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Happy St. Patrick Day


Hopefully with the last snowstorm behind us, I would like to give you an insight through my roving reporter’s eyes this past week.

Registration is now being taken for men’s and women’s softball teams for the spring/summer leagues. Wonder if they might have to clear home plate of any snow?

Did you happen to see the early morning traffic as they maneuvered around the rabbit that was sitting in the middle of Smith Valley Road? Speaking of rabbits, we’ve had a rabbit that has been hanging around our mini barn on a regular basis. I hope he doesn’t get any funny ideas on becoming a house guest. Once I get my garden with red tomatoes….let me be the one to pick them.

More than one red bird is feeding in our bird feeders now along with several robins, which is always a good sign that warm weather can’t be far off.

The daffodils that grow along the front of my house have put forth blooms and my tulips lived through the winter, though they seem to have suffered a bit of wilting in that brief snow we had a week ago.

Yesterday my sister brought me a Mosquito plant, so that I might be rid of the pesky little critters. The easy-to-grow Mosquito plant emits a fragrance that keeps mosquitoes away! The only catch is you must rub or crush leaves to release the scent. I’m hoping to plant it along side of the garage and convince my husband to crush a few leaves each time he comes home.

Remember if you do not like Indiana weather; give it a day or two. Within days of the last snow this month, we actually opened up a few windows in the house mid-afternoon to enjoy the fresh air.

Then it snowed the next day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saran Wrap It Up …….

 

Saran wrap, at times when I see it, I am reminded of my Aunt Mona.

When we were kids, my sisters and I yammered and argued when we sat in the back seat, on the way to visit our dear Aunty Mona. “There’s nothing to do there,” I’d say.

“She’s family,” my father would say.

Her fruit and scroll garland printed settee, chair and ottoman were all covered with plastic. Even the accent ruffled pillows were wrapped in plastic. The lamp shades were covered with yellowing plastic wrap.

In all the years of visiting, our family never touched anything directly but plastic.

I never once felt comfortable in her house.

There was an unspoken rule about visitors and fingerprints. I never once touched her coffee table. Even our parents arranged their bodies on the couch so that they never touched anything!

When she opened the door, we were hit in the face by the scent of moth balls. It lingered in the air making our little eyes water. We could even smell it on our clothes on the way home. Mother would shoot “that look” in our direction, so us girls knew not to blink our eyes or even mention the odor.

We visited in the heat of summer we knew it would be torture. “Have a seat,” she would say. Sweating away inside her non-air-conditioned house was terrible. We couldn’t even squirm around on the plastic. In this heat, once your legs were planted – they stuck.

In the living room, I was worried about my legs being permanently attached to her plastic covered chairs. My sisters and I always left the house thankful that we still had skin.

Life was never cleaner or quieter than at Aunt Mona’s house. My sisters and I sat there on the couch until Daddy would finally say, “We should get going.”

Earlier today, in my kitchen, I watched my nephew Doug poke holes in saran wrap. He had already made a mess of things in the den.

I’m just grateful that my nephew feels comfortable in my house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s For Supper ?


Ours is a fast food restaurant or microwave diet. So gardening, canning and preserving food may seem out of step and anything but fun.

For generations, gardening and canning have filled those vacant, school-free hours between June and September with a fruitful activity that can still keep a food cellar — and a family pocketbook — full.

Still, canning requires some effort. Anybody who has done gardening and canning knows it’s not much fun. While family members love the fruits of their labor, they’re not prone to help much.

My mother has been making her own ketchup, jams, jellies, tomato sauce and salsa for years. She keeps busy through the summer, and the work doesn’t end until she is done with apples in the fall.

As I was taking the package of frozen peaches out of the freezer today, I began to think of how we put them up when I was a young girl. We began by watching the trees, and as soon as most of the peaches had turned a beautiful pink, we knew they were almost ready.

We put them in mason jars. I knew that when those jars came out of the basement, I would automatically wash them. Mother would work all day preparing the peaches for canning. While we kids popped peaches into our mouth as we worked.

Now as I sit at the kitchen table eating peach cobbler that was made from store bought frozen peaches, I think of the fun I had while working with my mother. Yeah right….. If God had wanted every woman to cook he would have never invented Del Monte.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Livin’ the Dream with Green Stamps

 

My nephew Doug, was helping me search the attic for a particular box. Naturally, he did more looking around than being actual help. He came over with a book of what he called funny looking postage stamps. No, they were not postage stamps; they were trading stamps I told him.
A few of us remember the day of “trading stamps” from Gold Bond, Eagle,
S & H Green, Top Value and others. They were given out by grocers, gas stations and some department stores with each purchase.
The stamps had to be put in books, which usually meant my sister or I would sit around the kitchen table, licking stamps. Although my mother used a sponge to wet the stamps, my sister and I would resolve to lick the stamps till our mouths went dry.
At different stores, you would get fulfillment books to put your trading stamps in. The pages of each book outlined that enabled you to paste your stamps in the proper place.
Each page required a total of fifty stamps. Stamps came in point system: singles, ten, and fifty. You couldn’t mix the points. If you wanted a page of singles you had to press fifty singles. If you wanted a page of tens you needed to press five tens. With the fifty point stamp you need to press only one on a page.
Several books full of stamps could be redeemed for all sorts of merchandise . . . small kitchen appliances, sporting goods, children swing sets, radios, televisions — you name it.
I remember vividly my family planned to save trading stamps for a blender. Only after mother explained that we could make milk shakes did my sister and I agree with her plan. My father simply went along with the program. He would just bring home the stamps. We only needed 10,000 stamps to get the blender.
Saving up 10,000 stamps seemed like a daunting task. There was a Osterizer at the end of that rainbow, so we patiently filled up stamp books until we reached our goal.
Eventually, a few stores discontinued the stamps and cut their prices accordingly. Trading stamps vanished from most places. “So you got things from just saving these stamps and stuff?” Doug asks.
I tell my nephew, “You know the silverware you use at grandmother’s house came from Betty Crocker/General Mills box tops.”
Condescending, Nine year old Doug rolled his eyes, “No Way” he said shrugging his shoulders. I shook his little shoulder. “Yes Way.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Worst Meal Ever !

If you’re like me, you have trouble some days getting into the spirit of the conversation. Try spicing up the talk around the office.
At the office today, the topic around the water cooler was: What was the worst meal you have ever eaten?
Without hesitation Susan was the first to chime in. “I’ve had pickled squid” and it tasted just like it sounds.” Dianna admitted to eating alligator and it was not good. Frog legs and she would pass on them again. Duckling and it was horrible. But she loved the escargot.
Ronnie admitted eating groundhog, snapping turtle, quail, goose, opossum, and raccoon. He also said he tried these foods back in his drinking days. He wasn’t sure he would try them sober. Terry admitted eating the rattle snake at Rustler’s Roste in Arizona and he had the t-shirt to prove it..but he wouldn’t eat it again.
“Once, at a Chinese wedding,” Lisa hesitated..…perhaps trying to choose her words carefully. “I tried shark fin soup..it was slimy. Fried duck skin…just the skin, no meat…oh and octopus… that were still moving. When we left the wedding reception we stopped at McDonalds.”
Jim’s answer was simple. “I had a meatloaf made from Special K cereal and it was gross. Pam admitted she has eaten: rabbit, venison, bear, squirrel, frog legs, ostrich and turtle. “But the strangest thing was the sweetbreads which were the pancreas and glands of a calf. All that served in a puffed pastry shell. And it did not taste like chicken.”
The panic look on Betty took us by surprise, “I’ve had nutria meat and I would not recommend it”. To be honest I had to google it after she walked away. Really Betty..…you ate a giant swamp rat?
Yet to the question, “What was the worst meal…. Larry was quick to answer. “Each meal I ever ate at my mother-in-law’s house.”
Now that’s an all together different subject for tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Saint Patrick Day!


 

Happy Saint Patrick Day! One day in the year that a great deal of people can celebrate their Irish Heritage. You will see shamrocks and people wearing the traditional green at more than one party. What makes the typical American turn Irish for one day?
Celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day could be an excuse for a day to celebrate after the winter blahs. It could be the corned beef and cabbage. Maybe just maybe it’s the green beer.
With warmer days not too far away, we will be able to plant the garden. Maybe Mother Nature knows best. Yes, there are signs of tulips popping out in the front yard. Hello Spring !
The road maintenance crews are busy, working on the streets before it’s too late for your automobile. County roads are lined with hubcaps lost by passing motorists while ruts in the road wreak havoc with car suspension. I can’t say for certain how deep the chuckholes are but I have heard that if you look in one of the massive chuckholes on the way to Linton you can see the top of a Jeep Cherokee that has been reported missing.
You have to feel sorry for folks who go to Florida at this time of year. No comparison could be drawn to any climate on earth that compares to Indiana’s first blush of spring. A few days from now those daffodils that defy any remaining cold weather will jump up out of your long silent lawn.
Yes, the promise of spring in Indiana has no equal anywhere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fishing was good; it was the catching that was bad


More than one person braves Indiana elements to go ice fishing
I have one question: “Why go fishing in sub-zero weather and how do you know that the ice won’t break?” Okay, that’s two questions.
My brother-in-law went ice fishing and wanted my husband to tag along. In some years, conditions allow for only one week of ice fishing in central Indiana.
My husband opted not to go ice fishing. Although he agrees there is no better food than fresh bluegill, he decides against ice fishing. Some people shudder at the thought of wind chill.
On this Friday afternoon, the brother-in-law would be standing on the edge of a small pond nestled in the rolling hills about seven miles out of Linton. There was only a faltering whimper of wind. The sun was dingy in the dreary sky. The noise of the city was far away.
The rumor in town was that there was some real good fishing and obviously it was true. In just over an hour he would catch nearly a dozen bluegills. His German Shepherd scrambled from hole to hole, keeping his eye on what was coming out.
The nice thing about ice fishing is that it doesn’t take expensive equipment. Just a little five dollar ice fishing rod and some thin fishing line. Some fishermen, who are more elaborate, bring portable huts equipped with heaters onto the ice.
My brother-in-law says that sometimes you can’t help but get excited about what you’re doing. You see geese flying over, or see a deer out looking for food. It can be snowing, sleeting, the wind blowing and it doesn’t bother you at all. Gee, this from a couch potato.
His wife states that ice fishing cures his cabin fever.
In this tiny corner of central Indiana, cabin fever is on the decline. The sale of tartar sauce is rising.