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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Spring is Trying to Emerge

Spring has sprung! Or has it?

I don't know what it is like in your part of the country, but spring is struggling to emerge here.

The last two mornings it has been 26 degrees. I feel sorry for the plants that were fooled a few days ago by the 80 degree weather and came out of hiding. I think my peonies grew a foot taller overnight.

But the birds are tired of waiting and are taking up housekeeping.

I love bluebirds and am glad to see they have decided to occupy this birdhouse. The past few years the barn swallows have presided there. I'm not too partial to them. When I'm out in the yard and they swoop through the air catching insects, I could swear they are after me and not the insects!

Back in December I posted here about cutting off dried hydrangeas, painting them red and placing them in pots outside for decoration.
I was lazy and didn't take them out. A few days ago I noticed that the sticks had leaves on them. They apparently have taken root!

You can't tell too much by the above picture, but there are green leaves on almost all of the sticks. I didn't know you could propagate hydrangeas this way. If I had tried to grow new ones, I probably wouldn't have succeeded.

I hope all of you are doing well and hopefully, someday soon, spring will emerge from hiding.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Blackberry Oatmeal Cookies

I love blackberries. I grew up picking them every summer with Grandma, Mom, my aunt on occasion, and my cousin.
I now grow tame vines in my yard and put them in our freezer.

We usually made cobblers with them and jams and jellies.

I do crafts every Wednesday at the Senior Center where I volunteer. Along with a craft I take a blackberry dessert.

I usually take blackberry muffins, blackberry crumbles or blackberry breakfast bars. On special occasions, I will take my Fancy Blackberry Cobbler.

Tomorrow I am leading the Crazy Crafters in making cookie jars.
Our Director said they would make cookies to put in the jars. They are making No Bake Cookies, using the recipe in my book. Yum Yum!

Instead of making a crumble, breakfast bar or muffin to take tomorrow, I decided to make some blackberry cookies.

I had never made blackberry cookies before, so I didn't know how they were going to turn out, so in case they were a flop, I made them tonight.

I found a recipe online and made a few changes to it.
Here is a pic of my ugly cookies.

Here are the ingredients and directions:

1 cup of room temperature butter
1 cup of packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup of sugar
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
1 1/4 cups of self-rising flour + 2 T
3 cups quick oats
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups blackberries (Cut up large ones)

Cream the butter and sugars until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
Stir in 1 1/4 cups of self-rising flour.
Stir in the oats and white chocolate chips.
Coat the berries with the 2 T of flour.
Gently fold the blackberries into the cookie dough.

Using a tablespoon, scoop out the mixture and place on a greased cookie sheet. (I used an un-greased cookie stone)

Bake for approximately 15 minutes at 375 degrees.
Cool for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.

TIP: the dough is thick and a little hard to work with. Use a large mixing bowl, so mixing the ingredients is easier to do.

From the looks of the dough, I really thought these cookies were going to be a flop. And after cooking, they weren't very pretty to look at either.

But they taste delicious!

I hope they like them at the center. And if you make them, I hope you like them, too.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


Are you watching the Olympics?

I must admit I have been watching the games for many years. It took a little while to get used to the alternating years. They used to have the summer and winter Olympics in the same year - not two years apart.

What is your favorite winter event?

I love the ice skaters, especially the women and men's singles events.
It is beyond me how they can do all of those jumps, spins, twirls and jumps without falling.

I remember Peggy Fleming from the 1960s. I went to You Tube and watched a few of her winning performances. She was so graceful.
Here is a link to one of the videos.
I also loved Dorothy Hamill. She was in the 1976 Olympics.
Here is a link to one of her videos.
They have advanced so much since the 1960s and 1970s, though. The skaters are now doing triple and quadruple jumps when they used to do doubles.

Can any of you ice skate?
I've never been on ice skates in my life, but I have roller skated - just not very well.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Feeding and Taking Pics of the Birds

I just love watching our birds and taking pictures of them.

I'm not too sure how they feel about being watched so closely while they eat, though. I do it from inside our windows, but they seem to know I'm there.

Our weather has been crazy this winter. We go from 50 or 60 degrees one day to snow and cold the next day.

The robins are confused, too. They have returned and we look out and see dozens of them in the yard at one time. I hope they like seeds, because I don't think they will be getting any worms out of the ground any time soon.

Do you like taking pictures of your bird visitors?


Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Year's Resolutions and Superstitions

Another year has passed.

It is time for all those resolutions.
If we make them, let's hope we keep them - at least for a few months.

I have been thinking about a word for 2018. I think my word will be contentment. I will try and be content in everything I do and in everything that happens.

I know that will be hard. It seems we are never content. But, I will do my best and try.

I grew up with many superstitions.

On New Year's Day we always ate cabbage, and in that cabbage was a piece of silver. We still keep this tradition, but I don't usually put silver in it.
People cook cabbage differently. My daughter-in-law's family cook apples in their cabbage.
Click here to see how my husband cooks our cabbage.

My grandmother believed in first-footer. The first one to set foot in her house on New Year's Day had to be a male. If you went by it precisely - a tall dark-haired male. It would bring you good luck and prosperity. I read somewhere that this was a Scottish tradition. We are Scotch-Irish, so maybe this is where Grandma McMillion came by this tradition.

Can you leave a comment telling us New Year's superstitions you grew up with? And, do you still go by them?

Or, perhaps leave a word for 2018 or a resolution you will try to keep.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Oh, Christmas Tree

I finally got my Christmas tree up and decorated.

I couldn't decide whether to put vintage ornaments or homemade ornaments on it. I love both!

So, I decorated with both.

vintage  ornaments + snowmen from jar lids and old wooden spools and vintage quilts

more from old quilts, scrabble ornaments

angel from page from song book and I love the vintage one where the heat from a light makes the inside wings go around and around

gingerbread baker from small lightbulb, handmade sheep and santa.

wreath made from vintage ornaments

Below are some links to posts from previous years on making Christmas ornaments and crafts. Check them out. There is still time to make some Christmas magic.

 Click here, here, here, here, here, and here

 Have you put up your tree yet?

Do you like homemade ornaments or new shiny ones?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Natural Christmas Decorating with Dried Hydrangeas

My neighbor (who is also my cousin) was taking up his hydrangeas last year and wanted to know if I wanted it to plant in my yard.

"Yes!" I said. I have a snowball bush, which is similar, but I had always wanted a hydrangea.

It really too off this year and grew huge. The flowers are dried now and I went out to trim the bush.

I got an idea! Why not spray paint them red and stick them in my outside flower pots.

So that is what I did. The project turned out great. I think they are very pretty - and Christmassy.

They went from ugly . . . 

to beautiful!

What do you think?

If you have some dried-up hydrangeas, you might want to give it a try.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Old-Fashioned Day

We volunteer at the local senior center.
On Wednesday, they had an Old-Fashioned Day.

Great Fun!

My cousin and I are wearing our old-fashioned outfits

Members brought in food to eat - pinto beans, fried potatoes, cornbread, biscuits, pickled corn, fudge, applesauce stack cake, etc.

It makes your mouth water just reading those foods.

We played games (marbles, jacks, two-legged race, etc.)
I hadn't played jacks since I was a kid - and I won!

Teresa, the site supervisor, told origins of old-fashioned sayings and traditions.

We had a guessing-game table filled with old-fashioned items.

How many can you name?

I demonstrated a button yo-yo.

I also made these rag, mop and hanky dolls for prizes, and donated one of my cookbooks (since it has some old-fashioned recipes in it) for a prize.

Everyone Had a Great Time!

These dolls are very easy to make. Use a Styrofoam ball for the head. Tear your favorite material (cotton prints or muslin) into approximately 1" strips. If you use a yard of material, you can get around 36 strips, which is plenty. Lay them out flat on a table or floor and tie a string around them at the middle point. Put the Styrofoam ball under where you tied them together, spread out the strips of material (making sure to cover up the ball entirely) and tie a strip of material tightly around the neck.

Braid 3 to 6 mop strings or torn pieces of material together and knot the ends to make the arms. Separate her 'skirt' in the middle, slide the arms through and then tie a strip of material tightly beneath her arms to make her waist.

If you want, you can glue a piece of lace around her neck.
And make a kerchief for her head by cutting a triangle piece of material.

Hope you enjoyed my old-fashioned post.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Making Molasses in the Hills of West Virginia

It is that time of year. 
The time of year to make molasses.
A few weeks ago we went to the annual Liberty Lions Club Molasses Making.

 Below is a pictorial slide show of each step in the process.


Above is the last step. The finished molasses is piped out of the bottom of the big pot into quart or pint canning jars and put on the shelves to purchase.
It is a time-consuming process, but well worth the effort put into it.

They also made apple butter in a big copper kettle.
I have fond memories of making apple butter in 
Grandma's yard when I was young.

The molasses tasted delicious (they let you taste test a spoonful of it). We bought two quart jars of molasses, but didn't buy any apple butter. I make my own apple butter in a big pot on my stove.

It was a fun and learning experience.