Saturday, June 1, 2013

We Are Being Taken Over By Black Locust Trees

We have a tree that is taking over our property.  It is called a Black Locust.  It grows so fast you can almost see it grow.  If you cut it off, it comes back very fast.  There is no way to dig it out because the root system can travel for a very long distances, popping up new trees as it travels.  That is how they become so invasive. 

Does this pretty blossom look like it would be a problem?  It even smells pretty good.  

 But they have taken over.

The worse part is that they have very sharp thorns, so it makes it even more difficult to cut down.  Some say the wood is hard, strong, close-grained and very durable so it won't rot.  It would make a good fence post or some outdoor structure.  It supposedly is good for fireplaces because it burns slowly with very little smoke.  Maybe we can at least use it for that.   I'm just afraid that it will choke out all the good trees.  Every year we have to eliminate as many as we can and hope for the best.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Log Cabin Quilt Block

We are all familiar with a quilt block called the Log Cabin.  I have never made an entire quilt using this block.  I made a potholder once but I didn't want to use it for cooking.  Instead I framed it.  A little bit of trivia is that the red square in the middle signifies hearth and home and a yellow center means a welcoming light in the window.  That color shouldn't be used again in the same block.

For this square, all the strips are
1 1/8" wide except for the middle square.  The middle square is about 1 1/2".  Seam allowances are 1/4 inch.

I'm sure the exact dimensions are online somewhere and if you do the math it can be figured out that way.  There are also some techniques that you don't have to measure the length, just sew and trim.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Media is the Number One Addiction

I heard on the radio today that the number one addiction is media, followed by smoking and alcohol.  Many of us say we don't have addictive personalities not realizing that media including our TV, computers and phones may qualify.  All week we have been dealing with Charter Communications because I couldn't get HGTV on my TV.  I know, how could I stand it?  We could get it on our other televisions, but not on mine, which by the way is not a fancy flat screen.  I don't know where I would put my snow village at Christmas time if I gave up the cabinet.  I would rather have an old TV than give up the cabinet.  With my eyes, who cares if I don't see all that depth and detail.  On Tuesday Charter came for a service call and they thought it was fixed.  The technician no sooner pulled out of the driveway and the station was gone again.  So today they were here for more than two hours before they diagnosed the problem.  My husband even had to tear out part of the ceiling in our lower level.  Now they are back again, for the final repair (I hope).  Apparently the cable to the TV from a splitter in the ceiling was bad. 

At least I have my computer and my phone so I am not having total withdrawal.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Life Isn't Always Perfect

Today I could post some more beautiful photos of the little piece of heaven we call home, but I think it's time for a little taste of reality.  Every day is not perfect.  We have our share of catastrophes just like every one else.  We have a septic system.  Last year a pipe broke under ground, and we had to have the yard dug up to repair it.  We can't overload the tank, so we can't shower, run the dishwasher and do a load of laundry at the same time.  We have to space those things out throughout the day.

Although it doesn't happen often, we have seen this out of our back patio door.

A paper wasp nest being built under our deck.

A woodchuck coming up on the front porch.

The beautiful pine trees that I often photograph give off a yellow powder that covers everything when the new growth comes out in the spring.  Here it is floating on the pond with the scum that forms when the water level is going down.  Thank goodness the pollen is out of the air though.

Then last night the topper.  I woke up at 2:00AM.  I reached to itch a tickle in my head and yuck, I had a wood tick.  I had to get up, find some tape and kill it.  I was going to photograph it, but I flushed it instead. 

So as you see, everything is not perfect.  How boring if it was.  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Honey Dijon Chicken in the Pressure Cooker

It's Tuesday, recipe day.  I don't know if you are familiar with, but my daughter and I use it.  It is a way to easily share recipes or keep your favorites all in one place.  This recipe is perfect for the pressure cooker, which we both love.  The Electric Pressure Cooker, My Favorite Small Appliance  It can also be used for the slow cooker and the oven, just modify the cooking time.  This is the pressure cooker version which takes less than 30 minutes from start to table.

Perfected Honey Dijon Chicken-Pressure cooker


    • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
    • 1/4 c Dijon mustard
    • 1/4 c coarse (whole grain) mustard
    • 3 T honey
    • 2 T light brown sugar
    • 1/2 t salt
    • 1/4 t onion powder
    • 1 c chicken stock


    1. Place chicken at the bottom of the pressure cooker
    2. Whisk together Dijon mustard, coarse mustard, honey, brown sugar, salt, and onion powder to create a Honey-Dijon Glaze
    3. Spread half of the glaze over the chicken. Reserve the remaining glaze
    4. Pour chicken stock into cooker, securely lock the cooker's lid, and set to 8 minutes on high
    5. Let the cooker's pressure release naturally 10 minutes before quick releasing any remaining pressure
    6. Use tongs to remove chicken from liquid in the cooker
    7. Spread with remaining Honey Dijon Glaze
    8. Place chicken under a pre-heated broiler set to high for 2-3 minutes to brown before serving

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Thanks

Today is the fourth Monday in May.  It is called Memorial Day and is a day to remember the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.  We also use this day to thank all the living servicemen and women for their service, although Veterans Day is the specific day for honoring everyone.  It used to be called Decoration Day when I was young.  It was changed in 1967 but we continue the family tradition of decorating the graves of all of our loved ones who have died whether they were in the service or not.

We just received back all the raw footage of the interview my dad did about his WW II experiences.  In case you missed it, here is the link to search for.

Timeless Voices
The Cabin Countess : Timeless Voices

Thank you Dad on this day, on Veteran's Day and everyday.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Mom's Worry, We Can't Help Ourselves

I guess you never get over being a mother, no matter how old your children are.  I am so much better than I used to be, but I still worry about my children and grandchildren.  When my daughter was into rock climbing, I was a wreck.  You don't do that anymore, do you Heather?   I know you read my blog.

Heather climbing at Devil's Lake

On Thursday my youngest daughter told me that they were flying to Alabama for the weekend.  I happened to mention that the weather in that direction was unstable and brought up the terrible tornado in Oklahoma.  She said they would watch the weather which was code for "we are going to Alabama".  She learned from me saying "we will see" when I usually had no intention of doing whatever it was they were asking.   They have their own plane and I am sure they go flying many times that I don't know about.   Anyway, Friday came and I knew they were going, but I wasn't exactly sure when.  Smart girl for not giving the exact time.  Then at six o'clock she called from Alabama, and they had landed safe and sound.  I could relax.  She sent me text messages and posted photos on Facebook.  Everyone was having a good time.  She told me they would probably come home on Sunday.  Then when I got up on Sunday morning there was an email from my darling daughter.  It said they were home already.  They got in at 3:15 am.  She said she didn't tell me they were leaving Saturday night because I wouldn't sleep.  She was right. 

 Actually I am very happy for both of my daughters and their families.  They have taken amazing trips and have given their children some wonderful experiences and memories. 

Photo of The Steffen aircraft taken from another plane who was flying nearby.