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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Weekend Happenings

Another weekend has come and gone.

I've been to yard sales and gotten a few goodies. Below is a large garden basket I got for 25cents, a brand new Pyrex quart measuring bowl for 50cents, old zinc canning lids 3/$1, fall potholders and oven mits, etc.

I got a Anchor Hocking pie plate for 50 cents.

A huge metal bowl which will come in real handy for 50 cents and Charley got a vintage hand drill for $2.

I'm going to make something out of this cute scarecrow Halloween outfit someone made from an old shirt and blue jean overalls, I'll post it when I finish.

And this baby quilt for only $1! It is hand applique and embroidered. Isn't it beautiful? I don't have a baby, but I couldn't pass it up.

My berries are finally winding down. I picked 3 quarts and made blackberry jam. I love blackberry jam! I also made and froze batches of spaghetti sauce with my tomatoes.

And, today we went to the WV State Honey Festival in Parkersburg.

There were lots and lots of honey products and lots of bee related items for sale. I went through this 1804 log house which they have made into a museum. I loved going through it. It was filled with period items that had been donated by people.

I felt like sitting down in this old rocking chair on the second floor and staying a while.

But the best part was getting to see my son and his wife at the Festival.

We've had a great weekend and wonderful weather.

Hope you have too.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Canning Jars

There's been a lot of posts about canning and jelly making lately, so I thought I'd post about canning jars.

Canning jars have been around for a long, long time.
This year the Ball brand jar is celebrating their 125th anniversary.
Go to their site and look around. There's recipes, items to buy and interesting info about the company.

In 1858 John Mason patented the Mason Jar. As a matter of fact there are jars that say Nov 30th 1858 on them, but that doesn't mean they were made in that year. That's the year they were patented. But they did stop making them in the early 1900s with that saying on them. So if you have one of those, unless it's a fake, it is still pretty old.

I have one. . . It's not a very good picture, it's very hard to get a good picture of a canning jar. The top of the jar is rough. It was hand blown into a mold and the lip was ground. If it was machine made the lip would be smooth. It probably dates to around 1900. I found this quite a few years ago at a Salvation Army Thrift store. I knew nothing about the jar at the time. It's probably not worth much, but I think it's neat and I'm keeping it. If you click on the picture for a close up, you can see the lettering and the date.

If you have lots of jars click on this great site that helps you date them. At the bottom of the page there is a chart of the different ways "Ball" was embossed on the jar and it tells the range of dates for the making of that particular jar. So you can get out your jars of produce and see if you have an old one. I haven't checked all of mine, but I did check a few and there were some in the 1923-1933 range.

There's even a Ball Jar Collector's Website.

Here is an old Kerr Home Canning Booklet.
It's the World's Fair Edition dated 1933-1934.

And I love these old Jumbo Peanut Butter Jars.

Here's a few old ones I found in my attic.
The one on the left is the cracked Liberty Bell made in 1976,
an old Atlas one and some pretty colored ones.

I kept these, because I thought they were neat. The one on the left has an anchor on it and says 'Mason', a square one embossed with lots of little blocks and one with tomatoes embossed on it.

Of course, jars aren't just used for canning. They are great for storage.

This old one holds sea shells in my bathroom.
They are the ones my dad brought back from Japan
when he was over there at the end of WWII.

This big Atlas jar is full of pretty colored bouncy balls.

Here is one made into a pretty light.
I put rose hips in the bottom and put in a candle light.

I remember when I was a child and my mom had bushels of canning jars under the house. She put an ad on the local radio swap and shop to sell them. I bet there were a lot of old ones.

Canning jars are great! What would we do without them?
Whether you can or make jelly with them, store things, or craft with them, they would be hard to live without.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Weekend Happenings & Recipes

Another weekend has come, time sure does fly by. Fall will be here before you know it.

This weekend I watched towels and sheets flutter and dry in the breeze.

I put up tomatoes in the freezer.

I took a snapshot of this beautiful sunflower that grew on its own on the edge of our burn pile. The bee seems to be enjoying himself. I guess our burn pile will have to keep getting bigger until the sunflower dies, because it's just too pretty to destroy.

I had Andrew slow down and take a picture of this barn we pass by every Sunday morning on the way to Sunday School. I love the flag on it.

I have two recipes for you today.

The first one is for stuffed bell peppers. I'll tell you what we did. We took a perfectly good stuffed pepper recipe and completely ignored it and did it our way. Don't you just love down home country cooking where you just throw in whatever you want and see how it comes out?


1 lb ground chuck
5 or 6 peppers
chopped onion
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder (it said to use garlic salt, but we changed that)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup rice - cooked (you were supposed to use minute rice)
1/2 cup water

Heat oven to 350. Cut pepper tops off, clean out and cook in salted boiling water for 5 minutes.

Cook and stir ground chuck and chopped onion until browned. Drain and add 8 oz tomato sauce, salt, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 cup water and cooked rice.

Now this is where we started messing with it even more.

Andrew said "Mom, we've got mushrooms in the fridge, can I chop them up and put them in?"
"Sure, why not," I said.

So add to the recipe a small pkg of chopped mushrooms. Put these in the ground meat mixture, too.

"Do you think it tomato-ey enough?" I say.
"I don't know. What do you think?"
"Another can of tomato sauce might be too much, tho," I said.
"Let's cut up a tomato and put it in it. That'll be good," said Andrew.
"OK," I said, as I picked up from the pile of tomatoes on the table the biggest and juiciest tomato I could find. "I'll peel this one, it looks good."

So add to the recipe a large juicy tomato from your garden. Because we all know the ones at the store aren't juicy like the ones from your garden. Peel it and chop it up and add it to the ground meat mixture.

Put peppers in baking dish and fill with mixture. Cover and bake for 25 minutes.
Uncover and top with 8oz can of tomato sauce and cook another 5 minutes.

ready to go into the oven

ready to eat!
And, in case you're wondering. . .
it turned out good.

Here's another quickie recipe where I'll just show you the pictures. Our little rusty apples are falling off the tree, so I picked up a few before nightfall before the deer had a chance to eat them, and I baked an apple cobbler.

For the recipe go here and use the first blackberry cobbler recipe on that page. Just substitute 2 cups of chopped apples mixed with 1 tsp of cinnamon in place of the berries.

If you don't have any blackberries, give this one a try. It's finger lickin' good.

This is the dough rolled out and the apple mixture on top.
I hadn't spread the apples out yet.

Here it is rolled up jelly roll style and cut into 15 pieces.

Get you a little spatula and lift each one up and place them in your baking dish.

Here are the little apple spirals floating in the sugar water mixture.
They are ready to put in the oven.

Ready to eat. It is delicious!

Well, we've been eating good this weekend. How about you?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jelly Time!

My berries aren't gone yet, but my grapes are ready to pick! I didn't know they were ready, a lot of them had been dying (it's been too wet). I was afraid I wouldn't have enough to make jelly.
I was wrong.

I always use Sure Jell to make my jelly. Just follow the instructions, it's very easy.
Here's my stove all ready to go. The little pan is for the lids, the large one in the back is for sterilizing my jars, and the one on the right is to cook the jelly mixture in.

Put your grapes in the pan and smash them, add 1 1/2 cups of water, bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. And please watch the pot, don't let it boil over like I did.

This is what I use to strain my grape juice. I put cheesecloth over an old aluminum colander and set it over a bowl. I pour my boiled grape mixture into it and let it drain. I always use more grapes than it says to, then I don't have to wait and wait to get the amount of juice needed. There's always plenty and it's quick! You need 5 cups of prepared juice.

My jars are waiting. I use the old aluminum funnel that mom used when she made jelly years ago.

Put Sure Jell into the 5 cups of juice and bring to a boil. Then add the 7 cups of sugar and bring to a boil again and boil for 1 minute.

Skim off the foam.

And here is your end result. Delicious grape jelly! I like it better than blackberry jelly, but don't tell anyone.

I've always turned my jelly jars upside down for 5 minutes, then turn them upright again. They tell you not to do this, but I've always did it this way and never had a problem. But feel free to follow the instructions and do the boiling water bath if you want to. My jars are all sealed and ready to spread on toast. Yummy!

Oh, by the way, I forgot to tell everybody that the kitty now has a home. Granny Sue's husband came and got the kitty cat.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Weekend Happenings

This past week we've had an unexpected guest. Here she is looking up at us with those pretty eyes.

Now you tell me how can people with any conscious drop off little critters. This has been the second cat in just a few weeks that has been dropped off in our subdivision. I guess people think someone will take care of them, but they don't realize how dangerous it is for animals here. We live off of Rt. 21 in a curvy section of the road and cars love to fly down it. Many animals have lost their life on this road. It is very sad.

It is roaming around from house to house and no one knows who it belongs to. It is the friendliest little cat, we have a produce basket on our front porch and it likes to lay in it. When she isn't there, she's under our glider. I tried to get a picture of it in the basket, but it jumped out before I could. The poor little thing was starving so we decided to feed it until we call the animal shelter on Monday to come pick it up.

Please people do not drop off animals. If you do not want them, take them to the animal shelter or try to find a home for them with someone who wants one. They deserve better than being dropped off.

Now onto other weekend happenings.

I went to my sister's house, she still lives up the hollow where we grew up. It was very hot, at least 90, but I wanted to go up the old coal bank road where we used to pick berries as a child. We waited till it cooled down a bit and took a trek up the road.

It's amazing how things change. Why it's only been around 40 years since I've been up that road, you'd think it would look the same. (ha ha)

I wish I'd took more pictures. A few months ago when I posted about creating a coal garden a lot of people commented "where can I get a piece of coal?". Well everywhere you looked on that road there were little pieces of coal! On the side of the road we saw these tracks. I'm thinking it's maybe a coyote or a big dog. What do you think? You can click on it for a larger view.

Here is the location of where one of the mines used to be. They have closed the openings and put in drain pipes to drain the water out from them.

Here is a picture of the only mine not filled in. The opening is very small. My son and brother in law went up and looked inside.

Here is a closer view of it. This is where there used to be a pond that I remember as a child and it was lined with cattails. And there were many berry vines in this area. All of the berry vines are gone. I couldn't believe it, there used to be so many, we would pick until our water buckets were full.

My brother in law told us many stories about the mines. He used to work in them as did my uncles and grandpa. I believe Grandpa was a foreman. (Correct me if I'm wrong, Vera).
He remembers so many things about the past. He said he remembered when Grandpa built his house and they came up here and cut down the trees and hauled them off the hill to build their house. These coal mines were on Grandma and Grandpa's land. We also lived down below the mines. They did strip mining up there also and in the early 1960s there was a flash flood and it caused the land behind our house to slip. We had to move out and live with Grandma for a while until we built another house to live in. Dad eventually fixed up our house and we moved back into it.

How I wish sometimes life had a Pause Button we could push and stop time for a while. It moves all too fast.

Another happening for the weekend was cooking stuffed jalapeno peppers.

It was funny, this morning just as Sunday School was ending, my son looked over at me and asked if we had any bacon. Well, no less than three people around us heard him and turned and said, "Are you having bacon for dinner?" They said, "Do you have bacon? We've got some if you don't."

Here is the recipe:

8 jalapenos
1 8oz pkg of cream cheese
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
8 slices of bacon

cut peppers in half and remove seeds.
combine cream cheese, cheddar and cajon seasoning.
stuff each pepper and cook bacon until partially cooked.
We tore the bacon into two pieces and wrapped them around the pepper and secured it with a toothpick.
Bake uncovered at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until bacon is crisp.

A picture of the finished product. It's pretty tasty.

Sorry for the long post. Hope you've had a nice weekend.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Treasure Hunting

Summer is the time for yard sales. Some people call it junking, I call it treasure hunting!

I haven't went treasure hunting as much this summer as I usually do, because I'm trying to cut down. A person only has so much room for treasures before the rooms start to overflow. And my rooms are now overflowing.

I have bought lots of books at yard sales. Old books, new books, writing books and children's books. I love books!

Here is something that kinda falls into the category of books. It is a Princess Diana Paper Doll book. None of the dolls or clothing have been punched out, it is intact and dated 1985. I paid 25 cents for it. I came home and just out of curiosity I went to the Kovel site and saw where they listed it as being worth $80. Now finding someone who will pay that much for it is another thing. But I couldn't believe that when I saw it.

You all know I love milk glass. I posted my collection of it a while back. Well I found this hobnail 72oz pitcher for $2 and I couldn't pass it up. I love it. It was made my Anchorglass.

Here are some bowls I've purchased this summer at yard sales. I love bowls! I have quite a few of the bowls like the one on the left. I have them in different colors and I use them all the time to put veggies in at the kitchen table. I really love them. The two light pink ribbed bowls are small mixing bowls without their lids, they were made by Anchor Hocking. I don't know anything about the little peach colored bowl, but I thought it was very pretty and I think it is old, too. I paid 25 cents each for all of these.

Here is an autumn leaf stacking bowl (I think people call these jewel tea). It is without a lid, but I love the pretty autumn leaves and I only paid 50 cents for it. Two old salt and pepper shakers to add to my collection, a green wood handled fork, a wood handled crinkle cutter and the pretty thing on the right is a yellow flowered vintage hat to add to my collection of old hats.

And here are a couple pieces of what they call "poor man's silver". They are aluminum. I'm not sure what the one on the left is called but the other one is a handled candy dish. I have a lot of these hammered aluminum "pieces" and will post about them in the future.

In addition to all these things my husband bought 20 shirts at a yard sale over the weekend! I tried very nicely to talk him out of all of them, but to no avail. They were very good quality shirts, though, but I just don't know where he's going to hang them all. We don't have a walk in closet!

I have also bought more vintage aprons and vintage tablecloths this summer. Oh, and I got an enamelware baking pan with lid this weekend also.

What have you all been buying this summer? Any treasures you want to tell me about?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Butterfly Kisses


May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond.

We have butterfly bushes.
The scent is so sweet, it drifts in the breeze
and catches you every time you pass by.

When bending over to sniff the scent
someone once said, "I wish I was a butterfly,"
and I thought, "So do I."

Stranded high, without a care. . .

Nestled among the fragrant flowers. . .

Playing hide and seek for eyes to find. . .

This is one to deceive the eye, a hummingbird moth. . .

I hope you enjoyed my pictures.

Let us all be a butterfly, if but for a few moments, and enjoy the sweetness of life.