Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday Morning Ramble

Sleep has eluded me.  I have to wonder why I am bright-eyed at 4 AM, after only three hours of sleep.  Good thing I am a firm believer in naps.

I glance around my living room as the sunlight begins to stream in.  In one corner, next to a window is an overstuffed chair.  It serves to hide in the corner behind it, two stacks of buckets from the bakery, waiting for me to fill with rice and beans and sugar and flour.  But that's not why I keep that ratty piece of furniture.  It is Kizzy the cat's chair.  The front and side of one arm have been shredded.  Kizzy has claws.  There is a cat-sized indentation at the top of the chair back.  Kizzy likes to sleep there, and when awake, likes to keep watch on whatever is going on outside of the window.  How she can sleep there and not slide off is beyond me, but she does.  I wonder if it is a sign of senility, to keep a disreputable looking chair just because the cat loves it.

I gripe about being awake so early, but truth be known, I love the early morning hours.  The breeze flowing through my open windows is cool.  The street below is quiet.  The cars with folks on their way to their jobs and the delivery trucks have yet to make an appearance.  The birds are singing their little hearts out.  Sometimes Kizzy joins me in watching the sky turn from black to blue to pink and gold.  Or maybe she is trying to figure out how to get one of those birds.  But that would require expending some energy.  Unless a bird had a death wish and landed on her head, Kizzy isn't going to get excited.  About anything.  Lazy cat.

Sometimes I wish I were more like the bloggers who cook fabulous meals and share recipes and photos.  I find, at those times when I am honest with myself, that I eat for two reasons.  One is because I truly love a particular dish, so I don't mind the fuss and bother it takes to prepare it.  But mostly I eat for the second reason, which is that a body needs fuel.  I suppose that if I didn't have so many other interests I might be willing to spend hours chopping and dicing and sauteing.  I don't mind doing all of that when I am preparing food to be pressure canned for later use.  But I find that I would rather be sewing or crocheting or scrapbooking or researching family history than spending time cooking elaborate meals for myself.  Or maybe I am just lazy.  I haven't quite decided.

Enough rambling.  As long as I am not going to sleep until afternoon nap time, I might as well finish up the few chores I have left over that didn't get done when I was sidelined.  The grocery store has hamburger on sale this week and tomorrow I want to get enough to can.  Canned hamburger is one item I love to have on my shelves.  I can it in pint jars, which is just right for adding to hot dishes or spaghetti sauce or for making Sloppy Joes.  And I want to do a few jars of meatballs in mushroom gravy.  Those are really good over rice or potatoes.  And they make a quick, easy meal for those times when I am busy (or lazy).

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Blogger Hiccup

Blogger seems to be pouting about something or other and won't let me post comments on anyone else's blogs.  I am reading your blogs and enjoying your blogs.  I just, at the moment, can't tell you about it with comments.  And darn it.  I had a couple of really good ones, too!

I hope this case of Blogger Hiccups is cured soon.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Things Are Looking Up

My body seems to be in fairly good working order.  The weather has cooled down a bit with temperatures not reaching 70 degrees.    Seemed like a good bread baking morning.

A while ago Jess from Scratching To Escape left a comment here saying he liked my posts about bread making.  I joked back that the next time I baked bread, I'd make a pan of cinnamon rolls for him.

There ya go, Jess.  Now if you can just get that Star Wars Teleportation Device working...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Universe...

is conspiring against me.

My arthritic hip seems to have healed enough to allow me to get out and about again.  So I planned to catch the bus this morning and head for the grocery store.  Planned, that is, right up to the time I woke up this morning with mild stomach flu type symptoms.  Nothing serious, but just enough so I think it might be wise to stay put another day or so.

Time was I would get all mad and upset because of a small set-back like this.  Not any more.   Things usually happen for a reason.  I'm supposed to stay home today.  So I will.  At least I still have my sense of humor.  I chuckled to myself when I browsed the news this morning and read about a stupid criminal in the Twin City area.  Seems he burglarized a home, stealing various articles and cash.  While there, he used the homeowner's computer to check his Facebook page.  And forgot to log off when finished.  Which led to his capture.  The story is here.

So I think I will go make myself a nice cup of tea.  The last time I dehydrated apple slices, I saved all the peelings and dried them, too.  Did the same thing with the pulp left over from making and canning cranberry juice last fall.  When I run the dried apple peels and cranberry pulp through my little grinder and add a spoonful of honey, it makes for a wonderful soothing tea.

I have tea.  I have my Kindle.  I have a comfy rocking chair.  If the Universe conspires to keep me in the house for another day or so, I might just as well enjoy it!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Sun Shines...

on my little corner of the world today.  I haven't even checked the weather forecast.  I just want to enjoy the day without knowing if it will last or if more rain is coming.  Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

I'm working really hard to become mobile again.  That means that today I am spending less time sitting and more time up walking and getting the day to day household stuff done.  This seems to be disconcerting to my Yorkies.  It has taken a long time to get back to normal (whatever that is).  They must have gotten used to seeing me quiet as opposed to my usual moving about, for today they are tag-teaming me.  One of them spends an hour or so following me wherever I go, tags off to her sister, who then spends an hour following me wherever I go.  This has been going on all day.  I finally had to kennel them both for a while so I could get them out from under foot.

It has been a bit frustrating to be sidelined here at home while grocery prices continue to move skyward at an alarming rate.  I was glad that I had so much food canned and dehydrated, for it really helped to have it over the long miserable winter and then for the past few weeks when I couldn't get out.  But supplies are starting to run low.  I like to have lots of hamburger and turkey canned and I am now down to 8 pints of burger and 6 pints of turkey.  Turkey prices haven't gone up too much, but the price of hamburger has doubled in the past year.  Those two things are at the top of my grocery list.

For the rest, I will just wait for the sales and stock up then, except for onions.  I love onions for cooking and I like to have lots dehydrated for that purpose.  A 5 lb. bag of onions, once dried, will easily fit into a quart sized freezer bag, which solves some of my storage problems.  I saw that Sam's Club has a 50 lb. bag of onions for about half the price per pound of the grocery's 5 lb. bags.  I may have to see if one of my kids is feeling strong enough to haul a bag up here for me!

Time to get back at it.  I've sat long enough.  I'm really looking forward to seeing what the outside world looks like again.  With any kind of luck, that will be sometime this coming week.

Life is good.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Sometime in the middle of the night, my little watchdog woke me up.  She was barking and pacing frantically, and her sister was guarding my living room windows.  Within just a minute or two the first crash of lightning came, along with heavy rain.  The girls headed for their kennels, their duties completed.

It was a doozey of a storm.  Nearly constant lightning and accompanying thunder crashed and rumbled.  The rain continued, and finally eased up close to dawn.  I dozed for a while until the second wave hit.  This one wasn't as severe or as long in duration.  It is going on 10 AM now, and the rain is still falling, but the thunder and lightning have moved on.  I waited for the power to go out, but luckily that hasn't happened in my neighborhood.

A little over an hour ago I turned on the scanner for my county.  Streets are flooded.  Water is boiling up out of the storm drains.  The main highway running southwest of here is closed in several places with water over the road.  County roads are flooded or washed out.  Several creeks criss-cross the area and most of them are over their banks.  And a mud slide has closed yet another road.  Even the levels of water in some of the lakes are threatening homes along the shores.

The Department of Transportation has had to close so many streets and roads that they ran out of traffic cones and barriers.  My oldest son, who lives southwest of me posted on Facebook that anyone going to work where he works would do well to wear their bathing suit.  He works nights, and is sleeping now, but I'm sure he will call and tell me about it when he wakes up.

I live about two city blocks from the Minnesota River.  I haven't heard whether the river is still within its banks.  The founding fathers of my town had the good sense to build on top of the hill that runs down to the river, so flood waters have never reached this far.

I am astounded at the number of people who drive their cars around the barriers and into the water on the roads and then can't figure out why their cars stalled.  I can hear the frustration in the voices of those who have to rescue these fools.

It is a really good day to stay inside where it is dry and warm.  My Kindle is fully charged up.  I was going to bake some bread this morning, but have decided to wait until the threat of power loss is over.  I have several projects to work on that, should the power go out, will not be affected.  And I am seriously considering building an ark.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Creating Monsters

I am only one person here in my little apartment.  But I have trouble cooking for one.  Comes from years of cooking for a family.  Take yesterday, for example.  I tossed pint jars of mixed veggies, tomatoes and beef cubes into my crock pot.  Added some dehydrated onions and seasonings.  Let it simmer all afternoon and then thickened it to form a gravy and spooned it over baking powder biscuits for my supper.  For lunch today I heated up leftovers.   And darned if there still was enough left for another meal.   But the third time around isn't nearly as appetizing and rounds one and two.  I suppose I could have frozen the rest of the stew, but I tend to forget about it once it is in the freezer.

My Yorkies had been hovering around my feet while I was heating up my lunch.  And they continued to stare longingly at me while I ate.  I usually feed them dry kibble or once in a while my homemade dog food.  But with the grocery prices headed upwards at an alarming rate, I really don't want to pay for the meat I need to include in the homemade recipe.  I was remembering that all of the farm dogs I had over the years were more than happy to eat kitchen scraps and leftovers in addition to their dry food.  Even though my Yorkies are the size of large rats, they are technically still dogs.  I think.

So I divided the last of the stew into bowls, crumbled up the last two biscuits over the stew and set the bowls on the floor.  I don't think either of them even tasted the food, for they pretty much inhaled it.  Good to the last drop.

And then they both waddled off to their respective kennels, where they are still napping.  I didn't know Yorkies could waddle.  They can.

I have either created monsters who will want all of my leftovers, or I have killed them off.  If I have killed them off, at least they will die happy.  If they live and want leftovers, great.  Dog food ain't cheap these days, either.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The End of an Era

When I was sixteen, getting my Driver's License was the most important thing in my life.  The day it arrived was cause for great celebrating on my part and cause for worry and dread on the part of my parents.

My Dad taught me how to drive.  He started by taking me out on the frozen lakes in winter, showing me the various steps in forward and backward motion, how to shift and how to brake.  Then he turned me loose and let me practice out on the snow covered ice, where I couldn't do much damage.

When I had my learner's permit, we traveled the gravel back roads running between the corn and soy bean fields.  When he felt that I could drive those roads safely, we graduated to the blacktop county roads and finally to the two lane state highways.

From there it was on to town driving. This was a fairly small town with a population of maybe 10,000 people at that time.  He taught me to drive the residential streets and the busy downtown area.  I learned to parallel park.  I learned that if you pay attention you won't squash the kid who dashes out in the street in front of your car.  I learned that just because the law says you have the right-of-way at an intersection doesn't mean that the other driver knows this.

When it was time to take Drivers Education classes, I was ready and passed with flying colors.

But Dad wasn't done with me yet.  One warm summer morning Dad asked me if I wanted to go to Minneapolis with him...a distance of about 100 miles.  I loved road trips with Dad.  I was ready in two minutes flat.

Road trips with Dad weren't just about the trip.  There was always a stop at some little cafe for coffee and maybe a slice of pie.  Then there was a stop at a roadside stand to buy whatever fruit was in season.  This time it was cherries.  We drove along, munching on red ripe cherries, spitting the pits out the windows.

When we reached the outskirts of the city, Dad pulled over.  He told me it was my turn to drive.  "But you are driving through downtown Minneapolis," I objected.  "No, you are," he said.  So I did.

Minneapolis was a scary place for a country girl to drive.  If the freeways had been built then, I don't remember them.  We took two lane state highways right into the heart of the city.  I was terrified.  If Dad shared my terror, he hid it well.  He sat in the passenger seat, looking out the window and enjoying the view.  He offered no advice.  He didn't tell me how to handle each situation that presented itself.  He just let me go.

Years later I told him how scared I had been on that drive.  He just smiled and told me that he knew I could do it.  He said that if I could make it through the city just once, I would never have a fear of driving anywhere ever again.  He was right.

And now I have come full circle.  My driver's license was due for renewal last week.  Although my arthritic hip is much improved, it has not improved enough to be able to go to the courthouse.  So I just let my license go and later I will get an ID card for when I need to prove who I am.

I thought it would bother me to let go of my driver's license, but I am gratified to find out that it really doesn't.  After all, it has been at least 10 years since I owned anything to drive.  Physical limitations keep me from even thinking about long trips alone.  I manage just fine with the use of the local bus and of adult children who take me where I need to go now and then.  So in reality, nothing has changed.

As my Dad aged, his memory and sense of direction seemed to fail him at times.  He would set out to drive somewhere, get turned around in his mind and wind up miles away from his destination.  Because of the severe Minnesota winters, we were always fearful that he would get lost and wind up frozen in a snowbank somewhere.

I just told Youngest Son that even though I intend to live long enough to be a problem to my children, my continuing to drive long after I should stop is not a problem they will have to deal with.  And I believe I am OK with that.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

He Was My Dad

He was a man small in stature but big in heart.

He rocked me to sleep singing cowboy key.

Nights when bad dreams of writhing snakes awoke me, screaming, he sat in a chair in my room until I peacefully fell asleep.

He told silly jokes that caused the listener to laugh and groan at the same time.

Whenever I went to visit, he always hugged me hard and said, "Sis, I'm so glad you are here."

He listened.

Whenever I called him when miles separated us, he ended each conversation with the words, "I sure love you."  Those were the last words he spoke to me, and I, to him.

He was my Dad.  I miss him.

Saturday, June 14, 2014


I've been spending time lately working on my family history.  I find it interesting to trace ancestors back in time to see where each branch of my family had their roots.  It makes for an interesting mix that contributed to my children's heritage.

On my side, ancestors came from Scotland, France and Germany.  My children's father's family have roots in Norway and Denmark.  Some came to these shores before there was a United States of America.  Others came here much later, after laws concerning immigration were in place.

No matter their country of origin, all have this in common.

They all arrived here legally.  Not a single ancestor sneaked in through a back door.  All did what the laws required to gain citizenship.  If English was not their mother tongue, they learned the language.  They worked hard to take care of their families.  Some became storekeepers.  Some were lumberjacks.  Others were farmers.  Still others worked on the railroads.  No matter what their trade, they worked.  And when called upon to serve their country, they did so with honor.  What they did not do was stand in line for a handout.

I am grateful to those ancestors who have left behind a legacy of honesty and hard work, of a strong and abiding faith in God and a deep love of country.

I think my father said it best.  When asked what nationality we are, he always replied, "We are American."

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Stroll Back in Time

Today was spent giving my offending hip a rest after yesterday's activity.  I need to learn to pace myself, which is not an easy thing for me to do.  I should have known better than to try to get caught up with household chores all in one day.  Like my Dad was fond of saying, "Too soon old, too late smart."

I was looking for a couple of photos that I know are somewhere on my computer, when it occurred to me that if my family, in later years, looks through my collection, they aren't going to know who many of their ancestors are.  That's because I have not properly sorted the old photos, nor have I labeled them or included some of the stories that go with them.

They wouldn't know about the following two photos.

These are my dad and mother, with Dad's mother.  The pictures were taken during this week, 68 years ago.  My Grandmother Matheny stayed with my parents for a week or so after I was born, to help with their first born child.  Who better to help with a newborn baby than Grandma, who had raised nine children of her own.  The house in the background is in Blackduck, where Mom and Dad lived at the time.

This picture is of Dad, taken in the winter of 1947, when he worked at the gas station in Blackduck.  Dad wasn't a mechanic, but pumped gas, checked oil, cleaned windshields and all the other things that gas station attendants used to do before self-service stations came into existence.  He also delivered gas and fuel oil in the area.

This is my Mother's father, Andrew Paul, on the left, with his brother Walter in the center and sister Clara on the right.  The photo was taken in 1889, when Andrew was six years old.

This is Andrew in 1910, when he worked as a depot agent for the railroad.  He is in the Depot in Blackduck, and he worked there until he retired in the mid-1940's.  In small towns like Blackduck, the Depot Agent sold tickets, loaded and unloaded baggage and was the telegraph operator.  I have always loved this photo of my Grandfather.

So I spent the better part of the day sorting pictures and writing as many of the stories as I could remember.  The goal is to include the photos with the family tree I am working on.  Seeing pictures of ancestors makes them more than just names and dates, and the stories tell who they were.  My parent's generation is gone now, and my generation is thinning out faster than I care to think about.  It is important to me that none of these people totally fade away, but are remembered within my family.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Not Much...

going on here today.  You are probably as tired of hearing about my aches and pains as I am of having them.  A little at a time, I'm getting caught up on nearly a months worth of neglected chores.  Something blew up inside my microwave so scrubbing that is on my to do list, as well as cleaning the refrigerator that contains what appears to be some really bad science experiments.  I am a bit surprised how quickly things can deteriorate when not attended to regularly.

It would be fairly easy to sink into a bout of depression, so I work really, really hard to not let that happen.  When I need to get off my feet, I sit and crochet or sew and watch old movies.  My choices are Agatha Christie type mysteries or comedies.  Mostly mysteries, for I have always liked a good "Who-Done-It."  My Kindle is full of old, out of copyright books gleaned from the Internet, and I have to say that I am enjoying reading more often than I usually do.   The books may be old, but the stories are timeless.

It's the little things that help get me through.  Like the promise from Youngest Son that when he is in town this week, he will bring me a treat from Dairy Queen.  I still haven't forgiven Dairy Queen for moving from two blocks away to the other side of town.  Years ago I had a Cocker Spaniel.  I would take him to the Dairy Queen with me.  A regular sized chocolate cone for me and a baby sized vanilla cone for him.  Had to stop doing that, though, when he refused to move unless we were headed in the direction of the ice cream.  I loved that dog!  He was the same one who would turn his back on me and grumble when I wouldn't share my spaghetti with him.

I wonder if dogs understand more than we give them credit for.  The past two weeks Jessie Jane has spent a great amount of time laying on the floor next to me with either her chin or a paw on my foot.  This is unusual behavior for her.  And Lily spends time bringing her toys - and she has a bunch of them - to lay next to me.  I have to be careful not to trip over piles of tennis balls and stuffed animals.  This is something she has never done before.  She will scatter them about in play, but never pile them up for me.

I have sat long enough.  Off to clean the fridge.  I had better, for the last time I opened the door, I think something growled at me.  If you don't hear from me in a day or two, send in a rescue party!

Saturday, June 7, 2014


was another birthday.  I'm using my sister's method of counting the years.  She says her 27th year was a good one, so she just celebrates that one over and over again.  Makes sense to me.  I am not fond of birthday parties.  For the grandkids, yes.  For me, no.  I do not like to be fussed over.  My family knows this.  So I had cards arrive in the mail, telephone calls and a visit from one of my daughters, who was at the same time running an errand for me.

I spent a relaxing day.  This morning my landlord, responding to my email, showed up and replaced the faucet on my kitchen sink and fixed the pipe beneath it that had sprung a leak.  It is possible to have a nice chat with someone who is laying on their back with their head in a kitchen cupboard.  He left when finished, munching on chocolate chip cookies.

Had a nice visit with my daughter.  I have three grandkids with June birthdays, and she picked up cards for me to give to them.  After I stuffed them with the appropriate amounts of cash and addressed the two to be mailed (one she took home for her son), she asked if I wanted to wait and mail them closer to the birth dates.  I replied that if she didn't take them with her, chances were excellent that by the time I need to mail them, I will have misplaced them.  I said that after I die and she and her siblings are cleaning out my apartment, they could count on finding at least five cards that I have put away for safekeeping, never to be seen again.  She mailed the cards.

I spent the rest of the day crocheting and watching old movies from the late 1930's and early 1940's that I found on YouTube.  I love old movies.  Sometimes they are funny without meaning to be.  Like one I watched that had to do with trains.  The train wreck was so obviously a model train and the rain storm had to be the sprayer from a garden hose, all of which I'm sure was state of the art for the times.  I found a couple of old Charlie Chan movies that were fun, just for the silly jokes if nothing else.  Sometimes the news of the here and now gets to be too much, and a day of doing other things is necessary to maintain my sanity, what there is left of it.  Today was such a day, and was truly enjoyed.

I topped off the day by treating myself to a pizza.  After eating my fill for supper, I put a couple of slices in the fridge for tomorrow and froze the rest for a quick meal later.

I joke about counting the years, but truth be known, age doesn't bother me except for the fact that my body doesn't work as well as it once did.  I'm not surprised, though, for I spent many of my 68 years doing physically demanding work, either while on the farm or in the various jobs I have held over the years.  Sometimes I am surprised that I can still do as much as I can, what with the arthritis and all.  I think it is all in the attitude.  I can make a choice each morning, to let life get me down or to get up and get on with it.

I've got a lot of living left to do, so I think I will continue to just get on with it.

Friday, June 6, 2014

A Day in the Life...

Summer is upon us with mild temperatures.  Soft breezes keep my little corner of the world comfortable without needing air conditioning as yet.  Healing is ever so slowly happening.  Not fast enough to suit me, but slow enough to teach me patience.  The stairs remain my mountain that I can not as yet scale, but I will in due time.  There are other small victories. A kitchen floor that was thoroughly scrubbed yesterday.  I really wonder how two small dogs, one lazy cat and one slow-moving old woman can create such a dirty floor  We must work at it, I guess.  Dust that had accumulated is gone and carpets have been vacuumed.  Not all at once, but done nonetheless.

Yesterday afternoon I stirred up a double batch of chocolate chip cookies.  I chilled the dough overnight and will bake them when I finish this post.  Chocolate chip cookies are my favorite comfort food.  And it is fun to have a cookie jar full of them when kids or grandkids stop by.

Being housebound has its advantages.  I have finished the afghan I was working on for my oldest granddaughter.  All that remains is to have her mother help me lay it out on my bed so I can make sure that all of the colored granny squares are in the correct positions that form the pattern.   It is one large afghan and is much easier to lay out and refold with help.  I have started another to keep my hands busy during the times I need to sit.

I have spent some time looking online for ideas for meals that I can put together, freeze and then thaw and bake later.  And I may make up a few, but I'm not so sure that I want to rely on my freezer.  Winters here can give us heavy, wet snows or blizzards, both of which can knock out local power.  Summers favor us with thunder storms, straight line winds and the occasional tornado that can also knock out power.  I mostly use my freezer for extra bread or cookies and bars when I bake or for meat that is on sale, keeping it frozen until I have enough to can.

Over the last couple of years I have dehydrated a vast amount of vegetables.  I use them when making soups or stews.  But I got to thinking that it might be a good idea to convert some of my soup and casserole recipes to use these dehydrated foods.  By putting the ingredients (dehydrated vegetables, seasonings, pasta, bouillon for flavor, etc.) into quart jars and sealing them with the jar sealer attachment for my Food Saver vacuum sealer, they could sit on a shelf until needed, and all I would need to do is add a pint of canned turkey or beef and water, toss it all into a crock pot or a slow oven, and Shazam.....easy peasy meal.  And, God forbid, should the time come when my family is hungry, it would be a great way to see that they are fed.  So as soon as I am completely mobile again, this is on my to-do list.

So I am off to bake cookies.  I am reminded of a time when four small pairs of hands would sneak a handful or two of raw cookie dough before I could get the cookies into the oven.  I got to the point where I would stir up extra dough so I would have enough for the baked cookies.  Yes, I know.  We will all surely die if we eat anything that contains raw eggs.

Me.....I'll risk it.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Fat Ladies Club

Back in the late 50's and early 60's when most women didn't work outside the home, one of the farm wives in my parent's neighborhood decided she wanted to lose some weight.  And because misery loves company, she phoned her neighbors and suggested they get together once a month over coffee for the purpose of discussing diets and exercise.  My Dad, tongue in cheek, suggested they call themselves "The Fat Ladies Club."  The name stuck.

This group of 8 or 10 women started out with the best of intentions.  They talked calories, discussed the latest fads in diets and exercise programs.  This lasted for maybe two meetings.

Minnesota farmers and their wives are incapable of drinking coffee if it is not accompanied by a dessert.  Usually cookies or cake or pie.  Soon the Fat Ladies Club felt the need for a "little something" to go with their coffee.  A pan of rhubarb crumble appeared at one meeting.  Strawberry shortcake was served at the next.  I came into our kitchen one day and found Mother whipping up one of her to die for refrigerator desserts that contained melted marshmallows, whipped cream and cherry pie filling, on a graham cracker crust.  I asked her what that was for.  She replied that it was for the Fat Ladies Club.  I made some smart remark about putting fat on the fat ladies, and then ducked and ran.

The club lasted for a couple of years.  It was mostly a chance for these ladies to get out of the house for a little while and enjoy the gossip and the laughter of their friends.  They were hard working women.  They kept their homes in good running order, planted huge gardens, canned the produce from those gardens, raised their children, fed their families and the chickens and helped with the farm chores.

I don't think any member of the Fat Ladies Club ever lost a pound.  But judging by the gales of laughter coming from our living room when the club met at our house, it was a roaring success.