Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Few Blog Updates From This Year

I think today and tomorrow I am going to update you on some of my past posts and what has happened or changed in the past few month.

Back on April 19, 2013,  I wrote about the bat houses that we had set up.  I wasn't sure if they were being used that early but they were.  I have proof as yucky as it is.  I snapped the picture before my husband power washed it off the garage.

Bat guano, yuck.  We did not save it for fertilizer.
Power washing the garage in his big yellow boots.

May 2, 2013 was when our favorite birds arrived.  The Baltimore Orioles come every year around May 1.  This year I didn't see my first one until the 2nd.  Then last week, they left.  I could tell they were loading up for their long journey because they would eat a 32 oz. jar of grape jelly everyday.  Then on September 1 they slowed down.  A few stragglers are left, but now I haven't seen any for a couple days.  The hummingbirds are still here in full force though.

Five Orioles on the feeder at one time

The next thing that should be reported on is the Turtles.  We had holes dug all over in the yard and in the driveway, but I never saw a baby turtle.  Usually we see a couple little ones making their way to the river.  It's been so dry again this summer, that they either didn't hatch or we didn't see them.

Little baby snapping turtle

The Beaver left because of the drought.  They rearranged the landscape and then had to leave.  Now all that is left are the trails they made.

Turtle swimming in the Beaver trail

There is also nothing new on the trail camera.  We have the usual racoons, possums, crows, squirrels and deer.  This years buck has a strange set of antlers.  I doubt if he will adorn anyone's wall.  Hopefully he will be spared this next hunting season.

This is the guy with the strange set of antlers.

The last update for now is the Hydrangeas.  They were just beginning to bloom a few weeks ago and now they are in full bloom.  Anyone nearby who wants to pick some, you are welcome.  If they are picked just before the first frost, they dry beautifully.  The dried ones I have are from two years ago, so I will be replacing them this year.

Hydrangeas in full bloom

Vase of dried hydrangea that are two years old.

Tomorrow I will update you on some of my crafty things and recipes that needed some tweaking. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Today's Garage Sale Finds

The other day I started to think of all the treasures I have purchased at thrift stores, antique stores and garage sales.  I hardly go anymore, and I miss it.  It is really true that one person's junk is another person's treasure.   So today when we got up, I mentioned that we hadn't gone to any garage sales for a very long time.  The response I got was that we didn't need anything and that's why we had our own get rid of some of our stuff.   I looked in the paper anyway and saw there were only a few.  We had to go to the hardware and auto parts store anyway, so I brought the paper along just in case.  After the first one, Mike was hooked and we had a good time.   The best part was we only spent $9.25.

We got a dog crate for Heather's new puppy.  It was our big ticket item for $4.00.  It is in great shape and with a little power wash, it will look like new.

Dog crate

We got this next item for $.25.  I always loved Spin and Marty from the Micky Mouse Club when I was young.  I thought Spin was so cute. and I was so jealous of Annette.  Not anymore because she died and Spin might be dead too for all I know.  The book isn't in the best shape but heck it was only a quarter.

Spin and Marty book.

 The next thing we found were some succulents. Each container was $.50 and there was a variety in each pot.   I was inspired to purchase some because of my trip to Saving Grace Salvage Co. last weekend.  I posted a picture of the wicker chair and the wheel, but they had succulents growing in and on everything.  They even had a flat of them growing inside a old bird cage.

Variety of plants including an aloe vera plant and a jade plant.

 The last place we went before going home smelled a little musty, but she had so much stuff and no one was buying.  Guilt can contribute to poor purchases at times.  We spent $1.00 and got a new Milwaukee Brewers hat and a crocheted doily.  If any of you have read my blog, you know how much I need another doily.  I immediately washed the hat and doily when I got home and put them out in the sun to dry.

Brewer hat drying in the sun with a rubber band shaping the bill.

Doily in a nice fall color.  I could never make one this size for $.50.

 Oh and I almost forgot a UW Whitewater heavy weight sweatshirt.  Mike and I both went to college there, and he only has a Packer sweatshirt and a sweatshirt that says Wisconsin Rose Bowl 2000.  We paid $3.00 for it from the guy who sold us the dog crate.  There was a little guilt involved in this purchase also because the man was telling about how he had a liver transplant three months ago and how he injured himself lifting something too heavy.  It is nice though and will get worn a lot.  Plus we got such a good deal on the crate.

I didn't get these today, but I have a few more things to show and tell that I have picked up this year and I really love.  I live on a marsh in the country, so I am often attracted to ducks.  I usually don't care if they are valuable, I just know if I like them.

Then a few weeks later I found some more ducks.  These are Mexican pottery which I sort of collect.  That means I will buy it if I see it, but I don't go out of my way to collect.

Mexican Pottery Ducks

So that was my day, September 6th, 2013.  Now it's off to a Friday fish fry where very seldom do any of us order fish.  Maybe I will today, just because. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Beautiful Day On The River

Today the weather was nearly perfect.  It was sunny, in the low 70's and very low humidity.  I had a haircut this morning and when I arrived back home, my husband Mike had the canoe ready to go.  I had wanted to go for a canoe ride ever since Sarah and the kids took the canoe out a couple weeks ago.

They paddled, but we did not. We took an old peoples trip on the river.  This is what Mike did.  He bought a canoe mount and installed it on the canoe, then he mounted a small trolling motor and connected it to a battery and off we went.  No paddling necessary.

When we first took off I didn't think the motor was working.  It was going so slow and with no noise, but it was working, so I sat back and enjoyed the view.  All I needed was a parasol. If we were young and had a lot of energy, we could have paddled faster.  We were heading into the current so that slowed us down a bit.  In fact, the first part of the trip took 65 minutes and the trip back with the current only took 35 minutes.

I wanted so badly to get some photos of an eagle.  The kids had seen one close up.  I saw him too, but he saw us before we saw him and he quickly flew right in front of us before I could get a picture.  Take my word for it, he was gigantic.  I saw this board the other day comparing the wingspan size of different birds.

As we floated along, I did see some fun things.

A water snake

I saw this ahead.  It looked like bubbles in the water

It was hundreds of bugs hovering above the water.

I saw this little tiny cabin

The marks on the trees mark how high the water was this spring.

This is a Kingfisher.  I didn't see the bird behind her until I looked at the photo.  It looks like a Cedar Waxwing.

This old bridge was a Swing Bridge

This bridge was an operating swing bridge.  The Fox River used to be a waterway for big boats which delivered goods to towns along the river.  I looked up the definition of a swing bridge. 

This is what I found:  

A swing bridge is a movable bridge that has as its primary structural support a vertical locating pin and support ring.

The stone structure that the bridge pivots on.

You can see the wheels, gears and the supporting ring.

At this point we turned around and went back.  As I mentioned, the trip back went much faster because we were travelling with the current.  As we approached the boat landing, I saw the cross marking the point Father Marquette met with the Indians. It looked very different from the water. 

Legend of the Cross
 It was a nice day, and I finally got my canoe ride.  

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Kitchen Floor Pickles

While looking for another old recipe, I came upon this old one for pickles.  I remember when I saw this recipe for the first time.  It was in the early 1980's, and it was in one of those little magazines called Home Cooking. 

I used to have a subscription to Workbasket magazine also.  In fact, my husband made the tangy meatloaf recipe from an old 1979 edition just yesterday.  They both were small sized magazines that I looked forward to getting in the mail.  Times have changed in so many ways, but I won't go into that now.

When I originally saw the recipe, I gave it to my parents.  They made them that first year and again every year for several years.  I forgot about them until recently.   When I asked my dad, he remembered them also.  I would have made them this year, but now it's too late.  I think the small to medium sized cucumbers are all done for this summer.  I will definitely try next summer.  The funny part is that I had three glass gallon jars for sale at our garage sale because I had no use for them.  Fortunately only two sold so I have one left to make the pickles in next year.

Kitchen Floor Pickles

In a Gallon glass jar, pack washed cucumbers very tightly.

Then combine:

2 Tablespoons Alum
2 Tablespoons salt
1 Cup mixed Pickling Spices (3 oz. size)
4 Cups Vinegar

Stir together until well mixed but do not heat.  Pour over cucumbers and finish filling the jar with water and cover.

Let stand for 30 days.  Shake them often, preferably every day.
They are called Kitchen Floor Pickles because the recipe says to roll the jar across the floor everyday.

After 30 days, wash the cucumbers and the jar thoroughly.  Cut into spears or any shape you like.
My parents cut them into chunks.
Put them back into the clean jar, add 4 cups of sugar and shake until the sugar turns to juice.

Store it in the refrigerator.  They are a sweet and crisp pickle.

Monday, September 2, 2013

There Are Always Dirty Dishes

I was going to write a poem about my next blog subject.  It started out like this...

I think that I shall never see, a shiny sink for all to see. 
A sink that looks at me all day and gleams and shines, for this I pray. 
Alas it only is a dream, because every day I want to scream......

I could go on and on about my least favorite household chore which is washing dirty dishes.   I love a clean kitchen but by the time I get it cleaned up, it's time for another meal or snack.  I can't remember the last time I had every single dish clean.  Just when everything is cleaned up, a cup or glass or plate appears in the sink.  We have a dishwasher too.  It doesn't help because it is either full of clean dishes or there isn't room for one more thing.  I hand wash the pots and pans and plastic anyway, so that ends up in the drying rack.

I would rather vacuum the White House than do dishes.  I don't mind laundry either.  I have posted many laundry helpful hints, but I have never seen help for a sink full of dirty dishes.  Sometimes a little elf comes while I am sleeping, but he must have other jobs because he isn't that dependable.

When I was young, I had to do dishes.  I hated it then.  My mother thought if I did enough of them, I would learn to wash dishes and enjoy it.  WRONG!

So this blog tonight will be short.  Guess what, I have to go clean the kitchen again.  Today we made vegetable soup, meatloaf, cooked a pound of bacon and made cookies.  It's only an hour until bedtime snack, so I better get moving.   Or we could quit eating.  That would solve the problem.

If only it would stay this way.

This is the new kitchen after the remodel, and it hasn't looked like this since.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Welcome to September

I can't believe it's September 1st.  Happy birthday to my brother in law Lee.  He is a very interesting person who taught at the University of Florida for many years but is also a clown.  No, I'm serious, he is a real clown named Juggles.  He is even in the clown Hall of Fame and in retirement makes clown props for clowns all over the world.  Of course, he juggles.

Happy Birthday Lee

I actually love September.  August is always so busy.   The weather becomes quite pleasant and the trees begin to turn color.   I'm not a fan of hot weather.  I don't like bitter cold, but I do well with temperatures in the 60's.   In August everyone is trying to pack all their activities into one month.  Last weekend was one of those weekends. 

On Saturday the 24th of August we had our 45th wedding anniversary.  That didn't interfere with anything though because we ate left overs and stayed home.  I know, we are so romantic.

Then Sunday the 25th of August was our grandson's birthday.  He was twelve and will start seventh grade on Tuesday. We actually celebrated his birthday the week before when we took the boys to lunch and the comic book store.

Also on Sunday the 25th our granddaughter got confirmed.  She worked very hard to get through the program and it was a great celebration.  She will also start seventh grade on Tuesday. 

This very special cross was made out of nails and welded together.  It was amazing to see.

The cake was made by one of my daughters friends.