Sunday, July 31, 2011

I'm Experimenting Once More!

Extreme circumstances call for extreme measures, and I think,due to the shape the economy is in at the moment, these times can be considered extreme. Extreme in that times are hard for everyone.Regardless as to whether you are a budding family with several mouths to feed,struggling to keep afloat, or simply a couple living on Social Security.

Pop had stopped at our local Dollar Store this past week to pick up a needed item for me that day, when he stumbled across an Amish family he knew, and they were purchasing several jugs of inexpensive flavored drinks. Of course, Pop had to visit with them a few minutes and see why they had so much of the flavored drink.To his surprise, they were using it to can cantaloupe. That blew Pop's mind, and he said he hesitated to come home and tell me,for he figured he could be eating canned cantaloupe for our evening meal,that very day.Sure enough, after he told me about it, I began to do some research as to what I might use as a base for my canned cantaloupe. I had been trying to empty my older freezer,to give it to one of my brothers, and I was down to the last years Strawberry Freezer Jam.What a nice base that would make. The sugar and flavor in the jam should be a good addition to the cantaloupe, since the drought we have been having this year, has caused the cantaloupe to be not as sweet as usual.

I proceeded to dice up my cantaloupe and put it and the jam in a kettle and heated it to boiling, then spooned it into my jars and sealed it.I put one pint in the fridge to cool before opening it for a sampling. Pop,Leah, and I all agreed that it was worth saving a few jars,so I proceeded to do so.The second canning, I used a bottle of the grand children's Birthday Cake Flavoring which they use for slushies. It was different, but O K.I will probably use different flavors to experiment more,until I find one we really like. The Amish family said they liked it as well, and it was much cheaper than canned peaches. I figure I will incorporate it in a can of mixed fruit and see how that goes. We eat fruit for a dessert a lot after our meals. Less fat,less sugar, it's filling,and more nutritious.We have an abundance of cantaloupe at the present time, and they don't hold over too long,so I feel this will be a great way to save the melons for later use.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Frugal Note Papers Project

Many times I have been tempted to buy those cute little note paper tablets. The picture, the color, and/or the verses are a few of the many reason I would do that.That is so dumb. I have lots of pieces of note paper. I save every morsel of clean clear paper from envelopes to cornmeal sacks.I trim off the clearest parts and use them for notes. Usually for phone numbers or grocery items I need to remember.Now, why had I never gotten the idea for a lazy day project of sitting with my little pieces of paper and trying to cutsie them up with some of my own verses,stencils,stamps, or paints.Heaven only knows I have enough of all of those things. I will box them up and put them aside, then one day when the snow is falling out doors and I must stay in, I will have a lazy day job ready.I am so excited just thinking of what all I can do with this little project. I may even end up with a few last minute Christmas gifts from the idea.

The piece laying on the top of the little papers is the metal tearing strip from a box of tin foil.I felt it might come in handy while working with paper.Sometimes you only need a small piece to write one or two items down.Just tear it off with the little cutter.I may cutsie it up a bit,too.

Simple Things Can Make Me So Happy?

Is it just me, or do others feel the same peace and contentment from such small things ,as I do.I know they say that small minds are easily pacified, but surely, that is not the reason I feel such peace when engaging in the small things I do that make me so happy.

I must confess, I bought two new tea towels to freshen up my kitchen when company comes,although  I have stated many times that I buy very little, brand new.While I was using the new towels, I felt I needed a dish washing cloth to match.I know. Strange! But nevertheless, I found a wash cloth that I had made a while back that was in need of an edging, so I proceeded to finish the little cloth with a crocheted  edge that matched the new tea towels. I love the little set and it makes me so happy to see it hanging on my oven door.(I may eventually add a little embroidered flower or two.It seems a bit too plain,to me.)

After assembling the first set, I was on a roll. I found this quaint little spread that was worn to tethers, but so pretty. I had to use it in some way. A tea towel was perfect. I plan to use it as a pattern to make other spreads this winter,too. I needed a solid color towel to make a set,so I rummaged through my basket of Old Rags (I save everything) and found the perfect towel to match the blue in the quaint little spread. Wallah! Another pretty matching set of tea towels. I am so happy with this little set,too. 

I am working on a 3rd set. It is from an old receiving blanket. I use them a lot for towels. I am trimming it in purple. I can't wait to see it completed.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Perfect Purse Idea!

Thanks, Judy, for the purse making idea,for these hot days,when we are cooped up indoors.
I purchased a new bag this past week to freshen up my summer wardrobe. I don't buy many new items, but this one looked so crisp and fresh and summery,I couldn't resist.Since I have been carrying it, I have been thinking of how I could make a similar bag, but make the outer pocket half at the bottom, where it could be interchanged with different colors,patterns,and designs.Wouldn't that be wonderful.You could change the outer pocket accent on the purse to match many more outfits, if the base purse were made of a neutral color, pattern,or fabric.I will be exploring the idea a bit,in the next few weeks. IF, I come up with a decent looking bag, I will definitely be posting about it.This will be another of my many great ideas to add to my lengthy list of experiments.

I Love Experimenting!

mixing spices

Have I mentioned that I love experimenting?(lately anyway? lol!)
I have accumulated a lot of spices that I never get around to using up,so I got this great idea which I have used many times in the past. I like Nature's Seasoning.We were required to use it in the school lunches when I was working, to cut down on the salt in the children's diets. I came to love it and use it at home on a daily basis. It is a combination of herbs and a little salt and pepper. Once in a while I get the urge to mix several of the spices I have on hand,with my handy dandy spice grinder, and use them in the same way. The taste may not always be the same,since I don't know the ratios they are using, but I try to use some of the same ingredients as they have on their label. I feel that most any combination of herbs would be better than salt. I am sure there are lots of herbs that would not work on certain foods, but I can figure that out as I begin using my home made blend.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Oh,Brendie,my dear friend! I wish I could help.

This is in response to Brendie, who exploded emotionally, on her step daughter, in public.

Been there and done that in a few step daughters,Pop,bosses,family members,Mother.I am not one to explode like that, but when I do, it's a doozie. I have done that, three or four times in the confines of my 33 years marriage,and a few times toward others, outside of my immediate family. I, too, think it comes from the culmination of pent up emotions and resentments from different areas. Not necessarily, the present case at hand. I think our bodies and emotions are like a pressure cooker, and if we don't vent a little along the way,they will blow.That's why it's good to have certain friends or family who will listen and let you spew about such things that might be upsetting to you at times and keep it to themselves(which is rare).Some say it helps to write it down,then tear it up, but I never thought much of that idea. I guess there is less chance there, though, of your dirty laundry being spread all over kingdom come. No one would ever know but you and once you wrote it down and destroyed it, it was done.There are usually many factors entering into the reason you explode. Many times it is hormones or some other health issue that you might not be aware of. The thyroid gland is a vital part of everything. If it is not functioning properly, you will see such emotions go haywire. I,too,know how stress of any kind,over a long period of time can cause you to blow. If I am having to do something I dearly hate doing, it will show up in other areas. I get bitter and angry and hard to deal with toward everyone.Even the pets.I can feel it coming on at that time, and know why it's happening,but controlling it is hard.There are lots of things one can try to squelch it.Some work for me,and others do not. Talk to someone about the problem.Go for a nice long leisurely walk. Take a nice warm bath.Run.And if all else fails, try eating something really fattening.That seems to work wonders,but then you must pay the piper later.(Big hips!)I know you are in a bad place with your job, and I,too, have step children. I feel these two things alone, can cause you a lots of grief, but I would recommend a good check up,first. Have your doctor test your blood for every kind of level possible. That would be a good start.I know you cannot let the job go, especially without another lined up to take it's place, with times being as they are, but concentrate on your new venture. Hopefully, you can get it off the ground soon, and be happy and content while you work, from now on.That would be heavenly.From what I have learned about you since we became blogging friends, I know you are a survivor, and you will be O K in the end. Be strong and know we are here to listen.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Unknown Plant

I have a plant,with very tiny white flowers, which could possibly be a weed,that has taken up residence under one of my rose bushes. I comes back on it's own every year,so it must be a perennial..I don't mind it being there since it is a nice ground cover,but I would sure like more information on it.
This is a segment from the plant. It is multi-jointed and seems to grow forever from a main root. I'm not sure if it takes root along the branches. I haven't noticed it doing so.It crawls all under my rose bush and has even overflowed onto the steps and sidewalk. It is in a location that we do not use often, so I haven't bothered to trim it back. I did take a few cuttings to see if it would propagate in a glass of water,but no luck yet.I have unintentionally cut a few ends off with my mower when I mow in that area.

I hate to spread it around if it is going to be a nuisance like the Creeping Charlie plant which I thought was so cute. I brought a sprig of it to my home,years ago, and I have regretted it ever since. It has taken over much of my yard, and is unstoppable.I wouldn't mind putting this plant in my big flower garden. That bed is enormous and I could use a ground cover,to keep the undergrowth in check.It is an area which contains huge slab rock that protrude above the ground, so I have encircled the area,mulched it with everything imaginable,added a little compost here and there and have planted intermittent flowers throughout the bed. Some areas,over  the rocks, now have a thin layer of mulch and soil , so I think it would be suitable for a ground cover with shallow roots.I am hoping someone might  have an idea as to the name or growing habits of this plant.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pine Knob Theater and Derby Dinner Playhouse

A while back, I went to Derby Dinner Playhouse,right across the Kentucky-Indiana line, with my older step daughter and her Husband, and a few other folks. The program we saw was "The Sound of Music."That was my first visit to that particular theater. It was an indoor show and the performers put on their program on a stage that was in the center of the entire building. There were several levels of tables where folks were seated  all around the performance floor. We had our meals first, and then, the first half of the program was performed, with a break in the middle, where folks could have the opportunity to order desserts,if they so desired,then we watched the final portion of the program.
Although I have never taken the time to develop a liking to that type of  entertainment,I did enjoy it, and would consider trying it again.I would hope that Pop would go one time and see it he could enjoy it,too, but I am most certain he would not.Unless, it were based on a Western type script.Then I got to thinking. We have our own theater at Pine Knob,Kentucky, not that far away.We had been to that  little community where the theater now stands, 25 to 30 years ago,but that was before the theater was built in 1987.This year, they are celebrating 25 years since their grand opening.The original play that was performed there was the story of Dock Brown,the outlaw. It was based on a true story.Now that might be something Pop would enjoy.I decided to do a little research(one of my passions)on the theater and it's schedule and performances.To the best of my knowledge, Dock Brown is only showing 2 more times this season.Both times it is in a group of three shows performed that day. We are now working on a plan to attend the September showing. Hopefully the weather will be cooler(and not raining) and we will enjoy sitting out in the open air to watch all three shows.The website for the theater is  .
It appears to be a very interesting place to explore. Who knows? We may get to be regulars like the older step daughter and her husband's family are at Derby Dinner Playhouse. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

I Think I Can! I Think I Can! I Think I Can!

My first try at painting a seascape.I think need more practice on my waves.
One day this past week,we were invited to supper at Pop's cousin,Larry's, home.When we were finished with our meal, we went out to sit on the porch and finish our coffee.Directly across the driveway was a small block building which Cousin Larry's wife,Edna, has landscaped with a sea shore theme.While we were passing the time, Edna and I were discussing the work she had done, and I suggested she put a scene on the side of the block wall,directly behind the sea shore theme she had started.I even suggested that I could possibly paint the scene.I have painted murals on walls before.Well,maybe one.I painted a Knight,the school symbol, on the eighth grade wall,many years ago. I was so proud of it.I do love to dabble with paints,but I simply don't dabble enough to keep in practice like I should.I choose to work outdoors when the weather is suitable. When winter comes, I will do indoor crafts, like painting,sewing,cooking,etc.But I was curious as to whether I had spoke too quick,not being in practice and all,so I drug out my paints and began trying my hand at the task.I did watch a few videos on oil painting,which I do quite often. Each time I watch, I feel I could just take my brush and do exactly what they are doing.Not that it ever works that way, but I do enjoy trying. I would love to spend more time painting, but there are so many other things that I need to do worse.I will continue to practice for a while,before tackling the job of painting the mural,but if and when I take on the job for sure, I will,without a doubt,be posting about it.

The second task that I attempted today was to unhook the old and hook up the new receiver for our TV.The storm apparently took out our other receiver,so I ordered a new one, and it came today. We had been without our main TV for several days.I am scared to death of electricity and all of those wires.They frighten me so, but I felt sure I could do it. I disconnected the main cord from the wall, and proceeded to switch wires, one at a time, putting each in the same corresponding place on the new receiver, as they were on the old one.All seemed to be going well,for the most part, although I did have to call DIRECT TV before the process was completed so they could walk me through the remainder of the necessary steps and finalize everything.I am so proud of myself for attempting these two tasks. I kept telling myself,I think I can. I think I can. I think I can,just like the Little Engine That Could,and I did!Thinking you can must be the key.

Portulaca Moss

I try each year to find a flower that will bloom and stay pretty for the longest period during the hot summer months. I love my Spring flowers, but they are here for such a short time, I get discouraged with the time it takes to tend to them, and then  not get no more pleasure from them than I do.

I am finding that the Portulaca Moss is a good plant to fill the bill. I didn't get mine out as early as I would have liked,since the first flat I bought, I took to Mom. I couldn't bear the thought of me having pretty flowers and Mom not having anything planted at that time. She does love to fill her flower boxes early, so I took the first flat to her and that threw me a little later to get my own started.Then, too, I didn't doctor the soil and fertilize mine as I should have.With all my other responsibilities, I just didn't take the time,but hopefully next year, I will do better.That is one of the reasons I have always said,"When gardening, a year is a long time to wait to use what you have learned from your mistakes".Mistakes or not, I love spending time in my gardens. I know Pop thinks it is useless, the time I spend on them, but I think smoking, sitting around gossiping and drinking one cup of coffee after another,and watching endless Western reruns is useless ,too,but who's keeping track.(Sorry,the devil made me say that.)

I have a few other flowers that are doing great in this heat. The Black eyed Susan , for one,is beautiful. I plan to have more of them in my beds next year,also.They grow everywhere as volunteers,except where I want them, and I don't have much luck transplanting them. I suppose it's because it is during such a hot period that I try.I have been putting a few seed heads in special places as I mulch my beds and trees in hopes they will grow there. I hope they do.

The red rose in the same bed, is the last of Dad's roses.Dad passed in 2001.It was the only remaining rose in Mom's yard, and she thought it was a problem for Rita when she does the mowing each week, so she asked me to take it. I have had it a year or two and it is just now beginning to do good. I doctored it this morning with a good dose of  rich compost.Hopefully, it will be even prettier next year.

I got in 2 or 3 good hours of yard work this morning before it got too hot. I don't like to over do, too much in this heat, although it is hard to make myself stop, even when I know I should.I feel my heart flutter at times, so I know it is trying to tell me something. Either I am getting too hot, I need to eat a bite of something for my blood sugar, or simply that I am out of shape.I went for a walk this morning,behind our house in the woods. That is a good work out for me,since it is up hill to Pop's deer stand and that is a good turn around point, when I do walk.I will try to make myself walk each morning for a few days to see if my being out of shape might be part the problem.When I have walked in the past, I don't seem to need a noon nap.We'll see how it goes.I am not ready to die just yet, although I know we don't have a say in that either,but hopefully it will improve my stamina a bit. But if I should die, while working in my flower gardens,I can't think of a better place I'd rather be. I've seen the monument of a local fellow, who worked with my sister,that loved his farm so much, he wanted to be buried right in the middle. Having my monument setting among my flowers doesn't sound so bad,but then you must consider those who'll own the property in the future. They might not care for it there,so let's hope that doesn't happen.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

This one's for Terry!

 Terry, I don't have a specific recipe that I use. My family all mostly cook by taste.We grew up making scratch cakes, and once you learn to do that, you can mix up almost anything and get a decent product. I use a lot to get ideas on various recipes,but I hate having to follow a recipe. I usually end up doing it my way after I have read over their recipe.

The cream cheese jam bars sounds good and easy, too.I may give it a try for our Wise Family Reunion coming up in August.

When my family make cakes, we usually toss in nuts,raisins,jams,jellies, or preserves. Whatever we want to move, and it usually turns out pretty good. I got a jam cake recipe from a friend, years ago, but it called for so much that I did not have on hand, I decided not to use it. I try to use what I have in my cupboards. Occasionally, I might buy nuts. I like nuts in my jam and fruit cakes.We usually make fruit type cakes around Christmas.We make all different variations. Sometimes we even soak one or two with blackberry wine, or whatever liquor you prefer.I don't do alcohol myself. I love to experiment with my own version of a recipe, but then when you hit on something you really like, it's not very likely that you could duplicate it again.

That was one of my favorite aspects of the job I held for 27+ years. In the beginning, we were allowed to mix up any recipe we chose to. The guidelines were not so strict as they became in later years. We had boocoodles of government foods at our disposal. We were free to utilize them in any way we could to come  up with a food  that the children would like and eat. I remember being bombarded with cheddar cheese, raisins, figs, nuts,flour,powdered milk,etc. There were so many different products that we were given by the government to utilize. If you were creative and loved to cook, as I did, you were in Heaven. I loved my job, until they got so strict, and demanded we follow specific recipes, and documented every drop of everything we used in each recipe.I do realize it was for the safety of the people we were serving, but it was a pain,especially doing all the paperwork. It finally began to look as if the paperwork was all that mattered. They seemed to care less if we fed the children. Our county did have an excellent School Lunch Program. I was so proud to be part of it.My Supervisor and I went to high school together. She was excellent at her job. She was over all of the cafeterias and their workers for the entire county. I think at that time there were 22 schools all total with Preschools,Elementary,Middle, and High Schools. Some schools with about 2,000 students.She worked in that position until she retired a year or two after I did, then she went on to work in Washington,D.C. making decisions that would improve the School Food Services for children all over the United States.I know she is doing wonders for them there, as well.

Terry, if you look over the cooks. com site, you can pull up all sorts of jam cake recipes,even a Kentucky Jam Cake recipe, and you will hopefully find one that suits your family.I do like to use a tried and true recipe that others have made, but I truly don't have one.Good Luck finding one of your family's liking on the site.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I Got A Surprise in the Mail Today!

There was no need to look for a name on the package. I guessed right away, that the pretty sewing basket was from my sister, Vicki, of My Favorite Things". Vicki knows how I love pink roses, on everything. I can just see her now.Browsing through the little shops and finding this pretty sewing box, saying,"Oh,look! I'll bet Susie would love this little sewing basket with the pink roses."And I do. I do a lot of minor sewing projects when the cold winter months set in,so I'll keep it by my chair, for when Pop and I are spending our quality time each evening in front of the TV. He'll be sleeping and I'll be sewing.Isn't it wonderful when you get to spend a little quality time together each evening after a long hard day?Thanks,Vicki,for thinking of me!I should be sending you gifts. Tomorrow is your birthday,in case you have forgotten!Love you and Happy Birthday!

How Do You Like My New Pet?

I have it in a quart jar. It is BIG!

From the research that I've done,it appears to be a Wolf Spider. The pictures are as close to the actual spider as I could find. When I first found it, in the yard where I was working, it appeared to have grey polka dots in the rear section, but after I brought it inside, and put it in a jar, the hind quarters seem to have changed to black. Lizards are very adaptable and usually well camouflaged in their surroundings.Possibly spiders could act the same way.We have lizards that come onto our porch at times, but I think it would be hard to keep one in a jar.They eat insects such as ants, beetles, larvae and flies, so the ones you get around the house are very welcome. From what I have read, a spider con live in a jar for several years.I'm sure it would take a much larger space to keep a lizard.I have been giving the spider a few flies as we swat them around the house. It says the spider doesn't need but one or two insects a day to live, and they get water from their prey,too.

I guess one would think I was desperate for a pet, by me keeping this huge spider. Not really! I was just fascinated by the size of it when it came near me in the yard. I thought it would be interesting for the grandchildren to observe for a few weeks, then we will most likely turn it loose in the woods, far,far away from the yard. We need all the help we can get when it comes to eliminating as many pesky bugs as possible.

I'm Addicted!

These are 3 of my 5 shelves of canned goods.The other two were not as organized.

Can a person be addicted to canning? I think I am.  There are only two of us in our household, but I still want to can everything. I think part of the problem stems from the fact that I ,or we, like to see the vegetables growing, then we get bombarded with so much produce,and of course, we hate to waste.That means we either need to eat it,give it away or can it. Our cucumbers  started producing way more than we can use, but you can only eat so many, and we do give them to every visitor that comes and goes.I would bring them to Mom's, in hopes some of the siblings will drop by to take a few, but then Mom would worry herself sick that they weren't getting to them fast enough.Gas is to expensive to deliver to all the family, and Pop would die a natural death if I even mentioned doing that.If all goes well,a few us us siblings plan to carpool and go to the neighboring town to the big new Amish discount grocery store. They are big hits in this area anymore. I will take some of the excess  produce that day to share with them.

I will be spending the next few days canning. Not fresh produce this time though. I have promised my older freezer to my brother who just recently relocated back to Kentucky and is trying to get a new foothold.The freezer is older. I bought it brand new about 35 or so years ago. It has been a good one, but we found a smaller one on sale at Sears, and we have an extra side-by-side fridge in the basement, so we figured we didn't need this older one. It is a bit larger than our new one. I will be canning the frozen peaches and strawberries which I had frozen initially. We don't need jams and jellies. We are over run with those since we don't make that many jam cakes anymore.That was always a good way to use up some of the last years preserves and the like,but now both of us need to cut back on our eating,plus Pop has sugar.I guess I will could find a good simple recipe and give everyone jam cakes for Christmas this year.That's an idea I may look into.

Looks like we will be having squirrel dumplings for supper. I ran across 2 containers of frozen squirrel while sorting through the freezer's contents. The chickens will be having a feast tonight,too. There are several bags of frozen zucchini and yellow squash that I had saved for zucchini bread and squash casseroles. Way more than we needed.I don't mind tossing a few things like that. The chickens need to eat, too.Strawberries and peaches are too expensive to waste,so I will can them for cobblers and ice cream topping later.

Leather Britches

How I first heard of Leather Britches I can not remember, but I have heard tell of them most of my life. I have never really known of anyone who has actually eaten them.For the last few days, I have been working with a bushel or so of green beans,  and have worried that they were a little more mature than I generally like.We have discussed whether they might be too tough to eat after all the work that's gone into canning them, but then we think about those Leather Britches that we've heard so many stories about. It seems folks somewhere, are stringing their beans up on a string and hanging them up to dry completely,before storing them away for the winter.Then when they need beans, they put a few in a pot to soak, and when they have been revived to a point, they proceed to cook them. Well, I've seen beans that have been dried out to shell, and the hulls sure don't seem like anything one could ever tender up enough to chew,much less swallow or digest. I wonder if I am missing something in the story.The article above speaks of North Carolina. Hopefully someone from that area could enlighten me as to how the story really goes.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Nature at it's Best.

I received this little clip in an email this morning, and it is so amazing, I simply had to share it with my blogger friends. I hope you enjoy it ! I did!

email message ......
I can't imagine anyone of any age not enjoying this! The video clip in the attached link is amazing.  An American robin lays her four eggs in a hanging basket and the home owners set up a camera to film the results.  To see it all, click here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Too Involved?

I am not a true member of the PMA,although I do check out and use what I can of their information.If I were a real Purple Martin enthusiast, I would join the association, but I can't deal with all of the paperwork involved. I don't know if it's mandatory or not, but the paperwork involved, looks unreal. It seems you need to document every move the Martins make through out the entire season, and I'm sure that's the best way, when it comes to knowing all you need to know about your birds,but I retired from my real job of 30 years, mainly because the extent of the paperwork there, had become ridiculous(I didn't take book keeping in school and had no intentions of doing any).I love to see and know all I can about these birds, but I am beginning to think I get too involved.Not only with the birds, but with every living thing that crosses my path.For now, it is the Martins.If I had been as involved as a real enthusiast, I would have had a better idea and plan for the problem that came up yesterday. A really bad storm was brewing. A cold front moving in against the 100 plus degrees we were having, so I knew it would be  bad.I was rushing to check things over before it hit,when I saw a full grown baby Martin, on the ground. That was not good. We have 2 cats.Martins  hardly every light on the ground.I picked the baby bird up and took it inside the garage where Pop was watching Westerns so we could form a plan of action. I  have read that you can pick them up and put them back in the nest,but which nest? I didn't have mine numbered, and I sure didn't know how many babies were in each nest,or which set of parents it belonged to. What was I to do? I had Pop to raise me up in Ole Rose's  front loader and I tried to poke the baby back in one of the gourds,but he resisted going in that one.It was much too high and too dangerous for me to do much maneuvering up there in that front loader and I was a bit frightened of being up that high anyway,so I put him in an empty gourd hoping the real parents would find and continue feeding him,but no,he was not having any part of that gourd either.Out he came. We took him back to ground level, and had decided to call it quits with trying to help. I felt he might be old enough to try to fly, so I tried putting him up on a guide wire ,but he didn't like that either. I tried lightly pitching him up to the roost pole,only to have him fly to the front porch of the house. Thank goodness, I had locked the cats inside for now.I gathered the bird up once more, and thought I'd try one more time to see if he could fly any at all. I pitched him up, and partly with the help of the wind that had come up, he flew off into the woods. I only hope he survived the bad rain,lightening, and wind storm we had a few minutes later. It was pretty rough here,for about an hour or so.Lightening was really bad. We thought we had lost one of the TV's and the computer, but after working with them for awhile,they were both OK.Not so sure about the little bird though.But I tried.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Iced Tea Anyone?

(Nancy, considering all I had to go through to get a good shot of this iced tea setting,I can't imagine what you must be going through to get all of the spectacular shots you post,but then, you know what you're doing. I don't. It's trial and error for me, and I usually come up with more errors than anything else.)
I awoke at 6 this morning, as usual, but the thermometer outside was already on 80 F. No wonder the AC kept kicking on during the night. We keep it set on 76F,and usually it holds pretty steady at that, with the good insulation we have in our new house, so that means it is really hot outdoors.We went to the APA yesterday, passing through some beautiful hollows, going and coming.The air is usually 5 or 6 degrees cooler at the bottom of the hollows, but yesterday, the truck thermometer only dropped 1 degree when we got at the lowest points in the hollows.It was 96 degrees in the shady hollows.Now that's hot!

We hurried through breakfast this morning, so I could get some yard work done,before it got too hot. Pop was chomping at the bit to go and hang out with his Buds anyway,so it was no problem getting out a little earlier to beat the heat. The problem was, it was already hot at 6 a.m.I went ahead and tackled a few minor chores in the yard. I tried to do a little each morning and evening,so as not to get overheated.Then I come in and do a few minor chores in the house,and,yes, I do take a nap and watch my one Soap.When all else fails,I will do housework,but it's not my favorite past time.

73 Ford
We have 4 trucks,no cars, and the 73 Ford is getting a bit worrisome in that it has a lot of problems. Pop wants to junk it, but I keep begging him not to, since I use it for moving my stuff around. It's great for going after red mulch,wild mulch,gravel,flower bed border rocks,landscape timbers,manure,straw,dirt,animals.You name it. I use the old Ford(or Ole Rose)to get the job done.He helped me get it started this morning, before he left.He said it would be good for the day now. The carburetor needs replacing, but Pop says it's not worth it, because it would really need lots more than that to fix it up right.But anyway, I got it running today, to move from bed to bed to put down more red mulch. The beds are looking much better, but I have quite a few more to fix yet. I can only do a few a day in this heat. I reworked the mailbox bed this past week. It looks a lot better. Some FOOL ran over,well really they plowed our mailbox over. Now that was a chore in itself. The mail box was made of huge links of chain,welded in the shape of our initial,N.with two boxes on it,a newspaper box and the regular mailbox, surrounded with field rocks that had been mortared in the ground.We never found out who did it.Nevertheless,Pop reworked the chain part, and put it back up as best we could, and I reworked the bed surrounding it. This time I used store bought concrete border rocks.Now let's see them run that over.
reworked mailbox,still rough,but usable

Mock orange 
Wagon wheel bed 2

Wagon wheel bed 1
These are a few of the beds I reworked this morning.It makes it much easier to mow around them and I think they look much neater,plus the mulch helps hold in moisture longer and keeps down the undergrowth.

saving this bed for last
I am saving this bed for last. There are a lot of flowers that came up in the grass volunteer.If I ever knew their name, I have forgotten it. I do like the flowers, but next year, I hope to put them in a better place. This is the front entrance to our house,which we never use, but still,it makes the view look a bit unsightly and unkept.
This is a close up of the flower with the forgotten  name,if I ever knew it.Possibly moonbeam.

I think it is a member of the coriopsis or tick seed family, but there are so many names to different flowers, I'm not sure.Any suggestions welcome.

Since it is to hot to breath outdoors,much less work, I'll stop for this morning. The Fed Ex man has just brought my cement mixer. I may tackle the job of putting it together, in the basement,where it is nice and cool.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Who should have done what?

This picture was taken several years ago.
The apple tree closest to the kids is now my only remaining original fruit tree.
I have planted a few new fruit trees, but they are still too young to bear fruit.
After reading Allison's blog over at Life of a Novice, I got to thinking about what went on at our 4th of July Pig Roast. It was held at the home of our youngest daughter.The property was previously owned,though many years ago, by a very prominent family in our area. It was the jewel of the community, at that time.It has long since lost most of it glamour, but the children hope to make some updates and do some remodeling as soon as they get their footing a little better.I'm guessing that means when they get the two grandchildren raised and through college.Nevertheless, as the huge crowd gathered for the festivities,I noticed a few children gathering in the orchard around the grand children's swing set.All of the parents were busily playing the Corn Toss game or chatting with others, or testing the Pork,or setting up the table,arranging the seating.No one seemed to notice what the children were doing.I didn't count, but I dare say there were about ten kids ranging from age six to fourteen,boys and girls alike.Their main entertainment became knocking every single pear off of the tree which was standing near the site where they had gathered. Now personally, I live for the moment my fruit is ready to be harvested,but then I only have the one apple tree,not an orchard full.No one seems to notice or even care that this game was going on. I was sick to my stomach as were a couple of other older ladies who appreciate having fruit trees as I do. It was not our house.It was not our kids. The owners didn't seem to care, so why should we speak up to the kids and make every parent at the function mad at us.No one did anything about the situation.I dare say there was not a single pear left on that tree at the end of the day,so therefore, there will be no pear preserves for me this Fall.I usually bring home a bout a half bushel or so each year to make my yearly preserves.What do you think should have been done? I know what kind of a stink is stirred up when you scold other folks kids, so would you have spoke to the kids or maybe called this to the owners attention?People are so touchy about others scolding their kids anymore, even if they know they are doing wrong.Could this be part of the problem with our youth today? It seems no one wants to speak up to the kids or their parents when everyone could see the kids re doing something wrong.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A New Craft Idea

Cement mixer from Harbor Freight
I wake up many mornings with a new idea for a project for that day. Most days, the thought alone will start my blood to surging in my veins, and I'll jump up and get to work. You noticed I said Most days. Occasionally, I have trouble getting  myself motivated.We had a family breakfast today,celebrating Mom's return from her trip,more or less. We went to the McDonald's in WalMart, since we all needed other things from the store anyway. Mary,Terry Lee, Stacey,Mom and Myself were all present.Rita had to take her son to a neighboring town for a dental appointment. Those dentists are cleaning up with our family this past few days.David,Junior,Jerry Dee,and Vicki were too far away to get here in time for breakfast so they'll have to join us at a later date.

Nevertheless, the picture above is my latest idea. I ordered this little jewel for myself. Mary already has one, and I kept intending to go and spend a day with her to see if I could use it, but you know me. No patience.I have so many ideas for the mixer.The first thing I want to try is mixing my compost dirt. I have a nice expensive compost tumbler, but it takes more time and energy than I can afford to spend with it.I have access to horse manure and chicken manure, so now I need to take Old Rose and locate some good soil.

"Ole Rose"I painted the name on her 20-30 years ago. Was that good paint,or what?

Pop usually finds the dirt for me. I'll have him bring me a load to the yard, and I'll keep it under cover, so it will not wash away. Then I can pitch a scoop or two of dirt in the mixer with my manure and grass clippings,twigs,leaves,veggie trimmings,etc. and wallah!Good rich compost in 14 days. That's how long it takes to break it down in the big tumbler, but it must be turned by hand.Now that's a chore.I'm hoping this will work out and be easier. I do plan to use the mixer for cement,too. I have lots of great ideas for making things like stepping stones,border pieces,flower pots,garden ornaments of all kinds(as soon as I locate some molds),etc.I know I have more ideas than Carter has peanuts.(One of our former presidents,Jimmy Carter, use to raise peanuts, but I think he contributes most of his time nowadays to Habitat for Humanity).I must get busy. I don't have a minute to waste.

"If you have time to be bored, you have more problems than you realize."(I don't think I 've ever heard this quote, so I'll claim it as mine,for now.)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Two Amazing Finds for an Avid Gardener!

Roma II Bush Beans

I got my first Roma beans from the Amish Produce Auction on July 4th,2011.I bought 2 pecks at $3 per peck. I cooked a bunch for supper the next day and they were the best green beans I'd eat in forever. I have tried different beans in my lifetime, but never really took the time to worry with finding one type that I preferred over all the rest. When you work outside the home, you just want to get the job of canning done, and get on with other things. In my case anyway, I was always too tired,with too little time to get all the chores done that needed doing. Now that I am retired and have the time and energy, I want to concentrate on the beans we both like and will eat. We got burned out on the kinds we had been canning.Not sure what kind they were, but they were available and plentiful at the time.We usually buy a bushel or so,of whatever kind is available,to can.We only grow a bare minimum of anything in our own garden anymore.Just enough to eat on throughout the summer. The Amish folks have such nice big gardens,good produce, and are so handy, we get most of our produce from them.That way, I can get it in the jars, all in a day and be done with it.Whether it be a bushel of corn,tomatoes,green beans,etc.

Pop thinks it's because we were really hungry,or possibly because we hadn't been eating green beans for awhile, but whatever the reason, I love these new Roma II Bush Beans. So much so, that I have did a little research this morning and found that they only take 59 days to maturity. That will mean beans will be ready in early September. I hope to be planting some today,if pop can find the seeds while he's out this morning..
I started to track down the fellow that grew the Roma beans, but decided instead, to stop one mile down the road and get acquainted with the new Amish family that has moved in.Two families have bought land at the end of our lane, and have out huge gardens. I was in luck. They have the Roma beans, and they will be ready to pick any day. I still hope to plant myself a row. I cleaned a space in the garden for them this morning.

I have listed this website on the beans to show a little more about them, in case anyone else was interested. You may have a seed company that you prefer, but you can read about them here,if you'd like.

Lord Baltimore Hibiscus

It seems I have been gardening forever, but can't remember when I was ever this excited over a couple of new additions.I have always loved to try at least one new plant each year,just out of curiosity,but this year,the prize goes to these two plants.One flower and one vegetable.I awoke this morning to find the Hibiscus in full bloom. I think they are the most beautiful flower I've ever seem.. I planted them where I could see them from my kitchen window, and each morning, and from the front porch swing,where we drink our morning coffee.I am hoping they will bloom all summer.listed below is a website with more information on this hibiscus.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Our 4th of July Festivities

Monday was a dreary rainy day.Although it was actually the 4th,I think a lot of folks celebrated their big day on Sunday, and it was just as well, since the weather has changed a bit.We attended a big outdoor meal at the youngest daughter's home on Sunday.Her husband roasted a pig and had a big bash to celebrate a few different occasions. The 4th, his 50th birthday,a Thank you to the Fire Department for a great year.All together, it made for a great party. They had a Medivac Helicopter scheduled to land in the yard at the beginning of the party. I've never seen such a sight. The wind gusts from the helicopter stirred up grass clipping from the yard and they blew everywhere,but thank goodness, we were able to cover the food.We all had grass in our hair and on our clothes.The copter had an appointment down the road at a local church function,I think that was the story anyway, so they just dropped in on our party as a favor to the local fire department. They all ate a big dinner with the crowd before departing.It was very exciting to see it land so close. The neighbor's corn laid over pretty good from the force of the wind generated by the copter. I hope it raises back up after the little rains we have been having.Just as we were ending our big day, a really bad wind came up. We all grabbed everything that we possibly could and headed for cover. It got pretty rough for a few minutes, but the worst of it blew over quickly, the rains came, and everyone began heading to their individual homes. We got to our house only to find we had very little rain,and we sure needed a good rain. We have had a few more quick showers after that, so that will help a lot.
The families are all busy doing other things on Monday, so Pop and I took a neighbor friend along and visited the Amish Produce Auction.We are not harvesting anything from our garden just yet, so we planned to pick up a few tomatoes and cucumbers to hold us over until ours are ready. We did get a peck of large cucumbers for the table,$2.00, and two pecks of Roma green beans,$6.00. That is a new kind for us, and I wanted to try them.I'm anxious to see if they taste any different.Tomatoes went extremely too high so we held off on getting those.Hopefully our local Amish will be a bit cheaper. Hopefully,we'll get a bushel of green beans and a few tomatoes from them soon.
This is the Pink Belle Hibiscus. I have several of this variety, but of a slightly different color.

I did get a real bargain on some flowers.They had a couple of pallets of Hibiscus plants. I bought 7 plants for $2. each. Now that was the bargain of the day. I have several plants already, but mine are mostly all cream colored with maybe one pale crimson,not sure of their names, but I bought 2 Lord Baltimore's and the other 5 were ordinary hibiscus plants. The five ordinary hibiscus plants are called  Pink Belle.They are a pale pink with a crimson eye..The Lord Baltimore is a different variety from the ones I've always had. Mom use to have a similar plant when they lived in Georgia.The bloom is huge and bright red.The leaves are very different,too.I am so glad I was able to get the red ones for sure.I have wanted that kind forever.I have a dentist appointment on Wednesday evening, but I hope to get them in the ground earlier in the day.The blooms are so big and beautiful.I can't wait to get them established in my yard somewhere,although it is beginning to look like a maze out there.
This is the Lord Baltimore variety. It has a different leaf from the ones I have always grown. Mom had one of these on St. Simon's Island where the second half of my family moved to and spent  nearly 30 years.

This is a spent bloom from the above plant. Hopefully, I will remember to get a picture of it another day. It is  beautiful .

Sunday, July 3, 2011

My 5 Green Valances

I finally finished hemming the five green valances If you remember, I found this piece of designer fabric at a yard sale for $1. I could hardly wait to make it into something. Anything. I simply loved the fabric, and for a steal. What could be better. I started on the valences a few weeks ago. I only worked on them when I found myself tied down to where I could not get out in the yard. Usually late at night,while Pop and I watch a bit of TV, before turning in for the night, or when company stops in, and everyone else is drinking coffee and smoking.I don't smoke and drink very little coffee, so I sew or keep some type of simple craft handy to keep my hands occupied.Now I must decide whether I want to put some type of trim on the valances.  I have the color green in my rugs, but they look so plain as they are. I hope to find some type of cotton fringe,maybe in the same color as the fabric.That would dress them up a little without changing the color scheme.I'll deliberate on that for a few weeks.  After I decide what to do about the trim, I'll toss them in the dryer to smooth out the wrinkles a bit, and they'll be good to go.They should let in lots of wonderful daylight this summer.I love the house being all open and bright during the summer.When winter rolls around, I don't mind the drapes being closed quite as much.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Good People?

I considered myself a good person. I've worked my entire life. I pay my bills on time. I help others along the way as much as possible.I don't lie or steal. I don't take advantage of the government. I obey the laws and rules of my county,state,and country.I give to the poor when needed. I'm polite in traffic.I don't abuse our resources.I don't litter.I don't waste.I recycle. I give freely to others of my time.I share my fruits and vegetables when we have an abundance of anything.I am thankful  for the good life we have. I pray for those in need of prayer for whatever reason. I help with my Mother and the Grandchildren when needed,and never charge for my services.I could go on and on listing the things that I think a good person would do.But I tell you all of this to say,"Why do bad things happen to good people?"It seems I have a book by that title. I must look it up(if it survived the fire) and re read it. It seems bad things are happening in my life at every turn lately. I have been posting about a few of them this last few weeks, and the bad things are still happening.My one rabbit ran into a piece of wire yesterday and punctured her eyeball. I came home from Mom's yesterday and proceeded to wash it thoroughly with Epsom salts water. I know Mom used that on our eyes when they were matted with cold. It let me swab it's eye, with not problem. It lay in my lap and closed the other eye,so I thought it was resting peacefully and hopefully,not in so much pain.I left it in Pop's pouting room over night.Hoping it would rest better in there out of the heat. This morning it appeared quiet, and not so active, but I thought perhaps, it was like some animals that hide away until they are better.I washed it's eye once more and returned her to my Potting Place,where she normally stayed.Two hours later, I went to check on her and she was dead. She had gotten so gentle. Every morning, when I would go out to check on everything, she would run to the door, wanting her morning rub.Both the Tom cat and the house dog do that,too.They get into that habit of the morning rub,real quick.
Later, this afternoon, while I was telling some family members, about my rabbit, Pop gave me more bad news. The second twin goat, which we had sold to a friend,was found dead.Both of the twins we raised for two years now are gone. We would go and visit the three goats,the Mother and her twins,even after we had sold them. We loved them so, but they were getting out a lot and we could not afford them causing a wreck on the road, so we decided to sell them to a friend who had loads of green pasture for them to roam and play and eat.It was a heavenly place for goats. The twins both had their first babies a few months ago and we went to visit them,too.Now we must tell the grandchildren about the rabbit and the twin goats. I am having such a hard time myself, I can't bear to think of telling them.
We have become so disheartened with all the tragic happenings with our pets, we have decided to sell the quail and several of the young roosters. Then we will only have the laying hens and Ellie Mae, and the pair of Bantams.Well, we'll still have the two cats and the two dogs, but the way things are going, who knows what could happen with them.I'll just be content to work with my yard, my garden, my flowers,and my crafts.I will be lost without my pets to care for, but it hurts too bad to loose them, when I do, and the kids do not take as much interest in them as we had hoped they would. After all, most of the pets we have, we had originally got for them.Who knew they would have no interest in them after the first five minutes After that, they were left in my care, and I get too attached.We may get other pets in time, but for now, I think we'll just enjoy the ones we have left.