Sunday, November 20, 2011

Waste Not, Want Not.

Remember this guy?

Well, he's undergone somewhat of a transformation.

Ended up with something like 25 jars of a total treat, along with a couple pots of soup.  Am really pleased with myself.

Wasn't sure what I was going to do when I set out to peel and cut up this year's behemoth.  Since jack-o-lantern pumpkins are generally for decoration and not so much eating, figured that whatever I'd do would need to be spicy.  Ended up with something that reminds me both of apple butter and pumpkin pie.  Since we're a low-carb sort of household, we mix just a tiny dollop of it with our yogurt.  Am sure that it'd be awesome on buttered whole wheat toast.

Pumpkin Butter

4 cups cooked, mashed pumpkin
3 cups sugar
3 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp ginger
3 Tbs lemon juice

Slowly warm sugar in a large, heavy-bottomed pan.  Add pumpkin, lemon juice, spices, mixing well so that all spices and sugar is dissolved.  Bring to a boil (you're going to want to do this covered, as the mixture is very thick and will make a mess otherwise).  Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for approximately 1/2 an hour, or until further thickened (comes off a spoon in a sheet).  Pour into clean, sterilized jars and seal.  Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Makes approximately six eight ounce jars.


You can also substitute equal amounts of sucralose (Splenda) for the sugar, though the consistency will be more like applesauce than fruit butter.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Reestablishing Equilibrium?

Honestly didn't intend to bring another animal into the home so soon after losing Trouble, but...

Poor Magnolia, after losing her friend and suddenly having to deal with Tony on her own just doesn't know *how* to deal with the new interloper. Little black girl is dealing like a dream with all this. She's surprisingly well-adjusted for a shelter cat. About the best-adjusted cat we've seen.

The shelter folks were calling her Jet. That's a good name (brought to mind Jet Jaguar, in fact!) We've been calling her Molly, not just because she's a little black molly, but because that name goes pretty well with Maggie.

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang so sweetly
she couldn't remember her troubles,

and milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:

and may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea.


Welcome home little Molly!

Friday, November 11, 2011

In Flanders Fields.

Not quite a hundred years ago a treaty was signed, signalling the end of hostilities on the Western Front of an awful, bloody war.  Battles continued on other fronts, and other wars followed.  In some cases, the messes we are in today are related, either directly or once removed from that "War to End All Wars."  Such sobering thoughts for such a beautiful Fall day.

Up in keeping with the tradition in these parts, I've pinned a poppy to my lapel:

It was a quick little thing and took me just a few minutes to whip up.


* a small bit (+-30 yds) of red yarn - I used worsted weight.
* an even smaller bit (+-20 yds) of green yarn - again, worsted weight
* a suitable button and matching thread or black yarn for the pistils.
* a pair of needles. I used some US size 4 double-pointed ones, because they were the first things I picked up. Gauge isn't really important, so use whatever you like/have in front of you.
* a safety pin.

CO 28 stitches.
Rows 1-4:  Knit on odd rows, purl on even rows.
Row 5:  K2tog to end (14 stitches).
Row 6:  Purl to end.
Row 7:  K2tog to end (7 stitches).
Row 8: Purl to end.
Row 9:  K2tog, knit remaining stitch.  (4 stitches).

With darning needle, thread tail end of yarn through live stitches, pull tight and secure.  Sew two ends of fabric together to make a circle.  Sew button to front (or embroider a proper set of pistils to your poppy). 

If desired, on center back of flower, pick up two stitches, and make I-cord stem of desired length from green yarn.  Weave in all ends, make sure stem is secure, add a safety pin, and wear in Good Health and Remembrance.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Goodbye, Little Trouble.

He'd been sick for a few months, seemed to be getting better.  Suddenly, over the weekend things took a turn for the worse.  Last night, took him to the hospital.  Today, the vet told us that both the heart and kidneys were having serious problems and, to fix one would put serious stress on the other.  Plus, he needed a blood transfusion, which his heart probably wouldn't survive.

Pavel gave the permission to put him to sleep and, tonight at about 6:40 pm, we let him go.

I can't imagine how Pavel's feeling; they lived together for over 10 years.  I just know that my heart feels like it's breaking right now.

Happy Halloween!

This year, the Frenchie really got into the spirit of things and carved the pumpkin.  Note the beret basque.

As we don't normally get a lot of trick-or-treaters where I'm currently living, we were hoping for somebody, anybody.  Happily, were visited by maybe half a dozen kids.  Still have some treats to deal with (we're not really sweet eaters), but not as much as we were fearing.

Pavel got the actual fruit. I supplied the fruit flavored stuff.

Thank heavens that the weather turned decent (positively balmy compared to this weekend).