Friday, September 22, 2017

The Last Hurrah of Summer

It is hot.  The temperature is headed toward the 90's with a heat index of at least 100.  The humidity is in the 80's.  I know this is nothing compared with what our friends in the South live through, but we Yankees just wilt in anything over 80 degrees.

The combination of heat and high humidity has an adverse effect on those of us who have achieved geezer status.  We can become a bit short of breath and arthritic joints complain loudly.

So I shall be spending the weekend as quietly a possible.  I'll be back Monday when a cool front is due to chase away the hot and damp and usher in some fall weather.

Fall - my most favorite time of year.  :)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Stuff

I am not one of those people to whom shopping is a recreational activity.  When I still could get out and about, I would make a list, go to the store and buy what was on that list, get out and go home.  And I am not an impulse buyer.  I generally would look online and compare products and prices before buying anything major.

Now either my kids shop for me or I can order what I want online.  And the same applies.  I check it out before I order it.

Even with careful comparison shopping, somehow I find myself knee deep in stuff.  There are tubs of stuff on the floor of my closet.  There are boxes of stuff on the deep shelf above.  There are clothes on hangars that I haven't worn for maybe 10 years or more.  I have two night stands with drawers and shelves full of stuff.  I have a bookcase full of stuff.  And I have no earthly idea how I managed to accumulate so dratted much stuff.

I have begun the task of sorting and tossing.  Some stuff is in good shape and will go to Goodwill.  Some I will keep - but not that much.  The rest is destined for the dumpster.

It is amazing what I have found so far.  I have no idea why I have a shoebox full of floppy discs.  It has been years since I had a computer that would read them.  I know there is nothing important on them.  Out they go.

I have the dress I wore to my oldest daughter's wedding over 20 years ago.  I couldn't get into that dress even using a shoehorn.  Goodwill can make use of it.

I will keep the photos and the box of picture frames.  The old letters and printed genealogy material will stay, too.  And the tools.  But I think the dumpster might just be overflowing by the time I am finished.

There is just way too much stuff!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mother Nature...

is a bit cranky.  Last week it was warm enough to turn on the air conditioning.  By Friday this week it looks like I will need it again.

But today at 12:19 pm, the temperature is 56 degrees and it is raining.  I have the heat cranked.

So my green fuzzy blanket and I are spending quality time in my recliner.  There is some hand sewing and some crocheting and some reading to keep me occupied.  And naps.  Don't forget naps.

Mother Nature, please make up your mind.  Is it still summer or has fall arrived.  Inquiring minds want to know.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

It has been a quiet day...

here in my little corner of the world.  The biggest excitement here was my grocery order delivery.  And that was pretty dull as I just ordered necessaries and no fun stuff.  I don't know what I was thinking.  I usually order one treat like Little Debbie Nutty Bars or maybe a small bag of butterscotch candies.  Guess I can suffer through with the cookies I made a couple of days ago.  :)

Our cool weather went away and has been replaced with heat.  It is nearly 6 pm and the temp is 91 degrees.  The humidity is up there as well and we have an air quality alert from smoke blowing in from wildfires.  But it looks like a cool down is coming by Sunday.

I'm pretty much having to confine myself to reading just the headlines.  My blood pressure can't handle the details.  For a time it seemed like common sense and goodwill had returned, what with the efforts of citizens helping citizens.  It did my heart good to see all those folks showing up with their boats to rescue those stranded in the flood waters.  Race, diversity and white privilege be damned.  People just helped people.  But now that the storms have passed, it seems we are right back where we were before.

I saw where a bunch of bottom feeders were busy helping themselves to high dollar shoes in the wake of the Florida hurricane.  I was glad to see that a couple dozen of them had been arrested.  Oddly enough, no work boots were stolen.

Black Lives Matter found it necessary to cover the statue of Thomas Jefferson at the University of Virginia in a black shroud.

Berkeley is ramping up to deal with the violence when a (gasp) conservative speaker shows up.  In typical response, the administration is offering counseling to those who can't handle opposing opinions.

And just this afternoon there are reports that the lunatic in North Korea has launched another missile.

I know I need to keep track of what is going on around us.  But for this evening, I believe a glass of lemonade, a cookie or two and a good mystery book are in order.  Perhaps my sanity can be saved after all.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Chocolate Chip Cookie Kind of Day

The first two cookie sheets full are in the oven.  I haven't done much baking lately and was craving cookies.  I may have to make some gingersnaps, too.  The gingersnaps bring to mind evenings on the porch with family and friends.  Mother always served gingersnaps in the summer with ice cold glasses of homemade lemonade.

I thawed out eight quarts of sliced apples, with another eight or so still in the freezer for another day.  I filled quart jars and used plain water to cover them.  They were in the boiling water bath for 20 minutes.  They will be good to use for desserts like apple crisp.

I found two whole chickens underneath the apple slices.  They look OK - no freezer burn.  I think later this week I will boil them up and can the meat in half-pint jars for use as sandwich meat.  I am low on chicken broth, so I will be able to can that as well.

I also found ten quart bags full of pumpkin and another dozen bags of butternut squash.  I haven't decided what to do with them, but am leaning toward dehydrating.  I have seen where others have dried both pumpkin and squash and then ground them into a powder.  It seems they rehydrate well and can be used anywhere one would use canned squash or pumpkin.

And way underneath the squash and pumpkin are maybe four quarts of shredded zucchini.  One day in a week or so, those will go into a few loaves of zucchini bread.

I think I actually caught a glimpse of the floor of the freezer.  When it is all cleaned out, I will ask Duane to come over and wipe it out.  I am way too short on one end to do it.  Chances are if I tried to clean the bottom of the freezer, I would wind up with my head inside and my legs sticking out the top.   Not a good position for a chubby granny.  :)

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Prayer Request

For those of you who are so inclined, I have a prayer request.  My daughter has a friend.  She is widowed.  She is in a wheelchair.  She is on the east coast of Florida.  For several reasons she can not leave, so she is riding out the storm at her house.  Prayers for her safety would be much appreciated.  Thank you.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Friday Ramble

It was a peaceful day here in my little corner of the world.  There was laundry to do and dishes to be washed.  Dust bunnies vanished from a few surfaces.

Yesterday Duane brought me a big bowl of venison chili for supper and I finished it off for lunch.  It was really good.  I am still amazed at what a good cook he turned out to be.  I still remember that his specialty as a child was peanut butter and dill pickle sandwiches!

I have been watching Hurricane Irma's advance toward Florida.  That is not going to be pretty.  My heart goes out to those in the path of that storm.  I found out that a cousin in Texas lost her home to the storm that went through there.  Everything was ruined by the flood waters as were the stables for her horses.  She and her husband managed to get their motor home to high ground and they were able to move the horses.  But everything else is either covered in muck or under water.  I feel so bad for them.

In between household chores, I have been entering information into my genealogy program.  I am amazed at the amount of data I have accumulated over the years.  I have been fortunate enough to acquire pictures from other relatives to add to the information.   It is nice to see what those ancestors looked like and many times I can see a family resemblance.

The moving project seems to have come up against several brick walls.  One wall is the price of rent compared to what I pay now.  After I pay my rent which includes all utilities except phone and Internet and after I buy my groceries each month, I still have enough leftover to be able to enjoy life a little bit.  It might be a bit selfish, but I don't want to give that up.  I want to be able to do some of the things that make me happy without having to decide if I want to pay rent or buy groceries.  There was a time in another life where I was hungry.  I won't go back there.

And then there is the problem of home health care.  Medicare will only cover that after a hospitalization.  And there are no home health services that are at all affordable.  My daughter is coming over tomorrow with some paperwork to fill out for County services.  I am not overjoyed about getting involved with any government programs, but I will take a look to see just what is involved.  If they have too many rules and regulations or if they want my soul in payment, it won't happen.

I mention the above just for anyone in my situation to know what we have found here.  It looks like I might just stay put and hire someone to do basic cleaning once a week. I would rather deal with the stairs than become so poor I look longingly at a can of dog food.  :)

Otherwise, all is well.  It has been cool for this time of year.  I turned the heat on a couple of nights ago when I saw it was 51 degrees outside and 62 degrees inside.  I like cool weather, but that was a bit much for this granny.  I am not ready to dig out the long johns just yet!!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Minnesota Students Get It

The following was posted on Facebook and on the Internet news page for the local television station.

"MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some students at ROCORI High School are taking issue with the school’s policy that would prevent them from displaying flags in the parking lot.

The policy was revealed to students this week as they returned to class for the new school year.

According to the text of the parking permit application, “students are not allowed to display flags or banners from their vehicles while parked in the ROCORI school parking lot.”

Furthermore, the school says that “any violations of these procedures can and may be given a ticket or towed away at the expense of the owner.”

On Wednesday, a number of pickup trucks at the school arrived with American flags prominently displayed.



Community organizers have also set up a 2:30 p.m. “Support Our Students And Our Country” rally at ROCORI in support of the students displaying those flags. As of noon, about 30 people had responded to the Facebook event page."

We have allowed any mention of God to be taken out of schools.  School administrators have been known to send kids home for wearing a t-shirt with the American Flag on it, saying the picture of our flag might offend immigrant students.  A couple of years ago a kid here in Minnesota had been hunting the day before and forgot to take his shotgun out of his vehicle when he parked it in the school parking lot, which was against the rules.  He did the right thing by telling those in charge what had happened and asked permission to drive back home to remove the weapon.  School administrators called the police instead.

Political correctness is at an all time level of stupidity.  Under no circumstances should our flag be banned  From anywhere.  Period.

What really got to me were the comments on FB from adults condemning the kids for breaking the rules.  I suppose I should have expected it since I live in the middle of dimmocrat land.

But I will say this.  If my kid chose to break such an idiotic rule and fly the American Flag on his truck, I would stand behind him 100%.  Those students have more courage than the rest of the population who just follow along like lambs to the slaughter.

Good on you, Ricori students.  You make me proud.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Of Sharing Memories

Since my sister was here and since we talked of family memories, I have shifted gears and am spending more time on organizing the mountain of family history I have accumulated over the years.  I had let it go by the wayside while working on my food storage and on my sewing endeavors.  But I need to get back to preparing our family history to share with others in my family.  None of my offspring or their offspring are showing signs of taking up where I leave off, but I need to remember that I was well into my 60's before 'genealogy bug' bit me.

When I got to the point where I needed a genealogy computer program to keep track of my findings, I tried out several.  Some were too complicated.  Others seemed like there was more interest in cool graphics than in entering information.  Still others required the family information be sent on to their websites to be used for whatever purposes they wished.  And still others stole information that I later found listed elsewhere.

I finally found a program that is free and easy to use and has no restrictions.  It is 'Personal Ancestral File' from the Mormon website, 'FamilySearch.org.'  In checking the Mormon website before writing this post I found, sadly, that they have discontinued that program and now offer online solutions.  Lucky for me, I have saved my original download and when I have entered all I wish to enter, I can put the program and the information on a DVD and send it to any relatives who wish to view what I have entered.

When I first started this journey into researching my family, I found many websites where folks had uploaded their family tree information.  I thought I had hit the motherlode of genealogical information until I discovered errors in the family relationships.  Not only that, but specific errors were found in many different family trees.  People were just copying someone else's work and claiming it as their own.  I knew the work was wrong because I had personally known some of the people who were listed in error as to parental relationship or spousal relationships.  Birth and death dates were often wrong.  As were the names of places where the families had lived.

So I started doing my own research.  Many state historical societies have websites that can be searched for birth, marriage and death information.  Other websites have searchable Social Security information of the deceased.  Another called 'Find A Grave' is searchable to find the burial locations of ancestors.  I have found it reliable and useful.

Now I just enter into my program those that I know or knew personally and those for whom I have found to have proof of their existence.  This way I know that the information I leave behind is true and accurate.

This research thing may seem as dry as dust to those who have no interest in family history, but I find it fascinating.  I found details of one ancestor who, upon his arrival to North America spent a couple of years living in a cave.  When he finally obtained a small farm, he was such a disagreeable neighbor that he was literally run out of town.  Another has documented statements of his bravery during the Revolutionary War.  And another was fined 6 months pay for being drunk on guard duty during the Civil War.  It would seem that I have more rogues than heroes.

Not everyone needs to go to the lengths I have in finding my roots, but I think my grands need to know something of their history.  They need to know that their great-grandfather on one side of the family carried on his family tradition of farming the land that had been in the family for generations, both milking cows and raising beef cattle.  And another great-grandfather (my Dad) spent most of his adult life caring for his invalid wife, sometimes working three jobs in order to do it.  Both of those men had a work ethic second to none.  This is part my grand's heritage.  They need to know.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Family Stories and Pictures

I have decided that the easiest way to share family stories and pictures was to set up another blog.  This is not a genealogy blog.  I tried that, but with such a large family and with the mountain of information I have collected over the years, that one soon became cumbersome.  This new blog is simply to share family stories and writings as well as photos.  I am starting with the Paul family for I have lots of writings by my grandfather and his brother, Walter.  Later on I plan to get into the other branches of my family.

The name of the new blog is "Remember When."  When setting up this blog I found that every genealogy or family related name had been taken.  So I finally gave up and used an address that I knew would be available.  It is:

vickimatheny.blogspot.com

I have hard copies of all the stories I am posting for this branch of my family and will do the same for the other branches, for we can not count on the Internet to always be here for us.  But until then, it is my hope that my children and grands will take this opportunity to acquaint themselves with those who went before, for they had a hand in making us who we are today. 

It is important to remember.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Sisters

Yesterday I spent a lovely afternoon with my sister.

She and her husband came to see me.  We don't often get to spend time with each other, so this was particularly fun for me.

My sister and her family have lived for years on the family farm, which is a hog raising operation, in the southern part of the state.  My brother-in-law took over the farm from his father and has now passed it on to his son.  I like that the farm has stayed in the family all these years, rather than being sold to a corporation as so many here have.

They brought presents.  There was a box filled with pork from their farm - ham and sausage and bacon and a roast and chops.  I thawed a package of sausage links and shared them with Duane for breakfast this morning.  He said that was the best tasting sausage he had ever eaten.  He was right.

And there were tomatoes fresh from my sister's garden.  I sliced one for breakfast and have been nibbling on the cherry tomatoes all day.  Delicious.

We got each other caught up on what our kids and grands had been doing and we talked of the past.  Some memories were shared by both of us and others were new to one or the other of us.  We talked of our parents and aunts and uncles, all gone now.  They and their stories live only in our memories, which, we decided, weren't all that great any more.  We need to write the stories down, but it is doubtful they would be of any interest to the younger generation.

I knew they needed to get back home, but I was sorry to see them leave.  It was a truly nice afternoon.

I am adding some pictures here.  My sister says she reads this blog, so she should see these and hopefully remember.  She is five years younger than me and is the cute blondie in the photos.

I think this is my favorite picture of me and my sister.

There were few hills where we lived, so Sister got her snow sled rides by big sister power.

Mother sewed our clothes.  These were Easter dresses.  Mother would have preferred we look like this all the time, but to her chagrin, there were bicycles to ride and mud puddles to splash in and trees to climb.

At Grandma Paul's house with Aunt Margaret's Cocker Spaniel puppies.

This is my favorite photo of my sister.

It is a good thing - spending time with one's sister.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Heartfelt Thank You

This moving business is not easy for me.  I don't do change very well any more.  It is hard to think about leaving my home of well over 20 years.  The home where I lived with my husband until his death several years ago.  The home that is jam-packed with memories.

I am slowly getting used to the idea.  The notion of living where I might be a bit more mobile is a definite plus.  A place where I can go outside without having to use the dreaded stairs.  A place, perhaps, where I can see green grass and trees rather than concrete and asphalt.

The wheels are turning.  Oldest daughter is checking out home care options to deal with my physical limitations.  And looking into light housekeeping services.  Youngest son is in charge of finding a suitable place for me to live.  He has suggested that perhaps I might enjoy living close to his family (45 miles away from my present location) so that I could spent time with my three youngest grands.  That would be delightful.

I am doing my part.  The canning and dehydrating, aside from the food still in my freezer, has been put on hold.  I am beginning to sort and toss - some for charity shop donations, some that my kids might find useful and some for the dumpster.

All of this will take time, but there is no great rush.

I write about many things here on this silly little blog.  Sometimes I debate with myself whether or not I should post about my difficulties or less than upbeat topics.  But what it boils down to is that this is life.  And life is not always unicorns and sunshine.  There are storm clouds now and then.  So I write about them, too.

What really amazes me is that there are folks out there who stop by and visit and leave comments who are caring enough to offer suggestions when I find myself in a place that is less than ideal.  Many times those suggestions have helped me deal with one thing or another.  I want you all to know just how much I value the friendship of each and every one of you, for even though we have never met, I still consider you as friends.  Thank you for continuing to stop by, even when the unicorns are not here.  I am truly humbled.

Monday, August 28, 2017

There comes a time...

when a person has to stop pretending that all is well and face the harsh realities of life.  That time has arrived for me.

I finally had to admit that I need help.  Simple day to day housekeeping chores have become overwhelming.  What should take an hour of my time now takes the better part of a day.  I can still cook my meals and wash my dishes and do my laundry.  I can take care of my personal hygiene and can dress myself without help.  It is the rest of it that has become a bugger.

So yesterday I talked to all four of my kids about the problems I am facing.  They mostly agree that I need to move into an apartment that is more suited to my needs.  My apartment is too small to be able to use the walker.  There just isn't room.  I need additional help in dealing with the cellulitis in my legs.  I need additional help in maintaining the cleanliness of my living space that the arthritis has made difficult.  And I need to live somewhere that doesn't have stairs as the only means of getting to and from my apartment.

So my kids are researching the possibilities.  There are several options.  The only option I refuse to consider is a nursing home.  I need my personal space.  I am somewhat ornery.  I do not play well with others.  Should some fresh faced little nurse's aide tell me it is time to eat, time to sleep or time to go to the community room for a sing-long or for arts and crafts, I am apt to throw something at her, even though she would just be doing her job.  Aside from my family and those blogging friends I have made, I mostly want to be left alone.  Living somewhere that has a schedule that must be kept and that expects participation in activities that hold no interest for me is my idea of what Hell would look like.

I kind of feel sorry for my kids.  They have their work cut out for them in finding ways to do what needs to be done and still stay within my budget.  But they are smart.  They are good at finding solutions to problems.  And even though I have made good on my promise to live long enough to be a problem to them, they still love me and are more than willing to help me through a time that is not much fun.

I am not telling you about this life changing time because I desire sympathy.  I do not.  I still enjoy life as much and sometimes more than most.  But I know there are some who might read this that are facing a similar change.  I put it off longer than I should have.  I am a stubborn person.  And because my stubbornness got in the way of common sense, this isn't as easy as it could be.  There is no shame in admitting you need help, especially in the later years.  I still do as much as possible for myself, but it has gotten to the point where it just isn't enough.  And if this helps even one person, then it has accomplished what I hope it would.

And even with complications, life is still grand.  :)

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Hurricane Harvey...

has made landfall in Texas with high winds and rain being measured by the foot rather than by the inch.  All reports indicate it will continue to wreak havoc for several days.  If you are of a mind to do so, please join me in prayer for the safety of those folks in the path of this monster storm.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Weird Weather

I suppose there have been times when the month of August has been cool, but I don't remember any.  In a normal year August is hot and sunny.  Today at noon, even with the sunshine, the temperature was only 68 degrees with promise of the 50's for tonight.

Those who delight in days spent lakeside basking in the heat are not happy.  Gardeners are bemoaning the fact that their tomatoes are very slow to ripen this summer as are other vegetables.   There is talk of an early fall and a long, cold winter.

But I don't care.  It is now cool enough for me to drag out my green fuzzy blanket at nap time.

It takes very little to make me happy.  :)

Monday, August 21, 2017

Frozen Treasure Hunt

Cleaning out my chest freezer is proving to be interesting.  I have found all sorts of things I had forgotten were there.

I knew about the gallon bags of cranberries.  I have been putting off dealing with them, I suppose, because I knew the work involved.  But I finally dragged them all out and thawed them.  I intended to make juice to can, but the recipe I use calls for much lifting of heavy pots and straining of berries and time standing on my feet stirring.  My physical limitations put the brakes on that idea.  So I just filled jars with the thawed berries.  I used plain water instead of the usual sugar syrup.  By canning them in water I can use the cranberries multiple ways - for cranberry sauce, in muffins or cranberry bread, or I can make juice, a couple of jars at a time.  I wound up with 20 pints and 20 quarts of whole cranberries.

I found seven one-pound packages of yeast.  Those I stacked in my closet pantry.

I also found a bunch of those small snack sized Ziploc bags full of chopped onions.  I thawed them out, cooked them until they were translucent, packed them in half pint jars and pressure canned them for 45 minutes.  I got 7 jars of onions.  I usually use my dehydrated onions for cooking, but these canned ones are handy for when I need onions for dishes like hamburgers or meatloaf.

The next projects are a stack of quart freezer bags full of pumpkin puree to be dehydrated and a layer of quart bags full of sliced apples to be turned into applesauce.  Those are going to wait a few days until the latest arthritis flareup subsides.  Until then, it is quiet time for this chubby granny.

I can hardly wait to see what treasures lay underneath the apples.  :)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Just Because I Can

My youngest son, David, stopped using Facebook a while back.  He said he was tired of posts from a few friends and relatives that were dedicated to Trump bashing.  I understand why he just eliminated that hassle from his life.  But David was really good to post pictures of his family.  I missed that.  So when he and his family stopped in the other day, I whined.  I asked him if he wouldn't reconsider just enough to post some pictures for me.  He did.

This is Boston on her way to dance auditions to see which team she will be on this year at the dance studio where she is in competition dancing.

This is Maddie Mae just being Maddie Mae.

This is Jacob at the end of the summer baseball season, with his other grandparents.  I'm so glad they can go to his games to cheer him on.

And this is Oreo with her favorite squeaky toy.  She is just so stinkin' cute!

David's sister Jill posted this photo of my grandson Zach at Aviation Camp in July.

I love it when my kids post pictures.  It helps me stay connected to family and that's important.  So thank you David, for indulging your mother and going back on FB long enough to give me more pictures.  And thank you Jill, for all the pictures of Zach.

Love, Mom

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Flying South

It is a lovely day here in southeastern Minnesota.  Temps are in the high 70's.  The sun is shining.  I have windows open to let in the soft, summer breeze.

We have a large number of Canadian geese here.  They fly south usually in late September and October and return in the spring.  But today I have heard the unmistakable honking of several fairly large flocks of them, all heading south.

I wonder if they know something we don't!

Monday, August 14, 2017

It has been quiet here...

in my little corner of the world.

I guess the nut jobs were congregated in Charlottesville, busy with beating each other to a pulp and doing their best to run over as many as possible with a car.  Didn't seem to slow Chicago down much, what with 5 dead and 22 injured in shootings over the weekend.

But in my world, laundry was caught up, floors were mopped and scalloped potatoes and ham were consumed.

The politicians are trying every way possible to blame each other for the grievance of the day.  I don't pay attention to them any more.  World leaders are rattling sabers and making not so veiled threats to one another.

But in my world, brownies were baked and grandchildren were properly hugged and the words, "I love you, Grandma" were heard.

The headlines still scream gloom and doom.  Nearly every crime and perversion is touted in bold type.  And nothing changes.

But in my world, raspberry pancakes from a mix given me by my grands (along with a jug of real maple syrup) made a memorable breakfast this morning.

Often I find myself wishing I had exciting things to write about like so many other bloggers do.  And then I take a look at the world around me and quickly decide that I am perfectly content with my life here at my little apartment.  Nobody tries to shoot me.  Nobody tries to run over me.  I get to see my youngest son and his family when they stop in after a day at the local arboretum.  I get to spend time with my oldest son at least twice a week.  My daughters are close by as are the rest of my grands.

I get to do what I want when I want, which usually includes a damn good cup of coffee and a mystery book.  Or time spent doing things that make me happy like sewing or crocheting.  Or canning and dehydrating.

I will take this less than exciting life any day of the week.  :)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Fabric Fondling and Other Pursuits

'Hello.  My name is Vicki and I am addicted to fondling fabrics.'
I wonder if there is a 12 step program for that.  :)

I have spent the last few days pinning and sewing and marking and cutting fabric.  One quilt top is nearly finished and two more are in the works.  Photos will be posted when I have finished them.  I hope to spend time working on them over the upcoming weekend.

But until then, it is time to get on with the food storage thing.  I don't think I should put it off any longer, considering that the North Korean lunatic is threatening to nuke us either at our military bases in Guam or here at home.  Might never happen, but with a loose cannon like that, you just don't know.

At any rate, there are 24 lbs. of butter melting on the stove in preparation for canning.  There are about a gallon and a half of Great Northern beans (the ones the bugs didn't find) to can and two gallons of cranberries thawing to can whole.

So I am off to spend some quality time in my kitchen.  If you don't hear from me in a couple of days, send in the Rescue Squad.  I will be the chubby granny buried under a stack of canning jars.  :)

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Other Day...

my phone rang.  It was my brother.  He was about two minutes away from my apartment.  I urged him to hurry.

We had had a phone conversation a week or so earlier.  He wanted to know about my physical condition.  I assured him that I was doing alright, considering.  That wasn't good enough.  He had to come and see for himself that his big sister was OK.

We have a long history of little brother looking out for his sister.  Kelly is 15 years younger than me.  When he was about four years old, he spent quite a bit of time with me and my young son.  At that time we lived in a rented house.  The landlord was an grumpy old man who liked to yell at people.  That landlord had yelled at me for something long since forgotten, but he did it  when Kelly was with me.  The next day my mother discovered Kelly with pockets full of rocks.  When questioned about the rocks, he said they were to throw at the mean old man who yelled at his sister.

Once Kelly had seen for himself that I was getting along just fine, we sat at the kitchen table, drank coffee and strolled down Memory Lane.  And we talked of his kids, my kids and all the grands.  It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

Kelly  wanted to know if there was anything that several thousand dollars would fix as far as my physical condition is concerned.  I told him no.  I told him that the best I can hope for is maintaining.  He remarked that I seemed so happy.  I am.  I have made peace with the facts of my situation.  Mostly I am just content.

We don't get to do this very often.  Kelly lives at least a 4 hour drive north of me and his job takes him further afield for months at a time.  When he was getting ready to leave, he expressed regret that we couldn't do this more often.  I told him that he knows how much I love him and I know how much he loves me.  And that is enough.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Apparently...

plants growing in pots on windowsills have a shelf life.  All were doing well.  They were starting to put out blossoms.  And then.....they keeled over and died.

I noticed all was not well when I saw that the blossoms would start to open and then they just withered and fell to the floor.  And the leaves began to curl up and fall off.  And those plants standing tall sort of leaned over and gave up.

But I had fun trying to grow veggies in my window sills so it wasn't a total loss.

Oh...and my harvest?  One bean.  It was delicious.

So now I am cleaning out the pots and putting them away until spring.  It gets too cold in the window sills in winter for plants to survive.  Come April or May I will plant things that do not need blossoms to produce food, like lettuce and spinach and beets and maybe celery.

I have one pot of bell peppers that is still healthy.  I will continue to care for that one just for the fun of it.  Like I have said before, it takes very little to keep me entertained.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Cowboy

Sometimes of an evening when the work day is done and when the foot traffic between the several bars in my neighborhood is at its peak, filled with Happy Hour revelers, I will pour a mug of coffee, pull up a chair and watch the comings and goings on my street.  It is a great time for people watching.

This particular evening found me watching the groups of ladies, having been released from their office cubicles, strolling down the street in a cloud of perfume and giggles.

Along came the office girl's counterparts, having ditched the suit coats but retaining white shirts and ties, trying to impress each other with the deals they had put together at work that day.

The construction workers, retail sales people and fast food workers came in, all in good moods, happy to be released from whatever jobs they held.  Many had husbands / wives / boyfriends / girlfriends in tow, all determined to create a memorable 'partay.'

Half a dozen Harleys lined up at the curb across the street.  Their riders were all decked out in leather and dew rags.  They looked tough.  They looked mean.  And because I recognized a couple of them, I knew they would go back to their jobs at the local grocery or accounting firm in the morning.

And then I saw him.  Strolling down the alley across the street, headed for the bar next door.  He wore starched Levis, a plaid western style shirt and what looked like brand spanking new cowboy boots.  I'm not sure he was quite used to walking in boots with heels, for he sort of listed a bit to the left every now and then.

But the hat.  That magnificent white cowboy hat.  The hat that had been worked and manipulated to create just the right effect.  The hat that sat at a rakish angle on his head.  The hat that was bigger than the one worn by Hoss Cartwright in 'Bonanza.'

Keep in mind that there are no working ranches within several hundred miles in any direction.  This is farm country with Holstein milk cows and fields of corn and soybeans.  We have horses, but they are either used as kiddie rides at the apple orchards locally or they are the subject of bets placed at the track on the other side of town.

And yet, there he was  Doing his best impression of a cowboy.  And all I could think of was...

All hat - no cattle.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Vacation

Just because I am retired doesn't mean that I don't need a vacation now and then.  I seem to have hit a brick wall when it comes to writing.  So I am taking time away from the computer to relax and refresh.  I am not going anywhere, but daydreams put me on a sunny beach with a fruity, paper umbrella enhanced drink in one hand and a good mystery novel in the other.  I truly appreciate those of you who stop by this silly little blog.  I will be back in a week or two.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Dog Days of Summer

"The dog days or dog days of summer are the hot, sultry days of summer. They were historically the period following the heliacal rising of the star Sirius, which Greek and Roman astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck. They are now taken to be the hottest, most uncomfortable part of summer in the Northern Hemisphere." - Wikipedia

That seems to describe the mood here in my little Home Sweet Apartment.  Except that our weather hasn't been all that hot, with temps in the 80's during daylight hours and the humidity at mid-range.  Of all the descriptive words used above, I think that 'lethargy' best describes it.  My 'get-up-and-go' seems to have 'got-up-and-went.'

I have been doing just enough of the housekeeping chores to keep my apartment from reaching pig-sty status.  Otherwise it has been naps and reading and naps and entering data into my genealogy program and naps.  I think this might just continue over the weekend and with any kind of luck I may acquire some energy by Monday.  I have several projects waiting for me to wake up enough to do them.  Until that happens, those folks listed in the sidebar are leading lives much more exciting than mine at the moment.  Go visit them and enjoy.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Some mornings...

are better than others.  This morning is one of those.

Beautiful sunrise.
Cool enough yet to have my windows open.
Birds singing their little hearts out in the tree outside my window.
Slight breeze bringing fresh air into my apartment.
Rain shower helping to keep the heat at bay, at least for now.
Good cup or two of coffee.
Bacon and eggs for breakfast.

The rest of the day is a crap shoot what with storms and heat predicted, but for now it is a good morning just to be alive.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Responsibility

There are several YouTube channels I like to watch on a regular basis.  Some are about artsy craftsy stuff.  Others are about quilting.  And some fall into the category of homesteading.  They include everything from gardening to raising small livestock to food preservation to frugal living and a self-sustaining lifestyle.

One of my favorites is called 'Deep South Homestead'  and is done by a couple living in southern Mississippi.  I have learned much from watching their videos.  At present they are doing a series about financial freedom.  Unlike many videos with similar topics, they do not give tips on money management, but rather show how experiences from childhood and beyond can influence the way an adult manages their finances to be debt free.

As I watched their video this morning, it got me to thinking about how the way I was raised was similar in many ways to the things they spoke of and how different things were then from the way they are today.

As a child, the rule was that nobody played until the work was done.  That meant that at suppertime, the table was properly set and the family sat down together for the meal.  After supper the dishes were cleared, washed, dried and put away.  Only then were we free to relax and pursue whatever was of interest to us.

I was 15 years old before our family had a television.  Before that, we listened to the serial programs on the radio like Dragnet or Abbot and Costello or Amos 'n Andy.  Sometimes we could get musical shows, mostly country or western, my Dad's favorites.  Whether it was radio or television, mother believed it was a sin to just sit and watch or listen, so I always was doing something at those times.  Maybe it was knitting a scarf or hemming a skirt or embroidering a dish towel, but my hands were never idle.  I have continued along those lines to this day.

If a person kept animals of any kind, their needs came first.  No matter if it was raining or if there was a blizzard raging, the animals had to be fed, watered and their living areas had to be kept clean.  Only when these tasks were accomplished could a person even think about their own needs.

Gardens were more than just a hobby.  The produce grown was essential to keeping the family fed over the winter months and until the garden of the following year began producing.  Early mornings would find us weeding.  That was also the time of day when vegetables were picked, cleaned and made ready for either freezing or canning.  When the vegetables were in the freezer or in jars cooling on the counter, then and only then were we free to do what we wanted to do.

Saturday mornings were not for watching cartoons, but were for cleaning the house 'just in case we get company.'  Wooden and tile floors were scrubbed, rugs were vacuumed, bed linens were changed, furniture was dusted and bathrooms were made to sparkle.  After that there were cakes or cookies to bake to make sure there were treats to go with coffee should any neighbor or relative drop by.

Another thing we were taught that I find sadly lacking today were manners.  It didn't matter whether or not we liked an adult, they were treated with respect.  'Yes, Ma'am' and 'No, Sir' was the correct way to respond.  We never, ever called an adult by their first names.  It was always Miss, Mrs. or Mr.  I suppose it might have been easier then because we were clear about gender rolls.  The only time first names were acceptable were when addressing Aunt Emily or Uncle Oscar.

I think the whole thing boils down to being taught responsibility.  Making sure the garden was well kept insured that we would eat over the winter.  Working before playing instilled in us a work ethic that would last a lifetime.  And good manners combined with respect for others is what separated us from the savages.  All of these things, even those learned as children, went a long way to attaining responsibility in all areas, including financial.

Friday, July 14, 2017

I Am Tired...

I am tired of hearing about the Russians.

I am tired of listening to celebrities telling me how they think I should live while they are paid millions to pretend to be somebody else.

I am tired of all the reports of people being beaten to a bloody pulp for the crime of wearing a Trump cap.

I am tired of Congress spending so much time trying to get rid of Trump and so little time on doing what we elected them to do.

I am just plain tired of Black Lives Matter for dozens of reasons.

I am particularly tired of California Representative Maxine Waters and her ilk screaming impeachment at every turn.

And I am tired of news articles like the one that set me off on this rant today.  It seems that two black ministers are suing Coca Cola because they believe too many persons of color drink too many sodas that cause them to become obese.  It's because Coca Cola advertises their products, don't you see.

Let that sink in.

Seems to me that if you drink sodas and you are fat, one thing you could do is, oh I don't know, maybe stop drinking sodas?  Of course, that would require some personal responsibility.  Can't have that.  Being personally responsible means that you have to work on the problem yourself and stop blaming others for your actions.

I can't do anything about any of the above.  People are going to be mean and hateful no matter what I say.  And so far, I have found no way to fix Stupid.  I can't just stop checking the news reports because I think it is important to keep an eye on what is going on in the world.  That is part of the preparedness thing.

But I can spend far less time on the headlines and much more time doing what makes me and mine happy.  Sounds like a plan to me.

Kicking that well used soapbox back into the corner now.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Beat the Heat

I know that our temperatures here in Minnesota can't come close to those in the states west of us, but nonetheless, it is hot.  And muggy.  Staying indoors in my air conditioned apartment is the best possible option.  I don't do well with hot and muggy.

I have 10 lbs. of potatoes waiting to be dehydrated and beans ready to be canned up into pork and beans, but I believe they can just wait a while longer.   The central air in my building works fine as long as I keep the windows closed and don't run the dehydrators or the stove too much.  I am glad that I canned several varieties of soup earlier.  Lunches this week will be soup from a jar that I can microwave and maybe a sandwich.  The crockpot will be getting a workout this week as it throws off very little heat.  I thawed out some chicken legs and will add some broth, a jar of diced potatoes and carrots, some dehydrated onion and let it cook all day.  Dumplings added  about a half hour before suppertime will make a good meal.

My scrawny bean plants have a few more blossoms on them and so does the cantaloupe.  Looks like I should have blossoms opening up on the zucchini in a week or two.  So far I haven't killed off any of the plants in my little windowsill garden.  I thought for sure I would have murdered at least some of them by now.

Aside from a few minor housekeeping chores, I think it will be quiet here in my little corner of the world.  I have sewing projects and books to read and I need to make some entries in my genealogy program.  Lots to do without having to deal with the heat and humidity.

Life is good.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Never Too Old To Learn

So two or three months ago I bought half a dozen one pound bags of Great Northern beans.  Thought about taking them out of the original packaging, but got busy and just tossed them into an empty box in my pantry closet.  Well, that's not quite true.  There may have been some laziness involved.

My grocery order this week included five bags of the dry beans.  I brought the box of beans from my pantry out to the kitchen table with the intent of repackaging part of them and using some of the older ones to can up as pork and beans.

To my horror I found the original six bags crawling with little black bugs.  And so was the box they were in.  I double wrapped the whole shebang in trash bags, sealing the tops with tape.  Now they can live in the dumpster and not in my pantry.

So I learned that dry beans should be removed from the original plastic bags to be repackaged, the same as I do with anything I want to store that comes in cardboard packaging.  I know that bugs like to hide in cardboard.  I didn't know they also like plastic bags full of dry beans.

I opened the five bags I just bought, sorted them to remove any bad beans, put them into freezer bags and stacked them in the freezer where they will stay for a few days, just to make sure nothing is crawling around in them.

We are never too old to learn.  I am glad all that lesson cost me was a few bags of beans.

Friday, July 7, 2017

An Artist in the Family

Artistic talent has shown up from time to time in my Mother's side of the family.  My Aunt Margaret painted beautiful portraits.  I have no examples of her paintings, but I do have this pencil sketch she did of me when I was young.



Uncle Duane painted landscapes.  Here is an example of his work.



Sadly, the artistic gene bypassed me.  My attempts at drawing or painting looked like something done by a toddler.  Sigh.

So I was delighted when I learned of my granddaughter Maddie's interest in painting.  She sent me a card thanking me for the birthday money I had sent her and telling me she would use the gift to purchase art supplies.  I asked her Dad to take some pictures of her paintings for me.




I would like them even if I weren't her Grandma.  Her Dad tells me that she loves to paint.  I hope she continues.

Oh, and Maddie May - I'm pretty sure I could find a frame and a blank wall.  Just sayin'.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

I Have Four...

count them - four actual, for real snap beans growing on my three leggy, raggedy looking snap bean plants in the window sill.  And I'm not for sure certain, but it looks like the cucumber and zucchini plants might be thinking about setting some blossoms.   What I think may be blossoms are tiny, so it will be a while before I know for sure.  Hope springs eternal.  :)

That's about all the excitement this old heart can stand.  The rest of my week and weekend is planned to be pretty quiet and has me dehydrating hash browns and more onions.  My grocery order this week includes several bags of Great Northern beans to replace those I have taken out of storage to can into pork and beans.  I am using a new recipe so I won't post it unless the finished product is really good.  I will do those maybe next week when the outdoor temps cool down a bit.  

I did have a nice phone call earlier this week.  Granddaughter Boston called to tell me she had passed the test and had received her learner's permit to drive.  She was so excited and I am glad she thought to share that excitement with me.  David, my youngest son and her Dad, called me a couple of days later and during our conversation remarked that he could barely make it in the door in the evening before Boston was right there asking, 'Can we go for a drive, Dad?  Let's go for a drive.'  I laughed.  I'm sorry.  Just couldn't help myself.  Especially when I think of the fact that this is the first to learn to drive and there are two more waiting in the wings.  I expect one day David will laugh about it, too.  But not just yet.  :)

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Independence Day



I will be back after the holiday.  Until then, this is me...wishing all of you a safe and happy Independence Day, enjoying whatever family traditions you observe.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Look! Green Growing Plants!

And they are on my windowsills.  And they are still alive.  It is a miracle.

As you all know, I am the serial killer of indoor plants.  But somehow, these vegetables I planted are still alive.  Must be really tough to have survived this long.

These are cucumbers, cantaloupe and zucchini.



These are two pots of cherry tomatoes and one of green bell peppers.



And here we have peas and yellow snap beans.  And the beans have blossoms.



It takes so little to amuse me.  :)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

What Do You Do...

when life smacks you upside the head to get your attention and then proceeds to add some difficulties to your life.  When you get to be my age, those difficulties are mostly medical.

Those who are regular readers know of my physical limitations because I whine about them periodically.  Those new visitors, take heart.  I promise to keep the whining about fun stuff like arthritis and cellulitis to a minimum.

To my way of thinking, there are two things a person can do.

The first is to crawl into bed, pull the covers up to your ears and just wait to die.

The second, and my personal choice, is to just to get on with it.  Make peace with the fact that life has changed and there is bloody little a person can do about that.  So after you get through the initial anger and frustration and periods of weepy self pity, find ways to adapt to the situation.

Everyone has different situations to deal with.  Many are much worse than mine.  I still have a mind that works - well, sort of.  I can still walk - sort of.  I can still take care of myself as far as personal hygiene, cooking, keeping my apartment clean enough to stay the health department, etc.  But each task needed to be thought out as to how to do it in my present condition.

The hardest part for me was knowing that I was not the Wonder Woman of the past who could work hard from dawn to dark and beyond.  That fact pretty much shredded my ego.  I have never been one to cry for help unless it was obvious that the task at hand could not be accomplished alone.  So having to call on my kids to do for me was not high on my list of things I enjoyed.  But, after swallowing some of my pride, I did it.  Thankfully I have grown children who are more than willing to help out when needed.

Adapting to current limitations has been a challenge.  I know that I can not stand or walk for more than 10 minutes at a time before the arthritic pain becomes overwhelming.  So I have learned to do the chores either in ten minute increments or do what I can while seated at my kitchen table.  Youngest Son and his family gave me a walker for Mother's Day so I can now leave my apartment and enjoy the outdoors.  Admitting to myself that I needed a walker was tough.  I have learned that if I do too much one day, I will spend the next day quietly recovering.  Sometimes it is worth it - sometimes not.

I believe the most important thing about dealing with limitations is attitude.  I suppose I could sit around in a puddle of self pity, but I won't.  I haven't the time nor do I have the patience for it.  I think that concentrating on what I can do rather than what I can't makes all the difference.

The point of this post is not to dwell on my physical problems, but to encourage anyone out there who is facing life-changing obstacles.  If just one person who reads this is able to realize that life, even with limitations, can be good, then this was worth posting.  Just do the best you can with what you have to work with.

Oh yeah...keep your sense of humor.  Laughter is the very best medicine.  Really - it is.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

More Canning and Dehydrating

It is one of those busy days.  I dehydrated three good sized heads of cabbage, filling the dehydrators last evening.  I got about three quarts of dried cabbage, all bagged up and ready to use in soups, etc.

This morning I am browning 12 lbs. of hamburger to jar up and can.  I had seen a video about packing raw hamburger into the jars without browning it first, so last time I canned hamburger, I tried that method.  It turned out just fine, but I find I like the texture of the precooked meat better.  It is just a personal preference.

There are 6 bananas sitting in the fruit bowl on my kitchen table that need to be turned into a couple of loaves of banana bread, so as soon as the pressure canner full of meat is going, banana bread making will commence.  I will share a loaf with Oldest Son.  He loves banana bread as much as I do.  He reads my blog, so I am guessing he will show up tonight after work to collect his loaf without my having to call him.

And that's the extent of the excitement here in my little Home Sweet Apartment.  When the chores are done, some sewing will happen.  And quite possibly, a nap.

There was a time when I would tease my Dad about his afternoon naps, but the older I get the more I realize, the man was on to something.  :)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Stretching a Meal

When I was a kid, it was not unusual for friends or relatives to show up at our house on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.  TV was a rare commodity then.  My family didn't have one until I was 15 years old.  Personal computers and cell phones were somewhere in the future.  People went visiting.  They sat on front porches and talked about the weather and the condition of the crops and wasn't that daughter of Aunt Ruby's acting just disgraceful with that boyfriend of hers.  And when the sun was getting low in the western sky and the visitors showed no signs of leaving, they were invited to stay for supper.  And most times, they accepted.

My mother was one of those women who planned.  She knew that on Monday she would wash clothes and on Tuesday I would iron them.  She planned nothing for Saturday morning except setting her daughters to cleaning the house.  If you have ever experienced scrubbing out the corners of a set of stairs with a toothbrush, then you know the extent of my mother's planning.  And she knew exactly what each meal would be for a week.

Mother didn't take it well when her plans were disrupted.  So it was always a wonder to me how she coped with guests for the supper she had planned for four people.  She took it in stride and never batted an eye.  Thinking back, I realized how she did it.

If she had a roast beef or a chicken in the oven, she sent one of us kids down to the basement, which doubled as our cold storage area, to bring up more potatoes to be boiled and a handful of fresh carrots to be cleaned and cut into carrot sticks.  She had us get a quart jar of dill pickles and a pint jar of relish.  And added to that were a couple of jars of home canned peaches for dessert.  A plate of homemade baking powder biscuits rounded out the meal, now with enough food for company.

I remember once having supper guests when Mother had made a pot of chili that was enough to feed just our family.  Mother calmly cooked up a pot of rice and made a double batch of cornbread.  She added a plate of sliced cheese and another of raw carrots, radishes and sliced cucumbers from the garden.  She filled bowls half full of rice and topped that off with chili.  Dessert was sliced strawberries from the garden, with cream and sugar .

The point is.....Mother was prepared.  She was a girl growing up during the Great Depression.  After that came the WWII food rationing.  Her mother taught her how to stretch a meal.  Although my Grandfather was one of the fortunate ones to be employed during the Depression, he still had seven children to feed.  That was not always an easy task.  My grandparents grew a garden.  They canned as much food as they could.  My father grew up in a similar environment with the added benefit of living on a farm where they could have meat and milk animals to feed his family of nine children.  Both my parents carried on the tradition of preserving as much food as they could in the summer and fall.  They passed on that lifestyle to me.  One of the best things they taught me was how to stretch a meal.

I don't always have fresh food on hand.  I can't raise a garden.  But I can go to my shelves and pantry and get the fixings for any number of meals.  And like Mother, I keep on hand ingredients to be able to stretch a meal when needed.  Just makes sense.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Plants in My Windowsills

They are growing.  By some miracle I have managed to keep them alive - so far.

The cantaloupe, zucchini and cucumbers are flourishing.  They have beautiful green leaves and are beginning to spread out.

I have two pots of cherry tomatoes grown from saved seeds.  They are slow to grow, but are beginning to leaf out.  I thinned them down to about six plants per pot.

The bell peppers finally popped through the soil and have grown a couple of inches.

The green peas are maybe 6 - 8 inches tall and have fallen over, but they are still alive and growing.

And last but not least, the yellow snap beans are setting on blossoms.  Amazing!  If they form actual beans, there may be enough for a meal.

If the plants are still alive in a week or so, I will take some pictures to post.  I was kind of busy today, what with my grocery delivery and getting 12 lbs. of hamburger ready to can tomorrow.

The plants in my little windowsill garden must be tough.  They have to be to still live in spite of my abysmal track record with indoor plants.  Even if I get nothing off them, it is still fun watching them grow.  :)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

It is turning into...

a really nice week.  Temperatures here are in the mid to high 70's and the humidity isn't too bad.  It is nice to be able to turn off the air conditioning and open the windows.  We had some rain and some sunshine and a lovely breeze.

I canned up the rest of the chicken thighs and got five pints.  There was enough broth to fill five quart jars.  I have ordered 12 lbs. of hamburger to can.  That will be delivered tomorrow.  Hamburger is the only meat I am low on, although I probably could use some more bacon bits.  The price of bacon has gone through the  roof here, so I will have to see if Duane can find some bacon ends and pieces at a reasonable price.  I was thinking about canning some bacon slices but not at the current price of $6.99  a pound.

My daughter Jill and grandson Zach stopped over yesterday evening.  Zach was all excited.  He will be spending a week at Airplane Camp.  I asked if the camp was just for instruction or if there would be actual flying involved.  He said, with a grin, that they would be flying.  Zach has taken flying lessons since he was maybe 12 years old.  He needed to sit on a pillow to be able to see out the window of the plane.  That's no longer a problem for that over 6 ft. tall 17 year old grandson of mine.  I told him that when he gets his pilot's license, he needed to remember that his Grandma loves to fly.  I'm not overjoyed with commercial flights, but I dearly love a ride in a small plane.  He said he would keep it in mind.

David stopped in a couple of days ago.  Both of his daughters have birthdays in June and he said he would pick up the cards I had for them so I wouldn't need to mail them.  I think he was actually checking up on me.  He knew I hadn't been feeling well and he knows I hate going to the  doctor, so he sometimes checks to make sure I don't need make an appointment.  I just can't get away with anything!  He left yesterday for a conference in Canada, having to do with his job at a landscaping company.  He said he was torn...he was looking forward to the conference but he knew he would miss his family while he had to be gone.

Nothing earth shattering or exciting going on here in my little corner of the world.  I'm just puttering about with the necessary Susie Homemaker stuff.  And in between times the sewing machine is being put to good use.  That's pretty much the story of my life and I like it that way.  :)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Quilts and Chicken

I watched Boston dance at the National competition via live stream.  She did very well as did her whole studio group.  Even though the picture quality on the live stream isn't the best, I can still pick her out of a crowd and follow her dance steps.  Loved every second of it.

I did some sewing in between Boston' dances.  I finished sewing the pieces together to make these blocks.





Now I just need to sew the blocks together and then add the batting and backing before quilting.  So many now use quilting machines or even use their sewing machines to do the final quilting, but I am old fashioned, I guess.  I like the look of hand quilting, even though it takes longer to finish.

I don't do fancy art quilts like so many who enter their quilts in quilt shows.  Mine are strictly utility quilts that are made for warmth on beds - not to be hung on a wall and admired.  I love to look at all those fancy quilts, but I make mine from leftover fabric or from fabric that is on sale at my local fabric store.

This is the quilt I will finish only if I live another 10 years.  It is called "Grandmother's Flower Garden."  Each hexagon is sewn by hand - no sewing machine work here.



Please excuse the untidy look of it.  It gets wrinkled while working on it.  All of the flower blocks are done and I am in the process of sewing them together.  I work on it sometimes in the evening while watching something I like on my computer.  Maybe a movie or some other program like Antiques Roadshow.  It takes lots of tiny stitches to sew the pieces together and is time consuming.  But I really like this old fashioned pattern, so I keep plugging away at it.

Lori was going shopping on Saturday and asked if I needed anything.  Our local big box grocery had chicken legs and thighs in the family-sized packs on sale at a good price, so I asked her to get me three packages of each.  In between Boston's dance numbers I filled 13 quart jars with whole legs and thighs.  I use the wide mouth jars  for ease in removing the meat when I go to use it.  That took care of all the wide mouth quart jars I had.  That left me with two package of thighs.  Those are simmering on the stove and when they are done I will take the meat from the bones and can it in pint jars.  There should be some nice chicken broth to can as well.

I hadn't planned to do any canning over the weekend, but when the opportunity presents itself, it seems like a person should take advantage of it.  After all, that gives me another couple of weeks worth of suppers and the way things are going in the world around us, I think I will be glad to have it.  Things are just getting way too crazy to ignore.  We need to be prepared for anything.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Plans...

don't always work out.  That irritating flu-like bug that visited me has moved on to greener pastures.  But it did put a bit of a crimp in my plans for a couple of sewing days.

However, optimist that I am, a new plan is in the works.  My granddaughter, Boston, is dancing with her studio at Nationals in Wisconsin Dells.  She has four routines with her group today.  I'm not sure yet about tomorrow.  But the competition is being live streamed.   So Grandma will be setting up the laptop where I can see it while sewing.  

Regular scheduled programing will commence on Monday.  The coffee is brewed.  The snacks are at hand.  Supper is in the crockpot.  I am all set for some serious sewing machine time and more importantly, some time well spent watching the girl do what she does so well.  Hope you all have a weekend as happy as mine.  :)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I am beginning to believe...

there is something nasty in the air or in the water.  This is the third or fourth time this year that I have come down with flu-like symptoms.  Never had that happen before.

Back to bed for me.  I will return when this round of icky has run its course.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Spending time...

sewing for a couple of days.  Just because I can.  I have neglected the piles of quilt pieces on my sewing table for far too long.  Sometimes we have to let the world do what it will without us, let the day to day stuff pass by and just do what makes us happy.

I will be back in a day or two - possibly with some show and tell.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Even Grownups Need a Play Day

So I had me one.

I think the only things I did all day that even came close to being work were to wash up a few dishes and sweep the kitchen floor.

There was a novel that needed reading and a movie that needed watching and a few quilt pieces that needed sewing.  And there was a long and luxurious afternoon nap.  Can't forget the nap.

My phone rang several times during the day.  Various and assorted kids and grands called to wish me a happy birthday.  I don't do birthday celebrations any more, but leave that for the kiddos.  And I don't need gifts - I have all I need.  It is enough that they remember and call.

I talked to my youngest grandson, Jacob, who is 9 (I think.  I can never remember for sure.).   He wanted to know about the important stuff like did I have cake and ice cream.  He thought it was just wrong that I didn't.  I had to promise I would have cake later this week.  And I might just do that.  I have been hungry for an apple spice cake with caramel frosting.

I got to thinking about how much things have changed in my 71 years on this earth.  Change can be good or sometimes, not so much.  I have many more conveniences than my parents had - microwave, air conditioning, telephone that isn't on a 9 family party line.  If I want to look up some information on any subject I don't need to go to the library because there is Google.  If I want to watch a movie I can find one on my computer or just insert a DVD.  I can communicate with people all around the world with just a keystroke or two.  I know what is going on around me almost as soon as it happens.

But I think there is a trade-off.  We don't sit on the front porch of an evening and just talk any more.  Unless Dad has a really good job, Mom can't be home raising the kids because it takes both paychecks to afford all those conveniences.  We live in a high stress, fast paced world rather than the slower one of years gone by.  Lately, common sense and common decency seem to have vanished, at least in some circles.  Vulgarity has become commonplace.  We are expected to accept as normal behavior things that were once considered shameful and wrong.

I hope the trend toward rude and crude and violent behavior is just a passing thing.  I know there are still good people out there.  I know many of them.  I just have to wonder what kind of a world my grands will find when they, like me, have lived 71 years.

I pray that by that time good manners and common sense will have made a comeback.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

So Far - So Good

My windowsill garden is growing by leaps and bounds.  The snap beans are about 6 inches tall, though kind of leggy.  But they are leafing out so I guess they are OK.  I may have to stake them up before they fall over.

There are 7 green pea plants, all healthy and leafy.  I have two pots of cherry tomatoes and I thinned them out this morning.  When they get bigger I will thin again and save the best looking plants.

The cucumbers, zucchini and cantaloupe are all about 4 inches tall and looking good.

So far the bell peppers haven't sprouted.  I will give them another week and if they don't poke through the soil by then, I will plant something else in that pot.

I water my little garden every other evening and have notes posted here and there to remind me to do so.  That schedule seems to be working well so far.

Now if I can just rein in my homicidal tendencies toward houseplants, this might actually work out.

I'm stoked!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Sunday Night Ramble

Had me a nice, relaxing weekend.  Our weather has been warm, with temps hitting the 90 degree mark.  I was happy to discover the central air conditioning for my building has been turned on.  We Minnesotans tend to melt at anything over 85 degrees, wimps that we are.  I have been turning off the air and opening windows at night when the temp goes down around the 60 degree mark.  Lovely sleeping weather.

Went into slug mode on Saturday.  Just pottered about with this and that.  Got my grocery order ready for tomorrow when the nice lady calls for it.  She has a sense of humor and likes to chat for a bit, which makes for a pleasant break in the day.  I really don't need to order much as my pantry is nearly full, so I'm filling in with staples like more salt, oatmeal, canned salmon, tuna, etc.

Now that my shelves are sorted out and I can see at a glance what I have for home canned food, I can better tell what I need to can this summer and fall.  Duane stopped in (I needed a tall person to get a box of dehydrated tomatoes off the top shelf.) and we went over the list for the Farmer's Market again, keeping in mind that shelf space is now at a premium.   His apartment is smaller than mine, but he said that he would do some rearranging to try to fit in a shelf for more canned food.  That would help.

A while back I connected on Facebook with a guy I went to school with.  He is a Vietnam Vet and a retired cop.  He knows more about what is going on around us than I do, so he messages me articles he finds that keep me up to speed, as much as I can be, anyway.  He calls me now and then and we brag on our various kids and grands and talk prepping and the state of insanity we now live in.  We talked a bit today of the latest terrorist attack in London.  It is just a matter of time until we are in the same boat as England.  I wish our government would care as much about keeping us safe as it does about scoring political points.  By the time the politicians figure that out, it may be too late.

In my quest for more storage space, I came up with a brilliant idea.  Well, OK.  Someone else thought of it and I am copying it.  I have been dehydrating lots of vegetables for long term storage because when dried, they take up much less space than canned.  I saw where some were grinding dehydrated vegetables into powder which reduces them even more.  So I experimented first with dried tomatoes by running them through my blender and then through a wire mesh strainer to take out the bits that wouldn't grind down any further.  Worked like a charm.  I tested the powder by adding a bit of water until I had a passable tomato paste.  More water gave me tomato sauce.  The leftover bits I stored in a jar separate from the powder to toss into soup, stew, etc.  I reduced the dried bell peppers I had to a powder and can add that to any number of dishes for flavor.  I think it would be good sprinkled on a salad or in scrambled eggs, omelets, etc.  Tomorrow I will powder some more tomatoes and some onions as well.

So that was the extent of my excitement here in my little corner of the world.  Quiet.  Peaceful.  No stress.  Just the way I like it.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

There are green things...

growing in pots on my windowsills.  

Amazing!

I have yellow snap beans, green peas, cucumbers and cantaloupe that have poked up through the soil.  Oh, and two lonely little cherry tomato plants.

I am surprised to see the cantaloupe growing.  Maybe three years ago I saved some seeds from a store bought melon that was exceptionally tasty.  I haven't done anything special with the seeds - just put them in an envelope and stored them in a box on a shelf with the rest of my seeds.  Same with the cherry tomato seeds.  They came from the little garden David had in his back yard.  My grands had picked a bucket of cherry tomatoes for me and I saved a few seeds.  And they are actually growing.  Well, two of them anyway.

What possessed me to buy some garden seeds to begin with, I don't know.  I live in an apartment.  The communal deck on the building isn't large enough for any serious container gardening, although Duane and Lori have three tomato plants growing there.  I guess acquiring seeds is just part of the preparedness thing.

I know I am easily amused, but the fact that these plants are actually trying to grow tickles me.

I wonder if I can keep from murdering them like I do with most house plants.  I hope so.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Ready

Home canned food sorted and properly shelved - check.

List of needed Farmer's Market produce completed and Oldest Son approved (He is the one who has to go get it all and huff it up the stairs.) - check

List of the amounts and sizes of canning jars needed for processing produce completed and Oldest Son approved for the same reason (He says he feels like a pack mule sometimes.  I don't know why.  :) - check.

Dehydrator trays and liners all scrubbed and ready to use - check.

Shelves in living room rearranged to make space for more food in jars - check.

OK Summer.  Bring it on.
I am ready.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Sidetracked

I am afraid I am one of those who is easily sidetracked.  I have in mind a chore I want to accomplish and before I know it, I am off doing something else.  I call it my "Oh, look.  Squirrel!" syndrome.

I know I have been talking about canning cranberries from my freezer.  I had really good intentions.  But they are still in the freezer and I am busy with other things.  Squirrel.

Last summer I tried growing some herbs in pots on my windowsills.  I don't know what happened, but I managed to kill them all.  In frustration, I took the pots, dirt, dead plants and all, stuffed the whole shebang into a trash bag and tossed the bag into the back of my closet.  Well yesterday I found them.

I cleaned the dead foliage from the pots, stirred up the soil, watered it down and planted some seeds.  I now have pots with peas, yellow snap beans, cucumbers, sweet green peppers, cherry tomatoes, cantaloupe and zucchini.  I have no idea if the seeds will even grow, but I thought it would be fun to try.  I have no expectations of harvesting anything, but at least I may end up with some greenery growing on my windowsills.

So this morning I thought I would can cranberries, but squirrel.

Now that the weather is warmer, I want to get out to the fabric store.  I need fabric for the backs of several quilts and batting.  So I was digging through the tubs that hold the quilt tops - both finished and partially finished - to see what I needed to finish them all.  And in the process I found two bags containing partially crocheted afghans.  I had started them to use up yarn left over from other projects, knowing I would need more yarn to finish them.  So I took some pictures to remind myself of the colors I need.  The fabric store carries yarn as well, so I will get some when I go to buy fabric.




I love crocheted afghans.  My grandmother had a couple of them in this same 'granny square' pattern that I remember from my childhood as being soft and warm and comfy.  The pattern is easy to do and is something I can work on in the evenings while watching a movie.

So as long as there is no canning going on today, I think I will finish my afternoon doing those piddly household chores that never seem to go away - mop the kitchen floor, vacuum, straighten up my pantry, etc.  And I may have to find a cage for that pesky squirrel that keeps diverting my attention.  :)

Monday, May 22, 2017

This and That

It is a lovely day here in the north country.  Temperatures have risen enough so I could shut off the heat in my apartment and crack open a couple of windows.   Spent the morning getting caught up on the household stuff that the latest arthritis flare up prevented me from doing.  Dishes are washed, laundry is folded and put away and a pan of cornbread muffins are in the oven.

Duane and Lori were here this morning.  Duane wanted to borrow my large roaster pan for a beef roast he is cooking for supper.  He raided my shelves for a couple pints of baby carrots to go with the beef.  I am glad when my kids raid the shelves.  That's what all those jars of food are for.  And he will bring me a plate of food for my supper.  Pretty good trade, I'd say.  :)

I was reading the website for one of our local news sources when I saw this headline:
'An Undocumented Future:  Fear in The Immigrant Community.'
Basically the article tells of those illegals who are worried about deportation now that we have a president who seems to believe that laws should be enforced.  I can't really blame many of these people, especially those who have families here.  They were told for eight years that there would be no consequences for breaking our immigration laws.  I suspect they counted on the coronation of Hillary to continue that practice.  Well, surprise, surprise.  Now many are heading for Canada to avoid deportation here.  What a mess Obama created by refusing to enforce those laws.  And how terribly wrong he was to mess with the lives of those who believed him.

So I have goofed off long enough.  I am off to the kitchen to rid the freezer of a few more gallon bags of cranberries that, with any kind of luck, will be cranberry sauce and cranberry juice.  I am almost afraid to see what is lurking underneath all those berries.  :)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

A Green Fuzzy Blanket Kind of Day

It is cold.  It is breezy.  It is wet.  It will stay like this for the next three or four days.  Arthritis in my joints is protesting.  It is easy to let depression settle over us under these conditions.

But I won't let it.

There is a recliner and a Kindle and some music on the radio and a green fuzzy blanket, all calling my name.

Right after I have a slice of chocolate cake and another cup of coffee.

Take that, arthritis and depression.  You can't begin to compete with chocolate cake and coffee.  Nor can you compete with the jar of home canned ham and beans I'm having for supper tonight, along with a pan of cornbread.

Comfort food and a murder mystery.  And a green fuzzy blanket.  Chases the blues away every time.  :)