Tag Archives: girl stuff

Cookies and Arrangements

23 Dec

Yesterday M and X came and we made two kinds of cookies and Christmas arrangements.

X brought a Sichuan dish of mung bean noodles with garlic, cilantro and herbs that we ate at room temperature.  We also had leftover venison chili on rice.  I made chai, which X and M had not had before.  That was a surprise to me.  We went over the various spices I used: cardamon, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, star anise.  Cardamon and nutmeg were not familiar to them.

We made chocolate chip cookies from the recipe on the yellow bag: a typical All-American cookie.  Chinese homes, they explained, do not have ovens and they had been at a loss to use the ones found in their apartments here.  X’s daughter and husband in particular wished her to learn how to use the oven to make cookies!  Chocolate chip cookies!  We made and decorated chocolate spritz Christmas tree cookies.

All that butter.  Another thing not used in Chinese cooking.

Then we went out and collected assorted greens, berries, and plant material for the arrangements.

M’s very lovely artistic result:

 

What I made for X:

That morning the Paperwhite narcissus Ellie gave me had come into full enough bloom that i cut them and added them to the arrangement already on our table.

We had such a lovely time.

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Feather Ornaments

23 Oct

Start with dead ring-necked pheasants.  Have your husband skin them instead of plucking!  Thanks to Jay I had two adult males and a hen.

Add some cardboard circles cut from a cereal box, scissors, a glue gun.

Cut and paste.  I  tend to use 6 or 8 feathers per round.  Three rounds, each smaller than the last.  Contrast, contrast, contrast!

Running out of feathers is not the problem.  The toxic fumes from the glue gun drove me outdoors from the shop, and then the breeze sprang up.

For the middle: a small antique button, usually one with a metal loop back which is hammered flat.  To finish,  glue heavy black upholstery fabric slightly larger than the circle and sandwich black cord between the board and fabric for a hanger.

Where the Wild Things Are

22 Oct

Last weekend we sent to the farm. A Monarch came back tot the house.  It was found in the grass beside a cornfield being battered by the wind and rain.  It lived in the kitchen for over a day and then went outside. A second one was seen flying around the next day up by the airstrip.

Monday friends from overseas came to supper.  M especially liked the squirrels!

The mornings are colder now.  A bow hunter parked in the lane this morning.  It is deer season.  Jay went out and shot a pheasant with a bow!  A first!

When walking, the crunchy noise emanating from the drifts and layers of leaves  is so delightful it often takes my mind off what was being thought about.

One topic of repeated consideration is how much God has used/ is using Hawthorne to teach me about parenting.  Here are today’s thoughts:

Because of the hunter, this morning Hawthorne was on a leash for most of our time together.  He tends to pull, wanting me to go faster, or the way he wishes.  Not unlike a teen.  What works best?  Each time he pulls, I stop and stand still until he comes toward me, making the line slack.  It takes a long time to actually go anywhere by this method since it has to be repeated every few seconds for the first ten minutes.  But gradually he remembers.  Near the the end of the walk he kept the line taut but never pulled hard and always gave way if I slowed down or changed direction.  Then he went off lead for the last two fields home.  Hurrah!   Our children also have pulled on the lead ropes, wanting their head, wanting their way before we parents thought it was time.  And the best way to train them is to not give in.  And not yell.  Just quietly refuse to do business with their ideas of what is appropriate and slowly walk on.  And let them loose when it is time.

The girl just had a (to her) significant birthday: we will now allow her to wear a modicum of eye and face makeup.  The leash is loosening.  and today i heard her say that this year was going to be “the best: no lying, no deception!”  Straining at the leach.  I’m sure.

Blessings

12 Oct

It is raining now, but the days have been so sunny.

This morning I walked through a yellow leaf fall: unlike rain it is very specifically local, unlike snow, it is not cold.  And it lasts only as long as the wind and leaves do.

Hawthorne has been having a high old time chasing geese off the fields.  A few hundred.  See the background photo.

Still picking raspberries.  Huge thumb-sized ones.  And this afternoon late I went and picked up 50-75 pounds of large potatoes from the research fields which were harvested today.  The research of my SIL.

Of course this was after Sv and I made a run to where I thought the fields were and found potatoes that had been harvested days ago and were turning green.  But we picked some up anyway.  And then I got through to L and…  I picked up good ones for Sv.

Still spinning.  Hawthorne thinks he wants to learn.  Not really, but he routinely comes and bumps my hands while I spin.

The girl actually made muffins!.  Oatmeal cinnamon chocolate chip.  And they were fine!  A little bit oily for me, but tasted just fine!

Monday she and a friend and I drove up to a large mall so she could spend some early Birthday money and have her birthday gift of a consultation at Sephora.  woo-hoo!  After the day itself, she will be allowed (finally, she says) to wear some daily make up.  We all rode the carousel.

Am reading a second book on a Nook from the library, Ann Pachett’s State of Wonder.   Someone else likes it because it has the game Angry Birds on it.  I think I prefer a real book.  An also reading The Help.

At the mall bought a new lampshade.  The light is much brighter now in the living room, pointing up the fact we have not painted the ceiling in over 25 years.  And that we had spiderwebs.  And that we should have started the dehumidifier earlier.  Those can all be remedied.

There will be one quince to harvest from the new tree!

The trees are almost at peak color.

There are still flowers in bloom.  Lots of species, actually.

MSG and emotional volatility

10 Oct

For some time I have suspected that the emotions of our daughter may be influenced by MSG.

She really likes ramen noodles.  The taste of them, rather.  Those little flavor packets containing MSG high up on the ingredient list.

Myself, I get migraines if too much MSG is ingested.  Since I cook most of our food from scratch, that leaves only snack-type stuff.  Which we do not routinely have in the home.

The girl didn’t think MSG had any impact.  So Saturday lunch we ran a little test.  She had ramen.  I added a half cup of homemade salsa, and a bit of onion and carrot.  She complained that they did not taste like they should.  It seems she uses half the water the recipe calls for.  Hmm.

In nine hours time she was saying things she should not have.  Then bedtime.

The next morning (Sunday) the extreme emotional volatility continued until about 6.00 PM.  It was a day of hell.

My few minutes of research on Pubmed this morning indicates 1)L-glutamate is the primary excitatory neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system (CNS).  This paper indicates that if the glutamate removal system is impaired, your retina (ergo your eyesight) will suffer.  Not to mention the neurotransmitter will just keep those neurons firing.

2) MSG is used to induce metabolic syndrome (obesity and its attendant characteristics) in lab animals.

3) Exposure to glutamate in young lab animals can induce seizures (think epilepsy).  Makes sense: an exitatory neurotransmittor set loose in a young, still  forming brain…

4)MSG is used as the agonist (stimulator) of choice where measurements of specific brain activity in research mice where measurements are needed.

 

Today, it must be noted, she was sweet as pie.  And she seems more amenable, at this time, about watching the contents of what she eats.

 

Catch and Release

9 Oct

The forefinger largehairy caterpillar eating on the Milkweed fell off the plant I picked so it did not come home to be photographed.  It sure was not a monarch larva.  It was a caterpillar.

The red darning needle dragonfly was rattling under a piece of grass.  Freeing it, holding it in my hand, wondering if I should set it free or keep it for cards.  It was a spectacular  bright red.  It flew off just then and I was happy the decision was made for me.

The Black Swallowtaillarva went back out into the dill and promptly disappeared.  It overwinters as a pupa so perhaps it got ready for winter.

We found one Katydid still alive and kicking in the long grass verge on the side of the corn field.

Earl and Merle Squirrel have increased their range dramatically.  They now go over the lower roof to the west side of the house, they meet us at the door, and this afternoon Earl was on top of the freezer in the back room; I gave him a chestnut, got hold of him and he jumped onto the door and up over the roof.

Jay took Isabelle hunting Saturday and they came home with one goose.

 

And while we were cleaning up the garden, we thought maybe the answer to higher food prices is to feed out the turnips.  One of these would feed a family for a couple days.  Or even longer if no one likes turnips! Turnips as large as your head.


Turkey and Quilts

1 Oct

Happy October First!  The Morning Glories were glorious indeed this morning.  There were more than 45 blooms.  Perhaps they sense their time is just about up?

Jay went turkey hunting this first morning of the season and returned with a nice hen he met on the edge of the cornfield.

Hawthorne was very excited by the arrival of the bird.

 

Ellie and I went to the perennial county quilt show.  There were about 10 Civil War era quilts on display there from the county history museum which were made in this county.  Here are two:

This was made by a member of the Treman family of Trumansburg.  Lots pf striped fabrics. 

Incredibly beautiful.  And below, a silk quilt, perhaps made by Quakers since it is backed with the same drab brown cotton they used to line their silk dresses.

The docent from the museum who shared a bit about these quilts said that the silk in this quilt came from Paris and was of higher quality than Victorian era silks and thus had not shattered.  I asked what the difference in the silks was.

It seems that silk from China was sold on a weight per pound basis and to make the fabric weigh more the element lead was added during processing.  It also gave the silk the nice weight and rustle when used in dresses. The lead, though, also caused the premature decay (shatter) of the silk itself.

French silk, on the other hand, contains no lead.  It also does not rustle.  It shsh’s.

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