Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hot, Humid, Gloomy Day, Paula Deen Apple Pie

I have not gotten back to this project. The last time I worked on it was Saturday. Then Sunday rolled around and I spent that day resting. Monday came and I spent from 12:30pm to 7:30pm mowing grass, pretty much all day. I had no choice, it had been a week and the weatherman said it was suppose to rain the next 2 days. I babysat all day on Tuesday and it did rain. Today (Wednesday) was so hot and humid. It was gloomy out there... too depressing, especially when I noticed the grass looked like it needed mowed again. As you can see from the picture, my weed clipping and spraying under the fence makes it look a lot neater. That weed killer is suppose to be good for 6 months.  Not to worry, by then it will be Winter.

Back in Spring I posted this picture of the apple trees in the back of our property. They are now looking like this......

What I find amazing and totally unbelievable about these apple trees, is that my husband planted them over 30 years ago for our daughters so that they would have their own apple trees. He babied them, trimmed them back in Winter, sprayed them in early Spring when the blossoms formed to keep the worms out, but they never had more than a dozen or so apples, not even worth the trouble because they never really amounted to anything to brag about. After so many years he just forgot about having apples of our own. I use to buy apples from a local fruit stand and also a co-worker that has an orchard. In fact I did a post on making some apple jelly a year or two ago. Now look, he passes away this past January and these trees are loaded. What is up with that???? How utterly ironic is this anyways. I just shake my head. Oh how I wish he was here to see his trees now.

I had picked some the other day and decided to go out and gather a few more to make an apple pie. Well, good thing I took a bag cause I came back with more than a few. I know they don't look very pretty, but they have a good flavor. I'm not even sure about what kind they are, but he would have remembered. A pie just sounded like the perfect thing to make today.

Of course the apples had some worm holes and I had to cut a lot of the inside away, but I have plenty to make a nice pie.

I didn't have any Fruit Fresh and had to use lemon juice and water (1:4 ratio) to prevent darkening of the fruit. After I got all the spices mixed I rinsed the apples well and mixed the spices into the apples.

Lazy me, I didn't feel like making more of a mess and doing my own pie crust. Thank goodness for the deep dish ones from the grocery store.

I usually go with my own recipe, but decided to try the Paula Deen recipe in the new cookbook I bought several weeks ago. Her recipe says to mix brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla extract, coat the apples, fill the pie shell and dot with butter, then cover with second crust, use knife to vent top crust.

Brush top crust with milk (I used cream, didn't have any milk on hand) and then sprinkle top with cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

I did cut myself a piece and it was okay but, I believe I like my own version better. I think the brown sugar is okay, but I use granulated sugar mixed with cinnamon then dot with butter or margarine. I think the ginger and nutmeg make it too over the top with the spices. Nutmeg and ginger are just too strong for me. I want my pie to taste like apples, not the spice rack, lol. Would I make it again? probably not. Apple pie is my favorite pie too. I will just stick with my own version. ♥

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Keeping Up Apperances

My husband would roll over in his grave if he saw the weedy mess the chain link fence has become. We had the entire back yard enclosed with 5 foot fencing. It has been there now for years, not to keep people out, but we use to have a neighbor who had a pack of wild dogs that would eat anything and everything, including people's garden veggies. Back in the day, when the kids were little we had a gentle, huge, male collie named Bud, he was in a kennel and this pack had managed to dig under the fencing and eat his food, drink his water. So, up went the fence, 3 feet just wasn't high enough. We had to worry that those dogs could also attack our children. My husband always used weed killer all around at the base of the fence to keep things looking kept up and tidy. Since his death I was doing good just to keep mowing the yard plus 2 strips on the outer fence (also our property). With all the rain I never thought I was going to be able to spray the weed killer. You have to have dry sunny days for that. The longer the grass/weeds got the more I began to dread this job. You see, the weed eater cord would get all messed up in the fencing, so the only other alternative was.....yep, you guessed it, getting down on the ground and using the hand clippers, then spraying the killer.

 On Friday evening, with my big plastic trash can and hand clippers in tow, I started back in one corner, working my way toward the front of the property. One section done (from post to post), two sections done, mosquitoes in my face, biting me, my knees getting sore and knowing all along that it would be a job just trying to stand back up. The garden shears (I had 2 pair) were about worthless and I kept thinking, "Why didn't I buy the new pair I saw at Lowe's back last week?" These were definitely going into the trash, I could use scissors and do a better job, heck I could get me some sheep or goats and they would earn their keep and be as fat as could be with all this grass. Then a big black spider ran out from the fence and I started thinking about snakes! The mosquitoes were terrible and all I could think about was the spray bottle of Avon Skin So Soft that was in the bathroom (good mosquito repellant). I knew if I went back up to the house I would NOT come back out here. I did get 2 sections done that evening and did spray the weed killer in that area. Yesterday I went out around high noon and got 3 more sections done. Needless to say, I saw a big shadow fly over head and when I looked up it was, of all things, BUZZARDS! Now give me a break, I know darn well I was not smelling or looking like I was dead! Oh for heaven's sake.

Today my hands are sore from using those crappy hand clippers. I am off to buy new ones. I am so glad it is Sunday. It is the perfect excuse to not be out there on my knees......but then on one's knees it is a perfect time to pray. God Bless You All. Hope everyone is having a restful and peace filled Sunday ♥


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Little Bit of Whimsy, Driveway, Vaccine Reaction

I don't have a whole lot going on this year in my yard. Compared to most of you, my offerings to the blog are pretty sparse and down right pitiful. I did put out my polka dotted rooster that I got years ago at a road side stand that was located a few miles down the road. His wings move when the wind blows and he is one sweet whirly gig. He has graced our veggie garden for years. As most of you know my husband was the vegetable gardener.

These little cuties were found at Lowe's earlier this summer in a corner, stuck in with some other little sticks of whimsy. I had chosen the blue one and it didn't have a price tag so the sales girl went to look at the other 2 and they didn't have tags either so she said I could have it for a dollar. I couldn't let the other 2 just pass me by and I bought all 3. I am sure these little birdhouses will be home to the wasps someday. Too bad I didn't have a pretty flower bed planted to make them more cozy, but then again, maybe things will be different next year.

I can always depend on these cone flowers or echinacea every year and this year the bumble bees are working themselves like crazy on them. Sometimes there will be 3 bees on one flower. They are looking a bit frazzled, but more buds are getting ready to bloom.

 My hens and chicks were so pretty, pretty that is until the chipmunks decided to dig in them and hide sunflower seeds that they scavenged from the bird feeder........grrrrrrrrrr!


Today the guy came to seal my driveway. What do you know, for once something has gone as planned and I have to say he was right on the ball and got it done in good time. It took him a little over an hour.

He had a beautiful warm day and I was so pleased with his work. I am so glad this job is completed and can be marked off the "TO DO" list.

He said sometimes his wife helps him and that tomorrow they have a real big job in Sandusky and she will be there to help him. It is all good, a husband and wife who can be help mates to one another in their family business.

You can't tell it by the picture, but my yard needs mowing. I was going to mow last evening but then I would have had more grass to clean off the driveway before this asphalt sealing. I am suppose to wait about 48 hours before using the driveway. I can't run the riding mower over it and I can only bring the rider to the front yard by the big gate on the garage side of the house. The banks out by the road need to be weed eaten, my arms are always sore after that job. I try to do that every 3 weeks. Last time I ran into a black snake on the bank, YIKES! I did mow all of the back yard this afternoon. The neighbors left me park my car next door in their driveway. I just don't feel good about parking it out by the road during the night. Yesterday was garbage pick-up day and some body threw an old car battery from their vehicle at my neighbor's garbage can (the plastic one furnished to their customers) that was sitting out by the road. Not only were they dumping their garbage but they destroyed the receptacle. Why do people do that sort of thing :(

Well that is the end of the hum drum life here in Ohio, oh yeah, don't let me forget to tell you how I spent 1 week at home due to a mild reaction from the shingles vaccine. I got the shot on a Monday, broke out that Saturday, called my doc on Monday and was told it was unlikely that anyone would get chicken pox from me, but just to be on the "safe side" it would be best for me to stay away from everyone including my grandson even if he had the chicken pox vaccine, but just might get it anyways. Now I had chicken pox as a small child and my girls had them when they were in grade school and I never broke out then. Sorry, no, I do not have any pics of my itchy self. I just know I managed with some Benadryl to make it through that fun time. I still think the vaccine is a good thing. I did put that time to good use and started working on the total mess of the thing I call my bedroom closet. I worked on mom's African Flowers and so pleased to say I have only 44 more flowers to make.......there is a light at the end of that tunnel.

Hope all of you are doing well, spending time with the ones you love and doing the things that make you happy. God Bless You ♥

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Hooking Up More African Flowers, Whining, Gift, Shingles Vaccine

Just touching base here, letting you all know that I am still alive and kicking, just poky to blog but still thinking of all of you. I have been busy as usual, but slow as molasses at getting anything done. I am the type of person who is use to getting things done. What gets done today I wanted done yesterday. I am getting impatient in my old age, maybe because I know first hand that life is way too short. I don't know why I worry about things getting done, the Bible tells us NOT to worry. It is a fault, I need to stop worrying, it does no good, and like Joyce Meyer says, "Worry is like being in a rocking chair, you rock all day and get no where." So true, it is a complete waste of time. But maybe impatience is the real problem with me. Okay, so let me whine a bit.........

A couple of months ago brother Mike and I started cutting the 23 trees, heck, it has been so long I can't even remember how many trees, but a lot. So the weather got crappy and between the rain, hot humid days and his having to go to work it all came to a halt. There are still 9 trees to cut and all those stumps to grind. It is now August, will that job ever get done?

Another job needing done was some repair work which included new shingles on 2 out buildings. Finding an honest, dependable, reasonably priced contractor is the pits. A neighbor who lives down the road offered up her husband and son who do that sort of thing. Well, the big storm hit and of course I realize that a person with a tree on a roof is needing help now, it takes front seat to what I need. Her hubby is so busy, the bad weather has thrown him behind anyways, he can't get to my troubles till this next Spring. It took a week to get this info to me, she thought he had called me, he thought she had called me.......

Then after the storm I had no electricity for almost a day. The garage door opener wouldn't work (of course) and I had to park my Jeep outside. The next morning I came out of the house into the garage and see this dinner sized wet spot under my husband's truck.....oh no, now what! It was kinda reddish colored and I found out it was transmission fluid. I called another friend and neighbor down the road, who is a retired mechanic, but still does repairs on the side. He use to work for a Ford dealer. He came down on a Saturday and checked it out, said he would call me and come and get it either that Monday or Tuesday........yup, a week later, on a Monday I called him asking if he was still going to repair the truck for me. He is a trustee for the township, he explained he has been busy dealing with the township house damage from the storm. The truck did get fixed and paid for. I could mark one thing off of my list, finally!

Then a couple of weeks ago, while out in the yard I see these carpenter ants, oh they were moving along like they had a mission......right across the privacy fence, up the porch post, across the lattice work to a crack where the porch meets the house......I called the exterminator, he was suppose to come this morning, well, he called me this morning, he was having tire troubles and has to cancel, won't be able to get to my bugs till one day next week, probably by the end of next week, on Friday, "Of course," I say to myself.....

Then I had to call the asphalt sealer folks, the gal came and gave me an estimate and when she came to inspect the driveway she mentioned the large crack that needs to be filled in. Okay, so in their ad they say "repairs" does that not qualify as a repair? She said they fill them with sand, but maybe I would want to patch it myself? HA HA HA HA HA......sure, why not, I'm really good at patchwork after all. So, the next day I head for Lowes and I buy this 50 pound bag of patching stuff, I have no clue, and I get it home, but 50 pounds is a lot of weight, so brother Mike is coming the next day to pick up his killer traps that he set for the ground hogs. It was 3 weeks of no pesky animals in the traps and so I had called him to come for them. The next morning low and behold, A SKUNK! The poor thing, I was half sick because it was in the trap dying and yet still slowly moving and trying to escape. I had to call my next door neighbor to come put it out of it's misery. Then that evening along comes Mike, my brother and he takes the skunk off. He tells me I bought the WRONG stuff for the driveway and he calls some place he deals with (where he lives) and they will set back 3 gallons of this liquid patch stuff. He has 2 bags of sand, no need to buy any of that, so back to Lowes I went with the 50 pound bag of stuff and got my money back They come to do my driveway on the 15th and I still don't have that crack filled yet.......grrrrrrrrrr

I went out in the yard yesterday and trimmed the lilac bush. It is a yearly job since it is up next to the house in the landscaping and needs to be kept under control. It started to rain, so I put away all of my tools and the rain stopped. I decided I had to at least get something done. I had planned to use the electric hedge trimmers, but electricity and rain do not mix. I got down on my hands and knees and pulled the weeds from the bricks that are at the bottom of the deck steps. There are only 3 sets of steps, so 3 sets of brick. I got into a bunch of those tiny, excuse this, piss ants. They were everywhere, needless to say I was no longer kneeling on the ground. I did get all the bricks cracks cleaned out. I moved on to 2 of the 3 raised flower beds, full of weeds, no flowers, just some hens and chicks. It rained on and off, I didn't care, I was a mess, my hands were so dirty, I hate wearing gardening gloves. I was outside till 5:30pm and by then I had had enough. I came in and fed my doggies and myself, cleaned up and grabbed my hook and worked on mom's flowers.


 I am at the halfway point. I need a 169 total flowers. I will hand sew them together like I did mine. I have some on my felt board in no particular order, just laid out randomly to check what colors to use next.

I am so ready to do something else, but keep plugging away at this project. I have so many irons in the fire with all these things needing done around this house. It is terrible when you have to depend on everyone else to get things done. If I could do them myself I would, and they would have been done and not looming in the back ground driving me nuts. If my man was still alive and well, all of this stuff would have been done and over with.

My friend from Florida is coming up next month and I so need to get my house in order. Look what she sent me this past week.

Yep, the box was so full, I swear she had to sit on it to get it closed to send in the mail. When I took the first few skeins out, the box looked like I hadn't removed any at all. I had to call her right away and thank her. I told her it was just like having Christmas. I won't have to buy anymore yarn for the flowers. There was some 3-ply and I am using 4-ply, but I can use it for hats and mittens or whatever. I just know I am grateful for her being so generous.

Sorry this post was rather a cry-baby one, sometimes we just need to vent. I know my troubles aren't all that bad compared to the troubles others are facing, and believe me, I am thankful for so very many things, the great and small blessings that get me through my days and nights.

Before I close this post I want to let all of you know that if you are able and your doctor recommends it for you, get the shingles vaccine. The statistics are that 1 out of 3 adults who have had the chicken pox will get shingles. It is a very expensive vaccine. I asked my doctor about it and he said yes, I should get it. There are exceptions though, some people with certain medical issues should not get the shot. I called the local health dept. and they put me on their list. I got it on Monday. It is given subcutaneously, and is good for life. My cost was $170, and that was cheap compared to what my brother Mike and his wife paid for theirs, they paid well over $200 each. Just saying, 1 out of 3 adults is kinda scary odds and if you have ever seen anyone with shingles you know how terrible it can be. You can only get the vaccine with a prescription from your doctor. ♥

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