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Sunday, July 22, 2012


Hello dear friends!   Here's a  picture of some of the flowers I picked by the wayside.   I love these type of bouquets so much.  Their unabashed  lovely disorder just speaks to my soul. I hope you will bear with me today, because this post will be rather disjointed, I have so many things I want to express.   I guess you could say that my thoughts are wayfaring.

First, he had some rain!  Hurray!   I wish that I could share with you the joy it brought.  It wasn't really enough to do any good, but it was so pleasant to hear the rain falling upon the roof, Jamie and I went out and stood in the middle of the yard with our faces uplifted to the heavens, just rejoicing in it.   And after the rain. it was as though the world rejoiced also.   The birds came out and started chattering excitedly and flitting back and forth.  Mr. Rabbit came out from his abode under the raspberry bushes and hopped about the yard. He was so cute, I forgave him for eating all my beans and cabbages.  I wish I could have taped it for you.  I would have entitled it Joy!

All that are fans of Tasha Tudor are familiar with this quote:

The gloom of the world is but a shadow.
Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. Take Joy!

~ Fra Giovanni~

I always try to live each day like this.  I have to admit there are some days that it is easier said than done.  As a matter of fact, during one dark period of my life, the only good I could find in the day was that I awoke.  And on some days, I rather hoped I wouldn't.  But like the warmth returning after a too long winter, ever so slowly I was able to once again find joy  in the simple little things that make a life.

So how does one climb out from a deep dark depression to become what some may think of as a bit of a frivolous , happy-go- lucky person?   One word - faith.  Now, my faith, may not be the same as yours, you may not even worship the same God as I, but I truly believe that to live life without some sort of faith in something bigger than our own little selves must be a to live a life without hope.

Isn't religion a funny thing?   Everyone is so sure that their way is the only way?  I used to feel so inadequate, when I talked to or read blogs from Bible scholars.  Some people are just so knowledgeable and can quote scripture for hours at a time.   They always know just how to pray and can give a verse for any situation.  I could study until Kingdom come (and I may very well do) but I'll never be  one of these types.   Just never been any good at memorization.   But I get the gist of the Bible.   And that's is to love thy neighbor and follow the commandments and to not judge people to harshly.  And to be thankful for all the He has given us.

My mother is always arguing that I need to attend a church.  I do not,  by the way.   I understand the commandment to keep the Sabbath holy, but I fail to see, how attending a church that I do not feel part of, that has made no effort to make me feel a part of, makes the Sabbath holy.  She argues that it isn't supposed to be about me, but what is the purpose of a church but to bring its parishioners closer to God?  So that they can have a personal relationship with Him?  Cannot my family by ourselves, worship and praise the Lord without the aid of a minister or a church building?   I may be wrong, but this I do know, no amount of church attendance (and I attended every week, plus twice during the holy seasons for thirty years)  every brought me closer to the Lord.  But hey, if you find church a solace or a prerequisite to being allowed into Heaven, I will not argue with you.  Just being honest here about my faith and I will freely admit, I do not have the answers.

In catechism we were taught to love, honor and fear the Lord.   I always got the fear part, and even the honor part. But the love part was difficult.   I could say I loved God, but I didn't really feel it. It wasn't until I went on my own journey of discovery that I learned to think of Him as a loving parent, that really wants the best for us.  Now I would say, I have the faith of a  small child.   A child doesn't second guess it's parent, just accepts what they are given.  It's simple, there aren't a lot of rules to my faith.  I just am thankful for all that is given and TRUST. 

So each day I rejoice in the little things, like wayside flowers, and send up thanks to the Creator.  I have conversations with Him all day long.  "Just look at that beautiful  sunset, God, thank you for sending it my way!''  "Well I really messed up there didn't I?  Will You please show me how to fix it?"   Some may think that this is too simplistic and some make think it is disrepectful, but that is how I  have a personal relationship with Him.

So here I arrive at the subject of personal relationships.  Recently my son and I had a conversation about a friend of his that had committed suicide when he was in high school.   He said, "You remember her don't you?   She was always hanging out at our house, because she liked to feel part of the family."   I'm ashamed to say, that I vaguely remember the girl, there were always so many children running about our home  back then.   I wish I had known her situation, I would have given her extra attention.  We had a rather unconventional home life.  There were always gangs of kids hanging around.  I allowed them pretty much free range of the place.   The math geeks were allowed to write out a complicated math equation on the upstairs hallway wall (it had ugly wallpaper I was going to strip anyhow), the musicians  played in the garage, and it was sort of a home for the broken hearted girls that had a case of unrequited love for either one of our own boys or one of the other boys that were always there.   Many an afternoon some sweet little girl and I would sit together on the settee in my bedroom watching an old movie,  knowing that I was tending to a love lorn little soul.   My neighbor, who was a teacher, always felt it was her duty to warn me that so-and-so didn't come from the right family or that they had a substance abuse problem.  But they never had any problems while they were at our house and who knows?   Maybe just hanging about a "normal" family and eating cookies fresh from the oven was what they needed.  I never regretted that I didn't shelter my children from the unsavory facts of life; that some people have problems.  They all grew up to be wonderfully compassionate people.  It didn't keep them from accomplishing much in their young lives, from attending good universities, and none has ever gotten into trouble with drugs or alcohol, so I guess it all turned out OK.  As they say the proof is in the pudding.   I loved my little adopted wayfarers and think of them often.  I gained so much from them being in my life.  I hope they look back on those days fondly, when crazy Mrs. Z. used to let them camp out on her hard old Victorian sofa, when their parents kicked them out of the house. 

Since we are the subject of friendships, I would like to talk about blogging friendships.   I hope everyone that visits here, feels welcome.   Some of us may not have much in common, except for the fact that we both read blogs.  But if you leave a comment, I will do my best to answer it,   and if you'd like to talk about something different, don't be afraid to mention it.  If it's personal you can always send me an e-mail.   If you feel that you are out of the loop, I'm sorry.  Sometimes, it just happens that a post isn't relevant to everyone.  It's not deliberate that I'm leaving you out,.   Being an outsider all my life, the very last thing I would want to do is to make anyone feel like they are standing on the outside looking in.   Everyone is welcome to join the party here.   Just leave a comment.  If you leave comments regularly, don't be surprised to find your blog listed over in  my blog roll.   Speaking of which, I don't follow blogs because of two simple facts.  One, I don't know how, and secondly, ever since Comcast switched to Xfinity,  my e-mail is so slow, that I try to eliminate as much of it going to the mailbox as possible.   So if the number of followers is something you value, and I comment often on your blog, or you see your blog listed on my blog roll to the right, just  mentally add one more to your followers -me!  

Friday, July 13, 2012


Hello everyone!  I'm sending you a bouquet of dill today.   There's never was a more wonderful summertime scent then dill, was there?  And a meal of freshly dug potatoes dabbed with butter and sprinkled with fresh dill is a taste of heaven.  Time to make some dill bread, the recipe is here:  If you want to impress your guest,bake some of this bread, roast a chicken, toss a nice salad and serve them picnic style out on a blanket spread out on the lawn.  There's nothing finer!  Who says entertaining has to be expensive or complicated?  

My dear friends, I have a prayer request.  Let us all pray for the poor farmers.  This drought is really taking a toll on them.   I just read today that 97% of the cherry crop was destroyed and also heard that the corn crop is in jeopardy.  Since corn is widely used in food, not to mention to feed livestock, we can only wonder how expensive groceries will be this fall.  A prayer for the farmer is a prayer for all.

Speaking of droughts, I've read that some people are having trouble with their tomatoes.  A lot have blossom end rot, which is caused by the lack of water, or inconsistent watering. It leaches out the calcium.  Tomatoes need  consistent watering, strangely, if you get a big rain storm it can leach out the calcium also.  I once heard that you must treat your garden like a guest and give it a nice long drink of cold water to refresh it.  That is why, this summer, I haven't accomplished much.  Too busy watering!

Now for something silly.  I wanted to cut my hair, but I have a major phobia of hairdressers.  It seems they never listen to me.  I could go in with a picture of a six foot high beehive and request it and will come out with a bowl cut.  Bowl cuts, seem to be my lot  in life.  The other problem with my hair is that it is what my hairdresser call heavy and silky, which is just an euphemism for stick straight and doesn't hold a curl.  It's a teenager's dream, they wouldn't need to use any straightening irons, that's for sure.  But on a fifty year old woman, it's not so dreamy.  I try to pin it up, but the silky part resists pins and elastics, so I always look disheveled.  So anyway, I was studying hair-dos, trying to find the perfect one for me.  First you have to determine what your face shape is, which is where the troubles begins.  The experts disagree.  On one web site, they'll show a starlet as having a round face, on another site, she's considered square and on yet another they think she has an oval face.  So if they can't figure out face shapes, how in the world can I?  Oval faces are the shape we are all supposed to strive toward.   But who determined that this was the ideal and why?   What's wrong with a sweet round face or a pretty little heart shaped one?   Why must we all strive to look alike?  What a boring world it would be.  It reminds me of the 80s when everyone was wearing shoulder pads, because we heard on Oprah that shoulder pads balance our bottom heavy figures.  We all went around looking like linebackers.   The silly things we do for fashion.  You don't see men behaving this way, by the way.  We women are so hard  on ourselves.   Remember when getting our colors done was the thing to do?   I went around wearing colors I hated because they were supposed to be flattering.  Never liked to draw attention to myself with bright colors.  Wonder if the look on my face from feeling uncomfortable in orange  and gold, made me look attractive?  Long story short, I decided not to cut my hair.  Guess if women my age don't have long hair, I'll  be considered eccentric.

You know, the word, eccentric, is a wonderful word.  I so often read on blogs, that people considered themselves outsiders and that they don't fit in.  If we would only consider ourselves eccentric and artistic instead.  It's really just a matter of attitude.  Just have the confidence to be the authentic you!  The people that love you, will still love you, and those who can't accept you as you are, are not true friends anyhow. 

Having at length accepted my place in the universe; mine and no other; I grow quiet like my hemlock tree; tranquil, like my elm.
~David Grayson~

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Thought you might enjoy seeing how some of the houses in our neighborhood were decked out for the Fourth.   It was an old-fashioned American kind of a day.  Complete with children selling lemonade in red white and blue stovepipe hats, picnics on the lawn  and a parade in all it's flag-waving glory.   Part of the charm of our little village is how the everyone turns out to celebrate.  Sorry about the quality of the pictures, I was trying to be discreet as I snapped them.
This last picture is of our little abode.  As you can see, the Russian sage is growing like gangbusters this year.  And the phlox is blooming, its scent wafting about as we sit on the porch.  On Sunday, Ran and I celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary.  How time flies!   I am always honored that this kind, generous, intelligent man has chosen me to be his wife.  No matter how hard times have been or will become, life is always sweet!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Hello everyone!   Are you enjoying the weather?   Getting cranky when people say things like, "Hot enough for you?".  Watering the garden has become a full time job and still the garden looks sickly.   I'm really concerned for the farmers.  And the poor birds!   The ground is like concrete.  Where will they ever find worms?   But enough about that!

On a much more pleasant note, we are preparing for the 4th here.  Can you believe it is already July?   My grandpa used to say it is always Monday or Friday.  I couldn't understand this when I was a child when a week seemed to stretch on for an eternity, but now I know exactly what he means.  Except for me, it's always the first or the last of the month.   Anyway,  one thing we  will be doing on Independence Day is taking our breakfast on the porch.  Just something simple like blueberry muffins and cranberry juice for a red, white, and blue theme.  By the by, how do you like my red and white teapot?  I was on my way to the store when I spotted a garage sale and couldn't resist  stopping.  And there it sat, just waiting for me.  It's a cute little Myott art deco-style one and can you see that it has a matching trivet?   And guess what?  It only cost four dollars.   I'll probably enjoy it for a little while then donate it to a local thrift store that is run for battered women.  They have a little shop in front where they sell antiques to the tourists.  

Speaking of tourist, our little village has swelled about tenfold with all the visitors.  Yesterday I needed a few lemons and stood in line for over half an hour at our little grocery store.  But it wasn't so bad, because I had a nice conversation with a young couple.   They were just so happy to be on vacation, it made my day to talk to them.  I'm afraid we take for granted all the beauty that surrounds us, and it takes a stranger to point it out to us from time to time.  Which reminds me, I read this quote recently:

"For each of us, there is some corner of the world, and I rejoice that this is mine. . . ."
~Henry Beetle Hough~

Probably everyone feels this way about there home.  I know I do!   My husband recently won an all-expense paid vacation for two to anyplace in the United States, but we couldn't think of any  place we really wanted to go more than we desired to be  right  here at home.  Who knows, though?  Maybe after the last potato is harvested, we'll take a trip.  

Inside the house, my thought are on red, white and  blue as I'm making strawberry jam, blueberry pie filling and drying strawberries.  Nothing white though!  The recipe for my jam is here: . Recently someone asked me how to know when the jam is set.  I use an old-fashioned method that never fails.  Simply place a saucer in your freezer.   When your jam begins to thicken, place a dab on the cold saucer and place it back in the freezer for a minute.  Take it out and run your finger right through the middle of the jam.  If it remains separated and doesn't run back together, it's set.   Here is the recipe for canning blueberry pie filling:

Blueberry Pie Filling  (for five pounds of blueberries)

5 lb. blueberries  (that's the amount I use because they come in five pound boxes at the green grocers)
3 C. sugar
1 C. water
1 package liquid pectin (the packages have two pouches, use both)
juice of 1 lemon

Heat the  water, sugar, pectin and lemon juice slowly until it begins to boil.   Add the blueberries and bring to a boil and the mixture begins to thicken.  Pour into sterilized jars leaving 1 inch headspace.  Place a previously simmered lid on top and screw on the rings.  Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

This makes between 3 1/2 -4 quarts or 7-8 pints.   It is a bit thin so you may have to thicken it a bit with cornstarch AFTER you open the jars to use.   We used to make pie filling with cornstarch, but now the extension office says that method is too thick and may not heat through enough to be safe.  Isn't it amazing that we all are alive?   I remember when people used to make jam and sealed it with paraffin.  If it had a little mold on top, we would cut it off!   While I'm not suggesting anyone do this,  I guess being a little reckless just built up our resistance.  Don't remember people having all the digestive issues they seem to have these days, either.  There was an old saying that you need to eat a pound of dirt before starting kindergarten.  Now people are so cautious with anti-bacterial soaps, antibiotics, etc., I'm afraid we have lost are ability to build up resistances to things. When I'll hop off my soap box now!

And finally, since we are speaking of the color blue, I have some exciting news.  Both of my sons have informed me that they are expecting little boys!   I'll be up to my neck in blue yarn knitting for little grandsons. Wishing you all a happy 4th and everyday!   Until next time!