The sticks up…it’s going to be a nice day  

From the days of the Abenaki Indians, even before there was such a thing as New England, weather forecasting was a science. The Abenaki invented what is now called the weather stick, a slender piece of balsam fir wood, about 15-16″ long, that was affixed to a vertical surface.

If the stick bent upward, fair weather was in store; downward meant inclement weather was near.

In Vermont it’s called a Vermont weather stick. In Maine, they call it… surprise, the Maine weather stick. But by whatever name, it is a remarkably effective barometer. It fascinates my husband who plans his day around the weather. 

How could something so simple work?  

I don’t have a clue. But it is fun to watch it moving. Fair weather approaches and the weather stick reaches toward the sky. When the weather begins to turn, the stick points to the ground.

Bad weather’s coming. We’ve got to hurry to get our outside stuff done.

Weather sticks can be ordered from old-time country stores in the northeast…just google Vermont Weather Sticks. Or if you or your significant other likes working with wood, try making your own.

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

The People’s Exchange is an “advertising paper” serving the Amish communities in Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan. It has a circulation of 10,500. It’s printed every two weeks. And, it is FREE. 

In The People’s Exchange you can find a “Charming Spinner” to get your clothes “50 to 90% dry” or a “woman safe” driving horse. There are ads for “certified organic” Jersey cattle, for race ponies and for farms. Every issue also contains a “favorite” sent-in-by-reader recipe.

Last week they had  the best tasting cake recipe ever. It came out light, fluffy and moist with a wonderful sugary crust. Yummmmmmm…

Last week, The Peoples Exchange had 136 pages.


1 box yellow cake mix (2 layer box)

4 eggs

8 oz. cream cheese

1/2 cup milk

1 pkg.instant vanilla pudding (The recipe didn’t say which size. I used the small box)

brown sugar


Mix together the cake mix, eggs, cream cheese milk and pudding. Pour batter into 2 loaf pans and top with brown sugar and cinnamon. (I was pretty generous.)

Yes, the recipe does use mixes. But, you end up with a cake, fresh from your oven, that TASTES made-from-scratch.dsc01927.JPG
I wish I had some just “picked-from-the-garden” strawberries.



(courtesy of The People’s Exchange)


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


This is my husband’s favorite dinner. Absolutely. No question about it.

The recipe is from Betty Crocker’s 1973 “Dinner for Two”, which was one of my first cookbooks. I own a LOT of cookbooks, but this is the one I’ve used the most.

Over the years, I’ve doubled the chicken recipe many times. It is foolproof.


1/4 cup shortening or salad oil (part butter)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp paprika (I use more)

1/8 tsp. pepper

1 1/2 lbs. chicken pieces or 2-pound broiler-fryer chicken cut into quarters

 DIRECTIONS: Heat oven to 425 degrees. In oven, melt shortening in baking pan. Mix flour, salt, paprika and pepper in plastic or paper bag; shake chicken 2 or 3 pieces at a time, in bag until coated.

Place chicken skin side down in pan. Bake uncovered 30 minutes. Turn chicken; bake until tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

1973 Betty Crocker “Cooking for Two Cookbook”

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

Six weeks sounds like forever. It is a long time. But, when you are on vacation, it goes fast.

Really fast.

We spent the last of our vacation in Fort Myers Beach. We did not see a single tourist attraction. Burnt out on restaurants, we only went out to eat once. But, when the beach is outside your back door and you have sunshine and flocks of friends, wellllll…life is good.

DH is Mr. Popularity. The doughnuts might have added to his appeal.

Time for a nap.

These Seagulls are still on doughnut alert.

We saw coconut husks on the ground and coconuts on trees. DH was hoping to find a ripe one. But, it didn’t happen.

Palm trees and pink clouds..

A canvas of color…a sunset artist could paint here forever.

After the sun has set…before the dark.

Red sky at night…sailor’s delight.

A spectacular end to our time in the sun.

From: <beras@streamyx.com>
Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2008 12:52 PM
 Subject: CONTACT TEL+44 70457 90420

 Dear Winner

 We are delighted to inform you that your EMAIL account has won you 
£900,000.00 GBP from the Free Lotto program held in
London.You are to contact the claims agent with the following:

Contact: MR.LEE JOSE

 TEL+44 70457 90420

 Ref No: MELI-T/ 17-F044262312
 Batch No:901/00319/HLP
 Zonal Draw No: GMLA2-003
 Grand Draw No: 12099

 1. Full Names: 2. Address: 3. Age: 4. Sex:
 5. Marital Status: 6. Occupation: 7. Phone numbers:
 8. Fax number: 9. Country:

 Yours Faithfully,
 Mr.Brian Hunt.

To: <mr.leejose009@yahoo.co.uk>
Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2008 1:56 PM
Subject: Re: CONTACT TEL+44 70457 90420

I am so excited that I have won your lottery AGAIN!!!!  This makes over $22,000,000.00 that I’ve won just this month alone. I am currently building a house (23,700 sq. ft.) in the Bahamas right on my own private beach with some of my newest winnings from the U.K. Lottery, and it doesn’t have a specific address yet as I have bought almost all of the smiall island that it’s on.

As soon as I can get a good address assigned to my property, I will be contacting you as to where my new bank accounts are located. I bought into a small Bank in Luxembourg with some of my previous winnings, but the Directors there won’t let me transfer any of my funds into it,
until the various Lottery accounts that I have won are cleared through Interpol for some obscure reason.

Please forward all of your pertinent information so that I might be able to start this process and claim my winnings!!!   Thank you so much, and I am looking forward to hearing from you.  God Bless.



Gosh, think we’ll hear from them soon?

They trimmed the trees every day it didn’t rain while we were in Fort Lauderdale. The hood of the poor little silver car under the tree took a battering.

We are staying in a five-star resort.

That is a good thing, right?


Our room is gorgeous. It’s beautifully decorated. The layout is cute and trendy. There is a whirlpool bathtub I love. However, the widescreen television has a grainy picture. And worse yet…

We don’t have internet in our rooms.

Everyone has internet! Everyone! The resort management assured us we WILL be able to go online. They tell us how to get to the internet room for guests which is conveniently located blocks away in the resort office.

DH and I check it out.

The room is not large. Jam-packed, with 6 computers on desks pushed end-to-end and people waiting, it is a little crowded. We are told to be considerate of other guests and not to take up more than 15 minutes of time. YIKES!

The resort does offer classes. I can learn to make a vacation scrapbook. I can do morning stretches in the pool at 6 a.m. I can play bingo or take the shuttle bus to tourist attractions.

But, I want to read books outside…preferably on a beach with warm breezes.  Unfortunately, the company that booked our vacation didn’t book a resort on the beach for our time in Fort Lauderdale. We are in a building six stories high that is one of over a hundred. People are everywhere. There is a pool. But you have to get up early to snag a lounge chair. You also have to be able to ignore the tree trimming going on by the pool.  (See the youtube video at the top of this post.)

It didn’t help that we had days of rain in Fort Lauderdale accompanied by tornado watches and warnings.

We also had some excitement when an ambulance was called to our building in the early hours of the morning.  Just like with Britney Spears there were cops and a young woman that was eventually strapped down to a stretcher and taken away.

An ambulance was called to the room below ours.

But, the worst trouble in our Fort Lauderdale paradise happened at a convenience store/gas station.

My husband got gas, ordered a “drive-through” carwash and paid for both at the gas pump. 

Only there was no carwash code on his receipt. My husband tried to go in the store to get either a code or refund. The door was locked.

It was noon.

My husband and another customer (who’d also ordered a carwash) could  see a cashier at the register inside the store. They knocked on the window. The cashier ignored them. 

My husband called the cashier on his cell phone.

 “We’re closed.” said the cashier.

“We need either a carwash code or our money back,” said my husband.

The door stayed shut.

I know a good story for my blog when I see one. I started taking pictures of the gas station. And…the cashier opened the door and gave my husband and the other customer carwash codes.

We’d won.

Sort of…

The other customer who’d ordered a carwash was a lady. So my husband let her go first.

Which was lucky for us.

Halfway through washing the lady’s SUV, the “drive-through” carwash broke down. The lady’s SUV was covered with soap and green chemicals. And, while the clerk had left the door to the store unlocked, she refused to do more. She didn’t  offer the lady with the SUV a hose or bucket of water to rinse her vehicle. I didn’t see her give the lady a refund.

This poor SUV is covered with soap and green chemicals.

We left. We didn’t get our Jeep washed that day. I don’t know what happened to the lady with soap all over her SUV.

This is “the” gas station.

But, in my opinion, this gas station earned its place on my blog.

Fortunately, rainbows often follow rain. After Fort Lauderdale we headed for Ft. Myers Beach

Fort Myers beach.

Tags: , , , , , ,



Our day in paradise…

This picture is for my sister-in-law who loves parrots. The parrot is wishing her a happy belated-birthday!!!!!

Two very noisy lorikeets.

The first of MANY butterfly pictures…we LOVED the butterflys.









I wish this was in my back yard.


A parrot displays his wings.

These shaftail finches groomed each other and cuddled like true “lovebirds”

A Blue Cheeked Cordon Bleu takes a drink.



Look at the colors…SOOOOOOOOOOOO beautiful!!!!




From the insect museum…yes  he’s alive.

The tarantula is alive, too.

DH’s new friend wants to get friendlier.

DH was VERY popular with the lorikeets.

“Hmmmm….I’ve had enough to eat. Think I’ll climb up an arm.”

The first of many flower pictures…












We saw these signs but never saw dogs. We didn’t climb the fence to try to get them to come out for pictures though.

A starling outside the exit…”goodbye…we’ll be back!”

A butterfly spreads his wings:

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

 Marco Island Ospreys guard their chicks.

DH took the best pictures of Ospreys! It is one of my favorite pictures ever.

Marco Island is beautiful.

It is pristeen. Every yard is manicured, lush and tastefully landscaped. There are flowers everywhere. Palm trees rise as high in the sky as can been seen. The traffic is minimal. Learn the 4 main roads and you can get around as well as a native.

Perfect weather on a perfect day.

After weeks of snow and rain and flooding, we are appreciative.

What we left behind.

Buster and Abby enthusiastically wade in the flooded woods despite ice on the trees.

We take pictures of houses. We take pictures of flowers. We even take pictures of mailboxes.

A house for sale.

A Marco island mailbox.

But most of all we take pictures of birds.

A beautiful begger waits for fishermen to return…hopefully after a successful day and with some extra fish.

This pelican was by our pier every morning.

The white and yellow head identifies this pelican as a three year-old. Younger brown pelicans (like the one pictured swimming) have dark heads. 

When the fishermen come back from a day of fishing pelicans and egrets eagerly crowd in and fight over the spoils.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

DH’s grandmother’s apple tapioca pudding is perfect comfort food.


3/4 cup pearl or 1/2 cup minute tapioca 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cold water 7 sour apples
21/2 cups boiling water 1/2 cup sugar

Soak tapioca one hour in cold water to cover, drain, add boiling water and salt; cook in double boiler until transparent. Core and pare apples, arrange in buttered pudding-dish, fill cavities with sugar, pour over tapioca, and bake in moderate oven until apples are soft. Serve with sugar and cream or whipped cream. Minute Tapioca requires no soaking.


“It’s called muffin-top” says my daughter who keeps up with all the latest terminology and gives great graphic descriptions.

My mother is more reassuring. “You look fine.” But, I remember a story she used to tell about ladies from her square dancing class who bought stretch shorts and had to wear them backwards As they got older the lady’s fannies had flattened and shrank. Their weight had gone to their middles forcing tummies to pooch out the front.

I used to find that story cute. But, I’ve been going through clothes and not liking anything.

Soon, I’m going on vacation. We will be away from the horrible snow and cold. We’re heading for sunshine. Which I love. But it’s also the land of swimsuits and short shorts and college girls in string bikinis.

Everything I own has been thrown to the bottom of my closet floor in disgust.

I’ve been wearing big comfy overalls around the house this winter and the goldfish has expanded to fill the bowl. I refuse to buy bigger sizes. But, I dig through my husband’s t-shirts and his shorts. The look is casual & faded…perfect…maybe.

“Why aren’t you eating?” my husband asks watching me pick at my food. He worries I’ll make myself sick. Later he sits beside me on the couch with a snicker’s bar.

I can smell the chocolate and the nuts.

“Would you like a bite?” he offers.

“Ummmm…well, yeah, just a bite….”

He’s going to be sorry when he sees the granny pants I bought. Those are pants made to accommodate eating Snicker’s bars. Lots of them…

My new sexy “granny pants” undies.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

« Older entries § Newer entries »