Monday, May 30, 2016

Around OakMeadows

Because you can't have as much rain as we've had and not have mosquitos.  

We are celebrating our 48th wedding anniversary today.  Sunday we went to Taste of Texas with our daughter and son in law.  Very pleasant. I love everything on the menu there.  From the salad bar to the Asparagus with Hollandaise sauce to the 6 oz. steak fillet, everything is perfect, just perfect.  And then there's the dessert tray.  I wish I could post photos but since Blogger has gotten rid of Picasa, I have no idea how to post photos.  

JMM has been working on the back flower bed.  We are gradually finding plants that the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds like but that the dratted deer will leave alone.  He planted about 10 milkweeds and 3 Mexican Heathers and then spread 2 yards of mulch. 

I've finally gotten back in quilting mode and am working on my Scrap 9-Patch. Again, I would love to post photos; maybe I should move the blog to Word Press??

I have several good books going. About Face by Donna Leon is a pleasant Commisario Brunetti mystery set in Venice.  David Attenborough's The Life of Birds is stunningly beautiful, well written, and very interesting. 

The Rainpocalypse is supposed to return Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday so I have to get all my errands run tomorrow. The Brazos River is supposed to crest tomorrow breaking the previous record high set in 1934.  So far we are high enough that we've had no flooding around us but we are on the flat coastal plain and it is always a possibility.  The rice farmers are the happiest people around this year; you should see the emerald green rice fields, just gorgeous.  

Planning our trip to Montpelier, Monticello, and Mount Vernon for the first week in October. 

161 days until the election circus/nightmare is over.  

That's about all that is going on Around OakMeadows. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

June Menu

June Menu

1. Baked Fish, Carrots/Thyme, Cabbage
2. Fruited Chicken Salad
3. Beef and Bok Choy Stir Fry
4. Leftovers
5. Out
6. Baked Potato, Veggie Tray, Bacon Sandwiches, Oven Fries
7. Veggie Soup
8. Shrimp Jambalaya 
9. Chicken Rice Bake
10. Steak, GMP, GB
11. Leftovers
12. Out
13. Baked Potato, Veggie Tray, Bacon Sandwiches, Oven Fries
14. Schlotzsky's
15. Baked Fish, Carrots/Thyme, Corn 
16. Oven Fried Chicken, Baked Sweet Potato, Asparagus 
17. Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff
18. Leftovers 
19. Out
20. Baked Potato, Veggie Tray, Bacon Sandwiches, Oven Fries
21. Mac and Cheese
22. Tuna Salad Sandwiches
23. Slow Cooker Chicken Stew
24. Spicy Sausage Ragu with Red Peppers SCR p.169. 
25. Leftovers 
26. Out
27. Baked Potato, Veggie tray, Bacon sandwiches, Oven fries 
28. CB Hash
29. Shrimp, FF, Cole Slaw
30. KFC

May Poetry

"As I age
in the world it will rise and spread,
and be for this place horizon
and orison, the voice of its winds.
I have made myself a dream to dream
of its rising, that has gentled my nights.
Let me desire and wish well the life
these trees may live when I
no longer rise in the mornings
to be pleased with the green of them
shining, and their shadows on the ground,
and the sound of the wind in them."

-   Wendell Berry, Planting Trees 

June Meditation

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." -  Marcel Proust 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Around OakMeadows

JMM has been having some trouble getting the automatic lift in and out of the van.  So he took the van back to Adaptive Driving to check it out.  Since it is still under warranty, there was no charge for replacing the whatever it was but they did charge $132 for labor.  Anyway, the main thing is that the lift works now and we can get my scooter in and out of the van.  Yea!

Life is just too short to spend it finishing an awful book.  I am really aggravated with myself for spending $12.99 to buy Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J.Ryan Stradal for my Kindle.  This is why I get most of my books from the library.  If it turns out to be a thumbs downer, well, nothing out of pocket.  But I paid full Kindle price! Ack! Back to the library.  I have given very few books 2 stars and I can't remember the last time I gave a 1 star, but this one is definitely a 1 star.  

I watched All the President's Men on Netflix.  The fun thing was noting all the outdated technology.  The manual typewriters, the telephones with cords, even a pay telephone booth, the knobs on the box televisions, and the wristwatches.  The fashions and hairstyles were notable too.  An oldie but still good.  

The swallow babies have flown.  It is just breathtaking to watch the family swoop and soar and land dainty as a feather on the stick we have extending out from the porch.  They evidently lost one of the babies because there are only five in the family.  I expect they will get this brood well launched and then have another brood. More poop on the porch.... The hummingbirds are really working the salvia blooms.  We are going to clear out a big patch of lantana and put in more salvia this weekend.  The cardinals, titmouse, and bluejays are hitting the sunflower feeders; JMM has been filling them twice a day.  I haven't been out much because of the mosquitos; all the rain this spring has resulted in hordes of mosquitos.  

Bandit recovered easily from his recent surgical drain of a wound abscess. We will get the stitches removed Friday. 

And that's all the news from OakMeadows where the mosquitos abound and the people stay inside. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

May Cooking -- Banana Pudding

Banana Pudding

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
3 egg yolks (Save whites for meringue)
2 cups whole milk
1 box Nilla Wafers
5 bananas
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Dash salt

1. Place a layer of Nilla Wafers in the bottom of a medium sized bowl. Slice a banana over the top. Repeat two more times with another layer of wafers and remaining bananas. 

2. In a sauce pot (or double boiler) on medium low heat, add all ingredients except vanilla.  Stir well with a wire whisk. Allow to cook, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, until thickened---about 15 minutes. Add in vanilla and stir. Immediately pour over wafers and bananas

3. Top with meringue, if desired.  Beat 3 egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly beat in 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until firm peaks form.  Spread meringue over the top of pudding and to edges of bowl. Brown top in 350 degree oven for 5-8 minutes. 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

May Meditation

The the last word in ignorance is when a man says of an animal or plant, "What good is it?"

May Poetry

Here on the paths of every-day - 
Here on the common human way
Is all the stuff the gods would take
To build a Heaven, to mold and make
New Edens. Ours is the stuff sublime
To build Eternity in time!"   
-  Edwin Markham, Earth is Enough

Friday, May 20, 2016

Goals for Week of May 22 - 28, 2016

     Daily Bible Reading

     2 Fruits daily
     32 oz. Water daily
     Exercise DVD daily

     Scrap 9 Patch 

     Basin and Range by John McPhee
     Best 30 Minute Recipes by Cook's Illustrated Magazine
     Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal
     The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris (Audio)

     Macaroni and Cheese
     Seafood Pasta
     Fruited Chicken Salad
     Spaghetti and Meatballs


     BBQ Festival

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson

The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson

The author takes us along for a second stroll through his beloved adopted home country, Britain.  His love for the beauty and size of Britain shines through every page.   Even when he is ranting about some person or governmental idiocy, it is with humor and a wish to preserve the English way.  I enjoyed the book immensely.  I read reviews that indicated he was becoming a curmudgeonly old man.  Well, maybe so, but he is a curmudgeon with a great sense of humor and an ability to write a most engaging book.  

Monday, May 16, 2016

Around OakMeadows

Around OakMeadows

What a crabby old lady I am if a couple of words will annoy me. But there it is, two words much in use today that make me gnash my teeth.  What are they? First is "hack" as in "50 Life Hacks to Make You Perpetually Happy."  Why not use the word, "Advice," or "Rules," or "Nonsense?" I think of Hacking as breaking into something that you are not supposed to get into.  Anyway, it annoys me.  The other word is "Trending."  That's how we ended up with Donald Trump. Everyone was so busy trending that they had no time or interest in thinking. I'm making a point of not reading or listening past the words Hack or Trending.  I think I'm a less irritated person by doing so.  

I read in yesterday's NYT about the nightmare situation in the hospitals in Venezuela.  It seems to me that someone must have stashed a whole lot of money in a Swiss bank account.  I don't know enough to speculate but I'd start with Chavez family and whoever was running the oil ministry.  Those poor people. Perhaps Doctors Without Borders or Partners in Health could set up clinics.  

I've finished reading The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner and Becoming Queen Victoria by Kate Williams.  Both were very interesting. I'll have a review of Williams' book later this week.  JMM and I finished our read out loud book, SPQR by Mary Beard and seldom have I ever been so glad to finish a book. What a disappointment!  We've started Basin and Range by John McPhee and it looks like it will be much better.  I've also started One True Thing by Anna Quindlen. So far so good. 

Making progress of my scrap 9-Patch quilt top. I'll finish all 25 blocks this evening and then start on making the 50 corner patches.  No progress at all on Starz. 

Rain and more rain. What a shame we can't send part of it to parched California.  The rice farmers are about the happiest people around these wet rainy days.  

We are having a bumper crop of baby barn swallows this year.  So far we have fledged 16 and at least one nest has a second brood. Everyone is very well fed. With all the rain come all the mosquitos.  When I'm washing all the baby bird poop off the porch, at least I know that all that poop used to be mosquitos. 

My elder cat, Bandit, is a the vet this morning.  I noticed last night a swelling on his lower right front leg and it was tender to any pressure.  So sure enough he had a wound that had healed over externally but formed an abscess underneath.  He is the best cat at the vet. He assumes everyone there just loves him and he eats up the attention. Listening to his heart and lungs is difficult because he won't stop purring.   They are going to put him under anesthesia and clean and drain the abscess.   He should be home by late this afternoon. 

Lots of good cooking going on today. I made a big bowl of tuna salad and this afternoon I plan to make peanut butter cookies.  Tomorrow I want to try a new recipe, Slow Cooker Turkey Meatball and Escarole Soup.  My grocer didn't have escarole so I am substituting spinach instead.  We will see how it turns out.  

When I was in school many years ago I took Spanish as my foreign language.  I've not been particularly diligent about keeping it up but I'm not a complete blank slate about it either.  My daughter took French as her foreign language and is using the Rosetta Stone program to bolster her facility with it.  Well, this inspired me to start the Program to refresh my Spanish. I am thoroughly enjoying it. 

Well, that's all the news from OakMeadows where the cats are all spoiled rotten and so are the people. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

May Cooking -- Beef and Bok Choy Stir Fry

Beef and Bok Choy Stir Fry

1 pound beef steak (top round, flank,Mir sirloin)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 head Bok Choy
4 carrots, sliced diagonally
4 tablespoons oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup water

Prepare Cooking sauce:
Stir together 3/4 cup water, 4 teaspoons cornstarch, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, and 2 tablespoons sherry.  Set aside. 

Cut beef into strips about 1/2 inch wide and about 1 1/2 inches long.  Place in a bowl with soy sauce and garlic. Let marinate at least 30 minutes.  

Meanwhile separate Bok Choy  leaves from stems.  Wash both thoroughly. Slice stems diagonally int 1/4 inch pieces.  Set stems and leaves aside separately.  Should be about 6-8 cups total.  

Add oil to wok over high heat.  When oil is hot, add Bok Choy stems and carrots.  Stir fry for 2 minutes.  Add water and cover; steam for 2 minutes.  Add leaves and steam for 2 additional minutes.  Remove from wok and set aside. 

Pour additional 2 tablespoons oil into wok. When oil is hot, add meat and stir fry until browned (about 5 minutes). Return vegetables to wok.  Stir cooking sauce  and add to wok. Cook, stirring, until sauce is thickened.  

Serve with rice. 

May Meditation

What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.

Jane Goodall

Saturday, May 14, 2016

May Poetry

"So we'll live, and pray and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies ...
And take upon us the mystery of things
As if we were Gods' spies."
-  Shakespeare, King Lear, V 3

Friday, May 13, 2016

Goals for the Week May 15-21, 2016

     Daily Bible Reading 

     1 Salad each day
     Exercise DVD daily
     32 oz. Water daily

     Layer and Baste Starz quilt
     Finish making blocks for 9-Patch

     Becoming Queen Victoria by Kate Williams
     One True Thing by Anna Quindlen
     Basin and Range by John McPhee

     Scrambled Eggs, Sausage, Toast
     Beef & Bok Choy Stir Fry
     Slow Cooker Turkey Meatball and Escarole Soup (New recipe, never made before)
     Tuna Salad Sandwiches

     Get the swallow babies poop cleaned off the porch!

     Rosetta Stone- Espanol lesson 2. 

The Blue Zones by Daniel Burttner

The Blue Zones by Daniel Buettner

Blue Zones are areas where there is an extraordinary percentage of people who are centenarians.  This book focused on the following:
Loma Linda, California
Costa Rica
Ikaria, Greece

9 Lessons for Living Longer

1. Move Naturally--be active without having to think about it
2. Hara Hachi Bu--cut calories by 20% by stopping eating when you are 80% full
3. Plant Based diet, meat sparingly eaten
4. Grapes of life--drink red wine in moderation
5. Find a purpose for your life
6. Downshift--take time to relieve stress
7. Belong--be part of a spiritual community
8. Loved ones first--make family a priority
9. Right tribe--surround yourself with people who share your values

Monday, May 9, 2016

May Cooking Vegetable of the Month -- Spiced Butter-Glazed Carrots

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped 
1 ½-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced 
1 garlic clove, split, germ removed, and thinly sliced 
Seeds from 4 cardamom pods, bruised 
Salt and freshly ground white pepper 
12 medium carrots (about 1½ pounds), trimmed, peeled, and cut on the diagonal into pieces about 2 inches long 
1 cup chicken broth 

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. 
Stir in the onion, ginger, garlic, and cardamom seeds, season very lightly with salt and white pepper, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. 
Add the carrots and stir to coat them with the butter. 
Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil, then lower the heat so that the broth is at a simmer. Cover the saucepan and cook until the carrots are just tender, 10 to 15 minutes. 
Remove the cover, raise the heat, and cook until the broth almost completely evaporates and all that remains is the spiced butter glazing the carrots. 
Season with salt and white pepper and serve.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

May Meditation

Anything you cannot relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness, possesses you.  And in this materialistic age, a great many of us are possessed by our possessions.

Peace Pilgrim

Friday, May 6, 2016

May Poetry

We men of Earth have here the stuff
Of Paradise - we have enough!
We need no other stones to build
The Temple of the Unfulfilled - 
No other ivory for the doors -
No other marble for the floors - 
No other cedar for the beam
And dome of man's immortal dream.

Here on the paths of every-day - 
Here on the common human way
Is all the stuff the gods would take
To build a Heaven, to mold and make
New Edens. Ours is the stuff sublime
To build Eternity in time!"   
-  Edwin Markham, Earth is Enough

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Goals for the Week May 8-14, 2016

     Daily Bible Reading

     2 Fruits each day
     32 oz. water each day
     Exercise DVD daily

     Layer and baste Starz quilt

     SPQR by Mary Beard
     The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
     Becoming Queen by Kate Williams

     Saturday-- Stuffed Wieners
     Sunday -- Slow Cooker Chicken
     Monday -- Baked Fish, Carrots/Thyme, Cabbage
     Tuesday -- Chicken tenders, GMP, GB
     Wednesday -- Beef & Bok Choy
     Thursday -- Leftovers
      Friday -- Out

      Guest Bedroom Closet

      DD visit
     Houston Museum of Fine Arts
      Monthly lunch with P&W&C&B 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Around OakMeadows

I was in bed most of yesterday and today.  I finally came down with the plague that DD, DSIL, and JMM have had. DD had it first and worst of all.  I have been taking aspirin and Benadryl. Sore and swollen throat, fever and malaise.  I seem to be feeling  bit better this evening. I am hoping that I feel well enough to get up and at least putter around the house tomorrow.  We'll see.  

On the political scene: Ted Cruz is out and The Donald is the only man left standing on the Republican side.  And Bernie won Indiana and of course the only thing the media says is how impossible it is for him to get enough delegates to win the nomination.  Go Bernie!!

I watched the last of Downton Abbey. It was predictable but very enjoyable.  Loved the clothes!!

My sweet cats have been my constant cuddlers while I was in bed.  Which means my bedding is covered in cat hair from their shedding their winter coats.  Ack! 

Well I think I'll go take 2 aspirin and 2 Benadryl and hope I wake up in this morning feeling better.  

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May Menu

May Menu

1.  Pancakes, Sausage
2.  Baked Fish, Carrots/Thyme, Cabbage
3.  Chicken-Rice Bake
4.  Steak, GMP, GB
5.  Leftovers
6.  Out-Pappasito's
7.  Stuffed Wieners, Corn, Salad
8.  Slow Cooker Chicken
9.  Shrimp Jambalaya 
10. Chicken Tenders, GMP, GB
11. Beef and Bok Choy Stir Fry
12. Leftovers
13. Out--Texas Roadhouse
14.  Scrambled Eggs, Sausage, Toast
15. Schlotsky's
16. Tuna Salad
17. Chicken Parmesan 
18. Pizza
19. Leftovers
20. Out--Olive Garden
21. Macaroni and Cheese, Corn, Salad
22. Slow Cooker Beef
23. Seafood Pasta
24. Fruited Chicken Salad
25. Spaghetti and Meatballs
26. Leftovers
27. Out--Taste of Texas
28. CB Hash, CrStCorn
29. Slow Cooker Potato-Leek Soup
30. Cod Chowder
31. HBs