Monday, August 19, 2013

Friends of the Library Book Sale Haul

I love our little town library, and stop by frequently to pick up books I have on hold.  A few weeks ago when Gary and I stopped in to pick up some of my books I noticed the Friends of the Library Book sale was going on.  Of course we had to pop in and do a little book treasure hunting.

It was a Sunday, and the last day of the sale, so I figured it would be pretty well picked over, but still worth a shot.  Since it was the last day of the sale, we were informed that as many books as you could fit into a paper grocery store bag would only be $3.00.  What a deal!  Gary stocked up on a nice supply of his favorite adventure novels, and I found quite a few interesting books.  Here are some of my favorite finds.

I got a great book from 1972 called Inns and Villages of England, full of interesting black and white pictures of English villages. I look forward to sitting down and browsing through the old pictures! :)  Also an old National Geographic book- World Beneath the Sea from 1967 - I love looking at vintage pictures and seeing all of the old equipment, and vintage outfits, not to mention great marine life photos.  The little red book was the first treasure I found, a 1972 copy of one of my childhood favorites- Encyclopedia Brown. The really cool thing about this book is it came from a Multnomah County Library, which is the county I grew up in as a child, and Encyclopedia Brown books were one of my favorite series to read back then, so sort of a treasure from my childhood.

I found a Corrie Ten Boon book, I have always wanted to read one of her books, so it was fun to find a copy of one, Corrie Ten Boon's family helped hide persecuted Jews during World War 2, and as a result she ended up spending time in a concentration camp, when she was released she began traveling the world doing mission work and telling her story.  I also found an interesting looking cookbook, from 1950 with recipes from preachers wives with devotionals for Homemakers- I love vintage recipe books as well as vintage Homemaker literature, so this mid-century book should be a fun one to browse through.

I found a practically brand new looking copy of Affluenza, a very interesting book I have read before and would enjoy reading again about the epidemic of over-consumption.  I love tips for living more simply so this book is right up my alley.  The Home Workplace from 1980 is full of Organic Gardening and Farming tips as well as plans for building all sorts of useful items like Cold Frames, Mushroom Growing shelves, Solar food dryer, different plant trellis types, the list goes on and on, quite a treasure trove.

This book from 1975 really caught my eye.  It is cloth bound and in excellent condition, I love the yellow color as well as the font of the title on the cover.  I have always loved the subject of writing, so it should be a fun one to look through, but also just a fun book to look at!

I had fun at this sale, and am looking forward to the next one in October.  The last couple of years I have been bringing our used books to the library for donation, I keep a spot in the laundry closet for our goodwill donations and a box for books we are done with to bring to the library.  The donated books often go to the used book sales that help fund different library projects.  

I love interesting old books, but unfortunately am allergic to old paper.  So I have a few tips that I follow for dealing with old books.  I don't shelf older musty books near my newer books, because the must will spread. If a book is too musty I read it and then donate it when I am done, and if I really love it or feel like I will need to refer to it again, I keep it sealed in a plastic bag, or in a tote out in the garage.  I definitely wash my hands after reading an older book and avoid rubbing my eyes or nose while I am reading it.  Some books that are too old I just can't tolerate, and sadly can't even read for more than a few minutes before they set off my allergies, so those usually have to be sent on their way.  Such a frustrating condition for someone who loves books like myself and could spend hours quite happily in any library or old book store.  I would love to hear your tips for dealing with old books?

Hope everyone is having a nice start to the week.  Thanks for reading!

You might also enjoy reading my older post on getting ready for Fall - My Big Fall Clean Up

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mid-August Garden Update and Favorite Garden Fresh Recipes

Every summer our whole family looks forward to all of the fresh veggies that our garden provides.  Late July throughout August the garden is in full swing.  Here is an update to how our garden has been growing this season, as well as a few of the yummy recipes that we have been enjoying using our own produce.

This year we tried growing potatoes in potato growing bags, and overall they did pretty well.  This method of potato growing is perfect for smaller gardens, and is a nice way to be able to grow different varieties that are harder to find in the grocery store.  We grew a purple variety and Red Pontiac's, it was fun emptying out the bags and seeing how many potatoes grew.  We enjoyed them boiled with a pot roast, as well as roasted with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.  Gary and Joseph carved one of the purple potatoes into a heart for Sarah. :)

A yearly staple in our garden are the green beans.  I grow both green and purple varieties.  They got off to a slow start this year, but ended up growing beautifully, we are still harvesting large mixing bowls full every week.  We mostly enjoy them steamed and drizzled with garlic and browned butter, this year for a treat I made the bacon wrapped green bean bundles that I kept seeing on Pinterest.  The Green Bean Bacon Bundles took a bit of time to assemble but were well worth the work, they were delicious!  I blanched the green beans first, then cooled them down with cold water, and wrapped five green beans in half a piece of bacon.  I placed them on a metal cooling rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet, and baked at 375 F. until the bacon was crisp.  Definitely something we will be making again - delicious!

The zucchini started out very slow this year as well, we had some troubles with germination.  Fortunately the plants finally got growing, and although our zucchini crop was a little smaller than normal, we have still enjoyed some good zucchini along with our dinners.  Just like the green beans we mostly enjoy the younger zucchini steamed and drizzled with browned butter and garlic.  We still have a few extra large zucchini that will be shredded and made into zucchini fritters and zucchini bread, and stuffed zucchini.

Last week I made us a delicious thin crust pizza for lunch using some of our garden produce- we had a crop of garlic this year from bulbs I missed digging up last season, our purple basil ended up growing very well, and is beautiful and very fragrant.  So I made a pizza using thin crust refrigerated pizza dough, which I pre-baked for about 5 minutes, then topped with some pressed garlic and olive oil that I let heat up for a bit to saute the garlic, then cool back down (we like our garlic cooked more, otherwise we find it bothers our tummies, you could skip this step if you like your garlic less cooked).  I then topped the pizza with slices of mozzarella, and thinly sliced blanched zucchini, and purple basil leaves.  Then baked until the crust was golden and the cheese was melted.  It was very good, next time I will add more zucchini, it was a great pizza topping!

The pepper plants are doing well, and I hope to have pictures next week of our pepper harvest.  We also have a nice little pot of green basil that is doing very well, I had to replant the green basil multiple times and it kept getting eaten by something, but the little pot I planted in a different area it doing nicely.  The Corn didn't do well at all this year, I planted a new variety specifically for container gardening, and the germination was very poor, but I still have a few plants, so at least we have some honorary corn stalks for the fall season. :)

One of the most pretty things out in the veggie garden this week are the pumpkin and winter squash blossoms.  They are so pretty and sunshiny I can't help but want to walk out in my garden every time I spot them out my window.  This morning I spotted a few tiny pumpkins!

Some of the most pretty things out in my garden right now have planted themselves. In my corner garden, all around the hydrangea, volunteer nasturtiums and California Poppies have grown, they look really pretty by the old and new growth on the hydrangea.  One pink bachelor button plant popped up in the center of the raised bed I have waiting for fall kale transplants.  We always have a few thistles pop up in the garden, usually hiding behind something, I love their flower.  You can read all about the giant thistle we let grow one year as an experiment in my post Blueberries and Thistle, I imagine the smaller thistle are offspring from the giant thistle of 2011.  This year we have let some of the bird seed go to seed, and have some very pretty millet grass growing around the bird feeders, we plan to pick and dry some of the millet sprays to leave out for the birds this fall.

The hens and chicks are doing nicely, all of our succulents grow very well here, and the nasturtium and daylilies are brightening up our little corner garden.  I love nasturtium leaves they remind me of lily pads.

The weather has been warm and muggy, and we have been getting some rain here and there, which the garden enjoys.  We have had some thunder and lightening during this first half of August as well.  The sky has been putting on quite a show some evenings.  One night it went from an orange to a purple and a rainbow during one of the prettiest sunsets I have seen in some time.

I am really looking forward to the rest of the summer!

Thanks for reading. :)

Friday, August 9, 2013

52 Weeks of Fairy Tales #48 - Sleeping Beauty

It has been quite some time since I have posted one of my 52 Weeks of Fairy Tales projects, I am still working my way through the final few, slowly but surely.  I am also working on getting a post together with links to all 52, so they will be easier to access.  For week #48, I have chosen the very well known classic tale of Sleeping Beauty.

Sleeping Beauty was told by Charles Perrault in 1697, and was also told by The Brother's Grimm as Little Briar Rose.  I grew up on the Disney version as many also have, I still have my old Disney Sleeping Beauty View Master Reels that I loved looking at as a child (I loved view-master reels as a child, and started collecting the vintage reels about 15 years ago).

The story of Sleeping Beauty begins with a King and Queen who have invited all the good fairies to bestow gifts upon their baby girl.  The King and Queen welcome the fairies with beautiful jeweled chairs and special table setting, and have made everything beautiful for the fairies invited. The fairies bestowed gifts of beauty, intelligence, grace, song, and dance, and other good traits on the baby princess.  As the kind fairies were bestowing gifts upon the baby girl, a wicked fairy arrives and inquires why she was not invited.  The Queen quickly tries to appease the wicked fairy and makes room for her at the table, but it is clear to the wicked fairy that she was left out, so before she leaves she puts a curse on the baby girl.  A curse that one day the child shall prick her hand on a spindle and die!

Luckily one last fairy had not given the baby her gift, and she used her gift to soften the curse, instead of the princess dying, she would instead fall into a deep sleep for 100 years, and be awoken by a prince.  The king forbids all spinning wheels and spindles throughout the land, in hopes that he can prevent the curse from happening.

One day, years later, when the princess was a young woman, her parents had left the kingdom.  She was wandering around the palace, when she came upon an old woman in a secluded part of the castle in a tower, the old woman was spinning.  The princess was fascinated with the spinning, and asked what she was doing since she had never seen a spinning wheel before. The princess reached out, and pricked her hand on the spindle, and falls asleep.  The old woman gets help, but the princess cannot be woken, so she is put to sleep in the finest room, upon a beautiful bed fit for a princess.  The good fairy who had softened the curse arrives at the castle, and decides that it would be best if everyone in the castle was put to sleep as well, so the princess will have her family and friends when she is woken.  The fairy also causes bramble to cover the castle to protect the sleeping princess.

One hundred years pass.  One day a prince is out on a hunting expedition and spots the bramble covered castle, an old man in his hunting party tells him the tale of the beautiful sleeping princess within the bramble covered castle, that can only be woken by a kiss from a prince.  The prince braves the bramble and thorns and makes his way into the castle grounds, where he sees the castle occupants sleeping.  Soon he comes upon the stunning sleeping beauty.  Overcome by her beauty, he kisses the sleeping princess, and the curse is broken.  The princess and everyone else wake up from their long slumber.  The prince and princess fall in love, and are married right away, and they live happily ever after.
As a child, the scene in the Disney movie where the princess is lured up to the tower, where she ends up pricking her finger on the spinning wheel, was one of my favorite memorable scenes, so for my fairy tale craft, I decided to do another paper cutting for my fairy tale scrapbook, of that scene, along with the beginnings of the bramble that grew around the castle.  I was very happy with how the picture turned out, however as I was gluing down the paper cutting to it's backing paper, using very sticky spray glue the wind caught my project and glued it down crooked! I worked quickly to try and peel it apart to straighten it, but the bottom corner got crinkly.  I always use my glue spray outside, next time I will wait for a non-windy day! :)

Luckily once the page was put in the page protector the crinkles were not as noticeable.  I was originally going to use red as the backing color, but I really liked the hot pink, so I went with that.  I so enjoy paper cutting, and have decided that I may try stamp carving next!

I hope everyone is having a nice summer, my daughter continues to heal from her car accident, which you can read about in my post Sarah's Accident .  We are starting to gear up for back to school season, and I will be posting soon about the progress of our garden and all the yummy garden recipes we have been trying. Right now we are in the midst of a summer storm, the sky was a beautiful orange color and has just changed to a beautiful purple, and the garden is enjoying the rain.

Thanks for reading!