Falling Leaves


Fall Colours

Fall Colors by Russ Osborne

Happy Thanksgiving! I have been mulling over all that I have to be thankful for. Life can certainly be a challenge but as I live and breathe, I have more to be thankful for than this blog could contain. I may be disturbed some days but I have happiness and contentment.

Fall has come and gone. The leaves are gone and even though we should already have snow, we have been blessed with a few more moderately warm days. I have to admit, I was hanging on to it for dear life this year.I’m actually one of those people who loves snow and winter. Fall is still my favorite with Spring being a close second.

I’ve been foraging as usual. I picked up hickory nuts and laid them on my patio table to dry for at least two weeks. When they drop from the tree, they have a hull around them that is segmented and as it dries, it will separate and fall off or you can pry it off. It is dry between the hull and the nutshell. Once they dry outside for the two weeks then I bring them in and put them on trays and dry some more.

Juglans Nigra, Black Walnut

Black Walnut By: nipplerings72

There is two black walnut trees by the road here where I live and the green hulled nuts fall in the road and cars run over them and crack the nut shell out of the hull. Inside the green hull is a lighter brown substance (as seen in the picture below and on the right) that turns to a dark brown looking substance that Walnut Stain for furniture refinishing is made from. Once the hulls are run over a few times, the nut in its shell separates from the hull and the yucky stain that you don’t want to touch with your hands. You will be stained like a piece of walnut furniture If you don’t use rubber gloves when picking the walnuts up. These get dried for two weeks also.

Black Walnut, Juglans nigra ....#15

I have trouble cracking them but one of my sons (muscle man that he is) cracks them and puts the nut meats in Peanut Butter Jars to save for our baking needs. We love them and free is so much better than the expensive prices in the store. The baking increases in the fall which means the house always seems to have some good smells going on. For thanksgiving I made Banana Bread but not just your run of the mill banana bread…I saw America’s Test Kitchen make the Ultimate Banana Bread. Take a look on You Tube at this:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=DtokStgEQKM&feature=endscreen

Here is the Recipe:

ULTIMATE BANANA BREAD ON AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN SEASON 11

ONE LOAF  BAKE AT 350 DEGREES FOR ABOUT 1 HOUR IN A GREASED 4 X 7  LOAF PAN. (made for Thanksgiving 2012)

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl:

ONE LOAF                                                                         TWO LOAVES

1 3/4 flour                                                                          3 1/2 Cups

1 tsp Baking soda                                                            2 tsp. Baking Soda

½ tsp Salt                                                                           1 tsp. Salt

Mix wet ingredients in one bowl :

1 Stick Melted Butter                                                      2 Sticks Melted Butter

1 tsp Vanilla                                                                       2 tsp. Vanilla

2 Eggs                                                                                   4 Eggs

¾ Cup Brown Sugar                                                        1 ½ cups Brown Sugar

5 Bananas Micro waved on High 5 Minutes         10 Bananas Micro waved on High 7  Minutes.

½ Cup Toasted Walnuts (add at the end  mix)     1 Cup Toasted Walnuts (add at end to mix)

Take Bananas (5 for one loaf and 10 for 2 loaves)and put in bowl covered with plastic wrap with holes poked in it and microwave for 5 – 7 minutes on high, drain liquid from bananas into saucepan and cook on high heat, watching and stirring occasionally till it’s reduced ( ¼ cup for one loaf and ½ cup for 2 loaves) and add back to the drained bananas and mash together till smooth. Add the rest of the Wet Ingredients to the bananas.

Mix together with the dry till there are no big  lumps but not too much so it doesn’t develop gluten.

Add ½ or 1 cup toasted walnuts and mix right at the end of mixing.

Grease Loaf Pan and add dough to pan. Peel 1 banana on a diagonal and put down each side overlapping

Sprinkle 2 tsp Sugar over the top of the loaf

Bake at 350 degrees for an hour..rotate half through. Cool for 15 min before slicing… Yum!

This is awesome banana bread.

Well there is lots of cooking going on here. My family is coming tomorrow. I love it when they come. I hope you all have an especially good day with your families. We are so blessed. Savor every moment.

I know I’m not writing as much right now but I’ll be around when I can. Stop by and visit when you can. Have special times with your family and I will see you soon.              Jan

What Doesn’t Kill Me?


I saw this on Facebook today. It seems to fit the theme of the day.

I am thankful for encouraging people.

There are many people who could use some encouragement but as someone watching a struggle from the sidelines, it’s important to watch and weigh out what is the issues that brings a person to a certain place in their life. It doesn’t mean that as a person on the sidelines you are standing over someone saying , “You made wrong choices and you put yourself in this place so you have to dig yourself out.”  How can you love someone who is suffering and in trouble and yet not enable them to continue making poor choices. Every troubling instance in our lives should be the impetus for analyzing a situation and looking for the right choice.  None of us are entitled. We all need to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and have great discernment in the decisions we must make. I am in trouble at any given moment and so this applies to me. I have been in trouble, made bad choices, and been on the other side watching a friend or neighbor trying to survive through a situation. I do a lot of praying, no matter which side I am on, for wisdom to know what is best to do. God is always there for you and it is important to constantly look and listen for what He is telling you.

Psalms 119:104-106

104 Through Thy precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.

105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

106 I have sworn an oath, and I will perform it, that I will keep Thy righteous judgments.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.

13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

I’m very thankful for good friends and encouraging people in my life including my dearest friend, the Lord Jesus that is always there and never fails me.

I hope you all have the good things in your life that helps you wade through the debris and obstacles.

Talk to me about what things that bring you strength in the time of trouble. Talking about it is ,in itself, an encouragement to those in trouble. I salute you all who are in the battle for your life… physically, emotionally, financially, or spiritually.

Stop by any time as you are on your journey. I love your visits and I hope you find encouragement here.

Thanks,    Jan

 

Economy Battles On


The Propaganda Machine is doing its job. They are painting the unemployment picture whatever hue benefits them best. The news is so hard to listen to because you can never seem to know what is the truth on any matter.

I think some old timers have a saying that covers it all. “My weatherman is a rock. If it’s dry and hot, it’s good weather. If the rock is wet, it’s raining. If you can’t find the rock, then it must be snowing or someone stole my rock!”

All I know is that there are tons of people struggling. The ones that are working are not having an easy time and the ones that are out of work are really having a hard time.

I have done many resumes along the garden path and I’m like a bloodhound when I search for jobs. I can squeeze a penny till it squeals for mercy. Using what comes my way to the best advantage is my forte. Not that it is easy or that the food I eat is always “tastee” but survival is a necessary skill these days. Being spoiled needs to be put behind you and your willingness factor needs to be pushed up a few notches. I do that when I have to and usually have several others dragged behind me kicking a squalling.  I’m sorry, that isn’t a pretty picture, is it!

There are several things that seem to be important for these kinds of days when you are searching for a job. When an employer posts an ad for a job, there are huge numbers applying for that one job.

Here are a few tips:

1. In just a few lines into your resume, grab that employers attention! Get right to the point so they can see what your skills are that will benefit the company. They are usually looking at so many resumes that all the flowery hogwash needs to go. Just the facts, mam, just the facts!

2. When you read the ad, highlight the key words describing the job and focus on your skills that match those key words. Present those skills immediately and use bold print to draw that into their sight.

3. Every Resume needs to be tailored to the job instead of using a “one fits all” philosophy.

4. Once you have compiled all relevant information on your resume and cover letter, each time you apply for a job, cut and paste what’s specifically needed onto a new document and save it like this; 2012.10.6 Lakeside Dental Supply. Cut and paste the ad and do research about the company and save it along with the ad. Save it as: 2012.10.6 Lakeside Dental Supply ad.research. Place all in a folder named: 2012 Job Search.

5. Two other documents you need in your Job Search file are: 2012 References, and 2012 Cover letter.

6. Refer to your Job Search Folder often and decide on a call back strategy. Anytime you have contact with this company, open your ad.research file and put the date, who you talked to, and the response.

7. This isn’t a complete list but there are many sites online that are more trouble than they are worth.  Even with a strict no 3rd party security setting, I have found many complications when searching. The sites that I like so far in Michigan are:

Summary

Create a file and save in Documents

1. Documents   (Here is how mine looks)

1. 2012 Job Search

2012 Jan Lance Resume

2012 Jan Lance CLetter

2012 Jan Lance Ref.

2. 2012 Jan Lance Jobs Applied for

2012.10.6 Lakeside Dental Supply

2012.10.6 Lakeshide Dental Supply ad.research

Good Organization is Key!

Dont Ever Give UP!  Hope you all have what you need!

I hope I can encourage you as I “Journey Along the Garden Path”

What things are you doing to Survive?  Have you recently got a job and found something helpful in the search? please share what was helpful… it may help someone else

Thanks for stopping by to visit. Come again,    Jan

What’s Up


Excuses for not writing:

1. I’m telling you, I have been in “Neverland” and don’t want to return.  Not!

2. I’ve been in a coma. Not!

3. I’ve had a lot going on in my life. This is true.

4. My family has had a lot going on. This is true

5. I’m depressed. Yes sometimes. Fearful. Yes sometimes….

OK. Now that the excuses are over… it’s time to revive myself.

I’ve been gathering seeds, giving computer lessons, doing resumes, helping others get jobs I can’t do anymore and jumping up and down because my grandson is home from Afghanistan!!  I have to do all this at my own pace … a little bit at a time. Work a little ….rest a little. These last few months have been overwhelming and that’s the real reason. It makes me exhausted in a way I can’t explain.

August brought a new challenge to one of the most painful things I’ve experienced. Something I never expected in a million years. One of my 6 children went to prison 32 months ago and was released in August so he came home to stay here for his re-entry program. I was so excited and so relieved to have him out and to have him here. The process of having him here is not easy .. mostly financially but not only financially since you need to adapt to another personality in the house.  It is hard to watch him conquering the things he must conquer The whole re-entry into “society”, you wouldn’t think it would be hard but it is. I see the struggle in his face. I know his mind is thinking about every little thing that he must remember and do. I know he must feel happiness, hope, but also fear. He seems determined and has a good attitude but he has some rough mountain terrain that he must climb. He is determined to not do anything that would place him back inside.

I know this is crazy….but it weighs on me. He hates our food. We eat so different and we don’t have the money to change it nor did we want to except that we want him to be eating healthy. We had what I call a free meal tonight. Friends gave us a large fish filet so we cooked that steamed in the oven with yummy seasoning on it and Darnell, my husband brought in small baby carrots from the garden and green beans so I steamed them. We live off the land as much as possible. I know there is nothing wrong with what I fixed but he didn’t eat and I’m not upset with him but it still pains me. We have what we have and no room to do something else. Darnell made popcorn later so he had a bowl of cereal and some popcorn so he isn’t starving. I just had to get that off my chest. What a little thing! This is the smallest of our problems. When I was growing up there was a saying: Life has a way of throwing a monkey wrench in the works! I’m glad that tomorrow is a new day………. onward and upward. Don’t sweat the small stuff. (it’s a MOM thing)

It is exciting he is here and I’m glad. We will deal with whatever come and cross the hurdles and make it to the goal.  I have faith…it just wavers every once in a while. :-)

I know there are tons of families out there that have dealt with this. That’s why I want to share this very private part of my life with you.

Please tell me what you have experienced. I am fearful of the unknown. That’s normal… right? I know that right choices have to be the priority for him and there is no room for mistakes. I’ve heard how many end up back in because of a lapse in judgement. I pray that he will have a clear thought process and will not find himself in a bad position because of an impulse or wrong perspective or whatever makes us do the things we do. He is a man and I hope he has his feet firmly planted toward the future. I hope he will lean on God to give him the strength he needs for every day.

I have been in the valley and on the mountain. Up and down I go at any given moment right now. I’m usually not fragile and I need not to be right now. I pray and meditate on the things that keep me on an even keel. I know it will get easier. I have this thing I do when I’m struggling… I think about what I know for sure and focus on that. Do you do this when you are struggling with something?  The things I know for sure are:

I know that God is always with me.

I know that I’m not the only one who has experienced this.

I know that in God’s Word it says:

God has not given you the spirit of fear but of power, and of love, and of a strong mind.

II Timothy 2:17

He brought me also up out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon the rock, and established my goings. And He had put a new song in my mouth, even praise to our God: many shall see it and  fear and trust in the Lord

Psalms 40:2,3

I know that I am human so I have to put the fears behind me and trust in God who stays by my side every day. I am taking one breath at a time. That is all I can do and I’m glad I’m not walking alone.

Hope this is of help to someone out there who may be feeling something similar to what I’m feeling. Feel free to stop by any time and leave a comment. I’m praying for God’s help for us all.            Jan

Keeping our Heritage Alive


Grandmother’s are so special! Mine had a very distinct effect on me. She worked hard and played just as hard. She lived life to the fullest. She never stopped dreaming and reached all the goals she set. There were many things she loved. One was reading and writing poetry. She did a crafts that are not seen very often these days. She tatted. It is beautiful and is a type of lace making. I have one thing made by Granny. It’s a tatted cross and I keep it in my bible. It means so much to me. She sewed quilts also. They were warm and beautiful. Here is the cross she tatted for me. It is approximately 75 years old.

Cross Tatted by my Grand-Mother,
Velma C. Goddard

While my grandmother and her skill at tatting is why I’ve written this article, it is another person I know, who is currently tatting, that this article is about. She lives up the road and around the corner from where I am. I have lived here for ten years and I met her early on after we moved here. I didn’t get to visit with her very often till she retired this year. Before retiring she was always busy with work and keeping up at home  along with the beautiful flowers in her yard. Her name is Judy Brocker.

One day, while we were visiting, Judy told me she was trying to learn to tat. I was so amazed. Now that she is retired, she wanted to learn something that she had always wanted to do but never had the time. Tatting was something that her grandmother did and she admired it. Most people don’t even know what it is. She had her grandmother’s shuttles and several samples of her work.  Her grandmother tatted mostly…and did embroidery. Her grandparents seemed very similar to mine who farmed. Judy’s grandparents lived in SW Michigan in Hartford, MI. As she talked about them, a picture formed in my mind of my grandparents in West Virginia That era of people did natural things to provide for their families as well as the decorative amenities for their homes. That’s where tatting, embroidery, crochet and knitting were part of the functions of the housewife from that era.

This is a statement from Judy Brocker:

“My grandmother, Lucile (Cooper) Ulrath  born Sept 7, 1893 in Lawrence, MI and died April 4, 1968 in CA.

Lucile (Cooper) Ulrath

She took care of sick people before marrying Albert Ulrath (he was the 1st child born in the US as his siblings were born in Germany) from Hartford, MI in June 24, 1920.  She took care of his wife until she died.  After marrying she was a house wife living on a small farm (strawberries and other items for family use).  They had 3 children named Mary, Albert, and Bonnetia.

Pillow Case with Embroidery and  a Decorative Tatted Edging done by Lucile Ulrath

My Mother, Bonnetia (Bonnie) Ulrath now LaFountain, was the youngest of the 3 kids.  She did a lot of sewing for my sister and myself when we were young.  She also crocheted things for their home such as tablecloths, dresser scarfs, bedspreads, and crocheted a top on hand towels so they will stay where they’re hung and not fall to the floor every time you dry your hands. They are wonderful. She still does hand towel tops occasionally today.

Dresser Scarf with a Tatted Edge made by Lucile Ulrath

I have done embroidery work but I was always impressed with the tatting my Grandma did.

She would always be making something that involved shuttle tatting.  I needed a hobby that I could do now that I have retired and have the time to learn something new – so I chose shuttle tatting.  It is an art that most people haven’t heard of nor seen.  I have had a hard time to find someone in the Lawton–Paw Paw area that know how to tat.

Started in Feb 2012 to find sites to show how to shuttle tat. After posting ads on many bulletin boards around Paw Paw and Lawton finally received a reply.  Annette Lyons from Dowagaic came to my rescue.  She said she could teach me “how to flip the thread”.  This procedure must be done and conquered before learning anything else.  Without knowing this procedure you are not truly tying knots just wrapping the tread.  I met her @ the Cass County Council On Aging in Cassopolis where she worked with me teaching “how to flip the thread”.  I went home and practiced several hours for a couple of days along with reviewing the DVD and book she loaned me.  The book was “Learn to Tat” by Janette Baker with interactive DVD #3766.  It showed step-by-step instructions and color photographs with a handy DVD showing the same thing.

Jon Yosoff @jonyusoff@gmail.com has been a great help answering questions and referring me to different sites to help me.

Since then try to tat whenever I get the chance.  My husband has told me that I sure do “stick” to it even when I have problems learning a new stitch.  I enjoy learning and making items with the tatting.

Earrings Designed by Judy Brocker

Tatting is an inexpensive hobby.  You can make your own shuttles or purchase 2 of them for approximately $7 and a ball of cotton crochet thread for less than $5.  There are videos you can watch on the internet and you can also get “free” tatting patterns also.  You can find books, supplies, & patterns on the internet that you can purchase.”

Judy Brocker

August 23, 2012

 With some help here and there and a lot of work on her part, she is producing some wonderful projects. The difficulty seems to increase with each project she starts. Hope you enjoy the samples of her work. She has only just started to learn this craft and is doing very well.

Beading added to the Tatted Earrings by Judy

Here are some sites online to explore the world of Tatting:

1.       http://carriestatting.com/

Easy instructions for learning either right and left-handed tatting.

2.      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljXBGDVwEIU

Bev Dillion’s You Tube Instruction Video

3.      http://www.pineywoodsatelier.com/thepineywoodstatter.htm

Just a nice site to see examples of Tatting.

Beautiful Earrings by Judy Brocker

I am thrilled that Judy is learning to Tat. Carrying on the heritage of skills from our grandmothers is a great thing for any of us to do.

2012 American Flag by Judy
God Bless the USA

Thank you for joining me as I review a lost art that is a heritage from Judy’s past and mine as well.  I’m glad there are those carrying this into the 21st century. As I say good-bye, I will show you one last thing from what Judy is currently making. It’s a doily that she is working on now.

Earrings Designed by Judy Brocker

Completed Doily by Judy Brocker

The bookmark above was given to me by Judy. I love it and put it in my Bible at one place and my Grandmother’s Tatted Cross is placed at another spot. Thanks so much for joining me as I look at this art that is a heritage from my past. Tell me what you remember from your past that is your heritage.  Leave a comment for me or for Judy. I would love to hear about it as I travel along my garden path. Come again when you can.                         Jan

Almost the Middle of August!!


NO! NO! IT CAN’T BE! IT’S THE MIDDLE OF AUGUST!  HOW CAN THAT BE?

Pole Green Beans August 13, 2011

I’ve been very busy for the last month. My mind was definitely somewhere besides on my blog. Been busy with family things and then a recuperation period because of exhaustion but now I’m starting to feel a bit better. I need to refocus and tell you what’s going on with me.

First … our garden … has been doing very good once we treated the conditions of the drought with two garage sale soaker hoses. Once we did that, the beets, carrots, pea pods, and beans have blossomed nicely supplying our table with a wealth of vegetables.

One thing we learned about beets. They like watering and like their leaves trimmed back and in doing so the growth is redirected to the root part of the plant. Once we regularly harvested the beet greens to eat, the beets got bigger and bigger.

The broccoli has been awesome although it doesn’t look like the broccoli I buy from the store. It has looser head clusters. The taste is very good though. It is starting to go to seed. Pea Pods have just finished producing and I picked the first dried pod from the vine.  I will be actively collecting seeds from all the plants for next years planting.

A friend ask me what I thought was a good winter cover crop to plant on your home garden plot. I have been around farms a good bit and so winter rye came to mind but I decided to search and see what info I could find.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds is a site I’m fond of for getting information that is valid. http://www.johnnyseeds.com/p-6578-fall-green-manure-mix.aspx

http://www.johnnyseeds.com Fall Green Manure Mix

The link above describes a mix of seeds that can be planted on garden spots (usually farmers plant a field of it) to enrich the soil and plow under in the spring before planting. It’s called Fall Green Manure Mix and is a ready-made mix comprised of winter rye, field peas, ryegrass, crimson clover and hairy vetch. Vigorous late summer growth provides winter erosion control. The peas, clover and ryegrass will winter kill to provide organic matter and soil cover. The hairy vetch and winter rye will regrow in the spring to provide nutrients for crops to utilize.  That’s one option as well as any one of the selection in the mix or buckwheat. I really enjoy there site for all kinds of garden questions.

Mother Earth News is the other site where I looked to see what they had to say. Here is that article and the address where you can find it.


Preparing Your Vegetable Garden for Winter

10/14/2011 10:17:22 AM

By Mary Lou Shaw

Tags: winter gardencompostroot cellarautumn plantingMary Lou Shaw

Every gardener probably has a different version of the “best” way to prepare a backyard garden for the winter. Because our Ohio garden is large, and each year is different in climate and crops, I find that our garden goes into each winter with a little different variation of preparedness. Winter preparations occur over several weeks, but perhaps the following suggestions will give you ideas that you can try now and in the years ahead.

One thing that most gardeners will agree upon is that it’s worth the effort to clean out all the old annual plants. Some of the vines and climbing plants will die on their own and can be hauled to the compost by now. Others like tomatoes will wait for a hard frost to die. I’m in no rush to clean out crops if I can still get some green tomatoes or a sweet pepper or two. However, when the season is over, cleaning out the dead plants prevents the build-up of disease and harmful insects. The heat of composting will kill them.

The dead plants and weeds that you clean out from your garden in the autumn become valuable additions to your compost. Don’t worry about knocking all the soil off the roots. Soil contains microbes that will boost the decomposition of your compost. The compost recipe is “two-parts brown and one-part green. Dried leaves, pine needles can be added to the dead plants to provide the “brown.” Kitchen waste, grass and still-green plants will help provide the “green” component of your compost recipe.

If you don’t have room for a compost pile outside your garden area, consider digging trenches in your garden where you can bury this debris along with the other compost ingredients. After one trench is filled and one area of your garden cleaned out, dig another trench for the next area. This will compost and enrich your soil for the next year.

There are lots more options for your garden before you say good-bye to it until next spring. For one thing, if you plan ahead, your garden can continue to provide food through much of the winter. Kale and collard can be planted in the heat of August and then ignored until cold-sensitive plants have died. Carrots can be planted about late August or September and then covered with straw and not harvested until frost has sweetened them.

The garden is also a good place to create a “root cellar” of sorts. Plants don’t have to be deep in the soil to be protected from the cold. If you have cabbage in the garden that you would like to save for the winter months, dig it up now with the roots attached. Next, dig a hole to put it in, head-first, with the root sticking out to mark the spot. (You might also want to mark the spot with a stake in case you have high snow). When you dig it up this winter, you can remove only the outside leaves and have a perfect cabbage. Potatoes and carrots can also be dug now and preserved with a mound of straw and dirt above them.

Depending on where you live, you might still have time to put in some plants for next year. Spinach is planted four to six weeks before frost and then covered with straw for a late winter or early springtime treat. It’s time right here to plant garlic, rhubarb and shallots for next year’s harvest.

Some people say that soil should not lay bare through the winter because top soil will be lost to erosion. The best solution for this is to plant a cover crop (see the photo for an example of a buckwheat cover crop as well as compost rows). Cover crops can do more than hold your soil in place. Some plants can also serve as “green manure” when tilled back into the soil next spring. You want crops that will break-down readily, and buckwheat and rye serve this purpose well. A good source of cover crop seeds is Johnny’s Seeds.

Another purpose of cover crops can be to enrich the soil while they hold it in place. Legumes do this best because their roots have nitrogen-fixing nodules. Red clover is my favorite for this purpose because its stems don’t contain silicone and therefore breakdown readily in the soil in the springtime. Other clovers are difficult to get rid of when you’re ready to plant your crops.

The granddaddy of all cover crops is a mixture of buckwheat, red clover and turnips. The buckwheat feeds the bees, holds the soil in place, suppresses weed growth and breaks down readily after a frost. The red clover enriches the soil, suppresses weeds and also helps to hold the soil. And the turnips? After the buckwheat dies, you can protect them with a bit of straw and have turnips to eat throughout the winter!

I have one more way that I am getting our garden ready this fall, but it is next springtime that I have in mind. Last spring was so wet right up into June that it was difficult to get into the garden to plant seedlings. The only parts of the garden that I was able to plant were the rows that I had already laid out with compost and straw-paths the previous autumn. I am therefore getting my daily work-out now by hauling compost, cart-load by cart-load, from the compost pile in the meadow to the garden. Who knows what next spring will bring, but with every part of the garden in a different stage of preparation, some part might be “just right.”

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/the-happy-homesteader/preparing-your-vegetable-garden-for-winter.aspx#ixzz23P3BKYwa

This article suggested the use of your garden spot as a composting spot and also using it like a cold cellar for root crops like beets, turnips, parsnips, carrots left in the ground to pull up as needed from a late planting. I would like to try what they said about cabbage. Pull up the head, roots and all, dig a hole and place the head upside down in the hole leaving the roots exposed. When you need it, go out and dig it, clean off the outer leaves and wash and use it for whatever recipe you need it for.

Rhubarb Swiss Chard out of my garden.
We’ve been eating it..see the trimmed stems?

Ready for last picking … Rhubarb
From my Garden

Mid August progress of the Wild Strawberry Patch. See the Volunteer Squash at the top of the Strawberry Plants?

The patch started in the spring with 12 little plants! I think they’ve spread!

Hey you gardeners out there, what do you do with your garden plot in the winter? I would love to hear what you have to say about all this. I really have not done anything with ours in the winter except for composting right on the plot. Darnell has gone out when snow melts from the soil and chops everything up and mixes it in the soil. We are planning to purchase a tumbler composter sometime in the future. I think this year we will try planting beets and other root crops and leaving them in the ground to pull up as needed. We will continue composting in the walking paths  I just love gardening. It makes for awesome meals all year-long.

Thanks for letting me think out loud. I am in a constant state of brain storming. My husband and I love trying different things. Stop by and visit again.  See you soon,     Jan

August 1st to September 1st… and Beyond


Email is filled with various things…. I almost always go through and delete a large amount of things I feel are not worth my time or effort to read. Time is a valuable commodity and I don’t like to waste it. The other day, though, I received this bit of email wisdom and I would like to pass it on to you. I have talked in previous posts about unemployment in the USA and what we can do to support our fellow Americans. Read this and tell me what you think.

AUGUST 1st to SEPTEMBER 1st

Well over 50 yrs. ago I knew a lady who would not buy Christmas gifts if they were made in China. Her daughter will recognize her as follows:Did y’all see Diane Sawyer’s special report? They removed ALL items from a typical, middle class family’s home that were not made in the USA .There was hardly anything left besides the kitchen sink. Literally. During the special they showed truckloads of items – USA made – being brought in to replace everything and talked about how to find these items and the difference in price etc..It was interesting that Diane said if every American spent just $64 more than normal on USA made items this year, it would create something like 200,000 new jobs!I WAS BUYING FOOD THE OTHER DAY AT WAL-MART and ON THE LABEL OF SOME PRODUCTS IT SAID ‘FROM CHINA ‘

FOR EXAMPLE THE “OUR FAMILY” BRAND OF THE MANDARIN ORANGES SAYS RIGHT ON THE CAN ‘FROM CHINA ‘
I WAS SHOCKED SO FOR A FEW MORE CENTS I BOUGHT THE LIBERTY GOLD BRAND OR THE DOLE SINCE IT’S FROM CALIF.

Are we Americans as dumb as we appear — or — is it that we just do not think. The Chinese, knowingly and intentionally, export inferior and even toxic products and dangerous toys and goods to be sold in American markets.

70% of Americans believe that the trading privileges afforded to the Chinese should be suspended.

Why do you need the government to suspend trading privileges? DO IT YOURSELF, AMERICA !

Simply look on the bottom of every product you buy, and if it says ‘Made in China ‘ or ‘PRC’ (and that now includes Hong Kong ), simply choose another product, or none at all. You will be amazed at how dependent you are on Chinese products, and you will be equally amazed at what you can do without.

Who needs plastic eggs to celebrate Easter? If you must have eggs, use real ones and benefit some American farmer. Easter is just an example. The point is do not wait for the government to act. Just go ahead and assume control on your own.

THINK ABOUT THIS: If 200 million Americans each refuse to buy just $20 of Chinese goods, that’s a billion dollar trade imbalance resolved in our favor…fast!!

Most of the people who have been reading about this matter are planning on implementing this on Aug. 1st and continue it until Sept. 1st. That is only one month of trading losses, but it will hit the Chinese for 1/12th of the total, or 8%, of their American exports. Then they might have to ask themselves if the benefits of their arrogance and lawlessness were worth it.

Remember, August 1st to Sept. 1st !!!!!! START NOW

 As I was searching for information for this article. Here is the link to the report Diane Sawyer made with an option to comment:  http://abcnews.go.com/WN/MadeInAmerica/mailform?id=12912252 

The following link will help you find products made in the USA:

http://abcnews.go.com/WN/MadeInAmerica/page/map-find-made-america-goods-13917383

A fellow blogger also advocates buying products MADE IN THE USA!

http://vintagegent.com/category/made-in-the-usa/

It is my hope to gather support for this to aid our fellow Americans in a productive way.

Join me as I “Journey Along the Garden Path.”

Thanks for viisting and come again.

Jan

Live and Survive Within 25 Miles of Home


 

Please Shop Local

You  know, I spent the last couple days shopping within 25 milesof home. We have been only buying what we absolutely have to purchase and for sometime we have bought meat when it’s on sale and purchasing extra to freeze so that we don’t have to buy meat every week. I also have Vegetarian Meals also. We have friends that bring us things from time to time which helps a great deal. Our garden and the church garden has supplied much for our table. The local farms and farm markets supply the rest. I love giving my money to the local farmer and not to CA, WA, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and China or some other foreign country when it’s in season here. I see these states or countries constantly at the grocery store. It isn’t that I don’t want other countries to have my money.The reason I feel this strongly about this is the jobless rates here in the US. As a loyalty to my fellow countrymen, I want my money to benefit my local community. If things were better, I would have no thought about spending money for the benefit of any another country.

Soaker Hose for the Garden

During the summer months, there are so many things available to us locally. Fish from the lake is one thing that we are able to do to stretch our food budget. It provides a tasty choice for us and is restful, stress relieving, and enjoyable. I have not tried it yet but I have thought about frog legs and turtle as a food source that we could try in the meat area. As for vegetables and fruits, as different crops come to harvest, if I buy locally, it keeps our local economy going and provides food for us all year-long by freezing and canning. I bought corn on the cob and was able to put some in the freezer. The drought has been hard on our farming community. We were having trouble getting our garden to produce. My husband went to a yard sale and bought 2 soaker hoses for $4.10 and we laid them up and down the rows in the garden. Our beets and carrots went crazy and they grew to amazing sizes. I just love what comes from the garden. Very healthy and so good too.

Our grand-daughter went with us to the farm markets.

Watermelon with yellow flesh

Watermelon with yellow flesh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They had a melon cut open on display. it was a small size watermelon with a yellow insides. We gathered corn and a regular sugar baby watermelon. We were at the checkout when she came carrying the yellow watermelon that was cut in half up to the check out wanting to buy it. I said to her, “I don’t think they want to sell that one. That’s so people can see what it looks like inside.” Then I turned to the woman who was helping us with our purchase and said, “I think my grand-daughter wants this and a spoon!” She just laughed with us. We did bring home one of the yellow fleshed watermelons and it was delicious.

We went to another farm market and bought eggplant which we don’t have in either garden that we get our veggies from and blueberries along with a few other garden goodies. In the summer, I need two refrigerators to keep up with the vegetation that comes through our house. Again, I am so thankful.

There is a potato farmer that lives about 8 miles from us. We like to buy our potatoes and onions there. When fruit comes in season, Darnell will help me can some for the winter. Tomatoes are something we use a lot of all year-long, so we need to can some of them.

Food and Farmguide

I was looking on the internet, and saw that if you search for “food and farm guide” and put your zip code, town, state or county, almost always, you can find a guide to find local resources. I looked under my county name here in Michigan and found this site: http://vanburencd.org/farmguide. Here is the actual print download for this guide: http://vanburencd.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/FOOD-GUIDE-2012_1.pdf

I even found Food and Farm information available for the UK at this site: http://www.bigbarn.co.uk/ and I imagine many countries have those resources available online. Please support your local community by purchasing what is needed for your family from resources within 25 miles of your home.

I hope this is helpful to each of you.

Come and visit me again as I journey along the garden path.      Jan

 

Success… and Seed Saving


You Do Need a Few Other Things…but….

Saw this on Facebook and thought it is only a good place to start! Just thought I would share it with you. You do need grit and humor to go through life. There are really broad ideas about success’ definition. Do you have thoughts on this? I do and I can guarantee that it is nothing like most people think. It definitely has very little to do with money or accomplishment. It does include God. He is a great inspiration. What is really valuable?

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Matthew 6:19-21

Earth is a small place when you look at it from heaven. (Wikipedia)

Now for the some of the rest of what’s on my mind:

SEED SAVING!

Had a request about how to save seeds.

FROM THE WEEKEND GARDENER:

If you are going to save corn seed this year, make sure it has not been cross pollinated, or that it is not seed from a hybrid plant, because hybrid varieties may not produce fertile seed. You’ll want to do this seed saving exercise only with a non-hybrid variety of corn.

Here’s How To Do It:                                                                   

Corn Seed

1. To save corn seed choose the earliest and the best-developed corn cobs you can find

2. Cover them with a large enough paper bag to be able tie the top off to keep the bugs and grubs out

3. Do not use a plastic bag as the cob needs to breathe

4. Allow the cob to develop and dry out on the stalk as long possible

5. To store the cobs, remove them from the bag, pull back the husks, and hang in a dry area away from bugs or rodents, or you will end up with a dried out corncob with no seed

6. When the cobs are fully dried out, carefully break-off the seed, store in a paper bag, and keep in a cool place (the bottom of the fridge is a good spot) until springtime and you want to sow it

7. Good seed should be viable for at least two years

http://www.weekendgardener.net/blog/2007/08/how-to-save-corn-seed.htm

Here is another resource:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/save-vegetable-seeds-backyard-zmaz77zsch.aspx

I learned things here I definitely didn’t know. Seed saving isn’t as simple as it would seem to be. I am so glad that I read this one. We are not at seed saving time yet but if you don’t have it clear in your head, you won’t be ready.

I love Mother Earth  News! I have a friend that passes them on to me. I love reading it. I love all the info you can get there. It used to be such a hippy magazine for those that traveled on the road less traveled  I think there is a lot of valuable information there. I judge information after searching a bunch of places and kind of find out what the consensus of the reading brings me.

Seeds are very important to continue life. Hopefully we will all be diligent about saving seeds.

I enjoy my travels along the garden path.

Come visit my garden. I will be here.

Jan

What To Do When You Are Sick and Tired


William the Conqueror fell off his horse at Ma...

William the Conqueror fell off his horse at Mantes, suffering mortal injuries. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s 2:30am and I’m up. My body is aching all over and I feel total exhaustion. I feel sad because I want to fill the needs of my family and do my part and I just don’t have the strength or endurance to do that the way it should be done.

My grand-children are so precious to me and I feel like I fail them over and over. It makes me sad. You need energy for children and I just don’t have any.

I am sick and tired. I guess I’ve given in to a little pity party. I know there are plenty of you out there that are in the same boat and understand completely. I don’t have pity parties very often and I need to pick myself up, brush of the dust, and keep movin’! I have a friend who says, “You have to cowboy-up!”  That’s what I need to do, in a plan B kind of way.

The fact is that I am sick. With God‘s help, I’m still here long after everyone thought I would be gone. That’s good! With a focus on that’s good, I don’t feel equal to the tasks that have always been my responsibility. I wish it were different but it’s not. That doesn’t mean I give in or give up, but I have to allow myself to care for myself and do as much as I can and know when to stop. Have you heard that a good barber knows when to stop? It’s kinda like that at a much slower pace.

I always liked to hurdle myself into what lay in my path. It’s hard to slow down. I draw my strength from God everyday and He is faithful.

So. what do you do when you are sick and tired?

Female Horse Rider

Female Horse Rider by Mike Baird

  1. Thank God for every day and every breath you take.
  2. Keep you focus on what is good and positive.
  3. As much as is possible, give yourself the nutrition to keep your body as strong as possible.
  4. Listen to your body and rest as much as it tells you it needs.
  5. When you fall off the horse, pick yourself up and get back in the saddle. Even William the Conqueror fell off his horse.
  6. Love everyday you are given.
  7. Do the best you can and don’t berate yourself for what you can’t do.
  8. Live so you have no regrets.
  9. Count your blessings.
  10. Be thankful for God, your family and friends because without those three things, you would really have a bad day!

OK! I’m back in the saddle. I need to remind myself from time to time of what my attitude needs to be. Hope what I’m experiencing helps someone else out there. We have to encourage one another.

I feel strangely calm after writing this. I think I’m ready to try again. How about you?

I love it when you visit so come again,          Jan

What a Day!


Kalamazoo Airport

Kalamazoo Airport (Photo credit: Friscocali)

Today was a Day unexpected! Left the house at 8am to take my daughter to the airport after a stop at the bank. We were right on the mark. Busy, busy morning from the moment my feet hit the floor. It reminded me of days from my past when all six kids were exploding in 6 different directions. It was my job to clear the landing pads of each one so their days got off to a good start. I don’t remember how I did that. :-)

Michigan's Adventure 010

Michigan’s Adventure (credit: Roller Coaster Philosophy)

 

 

 

 

Dropped off my grand-daughter with her Uncle to go to Michigan Adventure.

We arrived at the airport an hour and a half before her flight and was called back to pick her up because there was something wrong with the plane and they cancelled the flight. Her next boarding time was  four hours later. Left at 8am and really don’t have the strength for this. Lord, I will need you to shore me up and carry me through. I am amazed and thankful that He makes me equal to what is ahead. I never know humanly how I make it and know that it is God carrying me through.

English: Logo of TJ Maxx

TJ Maxx (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We went to one of my favorite stores, T.J. Maxx. I have a mobility chair. Thank Heavens! I don’t get out much and I don’t shop much either. We shopped and looked and the hours flowed by. I had needed to go to town and find a birthday present for one of my grand-children. Check! I needed to replace some tattered rugs in the bathroom. Check! My daughter doesn’t get much time to herself without her daughter so she was in shopping heaven. She looked with unrestricted abandon without any distractions. She is the typical mother and is usually taking care of her child’s needs. Her mind probably was in shock. She has only had one real vacation in probably 10 years so I am delighted that she will have a chance to recharge her batteries. I wish for her relief. Most and even this time has been mostly a working vacation just because she is in a different location but doing her work there.

My mobility chair started blinking and I knew I was in trouble so we headed to the front of the store. That is a first …using all the energy available, both me and the chair.  I am so thankful …I would not have made it through the day without it.

We checked out and brought the van to the front of the store and loaded it and our purchases up and had something to eat before she boarded the plane. It was a hard day but a treasure of spending time with a special child. Love her so much.

We went to a bakery and I had some chicken salad

A chicken salad made from chicken used for sou...

A chicken salad (Looks very much like the one I had)made from chicken used for soup stock, celery, cucumber, apples, fresh dill, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

and a crispy roll and tea and she had a pasta salad with a roll and water. Then we headed to the airport once more. It is always hard to let them go. I prayed for her safety physically, emotionally, and spiritually and let her go once again.

I again waited for her plane to take off before leaving to go home since I live out-of-town. My children used to ask me why I lived out in the boon docks and I would say because that is where I want to be.   I’m happy and at peace out in the boon docks. :-)

It was a long 7 hours that I had thought would only be maybe 3 hours. I arrived home exhausted and breathed in the quiet and laid down to rest. There was nothing left but it had been just enough. I was so glad to be home. Thank God for the strength He provided.

Waiting...

Well that is my saga! Come and visit and we will share our stories again. Love it when you visit!    Jan

Grammie is happy!


Yes…absolutely! Grammie is happy! My daughter and grand-daughter came to visit from out-of-state and I am so happy. I wish I had more strength… I feel rather exhausted but I am happy. Several other grand children have been here to visit so my cup is full and running over.

First Big Fish at Age Seven

Grampie is in the kitchen making Smore Cupcakes. There is more chocolate on their faces than in the bowl. Here is the recipe from Bakingdom (http://bakingdom.com/2011/08/smore-cupcakes.html). There is not long to wait. The smell is tantalizing. Yummy!

There has been lots of swimming, drawing, movies and playing angry birds. What a bunch. Love them all. Wish all  9 could be here all at once.

Bugs Bunny

Our grand-daughter went with Grampie and they picked beets, carrots, and swiss chard out of the garden. I got it all cooked and in the refrigerator this morning ready to eat.  One other grand-daughter looked just like Bugs Bunny with the carrot with all the greens still on it. She ate it all gone. I showed them how you cut the greens off the beets, boil them in salted water till they are tender. Set them off the stove to cool and then you can just squeeze it and the skin pops off and is ready to eat. I want all my grand-children to love veggies.

I hope you all are having good summers and if you have family any distance away, I hope you are able to get together for a visit.

The Pastor and his family brought us green beans out of the church garden. I fixed enough to go with supper. Thanks so much for that.

Our whole supper was free. Everything was out of the garden and the fish was out of the Lake. I love that.

Come visit when you can. I will always enjoy it.    Jan

Morality


Calvin and Hobbs

This says it all…. It’s on my mind and I’m sharing with you… Come again and Visit, Jan

1918 Human Statue of Liberty


18000 Men @ Camp Dodge During World War I

Camp Dodge is a military installation in the city of JohnstonIowa. Centrally located near the capitol of Iowa, it currently serves as the headquarters of the Iowa National Guard. Original construction of the post began in 1907, to provide a place for the National Guard units to train.[1] In 1917, the installation was handed over to national authorities and greatly expanded to become a regional training center for forces to participate in the First World War.[2]Upon the end of the war, the post was downsized and turned back over to state authorities.[3] Similarly, with the outbreak of Second World War, Camp Dodge was again handed over to the federal government; however, this time the post was used only as an induction center for new service members.[4] Camp Dodge has served as a Guard and Reserve installation since the close of WWII.

Grenville M. Dodge

Grenville M. Dodge  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The name Camp Dodge comes from Brigadier General Grenville M. Dodge, who organized Iowa’s first National Guard unit in 1856.[5] Although not a native-born Iowan, he became a well-known figure and resided within the state for most of his adult life. He is considered a War hero for his service and also served a term as a U.S. Congressman representing the state.

Along with the numerous National Guard units located at Camp Dodge, the post is also home to the National Maintenance Training Center, Joint Forces Headquarters, Iowa’s emergency operations center, and the State Police academy.

All previous content from Wikipedia.

This was an email that I received from a friend of mine.

It was so awesome I had to share it.

Hope you enjoy this bit of history as much as I did.

I love history and I love America! Come visit again,   Jan

References

  • Swanson, Robert Domestic United States Military Facilities of the First World War 1917-1919 Book Information
  • Online Sources
  1. ^ www.historian.itgo.com
  2. ^ www.globalsecurity.org
  3. ^ www.gjenvick.com
  4. ^ www.historian.itgo.com
  5. ^ Grenville M. Dodge, An Iowa Hero Iowa Public Television site

[edit]External links

Coordinates41°42′11″N 93°43′07″W

The Best Foraging Rules I’ve Found


On April 30, 2012, I published a blog called: Precautionary Warning! The Other Side of the Coin.

I wanted to make sure if anyone read about the foraging, that the readers were safe as they explored this area in the wild. I came across the site I’m going to show you and thought this was a more concise list that seemed more understandable. You decide. If you are going to forage, please save this list and follow the rules that are there for your safety.

May Apple Plants on the Forest Floor

The Rules of Foraging


These rules are for your own protection when investigating plants that are new to you. If followed closely, they will protect you in the field.

  1. DO NOT collect plants closer than 200 feet from a car path or contaminated area.
  2. NEVER collect from areas sprayed with herbicides, pesticides, or other chemicals.
  3. DO NOT collect plants with RED STEMS, or red striations or stripes.
  4. ALWAYS BE FAMILIAR with all dangerous plants in YOUR area of collection.
  5. POSITIVELY IDENTIFY all plants you intend to use for food.
  6. Take a piece off the plant and roll between your fingers. SNIFF CAREFULLY. Does it smell like something you would eat? If it doesn’t, DISCARD IMMEDIATELY. If it does, go to rule 7.
  7. Take another piece off the plant and roll until juicy. RUB the tiny piece on your gum above your teeth.
  8. WAIT 20 minutes.
  9. DOES YOUR GUM ITCH, BURN, TINGLE, SWELL OR STING? If no reaction occurs, go on to rule 10.
  10. Take another piece of the plant and put in a teacup. Add boiling water and steep for 5 minutes. SIP SLOWLY for 20 more minutes. WATCH FOR NAUSEA, BURNING, DISCOMFORT.
    If no reaction occurs, you may ingest a small amount.
  11. WAIT ANOTHER 20 MINUTES and watch for any reaction.
  12. Keep all samples AWAY from children or pets.
  13. Store all seeds and bulbs AWAY from children and pets.
  14. Teach children to keep all plants AWAY from their mouths and DO NOT ALLOW children chew or suck nectar from any unknown plants.
  15. AVOID smoke from burning plants. Smoke may irritate the eyes or cause allergic reactions QUICKLY.
  16. BE AWARE of your neighbor’s habits with chemicals, pesticides and herbicides.
  17. BEWARE: heating or boiling doesn’t always destroy toxicity.

Disclaimer


This is information about wild food. The owners of this website (www.ofthefield.com) make no claims as to the correctness, safety or usability of the data.

The information contained herein is intended to be an educational tool for gathering and cooking wild plants. The information presented is for use as a supplement to a healthy, well-rounded lifestyle. The nutritional requirements of individuals may vary greatly, therefore the author and publisher take no responsibility for an individual using and ingesting wild plants.

All data is to be used at your own risk. Using the Rules of Foraging, above, greatly help to reduce that risk, but they are not foolproof.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

English: Hiking trail Soonwaldsteig

I got this information from a site called: http://ofthefield.com/

Click on the “Ongoing Information” link on the left side of the screen and below a list of  several plants that you could look for and what they are good for, is The Rules for Foraging. This list seems the best to me. Foraging is a wonderful experience as long as you are well-informed and cautious. Remember the saying, ” An ounce of prevention (or caution) is worth a pound of cure!”

One of the plants she listed is the Red Clover you read about in my blog post: Gathering Red Clover (5/27/2012). The following is what Lind Runyon has to say about Clover:

CLOVERRed Clover

When I homesteaded in the Adirondack wilderness, the intake of calcium and protein was my main interest. Reading references about wild foods became a very necessary occupation when I went to the town library.

Red clover is one wild food that is high in vegetable protein and calcium. Red clover buds are sold in health food stores as a tonic for the body.

I began by putting red clover leaves between two pieces of whole wheat bread and pretending it was cheese. After a week or so, I began to forage freely on red clover leaves and buds for my sweet candy.

Little did I know the plant would eventually supply casseroles, teas, stir-fry and flour for baking. For a few months, red clover was added to spaghetti sauce and cream sauce for a halfway normal diet.

English: Trifolium pratense, Fabaceae, Red Clo...

Red Clover
Photo Credit~Wikipedia

When foraging for any plant be sure include careful, 100 percent identification. For a complete set of foraging rules, please see below in the Dandelions section, “Rules of Foraging”. For red clover, rub the plant on your upper gum and wait 20 minutes for any reaction. If no reaction, make a weak tea then consume small sections of this new plant.

You may be fortunate to have a weedy backyard. If not, locate an access field and call to inquire how long ago the field was cultivated and what was grown there as far back as five years ago.

Most chemicals are washed down below the quick-growing weed root system and wild food roots are in the first 4 inches of topsoil as a rule. Hardy and fast-growing, these plants are the very ones the agricultural system needs to eradicate.

English: Trefoil crop in South Hams. Tramlines...

Clover Crop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Clover: Trifolium pratense (red clover), Trefolium repens (white clover), Legume Family, LeguminosaeTrefolium pratense (L.)

History: Throughout all cultures; a Native American vegetable.

Characteristics: Biennial or perennial herb. Red clover reaches the height of 10 inches or more, with hairy stems. Red or purple blossom with oval nectar sections; elongated leaves form trefoil with white vein when mature. White clover reaches the height of 2 inches or more. White blossoms have dozens of nectar filled sections; round leaves form trefoil at end of stem.

Location: Fields, roadsides, backyards.

Collection and Storage: Plants are most succulent in spring and early summer. Gathering a winter’s supply of clover takes only a few minutes. Clover can be frozen by placing it in a single layer on freezer wrap, folding over 2 sides to hold the clover in place, and freezing. After the clover is frozen, roll the paper to make a compact package, fasten, and label. Dry seed heads separately for an attractive potpourri.

Parts used: Leaves, blossoms, stems, roots. All can be used raw or cooked, dried or frozen.

Medicinal Value: Red clover is used as tea for cough, whooping-cough; blood tonic or purifier. Clover syrup used for chest congestion and bronchitis.

Hot Clover and Rice

1 cup milk or water
2 cups washed clover leaves
4 cups fluffy cooked rice

Add rice to a greased baking dish. Stir in clover and water (or milk). Stir again and serve hot. A protein delight. Serves 4.

Clover Sprout Muffins

3/4 cup partly cooked clover sprouts
1-1/4 cup whole wheat flour
5 teaspoons baking powder (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar (or honey)
1 cup milk or water
1 egg (optional)
2 tablespoons melted shortening (author uses water, no baking powder or egg, and sesame oil)

Stir flour, baking powder and honey together. Add milk or water and egg. Mix well. Add sprouts and melted shortening. Bake in a well-greased muffin tin at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. Serves 3.

(Medicinal remedies suggested by this column are intended to be used solely at the discretion and responsibility of the user.)

CAUTION: Always check identification of wild foods with photographic sources. Some wild foods are toxic to humans. So when in doubt: DON’T! Also be aware of the use of chemicals in your lawn and neighbor’s lawn.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wonderful information! Thanks Linda

I hope there are those out there that are opening their eyes to what is around you. Knowledge can add to our lives and bring joy as you shop in the free grocery store that is fields, your yard, woods nearby or places you may visit. Hope this is helpful.

Come and visit a bit when you can. Love to see you every time.

Jan

Declaration of Independence


Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jeffe...

Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson writing the Declaration of independence (1776) were all of British descent.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Declaration of Independence is the foundation for all the hopes and dreams of America. It was written by Brits that had fled the oppression of the British Empire because of indifference to religious freedom and excessive taxation among other offenses. 

Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence

(Photo credit: amslerPIX)

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights,

Governments are instituted among Men,

         deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,”  …

THAT IS YOU AND ME!  Unless we give them the powers they don’t have the powers to pass laws, tax us, or anything else without our permission. Things have gotten out of control. How do we stop this insanity and take back our unalienable rights?, , ,

We have been sleeping and unless we wake up, we could lose all our freedoms.

“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” …

This is powerful words not to be taken lightly! … as it continues and says:

“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long-established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

It then proceeds to list the things that they disagree with from the British Government which I am not going to include.

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare,

That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved;

and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

I did not include the list that they included in this declaration. There  are some similarities between what was happening then and what we are experiencing now. It is important that we treat one another with great respect but that we stand strong for the things we believe are our unalienable rights which have been paid for with the blood of fellow Americans.

A Fourth of July fireworks display at the Wash...

A Fourth of July fireworks display at the Washington Monument. Location: WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (DC) UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (USA)

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

The historian and moralist, who was otherwise known simply as Lord Acton, expressed this opinion in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887: [John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902)]

From the following site:http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/absolute-power-corrupts-absolutely.html

I am very concerned about the state of affairs here in the United States. The Declaration of Independence is a powerful document. If you wish to read it in it’s entirety, go to the following site:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/04/declaration-of-independence_n_1644926.html

I am thankful for the freedoms I have and know this is the best place in the world overall but I truly do not want to see the freedoms altered or eroding in front of our eyes. Let’s stand tall and firm as Americans on this 4th of July, 2012!

One Proud American,          Jan

The Full Picture


Wild Onions~Remember These?

Remember when we found these wild onions? They were so good and fresh! Now I’m going to show you the next step.

Dried and Gone to Seed Wild Onion

Here is the wild onion gone to seed. The whole plant has dried and those ball-shaped flower heads have dried reveling many seeds for next years provision. The dried plant from flower tip to onion ball at the bottom measures 2414″ long.  We have carried these home and will plant them in a place where the can provide us with onions every year without and labor of planting. Work smarter not harder! This is the full picture of the life of a wild onion. This is so exciting. Simple Pleasures as I love life. ;-)

Stemmed, Twice Washed Turnip Greens Ready to Cook

I went to church Wednesday and brought home more turnips and the greens. I am altering the way I did the greens last time since I love my hubby and want him to enjoy them too. He says things so rarely that I know that the stems left in to cook were not appetizing to him. I stripped the leaves from the stems and have contacted a dear friend that know so much. She is 94 so she has had lots of time to figure things out. I haven’t heard back from her yet. Turnip greens have a bitter taste caused by the calcium they contain. I rinsed them twice and cooked them in heavily salted water since I haven’t heard back.

When I looked online, this is one response to the question:

But not that bitter! Seasonal means after the first frost is the best time to pick the greens, the smaller leaves are better and more tender.
I never heard of cooking longer helping with the bitterness; you just have more tender greens or overcooked greens .
Cracker Barrel or country cooking serve pepper sauce consisting of small hot peppers pickled in vinegar to put on the greens so I guess vinegar or an acid helps with the bitterness. There is nothing wrong with adding a spoon of sugar or to taste–At any time in the cooking process, even the end. It definitely takes care of the bitterness.
Mustard greens have a stronger flavor than turnip greens but not an unpleasant bitterness. It’s okay to cook them together. Both cooked down much more than collard greens.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/284194   Interesting!!

I did see a recipe I would like to try:

TURNIP GREEN CASSEROLE
Printed from COOKS.COM

1 (15 oz.) can Bush’s chopped turnip or mustard greens, drained (Or Freshly Cooked out of the garden)
1 tsp. sugar
Salt, pepper to taste
1/2 of (10 1/2 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c. mayonnaise
2 tbsp. wine vinegar
1 tsp. horseradish
2 eggs, slightly beaten
Bread crumbs
Grated cheddar cheese
Blend all ingredients together except crumbs and cheese. Spoon into casserole. Cover top with bread crumbs and cheese and bake one hour at 350 degrees. Serves 6 to 8.NOTE: This dish multiplies well for a big crowd.
I figure that this is more of a Southern delicacy so I checked and found this recipe on http://www.southernliving.com/food/kitchen-assistant/turnip-greens-recipes-00417000072384/

Southern Turnip Greens and Ham Hocks Recipe
1 3/4 lb. ham hocks, rinsed
2 bunches fresh turnip greens with roots (about 10 lb.)
1 Tbsp. sugar

1. Bring ham hocks and 2 qt. water to a boil in an 8-qt. dutch oven. Reduce heat, and simmer 11⁄2 to 2 hours or until meat is tender.

2. Remove and discard stems and discolored spots from greens. Chop greens, and wash thoroughly; drain. Peel turnip roots, and cut in half.

3. Add greens, roots, and sugar to dutch oven; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 45 to 60 minutes or until greens and roots are tender.

So I’m learning that,

  1. These might be better picked after the fall frost and pick the smaller leaves.
  2. Vinegar and maybe some hot sauce are possible additions that help.
  3. Cooking with meat or beans is a good thing.
  4. Sweetening can be added.
In the last post, Harvest, I told how I cooked them the first time:
Here is how I fixed the turnip greens. I cooked 4 pieces of bacon till crisp. Set them aside to drain. Put the twice washed and chopped greens (8 cups)in the pan and just started frying them for a few minutes turning every once in a while. Add 1 cup water, salt (1 tsp), balsamic vinegar to taste, and a tsp honey then stir it and put the lid on and let it simmer on low till stems are tender. Crumble the crisp bacon and mix it into the greens.
I did leave larger stems on and cooked them so I changed that this time. The next day I mixed some of the greens with bean soup in equal parts and saw a definite improvement in them that way. I remembered having them that way growing up in West Virginia and served with cornbread.
Today I will take the cooked greens and make something, I hope good, out of them.
We had beet greens yesterday. They are much sweeter and very good.

Beet Green with Balsamic Vinegar, Lemon Pepper, and a Pat of Butter

Darnell loves beet greens.. :-) Me too!
Does anyone out there have a special way you fix them? I would love to hear from you. I’m always interested in learning.
See you next time,   Jan
Fill in your Name, Email, Website if you have one, and leave a comment. I would love that.

Harvest and Sharing


Pickling Cucumber Beside Angel Wing Begonia

It rained yesterday and broke the stretch of unbearable heat.

Very Small Cucumber Started Where Flower is Brown

Heat makes me sick and I find it very hard to function during stretches of very high, unbearable heat. It’s very hard on the garden and the plants looked as frazzled as I felt. Darnell goes out right at dusk and even sometimes after dark to water the garden and our flower beds. I’m amazed at how quickly the grass looks fried when the heat doesn’t let up. After the rain the cucumber in the picture above perked right up. At the bottom of the picture at the right, see the very small cucumber where the browned blossom has died. There will be a cucumber where each flower is. Yea!! Can’t wait.

Heard from my friend and blueberries are ready. Fruits had a rough time this year because of the 80 degree weather in March and then some freezes later than usual. She got 5 pounds for between 11-12 dollars. We will go get blueberries soon because I’m not sure how much damage was done to the crop.

We have a garden at our church. Pretty good size one. Thursday the pastor and his wife came and brought me turnips with the greens, chives, peas and raspberries and blackberries. I live the farthest from the church, I think and I can’t always make it to the services. I appreciated so much that they brought things from the garden out for us to use. They know I will put it all to use and it won’t be wasted. We are trying to have 0% waste. I even take the parts of veggies that I don’t chop up and cook it to make vegetable broth for soup and other uses.

Here is how I fixed the turnip greens. I cooked 4 pieces of bacon till crisp. Set them aside to drain. Put the twice washed and chopped greens (8 cups)in the pan and just started frying them for a few minutes turning every once in a while. Add 1 cup water, salt (1 tsp), balsamic vinegar to taste, and a tsp honey then stir it and put the lid on and let it simmer on low till stems are tender. Crumble the crisp bacon and mix it into the greens. They have a bitter taste which is because of the calcium content. Vitamin content is similar to Kale so it’s very healthy. My husband didn’t like the stems and you can trim the leaves and leave off the stems. On Wednesday, Darnell made the best bean soup so I took the left over turnip greens and the last serving of the bean soup which was pretty thick and put one on either side of my bowl / plate. I ended up kind of mixing it up and eating it together. It was so tasty. I remembered then eating it that way when I was growing up with some good cornbread. That is an awesome way to eat greens like turnip or kale greens.

I can’t do peas the way I always heard you should do them.
On the side of the pea that is rounded outward, I cut the tip.

Cut a slim cut right down the side so that when you are done the pod is open and you can see the peas.

It is easy to open then and you break them from the pod into the bowl.

I got the peas out of the pods so we can have them with lunch tomorrow. I will put them in a steamer insert for my sauce pan. Only put enough water so that it doesn’t come through and touch the peas and it said to cook them covered for 2-3 minutes, but it took more like 5-6 minutes. It’s very quick. Salt if you want to and possibly melt a pat of butter in them. They will taste so fresh and good.

We washed and froze the berries.  The turnips I can wait a bit before cooking them. We had omelets with chives and cheese this morning. I just love having fresh vegetables. You know exactly whats in them especially if no pesticides are used.

I hope you are all enjoying fresh produce. It takes a little effort but the benefits are huge.

What are you growing in your gardens or picking up at the farmer’s market? Do any of you have different things you do with turnips or greens? Are you growing anything different in your garden? I would love to hear about it. We all learn something everyday if we share with one another.

Have a wonderful day!    See you next time,   Jan

The Blood Sugar Solution and More


Here is an update about the book, “The Blood Sugar Solution” by Mark Hyman, MD.

The Blood Sugar Solution
http://www.amazon.com & search the name of the book

I’ve been reading and re-reading it for some time (about 40 days). It is what I believe medicine should be. It is called Functional Medicine. In almost every case, and in every area, any system must have balance to function correctly. If you were installing a pond in your yard as a landscape element, all the elements of the pond must fit together in such a way that the pond reaches homeostasis. Homeostasis is the property of a system that regulates its internal environment and tends to maintain a stable, constant condition of properties such as temperature or pH for ponds.

That’s one example. A car engine is composed of many parts with different functions that must be within a certain range to work in balance with one another at which point you have a fine running car. In our bodies all the parts must work together for us to be healthy and stable. Just as we should run a certain octane gasoline in our car, we need certain elements in our body in certain quantities and we need to feed it a certain quality of food for energy and nourishment. This book is not just for Diabetics. This book explains the 7 areas that need to be in balance for you to be healthy. They are 1. Boosted Nutrition, 2 Regulated Hormones, 3. Reduced Inflammation, 4. Improved  Digestion, 5. Maximized Detoxification, 6. Enhanced Metabolism, 7. Soothed Mind. There are quizzes you can take in each of these areas that will show what areas are possibly in an unbalanced state.  The quizzes check Magnesium, Essential Fatty Acids, Thyroid, Sex Hormones, Inflammation, Digestion, Toxicity, Energy Metabolism, Oxidative Stress, Stress and Adrenal Fatigue, and Diabesity. Once you take the tests, you can take your score and rate what level of imbalance you are in and then follow the plan to put it into balance. As it is in anything worthwhile, nothing is simple. Why? Why? Why? I wish something could be simple!

As you start the plan, you will give yourself a starting point by measuring and weighing.

Journal what you are doing and what changes you notice. Find out what supplements will help in this challenge. You will have to eliminate certain foods and drinks from your diet to break addictions. It gives you guidance on exercise. If you follow the plan, you have the chance of eliminating medication, reversing disease processes, losing weight, and finding a balanced healthy way of living. It will help you know how to maintain this lifestyle choice. I know that if your health is better, then you will be happier. I don’t enjoy being sick. It is a total body adjustment. You will be tuned up and energized.  I know this is a good choice for me and it is my plan to follow the directions I can and continue on the road to making a different choice about my life and my body. Change does not come easy to me. I have already been working on certain changes for the past two years. Some days I do great and other days I fall flat on my face. I get up and start again. My plan is to succeed. I don’t beat myself up. I just pick myself up and dust myself off and continue on my way. I also give myself times when I’m free to do whatever I want without reprisal or guilt.

I hope you will be interested in this book. It is of benefit to everyone no mater what disease you have, whether you are skinny or fat, and no mater what age you are. Come join with me and find your healthy balance.

One Batch of Dish-Soap

Next Update: Homemade Dish-soap

Here is an update on the making of dish soap in the last post. Psychologically it was a little disconcerting because there wasn’t any suds. We are so programmed that it must have suds that when there isn’t any we feel like it isn’t cleaning. The new washers that require the HE brands of detergent, requires that because it is damaging to the washer and not only that. It is harmful to the environment. I finished and bottled the soap. It gave me approximately 5.5 cups of dish soap.  It filled the soap dispenser on the sink and a tall instant coffee jar. I looked up on the internet what ingredient in the formula for store-bought soap makes it suds. It was phosphates. According to many sites,  among other things, phosphates are notorious for promoting algae blooms and similar, aquatic life-snuffing stunts. However, the non-phosphate brands of dish-washing soap just don’t seem to be cutting it — neither grease nor grime.  (http://supermarketnews.com/blog/no-phosphate-rule-makes-suds-dud) So the problem, phosphates are bad for the environment but we want clean dishes.

I thought about the recipe I had mixed up and felt that it covered all the bases since the soap cleans and the vinegar cuts grease and is a rinsing agent. I got up the next morning and noticed a difference with the soap I’d made. My husband did a few dished in the night (He’s a night person.) so I ask him what he had done. He added the little bit of store-bought dish soap into the mix(1/4 cup) to make it at least suds a little. So if you can live with no suds then it works but if you can’t, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup to each container of dish soap so you can see a little bit of suds. It still reduces the footprint and puts less phosphates into the environment. I thought it was pretty cool.

This was a beneficial experiment that I would definitely do when necessary. For my husband, I would have to add a little store-bought soap so he felt they were getting clean. If we didn’t have any at all then he would adjust eventually. I am interested in making my footprint smaller so I can live with it. Hope this is helpful to someone out there. I love finding solutions to everyday problems.

Come visit again…              Jan

French Onion Soup and Dish Soap?


I made French Onion Soup.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup (Photo credit: Sam Howzit)

Here is the recipe. It will serve 2 or 3 people. 1 large onion (larger than a baseball, smaller than a softball) 1 tsp. sugar 1 TBS. margarine or butter 1 TBS olive oil 1 TBS Garlic minced 1.5 TBS Italian Seasoning 1 quart beef broth or vegetable broth Mushrooms However many you want  I just put about 5 button or crimini mushrooms, sliced French or other tasty hardy bread, 1 slice for each bowl. 1 c. Parmigiano Cheese Shredded or whatever white cheese strikes your fancy Directions: In a 12 ” fry pan, heat butter and oil til medium hot . Add onion, chopped in larger chunks and stir it for a minute or two  Add sugar, stir, then turn down to low or 2 setting and cover with a lid. Check it periodically and stir. Your goal is to brown the onions which is carmelizing it. That is the reason I added 1 tsp of sugar, to aid in the carmelizing process. When you think the onions are just about ready, add garlic and mushrooms and Italian Seasoning. Stir and add broth. simmer with the lid on and set on as low a setting as you can keep it simmering very gently for 15-20 minutes While that is finishing, put the slices of bread under the broiler and toast on both sides. When the second side is done add the cheese and melt and slightly brown. Put each slice in a bowl when done. Soup should be done by then so ladle it over the toasted, cheesy bread and serve. It was extra yummy. We added a slice of meatloaf and a salad with blue cheese dressingto accompany the soup. It was enjoyed by everyone.

Lunaria annua www.illinoiswildflowers.info/weeds/plants/money_plant.htm

Guess what? I discovered what the plant in the one barrel is that I didn’t recognize. This is one of the plants that Darnell foraged from the side of the road. It’s a money plant! It bloomed several times with those awesome purple  flowers and they had faded.

Lunaria_annua_flowers
Ph credit: http://www.wikipedia.org

Yesterday we went out to walk and the plant had these disks on them and then we knew what it was. I love the way the creator designed it. Those green disks contain the seeds and they eventually will turn tan and look a little papery. It is an interesting looking plant.

Lunaria_annua_seeds 
Ph cred: http://www.wikipedia.org 

      The disks are green when you first see them and then turn a silvery with a double layer of papery shell. The plant is biannual. I will re-seed itself and you can collect some of them. When you handle them do it carefully. You will remove the top layer of paper and then the seeds are exposed. Make sure you are over a table where you can let the seeds drop and then collect them. They can be planted in the spring after threat of frost is past or in the fall after it’s cold.

The “silver dollars” are the seeds and they will plant themselves or you can collect part of the coins and harvest the seeds. They can be planted in the spring after the treat of frost is done. You can plant in the fall after it becomes cold also.  There are two layers of paper in the seed pod. The outside layer you have to remove in order to reach the seeds. Do this job over a table and remove the top layer of paper to expose the seeds and some will fall to the table. Dislodge the seeds that are still stuck and let them set on a plate or tray then package and date an envelope then put the seeds in it to store.

Well, necessity is the mother of invention!

Grated Bar Soap
Dove Tangerine Ginger

We have had a lot of medical bills which on occassions causes a pinch in the budget. I am very good at penny-pinching and looking ahead so we almost always have the supplies we need. Somehow I missed backing up my supply of dish soap. When I realized it was not going to make it to our next shopping event, I started mulling over how I would wash my dishes! This is usually when I say, “Well, there must be a way to make it myself!” I head to the computer with a determined look on my face ready to search “to the death”  till I find the answer. Well…the computer never fails to amaze me and at least to give me ideas. I had to find an answer that did not require me to spend any money.

Boiling Hot Water, Bar Soap Grated, and White Vinegar

Here is what I found:  There were  three recipes. Numbers 1 and 2 required purchasing castile soap  but number 3 I could do.

Here is the directions:

Recipe #3: Solid Soap Shavings You can save even more money by making dish soap from leftover pieces of bar soap! Just be sure to chop them into very fine pieces first. 1. Place 2 cups of soap shavings into a large bowl. 2. Add 2-3 cups of hot water and let it sit overnight to soften. 3. Stir the mixture until it becomes smooth. Add more water to reach the desired consistency. 4. Add 1/2 cup of lemon juice or white vinegar to help fight grease. 5. Shake well before using.

I made a few changes: I took a bar and used the grater to make the small pieces. I always change the recipe. I added the boiling hot water and stirred with a wooden spoon. When it was mostly smooth, I added white vinegar. I need to let is cool. It will thicken as it cools. I will let you know if this is something that I can live with. Now that I’ve started …I’m encouraged.    Just looked … it’s thickening!

http://www.diylife.com/2009/08/03/how-to-make-your-own-dish-soap/

My pictures and facts About the plant came from various resources:

http://www.wikipedia.com

http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/weeds/plants/money_plant.

I took the pictures during the soap-making process.

The site from Illinois is awesome and lists too many to number of plants, insects, trees, and shrubs in this North Central area That includes Illinois and Michigan.I know you will enjoy this site full of information.

It’s time to close for today. I feel good about learning skills that will help me save money day to day and in an emergency. Tell me your tips for keeping on top of the things that are needed for everyday. I would love to hear about it.

Come visit again,   Jan

Tying Up Loose Ends


What a nice week……with varied temps and some rain. Today it was sunny and 70 degrees. The perfect day.

This was a week of tying up loose ends.

Pictures 1 & 2.

All the Red Clover Blossoms and leaves are dried and bagged.

I will harvest more soon.

1. Half-Filled Gallon Bag Red Clover Blossoms

2. Half -Filled Gallon Bag of Clover Leaves

Worked carefully to not waste anything in the leftovers in the frig.
Browsed through the corners of my mind for creative recipes.

Set up the payments for the June bills.

I Read over and over parts from the book: “The Blood Sugar Solution”.
Battled with myself over what I read.
Since the book isn’t mine; Typed the tests from the book, that help in making health decisions.
Made notes that will help me remember important information later from the book.

I am rather befuddled by some of the things in the book. As usual I will have to blaze my own trail and find my own ways to come as close as I can to do what they’ve described. I agree with so much in the book. In treating disease, they approach it in looking at the  whole body and finding the balance in 7 key areas as they relate and work together in the body. There is a correlation between all the preservatives, dye, pesticides, hormones and other polluting factors and how it affects our body. This isn’t just for diabetics though. I would recommend this to anyone who cares about their health.

I will find a way.

3. An End Stalk of Celery That I’m Re-growing

Picture 3

This picture shows the end of the celery stalk after we ate the stalks. I just put the stalk end in the container with a quarter-inch of water and basically forgot about it. One day it caught my eye and I saw it was growing. I will plant it in the dirt this week. I first told you about this in a post called, “Gratitude and Contentment and How Gardening Helps!”

I sat the container in the pot that contains a pickle especially made for pickling. The pickles will be smaller so I thought it might work in a hanging basket since the pickles are smaller.

4. Flower Bed with a Pink Rose

Picture 4 and 5

I wasn’t outside this week much.

When I went out I discovered that aphids had attacked all of the roses. I have a pink, a white, and a red rose. I had no way to treat the plants and couldn’t go get something ,  I was told by a friend that orange oil could be used to repel the aphids. I have some face cleanser that is all natural ingredients and has a major amount of orange oil  in it. It’s Burt’s Bee Orange Oil Facial Cleanser. I figured I would try it so I put a nickel size spot in a spray bottle and put just a little hot water in with it to dissolve it, then filled the bottle with cooler water. I shook it up really good and sprayed the roses all over. It seemed to work but I didn’t want to use all my face cleaner for that so when we went into town, I got some Whitney Farms 3-in-1 Rose and Flower Care.

5. Close-up of the Pink Rose

Picture 6. This flower bed is flanked on either side by half barrels. One has Lettuce planted in it. I made a salad this week with this lettuce and radishes from the garden, then added cucumber, tomatoes, celery, and onions.

6. Lettuce, One Marigold, One Nasturtium

The other barrel has a plant I don’t recognize that has purple flowers, zinnias that haven’t come up, and hen and chicks. I don’t have a picture of that one.

7. Daisies


Picture 7. This is a raised bed and I have one on either side of my back door.  This bed has Daisies, Snow on the Mountain, another ground cover that is silvery in two tones. There was a field down the street where they brought in fill-dirt. Evidently there were daisies planted in the place where the dirt was picked up because these are cultivated daisies. My husband pulled them up in that field and brought them to me and planted them in my garden. What a sweet guy, going to the free flower store to bring me flowers! You don’t need money to show someone you love them.

8. Echinacea and ONIONS!

Picture 8.

This is the bed on the other side of the back door. I have Echinacea and Onions

English: Echinacea purpurea blooms in a flower...

Echinacea Blooms   Wikipedia

will be hidden behind them. The picture from Wikipedia shows what the Echinacea will look like blooming. My youngest son and his girlfriend gave me the glass sculpture that you can see part of it. It’s made out of glass plates and green vases. I love it! This is just a little of our flower beds I don’t want to talk your arm off so I will say adieu for now. Hope you have a good week.Come and visit again.

Jan


Gathering Red Clover


Today, my husband and I walked near our house and harvested Red Clover.

English: Trifolium pratense, Fabaceae, Red Clo...

Trifolium Pratense (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

To identify it, look for leaves of 3 and occasionally 4 and have a lighter green chevron on each leaf as you can see in the picture. They grow anywhere from 2″ to 16″ tall so they are easy to pick out of the other weeds.The chevron shape on the leaf makes them easy to distinguish from other weeds  and of course, when they are blooming, they are crowned with a purplish globe-shaped blossom that is hard to miss. The blossom is purplish or pinkish so they call it red clover. That makes a lot of sense. Right?

What are they used for?

The red clover is from the pea family. It’s scientific name is Trifolium Pratense.  There are articles that claim it is a food. It can be used in salad preparation both the leaves and the blossoms. You can dry it and make a tea to drink. The reading I’ve done indicates it has medicinal properties. Last but not least you could till it under the soil and increase the nitrogen content.

To pick just the blossom, slip the stem between your first two fingers  so you are cupping the first set of leaves and the blossom. Hold on to it with your thumb and pull up and it pops off rather easily.They were pretty plentiful and in just a short while we had gathered a small bucket that measures almost a gallon.

First thing I did was wash them, drained them in a colander and laid them out in a single layer on a towel the dry off a bit. I separated the blossom and the leaves and put them on different cookie sheets and gave them more time to dry. Before I quit for the day, I cut a round piece of parchment paper and laid a single layer of greens on it. I set my microwave to 5 minutes @ 40 % power  and when I took them out they were dry. After the first plate, you can reduce the time to 4 minutes @ 40% power. I divided it into 6 load and the plate got rather hot.

Washing the Clover

 
 I swished the clover around in the water to get the dust to drop to the bottom of the sink

After Draining in the Colander, Drying on a Towel in the Sink

I had towels in both sinks and a large one on the counter to accommodate the amount of Red Clover we gathered.

Clover Blossoms

I had a more than enough to fill a full cookie sheet.

Leaves and Stems from the Red Clover

Ready to dry the leaves and stems.

One Load Ready to go into the Microwave on Parchment

Five minutes @ 40% power for the first load and Four minutes @ 40% for every load after that. Once I had them all dried, this is how they looked:

Dried Clover Leaves

I spread the Blossoms out on a cookie sheet and left them to dry over night.

I plan is to use them for tea, infusions, and grind up some of the leaves to make a flour. While I can’t eliminate White and Wheat Flours with Red Clover Flour, and can at least lower the amount I am using. Once I get the blossoms completely dried, I will be able to store them in a good sealing jar or container for my use when I need it.

I’m glad for the variety you can find in nature.

I will let you know if I do anything interesting with this foraged and stored item.

Come and visit again,

Jan

Let me know what you know about Red Clover. I would be very interested to hear from someone who has already experience using Red Clover.

Could you tell me any special concoctions you have made with it.

Homesick!


A Little Bit of West Virginia Heaven
Near Stattes Mills in Jackson County                   By James Easter 2012

I’ve been in Michigan since 1971 but the air, mountains, rock,  and water from West Virginia are ingrained in my heart and soul. I utterly miss everything about WV. The mountains are majestic and I have great memories of wandering around the woods up on the mountain. I have always loved nature. Some of my best memories were when we lived out in the country when I was five or six. We lived on the side of a mountain so the land was terraced. Where the house was there was a flat terrace, then it dropped down about ten to fifteen feet to a flat area that was our yard and then down another ten feet to where the road was. The drive up to the house cut into the hill and was a pretty steep incline. At the back of the house where the flat part stopped there was a concrete block wall that held the hill back. At one end that was fourteen feet tall and became lower as it progressed to the right when you were facing it. At the other end it was only two feet tall. My sister and I would play on the wall and take chances we shouldn’t have but we did it anyway. Above the wall was one more plateau after you climbed a bit and on it was a hand-built cabin that my Dad built. We loved that cabin which was full size but a small one room cabin. It was a great place to play. It was beautiful on the mountain with blooming rhododendron, birds and wildlife. This is where my love of God’s creation began. The one thing that I didn’t like in nature at that age was snakes. They gave me the heebie-geebies! One day I was up on the mountain and saw a harmless garter snake which spurred my flight response. I started running down the mountain as fast as I could. I was probably screaming my head off but all I remember is running faster than I had ever run. This is not especially a good idea when you live on a mountain. I made it to the wall and started running down the wall toward the shorter end so I could get off. About two or three steps down the wall, I lost my footing and fell down the side of the wall staying in contact with it all the way down. My Mom heard the commotion and knew that something bad had happened. She came out and found me in a crying heap at the bottom of the wall with scrapes all the way down my body. Boy did I look like a mess. All of my memories were good there except for that one.

I learned to ride a bicycle there. My Dad was so frugal. He bought me a brand new, full-sized bike. I was six and short! Luckily that didn’t deter me.  The first part of the drive down the hill was at a right angle to the rest of the down-hill plunge. It was also not so steep as the rest of the drive. I would straddle the bike at the beginning of the drive, carefully step on the first pedal, start rolling and step up on the second pedal and ride down the incline standing on the pedals. In the beginning I almost always crashed at the bottom of the hill till I got the gist of pedal brakes. I would stop it then jump down with both feet at the same time. It was a long time before I could sit on the seat.

I was always the youngest and my sister that was three and a half years older, would have friends over and when they played outside I would try to keep up but invariably would bring up the end of the group. They called me “The Little Red Caboose”. My hair was a little reddish long, long ago.

My Life was good as I grew up and I loved my family. My Dad loved to eat and loved good food so that is where I got my love for food and my adventurous spirit for trying new things. What I didn’t get was good eating habits which brings me to my goal now; to have healthy food that at the same time tastes good cause I love good tasting food. It should be enjoyed.

Well, I didn’t tell you much about my past in West Virginia but I will tell you that no matter how many years I live here nor how much I love Michigan with all its Lakes, I will always miss West Virginia. That is where my heart will stay. My Mother and Dad have both passed away but I have my older sister. After my Mom died my Dad met my Step-Mother and they married and they adopted a little baby boy after I was grown and had moved away. I completely got to know my brother on the phone, computer, and Skype. We have visited a few times through the years but it’s mostly been through technology. I long to see my Step-Mother, Brother and Sister. I don’t get to travel much and haven’t been home in a long time. I am so thankful for Phones and Skype. They make the distance a little shorter! Ahhh technology, I love it!

The picture at the top of the post is taken by James Easter. He lives in Saint Albans, WV and he takes beautiful pictures. The picture that I renamed, “A Little Bit of West Virginia Heaven”, is not the most beautiful scene from WV that he has taken. It is one that I connect with even more than the gorgeous mountains, valleys, bridges, rivers or creeks you would find on tourist postcards. The reason I connect with this picture is that we traveled on many country road and this was a scene I saw repeatedly along those road. Some of these streams would be fed by tiny streams coming down the mountain or would come, like a miniature waterfall, cascading down the face of the jagged rocks that lined the roads. I loved this sight most of all. I loved many other pictures taken by James Easter but like I said this one connected to me the most. Because of things I lived with in West Virginia, I love the

Description: Photograph of a rock fence taken ...

Photograph in Vermont that is like rock fences in WV
(from Wikipedia)

sound of water and amazing rocks both large massive ones or small ones with colored designs running through them. These things have affected the things I do now. I have lots of plants. My affinity for rocks and rock walls has me planting in rock walled beds and living by the water. Every big rock with colorful veins running through it I see along the way, I’ll say to my husband, “Can I have that?” and he will say, “When you can lift it and put it in the trunk, then you can have it.” It’s a standing joke! I would have big boulders around my house if I could. When I die, I would like a boulder with a plaque attached for my grave marker. That’s all, I don’t want much!

Well that’s my story or a little bit of it. Glad I could share it with you. Come and visit again, anytime. I love company!

Tell me about the things that you make you homesick. What things have you taken from your past and brought into the future with you. I would love to hear about it.

Thanks again and See you soon.   Jan

Car Insurance ~~ Baffling!


Terry’s Auto and Truck Repair

Car Insurance is an enigma! It is so strange how we are required to have car insurance… it is the law.

Having it is a good thing. The thing that puzzles me is that it is a service that we pay for like a warranty on an appliance or computer. We are paying for the ability to repair or replace our vehicle, pay for property damage or medical costs. I feels like we are being held hostage with no release date in sight.

Things that effect the cost of insurance:

  • Age
    Statistically, drivers under the age of 25 are at greater risk of being in an accident than those over age 25. Drivers between the ages of 50 and 65 generally have the safest records.
  • Gender
    Women are statistically safer drivers, but that trend is changing as more female drivers get on the road.
  • Marital Status
    A married person will pay less than a single person with an identical driving record.
  • Geography
    Where you live makes a difference. Folks living in areas with little or no traffic are likely to spend less on insurance than those living in congested cities or suburbs because areas with a lot of traffic tend to see more accidents. Some neighborhoods also have a higher rate of vehicle thefts, which can result in a higher premium.
  • Driving Violations
    Having an accident or moving violations on your record (speeding tickets, DWI, reckless driving, etc.) put you at a higher risk for accidents and will likely mean a higher premium. Some insurance companies will penalize you for your record for as many as five years from when the incident occurred. However, keep in mind, as your record improves, your premium will get lower.
  • Vehicle Type
    A cheap car will cost less to insure than that status symbol SUV sitting on 24″ rims.
  • Accident Claims
    A driving record that is clean and free of accidents will hold far better for you than lots of tickets and/or accidents.
  • Credit Rating
    Many insurance companies view having a poor, or even no credit history as suggestive of higher risk and thus, charge you a higher premium. Monitor yourcredit rating free to see if you can get a better score. A better credit score will save on insurance premiums.
  • Occupation
    Insurers have statistically found a correlation between your occupation and risk. For instance, a newspaper delivery person is most likely a higher risk than the personal banker sitting at their desk all day.
  • Education
    A higher education can save on your premiums.
  • Driving distance to work
  • Miles driven each year
  • Years of driving experience
  • Business use of the vehicle
  • Whether or not you currently have auto insurance and how high are your limits
  • Theft protection devices (often results in discounts)
  • Multiple cars and drivers (another opportunity for discounts)

http://www.carinsurance.com/Articles/content6.aspx

How can this be? When you purchase a washer, dryer, computer or Television and you add a 2 year warranty, is the cost affected by your credit rating? If you have had to submit a claim does your warranty cost change? Why is it that car insurance is governed by such things. I can fully understand the reasons for some things used to rate the system but some seem to go beyond the fair practice limits.

One of the things I disagree with is this: I live in a small quiet town and yet my insurance rates are figured based on Detroit which is a large, high crime, high accident rate area. I do not live in a suburb of Detroit.

Having your rate determined by your credit rating does not seem appropriate.

Having a non moving traffic involved repair affect your rate. It should definitely not have that affect your rate for five years.Keeping your car in good repair should lower your rates based on other determining factors. For example, they change your rate based on things that have to do with profiling a group of individuals. It is wrong to generalize. There must be determining factors that would help you look at persons individually and determine the amount of risk. A teen-age who is showing a careful, responsible ability should be rewarded at some point and their rate reduced telling them that they are not lumped into a generalized view that says, “teenagers of this age are risky drivers”.

Five years ago, we were parking our car in a parking lot and the underside of the bumper parts hung up on the cement parking abutment and when we backed away it damaged our bumper and it needed repair. We scheduled a repair. The next renewal of our policy the premium increased and remained at that level for the next five years. We purchased a service and yet were punished for using the service for its intended use. I have been mulling this over in my brain and can’t fathom how this could be. So now we have passed the five-year mark and we went back to our provider and ask that the policy be re-accessed and that our premium be recalculated. They were willing to reduce our policy premium by $20. We felt that was not acceptable. We changed providers and reduced the premium by almost $100. That was acceptable.

I am relieved that we have reduced our cost but I am left with the feeling that I have purchased a service that I cannot use. It is a token service. It is there only for appearance only not for use. What good is that! I am amazed that we have come to this place. It’s like putting your money in a hole or being held hostage to the system.

I think this should change! What do you think and is there a way to change this awful monster. Well I got it off my chest but it doesn’t accomplish anything unless there is an action that follows that makes the industry more user-friendly. Don’t you agree?

I am thankful for insurance even though it seems to be a double-edged sword.

Thanks for stopping to visit.  Talk to you again soon.      Jan

Shopping in the Wild


Hi, Darnell and I have been out at it again. Finding things of use that God created @ The Free Grocery Store. Darnell brought home a few wild onions and one wild carrot. Yes we progress slowly. It’s wise to do that. Haven’t done anything with the carrot but it’s in the crisper just waiting.It looks kind of gnarly, doesn’t it but I bet it will taste better than it looks.

Wild Carrot & Wild Onion

Then he went back and gathered a bunch of onions.

Bunch of Wild Onions

After they were washed, I  took the roots and outer skin off. The green parts that were tender, I chopped up, put on a baking sheet, and put in the convection oven @ 170 degrees F. and dried them for an hour. I can store them for use in cooking in the winter. The bulb part, I used to make a salad dressing.  It reminded me of Sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing which I really love. Here is the recipe for my onion dressing.

Jan’s Onion Dressing

1/2 cup wild onion bulbs

1 cup olive oil

1 heaping Tablespoon minced Garlic

1 Tablespoon Basil

1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning Spice

1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

Salt and Pepper to taste

Put all ingredients into a blender. Pulse untill dressing is combined and the consistency is  finely minced.

Put in a jar and store in the refrigerator.

We had a salad for supper and it was so good!

The next harvested thing is the wild carrot and I am going to scrub till I remove the surface root hairs off it. I will sample a thin slice raw to see if it could be used in a salad then steam the rest sliced to see how it tastes cooked. I need to see if the center core of the root is woody. I think this is a young one so it may be tender. I will have to see.

The next found food we brought home, we found on the way home from a trip to town. We have a 55 gallon aquarium and we are going to give it to our oldest son for them to set up. I know the grand-children will enjoy it. We had about 20 fish and we had a pump crisis and lost all but 2 fish. A large Tin Foil Barb that was about 8″ long and a Spotted Plecostomus that was about 6″ long. My grand-children are going to  want to pick out the fish themselves so we took the two fish that were left to an Aquarium Store and they took them and will sell them to someone who wants that kind of fish. We have enjoyed them and I am going to miss them. The sounds from the Aquarium of water falling like a waterfall, I will miss also.  We are trying to simplify a bit and that’s good.

As we were coming home, Darnell spotted some Asparagus growing wild on the side of the road. He stopped and picked it. He didn’t find a lot but it was enough for us to add a nice vegetable to our supper and we could savor the treat. It was delicious. I washed it and put it on a cookie sheet and put it in the oven after I drizzled a little olive oil and sea salt on them and tossed them to coat it all over them. At 350 degrees F. they cooked for about 10-12 minutes. When I took them out, they were crispy tender and so fresh and good. I love it when you can cook something that has picked such a short time earlier.

Sunday is Mother’s Day! I miss my Mom but I have a wonderful Step-Mom. She is such a good Mom and I know I didn’t make it easy for her. My Mom died when I was 13 and I was pretty hurt, mad, and a few other things. I felt pretty ill prepared for her death and wasn’t ready for the changes that lay ahead. I think I gave everyone a hard time. I truly regret that. Especially when I became a Mom myself and understood what a hard job (layered with love and joy) it was. I was deeply thankful that I could turn to God for answers I didn’t have. I know He gave me wisdom many time and gave my children short memories when I made horrendous mistakes. …. and they lived through it all. They just don’t have enough training for the hardest job in the world.

I want to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day! I hope you have a wonderful life and I applaud your creativity. I feel honored to have met some of you. You are enriching my life. Thank you! Thanks for joining me as I journey along my garden path.  Come again soon.   Jan

Love and Kale and My Battle


What are whole foods?

Whole foods are foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little

Whole Foods

My Husband’s Favorite Department(Photo: Sifu Renka) 

as possible, before being consumed. Whole foods typically do not contain added ingredients, such as salt, carbohydrates, or fat.[1] Examples of whole foods include unpolished grainsbeans, fruits, vegetables and nonhomogenized dairy products.[2] Although originally all human food was whole food,[2] one of the earliest uses of the term post-industrial age was in 1960 when the leading organic food organization called the Soil Association opened a shop in the name selling organic and whole grain products in London, UK.[3]

  • (It could make a difference between some people living and dying.)

The term is often confused with organic food, but whole foods are not necessarily organic, nor are organic foods necessarily whole.

The United States Food and Drug Administration defines whole grains as cereal grains containing thebranendosperm and germ of the original grain.[4] Federal Dietary Guidelines issued by the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion in 2005 recommended the consumption of at least three servings of whole grains each day, as there is evidence that they help cut risk of cancer and heart disease.[4]

Whole foods

My Favorite Department  (Photo: parislemon)

“Diets rich in whole and unrefined foods, like whole grains, dark green and yellow/orange-fleshed vegetables and fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds, contain high concentrations of antioxidant phenolics, fibers and numerous otherphytochemicals that may be protective against chronic diseases.”[1]

A focus on whole foods offers three main benefits over a reliance on dietary supplements: they provide greater nutrition for being a source of more complex micronutrients, they provide essential dietary fiber and they provide naturally occurring protective substances, such as phytochemicals.[5]    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whole_foods

  • I told you that I was trying to buy things at the grocery store with 5 or less ingredients but that is just a baby step to me eventually buying only whole foods. (For me and not my husband) It is amazing to me how hard that is when you have family members who only want refined foods. When you show my husband healthy foods, his reply is often ewww gross! It’s healthy! We have been together a long time… we give and take. He has made some amazing changes and I salute  his courage!

Here is the address of the site where whole foods are listed. It is titled: The World’s Healthiest Foods.  http://whfoods.org/foodstoc.php

You can click on any of 127 foods listed as the world’s most healthy and find out what their

A bundle of kale from an organic food co-op.

A bundle of kale (Photo: Wikipedia)

benefits are, how to prepare it so you lose less of the nutrients and last but not least, what nutrients are contained in them. Please go there and check it out. This site is awesome!  Here is a sample. Probably one of the most nutritious vegetables, I believe is Kale. There are a wealth of incredible nutrients in it. For instance, Kale has 1327% of the required daily requirement of Vitamin K. That is only one nutrient. Kale has 21 other nutrients in it. The top three are K, A and C. in one cup cooked Kale that only has 36 calories. That is a super-food undoubtedly. This is only one example. I hope I’ve convinced you to go check it out. Besides the nutrient information you will find recipes after they convince you that it is a good thing!

  • At the same time I’m telling you all this, I will show you my humanity! I live with a junk-food junkie. I can’t tell you how  hard it is to eat healthy with his influences around. For me to live, I need to eat right and he just doesn’t get it.
  • The way we are raised to eat is so ingrained. I don’t expect him to change but I need me

to be strong and I’m having such a hard time with being strong.  I’m having such a pity party! Those sweet potato fries are calling and I’m such a wimp.

I’m glad we love each other, my husband and me, and …like I said…my battles with food are one day at a time….

It’s onward and upward…… Come again,    Jan

The info from the site: http://www.whfoods.com, check it out and let me know if it helps you make decisions about the whole food you want to put in your life. It certainly did me. Inch by inch, life is a cinch….just keep going onward and upward.  Bye.

Dog Poop Nuisance Or Impending World War III


I love calling home. I love my family. It is very wonderful that we live in a day when you can pick up your phone and talk to the ones you love even

though they are 1000 or 1800 miles away. Texting and sending pictures makes the distance seem so much smaller. It makes me not feel not so separated from them. My Mom is getting older and I worry about her and feel so bad being so far away.

We talk for a while and she tells me the news from around their neck of the woods and I tell her my news. It’s just a very good thing. I miss them. I wish very often I could teleport myself to the places where my friends and family live. Wish I could say, “Beam me up Scotty!” like they did in Star Trek. Wouldn’t that be awesome! Sometimes I wish I could be cloned and be in two places at once.

Mostly our conversations are very pleasant. Somewhere in the midst of it all, something will come up that needs fixing. The conflict I feel about being so far away is prodded and I feel an urgency to find the solution for this need in her life. I feel helpless but it usually sends me on a frantic search for an answer to help her with this aggravating thing that is a bother to her.  We ended our pleasant visit and got ready to go to bed. It had been a long day and I was more than ready.

No Poop Sign Outside NY City Public Library

3am…. My eyes pop open! My brain is racing! How can I keep the new neighbors dogs from coming and depositing their POOP in my Mom’s yard?

My feet hit the floor and I head for the “World-Wide Compilation of Every Answer in the World!”…. my computer! And the search begins and I put into the search line: How to keep dogs from pooping in your yard. Press Search! Waiting …waiting…here it come…and the answer is… World War III!

I had no idea what a can of worms I was opening! This is a serious subject! People are passionate and angry! There were not any short commentaries or small community forums about this subject. I saw answers like, “I have a 22…that will take care of the problem!” and the posted sign: “HERE LIES THE LAST DOG THAT POOPED IN MY YARD!”  My eyes were wide and I knew I would not be sleeping anytime soon. In my head I heard my sweet Mom saying, ” I don’t want any trouble but I just can’t have that(dogs pooping in my yard)!” She’s telling me that but she wouldn’t say a word to anyone else.

I sorted through the 22 rifle suggestions, antifreeze set out suggestions and set those aside! This is the list I will send to my Mom that seem for the most part reasonable,easy and definitely safe.

  • Put vinegar in a bottle and spray a one foot strip around your property. Do it every

    Poop Fairy Does Not Live Here

    couple weeks until they get the idea. Must reapply after rain.

  • Black Pepper or Cayenne Pepper can be sprinkled in the same manner as the vinegar,in a one foot strip.
  • Collect your urine and spray it in the same manner as the vinegar…. I don’t think Mom will do this one but it won’t hurt anyone and it’s free. LOL
  • …and Via the Humane Society of the United States:Sprays:Boundary Indoor/Outdoor Dog Repellent, Farnam B’Have Indoor/Outdoor Dog Repellent, Spray Shield Animal Deterrent Spray, Ropel SprayGranules: Boundary Dog and CatRepellent Granules, Repel Dog & Cat Repellent, Ropel Dog & Cat Repellent, Grant’s Dog & Cat Repellent

    Forestry Dog Rule Sign

    Electronic: Dazer Ultrasonic Dog Deterrent, StrayBan for Stray Dogs, Yard Gard Ultrasonic Animal Repeller

Well the first three ideas are this cheap skate’s idea for the solution for this nuisance to all mankind and the avoidance of World War III. I’m going to test these out in my yard and see what happens. It can’t hurt and it just might work making the world a better place to live.

70 million dogs

…20,000 tons of dog poop every single day in the U.S. alone!

Thanks for stopping to visit!  Yes we all have to live together peacefully and it can’t be that hard.

See you soon,        Jan

PS:  Any of you have any solutions to this universal problem?  Please share What you know. We would love to hear what you know about this subject. Anyone have any funny dog poop signs? Let us see it.  OK?

http://www.thelawndog.com/why.html


Chicken of the Woods


2012.4.30 Chicken of the Woods

Laetiporus is a genus of edible mushrooms found throughout much of the world. Some species are commonly known as sulphur shelfchicken of the woods, the chicken mushroom, or the chicken fungus because many think they taste like chicken. The name “chicken of the woods” is not to be confused with the edible polyporeMaitake (Grifola frondosa) known as “hen of the woods”, or with Lyophyllum decastes, known as the “fried chicken mushroom”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laetiporus

Wow! About 23 inches and over 13 inches deep. We were so excited!

I checked to see if the was any other mushroom that looked like this that was poisonous on the internet. None!

I cut a piece of the mushroom and laid it on my skin to watch for a reaction. None!

Took pictures of this monster. I had never seen one except on the internet.

Darnell walks the dog most of the time. Her name is Miah. They walked way out back of our place and to the edge of the woods. About 4 steps into the woods he saw the mushroom, larger than life clinging to the side of a maple tree.

This is what I read at this site: http://americanmushrooms.com/edibles4.htm

David Fischer, Author of Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America (1992, Univ. of Texas Press)

SULPHUR SHELF MUSHROOMS GROWING ON ANY CONIFER TREE (PINE, HEMLOCK, SPRUCE, FIR, LARCH/TAMARACK, ETC.), EUCALYPTUS, OR LOCUST TREES SHOULD NOT BE EATEN! Also, as with a number of wild mushrooms and many other foods (e.g. shellfish, peanuts, and milk products), some individuals have allergic reactions to this particular species. (That’s why it was important to identify the tree. Oak or Maple is fine.)

Few edible wild mushrooms are considered as exciting a find as the Chicken Mushroom or Sulphur Shelf. It has a unique mushroomy flavor and a slightly grainy, meaty texture, and a single dead tree or log will often produce ten, twenty, thirty or more pounds! Because of its texture, the Chicken Mushroom or Sulphur Shelf is a fine candidate for fresh-freezing, so such a large fruiting needn’t go to waste. The trick is to cut the Chicken Mushroom or Sulphur Shelf into pieces of appropriate size for the cooking pan before freezing (blanching is not necessary) and, most importantly, when you’re ready to use some, do not thaw them first: have the cooking pan heating before you even open the freezer door!

Sauted Chicken of the Woods Mushroom with Garlic and Onion

On to cooking and the taste test:

I was doing a sample for taste testing so I kept the amounts small.

1 cup Chicken of the Woods Mushroom, chopped

1 tsp. Garlic, minced

1/4 cup Onion, minced fine

1 tsp. Chicken Soup Bullion (Paste)

Olive oil

2 Tablespoons Flour

1 cup Milk

Using a Cast Iron Pan heated to medium with a tablespoon of olive oil, add chopped Chicken of the Woods mushroom. Cook till starting to brown. Add onion and garlic and continue saulting till oil is absorbed.

Add more oil

add flour

Added chicken bullion paste

and milk and let it simmer Season with Salt and Pepper to taste. Continued to be a little  rubbery but did get a little better.

This is an experiment and I read several places and this appears to be the  common way of cooking it.  You can serve over toast or  rice or potato.

We cautiously tasted it. It tasted good but did have a slightly rubbery texture to it.

While I know I will continue my search as to how to prepare it, I know this was a good start. Darnell and I both ate what I prepared and neither of   us had any reaction. Next time we will eat a little more. From all I read, when foraging it is good to add things into your diet gradually so that is what we will do.

How to Harvest the Chicken of the Woods

This is exactly the way this went today. We harvested it without knowing how to do that. We used to say in WV, ” I got the cart, the horse before”. That is what we did. Next time we will do the harvesting right.  You are supposed to not break it from the tree with your hands which we did. Take a knife and just cut the outer rim of the mushroom. Pick the smaller sized ones. This in itself may take care of the rubbery texture since this was a very large one. Next time we will harvest the smaller one. Since they said that it could be frozen with no preparation beforehand, we froze the rim of the mushroom. I will try again another day to see if I can improve the texture either just by picking a smaller one or by how I cook it

This was such an exciting adventure!

These are the jewels of life, to get to experience things out of the ordinary.

So glad you were here so I could share the experience.

Come on over anytime.     Jan

The other mushroom you may see growing near where the Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms is growing. It is called the Hen of the Woods Mushroom. It looks like a Hen with her head tucked under her wing. It has a feathery look to it. Check out another picture of the Chicken of the Woods Mushroom. Looks like shelves on the tree.

Hen of the woods mushroom

                                                              Laetiporus gilbertsonii
Chicken of the Woods
Sulfur Shelf Mushroom

Precautionary Warning!The Other Side of the Coin


I was thinking the other day, and it dawned on me that I should

Ramie Goddard 2012
Nest in a Shoe

give a few rules for foraging among all the wild plants on this earth.

There is the other side of the coin in every subject in existence. Good and bad, Light and dark battling against each other for top billing! So is your glass half full or half empty? I prefer picking neither… mine is plumb full with an occasional spill. Oh I have days when I’m dehydrated but for the most part all my days are full. I’m going to talk to you about exercising caution as you forage and try new things from the wild. You are now going to see an aspect of my personality. ~~~~~

Simple things delight me! It can make me go on a tangent of major proportions.

Like the picture on the right… my brother in WV, Ramie was mowing grass, and

came across these boots thrown over a limb. The birds thought it looked like a nice

condo. I love seeing things like this. Look at the construction of the nest.

How superb. Hope he gets to see when the eggs hatch~

OK…OK…I’m back to the subject!

The first thing is to research the plant you are thinking of eating. Is there a plant that is so similar that you could confuse the two plants? You ever hear the saying that carpenters have, “Measure twice, cut once!”. It’s kind of that way with plant foraging. You have to check your facts twice or more. If you are uncertain then don’t eat it.

Here is a check list I found on Wikihow:

http://www.wikihow.com/Test-if-a-Plant-Is-Edible

Please go and check it out. Make sure of what you are doing. There are skin tests and taste tests. There is so much information in books and on the internet that it should be fairly easy to check things out. One thing you can do is find things that don’t have  a copy cat. I found out that Wild carrots (Queen Anne’s Lace) has a plant that’s similar called Hemlock. Socrates, let’s see…he died from drinking something with Hemlock in it?… I think. Extremely poisonous but I thought it seems there are some pretty obvious differences. Wild Carrot has hairy stem that’s plain and one color where as Hemlock has purple flecks in the stems. The groups of flower heads  of the QAL are more tightly grouped together while the Hemlock has small groups that make up a larger whole flower head and are more loosely grouped together.

Poison Hemlock Flower

Even though this isn’t from the Northeastern US, the simple straightforward description from Washington State @ http://www.co.stevens.wa.us/weedboard/other%20weeds/HTM%20pages/poison%20hemlock.htm is the easiest one to follow and doesn’t seem to have any differences from this area.

Poison hemlock
Conium maculatum                       
Parsley family

Key identifying traits (more in a second year plant). First year plants are harder to distinguish. Much shorter first year.


  • A big plant normally 6 to 8 feet tall
  • Flowers are small and white consisting of 5 petals and borne in numerous umbrella like clusters
  • Stems are erect, stout, and purple spotted with distinct ridges and extensively branched
  • Leaves are fern like and have a musty odor

    Poison Hemlock ~ Smooth Speckled Stem

  • Has a large white fleshy tap-root
  • Seeds are paired, 1/8 inch long, brown, ribbed and concave
  • Musty Smelling Plant
  • NO BENEFICIAL USE

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Queen Anne’s Lace              

(Daucus carota  ~  Carrot Family)

  • A medium size plant normally 4 feet at its tallest
  • Stems are hairy and solid green
  • The leaves of the wild carrot can cause phyto-photodermatitis, so caution should also be used when handling the plant.
  • Flowers are similar to the hemlock but are packed together tighter and there is a red dot right in the middle of the entire umbrella of blossom clusters which attracts wasps
  • The root is edible when it’s young but grow extremely woody as it ages
  • INTERESTING BENEFITS: This species is also documented to boost tomato plant production when kept nearby, and it can provide a microclimate of cooler, moister air for lettuce, when inter-cropped with it.
  • Distinct Carrot smell in the leaves and in the root

Queen Anne’s Lace with Blue Chicory

So you can see by this one example that it is important to do your homework. When in doubt…. don’t. That is the best practice for a foragers.

I love sharing nature with you and I hope you will become excited about the things that have been provided for our benefit. Let me know if you go foraging and what you find. I would be so excited to hear about your adventures. Thanks for coming for a visit.  Be Careful and See you soon.       Jan

Discovery of May Apples


I am on a journey of discovery! My eyes have been reborn and as poor as my sight is,

May Apple Plants on the Forest Floor

I am seeing things I never saw before. It is an absolute delight.  We were on a stroll and came across a plant I didn’t know what it was. It had a single stem and a large leaf that looked like a patio umbrella with 8 points on it. Under it hung a little green object that I wondered if it would develop into fruit or some kind of seed pod. We cut one stem and took it home and put it in a vase.

The search began as I dug through my vocabulary to find the right words to describe it. Ultimately words must lead your direction down the search engine path to the destination that will tell you “All” things. :-) I tried everything I could for several days. I was feeling CRAZY! I am an information sponge and everything in me craves new information. Finally I found a site that gave up the details I was searching for, after several rabbit-trail diversions and here it is:    http://livingafield.com/Index.htm

It has headings like, edible plants, medicinal plants, etc. Under edible plants you will find May Apple or American Mandrake. http://livingafield.com/Plants_Mayapple.htm

It was listed under edible plants on this site. The ripe fruit can be eaten raw, cooked, or made into a jam or jelly. It can also be used to make a lemonade-like drink. It actually looks like a small lemon.

You may have to gather for some time to use in recipes. I’m going to try freezing them till I have enough. From this site I found some recipes   http://www.schools.lth5.k12.il.us/bths-east/mayapple.html

May Apple Plant with Single Flower

May Apple Chiffon Pie

The pie is greatly improved by first cooking the may-apple and pressing the pulp through a colander, then let the pulp stand 20 minutes. Soften 1 envelope of unflavored gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water. Dissolve the mixture, add 1 T lemon juice, and a dash of salt. Chill until partially set. Fold in a package of whipped  cream, pour into a graham cracker crust and chill thoroughly.

May Apple Marmalade

Cut off both the flowering and stem end of the may-apple and quarter into a large pan. Simmer for 15 minutes and use a colander to get the pulp. For two cups of thick pulp, add 1/2 package of Sure-Jell and 2 3/4 cups of sugar. When the mixture boils and thickens, pour it into jars and seal.

May Apple Cider

A good drink is made by peeling and chopping chunks of  the may-apple into a large bowl. Add sugar and let the mixture set to draw out the juice. Mash the mixture and run it through the colander. Now, add a jigger of this liquid to a glass of lemonade for a pleasant iced beverage. Others prefer to add half of the juice to a half portion of grape.

Some more information:

The name, Podophyllum, comes from the Greek podos (foot) and phyllon (leaf), which alludes to a fanciful resemblance of the leaf to an aquatic bird’s foot: hence, the seldom used common name of duck’s foot. More often, it is known as mayapple (our native mayapple blooms in May). The beautiful but exceedingly toxic plant has several other perplexing common names that lend themselves to confusion: wild lemon (presumably because the ripened berries resemble tiny lemons), ground lemon, devil’s apple, hog apple, raccoon berry, Indian apple and American mandrake.

You can read more:

http://www.herbcompanion.com/Herb-Profiles/MAYAPPLE.aspx#ixzz1tIC2Py9N

I’m just discovering these things in nature. Do any of you out there have information that would be valuable to others about using this plant? I found this intensely interesting and am looking forward to trying to use this resource.  While it isn’t a major providing source, it brings variety into the food mix. I happen to like variety.

I’m looking forward to your comments. Thanks for letting me share my discovery with you. Stop in again soon and visit.  I am continuing my quest to find all the edible resources at my disposal. It’s awesome to discover God‘s worldwide free grocery store. Help me search and tell me what you have found. You are always welcome to come along my garden path.  :)    Jan

NOTICE: Nothing is edible except the fruit. Handling of the plant itself should be kept to a minimum. Pick the fruit and leave the rest alone. :) Want everyone to stay safe.

Mayapple fruit

May Apple Fruit

Mushrooms and Strawberries :-)


What an exciting day!  The sky was a beautiful blue and the temperature was comfortable.

I’ve been walking everyday I can. Some days I’m too weak but I try to walk even if it’s just a little. Today was one of those weaker days but I went with my husband for a small walk and we were rewarded with the most amazing discovery. We found a morel mushroom. After I got back home, Darnell, my husband went back there and looked more hoping to find enough for a meal. He searched several areas but came home empty-handed. Bummer!! On the bright side we did find one huge mushroom. It’s almost as big as my hand. I’m making us an omelet with ham, mushroom, tomato, and  cheese so we can savor that wonderful find.  I know we will enjoy it. There is enough there for us to share. I’m glad!!!

Wild Strawberry Plant with White Flower

After a little rest, I went for another walk to where I found the wild strawberries. Only one plant had a bloom on it and it was white which is the sign it is the right one. There is a fake strawberry plant. It is not  poisonous and is edible. Called  Wood Strawberry, has yellow flowers, and a similar fruit that has no flavor. I was glad the plants I dug had the white bloom. I left ample dirt around the roots so as to not disturb the growth process. They say that the strawberries that they produce are smaller than cultivated strawberries but are much more flavorful. I may not get any this year because of moving them but I’m a patient woman. I waited till the third year before I could fully harvest the rhubarb that I planted from roots given to me by good friends. Here in the middle of April, we picked from one plant enough rhubarb to make Rhubarb Bread. It flopped terribly but tastes delicious. We can eat it with a spoon.

What is wonderful about sharing plants is that every time I look at those rhubarb plants I think about the friends who gave it to me. I have another friend who gave me  Rose of Sharon bushes. When I look at them, it gives me a chance to pray for them and ask God to bless them and care for them. What they gave me is treasures that produces joy in my life. I love those gifts.

It will probably be a while before I can bake a Rhubarb Strawberry Pie. It’s a work in progress. It will be worth the  wait. We all have to wait for things. I’ve heard that things that we have to wait for usually produces something lasting that is of value so  how about we wait together. Come and visit.         Jan

What things have you gathered, pampered and waited for? Tell me about your experiences.

I’m in learning mode always so any contribution will be welcome. Leave a comment. :-)

Learning to Forage


It’s been so nice outside and when it is, I find anything I can do so I can enjoy the weather. It’s been chilly but not bad. Before it rained a few days ago, I planted zinnias and marigold seeds. We planted more plant starts out in the garden too. The rain helps them get started better than watering. Why is that? Is it that it is more natural? I just know that I am always glad when it rains. It cleans and waters and makes all things fresh.

Carya glabra

Hickory Nuts

I found a hickory tree near by with tons of nuts strewn under it. I brought a few home at first and cracked and tasted them. The nut meats were so sweet and good. I found them hard to crack and not have a million little pieces so I went to the internet and started searching for a way to get the nut meats out in more whole pieces. We are so spoiled. Factories crack them with a machine and you go to the store and buy packages of nuts without any little pieces. I have a very patient friend in Arkansas who gathers black walnuts and saves the nut meats. She has jars and jars of them but they are all in little tiny pieces. I love them and when she gives me a jar, I know how many hours of work went into gathering those precious gems of flavor  and nutrition. I am going to have to develop my persistence and tenacity to forage food from around me. It definitely takes patience and determination. I watched a few videos that showed a man cracking these nuts and taking out whole nut meats. He cracked it all over with a hammer or a stone, like a boiled egg and then gently picked the shell off piece by piece.That’s my goal.

Queen Anne's Lace (Wild Carrot)

I gathered dandelion greens early this year before they started blooming. I was told that they aren’t good after the blooms start. They were delicious. That wasn’t hard.

I spotted some wild onions  and wild carrots. I knew about the onions before and had heard of the carrots but had never investigated them. I don’t know that I will gather the roots of the wild carrots but if I ever needed to I could now. The research I did said they are not tender, sweet and good like their garden cousin. The big surprise was that the wild carrots was a plant that I have always called Queen Anne’s Lace. I never looked at the leaves because of the beauty of the bloom. I wonder what God was thinking when He put the one small purple dot in the middle of the bloom? You will see these along the road or in a field. The blue flower is Chicory and the roots can be roasted and ground to use as a coffee substitute.

Ever use pine nuts in a recipe. I have a couple Sicilian recipes that have them in them. I had no idea where they came from nor why they were called pine nuts. Now I know that they are little seeds hidden under every scale of the pine cone. I read that you pick them up off the ground or pick off the tree when they are tight together not more opened.

They are high in protein and fiber but after you get them out of the pine cone you still have to crack a shell similar to a sunflower seed from around the nut.

After I gathered them, I wrapped a cookie sheet with foil to protect it from the sap, and baked them for an hour at 200 degrees. Amazingly the scaled started lifting apart so the seeds could drop out. The pine smell while I did that was very pleasant.

It is good to know how to do these things. I do know that some things, I will probably not do on a day-to-day basis because of how hard it is. I want to become proficient at it so that what things are worth it to me to do… I will do and the rest I will store in the recesses of my brain for a rainy day when it might come in handy. That makes good sense, doesn’t it?

When all six of our children were home, we didn’t have a lot of money. I’m sure there were times when they felt it but I tried very hard to focus on things much more important than money.  We used what we had in the most creative way we could. I focused on the things in life that are free. Nature, God, Music, Books, and felt wealthy for all that was available to us. I don’t regret one day of my life. It is a gift!

Thanks for dropping by, Love having you visit and come again,                                                     Jan

P.S.   Had to show you this idea for the garden. I saw it on http://www.gardeners.com. It is an awesome way to save space in the garden. It shows it for cucumbers but I think it could be used for any of the smaller spreading crops like squash or muskmelon. There is a wealth of  great ideas available.

Cucumber or Vegetable Trellis

Gratitude and Contentment and How Gardening Helps!


Gratitude is a good thing.

Knowing what is a need and what is just something you want is also a good thing.

I was thinking about the attitudes I experience from people who cross by my path and the people I rub elbows with everyday. Attitude and perspective makes a big difference. Some people have created an attitude of dystopianism no matter what benefits they enjoy in life.  What they have is never good enough and the value and joy of a day is wasted on wishing for something else and hating what they have. Contentment is a valuable commodity worth more than gold. That doesn’t mean that you never set goals for something else that you think is important but can you do that and be happy today while you reach for it? I imagine except for maybe a few, we are all in survival mode. The cost of living has gone up. The farther you have to fall maybe the harder it is. Attitude is paramount no matter what level you are experiencing. The richer a person is, the more they might have to give up. They are used to having certain luxuries and we are creatures of habit. Whether we are rich or poor, if we need to pull in the cinches, it is important that we do it the best we know how. Change is hard for everyone. One of the things we can do is look for information and make it an adventure of learning and experiences. We can find it in ourselves to focus on  the good and be grateful for it. Even the things that are bad, we can be thankful for the strength God gives us as we go through the challenge and be grateful. Seems like when I have a pity party day, I will find someone who has it so much worse. Now on to an adventure. Adventure is what I call all the little quirky tips I find that helps me provides for the family something that is needed in a less expensive way. Gardening is one way I can help our family. I also do things like make my own yogurt or cottage cheese or make cakes or pancakes from scratch. I got a tip the other day. A friend of mine directed me to a site and told me about something I could do that I had never thought of. This is kind of a silly thing but its something that kids or grandkids will enjoy doing. This way they learn to help. It’s good when they are involved.

Grow your own celery from your celery remains. Just chop off the base and plant. One week of growth shown in photo.

I buy celery all the time and I don’t remove one stalk at a time and chop it. I cut off whatever I need from the end of the stalks so that when I’m done I’m left with the piece at the end of the celery where the roots were when it was harvested. This is perfect because they said to take the root end of the celery and put it in the ground and it will produce more celery stalks. I’m going to replant my first celery at the end of this week. To me when you can do things like this, it’s an adventure and makes surviving more fun. Pretty soon it isn’t surviving but it is joyful living in the present. You can be happy while you accomplish it. I planted my cucumbers the other day in a hanging basket. I’ll let you know how that works. We don’t have room in our little garden for anything that spreads. One spreading plant and it would fill our whole garden. She had this link connected to this picture:

http://homesteadingsurvivalism.myshopify.com/blogs/news

This link will take you to a gardening guide with lists of plants. It’s very well presented and easy to refer to it for information. It tells you when to plant and other valuable information. I found several things on the site that might be of value. One was a cold frame set up made by setting bales of straw around a small section of your garden and start the plants there. Cover the area with clear plastic so that it rests on the bales. That way you get a head start and the plants are already where they are going to be planted so you don’t have to even move them. That is pretty awesome. This is the link to the original site that had the Straw Cold Frame:          http://ozarksalive.org/larrapin/?p=929

Straw Cold Frame

They used sliding glass doors but you could make frames and cover with plastic. That might be safer for kids and animals.

I am definitely going to try this next year. Love finding new ideas…new to me anyhow. :-) Hope you benefit from my travels on the internet. Love technology! How much do we all have in our lives that we can be grateful for?

I read an article in Wiki about gratitude. Here is one section out of that article:

“While many emotions and personality traits are important to well-being, there is evidence that gratitude may be uniquely important. First, a longitudinal study showed that people who were more grateful coped better with a life transition. Specifically, people who were more grateful before the transition were less stressed, less depressed, and more satisfied with their relationships three months later.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratitude

Gardening exposes you to the whole cycle of life. It is usually a quiet task that gives you time to think, meditate, calm your mind, and bring something wonderful to others.

It is a great time to contemplate the good things in your life. Make a list of those things and be grateful, and share with others.

Thanks for stopping by,

Jan

Does Anyone Know What’s Important?


What a week… been talking about politics!  Yuck…must be the most

The western front of the United States Capitol...

The western front of the United States Capitol. The Capitol serves as the seat of government for the United States Congress, the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government. It is located in Washington, D.C.

irritating subject in the world. The reason for me that it is an awful subject is that I feel like there are very few in politics that can be taken seriously. Just when you think there is someone then they do something that just makes you scratch your head. You can’t believe what they do. There is so much propaganda flying around … how in the world do you make a solid productive decision about who you will vote for. I am so disgusted with the whole mud-slinging thing that goes on during election times.

I wish that the governmental bodies in Washington functioned as part-time jobs.  If the  senators held jobs other than their job in Washington then they would be more connected with the real world and would be less likely to waste time when doing the governmental job. If they were insured like every other person and had to think about their retirement the same as every other person in the USA then they would have a totally different perspective.

I believe that the statement made by Warren Buffett about Congress persons not being able to be reelected if the budget was not balanced. If it were that way, then I truly believe they would work together harder to accomplish what is needed. Where is their accountability?

It is discouraging to think that it makes very little difference who gets elected for the presidency since if the Republicans and Democrats can’t work together then how can a president accomplish anything good for our country.

It is strange to me that there are so many rules in the income tax book…they say it is longer than the bible! I believe they need to simplify…simplify… simplify!! If they lowered the amount of tax% required but then no matter your income you all paid the same it would be much better.  That’s one opinion.

My daughter said the middle class is disappearing. It should be the largest group in the US but the effects of the recession seems to have hit them the hardest. The very poor are doing very little different from what they have been doing to survive. They are living within their budget…or are avoiding it. They have no choice in the matter. The middle class probably are the worst offenders at living beyond their budgets. This made them most likely to fail because living beyond their budget makes a weak link in their financial structure.

The corruption and lack of morals makes me crazy!  I wish there was an awakening.

I know this post is just a way for me to voice my frustration and I think I have lots of company. I am always amazed when I hear what a small percentage of people vote. I’ve talked to a few who say they aren’t voting because they say there aren’t any good choices…they don’t want anyone on the ballot.

I find it very hard to decide how to vote but I will continue to search out what is absolutely verifiable about the candidates and  cast my vote. We can’t complain and not do what we can to have an effect on the government. I hate it that some people get elected because they are the lesser evil. There is something totally wrong about that picture.

Do you know even when I try to not listen to all the news reports out there, every once in a while. something will sneak through and freak me out! Yesterday I heard the congressman from GA in a town meeting say that 78-80 members of congress are communists. I can’t quote him since it’s been quoted so many different ways. That’s why I just want to plug my ears and not hear anything because so many claims are hard or impossible to validate. It’s just clutter! I think their main goal is to cause confusion.

I know that this should not be a personality contest but many times I think that is what happens.

Our country is in such a state that it is so important what happens. I will definitely be praying for wisdom to know what to do and do all the research I can. Seems  there is nothing simple in this world but even though I’m discouraged… I will never give up. What seems important is to work at this thing and do our part to sift through all the information and GO VOTE!! We don’t keep our freedoms by doing nothing!

Thanks for listening  and giving me a chance to get some things off my chest!!

Stop by again and leave your comments… let’s share our frustration or our clarity..there must be some out there somewhere!! I’m still looking…

Thanks again,

Jan

Faith and the Egg


Eggs have become such a prevalent part of Easter. What do you think it stands for?

Easter eggs

Easter Eggs ~ Symbol of New Life

One of my recent posts was about how we develop our philosophy in life. I told you one of the ways I developed my philosophy was through reading the bible. I was raised in church and it was the “normal” thing to do in my life. I embraced that life until I left home. When I left home, I started spreading my wings and thinking, “I can choose whether I make that my life or not.” I tried and tried to choose a different way. My family was always pretty straight-laced. I thought it would be awesome if I flew by the seat of my pants so to speak. I wanted to be like some other people I knew that didn’t follow so close to the line. I experimented with the feel of making choices opposite of what I had always made during my life so far.

From a young age I learned about God and His son, Jesus Christ.  I  tried just cruising along when I reached this time in my life but I found out the price was too big.  No matter how I tried to brush it away, I found that the way my life had played out up to the time of being on my own, was the true belief of my heart and not just a rote display of tradition. It was then that it transformed from tradition to the fabric of who I am. I knew then what I believed for myself and not because of how I had been raised.

Jesus with the Children

I believe that the bible is the inspired word of God. And the Bible says that God send His son to earth as God/man to tell us about God and to become the payment for the shortcomings of humans on earth. He died on the cross and was raised from the dead and then ascended up into heaven.

This is the essence of the spiritual celebration of Easter. This is a very important time of year for me. I am so grateful for what God has done for us. By paying the debt for our sins, if we believe then we have been promised a place in heaven. That is only the tip of the iceberg.  For me the promise of heaven is what comes later but what is so much more important is the comfort and guidance He provided for us post assention through the Holy Spirit. He is with us constantly and we can turn to Him at any time for direction.

These are things I rarely speak out loud so I am just wondering what every readers response will be. I know it sounds strange but I’m as sure of this as life itself. God is real and He is miraculous in every way and it is a source of great joy and peace for me.

The eggs that are used in the celebration of Easter are symbolic of the “New Life” that

Jesus with the Soldiers

is available through believing in God and His Son, Jesus Christ. The way you accept Jesus and the gift He provides is to realize that all humans make choices that are wrong. In any justice system there is a price for wrong and Jesus paid the debt and offered to cover our imperfections. We only have to realize what the gift is, why you need it and accept it from Him. I did and it has made an amazing difference in my life. I’m glad to have Him be a part of my life. I appreciate everything He has ever done for me. This is the only thing in my life that doesn’t change. All other things that make up my life, can and do change. I have had some very good things in my life but there is very few things that are secure or guaranteed. My faith that God gave me is the rock I stand on.

Easter is a very private, important part of my life. It is a time of extreme worship. I know that many people go to church on Easter but I actually like to be alone with God on that day. The most awesome Easter for me was when I was up early on a beach in Florida. I

God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit

was there with one other person. We didn’t talk. It was a time of worship for me. The sun was almost representative of the Glory of God and I just talked to Him and expressed my thanks for His presence in my life. I hope you will find peace this Easter. This peace fills my life every day and it is the greatest gift ever given.

May you find the blessings of this Easter Season,

Thanks for stopping by,

Jan

Please talk to me… leave your comments.

Yogurt~New Day~New Way!


Made Yogurt Tuesday. Tried something different.

Yogurt Straining Tools

Took a plastic container that was almost a gallon size. (Ice Cream Pail)

INGREDIENTS :

1 Quart 2% milk  (4 cups)

3 & 3/4  cups warm water

1 & 1/3 cup dry milk powder

1 cup dry milk powder (this is extra ~ more that what you need to make a Quart of Milk with dry milk powder)

Mix all above ingredients with a whisk

1/2 cup yogurt with live cultures Set out on the counter to warm to room temperature when you start the project.

(Use either yogurt from the store that says it has live culture in it or if you make yogurt save a half cup from the last batch)

DIRECTIONS:

Put container in the microwave and  set it for 7 minutes. It was bubbling when the time was up. Set it on the counter to cool.

It will depend on the power of yours, how many minutes it will take. Mine is 1000 Watts so I set mine for 7 minutes

I use a candy thermometer to keep track of the temp so I laid that in the large container of  milk and watched for it to drop to 110 degrees. I think it was about an hour when it reached the goal temperature. The 1/2 cup of yogurt will be room temperature. Put it in a bowl that will have enough room so you can whisk in a cup of the 110 degree milk .  I took two soup ladles of milk and whisked it quickly into the yogurt. Pour it back into the milk in the larger container whisking all the time. I found a good smaller size cooler chest and poured the milk into a container. It needs to fits but have room for another container. I pre-warmed the cooler chest by putting a jar of very hot water in it with the lid on to raise the temp of the container. Once it was warm, I placed the milk mixture in the cooler chest with a lid on. In the extra space I have a microwave heating pad that I warmed up and put in a ziplock bag and placed in there beside the other container. You could also use a jar with very hot water in it. Put a towel between the jars. Close it up and cover it with a blanket for extra measure. I totally forgot about it till the next morning.

I love it in the morning when you get up to something nice.

Straining into Large Bowl to Collect Whey

I use a plastic strainer and line it with a cotton cloth that I have rinsed out so it’s wet. I poured all the yogurt into the lined strainer. Saved the new whey in a bowl under the strainer and just let it set for a couple of hours.

I save my whey to use in the place of buttermilk in recipes. If I have whey in the frig that I haven’t used. I pour it out, wash my container and put the new whey in it and back in the frig. This way it is always fresh. I also limit how much I save to 4 cups. (1 Quart).

Final Strain Over Pie Plate in Frig
Results: Greek Yogurt

After it drains setting on the counter for a couple of hours, I just put a pie plate under the strainer and put it in the frig. Let it continue to drain the rest of the day. Put into containers then and put in the frig. This amount makes three 16 oz. containers of greek style yogurt. You could cut this recipe in half and it would work also. We use all of ours for beef stroganoff, condiment on baked potato, just to eat plain or with fruit, blended with frozen fruit for smoothies. Lots you can do and I make mine about every 2-3 weeks and it keeps quite well for that amount of time.  I thought you might like this easier process to make your own yogurt.

Thanks for stopping by,

Jan     :-)

Philosophy in a Cap


philosophy in a cap

I was recently reading blogs and ran across the picture above. The blog was titled something like… “What I would tell me if I were a teen? I am so upset that I can’t remember how to find it because I didn’t get to finish reading it. I stopped in the middle to harvest this picture because it was important to me. This picture grabbed me though and it’s all about perspective. After you read it you say to yourself…  I know that but I haven’t thought of it lately~~~

Well I didn’t find the blog I was looking for but I did find this picture at this link:http://www.soifound.com/2011/06/do-not-regret-growing-older.html  I will continue my quest to find the half-read blog out there in blog land. :-)

Where do we get our philosophy’s  for life? Many are from reading, tv, radio, conversations, organizations, bible, church, school, and an endless number of other places. It’s like seeds in the air planting continuously in our brains. Some philosophy comes from experiences. I’ve heard people say, “I’ll never do that again.” From the experiences sprouts a mental quote in our heads that states the philosophy we have developed from that experience. We all have basic human needs and our philosophies come from our experiences and information resources as we absorb everything around us. According to psychology, Maslow described our basic human needs in the following illustration:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow’s_hierarchy_of_needs

We all need these needs met and as we strive to fill them we develop our thoughts about life and how to live it. I got mine from associations with people I love like my husband and children, from my mother and father, from reading the bible, from friends and from reading everything I can get my hands on for years.  Most of the changes in philosophy have come at moments when I was in great crisis. You can change your philosophy at the drop of a hat if you need to do it to survive. Most are deeply embedded and not so easy to change. They are the fabric of who you are. All of our needs take a position on a balance beam that rests on a fulcrum. I have always taught my children that balance in our lives is very important. We each find the fulcrum that will be the balancing point of our lives. Mine is my relationship with God. The reason for this is that a foundation needs to be stable. The only thing in my life that doesn’t change is God. Hebrews 13:8 says: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He never changes and is dependable. He doesn’t change His mind. I may move away from him but He will always be right where I left Him when I return. He loves me and gives me direction that is in my best interest. I am thankful for this stable rock in my journey through a chaotic, changing, swirl of life. It is good to rest on a Rock. In the bible is says in Psalms 40:1-3:

I waited patiently for the Lord; He inclined to me and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth~Praise to our God. Many will see it and fear and will put there trust in Him.

I am so glad to have a foundation that when a builders lever is put to it, measures true and square and stands the furor of the storm.

Talk to me about where your philosophy for life comes from. It is awesome to share what makes us who we are. Thanks for stopping by.

Talk to you again soon,

                        Jan

Vinegar~The Cheapest Wonder Substance on Earth


A couple of years ago we ran into a problem at our house. Darnell told

One of Many Brands of Vinegar

me that his toe nail was thickening and discolored. This was about the time I had a cyst on my toe that was pretty painful so I decided to have it removed. I went to a foot doctor and had that done and then ask her what she does for the fungus that had developed on Darnell’s toe. She gave us a prescription and we went on our way. Nothing like hanging out your laundry in front of God and everybody!!! For the last year Darnell has used that and it ran out recently. He said he didn’t see any difference in his toe except that it seemed to not get any worse.  When we went to our primary Doctor in January, Darnell ask him about it and he said He could prescribe a medication that is very expensive and would be hard on the liver. That was definitely out.

My usual reaction when there is a problem is to dive into the computer and find suggestions for an answer. Everything I read is taken with a grain of salt. I’m not the person that jumps off a cliff or to try anything without it being a reasonable sense to what is said. It has to be safe. I went to several sites and started reading:

http://www.disabled-world.com/artman/publish/article_377.shtml

http://www.grandmas-wisdom.com/toenail-fungus.html

http://www.wikihow.com/Cure-Toenail-Fungus-With-Vinegar

I got the following paragraph from this site:  http://www.myhomeremedies.com/topic.cgi?topicid=266&page=2

Easy cure: Get some cotton balls, apple cider vinegar, athletic tape. Tear off enough cotton ball to cover the nail you want cured. Dip the cotton ball into the apple cider vinegar until it’s saturated. Place the saturated cotton ball over the area you need fixed and tape it in place with the athletic tape. Your nail will get soft after the application so use a nail file to scrape off soft nail. Do this in the morning and before bed for as long as you need. Be vigilant and the infection will go away soon. Just make sure you file off the dead nail as you go and you’ll be clear in no time depending on the infection.

This is what Darnell did only He used gauze pads and taped it on his toe at night before going to bed. We knew it was working after one night. It is amazing. When we tried it …I wasn’t really expecting it to work but knew it couldn’t hurt anything.

As I was searching for the toe nail cure. I found lists everywhere that proclaimed the virtues of vinegar as the answer for “everything from soup to nuts”. it will clean everything. It has all kinds of medicinal properties as well.

I looked on Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinegar).

Here is a link to Reader’s Digest who has been gathering information for years.  http://www.rd.com/home/150-household-uses-for-vinegar/ They listed 150 uses for vinegar.

I am trying one of the uses I discovered. Having to do with diabetes, they said  that it could help in regulating blood sugars. One of the sites was Wiki that talked about that. The following two paragraphs are from Wiki:

Blood glucose control and diabetic management

Prior to hypoglycemic agents, diabetics used vinegar teas to control their symptoms.[22] Small amounts of vinegar (approximately 25 g of domestic vinegar) added to food, or taken along with a meal, have been shown by a number of medical trials to reduce the glycemic index of carbohydrate food for people with and without diabetes.[24][25][26] This also has been expressed as lower glycemic index ratings in the region of 30%.[27][28]

Diet control

Multiple trials indicate that taking vinegar with food increases satiety (the feeling of fullness) and, so, reduces the amount of food consumed.[29][30] Daily intake of 15 ml of vinegar (750 mg AcOH) might be useful in the prevention of metabolic syndrome by reducing obesity.[31]   

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinegar#Blood_glucose_control_and_diabetic_management)

Here is a site that I found many interesting things:

http://www.apple-cider-vinegar-benefits.com/home-remedies.html

From what we have read repeatedly on the internet, scientists have measured ninety different substances in apple cider vinegar such as thirteen types of carbolic acids, four aldehydes, twenty ketones, eighteen types of alcohols, eight ethyl acetates etc. It also contains important minerals, trace elements and vitamins as well acetic acid, propionic acid, lactic acid, enzymes, amino acids as well as roughage in the form of potash and apple pectin.

Apple Cider Vinegar contains minerals and trace elements such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, chlorine, sodium, sulfur, copper, iron, silicon, fluorine. An alternative to drinking apple cider vinegar may be to take potassium supplements, as potassium is known to absorb excess fluids (ie, mucous) in the body. Drink lots of water if you take potassium supplements so you don’t get dehydrated! Potassium, by the way, lowers high blood pressure.

Apple Cider Vinegar’s vitamin content includes Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Provitamin beta-carotene, Vitamin P (bioflavonoids).

AMAZING!

Well I know for sure that a mixture of vinegar is good for cleaning windows, helping your dog stop itching, taking the sting out of sunburns, cleaning soap residue out of your washer or your hair, alleviates flatulence or reflux, makes buttermilk by adding to milk, and many more things than I have room to name. All the claims I can’t guarantee but it seems to be a very valuable resource for under 2 Dollars for 1 gallon. Buy a gallon and do some reading and put it to your own test. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. I knew it was a good thing but I didn’t know to what extent. Thanks for visiting me as I journey along my garden path. Come again soon,

                  Jan

Mother Nature’s April Fools Joke


I am dumbfounded that it is 80 degrees in the middle of March. It seems like a huge April Fools Joke from Mother Nature to all of us. It’s a little unsettling. I have the Spring Fever though that comes whenever great weather crosses our path. I’m spending every second I can outside.

For the last week I have been raking my yard. With that amount of time you would think I had a big yard but that is not the case. It is postage stamp size but I just do a little section at a time. I love the smell of burning leaves. It evokes memories of a nice clean yard from when I was young and working on the yard with my Dad. I’m pecking at the weeding in my flower beds. My children came and made me two raised bed gardens and we also bought two half barrels to plant in. This was about ten years ago. I love them because I can sit on the wall or pull a chair up beside  the barrels and just work at it a little at a time. Last year my husband put in a raised bed at the end of the house. I have some things planted that come up each year and then I plant a few from seeds like zinnias, nasturtium, and marigolds. The zinnias are wonderful for cut flowers.

Darnell, my husband has spring fever too. He loves the vegetable garden.

Flat of Starter Plants

He has been busy as a bee planting seeds inside so that they will be ready when it’s time to plant. He couldn’t resist though and planted some peas, carrots, beets, and radishes right in the ground out in the garden. I just know that we are going to get a surprise and have snow the first of May but if we do we will cover it and try to save them. If we fail we will replant. It made him feel good to plant it anyhow. The flat to the right has been planted about 10 days.

Our houseplants need re-potting in the spring so we got most of the pots done. We have palms, aloe, christmas cactus, purple heart, geraniums, angle wind begonia, and Hoya. We have really thinned out our plants so there isn’t so much to care for. We used to have a jungle.

To start our plants for the garden, we saved the plastic box containers  that spinach and lettuce come in and grape or cherry

Planting in Egg Carton

tomatoes also. We put a little dirt in the bottom, water it completely and plant the seeds apart enough so they have a bit of room to grow. We used egg cartons in the same way. The boxes act like a green house since you can close the lid.  We did save a flat with a lid from last year  So many of the seeds are so minuscule that it is so hard to plant them but we keep on doing it.

We mist the dirt or the plants if they are up, everyday. The anticipation nearly kills you as you watch for them to come up. We are going to try to start cauliflower and broccoli from seed this year. We are going to plant some heirloom seeds this year for part of the plants. A friend is going to share with us. Heirloom seeds have not been genetically altered and the seeds have been gathered from the plants year after year.

Most seeds take 7 to 10 days to come up then you thin them out

Planting in Lettuce Box ~ Instant Greenhouse

and give them time to mature into a healthy strong plant before you put it into the garden soil.  I told you our garden spot is small. In the picture toward the bottom of the page, you can see what it looks like now as it’s waiting for the plants. Soon it will be filled with plants. Darnell goes out when they are producing and picks what is ready and brings it to me. I do the preparation that is needed for us to eat it right away. If there is more than what we can eat, I will package it to put in the freezer.

My rhubarb is just up and looks so tiny compared to the size the leaves will be very soon. You have to watch the rhubarb and not let it go to seed at the top of the leaves. As soon as you see something that isn’t a leaf you cut it off so that the plant will continue producing.

                                  

Baby Rhubarb

We still have to finish framing in the box around the garden spot. We will add compost to the box each year and occasionally a bag of fertile soil from the hardware store. We water our plants once they are in the garden some but not too much. I want the roots to reach for the water. If you water too much then the roots just lie in the first few inches of the soil and are much more vulnerable.

 

It was framed in but when Darnell decided to expand the garden, he moved the frame over and he will finish building around the whole area.

We have better meals since we started growing a garden. It is wonderful what we get from the plantings.  I hope you will try growing something. It doesn’t have to be a lot but even one plant will bring you good nutritious food for your family to eat. I hope that I have enticed you to make a garden path of your own. I am always glad when you visit mine. Thanks and come visit again soon and see what surprises you will find along my garden path.             Jan

Hindsight and Forward Thinking


Hindsight is 20/20 is it not?

About 11 years ago my life changed drastically. I went through a horrendous corporate downsizing event. I lost the job that I truly loved. No I wasn’t a Brain Surgeon! It did not require that level of intelligence but I loved providing a service. To do that in a way that brings pleasure and enjoyment to others and are treated with respect, brought me joy. I did my job well and I found the chance connections in life are meant to produce something of value in each exchange. It wasn’t just a job to me. I believe  that the experiences we have. good and bad. are there for a reason  and that is as others pass that way, that you may somehow help them find their way and bring them comfort. If we all live our life that way then none of us are alone. Because of the value I put on this resource of connection, I felt great sorrow when I lost my job especially when I had trouble finding another job. I loved working.

Have you heard the statement that 90% of all illness is stress related? In looking back at this time, I came to believe it is true. The two to three years of downsizing process is very stressful, humiliating, and you are in anxious limbo. I was eliminated on in the last sweep on my birthday…isn’t that funny? I didn’t think so …I thought it was cruel and thoughtless.

I began not feeling so well. I started feeling tired beyond the normal and felt weak. I had several episodes where it was like my one leg didn’t get the message from the brain about what it was to do. Not realizing at the time that what was happening. I was having mini strokes. I was telling my Dr. what was going on and he said it wasn’t anything to worry about. I believed him at least for a while.

I did finally get a job in a factory. It was a little out of my realm of experiences but it was good.  I was so glad. I continued to not feel well and it progressed. I rode my bike to work and one day I rode in and when I was to stop my legs wouldn’t come off the peddles to the ground so I could stop. I ran into the wall and crashed. That was a bit unsettling but I picked myself up and brushed myself off and kept going. The days that followed, I picked a softer landing spot. :-) I lost the job though which had never happened in this way. I was fired. I put something into a mold backwards and it cracked the mold. I felt bad but I went and found another job. I went back to my comfort zone working in medical records in a large Doctor’s Office. I had never gotten a bad review in my life up to the point when I got fired but after trying for 3 months, I didn’t pass the probationary period and I was let go. I’m a persistent little cuss so I went to another hospital and got a job as a registration specialist. The same thing happened and they let me go. Now I was crushed. I could see that there was something terribly wrong. I still tried again. I worked as a cashier in a gas station . I tackled that with the same gusto as always and  I enjoyed it.  I was taking things in stride but things were catching up with me.

Right Carotid Artery

I could see I was not my normal self. My brain just was not functioning like it had in the past. I went back to the Doctor and he

still said it was nothing. I was just aging. I was mad now so I  went and found another Doctor. I had been documenting things for a long time and showed him the same list I had shown the other Doctor and he right away sent me for certain tests. He thought I might have MS.  It ended up my carotid arteries were blocked on one side and all but 1% on the other. Making a long story short, after seeing a specialist, I was told there was nothing they could do. By this time I was having trouble climbing stairs My exhaustion level was extreme. The very tactless Doctor said I could drop over at any time. I don’t mind truth but it didn’t need to be so graphic. I worked at the gas station till I couldn’t anymore.

This Doctor  had my whole family in an uproar when he worded it that was, that I could drop over any time. I didn’t have the strength to deal with it. My family started hovering and figuring out what I should and shouldn’t do. I had to tell them to back off and that I was not going to crawl into a hole and get ready to die but was planning to live life in a good  way till it was time to go.  Here I am 11 years later …still weak and exhausted but living life in a way that is productive and satisfying. God has shored me up and I’m still paddling. (I know, the West Virginia dialect in me just has to come out from time to time. ) May of last year I saw signs that the disease was progressing as my eyes  developed hemorrhages caused by pressure as the blockage moved  north toward the brain. I can still see some of out of the left eye…so I’m still paddling!!  I’m thankful for what I have.

This is where hindsight comes into the picture. If I could rewind time, I would have listened to my gut feelings. Doctors are not infallible and they can have an off day as well just like you or me. I had too much confidence in them and thought they were always right. It is only by a blessing from God that I haven’t lost my life way too young. I was not used to bucking the system or trusting my own intuition. Who knows what’s normal in your body better than you? If you feel like something is wrong then you need to persist and search for an answer until you are satisfied and at peace that you have found the right answer about what you are experiencing.

God was a part of my life long before all of this happened. He is my mainstay and gives me strength, encouragement, and comfort through it all. He is constant and unchanging. It makes it all a little easier.

Remember, you can tell if something is not normal so trust your instinct and act sooner than later so that things can be taken care of in a timely manner. Send me your comments or questions anytime and come walk with me down my garden path.

Thanks for Stopping by,

Jan

Modus Vivindi…a practical compromise


Image representing SparkPeople as depicted in ...

Free Site for Life-Changing Help

I heard once that if you have something about yourself that you want to change,you must do that thing the new way 7 times for every time you have done it the old way. That is staggering! When I thought about how many times I chose to disregard good common sense about food, it’s a bit overwhelming. I’m telling you this so you understand where I was 17 months ago. At that time I was searching for information for my friend about carbohydrates. I knew very little about carbs. 29 years ago when I became a diabetic you avoided “sugar” and counted calories. As I found sites with good directions about eating carbs, I was learning as I passed it on to her. Site after site, I gathered and one of the sites caught my eye. The site was Spark People (www.sparkpeople.com). When I was done, I went back to check it out. It’s free so I started the registration process. I put in all the normal info you give out to register and then the medical and physical questions started. It was a little intimidating. It was taking me places I didn’t even want to think about. They ask for my weight and height and they ask me to take my measurements. This was definitely not a place I wanted to go.

Weight has always been something I struggled with… or not. By that I mean that there were times I didn’t care what size I was. I just wanted to be happy and have fun. After trying every diet known to man or woman, beating myself up mentally, and dealing with depression for longer than is good for anyone, I had decided I wasn’t beating myself up anymore because I liked myself except for my weight. The debate had to end. And I was in that state till I started with Spark People.

My background  is southern barely. I am from West Virginia and my family excelled at cooking and every event in our lives was punctuated with food. I don’t think any of it was ever low-fat, low carb, or low anything else. I didn’t hear anyone discussing health in connection with nutrition. If you liked it and it made you feel good, you ate it.

My Dad loved to eat. In my family eating was an event, a celebration, the fun you looked forward to. Now I know this is strange but then I thought it was normal. In the summer, my dad would get a cantaloupe, cut it in half, take the seeds out and fill the hole in the middle with ice cream. He would eat the ice cream and the cantaloupe bowl it is in. I’m sure I was trying to keep up with him. Anything to do with a special meal was enormous. There was lots of food around. As I grew up I was always plump but close to somewhat reasonable.  There was a 15 year period that would expose my modus vivendi though. The family teaching and experiences growing up, along with my lack of enough knowledge or discipline, caught up with me when I got married and started my own family.

Not long after I married, I became diabetic.  I was immature and unprepared for everything that I faced. As the onslaught of battles came my way, all the internal demons involving diabetes and my weight raised “its ugly head”. My depression increased and five years into this struggle I decided I would be happy with myself no matter what size I was..

SparkPeople.com Featured Motivator, December 2...

SparkPeople.com Featured Motivator

After Spark People gathered the basic information, they told me how to use the site to track all that would help me to change my life. They set my calorie amount based on my current weight not based on what a women of my age and height should be. They didn’t want me to jump off a cliff but to just start developing some healthy habits. After a time you can alter the amount of calories, etc. You list everything you eat and it tells you what it provides for you nutritionally and tells you the calories, carbs, fats, and proteins. But the focus isn’t on the calories or the carbs, They just want you to be honest with yourself. Put down everything you eat, good and bad. Then they start sending the information that is needed for you to decide you want to have a life-style change.  They don’t want you on a diet. They want you to change you life in the easiest way possible with all the support they can give. The site sends you informative and encouraging articles constantly. Today they sent me one called,

“9 Simple Tricks to Eat Less.

1. Enjoy every bite!   “mmmm~ummm” my quote not theirs

2. Use smaller plates, cups and bowls.

4. Know your pitfalls.

3. Pre-portion your food.

5. Keep a food journal.

6. Use the proper plate method

7. Pack in the protein

8. Doggie bag it

9. Eat Breakfast

I must have been using my brain for a hat rack, since these are basically common sense. What was I thinking. These tools are so excellent in helping you fight the things that stand between you and success. Just 2 things from the list will guarantee some weight loss. Use a smaller plate and use the proper plate method. Go and read the whole thing though because the list isn’t good till you read it all. http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id1386

Exercise is required to see a change. I believe that but I am physically not able to exercise like a normal person. When I went to the section they had to help you set up a schedule of chosen exercises, I figured I was tough out of luck, In the search line, I typed seated exercises and it pulled up a full section with things I could do. They showed me after I viewed a normal week of eating, how to set my intake amount so that even without activity, I could lose weight. I was reassured that what I was committing myself to was actually possible.

What is really amazing about this article is that 17 months ago, I didn’t knew a lot about what to eat.  I thought I knew but it was a scattered cosmic clutter in my brain. Now when I read an article all of the pieces are in place. The knowledge is there, the desire is there, and the encouragement is there. In 14 months I lost 60 pounds and have kept them off. In the last 8 months I have had 3 eye surgeries. I can see out of one eye not bad and at this time I’m blind in the other eye, only seeing light and contrast. There is the possibility I can have surgery this summer and improve that some. I am looking forward to many things and one of them is to be able to walk some so I can start taking off more weight. It is … I can’t even tell you how wonderful it feels to succeed after 30 years..  I feel like a different person

The reason I’m encouraged, is that I have changed my life-style and my whole thought process and in so doing, even though I’m a foodie,  I know that this can be a permanent change. That seems diametrically opposed! But it’s not. The YoYo scenario from the past that was so dangerous physically and mentally, is not the established norm now. I feel in my heart that I will, in a very slow, healthy way, take the amount of weight off that is needed. In the end, I may not weigh 100 pounds because I will continue on this exploration till I find the spot where I am contented, healthy  and happy. I don’t have a modus vivendi because the opposing things that pulled me in two different direction have now made peace. I can lose weight, be healthy and still love food. If this describes you, then come with me down my garden path. If you every have a question or you have information you want to share, please feel free to comment. I would love to hear from you. I know we can learn from one another.

Thanks for stopping by,

Jan

Yogurt, Ice cream, and a Busy Weekend


This was such and exciting project! I was so happy with how it turned out. It is very creamy and I added a teaspoon of raspberry preserves to it.What an Awesome Breakfast!!.  

Here is the recipe:

8 cups Milk – any form 

Milk Warming in the Crock Pot

1 cup nonfat dry milk powder

1/2 cup store-bought yogurt (it must say “with live active cultures”)

2 Tablespoons Honey or sugar to feed the culture 

 Tools Needed

A Crock Pot that holds a little over 8 cups or more.

A Candy Thermometer

Colander and Bowl to catch liquids

Piece of cotton cloth that will fit down into the colander and hang over the sides enough so you can strain the yogurt

Towels or smaller blanket

Directions:

1.Take the 1/2 cup yogurt and put in a 2 cup container. Leave set out on the counter so that it is room temperature.

2. Place 6 cups milk in the crock pot and turn it on to low setting. Take 1 cup of dry milk powder and add gradually as you actively whisk the remaining 2 cups of milk in a bowl. Mix till smooth.Add Honey or sugar of choice. Add back to the milk in the crock pot. With the lid on, heat this way for 3 hours.  Check the temperature midway through and toward the end of the time. The range you are aiming for is 150 to 180 degrees. I sometimes start mine of high and lower it  after an hour.

Keeping The Yogurt Warm

3. When you reach the target temperature, turn it off. Check every hour.Note your temperature and watch for it to drop to between 110 – 115 degrees.When it reaches that temp, do the next step.

4. Take out 1 cup of hot milk (110 degree). and drizzle it into the yogurt slowly using a whisk. Once it’s mixed, add the mixture to the crock pot. Put the lid back on and cover the crock pot with several towels. (to keep it warm and draft free.Check the temperature every hour for  a few hours keeping it at the 110 temperature. If it drops below that  temp, turn on the crock pot to warm for about 5 minutes then turn it off.Continue keeping it covered and warm. do this till you go to bed for the night

 The Towel Wrapped Crock Pot will just sit until you get up in the morning.On Sunday morning when I got up, I was happy to see a                                                                                                           good batch of Yogurt waiting for me

5. The Whey is the liquid you see in the pot with the yogurt.

Looks Like Yogurt

This has to be drained off so that you have a thicker yogurt.

Take a colander and set it in a bowl that will keep the bottom of the

colander up out of the liquid. The liquid will drain quickly at first.so

drain off and empty the whey into a storage jar and refrigerate.

  

Draining the Whey

Put the Colander in the refrigerator with a bowl under it to finish

draining. I left it in there about 6 hours and the product that emerged

is the consistency of Greek Yogurt.

.

            

 

 

Isn’t this super looking Greek Yogurt? Believe me, it tastes

Great Results!

really good and you can use it to eat like Greek Yogurt and as

sour  cream, where ever you use it, for cooking, and making

awesome smoothies.It takes a day more or less. If you are busy that

will be hard..

If you are busy but at home … it can be done. I make cottage

cheese by the same method using rennet instead of yogurt starter.

I hope you will try this and get to enjoy the spoils of your labor.

Now you say, weren’t you telling us about an ice cream project? What happened to that? The base Chocolate Ice Cream ~ done without an ice cream maker ~ Recipe, is unbelievable! So far our sugar-free trials have failed but we aren’t giving up yet. I think soon I will go ahead and give you the ice cream recipe that takes regular sugar and when I have news about the sugar-free project, I will let you know.

I hope you enjoy the Yogurt recipe as much as I have. As a diabetic, this is a great tool. The nutritional information for 6 oz. of the Greek style yogurt is approximately:  Calories – 80    Carbohydrates – 6   Protein – 15. If you take 6 oz yogurt and 1/2 c. frozen strawberries, unsweetened combined in a blender with a little splenda. Like the snap of your fingers.. dessert around 119 calories and 16 carbs. Such a treat. These kinds of food tools are helpful to help control your blood sugar and also to give you variety in the diet.

Thanks for stopping by my garden path, Like we say in West Virginia, ya’ll come back, hear?!!!

Jan

About the Web Links on my Site:


About the Web Links on my Site:

7 – an experimental mutiny against excess

This was an experience, just thinking about this. I’m hoping for myself that it changes my perspective and keeps me balanced. Go to this site and check and see if this is a book you would like to read. Look at the responses of those who reviewed it. It’s good for me to shake up my thinking, chew on it a few days and look for where I might make changes. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12171769-7 The site I have on the lower left is the blog of the author, Jen Hatmaker.

http://www.Medify.com

This site blew my socks off! For the last 10 years since I found out I was ill, I have tried to search for infomation left and right. I have found it so hard to find anything of substance. The site starts out with this statement: Medical Research is complex, the search for it shouldn’t have to be. I agree. They have enlisted a large number of medical research facilities and schools and testing facilities. On Medify, in one place you can look at everything that is happening with many conditions and diseases. As a disclaimer, I will say that I can’t vouch for them and I can’t say that they have all the information because I don’t have the resources to check everything out but enter and weigh for yourself and see what your opinion is of the site. I have to say even though it’s just my opinion, I am very excited to find such a place that I can go and look for information. I hope it is of help to some of you.

What does Spock say? Live well and Prosper!

Jan

Image

A New Day


Sample of Seeds Collected 2011

What a nice weekend!  It’s actually like winter but the sun is shining. It’s awesome. I love sun shine and I like the snow. I’m torn between the two. I’m just glad to live in a place that has different seasons. The time has come to look forward to spring. That’s my favorite season. Everything about spring speaks of Hope and Life. I have an itch to scratch and that itch is the itch of the gardener. I’m already looking at what needs to be planted. I feel like a current day Johnny Appleseed.

There is this thing about seeds . It’s like I’m driven to collect and plant. I save every seed that crosses my path. I take them home to care for them like a child. I dry them, package them, and date and label them. Then I itch untill I can plant it myself or find someone who will treasure it as the wonder it is.

“Today’s mighty oak was once a single nut who held it’s ground.”~Mark Twain  Love this saying!! I found this @ this site:http://www.quotegarden.com/food.html

I told you in a past post that we have a postage stamp size kitchen, well, we have several postage stamp size garden spots. One is 4×8 behind the shed and 2×8 to one side of the shed and 4×4 behind the addition. This is a combined square footage of 64 square foot.  We plant not in rows but in mass 3″ wide strips. A very special woman in her 80′s gave me 3 rhubarb roots. that is in the 2×8 strip by the shed. I waited several years like you are supposed to giving it time to mature before we finally pulled the stalks last summer and had rhubarb and strawberry pie and rhubarb sauce. Splenda is a great sweetener to use if you are diabetic

I was amazed at the amount of produce we got out of our little garden. My husband and my labors in the garden paid off. Out of just such a small amount of space we ate all summer and froze goods for the winter. Not a huge amount left for the winter but every little bit counts.

We saved seeds from our produce … tomatoes, peppers both green and jalapeno. We had a volunteer plant come up in our garden because during the winter we composed on the main garden spot. We distributed egg shells and vegetable peels and coffee grounds out there and anytime the weather broke Darnell, my husband would go out and rototill the garden. We have a mini rototiller for our mini garden. It’s awesome!  So the volunteer that we had come up because of composting was a sweet potato squash which is  about the size of a large sweet potato and tastes just as good. Yum!

This year we are planting:

  1. Tomato-of course – saved seeds
  2. Peppers-Green and Jalapeno - saved seeds
  3. Swiss Chard - Rhubarb Swiss Chard with a red spine - already have seeds
  4. Basil-for some good pesto and seasoning – buy these as plants
  5. butternut Head lettuce – small loose heads – dark green - buy seeds
  6. Carrots-buy seeds
  7. Beets -buy seeds
  8. Onions -buy seeds
  9. Butternut Squash – saved seeds from squash we bought
  10. Fennell – buy seeds
  11. Kale – buy seeds
  12. Potatoes – Planted 6 whole potatoes and got 10lbs potatoes!

A Little Topsy Turvy Like Me

We have a “Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter” that we plant cherry tomatoes in that hangs by the patio so

we can eat them at will. It hangs down from the bottom of the container.

Hope you gardening fans are out there looking through the gardening catalogues and planning. Spring is coming. Tell me what you like to plant and if you have any special ways you plant things. I would love to hear from you.

I will be pre-planting tomatoes and peppers soon. I save the plastic containers that cherry or grape tomatoes and spinach or spring mix lettuce come in that has a hinged lid and is clear and makes an awesome mini greenhouse to start seeds. :)  Can’t wait to start!

I have flower seeds too. I gathered hibiscus seeds. I read that they’re hard to start from seeds but I’m

going to try. Anyone out there have any tips for me?

Till next time…happy dreaming about spring!

Jan

Sugar Free ~ Yea!


I had a delightful evening yesterday. I have been diabetic for 29 years. My oldest son turning 40 this

Yummm ~ Ice Cream!

year has signs that maybe he needs to watch what he eats so he can avoid the problems the disease brings with it.

We both love ice cream like life itself so that’s something we definitely wish to keep in our repertoire for happy days treats. I stumbled on a recipe for homemade ice cream that you can make without an ice cream maker. I have a rather small kitchen, I’d say about  the size of a postage stamp. My appliance garage is filled and besides, if I got one, it would be expensive!

I was delighted as I set out to try this challenge. I made chocolate chunk ice cream with pecans. Yummmmmm!!!  It was a definite success. One of my grand-daughter said. “It is better than any in the store!” Jeff, my son and I, were talking about the ice cream and it made him drool. It is wonderful but it’s not sugar free. I have a small cone of it which is roughly shy of 1/2 cup. It is acceptable to eat it occasionally. I do ok with that but he finds that his urges for ice cream are far more frequent than mine and of course he wants a mammoth-size serving to be satisfied.

We became foodie chemists looking for the perfect answers to our question. We started digging and found a recipe and altered it a bit but it’s texture was just not right. It was a bomb but will still work as

a base for milk shakes. We both were scratching our heads and looking for a solution. From the original recipe, the ingredient needing to be replaced was Sweetened Condensed Milk. There are recipes out there for sugar free replacements for that. Tweaking the recipe with the research finds. As we prepared it, holding our breaths, it looked very promising. Tomorrow is D-day and I will let you know how it turns out. The camera is going to get into the act and soon there will be pictures for you to see. I’m very encouraged. The calculations on the recipe drops the carbohydrates by two-thirds and the calories by one-third. We aren’t done tweaking yet!

Right now I am working on the blog content but the camera is definitely getting into the act very shortly. We will update you on the results of our experiment in a day or two. See you soon.

Thanks for stopping by,

Jan

What? I’m a Pit Bull?…


I have been called Savvy Grammie and sometimes Pollyanna.  One day when I was surfing the internet, there it was; What DogWhat? I'm a Pit Bull? Are You? It is like the great vortex that sucks you in and before you know it you are taking the test! When I completed it, my jaw dropped to the floor and as I reached to pick it up, I read, “You most resemble a Pitt Bull” I was horrified! I kind of think of myself as a gentle soul, a bit of an introvert, and I could in no way see how they could set me in line with these powerful, active dogs. I am such a klutz and when it comes to excelling at extreme sports….NOT!!  Once I calmed down and began looking at the character of the dog, I could see some slight similarities. The Pit Bull is loyal, competitive, protective and if they must fight then they bite down till they get to the other side. Yes, I can see I am all those things when it’s needed. I just hate it when I get sucked in like that.

The Savvy Grammie moniker was hung around my neck because anywhere I worked seemed like they would all come to me for answers. I am the mother of 6 children and now have 9 grand children. I am the encyclopedia, dictionary, and tutorial program all mixed up in one. Besides that I am the best darn researcher around.  Pollyanna on the other hand is there because I believe that if you do what you can things will work out in the end. Yes there are occasions when they don’t. That’s where I say, “The tree that doesn’t bend breaks.”

I have a patio out front of my house. Almost every morning, I make a pot of coffee and go out and sit and read and drink coffee till the first neighbor drops by.  I either do that or I have a basket I load up with cups, coffee in a thermos, and some goodies and go see a friend who can’t come to my patio. Ar either place we discuss all the ills of the world and the challenges we face each day. They have definitely increased in number and see if together we can figure out some solutions. Never hurts. They say “Two heads are better than one.”

I do a variety of things. I’m a foodie that’s loosing weight. Inch by Inch life is a cinch! I thought if what I’m doing helps our household then surely there are others out there this would help.

I learned how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker. Yumm!! My grand-daughter says it’s better than any in the store. I make yogurt and cottage cheese in my crock pot. I do other things that have nothing to do with skills in the home also. I just waded through the medicare Forrest of horror. Whatever things I need to face, I just dig till I find an answer. Next thing I know they will be calling me Digg Dug!! We just joined a medication mail order group and I’m still questioning that. I feel a little singed around the edges.  I have some thoughts about politics. I have a list a mile long.

I’m going to lay out the welcome mat and just see who comes to my door and what kind of solutions we can provide. I hate to let experience go to waste.  Hope you will come so we can talk.

Hope to visit again soon.

Jan

Aside

Finding Our Way Through the Maze


Medication Box

Medication Box

Hi there,

Today is going to be a serious blog. It’s about finding the right way to make good decisions and what you may need to know to do that. The decision I’m talking about is picking your Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage Plan. Hindsight always makes things clearer so I wanted to tell my story. What things did I needed to know to make it turn out much better.The last couple months we have had a few challenges. My husband and I are on Social Security early because of disability. We have Medicare and every fall all seniors on Medicare sign up for the medical prescription program and it has progressed and now it extends to cover Dr. and Hospital bills which is called Medicare Advantage. We were very resourceful and gathered information on the two plans available to us in our area and made a decision. We felt good! We had a nightmare of a year in 2011. The first of December we signed up for our plan. The plan included a mail order medication program. That sounded like a good decision because:

  • Mailed right to your door
  • $0 Co-pays on generic medications
  • Reminders when to refill

We pay less money because of lower copays and less gas money. We input all our medications into the system to make sure they were on their formulary. We were delighted to find they covered all but 1 medication. We sailed through Christmas feeling pretty good and relaxing a bit since our experience in 2011 was almost more than we could take. We had a very rough year.

January 1, 2012 our plan took effect. They told us to make an appointment with our Dr. Have him send all our prescriptions to the mail order program. Step one right? We waited for everything to fall into place. My husband’s medications came back pretty quickly. Mine was a different matter. He has normal aging conditions for the most part. My dosages are irregular and not in the normal range because I am seriously ill. As soon as they received my list, all kinds of warning signals went off. They started calling the Dr. office and telling him they needed clarification. What puzzled me was that they didn’t phone him once with a complete list of questions that needed their clarification but there was repeated calls in a three-week period.Every time that happened it put the order on hold and it was as though it went back to step one  They said once it was clarified , it would be a week to ten days before it would be sent. It was a worrisome time as I was nearing being out of my medications.

The persons who answered the calls had no idea about medical things, couldn’t spell the medications, and had trouble finding anything on the computer. This definitely made the whole process painfully slow. I started on the 5th of January and it took till February 16th for me to get all the medications. I had been out of almost all of my medications two weeks by the time they arrived. Here are a list of question you should have your Doctor answer and choices you should make:

  • Get the physical prescription and send it to them yourself
  • Have your Doctor send a statement that you have not had any drug interactions with the current prescriptions
  • Ask the Doctor if the doses are within the normal prescribing guidelines
  • Don’t give them a payment method but have them invoice you for the purchases.

Mail Order Prescription Plans can be very beneficial.  If you are fairly healthy then you it should be fairly simple. If you are seriously ill the list above should help.

Because of the extreme cost of my medication I have to calculate the cost of my medications to the Insurance Company. I never could get a price quote. Since I am seriously ill and on many medications, I have to know when I’m going into the donut  hole. Just in case you don’t know what that is, here is a quick overview of the Donut Hole or Coverage Gap.

Last year basically I was in the donut hole by the middle of the year and at that time you pay the full price for some and a percentage on others. Needless to say we struggled most of the year.I know, this is a long, drawn out donut hole saga. How things proceed this year had to be very important and so I ask them about the cost to the Insurance Company.

Once I had the invoice, I was able to see and be able to calculate when I would reach the dreaded donut hole.

I don’t know about you but the whole situation made me nervous and a little bit crazy!

I am back on the medications for a week now and slowly getting back to normal. I haven’t been feeling very well but things are looking up. In a couple of months I will figure out the next step in this crazy challenge.

I’m thankful for my insurance and  This year is going to be better. Keep in mind what I said about how they look at your prescriptions and what questions to have answered so that it goes much smoother. Hope this problem never crosses your path but if it does then I hope some of my tips will be of help to you. Thanks for coming to visit. Hope your path is wide and clear of big rocks!  :)

What It’s All About….


Hi, This is Savvy Grammie.

I decided I wanted to blog. I’ve had so many experiences and I want to share with others in my ever enlarging community. The core of the blog will be about Health, Diabetes, Losing weight or maintaining it, Insurance, Medicine, Doctors, Cures, … the things that come up everyday as you try to preserve your health.

I’m a normal woman and as I am doing this blog, I’m living my life. Doing things with my family, 6 children and 9 grandchildren, and all the things that it entails. I’m a foodie but I’m also diabetic and trying to manage my health. I’ve lost 60 lbs in the last year and a quarter. I’m maintaining that at this time and looking forward to continuing the challenge as a lifestyle change not a diet. My husband and I both like to cook and not just cook. It’s an adventure and we are constantly trying something new. In fact, my oldest son and I just tried making sugar-free ice cream. We are on batch 3 and have plans for the 4th. Things are looking up. Comparing regular french vanilla ice cream with our ice cream, we reduced the carbohydrates by two-thirds! That’s huge! Jeff, my oldest son and I can not live without ice cream. The last batch was amazing and with just a few tweaks, I think we will have something that will allow us to reasonably indulge. When we get done we will share our recipe with all of you. you should have seen us. like a couple of foodie chemists! It’s pretty comical. I’m 5’2″ and he is 6’3″. We look like “mut and jeff”!

It’s called, “A Walk Down the Garden Path” because I love gardening. I know I will share some of that. We have a postage stamp size garden in the summer and it is amazing what we get from growing it and what we are able to do with the produce. I also love flowers of every kind.

I deal with Social Security and Medicare so we will talk about that. I’m sure I will learn from you and I can give you some tips from the things I’ve experienced. As we travel down the garden path together we can share and learn from each other. I am looking forward to it.

Please tell me what you are thinking. I know we will enjoy our visits. See you again soon.

Savvy Grammie,

Jan

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