Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Garden Harvest: A Win for the Onions (and Garlic)

Today’s post is a far cry from yesterday. Lavender to onions and garlic. Oh my. Cry if you will over chopped onions . . .

Let’s take a little diversion from fragrant to pungent.

Due to earwigs and extreme heat, most of the garden is struggling. But for alliums. The onions, garlic, and leeks are doing great! Not only producing, but surviving all of the above. Let’s hear it for alliums. And don’t forget the chives, a favorite snack food of a certain young onion/chive lover. The chives are marching along in perfect order.

This is the first year I’ve tried spring onions. Wow, did they love the garden bed! Since I’ve never grown them before, I tested a few before they were ready. Now they are all harvested and drying. I’m not sure if that’s the correct procedure, but it’s what I’ve done and it seems to be working.

The garlic was a surprise from last year. I think. I’m forever popping sprouted garlic cloves in a garden bed or patch of ground. Usually, they are eaten before I get anything useful. This spring, for the longest time, the middle bed had only this big bouquet of garlic greens. Finally, after the complimentary squash plants over grew it and scapes started growing, I could tell they were done. I pulled them out and we actually have garlic! Also drying with the onions.

I pretty much leave the leeks alone, letting the bees enjoy the flowers (and earwigs-isn’t that odd?). Sometimes I will harvest a leek, but most are left alone to reseed. And they do that very well.

How about you? Any tips for growing alliums? Or better yet, a favorite recipe?

Looking forward to next year and a fresh crop.


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Road Trip: Purple Robe Lavender Farm

I had the best time last week visiting college friends, eating good meals, catching up, making rubber stamped cards, and exploring a bit of the Pacific Northwest. July is a a great month, because it’s lavender time, friends. Lavender Time.

Three of us (waves at Alyson and Renee) traveled to Arlington, Washington, to visit the Purple Robe Lavender Farm. It was such a delight! The bees were humming and buzzing over the lavender-covered hillside, making me want to grab a book and a nice cup of tea and find a spot to plop down. Or a notebook and my purple pen, so I could dream and write. Or spread a blanket on the ground beneath the lavender plants so I could enjoy the activity.

Alas, we were too busy chatting, smelling, and clicking photos. The fragrance was fantastic! We nearly had the place to ourselves. We did swap photo taking tasks with two other women, and I saw a family or two wandering the grounds. But mostly. Us.

White lavender (which I read later was a pink and white lavender named Melissa) and purple lavender created a white-edged purple carpet. I crept carefully between the rows several times, or scooted close to heavy heads, only to be calmly buzzed by bees and bumblebees. They paused, acted like they wondered what great flowers I had to offer, and then toddled back off to their work after they realized I was of the boring flowerless sort.

People in the area: Go now! Take a picnic and camera. The grounds are open for wandering, there is a small shop (of course, with lavender-smelling things-including lavender plants), and I noticed several picnic tables spread about. The lavender is peaking right now. This is the time. You-cut is available if you want to take home a bouquet, and comes complete with a photo-ready basket. A small selection of drinks and snacks are on hand.

Ahhh, lavender. It’s always been one of my favorite flowers. Enjoy.

Angie, Renee (seated on rock), Alyson (seated on ground)

Plus. Take some friends. It’s the best.


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Haiku Moment: earth treasure

is it time? harvest?

soil erupts with sharp fragrance,

come, my garlic treat

earth treasure by Angie Quantrell

Photos by Angie Quantrell

Yakima Valley

This is our third successful (meaning: no earwig damage) allium crop! Maybe next year should be a season of rest for the garden beds when I grow just alliums and let the exploding earwig population die off a bit. The idea does bear tasty consideration…


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Sunday Inspiration

Photo by Angie Quantrell

Yakima Valley


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Kitty Bioré Strips for Shedding Season

What do furry kitties and people noses have in common?

Both sometimes need de-furring (or de-zitting). I doubt that last is an actual word. But you know what I mean.

I’ve personally used the Bioré strips on multiple occasions, to some success. But after a week of so of poofs of kitty fur falling from Monet (our hunting monster girl cat) and floating around the RV, I was getting pretty tired of wearing gray itchy hair.

After one snuggle session, I accidentally wiped my fur-covered hands on my navy shorts. Oops. So off I went to get the lint strips, which quickly took care of the problem.

. . .

And then. Could it be that easy? Let’s try and find out. (With Monet, this is risky business, trying stuff like sticky lint strips on her body. I could be putting myself in the way of scratches, bites, or hisses. Such is the personality of Her Highness.)

. . .

But it worked! For a few times. And then she was done. But oh, the wonder and delight of cat-ching that much fur before it was displayed around the RV.

Go ahead. Try some kitty Bioré strips this shedding season. Let me know how it goes.


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RV Cooking Hack Plus Recipe: Garlic Rosemary Potatoes and Meatballs

What some of you might not know is that RV ovens have one rack.

At least our RV oven has one rack. And it’s not a large one either. A half-pan cookie sheet fits inside, with just barely enough room around it for air flow. A Dutch oven does not fit (it’s too heavy, and I fear it would bend/break the rack). A low casserole dish fits, but some lids might bump the top. And once you turn off the oven, you have to let it cool completely before restarting it. The gas pilot light is under the bottom tray at the back of the oven, right where you will burn your arm if you try lighting it while it’s hot. Personal experience speaking here.

And something to watch out for, a lesson I learned just this week with the future scars to match my experience, is the spring loaded oven door is very spring loaded. Very. Using a similar trick as shown in the above photo, a foil wrapped pan, I attempted to put the pan in the oven, the foil stuck, I somehow lost control of the door, and it swung shut on my arm. Did I mention the oven was preheated? I threw the pan in as I jerked my arm out, bouncing the hot stove door edge along my arm. Yikes! I am thankful for fast reflexes. Yes, yes I am.

Oh, but our RV DOES have an oven. We love using it in the winter to heat the RV. We avoid it in the summer, preferring to cook on the BBQ and keep the heat outside.

I’ve often been frustrated by meal plans that need two dishes to be in the tiny oven. And then I started experimenting. See the above photo.

As with all experiments, you figure out new things to try or ways to improve an idea. Now, with the above meatballs and garlic rosemary potatoes, I wouldn’t bother with the foil dam in the middle. Just let the juices mix. Yum! But some things I might not want to touch while baking, like juicy salmon and sweet potato fries. Or something like that.

Either way, combining a main dish and side or two is the perfect way to utilize a small RV oven. I always try to cook too much, because leftovers make perfect lunches for the next day or two.

Garlic Rosemary Potatoes

5-6 small red potatoes, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces

5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 6-8″ sprig of rosemary, washed, dried, and chopped (leaves only, not stem)

olive oil

sea salt

fresh ground pepper

Optional: fresh grated Parmesan cheese, Tabasco sauce

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a bowl, mix potatoes, garlic, rosemary, and enough olive oil to coat it all. Spread on one half of a foil-covered cookie sheet (I like to spray my foil with vegetable spray to keep food from sticking). Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Fill the other half with meatballs. No recipe here for these. I love the Costco frozen meatballs.

Bake for 30-45 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through. We like crispy sides, so we cook them longer. If you want to cook yours until just done, aim for 25-30 minutes. Stir halfway through cooking and test potatoes along the way.

Serve potatoes and meatballs with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and a few splashes of Tabasco. We always add broccoli, salad, or green beans. Gotta have those veg!


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Throwback Thursday: Can You Name the Year of the Carpet? #TBT

Can you name the year of this good old days photo?

At the bottom of the heap, we see Taylor (4), our oldest, who is happily ensconced on the shag carpet, ready to suck his thumb while perusing the pages of the ever-popular Sears Yard and Lawn catalog. We had a collection of Sears catalogs: lawn mowers, chain saws, yard equipment, vacuums, ceiling fans-actually any and all types of mechanized machines. Every trip to the mall required a stop at Sears so we could pick up the latest and greatest catalog.

On top, ready to torment her brother (nothing much has changed), Chelsie (2), our baby, gathers her energy for playing King of the Mountain. Or tickling her brother. Or just sitting on him because he was there. That’s what 2s do, right? There was no interest in the catalog, mowers, or engines of any sort. There was a brother on the floor, perfect for perching.

Taylor is not unhappy. In fact, he appears to be pleased with his piggy back sister. Chelsie looks gleeful and somewhat loving (I might point out that her arms are nearly around his neck, so this is debatable) while spending quality torment time with her big brother. You’ll notice the pile of ignored wooden blocks, a mainstay for any family with preschoolers. We still have the blocks, which have been loved and abused by many grands, nieces, nephews, preschool and kindergarten students, and a variety of Sunday school classes filled with sweeties.

Ahh. The good old days.

Did you figure out the year? I’ll give you credit for the correct decade. Go ahead, play along. Make a guess, then scroll down to the first comment to see the year this photo was taken.

(She laughs to herself. Ugh. The carpet . . . it’s embarrassing.)


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Rubber Stamping Requires Assistants

Many of you know I love stamping. For those who are not familiar with the term “stamping,” stamping = making rubber stamped cards using (but not limited to) rubber stamps, ink pads, decorative paper, fancy tapes, cardstock, and bits and bobs of fascinating leftover craft supplies.

Pip has decided it is time he helped make cards. You will notice the excellent placement of his body right in the center of my work pad. This of course is very helpful and what is expected of a good assistant.

One of my college roommates (waves at Alyson) and I have been getting together for decades. Yes, I guess I can say at least decades. We are a bit fuzzy on exactly when the rubber stamping bug caught us, but it has been around for a long time.

Spring break is usually one of the times we get together to stamp. We missed out on many of our usual stamping retreats last year (and we all know why). So this spring break was extra special because it had been sooooo long since we really stamped.

Pip is not moving, and is quite unhappy about sharing the limelight with his cat-mom, Alyson. I think he might be giving her the subliminal brush off, or at least the “talk to my back” posture.

The assistants were unusually helpful this year.

Daisy did not help as much this year at the rubber stamping table. She was however, an excellent neck and face warmer. Early morning wake-up calls required much purring, loving, and fur up my nostrils. Barely room to squeeze the phone between my chin and her face, but we managed. As far as bed warmers, Daisy is quite a wonderful assistant, always up for good lap snuggles or sleeping on top of me.
How long can one cat be? Notice the helpful tail, which is used to swish items off the table or capture different open ink pads for a “painted cat” look.
A ribbon! MY ribbon…

So. My spring break was fun, entertaining, and productive. How about you? Did you do anything different this spring break? Do you have special assistants for those fun projects?


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42 Years Ago Today He Asked Me to Be His Steady Girlfriend

Back in the day…I think I look suitably impressed with the cutie next to me.

Yes. You read that right. 42 years ago today, at a birthday party for my dad and my grandma, we wandered off for some privacy, as teens are wont to do. I know I don’t look like I’m old enough to know my guy that long (hahahahaha) but we were high school sweethearts.

My brother and the dirt bike.

It went down like this. First, he came to my house to hang out with my brother. And ride dirt bikes on ditch banks. With my brother.

That pretty soon turned into, “Hey, do you wanna go for a ride?” Ditch bank + dirt bike. How is that romantic? Tiny seat, two bodies, dirt and gravel roads along irrigation ditches? The dude ditched my brother for me! Sorry brother.

And yes, my arms wrapped tight around his waist, hanging on for dear life, wary of pot holes and bumps that would toss me off, riding a dirt bike with a cute guy was romantic! Thinking back, I have no idea how we both fit on that little seat. And survived. Without helmets.

Of course we saw each other in more than just the dirt bike situation. Church, high school, family get-togethers. We lived on one dirt road, my grandparents lived two dirt roads over, and his house was on the dirt road between both of us. I could literally spy on his house from my bedroom window. Not that I did. But I could have if I wanted to.

Fast forward (or is that backwards, since I’m talking about the past?) to the birthday party night. This cute, curly-haired guy asked me to be his steady girlfriend. He remembers better than I do, but apparently there was no hesitation. I immediately said yes.

And here we are. 42 years of best friends. We waited 7 years to get married (because, as I told him, if we could survive me going away to college, then we could survive anything). Got married, had two children, cats, dogs, guinea pigs, a house (houses), gardens, motorcycles, cars, an RV life . . . and plenty of fights, make-ups, adventures, disasters, learning opportunities, triumphs, and tragedies. But always, we had LOVE.

For us, it goes without saying that the Lord blessed us along the way and kept us in His care. Without His guidance and love, I doubt we would have make it this far. We are truly blessed.

I love you, boyfriend of 42 years. Hoping for many more adventures with my best friend.