Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Summer's End

The fair is over. The local kids return to school in eight days. The weed seeds are permeating the air and the lake is cooling down. Soon leaves will fall. Already the hummingbirds have left and their home-made nectar sits untouched in the feeder. It's coming - Autum. I need to change James' attire. Darn, I knew it would arrive,  it always does, but the realization has just in set in with a bang. I've been having too much fun with food projects this season, BUT apples will soon be ready so I have to look forward to sauce and more pies!
click to see the mist



Monday, August 29, 2016

Oxhearts of 2016

 More, and the last of the precious heritage Oxheart tomatoes just arrived via daughter who faithfully grows them from saved seeds. Wunnerful Wunnerful!!!!!!
Seeds are fermenting in a jar now from a previous two, and will be dried and saved in a paper packet in the freezer. That's how we do it to carry on the joy of these special tomatoes. Remember this?

 And these? (6 years ago?)

Missy, Champion Tomato Grower


In 2004~~~~~~~~~A camping friend from Pittsburgh PA gave me a couple of these tomatoes. She said her dad (he was 86 then) starts them and gives her some. He was from old country, Lithuania or Czechoslovakia. She brings them to the beach in SC in September every year. I saved some seeds in 2006 and brought them back to PA. I forgot all about them until April 2007 when we were getting ready to head to SC, so I just threw my saved seeds into an outdoor container. Well when we returned in July, the container was full of tall spindly ugly tomato plants. Missy tore all out and threw them away except for four. They grew and grew in July and August and thrived. When we were preparing to head to SC in September I brought only 6 ripe ones those four plants produced. There were plenty of green ones left. Too bad. Guess the slow start hindered their growth and they matured too late. Be sure that I have saved seeds to start some more EVERY year since.

Remembering...

We always had a dog. We always had a cat. We had chickens and rabbits in our yard cages. (These were for food.) We had a large vegetable garden. We had chores but we always played outdoors when the weather was cooperative. We didn't stick together, though. My brother and I paired up and of course, the twins paired up. 
1946
From about 1943 through 1949
When I was a little older, I explored and played with both boys and girls my age who lived in the neighborhood. Our neighborhood consisted of three blocks of homes away from town and consisted of people of immigrant backgrounds, mostly Irish, Italian and Polish. We all got along ALL of the time. We ran "loose" and only returned home for lunch when the firehouse whistle blew and then, again when the 6 o'clock whistle blew for supper. We scavenged in the dump up the road. We played street games and ran rampant through all the yards during hide and seek. We hunted and collected lightning bugs, butterflies, frogs, snakes, pollywogs and turtles. We played war in the woods as soldiers and enemies and nurses and doctors. We even had a hut in the ground with a roof made of branches. We collected newspapers and bottles to sell to the junk man and then had a garage party with soda and cookies. We traded playing cards and comic books. Almost all had bicycles of some sort and knew how to use a hammer and screwdriver. Dirt and bandaids were the theme of every day. Mosquito bites and poison ivy were common. We ice skated on the ponds. We rang doorbells and ran away. What a gang we were! 

The neighbor next door was French-Italian and raised pigeons in his back yard. They had no kids but were very tolerant of our curiosity about the pigeons who were enclosed in the net-covered back yard. (I think they ate them.) It was hard to understand them due to the broken English but we all tried. They laughed a lot. The family next to them had 5 sons, all in the Navy in the early 40's. The lady across the street had a gold star  flag hanging in her door window. Another lady down the street had a harp and let me try it out. My best girlfriend's grandmother was German and her father had a wonderful accent. The family up the road had 12 children. I remember that one was a nun, one was a priest and one died. Another one through the woods and on another street had 13. There was always laundry hanging on lines and the older children of the large families helped care for the younger kids - always and without complaining.  

Then I got my first horse. Later my best girlfriend down the street got a horse too. New and exciting stuff with horses (and boys) was carried on. We correspond to this day. 

I wore boy's pants with a fly, back pockets and belt loops much of the time. They were passed down from my boy cousins and were very welcome in my world. I wore flannel shirts, but always knew I was a girl. I just liked to be different. I was a show off. My braids were cut off when I turned 13. 

Then things changed and the tomboy disappeared.
These are some of the things I remember. There is one thing from which people never recover - it’s their childhood. Mine was a good one. Lucky me!
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Saturday, August 27, 2016

1915-1916

About 100 years ago my mother was enjoying the sunshine after fighting pneumonia. Everyone thought it was a miracle because she was very close to death. She was the only child of older parents (her age 39 his age 42 when she was born) and a unique treasure for her family as everyone had given up hope of a child being born.
1915
Later in life Mother wrote stories. They are very "wordy" but tell of her life experiences and thoughts. She worked many years, but not as a nurse, in a hospital near our home in NJ. The topic of this story is about nurses and nursing.
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All Wool and a Yard Wide
The fabric of one’s life consists of many different kinds of threads and comes in so many different colors. The gray of winter mountains soon becomes a kaleidoscope of hundreds of shades of green. The azure blue of the sky is mirrored in the deeper blue of a quiet lake. The ivory of the early dogwood blossoms, the shad bush’s foamy clouds dot the evergreen hills. The scarlet, gold and deep reds of fall make a last effort to prepare one for the more somber days of winter.
There is one color, however, that outshines all the others and it is that of the nurses’ white.  True, they don’t all wear the traditional uniforms and cap of yesteryear, but none the less, the devotion and concern are remained unchanged.
Many years ago one of these dedicated women sat beside the bed of a tiny girl who was desperately ill with pneumonia. Wrapped in her winter coat, the nurse carefully watched her patient while the cold winter wind blew through the open window beside the bed. This action had seemed to be the only thing that helped the little girl's breathing. There were no antibiotics then in the 1900's! They both survived the ordeal and the nurse remained in the parent's grateful memories for many years.
In only seven more years, the same ugly disease hit again and this time a graduate of our own Morristown Memorial Hospital came to the little country town to do twenty–four hour duty. Still no antibiotics, but mustard plasters and flaxseed poultices turned the disease away. The recovered child was so fond of the nurse that she kept up a correspondence with her for several years to come.
The child grew up to graduate from high school. While in her senior year, the school nurse started a nurses’ club which inspired many of the members to consider the nursing profession for their life’s work. This was not to be accomplished for the young club member because the dread depression had hit her parents and the girl’s goal was not to be reached. Once again the school nurse helped her student to find a job which resulted working for another nurse in the county office of the New Jersey Tuberculosis League.
Life went on, the colors of the threads changed with the appearance of a tall, dark and handsome man. The new family grew, first with the coming of a daughter, then a son, and finally a set of twin girls. After their arrival, there was another problem, and once again the need for an expert who was specially qualified saved the day. This nurse not only cared for her patient, but helped to get the meals and look after the other necessary duties of the household.
The fabric of the family soon smoothed out and returned to the many colors of the threads of its various members. With the growing demands on the income, it was decided that the mother would like to try a job, and where did she look first—to a hospital, of course. The pull was still there to be near the white of the nursing profession.
Soon the contacts settled into an office position in the old Morristown Memorial Hospital (M.M.H.) location. A new and larger facility was in the planning and the move was anticipated in the near future. Once in the new building, the many duties of her office gave the office worker one of the best memories she was to ever experience. Her occasional contact with the Director of Nursing Services was, to her mind, the epitome of the ideal nurse. The Director’s tall, stately carriage in her high-necked starched white uniform with the cap of her alma mater secure on her dark brown hair would always remain an inspiration to many with whom this individual came in contact.
The time came when extra work was no longer needed for the family’s finances. The children were all out of school; the son in the armed services, the daughter in nursing school (no undue influence, honestly), and marriages in the offing for the rest of the children. Now retirement could be enjoyed with time available for volunteer work, travel, gardening and anticipating the arrival of grandchildren.
A cruel tear in the fabric of the woman’s life came with the discovery of a lump in one breast. The diagnosis of the dreaded word “CANCER” changed the pattern of the life’s threads to dark and forbidding designs. Prompt intervention by a wonderful surgeon and his staff kept the disease at bay for several more years until a recurrence showed up in the other breast. Once more the routine was repeated and faded from memory—or so it was thought.
Fate, however, had other ideas, and professional help was needed. This time there was a dramatic change in the persons involved. A totally new concept in cancer care had been initiated in the fast expanding hospital. 
The Woman’s Cancer Center was staffed by a uniquely qualified special surgeon, a nurse practitioner, and assistant office persons. This new service dealt with the whole patient. This service was soon to benefit the woman whose fears had all but convinced her that it would be better to "let nature take its course." Following an especially perceptive interview with the doctor and later with the nurse practitioner, it was decided to go ahead with the necessary hysterectomy. 
A quick and uneventful recovery restored the nearly eighty-year old woman to the fabric of her life with her husband of almost sixty years. They would continue to weave their lives, not always all wool nor a yard wide, but the many colors of the rainbow would continue to appear much as before.
The predominant color of their life’s fabric would continue and would always be the pure white of the nurses’ cap and uniform. Perhaps it would not always be as visible as it once was, but through the many colors and materials of today’s world, the white would always shine—the true symbol of the many women who in the past had formed the fabric of this woman’s life.

Pauline F. Nulton  August 17, 1994 

Published January 30, 1995 Women’s Cancer Center by Jane C, Moore, Editor of “A Detour in the Road of Life”
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Note: One of Mother's twin daughters was a registered nurse, and her daughter is a registered nurse. One of her granddaughters has worked in the Morristown Hospital since college and her husband works there as well. Several other grandchildren have careers in various medical fields. 



Friday, August 26, 2016

Dried or Frozen...

Either will do for me! This morning I pitted, skinned and sliced one of the larger peaches and put the pieces on parchment paper which is placed on a cookie sheet and the oven will do the rest. I set the oven at 120º–150º and it will take about 6-8 hours until they are ready to pop into a bag to save for a treat this winter. We just "might" let a slice or two rehydrate on our tongues for a quick energy munch as well.

Three more were pitted, skinned, and quartered. I submerged them in a bowl of two cups water and two tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon for about 10 minutes. They were then patted dry with a paper towel and transferred to another parchment paper covered cookie sheet and placed in the freezer. When they are solidly frozen I'll put them together in a freezer plastic bag for further use. These three large peaches make the exact number of cups called for in my cobbler and pie recipes. Frozen peaches, like most frozen fruit, aren't very good to eat raw once they're totally thawed but they are excellent for baking. This method leaves them with a pleasant texture and it's a taste of summer heaven at a time of year when juicy peaches are a distant memory.
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I have two peaches left and the peach projects are now complete. We'll eat those!
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Loring: large, round peach with attractive red-blushed skin. Yellow, firm and melting flesh with medium texture, moderately juicy with excellent flavor. Soft when canned or frozen; freestone.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Jam

Guess what kind?

This is freezer jam and I only made a small batch with three peaches. I combined an old recipe and a new one. It tastes good and I'm waiting for it to set now. 
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If it doesn't *set as much as I hope, we'll just use it for sauce over pound cake, waffles, ice cream.

Wish I had a dehydrator...maybe next year. I intend to dry some slices my old way - on a screen over the arms of a chair. That's how I do some of the apples.

*Hey! It set just fine and is delicious!

Peach Freezer Jam

Makes 5 to 6   8-ounce jars
5 Ball® Plastic (8 oz) Freezer Jars or 8 oz half pint glass jars with lids and bands. (I use ZipLoc 8 oz. Plastic Cups with lids.) 

INGREDIENTS:
4 cups of ripe, fresh crushed peaches (that have been peeled and pitted) (I mash with potato masher)
1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 package (1.59 ounces) of Ball Instant Fruit Pectin
  (5 T. powder)

DIRECTIONS:

COMBINE prepared fruit with lemon juice in a large bowl. Add sugar, mixing thoroughly. Let stand 10 minutes.

Gradually stir in bag or (5 T- one at a time) of pectin (be sure not to get clumps). Once the pectin is combined, stir the mixture constantly for three minutes.

Ladle into clean jam jars, seal with lids and rims. Leave 1/2 inch for expansion. Let stand for 30 minutes.

You can enjoy immediately or place in the freezer. The jam will be good for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator (if it lasts that long!) or it will last up to one year in the freezer.
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Monday, August 22, 2016

Fruit Obsession

Since my neighbor said I should be crowned 'Queen of Baking' I shall repute it and say just crown me obsessive! We bought MORE PEACHES! Oh, and a huge cantaloupe. It probably is a good thing that I don't have recipes for baking cantaloupe. 

No matter from which direction I view these I consider them priceless! Price? About $1.00 each. (I have freezer jam in mind.) 


Look at this marvel!
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Sunday, August 21, 2016

My Dish is Half Empty

By that I mean the peach cobbler baking dish is half full now. This is BAD stuff! I only used three of the four large peaches to make it.
This is a bowl for the neighbor, who may stop by if the rain ever stops. It's a downpour out there.
please click on image to enlarge

Saturday, August 20, 2016

OH MY - Peaches!

Eat your heart out my friends.....A cobbler shall appear in my kitchen in a day or so and then it will magically disappear!
This is a large vegetable serving bowl!

Loring: large, round peach with attractive red-blushed skin. Yellow, firm and melting flesh with medium texture, moderately juicy with excellent flavor. Soft when canned or frozen; freestone.

Please click on my peach!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Summer's Best

I watched this mushroom grow from a little white blob at the base of the tree to this magnificent mushroom. Guess I should have done a growth progress series. It took two days to become large. Then! I broke it off because I wanted to see the underside. 
This is one of two tomatoes that I just got from my daughter's garden. It's almost a sin to cut into this beauty. The Oxhearts are meaty and non-acidic with few seeds (that I will save for her for next year). SOOOOO GOOOOOOD!!
The marinating salad was made from my brother's tomatoes and cucumber.
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Monday, August 15, 2016

Snail Mail Thanks

When I first open the gift wrapping of something that was thoughtfully mailed or given to me, my first thought is that I shall write a thank you note for this gift. I usually do. Several times I have used e-mail but a touch of guilt struck each time. I know I’m old-fashioned but I also know how wonderful it is to receive a hard card - one that I can hold in my hand and feel the vibrations of the person who actually sat down and wrote it to me.

Modern technology has taken over many ways to convey our thoughts and feelings, but I KNOW that efforts to give a gift of love is reciprocated ten times over when a little note is returned.

You might say that a personalized hand-written thank you note is no longer expected or necessary - i.e. passe, outdated, corny, obsolete, bygone. Personally I think it is required. 

So, my friends and relatives, please don’t forget to send an authentic gratitude handwritten note when one is called for. You know when that is! It’s never too late to say thank you.

I just received one and it was charming. I’m grateful and hope they never go out of style. They convey your appreciation in a way that lasts.  This one arrived today!



Sunday, August 14, 2016

Family Fishers

The son of my recently deceased sister is here with his family from Rhode Island. Her daughter and  husband are here from Delaware.  Both of these young adults grew up here and have returned to to visit with their dad. It is very hot but down at the lakefront it is a bit cooler. Yes fish were caught.
Not this group, but "someone" left a fish on the grassy bank. It attracted a turkey vulture.
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