Friday, June 29, 2012

Crooked Creek

One of the strange things about childhood is that we're sure we're going to live forever and ever.

As a child we embrace each day... playing the sun, splashing in the water and making the most of every single day. 

The friends we make can be for a moment, or a lifetime. 

We found out this week that we had lost a childhood friend. Sudden, unexpected, he was there and then he was gone. No one expected this to happen and as I wake each morning, he's my first thought. Even though it's been years since we've seen him, I can hear his voice plainly in my mind. 

The thing about getting older is that we are reminded that life is ticking. Like a big clock our moments here are limited. I can remember quiet moments of my childhood when I would gaze into the distance, thinking thoughts of my future. It's also good to look back along the way and remember those moments of childhood when life was carefree.

As long as I can, I'm going to run down that road with my bestest friends.
James David Hunter July 6, 1950- June 8, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Today's Coop- Hot and Dry, repeat.


Look familiar? You can blame the hot weather if your tomato plants aren't setting fruit!
It happens every year and gardeners pull their hair out, watering and watering hoping to correct the problem. There's nothing that can be done, Mother Nature will eventually cool off and you'll get tomatoes off those vines... just be patient and keep them watered! There's no reason to watch the weather forecast, it's going to be a long, hot summer no matter where you are this year. Arkansas is already facing drought conditions statewide. As bad as that sounds, it's nothing like drought plagued states face with ongoing dry conditions and no relief in sight. 


Lantana- heat lover and very drought tolerent!
My favorite way to water is hand watering, as I walk around the yard I can see the areas that need it the most and give them a little extra. We had a really dry spot at the top of the yard... I say top because our hillside is almost vertical and we all know that water runs downhill! The grass up there is sparse and in some places it's brown. A closer look after planting some purple coneflowers showed the dirt was hard as a rock, we were missing watering that area completely. A few days of hand watering and the grass looks much better. Keeping the newly planted perennials alive may be a trick in this heat.


Setcreasea or "Purple Heart" great plant for hot and dry conditions. 
How you water can prevent some common garden problems. For instance watering some plants from the top, especially beans and cucumbers can bring on mildew. Try your best to get the water to the underside of the plants and you'll save yourself a lot of headaches. One of the best ways to do that is a low flow watering wand or even better, soaker hoses that water slow and deep. You can go about your other yard work while they do the job!


Portulaca - flowers all summer and will thrive in dry hot spots along drive way or walkway, often reseeds in garden!
This time of year when it gets hot and dry, you may notice water seems to run off the top of your soil instead of soaking in. You may be shocked to see it's not went much more than a quarter or half inch deep. This is because of salts accumulating at the surface. Watering deeply will correct this problem. Set the sprinklers up for 45 minutes to flush the salts away. A little digging after you water will tell you if it's soaked in. Mulching is the answer for many areas that need the extra moisture and watering twice a day when the temps are hovering near 100 will save your plants. Watering in the morning allows the plants to dry off quickly and keeps mildew at bay but it also keeps the slugs and snails away. Newly planted seeds or transplants will need diligent watering to keep them alive. And one more thing, don't forget to WEED, they will rob your garden of moisture! 


via
As hot as it is, it's not too early to start planning for your fall garden. Even if the plants you put in early this spring haven't done so well, the heat won't last forever. If you wait until late summer to plant seeds or transplants, they just might not have enough time before Old Man Winter decides to make his first appearance! 
The first thing you need to know is the average frost date for your area. From that you can determine when to plant your seeds or plants. The Farmer's Co-op has a great selection of tried and true seeds and soon they'll be getting in their plants for fall. Start making your list now and buy your seeds. On the back of the package it gives date to maturity... just count back from the date that frost is expected, add an extra week or two if you live in the Ozarks! The only thing you can count on is that you can't count on the weather!


In the kitchen this week.... a couple of great recipes that will keep you cool! Just click on the recipe to print...
red potatoes, scrubbed and halved
1 lb. fresh green beans
large onion, cut into wedges
cups ham chunks
1 -2 can chicken broth
salt and pepper

Add all the ingredients and cook in the crockpot all day on low, 8-10 hours. Serve with fresh sliced tomatoes and cornbread and you have a delicious summer meal!

from Paula Deen's Lady and Son's Cookbook

1 pound cucumbers (about 2 cucumbers), peeled and thinly sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 Vidalia onion, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large serving bowl, toss together the cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, onion, parsley, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper, to taste. Let the salad stand for 10 minutes before serving.





Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cincinnati "Skyline Chili"


It wasn't the 1st thing on our list, but it was definately near the top! Cincinnati's famous Skyline Chili, we didn't know what to expect... rumor was it has cinnamon AND chocolate in the recipe. For former Texans, born and raised in the south that might be sacrilege! We went to the old downtown location, 7th and Vine, natives say it's where you get the true "experience."  

It was a Friday and nearly every seat was taken, we found a table near the back in good view of the show. Just behind the counter was line of seasoned employees who ladled out  1 Ways to 5 Ways in portions that shouldn't have fit on the 6" oval plates, but did!




Our waitress Tabby was a walking, talking tour guide... the city may just have her "planted" to make sure tourists get the real flavor of Cincinnati!

It was a little hard, there were so many ways to enjoy the chili, but I decided on TWO coneys, I thought they were small!  

They start you off with a bowl of oyster crackers and if I had payed attention to the locals (that's a really good tip when you are someplace that you just aren't sure what to order) I'd have noticed that many started with the small bowl of chili and then got ONE coney! 

Jerry ordered the 5 Way... chili, spaghetti, cheese, onions and beans. I was too busy diving into my coneys to get any before pictures, sorry! I came home with a recipe for Cincinnati style chili, but after Googling a little, I found one that was leaked by an employee. Sunday afternoon I decided to try it out. The technique of simmering the hamburger in water for 30 minutes before adding the remaining ingredients is key to the texture that is distinctive to this chili. The spices are right on, this is  a very good knock off recipe that will satisfy our NEED for Cincinnati's most famous addiction!
1 quart cold water
2 lbs ground beef (I used lean ground beef)
2 cups crushed tomato
2 yellow onions, diced 
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 whole bay leaf
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
Cooked spaghetti to serve chili over, optional
The Cincinnati "Skyline" Chili Ordering Code

1-way: just the chili

2-way: chili served over spaghetti

3-way: chili, spaghetti, and grated Cheddar cheese

4-way: chili, spaghetti, cheese, and onions

5-way: chili, spaghetti, cheese, onions, and beans

All "ways" are served with oyster crackers.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

On the Road Again...

I'd say we're a pretty close-knit family and vacationing with our kids is one of our favorite things to do. When we visit our youngest daughter and her family in Texas, we like to meet them at a cabin and spend a few days. It's a getaway for them and for us. But travelling in the same car posed some challenges on our recent trip with our oldest daughter and husband. We knew we'd be packed in like sardines since we took the Prius, there wasn't a square inch that didn't have luggage or people! 

Since we're family, we tend to like the same attractions and didn't pass up anything good along the way...

You know me, I had my camera ready for any photo op!

Once we got into Cincinnati navigation got a little tricky. We were confused, Tom Tom was completely lost several times and eventually we relied on the map reading skills of our SON-in-law! He did a great job getting us un-lost. 

The rules are different everywhere you go and we tried our best to stay out of trouble.

Some things were harder than others, we are southerners you know!

It's hard to imagine our kids not being "kids." Well... maybe they still are!


Monday, June 25, 2012

If it's not one thing, it's another....

Oh boy, do you get tired of chasing your tail fixing things? Well, I do. Something is always broke or needs to be fixed and I'm not talking about plumbing or wiring. It's the little everyday things that chip, chip, chip away at my nerves!

Yesterday when my husband logged onto Granny Mountain, Norton/Symantec said my blog/website was fraudulent and blocked it with warnings. You could bypass the message and enter, but at your own risk. That's not good... if you get that message you may just delete me thinking I've gone gangsta or become infected with a case of the crazies, in any case I wanted this fixed! 


I contacted Norton and expect to hear back soon. I have to say we stay virus free with their Internet Security Suite that we keep in place on all our computers. A little Googling and I can see that this is happening to others. Evidently this is a problem with a known issue, a "Mozilla Spike" and not a virus or anything like that. So if you think I've went over the edge just know that I'm still here and I'm still talking about coke and weed, I mean Coke and weeds!

Norton Safe Web Is Claiming That All BlogSpot Blogs Are Fraudulent

We are seeing a steadily increasing flood of reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, from people who use Norton Safe Web, and who are now seeing some distressing advice.
When I try to view any BlogSpot blog, I see
This web page is a known fraudulent web page. It is recommended that you do NOT visit this page.

For your protection, this web page has been blocked. Visit Symantec to learn more about phishing and internet security.
What is Google doing about this false alert?

Since Norton (aka Symantec) is not a part of Google, there is not a lot that Blogger or Google can do about this problem.

You have just 2 choices, with this problem.
  1. Get help from Norton.
  2. Get rid of Norton.
Norton is a third party product. Like all third party products, neither Blogger nor Google supports Norton.

Blogger does not control what accessories you run, on your personal computer. That's your choice - and that's your responsibility, to support.


(Update 20:30 PST): One blog owner claims to have had a Live Chat with an online Symantec representative, with a promising result.
This is an ongoing issue with the Symantec server and we are aware of this issue & working on it to get it fixed. I request to run the Live Update after 24 hours until all the updates are installed and check the status.
And subsequently,
I just ran live update... FOR me the problem is fixed.


Carole M. said...
I did contact Norton and the rep did say it was a known issue "a Mozilla spike" - nothing to do with virus' at all. She ran the updates, re-booted etc., and all is fine again. I've always found Norton tech. very polite and fixed any known issues like this.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Wide Spot in the Road

You just might miss it, there's not too much to see in South Lead Hill, Arkansas.... not to be confused with the larger Lead Hill, Arkansas. Between the two of them, the picturesque countryside is home to less than 300 people. Pretty little white houses dot the hills, contented cows graze in high grass and when you go as far as you can on highway 7 south... it dead ends at Bull Shoals Lake. Mom's farm lays along the road just past the Campbell's farm but before you get to the Raley's place.

I spent a lot of time in this little building as a child. Grandpa and I would go feed the cows and end up at Austin's filling station in South Lead Hill. The whole place was maybe 10'x12' inside, it had an old wooden counter along one wall and on the other side were cans of oil and a stack of tires, that was it. Grandpa would buy me a Coke and a bag of Tom's potato chips and we'd set down in old wooden chairs out front and visit Grandpa's cronies, aka lifelong friends.

I'd listen as they talked about politics and the price of gas, it was 25 cents a gallon : )

Not much has changed in that little town in the last 50 years, except the price of gas of course. The farms are still owned by the same families, just passed down to the next generation. Austin's closed years ago and now there's a bigger Country Mart up the road. You can buy gas and groceries, it even has a little Subway inside to get a sandwich. But it's still the place to see your neighbors when you pop in for milk or bread.  

Too bad I couldn't just open up the Coke box and roll back a few years...


*A special Thank You to my GRANDson who not only makes the long trip to Mom's with me, but mows when he gets there!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Today's Coop- Man's Best Friend

Hardly a day goes by that I don't think of Ben, he's been gone 4 months now. We miss his sweet little face and I've still not got used to preparing dinner without him being underfoot. A part of lives, in a short time our pets are also a part of our family. Ben was a rescue dog, he was a Cocker Spaniel with Cocker Spaniel problems. Inherently, some breeds have health issues that make them more prone to costly vet visits... Cockers are one of those breeds. All his life he suffered with reoccurring ear infections. Those eventually turned into immune problems that affected his eyes and skin. Steroid use to cure the ear infections caused him to develop Cushings Disease. 

There was a time when dogs rarely suffered from immune disorders. The Cocker we had when I was a kid ate tablescraps, I don't think Mom ever bought dog food. Blackie lead a long healthy life with no ear infections, vet visits were just yearly shots. 


Go back another generation and the farm dogs that Mom and Dad had as pets NEVER saw a vet. They lived outside, ate whatever my Grandparents had leftover from meals and probably hunted on their own for extra food. They didn't get sick, their stomachs digested even raw meat. That was then, we have bred out healthy immune systems that fight off disease.

via Pinterest

Our daughter Amy works in a vet clinic and there's hardly a day that they don't see an animal that isn't affected by immune system problems. You may have noticed the changes being made in pet food, almost every manufacturer offers a formula without wheat or corn now, culprits in the yeast cycle that builds up in a dog's gut. One thing leads to another and then you have a health issue that requires expensive, long-term care. Fido is miserable and your wallet is empty. What you feed your pet really matters. 


The Farmer's Co-op offers many choices for your pets. One of their most popular brands is
 Precise Holistic Complete, wholesome nutrition without the use of corn, wheat, soy, dairy or grain sorghum.
Taste of the Wild is another premium pet food that is grain free. Bison, venison, smoked lamb, chicken and salmon combined with antioxidant rich veges and fruits make this a good choice for the most finicky pet. They also carry a full line of pet grooming supplies and hard to find products that really work.


In the Kitchen this week... new recipes have been added to the Farmer's Co-op site! 


Peach Country Bread
3 Cups fresh Peaches, peeled and sliced
6 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1-1/2 Cups Sugar
1/2 Cup Butter
2 Eggs
1 Cup Pecans, chopped
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Blend peaches and 6 tablespoons sugar in a blender until pureed. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl and set mixture aside.
Combine 1-1/2 cups sugar and butter, creaming well. Add eggs and mix. Add peaches and dry ingredients, mixing until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in nuts and vanilla. Spoon batter into two well-greased and floured 9-inch-by-5-inch loaf pans. 
Bake at 325 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpicks inserted in the center come out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Aid and Attendance Pension Update

You may have noticed at the top of my blog that I have "Pass it On!" as one of my stand alone pages. This subject is near and dear to my heart since it affects my father-in-law. When he entered the VA Nursing Home at Fayetteville last year, the benefits counselor told us he was eligible for the Aid and Attendance Pension in addition to his pension he receives for his 20 year service in the Air Force. For those of you that are facing this hurdle with loved ones, this information will be invaluable. With average nursing home costs from $4,000 to $8,000 per month, it depletes a lifetime of savings in no time.


I saw in the paper this week that Congress is now considering a change to the pension. They are thinking of doing away with the clause that allows "no look-back period." They think the program should mirror Medicaid's 5 year look-back on gifting, meaning you must gift your money a full 5 years before you need nursing home care. 


The pension is available to any veteran (and their spouse) who has served at least 90 days during a period of war. The pension provides $1600-$1900 monthly that can be used for home care, assisted living or nursing care. There are guidelines, one being they must have no more than $80,000 in assets, excluding their home and cars.This VA benefit isn't new, but many never know of it's existence. It's actually been an entitlement for 60 years to veterans and their surviving spouses. Please pass this along to anyone you know that's facing these hard times. Read more about the Aid and Attendance Pension. Call or visit your Veterans Aid Benefits office for more information or an appointment.







Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Vacation


Vacations have a way of making you realize that home is the best place to be. It sure was hard saying goodbye to our GRANDson, but hopefully we'll see him later this summer.

We had a great time in Cincinnati, it's a beautiful city and we found nothing but friendly folks everywhere we went. The city is a mix of new and old, they embrace and hold onto their history. The Ohio River is the lifeblood of city, any direction you look you can see Cincinnati's past merging with their future.




The Carew Tower was the perfect place to get some our best shots of the city. The building was built in the 20's, art deco at it's best, forty-eight floors to the top in not one, but TWO ancient elevators. Whirs and clicks, it was too late to change our mind after the doors closed. We had a second chance to take the stairs instead of riding in the telephone booth size second elevator, but I never pass up life's adventures... 
we took the ride to the TOP!




The real reason for our trip was our Grandson Jackson's graduation. All the other attractions along the way paled in comparison to the feelings of pride as he sat below us on that football field. The speeches were inspiring, with praise and congratulations for 160 graduates. I looked across the rows of kids about to embark onto the next stage of their lives. For some of them, it will be staying close to home and for others their first chance to make their own rules. I remember it sounded like fun, at least that first month. Then reality set in, bills arrived in the mail, paydays didn't come often enough and there was no one to do my laundry or my cook meals~
Whatever, at this point it's the journey, not the destination!
 
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