Friday, September 30, 2011

Quilting Mission Style: San Juan Bautista

Click on the illustration above for improved time portal access

My friend Marilyn and I took a field trip back through time last Friday, and drove down to Mission San Juan Bautista. The California missions are garden spots filled with architectural charm, but in their heyday they spelled the destruction of culture for native people, not to mention being decidely unhealthy environments. It's tempting when visiting the California missions to see what turns up in the way of time portals. After all this may be our big chance to do a little historical rewriting.

Or maybe we can pretend these are just pretty buildings with lovely gardens?

Born here or not, we're Californians. Our history includes all the people who passed through this mission. Every one of those folks are our ancestors. Like a mission-style quilt, we're all pieced together  whether  our great grandma came from Orio Spain, Ohio, or an Ohlone village.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Traveling Through Time into the Commyne Place

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person out there who's running on sensory overload when it comes to hoarding digital photos, recipes, great quotes, patterns and lists of library books I'm definitely going to read within the next year. Too much technology makes it kind of easy to hold onto too much.

So I was glad to read that even 400 years ago, Elizabethans were overdoing things when it came to collecting the wisdom of the ages too. Apparently  Common Place books , a repository for all the things you mean to get around to, memorize, read and pass onto your friends were the latest thing. Gee.... this sure reminds me of something I do on my computer. Now gee, what could it be?

Isn't old Will the best playwright ever? Quick before you forget, go ahead and write down those quips about asses and wise fathers, that made you laugh so hard you almost bust your stay laces. What better place then your new Common Place book to keep them from getting lost.

Did you finally score the world's best receipt for grouse pastry puffs? Into the Common Place book it goes.

Managed to sneak in a detailed description of the perfect knot garden when your hosts weren't looking? Slip that drawing in your Common Place book.

Found a wonderful new method for poisoning rats? Tuck it in.

The idea, of course, is that you'll know right where to go when you next  tie on your pastry apron or slip on your rat-taming, gardening gloves. Oh you bet.

Now we know why somebody invented the search key.

A fun blog entry with great detailed info about common place books (and other fun reads as well).

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Time Traveling Forward to Fall

Just this morning I was listening to a BBC History Magazine podcast, time traveling back to World War II. But tonight I'm going forward, just a few weeks really. Fall officially starts on September 23, 5:05 a.m., according to  The Old Farmer's Almanac.

I'm thinking fall now because I just put a batch of applesauce spice muffins in the oven for the resident geologist to take out in the field. I made them with the apples I raked up and sauced from our runty little apple tree in the driveway. They are the ones the squirrels kick down, after chewing them and deciding they aren't reall….llly ripe. They also don't make the world's best apple sauce, because they are kind of green and they aren't cooking apples. But they make fine muffins PLUS the added benefit that if I don't leave them under the tree, Mr. Rat and his clan don't come a' callin' (at least not in the driveway).

Yup, it all just puts me in a very seasonal mood- the fall harvest, the squirrels and the jolly little rats. Here's my recipe, or receipt, as us time travelers like to say.

Applesauce Spice Muffins
A creation of The Simple Romantic
350 degrees, until baked/fork clean - depends on your muffin tin

Get out a Large Bowl 
Put in dry ingredients and mix 'em
Make a well in the dry stuff
 Beat one egg up in the well
Add in rest of wet ingredients. 
Put in muffin tins. 

Dry Ingredients

1 ¾ cup flour – type you like
½ cup regular oatmeal (NOT quick cooking type)

½ cup brown sugar
A whole bunch of black raisins (maybe ¾ of a cup?)

1 teaspoon baking soda (I run it through a sieve)
1 t ground cinnamon
¼ t nutmeg
(I also like the following spices in addition to the above – Resident geologist does not – though he eats them anyway – they are quite good either way)
½ t ground cloves
½ t ground allspice

Wet Ingredients
-   1 egg
-   ¼ cup corn oil (or butter if you like that)
-   ¼ cup buttermilk
-   1 cup applesauce –(preferably made from the culls that fall in my driveway)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Time Travel Moxie: Speeding Up Evolution

Click on the illustration above for a MOST deletable view

Who says you can't speed up evolution? 

All a girl needs is a time portal, and the willingness to try 
...... and fly

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Tarantula Tango OR The Tarantula and the Shoe Box

      As a kid I lived on two acres that my parents christened “Lizard Acres”, in what was then a very rural part of Arizona. There my folks designed and built a cinder block house with their own hands. The house was well laid out, cool in summer, and the cinder block walls exuded naturally trapped heat in the winter, but it was also full of  places where wildlife could creep in. 

     Whenever we went to take a bath*, there would generally be at least four forms of insect life. Vinagaroones were popular. They look a good bit like scorpions - which we often saw outside the house.
All prepped to take our bath, we would scream bloody murder at the sight of those bugs. Then my mother would yell out “Oh just put the shoebox over it, and I'll be in there in a minute!” She had no patience with our fussing. So I ran around stony naked (my sister being older was usually more modestly atired) waiting for our mother to come and displace the insect life to the out of doors. I think they came up the drain in the tub, and from there they sometimes migrated on to the walls and into the rest of the house.
Also tarantulas came into the house. They were most partial to my sisters bedroom wall which retained the kind of heat tarantulas liked. I don't know how the tarantulas got in. Seems like they’d have been too big for the tub’s drain. Our good old dog, Blackberry used to (I’m not making this up) play with one of the tarantulas that came regularly. My sister was particularly unhappy to find this member of theTheraphosidae family on her wall one night at bedtime. My mother finally got fed up with our screams, and killed that particular visitor.
The dog moped for days and my mother felt awful, because she realized she killed Blackberry's friend. She never killed another and we learned to accept insects as part of life.
My mother drew this beautiful tarantula a few years after we left the wilds of Arizona for the intensity of suburban life in California.
It was a good move for economic and educational reasons, but we all kind of missed the excitement of bath time at Lizard Acres.

*Where we the only folks with a tub-only-just-one bathroom back in the 60's? As a kid, I thought showers were the kind of luxury people only had in motels