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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pear Crazy!

Our little pear tree has produced many, many pears this year.
I've been picking them off the ground as they fall, but many were still
far up on the tree and out of reach. Our tree doesn't shake very well, so
my son took a big long poll and reached way up.

We gathered all the pears that fell to the ground!

We canned 19 quarts of pears. . .

and we sliced pears.

Isn't this pretty. . .

I filled up a big pot and cooked them and put them through this wonderful invention. . .

to make pear butter.

This is the first time I ever made pear butter. . . and I love it! I think I might even like it as much as I do apple butter. We made 15 pints.

Here is the recipe I used.

Fill up a large pan with peeled and diced pears
Add a very small amount of water and cook.
Put the cooked pears through a SQUEEZO STRAINER
Measure 8 cups of the pear sauce back into the large pan
Add 4 cups of sugar and 1 1/4 tsp. of cinnamon and
cook for 20 minutes.

Put into sterilized pint jars and boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

You now have delicious pear butter. It is not as spicy as apple butter, but it tastes very good!
We liked it so much we made 3 batches of it.

I couldn't have done it without my son, Andrew.
Thank goodness he loves gadgets and he got a kick out of using the apple peeler and the SQUEEZO STRAINER!

If you don't have a SQUEEZO STRAINER, you could put the cooked pears in a blender or through a food mill.

I still have a lot of pears left, I'm going to make some pear bread to put in the freezer and then I am not making anything else with them.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Yard Sale Goodies

My Aunt Irma loved going to yard sales, maybe even more so than I do. She once said the only thing she liked better about living in Florida than living in West Virginia was that she could go to yard sales all year round.

I live in West Virginia and the yard sale season is winding down in our area. I'd say after the first week in November, they will exist no more until next spring. But, there is always the thrift store! They stay open year round.

Today I got all of these goodies for less than $2.00.

I love candle holders, especially this wooden one with the little handle. I can see the large glass container as a centerpiece during the holidays filled with pine cones or shiny bulbs, etc.

I make ornaments out of cinnamon sticks, so 25 cents a bundle was a good buy.
The Christmas magnetic memo pad will find a place on my fridge
and a candle will look nice inside the red berry ring.

And another bowl to add to my wheat dishes.

Are there still yard sales going on in your area? Found any good buys lately?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Learning A Lesson The Hard Way

This has been one of those weeks.

We learned a lesson the hard way.

What did we learn the hard way?

We learned that low sodium in your body can be very bad.

We get annual blood tests and my husband's sodium was always low, but they said not to worry about it. Usually people have to worry about too much sodium in their diet. The doctors and commercials on TV say to watch your sodium intake and to drink lots of fluids.

We didn't know this was what happened at the time. But after three days in the hospital, we found out that low sodium caused my husband to pass out on Tuesday morning and then have what I think was a seizure. Well, needless to say, it scared me to death. The doctor immediately admitted him to the hospital and had oodles of tests taken to see what caused this to happen.

He passed all the tests with flying colors, except the low sodium. Lower than just a little low. . . a whole lot low. He was put on a drug that helps retain sodium in your system and they restricted his fluid intake. They say he drinks too much water and that doing that can flush out the sodium in your body. I had never heard of such, I always thought drinking lots of water was good for you. The doctor even instructed me to bring an apple and a salt shaker (regular salt, not low sodium) to him in the hospital.

My husband always craved salty and crunchy things to eat. I guess his body was telling him that he needed the extra sodium. I guess we should listen to our body, it is smarter than we are.

Nausea seemed to be his only symptom before he passed out.

If you have blood tests taken and your sodium usually runs a little low, my suggestion would be . . . don't be afraid of the salt shaker, it may be your friend. But don't take my advice, talk to your doctor.

I just wish doctors would tell their patients these things. A little knowledge can go a long way and help people to not have to learn things the hard way.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Black Walnuts - Yummy

The West Virginia Black Walnut Festival will be held in Spencer, Oct 14th - 17th. Go here to read all about it. The Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall will be there this year.

It's that time of year again, time for harvesting black walnuts. I've always heard that they start to fall from the tree after the first frost. Well, we've have several frosts and the black walnuts are on the ground.

We went to a friend's house and picked a bunch of black walnuts.

A lot of people don't like messing with them. But, they are worth all the effort. My son cut a hole about 1 3/8" to hit the walnuts through.

Be sure and wear gloves! I sure and wear gloves!

Black walnuts stain just about everything they come in contact with. If you get the stain on you, it will take a while for it to wear off.

You need to get the hulls or husks (whatever you happen to call them) off pretty soon after you pick the nuts off of the ground. If you are squeamish, you might not like this job. Worms are inside a lot of the husks of the black walnuts. They are the larvae of the husk fly. This is normal. If you have a lot of nuts, you just need to get used to the sight of them.

Lay them out to dry. A couple of nice days is all it takes. Then have someone pick them up and store them in baskets or bags until you are ready to crack them and get out the delicious nuts.

I read somewhere that black walnut shells are one of the hardest organic substances known. If you have ever cracked black walnuts, you will agree with this statement.

I am going to wait a few more weeks before I begin to crack them. I will then put them in Ziploc bags and store them in the freezer.

I LOVE black walnuts. I put them in cookies, fudge, brownies, cakes, breads, etc. They have a stronger flavor than English walnuts. They are very good.

I found this cookbook at a yard sale or thrift store a few years ago. It is the W. Va. Black Walnut Festival Award Winning Recipes for the years 1955-1984.

Along with providing us with great tasting nuts, the wood of the walnut tree is beautiful. My son made this small bowl and vase from black walnut wood.

He also turned this beautiful bowl from the trunk of a walnut tree.

Do you like black walnuts?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Local Landmark Topples

This local landmark is just a hop and a skip down the road from where I live.

But, not any more.
The walls came tumbling down.

According to a friend who lives across the road from it,
the old barn fell to the ground with a loud rumble at 9:45 pm last night.

I will miss it, we have drove past it almost daily for the last 30 years.

No longer will I get to take seasonal pictures of this beautiful relic of a time gone by.

I posted on this barn before. It has been leaning for quite some time. Seems like each trip down the road the lean was a little more pronounced. I knew it was just a matter of time.

Wish I could have held it up.

Good Bye, Old Friend.