Button, button

I get these little rubber  buttons from the Lilac Services for the Blind.  They’re such a small item,  but it's amazing how valuable they have become to me.

My computer keyboard has become completely redundant for typing.  I am totally dependent on text reader and dictation features.  Both of these require keyboard commands that consist of combinations of two or three keys.  For example, Microsoft Word text reader

requires control + alt + space to start reading.     Microsoft Narrator requires cap lock + r for continuous reading. There are over 100 such commands but I only use about 10 or 12. 

 n order to keep track of the main command keys, I use buttons for guidance. I first used them on the control panel on the microwave.  And then I put them on specific pill bottles to differentiate between my medicines.

The buttons are only about 1/4 inch across, but they will stick to anything. I cannot only use the buttons, I can trim away the grid around them as a negative space. It's such a tiny item to have such a huge impact.  It not only guides me to command keys, it helps me orient myself to all the surrounding keys.

So now all the expensive magnifying glasses and lamps are unusable.  The  most important parts of my daily functioning depend on little tiny rubber buttons.  I'm so grateful for them and to the Lilac Services for the Blind for providing them. 


What recipe?


I have had a lifelong passion for cooking.  Before computers, I collected dozens of cookbooks and subscribed to several cooking magazines.  After the Internet came along, I would browse it for recipes.  I was eager to try new techniques and was undaunted by a long list of ingredients.

As my eyesight began to fail, I used stronger and stronger magnifying glasses to read recipes.  Then I began seeking easier recipes. The next step was trying to limit the number of ingredients so I could memorize recipes that my husband would read to me.   Finally I am at the stage where I use no recipes at all and improvise 99% of the time.

Now I rely on my many years of experience.  Actually it is going quite well and have come up with some interesting results by just throwing things together that sound good to me.  Mostly I rely on recipes that do not depend on specific amounts of ingredients to be successful and have a large margin for error.  For example, this week I made individual tarts with caramelized onions and goat cheese with egg and cream.

Two things that work in my favor: one is my husband loves to eat and eats everything--even  my mistakes.  And never criticizes what hits the table.  Secondly, there are lots of basic recipes that are very flexible. 

The two biggest cooking challenges are deboning meat or fish and detecting  mold on things, like cheese. This spring I've had my husband take over these chores.

How I come to terms with my stove is a whole other blog post.


garden he;per

I'm happy to announce that I have at least one toad living under my deck. That's the sign I have a healthy garden. 

Their diet is insects.  In your garden the toad is quiet during the day.  In the evening it starts croaking.

I had toads at the farm and frogs as well in the pond.  I had lots of small garden snakes that eat insects as well.

When the forest I planted reached a certain height, I noticed ants building a hill. Eventually it was about 3 feet tall and full of activity.  I asked my friendly forester if I should do anything about it. He told me the anthills are the sign of a healthy forest.  Eventually there were about three or four big hills.  The ants would be active for a while, and then all of a sudden the ants would abandon the hill and move someplace else.  They help decompose the debris on the forest floor which enriches the forest soil.  I miss my florist. 


Food rip


[unedited]  On  a television cooking show they served seared tuna with a creamy mustard sauce. I thought this would be fun to try as I have never done this sauce before.


 It turns out it's very easy. You just add one tablespoon of whole grain mustard to 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Let it set up a few minutes until it thickens and it is ready to use.


 I was not all that impressed with this sauce served with the tuna but the next day I used the same  creamy mustard sauce on  roasted cauliflower and it was absolutely yummy. I'm delighted to have found something new and differerent


Idea for fiinding seedlings


I planted my peas and beans in my weed -free raised beds. When they emerge I'll be able to identify them and not accidentally pull them out.  I'm planting my squash in a crowded flower bed by the deck, and recognizing them when they emerge is going to be difficult.

I was looking for some way to protect them and make it easy for me to identify them until they get big enough to grow up on the deck.

I'm so proud of my solution. I took the removable bottom from my smallest tart pan and turned it upside down in the soil. Then I planted the squash seeds in the middle.

Tis is going to work so great.  Instantly I began  searching my brain for something similar to use around other plants that I'm may mistake for a weed.   Suddenly I thought of large canning-jar rims. They are the same shape as the tart pan and should stay in one spot if pressed into the soil.

A friend is coming Monday to help me find my perennial sweet peas and my short alliums.  I'm going to try this trick on them.

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