Friday, March 31, 2017

Goals for Week of April 2-8, 2017

     Spiritual Reading

     Exercise DVD
     Salad for lunch 3X

     Take sewing machine in for cleaning and adjustment

     Start cutting out next Scrap Quilt

     Climate Change and the Health of Nations by Anthony J. McMichael
     In This Grave Hour by Jacqueline Winspear 
     Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith

     HB Pie
     Stuffed Wieners, Corn
     Schwan's Baked Fish, Oven Roasted Veggies
     Chicken-Rice Bake
     Schwan's Beef Skillet Dinner

     Make appointment to have carpet cleaned

     Lunch with P&W&C&B 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Maude by Donna Foley Mabry

Maude by Donna Foley Mabry

If you have ever wondered what life was like before modern birth control, before early child marriage was against the law, before compulsory education, before women could control their own lives, do I have the book for you. Really. This book was written by Maude's granddaughter. I couldn't put it down. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Birds at the Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park

These are from our last trip to the Rio Grande Valley. We will be going again next month. 

Great Kiskadee

Green Jays

Not sure what kind of Woodpecker


Around OakMeadows

JMM and I took a long weekend trip to Washington, D.C. to visit our daughter. We had a perfect visit, alternating sightseeing, resting at her apartment and watching The Great British Bake Off episodes, and eating at some really good restaurants. Dear Daughter was a wonderful hostess and tour guide.

It is with great sadness the I will be removing SchmidleyScribblings from my sidebar. Her daughter posted on her blog that Dianne died from a complication following a stroke.  I never met Dianne in person but she was a dear blog friend and I will miss her lively humor.

I finished reading At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier. It may have been a best seller but I didn't like it at all. It was one grim hardship after another for almost the entire book. I am looking forward to Jacqueline Winspear's new Maisie Dobbs, In This Grave Hour.  I also have an audio book Alexander McCall Smith's latest Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency book Precious and Grace. I like to listen this series because the reader's voice just brings the stories to life.

I finally finished the Sampler Quilt top. I will take it to be machine quilted next weekend.

That's all the news from OakMeadows where the cats are shedding all over the place and the people just live with it.

Monday, March 20, 2017

A Morning at Brazos Bend State Park

Around OakMeadows

It was a lovely foggy morning today.  I love the hushed quiet of the fog and the way things are hidden. And the sunrise was exquisite with the sun glowing peach through the mist.  Even the morning choir of blackbirds was hushed.  

It is so beautiful to see the new green leaves on the trees and the misty green corn and rice fields as the plants are just coming up. The milkweed is coming back from the winter freeze and JMM counted 12 Monarch caterpillars. He has been planting milkweed, Mexican heather, and blue mist flowers all along the path and in the flower beds.  Yesterday I saw a skipper but wasn't able to identify it.  

Speaking of butterflies, JMM and I are planning to make a gift to the National Butterfly Center. I have started a savings fund toward it. Since we will have no grandchildren to provide educational funds for, I want the National Butterfly Center to be our legacy to the future. 

I am making progress on the Sampler Quilt top. Today I started sewing the block strips to the lattice strips. I may be able to finish the top tomorrow. Then I will measure it and make the backing. Unless I find something else, that will finish up all of my UFOs (UnFinished Objects.) I have determined the pattern for the next quilt which will be made from my fabric stash. Also I want to go through the stash and iron everything that is wadded up so that I can fold it all and arrange it by colors. I do not plan to buy any more fabric unless it is needed for backing. 

Last night I re-watched The Blind Side; I really like that movie. Tonight I plan to start watching The Americans. I am reading 3 books: Lindbergh by A.Scott Berg, At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier, and Climate Change and the Health of Nations by Anthony J. McMichael. All are very good although I must admit that the more I read about Lindbergh, the less I like him. 

Now to make scrambled eggs, Canadian bacon, and toast for dinner. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

March Cooking -- Three Bean Salad

1 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
8 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch lengths
8 ounces yellow wax beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch lengths
1 (15.5 ounce) can red kidney beans, rinses
1/2 red onion, chopped medium
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

1. Heat the vinegar, sugar, oil, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 4-5 minutes. Pour into salad bowl and set aside.

2. Cook the green and yellow beans in 3 quarts boiling water seasoned with two teaspoons salt until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain and plunge beans immediately into ice water and allow to cool for two minutes before draining.

3. Stir all of the beans, the onion, and the parsley into the vinegar mixture and refrigerate at least 8 hours to let the flavors meld.  Bring to room temperature for 30 minutes and season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

March Thoughts

“We might summarize our present human situation by the simple statement: that in the 20th century, the glory of the human has become the desolation of the Earth and now the desolation of the Earth is becoming the destiny of the human.

From here on, the primary judgment of all human institutions, professions, programs and activities will be determined by the extent to which they inhibit, ignore, or foster a mutually-enhancing human/Earth relationship.” 
― Thomas Berry

March Poetry -- Nature by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

As a fond mother, when the day is o'er,
Leads by the hand her little child to bed,
Half willing, half reluctant to be led, 
And leave his broken playthings on the floor,
Still gazing at them through the open door, 
Nor wholly reassured and comforted
By promises of others in their stead,
Which though more splendid, may not please him more;
So Nature deals with us, and takes away
Our playthings one by one, and by the hand
Leads us to rest so gently, that we go
Scarce knowing if we wish to go or stay,
Being too full of sleep to understand 
How far the unknown transcends the what we know. 

March Goals

     No ADG/Church since we will be out of town
     Spiritual Reading

     Exercise DVD 
     Healthy Breakfast 
     32 ounces water

     Make backing for Sampler Quilt 

     Lindbergh by A. Scott Berg
     Climate Change and the Health of Nations by Anthony J. McMichael
     At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier 

     Scrambled Eggs, Canadian Bacon, Toast
     Roast, Carrots, GMP
     Stuffed Wieners, Corn
     RB Hash, Leftover Corn

     New flower basket for dining room

     Trip to Washington, D.C.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Around Oak Meadows

Me and my daughter's dog Sweet Daisy at Brazos Bend State Park. 

Around OakMeadows

We have had a feral cat hanging around for about 2 months.  At first he was way to skittish to come close but would gobble down any cat food we would offer. Gradually, JMM has coaxed him closer until this morning he was able to catch him and take him to the vet for neutering. If he gets along with the rest of the cats, we will be able to keep him inside but he is about a year and a half old according to the vet and has always lived outside. Time will tell how well he domesticates. 

We are planning a trip to Washington, D.C. later this month. We are hoping that the cherry blossoms will be blooming. I want to go to the Capitol, the Newseum, and the National Gallery. It will be nice to have our daughter to show us around and to spend some time with her.  One of the nicest things about growing older is seeing that your child is such a wonderful person. 

I am watching the debacle in Washington over repeal and replace the ACA.  Maybe Canada will invade us and force a sensible healthcare system on us.  

I am finishing two good books: Lindbergh by A. Scott Berg and Thank You for Being Late by Thomas Friedman.  Reviews to follow as soon as I finish.  

That's about all the news from OakMeadows where it has been raining and raining and raining some more. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

March Cooking -- Zucchini Muffins

Zucchini Muffins 

Nonstick spray or paper muffin cups
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour 
½ cup whole wheat flour 
1/3 cup sugar 
1 tablespoon baking powder 
½ teaspoon ground ginger 
½ teaspoon salt 
2 large eggs, at room temperature
 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar 
¼ cup canola or vegetable oil 
2/3 cup milk (whole, low-fat, or nonfat) 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
2 medium zucchini (about 6 ounces each), washed 

1. Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. To prepare the muffin tins, spray the indentations and the rims around them with nonstick spray, or line the indentations with paper muffin cups. If using silicon muffin tins, spray as directed, then place them on a baking sheet.

2. Whisk the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, ground ginger, and salt in a medium bowl until uniform. Set aside. 

3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until lightly beaten, then add the brown sugar and oil. Continue whisking until the mixture is thick and pale brown, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and vanilla extract. 

4. Using the large holes of a box grater, grate the zucchini directly into the wet ingredients; stir until well blended. Then stir in the prepared flour mixture only until moistened and the zucchini is evenly distributed throughout the batter. Do not overmix. 

5. Fill the prepared tins three-quarters full. Use additional greased tins or small, oven-safe, greased ramekins for any leftover batter, or reserve the batter for a second baking. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the muffins have firm rounded tops and a toothpick inserted in the center of one muffin comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. 

6. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Gently rock each muffin back and forth to release and remove it from the pan. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes more on the rack before serving. If storing or freezing the muffins, cool completely before sealing in an airtight container or in freezer-safe plastic bags. The muffins will stay fresh for up to 2 days at room temperature or up to 3 months in the freezer.

March Thoughts

“Even greater shifts will be needed if we are to finally understand that we cannot continue to live on this planet as if it is nothing more than a collection of resources for us to exploit. A greater shift will be needed if we are to realize that no one religious tradition can lay claim to absolute “truth” and we must instead learn from each other in a mutually enhancing quest for conscious contact with the Sacred.” 
― Albert J. LaChanceThe Third Covenant: The Transmission of Consciousness in the Work of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Thomas Berry, and Albert J. LaChance

March Poetry

"The air is like a butterfly
With frail blue wings.
The happy earth looks at the sky
And sings."
-  Joyce Kilmer, Spring

Goals for Week of March 12 - 18, 2017

     Daily Spiritual Reading

     32 oz. water daily
     Healthy Breakfast 
     Exercise DVD

Quilting -- Finish Sampler Quilt top

     Lindbergh by A. Scott Berg
     Thank You for Being Late by Thomas Friedman 

     Sunday -- Pancakes and Sausage
     Monday -- Shrimp Jambalaya 
     Tuesday -- Chicken and Snow Peas Stir Fry
     Wednesday -- Leftovers
     Thursday -- Out
     Friday -- Corned Beef, Cabbage, and Carrots

     The Neverending Garage Cleaning
     Make appointment for carpet cleaning
     Finally order Front Door Wreath


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Around OakMeadows

Around OakMeadows 

ACHOO!! Sniffle, sneeze, cough. First, JMM was sick and then I inevitably caught it. I'm much better but still sniffling. 

Next, a bit of complaining. I bought an online course in Spanish language from Rosetta Stone several months ago. The lessons are excellent and I am enjoying them very much. However, I quite frequently have "technical issues" with it not loading or getting stuck. This involves the dreaded Technical Support Chat Line. Eventually, I get through; eventually I get someone who understands the problem; eventually I don't get disconnected; and eventually the problem gets solved. But in the meantime, I am aggravated and wish I'd just bought a Teach Yourself Spanish Book and a CD. 

I am so itching to get outside and get my garden cleaned up and ready to plant.  JMM has gone to the garden center this morning to get some plants to replace the ones that were killed by our 3 day freeze.  He is getting milkweed, blue mist flowers (new for us), Mexican heather which the bees love, and plumbago which does so well in the summer heat here. I hope by tomorrow that I'll be well enough to at least go pull up weeds. 

Quilting came to a complete stop while I had my head stuck in the box of tissues. Maybe next week, I can get some done.  

Still reading in Lindbergh  by A.Scott Berg.  Such an interesting person.  I tried listening to the audio of The Underground Railroad by Colton Whitehead but just couldn't get into it. Maybe I couldn't focus on it because of all the ibuprofen and antihistamines I was taking. I've heard so much good about it that I will probably give it another try. 

The early scout swallows are back and zooming around the house and porches.  Soon the rest of them will follow and then everyone will be busy rebuilding and refurbishing nests. And then there will be baby swallows to feed.  Swallow parents get very little rest.  And then I will be griping about having to clean all the baby bird poop off the porch. Such is life--the glory and the poop. 

Not much cooking last week. Thank goodness for Schwan's frozen meals. 

That's all the news from OakMeadows where the cats eat Fancy Feast and the people eat Schwan's frozen meals.

Monday, March 6, 2017

March Cooking -- Farmhouse Chicken and Corn Chowder

Farmhouse Chicken and Corn Chowder

2 slices bacon, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 onions, minces
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste 
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups low sodium chicken broth 
3 medium red potatoes cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 carrot, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs 
Salt and pepper
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 15 ounce can creamed corn
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chili in adobo

Cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Stir in 1 tablespoon oil and onions and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, bell pepper, and thyme. Stir in flour and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in 2 cups broth, scraping up any browned bits. Transfer to slow cooker. 

Stir remaining 3 cups broth, potatoes, carrots, and bay leaves into slow cooker. Season chicken with salt and pepper and nestle into slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours. Shred chicken. Add creamed corn, cream, and chipotle during last hour of cooking. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

March Poetry-- Dear March-Come In by Emily Dickinson

Dear March by Emily Dickinson

Dear March- Come in-
How glad I am-
I hoped for you before-
Put down your hat-
You must have walked-
How out of Breath you are-
Dear March, How are you, and the rest-
Did you leave Nature well?
Oh March, come right upstairs with me-
I have so much to tell-

I got your letter, and the birds-
The maples never knew that you were coming-
I declare- how Red their Faces grew-
But March, forgive me-
And all those Hills you left for me to Hue-
There was no Purple suitable-
You took it all with you-

Who knocks? That April-
Lock the door-
I will not be pursued-
He stayed away a year to call-
When I am occupied-
But trifles look so trivial-
As soon as you have come-

That Blame is just as dear as Praise-
And Praise as mere as Blame. 

March Thoughts

The destiny of humans cannot be separated from the destiny of earth.  Thomas Berry

Goals for Week of March 5 - 11, 2017

     Daily Bible Reading
     Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis

     Healthy lunch
     Exercise DVD 

     Finish Sampler Quilt top

     Lindbergh by A.Scott Berg
     Thank You for Being Late by Thomas Friedman
     Standing in the Light by Sharman A. Russell
     Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

     Saturday -- Schwan's Stir Fry
     Sunday-- Macaroni and Cheese
     Monday-- Baked Fish, Carrots/Thyme, Corn
     Tuesday-- Schwan's Chicken Enchiladas 
     Wednesday -- Pizza 
     Thursday-- Leftovers 
     Friday -- Out

     La Triviata