STUFF

17 08 2012

When I was raising all my children and there were a bunch, my mother in law grew vegetables in her garden and gave them to me.  So I was obligated whether I liked it or not to can or preserve or do whatever I could to save all those vegetables for my family to eat.  I always wondered if I saved any money doing that, but I still had to do it anyway.

First, she would call me and tell me she had a basket of tomatoes or peaches or whatever else there was.  Of course I was most grateful for all this, but I hated getting the phone call.  First of all, I’d better get myself over there in a hurry because she had no patience for my not coming right now.  Those tomatoes might just spoil before I got there.  Well, of course I had a few dozen other things going at the time but that didn’t count.  Like, maybe I was running a load of wash and wanted to put them in the dryer or maybe I had to take some of the kids to the pool or to the barbershop or whatever.  No matter, hurry up and get that basket full of tomatoes.  So I did of course.  Makes for better family relations if I do it right.

Then after picking up the vegetables, I still have to take those kids wherever or whenever they are going.  Then get home and make all the preparations for canning.  Do you know what that means?  Takes a lot to can tomatoes.  Lots of washing and getting ready and setting up.  By this time, the children are ready for lunch so have to stop and do that.  Then it is time to put someone down for a nap.  Have to do that.  By this time, that load of clothes is through in the dryer so have to do that.  Finally, with a couple of hours before time to start dinner, I start canning.  And I canned and canned and canned fast as I could.

If you have time, read my blog entitled Jars.  You will really enjoy it if you have ever been faced with any of the above.  Just pure fun.  Might just as well laugh over it all.  But, I’ll tell you for sure, I was glad when she quit giving me those vegetables.  I was about canned out.  And I still wonder if I saved any money in the deal.  Guess I did, though.  It is in the papers now that the price of groceries is going to go up because of the drought.  If this is true, you might want to get a few jars and think about canning yourself.  Never know.  Those tomatoes are hard to beat.  Glad I had them lots and lots of times.  Read Jars and laugh!

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GREEN GREEN GRASS

19 06 2012

I was making my usual run around town today trying to get all those errands done and happened to notice how pretty the yards looked.  Most were very green with lots and lots of flowers.  That got me to thinking as usual.

Not too long ago, no one had a pretty yard.  You cut the grass if it needed it.  No one ever trimmed.  Bushes were cut when absolutely necessary.  But most people had to borrow tools to do this.  Flowers were planted, but usually just the same old things such as bulbs that would outlast everything else.  There was not much choice.  Few greenhouses to buy from anyway.  Most of the flowers were either given to you or were already in the yard.  

And the grass was usually almost brown as soon as hot weather set in.  No one and I do mean no one ever watered their grass.  That was mostly unheard of.  You had to be rich to even think of such a thing.  What a waste.  Besides, there were no sprinklers and a lot of people did not even have a water hose. If they did, they would have just used it to wash their car.  Or wash off the porch once or twice a year.   You just had to wait until it rained and if the grass and flowers were not already dead, they might come back out after a good rain.  

No one fertilized their yard either.  That didn’t come along until even much later.  These were just expenses simply not heard of before.  It was not something necessary anyway.  So no one thought much about it.  

Now we all take those things for granted.  We expect to have a nice thick green yard.  And lots of flowers if we want them. And fertilize at least a couple of times a year.  

I still think raking the leaves in the Fall was the most fun thing of all.  It was such fun to rake all day so that all the leaves were in one big pile.  Then all the kids in the neighborhood came over to jump in the pile of leaves.  That in itself was a real luxury.   Those were really fun times.  Then, if you were old enough, you could help burn those leaves. We had so many leaves that they had to be burned in stages over the next few days.  If we were lucky, our mother would let us cook potatoes down in the bottom of the pile of burning leaves.  These were absolutely terrible to eat, but we all smiled a lot and thoroughly enjoyed them.  All the kids wanted a potato.  

Life really wasn’t too bad when we didn’t have as much.  It was pretty nice – sometimes. But I wouldn’t want to go backward to another time.  Think I’ll keep my green grass.  





THE KNITTER- THAT’S ME

4 05 2012

I have already told you how terrible I am at sewing.  Well, that is nothing to compare with knitting.  I had already taken classes in quilting and while there, they were demonstrating a knitting machine.  Well, that one was for me.  I could just see myself making all these beautiful sweaters for me and all my family.  Oh, what fun it would be.  And that wonder of wonders machine just did it all by itself, almost.  All I had to do was put it together, figure out what all that instruction meant and I would be in business.

Well, I bought the machine and paid for it up front because I just knew it would pay for itself real quick.  Then I bought all the attachments.  Not very much more. And then I bought all the yarn I would need to learn.  That wasn’t just a whole lot either.  And then I hurried home to begin knitting like a pro.  That’s what the lady told me.  She was the one who had sold me the machine.

I went back for the instructions that were included with the sale.  And I learned how to thread the machine with the beautiful yarn.  That wasn’t too hard to learn.  See, I just knew I could do this one. Now, all I had to do was learn the terminology – that foreign language- that everyone else seems to be born with.

I put the thing-a-ma-jig on the machine and threaded the yarn through all the holes they had told me.  Then I ran the thing across the carriage and it worked!  Oh boy! I was really going to love this.  I practiced quite a lot on moving that thing across the needles. And it worked every time.  I wasn’t making anything yet, but I was on my way. No doubt about that.

Then I actually made a sweater for myself at the knitting machine shop.  It would have been perfect except for those little holes here and there.  But I figured I could probably repair them only I didn’t know how, so guess I will just forget that anyway.  Too busy learning other things by this time.  I suppose I could iron some flower patches on those holes and the sweater would be good enough to wear at home – if I took up painting the house.

But I moved on.  Nothing was going to stop me now.  I did make quite a few things, just nothing that was worth wearing.  I made one of the children a little dress and it was really cute.  Sort of crooked, but cute.  And I made a couple of throws, just straight knitting for that.  They didn’t look very good but hey – I’m just learning here.

The only problem was that I was always learning, still learning.   I moved the knitting machine to another room where I could see out the window while knitting.  And then in the Spring, my neighbor sat on his deck right in front of the window.  I’m sure he thought I was spying on him but I wasn’t.  I was there first, you know.  But it sort of took the fun out of reacting to my mistakes if someone could see me scream.

I kept on trying and trying and trying, but I wasn’t much smarter at knitting than I was at sewing.  I finally decided to move it down to the laundry room where I spent a lot of time every day anyway. This thing takes up a lot of room, about 8′ across the room by the time you have to have enough room to remove that thing-a-ma-jig that sometimes reaches the end of the machine.  Sometimes I have to put it back on without losing any stitches and that is almost impossible.  In fact it is impossible.  And if anyone started talking to me while I was knitting, I would invariably drop a stitch and then the conversation would be over and I would be upset and that was enough of that.

I finally moved it all the way out to the garage and took it apart.  I had all sorts of attachments by now and lots and lots of yarn.  I told a lady where I had bought some yarn that I was interested in selling it.  She just could not believe anyone would want to sell their knitting machine.  So I sold it all to her. Gladly.

Think I’ll take up gardening.  I know how to dig holes and watch dead flowers.  I can do that really well.





DEAR GOD: THANK YOU AGAIN

2 03 2012

Woke up this morning and the whole world had changed again.  Those daffodils/jonquils had drooped their heads and are getting ready to call it a day.  But in their place, the Bartlett Pear trees have all burst into bloom.  Lovely white blooms cover the whole town.  And sitting right below them are the Japonicas with their orange and red blossoms.  And the Forsythia has stretched out its arms in all directions with beautiful yellow flowers all over the place.  Even a few of the Azaleas are blooming now with various colors from red to pink and purple and even some of the white.  Mingled in with that are the red and purple leaves of the Barberries.

It is truly, truly beautiful outside today.  Thank You, Dear God once again.  You provide us with such overwhelming glorious color to make our world even better.

Think I will open all the windows and doors today and let some of that beautiful sunshine come right on in.  But then, I just remembered that the pollen will be coming in, too.  So guess I’ll just have to watch this beautiful world from inside the window.  But that’s alright.  It’s still beautiful and I appreciate being able to enjoy it.  Hope you do, too.





PARTING OF THE WAVES

16 12 2011

Well, it finally happened.  I got up this morning and looked in the mirror and there it was – a wider part on the top of my head.  My part was much wider than it had been when I went to bed last night.   This tells me just one thing.  It is a plot; a planned discrimination against brown colored hair.  No doubt in my mind about that.

After thinking about this all day, I have come to the conclusion that I will have to be the one, the instigator, of a new government program against such discrimination.  Just simply cannot have this in my life.  So, I have come up with a name and have planned some of my strategy.  The name will be Suspicion Of Discrimination of Beauties Undergoing Loss of Brown Hair.  The shorter version will be simply called SODBULB.  That shouldn’t be too hard to remember.

First, I will have to contact my congressmen and insist that they add this new government program to their list of earmarks in the next bills coming up.  Then I will most certainly have to hire lawyers to represent this important issue.  That shouldn’t cost much, only about 50k or so to begin.  Then I will have to hire people to conduct studies to see why only brown haired women are subjected to this terrible travesty.  I looked around today and didn’t see even one blonde or one red haired person with the wide part on the top of their head.  Even the dyed brunettes did not have this.

Next, I will have to have a petition to circulate so that everyone will be aware of this program.  This will require that I hire an assistant.  I can cover the position of CEO easily but I will need an assistant to dial all those numbers of people I will have to call.  Each state will have to be contacted you know. In just no time, SODBULB will become a household word.  Oh yes, this means I have to contact all the media too.  How am I going to keep up with all these lists.   I know, just need another new phone.  That should do it.  With a calendar or two on it and a place to put lists.  Oh dear, so much to do.

Well, it certainly looks like I have my work cut out for me in the next few months.  Have to set my salary also.  That will take some figuring.  And expenses to cover. I can readily see how that money gets spent.  Just 50k here and another 50k there.  And some of those employees will cost  even more than that depending upon how much they know about the Parting of the Waves. Plus benefits of course.

Need to run out now to the office supply store.  I’m sure I will need some computer software and a calculator to add all these figures up.  While I’m out, I will have to stop at the Garden Supply Store also.  Don’t remember what for  but it will come to me I’m sure.

SODBULB, SODBULB, SODBULB.  Has a nice ring to it.  Probably have to get that name copyrighted.   Everyone will want to be using it.





SALADS

17 09 2011

As usual thinking about times long ago.  Although to me, it isn’t long ago at all.  People just assume that everyone ate salads forever.  That is not true.  It was the early fifties before salads became popular.  It was then a popular thing to say about salads,  ‘I’m not a rabbit, you know.’    There might be a mixture of lettuce and tomato on the table now and then, but usually it was just sliced or cubed tomatoes as a side dish – and that’s a new phrase, too.  But there were no salads at all.  Then someone came up with the bright idea that we could combine some of those greens and lettuce and tomatoes and all that other good stuff and we would call it a salad.

My mother had been cooking for a good many years by that time.   So she gave this salad business a try.  Worked out pretty well, too.  Almost everyone seemed to like having a salad with our dinner.  Then it became the thing to do to have the salad before the meal.  So we did that for awhile.  There were only two kinds of dressing.  We could either have white – which was mayonnaise or white salad dressing sold in the grocery store.  Or we could have the yellow which was the only kind of salad dressing available to buy at the grocery store that was actually a salad dressing for actual salads. I really think it was a form of french dressing or perhaps thousand island.  There were a couple of off brand type salad dressings but we ate this on crackers or bread as a snack before salads came along.

We ate a lot of tomatoes that were locally grown and they were really really good.  Not like the ones of today.   Someone told me that all the acid has been taken out of the tomatoes of today and that is why the taste is gone.  Don’t know that is true, but it makes sense to me because the tomatoes definitely do not taste like they used to.  That someone also said that is why the tomatoes don’t rot as fast.  And also why if you are canning today, you have to add some sort of acid to the tomatoes you are canning or they will not can properly.   I didn’t know that one either.  Things sure have changed since my canning days.  Oh, I hate canning.  That was such a chore and kept me in the kitchen for days at a time. (You might enjoy reading my blog about jars, jars everywhere) My mother-in-law grew vegetables for me.  Then it was up to me to come get them, prepare them and can them.  And I always said very nicely ‘thank you’.  She was a wonderful gardener and could grow absolutely anything.  But I sometimes wished she hadn’t been so good at it.  I had all those babies to take care of and canning was not exactly what I wanted to do every day during the summer months.   But you should always be grateful for anything you have, so I was properly grateful and meant it properly too.

But getting back to whatever I was writing about before the tomatoes came along, I think it was salads.  It is very nice nowadays to go to the local store and pick up a package of salad to have for dinner or lunch.  I have never found any problem with any of the packages yet.  Just grateful and properly so for them also.  Glad someone else is doing the picking and the washing and the preparing these days.  And also glad there is such a good variety of salad dressings in the grocery store.  Whole shelves full of them.  How fortunate we are in this country.

Well, that brings up something else to write about another day.  I went to Russia one time and we are so very fortunate every day wherever we live in this marvelous country.  Will write about that one.  Also will write about dieting before diets became popular.  Have a good evening.