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A Beautiful Fall Day and Lettuce Seed Mystery Solved

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Turkey Tracks: September 22, 2020

A Beautiful Fall Day and Lettuce Seed Mystery Solved

I was outside all yesterday morning working in the yard. It was one of those beautiful fall days with a clear, brilliant blue sky and some warm sun. Outside tasks went along fast in such a pretty day.

Friends came to help me with the heavy lifting, among other falls tasks, so now the wooden snow boardwalk is down, the porch furniture stored, and everything done now except for a few stray bits after we get some hard frosts.

I dug up ALL the Lady’s Mantle in the beds—it is so invasive—and let me tell you, that was a hard job. LM forms a thick mat of roots under the soil that is something like a doormat.

AC was ecstatic to have people outside with us. He was very, very busy overseeing everything. Here he is after his lunch when all the work was done.

I ordered lettuce seeds from Fedco Seeds that I had planned to sow in the cold frame after some heavy frosts. It will start sprouting in the early spring under the cold frame cover, and I will have beautiful lettuce to eat and share as spring progresses.

I thought I had put the lettuce seed packets in the garage—and seriously wondered (in these solitary virus days) if I was going around the bend a bit since I could not find those packets anywhere.

Yesterday I found the packets way back along the counter in the garage—nowhere near where I had put them. They had been chewed into bits and the seeds eaten. Mice. Hopefully its mice since a red squirrel or a chipmunk would be an entirely different kind of disaster.

Mice traps will go up in the garage soon now. Here is why it is not a great idea to leave the garage door open, but…

I reordered the lettuce seeds this morning. And I’m so happy I’m totally sane.

This morning is cloudy and windy with Hurricane Teddy out in the Gulf of Maine. I took this picture anyway, though the red is so much more brilliant with the sun on it.

Yes, fall has arrived.

Written by louisaenright

September 22, 2020 at 1:33 pm

Toaster Warning

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Turkey Tracks: September 21, 2020

Toaster Warning

I can’t eat bread. I think it is the yeast more than the gluten. But who knows? So I’ve been toasting a small corn tortilla and using that like bread or a cracker. I can spread butter or a soft goat cheese on the tortilla or melt some mozzarella cheese on it in the big oven.  (I’m so happy I’ve gotten these two cheeses back recently. And eggs. I think it is the quercetin I’m taking.)

BUT, the other night I almost set the kitchen on fire with a toaster that either malfunctioned or let a corn tortilla catch fire.  

In a split second, the flames were nearly a foot high—I kid you not.  And the toaster was located beneath a kitchen cabinet. I had to unplug the toaster and put it in the sink—flames and all—and douse it REPEATEDLY with water from the sink faucet.  So scary!

To make sure there would be no more drama, I put the toaster outside on the grass when the fire stopped.

No more toasters—and I am so lucky I was just standing in the kitchen when this fire started.  I live out in the country, and there are NO fire hydrants or water beyond whatever a pumper fire truck brings.  My house would have had a serious fire or burned down if I had not been standing right there in the kitchen.

I ordered a toaster oven,  which will come soon.  I think a toaster oven will be a safer choice. And, yes, I have a rule that I never leave the kitchen or that floor of my house when a pot is on the stove.  When I turn off flames under a pot, I move the pot off the burner to make sure the gas is off.  And now I will never again have a toaster in my house again.

And I would suggest that none of you put something in a toaster or a toaster oven and leave the room.  

I have noticed—and written about it here—that today’s toasters and way too many appliances are total junk. I have not been able to find a toaster in our markets that is like the old toasters we used to be able to get. I am old enough now at 75 to make this comparison. I have tried expensive, and I have tried cheap. None of them work well or last. So I truly think this toaster went whacky in some fundamental way. The handle where one pushes to start the heat was “funky” when I started the tortilla.

Believe me, I am saying prayers of blessings and thafter this incident.

Written by louisaenright

September 21, 2020 at 1:22 pm

It’s A Chicken Soup Day

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Turkey Tracks: September 20, 2020

It’s A Chicken Soup Day

Our temps are dropping pretty low at night now and for the next few days will not reach 70 during the day. It’s Chicken Soup time!

I start by dragging out my big Creuset cast iron/enamel pot, melting in some duck fat, and sautéing whatever savory veggies I have on hand. This time I have leeks, just harvested onion, carrots, celery, a celeriac bulb, and a zucchini. And, herbs and salt, always herbs and salt. (I have chopped cabbage too, but am withholding it for the moment.) See that brown on the bottom of one side of this pot—that’s what I’m aiming for—brown but not burned. It’s that brown stuff that gives the soup a deep flavor.

Meanwhile, I roughly chopped a whole package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs that I bought on sale. There are at least 12 in the package. I love the thighs for soup as they have so much flavor.

When the veggies are getting too hot, I stir in the meat, which cools everything down.

I like short-grain rice for a soup. It stands up better than a long-grain type so it does not disintegrate into the soup.

I mix it in when the meat is mostly done and let it cook a bit with the mixture. AND NOTE: if you have a Creuset pot, do not use metal utensils with it—except to dip out the soup with a metal dipper. Metal tools can weaken the enamel and cause it to crack and chip over time. I have two of these pots—this is the bigger, newer one. My 5-quart smaller, older one is over 40 years old and is going strong.

I add my chopped fresh cabbage at this stage—I don’t like for cabbage to over cook as that is what gives a soup the too-cabbagy taste.

When the cabbage is mixed in, I add water and taste for salt. I add water until the pot is about an inch or so from the top.

While the soup heats, I chop some fresh Italian parsley I had on hand—it will top the soup when it is done.

After I bring the soup to a good simmer, I cover it and turn the heat down very very low and cook it until the rice is done—usually about 35 to 40 minutes. This pot is very heavy and does not have to be watched every 5 minutes or so. You will need to check and recheck with a thinner pot. Don’t let it all boil—that makes all the veggies way, way too soft.

I made this soup in the morning, so I pulled off what I wanted to reheat for lunch and put it in a separate smaller pot. I left the soup on the stove, uncovered, until it cooled thoroughly, which can take a hour or more. Then I filled one of my silicone bags (I LOVE THESE) for the freezer—they are absolutely no-leak when sealed. Then I put the rest of the soup in a bowl and cleaned my pot. I can dip out of this bowl and reheat what I want to eat. I do not reheat the whole bowl as it makes the soup ingredients too soft.

If I find I’m not eating the whole thing in two days and I’m tired of it, I just freeze the rest for another day. I would not keep the soup without reheating the whole thing after 2 days.

On other meals, to change things up, one can top the soup with yogurt or heavy cream or thin it with some milk for a cream soup. One can add other ingredients as well: cooked beans, greens, corn, tomatoes, cheeses that melt on top, etc. I added corn kernels after the first day.

I am eating mine with a side of goat cheese smeared on good quality corn tortilla chips. If it’s corn, I’m all in. I can also heat a corn tortilla in the oven and put mozzarella on top to melt.

Is it time for YOU to make a hearty fall soup?

Written by louisaenright

September 20, 2020 at 10:05 am

A Yummy Lunch and Progress on the Design Wall

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Turkey Tracks: September 19, 2020

A Yummy Lunch and Progress on the Design Wall

I’ve had a gastro thing from the histamine issue I have so I have been eating cooked food—rather than my beloved big salad—for lunch. And fruit is a no-no right now as well. (But all is so much better now as I write—stress causes this gastro reaction, as well as various triggers—and we are living in truly stressful times these days.)

***Stress made more so by the very sad death of RBG yesterday. I’m taking a deep breath and thinking of her as I write here.

The other day I had these fresh veggies on hand, so I popped them into a pan with heated duck fat and some dried herbs. And, salt. Good sea salt. Aren’t they pretty? A feast for the eyes already.

I had some cooked chicken drumsticks that reheated in the oven while I sautéed the veggies and cooked this fragrant basmanti rice.

Yes, I know it is very processed rice, but it cooks in 10 minutes, smells heavenly, tastes wonderfully, and I thought it might add some needed bulk to my system. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. I will confess I just bought this new package of it. Oh my…

Voila! A tasty and hearty lunch.

Lunch is my first meal of the day, so cooked or salad, it is a hearty meal for me. The fat in this meal holds me until dinner time, so there is no snacking through the day. Except for a coffee some time in the afternoon. When I really want a treat, AC and I go downtown to Zoot coffee where I get a not-too-sweet maple syrup latte with whip cream to go. AC loves the whip cream. Me, too. Napkins are involved in that endeavor.

And here’s the design wall. I’m looking forward to sewing these blocks into a top. It’s been a really fun project—a leader/ender that took over the design wall, so became a primary project. (Yesterday I started sewing the rows together—and—YEAH—they are matching up beautifully.)

I wanted to sprinkle in low-volume pieces through the top. I wanted to make blocks that “popped” with their combinations. And I wanted to use up 3 1/2 inch strips from my storage bins as well as making some sort of dent in my stash, especially by using up small pieces living there.

And look at this EPP project that now has two rows finished—out of six.

This project is the 36-Ring Circus EPP project—that is a riff on a classic wedding ring quilt.

This one has been VERY slow going for me as it is HARD. But, wow. Suddenly it is seeming like maybe it is worth doing. The centers are, so far, all Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society. The rings are pastels. And the rest are darker solids. There will be 6 rows finished.

So…

I will keep going this winter.

Right now I’m sewing down binding on a finished quilt that just came off the longarm—where I had a lot of fun doodling designs. And today I will put “On Point” from The Color Collective (Denyse Schmidt) on the longarm—God Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise, as my dad used to say.

Written by louisaenright

September 19, 2020 at 9:22 am

“Little Circles” Quilt is Done

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Turkey Tracks: September 18, 2020

“Little Circles” Quilt is Done

The back story on this quilt is that when I did the very first Color Collective project, big circles were involved. When I cut the centers out on the back side, I had all these little circles. (There was also a trial small project from my own solid fabric first—and some of those circles are in this quilt.)

I couldn’t throw these little circles away. They sat in my “to do” pile for almost two years. This past summer I made templates for them that allowed me to make the circles uniform (that was Tara Faughnan’s method), and mounted them on the grey fabric, and the rest is history.

And I love this little quilt.

I quilted it on my domestic, and that was fun too. I love how the back came out.

Here’s the original quilt with the big circles—and I combined projects and 1 and 2 from The Color Collective in this quilt.

And here’s my little sample quilt before I cut into Tara Faughnan’s color palette for this project:

Can I just say that I made myself throw out the grey circles that arrived when I cut out the backs of the little circles I had mounted!!!

I was tempted though…

Written by louisaenright

September 18, 2020 at 9:23 am

Margaret-Elaine Jinno’s Rice Bags with Sashiko

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Turkey Tracks: September 12, 2020

Margaret-Elaine Jinno’s Rice Bags with Sashiko

Quilty friend here in Camden, Margaret-Elaine, has been making rice bags with Sashiko embellishment. (Using Sashiko is her “prompt” for our Mt. Battie Modern Quilt Guild “Bee Inspired” challenge.)

I’ve always said that Margaret-Elaine is the best overall seamstress I know—but she is maybe tied with Sarahann Smith. (See the latter’s blog at http://sarahannsmith.com/.) Both of these two women sew a wide variety of projects—not just quilts.

Anyway, Margaret-Elaine sent me some pictures of a rice bag she had just made a few weeks back—and while dropping off something at her house, she showed me some panels she had made that were meant for the rice bags she was making.

Here’s the first bag she showed me—with chickens on one side. (She has chickens; I used to have chickens.)

Here are the panels she had completed, which she laid out on her front porch boards:

The snake on the bottom panel is there as this bag is meant for an Asian friend of hers who was born in the year of the snake.

Here are the three bags from these panels:

Many of us have been making rice bags, and we started with Kz Steven’s rice bag/komebukuro pattern. You can get it from her Etsy store—see kzstevens.com. The pattern discusses different size bags.

But Margaret-Elaine may now be using her own pattern.

These bags lend themselves to all kinds of embellishments, fabrics, patchwork, different types of ties, and so on. Creativity can run loose with these bags. You can see my bags from June 3, 2019, here: https://louisaenright.com/?s=Making+Komebukuro+Bags

Written by louisaenright

September 12, 2020 at 7:36 am

Roxanne Wells’ “Postcards from The Wormhole” Quilt

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Turkey Tracks: September 10, 2020

Roxanne Wells’ “Postcards from The Wormhole” Quilt

Here’s a treat for you today:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

What an amazing quilt. But Roxanne’s quilts ARE generally amazing.

Thanks for sharing, Roxanne. You hit this one out of the ball park.

Written by louisaenright

September 10, 2020 at 10:17 am

“My ‘Give and Take’” Done and Hung

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Turkey Tracks: September 9, 2020

“My `Give and Take’’’ Done and Hung

Oh boy!

Wow!

I made this quilt for this spot, and I’m so pleased with how it turned out. I hung it this morning.

To remind, Tara Faughnan created this improv “give and take” method for The Color Collective, season 2. And she curated the analogous fabrics for the online class.

But look where she has taken this method:

I don’t know. Tara has used a palette here that I personally love. And look how she is varying the background colors here. There may be more of this type of quilt in my life.

Written by louisaenright

September 9, 2020 at 9:37 am

It Makes No Sense…

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Turkey Tracks: September 6, 2020

It Makes No Sense…

…to cook just ONE ear of corn at a time.

It takes a bit pot of water and a lot of energy to heat the water for one ear of corn.

I usually cook 4 at a time. I eat one or two for whatever meal I’m cooking and let the remaining ears cool on a plate. It takes about 10 seconds each to remove the corn kernels with a sharp knife. Then I have a food asset in the refrigerator.

This week I got a beautiful head of Bok Choy in my weekly food pick-up from my Community Shared Agriculture farm Hope’s Edge.

After working in the garden all morning, I came inside hungry and tired. While I warmed up two chicken drumsticks in the oven, I got out the Bok Choy and sautéed it in some duck fat (add some herbs, garlic, and good salt) and when it was done, I added some of my saved corn kernels just long enough to heat them.

Can I just say this was a DELICIOUS mixture. Both the Bok Choy and the corn have a certain sweetness—as does the duck fat.

Best of all, I had leftovers, which I added to a stir fry I cooked for dinner.

The local corn may be “done” now for the year. It has been so good this year: so sweet and tender. I already miss it.

Written by louisaenright

September 6, 2020 at 10:12 am

Some of This; Some of That

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Turkey Tracks: September 4, 2020

Some of This; Some of That

A bit of leftover cooked rice.

Half of a baked, meatloaf stuffed green pepper.

An egg.

Lots of veggies.

A small, fresh pickling cucumber.

Duck fat.

Why not make some fried rice for lunch?

Sauté veggies in the duck fat. When they begin to sweat, add some chopped fresh garlic, whatever herbs float your boat, and salt. Here I roughly chopped and cooked a handful of cauliflower bits, half of a small zucchini, a small bright yellow pitty-pan squash, half a red pepper, and some sliced fresh sweet onion. I added some cooked corn I took off the cob last night with the rice. When that was mixed up and warm, I added the chopped up baked green pepper—it had a hamburger meatloaf mixture inside—and mixed everything up well before breaking a fresh egg into the pan and mixing it in until it was totally cooked.

Delicious! And I have some leftover for dinner as a side dish.

Written by louisaenright

September 5, 2020 at 9:55 am