Thursday, December 20, 2007

Pizza Night!

On my last post, H was preparing his famous homemade pizza - a comfort food for the impending snowstorm. Here, we continue with the process.

He first begins with making the sauce and sauteeing the fresh mushrooms in a bit of olive oil.

Secret herbs and spices are added to the sauce. Oh my, but the aromas are beginning to waft about the house!

He gathers the rest of the topping ingredients together; mozzarella, pepperoni, provolone. He usually makes one with spinach and roasted red pepper topping, but we forgot to pick up spinach at the store.

He proceeds to the mixing part. H is a dough purist, using only water, flour, salt and yeast for his dough, taking care to make "rather loose a dough", as he puts it.

H doesn't throw his dough into the air, but he does like to play with it!

Rolling the dough thinly, he puts it into the pizza pans we have had for the past 30 or so years. They're almost antiques!

And the first pie is ready to pop into the oven. Yum, we are mere minutes away from a delectable treat.

And, into the oven they went!

The finished product! There wasn't much left over and H and I settled into a pizza stupor, groaning in our life sucking recliners. It had been a very busy, physical day of plowing and shoveling snow, so we didn't feel the least bit of remorse over our gluttony. Well, maybe just a little.
Of course, no post is complete without a picture of one of the kitties getting into trouble. Sluggo was helping me wrap gifts with raffia. Unfortunately, he got caught up in the bag of raffia and we had to untangle him.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Here We Go Again

We have another snow storm on the way and as I sit here blogging it is just beginning to spit snowflakes and the wind is picking up. The forecasters can't seem to make up their minds about how much snow we'll get or if it will indeed turn to sleet, ice or perhaps mixing later on. The last we heard, it was to be 4 - 8 inches of snow with 1/2 inch or less of ice. We shall see. As H says, "We'll get what we get when we get it". In the interim, we are stoking the wood stove and hunkering down til it's time to go out and shovel.

The cats and I are looking out the office windows and there are two huge crows sitting on a branch just outside. Spike and Sluggo are transfixed! Their tails are slowly twitching, their bodies tensing, ready to strike, if only they had the opportunity. Alas, such are only the dreams of house kitties.

It's going to be a long winter with lots of snow, and I can't imagine just posting pictures of snow. Therefore, I think I'll post a summer/winter picture to remind myself that spring will arrive in due time.
Here's my fence planter last July.

And here it is just last week. That huge pile of snow is hiding it. I'm only 5 ft tall, so you can see how big the pile is. If we get the expected amount of snow today, it will be taller than me.

Maine is not for the faint of heart!

H is making pizza today, so the house will be redolent with the aromas of freshly baked pizza dough, herbs and spicy sauce. As for me, I may not even get out of my jammies today!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

For Those Less Fortunate

Volunteerism runs in my family. My parents were recently feted for their 25 years of volunteering for the Red Cross. In their 80's now, they still serve selflessly on a regular basis - they work at the local hospital every Monday, Daddy in the pharmacy and Mom in the Information Booth. On other occasions during the month, they can be seen at various locations doing free blood pressure screenings. During elections, they are always on hand to work the polls. Until recently, Daddy drove ill Veteran's to the Veteran's Hospital for the DAV. They are amazing people and I hold them in very high regard, not just because they are my parents, but because they set such a good example to follow.

H and I try to do our share, but nothing near what Mom and Daddy do. For our part, we volunteer at the local animal shelter, The Ark, shuttling animals back and forth to the veterinary clinic for spaying/neutering or whatever needs to be done for these poor, unfortunate animals that have been left to fend for themselves.

Their website has a wealth of information for anyone interested in helping out. They are truly one of the organizations we enjoy helping.

For another way to help animal shelters, read below.

Feed an Animal In Need!

Over ten million animals are abused, neglected or abandoned yearly. Visit The Animal Rescue Site every day to give a bowl of food to an abandoned animal -- at no cost to you -- and participate in the fight to save animals in need.

Funding for nutritious food, paid for by site sponsors, is generated when you click on the "Feed an Animal in Need" button on the Home page of The Animal Rescue Site at

The number of animals helped by the site depends on the number of visitors to The Animal Rescue Site. Please click every day, and encourage friends and family members to do so as well.

Please make visiting The Animal Rescue Site part of your daily routine and help spread the word to your friends and family!

We also help out at our local Veteran's Club whenever needed. Just this week, we helped fill 120 fruit baskets that would be given to elderly folks who were either home bound or had no one else with whom to share the season.

Our friend, Mike, is the webmaster of the website, also known as "The Tugwassah Tattlah", a very funny and informative website regaling the goings on in Downeast Maine. He keeps things ship shape at these functions with snappy Naval order.

This past summer, H and I also helped landscape the front of the clinic where I work.

Unfortunately, one can only do so much and there is truly so much to be done for those less fortunate, so we try to do what we can within the confines of our budget and time constraints.

On a lighter note, yesterday's knitting class was once again fun and we kept our instructor quite busy with all our questions. I had been having a horrible time with the new shawl I'm knitting and had torn out the same three rows several times before becoming so frustrated I could hardly speak. I threw the thing into my bag and just waited til class. I'm happy to report that Barbara got me back on track and I'm now zipping right along again.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Aftermath of the Storm

The much anticipated and forecast storm was late arriving. Instead of Sunday night, it came howling in around 6 a.m. and continued throughout the day and rest of the night. We plowed and shoveled twice during the day and awoke to another 8 inches on Tuesday morning.

The bird feeders and trees were decorated with lots of white, fluffy snow

H and his trusty plow were immediately on top of things by 6 a,m.

And me, looking for all the world like one of my garden gnomes, did shoveling duty on the deck and front porch. Gratefully, the snow was light and fluffy so it was not much of a chore.

Some members of the family were of no help whatsoever. Sluggo spent his time on the recliner grooming himself. I guess being cute counts though.

The garden is now under a deep, white, blanket of snow and can sleep peacefully till April, because I don't think we're going to see bare ground before then!

Wednesday morning dawned pink and cold with a wee bit of sea smoke in the bay. It's way too early for sea smoke, but then, the temperature was down in the single digits!

And so begins another winter season. This one just started a tad early as we normally don't get this much snow until January or February. The storm total was about 17+ inches and then last night we got another 2 inches on top of that. 19 inches and counting!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Batten Down the Hatches!

There's a snowstorm on the way! It should begin after midnight tonight and blow all day tomorrow as well, with an anticipated 8 to 14 inches of snow and possibly some mixing with rain here on the coast.

H and I have been preparing for the storm all morning.

The deck was cleared to make shoveling easier

The bird and squirrel feeders were stocked
H has had the plow on for about a week in anticipation of the coming winter, so the truck is prepped and ready to go!Snow shovels stand at the ready on the front porchTwo totes of wood are in the foyer warming up before being thrown into the stove

And another two on the porch ready to bring in

The boys were absolutely no help at all as they spent the entire morning in "romper room" activities, chasing each other through the house, stopping occasionally for a wrestling match.

I made a huge batch of meatballs to put into the freezer for meals later in the monthAnd last but not least, here's a picture of my latest craft project. H used to smoke cigars and he never threw the nice cedar boxes away, so I have a pretty good stash. I'd been trying to think of what to do with them when I came up with the idea to make gift boxes out of them. A perfect size to put my knitted socks in!

I just painted them with green spray paint and decoupaged on some pictures of fruit that I cut out of some wall border I had purchased but then never used.

All in all we've had a busy morning and now that we are finished with our storm preparations, I think we can sit back by the toasty wood stove and relax for the rest of the day. Tomorrow will be a busy one with plowing and shoveling, so we'll get plenty of exercise.

Good thing, too since Sluggo has taken to using the exercise bicycle!And so we wait as the sun sinks slowly behind the hills of Acadia. Tomorrow will dawn gray and white. Our first snow storm of the season. What fun!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

She's Back!

My cold has finally passed and I'm slowly beginning to feel myself again. I swear, the older I get, the more difficult it is to get over these things!

Anyway, I've been sorely neglecting my gardening chores due to this virus and today, I finally got out to do a few quick things before the bitter cold sets in later this week. I usually have my barrel planters decorated for the winter long before this, but I just got around to it today. Good thing, too, as the temperatures are forecast to drop into the 20's and I don't think I'd be able to get anything stuck into the frozen soil. Soooo, off I went into the woods to cut a bunch of spruce, cedar and juniper boughs to stick into the barrels. I also pruned the red twig dogwood and gold leaf cypress to add a bit of color.

This is the wreath I purchased last January for 75% off. I do dearly love a bargain!

The basket of light on the front porch greets any visitors.

The window box on the fence greets visitors , as well.

The snowman is actually a bird feeder.

It wouldn't be Christmas without Mom's ceramic tree!

The little, white one on the counter was made by Mom , as well.

This hawk was our Thanksgiving day visitor.

And so ends another very busy day. The sunset shining through the glass doors caste such a beautiful, warm glow throughout the living room and kitchen.

Sluggo has nestled himself into the recliner with me and dares for the snow to begin. Hah! He doesn't have to get out and shovel the deck!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Fun Quizzes

You Belong in 1951

You're fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!

Zoey, at Perennial Passion had a cute quiz on her blog this morning. As you can see from above, I am stuck way back in time! LOL

Late yesterday afternoon, H looked out the glass doors and said, "There's a whole flock of birds at the feeder and I don't know what they are". I looked out as well, and darned if knew what they were either. So, I got out the trusty camera and shot a few pics so I could go back to my bird book and identify them.

Turns out they were Evening Grosbeaks! They had beautiful plumage in vibrant colors of gold, black and white. Unfortunately, I had to take the photos through the glass and the light was waning, so I apologize for the poor quality. What a thrill it was to have these feathered friends at our feeder, even though they just ate and left without so much as a "fare thee well"! I hope they come back.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Winter Garden

It's now day 4 of the nasty cold and here I sit with a cup of chicken soup and a box of tissues for my ever running nose. Since venturing outside in the cold and wind is absolutely out of the question today, I've decided to blog about my winter garden.

Generally, about the end of October, I begin bringing in any plants I want to over winter. I'm a pretty frugal person and I try to save as much for next year as possible. In the spring, I'll take cuttings from the plants around March or April and begin getting them ready to go outside in June.

Our mechanical room downstairs is unheated with the exception of the hot water heater and it does have a small window for sunlight, but I supplement the light with a fluorescent shop light and in the coldest days of winter, I plug in an oil heater. About once a week, I'll check on things for bugs or if they need water, but other than that, they are pretty much on their own and if they don't make it over the winter, then so be it.

The only way I've been able to over winter the rosemary has been to keep it in a very cool room and keep it just on the dry side, but not dried out completely

The geraniums and ivy in the hanging baskets will look pretty ragged by late winter, but it's amazing how quickly they recuperate with a bit of fresh soil and Miracle Gro

The banana my son sent me three years ago is almost too big for the winter garden this year, but we'll see how he fares. I'll just have to make sure the temps in the room don't drop below 50 degrees.

I dug the dahlia bulbs earlier in the week and they will also overwinter in the winter garden. I usually pot them up in April as they sprout fairly quickly.

Outside this morning, I found one lone blossom on the William Baffin Rose! Talk about one last "Hurrah"

The Joe Pye Weed which was the beautiful, tall centerpiece of the garden is now toast after a few hard freezes. He will be one of the last to emerge from the long winter sleep next spring.

Every year, about this time, I take a picture of the arborvitae to measure how big it's gotten. When I first planted it 4 years ago, it only reached up to three of the clapboards of the house. This year, I counted 17 clapboards. It doesn't seem to be growing terribly fast, but that's a good thing since it's planted close to the house and is blocking the view of the trash cans .

We celebrated H's Italian heritage a few days ago with the Italian Sausage, and this week, I celebrate my German heritage with Pork Schnitzl, cole slaw and steamed veggies. Yum!

I finally finished my North Seas Shawl and am in the process of blocking it here. The pattern will show beautifully when it's all blocked. It was a lot of work, but I learned a few new patterns and had to concentrate on what I was doing. All things good for the old brain. Gotta keep those synapses firing!

The turkey is defrosting in the fridge and I need to get going on other preparations, but not today. I'm still not feeling all that perky!

Hope everyone has a wonderful, warm Thanksgiving.