Saturday, January 31, 2009

Got Snow?

Yep, we sure do!

Warning: Those of you residing in the Great White North, just move on over to a warm climate blog now. You will not find the following in the least bit interesting!

When I last posted, we had over 50 inches of snow on the ground. H had managed to plow most of it off the drive way and door yard. We then had another 6 inches of light fluffy stuff which we plowed 3 inches of until it got dark and looked like it was letting up. Oh, the snow let up all right, but then came the sleet, freezing rain and rain. We awoke to a good 4 inches of crunchy ice. Not fun. Our steep driveway was a sheet of crunchy ice and the truck barely made it to the top of the hill. "Uncle"!!! We called our trusty local plow guy and had him come widen and sand the drive. H went out this morning and shoveled the dam the state plow made at the top of the drive.

It's been a long week.

This is the view from the top of the driveway

That little piece of wood sticking up behind me is our sign post at the top of the drive. The box for the newspaper is buried under the snow, so the paper delivery person is just chucking the paper in the middle of the drive these days.

The front gate hasn't been closed in weeks!

Our little garden weather station is all but buried under three feet of snow.

I think this view is a whole lot better. But, as the saying goes, we wouldn't appreciate spring nearly as much if we didn't have winter.

Besides shoveling snow, I've been busy knitting away on a Fair Isle v-neck cardigan. I'm finished with the body and am now working on the first sleeve.

Hope everyone is staying warm out there and as you may expect, I'm reading a lot of southern blogs these days!

Life is GGGGood!

Hugs, Giddy

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Digging Out

Man, did both the local and national weather service miss this one! We were supposed to get 5-9 inches of snow over Sunday and Monday. Piece of cake. We were prepared, right? Well, before all was said and done, we were inundated with 22 inches of white stuff.

It started out with a nice, fluffy snowfall, slowly drifting down during the day. It was beautiful. That evening, it turned to sleet and later rain, which caused us to have a nasty layer of ice under the next layer of fluffy, white stuff, which turned in to heavy, wet stuff.

We had plowed and shoveled until late Sunday afternoon and thought we had seen the end of the storm, which up to that time had dumped about 15 inches on us. Harumph, so much for 5 -9 inches. Then, waking up on Monday, we were surprised to find that Mother Nature had wickedly dumped another 8 inches of snow on us. Up and at 'em again with the plow and shovel, however, this time, it was not nice and fluffy and easy to move. Instead, it was a wet, heavy blanket with a layer of ice and slush sandwiched in between. YUCK!

This picture was taken *before* we plowed for the second time on Monday.

By the time we finished up, this pile was taller than me!

H's bumper sticker reads "Stop Global Whining". 'Nough said.

Life is pretty white and cold this week!

Hugs, Giddy

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sneaky Darned Cat!

His Majesty, Spike has been awfully nice to me lately. I suspected that he was just in a loving mood, or perhaps a bit cold and wanted a wee bit of warmth. But, NO, he was after my chair!

There I sat, contentedly knitting my latest Eco Market Bag and enjoying the fact that Spike had graced me with his presence. Notice, how he is slowly eking his way down into my chair.

I got up to fetch another hank of yarn to begin another project, and before I knew what had happened, Spike had co-opted my seat!

That look says it all, doesn't it? "Ma, you're not really going to boot me out of here, are you? Not when I'm so comfortably ensconced"?

Well, you know the old saying, "If you want the best seat in the house, move the cat"! Unfortunately, I'm just an old softie and elected to move myself over to the couch. Sheesh.

I have finished two more market bags since the weather has been too cold to venture outside. And, I gave one of my previous ones away to a friend, so he and his wife could begin a more eco friendly lifestyle.

He, however, did not understand the concept!

Life is Good,

Hugs, Giddy

Monday, January 12, 2009

It's a Deep Freeze Downeast

Well, it IS January in Maine, after all! Cold is to be expected and cold is what we have. Last night we got down to 0 degrees and the rest of this week is not looking to get any warmer. However, on the positive side, we did gain 18 minutes of daylight.

The full moon we've had for the past couple of days, while beautiful, has kept our bedroom lit up like Broadway, making sleep a wee bit difficult. I really must do something about that one of these days. I have a few ideas, but finding the time to do sewing eludes me. Right now, I'm into declutter mode. Each day, I try to do one small decluttering chore; files shredded, magazines tossed, a cabinet cleaned and reorganized, etc.

Photography has taken a back seat these cold days, but I did notice the setting sun glinting off the snow covered spruces in the front yard yesterday, so I dashed out to get a quick shot.

This morning was really bitter cold, but the sunrise was gorgeous! I jumped out of bed, grabbed the camera and did NOT open the slider to get these photos of the sun highlighting Cadillac Mountain with a soft, pink hue. I expect the shot would have been better had I opened the door, but unlike H, who trudged up the driveway to fetch the newspaper, I'm not that crazy!

Since it's too cold and icy to get our exercise outside, H and I spend 30 minutes most days downstairs in the family room, he on the stationary bike and I on the Nordic Track. If the Sopranos are on the TV, it makes the time fly.

Now, mind you, we are generally up with the chickens and once the sun drops behind the hills, we are ready to get comfortable and settle down for the evening. First order of business is to change in to our "comfies", then stoke up the wood stove and then decide what the evening's televisual feast will be. After leaning back into our life sucking chairs, I pick up my knitting and with a cat or two to help keep my tootsies warm, we spend a quiet, toasty winter evening.

Life in the Great Frozen North is good!

Hugs, Giddy

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Pasta with Sausage and Peppers

Yesterday was one of those days. I had the "cookies". So, what's a girl to do, but tie on the old chili pepper apron and get down to business.

All the ingredients were in the pantry and fridge for a warm, delicious Peperonata Pasta.

First into the pan was a wee bit of olive oil in which to brown the Italian sausage which had been sliced into thin rounds. After browning, the sliced onions and cubed red and green peppers were added and sauteed for a few minutes just until barely soft. Some of my homemade marinara and a bit of extra chopped garlic was then added and the whole thing brought to a simmer while I put the penne pasta on to boil.

The results were pretty tasty!

Earlier, I had put a couple of bread doughs together; one of our favorites is the boule from the "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" bread book and I make it quite often. Today, however, in my quest to try every recipe in the book, I tried the "Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread Inspired by Chris Kimball" on page 78. We were not disappointed. This is now another one of our favorites.

If you have not visited the co-author, Zoe's website, taking the time to do so is definitely worth it.

We didn't waste a minute cutting into the boule, either!

The day before yesterday, when we were in the grocery, H noticed that mussels were on sale, so we had to pick up a bag of those for lunch that day.

I sauteed a small amount of onion and garlic in a large, shallow pan, added some sliced lemon, splashed it with white wine and after picking over and cleaning the mussels, threw them in to the pot, put on the cover and steamed them for about 7 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and enjoy!

A couple of croutons topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and julienned, fresh basil and a glass of Chardonnay, rounded out what was a lovely, light lunch.

My final photo of this post is not one of my best efforts, but the rising, nearly full moon night before last caught my eye. It was swathed in a light cloud cover and stood out starkly from the
dark spruces in the foreground. There was something quite magical about it, and despite the blurred photo, it's one of my favorites.

And now, as we watch yet another beautiful snow falling today, I wish all of you a warm, wonderful Sunday!

Life is sooooo Good,

Hugs, Giddy

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Egg Rolls, Yarn and Plants

Oh, how to get it all in?

H and I have been very busy, as always. After spending hours shredding old files the other day, we needed a quick trip into town to pick up a few essentials. We had been talking about doing some egg rolls to go along with our frequent dinners of stir fry, so we picked up a package of egg roll wrappers.

A half pound of ground beef was quickly sauteed with a chopped onion, lots of grated ginger and a couple of garlic cloves.

Added to that was a melange of veggies: thinly sliced cabbage, finely grated carrots, red pepper, celery and some bean sprouts that I had sprouted earlier in the week.

Sautee everything together in canola oil, add a bit of red pepper flakes, fish sauce, sesame oil, and soy sauce and then place about 2 tbsp of the mixuture on the egg roll wrapper.

Wrap up, folding the ingredients into the wrapper, pull in the sides and continue rolling. Add to 350 degree hot oil and fry til brown on all sides.

Serve hot with hot mustard, soy sauce for dipping or sweet and sour sauce. These freeze beautifully and when thawed and heated in a 350 degree oven til crisp, are every bit as good as fresh. Of course, we had to sample them to make sure they were freezer worthy. Some of them actually made it to the freezer!

Now, since this is technically a garden blog, I have to post a few photos of my winter garden. Every autumn, I bring in a few plants to overwinter downstairs in my unheated mechanical room.

Asparagus fern, geraniums, tradescantia, spider plant and much more spend the winter down here. They look pathetic by June, but with a few good snorts of Miracle Grow and a bit of sunshine and warmth, they perk right up.

My Bay Tree, which I purchased from Ebay 5 years ago for $4.95, has grown into a lovely 4 foot shrub and is quite happy spending the colder months in front of the office window! I recently received the White Flower Farm catalog in the mail and was quite surprised to see that a puny 24 inch plant in an 8 inch pot was priced at $99!!!

My favorite yarn store, Shirley's had a 20% off sale on all yarns, so being the knitiodt that I am, I purchased enough Bartlett wool to knit two large, felted tote bags later on this winter. To a knitter, there is nothing lovelier than being able to root around one's stash of yarn, dreaming of future projects. Aren't the colors luscious?

And so, another busy day ends for Ms. Giddy and her ever helpful elf, H with another colorful sun setting over the mountains of Acadia.

Life is warm, wooly, and good

Hugs, Giddy

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Happy New Year

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and you are now ready for whatever the new year brings.

H and I decided that we really needed to get on the stick and do some serious decluttering. Tucked away in our downstairs storage area, we had files from our Inn at the Park Bed and Breakfast business dating back to 1997. High time to shred those things and get them out of our lives. Actually, we only need to keep files for seven years, so we are woefully behind in purging activities.

Soooo, today, H and I spent two and a half hours shredding files. The poor shredder overheated on several occasions.
We ended up with an entire contractor bag full of shredded paper, and that was only one year's worth!

In the meantime, I mixed up a batch of English Muffin dough and made another batch of French rolls for the coming week or so.

These rolls just keep getting better and today's lunch was roast beef and cheese sandwiches with fresh basil.

Taking a cue from Joy over at Garden Joy for Me, I took a few minutes to try to organize my copious photo collection. I deleted quite a few less than perfect photos and enjoyed viewing many of the ones I took this past summer. I was quite enamored of the ferns. So nice to remember how glorious green is!

Ah, yes! Summer will come again. I believe Crafty Gardener has a countdown on her blog - only 74 more days!

Life is Good.

Hugs, Giddy