Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Almost too embarrassed to post...

... but, I guess, more embarrassed if I don't update and try to do better in the future.

I started out with a personal commitment to update my blog weekly. For some reason, after the last post 2 months ago, I got discouraged. It seemed like a lot was happening in my head but nothing worth sharing. And when I did do something I wanted to share, I forgot to take photos and then lacked the motivation to try writing expressively enough to create a mental image of my activities. So here I am, again committing to update the blog at least once a week.

Really, a lot HAS happened - some good and some not so good. I tried several new recipes and most turned out good enough to go in the 'save' category. I made two great loaves of Ciabatta bread and forgot to take photos. It's definitely a bread that's good the first and second days but loses it's delectable qualities after that. One recipe worth sharing is for a "10 Minute Spaghetti Sauce" although I can't vouch for the quality after ten minutes because I simmered mine for about an hour. I used my home canned tomatoes instead of store-bought chopped tomatoes so I had to reduce the extra juice. Here's the recipe:

Ten Minute Spaghetti Sauce - from America's Test Kitchen
  • 1/4 cup grated sweet onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Melt the butter in a saute pan. Add the onion and seasonings and saute until the onion browns, about 5 minutes.

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28 ounces canned tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
Mix these ingredients in a saucepan and add the sauteed onion. Heat at high until simmering, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
The sauce was delicious - I think probably the best I've made at home, including some that have simmered for hours. I learned that onion sauteed in unsaturated fat becomes stronger and harsh in flavor but onion sauteed in saturated fat, such as butter or coconut oil, becomes sweeter and milder and renders more flavor.

What follows are some of the things that happened with a few photos I did remember to take.

May 18 to June 8 - Dad came to visit. Wanda took a trip to the midwest with her sister so Dad decided to use his ticket from Christmas and come to visit us in Evergreen. 
Here's a photo of Dad on the deck on May 24th. It was a beautiful day, just a bit on the cool side for Dad. He's used to the 100 degree plus weather in Las Vegas!

We had a nice visit and enjoyed Dad's time here. Dad was scheduled to return to Las Vegas on June 8th. Dad's birthday is June 10 and Ken's birthday is June 13 so we had a family birthday dinner on the evening of June 7 so we could celebrate with Dad still in Colorado. 

Perla ordered the cake and did the decorating for the birthday celebration - what a great job! Look at this luscious platter of chocolate dipped strawberries that she created!
Another exciting happening - the Evergreen Rodeo! We had beautiful weather for the rodeo this year - Father's Day weekend. We usually can count on cold, rainy weather for the rodeo. Since this may be my "last rodeo", I very much appreciated the warm weather and sunshine.

Here's a photo of one of the little guys being helped onto a sheep for the Mutton Bustin' competition.

 And these are two shots of a bull rider who drew a very nasty bull. In the second photo, the rider is still hanging on and the bull is charging a cowboy who is climbing the gate to try to escape the bull's oncoming horns:

By the way - this rider did make the eight-second ride! Only three riders that night made it to the signal. I think this cowboy came in 2nd place in the competition and earned some money and points toward the big rodeo this fall in Las Vegas.

We had a serious hail and wind storm on Friday, June 11 - one week before the rodeo. I was at the office during the storm and watched the large marble/small ping pong ball sized hail stones hitting the windows, building, ground, vehicles. The highway department had to call out the snow plows to clear the roads and there were two accidents on the slick, deeply watered road that we could see from the office. My vehicle ended up with little dimples on the hood from the hail. The insurance adjuster was here last Thursday - I need a new roof, replacement of some gutter downspouts and the west and south sides of the house need to be refinished. The bottoms of both garage doors were beat up and some pieces missing - I'm not sure yet what I'll do about those but may need to replace both doors.

The cottonwood tree at my house had just nicely leafed out so it was full and provided a lot of shade to the west end of the house with it's shiny new green leaves. Here's a picture of it after it was battered by the hail. Hardly enough leaves left to shade a bird on a branch.

And here are the remains of the hail on my deck - more than two hours after the storm had ended. And notice all the tattered cottonwood leaves amidst the hailstones...

I was quite concerned about the welfare of the birds and was encouraged to find this little guy stopping by for dinner later the evening of the hail storm.

This is all that was left of my hanging tomato planter - I guess I probably shouldn't save it for next season :-)

And speaking of tomato plants, mine survived the hail storm. The storm came from the west and pounded everything in it's path. The tomato plants were on the east side of the house and are still doing very well. This is a photo of the plants on June 11, the evening of the hail storm - not big in size but unscathed by the hail.

This photo is from tonight - strong and healthy and grown quite a bit in the past month.

I even have nine blossoms in different stages. This photo shows one blossom that's ready to start growing fruit in a few days and one that's still in full flower stage.

I'm not sure what's going on with this tomato plant. It's supposed to be a hardy Amish Canner but it didn't want to grow when I first transplanted them. After about three weeks of no change from it laying limp on the soil, I gave up and quit watering it. There was no change for about a week. Then, all of a sudden, it seemed to realize that it had been abandoned and started screaming "watch me! look at me! I can grow!!!" and it did. So I've started watering it again even though it has no hope of catching up and producing tomatoes in the time left for our season. But how can I give up on it now?

And lastly, I've spent a ton of time knitting on the blanket for Valerie, Amol and Sam. I'm finally down to the last section - a cabled border. I've done one side so far and I'm about 8" up the second side. Each side is about six feet so it's going to take awhile. The project has gotten so large that I have to keep the main part of the blanket resting on this table while I hold the small working section in my lap. It's the only way I can manage the mass of it.

You'll have to check Kristine's blog to see if there is a report of the 4th of July meal at her house. She made a delicious chicken and biscuit dish and we had a very nice day. I didn't take my camera :-(


  1. Yay! Glad to see you back online! Woo hoo!
    And loving how that colour of green looks in a large block. So gentle and snuggly...
    Things are looking good for our timelines so you'd best take leave from work so you can finish it up in the next couple weeks :-)
    Love you!

  2. Woohoo! She's blogging again! I can't tell you how surprised I was when I checked, expecting to once again see the entry from May 3. Work it, girl.