Tuesday, September 23, 2008


My kid is #87. He hates practice but loves game day. Hehehe....wonder why? I also tend to not like running him to practice, (although it is redeemable, nice only because I get a walk in with a very nice football-mom-friend) but so far, we have all loved every single game day. This team has a great bunch of coaches, they are wonderful to give of their time to work with our boys.

We lucked out and had a buy on the worst, rainiest most horrid weather day the weekend of the 13th...the memorable weekend when hurricane Ike came up here to the north and dumped on us big buckets of rain.

Each game day so far has been sunny and gorgeous. What could be better for fall? We get to sit in the stands with some great families and especially some of the very best of grandmas that have the most fun of all of us. They have their little clappers-- noisemakers--to let their grandsons that they're there, and they're all for the HORNETS! Soon, those grandmas will have some cowbells....now I'll have to let you know how that goes!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Z is for Zinnia.....

I have always loved Zinnias....perhaps it could be because of the shortage of words that began with the same first letter of my childhood last name: Zenker. So I've liked them for a long time. This year they liked me back, prolific buggers, they are.
I've planted a few over the years from time to time. But this year, I actually made a border of these cheerful blooms all the way around the new garden we put into the spot where the old barn used to be. I think they liked the dirt where the chickens used to live and, well....where they lived and pooped. It's just the way it is. Our tomatoes liked that old chicken poop, too.
They did pretty well most of the time, that is, unless Duke would see a FROG in the garden, then he would trample whatever might have been in his way to get at that frog. So from time to time they looked bedraggled if you looked real close, but from the driveway or the road they looked so cheerful, happy, and just plain cute as my border this year.
Oh, and the one time we saw Duke actually catch a frog was so funny! He had it, took it into his mouth, and as frogs will do, he peed in Duke's mouth. Duke dropped it like a hot potato and had a little foamy froth for a few minutes as he ran around the yard shaking his head looking for a drink of water! That'll teach him!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My newest article of clothing....designed by my sister!

This is my new favorite article of clothing....a design by my sister Mary...isn't it sharp? Want one? I can let her know if you do....perhaps we can get you one. I also have it listed on eBay, to see how it does.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Salsa recipe...for those who'd like it!

Saturday, I was thankful to get 24 quarts and 14 pints of salsa put up !

Here's the recipe for those of you who requested it, it's a lot of work, but tastes so good, you'll never want the salsa off the grocery store shelves, ever again! I make a batch of zippy salsa, and a batch of mild each year just so everyone's happy.

If you want more zip, leave the ribs and the seeds or half the seeds in the hot peppers, if you want mild, remove them all. If you want to spice a mild salsa up once it's canned, just get out the hot pepper flakes and sprinkle them over your bowl of salsa!
Here's the ingredients, I don't worry about yields or specific amounts necessarily, I just keep washing jars if I need to. I taste as I go and add what I think it needs, I'm weird like that....I also put any and all kinds of peppers (red and yellow look really great in the salsa) into this and TONS of onions, all chunky...take all the amounts in the recipe below for a GUIDE.

Also, one more thing to make your job easier: a Vidalia chopper (found at Bed, Bath & Beyond) with the wider cut chopping insert makes this job a whole lot easier! The onions and peppers come out in perfect squares and your salsa looks like a pro made it, but either way, it's gonna be good!

First, core, scald, peel and quarter and/or chop your tomatoes. Get the jars and rings ready and all your other canning stuff, like your big pots, the funnel, lid lifter, etc.

10 c. chopped tomatoes

3 c. chopped onions

1 c. chopped green peppers

3 cloves garlic, minced (I used the jar of minced garlic)

1/2 c. chopped cilantro (found this time of year near the fresh parsley in the produce department, you can of course, leave this out but I love it!)

1-1/3 c. red wine vinegar

1 can tomato paste, or more, if you want your salsa thicker

1 t. cumin (optional)

1 T. red pepper flakes

3 T. pickling salt

3 T. brown sugar

Simmer all ingredients for one hour or more, and stir in 1/3 c. cornstarch diluted in cold water if more thickening is needed.

(I don't do the cornstarch, I don't like the taste, so I just add more tomato paste.) Ladle into hot jars and seal. If you have a little leftover, or a bit more salsa than jars, it refrigerates well. ENJOY!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Can it be seven years since 9/11?

I didn't have time to post yesterday but I want to say in honor of 9/11, that I pledge to never forget. I can never forget the sound of my daughter's voice as she called to me, to come and watch what was happening: the urgency in it I will never be able to erase from my memory. I can't forget how it made me feel, the absolute sickness and shock that came over my whole body, that instantly made me weak.

How can it be seven years since that morning that we all felt the punch to the gut that those terrorists set out to hit us all with that morning from our east coast---terror that was inflicted upon all lovers of America, those around the world and all of us patriots living here, going about our business on a perfectly beautiful, blue-sky morning?
How can we forget?

Who among us wants to feel that same fear again? Who among us would want to see the Pentagon on fire again, the reports of planes disappearing from the radar? The eerie quiet of the sky from the absence of the planes, once all flights were grounded, not just for a day, but for almost a week?

God, please, in spite of all of our many faults, honor the sacrifice of those that came before us, those that purchased our freedom, and keep on blessing America, for we love her so much!
You have blessed us with exceptional everyday heroes, regular people, like the firemen and the policemen, all the emergency workers and regular people who felt that they should run to the disaster instead of away.
In this country we are blessed with the courage possessed by regular people like those on the doomed flight in Pennsylvania that had the courage to make a plan instead of sitting belted in their seats and waiting to die, they were resourceful and smart and executed their plan to take the plane back, and they died trying. What courage!
Give us all the courage to take on evil, and moreover, the courage to call evil what it is. You have blessed us with people who still have that gutsy and famous American Courage that came down to us as a heritage from our forefathers, to stand up and to fight back. Continue to bless us, I pray!

Friday, September 5, 2008

It's salsa time!!!!!!!

It's salsa time around here! We made our first batch, almost forty quarts....yesterday. And between Lem and I we have around twelve hours into this batch. From picking the all the varieties of peppers, onions and all the tomatoes, to washing, rinsing, scalding, peeling, quartering, chopping, cooking, stirring, we have satisfaction in jars sitting on the kitchen table, all sealed up, and some of it is destined for Christmas gift-giving.

We grew most all the ingredients ourselves, I just had to buy the cilantro. Although I had planted my own cilantro, I wasn't aware it liked shade and so it went to seed early. I will try it again next year so that ALL my ingredients will be our own!

I'm hoping we can make another batch or two at least! I'm sure next week I will need to set aside another whole day just for the abundant tomatoes I'm seeing in the garden!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Good-Bye Summer!

Good-bye, summer! You sure have a lot for us to miss about you! We wait so long for you to come, and now it's time for you to leave. Won't you stay just a little longer!? There is so much for you to offer us and we enjoy so much of it. But hey, if it was ALWAYS summer, then we wouldn't think all of this was so special........the classic car shows,

.... the afternoons and evenings at the baseball field, America's favorite pastime is also mine on a nice breezy summer day!

Hot summer afternoons, lazing in the cool, refreshing pool water....looking at the cloud formations, trying to find objects in the bluest of skies.....

How much excitement there is when we can finally go to Pat's Market and pick out all the flowers for the whiskey barrels, and get the plants and seeds for the vegetable garden!

Spending time by the water in Michigan is a MUST for those of us born and raised here, who spent many summer afternoons as a kid watching the water lick the shore....

The excitement when the first green beans are ready to eat, as well as the summer squash, the gorgeous and sweet red tomatoes, all the goodness as a return, just for putting seeds into the garden and with the rain God sends we reap the most delicious pure food.

The joy we feel when our contry celebrates the freedoms that so many sacrificed and died to give to us. Summer starts with Memorial day and in the middle is the splash of color that is the fourth of July. Oh, how I love that day and the night sky that booms!

Summer gives me the chance to hang out all the laundry if I want to, and I usually want to! There's nothing like the joy of sorting the laundry and hanging it carefully on the line, to be kissed by the sunshine and softened by the wind! I know, I'm weird, but I really, really love doing this! How can you match the smell of crisp, clean, fresh-smelling sheets when you pull back the covers at night after a hard day's work?

Another summer favorite is FLIP FLOPS!!! I hope to be buried in a pair because my feet are their happiest without the constraints of a shoe! You can never have too many flip flops!

And, thank you God, for raspberries! How you came up with that one, I don't know but I am sure glad that you did. Thank you for the person who came up with a recipe to make them into freezer jam so we can enjoy the fresh taste of raspberries all winter long!

And, while I'm at it, God, you know how much I love those strawberries that come from our own little patch in the garden! Even the birds are happy when these come in, and the little rabbit who has her babies here each spring!

And the peoonies, that the man who was born and died right here on this old farm planted to enjoy, thank you Lord, that you made so many things that were made just purely to look at and enjoy with our eyes and our cameras.....we are probably the fourth generation to enjoy these pink wonders....

And, even a good summer storm is one of the great things about summer, the beauty of a rainbow after a good downpour, and the sweet, fresh smell of the earth when it has been renewed by the vigor of the rain!

For wildflowers, and the purple sunsets....I am so thankful that we live out where not much blocks the purple, orange, and periwinkle sunset!

Good-bye summer, I bid you a fond farewell, and I will be more than happy to wait until you return to us again, we know we've had you for our fair share of time, and now it's time for you to march on around the globe and go to the other side of the world! 

On now to the delights of a new and gorgeous fall season!

The very BEST things about the state of Alabama.....

Our grand-doggy, Josefina...or Josie, or JoJo!

Some of the best things about the state are these:

1. They still have chain gangs and you will see crews of them working to clean up the interstate, cutting brush, doing road work, just cleaning up in general; with their "supervisors" watching over them from the bed of a truck, with their rifle very visible. Old fashioned? I think not. Their prison popluation is nothing like ours, and costs nothing like ours. How many years have we heard in Michigan that the prison system is one of the highest costs to the state??

2. Their county jail inmates work! AMAZING! They wash the county vehicles and school buses, their senior buses, handicapped transportation, etc. They also pick up the garbage...and may I ask who better to do it? And, the inmates want to get out so bad and smell the fresh air and see something other than those four block walls, so you know they're going to be on their best behavior!

3. The state has a very, very low property tax rate. Alabamaians know how to get a good return on their VERY LOW property tax dollars! And, if you wonder why, just look at the above two reasons....those are just a few!

4. Acess to public utilities is amazing! City water, with excellent water pressure, is even on top of the mountain where Jamie lives. She has access to broadband internet through her phone company, and has had for years....even though she lives miles up on the mountain, I can't get it here in the outskirts of Flushing! And like I said in my previous post, gas mains dot the countryside, and I do mean COUNTRYside. Way out in the middle of nowhere you can get natural gas! I have to buy propane and have for seventeen years, with NO hope, EVER of getting natural gas! Four miles from the nearest town, ONE mile from the nearest gas main!!

And, as a life-long yankee, I've never met a yankee yet who doesn't think they are highly superior in every way to those patriots who live in the south, but sometimes, I wonder. The state of Alabama is one of the fastest growing: in industry and in high-tech education and jobs. Because of low taxes and low bureacracy.

We've taxed ourselves into oblivion. And like the proverbial frog in the boiling water, we don't realize it until we leave our area and go to another state and take a good look around and talk to the people who live there. I know Alabama isn't perfect, there's room for inprovement in every state! But the basics are there and there's a lot we could learn from them. I won't even get into the road situation here in our state compared to theirs....!

Why exactly, is it that we have made it so that only unionized, government employees are the ones doing the dirty work? Why don't our prisoners grow their own food, make their own clothes and pick up our garbage on the interstates and on our curbs? Instead they have unionized food service and they sit wasting our dollars being non-productive members of society.

Why are people leaving our state in droves, and most of them going to the deep south? I wonder.....