Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Week in Review

Well, it's been another busy one! Tuesday, I went in to work and turned in my resignation, so as of March 31st, I will be officially retired and can concentrate on my garden in earnest this summer. I also planted some basil seeds yesterday.

Wednesday was a busy one with knitting class at Shirley's Yarn and Crafts. I finished one pair of mittens and began working on another one. I'll post pictures on the next post when I finish the other pair.

Thursday, it rained all day long, so that meant a cooking day! I made Lentil Stew, and of course baked a loaf of bread.

Friday, we were in the mood for Boulliabaise, so off to the store for mussels, fennel and a leek. I still had plenty of shrimp and a Striper in the freezer that my friend's husband caught off the Narraguagus bridge late last summer, so into the pot he (the fish) went. Unfortunately, we were so engrossed in eating the soup, that I forgot to take a before photo, so all I have is a picture of the detritus left over after our most satisfying meal. The crows got that.

Saturday it was forecast to snow yet again. Sigh. We made pizza with the last of the boule dough and went to bed hoping for another pass, but alas, we awoke to another six inches of the fluffy, white stuff. Off we went to shovel/plow one more time. We are now at an astounding year to date total of 99.5 inches for the season and March is not yet here. The last nor'easter last season was on April 15th with 15 inches of heavy, wet stuff. We are not out of the woods yet!

Today, we drove in to Bar Harbor, just to walk around town without the throngs of tourists one encounters in the summer. It was great to be able to walk on the sidewalks and look in the store windows without being bumped into by hordes of people disgorged from cruise ships.

This is the Bar Harbor Inn, where we used to stay when we were one of those throngs of tourists! It was a great place to stay and got us thinking about one day living up here. Needless to say, the dream came true.

H was busy all week with his painting and finished this one on the rainy day this week.
The basil seeds began sprouting today! I have them in the sunniest window possible, so I hope to have plenty to begin harvesting this summer.

Of course, we have a couple of lazy members in this family. Sluggo barely lifted his head from his cushy spot on the down comforter for his photo shoot.
Ah yes, Life is certainly Good!

Hugs, Giddy

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Midwinter Musings

The sun is shining today, the skies are blue and my mood is much better, despite it still being cold. Tomorrow's forecast is for temperatures in the 40's - a veritable heat wave!

I spent yesterday downstairs in the winter garden room, checking for any new growth on the plants and giving them a bit of a drink. I think by next week, I'll be able to begin feeding them with a weak fertilizer to give them a jump start on the coming warmer weather.
The geraniums are still blooming. I'm "babysitting" this one for my neighbor.
The asparagus ferns are looking a bit tired, as usual for this time of year, but they will spring right back as soon as I put them outside. This bunch started from a $1.47, 2 inch pot about three years ago.
The Mandevilla vine is showing new sprouts, so I may have luck with it yet! I hope so as they were a bit expensive last year. If they don't make it I'll just have to go back to Morning Glories.
This little African Violet was given to me last year by Miss Shirley of Shirley's Yarns and Crafts, where I have my knitting class. I couldn't get a good photo of it, but it's almost pure white with just a hint of lavender.

Spikeums finally found his spot in the sun and settled down for a long nap. He was one happy kitty until Sluggo decided it was time for "Romper Room" activities and pounced on him.

I was browsing through last year's photos and came upon this one of the garden in full bloom and our favorite spot to sit in the late afternoon with a glass of wine. Ah yes, this time will come again. The nice thing about the seasons is that one always has something to look forward to. And I am definitely looking forward to Spring!

Life is Good! Hugs to All,


Thursday, February 14, 2008

I'm Not Whining!

Honest, I'm not. But it snowed about 6 inches again yesterday and then rained another 3+ on top of that. H and I had just finished plowing/shoveling when the ice pellets began and soon after that we had a torrential rain til the early hours of the evening. Needless to say, we awoke to a glistening "Luge" for a driveway this morning and had to get out to sand immediately. Now, I'm not the only one crying "Uncle". Even the seasoned Mainers have just about had enough. We are all ready for spring and it's a few months, not weeks away (for planting purposes, anyway).
Grumpy Giddy

The boys were looking for anything green too. Sluggo found a spot behind the palm -

While Spike sat on the window seat wishing for a ray of sunshine to nap in.

Well, in our house, there is naught to do but cook and bake on a gloomy, soggy day! H and I had purchased a whole pork loin for $1.68 a pound at Sam's a few days before so we decided to make the whole thing into "Wiener Schitzl" for the freezer. We set up the assembly line with H pounding the slices thinly, and I in turn, dipped them first in seasoned flour, next in beaten eggs, and finally into seasoned bread crumbs. After a half hour rest in the fridge to set the coating, we began to sautee them. We could hardly wait for lunch to try them, but first we had to sautee the entire batch.

Gee, do 'ya think we'll have enough?
Oh, YUM!!!!
Our daily bread selection from our "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" book was the European Peasant bread. The wine was a soft, velvety Merlot. Giddy's mood got considerably better as the day wore on. And what could have been a better way to end the day than to slip leisurely into my recliner and watch a good movie?

T'was not to be as the boys had co-opted my spot. Oh well, don't they look comfy?

And so ended another winter day at Giddy's. Despite this unending onslaught of snow and ice, life is truly good!

Oh, and lest I forget - Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

A flower touches everyone's heart.
Georgia O'Keefe

Saturday, February 09, 2008

This and That

Not much new on the home front, so I'm just rambling on about the past week.

Sluggo has been a great help with making the bed. I guess he's making sure we didn't let any mice in under the blanket.

We did have one relatively mild day and took our usual three mile walk around Sorrento Harbor. I never noticed this display of knots before.

There was only one lonely sailboat in the harbor. At the height of the summer, H counted at least 70+.

We came across these Evening Grosbeaks feasting on fallen apples. I suspect they were quite mushy after being frozen for so long.
H made us a delicious pasta dish for lunch one day. It had chicken, artichoke hearts and capers in it and was quite tasty. He's a wonderful cook and in the summer becomes the "Barbecuetioner", smoking ribs, pulled pork and other grilled delights. I think I'll hang on to him.

This week's bread adventure was baking Challah Braids. They turned out beautifully - almost looked to good to eat!
And last but not least, yesterday H was looking out the office window into the backyard and yelled for me to come quick with the camera. Seems this little guy was nosing around looking for a squirrel snack!

Sorry for the poor quality of the photo, but it was taken through the screened window.

And so ends another busy week in the Great North Woods. More snow forecast for tomorrow. So far, the total is over 82 inches for the season!

Life is Good!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Thinking Spring

Yes, but it's still a lonnngggggg ways away!

Nevertheless, H and I took advantage of the relatively comfortable weather outside and decided to do a bit of work outdoors. Specifically, to move the woodpile behind the garage to a rack inside the garage so it would be nice and dry when, not if, the next snowstorm hits.

It felt good to get outside in the fresh air and at the end of an hour, we had transferred all the remaining wood from behind the garage. With lots of bending and lifting, we got our aerobic and weight lifting exercise.
My poor fountain looked so forlorn sitting in the corner of the garage. Bet he can't wait to get out into the sunshine.

Since a lot of the snow had melted in the yard, I took the camera around for a few winter shots.

It's been a while since I've seen these pots. They've been under snow since December 3rd.

I had intended to cut back the Joe Pye Weed, but was surprised by the early snow so I guess I'll have to do it in March or April, weather permitting.

The Annabelle Hydrangea looks good any time of the year. This one will get cut down to six inches in March and will grow like a weed, blooming profusely all summer long.

Here she was last July.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Ground Hog Day

O.K. The day dawned rainy, gloomy and surprisingly warm at 48 degrees. YESSSSS! The groundhog was not going to see his dastardly shadow and decree another 6 weeks of winter. Sadly, the sun came out, the temperature dropped and we realized that this was only a tease. We would have another 6 (or more), weeks of winter weather.

Having looked at the posts in our written journal for last year, we discovered that we had several snowstorms, beginning on February 14th last year with a nor'easter bringing us 7 inches of snow and freezing rain, bringing our year to date total of snowfall to 18". March 2nd brought another big storm, with high winds, snow and ice, storm total 12" for a YTD total of 28". March 17 - St. Patrick's Day, brought another 8" for a YTD total of 36-36", and April 4th snowstorm brings another 15 inches for YTD 49-51 inches.

It is now February 2nd and we are looking at a YTD total of 76+ inches of snowfall. This is what the old Mainers say is what they were used to in the old days. In our experience, March is generally the snowiest month up here, so we are looking to keep the wood fires stoked up for a wee bit yet.

In the meantime, we are busy with making plans for spring - a trip south to see the family, a new pergola for the deck, cleaning out the garage, new plants for the garden, oh, the list goes on and on!

While waiting for the snow to melt, I'm busy keeping body and soul together, which in our case, means cooking and baking.

Pot roast! YUM.

Arroz con Pollo

European Peasant Loaf and French Bread.

The winter days find me knitting, baking bread and keeping the kitties entertained. Today, Sluggo found a warm spot in the sunshine and looked absolutely relaxed. (I should be so relaxed). Spike looked on in disdain from his perch on my recliner.

Sluggo basks in the sun

And so, another Ground Hog Day ends with a beautiful sunset over the bay. Life is Good!