Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Common Ground Fair

Saturday at the Common Ground Fair
Common Ground Fair

Forgive the shakiness, but it was cold and windy in the morning.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Quiet Friday Joy

Ocean Point, E. Boothbay, Maine
(taken Dec. 24, 2006)
One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, "What if I had never seen this before? What if I never see it again?" ~ Rachel Carson

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mother Nature Loves to Mess with Your Head

I’m convinced of this. One day you’re dragging out the long sleeves, the woolies and the mittens…the next you’re back to tee’s & capri’s. It’s starting to be that time of year when you have to plan your wardrobe for both summer and autumn to simultaneously occur in one day – so today it’s a short sleeve top with a cardigan, jeans and ballet shoes (no socks) and I’m fully aware that at some point today, one part of my body will freeze while a different one sweats to death.

Now that the mornings are more on the chilly side, I find myself dreaming of digging out those toasty sweaters, starting the woodstove and making French onion soup…which I had the worst craving for last night, but didn’t have the ingredients.

And speaking of food – I’ve come to realize that I haven’t been very creative with my meals lately and really need to remedy this. Even though I’m only cooking for myself, there’s no reason to eat the same-old same old, boring, blah food all the time. I’ve started looking for recipes for things that are out of the ordinary (for me) but can be created whilst still sticking to the budget. And in my travels through internet recipe sites, I found this recipe that sounds like complete yumminess:

Boursin Cheese and Caramelized Onion Phyllo Packages

2 Tbsp. Butter
2 cups sliced onion
6 sheets phyllo dough
4 Tbsp. Butter, melted
¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 packages (5.2 oz.) Boursin Garlic & Fine Herbs Cheese
Chives, for garnish

In large, non-stick skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. Butter over medium heat. Cook onions, stirring occasionally 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. If desired, season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Lay one sheet of phyllo on a clean flat surface and lightly brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Cover with a second sheet of phyllo, brush with butter and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Cover with a third sheet of phyllo, brush with butter and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Cut phyllo stack down center crosswise and lengthwise to form 4 equal rectangles. Repeat process with remaining phyllo sheets.

Quarter each cheese round and flatten slightly to form eight 2 ½-inch-wide disks. Place one disk in center of each rectangle and top with about 1 round tablespoon caramelized onions. Fold the long sides up and over the middle to cover the cheese and onions. Fold the two remaining sides over to create rectangle shaped package.

Place seam side down on a non-stick baking pan lightly coated with cooking spray and brush each package with melted butter. Refrigerate 1 hour. Bake at 425 degrees Farenheit for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

I will have to cut this in half (so I’m not eating Boursin Cheese and Caramelized Onion Phyllo Packages for lunch and dinner for a week!), but doesn’t that sound fantastic? I can’t wait to try it! I better add Boursin to my grocery list…and phyllo…and chives…and parmesan, maybe onions too – man it really has been a while since I last grocery shopped; about the only thing I have is butter. Sad, so very very sad.

Anyhoo, have a lovely, lovely day. I am off tomorrow for a 3 day weekend filled with shed cleaning, dump running, a visit here on Saturday with my friend Nicky and a visit here to celebrate a very special person on Sunday.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


It's hard to believe that this sweet itty bitty thing

has become this sweet big goofball!

My Nymbus is officially ONE!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Must Be Something About September...

That makes me want to paint. Remember these ugly things? They're my kitchen cabinets that I painted last September
They ended up looking like this - all pretty and white and yellow. Only, this photo is deceptive...you can't see how streaky and icky looking the lower cabinets really are. I got so sick of painting by that time that I gave up and dealt with streaky, poorly painted (despite the 5 coats of paint on them) lower cabinets for the past year...until yesterday.
Out came the paint and paint brushes
and now, after 2 coats of white and 3 coats of yellow,
my lower cabinets are pretty, too!
Now I just have to finish the handles (the ones on the right have been baked, the ones on the left need to be and I still have 5 more to clay...and I have to buy some clear spray varnish)
The best part about the kitchen cabinets being done...the floor's next. Oh how I feel giddy at the thought of RIPPING UP THAT DAMN UGLY FLOOR! (seriously, go back to the pictures and look at that god awful floor - ewwwww!)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Quiet Friday Joy

Sunflower picture taken by Cathy Leonard
"Some pursue happiness; you create it"
~ inside a fortune cookie

(oh, and your lucky numbers are 1, 2, 8, 17, 40, 43)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Brrrrr....it's cold out there!

It was a brisk 36°F this chilly Maine morning! I double layered when I walked Sadie, but wished that I had a hat and mittens on. I guess I've been denying that seasonal change for long enough; time to stop clinging to those remnants of summer.

I'm a little weirded out, right now, though. You see, normally by mid-august I start having these "Oh my god summer is over and I didn't do anything and what am I doing with my life and why am I still here in this state when there are a million opportunities out there for me somewhere esle, what's keeping me here?" (only jam the words together and say them really fast without stopping for a breath) thoughts; it's that Autumn Expectation feeling - the feeling that I need to go somewhere and do something different and start over. But, so far, that feeling hasn't come...which is so weird because that feeling ALWAYS comes. Rather than that feeling of change and upheaval, though, there is this calm sense of...smooth sailing, I guess; it's like on a subconscious level, I know that everything is working itself out properly and falling into place at just the right moment for me. I'm not used to that feeling this time of year; it's wonderful!

It all started in January when I started a better paying job, doing something that I enjoy and everything else just seemed to follow:
  • my brother moved in, so I'm not feeling strapped for cash
  • I've had plenty of time off to enjoy this summer
  • I got to hang out with friends and wander around Portland, Rockland and Damariscotta
  • Saw a musical with my mother
  • hit the farmer's market often
  • started making bread regularly
  • learned how to make preserves and can dilly beans
  • camped outside on Ambajejus Lake, hung out with my office peeps, went to Baxter State Park, saw a moose, turtles, foxes, and learned about birds from my boss' husband
  • hung out with my sister & her friends, took a hike to a spectacular waterfall and saw people white water rafting
  • went swimming
  • joined Weight Watchers and lost 25 lbs!
  • cut my long hair short and dyed it for the first time in 5 years
  • planted my garden (and built a fence around it by myself)
  • cleared out my backyard with the help of my sister, my nephew and a lot of help from my brother (who really has done more than his fair share!)
  • did all the tax requirements to make Faery Tree Creations a real business entity and started working on stuff to sell
  • saw and hung out with family that I hadn't seen in over 4 years
  • enjoyed many evenings reading on the porch
  • bought a new camera

I feel like I've done so much already this year and it seems that any issues that arise, quickly resolve themselves...like:

  • the issue we had about not getting firewood in time to dry out before winter (because of some jerk who was taking advantage of the rising wood prices and didn't deliver the 10 cord of wood that Mum ordered at the beginning of July at $180 a cord). It was resolved last night - 3 cord are on their way in the next week or so (at a higher price unfortunately, but oh well) and my brother just found some guy giving away wood for FREE! (about 3 cord, trees and thick branches, 4 foot lengths)...so now we will have more than I orginally planned for!
  • the thought that I wasn't going to be able to afford the trip to Massachusetts for my cousin's wedding in October based on hotel room prices, gas prices, etc. etc. but I talked to my sister last night and she, my niece and I are going to ride down together, share a room and split the costs! Score!
  • my worry about the rising cost of...well...everything, has now been countered with the realization that next month is a 3 paycheck month and I will have enough money to pay off my truck loan, thus reducing my monthly bills! WHOO-HOO!! Which means that there will be even more "extra" money each month (aside from what I am saving having my brother live at the house)

See - everything is falling into place at the right moment. Now I just need the worry about retaining my job after elections to resolve itself positively and in my favor (as in, leadership is impressed with my job performance, keeps me in this job and gives me a raise on top of that)!

Alright, enough with the ridiculously long post - I'm cutting out of work early on some firewood related business, so enjoy your Thursday folks!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Good Morning, Morning Glory

Morning Glory Mosaic

I love how morning glories will spring up in places where you didn't plant them!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Comic Relief at My House

When my sister comes over, most of her visit is spent talking and watching scenes similar to this...for the ENTIRE time she is there!

I hope you laugh as much as we do!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Been out of commission

Don't ask me what I did, but whatever it was, it did a number on my lower back!

I've been pretty much in pain since last Tuesday. I went to the doctor on Wednesday (my chiropractor was off) and she gave me pills...which didn't do much for the pain and one of them I was allergic to - not a pretty sight! On Thursday, I went to my chiropractor and she adjusted me. By 6:00 that night, I was able to walk better - I'm not sure why I bother with the doctor anymore...really, I always end up with pills that don't do much and half the time I have a reaction!

I'm still a little gimpy today, but I'm getting better and better!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

What's in Your Backyard?....again

Remember this picture from way back in April...when I started cleaning out and reclaiming my backyard?
Well, since my brother moved in, he's been cleaning up in earnest! Out came the fence and all the left over junk; the sand (we used to have a pool in this spot when I was a kid) has been dug down and raked...
and he's even building up a rock retaining wall!
It's just so clean and starting to look so pretty!
Next year, I need a better plan for the garden. I didn't utilize my space wisely, didn't plant the potatoes properly, my beans got mold towards the end, my carrots could have been thinned better and I think my tomatoes are diseased. But my cucumbers did well and I do have one little pumpkin and three zucchinis that are doing wonderfully. Ah, every year with a garden is a learning experience!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Fruits (and vegetables) of My Labor (day weekend)

I wish I could go back to August of 1997 and have a good long conversation with my 20 year old self before I embarked upon the adventure that was my first apartment. In that conversation I would have given myself three vital pieces of advice: 1) alcohol is not your friend and the money that you would save by not drinking could be used as a down payment on your first car, 2) buy a bread machine and stock up on the ingredients to make bread and 3) learn to make jam!

If I had had these three useful bits of info (and actually listened to it), not only would I have saved some money, but I wouldn't have spent the last month of my 3rd year at University eating canned soup for lunch and dinner (I would have had bread and jam to go along with that soup!)!

I never realized just how easy it is to make jam - why on earth did it take me this long to learn?

Saturday, Mum and I put up Strawberry, Raspberry and Pear-Apple Jam (the pear-apple was a complete experiment that turned out amazing!)
Then I snapped 5 pounds of green beans and learned how to use
the water bath canner
to make Dilly Beans!
I'm hooked now - I will never be jamless (or dilly bean less) in the winter again!