Monday, August 31, 2020


It seems as if there were and are several creative artists in my family. By this I mean that I KNOW my maternal grandmother's sister was a true artist of the late 1800 - early 1900's. She painted with oils on canvas. She decorated full sets of Limoges china with flowers and fruits as was THE pastime of young ladies in those days. Her creations were magnificent and many are still in the family. Read about this by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post.  Her sister, my maternal grandmother did fine crochet and designed her own patterns for tablecloths, doilies, dresser scarves and more. My sister did the same, especially with Christmas tree decorations. She was a macramé whiz. My mother made over 50 crocheted afghans and donated or gave them all away! My dad was a singer and two of my sons are guitar players. The art talent shows up in my grandchildren and great grandchildren now, both the males and the females. None of it comes from formal training, but an inner desire to make pretty or useful or whimsical things. My brother is talented in glass art as is his son. A couple of my daughters and granddaughters have very green thumbs. This is art. Writing stories is art. Mom wrote many. A daughter writes. A granddaughter writes. Well let's make that several granddaughters write. I write, and there is a strong creative gene that has carried on for many years. The results are not usually for monetary gain, but for self satisfaction. An outlet, if you will.

I have to chuckle because we all realize that some of our art is both personal and off the wall, so to speak. Here is one just posted recently by a family member, age 31. She has always scribbled and sketched and colored since she was a tiny tot. I  have saved hundreds of her pieces. This one was hand sketched first and then colored on her computer!

Here is another...Sketched from a photo (with permission) and then colored on the computer. 
My point being that all we do, make, create can be called "ART" Here is my latest effort. A little great granddaughter being "Ariel."

Painting on Porcelain

Sunday, August 30, 2020

In the Kitchen...

The Mister traveled to the farm market yesterday to find some corn for him and peaches for me. I sent a note along to be sure he picked out the freestone peaches. They did have some, but very small so he brought a dozen home. On my list I had the Loring variety as my preference. Alas, no Lorings - yet - maybe in a week or two. They are huge and much more tasty than the smaller ones, but right now I'll use what we can get. IF I get Lorings, I'll probably dehydrate most of them for future projects. 

This is a VERY sweet dish, but I don't cut back on the sugar. We like sweet. 

Easy Peach Cobbler


1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar, divided

1 tablespoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 cup milk

4 cups fresh peach slices

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Ground cinnamon or nutmeg (optional)


1. Melt butter in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish.

2. Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt; add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter over butter (do not stir).

3. Bring remaining 1 cup sugar, peach slices, and lemon juice to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly; pour over batter (do not stir).

4. Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.

5. Bake at 375° for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve cobbler warm or cool.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

PA Tomatoes

Compared with the huge beautiful crop our daughter in NJ grew this year, our daughter in PA, who started them all from seeds didn't have such success, but it wasn't a total failure either. She has been making sauce all this week. Her tomatoes were small but still very sweet and tasty. Her neighbor grew the largest one (below) from her shared seedling but it grew against the fence and became the "mother" of our 2021 crop. (There are very few seeds to save from this meaty variety.)

This is the PA garden. Sad sight! BUT....she saved three for us.

Better late than never! These are a yearly treasure.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

My Succulent

The identification came from a Google research resulting in the following information.

Mini Blue Chalksticks (Senecio or Curio serpens) (Rowley): A tidier, more compact version of the larger Blue Chalksticks. Its finger-like leaves are a deeper blue and grow to 1.0"-2.0" long. They have a powdery coating of protective farina that thickens in bright sun, so the plant can take on a more silvery hue in summer.

Mini Chalkstalks makes a wonderfully low-maintenance, drought-tolerant ground cover in frost-free climates, but it can also overwinter indoors near a sunny window or under a grow light. With time and plenty of sun, it can even cascade from containers. It produces a classic Asteraceae flower: a white pompom made up of tiny, fragrant blossoms.

So now I know.... and I wait for the blossoms to open.

Sunday, August 23, 2020


Now this is not about spiritual nor mental growth. It is just a simple and natural exploration of plants and flowers. Last year I took a leaf from the tuberous begonia plant that I bought at the local farm market and experimented with the starting of a new one for the following year.  This was a successful endeavor, although it took almost a complete year for achievement.

September 19, 2019

Now I have a puzzle. When I bought this succulent there was no tag telling me its name or care.
It hasn't grown until about a week ago when it sported this extension. After research, I think it is a non-flowering "Chalk Stick" or "Nola's Pride." I'm not sure if this is a flower stalk or something else. AND... I see another something growing at the base. Is it self-propagating? Does anyone know?
please click on image for finer detail

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Yay and Nay

Our ancient paper towel/wax paper dispenser that hangs on the wall by the sink has outlived its life. The edges of the flap down covers are extremely sharp and for someone who isn't familiar with this it would be dangerous. Time to go.

I have been looking for another one for several years now. At first I thought a wooden holder would work, but the more I thought about it I wanted something red and NOT plastic! I wanted something metal and heavy and free standing. Today I took a ride and saw a yard sale at a neighboring lake. Well, what do you think I found? Hah Hah!! Perfect and just $4.00. I saw similar ones online costing between $11 and $35.00!
Today I made watermelon rind candy. It has been years since doing this. It will be my last batch ever. I forgot how labor intensive the process could be. I no longer have a candy thermometer and had to use the soft ball method to know if the syrup was at the correct temperature. Way too much sugar was called for. But I did it and it's not a total failure, just not a project I want to do ever again. Right now it is drying out on parchment paper. I think my rinds were not thick enough as my melon was a small round one. 
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Thursday, August 20, 2020


OH! It is the time of the year when the warmth of the lake water starts to diminish and cool down drastically. We had heat on for the last two nights and, though the days are nice, the nights are moving into change. When we are older we like to be warm. Nature rules, again!

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Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Nature Show

When looking out the dining room window this morning the first thing I saw was a doe and fawn standing on the dam road across the lake. They soon ambled down the other side into the meadow below.

Then a small turtle was crossing the road right in front of our cabin as I was pouring my coffee. I think it was a slider and not a young snapper, and it ambled down the grassy beachfront and into the water. I see them often at the other end of the lake sunning on branch debris near the pond lilies. 

As I turned around, a huge blue heron flew right in and landed on our dock! I got my camera and started to take its picture, and as I aimed through the kitchen window, it saw me and flew away. What a beautiful sight that was.

The resident kingfisher was perched on the spillway rail on his breakfast quest for a dip and fish catch. I think he went hungry this morning as he soon gave up.

The hummingbirds are greedily spatting over the prime hole in the feeder. They are funny to watch. 

The mushroom crop is thriving due to an abundance of rain during the past days.

The butterflies are numerous and there are many varieties to see and enjoy as they flit about.
That was my morning and it was a nice way to start the day.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Just a Couple of Notes

After 9 weeks to heal my knee, we were able to get our laundry washed and dried at the laundromat without having to depend on our caring neighbor who has been picking it up, doing it at her home and then delivering it clean and folded. This is progress towards being self sufficient and independent again. 

We ordered a new Shark vacuum cleaner. The Mister has been complaining that the old Oreck is getting heavier every time he uses it. I hope he'll like going from the larger unwieldy and powerful one to the different kind. The cabin isn't large and we don't have plushy carpets!

internet photos


Monday, August 17, 2020

The First Years

The Memory Bag

1938 to1955

When my dad was dying I remember him saying, “They can take everything away from me but they can’t take my memories.”  I have millions of them too, really! I’ve decided to write down a few. Some are good, bad, sad, happy, and all kinds. They are short, long, scant, detailed. Here are a variety, chronically, I think.

I remember…  stepping over a board between rooms when I was about   2 1/2 years old in 1938. I remember because we moved from one place to another before my brother was born when I was three. There was a shelf on the left side of the doorway with my large ball that had bumps all over it, and a brown floppy teddy bear.

• I remember having a doctor dig out the cherry pit I had stuffed up my nostril.

In first grade the teacher dropped a piece of chalk and asked me to pick it up. I refused, telling her that she dropped it and she should pick it up. I had to put my head down on my arms on the desk for punishment for disrespect. 

My siblings and I were placed with four different church families soon after my twin sisters were born until my mother got better. It wasn’t talked about but I believe she had postpartum depression. I was age six.

A mandatory teaspoonful of cod liver oil was how we kids started out the day before breakfast. YUK!

My dad took our yellow cat, “Goldie” and her litter of kittens to a farm far away after the twins were born. A couple of years later she returned, limping down the sidewalk with raw paws. I saw her coming. I knew it was her because she had half a tail from when he first got her as a kitten from a farm and her tail was stuck under a tractor tire so he cut it off. She often had kittens in my brother’s bed.

I remember desks with inkwells and the kid behind me (Gary Ducey) constantly pulling my braids.

The piano lesson teacher wheezed in my year as she sat on the bench with me and sometimes whacked my hands when I forgot to curl my fingers properly.

The neighbor across the street let me pluck on her harp. Another neighbor had a star hanging in her front door window because her son died in the war. Still another neighbor who had no children, was always a sure touch for a cookie when we knocked on her door.

The German wife of an American solder was given a place to live in our home during WW2. She took over my bed and bedroom. I didn’t like her at all. Her name was Olga.

I visited a hospital with a group of children to view patients in the iron lung. One of my classmates had a back and leg brace. His name was Daniel Brower.

I had a very bad infection in my foot from stepping on a nail without telling anyone about it. There were blood transfusions and many shots in my rump. I was a terror in the hall of the hospital, scaring the nuns as I whizzed down the hall in the wheelchair during recuperation. After I returned home the Good Humor Man gave me bubble gum to help me get better.

My dad usually took me to a particular farm that had horses when he was milk testing. He supplied me with a pack of Charm hard candies to hand feed the horses as treats. One time the groom found me sitting in a corner inside a stallion’s stall and, with his Scottish accent chewed me out something awful. There was a barrel of molasses by the barn door and I used to dip my finger in it and have a good lick.

My brother and I teased the caged turkeys at that farm, shouting “GOBBLE! GOBBLE!” and the entire flock would squawk it back at us. That was great fun.

Mom took in foster children. I did a lot of care of one little boy named Peter Cunningham. When he was taken away, I swore I’d find him again someday. I didn’t.

I got my first horse when I was around 12. She was age 25 and loaned. I gave rides around the baseball diamond to make money to pay for my feed store account, barn rent and blacksmith. I carried water a very long way from the firehouse to the barn for her twice a day. When I ran out of hay and straw, I raked and bagged leaves for bedding. Very often mother cooked up a warm grain mash with a raw egg and grated carrots to carry to the barn and feed her as her teeth were poor. I had a pump type kerosene can with fly spray to help her in the summer. She hated it.

I taught the minister’s son to smoke at that barn. Menthol Spuds were the brand. An older friend bought them for me. 

My girlfriend and I rode bareback double. She fell off one time and injured her tailbone. Her dad bought her her own horse. Her horse, who was in heat, kicked my horse in the field one day and her left hind leg had a compound fracture. We were devastated. Dad called the vet and sent us home.The vet shot her in the middle of her head where she had a small star. We were supposed to go home, but we snuck back and saw what he did. Then my mother had to notify the owner who lent her to me about the death. Fairly short after that another horse was loaned to me from a very big polo pony farm. 

My brother and I both purposely broke thermometers from the bathroom medicine cabinet to play with the mercury balls which rolled around in our hands and we coated coins with it.

When there was an air raid drill during school hours, we went to the basement and sat on the concrete floor with our heads tucked between our knees. The pipes overhead were all covered with white asbestos insulation.

The pipes in our home cellar were covered with it as well and so was the furnace. My brother and I would draw pictures and scratch our initials in it. We also melted lead and poured it into molds of soldiers on the floor down there as well.

Our neighborhood gang collected newspapers and tin cans to sell to the junk man so we could earn enough money to have a cookie and soda party in one of their garages. Trading comic books was our main activity then besides street games and bicycle riding.

My dad used to bring home wooden square-shaped full honeycombs. The idea was to break off a piece, suck out the honey and chew the wax as long as we could. 

• My grandmother spread her clean laundry out on a grassy bank behind her house to dry in the sun.

We were allowed to play in the street in the rain, popping tar bubbles. Sometimes we chewed tar cuds.

I found something hanging over the edge of the toilet bowl one morning and brought it to my mother, asking what it was. She took it away and walked out of the room saying, “Never mind.” A few years later I had it figured out.

In 5th grade my arithmetic teacher used to go down the aisle, lifting up desk tops and then letting them drop down with a bang to wake us up.

In 6th grade history class I wrote several facts on my palm and got caught cheating on a  test. Lesson learned. 

In 7th grade I was jealous of a new student who was very pretty. On the outdoor track during recess, I yanked her elastic waisted skirt down beyond her backside and felt better.  Then guilt set in but I didn’t apologize.

In 8th grade gym class I was embarrassed  because I was still wearing undershirts and other girls had bras. We had to take open group showers then. 

Our Sunday School teacher had some of us to her house to make lollypops in her animal shaped molds. She also taught us all to recite by memory and in order every book of the bible. 

Pounding the streets of New York City in the early 1950’s with my mother to get to the studio where I worked as a student photographers’ model was an effort, but after the sessions we ate at the automat before heading for the train back home. I often wonder if I helped supplement the family finances with my modeling.  

A high school counsellor ask me if I believed in God when I was sent to her office after skipping school with 3 other friends to explore the High Point Monument in a fairly local state park to see the spectacular view we had heard about. I retorted that her question had nothing to do with skipping school. I remember the shock on her face at my reply. My friends were suspended. I wasn’t. WHY? I wanted to be suspended too.

A girlfriend and I double-dated with older guys who took us to fun places in the city and larger towns. We saw Eddie Arnold on stage, He was drunk. We saw Carl Smith in a bar and his white leather shirt had very long fringes on the sleeves. We saw Gypsy Rose Lee strip on stage. We danced at Frank Dailey’s Meadowbrook Ballroom to live big bands. 

My current boyfriend and I saw Patsy Cline in Mt. Freedom, NJ singing in a small bar where we hung out drinking Coca Cola. I remember her vibrant strong voice and cowgirl outfit and she looked right at me. She wasn’t at all well known yet.

At age 17, two girlfriends and I took a trip to Florida in my 1940 Ford. We each put the same amount of money in a cup stuck to the dashboard and when it was gone, we each added more. We stayed at one of the girl’s aunt’s home in St. Petersburg. We all got the worst sunburn of our lives and the aunt had to care for us until we healed. I was introduced to Tupperware there as it was her only dishwear!

I have only once ever viewed a dead person and it was my only experience. My best friend’s father suddenly died of a brain thrombosis when we were mid teens. He was such fun and really nice. The body on display at the front of the church was awful to see - he was not there anymore. Gone. Bad, sad time.

When in high school there was a non-student who had a very bad reputation in town. He had lots of money, a nice car and was reputed to be a gangster with ties with bad guys. One time when I was waiting on the corner for the public service bus to come and take me home, he stopped by and asked me if I wanted a ride. I told him no, not this time. Another time I accepted. We drove about 35 miles away in his fancy big car to Newark NJ where he left me in the car for a while and went into a business on the street. On the way home, we stopped at a White Castle for hamburgers and a drink. He dropped me off - completely untouched, unmolested, and befuddled. Maybe he wasn’t a bad guy after all. It was the only time I ever went anywhere with him again and he never asked, either. I don’t remember our conversation.

My girlfriend’s dad brought us to the roller skating rink almost every Friday night and picked us up when it closed. There was a lady in the balcony who played the music live on an organ. I often met a fellow there who was a good skating partner but the best thing about him was he smelled like freshly baked bread. His name was Danny DeSarno. We never dated outside the rink. 

• I was in junior high and high school band, orchestra and chorus. I hated marching band because I didn't like football at all. Still don't. Too violent. 

My “love of my life” boyfriend and I headed for Elkton, MD early one morning to get married. We had already purchased gold wedding rings. We told our parents that we were going to the seashore for the day. The car blew its engine. His older brother came and got us. The car was left there. I kept the rings for many years until I was really needing the money and I sold them. I’m sorry about that.

He went into the Marines and wrote me to come, marry him and live in a trailer on the base in SC. I wrote back and told him I didn’t want to live in a trailer and I never heard from him again. I had no idea what the trailer he had in mind was but I thought it was one of the big boxes that is hauled behind a truck cab on the highway. I didn’t want to live in one of them.


There are more. I have only touched the tip of the iceberg. Enough.


Sunday, August 16, 2020

Season's Best

I asked the Mister if he would drive out to our favorite farm market and pick up a couple of melons along with corn that he craves. I asked him to get one small cantaloupe and one small watermelon. What did he come home with? He said the cantaloupe were all very large so he chose the smallest of the large ones. The watermelon was just right, small but not tiny or overly large either. The cantaloupe was H U G E!!

It was heavy and gave me a hard time, rolling around in my large sink when scrubbing down the rind, which had already been washed. (I always do it again myself.) Then, cutting and cubing the flesh took effort and quite a time to complete, but - but - IT WAS WORTH IT!  Critters high up in the woods will have a glorious time munching on the remains! Shared and enjoyed by all. YUM! 

Friday, August 14, 2020


There are gifts and there are gifts... I'm one of the lucky people who has a thoughtful and caring daughter living nearby who visits and brings food items, both fresh and baked, and can pony-tail my hair! I have a caring neighbor who has been picking up my full laundry basket every week for about eight weeks, returning it clean, folded and delivered. How wonderful is that? Then there is another who brought me two home baked zucchini bread loaves yesterday and, let me tell you, they are soooooooo good. We ate 1/2 one for breakfast already! 

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I also have a friend who lives about 90 miles away who is sending me a book she liked, and some ice patches for shoulder issues. I am really blessed with goodness!

Thursday, August 13, 2020


My friend Joan died nine years ago today. She was a loving and devoted woman. I miss her - a lot! From junior high school through marriages and births, we were close and supported each other in everything we did and experienced. 



Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Time Marches On

The great grandson twins are growing and thriving well.  Just thought you might like to see recent photos. Such different personalities are developing and these two little men will soon be talking a blue streak! No big fair or contests this year due to Covid-19 so they won't be winning another first place ribbon in their age category, but there is always next year. 

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Tuesday, August 11, 2020


If you have ever had a kidney stone you know how painful they can be -  REALLY REALLY REALLY painful!

Heck, I just got my knee back in pretty good working order and then a severe abdominal pain came on. After two nights of being very uncomfortable, I called and got my doctor appointment for a couple of days later. That didn't happen. The pain grew so we went to the emergency department at our local facility. I was admitted. The Mister was sent home. No visitors were allowed.

A CAT scan revealed a stone was stuck in the ureter between my kidney and bladder. I never had one in all of my 84 years. I never want another. It took three days of fluids and medication to be comfortable enough to be discharged, although it might happen again if there are others. Yikes!

I must say I got wonderful attention and care during my stay. I felt privileged to have such good nurses in this great local health system. I must also say, I had no idea that the food servings were so overly generous and most of my choices were thrown away. That hurt too. I don't waste food!

Right now I'm still quite uncomfortable and have a fairly low pain level but am much more comfortable than before.

If you want to see what these devils look like you can research images. There are many shapes and types. Mine had the spurs that dug in every time it moved and was 5 mm in size. (3/16 of an inch) Image from the internet.

See my bracelets?
The good news is that a partial rainbow appeared in the sky across the lake the evening I returned home and I'm sure you know that rainbows give hope. I'll take it as a good sign!
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Sunday, August 2, 2020

Four at Seven

I climbed out of bed at 7am and wandered into the dining area, looking out the window as I headed for my coffee cup. What did I see? Well, I thought I saw a large brown dog and three puppies on our beachfront lawn. Then my vision and brain got together and I realized it was two doe and two fawns.

Of course the camera was in its bag, all zipped up. Of course It was set to the viewer on the back and not on the eye viewer which I like best to use. As I fumbled to get it adjusted and went to the window to try to capture this herd, the largest doe spotted me and ran. You can see her on the far left of the photo. The little ones stayed to nibble on grassy weeds and the smaller doe remained alert before the four trotted on up the road.

I guess I'm happy enough to have captured their images at all! I didn't even take time to put on my eyeglasses! What do you think?
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