Thursday July 16, 2009

This passed weekend was the singles retreat in PA. Ken & Carmel rode with me to Harrisonburg, VA and I continued on from there on Friday.

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Since I had plenty of time, I spent a little time in Harrisonburg, getting my car battery replaced, a long overdue deed, and driving around, occasionally arguing with GPS.

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Once such wrong turn (my fault) had me on a country road where I passed this church, Old Order Mennonite, maybe? There were two gentlemen out painting the posts with the hitching rail. I stopped and asked if I could take some pictures of the church. He said I could as long as I kept him out of the pictures.

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And just as I was getting back in car, a man in a truck stopped to ask what part of Georgia I come from. I told him and he said he knows where that is, drives a mail truck near there, in fact, would be going that way this week. Small world!

I went on to a mill that Carmel had told me about. It had a delightful store in the lower floor, with braided rag rugs, hand painted dinnerware, oil paintings of the mill and other neat pieces of art & souveniers for sale.

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This is from a Civil War battlefield which I didn’t tour, just shot a picture.

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On to Penn Valley where we had a lovely weekend, seeing friends from all over. The committee had really put a lot of work into making it a fun-filled weekend.

On the way home we stopped in MD to spend the night with friends of ours whom we hadn’t seen in at a few years. Not since two little boys joined their family. It was great to catch up with them again. It was a beautiful evening outside and we enjoyed pizza mountain pies in their back yard. Some pics for those of you who know Terry & Lola:

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Little brother wants to climb the doorway too! He needed a little assistance and still didn’t quite make it!

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It’s good to be home again but I lost enough sleep to make me feel half sick by last night. I feel something going on with my sinuses which may mean I am half-sick. Hope it doesn’t get worse.

Because … today is Happy Birthday for my brother Henry who turned 50 today. Some of my family will be here this weekend to have a fish fry that Chip and Henry are in charge of at our house. Eating some goodies that they brought back from their Alaska trip.

~ Marylou

Pickles & the 4th of July

What do they have in common? Not much other than they hit my calendar at the same time. We have just enough cucumbers coming out of the garden that I’ve managed to make 9 pints of dill pickles. I’m not much of a sweet pickle fan so I stick to plain dills spears. Here is a recipe I found on dill pickle search and adapted a little.

14 wide-mouth pint jars, lids & rings
fresh dill, heads & several inches of stems shaken free of bugs
cucumbers, washed, scrubbed
1 garlic clove (or more)


8 1/2 c. water
2 1/4 c. white vinegar
1/2 c. pickling salt

Get All of this Going Before Filling the Jars.

1. Wash 7 quart jars in hot, soapy water (or dishwasher), rinse and fill with hot water; set aside.
2. Fill canning kettle half-full with hottest tap water; set on burner over high heat.
3. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil, drop in new lids, and let simmer.
4. In a large saucepan, bring water, vinegar and salt to boil; turn off the heat; set aside.
5. FILL JARS: place a layer of fresh dill and 1/4 tsp. dill seed at the bottom of each jar, along with minced garlic clove, then TIGHTLY load the cukes into the jar to the NECK of the jar (depending on size you may get two nice layers with a few small cukes in the top–)—squeeze cukes into the jar tightly–uniform size helps; add a little more dill seed at the top, too.
6. Once jars are loaded, pour in the brine leaving half-inch head space in each jar.
7. Add lid and ring to each jar, tightening evenly.
8. Place jars into canner with water JUST to the necks of the jars.
9. Bring water ALMOST to a boil (about 15 minutes–depending on how fast it heats up).
10. Remove jars, set on a dish towel on the kitchen counter, cover with another dish towel & let cool.

NOTES: When washing/scrubbing cukes, sort them into piles by size. This really helps make your jars look nicer, if you have uniform sizes, and makes for easier packing, too.

But, it so happens that I like pickled okra even better than pickled cukes. So, I picked up some okra up at the local produce store. Since I didn’t want to be too picky and pick out all the little okra, I cut up the larger ones and froze them to be added to soups this winter.

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The smaller they are, the better they are. Once they get too big, the get tough. Also, if processed too long in the canning process, they get mushy.

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Number 1 is too long and thick, Number 2 is small enough to fit into a pint but thick enough that it would be tough pickled. Number 3 is good but almost too long for a pint. Number 4 is perfect. Please excuse the pale hand. It’s the flash. And excuse the nails. I have trimmed them (a little) since then.

Then the rest of the ingredients. Next year I want to grow more dill.

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After washing the okra (or washing and slicing the cucumbers) put them in icy water until you’re ready to put them into jars. This is supposed to help them be a little crispier. Notice I said supposed to. I didn’t actually test it to see if I could tell a difference. And I wouldn’t want to open 2 jars at one time just to see if it worked.

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I used a whole clove of garlic, and since they weren’t sized the same, pulled out the handy chopper thingy

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and minced away.

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Place fresh dill in the jar, along with 1/4 tsp. dill seed.

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Fill the jars with okra (or cukes), stuffing them as tightly as possible.

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Pour the brine over okra, filling it to the neck of the jar.

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Remove the lids from the boiling water and close the ring tightly. The water in the cooker should come to the neck of the jars. I had it pretty hot but didn’t want to put warm jars into a boiling pot so I think it took about 15-20 minutes for the water in the kettle to come up to boiling.

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Remove them and place them on a towel then cover with a towel. Be careful not to hit them against other jars.

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So, the moral of the story is that if Marylou can do it, you can do it!!!

And the morning and the evening were the the 3rd day of July. And behold, Marylou was very tired and left her kitchen in half an uproar and went to bed.

The next day being July 4th, she arose not very early and did proceed to put fertilizer down on the grass, a grueling task under the baking 90+ sun. Around boiling peanuts and doing laundry she henceforth applied 3 bags of fertilizer, wisely choosing 3 and 4 for the level of distribution, hoping to not have a repeat of the results of the spring’s application: zebra stripes if there was ever a two-toned green zebra.

And then she proceeded to bake a cake for the evening cookout, and did iron even a half and one hours for a friend. She took herself, the cake, some ice cream, the boiled peanuts and a marinated steak over to Jeffs for the evening. And she proceeded to yawn which caused great turmoil with the other ladies, ’til they were nearly to all fall asleep (not).

She was delighted to be able to try out her digital camera on the fireworks display that were displayed in a nearby town.

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And the evening and the morning were the 4th day of July, and a grateful, tired Marylou dragged herself to bed, thankful for freedom that Christ brings & the joy of being with friends and family.


That Other Weekend – Thursday July 2, 2009

Of the which I hadn’t gotten pictures up yet. I’m operating in reverse here. I heard that geniuses work that way. Maybe I didn’t hear that.

So let’s see, this was about 3 weeks ago. We went to Montezuma which is still in Georgia. Funny memory here: when we moved 26.875 years ago (my genius is in math too) from 1 spot in Georgia to another spot in Georgia about 3 hours away (now it’s only 2.5 hours away but that’s besides the point. Sorry to be so distracting. I can’t help it if speed limits change and they build bypasses and we …. well, we probably just drive faster.). When we would go back to visit, my friends would say, “Oh, you came back to Georgia to visit us!” You really don’t want to know what we thought about saying. I think we just said, “We still live in Georgia” in a polite a voice as possible.

Anyway…… we went to Montezuma for a two-fold purpose. We cleaned a house for my brother to move into, all the while he was galivanting in Alaska with the “kid” brother (we’re real bitter, can you tell?), and got a cute little block house ready for him to move into. Then that Saturday night we went to a supper made by a Laosian family that the church there had hosted 28.875 years (give or take some numbers after the decimal point) ago. This family fled for their lives, and at the supper they shared the whole story of why they had to leave and how it all happened. They made enough supper for 200 people. It was delicious but not as spicy as I remembered it to be. They say they have americanized quite a bit.

My neice Ruth Anne took some pics for me. Here’s one of some socializing going on. Talked to people I haven’t seen in years.

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While we were cleaning we got a little distracted by the scenery.


Painted Cornflower:


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Cropped 100% to see some small detail:

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What we were supposed to be doing:

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I think Vicki took this one.

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Just a few shots of the country side. There is quite a bit of farm land. Here in our area we have pine trees everywhere. Nearly everywhere. A little farm land but since there is a pulp mill close by, trees are a better cash crop. Btw, the corn here is absolutely amazing. I was near the field by the church today. The top of the tassles on some stalks are 8-9 feet tall. Some ears of corn are eye level for me, which would put them at about 5′ off the ground.

Anyway, they (Montezuma) have red soil. I thought this shot was neat, contrasting the red dirt and the field of greens:

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More farm land:

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I’ve been looking for an old southern mansion to get a picture of to go with a saying that we want to put in our house. I found a few but am not sure if they work. I’d welcome any feed back you might have. While combing the area near Laura and Gary’s house, I found this abandoned place:

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Kind of what I was after but still not sure:

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Like this house much better but it was under renovation/restoration so had to do some editing to cleanup some areas:

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Plus, the sun was behind the clouds most of the day and when I went to take these pictures it shown brightly so the shadows are very distracting. Arggghh!!

Then I had an idea. Let’s put the house in a more “southern” setting:

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Photoshopped out the wazoo. Naughty. Naughty.

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And painted. Even Naughtier.

Meanwhile back in central Georgia

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Peaches are getting ripe. Yes!!! Delicious drippy goodness.


Well, it’s 11 pm, my battery is running low, & my hair is all tangled. All very good reasons to wrap this up and go get some shut-eye.

May your dreams be peachy sweet!

(okay, okay, I’m going!!)


(mis) quotes – Wednesday July 1, 2009

I think I’ve been suffering from short term memory loss because I hear things that would be great to post but I can’t remember them. Probably wouldn’t be any good writing them down. I wouldn’t remember where I put it. Most things I lose seem get lost being shuffled from my house to my car to my office and back again. Probably my memory is lying there somewhere too.

A few from VBS:

A brilliant (?) committee member: We either need to get bigger facilities or quit having so much fun.

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4-year-old from our church: (In my class) there is a little black boy with black hair, and another black boy with black hair …..

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Boy #1: God is your daddy.
Boy #2: He’s my daddy?
Boy #1: He’s your real daddy!

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Pilot (in the skit): I had a shirt like that and I didn’t look good in it either.

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Desperate stranded tourist (in same skit): Someone call 911!!! Where’s a pay phone? Gotta find a pay phone!! No pay phone? What kind of jungle is this?!?!!

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Other Misc. Quotes:

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My “kid” brother in a text message: Cancht I uf pika mine sweet corn danovit usht abot civa?

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The same “kid” brother many years ago when he was probably 4 years old and asked why he couldn’t speak “dutch”: It gives me a headache.

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Anesthesiologist (with a NY accent) to Lois: Didn’t you know there were surfer dudes in the Bible? You know – “Dude”eronomy.