Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bed Babbling

Bed Babble

I have to empty my thought bin somehow. Thank goodness for the blogging venue. Here goes...

Has anyone else but me ever looked back to remember what beds in which you've slept in the past? No, I don't suppose so, but I did. Not on purpose.  "Something" triggered it and maybe it was having cold feet because I forgot to put socks on the other night. Here goes....

The first bed I can remember was in the upper attic of an old house of my Aunt's. I think it was a 'stay-over.' I had ducked under the heavy brownish tapestry drapes that were the 'door' to the upstairs garret and climbed up the narrow and steep, emerald colored, velvet carpeted stairway. There it was, the white and inviting bed. I had to climb a couple of steps that were placed at its side to crawl under the covers. Never before had I been encased in such luxury. I was asked not to jump on it. I now know that it had a goose down mattress and a goose down cover and I sunk very deep in to it and it was soo soft and safe-feeling.

Another was a very high-backed brass bed with balls on each corner very similar to the fancier one pictured below. It was in my grandmother's spare bedroom, which also was furnished with a full sized potty chair. The bed was a bit hard, but the best thing was that I was permitted to read in bed. The light over my book was supplied by by a hanging bulb covered with a glass bell shaped globe, open at the end. I was to pull on the long string with a button on its end to turn it off when I was finished with reading.  I had never read in bed before!

(The graphics here were taken from the internet.) 

As I grew, my family moved into a three bedroom home. There was only me, my brother and my parents; brother in one, me in one and parents in the largest.  When my twin sisters were born, my brother was soon put in MY bedroom and I had to share the space. This is when I was six years old and my brother three.  The space sharing went on until I married at age 19. We had a delineation line marked across the room and the only time we crossed it was for him to leave or enter the room or for me to cross into his side to the clothes closet. Sometimes we cheated when Jack Frost had painted pretty pictures on our windows. One was mid-line and the other was on his side. We liked to scratch our initials into the frosty surface! I remember scruffing my knuckles on that bed bottom when changing the sheets. I don't remember the headboard except I had a hanging pink plastic reading lamp over it and, as always, read in bed - often.

My first bed as a bride was a blonde creation of wood and shelves and sliding doors for a headboard. This looks like it - EXACTLY!

When I married the second time, our bed was in the room prepared by my husband's mother and it was a metal bed. We moved it with us from New Jersey to our own home 6 months later, and then to Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania I had it painted white. I still read in bed with another lamp hooked over the back. This one was brown. When we moved into the cabin across the lake, we sold it to the buyers who wanted it to remain. It looked just like this one, wheels and all before it was painted.

Today I have a vintage maple twin bed with wheels. The wheels are very important because if I couldn't roll it away from the closet doors, I wouldn't be able to make it easily or enter my closet! No carpeting is possible either. I'd only wear it out. I don't read in bed anymore. And, I never remember having a bed without a footboard. The studio couches are not included here, even though they could be made into beds for company and we had those, oh yes. Uncomfortable they were.

All I know is that beds cradle sleepers for almost half of their lifetimes. Well now I've been able to squeeze out the last drop of memory about beds and will be plagued about another thing from my past to write about soon, you can bed on it.

And there you have it straight from the "Bedhead." 

Chalk it Up!

Best viewed very large 

Monday, December 30, 2013

An Award! ????

Since I have no idea how this nomination works, I gratefully accept the nomination of the award by a fellow blogger, Beth Marie.

She answered 10 questions and I think I may be expected to do the same so here goes....

1. Your favorite color? I like red, bright and pure red!

2. Your favorite animal? The horse, of course.

3. Your favorite non-alcoholic drink? V8!

4. Facebook or Twitter? Facebook pages, especially "Chickens in  the Road,"  Ed Piotrowski, WPDE, SC Weatherman, & "Made by Meg." (sea glass artist)

5. Your favorite pattern? Circles in repetition.

6. Do you prefer getting or giving presents? I love to give and to share.

7. Your favorite number? 5 (alive, revive, thrive, strive, drive, jive, arrive, survive) A very positive number in my mind! 

8. Your favorite day of the week? Monday - I like to start over. 

9. Your favorite flower? Peonies, mainly because of their fragrance and delicate petals. I even like the ants.

10. What is your passion? Getting things in order and organized. 

There! Now you know.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

My Lost is Found

For years when I was growing up, I remember my mother baking special cookies. She had a tool that had a knob on the end which you twisted like a water faucet knob and then the dough came out of little holes at the bottom of a tubular container onto the cookie sheet and stuck together. When baked they were pretty in shape even before decorating with sprinkles. I hadn't thought about this for years, but was reminded when a long-time special friend sent me a photo of some she made this year. Mom's antique contraption has disappeared but I found an exact picture of it on the internet.

I thought I had once or twice made the same type but was frustrated for some or other reason with the process. I remembered having a similar tool that makes these shapes that I put away somewhere. Somewhere could be anywhere. I also think it was a gift to me at my bridal shower back in the early 1950's. The hunt was on because my friend said she had two and would give me one so I could try again. My thinking was that I'd hunt first for my own (IF I still had it) and wouldn't need for her to go to the trouble of sending me, via postal service, her extra one.

Dig! Dig! Dig! I found it. In a bag. Not boxed. Waaaay back under the counter in a corner under some other old baking utensils. So I took it out, snapped some pictures and put it back. I'm just not in a cookie baking mood now. Maybe next year.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Odds, Surprises, and Beginnings

One of my blogging friends who likes to take nature oriented photos wrote that she'd like to see some of this artwork because she wasn't aware of it. I have, on the top of our cabin log wall a small piece that was burned by my "middle" daughter quite a few years ago. I have made one for her of a rooster to give as a gift to her friend.  Here's a picture I took today of mine. It's a bit beat up now.

Since my blogging friend likes birding and sketches them, the link here will better show her what I'm taking about. We have a category at our annual agricultural fair where magnificent works of this art are displayed and judged. 

Two good links below will show you the wood burning style.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch I'm keeping' very cozy under my new Sherpa throw. Just see how colorful and lovely it is! Perfect! This was an unexpected gift from Texas that arrived by UPS up here ON TIME! Thank you Cindy.

And to finish off this disjointed blog, I'd like all to know that I popped open my 12" sword bean pod from SC because it was totally dried. It had great tone and sound and would have been a perfect rattle in a musical band - so now instead, we will see all the vines to be grown in 2014.

Coming soon…….ham bone for split pea soup.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Eggs and Ham

Merry Christmas Eve Day!

My contribution to the family Christmas meal is prepared. I must be getting older - it seemed to be more time consuming than I had planned, but I'm ready now.

Everyone raves about my deviled eggs but I have NO recipe for them. I just add a bit of this and a bit of that, and then I taste. I'm also often asked how I get my eggs to peel so well. I can tell you the egg "trick."

The eggs must be at least one week old. A single layer in a semi-heavy pot is covered with cold water to about an inch above the top of the eggs. I then bring them to a boil, boil for five minutes, remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes in the hot water. Then I fill and drain the pot with cold water until it is completely cold.

I tap the bottom of the egg against the kitchen sink and then tap tap tap it some more to crackle the shell. I then run cold water the entire time as I remove the shell at the bottom and keep peeling down, letting the water run under the shell, which loosens it from the egg quite well.
Click on photo for larger view...

I slice the eggs with an old cheese cutter that has lost its roller. It's a neat way to slice evenly and easily.

After mashing the yolks and adding the ingredients shown above, I use my spatula to fill the mixture into a freezer zip loc baggie and snip off the end so I can easily pipe the mixture into the halves. A topping of paprika makes them pretty!

What would eggs be without ham? This is an easy-to-clean-and-keep-moist method of roasting a ham. After it is finished baking, I can snip off the end of the oven bag to save the juices before removing the ham onto a platter to be sliced. Split pea soup will surely be the next project.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Just Follow the Sugar Trail

I got it into my head this morning to go through my recipe boxes and throw away ones I don't use. There's no sense in keeping recipes if you don't ever use them, is there?

Oh! Oh! I found one for which I have the ingredients already on hand and I didn't have the heart to throw it away without trying it - at least once.

Click on photos to view larger

I started out melting the butter and the peanut butter in a medium sized bowl. When it was totally smooth and hot, I tried to add the sugar. Wrong! The bowl wasn't large enough to enable me to stir it in. I had confectioner's sugar ALL OVER THE PLACE!

Messy me - I have to clean up my work area as I bake so it was a cleanup I did. Well, then the logical thing to do was to reheat the pb and b mixture with the unstirred white messy stuff on top because it has already cooled down. FIRST, it all had to be transferred to a larger bowl, so another mess was created. The stirring process was labor intensive for me - it took muscle. I don't have muscle.

The end result was a nice pan of fudge on the counter, cooling and ready to cut and EAT! EAT! I love peanut butter. I love candy. I'm glad you weren't there to see me.

Don't try it - it's too much work. I may throw away that recipe. After that workout I'm going to go and bag up my dried apples now to relax.

Peanut Butter Fudge:
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
Line an 8-inch or 9-inch square pan with buttered waxed paper. (I used Release foil.)
Combine the peanut butter and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for about one minute. (It took more than one minute.)

Stir. It should be all melted now. You can also do this on the stovetop if you don’t like to use the microwave. (I figured that it would be easier to wash a bowl than a pot so I microwaved it.)
Stir in the vanilla, then the sifted powdered sugar. (Yes, make sure it all is in a large bowl and prepare to do a lot of stirring!)

Spread in the prepared pan.

Chill for about two hours then cut into one-inch squares. (Easy to say - one inch!)

All packed except for the crumbs. I won't share the crumbs.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Project of the Week

Research through the years and later taking pictures has given me the desire to display some more old stuff, this time in a slide show. I have been doing a lot of hunting on the internet for most of the documentation and the dates shown. I apologize for the quality of some of the photos, because I didn't re-take some of the older shots of several items. Not everything is shown, but you will get the idea, I think! Several of my female ancestors' tools and "treasures" have been passed  down from 1870 to 2005. My dad was a state milk tester so that is the Guernsey connection. The last thing I'd like you to know is that my deceased sister gave me the blue glass ashtrays about a month before she died, and they were hers that she had received as a gift many years ago. That's why they are in the show which brings back memories of the past and values of the present.

Please click:   Old Stuff

Friday, December 20, 2013

No Canning or Baking Today

Today's project is just cutting apples into slices to dehydrate. It's a "hands-on" process and is calming and relaxing. The quality and flavor can be better than any you have ever purchased. Some people have a corer. I don't. Neither do I have a mechanical apple peeler. I wash them then hand peel, cut into quarters, core, slice, and place pieces on an old plastic window screen that has broken. Nothing is sprinkled over them. I then place the screen pieces on cups to elevate for top and bottom air circulation and they dry in front of the gas heater. In about 3 days they will be absolutely dry and then I'll bag and seal them to use another time. They are excellent as snacks, and can be easily hydrated back for baking. The photos you see here are a total of only seven medium sized apples! Wow! I have more work ahead! 
Click on photos to view larger

I used to string them and hang from the beams but this method is easier. I like easy. My dried apple slices will retain their flavor for about 9 months but they never last that long! They will be stored in a cool and dark place. By the way, I had to slap busy fingers that were picking pieces from my work area and I doled out to the beggar his own undried samples.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Holey Sight

The plan today was to photograph icicles forming from homes in my area but it warmed up and they've melted drastically.

The backup plan was to travel 25 miles (one way) to the local farm orchard to see what the cold storage outlet had left in apples. We read it was still open until December 21 and were amazed. This is the longest time it has remained open for many years due to an abundance of quality apples. Not only did we pick up another peck of the Macouns, and a gallon of sweet cider, I found apple potholders and had to have them. They were marked down to $2.00! 

On the way over the hills and through the woods, I took a picture of a pretty countryside view.

On the return drive, I spotted this barn and, though there was no place to pull over, as the road is heavily traveled by the large natural gas vehicles - UGH! - I managed to shoot through the truck window and was so happy when we arrived home to see the shots came out so well.  We think a strong wind or a very big bird must have hit the old barn just right for the cave in event. Interesting, but sad as well.

Please click on photos to view larger


And then a stop at the car wash was necessary to remove mud and salt! It was a busy place there!


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Snowy Day = Fudge it!

I'm one of the minority who doesn't really like much chocolate - but others do so…..

Out came the 1926 heavy pot from waaaay under the cupboard. 

This is the easy way to make fudge and it always comes out good.

You have to make sure to use SWEETENED condensed milk (I use Eagle brand, one can) and 1 1/2 cups of morsels. I use Nestles semi-sweet variety. 

Note that sometimes the bags don't contain a full 18 ounces and that is what you need or you will get mush. Just buy more and measure. I bought the 36 ounce size and then divided it into halves. Now I can make cookies with the rest.

 After all is melted together, slow and low and stirred during the melting, I add 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla and pour the mixture into an 8 x 8 x 2 inch glass dish which is lined with non-stick aluminum wrap.

When the fudge is still warm, I poke cashews in for just a few bites. If you want nutty fudge, chipped walnuts or pecans could be quickly stirred into the mixture when it is still in the pot. The fudge has to be completely cooled down and then it can be removed to the counter for cutting. 

I use a hot long knife to cut pieces and then bag, or wrap in plastic and box it all to be distributed. 

Come on-a my house, my house, I'm gonna give you candy…..

Friday, December 13, 2013

Looking Backward- Handrails and Handmade...

It goes up - It comes down - It went somewhere once, but now it goes nowhere! This staircase is in front of our vet's office. I never saw it before today when I stayed in truck while husband went inside to pick up dog food.

We pulled the Christmas ornament box down from the storage area over the bathroom today (the only closed-over room). Each year I really enjoy reliving the old days of tree decorating and gift giving and the family get togethers. Part of this stays with me when I look over all of the effort and love that was incorporated in these ornaments. I actually don't hang them on a real tree anymore, but my eyes feast on their beauty. They say beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Well, it is in the heart of mine. I envision Mom peacefully making and sharing these; I also see a friend creating some for ALL of her friends. I have made only a few and never in abundance.  
Now I would like to share with you.
Mother made these...

Click on images to view larger

A friend made these...

A friend made these...
(I made the trees and star)

I made these...

Of course, I'm only talking handmade ornaments, and not all of the wreaths, sweaters, socks, and other things I have still kept simply to remember. Like this: