Thursday, March 27, 2014

My River Otter Update Video

If the video doesn't work, here is a link.

Anyone who has read my blog in the past few weeks knows that we have River Otters performing in our marsh.  They may be taking up residence in an old beaver lodge less than 50 feet from our dining room window or at least they are resting here before they move on.  They are so entertaining.  This morning when I got up they were racing up and down the stream connecting to our pond.  It was amazing to see how fast they are.  When they finally decided to take a break and gather more dried grass, I took a video.  I don't know if they are using the grass to line the nest area or what they are doing with it.  All I know is I hope they stay for a while.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Elementary School Spring Concert

Yesterday afternoon we went to our 2nd youngest grandchild's Spring singing concert.  They divide the concerts by grades so a person doesn't have to sit forever listening to every age group plus there is enough room for all the spectators.  In this case it was the kindergarten and the third graders singing.  Our grandson Jack is in kindergarten.  I find it interesting how things have changed.  When I started school a long long time ago and when my children started school, you had to turn five by December 1st to start school.  Now the cut off is September 1st, but a lot of parents are holding their children back a year.  Jack was born at the end of June, and he is one of the youngest kids in his class.   Jack is the boy in the blue shirt.

The concert was called "A Season of Song"

The kids sang songs from all the seasons.  Little five and six year olds are so cute and love to sing.  I am so grateful that the schools in this area still have music programs.  Some schools in the nation have eliminated the arts and that is a shame.

Middle grandchild Sam was part of the school audience.  He spotted us in the crowd.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Pressure Cooker Porcupine Meatballs

It's Tuesday already and time for a new recipe.  I have written many times about my love for my digital pressure cooker.  It is not your mother or grandmothers pressure cooker.  It is perfectly safe and will not explode.  It's electric so you don't have to adjust the heat on a stove.  Mine also browns, slow cooks, pressure cooks and keeps things warm. 

Although my recipe for today can be made in a pan on the stove, this recipe takes eight minutes to cook in the pressure cooker.  If you don't want to use a pressure cooker, just brown the meatballs in a fry pan, pour on the spaghetti sauce, beef broth and a little sugar and simmer until done.  It won't take very long that way either.

Porcupine Meatballs

Pressure Cooker Porcupine Meatballs

1/2 cup long grain white rice (uncooked)
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
1/4 cup beef broth
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t. garlic powder
1 1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
2 T. oil
1 (16 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
2/3 cup beef broth
3 t. sugar

In a mixing bowl, combine uncooked rice, onion, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Add the ground beef or turkey to the bowl and mix well.

Form the meat mixture into balls.  I got about twenty meatballs with one pound of meat.

With the cooker lid off, heat the oil and brown the meatballs in the cooker.  When brown, pour spaghetti sauce, more beef broth and sugar over the meatballs.  Lock on the lid and pressure for eight minutes on high.

Let the pressure release naturally and keep on warm until ready to serve.

Electric Digital Pressure Cooker

Monday, March 24, 2014

Making An Adult Sized Bib

Many years ago when my daughters were small, I made t-shirts for them.  My friend Wendy taught me how to sew on the neck ribbing.  During that time my mom asked me to make a bib for dad.  He came home everyday for lunch, and she didn't want him to spill on his dress clothes.  At that time, I took a towel, cut a hole in it and used the tshirt neck rib technique.  He used it for years.

Now thirty five or more years later, dad asked me to make him another bib.  He usually tucks a dish towel in his shirt when he eats to protect his clothes.  He figures it saves me when I do the laundry.  I dug out an old hand towel and a piece of ribbing I had stashed.  I didn't realize how bad the wrinkles look in the pictures, but here they are anyway.

Here is Dad sporting his new bib. 

Bib Pattern

1 hand towel
Ribbing material
Measuring tape
Something to trace around to get the size circle you want

Lay a hand towel flat and draw a circle on the fabric.

Cut a circle about 3 or 4 inches down from the top and centered.

I used a cereal bowl which was about 6.25 inches in diameter.  That fits over an adult head just fine.  I traced around the bowl and cut out the circle.  Then you figure the circumference of the circle you made by doing simple math.  In this case the diameter or the distance across the circle is 6.25 inches.  The formula for circumference (distance around the circle) is 3.14 (pi) x diameter.  So 3.14 times 6.25 equals 19.63.  I use this number to figure the length of the ribbing.  The length of the ribbing needs to be 15% less than the circumference.  This would make the ribbing about 16.69 inches.  I made it 16.75 inches to allow for a seam.  It sounds more complicated than it actually is.  This bib can be made for kids using the same technique.  I have used the smaller tea towel with a smaller hole for a child's bib.

I cut a piece of ribbing 2.5 inches by 16.75 inches.  I then sewed a seam on the short side to form a circle. 

Fold the width in half and divide into quarters.  Put in pins to mark it.

Put a pin at the ends and in the middle.

Then divide the hole in the towel into quarters and mark that with pins.  Next put right sides together and line up the pins and pin the ribbing band to the opening.  Begin sewing around, stretching the rib to fit.  Turn to the right side and you're finished.

The finished neckband

After I made this sewn version, I decided to knit a ribbed band around the neck hole.  I just cut the hole the same as above.  Then I crocheted around the raw edge.  In my case it was 88 stitches.  When I got all around, I changed to a size 6 circular knitting needle, picked up a stitch in each crochet stitch and knit a ribbing for an inch or so.  Then I bound off.  For a quick bib, it worked out great.