Thursday, September 28, 2017

I Am a Vase

I Am a Vase

All containers hold things but not all containers are vases. I am a vase. I hold things. I am top heavy and have a chip on my shoulder. Oops, change that! I have a chip on my bottom. I once was shiny and in perfect condition. I used to sparkle and glow. Now the glow is gone and the sparkle has burned itself out. 

When new I actually was the centerpiece of a gathering to celebrate 50 years of marriage. That was in 1946. Since then I sat around in several different places and have landed in Tranquillity. 

I am a vase. I see things and I remember things. I am dusty and in a dark hole. If I come out, will you love me? Will you? I hold memories too good to lose. I hold memories that won’t leave. I am a container. A pretty container. A pretty functional container still. Ageless at 71 - or is it 81?

~GMR 2017~
  click on my picture to view my beauty  

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Apple Project Number 2

Four utensils, five apples and a cutting board on the dining room table were evidence this morning that something was in the works for an upcoming tasty dessert. Because the recipe (one that my daughter gave me many years ago) called for six medium apples, I adjusted it to three smallish and two very large ones. You should know by now that I don't always follow directions to the word.
Again, we both had our share of nibbles as I prepared the apples.
The blending of the dry ingredients is also accomplished when I'm in my seat at the table. It's easier that way.
The aroma is marvelous when the dish is pulled hot out of the oven and set on the countertop rack to cool.
It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to APPLE CRISP!
Come on over and I'll share. You know you'd like a taste! 
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(The cinnamon and nutmeg are teaspoons, not tablespoon measurements, as I know this but you might not, according to my handwriting on the card.) I used dark brown sugar because it was what I had and prefer in my baking. Also, after 35 minutes I didn't see any juice bubbling up so I sprinkled a cup of water over it and baked it for 15 more minutes. That did the trick! It was perfect, believe me~ no cream or ice cream needed!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Beauties and the Beast

On my golf car ride around the lake this morning in the heat of this unusual September day I spied something I had never seen before, and then I saw something that I never want to see again. There is a lovely old and healthy white pine conifer standing tall. I looked up and the open woody cones were sparkling like diamonds which were attached to their scales. I took pictures, and when I looked closer at home, I realized that the sap was flowing and dripping from them. I hope you can see this when you look closely as I have cropped and enlarged the images. The tree was weeping.
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Then, farther on at the "far end" of the lake where the sign identifies our community, I spotted -  way deep in the bushes - a blue flower, I thought.  It didn't look natural but was in a place where I couldn't get closer so I zoomed in and, when I uploaded my unusual "flower pictures," I was saddened to see it was only blue plastic. It was in at least four different places among the shrubs and grasses. (NOT in the lake, thank goodness!)  The more I looked the angrier I became because I believe that someone is tossing their filled doggie bag in that area as he or she walks around before going home. Who would do this? I despise this action and the person doing it.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Apple Project Number 1

I'm starting to use some of my wonderful fresh apples of this season with the dehydration of a few. Six apples make a pie. Six apples make an apple crisp. Six apples are drying in four trays and will be bagged in one bag to store until use. I will just have to rehydrate the single bagful to make a treat whenever the mood strikes for "something apple" this winter.

I don't use a corer or peeler contraption. An old sharp steel fruit and vegetable peeler shaves the skin without wasting meat. A large chef's knife quarters the apple, and then a small sharp paring knife cuts out the core. A stiff boning knife cuts the slices evenly. With my help, of course. Yes, it takes time. I have time. I can sit at the table and watch my chosen morning show on TV while "working" and also eating my apple a day, bite by bite. They taste sweet and tart at the same time and are crunchy and juicy. The first picture is of the first tray at the bottom of a stack of four. 
After 9 1/2 hours at 135°F they are totally dry.
No matter which way you look at them, the dried apple pieces are beautiful.
One bag filled. 
picture 1
 picture 2
 picture 3
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Before a daughter sent me the dehydrator as a Christmas gift, the blog below is how I dried apple pieces. I wrote about it on Friday, December 20, 2013. Check out the blog link at the bottom of this post. No matter how it is executed, with careful planning we can have apples all throughout the following year.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

James Says "HI!"

It is a beautiful sunny day and at 7:45 this morning I took his picture when the sun was shining on him as it soon moves on and he is then a shady character. He summered well and had some preservative applied a couple of weeks ago. Too bad that stuff won't do me any good!
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In case you are new here, you might like to know that "James" is James Marshall Folkner, Spiritual Guardian of Cabin Tranquillity. He arrived here in 2010 and plans to stay as long as he can. (James Marshall Folkner was my mother's maternal grandfather.)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wild Things

Feral? Or not feral? are the questions. Today on my golf car ride I spotted this beautiful creature hiding in the bushes by the roadside. I spent several minutes trying to coax it out seeing that it looked to be in fine furry shape. It finally came out but then ran across the road and across the lawn to the waters' edge. The area was not at all near homes but I think someone must be feeding it. There was no way I could determine if it was male or female because it kept a distance and was a bit fearful acting but also showed a slight inclination of being somewhat friendly at the same time. This is the second one I've spotted recently.
Now the fernlike leafy growths in the old rock garden have blooms and I've finally determined what they are. In August I took a close shot of the leaves and no one could tell me. First image. Now that I have flowers I can be sure. I was confused because there are several varieties with different leaf structure. See the link below for more about Common Tansy.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

To the Orchard We Went

It's that time of year and I'm excited to see the great apples on display. Of course there are also plums, grapes and other good things but it's the apples and the freshly made and bottled cider that I look forward to bringing home. The peaches and tart cherries are gone.  This is our first trip out and is about 24 miles each way. We used to not be able to go until returning from our beach place in SC each November, but times have changed. It is better to start early!
We bought 4 half gallons of cider, and a half bushel of Macouns today. There are currently seven varieties of apples available. Macouns are my favorite. (Back in the early 70's picking them from trees in another orchard was my first job when we first moved permanently in PA.) I freeze the cider after topping it down and we definitely plan to get more. It is soooooo delicious. I even have friends in NJ who want me to save them some, and I do. My yearly supply will last until next August! Yes, that is the truth. At the end I have to ration it so we don't run out before more containers fill the entire top shelf of the freezer again.
The orchard folk save "oddities" and this year, since we're early and the sorting continues in their back room, there will be more. We were told that the hail damaged many, leaving spots (dings) and holes, sometimes large. Another oddity I saw was one that is called a "bellybutton." Yes, and I know why. See?
The next trip out will be for more apples, cider and perhaps even pumpkins, squash and gourds. Piper and Murphy will greet us again. Lovely and friendly dogs! Jeannie and Roger and the entire staff are such friendly and nice people who bend over backwards to assist their visitors. We love Jayne's Orchard. I'll try to take more pictures the next time. 
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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Saturday Rideabout

It was a gorgeous day for a golf car ride and I was energized by the beautiful things around me. First there was the feral cat sleeping on an abandoned walkway over the creek at the lake's edge. No matter how I tried to get his attention to move he just looked at me in disdain and went back to sleep. See if YOU can spot him in the first picture! He's a beauty!
The Norway Spruce trees are producing more and more pine cones than ever! Does that mean it will be a hard winter? I hope not. This tree took my breath away with its beauty!
The neighbor's apple tree is full of apples. Someone better get busy so they don't go to waste. Well, they really won't because the deer and bears will enjoy them. A critter has already enjoyed the berries and left a mark in their driveway!
The backside (down side) of the dam has been mowed and mulched according to the dam laws. I preferred seeing the wildflowers and grasses but it must be done every year and will soon be inspected.
 And my day ended with a beautiful rainbow!!! 

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