Friday, August 2, 2013

A Mailbox That Looks Like An Airplane

Even though I have posted some of these photos on Facebook in the past, I haven't written about this on the blog.    The recent story I wrote about the Oshkosh AirVenture reminded me of this project my husband built for our son in law.  He is quite difficult to buy for, so my husband decided that  he would build him something airplane related.  We decided on a mailbox.  I went online and found a pattern for one.  When we downloaded it, it was gigantic.  It would be impossible to make it, so we scaled it down.  The painting was a challenge, and that didn't turn out.  Neither of us are artistic enough to be good painters.  Mike ended up painting a very simple design.  Here is the final product.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Blackberries Are Getting Ripe

I posted earlier that I hoped we would get some ripe wild blackberries this year.  Many years we have blossoms and the start of green berries.  Then with hot temperatures and lack of rain, they dry up.  When we first bought the house, we had a lot of berries but they have diminished in recent years.  My dad loves berries with milk and sugar, so we buy the little 6 oz. domestically grown blackberries.  This year we will be able to pick some of our own.

Early in the spring we had a lot of blackberry blossoms.

Then with the rain we got in June, we got some green berries.
Here they are starting to ripen.
I actually was able to pick this small sauce dish of blackberries.  Hopefully there will be more.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

An EAA AirVenture Experience That Won't Be Forgotten

"It's not what you know, but it's who you know" was so true for us yesterday, July 30, 2013.  Our son in law called yesterday morning.  He is a former high school principal and is now the Director of Education at EAA in Oshkosh Wisconsin with a focus on getting people interested in aviation.  One of his favorite responsibilities is the Young Eagles program.  

He told me that the B-24 had landed for the AirVenture show. He wanted us to bring my dad over, and he would show us around the grounds and take us to see the plane.  This is the type of plane that my almost 89 year old dad flew in during his 44 missions.  I have written about him being a World War II veteran in other blog posts.

319th Bombardment Squadron

The 319th Bombardment squadron part of the The Jolly Roger's.

Of the 18,000 planes built, this B-24 is one of very few that are still able to fly.

We met my son in law at the EAA grounds.  He brought a golf cart and our wrist bands.  We headed out past all the airplanes parked side by side all over the place.  We learned if the plane number began with a "C" it was from Canada and "N" meant the U.S.  He said that there were several planes from all around the world.  There were over 10,000 planes there.

Campers for as far as you can see.

Camping under the wing.  Notice the red plane is from U.S. and the one behind is from Canada.

I was amazed at all the people camping in tents near their planes.  Acres of campgrounds are full, all the hotels within many miles are full, and personal houses get rented out for the week.  People stay wherever they can find a place.

As we worked our way through the grounds, we saw lines and lines of aircraft.  I don't even begin to know anything about airplanes or how they work, but I find it amazing that so many people are into aviation and different aircraft.  There were vintage aircraft, restored military aircraft, home built airplanes, experimental aircraft and of course many planes from the various manufacturers.  Plus Dusty the Crophopper from the new Disney movie called "Planes".

Dusty looking like he needs a little repair.

Just before we approached the B-24, the afternoon air show began.  As they played the National Anthem, parachutists began falling through the sky.  The last one had an American flag attached to their ankle.

Then we saw the plane.  It's been 68 years since dad was in the B-24.  It seemed smaller than he remembered.  We met one of the men who brought the plane onto the grounds.  He took us into the plane.  What an amazing experience!   I never thought I would ever be able to actually see where dad stood in the plane as a waist gunner during the bombing missions or where he pulled the pins out of the bombs at the point of no return. 

The Colonel who greeted dad and showed him the airplane.

Dad entering the plane.

Walking the narrow catwalk toward the front of the plane.

We went through the plane and then went up to the front to see where the pilot, co-pilot, navigator and the engineer sat.  Dad sat in the navigators seat and they chatted about his experiences.

Sitting up front in the navigator seat.  He didn't get up there during the bombing flights.

Dad is giving the thumbs up.

When we exited the plane and walked around we had some fun with taking some pictures of the exterior.

Where the nose gunner sat.

Standing under the place where dad was positioned as a armorer/waist gunner.

The planes have the names of scantily clad women painted on the side.  This nose art was the Diamond Lil.

All of us were so appreciative of Bret's efforts for providing us with this experience.  It would never have happened if it wasn't for him.

Thank You Bret

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Poppyseed Cake with Lemon and Mock Whipped Cream Frosting

Today I made a Poppyseed Cake with lemon and mock whipped cream frosting.  I used the basic poppyseed recipe from Taste of Home.  I didn't take a photo so here is a similar one from the Taste of Home page and I put a layer of lemon between the cake and frosting.  Mine tastes good but it isn't very pretty. 

Poppyseed Cake


  • 1/3 cup poppy seeds
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 4 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder


  • In a small bowl, soak poppy seeds in milk for 30 minutes. Place egg
  • whites in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • In another large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and
  • fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder; add to
  • creamed mixture alternately with poppy seed mixture, beating well
  • after each addition. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form; fold into batter.
  • Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake at 375° for
When it cooled I topped with lemon pudding and frosted with Mock Whipped Cream

Mock Whipped Cream

Mix 6 T. cornstarch with 1 1/2 cups milk,  and cook until thick.  Cool in the refrigerator.

Cream cooled corn starch mixture together with:

1 cup butter ( 2 sticks)
1 cup sugar

Whip it for a long time until light and fluffy like whipped cream.  It could take 4 or 5 minutes.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Wonderful Watermelon

Why are watermelon so inexpensive this summer?  I have just finished cutting up my 4th watermelon in the past couple weeks.  I paid $2.99 for two of them, $3.49 for one and the most expensive was $3.99.  These are nice sized seedless watermelons.

We might as well eat them as long as they are in season because in the winter we won't be able to get them at this price.  I take this big melon and stick it in a sink of hot water and vinegar.  I then scrub it as much as I can.  You never know where these melons have been or who has touched them.  If you don't scrub them, imagine all the germs that get transferred to the inside flesh when they are cut open.  After I wash it, I dry it very well.  Now I start cutting.  I cut it in half and then cut a slice.  I cut the rind off and cube up the piece.  I keep doing that until I have it all cut up.  So easy and then it is ready whenever anyone wants a dish of watermelon.  The rinds get taken out to the compost pile.

This is sure nothing fancy like all the specially cut watermelons you see on Facebook.  It isn't cut in the shape of a turtle, it doesn't look like a baby bassinet, but it serves the purpose nicely.  It is healthy and even though it may cause a person to get up a couple times during the night, it's worth it.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Fresh Produce

As many of you who live in Wisconsin know, the last two days have been cool.  As far as I am concerned it is warm enough.  I would much rather be cold than hot.  I especially want it a little cool because I have work to do.  Today we had a very pleasant surprise.  My daughter's in-laws came this morning for donuts and coffee.  They always have a large beautiful garden.  They brought tons of fresh produce.  This year I didn't plant a thing.  Not even one tomato plant, so this was great.  They brought cabbage, onions, cucumbers, beets and Swiss chard.  I think I will make beet pickles, bread and butter pickles, a large batch of cabbage rolls for the freezer and I have to research what to do with the Swiss chard.  I have a soup recipe that will use some of it.  I will report back in a couple days with the results.  It was very thoughtful of them.