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Sunday, August 14, 2016

ANTIQUES AND MENUS

Hello dear friends!   Hope all is going well your way on this fine Sunday!   The reason I sound so chipper is because we finally had some rain and the temperatures have dropped.  Whew!   Friday was steamy!  Today's post's subjects have been suggested by you readers.   I love it when you make suggestions and requests, sometimes it's hard to come up with something new to write about.  How many times can I show you my canning?  Ha!

ANTIQUING

Ryan suggested that I write a post about antique hunting this week, which came at the perfect time, since this was the weekend of the Blue Water Garage Sale Trail, that runs all along the tip of the Thumb to southeast Michigan.  This year the sales were few and far between compared to other years, but we still managed to score some treasures.

The first tip for would-be antique hunters is go often to estate sales, auctions and garages sales and carry lots of cash in smaller denominations.  Oh! and drive a big truck!   The things I passed up this weekend because I didn't have a truck or anyone to help me haul them.  I'm still feeling a bit sad that I couldn't take an antique icebox home, something I've been looking for forever.  (still dreaming of living off-the-grid)  Anyhoo, it was in wonderful condition, the only drawback being someone had done a sloppy job of stripping the varnish off the oak.  Nothing that couldn't be set straight with a bit of stripper.  And only $150!   And a beautiful wood cookstove.   Oh dear! If wishes were horses all men would ride!

Here's a picture of Ran, checking out a guitar.
It was a nice good quality mahogany one  with a wonderful tone.  It also came with enough equipment to warrant the $75 price tag.  See that window on the left hand corner?  It had pretty leaded and beveled glass.  I bought it and hung it in our back room (the one with the "found" wood wall).
The windows in that room are boring replacement windows, so that helps make it more interesting.

The second tip for antique hunting is to get off the beaten path.  We went down a lot of dirt
and one-lane roads.
It's quite a thrill to come across and old centennial farm sale with a barn filled with junk! Another tip is to dress so that you can climb and get dirty.  I've climbed up in hay lofts and up ladders into attics before, so on hunting days, I leave my skirts and flip flops behind and where pants and sturdy shoes.  And carry lots of wet wipes!  Antiquing is dirty business.
Sometimes there's some real treasure to be found.  Over the years I've discovered that in towns, the best gems can be found in the older middle-class neighborhoods.  New subdivision, usually have young families, and a mostly  newer things.  And strangely, the wealthier people rarely have any antiques, or if the do, they usually have a high price tag.

Estate sales can be a great for collecting.  The usually are listed in the newspaper on Thursdays.  After you go to a few, you'll discover which estate sales agency have the most reasonable prices.  Around here, there are a few businesses that I never attend their sales because I know they always are over-priced.  If it's a sale that takes numbers, arrive at least an hour early to get a place in line before everything is picked over.  On the other hand, if you wait until the last day and hours of a sale, you can sometimes snag a bargain, because the dealers are ready to haggle and they usually offer half-off.

For auctions, never bid on the first items.  People are usually excited and hyped-up and bid too much for them.  If you're lucky, the items that you want will be offered at the end of the day, after everyone has spent their money and become tired.  You can pick up some real bargains then, if you're patient. If you're new  to an auction, just sit back and observe for a while before jumping in and bidding.

 If you spy something, while out garage sale-ing it doesn't hurt to ask.   While I was paying at one, I spotted an antique wool challis throw on the davenport and asked if it was for sale.  The man holding the sale, looked surprised.  "That?" he asked.  "We use that to cover the couch so the sun doesn't get on it.  I guess I could sell it to you.  Does two bucks sound good?"  Yes, it sounded very good to me!   I have a weakness for these old shawls and throws.  It wasn't until I got it home that I discovered how long it was, about eight feet.  This was one of my best buys of the day.
Read all you can about antiques.  Go to antique stores and get a feel for them, so you can recognize a true antique from the imposter when you see it.  Look in all the nook and crannies.  I found this
signed, numbered and having a certificate of authenticity from Mt. Nebo Gallery,  Will Moses (Grandma Moses' grandson, and an artist in his own right) serigraph for $20 tucked under a table.  On Ebay these sell for $150-$650.  This is a larger and earlier one, so I suspect it is on the higher end.  No matter, I love it and am going to keep it. I wonder how many people walked pass it and didn't even notice it or know what it was?

So I hope these tips help you, Ryan, uncover some treasures of your own.  Antique hunting is just like any other skill, the more often you do it, the better you become!


MENUS


Dana suggest that I write a post about what we eat during the week.  I know there are people out there that are curious as to how we spend so little on groceries.  To be fair, one of the reasons our grocery bills are so low is because we garden and I preserve a lot of food. To me, canning isn't a cute little hobby, where I wear a frilly little apron and put up pickles and jam, it's a serious part of our path to self-sufficiency. Gardening isn't something  I do when I have the time, gardening is almost a full-time job for us and we produce tons of food on our little 4/10ths of an acre plot.  I'm sure our tab would be a lot higher if I had to go out and buy a lot of the items that come from my pantry.  The other thing that saves us a lot of money is that we avail ourselves to a wonderful bulk food store.  But anyhow, even without a well-stocked pantry, we eat pretty thriftily, so here goes!

Breakfast:

As we all arise at different times, there is no specific menu for breakfast.  This week, we've had a lot of berries, so we've been eating yogurt and fresh berries from our bushes fairly often.  Eggs are cheap (50 cents for a dozen medium) so Jamie has made himself eggs on a nest (cut a hole in a piece of bread,place on a greased griddle, break an egg into the hole and fry on both sides.  Brown the circle that was cut from the bread and brown that too).  This was the first thing I taught to boys to cook when they were six years old and Jamie still likes making them.  We often eat oatmeal, which we buy in bulk at $17.99/50 lbs.  Nothing gets cheaper than that.  If I'm near a bakery outlet, I like to buy inexpensive English muffins  and freeze them.  An English muffin with a smear of orange marmalade is one of the finest breakfasts there ever was, in my opinion.  Jamie likes them with peanut butter and a few mini-choclate chips sprinkled on top.  My mother used to make plain white rice and sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar and a bit of butter.  We all know how cheap rice is. Plus it can be made ahead of time and just needs to be warmed up, maybe with a splash of milk.  There's plenty of things to have for breakfast besides expensive  boxed cereal. We all drink coffee.  Whenever we find a great price, I buy it and freeze it.  We recently discovered an Amish-owned scratch and dent store that sells K-cups for 5 cents a piece.  They're slightly out of date, but taste fine to us.

LUNCH

Lunch is our main meal of the day.  Usually we eat the leftovers for dinner.  I guess we are not "big eaters"  because a lot of time we skip dinner completely or just have some hummus, or cheese and crackers.  If we get hungry later in the day, we might pop up some popcorn, or again toast an English muffin and spread some of my home-canned spaghetti sauce on it, sprinkled with a bit of cheese and toast it until its heated through and the cheese is melted.  I also can lots of soup, chili, and things like barbecued beef, hamburger patties, etc.  that can be made into a quick meal for anyone who's hungry.   Anyway, here's what we ate this week:

Monday

Bean burritos made from our own refried beans , tomatoes, peppers,  and onions, from our garden, home-canned salsa, and just a bit of cheese.  Just because a recipe calls for 8oz. of cheese, it doesn't mean you need to use that much.  We also added rice to stretch them even further.  This made a lot and we had plenty left over for dinner.

Tuesday

Panzanella made from tomatoes, onions, basil and peppers from our garden. I bought a loaf of French bread from the discount cart at Wal-Mart for the cubes for $1.49.  For dinner I made some sandwich spread from our home-canned corned beef, home-canned relish, mayo, and mustard.  We ate these sandwiches with some sliced tomatoes from our garden and icebox pickles (from our cucumbers and dill).  Only thing we purchased for this meal was bread, again from the discount rack  ($1)and lettuce.  Need those green leafies, ours have all bolted. Sure miss being able to go out to the garden and pick our own.

Wednesday

Turkey Joes.  The hamburger buns were another purchase from the discount rack for $1.  The ground turkey was a trade for an electric meat grinder.  I gave my son my electric meat grinder and he gave us some ground turkey.  Also had to buy a can of chicken gumbo soup.   We served this with a side of roasted green beans from the garden and some of our carrots made into honey-glazed carrots.  As we always do, I added a jar of home-canned kidney beans to make the meat stretch.  Turkey Joes were something I made quite often when the boys were little, as ground turkey was cheaper than hamburger.  Here's the recipe:

Turkey Joes

1 lb. ground turkey
1 med. green pepper diced
1 med. onion diced
1 can chicken gumbo soup
2 tbsp. catsup
2 tbsp. mustard
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. vinegar
1 tsp. chili powder
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the meat with the peppers and onions.  Add the remaining ingredients and heat through.  Serve over buns.  You might have to adjust the brown sugar and vinegar to your taste. Anyway, this made a lot (I think there was more than 1 pound of turkey in the package), so we plenty for dinner plus some to freeze. The catsup was home-canned, and the peppers and onions came from the garden.

Thursday

On Thursday we were out running errands, so we grabbed one of those $5 hot-and-ready pizzas (even though they're advertised for $5,the cost $6 here).  In the evening we reheated the leftovers and had some salad with it.  I think later that night Ran  reheated some of the Turkey Joes.  In the evening I baked some carrot nut brownies (using our carrots and last year's foraged nuts that we froze).  We had one with some tea.

Carrot Nut Brownies

1/2 C. butter
3/4 C. brown sugar
1 egg
1 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 C. grated carrots
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. chopped nuts

Melt butter.  Combine with brown sugar and blend together.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Stir in dry ingredients.  Fold in carrots and nuts.  Spoon batter into a greased 8" square pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Cool and frost with white frosting.
BTW, I think these would be good with raisins in place of the nuts.  The plate is an example of  knowing antiques.  By the feel and weight of it, I could tell this was a very old piece, which I snagged for 25 cents!





Friday

Friday was our big garage sale-ing day, there are no fast food joints out that way, so we packed a lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit, those brownies, carrot sticks and some nuts.  We had a thermos of lemonade and one of water.  When we arrived home in the evening, Ran and Jamie heated up some home-canned barbecue pork and ate it on some bread with some of our tomatoes.

Saturday

Zucchini crab cakes (recipe is a few posts back), oven-fried sweet potatoes and coleslaw.  The zucchini came from our garden.   The coleslaw was that bagged shredded cabbage and carrots to make things easy.   We had hunt and peck for dinner.  Ran  baked these soft pretzels in the evening, which we ate with mustard and some of our icebox pickles.


Sunday, Today

I had every intention of making a nice brunch today with omelets made from those 50 cents/dozen  eggs, peppers and onions from the garden.  Roasted potatoes from the garden, cranberry spritzers made from my home-canned cranberry juice and some fresh berries and yogurt.  But, Ran brought in a bushel full of tomatoes and I started in canning.  Everyone got hungry, so I made up a quick Big Mac salad  with the remaining lettuce, home-canned hamburgers and pickles, tomatoes and onions from the garden.  Soon I'll have to figure out something for dinner as the natives are getting restless!

All, in all, I spent around $20 this week on groceries, including the take-out pizza.   I need to restock my pantry with brown sugar, bread flour, lemon juice (for canning tomatoes), canning lids, baking soda, and canning salt.  I hope to spend less than $50 for this.

NEEDLE-CRAFTS

Hello?  Are you still with me? Ha!  I finally finished the never-ending shawl!  I got bored with the pattern after knitting 10 inches and needed to knit 60 more!  The yarn is Madeline Tosh Silver Birch, which my dear friend Mary gave to me.  She found 4 skeins  for 99 cents each at a thrift store!  It runs $30 a skein in the stores. 
Here's a close-up of the pattern:
The pattern is called Criss Cross Lace shawl and it can be found on the Lion Brand yarn website.  (For some reason it wouldn't let me link to it. Sorry!)


THRIFTY THINGS WE DID THIS WEEK

Harvested tomatoes, potatoes, onions, carrots, eggplants, green beans, herbs and zucchinis.

Canned more tomatoes.

Bought some antiques at the garages sales.

Bought 2 skirts (one a pretty Ralph Lauren and one a vintage circle skirt) a pair of vintage silver and enameled earrings and a cute green sweater from the garage sales for my fall wardrobe for a grand total of $8.

Packed our lunch rather than dining out.

Ran gave Jamie a haircut.  (I always cut the boys and Ran's hair, it must have saved us thousands of dollars over the years.)

Made icebox pickles.

Working on some bowl fillers from a free pattern on-line.

Well that's about it!  Was quite a gad-about this week.  Hope this post answers some questions.  If you have any more just leave a comment!

Hugs
Jane


















34 comments:

  1. Jane, that shawl is gorgeous! It was well worth sticking it out and finishing it. Thanks for the antique tips...very good advice. The recipes and menu ideas are always helpful...thank you. Enjoy your Sunday!

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    1. Thanks Sandra! In the end it was worth sticking with it, but I'm in no hurry to knit another one! I felt like Madame DeFarge, knitting, knitting, knitting! Is it as hot and dry across the lake as it is here?

      Hugs
      Jane

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  2. Oh dear me....I gave in an began another blog. And you have so much interesting stuff to read today! Honestly Jane, if it weren't for you I'd probably never blog...you are just such a wealth of information and you bring me enjoyment in reading your blog. I'll come back later and read your post....Hugs,Andrea

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    1. Well I'm glad you're back Andrea! I've discovered it's best not to quit, just don't post if you don't feel like it, some bloggers don't post for months, so it's OK to take breaks. BTW, what are those pretty pink flowers on your blog?

      Hugs
      Jane

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    2. Hi Jane...they are some sort of begonia. It is very hard to water them with a nest smack in the middle...ha.. Yes I delete my blogs...I am too impulsive!! Beautiful shawl! I love your tips for antiquing and your meal suggestions. (We are not big eaters here either). I was craving a peanut butter sandwich this week so I had one! I have tried so many times to make soft pretzels. I had just (before I read your post) decided to try again later this week. I must be a real dummie! ha. Well I want to re-read your post for more enjoyment and to get more out of it. My husband retires at the end of Sept and he is going to list everything we spend money on! Hugs,Andrea

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    3. Hi Andrea! Well those begonias certainly are pretty! Ran's the baker in the family. He's very scientific and measures everything so accurately and tests the temperature of the water, etc. Me? I'm much more of a throw-it-all-in-a-bowl- and-get-it-over-with type of baker. Ha! Sometimes things work out splendidly and other times they are monumental failures.

      I list all my expenditures on the left-hand side of my monthly ledger. Sometimes I have to make two columns for misc. Ha! It does help though. Have a wonderful week!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  3. Your antiquing tips are very helpful! I'll have to remember them next time I go treasure hunting!

    Thanks for the visit, Jane. That's really neat that you used to own "Margaret Rose" dishes!

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    1. Hi Margie! Seeing pictures of your Margaret Rose makes me wish I had kept mine! They are so pretty.

      Jane

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  4. Wow, what a lovely week, Jane! I enjoyed reading about your antique-ing adventures, so fun. I'm pea-green with envy for your beveled glass window. It's gorgeous. And I love your never ending shawl. That was some bargain for the yarn. I have a skein of 'tosh that cost me dearly.
    Have lovely week!
    Toni


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    1. Hi Toni! My idea of a dream career would to go around finding salvaged pieces and design cute little cottages around them. My word! The lovely doors and windows that I found this weekend! And some great old sinks, not to mention some wonderful hardware.

      I was so thrilled to receive that yarn. Madeline Tosh it out of my ballpark, so it nice to have a chance to work with it. But for the rest of the year, I'll be quite happy to knit small items like socks and mittens. That cable really slowed down the rhythm.

      Hope you'll have a dandy week too!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  5. A lovely post Jane. I enjoyed reading your antique ventures and tips. That window is gorgeous. You seem to eat as I do, I found that when I changed my main meal to middle of the day, I was not very hungry in the evening and only need a snack. That shawl is lovely, there is something about fine lacy work that is special. I am pleased that you got some rain, we have had too much! Hope you have a wonderful week.
    Sharon

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    1. Good morning Sharon! It seems that this year no one is happy with the weather. Very strange. I've discovered that if you have lunch as your main meal, you don't need breakfast either. Ha! Which is a good think as I'm the chief cook and bottle washer in the family. Hope you get some dry days!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  6. Dear Jane, I don't know if I am tired or hungry from reading your post today! LOL Sounds like you have a divine area for shopping; ours is so inflated because people from below the mountain come up and drive up the prices. I'd love to eat at your house, that is for sure! We are getting our grapes ready to start working up into grape juice. And, the ever lasting tomatoes are coming on again.... Work starts again tomorrow. Already a puddle from crying... Ha!

    as ever... m

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    1. Hi Matty! Canned tomatoes yesterday, so I'm good for today. Used to can grape juice the Amish way, by putting 1 1/2 C. grapes in a jar with 1/2 C. sugar, pour boiling water over top and process as usual. Very quick method. It's pretty sweet but we dilute it with water when we open the jars. At least it's cooled off here. Happy canning!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  7. Dear Jane,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to post about what you ate. I find it very helpful. In the past, I would make weekly menus and then shop for them. Then I got a clue and started with the supermarket circular and began creating my weekly menus around that. Now I'm branching out and I think you would have been proud of me because the other day at the grocery store, I looked at the "marked for quick sale" rack in the produce dept. (first time ever) and found 3 lbs of perfectly good (but not pretty) peaches for .93 cents and 2 lbs of lovely pears (for the life of me I could not figure out why they were marked down) for .97 cents! I was so thrilled to find such a bargain that I will never ignore the discounted racks again!
    Thank you for your wonderful advice.
    Sincerely,
    Dana

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    1. That's wonderful Dana! Back when when I bought fruit from the fruit markets, it ended up looking like the "marked for quick sale" fruit before I used it. Now that I buy it and know I must use it, it keeps me from buying too much, plus I just think it's fun to figure out what can I do with it. Now on to the discount bread bin! Ha! Have a wonderful and thrifty week!


      Hugs
      Jane

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  8. hello jane,
    thanks for this lovely post. i wish we had antique stores like your's here in my part of the world.your meal plan sounds good and interesting for me.
    what a beautiful shawl and this wool is lovely,also the pattern.
    have a nice week,
    hugs regina

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    1. Hello my dear fellow frustrated shawl knitter! I just had to force myself to knit those last few inches. Still haven't tucked in the yarn ends. Hope all is well over your way!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  9. Dear Jane,

    Lovely advice for antique hunting, and great finds, too! Bargains make you feel so good, don't they? Sometimes they make you buy more than you need, though, if you're me! :)

    That scarf is so beautiful; congratulations on sticking with it. I'm sure you'll get loads of compliments on it.

    Love,

    Marqueta

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    1. The advantage of living in a shoe is that I can't buy too much, Marqueta! Every year I sell what I no longer want and use that money to buy "new" things. I get very bored with the same old things and I guess it's better than buying a new house every few years. That's why my husband doesn't mind. Hope all is going well for you and your wonderful family!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  10. Hi Jane, great tips on the antique and treasure hunting What an amazing find on that print! Congratulations! I'm looking forward to trying out your carrot nut brownies in the near future. And that shawl...simply gorgeous! Be blessed!

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    1. Thanks Debbie! I'm really enjoying that print. Grandma Moses is one of my favorite artist and her grandson has such a similar style. Those brownies are certainly economical. Next time I think I'll make them with raisins. Used to make them for the boys lunchboxes for a more wholesome snack. Blessings to you too!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  11. A very interesting week for you. I don't enjoy shopping so I don't go to garage sales but once in a while if I need something I hit the 2 thrift stores in town. We've had a cooler week also, only getting in the 80's. School started for my grandkids this morning already. They were excited though :) We've had a rough week budget wise, the washer broke and the fuel pump on hubs truck went out. We were going to KS to visit his family over the weekend and when I mentioned the washer my niece said they were moving houses, the house they are moving into had a washer they didn't need and she gave it to us. It's needing some work and cleaning but it does operate as is. Hubs will have to tinker with it before we set it in the house because that who he is :) a born tinkerer. The truck luckily stalled on the side of the road a few days before we left town so that had to be fixed before we left town, but our son is a mechanic at a shop and they gave us a "family rate" and we do have an emergency fund so that got taken care of. I just can't see using our emergency fund on a new washer though. Anyway, since we were gone 3 days my work stacked up. Now I play catch up with tomato canning, yard and garden work. Oh well. Best get back to it. Nannie.

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    1. I wish I didn't enjoy shopping Nannie! Doesn't it seem like school starts earlier each year? It's a good thing that your truck broke before the trip. Having a car break down away from home is very nerve-wracking, I can attest to from experience. That was nice of your niece to give you that washer. I've had periods of my life when I didn't have a washer and although it can be done, it's very time consuming washing your clothes in a tub each night. You quickly learn that a little dirt doesn't automatically destine something for the laundry hamper. Ha! Tomato canning is on the slate for this week here, too. And I need to make pepper jelly. Hope everything goes smoothly for you this week!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  12. I have learned the benefits of having a well-stocked pantry and buying in bulk as well as having a meal plan for each week - it really helps to save time and money.

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    1. It really does! Plus it's a lot less stressful when emergencies come up to know where your next meal is coming from. One less thing to worry about!

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  13. Debbie in the U.P.August 17, 2016 at 10:13 AM

    Hi, Jane!
    You are so talented; love the shawl! There is no way i could ever do that. I have a quilt i helped my daughter make that i need to patch. That's about as much excitement as i can handle at the moment. (40+ hour work weeks)
    I'm going to try the brownies this week; they sound like they're close to a carrot cake, which i love.
    Have a wonderful week!
    Debbie in the U.P.

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    1. Hi Debbie! The shawl is easier than it looks. You just have to keep plugging away at it. It took me over a year to knit, with bursts of mad knitting and then long breaks from it.
      The brownies are very similar to carrot cake. I bet cream cheese frosting would be really good on them! How's things over the bridge? We're finally getting our rain!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  14. You are an inspiration! I have four tomatoes plants and they are starting to get ready for canning. The knitted shawl is beautiful!

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  15. Thank you for the wonderful compliment, Angela! We are tomato crazy around here and have around fourty plants. Next year, I'm hoping for less. Canning tomatoes and spaghetti sauce today and more to come in a few days. Happy canning!

    Hugs
    Jane

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  16. Hi Jane, I just found time to read your post and I always find them enjoyable
    I want to try your carrot brownies- like a small carrot cake 👍 But quicker and a more appropriate amount.
    We call eggs cooked in bread "eggs in a basket" and I have probably made thousands of them. When my sons were young adults on their own, they both said they would cook a griddle full of eggs in a basket to feed a group of friends.
    I have done almost zero thrifting type shopping this summer. I enjoy doing it and reading about it but just haven't lately. Your Grandma Moses print is quite a nice find.

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    1. Hi Rhonda! I used to make those brownies for my sons' lunchboxes thinking I was making something nice and wholesome for them, only to discover that they traded them for Little Debbies! They were very proud that one brownie netted them two Little Debbie peanut butter bars. Ha!

      Eggs in basket or eggs in a nest, is still a great little breakfast! At least we know our sons won't starve.

      Thrifting is my vacation. I look forward to the garage sale trail every year. The last two years have been pretty poor pickings, but I still have fun driving around and looking at the old farmhouses down dirt roads.

      I'm thrilled with my picture. Our little hallway is our art gallery. It's about six feet long, so it doesn't take much art to fill it!

      Hope you are staying cool!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  17. I enjoyed reading about your busy week. I'm not doing as much canning as formerly--the only disappointment with our move to the farm is that we don't have a good garden spot--need to work on that! Congratulations on the Will Moses print--what a great find!

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    1. Good morning Sharon! After all the hard work you've put into your house, you deserve a break from gardening and canning. I'm doing a lot this year in hopes that next year, I'll have a lot less to do.

      I'm really enjoying that Will Moses!. Those Moses' really understood the color of the seasons. Hope you get some better weather soon!

      Hugs
      Jane

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