Knitting away with my new farmers market basket while down here in the warm south. Me and the manatees, hanging out.

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Just finished a terrific book – so well written!  I always forget this author but shouldn’t as he blows me away with his writing skills.

I got the book because I remember these guys while I lived in New York with my sister Patt; late 60’s.  There was a lot of chatter about them then.  You may want to read this book, it’s fast.  I read a review recently about Doctorow and why he wrote the book.  He said he sat down, with no research, just spilled it out from memory.  Doctorow was a resident of New York City (as he still is) at the time, just a kid.  But, he heard references to them all the time too.  So, I decided to read what someone could just spill out from memory.  WEll DONE.

Fooling around with a new cookbook.  Babycakes “Covers the Classics” by Erin McKenna.  My quest to see what it’s all about and if I can really eat sweets without all the eggs & butter. 

I did drizzle these with Maple Syrup per Ruth’s request.  o.k. gluten free, same ingredients as just about everything else in her books.  Applesauce for eggs and coconut oil for butter, brown rice flour & garbanzo/Fava flour.  Everything is starting to taste the same.  That’s the problem now.  When I bake with unbleached flour, eggs, butter the “other” ingredients take on the flavor, like chocolate for chocolate chips, banana for banana bread, lemon for ….. you get the idea.  But, when I bake her recipes it is all the same.  Does the coconut oil overwhelm?  A bit of a “greasy” flavor.  Still I suppose if you have not been able to have anything baked/sweet because of an allergy this tastes pretty good, I suspect.  She does slather sugar over everything.

Gotta go, back to packing up my knitting for the long drive starting tomorrow.  Three projects, 3 days drive.  I need to make sure my lap top is linked to my home computer with stuff I look at, etc.  I just got all our snacks and drinks for the cooler.  It kills me, every time I go to “cantafford” a particular checkout lady always says to me; “You know these apples or whatever are organic, don’t you?"  And then gives me a snappy I told you so look when I admit yes, I know they’re organic.  Does she do that with everyone?  She has a passive aggressive thing about buying organic.  geech.

Next post, down the waterway unless there is something cool to behold on the way!

I got this on one of those e-mail things this morning.  Hysterical.  And, I was just thinking of making heart shaped valentine cookies too.  What a scream.  Another one of those “I wish I still had the cafe moments”. Very clever.

I finally finished the end of year accounting!  Jumping for joy….drove up to our Accountant as fast as my car could in sleet.  I hate sleet and was so worried about black ice, etc.  I just wanted those numbers out of my car and in his office safe and sound.  I am fini. 

So, with my new freedom my afternoon began – in my fiber room of course.  As my head, with my new very short haircut, is constantly cold I started up a new wool headband for me.  Ruth was over the other day with one of my bands on and I thought, hey, I need one of those.  I thought of making some out of fleece with some Velcro in the back as closure – it would be really fast and I have lots of colors but, went for the knitted kind.  It does whip up fast, just a few hours of sitting down time.

After watching Midnight in Paris the band is almost completely done now.  It’s 45 out and balmy, might not need it.  How pathetic am I that I think 45 is balmy.

Getting ready to return to our trip so I organized a few knitting projects for “the road”. 

Beautiful spring colors.  I have a cute pattern for little girls hats. I left my big project on the boat – a sweater for Paul jr. eek, why do I knit for him? he’s tall, the stuff takes forever and is phenomenally boring.  He doesn’t like patterns or trim of any sort so it’s just knitting, knitting and more knitting…plain colors too, this new project is a tweedy beige.  But, it’s a good boat project just watching the palm trees goes by as we chug further down the Inter-coastal. 

My sister, who lives in Korea, wrote me this morning about a Celebration Dinner Party for the Year of the Dragon, really big over there at the moment.  In fact, I think the whole year is one big party, prosperity and good luck.  Everyone is trying to get pregnant except perhaps my OLDER sister, just kidding.  It is considered fortuitous to have a child in this year and if it doesn’t work they wait another 5 years for the next dragon year.   Anyhow, they ran out of stuff for the dumplings so they used what they had: mashed bananas, cinnamon, crushed pineapple and bread crumbs.  Doesn’t that sound good as a pot sticker for breakfast?  I can imagine eating that with some agave dribbled over the top and a cup of tea.  Yummy.

On this day, 30 years ago, we were completely snowed in up here.  All the roads north and south were closed.  Boston airport had a plane slide right off the runway into the water.  Zero travel.  We were married that day and all 17 guests, were there.  It was a beautiful, crystal clear, perfectly white, bright sunshine day.  Jesse was sitting on the steps with his new and first time watch (a gift from Paul’s parents) counting down the minutes till he finally got his dam rebel mother married off.  He was so nervous I may zip out on the whole affair.  He was 7.  A responsible 7.  And now, he’s a responsible 37 with two girls of his own.  That was fast!  And, I’m glad I stayed put.  I really love Paul, we’ve had a blast together.

Elderberry Brew: The photo I did not post yesterday.

See, it doesn’t make too much.  Yummy.

Last night our son in law was over telling us about how his mother always baked potatoes with nails in them……..WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?  He said they bake at least 15 minutes shorter because of the heat conduction.  Humm.

Here they are, Frankenstein Potatoes.  Paul got out his copper nails for the experiment and cleaned them up.  Only thing – I forgot to time the whole thing but I think he’s probably right as the nails sure were hot.  Cool.

Kitchen smells yummy.  I’m baking a few Blueberry Pies in the dead of winter, no less.  I’m off to see my older son’s grandparents this morning and she, Mrs. Freese, let me know last time I was there how much she loved blueberry pie.  Don’t you just love old people?  I do, there is just no time for pooping around, say it as it is and be done!  Crystal clear.  I like that.

ta ta

Elderberry Tonic

I’ve had some bombs this week, one in particular.  I was making 101’s black bread, got distracted and put white flour in instead of Rye, yuk.  Too bad, it had some cool stuff in it; coffee, molasses, cocoa.  Oh well.  We’ve been toasting it for breakfast with jam, yogurt, cottage cheese, nothing works……compost time.

But, I am very excited about my elderberry tonic.  Years and years ago we had a huge bush on our property and as I was into herbs at the time I found a recipe for Elderberry Wine.  I remember picking all the buds off into a baby tub and shucking the berries off the stems (the stems are poisonous).  It took a long time, my hands were purple forever.  The wine was put together in a big plastic tub and then bottled.  As I recall it was pretty cheap tasting.  Reminded me of my early wine drinking days of cheapest in the store stuff.  A few years later, probably when we moved out of the apartment, (22 years),  I found a bottle hiding.  Tried it, it was really good.  So, it just needed to age I suppose.  Paul hated the whole process – anything new is not his forte.  Poor guy, living with me? Everything is new all the time. 

Anyhow, long story short, I love the taste.  Usually I am quite healthy but while in the Health Food Store I saw a bottle of it on the shelf used building your immunity and as I was heading south on the boat and going to be exposed to all sorts of “tweaky” situations I decided to boost up.  Yummy stuff.

While in the store the other day my friends Rebbecca, an Herbalist and Chantal gave me a taste and recipe for making my own.  So easy, and yummy.  I take it straight now, tablespoon a day.  I added an Immune Defense Compound with Astragalus, Reishi and Schisandra (whatever that is), just a tablespoon or so to the whole batch.  My sister swears by the Astragalus.

Recipe:

½ C. dried elderberries (health food store has this)

3 C. Water

1 C. honey (I used half honey, ½ Agave)

Heat the berries and water to a boil then reduce to simmer for 30-45 minutes.  Strain the berries in a fine sieve and mash to get all the juice out. 

Take a 2 C. measure, pour juice to ½ C. then add the sweetener to make 1.5 C. total volume, stir well, pour into the rest of the juice, mix and jar.

Keep refrigerated for 2-3 months. 

On the recipe I have the beginning story is about Holunderbeere which is German for Elderberry.  It is used for flu and other winter ailments.  As I’m a big believer in German or European Health benefits, I’m their girl for this one. 

So, thank you Rebecca and Chantal of The Herbal Path in Portsmouth for this one!

I forgot to download the picture of it in a jar – I’ll add that on, later, so you can see how much this makes, not too much, half a canning jar.

Check out this root system of my hydro stuff.  I think this was parsley, pretty cool.  I clean it out every month or so and start over.  I only have 8 boxes growing at a time but well worth the effort for the fresh taste.

Those are clay beads in the sink.  It’s what the plants grow in.  The water flushes up through that to feed the plant two times a day. 

Of course it’s freezing here in Maine now.  My poor birds at the bird feeder are in a frenzy to be fed.

And, another shot of one of Heather’s paintings.

I love her stuff!

Word to the wise……do not cut your hair in January.  I am freezing, what was I thinking?  Cute cut but I wear a hat and scarf most of the time my head is so cold, even sleeping.