Saturday, August 25, 2012

Last Minute Delivery

Our daughter just brought over two of her home-grown tomatoes so we could enjoy them in SC!

I saved the seeds, she started, grew and reaped them. 

WELL worth the effort, don't you think?
Click photo to view larger.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Isaac Go Away

Photo by Dina, Creation by GMR

It looks as if our trip to SC will be on schedule. We leave PA three times a year, every year, to go to our little trailer which is put up permanently (tied down with skirting) in a campground on the beach! Yes, This has been our routine for the past fourteen years. We have only been evacuated once and it wasn't a good experience, but here we go again! We will stay about two months and return to PA for the winter. Yes, that's what I said... WINTER! We have to keep the old cabin pipes from freezing, especially when the power goes off when the generator will be started and used.

This is also the stretch when I go through complete computer and internet withdrawal and don't participate in ANY of it. Actually, I need to stay away from it so I can get some relaxing sea breeze, pooling, and camera exploration. The campground is very large and we enjoy it there. September and October is the time when my husband does a lot of surf fishing. Additionally, we meet up with all the friends we have made throughout the years who also return and some even live there full time. This is positively a fun time. Yes, there are episodes of "hurricane anxiety" but we feel that it is still unmistakably worth it.

Photo by Amy C. Florida
"If you're lucky enough to be at the beach, you're lucky enough." 

"Once a beach baby,
always a beach baby."

Photo by fellow camper

So off we will go, tra la, tra la. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Yes, honored, even though in a small way, it really matters!

For the last couple of years an older man and two little children have ridden their bicycles past our cabin. Once, I stopped them and gave them all some freshly baked cookies - that was about 2 years ago. They all ride by often and in all kinds of weather. Lately only the children are riding. They have been set free, I guess.

Today, the little girl, age about 7, on her bicycle with the training wheels, wearing a helmet honored us - very much so!

We live on this lake which has about 35 property owners, most of them seasonal. There about nine or so families who are here all year. These folks are one family of the nine. Their home is across the lake on the far side and we don't know them. 

One time I saw the man (grandfather of the children, I've since learned) in the bank parking lot and we said "Hello". I also noticed that his license plate had a gold star emblem. When I returned home I found out what the emblem meant. After inquiries I also learned that this gold star father lost his son in Iraq and is bringing up his grandchildren.

Well, to get back to the honor....

Years ago, my kids knew just who to go to when they needed help.  Today, the little girl just dropped her bicycle and tore off her helmet and ran to our front door. Her brother, about age 9,  stopped but stayed put.

"Can I use your bathroom?" "Of course", was our reply, "Come right in!" She did. We pulled the chain on the light fixture located over the medicine cabinet and showed her how to unlock the old-fashioned latch on the bathroom door to come out. 

When she left, she smiled and said "Thank you" got back on her bike and they rode away. We watched both go with big smiles on our faces.  

Their Grandpa has taught them well, designating a safe house and teaching good manners.

Wonders will never cease.

It was a Good Year....


For Oxheart tomatoes that is. I saved the seeds, my daughter grew them. 

They were WONDERFUL!

If anyone reading this would like some of these seeds, let me know.                           

You will need to know how to start tomatoes from seed,  6 foot stakes, diligent watering, enough space NOT near other tomatoes and lots of patience! It WILL be worth the love and care you will give to their growing, I promise.              

Mater Samich

There is NOTHING, I said NOTHING! like a sandwich made with a garden tomato picked the same morning you receive it.

My daughter sent this one to me today. It is a heritage tomato called "Oxheart".
 I have posted about this variety in the past.   see below.

Last year they all got blossom rot, due to wetness. This year there are very few for the same reason, BUT... there are a few.

Ah! non-acidic, sweet, warm, D-licious! The meaty flesh has very few seeds. Come have supper with me. I will share.

Click for larger View and DROOL.....

In 2004~~~~~~~~~A camping friend from Pittsburgh PA gave me a couple of these. 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.
Saving the seeds so they will all germinate is a bit tricky. This is what I do:
#1 Seed Saving Method
Saving tomato seeds is a little bit more of a process but still very simple. Start by squeezing the tomato seeds and juice into a container. Leave the juice sit for a few days to begin fermenting. The fermenting process will help to remove the seeds from the gel that coats them. The fermenting seeds will sink to the bottom and the pulp will float to the top. Add water to the mixture and pour off the fluid. You will now be left with very wet tomato seeds. 
Pour these seeds onto a screen or paper towel to dry at room temperature. Running a fan over the seeds is a good idea to speed up the drying process. Store seeds in a cool dry location. My favorite way to store seeds is placing them in a sealed jar and putting them into the freezer. Seeds can be stored for a very long time this way. 
#2 Seed Saving Method (mine)
Tomatoes are surrounded by a lot of juicy material which makes it a bit more difficult to get a dry seed. But plant breeders and seed savers have their ways. Simply press or scoop out the juicy material from the tomato along with the seeds into a clear glass container. Don't add water at this point. Then let it sit a few days, stirring daily. As the mixture ferments, the good seed will settle to the bottom, with almost everything else floating. After a few days. you will get a good growth of mold on top (I didn't say it was pretty). When you are ready to collect the seed, add water and stir it up. Slowly pour off the trash on top, until the good seeds on the bottom are about to pour out. Then stop pouring, add water, and pour it off again. Repeat this process several times. Don't worry if you see a few seeds pour off, since the ones that float are usually not good anyway. Each time, you will get rid of more non-desirable materials, and the good seed on the bottom will be cleaner. When it is clean enough for you, drain off all the water and place the seeds on a paper towel to dry. (I use newspaper.)

About the Oxheart Tomato Plant
Oxheart tomatoes are large, old-fashioned, very fragrant heirlooms. Heirloom, or heritage, tomatoes have come back into fashion because they are easy to grow and pack a wallop with their production. Oxheart tomatoes come in many varieties and sizes, and their shapes are not your traditional round fruit. These tomatoes are a favorite for slicing and sandwiches.
Oxheart tomatoes come in heart, strawberry or oblong shapes. They range in color from yellow to pink to red. The oxheart tomato plant has fern-like foliage. Oxhearts are indeterminate tomatoes, which means they will grow and produce fruit until killed by frost. The plants can get as tall as 10 feet, thought most reach only 6 feet.
Oxheart tomatoes need full sun, well-drained soil and lots of fertilizer. They prefer soil with a relatively neutral pH of 6.5 to 7. Before you plant your tomatoes, add a general purpose 8-32-16 or 6-24-24 fertilizer to the soil. After planting, apply 1 lb. per 100 square feet and work it well into the upper 6 inches of soil. Because oxhearts are indeterminate, sprawling plants, they will need a tomato cage or trellising. The diameter of the cage should be at least 20 inches and up to 5 feet tall.
Lack of nutrition or lack of water will cause your oxheart vines to stop growing and flowering. Tomatoes should be watered twice per week if there is not adequate rainfall, and they should be fertilized every 10 days. If the temperature drops below 55 degrees F, oxheart tomatoes will drop their blossoms.
Oxheart tomatoes generally take from 70 to 85 days from planting to fruit harvest, depending on the variety. Check the back of your seed packet to determine exactly how long it will take.
There are many different oxhearts to choose from. Some include the Amish Paste, which has an oblong oxheart shape and grows to 8 oz.; German Red Strawberry, which are large, strawberry-shaped and slightly acidic; Japanese, a pink variety known for extra high yields and rich flavor; or Shilling Giant, which produces giant, heart-shaped red fruit with a meaty texture.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Poor Camera!

Do NOT drop your camera! Especially if you know all about how to use it and love your results.

I purchased mine on January 28, 2008. Yes, it is almost five years old, but looks like it is twenty!

It was not a very expensive one to start with but it was chosen because it fits my "shooting hand and fingers" just right. You see, my hand was badly mangled in a saw in 1980 but functions OK except for holding on to things and not dropping them.

I think I read the owner's manual so many times, and have attached sticky notes on the pages I refer back to often, that it is just about worn out. On page 9 it cautions to not subject the camera to impact or shock. 

I have taken exceptional care of it, always using the neck strap and protecting the lens and the liquid crystal monitor - always. It is returned to its carry bag every time after use. 

Well... don't you know, that about a year ago I dropped it! In my bedroom! On the hard, tile covered concrete floor! I had left it on the desk and my hand caught the strap that was hanging over the edge.

The battery compartment lid flew one way and the little mode dial went the other. After finding them, I was aghast that the cover's little latches were gone, and the mode dial wouldn't snap back in place, being way too loose.

It has been "repaired" by me, and still functions correctly, but is a pain when I have to change modes and batteries. Oh well... Yea! for filament packing tape and Scotch tape.

I have used my computer to take photos of my repairs so you can see them. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Slice of my Life

IF you have ever noticed, I use old time cooking utensils and kitchenware. I would have it no other way. They are still very functional and I understand them. That's most likely because I watched for at least 19 years how my grandmother and mother did things in their kitchens; even long after.

Today when I was slicing hard boiled eggs to make potato salad for lunch, I realized that I, again, was using old tools. How did they last so long? Well, they were made better and they were taken care of. And that's my opinion.  That old (retro, I think) slicer has been slicing eggs, mushrooms, strawberries, and other foodstuffs and hasn't failed - once! I had purchased a newer one some time ago and after two uses, the wires snapped! I took it back to the store and it was replaced. The 2nd one had wires snap the first time it was implemented. Out came my little Red Acme Slicer from its retirement.  (click on photo to view larger)

Now I have much older tools in use every day! Every day! Mostly kitchen tools.

I'll name a FEW - I don't collect them or anything like that. They were passed down. This partial listing doesn't include the old and very useful pots and pans, kettles, servingware or dishtowels.

bacon tongs (many uses)

bottle tongs

cabbage slicer

can opener

canning funnel



covered butter dish-Hazel

Foley food mill

Ekco Best hand mixer

jar openers (retro & vintage)

masher (many uses)

measuring spoons -the BEST!

Gem meat grinder

wall knife holders

pastry blender (many uses)

peeler (many uses)

sugar (& cinnamon) shaker

measured shaker

towel holder

vintage bowls-Fireking

many vintage bowls- Pyrex incl. 4 qt ovenware bowl

retro bowls-Brookpark plastic

 OLD wooden spoon back

OLD wooden spoon bowl