Behold the literary… Rutabagas!

20190328_073438 (3)I call them literary rutabagas because they are mentioned in Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” book series. Though, in the books they are called “neeps”. More about that in a little while, be patient with me.proxy.duckduckgo.com.jpg-Outlander#3 Several years ago I read through Diana’s very fine books from the first, “Outlander”, through , “Written In My Own Heart’s Blood”, and I enjoyed them all very much.proxy.duckduckgo.com.jpg-Outlander#2When Claire and Jamie were living on Fraser’s Ridge, in the North Carolina mountains, in one of their meals, they were eating a pot of “neeps”. I turned to my husband, who is part Scottish and asked, “Yo, you of  Scottish ancestry, what are ‘neeps’?” He gave me a blank face and mumbled that he had never heard of them. So I looked it up on Duckduckgo.com  and they listed ‘neeps’ under rutabagas.     So here is a link that tells some interesting rutabaga, aka ‘neep’ facts  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rutabaga      I thought all the information was very interesting!

When I read various books and they mention different foods in the story, I like to sometimes make those foods to add to the enjoyment of the story. For instance, when I read “Dracula”, by Bram Stoker, …proxy.duckduckgo.com.jpg-Dracula#1 while I was in high school, I fixed Hungarian Goulash, as it was mentioned in the story, with lots of paprika and garlic, to help keep the vampires away. That was back when I still ate meat.Film Title: To Kill A Mockingbird

When, much more recently, I read “Cold Mountain”, by Charles Frazier, which is set in North Carolina, during the Civil War…proxy.duckduckgo.com.jpg-Cold Mountain#2I fixed hoe-cakes and boiled peanuts, which added to the enjoyment of the story. You know, eating along with the characters.

So, back to the rutabagas. I tracked down an interesting and simple rutabaga recipe in my trusty go-to vegetarian cookbook…20190328_071330 (2)Deborah Madison seriously knows her way around vegetarian cooking! As I was looking for recipes for rutabagas, I came across one that looked promising, “Rutabaga Fries”, on page 436, down towards the bottom of the page. Cooked in the oven, instead of the fryer, so much healthier than fried potatoes. So, rutabagas, not exactly cooked like in the “Outlander” stories, but still very good. So, here is Deborah’s version of the recipe, when I prepared these, I used extra virgin olive oil and I didn’t use the rosemary and they turned out just fine.

Rutabaga Fries

Ingredients:

  • Rutabagas
  • A big bowl of cold water
  • Vegetable oil
  • Sea salt
  • Finely minced fresh rosemary
  • Freshly cracked pepper

20190328_073525 (3)(I showed the ingredients I used for my version of these) Peel and slice the rutabagas into long batons or French fries. Soak them in water for 30 minutes, …20190328_071001 (2)then drain and towel-dry. Toss with vegetable oil to coat lightly and add a few pinches of salt. Spread them on a sheet pan and bake at 400 degrees…20190328_072303 (3)  turning occasionally, until golden and tender, 30 to 40 minutes. When done, toss them with a little finely minced rosemary, sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper.20190328_090339 (2)Though, when I cook these in my little Cuisinart oven, they take longer to cook, more like 50 minutes. And, you really have to watch them, they scorch real easy, as you can see in my picture above. I ate the over-done ones and gave the nice ones to my husband, he declared them very tasty! I like them too, and we now eat these regularly. I would say though, that cutting rutabagas is not something I would let children attempt, they are almost as difficult to cut into as pumpkins. You need a very sharp knife and you really have to pay attention to what you’re doing so you don’t slip and cut yourself. But these “fries”, are well worth the effort, they are very, very tasty! I even came up with a bit of a, not strict to form haiku, about rutabagas…

Oh rutabaga

why oh so hard to carve

but oh so tasty

So, there you go! A little rutabaga info, me rambling a little about some books I’ve read and foods they inspired me to try, a rutabaga fries recipe, and even a somewhat tortured rutabaga haiku by me. Not something you see everyday! Maybe you too, might be inspired to try an interesting food you’ve read about in a story you’re reading or have read! The ‘Outlander”, book image, the Claire and Jamie image, the “Dracula”, book image, and the “Dracula”, movie still, and the “Cold Mountain”, book image, all came from Duckduckgo.com  free images. All the books I showed are available on amazon.com  and the rest of the pictures are ones I took. I hope you all have a SUPER GREAT NEW WEEK!!!!! HAPPY READING!!!! HAPPY COOKING!!!! HAPPY CRAFTING!!!!

 

20 Easter Egg Decorating Inspirations

SUPER, SUPER GREAT EGG DECORATING IDEAS!!!!!

Starrcreative.ca

It’s so great to be back to blogging, I can’t wait to see what everyone’s been up to! Well after a much needed rest for some hand tendon issues I’ve got the go ahead to get back to what I love and it couldn’t come at a better time. With Easter on it’s way, it’s that time of year to start thinking about how to decorate those eggs. Here are some fun and fab inspirations that will be sure to egg you on!

DIY Duct Tape Easter Bows For Little Chics

DIY Duct Tape Decorating Ideas for Easter

DIY Lily Fairy

The possibilities are endless! If you would like to deyoke your eggs to preserve them longer visit my blog Easter Egg Decorating: Pysanky Secrets, How to Remove Yolk Without Cracking The Shell

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The Annual Rite of Spring…or in other words…SAVE ALL THE BEES!!!

proxy.duckduckgo.com.jpg-Eastern Carpenter Bee#8This is an Eastern Carpenter Bee, native to, as the name says, the eastern part of the U.S. These guys hang out in my garden during the early Spring, and I have no problem with them. I actually like them very much. They pollinate my violas and whatever other flowers I have that survived the winter. And, I enjoy watching them fly about.proxy.duckduckgo.com.jpg-Eastern Carpenter Bee#1This is a close up view of a male, note the white patch on his face. All the boys have the white patch, the girls don’t. Here is a link that gives more info about these bees  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_carpenter_bee     Now, to why I titled the first part of the title of this post, “The Annual Rite of Spring…”. These bees appear every Spring here and for the most part, they are basically harmless, as in, if you don’t mess with them, they generally won’t mess with you. Only the girls can give a mild sting, the boys don’t. These bees like to chew into old wood to make tube-like burrows to lay their eggs. Then they will hover about nearby to protect their babies. The burrowing in the wood is a large part of why many people don’t like these bees, plus the hovering about. 20181013_145746 (3)That small building, in the above picture, just beyond my zinnias, is one of our local mailboxes and it is made out of wood. The bees love burrowing into the soft, old wood on the underside of that little building. Then they hover about, guarding the area. For most of the day, everything is fine, until people start getting off work and come to get their mail. That’s when the screaming starts! People are terrified of the bees! And unless you actually grab one of the female bees and manhandle them aggressively, they won’t sting. But, people don’t want to hear that, they totally freak out and call the landlord and complain about the “KILLER BEES!”. Then, like clock work, the maintenance men show up lugging a big, industrial size sprayer full of bug killer and hose down the immediate area around the mail box. Then those poor bees that weren’t killed outright by the spray come over to my flower pots and sidewalk and die. Then the ants harvest them, and then the ants die. If any little frogs or toads see any of the bigger ants crawling around before they die, the frogs and toads eat the ants and then they get sick and crawl off and don’t come back, so they probably die too. I imagine that any birds that eat the bees probably get sick too. It just goes on and on.

I have a “bee safe zone” in my garden, like a haven for bees. I don’t use any plant product that might hurt them, I read all the labels to make sure. I always grow some plants specifically for the bees, this year I’m going to grow at least one morning glory, possibly two. And probably some more zinnias. Just for the bees.proxy.duckduckgo.com.jpg-Bumblebee#3This, above, is a Bumblebee, these guys also hang out in my garden. One has hung out all through the winter, working over the violas everyday.proxy.duckduckgo.com.jpg-Honeybee#4 This, above, is a honeybee. I rarely see these in my yard, it is a major event when I actually see one, there are so few of them around here now.

But, to get at the point I’m trying to make, all bees pollinate plants, not just honeybees. By killing the carpenter bees, people are limiting the amount of pollinating bees that are still out there. Hold in mind the thought, without bees and the various other creatures that pollinate all the plants that we get food from, people would have to pollinate all those plants by hand. Plant by plant, flower by flower, all by hand, probably with a soft paint brush or a feather.proxy.duckduckgo.com.jpg-Eastern Carpenter Bee#4So, here above, is another picture of an Eastern Carpenter Bee, busy collecting nectar and pollen. Please don’t kill them! They are not public enemy number one! They’ll only be about for a short while, just long enough to mate and make sure their babies are okay. Many of them don’t live very long past July, it’s like they enter old age and start slowing down. They rest often and fly less and less  So, from the second part of this post’s title, please…”SAVE ALL THE BEES!!!”  All of them, not just the honeybees, all the different kinds of bees! They pollinate the plants we get a large percentage of our foods from. The least we can do is protect them and grow a few flowers for them in our gardens. The benefits of having them around, far outweighs any problems they might cause. So, I imagine I’m doing the Lorax’s job, I speak for the  carpenter bees because they can’t speak for themselves! I had to get the bee pictures from Duckduckgo.com  images, because the bees in my yard aren’t real keen on having cameras pointed at them, they fly away before I can click the button. The mailbox picture is one I took last fall. I’ll get down off my soap box now. Thank you for reading my bee post. I hope you all have a nice day. GROW FLOWERS FOR THE BEES!!!!!!

Buttons & Ladybugs, We are DONE!!!!!

20190324_170159 (2)All the pear snowmen have their buttons now and they are DONE!!!!! YEAH!!!! I’ll let them dry for several days, then I’ll wrap them carefully in tissue paper and put them away for Christmas.20190324_170234 (2)This paper-mache’ winter sweater is ready for it’s wire clothes hanger and then the varnish!20190324_170252 (2)The wood ladybugs are ready for varnish, and when it’s dry, I’ll glue on their magnets. I’ll be using the template that I used for the two with the big eyes when I do the feltie ladybug, so it will look similar to them.20190324_170311 (2)The rock M & M has it’s “M” and is ready for varnish. Sharky has his teeth now and looks properly menacing and he also is ready for varnish. The two rock zombies have their patches and stitches finished and they are ready to be varnished. Two Oxford Sandy & Black air dry clay pig ornaments (the brown ones with black spots) and a Gloucestershire Old Spot pig ornament (the white one with black spots) are ready to be varnished, YEAH!!!!20190324_170610 (3)These ladybug rocks are ready for varnish, YEAH!!!!20190324_170223 (2)Here they are again, lined up drying, so you can see their happy little smiles. The girly cat, behind them, is a permanent resident.

So, there you go! Some done objects, and a bunch of objects ready to be varnished, YEAH!!!! I will edit the Great Ladybug Challenge post to add how-to’s for the wood ladybug magnets and the ladybug rocks. And when I get the ladybug feltie and the cross stitch ladybug done I’ll add them to it also. So, I’m not the fastest crafter in the world, but slowly but surely, I do get things done. I hope you all have a GREAT rest of the weekend! And I hope your week to come is SUPER AWESOME!!!!! HAPPY CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING!!!! HAPPY LADYBUG MAKING!!!! HAPPY CRAFTING!!!!!

Happy Spring!!!!

proxy.duckduckgo.com.jpg-Ladybug#8

Ladybug crawling

yellow flower petals

gentle Spring wind

 

A sort of not completely strict to the rules Spring haiku by me. Or, in other words, me torturing poetry!

 

Paraphrased from, “Seeds from a Birch Tree”, by Clark Strand: “A haiku is a seventeen-syllable poem about the season. Arranged in three lines of five, seven, and five syllables, and balanced on a pause, a haiku presents one event from life happening now. However much we may say about haiku, its history or its various schools, it is difficult to go beyond these three simple rules: form, season, and present mind.”

As you can see from my little poem  and my sort of spread out structure, I’m not super great at forming these up on a computer. But it works well enough, I wasn’t trying for perfection, just some space between the poem and my sentence about it. At least it was easier than hunting for the words I wanted to use in my various magnetic poetry kits. It always seems like the words I want to use are not among the words on the tiles included in the kits. So, writing on paper or printing on the computer is less aggravating, and more conducive to getting the thought down before it disappears from my brain. You know, a strike while the iron is hot kind of thing. So, every once in a while I’ll be torturing some more poetry. Creative exercise for the right and the left brain!

20190320_095310 (2)

“Seeds from a Birch Tree”, by Clark Strand, is available on amazon.com. It is a very nice little book about writing haiku poetry as a Zen meditative exercise, as in, writing these little poems is supposed to be relaxing and centering of the mind. There are lots of poems to peruse, to help you get a feel for the how-to’s of this poetry form. I enjoy this book very much and highly recommend it to anyone who likes haiku and maybe wants to try their hand at writing it.

So, according to my calendar, today is the Spring Equinox, so… Happy Spring!!!! I hope you all have a SUPER GREAT DAY!!!! Go outside and look at the Spring flowers! HAPPY CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING!!!! HAPPY LADYBUG CREATING!!!! HAPPY CRAFTING!!!!!

The Wood Ladybugs are almost done!

20190318_051311 (4)They just need their spots, the pupils in their eyes, and their antennas. I’m going to do their antennas like my ladybug rock’s ones, dots back over their backs. Sharky is ready for his teeth.  I put another coat of white on Ladybug Boy and Girl’s “eyes”. Ladybug Boy and Ladybug Girl, themselves, are both ready to have their eye sockets made and for the matte medium and the gesso now, YEAH!!!!20190318_051331 (2)Some more paper-mache’ Easter eggs in the works. These are plastic “Legg’s” eggs, that I have been saving. Another one of the paper-mache’ winter sweaters is ready to embellish, the red one. I think I’ll put a Christmas tree on this one. And another sweater is ready for the matte medium and the gesso. This one I experimented on, I wrapped it with the floral tape, it actually wasn’t super hard to do and it helped to make a smoother surface.20190318_051341 (3)These two shapes, up front, are going to be backup ladybugs for the magnets, just in case the wood ones are too heavy. And if I don’t use them for that, I’m working on a pincushion that looks like a flower, with the base part being a tuna can. They can hang out on the flower and look like they are hunting aphids. I haven’t decided yet if I want to crochet the yellow flower middle or make it like from fleece or felt. I’m still in the design stage with the flower.

So, there you go! Some things almost done, some things closer to being done, and some things in the works and in the design stage. I’m still pondering how to do the Hawaiian shirt ornaments, I want them to have actual realistic looking collars and button bands down their fronts. The collars are the part I’m still ruminating on. I’m thinking of using watercolor paper cut and shaped like a collar and then glued to the shirt shape. Then I’ll lightly paper-mache’ it to lock the “collar” in place. It is a creative problem to solve! So. I hope you all have a SUPER GREAT DAY!!!! HAPPY LADYBUG MAKING!!!! HAPPY CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING!!!! HAPPY CRAFTING!!!!!

The Pear Snowmen are up in arms!

20190312_021332 (2)These guys are now ready for their buttons! At long last, these guys are just about done. Through freezing rain, regular rain and even some actual snow, I have been working on these guys, bit by bit.20190312_021353 (2)Spider Girl has her first batch of spots, in interference metallic purple. I’m thinking of putting a contrasting color of spots between her purple ones. I also need to add her actual eye color around her pupils, probably pink to match Spider Boy’s eyes. And as you can see towards the left corner of the picture, I have got a paper-mache’ Easter egg in the works. This is just refurbishing a plastic egg from last year that got cracked. I repaired it and masking taped it, floral tape wrapped it, and got a first layer of paper-mache’ on it. 20190312_021407 (2)Spider Junior looks kind of like he is taking a selfie. He has his first batch of dots in metallic emerald green. I think I’ll either put purple dots between his green ones or metallic turquoise blue dots.  He also needs the color around the pupils of his eyes, his will probably also be pink so he looks like he is kind of related to Spider Boy and Spider Girl.20190312_021459 (2)And in this picture, there is all kinds of crafting action that has been going on. The wood ladybug bodies have been assembled, their wings are now ready to be glued to the body sections and have the dots painted on. Their “eyes” are now ready to be glued in place and have the pupils painted on, and then have the whole shebang glued to the magnets.  Moving along, counter-clock-wise in the picture, the rock M&M just needs the chocolate center to be touched up and have the “M” painted on and it will be ready for varnish. The future ladybug rocks are now finally ready to be embellished, as in, have their faces painted on and their black spots added to their backs. The rock zombies are ready for their “patches” and “stitches”. Behind the zombies, Ladybug Girl has had her shoes floral tape wrapped and glued on her legs. When the glue is dry, I’ll paper-mache’ her shoes. Still moving counter-clock-wise, Ladybug Boy is on his back cause his shoes have been paper-mache’ed  and their glue is drying. And, on the green winter sweater, I’ve repaired and finished the touch-up painting of the place where the repair was made, so it will blend in and not show where the handling stick was.

So, slowly but surely, things are getting done and closer to getting done. I hope you all have a SUPER GREAT DAY!!! HAPPY CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING!!! HAPPY LADYBUG CREATING!!! And HAPPY CRAFTING!!!!!

SNOW…OH NO!!!!

20190305_072859 (2)20190305_072826 (2)20190305_072932 (2)20190305_072944 (2)20190305_073216 (2)20190305_072843 (2)This is very unusual for here! Bleck!!!! As you can see from the above pictures, I had a big surprise when I peered outside just as it was getting light this morning! Fortunately, it’s not freezing, so I went out and brushed the rosemary off, blotted it dry as well as I could with paper towels and covered it up to wait until the temps go up some. A weather rock is more accurate than our weather forecasters around here, they said in the forties and rain. Yeah right! As I was standing outside brushing off the rosemary, the snow was still coming down in big hand-sized clumps. Our thermometer on the patio said the temperature was 34 degrees, so I’m thinking the air higher up is much colder than it is down here on the ground. So the snow formed higher up and didn’t melt as it fell but made the big clumps or something like that. All I know for sure is;  there is a lot of “not rain” all over the area. The bluebirds were looking less than thrilled as they were going to and fro from their house. I imagine they can still find some bugs hiding in the nooks and crannies on the bark of the pine trees. As they made the return trips to their box, they had wiggly somethings in their beaks, so they were still finding creepy crawlers to eat of some sort.20190305_074427 (3)Last night was a cleaning, laundry, sheet changing, and quinoa cooking time, so I didn’t get a whole lot done craft-wise. Though, I did squeeze in some work on my zombie rocks, muddied them up some. I got another coat of black paint on the first wood ladybug’s body section and some white paint on the wood ladybugs’ eyes. So, there you go! An unforeseen weather event and a tiny bit of crafting activity. I hope you all have a nice day! Stay warm, try to stay dry and HAPPY CRAFTING!!!!