Sunday, June 30, 2019

Red Ball

I'll tell you about the pulsating red ball the best that I can. It happened in the 60's. Background first. When we bought and moved into a two story Cape Cod style home in North Jersey, the upper floor had been made into an apartment and a very nice young couple with two or three (I forget) children lived there with their own private stairway, bathroom, kitchen sink, bedroom and living room. In the basement we both had our own washing machines and it worked out very well for a couple of years. They moved into a larger place after another child was born and we rented the apartment twice more to two more young couples, each with a child. We did just fine living in the downstairs area with a front room, a large room that held four beds, a small bedroom for us and a nice kitchen.

After our family grew from four children to six, and the apartment lease ran out, we decided to move the older children upstairs. In the upper front room was a double window and a TV that sat in front of it was enjoyed by them; we had our own TV in the large room downstairs which had been turned into a living room. I believe the year was 1968.

One summer night around dusk, there was screeching from upstairs. The children had seen something. This is how they described it: A BIG RED GLOWING BALL was in the sky just outside the window. Then it wasn't there anymore at all.  By the time we went up they were babbling about what they saw and very frightened. We saw nothing out there. In trying to calm them I got the idea to have them draw what they saw. I got some good sized paper and sent each to a separate corner of the room with a few crayons. Both of the younger children drew almost the same thing and both chose red crayons without prompting I might add. The older children didn't care to draw and continued to look out the window in case it returned. It didn't. The results of the drawing were shocking - to me at least! In further questioning all agreed that there was NO sound coming from the big red bright ball.

To me this was an authentic phenomenal and undocumented, unidentified event. It was abrupt and extraordinary, especially after the drawings were handed to me. I saved them for many years and eventually passed them on to the children who saw and created the images. They still remember the event but don't remember where their images are. Oh well, I shall draw replicas and try to show you my memory of the artwork. Pretend they are crayon drawings by 8 and 10 year old children. Remember they were glowing! Ever wonder if we are alone in this universe? I do.

The Mister did something soon after that they will always remember. We had a backyard pool. After all had quieted down, he got the long handled net skimmer tool and reached it up to the second floor window and waved it in front. Well, you can guess that we had scared kids again!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Lake "Treasures"

Many years ago my dad bought or was given a double bus seat and he put it at the end of the long lakefront dock. He thought it would come in handy for relief from standing when fishing from the dock, especially for older adults. He didn't attach it as it was very heavy. It was there for a short few days and then one day it disappeared! Completely gone! There were many suggested reasons as to where it went. The wind blew in into the lake. Someone pushed it into the lake. The entire thing was stolen. Although it was never spotted even when the swimmers tried to find it through hundreds of underwater searches, the conclusion is that it is there, way down deep. The end of the very long dock was over deep water. The fear was that someone would hit it during a running dive as the board was removed several years before the seat was placed there. It never happened. 

When a large float was launched further out into the water, it was put in place each of many summers. It was taken out each fall season. "What held it out there?" you ask. There was a heavy and thick long chain attached to a very heavy idler iron wheel from a dozer at the bottom.  One of the family men, usually Mike, would carry the chain, its end secured by a rope at the shore, out to the float, dive deeply underneath it and then attach the chain to a fixture on its bottom. There came a time when the float was disintegrating and the process was becoming difficult so the structure was pushed onto the beachfront for its last days. The wheel remains at the bottom.

A friend lost her 14k gold bracelet one year, a daughter lost her necklace and another guest lost her ring.  Several fishing poles were lost when large hooked fish grabbed the bait and swam away, eventually taking the poles out of the children's hands. There are at least one pair of sneakers down there that were bumped off of the dock and floated away to sink later. This was only in "our" area, and I wonder what other items are bottomed. I do know that a couple of neighbor kids recently lost their phones, but one retrieved hers and the other's is gone for good. This is what prompted me to write this story.
The "Mister" is mowing the dam and my brother is in the rowboat with his wife and a couple of our kids swimming.
Please click on image to view larger

Thursday, June 27, 2019

S L O W.....

Every day I look at the Portulaca I planted on May 16 for signs of a bloom. Well, today there are 2! These poor things have stretched to the sky looking for a dryout and more sun for 46 days! Thank goodness they show promise of additional pretty blossoms. Usually there is one on each shoot at the same time; they have never grown so tall before!
May 16, 2019
June 27, 2019
Even the Martha Washington Geraniums have suffered this year.
June 27, 2019
July 3, 2018
All Hosta in the surrounding area are HUGE! Ours is about to bloom. The hummingbirds love these.
The ferns love the wet weather conditions for sure!
5:00pm June 27. Lake weed control coming past. They caught me unprepared and my pictures aren't that sharp. This is done at least twice a year.
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Another Nice Day...

I really like to take these short excursions around my home area. Thank goodness there are some remnants of wild things growing after the people population has increased. I'll start out with a mailbox. Not just any mailbox. 
As I move on up the dirt road, hoping no one will pass and cover me with dust I beheld lots of blue sky!
And a well-growing home garden.
Just around the bend was a giant maple tree reaching out its branches to the sky in its full glory.
Crown vetch is everywhere holding the banks together.
Wild dill weed reaches for the sun.
I don't know the name of these but they sure are pretty!
Hidden in the bushes is an old farm implement.
Time up. Enough sun on arm and leg! Heading home. 
To view larger, please click on an image

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Summertime, Sumertime, sum sum Summertime!

And the flowers are blooming....Now I'm not going to identify them all but the Foxglove is one of my favorites. It's scientific name is Digitalis. These were growing in the wild along side of a dirt road.
The wild roses have very large and strong thorns! These were growing among the blackberry bushes. 
Pink seems to be the color of the  day! Rose Pink Mallow are abundant.
And a little purple to change the mood...
 I love the lacy foliage that is about to show its blossoms. 
There are Sundrops everywhere with a touch of white nearby.
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Be sure to look up, look down, look all around when you go for a walk or a golf car ride. (Are you singing yet?)

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Cookie Day!

I had never made this particular recipe and it was calling to me - Bake! Bake! 

Easy Peasy. I had all of the ingredients and even an eye dropper. EYE DROPPER? Yep, you will soon know why.
please click on image to taste the goodness
Molasses Crinkle Cookies
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar for decoration
  • Cream the shortening and the brown sugar. Stir in the egg and molasses and mix well.
  • Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. 
  • Add the flour mixture to the shortening mixture and mix well. Cover and chill dough for at least 2 to 3 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350 °. Grease cookie sheets or use parchment paper.
  • Roll dough into balls the size of large walnuts. *Roll balls in sugar and place 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool for one minute before transferring to a wire rack to continue cooling.
  •     *OR just dip tops in sugar and sprinkle cookies with 2-3 drops of water each for a crinkled surface. Bake at 350° for 10  minutes. Let cool for one minute before transferring to a wire rack to continue cooling. (This is what I did.)

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Duck Story

My mother loved the ducks here. The other day we saw the first mother duck with her tiny little ones trailing behind her across the lake. There don't seem to be nearly as many this year. I wonder why! This is a story (true, I believe) that my mother wrote almost 30 years ago. Below is also a video I made of her feeding them.

Can Ducks Really Count?

The stillness of the early twilight was shattered by the incessant and frantic “quack, quack, quack” of a duck on the small lake which had been the source of so many memorable experiences.

For over thirty years the little lake nestled in the arms of the farm fields and swampy valley. It had been the home of many different kinds of birds, animals and fish. Humans who enjoyed the peace and tranquillity of a rural setting took pleasure in observing each of nature’s displays.

Pileated woodpeckers rapped loudly on the stately oaks. Song sparrows gave their recital each day while bluejays applauded in their own way. An occasional cardinal flashed by, contrasted against the dark green spruce and hemlock trees. Barn swallows ignored their traditional nesting place and chose, instead, to build on the top of the porch light of the weather-beaten log cabin. The cabin had been one of the first to be built on the lake, and almost from the beginning, a phoebe had chosen the top of the bedroom window to secure her mud nest on the next log and under the wide, protecting eaves. Bats were not unknown, but only frightened some unwary folks when these odd creatures took off on their evening flights in search of all sorts of bugs and other insects which were their diet.

Each spring and fall the Canada geese swelled the bird population on their annual migrations. Surprisingly, a pair of blue herons found the lake to their liking and each year they raised their young in its protecting environs.

Fishing was good and many of the residents enjoyed a meal of fresh bass, pickerel, perch and catfish. Even one venerable snapping turtle produced a soup dish like no other. The lake sometimes harbored a transient beaver, and muskrats were not unknown. A deer or two had found the weeping willow trees a fair substitute when an unusually heavy snow had covered their normal sources of food.

Once again the constant “quack, quack” aroused the occupants resting on the porch of the log cabin. It was time to investigate the source and to learn the reason for the commotion. The dam and its concrete spillway were not far away. The quacking became louder and along with it could be heard mournful “peeps” coming from among the cattails and mints which covered the rocky stream bed as the water flowed over and down the spillway then under the bridge and on down into the valley.

On the very edge of the spillway stood a mother mallard with her three tiny babies beside her. Certainly this was not all of her brood as there continued to be heard more peeps out of sight. She was evidently trying to coax more of her family to join her. Finally, one brown and tan fluffy ball appeared and tried vainly to climb the slippery concrete and slanting obstacle that held back the forty-acre lake. There was quite a lot of water flowing down the incline and the little thing tried again and again to reach his mother. He used his developing wings, miniature webbed feet, and by jumping and fluttering in a great effort he finally reached his worried mother. He swam with apparent joy around her, but she was still quacking just the same.

Again one more duckling made the attempt, got halfway up, then slid back down as the force of the water cascaded around him. He tried again and made it up to the mother duck. Now two had been reunited, but still more sounds came from the depth of the cattails. Another baby duck answered his mother’s beckoning call and made the same successful trip to the top.

The observers decided that this must complete the whole family and started to leave, but still the duck was calling. Sure enough, more tiny peeps could be heard from the green jungle below the spillway. Another baby emerged and tried his luck at “spillway climbing.” It must have taken a tremendous amount of strength and determination as he tried several times before he joined the group above.

Just as soon as he reached his mother she turned and headed for the far end of the lake at a furious pace. The little ones had no difficulty following her in the wash of her “vee.”

She had known some of her brood were in trouble when she stood on the concrete edge and called to them so persistently. How did she know when they were all up and safe? She could have taken off on her quest for food when six had joined her. She never once called to an eighth nonexistent member of the group. Seven was certainly a magic number, but how did she know? Really!

Pauline F. Nulton - 1991

Mother feeding Ducks

Family playing on the spillway!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Farm to Freezer in 24 Hours

It took me most of the morning but what a sense of accomplishment! YAY! Yes, it's highly recommended that you rinse them before freezing. I always do.

One qt. hulled and washed
 One qt. sliced
 Eight qts. packed, sealed and frozen
They will be stacked in a box for easy access and more room in the freezer.
please click on image to view larger

Suggestion for a Strawberry Daiquiri!
This is a frosty blender-full of strawberry-citrus slush. You may enjoy this with or without the rum. You may also be a brave soul and change the ingredients and sizes of them. I did. Delicious any way it's made!

In a blender, combine ice, sugar and strawberries. Pour in lime juice, lemon juice, rum and lemon-lime soda. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses. 

6 C ice
1/2 C white sugar
4 ounces frozen strawberries
1/8 C lime juice
1/2 C lemon juice
3/4 C rum
1/4 C lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage

Thursday, June 20, 2019


    Please click on image to view larger    
A quick ride out to our favorite place to see if strawberries were ready - AND! THEY! WERE! They sit in the back of the car until tomorrow morning when I will bring them inside. If put on the front porch, the birds might steal them. If put in the carport, the resident groundhog will certainly have them for his dinner! They are safe in the car. Please review last year's blog to see what I do with these before making and baking with them throughout the year. 
Click on link: 2018 Strawberries Processed
Link for Recipes:Recipes