Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Stuff

I am still trying to reorganize my house since we got everything home from storage. It is much more of a challenge than I bargained for especially since our house has neither an attic or a basement to store anything.

I am almost done but am left with several piles of things that I am hopelessly stuck in finding room for. Here is an example. Grandma Mast used to save all her old calendars and turn them into scrapbooks. Each of her grandchildren got one on their ninth birthday. I don't want to throw it away and still haven't found a place to keep it. So it lays on a pile of things that are in the same predicament.

Joining the scrapbook on that pile is a "3 piece chicken dinner" that one of my brothers made and gave to me on one of my birthdays. It is a cute wooden box with a swivel open lid when opened reveals three kernels of corn that would make any chicken happy to have for dinner.

There are lots of other things too, among which is a large grotesque mirror. Someone gave it to us shortly after we were married and thought it was really great. It has the state of Pennsylvania painted on it and green and brown roses and a verse that must have come out of a Hallmark sympathy card. This mirror is sturdy and simply refuses to accidentally break although it has been given numerous opportunities to do so. I can't send it with the garbage truck tomorrow morning because the person who gave it asks about occasionally and would be hurt to know how much we hate it. So what do I do with it?

And then comes this type of thing. A book of poetry. You know, Emerson, Tennyson, Milton, Browning and all those good old poets. But I never read it and yet I don't like the idea of heartlessly stuffing it in the trash. Do I need to be brave and pitch it or is there someone out there who would enjoy it?

The same with these A Cappella CD's. They are new but I really don't want them.


And then I find a box of close to 100 old children's books. They appear to be unread and are still beautiful but I really have no use for them either.
If I go to another room I'm greeted with patterns, fabrics, and other sewing supplies that I don't need and will probably never use. So this is where all of you come in. What should I do with everything? I'll hang on to the sentimental things. But the other things...... do I heartlessly throw them away, or do I have several giveaways, or would nobody else be interested in these things either?
And any advice that aids in the demise of the mirror would be deeply appreciated.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Happenings Around the House and a Recipe

No matter the weather Sunbeam is found on the recliner occupied with one of her many things to pass the time while she recovers from her accident. She seems to be doing very well, not only in healing, but also in being sweetly content.

For the rest of us, the rainy weather requires us to make new plans for our day. Sailor was delighted to have Wags in the house even though he was required to stay on the rug inside the door. Wags was honored to be allowed to be inside and appeared to enjoy listening to the many stories Sailor told him.



The rain finally stopped towards evening and as the last clouds scuttled away, we decided to go get some of the things we need that were in storage. After we got to the storage place we discovered that the boxes were getting soggy and there were lots of spiders everywhere, so we made a quick decision to bring everything home.
I have been trying to find room for everything, which is challenging. I suppose I'm too much of a pack rat, but so many of the things have sentimental value that I hate the thought of getting rid of them.
I still have a lot of unpacking to do, but took time to cook up a big meal last evening. Among the menu for the night was fried chicken.
This time I remembered to take a picture before we ate everything.

Fried Chicken
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp parsley flakes
1 Tbsp thyme
1 Tbsp dry mustard
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
Mix all together and place half of the mixture in a large Ziploc bag.
Beat two eggs very well, until almost cream colored. Roll chicken in egg and then place in seasoning mixture and shake to coat.

Have a saucepan or a deep skillet ready with vegetable oil heated to 350 and deep enough to cover at least half of the chicken. Carefully place your coated chicken pieces in the hot oil and fry until a delightful golden brown, turn over and fry the other side.
Preheat oven to 350 and have a pan ready lined with parchment paper, as the chicken comes out of the oil place them on the pan and place in oven for 20-30 minutes and up to 45 minutes if you have extra large pieces of chicken.
Since my husband would much rather have something along the beef line to eat rather than chicken. I made some Chicken Fried Steak for him.
I started with two large boneless steak and had them tenderized really well. I then cut them into pieces approximately 3"x3" I added 1/2 tsp sage and 1/2 tsp crushed rosemary to the mixture I had for the chicken. I then beat two eggs and added 1 tsp liquid hickory smoke and rolled the steak in the egg and into the seasoned flour mixture and fried it in the oil. There was no need to place these in the oven, they were done to perfection in the skillet.
With a seven layer salad, and mashed potatoes and gravy our meal was complete.

A few pieces of the Chicken Fried Steak before it disappeared.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Going Award Free

I am about to do something that I never realized I would even think of doing several months ago when I started to blog.

I don't want to offend anyone, and really do appreciate that you would even consider my blog worthy of an award. But the whole award thing has become a little overwhelming. I again have seven awards waiting to be passed on from well meaning folks who have read my blog. Some have notified me through comments on my posts and others have e-mailed me directly.

Again I thank you for considering me, but I have decided to go Award Free. Your comments are reward enough! I really enjoy reading all of your comments. It makes the blogging world a lot more fun!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Of "Amish" Movies

Over the years I have read thousands of books. Among all those books there is one thing that has become glaringly obvious to me, and that is, no author should write about anything that they don't know about. For as sure as they do, there will be someone who reads them that will become vastly amused at the ludicrous things they try to write about knowledgeably.

I remember chuckling over the book that was talking about the vast cattle spread a rancher had that covered 120 acres and how they had a helicopter to go from one end of the ranch to the other. At the time I was living on a 160 acre farm and knew that it only takes a matter of minutes to walk from one end of the farm to the other.

Another book tried to tell me how they needed the Jaws of Life to rescue someone that was trapped inside a buggy after an accident. They obviously never saw a buggy close up, or a buggy accident, which after a bad impact will be nothing but a pile of splinters.

I have read a few of the Amish fiction books that seem to be so popular. I won't buy any but occasionally someone gives one to me and I generally end up reading it. I always come to the same conclusion. But I digress.

Last evening we watched the movie "Saving Sarah Cain" that a friend generously gave to us to watch. I tried to put myself into a mindset to enjoy a good clean movie, but there is still enough Amish blood in me that the entire movie was ridiculous.

It left me wondering, do the coverings Amish girls and women wear, look that way to anyone who has not been raised Amish? No Amish woman would be found wearing the sorry looking rags they wore. Though I have to chuckle at the thought of anyone being behind the scenes starching and ironing coverings correctly for a movie.

And the hair. Apparently they never saw or else paid no attention how Lancaster Amish girls wear their hair. Those two things alone, had me cringing all the way through the movie. And then they had to add those juicy tidbits to show their complete ignorance. The scene where everyone was burping was downright despicable. Amish do not burp to show their appreciation of food. I have been in lots of different Amish communities and have never met any that were that badly mannered.

When Caleb tried out for wrestling and said he used to hold cows down when they were birthing, had us in stitches. How ridiculous can you get. Cows are very calm creatures who rarely ever move around much in the process of birthing, and even if they decide to stand up it doesn't hurt to do that.

Taking walks through cornfields. Why would anyone want to do that? Unless the corn isn't taller than knee high. Normal cornfields are not pleasant places to take a walk, unless you enjoy cuts similar to paper cuts on your face and arms.

They did not speak the language of the Amish, and instead used German and that wasn't very good either.

There were other things too but again I digress.

My belief that you should not write or make movies about things you really don't understand has been cemented even more firmly.

I don't begrudge anyone the "joy" of reading Beverly Lewis, and Wanda Brunstetter books, or watching "Amish" movies for entertainment. Which is why they were produced. But I will be finding other things to occupy my spare moments.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chirp

About a month ago Sailor found a baby bird that had fallen from it's nest. A cat got the Mama bird and he felt very sorry for it and wanted to take care of it.

He fixed up a cardboard box and tenderly cared for it, catching all it's food and feeding it painstakingly often. He named it Chirp and totally neglected Wags in favor of sitting beside the box and talking to his helpless little bird. But even with all it's care it didn't survive.

There was a tearful little funeral and then the search for the perfect tombstone ensued. He finally found one and brought it to the house to have it inscribed.

It now marks the spot where a little bird that was nearly smothered in love rests peacefully.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Unfortunate Events

Life in our little corner of the world has been quite busy the past few days. Sunbeam had an appointment to see her surgeon, who was pleased at how she is recovering.


Her days are filled with watching the children play outdoors ..........................



And the many things that keep her occupied while sitting on Daddy's recliner.



I tried to heed all of your advice about not worrying too much about the condition of my house, and just enjoy every moment and all the visitors that pop in to say "Hi."
It led to a series of unfortunate events....
It all started one evening when we sat down to supper to one of the biggest cooking disasters that I tried serving to my family in years. We coughed and choked and gulped water to try to erase the awfulness from our mouth. There was no question about it. It simply was not fit to eat. I went ahead and warmed up some left overs and we had that instead.
As we were cleaning up the dishes I told Sailor to dump the disaster into the woods. He went outside with it, Rosy and I did the dishes and somehow I never thought to enquire the where abouts of the dish that had contained the disaster.
We went to bed blissfully unaware that another unfortunate event was about to unfold because of the disaster. The next morning, right after breakfast, I heard the distinct sound of a tractor coming in the driveway. I looked outside and saw it was a little tractor with an Amish haymaking crew. They wanted to make hay in the field next to our house.They stopped at the house and the lady and her daughter stepped off and the guy and his son went to mow hay.
I opened the door to welcome them inside. We hadn't seen each other in a long time and started talking.
Now when I talk to someone I don't focus on their feet. And apparently they didn't either because to my horror they started slipping and staggering on....... the disaster from the previous night supper.
Sailor had thought Wags would surely be delighted to have a bowlful of food, but Wags just spread everything out on the porch and left it for my unsuspecting visitors to slide on.
I was so embarrassed as I hurriedly tried to scoop everything up and dispose of it properly. We had an enjoyable visit. But now when I hear the crunch of gravel on the driveway I always take a frantic tour through the house and check the porches to make sure that nothing similar happens.




Thankfully no one was hurt. And they were able to pile on their tractor again and leave once the hay was mowed.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Amish In Somerset County PA

These pictures were taken last year in Somerset County PA by my husbands sister and brother-in-law. The circumstances surrounding the reason we were all back there weren't the sweetest but we have enjoyed the pictures.

Cousin Wilmer is hitching up his horse after most of the people have left after church.
Two youth boys walking home after services. The Amish youth in Somerset County are noted to walk for miles to attend church rather than having to use their horse and buggy or ride with their parents.

Several men catching up on the latest news while hitching up a horse.


Notice the big bonnets these poor women are wearing. I always hated wearing them! It always felt as if you were caged and you had to turn your head to see anything other than what was directly in front of you. The rule was to have them big enough so that a butcher knife could be slid down the front without touching your nose.

After services everyone is leaving to go to a friends house for a lunch that a dozen or so women have prepared. Sharing the road is not nearly as fun when you are driving a car. It is amazing to me that there aren't lots of accidents. Notice the unsafe spot chosen to pass these slow moving buggies.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Family

Thanks for all the comments yesterday, telling me to not worry about the house. While I won't be putting out any "Dust Bunnies Welcome" signs. I won't be overly concerned when the occasional one appears.

Yesterday one of my husband's brother's were here and brought pictures along for us from various family gatherings over the past year. I never thought to take our camera to these events that include Amish, because I value what little acceptance we have, and I don't have a good quality camera that allows me to take pictures from a safe distance that turn out half ways acceptable.

These pictures were taken last summer when my husband's parents had a family gathering for all five of their children and the 30+ grandchildren. My sister-in-law and her husband took turns running in the house when no one else was there to take pictures through the windows. They didn't turn out too bad even though the screens were in the way.

Here Grandpa is helping one of the little girls.

My mother-in-law is the one in the dark red dress and blue tie on apron, and my husband's only sister standing behind her. (Click on the picture to enlarge.)

Here is my husband with his parents, though one of his nephews is blocking us from seeing his Mothers face.


And here are all the brothers and the one brother-in-law. Wonder if you can pick out the in-law?

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Process of Recovery

I have been in a blogging rut ever since Sunbeam's accident. I'm sure I'll get out of it eventually. But right now my days are filled with taking care of her needs, between all the other things that a family of five needs to have done, and the many people that drop by to see her.

And I have discovered much to my dismay that not only does a house not clean itself, neither does it stay clean once I have it spotless, I think it is safe to say my last shreds of pride and dignity have been removed since we have people dropping by at all hours without notice.

Sunbeam is recovering, and yesterday got to enjoy a makeshift playhouse her siblings built for her on the recliner.


One of my husband's brother's and his family are coming to spend the day here today and my kitchen is still a mess.........

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Awards

My computer was not being very friendly yesterday, deciding to not let me have Internet connection for most of the day. Because of that I didn't get anything posted. So plans for today are two posts, starting off with one to finally pass on awards that I have received over the past month or so.

First up is the Bear Hug Award, from Jennifer at White Chocolate Acres

I am passing it on to Heather I am officially supposed to pass it on to five other blogs and I'm sure under other circumstances that wouldn't be a problem, but for me I can't think of anyone that needs it more than Heather. And so I'm passing it on to only her.
I read her blog regularly and it never fails to touch my heart.

Next I received the Friendship Award. I am passing it on to Bethrusso , Sandra , Becky , and Dana .
Next up is The Super Comments Award. I really enjoy comments and this one goes to one of my most faithful commenter's.... Bethrusso .

This one has a few strings attached. I am supposed to list seven things you might not know about me and then pass it on to seven people.
  1. I really enjoy singing and once I start a song I have to finish it even if I'm interrupted halfway through. I also only need to hear a song two or three times to be able to sing it. (And it really bugs me to hear someone sing off-key.)
  2. I don't enjoy listening to other people talk about health issues, I feign polite interest but the conversation in my head is keeping me much more entertained than your bout of strep throat.
  3. As shocking as it may sound I do not like ketchup.
  4. I tend to be skeptical about home remedies that helpful people are convinced my family needs to learn. They do provide a source of humor, so they aren't totally wasted.
  5. I can be fairly opinionated, but I am learning to keep my opinions to myself.
  6. I would much rather be indoors than outside, including on vacations. The travelling parts are fun and fine, but hiking and exploring things other than gift shops..... I need to change that because my husband dreams of hiking the Appalachian Trail once the children are big enough. (My feet are crying at the very thought.)
  7. I love houseplants, but if my husband would quit taking care of them they would all surely die.

And now since that is out of the way I am passing it on to:

  1. The Mennobrarian
  2. It's the Dirt
  3. It is NOT Poetry
  4. Bethrusso
  5. Pupylov
  6. Of Mice and Ramen
  7. Somewhere Over the Rainbow




And I've been awarded this one again and am passing it on to:
  1. The Beehive Buzz
  2. A Bite Of Country
  3. Hospitable Pursuits
  4. Bakow Babble

There you have it. I have finally passed them on. Thank-you to all the kind bloggers who presented awards to me.

There are so many blogs I enjoy reading that it was hard to choose who to pass these on to!