One of My Valentine’s Gifts

Tonight I got busy making a huge glass baking pan of Artichoke French for my Mom for Valentine’s Day (yes, they’re a couple of days late, but she’ll love them anyway)! I buy a 5.5 lb can of Ruby Artichokes from my local Italian market. These are the best artichoke hearts – they’re huge and soft.

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I drain the artichoke hearts

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and while they’re draining I prepare the flour mixture, beat the eggs and get the oil heating in the skillet. Then I cut the artichoke hearts in half and drain them some more, put them in the flour mixture,

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then the eggs,

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and into the skillet to brown.

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After they’re browned on both sides,

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I put the cooked artichokes on paper towels to drain

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I haven’t achieved the art of keeping all of the breading on the artichokes yet, but Mom still loves them!

then into the glass baking pan.

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In a sauce pan I make the olive oil sauce to cover the cooked artichoke hearts.

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Once I pour the boiled sauce over the artichokes, they’re almost drowning in the sauce.

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They’re ready to take to Mom’s, where tomorrow we’ll pop them in the oven for 30 minutes and she’ll be in heaven! And I’m sure she’ll share with me. Well, maybe!

P.S. I really don’t know how people cook and photograph at the same time. I must be the messiest cook on the planet! I steamed the lens accidentally while photographing the boiling sauce

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and I got flour/egg all over the camera, and my new Roman shade.

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Good thing the shade is washable!

“Lightning Crashes, An Old Mother Dies. . .”

Is this freakin’ year ever going to come to an end? It’s bad enough my Dad passed, now my Aunt, who we found out had cancer last year, has passed as of 8:30 last night. I am so, so very sorry for my Uncle and my cousins and all of her grandchildren / great grandchildren, my Mom, my Aunts and Uncles, and everyone who is affected by this.

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Aunt Jeanette is standing in the middle, her husband (Mom’s brother) is to her left.
By the way, my Dad is holding my Mom on his lap on the ground to Aunt J’s right.
And all of the children except my older brother and other cousin
are Aunt Jeanette’s, so she has a lot of grieving children (5, one wasn’t born yet) today.
And I was just a twinkling in my Dad’s eye.
I just realized, only four of the adults in this photo are alive today.

After my Mom told me the first thing that came to my head was “Lightning Crashes, An Old Mother Dies. . .” “I can feel it. . .” and I’m playing it right now real loud because I. Just. Need. To.

Thanksgiving 2007 & Snow!

Yesterday morning and the entire night before it had been raining hard. During mid-morning the temperature dropped 10 degrees F, and we had snow on Thanksgiving!

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Whenever there is snow on Thanksgiving, it makes me break into the song

‘Over the river and through the woods to Mummy’s house we go. . .’ (substituting Mummy in for Grandmother).

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These snow photos are for you, Mary, and anyone else who wants to see a bit of snow.

I only had a couple of panicky moments of missing my Dad. One was when I was setting the table by myself and as I was setting the place where he usually sat for my Mom I started freaking out inside. I almost called out to my Mom, but at that moment my Aunt walked in and started talking, which irritated me at first, but then she did take my mind off of my Dad. The whole process of getting ready for the day was really tough on my Mom, but she is really one smart cookie in that she invited the relatives and had the whole day planned to keep our minds off of things, even though we did bring up my Dad every now and then.

After a delicious meal, we had a musical concert because everyone plays the piano plus other instruments and sings, too. I was the only one not to play and I got in trouble for not playing. Well, I don’t have a piano at home, but they didn’t accept that as an excuse, so next year I have to perform, somehow. I better get boned up on my ragtime again!

The day was perfect, and even Mom’s Thanksgiving cactus was blossoming right on time:

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And a wonderful end to a great day:

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Froggy Went a Wooing. . .

I was in my Mom’s potting shed the other day. Well, it’s not really a shed because it’s on the second floor of her barn, separated by a wall from my Dad’s woodworking shop (don’t get me started).

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And I spied this froggy, which I haven’t seen in forever:

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I made this froggy with my own two hands. He’s supposed to be totally green except his eyeballs and his bottom lip and chin. So what’s wrong with his color? I made him in 7th or 8th grade art class and I don’t think the kiln was hot enough for him to keep his color over the years. Even though he wasn’t perfect even after I made him, my Mom has treasured him and placed him in various places inside and outside over the years. Some of his little toes have been chopped off over the years. But I worked hard on this frog, and it warms my heart that my Mom still has him. Just like a Mom or Dad to treasure something a kid makes for her or him, isn’t it!

What did you make for your Mom or Dad when you were a kid that they treasure or treasured?

Wordless Wednesday

A virtual bouquet of flowers from my Mom’s gardens for my blogging friends Lynne and Barbara and their Moms.

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Middle Name Meme

Mary tagged me for the Middle Name Meme, and I haven’t really been able to resist a meme that I get tagged for, or not. So the thing is to describe myself with one word for each letter of my middle name. I have two middle names, one given to me by my Mum, and one by my Dad. I’ll use the one given to me by my Mum for today.

Before I begin, let me say that my Mom worked hard at picking my first name out of a girls names baby book. She knew I was going to be a girl (women’s intuition, I guess since it was before sonograms) so she had no boy’s name picked out. My middle name is her middle name, so it is short, but sweet and I *like* it because it is from my Mum! And my Dad always called me Pamela Ann which I miss hearing from him very much, don’t get me started. Hokay! On to the meme.

A – Analytical

N – Naturelover

N – Natural, as in trying not to use any chemicals on me, in me or in my environment, including my home and yard.

Short, but sweet, huh? And I’m sure no surprises for most of you.

If you haven’t done this already but would like to, I’d love to learn more about you!

Ladybug Beetle

Sunday while I was cutting down more of my Mom’s hostas, I spotted, among other things I may talk about later, a ladybug. These are the ladybugs I remember seeing around when I was a kid, instead of the funky ones from overseas that are all over the place now. I’d say this is a Seven-spotted Ladybug Beetle (Cocinella septapunctata). Do you agree?

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It crawled onto a dead leaf, so I picked it up to get closer to it. I love all of the fibers on the dead leaf!

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This type of ladybug is always welcome in the yard to eat any aphids that may be around!

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

I’m not into doing wordless, but until finger healing is complete, it actually sounds like a great idea! Hopefully I’ll do the Allegany State Park post this weekend!

For now, here’s a couple of Sedum Autumn Joy photos from my Mom’s garden. I *love* these plants!  They’re so hardy and cheery this time of year.

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Rain, Oh Baby!

As of 1:30 today I received almost an inch of rain! And as you can see from the thermometer, it is nice and cool outside.

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I went over to my Mom’s home and while she was busy doing something, I went outside and “played” in the rain and went in search of what is in blossom today. Here’s one of her pretty gladiolas:

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The Mum’s were enjoying the rain:

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Mom’s rock collection even looked refreshed!

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This is about the time my Mom called out the window to ask me what I was doing. I told her I was “playing” in the rain! It felt good to be able to breathe freshly “washed” air for a change and feel the rain on my skin! The trees were pretty in the rain:

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After I was done outside, I went inside to give the kitty a brushing and massage.  Afterwards, she was enjoying life as usual by rolling all over the place and making her prrrrrr noises at me.

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Hopefully your day was pleasant wherever you are, too!

The Sweetest Little Feather & Turkey Feathers

I went out to take photos of my home’s roof for my brother since he said he’ll put a new roof on for me (yay!!) and get measurements, and I saw this sweetest little feather in the lawn. It was the black spot that really caught my eye:

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I don’t know who this belongs to, but maybe one of my birder friends will know!

Last Sunday we went to see my Dad’s tombstone – arrrrrrrghhhhhhh! I mean the tombstone is very nice, but my Dad’s name on it is just unbelievable. At another cemetery we visited we saw a bunch of turkeys and found these turkey feathers that my Mom is holding. Hey, you have to turn to nature when other things SUCK to the max, right!

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I *love* birdie feathers, don’t you!!

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