Saturday, September 12, 2020

Wait and Wish

 How about it?  Two of the most used words in my lifetime!  Wait......until the temperatures get warmer,  wait.......until the temperatures get cooler, wait......until the leaves change, hunting season, snow arrives, leeks pop through the ground, spring gobbler, trout fishing, get the garden ready, plant the garden, harvest the garden, put the garden to rest for the winter............I can't wait until.......  Then the wish my life away, wish for vacation, family to visit, grandchildren to be born, sons to come back to the USA from deployment, you name it I have wished just as much as I wait for things to happen.  Now, at my age it pretty much has stopped.  Each day is another day to not think of tomorrow or what I want or want to do.  Just take it for what it is.  

Today was the first cool day for us to get some outside work done without complaining how sweaty we are.  I put on my favorite old purple hooded sweatshirt and away I went.  First was to brush hog the fields for one last time this year.  Moving right along and enjoying the ride and view it happened.  A pin sheared which means the hog quits cutting and a new pin has to be put in.  No big deal it was actually time to move on to something else.  Keep a little spice in my life :)  Next I gathered the peas left on the plants to dry.  These will be used to plant in the spring.  Once I got all the dead pea plants pulled Dick hauled them away to the big garden to "wait" for the rest of the garden plants to turn dry and brown.  They will be burned in one big pile and the potash spread on the garden for a little extra nutrition.  Together we picked a bucket of Roma tomatoes that I will can, not sure what.....stewed or plain.   We also had quite a few hot peppers that will be fire roasted and put in the freezer for a great almost Hatch Green Chile Stew.  Not Hatch chiles but will still be might tasty in the cold snowy days of winter.

The dead pea plants that are no more. 

My view, up and down the valley.  It is something I never tire of.

Way down there, is a guy on the garden tractor with a can of paint, paint brush and headed to the upper wood line to paint a bench he made me.  My favorite walk and set on the bench to enjoy the view.

The NC corn is ready to pick.  We didn't think it would ripen but what a nice surprise.  Some ears are over 12" long.  I have never seen such huge white kernels and the best doesn't get stuck between teeth!  The reason I don't like to eat corn on the cob, not the problem with this corn.  Also ready was our grapes.  We look forward to them just to eat.  So sweet and the skins are light and tender with no seeds to spit out.  I wish I could remember what variety but not sure....think they were called champagne grapes.  

One more "wish"......just can't help myself.....RAIN, we need lots of gentle rain for days and days!  The creeks are so low, scary!

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

It is Elderberry Time

 Yes, the little dark purple berries are ready.  We picked yesterday and will again on Friday.  This morning I sat and took them off the stem cluster.  Three ways to do this, 1. just rub them between your fingers and the fall right off it ripe enough, (I wear rubber gloves).  2. use a wide tooth comb to pull them off and 3. use a fork.  I like number one method the best.  Two and three tend to get more stems and then you have to pick those out.  The best way is to soak the berries in cold water, the ripe will go to the bottom and the not so ripe, stems, leaves and even a bug or two will float.  Just skim them off the top of the water.  All of the elderberries will go to the freezer until one of those cold winter days.  Cooking jelly makes the house smell so good and brings up a memory or two of the day we picked.  Today when I was cleaning them as always the same memory comes to mind.  On the farm the Leilous family was our neighbor.  Joyce and Linda were a couple years older than mean and their brother Donny a few years younger.  Their mom was a great cook and baker, you could always smell good things when I rode my bike into their yard during the warm weather months.  Their dad worked at Clark Brothers in Olean.  Every August he had his kids  pick Elderberries for a couple Italian guys he worked with.  They used them to make wine and paid by the bushel.  I have no idea how much I helped because it gave me something to do.  Being in the country it was something different and fun to do.  We would spend most of the afternoon picking. There was a huge Elderberry patch behind their house.  So today I went back to those afternoons spent with friends.  It's funny because now I can't even think what we talked about!  Probably the first day of school coming up.  Back then country kids were always excited for the first day of school.

Thinking about the first day of school the weather has it in the air.  Very close to that fall feeling.  Trees are starting to turn from deep greens to lighter, wild apples are starting to fall to give way for some to get a little bigger and few wild flowers except for the dreaded golden rod.  It is starting to show color.  After the predicted rains this weekend we will be walking the forest looking for wild mushrooms.  They love the wet and once the rain comes they will pop up almost immediately.  The other thing that is sought after this time of the year is ginseng.  We find it but don't dig it.  Many do and can make quite a bit of money selling it once it is dried.  

This has been quite a season for the Orioles.  They left, they're back, left and now they are back again.  They might be northern Orioles headed south.  If they are we are surprised they know to stop by our porch for hummingbird food.  We are filling two feeders 2-3 times a day that is equal to 4-6 cups.  This is the best year ever for them!  Every morning and night they are our entertainment.  Even our friends from Olean stop by to watch the show every once in a while.  

One more reason to know fall is near...........the guys are preparing for archery season and rifle season.  Two new huts are being built.  The grandson and gramps have been busy with the final touches on the one gramp will use.  It doesn't seem like a year has past since having this time of year upon us.  Like my mom said, the older you get the faster time goes.  That is for sure!  

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

The Rain Never Falls

Before I could post this blog the rain did fall for a brief time.  Enough to give everything a nature's drink of goodness.

                                          The first sign of fall, sunflowers.

A few times in the last month we have said, it feels like rain.  It did, the air turned cool, the wind picked up and dark clouds moved in.  Just as fast the clouds separated, the wind quit and the temperatures went back up.  There has been a few storms all around us but none at Cook'n by the Creek.  Soon without rain the creek will have completely stopped flowing.  In the 21 years we have lived here I have never seen the water so low.  Barely a flow going through.  This is why it is so important to protect our waterways.  The small ones feed the bigger and end up to be the Mississippi River.  Fresh water is gold!  The brush grow along the streams for a reason, it keeps the water temperature down so fish, crabs, etc can survive and also stops evaporation of the stream.  Another thing is the amount of rain, cooler temperatures and lots of winter snow.  Snow depth is key to providing water to our streams and springs.  We shouldn't have to be told at this time of  the year to conserve water.   Water is life, just as important as the bees are to our food supply.  So, from this day forward think of cutting back on water usage and planting flowers so the bees can survive and do their very important job.  It is quite scary to think of the little things that determine our survival.  

How very sad to walk over our little bridge and see Clara Creek barely flowing.  The dogs miss playing and rolling in the pool of water that is no more.

We dug potatoes and no not a lot and small.  I saved the bigger ones to eat now and the small ones got canned yesterday.  Eleven quarts to the precious canned foods in the basement.  The canned up beautiful, nice and water with clear liquid.  That is what you want to see when canning potatoes.  Key to the clear liquid is......when peeling the potatoes immediately put them in cold water.  When you have enough for a batch to can bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the potatoes that the cold water has been drained off, bring to a simmer and when just starting to get tender on the outside drain the water and put loosely in jars.  Pour fresh boiling water over and leave 1 inch head space.  Do not use the water you boiled the potatoes in.  This will make the liquid in the jars after processing starch and not clear.  If you want you can add 1 tsp. of salt per quart of potatoes before canning.  I did.  For safety reasons it recommends only using a pressure canner when canning potatoes.  No acidity is why.


No porch or deck to work on so it was off to the basement for a good cleaning.  When I start seeing Daddy Long Legs in the upstairs I know it is time to clean the basement and set off a bug bomb.  About twice a year will do the trick.  There was an old medal school table used for computers we ended up with.  A dirty gold color with a fake wood grain top.  Yep, I headed to the the backroom in the basement and found and ivory colored spray paint and a can of Moroccan Red.  Everything was sprayed except the top and that is now a beautiful Red.  It pays to keep "stuff" around for little projects.  Every once in a while I will buy spray cans of paint, polyurethane, sand paper, mineral spirits and paint brushes to add to my stash for times like today.


 I know it is way too soon to be thinking of days like this but...............It is my favorite time of the year and I couldn't resist when I was going through some old photos to post it on the blog.  Dreaming 💖

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Just a Little Sad

 Like all things there is a beginning and an ending.  Each year as the garden winds down and the beautiful lush green of young plants turn to yellow, brown and wilted mature and past their time I always feel a little sad.  The joy of waiting for the first young plant coming through the ground, rows beginning to show is our morning walk to check on the progress.  Then the harvest  and what comes next is what makes me feel one more year has gone by so quickly.  I realized yesterday as I was grinding the paint and stain from the back deck with 2 boards left that again a little sad it is coming to an end.  It kept me occupied for the last two week working on the front porch and back deck.  Yes, there were days I thought I just don't want to get the old work clothes on, get all dusty, wear a mask for 4-6 hours.  Those days went by fast and what better way than to take the air hose, blow off most of the dust and then a glorious shower to relax and think of all that was accomplished that day.  As of 4 pm Thursday it was finished.  Except for a trim board that needs painted.  It is on the end our grape vine grows up to.  Until the grapes are harvested that board will just have to wait.  When I told my husband it makes me a "little sad" like the garden ending..........he didn't miss a beat with a come back!  You are not kidding me Cheryle, you have a next project already brewing in your mind........well maybe 😂 For now it is finish the canning and then some fall camping trips are on my mind with reading, knitting, crocheting, hikes, a couple wineries and just good old take a break resting.  

Accomplishments in ones life is key to being satisfied with what has been.  No matter what it is, from grinding paint off, knitting socks, baking something delicious, cleaning or whatever it is a good feeling to look back and say, there I did it and proud of it. Little joys of life can turn into the best things to remember.  

I am also a little sad, the corn needs water.  One type has ears but small.  They will be ready in a week if the drought doesn't take its toll.  They other type is a not going to even get ears.  It grew at least 14 ft tall and tasseled out.  Not one ear!  The potatoes are another failure.  I have been digging them to save what is there.  Not many per hill.  3 -5 and not as big as my fist.  This is the first time raising potatoes that they come out of the ground clean of dirt.  It is so dry nothing is sticking to them.  Tomorrow I will can most of them and save some for our annual corn roast to roast in the hot coals.  Quite a different garden year.  We normally get 100 to 150 pounds of potatoes.  Let's hope the potato and corn farmers have better crops for the market.  The cukes were doing great and we were enjoying them daily until one morning we went out and the vines showed signs of the blight!  By afternoon the vines were flat on the ground.  Our 2 types of peppers did not produce a healthy looking pepper and not many.  Again, strange garden year.  

Next weekend we will travel to Keuka Lake, one of our favorite rides.  Not far is the Windmill Market and down the road is a wonderful Mennonite vegetable, fruit and greenhouse.   If you haven't been to the Windmill it is a fun place to walk around.  They have outdoor and indoor stands and sell just about anything you can imagine.  The Mennonite market is the place to buy though.  Very reasonable prices.  I will be hoping to get a couple bushels of tomatoes, peppers, mild and sweet, peaches and pears.


Thursday, August 13, 2020

A Morning at Cook'n by the Creek

 My morning starts between 6 and 7 am and Jamaican Me Crazy coffee is waiting for me thanks to the tall one.  While enjoying the early morning quiet and coffee I check the world and local news.  Next FB,  do a little knitting or crocheting.  Finally by 8 am it is get the breakfast going.  Today it was over by 8:30.  As I was cleaning up in came a fresh basket of summer squash and a great surprise.  The rhubarb decided to take a late season spurt.  There was enough for 2-1 gallon freezer bags full.  While Dick was watering the garden, yes it is so dry and the corn's leaves are curled for lack of rain I washed and prepared the squash and rhubarb for the freezer.  Then off to the blueberries that had the branches drooping with so many berries on them.  As I was looking them over for bugs and missed stems I decided to make a Lemon Blueberry bread.  I doubled the batch, one loaf for the freezer and one for now.  

Rhubarb ready for the freezer,  very nice and a colorful red on the inside this time around.  I believe we are going to try rhubarb wine once we get the garden tucked away for winter.

Thank you Robins, you left us a lot for winter!  They are nice and juicy!  
Time to set, relax and sort blueberries.  I watch youtube while sorting.  Always something I can learn.
2 cups for the lemon blueberry bread and 2 qts for the freezer.  I just love seeing our fruits and vegetables saved away for those cold winter days.

Did you know there is an art to picking blueberries, even raspberries and blackberries?  First of all, start at the bottom of the bush and pick from the bottom of the berries not from the top.  There is less chance of those little round jewels slipping from you fingers and hands to end up on the ground.  Work your way up the bush, one branch at a time starting from the outside of the branch and working in.  I only pick 3-5 berries at a time.  The more I try to get the more I tend to drop, defeating the purpose of picking more at a time.  Now that I think about it, it just might be 71 year old hands vs young ones.  If you are near my age you probably notice dropping things seems to be the new norm.  My theory, the more I drop the more exercise to bend over and pick stuff up......just a kind way of saying.......time is taking its toll on the old gal!  But.......I can still do it so no bitching here 💕   Back to the blueberries and other berries you want to freeze. NEVER wash them.  You just can't get them dry enough to put in bags for the freezer.  Take a rest and go through the berries looking for leaves, stems........bugs or little worms.  Once that is done you can either put them directly in freezer bags, into the frig to get them cold and then the freezer or you can lay them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment, put in the freezer. Once they have frozen solid then put them in the freezer bags.  I have done it both ways and the put in freezer bags, frig and then freezer is my choice way.

Lemon/Blueberry Bread Recipe:  I doubled it for two loaves but this is the single loaf version.

  1. 1/3 cup of melted butter (real butter)
  2. 1 cup of sugar
  3. 2 beaten large eggs
  4. 1/2 cup of milk
  5. 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  6. 1 tsp baking powder
  7. 1/2 tsp salt.......................................beat wet ingredients until fluffy add dry ingr.
Add 3 tsps. of lemon juice and a TBSP of lemon rind and mix thoroughly.  I also added a 1/2 tsp of almond flavoring just because I like the smell and taste after baking.  

Fold in 1 cup of fresh blueberries.  I can see using blackberries and raspberries too :)

Grease and flour lightly a loaf pan, bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the top springs back when pressed lightly with your finger.  While still warm, drizzle with a glaze using 1 cup of confectioners sugar, TBSP of melted butter and a tsp or two of lemon juice.   If needed add a little milk so you can drizzle it on.  

As Bugs Bunny says........That's all folks!  Remember Pass it on and enjoy the great outdoors!

Monday, August 10, 2020

Summer Suppers and a Little Deck Work

What the summer suppers are......fresh picked squash fried, cucumbers and onions in a vinegar brine and spaghetti with fresh made basil pesto.

The green beans and garden peas are only a memory until a jar is opened or brought from the freezer.  I worked on summer squash and kale for the freezer this morning.  Everything grew so nice this year and seemed to be spread out for harvest time that is was not overwhelming picking and putting up.  Some years everything seems to pop at once and by the end of the season we are saying......smaller garden next year.  Not so this summer, we are actually planning bigger and more care friendly.  The bailed square bales worked great for the rutabagas and spaghetti squash.  Next year the cucumbers will be added to the bale garden.  We came up with the idea of putting the winter squash in a long narrow strips.  Let them run away and no going into the other vegetable rows.  Every year we think, there they are far enough apart and every year they just spread farther.  We'll fix them!!

Looks like the corn is doing great but that could change with the weather.  Rain is predicted for Wednesday, we sure need a couple good soaker days.  Clara Creek could use quite a bit.  The lawn has gone brown dormant from lack of rain but that is usually what happens in August.  The nights have been cool with a breeze which is great for a good nights sleep around here.  The coyotes have also been quiet but they will soon make the circle back around one of these nights.

I sat on the deck relaxing while  Dick put the stain on.  It was one of those days that it felt like fall just around the corner.  The cherry trees are dropping their leaves and with the soft breeze they were floating softly to the ground.  What a peaceful moment, like watching snow flakes float down in the winter.  

And so it begins......the back deck, 49 boards, 14 steps to grind the 4 layers of stain and paint off.  The front porch looks great, took about a week so I am estimating the back deck will take 2 weeks if the weather and heat cooperates.  Not looking at the big picture.  As of now all steps are done and new stain along with 14 deck boards.  Going to be too hot for the next couple days but maybe evenings will cool off enough to do a few boards.  I love the new look and the porch rails are all painted.  Thanks to Mugs Jones for recommending Behr porch and deck paint....I got the high gloss and it is amazing with coverage and the gloss finish.  The dusty road we have put up with does not stick to it.  If it does we take the air hose and blow it off.  Simple solutions :) I love them.  Clara Rd has now been resurfaced and the dust has been much less.  Hoping in another week there will be no dust.  Dick is the stain and paint guy and I am the grinder.  For some reason all of my life I like to work outside and with power tools.  If I was as strong as a guy there would be no stopping on the tools I could use!  Maybe watching my dad do so many things, who knows, I am just one odd gal!  

My favorite seat for a week.

If you don't like the cloth masks this might work for ya!😂
30-45 minutes then off it comes for a break.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Fair Weather

I am not talking about the weather being fair but Millport Fair weather.  Hot sunny days and cool nights.  We sat on the back porch the other night and both of us thought this is Fair Weather, of course it is.  The fair just didn't happen this year.  We live in a rural area where the year is not complete without certain things.  Fishing season, leek digging, spring gobbler, gardens, woodchuck hunting, buying a fishing  and hunting license, sending for doe permits, fall foliage, small game, archery season, doe day, holidays, the first frost, first snow, first sign of spring, etc.  The list can go on and on.  This is country life, days, weeks, months and years ruled by mother nature or man made events.  I love it here and I really missed driving by the fairgrounds and seeing cars parked in fields, people on the midway and smelling the food stands.  We only go once during fair time but it is enjoyable and always see a few people we haven't seen in years.  So this year that part of the full circle of our life is missing.  

Today is the LAST OF THE BEANS!  Ten quarts to can and hopefully by 1 pm I can officially say  imadone.  

Saturday we did go to a fair, The Frosty Hollow Herb Festival.  If you don't know about Frosty Hollow B&B please google and go to their website.  It is owned by a local gal and grew up in Shinglehouse.  Well, not right in Shinglehouse, she was a country girl from up Honeoye on the Butter Creek Road.  Gail Jackson, she married Joe Ayers from Coudersport and together on Joe's family farm they started their business.  It is amazing, the gift shop is every woman's dream stop to shop, the accommodations are beautiful with that special country touch that Gail and her daughter in law Donell are so good at.  They also have the Big Dipper and Little Dipper that are separate houses nestled in the country side.  If you are coming to our area you will find comfort and relaxation with this wonderful family to make sure all of your needs are met.  Check them out just to see all they have to offer.  Back to the Herb Festival.  I have been going quite often in the past or so many years.  I think now it is for the woodfired pizza they offer at donation cost throughout the day.  We took friends with us and they have already said, they will go again next year.  The pizza is delicious, so much so we even asked Donell if she makes the sauce.  She told us what it was and how she mixes it.  Wednesday I will be using it on our woodfired pizza.  That is just how good it is!  

This week the grandson took Dick out to a great find of Chicken of the Woods mushrooms.  They came back with a plastic bag full.  I fried a sample up for supper and the rest I simmered in seasoned water, cooled and then off to the freezer for some cold winter nights of a taste of summer.

Later I will be out to the garden gathering summer squash to put up for winter.  My niece gave me a great recipe for squash casserole.  It is delicious and this week I will be making it again.  You can add anything you want, always a way to change it up and add variety to the casserole.  The first time I added sliced chorizo.  This time I think it will be mushrooms and chopped Kale.  This also will taste good in the winter!

Yellow Squash Casserole:
vgrease a 1 qt casserole dish.  Using 6-8 small summer squash and 1 onion sliced steam until not quite tender.  Drain well.  While they are steaming whisk 1 egg and 1 cup of sour cream together.  Crush 1 sleeve of ritz or town house crackers.  Using 2/3 in the casserole.  2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, using 1 1/2 cups in the casserole.   Mix everything together gently, pour into the casserole dish.  Top with remaining crackers and cheese.  Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.  

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Take Your PIck

I am talking about fruit that is available in the stores, on farms and in the wild for us.  While I was picking a handful of raspberries to munch on it made me think of picking wild berries with my mom.  She knew where the best strawberry fields , raspberry bushes, blackberry bushes, blueberries, elderberries and wild apples grew.   Our jellies, sauces and apple butter all came from berries that grew in the wild.  I can never remember buying anything but bananas on our regular trip to the Red and White in Shinglehouse.  Did you know Doc Simons, aka Willard/Willie/Bill worked there in his high school years?  One trip to the dentist and he told me he has one of my mom's grocery orders in his scrap book.  She use to have me take it in, hand it to the cashier and one of the stock boys will fill the order, take it out to our car and mom would pay them.  She was very shy and did not like going in the stores unless she absolutely had to.  From the time I can remember I was the one to take the list in.  Eventually she started going in.  It must have been very hard to do. 

I got side tracked again from my fruit story!  At Christmas time we had tangerines and maybe grapes.  Back in the 1950s it was not so easy to ship fruit and vegetables.  My grandmother Carrie would get so excited when Etta Hawley would send her oranges, grapefruit, dates and figs for Christmas.  She had cleaned and cooked for Preston and Etta Hawley until they retired and moved to Florida.  They never failed to send her the Christmas treats.  Years ago Dr. Kapp our dentist when I was growing up in Shinglehouse retired and moved to Florida.  The first time we received a package from him of oranges and grapefruit made me smile.  My turn to get the Florida goodies.

Now we can buy fruit and vegetables year round that years ago we never could.  From South America, Mexico, Hawaii and all across the USA they are shipped daily and arrive just like they were picked that day.  School never had fresh fruits, I remember fruit cocktail was the main fruit served to us.  I loved the peaches and cherries in it.  The pears always seemed hard and pineapple is not one of my favorite fruits unless it is fresh. 
Well that is the fruit story, take you pick........there are plenty of different varieties.  Or go out in the wild open spaces, find the raspberries and blackberries, they are plentiful, big and juicy this year.  By the looks of the wild apple trees there will be plenty for pressing cider, applesauce, apple butter and canning for pies this winter.  Life is good, go get it for free.  Just remember, take a body guard packing or take your own pistol.  I prefer the tall guy with his rifle, he can see over the bushes better and keep an eye out for a "berry picking bear". 
After picking peas a little raspberry refresher hits the spot!  They are big this year.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Well Hello Lucifer

It's been a long time Lucifer, a year to be exact.  Lucifer is the name of a flower given to me by a friend.  Almost 20 years ago!  Every summer I keep watch for the first signs of buds.  Now they are in full bloom and just as vibrant as past years.  They reseed themselves and so far have never failed to produce a lot of plants.  I am going to harvest some seeds and start them in the green house next spring.  My phlox are also in full bloom, they are a florescent pink.  They have been with us for 15 years.  Sure doesn't seem like that many years but like they say, time flies when your having fun.

Five petals, the true Phlox.

Speaking of fun, or not.  A very large snake is hanging out by our bridge.  I threw a bucket  to scare it away because I don't dare kill them.  Way too close for me!  Tonight while mowing the lawn I was watching for it and there it was, slithering away at a snails pace.  I asked the husband, you want to know how big it is, well I will tell you.  It is so big it doesn't even try to move fast!!!  I am beyond "pissed off" that I am the only one that sees it when someone else walks by that end of the bridge at least 6 times a day.  Why?  Why am I the only one that sees snakes????  I have lost track of how many this summer.   My eyes are darting all around when I am outside.  This does not make for a relaxing, enjoy the great outdoors for me.  Another reason I LOVE WINTER!

Today was canning the last of the carrots and pickling beets.  Check those off the to do list!  Tomorrow more peas to be picked and check the green beans.  After those two end we will get a few weeks rest until the sweet corn is ready.  Then I will buy bushels of tomatoes, peaches and pears.  I love seeing the shelves filled with beautiful colors of canned food.  Is it cheaper than just buying canned goods?  No, but I love watching the garden grow and then canning plus knowing who touched my food and where it came from.  If I could raise a beef cow and pigs to butcher I would.  We have an empty barn, plenty of pasture and the time........but......once I look in their eyes I know it would never be possible to eat them.  So, I will buy the meat and never have to remember them as alive with big beautiful eyes.

I had some sour cream that was close to outdated.  By the way, it is already do you know if it is not good?  Not a clue.  Almost a full cup for the soft sugar cookie recipe of Eleanor Stavisky's.   To make the full cup I topped it off with some buttermilk.  All buttermilks are not the same.  What is in our local stores is a low fat.  Not the same results for baking and dressings.  Wegmans and sometimes Walmart have the gourmet buttermilk which is full fat, the real deal and so thick.  Very seldom do I not have buttermilk in the frig.  I use it for cookies, pancakes, waffles, biscuits and dip whatever I am deep frying in it.  Buttermilk makes fried foods very crisp and the end product is not as greasy.  No idea why but it works!  Ok, back to the cookies.  Some were traditional round with a sprinkle of sugar on before baked and some were filled sugar cookies with dates and walnuts cooked with a little water, butter and flour for thickening.  Top it off with a quarter tsp of almond flavoring.  The recipe makes about 30 cookies which go to the freezer for us and company when I need a treat in a hurry.  This week I will be baking molasses cookies.  Trying something I have never done, a filled molasses cookie.  They will be filled with apple and walnut filling.  Might be a good thing considering the cookie dough has cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.  All the seasoning that go good with apples. 

It sure feels like the Millport Fair weather.  Hot sunny days with big fluffy clouds floating along.  Just enough to add a little reprieve from the sun being so hot.  Sad but this is probably the first year any of us can remember not having the fair.  The place looks rather sad and lonely when we drive by.  Normally there would be the fair committees sprucing up the building and mowing the grass.  Not to be.  I can never remember not going to the fair.  My favorite things were the horses, the vegetable and flower building, canned goods and anything that pertained to material, yarn, thread and painting.  There was always a choice few entries that were amazing to see and know that a young girl or older woman had created the beauty.  For the food, candied apples, cotton candy and lemonade.  Then there was always a chance to see some old friends or people that have moved away, good times at the Millport/Potter County Fair.  If you are from here do you know one of our teachers started the fair?  Flossie Shields, little did she know at the time the wonderful thing she started would still be
giving to our community.   Hoping for next year and if it is a go and your in the area stop in at the Historical Building on the fair grounds and read about our history.  The pictures and exhibits are very enjoyable.

Remember, Pass it On.  What ever it is. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Another Day in the Wilds of Cook'n by the Creek

Let the garden suppers begin fixed so many different ways.  Tonight the garden supper was frying some sliced smoked kielbasa, adding some small tender potatoes dug today and of course green beans that had been cooked until tender, salt and pepper...........YUM it was so light and fresh.  On the side we had sliced cooked carrots with butter, salt and pepper.  Did I ever mention REAL butter?  Of course I did. 
Of course a rustic garden supper tastes better on a metal plate and use one of my mom's forks.  All in the presentation.  Sometimes!

The nights have turned cool but by 9 am in the morning it starts getting a little steamy.  Air gets shut off by 7 pm in the evening with a day or two of windows left open and a fairly cool breeze blowing in, those are my favorite days.  Over coffee we decide, what are we doing for the day.  It always revolves around the garden.  This day brings digging and canning carrots.  Last night we dug a shovel full to see if it is time.  Yes, it is. The beans are ready for the first picking also.  It will be a busy couple of weeks with the pressure canner dancing and ticking away.  The carrots take 25 minutes for pints and 30 for quarts.  It looks like we will have plenty.   Most of our vegetables provide for winter for soups, stews, eat with butter, salt and pepper or candied carrots.   Full circle.

Quincy and Ellie have been missing their walks around the property.  Last night they were ready when I said, wanna go for a walk.  They sure did!  They like to sniff and stick their head in the air trying to decide which way to run off and investigate.  They always come back after a few minutes for a treat and off they go again.  For us it is a time to relax and enjoy the beautiful green hills and views with no buildings to look at.  The grandson's crops are doing great.  Corn is tall and getting it's tops to be sent down to the corn silk for germination.  Pumpkins are vining out, clover looks healthy as does the radishes and turnips.  Those deer better be satisfied way up there and not venture down to our food garden.  I follow a young couple on youtube that has a place similar to ours only they are in Alaska.  Today I read her update and she is also saying their garden is full, lush and full of vegetables.  A bumper crop for them with extras.  That is ours, we are picking daily and putting it on the table out front.  Free for taking.
Beans, carrots and pickled beets ready for the shelves in the cellar.
Picking beans today went by so much faster than usual.  My niece and her granddaughter came up for the pick.  As usual we chatted and discussed picking,  canning and a few other things. Thank goodness we have the same beliefs on how to do things, right down to how to pick beans.....our way or no way!   In a couple days we will be right back at it.  I thought we would get rained off, a 20 minute sprinkle and the day was perfect for the garden.  I love sharing.

While I was in the garden the tall guy was planting apple trees that he raised from seed. He has so many started it is going to be weeks before they are all in the ground.  Someday someone that lives here will enjoy apples, maybe it will be  the wild animals.  Either one makes me smile.  It is worth watching something start from an apple I ate last winter, grow into a little sapling and then grow past the round tubes around them.  Some that were planted a couple  months ago are already 4' tall.  This is the year for growing and harvesting.  Wild raspberries are also beauties this year.  When mowing I ride by a bush, stop and pick a handful.  If you haven't had a wild raspberry or blackberry go for a ride or a walk, find them, pick a few to eat.  I guarantee you will be hooked on the flavor of wild vs tame.  What a life to be able to enjoy every little thing.  Just do it, get out in the wild open spaces, take long deep breaths, close your eyes and think.......this is peace on earth.
I don't even look for bugs on the berries, why ruin my enjoyment!

Monday, July 20, 2020

The Pea Shuckers

If the joy of harvest time from the garden isn't enough it was an added bonus, pleasure, joy, think back time shucking peas this morning.  We were out at the garden picking peas to can and freeze when the dogs started their alarm barking.  I could have cried when I looked up to see my niece coming.  She knew where to find us if not at the house.  You see, Pam and I go way back to the day she was born.  She is my brother's daughter and he just happened to be 25 years older than me.  I was born in July and 6 weeks later along came my niece in September.  My brother and his family lived across from us, the farm I grew up on.  We are more like sisters and maybe even better.  Good times, not so good times we have always been by each other's side.  Our personalities are about the same, we tend to both have a "Gross" attitude.  Perfect for this day and age.  Pam had come up to help pick or shuck!  I loved being with her and it sure made short order of getting 11 pints of peas shucked.  We talked, bitched and complained and laughed.  It took me back to our younger days of running around in our underwear on hot steamy summer days.  We lived where nobody but the mailman came by.  We would put our summer hats on, grab a little pail and head out to pick wild strawberries.  Once we had enough it was back to the swingset and eat our berries.  Life was simple pleasures that now makes me wonder how we were so satisfied to do so little compared to what kids do today.

Pam's house and our house overlooked the Oswayo Creek.  We could see our Uncle Orville's farm way down the road which was the original Horse Run Road until the new bridge and road was put in because  of the old road flooding all the time from heavy rains in the spring. The old road is now called Low St.  I don't particularly like that name.  Old Horse Run Rd is what I call it to this day.   Our parents would let us ride our bikes down the old road  past Uncle Orville's and back.  The best part Aunt Nina always had some kind of fresh baked cookies.  We just had to stop and say hi.  I am sure she knew exactly why we stopped by and like most good bakers she probably enjoyed the chance to share her specialties.  Hot summer days in the 1950s.  That is what we did.  The other memory I thought of was painting our nails.  Pam's mom used red nail polish.  We were not good at painting nails but we did our best and would head out to our neighbor's house, Laurabelle Karr.  I can still remember standing there showing her our nails and insisting she pick who had the prettiest nails.  Good grief, she tried everything to avoid the final choice.  Looking back she probably thought, what persistent  little brats and shuddered every time she saw us coming across the lawn.

Now here we are 70+ years into our life together.  We discuss old women things and remember the younger days with a few wrinkles, age spots, gray hair and a little arthritis setting in the hands that are proof we have survived many storms.  When we talk I look at her and see the little dark haired, brown eyed girl that kept me company through the years.  ❤

Speaking of peas, I was you know 🌱  We are having a bumper crop.  Moving the peas to the smaller garden near the barn where we could water them as needed proved to be the right choice.  We have already picked double what we have in past years.  2 gallon bags in the freezer and 8 pints canned.  I am guessing we will have that many and more in the next week.  It's pea picking, shucking, canning and freezing time.  In the next day or two it will be picking green beans, snapping and canning along with pickling beets.  We had almost two weeks of doing nothing at the garden.  Now back at it.  And I will have "a little help from my friend" and niece.  She has offered to come up, just give her a call.  You betcha!  Talking makes the time fly by.
15 pounds of peas picked by 7:45 am.

The 3 grandsons went home to MD yesterday.  I am going to miss them.  When they got here I told them, this is your vacation, enjoy the stay.  They really did.  From reading, playing video games, monopoly, mowing lawn, hiking, baking brownies, going to PA Grand Canyon, Kinzua Dam, and their all time favorite the Zippo in Bradford.  The oldest is now hooked on Zippo Lighters.  He bought his first one, the Ace of Spades.  I was told everytime I come up I want to go to Zippo.  He is saving his money for the next time.  Then of course.......Red and Trudys.  They have loved those hamburgers and shakes since the first time they went.  It is a tradition for our kids and their kids.

The Zippo in Bradford.  Worth the visit.  Loved all the WWII stories of soldiers and zippos.
They found the snake by the garden and killed it for me :)
PA Grand Canyon, Cooper, Cash and Jagger, The Bryant Boys💙💙💙

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

After the Rain

Rain has a way to cleanse the air and make me want to stand and take deep breaths.  It's a way to cleanse the body and mind which quite frequently needs to be done for me!  Time has a way of bringing worries and woes that need to be rided or thinned out to keep that smile on your face and song in your heart.  Today's rain brought strong breezes and cooler temperatures.  I even put on a sweatshirt, left the windows open and watched the shears blow and wave around.  My kind of afternoon and evening.  A perfect summer for me would be, go to the mountains and keep going up everytime the temperature got too warm.  Crazy huh?   I compared landscape pictures of last summer at this time and it was much more brown and yellow for the lawn and bushes.  So, what does it mean for a nice fall and winter?  I always seem to think of the next season to try and make a prediction for the up coming seasons.  Here it goes, fall will be exceptionally colorful with an Indian Summer to add to the beauty.  Winter will be cold enough for lots of fluffy white snow to do all we love to do outside.  That is my prediction (hope and wishing) .  Don't hold me to it, remember, nature is the boss!
Wednesday was one of those too hot for me days.  With all the garden and now porch work the crock pot and insta pot have been my best friends.  After working outside all morning and walking back in the house it was one of those awe moments.  It smelled so good.  I put a nice Smithfield ham in the crock pot, it made a rich broth.  The broth went into a large pot with carrots, cabbage, onions, potatoes and a bay leaf.  Even though the days are hot this winter meal hit the spot tonight with cornbread on the side.  Thank goodness for air conditioning.  While I was enjoying the smells of supper I thought of my mom and all the farm meals she cooked during the hot sweltering heat of summers on the farm.  During hay season, oat harvesting and putting silage in all day, milking morning and night and going in the house to make a sit down meat and potatoes dinner.  Always with biscuits or bread and homemade pies, cookies and cakes.  If I think making a dinner in air conditioning is a big deal then shame on me.  Mom's meals were the big deals.  She did have a pressure cooker which she used to cook roast beef, chicken, pork roast and meatloaf.  The cooker helped a great deal and within an hour the meat was done.  She also used a pressure canner.  I use both types too.  Makes canning a snap and the best roast beef.  Please, don't be afraid to try the pressure cooker or canner. 

Although it is only July 11th it is time to think of hunting licenses and doe permits.  You know you are from Potter County when your year is not complete without a purchase of a hunting license.  Back in the day when my dad, brothers and even my husband went hunting it was quite different, all they needed was a coat, hat, boots, rifle/shotgun and shells, knife and of course a hunting license too.  Now hunters take special scent blockers, special layers of clothing,  gloves, socks, high tech boots, fanny pack, back pack, hot seats, cameras, tree stands, huts, special knives, face masks, safety harness, calls, scopes with red dots, rangefinders, walkie talkies, cell phones, etc.  Now you know why the back pack 😉. Makes ya wonder how hunters ever killed an animal way back then.

 Today is Saturday and the porch floor is finished with two coats of Behr finish.   We used the same color and type on the Summer Place Cabin we built.  It has held up excellent and repels water.  Stands up in little water beads.  Just like it does right after an auto is waxed.  No peels or flaking either.  Hoping this is the last time we have to worry about the finish on the porch floors.  The last time I was refinishing floors was our downstairs, minus the bathroom, kitchen and bedroom.  I said never again...Technically this is not the inside house floor so never doesn't count, really?  Seriously, never will I do the inside floors again and never will I do the porches again.  You may wonder why we don't hire it done.   The reason is my Type A personality as my kids have told me I have.  If I hire it , what would I do?  Watch them work and get all frustrated because I don't like how they are doing it and just knowing I can do it better.  Even if I can't do it better I still think I can!  That is exactly how I am.  I can't watch anyone do something without wanting to take over.  So, as long as we are still willing and able we will do it MY way 😏.  Unless Mr. Big overrides my decisions then it is discussion time.  Which, we did have a couple discussions this week.

How about an apple strudel?  Not difficult at all.  Roll out a pie crust in a rectangular shape.  I use the dough for a double pie crust but you can also make two strudels by using half of the dough.  Slice apples in a bowl, add sugar, cinnamon, a pinch of salt and 2 TBSP of flour.  I sometimes add chopped walnuts and raisins.  Mix well and  spread over the center third of the pie crust.  Put a few tsps of butter on top of the apples.  Fold over one side of the crust and then the other.  Brush with milk and sprinkle sugar on.  Put strudel on baking sheet that has parchment paper.  Bake at 375 until golden brown.  You can serve warm or cold.  Sometimes when cool I dust the top with confectioners sugar.  We like Ice Cream with it but my favorite is with a wedge of sharp cheddar cheese.  A little German favorite from my mom.

Our 3 grandsons age 13, 11 and 9 are here for the week with me.  I am going to make farmers out of 2 and a baker out of 1.  We drove to Shamokin Dam yesterday and made the trade.  Our son, his wife and 4 year old daughter get gramps and I get the boys.  First time ever for them to stay away from their mom and dad.  So far so good.

Fast to learn and ready to mow lawns Tuesday.

My 1960s grandson, he plays the drums!

They found the snake living under a bale of hay by my garden.  They love snakes but for gramma they did away with it.

Had to stop on the way home to see the PA Grand Canyon.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Piddly Work

Give me the power equipment like the angle sander with the diamabrush.  This piddly scrapping and sanding is not for me!   3 hours of scraping under the porch rail and along the siding is about all I can stand.  Tomorrow will be sand it and then...........maybe..........Saturday the stain  will go on.  The hard part is getting out there early while the morning is still cool.  I tend to like to sit, drink my coffee, check the web,  knit a little and always enjoy the view.  Not happening the last three days with the 90 degree temperatures.  Once we start the back porch it will be late afternoon work since that is when the shade hits back there.  That will really blow my mind.  I like to get work down in the morning so in the afternoon we can relax or go somewhere.  Guess I am lucky if that is all I have to gripe about today.

It's summer squash season.  We picked the first two last night.  For supper I made something new.  No recipe, just a desperate woman with nothing planned.  I made pizza dough using 000 flour.  It is what the Italians use and is the best crust ever.  The flour is super fine and makes a dough easy to press.  Much to my surprise I found it at Walmart.  I cut up and fried bacon.  Drained the grease from the pan and left enough for the pizza dough to be pressed out on.  Layered the dough with fresh sliced summer squash, one sliced thin onion, bacon, and then mozzarella and swiss cheese on top.  Baked at 400 degrees until bottom was golden brown.  Once plated we put warm pizza sauce on top.  Mine also had hot pepper flakes sprinkled on because I like a "little" spice in my life!  It was great!  In fact it will be made frequently during squash season.

As you can see I used my cast iron frying pan.  It makes for a crispy bottom on the crust.  This is more like a deep dish pizza with a thin crust.  Can't say enough on how good it tasted. The swiss cheese gave a nice flavor.  Just right with nothing else on the side.  We have enough for each a slice for lunch tomorrow!  Free food :)  This reminds me of the summer tomato pie that will be made when the tomatoes ripen.  Right now they are just little green fruits.

The rain finally arrived just in time.  We had planned on watering flowers and gardens but now we can just take it easy.  I have been knitting and watching a few youtube blogs on tiny houses built on travel trailer frames.  Gathering info.

I always talk about my mom and all the wonderful things she could do and passed onto me at a very young age.  My dad was also helpful in teaching me things, just in a different way.  He was a gruff farmer that only told or explained something once so ya better listen.  Which I did because I was too scared to ask a second time.  Both my dad and Uncle Orville were good farmers and gardeners.  From them I learned  how deep, how close, how wide the rows should be apart and make sure to weed and hoe until the plants get big.  That is what we do.  Then he taught me about being thrifty and not wasting something that could be used again even if it meant a little more work.  For example, when we lived in our first home we lowered the ceilings.  I wanted new woodwork and dad said, no you can turn the boards over, sand them and they will look like new ones.  They did!  We have turned boards over many times in our remodeling or gathering boards that nobody else wants.  Dad also taught me how to dry wall and spackle. Although he really didn't show me specifically I watched him from the a very early age.  He was known for doing rounded archways and many people would hire him in the winters when farm work slowed down.  Being a daughter of parents 43 and 45 years old when I was born I watched and was always by their side.  Mom for cooking , sewing, knitting,embroidery,  canning, gardening and crocheting.  Dad for guys work.  Maybe that is why I like doing remodeling, using power tools, getting my hands dirty and brush hogging our fields.  It was my entertainment growing up on the farm watching and learning.  When I think back I can never remember mom and dad not busy, they were always working at the barn our house.  The only time they relaxed was after chores and supper, the evening was for reading  the news paper, a cup of tea, something sweet to eat and then off to bed.  Milking started by 5 am to get the milk cans in the cooler and cooled down before the milk truck came .  The milk truck would come mid day to pick up the last evenings and morning milk.  Everyday 7 days a week.  Got a little off track, this mind of mine can not stay focused on one thing at a time!!  Drywall is my least favorite thing to do.  Every time we have a project that requires drywall I say it is my last but then there is always the "next time".

Kim I have thought of you all day.  Blessings that you and Rod's day will end on a big happy note ❤