Simply Balisha

Simply Balisha

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Two Years in the Making

Every year about this time, I take all my houseplants outside and give them fresh soil and clean them up a bit. This year I had something fun to do. It has been a project two years in the making. A couple of years Christmas....I wanted a wreath topiary in the worst way. I tried to make one...but failed. The ivies that I had were just too short. I found that I would have to wait a year or so. The next Christmas, I made one only it was smaller than I wanted, so I unwound the ivy and waited again. 

This picture shows my wonderful potting bench. Don't you just love the upside down bucket? A greenhouse would be so nice at times like this :) Oh well, what ever works I always say....
 The ivy grew slowly and I kept pinching off pieces to start new ones. Finally the two ivies were touching the floor under my plant stand. I searched for the wire frame that Joe had made for me two years before. It was hanging in an inconspicuous place in the basement. I had the pot all picked out, not clay...but plastic. I've had bad luck with clay pots and ivy. Hmmmmm not enough  potting soil. A trip to our hardware store and found some African violet soil. Our hardware store is about to go under, I think. They have such a small inventory and never have anything that you need. When I got home, I mixed the African violet soil with what I had on hand. I first put a coffee filter in the bottom of the pot...then some broken shards of a clay pot, then I stuck in some dowels on either side of the wire form and wired it together for stability. (The wire form had two long pieces of on each side to stick in the soil.) Then I placed the two on each side....keeping the ball of roots with soil attached, so the plant doesn't suffer stress. I filled in with new soil and tamped it down really good. Now, came the fun part.....winding the ivy around the wire. I had some jute just in case the ivy needed tying. It wasn't necessary. The two pots of ivy were just exactly what I needed for this size topiary. It's a little skimpy right now, but it will fill in with new growth before long.
I had a few baby tears growing in my stack n grow this summer, so I thought I would plant a bit at the base of this topiary. Hope it does well in the house. 
This was two years in the making. Now, at Christmas, I will have a wreath of ivy to use in my decorating. 
This isn't the first one that I have made. I've had a couple others down through the years. I remember one day, going to a friend's for lunch. It was Valentine's Day. I had some ivy and quickly fashioned a wire heart out of a coat hanger and twisted the ivy around and put a red bow on the heart shape. She had that topiary for years. She just kept giving it a "haircut" when it got out of shape. That's what I will do with this one. I do like it to look a little more natural than mine looks now. When the ivy starts to grow, I'll have fun keeping it in shape. 
We gardeners are always waiting until next year for one thing or another. We learn patience from our gardens.

Monday, September 29, 2014

So Much I Want To Do.....So Little Time

Ahhh, a nice cup of Chai tea to start the day. I've just learned to like this...had it before with milk and never cared for it, but left alone, I find it delicious. Now tea with a piece of fruit and a slice of banana bread is my idea of a nice breakfast. 

I got a little behind, with all the fall cleanup, on my Felt Critters. So, here are the four that I have worked so hard on to finish up for today's showing. We are in the final lap for these cute critters. Only four more to go after this month. I guess we will get the patterns for the last four next we can finish in time for Christmas decorating. I get all of them out once in a while and just try to imagine my little woodland tree with these cute felties decorating it. I think that I will put a string of colored lights on the tree...instead of the white ones that I've used in the past. This little tree has been up all to decorate for the seasons. 
 Right now it is full of frosted birds, red berries, pine cones, and dried orange slices. I'll show it after it's decorated for Christmas.

This has been such a fun project and I've learned about working with felt. It's something that I will continue...making more of my candle mats and maybe a garland of birds for spring. My head is full of ideas. I have some doves to make for bingo prizes for Church... in the making. 
This project was started by Dawn at
and Claudia at These two have posted patterns each month for all this past year. I want to thank both Claudia and Dawn. I know it hasn't been easy for these two busy gals.  Claudia is sick right now and it will be hard for her this month. Just want them to know that I appreciate them keeping this going for just a few of us. There were several who started the project, but didn't finish. I think that there are only a few still making these felties. Christmas is coming and it will be here before we know it. I've got a couple new felt critters to work on now....
I also started knitting again yesterday. I usually put my knitting away for the summer. Fall is a great time to knit. I don't do complicated things....just hats and scarves and other easy projects. I like to knit while I watch TV...and can't count stitches and watch anymore. I don't get bothered by that....I just like to keep my hands busy creating. Speaking of creating....I have a project in the basement that I will tell about later on. 
So much I want to little time.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

My Stir Fry

I love stir fries.....That being said, I don't get stir fries right most of the time. The veggies are supposed to be crispy not mushy. If I could do it for myself only, I could do it right. But cooking for others is another story. Excuses...the phone rings, a bathroom visit, washing hands, the doorbell rings,one last thing on the many excuses results in mushy stir fry. Yesterday, I fixed a stir fry and was determined that we would get it right. Here's how I did it...

I took some extra firm tofu and put it in my colander and let it drain for a bit. Then I patted it dry with paper towels. Cut it into small squares and put it in the already hot olive oil in my pan. It popped and sizzled....when it was starting to brown, I added some chopped red onion, a little chopped celery, and sliced portabella mushrooms. I wanted to get some flavor into the tofu. I had a package of broccoli florets and added those, some grated carrots and some snow peas. I put the lid on for just a few minutes. I then added a can of bean sprouts, and some Kikoman Stir Fry Sauce. We sat down to eat a delicious stir wasn't mushy.

I enjoy the portabella mushrooms because they are meatier than the regular button mushrooms that I usually use. The longer you cook them the meatier they get. I learned to store them in a paper bag in the refrigerator, because stored in plastic makes them moist. I love them stuffed with a bread stuffing, grilled, in a sandwich with a slice of tomato....Oh, I could be a vegetarian I think...if I could have these every day.

Then there is tofu...A lot of people turn up their noses at just the name. They think it is some hippie food. I mainly use it in stir fries, but on occasion, I have added leftover tofu to homemade ranch dressing, and scrambled eggs.
I love stir fry in the morning....cold right out of the fridge.

Today, I'll be working in the basement...getting my work area ready for winter. I like to wash the windows and vacuum everything so it is sparkling clean....just so I can mess it up with wreath making, painting, planting bulbs to force, and other messy jobs :)


Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Bittersweet Lady

I have always loved bittersweet. It was often sold in greenhouses and fall markets. I haven't seen it lately though. A woman acquaintance lived in the country and had bittersweet growing everywhere on her property. I made an annual stop at her place to buy it each year. I loved stopping on her country road and walking through the crisp leaves that had fallen on her lawn. Acorns were everywhere and the smell of bonfires was in the air. She always had time to visit and once in a while her husband would join us. This was a full time job for her in the fall. Picking the bittersweet, trimming it into bunches, tying it with jute, and pricing it. She was always home.. in case a customer would stop.....because signs were posted at the beginning and end of her road.

I tried to grow bittersweet. It was a never ending attempt. First I planted one plant....the next year they told me to plant two....male and female....the next was in the wrong location. Isn't this the plant that grows wild almost everywhere in the country? Try as I is something that I never could do. I resorted to buying bunches of it every year.

One year we took a trip to Iowa. I found bittersweet there and told my husband that I was so glad that we found it along the way. I remember him saying, "That's a long way to drive for a bunch of berries."

I have kept bittersweet from year to year. Such care was taken...wrapping it in tissue and hanging it from the rafters in a brown paper bag. Everytime I pull it out the berries fall off. I finally have to toss it, because there are only stems left. 

Now, I live far away from the woman called the Bittersweet Lady. I haven't tried growing it here...yet. So, I'll start my search in this part of the find another place to buy it. I will probably find it at some greenhouse or won't be the same as buying it from the Bittersweet Lady on the country road.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I'm Rambling

The asters are buzzing with bees. I like to sit and watch the busyness. These asters were brought from my former house in Hampshire. They were easy bloomers and looked pretty each fall. The stems sometimes don't look I plant something or place a pot of flowers at the base of this planting.
There are wild asters in the woods. They are a magnet for bees and butterflies. 

Then there are annual asters grown from seeds. I can remember selling these old fashioned seeds door to door, when I was a little girl. We got our stiff, paper, cartons of seeds in the very early spring and were let out of school and told to sell the seed packets inside for a prize. Lucky were the kids, whose parents bought the whole box and went back to get more to sell. I was never a salesgirl. I tried and tried to win a prize, but sadly never did. My dad grew vegetables and he bought some of the seeds, but the flower seeds were left. I loved to look at the pretty flowers on the small packages. Little did I know, that one day, I would have a garden and grow some of these very types of flowers. The asters were always my favorites. They were worth waiting for because they bloomed later on in the summer into fall. They were the pinks and purples that I have always loved.

Today was just about perfect....again. The leaves are changing before our very eyes. It looks like it will be a fast fall and we had better enjoy the nice weather while we can. Every fall, when I work out in the garden, I seem to get a cough. I think it's from the dusty garden and dead leaves mixed in. It's an asthma type thing. It's not anything that makes me ill.....just annoying. When we go for drives at harvest time, I can hardly stand driving down the country roads while they are cutting corn down.

We had chili mac for dinner. I love this simple dish. You just brown 1lb of ground beef with a chopped onion, chopped gr. pepper, add a can of diced tomatoes, a sm. can of tomato paste, then add some cooked macaroni and some chili powder, (cayenne if you are brave) 1/2 tsp cumin....1TBs. seasoned salt and pepper, and let it simmer for a while until thickened and then top with grated cheese. I've made it with a can of Chili No Beans, and also have added kidney beans. Very simple recipe....because you can add things and make it your own.

Well, gotta go and get ready for TV. Are you finding any new shows that are worth watching? I'm kind of tired of the DWTS and other musical shows. I'll be glad when Downton Abbey starts again.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Little Boy Made My Day

I'm on my way outside to do some fall cleanup, but first I wanted to mention a little boy named Brent. He and his "Oma" planted some purple hyacinth bean seeds, that I sent in the mail. He has patiently watched the seeds "buttons as he calls them" grow into vines, flower, and then watched as the pods formed.  This morning, as I went to read some blogs I found his "Oma's" post about the little boy and his summer project. Here's a link....please read's very cute.

I'll be back later with more on my day...Because of this little guy, my day started out just lovely.

An update...
Here I am at 6:30pm. I took a tiny nap after working on my fall cleanup. Joe trimmed the evergreens. They were left alone all throughout the summer season, to see if they would come back to the way they were before the winter damage. They look pretty good, but have some bare spots. We'll see what happens this winter and how they look in the spring.
While he was trimming....I set to work clearing out some of the dead stalks and branches in the front garden. I have nearly finished there, leaving the blooming things. I usually leave the lily stalks that have some fall yellow color and the seed heads from other plants that have bloomed their heads off, but this year I have to do the work when I feel good. Today was the day and I really cleared out some things I normally would have left. There's a lot to do yet, but a start was made.
Tomorrow is our pool day, so when I get home, I'll do a bit more. This week promises beautiful weather, so I'll have more opportunities to work out there.
How are things going in your yard? Have you started the fall cleanup? Do you decorate for fall? I'm going to do a bit more that in the last couple of years. I'll show you another time..

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Weekend Happenings

It's Sunday and we've had a busy weekend. We had a family funeral to attend and had to go back and forth to Elgin two days for that. Today is just relaxing after dropping off our daughter-in-law's birthday gift plus a dessert. I tried Ernestine's cheesecake and thought it was delicious. So easy to make. For the recipe go to
A nice day...with rain during the night. The geraniums by the drive looked neglected yesterday...and I thought that I might have to water them today. The rain took care of that. When I mention watering...I have to think of the hardest working plant this year.                  

Sedum Autumn Joy is just now making a show. The plant is green, even during the winter. If you brush back the can see the little green rosettes, flat with the ground, never really dying back all the way. It starts growing in the cool spring. It grows and grows all throughout the year. Finally, in the fall, the pretty pinkish flowers appear. They make very pretty bouquets for in the house. They turn to a dark burgundy and can be left for winter interest in the snow. I have them in several places in the yard. I just simply put a spade to the plant and divide it. It will survive any way you do it. I like it because it always looks tidy and not bedraggled like so many others and seldom needs watering.
I'm not the only one who likes it.....the bees love it. One cold day last week, I noticed five bees on one plant. It was like they were frozen in time. I even touched one and it hardly moved. Later, when it warmed up, they all took off. All week I've been watching...bees galore and butterflies visit this flower. This is a wonderful plant....bringing bees and butterflies to the garden. 
I'm going to leave now and have some dinner. Easy, peasy, dinner Marie's lasagna from the freezer.
Have a nice evening,

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Donut Helps Me Garden

Oh things have changed in a year. I was full of energy and did a few things around the house before I went out. Fall is coming fast and there's so much to do in the garden. I wanted to get a "jump" on the cleanup this year. The lawn cart was waiting by the door....the sun was shining......the neighborhood was buzzing with the sound of chainsaws, I was ready. Donning my favorite denim jacket...out I went and started in. I decided to clear the garden of lawn ornaments that I usually leave out for another month. Back and forth I went....carrying these things to their storage place. Ahhhhhh......the fresh air filled my lungs as I proceeded. Everything in the front yard is put away and now on to the big chore.....cutting things back and pulling things up. I felt badly when I dumped Martha Washington (geranium) into the compost heap. She performed well all year and now she's pooped :) I did a few things prematurely, but I have to work when the "spirit moves me." I put down my clippers and wiped my brow. A whole lawn cart full. Whew! Gardening is a workout. I rested a bit and then decided to come in a take it easy and write this post. Now, looking out the window....I start to feel that I might just call it a day....and eat a pumpkin donut :).


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My Morning at the Library

I went to an artist's trunk show this morning at our library. The artist is Virginia Siegel...a  world renowned artist who just happens to live in our town. She's interested in the environment and that is evident in her artwork. She starts with fabric....some tiny bits and strips of material and stitches them into a design with her sewing machine. She dyes and paints all of the material.....even the thread she uses is hand dyed or painted. She laughed when she told us that she doesn't throw away the small bits of fabric that are left from cutting. Even pieces that are shaggy and thready are put to use. She sews strip after strip onto the backing....just maybe a quarter inch apart. When finished with these....she adds layers of other materials and even twigs and feathers that she incorporates into the piece of art. She applies paint and other decorative things to finish it off.

She's a gardener and an environmentalist who enjoys trips to the boundary waters in N. Minnesota. She and her sister backpack and take a canoe into the wilderness every year. She gets her inspiration for many of these wall hangings from that area of our country. The last series that she worked on is called 'The Boundary Waters.' 
I talked to her neighbor and was told that her garden is fabulous. Very eclectic and like a flowering wonderland. I suggested a garden walk....I would love to see this come about. She does many charitable things as well, raising a lot of money for the American Cancer Society.

I loved the program this morning....after hearing her speak and answer questions...we were treated to sweet tea and cookies. A great to the public at no charge. Virginia did the program without charging anything.....almost unheard of in these days.

I put a couple of pictures in this post, but I then removed them because I read about the copyright laws. I don't want to get in trouble for posting them. You can see them if you go to her website. 

An update....
This website doesn't do her work justice. I think that with quilted things the photos come off a little flat and uninteresting. Until you see them in really can't get the "feel" of them

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Come Take a Walk With Me

 Come take a walk with me. It's late afternoon and the sun is shining. Not a cloud in the sky. I just grabbed my old navy's chilly, and off we go. I want to show you what is blooming on the west side of the house.

The white Japanese anemones are blooming now....just look at all the buds.These are cool weather flowers and they take their time blooming and opening. They last so long. 

 The pink ones have been blooming for quite a while. I love these easy care flowers. They never look shabby. The dead blooms just fall off looking about the same as when they opened. They took so long to get established in this spot and are now finally taking over this garden. I would like to try a couple in the woods border next year.

 Looking from south to north on this west side. You can see the natural slope of the yard down to the woods. This side gets no watering during the summer....unless I have something in a pot here. The susans are still blooming and looking good. 

I took some other pictures, but I won't show them today. 
Fall is on the wing....I saw some woolly worms today with narrow bands of orange....what does that mean? I sat on my bench and listened to the birds...the chipmunks were busy chattering and running around. Hummingbirds were very aggressive and flying to and fro. I noticed that several trees were starting to change color. I kind of hate to see the change coming, but when I think of pumpkins, donuts, scarecrows, fall festivals, mums, fall decorations, and other things fall.....I feel better about it. We just have to adapt and that's what we people from N. Illinois do best. 
We had some BLT's for lunch and Joe had some corn. Good tomatoes at this time of year. I will miss them in the next months to come. 
Well, tomorrow I am going to a program at our library in town. An artist is going to give a talk on mixed media painting. I'm really looking forward to this. I'll write more about it tomorrow.
Have a nice evening...

Monday, September 15, 2014

He Joined a Book Club

I record CBS Sunday Morning....and have for years. I love this little piece of TV programing for Sunday watching. I was a big fan of Charles Curalt and still watched it after he died and Charles Osgood took his place.

I just watched the recording and especially enjoyed the story about Malcolm Mitchell....# 26 for the Georgia Bulldogs. The story goes that he was in a Barnes and Noble in Athens Georgia... and met a stranger...a woman who had just joined a book club. He was unknown to her....she  didn't realize that she was talking to a celebrity in Georgia. He asked if he could join too. She laughed and said that the club was made up of 40-60 year old women.....might not be to his liking. He said he didn't care...he wanted to join.

So there is Malcolm... sitting with all these women a generation older than him....discussing the latest book. When interviewed for the CBS program, he was asked what was his proudest moment....he replied that he had read the "Hunger Games" series in two days. The reporter asked if his football experiences weren't his proudest....he said "No, football playing is a gift....I am most proud of reading..... I had to work to learn read." He entered college reading at a Jr.  high school reading ability. Malcolm is still a member of the bookclub.

I love to read real life experiences about  learning....a good story.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Annah Jade

We went to visit the newest member of the Cerasa family today. Annah Jade and I became friends. I could hold her all day. Drake was at the movies with his Grandma Cindy, so he didn't get in on the picture taking. We forgot to take any once he got home. He went to see Dolphin 2 and sat through the whole thing....he loved it. We took Annah a baby doll and of course we took Drake a he wouldn't feel left out.

An Update...

Look who's holding Annah now!
If I'm not mistaken these guys are all police officers. This picture is called DADDY DUTY. Hasn't life changed for the better....that dads are so involved in the care of their babies? They all got together yesterday for the Bear's  game, and just look at them all holding their little bundles. They are going to have so much fun raising these little ones together. 

How Did I Know That I Was "Hacked?"

I knew that I was "hacked" when I received a couple of emails from friends wanting confirmation that I had sent a  strange email to them. Then I received a whole list of mail failure notices.......some to people in my address book whom I never email.....and many others that I haven't emailed in a long time. They had all received emails that were either one word or a whole page of words about fonts etc. I then went to my address book and all my addresses were gone. I decided to let it go until morning. 
When I got up in the morning....everything was back to normal and my addresses were back. I then went online and changed all my passwords .....and now it's like nothing happened. 

I had a question about this in my I decided to explain what happened in a post so all could read it. I don't know a whole lot about this problem, but I do know that it happens frequently. Now, ask me why people do this.....I just don't know. What I do know is that you should change your passwords often....and I haven't been faithful in doing that, but I will now. I was told to be careful what websites I visit. How do you know what is a safe website? Just think of all the places we visit in a day...especially bloggers. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Email Hacked

I don't know why someone would do this, but my email was hacked. To those of you who email me...everything is OK this send those emails please.

We spent the evening at the bedside of Joe's aunt. She was 91 and going strong until she fell and hit her head a little while ago. She had brain surgery and never really recovered from that. She died early this morning. At the age of 91.....she had a good long life and wouldn't have wanted to be incapacitated in any way.

She was the first to accept me, when Joe and I got married. I received a beautiful card to MY NIECE. I can't tell you how that made me feel. As I told my kids this morning....she was a sweetheart and will be missed.

We had made plans to go to Joe's high school 60th reunion this afternoon. We decided to go ahead and keep our plans. Life does go on.... even though thoughts of her will be in the back of our minds today.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Geraniums in the Window

I'm going to try to keep these two geraniums going all winter in this south facing window. Lots of sun and the same exposure that they were grown in all summer. I used to keep one or two in the basement a few years ago, but I often forgot about them and by the time I remembered.....they were doing poorly. I thought that being right here at my elbow...I would be able to be more attentive to their needs.

Many years ago, I pulled up geraniums in the fall, brushed off the dirt and hung them from the beams in the basement. There they hung all winter long....with no water. I did this so I could save money and not have to buy them. In the spring, when I checked, there were little green sprouts coming from the branches. I planted them later in the spring and was always disappointed that they took such a long time to get flowers and look like a healthy geranium. 

Another way I tried was to take cuttings in the early fall and root them. This is a good way, but I don't want to fuss with that anymore.

There's no reason for me to keep these except for the fact that I love to see pictures of a geranium in a clay pot on a window sill. I've always thought that I would paint a picture like this, but so far...I haven't. One of the geraniums that I am keeping is one that came in the hanging basket from my daughter. It was so pretty and bloomed all through the summer. The other is the 88 cent one that I bought 18 of to plant in the driveway planters.

So, each month I will post a picture of my show how they are doing....and most of all to remind me to take care of them.

Today is pool day and we are getting ready to leave soon. Have a nice day....brrrrrr.....cold here. Did I see snow on the weather map for the NW?


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
By Mary Elizabeth Frye

I heard this poem on WGN on the day after 9/11. I was coming home from visiting my dad at the nursing home. The whole country, as you remember, was in shock and mourning.TV and radio stations were nonstop with pictures, news, sadness, tributes etc. I really don't remember if there were commercials during that first day.
At WGN a favorite of mine, Rick Kogan, was on trying to hold things together at the station.... I believe a day later. I had always loved this Chicago newsman. He worked for the Sun Times, and the Chicago Tribune. His Sunday morning show...Sunday Papers was a favorite of mine. He had such a distinctive voice...gravely and warm.  He was on the radio to bring some comfort to everyone that day.He read this poem and I was listening. It made me cry, while I was driving home.
I remember writing to him just a short time later, to find out what poem he had read on that day.  I explained to him that my husband had passed away, and I wanted one of my grand children to read it at his funeral.He sent me an email, with the poem included, along with his comforting words. So, as we remember 9/11 take some time to read this poem. It's been read at many funerals since that time. Maybe you've heard it before...

There was some controversy about who authored it. It wasn't until 1998 when Dear Abby (Abigail VanBuren) did some research and found the truth. You might remember Dear Abby. Her real name was
Pauline Esther Friedman. She took the name Abigail VanBuren combining the Bible name Abigail and the president's last name VanBuren. 
We'll never forget...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

You'll Have to Forgive Me

I won't keep posting pictures of this little family...but I had to share this sweet picture. Drake is telling Annah a story and she's "Loving it" their mommy says.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Purple Hyacinth Beans

Purple Hyacinth Beans are the easiest to grow. The vines are not unruly or bullyish. (That was a word I made up) They will happily climb a trellis that is holding up a couple of tomato plants like in my garden. They don't require any care at all during the summer. Just a watering when dry. You get pretty purple flowers and then the leathery burgundy-purple pods start forming. Soon the pods are everywhere. Mine are still producing pods....even in Sept. The pods get dry and they are ready to pick. I did that just today. After I picked many, I brought them in the house and got my scissors out and started cutting one side of the pod open.

 And........surprise. Just look at those unusual seeds. Every one is the same. They look like black buttons.
I just love this simple carefree vine. It has brought me such pleasure all summer long. It's still green with burgundy purple veining on the leaves. Soon, I'll have to cut it down. It's one thing that I will miss during the winter. Next spring, I can do it again and watch this beauty all through the summer and into fall.


An Update...

Here they are one day later...ready to take this little bundle home. They are so excited...

Fall On Our Doorstep

I always hate to see this flower turn brown and fade away. It is a super flower in my garden. Very little care, a tidy plant, and one that can be dried and used in fall arrangements. I've heard of yarrow tea, but I'm not one to use unusual things out of the garden to I pretty much stick to the teas that are so plentiful now days. I can remember when Lipton or Salada were about the only brands on the store shelves.

These yarrow plants need to be divided every 3-5 yrs to keep them nice. They tend to die out in the middle if you don't. My clump has been there for quite a while, but I don't see any reason to divide it yet.

I used to make all kinds of fall arrangements and wreaths several years ago. This was one of the plants that I grew for that purpose. When I think of it now....I planted lots of things that could be dried and used for crafting. 

I love to see coneflowers and yarrow growing next to each other. They make a pretty bouquet.

I love the flowers of spring, but also the flowers of fall. I think that I appreciate them, because I know that winter is waiting in the wings and these flowers are the last that I will see for a time. Yarrow, coneflowers, black eyed susans, artemesia, Sedum Autumn Joy, and my favorite....anemones. These are all still blooming here at our house. 

Today, I'm still not feeling up to par, so I will take it easy like I did yesterday. There are purple hyacinth bean pods to be picked and tomatoes to bring in, chicken soup to thaw, and that might be it for today. I love that there are little tasks that can be done while my body takes a rest. Keeping things up in the house is what I try to do. I do a big job every week and just keep up from day to day......and save some little tasks for when I need to rest. 

The fall and winter clothes are in the glad that job is done. Joe asked, "How are you going to do this closet change when you get old?" I chuckled to myself and thought...I am many more years do I have to go to be old in his eyes? 


Monday, September 8, 2014

Baby's Here!

 She's here....the new member of our family. Annah Jade Cerasa made her debut early this morning. Baby and mama doing just fine. Daddy's looking proud. Can't wait to see pictures of big brother Drake with his baby sister.
An update....
Oh my gosh....if I may say so myself....What a precious picture. Here's Drake with his long awaited baby sister. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

September by Balisha

                       September by Balisha

September things are on my mind... today as I sit here,
A bright blue sky with puffy clouds this special time of year.
A leaf falls down and hits the lawn creating quite a stir,
It seems that summer might be gone...we may even shed a tear.
But hold your tears my friends online... so much is yet to come,
Taffy apples and some  cider... and a pumpkin patch for fun.
Chrysanthemums  are in each yard....wearing lovely colors of fall,
Piles of leaves along the road for kids to have a ball..
Crispy apples, pumpkin bread and squash for meals to please,
Crafts handmade, and Church bazaars with gifts a Christmas tease.
A bonfire with a hot dog roast and s'mores to enjoy last..
The gooey we remember childhood past.
The month is here, so have some fun and never look ahead..
The next season is in the wings...the one that we all dread.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Mostly About Tomatoes

Things growing together. A mish mosh of leaves and fruits. The leaves have been a meal for some insect, but the tomatoes are not blemished.

I needed a tomato for my salad today and went out to pick a few. I picked six. I only used one large one for the salad. I had some buttermilk, so I made  a homemade ranch dressing. It coated a salad made of different lettuces, the tomato,sliced radishes, cucumbers, fresh mushrooms, parsley, and some chives. This is my go to salad for days when I'm in a hurry. We cleaned up the fridge sharing one stuffed green pepper, Joe ate the last of the fried chicken, and a small amount of mashed potatoes was shared.

A trip to the farm stand this afternoon was futile. There was no one selling seems that maybe the sweet corn is about finished.

I was looking for tomatoes the other day, because I didn't feel that I would have enough of mine for my meal, so I shopped at our little market here in town. They had advertised "local tomatoes" in their ad. They weren't like any local tomatoes that I've ever had. They looked good on the outside, but the insides were black where the seeds are supposed to be. I had to throw them out. I'm going to mention this when I go to the store again. It's no bargain if you can't eat them.

We have a George Foreman Grill....a big family sized one. It sits in the cupboard... unused most of the time. Yesterday, I mentioned a recipe that I found in a blog.... that needed a small grill for some sliced zucchini. I got it out and it worked beautifully. I plan to use it more as we move into the fall season. It works beautifully for sandwiches, but I have never used it for much more. I got out the cookbook that I ordered and found many recipes for it. Recipes that are a little draining the fat off foods.

The rain did come this morning and we had a day that was not as hot as predicted. Now, we are supposed to have cooler weather move in. Looking out the window, I see green lawns and no sign of brown. The recent rains have helped the grass. Our man who mows should be happy. He didn't have much work for the past couple of weeks. Now, he can start mowing again.

I started this post with a mish mosh of leaves. I'll end it saying that this was a mish mosh of words. Thoughts all jumbled together about food and gardening.

Speaking of's a picture of Great Grandson Luke at a farm, just a short time ago. He was picking raspberries, but this looks like he's busy in among the tomato plants. It's his 4th birthday today. It seems like he was just born. The time has passed so fast. He's a bright little charmer. Always interested in new things. Eager to learn and sharp as a tack. It's going to be fun watching him grow up. Happy Birthday Luke....
Love you lots...

Have a nice evening everyone,

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Favorite Kitchens

We women spend a lot of time in our kitchens. I have had a few kitchens in my lifetime. Some I have liked and some that I would rather forget. I have always leaned toward old fashioned kitchens. I loved seeing the kitchens on TV programs. The Walton's comes to mind. I used to scan the picture on TV quickly...and see what was hanging on the walls....what was on the shelves....what kind of pots and pans did they use....etc. I collected kitchen items back in those days. Yellow ware bowls, wooden bowls, crocks, enamel ware, rag rugs to name a few things. I could imagine a big family table like the one on the Walton's. 

When I was looking for pictures of TV kitchens this morning, I was surprised to find that there was never a kitchen shown on the Little House series except in the show..."The Handyman." I couldn't find a picture to show, but I can imagine how primitive it must have been. An old stove in the corner, maybe a table made by "Pa" A crock full of pickles that "Ma" had just made. Homemade rag rugs on the floor. The table would have had to do double duty. For food prep and studying by the kids....and a place to sit and drink coffee or tea and just talk with each other.  
 Then there was another kitchen that was so famous. It was Julia's kitchen...that is now in the Smithsonian. She did many programs from her own kitchen. I just watched the movie "Julie and Julia" the other day for the 3rd time. I loved it....and I loved Julia Child. I had a 1st edition of her cookbook and foolish me....I gave it away never thinking that it would be highly collectible in  later years.
She had a peg board on her walls with outlines for her pots and pans. I believe that her husband, Paul, did that. She had everything out and handy. She used to say, "If it's hidden'll never use it." 

I had cast iron pans on shelves on one whole wall in my kitchen. The wall on the opposite end of the narrow room had shelving (that I put up myself) with my collections of bowls, cookbooks, and a n antique chicken coop sort of thing.....where I had excelsior beds for my calico chickens. Everything chicken was collected by me back then. Little kids loved to play with the coop holding the chickens. When my late husband came home from a fishing trip....he told me that he wanted to make a dining room out of our attached garage and build another garage on the other side of the house. Oh, I wanted a dining room so badly....we needed the space for our growing family to eat, but I would have to give up my wall. My beautiful wall. The building began and we had a nice new dining room with a fireplace.....but I still missed my wall. 

I still love primitive kitchens. Not a big fan of sleek shiny kitchens of today with their granite tops. My kitchen here is really nice and handy for someone my age. It only takes a couple of steps to go from one side to the other. Pull out shelves for my pantry, shelves that slide out, adequate cupboards, new appliances, most everything I could want. But still, when I visit other kitchens and see how tidy they are..... I come home and put things away on my counters... to make them neater. Then I hear Julia in the back of my mind saying, "If you hide it'll never use it." I listen to her and bring everything back out :)

Would you, who used to love these old kitchens...go back and live the way they did in the earlier years? Having to bake your family's bread, do the canning and preserving, raise the chickens, tend your kitchen gardens, cook the meals on an old wood stove, and then all the cleaning and caring for children? I'm so glad for progress...but in the back of my mind, I still long for the old days...maybe just one day :)

I just read Vicki's post and found the quickest recipe for something very tasty. I made them in about 10 min. Go over and check this recipe out....delicious!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Picnics, Wildflowers and Dreams

Going to the pool this morning weather couldn't have been nicer. I had a thought swimming around in my mind, but I didn't tell Joe.
This picture is where the pelicans gather to fish...and so do humans. The river is low, but in years past this spot is a dangerous place to put a line in. Raging water swirling from the dam that is mostly under water from spring thaws.

My secret plan involved this basket and our favorite picnic spot.
The pool had to close because the filter was broken. We were so disappointed, but I thought that what I had planned would cheer us up.
I looked above and saw the sky changing. Storm clouds were gathering. What is this, my mind said. The weatherman didn't call for this kind of weather. It looked sunny on the other  side of the Rock River, but on our side it looked ominous. (I've used that word a lot this year)
I decided to spring my plan on to Joe. "How about a picnic?" I said. No reply. He often does this when I am formulating a plan. He knows it's no use putting his word in....yet. "I don't think it will rain....much." A few drops hit the windshield. "Looks sunny over there," I said hopefully. "Mmmmmmm fried chicken," his favorite. Rain is coming down pretty steady now and he turns on the wipers. "Darn, I had a picnic in mind," I said with a pout. Still no comment from Joe. Well, by now it it raining hard and the picnic plans are over. 

We come into Byron and decide to just come on home. We'll have an indoor picnic. Later the mailman delivers a small box. I've been anxiously waiting for this. It's my wildflower seed collection from Vermont Wildflowers. I open it hurriedly and find that they have included some extra packets of seeds. I read the directions that I know so scatter them just before the ground freezes and they will germinate in the spring. I begin to dream again only this time it's about wildflowers.

 Oh, if my woods could only look like this. I found this picture and it's just about what I want for next year. (I can dream... can't I?"

While I'm dreaming, I can just see the two of us on a blanket, in the middle of this field of wildflowers, having our little picnic next summer :) Don't ask how we will get down on that blanket and better we will get up. It's a dream...remember?

Monday, September 1, 2014

September Morn

September 1st......
We are on baby watch....Grand-daughter Ashley was in the hospital and then sent home. Baby taking her time.

Houseplants all repotted with fresh dirt yesterday....they are tucked inside for the coming cool weather.

Four...yes four felt critters are waiting to be made. That's what happens when you don't keep up with crafting....The felt basket is full. I'll tackle one at a time.

Love the smell of geraniums. My garden window has some geraniums brought in to save until next spring. They are here at my elbow....mmmmm can you imagine how they smell?

Breakfast including raisin English muffins. I really don't like them, but I'll finish the package.

Almost finished with my book "Chasing Francis" Savoring the last few chapters.

Dinner today.....undecided. We'll eat out of the fridge. Maybe just soup and a sandwich.

Noticing bald headed male cardinals at my feeder. They are molting....soon will be bright red for the winter.

Seeing a behavior change in Hummingbirds. More aggressive and territorial. They are getting prepared for their migration next month.

Where are the Wrens?

Just switched the calendar to Sept. Love my calendars this year....hate to see the months fly by and have to turn the page. One of my favorite things is to pick out the calendars next month.

Oh, dear.....the dreaded move is upon me. Moving my clothes that is. Putting away summer and getting out fall and winter. Not quite as bad as it used to be, since I pared down my closet to bare minimum. I got along without so many clothes this summer.....but now I am so tired of them fall and winter will be a treat to wear. I think that I wore everything in my closet this summer.

Today.....doing some more of the fall switch in the house, working on my felties, reading, watching a movie...oh, by the way....we watched Robin Williams last movie release last night. "The Angriest Man in Brooklyn"A good film that made me a little uneasy knowing what would happen to the real man. It's about a man who learns he has just 92 minutes to  live. It tells how he raced around Brooklyn trying to find his family members to make amends. I loved Robin Williams and feel that he did so much to make the world a better place.

Well, time to close. A quiet day ahead with just a few plans. Hope your Labor day is pleasant and that you have some fun.