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Friday, August 18, 2017

A Busy Summer

Summer is very busy around here.

I decided to take a break and show you a little of what we have been doing.

Be sure to click on all the links to recipes. I've included a lot.

We took a quick trip across the Ohio River to get corn to freeze.

They grow nice corn on the farms along the river.
So far we have put up 10 large and 8 small bags of corn cut off the cob. Go here to see how to make corn cob jelly and here to see how to freeze corn. .

Our grapes are doing great this year. I can't remember exactly when we planted our vines, but they are 20 to 30 years old, at least. One of the vines died last year. I was afraid we were going to lose all four of them. We were only able to pick a handful of grapes. When my husband pruned them early this year, he left the small vines growing from the old ones. Wow! We have a bumper crop.
Go here to see where I posted about making jelly and here to make concord grape pie. 


So far I have made four batches of jelly and put up three quarts of juice.

I don't know what I would do without this juicer, it is a time saver, for sure. It extracts the juice by steaming the fruit. I love it!

We also have a bumper crop of tomatoes this year. The vines are so large, I find it hard to see all the ripe tomatoes hidden in them. I usually peel, cut up and cook them for 20 minutes, allow to cool and then freeze them in quart freezer bags. We then use them to put in soups, chili and make creamed tomatoes. Click here for a recipe.

Our one plant of squash has outdid itself. I have made squash bread, delicious squash pies, casseroles, fried them and froze them.
Go here to see a couple of squash recipes I posted a few years ago.  I'm not really crazy about freezing squash, but I shredded a few and put 2 cup portions of them in pint freezer bags to use later in recipes. I also sliced some, froze them spread out on cookie sheets and then put them in bags. I'll get them out in the fall and winter, quickly cover them in corn meal and fry them while still frozen. 

I have also been picking blackberries and putting them in the freezer. Click here and here to see some recipes I've posted using blackberries.

To relax, we watch the birds and squirrels, visit our creek and watch the wildlife and decorate rocks (among other things).

What have you all been doing this summer?

Monday, July 10, 2017

Road Trippin' in West Virginia

Charley and I and two of our sons took a little road trip on Saturday.

We drove along the Midland Trail. 
Our first stop was at Kanawha Falls.
This is where the New and Gauley rivers
converge to create the Kanawha River.
 Click here to read a little about the falls.

On up from Kanawha Falls this house sits out in the river on a rock.

 Up the road a little ways we reached Cathedral Falls. 
It sits back in a natural rock amphitheater.

 My boys taking in the view.

A lot of people visited the roadside park today.
There is a small parking lot 
and picnic tables.
You can hike a path that takes you to the top of the falls.
But, no I did not take that hike.


Click here for a few pics of the falls in winter.

After enjoying the falls, we drove up, up, up 
the winding Midland Trail
to Hawk's Nest State Park.
As always when you go road trippin', you sometimes
have to visit Ye Olde Bathroom.
Pretty cool bathroom, don't you think.

The familiar, breathtaking view of the New River Gorge 
from Hawk's Nest overlook.

On the way back, we drove through the small town 
of Montgomery, WV
and stopped at the local Dairy Queen. 
This was the view from their parking lot - 
an Osprey's nest on top of a cell phone tower.

We enjoyed our 7-hour trip up to Hawk's Nest and back.

Have you been road trippin' lately?

Ever been to wild, wonderful West Virginia?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Feeding the Squirrels

A while back I posted here about a squirrel feeder my son made and we put up to feed the squirrels.

It seems the birds enjoyed it more than the squirrels.

The squirrels are confused no more!


                             Climbing back down after eating his breakfast.

They have also been eating the seeds on the ground that fall from our bird feeder. Now I think the cardinal is looking a little confused. He looks as if He is thinking, You are a squirrel. You are not supposed to be eating my seeds.

Do you have a caption you want to share about the picture of the seed-stealing squirrel and the confused cardinal?

(Click on the pics and see more details)

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Building a Home for our Critters

We have a few critters that live near us.

our heron
our deer, crows and wood ducks
and a squirrel
They all enjoy our little acre of land that we keep mowed and kept up. And they enjoy the creek.

We decided to go the extra mile for our wood ducks and build them a home.
We cut up a 12 foot long, 12 inches wide, rough-cut oak board
This shows the inside where we attached the wire to the front so the baby ducks can climb up it when they leave the nest

Finished house. The entry hole is 4" x 3"
Attaching it to the old pole that we concreted four feet in the ground.

Ready and waiting for next year when they take a notion to lay their eggs and start a family. We're looking forward to watching them jump from their home.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Spring has Arrived When . . .

What is a true sign of spring arriving?
Among other things, it is . . . 

Yard Sales - - I love yard sales!

Great Nike jacket, picture frames and vintage hankies

Fiesta! Yay. $1 each. I'm not sure about the colors, though. I think the bowls are Heather, but I'm not sure. I compared them to the colors online, but still am a little confused. Just know that among all of my Fiestaware, I don't have either of these colors.

Peonies - - -

Lovely, colorful, fragrant peonies.
How do you pronounce it - peo knees or pie knees?

snowball bushes
blueberries growing 

 blackberries blooming

grapes growing 

What is a sure sign of spring in your area?
Do you like yard sales? Collect Fiesta? 
And how do you pronounce peonies? 

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Colors of Spring have Arrived in the Hills of WV

We had a mild winter and after a few frosts, that the early buds had to dodge, Spring is here.

The dandelions and violets have arrived and are decorating my yard with their yellow and purple hues. As we drive the country roads, the redbuds and dogwoods brighten the landscape and the Sweet Williams decorate the woodland floors.

This old fella is hiding among the vinca. I believe this is vinca major. It doesn't die out in the winter and in early spring their beautiful purple flowers arrive. But, watch out! They can take over. I just pulled out a ton of these, you couldn't even see the hostas growing among them. But don't worry they keep growing back.

I have four bleeding hearts. This one got stunted a little from the cold weather, but this beautiful, delicate flower is now taking off. 

I have two lilac bushes - a purple and a white one. I love the scent that flows with the breeze and tickles my nose when I stroll through our yard.

I love watching these little creatures grow. They are so amazing!

Here is a field of ferns growing down by our building.

Hostas, hostas, everywhere!

It won't be long until my poppies, peonies, snowball bush and irises burst into color.

And check out my sidebar. I am tickled pink with the blurb Homer Hickam wrote about my new MG book, Duck and Cover.

What is bringing color to your yard?


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Pi Day and a Recipe!

Today is Pi Day. Yes, I spelled that right. This month for my kid's column in Two-Lane Livin' I wrote about how you could enjoy celebrating Pi Day. For some of you who are mathematically challenged, like me, read on.

Enjoying Pi Day 

     Q. What do you call a number that cannot keep still? A.  A roamin’ numeral.

     March is here and spring is peeking around the corner. By the time you read this, we will know if it came in like a lion or a lamb. I am hoping it came in like a lion.

     March 14 is Pi Day. It is a day to celebrate Pi, which is to make a long number short, 3.14. If you did not want to make it short, the number goes on forever. I found a web page on the computer that had one million digits of Pi listed.

     The diameter of a circle is the distance from edge to edge, measuring straight through the center. The circumference of a circle is the distance around it.

     Pi is the number you get if you divide the circumference of any circle by its diameter. The answer is always the same; no matter how big or small the circle.

     Another fun fact is if you multiply the diameter of a circle by 3.14, you will get its circumference. You can also determine the diameter of a shape, such as a tree, by measuring the circumference and dividing by 3.14.

          Some fun things to do on Pi Day would be to measure the circumference of many circular things, such as CDs, plates, Frisbees, pizzas, pies, cakes, pancakes, etc., and then measure their diameter. When you divide the circumference by the diameter, you will get the same answer every time, which would be 3.14 or Pi.

     Some other fun things to do on Pi Day are to hold memorization contests to see who can memorize the most digits of Pi. If you would rather write, you could hold a pi-writing contest. Set a three-minute timer and see how many words you can write that start with the letters pi. I tried it and I only came up with thirty. I bet you can beat me. Ready. Set. Go!

     Write 3.14 on a piece of paper and hold it up to a mirror. What does the reflection spell?

     Check with your local library and see if they have the following children’s books about math: Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi, Sir Cumference and the Sword in the Cone and Sir Cumference and the Viking’s Map, to name a few.

     But one of my favorite and delicious ideas to celebrate Pi Day is to eat pie. You can eat fruit pies, nut pies, pizza pies or potpies.

     Here is a favorite pie recipe of mine. Be sure and measure its circumference and diameter before you eat it. I bet I know what your answer will be.


½ cup sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons melted butter

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 cup hickory nuts

Mix ingredients and pour into piecrust.

Bake approximately 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Hope you enjoyed finding out all about Pi. And if you have some hickory nuts, try the recipe. If you don't have any, you could substitute pecans for the hickory nuts.

 And...drum roll please. If you notice on my sidebar, my MG book, Duck and Cover is now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Click on over and read about it. If you like to read middle grade books (I do) or know a child in your family who you think would enjoy reading it, feel free to order one. I think you will enjoy reading about Teddy and his friends.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Feeding the Wildlife

My son crafted a few squirrel feeders in December.

We kept one and he gave away two as gifts.

These are very well put together feeders. But, do the squirrels appreciate it?

Maybe we should ask him?

He seems content to watch as the birds eat the corn meant for him.

Do you have a squirrel feeder?
If you do, is your squirrel confused, too?