Saturday, July 30, 2016

Using Every Inch of Space

It's hard to find countertop space in a tiny home so sometimes you need to be creative.

We always have fresh fruit on hand, but I felt it was always in my way.

So what's a girl to do?  Look up!

We have a satellite control that is not being used, but it would be sturdy enough to hold a small amount of fruit.  Hmmm.

I found this fruit basket at TJ Maxx and it would work perfectly.  The basket could be hung from the upper part that holds the bananas.

There.  Fruit available but out of the way. I didn't realize this at first, but Left Brain may be having a Carmen Miranda thing going with his hat.

Long Live the Queen of Fruit Baskets

Friday, July 29, 2016

There Was a Sudden Windstorm

It was one of those nights when I couldn't sleep, so was sitting in my recliner reading when out of nowhere the wind began to howl.  It was as if someone flipped the switch on a huge fan.

I kept waiting for warning sirens to begin blaring, or the phone to come to live with weather warnings, but there was nothing.

I put on the porch light and peeked outside just in time to see the cat tunnel and tent go flying into my garden.

Then there was a snapping noise and I braced myself for whatever tree broke off to come crashing through the roof, but there was nothing after that.  So I did what anyone in an RV would do.  I went back to bed, ready to be transported to the Land of Oz.

You can see the top of the tree in the back of the photo.  Thankfully it didn't come down on anything or anyone.

Long Live the Windy Queen

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Visiting Old Friends

It's not often that Marti and I get to meet up, but when we do we take advantage of it.

She and her husband had rented the cutest little cottage for the month of July, and since I had to go back to the area for a doctor appointment it provided me with a place to crash for the night.

Here's my bedroom...I fell in love with it instantly.

The weather was nice, so we spent some time sitting in the "outdoor kitchen", which is a covered porch decorated with this great old cast iron stove and all sorts of things from the past.

They also had a little sun room to enjoy.

The entire place was tastefully decorated with items from the past and lots of books antique cameras.

After I left her house in the morning I did some wandering before I went home.  After a shopping trip in Woodman's for some gluten free items I went to Barnes & Noble.  Here I found the next version of "How Can That Be Gluten Free", so naturally I bought it.  It also gave me a chance to visit Jonathan, a friend of mine that does a lot of theater work.

After glancing at the book for a bit I realized I needed to purchase some "teff" flour, so went over to Festival Foods to pick up that.  Now I'm ready to move on.

I made a brief stop in Winona to meet up with my pickleball group who was celebrating Bill's 75th birthday.  He said he wanted a six pack for his birthday, and since he is known for always having a banana with him, he was presented with a six pack...of bananas.  I was trying to wrestle one away from him when they snapped this photo.

And then there was one last stop in Lake City on the way back to the campground when my eyes spotted a sign that proclaimed "FABRIC".  I wandered about the quilt shop for a bit and picked up a couple of things that struck my fancy and then I really did have to boogie as I promised Left Brain I'd be home for supper.  

Long Live the Wandering Queen

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Lion King

Since I'm making the most of this 65th birthday, we got tickets for the family to attend The Lion King on Sunday.

That's one of the best parts of living in the cities...the entertainment is incredible.

Here's a clip from the ad running on TV for this production:

Oh it's good to be old.

Long Live the Queen of the Lions

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Hauling Rocks Around the Yard

Ok, I am truly in  my element now.  I found a garden center that sells field stone for $18 a tubful, and it's a large tub.

My first visit I thought I had plenty, but after lugging them home and putting them in place it was obvious I needed another batch.

It's a good thing my shoulder has healed because first you place the rocks into the bin for measuring the quantity.  Then you pull them out and place in the back of the car.  Once home it's hauling them out of the trunk into a pile to be washed.  Then it's one more move to put them into their new homes.

Since rocks look really weird if they are just sitting on the ground, you need to dig a small depression to settle them in and then back fill the area with dirt.  I'd normally say soil, but this stuff is purely dirt.

My little garden is really looking established now with a meandering line of rocks at the edge.  

The most fun area is in the full sun, where I piled extra rocks to tuck in some hens and chicks and ajuga. 

 This is the area that had the septic connection, but that site is no longer used, so I wanted to cover up the concrete and pipe and make it blend in with the garden.

One of my favorite flowers is the butterfly weed, and they look the best cascading over some rocks, so now the look is complete.

It's so good to have a garden again.

Long Live the Queen of Rocks

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Physical Therapy Comes to an End

I finally had my last physical therapy session and things are going well.  I've been playing some heavy duty pickleball without any pain and that's a good thing.

There have been two pickleball clinics that I attended during this therapy with lots of repetitive arm movement and running.  I've never worked so hard in my life.  But hopefully this will provide me with some much needed skills to further my game.

There is a ratings clinic coming up, but we'll be back on the road by then, so I'll have to wait until we reach Arizona to find out what level I'm playing at.

Its nice to finally be out of pain, with only some minor tingling in the arm and hands during the night and early morning.  I'm working hard to learn to sleep on my back, but after 64 years of sleeping on my stomach, it's hard to change.

Long Live the Queen

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tomato and Zucchini Tart

The internet is actually allowing me to finally check email and catch up on blogs.  So I'll post this quickly in case it dies again.

Zucchini and yellow squash have become one of my favorite vegetables lately.  They are so versatile and easy to cook.

This tart looked very fancy schmancy and it gave me an excuse to buy a tart pan.

It actually tasted okay, but was so showy in its presentation that it was worth all the work involved.

The filling portion is pureed cashews combined with some lemon juice, basil and oregano, since Paleo doesn't allow cheese.  We had some roma tomatoes that weren't that great by themselves, so it was nice to have a use for them in this dish.

The finishing touch was to drizzle some minced garlic and olive oil over the top before presenting.

My friend Marti would be so proud of me for all the effort put into these creations.

Long Live the Queen of Tarts 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Slow-Cooker Moroccan Fish Tagine

I should never try to make something I can't pronounce.  But the photo looks so incredible I just had to take a stab at it.

This recipe called for the use of fennel bulbs, which I've never tasted, but figured they couldn't be as nasty as that celery root nightmare.  I was wrong.

It looked so inviting and we couldn't wait to dive in.

Left Brain proclaimed it "not that bad".  I couldn't even finish mine.

I tossed it out that same night, I didn't even want to bother the raccoon with it.

Long Live the Queen of the Kitchen

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

One Item Off the Bucket List

Some of my fondest memories were spending the weekend with my cousin Bonnie (may her memory be for a blessing) in Spooner and attending the Spooner Rodeo.  I've shared stories with my daughter and granddaughters for years about this event, and this year we made it happen.

Calendars were cleared and plans made to attend the 63rd annual Spooner Rodeo.  Little did we all know how crazy things would be at this time!  Stephanie and family had put their house up for sale and just accepted an offer right before the weekend arrived.  It seems they could all use a break for a day or two after having the house prepared for showings.

This event would not be complete without my cousin's daughter, Shayna, joining us.  It's so helpful to have a person who knows their way around the huge metropolis of Spooner.  Just when I didn't think it could get any better, she told me that her step mother, Kathy, would be able to join us for lunch as well.  

We met for lunch at Tony's Riverside, a place Bonnie and I always went to have pizza.  Emily asked me what was so special about the pizza here and I responded "the memories".  It's a good thing the memories were so wonderful, because the pizza was truly disgusting.  Things have changed in thirty years apparently.

After lunch we ditched the girls, I mean...we dropped the kids the motel so they could rest, swim and goof off.  The three ladies went back to Kathy's house to sit and visit in a very charming and comfortable home.  We even raided the fridge and I had a nice little margarita.  Steph took one of her famous power naps while Shayna and I continued to catch up on each others lives.

We went back to the motel and gathered up the girls to head out to the rodeo about 5:30.  In true "Bonnie fashion" we needed to arrive at least two hours early to see the livestock and admire the bulls before the show at 7:30.

This year the famous Clydesdales were making an appearance and performing at the rodeo.  We were able to tour the barn housing them to see them up close and personal...all 18 hands of them.  To non horse people, that means they stand about 6'3" at their shoulders.  They weigh about 2,200 pounds and when the eight of this beautifully matched team are harnessed up and pulling the wagon it is a sight to behold.  We learned that the harness they were wearing, just the harness and reins mind you, cost $80,000.  He didn't say what the wagon cost, or the horses, never mind the semi trailers that transport them cost and it's just as well...I had a hard time grasping $80,000 for the harness. 

It was fun explaining to the girls what was happening and why the cowboys were doing the things they did.  They seemed to enjoy all of it, especially the Cowboy Girls.  This is a group of brave, strong, talented young women who amazed the crowd with their expertise with the lassos and trick riding.  There's nothing like watching someone hanging off the side of the horse with their hair brushing the ground in the "suicide drag", or balancing on their shoulders upside down while the horse is racing madly around the arena.  If I were ever seen doing one of these maneuvers, it wouldn't be on purpose, I'll tell you that right now.

The final event is always the bull riding, my favorite event.  We were able to watch the Number Two bull rider in the world compete, that's the kind of caliber that attends this rodeo.

We all crashed into bed not long after getting home, it had been a very busy and full day.  The following morning was spent having breakfast at the motel with the three older ladies talking until it was time to check out at noon.  The teen aged members of our party couldn't quite imagine what people of our age would have to talk about so long...they'll learn.

After saying our goodbyes to Shayna we drove back home and they dropped me off and continued home where they would be leaving immediately to visit more houses in their search for a new home.  I don't know where they get their stamina.

The best part of this weekend was all the opportunities to use the phrase "this isn't my first rodeo".

Long Live the Rodeo Queen

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


I've been very unhappy with the dismal loaves of gluten free Paleo bread I've been cranking out, and I do believe the squirrels and birds are feeling the same.

So I've resorted to using a combination of rice flours to keep it gluten free, but it's no longer really Paleo.  Yes, Ingrid, I know you warned me about the sugar spikes from using the rice flours, but darn it...I just want something that actually tastes like bread again! And it's still gluten free, so that counts for something.

This loaf actually rose up high and oozed over the sides a big, so it looks kind of strange.

But the taste!  It tastes like real bread!  Good bread!  We are doing the happy dance as I speak.

I made some dinner rolls to feed the family when they came over for Sunday supper, but forgot to photo them.  They got away from me and became one huge dinner roll, but the taste was even better than the sandwich bread.

Long Live the Queen

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Gardens of Ham Lake

It's nice knowing we will be coming here year after year, therefore, I am able to have a small garden.  Well, it started out small but seems to be growing.

My additions this year have been to add stepping stones so I can get from the car to the patio mats without stepping in the dirt and mud.

Then I decided to remove the remainder of the weeds sprouting up, putting down some weed barrier and topping it off with bark mulch.  Now the garden appears much larger.

I put in some ground covers around the stepping stones as well as some moss roses for color until things thicken up.

The birdbath got moved to center stage so we can watch the birds (and squirrels) enjoy this little water feature.  The duck was a gift from my friend Colleen and makes it complete.

The bird rusty bird is an art piece I had given to my daughter.  It is residing in my garden while they work on selling their house.  He's off to the left side of the photo below, but is hard to see.  Hmmm, I wonder what he'd look like bright red as well?

It looked too big and awkward to easily store and move, so it will wait until it has a new garden to fly to.  He does look rather nice here, so I'll have to look for another art piece in the future to take his place.

The little artsy thing with the leaves gets kind of lost, so I plan to paint it bright red to add a little color pop.  I may move it over so the white fifth wheel behind us can provide more of a backdrop.

Long Live the Queen of Garden Fun 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Gracie is a Copy Cat

I know the furkids hear us talking about our new way of clean eating and losing weight and apparently Gracie is wanting to join us on our quest.

I spotted her trying to absorb the knowledge of "Eat Fat Get Thin" by using osmosis during her nap.

If this works for her I'm going to be angry I had to read the whole thing.

Long Live the Queen