Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving Day...Not A Time For Bad Memories

Thanksgiving Day this year fell on November 28th. There is so much meaning in that day for me. My daughter was born on November 27th 1991, just 3 hours and 15 minutes shy of my mother's birthday. This year my mom would have been 84 on Thanksgiving, she passed away just a month shy of her 72nd birthday in 2001. Another event that happens on the 28th is the anniversary of my daddy literally falling over dead in a parking lot of a hamburger joint POOF just like that he was gone. He passed away in 1984.

We went to the ranch for Thanksgiving this year, my cousins' husband is the manager of Canadian Valley Ranch that is just north of Seminole, and it is only about 2 miles from where I grew up on the farm. My daughter wanted to drive over and see the farm so she and I took a little time out to drive over there. My daughter has some wonderful memories of the farm. Once my daughter turned about 5 or 6 she started going and spending weekends with my mom out at the farm as much as her activities permitted *okie still thinks she must have been crazy for letting her daughter be in basketball, girl scouts, soccer, tae kwon do and softball*, which was about every other weekend or so. We didn't go down the driveway because that would have been rude to drive all the way down there to just look and back up and knowing Curly, the man who bought the place from my mom, he would have invited us in for dinner if he had seen us.

We did notice on the mailbox, which just so happens to be the same one we had when I was growing up as a kid, we could still see where my mom had painted her name and box number. My daughter and I both got out and took pictures of the mailbox. I still remember my parents having that mailbox made. It is steel posts welded to a tire rim and pretty much how most all the folks had their mailboxes. When I went off to college and moved into town it was odd for me to not to have to walk down a long driveway to get the mail but instead just open the front door and look into the mailbox.

I also took a picture looking down the long driveway to post on Facebook for my niece to see since she had mentioned she would give anything to have one more Thanksgiving on the farm. Back when I was growing up on the farm we had all the relatives at our house for dinner and it was nothing for us to have a crowd of 20-30 for dinner. Oh and if you are curious, that driveway is almost a quarter of a mile long. I can't remember the times I had to run that driveway to catch the bus, or how many times I stood at the end in the rain, cold or snow waiting for the bus because it was late. I don't ever remember complaining because that was just the way it was when you grew up in the country.

As we got back in the van my daughter said "I think I am going to cry". I told her "don't cry Shiane, just smile...grandma would want you to smile and remember all the good times". Shiane went on to describe the inside of the house and then talk about some of things she and mom would do on her visits.

Now let me tell ya, I hear so many people having a hard time with holidays because loved ones are not there or that "oh it's terrible because we lost so and so on that day". I can honestly say I had no feelings of sadness on Thanksgiving but instead I had feelings of happiness and love. Of course I miss my parents and I always will but I don't miss them any more or any less any day of the year. Oh sure the pain of losing them when they first passed away was overwhelming but as time moved on the hurt healed and I focus on the memories I have of my parents. Instead of feeling sad on Thanksgiving I enjoyed the company of my aunts, uncle, cousins and friends and smiled a few times thinking about how my mom and dad would love that we are all still close even with miles between us. But isn't that the way it should be?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Two Recipes - Yes, I Do Use Them!

First off let me say I have been doing some crafting. I had an order for 17 tumblers that I worked on and got done and I will be posting pictures. Secondly, I have been working on some things for the craft show but with competition going on between crafters and craft shows I thought I better not post those items just yet.

Now let me share a recipe, or two actually, with you guys. I had posted on Facebook last week about the cold weather and I decided to make a big pot of chicken and noodles. I don't like store bought noodles and my aunt taught me years ago, over the phone mind you, how to make homemade noodles so that is how I make my chicken and noodles. I also cheated and used my cousin Bruce's suggestion of getting a rotisserie chicken from Walmart and deboning it instead of having to cook my own.

2 eggs
about a teaspoon of salt
couple handfuls of flour

Beat your eggs well and then toss in a handful of flour and work it in with the eggs. Add more flour a little at a time until the dough becomes not quite as thick as pie crust dough. Flour your counter and take about 1/3 of the dough and pat it out on the floured counter very thin, about the thickness of pie crust dough and using a pizza cutter cut your dough into strips and toss into the boiling pot of chicken stock you have going. Repeat the cutting process until all the dough is in the pot.

I really wasn't sure how to write the recipe and that is the best I can do on it because I don't use exact measurements and neither does my Aunt Betty. Sometimes she will put in a few drops of yellow food coloring in the dough if she wants really yellow noodles. I've never done it because I'm too lazy *okie knows that is so the truth*.

I always thicken my broth as well because I like it that way. I just add a little cornstarch to about a cup of broth and mix it well and then add it to the pot. I tell ya, there is nothing like a nice bowl of chicken and noodles on a cold day! In the past I have added onion, celery and carrots to the mix as well but most of the time I just do the chicken and noodles.

Now the second recipe is one I fixed for Thanksgiving Dinner. I use to get broccoli salad at Walmart in the deli and loved it but they changed the deli up so now I will be making my own. I wasn't sure what all was in the recipe and looked up several and then used one but changed slightly for my own taste

1 head broccoli
6 to 8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup crushed slivered almonds
8 ounces shredded sharp Cheddar
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
Trim off the large leaves from the broccoli stem. Remove the tough stalk at the end and wash broccoli head thoroughly. Cut the head into florets and the stem into bite-size pieces. Place in a large bowl. Add the crumbled bacon, onion, raisins, almonds, and cheese. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, stirring well. Add to broccoli mixture and toss gently.

So there are ya two recipes you can try out if you get bored. I myself will not be cooking again until Christmas, and not even then if I can help it! Now I am off to edit pictures of tumblers!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

"The Nut Doesn't Fall Far From The Tree"

I can't remember how many years ago, but it has been a few, my daughter and I were cleaning out the front flower bed and I pulled up a small pecan sapling that had grown next to the house. The little sapling probably wasn't much more than 16" tall at the time. My daughter asked if she could plant it in the front yard and I told her "sure" thinking she would lose interest. Well she did plant the little sapling and I didn't expect it to make it through the week since it had sat out in the yard for a few hours while we finished the flower bed but to my amazement it made it through the week.

The next summer it got so hot that things were dying left and right. I told my daughter "I think your pecan tree has died along with everything else". I actually pretty much let my flowerbeds go at that point because of the heat and lack of rain, no matter how much I watered the plants were just wilting *okie is always amazed how faucet water never seems to work like the fabulous wetness of a good rain in making things grow*. What I didn't know is that my daughter was "sneaking" as she put it, water out to the tree and watering it several times a week. The next spring the little pecan tree started getting buds on it and I was amazed it survived. That is when she told me about her watering it through the drought.

I was looking out my front window this morning and noticed some husks on the tree and walked out to make an inspection. Imagine my delight when I saw healthy pecans in the open husks! Now if you didn't grow up in the south you likely don't know much about pecans and I'm not going to give you a lesson other than when I got one of the pecans I was pleased with the shape and the healthy looking shell. The pecans are not large but they are not as small as the ones in the backyard that are impossible to crack. There is really a whole science about pecans and raising them. My poor sister and husband planted a tree in their backyard hoping to get pecans. I was visiting one day and I looked around at all the trees I could see and I did not see one other pecan tree. I asked her if she was hoping to get pecans and she said "well someday, but we haven't yet". I told her they might have a very long wait because pecans require two or more trees to pollinate. I'm not sure she believed me. I should mention that while I was raised pretty much on a farm my sister is 9 years older and was married and living in the big city when we moved to the farm where I gained my farm life knowledge *okie knows she has forgotten way more than she would care to admit*.

But back to Shiane's pecan tree! Over the last few years I have trimmed some of the branches of the tree to make it easier to mow and I was careful to not remove too many branches. I know Shiane has enjoyed watching the tree grow and year before last she wondered if the ice storm would get it. Some how the little tree has persevered and is now trying to repay us for the times we gave it a little extra attention. Granted, it may have only had 14 pecans on it this year but that is a start and not to mention the little pecans have a great taste!

Now of course ya'll already know how my sense of thinking goes and I had to relate this little pecan tree to life, mine and my daughter's life specifically this time and thought how this pecan tree kind of parallels our relationship. There are very difficult times where a little more attentive handling is needed. There are times where things are good and growth goes along at a relaxing pace. Sometimes a little shaping and pruning is necessary and must be done carefully. Now that my daughter is a young adult and starting to show me some of the determination she has, such as returning to college and putting forth the effort to make it this time, I am recognizing the fruit of my work. Of course, just like the tree, my daughter can be a little nuts but can I truly blame her? After all the old saying goes "The nut doesn't fall far from the tree" *okie smiles knowing she is a more than a little nuts herself*.