Saturday, September 22

*yes I CAN!

Yes I CAN!  You may remember me telling you this before, but I was raised a country girl.  I was raised to work in the garden to renew the land and to "put up" what we grew each year, in order that we could enjoy the fruits of our labor when the crops were no longer in season.  My mother did more freezing than canning, although she did a lot of jam and jelly canning through the years.  Actually I am remembering now, she did can pickles, beets, peppers, and other things as well, but we never did much with a pressure cooker.   I think my grandmother actually had a bad experience with a pressure canner, so my mother always had a more than healthy respect for a pressure cooker/canner.  I don't think I ever developed anything healthy in my mind towards the scary aluminum pot with a funny pressure gauge that rested on top and made an alarming sound, until well, just this past month!

My canning this year started with some pepper jelly, wowza. Pepper jelly is simple to make and does not require a pressure canner, just a hot water bath canner (or a large heavy pot).   We have just a few jalapeno plants in our garden this year, but the production is prolific so we have canned some, given away many, dehydrated some and giving away more! We bought some heirloom seeds early this spring so we could harvest some seeds for next year as well as build our seed stock. 

A sweet family on a little country road I travel frequently has pear tree in their front yard which produced some really beautiful pears last year. I found myself wanting to stop and ask if I could buy some, or trade something for some of their fruit. I never did.  But this year when the tree started producing I stopped by and asked.  The sweet couple heartily agreed and was just pleased that someone wanted to do something with them.  They had already canned as many as they were going to can for the year.  I agreed to trade them fresh farm eggs for several weeks, they of course were willing to just give me the pears for nothing at all.  I know that Mrs. K is grateful for the eggs as she has called me on several occasions to say just that, but I still feel like I got the BEST end of that deal. 

My mother makes some of the best pear preserves ever!!! So I got her recipe and did my best to replicate her preserves (of course she doesn't have a recipe...). I suppose I came close enough.  I also made pear relish, pear butter, pear sauce, and cranberry pear chutney, oh and I put some in the freezer for pies as well!

All of these things that I canned did not require that pressure cooker, but I will be talking about that in another post real soon!

When I go to Lowes with my dear husband, this is where I can likely be found. Yes, the canning "stuff".  When we go to Tractor Supply, yep, you guessed it, the canning section. Although both of these places are starting to move these canning items on out so they can make room for CHRISTMAS items. (which totally makes me crazy, but that is another story) It seems I have this new found hobby, desire, love, way to provide for our family , hobby, fix.. whatever you want to call it. I love CANNING!

Friday, September 21

*natural family

You start out with family, no one can escape it, it is how we come into existence. Family. Some find that family is perfect from the very beginning, but not the case with everyone.   I of course was not cut off from my natural family, but after Eric and I were married we moved hours away from all the many family members who were once just a stones throw away.  In those early years of our married life, trouble was abounding in the home that I once grew up in.  My youngest was sister still at home in the midst of all the that took place during that challenging time (to say the least).  My older sister and I had married and were beginning our new life with our husbands.

 My youngest sister, Bridgette.

 Me and Lori, my oldest sister.

 I only have two sisters, so this is the three of us and (my oldest sister, Lori's daughter) Kierstyn

I think we all developed friendships, relationships with our husbands and of course raising families which kept us involved on that level. We were investing in a different place at that time, than we had ever done before.  Never loosing love, never losing closeness with each other, but a passage of time came and went that did not allow us to go deeper, to a different level if you will. I think all three of us (my sisters and I) were doing this with dear friends in our lives, but not with each other.

Well as time would have it, we all still have some very special bonds with friends we call sisters that the Lord has allowed to develop over the years, but He has also brought us three back around full circle. We, my sweet sisters and I, count on each other. We call each other several times a week, text each other, skype each other.  We make visits to see each other when we are able.  We pray for each other and with each other. We encourage each other. We straighten each other up when needed. No matter what rises or falls in any given day, if any of us should need the other you can just know wholeheartedly that the need will be met.

 Me, Lori in the front of Lori's beach Jeep, Bridgette and Kierstyn in the back.  This was a sweet day.

I know that not all siblings or families experience this, but I am here to encourage you... it just might happen when you least expect it. Things could start to change. Slowly. The next thing you know, you are longing to develop a deeper level of love and relationship with those whom you came from.  I think often we see things through broken glasses which gives a distortion to the view we are seeing.  We are all broken people.  We have all been through something or another. And depending on our God given personality, we could all respond to it differently.  Same troubled house, three, four or five different siblings could all inwardly and outwardly respond differently.  Maybe today you will seek to forgive so your heart can be set free.  Maybe you will drop an offense and try to understand things that you never cared to understand before.  Maybe you will even look to see how much passed you by that you were never grateful for before because of the fragments of glass you were looking through did not allow you to see the whole picture.   I think it starts with forgiveness and gratefulness.


Thursday, September 20

*beyond fabric - imagine, dream do!

While on my trip to Georgia, with the help of my dear motherinlove, I stumbled upon this treasure! Beyond Fabric!  This sweet little store is nestled in a little corner of Kingsland, Georgia (Lovetown USA).  The young lady who owns the store is as helpful and sweet as you would want one to be.  She carries interior design fabric, quilter cottons, craft items and more! 

 Oh, did I mention you will pay about half of what other stores charge you for interior decorator fabrics?! Yes, that is right!

 I found this lovely fabric in her shop, which I instantly fell in love with!  I at first did not pick it up because I could not think of a use for it.  It would be a great fabric for hand bags or totes, but I remembered that I have wanted to recover our bar stools and dining room chairs for a while now, so I purchased some yardage with that in mind.

When I found these bar stools I really liked the color of the wood stain, they matched our dining room chair nicely. I however, did not really dig the bronze studs around the base of each seat. It just is not me. So, I have been thinking of this for a while.  I love the contrast of the pomegranate color of the walls against the bright white and yellow of the seat covers.  I did finish the fabric with Scotch Guard and even with that I know these stools will be dirty in no time. That is the downfall of having a lighter color on the stools.  For now I will enjoy the crisp clean look of each of them. 

I had covered the dining room chairs some years ago with this toile, which I really love.  The covers are actually in great condition and do not need recovering at all other than I just want change. So... here we go. (and no, we still do not have our molding and quarter round down yet... sigh) I still have the other dining chairs to finish, the %$#@# stapler isn't working properly anymore so I have to wait for my hero to get home and fix it.

If you ever find yourself in Camden County, Georgia or nearby and you are looking for some great decorator fabrics at a rock bottom price, you have got to stop in and see the ladies at Beyond Fabric! You can also get more information about the store by visiting their website by clicking HERE.

Monday, September 3

*all that remains

Yet more pictures from Camden County from my solo visit. When we were kids, my sisters and I would ride with my mother to take my Daddy some lunch.  I do have fond memories of running over to the edge of the fence at No.3 Shipping to hand my daddy a bag of hot lunch under the tall chain link fence that surrounded Gilman Paper Company. Then we three girls, would give daddy a kiss through the small openings in the chain links. You know, it is just one of those sweet memories.   

My dad did not attend college, much less finish high school but instead took a job in Camden County when I was just a few years old. He worked there without missing a day's work for years, he was very dedicated in his job. Even when he drank, he got up the next morning and went to work.  As it goes, the paper company opened in the 40's and ended up being sold somewhere in the time frame of 2000.  When it changed hands, Durango, the company buying stated they had no desires to lay people off and that it would be business as usual.  Unfortunately many things went in the opposite direction as was told. Sadly, my father, along with many, many other people in that local community lost their jobs. The company was closed, and to this day most of it has been demolished.

Many of the young people who worked there went on to get some training and take other jobs, but for men like my father who had done nothing but this kind of work for 20+ to 30 years found themselves displaced. There was much pain and heartache involved not only on our my fathers part, but other families as well.  My father could have learned a different trade but was not willing as was the case with many other men.   It is said that many are still waiting on their last pay check, retirement benefits and separation pay.

Sunday, September 2

*southern love

If you are in Camden County (and other areas of the south) you will see the trees adorned with this moss.  I know many say it is a parasite for the tree, but it actually doesn't take any nourishment from the tree, it is more of an air plant. However, due to the burden of the moss, it can cause a tree not to get ample sunlight needed to grow properly and the weight of a heavy load can cause the tree to be more susceptible to wind damage.   Many also would say that the trees look creepy to them with the moss hanging out, to me it just looks like my hometown and brings me a nostalgic feeling.  My husband and I have been gone from Camden for 26 years now but both of our parents remain there.  These pictures are from my visit a few weeks ago. This tale is told about the Spanish moss that hangs from the Live Oak Trees of Southeast Georgia - 

As the story goes; there was once a traveler who came with his Spanish fiancée in the 1700s to start a plantation near the city of Charleston SC. She was a beautiful bride-to-be with long flowing raven hair. As the couple was walking over the plantation sight[sic] near the forest, and making plans for their future, they were suddenly attacked by a band of Cherokee who were not happy to share the land of their forefathers with strangers. As a final warning to stay away from the Cherokee nation, they cut off the long dark hair of the bride-to-be and threw it up in an old live oak tree. As the people came back day after day and week after week, they began to notice the hair had shriveled and turned grey and had begun spreading from tree to tree. Over the years the moss spread from South Carolina to Georgia and Florida. To this day, if one stands under a live oak tree, one will see the moss jump from tree to tree and defend itself with a large army of beetles. (taken from Wikipedia)