Monday, September 27, 2021

Pumpkin Butter

 Love pumpkins, can't you tell?

I have already been chewed out by a jam and jelly group on Facebook. I am fully aware of the USDA's warning about canning pumpkin butter. But, I am looking for some brave soul who did what I did. I made pumpkin butter, put it into 4 ounce Ball jars, used my canning pressure cooker. When I removed the jars, I carefully opened one and tested its temperature. It was 240°. I call that temperature safe-to-eat. I ate it, my family devoured it and I'm ready to do it again.

Has anyone tried this?  I am proposing that you all run out and do this. Just curious about anyone doing small wee jars and succeeding in producing a safe product.

 Apple butter is also on the to-do list this fall as my SIL loves it. So, apples it is. What varieties have you used? From your own orchards, farmers market? Recipes or techniques to share?

Friday, September 24, 2021

Whew! What can I say about 2020 and, so far, 2021

 My family, husband, my home, and friends all take on a special meaning. The pandemic has wreaked havoc on my family and friends. 

I completely lucked out when it came to my health issues. Had 2 surgeries for carpal tunnel syndrone last fall. You sure have a reckoning about your hands and what you do with them! Dang, that was too much.

The scare came this year with breast cancer. A lump was on my left breast. It was a very rare cancer but one that had fast growing cells. Surgery was 3 weeks after diagnosis. No treatment required as the pathology report said no cancer anywhere. Surgeon took out the lymph node (the cancer highway) and found nothing. Flesh around lump: no cancer, no seeds, nothing. Prayers were answered. Future: monthly breast exams and 3D mammograms. Covid cancelled my 2020 mammogram. My advice: don't ignored this test. 

So there's my garden. Mother Nature is still playing her tricks. Lousy production. Did try some new varieties and very pleased about the taste of some of these veggies. Have pie pumpkins and raised some gourds for ornamental purposes. I have big smiles looking at them hanging from their vines.

And, it's fall, my favorite time of the year. Chilly mornings, warm afternoons. Football has returned. I do love my alma mater's football games. Cheering, cussing, eating, wine or pumpkin ale jugging, all is fun. 

Holidays are coming and I may actually be with my family. We all have our shots. Last year. the holidays were very lonely. I do so hope this pandemic leaves us soon for many reasons. Too many people are dying.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

It's Raining

 Don't you just love the smell of rain? I live in the suburbs so the smell is mixed with many things. But, oh, it's so wonderful.

We've had to live with smoke so thick I could only see a block from my house. Our air is clear now. I can go back and live in my garden. 

The garden hasn't been great this year as many plants simply didn't produce much or grow to their normal size. We do have pumpkins. My grandchildren are in high school now but are as excited as little ones anticipating some pumpkin carving. Their grandmother, who has equally waited for several years to harvest pumpkins, has evil thoughts of not sharing. All I see are pies, lots of pies, and scones. There are only 3 large pumpkins who have exceeded their normal size. Size was supposed to be 8 pounds max. They're really big!

I did at an earlier date shared why pumpkin growing has been a challenge. My doxie named Turk plucked every green baby pumpkins off the vines. He also enjoyed jalapenos, banana peppers, tomatoes, etc. You get the drift. He has crossed the Rainbow bridge, lived 17 years. We can now grow pumpkins and other vegetables he was fond of. 

We are thankful and so happy to have our garden, its fruits, and a healthy family in this year we'll never forget.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020


Here's my son Jon. Today he would be 45. Instead cancer took him 5 years ago. I don't know why today it feels like my guts were taken out of me. Hard, hard day. Stayed busy until awhile ago and the pain and sorrow hit so hard, all I could do was sob.
Grief is hard to describe. Everyone's grief is different. Pain does not stop. You wake up everyday and you find a way to deal with it. We all are on our own paths. Today, I strayed from mine and fell in a black hole. I crawled out and will continue down my path.
I am so thankful I gave birth to this magnificent human being. He touched many lives with kindness and warmth. The dog you see in the photo was a rescue dog and pretty badly treated. No one wanted him. Jon adopted hm and coaxed the sweetness and love out of this dog. His name was Domino. Domino changed many peoples' minds about pit bulls. We became his people after Jon died.
One of the funniest things that happened when Domino joined the dog tribe at my house was adapting to doxies. Our naughtiest doxie used to stand under Domino and steal his food. Poor Dom, it took him awhile to figure out the Doxie Creed. In short it reads," if something falls on the floor, it's mine."
The pandemic does force us to deal with matter we normally don't wrestle with. Some days one is overwhelmed. I return to my mantra which is I'm glad Jon is not going through this. But damn, he would have made our lives so much richer if he was still here.
If you're ever feel like making a donation, please consider the American Cancer Society. I'd appreciate it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Pandemic Blither

Can 2020 end soon?
I am grateful for having a large yard, a home, some privacy, and now, a healthy family. My daughter, her husband and 2 kids had Covid-19. Saying"thanks" everyday does make a soul happy.
My daily routine is now sitting on the top back step where a folding chair and small table awaits me. I plant my body down and enjoy each sip of coffee I take and listen to my suburban wildlife: birds singing and chirping, cars whizzing by, dogs chasing squirrels, and just sounds of natural life that blends into the whole of it all.
Not sure how sane I would be if I couldn't do this, hear the sounds I hear, and the mere fact I have coffee to drink. My imagination cannot grasp what others without a job, no money coming in, businesses gone, what are they going through? If ever in one's life where gratitude should be felt in abundance, it's now for me.
Being a former public school teacher, I, too, would be terrified to return to the classroom to teach. One Covid-19 death of a child returning to a classroom is too much for me. We naturally protect our students. You really can't socially distance in a school. The buildings just weren't built for that!
My theme reflects my favorite season, fall. It can't get here soon enough though it will be deficit of football. Then, I pray, we get through the holiday season without infecting thousands with this virus.
We will get through this as difficult as it is. Wear a mask my friends, practice social distancing, call your friends, step outside (even if it's just an alley), find sun, find fresh air.
Keep safe, soon the leaves will be falling, colors changing......Make it your goal to reach 2021

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Blame it on Marie

Not a fan of regular television programming, I subscribed to Netflix to increase my chances of finding fun, entertaining, or thoughtful shows. Dang, I decided to check on Marie Kondo's show after I read a headline "Thrift Stores Inundated with Donations." They attributed this phenomena to Marie Kondo. Whew! I was overwhelmed just watching the first show. Decided to do the easy thing for me - clothes. All were put in a pile on my bed. Held each, said "thank you," and whatever the one that didn't "spark joy" fell into the donation pile. I am a denim and flannel wearing gal during the winter. Spring has become so warm here, it is easy to transition to sleeveless before summer starts. I used her method of folding clothes, saw empty spaces in my dresser drawers and needed to know more of this lady's philosophies and techniques. The more episodes I watched, the more techniques I learned.
Now, I'm blazing into territories I normally wouldn't touch. Letting go is a feeling that's so good, overpowering at times. Today I am resting.....I had tackled the office(actually known as the junk room) found way too many missing items, brought in a shelf and am impressed with how it's going. The sewing room and book shelves are next. Kitchen, linen closets, and bathrooms done.
Just to add to my already excitable state, I read in the latest MaryJanes Farm magazine how Ashley organizes her freezer. She makes large quantities of soup and other dinner items, uses a Ziploc holder, fills gallon freezer bags, freezes them flat, then they go into these baskets. Awesome! I make a lot of pots of soup. She needs to meet Marie or vice versa!
I'm on a roll...... Isn't she adorable? brutal but adorable.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Christmas Holiday

Gathered with quilting friends last month, early party scheduled and enjoyed. One of the ladies gave each of us a mason jar filled with her Christmas Chex mix. Not only was it colorful and very Christmasy (my new word), but she shared her recipe.
Using the Ball Share jar and my favorite ribbon

Here's the label I made for the mix
It's so easy if you have a store that sells bulk goods like Winco. Start with the large bag of Traditional Savory Chex Mix. With it in a large bowl, add 1 cup of mixed nuts, 1 cup of dried cranberries and 1 cup of round, small red, green, and white candies. The ones we used taste like malt balls. This packaged mix is less salty than the traditional recipe. I found the Ball jars on sale. All in all, this is a great treat to share with friends and family. It makes about 10 cups. There's a bit leftover for you to enjoy.

My other mischief I've been doing this season is making this adorable mug rug. I found the delightful Christmas spoon on Ebay. Someone was cleaning out Gramma's kitchen,
This pattern is in Lori Holt's Vintage Christmas book, Fabric is from last year's Moda collection. Love the whole idea of this mug rug. Made one for me!
Much to do as the trips to chemo take up our time and Christmas is coming fast.....
Have a most wonderful holiday season. See you in the next year.

 Love pumpkins, can't you tell? I have already been chewed out by a jam and jelly group on Facebook. I am fully aware of the USDA's ...