Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saving Potted Geraniums are a Sign of Spring

Today is a mixed up day.  The sun was shining brightly, then it turned cloudy, then sunny and now it's raining.  A typical Spring day.  The temperature is in the lower 40's.  A lot of new ducks are appearing on the pond even though there is still some ice and snow out there.  Some of the ducks will just be stopping by and others will stay the entire summer.

 A very good sign of Spring is when the Red Winged Blackbird comes back.  I saw them this morning.  They are annoying because they shovel the birdseed out of the bird feeders with their beaks.  Even though they are annoying, it is a wonderful site in early spring.

Besides the fact that I have had enough of Winter, I hope that Spring is nearly here because my geraniums need to go outside.  Every Fall I take my potted geraniums inside for the Winter.  I have had the same flowers for many years.  I just leave them alone for a while and then around Christmas I cut them down, water them and put them in a sunny area.   They start to sprout and as soon as the weather permits, I put them outside.  They are ready to go outside now, but I think it may be a while.  I may have to trim them back a little because they tend to get gangly inside.  This is what they look like now.  One is even starting to blossom.

Later in the summer this is what they will look like.  Nature is so amazing.  Many people throw these flowers away and buy new each year.  I love seeing them come back to life year after year.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Spring is on the Horizon (hopefully)

I am going to make a giant leap.  I believe that Spring is on the horizon.  Today I saw a Great Blue Heron, a pair of Wood ducks and a pair of Hooded Mergansers.  The ice is receding.  In fact our sidewalks are under 3 inches of water.  Right now it is 7:00pm and it's still light out.  It's amazing what a little change in Wisconsin weather can do for a persons mood.

Here is the Great Blue Heron standing in the snow.

The Heron is flying away.  Look carefully, it's hard to see.

If you look closely you can see the Mergansers

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Backyard Homesteading

Today I got a call at 7:30am from my daughter.  She asked if I could stay with two of her children today because they weren't feeling well.  I got dressed quickly and went to stay with them.  Neither of them felt great, but weren't too sick so I kind of enjoyed it. 

The youngest, Jack, is so funny.  I was freezing and kept my coat on for quite some time and he was running around all day in just his underpants.  No shirt, no pants, no socks or shoes.  He told me all about the "midnight zone' in the sea and that it is so dark that no one would be able to see anything. It is the deepest darkest part of the ocean.  He is 4 3/4 years old but in addition to midnight zones, he taught me about a sarcophagus.  I asked him what that was and he said it was a place that they put mummy's in.  Then he told me that he was going to sneak up on me someday and steal my gold teeth because they are probably worth a lot of money.  Way back when, it was cheaper to get gold crowns than the other kind. and I still have a couple but probably not for long.  I'll have to watch my back.

A little later Jack went and got a book his mother had bought for me at a book fair.  He told me that he wanted me to get some goats or chickens.  I guess the word is out, at least to anyone who has read this blog, that I might actually enjoy this life style.  I doubt if I will get goats or chickens, but I might want to become a beekeeper.  I have to seriously look into that option. 

Who would think that spending one morning with a four year old would teach me so much.  The only thing I did when I was four years old was to pee my pants so I would get sent home from school.  I guess I was pretty smart also. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Saving Old Items

I was cleaning out a few drawers and came across these items.  I thought "Boy have times changed". 
We have so many time saving devices compared to years ago, but we have less time. 

These are hand embroidered storage for silverware.  The inside is a very soft flannel material and I imagine by folding the freshly polished silver in separate pockets, they remained untarnished longer.

This velvet box lined with taffeta is a case for a nut cracker and the matching picks.  Can you imagine treating a nutcracker better than some of our valuables.  It looks like a casket for nutcrackers.

Then this is how they watched movies.  There was a viewer and hundreds of cards all with a little view change to tell a story.  Kind of like a flipbook.  This one was about a French maid.  Oolala, kind of racey.

Then a little later in time, they had these 8mm reel tapes with movies.  $5.50 is kind of expensive for back then.  I believe these movies are from the 1940's

I have no idea why I keep some of these things.  I watch the hoarder shows and think that I am not keeping all that stuff anymore.  Then I start cleaning out and find some of this old stuff.  I just can't get rid of them and put them back until I get the cleaning bug again.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Chicken Cordon Bleu the Easy Way-Recipe

Today I'm posting my Tuesday recipe that is another one of my husbands favorites.  A few years ago my cousin relocated only twelve miles from us.  She is a lot younger than I, so we didn't know each other very well.   It's been nice getting to know each other.  They have been very kind to invite us for a meal several times.  I am very bad at reciprocating, and I have no excuse for just being lazy.   This recipe is one that she served.  We enjoyed it very much and have made it several times since.  You can use as many chicken breasts as needed.  Just cover with ham and cheese and adjust the cream soup accordingly.  It's not an exact science.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

 3 - 4  boneless skinless chicken breasts
Sliced deli ham
Sliced Swiss cheese
1 can of cream of chicken soup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan.
Place chicken in pan and cover each chicken breast with a couple slices of ham.
Then place sliced Swiss cheese on top of meat.
Spread soup evenly over all.  Cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes.

Uncover and let it brown a little, probably about 15 minutes.

When it bakes the ham wraps itself around the chicken breasts.  I think the drier the Chicken Breast the less likely it is to separate when eating it.

Monday, March 25, 2013

U.S. Saving Bond

I had no idea what I was going to write about today.  There was nothing happening of any interest.  The snow, although it is melting very very slowly, is still there.  The birds and animals are still very sluggish.  My husband is still chipping away on the three inches of ice that formed on our sidewalk when we were away from home for a few days.  Then something happened that annoyed me to no end and that is my topic for the day.

On Easter Sunday, March 31, my youngest grandson will be three years old.  My daughter has forbid me to get him any toys or clothes.  He is the youngest and he has the toys and clothes from all the previous grandchildren.  I thought about it and decided to get him a US Savings Bond.  At least it would be something to give him and as long as the country doesn't go to pot, it would be worth something someday.  I managed to find his Social Security number and gathered his full name and any other information I thought would be needed.  I then got into the car and drove to the bank.  I waited in line because it was rush hour at the Princeton bank.  When I got up to the teller, I asked to buy a savings bond.  She looked at me and said "banks don't sell savings bonds any longer".  She said you have to go online to buy them.  I asked how long it would take to receive it because I needed it by Sunday.  She said, "Oh, you don't actually get a bond anymore".  I said that there are probably many old grandmothers who can't use the internet, but would like to buy savings bond.  All she said was "I know".

So here I sit trying to decide what to do.  Do I go online and buy a bond?  Do I deposit some money in a savings account I have for him?  Do I give him cash? Or do I just ignore what his mom says and go get a perfectly useless toy?  Then I realized there are many children who don't have enough clothes let alone toys.  I realize that there are many grandparents who can't buy their grandchild a gift.  I guess I have no reason to be annoyed but just very grateful.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

My Quilt Was Damaged By The Sun

It seems as if I am always looking for something that doesn't exist or existed a long time ago but isn't available any longer.  I don't know when they quit making bedspreads and opted for comforters, bedskirts and shams.  I always liked just a one piece bedspread.  Ten years ago we got a big tall king sized bed.  I wanted a big bedspread.  I finally found one that was large enough on ebay.  It went with our woodsy theme and I was happy.  It has faded over the years and I need a new one

Then a few years later I found one at a thrift store.  It probably came out of a motel room but it was large enough and not too bad.  It wasn't quite large enough, but it was fine.

Now I'm looking again.  They have a little more variety in catalogs and websites but no patterns that really interest me.  I have seen the old fashioned chenille which is a step in the right direction.   Hopefully, enough people will get sick of those bedskirts and comforters that don't lay right and manufacturers will make more bedspreads. 

My story does have a point or at least I thought it did.  Before I found the previous two bedspreads, I was again looking for a special sized bedcover.  That time I decided to make my own quilt and use it as a cover.  I went to the fabric store and picked out fabric that I thought looked good together.  I had a quilt book titled "a quilt in a day".  That's another story.  I don't know how you could make this quilt in one day unless you worked around the clock and knew exactly what you were doing.  I cut all the pieces which I had mathematically figured out, sewed them together, put on the backing and tied it with yarn.  It fit perfectly and was just what I wanted.  After a while, I became tired of the quilt so I thought I would hang it on a quilt rack to keep it nice until I would use it again.  Big mistake.  When I was ready to use it again, I unfolded it and it had faded in all the parts that were exposed to the light.  Now it will have to be used as a blanket.  The lesson in this long winded blog is always check for the color fastness of fabric and even then never hang it in the light.  The quilt rack was in a very indirect place, but the light still damaged my quilt

 This is how bright the quilt should be.

This is how part of it has faded.  So sad.