Contact Me

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Little Surprise Garden

turnips, planted three weeks ago

I had been  planning to plant something for the winter, anything, just anything. I had planted nothing all spring or summer, so this was my last shot. All the stores had no seeds. Southern States had three kinds--turnips,  basil, and something else. 
I need to take off the leaves, I think. 
4' x 4' bed with layers of chicken wire

Exbf pulled a few weeds for this project. This is where I put kitchen compost and  leaves from the hen pen.  The hens hop in and scratch up soil and weeds, depositing fertilizer. About six months before planting time, I put a stack of chicken wire over it to keep them from making more deposits. It should be fertile.

I just threw handsful of the tiny turnip seeds into the box and misted it well with the hose.
Finally, I saw one minuscule leaf. Then, on Monday, exbf reported two leaves. Today, there are four. I suppose they are turnip plants.
When the plants get a little bigger, I will take the stack of wire off the box. Elevating one layer of chicken wire will keep the wire from squashing the plants, keep the cats off, protect the turnip greens from hens.  I put the wire on in a whole piece because I don't want to cut the chicken wire, but I will now. A free bedsheet can be used for frost protection. They all lived through 26 degree weather last week, so I am not sure how much cold turnips can take.

Tomorrow, I will find bare spots where the Hosta died back, bare spots in flower beds and pots and plant more turnip seed. I really want there to be enough for me and the hens. On rainy or icy days, I tend to keep them in the pen to protect myself from the mud and ice.

Any suggestions? I have never grown turnip greens.    

Your turn
What other seeds can I plant for the winter? How do your turnips fare in the cold? Is this futile? I plan to leave the sheet on some days, sort of mini-greenhouse. Thoughts on that?    Is it okay to plant turnips in the Hosta bed and planter?          

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas When I Was Six-Years-Old

61 years old, 17" x 17"

My mother made this for me when I was six-years-old. There is more to the story that I will tell later. The store-bought toys I got then are all gone, broken, destroyed, discarded.
I hung this on a cold, crisp, sunny day to air.
I love this little quilt. It has batting inside. The other side is identical. I allowed my two older children to see and feel this briefly at different times over the years during their childhoods. Forty-years ago, I thought this was too fragile to play with. Today, I think it would not last long. It won't stay in the sun long today.  The colors are as bright as they were the Christmas in 1952 when I received it from Santa.
Do you have "toys" made for you by your mother or friend or relative, toys that you cherish? Tell me the story, please.
I have many items made for me by both my parents.

Edit: My mother used a scrap for the quilt because even though you cannot see it, there is a seam in the quilt. She used what she had and bought nothing for this. Even though I did not have anything but joy and love for her, I now have a new emotion. I am eternally grateful for her efforts to make my life a joy even though she struggled to find ways to do so.
Your turn
It is your turn to share cherished hand-made, home-made items from your parent or someone you know. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

My New Chicken

metal chicken planter

I was so excited to find this and then to bring it home. Do you think it is an antique as advertised? It looks like something from Mexico, but I don't know. I saw it and the lady allowed me to bring it home without paying for it. I will return with antiques I have stacked up, things I no longer want. If they want them, which they will, this will be freechicken. You know--like freebird. Not funny? I am feeling punchy.
Today, I kept sending exbf on chores past this. Then, when he did not comment, I went out with him and we looked at Thelma and Louise, Lucy and Ethel. I managed to get him about two feet from the side of this chicken, facing it. Still, he did not see it. Fearing he would fall over it if I led him any closer, I finally showed him. He had no idea it was meant to hold a potted plant. How can a man be so blind to something so large and new?
One way or another, this will be free. I have things to sell. The shop owner might not have paid money for the things I have, but she might trade. If not, I will have plenty of motivation to sell them now that I have my chicken. If only it were a hen.
And, this chicken needs sanding and painting. But, what color? Like a Rhode Island Red or back to white? Shabby Chic may be fine for a while.
Do you like your new yard ornaments free?
Your turn
Just talk to me. I am

Sunday, November 25, 2012

When the Hair on the Back of Your Neck Stands Up

You quit taking garbage to the road, now! I had dragged the garbage can to the road earlier in the evening. I had left it half full and had not carried out even one little thing because I knew I could pull no more. So, I was taking things to the road by hand at 2 am.

What was the noise?

I scanned the dark street and tried to see anything in the yard across the street, from where the noise seemed to come, maybe something approaching me. In a great haste, I strode off to the house as fast as I could limp. I figured I would fall if I tried to run.

yip yip yip yip and then again yip yip yip

Coyote? Bobcat? Wolf?

What do you think?

Maybe not a yip, but a repetitive noise. No, it was not a bird noise.

Even though I am in a neighborhood in the middle of town, there are patches of woods within a block, continuing to full woods within a half mile. Last year, my very credible neighbors said they saw several young coyotes within a half block of my house. I know there are bobcats in the woods and in the countryside. Wolves?

I have gone for walks at 2 am, 4 am, and I never had fear like this.  Now, I am afraid. Plus, the street lights, what few we have around here, all went out for some reason. Except for the dim light from the side of my house, it was as black as during the city-wide power outage. No one leaves a porch or house light on around here after 10 pm.

Now? I leave the house fearful. That is not a feeling I like. It is not a feeling that goes well with my own yard or the world. I hate living in fear of what is in the dark outside in the middle of the night. I suppose other people live in fear of their environment, but it is not my life until now.

But...yip yip yip...It frightens me.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Turkey Feather Wedding

Turkey wedding
more pictures and story here.

How is that for DIY? I made my own wedding dress but did not pluck turkeys in the kitchen to do so. Yes, I made all the dresses for the wedding party. That's lots of turkeys. Maybe they put all the fluff into pillows or comforters.

ACK! This post will not stay in the right place. Try again. It keeps inserting itself behind the treehouse post.

Have you ever plucked a turkey or chicken to keep the feathers and use them? What did you use the feathers to make?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


a child's dream come true

As I was driving along, I saw this tree house and had to stop and take a picture. I did not dare get closer since this was in the country. You just never know when a dog will come blazing out and bite. It was daring of me to even get out of the car.

Since I could not talk to anyone in the house, I will use my imagination. I imagine a father and child or children building this together. I imagine the children spending lots of time using their imagination and playing in this. It can be a castle, fort, ship, dungeon, anything. Any of these pretend scenarios beats excess sitting in the house watching tv.
I wish I had a tree house all of a sudden.
Your turn
Did you ever have a tree house? Do you have one now?

Saturday at the Food Bank

We get to choose what we want--1 meat and 10 other items. I chose and got:

*2 chicken leg quarters
*black pepper
*peanut butter
*corn (for chickens)
*can of pumpkin
*hot chocolate
*toilet paper

To give you an idea of my choices

Any of these meats:
*grilled chicken strips (pressed meat)
*chicken leg quarters
*ground chuck

Ten of these: (I won't list what I chose and got above.)
The items in italics are things I might possibly get or things I have chosen before

*cheese slices *French fries *egg white omelets *mac and cheese

*crackers *corn meal *salt  *tea bags

*grits *Vienna sausage or smoked sausage *Hamburger Helper

*jelly *cereal *rice (white) *ketchup *Miracle Whip or Mayonaisse

*mustard *salad dressing *hot sauce *evaporated milk *prunes

*ramen noodles *soup *tomato sauce *pickles *instant potatoes

*instant potatoes *dried pinto beans *corn *green beans *English peas

*mixed vegetables  *pork and beans *Jello (reg or sugarfree)

*gelatin (reg or sugarfree) *Kool Aid *fruit drink *candy

*freezer pops * Cake mix *Frosting *baby formula *toothpaste

*shampoo *soap *Dove body wash *aluminum foil *Ajax cleanser

*dish detergent * toilet paper or paper towels

I get fewer items here, but I actually get more items I want and will use and that are not fattening. Plus, I don't get the food I do not deem unhealthful.

Some people say food banks don't give fresh produce. This one does. I got potatoes, peppers, and bell peppers.

An explanation: I never buy toilet paper and use washcloths.  You have read that, and it is true. This I get free is for company or the unusual times that, for various reasons, I do use toilet paper. One reason I might use toilet paper is that there are no more wash cloths in the bathroom because I have not folded them.

Your  turn
Were you aware that some food banks give produce? Give people choices?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Small Economy for the Bath

washcloth, hemmed on all four sides
not just overcast hems
new, never used

Years ago, It would never occurred to me to buy washcloths at yard sales.  That would have burst some of my preconceived notions. I must have been to yard sales with linens, but just never "saw" them. I do like nice white and pink towels and washcloths. But, the price and quality was right on this ugly gold washcloth. This gold one was more expensive than anything I ever bought new. It is very thick and has four hemmed sides, nice deep hems. This quality is usually about $8. YIKES! That hurts to even think about.

I hope to inspire you to let go of some notions and give an abandoned washcloth a chance.
Your turn
Will you use washcloths and towels from yard sales?


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mennonite Lucy and Ethel in the Henhouse

Two new girls--Lucy and Ethel

I got two new hens today. (written three weeks ago. I hope they are hens. Anyone have an opinion just looking at them? I got one with a rose comb, so I had no opinion on that chicken. I turned down the hen with the larger comb that was the same size as these two. I want eggs not crowing.
The Mennonites have chickens of about 6 different ages. I thought they let their hens hatch chicks. However, one of them told me they get the eggs elsewhere and use their own incubator. I really like the ten I got before. Thelma and Louise and Fancy (deceased) are from that bunch I bought as day-old chicks.

This square yard looks like a stockade.
house inside stockade
Inside little house was a platform with a hole about the size of a plate in the top of the platform. the littlest chickens ran into the hole. We managed to frighten some of the hens into the stockade. We did not try to scare them. At any rate, the chickens ran into the little house as he approached and then into the hole in the platform.
I had a business meeting over coffee at Berkley Bob's Coffee Shop. Since the catching took so long, the chickens sat in the box in the car while I talked with my recently-arrived friend from Romania, Johan,  and a publisher, Fred. We are all authors. Berkley Bob knows Fred and me. He introduced Fred to a man sitting behind us, a major author with a major publishing house. After a bit, the wife said they had to go because they had two dogs in the car.

"Well, I have two chickens in the car."

The wife was astounded. "You are kidding?" Really, you have chickens in the car?" We all had a good laugh as I explained to them my chickens in the car. They couple thought I had them running loose in the car! They were relieved when they heard they were in a box.

Once I got Lucy and Ethel home, I put them directly in the pen as I let Thelma and Louise out. Louise was hell-bent on destroying them both through the fence. Lucy tried to get out the crack in the door frame.

Since then, I have had to endure watching the abuse Louise meets out each day. Thelma is not quite so hell-bent on denying the new girls food or a peaceful moment.

At dusk, long after Thelma and Louise wanted in the pen, I took food and let them in. Louise was beside herself, distraught and angry. Lucy and Ethel were just terrified. I sat and watched. Finally, Thelma and Louise went to the top Rubbermaid box and tucked themselves in. Lucy and Ethel just huddled on the ground. (sigh) At 1 am, they were still on the ground. They are too frightened and too fast to allow me near them. The next week they slept on the table on which the Rubbermaid houses sit.

The first really cold morning I went out and no one was in the henhouse or the pen. They had vanished. In the center of the pen were piles of feathers. I was baffled as there was no "body." Nothing had been breached, top or bottom of the pen. I called them and there was silence. Finally, I looked in the garbage can placed in the pen for them to sit in during windy times or to sit on anytime.

Thelma and Louise just looked at me. Finally, both deigned to come out. But, Lucy and Ethel were nowhere to be seen. I looked in the garbage can again. There they were--Lucy and Ethel, smashed against the bottom and side of the garbage can. They looked squished and sat upon. I was talking to Thelma and Louise and noticed Thelma had only one small tail feather.  I had slept late, so I am not sure what transpired or who pecked who.

Layout of hen pen. There is another box on top of the visible box.
Lucy and Ethel, still in shock and fleeing me.
Box under table is their carriage home.

Since Thelma and Louise are so aggressive about the food, I feed Lucy and Ethel on the back of the table behind the Rubbermaid box, right where they started sleeping. Now, they hop up there, looking for food. They new girls did not eat for 24 hours. They actually looked dazed, in shock. Now, they are scratching up the yard of their pen, trying to sneak in close for food.

Lucy and Ethel eat behind the nest and sleep boxes
so Louise cannot chase them away from food.
Since I got new chickens (no guarantee they are girls!), Thelma and Louise have not tried to sleep on the porch rail. I suppose they think they must go defend their home and claim their place. One night it was almost pitch dark and I had not shut them in the pen. Lucy and Ethel were not sleeping on the back of the table! I could barely see and hear Thelma and Louise cooing to me as they stuck their heads out. I went back inside, returned with a flashlight, and found Lucy and Ethel had taken  up residence in the bottom Rubbermaid box, the nest for egg laying. Whew!

So, since October 30th, we are a four hen residence again.

Your turn
Do you find it hard to watch as your hens work out the pecking order? Got any new hens or animals?


Friday, November 16, 2012

Sweet Potato Heaven

Can you see the steam rising?
It's is hot, baked, and ready to eat!
There are certain foods that I have loved since I was a child. I remember when I was about eight-years-old and living in Jackson, MS. The day was cold. The house was warmer than usual from the oven baking sweet potatoes. I asked mama if I could take a potato outdoors to eat. She wrapped it in a tea towel and I wandered around on a raw day, feeling so happy. My hands were warm from holding the towel with a sweet potato fresh from the oven.
sweet potato warehouse

All these boxes have sweet potatoes in them. You can see how far back the stacks go by looking at the light on the upper left. I had left my sd card at home, so I could not take any other pictures. I feel really great when I stand in this room. The picture does not give you the scope of this operation. The family that works here is truly nice, helpful, and friendly. This operation sells to a place that cans sweet potatoes.
I love going to the sweet potato farm! It feels good to drive about ten miles to get a nine-month supply of sweet potatoes. One year, I bought 160 lbs of sweet potatoes that lasted until June the next year. Last year, I bought 60 lbs. This year, I bought 40 lbs. Lack or room for storage is my only obstacle. Remember, the place is a wreck from bringing in things from other rooms.
Sweet potatoes are $0.69/lb right now. I paid $0.25/lb.  The price will fluctuate. When I asked exbf three years ago if he thought I had bought too many and let too many spoil, he was encouraging. "Even with what you lost, you still profited in savings."
Not only did I get a good price, I absolutely know the variety. I have stated this before--buy Beauregard. They are so sweet they do not need butter or sugar to make them palatable.  Actually, Georgia Jet is better, but they don't store well. Buying sweet potatoes from the grocery store or even the produce market is a crap shoot. They never know the variety!
These are soooo local.

In the kitchen, ready for easy use.
In other years, the boxes have just sat on the floor, sometimes stacked. This year, I have a bookcase just emptied of books. So, I had him put part of the sweet potatoes in paper bags and put them in the bookcase. It will work better. They are in boxes and bags and more easily available. The room stays cool, and they are in the dark inside the boxes and bags.

They sell turnip greens, too.

This "tub" is outside where they wash greens by hand. Last time I went, two weeks ago, the greens were in the turquoise tub. Exbf noticed there was still a green crop of something. It was so far away, I could not even guess what was growing.

See the sides of this bus?
The sides are cut out and boxes of sweet potatoes are stacked in the sides. I was inordinately excited when I saw this drive from the back of the farm. "Look, look!" 'it's a sweet potato bus!" I kept saying this while trying to get my camera ready to shoot. So, I finally got a side picture as it turned onto the main road. 
I baked ten sweet potatoes on Thursday, and exbf got five. I offer every year to give him a bag, but he prefers to have me cook them.

My neighbor who died at 94 taught me the flavorful and "right" way to bake sweet potatoes. Her way involves using every cast  iron skillet and cast iron griddle you own. I used a broiler pan with parchment paper to avoid having to wash sweet potato sugar that becomes concrete from the cast iron. Yes, it is easy to get off an iron skillet, but I prefer wadding a piece of parchment paper and throwing it away  at this time in my life.

*Get sweet potatoes 
*Wash the sweet potatoes in water.(just rub them off with your hands. no scrubbing unles filthy)
*Lay on a dish towel to dry OR
*Dry them with the dish towel
*Cut off places you want to cut off
*Pull off tiny roots
*Pour a bit of oil in a saucer (or bacon drippings)
*Use both hands to coat whole potato and cut places with oil
*Pierce with a fork the length of potato OR
*Do like I do, just use a knife to make very shallow slices across the top.
Place in iron skillet or lined shallow pan. Bake on 350.
It's hard to say how long to bake them. That depends on the size of the potato. To begin with,  45 minutes is a minimum. They start looking all fat and puffy. Use a dry dish cloth or potholder to gently squeeze the sweet potato. When they easily yield, with no hardness evident, take the fully baked ones out. Yes, I do burn myself quite regularly because I get tired of the pot holder or cloth and just stick my hand in the over and squeeze the sweet potatoes. Ouch! Often, taking out a few at a time when they are done is how it happens.

Rarely are all potatoes the same size. Size matters when figuring out how long it takes until sweet potatoes are fully cooked. If I have 20 sweet potatoes in the oven, they are rarely the same size. For more uniform sizes, I could pay $16 for 40 lbs, but I prefer to pay $10 for 40 lbs.
When I put the sweet potatoes in the microwave, they do not turn out very sweet. Microwave at your own risk. My daughter insists on microwaving them and then putting sugar and butter in them. Aaack! Thankfully, she has a son and daughter to deal with when they doubt her good advice when they are grown. That will show her.
This year, I hope to dehydrate sweet potatoes, and then use a food processor to make powder so that I can rehydrate these in the summer, long after they would have been eaten or have gone way past their prime.
I will use the sweet potatoes as a substitute in pumpkin bread and make sweet potato pies.

Tonight, exbf and I had baked chicken, sweet potatoes, and collard greens. YUM. I had a breast and he had a leg and thigh. He has a plate with the other thigh and leg, and a bag with the wings. I think he helps me for the food.

By the way, sweet potatoes and yams are not the same thing. Read all about yams, sweet potatoes, history and nutrition right HERE

Your turn
If you love sweet potatoes like I do, raise your hand. Have you ever oiled your sweet potatoes to cook them? I am so fascinated by the sweet potato bus! Do you ever buy sweet potatoes by the 40 lb box?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sluggy's Giveaway

Check out this blog friend's giveaway. She is filling up a box for a lucky winner. Wait! Why am I sending her more competition for me?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Snake in the Basement...Rat...Pot

Do you remember when I found a snake in the basement, sitting there, sunning? A few months later, I found the skin above. Actually, half the skin has fallen down. The basement walls are mostly rock. Maybe you can see that.

So, the rat story is going to continue here. See the semi loop at the top of the picture, the very top? See the thing hanging to the left of it? When this house was remodeled many years ago, the carpenters working for the contractor cut a hole about a foot long and six inches wide for the 220 cord, the semi loop, the fit through. He was fit to be tied!

 Fast forward 25 years. I had a rat!!! come in my house each night and nibble bananas. After a week of puzzlement and traps and searching and baiting the basement, I saw how it all happened.

Left of the semi loop is a rag hanging from the kitchen floor above.  A rat used the curtain and then the rag pulled from the hole to gain access. It looks as though something has been pulling at the rag again. So, either I have a rat or a snake trying to gain access. Either way, I am not a happy camper. Now, I have to try to get the rag back up and figure out if the rat is coming in here. I have seen no evidence, so keep your fingers crossed.

Yes, I know that something over the big, rectangular hole would be best. But, I cannot accomplish that and I won't ask exbf because he cannot figure it out or do it. 

Last summer, sunning, outside of window

I was thinking about this pot the other day,
wondering where it was.

Until this pot became dinged, I made jelly in it for many years. I will never buy another enamel pot.
Have you noticed my curtains? One day about 20 years ago, I became thoroughly disgusted with the 1950s Venetian blinds, the real deal. So, I made curtains. Not wanting to invest in  8 rods, I put a nail in the top corners of each window. I took five feet of wire and threaded it through the top casing. I had already securely twisted a loop in one end of the wire. I hooked it on one of the nails  Stretching the wire more tautly than I could today, I wrapped it around the other nail on the opposite window. Voila! I have curtains on a "rod." How do you think people hung curtains before there were curtain rods?
On the way out, I gathered stuff for the trash--six flat dip containers half full of paint poured from gallon buckets--dried out, I am sure. This was a place to work. Now, it sits mostly idle and full of things needing to be thrown away. It looks like a project.
I am feeling so lucky I did not fall going down the outside steps to the basement! I promise I won't try that again alone anytime soon.
Your turn
How do you deal with  a snake or a rat in the basement? Have you ever used wire when you did not want to buy curtain rods? How is your basement today? Messy like mine? Full of spider webs like mine? 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

An Extra $60 for Christmas

Throughout the year, I spend about 2 minutes each day making this money. That boils down to my working for about $5/hour. However, I can work in my pajamas without brushing my teeth or wearing shoes or a bra. I can do this semi-reclining. What do I do that means so much right now?

I use Swagbucks to search for anything, even if I know the address already. I was really afraid to put a search bar from Swagbucks on my computer, just knowing I would not like the consequences. However, it very unobtrusive and effective.

About the two minutes spent on getting points: I already spend a certain amount of time searching, so this two minutes is on top of time already spent on searches. I don't spend an additional two minutes on each search, just spread over the day. I think someone got the whole concept wrong. I type in address on the swag bar even if I can type it directly in the address bar or have it saved on my computer. I type in yahoo and hotmail addresses for my emails. And, often I get 30 points in a day going to my email, something I already check several times each day.

Once, I scored 39 points for a single search. Regularly I get 8 or 9 or 12 points. It takes me about one month to earn $5. That does not seem like much, but $60 at the end of the year is great for me. You could do much better.

Of course, I was totally lost and did not know all the neat features on the toolbar because I just did not care. I never use all the ways I can earn more points. I hate playing games or doing surveys, but they are profitable. You may be more patient and earn more. I just use 450 points to buy a $5 Amazon card and move on to earning the next $5. And, I never pay shipping because I pick and choose what I want to buy and look for free shipping. You don't have to wait until Christmas to redeem your Swagbucks.

When I first put the Swagbucks widget on my blog, it was huge and unsightly. I have a new one, still large but nice and skinny. Okay, I have seen tiny widgets, but I cannot find one. It appears you can click on the bottom part of my widget and get one for yourself.  Maybe I can search on my widget. Maybe I get points. Update: I did search on my widget. So, search here or go get your own by clicking on the little grey tag at the bottom of the Swagbucks widget at the right side of this post.

As you can see, I am still unclear on all the ways to earn points. Maybe someone has a palatable way I can earn more points other than games or watching videos.  I just know that next year I will work on using another way to earn more Swagbucks. One thing that surprised me was the way the searches work. Once I searched, I might click to the second page or go on clicking pages to find the article I wanted to read. Sometimes, the points are awarded only after clicking to subsequent pages.

UPDATE: Someone just emailed me, saying she did not have time. I was trying to emphasize that my $60 took little to no extra time. Did I not make this clear? The two minutes is spread over searches all day long.

Your turn
Do you use Swagbucks for your searches? Do you earn Swagbucks in a way that might be acceptable for me?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pecan Picker

3 gallons of pecans

As you may know, I love pecans. From the age of seven to eighteen, We lived in two places that each had a dozen or so pecan trees. When I was a teen, I would hear pecans pouring from one bucket to another in my sleep. It was intense. People are amazed I can pick the good from bad pecans without cracking the pecan first.
I was young and lithe and needed no assistance to bend an pick hour after hour of my own volition, never pressured to pick more. Now, I have a new device to help me.

Tool in use, picking up pecans
about $12
Three or four years ago, I picked up 75 lbs of free pecans. I bent from the waist, not easily, but not in pain. I bought a tool to help for the next year. The next year, I had few pecans because there was just no crop at my free trees. Last year, I bought pecan halves. This year, I am finding a few pecans. My goal is 5 gallons of pecans for the year. So far, I am over 3 gallons toward my goal--maybe less. The harvest is not over.

at the house behind my neighbor
I let exbf use the tool because he has more trouble than I bending over and reaching to the ground. He is overdue for a hip replacement. He enjoyed using the picker. Okay, that is what I am telling myself. We went to a pecan orchard on semi-public property and ate a picnic lunch and did not find one pecan. I spent 5 minutes under pecan trees and called it a day, a waste as far as pecans at that location goes.

We went to the house behind my neighbor. I let him use the pecan picker because he had a harder time bending to the ground than I do. He is about three years overdue for a hip replacement.

When we finished, he had picked up 56 pecans in the picker. I never count pecans, but I was curious as to how many the picker would hold. So, he counted them for me. For a person not suffering with back or hip o other orthopedic problems, picking up pecans is good exercise.

Just press the end on the pecan and it pops through the little blades. Then, to get the pecans out, you just hold the picker over a bucket and use fingers to pull it apart. That part is sort of a pain and the skill gets easier with practice.
springs, hinges, blades--works well to capture pecans
When full, hold it over a  bucket or bag and pull back the black metal rods

When I bought the picker, the guy went into the back and got a rubber cane tip to the top end. He said it makes it more comfortable to press over and over again. He is right. You can see that in the full picture of the picker.

Even if I planted a pecan tree today, I would not see many pecans from harvests. Do you have a pecan tree?

Your turn
Have you ever used a pecan picker, or do you own one? Do you have a pecan tree?

Recipe: Hot Chicken Salad....... Comfort Food from Leftover Turkey

We all have our comfort food. Right? And, most of us will soon have leftover turkey. This recipe is one I rarely make; yet, it is a favorite. Now, you have one more way to use leftover turkey. I change the recipe to be more healthful. The taste and comfort for me is not changed. My children loved this dish, so we had it about every two weeks to once each month.  We all loved chicken salad, so HOT chicken salad was twice as delicious. This is hot as in temperature. It is not spicy at all.

I don't remember if I got this from a magazine or someone gave it to me after I tasted it at a church dinner.

Family Circle
Martha Stewart's Hot Chicken Salad

2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped chicken or turkey
1 cup mayonnaise (I use 1/2 cup or less)
1/2 slivered almonds (I never use this)
1/2 shredded sharp or mild cheese (I use medium cheddar)
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 crushed potato chips

Combine everything but chips. Mix well.
Turn into a buttered casserole.
Sprinkle with crushed chips

Bake at 450 for 20 minutes.

On a busy night this is easy to assemble if chicken is already cooked. I havepre-chopped the celery to hurry the assembly. Sometimes, I chop the chicken or turkey as I put away leftovers of either. The whole casserole can be assembled ahead of time, leaving off the chips. I crush the whole tiny bag of chips.

Less mayo does not affect the taste or texture of anything. almonds are too expensive.

In order not to have chips to tempt me, I buy the little lunchbox size of chips. In the past I have bought the bag that is about 8 inches high. I do not need a regular bag of chips.

There are six chicken breasts in the refrigerator, waiting for me. I don't have to change up the way I serve turkey or chicken. I love turkey and dressing day after day, breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks.

Your turn
Have you ever had this recipe of Hot Chicken Salad? Does it make you drool as it does me?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

An Old Pair of Boots Leads to High Fashion

Gary Reid by G 5.jpg

I thought I would share this article with you. I met this man and saw his goods. I could not afford one of his purses. He has many styles, all pictured in the article.

Have you seen anything like these?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Straight From The Trash: Nome to Atlanta

And, it is RED

While in the hallway of a climate-controlled storage unit, I decided to look in the trash can. Sitting inside the trash can all alone was this nice people of luggage. Most carry ons of this brand are at least $150 and some are $450. I looked up the brand on the front--Ricardo Beverly Hills. The model is not evident. This is a carry on bag with only one problem--one zipper is broken about four inches from the beginning.

Tags show the bag traveled from Nome, Alaska to Atlanta, Georgia.
The top will not flop open, giving really easy access, but it is still an okay piece of luggage. Nothing will fall out the broken zipper area. However, I am not planning on traveling with it. I will use this for storage of material I am removing from my sewing room or I will store out of season clothes in it. Maybe this will be my "gift drawer" for things I have cheaply gathered for gifts.
It pays to look in trash cans.  Do you look in trash cans? This smells nice (no BO or moldy smell) and the trash can was empty. The carry on did not even touch the sides of the can!
Exbf was with me. I have corrupted him. He had never gone dumpster diving or looked in trash cans for items that were useful.
Your turn
What have you found in the trash lately? Ever? You don't look in trash cans? Oh.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Marathon Dishwashing Session & Candy Corn

I was told I was wrong, that the date
did not mean 2010 and they never
put a date on this product.
Plus, I paid $1 and not $2
that I did pay.
All this from manufacturer!
I put the title in the order it looked best. But, I put the text with a picture first. I do know better. Candy Corn is just sugar, but this had a bad taste and mouth feel. So, I checked the date.

On to dishwashing

I know this sounds gross, but I have been washing dishes that have been here a month. Actually, I should say that the sink has not been empty in a month. So, I could wash all and then still have the ones I just used sitting in the other side.Yes, I do wash and do use the dishwasher. However, I never seem to get to the end of them. Yes, they are rinsed and not really gross. I washed for about twelve hours last evening and into the night. Yes. all night. Now, I am at it again.

Some of the ones left were jars that did not get clean in the dishwasher and were put in the sink to hand wash. Others are plastic tumblers rinsed and stacked. Still others had a rusty stain that needed a bit of elbow grease and baking soda.

Why don't I finish? Pain! Plus, I think...I know something is wrong with the dishwasher. More food is left on plates, glasses are murky, and utensils collect gunk. That is why I had jars in the sink. If the dishwasher breaks entirely, I will not cook!

See, it is not that bad. I have washed dishes less old that were casserole dishes, large bowls, and utensils that came out of the dishwasher with something still stuck to them. They needed a good soaking. I did let an iron skillet rust in the sink. Some things just won't fit in the dishwasher. I really need a colander that is small, so that it can fit easily in the dishwasher.

Even though I will have put twenty hours into this session, resting time counts to me. Mostly, I am on my feet and hanging onto the sink with my elbows, battling water that wants to run up my arm. And, it was in the 30s out and frigid inside with no heat.

Do they make disposable pots and pans?

If I cook one day, it is impossible to stand long enough to wash the same day. I do cook enough for several meals, so cooking in large quantities in large pots, pans, and casseroles is the rule for me to avoid lots of messed up dishes each day.

There has never been this big mess in the kitchen. Between pain, cooking, cold, and dishwasher not functioning right, I have had a marathon dish washing session. Last week or the week before, exbf put away dishes as I held onto the counter and took out and stacked and directed him where they went. I do not want to do that again. My shoulder is partially frozen, back is excruciating, and knee has swollen. But, I am determined.

My goal is not to let it get this horrid mess happen again. Next time, I will post pictures. So, that fear will keep me on my Actually, dishes have to wait until the next day, always.

There will be no pictures.

Boring? Yes. Real life? Yes.

In a bit, I will be going to the church dinner that is getting worse as far as quality of food. I love hot dogs, chips, and cake. But, I just don't eat that way at home. I just scrambled two eggs and had a glass of milk so I won't be famished with nothing but junk before me.

Okay, I stopped writing for awhile to hang clothes on the line. Yes, I love punishing pain. Back to the dish pan.

Funny dish washing story

When Mama was about two weeks from giving birth to me, Daddy insisted they attend the Midsouth Fair in Memphis several times. She objected, saying she had to wash dishes. Of course, she was washing them by hand. He promised to do them. This went on for most of the week with him never washing a dish.

At the end of a hard week, she was furious and there were no more dishes. He took a large washtub and put it in the yard. All the dishes went in the tub and soaked. He finally finished. Mama said he was disgusted he did not wash them each day. That may have been the only time he ever washed dishes during their marriage.

No, that is not me.

Your turn
Does the text on the bag say "best by 2010" How is your pain? Have you ever just let dishes or anything else stack up to the point of marathon work sessions?