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

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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

Journey Along the Garden Path

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