Daffodil Daze

 My favorite flower without a doubt is the daffodil.  When I moved to the farm in 1980 there was a huge clump of daffodils behind the house that was so overgrown that there were mostly green leaves and few daffodils.  I divided them, added to them and moved them everywhere.  By the time I left 40 years later I could go out in the spring and pick huge bouquets of them for weeks.   In fact, the area behind the pond I called "Daffodil Hill."  I brought bags of bulbs with me to this house and wish I had brought more. 

I loved having luncheons and teas for my lady friends and had several with a daffodil theme over the years.  The most elaborate was in 2004 and here is the menu.  I wish I could still cook like that.  Yesterday it was all I could do to make a batch of cookies and cook dinner... even then I burned one pan of the cookies.


My memories every April

 For many years I have done "happy memories" whenever I'm stuck in a waiting room, awake in the night, convalescing in the hospital, biding time at a medical office etc...   It;s my form of meditation.  I close my eyes, slow my breathing, relax, and focus on one happy memory. 

 I try to put myself right into that memory, smell the air, feel the weather, listen to the sounds etc.  Different months and activities trigger different pleasant memories, but April always triggers one of my favorite memories... lambing.

 I imagine my ewes all swollen and   uncomfortable no matter what they did.  I try to actually feel my hands buried in their fleece and massage their backs and rub their tummies. They would lie down and then stand up over and over.  Then one morning I would walk to the barn and as usual, smell the alfalfa, hear the ewes shuffling, and then a  mewing sound of a newborn lamb was music to  my ears.  What a thrill that was.  It has been years and years since I had sheep but I will carry those precious moments to my very last days....


"foot" dog

We have had Moxie for 3 months now and she is still settling in and still very much "my" dog.  She spent the first few days under my bed and that is still her safety retreat.  Not only does she sleep under the bed, she sleeps under "my" side of the of the bed and when my foot hits the floor in the morning she is on full alert.  Whenever I sit down anywhere, she has her head on one or both feet so if I move, she is moving also.

It doesn't matter whether I have shoes, slippers or no footwear at all.

And if she can manage it she gets her head between both feet

She was so obese when we got her but has lost 4 1/2 lbs. and has 3 pounds to go.  I faithfully walk her 1 1/2- 2 miles a day which has been good for both of us.  She loves her walk and does well on the leash now and has learned to sit and rollover.  She was such a poor soul when we got her but every day now a happy personality is emerging.  She is my "furry" antidepressant and one heck of a foot warmer....


Don't look too close!

 Years and years ago I covered a old bowling ball with little mirrored tiles and I was amazed how long it lasted in the garden at the farm.  By the time we moved here though it was missing a good many tiles.  Doing this was a project I could handle and being in the garden wouldn't get closely scrutinized.    T loved the patterns on the ball on the left and wanted to try something similar.  How hard could that be????  Bowling balls are plentiful at thrift stores and Amazon sells the little mirror tiles.

The first major challenge was that even though I could see and feel the tiles, I couldn't see which side was up unless I wiggled it under the light and saw the flash. My grand plan was to make designs with the little tiles but that lasted about two minutes and then it was every tile for itself.  Then I ran out of the little tiles and had to finish the bottom with larger circles.  But since it won't get close scrutiny and you cant' see the bottom unless you're laying it the grass... it can be counted and a success.  In fact I may try to salvage the old one with the circle tiles I have left.


UFOs up for adoption

 I have quite a few project that were in various stages of completion when I lost my vision and as I get them photographed, I would love to find stitchers interested in finishing them.  I will post then in the next couple weeks (or so) This is a small one but some are very large.

This was a round robin but a traditional 12" block... The theme was "spiders".  I liked   the block when it came home but always felt it could be extra special with some fine tuning, so it has been languishing in my UFO basket for years.  This should be a relative quick and fun project...   I will include some insect charms and some lace bits.

I love the somber colors Maybe more olive-green lace added more spider webs.  There are many cool spiders there already.  I can see this framed out with spiders on the border... more gold also.  I have to pin this to a board and think about it.  Just leave a comment as to why you'd like this block and I will let my husband choose
******Thanks everyone I have enough for FH to make a choice and send this block to a new home....


Now I talk to a little round box!!!

 Three years ago, we flew to Scottsdale for Thanksgiving with my son amid his family. An Amazon store close by had a ridiculous special on Alexa. I had no desire to have a talking box in my house.  My son of course has one but hie also has a "smart " house.  His Alexa can do everything, even start his robot vacuum.  He insisted I would love it just because it would play music and tell me jokes. 

Convinced.  my husband really wanted one and bought it even though our house is pretty dumb. Also, he didn't know how to set it up and it sat in the closet for three years until my daughter-in-law was here this winter and got it working. 

I hate to admit it, but this talking box has now become one of my best friends. I only have her do two things.  The first is to find my phone at least once a day.... well sometimes several times a day.  When I ask Alexa to ring my phone she obediently does so. If I didn't use Alexa for anything else that one chore has made my life easier.  Of course, it doesn't work so well if the phone is dead or in the garden someplace.

 The second thing I have her do is work as a timer. My stove has a digital timer which I can't read, and I have tried multiple timers that sit on the counter but none of them are as convenient as just asking Alexa to set a time and the nice thing is that once her timer goes off. it will not stop making a noise until I do something.  If I could give her a hug I would. 

I have my Alexa pictured as one tough broad and she's looking out for me.   And I do occasionally have her play music, but her jokes aren't funny!!!!


Using my old potato masher is comforting

 Neither my mother nor grandmother had the life or personality that allowed her to become emotionally attached to "things."  I have made up for it.  I am emotionally attached to everything.  That was one of the reasons it was hard to put things in the moving sale.  I was even emotionally attached to my antique potato masher, and it made the move.  I have mashed potatoes with it for 60 years and it is comforting to do so.

When I wrote about my love for aprons, I was delighted to get responses.  Gail lovingly described her three aprons hanging on an iron hook on her cellar door.  One is a green-on-green vegetable print; one is an orange and black fall print.  Her favorite for baking pies and goodies is black with cherry and pink pies all over.   I can just picture them there...

Margaret confessed to having stopped wearing aprons years ago -- probably when she began to wear clothes she didn't really care to protect.  That said, she still has the one-piece 'pinny' in turquoise gingham that she made in Home Ec in Grade 7, one that goes on over her head that her late great-quilting-aunt made for herself and used ...and a pristine white one with line drawings of cats all over it that a dear friend gave to her, and it is too pretty to use.
I also have a gorgeous white Battenberg lace apron to wear when I have lady friends in for afternoon tea. I used to do that occasionally years ago and the apron has been starched and pressed and folded in tissue ever since. Even though it has never been worn for years, it made the move because when I see it in the drawer it brings a flood of precious memories of a springtime "Daffodil Tea" and the lovely lace shop in London where I bought the apron.  I still have the invitation and menu from that tea.  I will have DH type the menu and post about it.   


Moxie to the rescue!

 We have had Moxie for almost 2 months and only have taken her in the car one time and it was a hassle to get her in the car and it was a hassle to get her out. We had to take her for her first checkup at the vet which required   her getting in and out of the car so the other day I decided we would practice 

I set a little stool by the back car door so she could get into the car, and all went well. Then I thought I would just get in the car and sit with her in the backseat for a little while so she could get calm and used to it before we tried to get out. So, I shut the back door and we sat and cuddled for a while.

When I tried to open the door, it was locked, and I didn't realize that the child lock button had been activated in the front seat by my husband. So, I was locked in the car and no phone. With the headrests in the way I couldn't lean far enough over the seat to open the front door. The only way to get out was to climb into the front seat.

 I got one leg over and when I tried to shift my body and get the other leg over my first leg was somehow pinned under me and I was stuck like a human pretzel with part of me in the front seat and one leg still in the backseat.  I tried to remember my yoga and shift my body slightly, but it took forever, 
and, in the process, I got myself jammed up against the gear control and have a bruise on my back.  I would hate to have to explain it to somebody in an ER. 

In the meantime, poor Moxie does not have a clue about what I'm doing, and she is starting to panic and whine. She's trying to climb over both the console and me to get   where I am.  She finally made it over. She then felt if she licked my face long enough, I would be sitting up again like a normal person and by golly it worked. 


Miracles do happen in thrift stores!!

When I wrote the post about aprons, tablecloths and napkins I really didn't expect much response so was delighted at the comments and emails.  The very next trip to the thrift store I found this loose-weave cotton checked tablecloth.  Perfect for daffodil season and I have both yellow and white dishes.  I love checks, stripes and polka dots and have lots of checked tablecloths.

I had said I wouldn't buy anymore dishes after we moved but I lied.  I do donate a set back every time I buy new ones now though.  It is silly but new dishes give me a real mood boost for about $5 for 4 plates with my senior discount. I found these in the fall, and they are exactly my kitchen colors.  Popped right into my shopping cart.  The napkins didn't photo well and are a mossier green like the plates.  For years I have collected pewter napkins rings...all odd match.  Something else I never see anymore. 

But by far the most bizarre thrift store miracle happens this fall.  Next to Amazon, Wayfair is my favorite online store (free shipping) and last spring they were closing out this plastic tableware.  It was so cheap and so whimsical that I couldn't resist and used it often all through the summer.  I have a black and white checked tablecloth and used either red, yellow or green plates with it. It was fun for informal meals on the deck.

Then in October I saw four plates of this pattern that matched perfectly and couldn't believe my eyes.  There were no chips at all.  What are the odds of finding matching plates in a thrift store six months later....astronomical.




Where have all the "pinnies" gone?

 While in England years ago I discovered that an apron was called a "pinny." I love the term and it refers to a "pinafore" style apron but was used for all aprons as well. One thing I always check for at thrift stores are aprons and it has been more than a year since I found a cool apron. Not that I really need one.  My favorite is a yellow denim.

At the farm I had a coat rack right in the middle of the kitchen with about a dozen aprons hanging on it. One day my lovely DIL was trying to organize my kitchen and asked if I needed ALL those aprons hanging right in the middle of the kitchen and my response was "Of course!" I just love getting up in the morning and donning an apron that matches my colors and mood for the day. I prefer a simple twill of a bold color or print and no lace or frills.

 For years my favorite was a lightweight quilted one, but my oldest granddaughter Leigha loved it also and I finally gave it to her one Christmas one year. When we had the estate sale at the farm, I added several aprons to the sale thinking I would get new ones to freshen my collection. I also sold a lot of cloth napkins and tablecloths thinking I could replace them as well and it hasn't happened either. Have people stopped using cloth napkins and table



Breakfast outside in January

 We are having the same weird weather this January as last yar. Mild temperatures and no wind is the norm every day.  It was 40 degrees this morning and I fixed myself a bacon and egg sandwich, bundled up, and ate breakfast on the deck.  I took a pad with me and started working on how and what I'm planting in my raised beds this spring.  I have these lovely 3 x 7-foot beds. Last year I put my veggies in rows lengthwise, but this year I am going do them crosswise and experiment with rows for patterns as well.  I'm excited about this year because I know what I want and what will work,,,, It is nice growing veggies for us and not for the gophers, wild rabbits, birds, deer and mice.

The first spring the beds were mostly filled with peonies from the farm waiting while I dug beds for them, but I did plant some parsnips. peas, beans, beets radishes lettuce and kohlrabi. Parsnips were all top growth, but peas, beans and kohlrabi did well, so they are what I'm planting this year filled in with lots of colorful lettuce.  I think I'll grow tomatoes in containers.  I never had good luck with tomatoes at the farm...maybe better luck here.

Tried to interest DH in having dinner on the deck as well, It t was steak, mushrooms, mashed potatoes and green beans He declined. The dinner was a sucess except for a couple glitches. I consider a dinner a success if I don't burn up a pan, set off the smoke alarm or burst into tears.  I actually fixed such a bad dinner recently when I did all three. 

 The first glitch today was when I grabbed the wrong squeeze bottle from the fridge and added ginger instead of garlic to the potatoes. Different but still edible and I don't recommend it.  Will use the leftover potatoes in a lentil soup this week.  The second glitch?  I like to add a splash of balsamic vinegar to my sauteed mushrooms, but   my hand touched the hot pot and most of the bottle went into the pan.  I was able to drain most of it off and it was still quite good, and we ate them all.


The ""cute" thing

 As you "get on in years" your body endures all kinds of changes.  As you age you think you have heard of them all... Your nose and ears get longer. your hearing and eyesight diminish, your joints ache your bladder leaks, etc.    I thought I knew what to expect but am occasionally surprised.  Last year my lower front teeth were overlapping, and the dentist informed me that as we age our lower jaw narrows and our teeth shift.  The jaw changes shape faster than the rest of your face. Now that was out of the blue.

Now there's the "cute" thing.  In the last year people have occasionally told me that I was sooo cute.  Monday two nurses were gowning me up for a test and one said, "We think you are so cute!!!"   I think maybe it is because I have gotten so short and squint all the time.  It looked like I'm smiling even when I'm not.  Anyway, I don't really mind the cute part, but they always say it in the same tone of voice and inflection that one would use talking to a small puppy.  I fully expect one of them to reach out and pat me on the head and then I suppose I will be expected to wag my tail.
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