ken jennings made my day

It’s been my secret desire to be tweeted by a celebrity.  I had high hopes that it would be Simon Pegg or perhaps Joel McHale.  Never did I imagine that Ken Jennings would be my first.

While I am slightly embarrassed over the topic of “conversation” I had with Ken Jennings, it won’t stop me from sharing the Google results that were uncovered today.  “Foot fetish” returns 13.7 million hits, and “nose fetish” isn’t too far behind at 12.2 million hits.  (A Google search for the general term fetish returns over 147 million hits.)

It was a nice relief to see other responses on Twitter that indicated that, um, I’m not the only one that prefers noses.

Well, which do you think is sexier?  Noses or toes? Oh, and which celebrity would you ever like to make contact with?

spring waits for no robin

I have yet to see my first robin of the year, but still I know that Spring is coming.  A quick glance at my outdoor plants will tell you that they are ever hopeful that snow and frost are behind us.  All of the outdoor plants (except the basil) have survived our mild Virginian winter, and new growth on nearly all of them is very evident.

Not pictured but not any less loved:  Concorde Grape Vines, White Carpet Rose Bush, Azaleas

my tea party

I had decided to invite the ladies from my church and a few neighbors to my home for an afternoon of tea.  I had never hosted an event for all of the ladies nor had I ever hosted a tea, so I was really excited about the planning and preparations.  Okey’s mother had given me her silver tea set (shown below) a long time ago, and I was really excited to finally put it to use.  I also was happy to entertain with Okey’s cast iron pot (also shown below).

I decided to not overcook as I did not want to be wasteful nor spend more time than necessary in the kitchen.  My menu for the afternoon consisted of chocolate chip cookies, cucumber sandwiches, lemon cake with homemade frosting, scones and fresh grapes.  I offered Wegman’s Jasmine Pearl (a green tea) and Yerba Maté (an herbal tea) as well as some good ol’ Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.

After reviewing dozens of websites about tea, and what to serve at a tea, I decided that this would be an American tea.  In other words, I didn’t like most of their suggestions.  Their cucumber sandwiches consisting of crustless white bread with butter, mayonnaise and cucumbers just looked so bland.  So I had cut a baguette into small pieces which I buttered (a tip I learned to keep the bread from getting moist from the cucumber), then I added a thin sliced cucumber, and topped it with a cream cheese/dill combination.  It was refreshingly light and (I thought) visually appetizing.

The one recipe I didn’t alter very much was the one for scones.  I really enjoyed Betty Crocker’s simple dried currant cherry scone’s ease and simplicity. I can’t believe I’ve never made scones before.  I am going to add this recipe into my rotation; it’s that delightful.  (Unfortunately, I cannot find the exact recipe on Betty’s website, and the copyright prohibits me from sharing it here.  I am so sorry to be tempting you, so here is a link to a very similar recipe for scones.  Simply omit the vanilla and add half a cup of whatever dried fruit you desire.  Half and half can also work in lieu of heavy whipping cream.  ;))

Betty also has the best chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve ever used.  I’d be remiss not to share it here.

I had a wonderful time with the dear ladies and would love to host another tea again soon.

tobacco, cotton & flax

I am pleased to write that my cotton and flax seeds have arrived.  Thankfully, the cotton and flax seeds are much more manageable than my tobacco seeds.  They are larger.

Here are some facts that I’ve gathered from across the web.

Tobacco

Germination:  7-28 days
Maturation/Harvest:  3 months
Typically planted in March or April.

Tobacco links:
http://www.articlesbase.com/gardening-articles/4-easy-steps-growing-tobacco-from-seed-1129748.html
http://www.gardening-guides.com/herbs/tobacco-an-howto.php

Flax

Germination:  21-28 days
Maturation/Harvest: 3-4 months
Typically planted in May.

Flax links:
http://www.flaxcouncil.ca/english/index.jsp?p=growing2&mp=growing
http://www.ehow.com/how_7846520_harvest-flax-seeds.html

Cotton

Germination:  7-10 days
Maturation/Harvest: 4-5 months
Typically planted in late April/early May.

Cotton links:
http://www.ehow.com/about_6502234_life-cycle-cotton-plant.html
http://www.selfsufficientish.com/cotton.htm
http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G4268

Another good reference site regarding plants that I have found is the Virginia Extension Office.

I will have to start getting the cotton ready to germinate next.  In preparation for that, I have requested a copy of A Weaver’s Garden: Growing Plants for Natural Dyes and Fibers by Rita Buchanan from my local library.  I cannot wait to see what tips the author will share.