Garden Veggies

Garden Veggies
Made into tile for my stove backsplash

Portland Rose Garden

Portland Rose Garden
Mike and my 2 youngest sons Ian and Leif

Grandson Michael's Birthday 2014 throwing water balloons

Grandson Michael's Birthday 2014 throwing water balloons
With son Beau, Grandson Luke and his mom Jennifer


I cut this out of a wedding line. I must take more pictures of her.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


I am definitely hooked on Anthony Trollop.  I said in other reviews of his books that the only reason he is not as popular as Dickens or Austen is that his novels are too long and most readers don’t want to tackle that much.  For someone who pumped out 47 novels I think he might have wanted to pare them down a little so he could write more.  But I can tell he fell in love with his characters and wanted every inch of them revealed and then he couldn’t bear to give them up.  This was never so evident as it was in The Last Chronicles of Barchester, the winding up of his Barchester series that included The Warden, Barchester Towers, Framley  Parsonage, The Small House at Allington and The Last Chronicle of Barset.  He finished this last book musing about his fictional area of Barset:  But to me Barset has been a real county, and its city a real city, and the spires and towers have been before my eyes, and the voices of the people are known to my ears, and the pavement of the city ways are familiar to my footsteps. That I have been induced to wander among them too long by my love of old friendships, and by the sweetness of old faces, is a fault for which I may perhaps be more readily forgiven….”

Having read each of these novels with joy I understand his feelings.   Each novel stands alone except the last chronicle.  In this book all the characters from the series are brought back, linking their lives more closely.  He introduced a few new people and a small sub plot that detracted, in my opinion…not sure why he did it. 

If you read reviews of Trollop’s books on Goodreads or Amazon you will find that they are adored by many, who admit to reading a good chunk of his 47 books.  I might end up being one of them.  If you love Victorian English literature, he satisfies.  He has a keen understanding of human nature, and I might say women in particular.  None of his villains are all evil.  He always points out their redeeming qualities.  And all of his heroes have some character flaws.  Most of his plots have happyish endings but not all end up as you might want or think they should.   Each book has many subplots going on at the same time with lives intertwining. (His books are perfect "Downtown Abby" miniseries) Trollop likes to tell you who the hero and heroine are so you can pay close attention to their story.  And sometime he can’t resist doing a little story spoiler, before necessary.  

There are some old BBC productions of some of his books, that I have watched, but none of them caught my fancy like the novels.   I would like to see some tried again.

Monday, February 3, 2014


After seeing a potato salad with avocados and white beans on Pinterest I decided that it might work for me with a little tweaking.  I have made potato salad with hard boiled eggs in the Canaries, but I don't like the flavor of eggs here.  Sometimes they are OK but sometimes they are very eggy.  They don't refrigerate their very brown eggs here, but I do as soon as I get home.  I read why and it is kinda crazy to me.  They don't wash their eggs because they want to prove that they are clean as is.  I guess they don't factory farm with chickens, which is good.  In America we wash eggs in case they might have salmonella.   I liked this combination for a change.  Potatoes are grown in the Canaries and they aren't washed either plus your bag has a dozen different sizes. 

I make a version of this Ranch Dressing very often for dipping vegetables and as a salad dressing.  You can't get buttermilk or ranch dressing here.  We love this and so do the missionaries and the young adults.  I will continue to use Greek yogurt even when I can get buttermilk.  It is much richer and thicker.

RANCH DRESSING for this salad
1 Cup of mayonaise
1  Cup of Greek yogurt
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 -1/2 tsp black pepper
salt to taste
1 tsp. oregano leaves
1/2 tsp. cumin powder for this salad but I usually add 1 tsp. of dry basil
Sometimes I add 1/2 C. Parmesan cheese but not for this.

Boil the amount of potatoes you want with the jackets on until tender.  Red potatoes would work and you wouldn't need to peel them, just cube when done.  For any other potato peel and cube. and cool to at least room temp.

Drain the amount of soft white beans you want to add, about 1 can per 4 Cups of potatoes.  Add about 2 diced avocados (barely ripe is better for this...if too ripe they smoosh in the dressing, which is OK too.  Add about 1/2 C. chopped cilantro or fresh parsley. (my husband doesn't like cilantro and he didn't say anything about it here.)  Add some Ranch Dressing to moisten as desired.  Add salt to taste.   Chill and eat.