Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Still At It

... baking, cooking, you know! Along with the fantastic tomatoes our daughter brings to us, she also shared a hambone from a ham she recently baked for her family.  Of course when she brought some slices as well, we gobbled them like we never had home-cured ham, but they are all gone!  Her neighbor gave her some of his pork after it was smoked and ready to distribute. We have never tasted such delicious ham as this. Isn't it nice how sharing can be such a treat? It's a way of life around here.

Last night we had a bowlful for dinner and the containers shown are left-overs to be frozen and shared too! (There is nothing in this soup except for some chopped onions and dried split peas cooked for 4 hours after the bone broth was cooked and strained for the first 8 hours.)
please click on image to view larger
What?? You say you don't care for split pea soup? All the more for me.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The Gift

YAY! Today our daughter brought us a large Oxheart tomato from her garden. I have written about these many times before. I save the seeds, she and her sister in NJ plant and tend to these beauties every year. This year she is having a terrible time with the deer gobbling them up right in her front yard as they ripen. There WILL be a fence next year. Did I say they are meaty and VERY low acid and wonderful?
please click on image for the deliciousness to appear

Monday, August 26, 2019


Today I saw a graphic and my head started to whirl with ideas. I could do this all day! (I forgot where I found the original so I cannot give credit.)
  First I saw a butterfly  
  My butterfly was made even more beautiful  
  It morphed into a beautiful lady  
  She is still changing... 
  Well it is lunchtime so I'll have to quit.   DANG!  

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Had to Write It

Sometimes I wish my mind would shut down and stop dragging out the pieces of "Before." Well, it won't but if I write it down it will help some. I know that - so here goes....

Ya know, I got to thinking about how much my schooldays have formed me and the memory of grammar school is becoming more and more vivid as I age. I wonder why that is? Would you believe that I remember most of my teachers and their names and their traits through grades K-4? Let’s start with my first day at school.

It was quite a walk to get there, up the road, through the woods, across a street, and up a flight of concrete steps to the actual brick school. There was a crossing guard in front of the school for us “walkers.” On my first day I didn’t want to go at all. My mother walked with me and promised a lunch of her homemade split pea soup when we got home after school. That did it! My dress was a homemade pink one with little white puff balls making the pattern. My shoes were freshly polished, not new, but polished white buckle type. I already knew how to buckle them myself and was proud of this feat. 

My kindergarten teacher was Miss DeVega. We learned to read by using the Dick And Jane and Spot books. They weren’t ours but were passed out each day. When we read our assigned page well as a class accomplishment on a day, we were treated to a song called the “Whistler and His Dog” that she played on an old horn-type phonograph. We all as a class, loved that song and the reward. It made us feel happy and cheerful. There was also a dog statue on the table beside the player.
Betsy wet her pants almost every day. She was the only one who did that. John’s clothes were almost always scruffy, and another little girl seemed to have something strange about her actions and speech, but we learned how to get along together quite well that first year. I was very observant and the next year things stood out more. I took it all in. 

In first grade I walked back and forth to school no matter the weather with three other girls from my neighborhood. Sometimes we skipped and sometimes we ran. I remember the teacher being strict. Our lessons were conducted on the large chalkboard. It was a privilege to be asked the slap out the chalk from the eraser just before the end of the day. We went outside and beat them on the brick wall of the school. One time the teacher dropped a piece of chalk on the schoolroom floor. I was in the front row and she asked me to pick it up. That didn’t set right with me so I got up and smashed it with my foot. Shocked everyone. Then I was asked to clean it up and when I was done I was punished by having to put my head down on my arms on the desktop. Do you know why I smashed it? My reasoning was that if you drop something you pick it up. If you break something you clean it up. It didn’t seem fair at the time but I didn’t mind at all cleaning it up! She didn’t even say “please.”
I even parted my own hair!
In second grade we were all very close and knew a lot about each other. We learned to knit 5" x 5" squares “for the soldiers” to make blankets to send overseas to keep them warm. All of us did that and we rolled torn sheet strips to make bandages. Every week our dime cardboard savings books were passed to each of us and our dime, if we had one that week, was put in to learn how to save and the books were returned to the teacher. Cursive handwriting began. Coloring time was done as a reward after accomplishments in reading and writing. Crayons were shared by all.

Third grade was a rough time for teachers, kids and parents. There were air raid drills and we were marched in line to the school basements and had to sit on the floors with our heads down and arms around our legs and be silent. The basement pipes were covered in white asbestos and it was musty smelling there. Polio struck a few students. We even went to the iron lung ward at the hospital to visit classmates who were victims. It was scary to hear this noisy machine breathing for someone with only their head sticking at at one end. Not all children stricken by polio had to be in the iron lung. Daniel was fitted with a leg and back brace and played with us on the playground and we were very careful to not knock him off balance. But! I was becoming a scrapper when teased or challenged in the recess periods. I somehow had learned that fisticuffs was an activity I excelled in and that, if I pressed my thumb behind an opponent’s ear, they would faint and I was the winner. I think I learned to defend myself because I grew up with many boys in the neighborhood and they did a lot of scrapping. I remember a boy named Tracy actually kicked the teacher when he didn’t want to do something she asked and he tore her stockings! The entire class was shocked and she just grabbed him and marched him to the principal’s office for punishment. The boy behind me pulled my braids. I learned to ignore him.

We all mellowed out in 4th grade. Learning was fun! Large geography maps were pulled down from the ceiling and a wooden pointer stick was used to learn about the world and the country. An accomplishment that we ALL learned was to be able to point out each state and name it on another pull down map that had no labels. Lifetime friendships were formed and Valentine’s Day was a big deal. The teacher showed us a technique to relax and go to sleep easier at night. I still use it. 

By now we kids all knew who Roosevelt, Churchill, McArthur, Hirohito, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and others were and what they did but we DID NOT learn about them in school. We learned from our parents and our friends.

From there I went to a Junior High School and it was the best school a kid should ever have. Fifth through ninth grade - art of all kinds, woodshop, band, choir, orchestra, dance, home economics, typing, shorthand,  gym, track, volleyball, this school had it all besides English, History, Geography, Math, and the teachers were the wonders of the best lifetime education a kid could receive.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2019


I had lots of ambition today so made the eggplant dish.
sliced, oiled and salted
 baked both sides
 egg, ricotta, parm, parsley mixture
 sauce, eggplant, mixture and mozzarella
 three layers ready to bake
me-hot and tired

  • 2 pounds eggplant, 1 large or 2 medium
  • olive oil spray
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 ounces part-skim ricotta, Polly-o is the only brand I use
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp Pecorino Romano
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups part-skim mozzarella, I used Sargento
  • 4 cups homemade tomato sauce or jarred marinara, I use Prego
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Spray 2 sheet pans with oil.
Slice the eggplant lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices. Transfer to the prepared pans, it's ok if they overlap slightly. Season with salt. Bake for 20 minutes, turning halfway through until eggplant is golden.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine ricotta, egg, parsley and 1/4 cup of grated cheese.

Put 1/2 cup tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9x12 baking dish, add 1/3 of eggplant to cover the bottom of the dish. Top with 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and 1 cup of the sauce.
Add another layer of eggplant and repeat the ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese and sauce two more times, reserving the third layer mozzarella for topping. 

Finish with 1 1/2 cups of sauce, mozzarella, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of grated cheese.
Heat the oven to 400°.

Cover with foil and bake until cheese is melted and everything is bubbling, about 40 minutes.

Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Take it out of the oven and let it sit about 10 minutes before cutting.

Monday, August 19, 2019

This Little Piggy Went to Market

...with high hopes that her favorite peaches would be ready. They are not. So...
... she bought some Honey Crisp apples, two small eggplants, a small cabbage, another cantaloupe and four ears of corn. 

Wow~ the apples are VERY juicy and tasty! As you probably have guessed, soon I'll make an "easy" parmigiana dish with slaw on the side. 

Here is a tease of the ease.....step #1
Preheat oven to 450°F.

Spray 2 sheet pans with oil. Slice the eggplant lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices. Transfer to the prepared pans, it's ok if they overlap slightly. Season with salt. Bake for 20 minutes, turning halfway through until eggplant is golden. To be continued--

Friday, August 16, 2019

F-F-F-F-F-F Friday

Fresh From Farmer's Field Fruit Frenzy!
This is the second half of our second one. The sweetness and juiciness is so worth the trip out to the local farm market. Of course, we also bought some corn. I'm now fermenting some cantaloupe seeds and hope that my brother, grandson, daughter, and neighbor will give a try to grow a few next year. They would have to be started indoors three to four weeks before transplanting. They like it dry and warm in fertile and well-drained soil.

OH! Two more "F's" for Friday! 

I wanted to mention that it is a wonderful sight to see a Father Feeding his sons!
please click on image to view larger

Thursday, August 15, 2019

B-B-B Day

Blueberry Bran Baking Day. Since I had about two cups of frozen blueberries left over in the freezer I had an impulse to use up my cereal that was getting short of shelf life. I was feeling creative and, thank goodness, the results were wonderful. (I made changes to to the original recipe!)
Hot and buttered and....WOW!
I used one cup of sour cream instead of one cup of milk.
I used almost 2 cups of All Bran Original cereal
I used Crisco for shortening
I added 1/2 tsp. lemon flavoring.
After all was well mixed, I then added the blueberries in their frozen state.
I used two different size muffin pans and lined with paper cups. 

1 1/2 cups Kellogg’s All-Bran Original cereal 
or 1 1/2 cups Kellogg’s All-Bran Buds cereal 
1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
1. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

2. In large mixing bowl, combine KELLOGG'S ALL-BRAN cereal and milk. Let stand about 2 minutes or until cereal softens. Add egg and shortening. Beat well. Add flour mixture, stirring only until combined. Portion evenly into twelve 2 1/2-inch muffin-pan cups coated with cooking spray. OR six larger muffin-pan cups. You may use paper cups and not cover with spray.

3. Bake at 400° F about 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm. 

Yield: 12 muffins/6 large muffins


Molasses: Decrease milk to 1/2 cup. Add 1/2 cup molasses to KELLOGG'S ALL-BRAN cereal with milk. Omit sugar. Follow directions above.
don't forget to click on an image to enlarge

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Had a Nice Day!

Yesterday the lake was treated again for pond weed. *At first I don’t know what they were doing just circling and moving but finally the airboat spraying of the aquatic herbicide began.  Henry watched the operation from the porch while I took pictures. This is the only time a motorized boat is allowed on our lake. Lake residents and guests use sailboats, canoes, paddle boats, kayaks, rowboats, boats with small battery operated motors and larger electric pontoon boats. 
*These photos are in the order that I took them.

For some reason, ALL of the geese left about two weeks ago. It happened as soon as the young ones began to fly. We are glad they’re gone. They usually leave after the first frost and sometimes in the past after ice has formed. This is a first-ever! The blue heron still visits every day. 

The grass has let up on its growth spurt and my flowers are all reaching their peak. I took a short ride and found that it is hydrangea time. The pollinating bees were covering them.
On my return home on a road leading from our neighboring lake area, I saw that the farmer has taken a lunch break.
This nearby sign caught my attention.
To view images larger, please click on one.