Memories From The Kitchen

imageI’m betting a lot of you will recognize this book. It was one of our wedding presents and as you can see by the stains and ragged edges a well used one.

Back then there wasn’t an internet complete with google to look up a recipe. We had to have books.

When I moved I cleaned out the drawer with books I had collected along with numerous clippings and hand written cards and scraps of paper. Some held memories but none as much as the old Betty Crocker. And it came along with me. Sadly I don’t use it anymore but can’t bring myself to get rid of it.

What about you? Do you have drawers with memories that abound from the kitchen? We would love to hear about them. If you’d like to post a guest blog let us know and as always we look forward to your comments.

Gallery

It’s April that means tax time

This gallery contains 2 photos.

That’s how I’ve always associated April, with paying taxes.  My taxes are done and filed.  And I even have my refund back already :) My birthday is also in April so it’s a time for me to do some special … Continue reading

“It’s like riding a bike…”

P1090837How many times have we heard the phrase “it’s like riding a bicycle?” Just about every time we haven’t done something for a while, right? Someone mentioned this the other night while talking to someone taking a refresher course in grammar.

It got me to thinking. Riding a bicycle has got to be the most common rite of passage for kids. We all learned how, and most of us did it the hard way…without the training wheels. I don’t remember those first riding trips, only the barest memory of my Dad hanging onto the back of the bike. And I’ve got a nice scar on my knee from one of those failed attempts.

But once I learned, that bike was my ticket to life. We rode everywhere in our neighborhood. Our bikes were horses when we played cowboys and Indians (no offense intended). They were our transportation to the pool at a nearby park, towels strapped to the flat rack on top of the back fender.

Bikes were our lives and our communication lines back then. There wasn’t email. We didn’t pick up the phone. We hopped on our bikes.

My husband remembers landing in a patch of blackberry briars as he learned. He just lay there and hollered until his Dad came and pulled him out.

We helped our children learn to ride, and have watched our grandchildren as the training wheels came off. I don’t chase behind the bikes providing stability anymore. I leave that to the kids. But I love to watch the process.

I have to believe that just about every child, from every walk of life, has learned to ride a bike. I guess that’s why it’s such a universal phrase.

What about you? Do you remember learning to ride? Have any stories about yourself, your kids or your grandkids you’d be willing to share? I’m grinning from ear to ear as I write this blog and take this walk down memory lane, so I’d love to hear your biking stories.

A Diamond Birthday

My Christening

My Christening Day

You may not be aware of it, but on this day 60 years ago something unique and wonderful happened – I was bought screaming and kicking into this world! Obviously, I can’t remember that day although I can remember much from a very young age. Unfortunately, my mother cannot remember precisely the time I was born, so I have never been able to obtain a full horoscope reading, not that I believe in the stars and astrology, but I do find the whole thing fascinating, especially when it comes down to character traits. I’m an Aries, and many of the qualities associated with that star sign is me; contrary, many other traits are definitely not! An Aries is supposed to be independent, generous, optimistic, enthusiastic, courageous ­– yup, that’s me all right. Aries people are also supposed to be moody, short tempered, self-involved, impulsive, impatient – I’m none of these things! In fact, quite the opposite. Well, may be a little impulsive if the clothes and shoes in my wardrobe are anything to go by…

So, am I doing anything special on this, my Diamond Birthday? No, apart from wearing my best evening dress all day and being lazy. (So, what’s new? my husband might ask!) I’ve never really celebrated any birthdays, let alone milestone ones; I’ve only once ever had a birthday cake presented to me, and never had a birthday party, not even as a child; we just didn’t do birthday parties in my house. Yet I never felt or feel deprived. As a child I was always at parties, not holding one never seemed to stop friends inviting me to theirs. They were fun, full of games like pass the parcel and blind man’s bluff and the food: jelly and blancmange, sugar sandwiches, a piece of cake and a goodie bag to take home, often carrying a balloon or two. Happy, innocent days of childhood that seem so far away now.

Meeting up with a friend on Saturday, she asked me what it felt like to be 60. I told her it felt no different to any other day as it wasn’t my birthday quite yet. Now that day has arrived, I have begun to question where the years have gone, what I have achieved, not achieved and looking inwardly as to how I do feel. In my head I still think and feel the same as I did at 16, the brain certainly no different. Nor do I feel old, even if the hair is rapidly turning grey, a few wrinkles appearing; sadly but the body does feel its age, but then again, it has for years due to various medical conditions but not enough to prevent me from doing anything I want to do. I’m a fighter, nothing will stop me doing something if I set my mind to it (another Aries trait!).

Yet I do feel melancholy, almost afraid that my life is rushing by and yet there is still so much I want to do and see. I spent last weekend with my mother celebrating her 88th birthday, and I wonder if she felt this way 28 years ago when she retired from work – in limbo. For that’s how I feel at the moment. Is it normal to suddenly start thinking about how much longer I have, and to worry about what the next 10, 20 or (hopefully) 30 years will bring? How did you feel at this age? (If you’ve reached this milestone yet, that is.)

As an Aries, these self-doubts moments do not last long, and already I’m bouncing back, ready to crack open the champagne and start living. As I was reminded this morning written in a birthday card – 60 is the new 40. I’m hoping that is true, because if so, I’ve got a long way to go yet. Yippee! So perhaps there is still time to open that little art shop I hanker to have, one selling art supplies and paintings with a workshop and space to hold art classes and host writing groups. After all, it is the first day of the rest of my life and I plan to continue making it a good one. Cheers.

Cards, flowers, champers, crystal vase with sparkly inset, candle for the cake and mug with picture of my garden - a diamond day!

Cards, flowers, champers, crystal vase with sparkly inset, candle for the cake and mug with picture of my garden – a diamond day! Thanks everyone.

Eagles

imagesI was going to repost the link and information for the live feeds at Hancock Wildlife again this year. But the nest I have watched for the past few years isn’t active and even with a high speed internet connection I’m having trouble getting into live feeds in the other nests. Plus there are a lot of advertisements to run through.

However there is a wealth of information on the site and maybe a different day or time will be better to view the nests.

For the past few years we have seen more and more eagles coming back into the area. What once was a rare sighting has now become more common place. At the old house we have a nest in the park next door and often see eagles circling the pond on our property. Eagles can live to 25 years, they start breeding at 5 years with many being older than that before they begin. As they use the same nest, or do if it isn’t disturbed, you can watch the same pair from year to year.

I found a table with the 5 phases of their activity that is interesting. They are laying eggs now. In past years I have seen the eggs hatch on the life feed and then got to watch the babies grow to fledglings and leave the nest. An amazing sight to get to see and you have a front row seat.

Phase 1— (Jan 1 – Feb 7) Courtship and Nest Building
Phase 2— (Feb 8 – Mar 26) Egg laying
Phase 3— (Feb 8 – May 4) Incubation and Hatching
Phase 4— (Mar 14 – July 9) Nestling period, 4 to 8 weeks
Phase 5— (Apr 30 – Aug 15) Nestlings 8 weeks through fledging

Shh, Don’t Tell Jillian

Hobbes the cat here. I’ve taken over Jillian’s post since she’s been a lazy bum. She started mentioning last week that she had her Backyard day coming up but then she left me with the men in the house and ran off to some stupid book signing in Atlanta, Georgia. She had the nerve to be gone for two nights, too. Doesn’t she know those guys aren’t swayed by my sad eyed stare that means, “I need a snack and I need it now”? See photo for the look. Who can resist that? Yeah, I know. Those guys who live here.

Anyway, Jillian finally dragged her carcass back home late on Sunday and mentioned this post again but still sat around working on something she calls a WIP. Hmmm. Sounds dangerous, doesn’t it?

She talked yet again about doing the post and setting it to go off on time on Monday night but that night, she read some book about that Tudor King who liked to marry and kill women. What kind of nut was he? She said it was for research. Research, smesearch. Not a fun topic for sure. It would’ve been better to read about a mouser. You know, adventures in hunting mice or something like that.

Last night, she fell asleep on the couch and I had to bat her face and jump on her spleen to get her to go to bed. Sheesh. She was taking my spot. What’s wrong with her?

I finally decided the woman was not going to get this post done so I did it for her. Won’t she be shocked when she finally gets over here to find that she’s not even needed? Henry Tudor can have her. See how she likes that axe on her neck, right? Wait, no, we can’t let that happen. What would happen to my snacks? Must. Look. Out. For. Stomach.

Be very, very quiet. Let’s see how long it takes Jillian to check in.

Happy April!

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Book Review – Dewey by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter

dewey

This book isn’t a romance. It’s different from anything I’ve ever read and I highly, highly recommend it. In fact, as I write this review I’m only about halfway through the book. My husband and I are reading it together, out loud, and I keep having to stop and clear my voice as I get so choked up.

Dewey is the true story of a small-town library cat who, as the book’s caption says, touched the world. He certainly managed to become a symbol of hope and love to a small farming community.

Set in Iowa in the 1980’s, when the bottom was falling out of the corn market and large conglomerates were taking over small farms, Dewey made people feel better. Made them forget their troubles, if only for a little while. And brought a lot of love to an already close-knit community.

I love, love, love this cat. Love this community. And I love how much it reminded me about what’s important in life. Family, friends, and community. I’ve just ordered copies for my mother and my sister. And found out there are more Dewey stories out there, so I’m happy to get to spend more time with this great little kitty.

Here’s a link to the website and the blurb about Dewey’s story:

Vicki Myron was a single mother who had survived the loss of her family farm and an alcoholic husband. But her biggest challenge as the new head librarian in Spencer, Iowa, was to raise the spirits of a small, out-of-the-way town mired deep in the farm crisis of the 1980s. Then, on the coldest morning of the year, Vicki found a tiny, bedraggled kitten almost frozen to death in the night drop box, and her life—and the town of Spencer—was never the same. Dewey, as the townspeople named the kitten, grew into a strutting, affable library cat whose antics kept patrons in stitches, and whose sixth sense about those in need created hundreds of deep and loving friendships. As his fame grew, people drove hundreds of miles to meet Dewey, and he even ended up in a hit television documentary…in Japan! Through it all, Dewey remained a loyal companion, a beacon of hope not just for Vicki Myron, but for the entire town of Spencer as it slowly, steadily pulled itself up from the worst financial crisis in its long history.