Thursday, September 21, 2017

Birds of a Feather...Pinned to My Sweater

 I thought it was lucky finding a second of the carved swallow pins, but when I happened upon the small carved gull (I think it is a gull) I knew they had to be worn together. I like clustering my brooches, though these were large enough that it took some fiddling with them to make it work.

If you spend enough time in thrift stores, eventually you find duplicate pieces. I'll always buy bracelets in duplicate as I like the look of identical pieces on both wrists (like Wonder Woman!) and earrings are a practical investment as I wear mostly clips and tend to lose them from time to time. Lately, I've been indulging in purchasing duplicate brooches, though I limit it to the novelty sort as it would look silly wearing two identical rhinestone starburts but a pair of celluloid Scotties will always look better than a solitary brooch.

Sometimes, a theme is better than identical pieces and this time of year I like to cluster different leaf brooches with acorns, woodland animals, etc. Other times I go absolutely wild and wear cats and dogs together! I think of wearing brooches much as I do pattern mixing-it adds interest to an outfit, and can look chic if well considered. When you own hundreds of brooches wearing them in multiples is almost a necessity just to get them worn!

 Outfit Particulars:
1980's Made in Yugoslavia skirt-Goodwill
Sparkly 80's tee shirt-Hand-Me-Ups
Belt-Shop Ko
Vintage handbag-Goodwill
1940's hair clip-Sarpy County Museum sale

Yikes, I just noticed how much worse my leaning to one side had become. I suppose the blog is helpful for noticing things like that (and one eyelid droops, one leg is larger than the other, etc.). Unfortunately, there isn't a whole hell of a lot I can do about it at this late stage in life. I need someone to follow me around shouting, "Don't slouch!"
The Leslie Fay blouse makes a first Autumn appearance. A red, black, and cream spotted blouse shouldn't be something I'd love this much-but I do. It is practical, comfortable and launderable. Can't ask much more than that from a blouse. I still haven't started unpacking cool weather clothes, so putting together an outfit remains challenging. It has been interesting trying out combinations I otherwise wouldn't. 
This jacket has a matching skirt but that's just too headache inducing together!

Outfit Particulars:
1990's skirt-Filene's or Jordan Marsh-can't remember
Vintage jacket (part of a suit)-Thrift World
Vintage Crown Lewis handbag-Goodwill
Earrings-New Life Thrift
Cinnabar bracelet-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage BSK Halloween brooch-Thrift World
Fragrance-Chanel No. 22
"Eeek!Witchy tried to turn me into a toad,,,wait, I'm already dead. Never mind."

 Bag still had original comb and mirror.

I'll leave you with a funny story. 

I was outside filling the bird feeders yesterday morning. As I was pouring seed into the various tubes I was muttering to myself in a sing-song tone, "Feed...the birds. Feed...the birds." As I was finishing up, I heard a cough and noticed my new neighbour sitting on his patio having a coffee before work. He was trying (unsuccessfully) to keep from laughing. 
"The birds love that seed" he said, trying to change the subject from the bonkers lady next door that talks to herself when she feeds the birds. 

Just wait until he sees me hand-feeding ginger biscuits to Blondin the squirrel. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Best Sale of the Year

 I've been having a ruthless clear out (must be done from time to time) and in the process have come across some items I'd forgotten about. Both this top and skirt are slated for moving along to new homes, but I might think twice about the top. I like Liberty (who doesn't?) but the Liberty for Target range was kinda meh. I like the print fine, but the fabric is synthetic and the ruffle at the bottom, annoying. It is too long for the 3/4 sleeves. I'm sure it would look great with a pair of skinny jeans, but that's not my look.

I'd forgotten about this pleated silk skirt. It has a Neiman Marcus label ("Needless Markup" as my husband calls it) and a Made in Korea tag. I'd call it 80's based on the length. I wore my share of long skirts in the 80's, with long blazers and massive shoulder pads. A long, white double breasted blazer would be lovely with this skirt-but I don't own one and don't plan to seek one out. I had the 80's, and I wore it to pieces. Nice as the skirt is, I think it too shall go as it really won't play well with the rest of my wardrobe. I was attracted to the quality of the skirt, but that isn't enough reason for me to wear it. Long over long is back in fashion if you believe the magazines, but I think I'll leave that to the young (and tall).

Outfit Particulars:
Liberty for Target blouse-Goodwill
Vintage silk pleated skirt-thrift World
Vintage Walborg bag-Hand-Me-Ups
Clarks shoes-Goodwill
Large silver Sara Coventry bracelet-Can't remember
Earrings (part of a set with a brooch) Goodwill
Fragrance-Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan

 A peplum I could understand but this is a drop-waist with a ruffle also known as a WTF?
Anyway, in my zeal to rid my wardrobe of unworn items, I came across this jacket. I rarely wear it as there isn't much that it goes well with...or so I though. By a coincidence of summer meeting autumn in the same laundry basket I achieved what can only be called "Epic pattern mixing." Guess I'll be keeping the jacket after all. 
 I had to post some photos as it is unlikely to ever happen quite this perfectly again.

 We called in at Earl May garden centre to purchase some pumpkins for the front garden. I feel better now that there's pumpkins in my garden-it really doesn't take much to make me happy. I might need to go back for a pot of mums-I rather like the wine coloured ones.

Outfit Particulars:
Coldwater Creek jacket-Goodwill
Carol Dauplaise necklace-Goodwill
Vintage Naturalizer shoes-Thrift World
Vintage Spilene handbag-Goodwill
Vintage Niello earrings-Thrift World
Vintage belt-Thrift World
Large bracelet-garage sale
Small bracelets-both Hand-Me-Ups
Fragrance-none, it was allergy jab day

I dropped off two large bags of clothes at Hand-Me-Ups today, and a large bag at Sequels a few days ago. I hope they can sell them as the clothes are nice and in good shape. I washed everything, but I neglected to iron them. I mentioned to a volunteer that I was embarrassed and she looked at me like I'd lost my mind. I guess they're lucky if things come in clean, much less ironed. I should have a few more bags of clothes for them at the weekend. I managed to get out of the shop with only a couple small purchases (another vintage cake carrier, and a taffeta tartan dress) but really I should drop the stuff and leave so I won't be tempted.

I was doing so well until the annual Sarpy County Historical Society yard sale. I went the second day when everything was half price.

 Nothing here was originally over a dollar, and some items were only .25 cents to start. The large gold loopy cross brooch is Kenneth Jay Lane. There's Coro, Sara Coventry, Napier, and all sorts of good stuff.
 I'm not a virgo, but my mum was and I thought this little carved glass pendant would be a nice reminder of her. The bar pin with the tiny lapis stone is Victorian.
 This "Machine Age" bracelet was .50 cents. I love it so much I might never take it off.
I was thrilled to find a glove stretcher as I need one! They used to be common enough when I was in the antique business 25 years ago, but the passage of a quarter century is enough time that they've become scarce. The museum volunteer was pleased I knew what it was-most people don't, I guess.

I also bought hats, handbags, vintage dresses (including another 30's evening gown this time in celery green silk) shoes, spools of vintage ribbon, tea towels, silk scarves and more. I spent a total of $29.00. I'm absolutely exhausted, but it was worth it. I wasn't kidding when I said this sale is incredible. Mark your calendar for next September-it is worth the trip.
Still working our way through the apples. This is a Dutch Baby/Apple Pancake/Pfankuchen/calfouti/ or whatever they call an oven pancake where you live. It was okay-I have leftovers in the fridge which indicates to me that the boys weren't wild for it. I used the fancy butter from Finland to bake it. I don't ordinarily buy imported butter, but it was on sale and I was curious about it. It is very nice butter. I still wouldn't buy it unless there's a sale, but I'd also consider stocking up when there is.
I also made the yearly batch of apple cider doughnuts. The left are tossed with plain sugar, the ones on the right with cinnamon. They're easy enough to make but requiring boiling apple cider (cloudy apple juice) until it reduces by half and using it for the liquid in the batter instead of milk. The flour is a mix of wholemeal and white with spices (cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, and nutmeg) added. Yes, they're work but it is only once a year. They freeze well, and there's nothing like a warmed-up cider doughnut in the dead of a Nebraska winter to convince you it is worth getting out of bed and facing the chores.
They're surprisingly light. The trick is getting the fat hot enough that they don't need to cook too long. I fried them in corn oil, as I do most things. It isn't as popular an oil as sunflower or soybean, but I prefer it. The smoke point is high enough that I don't need to worry about it catching fire, and it doesn't have a terrible smell like rapeseed/Canola. The day after cooking the house doesn't smell of cooking oil. Recipe Here.
 Cider doughnuts makes me think of Halloween. I adore Halloween. From the barmbrack to the costumes to the creature-feature midnight movies-I love it all. I used incredible restraint in not purchasing these lighted lawn decorations for $6.99 each.

There was a Dracula as well. Guess I'll make due with jack-o-lanterns instead, but I really do regret leaving these. I shouldn't shop when I don't feel well, it skews my thinking.
I've been wearing my Posada print tee shirt a bit more this time of year. I bought the shirt when I was a university student-trust me, it was a very long time ago. I'm glad I held onto it as Danny likes it as well. We share tee shirts-most of his are better than mine!

Outfit Particulars:
Posada tee shirt (I think it was the Mexican shop, in Evanston, but I can't swear to it)
Brocade skirt-Goodwill
Belt-came with a dress years ago
Sacred Heart bracelet-Goodwill
Deco bracelet-Sarpy museum sale
Vintage Handmacher jacket-Hand-Me-Ups
Brooch-Sarpy Museum sale
Vintage bag-Goodwill
Sara Coventry earrings-Sarpy Sale
I can't keep myself away from the Halloween pop-up shops either! We visit to play with the motion-sensor displays. The stuff is very cool, but much more expensive than the $6.99 lawn ornaments we saw at Goodwill *kicks self for not buying those*.

I'll leave you with a peek at this vintage BSK Halloween brooch I bought at Thrift World last Spring. I love the expression on the ghost. I wonder what the witch said to him?

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Drawing Winner

The winner of the State Fair cookbook and tea towel is the lovely Radostin! Congratulations. Send me your info to cornmotherne at yahoo dot com and I'll have them on the way to you.

Thanks everyone for entering.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Squinting Resting Face and other random stuff

What can I say? The house has a South-West facing front door. Great light for photos but a terrible squinting hazard. I always look like I'm about to scream at some kids to get off my lawn (which I would if there were any kids on my lawn). I need to work on turning that squint into more of a snarl. Ah well, that's this week's project sorted. 
I tried something different recently. These are canellini beans from a tin that I drained, patted dry, and fried in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Apparently everyone on the internet has been doing this for ages, but I'm slow to a fad. They do get browned and a bit crispy which is fun.
I served it with chard because everyone else does, and I lack imaginationšŸ˜Š.
Anyway, if you're looking to try something like this there are hundreds of variations on it out there though I believe the original recipe came from 101 Cookbooks. 
 This nifty recipe is my invention. Make curried rice with some fried onions and sultanas...
...then fill hollowed out apples. Add a few inches of vegetable broth in the pan and bake at 325 degrees F. until apples are soft. We eat this quite a bit through apple season. 
Don't forget to leave room for cake. This is an apple and spice coffee cake. It doesn't have coffee in it, but rather is a cake to serve with coffee. Just one of many (delightfully?) strange things about the United States. Oh, and the little white scoop that looks like ice cream on the side of the plate of fluffy pancakes you ordered? That's not ice cream-that's salted butter. Many a visitor to the US has been surprised by that. Why do we butter our pancakes and douse them in maple syrup? I don't have any idea. I usually leave the butter to the side and go straight to the syrup. The recipe for this cake said to serve it plain as it didn't require any embellishment. Right. I just don't do minimalism well and if I take the trouble to bake a cake, I'm going to embellish as I see fit. The darker glaze is icing sugar with a bit of molasses and apple cider (that's cloudy apple juice, not the alcoholic type). 
I put my California Pottery apple dish to use. The tiny apples in the centre are part of the plate. I just adore setting the table at this time of year as most of my pottery collection is in earth tones. 
Yay for Autumn!
Boo for being ill. 

Yeah, I feel and look shit lately, but at least I have a lovely warm robe to be miserable in. I didn't bother cropping the bathroom selfie because hey, keeping it real. Never mind-look at the Gossard Artemis vintage quilted robe. I wish I had slippers with ostrich feathers to match. I should mention standing on the edge of the tub to get a photo is generally a bad idea, ill or not. Don't try this one at home.

It is such an obnoxious shade of pink-I love it.
I don't love the deep shade of blue my fingers have been turning. My immune system is trying to kill me, but I'm stubborn. I have a medical appointment in a couple weeks and I'm sure it will mean switching medications around because there's only so much prednisone you can throw at a flare. I'm not looking forward to methotrexate again, but this is getting stupid already. I have a shit tonne of things to do that aren't getting done. Anyway, enough about that but I thought it was worth mentioning why I'm so damn cranky as I'm sure it comes through in my posts. 

 My bed might not qualify as art, but I thought you might enjoy seeing the crochet blanket my mum made in the 70's, and the red Ayers blanket my dad bought in Canada in the 50's. The blue bedspread was something my parents had made to match their drapes in the 50's.
 These are a few of the storage solutions I've come up with for brooches. Not perfect, but in a pinch, it will do.
But back to the squinting resting face... looks like we'll be rainy next week, so perhaps it will mean less squinting in photos. If I bother to get dressed. I must say, a nice robe makes getting dressed seem less important. 

Outfit Particulars:
Skirt-K Mart
Top-K Mart
Macrame bag-Goodwill
Enamel clamper bracelets-both Target about 15 years ago
Hand-woven belt-Hand-Me-Ups
Fragrance-Paco Rabanne Ultraviolet (I have a review coming for that one. I liked the sample so much I ended up going for a full bottle-something I rarely do. It is an odd one for sure, but I wouldn't want to be without it now).

Tomorrow is the annual Sarpy County Historical Society Yard Sale. As jumble-type sales go, this one's epic. I was too sick to make the preview day today, but I'll be there tomorrow come hell or high water-I'll just need Mr. ETB to drive and carry my purchases. I hope you have a lovely weekend. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A Few Prize-Winning Recipes From the 2017 Fair

As promised, I'll be posting some of Danny's winning recipes from time to time. Don't forget to enter your comment on the fair post for a chance to win a Sate Fair cookbook and tea towel.

Here's a few to get you started.

 Beehive Honey Layer Cake

If you don't have a beehive layer cake pan (sideways layers anyway) you can bake this in two 9 or 10 inch tins or a bundt pan.

You Will Need:

1 1/2 cups honey
1 cup strong, brewed tea
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
2 3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs 1/4 cup corn oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups icing sugar and enough water to make a thick paste.

Royal icing bees:
1 pasteurized egg white
Enough icing sugar to make a pipe-able icing
Food coloring
Make these well ahead and store in a dry place. I pipe mine out on parchment as they are easier to remove once dried.

Generously grease and flour your pans. Don't try spraying them-this is a very sticky cake. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Set the rack in the middle position.

Sift together the dry ingredients for the cake, and set aside. In a small saucepan, bring the honey to a boil (watch that it doesn't boil over). Remove from heat, stir in tea and lemon rind and cool to lukewarm.

Beat the eggs for 5 minutes on high with a hand mixer or until they are thick and have turned a pale yellow. Beat in the oil and vanilla extract. Fold in the flour in two additions alternating with honey mixture. Don't over-mix, but take care that the flour is folded in well.

Pour batter into pans and bake about 50 minutes, adjusting for the type of pans you use.

Cool 10 minutes in pans on a rack, meanwhile make the glaze by combining honey, lemon and salt in a pan and bring just to a simmer. Remove from heat.
place a sheet of wax paper under your cooling rack to catch drips. Remove cakes from tins, and immediately brush the hot cake with the honey glaze. Be generous with it, and take a second or third pass if it looks like the cake is absorbing it. Let cakes cool.

Trim layers so they are even. If you have a beehive tin, stand the cake upright and trim downward with a serrated knife (a bread knife works well for this). Make the icing by combining the icing sugar and water and mixing a thick paste. Place one layer down and ice generously-much thicker than you think it needs. this is your glue holding the hive layers together. Stand upright and push the sides together. Use the remaining icing to drizzle over the top disguising the seam between the layers. Affix your bees to the still wet icing. Let dry. Store under a dome at room temperature. the cake keeps well, and is often better a few days after baking.  

These are more a gingernut than a snap, but if you like them thin, use the bottom of a glass to flatten them.

You Will Need:

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup dark molasses
1 large egg
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Granulated sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Position racks in upper and lower thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Sift together dry ingredients and set aside. In a large bowl, cream together shortening, brown sugar, molasses and egg. Stir sifted ingredients into creamed mixture.

Form small balls about 1 teaspoon in dough. Roll the balls in sugar, then place 2 inches apart on baking sheets.

Bake 5 minutes, then rotate pans and bake another five. Cool on racks. Cookies keep well in a tightly closed tin. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

  Graham Crackers
You Will Need:

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons mild molasses
1/4 cup cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a food processor*,mix the dry ingredients (about 5 seconds). Add the butter and process until a coarse meal (10-15 seconds).
Add the rest and process until everything comes together into a ball (about a minute at high speed). You may need a few drops of additional water, but go carefully a drop at a time as you do not want the dough too wet-you will be unable to roll it out.

On a plastic cutting board (or a regular one between two pieces of waxed paper-much more difficult in my opinion) roll out half the dough until it is quite thin 1/8 inch thick. If you can't get it that thin, don't despair, it can be further rolled after it has chilled a bit.
If you can't seem to get a perfect rectangle (no one can, really) go ahead and use a sharp knife to trim it into shape and then re-work the dough into the main slab. You may need to do this a couple times, and as you aren't rolling out on flour and toughening the dough, it is OK-though you don't want to handle it to death.
Repeat on a second cutting board.

Place cutting boards (or waxed paper) on cookie sheets and set in the fridge to chill at least two hours. The longer you go, the simpler it will be to cut and lift them off the boards.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Using a thin knife, or a cookie cutter, cut the dough into desired shapes. Pierce with the tines of a fork. Carefully lift with a thin spatula and place on either parchment paper or silicone pads and bake 10 minutes. Turn the sheet and bake an additional 2-5 minutes or until the edges turn lightly browned.
Remove to a rack to cool. The graham crackers will crisp upon cooling.

You can make these without a food processor by cutting the butter into the dry ingredients as you would for a pie crust-then proceed mixing the rest by hand. I've done both, with the same results.

  Nurnberger Honey Cookies

These cookies are very similar to Lebkuchen, but have different spices and no molasses. Because there is so much honey in these cookies it is worth using a very good honey. A deeply flavored honey like buckwheat is nice here, but clover honey works too.

You Will Need:
A round biscuit cutter or the bottom of a glass

1 cup honey
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 3/4 cup sifted all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup chopped sultanas
Candied cherries and sultanas to decorate
Glaze (see recipe below)

Place honey in a saucepan and bring to a boil (watch it as it foams over quickly). Remove from heat and cool. Place honey in a mixing bowl and add brown sugar and egg. Beat well. Stir in lemon juice and rind. Sift together the dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients, and mix well. Stir in sultanas. Divide dough into two logs and wrap tightly in cling film. Chill at least 12 hours or as long as 3 days.

Glaze Recipe:
Boil together 1 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water whisking until dissolved. Using a thermometer, heat until it reaches 225 degrees F,. Quickly whisk in 1/4 cup icing sugar. If it thickens between batches of cookies, add a few drops of water and re-warm. The glaze is very forgiving-a little thicker or thinner coating won't matter. If you like a clear glaze, just add more water.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. with racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment (the cookies are very sticky, and clean-up is easier with parchment).

The dough is soft and sticky so only use a bit at a time keeping the rest chilled. On a floured surface, roll dough 1/4 inch thick. Cut into rounds and place on baking sheet. Decorate with half a candied cherry in the middle and then 4 halved sultanas in the corners like spokes on a wheel. Traditionally this would be almonds instead of sultanas, but I'm allergic to almonds. You can use whatever you like, really. Chill each tray as you finish them. When you place the trays in the oven, immediately start the glaze-it only takes a few minutes but it should be ready to brush the cookies when they are out of the oven.

Bake 5 minutes, then rotate the pans back-to-front and then switch shelves. Bake another 5-10n minutes or until they spring back when touched lightly. Remove from oven and generously brush with glaze. Cool on racks. When completely dry, store in tightly closed cookie tins. The cookies need about 2 weeks to "ripen" If after 2 weeks they're still hard (the cookies should be pliable, but still a bit chewy) add a slice of apple to the tin and change it out daily until softened. These cookies last months if properly stored (you don't want to forget and discover a moldy apple slice in the tin). They're pretty Christmas tree decorations wrapped tightly in a treat bag. There's something great about inviting visitors to help themselves to a cookie off the tree.

Makes about 3 dozen.  

I hope you find something here to enjoy.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Apple Harvest Time

 We hadn't visited an apple orchard for the past few years as the harvest had been terrible for one reason or another. This year was different though, and the trees were full of perfect apples-it almost makes you wonder if  they're using a new fertiliser, or planted more blight resistant trees or if they just resorted to luring a Scottish policeman to the orchard  had some good luck this year. Er...whatever they're doing, it seems to be working!
I guess I could ask one of the people that work here, though they're all dressed as woodland animals today for some odd reason.
We made it out alive home with about twenty pounds of apples, so we'll be enjoying a number of interesting dishes over the next couple weeks. I made a red onion and apple relish to go with black bean tacos tonight.
I have my glow-in-the-dark Halloween sign up. I adore Halloween. Dressing up and eating candy-what's not to like?! I know it is more than a month away, so I'm going slow with the decorations. I need to locate a few pumpkins for the front garden. This is my first wear of this beautiful Autumn cardigan. The skirt is new (to me) as well. More plaid-ah well, I'm a creature of habit.

I do like a novelty cardigan, but rarely find one in my size. This is from Talbots, and is a cotton/silk blend. It is quite warm-perhaps a bit too warm for outdoor wear at the moment, though indoors where air conditioning units are still going at full blast it is just about right. I don't remember buying the pheasant brooch, but it went well with the overall autumn vibe of the outfit. 
 This was also a first wear for these vintage Selby shoes I bought at Thrift World. They're not in the best shape, and it would tough to fix them, so I'm going to wear them until they fall apart and get my $1.98 out of them. If nothing else, they're large so they don't hurt my injured toe.

 These earrings have a matching brooch shaped like a tree.
Outfit Particulars:
Vintage blouse-Goodwill
Shoes-Thrift World
Socks-K Mart
Vintage handbag-New Life Thrift
Brooch-can't remember
Belt-Von Maur
Fragrance-vintage Shulton Friendship Garden
We also visited Heron Haven last weekend.
We went for the butterfly release.
It was somewhat anti-climactic as the butterflies didn't seem interested in flying out of the tent. Eventually, they just took the tent apart. I think the butterflies are tagged with chips so their migration patterns can be tracked. 
The pond was infested full of frogs. I mean, hundreds of them. Everywhere. I don't think I've ever seen that many frogs in one place. It was like a biblical plague or something (and there were locusts too)!  For those of you keeping track that's, frogs, locusts, fire, hail, darkness (remember that eclipse we were all ooohing and ahhing over a few weeks back?).  If I were the religious sort I'd be getting my spiritual shit in order. 
 Somebunny has been eating the flowers.

I don't know what the purple flowers are, but the yellow and black are Black Eyed Susans and the frilly yellow stuff is Goldenrod (the Nebraska state flower). It grows like mad and blooms late in the season adding interest to gardens and fields where most everything else has finished blooming. If you decide to grow it, be warned-it takes over. I had it on the farm, but I don't dare plant it in the city. The flowers can be soaked to make a beautiful yellow die. 

 As long as the weather stays nice, I'm willing to get outdoors and enjoy it-we can do our schoolwork outdoors as easily as in. Winters can be endless in Nebraska, so it makes sense to enjoy every nice day we get.
This wasn't a photo-op was a bean-bag toss game! They're just lucky no one lobbed one at their mugs.
Hope your week is off to a great start.