Saturday, December 27, 2008

Family History


One of the things I wanted to do while I was home for the holiday was to take pictures of family stones at the local cemeteries. (I know, not particularly festive, but I don't get home that often and photos of tombstones are admissible for DAR evidence.) I found some family members but not others. Heck, I can't even figure out where some of my people are buried; so I thought I was doing good to get what I did. I was really looking for one of my great, great grandmothers on my father's side. She had been widowed and remarried, so the name was different. After a little search my sister found her in Byhalia Cemetary. It helps that she knew the place.

It is so odd, here is this tombstone of a women I never knew who died younger than I am now. What happened? What was her life like? She was married at 18 and widowed at 27. She remarried, had another baby at 41 then died when the baby was just 1 year old. Her son, my great grandfather and his wife, moved in with his stepfather to help care for the baby. Two of his children were within a year of his half-sister. It is amazing to see family dynamics at work in census records.

RIP Mattie Holmes Romick Schertzer

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Well instead of a Yule Log, I give you Yule twigs. (I was burning some of the dead-fall from last week's ice storm.) I hope your holiday is merry and bright. Hang up your stockings, for Santa Claus comes tonight.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My World

Anytime after Thanksgiving all bets are off on whether or not we will have snow on the mountain. It can be raining 6 miles away in Town Center, and snowing to beat the band up here. In fact, most people do not visit me until Easter or if they do, they bring their jammies. (I keep the guest room ready at all times.) I hate winter, but I have to say it is beautiful on the mountain in the snow. This road borders one side of my property.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Six Random Facts Meme

Kyle from As the Mind Wanders tagged me with the "Six Random Facts" meme. So I sit here pondering 6 random facts. Do they need to be weighty, or silly or what. Let's see....

1. I have taken quite a few classes at the CIA. No, no, the other CIA, the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. They have hands-on full-day Saturday classes. Loved it. Totally fun. Learned a lot too.

2. I went sand-sliding out in the desert in Dubai in a 4X4 with the widows rolled up and crazy Bedouin music blaring from the stereo. Now, that was a whack-a-do thing.

3. Hazy, Hot and Humid are my 3 favorite words, seriously. I hate the cold and snow and ice and ugh. Really, I would say the same in August.

4. I could listen to my ipod for 17.6 days before I had to repeat a song. Most of the music is from around the world and in other languages. Think voice as an instrument.

5. The first car I ever owned was a silver VW bug with a sun-roof. I paid a whole $500 for it. I thought I was hot stuff, never mind that the floor was rotted out and I would get soaked if I ran into a puddle.

6. I have a weaving studio and a loom that I have only used twice in the last 8 years.

Here are the rules for Six Random Things:
  1. Link to the person who tagged you.
  2. Post the rules on your blog.
  3. Write six random things about yourself.
  4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
  5. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
  6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
I am not going to tag anyone specifically, if you are interested in doing it, please consider yourself tagged.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Squirrel in the Snow

Oh My, look at that frowny face. I spotted Mr. Grumpy in the backyard when I was out photographing birds in the snow. He looks completely miserable, poor thing. He's the only squirrel I have seen today. No doubt the other fifty-eleven are tucked in somewhwere.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ice Storm

I got a phone call from one of my neighbors while I was away inquiring if our power had come back on. I listened to the message with a sinking feeling. I was unaware we had a problem and it was too late to call by the time I got the message. One of the other conference attendees mentioned an ice storm but she said it was in Massachusetts. I really hadn't given it any thought.

There was nothing on the ground as I drove north. There was nothing on the ground when I swung around the lake. But as I climbed the last 500 ft from the lake to the house, Holy Cow. Everything but the road was covered in a thick coating of ice. Apparently it was the last 500 feet in altitude that did it. I know I live in a micro-climate, but c'mon.



The storm started Thursday night and the power went out around 10p. There was no power all day on Friday, finally coming back on Friday night. I got home on Saturday around 4p and ice still coated everything. The trees are bent over, the forsythia is a glistening crystal sculpture bowed earthward, the barberries are frozen in ice. Many of the tops of trees and some of the arborvitae snapped with the weight. The sound of chainsaws echoed from the ridge tops on Sunday. We are still coated in ice as I write this, 3 days later.

There is nothing more beautiful than sunlight glistening on ice but it can be deadly.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Strolling through Old Town Albuquerque


I rarely visit other towns at Christmas time. So it was interesting to stroll through Old Town Albuquerque on my way to and from dinner at the Church Street Cafe. It is a Southwest tradition and possibly a uniquely New Mexican one, to line your rooftop, porch, street and it would seem any outdoor surface with luminarias. Many of the buildings in Albuquerque both in Old Town and in the greater business and residential communities have them lining their roof tops already. These, I was told are electric.


But in Old Town, thousands of small brown paper bags will be filled with sand and a candle lining the streets on Christmas Eve to welcome the Christchild. There is a Christmas Eve tour that is suppose to be spectacular.


I would love to see it one day.


There were regular stands of white lights decorating the shops and houses too. This decorated dancer took my fancy.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Skywatch

Growing up in the flatland, far from the big city, the tallest building in town was the grain elevator. You could see it for miles. Every Christmas they would put a star at the very top. Decades later, the star still gleams on frosty winter nights, a sign that welcomes home weary travelers as another star did years ago. Too see other skies check out Skywatch, a weekly meme of skies from around the world.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Rehab for the holidays

My cousin called last night to tell me that my 84-year old aunt fell at the doctor’s office (of all places) while taking off her shoes to be weighed. (It is those little vanities that may kill us.) She broke her hip, badly and not only will she require surgery but a plate and screws. She is now in the hospital waiting to be squeezed into the operating room schedule. Her 82 year-old sister went into the hospital for carpal tunnel surgery before Thanksgiving to come out with a triple bypass (She had been having tightness in her chest but did not tell anyone.) They will both be in rehab for the holidays but with any luck in the same facility. We will no doubt be driving back and forth while I am home for Christmas.

I suppose I will send flowers, but when, where and how is the question. And you know I will have to send to both of them or there will be hell to pay. I wonder if the fruit basket is better? Or maybe cookies or oh, I don’t know. Oy family dynamics. Any suggestions?

Wordless Wednesday

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Raspberry White Chocolate Bars

While I was staking out the Red Crossbill at a neighbor's house, I learned that Weis Ecology Center was having a Christmas tree sale as a fundraiser. In addition to the tree yard, they were also having arts and crafts for the kids and a bake sale. I rushed home to bake chocolate bear cookies and these fabulous red and white bars. I don't make as many holiday cookies as I used to, goodness knows, what with the price of ingredients these days, but these holiday bars as part of my repetoire and great as gifts, for cookies exchanges and fundraising bake sales. They freeze great too, I have often frozen them for weeks.

1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ cups butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups flour
2 eggs
1 18oz jar of red raspberry preserves (I use seedless Polaner)
1 cup white chocolate chips (I use an entire bag of Ghirardelli white)

Heat over to 350. Combine sugar, butter, salt and vanilla in large mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping often, until well mixed (1-2 minutes). Reduce speed to low. Beat, adding flour 1 cup at a time and scraping often, until mixture is crumbly. Remove 1 cup of the crumb mixture and set aside. Add eggs to the mixture in the bowl; beat until mixture forms a dough. Press the dough into an ungreased 13X9-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Spread preserves over the hot, partially baked bars. Sprinkle the chips over the jam. Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over the top. Return to oven and continue baking for another 20-25 minutes or until topping is lightly browned. Cool completely. Cut into bars. Makes 48 bars.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Pink Tractor

There were no girly pink tractors when I was small. I think we had a beat-up red one. Or maybe a cousin had a beat-up red one. Whosoever it was, it most definitely was not new or pink. I took this picture at Tractor Supply. It tickled me. And John Deere makes bikes now??? Now that is building brand loyalty! I love shopping in the flatland, things are so different there then they are here.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Skywatch

The storm had started to move on as we drove over through the mountains headed to the grasslands when the sun burst forth and the rays filled the valley. It was awesome!

To see other awesome skies from around the world. Check out Skywatch!

Monday, November 24, 2008

My World with turkeys


I drummed my fingers on the steering wheel as I crept down the road. There was no accident or heavy equipment or school bus causing the slow down on this early morning ride to work. Just the usual mountain traffic.

To see other parts of the world, or participate in the weekly meme, check out My World

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fiber art cats

Alright, I know I live in a bubble; but I had never heard of Etsy until a few weeks ago when Little Love Blue pledged 20% of her proceeds to the March of Dimes. I found out about it on Twitter, of course. She is a fiber artist and makes the most adorable animals. I fell in love with an orange cat that she had on her site, but it had already been purchased by someone. So, I sent her a note and she custom-made me an orange Chester cat and a black Jackson cat.


They arrived in the mail beautifully packaged and are now sitting on the 1/2 wall between the kitchen and family room.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Masks

I collect masks. There is something about them that I find fascinating. Firstly, I appreciate them as art, marveling at all the work that went into making them--the carving or sculpting and the metal or bead inlays. Secondly, I love how they are reflective of the culture of the people who made them--what they represent and how they are used. I have them from many countries. Some of them are scary, some happy, some primitive and some detailed and all of them, with 2 exceptions, are human.

This one is a small ceramic mask from Mexico. Technically, I would not really call this a mask since it has no eye holes (my own rigid criteria) but I fell in love with the lines of it and schlepped it home in my carry-on luggage. I came down the hall this week and the sun was slanted across the mask in such a fantastic way, I ran for the camera. Look at that eye.

Monday, November 17, 2008

My World- Baku


Hi Lady, Want to Buy a Carpet?

A few years ago I had the opportunity to go to Baku for 2 weeks. My hotel was in the Icheri Sheher, the Inner City, very close to the Maiden Tower. As I went back and forth to work, I walked past many, many carpet shops. This is one of them. Azerbaijan has been famed for its carpets since antiquity. I never grew tired of seeing them. There were carpets hanging over railings, in windows and lying flat on the ground.

I carefully avoided walking on the neatly placed carpets set end to end in the street only to find out that is exactly what the shop owners wanted. It added value. I sorta regret not buying one, they were beautiful.


To see other parts of the world, check out My World.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sleepy Kitty Weekend

After the pouring rain all day yesterday, the howling winter winds really kicked in overnight. A cold front is suppose to be on its way. Feeling a little cooped up, I pulled on 3 layers and my Nepalese tasseled hat and went out birding. Standing in the cold wind for a few hours really took it out of me though. When I threw in the towel and got home I found all the kitties napping. Looks like a good idea! Scoot over.

Oscar


Tonka

Winkie

And where is Bourka? Probably tucked against the radiator under the bed in the blue room.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fireplace repair

We'll be there between 9-12. You know the drill.

So on Saturday I waited for the fireplace guys to show up.

Remember the cracks on the back wall inside the fireplace? They made me nervous. I had filled them in a few times, but they kept coming back. Last year I never even used the fireplace. When I had the chimney cleaned back in what, July or August, I mentioned my concern about those cracks and the crumbling floor. Since it is a brand-name insert, he was able to get a new floor and all news walls. They had been on order for months and finally came in. The guys showed up around 10:30, and ba-da-bing, had the news parts installed in half an hour. Amazing. $428. later, they were out the door. I am left with a flyer that says Do NOT start a fire for 24 hours, the parts have to "settle". Then to cure the walls, make 6 small fires of no more than 30 minutes each with 1 hour cooling between them. That is going to require a dedicated few days of fire fiddling.

The fireplace is really for ambiance. But it is nice to have going during the holidays.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Yucca on a Frosty Morn

A winking sparkle drew me to the window. There was a glistening in the flower bed. I crunched across the frosted grass as the pale morning sun reflected off the ice shards on the yuccas. The patterns are fragile, fleeting and beautiful.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A salute to Veteran's Day

My grandfather Clarence Arthur (Casey) Robertson was drafted into World War I in June 1917. He was 23. He shipped out to Europe with Co. E 166 Infantry in October 1917, fought in 3 major and 3 minor battle operations and returned after serving in the Army of Occupation in April 1919.

Here he is in a picture taken in France. Back row, left to right: Casey Robertson, Floyd Hiser, Henry Green, Willard Rogers. Front row, left to right: Fay Wolford, an unknown Frenchman, Buck Horshfield. Armistice Day was November 11, 1918.

The War to End All Wars, did not.

My World through the fog

I woke up to see my world shrouded in a think blanket of fog. Hours later the hush was still on the land; no dog barked, no birds called, what small sounds there were came faintly, clogged by the fog. I would not want to be lost in the woods on such a day.

To see other parts of the world, visit That's My World.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Green Soup

Louise, Gary and Bill up the Hill came for dinner last night. I was in the mood for fiery food so I decided to make Indian. I started with this delicate, utterly delicious Green Soup (Hara Shorva) followed by Chicken Rogan Josh, Gujerati beans and a turmeric blushed cauliflower with tomatoes. We had cool and creamy pineapple coconut ice cream with strong coffee for dessert. Yum-a-la. I want you to try this soup. It was awesome. It is from Madhur Jaffrey's book on Indian Cooking (2002).

4 oz potatoes, peeled and roughly diced
3 oz onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 pints chicken stock
3/4 inch cube of fresh ginger, peeled
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
5 Tblsp. chopped cilantro
1/2 fresh hot green chili (I used jalapeƱo)
10 oz peas, fresh or frozen (I used frozen)
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice ( I used juice of 1/2 a lemon)
1/2 tsp. ground roasted cumin seeds
5 fl oz. heavy cream

Combine the potatoes, onions, chicken stock, ginger, ground coriander and ground cumin in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover and turn heat to low, simmer for 30 minutes. Fish out the cube of ginger and discard it. Add the cilantro, green chili, peas, salt, lemon juice and ground roasted cumin seeds. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered for 2-3 minutes or until the peas are just tender. Empty the soup into the container of an electric blender in 2-3 batches and blend until it is smooth. Put the soup into a clean pot. Add the cream and bring to a simmer to heat through. Serves 5.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Living with Bears

You know I live with bears ambling through the yard on a regular basis, right? I love and respect them, but I am ready for them to go nighty-nite now. And although I see them less at this time of year, they are still not asleep. Many bears start their long winter's nap in early October, but if the weather is warm, the big guys will stay up accumulating fat (up to 40 pounds a week) until the cold really sets in.

We have had some really cold nights on the mountain already and that freak October snowstorm that lasted for days before finally melting; but the bears have not gone down. How do I know?

Garbage.

Bears eat garbage. Even though the township I live in got a grant to provide every household in bear alley with 2 screw-top bear cans; people do not use them. There are flyers all over town advising us on “How to Live with Bears”. The first item on the list is Do NOT leave your garbage out. Still, I drive to work on garbage day to find garbage bags ripped open and their contents strewn all over the road. You would think that would only need to happen once, before the light bulb would go on.

OK. The cans are heavy, do not have wheels, and the screw top is a pain. But they are made that way for a reason. Please, use them if you have them. If you did not get one, the local feed store has them for sale.

I cannot start feeding the birds until the bears go to sleep. The bears will not go to sleep as long as there is a steady food source and the weather is moderate. There will be a steady food source as long as people leave out their stinkin’ garbage.

Ok. I am done ranting now. Thank you for letting me vent.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Monkshood

I have been meaning to show you one of my favorite autumn flowers. Monkshood (Can you see the little hoods?) is a tall sturdy perennial that produces gorgeous purple flowers when most of the garden is done. It does not need staking, thank goodness, because I hate fussing. I have it growing by the driveway so it gets a lot of sun. It prefers a rich, moist soil and unlike other perennials it does not throw seed everywhere. Ok, there is a down side. It is poisonous--so don't eat it.

Also, it was or still is I guess, known as wolfbane. Have you seen the original Wolfman movie? They quote a poem throughout the movie. "Even a man who is pure at heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolf bane blooms and the moon is shining bright." This is the real deal.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Festival of the Trees

Have you been over to visit the Halloween/Samhain/Day of the Dead edition of the Festival of the Trees ? Check it out. There is a lot of interesting reading and great photos of a spooking southern swamp.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Skywatch


Off in the distance, through the trees, comes the first faint howl in the gathering gloam. In her spot by the fire, the cat's ebony ears flicker at the sound. She looks up, intently staring off into the darkening day, before stretching and padding silently to the window. Standing on her hind feet she delicately savors the night wind before slipping through the sliver of open sash. The howl comes again, lingering as if frozen, floating above the forest then the hills take up the wail, echoing it forward into the valleys. It is closer now....

Happy Halloween, my friends.

To see other skies, check out Skywatch

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My World--Dead Boy Bridge

Not far from my house there is a long haunted road that twists its way through the woods. There are lots of creepy stories associated with it, one of which is the dead boy that lives under the bridge. If you pass by and aren't careful he will come out and chase you. This has never happened to me, Thank God. I met a man at the hawk watch the other day who has lived on the north end of Clinton Road for 30 years. He said you are suppose to throw money into the iron-stained water for his benefit. The money disappears. I had never heard this twist on the tale. He also said he heard that it was a live boy living under the bridge. Either way, dead or alive, I would not be living under the bridge. It looks like it is about to fall down. Are there haunted parts of your town?

To see other part of the world check out "That's my World" meme

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Witch Hazel


I was out to dinner the other day, and the topic of conversation fell to trees. I am not sure how we got there, fall leaves maybe. Anyway, I was telling my scary tree story, you know the one about the tree with the screaming face over by the dead boy bridge…. What, you don’t know about that tree or the dead boy bridge? Goodness, Ok. I’ll come back to that.

ANYWAY, the scary tree story led to a discussion of Halloween images-- crows, haunted houses, ghosts, witches, dead, gnarled, twisted branches raking a leaden sky, dusty tinctures with ancient peeling labels…people that go way overboard in decorating their houses and lawns. You get the picture. After everyone had named all their favorite iconic Halloween images and gossiped about their neighbors, there was a lull in the conversation. I offhandedly mentioned that speaking of tinctures, I have Witch-hazel growing on the property and although it is a leggy shrub, it could fit into the creepy tree category. Astonished by the lifted eyebrows and blank stares I started to tick off it unusual characteristics.


It has small snaky yellow blossoms in October when all other trees bloom in Spring.

It spits seeds for long distances rather than letting them fall to float on the wind.

The inner bark has long been used to brew a tincture to ward off skin ailments and relieve pain.

Its branches were and maybe still are used as dowsing rods to find water or minerals underground.

It is a rebel, grows wild in the woods….

The flow of conversation turned to Witch Hazel from Bugs Bunny abandoning the plant to conversational oblivion.

I like Witch-Hazel and I do have lots of it growing at the top of the property and it is in its glory right now.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pumpkin Pecan Bread


You know how some days just cry out for baking? Well, it is gray, rainy and 40F here. And I happen to have pecans in the freezer and a can of pumpkin in the pantry. This recipe is from one of those little paperback cookbooks that are at the end of the checkout line at the grocery store. I have made it umpteen times. It comes out perfect every time, freezes really well, stays moist. Makes a great gift. It makes 7 mini loaves, if you prefer ( I've donated them to charity fundraisers). Gotta go, I just heard the timer!

Pumpkin Pecan Bread

2 1/2 c. flour
1c. whole wheat flour
3 c. Sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 c. oil
2/3 c. water
4 eggs
2 c. pumpkin puree
1 c. chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350F. Grease bottom only of 2 bread pans. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In large bowl, combine both flours, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; mix well. In a medium bowl, combine oil, water, eggs, and pumpkin. Mix well. Add to flour mixture; beat for 1 minute at medium speed. Fold in pecans. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350F for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pans and cool on wire rack. Makes 2 loaves.

Pillsbury, Fall Baking Cookbook, 1988.

Monksville Reservoir

I have to drive over Monksville Reservoir everyday on my way to work. With the recent spate of freezing temps, the heat vapors have been dancing on the surface; glimmering in the sun. It has been this way all week. (Remember it has been in the 20s on the mountain.) Yesterday I decided to pull over and try to capture the rising mist.
Here's another one.

Sorta cool, huh. I wonder if this phenomenon has a name? Anyone know?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wait, that's not a dog

My sister has always been a dog person. (Or so she claims.) So how is it, that when a fluffy stray kitty showed up on her back deck with messy eyes, she felt compelled to try and doctor it? Many treatments later and, a long story, short, meet George! And yes, he is lying on her bed. Isn't he the cutest pudding pie?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Apple Snob


There it is then. Out in the open. I have favorites. We all do. Mine is the juicy, sweet, tang of a firm-fleshed Crispin. I get them from a local orchard; the grocery store does not sell them. (Do not be confused with Honey Crisp which the stores do sell; they are not the same thing.) When they are in season I eat them a lot. More than that, I hold off buying any fall apples until the Crispins are ready in mid-October. They are the BEST eating apple. Of course you can cook with them, but why? One drawback, is that they are HUGE. So you might want to share. My favorite afternoon snack is a sliced Crispin with a nice sharp Irish cheddar cheese.

In terms of cooking, I usually use a combo of Granny Smith and Golden Delicious for pie and McIntoch for crisp.

Do you have a favorite apple?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Autumn Leaves





Hoo-ey! The Leaf-peepers were out in full force this weekend. The fall foliage normally peaks around here the second weekend of October, but since we had had no wind or rain, this weekend the trees were still in their glory. The weather was crisp, sunny, dry. Perfect for a fall day in the country.

You know how you take things for granted? Oblivious to the beauty around me, I tried to turn left onto the main drag to go to the grocery store yesterday but all I could finally do was turn right and go with the flow. Car after car was filled with families going north. Intent on driving north to turn around and come south again to do my errands, I too got caught up in the fall color. It was spectacular! Abandoning my errands I drove to some of my favorite haunts. Enjoy the pictures.

One of the joy and sorrows of living on the mountain is the hordes of city folk that come to recreate in the woods. I hope you were one of them. If you haven't been out to see the fall foliage c'mon over. It will be over soon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Petition for Preemies

Do you know someone who had a baby too soon?

I just got an email from friends whose baby came at the end of September instead of October. It turns out Richard the Third is fine and they only had to stay at the hospital for a week; but many babies have to stay for months in the NICU, struggling to breathe, fighting for life.

It is happening more and more. According to the March of Dimes, 1200 babies will be born prematurely TODAY, everyday.

Premature birth is a growing problem. The March of Dimes has put out a call for all of us to sign their Petition for Preemies. It urges the federal government and the new administration to increase research support into the causes of prematurity and expand access to healthcare coverage for pregnant women.

Won’t you take a minute to sign and pass it along? If you have a blog will you post something? Increased awareness of the problem is key to starting the conversation.

Blog Action Day on Poverty


GUEST POST BY KGWALLS

The Rubies of Summer

I have gardened for years and it is a joy planning what to put in the three large gardens. I can provide for four families, but, even at that, what do you do with the extra?

I had decided to downsize.

Every conversation with me somehow turns to the garden and in talking with a family friend who helps with the local food pantry, I found out, “They would gladly take any overflow.”

There was re-planning and a new excitement, what would they like?

Over the growing season with no rain to speak of and abundance of bugs I ended up with mostly tomatoes. Big beautiful Beef Steak tomatoes. I hand picked each one inspecting all for imperfections. I wanted who ever received them to know that they, like the tomatoes, were important. I am a firm believer in giving the best. I can keep the ones that have a bad spot and needs to be eaten soon.

If you are going to give it away make sure it is as nice as possible.

It is hard enough to go to a food pantry, without getting fresh vegetables that aren’t fresh.

I got a call from my son the evening after my first delivery; a neighbor of his had received a large tomato in his box of staples and was showing it off. David took one look and knew where that tomato had come from. “Mom, you donated tomatoes didn’t you? I knew that they were yours!”

Talk to your local food pantry and see if they can handle fresh vegetables and if so next year throw in an extra plant, or three. Next year I will be trying again. Beans, peppers, cabbage, cucumbers and of course Big Red tomatoes, the rubies of summer.