2020 30-Day Minimalism Challenge

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

I sure like low maintenance...

I've had a lot on my plate over the last several weeks and am looking ahead to more of the same into the next month, so anything low-maintenance and pretty gets special mention.  

For a plant that went completely neglected all spring and summer, this clematis certainly didn't seem to hold a grudge.

Late in the spring it treated us to a beautiful flush of purple flowers.

Then it seems like I remember looking at it about mid summer and noticed the blooms had all died off.

Then just last week I noticed new blooms and all these wonderful seed heads.

While I love when something so pretty is low maintenance, at the moment I look forward to paying this plant a little more attention next summer.  

We'll see if I actually do...

Thursday, August 25, 2022

An unexpected simple pleasure...

Restrooms and Walmarts (especially restrooms in Walmarts) aren't natural blog fodder for me, but this moment was a perfect example of capturing "everyday aesthetics" where it could have easily gone relatively unnoticed.  

Walking into the restroom at a local Walmart recently, I didn't expect to be greeted with sweet smells and pretty, fresh flowers.

In fact, I'm sure I would have forgotten all about it had I not told myself as I was leaving to turn around and snap a picture.

As I went to get a cart, I stopped and told the greeter how surprising and nice the flowers in the restroom were, and she smiled like the whole thing was her idea, though she said she'd relay the message to management.  Whosever idea it was deserves to know it was a lovely thing.

It was all so unexpected, it honestly had me smiling for the duration of my shopping trip.


Edited to add...  I dropped into this Walmart again recently, and decided to visit the restroom for the sole purpose of finding out if the flowers above were intentional or just a happy, maybe even accidental bit of serendipity.

Turns out it's intentional:

Yay, Walmart!

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Forty-two years ago today...


Sisters and middle niece on the left

Pillowcases embroidered by Greg's maternal grandmother.

Today (more or less):

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Hmmm ...

Normally I'd have instantly thrown a piece of rotten fruit away, but these days I find myself stopping to study a thing.  Not sure a rotting tomato is actually aesthetically pleasing, but if you stop to really look at it, it is kind of fascinating.

For a moment, I thought maybe I was just becoming a little too weird with this whole looking-at-stuff-with-a-different-eye thing.  

Am I employing  an artist's eye?  

I went looking for an answer...

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Finally turning...

Mid-August. After a week of more moderate temperatures than we've had all summer, the tomatoes are finally ripening.  So excited!

Friday, August 12, 2022

Garden games...

 Picking green beans and cucumbers is an almost daily game of Hide and Seek.  

The above picture doesn't show any of the plant's stem, but the stems that support the main part of the plant look very much like the green bean itself - with something that looks like the dark "spine" in the middle of the green bean.   It's kind of fascinating how similar the two parts of the plant look, but it makes it really challenging to find the mature beans sometimes.  I've been fooled a number of times reaching for a green bean, only to find myself grabbing hold of a stem.

I circle around and search through each bean and cucumber plant two or three times before feeling reasonably confident I've found all that are the right size for picking, and a couple days later I almost always find a giant cucumber I missed.  When this happens, they are always so large (like 7 inches or more), I wonder how on earth I must have missed it several times.  It starts to feel like the plant is playing pranks on me.

While I try to harvest the pickling cucumbers before they get over 5 inches long, it's important, I've learned, to never let a cucumber grow so large it turns yellow.  At that point, the plant will likely stop producing fruit and think it's time to die.  So evidently, as long as I keep picking while the fruits are young, the plants will keep producing.  But if I let just one go too long, and get too old, it's Game Over! 

I have to say when I decided to plant cucumbers, this was not a game I anticipated.  

I also have to say... the Bread and Butter Pickles I canned earlier this week are worth it all.  Mmmmm.  I was so happy with them, I gave some to friends who came over for supper last night who'd never tasted Bread and Butter Pickles.  I hope they like them as much as I now do!  

Monday, August 8, 2022

Healthified Egg Salad...

I've had a hankering for an egg salad sandwich for a little bit now and when Hub came home with a box of small croissants (marked on clearance) yesterday, I new I needed to give into my hankering.  While there is nothing difficult about making egg salad, since it had been a while since I'd made it I went looking online for a recipe to make sure I didn't leave out some important ingredient.

I'm so glad I did!  Somehow "healthy egg salad" popped up and I was inundated with recipes that replace the mayonnaise with plain yogurt.  After skimming different recipes I decided to just wing it with whatever I had in the kitchen that I thought would be good.   I don't have an exact recipe to offer you, but I'll pretty much tell you how I made it.

First some notes:  Of course, I used Skyr (in place of the plain yogurt, which is in place of mayonnaise) but if I didn't have that, I'd have used plain Greek Yogurt in place of mayonnaise.  I think regular ol' plain yogurt would be too runny for this.

I chopped up everything real fine (except for the egg white - that I chopped medium-size-like), and mixed the following things together so that it tasted more or less like my regular egg salad:

Chopped hard boiled eggs (I used 8, but only because I made the salad it too thin and I needed more egg to balance the liquid-y texture).

Finely chopped celery

Finely chopped onions (I used my Walking Onions)

Mustard (a lot of recipes suggest Dijon, but I didn't have any, and I'm not sure I'd like it, anyway)

Plain Greek yogurt (amount is up to you) go easy until you get the consistency you like.

Spices:   Your choice

I put in Salt & Pepper to taste.  And Mrs. Dash Original Salt-Free Seasoning.  I know...  I already put in salt, but I love this stuff.  It always goes in egg or chicken salad here.

And because after all that it still needed something, I put in a dash or two of bottled lemon juice (bottled is all I had).

Because by this time I had made it too runny, I boiled two or three more eggs, and by the time I mixed those in, it was too dry, and at this point I added about a tablespoon of Hellman's Mayonnaise to see if it stepped up the taste a bit.  

Now, I'm not going to pretend this didn't taste different.  It did.  And I thought for sure Hubs would look at me funny when he took a bite.  But he didn't.  He said it tasted good. 

Honestly, I'm not sure that little bit of Hellman's made any difference, so I may skip it next time.  I would prefer to try adding more/different spices until the flavor zings for me.

But really...  except for putting my healthified egg salad on a croissant (a very small one, mind you), this is a pretty passable healthy substitute for egg salad made with mayonnaise.

I'm curious if others of you have ditched the mayo for Greek yogurt in your egg salad.  Let me know in the comment section.  And feel free to let me know what you put in your egg salad - healthy or not.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Captivating grace...

sweetness, charm and age
through weathered transformation - 
captivating grace

Pictures taken at Mike & Lynne's house

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

A clean start...

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins 
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”    1 John 1 : 19

Monday, August 1, 2022

Art in my everyday...

Inspired by the artists at Feather Garden, Salty Pumpkin Studio, and Field and Fen, I am doing something totally impromptu and somewhat spontaneous, and have decided to challenge myself to look around, see the "art" in my everyday spaces (and maybe the not-everyday-spaces), and try to capture it in a photo.  The point is not to capture actual art, but to see the everyday things around me through an artist's eye, so to speak.  As best I can, anyway.  I'm not sure I have an artist's eye.  But I think this is about developing it, so we'll see if that happens. 

Actually, in thinking about this more, I'm adding this paragraph to say, I think what I'm really after is to recognize everyday aesthetics that often go unnoticed, most definitely undocumented.  Regularly documenting everyday aesthetics isn't what's ultimately important, but recognizing them is.  And this practice of documenting them will surely raise my awareness, and even cause me to look for them when I might otherwise move through my space and time too much otherwise occupied to notice or stop and appreciate them.  While I think it will become apparent, I'm also going to mention that seeing "beauty" isn't what this is about.  It's really about seeing things that interest the eye.  That spark an emotion even, for example... of delight or even sadness, or confusion...  We'll see what presents itself.

I have the idea that I may try to do this every day for the month of August or maybe just when it strikes my fancy.  Maybe I'll peter out before the month is over, or maybe this will last beyond this month.  As I begin, I am giving myself no guidelines for this challenge - only to try to capture in a picture something of interest - though I'm allowing for the interest to be in the style of the photograph at times, perhaps even more than in the item photographed.  We'll see what happens.

Beyond this first post, I will try to keep these posts short.  Even wordless at times - hoping the picture speaks for itself. 

To keep track of these pictures, I've created a tab just under the header at the top of my blog.  If I decide to remove the tab, I may make a link in the sidebar.  Clicking on the tab or link will bring all the posts together in one spot.  
If you visit me, frequently or occasionally, I hope you'll leave a comment about what you see in these pictures.  

For example, in the second picture I'm kind of enthralled with the brown staining, and what looks like a worn edge on the lid.  In person, I barely notice it, but in the photo (which is easily twice the size of the actual box) this lid edge adds character to this little box that sits on our computer desk.  This box has sat on the computer desk here and in our old house for possibly most of two decades.  At times it has held paper clips, at the moment it holds nothing.  It's granted space on the desktop totally on its own merit.  I don't recall where it came from (probably found at a thrift store), and it's become so much a part of the scenery I hardly ever notice it.  Maybe that's what this challenge is about, too - noticing things that have undeservedly become unremarkable.

Ok, ok...  I think that's enough explaining.  Can you tell I'm figuring this out as I go?

I hope you'll check back and see where this takes me!