Saturday, December 29, 2018

Back Home For Janet and Jeanine

Two of Duane's aunts from his Dad's side of the family are coming to visit him on Sunday and will stop in here as well.  Duane's Dad's family lived on the same Minnesota farm since 1880, and in the middle of the 1950's, my Dad bought a small piece of it.  We had a big, old farmhouse on 20 acres.  We always referred to that place as 'The Farm,' even though it was only 9 acres of yard, garden and woods and 11 acres of field, which my Dad rented out to Duane's Grandpa every year in exchange for beef from the cattle he raised.

Duane's aunts visited him in the hospital and they got to talking about the old house my family lived in.  I found a few pictures on my computer that reference that place, so I decided to do a quick blog post.  It is easier to blog the photos than it is to email them.

This is the house Dad bought from a member of my kid's aunt's family.  It is the only picture I have of the house.

The house was huge.  In the front were the living room and dining room.  To the back of the house were the kitchen and a bedroom.  The bathroom and four bedrooms were upstairs.  I loved that old house even in the winter when it was drafty.  I often would sleep on the big screened porch in the summer.

These are my parents standing in front of the house.

I don't know the name of the bushes behind them, but they are the kind that are filled with tiny white flowers in the spring, typical of those planted in front of many farmhouses of that era.

Along the eastern edge of the yard was a long row of peonies.

I wish I had a color photo of them, for they were beautiful in full bloom with colors ranging from white to deep red.  Beyond them was a narrow farm road going through the woods and dividing the property, coming out on the field to the north.  Janet and Jeanine, if this picture extended further to the right, you would see your Mother's garden.  I remember seeing her out there, planting, weeding, harvesting.

Our garden was in front of the house, between the front yard and the road.

  I think this is where I learned to love gardening, working there with my Dad.

  There was a huge pine tree where the driveway split, going left to my house and right to your house.   This picture in front of it was the first day of school for my sister and me at the two room rural school called Sunnyside.

  Had to be about 1955.  I was in the fifth grade and my sister, first grade.  If you look close you can see a white building in the background.  That was your Dad's garage.

 When my family moved into the house, the kitchen left a lot to be desired.  This was the kitchen sink area.

  My uncle Ronnie and his Dad, Lawrence, came in and remodeled the kitchen.  This next picture is of me at age 15, feeding my baby brother, but if you look closely, you can see that same corner of the kitchen after the remodel.
This last picture is of my parents in front of the big bay windows on the east side of the house.  I have no idea why they are so sober looking, for as I am sure you remember, they smiled more than they frowned.
There was a shelf built in below the windows that you can't see because the couch sits in front of it.  Mother always had that shelf full of African Violets in pots.

 Janet and Jeanine - I hope you have enjoyed this little stroll down memory lane as much as I have.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018


Whenever I need a reason to smile, I go through some of my pictures of my Grands.  The smile turns into a big grin when the pictures include my Grandpuppy, Oreo.

I think Oreo probably has more toys than my kids had when they were small. 

The dog even has her very own Christmas sweater.

Boston emailed me these next two pictures.  She said that Oreo loves to sit like this with her and Maddie.

Grandkids and Grandpuppies - guaranteed to take Grandma to a happy place.  :)

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Merry Christmas

This Christmas promises to be more merry than I had anticipated.  Barring any unforeseen problems, it sounds like Duane will be coming home Monday.  He still faces a considerable amount of time with out-patient care, but he is really looking forward to getting home.

My heartfelt thanks for the good thoughts and prayers for his recovery.   They have meant so very much to both of us.

I want to wish all of you a happy and blessed Christmas.  I will be back right after the New Year.  God bless each and every one of you.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

This is What a Positive Attitude Looks Like

This is Duane the day after he was admitted to the hospital.

This is Duane today with his Aunt Jeanine, who works at the hospital where he is a patient.

He looks 100% better than when he left my apartment a week ago.

Duane is getting therapy every day.  He says they are working him.  I said, "Good."  He is out of the fashionable hospital  gowns and into his own clothes, which will raise anybodies spirits.  :)

There was a family meeting with hospital staff to let them know how he is doing and what he will need when he goes home.  His siblings are looking into options.  He will need physical therapy.  He will need grocery delivery until he can drive again.  I'm sure there are other services he will need, but the kids are taking care of all of that for now.  They keep me informed and I talk to Duane daily.

I just wanted to show you all what a positive attitude and prayer can do!

Monday, December 17, 2018

A Great Day Filled With Hope

My phone rang first thing this morning.  It was my son calling to tell me that he had just received a text from his Aunt telling him he had been accepted into the rehab program at the Sister Kenny Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.  It is not easy to get into this program.  Patients have to wait for an opening.  His Aunt is in a supervisory position at that hospital and even though she denies having anything to do with it, I have a sneaky suspicion that one or two strings were pulled to get him in.  Duane hasn't sounded this upbeat since this whole ordeal began.

There is no denying the power of prayer.  My heartfelt thanks to you all who have been praying and voicing your support.  I wonder if you have any idea how much this means to my family.

And most importantly - Thanks be to God.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Family Pictures For Kelly

When my brother was here we looked at old pictures of ancestors that I have saved on my computer.  He asked me to email them to him, but I decided to put them here so I could write better descriptions than I could via email.  Plus I seem to have a talent for screwing things up when I try to email pictures.  :)

Kelly - To enlarge each picture just click on it.  You can right click - Save image as, to save to your computer.   As a reference in case you didn't know, this is how the lineage works...

Our grandfather was Clifford Alton Matheny - grandmother was Rachel Alzora (Allie) Olmstead.
Our great-grandfather was Hiram King Matheny - great-grandmother was Aletha Zarade Smith.
Our great-great-grandfather was William Matheny - great-great-grandmother was Elizabeth Everhart.

Here are the pictures in no particular order:

Clifford and Allie on their wedding day - December 1879.

Clifford and Allie - date unknown.

Dad and Grandma in Blackduck, June, 1946.

Mom and Grandma, June 1946.

Grandma with 8 of her 9 children.  Veda was in California at the time and didn't make it home for Grandma's 80th birthday in 1950.  Taken in the front yard of the old home place.
Left to right:  Grandma, Lois, Ronald, Vera, Kenneth, Keith, Clarice, Bruce and Ralph.

Hiram King Matheny, taken in the mid-1930's.

Hiram and Aletha family.  The tall boy in the back is Grandpa Clifford and the small boy on the right is Harley.  The girls in front are Sarah on the left and Bertha in the middle.  The girls in back are Maude and Esther, but I'm not sure which is which.  Taken about 1890.

Family of Hiram and Aletha.   In the back Harley is on the left and Clifford on the right.  I think Bertha  is in front between her parents, but I am not sure of the identity of the others.

Our great-great great grandparents, William Matheny and Elizabeth Everhart.

Family of William and Elizabeth.  They are on the far right in front.  I think Hiram is on the far left in front.  I'm not sure who is who with the rest of them.  Their names are (oldest to youngest):  Mary Jane, George Leander, Hiram King,  Simon Peter, Hannah Anne, Jesse Newton, William Andrew, Sarah Elizabeth and Minnie Orrilla.

That's all the pictures I have for now, brother of mine.  Enjoy!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Family and Friends

The time we learn what family is all about is the time when life smacks us upside the head.

Duane's brother and sisters have been at the hospital with him off and on, sort of taking turns and keeping track of his progress.

His two aunts on his Dad's side, along with several of their family members visited him in the afternoon on Friday.  One of those aunts works at the Sister Kenny Rehab Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, and has started the ball rolling to try to get him in there.  The Sister Kenny centers are the premier centers for stroke rehabilitation.  We are praying that he qualifies for admittance  and that his insurance will not quibble over that treatment.  We should know Sunday or Monday if he will be transferred.

My brother drove the 230 miles one way from his home in northern Minnesota to here, and spent time with Duane.  He then came to see me and it was good to be able to spend a couple of hours with him.

I have a cousin living in Texas.  We haven't seen each other since we were children.  We 'message' on Facebook.  She has been in touch with Duane through FB, so I let her know what had happened.  She asked for the phone number of his room and she called him.  They had a nice phone visit and I think it cheered both of them up.  And it gave her a reason to tease a bit about our Minnesota/Scandinavian accent compared with her Texas drawl.  :)

When I talked with Duane this evening I asked how he was doing.  He said his main goal at present was to be able to stand without tipping over.  His sense of humor is alive and well.   When he first went to the hospital I think he thought he would maybe stay overnight, the doctors would sprinkle some fairy dust and he would be back at work  Monday.  He now knows that it will take time and hard work to recover.  If anyone can do it, it is my wonderfully stubborn and determined son.

My kids are keeping an eye on Mom, too.  They know how much of a help Duane has been to me.  Living next door, he has run errands, hauled out trash and brought me my mail, among many other things.  So they ask if I need anything.  David is stopping by tomorrow to do a trash run.  I said I wouldn't let him in unless there was ice cream involved and he allowed as to how that could happen.  :)

Everything is on hold over the weekend and then we will see what the next step is for Duane.  I can not begin to express my thanks for the positive thoughts and prayers you all have sent for us.  Duane was blown away when he saw all the comments with prayers and good wishes for his recovery.  God bless you all.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018


Duane's siblings have been with him at the hospital.  When the chips are down, they rally around.  Always have.

My youngest daughter called to tell me the tests show that Duane suffered a minor stroke yesterday afternoon.  Being stubborn like his mother, he waited until early this evening to do anything about it.  He will remain in the hospital for now and have more tests and therapy tomorrow.

I am humbled by the outpouring of concern and prayers from all of you.  There are still good people in this world and you are at the top of the list.  My heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you.

Prayers Please

To any of you who are of a mind to, prayers for my oldest son would be greatly appreciated.

He has weakness and numbness on the right side of his body.  The paramedics offered no diagnosis but took him by ambulance to the hospital.  Duane said he would call me when he knows what is wrong and his brother will be with him in a couple of hours.

I am praying and I am scared.  But we both believe in the power of prayer.  Thank you in advance and I will post when I know more.

Monday, December 10, 2018


I'm busy trying to finish Boston's afghan.  I finished the crochet work on the 144 granny squares.  There are 10 yarn ends per square that have been woven into the backs.  Now I am in the process of sewing the squares together.  After that there is a border to crochet all around.
I will be back with pictures when I am done.  And will then answer comments and emails.  Just wanted to let you know I really didn't fall off the edge of the earth.  :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Wednesday Ramble

There are workmen on the roof of my building.  I heard scraping sounds earlier in the week.  Yesterday there was a crash that rattled the dishes in the cupboard.  Thought for sure I would find an elephant had come through the ceiling and was sitting in the middle of my kitchen table.  Today more resounding crashes have occurred.   I don't know what they are doing up there.  I am sort of afraid to ask.

 I have decided that if God had wanted me to be able to bend down and touch my toes, He would have put them on my knees.

 Take several small pieces of venison steak.  Sprinkle with the contents of a package of onion soup mix.  Add just a splash of water.  Let the steak simmer in the crockpot all day.  Make gravy with the drippings.   Add potatoes and a veggie and you have a meal fit for a king.  Or a chubby grandma.  Your choice.

 I love it when I see the light bulb go on over the head of one of my children.  A while ago the power in our building was shut off most of the day.  A couple of days ago Duane said to me, 'I need to store more water.  I didn't realize just how many of those small bottles of water it takes to fill the coffeemaker.'  Nothing like priorities to change one's way of thinking.  :)

 Nothing exciting or earth-shattering going on here.  Crochet work, naps, reading, etc.  It is a simple life, but it is my simple life and I like it.  :)

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Yesterday Was a Good Day

Late yesterday morning David, my youngest, showed up at my door bearing gifts.  Now I love seeing my kids even when they come to see me empty handed.  But these gifts were really welcome.  He came through the door, hauling a large tote bag full of meat.

David buys a quarter beef every year and this year's order was ready.  He needed to make room in his freezer, so he brought two packages of steaks and a good sized roast.

He had gone deer hunting this fall and had brought down a nice sized buck.  The rest of the bag was packed with venison summer sausage, steaks, chops and roasts.  He made me promise to share with his brother and I said I would.

David had time to sit and visit for awhile.  I got caught up on what his wife and kids had been doing.  He told me he was leaving Sunday for a week-long seminar in Long Beach, California, for his work.  By the end of it, he hopes to get his irrigation certification.  He told me that he would have a view of the ocean from his hotel window.  He knows how much I loved being at the ocean, so he promised to call me from the beach so I could hear the surf again.  :)

I left a message for Duane to stop over after work because there was venison and beef in my freezer with his name on it.  When he arrived, he found me sitting at my living room window, watching a parade.

Every year my town has a huge Christmas tree set up in the middle of the old part of downtown, just a block away from my apartment.  The Friday a week after Thanksgiving, they have a tree lighting ceremony, followed by a parade.  I can't see the tree from my windows, but the parade goes by in the street right in front of my building.  Everything was decked out in Christmas lights, including the dancing elves and kids on bicycles doing stunts.  There were floats and a fire truck and all sorts of trucks with elves in them, tossing candy to the kids lined up watching.  Santa was in fine form with his own Christmas tree and a huge candy cane.  It was fun to watch.

Duane came in while I was watching the parade and then we sat and talked for a time before he raided my freezer.  It isn't all that often I get to spend time with both my boys on the same day.

After Duane left with his bounty, I had just settled in to do some crocheting when I heard a couple of loud 'Booms.'  I went to the window to see what was going on, only to discover the town had added fireworks to the celebration and I could see them perfectly.  It was a nice ending to a very good day.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Do You Remember...

Family picnics by the lake, complete with potato salad, ham sandwiches and Auntie Emily's famous dill pickles.  And a huge watermelon cooling in the water under a tree on the shore.  And Mother reminding us that if we didn't wait an hour after eating to go swimming, we would surely get cramps.

Or playing Scrabble or Sorry or Yahtzee after the supper dishes were done.  And the Monopoly marathon with a cousin that lasted the whole weekend.  And those of us who had mothers who insisted regular playing cards were of the Devil, played Rook and Authors and Old Maid and Uno instead.

There were lazy summer afternoons spent with actual paper books and we could get lost in them solving mysteries or going on wonderful adventures or, for the girls, sighing over romances or riding the range with Zane Gray, for the boys.  Seems to me we knew the difference between boys and girls back then.

The hot Sunday afternoons spent sitting on the porch with friends or with visiting relatives, trying to catch a bit of a breeze.  There was a pitcher of ice cold lemonade, made from real lemons and a plate piled high with gingersnaps.

There were summer days of riding our bikes as fast as we could go down 'Killer Hill,' trying to stop before hitting the railroad tracks and  getting pitched off into the weeds.  Or in the winter, riding that same hill on Flexible Flyer sleds - the wooden ones with the steel runners - trying to stop at the bottom for the same reason.

For us in the North, there were Saturdays watching our kid brother play hockey on an outdoor rink.  And there were Sunday afternoons at the skating rink, pretending to be a world class skater, even though I never did get the hang of doing jumps or even skating backwards.  But oh, it was fun to glide across the ice, stopping only when noses and toes became numb with the cold.  The little warming house with the attendant keeping a fire going in a small pot bellied stove was welcome.

I realize that we can not live in the past, but sometimes when the headlines tell of riots and political stupidity and just plain meanness in our world, it is nice to revisit those long ago places and remember there was a time when our world was a place of kindness and respect for one another.  Where life was not so hectic.  Where the simple pleasures lived.  I rather like it there.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

I Am Thankful

It is easy to find all sorts of things to complain about.  Our world has become a madhouse of biblical proportions.  But today, on the day we are setting aside to count our blessings, I would like to do just that.

I am thankful for four adult children and six grandchildren along with various and assorted spouses and significant others who are all healthy and happy.  Everyone who needs to be gainfully employed has a job.  They all have roofs over their heads and food on their tables.  God has truly blessed my family.

I am thankful for those adult children, for they are always there for me when I need them to be.  I seem to need their help more now than I did when I was still able to get out and about to do for myself, but they don't ever refuse and they don't ever complain about being inconvenienced. 

I am thankful for the wonderful nurses who come to my home three times a week to change the dressings on my legs and re-wrap the ace bandages for me.  They are a cheerful lot and their expertise keeps me free of infection and out of the hospital.

I don't know if I have ever told you the story behind my use of oxygen, but I think now is the time to tell it.  One of my nurses sat me down and explained that when a person is not getting enough oxygen, the organs in the body begin to deteriorate and shut down.  With tears in her eyes, she told me that she didn't want me to die.  And when my stubbornness got in the way, she went over my head and called one of my kids, explaining the situation to them.  That's when two of them showed up at my door and bundled me off to the doctor's office.  The efforts of that nurse and my kids are the reason I can walk the length of my apartment now without having to stop to catch my breath.  They are the reason my health has improved and I am no longer sick half the time or too tired to do anything.  They are the reason I am enjoying my life much more than before. For them, I thank God every day.

I am thankful for the friends I have made through this silly little blog.  Even though I will never meet you all in person, you have become an important part of my life.  I so enjoy reading and answering your comments and emails.  Sometimes I have lots to say and sometimes, not so much, but you stick with me anyway and that means much to me.

So this is me.....wishing all of you a Happy Thanksgiving.  May God bless each and every one of you.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Right On Schedule

The weather guessers told us the snow would start right about suppertime this evening and sure enough, it did.  There is only an inch or so on the ground now at 9 PM.  We may get another inch or so, but that is the extent of this round.  No complaints here, but I expect the ski crowd and the snowmobile people are hoping for more.

My weekend looks to be a quiet one.  I think I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to finishing Boston's graduation afghan, so I will work on that.  I don't do much canning or dehydrating between Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

Everybody has places to be for Thanksgiving this year.  That's the way it goes sometimes when there are families of spouses to share holidays with and that's the way it should be.  Duane will be home, so he will roast a small turkey and make the stuffing.  I am in charge of mashed potatoes and vegetables.  There will be pumpkin pie. 

David called me the other evening.  He had taken Maddie Mae to her gymnastics practice and then delivered Jacob to hockey practice.  He was on his way to pick up Maddie Mae, after which he would collect Jacob and take both of them home.  Then he told me about all the stressful dealings he had with customers.  He is in charge of snow removal crews in the winter and some customers expect them to be at their place of business two minutes after it stops snowing.  Not going to happen. 

He asked what I was doing.  I told him I was spending a quiet evening with a book.  He said, rather wistfully, "Maybe I can do that someday."

There is something to be said about my quiet lifestyle after all.  :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2018


So last night the outdoor temp was 9 degrees.  And although my little apartment was warm, the idea of curling up in my recliner with my favorite green fuzzy blanket seemed like a good idea.  So I did.  Kindle in hand I began to read and several paragraphs later, fell sound asleep.

Six hours later I opened one eye to discover morning had arrived.  As I levered myself into an upright position, my joints screamed bloody murder from being in one position for so long. 

I stumbled into the kitchen and started water heating for coffee, then proceeded on to the bathroom.  As I passed the bathroom mirror, I glanced at it.  The apparition that stared back at me caused me to back up for another look.

A bleary eyed old woman looked at me, every wrinkle visible in the harsh light.  My hair has grown to be just a couple of inches above where my waist used to be.  I usually just tie it back in a pony tail to keep it out of my food and the dishwater.  It was now all askew with a huge rat's nest lodged in the pony tail over my left shoulder.  My shirt was rumpled like I had slept in my clothes.  Well. duh!

And that's when I started to laugh.  I remembered this meme I had shamelessly stolen from Gorges over at Gorges' Grouse.  He posts some good memes and this one had tickled me.

We live in a world of corrupt, power hungry politicians, and a government hell-bent on invading every aspect of our lives.  Some of our schools are now teaching kids about alternative lifestyles, as if kids aren't confused enough just being kids.  We have mobs of thugs harassing those who do not agree with their politics.  We have laws that apply to the rank and file of us but not to the elite, apparently.  And to top it off, we seem to be confused about which bathroom is appropriate to use.

We need more laughter.  We need it to offset the craziness surrounding us.  We need the silly jokes and comedians who are actually funny and the ability to laugh at the truly ridiculous situations where we find ourselves now and then.

Because when we lose our ability to laugh it quickly becomes just too much to bear.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Winter Wonderland and Vegetable Soup

Well, OK...So it is only maybe an inch of snow on the ground, but still...

The lovely lady who cleans my apartment didn't show up Wednesday as scheduled.  She called to tell me she was a bit under the weather.  So this morning she called again to tell me she was still down with some sort of respiratory problem and we decided she should just skip this week and get back on schedule next week.  The last thing I need is to be exposed to some bug going around.  I'm glad she had the good sense to call me rather than just showing up.  The poor thing sounded just awful on the phone.  I hope she gets to feeling better soon.

So now that my Friday is free, I am soon off to the kitchen to do some serious slicing and dicing.  My grocery order yesterday included the ingredients for a big stockpot full of vegetable soup.  Today I will prep the vegetables and tomorrow, combine them and can the soup.

I don't use a recipe as such, but just toss in what I like.  There are 6 one pound bags of frozen, mixed vegetables, two pounds of carrots, one bunch of celery, one small cabbage, about four pounds of potatoes and two large cans of crushed tomatoes.  These I cover with water and toss in a few beef bouillon cubes along with onion powder, garlic powder, celery seed and dried parsley. 

This makes a good soup base that can be eaten as is or if I want a more hardy soup, I just add some of my home canned beef or pork for a meal.  This is good thickened served over biscuits, too.  It has become a staple in my pantry.

So even though it is cold outside, it is a day of beautiful sunshine.  Even the  city streets are pretty with a new covering of snow.  Enjoy your day as I am enjoying mine.  :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Sigh of Relief

The midterms are over.  The mudslinging ads are done.  Here in Minnesota it was all about health care.  The left told us if we had a pre-existing condition we would die if the right was voted in.  And the right was all about calling the left liars.  The left pretty much won here, which is no great surprise.  And life still goes on and will probably continue regardless.

I had a few days of catching up on chores that had been neglected and a few days of staying in my jammies and reading and napping and crocheting.  So now I am ready to get back into my normal routine. 

I have ordered enough vegetables for huge batch of soup to be canned.  They will arrive Thursday, so I will prep them Thursday afternoon and can the soup either Friday or Saturday.  When I get ready to use it, I just add a jar of canned meat and a bit of seasoning.  It can be eaten as soup or thickened over dumplings or biscuits.

I haven't seen much of my two oldest.  Daughter Jill came down with pneumonia, but is recovering nicely.  Son Duane was feeling under the weather and then broke out in a rash on his forehead.  Turns out he had shingles, which caused him to stay home a week because shingles is contagious.  He stayed away from me, too.  He went back to work today.

Feels like winter is just around the corner with colder temps and just enough snow in the surrounding area to cause a bunch of fender benders this morning.  Happens every year.  We forget over the summer how to drive on icy roads.  But we relearn fast.  :)

So it is off to the kitchen to fix a bit of supper and then settle in for an evening of crocheting and movie watching.  I swear, this afghan I'm working on for Boston is taking forever to finish.  With 144 granny squares in it, I shouldn't be surprised it is taking so long.  I'll show it to you when it is done, but that may be awhile.

It is good to be back.  :)

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Taking Some Time Off

I need a break.  I don't watch TV but get my news from several Internet sources.  This doesn't insulate me from all the negative political ads and all the other political nonsense floating around these days.  I am sick to death of it all.

Some lunatic sends bombs, real or fake, to Dems, it is Trump's fault.
Trump wants to stop an invasion from the south, he is an unfeeling monster.
When our President puts Americans first, the left loses its mind.
I swear to God, if a Democrat gets a hangnail, Trump will be blamed.

I think the proverbial straw was when I read that because I enjoy a glass of milk with my chocolate chip cookies, I most definitely am a racist.  See the column by Patrice Lewis on WND.

I have several projects going, the most important of which is working on the afghans for my grands.  There is bread to bake and quilt tops to finish sewing and some canning and dehydrating to do.  I have found several audio books on YouTube that I will listen to while working.  I have set up Pandora to play selections of country and bluegrass music.

The politicians can continue to chew each other up and spit each other out, but they will do it without me watching them do it.

I'm done.

So right now I m off to my kitchen to wash a few dishes and stir up a cherry cheesecake dessert.  I'll see you all right after the midterm elections.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

First Solo Flight

My grandson, Zach, who is at college studying aviation, took his first solo flight yesterday.

His mother says he did four takeoffs and landings.  She also said she was glad he didn't tell her until it was over!

Congratulations, Zach.
You done good!
Love, Grandma

Monday, October 22, 2018

What Else...

do I store besides food and water.  That question was asked of me by one of my commenters.  I have been thinking about it over the weekend and have come up with a list.

Before I get into that, I want to mention that there are countless websites full of opinions on what to store for an SHTF situation.  I have seen videos where people have entire rooms dedicated to preps and have everything under the sun stored 'just in case.'  Some store extras to use for barter.  Others order ready-to-eat meals or #10 cans of freeze dried food.

Me...I live in a three room apartment and use all three rooms.  My storage space is minimal at best, so I have to pare the lists down to the absolute necessities.  That being said...

I have a propane camp stove and a propane space heater should the gas to my building be shut off.  I have no place to store larger propane tanks, so I buy the small ones, pack them into boxes and keep them in the closet farthest from my exit door, which is also the coolest room.

Those with a medical condition need supplies.  I stock 4x4 sterile pads to cover wounds, antibiotic cream and ace bandages.  That is the minimum to properly care for my legs.

I don't buy first aid kits.  I have found that often when a kit is advertised as being say, 100 pieces, 80 of those are bandaids.  So instead I buy a variety of bandaids, a cream for burns, peroxide and alcohol wipes for cleansing an area needing treatment in addition to the above mentioned supplies..  I also have rolls of gauze.  I don't buy the tape sold with the medical supplies, for I have found it useless.  Masking tape or even duct tape works better.

I keep Vicks, Vaseline, lip balm, hand lotion, cough drops and vitamins on hand.  Also a diarrhea treatment and Pepto Bismol.  My Dad always swore by 7-Up or Ginger Ale for upset stomach, so I use those as well.

I keep extra dish soap and sponges along with Borax, washing soda and Fells Naphtha soap for making my own laundry soap.  Also bleach and bar soap.

I have been negligent in taking care of lighting needs should the power be out for an extended time, but my list of 'need to buy' includes at least three oil lamps and fuel (kerosene is too flammable to risk storing in my apartment - thus the oil) candles, flashlights and batteries.  I am also wondering if those solar lights that people use in their yards might work.  Wooden kitchen matches are a must for lighting stoves, lamps and candles.

I have a wicker picnic basket full of sewing supplies.  If a person has a hobby, now would be the time to collect materials.  I have lots of yarn and fabric.  And books.  I have a Kindle, but it would be pretty difficult to charge it without electricity unless I had a solar charger.  A selection of board games, playing cards, paper, colored pencils and markers are going into a box for a worst case scenario time if the grid goes down.  If I didn't have anything to occupy my time and mind, I would be a raving lunatic in no time at all.

And a selection of hard candies.  I know that sounds silly, but if things get bad for a long time, a Tootsie Roll Pop or a butterscotch disc might be the very thing to make us feel better.  A little treat never hurt anyone and it might just keep the kids from doing damage to one another.

I'm sure there are many more items one could stock up on, but that is about all I can cram into my small living space and still be able to get from one room to another without having to crawl over stuff.  :)

What items do you consider necessary to store?

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Good Report

So today I had my yearly Dr. appointment.  Looks like I am going to be around a while longer to pester everyone.

Last year I had to argue with my Dr. about coming in every three months like he wanted me to.  I held out for a yearly visit unless I became ill.  Today, when we were finished, he said, "See you next year."  A years worth of prescriptions are being sent to the pharmacy like I requested.  All the levels he checks for are in the 'normal' range.  I am 20 lbs. lighter than a year ago, through no fault of my own.  :)

When a person reaches a certain age they are required to answer  questions about their mental health.  Judging by the questions, there must be many of my vintage who have no interests to keep them busy and who are suffering from depression.  I find that so sad.  My youngest son was there with me and while I was filling out one of those questionnaires,  he asked the nurse if there was a blank to fill in about being stubborn and ornery.  I love that kid and his sense of humor.  :)

Even though I was in the last place I cared to be, it has been a lovely day.  I got to spend time with my youngest and I enjoyed every minute of it.  He has a new car and he was showing me all the features it has.  There is a screen showing what is behind him when he backs up.  The screen is also his cell phone that he can access with a touch of the finger while driving.  When he stops at a stop sign, the engine  automatically shuts off and then restarts when he wants to go forward.  The seats heat up.  Good grief!  I asked him what he would do if suddenly all the gadgets failed.  Considering that his job requires extensive cell phone and computer use, he said he would probably enjoy the peace and quiet.

I think what is left of my day, having taken a nice long nap, will be spent quietly recovering from climbing stairs and answering questions.  But tomorrow, watch out.  There are cookies to be baked and bread to be made.   All things considered, life is still pretty darned good.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Off and Running like a Herd of Turtles

Having spent a relaxing weekend, it is time to get busy.

15 lbs. of hamburger are waiting to be jarred and processed.
4 lbs. each of broccoli and cauliflower and onions await the dehydrators.
10 lbs. of potatoes need to be peeled and sliced and dried

My bread machine has been dusted off and is ready to produce lovely loves of bread and some tasty rolls.  My gosh, but store bread has become expensive.  I don't like baking bread in the machine, but shape the dough into loaves and bake it in the oven, now that the heat of summer has past.  The only drawback is that I can make only one loaf at a time.  But I can live with that.  The machine makes it possible to have good bread for pennies and it does the stirring and kneading for me. 

So I am off, like a herd of turtles, to see what I can accomplish in the next couple of days.  As they say, 'Keep on prepping.'  Judging by what is going on in Portland with the antifa mob taking over the streets and all the craziness elsewhere, that seems to be pretty good advice.

Thursday, October 11, 2018


7 AM.  34 degrees.  My son's Facebook post after his drive to work this morning:

"Aaaaand there are snowflakes in the air."


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

It Rained...

yesterday.  It rained the day before yesterday.  It is going to rain tomorrow.  And the day after tomorrow.  It is raining now.  I wonder if I can find building plans for an ark online.

Youngest son called me yesterday.  He was picking Maddie Mae up from gymnastics, so I talked to her, too.  The gymnastics season hasn't started yet, but she practises and says she is learning some new moves.  I made her promise to pester her Dad until he took some video of her so I can see what she is doing.  She said she would be happy to do just that.

Boston's school now and then has a themed day.  A week or so ago, the theme was patriotism.  Boston wanted to wear a Trump 'Make America Great Again' hat.   David said he couldn't find one in time.  Even so, I was so proud!!  We both agreed that the way things are these days, wearing a Trump hat might have gotten her beat up.  I still love the fact that the hat was her first choice for the day. 

I was going to make beef stew and biscuits last week but life just got in the way.  So today I put a big pot of stew on the back burner to simmer the better part of the afternoon.  Duane came over to eat supper with me and took a bowl full home to take in his lunch when he goes to work tomorrow.  Wish he had taken more - I will be eating stew the rest of the week.  :)

There is really very little going on here at the moment.  I read or crochet or nap.  I have ordered some more food for the dehydrator - hash browns and corn - that will arrive Thursday.

I have noticed that some of the bloggers I read regularly are experiencing the same sort of uneasiness that I am.  And maybe a sense of urgency to fill in any gaps in the preps.  Sort of like waiting for the other shoe to drop.  My retired cop friend who keeps me and several others informed of what is going on around us, has been more prolific with his emails lately.  I might have to give him a call and see what he knows for sure.  In the meantime, I just keep adding to the shelves as often as I can.  Seems like the smart thing to do.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Desserts From the 1950's

A frequent commenter on this blog and I have been talking about old time Jello dessert recipes.  My Mother was the Queen of the Jello  refrigerator type dessert recipes and I have several of those recipes in my possession.  Thing is, I couldn't find them. 

I have Mother's old recipe box.  I think it is actually Dad's recipe box.  Mother's would have been organized and alphabetized.  This one is full of clippings from magazines and newspapers, recipes written on the backs of old envelopes, recipes written on pieces of notebook paper and recipes cut from the backs of boxes and labels.  I went through, piece by piece but no dessert recipes.

I carefully looked through all of my old cookbooks.  No luck.

Then the light bulb went on and I remembered I had moved those recipes to my own recipe box.  Sure enough.  There they were.

As it turns out, only one of these recipes uses Jello.  But if memory serves, the rest are so good that I am including them as well.

The following are written here as they appeared on the original recipe cards.  Notes in parenthesis are mine in the hope of making instructions more clear.

Lime Dessert

Dissolve 1 pkg. (small size) lime Jello in 1/2 cup boiling water.  Add 2/3 cup sugar.  Stir until dissolved.
Beat 3 egg whites until stiff.  Add 1 tsp. vanilla.
Fold Jello into egg whites.  Fold in 1 pint whipped cream (I think this means start with 1 pint of whipping cream - then whip) into mixture.
Crush 25 Hydrox (or Oreo) cookies.  Butter pan (I don't know what size) and spread 2/3 of the crumbs on bottom.  Pour in lime mixture.  Top with remaining cookie crumbs.  Chill 12 hours.

Cherry Dessert

18 - 20 graham crackers
1/2 lb. marshmallows
1/2 lb. butter
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup milk
1 can cherry pie filling

Crush crackers.  Place 1/2 in 7 x 12 inch pan.  Melt butter, add milk and marshmallows.  Cook until marshmallows are melted.  Cool.
Add cream which has been whipped.
Place 1/2 mixture over crumbs, then pie filling, then rest of marshmallow mixture.
Sprinkle with remaining crumbs.  Refrigerate overnight.

Strawberry Chiffon Dessert

30 marshmallows
1 - 1/4 cup milk
1 pkg. frozen strawberries  (Many brands of frozen strawberries come in 10 oz. packages.  Back when this recipe was used by my Mother, the berries came in 16 oz. packages.  I would go with more berries rather than less.)
1 pint cream, whipped
1 loaf angel food cake

Melt in double boiler marshmallows in the milk.  Cool.
Drain juice from berries and save.
Whip cream and add berries and marshmallow mixture.
Tear cake into bite sized pieces and put in loaf pan.
Pour mixture over cake.  Chill.

1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. corn starch
reserved juice plus 1 cup water

Cook until thick and chill.  Spoon over pieces of dessert when served.

 Lemon Freeze

 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
 1/4 cup lemon juice
 1 1/2 tsp. grated lemon rind
 1/8 tsp salt
 1/2 cup sugar
 3 eggs, separated
 1 can (6 oz.) evaporated milk, chilled

 Line refrigerator tray (I'm not sure what a refrigerator tray is, but I would use a pie tin or a 9x9 inch pan.)  with 1/2 the crumbs.
 Blend lemon juice, rind, salt and sugar into well-beaten egg yolks.  Stir over low heat until mixture thickens.  Cool.
 Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
 Whip chilled milk.
 Fold egg whites and whipped milk into lemon mixture.
 Turn into crumb-lined pan.  Top with remaining crumbs and freeze.

 Fluffy 2-Step Cheesecake

 1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
 1/3 cup sugar
 1 8-oz. tub Cool Whip, thawed
 1 prepared graham cracker crust
 1 can cherry pie filling

 Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth (use wire whisk).
 Gently stir in Cool Whip.
 Spoon into crust.  Refrigerate 3 hours.
 Top with pie filling just before serving.

 Raspberry Revel

 1/2 lb. vanilla wafers
 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
 3/4 cup butter
 2 eggs, well beaten
 1 box frozen raspberries, drained
 1/2 pint whipping cream

 Crush wafers and line a lightly buttered 9-inch pie pan with half the crumbs.
 Cream the sugar and butter well.  Add eggs and blend.
 Pour over the crumbs.  Add a layer of berries.  Cover with whipped cream.  Top with remaining crumbs.
 Refrigerate 24 hours. 
 May garnish with additional berries.

 So there you go, SJ.  :)
 These are the recipes I remember from the 50's and 60's.  None of them are fat free or sugar free or anything free.  They are what we ate before we were supposed to be skinny.  Personally, I am not fond of all those 'free of everything good' foods, which is probably why I love these desserts. 

 So go ahead.  Live dangerously.  And above all, enjoy.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

The Case For Storing Water

It doesn't need to be a catastrophic event to find we need to have water included in our food storage plans.

Duane stopped in about midnight Friday night.  He said the lady living in the apartment beneath his had knocked on his door to find out if he was having problems with water overflowing in his apartment.  It seems she was having water pouring into hers through her ceiling.  Finding no source of the water problem, they concluded that a pipe may have burst between the two floors.  Duane went down to the basement and shut off the main water valve.  (That's one of the advantages of living in the same building for a number of years.  You know where the shut-off valve is.)  They called our landlord and left a message about the water problem.  Duane then let me know what was going on.

For some in my building, having the water shut off will be a major problem.  I asked Duane if he needed water for the morning before he went to work.  He said he was good.  He keeps cases of drinking water in his apartment.

Storing water in my small apartment is a challenge.  I have no place to store those big water barrels that many use.  What I do have is space behind my sofa that contains several dozen 2 liter soda bottles and gallon juice bottles filled with water.  I have 6 cases (24 per case) of bottled drinking water on a shelf in one of my shelving units.  Used sparingly, that amount of water will last both Duane and me at least a week or more.  Including the absolute necessity of morning coffee.  :)

In looking around my apartment I found that with a little bit of rearranging, I have room for 4 more cases of bottled water.  If I spend the money to buy several of those square, stackable water jugs I have seen advertised, I could store still more water under my bed or in an out of the way corner of my apartment.

Water is more important to have on hand than is food.  They say we can go a couple of weeks without food but only about 3 days without water. 

I'm sure there are others like me to whom water intake is vital.  I take a pill each day to help get rid of the fluid build-up in my body.  Which means I need to drink plenty of water to avoid becoming dehydrated.    Which is a really silly Catch-22 situation, but there it is.

We are not in an emergency situation by any means, but it has caused me to rethink my water storage and think of ways to improve it.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Upright, Taking Nourishment

Still have no idea what this creeping crud that has been plaguing me is, but it sure is a sneaky devil.  Thought I was about over it when it smacked me upside the head and said, "Not quite yet."  I'm not the only one.  One of my nurses and the cleaning lady were down with pretty much the same thing last week.  A couple of my blogging friends have been fighting it as well.  I feel pretty good today, so it is time to fold up the green fuzzy blanket and get some stuff done.

Over the weekend I did manage to do some dehydrating.  I dried 4 lbs. of green beans, 1 lb. of corn and 1 lb. of carrots.  Found the corn and carrots when I was digging the green beans out of the freezer.  This morning I put 4 lbs. of broccoli and 4 lbs. of cauliflower in the dehydrator.  I still need to clean and chop 4 lbs. of onions to dry. 

I just mailed off a letter to my grandson Zach, who is in his first year of college.  His Mom thought he might like a letter from home.   I write letters the old fashioned way with pen and paper.  Do they still teach cursive writing in schools?  I wonder if he will be able to read it.  He is a smart kid, so I suppose he will figure it out.  :)

It is cool and rainy here today, with the temp at 46 degrees at noon.  I heard a nasty rumor about the possibility of snow in the northern part of Minnesota.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised.  One of the worst blizzards here occurred on Halloween of 1991 and dumped 28 inches of snow on Minneapolis.  I don't mind snow as long as I can look at it through my window from the comfort of my rocking chair, but not quite yet, please.

Not much else going on here in my little Home Sweet Apartment.  I have 4 lbs. of bacon to can, but I think I will order another 4 lbs.  next week before canning so I have a full canner load.  I had started an afghan for granddaughter Boston, but I just didn't like the way it looked, so my daughter Jill brought me different yarn to try.  I like the new yarn much better and will post pictures when I am further along with it.  I think the weather calls for beef stew with biscuits for supper.  That's the plan, anyway.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Why I Don't Believe Her

There was once a 9 year old girl who escaped being molested by her 21 year old cousin.  Some 60 years later she remembers every detail.

She remembers her cousin asking her to go for a ride at night to 'shine the deer.'
She remembers the pickup truck was red and white with rusty spots on it.
She remembers the seat cover was red plaid with some spots worn through.
She remembers the smell of stale cigarette butts in the ashtray.
She remembers when they stopped at the edge of a field and he plugged the spotlight into the cigarette lighter.
She remembers seeing three deer in the light from the spotlight.
She remembers how dark it was when he turned off the light.
She remembers feeling sick to her stomach when he started kissing on her.
She remembers crying and him stopping and telling her she better not tell.
She remembers spending the remainder of the evening at her aunt and uncle's house, drawing cartoon characters over and over again with a pencil on notebook paper.  Goofy and Pluto and Mickey Mouse, mostly.
She remembers pretending to be asleep in the back seat of the car on the ride home, listening to her parents talk.
She remembers her mother saying something was wrong and she thought the cousin had done something bad.
She remembers her father saying he didn't think the cousin would ever hurt his daughter.

She never told.  Her mother had often told her that she was a bad girl, for she was headstrong and tended to get into mischief.  Children often believe when something bad happens, it is their fault, so she remained silent.  When the girl was a grown woman with a family of her own and when she knew none of it had been her fault, it made no sense to hurt family by dredging up the past.  It did not take years of therapy to come to that conclusion.  It just took believing that forgiving is the right thing to do.

You just can not convince me that a 15 year old girl now a grown woman has so few memories of an attack except for the name of a man who is up for Supreme Court Justice.  A man who has never had even a whisper of scandal associated with his name.    It may be what the Dems want to hear as truth.  It may be what her lawyers have told her is truth.  But you just can not ever convince me that her testimony is the real truth.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Be Back Soon

Taking a few days off.  Been feeling sort of like something you might want to scrape off the bottom of your shoe.  Pretty sure some chicken soup and sleep will fix me right up.  Until then, read those in the side bar.  Lots of good stuff there. 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Russian Food Preservation

A couple of posts back I mentioned that I had a new home health care nurse, Tatiana, who was born in Russia, immigrated here and became an American citizen.  On her first visit she noticed my shelves full of home canned food and remarked that many in Russia did home canning.  When she was here last Friday, I asked her more about the subject.

Tatiana told me that back in the old USSR, everybody canned everything they could find.  It was a matter of survival.  She said the grocery stores had very little in the way of food, canned or otherwise.  She remembers standing in line for over an hour to buy one loaf of bread.

Her mother used the old fashioned canning jars that had glass lids held down by stiff wire.

I asked if her mother used a pressure canner to process food.  Tatiana wasn't sure what a pressure canner was, so I showed her one of mine.  She said she hadn't ever seen one in Russia and that her mother used large kettles similar to my stock pot.  Food was boiled and ladled into the jars and the glass lids tightened down with the wire.  She  said much of the vegetables were preserved in a vinegar brine and they made lots of sauerkraut because it required only cabbage and salt, both of which could be had fairly easily.

I asked if her mother had ever canned meat and she said she had not heard of anyone doing that.  She was amazed at the variety of meats that may be canned.

Tatiana says that things are much better in Russia now.  The stores carry a large variety of foods and people don't spend nearly so much time standing in line.  Like here in the USA, home canning isn't done as much as it was years ago.  And like here, the Russians, especially in the cities, don't bother preserving food, but just get what they want at the stores.

I found it fascinating to compare how things are done in one part of the world to another.  If we kick the politics into a corner and just concentrate on the people, we may find we aren't so different after all.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Prayer Request

A regular commenter on this blog has become one of those friends I will never personally meet, but is considered a friend, nonetheless.  She just this past week buried her beloved husband of 40 years.  Her home is owned by the company her husband worked for and must be vacated within 60 days.  Her adult daughter is chronically ill.  The lady has a lot on her plate.

Through all of these hardships she has not lost her faith in God.  She and I both believe in the power of prayer.  I know that some of you are already bringing her situation to the Throne of God.  I would humbly ask that any of you who are of a mind to, please include her and her daughter in your prayers.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

And So It Begins...

Once in a while I will go from one room in my apartment to the next, only to forget why.  I wasn't too worried about this.  Talking with others of my vintage and even younger, I find this is fairly common.  But there were a couple of things lately that make me wonder if I have started on the downward slide toward total memory loss.

Today, Thursday, my grandson Chris is having surgery to repair damage to one of his fingers due to an accident at his place of work.  (His mother, my daughter, called to tell me the surgery went well and is successful.) So yesterday, Wednesday, I called my daughter to find out how the surgery went.  Daughter said I must have lost a day somewhere, for the surgery was the next day.  I thanked her for giving me back my lost day and hung up the phone with the sound of her laughter ringing in my ear.

About suppertime yesterday Duane showed up with a club sandwich and fries from the little restaurant in our neighborhood.  He knew I had been feeling a bit off all day so he brought my evening meal so I didn't need to cook.  Bless him!

Anyway, while he was here I asked him if he had noticed any changes in my memory capabilities lately.  I told him about calling his sister a day early for surgery results.  And I said there was one other thing that made me wonder, but I couldn't remember what it was.  He just laughed and said as far as he could tell, I still had all my marbles.

Later in the evening I messaged him on FB...

"The other thing was yesterday I couldn't remember how to work my apple peeler.  Peeled all those apples by hand.  Remembered how it worked this morning.  Plink - plink - plink-  the sound of marbles hitting the floor."

His response was a cartoon picture of some sort of little animal, rolling on the ground, laughing hysterically.

Deep, exaggerated Sigh along with a grin.  :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Silly Phone Call Day

So the first phone call today was from my caseworker for the county government nursing and housecleaning services I use.  He thought it would be a nifty idea if his office collected the fee I pay to have my groceries delivered, and they would then add that to my monthly bill.  It took some time and lots of patience to convince him that my grocery delivery service was a volunteer service for Seniors and has nothing to do with his government department.

The second call later in the day was from the very same caseworker.  He was concerned that I was paying for the supplies used in the care and treatment of my legs, out of pocket.  He offered to call Medicare for me and find out if they covered those supplies.  I understand he might just be trying to be helpful, but it still took some time and lots of patience to make him understand that I had already done that when I first found out that I was responsible for the supplies and found they weren't covered.

He then suggested that I get prescriptions for the supplies so that my prescription insurance would pay for them.  It took some time and lots of patience to convince him that I had already checked into that possibility and found it was just as cheap and less of a hassle for me to order supplies from Amazon than it was to go through a prescription.   I can order in bulk and Amazon delivers to my door.

Sometimes I think that some government workers have the mistaken notion that their clients do not have more than a couple of functioning brain cells.  I suppose I shouldn't be too hard on them as they are likely used to folks who work harder at getting free stuff than they would at a regular job.  To run across someone who takes care of her own stuff is a shock to the system.

The last call was from Kevin at Windows who was terribly concerned about the state of my computer.  Being out of time and patience, I informed Kevin that he was a fool if he thought I was going to fall for that old scam.

I wonder just how many fellows named Kevin there are in India. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Farmer's Market Haul

There was a time when my son would make a Farmer's Market run and bring me bushels of produce.   Now that things have changed and I can no longer process bushels of produce at one time, the haul is smaller, but still very welcome. 

There were 2 small - a little bigger than grapefruit sized - cantaloupe.  I ate one last evening and the other for breakfast this morning.  They were delicious.  I saved some of the seeds.  One of my daughters has a small garden and I think I can maybe talk her into planting some of them in the spring.

There were a dozen green and two red bell peppers.  What a difference between the  store bought peppers and the ones from the Farmer's Market.  These I sliced thin, packaged in individual portions and froze them.  I probably wouldn't have thought to preserve them this way, but one of my readers left a comment a couple of posts ago telling me that's how he had preserved his peppers.  Thanks, "Red."

The last item was two bags of apples - about 20 lbs. total.  They aren't pretty enough to sell in the grocery store, being of different sizes and not uniform in color, so they are sold at a reduced price as 'seconds.'  I don't know why the buying public has to have the perfect looking produce.  These apples are fresh picked locally, which is more than you can say for those in the stores.  We have been enduring another heat wave that should end by tomorrow, so then these apples will become applesauce.  The applesauce will be canned in half pint jars, which is just the right size for Son to take in his lunch for work and for me to consume.

Today I had a new home health care nurse attending to my legs.  She is from Russia.  When she saw my shelves of home canned food, she asked if I had canned it all myself.  She said that here in America she hadn't seen anything like that.  She works in city areas and I told her that it was fairly common in the rural areas, but many living in town just go to the grocery stores instead of canning at home.  She told me that in Russia, everyone cans food at home.  She said that they can't count on the stores to have what the people need and if they didn't garden and can, they might go hungry.  She thought the Farmer's Market was the most wonderful thing. 

Tatiana immigrated from Russia and became an American citizen.  She speaks fluent English with just a slight accent.  She is a lovely lady who came highly recommended and seems to be doing a good job in her chosen field of nursing.  She is the kind of immigrant I will welcome.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Full Speed Ahead

Which is sort of a joke as speed isn't exactly working too well for me these days.  However, I am in full food prep mode and moving along, even if it is at the rate of a turtle's progress.  :)

After putting away my groceries I shredded two heads of cabbage.  They are in zip lock bags in the fridge and tomorrow morning they will go in the dehydrator.  The rest of the veggies will be shredded in the morning and will go in the other dehydrator.  I am drying them separately because some dry faster than others.  When everything is dry they will be mixed together and packaged for storage.

It rarely happens, but this time there was a mix-up in my order.  I ordered frozen hashbrowns and got Simply Potatoes.  Frozen hashbrowns have already been blanched and can go directly into the dehydrator.  I'm not so sure about the Simply Potatoes, so I sent them back.  I will just re-order in two weeks.

The 4 lbs. of frozen green beans are resting comfortably in the freezer until I am finished with the fresh veggies.

Over the weekend, 15 lbs. of hamburger will be browned, packed into pint jars and canned.  I decided to can the hamburger plain.  As much as I like having taco meat canned and ready to use straight from the jar, upon reflection it makes more sense to me to can the burger without seasonings so it can be used in a variety of ways. 

This past week I learned a lesson that falls into the category of 'what not to do.'  Do not leave bags of apple slices in the freezer for 5 years and expect them to be good.  After slow cooking them all day I wound up with much of them being the consistency of soft leather.  The apples were just in the freezer way too long and this was the result of freezer burn.  I expect they would have been fine being frozen for a year, but 5 years was just too long.  There were 3 bags of peach slices that were frozen about the same time, with pretty much the same results as the apples. 

I took time to make a pan of Rice Krispy bars.  Makes me think of my childhood where they were considered a special treat.  Still are.  I messaged Oldest Son telling him there was a possibility that there would be Rice Krispy bars at my house.  He messaged back that I would see him as soon as he got home from work.

Bribe them with food.  Works every time.  :)

Monday, September 10, 2018

Dear Celebrities...

I wonder how many of you remember just what your job entails.  Let me remind you.  Your job, the one you chose to make your life's work, is to entertain me. 

It may be that you chose to be a comedian.  You have a library of jokes and stories that make me laugh and over the years you have succeeded in doing just that.

You may be an actor.  Through movies, plays and television you have shown me a world beyond that of my imagination.  You have pulled at my heartstrings, caused me to weep, to smile, to think, to remember.  You have given me many hours of viewing pleasure.

Perhaps you are a star of the music world.  Your voice has risen to incredible heights.  Your instrumentals have been heard with heartfelt awe and emotion.  Your music has accompanied both the good times and the sad times in the lives of your fans.

Maybe you are one who excels at sports.  You are the one my grandson looks up to and the one he wants to be when he grows up.  You are a role model to him.  You represent not only talent, but also fair play, sportsmanship and the willingness to be a team player.

I have to tell many of you that you have failed to do your jobs.  You have gone out of your way to loudly and proudly proclaim to the world that you have become unhinged when it comes to our President.  You have not only disrespected the office, but you have done so in the most vile and vulgar of terms.  Some of you have taken to disrespecting our National Anthem and our beloved American Flag that represents the country that gave you the freedom to do so.

I will defend your right to say or do whatever you feel the need to say or do within the confines of the law.  But I will remind you that words and deeds have consequences.

If you think it is funny to stand before an audience and talk about our President and those who work for him and support him, in the most vile and disgusting of terms, I will not watch your performances.

If you think it is cute to spew vulgarities at an awards ceremony or during an interview, or if you really think I appreciate your wisdom in telling me how I should join you in your hatred, I will not watch your movies or television dramas.

If your concerts or songs include rants against our President, I will listen to someone else's music.

And I will encourage my grandson's parents to point him in the direction of sports heroes who not only have talent and ability, but who also have class.

I do not believe it is required of us to love our President. There have been some over the years who, in my opinion, had less than stellar performances.  There hasn't been even one with whom I was in complete agreement.

But the office of the leader of the free world deserves our respect, as does our Anthem and our Flag.  And if we fail to do so or if we, by our silence, condone this slap in the face to our President and the symbols of patriotism and love of our country by those who are citizens of the same and who enjoy more freedoms than any other nation on earth,  then we are as good as finished.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

I Have Plans

Today was a good day.  I canned 29 half pint jars of peas and with what is already on the shelf, I should have enough to last at least one year.  I seem to use peas a lot.  I put them in tuna-macaroni salads and eat them as a vegetable with a meal.  My favorite is creamed peas on toast for a  quick meal.  My mother would make creamed peas or asparagus on toast every once in a while and I still like it.  Reminds me of home.

I didn't have as much butter in the freezer as I thought, so I decided to build up my supply before canning.  I only have 6 lbs., so will wait until I have 15 or 20.  Butter here is spendy, so I only order 4 lbs. at a time in my grocery order.  I can wait.

Now that the weather has cooled down some I am back in 'fill the shelves'  mode.  I looked to see what I needed before filling out my grocery order for Monday.  Here's the plan:

4 bags of hashbrowns to dehydrate
4 lbs. of frozen green beans to dehydrate
12 lbs. of hamburger - with the three lbs. in the freezer I will have 15 lbs.
fresh vegetables:  cabbage, carrots, celery, green peppers and onions.

It takes about one lb. of hamburger to fill a pint jar.  I also ordered taco seasoning.  I think I will make taco filling and can it.  I tried that once before and it was a success.  I just this past week used my last jar of taco meat and I love tacos, so that seems like a good use for the hamburger.  I will can at least two more cases of plain hamburger later.

 The fresh vegetables will be shredded, mixed together and dehydrated.  A couple handfuls of the dried vegetable mix adds flavor to soups or casseroles.

My groceries aren't delivered until Thursday.  In the meantime there are several bags of apple slices in the freezer.  I am not a tall person.  I can not reach the bottom of my chest freezer without practically standing on my head.  Oldest Son has taken pity on me and said he will come over after work on Sunday and drag the apples out of the bottom of the freezer for me.  They will go into my big roaster to cook down for applesauce.

So that's the plan.  Now, I realize that often when we plan, God laughs.  And I believe that when God finished creating this wonderful world we live in, he said, "OK, Murphy.  You're in charge."

 So we shall see how the plan works out.  :)

Friday, September 7, 2018

Once in a while...

an absolutely perfect day comes along.  Yesterday was one of those and today is shaping up to be more of the same.  The sun is shining which is welcome after a considerable amount of rain earlier in the week.  Temps are dropping to the mid-50's at night and staying under 75 degrees during the day.  It is a relief after the hot summer days.

I have bags of frozen peas and several pounds of butter thawing to be canned tomorrow.  If all goes well, on Monday I hope to cook down several bags of frozen apple slices for applesauce to can.

A few months ago I decided I needed a Mr. Coffee coffeemaker.  I had been using this to make coffee.

My Dad gave me that old drip coffee pot years ago when I didn't have a coffee pot.  My parents bought it right after they married - 73 years ago.  That old pot makes better coffee than the new one does.  The new one is now on a shelf.  The old one is still producing really good coffee, which is important to someone like me who considers coffee the 'elixor of life.'

And now I believe it is time for a short nap, after which I may sit out on the deck and crochet for awhile.  It is just too pretty a day to be indoors.  :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2018


I have been watching some of the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Bret Kavanaugh.  The pure evil spewing forth from the mouths of some of the Senators on the left is breathtaking to behold.  This hearing has little to do with the confirmation of a judge and everything to do with getting President Trump.  I am convinced that if Jesus Christ were the one being questioned, the left would find fault and blame it on Trump.  I knew there was hate and discontent but I didn't realize how deep that hatred went.

Pray for our nation.  I am beginning to doubt that we can ever overcome the pure evil among us.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Still Here...

Just busy.  I found some new to me information about my family tree, and have been sorting that out to share with my cousin in Texas.  And she is doing some research on another branch of our tree.  It is fun to be working with another relative.  I enjoy the search and don't even mind so much the tediousness of organizing it all, even though it is awfully time consuming.

There was a little bit of sadness in my life this morning.  I have two nurses who deal with the cleaning and bandaging of my lower legs.  Ingrid is the one I see most often and today was her last day.  I am sad at losing her, for she is very good at her job and I really like her personally.  I credit her with saving my life, or at least prolonging it.  She was worried about the low numbers when she took my oxygen levels and she finally had a talk with me, explaining that low oxygen over time would cause some vital organs to be damaged or to shut down.  And when I didn't agree to getting the oxygen setup right away but said I would think about it, she went over my head and called my daughter, who called her brother and sister, who kidnapped me for a doctor visit and the order for oxygen and a nebulizer.  I still hate being tethered to a machine, but it has made a world of difference.  Ingrid has taken a job as a school nurse and I am happy for her.  And the other nurse, Caroline, is just as good and is a boatload of fun to be around.  Could be worse.  Could have gotten a Nurse Ratched.  :)

Duane likes to go to the State Fair.  He usually goes alone and likes to wander around, look at some exhibits and mostly eat. 


Dole Pineapple Whip

The crowd, which is why I don't go to the fair!!

I asked if he was going to bring me some Fair Food on a Stick, but he said anything on a stick would go bad before he got it home.  This afternoon he showed up with a paper sack full of goodies.  He said there was no food on a stick, but there were three boxes, each containing a different flavor of fudge.  He took a thin slice off each and left the rest for me.  I may have to hide some away or I will be tempted to dive in, head first.  :)

Youngest son, David, showed up early this afternoon.  He sat and visited with me for quite a while, showing me pictures he had on his iPad from his job.  They were mostly of things his landscape crews had missed.  He takes pictures to show them what needs to be done, but in most of them, the problem area was circled and he had added text to tell them exactly what to do.  It isn't rocket science.  It is pulling weeds, mowing grass, replacing shrubs, planting flowers, and cleaning up after themselves.  Jobs that should be self explanatory to seasoned crews, and yet, if David doesn't point out specifics, the jobs don't get done.  I asked if workers were becoming more stupid and he said maybe, but most times they take no pride in a job well done.  I am not surprised.

David also had some video he took with his drone.  He was at his house, practicing with it.  There was footage of their dog, Oreo, in the back yard.  She would sniff at a spot on the lawn, roll in it and then run like mad around the yard.  And do the same thing again.  And again.  I remarked that it might be a good idea to check to see what Oreo found so fascinating.  Dogs love to roll in the nastiest of stuff.  :)

And that's how my day went.  How was yours? 

Monday, August 27, 2018


The heat is still with us.  The humidity, too.  But the weather guy tells us that cooler temps will visit us by the end of the week.  They will be welcome!  But I suppose if we were having weather like Rev. Paul is seeing in Alaska, we would be complaining about that, too.  :)

I did manage last week to get some ham and bean soup canned.  I did a cannerful of quarts, being seven of them.  One jar didn't seal so I had lunches of bean soup for a couple of days.  Two jars broke in the canner.  I'm not sure why.  Sometimes jars just break.  Sometimes a scratch in the glass can turn into a break under pressure.  And sometimes jars will break if the canner is heated too quickly.  I'm thinking the latter operator error might have been the cause.  At any rate, I put four more quarts of ready-to-eat food on the shelf, so it wasn't a total loss.

Today is not a high energy day.  Even when I am indoors the humidity seems to bother my breathing some.  The nebulizer helps more than I ever thought it would.  My youngest son gave it to me so I didn't have to go buy one.  He had it for one of his kids when they were younger.  It is shaped like a penguin.  It makes me smile.  Takes about 20 minutes to use up the medicine that helps open my airway.  I keep my Kindle alongside my penguin and indulge in a bit of reading while I wait for the process to complete.  Right now I am in the middle of a mystery that has not one, but two murders to solve.  I just love a good who-done-it.  :)

So today I am just puttering around, doing little chores that require little energy output.  Fall is nearly upon us, so it is time to make a batch of hot chocolate mix.  I dearly love a cup of cocoa in the cool of an evening.  Usually I use that universal recipe calling for Nestle's Quick, but this time I am using the following recipe that tastes like the cocoa Mother used to make with milk, cocoa powder and sugar, heated on the stove. 


5 cups nonfat dry powdered milk
3 cups powdered sugar (more or less according to your taste)
1 1/2 cups dry cocoa
1 cup nondairy coffee creamer
pinch of salt

Mix powdered milk, creamer, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Sift in cocoa and powdered sugar. Mix well. Store in a airtight container.
When ready to use, add approximately 1/3 cup to a mug of boiling water. Stir until cool enough to drink.

You might want to try some of these variations. The recipe is very flexible.
* crushed peppermint sticks
* cinnamon
* malted milk powder

I found this recipe at 'katz kradle' YouTube channel.  It has been several months since she posted anything, but she has a wealth of information on preparedness, recipes, etc.

Looks like there may be a thunderstorm or two headed my way.   The weather reporters always make it sound like the storm of the century is headed directly for us.  I will be happy if we get a little rain.  We need it.