Monday, August 13, 2018

Same Song - Second Verse

More heat.  More humidity.  Doesn't seem to be going away any time soon. 

I did manage to can 22 half pints of corn last week.  The rest is going to wait for cooler temps.  Just that small bit of canning heated up my apartment and it took hours for it to become comfortable again.

I have to admit that I have caved when it comes to cooking.  Usually I cook from scratch or I use my home canned food for meals.  But my grocery order this week includes a variety of microwavable stuff.  I just can't make myself use my oven or even the burners on my stove for fear of adding more heat to my small apartment.  I hang my head in shame.  On the up side, I don't suppose that a couple of weeks of processed food will kill me off.  The heat might.  To redeem myself just a little bit, I did order lots of fresh fruit to counter the frozen sausage, egg and cheese breakfast biscuits and the frozen White Castle sliders.  (I love the sliders!)

I have tried unsuccessfully to come up with a way to share my genealogy research with interested family members.  I can enter all the information into a genealogy program on my computer, but the only way someone can access it is to have the same program.  I have tried using online websites for that purpose, but there are limitations with them unless I pay a lot of money for a full featured setup.  I have started a couple of blogs for that purpose only to delete them when they didn't work as well as I hoped.  But over the weekend I think I have found a blog setup that will suit my purposes.  I spent most of the weekend working on it and will continue until I have enough data entered to see if it works.  It is too hot to do much of what I usually do to occupy my time so this is a good chance to work on my sadly neglected family tree. 

Jeri called last evening.  They arrived home from their Alaska vacation Sunday morning, tired but happy.  They took time to drive the coast highway from Astoria to San Francisco.

The bridge at Astoria, Washington

Redwoods in California

And I get some halibut!!  I forgot to ask her if they caught any salmon.

That's all the excitement here.  Hope you all are well and staying cool.  :)

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Sibling Love

Recently I connected with a cousin of mine.  She has lived for many years on the other side of the country from me, and I don't think we have ever met in person.  That doesn't matter.  We are family.

My father and her grandmother were brother and sister.  I have a story or two about them I want to share with my cousin.  Messaging isn't adequate - hence this post for her and for anyone else who might find it interesting.

My Dad and his sister Clarice had a love for one another that one doesn't often see these days.  I have no doubt that each would have moved Heaven and Earth for the other.

Clarice was born in 1908, the seventh child in a family of nine children.  Dad was born in 1911, being number nine.  Dad often told his siblings that their parents saved the best for last.  :)

The earliest photo of my Dad was taken in front of the first log cabin my Grandfather built in northern Minnesota.  He is in the arms of his sister, Clarice.

Clarice was in charge of watching over her baby brother.

And yes, Dad is wearing a dress.  At that time it was common practice for little boys to wear dresses until they were old enough to manage the fly buttons on their long pants.

I was lucky enough to be born into a loving family.  I knew that I would be welcomed with open arms, hugs and kisses no matter which aunt or uncle I went to visit.  But a visit with Aunt Clarice was just special.  She had a sweetness about her that was beyond compare.  That being said, she could give as good as she got.  Those two liked to tease one another.  It was never mean.  Dad might remark that Clarice was getting a bit broad in the beam and she would tell him he wouldn't be so chunky if only he wasn't so darned short.

When both were in their 90's they were in the same nursing home in the small town near where they grew up.  The two of them would be side by side in their wheelchairs, doing their upper body exercises led by one of the staff.  After a while Dad's arm would reach over and lightly cuff his sister on the back of her head.  More exercise - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4.  And Clarice would double up her fist and punch Dad on his arm.  After a couple more swats between them, the aide would say, "Now you two Matheny kids behave yourselves."   And they would - for maybe 5 minutes.

Sadly, Clarice had a form of memory loss that didn't allow her to retain the spoken word for more than a minute or so.  I witnessed the following conversation between them.

Clarice:  "How is Mom doing"
Dad:  "Mom died in 1955."
Clarice:  "Who is living on the home place"
Dad:  'Nobody.  The house burned down."

That conversation was repeated again and again.  Dad showed no sign of impatience with her.  I later asked Dad if it drove him a bit crazy to answer those same questions over and over.  His reply was, "Why should it?  She is still my sister and I still love her."

Dad died in 2004.  At his funeral I was holding it together pretty well right up to the time Clarice was wheeled up to Dad's coffin to say her last goodbye.  In a moment of complete clarity she said, "Oh, Ralph."   Her hand reached out and gently caressed his face.

Clarice followed her brother to Heaven shortly thereafter.  I like to think they are together, laughing and teasing and hugging as they did all of their lives.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Clean Apartment Again

Yep.  New cleaning lady.  Started today.  Did a great job.  My apartment is old and will never sparkle, but she came close.  Seems like a nice lady.

Funny how things turn out sometimes.  I am perfectly content to live alone and to see nobody except family.  Now I have nurses coming in three days a week and a cleaning lady once a week.  I thought I would hate having people come and go but I find I really don't mind.  Everybody is pleasant and all seem to have a working sense of humor.   It helps that they all do such a good job.

The heat wave continues.  The humidity was over 90% early this morning, but has gotten better as the day progresses.  Heat and humidity aside, I have canning to do.  Several bags of frozen corn and peas are waiting.  There are several bags of ham bones ready to cook down for ham and bean soup.  I would like to get those canned up by Monday when my next grocery order goes out for Thursday delivery.  Duane set up my big electric roaster for the ham bones and I hope that it won't heat up the kitchen as much as cooking them on top of the stove would.

I am having one more lazy evening, messing about with some genealogy research for a cousin of mine and then no more excuses.  Time to hit the preps.  I fear if all the hate and discontent that seems to be growing in our country keeps ramping up as it has been, it won't take much to ignite a firestorm of violence.  Whatever happens, we need to be as ready as possible.

Friday, August 3, 2018


and humid.  Too hot to cook.  Too hot to do any canning. 

A thunderstorm rolled through this morning.  A little rain and lots of thunder booming lightning.  More of the same forecast for tonight.  And then more heat.

I shall be found in my recliner with plenty of iced tea and a mystery novel.  Big box fan is helping the air conditioned air move about the apartment.  I will surface when things cool down some.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018


This is my youngest daughter, Jeri.  I always knew she was tough.  But I didn't know she was 45 lbs. of halibut tough!

She is on vacation in Alaska with her boyfriend Jim and her daughter Nicki and Nicki's boyfriend, Chris.  She called me this afternoon to make sure I checked FB where she had uploaded the picture.  She and Jim went halibut fishing today.  Earlier they each caught fish, weighing 20 lbs. each but were too small to keep.  Then she hooked the monster in the picture.  Reeled it all by herself, she did.  Apparently, when a fish that size gets up to the boat, they harpoon it.  Jeri said she got lucky for when Jim harpooned it, the fish got off the hook.

They are going salmon fishing tomorrow.  If they all catch enough to make up 50 lbs., they will ship the salmon home.

And if that happens, I get some.  :)

Monday, July 30, 2018

Northern Minnesota Vacation

A few weeks ago my youngest son, his wife and their three progeny rented a cabin on a lake near Ely, located in northern Minnesota, just south of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.  Their cabin had no cell phone service and no WiFi.  I wondered how the kids would do without their electronics, but as you can see in the following pictures, they managed quite well.

There was swimming.

There was fishing.

There were pontoon rides.

Oreo, my grandpuppy, loved the rides.

They checked out the local scenery, 

went hiking in the forest, 

explored a waterfall

and paddled canoes.

And there were books.  Real books made of paper.  I wonder how many still use them.

The north country in my home state has some beautiful scenery.  I am partial to the North Country.  I was born in the northern part of the state as were my parents.  No matter where I have traveled, it will always be home to me.  I often wish I was still there.  I am so glad that my kids and grands can enjoy all that part of the state has to offer.

The end.

Friday, July 27, 2018

The Great Biscuit Caper

So I am doing this biscuit experiment - freezing already baked biscuits to be reheated and freezing biscuits that have not yet been baked.  Yesterday I heated and baked to see which method I liked best.

I heated two previously baked biscuits in the microwave.  I set it on 'defrost' for  a couple of minutes and then on 'high' for 30 seconds.  They came out tasting like they had been microwaved and were  a bit tough.  It was my least favorite method.

The next two biscuits I popped into a 350 degree toaster oven for about three minutes.  They were heated through and tasted like a biscuit should.

I cranked up the toaster oven to 400 degrees and pre-heated the regular oven to the same temp.  Two of the raw biscuits, still frozen, went into each.  They baked for about 15 minutes.  Times will vary with different ovens.  All four biscuits didn't raise as much as biscuits baked fresh, but they all tasted good. 

I like the idea of having ready to bake biscuits in the freezer, but I think I will go with freezing baked biscuits.  For me, living alone, one batch of biscuits is good for about three meals.  If I just freeze the leftovers whenever I make biscuits, it won't take too long until I have I nice stash of them frozen, ready to heat in my toaster oven or regular oven whenever I want biscuits but don't want to mess around stirring them up from scratch.

And thus endeth the great biscuit caper.  :)