Toffee or not toffee, that was the question
Wednesday February 26th 2020, 11:05 pm
Filed under: Food

A question: if you read the Narnia books as a kid, what did you think Turkish Delight would be like?

I thought of it as the obnoxiously tough toffee they sell to the tourists near Maryland’s shore, where sure it’s just sugar but you chew and chew and chew and chew and chew while it’s fighting back as if, should it win, it would wire your jaws shut out of sheer obnoxiousness, without enough flavor to make up for the assault on your mouth. If you still have all your teeth when it’s over you win.

My friend Michelle pointed out this Atlas Obscura article with the title, “CS Lewis’s Greatest Fiction Was Convincing American Kids That They Would Like Turkish Delight.” It made me laugh because it was so true.

Thus my curiosity.

I didn’t sample the real thing till well into adulthood, or at least not with that name attached, but you know what? In a way, I actually wasn’t all that far off.

Almost Spring
Tuesday February 25th 2020, 11:23 pm
Filed under: Garden

Book: finished. Mango: watered. Debate: watched.

I finally got a picture that really shows what that first peach tree looks like out there. It’s glorious.

I looked at the Meyer lemon wistfully–I was going to give some of those to some of my favorite Stitches West vendors.

Next year.

Getting antsy means getting better
Monday February 24th 2020, 8:45 pm
Filed under: Garden

Looking out the window, that one limb…

Black Jack figs grow slowly and stay pretty small, which is nice, but that one limb was going to cross over another in a year or two; better to cut it back a half a foot now to where the growth pattern angled the other way. Never mind the why didn’t I do that earlier.

Man it felt good to get something useful and real-world done.

As long as I was out there I looked at the hose, the blooming mango, our little February drought, considered it–and told myself nope, not quite there yet and headed back in.

Always did like a good autobiography
Sunday February 23rd 2020, 7:52 pm
Filed under: Food,Life

Knitting? Not up to it. Reading? I’ve finished Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” and I’m halfway through a Jimmy Carter memoir that I was always going to get around to. Wow has the world changed over his 95 years. He’s not forging steel hoops to put around his dad’s wagon wheels anymore.

Edited to add, both noted their surprise at being handed a large bill at the end of the first month in: the President is responsible for the food bill of his family and guests at the White House. Any idle mention of a favorite or wished-for food ends in that food happening on their table no matter the cost if they don’t say anything different.

They learned fast.

Thank you!
Saturday February 22nd 2020, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Friends

Anne showed up at Stitches and they waved her in so she could get my stuff. She sent me pictures of the new pie plate from Mel and Kris, and this time it looks like a traditional pie plate; my other one from them is more a tart pan.

Today was a little better than yesterday, so all I need is patience and the germ will be over.

Friday February 21st 2020, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Life

Yesterday I was just a bit feverish and coughing. Today when I tried to stay up for longer than ten minutes I found myself barfing nonstop. So let me type fast.

No Stitches West for me this year.

The Royal Bee booth #1339 has a pair of Holz and Stein #8s I was supposed to pick up and Mel and Kris made another pie plate for me but needles are easy to ship. The pottery, not so much. But trust me, they don’t want me there.

Throwback Thursday
Thursday February 20th 2020, 9:19 pm
Filed under: Family,Garden

My sister found an old photo at Mom’s. I think those were my seventh grade glasses.

1961 or two, the builder was going to plant a single rhododendron in front of each new house on our street. Dad talked him into digging out six feet deep along the front of ours, replacing it with rhodo-friendly soil, and planting the whole length of it in Blue Peters, light purple with deep purple centers.

Years later, a housepainter climbed that brick half-wall to the left in front of the back door where it was laid in more a checkerboard pattern with staggered gaps. The guy stumbled, the bricks crumbled, and between them they sheared off nearly an entire big woody plant and a goodly part of another, too, if I remember right. (He was okay.)

Dad talked to his insurance and then called the local nursery, asking how much it would cost to replace a six foot Blue Peter.

There’s no such thing, he was told. Blue Peters don’t grow that high!

Dad: Mine do.

The primary reason
Wednesday February 19th 2020, 10:53 pm
Filed under: Family,Politics

Well, that was a spirited debate. Wow!

So I’m just going to change the subject here and say, it’s all about the world we’re creating for our children and what we want them to live with.

Vote well.


Zoom zoom
Tuesday February 18th 2020, 11:12 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

My ’07 Prius’s fob’s buttons hadn’t worked for years, but at least it unlocked the car when you walked up to it.

Until it didn’t.

At least you could get the physical key out of the fob with great difficulty and a broken nail or two to open the driver’s side door, put it back in the fob, and then stick the fob in the slot to start the car when the fob’s battery was dead.

Until a piece of the back went missing after time in that slot and it wouldn’t go in anymore.

At least you could replace the battery.

Except now you couldn’t–we’d done it so many times the screws were stripped and they wouldn’t come out.

The cheapest new fobs cost a crazy amount of money, so we took a chance on simply replacing the plastic cover of the one I had. Didn’t know that was an option but it was.

Ordered this fob cover.

The most useful video on how to change it over was here.

A white pillow in the lap to help find any dropped tiny tiny screws should that happen. Highly recommended.

He replaced the battery. The new fob cover now has all the innards the old one had. We did not glue it like the video says, just the screws and the slides and the snapping together mixed with a bit of hope and the old physical key inside the new cover and then he sent me outside to go see.

The open button worked. The lights came on. Would you look at that!

The close button worked. The lights went off.

Cool! I was not expecting that. I was just hoping to get back to how it had been.

It was cold and I hurried back inside.

Richard: Well? Did it turn on?

Me: I didn’t try that. (Thinking, actually, I wasn’t done…)

Him: manages not to roll his eyes while I grab a jacket because hey, it’s 45F out there. Let me go make one last run past skunk territory.

So I got to go play again with the buttons and I got to try turning the car on and then hitting the lock button and testing it again and everything was peachy fine and after days of borrowing his key my new version worked! For $13 after tax.

Now, says he. Now that we know that that’s all we need, go order a new cover for mine, too, would ya? It’s starting to fall apart.

A run to the grocer’s
Monday February 17th 2020, 11:15 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

No rain for weeks, and this is supposed to be the season for it. The long line of flowering pears by the cemetery have been in glorious bloom since the end of January; I have never seen them not wiped out by a good storm or five but not this year.

I imagine the bumper crop of critters from last year’s abundant rain are getting thirsty.

A squirrel managed to pick a large orange off the neighbor’s tree and haul it to the top of the fence but it was really too big to run off with. So he chewed off the top, jack o’lanterning away a lid, and was about to finally reach all that juice inside–when I stopped him.

He tried to run with it, really he did, but it dropped down my side of the fence and he was gone.

I don’t get many squirrels anymore and with my fruit trees I’d like to try to keep it that way. Since our three weeks of being gone in September for the new baby, I’ve only been filling the suet cage where the squirrels can’t reach (and with chili oil in it, they don’t want to.) We actually still had sweet Fuji apples out there when we got home.

So I tend to notice when one comes and why.

I picked up the orange, noted the dirt on the side it fell on and took a whiff. A lot of varieties don’t get enough heat here to really sweeten up.

Man, it smelled wonderful. I wondered what type it was, but looking at that thing, no way should I be touching squirrel-lipped stuff. I hadn’t wanted it to rot in my yard, but. Huh.

I put it under my birdfeeder, hoping the doves would come and peck at the top. No such luck.

Squirrels turn in for the night before sunset.

After dark, I happened to note that it was still there.

I stood up and went in the kitchen a moment.

Came back and there was no sign of it. Gone. That fast. Whatever it was had been watching and waiting for me to leave so it could grab it and run. It’s about a dozen feet to the edge of the shed that something’s been crashing around in every night of late so it wouldn’t have had a long way to go.

Someone’s probably feeding orange juice to their babies tonight.

And I need to refill that suet cage–but I forgot to earlier and I don’t particularly want to walk towards possibly skunks protecting their young. Tomorrow will do.

That was amusing, and I’m not doing it again.

Flower child
Sunday February 16th 2020, 10:53 pm
Filed under: Garden

The first peach flower of the year, ahead of everything but the mango. August Pride.

Blue diamonds
Saturday February 15th 2020, 11:09 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit

I got to meet the mom of a recent recipient of one of my hats today. It was instantly clear why he’s such a delight and I wished she lived closer.

I pulled him quietly aside from the crowd and asked him her favorite color. He knew exactly where I was going with this, and hesitated while looking off in the distance for about three seconds before stating with great certainty, Blue.

Vivid? (Like this?) Or more like, say, indigo?

He gave me a good description of what he had in mind and I wondered what I had in my stash that matched that. She’s flying home tomorrow, but he’s bringing her to church with him before that. Not a whole lot of hours there, much less available for it and certainly no time to go buy the yarn.

I walked in the door at home afterwards, walked into my kid’s old bedroom that has become the yarn stash room–

–and found a super soft hat I’d utterly forgotten I’d made a month or two ago that was in just that kind of a blue. Out of 14 micron merino. Only the best.

At the time, I was wondering why I was wasting my time knitting this when I had the usual queue pressing on me and this was scheduled for nobody, not even me, and I quibbled at the little carry-around but it got on the needles and then I had to finish it to get it off them.

Even the ends are already run in. It’s in a sandwich ziplock in my purse, waiting; all I have to do is show up.

Ever since, I have been marveling at the choreography, once again, of G_d, who knew that needed to come to be and that it needed to be ready and nudged that ball into my purse before an appointment that I don’t even remember what the appointment was for nor which waiting room it was and there you go.

That’s the way the crescent rolls
Friday February 14th 2020, 7:02 pm
Filed under: Family

When you’re 34 months old and you look up in the sky and someone took a bite out of the white chocolate sky-cookie, of course you tell Daddy. And then you want to tell Grampa, on FaceTime where you can see each other and share the news and be reassured that he’s going to fix it for you because of course he will.

The moon is broken!

The 60s rock
Thursday February 13th 2020, 10:00 pm
Filed under: Life

This is your last notice, the form-letter email said. You are overdue for a pap smear.

Oh fun.

So I got that over with on Tuesday.

What I had zero expectation of was the doctor saying that that was my final one: I had aged out. I didn’t need to do this again.

Wait. All this time and nobody ever told me I had that to look forward to?? Seriously?

It really *was* my last notice!

Edited to add: I got a note from an old friend, who says that an old friend of hers recently died of cervical cancer at 80 and that even older women in monogamous relationships should still be tested. I’m very sorry for the loss of her friend, and I regret having possibly in any way contributed to anybody else going through that in the future. I apologize.

There goes Peter Cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail…
Wednesday February 12th 2020, 10:10 pm
Filed under: Friends,Garden,Mango tree

(Here’s a better picture of the mango.)

I watched a cottontail rabbit jump into and out of the Costco-sized planter my strawberries are in. That, to my regret, answers my question as to whether it was too tall for it. (Well, duh.)  I went to head it off.

Cottontails (says Wikipedia) like to duck into the same sheltering spot every time, which makes it easy for hawks to sit and wait, but it would have had to have cut across in front of me so instead it went straight to–

–the hole past the raised bed under the corner of the fence dug out by one of the nocturnal regulars around here. It would only have done that if it knew it was there and it knew what to expect on the other side.

I immediately boarded up the spot, with mental apologies to the gardeners next door for the return of the goods. It’s got cute twitchy ears, at least. Have fun.

That was yesterday, and today I was trying to figure out how to confess to them.

Until, whoops, guess what was munching on the weeds where the grass used to be.

I think this one was smaller. And yes, it ducked into its usual spot in the coffeeberries. I think the one that went up and over and down to the hole over thataway was going to the spot *it* knew to run to, because it definitely seemed bigger, and it seemed slightly darker–I don’t think it was the same one.

Please tell me we’re not about to have a whole crew of rabbits. I keep marveling at how they could even be here, 65 years after this area was developed and fenced off.

But note that in neither case did they run for the mouth of the mango cage where all that sweet flowering scent is coming out of. So far so good. Yay.