Monday, August 29, 2011


How about if, for every soldier we bring home from Afghanistan and Iraq, we send four wild hogs from Texas?

Also, how about training wild hogs to sniff out cocaine, then turn them loose in Mexico, along our borders? They also could be used for sniffing out pot runners.

Quote of the Week: 8/29/2011

"It's no use boiling your cabbage twice."

Irish proverb

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

FAMILY AND FRIENDS: We, the people. . .

You know, it used to be that families stayed together. Living in the same house. Now, homes are not as big as they used to be. You had a HUGE kitchen. And everyone ate meals together. Now it is hard to get the family together in one spot for an hour or two. Everyone has something going on. School, baseball, soccer, ballet, and the list goes on and on. And the parents are just as busy.

It used to be that the grandparents lived with you. Everyone had chores to do. I can remember having to take the trash out. We burned our trash. But that is not allowed any more. Whole families used to get together for the holidays: your grandparents, and great grandparents if they were still around, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles. Sometimes it seemed that you had relatives show up that you only saw on the holidays. Everyone always brought something with them for the table. It seemed that you had enough food to feed an army.

Then, you had neighbors. They would stop by. Maybe have a bit of cider or eggnog. They might drop off a plate of goodies to munch on. In the summertime, we would set on the front porch and just kind of watch the world go by. Kids playing, the guy down the street mowing his yard, and others would set on their porches also. It seemed to be a better way of life. Not so rushed. Now everyone is in such a hurry. They are in such a rush all the time, that they do not see what's going on around them.

Kind of like today. Do you have a garden? Do you know if your neighbors have one? Do you even know or talk to your neighbors? How many friends do you have? I'm not talking about friends at work, or the store, or the gym. I'm talking friends that really matter to you.

If we had a natural disaster right by you, would you help the guy down the street? Would you be willing to help feed people from your own supply of food? This country is having some problems that could get a lot worse than what they are. And we need to stand together like we did on 9/11. We need to protect ourselves, but we need to help one another also. Would you help your friends?

I would. And I hope that they would want to help me also. I know of at least one family right now, in Kansas, who have a farm and the whole family has banded together. There are 20 or more people in this family not counting the kids. All of the adults hold jobs right now and they seem to be pretty supplied to take care of them selves and some of their friends and neighbors.

So, maybe it is time to walk yourself around the neighborhood. Talk to your neighbors. Maybe invite them over for iced tea or something. Get to know them. Be friendly. One day if you need help, they just might be the ones to save your bacon.

We are all one family. And we should all stand together in times of need. And hope and pray that that time never rears it 's ugly head. Maybe we should start another political party. And call it

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Making Vanilla: FEED YOUR FACE

Real vanilla is expensive. Imitation vanilla doesn't taste as good, and some of them taste like chemicals to me.

I saw on a blog how to make vanilla extract yourself. That's a good idea, right? That way you control what goes into it and how much. And the ingredients can be way less expensive than buying the prepared product.

So, we sent away for some vanilla beans. The vanilla beans I found at the grocery store were dried up and you only got 3 beans for about six dollars. I bought vanilla beans on (pure Madagascar vanilla beans), 16 for about $10. (Though if anyone wants to tell me where to get quality beans for even less, do tell!)

I saw Suzanne McMinn's process on Chickens in the Road. She knows how to do a LOT of things and make a lot of ingredients herself. She even taught me how to make homemade cake mix. Yay!

So, anyway, we followed her method, but we are using just a little bit different alcohol, just to see. Here is her recipe for the "big bottle method."

I love orange vodka. Well, I love lots of flavors of vodka! But I usually have orange on hand. So, our first batch is made with orange vodka.

Not to be left out, Jim wanted vanilla made from Jack Daniels whiskey.

So, that's what we did. It takes about 3 beans per cup of alcohol, and it takes about 4 weeks for it to "do."

We'll let you know in about 3 more weeks how it went. Here are our pictures (and I recommend you follow Suzanne's instructions).

Monday, August 22, 2011

Quote of the Week: 8/22/2011

"No matter what business you're in, you can't run in place or someone will pass you by."

Jim Valvano
American college basketball coach

Thursday, August 18, 2011


My parents, grandparents, and great grandparents all canned food themselves. And a lot of what they canned we can buy at our local stores, already canned and ready to open, warm up, and eat. There are some who still do home canning.

Home canned corn tastes so much different than the store-canned corn. Everything I have ever had from home canning tastes so much better, and all the vitamins and stuff are still there. No additives like they put into all the store canned goods!

One year, Mom and Dad put up over 300 quarts of green beans, 50 some odd quarts of potatoes and corn. Not to mention how many quarts of tomatoes. And we won't even start on how much jelly and jams they have done. They canned just about everything that you can can. Even bread and semi-cooked pork sausage, as well as fish and some other meats.
Well, I came across a blog where they have home-canned bacon. I have heard of store bought canned bacon. But never home canned bacon. Check it out at:

I think that we will try this real soon. Course, keeping from cooking it all and eating it all will be a problem. You can this bacon raw, do the pressure can thing, and put on the shelf. Pretty neat. So for all of you canning people, maybe this is something to try the next time bacon is on sale at the store. At our house, we can NEVER have to much bacon.

So check it out. Give it a try. And let me know what you think.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

I grew up with this pledge. We used to say it every morning before school started. How many schools say it today? I think that it should return to our schools. I think that every school child should know it. If it offends someone? Oh, well. Get over it.

It seems that we have something that states "We the People." Well, what has happened to "The People"? Where are the ones who speak for the people? How many of us have paid the most, by the loss of loved ones. And what of the ones we lost from 9/11? When will we hold our heads high again as a nation? Have we forgotten something along the way?

Maybe it is time for each and every one to take some time. And look, really look, at ourselves and our country. We CAN fix this country. Let's do what needs to be done instead of passing the buck. The blame game gets us nowhere.

For we are one nation. We are the people of the United States.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Quote of the Week: 8/15/2011

Moderation. Small helpings. Sample a little bit of everything. These are the secrets of happiness and good health.
-- Julia Child, Chef

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


How long has it been since you had some sourdough? I had some sourdough pancakes years ago that were made from a sourdough that I was told was 60 some years old. That's a long time to have sourdough.

The sourdough had been in the family for years, and came from a sourdough kit that his great grandma had started. Sourdough is fun and quite good. And the things you can make are mouthwatering. You're only limited by what you can't think of.

Here is a sourdough starter with yeast. And then, one with out yeast. You need:
1 envelope yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (not hot water -- you should be able to comfortably stick your finger in it)
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, then mix in the other ingredients. Place the dough in a covered dish and set it aside in a warm place for 1 or 2 days. (We have ours in a little crock jar.)
Always leave at least 1 cup or more of your starter for seed. Replenish it with 1 cup flour and a cup of milk or water. Your sourdough starter may be delayed for a few days when kept in your fridge. But it still does its thing, only slower. Which can sometimes be a good thing.

Sourdough starter without yeast
2 cups warm water
2 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Mix well, and store in a covered dish for several days in a warm place. And, again, replenish with 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of milk or water. And always leave at least 1 cup of your starter for seed. And this starter will also be a little delayed when kept in your fridge.

Now make some up, make some pancakes with some blueberries! Fry an egg or two, throw in some bacon, and you will have nothing but smiles all around the kitchen or deer camp. Or make some bread from your starter, and get out the butter and homemade jam.

S0, quit drooling, get with it, and start some sourdough! You won't be sorry. Just make sure you have enough napkins to go around, 'cause every one will want some.

So, FEED YOUR FACE!! And enjoy.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Quote of the Week: 8/8/2011

"I think we may safely trust a good deal more than we do."

Henry David Thoreau
American Transcendentalist and writer

Friday, August 5, 2011


Here are a couple of quotes from them good old boys, cowboys.

Don't squat with your spurs on.

Talk slowly, think quickly.


Never miss a good chance to shut up.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Where to begin! I just finished reading The Help. I hope that some of you have read this book. If not, please give it a read. I found it to be a very true-to-life story for many of us who lived in the South during that time period (the 1960's).

I was born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1956. My sister was born 2 years earlier, here in Colorado. Our father was in the Air Force at that time. He was stationed in Little Rock, Arkansas. We lived in Little Rock, and then moved to Russellville, Arkansas. We were probably 2 and 4 at the time.

Now, at this time, my Dad had divorced my birth mom and he had remarried. The marriage was not the best in the world. He had to work all week at the base in Little Rock. He would come home to Russellville on weekends. I think our stepmom wasn't really ready to have a ready- made family.

They had fights, arguments, shouting matches, and such when they were together. My sister and I would set a foot or two from the TV and crank up the volume so we could not hear them. I know that this sounds really harsh, but I think that they did the best that they could. But my sister and I think that they were just not really ready to settle down and raise a family. So, the stage is set.

My sister and I shared a bedroom, just like a lot of kids have had to over the years. We were living in a little pink house in Russellville. There were kids to play with and lots of things to do. Also, a lot of things to get into.

Our Dad had bought a beauty salon for our stepmom, so we had to have someone come to our house to watch over us while she was at the salon working.

I wish that I could remember Nanny's name. She was black and overweight. She took care of us. Boy, could she cook.

Every morning before our stepom left for work, our breakfast consisted of a bottle of CocaCola and we each got a slice of cinnamon bread. Then we were to set on the couch after our stepmom would leave for work and wait for our nanny.

I'm sure that we didn't set for more than 10 minutes or so, if that. Almost as soon as she left and the door closed behind her, my sister and I were on the move. We were hungry, and the soda and toast was not enough to two little hungry tummies.

We would run into the kitchen. I would open a drawer and get out two spoons. My sister would pull out drawers to make steps so she could climb to get up to the cupboards, and she would get two cereal bowls. Then we would run out to the back porch where there was a big bag of dry dog food for our dog, Snowball.

We would scoop dog food into our bowls, then we then would come back in the house and my sister would get the milk out of the fridge and pour it into our bowls. We would wolf down our "dog cereal," as we called it. Then my sister would climb up on the counter, rinse the bowls and spoons, and she would put the used bowls on the bottom of the stack of clean cereal bowls, and I would put the spoons under all of the other spoons, then we'd run and get back on the couch to wait for the lady who watched us to arrive.

Our new nanny caught us getting our dog cereal once, and from then on she would fix us breakfast every day, sometimes bringing it with her from home. She cleaned our house every day. And she always had something for us to do.

At lunchtime, we had the best things to eat. She made us fried chicken, with watermelon for dessert. Her chocolate cake was the greatest! We grew to love her, and she grew to love us.

She was like a mother to us -- only better. She made over us just like we were her own.

Once, we had to go into town. We got on the bus. She placed me and my sister in a seat at the front of the bus, then she went to the back of the bus to find a seat for herself, since she was not allowed in the front.

We had maybe gone two blocks when the bus stopped to take on some more people. This guy, whom I can only say looked like a bum, sat next to us on the same seat. Well, he scared the crap out of me and my sister. We jumped out of our seat and ran to the back of the bus to climb up into our nanny's lap.

The bus driver stopped the bus, and came back to speak to Nanny. He told her that we had to set up in the front of the bus with the rest of the white folks. Nanny told the bus driver that we were scared of the guy that was in our seat. The driver told her that we either had to sit up in the seat we had been in, or we would have to get off the bus.

So the three of us got off the bus and walked the rest of the way.

One time, our Dad came home early. Nanny was there, cleaning up the house. She was nervous, 'cause it was the first time she would have seen our dad. Right before he came home, she was dusting the coffee table and she had dropped this real big heavy ashtray on it. It left a huge scratch, and you could see the bare wood. Well, she took a couple of cigarettes, unwrapped them, and put the tobacco in her mouth. It seemed that she had that tobacco in her mouth for an hour, but it was probably just a few minutes. She took that wad of tobacco out of her mouth, put it on that big scratch, and she rubbed and rubbed. Soon you couldn't see the scratch! She swore us to never tell, and we didn't! That is, not until about 25 years later. Dad had never known. She could have lost her job with us, I'm sure, if our stepmom had found out.

My dad and stepmom divorced after just a short time, and the three of us moved to Colorado. But I would think of Nanny often.

When I was 9 or 10, we had to make a trip to Arkansas. Our former stepmom took us to see Nanny. We were so glad to see each other! She made over us, just like she did when we were small.

She was a lot older and grayer. But she still had that light in her eyes that she always seemed to have when she would walk in our door and see us all those years ago.

I don't know how many kids she took care of over the years. My sister and I have often wondered whatever became of her. She loved us, and we loved her.

All these years later? I'm sure that she has passed on. And I'm just as sure that she, and all of the black ladies who took care of kids all over the South, are in heaven, taking care of all of the little ones.

I plan to find her name and where she is buried. I'll go visit her at her gravesite. Thanks to her, my sister and I were able to survive a real rough spot in our lives. I am forever grateful.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


The garden has been pretty sad this year. It got pelted with hail more than once, drowned in rain during two wet spells, and has been experiencing temperatures over 90 degrees for nearly 3 weeks.

The plum tomatos are protesting, first with blossom-end rot because of the inconsistent moisture, now with refusing to put on more blossoms.

The onions have been beaten down and are hiding out.

The grapes we had were knocked off the vine by the hail, so it looks like we'll have to skip this year.

BUT -- the pumpkins, though beaten with the same hail, and subjected to the same moisture and heat, are still interested in producing in the garden.

Come on Fall! We're going to have pumpkins!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Quote of the Week: 8/1/2011

"Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties."

Erich Fromm
German - American psychologist