Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Little of This, And A Little of That

This post has a number of different things. I thought everyone would enjoy them.

The above are sad pugs because they only have a few old plush toys left. Garm has torn most of them up and just about all that was left was the "Packer Doughnut". Ugh - he's no fun! Then, Yeah - Mom finally shelled out for some new toys! Garm was trying to decide what to tear up first. Thea is playing it cool.

A view from the living room window. In the fore ground are impatiens in the window boxes and spilling out of the Main Garden are phlox with heavy heads from the rain. Next is Great Blue Lobelia that flowers in the Vegetable Garden. I don't know how it got there. Probably the compost. But it is a welcome late bloomer since most perennials are winding down now.

Here are some more late bloomers that are so welcome. I'd forgotten I'd planted them. I really should put some late August flowers in my perennial garden - it looks pretty dull towards Autumn.

I snapped this at night and the flash lets you see the fish much better than in daylight. They are so lovely and graceful I could watch them for hours. They will come up to the surface and seem to beg for food. It's just too cute!

Now this is weird! I'll bet you can't guess what that ultra bright spot is. I was trying to take a picture of the gazebo when a mosquito flew in front of the camera and got caught in the flash. Doesn't she look like a tiny plane??


Now the rest of this blog is:

How I Made Jelly From Queen Anne's Lace Flowers!
Deemom on S&DMartin 1971, had a recipe for making this jelly. It was very simple and I was intrigued so I thought I'd make it this weekend.
Get everything ready and go out into the stifling heat to pick..
18 of the large flower heads. (Right now there are only small ones growing, so I had 36 little heads.)

Watch the Swallow Tail for a while and try to get a decent picture of him without sweating onto the lens.

Get back into the air conditioning and steep the heads (after I rinsed the critters out of them!) in boiling water for 30 minutes.

Strain out the liquid to 3 cups ....

Add lemon juice, pectin, and sugar and boil hard for a couple minutes. Add a little yellow food coloring, and ....

pour into jars then ....

put on some Martha Stewartish (I know that isn't grammatically correct) lids. Isn't that lovely?- It's a good thing :-)

Process for 5 whole minutes then place on the garage floor on a plastic cutting board to cool .... Later, when they can be picked up without giving you 2nd degree burns, arrange them artfully, creating a jelly table scape ......
on your counter top after clearing away everything you really keep there. Stand back and admire your handy work!
The color is like honey and the taste is quite good - sort of lemony with a hint of grass or something. (Neither Steve nor I could really pinpoint the other taste.) I'd say it was a complete success.
I forgot to put the following picture towards the top of the blog and it's too much trouble doing that now. It shows the shelves filled with the pickles we canned last week. All of the supplies, spices, instructions, rings and lids are stored there. Steve made the shelves and they are perfect.
Behind them is a room that the previous owner built that is very small but it hides an old furnace that was too big to remove from the house when he replaced it. It would have to dismantled piece by piece and taken up steep steps so it comes with the house. The next owners will inherit it too.

It's super sturdy and I just love how it looks - kind of like something you'd see in Granny's basement. Wouldn't you agree?
Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.
Henry Ford
Bye for now,


Kylee said...

I've not heard of this jelly! Interesting!

DeeMom said...

Wow Alyssa, Most impressive. The color of the jelly is so delicate.

My Blue Lobelia, while not THAT GREAT< is beginning to bloom. I so enjoy the blue flowers.

Great tip on taking fish pictures as well, thanks I shall try it.
Ha the mosquito…INCOMING at three O’clock.

New toys for the PUGS eh? How neat.
I shall e-mail you re: the jelly…

Lizzie A said...

I just wanted to tell you that NO Alpacas are NOT cute or friendly. (Unless you think that the thing in that picture was cute). The only cute alpacas that I saw were the 2 alpacas that were less than 3 years old, and the one alpaca that looked emo. It had long dark hair that went over it's eye, and a small patch of hair looked as if it were died white.

In terms of what you were asking about feeling safe in Israel, yeah I did sometimes feel unsafe. But for really good reasons. One of the times, I will post about later so you will get to have a deja vu moment, but it was when we were in the Golan Heights and when we were in the bus on the way to the hostle we saw the boarder between Israel and Lebanon. That was a little discomforting, but it only got worse when we were woken up at that hostle by large booms from explosions that shook the very ground. We realized after a few very tense moments of panic and fear and explosions that if Lebanon had started a war on Israel that we would have heard the staff members coming around telling us what was going on. So then we tried to go back to sleep (needless to say, we couldn't, so we were up at 5:30 in the morning). That was the only time that we were at all nervous about being in Israel.

So, I am sorry that I didn't get the chance to read all the way through your post, but I am very easily distracted right now. I hope that some day (or some time) soon. Right now, I just have lots of fun looking at all your pictures. Espcially the pictures of the dogs. As you know, my dog died, and now all these kids movies about animals (mainly dogs) are coming out either in the theater, "on video, DVD, or BluRay disc", or are being shown for the first time on TV. It makes me so sad! There is this new movie called Underdog and it is about a beagle. My Dante was a beagle! It is hard to babysit and see all these trailers with that dog in them. But at the same time, seeing other people's dogs (pets) it makes me more happy than sad. I think it is becuase it shows me that there is still happiness that comes from owning a dog. I don't know, maybe I am crazy.
I have to go now, I am sorry that this is such a LONG comment!
Hear from you soon?

Lizzie A said...

Sorry for a second comment, but I just remembered one thing I had wanted to say. You should have said that the mosquito that was all lit up in the picture was a ghostly image that had been showing up everytime you tried to take a picture of the gazeebo that you now think is haunted. Then say that you didn't show the other pictures becuase this is the one that has the most "form" for the ghost. It would have been funny. (Then have a disclaimer (or something)at the bottom of the post saying that it is actually a mosquito and not a ghost!). Maybe that's just me!
Lizzie~ (again)

Alyssa said...

Kylee - Yes that kind of jelly was a first for me too. But I have had corn cob jelly!

Deemom - Thank you. I'm pleased at how it turned out. I think blue flowers are enjoyed so much because they are pretty scarce in the gardening world.

Lizzie - That sounds very frightening! Did the counselors ever tell you what the noise was from? Yikes!! That is a great idea about the haunted gazebo (Nancy Drew and the Haunted Gazebo?). Wish I'd thought of it.
Maybe soon you'll be able to get another dog. I know how sad that can be.

DeeMom said...

A MAJOR OOPS on my part Alyssa, I accidentally deleted your response to my e-mail
PLEASE re send! Five AM was way to early...

kate said...

I've never heard of this jelly before. Your photographs would do Martha proud and that is definitely a good thing!! You are awe-inspiring with all the preserves in the cellar. I love the look of the shelves with the glass jars - all filled! Your garden is beautiful ... I wish I could grow giant Lobelia here. I have a red one that is an annual, although I'm thinking of digging it up, potting it and putting it in the fridge with the pond plants.

Your fish picture turned out great. I think it's one of my favourite times of the day when I go out in the morning, walk by the pond and call out "fishies". They all appear looking as if they haven't been fed for days and days (much like my dog looks). I have been sticking my hand in the water along with the food and they are starting to bump up against it. It is fun.

And I'm curious to know how long the new stuffed toys last before Garm does a hatchet job on them!

Mary said...

Hi Alyssa,

Well, I'm glad you bought those poor dogs some new toys! I waste money on plush today - I have rippers, too. Thanks for the name suggestions for my new grand-dog yesterday. My daughter is reading over them :o)

Your gardens are bee-u-tiful! What a great view you have from your window!

I didn't think that was a mosquito - it looked like a ghost to me! Are sure it was a mosquito and not a ghost?

So you stock up on pickles and jelly. You are AMAZING. I go to the grocery store and buy those things.

Alyssa said...

Kate - Thank you for the kind comments. The toys I choose this time didn't have long arms and legs that always seem to be torn off immediately. I'm getting smarter and picking the ones with little stubs. Fish can have their own little personalities, can't they?

Mary - Yes, I was a bad Mom but I've mended my ways. The pugs will only play with plush (say expensive!) toys. You're right, it is a ghost and now I won't go near that haunted gazebo.
Thank you for the compliments. I had such fun with the pickling and jelly making I'm going to make tomato juice and sauce and Steve wants Bloody Mary mix too. I have to buy the tomatoes though, the critters have eaten all of ours!

Pam said...

Queen Anne's lace jelly, who knew? The flowers are so beautiful to look at, imagine, they taste good, too.

Love the fish and your garden is beautiful. A most enjoyable post!

Lizzie A said...

About what you said on my blog about it looking more adult-like, I find it funny, actually quite hysterical. I changed it for one of the least mature reasons possible, so that I could use a different color font that wouldn't have matched my last template.
About what you said about the councelors telling us what the noise was, yes they did tell us when we made it to breakfast. They got up on chairs and each made an announcement about the day and finally when it was the last person's turn to speak, he was the one who told us that it was just the Israeli army that is stationed at this boarder trying out their new hi-tek tanks.
Actually when we had finished touring that day, on our bus ride back to the hostle, we saw a line of about 20 tanks each with two-three soldires on them along the side of the road, and each of our three busses had to stop to let one or two of them cross the street. When we passed them, we waved at the men and women out of the windows and to our suprise, they waved back! It was SO COOL! (And that means A TON coming from me, because I HATE(!!) anything having to do with armys, war, ect.)
Well, I (sadly) have to go, but I have one last thing to say. I find it very funny that the time when I change my template, and make it look more mature (which was purely accidental) I end up writing and acting in much less mature ways. Connection? Most likely not, but it would be fun to think so wouldn't it?
P.S. Nancy Drew and the Haunted Gazeebo, that kept me laughing for a while! I like it, and wish I had come up with it!

Alyssa said...

Pam - Thank you. I sampled some of the jelly today and besides the tart lemon flavor it sort of tastes like the flower smells. I very satisfied. Yes, who would have known.

Lizzie - Actually you never sound immature at all. If I didn't know you were in high school, I'd figure you were a grown woman.
I'm glad that the explosions were just practice. I, too, hate anything to do with wars but the people who fight them are just like you and I and we can't forget that.

Gretchen said...

I can only dream of having a pantry like that one!

Great photos. The one of the mosquito looks like a little fairy caught in flight. :)

Alyssa said...

Gretchen - I am lucky that Steve built the canning pantry. As you can see, we use it for all kinds of things - not just canned produce.