Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Deviled Eggs

I have always known why they are called Deviled Eggs. It has always been,for me, a devil of a job getting the eggs from the shell.

I cannot believe I am 66 years old and writing about the fact that I have always hated making Deviled Eggs, simply because I could never get the shells to come off while leaving the egg intact. The reason I choose to write about this today is because of the experience I just had with this same ordeal.

We have about 30 chickens, give or take a few. All ages and kinds. We simply love having chickens around the farm. The eggs are probably cheaper in town, although not as healthy and nutritious,when you consider the cost of feed, but we keep on,keeping our chickens, regardless. We don't use them for meat, since it is unbearable for me to eat one after having raised it, fed it daily, called it by name, then decapitated it. No way could I do that.When I was young, it did not bother me quite so much.

We go through long dry spells when the hens are not laying, but when they do lay, we are bombarded with eggs. I try to rotate the eggs stored in the extra fridge in the basement, keeping the older eggs to the front to be used next or given to friends and family. Today I brought up a dozen of the 'next in line' eggs and put them on to boil. Boiled eggs are so handy and nutritious for a quick snack.

I brought the eggs to a boiling point, then turned the burner down to medium and let them continue boiling for another 20 minutes or so, although I was not really timing them. I turned the burner off, let them set for a few minutes then drained the hot water off and covered them with cold water. I then used a method my Father had taught me when I was very young. I take a spoon and peck on the eggshell, making sure the shell was totally cracked all over.Then dropped them back into the cold water. One by one, I grabbed and gently twisted each egg with both hands, as though I were twisting the lid off of a jar of face cream. The entire shell slipped right off. No pick, pick, picking, nor torn up egg. I may try this procedure again, just to see if it works every time. If it does,making Deviled Eggs may not be such a devil of a job after all.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Be Careful What You Wish For

Mennonite farm

(This post was written a few weeks back, but I am having a new book published, and wanted it included.)

Today I was wishing for some reason to get me out of the house. It's still a bit cool and early for yard and garden work. Low and behold, as we were planning to go by Flint Hill Grocery for our breakfast, we got a call from Pop's Cousin Larry. He was stranded down in Hart County with his logging rig, where he had taken the wrong road, and had his log truck in a real predicament trying to turn around and get back onto the right road. We grabbed a bite to take with us since I was already trembling with low blood sugar from the late breakfast and the scare of not knowing what had happened on the other end of the phone conversation. Pop was getting pretty torn up on his end. Needless to say, we headed out to see if we could be of any assistance. Sure enough. It was an ordeal, but between the three of us we got the rig and its trailer turned around and headed out to it's original destination. ****

The view of the country in those parts is spectacular. I think a lot of the land in that area is owned by Mennonites. They are quite different from the Amish around our home. The Mennonites have the most beautiful and immaculate farms. Every aspect of life for them is neat and organized and orderly. The difference is unbelievable. The homes are huge and most of all, neat, as are the out buildings and barns. Neat is the best word I can think of to use when describing their farms. The fields and pastures run forever across the cleared and rolling hills. Even the fences are as neat and well kept as their homes and pastures. It's hard to imagine a farm being so beautiful , but the neatness and the simplicity of it all is breath taking.*****

Most of the Mennonites have a business of some type. They have huge businesses doing and selling other things that benefit us English folks, as well. Many of the discount grocery stores are owned by Mennonites. There are more and more of those types of grocery stores popping up everywhere lately. The cedar mill where we take our cedars is owned and operated by Mennonites. Some build log homes for the public. Some build furniture. One we know of one who has a store selling Redwing shoes, boots, hats, belts, various leather goods, etc.

The Amish, for the most part, live off the land. The do have businesses that are used by many folks in the communities in which they live, but for the most part, they have businesses that benefit their own people, like shoeing horses, training horses, making tarps, repairing buggies, running sawmills,etc. Many raise huge gardens and sell to the public. They also make money by selling their crafts from their homes,along the roadsides and sometimes flea markets and the like. The Amish do not care about pretty things. They live simple and unadorned in any way, whether it be on their person or their homes.

It was such a nice treat to ride through that beautiful country as the day was shaping up a bit. We stopped at a little restaurant, The Bacon Creek Cafe, in Bonnieville, and ate a leisurely meal, before heading out, only to find the log skidder was in need of some repairs. Again,we three, worked on that project for about an hour,before Cousin Larry could proceed on to Bloomfield with his load. He had been hired by one group of Mennonites to haul the log skidder from one location to another.

The sun had come out by the time we got home and warmed things up enough for me to work in one of my raised beds. Pop carried me up, a bucket of rich soil with the tractor before he headed out to work up another load of cedars. I raked and shoveled the new soil into one of my beds, getting it ready to plant. I am not sure yet,just what I'll plant in this particular bed. I have three beds now so I can plants many things. Pop will most likely have his traditional garden, although I am hoping he will downsize it a bit this year. Those huge gardens are getting to be too much for us to care for.

Since Pop had headed out to the woods, I decided to stop what I was doing and go help him for awhile. I hate for him to be back there alone. Considering his age and the danger of using the tractor and chain saws, a second party needs to be present at all times. We loaded the trailer with cedar posts and headed back to the house. Time for the coffee drinkers. I worked on my seed bed a bit more before heading in to start supper while he entertained his guests. After awhile,he made the rounds, feeding the chickens and one more trip through the woods before night fall, to check out one more tree he had planned to cut. This has been one busy day. I wanted help staying away from the fridge, but I think this was a little extreme for two older folks. We should sleep good tonight.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Something Else To Worry About

During the last few weeks, I have had a new issue to worry about. My Heart.
I've had some unusual disturbances in my chest for most of my life, but it seems to be more noticeable here lately. I guess even a heart gets old and worn out, and then, too, with all of the junk we have run through our bodies during our lifetime, what do we expect. You hear so much today about folks having irregular heart beats and all sorts of weird things going on with the heart. You hear about it constantly on the TV, advertising medications for heart issues. You talk to folks on a regular basis, who have or know of someone who has a heart concern, so you have to know, they are a common thing nowadays. Why should I be different. But I have been as strong as a horse for most of my life with no major issues. That is why I get concerned, and worrying about anything, as we all know, makes it worse. I try to read anything I can find regarding the issues I am having, but there again, we have all heard those words, many times, too. A little knowledge can be worse than no knowledge at all, especially when it comes to our health. This is very true in the medical field. You can read and read some more, and only get yourself worked up about something, and in the end, it turns out to be something totally different from the problem you thought you were having. We are at the mercy of the medical folks to diagnose and treat whatever it is that ails us. If that is even possible. The human body is a very complicated thing. There is so much going on within our bodies, I fear man will never know everything there is to know. Then he would be as smart as the Man upstairs, and we all know that will never happen. Man may be able to calm some of our ails, for a short while, but only Our Creator has the ability to truly fix things, and His way may not be the way we would have chosen. We should let the doctors do what they can, and in the meantime, have faith that God knows exactly what we need.

I am waiting now, after wearing the heart monitor, once again, for 24 hours. I have went through this procedure three different times now, and nothing major ever shows up. I had a thorough heart check up in 2005, just before I retired, and once more, nothing major showed up. I guess with that many tests, one should forget it and accept the fact that it might be my imagination, but some of the episodes I am feeling will not let me do that.

While waiting for my appointment with the heart specialist on May 14, I have been doing some more research on possible supplements or nutrients that might help regulate and strengthen my heart. If I can find a vitamin or supplement to help me overcome these strange feelings I am having in my chest, I definitely would rather do that than to have to go on prescription medications. I hate the thought of being dependent on prescription medicines. Anyone with one eye and half sense, knows by reading the literature that comes with the prescription drugs, that they are not the best route to go. While possibly helping one thing, it could be killing you in another way. I feel we are definitely at the mercy of the doctors, and I have heard too many times, that the doctors are being taught nowadays to simply keep the patient comfortable and ease them on out, after they have reached a certain age. It sounds like the modern day form of genocide to me. I will keep my appointment in May, but in the meantime, I will be doing more research and trying a few things on my own to see if I can alleviate some of the discomforts and worries I am feeling involving my heart. I am convinced that anxiety plays a major part in the many problems that I have been experiencing during my entire lifetime. I will be doing some research on that, too. Who knows. I may learn to fix the anxiety issue and all of my other issues may disappear. One can only hope.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My Quilting Experience

I had a follower to ask me today if I make quilts. My usual response to that question is...." I am not a quilter, per se, but I do make quilts." Here are a few of the little quilts I have made over the years.

I enjoy using fabric in many different ways,but making fancy quilts is not my forte'. I do make quilts and I love making them, but I make them when I get ready. Not on demand.

Making things on demand, for me, seems to take all of the fun out of it. If I choose to make a quilt for an individual, I want to do it because I want to. 

Not because someone else wants me to. That may sound a bit selfish, but putting a deadline on something, kills the pleasure in it for me. 

I feel crowded and rushed. I am a sporadic quilter and crafter. I like to work at my own pace.

 I have made larger quilts for my beds,but for now, these are the only ones I have stored in pictures on my external hard drive.
Many people who make the fancy quilts tend to spend lots of money on matching fabrics.

I am an avid believer in recycling. I do not like to buy new fabric for my crafts and quilts.

Nor do I  like destroying a good garment just to use the fabric. I use a lot of outgrown garments of my own and of others who have learned over the years that I collect fabric.

I use fabric in many ways other than in quilts. I love color. I use a lot of color in my various crafts. Color seems to boost my spirit on days when I need it most. 
This is a quilt I made in Mom's memory shortly after her death on March 12, 2013. Mom loved bright colors and purple was one of her very favorites.

Eggs and 50 Year Ago Memories

Isn't it strange, and a bit scary, to think that you can remember the smallest detail of some of the happenings in your life, but you can't remember if or where you planted your winter onions, only six weeks or so ago?

When I awoke this morning, I went out to check on my ducks. I was wide awake after going out in the rain and snow mix we were having at the time, so I decided to get something more done, before crawling back into bed, if I decided to do so. I had quite an accumulation of eggs from the last couple of days. Getting around to washing them and carrying them downstairs to the extra fridge, can be a chore at times, especially when there are so many other things you'd rather be doing, like painting rocks.

Well, this morning as I was washing the eggs, they brought back memories from fifty years ago. I was staying the night with one of my good friends from school, and I can remember standing at the sink, washing eggs from their family's chickens. Funny how that memory of the egg washing is so vivid, when I had a huge crush on her brother, at that same time. He was as shy as myself, so no one would ever have guessed that either of us had a thought about the other. I thought about him a lot, but mostly in my dreams. He was a little older than me and I doubted that he even knew I was alive, but I was crazy, although silently, in love with him. The next morning, as we all loaded on to the school bus,I noticed that he had secretly got ahold of my notebook and written his name inside. At least I always assumed he had done it. I can't imagine anyone else doing that since most of my thoughts about him, were only in my mind. His sister knew, but I still believe to this day, that it was he, himself, who had written his name in my notebook. That surely was a sign that he had thought of me, even if it was just to tease me.

I remember thinking I could always dream about him. There was no harm in that. Since he was Catholic and I was Baptist, nothing more could ever come of it anyway. Back then, it just wasn't done. Marrying someone of a different faith. Not that it would ever come to that, but still, the thought of our different faiths was there, holding me back. That and being so shy.

Yes, it is definitely funny, and a bit strange, how some thoughts and memories linger in our minds forever, while others leave so quickly.