Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Signs - What's Cooking

Happy Halloween everyone! I saw this sign as I entered a restaurant the other night.

For more fun photos, please visit Lesley here.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

What's YOUR Number?

Mine is 5.

As in the number of these items out of 10 that I store in the refrigerator.

How many SHOULD be stored in the refrigerator?


According to Real Simple magazine, the following items SHOULD NOT be refrigerated:

1.  Winter squash. These could be stored in the pantry up to a month. Oops! I've had a spaghetti squash in my refrigerator for about a MONTH. Guess I'd better hop to it and cook it!

2.  Nail polish. (Really? Some people do this?) Obviously refrigeration causes the polish to thicken. (DUH!). Should be stored at room temperature and away from sunlight.

3.  Coffee (ground up or beans). Keeping coffee in either the refrigerator OR freezer can cause condensation to build up which in turn can affect the flavor of the coffee. Coffee SHOULD be kept in an airtight container in the pantry. Jim is a connoisseur when it comes to coffee. He USED to freeze his coffee beans until he read about the condensation. Now he follows this rule.

4.  Tomatoes. Or do you say to-mah-toes? These red jewels should NEVER be put into the refrigerator because they can become mealy. Just store on your counter - but NOT in the plastic bag! If they need to ripen, put into a brown bag for a day or so. Presto-chango! Ripe tomatoes!

5.  Garlic. Another item to be stored in the pantry. Real Simple recommends storing them so "air" can get around them. Another plus? If a vampire is stalking you, perhaps he would smell the garlic vapors better if it were not refrigerated.  So add "PROTECTION" to the list of pros of storing garlic in the pantry.

6.  Batteries. Extreme cold OR heat can cut down on the performance of the battery.  (I remember storing batteries in the refrigerator. I also remember licking the tops of the batteries before inserting them into an item to make sure they'd work. Did anybody else do that?)

7.  Potatoes. You should take them out of the plastic bags they usually come in and put into paper bags. The plastic bag traps moisture and causes the potatoes to rot. Potatoes can last up to three weeks in the pantry. Refrigeration can drastically alter the taste of potatoes. (Guess I have to throw that potato out that's sitting in my fridge!)

8. Onions. These guys have to b-r-e-a-t-h-e, people! That's why they come in that netting bag! (slaps forehead!) Store in pantry. BUT - keep away from the potatoes. Potatoes do NOT play nice! They let out GAS (EXCUSE ME!!) and moisture which causes the onions to rot. Like they say - "with friends like these, who needs enemies?"

9. Bread. Storing bread in the refrigerator can dry it out. Real Simple recommends taking out what you would use for four days, then freeze the rest of the loaf. I'm pretty organized for suppers, but not lunches. So I would have no clue how much bread we would go through. But hey, if this works for you, I'll do a happy dance!

10.  Hot sauce. Refrigerator = cold. Sauce = hot. Refrigerator = bad. HOT SAUCE - thus the name. No, seriously, hot sauce does NOT need to be refrigerated. Can have a shelf life of up to THREE years in the pantry. Who knew?

So there you have it. The top ten things that don't belong in your refrigerator.  My five?

  1. Onions
  2. Potatoes
  3. spaghetti squash
  4. hot sauce
  5. garlic
I am lucky enough to have a wonderful walk-in pantry with a "magic" light that turns on whenever I enter it. As you can see, it is very roomy.

You may notice that many of the answers above state that you should store the item in your pantry. Obviously I am one of the lucky ones. For those of you who don't have a pantry? You are totally screwed.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thursday's Things in a Row

What better theme than HALLOWEEN for today? A walk through the local Dollar Store and "Shazam!" Things in a row by the dozens!

Halloween really isn't my favorite holiday, but who could resist all that candy? Tootsie roll is one of my FAVORITE. Heck, anything covered in chocolate is pretty good. Within reason. And if it isn't a bug.

What is this supposed to be - bloody skull man?

Cheap cups - nice enough giveaway gift for a kids party.

Bloody foot - not sure why one would need a bloody foot. For decoration perhaps?

Of course, then there's the dozen eyeballs. Can't go wrong with that. I could understand 2, but 12? (Really, can't understand ANY, but hey...)

Actually, this isn't a bad idea. Little lanterns for the kids to carry as they go trick or treating in the dark. Although I'm assuming the parents are with them.

And finally, not a bad idea to give away pencils instead of candy - (especially if you are a dentist). Although you take the risk of kids "egging" your house since they really wanted candy!


I have decided to cancel "Things in a Row" after November 1, 2012. So NEXT WEEK will be the last week. (So if you've been holding pictures of things in a row, now is the time to jump in.) I feel that this meme has run its course and the number of people participating has dwindled. Thank you all for participating.

But don't go so soon! What have you got this week?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Signs - Mr. Fix-it

I saw this sign at the Autumn Festival in my town. One part was a working 1880's farm, the other had a settlement from the early voyagers. I thought this sign would be a perfect addition to Lesley's signs.

For more fun signs, please visit Lesley here.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sesame Street for Adults

Looking for the ideal costume for Halloween? You are grown up but still feel like a kid?

How about dressing up like your favorite Sesame Street character?

Bert and Ernie never looked so good!

Bert and Ernie

Who could resist giving a cookie to this sweetie? Cookie Monster? Hardly!

Cookie Monster

"Tickle Me Elmo" takes on a whole new meaning here!

Elmo, Big Bird, Oscar-the-Grouch

Although this is not sanctioned by the makers of Sesame Street, (in fact they are trying to get an injunction against this company to stop making them), this would be a great idea if the money went back into PBS (Public Broadcasting Stations) if Mitt Romney becomes President and cuts all funding to it.

I just took a quick look at the web site and Sesame Street must have won the lawsuit. The company is now selling the costumes without the headpieces which identify the Sesame Street characters.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Autumn Fest Continued

If you are just popping in, you can read Part I here to catch up.

Next up on the agenda - an apple press and making apple cider!

The machine on the left smashes the apples; the one on the right squeezes the juice out of them. (He is just pouring apples into a smaller container so it is easier to add them into the machine.)

Man in the brown hat is adding more apples in the top, as Dave turns the wheel the smash the apples.

Next the smashed apples are placed into the apple press. The lid is put on, then the tightening begins.

And before you know it, out comes the apple cider! It can't get fresher than that!

Discarded apples from the completed process. I wonder if it goes into the compost pile or to the pigs?

Speaking of pigs, here was a big ole boy. Who says there's a shortage of bacon?

We left the farming area and followed a path through the woods and entered a voyager camp. There we found a voyager watching over his meal cooking on the fire.

This band entertained the crowd, and the woman sitting there stood up and "clogged" on a little sheet of wood that was placed right in front of her feet.

We saw a wigwam (fake)

Lily, Dave, and my daughter, Jessica
Inside the wigwam

Do you know what the difference is between a wigwam and a teepee?

A wigwam was more of a permanent structure and was built by the Indian tribes of the Northeast. The inside structure was made of logs or tree branches that went both horizontally and vertically. Then they were covered with tree bark. Wigwams were either dome or cone shaped.

The teepee was considered a temporary shelter and was used more by the Indian tribes of the Great Plains. Its framework was made of vertical poles that spread far apart on the bottom and came together at the top. This gave the teepee it's cone shape. Then the poles were covered with buffalo skin.
(I hope my First Nation friends are happy with my answer!)

Here was the Native American representative.

And finally, this storyteller (man with white beard in the center) was so animated that the audience was hanging on to his every word!

We didn't even finish the complete fest. We were all cold, I couldn't walk much farther, and Lily was just about at her breaking point. We called it a day and headed home.

What a fun day!

Friday, October 19, 2012

More from Autumn Fest

My past two weeks of "Things in a Row" were pictures that I took at Autumn Fest near my home. It was held at the Nature Center where not only are there many trails, a nature center (duh), but also Heritage Farm, an actual working farm representing the 1880's. During that time, this area was a farm community, settled mostly by German-American immigrants. They raised livestock to feed their families and used horses to help with the farming.

My daughter, Jess, her husband, Dave, and granddaughter, Lily, came up for the event. It was a brisk day, and Lily is bundled up here with her hat (gloves at the ready at the back of the stroller). Also in the photo: her beloved teddy bear George.

First stop: The pumpkin patch! (My header photo!)

Which one should I choose?
The perfect one!

After the pumpkin patch we walked into the old farm house. Two women were giving a demonstration on how to make sauerkraut. Did you know that it only takes cabbage and salt to make sauerkraut? At least that's how it was made back then!

The cabbage is sliced,

And then packed into large crocks with lots of salt between the layers. Cover the cabbage and let it ferment in a dark, cool place for six weeks. Wah-lah! You have sauerkraut!

Don't know if this was a working stove or not; regardless - I sure like the looks of it!

We left the kitchen and went out back to where some kids were playing with old fashioned toys. One of them were these short "stilts". We stood and watched a few people try to walk on them. Even though they were only about 5 inches off the ground, they really had a hard time. Dave picked the two wooden stilts up, and with a quick instruction from the girl standing there in the old-fashioned dress, he was up and walking pretty quick!

I thought this little boy looked so cute playing with this toy.

Lily, herself, got to play with a toy from yesteryear.

To be continued.....

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thursday's Things in a Row

As a continuation from last week's post, these photos are still from the Autumn Festival at the Nature Preserve. One part of the preserve is the Heritage Farm, which is set up like a farm back in the 1880's. It is a working farm that raises their own crops and they have cows, pigs and horses.

This is the root/storm cellar by the farm house. What's inside are things in a row!

Rows of pickles, peppers, carrots, applesauce and jams.

Rows of canned goods, although I'm sure these are just for show as they look pretty old by the design on the cans!

The same goes with these bottles. Some were empty, some had liquid in them, but I'm sure it was just to show that it COULD be a wine cellar, too.

In the barn I found bundles of wheat. (Don't know if that is the correct term!)

This is a thresher. It separates the wheat from the chaff. The farmer would feed the wheat into the back (where the man is standing) and the machine would separate the grain, which would then fall out of the little chute, which is right above the "A" on my marking of A View from the Edge. There is a big belt that goes around that wheel next to the man and runs all the way back to connect to the treadmill behind it.

Look at all those wheels on this treadmill.

Here is a picture of the complete treadmill.  They would lead their horse onto the treadmill and have it walk. You can see the "conveyor" belt system, so the "bottom" is always moving, thus turning the large wheel which turns the large band and then turns the wheel on the thresher. No electricity needed!

Feeding trough to put hay in to feed horses and cows.

Corn stalks for sale!

And finally, we wandered over to another part of the festival. I think it was called something like Early Settlers. There were a lot of fun activities going on. I spied these pine cones hanging.

So, my children, I'm waiting.....hit me with your best shot! (How did this city girl do - explaining the old farm equipment?)