Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Guess who is ?????

On August 31, 19??, this lovely child was born.  Joy Natalie Peterson!

 This picture was taken when she was about three weeks old.

We named her Joy (Joy of the first born).  She is the oldest grand daughter in my family so she was very welcome.  My dad wanted a grand SON but soon was reconciled to having a delightfully beautiful grand DAUGHTER.

So delighted, in fact, that he loved the Christmas present we gave him that year - this picture of Joy.

I had three goals in my childhood: become a veterinarian, get married and have children.  The first goal went by the wayside as I found I needed math and science to continue in the Vet field.  The other two goals, however, were met with marrying Norm and having Joy - and Jill, two years later.

Raising children is a rocky road, as many of you know.  But when they turn out to become successful, beautiful, delightful adults, all the blood, sweat and tears of their childhood are worth it.

So, happy birthday, Joy.  As I often tell the grand-girls, YOU are my favorite daughter (who is the oldest).  Your dad and I love you very much.  Thank you for sharing your life with us.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A peek into the past

I'm going to use the "Wordless Wednesday" post idea that several people do and show you a picture that I really love.

This is of the four of us ... from the right (looking from your point of view) are: Charles, me, Cara and Candy.

This was taken in 1955 or 1956.  Cara is holding my cat, Neko (pronounced "neh-co"), which is Japanese for "cat."  We lived in Japan for 3 years, as my dad was in the Air Force.  We are all ready for bed in our jamies that one of the Japanese maids sewed for us.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kissing Cousins and Threshing Bees

We went up to Milbank / Big Stone area two weekends ago for the Twin Brooks Threshing Bee and stayed with cousins Ruth and Jerry again. They are great hosts and make us feel very welcome.

We arrived on Friday afternoon; Norm and Jerry took our things to the site and set them up. Ruth and I sat and visited while they were gone. Peanut did very well there - we had her cushy bed with us and I just moved it around to where I was so that she could sleep comfortably - she doesn’t seem comfortable on plain floor, even if it is carpeted

Saturday morning we headed out to the Threshing Bee and I finished setting up. The weather was cool and comfortable so we enjoyed that part of the event. We had a lot of people come in to see me (there is an old cabin that they put me in and put Norm on the back covered porch) and then out to see Norm.

Ruth and I were trying to figure out just exactly what depth of cousindry we are and gave up. Ruth said “I always wanted a kissing cousin - guess that’s you!” We dug in some of her articles about the family and I learned a lot about my mother’s family that I didn’t know.

Ruth let me use our grandmother’s wheel again ("Anna"), but I didn’t bring her home this year (sigh).However 2 days on her was enough to make me content - for now.

Great Aunt Millie on "Anna"
I also read an article that was written in my grandmother’s hometown paper on her 100th birthday. I found out that Nana DID do some spinning (at least I’m pretty sure she did)! She talked about her foster mother and she raising sheep, processing it, spinning and knitting socks to sell for their groceries. Now, if she didn’t spin, wouldn’t she have said “She spun and I knit” or something like that? That makes sense, doesn’t it? I wish I had been smart enough to ask Nana if she had ever spun! Nope, not dumb me!

 Article and picture from the newspaper.  I think Dad has a better picture of Nana but I'm not sure.

I took some Bread and Butter pickles up to Ruth and Jerry. Ruth said “Jerry doesn’t eat pickles,” but opened them that night for supper. Jerry asked her to make some and said “I’ll eat THESE pickles!”

So, Ruth (and Jerry), here is the recipe I promised!

Bread and Butter Pickles

Start with the freshest pickling cucumbers you can find; your pickles are only going to be as good as the produce you start with. The fresher the cucumbers are, the crispier your pickles will be.

* 2 1/2 lbs pickling cucumbers (fresh from the market)
* 1 pound white or yellow onions, thinly sliced
* 1/4 cup pickling salt (can use Kosher salt as a substitute, regular table salt has additives in it that will turn the pickles dark and muddy - the color of the pickle juice)
* 1 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar (5% acidity)
* 1 cup apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)
* 2 1/4 cups sugar
* 1 Tbsp mustard seeds
* 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
* 3/4 teaspoon celery seeds
* 1 inch cinnamon stick
* 6 allspice berries plus a pinch of ground allspice
* 6 whole cloves plus a pinch of ground cloves
* 1/2 teaspoon turmeric


1. Carefully rinse the cucumbers, scrubbing away any dirt that may have stuck to the ribs. Slice off 1/8-inch from the ends and discard. Slice the cucumbers in 1/4-inch thick slices, place in a large bowl. Add the sliced onions and pickling salt. Stir in so that the salt is well distributed among the cucumber slices. Cover with a clean tea towel (thin towel, not terry cloth). Cover with a couple of inches of ice. Put in the refrigerator and let chill for 4 hours. Discard ice. Rinse the cucumber and onion slices thoroughly, drain. Rinse and drain again.

2. If you are planning to store your pickles outside of the refrigerator for any length of time, you will need to sterilize your jars before canning, and heat the filled jars in a hot water bath after canning. If you are planning to eat the pickles right away and store them the whole time in the refrigerator, you can skip the water bath step. It's still a good idea to sterilize the jars first, you can do that by running them through the dishwasher, or placing them in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes. To sterilize the jars for canning, place empty jars on a metal rack in a large, 16-qt canning pot pot. (Jars must rest on a rack in the pot, not on the bottom of the pot). Fill with warm water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to warm to keep the jars hot and ready for canning. Remove with tongs or jar lifters one by one as you can the cucumbers. Sterilize the lids by bringing a pot of water to a boil and pouring water over a bowl containing the lids.

3. In a 4 qt or 6 qt pot, place the vinegar, sugar, and all of the spices. Bring to a boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the sliced cucumbers and onions. Bring to a boil again. As soon as the sugar vinegar solution begins boiling again, use a slotted spoon to start packing the hot jars with the cucumbers. First pack a jar to an inch from the rim with the vegetables. Then pour hot vinegar sugar syrup over the vegetables to a half inch from the rim. Wipe the rim clean with a paper towel. Place a sterilized lid on the jar. Secure with a metal screw band.

4. If you are planning to store pickles outside of refrigerator, process the filled jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Return filled jars to the same canning pot with its already hot water. Water level needs to be at least one inch above the top of the cans. Bring to a boil and let boil hard for 10 minutes. Remove jars from pot. Let cool down to room temperature. Jars should make a popping sound as their lids seal. If a lid doesn't properly seal, do not store the jar outside of the refrigerator. Makes about 5 pint jars.

This past weekend Candy and I went to the Butterfield Threshing Bee. We had been invited there last year and were asked to come again. We don’t wear period costumes but were in modern clothes.

It was hotter than Hades on Saturday. I wasn’t sure if we would make it the whole day. There were several things that kept us alive and sitting there. Pickles: dill pickles are essential on days like this; they give you salt and tartness which picks you up when you are melting to the floor. Lemonade: the gals that ran the building (Fine Arts building) had coffee, cookies, brownies and iced lemonade. Breeze: we had a slight breeze every once in a while to keep us going. The heat index was about 98ยบ which is pretty hot, to my way of thinking!

Sunday felt better - it was breezy most of the day and the humidity dropped. Also the length of time was shorter. On Saturday we were there from 8:00 until 4:30. On Sunday the building didn’t open until 10:00 and we left at 4:00. However the heat and humidity was there - we just were either used to it or didn’t feel it because of the breeze.

This was volunteer time, just like the Twin Brooks one the last weekend. But this one is to spread our “Stitches in Time” meetings and our “Sisters’ Thing” business.

Now I have a break until the 2nd weekend in September (not that far away) when we go to Pepin Wisconsin for the Laura Ingalls Wilder weekend there.

Peanut is recovering well. She staggers and stumbles in long grass or uneven ground or when she rushes on slippery floors but otherwise is almost back to normal. She does not jump up anymore ... just kind of bounces on all fours if she is excited. She also will not go up stairs - except the one going into the house - and asks to be carried. She will go down the one stair going out but the 4 going down from the bedroom / studio area are to be avoided and be carried. We are so relieved that she has recovered to the extent that she has. If she never does stairs again, that will be fine but I’m thinking she might, eventually.

It’s a beautiful day today - going to be in the lower 70s and breezy. You have a beautiful day.

Monday, August 09, 2010

A-L-L-L-L Gone!

The last kitten left for his new home this morning.  WHEW!  When I realized that all nine (count them, NINE) kittens were going to survive, I was in a panic.  How would I get rid of these kittens legally?  Of course Norm kept saying he'd take them for a ride and dump them off at someone's door-step, but I knew he was joking - Candy and I both would have killed him if he did that!

But it looked like I was in BIG trouble!  Finding nine good homes for kittens, no matter how cute they are, is pretty tough.  As you know, I struggled on and this weekend had only two left.  Wow!

I could have easily kept Gandalf, as he's a cutie and a sweetie, but I never really liked Feisty that well.  He is a sweet kitten but he's not my favorite color combination.


Candy has been in love with Gandalf since he was tiny and we didn't know if he would be "Gandalf" or "Dove" (female).  Every time I took kittens somewhere or caught kittens for giving away, I managed to not catch Gandalf, who really happened to be the easiest to catch.  Every time I would give kittens away, Candy would say - "Give him away if you are sure he will go to a good home."  But he would stay home, waiting for Candy's decision - positive "yes" or positive "no."

Friday I got a phone call from a gal who wanted both kittens and would come and collect them today.  I told Candy she had until Monday morning to decide for sure.  Yesterday she called and said "I'm coming!"  She picked him up and plans on having him as a totally inside cat. 

I told the gal that I only had one kitten but that the Farm had some kittens; when she picked Feisty up, Norm took her over to the Farm and she got two of their kittens (all gray) to take home too.

So I'm happy, Norm's happy, Candy's happy, the Farm people are happy and all the new people are happy with their kittens.

In about a month I will take Scooter in to have her spayed and next year we won't have to worry about kittens at all!

It's a hot day, muggy and still.  But it's a beautiful kitten-less day!  You have a beautiful day.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Aunt Mary

Candy D wanted to know more about Aunt Mary’s pickles, so I thought first of all that I should talk about Aunt Mary.

My mom came from a family of nine children. She was the second youngest - the youngest lived only a few months, so was the baby of the family. My grandfather was one for nicknames and almost everyone in the family had one. My mother’s nickname was “Mush” – don’t know why, for sure, but it’s funny to hear my cousins call her “Auntie Mush.” Mom, being the youngest, had nieces and nephews that were almost as old as she was. One of my favorite cousins played at the family farm with Mom when they were youngsters.

Mom’s oldest brother, Hugo, was always called “Hookey;” he and Mom’s other brother, Vernon, took over the farm from my grandfather and worked together. Uncle Vernon (he never had a nickname - strange) sold out to Uncle Hookey and went off to find his fortune elsewhere. After my grandfather died, my grandmother, Nana, helped on the farm until Uncle Hookey married Aunt Mary.

The two of them raised four boys, Bob, Jake (John), Jim and Tom and then one daughter, Jean Marie.

One of my mother’s sisters, Pete (Mildred), married a local farmer Goosey (Gus), and owned a hotel which she ran while Uncle Goosey farmed. Nana lived in a small apartment in the same town. This town, McClusky, was the town that my mom was born in, so she knew a lot of people there.

When our family traveled back to the hometown and family farm for vacations, we usually stayed at the hotel (there was more room for a family of six there than at the farm). I was a country girl at heart (haven’t changed much) and would beg Mom to let me go out to the farm and stay there for the duration. Mom wanted me to be a “lady” but I was a dye-in-the-wool tomboy.

Mom would allow me to spend time at the farm if I promised I would help Aunt Mary in the house. Mom’s idea of “help” was to clean, cook, bake, in the house. Aunt Mary’s idea of “help” was to help with breakfast, wash breakfast dishes and do chicken chores. After that, I was free to be outside with the boys.

Uncle Hookey taught me how to milk (his was a dairy farm) because I would get up with him for the morning milking. The boys taught me how to drive a tractor; Uncle Hookey allowed me to drive for rock picking, raking hay or collecting hay bales. He would not allow me to drive for plowing or planting or for the more dangerous job of mowing. He would allow me to drive the John Deere tractors but not the big Allis Chalmer - it was too big for me. (We have an identical AC here that is “not too big” now).

But Aunt Mary - blessed be her name! She understood what I needed to have and it was NOT lessons in the house while I was fretting for being outside. When the boys and Uncle Hookey were doing field work that I couldn’t join in with, I would stay in the house with her and I would help make the morning or afternoon lunches to take to the fields. Then I would learn baking and cooking at her shoulder.

Aunt Mary had a pantry in the basement that I still dream about - a whole room that was set aside for shelves and shelves and shelves of beautiful jars of food. She had a large garden (I would help her weed on my “off” days from MY field work) and “put by” nearly everything that they ate during the year.

Of her many recipes that I have copies of or remember helping her cook / bake, my favorite has to be her sweet pickles. I have seen recipes very much like on the internet and also in my favorite recipe book (that has recipes for about every type of fruit or vegetable and many different types of pickles). I believe that they are called “Seven Day Pickles.” So, Candy D, here’s the recipe - enjoy — they are sweet and spicy and dancing-in-the-kitchen good.

Uncle Hookey and Aunt Mary at an anniversary party - can't remember which one

Aunt Mary’s Sweet Pickles

4 quarts of cucumbers after slicing and coring
Soak 3 days with 1 ¾ cup pickling, kosher or sea (not table) salt and water to cover


Soak 3 days in clear cold water


Simmer in weak vinegar solution (½ cup vinegar) and 1 tsp alum in water for 10 minutes


8 cups sugar
6 cups white vinegar
1 oz whole allspice
1 oz stick cinnamon
Heat, then pour over pickles

Let stand for 24 hours

For 3 days, drain and reheat syrup and add cucumbers

4th day – pack and seal with hot syrup. Add green food coloring to syrup.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Being Dive-Bombed

It's August - the spray pilots are out, spraying the crops.  Norm says they are spraying soy beans to kill the aphids (what were those obnoxious Oriental Beetles for, then?) and it happens every year at this time.

So Peanut and I are sitting in the house, listening to the noisy *&&&*^^^ flying over. They don't spray US, but the crops near us are too near for my well-being and I don't want to be out in case something goes wrong and the spray goes over us.  Peanut doesn't like the noise - she is getting worse for noise, so she's curled up in her bed in her crate, trying to pretend that noise isn't out there.

We have a lovely farmer who farms organically.  Fortunately for the crops, they are situated a long ways away from here.  Unfortunately for us, it's his DAD who farms here and HE is the one who insists on spraying every year.  His fields are right to the north of the road and we get the fly-over for over an hour (sigh).

Speaking of Peanut, tomorrow is her last day of total confinement.  She will be able to walk more, starting on Sunday.  Her steroids get cut down to only one a day on Sunday, as well.  She cannot do stairs but will really enjoy walking.  She is still wobbly when she starts to walk on the grass and when she heads back to the house. You can see the expression on her face when I make her stop so that I can pick her up.  "Not again, Mom!  I want to WALK to the house!!!  Jeeeesh!"

It's a midling mild day today - I've just taken some Dilly-Rye bread out of the oven and have some French rising.  There is a potluck picnic on Sunday and Norm wants me to make two kinds of bread.  I also just started some of my "Aunt Mary pickles" which has the girls dancing in their kitchen right now.  They love them as much as I do.

So, it's a beautiful day - I am listening to "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" by Richard Rogers;  you have a beautiful day.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Prognosis ----

It's been forty-eight hours.

Peanut is not walking on her ankles, but on her paws ... THAT's a relief.

She is wobbly and unsteady when standing up to pee or poop but less than even yesterday .... THAT's a relief.

Peanut is comfortable in her crate, whines only when I'm out of sight ..... THAT's a relief.

She doesn't object to being carried and to being allowed on the ground only for elimination duties ... THAT's a relief.

Doctor said, today, that she must remain crated until Saturday - a whole week from the beginning.  Then she can start being out of the crate if we are around to watch her ... but no STAIRS for a total of four weeks and no excited playing.

Doctor is pleased with her progress .... THAT's relief.

So it is a day of relief and hope.  She is getting better and should have total recovery.


Thank you, all, for you good wishes and prayers.

It's a warm and muggy day but beautiful.  You have a beautiful day.