Thursday, July 9, 2020

Living on Nerves

Is it awful to say that nearly everything else in life has taken a backseat to our stress over Adam's illness? Many of you know, how very hard it is to live day after day with a very ill spouse whose condition deteriorates, and not being able to find a healthcare person who can help. I hardly sleep one night, sleep badly the next, and the third night I sleep too hard, catching up for the other two. My stomach is in knots. 
We did have a good virtual appointment with a rheumatologist today who I think will help, ordering lots of blood work and giving steroids in the meantime. We're tired of steroid, but so thankful for them. Adam can barely swallow now.

On to other things!
That's a card I painted from a photo on FB. 
A friend bought it right away.
Those are elderberries.
I neglected to visit the veg. garden for weeks, 
so this is what was left. 
Maybe next year I'll be more careful to harvest them.
I was shocked to discover my lone lavender bush alive.
And flowering! So I snipped a few off.
I painted a little bird and some zinnias
from a friend's photo.
I bought some center-cut bacon, which we usually avoid 
because of the cost. But it makes a yummy egg sandwich.
I always have a prayer shawl in the works, 
even if it takes me months to finish.
The pattern is simple: Knit one row. On the next row, leave 5 knits on each end. In between, do this: YO, K2Tog, 2K. Alternate these two rows. No purling!!
This is Simply Soft, which is light with a nice sheen. The color is Light Country Peach.
I think that's it for today!
Everyone, thank you for visiting this little spot online.
Stay well, stay happy, stay thankful.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Adam's Cream Sauce

My mother taught me to make a white sauce by starting with a roux, and that's a fine recipe. However, I've become fond of Adam's white sauce now. Here's how he makes it. This is a white sauce for one person.
Put a tablespoon of butter in a small skillet to saute some finely chopped garlic.

At the same time, boil your water and put your pasta in a separate pot.
When the garlic is a little soft, add some light cream, about 1/4 cup, and stir gently.
Cook this on medium heat for about 8 minutes.
The last step is to add a little more butter, about a teaspoon. This is called "mounting the butter."
The extra butter at this stage causes the sauce to thicken just enough. Stir until it thickens, add some grated parmesan cheese and let it melt, and then pour over your drained pasta.
This sauce is so quick and delicious. Be sure to put in enough cheese that it doesn't just taste like a milk sauce. Cooking for one can be quick and delicious!

Monday, June 29, 2020

A Limited Garden Tour

I am utterly put to shame by the gorgeous gardening I see on some of your blogs and online videos. I am no gardener. As soon as the temps get above about 80 degrees ... I'm inside in the AC. I spend the summer mostly sitting, waiting for autumn. 

But I decided to carefully photograph the few things blooming in my yard to show you, so you'll get the impression that the yard is amazing, haha! No ugly photos allowed! (Scroll past the plants if you want to see watercolors.😃)

I had no idea I had any gladiolas by my front steps, but there they were a couple of weeks ago. Here is the last bloom.

A fuzzy photo of the last yellow rose bud:
The fuzzy theme continues with the
 last of the gardenia blooms. I love them.

These darker elephant ears are 
flourishing this year! Hooray!
I worried about this clump of ears too, 
but they are doing well.
The bed of tiger lilies (doubles) is weeeeeedy,
 but they're still pretty.

Gazing across the dill heads into my herb bed.
I even weeded the grass out of my basil 
for about 5 minutes, so I was proud of me!
My creeping fig (not a fig) plant by the front steps is doing what I wanted: creeping and wandering.

These two hostas shaded by 
the Japanese magnolia tree are just huge.
The lantana is beginning to bloom. 
I'm always happy when the well-established plants get big in late June. They kill off the weeds underneath and make the beds look like they are kempt.
Little elderberry in a pot. I am too afraid to go visit the other elderberries in the veggie garden across the pasture. 
With Adam's illness and the summer heat, we have mutually agreed to give up on the veggie garden and leave it to its own devices.
My lone geranium is happy!
And this lovely hanging basket, a thirsty girl, is still alive! Yay for that!
Our latest addition is a new young rooster (AKA, a cockerel). He is a silkie, which means he should be very docile and not aggressive. He's been here nearly a week. For the first time ever, I have appeared to integrate a new bird into my flock without the hens killing the bird. So far, I'm calling him Roo-Roo:
He'll look better when he's older.
Lastly, here are a few watercolor cards. A friend asked for a bunch of oyster shells, and I did another rooster for another customer.

And I painted a couple of these large sunflowers. 
This is the card.

This is the 9x12 piece.

One is a card; the other is a 9"x12". It sold at the market. I'm painting another one tomorrow for a friend. The more I paint it, the better it will be :)

That's all, friends! Thanks for reading all this mess to the end! God bless and keep cool :)

Friday, June 26, 2020

Delicious Blondies

For our family beach vacation I volunteered to make a batch of blondies -- bar cookies with no chocolate. I found a wonderful recipe here (click over, but you'll have to scroll way down), and changed it only a little. 
Here's the recipe as I used it:

  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 small or medium eggs (or 2 large, with an extra yolk)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. I did use parchment paper inside my 9"x13" pan. Spray the bottom before you put the paper in, for it to work really well. Use melted butter. Not only is it quicker than waiting for your butter to soften (or make a mess in your microwave!), but melted butter makes the blondies chewy!
Honestly, I'm lazy, and I used one big bowl, wet ingredients first and then dry. I was too lazy to lift my mixer from the bottom shelf, so I did it by hand in a bowl. She says to bake for 25-30 minutes, but that was certainly NOT long enough! I must've done at least 45, if not more. Test them with a toothpick, but don't overbake.
Enjoy, friends! The white chocolate (I had no chips, so I broke up some block white chocolate) and the chopped walnuts give this a fabulous taste.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Watching Figs Ripen

Warm summer has arrived. I await ripe figs and the making of fig preserves.
They're spilling onto our deck ramp.
Today I acquired a new white silkie rooster.
I have difficulty keeping roosters; either they get aggressive and I rehome them, or they jump the fence and Ned ... well, Ned.

Adam acquired a used, dead jacuzzi tub that he is determined to repair.
He wants this in winter for his arthritis. I wouldn't mind it in summer if the water is cool. It will sit in the corner next to the ramp.
We'll step into it by opening the deck, removing that seat.

I've sewn four new cloth masks for us.
I think mask-wearing will increase and will be around for a while. We also bought a box of surgical masks, which we'll use sparingly.
50 of them cost $60, not chump-change! But I'm thankful for them, and at a little over $1 each, that's not bad.
After all the kids left, I got back to painting. I decided to make a few bookmarks.
And this sweet little red-breasted bird:
I also finally got more printed cards made and have these poppies and geraniums for sale in packs of 5 (with envelopes) for $10/pack.

I was amazed when the last print packs sold so quickly, and these appear to be selling fast too.

Yet another rooster -- he is quite popular!
I'll end with two sweet pics of Kara with baby Isaac. The house is so quiet without them all.

Oh, I meant to mention Adam's illness. The steroids he took helped tremendously, but they wear off and then his symptoms reemerge. It's disheartening. He'll go back for more steroids tomorrow. In July he'll begin his rheumatologist appointments. Maybe that doctor will get to the bottom of things. It seems less and less likely to me that the mono and adenoviruses are the primary cause of his mucositis. I think his immune system responded to them aggressively, causing these symptoms. Many thanks for your continued love and prayers! It's been a long road.