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Friday, March 27, 2015

Early Photo Frames

                                            Aren't they just the most lovely things?

                                                  Every little case a different design.

              Filler pictures just as we find a happy family in the frames we buy today?

                                                       Lovely designs and details.

I wonder if folks back then knew how special these things were and had any idea at all how less lovely things would become in the name of cost saving mass production methods and manufacturing?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spring Fever

 This was looking from my back door yesterday morning. Still snowy and icy. Today it snowed all afternoon. Overcast and lots of fluffy flakes falling. No accumulation but still....that is the sort of thing you wax poetic about in November, not the end of March.

 Indoors I was doing some domestic stuff. I got distracted and decided to put some of our abundant eggs to use and made an angel food cake. I didn't think it would really work, using the Einkorn flour I had sprouted and ground myself. It is a little coarser than what you would buy already ground for you.  I thought I would sift it through a fine sifter and then follow the directions to make your own cake flour.

 Well, the biggest bit of work was sifting the flour, otherwise angel food cake is a simple and stunning cake to make. And it worked!!! It didn't go as high as a regular cake would have but it rose up nicely and was wonderful tasting. The darker flour and organic sugar gave it a golden and deep lovely flavour. Delicious! I dug some raspberries out of the freezer and beat up some whipped cream for a very summery dessert.

My angel food cake left me with a good number of yolks left over.  I looked up recipes that take a lot of yolks and came across this Poppy Seed Lemon cake. It turned out great and was super tasty too. A new recipe to add to my binder. In this picture I had not turned it over yet. I didn't bother with the icing sugar. It was great without it. For company, I would certainly have given it a dusting.
Now if only the snow would go away....

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Old Fashioned Children's Books

 I was reorganising again and came across this assortment of children's books from the turn of the century, the last century that is.

  They never cease to charm with their bright colours and wonderful illustrations. What child wouldn't be thrilled to have one of these read to them at bedtime or on a rainy day.

                          The world was full of magic and wonder in these books.

                   Who wouldn't want their afternoon tea cakes served by a wee fairy?

                                                    Adventure from cover to cover!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Another Sign of Spring

 We cleaned the chicken coop today. It was not too cold out and things were melting again.  When Aaron opened the door the little brown hens jumped out, no hesitation. Down they want onto the ground. They were so very happy and excited to find some fresh dirt and leaves to scratch in. They were everywhere! Under he car, picking up bits of ice, making a dust nest under the bench.  Happy hens!

Then out popped Mr Mister and Pearl. Pearl had decided to moult early this winter and now she is a fluffy white little hen.  She still mumbles away endlessly.
With fresh shavings installed the remaining birds were silly over them and practically danced about, fluffing up the space.
When the little browns were put back in, there was a great outcry. They had tasted freedom and weren't ready to give it up yet. Soon enough- I hope- things will warm up, chasing away the snow and begin to green up.
Happy first day of spring!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Signs Of Spring

 We had a little melty weather recently. Very nice, until the temperatures dropped again and it all froze into icy side walks and driveways. I look forward to hanging my clothes on the line again.

 There is a road nearby which is regularly travelled by walkers (no, not the Walking Dead kind of "walkers") and one creative soul had assembled some outsider found art and installed it on the side of the road. All the trash they find ends up here. There used to be a little sign in front but it may have blown away. Hmmm. More detritus.

 Gumdrop is full of energy! Happily running about, slipping on the ice, sinking in the now softened snow and feeling up to taking on four foot tree branches. Yeah!! Bring on Spring!

 Some of my garden seeds arrived yesterday. I sorted them out according to when to begin them indoors and apparently I have some that need to be started NOW! Must get on that.

So, what signs of spring have you noticed in Your area? (sorry, I just had to tuck in another pic of Little Mister. As you can see, Odelia is no longer distracted by her noisy, feathery friend.)

Friday, March 13, 2015

Parting Shots For The End Of The Week

 Little Mister is eating well and manoeuvring around very nicely now.  He enjoys the company of the dogs and seeks them out.

                Odelia is concerned about the extra attention he is getting from Marty.

                                                          A little jealous, non?

 The other day I was cleaning up his space and he found his way to the dogs' water dish, perched and waited. He spends a lot of time with his head swung 'round looking backwards, checking out what's going on behind him.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Short Rant

 I am sure that all of you at some point in your life has washed the dishes. Perhaps it was your job on the odd numbered days of the month. Dinner clean-up and dish washing. Hot, soapy water, lots of bubbles that always made you sneeze. Maybe not your favourite job but water play is therapeutic and in the end, if you did it right, you get clean shiny dishes.
Did you towel dry and put away or air dry? I prefer air drying myself.

Now here is the big question: did you use a dish brush or sponge or cloth?
I was brought up in a dish brush family. I grew up and continued to be a dish brush dish washer.
I had no dishwasher to stuff full of dishes until after our third child was born and it was then that my father got tired of helping with dinner clean up when he visited and figured a family of five ought to have just such a handy appliance. He helped us get a dishwasher. Wonderful!
I loved it but still did the baking pans, delicate pieces, and pots and pans by hand.
That's a lot of dish brushes over the last 24 years.
Have you noticed that dish brushes have not kept up with the simple requirements of a good dish brush for actual dish washing?

The above brushes, for instance, cute, replaceable brush heads- although I have never seen replacements. The angle of the brush is wrong for good glass washing and too wide for tall, narrow glass washing. Adorable, maybe, not practical. They are also on the short side for those big, deep pots that need to be done by hand.

                         The bristles also did not hold up well. This is just after a month or two of use.

 This brush resembles a lovely brush I used for many years. That dear old brush was great in every way. It was made in Germany. Very similar to the ones pictured above.

 However the old reliable brush had bristles that went around the bottom and onto the other side. It was great for glasses as well as all your other dishes and pots.

 Now, you would think that this one would do the job with lots of bristles, however they are too long, too soft, and too far apart so the bristles actually splash water all over the place do not do an adequate job of cleaning.

 These have stiffer bristles but short handles and are good only for larger items like pots and plates. Not great for getting into the corners of things.

 This one was fine except useless for glasses. The odd angle and front facing bristles cannot touch the bottom of a glass. It also wore out very quickly. Fail.

This was the brush that I used for many years. It was always there, at the grocery store, to be replaced when needed. Well, all good things seem to go the way of the Dodo bird. Last time I checked (it was more than a year ago)  it was no longer available and replaced with another short, impotent brush, no hand washing person would ever spend money on. In spite of lots of use and wear, the bristles are still useful, not and flat and squishy. No, I do not use this one any more. It has been relegated to the garage for messier jobs.

So, have nay of you found the perfect dish brush? Something practical and reliable? Good value for the money? You know, one good brush for all your dish washing needs? Yes, I have a bottle brush, but that is a separate tool for a separate need.

For heavy duty scrubbing my mom always used a scrub bud. Once hard to find and purchased only from a direct sales person, now easily found at the grocery store.

Lots of new questions now. Things like where do I find an Eddington or Redecker brush? Should I try out the coconut fibre scrubbies? Will they measure up to my expectations or will I forever be disappointed and frustrated with my dish washing tools? Is a coconut fibre really as good as a wire scrubby?

There has been some talk lately, in the news and such, that says those who dish wash by hand have healthier families than those who use a dishwasher all the time. Maybe there is hope for a new, good, reliable, old fashioned, and practical dish brush to make a comeback.

Yes, I am well aware that there are much greater issues in the world to be concerned with, but these are the things that go through my head when my hands are in a sink of water. They spend a lot of time in the sink!

Thank you for your time and your ear.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The First Spring-Like Day

 The sky looked different this morning. Patches of blue and fluffy little clouds instead of the blanket of grey that signals more snow.

                     The snow reluctantly sliding off the garage roof. Drip, drip, drip.

Shadows on softening snow. More sun coming in through the windows, casting a glare on a season's worth of wood stove dust.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Winter Comfort Food

 The days are still cold but a little longer, offering up hope for springtime, melting snow and a change in the local birdsong.  This recipe was in a recent Willow Bird Baking blog. Blueberry skillet cake.

 Served warm with fresh home made ice cream and drizzled with maple syrup. The recipe asked for a glaze but that would have made it too sweet for my taste. It was great with the maple syrup.

Today it was  cheese soufflĂ© day. Turned out rather well if I do say so. Delicious too. Do you have a special cold weather favourite food?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Spring Is Around the Corner

 Lots of talk about the first day of spring being near. Just talk. March came in like a lamb. I'm guessing that means more snow.
So, above is a lovely shot of snow. Snow in early March. Looks cold and white. It is currently snowing outside now. Adding to the above picture.

Now we have a picture of a white dog in the snow. Still cold and white. You can find me next to the wood stove, until the white stuff begins to melt.
I am dreaming of warm sunny days, punctuated by cool rainy days, gardens full of greens and the joy of pulling carrots at the end of a lovely summer.
 I am happy to keep the white dog, the cold, white stuff can go.
How will you be marking the end of this winter?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Special Surprises

 I got a call from someone I'd not heard from in years. She was cleaning out a relative's home and had thought of me! Perhaps I might want some items still too good to toss? What would you say? Of course! What a privilege. How thoughtful!

 When we finally met up she said she had three small boxes. Well, the boxes weren't so small!  They were full of a great variety of vintage treasures. Above are tea towels, aprons, and pillow cases, as well as that wonderful runner with heavy embroidery.

             Here are some of the lace and crocheted pieces and a few hankies.

 A cotton collar, gloves, full slip and a few crocheted bodices from old slips or nighties.

 An old Colliers volume with heavily textured cover, some vintage cards, shelf paper and a wee book from China. I love the graphics on the tack boxes. The long red tube out front is actually a firecracker from Amway with two unused lip balms inside!

 Some kitchen treasures:  an egg lifter with red wooden handle, some celluloid handled cutlery, a strainer and tin scoop and a enamel scoop, and some measuring spoons. The piece at the top appears to have come from an old gramophone.

     Pretty pieces of porcelain. Some perfect, some no so perfect.

 An advertising mirror, silhouettes coasters, incomplete nesting dolls, flower frogs and a clock crystal. Such fun!

 Salt sellers anyone? A wonderful metal box, cheese keeper and press-mitt.

            A doll's dress and some lovely old polka dotted lace yardage.

                                                   More box love. Worn but lovely.

 A set of children's toy dishes, made in Japan. The cutlery is made in Germany and has a teddy bear on the handle.

The box top is most interesting. It outlines clearly how to go about having a good and proper tea party. There were a few other items but they will make the perfect gifts for some special people.  Thank you!


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