Friday, December 31, 2010

Welcoming in 2011

“New Year's eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights” ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

I think we all hope that whatever bad there was in the year going out will end and that better things will happen in the coming year.  For some reason I have approached this years end with a few other illusions...

We spent the day with the family and then the man and I went shopping and out to dinner as it is our anniversary.  We stopped at a shop which sold items on consignment to look at a crock we had seen there.  Sadly it had a crack in the bottom which made it useless to me.  But while walking thru I found this...

My uncle did beautiful wood work but only when he felt in the mood to work on it.  It was a hobby and he did not like it becoming a job.  I did not understand that until recently.  Anyhow, many years ago I had driven him to the VA hospital.  The younger two children were babies at the time and it was a heck of a day with no where to sit, cold outside, and an all day affair.  He wanted to pay me and I would not accept the money but told him I would like a coffee grinder.  He said if I bought the parts he would work around them.  I bought the parts and he kept telling me he was going to get to it but sadly he never did.  This one is unfinished so it gives me the illusion that he did work on it.  I have butcher block wax which I am going to finish it with.  I threw a couple of beans in and it works great.  So I don't have one made by my uncle but I have a substitute which makes me think of him.

We stopped at several other places and then came Dick's Sporting Goods.  Fishing poles, ice augers, hunters camo and... socks with balls of yarn on them! 

The man argued they were soccer balls, which the one on the left  is but the others look like yarn balls.  I brought them home and without coaxing I asked the kids and they said it looks like balls of yarn!  I will wear them proudly as yarn socks and to heck with anyone who disagrees. 

And to further add to the illusion....I bought a lottery ticket for the Mega-Million! Well actually it didn't cost me anything since I had winning tickets which were given to me for Christmas.  I have the illusion of winning and getting the barn I want, new truck for the man....  Oh come on it is New Years eve, one can dream anything is possible in the new year! 

I hope all your dreams for the new year come true.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Shhhhh It's a Secret

“Secrets are made to be found out with time.” ~ Charles Sanford

I have had a secret for a couple of weeks.  I was going to keep it a secret, but at the meeting I attended Monday evening, they said we would have more success if we made ourselves accountable for our actions.  So my little secret is that I have been attending Weight Watchers.  Yeah I know, not life shattering but it hopefully will be life changing. 

I started to gain weight eleven years ago when I quit smoking.  At first I was very aware of the fact that I might gain and watched for it.  But slowly I let that slip away when I was finally able to quit working and become a full time mom/housewife again.  Then it just got worse taking care of my mom, eating hospital vending food or McDonald's while she was getting chemo or we were going to/from appointments.  Then I would come home and make comfort food because I needed the comfort.

I would also gain more during all the cold months and lose some during the warmer months.  Some being the key word there.  It doesn't help that we have more cold months than warm either.   When winter arrives I tend to hibernate like the bear, unfortunately I also tend to pack in the extra calories to get me through the cold.

After finding out I was going to be a grandmother I decided I need to literally get off my ass.   I still have issues with my left side since I had the mini stroke so I needed to stop working around them and exercise to change it.  I want to be able to carry my grandchild all over but more importantly I want to be part of my grandchild's life.   My  family history has cancer, heart problems, high blood pressure and diabetes.  Right now I don't have any problems, except migraines which triggered the mini stroke,  but I need to keep it that way.  I was going to wait until the new year but then asked myself why I was putting it off.  If I fully intended to commit why delay so I attended my first meeting on December 6. 

I ate my way through a friends dinner, a company dinner that included an all you can eat seafood buffet, (NOTE: I LOVE SEAFOOD)  and another friends annual Christmas party.  Then I baked and baked and baked some more.  Christmas arrived and I pushed out a buffet dinner on Christmas day and a big duck and ham dinner the following day.

On top of that, out of the last 29 days only 3 were average temperature, 23 were below average.  Which in a nutshell means that all I have wanted to do is hibernate even more and eat stick to your rib foods.

Each week I walk in to those meetings and cringe while they read the scale.  Thankfully I can announce that through it all I have lost over 6 pounds and #2 daughter who joins me has lost 10. 

Now that the holidays are behind us I won't have the temptations and hopefully the weight loss will continue.  The plan is easy and allows a lot of leeway.  So I have approximately 18 weeks to go before my grandchild enters this world and my goal is to be 18 - 20 pounds lighter by that time.  Very do-able at 1 pound a week, two pounds would be wonderful but I also want to bet on a realistic goal.

When I left PA in 1982 I was 124 pounds, when I returned after two kids and a divorce I wore a size 3.  Life continued for 17 years and  my current weight we will keep a secret but suffice it to say I will never go down to either of those sizes again but would be perfectly content with 150.  That is my long term goal.  I will leave the cleaning off t of he grandkid's plates to the parents and my contribution will be to  chase him/her around!  Hopefully this works and I will be able to chase and not roll after him/her.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Singing my song

Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them? ~ Rose Kennedy

Two definitions of storm atmospheric disturbance manifested in strong winds accompanied by rain, snow, or other precipitation  OR a strong outburst, as of emotion or excitement.  We have had both of these....a snow storm which dropped only 4 inches by us but covered #1's area with 12 inches and the storm of Christmas excitement.

So today I delight in the calm that comes after the storm.  The man is at work, the older kids have gone home and the younger are visiting friends or getting good use out of their presents. 

I read a blog where she perfectly describes it as a day of self indulgence because we don't have to knit, cook, or bake a thing.  It is also a planning day, what are we going to do with all the extra time we have on our hands?  I was looking at patterns since I now have time to work on projects for my grandchild.  May is coming quick.  I am working on a pair of socks

until I pick up yarn tomorrow for the baby project. Grandma here ain't gettin' any younger and I need to stay warm!

I am also trying to find out how to use new gifts...Canon's PowerShot SX130is!  Love it!  Smaller than my other but more megapixels.  I missed out on a class they were offering to get the full potential from your camera so I have to see what is available in the Spring.  I took lots of test shots but people had their hands in front of their face or moved when I was trying to take the shot.  Birds are much easier to photograph

or inanimate objects.  My daughter who doesn't crochet made me this doily. 

The very first project I ever did was a red doily for my mother.  My neighbor LouLou, who was like my grandma, helped me with the pattern.  She made me rip, redo, rip and redo until I got it right.  I never did do another project until years later when I was married.  #1 did a great job with no help and included a poem with it.  I am going toblock it and frame them as soon as I can find the frame I want. 

Later in the week there will be plenty of time to clean, put away the gifts, clean out the fridge and other mudane jobs but for now I am going to bask in the aftermath of the a wonderful Christmas.  Tomorrow their are appointments but for now....


Thursday, December 23, 2010


Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends. ~Margaret Thatcher

#1 and I were talking about traditions recently. In her married life and with a baby on the way, they are forming their own traditions. They are combining some traditions from both of their childhoods and forming new ones along the way.

Last year when we were still scarred from losing my mom and uncle, everything HAD to be done the way Mom did it. I was never the baker and here I was trying to make all her foods without her recipes. I was making my own gift tags, making my own cards, making a lot of the gifts and making my own wreathes. Everyone was trying to deal with their own grief and different traditions held different meanings for everyone. I tried anticipating it all and drove myself ( and possibly others) nuts while trying to do so. I came to realize traditions are great but they are nothing without the family. And with that fear of trying to perfectly replicate the Christmas’ past removed,  I was free. The traditions are still there but I can do things my way and if need be cheat along the way.

So this year went easier…I bought wreathes for home and the cemeteries, I had gift tags left over from last year, this year’s cards were easily printed out, and I had a year of baking mistakes under my belt. If all the cookies burnt then there was always the bakery. I made some gifts.  If I had something in mind but the pattern was driving me crazy, I sat it aside and didn’t force myself to work on it. If the project gets done it can be put away for another time or even another person.

So, the decorations are all up. I have all the shopping done. A few gifts are still in shipping but will arrive before Christmas but if they don’t they are not any of the important ones. I have everything else wrapped. The breads are made. Almost all the cookies are made. The meats have been taken out.

And now instead of spinning around like a mad woman, today I am watching Christmas movies and finishing off a pair of fingerless mitts for a friend. If time allows I would like to make her a pair of slipper socks, if they don’t get done on time, her birthday is in February!

The kids came home early from school and the man has tomorrow off so instead of trying to do it all I can pawn off various jobs on them! 

So the traditions are still there but not at the expense of family or my sanity.  Everything is right on track but if it goes a stray it could become a new tradition.  And to make sure I don't forget my lessons and worry to much about the traditions and not enough about the family is the newly knit Shelf Elf.

So I wish you all a very Merry Christmas filled with friends and family.  Keep the traditions close but the friends and family closer.

Christmas is not in tinsel and lights and outward show.

The secret lies in an inner glow.
It's lighting a fire inside the heart.
Good will and joy a vital part.
It's higher thought and a greater plan.
It's glorious dream in the soul of man.
~ Wilfred A. Peterson

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Lovin' from the Oven"

“The smell of good bread baking,
like the sound of lightly flowing water,
is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight”
– M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating

The warm temperatures of this past weekend did not stick around for long.  The seeping ground water is making ice sculptures and sheets are floating down the river.  But still no snow to speak of.

So with Christmas fast approaching and the daily highs barely hitting  20 degrees, I decided to warm up the house with some baking.

Yesterday it was 2 loaves of Orange Cranberry bread, 2 loaves of Holiday bread, 1 loaf of Banana bread, 2 loaves of Zucchini bread, and 3 loaves of Pumpkin bread. 

Today, I hope to get the Date Nut bread and some chocolate chip cookies done.  The Caramel Nut are already mixed and frozen, they just need to be sliced and baked.  This is a job #2 daughter wants for this weekend.  She also wants to bake Peanut Butter, Choodles, Sugar cookies and Almond Crescent's.

Tomorrow I have to make three Cheesecakes for a Christmas party.  Then I will be done baking for a while except for regular bread. 

Tomorrow night we will finish our Christmas shopping.  Then it is just the count down....8 days!!!!!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010


Letters are expectation packaged in an envelope. ~ Shana Alexander
Two envelopes recently brought the past from both sides of my family to the forefront.

The first...I was paging through one of my mother's knitting books and found an envelope, yellowed with age it had "get copies made" in her writing.  I opened it up to find old negatives.  I took them to be developed curious as to what would be on them.  Modern technology didn't know what to make of old negatives so it took two weeks to get them back!  They were photo's I had never seen before.  One photo was of my maternal  grandfather with three of my cousins and an unknown woman.  The second, taken the same day, is my grandfather with one of my cousins.  The third was my grandmother and grandfather holding my cousin obviously at a birthday party.  The fourth photo is of my mother and father cutting hay with a scythe.  As soon as I saw it I remembered her telling me about haying that way and that it wasn't hard because once you started you would get into a rhythm.  So I made copies to put into the Christmas cards to the cousins.

The second envelope was put into my hand at the annual VFW bingo.  The woman (K) who gave it to me had once dated my older brother.  They broke up and she married someone else.  I babysat all three of her children.  Her son is my nephews godfather.  So suffice it to say that the families have been friends for many years.  She said "I just recently found this and while it is too late for #1 daughter to use it at her wedding, I thought you could put it away for #2.  Your (paternal) grandmother gave me this for my high school graduation".

I opened the envelope to find a linen hankie with tatting around the edges. 
My grandmother use to tat, crochet, quilt and make rugs but K was not sure if my grandmother had done the work on this or not. 

 Either way it was wonderful of her to have kept it these many years (40+) and to give it to #2.  

When my grandmother gave this to K she was a widow living in a house without indoor plumbing, heating/cooking with a coal stove, and surviving on a railroad pension.   I am not even sure if she had electric then although I know she did in 1970.  My point being that even though she had little she found a way to commemorate a graduation day and the thought was appreciated.  I know that kids now a days would laugh at receiving something similar for a graduation present and would toss it out.   I think later they would regret the loss of what could have been a family heirloom.  #2 just turned 16 so she will not be using this at her wedding anytime soon but this will go into her hope chest, right beside the afghan made by her grandmother for her first child.  I love these links to the past.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Hallmark Moment

"You didn't have to do what you did.  That's what made it so special"  Hallmark card from Hallmark commercial
I recently was the recipient of a couple of gifts.  While totally unexpected they are so appreciated and each day has been brightened by them....literally and figuratively

A "manned" a booth for my cousin (in law) for a couple of hours.  Right next store was a crafter that could get me in a lot of trouble.  I ogled this one product and I mentally argued with myself  if I should buy it.   I walked out without the product because Christmas is coming and it was a "want" on my part and not a "need".  Thanksgiving Eve my cousin (in law) dropped off the object of my ogling. 

*Thank You Again*

I immediately put it centerstage on the table and lit it.  Oh it is beautiful!  It decorated our Thanksgiving table and was oohed and aahed over by company.  It now sits on the buffet so the children don't play with the might think they were old enough to listen but nope.  I have lost many a candle to their antics.

When #1's mother-in-law came on Thursday she came bearing gifts.  When she asked if she could bring something I suggested sparkling grape juice as the kids like to think they are drinking wine.  She had the juice but also brough champagne which my sister-in-law and I quickly consumed, some yummy coffees, some gardener's hand therapy soap and lotion,

 and a bethlehem star made of beveled glass and copper trim.

 It was like Christmas a month early!  *Thank You Again*

So this morning I didn't have any kids home, I didn't have to leave the house for any reason so I sat by the fire with my softening hands wrapped around a cup of Misletoe coffee, the smell of pumpkin spice from the candle perfuming the air and prisms of light bouncing off all the walls from the sun shining through the star.  It was a perfect Hallmark moment where you realize you truly are blessed, given to me from two women who didn't have to do what they did and that's what made it so special.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Unexpected

The best things in life are unexpected - because there were no expectations. ~Eli Khamarov, Surviving on Planet Reebok

Yesterday was a gloomy day.  It slowly warmed up but was rainy with 2-3 inches expected.  I had to go to town and I stopped in the thrift store for shits and giggles. 

I walk in and was greeted by...
it reads "The Joys of Winter Never Melt Away".  He is happily ensconced on the oak bench as you enter my house.  Cooper (the coon dog) stares at him and whines because he thinks it is one of his play toys.  He is not going to get him.

Next I spied this little towel

which goes with my curtains so I HAD to buy it.

I maneuvered through some shelving units and came to the side wall full of kitchen paraphernalia, pots, pans, dishes, coffee pots, bread machines etc.  I look up on the top shelf and there sits a beat up box that reads pressure canner.  Well I have a pressure canner but it is a 23 quart and sometimes I only need to can a couple of pints.  I open the box and the canner is pristine as in never used.   The weight had never been removed from it's envelope, everything was there including the book and warranty papers.  It is a Mirro 8 quart canner.  The original price tag says $55.95.  I couldn't find one of their price tags and was walking toward the counter to inquire what they would want for it when I thought to check the bottom....$7.99!  Where it wasn't the best bargain I have ever found, it was one that made me extremely happy. 

In other news, #2 daughter turned 16!  We need to get her a driver's permit.  The teaching will fall into the man's lap.  When I ride with anyone I usually knit as a distraction from becoming a back/side seat driver.  I don't particularly like to drive but I am also not comfortable riding!  This should be loads of fun.

Thanksgiving was wonderful.  Thirteen of us ate till we could eat no more.  We did without the holiday buying spree and sat at home together on Friday.  Saturday we did venture out to cut a tree but when we got there they were only selling pre-cut ones so we left.  Our old cut your own place closed and we have to find a new one because cutting it yourself just adds to the whole season for me and it is something we all look forward to.

#1 daughter and Sir T sent pictures (sonogram) of the baby.  I say it is a boy but his mom says it's a girl.  Since they won't find out we will have to wait and see.  I need to finish the little coat just in case his mom is right.  Either way I have to get knitting since Christmas comes first and that is only 23 days away.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Conglomeration of Things

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!
~ Scottish Saying

My brother recently put a trail cam behind my house and here are a few things traveling my woods at night...
It is a little hard to see but behind the bush is a big coyote, which is probably what got my turkey this spring.
It was either that or the bobcat I chased away from my hens.  Years ago I worked nights and once when I pulled in the driveway, I swear I saw a mountain lion.  My uncle believed me but most other people just scoffed at the idea.  Before I had the dogs the coyote use to come down during the day and rub up against the hickory tree.  He would be standing outside when the kids left for school. 

I love watching animals in their natural habitat and I try to stay out of their area.  I use to sit and watch the red fox pounce  in the field covered in snow trying to get the field mice and moles deep underneath.  It was very interesting how he would tilt his head to hear them scurrying around.  Then he started trying to get my chickens and he wasn't so cute anymore.  Or the bear in the yard running around and climbing trees...adorable....until he started heading toward the chickens and then we had to go scare him away.

But moving on, this is what my brother hopes to get during hunting season, a big eight pointer.  I have been told there is a 10 pointer up there too.  I usually just see the does with fawns and occasionally a spike, when they take their daily walk out of the woods. 

"The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not."  ~ Mark Twain

So true and so hard for the man. He likes coffee, the occasional beer, and meat.  It doesn't matter what kind of meat or how it is cooked just make sure there is meat with those other things on his plate.  Yeah the vegetables that he eats with a bite of meat to disguise their taste.  He is worse than a picky kid sometimes.

The headaches continue but the meds they gave him are helping.  The memory issues continue but as I said before he actually started catching himself and he is thinking before he speaks!!!! I know, unbelievable but true!!!  He catches himself and tries to bluster his way around.  The guys at work are watching him since any mistake he might make could be detrimental to them all as in BOOM...he works with propane.  I am still worried but he got a clear bill so he won't even listen because the doctors know more than I.  So we just try to add more good things to his plate and hope his mental issues make him not notice!!!

When a child is born, so are grandmothers. ~Judith Levy

or maybe this one...

Becoming a grandmother is wonderful. One moment you're just a mother. The next you are all-wise and prehistoric. ~Pam Brown

In May I will be a giddy prehistoric woman.  #1 daughter and Sir T are finally making me a grandmother.  I have waited and waited years for this to happen from one of my two older children.   Thankfully they didn't make me wait until I truly was prehistoric.  I think I will be able to get down and build towers out of blocks or legos.  I think my fingers are still nimble enough to button those small buttons and snaps on Barbi's clothes (or I will make some for her that don't need to be buttoned!)  I honestly think this pregnancy will pass longer for me than my own did!  They won't find out the sex but I say it is a boy.   Thankfully you can make things that can be worn by both in case my grandma radar is off.

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ~Norman Vincent Peale

I love this time of year.  People actually try to behave like they should the rest of the year.  So those that don't know....

Countdown Clocks, Christmas Countdowns at

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Modern Medicine

“Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, in human beings of who they know nothing” ~ Voltaire

Almost two weeks ago the man took the day off. We went to town and he was driving and forgot where he was going, walked to the wrong car in the parking lot, took wrong turn’s, pulled in to get gas but didn’t stop at the pumps just drove straight up to the door, etc.

It really scared me. He said he had a headache and pressure behind his eyes. I took him to the doctors on Wednesday. They were not happy, wouldn’t let him drive or work. We stopped off at the hospital on the way home and had blood work done. He had an x-ray and MRI on Friday. And we had to wait on the results which made for a long weekend.

The headaches continued. He would have an ice pack on the back of his head and warm rice bag across his eyes and go to bed.

Sunday #2 daughter woke up with the beginnings of an earache so I knew I would be chauffeuring someone else to the doctors. That afternoon we were sending the pigs to the butcher and we were all at the barn to help load them. #2 daughter and son let the lambs out into the barnyard to play with them while waiting on the truck to arrive. Domino (lamb) would walk up to #2 son and very easily push him. #2 son thought this was “cute” so he got down on all fours …can you guess what happened next. As I am telling #2 to get up, Domino reared up on his back legs and let #2 son have it.

So Monday we trekked to the kids Drs. #2 daughter has a sinus infection … #2 son has a mild concussion (stupid is as stupid does). And we went home to wait on the man’s results.

Tuesday we get a call from the doctor that NOTHING is wrong, blood work is fine, MRI shows nothing. The confusion is down to one or two episodes a day (because he second guesses himself) so they said it could possibly have been a “temporary chemical imbalance although we didn’t test for that”. The blood work could have shown them but they didn’t do the test. They make an appointment with an eye doctor and prescribed some meds for the headaches.

Wednesday we go to the eye doctor who says nothing is wrong. They make an appointment for another eye test in two weeks.

The headaches continue, the eye pressure/burning continues but nothing is wrong. This is normal? We are out a week’s pay, copays, prescription costs, lots of gas money, and whatever other bills come in…and we still don’t know what is going on. I love modern medicine. This reaffirms his opinion of doctors so getting him to go to another will be impossible.

So I let him hop in his truck today and go off to work . Why? Because we need the money and they say nothing is wrong and that he is allowed to drive and return to work so he was going.

When my mother’s blood pressure started to rise, they upped the dosage she was on. Her family history said high blood pressure. When her back started to hurt we put it off on her age and working so hard in the garden. When she started losing weight we didn’t think much of it as we lose weight in the spring/summer when we are more active. When her legs and ankles swelled they said possible side effect of the meds and switched to one with a water pill in it…..She was later diagnosed with kidney cancer. The flags were there and we all did nothing because it was all so easily explained away.

Turning left to go home when you should be turning right, walking past your own car, forgetting where your friend lives and driving past their driveway, headaches that OTC meds won’t touch….these are not so easily explained away. I am not complaining because I want him sick. I want him to remember where he lives and I don’t want him to forget and turn left in front of an oncoming car or bus when he should have been turning right.

So I wait…to see if he gets better or worse, to see if he will go back to the doctor if it gets worse. I started keeping notes on what he eats and when he gets confused. For now that is all I can do since nothing is wrong.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

My Big Fish In A Small Pond

A "big fish in a small pond" is an idiom.  It can also be said "better a big fish in a little puddle than a little fish in a big puddle" 

It means a person who lives in a place where there is little competition. Some add that the big fish is content with their role as an important person in a small group and that they don't have the ambition to fight all the little fish in a big puddle to reach that same role or to have a position of less power or importance. 

I would guess that describes me.  I don't have the gumption to scratch and fight to get a title or money that will buy me something I won't have the time to enjoy because I have to keep fighting the other little fish.  I am content where I am in my life. 

But my flowers are fighters. Or since we are a society that likes to pigeon hole and label things, maybe they are seasonally maladjusted.  I went into my spinning room and the Christmas cactus was blooming.  All the others are in advanced stages of budding.

When I was walking to my car to run errands I walked past the forsythia.  Killing frosts and then a week of unseasonably warm temps must have sent it reeling!

I love to see the hedge of forsythia in bloom in the spring and I love Christmas but I must say I have enjoyed these blossums more as they were not lost in the shuffle, they were the big fish in a small pond.

Monday, October 25, 2010

"Of Course I Can!"

Poster printed by the US Government Printing Office in 1944 as part of the war effort.

I don't can to be patriotic.  I grew up on home canned foods and ate meat that was raised by my family.  Until the death of my father we even drank raw milk and made homemade butter.  My mother's one book states that my aunt and her canned 176 pints of green beans in 1973.  So when it comes to canning I will quote Hank Williams Jr and say "I'm just carryin' on an old family tradition".

I joined a Yahoo Group dedicated to canning this year… LOTS of inspiration there! I learned a lot more about pressure canning and proceeded to can up more soup and products with meat. This allows for quick meals when we are busy. If the kids want soup in their lunch I can open a jar and not have to make a full pot. I would still like to can some split pea soup for #1 daughter to take home but that has to wait until I get ham.

In the garden the cucumbers weren’t much but provided enough to make pickles. I had to declare war on the cabbage worms and potato beetles. Zucchini which usually grows rampant gave a couple early then died. My Brussel Sprouts never got much bigger than a shooter marble and if they did they were open and not compact. But then there was the green beans that I had a friend come over and pick several times because the tomatoes were unbelievable. I still have some tomatoes sitting on the counter and green ones in the basement.

I was trying to keep track how much produce my seeds produced but when I got busy that was not a priority. I did however write down at the end of the night what I canned. The Blueberry’s were given to #2 daughter for helping pick for a friend. The Strawberry’s were either frozen from last year or bought at Wal-Mart for $1 per quart(?) container. A case of peaches, some grapes and a container of cherries followed me home from the farmers market. The pears and apples I get free from a friend and the pumpkins I bought from a Pumpkinfest. All the rest came from the farm or garden…

Product                             Quart    Pint    ½ Pint    ¼ Pint

Canned Turkey                   6
Vegetable Broth                              16
Currant Jam                                      3          1
Blackberry Jam                                 4          3
Blueberry Jam                                   1          4
Apple Blackberry Jelly                      8
Green Beans                                   43
Zucchini Relish                                13
Strawberry Jam                                2          4
Currant/Apple/Blkberry Jelly            3          4
Zucchini Lemon Crème                     6          7        1
Grape Juice                          7           6
Dill Pickle Slices                              13
Peach Jam                                         4        3
Peach Pit Jelly                                   3         1
Hot Pepper Butter (Mustard)          46         2
Cherry Almond Jam                          2         2
Salsa                                              47          3
Salsa Juice                             5        6
Tomatoes Crushed              21         8
BBQ Sauce                                   12          1
Elderberry Jelly                                6          2
Tomato Soup                                16
Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce 8        16          1
Green Tomato Relish                     16
Chili Sauce                                    14
V8                                    16          4
Peaches                             11         3
Peach Pie Fill w/Almond      7
Bread & Butter Pickles                   7
Peach Pie Fill w/Cinnamon 5           2
Mary’s Dill Pickles                          7
Whole Dill Pickles            6
Low Sugar Peach Jelly                    2          1
Low Sugar Peach Jelly w/Cinn        2          1
Tomato Sauce                21           19
Vegetable Soup               3            16
Strawberry/Jalapeno Jelly                            9
Straw/Apple/Jalapeno Jelly                        10
Orange Rhubarb Butter                               9           1
Cabbage Soup                              11
Pepper Relish                                              4            3
Apple Butter                                 15          2
Onion Soup                                  11
Applesauce                                  10           3
Spaghetti Sauce            9
Orange Jelly                                                 3           5
Orange Rhubarb Jam                                   6
Bacon Jam                                     1
Apple/Quince Jelly                                        3          3
Rhubarb/Pineapple Jam                  1             4          4
Apple Pie Filling        10
Beef Stew 7
Strawberry Balsamic Blk pepper      3           2           2
Strawberry/Rhubarb Jam                 4            1           2
Pumpkin Butter                                5            5
Apple Cider             14                    7
Cowboy Candy (hot Peppers)          3
Corn Beef Hash                                3          12
Sloppy Joe                                       7
Sweet & Sour Chicken 3                  6
Amaretto Pears                                6
Pear Butter                                      5            4

Froze 50# Broccoli and 14 pints Corn, 8 pints peas, 7 bags Asparagus, 8 pints brussel sprouts and 6 pints kohlrabi

Dehydrated Pears, Peaches and Apples

Made Kahlua, Peach Schnapps, Strawberry liquor and Currant Liquor

Storing Potatoes, 5 Pumpkin, 2 LI Cheese Squash, 3 Cushaw Squash, 8 heads of cabbage and a bread tray of green tomatoes

Had butchered 42 Chickens, 3 Turkeys and 3 Pigs going in 2 weeks

Of course, I am always out of sync. On a week when the temperatures are to be above normal I am ready to sit by a woodstove and await the snow.  Guess I will go cut down those blackberry canes after all.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Leaves and Thrift

"How silently they tumble down
And come to rest upon the ground
To lay a carpet, rich and rare,
Beneath the trees without a care,
Content to sleep, their work well done,
Colors gleaming in the sun.

At other times, they wildly fly
Until they nearly reach the sky.
Twisting, turning through the air
Till all the trees stand stark and bare.
Exhausted, drop to earth below
To wait, like children, for the snow."
- Elsie N. Brady, Leaves

We had a killing frost last night.  Looking up into the woods today, you will see showers of leaves with each little breeze.  I sat enjoying my morning coffee watching them blanket the ground.  I was warm tucked in the house which had a fire going last night.  I threw one log on it this morning and it has now warmed significantly to no longer warrant it's heat. 

The man worked today and #2 daughter and I have been in the kitchen since shortly after he left.  My German thriftiness finds me listening to that nostrum "Waste not, want not"  See these little babies - oh so sweet and delicious....
Well they have friends, lots of them that appeared on my doorstep....

So far we have each consumed a couple, made seven pints of amaretto pears

and sliced up 8 trays that are now dehydrating.  There are still lots more which will shortly become pear butter and maybe a pear cake. 

Although I would love to be spinning or knitting the fact that these were sitting there going bad would eat away at me.  I would be unable to enjoy myself.  I can still hear my mother telling me "don't look a gift horse in the mouth" and also about all the starving children in Africa.   Why did my mother never tell me to be more like the grasshopper and less like the ant?  I guess because soon the snow will fly and we will be enjoying the ant's larder and not freezing my butt off like the grasshopper.  I guess Mother did know best.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


“Hobbies of any kind are boring except to people who have the same hobby. ~ Dave Barry

And this weekend was one big party for all people who spin, knit, crochet, weave, felt or hook rugs.  It was the weekend of NY Sheep & Wool at Rhinebeck, NY.

I went on Saturday.  (Reminder to self, leave home earlier to arrive earlier or buy tickets on line)  And how did it go you ask? this....

1.  Park in BFE (in case you don't know what that is the E stands for Egypt)
2.  Hiked from there to within view of the gate
3.  Stood in line while body adjusted from car temps to outside windy temps
4.  Took $ out so I would be ready so others wouldn't have to wait as long to attend their addiction
5.  Wind blew $20 from hand
6.  Caught up with $20 and fellow addicts let me resume place in line
7.  Paid and entered the grounds
8.  Found bathroom and once needs were attended to it was onward

It is a big fair ground so suffice it to say...walk...ogle...smell....touch....walk...ogle....smell....touch
...spend....walk....ogle....smell.....touch and repeat. 

Walk - to move about in visible form.  Walking is not quite the right word while inside buildings it is more of a shuffle, stop, shuffle, move out of the flow to ogle, touch or spend.

Ogle- to look at especially with greedy or interested attention.  Ogling was not just of the products offered by vendors or the animals,  it was also what everyone was wearing.  It is a people watching paradise...the finest lace to someone's first attempts at spinning...all worn proudly. 

Touch - permit a part of the body, especially the hand or fingers, to come in contact with so as to feel.  If the vendors got a penny for every touch they would be obscenely rich by.  The feel of the different fibers, the difference between roving and a fleece, to tightness of a hooked rug and the yarns. OH my!!!

Spend- to pay out or expend money....the man LOVES me going to sheep and wool festivals!

Smell- To perceive the scent of (something) by means of the olfactory nerves.  The smells were not just from animals but also from foods being offered which before long sent your stomach on a quest to eat it's self it not attended to immediately

The line for the pot pies was insane so I settled on a hot dog and fries.   The stomach was satisfied but I have a feeling we will be having a pot pie for dinner this week. 

...walk...ogle...spend...smell.  But then some people were getting obnoxious and it was time to leave.  There is no award for who spends the most, makes the most trips to their vehicle or dies with the most yarn.  We are all there because of our love of this hobby so there is no need for the nasty "can YOU move?" or being shoved.  I guess it is naive to think that our hobby could bring us closer as it does take all kinds to make the world go it was exit stage left before I got to the point of giving them a piece of my mind since I still need to use it for a while.

I left with some Shetland roving, some light and dark gray alpaca roving and an 8 inch #2 circular needle.

close ups.....

I arrived home to #2 son cooking dinner for the newly weds, his beloved A, #2 son and daughter, the man and I.  Steak, potatoes, broccoli casserole and corn.  #2 daughter did the dishes and I sat and relaxed.  It was a damn near perfect day.  Repeat next year.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I am a Mother In Law!!

Marriage--a book of which the first chapter is written in poetry and the remaining chapters written in prose. ~ Beverly Nichols

#1 daughter and Sir T eloped on 10/10/10!!!  We would have loved to have been there but this worked out best for them.  Planning a wedding and getting everyone on the same page can be so stressful.  You think it is your day but it really isn't.  By eloping it was truly their day.  They didn't miss out on anything other than the big party which would have cost a small fortune.  She had a gorgeous gown and he was sporting a tux.  They had the big bouquet, the photographer, their dinner and the cake completely dictated to their own specifications.  It was all done at a beautiful B&B in PA.

I knew the where and when's of it and watched the clock throughout the day.  That evening she tried sending some pictures but the WiFi on her end was not cooperating.

These are just some pics they took.  Hopefully the professional photo's will come up with them this weekend.  They are going to Rhinebeck with the man and I!

He is the half part of a blessed man
Left to be finished by such as she:
And she a fair divided excellence
Whose fulness of perfection lies in him.
- William Shakespeare

I don't know who is luckier, her or Sir T.  She lends a playfulness to his life whch tends to be more serious.  She helped him with his studies and then researching companies when he was applying for a job.  She tries to get him to eat healtier but he is like the man...meat, meat, meat. 

He trys to motivate her procrastinating side.  He stands behind anything that she wants to do, helping where he can.  Where they may pick on each other they don't let anyone else do so in anything but a playful manner.  They complete each other.  They discuss everything.  As a mother, it is fascinating to watch.

The man and I are very lucky to have them in our lives and wish them the very best where ever their future together takes them.

Are you ready for some football?

“Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it's much more serious than that.” ~ Bill Shankly

Football is a weird thing.  I love the game but I have a hard time watching it.  I scream at them when I want them to do something but then that same amount of energy makes me cringe when they hit.  #2 son plays football.  His decision.  I am ambiguous.  On one hand it makes him maintain his grades and is great exercise.  On the other, he injured his rotator cuff last year and this year he had a shoulder injury and twisted his wrist.  Each game I wonder what else is going to get hurt.

Like the big leagues, his team has Monday Night Football.  Varsity has Friday nights.  My SIL was late getting home because of an accident blocking traffic so I was watching the nephews.  This made me late for son's game. 

We got there at the beginning of the second quarter.  The score was 6-22...not good.  I look for #2 son and find him on the field with a bandage on his leg. 

What happened now?  #2 daughter reminds me he had a cut on his leg from climbing on a stone wall and they probably made him cover it.  OK attention back on field. 

Our guys have the ball, they pushed down the field, scored and got the extra 2 points. 

Score: 14-22 

I think half time came then along with some sprinkles.  When things resumed, the opposing team got the ball and was unsuccessful.  We got the ball back. 

We pushed down the field, scored and got the extra 2 points. 

Score:  22-22

By this time things were darkening and the field lights came on.  From the bleachers you could see llightning flash on the other side of the lake but the ref's couldn't see it down on the field with the lights on. 

The rain got harder but we persevered because it was a tied score in the third.   The opposing team had the ball.  After a couple of plays they decided to pass the ball to get more yardage.  They threw it and we intercepted. 

Pandemonium erupts!!

We get all set up on our 35 yard line, people are stomping and clapping.  Anticipation is running rampant.

The guys bend over to start the play and lightning flashes pretty close by.  The thunder is drowned out by the stomping feet on the bleachers.
The whistle blows and the game is called.  The kids are out there trying to tell the ref's it was the flash from their camera so they could keep playing!

It was such an awesome game and then it was left hanging.  #2 son came running out of the locker rooms, through the rain, tossed his bag in the back and was so animated the entire ride home.  Me, I was nervous the whole ride with lightning turning the night into day and the wipers barely keeping up with the rain.

It was good to be home...only four more games left this season.  I don't know if I can take this!!!