T. G. I. R.

Thank God It’s Rhubarb!

We made a Vegan Rhubarb Cobbler:

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It really was very good.  The way to “Vegan-ize” something (quickly and easily) is to first check to see if there are any animal-derived ingredients.  This would include milk/dairy, eggs, butter, meat, animal fats, gelatin, etc.  My recipe called for eggs, so we did our chia-seed egg subsitute.  Per egg equivalent, mix one tablespoon chia seeds with 3 tablespoons water, let sit a bit.  It gets gooey and egg-like in its consistency.  For milk, we used almond milk.  For butter, we just used vegetable oil.  You could use coconut oil or a vegan margarine if you want.   We are not all vegans, but one of my children IS a vegan, and yet another goes without dairy.

Onward to the canning…….

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I loved using the blue jars!  They make the contents look even yummier!  I ended up making a Rhubarb-Cherry Topping, which I used on my French toast this morning.  If I do say so myself, it was delicious.  I tried using a jam recipe, but I had more rhubarb than the recipe called for.  I didn’t have quite enough pectin, and I had some cherry preserves in my stash…hence….it didn’t gel up enough to spread.  It pours easily, though, and I have no fear that it will get gobbled up quickly.

Last week, I tried my hand at homemade laundry detergent.  It also came out rather nicely.  The reason I did this is that the cost of laundry soap seems to rise as the size of the container seems to decrease.  This cost about 50 cents a gallon to make.  You can check out a how-to video here.

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I got to playing around with these Martha Stewart labels I found in Staples, along with a “chalk pen,” which I hadn’t heard of before.  That was in the craft store next door.  The painting in the background is of my front porch at Country Mouse House, by a local artist.   Note the blooming flowers?   (Sigh……)

Time to head outside and smell the lilacs!

Have a beautiful weekend!

Wendy

 

 

A Special Wenz Day

Today is my birthday!  Woo hoo!

We’ve had so many sad things befall us in the past few months that I am glad to have a reason to celebrate.  Not only did my Mom pass away suddenly, my Father-in-law passed suddenly as well approximately 2 1/2 months later.  Other things have been happening (one of which I describe in the next paragraph) and believe me, we have had difficulty coming up for air.  This is why I really want to celebrate LIVING today.  I know that is what my Mom and Father-in-law would want.

What to do?  Put up the rhubarb!  But first, I must tell you what happened last week.  I was bitten by what we believe was a deer fly.  Ew.  It bit me on the face above my right eye.  The swelling was atrocious, and it got infected.  After a little research, it turns out the bacteria for Lyme disease is carried by the deer fly as well as the deer tick.  Not only that, there is another bacteria carried by the deer fly which can be pretty horrible.  I went to the doctor and I am now on antibiotics, as if I had Lyme disease, which I might, but we won’t know for sure for another week when I have blood drawn.  Either way, I feel it is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

I have had to come up with a new get-up for outdoor work.  Child #2 said I resemble Jessica Lange in “American Horror Story.”  I’ll take the Jessica Lange part, but, well, I guess the look is kind of horrifying:

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Joel, in his charmingly sarcastic way, says that I look “fetching.”  (He’s the best husband ever)  A breakdown of my trend-setting fashion statement is as follows:

Dust mask – keeps the allergens away from my nose and mouth, plus holds back the bug-attracting carbon dioxide a little bit

Sunglasses – these have my reading lenses in the bottom half, which come in handy when I am dealing with little seeds and such

Hat – gotta have a hat for gardening……keeps sun and glare away plus helps protect against sunburn

Mosquito Net – I got this here.  It can be tucked into the collar of your shirt if you have a collar.  When finished with gardening, you can re-use this on Safari….

Not pictured – Long-sleeved shirt(light-colored), long pants, socks and sturdy shoes, garden gloves, sunblock, and spray-on insect repellent(I spray it on my skin and on the outside of my clothes).  I also have a little battery-powered thing that clips onto my pocket which is supposed to keep the bugs away.

What things do you do to keep the buggies at bay?

Now, onward to the task at hand….

YUMMY RHUBARB!

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That is what my rhubarb looks like ripe.  It’s not that ruby-red color, but it is organically grown, heirloom rhubarb.  That patch has been growing at Country Mouse House for longer than the oldest neighbors can remember.  I’ve given whole plants away and it seems to renew it’s own vigor.  I gave a couple of plants to Lisa and she now has a constant yield second only to my own.

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Here is the rhubarb with leaves in tact.  Remember, don’t eat the leaves!  They are poison!  (Apparently some snails don’t know this, or are immune, so they eat the leaves anyway)  Below is what the flower looks like on a rhubarb plant.  I pull these off so the plant can put the energy back into the rhubarb stalks.

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Below is the rhubarb patch from another angle.  In the foreground is a horseradish plant.  I put that in last year as a tiny baby and it is really taking off.  If you look closely you can see spindly baby asparagus, too.  Only 3 of my 6 asparagus starts made it through the winter, so I added a few more this year, marked by those broken sea shell pieces.  (Sea shells can add nutrients to the garden.  The only other thing I add to this patch is composted manure 1-2 times per year.)  I also have Columbine growing here.  Columbine and rhubarb get along very well in the garden and help each other grow and stay healthy.

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GETTING READY!

photo (41)I picked up these beautiful blue canning jars last year at the local crafts’ store and never used them.  Now I’m breaking them out!  (or in?)

Check out Finn copping a snooze in the background.

Who’s doing a little bit of Spring-harvest canning?  Recipes, anyone?

I will let you know how it goes!

Have a deliciously wonderful day!

Wendy

 

Where do I begin?

Right now, one child is getting ready to move out, and one just recently moved back in.  Oldest got a job which provides an apartment – sweet deal!  In the meantime, all horsie accessories are getting the spit-shine in hopes to be used or sold.  Everything is everywhere.

Second oldest finished Sophomore year of college.  Stuff is in bins, awaiting storage, cleaning, sorting and/or organization.  My living room is looking like an episode of “Hoarding, Buried Alive.”  Everything is everywhere.

And here is what Finn has to say about that:

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Doesn’t he look like he’s thinking, “Really?  What is all this and where did it come from anyway?”

So here is full disclosure.  Yes my living room really looks like this!

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It can’t be helped right now.  Sometimes we just have to go with the flow….Add an “er” to that word….I like it!  Go with the flower……Gardening soon- now is a good time to buy a few annuals to brighten the landscape and bring in a little color.

I’m looking forward to some serenity.  Here is a beautiful waterfall near Country Mouse House and I think the photo speaks for itself:

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Enjoy the weekend!  More to follow…

Wendy

Another Wenz Day

Once upon a time, I read in the Farmer’s Almanac that you should wear certain colors on certain days of the week to increase your good luck.  The list, as I recall, is as follows:

Sunday – Orange

Monday – White

Tuesday – Red

Wednesday – Green

Thursday – Purple

Friday – Blue

Saturday – Dark Blue

I do this often, more because it helps in the decision-making process than anything else.  If I narrow my choices, I don’t get overwhelmed.  Sometimes, though, blue jeans can count on the “blue” days(in my world, anyway), and accessories can add the color of the day if you don’t have a key wardrobe piece available at that moment.  I haven’t noticed a significant change in my “luck” if I happen to wear a non-recommended color on any given day.  I look at it the same way I look at Feng Shui – it certainly couldn’t hurt.

If nothing else, it can be fun.  Now is a good time to organize your clothes closet.  I do mine by color and type of clothing piece.  I try to do a little purging at a time, each season.  Another thing I find helpful is putting my outfit together the night before.  I have a hook designated in my closet just for this purpose.  If I hang the top, bottom, jacket/sweater, undergarments, socks, and accessories all on one hanger, then the next morning runs very smoothly.  Just grab the hanger and get going with the morning’s schedule.

I’m loving floral prints and patterns right now….but of course, why wouldn’t I?  Garden inspiration!!!

Have a colorful day!

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Wendy

Finally

Well, yesterday felt a little bit like Spring, anyway.  Today, not so much.  Windy, chilly, rainy, blah blah, wah wah……

It could always be worse.

Here are some pictures of my Spring blossoms at Town Mouse House:

 RED TULIP

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 FORSYTHIA

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EASTER LILY

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PERIWINKLE(Vinca)

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I’ve decided not to grow much in the way of edibles at Town Mouse House anymore.  The houses in this suburb are stacked so closely that one person’s pesticide run-off could invade my otherwise organic efforts.  I still have a few herbs, though, and my two potted dwarf fruit trees.  I just can’t help myself!

LAVENDER

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DWARF CHERRY TREE(North Star, the apple is not blooming yet)

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(I’m hoping to get enough of a yield this year for at least one pie.  Last year I only got a small bowlful of fruit.)

SORREL

(Has a tangy, lemony flavor that is lovely in salads.  I’ve cooked it, too, with garlic as a green vegetable.)

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LEMON BALM

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A fortunate characteristic of most herbs is that wildlife doesn’t usually prefer to dine on them.  Some herbs actually repel critters, as well.   The added bonus is the fragrance, especially if planted near windows and doors.

It’s good to be back in the Blogging Realm.  We have suffered much loss this year.  My Mom and Joel’s Dad passed on within a couple of months of one another.  We feel like we haven’t been able to come up for air.  Hopefully, things will become a little less stressful.  My best therapy happens in the garden.  There is nothing like the smell and feel of the Earth to bring me out of a “Blue Funk,” as my Mother would have called it!

I’d love to hear about some of your favorite plants and garden activities!  Don’t hesitate!

Get out there and pull some weeds, dig in the dirt, and do a little planting and pruning.  You will feel better, I promise!

Wendy