Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Camp Cooking

In North Carolina, everyone took turns helping with the food preparation.

Some foods were prepared over coals, such as chicken, hamburgers and hotdogs.


A troop specialty is to use a Dutch oven.



B produced perfect cornbread and this apple-cherry cobbler in the Dutch oven on different nights.

Cobbler! Apple-Cherry Cobbler Made in the Dutch Oven

The last night, each person prepared their own foil pack of ham, sweet potato, onion and apple. The pack sits in the coals.


The finished product can be served with maple syrup and eaten right out of the double layer of foil.


Chili and most of the other food was cooked on the Coleman stoves.


  We ate well.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Mama fell on Tuesday (her birthday) while shoe shopping and had surgery on Wednesday in Lakeland Hospital to put a steel rod down her shin bone. She has only the two holes under her knee where they inserted it, along with the cut above her ankle that happened when she fell. Both bones were snapped, but they said once the back one was repositioned it will heal itself. She goes back to the surgeon on Thursday to have the splint replaced with a cast.

She has done so very well and was out of the bed sitting in a chair less than 24 hours after her surgery. Her strength seems to increase each day. On Saturday, we moved her to a rehab center of my brother and sister's choice in Winter Haven, which puts her only 11 miles from home. We were thankful to have them do  all the leg-work to find it. It is a very nice place and she has begun intensive therapy. I was thrilled that she was able to get in a wheelchair for the first time on Sunday. That is a key to getting out of your room and out where activities are on-going. She will be their dream patient as she is so easy and pleasant.

This is the first time Mama has had to go to a place of this kind, and it took a little work to wrap our heads around it. Since she has her faculties---she's sharp as a tack!---and can follow the directions of the therapists and is totally motivated, we expect a full recovery in record time. After all, she was still cooking and cleaning at her house before this happened.

People are learning not to look at the fact that she is 93, and just look at HER.  She can tell you most anything. She recently tutored a young woman who is working on her GED. It was Algebra and Geometry. Mama said, "You know I probably haven't done that in 70 years." She will quote some of her more than 300 poems that she has written. She will tell you that she will pray for you and ask for the same. And she is the #1 fan for the Tampa Bay Rays, and never misses a game on TV if she can help it, even when they play on the west coast and the game goes into the wee hours. Her macular degeneration that has limited her eyesight does not keep her from keeping up with each play. They would do well to listen to her advice on when to replace their pitcher!


So if there are gaps in the blog, you will know I’ve gone south again to help out where I can.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Living in the Lap of Luxury

Mills River campground has no showers. Now we have camped before with only cold showers, but no showers? We didn’t think so. Not for a week!

So our guys rigged up this shower for our camp and it worked like a charm!

Here they are setting it up. The base is a pallet.


A huge tarp served as the privacy enclosure.


Ropes and zip-ties through the grommets held it all in place.


A rubber door mat made the flooring a little more comfortable.

The shower itself was a purchased propane set up.


We improved it by using an Igloo cooler as the reservoir.

A camp chair served to hold dry clothes.


Yes, sir! As one of our camping neighbors said, we were “living in the lap of luxury.”


Friday, June 25, 2010

Mills River Camping

The Mills River runs through the middle of the campground. It is predictably cold but not painfully so. It was mostly shallow and clear.


The first morning after we arrived, all but I hiked up this road to the ridge above the campground. It was reportably a very nice hike.


I found this teeny little salamander on this rock in the stream by our campsite.



What a cutie!

We had been told there were bears in the area and to take the necessary precautions. We saw none but there were tracks in the picnic area after a rain.



The dumpster in that same area also bore the evidence of where muddy paws had tried to open the bin.

Bear Paw Mud

When we went to the visitors’ center, the boys thought the bear in the case had about the same size paws as the tracks we saw.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

On the Road: Barbecue and Such

We took B’s Boy Scouts camping in North Carolina for a week. It was a great time and one I doubt any of us will forget.

On the drive up, we stopped at Stripling’s country market in central Georgia. It has been around at at least three locations in the same town and it makes an interesting stop.

This pink pig is out front. I think its construction is ingenious. It is a hay bale, buckets, carpet ears, and a drain hose and mop tail.




At the end of our long drive, we stopped at Hawg Wild in Pisgah Forest for the best ribs you are going to find. Oh my goodness! The bones slid right out, clean.  B and I had been there a year ago with son, D, who had been there before with his K. Our group came away convinced these were the best ribs ever. They kept talking about wanting to go back. Unfortunately, that was not in the budget for this trip.


While we were eating, this young feller, was pickin’ and a-grinnin’, The banjo belonged to another diner who had brought it in to keep it out of the heat in the car.


This  nine-year-old kid, still in his swim trunks and water shoes from tubing on the Davidson, was a natural player. It was a nice “welcome to the mountains” impromptu concert.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Gosh! Squash!

How many years have we tried to grow squash in our yard and got nada!? (Several.)

This year we planted four mounds in a community garden that gets full sun, and my gosh, have we got squash! This little row is all we have and it is just going nuts.



First, we picked by the plate,


Then, by the tray.


Now, I am having to freeze some, even though some folks say they are entirely too mushy when you thaw and cook them.


The morning after this was picked and blanched and frozen into  quart bags, we picked another dozen.

After abandoning the garden for a week’s camping trip, we came home to squash the size of a teenage boy’s sneaker. They were fine when I grated them after removing most of the seed and baked them in a casserole.

We are now gathering by the three-gallon bucket.

What a wonderful problem!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

For Today’s Post…

See June 17, Corn-Fed Caterpillars.

I think the technical difficulties have now been resolved. At least, I hope!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mailbox Monday

Had some technical difficulties: for the latest Mailbox, see June 14, Muffler Man,  which was really posted this morning.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Garden Progress

At the end of April, we rented a garden plot in a community garden. We started with dirt. B bought a pick-up truck load of compost and used his dad’s old tiller to till it in.

102_1153 The “kids” came home for my birthday and saw the beginnings. This was May 1st.


This was less than one month later.



And this was last week.

The corn is gone but the peas look good.


Zinnias are starting to bloom.


The okra has a few pods and the yellow squash has gone nuts.


The pole beans are running. They were planted successively to extend the production time.


And since we had to start irrigating, we grow really good nutgrass.

It has been fun to see how fast everything has grown.

Amazing what full sun will do!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

First Harvests

We were excited to cut our first cucumber ---and then four more a couple of days later. We also cut one jalapeno pepper and four crook-neck squash and one tomato.



Thursday, June 17, 2010

Corn-Fed Caterpillars

We had been warned that Silver Queen is about the only way to go when growing sweet corn here, but we were given some Super Sweet seed and so we planted it. It started out OK, but two weeks ago,  B pulled it all out to stop the spread of caterpillars.


We had tried dusting, but the caterpillars were deep into the corn. It was totally eaten up.


The culprit: some kind of cutworm, I think. Cutworms also destroy tomatoes. So far they are not a problem on ours.


The corn was just a mess.


What a shame.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mailbox Monday: Muffler Man

A prickly situation, even for the Man of Steel.



Doesn’t he just look exhausted?


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Stay Out of Our Garden!


And the worst is…..we saw TWO!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Beautiful Begonia

We have had this begonia for a number of years. After we built the screen porch, we moved it out there, except for the winter when it mostly resided in the (warmer) garage.

Boy, is it happy! Each leaf is bigger than my hand and it has been blooming for weeks.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Katydid Like the Truck



There are about 250 different  species of katydids in North America and others around the world. The males call loudly to attract females during summer evenings. As with crickets, the air temperature can be determined by carefully counting the calls in a minute and then using a little formula. Upon hearing the calls with ears in their front LEGS(!) the females merely chirp in response and seek out a male whose call has that certain appeal.  Interestingly, her body temperature and his have to be the same, or she does not recognize him as one of her own kind. Katydids usually eat plant material, sometimes nectar and pollen and, occasionally, are carnivores of other insects, snails ---and even lizards and snakes. In Uganda, they are known as bush-crickets and are consumed by hungry people.


Katydids can bite, so be gentle --or simply watch.