Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Countdown!

I am starting the countdown of days left until I go back to school (as a pre-K teacher). This means I also start frantically trying to get as many things on my "list" done as possible until then. I am hosting our Bunco group at my house this Friday. I decided to go with a German theme for the meal. I will be serving Roggenbrot (Rye Bread), Kartoffelsalat (Warm German Potato Salad), Gurkensalat (cucumber salad), Heidelberg Meatloaf, and Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cherry Cake). I baked the cake this evening and will add the cherry filling and whipped cream tomorrow. The big thing on my "Summer Project" list was to clean out and paint our garage. I started on Tuesday. It is slow because of all the "stuff" and cobwebs! UGGGHH! It is also really hot this time of year in South Texas!
I am hoping to make a Gingham apron for the Apron Challenge at "Tie one on". I make aprons fairly often, but I have never sent a photo in to the challenge. Because of the painting project, I haven't been taking any new photos (painting a garage is not exactly exciting!) Instead, I decided to post a few photos from earlier this summer! Please scroll down to see them.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Where has July gone?

Wow, I can't believe that July is almost over! School is fast approaching. Here in South Texas we are in the midst of Hurricane Dolly. My area is only getting the outer northern bands. We really need the rain. Nothing big has been happening, yet I've been busy. This is the time of summer that I go into panic mode because school will be starting soon, and I haven't even begun to accomplish my "summer to do" list. I have managed to do some cleaning out and boxing items for charity. A highlight for me was spotting two Swallowtail Kites flying overhead when I was taking laundry off the clothesline! That is one reason I like using clotheslines. It gives me an excuse to be outside listening and looking for birds and to enjoy the hard work I put into the garden. Back to the story. I heard an unfamiliar bird sound and looked up to see two large white birds gliding in a circular pattern. They were white with black along the rear side of the wings all the way to the tips of the wings. They also had long dark forked or "swallow" tails. I rushed for my binoculars and bird reference guide. According to my guide, Swallowtail Kites are not common in South Texas during this time of year, but with such distinctive markings there was nothing else they could be. This morning, I telephoned a local naturist. He told me that he has also seen a Swallowtail Kite from his yard this summer. He said that they are usually only seen during the fall and spring raptor migrations. I feel to honored to have seen them.
I have also become addicted to iced coffee in the afternoons. After some online research and watching one being made at my local Starbucks, I have been making my own at home. I brew a large espresso and pour it over a container of ice (with a lid). I then shake and swirl it to cool it down quickly and pour it into a glass that has sweetener to my taste. I add a dash of milk and YUM!
Now to put my sauerkraut that has been "ripening" for about 3 weeks in a crock into jars. I'll give them a good hot water bath and they'll be "good to go"! Several weeks ago, my sister-in-law came over, and we started our sauerkraut. She had helped her grandfather make it when she was a youngster. He job was slicing it with the mandoline. I had done some research on the good old internet to guide us. I had also bought a small mandoline of my own. My sister-in-law brought 2 crocks that her grandparents had used. It is great to finally have a "sister" to share the fun with. (I have 2 brothers).

Monday, July 14, 2008

Reunion Weekend

It has been a busy weekend. We had a reunion with my husband's mother's side of the family. It was very enjoyable. My husband, his cousin, his dad and his niece played and and sang for entertainment. On Sunday, I did some shopping with my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and niece. They all had Ped Eggs and were very happy with theirs. I did not have one and had been trying EVERYTHING to alleviate my cracked heel problem. In Bed, Bath, and Beyond, I decided to buy a Ped Egg. That night, I gave it a try. All I can say is WOW! I wish I had bought one sooner. This is the first time I can remember not having rough and nasty heels. It works like a charm!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Bats in my belfry!

Actually, they are in a house designed just for them. Several years ago, I became interested in bats. Bat Conservation International is a great source of information on bats. They also have information on building and attracting bats. I ordered a bathouse kit to assemble. We erected it in June. The next January,we had 7 bats in it. Now we have around 200! I am working on a second house to accomodate them. They eat more nightflying insects such as mosquitoes, than Purple Martins. My bathouse is mounted at the edge of my garden. Each spring, I spread the guano around the garden and till it into the soil.
A few weeks ago, we went on a trip to Fredericksburg, Texas. I was thrilled to go to the "Old Railroad Tunnel" which is now a home to Mexican Freetail bats. Watching them exit was a thrill. They looked like a dark cloud. They even show up on weather radar until they disperse enough.
Scroll down to see a photo of one of the newborn bats. I think it looks like a gargoyle!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Eye issue!

I had hoped to get a couple of photos taken and posted today. Yesterday I mowed the lawn and my dear did the edging and trim. He actually hates doing it, but I can't use the string trimmer without causing several days of shoulder pain and headaches. All went well, the yard looks great. However, I awoke around 4 a.m. feeling as though I had something in my eye. I got up, but I couldn't see anything in it. I knew something had to be there because it hurt every time I blinked. Since I had something get lodged under my upper eyelid in the past, I figured it had happened again. I was finally able to curl my upper lid around a q-tip to have a look. Sure enough, a tiny sliver of grass or something was stuck to the inner lid. I got it out, but it must have scraped my eyeball a bit. It has been uncomfortable all day. I decided not to even try putting in my contact lenses. I did clean out some old clothes and miscellaneous items for the church rummage sale. It HAS been nice not having to water the yard. We've been having daily showers here in south Texas. I do have to be sure and not forget about the pot plants on the patio and porch!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Cake decorating

I have not made a cake lately, but it is one of my hobbies! I have not taken any classes. I just use the Wilton books and the internet to learn about it. I love working with fondant, although I am not particularly fond of its taste. I prefer buttercream for taste. I usually just use fondant for the decorating not on the overall cake.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Apron Collecting!

I became interested in aprons when I inherited my Mom's and Granny's aprons. I don't think my Mom ever wore aprons, but I remember my Granny wearing them when I was little. I have begun making aprons as gifts, prizes and for auctions. I'm thrilled to see that I am not the only one with such a love for aprons. I recently made an apron for my three-year-old niece. I have made them as prizes for Bunco (using dice printed fabric of course). My sister-in-law and I have hosted a Christmas Cookie Exchange party for several years now. We give out aprons as prizes. I also often make them as wedding gifts. I hope to make a gingham apron with chicken scratch embroidery next!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Howdy! This is my first post!

Summer vacation is nearly over, and I have not even begun my "summer chore" list! I have been goofing off and doing fun things instead--a trip to the Texas coast, 4 days bike riding and boating at a nearby lake, and a trip to Fredericksburg, Texas for some awesome shopping! Right now, I am thrilled about not having to water my garden. We have finally gotten some much needed rain!


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