Sunday, December 31, 2006

Office Hours

I spend a lot of time in my office. Mostly because the @$(**% dial up internet service is so slow that it takes me a long time to get anything accomplished. I dream of DSL and Broad Band, but alas, until our illustrious legislature recognizes the fact that they need to be thrown kicking and screaming into the 21st century in order to keep up with the rest of the nation, we will be destined to keep falling behind and I will keep getting irritated every time I log on.

However, rant over, while I wait for the maddeningly slow dialup to update my various websites and blog, I look dreamily out my office window, enjoying the ever changing view of the seasons. Today dawned beautiful with a rosy hue in the blue sky and the crystalline white twinkling of new fallen snow. What a sight to behold first thing in the morning! As I sit here, updating my blog with the radio behind me quietly playing soothing classical music, it's difficult to be too irritated about anything. I think I'll spend much of today sitting in my office enjoying the mood du jour.

We stopped by Home Depot yesterday for some light clips and ended up purchasing some things for next year's Christmas decorating along with a few totes in which to store them and a few other things that needed to be taken out of the cardboard boxes in which they have been stored for the past 4 years.

In keeping with my minimalist lifestyle, my Christmas decorations did not quite fill up one tote, so I have several left over for other things! I think it will take several decades for my garage to look like Zoey's storage area. "-)

I stepped outside to get a look at the beautiful snow we had yesterday and I while I love the snow, I couldn't help but look longingly at the two Adirondack chairs in the yard and remember the wonderful summer afternoons lounging after a hard day's work in the garden. Sigh.

Monday, December 25, 2006

I'm Thankful for All My Blessings

The list of things for which I am truly blessed is so long that I cannot possibly mention them all in one sitting.

So, to begin -
  • I am blessed with a wonderful, loving and supportive family.
  • I am blessed to still have both my parents who are in excellent health and very active. I can only hope to have inherited their genes.
  • I am blessed with two grown sons who are healthy, happy, hardworking (and handsome, I might add)
  • I am blessed with two beautiful daughters-in-law
  • I am blessed with two beautiful, lively grandchildren
  • I am blessed with a husband who has been my soul mate for over 40 years
  • I am blessed with good health
  • I am blessed to be living in the most beautiful place on earth (Maine, in my opinion)

May you all be abundantly blessed, as well

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve

After much frustration and trying to get Blogger to let me post photos, I finally gave up the ghost and tried Firefox browser and voila! I can once again post photos. So, my blogger gardening friends, here is my Christmas wish to all!

Santa, Santa, wish implanter, how does your garden grow? With Jingle Bells and Merry Elves and lots of Hoe, Hoe, Hoe!

Wishing you all things green and beautiful in the coming year,

The Giddy Garden Gnome

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Winter Sunset

I've been a bit busy with Christmas preparations and trying to get my annual Christmas Newsletter out, so I haven't had much time to blog. However, last night's sunset was just spectacular! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 09, 2006

What to Bring?

The round of annual holiday parties is beginning and I usually try to take a little something to add to the goodies table. Today, I'm bringing a Cranberry Almond Baked Brie.
Roll out a sheet of puff pastry into a rectangle and cut off the amount needed to make a square. On a baking sheet, place the brie into the middle of the square, top with whole cranberry sauce

and chopped or slivered almonds and pull up the corners of the pastry. Squeeze the middle of the "crown" and arrange the tops of the corners decoratively. Cut out as many leaf shapes as you can out of the remaining pastry dough and score with the back of a knife to look like the veins in leaves. Chill in fridge for about an hour. With pastry brush, glaze with an egg wash of one egg and one tsp water beaten together. Bake in 400 degree oven til golden brown. Serve with crackers of choice. It looked a whole lot better in person! And, it was quite tasty!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

More Christmas Decorating

Being minimalist by nature, I don't do a lot of decorating for the holidays, however, I do have my favorite things that I bring out for the occasion; the big green ceramic Christmas tree my mother made in her ceramic crafting days, the small white, glittery one she made, the pair of angels, and lots of white lights on the deck and on the ficus tree (we leave the tree ones up all year and call them our "happy lights")!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Winter Has Finally Arrived In Maine!

Last weekend, I was still hanging out my laundry to dry in the fresh ocean breeze. I'll bet I didn't use the dryer more than three times since April! It's not that I need to save electricity, but I like the fact that I'm using sunshine and fresh air to dry the laundry; that and I just love the way the clothes smell, especially the sheets. There's something very special about getting into a freshly made bed with sheets that have hung out in the air all day long. Makes for a really good night's sleep and reminds me of my youth.However, yesterday brought our first snowfall and what a beautiful one it was. I was at work, and unable to get any good photos of the event. We had about 2 inches of a freezing snow; the tree limbs all looked as though they were hung with crystal ornaments. My office looks out over a small lake (or "pond" as they call them up here), and yesterday I had to gather all my coworkers together to look outside at the setting sun shining over the pond. It was truly a picture perfect sight to behold with the golden sun shining on the snow crystals. I only wish I had my camera with me at work. I think I'll do that from now on! I did get a quick picture of the yard decked out in it's first snowcoat.

I also put up a few Christmas decorations this weekend. We don't do much decorating, but we like to have lights. Here's my front porch decorations with the snowman greeting everyone!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Lost Toolbar

Blogger has not allowed me to post for the past several days, so I have a lot of catching up to do! Seems that my "cache" was full, or whatever, and I lost my toolbar. I have it back now, so here goes!

My son, the Florida gardener, sent me a Red Dwarf Banana pup last May and I dutifully potted her up and waited til things warmed up a bit before putting her outside on the deck, where she promptly pouted and refused to grow. With the warmer weather, however, she slowly began to grow and by the time I was ready to bring the plants in for the winter, she had grown considerably and produced three, count 'em, three pups! She is now over 2 1/2 feet tall and I have once again transplanted her into a yet larger pot. This one takes both H and I to pick up and move.My usual daily breakfast is a small container of yogurt, 1/3 cup of Fiber One cereal and two tablespoons of roasted sunflower seeds, however, on rare occasion, H will say, "How about a few eggs and sausage for breakfast"? Sounded good this morning and since I knew we were going to have lots of exercise between cleaning the house and going for our traditional 3 mile walk, I agreed. We owned a bed and breakfast for 8 years and, well, just plain 'ole eggs and sausage are kind of dull, so I stepped out into the 26 degree cold this morning to snip some of the last of the parsley in the garden and added it, chopped of course, to the 8 eggs, 3/4 cup of milk, 1 tsp Dijon Mustard and the left over bits of cheddar, American Cheese and the last of the Pepper Jack chees. Salt and pepper to taste, mix the whole thing up, put it into a buttered tart pan and sprinkled the top with paprika. Into the oven at 350 for about 25 minutes and by the time the sausages were nicely crisp, the Cheese Puff was ready to eat. YUM!!!!

Ah, yes, I remember the good old days when we arose at 4:30 in order to get the guest's breakfast ready! Now we awake at 4:30, have coffee in bed and read the newspaper til it's time to roust ourselves out and get going. Life is Good! "-)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Busy Hands are Happy Hands

I have trouble just sitting and doing nothing. It's an inherited trait, I think. My mother and sons have the same problem; we simply cannot slow down.

One of my favorite winter projects is knitting - nothing fancy, just something simple to keep my fingers busy while I'm sitting down in the evening, watching tv. I usually knit scarves for all the ladies in my family, but they have quite enough now, so I've switched over to pot holders. My fingers can fly and I don't have to pay attention to what I'm doing so it's quite a nice little hobby. I've already given quite a few away, but these are a few of the ones I have left. I usually finish one in an evening so I suspect I'm going to have quite an inventory before spring rolls around and I can get back into the garden. Guess what the family is getting for Christmas this year, and next year, and the year after that????? "-)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Presents for the coworkers

Since my co workers don't read my blog, I'm safe in sharing this secret. There are 7 of us in the clinic office and every year we close early on Christmas Eve for a Clinic Party. The whole clinic swaps names for gifts, but us "girls" in the office give each other just a little something. My gift this year is a holiday bag filled with things I have made. I painted small terra cotta pots and saucers gold, tied a raffia ribbon around the pot, put in a large votive candle and hot glued reindeer moss, spruce cones, hazelnuts and artificial winterberry into the saucer. Everything came from my yard with the exception of the winterberry. Had to buy artificial ones since the Cedar Waxwings ate every last one on the property!

Here's a close up!

The holiday bag will also include a small jar of the Apple Butter I made this autumn, along with a recipe for Apple Butter Nut Bread. I think they will be surprised!

My workshop is in the new garage. It was supposed to be a potting bench, but it has turned out to be quite the "crafting bench" instead. Thank goodness for the kerosene heater to keep the work space warm! Below is Giddy's workshop. Oops! Just noticed that glass of Chardonnay on the bench!

Friday, November 24, 2006

It' s All Over But the Groaning!

Thanksgiving Dinner was a quiet affair with our neighbors, all of whom are around our age, no children at home and families far away, so we annually get together and celebrate the day in friendship.

The brined turkey turned out great, as did both dressings (cornbread and sage), the sweet potato casserole and Brussels Sprouts. One neighbor brought a salad and two bottles of lovely Riesling and the other brought two pies (pumpkin and pecan) and bottle of soft Merlot. Good food, good drink, good friends and an afternoon of conviviality - what a delightful time we had even though I ate too much! Groan

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Prepping for Winter

This past weekend was busy with a capital "B"! The weather on Saturday was mild and beautiful so we spent the entire day outside cleaning up the last of the window boxes, tearing out dead Cosmos, pruning back perennials, planting daffodil and hyacinth bulbs, scattering spruce seeds in bare spots of the woods and last but not least - H and I put the plow on the truck in anticipation of the coming (sooner or later) snow. H likes to think the plow is named after him!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The New Sconces

Blogger wouldn't let me post any more photos on the last blog, so here is a picture of the aforementioned new sconces!

Giddy's Most Excellent Day Off

Wednesdays are my day off from work and it's always a struggle to decide whether to stay home and do something around the house or pack up the backpack and head over to Acadia for a hike.
Today loomed gloomy and foggy, but since we had not had the opportunity to hike in a while, we decided to pack all our troubles in the old kit bag and hike, hike, hike! We hit our favorite trail, which runs along a normally cute little creek and we generally stop for a picnic along the trail, at a spot on the water, next to the trail. This is a picture of our "spot" in mid September:

This is the same spot today after 2 inches of rain on Monday!

Needless to say, we did not stop for a snack! After our hike, we stopped by a favorite watering hole in Bar Harbor and had a lovely lunch overlooking the harbor. On our way back home, we stopped by Home Depot to pick up a couple of sconces for our bedroom. Our bedroom is quite small, so we look for anything we can to make room on our end tables.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Puttin' Pine in the Barrels

We had a beautiful day up here, way up north; the sun was out, it was warm and the frost had finally made toast of my whiskey barrel plantings. Soooo, time to get out the clippers and raid the neighbor's property for some pine boughs to decorate the pots for winter. Our neighbor has lots of pine trees, so a bit of pruning each year just does them good. We had the spruce blow down during the windstorm a couple of weeks ago, so I had plenty of fodder there.

This is one of the barrels at the top of the drive. I was going to put some winterberry in for color, but the Cedar Waxwings flew by and had a buffet there the other day! The bushes were absolutely stripped of any berries. I did manage to prune the red twig dogwood for a wee bit of color anyway. Once Thanksgiving is over, I'll add a few red bows.

The barrel sitting in the middle of the new daylilly bed looks a bit bland at the moment, but I'm going to put some of the Ponderosa Pine Cones in there later and red velvet bows to brighten it up for the holidays. We had some dead white birch in the woods with interesting lichen and fungi on it, so I put it in front of the barrel with some of the downed spruce boughs.

Of course, H had to get a picture of me hiding behind the barrel with my International Orange vest on. It's hunting season up heah, deah! One doesn't venture into the woods without it lest one be mistaken for a tasty target.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Healthful Eating

Because I work in the health care field, I'm accutely aware of the burgeoning obesity problem in our country. Diabetes is rampant, as are high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a myriad of other diet related issues. So, it has been my goal to clean up my dietary act and try to eat healthfully while still maintaining all the flavor in my food. Not an easy chore! We've all become accustomed to the flavor fats and sugar in our diets deliver. I won't even go into what white flour does to one's insulin levels.

With that in mind, I'm trying to devise a Thanksgiving menu that will deliver the flavor and not the "other" stuff. Today, I'm preparing a recipe I found on line for Cranberry Walnut Pumpkin Pie - with a few minor changes to create a more heart friendly dessert. Changes I made are in red print.

First to go is the white flour/transfat crust!

Instead, the "crust" is made by putting 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, 1 cup walnuts, 1 tsp vanilla and 1/4 C. brown sugar (yes, a little sugar won't hurt) into the food processor. Chop til cranberries are very small.

Spray a deep dish pie plate with Pam or other canola oil spray. Press the above mixture evenly on the bottom of the plate.

In a large bowl, mix 3 large eggs, a 15 oz can of pumpkin, 1/2 C. Splenda, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp ground cloves ( I increased the amount of spices to add more flavor) and 1 C. evaporated milk til thoroughly incorporated. Pour mixture over the cranberry "crust". Place in 425 degree oven for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 40 - 50 minutes or until tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Serve with a spritz of light cream on top.

I'm happy to report the pie is delicious! The cranberry walnut crust gives it a needed crunch and the cranberries add a bit of sweet/tart flavor that is quite nice. The only thing I would change is to bake it in a regular pie plate rather than a deep dish. If baking in a deep dish, cut the baking time to about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Gnome's Work is Never Done!

We finally had that first killing frost on Friday. Needless to say, the weekend work has been endless. H and I cut up the trees that had blown down over last weekend's big windstorm. Gratefully, most of them were dead spruce "snags", but one was a 40 ft live spruce. I hate it when we lose live trees!

I dug up the dahlias and placed them in paper bags and put them into the "winter garden" until February, when I'll pot them up again. Same thing with the cannas. Also brought in the pots with geraniums, calabrachoa, purple wave petunias, etc. Next year, I'll just clip bits and pieces and root them for the summer. Saves lots of money!

One of our favorite views on a 3 mile walk

H and I washed the windows and sliding doors, inside and out (what a chore!) and we did manage to get in our 3 mile walk. I think I've had enough for one weekend. Whew. I get to go to work tomorrow and rest up! YAY!!!

I also cleaned up the space which held my old "office area". It's now a sort of reading room/library - just looks nice, but I doubt it will be used much.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Rocky Gnomes

I have two topics today - one in response to Zoey's refrigerator meme. Mine is a small fridge with not much room for tchatchkies, but I keep my monthly work calendar on the front. On the side, I have an eraseable bulletin board and pics of the kids/grandkids.

One of the crafty things I'm working on at the moment is rock painting. While beachcombing on our rocky beaches, I look for smooth, pointy rocks which I then paint to look like my namesake - Gnomes!

I haven't painted the faces on these two yet. I give them away as gifts to my family to remind them of their "giddy" family member. They make really cute paper weights!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

New Space

I've been off the blog for a few days because we have been redesigning our space! For the past three years I have been telling H that we really don't need 3 bedrooms! (We seldom have visitors up here) and that we need a nice office space other than our unheated cubbyhole downstairs. Well, he's finally seen the wisdom in my words and we now have a new office in the smallest bedroom! I am ecstatic! I can enjoy the warmth of the wood stove and converse with H while on the internet.
Yep! That's one of H's paintings in the background!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

What a Difference a Year Makes!

In 2003, my son and DIL brought me a snippet off their Jade plant. I first planted it into a 4" pot where it languished for a full year with no appreciable growth. The next year, I repotted it, added a bit of variegated ivy and placed it outside. This picture was taken in February 2005:

After spending the summer of 2006 outside on the deck again, it just took off! This is the picture of the same plant taken today. I think she likes her summer sojourns on the deck!

We have been experiencing high winds and rain since early yesterday afternoon. At 6:45 last night, the power failed and gratefully, we have a generator, so we are not completely in the dark and I'm able to get my "Blog Fix" today. I'm hoping the power comes on again soon as the generator really eats up the propane! Hope everyone is enjoying a warm, cozy Sunday.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Wierd Sunset

Last night's sunset was very unusual, quite eerie actually. The clouds were hanging over the mountains of Mt. Desert Island and there was a break in the clouds in just one spot. My next door neighbor took the second picture and his was a better angle than mine.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Garden Claw

Here are a few pics for Zoey, who asked what a garden claw was. I love my claw! It's really great for loosening soil, adding amendments and getting into tight spots to do some weeding. I use it often to dig into the compost to add a bit of air so it will "cook". I purchased mine at Home Depot last year. I also put my shredded papers into the pile. I'd like to see the identity thieves find anything personal in there!!! "-)

My compost is also in the shade, but I got some pretty good stuff out of it last year. I also read somewhere that if you want to give it a bit of "oomph", you could pour a stale beer over it or sprinkle a cup full of sugar on it. I don't recall H ever letting a beer get stale!

The name brand of this one is Garden Hound.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


No, I don't mean Orson Welles' sled in Citizen Kane, but remember the New Dawn bud I found a couple of days ago and wondered if she would make it to full bloom before a freeze got her? Well, here she is in her full glory! Now bear in mind, that today is Oct 22nd and we are 80 miles south of the Canadian border!

I have two planted whiskey barrels at the top of our driveway which are also still blooming madly. I haven't had the heart to pull out the plants and prepare them for the coming winter. They still look so lush!

After the freeze, I'll pull them out and put in pine and spruce boughs with some winterberry or bittersweet, if I can find it.

We headed out to Acadia this morning and had a wonderful 6 miler down Jordan Stream and around Long Pond - one of our favorite hikes. The weather was beautiful and we are now both dead on our feet, but happy, happy, happy. Most of the maples have lost their leaves, but the oaks and beeches were in full red and golden glory.

We began our walk around Jordan Pond in Acadia on our way to Jordan Stream. This is a picture at the outlet of the Pond into the stream with a view of "The Bubbles" in the background.