want some tomatoes? :)

Do you want to stop by and get a few tomatoes?

My tomatoes are everywhere.

tomatoes collage

As fast as I give them away, they multiply like the Biblical loaves and fishes. “Thank you, Lord”! :)

This will be the third huge pot of sauce that I’ve made to freeze…making dinner for my son’s tribe and me here, and then freezing the leftover sauce. That’s just basil leaves from the garden thrown right in…

tomato sauce basil leaves

This latest round had bits of cooked meat from the freezer…a hodgepodge of Italian sausage, ground beef, and ribs. The prior batches were simply vegetables only. ( tomato, garlic, pepper, onion, & sweet basil )

tomatoes rigatoni collage

Running out of freezer space, the next bout will be canning, but I do try to share the bounty with neighbors and family first, and use these any way that I can. First of all, the grandkids can kill 10 tomatoes at one snack sitting…next, I make summer vegetable soups with tomatoes added in. Here’s one variety…the corn is fresh / cut off the cob.

summer veg soup

Then there’s the standard tomato sandwich, tomatoes with eggs in the morning, tomatoes as a side, tomatoes in salad, and adding tomatoes to standard recipes such as roasted cauliflower.

roasted cauliflower with tomatoes

There’s Bruschetta, and zucchini and tomato recipes…Jane over at Blondie’s Journal had a beautiful tart recipe not too long ago…

Roasting is another option. I can do a full cookie sheet or just a cake pan. Sliced tomatoes, basil and onion roasting in a 350 degree oven for about an hour….the scent is wonderful, and then they can go into freezer bags to add to soups and stews over the winter.


As to the secret of my bounty this year ? I did the same thing as last year, basically.   I don’t have all that many tomato plants ( maybe just 10 or so ) but I have a mixture of standard Early Girl ( 2 ) purchased as plants at the garden center, 1 Roma, 1 Cherry tomato ( also purchased as plants ) and then the remainder are started from seed. The seeds were 1/2 package left over from last year…they are Heirloom Mortgage Lifter tomatoes, and they are phenomenal! I can’t recommend them enough.

Because I did it this way, though…I had tomatoes all the way through the season…and at this point, have quite alot. So do you want any? Stop by :)

You might also enjoy :  A Weather Break & Early A.M. Deer Encounter  or  Making a Rag Rug: Finished  or  Waylaid by Beauty

Sharing at : French Country Cottage

Making Delicious Pickles with Little Kids

I have my DIL’s oldest before and after school now. He’s dropped off at six a.m., raring to go.

( Initially I thought he’d just want to go back to sleep on the couch, but nope! :)  Worse yet, he’s even cheerful and happy at 6 a.m. Well, if you are going to acquire new grandchildren via marriage, might as well appreciate the fact that you have happy ones. He’s pretty darn cute, too :) 

Anyway,  it dawned on me that in between doing the hearty-before-school breakfast thing, some mornings could be devoted to making stuff. Sure, there’s crayons and scissors and all sorts of toys that he pulls out to keep himself busy, but one morning I had him help me mix cornbread, which he loves with my homemade jam.  Another activity was making some pickles.

Javis in mornings cornbread and pickles collage

I will give the recipe in this post but the original recipe is HERE. It is called Marybelle’s Polish Dill Pickles, posted by Diane.

I used this recipe last year due to all of the rave reviews. I liked it because it was just for one pint. SO..once I had purchased all of the spices, I could can several jars for later on, do a refrigerator pickle batch, and here and there over the fall and winter, make more.

Here are the measurements for 1 pint. Just double them for quart jars.

1 teaspoon dill seed
1 garlic clove
1 sprig dill weed, pretty (optional)
4 coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 small bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons pickling salt

* I added onion to mine. Peppercorns can be added as well.  You can also add a teaspoon or two of sugar to the vinegar mix if you like. The CANNED pickles, after sitting for a month or two…are absolutely amazing. The grand kids eat the onions…drink the juice..even eat the dill springs. The refrigerator ones get better-tasting the longer they sit, so I had explained to Javis that we’d at least wait a week until he opened his first jar.

So, if you want to do this with your children or grand-children, to give you an idea : I purchased 1 package of fresh dill and two cucumbers at the store. I still had all of the other ingredients. I lined up four pint jars in front of Javis, and while I added the dill seeds, coriander seeds, etc…he had the fresh dill, onion, cukes, garlic, and bay leaves to put in himself. He had a blast. I knew that he would…I’d done this with my other little grandson last year on one occasion.

Safety : I took the jars away from his reach, back into the kitchen and on the counter, when I added the boiling water-vinegar mix and sealed the jars. These are delicious pickles…a great recipe and fun for the kids to make and eat.

I think that this big smile might be due to anticipation in regards to opening that first jar of pickles in a week or so ! : )

javis smiling

So…that’s about as creative as I get here :)  If you want to see a super-creative Grandma…hop on over to Joyce’s blog at What Happens at Grandmas.  She just threw the most adorable fairy party for little girls …the post before that is a Star Wars Party for twin boys, and before that is a backyard carnival that is over the top! If you have kids or grandkids and are not familiar with this blog, you will be amazed, trust me :)

There are so many good ideas there for parties and crafts…you’ll love it.  ( but she can’t make pickles as good as mine, ha ha )

You might also enjoy: Birds & Blooms Late August  or  Home Sweet Home Quilt Block #1  or Five Christmas Time Randoms  or  This Post is For Balisha

Sharing at: Savvy Southern Style / Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Little goldfinches & a great big hawk

I could hear the little goldfinches squealing out back on Sunday afternoon and I stepped outside with my camera.

goldfinch collage

THEN a huge hawk swept over, fairly low, and I swung around to get a photo…I was only able to get one. This is how it and the sky looked initially.


I added some fill light and the fact that he was a red tailed hawk was easier to see. He was quite large…certainly a full grown one. He landed in the pine tree…a house or two down from me…and I waited and waited but he didn’t come out again.

Hawk with fill light

Oh well…at least I was outside at the right moment to enjoy him! :)

I turned my attention back to the little finches.

Finch sunflowers and tomatoes

Last year I had a hawk visitor very close by and he stuck around …I got some amazing shots of him ( HERE )

( well, they were amazing to me, since I am not out in the countryside or anything and he was just hanging around :)

Sharing at : Cozy Little House / A Stroll Thru Life / Savvy Southern Style / Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Weather & Wine

I remember that when I was a child, it did predictably cool off around back-to-school time.

When my boys were growing up, it was cooler then as well,  we had a week or so later on of “Indian Summer” and every once in awhile we’d have something crazy like very hot weather for a few days in October.  The last decade here in Western Pa. has been much hotter than usual, wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts well into October on many a day, so  this cooler-than-normal summer has been quite nice.

But I don’t ever recall having a mid-September morning that was so cold that after shivering for a few hours, I gave in and turned the furnace on for a bit. It was about 44 degrees when I got up on Sunday and had only warmed up to 46 when I did that.

Speaking of Western Pa. we have potholes here every year after winter, and they are pretty bad around a neighboring town. My youngest had my car on Saturday night and was bringing it back around noon on Sunday when I got a text with a picture of my tire after he’d landed in one of them!

tire puncture

He put a spare on and I’ll have to get a new tire…he’s offered to pay.

The middle son brought a gift over…some wine from a local winery.


That was a nicer surprise than the ruined tire :)

You might also enjoy :  Here Comes the Sun, Little Darling  or Early Fall  or Dining Room ; My Red Hutch  or Vintage Coffee Pot

Sharing at : A Stroll Thru Life

Applique & Quilting : early September

This week I worked a bit more on the house block applique.

I  took a few pictures along the way…here is the vine and leaves all sewn down and the windows and door are in place.

While I am using the house pattern templates from Blackbird Designs for this block I decided to modify the rest of it…I took a picture when I had a certain amount done and was cutting out some flowers for the vine and a bird feeder that I decided to put on the other side of the house.

working on house block

Then I thought that I’d play a bit, and embroider a vine and flower around the feeder. My embroidery skills consist of the backstitch :)  That is fine…this project is to be fun for me and nothing else. I promised myself that from the get-go. There will not be one perfect thing in this project, since I am incapable of that, anyway :) The key is, I am not going to worry about that.

working on house block 2

Meanwhile…last year I had my grands Brent & Kate here a lot in the summer and Kate  had  wanted to learn to sew a bit. We chose an embroidery project for her, and once completed, it would be a gift for her other grandmother. ( HA! That grandma has no clue of the agony that I went through…how many times I had to deal with knots and tangles or how many times I had to thread the needle again and again..I was a SAINT, I tell you :) Anyway, to accompany her, I was working on a tea towel which I had completely forgotten about until I found it at the bottom of the basket where I had the embroidery threads and hoops stored.

Embroidery Towel

Birdhouse and sun ( and fun )

house block birdhouse and sun view


As to quilting, I am still working on this fruit basket block.  I hope to finish it up this Sunday, joining the other Slow Stitchers at Kathy’s! :)

working on fruit basket block

You might also enjoy:  A Weather Break and Early A.M. Deer Encounter  or Red & Green Quilts and Pennsylvania Tulips  or  Basking in the Sun

Sharing at : Kathys Quilts / Sew Many Ways / Being Frugal By Choice / Cozy Little House / Freemotion by the River/Freshly Pieced/ Sew Fresh Quilts / Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson / French Country Cottage

Hollyhock Update : 15.5 feet

I have posted off and on about my hollyhock this summer. Hollyhocks are biennial…last year it grew to a standard size of 6 feet or so. This year it went beserk and just kept growing and growing. It was close to 12 feet the last time that I posted about it, and I had to bring the top portion inside the back porch lest it hit electrical wires running from under my roof to the pole.

Blooms start at the bottom and they die off and more blooms appear higher up, etc. Here’s what it looked like with just one or two blooms left.

hollyhock before taking it down

My view when I step out onto the back porch in the morning :

back porch view

I didn’t plant morning glories this year, but let my ‘volunteers’ from last year come up, and rather than train them on strings going up the porch, I let them twine around the tall grass, and then later on the holly hock as it continued to grow. It was a pretty sight to behold the last few weeks :)

morning glory growing up the hollyhock before taking all down

Yet, while the morning glories would bloom until frost, I tore them up and downed the hollyhock on Sept. 8th, along with filling the garbage cans with older sunflowers, weeds, etc.  The morning glory vines were downing too many of the tall grass stems, and the autumn sedum ( peeking out below in the photo above ) needs its time in the sun, to be fair to it.

Here she is…downed. My youngest son was over here the next morning and we measured her at 15.5 feet.

downed hollyhock collage

Why did she grow this tall?  I do not know.  I could have used some compost dirt when I planted her last year. It could have been companion planting with an heirloom tomato next to her. It could have been all of the rain that we had this summer.  It could have been that when I rinsed out the coffee pot in the morning, and dumped it on her, ( the back porch is right off of the galley-kitchen ) that the remains of Folger’s Breakfast Blend got her caffeinated enough to grow double-time….who knows :)

You might also enjoy:  The Giant 9 Foot Hollyhock : Early July Garden  or Fabric Pennants, House Blessings & Hauntings  or How Much Piecin’ a Quilt is Like Livin’ a Life

Sharing at : Sew Many Ways / Frugal By Choice / Cozy Little House / Savvy Southern Style / Fishtail Cottage

Surprise gift from a blogger friend and ‘slice of life’ …

Pretty clouds the other day…

pretty skies collage

And then there’s sunshine. Some people just spread sunshine wherever they go.

In this instance, it was Judy from New England Garden & Thread and where she was going was to the post office! 

I received a surprise gift package the other day of Brown Eyed Susans that she’d dug up and sent to me! :)

These were packaged so carefully that the foliage was still moist when I opened everything up. She’s a Master Gardener..now I saw that she was a Master Shipper as well ! On the day that this arrived, we had intense heat and humidity so I soaked the roots and plant in a pot, and waited until the next day to plant them, when rain and cooler temps were due to arrive.

judys brown eyed susans collage

Judy is a Santa Blogger :)

When the cool-off and rain arrived, that next morning I had the grand kids early …it was quite foggy and misty, and we saw these webs right away.  I explained to them that I had to wait for the sun to come out to take pictures as the sun would make the webs stand out.  They became quite interested in that, so I took some pictures without the sunshine and then compared them to these, later in the morning, so that they could understand what I meant. In the first pictures, you could not see the webs at all. We needed the sun to see these webs in a photograph :)

spiderwebs collage

Gardening update for the moment :

I have two thunbergia vines in the front…the yellow took off like crazy and never stopped / the orange one took off but rarely bloomed. It is finally starting to bloom more now. The sedum is coming in to bloom as it usually does at this time.

front collage vines etc

Ok,  little squirrel, yes you are very cute against the thunbergia vine background. Yes, you can be in this post.

squirrel on top of step flowers in background

I had planted marigolds on the side of the house where I park, and in the back as a companion to the tomatoes. They are just now starting to bloom. They are a tall variety but I planted them in late May!

The lantana is just now starting to take off. I suppose this is due to the usually cool and rainy summer.  Lantana is a wonderful flower for mid to late summer when it is hot and dry. Another round of the yellow roses are blooming and the spirea bush in the back is in a second bloom.

misc flower collage

Here, while fall is my favorite season, I am not in a major hurry for it.

Late summer means seeing the culmination of so much effort in the spring and early summer, in regards to blooms and vegetables, that I want to savor every minute of it. We’ve had a mild summer, though…I have to remember that is why I am in this frame of mind :)

You might also enjoy :  Tuesday Treasures : Silly Little Santa Squirrel  or Tuesday Treasures : Jenny Wren  or For Downton Abbey Fans

Sharing at :  Cozy Little House A Stroll Thru Life

A little boy feeding the birds : simple pleasures

Feeding the birds here in the summer is sporadic. They don’t need fed constantly; it’s not winter. I usually have one big bag of niger seed that I use to fill the finch socks and one bag of sunflower seeds and perhaps some cracked corn. These are for when my little grandson is here.

Oh, how happy he is to assist in filling the finch socks, using a few “TOOLS”. Then he thought that he’d use the tools for the sunflower seed spreading but that wore off quickly and after deciding that he needed to eat a sunflower seed or two himself, he went back to the easy route, using his hands.

B and Birdseed collage

B having fun with Birdseed collage

After a trip on his Harley trike around the neighborhood that morning, we returned to find birds and squirrels enjoying his feast.

What he really got a kick out of was when I got a few peanuts for the squirrels and then the blue jay showed up ( there’s a fairly tame one that understands the word “peanut” and landed for his peanuts only a few feet away from Brent. )

Meanwhile the finches have been quite appreciative of his efforts :)

finches for brent post

You might also enjoy : Tea Party : Grand Girls and Squirrels  or Summer Food Memories : We all Have Them   or Vintage Grandmother’s Flower Garden Quilt


Sharing with : Cozy Little House / Savvy Southern Style / Lavender Cottage Gardening / A Stroll Thru Life / French Country Cottage

Quilting, Applique, Piecing, Kids, and a little dog slobber thrown in…

Well the first week of September had some fun moments with the kids…but not so much quilting  :)  The quilt block that I had in the hoop last week is still not finished though I did work on it somewhat.

One day I enjoyed not only Kate & Brent but I brought the new dog ( a rescue ) along as well. My son and DIL adopted him last week…I posted it about it the other day.

kate brent and amos collage

Then Javis is here before and after school ( dropped off at 6:00 )   We arranged for quite a few pictures that first day of first grade for Mommy…here was her favorite.

Javis breakfast

During the period that these grand-kids were here the sewing machine was out. I wanted to finish another round of four Crosses & Losses blocks, sew them together, sew that larger piece to last week’s block, and then join that to the larger section. Let me tell you, I got so much help. “Oma, I will help you with the pins!”.   Oh  boy, I am slow as it is. This became turtle-speed now, but how they love to help!

Then there was the adoring rescue dog who came up next to me as I was sewing, put his head in my lap, looked up at me with endearing forever love in his eyes, and proceeded to slobber.

Fortunately it was just on my lap and not on the fabric :)

latest round of crosses and losses

Slow Stitching…a start to another house block :

start to next house block

Sharing at : Kathy’s Quilts / Sew Many Ways / Lavender Cottage Gardening / Frugal By Choice / Cozy Little House/ Freemotion by the River / Savvy Southern Style / Freshly Pieced

9/11 : A vet’s mom

As another 9/11 anniversary approaches, as the mother of a vet, with a grandson named after a good man who died over there, I have been watching things like THIS  lately. See what you think. It’s pretty short and concise, under 5 minutes, and quite amazing.

Then there is a group of 2200+ architects and engineers…some with multiple degrees, that have paid for a huge digital billboard in the vicinity of the New York Times  from September 8th to October 5th!  Seems they’d like the Times to run a story. 

“The message will be simple and powerful, encouraging viewers to trust their instincts about WTC 7’s smooth, symmetrical downward motion — and follow up at ReThink911.org ” Some conspiracy theories present things like this to consider :

In the aftermath of the attacks, passports and identification were found as evidence. Many skeptics question how identification made out of paper survived an explosion, which destroyed buildings.

Right before the September 11th attacks, some fishy business happened within the stock market and insurance firms. An “extraordinary” amount of put options were placed on United Airlines and American Airlines stocks, the same airlines that were hijacked during the attacks. Many speculate that traders were tipped off about the attacks and profited from the tragedy. The Securities and Exchange Commission launched an insider trading investigation in which Osama Bin Laden was a suspect after receiving information from at least one Wall Street Firm.

( More can be found at News One HERE )

” Vladimir Putin threatened in May of this year that he had evidence that 9/11 was an “inside job” and was going to release it after NATO and the US government staged a coup and false-flag attack in the Ukraine. – See more at: http://www.thedailybell.com/editorials/35537/Jeffrey-Berwick-The-Walls-Are-Crumbling-Down-Around-911-Why/#sthash.0FJvHVGd.dpuf “

There seems to be a very large web of deceit surrounding 9/11.

spiderweb by flag

We are opposed around the world by a monolithic ruthless conspiracy

President John F. Kennedy Waldorf-Astoria Hotel New York City, April 27, 1961

JFK also  said: “The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society, and we are as a people, inherently and historically, opposed to secret societies, secret oaths, and secret proceedings … For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence. It depends on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific, and political operations. Its preparations are concealed, not published, its mistakes are buried, not headlined, its dissenters are silenced, not praised, no expenditure is questioned, no secret is revealed … I am asking your help in the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people.”   “The high office of President has been used to foment a plot to destroy the American’s freedom, and before I leave office I must inform the citizen of his plight.” – John F. Kennedy at Columbia University, Nov. 1st, 1963