Saturday, August 9, 2014

Invasion Of The Wild Morning Glory

I wrote earlier about our daughter buying a house in the country.  The home had been empty for quite some time so the area was quite over grown.  Many of us worked trying to pull the weeds and leave behind what we could identify as the good plants.  The previous owners had taken special care in planting a lot of wonderful things.  As the summer progressed, plants started blooming.  There is a wire fence around a brick patio.  A foliage was filling in to cover the fence.  At first this plant looked like a beautiful climbing vine.  We decided to let it grow to see what it was.

We visited the country house yesterday.  As I looked around, I saw wild Morning Glories were taking over.  The climbing vine turned out to be climbing wild Morning Glories.  They were everywhere.  They were on the fence, on the ground, in the vegetable garden and climbing across the grass.

They are even growing between the bricks of the patio.

This plant reminds me of the Trumpet Vine I wrote about last year.  The Trumpet Vines are so pretty but looks are deceiving.  They are actually invasive plants and great care has to be taken as to where they should be planted.  Like the Trumpet Vine, the Morning Glory can be invasive.  This Morning Glory would look so nice confined to an old silo or shed.

We tried to clean up and control the Trumpet Vines climbing all over everything.  I thought we were successful.

We were not.  They are back and taking over the perennial garden.  I think it will take several years to control them, if we ever do.  I'm afraid that will be the case with these Morning Glories.  I thought it would be nice to include them in my flower garden, but I better leave them alone.  Even though they are really pretty and colorful, I don't want to open that can of worms at my house.  The Trumpet Vines are also pretty and colorful, but they are more than I can handle.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Another Scrubbie From The Countess

Ok I admit it, my mind never stops.  Ask my husband.  Sometimes he just wants to sit and not think about anything.  I chatter a lot and bless his heart, he just sits there.  For a long time I thought he was listening, but he usually isn't, until I say "are you listening?" I'm pretty sure that is why he stays up late so he can have the peace and quiet I have in the morning.

I have made so many sweaters and afghans that the thrill is gone. These days my projects are smaller.  They are little things I can do quickly like hats, mittens and scarves.  I also have a pair of socks on the needles at all times.  This project started out as a simple dish rag.  I had some cotton yarn in my stash, so one day I started to crochet some round dish rags.

They turned out pretty nice.  I haven't been using them for dish rags though.  I use them under plants and lamps.  They seemed too nice to put in dish water.  I got to thinking about the scrubbies I make for the hospital gift shop.  I wondered if I could incorporate the cotton and the netting together.  It would have the absorbency of the cotton and the slight abrasion of the netting.  I used the same pattern.

I found out by making this one that the concept is good, but it is way too big.  The wet cotton is heavy and the scrubbie part is hard to handle.  I decided to try a smaller version.  They seem to work out great.  It is only five inches across and fits perfectly in my hand.  The outside two rows are netting material.  If you don't want to use netting around the outside, using all cotton works fine.  I really like the smaller size.

Dish Rag/Scrubber

About 10 yards of Cotton Worsted Weight Yarn (I used Peaches and Cream)
About 10 yards of 1 1/2 inch nylon netting
Size "I" crochet hook

Chain (ch) 4 and join with a slip stitch (sl st) to first chain to form a ring.
1st Round:  Ch 2, then 10 half double crochets (hdc) into the ring.  Join with a slip stitch in first hdc.
2nd Round:  Ch 2, then 2 hdc in each hdc around.  Join with sl st in first hdc. - 20 hdc
3rd Round:   Ch 2, then 2 hdc in each hdc around.  Join with sl st in first hdc. - 40 hdc

Drop the cotton yarn and begin with strip of netting.  How to cut the netting from flat goods
or from a spool.

4th Round:  Ch 2, hdc, ch 1, 2 hdc in same space as sl st.  (Skip 3 stitches and 2 hdc, ch 1, 2 hdc next stitch).  Continue around in this manner.  Join with sl st in beginning ch 2.  There are 10 shells around.

5th Round:  Ch 2, hdc, ch 1, 2 hdc in same space as slip st.  (Single crochet (sc) in space between shells.  2 hdc, ch 1, 2 hdc in next shell).  Continue around in this manner.  Join with sl st in beginning ch 2.  Finish off by pulling through loop.  Weave ends.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Gluten Free Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake

A couple weeks ago my family was coming over.  I thought I'd make a desert just in case they wanted a treat.  I had been to the store and picked up a gluten free cake mix.  Or so I thought.  The gluten free items were on the top shelf.  I took a yellow cake mix and then saw a chocolate next to it.  I put the yellow cake back and bought the chocolate cake mix.  Gluten free cake mixes are more expensive, but I thought it would be good to have one in the pantry.  Well, when it was time to make it, lo and behold it was NOT gluten free.  Good thing I saw it before I actually opened the box.  The stinkers in the store put this special cake mix right next to the gluten free items.  They did it because who is going to buy a $5.00 cake mix unless it is a specialty item.   I haven't made it yet.  It better be fantastic.

They tricked me with this cake mix.

So there I was with no cake mix and very little time to make a snack.  I went to the computer and did a search.  I found a recipe for a gluten free cake.  I had all the ingredients on hand, and I made it.  It was very good.  Everyone liked it including those who can eat gluten.  I sent the remainder home with my daughter.  She was looking forward to having a piece the next day when she returned home from work.  When she got home, she took the cover off the container.  It was empty.  She was so disappointed.  Someone in the house also liked it and had finished it off.

Gluten Free Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake


2 1/4 cups gluten free flour blend
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups milk
2 T. instant coffee
1 cup chocolate chips

Sift together the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Add the oil, vinegar, vanilla and blend.  Scrape the bowl and add the milk.  If you want it really chocolatey add some chocolate extract.  I didn't have any of that ingredient.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  You can use a little more than a cup if you love chocolate like I do.

Pour into a greased bundt pan.  Bake for 50-55 minutes at 350 degrees.  Cool for at least 10 minutes before eating.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Cabin Gets New Windows

Every summer we seem to find something else that needs to be done to our house.  After the brutally cold winter we had, we realized our windows needed replacing.  There was a lot of heat loss through our old windows.  Fortunately we found someone who does replacement windows and he lives in our neighborhood.  He is the same person who has the Bobcat and brought in the gravel for our car port canopy project.  He seemed like a very good worker.

I was a little nervous because we have had some doozies come to work for us.  Once we hired a guy to stain some interior walls.  The odor of the varnish was so strong we left while they were working.  When we returned home the guy had taken the curtain rods off the windows, put them on our bed, and stood on the bed instead of using a ladder.  He must have stood on the curtain rods because they were bent.  He burnt a couple holes in the carpet.  Can you imagine smoking and using flammable varnish?  We are lucky the house didn't go up in flames.  He also varnished around the step railings getting varnish on the carpeting.  We were not happy.  He did take some money off the final bill.  He said he didn't put the burn holes in the carpet, and he blamed his helper for all the problems.  The guy died shortly after he worked for us.  No we didn't have anything to do with that.  I think his guilt and life style did that.

I got off topic here, back to the windows.  This has been a good experience.  We had eight windows replaced.  The guy we hired is efficient and very tidy.  He brought in his supplies and went right to work with his son.

The poor guy got interrupted several times with rain storms.  They would start out with a bright sunny day and then the black clouds would roll in and it would rain.  Fortunately he lives close by and could come back to continue working.

The windows are in and the outside is wrapped in aluminum.  They are completely maintenance free.  It will be interesting to see the difference next winter.  Hopefully the winter will be warmer than last year, but if it isn't, we are prepared.