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Monday, November 5, 2018

My Thanksgiving Cactus is Blooming

I have had a holiday cactus plant for a number of years. I've always called it a Christmas Cactus, but after a little research on the internet, I've concluded that it is a Thanksgiving Cactus. Here is a link you can go to and check out if yours is a Christmas or Thanksgiving plant.

I've threatened to get rid of them for a while now,  because they haven't bloomed for a number of years. But my husband wouldn't let me.

In fact, this past spring one of my plants lost a lot of its limbs. Large sections of it just fell off and I thought the entire plant was going to die. I put both my plants out on the front porch and hoped for the best.

Thankfully, the leaves stopped dropping off and they seemed to like being outside on the porch.

I've concluded what I had been doing wrong.
I was taking too good a care of them.
For one thing, I think I was watering them too much. I tend to forget to water my plants that I have on the porch, so that was good for them.

We kept them out on the porch until we felt the nights were getting too cold for them to be outside. Instead of bringing them in the house, I brought them inside and put them in the garage. I placed them on top of our old chest freezer we had out there and kind of forgot about them.

Lo and behold, my husband called me one Wednesday when I was down at the Senior Center where I volunteer (My cousin and I do crafts on Wednesday), and said, "Guess what? Our cactus plants are going to have flowers!" Well, I didn't believe him until I came home and saw them for myself.

The first picture is the one that almost died. 

As you can see they are full of blooms!

I left them in the garage for a while and brought them in one at a time to see if the shock of bringing them into a heated house would make the blooms drop or not. We keep our house fairly warm in the winter.

So far they are both doing fine.

So my advice for getting them to bloom is keeping them in a cool and dark place. Apparently our unheated garage was the perfect place for them to thrive. Cool and dark all night.

Now I know what to do every year.

Quit taking such good care of them!

Keep them cool and in the dark and don't over water them.

Do you have a holiday cactus? Which one do you have? Does yours bloom?

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Just in Time - Squash Recipes

It's that time of year. The time of year when squash takes over your garden and fridge. We only have one squash plant, and it is supplying us with many, many squash.

Here are the ingredients for a delicious pie using squash - Just add a deep-dish pie crust.

PS: Don't you just love my little rooster egg holders. I made them from the cardboard egg cartons. I am told that the large 2-egg-holder one also works good for holding your salt and pepper shakers. This was a craft I had the Crazy Crafters at the senior center make a few months back. They loved them.

 Without any further ado, here is the recipe.

2 cups of shredded yellow squash
1 ½ cups of sugar
3 eggs
½ stick of melted butter                                                                                   
1 teaspoon of lemon flavoring
1 teaspoon of coconut flavoring
1 tablespoon of self-rising flour

Mix and pour into a deep-dish pie shell.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or a little longer until set.

This is a really good pie. Give it a try if you are being overrun with squash. I use yellow squash, I'm nor sure if it would work with zucchini or not.

I have already made four squash bread loaves, fried squash, made a squash casserole and now this morning have made this squash pie. I have yet to make squash patties, but I think that will be next on my supper menu. I am waiting anxiously for my tomatoes to get ripe to make my squash-tomato dish.

As another life safer for you, below are links to other squash recipes on my blog.

Go here for more squash recipes.

Go here for more squash recipes.

If you like these, there are many more great recipes in my cookbook. There is a link to it on my sidebar. It is filled with a lot of simple, old-fashioned recipes, even a few you can't eat --- and, it shows you how to make aprons from blue jeans and has empty recipe pages in the back for you to write down your favorite (or handed-down family) recipes on so they are not forgotten.
There are recipes for blackberries, too. Another favorite summer ingredient of mine.  I have lots frozen in my freezer and I have been taking a blackberry dessert every Wednesday to the Senior Center for them to enjoy.

I hope you are enjoying your garden this year.

Are you being overrun by vegetables, too?

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Dating Old Photos

I love old family photos. I have lots - wish I had more. I cherish them.

We take picture taking for granted nowadays. With digital cameras we can take as many as we want. Back in the olden days few were taken. You are lucky if you have very many of your ancestor's photos.

I've been doing a little research lately on vintage pictures. I have quite a few that are on the back of postcards. I always thought that was interesting. Below are three and the backs of two of them.

I found a site that tells you how you can date them. Have fun dating yours.
Click here to go to it.
The information confirmed my idea of when these pictures were taken.

I also have this picture. I haven't been able to find any images like this online. Can any of you help me in finding out what type of picture this is?  This picture is attached to a metal oval. There is small punched hole in the top for hanging. The paper is torn and coming unattached to the metal. The baby in the picture is my mother, so I know it was taken in the mid 1920s.

Tin type pictures are also neat. Here are two small ones. They have a hole punched in the top right corner and the pictures are dark. I have copies of these and a copy of the one above, too.

Quite a while back I did a post here telling about how you can display your old family photos.

I wrote a poem once, inspired by some of my family photos.

by Janet F. Smart

The traveling photographer
Caught their solemn pose
For a few moments
Their current life froze.

Their neatly groomed hair
Their finest attire
Captured in hist’ry
For us to admire.

Just a tiny piece
A snippet of life
That solemn portrait
Of husband and wife.
One look at the past
One page in a book
Of life long ago
In pictures he took.

Do you have a lot of old family pictures? Do you have yours in shoe boxes, detailed scrapbooks, photo albums, displayed about your house in frames? Or all of the above?

I hope the link helps you in dating them.
And I hope names are on them and you know who they are.

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?