Six on Saturday – Rain, Please – September 21, 2019

Still dry here on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. I have been continuing to move plants although digging is more like jack hammering concrete. Even with constant watering there will be plant loss.

In my community garden bed one cucumber plant has been outdoing itself. I pick this many or more at least once a week. My yoga class takes them home, I take them to the salon where I get my hair cut and make lots of cuke and onion salad for myself. My husband doesn’t like cucumbers and I can only eat so many. The tag that came with this plant is still there so I will know what kind to get next year.

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2. The tall New England asters are beginning to bloom. They will be gorgeous with the goldenrod planted next to them.

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3. Seed pods on the native milkweed are bursting with seeds.

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4.  In the same area of my garden Verbena bonariensis loves the miserable soil. Someone posted last week that this verbena didn’t do well for them. Their soil might be too good. And these have done well despite no rain for two months. Only an occasional sprinkler on them.

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5. I have some carrots in my community garden bed. One of them is going to seed, but it is really pretty.

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6. It’s been in the high fifties at night. Our first fire of the season is only weeks away.

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That’s my Six on Saturday as we head toward fall. The meme was started by The Propagator, a UK gardener. I learn something every week from the participating gardeners. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.  

#lovemygarden

Six on Saturday – Housekeeping in the Garden – April 13, 2019

We’ve had a dry spell and there is not one soggy place left in our yard. I have a few housekeeping chores in the garden to do today (Friday) in anticipation of some predicted weekend rain. But I’m happy that the leaves have been pulled out of the azaleas and raked from the areas where perennials are shooting up. There is always that brief window of time before raking becomes impossible.

I pulled out seven azaleas that I lost to the winter wet conditions. Or perhaps a combination of late summer drought, then months of wet. Who knows. I’ll have to do some thinking about what to replace them with.

Chores for the upcoming week. 1. Clean out the fireplace and spread the ashes around the hostas. Thanks, Fred, for the suggestion. That seemed to work well last year to deter slugs. 2. Hook up the drip irrigation system and test it. 3. Explore my seed box and see what old seeds can be planted outside to see if I get germination. I hate to throw away seeds.

  1. I have started some seeds inside. The cord on the light support broke after two days. I took it apart, went to the local hardware store which helpfully had an array of cords and then tried to figure out how to thread the damned thing. A long piece of slender copper wire and 45 minutes of patience and I was operational again.

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2. A week ago I wanted to finally start some seeds. I couldn’t find all the parts to the heat mat/light gizmo so remembered someone told me they started seeds in egg shells. What the heck. I had all the parts and these were old seeds for Sun Gold tomatoes. A week later seedlings had emerged and I had found and repaired the rest of my seed starting equipment. It lives on the top of what is now called “brown furniture” but what we seniors call an antique sideboard.

3. The amaryllis bulb that I rescued from a red wax casing last year and then lost in the garage…was found a couple of months ago and planted. (There seems to be a theme here of me putting things away and then losing them.) This is the reward. There will be four blooms in total.

4. This is a geranium a friend brought me last week. It’s such an unusual color. I’ll wait awhile before putting it outside. In the meantime I’m enjoying the pop of color. I’ll try and take some cuttings.

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5. When I cleaned out the winter foliage from the window boxes in the front of the house, I found a lone tulip. It must have been planted by an industrious squirrel. I used to have a lot of tulips. Most have been dug up by the squirrels. This year there were a few coral colored ones near the hellebores. I’ll have to decide if tulips are worth the bother. If the squirrels don’t get them, the deer think the blooms are a delicious dinner.

6.  Last fall when I helped with clean-up at the Reading Garden at our local St. Michaels library, I pulled up a sucker on the Buckeye Bottlebrush shrub colony. It is always spectacular in the early summer with lots of white flowers. I’ll put these in pots until they are big enough to survive in a bed.

That’s my Six on Saturday, photos of my garden as it comes alive after what seemed like a longer and certainly a wetter winter than usual.This meme was started by The Propogator, a UK gardener.  This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

Write on Wednesday – A Christmas Wedding in Minnesota – December 12, 2018

You know you are in Minnesota in December when the windshield washer fluid freezes on the windshield.

Laura and I flew into Minneapolis late Friday afternoon with an entourage … our husbands, Laura’s mother and a friend.  It was cold. I don’t think the day time temperature ever got above 20 degrees Farenheit the whole time we were there. Fortunately there was no wind, but there was still snow on the ground from the previous weekend and icy spots on sidewalks.

We checked into the house we’d rented and headed to town to check out the marquis at the Paradise Center for the Arts. World Premier! TMP stands for The Merlin Players.

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That night we were honored on stage…

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…and presented with a fabulous gift basket which included a handmade ornament created by Stephanie Weiss who plays Martha in the show.

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The show was more than we could have hoped for. Laura and I had not reread it before we went and kept wondering what was coming next. It was lovely to see it that way — almost with fresh eyes.

Saturday morning we had breakfast at Bernie’s Grill, a local institution with terrific food. My husband commented that it was breakfast that tasted the way he remembered breakfast tasting when he was a kid. Bernie’s had A Christmas Wedding poster by the cash register. They were all over town. This is Cary (Laura’s husband), Laura and her mother, Mary.

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I don’t have the show photos yet, but will soon. Then I’ll do another post.

On Saturday toured the Faribault Woolen Mills, explored the Shattuck-St. Mary’s (a coed prep school) campus, had lunch at the Cheese Cave, and then the ladies explored a consignment shop which had been a Catholic Church. We were told there were three Catholic churches in Faribault and the powers that be decided to build a new church south of town and sell the old churches and rectories. The house we rented had been the rectory. It was full of gorgeous oak woodwork.

Saturday night we ordered take out and ate around the dining table at our rental property before we went to the show. During intermission the sound operator, Shelley Wold, came around to introduce herself. She’s a panda lover and there’s a mention of pandas in the show. Great job, Shelley! We owe so much to the behind the scene folks. There wouldn’t be a show without them.

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After the show we got some photos with the cast. Left to right: Michael Lambert (Will Hawes), Heidi Nelson (Jessica), Mala Burt (playwright), Matt Drenth (Josh), Laura Ambler (playwright), Mandie Siems (Brandeee), Stephanie Weiss (Martha) and Jerry Fox (Sandy Hawes). Honestly, we couldn’t have had a more talented cast for the first production of A Christmas Wedding. Accoustics were excellent and everyone knew their lines and where they were supposed to be. What was superb was how the actors stayed in character even when they weren’t speaking. That’s hard to do. (Thanks to Stephanie who had posted some of these photos on her FaceBook page.)

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This is Jerry Fox (Sandy Hawes) with Thomas Drenth (Tim).

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Stephanie Weiss (Martha) in her foxy post make-over Mrs. Santa costume, complete with bull whip. Embrace the crazy! A shout out here to Mary Butler Fraser for costume design.

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Two weeks before opening night the director, Juliana Skluzacek, had a heart attack and triple bypass surgery. She came home Friday, the day the show opened. Her hard work shone in every scene. It wouldn’t have been the same play without Julianna’s vision. But we would be remiss if we didn’t applaud the cast and crew who rose to the occasion and brought the show home. Laura and I were in awe.

Several people asked us if there will be another in the Santa Diaries saga. We’ll have to give that some thought. If we fast forward too much we’d have to kill off Sandy and Martha and that would be unforgiveable. Faribault would never let us come back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Write on Wednesday – Mala’s Crack Pecans – November 28, 2018

Writing and holiday baking get shoe-horned into my hectic schedule this time of the year. This post is from a year ago, but I thought it worth sharing again. There may be more reposts this month as I am traveling to Indiana, Maine and Minnesota to see productions of the Christmas plays I wrote with Laura Ambler.

These are supposed to be called Cinnamon Sugared Pecans, but they are so addictive so I renamed them Crack Pecans. I made a batch because I was supposed to take tossed salads to two events. I put the nuts I needed in two baggies, but there were delicious leftovers. I should have thrown them out or put them in the trunk of my car where they would be too much trouble to get to. There should be step meetings for these pecans.

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My husband got a few.

Then one of the dinner events was cancelled at the last minute. So that bag of nuts came into play.  As I sat in my office, trying to focus on writing, I could hear them faintly calling my name. Mala mala mala mala mala —  You just have to answer after awhile.

The second dinner is tonight. I am exercising self-control. The pecans are safe for the moment. I have blueberries and sliced strawberries to go into this salad and a lovely, light lemon and honey dressing. It’s going to be delicious.

Here’s the recipe for Crack Pecans. These make terrific hostess gifts. Be advised that checking for crunch in the final stages is where the addiction begins. Consider yourself warned.

Mala’s Crack Pecans (from Cookingclassy.com website who stole it from allrecipes.com where I made tweaks)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pecan halves (4 cups)
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • ½ tsp vanilla (up to 1 tbsp)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (can be half white, half brown)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (can add ½ tsp allspice, 1/8 tsp cayenne for kick)
  • ½ tsp salt (can be up to 1-1/2 tsp kosher salt)

Directions

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, vigorously whisk egg white with water and vanilla until very frothy. In a separate small mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add pecans to egg white mixture and toss until evenly coated. Pour half of the sugar mixture over pecans and toss several times, then add remaining sugar mixture and toss until evenly coated. Pour coated pecans over a parchment paper lined backing sheet and spread into an even layer. Bake in a preheated oven for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Allow to cool, then store in an airtight container.

Notes: If you double this recipe you could keep the cinnamon sugar amounts the same. It’s plenty of sweet. If you do this, make it in two batches using two sheet pans. Four cups is just the right amount for one sheet pan. The nuts won’t get crunchy if there are too many on the sheet at one time.

I use sheet pans with a silpat liner.  You can also use parchment paper.The sheet pan has sides so the nuts don’t fall out.

The final 15 minutes in the oven is crucial to make them crunchy. I checked them after what I thought was the final time and they still weren’t dry in the middle, so I put them in for another 15 minutes. The first two times you stir them they will be sticky. They may need a little additional time in the oven. Just keep checking for crunch. I like adding that little bit of cayenne for a little heat. If you’re planning to use them as an appetizer with cheese and fruit, you could add more salt as well.

Mala’s Crack Pecans

These are supposed to be called Cinnamon Sugared Pecans, but they are totally addictive. I made a batch because I was supposed to take tossed salads to two events. I put the nuts I needed in two baggies, but there were delicious leftovers. I should have thrown them out or put them in the trunk of my car where they would be too much trouble to get to. There should be step meetings for these pecans.

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My husband got a few.

Then one of the dinner events was cancelled at the last minute. So that baggie came into play.  As I sat in my office I could hear them faintly calling my name. mala mala mala mala mala  You just have to answer after awhile.

The second dinner is tonight. I am exercising self-control. The pecans are safe for the moment. I have blueberries and sliced strawberries to go into this salad and a lovely, light lemon and honey dressing. It’s going to be delicious.

Here’s the recipe for Crack Pecans. These make lovely hostess gifts. Be advised that checking for crunch in the final stages is where the addiction begins. Consider yourself warned.

Mala’s Crack Pecans (from Cookingclassy.com website who stole it from allrecipes.com where I made tweaks)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pecan halves (4 cups)
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • ½ tsp vanilla (up to 1 tbsp)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (can be half white, half brown)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (can add ½ tsp allspice, 1/8 tsp cayenne for kick)
  • ½ tsp salt (can be up to 1-1/2 tsp kosher salt)

Directions

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, vigorously whisk egg white with water and vanilla until very frothy. In a separate small mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add pecans to egg white mixture and toss until evenly coated. Pour half of the sugar mixture over pecans and toss several times, then add remaining sugar mixture and toss until evenly coated. Pour coated pecans over a parchment paper lined backing sheet and spread into an even layer. Bake in a preheated oven for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Allow to cool, then store in an airtight container.

Notes

You can double this recipe you could keep the cinnamon sugar amounts the same. It’s plenty of sweet. If you do this, make it in two batches using two sheet pans. Four cups is just the right amount for one sheet pan.

I use sheet pans with a silpat liner.  You can also use parchment paper.The sheet pan has sides so the nuts don’t fall out.

The final 15 minutes in the oven is crucial to make them crunchy. I checked them after what I thought was the final time and they still weren’t dry in the middle, so I put them in for another 15 minutes. The first two times you stir them they will be sticky. They may need a little additional time in the oven. Just keep checking for crunch. I like adding that little bit of cayenne for a little heat. If you’re planning to use them as an appetizer with cheese and fruit, you could add more salt as well.

Santa Diaries Play – Parts Are Cast

Sunday (10-7-12) afternoon at the Avalon Theatre everyone who tried out for a part showed up to hear what part they got. Lots of kids and lots of excitement. Liza Ledford and Cece Davis did the honors and handed out rehearsal schedules and pages of script. The entire script was given to the leads although it wasn’t the tweaked script Laura and I sent to them Saturday afternoon. I think script tweaks will be an ongoing process.

I’m excited by the people cast for the two major parts. Jenny Madino will play Jessica Darling and Casey Rauch will play Will Hawes. Both look like just like I imagined these characters would look. They will be the first to ever perform these parts!

Some of the kids knew each other, some didn’t yet but they will by the time the show goes live. Tim Weigand asked all the actors to come on stage…

…and then asked for a group hug.These actors are going to be in close quarters on stage and back stage so he got the process started.

On Tuesday night there will be a table read with the main characters. This just gets better and better.

Laura Wears Her Pretty Woman Hooker Boots

Laura writes…

Last night was the fund-raising kick-off for the Rehoboth Independent Film Festival. My artwork was chosen to represent the Festival on its posters and programs, t-shirts, etc.

I’ve had a pair of spike heeled thigh high, ostrich skin (vinyl) boots for years. They sit in my closet taunting me to wear them. But everytime I put them on I feel like Julia Roberts playing the hooker in Pretty Woman. So I take them off and put them back in the closet.

Mala and I went to this gathering of eclectic arty film buffs. It seemed the perfect time for me to indulge my “I am an ARTIST!” persona.

Note: I did NOT pair my boots with a sky high miniskirt. NO one needs to see that.

Nobody even looked at my boots. These were the shoes worn by the Festival’s Board President.

Trailers for several of the movies were previewed at the party Awesome! It will be really hard to pick which ones I want to see.

This is me with the Festival Board: President, Eric Kafka; Executive Director, Sue Early; Festival Program Directory, Joe Bilancio.

I’ve been attending the Film Festival for the last ten years. It’ s four days each year I don’t miss. There are independent films from all over the world. When I leave, I always feel like I’ve had a mini global vacation. (The inspiration for the title of my artwork: “Come to the Fest and Sea the World.”) And like any other vacation, I always come back having gained a few pounds. There are sooooo many absolutely fabulous restaurants in Rehoboth and Lewis. And of course I have to do my best to try them all. Luckily my boots don’t care how fat I get!

If you haven’t been to the Rehoboth Independent Film Festival, go! And bring YOUR wildest boots. I guarantee, you’ll feel right at home!