Thursday, May 22, 2014

Carp Spawning Video

As the years roll by and the seasons change, we look forward to seeing certain things repeat every year.  Nature knows when, where and how no matter how man tries to change things.  One of those things, as strange as it seems, is the carp spawning.  I wrote about it last year.  Last year it was very late.  It was the first week of June.

This year when the water temperatures got warmer earlier,  the carp would start and then it would get cold again.  The last few days the activity has picked up.  I am sure that the carp spearing boat will show up again tomorrow night. We don't know who they are.  For some reason they only come on Friday nights.  If this carp action continues, they should be very successful.  They will probably stay all night.

In order to see and hear what the experience is like, I made a video.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is even better.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Transition Into Summer

The month of May in Wisconsin is a time of change.  We can go from winter to summer in a short amount of time.  The photos tell my story for today.  We went from a brown landscape on May 4th to the lushness of Spring green on May 21.  I love the change of seasons.

View from our deck on May 4, 2014

This is May 10, 2014.  The leaves are just starting to come out.

May 15, 2014 shows even more green emerging.

This is taken today May 21, 2014.  The trees are filling out.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Cherry Topped Cheesecake From Cake Mix

My Tuesday recipe this week is one I saw posted on Facebook a few weeks ago.  The recipe looked familiar, and I think I made this cheesecake many many years ago.  The picture on Facebook looked so good, I thought I would make it.  I happened to have all the ingredients on hand. Although the cherry pie filling I had was disappointing, it was mostly gel and very few cherries.  It was a lighter textured cheesecake than what we are used to, but it tasted good.  I will probably make it again and freeze it for when I need a quick desert.  I think I will freeze it without the fruit, and put the topping on when serving it.  It is almost strawberry season.  Wouldn't some sweetened strawberries be good on top?

Cherry Topped Cheesecake

1 Box of Yellow Cake Mix
2 Tablespoons oil
2 packages softened cream cheese (8 oz. pkg.)
½ cup sugar
4 eggs
1 ½ cups of milk
3 teaspoons vanilla
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 can of Cherry Pie Filling

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Reserve 1 cup of dry cake mix.

In a mixing bowl combine remaining cake mix, 1 egg and oil.
This will be crumbly.  Press it into the bottom and ¾ way up the side of a greased 9 x 13 pan.

In the same bowl blend the cream cheese and sugar.
Add 3 eggs and the reserved cake mix.  Beat 1 minute at medium speed.
At low speed slowly add the milk and flavorings.  Mix until smooth.

Pour into crust.
Bake at 300 degrees for 45-55 minutes until the center is firm.

When cool, top with the Cherry Pie Filling.

Chill before serving and store in the refrigerator. 
This cheesecake can be frozen.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Revised Nylon Netting Scrubbie

With all my projects and crafts I try to improve the design, and try to make things easier and faster to do.  I posted my pattern for making crocheted scrubbies last year.

In this previous blog I included instructions for cutting the nylon netting into strips suitable for crocheting.  Recently I discovered nylon netting on a spool.  It is another way to make scrubbies.  I also changed the pattern slightly.  The old pattern works fine but the scrubbie gets a little loose and floppy when it gets wet.  This pattern makes for a tighter scrubbie.

A spool of nylon netting.

The spools of netting are 3 inches by 40 yards.  For my pattern I cut this spool in half.  Then I have two 1 1/2 inch strips that are 40 yards long.  You can crochet right off the spool with no knots to tie.  Some of the companies that sell spooled netting will also cut the spools to your desired width and you don't have to cut them yourself.

The first thing I do is mark the center of the spool.

Leaving the cellophane on, wrap a piece of tape to the side of the markings.

I wrap a couple rubber bands over the tape to hold it tight.

Next I cut on the tape edge with an electric knife.  Cut to the cardboard tube.

You might have to turn the spool to make sure it is cut all around.  I take a scissors to make sure.

Then I put it on a paper towel holder
and set it on the floor.  Crochet off one section and
unwrap the other when finished with the first.

Revised Scrubbie Pattern

Chain 3  with an "I" crochet hook and join with a slip stitch to form a circle. (magic circle with 6 sc works great also) 

Chain 1 and put 6 single crochets in the circle.  Join with slip st. and chain 1.

2 single crochets in each stitch around plus 1 stitch in last stitch.  Join with slip st. and chain 1  -  13 stitches

2 single crochets in each stitch around, join with slip stitch and chain 1 - 26 stitches

Work around without increasing for  9 rounds total.

Decrease by single crocheting in first stitch and leave the two stitches on the hook, single crochet in next stitch and pull through all three stitches - 13 stitches

Join with slip stitch and chain 1.

Decrease around in same manner until hole is closed.

Pull ending thread through to front, and tie to beginning thread.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

My Free $100.73 Porch Swing

Several weeks ago my husband went to play cards at the local senior center.  He plays Sheepshead every Wednesday afternoon.  One of the ladies he plays cards with asked if he wanted an old porch swing.  She purchased a new one.  Of course we took it.  We hadn't had a porch swing for many years.

So here it is.  Not too bad and pretty sturdy.

The first thing we had to figure out is where to put it.  My front porch really didn't have enough room.  Next we thought that our deck would be a good place for it.  It has a view in many directions, and the swing wouldn't be in the way.  Now where to hang it?  The only place to hang it from was from the overhang.  We weren't sure if we would have enough clearance.  I asked if we (meaning my husband) could build a frame to hang the swing on.  It would be moveable, and it wouldn't compromise the overhang with the weight of the swing and anyone sitting on it.  I even went online and found a pattern for a swing and stand.  It was a "buy it now" on ebay, so I bought it.  Next my husband spent some time planning and making notes for himself. 

Before you know it we were in the truck and on our way to the lumber yard.  Yes, we needed the truck.  We purchased long pieces of lumber, chains, nuts and bolts.

We got home and he started cutting pieces.

He laid out all the new hardware.

When he got the frame all cut and assembled, we thought the swing itself was a little tacky.  At first he was going to strip the boards but there were several coats of paint on them, and we didn't know the condition of the wood underneath.

Nearly finished assembling the frame.

So off to the lumberyard we went again.  This time we bought boards for replacing the slats on the swing.  We bought stain, varnish and paint for the metal parts.

This is all that is left of the original swing.

Staining and varnishing the new slats.

So after two round trips to Oshkosh in the gas guzzling truck and who knows exactly how much money, we have a swing that we didn't even know we wanted in the first place.

Dad trying it out.  We think it needs a cushion to support his skinny rear end.

All and all it turned out pretty well.  We have more seating on the deck, and a perfect position to watch the Baltimore Orioles build their nest.

Baltimore Oriole nest nearly finished.