Saturday, May 3, 2014

Night Bowhunters Return To Our Marsh

It's May 3rd of 2014.  We had a very nice day.  The temperatures were in the low 60's but best of all the Baltimore Orioles returned for the summer.  At this time we only see the male birds but soon the females will follow to build their nests and raise their young.  I am thrilled every year.

The first of many birds we will see this summer.

Last night was a very long night for me, and I didn't get very much sleep.  Seeing this Oriole this morning was wonderful.  Last night the Carp bowhunters returned to our marsh.  I wrote about it last week. 

They didn't stay that long last week, but last night they were here for several hours.  They have very bright halogen lights on their boat.  They come very close to shore so the lights brighten up our whole house.  The air boat sound is very loud.  I am a light sleeper and couldn't sleep while they were out there.   Fishing must have been successful because another boat joined the first which doubled the lights and the noise.  It is legal as long as they stay on the water even though the land is our private property.  I think it is very rude and kind of creepy, but hopefully it is just a temporary situation.

It kind of looks like a pirate ship.

You can see the shadows of the fishermen standing on their boat at 2:30am.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

It's Not A Beautiful Yarn Bowl, But It Works

A few weeks ago my son-in-law asked me if I knew what a yarn bowl was.  He makes beautiful wooden bowls out of a variety of woods, and he was considering making one for yarn.  If you wonder what that is, it is a decorative bowl that holds a ball of yarn to keep it from rolling around when knitting or crocheting.  I told him I had seen them, but to keep my yarn ball from rolling across the floor, I just put it in a wastebasket.  After that conversation, I started thinking about other ways to control the yarn.  This is what I came up with.  It is super ugly, but it works so well.

This an old tupperware pitcher that I have had for many years.

I found an old Tupperware pitcher in my cupboard.  I don't use it anymore because I switched to glass measuring cups.  I do most of my knitting in the car.  Whenever we go to "the city", I like to knit.  It is one way to get at least two hours of knitting without feeling guilty that I should be doing household chores.  I recently started to knit another pair of socks.  Socks are the perfect take along project.  I just roll the yarn into a ball and place the ball in the pitcher.  I put the lid on with the yarn coming out of the pouring spout.  The ball rolls around inside the pitcher and doesn't get tangled.  In between knitting times, I can put the whole project away in the pitcher.  I grab it when I go in the car.  The yarn stays clean and I don't have to dig around in a bag for my work. 

I like sock yarn that has some washable wool in it.  The finished socks wash beautifully and are nice and warm.  I have mentioned this before, but I also buy thrift store sweaters and unravel them for the yarn to make interesting socks.

I roll the yarn in a ball rather than use it straight from the skein.

In the past, I would make socks from the top down.  Now I found that making the sock from the toe-up gives a lot more opportunity for a perfect fit, and there is no need to kitchener stitch the toe closed.  I also found that if you internet search the yarn and yarn company, you can find patterns specifically for that product.  It's easy to start from the toe.  This isn't really meant to be a tutorial for toe-up socks, but to show how to get started if you want to try.  Just cast on about 10 stitches (or whatever the pattern calls for) on a double pointed knitting needle.  Then pick up an equal number of stitches from the cast on row.  I use a crochet hook to pick up the stitches and then transfer them to the second knitting needle.

Cast on stitches on a single needle

I use a crochet hook to pick up stitches on opposite side.

Then transfer from crochet hook to second needle.

From this point follow the sock instructions to increase for the toe.  I use four needles until I have the total number of stitches needed to fit my foot.  This sock increases to 56 stitches on a size 2 needle.  If you have a thicker foot, this is the time to increase a few more stitches.  If you have a skinny foot, you can do less.

This specific pattern increases to 56 stitches.

I really like using a nine inch circular needles instead of four double pointed needles.   I have to use the double pointed needles until there are enough stitches to comfortably work in the round with the circulars.  Then it is just a manner of working around and around placing markers if needed.

Put any pattern you would like, this is the Irish Moss Stitch.

So if you knit or crochet and want to control your yarn ball from rolling around, find a pitcher.  If your not a knitter, this method would control a ball of string for tying up newspapers or magazines.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

If any of you want to submit a recipe with a picture to me, I would love to post it on this blog.  I make a lot of the same foods over and over again, so finding a new delicious recipe is getting harder and harder.  Just send it to

I made this recipe in my Pressure Cooker tonight but it could be made the same way and baked in the oven.  When I have made it in the oven, I just layer it in a casserole dish, and I heat the milk before I put it over the sliced potatoes, ham, flour and butter.  Bake covered for an hour until the potatoes are almost tender, then uncover to get the top browned slightly. 

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

2 medium potatoes, sliced
3/4 cup of cubed ham (can be purchased already cubed)
Small onion either diced or sliced

Mix together 2 heaping Tablespoons of flour, 1/2 t. salt and 1/8 t. pepper

Spray a heat proof bowl or a metal bowl that will fit in the pressure cooker on a rack.

In that bowl layer sliced potatoes, ham and onion.  Sprinkle with 2 t. of flour mixture.  Put a couple pats of butter on flour.  Repeat the layers two more times.  Pour 3/4 cup of milk over the top.

Put 1 1/2 cups of water into the pressure cooker cooking pan.  Put the rack in and place the bowl on the rack.  Cover the bowl with foil.

Put the lid on the pressure cooker and cook on high for 20 minutes.  Let the pressure drop naturally

Monday, April 28, 2014

Baking Soda Deodorizing Disks

As many of you know by reading my stories, I like messing around with different concoctions, potions and make-it-yourself projects.  I previously made and wrote about toilet bombs and this project is similar.  Many of us put a box of baking soda in our refrigerator to keep it fresh inside and to absorb odors.  I did too, until recently.  I came across a recipe for making baking soda disks.  They can be put anywhere you would like to absorb odors.  I put them in the cabinet where I keep the trash basket and recyclables.

It looks like a lazy susan.

But it's a trash/recycle center.

I put them in the refrigerator, in shoes, closets and cabinets. For those with a baby in cloth diapers, some diaper pails have a spot in the lid for a deodorizer.  The disks fit perfectly.  I usually put them in a little dish or container in case they deteriorate and crumble a little.  There is nothing caustic in them but if you have pets or kids, a container with holes in the lid might be a good idea.

I had this little covered container with a lid for air flow.

About every month you replace the disk with a new one and crumble the old one in the sink with a little vinegar.  It bubbles up and helps clean the drain.  It's like two for the price of one.

Baking Soda Deodorizing Disks
2.5 cups baking soda
1/2 – 1 cup water
15 drops Purify essential oil
Silicone mold
1. Combine baking soda, 1/2 cup water, and essential oils into bowl.
- See more at:
2.5 cups baking soda
1/2 – 1 cup water
15 drops Purify essential oil
Silicone mold
1. Combine baking soda, 1/2 cup water, and essential oils into bowl.
- See more at:

2 1/2 cups of baking soda.  It's about 1 1/2 boxes.  Baking soda only costs about 50 cents per box.

1/2 to 1 cup of water

About 15 drops of essential oil.

I like citrus scents, either lemon, grapefruit or orange.  I also made a batch with peppermint.  I heard that mice don't like the smell of peppermint.  I put a few disks in the basement.  So far so good. There are no critters that I can see.

To make these, all you do is mix the essential oil into the baking soda.  Then you add enough water to make a wet sand.  If it is too dry, the disks will crumble.  If it's too wet, the baking soda will dissolve and it will take forever to dry.  Next press into a form.  I have a silicone mini muffin pan.  These work great because you can just pop them out of the form.  With a rigid form, you may have to urge it out with a knife.  The only secret is to let them dry for 2 or 3 days.  I took them out too soon and they did crumble on the edges.  They aren't pretty but work well.