Sunday, June 29, 2014

You say it's your birthday? It's my birthday, too!


Oh, this is a lovely rainy, grey day! My favorite weather. Storms predicted for this afternoon, so hope those aren't bad ones. Mom has loved her cards and recipes. What lovely people in this world to take time and money to do that... And so many of you dear Blog sisters, too!


Monday my sister cousin brought down this yummy melon salad, muffins, and her daughters and granddaughter came, too with a breakfast casserole. I made pineapple-cherry cake and a cheese ball. Party! Here are photos from that little brunch. My sister-cousin took these of my kitchen table.


Today it's a meal with my son. He's bringing down lunch from the ever-delicious a China Garden.




Friday, June 27, 2014

Happier than a piglet in mud!

Want to see the cake from a little surprise party for Mom and me? Even though we both told everyone we really didn't want something, my son put on a little soirée with his cousin for me, Mom, and his Aunt. Ambush. At high noon last Sunday at a new local restaurant.
This cake was simply awesome! One layer of chocolate, one white, butter Creme icing, ganache, Kitkat bars for the slats... Little piggies celebrating the glory of swimming in ...well.... Paradise.

Whimsy and Hugs!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ozarks Road Trip

Just a quick peek at our road trip. Three Class of '72 girls headed to The Lake of the Ozarks to meet two of our bunch at Vista Grande, a really cool Mexican restaurant.

We drove through Jefferson City and loved our chatty car and the perfect sky weather.

We stopped on the way home at the Mo Highway Department Wildflower nursery. Acres of rampant wildflowers... I bought Mama a pretty pink one for 5 bucks.

Who knew they had this cool acreage and all these roadside plantings for sale?

Home by 4:00 and glad to have the night with my son and Mom.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Solstice Peas

My kind of morning! It's a little hazy, almost overcast, and I can truthfully say I've enjoyed the first morning of summer! I bought a gallon of peas still in the pods from the Amish, and they transformed into two packages of emeralds for the freezer. All blanched, plunged in ice water, and ready for that first snow. Yep. You heard me right. I don't always get to do this, but I love my tradition! Years and years ago when I had my own garden, I started the tradition of saving one package of peas for the night meal of our first snow. There is just something transformational in that...

During the hot summer, the whole couple hours it takes to shell the peas, my mind captures happy thoughts of how good these will be on that future, blustery-cold night. I picture them brimming with summer warmth and a little pepper, salt, 'n butter! Then next winter I always adore thinking about the day I put them up... Even best of all, this year when it's the first day of Summer... I feel like a Vegetable Princess! Well... Anyway, it's fun upstairs in my mind...

Preserving garden of any kind brings three women to mind... My mother, my Gramma Minnie, and my other Grandmother Iona, Ma. Gardeners extraordinaire they are, and my cousins have mostly kept that gift alive. I loved preparing the peas the most, although freezing sweet corn ran a close second. They always, always wore cotton dresses, sensible shoes... Or barefoot! and lovely aprons as they worked up their harvests. Mom, Gramma, and I usually had two five-gallon buckets, mostly-filled, and after the initial judgement on the quality and integrity of that year's crop, the conversation took many turns. We often worked outside under the trees, but here at home our garden work took place on the screened-in porch. Mom and a Gramma liked to set up a complete camp for every vegetable, putting everything else on hold. I liked snapping peas.. It was a job I did well!

At Ma's the vegetables were usually worked in small batches. The snapping moved into her porch inside..or even her kitchen. She usually worked alone or with my grandfather, I think... And she had row after row of nearly every vegetable to put up. But if I happened to be in her house in Excello that day, I could help. And at Ma's we took an occasional nibble of raw peas... Green as fresh hope... Slightly taboo with Gramma, I think due to her Pennsylvania Dutch practicality. "What we gobbled raw in the summer, we couldn't have next winter. Plain as day!" ------ needless to say, I nibbled this morning... Just a few.

My friend called me today with news of the Summer Rousings at Stonehenge... I'd love to be there even once. I've always wanted to initiate the practice of a Midsummer's Night party outside on the lawn... Trees alight with candles in jars. Huge beverage dispensers of cut citrus and lemonade... Little sliders or tea biscuits... Hey, why not music and sparklers? There needs to be mystery, magic, laughter... Something to dream about, along with the Winter Sledding Solstice party I've never had... That's too close to Christmas! ---- am I EVER that ready?

I hope wherever you are, whatever you are up to, you enjoy the change of seasons. Most likely, your thoughts aren't boomeranging around today like mine... Flashing between summer and winter. Have a beautiful summer's evening... And as Tennesee Ernie Ford used to say, "Bless your little, pea-pickin' hearts."

Monday, June 16, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mama!

My Mom, Norma, is going to be 90 on June 29th! I'd love it if we could surprise her with good wishes from Blogland, my special, magical world of sisters (and brothers).

If you have a minute, please leave or send her a note, message, or a recipe (her passion is recipe collecting)... I'll print them out individually for her special day! Please share with your friends if you have a mind to do so.

If you want to mail her a note, just contact me and I'll send the address to ya!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Father's Day Weekend...

Have yourselves a wonderful weekend and enjoy your friends families, dads if you have them. My son is coming Sunday for lunch and Spinner.

The years embrace this life we live and create more and more memories, often less and less experiences. I think about summers of the past-- barbecues, tractor rides, backyard projects. Life then was much more full... Often then I felt overwhelmed by too much to do in one day. Now many factors have merged to sculpt the daily rounds I live here with Mom. Life is truly a miraculous mystery...

I've written so many posts about Daddy... I think about him more than I did for a while. Guess it was just too painful, and now it's just beginning to be something I can do. At all. Here's my tribute to our good life. It's rather indulgent and elementary... But it's my blog, I think. Lol.

The Alphabet of Dad

A. My Dad bears the unique distinction in my mind of being able to do anything.

B. Daddy had a big heart for everyone.

C. Most of this home and my own showcase his gift of carpentry.

D. If ever there could be Mr. Dependable, it's my dad.

E. He captured the magic of electricity.. I can see him now with his meters and tools.

F. Every single day, no matter how he felt, he looked for the fun.

G. Far and near, I always hear, "he was such a good person."

H. Hands. Big, strong, hard. Gentle.

I. More than ever I understand how he was intelligent in the important areas of life,

J. July was his month. His birthday on the 11th. He loved the 4th. And he took his vacation to do the haying every year.

K. Kindness overwhelming.

L. Laid-back personality...mostly.

M. Music. My dad loved Big Band, marches... And he sang all the time. I guess he was happy.

N. I never thought I would be without him.

O. Oh, boy... He was outgoing.

P. Sometimes I was so impatient, but Daddy was a big planner. Plan twice. Work once.

Q. He was, although so friendly, a truly quiet soul.

R. Reliable.

S. Strong.

T. I catch myself at times thinking about the way he loved to tinker, work, and keep busy with his telephone collections, the farm, and anything going on.

U. When my dad was here, he understood every one of us and met us at our true selves.

V. Versatility. Just when you thought you had him, he'd surprise you.

W. Well, just really wonderful.

X. Exactly the kind of a dad I needed.... and grandfather extraordinaire!

Y. You have been so kind to let me do this post.

Z. It's been a blessing to zoom in on Daddy...just for his sake.


Saturday, June 7, 2014

What's your style?

I often give that question some serious thought. "What's my style?" It varies from day to day, weaving in snippets of old world, little touches of French country... Some shabby chic, a bit of primitive, some casual elegance... Music and colors, too... It's hard to pin me down to one single genre of anything. But...oh, honeys! I do love me an auction! Friday morning my two friends and I (the official Thelma and Louise and Louise trio), decided to go bee bopping off to Amish country in search of strawberries, fresh produce, angel food cakes... And adventure. We ran our usual circuit in reverse and began about 8 :30 a.m...
We made a couple stops at a general store or two and my favorite home... Then ....oh, my wonders! We dropped in on the huge produce auction. Farmers market entrepreneurs and Amish growers connect. It's awesome! One queued after another the restless Belgians and draft horses await their turns to pull in the lane cut through the east end of the metal pole barn. We sit in weathered wooden pews from some abandoned church. I was on the front row, just about four feet from the horses...

The auctioneer and his helpers begin their chant... I love that excitement of an auction. This one was swift, changed up, a little overwhelming. No little bargains here. We bid on individual boxes crammed full of tomatoes, strawberries, cabbage heads, zucchini... But we had to multiply that times the required number of units...sometimes two but more often eight or ten. I sat there rapt, all enthralled with the moment... And then I did it. "SOLD!" I bought zucchini for four dollars a box... About 35 in a box... Times SIX! 200 zucchini! We travel in a car that already contains several items... Six boxes? Three grown women, 20 pounds tomatoes? And, oh, wait homemade lemon chiffon cakes, fried pies, homemade bread and rolls... Then my friend slipped her hand high for 32 quarts strawberries.
My good sense kicked in, and I was able to unload resell four of my six boxes for my cost ($4/box). Yep. Zucchinis are one dollar each at the grocery store. My original purchase would have been $200 if bought there. I paid $24! I gave away half a box or more once I got home, so by selling and blessing others, I still have about 40! Calling all recipes!
My strawberry friend gifted me with 4qts berries, and I also ended the day with fresh Bibb lettuce x three and green peppers... Ten pounds juicy tomatoes... I woke up at four a.m. And stemmed, sugared, and froze my berries... Time for a last nap before watching Pioneer Woman.
So, to sum it all up, I am auction style... I decided the mood lift it brought, I should make a CD with auction chants... Roast a hot dog with dry relish... And I'm good. Happy weekend. Today is that perfect, grey, rain all day weather. That's my style.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

June is Here!!!

This first day of June brings its gifts from all the other Junes in my memory. I feel capable of living outdoors, running with my two collies, playing dress-up with my cats... All the merry, magical gifts of summers gone by. That's way different from what's happening now, but June is still usually a pretty month, filled with roses and fun.

My son's employer took many of his staff to see the St. Louis Cardinal game this weekend. It was a first trip to a major league stadium for my son. The group had a Luxury Box room with food, dessert bar, dancing waiters, air conditioning, .... The works. He had a blast! The Cards lost that game to San Francisco, but still the "cool" factor remains.


Sassy waitresses perform a line dance before the game.


All these choices ----- free!

Here' a peek at my sweet rose bush. Its name is Quietness... A tint of pink confection. And a new little planting who survived the harsh winter. Truly Pink.

I definitely have lots of June plans...busy busy. Have a lovely month, Blog Sisters.