Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Keep Peas, Beans, and Corn Out of the Equation.

I was married to a man who would eat no vegetables but peas, beans, or corn, fresh, frozen, or canned. I think that is one of the reasons I love our CSA assortment of veggies. This week we have lettuce, cauliflower, spinach, cilantro, onion, pepper, sweet potato, and spaghetti squash. I'm going to roast the cauliflower with olive oil, lemon juice and parmesan. I don't know yet whether I'll use the spaghetti squash as a pasta substitute and serve it with meatballs, or let it stand alone as a vegetable side dish. We like it both ways. I'm still undecided about how I'll use the cilantro and the sweet potatoes. Another reason I love the CSA assortment is because they provide a foundation for meal planning which can get tedious after 50+ years. As I write this and look at the picture, I think I've come up with a way to fix the sweet potatoes; I'll slice and fry them with the onion and pepper and toss in some of the cilantro at the end. The spinach is almost like a dessert -- it is so sweet and tender and there are so many ways to use it: in salads, soups, omelets, stir frys, and just slightly wilted. 

Ben is going to his first math competition on Friday in West Plains. Math is easy for him -- it's like his native tongue. So far this school year he's carrying a 103% average in his trig class. It's completely foreign to me and just bewilders me when I watch him get pleasure out of solving equations. But then, he doesn't get much out of quilting.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Name Game

Amanda and Ash threw their traditional Thanksgiving bash and we all had a great time with much to be thankful for. Way too much food was prepared by Amanda and contributed by the rest of the fam.
Because of an abundance of butternut squash in my CSA shares recently, I prepared three different squash dishes: mashed squash with creamed cheese and pineapple (not my fav), candied squash with apples (pretty good), and savory roasted squash with fresh sage, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, bacon, and parmesan (yummy -- you could leave out the squash and it would still be good). The rest of the menu included a moist, blackened turkey, dressing, cranberry, Chinese noodle salad, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, garlic bread, some yummy apples dishes, pumpkin pie, cheesecake, cheese, summer sausage and crackers, brownies, clam dip, sparkling cider and some Missouri wines. 

 When not cooking squash, I made labels for a few quilts -- the one above is for Logan's Halloween quilt from last year.

The following labels are for Rick and Kathy's quilts which I will be sending off to them in early December. I made them in gratitude for Kathy's visit to help me after my knee surgery in June. To understand the labels, you need to know that Rick and Kathy call their home "Toad Ranch" and Kathy affectionately calls Rick "Top Toad."

This is on the back of Rick's quilt; it says, 
"Top Toad
made with love especially for
my brother, Rick Blair
by Melody Moore, Ozark, MO
November, 2011     Quilt #42"

and this label on Kathy's quilt, says:
"The Princess and the Toad
made especially for Kathy Felch
with love and gratitude
by Melody Moore, Ozark, MO
November, 2011
Quilt #41"

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Long Dry Spell

Nothing is wrong. I am just not moved to writing anything fresh and interesting. Life is good, but repetitious, predictable, and dare I say it, boring! (Make no mistake, I love boring, boring is very satisfying.)

The kids are great. I love Logan's observations: "It smells like snow!" or "You should have seen the pattern the birds made when they flew!" And Ben is pensive, quiet, and kind. When I am making my bed, without a word, he walks to the other side and helps. When I drop something, he tells me I should let him pick it up. The crazy schedule has let up a bit for now and we can all breathe a bit before it resumes in January.

Quilting continues to consume me, but I fear I bore everyone around me with it. Finished Rick and Kathy's quilts and will soon mail them. Meanwhile I continue to work on hand quilting Rachel's quilt.

Still doing that veggie thing. Picked up an enormous butternut squash yesterday which will be a Thanksgiving dinner contribution tomorrow when we go to Amanda and Ash's with the greater local clan. I'm bringing three variations on the theme: mashed squash with creamed cheese and pineapple, roasted savory squash with sage, garlic, bacon, pine nuts, and Parmesan, and candied squash with apples.

When I'm not quilting, doing domestic duty, or going to various club meetings, I read. Lately, I've been reading everything written by David McCullough. I don't know how I missed him when he was winning Pulitzers, but I've just discovered him. So far, I've read: Truman; John Adams; The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris; 1776; and The Johnstown Flood. I'm now about half through Mornings on Horseback and will next read The Path Between the Seas: the Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914 and The Great Bridge: the Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge. And that will do it for David McCullough. I love the way I am transported to the time he writes about, so if you'll excuse me, I think I'll return to the late nineteenth century.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

They're Not Finished Yet

Quilt #41

Quilt #42
(I know, the Ultimate Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything)

 This pair is for a pair of sweethearts -- my sister-in-law, Kathy and her husband, my brother, Rick.
Kathy came to stay with me for a week when I had knee surgery in June, and since I have a standing offer of a quilt to anyone who comes to visit, I had to pay up. I gave her some choices of completed quilts and quilts in progress. She chose the top quilt which was about half finished, and she asked if I would make one for Rick as well. Never quite sure if I'm inflicting my quilts on the recipient, or if they are really appreciated gifts, I was delighted with her request. Kathy's quilt is made from "traditional" prints mostly with little flowers on a contrasting background. For Rick's quilt, I used the same pattern but chose only geometric prints and plaid homespuns. Can you spot the one block made of geometric prints that is identical in both quilts?
The actual quilting of #41 is meandering feathers, while #42 has a macho woodsy theme with moose, bears, and pine trees. If you click on the images you can see the quilting in the larger views. The colors in these pictures are kind of off, for some reason I couldn't get a picture that looked true. The actual colors are darker, richer, and more subtle. And the quilts aren't finished yet because I still have to name them and sew on labels. I expect to have them finished and mail them off on December 5th after I've toted them around for "show and tell" and my various quilt clubs.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Same Time This Year

                                            2009                                                       2010


Same tree, same day, different years. All these photos were taken on November 8 -- and so different each year. I'm still trying to learn the weather patterns and to read the seasons here, but I don't think it's possible. I do know our glorious fall is at an end. Today's storm will bring down many of the remaining leaves and winter will be upon us.

This morning when Oreo went outside, she found the cold, windy, wet weather not at all to her liking, so she turned right around and came back in. She immediately went out the other door and seemed quite surprised to find the weather just as nasty.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Life in a Small State

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill (Dem.) with Ben

Now we have met the Missouri senators from both sides of the aisle as well as the current governor. 
I must say, of the three this is my favorite pol. She listens, she pays attention, she works, she sucks up information, and she's personable.

She serves on the senate's armed services committee and has been working hard at straightening out  the mess of misidentified heroes at Arlington. Today she needed to make sure her own house was in order, so she called at the Veteran's Cemetery where grandpa Steve is the director. She sat down at the computer and reviewed processes associated with identifying the fallen. She was impressed and hopeful that some day Arlington's records will be in such good order. I was impressed that she got right down to the nitty-gritty -- didn't just ask for a report, but said, "show me" in the Missouri way.
Off on a grand tour (Steve driving, Ben and an aide from her Springfield office ride in the back)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

To Whom it May Concern

Quilt #39 "November's Child" (Twin sized)
 While working on this quilt, I kept imagining a new mother holding her baby, maybe nursing, reading, singing, or just cuddling. It would make a very generous lap quilt, quite able to keep a mother and child warm in the middle of sleepless cold winter nights. And just maybe they could feel the love that was sewn into each seam. I'm keeping it until a new mother with a child born in November appears. If not this year, then next. If you know someone who qualifies, let me know. The quilt is completely washable and can recover from milk, spit-up, or whatever. 
Quilt #40 "Jubilee" (King-sized)
Jubilee can be defined as an anniversary celebration. I am celebrating the completion of five quilts started a year ago. This happy celebratory quilt would make a good wedding gift. Like the quilt above, the prospective owner has yet to present him/herself. I'm thinking maybe a grandson's wedding. Wonder if any more of them will get married?
Does he look like marriage material? (Larger than king-sized at more than 7 feet tall!)