Monday, September 22, 2014


"The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves."

--Helen Keller, deaf and blind author, activist

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


I woke up Tuesday morning with goose pimples. Nice and cloudy, with temps in the 60's. A breeze all day long and some rain. Some of the trees around town are starting to change color. We should have our first frost Thursday night, which means that our grapes should sweeten up. 

We are hoping to get to the grapes before the magpies and other birds take them all. I have noticed that some of the bunnies running around are putting on some weight. So, I guess I better get the snow blower ready and the snow shovels out of storage. I found my snow boots, and they are in good shape.

They say this winter is going to be colder and more wet than last year. Maybe I will get a chance to use my new parka that I bought a couple years ago; past winters have not been cold enough for me to use it. Maybe this winter will be it.

It is also about time to get out our home cooked soups and stew recipes. Fall makes for some good eating weather. That reminds me! I need to get a bigger belt. I seem to always start to pack on those winter pounds before the first snow. Plus, I need some new long johns. I seem to blow the butt out of them every couple of years. (Maybe it's from all the beans I eat in winter.) It seems like I never see long johns on sale any where.

Time to also dust off the hot chocolate mugs. Nothing like a good old mug of hot chocolate while you toast your tootsies in front of a nice fire. A hot tub is nice also, but I don't do hot tubs any more. Last hot tub that Kathi and I were in, my snorkel melted. When I got out of the hot tub, I was so wrinkled that I looked like one of them Char-pay dogs. Not a pretty sight.

Yep, a little taste of fall, can make you want to have summer come back.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Everybody has friends. Friends come and go. Sometimes we make a friend, and then that friend moves, but we always remember that friend. Some of us have friends that we spent a lot of time with as we grew up. Then there are the friends who have passed. Never forgotten. They will be remembered for all of our lives.

We have friends who we may only get to see at a school reunion. Or a friend who calls and says that they are passing through town, and would like to see you for an hour or two. We have friends who are like a brother or sister. Some of us have friends we consider as part of our families. Some friends, we would do whatever we could for them. Other friends, maybe we can only stand to be around them for a short period of time.

When a friend passes we all kind of go back in time and remember the good times and the fun times. We remember the get-togethers as we grew up. My memories have been stirred and the passing of a good friend has me remembering about the years of folk dancing. Me, stumbling and fumbling to learn the steps the first couple of times. I did it just so I could meet some of the girls who were in the group, not knowing that I would come to like folk dancing.

I dated one of those girls all through high school, and got to meet the other girls. I came to know them all really well. Plus, folk dancing was a great way to spend a Saturday night. It didn't cost a lot. At some point, I started to feel a real close bond with everyone in "our" little group. As time passed, they were more like family -- brothers and sisters. 

As far as I'm concerned, they still are family. Even though we are scattered around the country, all any of them needs to do is call and I'll be there.

My friend will be missed by many. She will be remembered by many. Her suffering and pain are at a end. And, our suffering and pain will also end at some point. She is now dancing with, and for, our Lord, and with other family and friends.

I'll always remember my first dance exhibition at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, all those years ago. 

I'll miss her smile, and the little sparkle in her eyes. I'll miss the chance to dance one more time with her in the park. 

Monday, September 8, 2014


"Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well."
-- Robert Louis Stevenson, writer

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Here are some interesting things that you may not have known.

Handgun target shooters spend the most days shooting every year. And target shooting, over all, generates $1.8 billion in federal taxes, and $1.6 billion in local and state taxes annually. 

That's $3.4 billion in tax revenue. Plus, about half of the target shooters introduce someone new to shooting sports every year. I think that that is really cool.

So, now you know.

(Source: National Shooting Sports Foundation/Southwick Associates)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Wild Plum Jelly: FEED YOUR FACE (A Kathi Post)

There is a street not far from our house where we have seen wild plums growing. We drove there a couple weeks ago and saw the plums, but they were not ripe yet. We drove there today and some were ripe -- and a lot were missing, so we are not the only ones who look there.

Jim picked some ripe ones and we brought them home to make wild-plum jelly. It's so good and so pretty. 

First, just clean the plums by rinsing them in a colander. Then measure out about 5 or 6 pounds and put them in a large pan with a cup of water. Bring them to a boil, then let them simmer for 20 or 30 minutes. After that, put them in a jelly bag over a bowl and let them cool and drip. You'll want 4 cups of juice.

To make the jelly, prepare your jars and lids. (If you don't already know how to do that, is a good reference).

Put 4 cups of juice and 6-1/2 cups of sugar in a large pan. You can also add 1/2 teaspoon of butter to keep the foaming down. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in a pouch of liquid pectin, then bring the mixture back to a rolling boil and boil one minute while stirring constantly. Take the pan off the heat. 

Ladle the jelly into the prepared jars, filling to 1/4" of the top. Wipe the jar tops and the threaded rims with a clean, wet cloth (I usually just use a wet sturdy paper towel). Put the lid and bands on; finger tighten. Process in a steam canner or water bath canner for 5 minutes at regular altitude. We are at about 5,480, so we process this at 15 minutes instead. 

Then use a jar lifter to remove the jars, and place them on a folded towel on your countertop to cool. They will seal as they cool as long as you don't mess with them. 

I love the pinging sound of the jars sealing. When our dog Nugget was still living, he'd let me know when he heard the jars pinging, j-u-s-t in case I didn't hear it myself. He was an excellent kitchen helper.

So, go pick some wild plums, make some wild plum jelly, grab a biscuit and FEED YOUR FACE!