Archive for Creative stuff

Pi Day Pie – 2019


Green tomato mince”meat” pie (the meat is in quotes for Carla and Rick who insist mincemeat be made with meat).

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Patriotic Pie


The crust is a little tweaked but this was fun to make.  I made up some strawberry- rhubarb and some blueberry pie filling, fashioned a little tin foil strip to dam off the field for the stars, filled the bottom (removed the dam) and then placed the stars and stripes.

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Making Wreaths


One activity I enjoy at this time of year is making a wreath for the door.  I especially like a natural wreath made with local materials.  For this project the  most fun is going into the woods to search out just the right boughs, berries and cones.  They must have variation in color and form to make it interesting.  There are a surprising variety of coniferous trees in our Maine woods so I quickly gather a nice assortment.


Cup of tea and binoculars at hand (just in case a bird lands by the window), materials sorted, wire, wreath form and clippers at the ready.  Let us begin!



Wire your elements together.  First wire cones, (leaving wire “tails” to secure them) then make an attractive bundle, (see below) wiring it all together with florist wire.  Leave about 4 inch wire “tails” on your bundle so you can wire it to the form.

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When you’ve got 10 or 12 bundles start wiring them to your wreath form individually using the 4″ lengths.  Attach the end of a roll of florist wire securely and wrap it around further securing each bundle as you go.  Place each bundle so it hides the base of the one before (I was working counter-clockwise in the picture above).


When you get to the final bundle arrange it so the base of the first bundle is hidden under the loose end of the last bundle.  You will have secured each bundle plus made sure it won’t get dislodged by wrapping it around the form with the running length of florist wire.


When you are finished make a loop in the wire for hanging, securing it tightly.  Then cut the wire off the roll.


If you don’t think your finished wreath will be full enough, put down a plain layer of branches for a base and lay your bundles over them.  This base will be secured by the running wire wrap as you go along.


herb wreath

Wreath of fresh herbs (smells  sooo good!)


Magnolia Wreath (see my post of December 14, 2013 for instructions)

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Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures


After 30 loaves of squash bread and 9 quarts of minestrone for the freezer not to mention several meals, I am ready to take a break.  This is just from two days!  I only planted three hills.   The food pantry I donate to is only open on Wednesdays but this method has worked in the past.  We’ll see how many people still cook.

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A Special Gift for Friends and Neighbors

Norwegian Christmas Bread, ready to be gift wrapped.

Norwegian Christmas Bread, ready to be gift wrapped.

It’s always nice to have something homemade to give to neighbors and friends at Christmas and for us that special gift is Norwegian Christmas Bread.  The recipe came to us by means of a friendship in Maine.  We used to stop and have tea with a seventy-ish Norwegian widower on our walk around Ocean Point and once at Christmas he was reminiscing about a special bread his wife used to make.   When I asked to see the recipe, he took out a typewritten page covered in notes he had written in his several failed attempts to make the bread.  He gave me a copy, and the next time we saw him I gave him a loaf.  It’s a dense yeast bread, sweet with candied fruit and currents and fragrant with cardamom. The top is glazed with egg white, giving it a shiny, festive look. The look of joy on his face when he tasted it still raises my spirits every time I think of it.  I was able to relive that joy with a gift of a loaf each year thereafter until he died at age 100.


Ready for their second rise.

Ready for their second rise.

We make about 40 loaves each year, 10 at a time.  In order to make that much at once we use our antique bread pail (the old Universal #8) and my husband has to turn the crank to knead it, as it’s too hard on my shoulders.  The fun is delivering it around the neighborhood.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you, my virtual friends.

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Connecticut Audubon’s Birdcraft Museum is 100!

Here I am in front of the cake (it's fake, cleverly frosted with plumbers's compound)

Here I am in front of the cake (it’s fake, cleverly frosted with plumber’s compound)

In 1914 Mable Osgood Wright (a pioneer in the Conservation Movement) and Annie B. Jennings (Standard Oil heiress) founded the Birdcraft Museum where I have served on the board for many years.  It became the headquarters for the Connecticut Audubon Society, which Mrs. Wright founded in 1898.  Birdcraft is the oldest private bird sanctuary in the country.  It’s a tiny (6 acre) “pocket” sanctuary but because of its unique location between the railroad, I-95 and a whole lot of pavement, we have seen over 120 species here and banded over 18,000 birds since the bird banding program began in 1979. We have many other educational activities, partnering with the public schools in their science curriculum.

Last Saturday we held our annual Holiday Tea, a free event to thank the town and our volunteers for their participation over the year.  Because it was Birdcraft’s 100th anniversary year, we had a cake and I greeted visitors at the door dressed in period clothes.  I have now worn this outfit (which I found at the Brimfield Antiques Flea Market) three times for 100th anniversary parties.  It’s down to $10.00 a wearing.

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Cairn Sculpture


This simple cairn reminds me of a seal.

This simple cairn reminds me of a seal balancing a ball.

One thing we have come to look forward to on our daily walks along the shore in Maine is the cairn sculpture.  This past weekend someone had been very busy and we came across two dozen or so, of varying complexity.  This got me curious about cairns.  I found that they have been used since pre-history as directional markers, a use they still have today.  I noted them on the summit of Mount Washington when we were up there watching the White Mountain Arctic butterfly studies.  [See this post]  The summit is a maze of rocks and closely spaced cairns marked the trail, as it was easy to go astray, even in the clear weather we had that day.

You could easily get lost in the fog, were it not for these closely spaced cairns.

You could easily get lost in the fog, were it not for these closely spaced cairns.

When we were on the shores of Hudson Bay in November, 2012, [See this post] we saw a cairn known as an Inuksuit, erected as a location marker for the town of Churchill by the First Nations people living there.   This striking cairn was anthropomorphic in design.  One afternoon I saw a Polar Bear walk right by it, giving it a glance, but didn’t have my camera handy.

Churchill, Manitoba's Inuksuit.

Churchill, Manitoba’s Inuksuit.

Here are a few of the cairn sculptures we saw last weekend in Maine.

Many like this "peopled" our walk.

Many like this “peopled” our walk.

A simpler design.

A simpler design.

This conveys a message of love with it's heart.

This conveys a message of love with it’s heart.

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