Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Words of Wisdom

Not me, but what it felt like
Words of wisdom learned the hard way.

1.  Don't fry or sautein a low-cut top.


2.  Don't sniff a steaming pot of food.


3.  And never, never smile while mowing the grass.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Low Country Boil

In the pot
As promised, I made a Low Country Boil today and while getting the recipe I looked at its history.  According to Coastal Living magazine it was invented by Richard Gay a South Carolina National Guardsman who had to feed a 100 people.  He was from a tiny town called Frogmore so many called it Frogmore Stew.  Whatever you call it, it's delicious.
This was my first time making it, usually we have a crowd over and someone else does the cooking.  So I went online to my southern cooking specialist, Paula Deen, and got her recipe.  It was so easy.



Here's her recipe:
Old Bay Crab Boil, 2 teaspoons per quart of water
red new potatoes
smoked sausage link sausage
fresh  corn
shrimp, unpeeled

Directions

Fill a large pot with enough water to cover all of the ingredients. Add the Old Bay Crab Boil and bring to a boil. Adjust the Crab Boil to suit your taste. When the water boils, add the potatoes and sausage. Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes. Add corn and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Add shrimp and cook for no more than 3 minutes. Drain and serve with warm bread.

I took out the amounts she put in because she was cooking for a crowd and I was just making it for Mac and me.  I used about 3 quarts of water, 10 small red potatoes, whatever sausage Mac had in the refrigerator, 2 ears of corn broke in half, Vidalia onion cut in half   and about a 1/2 pound of frozen shrimp.

I cooked it just exactly as she said and it turned out perfectly.  What a great meal to start the Summer with.

In the bowl


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Bellringers

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, when we were in England last summer we rented a cottage that we'd stayed in before.
As it turned out our landlord L was a bellringer and we told him that all we knew about bellringing was  that Tristan from the old tv series All Creatures Great and Small used bellringing as an excuse to go to the pub.
L said there was a lot of truth in that because often the bellringers were hefty farm folk who rang the bells and then headed off to the pub for a refreshing pint.
He offered to take us to the church where he rang and let us observe.  So that's how we spent a lovely Sunday morning.
Back home Mac decided he wanted to paint some bellringers in old-time clothes and in the middle of them he put L.
For some reason our camera isn't focusing right and the photos don't do the painting justice.  We sent a copy to L and it amused him.
Here's L in his red vest.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Our Weekend Forecast

The Beaufort area in South Carolina is going to get the brunt of Tropical Storm Bonnie, but the Savannah area is going to get up to 5 inches of rain by Monday.
Hope folks don't have too many outdoor activities planned.
We had our first rain this afternoon, just barely got the clothes off the line.
So I stayed in, no swimming, worked on my puzzle, it's almost done, I'll finish it tomorrow and burn it.  It's been a bugger.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Five on Friday

It's time to join in with the rest of the bloggers at Amy's Love Made My Home site.  It's a beautiful day here in coastal Georgia, but seeing as it's Memorial Day weekend the forecast is for rain, starting tomorrow and going right through Monday.  I don't know how many times we've planned get-to-gethers on Memorial Day and had them rained out.  We don't even bother any more.

But that's ok, we'll be doing a Low Country Boil for the 2 of us.  I'll write about that on Monday.

Here's my five, in no particular order.

One:  I had to go see my Retina specialist on Tuesday to have my wonky eye lasered.  It went quickly, though it was a little achy afterwards.  It tends to be my dry eye and the laser may have dried it more.  But it quickly settled down and all is well.  While I was having it done Mac went and bought me flowers for being a brave little girl.





Two:   Mac cut some Hydrangeas for me and I changed my kitchen plate to match the colors.  I think this is the first year we've had lavender Hydrangeas.




Three:   The roses on some of our smaller bushes are blooming and the colors are gorgeous.









Four:   The pool is open!  I went in it today and I didn't scream, it felt wonderful.  Mac has done so much work on it and now it's my turn to start netting out debris and brushing down the sides.  I expected the water to be cooler, but it felt great, I'd keep it this temperature all year if I could.

Mac dries his paintings on the deck because it's so hot out there.  Since he took this picture he's brought out the chairs for the table and the umbrella.


Five:  The laundry room has been put back together and finally stopped smelling like new paint.  Next I need to paint part of the back hall.  It's been painted once, but life has banged it up a bit.





That's my Five, hope you have a good weekend wherever you are.











Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Not So Good Season

In addition to it being watermelon season it's Deer Fly season.  That season runs from Mother's Day to Father's Day and it's a real bummer.
Deer Fly are a member of the Horse Fly family and they're vicious. Here's what Wikipedia says about them:  They are smaller than wasps, and have coloured eyes and dark bands across their wings. While female deer flies feed on blood, males instead collect pollen. When feeding, females use knife-like mandibles and maxillae to make a cross-shaped incision and then lap up the blood. Their bite can be painful.
What an understatement!  Their bite is beyond painful, you feel like something has taken a hacksaw to you.  Mac says that if they were classified as a weapon the Geneva Convention would outlaw them because of their ferocity.
There is nothing you can spray on, wipe on or wear that will detract them.  They'll bite right through  you clothing.
A neighbor showed us how to get rid of them.   It seems that they are attracted to the color blue----the flies, not the neighbor---and you can trap them.  You paint a bottle blue, we use bleach and soap bottle, and then coat the bottles in a product called Tanglefoot.  It's very sticky and will trap the flies.
You might think that sounds cruel, but obviously you've never been bitten by a deer fly.  We have blue bottles all over our yard,  so it's not too bad out there.  But our morning walk has become an obstacle course as we try to avoid the flies.  I've been bitten a number of times this week and it's no fun.

Can't wait for Father's Day.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tis the Season

What season you say, well watermelon of course.  We love watermelon and we're always glad to start seeing it in the markets.  Only trouble is that with there just being the 2 of us we can't eat a whole melon, they turn bad before we can finish them.  Thank goodness for being able to buy part of a melon.  Two advantages, they're small enough for us to finish and you can get a good look at how ripe they are.  I don't care how much I thump on a whole one I can't tell it it's ripe or not.  The one disadvantage is that cut watermelon is more expensive than whole ones.  But I can live with that, after all the watermelon is a treat.
Today at the market though they had no cut melon, just sliced and that's too expensive even for a treat.  But we were lucky, they had small melons, just right for 2 people.  So now we can sit and spit, 'cause these melons have seeds.
One of the cut sections is just about right for us.


Here's the little one we got today, I sliced it up and it's in the refrigerator getting cool.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Winter Work Done in Summer

It should have been done months ago.  We had the paint, we had the rollers, but every time it came right down to it I postponed it.  We haven't painted the laundry room, it looks the same as when we moved in, but worse.  The paint in this house, and it was a custom built house, was worse than builder grade, in fact I've always said the place looked like it was primed white and left.
So today was going to be the day, to quote Oasis, we were finally going to paint the laundry room.  We got out brushes, paint, rags and sort of a roller, the only one Mac could find was a teeny, tiny one about 4 inches long.  We had 3 brand new roller covers, but nothing to hold them.  Mac said we could wait until we got the right size roller holder or use the teeny, tiny one.  I was not going to put it off any longer, so we dragged the dryer away from the wall and got to work.  Surprisingly enough the teeny, tiny roller did the job.
Mac is in there now finishing up trim, but it's done and it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.
Kitty's bathroom is next, but not this week, it's supposed to be 90ª by Wednesday.
What I thought I'd be painting with.

What I actually painted with, half the size and not nearly as fluffy.




More or less done, waiting for it to dry so we can put things back in.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday in the Swamp

Beautiful Sunday here in the swamp, but oh so humid!!  They promised lower humidity, but they lied!! After all the rain this week most of our tomatoes are dying, can't believe it, Mac has worked so hard and he doesn't even eat them, he grows them for me.
Busy morning hanging out laundry, putting laundry from yesterday away, cleaning parts of the house I've been avoiding and now it's exercise time.
Learned a new German word: haustier and I should have recognized it because I know haus is house and tier is animal.  It means a pet.  Already knew kuh (cow), pferd (horse), hund (dog) and katze (cat).  Also learned spinne (spider) and biene (bee).  The last one is kind of important because I'm allergic to bee and wasp stings, so I need to learn the word for wasp too.
Had to stop and go exercise, but now I'm back with a question.  One of the songs on my MP3 today was Shotgun Rider be Tim McGraw.  Now in this country if someone calls shotgun we know exactly what they mean, they want the front passenger seat.  So my question is, does riding shotgun have the same meaning in other countries?

Friday, May 20, 2016

Five on Friday

It's time to join in with Amy at Love Made My Home for a weekly Five on Friday.  Hope you join in too, I've met some wonderful bloggers through these Friday posts.  The weeks just keep flying by, can't believe we're more than half way through May already.  We Skyped with our daughter on Wednesday, she'd been traveling, instead of our normal Sunday and I went around all day yesterday thinking it was Monday.  Doesn't take much to throw me off.

So for my Five I'll start with the them for my week---RAIN.  We've had a mess of rain.  After going weeks with little or no rain and having to water the garden everyday the heavens opened up on Tuesday and poured.  We got more than 3 1/2 inches of rain, then clouds on Wednesday and yesterday nearly 3/4's of an inch more.  And for this afternoon and evening they're forecasting heavy thunderstorms.  We've had a stalled cold front (we're in the 80's, so it's not very cold)  all week.  It should finally move out sometime Saturday afternoon.

For my second are some of the new German words I learned this week:

tschüss    Bye    I only knew Auf Wiedersehen or Ciao

Gern Geschehen   Thank you  Formerly I just said Danke

Ahnung   idea   I don't think I'd ever heard this word before

In Ordnung     Alright

Gemüse      Vegetable   Can't believe I didn't know this word, know the names for lots of veggies but not the general name


My third is a book I finished in a little over a day and it was nearly 400 pages, I devoured it.  It's The Daughter by Jane Shemilt.  It's the story of the disappearance of a 15 year daughter, the secrets hidden and the destruction of a family.  Really enjoyed it.

The fourth are the Hydrangeas blooming in the yard.  We have blue, pink and almost purple.  You can change the colors of your Hydrangeas by changing the ph of the soil.  White ones  can't be change, but blues can be changed to pink by adding aluminum  sulphate or potassium to the soil.  We did it with an old spoon. You can change pink to blue by adding lime phosphate.










And number Five are my squash, they're flowering and I actually have a baby squash.  I'm excited, we've never been able to grow them before.




That's my Five for this week, what are yours?









Thursday, May 19, 2016

Germany Part III

Our last posting to Germany was to Stuttgart and we liked it so much we extended our tour to stay longer.  Stuttgart means 2 things to me: Ritter Sport Chocolate and Porsche.  Can't afford the Posrches, but oh I did indulge in the chocolate.
Ritter Sport factory, our daughter's
class went on a field trip there
Stuttgart also marks my first time driving in Germany, prior to that it was shank's mare or Mac to transport me.  But I got an International license, Mac got an old clunker to drive and I had our Volkswagen Beetle.  Did I like driving in Germany?  Mostly it just scared me.  The roads were great, but the German drivers are very aggressive and will frequently blink their lights at you to get you to move over.  Scary.
But we enjoyed Stuttgart, great Christmas Market, also made it to the one in Nürnberg ---had to drive through quite a snowstorm to get to that one.
We traveled lots in Bavaria and saw all of "Mad" Ludwig's castles, Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau and Linderhof.
Visited Munich and fell in love with their museums: the Alte Pinkothek and Deutsche Museum the largest science museum in the world.   Could have spent a week in that one.
Never went to Oktober Fest, we don't do crowds, but we did make it to the Hof Brau Haus to drink a beer or two.

Hard to say which was our favorite assignment, each city was special and we're very lucky to have been able to live there.

Neuschwanstein

Hohenschwangau

Linderhof

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Germany Part II

Alte Rathaus-city hall in Darmstadt
Our next assignment in Germany was to Darmstadt, a city in the state of Hesse about 20 miles south of Frankfurt.  When we first arrived there were no apartments available on the base and we had to rent a German one.  We found one about 25 miles from Darmstadt in a small village  called Goddelau.  Nice apartment, very new and modern, but like most German apartments it came with no light fixtures, no kitchen cupboards or sink  and no closets.  The Army gave us furniture, a stove and a refrigerator, the rest we had to buy.
We were there a few  months before we moved on post.
With our daughter older and starting school I managed to take a German class and I remember quite a bit of it, thankfully.
While living in Darmstadt we got involved in the sport of Volksmarching.  That's a noncompetitive series of walks, generally 10, 15 or 20 kilometers.  They were usually set up to take you through scenic areas, by castles and historic little towns.  We loved doing them and would frequently do 2 a weekend.  You earned a medal and got to eat lots of fresh grilled bratwurst and in the winter sip some warm gluhwine.
We went all over southern Germany to do marches and even did one in Belgium.
Mac's company commander was a believer in adventure training and he organized a 2 day journey down the Rhine River in assault boats---wives got to go for the first day.  He also organized a trip to Garmisch - Partenkirchen so we could all learn to ski.
Near Darmstadt are the remains of Castle Frankenstein.  Now you know with a name like that we had to visit it.
Volksmarch medals, not ours, have no idea what happened to all of ours.


Castle Frankenstein

We loved our time there and it remains  such a good memory, we were sorry to leave.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Germany Part I

Typical Army quarters, we had a 2 bedroom apartment.


As I mentioned yesterday we lived in Germany when Mac was in the Army.  Our first assignment was to Bad Kreuznach, a beautiful little town on the Nahe River.  It was a small town west of Frankfurt.   It's roots were deep, there was a Celtish settlement there as early as the 500's.  It became a walled city as early as the 13th century.  We thought it was beautiful
We were so young, I was just 21 and about 2 months pregnant with our daughter.  I had never flown before, had never been out of the country and spoke not a word of German. But the people were friendly, many spoke excellent English and most were kind about our poor Deutsch.   Our next door neighbor was a German (Friede) married to an American.  She had a daughter about 2 years younger than me and a son.  She took me in hand and saw to it that I didn't miss my Mother too much.
We spent 3 happy years there traveling to many parts of Europe --France, Paris, Nancy, Spain, Holland, Luxembourg.
It was the experience of a life time.  We fell in love with Germany and with Europe.  They played a big part in why Mac stayed in the Army, we loved living in Europe.
Alte Brücke, the Old Bridge House on the Nahe River, the houses dating from the 1400's.

Monday, May 16, 2016

New Blog I've Found

Last week one of my favorite bloggers, Marianne at Let's Read, posted a list of her 10 favorite non- book blogs.  I checked out the ones I wasn't familiar with and found Duolingo a free site for learning a new language.
Ah ha, what a good idea.  We're planning a trip for next year that includes Berlin, so what a good way to brush up on my German.
We lived in Germany off and on for 10 years while Mac was in the Army and at one time I could get around in Deutsch, but those days are long gone.  So I've been working at the Duolingo site and having fun rediscovering my German.
The one thing slowing me down, among many others, is that when I don't remember a word in
German I remember it in Spanish.  Too funny.
Maybe tomorrow I'll write about some of the places we lived in Germany.
Bis Morgen!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Liebster Award

Jo at Through the Keyhole gave me a Liebster (no auto-correct it's not a lobster award) Award and I want to thank her for thinking of me. I will try to answer the 10 questions she has given me.

The Liebster Award is a great way of discovering new blogs and to take part you should:-

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to his/her blog.
2 Copy and paste the Liebster Award badge to your post.
3. Answer the ten questions you've been asked.
4. Create ten new questions for the bloggers you are nominating.
5.Notify the bloggers that you have nominated.


1.  What was the last film you saw at the cinema?

We don't go to the movies much, usually wait for them to come out  on Netflix, but we did go see Jurassic World.  You have to see dinosaurs life-sized.

2.  Where would be your ideal place to live, town, country or coast?

I think I'd like to live in the country near the coast and that's pretty much where we live.  It's a small settlement  8 miles from town and it's near the coast.


3.  Do you have any pets?

Well of course we do, Miss Kitty owns this place and allows us to live here and take care of her.  Through the years we've had many cats, some dogs, a parrot named Paco con Carne and an iguana named Zilla Mae.

4.  What is your favorite area of the UK?

Love the Cotswolds and have stayed there many times, but Devon and Somerset are also big favorites of ours.

5.  What song annoys you?

Many songs do, particularly those full of hate and vulgarity.  My favorite music is from the 80's.

6.  What three things would you take to a desert island?

You mean besides a boat and Mac who'd row me home of course.  I'd take a solar powered laptop (is there such a thing), toilet paper and a Swiss Army knife.

7.  If you were given a million pounds, what would spend in on?

Some to our daughter, buy a place in England and some to charity, probably one of those that support Veterans.

8.  What would be your last meal?

Providing I still had teeth, a large Porterhouse steak, baked potato, broccoli and a mixed green salad.  No dessert.

9.  Have you ever met anyone famous?

I don't think so, though we once saw the late actor George C. Scott (think Patton) picking up his bags at the airport and we had Michael Palin autograph a book at Harrod's.

10.  What's your favorite take away?

We don't do take-away much, but when we do it's Col. Sanders Kentucky Fried Chicken, original recipe with mashed potatoes, coleslaw, rolls and gravy.


My 10 questions are:

1.  What was the last book you read?
2.  Favorite country to travel to  or place within your own country?
3.  What talent(s) do you have?
4.  Who does the cooking at your house?
5.  Would you rather travel by airplane, train, boat or car?
6.  Do you speak more than one language?
7.  Do you have a favorite tv show?
8.  What jobs have you had?
9.  Favorite flower?
10. Would you rather be a cat or a dog?

My nominees for the Liebster Award are:

Jennifer at Thistlebear
Mrs. Tiggywinkle at A Shropshire Patch
Rosie at Corners of My Mind
Justine at Down to Earth With a Bump
Kay at Georgia Girl With An English Heart

Please don't feel you have to answer the questions, but it'd be fun if you did.




Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Lantana

When I put a picture of my lantana tree on my blog several people said they'd never heard of a lantana tree and they're correct.  Lantana, which is a member of the Verbena family, is actually a shrub.  Shortly after moving here we were in a garden center and saw one that had been cultivated into appearing to be  a tree.  I loved it, looked at Mac and asked if he thought he could do it.  He looked at the plant closely and said he could.
So working with a lantana we'd rescued from the garden, it was dying, and putting it  by the driveway, he went to work.  He selected the largest stem, attached it to a pole and lopped off lower branches.  Each year it grew, he removed lower branches  and it looked more like a tree, so that's what I called it. Now it hardly grows any lower branches. We also have lantanas on each side of the driveway that he's also growing into trees.
Lantanas are interesting plants, we bought a couple when we first moved here and then found that they grow wild here have moved from people's yards. They've become naturalized to the southeastern United States, they don't need to be planted, they just move in on their own.
They're actually a tropical plant and usually found in tropical regions of the Americas and Africa.  It's also found in the South Pacific and is considered a problem in Australia.  They can take over and you sometimes have to be severe with them.  But I do appreciate a plant that can take care of itself.
Their leaves are poisonous to animals, but butterflies LOVE the flowers.  Sometime we'll go out in the summer and there'll be a dozen butterflies nipping around them.
So that's the story of my Lantana Tree.

Just started being trained

Notice the stem, that's how he trains them.

Wild Lantana


Butterflies love them!!!

This is one he started out by his garden, he hasn't trimmed the bottom yet, but he will.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Vacuum Suggestions

Nearly everyone suggested that I get a Dyson Animal Stick.  I think you all must have missed the line where I said the price must be cheap enough to not make me cry.  The Dyson is $499.00---that would make me cry and Mac sick!  I already hate the stairs and if I spent $500 to clean them I'd burn them down.  I have a vacuum that does the little area rugs downstairs and I Swiffer all the hardwood floors and tile.  Upstairs I have a good canister vac that does the rugs nicely.  What I need is a relatively inexpensive handvac that will only be used to do the stairs.
Mac, bless his heart vacuumed the stairs today.  Maybe I can get Miss Kitty to do them next time.
In the meantime I'm still looking for a relatively INEXPENSIVE  handvac.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day




Happy Mother's Day to all the women in my life and 2 special ladies who live in my heart:  my Mother Lorraine and my Mother-in-law Pattie.  Two special ladies who left much too early.
We Skpyed with our daughter this morning.  It's not as good as having her here, but it's so much better than just a phone call.  I get to see her sweet face and know that where she is makes her so happy--that makes me happy.
I opened my gifts from her while we Skyped, loads of goodies, her Japanese baseball teams's mascot--so cute, a little critter holding roses---it's Mother's Day in Japan too, little candies, bath fizzles and the most gorgeous tea towel, I'm not sure I can stand to use it.
Can't wait till our trip to Japan to see her!!!
Mac got me something I'd seen on E-bay and I fell in love with it.  It's a Villeroy and Boch Mother and Child cup---just gorgeous.
Plus I woke up to find a vase of flowers on my nightstand!!!
The weather is gorgeous, he's cooking lunch and I couldn't be happier.

Hope all of you have a wonderful Mother's Day/Sunday too.

The Gardenia is so sweet I'm surprised it didn't wake me up.






























All the little goodies including my stand-up kitty card

My cup, isn't it gorgeous!!!

Saturday in the Swamp

Beautiful cold day here, down to 36º last night and only expected to reach 60º today, but the sky is blue and it looks wintery. Lots to get...