Monday, December 31, 2018

Bedding The Bonsai for Winter

It's a good thing one of the subjects of my last Bonsai 101 class was how to put our bonsai to bed for the winter....

winter arrived a week later.

24*F in mid November.

About a month earlier than normal, we brought everyone around to their winter home.

There they were tucked in close to each other, with straw stuffed around the pots.  This will keep the roots at a even constant temperature thru the winter. 

A few I have in the garage because they just are not ready for such terribly cold temps this early.

Friday, December 28, 2018

It's Fruit Cake Day!

Fruit cake.

There seems to be no middle ground... you either love them or hate them.

I'm on the LOVE side of the coin!

Even as a small child, when my parents were given a gift of a fruit cake I broke into a happy dance.  Better yet if there were several such gifts that year!  When I married Himself I found out that his father MADE fruit cake... the most wonderful fruit cakes ever.  Haven't had one since 1993.

Then a few years ago I discovered the fruit cakes of Assumption Abbey in Ava, Missouri.  The Trappist monks there make incredible fruit cakes to support their abbey.  Check out the video below... it is quite interesting.

Because they a kind of pricey (but worth it) every few years  I will order one as a special treat.  It comes in a plain brown box (so your neighbors won't know)...

... with this tin inside.

TWO pounds of lusciousness!

Is that not a picture of fruit cake beauty?


Saturday, December 22, 2018

Oh Christmas Tree

This year our tree is a simple tree.  Lights, garland, and an angel on top (that was purchased our 2nd Christmas together).

As we had finished with the lights and garland, we had our evening hot tea sitting in front of it.  It was so pretty we decided that was as far as we were going to go this year.  

Simple abundance...

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Bonsai 101: Austrian Pine

For my second Bonsai 101 class the topics were tree structure and how to winterize our trees.  We carved up a trunk slice so we could see all the different parts.

Our tree of the month was an Austrian Pine.

Eileen explained how care of a pine is quite different than that of a juniper.

Hmmmm...  I have never fooled around with a pine because they are rather fussy.

A good start in an interesting nebari (base).

This tree isn't anything I'd paid attention to, so I had to have a lot of help from my mentor.

Lots of help...

But I'm happy with how it turned out.  (Oh by the way, her name is Vienna).

Sunday, December 16, 2018

ICE! Looks Nice But ...

A week ago we had a bit of ice... not a lot, but just enough to cause some troubles.

Just before dawn this is what it looked like on the front porch.  This small amount and the sun soon up I thought we'd 'dodged the bullet'.

A few hours later... wiffffff...  the power went off.  And this is what I saw when I looked out on the front porch.  It was starting to melt; but the damage had been done.

No power ~ no heat!  So Himself went out and checked the road.  It was in great shape so we jumped in the car for a nice warm drive.  It really was a 'winter wonder land'.

OK Ice... we know you're beautiful... you can STOP now!

(BTW, the power was off for almost 7 hours!)

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Corner Coffee House in Hopkinsville, KY

Our last trip to Hopkinsville, KY we stumbled upon a little jewel...

The Corner Coffee House

It's located at 707 S. Virginia St in Hopkinsville.

The sandwiches of the day are listed up on a chalkboard.  I had the avocado-egg-and Swiss.  I was surprised that it was a fried egg sandwich rather than an egg salad sandwich.  Himself had the ham-cheddar-tomato and it was huge.

Drinks are on the other side of the room.

Is that not the best bar??  Everything is made fresh... including the baked goodies.

And while you wait, you can admire this awesome light!!

Monday, December 10, 2018

To Instant Pot... Or Not... (with recipes)

Electric pressure cookers are all the rage now.  I'd been wondering if maybe it was something we might find useful, especially since I'd heard it could cook a meal in 5 minutes.

The well-known name brand is "Instant Pot".

So when a free class was offered thru the Extension Homemakers, I jumped on the chance.

The class covered how to use, clean, and the safety features of the device.  Here steam is being released.

You have to be careful to open in a way that the steam won't burn you!

Then we broke into groups with each doing a different recipe.

In the end, I decided that I definitely do NOT need this gadget.  My deciding factors were:

1.  It is NOT all that fast when you count in the time it takes to come to pressure and to release pressure.  The chicken dish took 11 minutes to pressurize and 10 minutes to depress, plus 20 minutes to cook (41 minute total).  The apple dessert took THIRTY minute to come to pressure and about 12 minutes to come down, plus 8 minutes to cook (50 minutes total).
I could have done both quicker with my electric skillet.

2.  Because of expansion, you can only use 2/3 of the space.  So a 6 quart cooker will only give you 4 qts of cooking space.  And if you do something like pasta which really expands or beans which froth, you can only use half of the space...

3.  Food particles get pushed into the lid seal area and it is not easy to clean it out.  The agent said the best way she found to clean it was to wrap a rag around a spoon handle and really work it in the grooves.

4.  The rubber seal...  First off, if it is not in perfectly, the pot won't work.  Second, it collects food odors and gets stinky.  And she hadn't figured out how to de-stink it.

That was enough reasons for me.