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!