Monday, February 21, 2011

Hello Muddah Wrap Up!

First of all...I know, I know! This post has been a long time coming. I've been meaning to share some photos with y'all and tell you all about the fun we had at the Hello Muddah Crop (2011). The popular consensus was that everyone had a ball, ate themselves silly and want to do it again next year! So, watch for announcements for Hello Muddah 2012. But in the meantime, enjoy a few photos from our camping crop!

This is a group shot of almost all of our campers. What an amazing group of ladies!

The REAL Florida. We all loved this state park and (most) of the Rangers!

The park is just so very beautiful. Lots of ladies were inspired to take amazing photos.

There were just TONS and TONS of deer wandering around camp. In fact, Dawn saw a heard of 20 and Julie almost got run over by a group of "bolting" deer.

The morning Nature Walk was popular.

A few of the cabins in our group.

Some clever gals made signs for their cabin doors.

Getting cozy in the bunks! It felt just like summer camp...only in the winter!!

The much dreaded shower. It was all open screen at the top and quite chilly first thing in the morning. Most of us smarties, waited for the afternoon for taking our showers.

This is the room where we cropped at dusk. My favorite part of any crop is just listening to all the chatting and laughter coming from the crop room. And you could really hear the fun from outside!

Miss Barbara, Julie, Deanne & Kim looking cute as ever!

BethAnne's work space filled with goodie bags and snacks.

One of the buildings built in the 1920's by the CCC-this one we used for our Talent Show.

The audience waits for the Talent Show to begin.

Dawn, Tracy & Pam, AKA "The Scrappie Chicks" showed us how to take care of a pesky man in "Goodbye Earl"!

Stacey and I lip synced to the song, You're Timeless To Me, from the Hairspray soundtrack. No! I have not gained more was TWO pillows! Thankyouverymuch!

"If You're Chilly, Then You Should've Put A Hat On It!" An original song performed by these three cuties!

Stacey and I spent a couple of days just shopping for the groceries! Here I am with the first load we took to the park.

My spice central!

Lydia serves up some Meatball Subs.

Aahhh! That Pumpkin Bisque! Bliss!

It takes a BUNCH of food to feed all these hungry women! Especially when it's mac & cheese! I made Stacey "photo bomb" the shot so I could get perspective on just how big that pan was!

Lunch al' fresco. Bueno!

Tracy samples the super yummy Sticky Banana Bread Pudding.

Lydia and her fire! It sure was a thing of beauty!

Jo warms up herself and a marshmallow by the fire!

The perfect s'more!

A group of volunteers packed the amazing goodie bags.

This is the most amazing goody bag EVER! Each camper created something different, but all done in the same color scheme/theme so that we could all have some handmade embellishments for our albums. There were also lots of godies, like custom made cookies, cocoa kits and very handy hand warmers.

Lance Anderson from Rusty Pickle poses with Miss Barbara after one of his many classes!

This is one of the cool projects that Lance brought to teach. He is such a wonderful teacher!

The cute project that Stacey taught in one of her class.

Stacey taught a VERY full knitting class. Some gals caught on rather quickly...some, like me, were cussing!

PJ's and scarves were haute cotuer at this crop!

Such sweet gals!

The suspension bridge is a popular spot for a photo opportunity.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Spring planting here I come!

I am so excited to be planting a garden this spring. Charles and I are going to be building 2-3 raised planting beds and filling them with all kinds of heirloom veggies and herbs. I got my D. Landreth Seed catalog months ago and I've been pouring over it's quickly dog-eared pages trying to decide between all the different varieties of veggies they offer. I love this company. It is THE oldest seed house in America, it is the fifth oldest corporation still running in America and has sold seeds to every US President from George Washington to FDR. It just makes me happy buying from such a great company and since I asked for a gift certificate to DL for Valentine's Day this year, you know I placed my order right away! So, my blog pages will be filled with my new adventures in gardening and I thought I'd start y'all right along with me and share my order with you! Oh, boy! I am so excited...spring cannot get here fast enough!

-Tennis Ball (for a container)
-Parris White Cos

-Violeta Italia

-Sugar Hollow Crown

-Tonda Di Parigi (for a container)
-Belgian White
-Demi-Longue de Chantenay

-Noir De Carmes

-Golden Midget

-Purple Bunching
-Texas Early Grano

Garlic & Shallots

-German Red Strawberry
-San Marzano
-The Mortgage Lifter
-Black Cherry

-Parisian Pickling, pickling
-Lemon, pickling & slicing
-Straight Eight, slicing

-Fairytale (for a container)
-Rosa Bianca

-Golden Bantam

-Sugar Snap Pole

-Sweet Chocolate Bell
-Red Hot Cherry

-Lemon, summer (for a container)
-Ponca Butternut, winter (for a container)
-Pink Banana, winter

-Detroit Dark Red


Brussel Sprouts:

-Montpelier, bush

-Small Sugar

-German Butterball
-Rose Finn Apple Fingerling

-Basil, Lemon
-Oregano, Italian
-Parsley, Moss Curled
-Dill, Dukat

Now all that I need help with is deciding on exactly where to put the planting beds...

Close to the house VS away from the house?
-Will the "house noise" deter the wildlife from coming to the garden or will they come anyway and I'll just be inviting them in closer?
-Do I want it close to the house so I can make a mad dash for safety if a bear comes visiting while I'm out tending the garden?

Behind the house VS in front of the house?
-I know that I have to put up a temporary fence to deter deer, so do I want that visible from the road or hidden behind the house?
-Do I want to be able to look out my windows and SEE the garden getting eaten by wildlife?

Close to the house/water supply VS away from the house/water supply?
-If it is hot and dry like last summer, I'll need to water my garden for a few weeks. Do I want to rely on a handy hose that is attached to the house or tote water to the garden? Or hook up a series of hoses?

Up high VS down low?
-We have a real slope on one side of the house, so I don't think that I want the garden in the "run-off" area because this will be too wet. But would that matter to a raised planting bed?

Near the new fruit trees VS away from them?
-We planted two fruit trees last fall, so do I want to keep all the growing stuff together? Does it really matter?

Oh how I wish I could just call up my dad with all of these questions. Does anyone out there know or can help on any of these? I am about to go knock on my neighbor's door (the one that I drool over his/her garden) and ask them to come over and give me advice.

Wish me and my brown thumb luck!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

There IS a good moral to this story...

As you may have heard on the news of late, we have been having some yucky weather up here in the north. Here in PA we didn't get the horrible inches of snow that lots of other states got, but what we did get is a terrible combination of snow then rain. If you don't know what that means here it is in a nutshell...We had a total of about 3" of snow on the ground then 6" more fell. Then we got a wintry mix of snow and rain. Then pure rain. What happens is that the rain melts some of the snow, then at night when the temps drop, that wet snow freezes and the next morning you have lovely ice. (If you couldn't tell, "lovely" was typed with TONS of sarcasm!)

So here is MY story of snow and ice.

-We've got about 6" of snow on the ground in our yard.
-We have finally got our wonderful man from Tanglewood to plow our driveway for the winter. (Until recently, there really hadn't been enough snow to have him come out.)
-The driveway looks great.
-Then the wintry mix comes and the top & bottom part of our driveway are a bit icy.
-The driveway gets plowed, so the snow is gone, but the bit of ice remains.
-I ask Charles if we shouldn't be salting those parts of the driveway. He kind of makes a non-committal remark and the ice remains.
-Now the pure rain comes and the ice from the top part of the drive way now connects to the ice at the bottom part of the driveway to form one solid sheet of ice.
-I come home from work and have to abandon my car 1/2 way up the driveway. Charles arrives home after me and spends over an half of an hour trying to drive my car over the ice and into the garage.
-The steps leading into the house have been snowed on & iced over so many times now that each step has a little mountain of ice on it. Let me tell you that just getting down the steps safely is an occasion!
-Each morning Charles gets up like a good husband and starts my car and turns it around for me so that I am headed down the drive each morning for work.
-I stop at the Agway one evening for dog food and pick up a bag of salt for the steps. I ask Charles if he'll lay the salt on the steps for me. "Sure," is my reply.
-On Friday evening Charles cannot get my car up the driveway so I mention again about salting the driveway. Again, Charles says something about it costing $30 for that much salt (heavens to Murgatroyd!) and that he was "exhausted".
-I stop calling our driveway a "driveway" and start calling it a "skidway".
-On Saturday afternoon we skid down the driveway headed to a church function knowing full well that it is supposed to rain some more that evening and we are NEVER gonna make it back up the driveway.
-We are having to hike down the side of the skidway in the snow to my car because we cannot even think about walking on the skidway!
-Monday evening the salt for the steps is still in the back of my car, my car makes it 3/4 of the way up the drive and Charles is in too bad of a mood to mess with getting my car in the garage.
-Tuesday morning I hear the buzz of a text message on my phone. It's Gail telling me that the preschool is on a 2 hour opening delay because of the snowfall last night. Charles is in a BAD mood and doesn't warm my car up or turn it around on the skidway for me. I am on my own at turning it around at the top of the skidway. (This is NOT a good thing!)
-I scrape all the snow off my car, all the while cursing someone for not salting the drive and/or putting my car in the garage on the night that it snows! I let my engine warm up and the ice on the windshield melt while I psyche myself up for the turnabout. I am not even gonna try to back it down the skidway!! Backwards skidding just seems like less fun than frontwards skidding. I back/skid down a bit, pull forward a bit, back up a bit, pull forward a bit...all this over crunching snow and slippery ice. Back up a bit, pull forward some more, having more and more trouble with skidding. Now I am 100% horizontal in the driveway and I cannot back up anymore and I cannot move forward anymore. I am stuck. Stuck in the skidway. Stuck horizontally! I am now gonna be late to work, if I make it at all! I push down hard on the gas to move forward...nothing but spinning tires. I try reverse with a little less gas, because behind my car somewhere close, is a HUGE tank of propane that I imagine skidding into and blowing me, the tank and my car up a'la a McGruber episode. I break down and call in late to work. Miss DeeDee says she understand 'cause she's seen my driveway, but she still laughs at me a bit! I step out of my car, look at the wretched mess that I am in, pull up my big girl pants, get back into the car and WILL my car to move. I gun the gas forward, then back, then forward and I am moving! I'm doing it. I free my car just enough to get my tires on the grass through the snow and decide that a pile of snow might be easier to drive through than over ice and I circle through the grass and get my tires back on the skidway and am down the drive in a minute! GO ME!
-I get home after work this evening and can only get my car 3/4 of the way up again. As easy as you please, I hop out of the car, grab a cup & pocket knife, split open the bag of salt and salt the crap out of the front porch steps! There is leftover salt, so I salt the crap out of my tire ruts. I have enough to do about half of the skidway, but just MY tire ruts! When I am done, I hop back into my car and lo and behold, my car gets gription and goes right into the garage. And I don't slip on the steps going into the house. Again, GO ME! The moral of this tale is: When your husband is being a dork about an extremely necessary chore and you don't want to get stuck in the driveway anymore, sometimes a girl has got to salt her own ruts!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Veggie Chili

I had lots of requests for this recipe at the Hello Muddah Crop and since I thought it was already on my blog and I found out it isn't here it is! It is VERY easy. I promise that it is "man pleasing". My brother eats it all the time and when Lance from Rusty Pickle tasted it, he said, "If you didn't tell me that it had no meat in it, I would never have known."

To make this recipe just remember 1-1-1-1.

1 bag of regular size, frozen veggie mix (I use one called "Normandy" with cauliflower, carrots and broccoli)
1 can of kidney beans,drained (I use dark)
1 can of diced tomatoes,UNdrained (I use fire roasted)
1 packet of chili mix (Mild or hot, your choice)

Toss the FROZEN bag of veggies into a pot. If you are worried about them sticking to the bottom, add a slug of olive oil. Turn the heat to medium and toss in everything else. Stir it up a bit and check on it from time to time, but that is all. The veggies usually loose their color when it is done.

Serve it with sour cream and shredded cheese. I also serve it with hot sauce.

Honesty to Pete, this is good!

I am an exotic traveler...

My dad was a boat captain for the most wonderful family who used the boat all the time for fishing trips. Since we lived in Florida, a lot of those trips were in Florida or the Bahamas, so Mr. Meyer and his family and friends would fly down from the north (mostly New Jersey) and stay at our house before and/or after these fishing trips. As a young girl I would see their luggage lined up at the front door when they were ready to be driven to the airport and see these large, bulky winter coats laying on top of suitcases. To me, who had never seen snow or experienced anything but a Florida winter, this looked SO exotic. I imagined them getting off their planes, putting on those big coats and being greeted by a winter wonderland. And being a Florida girl, the idea of this was so enticing.

Yesterday my luggage was lined up at Stacey's front door and I looked down and spotted my big, red barn coat laying on top and I was instantly that little girl, imagining all sorts of winter landscapes. But, oh! That was MY coat. I was the one who was going to step off the plane into beautiful, twinkling snow. I wondered if Stacey's boys would see my luggage and coat and think the same thoughts I had.

On the plane I said a silent "good-bye" to palm trees, street lights, shopping malls, my favorite restaurants and 71 degree weather. Then as the plane started it's decent into Elmira, I said a silent "hello" to mountains, dairy farms, our 3-stop light town and a snow covered runway. I got off the plane and as I put on a sweater and winter coat for the ride home I realized that I had become one of those exotic travelers from my past. It hit me how REALLY different life has become as I was crunching through the snow piled on the sidewalk of downtown Mansfield as I picked up our pizza order. Life in a winter landscape is sometimes magical (when the sunlight hits a vast expanse of snow and it twinkles like a million diamonds), it is sometimes a pain (when you get stuck at home because the snow plows haven't yet done the roads you need to take), it is sometimes exhausting (shoveling 2 porches and a long driveway) and it is sometimes depressing (looking at the same white/grey/brown color combo for months on end can make you loopy!). But for this Florida girl, it is still exotic and plain 'ole fun!