Saturday, February 22, 2020


This was an unusual conclusion. I always save the appliance paperwork when we purchase something, large or small. The cap on the water tank of our Sunbeam humidifier cracked and the valve was failing. I dug out the paperwork and saw it was purchased in 2014 at Walmart. I made a note of the model and serial#. There was a chart for identification of parts but the cap wasn't pointed out so I called the number for customer service assistance, feeling sure that I could just order a cap or even a new tank with cap included.

After my explanation to the representative, she had me look on the metal prong of the plug to tell her the numbers that were there. I was then told that the appliance was obsolete! No parts were available! What?!!!!!!  I had just purchased 9 more filters!

I really expressed my frustration about this, but politely and firmly. Finally she told me that she would consider my problem and give me a "one-time customer accommodation." A new replacement Sunbeam humidifier (value $36) will be sent out immediately with no shipping, tax or costs of any sort. The unit does not come with wick filters, though. I will have to order them. The ones I have won't fit. (Maybe we can cut them down and use them anyway, we'll see.....) For the new model they measure 4-1/2" x 20" x 1". The 9 old model filters measure 6-3/8" x 20-1/2 x 1".  Ya think??

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Sometimes you win AND lose at the same time. The new one is black, not my choice, but....

We learned three things. First, the numbers on the plug prongs tell the true age of the appliance to those who know how to decipher them. Secondly, you can be appeased, even if only with restrictions. Thirdly, things today are meant to be thrown out when replacement parts can't be ordered after just a few years and it is expected that you will have to buy new.

Here is the one we have. It is listed $46.00 but it is "out of stock" wherever I find it on the internet.
Here is the new free replacement model.  

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Photo Fail - Meal Success

Dang! I forgot to change the camera settings from winter/landscape to auto when I took photos last night of my quiche. That will teach me. I had left the old settings after taking photos of the fishermen on the lake a few days ago. Now these foodie shots are fails. I did make one of each very small so you cannot see the terrible out-of-focus condition in which they really are. Lesson learned.

This was one of my very best quiche dishes. I cut up two buttered slices of Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse sourdough bread and lined the bottom of the dish. Then I spread thawed-drained-uncooked frozen spinach over the bread. Next I sprinkled onion powder and shredded Romano/Parmesan cheese over the spinach. Then - after beating 6 large home-produced eggs with 1/4 cup half and half together, the mixture was carefully poured over it all. The final touch was a complete covering of mozzarella cheese topped with paprika and basil. The dish was baked at 375° for 45 minutes. We think it was one of the tastiest ones I have made in a very long time.
Don't try to enlarge the images, you can't. Sorry for poor shots but you get the idea, I hope!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

HGTV - Hometown Takeover - Montrose, PA

Yes, it is a very old and quaint town. We have lots of history here. The majority of the young folk don't stay, however. "It's not about living, it's about life and the quality of life." But - there are big problems of drugs and many active warrants exist for multiple reasons, including child support. There is crime, despair, anger.

We moved here in 1972 after visiting for 12 years when my parents built their summer log cabin on a lake. Our family was immediately accepted and welcomed by the locals. We had a home built to accommodate all of us. The school system was and still is very good. YAY!  When our children flew the nest, and my parents died, we moved into the cabin. We have always had good neighbors. The town has been growing through all those years. We now have Pump and Pantry, Dunkin' Donuts, MacDonald's, Tractor Supply, a Price Chopper, Rite-Aid and other much larger business changes and improvements throughout the years, some very good to the community in general. That doesn't stop crime and terrible potholes in the roads. We are thankful for having a very competent volunteer fire company and ambulance service, up-to-date hospital, wonderful new library, historical society, laundromat, spirits store, beer store and a medium sized hometown market so close to where we live. Many small restaurants do well. The restored movie theater! I MUST include that. There are some small shops but they are disappearing quite quickly now. The rents are high. Local churches are Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopalian, Catholic, Baptist, Jehovah's Witnesses, Evangelical Free, Seventh Day Adventist, and other non-denominal and community ones. There are excellent veterinarians and a well-run large animal shelter. Bed & breakfasts are handy and beautiful. There are many professionals such as attorneys, dentists, accountants, educators, engineers, architects, artists, authors, photographers and others in town. A golf course that has been here since 1898 is still in full operation. There numerous fabulous festivals, parades, activities and community celebrations too. It would be too much to list or describe them all but I think by now you might be getting the idea that this small town, the county seat, has it all, even two funeral homes. It still needs "something" and I wonder what that something could be. Personally, I liked it here better in the 60' and 70's. I just want to go back to the town that had all we needed. Life was slower. Traffic was less. More peace prevailed. Everyone knew each other. Everyone cared.

We like it here. We'll stay.

This bit is not about the surrounding area, with farms, orchards, and parks and beautiful natural lands. That is for another day.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Family Update

There is a new baby girl in the family! Her name is Sienna Elle. She's our Great Grandaughter #3. Now there are 9 Great kids, besides the 2 Great Great boys! So glad to hear that all is well. No pictures yet.

Sienna has an older sister, Sophia who will be four this year.
The twins (Great Grandsons) just turned 1. They are getting around quite well now. Watch out!
The Great-Great Grandsons are also thriving! 

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Fairy Tales and Stories

The book I'm re-reading is one I purchased new several years ago because this author was one of my favorites as a child. This book contains about 160 fairy tales and stories. (no pictures) I haven't opened it until this week while waiting for another to be available at our local library. I find it amusing and interesting now, about 74 years later. 

Hans Christian Anderson was born on April 2, 1805 in Odense, Denmark. He was a prolific writer of plays, travelogues, novels and poems, and is best remembered for his fairy tales. His popularity isn't limited to children. His stories express themes that transcend age and nationality. His father was a shoemaker and his mother earned money washing other people's clothes. They spoiled him and encouraged him to develop his imagination.
Below is an excerpt I found on one of his biographies. 

Fairy tales

Andersen began his fairy-tale writing by retelling folk tales he had heard as a child from his grandmother and others. Soon, however, he began to create his own stories. Most of his tales are original. The first volumes written from 1835 to 1837 contained nineteen stories and were called Fairy Tales Told for Children. In 1845 the title changed to New Fairy Tales. The four volumes appearing with this title contained twenty-two original tales and are considered Andersen's finest works. In 1852 the title was changed to Stories, and from then on the volumes were called New Fairy Tales and Stories. During the next years Andersen published a number of volumes of fairy tales. His last works of this type appeared in 1872. Among his most popular tales are "The Ugly Duckling," "The Princess and the Pea," and "The Little Mermaid."
At first Andersen was not very proud of his fairy-tale writing, and, after talks with friends and Danish critics, he considered giving them up. But he later came to believe that the fairy tale would be the "universal poetry" (poetry that exists in all cultures) of which so many romantic writers dreamed. He saw fairy tales as the poetic form of the future, combining folk art and literature and describing both the tragic and the comical elements of life. Andersen's tales form a rich, made-up world. While children can enjoy most of the tales, the best of them are written for adults as well. The tales also take on different meanings to different readers, a feat only a great poet can accomplish. Andersen died in Copenhagen, Denmark, on August 4, 1875.
Some of his tales within the original text have a level of sadness, despair, ugliness and outright weirdness!!  My reading today was one of them! "Thumbelina" — a very creepy tale about child brides, tiny people and witches! So... get on your daring attire, dig up some gumption and give Hans a try! I'm having a grand time!
Drawing by David Devine

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Maple Syrup Chewies

My brother has made maple syrup for many years and always shares with me and others. We sure do enjoy it in many different ways. Today I used a recipe I found in my folder and have never made before. It was time. Now we don't usually like coconut stuff but I followed the directions to a "T." Yep! They were chewy, a bit crunchy and very wonderful. Oooooo YES! (Hints: keep your dough in the refrigerator between batches and use parchment paper.)

Chewy Maple Cookies

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup real maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease cookie sheets.
In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, syrup, and vanilla until well mixed.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture. Stir in coconut. Drop by tablespoonfuls 2-inches apart onto greased baking sheets.
Bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes.

click on image to view larger

Link to older blog-How Brother Makes Syrup

Thursday, February 13, 2020


Silly post, but I have always wondered about it. I have thumb joints that never ever bend. Both hands. Born that way. Could be worse. Doesn't matter. Just different. Oh well.....

Here are several internet photos of hand bones.
This is the joint of mine that doesn't bend.

And mine would NEVER bend like that!
Mine won't do this!
Now you know........

Tuesday, February 11, 2020


When my daughter visited today she spotted something hanging from the old empty fishing rod holder. "Mom, what is that?" "That is a paper chain made from some leftover pearlized paper stock. I no longer plan to create greeting cards, so I made it." "Mom, why is it hanging there?" "Because it felt good to hang it there by the entrance to my bedroom. I like to look at it." "Mom what else are you going to do with it?" "Well it will hang there until I get tired of seeing it and then I'll put it into the burn bag."

Sometimes I do some simple thing that just plain makes me feel good. By the way, the stick that is behind the chain is a support tool that the guys used when sighting in their rifles. It is hardly ever used now. My brother made it. I like to touch it. My favorite OLD gardening fork rests on it until spring.

If you were to ask me "Why" about other things I might just tell you "Because I can."
please click on image to view larger

Monday, February 10, 2020

Chewey, Warm and a Piece of Heaven

That's what Anni says about my oatmeal cookies. Today was devoted to this project of wholesome goodness. As I get older I get weaker and everything seems to be more difficult. BUT! It is all worth it when I'm finished.

Now understand, I have written several times before about these cookies. That is how wonderful they are. The only things I did different today were to use golden raisins instead of dark ones and I didn't soak them first. I also added about a cup of finely ground walnuts that I had processed and preserved a couple of months ago. I cut back on the oats about 1/2 cup.  And... I used the quick oats instead of the old fashioned variety.

 So believe me the 60, yes there are 60 on this cake platter before we ate any. Five trays of 12. 
please click on image to view larger
Recipe below.. (NOT the one on the lid today. I have saved one from many years ago that I use.)
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

2 sticks BUTTER, softened
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla (pure, not artificial)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups Quaker Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
2 cups raisins*  Pre soak raisins by covering with water for about 5 minutes - drain well -  before stirring into mix with oatmeal. 
Optional: 1 cup ground walnuts - mixed in with the oatmeal. 

Heat oven to 350°
Beat together butter, all sugars until creamy.
Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.
Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and add. Mix in well.
Hand stir in oats and raisins* This is the hard part - mix well!
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on cookie sheet. Remove to wire rack.
Makes about 6 dozen.

Hints: Keep bowl of dough in refrigerator between batches. Parchment paper works well under dough on cookie sheet. It lasts for all 6 batches. 
See them begging to be eaten! (And they were!)

Sunday, February 9, 2020

A Tale...true

Across the road from my house when I was a pre-teen, there was a deep woodland where the neighborhood kids played, mostly war games. It was the 40's. We were nurses, soldiers, civilians, had stick guns, and really got into role playing. There were trails all through those woods and small hidey-holes and bush barricades. One year the gang decided to all pitch in together and dig an underground hut. We "borrowed" shovels and other tools, unknown to parents, and dug out our space in the ground. This activity was a big secret. Pieces of wood, nails, hammers also were part of the project. Finally it was large enough with a scooped-out entrance to be a fun place to be in for short times. There were comic books, benches, flashlights and candles too. We had smuggled in Tootsie Rolls, bubble gum, lollipops, and crackers. The flat roof was made of wood planks covered with branches and leaves to make the entire project invisible. At least we thought it was. It's a wonder we didn't set the woods on fire!

One day, when playing around the area, I stepped on a leftover board directly onto an old embedded rusty nail that went right into my left foot joint that was under the big toe. Yeow! I stepped on the board with the other foot and pulled my sneakered, punctured foot loose. It took some work. I was by myself and later returned home never saying anything to anyone about my injury. It didn't even bleed. About 3 or four days later when my foot was screaming with pain and was hot, even around my ankle, I told my mother about it. She had me soak it in epson salts and gave me sulfa tablets. The next thing I remember was being taken to the hospital and having to have surgery. They said they had to scrape the bone. Apparently not only did I have blood poisoning, I had terrible reaction to sulfa. It was something to do with bone marrow malfunction. My dad had to solicit his lodge members for blood donors and there were many transfusions. The numerous penicillin shots, given regularly in one side of my bottom and then in the other for days, yes - DAYS seemed to get me on a recovery road.

Now there is nothing more trouble in the passageways of a Catholic hospital than an energetic 10 year old, recovering in a wheelchair, running down everyone in the halls, including nuns. They were very glad when I was discharged, so I was later told.

The end of the story here is that I had to stay in the sunroom on the studio couch all day that summer watching my friends rollerskating, bike riding, game playing right outside the windows. The Good Humor man came regularly and my only treat was ice cream once in a while. I read books, Oh, did I read! My mother had many of her and her mother's books saved. Pollyanna and Nancy Drew series bored me. I then turned to the very old volumes of Grimm's Fairytales, Hans Christian Andersen, Aesop's Fables, and poetry. The old, old books were smelly, pages cracked, and very scary reading with horrible etchings but I soaked it up and felt special to have read them! These books stimulated my imagination beyond belief! Today's versions rate zero - nothing at all like those of that time.
I really think this experience demonstrated to me that "telling it like it is" is the best road to travel.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

New and Old...

New snow here.... View from my kitchen window this morning.
Old memories now....
As I was eating my instant oatmeal this morning I was reminded of how my mother always tried to feed her family nourishing foods. The oatmeal triggered this memory. In the 40's we were served cereals, cooked in a double boiler. It took long to cook on the gas stove. While it was being prepared, she squeezed oranges on the Sunbeam Mixmaster Juicer. The year was around 1945. I especially remember this mixer because my father bought it for their 10th anniversary and she cried and cried because they couldn't afford it at all! I was 8, brother 5, twin sisters 2.
 After eating our cereal, we were each given a spoonful of cod liver oil! THEN we could drink our orange juice to get that nasty taste gone. YUK!
Other cereals that I remember being breakfast food, especially in cold weather were Maltex, Ralston, Wheatena, Cream of Wheat, Cream of Rice, and others. NONE of these were instant. (I couldn't find a picture of the H-O oatmeal box or the Ralston box that weren't the quick cooking kind, but I remember the brands.)

As for other foods we ate that were nutritious, I can tell you that they included lots of dairy because my dad was a state dairy tester. We had milk, cream, cheeses and butter. Home made ice cream was a favorite project of my dad's - getting out the old wooden bucket with the cylinder and paddles and ice and rock salt and sitting on a milk crate in the cellar churning the mixture, that my mother put together, by hand. Peach was our favorite. Oh, so wonderful!
This is the exact churn that I remember
The vegetables were grown in our Victory Garden and included turnips, parsnips, rutabaga, carrots, beans, peas, potatoes. To this day I love them all EXCEPT sweet potatoes. I don't care how they are prepared, they gag me. Fruits were brought home from farms all over the state as he was working. Honey too - in combs so we could chew the wax. Our protein was mostly home-grown and home- processed chicken and rabbit. There were plenty of eggs as well. Sometimes we were "treated" to mutton YUK! YUK! YUK! YUK! and scrapple! YUK! YUK! YUK! YUK! YUK! YUK! YUK!
Well, maybe you get the idea that I had good parents who did their best in bad times. They sure did!
Please click on images to view larger

Friday, February 7, 2020

Start of Snow Event 2020

Snow has Started

Click on the link above to view a very short movie I just made.

This is the view from my front porch an hour earlier. Now we have almost a complete whiteout and the cover is becoming deep. Prediction is for 4—6 inches.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Project Complete

I had a spiral ham bone saved and frozen for making split pea soup. Yesterday I simmered it on the stove in water all day. In the evening I put on the lid and placed it outdoors on the wrought iron table. I used a shoe string to tie the lid down just in case a critter stopped by to check out the aroma. (Couldn't find a bungie cord.) This morning I removed all of the hardened fat from the top of the jelled broth and heated the broth on the stove. After washing the split peas, I put them in the broth with some chopped onions and simmered it for 4 1/2 hours, stirring often until the peas turned to mush. (There is a little packet of ham seasoning in the bag with the peas but I threw it out.)

We had a bowlful for lunch and the rest is jarred for the freezer with space for expansion. The little amount of top fluid is broth, not fat. The mushy peas sink. It was very tasty and a bit salty, though I never added even a small sprinkle.  It was also somewhat labor intensive. I wonder if commercially canned split pea soup is as good. At least I know what's in mine.
 Please click on image to view larger 
What?? You say you don't care for split pea soup? All the more for me.

Sunday, February 2, 2020


No not $, REAL bread. I have always cut up left over or stale bread to make stuffing or bread puddings. I'm lucky not to be one of those who cannot tolerate bread or have to avoid it because of weight watching. The last time I saved some I made a bread pudding. Now my aim is to create stuffing or dressing, whichever you call it. I need just a little bit more. (see recipe) When I place a plateful on top of the heater to dry, Duckie promises not to eat any. 

3/4 cup diced onion
3 celery stalks diced (1/2-3/4 cup)
2 garlic cloves minced
2/3 cup butter
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
12 cups 1-inch stale bread cubes (1 large loaf french bread) 3-4 cups chicken broth
1 egg beaten
1⁄4 cup fresh parsley minced
3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves-minced
3 teaspoons fresh sage-minced 

  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Add bread cubes to a large bowl and set aside.
  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté onions and celery until soft and translucent; about 5-6 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  • Add vegetables and fresh herbs to the bowl with the bread and stir.
  • Whisk egg together with chicken broth, then pour over bread until it’s moist but not soggy. You may not need all of the broth. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour bread mixture into a 13x9-inch buttered baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15- 20 minutes. Watch closely once uncovered so the top doesn’t burn. 
If you missed my bread pudding story and recipe, click on this link to see how it turned out. Bread Pudding