Tuesday, January 31, 2017

First Garden Post of 2017!

Yesterday we picked out seeds and the day before that we looked at some garden sheds.  Spring is coming!

We're adding kohlrabi, zucchini, and squash to our list of vegetables we are going to grow, plus we are trying new cultivars of tomatoes.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

2016 Garden Totals

Some of our garden-produce soup
Ok, I'm a little slow this year, but here it is at last.

It probably doesn't help my motivation to post that our garden totals went down for every category except potatoes, cheery tomatoes, garlic, and beans.

In pounds:

Strawberries: 4.2
carrots: 3.74
peas: .09
beans 9.45
potatoes: 32.8
cucumbers: 0
tomatoes: 74.4
cherry tomatoes 11.5
garlic: 1.82
volunteer pumpkin 1.54
lettuce, chives, oregano, thyme: didn't keep track, but had plenty except for lettuce

What we learned:

Potatoes get weird if you harvest them after a hard freeze (like we did, in December!) however, if you fry them up in hash they are edible.  (They are not as edible in mashed potatoes or potato jackets.)

Carrots harvested after a hard freeze taste fine in stir fry.

We're going to try to plant a second batch of beans for a bigger harvest this year.

The peas need to either get started inside or planted outside sooner.

Do NOT put a shovel-full of dried manure in the hole that you dig to plant tomatoes!  If you do this, you get pretty leaves and not as many tomatoes.  Mom planted her in a dirt that was ALL manure-turned-soil and she got one tomatoes out of the six plants we gave her.

I had kicked around the idea of resting our garden this upcoming year and planting nothing at all.  I'm going to be working full time all summer and won't have time to tend it closely.  But A) we learn something every year and B) home-grown food is much more flavorful and C) we eat more veggies when we grow veggies.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Health Update: Good News!

We have a wellness program at work, and so I did an annual physical.  All of my blood work came in as normal--glucose, cholesterol, etc.  A surprise, but a good one.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Soon For Sale

My sister gave us some Lincoln Logs to sell on Craigslist.  Of course, with my marketing background at and all, we HAD to set it up and play with it.  I mean, totally just so we could take photos.....

Monday, January 16, 2017

Black Top from Old T-Shirts

My Latest Creation!

It covers my tummy (still big after my illness and Christmas), which also hides any jean-like element of the non-jeans-so-I-can-wear-them-to-work pants.

I made it with four pattern pieces, although in retrospect I only needed two, one for the two front pieces and one for the two back pieces.

Yes, not counting the braid that connects the front and the back, this top has four pieces.

This isn't a tutorial, but someday I'll make one.

The photo above was the muslin I made, which actually worked on the first try.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy Birthday, J.R.R. Tolkien

Happy Birthday to a man who has given so many people so many hours of pleasure!

When I was doing research for my novel which includes a Tolkien-obsessed character, I came across the following in a collection of Tolkien's letters.  It is written to a German publisher and is dated 25 July 1938.  I thought it was simply marvelous.

Dear Sirs,

Thank you for your letter….  I regret that I am not clear as to what you intend by arisch.  I am not of Aryan extraction: that is Indo-Iranian; as far as I am aware none of my ancestors spoke Hindustani, Persian, Gypsy, or any related dialects.  But if I am to understand that you are inquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people.  My great-great-grandfather came to England in the 18th century from Germany: the main part of my dissent is therefore purely English, and I am an English subject – which should be sufficient.  I have been accustomed, nonetheless, to regard my German name with pride, and continued to do so throughout the period of the late regrettable war, in which I served in the English army.  I cannot, however, forbear to comment that if impertinent and irrelevant inquiries of this sort are to become the rule in matters of literature, then the time is not far distant when a German name will no longer be a source of pride.

Your inquiry is doubtless made in order to comply with the laws of your own country, but that this should be held to apply to the subject of another state would be improper, even if it had (as it has not) any bearing whatsoever on the merits of my work or its suitability for publication, which it appears that satisfied herself without reference to my Abstammung.

I trust you will find this reply satisfactory, 
and remain yours faithfully,

J.R.R. Tolkien

Monday, January 2, 2017

Lauritzen Gardens + Mom + Rachel + nephews

This exhibit goes through January 4.

 Can you spot the train in the photo below?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!

May your 2017 be filled with blessings!

There is a Croatian superstition that whatever you do on January 1, you will be doing all year.

I'm going to work on finishing my novel.... I'm not superstitious, of course, but it wouldn't be so bad to write lots of fiction in 2017.

Also, today I finished sewing a top.  Spending lots of time sewing would be nice, too.