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Sunday, April 26, 2015


Hello dear friends!  Hope you all are enjoy your evening.  The weather is slowly inching its way to spring.  On Wednesday we had snow but at least we knew it wouldn't stay and took comfort in that. 

In spite of the cold, our rhubarb is thriving.
If you are novice gardener, plant yourself some rhubarb, and you'll feel successful!  It takes very little care, is always the first thing to sprout in the spring (even under the snow) and will grow just about anywhere.  The only care it needs is a liberal dose of manure in the fall.  You can even plant it in the  back of the flowerbed.  I find the leaves just as pretty as a hosta and when if you leave it  to flower after you have harvested all that you want, it will reward you with a pretty feathery cream colored blossoms.

I harvested enough to make some strawberry-rhubarb jam since strawberries were on sale this week. The recipe I use can be found here.  It will be so nice the winter to open a jar and taste Spring.

I often hear people remark that they don't use jam, but I think a piece of toast with jam is a wonderful snack.   Another thing I use jam for,  is to make Jam Squares,  a simple from-the-pantry treat.

Jam Squares

3/4 C. butter or margarine
1/3 C. powdered sugar
1 1/2 C. flour
1 pint of your favorite jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Combine the first three ingredients.  Press dough into a greased 9"X13" pan.  Spread the jam over the top.  Bake 20 minutes.  Cool in refrigerator before cutting.  You can also add nuts or coconut to the topping.

Having the ingredients to make little things like these simple jam squares are very comforting when times are difficult.  We may not always have the funds for fancy and expensive ingredients, but our pantry always has jam!  My husband and I have a little ritual of sitting down together on cold evenings and have a cookie or sometimes cheese and a cup of tea and just talk.  I think it might be one of our secrets to a successful marriage. (We will be married 37 years this summer.)

Another tradition of ours is to clean the flowerbeds together on the first warm day of spring.  As a gaze over at Ran and Jamie working diligently in the garden, knowing that they are working so hard to please me, I always think of this Bible verse:

God is love, and who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
~ 1 John 4:16~

While we are doing yard work, we gather all the sticks and tie them in bundles.

They make wonderful fire starters, and because so many are branches from the pruning the apple trees, they smell wonderful, too!  The bundles are also great for campfire cooking. If we ever get warm enough weather for that!

This week I finally got enough ambition to sew up the little ballerina slippers that I knitted for our new granddaughter-to-be.  I don't know why but I always dislike finishing projects. It only took me two evenings to knit them, but it took me two weeks to sew them.  A few months ago I got lucky at the thrift store and found a bunch of 1940s era knitting pamphlets.  This pattern was one of them. And they use up some of the yarn stash.  Here's the pattern:

 Size 2 knitting needles.
1 oz.  baby yarn

Starting at sole, cast on 20 stitches, working in garter stitch, increase 1 stitch at the beginning of each row, 8 times.  (28 stitches)
Knit 4 rows even, then decrease by knitting the 2nd and 3rd stitches together at the beginning of each row 8 times (20 stitches)
Now cast on 8 stitches at the end of the next row (back of shoe)
Increase 1 stitch every other row at the toe until there are 34 stitches on the needle.
Bind off 20 stitches at the back of shoe.
Increase 1 stitch at toe every other row 3 times (17 stitches)
Knit 4 rows even.
Decrease 1 stitch at toe 3 times.
Cast on 20 stitches for back of shoe and decrease at toe every other row until 28 stitches remain.
Bind off.

You'll have this odd looking shape:

Pick up 48 stitches around top of shoe and work in stockinette stitch for 7 rows. Bind off.  Sew shoe top to sole.  Sew back seam.

Cast on 36 stitches.  Knit 2 rows.
On the 3rd row, knit 2, then work buttonhole by yarn over, knit 2 stitches together. Knit to end of row.
Knit 2 rows. Bind off.
Sew strap to back of shoe. Sew on button.  Trim with a small pompom.
On Wednesday, we left the confines of our tiny village and traveled to the big city.  While there, we stopped at the Polish butcher's for some kielbasa.  He also had some pork/veal mixture for only $2.99 a pound.  So I made up some meatloaf.   I always use this recipe, more or less.  I use less meat and add oatmeal to stretch it.  It's cheaper than lunchmeat and makes the nicest sandwiches.  Even people that say they hate meatloaf, love this recipe. And the smell of the bacon sure is wonderful when you come in from the cold!

We also stopped at the thrift store and I bought a brand- new- with -tags -on skirt form the Acacia catalog for $5.  I checked out their site and the cheapest item of clothing they have is around $80, so I was pretty pleased with that! I need some new summer clothes, I'm so hard on them.  (If we have a summer this year.)  I also bought some curtain valances with a cute retro pattern, that I plan to make into some totes.

Here's some thrifty things we did this week:

Harvest rhubarb from or garden.
Made 7 jars of strawberry-rhubarb jam.
Trimmed my own hair.
Made a large meatloaf for sandwiches.
Gathered twigs and branches for firestarters.
Sewed a headband/headcovering from scrap fabric.
Heated our house with wood (or heating bill was only $30 this month! Not bad considering the temperatures are still only in the 40s).
Ran made some wooden spoons free wood.
Made homemade bread.
Except for lettuce, kielbasa, strawberries and the meatloaf mix, ate entirely out of the pantry.

I'm sure there are many other things, but it's late as I write this, and my thinking cap isn't working very well!  So until next time,  see you later, aligator!


  1. dear jane,
    mmmh i love rhubarb-strawberry jam. my rhubarb is growing well,too. i will bake a rhubarb cake this week. the booties are so beautiful,jane!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    have a nice week,
    love and hugs regina

    1. Could you send me the recipe for your rhubarb cake , please, Regina? I'm always at a lost of what to do with all the rhubarb. Hate to waste it. And I know if it comes from you, it has to be good!

      Have a nice week, also!


    2. i will send you the recipe in the next days.
      hugs regina

    3. Thank you, dear Regina! No hurry, the rhubarb will be here for quite a while. I know if it comes from you, it will be outstanding. Everything you make looks stunning!


  2. What a productive week! My husband liked strawberry/rhubarb combo. I like strawberries better than rhubarb.

    Those little knitted baby slippers came out cute.

    Have another good week, working together with love and joy in your hearts.


    1. I can't wait until it warms up, so we can really start to do some work around here, Rainey! Spring around here is a lot of "hurry up and wait". There's so much to do in the few warm months we have. Hope you are doing better!


  3. I love rhubarb. I can't seem to grow it. I bought two new plants two years ago and only one is coming up and it is tiny. Yours looks wonderful! I do agree, jam is a treat! Very pretty slippers (I wear slippers feet just can't do without!)

    That meatloaf recipe looks delicious. I love meatloaf. (And oatmeal is a good filler!) I don't cook my bacon first. I slap alot of ketchup on the top of the meat and put bacon on top. It bakes crisp. I think the bacon and ketchup is what makes me like it. We had kielbasa this weekend too. I told my husband it is as yummy as a hot dog and you don't need condiments with it. It is especially satisfying to pack as a sandwich when hiking in the woods. (meatloaf does make good sandwiches cold too). Now back to my Monday chores! I'm sure I will re-read your post again as it is enjoyable! Andrea

    1. Rhubarb love rich soil, Andrea. Get yourself a bag of composted manure and put it around the plants. Also I only harvest mine for a short while and make sure to cut off most of the blossoms so the energy all goes into making the plant.

      I hadn't had kielbasa in ages, but one day Ran and I just looked at each other and thought of it. We're like that. We have some good old-fashioned butchers around here that make the authentic recipe with lots of garlic. Yum! Definitely not anything you'd want to eat on a date! Ha! Well enjoy your chores. It's our laundry day.


  4. As always, your week is just so productive and filled with good stuff! :0) mari

    1. We try to keep busy, Mari! Unfortunately the weather isn't cooperating. We were just discussing that in years past we would be getting the garden ready to plant, but not this year. Nothing is even budding out, just the rhubarb!

  5. Lovely post, Jane! Your rhubarb looks so healthy. The big black ants ate mine last summer so I have to start one again soon. Love those baby shoes, and thank you for sharing the pattern. I really like that you're a knitter - me too. Yay for knitters. :)
    Have a great week!

    1. There's a lot of us out there! I always like to include the pattern because I find it annoying when I read other blogs and they say they used a vintage pattern, but don't include it. I would like to figure out how to add a PDF file so I can share longer patterns.

      We don't have too many ants around here thank goodness. I think they hang out at the neighbors that have more sandy (beach) soil. We have been blessed with some of the richest soil around!

  6. Love those cute little pink booties, how exciting to be expecting a granddaughter! Every time I see rhubarb I think of my grandma's strawberry rhubarb pies, I love jam squares too! I like the idea of making the stick bundles, I just sent out a bunch of prunings with the yard debris, but having a few bundles to start our fire pit would be a handy idea, I have to remember that for future twigs. Awesome deal on the Acacia skirt thrift find, what a great bargain! :)

    1. Have to admit that strawberry rhubarb pies are my favorite way to eat rhubarb, April. You know the saying "waste not, want not" even the twigs get recycled around here. Hope you have a nice week ahead of you!

  7. ✿⊱·.

    Ótimo fim de semana!
    ❤ه° ·.

    1. E você tem uma semana maravilhosa à frente de você, Inez!

  8. i love the way you intro into the recipe. you dont announce it, you guide us to it.