Monday, September 30, 2013

A Pose, Do You Suppose?

It's been a bit of a whirlwind here, and it's about to get even busier.   Last weekend, Joseph and I headed to Norfolk to meet my Dad and his wife, and tour the USS Wisconsin.  This was the ship my Dad was on during the Korean War.  It was pretty special to see it with him. He'd not seen it in almost 60 years, and as you can tell, was pretty happy to be there.  He was aboard the ship the only time it was bombed, but was working below in the engine room, and thankfully didn't know it had happened. It made a 4 foot hole in one of the upper decks, and injured three men, but didn't stop this massive ship.

This friendly green snake was outside the shop last week.

What do you think?  Was this hen was posing for me?  :o)

I finished all the welding and metalwork for my glass garden flowers over the weekend, in preparation for next weekend's Fall Festival.  Soap is almost all wrapped... whew!  Joseph and I have taken on part-time jobs.  We're actually doing a job-share.  He's working the largest number of hours, with me backing him up as needed. Of course, as soon as he was committed, custom orders and other work began rolling in for both of us.  I'll begin training this week.  We'll give it a whirl and see how it goes.  I'll visit here as often as I'm able.  Be well, and enjoy your days, my friends!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Beans, Pawpaws and More Beans

Though I told myself I had canned the last of them, I did can another round of green beans yesterday.  While watching a movie the other night, Joseph and I shelled a mixture of beans from the garden.  I cooked some for dinner, then canned the rest in pint jars to add to soups this winter.  I wish their lovely colors stayed with them through the cooking, but here's how they looked after being canned.  Not as pretty, but they'll still be good eating.

I did make the pawpaw pudding recipe, and we liked it.  It does have a fairly intense pawpaw flavor, but that works for me in small doses.  I think I may try cutting the 2c of pawpaw down a bit, and see how that turns out.  The very same recipe happens to be in a pawpaw article in Our State magazine this month. Either the article, or a link it had, told of peeling the pawpaws, then mashing them in a bowl, and removing seeds.  I did try that method.  It may save a small bit of time, makes a finer pulp due to the mashing, and probably has a little less waste of pulp.  It's still a messy job, though.  I thought I'd mention that some folks find the fragrance of ripe pawpaws to be unpleasant.  I find it to be a nice tropical fragrance, and my Mom feels the same.  However, if they become overripe, it can take on a rather cloying scent.  There is a very small window of opportunity between ripe and overripe.  Once they have fragrance, and are barely soft, that's the time to eat them.  A day or two later, they'll begin turning brown.

I'm excited about an upcoming road trip J & I are taking with my Dad and his lovely wife.  I do love a good adventure!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Life Between the Posts

I wanted to share a little bit more about pawpaws today.  The flesh is generally a bright orange, though some fruits have a paler, more yellow color.  They have many large seeds, covered in a casing which is also edible.

I've not found an easy way to work with the fruits.  It's just one of those messy jobs.  I peel them first, then cut away the flesh as close as I can to the seeds, as in the photo below.  The casing which surrounds the seeds is tougher than the flesh, and pretty slippery.  Sometimes I take the time to collect it along with the remaining flesh; other times not.  It depends how much time I have to devote to the task.  Today I've got my eye on a pawpaw pudding recipe, similar to a persimmon pudding.  If it ends up being a keeper, I'll be sure to share it.

Some time earlier this year, I took a class in stamping.  It was a simple, kind of elementary school version of making a stamp.  It was a great way to get my feet wet, and let me know I wanted to do more.  Last week, I created a stamp using the tutorials here.  As far as I can tell, she never did get around to posting Part 3, but with the photos in Part 2, you can pretty much figure it out.  The one mistake I made, which she does not mention, is the need to create the stamp in the inverse of what you want to stamp.  That's a sneak peek of my stamp below, along with the first stamp I made.  That stamp puts the heart on the left side of the image, which you can likely picture when you turn it over.  That was not what I was after, so I created a mirror image of what I did want.

It's been six months since I've made any new garden flowers.  I had put together several combinations of plates, but only got around to beginning them yesterday.

This time, I decided to create a few with winter themes. As you can see, they're not put together yet.

I'm loving this sweet snowman. It was Joseph's idea to use a button instead of a cabinet knob.  Love it!

As it turned out, I broke two plates during the drilling process yesterday. It happens.  Sometimes you can figure out a reason, and try something different the next time. Sometimes you can't.  Do you see the amber and copper collection in the photo below?  That was the flower I was most excited about making.  Deviled egg plates can be hard to come by, especially in colored glass.  They're typically the most expensive plates I buy for garden flowers.  The amber plate was one that cracked. It didn't break all the way across, but I'd be scared that with the first really cold days, it would finish the crack and break. So, I won't be selling that one.

Not long ago, I was asked if I would make a flower using someone's sentimental plate.  I pondered it, but it's one thing to break a plate I've purchased, another thing entirely to break someone's treasured piece.  Everything about it made me nervous, and the main reason I create things is to have fun, so I turned the job down.  I was sorry to disappoint, but sometimes you've just got to listen to that small voice inside, you know?  I know this post is a bit of a ramble here and there, but that's my life between the posts.  Have a great week, friends!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Festivals and Frogs, Peace and Pawpaws

I hope you've been enjoying these late summer days.  The days have been full, with soapmaking, harvesting, and preserving.  Throw in some workdays, some homestead projects, and a few custom orders, and maybe you'll forgive me for not stopping by lately.  My Mom spied the peace banner, and got it for me... love!

Black and Blue salvia


I recently saw a preview for an interesting film, Dive!.  It's not something I have a burning desire to do, and am rather squeamish about the thought of that food, but I admire the folks who are gleaning from the waste stream.  I had the idea that our society had gotten somewhat better about our enormous amount of waste, but it appears we have a long way to go.


Pawpaw season is upon us.  I could stand to expand our pawpaw repertoire, and have been looking at recipes.  They're great in smoothies and fruit salads, and the pulp freezes well.  This weekend, I saw some local pawpaws for sale for the first time ever.  They are typically not seen in the marketplace, because they don't travel well.  They bruise easily, and the bruised area can take on a bitter taste. Otherwise, they have a lovely tropical fragrance and flavor.

12 Apostles lily

While harvesting okra at dusk last night, I had a little tree frog keeping me company.  The light was too dim to get a nice picture.  I'm taking part in a large festival in a few weeks, my largest show ever.  There are 10 batches of soap curing. Today I'll be making my Sirius dog shampoo bar, and I believe that will be the last batch.  There will be lots of soap wrapping going on soon!