Monday, December 26, 2022

Until January 1...

More goodies - I HAD to freeze some of my cookie gifts!

Yard man's family teens made these!

I didn't know the meaning of mushrooms during this season. Mushrooms honor the reverence for nature and hopes for good luck in the coming year! A nearby neighbor who just dropped these dear little cookies off for me came from Lithuania and she was so proud to deliver them, saying "I made these!" 
I've been busy today catching up with files and other necessary things that I do every year. I'm working on a family collage instead of the usual annual list of things that happened in my life during 2022. 

Let me share my last photomanipulation of the year.  A gift was shared for three of us! is still very cold outside! I'm staying IN!
tap on image to view larger

Saturday, December 24, 2022

The Past Remembered

I wrote this in 2008. It was a fun thing for us to do for my parents.


Memory Story

For many years it was financially difficult to give great holiday gifts to my parents. We figured out a way to surprise them with a gift each year and the plan snowballed from the first year thereafter. Because their wedding anniversary was August 12 and they were married in 1934, this was what we did.

August is the eighth month of the year and for eight months, starting in May, we purchased one specialty product a month. It was the start of a stash which, by December would consist of eight items. The items were grocery edible types of which they, being very frugal, wouldn't buy for themselves because it would be considered extravagant and extravagance was considered to be a "No! No!"

After watching their pleased reactions of receiving the contents of the brown bag for a  few years, it was decided that eight special grocery selections weren't enough so we started stockpiling in January buying one "anything" article a month for twelve months. The hoard was difficult for us not to raid when desire for an item was strong, but determination prevailed.

Now you might correctly guess what would happen after that! Yes! Thirty-four elements were saved, three a month for eleven months and one more in December. This became an annual ritual. Oh! What fun it was to see the surprise as each piece was pulled from those brown bags! "Oohs!" and "Ahhs!" were uttered and appreciation and delight were shown for the choices of objects they now had. Their response was wonderful and sweet to see.

It's those times that we remember fondly at Christmastime.

For your question of "Just WHAT did you purchase?" Here's what I remember:


• can of red sockeye salmon

• can of smoked oysters

• can of lobster bisque soup

• can of New England style clam chowder

• can of skinless-boneless sardines

• can of asparagus spears

• can of artichoke hearts

• canned ham

• canned brown date bread

• canned pecans and peanuts

• jar of tiny baby gherkins

• jar of marmalade

• jar of mint jelly

• jar of honey butter

• box of gingerbread snaps

• box of hard, round oyster crackers

• box of peanut brittle

• bar of cheddar extra sharp cheese

• Constant Comment tea

• amaretto liqueur

• figs and dates and cumquats

• pomegranate

• toasted coconut macaroons

• Black Jack chewing gum

• Teaberry chewing gum

• Licorice Allsorts

• Walnetto caramel candy

• Root beer barrels

• ribbon candy

• maple leaf candy

• Bay Rum aftershave

• Apple Blossom Cologne

• Lifebuoy bar soap

• Vermont maple syrup

GMR - December 20  (Pop Nulton's birthday)

Local Update

Kirk Van Zandbergen is the photographer who created these shots with his drone when in my town recently. They are amazing and so beautiful.  He is the owner at Van Zandbergen Photograph - Studied Industrial/Scientific Photography at Brooks Institute of Photography. The first photograph is named "Winter Solstice in Montrose Pennsylvania."  His prints are for sale by personal request. 
And now for my weather report. It wasn't as awful here as it could have been. The orchid photo is from yesterday. It is thriving well!
I took the thermometer pictures at 7am this morning. Quick shots! I trickled water from both kitchen and bathroom faucets to be sure although good heat tape is in action as usual every year. We didn't loose power! Today there is a windy situation, but it's not extreme. 
Well that's all for today. Maybe I'll just start my annual paper shredding project during the next few days. Old electric shredder long gone, so heavy duty scissors will be put to good use!

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Hanging In

I'm hunkered down and looking out. It is snowing - not a surprise. The weather is predicted to change to a wind and rain event and then a big drop in temperature. I lost all ambition to bake again...

BUT! Yesterday a box of four varieties of cookies and even éclairs arrived with a bright red ribbon. Somebody went to a lot of work to create these beautiful and tasty special treats. I have never made éclairs. These were made with lots of love and then placed with care in the holiday presentation box.

Thank you Santa's Jolly Helper! Gingerbread, Pfeffernusse, Spritz (decorated too!), Raisin-nut, and Éclairs all received a taste and they passed admirably. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Memories of 40's Christmas Time

In the early 1940's I was 5-10. My brother was three years younger and our twin sisters were 6 years younger than me. Some memories have surfaced recently and I'd like to share how it was in those days.

Electric plastic Christmas candlesticks with blue light bulbs were placed on all the window sills. The naked tree sat on the front porch and never came into the house until late on Christmas eve after we kids went to bed. Some of the lower branches were cut off and tied with red ribbon as a front door spray. There was a cardboard brick fireplace set up in the living room and our stockings were pinned to the mantle. A cardboard fire with a light behind it was bright. 

We never saw the decorated tree when we were very young until we got the "OK" to come downstairs on Christmas morning. We sat on the steps peeking through the balusters waiting until permission was given. You see, after we all had gone to bed, I now realize that the tree was brought in, set up and decorated by our parents along with the Lionel train set made to circle around the bottom and ready to be activated. The presents were spread there. The lights were turned on. The OK was given. Santa was supposedly the one who did it all during the night.

Each child had a turn opening one gift and showing the others before opening another one. The wrapping paper was not torn or ruined, and the ribbons were saved. There was a special place in the room for them to be placed for imminent storage to be reused.  

We all received new hand-crocheted or knitted mittens and a box of animal crackers! My favorite gifts that remain in memory are new crayons and books. There was a craft to make flower petals and leaves with wire dipped into a transparent colorful substance and they were twisted together to make a flower. How I loved that one! A lovely 12" blond haired doll with jointed extremities, dressed in a yellow organdy frock was a favorite. She was from my mother's life-long friend who we called "Aunt Jeanette." The lady was never married and was always part of our family, though much wealthier and very caring and sweet. One year she gave me a 13" Kewpie doll and my mother and a neighbor made many outfits for her. I regret now that I didn't keep her and her hand-sewn clothing.

I only remember some of what was in our stockings — mine had a can of sweetened condensed milk - all my very own! My brother's had a package of Velveeta cheese. I don't remember our sister's special treat but do remember that we all got a potato in the toe!

During Christmas week I was allowed to run the train set, which was really my brother's. The twins didn't get this privilege. When a couple of weeks had passed, it was time to take the tree down and put the decorations in storage. A very important part of it was first removing the crinkly lead tinsel of the 40's, ONE strand at a time. Back then it was stored and then reused from year to year. Some of the hanging glass ornaments would be valued today as they had been passed on from my grandmother.

Christmas dinner was special. We kids all got a wineglass of watered-down wine. There was always a turkey. Dad claimed a leg. After dinner, a plum pudding, made by Mother was lit on fire before serving. Blue flames!  Brandy had been poured over the top and it smelled really good! The hard sauce was sparingly dolloped on top of each slice! No wonder I love sweet stuff!

Oh there is so much more starting to surface but the jist of this story is that we always felt loved and happy at this time of year. We never realized the sacrifices that were made for the celebration. We knew the real meaning of Christmas as well. A manger set up was on the dining room buffet. The story was read to us every year before we went to bed. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Sent and Delivered with Love

Some very sweet, tart, chewy and cheesy gifts arrived here via special delivery! The hummingbird pewter ornament is an annual surprise chosen by a loving daughter and it hangs on the old ceramic tree beautifully. She also knows that the sugary fruit slices have been my favorite for many years. Just see the wonderful colors!

I admit to counting on a box of fruit-shaped Marzipan every year from another thoughtful daughter. I don't dare open it yet because I know it would be gone before Christmas day! It really would!  (tap image to view larger...)
And the cheeses!!!!! WOWIE! There are large cherries in the jam.  Do you think I have a sweet tooth and am a lover of cheese? There were  couple of other nice gifts that I have put away under the kitchen counter. Can you guess? The Mister and I used to share one of these every Christmas eve. Maybe I'll sip it from two special cups anyway. I did that last year. 

By the way, the little cookies I made yesterday are going fast. I'll have to hide some.

We lost power for over 10 hours overnight. The blinkin' clock woke me up at 11:30pm! Generator to the rescue. Yay!

REALLY cold coming. Wake me when it's over, OK?

Monday, December 19, 2022

My Last Hurrah For These!

I have been procrastinating for several weeks because I wanted to make a batch of cookies that I haven't done for many years. 2014 to be exact! Today I kicked my starter and did it! 144 cookies later (12 dozen) and totally whipped, I want to present these to you. Since I didn't have any colorful sparkles or squeezable icings, they are plain except for some raw sugar sprinkles. Have you ever had a Lorna Doone cookie? These are similar in flavor and texture. Yum!

Some of these just don't belong...
So I ate them!
After the big cleanup, I packed my 50 year old tools away for another day, another person to use. I will admit some of the recipes look good!
tap on image to view larger

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Red and Wonderful

I received my first real Poinsettia as a gift last evening and it took my heart up a few notches. You see, my yard guy and his wife gave it to me, knowing that I don't like cut flowers and having no idea that I never had a live poinsettia plant before. 

I took many photos of it at different angles as it sat on the counter with the early morning sun. I tried no flash, flash, and all kinds of angles. Actually I had a good time shooting. Well, after culling most, I did keep a few. The next step was to create a digital image to send to my e-mail friends as I only sent out 21 "snail mail" cards this year. After a couple of hours I was satisfied and will now share with you. First, a selection of subject matter for experiments!

Then I cut, pasted, skewed, and made the creative piece. It took time. I didn't use any application except the Preview which came on my computer. Result below.
Next was to incorporate it into a greeting card for e-mail distribution. Finally I was satisfied, and sent them out.
This is for you, my friends.... I wish you all the very best!

P.S. BIG SNOW predicted tomorrow. Camera is ready!

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

First Ice & Other

Yes the temperature was +10° this morning at 7am. I should have trickled water in the sink overnight but the heat tape on the outdoor pipes did its job.

I expect that we'll be really socked in after the snow that is predicted for Thursday and Friday.


The cabin holds sturdy arms around me.

It is permanence.

It is safety.

It is sanctuary.

It is Tranquillity.


One of my long ago writings....

Survival or defeat? 

I wish I could remember what prompted this one!

Finale - Complete Piece

In tattered sweater with holes and pins, she hobbles

   from her bed,
The fire is low, she must get coal, it’s out there in the shed.
Her eyes peep through the crusty glass, they see 

   their distant goal…
It once was near but now it’s far, offends her weary soul.
Her man is gone, a fine man too, he used to gather wood.
She does her best to carry on, for once, her life was good.
The milk was sweet, the sun was warm, her children —

  how they grew!
They’ve left her now, the fondest things, she’s bid them all adieu.
But back to now—with daily chores to wear her strength away,
She must get coal to warm her bones, to live another day.
With strong determination to reach her destination,
The woman struggles on with legs of lead
Through ice and snow, Oh! Lord! the coal is gone!
Her muddled mind can’t comprehend that the final hour’s near.
It just can’t be! She’s ready though…
She’s waited all this year.

By Geraldine, November 1977

Monday, December 12, 2022

First Snow

YES! And I think more is forecast for the end of the week.

Background image taken by my neighbor this morning.

Well I must say I did get some Christmas cards completed and snail mailed. I'm ashamed to say they aren't very fancy this year due to stress of printer failures, and lack of other supplies. I will also be sending many more via e-mail messages. I really like creating nice ones, but.........

Ice not formed on lake yet.
Ice not formed on stepping stones.

The window view includes a happy orchid.
It is warm indoors —
And...Yard Guy dressed James!! YAY!
tap to view larger. 

Friday, December 9, 2022

Early Christmas Gift

Someone from across the Pacific Ocean has sent me a wonderful box full of cheeses and meats. The word must have gotten out that I'm the mouse slayer in the area. Well this is staying indoors and only being eaten by hungry humans. Wonderful surprise! There are also chocolate covered almonds, crackers and olives!  I sure love cheeses and these are soooo special.
I've been working on Christmas cards. I first created an image. I had to be sure to only use colors that would be functional by my failing printer. It only will print colors - no black. When I proceeded to change the empty black cartridge with a new replacement - it failed. I put the empty one back in and the color would print! I ordered another black cartridge and it too, wasn't recognized by the printer. Well, the color would work so that is how I created my card image. Would you believe that the XXX old printer then would print only 4 pages (4 images each one) with my brand new photo paper! Then it absolutely refused to print on photo paper and made lots of rattling noise. I finished off the project by printing a few sheets of 'regular paper' and am finished with this project. Yes, I know I need a new printer. Maybe.....after the holidays. This one has functioned fantastically for many years and I should NOT complain! I still can print all other documents on plain paper if I make the text be red, blue, or green. I'll use up the color cartridge and then decide what to do. The scanner still works fine! Never a dull moment down on this farm! My hand had a workout writing to and from addresses on the envelopes. 

"Make it do or do without!"