Thursday, June 19, 2014

Baby Animals All Around

This is the time of the summer where all the new animal babies are being born or are about to be.  We have several in our yard.  We don't have a garden, so we don't mind these cute little bunnies.

The baby birds are plentiful.  The baby Tree Swallows are about to fledge.  They are hanging out right at the edge of the birdhouse opening.

Tree Swallows

Babies waiting for more food.

A month or so ago I wrote about the Baltimore Orioles building a nest right off our deck.  Now the eggs have hatched.  I can't see the babies yet, but I can hear them.  The parents are so busy going back and forth from the grape jelly to the nest to feed these babies.

This link shows how the nest looked as it was being built.

 This is it today.  It is pretty well camouflaged.  It is hard to see from most angles, but the babies are so loud I can easily hear them.

Male and Female Baltimore Orioles gathering jelly to feed their babies.

The birds have to clean the jelly off their beaks regularly.

The turtle eggs won't hatch for a while but we have several areas in the yard where the turtles have laid some eggs.  Very often the eggs are dug up by raccoons, but we put a barrier up to protect the snapping turtle eggs.

Sometimes they choose the strangest places to lay eggs.

Not very attractive, but keeps the eggs from being destroyed.

This is what happens.

I suppose our terrible lawn looks inviting and easy digging for these turtles.

It's hard to imagine that these cute little critters can cause a lot of damage.

We have baby ducks, baby turkeys, fawns and a number of baby birds.  These birds left the nest right after I took this picture.  I hope I didn't scare them out too early.  It is fun to see how fast they grow and how quickly they are out in the cruel world to fend for themselves.

They needed to leave the nest before they fell out.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Creamy Vegetable Soup and English Muffin Bread

I really messed up my Tuesday recipe today.  Recently I remembered a cake my mom used to make a lot.  I have made it too, but I can't find the recipe.  It was a peach cake made with canned peaches.  I swear that all you do is put a can of peaches with the juice into a cake mix and mix it up. I don't think it had eggs or oil.   It was so good and perfect for a summer day.  I found a recipe on the web that used a white cake mix and a can of sliced peaches.  I was excited that it was what I was looking for.  I mixed it up and baked it.  When I took it out of the oven, I was so disappointed.  It was only about an inch high.  It didn't taste good either.  I will keep looking for the original recipe.  Sometimes you can't use cake mixes with pudding in them.  That could be the problem.   In the meantime, I am reposting the first recipe I posted when I first started this blog.

Creamy Vegetable Soup
 In a big kettle, probably 8 qt. or so, bring to a boil 7 cups of water.
1 bag ( 12 oz) of frozen mixed vegetables
1 bag (16 oz) of frozen broccoli florets or fresh broccoli if you have it.
Bring back to a boil and then add
1 bag (32 oz) of frozen hash browns.  I like the southern style which are little squares
6 chicken bouillon cubes
1 cup chopped onion
Simmer for a few minutes and then add
2 cups milk
2 cans of Cream of Chicken soup
12 oz. pkg. of American cheese slices (stir in until melted) 
I like the real American cheese that you can separate but isn't packaged separately.  It's a pain to unwrap 16 slices of cheese or you could chunk up some Velveeta but it takes longer to melt.

English Muffin Toasting Bread
You could just mix this up in a bowl, but I picked up a bread machine at Goodwill for $4.99.  There are a ton of them in thrift stores because people thought they were a good idea and then didn't use them.  I put the ingredients in the bread machine, set it for the dough cycle, when it beeps I dump it out into a regular bread pan,  cover and let it rise and bake it at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.  I figure a loaf costs between $.25 and $.50.
1 1/4 c. of water
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda (English muffin bread always has baking soda)
3 cups of flour
3 Table. dry milk ( you can eliminate this and use milk instead of water for the first ingredient)
2 teaspoon of yeast ( I buy this in bulk at a local Mennonite store)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Dad's Legacy Stone Placement Ceremony

It is Monday June 16, 2014.  I finally have a chance to sit down and write about the fantastic weekend we had.  Last Saturday, my dad was honored for his World War II service.  Last year I wrote about a wonderful Veteran's Memorial called The Highground in Neillsville Wisconsin.  It is a memorial for all veterans living and dead.  Being a non-profit organization, they raise money through donations and by selling items such as the Legacy Stones.  These granite stones are engraved with the veteran's name and any information that can fit in 60 spaces.  Then once a month from April until October they have a big celebration to honor the veteran by laying the granite stone in the walkway for all to see for years to come.  They usually have a morning and afternoon ceremony.  They also have a registry for each person with pictures, letters or any other information the family or person would like to share with the public.

Kenneth W. Dux

I think I will start from the beginning.  As I stated in my blog, we visited The Highground last year and learned about the Legacy stones.  Anyone else interested in doing this, all the information needed is found online at  After completing the process for purchasing the stone, we had to sign up for an available date.  We chose June 14, 2014 at 1:00pm.  It seemed so far in the future, but time passed very quickly and before we knew it, the date was here.  We live a little over two hours away.  I knew dad would be excited so we went the night before and stayed in a motel.  I figured if we left from home on that day, he would be up and dressed by 5:00 am.  I thought if we were closer, he would know we couldn't be late.  I was wrong, he was still up at 5:00 am.  My sister and her husband also came the night before.  They came from Michigan so it did give us some time to visit and go out for dinner.  My uncle came to visit later in the evening and that gave us time to talk without a lot of people around.  When it was finally time on Saturday, we drove to the Highground.  I thought we would drive in and park.  Oh my gosh!  We drove in and there were people everywhere.  They were already filling up the third parking area.  We drove in closer and my husband dropped dad and me off.  He went to park the car.  Then we worked our way through the process for picking up the stone and carrying it to a registration area.  They gave us a clipboard with pages for any guests who would be coming to the ceremony.  The guests were to sign it and write anything they wanted to share about the veteran like their relationship and memories.  Then we carried the stone on to the next area to choose the spot in the walkway we wanted.  They were laying 21 stones that day.  Next we took the stone to a table, set up our lawn chairs and waited.  The process was a little disorganized in my opinion, but we got the job done.

Dad holding his Legacy Stone.

Area prepared for the stones to be placed.

The  kids were so good.  It was a long day for them.

Soon it was time.  There is a replica of the Liberty Bell on the property.  They rang the bell and then the color guard marched to the area.  We all said the Pledge of Allegiance and a young twelve year old girl sang the National Anthem.  She was fantastic.  Then they took a vial of dirt from the spot and spread out a vial of dirt from the previous ceremony.  At this point each veteran with their friends and family were called up one group at a time.  They took photos of each group.  It would be too chaotic to have everyone take photos so they used volunteers to take the group photo.  After the photo, it was time for the veteran or their representative to place the stone.

The stone weighed 22 pounds so Dylan helped great grandpa hold it.  We were asked to put hands on each others shoulders.

The placing of the Legacy Stone.

As each family finished, they removed their lawn chairs to the outer perimeter.  They formed a circle.  At this time several people left, but we stayed for the entire ceremony.  There was another long wait while every family went through the placing process.  It was a good time to visit with those we hadn't seen in a long time.  My dad is almost 90 and he is still fortunate enough to have a younger brother and sister.  They both came with their families.

Dad with his sister Patricia and his brother Jeff.

When everyone was settled into the circle, they passed a microphone around with the vial of the earth gathered that day.  Anyone who wanted to say a few words was given the opportunity.  It was very emotional.  This was especially true for the Vietnam veterans.  They were finally given the honor they deserved and didn't receive back in the 1960's when they returned home.  Even my dad was put on a Dutch freighter when he had fulfilled his time in the service.  It took them a month to get home.  During his time on the freighter, the war was over.  He landed in San Francisco, somehow made his way to Fort Sheridan and was given his duffle bag and discharge papers.  It was up to him to find his way home.  My daughter and my brother in law spoke.  Even my grandson spoke saying how proud he was to be great grandpa's great grandson.  It was priceless.  Dad said a few words about how wonderful the day was and how overwhelmed he was with everything.  There were hundreds of people there.  I was not brave enough to speak.

Dad thanking everyone.  My sister recorded it for which I was grateful.

When everyone had spoken a lady suggested we all sing God Bless America.  Then they reversed the circle and everyone passed by shaking everyone's hand.  It was a perfect day in so many ways.  I am so grateful that my dad was still alive to enjoy it and he certainly did.