Monday, December 27, 2010

Shameful, Neglected Gardens

For someone who generally spends a lot of time in her garden, it had been an unbelievably long time since I was there. First it was the rain for almost the entire month of October that kept me out. More rain during the first two weeks of November followed by a week of snow and another week when the afternoon temperatures hovered around 16 degrees continued to keep me from working in my garden. Not particularly conducive to gardening, December's weather hasn't been much better either.
Light rain was falling today as I walked along the muddy paths in my gardens. Both of my plots at the Happy Valley Community Gardens look terribly unkept and so obviously untended. Dead, dried twigs stick up where they should not be, and low growing weeds threaten to take over. A few herbs, sages and celantros, fortunately still show signs of life as does my strawberry bed. In anticipation of next summer's sweet berries, hopefully there will be a day or two with no rain so that I can get in there and pull the weeds from in between those strawberry plants.
This is the embarrassingly shameful state of my Garden Number 02. Give me my rake and a sunny afternoon and I should have it cleaned up in a couple of hard working hours.
Same with Garden Number 01.

Shameful, neglected gardens!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Leg of Lamb

Slow cooked in the crock pot is how I fixed the boneless leg of lamb for our Christmas dinner.
Into olive oil I mixed minced garlic, rosemary, thyme and grated orange peel.
Then I rubbed the mixture over the lamb roast until it was completely coated.
Next step was placing the roast into the crock pot, adding a half cup of water and setting the crock pot to cook on low for eight hours.
It absolutely could not have been any easier! After only a couple of hours, the aroma from the leg of lamb roasting with all that garlic and the other seasonings was absolutely wonderful. The drippings in the crock pot, strained and cooked with a little flour made a very flavorful gravy for the mashed potatoes. Served with oven-roasted carrots, what a delicious and easy to make Christmas dinner.
~~~
My recipes for a Christmas leg of lamb dinner.
~~~
Leg of Lamb in the Crock Pot
1 Leg of lamb - 4 to 6 pounds, boneless or bone in
1 Tablespoon olive oil
5 - 6 Cloves fresh garlic
1 Tablespoon grated orange rind
1 Tablespoon rosemary
1 Teaspoon thyme
1/2 Cup water
Set crock pot for 8 hours on low and preheat while mincing garlic cloves. Add minced garlic tod to olive oil. Grate the orange rind. Add the orange rind, rosemary and thyme to the garlic and olive oil. Mix together and rub over the meat until it is evenly coated. Place in the crock pot and roast for 8 hours. Check with a meat thermometer that the internal temperature has reached 180 degrees F. Remove from crock pot and let set a few minutes before carving.
~~~
Gravy in the Crock Pot
Drippings from crock pot from roasted leg of lamb
2 Tablespoons flour
Hot water
Remove drippings from the crock pot, strain and return to the crock pot. Set the temperature for the crock pot to the highest setting. In a cup, stir enough hot water into the flour to make a smooth paste. Slowly pour the flour and water mixture into the strained drippings in the crockpot and bring to a boil. Stir continually for another five to ten minutes until the flour mixture has cooked in and the gravy begins to thicken. Remove from the crock pot and serve over potatoes and lamb.
~~~
Oven Roasted Carrots
2 Pounds carrots
3 Tablespoons sundried tomatoes
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Peel carrots and cut in one to two inch chunks. Place carrots in a shallow baking dish (I use the bottom of my broiler pan) and drizzle with olive oil, stirring slightly in order to coat. Place in preheated 425 degrees F oven and roast for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and add the sundried tomatoes and stir to mix in. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes. The carrots should be oven browned by then and tender when poked with a fork. Remove from oven, place in serving dish and serve.
~~~

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Red Cozy

Filled with hot water, mine warms my sheets before bed now.Last Sunday as I sat on the hearth waiting for Kristi to return home so we could yell out "surprise" and start the party, I cast stitches onto my needles and began working the knit 2, purl 2 ribbing.
I used this pattern - Hot Water Bottle Cozy. Working black stripes in to add a little interest since I omitted the pocket shown in the pattern, it took only a couple of evenings for me to finish. Except for knitting the body of mine an inch shorter than was indicated in the pattern, I really didn't need to make any other modifications for the cozy to fit my hot water bottle perfectly.
The pattern provided two options for finishing the bottom - the Kitchener stitch to graft the bottom together, or binding off and stitching a seam. New to the Kitchener technique, I followed the link provided in the pattern to the instructions for the stitch and was pleased with how it turned out.If I make another hot water bottle cozy, I think I shall bind off and stitch a seam so I can compare the two techniques.
How cozy on cold winter nights!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Surprise!

It was Kristi's 50th birthday and we helped her celebrate with a surprise party.

Happy 50th Kristi!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Canal Swims

Even in December, it's impossibe to keep Torrie out of the canals. He loves to fetch and swim!

After what felt like too much rain, this was our first day in weeks where we had sky, blue sky. It felt good to be outside, enjoying a sunny afternoon.
Fortunately, there's a gravel path that cuts through the meadow so even with the extra pools of standing water around, for the most part, I keep my boots dry.
Torrie managed to stay clean too.
~~~~~

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Relatves

Nephew Tim has recently moved back home to Whatcom County and beginning a new long-haul driving job the first part of January, had time today to join us for our weekly luncheon at Lynden's Northwood Casino. It's hard to beat a $2.00 buffet, and even with my severe allergy to pepper, I must confess, there is more than plenty there that I can safely eat.

On our drive back to my home in Ferndale after lunch, we decided to stop by the two cemetaries along the way and pay tribute to some of our relatives.

My sister-in-law, Tim's mother, Linda.


My grandfather, Tim's great-grandfather.

My grandmother, Tim's great-grandmother.

Gone but not forgotten!