Tuesday, July 31, 2018


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

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

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

And if that happens, I get some.  :)

Monday, July 30, 2018

Northern Minnesota Vacation

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

There was swimming.

There was fishing.

There were pontoon rides.

Oreo, my grandpuppy, loved the rides.

They checked out the local scenery, 

went hiking in the forest, 

explored a waterfall

and paddled canoes.

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

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

The end.

Friday, July 27, 2018

The Great Biscuit Caper

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

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

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

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

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

And thus endeth the great biscuit caper.  :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Girl Has a Car

My youngest son called me earlier today.  I asked him how he was doing.  He said he was nervous.  When I asked why, he said he was following his oldest daughter as she drove her first car home from the dealership.

Yep.  The girl has her first car!

They were stopping at a gas station on the way home to make sure Boston knew how to run the gas pumps to put gas in her car.  Tomorrow her Dad will show her how to check the oil and other things under the hood.  He will make sure she can change a tire.  And I'm pretty sure there will be some rules put into play.

Boston isn't just handed a car.  She has a job to pay for expenses.  My grands are being taught responsibility and about the fact that there is no free lunch.

I'm thinking she could get in some driving practice by coming to visit her Grandma.  :)

Monday, July 23, 2018

Canning Bacon Success

Patrice over at "Rural Revolution" has a post about canning bacon that shows the process way better than I am able.  You can see it HERE.  Go take a look.  I will wait.

There are a couple of small differences in what she did and the way I did it.  I had parchment paper on hand so I used that to wrap the bacon.  I  cut the bacon slices in half and used pint jars instead of quarts.  I used the regular thin sliced bacon and it looks like she used thick slices. 

The thinner slices of bacon got a wee bit mushy in the pressure canner, but by using a spatula it was possible to remove the meat from the paper.  I like to cook bacon on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven, and the canned bacon browned up nicely that way.  Still, I will use the thicker slices next time.

I will still can more in pint jars for smaller servings for one or two, but I think I would also like to have quart jars of bacon on the shelves, just because.  I can always freeze leftover strips of cooked bacon.

My youngest son stopped by while I was canning, and he wanted to know why I didn't just freeze the bacon instead of going to the trouble of canning it.  I told him that I do keep a pound or two in the freezer.  But a couple of years ago a tornado went through a part of Minneapolis.  Some of those people, the ones whose homes weren't damaged, were without electricity for nearly two weeks.  If that kind of thing happened to us he would be cooking meat from his freezer like mad, trying to save as much as possible after it thawed.  Me...I don't need to worry.  Most of mine is in jars.

Even with the thinner slices of bacon, I am really pleased with the results.  I know that I can buy canned bacon and many who aren't into home canning do, but the cost is way above my pay grade.  So I will can more myself because, after all, one can never have too much bacon.  :)

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Worrisome Update and Food Experiments

My cleaning lady didn't show up this morning, so I had to call to report that she missed two weeks.  I am paying for the cleaning service and the home health care through a county program.  Even though the rates I pay are heavily discounted, I still don't want to pay for no service.  I have no idea what happened with her and I really hate to see her go.  She did a wonderful job.  Wherever she is, I wish her well.  Those in charge of the program will find me a new cleaning person.  If the new cleaner is half as thorough as the other, I will be happy.

On another note, I saw some videos about canning bacon.  I already can bacon bits, but the videos were about canning bacon slices.  So in the interest of adding to my home canned goods stash, I ordered four pounds of bacon which should give me 8 pints.  I will give this a try over the weekend and let you know how it works. 

I have another food experiment going.  I made up two batches of baking powder biscuits.  One batch I cut and baked the normal way, put them in a freezer bag when cool and popped them into the freezer.  The idea was that when I want a biscuit or two I can grab a couple and heat them up for a meal.

  The second batch I rolled out, cut the dough into biscuits, put them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and froze them for about an hour.  Then I took the frozen raw biscuits and put them in a freezer bag and back into the freezer they went.  The theory is that I can take out as many as I want and bake them. 
  I will test both methods to see which one I like best.  It is sort of fun to test new ideas to see if they really work.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018


So last week the cleaning lady didn't show up.

Now I know what that sounds like.  I have heard those well-to-do, every hair in place, designer jeans types complain about the 'help.'  But for me, having someone do the heavier cleaning isn't a luxury.  It is a necessity.

The last time she was here she didn't seem to be her usual cheery self.  I asked if she was ok and she replied that she hadn't taken her medication that day.  She told me she has anxiety attacks.  We sat and talked about that for a time.  She seemed better when she left.

She missed work one other time.  But then she called, all apologetic, telling me she had overslept.  I just laughed, told her not to worry about it.  She just came here the following day.

She hasn't called.  Her day to work for me is Thursday.  I believe in giving folks the benefit of the doubt, so I haven't called the company she works for.  I hope she shows up tomorrow.  I hope she is alright.

Saturday, July 14, 2018


So yesterday I was in the middle of having my legs treated by the home health care nurse.  She is a sweetheart.  There is some pain involved in the process and she works hard to minimize it and yet do what is necessary. 

Anyway, in the middle of all that, Youngest Son showed up.  He had pictures on his phone of his family on vacation last week.  They stayed in a cabin just south of the Minnesota Boundary Waters area.  No wi-fi, no cell service, just them and nature.

While the nurse worked on my legs, David scrolled through the pictures on his phone, showing my grands swimming in the crystal clear lake, fishing, canoeing and enjoying the scenery from the deck of a pontoon.  The dog particularly loved pontoon rides.  I was having so much fun looking at the pictures that I didn't even notice when the nurse had finished her work.  :)

David says he will transfer the pictures to a flash drive for me.  I may show you some of the beautiful scenery then.

This evening, after a less than stellar day, Oldest Son showed up with a package of deli corned beef, my favorite lunch meat for sandwiches.  When it is so very hot outdoors, I really dislike using the stove.  The corned beef will get me through with cold suppers for a few days, assuring that my apartment stays cool.

And Duane also brought me a bag of my favorite fruit - cherries.  It is amazing how something as simple as a bag of cherries can lift a person's spirits.

Doesn't matter how old sons become - they still look after their Mama.  :)

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Low Energy Week

It is hot again and promises to continue the rest of the week.  Therefore, I am doing things that expend the least amount of energy possible.  It is too hot and humid to work with yarn.  Can't even scrape up enough energy to sew.  I have been neglecting my genealogy research, so this seems like a good time to put in some serious computer time where my only exercise is fingers on keyboard.

I love reading other folks blogs about their searches for ancestors.  Most times they give me new ideas about where to look online.  Sometimes their family stories are inspiring or courageous or amusing.  I am surprised at how many will go to great lengths to try to prove royalty or celebrity in their family lines.

Me...I like the black sheep.  The ones that other researchers in my family have glorified, ignoring  their sins.  Like one of my great grandfathers.  He served in the Civil War and was wounded in battle.  I will give him credit for that.  But nobody else mentioned the fact that he was court-martialed for being drunk on guard duty. He remained in the army as it was wartime and every man was needed to fight, but he forfeited most of his pay for three months. I once asked my Dad about him and Dad's reply was that his grandpa 'sure did love his booze.'  He was the reason my grandmother, his daughter, made my grandfather sign a paper stating that Grandpa would stay away from liquor.  Grandma wouldn't marry Grandpa until he signed on the dotted line.

Another ancestor has been praised by other researchers as the hero who was the first of that family line to reach the shores of America - the New World.  And that much is true.  However, while combing through old court records I found that this ancestor was a real bugger.  He harassed his neighbors to the point of being involved in several lawsuits.  He was put into stocks in the village square for leaving his wife alone long enough for her to become pregnant with another man's child.  Eventually the local citizenry had had enough of him and he and his wife were banished from the town.

Now here's the rub.  This boy child born to the wife is the ancestor from whom my family line descends.  If all of this is true and even though he carries the family surname, he may not be blood related.  So I am off to see what I can find out concerning this dilemma.

I love a good mystery, especially when it is within my own family.  :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Pickles, Pickles Everywhere

So by the time I finished canning dill pickles last evening it looked like the Gedney Pickle Factory had exploded in my kitchen.  I did wind up with 30 pints of pickles, so it was well worth it.  For those interested in my dill pickle recipe, I have to admit that I cheat.  I have a long history of making lousy tasting dill pickles from scratch.  So now it is Mrs. Wages Dill Pickle Mix all the way.

When the last jar was cooling on my kitchen table I decided that the Clean Kitchen Police weren't likely to come knocking on my door, so I relaxed for an hour or so and called it a night.  So now I am off, scoop shovel in hand, to see if I can find my kitchen counters and table top.  Wish me luck.  I'm gonna need it.  :)

Monday, July 9, 2018

Just Busy

So Friday I peeled and cut up 8 lbs. of carrots.  Saturday I packed them into jars and ran them through my pressure canner.  They yielded 16 pints.  One jar broke so I have 15 to add to my shelves.

Sunday Duane made a Farmer's Market run looking for strawberries.  We waited too long for there wasn't a strawberry to be found.  He did find cucumbers and brought home a small sack of tiny ones for baby dills and another larger sack full of bigger cukes for whole dill pickles, along with a nice bunch of dill.  In the afternoon I washed them and got them ready to pack in jars, which I will do in the morning.

I have corn and peas in the freezer waiting to be canned, but I think I will wait on those.  The temperature is creeping back into the 90+ range and my little apartment heats up when canning.  But all in all, it has been a fairly productive weekend.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Figuring Things Out

Sometimes we get so involved with our day to day lives that we forget what is important.  Since I have been dealing with my medical problems, I find I have sorely neglected to keep up with my food storage plan.  There are large empty spaces on my canning shelves.  I haven't dehydrated anything in months.  There are at least half a dozen recipes for homemade mixes that are still 'in the planning stages.'

If I am to keep it honest, I need to own up to the fact that I have used my medical issues as an excuse to be lazy.  I keep telling myself I can not do many of the things I did before becoming ill.  Truth is, I can probably do more than I think I can.  I just need to figure out how to manage it.

I keep a list of products I like to can and have on the shelves.  I keep this list because my memory sometimes takes a vacation and leaves me here all alone and then I will forget something.  Last evening I went through the list and compared it to the home canned foods on my shelves.  There is a glaring need to restock several items.

Just because I have made the decision to get off my duff and back to my food storage plan doesn't mean I need to pretend I'm Wonder Woman and go nuts with it.  Those of us with medical issues, depending on the problem, need to figure out alternate ways of doing things.  I figure that if I do not do a canning marathon like I once did and if I stick to foods that I can prep at my kitchen table as opposed to standing over a stove or sink, I should be just fine.

Today my grocery order went in.  I ordered 4 lbs. of frozen peas, 6 lbs. of frozen corn kernels and 8 lbs. of raw carrots.  The frozen vegetables can stay in the freezer until I have a good day to can them.  The carrots can be cleaned and cut up at my kitchen table, along with the filling of the jars.  Very little standing time is required.

I know that many are not the least bit interested in coping with chores when dealing with the pesky medical stuff, but I thought that if I could be encouraging to even one person who is struggling with similar problems, then this post is well worth it.  I'll let you know how it all works out.  :)

Sunday, July 1, 2018


Do you remember 4th of July sparklers?

When I was  kid, my family often had a 4th of July picnic at the lake with my aunt, uncle and cousins and whatever relatives were nearby.  After a day of ham sandwiches made with Mom's homemade rolls, potato salad and watermelon and a jar of Auntie Em's famous dill pickles, we would spend the afternoon swimming. 

When evening was near, we would climb into the cars and head to town to watch the fireworks.

By the time we got home, it was pitch dark.  Dad would get the packages of sparklers from wherever he had hidden them to keep them out of our hands until the right moment.  Then he would light them one at a time for each kid and we would run around the yard, leaving a trail of sparks.  We made circles and wrote our names in the air.  We played until the sparklers were gone.

I think Dad would have loved to have some fireworks that made lots of noise or shot up in the air, exploding in a blaze of glory.  But Mother wouldn't allow it.  So we had sparklers.  Dad did manage to sneak some firecrackers under Mother's radar so there was a grand finale of a whole package of firecrackers going off.

Last evening it was cool enough to open some windows.  Somewhere around midnight I heard a strange sound.  When I looked out my front window I saw in the street below, in front of the bar next door, a group of six or seven adult men and women.   They had sparklers.  They were running back and forth with them, drawing shapes and writing their names with them in the air.  They were having such a good time, laughing and cutting up just like we did as kids.

They made me smile.