Thursday, July 29, 2010


I've been having a rough time lately.  Some days I'd prefer to do nothing more than curl up in bed and remain there in the fetal position for the whole day.  The other days I manage to get through somehow but don't get much accomplished.


So much rain and humidity.
So many family problems.
Bills, the house falling apart.
Taking care of my dad.
Not having ANY free or alone time.

I just let it all overwhelm me.  

In the middle of my feeling sorry for myself, I learned a lesson.  Seems one is never old to learn!

A friend of mine has been trying to find a car for his daughter for several weeks now.  She is a single mom with an 11 month old baby.  Her car was totaled in an accident about a month and a half ago.  She nor the baby were in it at the time thankfully but it left her with no way to get to her part time job.

She didn't have the best of vehicles to begin with.  The insurance company paid her $3400 for it.  Nothing in savings meant that was all she had to spend to replace her transportation.  I don't know if you've been car shopping lately, but that isn't much money to spend on something that is reliable.  My friend spent countless hours calling dealers, looking on car sales lots and found nothing that he felt good about putting his daughter and granddaughter on the road in.  He also had a co-worker trying to find something for her.  

The co-worker has a side business.  A used car lot.  He buys vehicles at local auctions and then resells them on his lot.  Even he was having trouble finding something good to purchase at the money she had available.  To make things a bit trickier, the daughter had some specific ideas about the kind of car she wanted.  It had to be a Grand Am or Grand Prix, in silver, black or white.  

After weeks of not finding anything at the auction everyone was getting frustrated.  The daughter was using my friends truck which takes a lot of money for gasoline.  My friend was forced to play vehicle tag when he needed his truck for his lawn mowing business. 

Then it happened.  The co-worker found a vehicle that was reliable, clean, new tires, sporty rims, low miles, top of the line accessories including a 6 CD changer and awesome stereo system and bought it for the money she had available.  The car was a 2000 Neon, dark green. And not to mention, the book value on this car was just over $5000! 

Woo hoo finally.....right!

  The daughter threw a fit.  That wasn't the kind of car she wanted.  She doesn't like the shape of Neon's, and according to her mother, the car isn't cute enough.  

Well that did it for me!  I went on a tirade to my friend about youth and ungratefulness.  Why, I remember my dad busting his knuckles to put a new motor in an ugly old (but free) 4 seater Ford Horizan for me to drive when I was a single mom with two kids!  I was embarrassed to be seen in it but I never once complained to my dad about it.  He worked so hard to fix it up for me.  I couldn't afford anything else either.  I was so grateful for what he did for me.  I would never even think of downgrading his efforts by complaining about the ugly car.  I was thankful to have something to drive again.  I didn't have to be chauffeured to work anymore and the kids and I didn't have to walk 5 blocks back and forth to the grocery either.  

Sometime after my ranting about the youth of today I realized something.  I wasn't depressed.  I didn't have that heavy, overwhelmed feeling on my shoulders and I wasn't spending all my time doing nothing.  I was back to my old self.  

Somewhere along the way of expressing my feelings, I was motivated back to action.  Action is the best killer of depression I know of.  Oh sure, I'm still irritated at the insensitivity of youth today, but I realized that I have no business being down.  I actually am pretty blessed.  I live in the country and it's beautiful here.  Sure the house needs to be remodeled and sure I don't have the money but everyday I can look out and see nothing but beautiful surroundings.  Like the buck and doe I saw in my hayfield yesterday.  Most people never get to experience anything like that!

 And yes, I spend 6 months in Arizona with my dad taking care of him but at least I have the ability to do so!  I don't have to freeze in the Indiana winters and I've managed to do ok in life so that I don't have to work outside of the home.  So I don't need to complain about being tied down or not getting to do anything for myself.   I SHOULD be taking care of my dad right now.  He spent years looking after me and my siblings.  There were LOTS of things he didn't get to do because of us and I never once heard him complain about it.  

Sure, life may not be the way I would like it to be but who ever said there were any guarantees in life?  There is not one person on this earth that doesn't have some problem.  Problems actually, and it can ALWAYS be worse, much worse.  So I am back "in the saddle" so to speak and living life again and not feeling sorry for myself.  Got beans to pick, laundry to do, floors to mop, animals to feed and dad to take care of!  

Thanks to my friend's daughter for the wake up call!

Friday, July 23, 2010


Good ole Indiana humidity right?  

Could there be anything good about the steamy, sultry, sticky, wetter than wet, hotter than blue blazes, dampness that happens every summer?

Actually there is!  

My flowers are doing great!

With all this humidity and extra rain, I have had to do very little watering.

Even the rose moss is flourishing between the bricks in the sidewalk!!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Missing guitar player from the grunge/punk band, Smashing Bird Feeders, was found late last night and returned to his band member buddies at their new location up North.

Apparently, Sly Raccoon, had partied a bit too hard with fans in the muddy mosh pit and missed his ride with his fellow punk rockers.

After a quick shower, Raccoon was taken to reunite with his crew to perform at their next venue.

After all......the show must go on!

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Appearing locally, lead singer Rocky Raccoon, had "no comment" regarding his upcoming appearance at this years fest.  

Raccoon and his heavy metal, grunge/punk band members, The Smashing Bird Feeders, are set to appear in the local hot spot, Back Yard Theater. 

                                        (a fan checks out the bands souvenir merchandise)

Several stages have been set to accommodate the band's showy and often times, wild acts, such as bungee tree jumping and high wire climbing.

For readers that may not now know, the word Lollapalooza means, 'extraordinarily impressive' and is a touring festival that travels bringing it's unusual acts to various venues.  Last nights performance was no disappointment to the waiting and anxious fans on the ground.  Rocky Raccoon and his Smashing Bird Feeders were a hit again this year as they have been in summers past.  

Once the show is over though, the real work starts.  Roadies must disassemble stages and move all equipment and band members to their new location. 

Roadies work long into the next day.


Equipment is often heavy and cumbersome to move.  Band members are typically grouchy having been on stage all night and have been known to complain loudly to those roadies just trying to do their jobs.

 The show must go on though, and the entourage arrives safely at it's next concert location.

Before heading off to check out this new venue's facilities, Rocky was asked how last night's show went.  Clearly worn out from performing and partying all night, Rocky and his band members declined to speak to the press.  

One thing seems certain, fans should expect a Lollapalooza Raccoon Fest 2011, as this venue has been extremely popular with many of these punk rock bands whether they want to talk about it or not!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Nothing better than a mess of garden fresh green beans for supper.

Some cooks like to use ham to season their beens but I prefer bacon.  I start by frying up several strips to get a bit of grease going in the pan.  Add chopped onion and spices and stir together, frying until slightly browned. 

Add beans, cover with water and simmer till done!

Serve with country pork on the grill and potato salad, yum!

The only thing that would make this meal better is home-grown Indiana tomato's and sweet corn.  But they're not ready yet.  Will just have to wait!!!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010


The scratches are gone and the berry juice stain has finally washed away from my fingers.  Sad as it is, this year's blackberry season has come to an end.

As promised, here is my blackberry pie recipe!


1 qt (4 cups) berries
1 1/4 C. sugar
8 tsps. cornstarch
2 tbls. quick cook tapioca
4 tbls. butter

Mix berries, sugar, cornstarch, tapioca and water - set aside while placing pie crust in bottom of pie dish

Distribute berries in bottom pie crust, mounding slightly toward the middle

Place 4 tbls. butter on top of berries

Put on top crust, make slits (before or after placement whichever you prefer) and crimp pie edges

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes
Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 45 minutes

Cool, serve and enjoy!!!

Oh yeah....don't forget the ice cream!!!

Gosh is that ever yummy!!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


If you read my last post you'll know I have been fervently on the hunt for the wild Indiana black raspberry.  I fought off mosquitoes, Japanese beetles and spiders as well as peril to my hands and clothes from thorns and sticker bushes to garner this fruity little prize.  

I'm sure you may wonder, "Why in the world would anyone go to that much trouble for tiny  little black berries!"

It's my grandmother's fault really.  When I was young I remember her lovingly trying to teach me how to 'flute' the crust of a pie.  When the lesson was done, the pie baked and cooled, I got to eat my just desserts.  At the time, I didn't really know what blackberries were and I certainly hadn't developed a taste for them yet.  In fact, I really thought the pie was kinda 'gross' with all those seeds!  

Time has a way of changing our taste buds when we least expect it and now 50 plus years later, I find that my mouth waters with the thought of a blackberry pie in the oven.  

Looks yummy doesn't it!  

Guess is!!!!

Stay blog post, my blackberry pie recipe

Sunday, July 4, 2010


I don't know what it is about blackberries being synonymous with the 4th of July but for me they are.  

Maybe it's because most woman's magazines seem to feature mouth-watering blackberry pies and treats on the covers of their June/July issues.  Or perhaps it's the simple fact that nature has a hand in it.  After all, they do ripen to perfection right before the Holiday!!!

At any rate, I've spent the last two weeks diligently searching for and harvesting the blackberry.  I've become obsessed with finding them.  Every day I have donned my jeans and long sleeve shirt and headed out for....the thrill of the hunt.  

I make my rounds....down the barn lane, out to the woods edge, finally ending up along the roadside in front of the house.  

Even though I know where most of the blackberry bushes are, its not an easy harvest by any means.  They are wild blackberries hidden amongst LOTS of weeds, scrub brush, poison ivy, Boysenberry bush and wild Primrose thorns.  As if that's not enough, there are bugs, mosquitoes and other things that slither in the weeds.  One morning in particular, it seemed as if even the red-winged blackbirds were upset with me for picking their harvest.  Every berry I picked was followed by an angry sounding peep from the bird as if to say,  "I'm watching you and counting how much or our bounty you are taking!"   But I try not to think about those things and instead, focus on the challenge of finding the biggest and sweetest berries!

My hands have suffered the most with scratches from stickers and thorns.  Not to mention the juice left on my fingers after picking.  It eventually washes away!

I have been rewarded at the end of each hunt with a nice batch of berries, easily collecting 4 cups of fruit per trip.

The berries are now at the end of producing and today, July 4th, my daily hunt yielded only 1/2 cup.  Most likely, today's outing will be the last of the season, but not to fear, I have picked enough to have made 4 pies and managed to freeze enough for 4 more pies.  

Oh sure, I have no doubt that the urge to make my rounds will overcome sensibility and I may go out and collect a few more berries over the next few days.  There are still a few bushes producing just enough to probably top off a bowl of ice cream!

Stay tuned for my next blog to see my yummy blackberry pies!!

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