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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Saturday Tidbits

Free Pecans
I have located a source that has invited me to pick pecans. I want two gallons and I will get that many without a problem from this one source. YAY! Plus, I have four other free sources. I am so afraid not all will pan out. So, I keep a mental list of sources. I need to dust off my pecan picker upper.

I can't wait for more of these!

Free Figs
My friend with the fig tree called and told me figs were waiting for me. I will take him fig preserves from last year.

Losing a pink dogwood

front yard, looking to corner
See the tiny little tree past the big oak? Pathetic and hopeless in this location. 

closer shot
See the huge, vacant lot I have enjoyed for the last 35 years?
Enjoyed how? No one lives on it!
2 acres of perfection!

And, I could not be happier to lose a pink dogwood. The man who mowed last week and had the crew of boys will take it. I offered it to him if he would dig it up and refill the hole with dirt. Today, he cut limbs that were touching the house and roof, limbs that ants were using to access the kitchen. It worked. Ants are gone. Terro helped them

I planted this tree and another pink dogwood about twenty years ago. The other one planted in full sunlight in the backyard, now is higher than the edge of the roof and shades my kitchen window very well. The one that has to go has just not grown over a foot in this time. Granted, dogwoods are an understory tree, but the oak is not only shading it, but I believe that the giant oak is taking the nutrients the sweet little tree needs. It started spreading when I talked of cutting it down several years ago. I prefer it get a bit taller. He has a sunny space, so farewell little tree!

We had a new lowest high in Birmingham--70 F. I wore a coat from 6:30 am when I left the house until I arrived home at noon. Then, when I went out at 3 pm, I put the coat back on. It was not the chill that caused me to wear a coat, it was the slight mist and cool breeze.

On the ten day forecast, only days 8 and 9 are the only days free of some sort of precipitation. That will make six weeks of daily rain. Then, two days reprieve before it starts all over again. sigh sigh

I feel so much better.


It is recovering nicely.

This plant will have to come inside to its own private little nursery this winter.

just after re potting from nursery container
I can do this right. It is just a matter of taking time and energy to care for the plant.
Preparing the grandson!
Right now, I am putting together a first aid kit and a sewing kit for him.  He must be at his out-of-state college campus on September 1.
The county fair!
I am very excited about entering my canning this year. Plus, I just might enter baked goods. I won lots of ribbons when I entered several years ago.
2009--3 blue ribbons and 1 red ribbon
I think only one of my canned goods did not win a prize. I won second place for the birdhouse I made from 107 year old boards from my house. The winner birdhouse was so fantastic that I am not sad at all about my less than stellar second place win.
Back to School Giveaway
Sluggy at Don't Read This; It's Boring has a box full of back-to-school items you surely want for yourself, children, or grandchildren.
Your turn
What tidbits do you have to share?


  1. Oh, MAMA!!! I have never canned in my life for three reasons:

    (1)I don't want to kill anyone
    (2)Why can when you can BUY canned food
    (3)The mess.

    But it's basically FEAR. I'm gonna be running questions by you via email.

    1. I will "water bath can" all day long, but I've yet to pressure can.......I'm afraid of that, too!!! I have a pressure canner and I got the instructions out and read them, but ALL I see is an exploding canner with shards of's vivid, and so I can't bring myself to actually do it.

    2. When I was 36 and my friend was 18, she taught me to use a pressure cooker. Mama bought me one from a yard sale about five years before, and I was just too terrified to use it.

      There are so many safety features on modern pressure cookers/canners that they cannot explode or kill anyone. Honest.

      I had listened too many times as my mother's generation recounted "exploding" events with pressure cookers.

      MM, Shards of glass cannot get out of the canner. I promise. There are two locking mechanisms on mine.

      When my friend taught me to can, I would run out of the kitchen and peak around the door. I was so afraid, I just could not go in the kitchen. She had to talk me in.

      MM, get the info on the fair. They have competition for all ages, 2 and up--art, animals of all kinds, produce, maybe sunflowers, animals, all sorts of sewing and needlework. Columbus could make a birdhouse, bakers could bake for a lesson. This could be a lesson one day, reading information and planning what each child could enter. The rules may be on the internet.

      Lotta joy, what do you want to can first?

      lotta joy, email any time.

  2. I want to bring my crew and come pick pecans!!!! I need to find some locals who have fruit/nut trees and don't use them who will let us come pick. I just bought about 50 pounds of tomatoes to can......though, I think I will turn most of them into salsa.....that's on my list for tomorrow.

    Your Stevia plant REALLY bounced back. I thought that thing was dead FOR SURE, so I'm pretty impressed that it is looking so nice and healthy!

    We've never done the fair, but I'd like to. I think the kids would really enjoy it....maybe next year.

    And two thumbs down to this weather. I am SO SICK of it. Does this mean we will have a bad winter??

    1. MM, I am quite sure you could find enough pecans here to pick up. Hopefully, there are locals who can help you out as to location. Stay on the lookout for trees and stop, local or not, anywhere you go, even in town.

      I am on the verge of getting boxes of tomatoes for this winter's soups.

      It really did look dead! I put it in more dirt, and put it on the table where, hopefully, slugs won't get it. I use rain water when it gets too dry, instead of tap water. Even though it rains on morning, it might be the next evening before it rains again. Oh, I use the water from the ac.

      I certainly hope we won't have a bad winter. After last winter and this spring and summer, I think it means it will never get really cold again.

  3. I have never picked pecans, how wonderful. I don't envy the canning though. It's hard and hot work !

  4. Jane,
    At this stage, picking up pecans is hard work for me. Most years of my life, I have picked up pecans. I actually look forward to canning.

  5. Almost every tree that I knew in Mississippi can be found here in the Willamette Valley. None of them grow where not planted, but they do fairly well where they are planted. Not as big, but healthy. Two that I don't recall ever seeing are pecans (walnuts do well here, and filberts are a main crop) and mulberries.

    1. You don't have pecans? That would be sad, but they are my preferred nut and the one I grew up picking up every year. Thanks for telling me about the things that grow there.

  6. So many lovely things in this post. I love pecans... and that cabbage-shaped plate - my grandma had one just like that!

    I wish I could learn how to can/pickle. The process is intimidating though.

    Best wishes to you in the county fair!

    Wishing you a lovely day.

    1. Jennifer,
      I was intimidated at first. The canners today cannot explode. They have too many safety fixtures. One safety fixture is a little valve that can blow, but it is tiny and it would just hit your vent hood.

      That is a Wedgwood plate, bought at an antique shop. I love it, and it photographs very well.

      Thanks. This next week is the prep and canning week for the fair.

      Thank you. It has been lovely yet cloudy and cool.

  7. Free nuts and figs sounds like fantastic finds! I do not can very much any more because I need someone to do the lifting and by the time my lifter is home from work I'm usually too tuckered out to can! Your ribbons are beautiful. Here in Canada blue ribbons are 2nd place and red is first. I know that where you are blue means first though. I hope you enjoy the fair. Good luck!

  8. No, no pecans--I don't know why. Southern magnolias do well here. Sweetgums are all over the town, and there are even cypresses. I grew up beneath huge water oaks, but I only know of one here, and I doubt that it will ever become a major tree. The winters are no colder than yours but are extremely wet. The summers are mild, but extremely dry. I have no memory of high temps in the South accompanying low humidity. I just remember being more or less wet with sweat pretty much all the time for eight months of the year, but, of course, I lived a bit south of you as I was 85 miles north of New Orleans.

  9. Snowbrush,
    There are very few torrid days with low humidity! But, I can handle them and do not sweat at all on those days. Otherwise, our experience is the same--wet with sweat every day and most nights.

    I wonder if anyone has tried to get pecans to grow up there. It is surprising to hear magnolias grow there. Sweet gums are nice trees, even with the prickly sweet gum balls.

    As a child I lived near Jackson, MS. I was hot, but I was more resilient than now.

    1. My guess would be that if I looked hard enough, I could find a pecan tree somewhere, but I NEVER hear of anyone picking them, so I assume they're either almost nonexistent or don't get to any size. This is a temperate area, so many things do very well here, but things that need months of hot weather don't. Okra, for example. How I miss okra, not so much as a food but as beautiful plant. Anyway, maybe pecans don't just need the absence of cold, but the presence of prolonged heat.

    2. Something else I miss are crepe myrtles. They do grow here, and are even fairly popular, but they don't stay in bloom for months, and they don't get nearly so big as in the South. It's funny when you move far away that you can't anticipate all the things that you'll miss because you don't even know that you won't have them. Cardinals, for one. Who would have thought that there are no cardinals in Oregon?

    3. Snowbrush,
      I would miss pecan trees but not okra. I am surprised that magnolias thrive but not crape myrtles. There are shorter varieties, so maybe those are the only ones that will grow and thrive in your area.

      I have a back yard full of cardinals--eight to be exact. Someone who lives about a mile or so said he had not seen a cardinal in years. Ha! They are all in my yard.

      Even when visiting an area far away, it is hard to anticipate what will NOT be there.


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