Sunday, January 31, 2016

Monday Stuff: Here We Go, Broncos!

We may be in the throes of a snowstorm, but hearts are warm here:

The Denver Broncos are going to the Superbowl! 

Castle Rock's star-on-the-rock is Broncos orange and blue. 

This is the Rock in the daytime - see the star frame on top? (From Wikipedia)

We had a big rally last week on the Capitol steps. 

And of course, there are lots of goofy memes making fun of our boys. Like this one, comparing Peyton Manning and Others. (Poor guy -- wait, there will be more!)

Fortunately, the Broncos don't seem to be getting a big head over all this fuss. Which is great: the Panthers have been outstanding this season. If the Broncos really want to win, they'll have to work very, very hard.

I just got another phone threat from 'Officer Brian Schneider of the IRS.' According to this esteemed individual, the IRS has issued an arrest warrant for me, my property is under investigation -- and I'd better Call Back Right Now.
    Needless to say, we do NOT owe money to the IRS. (Yet, anyways.) If you get a call or e-mail from a scammer creep like this (ours was from area code 510), sprint to this website and file a complaint. You'll feel so much better.

Libby Lehman finished a 1000-piece puzzle...a big step forward in our mutual buddette's recovery.

Eight interesting ideas for shoe storage via IKEA. You could use these ideas for other stuff, too. I can only wonder -- who in the world actually has room to store shoes like this? Don't they have books, clothes and collectibles, instead?  (From Apartment Therapy)

This is probably the best of the batch...

A fake Rothko...sold from a distinguished gallery?  Now its purchaser is suing for big bucks. The guy is chairman of the board at Sotheby's...oops, wrong person to try to defraud. (From Appraiser Workshops) From the article:
    Being chairman of Sotheby’s does not require being an expert on art, he said. 'You need to know business.”"
     (As my dad would say, 'Oh yeah? Oh yeah? Oh yeah?')

Rethinking brown. And orange. From Wombat Quilts.

Origami folded fabric ornaments -- a step by step tutorial. Good for scraps...and a start for next year! (These would be cute for everyday decorating, too. From Ami Simms's blog, Through the Eyes of A Quilter)


Just what you want to act of kindness given in kindness.

A very funny Hormel 'natural' commercial...

How I tripled my income in 2015.  (From Stefanie O'Connell)

A ton of free downloadable quilt patterns. (Thank you, Bear Creek Quilting Company, for putting these together.)

Have a great week. GO BRONCOS!!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Pantry Challenge Report: Week Three - On Track - Sort Of

     Well, I'm doing better. 

After the porkchop frenzy last week, I didn't stop at the grocery store all week, though I was tempted. King Soopers, our local Kroger affiliate, is running a special on pork roast -- 99 cents a pound! But I held back. 

The Brick, bless his heart, now cooks one night a week. Last Monday, he was bound and determined that he needed a green pepper. (This, in spite of his asserting for years that cooked green peppers just 'did something' to his gaseous output.) I got a glimpse of his Sprouts receipt: $11 and change. (He bought some spinach and other stuff, too.) 
    The meal was delicious, and I love it when he cooks. Didn't have the heart to make a fuss out of an extra dollar and change. 
    Our neighbors dropped by with dumpster-dived veggies and fruit. (They got a dozen eggs in return.) Nearly all of it went to the chickens, but I scavenged some for banana bread, and pulled out some limes. I also snagged bread and some hamburger buns from the thrift shop. (They put it out free generally on Wednesdays. This week was half-price books, too!)

    I have been busy with work, so wasn't that big on fancy stuff. I cooked for us to eat. Not much more than that. I have been learning the merits of cooking protein in a sauce or soup that you plan to use for something else. The meat really enriches the flavor, and becomes deliciously tender. I did it twice (see Suppers below) -- and it worked great both times.
    Next week, I need to use some more venison, and finish off that ham. (Pea soup, pea soup!) I also want to make some French onion soup. Tomatoes sound good. Peppers, too, and Mexican food -- maybe we need the Vitamin C? (I have tomatoes canned with green peppers and onion in-house...but it Wasn't What the Recipe Asked For, according to the Brick. His engineering nature likes to keep to specifications.)
    A big blizzard is supposedly moving into Colorado tonight, and lasting through should be a good week for soup.

    We need milk -- so I will steel myself to get just that tonight. A few gallons at $1.99 each should keep me under the $5 limit -- and make up for the Brick's extra bucks over the $10 limit. 

      scrambled eggs (with cheese and green onion) and turkey bacon
      chopped-up mixture of potatoes, onion, ham and turkey bacon  (cottage fry)
      boiled eggs and bratwurst
      cheese guys (quesadillas) and eggs

Sunday mornings, we generally sing on Worship Team, and practice runs anywhere from 7:30 - 8:00 a.m. That means coffee in travel mugs, and a breakfast bar grabbed on the way out the door.

Lunch/snacks/desserts:   brownies (made a double batch), banana bread, nachos (with lime juice squeezed over), frozen burritos (the 25-centers I got last week), leftover soup, chocolate-covered almonds, applesauce, oranges, a few cookies. Made a banana-only split with 'nanas, chocolate sauce and lots of nuts.
    Also blenderized a bag of frozen melon chunks, with a little sugar and water -- cool and tasty.

     Spanish porkchops with green pepper rings, and cooked rice inside (the Brick's contribution)
     Pork chops slow-cooked in canned green chili, with a can of chopped tomatoes thrown in
   (this turned out really fine...and the extra pork chop, chopped, made for a meatier 'chili')
     Canned chicken noodle soup, with chopped leeks and carrots added
     Boneless chicken thighs (cooked in the soup above -- which made them deliciously tender, and added to the soup's flavor)
     Boiled shrimp with cocktail sauce, plus celery and carrot sticks
     Canned beef and mushroom soup
     Grilled cheese sandwiches (using the waffle iron! I read this as a tip -- and it works)
     Baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, canned peas and sliced ham (leftover potatoes went into the cottage fry)


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Oklahoma City Memories

Yes, I'm here...just trying to finish off a boatload of appraisals. Making progress in other areas, too. 
The sunshine and warm weather (warm for us, anyway) are deceiving -- we're supposed to get more snow late in the weekend and on Monday. Good -- maybe I can get more work done!

More reports on the Schorsch auction, the pantry challenge and the chickies are coming, as soon as I can print off the last appraisal. Soon, sooooonnnnn...

Meanwhile --
    I just got an e-mail from Barb Reynolds, who was one of my students when I taught in Oklahoma City recently. Barb finished her Memory Quilt, started in class! Here it is...

Barb handpainted this fabric during class -- one of my 'extra goodie' techniques. Yes, it's washable and colorfast!
 (I like to include extras, both freebie samples and techniques,  students don't expect)

Didn't she do a great job!!! Barb, I'm proud of you. 

And if you're curious about the Memory Quilt technique, you can see more via the show I taped for Quilter's Newsletter's cable channel. Go to Youtube for samplings, including this one.

(Yes, I was tired that day...)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

So You Can Dream...

Fifteen garage sale items that turned out to be worth millions.

and another version here...

and 5 unexpected finds that made people rich.

Now you can dream about your next find!

UPDATE:  Turns out that Tony Marohn's stock certificate's ties to Coca Cola didn't take reverse stock splits into account. Now the family thinks the stocks are only worth $12,000-15,000.
     Coke, on the other hand, still contends that the old stock certificate is worth...

Don't give up hope, though -- cool discoveries still happen.
     Here, too.   Personally, I'm still hoping for a Tamerlane.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Blooms in Space

A flower has bloomed in space. 

For the first time ever.

And it's a zinnia! 

photo from NASA/Scott Kelly

Interesting, since the astronauts said the zinnia plants were looking terrible, 'with moldy leaves,' in December. They must have figured out the problem.

Go here for was grown on the International Space Station.

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: GO BRONCOS!

Did those Big Mean Broncos refuse to go away, and showed the New England Patriots where to go, instead? (As in 'HOME.')
     Yesterday's game was one of the finest I've ever seen them play. What a show of courage and determination. People thought they wouldn't fact, they shouldn't have. But somebody forgot to tell the Broncos that. 
     On to the Super Bowl!

Source: Facebook

More of these memes, if you enjoy them...

What Peyton Manning REALLY means when he yells 'Omaha'... maybe.

The 25 funniest Broncos Super Bowl memes.  Funny to who?

At least some of the high-priced 'original' brass sculptures cities have been putting on public display are neither brass, nor original...they're cheap Chinese knockoffs. This report is via the Denver Post, but mentions several towns in Colorado and Utah. No doubt they're elsewhere, as well.

From the Department of "Hey, I Know This Guy:"
     Ben Madrid caught a lot of shaking happening during Alaska's recent 7.1 earthquake. 
      (Attaboy, Bud.) Ben and his siblings grew up with our girlies...the other voice on the video is his wife Tina.

Barbara Brackman's selling some of her quilt samples. At good prices, too.

Twenty of the creepiest hotels on the planet. For hauntings, that is.

Photos of this past weekend's East Coast snowstorm -- from space.

 Landlord horror stories. (From The Simple Dollar)

Pilot horror stories! (Like the cockpit officers who freaked out, smelling a 'fume-like' odor...turns out it was kids in first class, using fresh markers in a coloring book.)

Michigan small farmers are struggling -- they're gradually being threatened by zoning issues...often initiated by people who move to the neighborhood years after the farm's been operating. A law had been passed to protect these farmers, but in 2014, the Michigan governing agency decided it didn't apply.
    The farmers are forming a group. Go here for more, if you're interested.

The thirty most outrageous moments in sports. As collected by The Guardian, so lots of interesting moments in cricket and such are included.

So if it's out on the curb for the trash guys...when is it not garbage? (From my buddy at Things I Find In The'll be puzzled, too.)

The home (for sale) with a secret -- it has a cave attached. And here it is:

Martha Stewart's many houses. I've been rereading New Old House, the story of her Adams House renovation, and got curious. Let's put it this way: she's had a LOT, and her newest acquisition, Cantitoe Corners, includes several houses. Let's see what she does with them.

A guide to castles in Ireland -- ruined and otherwise -- done alphebetically. (From Ireland Now)

A little reminder that we're being watched online. So be careful what you say. (From John & Jane Doe)

New period dramas coming out! A number of these look good, especially Dickensian. (From Diary of a Stay At Home Mom)

Frugal foraged spring rolls. (From Penniless Parenting)

Million-dollar spaghetti casserole. Because tasty, easy-to-make casseroles are worth a million bucks?? Beats me...but it does look tasty.  (From Betty Crocker)

Ten strangest deaths in the Middle Ages. At least that we know of... (From

Living in a truck. Or a van. Or an RV.  (Yes, we are thinking of doing this.) From Outside the Box.

Eighteen people and animals who are Not Impressed. With anything.  (From Pleated Jeans)

How to make a woven newspaper box -- for stuff. Or pets. Or more newspapers! I mentioned this back in 2010, but it's been updated. Kewl. (From Craftstylish)

A charming basket (or comfy pet bed) is crafted from an issue of the Sunday New York Times. Recycling never looked so good.

And, something mentioned about the same time (but I never did make them):
fuzzy elf slippers.  It's time to stitch a pair of these. (Thanks, Resweater)


Have a grand week. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

I Hate to Say It, But...

It's true.

Friends Jo and Chris, both confirmed earlybirds, are laughing. I can hear them.

(From Timeline Photos -- found on John French's Facebook page)

Pantry Challenge Report: Week Two - Defeat By Porkchop

I blew it. Sort of.

And it's Safeway's fault.

They roared out of the starting gate with some incredible prices this week -- specials, incidentally, that you can still get in on. (Through Tuesday, that is.) The star:

      Pork chops for 99 cents a pound. I haven't seen a price that good for years. Yow.

Their Friday-only specials were terrific, too. So yes, I spent more than $10 this week. But it was for a good cause... and I shouldn't need much, if anything, for at least a week. Maybe two, if I'm lucky. 
I'm not sorry a bit, though I did feel surprisingly naughty, overspending like that. 

Maybe a dozen oranges left -- they're going fast now. (Lots of apples to take their place.) Turkey bacon's nearly gone, but several sausages are left, from a package out of the freezer. We need to use up some of the canned tomatoes I've been stockpiling over the past few years -- maybe cheese enchiladas? Or Spanish Pork Chops? (The Brick wistfully mentioned them -- his mom used to make them. Think Spanish Rice, with the pork chops thrown on top.) 
     Definitely some soup next week, too. Maybe pea soup -- we're gradually eating the ham down to its bone. 


                Cereal with milk
                Pork chops with pancakes
                Sausage and eggs
                French toast  (leftovers from a loaf given by our neighbors)
                A can of corned beef hash mixed in with the Colcannon leftovers from Week One
                Eggs, scrambled -- served on corn tortillas heated til crispy, topped with a sprinkle of cheese and a slice of turkey bacon  ('cheese guys' to our family)
                Cinnamon rolls, made with leftover pigs-in-blankets dough

No lunches, as usual...some leftovers, some crackers, some cookies, some fruit

                Ham/rice/green beans casserole (okay, but not worth explaining)
                Sliced ham, baked potatoes, corn (canned)
                Pigs in blankets, green beans
                Chili leftovers from Week One, baked over chips and cheese
                Potato soup and sandwiches
                (blanking on the rest -- nothing memorable, obviously)

We are headed for our friends' house tomorrow, to watch the Broncos whip the Patriots' butts. (We hope.) Our scavenging neighbors gave me a huge bunch of browned organic bananas -- I'll make banana bread. 
     Also, I'll cube a package of chicken thighs, marinate them in barbecue sauce during church, then quickly bake them, to keep the meat moist and juicy. We'll spear the little devils with toothpicks for an appetizer -- Barbecued chicken bites.

Grocery tab:    $33.00 and change, including
                              11 pounds porkchops  (most of these are already in the freezer)
                              2 dozen eggs    99 cents each   (the chickens are slowing a bit)
                              1 20-pack Coke*   $5.00
                              a bunch of frozen burritos* -- 25 cents each
                              2 pounds sharp Cheddar grated cheese*   $5.00
                              half-price Australian hand pies
                              (the box was damaged, but not the pies, so splurged at $2.50.
                                               What can I say -- I'm a bad kitty.)
                              half-price dented mushroom soup can

*All outstanding-priced Friday-only specials at Safeway -- 
                       I got a raincheck for the Langers' 64 oz juice at 5/$5.00

Pigs in blankets were a specialty at our high school cafeteria...and my aunt just happened to be the head cook. The recipe is easy -- and one of our girlies' favorite foods. The Brick likes them, too. They're served in a roll -- one you literally bake around each dog, so the good juices go right into the soft bread.
    You can use a variety of hot dogs...or even substitute bratwurst or sausages. They'll still be good.


For the dough:  5 tablespoons butter
                       1 cup water
                       1/2 cup milk
                       1 teaspoon sugar
                       1 tablespoon yeast
                       shake of salt
                       2-2 1/2 cups flour

One package of hot dogs or sausages -- your choice

Microwave butter/water/milk 30 seconds, until butter is softened. Check -- mixture should be warm, but not hot. (Wait a few min., if needed, to cool down.) Add rest, plus two cups of flour -- stir until a soft dough forms, then gently knead until dough isn't sticky anymore. (This can be done just before baking -- but the dough is even better, if you can do it an hour, up to 7 or 8 hours, ahead. In that case, cover with a damp towel after kneading.)
      When you're ready to bake, heat oven to 450 degrees. Pull off a scant handful of dough -- about the size of your four fingers, curled. Wrap around a hot dog, with the seam side down, and put on an ungreased baking sheet. Repeat for all the 'pigs.' (You can also add a strip of bacon or cheese in the split hot dog first -- delicious.) Bake for approx. 15 min.; serve hot or warm with barbecue sauce. Feeds 4-6, depending on how many hot dogs you have.
     Green salad is a nice contrast with these, too...provided you haven't overspent your budget, that is.

Hot, yes. A hot dog, no.    (P.S. Hey, Charley and Abby)


An Encouraging Word For Those Who Serve the King

     Charles Spurgeon preached and wrote back in the Victorian era. But the words of this bold teacher, even with their occasional quaint turns, are so personal and vivid that they still apply today.

    'Chuck' has become an old friend. The Brick and I often visit with him via his Morning And Evening devotionals. Today's was so meaningful that I had to share it with you.
    (Reading is free -- just sign up here.) 

I have exalted one chosen from the people. Psalm 89:19

Why was Christ chosen out of the people? Speak, my heart, for heart-thoughts are best. Was it not that He might be able to be our brother, in the blest tie of kindred blood? Oh, what relationship there is between Christ and the believer! The believer can say, "I have a Brother in heaven. I may be poor, but I have a Brother who is rich and is a King, and will He allow me to be in want while He is on His throne? Oh, no! He loves me; He is my Brother." Believer, wear this blessed thought, like a necklace of diamonds, around the neck of your memory; put it, as a golden ring, on the finger of recollection, and use it as the King's own seal, stamping the petitions of your faith with confidence of success. He is a brother born for adversity - treat Him as such.

Christ was also chosen out of the people that He might know our wants and sympathize with us. "Who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin."1 In all our sorrows we have His sympathy. Temptation, pain, disappointment, weakness, weariness, poverty - He knows them all, for He has felt all. Remember this, Christian, and let it comfort you. However difficult and painful your road, it is marked by the footsteps of your Savior; and even when you reach the dark valley of the shadow of death and the deep waters of the swelling Jordan, you will find His footprints there. Wherever we go, in every place, He has been our forerunner; each burden we have to carry has once been laid on the shoulders of Immanuel.

His way was much rougher and darker than mine.
Did Christ, my Lord, suffer, and shall I repine?

Take courage! Royal feet have left a blood-red track upon the road and consecrated the thorny path forever.   

              -- Charles Spurgeon

Friday, January 22, 2016

Schorsch Auction Stars: Needlework Caskets

I've been having fun analyzing the Schorsch estate auction results. In fact, you'll be seeing several items over the coming days, with a final wrapup next week. What can I say -- this was an important one!

Results were all over the place, value-speaking...and not always in a positive way, either. (Ask the furniture department.) But one category really surprised me:

Needlework caskets!

These sewing boxes were a great favorite of Irvin and Anita Schorsch. (I'm guessing Anita especially, since she had such a strong interest in sewing, handwork and textiles in general.) They were particularly fond of the Charles II period (i.e., late 1600s) and had a number of graphic examples in their collection.

Which sold very well for the heirs.

Case in point: Lot #800, the casket shown below. It sold for $25,000 -- and many of its fellows sold for double, triple or quadruple pre-auction estimates. At a time when other items were barely selling at estimate...or doing much worse.


Estimate 10,000 - 20,000 USD

Needlework-covered items did well, too. Lot #801, the book below, sold for $4000 -- more than double the high estimate.  (Note: whenever possible, I tried to give you what I watched the item actually sell for -- but the auction site gives you the total, including the buyer's premium. So their figures will be different than mine, when I know for certain.) 


Estimate 1,000 - 1,500 USD

I still don't get this one -- an early sewing ball (a darning tool, perhaps?) "from a Quaker family"...selling for $1400?!?  (Its pre-auction estimate was a few hundred dollars.)

Silver band engraved HH.
Length 2 1/4 in.

Go see for yourself;  just viewing these items is a real education in Americana.

  More soon.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Picking A Pocket...And A Quilt

Hopefully you've had a chance to visit the Schorsch estate auction currently hosted by Sotheby's.
Bidding has been going on for two days, in spite of the snowstorm. Last day's tomorrow.

One wonderful thing: if you're not in New York City, or can't fight your way in because of the storm, you can still bid -- or just watch -- the live auction. I have wasted all sorts of time dawdling about, just following general trends or checking on specific items. 

    Like this 1850s (or maybe later, to my mind) applique and embroidered quilt

At Lot #754, it sold for $3000. (Pre-auction estimate: $2000-3000)

Condition doesn't look that great...but it certainly is an unusual pattern. (Probably original design, I would guess.) And something I didn't notice, until getting info to show you -- two other quilts were included in the lot. No clue what those looked like.

Together with two pieced and appliqued cotton quilts, American, 19th century. 3 pieces.
80 in. by 80 in.

But Lot #755, this late 1600s "Fine And Rare" Needlework Housewife's Pocket, went for the same price: $3000.

It was valued pre-auction at $800-1200.

Length 13 1/4 in.

(Greatly enlarged, so you can see the details.)

Which only proves what I've noticed during the auction's past two days: it's not the size that matters. It's how unusual the piece is...its connection to famous people, makers or events...and its age: the earlier, the better. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Sampling (Sampler-ing) the Auction

Thought you might enjoy seeing one of the results of today's auction of the Schorsch estate. 

Pre-auction estimate: $10,000-15,000.   Sold for $22,000.
    (My guess: could have gone for more, had it sold at the beginning of the day, instead of the end.) 

Worked in a variety of silk stitches on a linen ground in the charecteristic style of Mary Balch's school, signed Mary Hammon's work, Providence, April.
14 in. by 11 5/8 in.


More tomorrow -- and if you've got time, you can even watch it live.
     Just click here.

An Auction To Watch - Jan. 20-22 Schorsch Estate

Got any spare hours in the next few days? A very important auction starts today, going through the 22nd. The Schorsch family is selling more than a thousand items from the estate of Irvin and Anita Schorsch, many of them incredibly rare, and many from America's colonial days.

Go here for particulars.  It's hosted by Sotheby's...surprise, surprise. 

Only a few quilts, if that, which surprised me -- Mrs. Schorsch was, after all, the well-respected author of Plain and Fancy.   (Maybe the family kept them.)

She was known for other books as well, including Images of Childhood and American Clocks. (Not many items in either of those categories in the auction, either.) A few paintings, but not...

   Granted, this isn't the first auction of items from the Schorsch estate -- nor will it be the last. They were knowledgeable, well-prepared, well-funded, enthusiastic... packrats. (I recognize this, being a packrat myself.)

Jane Hunter Ewing, the gracious lady shown here, went for $50,000.

The auction is chockful of interesting textiles, including:

'dummy panels'   (free-standing needlework pieces, shaped like people, to arrange by the fireplace, minimizing heat loss)

casket needlework panels    (the Schorsches seem to have had a special 'thing' for the Charles II period -- third quarter of the 17th century. Many of their pieces date from this period.)

beadwork basket (dated 1659!)

Kazak rugs

leather and linen fire buckets and bags   (LOTS of these)

needlework pictures, samplers

c.1730 embroidered child's cap and shoes

embroidered mourning pictures (their collection was noted for mourning items.  No doubt many included hair from the dearly departed)


needlework books  (as in cloth books to hold your needles and pins - they were valuable, too)

Plus Colonial currency, furniture, you name it.  Price estimates are fabulous, because that's what the majority of these pieces are -- one of a kind (or incredibly rare), in excellent condition, and now with the Schorsch provenance, as well.

"It is one of the greatest Americana auctions ever assembled," experts are saying. (Go here for an interesting look at how the Schorsches collected All This -- including what All This entails.)

Bidding can be done in person or absentee, as well as via the Internet. You can watch the auction progress online, as well. Yes, there's a buyer's premium, but Sotheby's is saying that all lots will be sold without reserve.

Appraisers will be thrilled to death about this auction, because it should give a better, more accurate 'record of sales' in the current market. Therefore, 'comps' (or comparisons) will be especially important -- at least to us out there who must pay attention to this sort of thing. That's part of my job. I am a personal property appraiser...I cover many things, but specialize in textiles.

I've been watching it 'live,' which is even more fun. You can, too.

  Doesn't the range of these items make you wonder, though, what the family decided to keep?

 Go here to register.

Try not to drool.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Pantry Challenge Report: Week One

Are you doing the Pantry Challenge with me?

This is a month-long plan to keep your food purchases to a bare minimum by using up what you've got: in the cupboard, fridge or freezer. (I'll be spending $5-10 weekly for milk and clearance goodies, too.)

Granted, I tend to be a bit of a chipmunk in this department. We just spent a mini-vacation at a hotel: I snagged a handful of apples, a few tea bags and a few packets of apple cider mix during our time there. (Yes, I took the soap, too.)

So far, it's been going quite well. 

Breakfasts:  Pancakes and turkey bacon
                   Oatmeal (with nuts and apples)
                   Cereal and milk
                   Eggs, Hashbrowns
                   Eggs, biscuits (with a jar of peach jam that was unexpectedly delicious -- 
                                       and made me think about making tarts)

Lunches:  Other than Sunday dinner, we don't tend to eat these -- I've noticed, now that the Brick is retired, that we seem to do better on two meals a day. But if one of us gets hungry, there's always cookies in the jar, red licorice, a peanut butter sandwich (I'll make more bread when needed), or leftovers.

Suppers:   Chicken vegetable soup with crackers (we've had the flu)
                 Some kind of soup (made with chopped this and that, plus sour cream)
                 Chili (with venison) - and blue tortilla chips
                 Colcannon  (made with turkey bacon)
                 Shrimp with Green Beans (from the freezer)
                 'Buffet' of leftover bits and pieces

root vegetables are good keepers, even in warmer places

Drinks:  tea and coffee -- we like it STRONG, diluted a bit with milk
                  (The Brick had a beer, too)

Desserts:  Coconut flan (from a box at least a few years old -- but it was good)
                Cookies & small candy bars (from the Christmas stockings)
                Clementine oranges (must eat them up - they're starting to bottom out)
                Apples (from the hotel, plus a crisper-ful still holding out from the fall jaunt to Michigan)

Popcorn, yogurt, a glass of milk now and then, and crackers, too. The best thing for nausea in the world.

I have lots of apples -- maybe apple crisp? And fried chicken or rabbit looks like it's on the future menu.

Six dozen eggs went to various customers in the past few days, so we're a little low on eggs. The chickens will make that up quickly. We're almost out of milk, so a trip to the grocery store is next. 

Results of the shopping trip:    2 gallons whole milk        $1.99 ea
                                                4 cans tuna in water             .50 ea    (saved 79 cents each)
                                                                  TOTAL        $6.22

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: January Thaw

You may think that Colorado is all snowflakes and sleigh bells this time of year. Truth is, in my neck of the Colorado woods, we're looking at brown dirt and grimy, crusty piles of white that shrink a little more each day. The chickens spend a lot of time in a 'tunnel' which juts out from the regular yard. The Brick fashioned it from a library table covered with chicken wire. The chickens spent a lot of time staring out over the yard from it. In the summer, they like to watch me garden -- but right now, there's nothing to look at. What are they thinking, all jammed in there?

Taken in mid-December, when we had more snow. See Castle Rock in the background?

   Sure, the mountains are getting some fresh snow now and then. But nobody along the I-25 corridor is at present. (At least until this weekend.) 
       What do we care -- the Broncos just beat the Steelers! 

Alan Rickman died. I was a big fan of this multi-talented actor, not only for his sterling work in Die Hard (Not-so-good German accent...but menacing). I 'met' him first via a less-known movie, Truly, Madly, Deeply, where he dies -- but still hangs around his true love's place. (Because she wants him to.) Oh, and Quigley Down Under, as well as Robin Hood. (He was a terrific villain. "I don't play villains," he once said. "I play very interesting people.") One of the richest, most nuanced voices in the business: Helen Mirren said his voice "could suggest honey or a stiletto blade."

"I do take my work seriously. And the way to do that is not to take yourself too seriously."
                    -- Alan Rickman

A very creepy Bigfoot report from a 1999 sighting, just posted. If you live anywhere near Kewanee, IL, you're going to want to read this. WARNING:  You might want to set this aside for now -- Yahoo is saying it's been compromised. I've read it for years, with no problems...must be a temporary problem.

A desperate plea on a GoFundMe page...from a woman whose family blew all their money on lottery tickets for the recent Powerball drawing! (Needless to say, they did not win.) Here's the weird part: she actually got some people to contribute. Especially since she promised to blow any money given on more lottery tickets.

A Spanish princess may be headed for the slammer. She's currently on trial for tax fraud, and it's not looking good. But that's not the least of her troubles. Her kingly brother also stripped her Duchess title last year, making her just regular royalty. (Ouch)

A luxury Manhattan apartment building with two doors: a 'poor' door and a 'rich' one. Tenants on each side even have a different address.

Ten weird lawsuits that were ultimately dismissed. (Or, even sadder, settled.) Can you imagine suing because someone sang "Happy Birthday to You?"  (From Listverse)

Banoffee pie -- the recipe. Have you heard of this? Toffee, bananas and cream topping...mmm. (From Paula Deen)

Is the stress of paying for it worth the joy of having that toy you've always wanted?  If the answer is yes, then you're fine...but often, it isn't.  Donna Freedman tells it like it is.

Funny cat jokes and quotes from Reader's Digest. Like this one:
    One night while I was cat-sitting my daughter's indoor feline, it escaped outside. When it failed to return the following morning, I found the beast clinging to a branch about 30 feet up in a spindly tree. Unable to lure it down, I called the fire department.
    "We don't do that anymore," the woman dispatcher said. When I persisted, she was polite but firm. "The cat will come down when it gets hungry enough."
    "How do you know that?" I asked.
    "Have you ever seen a cat skeleton in a tree?" she said.
Two hours later the cat was back, looking for breakfast.


Marathon runners who cheat. Shades of Rosie Ruiz... and if you've found this interesting, try

Eleven ways to cheat at long-distance running -- and almost get away with it.  (From Mental Floss)

Hollywood's biggest cheapskates -- a slideshow. For some of these, you might want to take notes... (From Radaronline)

A new blog I found -- Crazy Mom Quilts. The ideas are easy, and the colors are wonderful.

Have a great week.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Has Your Ship Come in?

The Brick and I have been gobbling down episodes of  The Last Ship.  (Go here for a lot more on the show, if you're curious. Adam Baldwin is our 'buddy,' from his stints on Independence Day and it wasn't a difficult jump.) We just finished Season One, and are breathlessly waiting for Season Two. (When you don't have cable, you're behind a bit -- but then you get the pleasure of watching the storyline unfold without having to deal with constipation commercials.)

Think military destroyer, a worldwide epidemic...

     and, of course, The End of the World As We Know It.


(You knew I was going to sneak this in, didn't you?)

Much to our mutual surprise, it turns out that The Last Ship is actually filmed on two military vessels: the USS Halsey, and the USS Dewey.

Why is that interesting? Because after his submarine escapades, the Brick was stationed on -- wait for it --

    the USS Dewey.

Granted, his ship was this beauty: the Dewey, version DDG-45. Named for George Dewey, the USA's only Admiral of the Navy. Her motto:  "The First And Finest."

USS Dewey DDG-45

Actually, she wasn't the first, but the third of four ships named for Admiral Dewey. She was launched in 1958, decommissioned in 1990, then scrapped in 1994. The Brick wasn't surprised -- he said she was already considered an 'old' ship when he served on her in the late 1970s.

For the show, we're talking ship #4: the NEW Dewey, DDG-105.

USS Dewey conducting a replenishment

The new girl is a sleek-looking boat, too. And fortunately, you see lots of her during various scenes. (According to the special features, many of the people in the background are actual ship's crewmen, going about their business.)

Which the Brick loves...except when they mess up on military facts and customs.

 Case in point: they had the commander of the USS Nathan James saluting back when his men saluted him.

   "Where's your cover?" the Brick was yelling. 

     Yes, his cap. I am told the commander of a ship NEVER salutes without his hat on -- nor is he expected to return the salute in the first place.

      Not that I would know this.


Pantry Challenge: How Are You Going to Eat This Month?

Can you eat from just your pantry, fridge and freezer for the next 30 days? 

For the next 30 days or so, that's what I plan to do. I've done it before...and others do it regularly this time of the year. For good reasons:

*You're paying off holiday bills.

*The kitchen's still stuffed with leftovers from said holidays.

*You're sick and tired of dragging all this extra stuff around (And watching it spoil.) And of course:

*It would be nice to begin the new year with some saved money.

So here's your chance...
    and a good way to start: 
                       CLEAN OUT THE REFRIGERATOR.

*What's going strong? (Citrus, celery, stored apples and such should still be doing okay -- but add them to soups, stews and desserts if they're not.)

*What's starting to show its age? Clip off the nasty parts -- and use up the rest.

*What can be combined with items in your freezer and on your shelves? 

Maybe a salad from all the bits and pieces

Now you're starting to consider this properly. Don't forget to use up the bits & pieces in your fridge, either. (I'm speaking from experience -- two pieces of leftover pizza, cut in squares and heated, stretched a can of chicken soup into supper tonight.)

But don't let it drag on you -- this is not supposed to be a burden. Stop if you need to. And don't be so strict that you must skimp on birthdays and other celebrations. This is just temporary.

Here's what I plan to do:

*Use the fridge items first...the celery's looking fine, but I have several bits and pieces of cheese that need to go away. (Solution: macaroni & cheese.) Half a head of cabbage is starting to show black around the edges. (Pull those leaves, give them to the chickens, and use the rest for tomato-and-cabbage-soup. Or maybe minestrone. Here's a good recipe.) Citrus and apples are okay right now. So is a pound of turkey bacon.
        *I'll scrub both crispers out, so it looks tidier in there, anyways.
        *The fridge door is crammed with bottles that have just a 'little' sauce. These will be combined, used up or thrown away.
       *Several yogurts need to be eaten. What we can't use will go to the chickens. (They LOVE dairy.)
       *Generally we're okay on eggs. In fact, we sell 3-5 dozen a week to customers. They love them, and it helps the chickens pay for themselves. Plus we get plenty of eggs for our own use.
      If you can't say this, add $3 or so to the amount below.

fresh eggs...mmm.

*Keep a small $$ weekly for milk and markdowns. We drink about 1 1/2 gallons a week -- that's $1.99/gal. I'll try hard to keep it at $5 weekly, but will stretch to $10 if there's something incredible.

*Clear away and tidy up as I go. As the freezer and shelves hopefully empty, I'll wipe down, consolidate and throw away too-old and stale items as I find them. (This is tough for me...but it's needed. Can you hear the Brick cheering?)

A pound of venison from the latest trade is thawing in the refrigerator -- maybe lawnmower tacos? Naah,  Porcupine rice, I think.      
     Saute a cup of rice and your meat together -- add a tablespoon or packet of onion soup mix, about 5 cups water, and whatever veggies you've got, chopped fine. (Maybe that celery, plus carrots from the everpresent bag in the crisper. Complements the sage flavor our Colorado mulies get, from foraging through the brush. Cornfed whitetails -- those are further east.) Cook about 20 min., until rice is done. Serves 4-6.

I've also got a package of turkey hot dogs in the cooler. Maybe pigs in the blanket? (That recipe's coming shortly.) Serve a little dipping sauce with them -- that would take care of at least one of the bottles on the refrigerator door. Hmmm...

What could you do? Join me -- and lots of others -- in a pantry challenge. I'll keep you posted each week on my progress. 

What -- not eat out all the time, and actually SAVE MONEY?!