Monday, July 29, 2013

The Right Way to Spend Sunday Evening

After church (and supper) we decided to take a drive.
This is one of our favorite things to do.
I "tally" the wildlife we see.
We play our version of music trivia.
(He guesses the song title and/or artist.  I ALWAYS win.)

Last night was no different.
We rode the backroads through the creek bottoms.
This time, I remembered my camera. 
 There was barely enough light.

Love this huge old cypress tree.
Confident they don't make 'em like this any more.
The base is probably 7-8 feet in diameter...maybe larger.
This is just the top half:

The very top is what is so beautiful to me:

Across from the tree are these beautiful creek bottoms.
If it weren't for all the creepin' and crawlin' critters,
I'd love to explore on foot - or pirogue.

A ways down the road, we ran into an old friend.
This hoot owl hangs out on this branch in the evening.
It's at a bridge also over a creek.
He's not evil, the flash just caught him!

This is one of my favorite roads to drive.
It gives the illusion of mystery, almost magical.
You never know what is around the next curve.
Makes you feel like the only two people in the world.

Wildlife tally:
3 deer (1 of which was a young buck)
1 sow with 3 piglets
1 hoot-owl
3 cotton-mouths (snakes...ick!)
1 great-horned owl
1 blue herron
1 baby skunk (like the size of a coke can!)
and, 2 tired adults

It was a great evening. 
Relaxing, even refreshing.
I can't wait to do it again.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

More Summer Projects

The rain this morning was welcome and delightful.
The lingering headache I woke with, was not.
I can at least do one post today.
Projects requiring thought?  Not so much.

 A quick summary of finished projects:
I used spray adhesive and scrapbooking paper from a previous project
to cover my new (and very plain) calendar and address book.
(I'm a BIG nerd.  Can't wait for the new calendars to come out in the summer!)

I made this delicious pizza for lunch one Saturday.
My allergy to tomatoes has taught me to think creatively when cooking.
Alfredo sauce, chicken, mushrooms, onions, spinach,
along with fresh basil & chives from my garden.
It was delish...even my husband said so!

I made a summer-weight robe.
I'm still not sure about the fabric, but it was high quality and
ridiculously expensive, marked down to nothing.
It wears well and I'm pleased.

I worked on a mini-decorative project for my bedroom.
It's not finished yet - still needs a few touches.
I discovered hot glue is really hot.
(And, to my husband's amusement,
mod-podge will not stick to styrofoam.)

I took some pretty good pictures:

Love this moth on my lantana.  The colors really pop.

Love my zoom lens.  This isn't as crisp as I'd like, but it's
a female bluebird re-feathering her next for her second batch of babies.
(They are on round three for the summer as I speak.)

My favorite is this tiny spider.  Her legs are folded underneath her.
She lived in the top of my watering can.
I couldn't get anything for a size reference in the picture,
but this entire web would be covered by a dime.
I did my best to fill the can around her web, but it didn't always work.
She finally gave up and moved along to a more secure spot.

My summer projects aren't finished yet, but my summer nearly is.
I have finishing touches to add to my bedroom.
I am waiting on chairs I ordered at Pier 1 for my living room.
The quilt.  Let's not talk about the quilt.
I'm documenting as I progress, so pictures will follow!

I return to work a week from today.
Long-live the rest of my vacation.
May the days be very long & productive!
(Or just very long...I'm learning I don't always HAVE to be busy!)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Wild Violet Jelly

This was a Spring project, not Summer, but it was the beginning!
I've waited and waited for enough violets to bloom to try this.
It takes 2 cups of blooms
Do you have ANY idea how many little wispy flowers that is?

I didn't count.  I felt it would be discouraging!
After scouring my yard and several surrounding acres,
including the nearby woods and creek bank, I had enough.  Finally!
The next step was to make tea, essentially pouring boiling water over the blooms and allowing them to steep overnight.

The next day, the magic begins.
After carefully straining the blooms from the "tea,"
I added the tea to sugar, to make a rather blue-greenish tinted liquid.

Then, add lemon juice to the tea and sugar *magic*! 
It turns this delightful pink.

In the traditional jelly-making sense, I continued with boiling, adding pectin,
filling jars, and a water bath yielding 4 very precious tiny jars 
of this delightfully light and floral jelly.

I don't believe it's to my husband's taste, as we still have jars left.
I, however, enjoy a bit on a biscuit or scone from time to time.

I found the recipe here:

I don't know if I'll make more next Spring or not.
My next jelly making adventure will be dandelion.  Stay tuned!

You've Got Mail!

This is one of my favorite things to hear (and favorite movies!)
There is nothing better than coming home from work and finding a letter waiting.

One of my dearest friends, I've never met.  Her name is Patty and she is my pen pal.
Although we were matched randomly, we could be sisters.
No.  You never get too old to have a pen pal.
Yes.  We really write letters the old-fashioned way. 
She even uses a fountain pen!
(I have one, use it often, and promise to write my next letter with it!)

She is a farmgirl, quite literally, and makes me tired just hearing about all she does.
She lives in upstate New York with her awesomely talented husband, George.
They make me tired just hearing about all they do.
In an effort to "keep up," I told her I'd blog my projects this summer.
(It makes me look much busier than I've really been...)

So, these next posts are for you, Patty!