside. I was working at a pretty good clip so we could get done and come home. I have done my bit for the week and Bill will take over now.

I have noticed that I cannot spend too much time there at this point. We went on Saturday to set some stuff I'd made on a table for the cottage market, but there were few tables and they all were taken, so we chatted for a bit and came home. This was a relief because I was sorry I'd agreed to participate in the first place. The addition of a screaming child made me even more happy to get away! As it happens, it was just as well--I would have been miserable for the rest of the day had I stayed there for hours. When we went back in the afternoon to pick some stuff, we chatted with a few different people as the event was breaking up. We were there for maybe 20 minutes, but when I got home, I had sinus pressure and my arms were itching like mad--as is happening right now. I had forgotten until then how my arms used to itch like that when we would go to the farm in Maine to pick up our CSA produce every week. I reminded Bill of how I used to joke that I might enjoy gardening more if I could do it in the winter. It's not really a joke, I guess, and this year I will have the chance to do some winter gardening in the polytunnel. That's more my thing, I think. I enjoyed the process earlier in the year. I am not enjoying it anymore.  For now, I'll be spending less time up there until we get past summer and when I do go up there, I'll take an extra pill in an effort to avoid ruining my whole day with the aftermath.

I noticed this planter on Saturday, which I thought was cute. I'm told it's been there, so I guess I just wansn't paying attention!
On Sunday, our electric shower stopped working. Someone was supposed to come and replace it tomorrow, but they have just cancelled and said they will contact us to reschedule 'in the near future' whatever that means. In the meantime, we do what we did when we lived with no running water for two years in Alaska and would use pitchers of water dumped over our heads. It's easier here because we do not have to heat the water in a kettle and we (luckily) have some milk jugs that I was going to cut apart and use to stick plants in. I had not done so yet, so we have a few we can use as our 'shower' until the 'near future' turns into the past and we have a working shower again.

Now I have a few free hours until it is time to make supper, and I have a book and a crochet project calling my name, so I am off to heed the call!

I hope your Tuesday is wonderful!

Friday, June 9, 2017

A Few More Bits

For some unknown reason, while I was sitting in bed last night listening to BBC Inside Science and crocheting, some tatted motifs popped into my head. I'd been doodling with some thread a few years ago when we lived in Ballinrobe and ended up with a motif I liked. I did change some numbers to make them easier to join, but I had a few of the originals that I kept, thinking I'd find a use for them one day. Last night, they came into my mind as I was thinking about a piece of sea glass I'd taken out of the box where I keep our beach finds. I decided to leave the idea alone until this afternoon and I went on with my crocheting.

This morning I was off to the library where I helped someone with her crocheting and picked up a book that came in. Afterwards, I came home, had some lunch, put in a load of laundry, and grabbed a few of the motifs. When I put them with the sea glass, I found that I really didn't like it. What I had in mind would have worked with different colours--either the sea glass or the motifs--but as it was, I did not care for them together. I didn't want to make more motifs just now, so I let go of the idea and rummaged around for something else I could use in a different way with the motifs. I ended up with two shells, a different piece of sea glass and a small rock.

I'll add these to the small collection of stuff I've made for the cottage market at the community garden, which is tomorrow.

Tonight it'll be back to the crocheting, and I'll be listening to the first episode in the new series of A Good Read on BBC Radio 4--love that show!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Library Surprise

We called in at the library this afternoon to return a few books. My requests were already on the desk waiting for me. I had not expected anything to come in, so that was a happy surprise! I was particularly thrilled about these two:

The Idiot is a book that I read about in a couple of places a while back--at least a couple of months ago, I think. I knew it was a book I wanted to read, revolving as it apparently does around linguistics--the main character is a linguistics student and according to what I read, linguistic theory, her studies and her thoughts about what she is learning are important parts of the book. I was disappointed when my search ended with no results, but I filed away the title and author to look up at a later date. I came across the author's name in a Lit Hub email last week, checked the library again, and there were several copies on order. Yay! I put in my request and here it is.

The other book was one I| came across by accident. I read a few of Fintan O'Toole's books when we first arrived in Ireland and found them to be very helpful in making sense of my own observations. I wondered what he'd written since then, so I looked him up and this book (and another that's in transit) came up. A few years ago, I listened to a podcast of BBC Radio 4's History of the World in 100 Objects, in which a single object was described and its uses, meanings, impact on culture and society and other such things were discussed in each episode. Each episode was only about 13 minutes and it may still be available on the website--I highly recommend it. The podcast was great, so when I saw this book, I figured it'd be even better, since it's about Ireland and, well, it's a book.

I was tempted to dig into one of these books right away, but I decided to wait a few days. I have other books in the pile. I started one of them this afternoon, which turned out to be a disappointment. It sounded like an interesting idea--a novel about two people, Eva and Jim, but the story unwinds in different versions all at the same time. There are three versions of the story of their meeting in 1958 and what comes after. In one, they get together. In another, they go back to their lives without starting a relationship. In the third, they begin an intense relationship, but Eva discovers she is pregnant as a result of a relationship she was in when she met Jim. She wrote Jim a letter explaining and disappeared from his life, marrying the other guy. I cannot say how any of these versions unfold, because after going back and forth between versions for 80+ pages, I no longer cared and found the format cumbersome. Knowing that I have other books I want to read, I closed this one and put it on the return pile before choosing another from my library stack. I'll start that tonight.

Hope there have been one or two happy surprises in your day, too!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Bread and Yoghurt

Yesterday I made a loaf of bread using the whey from my first batch of Greek yoghurt. I added some of the pizza seasoning our neighbour gave me. It is so good! Love my bread maker!
I just put my second batch of yoghurt in the strainer, so in a couple of hours, I'll have more Greek yoghurt and more whey. Yay! The first batch did not last long--I mixed it with hot salsa and we had it on nachos for a couple of nights, along with some coriander (cilantro) from our garden, homemade refried beans, and a bunch of other stuff. There was enough left for me to have the last bit with some beans and rice for lunch one day, too 😋

We found a yoghurt maker at Lidl and we bought it. I'd been thinking about starting to make yoghurt and did a little bit of clicking around. I could have started making it without a dedicated yoghurt maker, using the slow cooker or a thermos and a cooler, or probably in other ways as well. But those methods would have also required me to buy stuff--like a thermos and cooler, thermometer, cheesecloth to strain for Greek yogurt, etc. Not only would it have cost the same or more to buy the stuff for that as it did to buy the little machine, but the process would have taken attention and time, as I would have had to monitor the process, wrap the slow cooker in towels, and other things. I hate buying mass-produced items new, and am not an impulse buyer, but after looking into it, it was clear that this would be a useful purchase for us. The yoghurt maker is small, lightweight and simple. I put the milk and few tablespoons of yoghurt in the machine at night and turn it on. In the morning, it is ready to sit in the fridge for 24 hours. After that, I pour it into the strainer and let it sit. I only have to spend a few minutes. I have a feeling that, like the bread machine, this will get a lot of use. 😀

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Pinned and Getting My Cro-Jo Back

I spent yesterday afternoon needle felting a few more pins.
button found at a charity shop
bead taken from a bracelet that Bill picked up at a charity shop
background left from an earlier project attempt--I reused the rest of it and this was left, so I added birds

Bill spotted the pendant in a charity shop when he went in to pay for books we'd picked up in the entryway
crocheted this several days ago from a small scrap ball of a Noro yarn, then added a mother-of-pearl button
I'd been in a slump again, having lost my cro-jo and generally feeling those summer blahs that make me want to crawl into bed and stay there until October. But yesterday afternoon I decided that I'd wasted enough time and started needle felting, since the stuff was still downstairs and it required no effort to retrieve it.  Then last night, I went upstairs, settled into the bed, leaned back against the pillows, and treated myself to some happy time reading a crochet magazine our daughter had sent. I'd been saving it for a few days and last night was the perfect moment. It's a good one, too, and from the first pages, my head was buzzing with ideas. That followed by a few days my perusal of a different, and apparently one-off crochet magazine that she sent. It was also filled with idea-generating content. So at the moment, I feel the old cro-jo coming back. And it is definitely cro-jo right now. I sometimes go back and forth between techniques, while at other times, I become rather obsessed with one of them and that is what I feel like I must do. Right now, it's crocheting and happily, I now have no shortage of ideas, so hooking it will be!

It's the middle day of our bank holiday weekend here. We had a lovely hard rain shower a while ago. That was nice. It was nice because it made me happy and because it means we do not have to go to the garden to water stuff. This leaves me more time to read and crochet.

I hope your weekend is beautiful and creative and spent in the company of your favourite people!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Getting Closer!

One of the things I like about entering June is that the solstice is coming right up. In a few weeks we will be heading in the right direction and losing a wee bit of daylight each day. This thought makes me smile. We're getting closer! In the meantime, this was the sky from a bedroom window at 10:10 last night.
No matter the time of year, I am always glad to see the dark clouds overhead!

Hope you're having a good day, wherever you are!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Blooms and Bees

On our way to the garden this afternoon, we stopped to appreciate the beauty around us.

I hope you also have the time to stop and enjoy the beauty in your spot on our precious planet.