Thursday, June 30, 2011

Alive and Well!

Geez, I didn't realize it's been almost two weeks since my last post. Sorry 'bout that! No particular reason, other than I've been busy. I could make a full time job out of trying to keep my yard and gardens free of weeds. . . a job I neither like nor am I an expert at! You think when you put a good 5 inches or more of mulch in a flower bed that the weeds would stay away at least for awhile. Wrong!

I hope all of my readers in the US have a happy 4th of July holiday.

I will be with my grandsons over the 4th so no question I will have a good time!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Licking my wounds

Forgive me, I know you are accustomed to seeing upbeat, happy posts here. This one's gonna be different.

I spent weeks and many hours getting ready for my garage sale yesterday. I bulldozed my basement, drawers, cabinets, closets, the shed out back, looking for things that were useful but for which I no longer have a need for. I cleaned and washed dozens of things. As anyone knows who has held a garage sale, it takes a lot of time and energy. Except for help putting up and taking down my pop-up canopy, I did everything by myself. I had a wide variety of "merchandise". . . kitchen items, books, CDs I no longer listen to, a couple of radios with CD/cassette capabilities, table linens. The list was endless. For a week prior to the sale, my living room was filled to overflowing with items ready to be put out on the driveway on the morning of the sale. I hated the cluttered condition but I dealt with it thinking I would make at least a minimal profit.

At the end of the day, I didn't even make enough money to equal the cost of the ads I ran. To say I am disappointed is an understatement.

It wasn't that I overpriced things. Many people who showed up were looking for one or two specific items. When they found I didn't have those things, they didn't bother to look at what else was there.

It wasn't the weather. Yesterday was a beautiful, mild, sunny day in Rochester.

Give me a day or two to recover from this nightmare and I'll be back on my feet again!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

It's a Southern thing!

Last year, in my flower garden in the front yard, I had one patch of ground where there was a mass of ants. I was afraid to spray ant killer, thinking that may damage my plants. Earlier today, I noticed the same thing, only on the other side of the garden.

I put a note on Facebook asking if anyone knew what to do about it. Something that would kill the ants, but leave my flowers alone.

I got an answer, but not what I expected! One of my cousins from down South wrote, "put grits over them."

"Are you serious?" I wrote back.

She claimed the ants will eat them, become enlarged and die.

So I tried it. . . admittedly hoping none of the neighbors saw me or asked what I was doing! That was several hours or more ago. Believe it or not, I think it's working! I've gone back and checked a couple of times and I notice now the ants are staggering around. They were also taking the grits down into the ground, which my cousin says, they are taking food to those underground.

I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Garage sale revisited

Okay, I can do this. Yes, I can do this. . . the question is. . . am I trying to convince you or ME???

I'll let you in on a little secret. . . panic is starting to set in!

Now don't laugh at this. . . I crocheted it back in my twenties, when these kinds of things were stylish. My jaw dropped when I opened a box and found this today! Yes, it's going in the garage sale. I wouldn't get caught dead wearing something like this now.

You can't even get into my dining room right now with all the "stuff" that is cleaned, marked with a price and ready to go in the sale. And I am about three-quarters of the way into gathering "stuff". The more I look in my basement, the shed out back, the garage, and drawers, I find more items to put in the sale. There are half a dozen or more framed crewel and embroidery pictures - some that go back far enough to be considered antiques - there is the high-end bike and my solo canoe I hope to sell (but they will not be "garage-sale-priced") that need to be dusted off, more books, old cassette tapes. Then there is that old, shabby chest of drawers that has been "junk storage" in my basement for over 20 years. One of my sons told me to get rid of it a long time ago. Now, if I were to take the time to clean it up and paint it, I might get a decent price for it. Maybe I will run a dust cloth over it and put it out for $5.00.

I've held garage sales over the years, but always with plenty of help. This time I'm on my own. What will I do if a crowd shows up all at once? A couple of people have offered to come over. I think I will take them up on it, at least for the busy time.

Thanks for listening to my hysteria!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A garage sale

It's taken me quite awhile to talk myself in to it. I'm having a garage sale on June 18. . . 14 years of accumulation. Like most people, I've got things that are too good to throw away but they are things I don't use anymore. When I started thinking about everything, I realized I have well over $1000 worth of stuff so even if I don't sell everything, it will be worth my effort.

It makes me dizzy just thinking of gathering everything together, cleaning what needs to be cleaned/washed, pricing it. . . I'm going to have to enlist friends or neighbors to come over during the day to give me a potty break!

Here's a partial list of what I've chosen to include. The list gets longer the more I think about it or walk through my basement or back yard shed to see what's there.

Noritake china, Sylvia pattern. Service for 12 with serving bowls/platters
Canondale comfort bike with shock absorbers
Mad River kevlar solo canoe with cane seats
cast iron griddle
several coffee makers
small crockpot
several small, decorative flower pots
tons and tons of books
various cases (brief case types, duffels)
several old framed crewel embroidery pictures
several pieces of fabric that I never made into clothes
several framed pictures

I posted on facebook last night and wow did that draw dozens of comments! One of the first things I was asked was what about camping gear. Yes, there is a lot of camping gear - some things I still use, others I don't. But I'm saving those items for my grandsons.

Wish me luck!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Muffin Lady

This is not only a cookbook with great recipes, but an inspiring read.

The Muffin Lady, copyright 1997, was written by Linda Fisher, who following a divorce and no way to adequately provide for herself and her young son, refused to accept welfare. Instead, she searched through her mother's old recipes and began baking muffins, cupcakes, and quick breads and selling them from her son's red Radio Flyer wagon. She pounded the pavement in Westminster, Maryland with her baked goods and soon became a local favorite.

Just when business was booming, the local health department told her to pack up her wagon and leave because she did not have a "department-approved commercial kitchen." Linda fought back and the community came to her support. In the end, the Westminster volunteer fire department offered her the use of their "approved" kitchen.

The table of contents is divided into recipes using Seeds and Nuts, Fruits, Vegetables and Grains, and Confection. But don't skip the Introduction of this fine book. In it you will get a peek into her growing up years and the beginnings of her business. You will understand how her childhood instilled in her a sense of pride and perseverance.

I have used quite a few of her recipes and have never been disappointed. The only thing I disagree with her on is her use of wax paper to line the muffin tins. I never felt the need for that. But each to his own!

Her Morning Glory Muffins are simply delicious. This recipe was born out of necessity. In her own words: "I had a little bit of carrot, a little bit of apple, some pineapple, and a lot of walnuts. Needed another muffin "flavor of the day", and money was tight. Since I couldn't buy additional supplies, I made the muffin with the ingredients I had."

Here's the recipe with my highest recommendation!

2 cups flour
2 teasponns baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon mace
2 carrots, grated
1 apple, grated
1 cup oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup crushed pineapple
1/4 cup chopped nuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the dry ingredients. Place the carrots, apple, oil, and sugar in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time. Gradually add the dry ingredients. Fold in the pineapple and nuts. Spoon into a wax paper-lined 12 cup muffin pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

This ones a winner, folks!