Saturday, July 23, 2016

Sunflowers and Grandpa, What's For Supper?

  Do you remember that my Dad planted sunflowers and I told you I would show you the sunflowers when they bloomed? Well, here they are!  Look away if you don't like sunflowers! 
Richard took most of these photos, but I took this one!

Outstanding in my field! (Totally stole this from a birthday card, I have no shame.)

Leonardo de Pisa, usually known as Fibonacci might come to mind when you see the head of a sunflower.  See the way the seeds are in a spiral?   Fibonacci did, you may read about him just here.  And maybe it is just me, but all of nature amazes me! Look at the seeds on this sunflower, they are perfectly positioned to perfectly maximize the space.  (God made, not man made!)

Now, I wish I could have gotten a photo of my Dad posing with his  sunflowers but he was taking a nap when we were taking photos. He had been very busy canning!  Just today, he told me he had canned the following: 5 quarts of October beans, 7 quarts of peaches, 3 quarts of pickled okra along with 4 pints of pickled okra! (Have to use the smaller jars sometimes!)   Earlier in the week, he had canned 21 quarts of green beans! (He put some October beans in with his green beans.)  He also canned jars of vegetable soup....but I am sorry, I forgot to write down how many jars he told me but I think it was 15 or so.  This is very hard work! All the cleaning and chopping of the vegetables and then, the canning procedure...very hot work in such hot weather!

They still show the old TV show HEE-HAW and my Dad loves to watch this even though he must have seen all the episodes. There is a segment on there where they say "Grandpa, what's for supper?" and Grandpa Jones replies with a wonderful list of Southern food and it always rhymes and it always sounds good! (You know my Dad is a great cook and can cook all these Southern favorites!) I have a clip of Grandpa Jones with his wife Ramona for you.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ah, Go Jump In a Lake (Or the River Aare!)

When I was growing up in the 1960's, and someone was irritating us, we would say, "Go jump in the lake!".  I have met up with quite a few folks lately that I would like to say this to, but rather I would like to tell them to go and jump into the River Aare..  You might have heard of this if you live in Europe or if you do crossword puzzles.  Me, I know it from the crossword!  (A river in Switzerland:  Aare.)

It is an amazing river, quite a fast moving river and I think it takes quite an amount of courage to jump into such a swift current.  They have ...oh what would you call it, they have metal poles on the banks that you can catch onto as you are swiftly moving down the river.  (If it were me, I would be grabbing hold of them so tightly, I might pull them out from the riverbank!)  I hope you can see the video from the BBC that I have for you above.

Okay, so thinking of people who are quite annoying...

Look at the sign that they put up at Panola Mountain State Park, can you read it?  Ha, I love it!  They are telling you that it is PROHIBITED to go off the trail to capture Pokemon even it it is LEGENDARY!  Way to go, Panola!  You tell 'em!
That last sentence on the sign could be rewritten for anywhere else:
Please be respectful of our world and for all the people who live on it!
Hmm, sorry guys, the heat might be getting to marks the 40th day we have had temps over 90 degrees.  Tomorrow promises to be the 41st, and so on and so get the picture! 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Catalpa Tree

My Dad has a big catawba tree which he planted about twenty years ago in his backyard. (Just found out that it came from his brother, George, so it came from Toccoa, Georgia - just like my Daddy and me!)  You will see it spelled this way and pronounced this way, but it is really "Catalpa" and it is a native tree.   It is also called Indian bean tree and fish bait tree.  The fruits of the tree are long and bean like and was well known by Native Americans, but why is is also called fish bait tree?  The catalpa tree is a native American tree that is known mostly to fishermen...

The sphinx moth lays eggs on this tree and they hatch into very large caterpillars.  These caterpillars drop off onto the ground and they are very highly prized as bait for catfish!  Here's an amazing thing about this tree, some years the caterpillars might completely eat every single leaf off this tree and yet, this does not harm the tree! Isn't that something?  So, if you see this tree in the South with its large heart shaped leaves and worms are eating the leaves, leave them alone! And if you want to read a great piece about this, you may read it just here-Leave it be!

The word, "catalpa" is from the South, it is derived from the Cherokee language, one of the native American tribes who lived here. (There are Cherokees who still live in North Carolina, they are descended from the few who managed to escape from the forced Indian march to Oklahoma.  You do know about this, don't you? So many died on the way there, it is known as "The Trail of Tears".  Anyway, a great deal of our place names and plant names come from the Indians/Native Americans.)
Okay, where was I before I began thinking of the Cherokee and the forced march? Oh yes, the catalpa...
the Cherokees used to smoke the bean-like pod, they do look a bit like cigars.
Now, you all know how, for some reason, I seem to have an English connection to things. (I really don't look for this, it just happens.)
The oldest known specimen of the catalpa tree is in ...wait for it...
Reading, in Berkshire, England!  The catalpa tree there is about 150 years old, it is in a church graveyard there and it is a magnificent tree.  Reading about it (no pun intended, you pronounce the town "redding"), they tried to get rid of the old tree, and they planted a new one just beside it. Both trees are thriving!  The old one refuses to die!  The old tree is called the "trippy tree" as the hippies in the 60's and 70's used to smoke underneath it.  (I do wonder if they smoked the bean like pods, just as the Native Americans did?) Want to read about the trippy tree or catalpa tree in England?  Here is a link for you:
Indian bean tree or "trippy tree" in Reading, England!

One thing, I would say to not plant this tree unless you have PLENTY of space, it is very messy, what with the worms and the very large leaves, but man oh man, it is one interesting tree!
This is just one more bit of knowledge from my Dad that I am sharing with you!  

My Dad just called me and told me to turn the TV on to the RFD channel, one of his favorites was on there...
Narvel Felts.  He might not be a household name but hey, if my Dad likes him, that's good enough for me.  

See the things you learn from me and my Dad?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Cucumber, Baby! (Cucumber baby)

pickling cucumbers- not very big but they taste good raw or pickled!

Cucumbers!  I grew these cucumber plants from organic seed and was pleased when they all came up!  Only thing, we have had very little rain so it has been a job to keep them alive!  They are beginning to really produce now, so I will either have to give some away or make pickles. How about both?  Yes, that's the ticket!

Looking up recipes for easy refrigerator pickles, I found quite a few that used a long list of pickling spices and ingredients but I found one that only used white vinegar, salt and sugar.  That is my kind of recipe!  I peeled and sliced just two cucumbers and put them into this pint jar with the liquid.  You are supposed to wait two days but hey, it looked too good so I had some on a sandwich the day that I made them and they were delicious!  

Kay's Pickles: 
1 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
(NOTE: I made more pickles and think I used 1 tsp. salt, whereas I had this as TWO teaspoons originally. Please,  I would taste the liquid and put it to your taste. Not meaning to steer you wrongly, I am just trying to remember how I made them! You could also use more sugar if you like!)
Stir in a large glass measuring cup until dissolved and then pour liquid into glass pint jar. Pack the cucumber slices into the jar. Place jar upon a crocheted cloth and admire! (Then, put the jar in the fridge and use within 2 weeks.)

You understand the first part of title post,  I am exclaiming to you that I have grown cucumbers but what does the second part mean?
When I was a little girl, my sister and I used to take cucumbers and wrap them up into a cloth and pretend they were our "babies" and we would cuddle them and hold them close.  (Did anyone else do that or is this just a very "country" type of thing that hardly anyone else has heard of?)
 I told one of my co workers about our pots of cucumbers and she seemed quite keen on the produce. I also told her about my cucumber baby days! So, what do you think...of course, I had to crochet a green and white cloth and wrap up a cucumber for her!

Cucumber, baby!  Cucumber baby!

(I love a play on words, don't you?)

Oh, and speaking of that...does this make you think of the expression, "cool as a cucumber"?  Did you know that the inside of a cucumber is about 20 degrees cooler than the outside temperature?

We have had had about 36 days with the temp over 90 degrees, so cucumbers are a very nice thing to have this year!

Hey, eat more cucumbers, especially home grown ones!
Wish I could send you all one! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


What in the world could take the place of "Downton Abbey" on Sunday nights on PBS?  How about an eight part series on Queen Victoria? That sounds good to me!  It looks as if this will be shown later this year in the U.K. but will shown in the USA sometime in 2017.  Hey, I have to keep up with my British shows, don't you know and I think it is my duty to pass along things like this to you!
In the United States, we sometimes get shows years after they are shown in England, but sometimes we get them fairly quickly.
We just saw the last episode of "Endeavour" here whereas it was shown last winter, I think, in the U.K.  (Love that series, by the way!)
It's funny, sometimes I will ask my in-laws in England about a particular show and they will have to think back, since it would have been shown there much earlier. Hey, it keeps them on their toes, they should thank me!

Queen Victoria was the longest reigning monarch but Queen Elizabeth just surpassed that mark recently.  I have shown you this mosaic of Queen Elizabeth before...made from pieces of cloth, it was displayed in her honour for the Queen's 60th Jubilee from 2012. (It was at the C&H Fabrics in Eastbourne.)  

Long live the Queen!   And don't forget to watch out for "Victoria" in 2017

Where did Queen Victoria keep her armies?
Up her sleevies! HA!  I got this from a Christmas Cracker!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Gathering Wheat (With A Cradle)- Make Hay While The Sun Shines

When I saw my Dad recently, we went for a drive.  He lives out in the country and there were lots of fields with fresh bales of hay.  "Make hay while the sun shines", I said.  He replied, "That's right! You can't make hay in the rain!"   Funny, if you look this up, you will find that many pithy proverbs are in other languages but this one seems to be limited to English, it is noted from 1546!

Whan the sunne shinth make hay. Whiche is to say.
Take time whan time cometh, lest time steale away.

One thing that truly surprised him, we saw several fields of wheat and the wheat had been rolled up just like the bales of hay!  He told me that he had never seen anything like that in his life. 

Later, I reminded him of the wheat and he told me the following:
When he was ten years old, it is was his job to collect the wheat from a five acre field.  He used a wheat cradle and he said it took him a couple of weeks to collect it all. (You might think I typed his age incorrectly but 10 years old would be correct. Farming is very hard work and the children were put to work early. Daddy has always been a very hard worker.)  
These yellow flowers turn into yellow squash! 

We have finally talked our Dad into having a smaller garden this year! When you get to your late 80's, it might be time to take it a little easier! This year, he planted a whole acre of sunflowers! Since we had very little rain at the beginning of the growing season, they didn't grow very tall, but their sunny faces are blooming now. 
Beautiful!  (Must tell you though, Daddy still has a "small" garden, by his standards anyway, growing cherry tomatoes "tommy toes!",
yellow squash and onions!)  He might not be growing his potatoes this year but I still have some that he canned, and they taste so very good!

My Dad has taken that expression to heart, "Make hay while the sun shines"!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Sanctuary (Holy Door of Mercy)

Are you aware that Pope Francis declared much of this year as a Jubilee Year of Mercy? (It began Dec. 8, 2015 and will end Nov. 20. 2016.)  In relation to this, there are several churches that are designated as Holy Doors of Mercy.  The Monastery here in Rockdale county was one of the churches chosen for this honor. 
If you would like to read more about the Holy Doors of Mercy and where they are located (they are all around the world!) you may read more about them just here. 

The word "Mercy" is quite often misunderstood. It is from a Hebrew word "chesed" and it is hard to translate. You may read more about it here.
Door to the Church of Monastery- A Holy Door of Mercy

Monastery Door At Christmas is a word that comes to mind when I think of the Monastery.  Did you know that in Medieval England, a criminal could go to a church and would be protected from the law?  The legal term was called "sanctuary".  I remember reading that one had only to rest one's hand upon the door and no one could touch them.  (I have no idea if this was correct, but from the book that I was reading at the time, it made me look up the English law.)
"Sanctuary" from British history online.

Sanctuary was to be defined as within 40 days and if possible, come to an agreement with those who charged him with a crime. If this failed, he had to appear before the coroner, clothed in sackcloth, confess his crime and abjure the realm.
In 1529, in the year of Henry VIII, it was directed that "immediately after his confession, he would be branded upon the brawn of the thumb of his right hand with the sign of the letter A, to the extent he might be known among the king's subject to have abjured."

“This hear thou, Sir Coroner, that I ................................................... of ...................................................... am a ................................................... , and because I have done such evils in this land, I do abjure the land of our lord the King, and shall haste me towards the port of [mentioning a port named by the coroner], and that I shall not go out of the highway, and if I do, I will that I be taken as a robber and a felon of our lord the King, and that at such place I will diligently seek for passage, and that I will tarry there but one flood and ebb, if I can have passage; and unless I can have it in such a place, I will go every day into the seas up to my knees assaying to pass over, and unless I can do this within forty days, I will put myself again into the church as a robber and a felon of our lord the King, so God me help and His holy judgment.”


Visiting the church at the Monastery and placing my hand upon the doors makes me understand the relief that those criminals must have felt.

Sanctuary: A sacred place, a place of refuge.