Saturday, May 25, 2013

Can We Pull Off A Garage Sale?

Dad watching us trying to get the garage ready for a sale.

We have come to the end of an era.  Our grandchildren are getting older, and it's time to get rid of all the baby toys we have had at our house for many years.  The two youngest still like to go down and dig out all the old toys, but the older three are beyond that.  We are going to have a garage sale at some point this summer.  It's a good chance to get rid of some things that I didn't even know we had until my husband started sorting through things.  The funniest thing was that he found a ViewMaster case with discs inside and a ViewMaster.  Remember those?  My youngest grandson still likes them so I paid over $10 to buy a case for his birthday and we had one all along.  Oh well, now he has two.

As far as the garage sale goes, who knows if we can pull that together.  My mother loved having sales.  We said she would have sold us if anyone made a good offer.  As soon as that cash started coming in, she started digging for more things to sell.

So as of now, we have moved the car outside and have started putting the toys out in the garage.  As we find things to eliminate, we will put them in the garage.  At some point, we will have a sale, or I will call someone to come and pick it all up.  I wish I could hire someone to come in, mark it all and sell the stuff.  I would even share the profits 50/50.  That is what we did when my parents moved from their house.  The family took what they wanted and we left the rest.  We found a small business in central Wisconsin who came into the house and completely cleaned the whole place.  They sold what could be sold, they gave away some things and trashed the rest.  They split the profits with us, and they did all the work.  It was a great deal for everyone.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Benches Made From An Old Table Leaf

We are trying to get organized.  It is a constant battle.  We have so many photos that never got put into albums.  We also have photos from my grandma and photos from my mom.  I tried to deal with these bins of pictures but there is some defect in my personality that I can not stand going through photos.  When I want to find one, I rummage through making a bigger mess until I find the one I want.  While looking for another photo recently, I came across these photos.  This is a project we did in our last house many years ago.  It is another repurposing project that I want to share.  Our old house had a little jog in the kitchen.  It didn't fit a kitchen table very well, so I came up with this set up.  We had an old library table that we wanted to use for a table, but we didn't have any chairs that fit.  We did have a few old oak table leaves from an old table that was long gone and part of an oak headboard.  We had two benches made from the wood in these items.   My husband didn't do these, even though he was capable.  We found a retired man who did woodworking projects.  He made these awesome benches in the same style as the table.  We still use the benches to this day.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

All This For A Computer Power Cord

Today started out the same as all my days.  First I make coffee and then turn on the morning news.  By that time the coffee is done because I have a fourteen year old Bunn coffee maker that makes coffee in three minutes.  I have never had a coffee maker last that long.  I hope I don't jinx it by mentioning that it still works beautifully.  Then I sit with my coffee and enjoy the early morning until my dad and husband get up.  When dad is situated, I go into the other room and turn on the computer.  Today I kept getting the message that my computer was running on reserve power.  I had it plugged in all night, so I couldn't understand.  Then I saw it.  The power cord had a big crimp in it and wasn't working properly.  I can't survive without my computer so we called Best Buy to see if they carried a replacement cord.   They did, so we left as soon as dad had breakfast.  Before I left,  I put coffee in a thermos,  I put soup in a wide mouthed thermos, I cut a piece of pie for him and set it all out because we probably wouldn't be back for lunch.  The Best Buy store is in Oshkosh and is a forty five minute drive, but I didn't care because I need my computer.  We walked into the store, showed the sales person the old cord, he grabbed a new one, we paid and off we went in less than fifteen minutes.  Then we took our time going home because dad had his lunch all taken care of.  We went to St. Vinnies and Taco Bell.  Then we drove to a biking trail where my daughter saw a whole field full of Trillium blooming.  She sent me this photo but I wanted to see them for myself.  They were gone.  All the rain and wind yesterday must have destroyed the blossoms.

Field of Trilliums
We missed the trillium but we saw a lot of beautiful flowers, plants and trees. 

Looking down the trail

Wild Geraniums

Wood Violet

Marsh Marigolds
Wild Strawberry plants
Bumble Bee on a Dandelion

Next we went to the grocery store for a few things.  I needed some Zote soap because I need to make more laundry detergent.  Zote, What on Earth is Zote?  Finally we got back home.  I unpacked the computer power cord and that's when my nice day turned to Mud.  It didn't fit.  I couldn't believe it.   So we turned around and headed back to Oshkosh for the second time.  The customer service person knew exactly what happened because the same thing happened to someone else the night before.  She was not happy with the sales person either.  She grabbed the correct cord, and we headed back home.  On the way we stopped at Mcdonalds for grilled onion cheddar hamburgers from the dollar menu so I didn't have to make supper.  The power cord is charging as I type this.  Two fast food meals and nearly four hours of travel time, but all is well that ends well.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Searching for Wild Asparagus

Yesterday I wrote about it being the season for rhubarb in Wisconsin.  It is also the season for gathering wild asparagus.  As we travel the country roads in the area, very often we will see people with plastic bags searching the ditches and the fence lines.  They are looking for wild asparagus.  I have not done this, but I have heard wild asparagus is very tender and delicious.  It's also free.

Yesterday we saw two people along a main highway looking.  I think it is a little late in the season, but I imagine there is some left.  Eventually the searching is over and the asparagus is left to go to seed.   In the fall this is how the seeded out asparagus plants look.  I think people scope out plants that have gone to seed.   They turn yellow in the fall and are easy to spot.  Then in the spring they know where to look.  The trick is getting there before anyone else. 

Wild Asparagus That Has Gone to Seed

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie with Streusel Topping

It is Tuesday and today I actually have a recipe.  As many of you know, it is rhubarb season in Wisconsin.  I can't grow rhubarb to save my soul, but luckily there are a lot of people who have more than they can use.  Every house my daughter has lived in has had gigantic patches of rhubarb.  Yesterday she gave me a bag full.  The best part was that she cut the leaves off and cleaned it for me.

I also went grocery shopping today and Aldi's still had strawberries for $.99 a lb.  I was going to make the Rhubarb Dump Cake that has been making the rounds on Facebook recently, but I decided to go with my old standby Strawberry-Rhubarb pie.  I still have some rhubarb left over, so I will probably make the dump cake later this week.

Here is the recipe:

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

1 unbaked single pie crust.
(I cheated and used a pre-made crust)

2 3/4 cups sliced rhubarb
2 cups sliced strawberries
2/3 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch

Streusel Topping:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, cold

In a medium bowl combine rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and cornstarch.  Mix well.

Put filling in an unbaked pie crust.

Make the streusel topping by cutting the butter into the flour and sugar until you have coarse crumbs.  Sprinke this mixture evenly over the pie.

Place the pie on rimmed baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 50-55 minutes.

Let pie cool before cutting.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Genealogy Help From a Second Cousin Once Removed

Genealogy research is a funny thing.  Just when you think you can't find one more connection or identify anyone else, something comes to your attention.  That is what happened to me this week.  I have been researching my dad's family for a very long time.  I have traced my great grandparents back to Germany.  I found that my great great grandmother actually lived and died in the city I was born in.  I figured out that my great grandfather had a sister who lived in Oconto Wisconsin.  I also found that she had two daughters.  By contacting the local library in Oconto, I found the obituaries for both daughters.  In the obituary it mentioned one living son, so last year I looked on the internet and came up with an address for this man.  I wrote a letter to him and asked him to let me know if I had the correct family.  I didn't hear back in a timely fashion so I assumed it was another dead end.  I was very surprised this week when I received an email.  This man who is my second cousin once removed (my grandpa and his mother were cousins) is eighty four years old.  His children encouraged him to learn the computer, and he got an ipad this spring.  He has been so helpful.  He sent me an obituary identifying two more brothers and also pictures of his grandmother.  It confirmed some things I suspected and opened up some new information.  Genealogy research is a process, but it is well worth the effort. 

He sent a few photos, but I don't recognize anyone.  They are supposedly family members from a long time ago.  If any of my family reads my blog and recognizes anyone, please let me know.  Great grandpa William Dux  died in 1906 at age 38.  The lady in the hat in these photos is his sister. 

As I am writing this, I am getting postings on Facebook from another relative from my mother's side of the family.  These are also photos I have never seen.  I haven't worked on this for a year and now this week all this information is coming in.  It is so exciting.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Antique Samplers

I like to go to antique stores to see what life was like in times gone by.  The older I get, the more I can identify with everything I see.  What used to be everyday items for me,  are now antiques.   I am even considered an antique.

I like to look at samplers but they are sometimes pricey.  I decided to make my own. I soaked the fabric in tea for a while to get that old look.   Then I embroidered the fabric from a pattern I found.  I'm sure this will end up in an antique store some day and then someone will discover that the frame is plastic and the linen is new.

This is a real sampler that I have.  At least I think it is real.  I found it in my mom's stuff.  The reason I think it is old is from the back of the sampler.  They stretched the sampler around an old hosiery package.  I looked up the Everwear Hosiery Company,  and they were in business in Milwaukee WI around 1915.  My gosh, that's almost 100 years ago. 

Old Time Sampler

Back side of the old sampler

I found this old
advertisement from a
1915 publication.