Friday, February 13, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: The Gorgeous Boys

Every February, these big dudes pay us a visit. And, they're no dummies. They're hanging out inside the Park City city limits ~ where they can rest in my backyard ~ safe and sound...

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Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The Lazy Girl's Artisan Bread

Prepare to be dazzled.
While the East Coast digs out from yet another epic snowstorm, here I sit in my {grumble grumble} Western ski resort with the windows wide open, peering out on a muddy brown landscape. Ran errands without a jacket earlier this morning. It's all adding up to be a very non-wintery winter. 

Kind of disappointing because I love winter. And, the whole idea of hunkering down, indoors, with a good book, a great movie or marvelous aromas wafting from the kitchen. Just something about a cold, snowy day that inspires a yummy homemade bread.

One of my East Coast, fortunate enough to be sent home from work because of the weather, friends asked me for this recipe. Which got me thinking that maybe you'd like to try it, too. Been baking this bread for a few months, now - to rave reviews from family and friends. It's a no-fuss process that requires about 3 minutes of your attention.

The Lazy Girl's Artisan Bread

In a large bowl, mix: 
  • 3 cups of bread flour (3 cups of flour = a 1 pound loaf of bread.)
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 + 1/2 cups warm water
* Resist the temptation to add more water; the dough will look a little dry.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, or a lid, of some sort. The cover will trap moisture, inspiring the mixture to work it's magic.

Leave your bowl on the kitchen counter for several hours.
* I combine the ingredients in the morning and bake it for dinner.

If you've been on this blog before, you're probably aware that I never have any of the necessary utensils.
* Saran Wrap works much better than my ill-fitting lid.
* AND, this recipe is ideal for a Le Creuset Dutch Oven ~ should you be so fortunate as to own one. I use my Lodge Dutch Oven.

Don't be as lazy as me. Go buy some Saran Wrap. :)
Bake that Lovely Loaf:
  • Preheat the oven to a whopping 450 degrees.  
  • Put your empty dutch oven pan in the oven while it preheats. Yup. It's gonna be really hot.
Put a cup of bread flour on your bread board. Pour your precious dough out onto the bread board and work a wee bit more flour into it. Don't spend more than a minute on this process. And, don't worry that your bread isn't rising.

* I use a cooking spray on my Lodge Dutch Oven - you may not need to for the Le Creuset.

Once the oven is preheated, place your dough in the very hot dutch oven and, put the lid on it.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Take the lid off and bake for 15-30 minutes more. Until it's a scrumptious golden brown.
  • Once the lid is off, while still baking, I spray the loaf with an olive oil cooking spray to make it super crusty.  You could opt for an egg white/water wash, if you prefer.
Re-blooming African Violets
A most amazing artisan bread that rivals anything you could purchase at a bakery. It requires very little work -- other than the fact that you'll have to bake one every other day. It's so yummy it disappears quite quickly. :)

PS: This has been adapted from the no-knead bread recipes that have been flitting about the internet.

PPS: Pray for snow.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: The Mouse Hunter

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pesky Pests

'Twas a winter wonderland out on my deck this morning! :))  Probably looks frigid but it was 30 degrees ~ warm enough for this snow lover to stand there with the door wide open, enjoying a cup o' my famous cowgirl coffee. (More accurately, that cowgirl coffee is infamous. I'm a devout lover of French Roast and the blend is too strong for most anyone but me.)

I was delighted to see the snow. The epic cold, followed by unnaturally warm days, was really messing with my mood.

It is January, after all. My snowshoes are begging for attention.

And, so are my windowsill flowers. I gave everyone a might soak this morning.

While I was doing so I spotted the first intruder. My bugs are back. Geez! That didn't take too long.

I moved recently, just a few months ago, and so I took that grand opportunity to de-bug all of my plants. Cut them back, re-potted, and in many cases, just kicked 'em to the curb, if the infestation was too much. This is the first time, in 10 years, that I've been without a Plumeria blossom. :(

No one in their right mind nurtures roses indoors ~ unless they're fortunate enough to have a fabulous greenhouse, which I do not. It's a guaranteed bug fiesta. But what's a gal to do? Micro-Mini Roses are my one weakness...

Coffee Grounds:
The reason it's hard to get rid of those gnat-like bugs is because the little devils are nesting in your soil. Now back to that cowgirl coffee I was talking about earlier in the post...  my friends hate my coffee and so do the bugs. Spread used coffee grounds on top of the potting soil. Bugs won't nest in that PLUS used coffee grounds make a great fertilizer for flowering plants.

I've got gnats on my mind but there are lots of other pesky buggers out to mess with your indoor flowers..

Shower Time is a great way to rid yourself of aphids. Set beloved houseplants in the shower to wash off these nasty bastards.  

I've had good luck with apple cider vinegar. (Set a small cup of it near your potted plants.) There is, of course, a wide array of chemical sprays you could use, but some of them are so toxic they could kill your cat.

* If bugs were as cute as these pictures, I probably wouldn't mind. Here's an i.d. of the most common criminals:
  • Aphids: Persistent little green, brown, black bugs that collect on new plant growth. 
  • Mealy Bugs: White fluffy stuff collecting on plant stems.
  • Scale: Hard brown shell hides a despicable character inside. 
  • Spider Mites: Little spider webs appear on flowers and leaves.

Good luck with your de-bugging and stay warm, my friends.

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Thursday, January 08, 2015


This impressive fellow was keeping an eye on me while I visited the horses. One of the things I'll always miss about living in the country.

'Tis a balmy 48 degrees! One week after it was 10 below zero. Windows are open, breeze blowing in. I hear the drip, drip of icicles melting away after 7 short days of real winter.

Sable has the best view of local ski resorts, but she doesn't seem to care. Way more interested in a cookie.
As the weather warmed, I scurried over to the stables to take the coats off the horses. They were super friendly and kind of sassy ~ kicking up their heels and running in the snow, free from the trappings of their emergency winter attire.

If the moose gets a coat, why can't the horse?

People have very fierce opinions about coats on horses.

Some say it's the worst thing in the world to do. Others claim you're terrible if you don't dress 'em up.

I take my cues from the horse. I mean... after all... who are you to pass judgement? She's the gal standing outside all night long. When the temps hit 15 degrees below zero (unheard of around these parts) I had her decked out like Randy from that great movie, A Christmas Story.

And, she seemed quite delighted with the added warmth.

I don't get this weather but then I guess nobody gets the weather. It's just all crazy, all the time.

I've filled the new house with gorgeous Amaryllis bulbs.

I will say I love January, though. Be it bitterly cold or blessedly balmy.. I don't really care.

I love it because it's quiet. Because the holidays are over and all that silly stress is behind us.

English Ivy will be transplanted outdoors, come summer.
Plus, I'm not behind on anything. An absolute rarity for this over-worked fool. I can linger with the horses. Kill time at the coffee shop. Putz around with my flowers.

Another stunning Amaryllis
And, work on some grand plans for the upcoming garden season. Which feels oddly close now that it's 48 degrees outside.

Did you make New Years resolutions? I made one. Yup. Just one. To be evil and self-serving throughout 2015.

Oh, I'm just kidding. I made this one:

I'd like this to be my new business card but I doubt anyone would be fool enough to hire me. :)

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Thursday, January 01, 2015

Funny Side of the Street

This is what it looks like out my window when it is 6 degrees below zero.
New Year's Day. A New Year! A blank slate! Anything can happen. And, it probably will.

I like watching birds out my window. Though I'm not too savvy on the subject. This is the red one.
'Twas an excruciating long year and I have high hopes for a better 2015. I kicked it off okay. By kicking the cigarettes down the toilet around 7 p.m. last night. Surprised? Everyone is. NO ONE knew.

We all have our dirty little secrets. Some of us keep those secrets pretty close to the vest.

So far, I’m not having any difficulty ~ though when you’re a pro at quitting - as I am - you know that bliss will never last. I think I've succumbed to stress, and taken up smoking, 25 times in my short life. Which means I'm working on quit smoking #26.

Yeah. I got it down. In another few days I'll be going through some anger issues that makes Charlie Sheen look like a pussy cat. If you see me out and about? Beeline it to the opposite side of the street.


As I sit here on my blank slate New Year's morning of 2015.... the thing that keeps running through my head is this:   

If I were to blog about my true life vs. the pretty flower part of my life? I'd have 200,000 followers on Twitter, not a measly 2. :)

Oh, the happy love of flowers is real. I could not survive without a daily dose of gardening. But, I'm pretty good at ignoring real life. Because some of it is not that appealing.

And, let's face it. After 8 years of blogging. Seriously! Eight years!

I'm not blogging. I'm flogging. I'm flogging that proverbial dead horse to death. I've said everything there is to say about flowers.

So, let's talk about Dave. Er... I mean Charise.

Just so ya know... When it comes to me and Christmas I'm very much an It's A Wonderful Life kinda gal. I simply adore those traditional 1940's movies. I prefer pine cones over tinsel trees... you get the conservative picture.


My surprise when my real estate agent showed up for the big Christmas Eve Bash as a woman! In knee high black boots, nicely done make up (loved his/her shade of lipstick - it was perfect with his/her skin tone...  I'm serious! I rarely get that stuff right...) and a blonde wig! He's bald. Or, she's bald. Well...somebody's bald! At least they used to be.

What the hell??

I cannot stop thinking about him. I mean her.

As New Year's Eve approaches, we all run around chanting this phrase -- A new year! A new me!

And, he she actually did it.

Okay, fine. I just have to say it one more time. What the hell??  And, here I was worried people might judge me for enjoying a cigarette, now and then...

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I don't know Professor Canning but I've always loved this quote. If you're looking for guidance on a New Year's resolution this could be it.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Jingle Jangle

I wish there was a fragrance app I could add to this blog! The sweet perfume of Paper Whites fill the air. It's intoxicating.

Paper Whites
They're just about the easiest (and fastest) indoor bulb to grow ~ but they can be a little dickens. Some sprout incredibly fast. Others, quite slow. The only guarantee is how delighted you'll be once they bloom.

It's sort of the same situation with Amaryllis ~ some fast, some slow ~ and I could jinx the entire holiday season by saying this...

But, I think I timed it right this year! This big, beautiful bud should be fully open by December 25th.

Update on the new digs (I moved 6 weeks ago.)
Things are coming along! I've got a garage full of new doors and no one to install them. If that job falls in my lap, they'll be done by May but I've still got my fingers crossed I can find a handyman desperate for some Christmas coin.

Christmas Holly
I was pretty desperate for some coin, too. Seeing as how I've been spending money like a drunken sailor on all these fixer upper projects.

I like to keep life complicated (well, not really) ~ it wasn't as easy as me just moving. I moved. Then I had to go back to the old place, fix it up, and rent it out.

That chore, while trying to make this place liveable, had me wishing there were a few more hours in every day.

At last.. Planets aligned. Tenants moved in and I feel ~ once again ~ as if I'm walking on the sunny side of the street.

Buddy: ratty cat ornament.
With a little jingle in my own pocket, I decided to start sprucing the place up for the holidays. Do you hang onto your decorations forever and a day? I do, too... and they get pretty ratty. So, I tossed a bunch and am starting over.

I hauled out the fake snow, with grand plans to create a Charles Dickens village with my collection of wee houses. Came back into the room to find this ratty [Cat} ornament smack dab in the middle of my display.

On the flower front, Orchids now live in the bathroom. Bright light + high humidity = some crazy-ass flower power.

If you look really close...  Kalanchoes have some new buds:

And, I started an herb garden! Because, you see, I didn't have nearly enough greenery to keep me busy. :))

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Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Full of Life

If you got a late start on planting Amaryllis bulbs, plant in water vs. soil. 
Speeds up growing time. :)

Wow. What a difference it makes to be looking out a new window, at a new view. (Which I will show you. Just as soon as I get in gear and wash the windows! :) I had no idea I was in such a rut until I pulled up stakes and moved back into town. Where everybody walks funny.

I should probably explain that... when you live in a ski town, winter is a deluge of tourists. They show up here to ski and when the day is done, they go shopping in their ski and snowboard boots. (Which don't work very well on flat, or slippery, surfaces.) I'm not sure why tourists won't take the time to put on a sensible pair of shoes, or why they have to grocery shop en masse, instead of assigning this duty to one person.

But, I love it.

I hear them hollering across several aisles of the grocery store. Should we get potato chips? I could totally go for some chips!! Gleeful. On vacation. Without a care in the world. Permission to indulge in all kinds of taboo goodies because, you see, we skied.

Apple Blossom Amaryllis

It's part of why I'm so happy here. Because everyone else is...

Paper Whites come in yellow, too.
I grew up in a small town but that was very, very different. A town where jobs were scarce and people were miserable. Residents eagerly plotting ways to move out of that town, instead of moving in.

Here? Everyone compliments you on your decision to call this place home ~ right after they corner you on why they can't find wine in the grocery stores.

Me, in my sensible shopping shoes, it's easy to tell I'm a local. From now, through April, there will be plentiful interruptions as I'm pushing my shopping cart to, and fro.

But, enough of all that. 
How was your Thanksgiving?

I'm still beating myself up over mine. Major setbacks: I made a from-scratch cream of mushroom soup in order to create the ultimate green bean casserole.

The recipe called for red wine... Eee gads. My green beans turned a ghastly purple color and guests avoided it like that proverbial plague.

My most amazing bread ever came outta the oven, flat as a board.

The turkey, however, was perfect in every way. Because I wasn't in charge of roasting it.

Everyone claimed they had a fabulous time. Chalk that up to the case of champagne.


And, now, suddenly, it's December?

And, I need a tree.

Perish the thought...  but I'm leaning toward a fake tree this year. Freshies are going for $18 a foot! I don't think a one-foot-tree will look all that festive. :)

Native to New Mexico, Poinsettias happily re-bloom in our high desert climate.

What's your take on the whole Christmas tree dilemma? Do you buy a fresh-cut tree? 
Opt for the faux variety? Curious minds need to know...
A skier's perspective on life.

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