Saturday, April 30, 2016

Product placement/Himalayan salt

I saw this salt at my local Co-op, and thought I'd give it a try. It is apparently like a million times better for you than good ol' Morton's iodized salt, or even sea salt. There's a lot of info here and here, if you are interested in learning about it. In addition to the benefits, I can tell you it is delicious. I am a big salt girl. I don't feel badly about using salt because I don't eat processed foods which are usually loaded with it. And this stuff really tastes good. I use the one on the right for salting soups or adding to things and the one on the left for salting my food. It is a bit crunchy and sweet, and it looks so pretty! I love this salt.

If you'd like to read more food related postings, please visit Beth Fish Reads.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

April Flowers at Windy Poplars

For a while now I've been meaning to track the flowers as they appear here at Windy Poplars Farm.

The first one I saw this year was the Siberian squill. This photo was taken April 17.

Bloodroot, which I wrote about here, opened the very next day.

Yesterday I saw a dear little violet had popped up next to the stone steps.

Spring comes slowly on this windy hill, and each flower is so very welcome.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What I Learned from TV - April 27

Each time I do a post about What I Learned From TV, I’ll begin with the explanation from the first posting:

Now that my kids are grown, and Tom has retired, I’ve been able to go back to my natural sleep pattern which is to stay up late and get up late. Tom’s natural rhythm is just the opposite. So, he’s the lark and I’m the owl. 

And what this owl does in the late hours is watch television- not in the traditional way but through Hulu, Netflix, TunnelBear, and Acorn TV. Most of the shows are British, though I am a great fan of a few American television shows, and have been watching some from other countries now that we have TunnelBear. Some of these shows Tom will watch in the mornings, but some of them are all mine. So, when I hear a great quote from a show I know he’s not going to watch, I’ll leave him little post-it notes near the computer keyboard. I had a notion this morning to begin a new ‘letter topic’ called What I Learned From TV so I can put up some virtual post-its for you to read and, hopefully, enjoy. Some are funny, some are educational, some are wise.

From Royal Pains (which I watch on Netflix streaming):
A bite from a certain tick can cause a red meat allergy. I looked it up and it's absolutely true!

From an episode of Inspector Morse (which I watch on my DVDs): 
A murderer being arrested says to Morse: "When I come out, I'll get you, too."
Lewis says to Morse: "I shouldn't worry about it, Sir. By the time he comes out, you'll be long gone."
Morse to Lewis: "You're wasted as a copper, Lewis. You should have joined the Diplomatic Service."

Another from Inspector Morse:
After questioning a man, Lewis asks Morse: "What do you think?"
Morse replies: " What do I think? I've never heard so many lies. It was like sitting through an election campaign."

I have always thought that the proper British spelling of words such as criticize use an 's' instead of a 'z.' Well, not according to Morse. Lewis reads him a supposed suicide note:
"I apologise from the bottom of my heart, but I feel it is the only civilised thing to do."
Morse asks Lewis: "How does he spell 'apologize?'"
Lewis: "With an 's.'
Morse: "Civilized?"
Lewis: "Another 's.' What's wrong with that?"
Morse: "Well, it's illiterate, that's what. The Oxford English Dictionary uses a Zed [Z in US] for words that end in '-ize.' And so did Sir Julius. So he didn't write it."

From Inspector Lewis (which I watch on my DVDs):
Hathaway, speaking to Chief Superintendent Jean Innocent: "Well, lots of scientists have irrational beliefs. Isaac Newton thought the Bible was a cryptogram set by the Almighty."
Lewis to Innocent: "Walking Wikipedia."
Innocent to Lewis: "Only more accurate."

Monday, April 25, 2016

An Afternoon with Campbell Walker and Indy Thomas

Last Thursday was the first time that we were alone with both our grandsons. We had taken care of Campbell the day that Indy was born which I wrote about here but hadn't taken care of both of them.

Michael was working and Estée needed to do a couple hours of her work so we went down to help out. She stayed for a while, and then left quietly. Campbell wasn’t concerned at all that she wasn’t there. And neither was Indy until he woke from his nap and didn't see his mama. Luckily she arrived five minutes later.

We had such a wonderful time! But my goodness, the old adage is absolutely true that 'one is like none, and two is like ten!' As I said to my daughter afterwards, 'how did I ever do it? Oh yeah, I was thirty years younger! Haha.' We had our running shoes on with Campbell Walker, that's for sure. He has two speeds, straight out and stop. He took us all over the yard showing us everything.

He loved playing in our car - pushing every button and knob, 

while I carried Indy Thomas around. He is such a cheery little fellow!

Pop brought Campbell Walker some M&Ms. 

And we gave him the first book from the show Puffin Rock, which I mentioned the other day. Who's that? Oona.

Of course, after reading the book they had to watch the program, 

And what was Indy Thomas doing? Riding along in his buggy, eating a snack from the shelf I posted about here

And playing with the crocodile click-clack which used to belong to his cousin, Hazel Nina.

Pretty soon he got sleepy, and as I sang him 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame' he closed his eyes and I put him down on the bed.

I sat with him for an hour as he slept while Tom and Campbell played downstairs. Tom was so busy he didn't take any pictures. 

A happy, great day with Campbell Walker and Indy Thomas!!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Today's picture - Snack shelves

Today, for my Weekend Cooking entry, I'm posting a photo of my daughter-in-law Estée's 'snack shelves.'

There used to be snacks on the bottom shelves, too, but Campbell Walker helped himself! You may see on the right that the next shelf over has dog snacks. I think this is a great idea for parents of little kids or really anyone who enjoys snacks. My particular favorite is Mediterranean Medley.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

An Afternoon with Hazel Nina - April 19, 2016

Yesterday was the first time that Hazel Nina has arrived since Tom moved the fence, which I wrote about here. What a difference it made. No craziness at the gate, no having to carry Hazel in because Lucy was jumping with excitement and could knock her over. Just a lovely, calm walking in.

The area between the patio and the fence is where our little vegetable garden is going to be.

Hazel walked in the door, took off her jacket, and lifted her feet asking for help getting her pink cowgirl boots off. She immediately said "marshmayo." She has fallen in love with two things lately - M&Ms at her house and marshmallows at Pop and Nana's house. As vegetarians, we are so pleased that a company has come up with a vegan version.

They taste terrific. You may ask Hazel! Every time she's here she likes to have one for each hand, several times over the time of her visit.

As soon as she got her marshmallows, she went into the living room, climbed up on the chair, and said "Bababoo."

If you have a little one in your life, you may know that Baba is a character in one of the best television shows for children that I've ever seen, Puffin Rock. It is an Irish show, shown there, in the UK, and in the US on Netflix. It is sweet, the characters are adorable, there is a wonderful love in the family, and lots of information about the natural world. Tom and I love it as much as she does. This is Baba and his big sister Oona.

We first learned about the show when we were visiting our grandsons. It is a big favorite of Campbell Walker's as well.

After a little tv, we went outside for a walk. Hazel loves mud and mud puddles, and since it had rained the day before, she was a happy girl.

We went out in the field where the stream is very swollen from all the rain.

Can you see how soaked her pants are? She loved it out there. We came back to the house, and she was delighted with the words "dripping wet" (which I told her she was) and repeated them over and over.

She played pretend sleep in the playroom/study.

She had a little lunch and then I read her a book her mother used to love, Bea and Mr. Jones by Amy Schwartz.

Toward the end she began to fall asleep.

I sat with her a while, and then Pop brought her up to bed. She coughed a little later and woke herself up. She fell right back to sleep in my arms but we didn't want to chance putting her back in the crib (she still sleeps in the crib here, but at home she's been on a floor mattress for a long time) so I sat down in the living room and held her for an hour and a half. Pure heaven. When she woke up it was time to go home. Another wonderful day with Hazel Nina.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Potato, Leek, and Watercress Soup

Please do go visit Beth Fish Reads for more food related postings.

This week I made a soup that is a bit similar to a recipe I shared seven years ago for Watercress and Potato Soup. That one used wild leeks, and this one has the regular leeks which are sautéed a bit. I mentioned in the older post that I could eat it all myself, and this time I did because watercress is not Tom's favorite food.

When I was shopping, I saw this

and had to buy it. Look at that green!

Potato, Leek, and Watercress Soup

In a large pot, lightly sauté some chopped leeks in 1-2 Tablespoons butter. You could use olive oil or a mixture of both. I thought the butter gave an excellent flavor to the soup.

Peel (or not) and chop a few potatoes.

Put 4 cups of water in the leeks saucepan. Add the potatoes and cook until they are soft. Add roughly chopped watercress.

Cook a while on medium heat.

Then put through a food mill. (You could also use a blender).

I absolutely love this soup, and intend to make it at least every other week. And, as I said, I ate it all. At one sitting.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Today's poem by Patricia Fargnoli

I posted a poem, which you may read here, by Patricia Fargnoli eight years ago when she was Poet Laureate of New Hampshire. This morning I realized I hadn't read anything by her in a long time, and went searching. I came upon this video of her reading "Visiting Frost's Grave" at his actual gravesite.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Making bread with Hazel Nina

If you've never happened to visit Beth Fish Reads which hosts Weekend Cooking, here are the guidelines:

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

For a few weeks I've been baking bread for Margaret, Matthew, and Hazel. It has been quite a hit with Miss Hazel. It is known as 'Nana bread' at their house. When we were taking care of her on Friday, I thought I'd let her make the bread with me. She thoroughly enjoyed herself, and brought it home. I told her we can call it 'Hazel bread.' I felt like I was part of a long line of grandmothers teaching the grandchild how to make bread. My heart was bursting with love.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Today's pictures - How to eat frosting

Yesterday we were at a surprise 60th birthday party for Hazel's other grandmother, and Hazel demonstrated the proper way to eat frosting. I can almost hear a silent mmm in the last picture.