Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Comfort Food

It's happening on Granny Mountain, the turning of the seasons. I have to admit, I am a winter loving person. I love the cozy feeling of home once the cold winds start to blow, I think it's because I have Missouri blood in my veins! Springfield is in southern Missouri, but winter's there are cold and snowy...and long. You need flannel sheets, down comforters and a good heat source for your house! We lived in an old house when I was growing up. When Winter set in, the windows would "steam" and "sweat" from the huge difference in outside/inside temps. I'd set in the kitchen while Mom would be cooking supper and draw on those dark windows waiting for Daddy to come home. Funny how you remember things like that. But there are a lot of good memories rattling around in this old head of mine! The cooler weather makes me want to bake, bad for me since I also eat...but I love the smell of cinnamon or bread or soup...you get the idea!

Martha Stewart's Comfort Foods Cookbook has some wonderful recipes for the kind of foods that make the house smell delicious! Things like meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, potato soup, and a wonderful recipe for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. Fall is here so let the cookie baking begin!

These cookies use both white and brown sugar to give that wonderful texture and flavor to the cookie. You can soak the raisins in a little warm rum or cider to plump them if you'd like but that's not in the recipe so I don't want to confuse you!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from Comfort Foods by Martha Stewart
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (I used Butter Crisco)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups raisins

Put butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in eggs and vanilla.

Stir together oats, flour, wheat germ, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Add oat mixture to the creamed butter and sugar and mix until just combined. Mix in raisins.

Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly. I like to use granulated or raw sugar to give the tops a little "sparkle."

Bake until golden and just set, about 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks using a spatula; let cool completely. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days. They won't last that long!
Printable Recipe

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Reunion Time

Risley Reunion~1991~Daddy front right (with suspenders)

The last weekend of September, my Dad’s family have gathered for over 30 years now to share a meal and catch up with each other on family events. It’s harder to do now since our family lives in several states, but somehow we manage to find the time to come home. My Dad’s family are native Arkansans, living in the Peel area over on Bull Shoals Lake.

Everyone brings a dish, or two or three…there’s always a spread of food fit for a King. My Aunt Joy’s apple pies were gone almost as soon as she set them down, with only a few lonely crumbs left in the pans. You didn’t dare wait until after you had your meal to get a piece of her pie, otherwise your sweet tooth would just have to go unsatisfied. It was more than the delicious ingredients that made the pies special, it was the tender loving care that she mixed into each one of them.

There’s lots of recipe sharing going on at the reunion as well. Happy and tickled-pink to share, why would anyone want to hoard a recipe only for themselves? We have some great cooks in the family. Nothing chef inspired at this gathering, but delicious all the same. Plenty of fried chicken, baked chicken, chicken and dressing, chicken and homemade noodles…the bird is revered in our family! These casseroles could make it into any of Paula Deen’s Cookbooks!

My Dad loved the gathering so much. His famous chicken and dressing was his offering, as much from his heart as from the simple ingredients that went into the dish. He had made it so many times for family and church potlucks that he could have made it in his sleep! If you’re from the South, it’s cornbread dressing made with unsweetened cornbread. Sauteed onions, celery and sage; slow simmered broth from the chicken and generous amounts of butter make this a cardiologist’s nightmare! But it is “Slap Dab Delicious” and comfort food at it’s finest!

This is the time honored recipe that Daddy used to make and has been passed down to me and to our daughters to share with their families.
Daddy's Chicken and Dressing
1 pan crumbled cornbread (no sugar in cornbread, please!)
1pan biscuits
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 bunch celery, chopped
1 stick butter
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tablespoons whole leaf sage
4-5 cups rich chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare cornbread and biscuits the day before. Cook onion and celery in butter and broth covered until tender. Pour over the crumbled breads in a large bowl, add beaten eggs. Rub the sage between your palms to release the flavor adding to bowl. Add broth to make a very moist consistency (almost soupy, as this bakes it will dry out). Adjust seasonings adding salt, pepper and more sage if desired. Bake 350* for 45 minutes until hot, or place mixture in crock pot on HIGH until hot then turn to LOW to keep warm.
Print Recipe

Monday, September 28, 2009

Good News in the mailbox bloggers... Suzy, over at Suzy's Bloomers sent an Over The Top Award and called my blog "A bright spot in the Ozark Mountains!" That's such a compliment, I am bustin' buttons over here at GrannyMountain! I found her recently and love her blog! Please stop over and check out her blog...I know you'll love it it!

Now it is my job to pass this onto 6 other blogs...so here goes:
Cottage Farm Villa~Cheryl has embraced Texas and it's beautiful landscape. She shares the joys of farm life with her bloggers!

Wives With Knives~Cathy participates in Foodie Friday over at Designs by Gollum and her recipes are "Over the Top" good!

Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker~Kristen will help you balance that budget and enjoy every minute!

Thoughts From Over the Rainbow~ Susan is one talented girl who knows how to "throw a party!" Lots of great entertaining ideas!

Home of the Lazy Dog~Ali is a fellow Arkansan who shares her energetic life with her bloggers. I love her recipe section, lots of family style recipes from Taste of Home and Paula Deen.

Simply Sweeter~This talented lady makes THE most amazing cakes, in fact she recently won 2nd place in Martha Stewart's Cutest Cupcake Contest!

As part of receiving the award there is a fun survey. After taking it, pass it onto the recipients you choose. Here are the rules for the Over the Top Award:

1. You Can Only Use One Word in your survey answers!

2. Pass this along to 6 of your favorite bloggers!

3. Alert them that you have given them this award!!!

4. Have fun!

Here is my survey::

1. Where is your cell phone? -Purse

2. Your hair? - Brown

3. Your mother? -Strong

4. Your father? - Optimist

5. Your favorite food? - Mexican

6. Your dream last night? - Tiresome

7. Your favorite drink? - Tea

8. Your dream/goal? - Happiness

9. What room are you in? - Study

10. Your hobby? - Photography

11. Your fear? - Snakes

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? - Travelling

13. Where were you last night? - Lake

14. Something that you aren’t? - Judgemental

15. Muffins? - Chocolate

16. Wish list item? - Jet Ski

17. Where did you grow up? - Missouri

18. Last thing you did? - Sleep

19. What are you wearing? - PJs

20. Your TV? - Off

21. Your pets? - Dog

22. Friends? - Faithful

23. Your life? - Busy

24. Your mood? - Satisfied

25. Missing someone? - Husband

26. Vehicle? - Cadillac

27. Something you’re not wearing? - Bra

28. Your favorite store? - TJmaxx

29. Your favorite color? - Green

30. When was the last time you laughed? - Yesterday

31. Last time you cried? - Past

32. Your best friend? - Lots

33. One place that I go to over and over? - Walmart

34. One person who emails me regularly? - Aunt

35. Favorite place to eat? - Kobe


So go ahead and get to know each other better !!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Caramel Apple Cookies

It's apple picking time in the Ozarks. Rom's Orchard down at Fayetteville is a great place to go and spend an Autumn afternoon picking some delicious crisp apples to have for snacking. My favorites are the Gala apples and they can be used for cooking too.

Have you tried these new Candy Corn from Brach's? I was picking up my traditional bags of classic and harvest mix (the bags that include the candy corn pumpkins) and I noticed the new Caramel Candy Corn flavor. They come in the usual corn kernel shape, have a toffee-colored base (yellow in the original), and are delicious. They are very, very sweet, just like the regular candy corn. This means you can’t eat too many at one sitting, which, now that I think about it, is probably a good thing.

I found this recipe using Kraft Caramel Bits. You can find them in the baking section near the chocolate chips. They may satisfy my sweet tooth for caramel apples since they also have dried apple bits in the recipe!

Caramel Apple Cookies

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 egg1-1/4 cups plain flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup dried apple pieces, chopped in the food processor

1/2 cup Kraft caramel bits (save remaining bits for drizzling or dipping cookies)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In medium bowl mix flour, soda and salt. Add apple pieces and caramel bits and combine well. In separate bowl, mix sugars and butter. Add egg, mixing just until blended. Add flour/apple/caramel mixture and combine well. Drop by teaspoonful about 2 inches apart onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Let cool completely on wire racks in order for the caramel to set. If desired, melt some of the remaining caramel bits and dunk edges of cookies. Yields 3 dozen cookies. (Candy corn garnish optional!)
PRINTABLE RECIPE

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bikes, Blues and BBQ 2009

It's unmistakable, that rumble that starts low and then you FEEL IT as they pass by. I'm talking about the beautiful bikes that roll into our area every year! This year is the 10th anniversary of Bikes, Blues & BBQ in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It's grown from a small poker run to the largest motorcycle rally in the United States benefiting local charities. Last year over 400,000 people attended the rally from all 50 states and many other countries. Before you say you don't like motorcycles, let me tell you the organization is not only a huge $3 million dollar "shot in the arm" for NW Arkansas, but Bikes, Blues & BBQ has donated over $500,000 to local charities since 2000. Their objectives for this year's rally are to raise over $100,000 and for everyone to enjoy some of the best motorcycle riding, live music and barbeque in the country.


I have to say that we love to ogle the bikes, they are outrageous! But the event offers something for everyone.
Every year Bikes, Blues & BBQ brings great music acts together and the best part is that the music on the main stage and the southern stage is always FREE to the public during the day.Some of this year's great bands include Big'uns, Little Hoojin, Oreo Blue, Steve Pryor, The Nace Brothers, Big Bad Bubba, Full House and of course everyone's favorite Bikes, Blues & BBQ master of ceremonies, Joe Giles and his Home Wrecker Band.Leading the line-up of hot acts will be Blackfoot and Molly Hatchet on Thursday night, followed by The Marshall Tucker Band with special guests Oreo Experience — a tribute to Jimi Hendrix and Steve Pryor on Friday night. Gates open at 5 p.m. and concerts start between 7:30 – 8:00 p.m. Admission to the concerts is only $10.00 per night, with a portion of the proceeds going to BBB and other local charities. For more information and to buy concert tickets, visit http://www.bikesbluesandhotrods.com/.


Jesse James, owner of the West Coast Choppers will be here again and I saw in today's paper he's signing autographs at two local Walmarts!
Some of the best BBQ teams from around the country come here to compete in the KCBS Barbeque Cook-Off and the Arkansas State BBQ Championship. Starting Friday morning the air will be filled with the smoky aroma of barbequed chicken, ribs, pork, and beef brisket as the teams begin to prepare for the competition. Public tasting of this world class BBQ is held Friday evening at the Baum Stadium East parking lot. This is your chance to come and sample the best BBQ around. You can even make your opinion count by voting for your favorite in the People's Choice competition to help crown this year's champion. This entire evening is open to the public and is fun for the whole family. Saturday morning is when the serious judging begins. Official KCBS judges and guest judges will begin tasting and judging selections from each of the four categories and picking the best of the bunch. All this leads to the awards ceremony on Saturday afternoon when the best of the best are named and trophies and cash prizes are awarded.

Southern Living® magazine is going on a tour of BBQ events across the country. Southern Living BBQ on Tour will be stopping at Bikes, Blues & BBQ this year. They will be providing recipe demonstrations and sampling throughout the rally. If you want to improve your BBQ skills and sample some great recipes, this is the place to be. Visit the Southern Living BBQ website for more information.
I have to admit the best thing about the event is "people watching" Not rude to stare at bikers, they spend a lot of money and effort to look like this and they expect...even desire the stares they get. I take my camera and snap away!
Lots of furry friends at this event, pets are welcome and surprisingly all get along...maybe people could learn from this, huh?
Rally with a Purpose: From the very beginning, the founders of Bikes, Blues & BBQ realized that although the three festival components of the rally — bikes, blues and barbeque — would be enough to put on a great event, so much more was possible. They wanted to hold Bikes, Blues & BBQ to a higher standard and give it a greater purpose.With that in mind they designated Bikes, Blues & BBQ as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to supporting local charities with funding raised during the rally.Since the year 2000, Bikes, Blues & BBQ has donated over $500,000 to local charities with over $100,000 donated to 27 charities in 2007.
To learn more about the organizations supported by Bikes, Blues & BBQ, click on the links or contact them at their mailing addresses. Please also keep these worthwhile causes in mind for your own charitable giving.
> Northwest Arkansas Association of the Deaf, Inc.
> Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District, Inc.
> Ozark Military Museum
> Pagnozzi Charities
> Peace At Home Family Shelter
> Rebuilding Together of Northwest Arkansas
> Northwest Arkansas Chapter of the American Red Cross
> Seven Hills Homeless Center
> Single Parent Scholarship Fund
> Walton Arts Center
> Youth Bridge
Fire Fighter's Children Scholarship FundP.O. Box 638Fayetteville, AR 72702
Ralph Baker Memorial Scholarship Foundation10347 HWY 16 ECombs, AR 72721
Sources for Independent Living1918 N. Birch Fayetteville, AR 72703
Taylor-Lackey FoundationPO Box 571Fayetteville, AR 72702
> Arkansas Sheriffs' Youth Ranches
> Camp Sunshine
> Children's House
> Circle of Friends
> Donald W. Reynolds Boys & Girls Club
> Fayetteville Public Schools Athletic Department
> Jackson L. Graves Foundation
> Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
> Life Styles, Inc.
> Northwest Arkansas Free Health Center
Big House Youth Outreach, Inc.405 E. Dickson St.Fayetteville, AR 72701
Elkins Youth Club19282 Tuttle RoadElkins, AR 72727
Fayetteville Band BoostersP.O. Box 9623Fayetteville, AR 72703
Fayetteville Fraternal Order of PolicePO Box 225Fayetteville, AR 72701
Come join us for Bikes, Blues & BBQ Sept. 23rd-26th!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Summer's Last Hurrah

Well, Fall officially arrived yesterday and the leaves are starting to fall in the woods around our house. We live amidst huge Oaks, Walnuts, Hickories and Dogwoods. This is the time of year that if you don't stay up with "leaf blowing," they will pile up to eyeball level!


We've had a few nights in the 40's, but the woods are holding onto the last bits of summer. This has been a very wet summer so everything is still pretty green.
The Trumpet Vines are on the farm fences as I go into town and they sport their bright orange bugles for the hummingbirds to enjoy right up to frost.
Ironweed may be a beautiful flower, but it can be troublesome when it takes over in a pasture. This one adorns an old wooden fence, almost as if it had been intentionally planted!


Goldenrods wave in the breeze showing off their fall colors...

Queen Anne's Lace grows in every fence row in Arkansas. It is a delicate and beautiful, but most consider it a weed! The wild flower grows happily in dry fields and is a member of the parsley family.
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias Tuberosa) is plentiful in Benton County right now. Also called "Milkweed" by native Arkansan's, it's pumpkin color stands out this time of year.
This is Summer's last hurrah and the wildflowers are struttin' their stuff!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I'm Better, Thanks

I think I'm going to live, but it was touch and go there for awhile. Saturday I woke up feverish and achy, no big surprise since I had been several places last week that I could have got a bug. Wednesday Mom had a Doctor's appointment and then we had a barbecue for the residents at the nursing home on Friday.

By Saturday night I was sick as a dog. I lay curled up with my fleece throw in the bed moaning loud enough to get ample sympathy from Hubby.

Some people just don't do sick well, I'm one of those. I'm a pitiful sick person thinking that I'm dying when my temp gets above 99 degrees. It could have been much worse, I have had stomach bugs where I spend hours on end with my head or my tail in the toilet but this one was just fever and body aches. But my arms and legs felt like they were falling off so I did quite a bit of complaining.



Hubby was wonderful. He did what he knew would make me feel better, he ran the vacuum. I have a thing that if I'm on my death bed, my house still must be clean. This is a strong gene, I've passed it along to my daughters...sorry. But even the lines in the carpet didn't make me feel better, I was SICK!
This has been the only thing that made me feel better. I bought it at Walmart the other day. I have bought other Acai juices but this one was really impressive. Here's what their website has to say about the product...

Genesis Today™ Acai Berry Juice is a delicious blend of Pure Acai and other beneficial Fruit Juices.Every 8 oz. serving contains:24,000 mg of Acai (That’s a lot of Acai!)Liquid vitamins (Easy to digest)Liquid minerals (Easy to absorb)Essential Fatty Acids (Good omega fats) Supports Healthy:Skin, hair and nails*Weight control*Energy and endurance*Aging and longevity* Super Strong – Super Concentrated! Genesis Today Acai Extract = 5x the Strength!Our Acai extract is so strong it takes 5 POUNDS of raw Acai fruit to make 1 POUND of our extract!
Our Unique Vitamin Blend Provides:200% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin C (2x the Vitamin C of O.J.)100% or more of many essential B-Vitamins Plus 1,000% the daily value of Vitamin B-12 (For a boost of energy!)Get a Boost of Energy With B-VitaminsB-Vitamins are critical for unlocking the energy in the food we eat so it’s easy for our bodies to utilize the energy. They are vital for the proper formation of every cell in our bodies (especially nerve cells). B-vitamins are needed for everything from the metabolism of carbohydrates (which provides energy) to mood regulation, nervous system support and healthy blood flow to name just a few. B-vitamins are water-soluble and can be depleted rather quickly from the body. These vitamins are not stored in needed amounts because water-soluble vitamins (such as B-vitamins), are excreted by the body unless they are needed immediately. That’s why daily supplementation of B-vitamins is critical—our bodies do not keep a reserve.

That and a little Tylenol have pulled me through the keyhole once again!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Razorback Flu

I'm not sure, but I think I may have come down with the dreaded Razorback Flu. I started feeling yucky over the weekend and I've been off my feed...that never happens unless I am pretty darn sick. So until I'm feeling better, I won't be at my computer. Know you all will understand and don't worry, you can't catch it from just clicking on GrannyMountain!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cleaning the cabin...

I’ve been trying to get some extra cleaning in before cold weather arrives. When the Winter wind starts to blow, I like to hunker down and stay close to home. I do believe I could be a hermit, I love to have a pot of something on the stove and wear my flannel shirt and jeans.The cool crisp days of Autumn are a perfect time for a good cleaning. We'll all be spending more time inside soon, so I like to get rid of the Summer's dust and dirt before we close the doors and windows for the colder season. Today I gathered up my cleaning supplies to make sure I was ready for a good scrubbing. I have favorite products I like to use and I’m a sucker for anything that smells clean! I love Murphy’s Oil Soap for wood cabinets and floors, Simple Green for heavy duty cleaning and Microfiber cloths and mops are the greatest invention since sliced bread, don’t you think? I can mop my wood floors and they are dry in minutes! I use them on my stainless steel appliances with no streaks whatsoever. I don’t buy a lot of throw-away cleaning helpers.

When I first married Mom told me that all I basically needed to clean a house was bleach and Lysol, her two favorites! I didn’t buy paper towels for years, finally giving in and OK, I do like them! I’ve found that not a lot is needed beyond safe simple ingredients of soap, water and lots of elbow grease. Opening a few windows or your back door these cool mornings makes the house smell fresh in no time.I start one room at a time and clear any clutter. As I gather and put away, I wipe and swipe (dust and clean)! How two people can make such a mess, I’ll never know. His mess is newspapers and mine magazines or cookbooks. You can tell exactly where each of us “claim” in the living room, there are nests! I do believe we were born to nest, but it is home and we need to feel comfort when we enter the doors and close out the stresses of the day.


 
Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth,
for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:
it is the time for home.
~Edith Sitwell

Friday, September 18, 2009

Chocolate Robbery!

Blackie~1958

Our blonde Cocker Spaniel Ben is pictured in my sidebar, he's a part of our family and we dote on him since our grandkids don't live close. Old people and pets are funny, we "talk" for Ben...

"Ben says he's hungry,"

"Ben says he wants to go for a walk,"

"Ben says he needs a bite of bacon."

Most of it does revolve around food, but when your kids are grown you put off those feelings of nurturing onto the "furry kids" in your house.



When I was growing up in the 1950's we had a black Cocker Spaniel. Blackie was a sweet little thing, her only vice was barking at the garbage men. That's probably not a proper term these days, sanitation engineer...is that better? Anyway, Blackie was a very good little dog and minded my Mom with just a few words of encouragement. Most of the time she was curled up in a a corner of the room or laying out on the porch in nice weather. I don't think Mom and Dad ever bought dog food back then, she ate food scraps from our plates. Now we are chastised by our vets for ever doing any such thing. But you know, Blackie was a slim fit little dog and my Ben eats Science Diet and he's got a serious weight problem so who knows.



Back to my story, my brother and I got 50 cents for allowance back then. We would usually spend it on chocolate! On Friday night we'd accompany our parents on their weekly shopping trip. My brother had bought a bag of Hershey's Kisses and hid them under his bed. He must have felt the need to do that, I was the typical little sister who prowled around in his room when he was gone! The next day was Saturday and life at my house meant lawn mowing, car washing and I just tried to stay out of everyone's way. You can imagine my surprise when my brother stormed into my room and interrupted my doll party. He was furious with me for "stealing" his Hershey Kisses. I couldn't get a word in sideways, we were just before coming to blows! Mom quickly came to my rescue and promptly started the interrogation. "Did you take your brother's candy?" ...when our little Cocker Spaniel Blackie sauntered in the room at our feet. Jet black, the silver foil was still around her mouth...kind of like Christmas decorations! She was licking and trying to loosen the bits of foil that remained in her mouth, clearly the culprit in the Chocolate Robbery! That dog had eaten several ounces of chocolate, it didn't kill her. It didn't even make her sick. She just curled up in a corner and took a nice long nap!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

School Voicemail

The school bell is ringing again for all the kiddos and life for Mommies has come to a screeching halt! When you have kids in school, your life pretty much revolves around homework, fundraisers and taking them to school events. At least that's what I remember from raising two daughters! I found that being involved in school activities and volunteering helped me to know exactly what was going on in their lives...I liked that. I volunteered for office work when Stephanie was in High School at Rogers. I'd run tests for the teachers, copy off worksheets and in general help with things that take so much time for the overworked, underpaid teachers. The office was a great place to find out the latest gossip. Mornings were the best time, you'd overhear some pretty interesting stuff...

Hello! You have reached the automated answering service of your school.
In order to assist you in connecting to the right staff member,
please listen to all options before making a selection:

To lie about why your child is absent, Press 1

To make excuses for why your child did not do his work, Press 2

To complain about what we do, Press 3

To cuss out staff members, Press 4

To ask why you didn't get needed information that was already enclosed in your newsletter and several bulletins mailed to you, Press 5

If you want us to raise your child, Press 6

If you want to reach out and touch, slap or hit someone, Press 7

To request another teacher for the third time this year, Press 8

To complain about bus transportation Press 9

To complain about school lunches Press10

If you realize this is the real world and your child must be accountable/responsible for his/her own behavior, class work, homework, and that it's not the teachers fault for your child(ren)'s lack of effort---Hang up and have a nice day!!!
Author Unknown

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Cockles of my Heart


(photo courtesy of Suzanne McMinn)
I left a post at Chickens in the Road the other day that her blog warmed the "Cockles of my Heart!" You know, that deep place that reminds you of your childhood and makes you all warm and fuzzy. I found her blog the other day and since then I have about run out of printer ink copying recipes and good ideas. Suzanne McMinn's blog is an unassuming look into her back in the boonies West Virgina life. She proudly tells us she accepts "free apples" from the Farmer's Market, then shows us how to can them or freeze them or dehydrate them. Picture by picture, she shows how to recycle to make new candles from old, how to make our own seed starting pots from toilet paper rolls, and decorating tips like walk outside and look around for something Mother Nature has provided FREE OF CHARGE! I was so mesmerized by the sheer knowledge at the site I almost missed the sidebar info that also told me she writes paperbacks...and a column for the Charleston Daily Newspaper...and a fascinating interview that was on Public Radio. My favorite thing about the blog, this is HARD since it's chocked full of recipes and crafts, is the daily life on the farm. We can drink in the deliciousness of farm life! She lets the chickens and ducks out of their pen and they run as fast as their little legs can take them straight away down to the meadow where all the bugs are waiting! Her barnyard has real life characters; Nutmeg and Clover the miniature goats, Pepsi the fainting goat (he now has two new brides, Fanta and Sprite), Pocahontas the miniature donkey, Annabelle who looks just like Mary's Little Lamb, Giant Puppy and Mean Rooster. He dominates, or tries to dominate the blog. I'd be housebound if that rooster got after me, he's scary looking. Many people suggest that he become "one with soup" but Suzanne isn't going to do that.


The journey that brought her to this West Virginia mountain will keep you on the edge of your seat, begging for more! Run, don't walk to Chickens in the Road for a homegrown, down home look into Appalachian farm life!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

First Car...

My daughter sent pictures of my oldest Grandson this week practicing his driving. Jackson will be getting his driver’s permit soon, how can that be? He amazed us when he was barely 2 and could name the make of cars, any car. He loved playing with his Hot Wheels and would spend hours setting up “car shows” or “car lots.” Maybe it was in his blood since my Dad had a garage and car lots while I was growing up.

My first car was a blue Chevy Corvair. Yes, the one that Ralph Nader later deemed a death trap! But in 1968 it was just a cute little car and it got great gas mileage. We were paying about 29 cents a gallon at that point so it wasn’t too big an issue! I had “practiced” driving for years, anytime we were at my Grandparents I would drive Grandpa’s old International pick-up. He would go check on the cows which meant a free driving lesson in the pastures. The roads were rough but inter-connected to the small community of Lead Hill, a sleepy little town of 100. We would end up in town and I can still remember that cold sweaty feeling that I would get when the tires would cross from dirt to asphalt.

The summer I turned 16 I studied like crazy and after 2 tries passed my test. License in hand I hot-footed it down to my Dad’s used car lot. He had several on the lot to pick from, but only two that were smaller than the Queen Mary! I liked a little tan Chevy Nova and a cute blue Corvair!

I loved that car and the new found freedom. I had a job that paid for gas and clothes, but Mom and Dad provided everything else for me. They helped me to take the baby steps to adulthood, a time when I would be on my own and have to figure it out for myself.

This picture really says a lot. They are getting ready to head out on their own and you hope you’ve done everything in your power to keep them safe. Then it’s their turn to be responsible, to do the right thing. You just hope they were listening to all of those lectures and talks on the way to school!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Dirty Little Secrets

I don't ever mean to mislead readers into thinking that GrannyMountain is in any way the perfect place to live. Even though I proudly have "…as nearly perfect a little place as I ever lived in, and such nice old-fashioned people in the village." -Beatrix Potter's quote at the top of my blog. This is Small Town USA and there are some dirty little secrets that go on in these parts. We're so small that the paper has to list several of the nearby cities in the police reports to make it worthwhile! Bella Vista is a beautiful little community of retirees about 10 minutes, as the crow flies, from my house. They have some shenanigans going on down there that should be nipped in the bud, if you know what I mean...

I do hope you can read the print, it's small to me so I'll reprint this:
My opinions are in italics, and can be taken with a grain of salt :-)

At 2:18 a.m. Thursday, a Duxford Circle Resident reported someone prowling around the home and ringing the doorbell. Raccoons were found on the back deck.
Those are some sneaky little Raccoons, and tall too since they can reach the doorbell!

At 8:31 a.m. Thursday, a Jack Russell dog was reported digging up dead things and bringing them to a house on Sullivan Lane. A notice was left for the dog's owner to call the animal control officer.

Can you imagine coming home and finding out your dog has been "cheating" on you? Those presents were meant for YOU!

At 8:35 a.m. Thursday, a white service truck was reported on the wrong side of Basildon Drive, just north of Riordan Hall. The vehicle's door was open, and a man was lying face down on the ground.
This one does sound suspicious...



At 6:59 p.m. Thursday, a caller reported that a truck dropped off a trailer with a forklift on it on Elizabeth Drive. The equipment was for a construction site around the corner.
Mistakes like this can lead to more Police Reports!

These two were in yesterday's paper, a slow day in Bella Vista. The first one is just plain Tomfoolery. The second one could have caused a Senior Citizen heart attack!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Losing It

I think I know all of you well enough at this point to bare my soul, I'm losing it...actually I'm losing a lot of things here lately. Since you are my good friends you won't point out to me that it could be age-related. Mom calls it OA... she won't even say "Old Age!" Here lately I'm misplacing the "Necessity of Life Things" like cords, chargers and adapters.


This is a great flashlight that we could use again if we could find the charger that came with it. On the right is the air pump that came with our air beds, the cord thief has hid that charger too. Yesterday when I needed to air up the beds for a neighbor I searched for over an hour trying to find that silly cord. It's here somewhere, but I couldn't find it.


I am Woman... so I was able to figure out how to air it up quickly. Let me show you...


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