Unconditional

I’ve been thinking a lot about my sister.  I am the oldest of six kids and I have four sisters!  One of them hasn’t been heard from in about seven years.  I miss her.  I really do.

When we were kids she was the sweetest kid!  Lisa was one of the honest to goodness sweethearts of the world!

It hurts more not knowing what happened to her than knowing she is dead.  It hurts not being able to talk to her.  She would have loved to see my grandkids!  She was always such a cute aunt.  She would have been even cuter with great nephews and nieces.

It seems that the most complicated of all relationships come from our families.  Lisa and S are twins.  Two of the cutest kids I have ever known.  I’m four and a half years older than they are so I always felt protective of them.  I may not have been able to protect them from the bad things… but I tried.

The same things are true when we are raising children.  We may not be able to protect them from everything, but we try.  We try to teach them to be good people, to be honest, trustworthy, and kind.  Sometimes we feel like we have succeeded, other times we feel like we have failed.

We may succeed for one child but not another.

The thing is… no matter how badly we blow it, or how much our family members do, we love them.  We do not agree with choices people have made, but we can still love the person.  Some we love from a distance, but we still love them.

Lisa, wherever you are, I love you!

There’s a chameleon in my garden!

Did you know that there is a chameleon in your garden?  I have found the most versatile vegetable.  It is zucchini!  I know it’s a squash which scares some people, but it is amazing!

A few weeks ago I made zucchini pickles.  They taste just like sweet pickles.  Yesterday I made zucchini pineapple.  It is really good!

It has been years since I canned, but this summer has been really fun!  We have done 60 quarts of green beans, 27 pints of relish, 7.5 pints of pickled figs, 9 pints of zucchini pickles, 24 pints of jam, 3 quarts (and two pints so technically 4 quarts) of sandwich pickles, and 10 pints of zucchini pineapple.

The tomatoes are coming on now but a bunch of them have blossom end rot.  Does anyone know how to stop that?

We have a yellow variety that is as big as the beefsteak variety.  They are absolutely delicious!  I slice them up and eat them plain.

When I was a kid I hated tomatoes!  I remember my parents taking me to a family around the block to babysit me.  Their son hated lettuce.  So when they fed us salad I would give him my tomatoes and he gave me his lettuce.

When I was a kid, and mom fed us tomatoes, my dad always told us the same joke.  “There was a family long ago who had never seen tomatoes and didn’t know if they were good or not. The parents told their children to never eat them.  Little Billy had a stuttering problem whenever he got excited. One day Tommy decided to eat one of these red fruit.  Billy ran crying in to his mother, and all he could spit out was, “Mommy, Mommy, Tom ate O.”  And that is how the tomato got it’s name.”  We always laughed and groaned and shook our heads at that one.

Parents are like that we love to tell our corny jokes and make our children groan!

What jokes or stories do you remember your parents telling?

Craft addict?

Here is a funny story for you!  Last week I called on an ad in Craigslist for a Sizzix texture machine and embossing folders.  If you don’t know what that is you are not alone.  It is a machine to put textures on homemade cards.  It looks like a lot of fun but being low on funds, and having a husband who has taught me to be very thrifty, I didn’t want to spend the money they are asking at the craft stores.

So the lady who placed the ad lives about 30 minutes away, and the ad had been on for almost a week, so I figured my chances of getting it were nil.  She said that she was coming to my town to visit her daughter.  As I told her which part of town I live on we found that her daughter lives the next road over from mine.  So she delivered the crafty bag of joys to me.  How cool is that?

So I felt all happy with myself for getting such a great deal and having it delivered!

A few days ago she called me.  She is clearing out a bunch of craft stuff and wondered if I would be interested.  She said that she would email pictures to me.

Today she called.  She said that she stopped counting at 40 pictures and decided it would be easier to just bring it to me.  So this evening she brought her carload of scrapbooking/cardmaking stuff to my house.  Oh I was drooling let me tell you!  I bought a couple things from her.

We were laughing at how funny it was to be selling and buying stuff from her car.  We decided that we looked like junkies buying our fix from the car!  Look out for the craft police!

 

Garden vs Landscaping

We have these delightful little neighbors that live across the road, Jack and his wife Pat.  They are total sweethearts.  Pat has been so concerned that we don’t have a well groomed yard out front.  (Nate planted new grass this year and it was slow in filling in.)

So sweet little Pat came tootling over from their place with a wheelbarrow full of Iris bulbs.  She explained how the bulbs are dormant, and they need to be separated etc.  I love irises so I was pretty excited!

The funny part was as Pat left she said to me, “Get gardening girl!”  For a second I thought, “What was that supposed to mean?”

Now I am an Idaho girl, born and raised.  A garden to me has something to do with raising fruits and vegetables that we can eat, not flowers.  I’ve had flower beds, and I’ve heard of flower gardens, but that isn’t what comes to my mind first.

Below is a picture of our garden:  peppers, then tomatoes, then cucumbers and zucchini, green beans, peas, grapes and marion berries.  The pumpkins, and squash are not in the picture.

So do you consider this a garden or do you consider planting flowers gardening?  I call it landscaping.

21012 garden

Burning Sands, Blackberry Shakes, and Lewis and Clark

Like most of the country Oregon has been very hot the last few days.  So last weekend we decided to go to the coast via Astoria.  It is so be gorgeous out there!

We spent part of the day at Fort Clatsop.  This is a fort that has been rebuilt to what is like when Lewis and Clark were there.  There are canoes that replicate what they used.  It was an interesting piece of history.  We walked along a path through the woods.  Each tree or plant had an identifying marker.  My hubby loves to read these things.  He is a fountain of knowledge.  Miss E and I walked on most of the time.  It was a brisk little walk for me, but not much more than a stroll for hubby.
(I absolutely must start working out!)

While in the fort there was a volunteer (I think) telling us more about the expedition.  He told the fascinating story of Patrick Gass.  He was the last surviving member of the Expedition.  Patrick Gass was a carpenter.  He is a great example of the kind of strength these people had to have.

Mr Gass remained in the Army after the expedition and fought in the war of 1812.  He lost an eye in one of the battles.

At around 60 years of age Patric Gass decided that he wanted to have a family.  Of course women his age were beyond childbearing years, so he married a 20 year-old. Imagine being 20 years old and marrying a 60 year-old one eyed man!  They had 7 children together.  His wife died 21 years before he did and he wound up raising some of these children on his own.

When the Civil War came along Patrick Gass went down to enlist.  He was 90 years old.  So they decided to tell him that perhaps he should be a volunteer.  He did just that.  After the war he would walk 2 miles every day to the Post Office to see if he had mail, then 2 miles back.  In the end he died of a ruptured appendix.  He was 2 months short of turning 99 years old.

 

From there we went on to the beach!  It was so hot outside that going to the ocean sounded like such a good idea.  The sand was SO HOT!  I had sandals on.  The sand kept going under my feet and I was afraid I was going to have burns on my feet.  It was one of those situations where you are far enough along that you don’t know whether to keep going or turn back.  We made it to the water, thank goodness!  My poor little dog didn’t make it more than a couple of feet before I realized how hot it was.  I picked him up and took him the rest of the way.

I wonder if those movies where people are lost in the desert and collapse in the sand are actually realistic.  I felt how hot that sand was.  Very long laying face down in that sand and a person could die.

The water was wonderful!  People were storming the beach!  I couldn’t believe how many people were down there.

All day long I kept talking about getting a blackberry shake from Burgerville.  I love those shakes!

So on the way home we went past a Burgerville.  I was saying “Burgerville, Burgerville!”  Dear Hubby was acting like he had no idea what I was talking about.  He drove on past it.  He is such a tease.  I did eventually get my blackberry shake from Burgerville.  It was so good!