Thursday, November 22, 2012

In Everything, Give Thanks

No people on earth have more cause to be thankful than ours, and this is said reverently, in no spirit of boastfulness in our own strength, but as with the gratitude to the Giver of good who has blessed us. 
Theodore Roosevelt

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.
Melody Beattie

If a fellow isn't thankful for what he's got, he isn't likely to be thankful for what he's going to get
Frank A. Clark

Reflect on your present blessings, of which every man has many - not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.
Charles Dickens

In every thing give thanks:  for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
The Lord, via Paul  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Helen, GA: Vacationing with the Granddaughters

 What a wonderful trip we had a few weeks ago with our two little granddaughters!  We went back to the cabin in Helen, GA.
Of  course we made a stop at the Cabbage Patch Hospital!

 Got coffee at the Jumpin Goat Coffee Roasters in Helen.
 Enjoyed the resort's horses.

 Went hiking,
 Horseback riding,
and just relaxed.
 We also drove up into the mountains, ending up in North Carolina.  Back in Helen, we enjoyed the quaint little town with all it's Alpine charm.  We even had a carriage ride through the town.
What a blessing to be able to vacation with our grandchildren!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Puttin' Up Vegetables

In our part of Northwest Florida, we are in the middle of our growing season.    Again, the Lord has blessed us with an abundant crop.  We've canned our snake beans, frozen our squash, peas and corn, and are in the middle of harvesting the tomatoes and cucumbers (did anyone say tomato sandwich?).
Baby watermelons and muskmelons are on the vines.  Soon, though, as the summer wears on, it will be too hot, and the garden will take a little break (and so will we).  Of course, things like peppers and eggplant will struggle through and revive again toward the end of summer.  Then we will have another opportunity to plant a late summer garden with squash, snake beans,  some late tomatoes, and possibly some more potatoes.  I like to stretch out the growing season as long as I can.  
There's nothing like fresh garden vegetables during the summer months, and if you can preserve some of them for the winter months, you will not only have some mighty fine eating come winter, but you will also save quite a bit on you grocery bill.  
If you haven't tried freezing your produce, give it a try.  It really is an easy thing to do, and something the kids can help with as well.
Last week we finished freezing our first row of pink-eye-purple-hull peas.  This pea is akin to black-eye peas, but not as dry.  
After shelling the peas (grab the kids for this task), I wash them under running water and put them into a strainer to drain.  Work in small amounts. 
 I go ahead and put them in my wire basket that I use to blanch them in.  Next, I blanch them in a large pot of boiling water.
 After two minutes of blanching, I quickly drain them and plunge  them into ice water to begin the cooling process.
Here are some squash I put up a couple of weeks ago.
After cooling in the ice bath, I gently lay the vegetables on a clean dish towel to further cool and drain.
Aren't vegetable pretty?
At this point, the hard work is done.  Now, all that's left is to put the vegetables into a freezer container.  I measure out about two cups of vegetables for each quart bag.
 After pouring the vegetables into the bag, I gently squeeze out as much air as possible and lay the bags flat.  This way they stack nicely in the freezer.
 Place them in the freezer and that's all there is to it!  You'll be all ready to enjoy the fresh taste of summer all through the coming year!
For more information on canning and freezing methods, check with your local County Extension Office.  They have all kinds of valuable information on gardening and preserving foods.  You can also check with the USDA's website here. 


Friday, June 8, 2012

Girl Power for Father's Day!

I'm guessing that most any mother would be proud of her children and probably think they are just geniuses.  I'm no exception!  Yesterday my daughter, granddaughters and I went on a country road trip to a farm not too far away in Lillian, AL.  We were on a mission to purchase another bushel of corn.  Couldn't be just any kind of corn.  It had to be "Silver King."  Now Silver King is the kind we have growing in five rows of our garden, but for some reason this year, it is not looking very productive.  So no worries, there's so many farms close by, we decided it would be a nice day trip to just go farm hopping and buy some.  We found a charming family farm here called Cassebaum Family Farm.  
 We purchased our corn and headed on to Elberta to find a place to eat.  On the way, we found another farm with blueberries for sale. We stopped and decided to pick some berries with the girls.  We hadn't planned on this, and believe me, the Lord had blessed us with lots of blueberries, and LOTS of sunshine.  We were dripping wet by the time we paid for our berry delights.  
We jumped into the car and drove west to Foley, AL, a beautiful little town in lower Alabama.  It sits north of Gulf Shores, AL, on Highway 59.  We visit Foley and these other little towns several times a year for antiquing trips and festivals, so we felt at home.  We found the little Pharmacy, called Stacey's Drug Store, which looks to be the original soda shop/pharmacy from back in the 30's or 40's.  Gracious, this little place is so full of antique ice-cream parlor charm!  They have the original soda fountain, a player piano, juke box, and a model train running all around the top edge of the room.  They even have 10 cent coffee!  I had to sample it, and it was delicious!    
After eating a delicious lunch and ice cream at Stacey's, we headed back to Pensacola.  We had had a most wonderful day, but we still had all that corn to put up!  
Now for the proud mother part.  On the way home, my daughter informed me that she was going to build a lounge chair for her hubby for father's day.  I didn't blink too much because this gal of mine has a history of tackling any kind of job.  And my oldest granddaughter is just like her...has to be right there in the middle of everything.

 Shelly promised me more pictures to come as she progresses along, so stay tuned.  Here is the second picture:
Here's more!
She got 'er done (with a little extra help)!
Can you see that drill gun smoking?
It was a breeze!

From start to finish, 3 1/2 hours!

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Day on the Farm Canning Memories

What a pleasant, productive day on the farm!  Hubby and I hit the floor running.  I fixed Mom's famous cheese biscuits and then went out to feed the chickens and pick beans.  Daughter Shelly was coming up with the grandgirls to a day of canning and jelly making.  We had already canned 21 quarts, but the beans have been coming so fast, we had to drop everything and do it again.
  Hubby and I kept passing each other between the house and shop.  He was setting up the propane burner while I was filling jars with snake beans.  Shell and the girls got here as Hubby took the jars out to the shop to process and I was picking more beans.  Shell took over that job, 

and I came in the house to fix the little ones' jelly biscuits and start snapping beans.  Shelly finally came in and we sat a while snapping the rest of the beans.  Then off to wash them and fill more jars for Hubby. 
Finally, after 3 batches of beans, we had a quick lunch.
Lillie and Lanie got into my vintage jewelry and came dressed in their finest to a luncheon of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

  After a little rest, we thought we would treat the girls (and us) to a little swim time, splashing and relaxing in the water.  

Finally, we decided we better get started on the strawberry jelly.  After two batches, we ran out of sugar and pectin.  Shell went to the store but they had sold out of pectin!  We decided to freeze the remainder of the strawberries and call it a day!

We canned a lot of beans and sweet jelly for the winter, but more than that, we canned a lot of precious memories!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day and Victory Gardens

My prayer is that we will all take a few minutes to remember our wounded and fallen heroes, not only on Memorial Day, but every day as we carry out our plans, enjoying all the cook-outs and fun-filled summer activities that are ours because of those very heroes who fight and give their lives so that we can enjoy ours.  
To help celebrate this Memorial Day, I am offering you these World War II Homefront Memory Collage Digital Sheets.  Just right-click to "Save Picture." I hope these will help you think about our soldiers and this great country that they protect.

Today as I was picking beans in my garden, I thought about the Victory Gardens that Americans had back during World War II.  Their purpose was to help stretch food here at home so our troops overseas could get the food they needed.  
As I picked more and more beans, I thanked the Lord for the bountiful harvest and for our military who makes it possible for us to live in a free America where we can have gardens or anything else we enjoy.
Our Victory Garden. 
They were hanging by the handful.

Thank the Lord for our harvest and for our great country, the home of the free because of the brave. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Gift of Love and Mother's Day

Husbands try hard but often do not have a clue when it comes to purchasing gifts for their wives.  They are notorious for choosing such "personal and romantic" items as toasters or vacuum cleaners for holidays or anniversaries.  I've even heard of a fella who for some unknown reason thought his wife would just love a new outboard motor for Christmas!  My husband (bless his heart) bought an iron for me one Christmas and a crock pot for another holiday.  I'm guessing he thinks as long as I have the right tools to keep him neat and fed, then I will be happy. He tries.
Well, a few weeks ago, my husband outdid himself.  I came home from work one afternoon, and he had that "little boy who just got into the cookie jar" look, so I knew something was up.  He invited me out to the workshop to see what he had bought for me.  Oh, how sweet, I thought, and it wasn't even my birthday!  
He led me to the shop and proudly pointed out his "gift of love."
 A brand new, muscle-powered (no wasting of gas like the tiller)
garden cultivator.
Oh, I said.  That's nice.
He continued to explain the benefits of such a fine piece of machinery.  It fits easily between the rows.  It's just my size.  And the biggie:  I won't have to wait for him to till the garden anymore (see how thoughtful he is).
Okay, to be honest, he knows how much I like gardening and old things, so I have to give him some credit. 
It really is a pretty contraption.
Yesterday I thought I would give the new plow a try.  When I pushed it down the row between the snake beans and peas, it turned the weeds and soil amazingly well. 
 Hmmm...I decided this was fun.  I continued along the row, turning at the end to come back down the row.  After about 8 trips up and down the 50 foot row, I had a nice, clean tilled pathway.  Only 11 more rows to go.  

It wasn't bad once I got the hang of it.  I only dropped it on three pea plants.  I only plowed up 4 corn stalks.  I only skinned one knuckle when I passed the post holding the sprinkler head.  I only got one busted blister.
AND, the best part was, it only took me four more hours to finish tilling the whole garden (and saving all that gas). 
This morning I realized another benefit of my husband's love gift.
I no longer need the treadmill (Maybe my husband will sell it and buy me a thoughtful gift for Mother's Day). 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Creative Sewing

Tina from ttimecreations purchased some vintage Easter images from my shop and this is what she created!
Even though Easter has passed, this is still a beautiful bag and would be worth purchasing for spring or saving for next Easter.  But Easter items are not all she creates!
She also made this adorable little pillow case dress:
 For more bags and goodies, go visit Tina at:

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Happy birthday, Mom.  I've thought about you all day, and you have been right here with me...when I heard the birds singing and remembered how you loved the wild birds...when I made your famous cheese biscuits this morning for breakfast...when I made squash casserole and remembered the little "squashettes" we used to make together up in Eclectic, Alabama...when I took a canning jar from the dishwasher and gave thanks for the many jars of green beans you put up every year and for teaching me how to do it...and mostly, when I picked up Lillie and Lanie for the afternoon and thought how much you would have loved those great-granddaughters, and they you.  I told them today was your birthday.  Lillie said, "Awww...." liked she missed you too.  I look forward to the day we can celebrate together again.  I love you Mom.
Vera Elizabeth,
my mom 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring's Early Vist

Spring visited early this year!  My azaleas began blooming the end of January, and now they have come and gone.  In their place, is the lovely wisteria "tree" my husband planted and trained several years ago. 
Its lovely purple, grape-like blossoms fill the air with its special sweet fragrance.
Can't you just smell it?
It sits nestled in the shadow of the bare pecan trees in the front yard.
Hope as I may that Spring truly is here to stay, those pecan trees tell me a different story.  Its a well-known southern fact that spring may come to visit, but never stays until the tiny, tender green leaves burst forth on the bare branches of the old pecan trees.  
I check them almost daily, waiting to see the smallest hint of green. 

The buds are swollen, but patience must prevail; they come when they are ready.  Not a minute sooner.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Weather in Florida

You never know what the weather will bring here in "sunny" Florida.
After a pretty cold winter last year, we have really had a nice, mild winter this year.  The tulip trees have all bloomed out nicely, and my azalea bushes are about half-way covered with beautiful pink, red, and white flowers.  I noticed the other day that even the bridal bush is showing some white blossoms.  
But, alas, last night we had a hard freeze.  This morning I had to break the ice in the chickens' water dish.  My beautiful azaleas are a bit droopy.  But that's the story of weather here in Florida.  There's an old saying going around that if you don't like the weather here, just wait around a few minutes and it will change.  Tonight we're supposed to have another hard freeze, 23 degrees.  Tomorrow night, a mere 58 degrees.  Go figure! 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Florida Apples

Starting to harvest the apple crop.  I picked up these few from the ground.  The apples aren't very big (I think they're cute as a button), but they sure taste good!  They are a little tart with just enough sweetness to balance out the flavor.  
My gathering apron:

 Seems odd that one would be harvesting apples in the dead of winter!  I'm counting my blessings and thanking the Lord for this special treat!