Tuesday, August 19, 2014

West Trip....the long road home.

 
Well....here it's time for another cousins trip and I never got around to finishing last years trip! For the few people that still care....here are some highlights of last few days, which consisted of a lot of driving with a few stops here and there.
Continuing the long trip across Canada, day eleven was a driving day. We left Alberta and entered Saskatchewan.

 The country side was pretty, but a lot of the same. Prairies, farms, grain elevators, trains, etc.....mile after mile. Not at all how I envisioned Canada.

 I loved the cross in the sky.
 
 I forget what this was. Sand or Salt? That's what happens when you wait this long to blog about a trip that happened a year ago.
 
Who knows what this is? We all said dandelion but it's the biggest one I have ever seen!
 
We spent the night in Regina, Saskatchewan at a Country Inn and Suites. 
 
Day 12
We toured the Irvin Goodon Wildlife Museum. We were not allowed to take photographs here.
 
The last stop before crossing the border back into the United States was the International Peace Gardens.
The 3.65 square mile garden is located on the border of North Dakota and province of Manitoba. It was established in 1932 as a symbol of a peaceful relationship between the two nations.
 
A few of the features at the Peace Gardens are gorgeous gardens and the Peace Towers.
 
The four columns represent people coming from the four corners of the earth to form two similar but distinct nations, sharing a common base of democracy and beliefs.
 
The Carillon Bell Tower plays tunes every fifteen minutes.
 
9-11 Memorial
Steel girders from the  former World Trade Center were brought to rest at the Peace Gardens.
 
Interpretive Center and Conservatory
 
The Peace Chapel is the only building that straddles the US and Canadian border.
 
The chapel features quotes from "People of Peace" etched into fossil-embellished limestone walls.
 
Floral Clock
 
We are back in the states and spent the night at the Fireside Inn and Suites in Devils Lake North Dakota.
 
Day 13
A lot of driving again today with a stop at the headwaters of the Mighty Mississippi.
 
 
It's not so mighty at the beginning.
 
 
 
Lake Itasca
 
Lake Bemidji
 
We stayed at a Comfort Inn in Duluth Minnesota. That's us....Green Country Tours.
 
A beautiful array of Coleus outside the hotel.
 
Day 14
Sunrise over Duluth
 
We make a short stop at Amnicon Falls State Park in Superior, Wisconsin.
 
The Covered Horton Bridge
 
The Lower Falls
 
Another stop on this last full day on the road home was the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum.
 
Here you can experience what life was like in an 1890s logging camp.
 

 
 
 
 
 
On our last night we stayed in Janesville, Wisconsin.
 
Loading up that last morning was bittersweet knowing this was the final day. So many friends and memories were made in these two weeks...it was hard to see it come to an end.
 
Must be back in Ohio....it's cloudy. There is a Bicentennial Barn like this in every county in Ohio, a total of 88.
 
Would love to do this trip all over!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Lemon Puppy Chow

 Most people are familiar with Puppy Chow - chex cereal with chocolate and peanut butter then coated with powdered sugar, but you might not have tried the lemon version.
I love lemony, citrusy, flavors so when I saw this recipe I knew I would love it even before I made it. I actually like it better than the peanut butter version.

Lemon Puppy Chow

8 cups Rice Chex cereal
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup lemon curd
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar


1. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the white chocolate chips, butter and lemon curd, stirring constantly.
2. Pour Rice Chex into a large paper bag and pour the melted lemon mixture over the cereal. Fold the bag to seal and shake to coat the cereal.
3. Add the powdered sugar and shake again. Add a little extra powdered sugar if its too sticky.
4. Pour out onto 2 cookie sheets to cool. Store at room temperature in airtight containers.

Note: Do not use lemon pie filling. Lemon Curd is usually found near the jams and jellies. I use the Dickinson's Brand.
linking to: Chicken Chick
 
 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A hypertufa planter for mini hostas


I've been making hypertufa planters for a few years now but mostly smaller stuff. I really wanted one to combine a collection of mini hostas in one container.
Whenever I make hypertufa planters, I let them cure over winter in a dry place before planting in them so this is the one I made last year. You don't necessarily have to cure them that long, a few month's is usually good enough. Maybe longer for larger pieces like this one. It's just by the time I get around to making them its too late to plant in them so I let them cure all winter.
 
There are a lot of recipes out there but mine is pretty straight forward. Equal amounts of Peat Moss, Portland Cement, and Perlite. A little more or less of one or the other is not going to matter.
For more details of the mixing and what it should look like go here.
 
 
For this container I'm using a large sturdy cardboard box. First fill the bottom for a depth of about 1 3/4 to 2 inches. I do a little less for smaller pieces but I figured a larger piece might benefit from a thicker base.
 
I start building up the sides. Now the best way to do this is to insert a smaller box and fill in the sides, but I didn't have a box the right size and I have had luck just forming it with my hands.
 
I work my way around the box, slowly working my way up. It takes a lot of time and patience doing it this way. Add more water if your mixture gets too dry.
 
 
 
 Try to keep it as even as possible but it doesn't matter if a few places are a little thicker than others.
 
 
Now cover it with plastic and let it dry for a few days before removing the cardboard.  Make sure its completely dried before lifting it because they are still very fragile at this point.
 Drill a few drainage holes in the bottom before planting in it or you could insert some wooden dowels in the bottom while your tufa is still wet.
 
 Then the real fun begins. I put in Stiletto on the left, Blue Mouse Ears on the right, above Blue Mouse Ears is Cracker Crumbs, on the top right is an unknown petite hosta. The rest is just fillers for now.  My plans are to gradually make this a Mouse Ears collection and remove the other hostas. There are many varieties and I would like to add a new one every year.