Thursday, April 27, 2017

It's Still Only April

I've written before about the issues we had in our apartment and the health issues I've had over the past several months as a result. I am happy to say that things are so much better since we have moved into this house. I am sleeping again, which is huge. I wake up every morning grateful that I was able to sleep for several hours straight. I will never take sleep for granted again! The Bell's palsy issues with the right side of my face are mostly gone. It no longer droops, and is no longer numb, but I do have occasional burning. The Raynaud's is much better now that I am not standing on tile floors all the time. The feet issues around that are taking longer to clear up, so I still cannot walk for long distances. I also have very little stamina. That is perhaps the most frustrating thing.

In other circumstances, I would have whipped through this house as soon as we moved in--or even perhaps while we were shifting stuff from one place to another--and gotten everything put away. I had no energy for that kind of thing this time, so we did the living room, kitchen, and bedroom and let the rest sit. I finally got my stitching supplies organised this past weekend--and I found something I'd been looking for, which was great. That was the big project I had left, so now there is just a little bit of other stuff to put away. I have lacked creative motivation lately and that hasn't helped my mood. I've thought generally about various projects and not settled on where to start, so I have spent way too much time playing Tripeaks. This morning, though, I glanced at an afghan and the project idea just fell into place. Now that I know where my stuff is, I can start swatching today.

Since it's spring, I have no idea how much of my tiredness and lack of energy is due to what came before or because it's April, and it's time for my annual crud to start. I am a bit concerned about how this summer will go, because normally at this time of year, I am just starting after feeling good over the winter. I did not have my usual 'good' part of the year, so I am already starting at a deficit. I feel like I usually do in August. Since it is only April, that does not seem like a good sign. But there isn't much I can do about it, except do what I can do, muddle on, and make the best of it. There are some good exciting things to look forward to this summer, so I will focus on those and do what I can each day to help build my stamina back up. And I will keep on being really happy about living in this house, which I love.

We went up to the garden this morning to water and saw a hopeful sign of what might be coming!

These are our first tomato blossoms, on a plant of the 'Tumbler' variety. Yay!

I picked more fennel and some coriander (cilantro). I thinned the radish sprouts and will use them in salad later.

For now, I am off to make lunch. Hope you are having a lovely day!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Jalapeno Cheese Rolls

I fired up the bread maker this afternoon to make some dough for jalapeño cheese rolls. I used the same ingredients and amounts that I use to make the wholemeal pizza crust, and added red jalapeños from a jar and some cubed extra mature cheddar cheese. When the dough was done in the machine, I kneaded in a small amount of dry jumbo porridge oats before forming the rolls and baking. They are delicious!
 The rest will be handy for breakfasts or lunches. They're big enough to be used in small sandwiches too, if we want them that way.

I have some leftover potatoes that will be handy for supper tomorrow--might turn them into potato pancakes.

We picked up a new-to-us kind of biscuit this afternoon and we will try those with a bit of the lemon pudding I made this afternoon.

I had to actually plan supper today, after having lasagna for the last few nights--made a pan and had the leftovers to heat and eat.
It's always nice to have stuff in the fridge ready to go or to use in something else. It's also really great to have freezer space again after having just a tiny compartment in the under-counter fridge that was in the apartment.

We are supposed to have a few cooler days with a chance of wintry showers. Might be some soup in our near future and some more rolls to go with it!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Happy Earth Day!

Enjoying some wee bits of Mother Earth's beauty on the short walk to and from the community garden this morning.

This little snail is celebrating the day in an artichoke plant.
Hope you have a beautiful day, wherever you are on our beautiful little planet.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Spuds and Salad

We went up to the garden this morning, just to check on stuff and water the plants in the hoop house. We'd not been since Saturday. We'd planned to go Tuesday and then yesterday, but the days got away from us. When we arrived, there was someone already there. He said he'd watered our plants because they looked droopy. That was nice of him! Turns out he is the fellow who decided to try growing lettuce through the winter in the hoop house. He was successful. There s a lot of lettuce. He offered us some and gave us two heads. I asked him if he needed any cabbage plants, since we had extra. The only ones we could buy came in a pack of 10 or something. I planted 5 and that seems like plenty. As it happened, he was just going off to buy cabbage plants when he was done at the garden, so he was pleased to take them. He told us he had extra spuds ready to be planted if we wanted some. At first, I had no idea where I would put them, as it seems like all our space will be accounted for, but then I decided we might as well plant a couple, so we did. I can figure out places to put stuff as we go on.

At the moment, most of the stuff going outside is still in the waiting to sprout (courgette/zucchini), just sprouted (chard, spinach, broccoli) or will-be-planted-when-warmer (beans, carrots, lavender) stages, so there is a lot of free space.

Inside, the tomato plants are growing like mad, the French breakfast radish seeds have sprouted, the coriander(cilantro) and lettuce seeds that sprouted last week are growing, and the fennel is taking off, as is the parsley. Things seem to be going well--at least well enough for me to pick some stuff to go with the lettuce for a salad.
. This was the base of my lunch salad--lettuce, parsley, fennel, and basil from the garden, along with scallions and celery from my pots at home. I added a few other things to this, so it is not completely home grown, but those fresh greens were so delicious!

What a nice, unexpected treat! Hope your day contains some happy surprises too!






Monday, April 17, 2017

Keeping the Needles in Motion: Knitting and Tatting

A week or two ago, I finished a pair of socks and wondered what I would make next. I was getting antsy to start a new project, but nothing seemed quite right, so one night, I picked up a patchwork tatting project I have ongoing and worked on that. I got enthused about it and have kept on working on the rectangle that is in progress.
For this large project, I am using navy blue linen thread that I have left on the huge cone Bill got me a year and a half or so ago. I used a bunch of it to make this shawl, but there is still plenty left on the cone.
So the blue will be the main colour and I have various bits of cotton thread to use for stripes--I am making rectangles consisting of 4 strips of navy blue and 3 strips of various colours. Right now I am thinking that I will crochet around each rectangle and join them into a vest, but if I get a better idea, I might change my mind.

When I mentioned on Facebook that I wasn't sure what my next project would be, someone asked if I'd made a pussy hat. I was thrilled to see that question (thanks, Deidre!) because it reminded me that I had thought about making one a few months ago, but I was working on something else at the time. By the time I'd finished with that project, we'd unexpectedly looked at this house, decided to move and I was packing, so the hat idea was forgotten. Seemed like a good time to start one, so I went through one of my stitch dictionaries and chose an Irish net stitch. I wanted to make a lacy one out of cotton since it's getting warmer. I chose green for Earth Day. Guess I'd better get going if it's to be done by then!
The net stitch has pulled it in a bit more than I thought, so I've considered ripping it out and starting over with more stitches, but after setting the project aside for a few days and thinking about it, I think I won't. Since this will be a simple rectangle that gets seamed up either side, I have decided to see whether I need it wider or not, bearing in ind that cotton does not 'bounce back' like wool does, so I don't want it too big. If I do need a bit more width, I will do a few rows of garter stitch or a slip stitch crochet rib along the sides before seaming. That would give me narrow panels of stretchy fabric, which would probably be a good addition.

I also whipped up a couple of little dishcloths over a couple of nights while listening to an audiobook of Winifred Holtby short stories.

Yesterday Bill requested another pair of lightweight fingerless gloves, so I decided on which yarn to use for those and got my needles. That'll be a good project for next to the couch--he keeps his other pair down here and I can measure against one of those as I knit the first of the new pair.
I have a few more projects in mind too, so it looks like my idea drought has ended--and I am so glad! I always feel like something is wrong when I do not know what to stitch or what book to read. Things are back to normal now.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Planned Leftovers

Last night for supper I made cheese sauce with broccoli, onion, and garlic and cooked some wholemeal pasta. I made extra so we could have the same again tonight--just heat and eat.
Lunch will be leftover bean burgers topped with avocado mashed with scallion, tomato, parsley, garlic, smoked paprika and a sprinkle of chilli powder.

Aaah, simplicity! 😋 


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Growing

We walked up to the garden again this morning to check on things, to water the stuff in the hoop house, and to plant some seeds in pots. The stuff we've planted so far was mostly looking good. A couple of plants were a little battered from being shoved in a bag and carried home from Buncrana, but there is new growth coming, so they should be OK.

Most of what we've planted so far has been in the hoop house. In the outdoor bed, we have some cabbage plants at one end along with a few cauliflower seeds (we will plant more of those next week) and a couple of strawberry plants at the other end. Inside, we have 6 tomato plants, two basil plants, 3 strawberry plants with one more in a pot which will have to go somewhere, a celery regrowing from an end, some fennel that has taken off after wintering on our window ledge at the apartment, and a bunch of parsley, one or two plants of which might be repotted and plunked out back of the house if I end up needing the space in the bed! I've planted seeds in the beds--French breakfast radish, leek, lettuce, and coriander (cilantro) and in pots to start--chard, spinach, broccoli, courgette (zucchini), bell pepper, and jalapeno. The last two will be planted in the hoop house if they come up (I have never had really good luck with peppers). The rest will go in the outdoor bed, but I just left the pots inside for now, hoping they'd germinate faster in the 80 degree heat of the hoop house than they would outside. Also going outside once it is a little warmer will be carrots, beans, and lavender.

The apple trees in the garden area are blossoming--so pretty.


I also have some stuff growing out back of our house. I like having stuff in pots and I have to get some bigger ones and some more dirt. I am also considering trying to lug home a big bag of dirt or two, cutting holes in it/them, and plating directly in the bag, letting the plants cover the bag. I have lupine seeds and want to get more flowers and other plants, but I am waiting until I get some help from someone who knows what they are doing (hi, Karen 😊). I will also plant some of the lavender here. I have oregano seeds to plant as well.

For now, the stuff that is already there is coming along. The wild rocket seeds I planted have sprouted. The chocolate mint and lemon balm which died back over the winter have started growing again. The parsley that wintered on the window ledge with the fennel is growing. My scallions are growing and I have more ends in water inside the kitchen on the windowsill, along with rosemary, another celery, and more parsley, all of which are growing.

When we went to the garden centre a few weeks ago I got a tray of pansies to put in a window box on the front window ledge. I had one that would not fit, so I planted it in a pot out back--I like looking at it as I work in the kitchen. I love that purple!
On one visit to the garden, someone gave us some lettuce. The roots were still attached, so I put them in water, used the leaves, and planted the rest out back. They are growing nicely, as is the parsley. The only available parsley plants at the garden centre came in a pack of 8, so there is plenty. I use it a lot though, so that's OK. Pics are out of focus, but you get the idea.

Growing, growing, growing. Won't be long now before I have a salad made mostly of stuff that has been growing right here in our wee pots and plots.