Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Bowl Me Over!

It all started when My friend The Potter posted a photo of him holding the first large bowl he completed while in college. (Marywood University is a higher education institution in Scranton, PA. Study academic programs in biotechnology, architecture, communications, art and more.)

Here is the photo and the text that got my interest: July 6, 2021...Dad was cleaning and found an old time box of pots from 20 years ago and in it was one of the very first large centerpiece bowls I was able to get through the gas kiln at Marywood University in 2001. The rim roll was not completely closed but it appears done was better than perfect at the time. Mum has all my early things. She shows them to visitors when they stop by. A bit embarrassing. 

My thought was, "Gee I would really like to have that bowl!" The next thing was that he had another post: 


This Large Centerpiece Bowl was handmade by my own hand and fired to 2300f in the gas kiln.

The bowl measures 12 in. wide by 5.5 inches high.

All proceeds from this sale will go to a fund to benefit Bill Payne and family to help with medical bills.

Aug 28, 2021

I have a large centerpiece bowl and a platter I am putting up for sale to help raise money for Bill Payne and Family for medical bills.  If you wish to purchase, click the link.

                         SOLD! Thanks so much!

Didn't I jump right in! The proceeds of the sale will go to the fund raised to help the family in need, and Al and I benefit, knowing we have contributed. 

Al brought it over to me today. Just touching this 20 year old gem makes me feel good, but best of all is the history of when it was made, who made it, and how it will help others.

He enclosed a nice card for me and I will treasure both the bowl and the card and most of all - the friendship of this special man.

I'm already thinking of cold salads, cake batter, fresh whole fruit, and so much more....

Don't forget to tap on image to view larger

Saturday, August 28, 2021

First Timers

My daughter brought me a 1/4 head of a very large cabbage. I cut it up and cooked it in a little water. At the same time I cooked about one cup of elbow macaroni in the microwave oven. I put these two items together with some pre-baked small Italian meatballs and red sauce with a dollop of butter. It was just an idea I had to use the cabbage. A surprise was that it was a very successful combination, especially when I topped it off with grated Parmesan/Romano cheese. It made two meals so I froze one.

Today I made walnut bars, because I discovered a forgotten small bag of chopped walnuts in the freezer. I have never made them before but felt a bit adventurous regarding the recipe that I found a long time ago and had saved but never made. Result? Darn good, especially since I needed a sugar boost after this baking project, including cleanup. After transferring into a storage container it was hard not to eat two! (pat on back, please)......
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Walnut Bars


4 tablespoons butter (melted and cooled) 

3/4 cups flour (all-purpose ) 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

3/4 teaspoon baking powder 

1/8 teaspoon baking soda 

1 large egg 

1 cup light brown sugar (firmly packed) 

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

1 cup walnuts (chopped) 

Steps to Make It 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour an 8-inch square baking pan. 
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour with salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Whisk or stir to blend thoroughly. 
  3. In a mixing bowl with electric mixer, beat the egg for 2 to 3 minutes, or until foamy. 
  4. Add the brown sugar, melted butter, and vanilla; beat well. 
  5. Stir in flour mixture until well blended. 
  6. Fold the walnuts into the batter. 
  7. Spoon the thick batter into the prepared baking pan and spread it evenly with a spatula. 
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 to 24 minutes, or until browned and the top has formed a crust. 
  9. Cut into 2-inch bars; cool in pan. The recipe makes about 16 walnut bars. 


Check them after 20 minutes to avoid over-baking. 


Thursday, August 26, 2021

Try It!

My daughter brought me a sealed plastic baggie of freshly picked and washed Swiss chard from her garden.  This is her 2nd gift as I told her how much I loved the first bagful. Have you ever had Swiss chard? It is a lot like spinach and full of vitamins, especially iron. The stalks are a variety of colors and I pull off the leafy parts from the large ones.

This time I made a soup! I boiled the leaves for a few minutes and then strained them.  I used one can of cream of mushroom soup and one can of whole milk in the stove top pot. I brought it to a slow simmer and added a pat of butter, some salt and pepper, paprika, onion powder and celery salt to the mixture. I then added the drained Swiss chard along with two chunks of sharp cheddar cheese and brought it up again to a slow simmer stirring until the cheese was melted. No recipe - just my own conglomeration. 

Let me tell you it was a fantastic soup and a very successful, tasty meal. I shall make this again for sure! I wish I could share it.

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For more info., this is an informative site:

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Project Pickles

For many years whenever I visited my daughter and son-in-law in NJ, I had the pleasure of enjoying really wonderful Italian meals. They lived in a mother/daughter home and most meals were brought up to her son's section for dinners. Her mother-in-law was a great and traditional cook, but the best thing I ever tasted (honestly) were her eggplant pickles. After she died, I asked her family members if anyone knew her recipe for the pickles. NO ONE had a clue!  Several years later I came across one and thought I would make this, hopeful that the texture and flavor would at least come close.

I was about to find out! The eggplants I had were quite large so I decided to do just one for my experiment. 

After peeling and slicing it into strips, salt was added and then the mixture rested for 10 hours! Then it was drained thoroughly and then put into a boiling mixture of water and apple cider vinegar. This mixture was boiled for about ten minutes and strained and the juices pressed out.  (I didn't have wine vinegar on hand as the recipe called for.) Then the canning jar was filled with boiling water and the lid and top were sterilized. 

Fresh garlic cloves from a neighbor's garden were minced and I added dried parsley (no fresh on hand) to the cooked strips in a bowl and mixed well.  After jarring (only 1 pt. yield) the contents were covered with extra virgin olive oil. Tomorrow will be the taste test. I sure hope they are tasty! Even if they aren't as good as I remember hers were, I have high hopes they may come close. Well shall see.

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Saturday, August 21, 2021

Slice & Dice

Today I undertook the project of slicing and dicing four large onions. They are now in the freezer. The hardest part was the fact that my knife sharpening person is no longer available and I just cannot get a very sharp edge on my favorite knife. The old steel sharpening tool was always used. I also kept the phone nearby just in case I cut myself and would need help. It's not just the Boy Scouts that need to always be prepared! I was a Girl Scout, didn't ya know!

Slicing on the Bluffton is easiest but also dangerous! (Bluffton Slaw Cutter (ak/kraut cutter) 1915

Now I have to get some pickling salt and will most likely ferment strips of the eggplants or maybe make some pickles. Eggplant is like a sponge, literally. It actually begins to feel like a sponge once you cut and salt it. Salting the eggplant aids in removing any bitterness that might be in the final ferment, adding tons of Italian flavor, in the form of basil, oregano and garlic, makes the most of its spongy nature. It will take about a week to ferment and I have just the jar in which to do it! I have good recipes for either the pickles or the fermentation processes. 
please tap on image to view these beauties

Friday, August 20, 2021

It is Always a Surprise

"What goes around comes around" or "as you sow, so shall you reap" is the basic understanding of how karma, the law of cause and effect, works. I have experienced this all of my life and I thoroughly believe it is a very special happening. As a child I was always taught to share and have done so. This was shown through example as it is how my parents and good neighbors always did. My girlfriends and I have shared kid's clothes, extra foodstuffs, and everything else imaginable throughout our lives. 

You don't share to see what you'll receive, you share because it feels so good to do it and then I am always surprised that this happens when something comes back. Of course you have to be completely unselfish to experience this and it works in reverse too. 

Today I sent some of my husband's good used clothing items with a neighbor to be donated to her choice of a non-profit organization, not to be put up on any market site to sell. Unexpectedly, later today a couple of cartons of foodstuffs was brought to me!  It happened again and I am overwhelmed with how the karma keeps on working. This time my surprise was totally unexpected because I honestly forgot all about the donation as soon as the volunteer left the driveway with the clothing this morning. 

I thought I had all I needed but this bountiful gift has shown me that others know all about the gift of giving.

I won't list the 63 items that I received this afternoon, but be sure I shall share some. (Yes I counted them!) It really feels good to share.

Do it! 

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

More Than I Need

One for Margie, one for Laura, one for ME! Special delivery yesterday from Missy. (I already ate one not shown here!) Those seeds are fermenting in jar for a couple of weeks. Perfect Oxheart! Friend Al will have some seeds for next year!

Please tap on image to view the deliciousness!

Monday, August 16, 2021

Out and About Short Ride

Except for the funny running deer, I didn't see one other animal on my trip around the lake and the neighboring lake! Even the flowers were scarce and it wasn't a very interesting ride. The sun was out, the breeze was light, my cart is very dirty. No baths for it, though. The water faucet  where the hose is hooked into leaks so much that it has been tightened and capped until a plumber can be afforded and then called. Oh well, maybe some Windex will help with the windshield. I have now learned how to hook it up to the charger and still need to learn how to do the automatic distilled water system for the batteries. 

There are many wild hickory plants that are in full bloom along the roadside now. They aren't very impressive as a side-of-the road weed, but the individual close up shots show their beauty well.
For several years now I've seen the wild sweet peas blooming among the branches of this little blue spruce tree. This year they seem to have taken over the tree. I don't know if they cause harm as they die off after frost hits and the tree still looks OK.
Did I mention that my daughter brought me some more of her garden tomatoes? I shall share these beauties! I've already saved seeds for next year from her first one!
Here! Have a better look!
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Thursday, August 12, 2021

Family Growing

These two guys are growing up so fast! They are my Great Great Grandsons. I love their cleft chins! They're active and healthy little boys. 

This little guy arrived last week. I hear he is a big eater! (Great Grandson)
These beauties are Jersey Shore Beach babies already! (Great Grandaughters)
And of course the twin 2 year old boys are well and growing fast! (Great Grandsons)
Time moves on. These children live in my heart every day as do their parents and grandparents. I guess my job on earth was to propagate and my children did too! Seeing them grow and develop reminds me of my own six when they were young.
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Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Hard Work-Hot Day!

My yardman ran a snake up into the pipe that runs along side the south end of the cabin because he suspected it was clogged. The catch basin drain in front seemed to be dry and the one in back seemed to be too wet. Yes — after an hour of shovel and pick digging, the pipes (four total) were removed and the two nearest the back were full of clogged stuff! Heaven only knows when they were put in because there was a large root from the fir tree that had grown over the back section of pipes. 

I really felt bad for him doing this as a one-man job as the humidity is very high today. Both roof gutter downspouts go into this drainage system. The ditch that is behind the cabin also flows into the back drain. In front, another underground pipe continues to go out to another drain at the edge of the road. That one continues on under the road and empties along the water's edge. (I think!) Putter Pop #1 is no longer around for clarification. It was his system!

Sunday, August 8, 2021


Sometimes I have been called a “Foodie.” Now that can be a complement or it can be an insult. Yes, I have cooked and baked and canned and dehydrated ever since I was young. I watched my grandma and my mother and learned from them. After all, when I was growing up, putting food on the table was the main occupation of a housewife along with raising children and keeping the home in order. There was a lot of “farmer” in my family and times were hard so frugality was necessary. Have you ever had to eat something you didn’t like or even hated? I have. To this day I cannot eat sweet potatoes. They gag me. 

Whenever a rabbit or chicken was butchered (I might add right in our back yard) my mother would call us to come see how it was done, pointing out and naming each part and what it was for. Whenever the produce from the garden was brought in, the correct and proper handling of it was explained and wasting even the tiniest beet leaf was frowned upon. The compost bucket was important. There was no trash as such, just recyclable trimmings. 

So, yes, food and preparation have always been important to me. Hey, I just remembered Dad bringing home a little box of honeycomb with honey. On his travels doing the state milk tester’s job, he often stopped at stands, with assorted items that we didn’t have nearby. What a special treat! With a teaspoon, you just scooped out a chunk, sucked all the honey out of it and chewed the wax until your jaws ached. Have you ever done that? Sometimes several big and fully ripe sunflowers would show up in the garage. We knew we could pluck a seed, give it a pinch and get to the innards of that treat! It took many for a really good kernel flavor to be savored. We didn’t buy berries, we hunted for them down the road and into the woods a bit. We suffered scratches but oh what jelly they made! The paraffin pot was special and was in use almost all summer long. Do you know how to test to see if your bubbling caramel is ready for you to add the peanuts for brittle?

Today I do little baking from scratch - especially breads. Little baker pot breads are the exception. I’ve grown too fussy to have the flour mess and too lazy too. Cookies are an exception. I have never bought a cookie that can compare with a homemade one. I’m not one for fancy decorations or presentations. Just keeping it simple. 

As for protein, my favorite is the fish category. Any fresh fish, shellfish, or fish product will always come before red meats. BUT! I LOVE LIVER. Next favorite is chicken. There isn’t a single vegetable other than the one mentioned above, that I don’t like. I like them better cooked than raw. All cheeses, yoghurt, eggs and milk are automatically included for protein. (and ice cream) Starch is a weakness. I love noodles, pasta of all shapes and content. Bread favorites are rye (without seeds) whole wheat, sourdough, Italian and pumpernickel. I’ll eat potatoes prepared any way, but not chips! Too salty. I love rice. 

In other words, I’m a Foodie! When in doubt, give me soup! Or fruit - I forgot fruit. Red grapefruit is my favorite.

Oops, I forgot! I do not like hot spicy anything.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Cooling off...

 Just an early morning shot with the warm mist and cool air.

Then I played a little with B/W and herons.
Good news! The mailbox is now just a step away from my side door. First delivery made today. My lawn guy just put it up this morning when he came to clean flowerbeds and mow. Then the Schwan man came and I'm trying the coffee ice cream. The trash man came and took the bag away. The neighbor who does my laundry came for it and now I'm just in heaven without a halo! (Except none of these wonderful things have helped my sprained back but all in all I know I shouldn't complain AT ALL!)
Oh how much easier this will be!