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Sunday, June 12, 2016


Hello dear friends!  I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.  So saddened to open my computer today and read of the mass murder of so many young people.  I will never understand how someone's ideology can justify such an act. Must be a type of mental illness involved. All I can say is that I pray that those that have suffered will be comforted.  Amen!

So there, that's off my chest.  It has been a strange week here weather-wise. How about you?  On Tuesday it was so cold that I had to wear my light winter coat but on Saturday it almost reached 90 degrees.  In between it has been perfect with temperatures in the in the lower 70s with a nice breeze.  Perfect for getting some gardening done and painting the lawn furniture.  We are using up cans of paint but came up short to do one chair.  At a garage sale they had a can of oil-based brown paint for free.  Perfect!  Brown wouldn't have been the color I would have chosen but it goes nicely with the red chairs.  Sometimes you just have to go with the flow!

Speaking of gardens, here's the first rose of the summer:
It's called Apothecary and it has roots (literally) in the roses that medieval apothecaries used in their potions.  It is set on the south side of the cottage  sheltered from the wind so it blooms well before the other roses.  I'm so excited about my roses this year!   After the last two years of having to cut them back almost to the ground, due to our harsh winters, this year they have climbed almost to the roof and have thousands of buds on them.   Should be an awesome sight when they bloom.  But for now the flower that has stolen my heart in the garden are these Siberian Irises: 
Aren't they beautiful?  Unfortunately they are planted in the wrong spot so this fall I will need to replant them someplace special.

Which lead me to the first question I've been asked recently (This post will be a sort of question and answer session)

Question 1

How do get your roses to grow?

I'm a lazy gardener.  I ignore all advice to prune them to the first five-leaved offshoot, deadhead them as the blooms die, feed them bone meal, cover them in the winter, etc.  I have no patience with coddling plants.  All I do is cut off any dead wood after they start to come to life in the spring.  We have had a problem with some sort of bug eating the leaves, so every once in a great while I spray the leaves with Thuricide, which is  bacteria that kills all those little nasty leaf eaters.

Question 2

What do you grow in your vegetable garden?

We don't stray from anything too unusual. Just your basic tomatoes, peppers, greens, green beans, carrots, eggplants, and peas. Oh! and pumpkins and squashes. And let's not forget the potatoes!  We also have a rather large asparagus bed, blackberry and raspberry bushes, Concord grapes and of course rhubarb.    Which leads me to question number 3 ....

Question 3

Regina asked if I would share some rhubarb recipes as she too has rhubarb coming out of her ears

Two rhubarb recipes I made this week are rhubarb squares and rhubarb tea  First the simple one:

Rhubarb Iced Tea

2 C. rhubarb, diced
1 C. strawberries, chopped
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. water
6 C. brewed black tea

Combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and water in a saucepan.  Cook until rhubarb is soft .  Strain through a fine mesh strainer.  Add rhubarb concoction  to the tea and refrigerate.  Serve over ice.  Very refreshing for a hot day.

Rhubarb squares

Crust and topping:

2 1/2 C. flour
1 C. sugar
1/2 C. chopped nuts (optional)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 C. cold butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon


2 C. chopped rhubarb
2 C. chopped strawberries
2/3 C. sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon  cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine the dry ingredients for the topping.  Cut in the butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbs.  Stir in egg.  Press half of mixture into the bottom of a 13 X 9 inch pan.

Combine the filling ingredients and pour over top of the crust.  Top with remaining crumbs/topping.    Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  I like to make a glaze of the remaining lemon juice and confectioners' sugar to pour over the crumbs while the bars are still warm..

A few more recipes that can be found on my blog are rhubarb flip (my favorite), curried rhubarb lentil stew and  rhubarb muffins.  I can't believe how many times I've written about rhubarb!  Another question about food:

Question 4

Someone wanted me to share a  typical menu and how we keep our grocery bill so low.    We eat seasonally and from our garden.  This week we harvested lettuce, spinach, arugula, cauliflower, herbs, asparagus and of course, rhubarb.  Here's what we ate this week:

Meatless tacos made from our own dried beans made into refried beans, lettuce from the garden, home-canned salsa, etc.
Kidney bean Joes, made from some of the beans we cooked up for the tacos and a salad from the garden.
Pork chops  (from the grocer's reduced for quick sale bin) roasted potatoes and asparagus (our own) and salad (our lettuce)
Big Mac Salad.  A man's salad.  1/2 lb. ground round (browned) lettuce and onions (our owned home grown), tomatoes, pickles (our own canned) and shredded cheddar cheese  and the special "sauce" (1/2 C. mayonnaise,  2 tbsp. ketchup, 2 tsp. mustard, 2 tbsp. dill pickle relish. Combine and refrigerate. Pour over salad)
This Green Goddess Melt sandwich with a side of saute asparagus.
We ate out twice this week which is very unusual.  Once we ate at Subway (love their veggie delights and about every third visit we get enough points to get a free sub) and on Friday a dear friend invited to be her guest at the local fish fry. BTW, here's how our garden is thriving:

Question 5

This is a strange question but I get asked quite often what products I use on my skin.

The truth of the matters, I am fortunate that I just have good genetics.  As I sat with my mother as she rested in hospice, I couldn't help and admire her beautiful complexion.  Hardly a wrinkle on her face and she was in her 90s. The one thing she taught us was to moisturize,  moisturize, moisturize.  We girls would always sit on the her bed and watch her dress,  which always started with a liberal application of Avon's Youth Dew (?).   I use whatever moisturizer that is the cheapest, as I discovered that it really doesn't matter what I use, it's more important how often and consistent I am in applying it.  Always apply it immediately after getting out of the shower.  Right now I'm using Vital Care Vitamin E Creme, a brand I found on the bottom shelf at Walmart.  I rarely wear foundation, so whenever I feel my skin start to dry out I slather more on throughout the day.  And I do mean slather.  I don't massage it into my skin, but let it absorb.  I also noticed recently that I'm getting a bit of crepey skin on my neck so I've been taking collagen tablets. Seems to be doing some good. I avoid sunbathing and that sort of thing, mainly because it bores me to bits. As you can see from question # 4, I am a firm believer in eating a lot fresh vegetables, particularly green leafies, which have lots of vitamin K.  We also walk at least three miles a day at a brisk pace which keeps the circulation going and perspiring cleanses the pores.  Something strange I do is to only wash my face at night (using a homemade scrub of coconut oil and sugar) and I try not to use hot water when rinsing, because hot water is very drying.

Question 6

The other odd sort of question I hear a lot is why do I wear skirts only?

Firstly, I don't wear skirts all of the time, I do on very rare occasions wear jeans, but to be quite honest, I do not find pants comfortable.  No matter what my weight or size, they just do not fit me properly, as I have a womanly figure.  Plus I do not like how revealing they are to my big bay view if you get my drift.  I'd much rather have my ankles be the focus of attention.  There's a thrift component to wearing skirts also, as it is easier to find pretty skirts that fit in the thrift stores and garage sales, than it is to find a nice pair of well-fitting  trousers.  Plus skirts are only $2 at our local thrift store as opposed to $5 for pants.  But the most important reason for wearing skirts is that I just like how they make me feel.  When I'm wearing skirts, I'm conscious of my feminine nature, it causes  me to talk and act more quietly and serenely, in other words more like how I feel a lady should conduct herself.

Question 7 & 8

What are you reading and what's on your needles?

I'm still plugging away at the shawl I wrote about eons ago.  As it is a rather complicated pattern, I've found I just don't have time to sit down and concentrate on it, so rarely do I work on it.  I just brought out a crewel embroidery kit that I bought at a garage sale years ago.  Embroidery is my first love and it can be done in spurts and fits.

As to what I'm reading, I'm afraid this will sounds rather dull or pretentious, depending upon your point of view; I'm reading the King James version of the New Testament.  After years of listening to various debates about the legitimacy of the many translations of the Bible, I decided it was time to pull out my grandmother's old circa 1910 King James version and begin reading it.  I really like the New Century version for understanding but feel compelled to slog through all the olde English phrasology.  While it is poetic, I do find myself drifting off or having to reread certain passages many times to grasp their meaning.  Probably why the old Shakespearean language has turned many people off to reading the Bible in the first place.  Do the have Crib Notes for the Bible? Ha! I still turn to the modern translations for understanding but it my understanding that some of the new translations omit or interpret wrongly, so that is why I am trying.  Anyway, it is slow going as this particular Bible was printed in the smallest type known to man.  But I like knowing that it belonged to my paternal grandmother.


Have you stayed with me thus far?  Congratulations!  You deserve some sort of medal!

THE question I get asked everyday, and without end is:

What are you up to?

I lead a very boring life, I'm afraid.  Rarely does anything fascinating happen to me and that's the way I like it.  Most of my days are filled with the routine of daily life, cleaning, gardening and cooking leave me with very little free time for exciting endeavors.  We have been garage sale-ing on the weekends, which is always fun, but I've discovered that the best deals are right in my own neighborhood.  On the way to the store I stopped in at a sale next door and bought the remarkable piece of garden folly:
I guess it could be best described as a mobile. It on a 7 foot high pole and rotates as the wind catches it.  We repainted the moon and stars in some glittery paint.  I also found this sewing stand at another sale for $5 and repainted it:

It the perfect height for a washstand in our guest cottage/ shed (the facilities are primitive).  And of course, we repainted the lawn furniture as  reported at the beginning of this post, if you can remember that far back! Ha!

The garden takes up most of our days, between the weeding and watering.  Or just sitting outside and listening to the birds and church bells.

I'm watching Escape to the Country on YouTube.  A British house hunting show.  At first I had a few moments of wistful envy that I couldn't live in such a picturesque area, but then I reminded myself that I do live in an adorable little cottage  in a quaint little village by the sea and am surrounded by beautiful gardens.  What more could I want? Which leads me to the last thing I've been up to, and that is visiting.  The warmer weather brings out the people and Ran and I spend a fair amount of time each day just visiting with neighbors and friends.  Life is so good!

Well, I hope I haven't bored you to bits!  If you have any more questions feel free to ask.  Here's an extra big hug for sticking with me through this post!



  1. Great post, Jane! Love the rose and irises. They are so pretty and unusual, too. And what an adorable table! Love the color you painted it. Yard sales have been pretty rag-tag around here for over a year so I've stopped going for a while. I have more stuff than I need anyway, but I do love a good sale. ;)

    I'm going to restrain myself and just say you have more patience than I do to answer some of those daffy (they are) questions, especially the one about what you wear. I suppose we all still have the right to wear what we please. I never wear pants and don't miss them and ain't one bit sorry. It's no wonder some of the best bloggers get over it and decide to abandon their blogs.

    On a cheerier note I hope you have a bright and sunny week with cool winds and.. no mindless queries. LOL Sorry, could stop myself. ;)
    Your pants-less friend in the South,

    1. Hello pant-less friend! The skirt question comes mostly from acquaintances and people that I see on my daily route. I think they believe I belong to some sort of religious cult. Ha! Although skirt wearing does have some component of my faith in, as I desire to be modest and feminine. I don't really mind the questions, glad to settle their curiosity, actually. In general, I think people are just curious of my lifestyle as it is a bit off the beaten path. Ha!

      I got so carried away with selling things at my garage sale, I literally sold the table out from underneath me! This table works better anyhow. So it was a win-win.

      Hope you have a lovely week and not too hot. Where did that heat wave go that we were suppose to have?


  2. Good morning Jane,
    I so enjoyed this post but I don't think I deserve a medal, the pleasure to read it was mine.
    Your peach rose is so pretty. Our wedding 36 years old use peach for the main color and that color still makes me happy. It's funny we live in the same USA but our weather is so different. Our roses in Oklahoma have been in full bloom for weeks.
    Add me to the skirt wearer club. Skirts are just cooler in hot weather and more comfortable. My husband likes them too. I own some pants and jeans but rarely put them on. I do have yoga capris that I wear only at home for exercise or maybe housework. Very comfortable but not for public wearing.
    Hope you have a great week!

    1. Hi Rhonda! I almost had peach for my wedding too! But we couldn't find one of the bridesmaid's dresses in the right size so I went with dusty rose (isn't that name a blast from the 70s?)

      I think if more women tried skirts, they'd never go back to wearing pants. You're right they are cooler in the summer. Some day I hope we have some summer-like weather to experience it!

      Hope you are doing well this fine June day!


  3. dear jane,
    what a great post! the rose is beautiful..... thanks for sharing the recipe.
    we have a another thunderstorm warning and more rain is on the way.
    have a nice day,
    love and hugs,

    1. Thanks Regina! With all the rain you're getting you will soon have waterfront property! Then you can sell it and make a huge profit. Ha! Hope you have some sunshine soon!


  4. Such a beautiful rose. I'm like you with roses. Maybe that's why I am only successful at growing knock out roses.
    Thank you for sharing - I think you should get the award.
    Personally, I use Oil Olay and love how great my skin looks. My mom uses it, and that is where I got it from. My neck is getting a little crepey too - I will look into the collagen (thank you!)
    Love the garden whimsy. You seem to have top crop yard sales in your area.
    And finally, I have a boring life too - and I also love it. Although, I often find myself explaining that contentment is a good thing which can be a tad frustrating.
    Have a wonderful week!

    1. Thanks for the tip on knock out roses, Jen! Thinking about putting in a picket fence and am looking for some sturdy roses for it.

      We do have wonderful garage sales in our area. It's so much fun to poke around in them, even if we don't buy anything. Haven't found a mirror for our bath yet, but it's early in the sale-ing season.

      I guess we shouldn't confuse contentment with boring. People are always asking why we don't travel since we are retired. It is hard to explain that we are happy where we are at, like you, it gets frustrating.

      Hope you have a sun-shiny week!


  5. I do know where your heat wave went :) We have been in the high 90's all week and more of the same, at least in the upper 80's into the 90's over the next 10 days. And it only cools into the 70's. We have been keeping our window A/C's running 24 hours a day. Usually we turn them off at night but not when it doesn't cool down outside much. I am happy though that I have been able to drip water the garden using the windmill a couple times now and that is so neat. I am content with my boring life too and so is my husband. We have been busier than we like in the evenings with our grandkids baseball and softball games but sometimes we have to get outside our comfort zone for those little darlings :) Trying to stay cool and still keep up on things. Nannie

    1. Wouldn't it be nice if the temperatures could all even out to nice mid-70s for everyone, Nannie? When it's hot, all you do is water the garden, it seems. Must be nice to have a windmill. They're against the zoning laws here in Port Austin. Such a shame since it's one of the windiest place in the country. It would be nice to generate our own electricity. As a libertarian, I'm tired of all these stupid zoning laws telling us what we can and can't do on our own property. But don't get me started! Ha!

      My grandchildren are too young for sports yet, except for Tatianna who's more of a bookworm and science and math competitions type of kid. There's lot less of those than ball games.

      Hoping you get a break in the weather soon!


    2. So happy to report that we got a 1/2" of rain last evening and that took the temp down from the 90's to the low 70's by this morning. The A/c's are off for now and the garden got a lovely watering :) Nannie

    3. That's wonderful, Nannie. 90 degrees is just miserable. Send some of that rain my way, will you?


    4. I would if we started to get to much :)Nannie

  6. Hi! I love that garden folly. And the phrase "printed in the smallest type known to man"...ha.. Your gardens and flowers are beautiful! Your veggie garden doesn't seem to mind the late spring not be behind at all because of it! I guess that hot weather helped. I love skirts too! Yes much more comfortable than pants. And since my top is a different size than my bottom they work better than dresses. I just got my hair cut...actually I chopped it up yesterday and had to get it fixed today! After a few years of growing it long...trying to be proper with long hair but I couldn't take the feel of it anymore...(I'm the type who doesn't like jewelry or anything against my skin).

    I can't wait to see your shawl! I sure wish I could learn to do that...maybe some day I will!! My neighbor used to put Crisco on her skin! She lived to be 91 and her skin was very nice and youthful. On the other hand, my one grandma used ponds each night and she had I'm thinking genetics might not be on my side. But my skin is so oily still...maybe there is hope. Hugs,Andrea

    1. I have an urge to chop my hair off from time to time too, Andrea. My sister has such a cute pixie cut, but I just don't have the face for it. She's petite and it looks adorable; on me, it looks mannish.

      You're lucky if you have oily skin. Mine's so dry, it actually hurts in the winter. I think you look young for your age from what I've seen of your pictures, so I wouldn't worry!

      59 degrees today! Will summer ever arrive? Hope it's a beautiful day in your neck of the woods!


  7. Your roses are beautiful! I don't really have the knack for roses, but my Daddy gave me a rambling rose and so far I haven't killed it. :D Your iris are so pretty, and I love your garden folly. Can I come for a visit and stay in your cute little guesthouse? Looking at your rhubarb recipes makes me wish that I had asked Daddy for one of his rhubarb plants. I only remember Mom stewing rhubarb and adding sugar, sort of like a very tart applesauce.
    So glad you are posting again. I missed you. Hope you have a great week.

    1. Hi Kathy! Most of my roses are ramblers, too. I think they are pretty sturdy, which is why I have success with them.

      You are certainly welcome to come visit and stay in the guesthouse! Be forewarned that the facilities are primitive, i.e., a washbowl and chamber pot!

      Hope you are enjoying your week!


    2. well I do like indoor plumbing ;) But your guesthouse is adorable! Do the grandchildren love playing in it?
      Oh and thanks for the Big Mac special sauce recipe...I never thought of putting it on a salad before, yum!

    3. Little Felix loves it, but prefers the little tent I make out of shawls when he visits. The other two older grandchildren haven't visited since it was built, but are coming for the 4th of July, so we'll see.

      Ran and Jamie just love that salad. Men can't have it too healthy. Ha!


    4. Oh sounds like it is going to be a fun 4th of July! Enjoy those grandbabies!
      A manly salad, but I like it too! :D

  8. Ha! Careful Kathy, that reference reveals your age!