Thursday, March 29, 2012

New Food!

Frittatta with Spinach, Leeks and Potatoes

Now, I substituted chard for the spinach and threw in a few mushrooms too but you can substitute a variety of things and I think it would be good using this basic recipe. Or cook as it's listed!

1 teaspoon butter
2 cups thinly sliced leeks (about 2 large)
about 10 ounces fresh spinach
1/3 cup milk ( I use 2%)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 large eggs
4 large egg whites
2 cups cooked, peeled red potato

1 1/2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
1/2 shredded provolone cheese (sometimes I use Parmesan)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Add leek; saute 4 minutes. Add spinach; saute 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Place mixture in a colander and press until barely moist.
Combine milk, basil, salt, pepper, eggs and egg whites; stir well wit whisk. Add leek mixture and potato. Pour into and 10 inch round ceramic baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and top with cheese.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until center has set. Broil frittatta for 4 minutes if a browner top is desired.

I serve this with a small salad and garlicky cheese biscuits. Makes a great brunch or even supper.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Heart To Heart

I've always said that I have the best readers of any blog out there and I just wanted to prove it today and say 'thank you' to all ya'll lovelies out there. Apparently I have a number of fine craftspeople that read because ya'll have sent me some of the most beautiful work and you'll never know how much that means to me. I've shown ya'll photos of some of the other gifts (like from Page, a wonderful artist) and these are some recent things I've received. But now, let me stress, all of the wonderful, encouraging emails and comments I get from all ya'll mean just as much. I just thought ya'll might like to see the work of some other people that much deserve the exposure and some readers wanted em to show the little cap I got from Peg on Vancouver Island.
First, the little woven form is from Gin Petty. She exhibits widely around the US and is a well known southern artist. I hope you don't mind me mentioning your name Gin; I looked everywhere for your email to thank you and ask first but I couldn't find anything! Anyway, I love it!! thank you SO much. It will be displayed prominently. Oh, and I wasn't horribly offended by the pink paper. ha!

The beautiful pen is from a reader who says he just does that as a hobby kinda. Nice hobby!! I use it all the time Seth; thank you again. The beautiful glass plate is from Island Rider over at From A Heavenly Land blog. Jack and I had the great pleasure of actually meeting IR and her husband last year when they passed through Birmingham on vacation. This plate is just beautiful! Unfortunately the light in this photo doesn't show all the complexities of the design and glass. Forgive me for waiting so long to show it Cathy.

And here is the little handmade cap from Peg! Isn't it cute!? Oh, disregard the butterfly growing out of my head there...Even though it didn't get real cold this year I wore it anyway like this. It does usually get quite cold here in the winter though and I will wear it for warmth then!

I appreciate all of ya'll kindness, whether in the form of these beautiful items or your great comments and emails. I still maintain that you can have real friends in people even if you have never met them in person. See, aside from my work fellers, I don't have a large number of friends, or even a medium number really, so I really do appreciate and cherish your contact and kind words. I've always been kind of an outsider even among outsiders! so your acceptance means so much. I will always cherish these gifts, whether they are your art, seeds you have sent or simply words to encourage and help me.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Fun

One of the wild cherry trees in bloom that I told ya'll about. The picture doesn't really do it justice. They are very pretty in person.

All the wild hydrangeas are opening up and leafing out. I love the early morning light illuminating their structure. I am fortunate to have tons of these on my property. Free flowers!

More free flowers! Jack and I spent a good part of last Sunday at my Mom's doing yard work for her. After all that was done we went next door to my grandmother's old house and dug flowers and shrubs. Very few of my grandmother's plants still exist (these were planted later by an aunt and such) but it's still nice to have plants here that came from her land.

My blueberries seem to be doing very well so far this year. The bushes have about doubled in size and are loaded with buds. The bees love them.

I can't help but imagine these ferns as stretching and yawning as they slowly wake up from their long winter nap.

Jack got the rest of the garden tilled for planting. I am way behind in putting the potatoes in but at least it's ready now. We are expanding this year so I'll show ya'll that later.

Jack has also been doing a little clearing around the creek bank so it can be seen better when you drive in. I plan on transplanting a number of irises and hydrangeas along here.

The May apples are blooming and I actually caught it this year. They are kind of elusive. Supposedly, they also produce a small fruit or berry but I have never seen that.

The chard is doing well; this is the Bright Lights variety and it is too. Very bright. I have a recipe for a wonderful frittata that uses this. I'll share that with you soon.

The figs are already making! Seems early this year but everything else has been. It took me a while to get fig trees established here but these are doing well now. An old friend of mine always told me you couldn't have good fig trees unless you had chickens. I think he meant chicken poo was good for the trees. The chickens do love to rest under the trees for some reason if given the chance, so maybe he was right.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rite Of Spring

Well, I guess I'm getting back into the swing of working at home. Doesn't take me long! I am horribly behind on many things though, due to being out of town so much these past 6 months. Last weekend I did manage to plant early spring crops. I planted yellow onions (Texas Sweet I think), purple onions (not sure what type), broccoli (Packman), cabbage (Flat Dutch and Savoy), cauliflower and brussel sprouts. Oh, I also received my new strawberry starts that are supposed to be for the south. I ordered Chandler and Eversweet. I put these in the raised bed and transferred my old strawberries to the beds that contain the blueberries and raspberries. I know there is somewhat of a difference in soil requirements there but I had so many old plants I thought, what the heck! I still have a ton so I'll probably end up offering them to a friend or so.

Grendal's had the spring fever too! So much so that she put aside her fear of Chigger and came out to the garden with me. She really enjoyed the sun. Here she is inspecting my planting technique. I did something a little different this year. I dug a trench to which I added composted chicken poo at the bottom. I then planted my starts in the row. Maybe it will work well.

Jack finished the asparagus bed just in time and I planted Jersey Knight. My order was not quite enough to fill up the bed though so I need to place another order! I can see little tiny asparagus spears inching their way up now. It's going to be SO hard not to cut nay of it this year. To the left of this bed we planted 2 bush type cherries. I might order a standard size cherry tree too; I don't know. We have lots of wild cherry trees here and they are very pretty but don't produce a fruit large enough to do anything with. The birds like them though.

The things in the cold frame are doing really well. Except that, this mole has decided he has quite a taste for spinach (Popeye the mole?) and is doing his best to eat all mine. Most of the time they never bother my crops but this one is a little crap. I need to dump something really stinky down his tunnel. That usually works well. The Swiss chard is going bonkers. We need to eat more of it.

Everything is blooming here. It's like life just popped out overnight. It just seems like this is the fastest I have ever seen things grow. I'm behind on starting my tomatoes and peppers and such but I'll try to get to that tomorrow or such. I'm still wary of planting too much now like that. With Alabama weather it could snow next week! Generally, Good Friday is our traditional date for setting out the hot weather crops so I'll wait until then, or so.

Well, all day yesterday was spent in Birmingham taking care of various business but I had all day today to start my pottery again. It looks promising. Seems there are just not enough hours in the day for all I need to do though. I've been enjoying sleeping in a little since being home but that may have to change! I need to be up at first light.
I am also going to try to reinstate my recipe a week posting. I never have shown ya'll my new stove and such, have I? It's so great to have a full size oven and eyes to cook with. Now to just finish the rest of the kitchen around it!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Those Were The Days

I know I'm not supposed to show pictures from work but screw it.....I don't work for them anymore. And by them I mean, the company that bought us and imposed this asinine rule, not my old company.
At any rate, this is from my last safety meeting with the guys. I know I should be happy to be able to retire from this business and pursue a career that means more to me personally but I still can't help but feel a great sadness today. Sadness to see a once really great company that prided itself on true craftsmanship and quality, now faded to just a handful of guys that even remember those days. Sadness to see these men now struggle with overflow of bureaucratic bullshit that has all but washed away any joy or satisfaction of a job being built and completed. But that's a long story and not really what I'm writing about tonight.
Mostly it's a sadness for lost love. Bear with me on this and let me explain....At this point in my life most of my natural family has passed away or otherwise gone. I have one brother and one sister with their small families and my Mom. I rarely see any of them though, except my Mom. Through actual death or the death of common interests I've lost most of my birth family and now I'm losing my adopted family, my friends, my sweethearts. Now, some people may scoff at such an idea. How could these rough ol' men, who are not supposed to accept a female in their trade, be any kind of family to me? How is it that we can go a couple of years at times without even seeing each other and then to step onto a new job together and it be like you were never apart? And worse still I reckon is what does it say about me; a woman that can get along far better with a bunch of raggedy ass, hard livin' and generally misunderstood men, more than anybody else in this world? To tell you the truth, I never have really figured that one out. I never have known why they so completely accepted me. I've seen a few other women come and go with our company and I guess that may be part of it; they never stayed. Mostly because they weren't worth killin', as they guys would say. Now before anybody has a stroke, that just means they didn't think the women could work very well. They didn't try.
I do know that I always tried my best to do my job without asking for help every time I turned around but I never tried to be a man. I understood they had me on sheer strength. I also know that most of those guys are not the mules that most of society thinks they are and that even an old carpenter sometimes just needs somebody to talk to. I guess the two things brought us together. They respected my efforts and I respected them. Did we fuss and argue? Oh hell yes. We've cussed each other 'til we were red in the face. We've kicked and stomped and slung many a hardhat. We've finished more than one job swearing that was the last. But then, a few hours or maybe a day or two to cool off and we'd sidle back up next to each other. We couldn't stay mad for long.
I've been through a number of rough patches in my life. Some of my own doing, some not. Through it all the people that I could most depend on, whether for a shoulder to cry on or a helping hand up, was these guys. They know me pretty good and they helped me know myself. They have been my cheering section and have done their darnedest to establish my legend. Even on my last day they couldn't help but recount some of the stories again that they get such a kick out of. Like the time I shamed a boy into quitting because I took a sledgehammer away from him and showed him how to really use it; that's their favorite I think. I'll never live that one down. And for the record, I think they embellish it a little. The boy didn't quit until the next day.
I am Miss Annie, Sweet Pea, Anna (to my Hispanic boys), Fruitcake, Sweet Thang, Susie Q or just Ma'am. They are my Sweeties, Honey, Sir, my Men and I will miss them so.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


So, I turned in my notice at work last Friday. I'll work until this Friday and then I retire for good from construction. I'm not entirely sure if anyone believes I'm actually quitting but I guess they'll believe it when I don't show up the following Monday.
I'm having a real problem posting here for some reason. I mean, feeling like I want to post, not a problem with Blogger or my computer. I guess I'm not feeling like anyone is listening right now. Or that I have much to say. I'm not sure why...
I think I've just had a real anti-social twinge going lately. This is a really crappy, rambling post and I'm not even drunk. ha!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

And Now For Something Really Good....

Okay, somebody tell me if some of ya'll are having trouble commenting or is it just nobody has anything to say? I suspect the latter but ever since I took the word verification thingy off I have been having trouble with Blogger and getting tons of spam. One comment on an old post seemed to indicate something wrong? or maybe it's just more spam? If something is wrong somebody email me, please.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Wishin' And Hopin'

Ol' Chigger is always wishin' I'd quit playing with this dirt and hopin' that I'd come out and play with her. I try to make an effort to toss her frisbee several times a day and go for at least 2 walks. Seems like it's never enough though.
I know how she feels. I'm sitting here 100 miles from home wishin' I was there and hopin' I will be soon, for good. I know ya'll get sick of me whining about work; I'm sorry. Things have gotten a bit easier the past couple of days though. Of course, it about had to. Any harder and I think I would be dead. So, not really any news to tell ya'll about. I've got lots of stuff waiting for me at home to plant, fire, make, grow, etc.

Sorry it took me so long to get rid of that word verification thing. Maybe it will make commenting easier. I had switched over to the new Blogger interface, which sucks btw, and nowhere on it could I find the option for word verification. I looked and looked and looked. Finally it occurred to me that I might have to switch back to the old because I knew I had seen it there. And that's what I did. I hope Blogger gets these issues they've been having straightened out soon. They are becoming a pain in the butt and I've already got several of those.

Sal, I'm glad you got your mugs and that you really like them! Sorry it took me so long to reply; I've been more scatterbrained than normal lately.

So, I'll try to have something of interest next time I post. I do have several things to show at home. I'm adding to the garden and landscaping quite a bit. Well, I should say Jack is. He's actually been doing most of the hard work while I'm away. He helps me so much in so many ways. It's kind of a funny thing for me to be the one to put on the hardhat and boots and go away for work but he has adapted to the 'househusband'** role just fine. He always has the house spruced up when I come home and clean sheets on the bed. Even if they are on sideways. lol! It still sleeps fine!

**Edit: In case anyone is wondering, Jack took early retirement after getting laid off about 1 1/2 years ago from his job when the jobs of many were going down the crapper. He had worked in television for many, many years and had tired of the extreme stress and continual travel required of that job. So, no, he is not sluffing off on me, I'm not supporting a deadbeat that won't work and we are not actually married at this point. Jack has put much hard labor and his own money into this land and relationship. As Lilith said once on Frasier, "he has been a dutiful suitor and I am convinced, within an acceptable margin or error, that he loves me."

Friday, March 02, 2012

5 Star Chicken

I am very, very, very tired tonight but I wanted to put up a little something of what's been going on around the house.  I loaded these pics last night but just didn't have the energy to finish.
I can honestly say my construction career is drawing to a close.  After a 10 hour day of welding I-beams, crammed up on scaffolding with only 3 feet of clearance to the slab above, I am beat.  I feel like I have been beat.  I should be beaten for coming back to this.

My attempt at starting some cabbage, brussel sprouts, etc.  I'm not sure why they got so leggy.  Ended up finding a bunch of starts at the local co-op and bough them.  If any of these turn out okay I'll plant them too.

Looky!!!  Goober has starting laying!!  She even made her own little nest in the garden under the fig tree.  I never thought about providing her a nesting box because I didn't know if she would ever lay due to her breed.  She lays a nice size egg and seems quite pleased with herself. Jack started giving her a little laying ration and I think that combined with walking around on dirt has strengthened her legs.  She still has some trouble and sits a lot but is walking better.

Well enough, in fact, to jump her big butt up in my cold frame and start chowing down!  Good thing I saw her when she did it or I wouldn't have a scrap of anything left in there.  We had to build her a little corral in a corner of the garden because she became too aware of all the good food around her and too mobile!  She has a good size space for roaming still though.