Thursday, July 28, 2011


 Today I made some of my favorite jam EVER!
It is apricot/pineapple and it is DeLiCioUs!

 First you take about 3.5 pounds of fresh apricots.  You want them to be very ripe, soft to the touch.  Almost too soft to eat is best.  All you do is wash them (no peeling involved), cut them open, remove the pit and cut into small pieces and put in a food chopper or food processor.  Chop until somewhat smooth but still with a few pulpy pieces.
Measure out 3 cups of pulp and put in a large pot.

Add one package MCP pectin to fruit, stirring to dissolve.

Add 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, about 4 lemons. 
(I already threw the lemons into the compost pile so I had to get my bottle of lemon juice out of the fridge for a picture.)

Stir in one 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple in it's own juice, undrained into apricot pulp.
I didn't have any crushed pineapple so I just poured the pineapple chunks into the food processor to crush.

Bring this mixture to a rolling boil over high heat.

Add 1/4 tsp. butter to fruit to help prevent too much foaming while the jam cooks.

Add eight cups of pre-measured sugar to cooking fruit and return to a boil, stirring constantly.
Once the jam is back to a full rolling boil, one that cannot be stirred down, start timing for four minutes. 
Stir constantly.

Once jam is removed from the heat pour immediately into sterilized canning jars.  Place on lids and caps and put in deep canning kettle, one with a rack so jars are not sitting directly on the bottom of the pan.  Cover completely with water, with at least 1-2 inches above the jar.
Cover kettle with lid and bring water to a boil, process for ten minutes

Remove filled jars to the counter covered with a kitchen towel to cool.
Delicious on homemade bread or waffles and pancakes.

Oh ya, there is a real messy part to canning.  The stove around the burner gets nasty looking.  I have found a great product that removes the ugly mess called Mr. Muscle.  You spray it on, leave for about ten minutes then wipe clean. 

Friday, July 22, 2011


So when I said I had a thousand pound of cherries being delivered I had no picture in my head what a thousand pound of cherries looked like.
It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought.  It turned out to be fifty boxes of 20#'s in each one.

The whole reason I had that many cherries delivered is because I am currently  the Provident Living/Self Reliance coordinator on my ward (church congregation).  That means that I help others to become more self-reliant through  learning to spend money wisely.  I find ways to help them get food supplies stocked up so that when times get tough such as economic downturns, emergencies, job losses or disasters they will be better able to care for their own needs rather than depending on others.
I am always on the look out for good buys on food for canning.

Lucky for us we have a wonderful man in our church that owns a business in an area (and is willing to haul back produce) where there are lots of farms and orchards that are willing to sell produce to him at exceptional prices if we meet the five-hundred pound minimum.  We doubled our amount on the cherries, which really pleased the farmer.

Here is "fine" man (his name is Jim Fine) that has so generously offered to transport the produce for us.
(He is the one in the white t-shirt and the farmer is on the right.)

Here is a bowl of the Bing cherries.  They were so delicious and juicy.

He also brought back these sacks of Walla Walla sweet onions too.  At .28  per pound they are a steal.
If you live anywhere near me and are interested in getting some onions please let me know and we will work something out to get them to you.

Here I am waiting for the first people to come and pick up their cherries.  Please ignore all of the junk in the back ground, it's just garage junk that really needs organized.

Next week we will be ordering apricots.  Here are some samples the farmer sent so people could see how wonderful they are.
 They are nice and big, almost as big as a peach.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I've got a couple of grandsons here staying with us for a few days.

Logan and Landon had a blast building a fort using the lawn chairs and some blankets.
They decided that some fine dining was in order and decided to eat their lunch in there.

Nothing like hanging out with your brother in your own hideout.

Here they are rockin' out to 'We Will Rock You'.

Here are a couple of pictures I found that were taken when I wasn't looking.
 Peek-a-boo, I see you!

Tomorrow I am having 1,000 pounds of cherries delivered to my house.  I think I will put them both to work helping me put them in 5 pound bags for people to pick up.
Stay tuned for cherry stories and pictures.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Thanks to Amy over at Keepn' The Sunny Side I am the new proud owner of a Kindle cover.

Didn't she do a wonderful job?
I have been wanting a cover for awhile now and guess what?
She sewed one for lil' old me.

I love the fabric,

the button for the closure,

and the cute ruffle.
Thank you Amy, you are just too sweet.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Good Friends
No Hustle and Bustle

Spending time far away from everyday life can do so much for the soul.

We have a favorite little camping spot that offers you a step back in time to sit back an enjoy the silence and tranquillity of the peaceful outdoors.  It is nestled in the Cascade Mountains in Washington and is only a two hour drive from our house.  You just can't find a place more peaceful to unwind.
I hesitate to publish the name because I kind of feel like I don't want lots of people knowing about it.
Is that selfish of me?

I will tell you the name of this rock, it is called Tower Rock and you can see it from the campground.

They have the cutest little pond that they stock with trout.  They provide fishing poles and bait so anyone can fish for just a  mere $4.95 per pound for the fish you catch.
Below is our friend Jim enjoying himself fishing.

See how rustic and adorable this place is?
It kind of reminds me of what camping was like about fifty years ago, except now we have the luxury of recreational vehicles to camp in instead of tents.

Here is a view of our camp site.

This is where our friends Jim and Debbie camped.

One of the ways we like to pass the time is playing cribbage.

Here is Debbie showing off her catch of the day.

It was such a nice little getaway.  None of us wanted to come home.  I am sure I could have stayed another week and not been ready to come home either.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


When I was first married we lived in a small two bedroom rental house that sat right next to the owners farmhouse.  I remember our landlady going around in the summer taking pictures of her flower gardens and remember thinking, "What is the big deal about her flowers?"  Fast forward  thirty something years later and I am out in my guessed it, photographing my flowers.

I have to marvel a God's work when it comes to flowers and plants.  I plant, fertilize and water the flowers and  mother nature does all the work.  It is amazing.

Here is a begonia that sits on my front porch.  Such a pretty color, don't you think?

This is an Asiatic lily (I think) with lots of little droplets of water.  We got a little rain today and I love how they are so delicately place on the petals.  Mother nature is a creative artist.

Another begonia that is on the front porch.  It is such a cheery color.

In the photo below is my astilbe, which is a perennial. Astilbe plants come in a variety of colors; white, pink, red, lavendar, blue and purple.  They are such a pretty touch to a flower bed.  They are almost feather-like when you touch them.

The petunias that I planted along the edge of this flower bed have really taken off.  If you want a flower that  will bloom all summer then plant petunias (they are annuals, meaning you have to plant them  each year but sometimes they will re-seed themselves and come back the next year).

Day lilies are just that, the blooms only last one day but they do put on lots of blooms that stagger their bloom time so you can enjoy them for quite awhile.

Have you ever planted wave petunias?  This variety are spreaders and will really go crazy, in a good way.  Before the end of summer this particular pot of them will be flowing onto the ground and beyond.

Lastly is my climbing rose.  I bought it new this year as a bare root and planted it in a huge pot with a trellis behind it.  It has barely started blooming but hasn't gotten big enough to start climbing yet.  Next year it should really take off.
I love the little rain drop on the petal.

Monday, July 11, 2011


In a few weeks my hubby and I will be hosting our second annual COUSINS CAMP OUT. 

What I need from you are any and all ideas that you might have done with your children or grandchildren.

The age range is from 3-10.  It is hard to find things that the little ones can do without boring the older ones to death.  I am looking for some fun games and crafts for them to do.

Any ideas???

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Our mini vacation took us to Sister's, Bend and Prineville, Oregon.
I can't believe I didn't get any pictures of the town of Sisters so I had to go to the Internet and borrow a couple so that you could see how beautiful it is there.

This is a shot of the Three Sisters Mountains, after which the town of Sisters got it's name.

 You can see from the architecture of this post office that the theme is 'the old west'.  All of the businesses and homes in Sisters were built to resemble this era.  All of the homes have a rustic charm to them, even the new construction ones.
I understand that the whole town turns into a quilters paradise this week with quilters coming form all over the country to enjoy this HUGE event.
There are cute shops and gallery's full of beautiful artwork and quilts.  A very fun place to visit.

The rest of the photo's are my own.
We have some very good friends, Ren and Sue, that moved to Sisters a little over a year ago and we were able to spend some time with them.  They drove us around the countryside and it was just beautiful.
 Below is the beginning of the Metolius river.  It just bubbles up out of the ground at the base of some rocks.
 Here is a shot of the river just a few hundred feet downstream from where it starts.

 This is the same river a few miles downstream.  It was gorgeous and looked VERY cold.

This is a picture of a beautiful fir tree amongst the mostly pine forest.  

We had some close encounters with these beasts of the forest.  Well, not beasts but they were definitely courageous.  They assumed we had some treats for them, unfortunately we weren't able to deliver, we had no food with us.
Look at that begging pose, who could resist? 
They knew how to 'work it baby'. 

 Here is one taking the food right out of my hubby's hand the next day at the Prineville Reservoir park.  We were feeding them some grapes but found that they liked the Fritos better.

Below is a photo of the Prineville Reservoir. 
It is a beautiful lake with great campgrounds and boat launches.
 Here is a shot of Mount Adams in Washington (looking north from Oregon).  We were coming down from the mountain pass near Hood River Oregon.

 This is the majestic Mt. Hood.

And one final shot from the car of the Columbia river, which runs between Oregon and Washington.  This is what is called the Columbia River Gorge, one of the most beautiful places around.