Family life

You are currently browsing the archive for the Family life category.

No, I’m not mad at my daughter. (Although I was “mentioned” in her Clutter Club Blog article.)

 Yes, she told the truth. I do rent a storage building for my books and other “treasures”.

But, in case anybody is wondering, my house doesn’t look like the crazy eBay mom‘s. I have proof.

sofa.jpg
My living room.

hutch-table-and-pictures.jpg
Dining room at Christmas.

room.jpg
Another view of the dining room.

To give credit where credit is due, last summer my daughter did talk me into changing the color of my walls. Here is a before picture of my dining room.

dsc01329.JPG
My dining room, Christmas 2007.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

dsc01149.jpg
Despite having crossed over into her senior years, Abby is as frisky as a pup!

It doesn’t get better!

We have fresh snow, two dogs and sunshine.

We can’t go into the woods, though. It’s deer hunting season. Every deer in the county knows DH and I don’t hunt. Their tracks are everywhere. They are everywhere.

We’ve flushed out full-antlered bucks. We’ve flushed out whole herds.

One of the deer is the smallest doe DH has ever seen. He saw her this summer and thought she was a fawn, until he saw the baby. DH was on his tractor and the fawn and tiny doe walked almost up to him. They weren’t the least bit afraid as they strolled by DH and the tractor on their way to a neighbor’s cornfield.

But, as beautiful as they are and as much as we love seeing them, the deer are a danger to our deer-running dogs who’ll hopefully give chase over car-ridden highways, past trigger-happy hunters and livestock-protecting farmers.

Until hunting season ends, the dogs have to be leashed or kept by the garden where they won’t be enticed into harm’s way.

Today though, nobody minds. Not with snow to run through and a dad who can be coaxed into throwing the ball.

It’s a most wonderful TIME of the year!

dsc01155.jpg
Abby is on the alert. There is a groundhog hole on the other side of the brush.

dsc01167.jpg
“Tag, you’re it!”

dsc01158.jpg
“You can’t catch me.” Buster’s smile says it all! He’s so pleased with himself, he doesn’t notice Abby isn’t trying to catch him.

dsc01173.jpg
Buster makes dog “snow angels”.

dsc00961.jpg
Buster’s ball. We got it for the horses, who wanted nothing to do with it. Buster found it and fell in love. We like it too. It wears Buster out more than a regular ball.

More posts about the dogs:

My Big Fat Animals

Two dogs and a cat go to the vet

Thanksgiving dinner rolls…and a bad dog!

“Bad Boy Buster” and Dog Whispering

Saving Kitty

Posts about the cats:

Playing Cat and Mouse

My Big Fat Animals

Two dogs and a cat go to the vet

The Cat Box

Cat Ladder

DH’s Cat Ladder Goes International

Saving Kitty

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

receipt_book.jpg
I got this book at a garage sale years ago. It was fun to read.

Dating Advice and cutting edge medicine from “The Favorite Medical Receipt Book and Home Doctor”…

About Marriage — Now I am going to speak to you on a delicate and difficult subject, wrote Dr. Warner M.D. in 1904.

You are thinking of marriage; it is right that you should. To be married to a good man, sound in body and mind, whom you sincerely love, is the best fortune that can come to you

.doctor.jpg
Dr. Warner was ahead of her time.

— It is better you die an old maid than marry a man that is fast. —
 
You are limited in your choice of a husband to the men who have signified their wish to marry you, but it is better that you should die an old maid than marry a man who is “fast” as your friends say, i.e., dissipated. Of course in marriage there are many considerations besides those of health, but those of health are the only ones on which I undertake to advise you.

There are two forms of dissipation which are to be avoided in a husband on the score of health — habitual use of alcoholic drinks to excess, and the habit of association with immoral women. It is not very common for a young man to be what is called a habitual drunkard, but a man who is frequently intoxicated when young will, in all human probability, be a habitual drinker before he is forty

  — Marriage to a man who drinks can cause your children to have nervous troubles, hysterics, epilepsy, and sometimes idiocy —

If you imagine you can reform such a man, you are greatly mistaken; he will grow worse and not better. He will not injure your health directly, only so far as misery, want and distress are likely to do it; but your children will suffer. They are likely to have all sorts of nervous troubles, hysterics, epilepsy, and sometimes idiocy.

The second form of dissipation is even more dangerous. It is quite common for a young man of that sort to contract diseases as a result of his bad habits, which, if you marry him, would be very likely to be communicated to you or to any children that you might have by him. Do not allow yourself to become interested in such a man, even if he has beautiful eyes and fascinating manners.

Choose for associates sober, steady young men. Do not be afraid to give them a little kindly encouragement if they are shy and awkward.

neurological_cure.jpg
Morphine, quinine and a slew of other ingredients took care of neuralogical disorders in 1904.

As to Diet —You should eat good, simple food. Avoid rich cake, gravies, rich pastry and preserves. Ices in moderation are wholesome enough. Eat all the fruit you want, provided it is ripe and sound, but do not eat too much candy. It would be better not to eat any, but that is too much to expect of you, for candy is a girl’s greatest temptation in the eating line. Hot breads and buckwheat cakes are good to the taste, but trying to the digestion. Use tea and coffee with great moderation; they are nerve stimulants, which you do not in the least need. A cup of weak coffee you can have in the morning, if you want it, but save the tea till you are an older woman.

Take plenty of time for your meals, and masticate your food thoroughly.

Cosmetics, Powder, Rouge, etc. —Scorn everything of this kind.

medical_receipt.jpg
I wonder if this receipt is where Smith Bros.’ Cough Drops began?

editors_note.jpg
The editor explains the purpose of the book as well as the receipt and information sources.

NOTE: This was cutting edge medicine from the leading physicians at the beginning of the 20th century. It shows how far we have come as well as how little has changed.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Kitty is trying to kill himself.

It’s a dangerous situation.

Kitty is so happy when he thinks his people are coming home he runs under the front wheels of every vehicle pulling into our drive. If you look for him, when it gets dark he’s hard to see.

We don’t know how to break Kitty of his new habit. Some of the visitors to our house are older and have enough trouble negotiating around our trees, shrubs or the barn to consider watching out for our little cat.

dsc00585.jpg
Kitty’s about to throw himself beneath a jeep wheel. Notice the tire tracks where he’s walking.

This week our horses kicked holes in the barn. We don’t keep them locked inside stalls. They can go inside or out at will. They’ve got free access to a big round bale of hay. They have a fan inside the barn. They have bug zappers. They have a drinking fountain.

dsc00563.jpg
The kicked out side of our barn.

I think the horses and Kitty are missing DH.

DH loves having a farm and spends his days as if he were a paid hand. He mows, works in the barn, trims trees, cleans up trails, fixes fences and as he does chores, the horse’s noses are right up his back or over his shoulder. When DH is outside their pasture, the horses watch his every move from the closest fence corner.

dsc00560.jpg
The not very remorseful barn kickers beg for treats.

Kitty lived wild and feral in DH’s woods for an entire year before DH was able to get close to him. He still spends most days outside. Only instead of being the cat that walked and lived alone, Kitty now follows DH like a dog. He is up and down ladders, running ahead of DH on paths in the woods and springing out from behind weeds to grab DH’s legs.

Lately though, DH has had obligations that have prevented him from being as available outside for our animals.

dsc00575.jpg
Simba’s found a sack and total bliss.

dsc00591.jpg
Biggs enjoys her favorite chair.

dsc00600.jpg
The newest member of our family, Scooter, the hummingbird, sips nectar and entices Biggs who is watching out the window.

dsc00595.jpg
Buster and DH greet Mr. Miller, the repairman who will be fixing our barn. The children soon are petting our horses although Mr. Miller said their horse is a new one. According to Mr. Miller, the new horse isn’t very well trained and behaved badly on the drive to look over our barn.

dsc00219.jpg
It’s that time of year and animal hair is everywhere. Abby watches me sweep.

It is shedding season and over the past week with my daughter visiting, every day was a reminder that I really need to check out the animal Dyson vacuum cleaner. Dog and cat hair were everywhere and clinging to our clothes everytime we left the house.

 Our pets are a lot of work and a responsibility. They aren’t cheap with vet visits, expensive and endless desires for Fancy Feast, hay, treats, toys and barn destroying. But, their joy, when we come home, is so overwhelming you cannot help but know it’s love in its  purest and most unselfish  form.

Simba may mostly be DH’s cat, but this week it was my face he snuggled up to every night. And in the mornings  DH made coffee and Abby came and nuzzled my arm so I’d wake up right before it was ready. Somehow, someway, those pets instinctively became nurturing and extra affectionate.

Are our pets worth the inconvenience and expense?

Absolutely. We don’t miss or think about their cost in time or money.

But, we’d sure miss them.

More dog stories:

Two dogs and a cat go to the vet

My Big Fat Animals

“Bad Boy Buster” and Dog Whispering

More cat stories:

Two dogs and a cat go to the vet

The Cat Box

Cat Ladder

DH’s Cat Ladder Goes International

More Horse Stories:

Give me a kiss

Horses , Skipper Rears

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I would like to thank each and every person who commented on “Courage Defined”. Yes, I cried. But, I needed to. I cannot express how much of a comfort your words were.

A message from paperseedblog: Life is so fleeting, and its good to be reminded to feel blessed and savor every single moment; almost exactly quotes my father’s last words to my daughter.

Today, I reread a  poem my son wrote from Iraq a year ago.  In that poem I was surprised to also find my father’s message of appreciating every moment of life we are granted,  whatever our circumstances.

michael-in-uniform.jpg
My youngest child, the poet,  who also became a new father the week before my father died.

“Lady in Black”

I see her in every harvest crop
On every crumbling mountain top
In storming wind which rocks the trees
In eyes of men bowed upon knees.

With every second screaming by
With unsaid words long left to die
Who knows what face or purpose be
Behind she which sleeps eternally?

Some may court her to end their sorrow
For the rest she’ll wait beyond tomorrow
From there haunting your every dream
And the tangled web of thoughts you ream
For all men fear, and rightly so
This face one day we’ll come to know.

I know one day I’ll pass her gates
Which guard the path to God’s estates
Till then I’ll savor every breath
Before that date with Lady Death
.

Tuesday night my father died.

He had terminal cancer, congestive heart failure and failing kidneys. The last years of his life he slept in a recliner to breathe because fluid kept filling his lungs.

The daily newspaper and keeping up with goings on around town was my father’s pleasure. But, he developed a problem with his tear ducts. Not only did that prevent reading, but his cheeks were often chapped from being wet and wiped dry.

On good days my father was able to drink a couple of cans of Ensure. Other times he only finished half a can. Nothing else stayed down. With so little food, the weight drop and dehydration caused his arms to turn dark and purple, which itched. His arms became scratched and bruised. Because the cancer had spread to his bones, the pain was constant despite prescribed patches. The doctors kept upping the dosages. But care had to be used with medication because my father’s kidneys and heart were failing

Yet, almost to the end and on the last day of his life, my father was aware and communicating coherently.

I never knew a person who wanted to live or savored life more.

He refused to sign the “no code” papers.

“I want to be around a little longer,” he said, “the pain isn’t so bad.”

“What about prostate cancer vaccines?” my father asked the doctor who inquired if he had looked into hospice.

The doctor said it would be awhile before they were released and said he would discuss vaccines with my father then. Which to me was his way of telling my father he was going to be gone before that ever came about. It hurt to see my father’s lingering hopes so casually stomped out. I looked up the latest information online and was heartsick to find out that my father had already been alive long past the most optimistic results from the newest vaccines for his stage of cancer . I gave excuses to my father for not looking up and printing out for him the information he requested.

Last summer my father’s medication caused internal bleeding, a loss of 8 pints of blood, weeks in the hospital and a stay in a nursing home. Few would have survived the blood loss, even without cancer, congestive heart failure and poor kidney function. But, my father was motivated.

“I don’t want to die,” he said to my mother while they waited for the ambulance. “I don’t want to leave you.”

The doctors asked my father if he had a living will. He refused to answer. Despite his pain and limitations, he wouldn’t consider an end. Life still contained pleasures.

My father slept days so he could stay up late to listen to the RFD channel which featured old time country and western music in early morning hours. I remember how his eyes shined when he told my husband and I about a Statler Brothers’ special.

My mother’s Yorkshire terrier, Pixie, is something else. She doesn’t come when called most of the time. She digs into pockets and purses at every opportunity and refuses to give up her stolen treasures. She’s full of bounce and mischief. Yet, she was gentle and careful with my dad and often took naps with him on the recliner. I can’t believe I will never again see her cuddled up against his leg with my father absently stroking her.

More than anything else, and with every core of his being, my father loved my mother. He loved her voice, her moods, the way she loved animals. He loved the way she spent days and hours researching to get a piece of furniture in an exact color. Or repapering a kitchen wall because she’d decided she didn’t really like her first wallpaper choice. My father was as proud of her accomplishments as if they were his own.

And no matter how bad things were for him, mom was my dad’s main worry.

“Go see your mother,” he told me when I visited him in the nursing home. “She gets lonely.”

“Your mom is going to wear herself out coming back and forth to see me,” he said while he was in the hospital,” she doesn’t have to come tomorrow.”

During my father’s last good day, my daughter called him. They discussed stocks, one of dad’s favorite subjects. But, before they hung up, my father told my daughter to be happy, to do with her life what she wanted to do and not to waste a moment.

My son visited. He got a lecture on being careful with his money. Then before my son left the hospital room, my father asked him to stop. He told my son he loved him and said to stand there for awhile because he just wanted to look at him.

Soon afterwards my father was drowning from the fluid in his lungs and unable to breathe. He still would not discuss coding with hospital personnel. The doctor said that they could drain the lungs but there was a good chance they would fill again. I did not want my father to drown that way, scared, unable to breathe and knowing he was dying.

I see things differently than most people. My Living Will includes taking extraordinary measures.

Like my father, my happiness comes from life on this earth. I cannot imagine greater pleasures than seeing my husband’s special smile for me, hearing my child’s voice over the phone announcing a new baby on the way, hearing one of my daughter’s works has been published, burying my face in Simba’s cottony good smelling fur and kissing him all over or seeing Abby’s face light up when I say the words “walk “or “garden“. I want to stay here. Clouds and harps and song and light hold no attraction. I want to live.

My father took his last stand. He wanted his lungs drained. He was trying to do what he had been able to do so many times in the past. He was trying get better and go home. The operation was a success. His lungs were x-rayed and declared clear. I thought he‘d make it.

He always had.

Only my father’s voice became raspy. His face became ghostly and gray. He couldn’t talk. Trying drained him. He might be aware enough to see my husband and I and say, “How have you been?” Then he’d be gone. He slept most of the time. He’d smile to see family, but his eyes would roll back. He began breathing mainly through his mouth.

Tuesday the nurses called and said to come right away.

When we arrived at the hospital, my father didn’t seem to know us. My mother said she and my brother and I were with him now, that we loved him and that we would stay with him. She said he nodded.

The doctor ordered blood.

As the blood dripped into his arm, the change in my father was dramatic.

He rasped out a request for water. He was able to sip from a cup. He said something about home. Soon, we said, maybe tomorrow. My father’s heart rate began dropping. He started making the scrunching movements he makes when he needs to be raised in his chair to breathe better. He asked for air. He already was getting oxygen. We got a fan and blew it in his face and asked him if that was better. He nodded yes.

He said he hurt and tried to pull out his IV.” Hurt” he kept saying, and then he would beg for air.

I went out and talked to the nurse. She said because of my father’s heart and kidneys they could not give him pain medication because it would wipe him out. She said he had not had medicine for pain for two days. I asked if his lungs might be filling up again with fluid. She said they most likely were.

My father was drowning and hurting. I asked the nurse if he was going to die. She said he was, and that the best thing to do for him was to be with him and to hold his hands.

I started crying.

“He hurts. He‘s drowning and he knows it. He‘s scared.”

The nurse said she would talk to my mother and then talk to the doctor.

I went back to my father and watched my husband and brother try to make my dad more comfortable. He was squirming and trying to pick his shirt off. He pushed my hand away. He said something about my mom. Fortunately she soon came in.

“He wants you, mom.”

“I’m here. The kids are here,” my mother said. She put her hand over his.

“I love you. I‘m going to stay with you.”

Then, I saw the nurse. She had liquid medicine in a plastic cup and held a hypodermic. Softly she said the doctor had ordered morphine. I looked into her eyes and knew.

“Take your medicine so you’ll feel better,” my mom said.

“She’s giving you medicine so you can go home, Dad.” I said.

My dad relaxed. As dutifully as a little boy obeying his mother, my father pursed his lips. He sipped the drink. He then straightened his arm. The nurse injected morphine into the IV. My father’s face became soft. His breathing slowed. He quit gasping and picking at his shirt.

I watched the machine that had long ago started flashing red instead of green. My father’s heart rate dropped to twenty, then ten., My eyes began misting. I couldn’t look at my mom or brother. I looked across the room and saw my husband fold his hands in prayer.

My father was not a quitter. He raged and fought against the dark longer than I ever believed any human could have the strength. But, in the end he went gently.

For that I am grateful. I know his last thoughts were of home, my mother and all he loved most.

dsc00476.jpg
Our vegetables have spread from the counter to the table. It has been so rainy, we are trying to cure our onions inside.

Tomato cake?

Whoever heard of tomato cake?

We have given away cucumbers and onions and potatoes and tomatoes to just about everyone we know. I’ve made sauce. I’m not fond of canned tomatoes. Then, I found a recipe from who-knows-where, stuffed into a cookbook for tomato cake. I had only to read that it included an ENTIRE cup of dark brown sugar to know it was a recipe with potential.

 With cream cheese frosting, it was wonderful.

dsc00481.jpg The first step toward peeling tomatoes is to put them into boiling water until the skin cracks.

dsc00482.jpg Next plunge the tomatoes into ice water and pull the skin off.

dsc00486.jpg
I’m stirring in the tomatoes, raisins, dates and walnuts. It is not looking very good.

dsc00492.jpg
The cake is done and cooling before being frosted. I used a silicon baking pan for the first time and didn’t use enough support taking the cake out so it cracked. But, I can tell from the smell and what I can see I am going to like it.

FRESH FROM THE GARDEN TOMATO CAKE

Ingredients

1 cup brown sugar, dark
1/2 cup vegetable shortening

2 large eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups ripe, peeled and chopped up tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup raisins

Directions

Mix cream sugar and shortening.

Add eggs.

Add sifted dry ingredients, mixing well.

Stir in tomatoes, nuts, dates, and raisins.

Put into greased and floured 9x inch baking pan.

Bake in preheated 350’F oven for 35 minutes or until cake tests
done.

Frost with cream cheese frosting.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Ingredients

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Directions: In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.

dsc00498.jpg
Tomato cake ready to be served.

As promised, here are my SUPER, SECRET ingredients to always perfect, moist and tasty roast chicken with crisp and golden skin:

dsc00499.jpg I’ve been stuffing my roast chicken with an apple and onion for over 20 years and always had perfect results.

For a flavorful and moist roast chicken, stuff it with an a cut up apple and halved or quartered onion. Don’t bother to core or peel the apple. Butter your chicken. Sprinkle with rosemary, paprika, salt, pepper and maybe a little lemon (or not). Bake at 325 to 350 degrees and baste often.

Your chicken is done when the legs move freely and the juices are clear.

 UPDATE: Healingmagichands, http://healingmagichands.wordpress.com/ , wrote to say that she puts sprigs of rosemary inside the chicken cavity along with lemons and onions. She says putting fruit & onions inside her chicken  gives her a crispy crust with very moist and flavorful meat.

I like the taste of rosemary with chicken so much that I use it to butter the outside of my roast chicken. (And always with roast potatoes.) But, I bet my chicken WOULD be even better with a sprig of rosemary in the cavity.

buster-with-new-harness.jpg
Macho, tough Buster, chaser of cats and bully of Abby, is scared.

“Collars are cruel,” said DH, “they make dogs choke. Before we go to the vet, I’m getting harnesses.”

And he did.

But, it was as if Buster had ESP.

“Isn’t Buster pretty,” we said. “Good boy, Buster, beautiful Buster.”

Our talk didn’t fool Buster one bit. He cowered and shook with fear. He seemed to know what was coming.

dsc00457.jpg
Buster is so upset because of the harness, I had to hold his head up to get him to look at me. He was also plotting his escape.

Buster wasn’t going sit and let it happen either. At the first opportunity he bolted through the dogdoor and hid in our backyard. DH had to go out and get him and carry him to the jeep.

In the meantime, I was in charge of putting Biggs in the cat carrier. 

dsc00453.jpg
Biggs inspects the cat carrier.

dsc00454.jpg
Then Biggs strolls on in.

I had only to shut the cat carrier door after Biggs went in on her own. Abby proudly let me put her regular collar on, strutted out to the jeep and hopped in. Except for Abby getting carsick and drooling and Biggs meowing, the ride to Maplecrest Animal Hospital was uneventful. 

Once we got to there, Abby practically drug me into the front waiting room. Then, DH signed everyone in and Buster retreated to hide in the corner with his head under a chair.

dsc00458.jpg
Buster is still wide-eyed. Abby is calm, but soon drooling from carsickness.

dsc00459.jpg
Buster hiding in the corner of the waiting room.

There was a different veterinarian in the office today, Dr. Jeff Longenbaugh. He won Abby and I over when he said her weight was just fine. Biggs didn’t fare as well. Eleven and a half pounds is a lot for such a small boned cat. But, despite all the talk about her fatness, Biggs purred contentedly through the examination and her vacinations.

 Buster didn’t recognize the vet and clung to him avoiding DH and I. I think Buster was remembering past times DH and I had betrayed him in the examining room. Once the vet took out the syringe to draw blood, though, DH had to help hold Buster down.

dsc00460.jpg
Biggs purrs through her embarrassing weigh-in and vaccinations.

dsc00462.jpg
Abby had an old scab from a tick bite.

No fleas, ear mites, heartworms or signs of problems. Everyone got a clean bill of health. DH paid.

We will be back again next year. In the meantime, I would like to thank the veterinarian, Dr. Jeff Longenbaugh and the staff at Maplecrest Animal Hospital.

dsc00465.jpg
Maplecrest Animal Hospital’s staff is hard at work.

dsc00463.jpg
The dogs lie low on the way home.

Other posts about Buster, Abby and Biggs include:

http://jolynna.wordpress.com/2007/08/14/my-big-fat-animals/

http://jolynna.wordpress.com/2007/08/02/bad-boy-buster-temptation-and-dog-whispering/

http://jolynna.wordpress.com/2007/07/09/the-cat-ladder/

http://jolynna.wordpress.com/2007/06/10/the-cat-box/

Tags: , , , , , ,

dsc00427.jpg
Abby by the garden. She’s a lab/border collie mix with eyes that radiate love.

“Don’t forget to call the vet to make an appointment for Abby and Buster.”

DH reminds me of the card we  just got in the mail announcing it’s time for our dogs to get their yearly checkups and shots.

“OK.” I wonder how long I’ll have to get Abby’s weight down before I have to face the vet.

Abby officially became a senior dog this month. Because of her advancing age, last year I was told to restrict her diet to take off  her extra weight. I did mean to take Abby on more walks, not to give her treats or to give her leftovers. But, nobody appreciates my cooking more than Abby.

 By default she’s my dog. Prevented by Buster from getting near DH or getting exercise from chasing a ball, (Buster gets to balls first and they are HIS)  Abby stays by me, where she can have bones and toys, without them being stolen. Rawhide twists, pigs ears, old socks with a knot in them, the sound of Abby’s gnawing is constant. She is a chewer. I hear her chewing as I type on my laptop, read, watch tv or drift off to sleep.

I’ve been taking Abby to the garden with me. It is our special time.  All I have to do is put on my old tennis shoes and Abby’s eyes widen, her ears go up.

She is asking.

“You can go,” I say.

Abby’s eyes shine, she smiles, her tail wags and she prances as we go out the door. Once outside she hurries to sniff the groundhog hole by the compost pile. She digs a little. Then she settles down in the shade and watches while I weed. Without her partner in crime, she doesn’t run away.

 But, even more than the garden, Abby likes being with me in the kitchen. Pie dough’s her favorite of favorites. It turns her into a greedy begger–one that barks if pie crusts are rolled out and no trimmings come her way.

dsc00425.jpg
Poor Abby has to go to the vet and be WEIGHED.

However, Abby’s chubbiness pales in comparison to Bigg’s bigness. I don’t know how long it has been since Biggs has had a checkup or vaccinations. So she needs to go to the vet, too.

And she will be weighed.

In all fairness, the cat was not small when my daughter gave her to us. DH and I said, when we first saw her, that Biggs lived up to her name. But, despite my daughter’s instructions to feed Biggs limited amounts of dry cat food only twice a day, Biggs quickly discovered Simba and Kitty only eat Fancy Feast. 

biggs.jpg
Biggs is mad because there’s hard cat  food in her bowl.

She was a quick convert.

She not only swats Kitty and Simba away from the Fancy Feast until she polishes off as much as both of them used to eat combined, she meows and rubs against DH when he puts whipped cream on my coffee with cinammon…until DH gives Biggs her own little pile of whipped cream. 

Biggs hasn’t slimmed down under our care.

Pie dough, whipped cream, the cans of Fancy Feast, why are the things which give loved ones the most pleasure so often what you have to deny them?

 I am cringing at having to face those scales. And the vet.

dsc00423.jpg
Whipped cream with cinammon on sweetened coffee.

Tags: , , , , , ,

dsc00375.jpg
Tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden have become part of our kitchen decor.

Horse manure!

DH brags about the power of his horse manure compost as if he invented it and got a nobel prize for the invention. “George Washington swore the secret to good farming was horse manure,” says DH.

“You just wait,” he said last summer, “George Washington knew his stuff, you’ll see.”

We added dried manure to our compost pile of grass clippings and shredded leaves last fall. This spring DH tilled it into our garden. Then we used more grass clippings and shredded leaves for mulch on top.

I was hoping the mulch would prevent unwanted plants from popping up, resulting in a no till, weedless garden. That didn’t happen. We had weeds. But, DH was so right about horse manure producing garden miracles. Our one cucumber plant has produced 60 cucumbers…so far.

dsc00294.jpg
Our onions shortly before they were pulled up and cured.

dsc00296.jpg
The first watermelons we found. There are at least 15 on that plant now.

zuchini.jpg
An 11 pound zuchini that came from a volunteer plant on our compost pile. We didn’t find it until it had grown to this size.

dsc00326.jpg
A basket full of Yukon Gold potatoes. I had no idea potatoes could be so good.

dsc00388.jpg
Browning the meatballs and simmering the tomato basil sauce.

Dinner tonight featured home grown tomatoes and basil.

MY MEATBALLS

Soak in milk, water or stock;

1 slice of bread, 1 inch thick

 Beat:

2 eggs

Add eggs to:

1 1/2 lb. ground meat/I used ribeye

Saute until golden brown:

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

Add to the meat. Wring the liquid from the bread. Add the bread to the meat and then add:

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/2 chopped clove garlic

3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp. oregano/I’ve used Italian Herbs

Mix and form into balls. Brown lightly in:

2 tablespoons butter

 Cover your frying pan and simmer on low until the meatballs for 1/2 or until the meatballs are firm and no longer pink in the middle.

dsc00392.jpg
Cooking down the sauce.

SPAGHETTI SAUCE WITH FRESH TOMATOES AND BASIL
6 peeled, seeded and cut up tomatoes
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
 garlic, minced to taste or pinch of garlic powder
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 tablespoons fresh basil (more or less to taste)

DIRECTIONS
In a large skillet or saucepan combine the tomatoes,  tomato
sauce, garlic, sugar and basil. (Other herbs may be added. I really like basil and prefer just that with tomatoes.) Stir all together and simmer over low heat until thickened. More sugar and a tablespoon of butter may be added if the sauce is too acidic. Flour (1 to 2 tablespoons) may be added if you prefer a thicker sauce. Stir frequently to prevent burning.

dsc00396.jpg
Homemade spaghetti sauce with fresh tomatoes and basil over meatballs & spaghetti. It was sooooooo good!

HOW TO PEEL TOMATOES

Put the tomatoes, a few at a time in a large pot of boiling water for no more than 1 minute (30 – 45 seconds is usually enough)

dsc00381.jpg

then….

Plunge them into a waiting bowl of ice water.

 

 

This makes the skins slide right off of the tomatoes!  If you leave the skins in, they become tough and chewy in the sauce…not very pleasant.

 

 

 

 

After you have peeled the skins off the tomatoes, cut the tomatoes in half. 

Now you need to remove the seeds and excess water. Wash your hands then squeeze each tomato and use your finger or a spoon to scoop and shake out most of the seeds. You don’t need to get fanatical about it; removing just most will do.

dsc00385.jpg

Toss the squeezed tomatoes into a colander or drainer, while you work on others. This helps more of the water to drain off. You’ll end up with a thicker spaghetti sauce in less cooking time!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

« Older entries