Digging Potatoes, Cashing Checks

Tuesday, 10-22-57

My Dearest,

Again I am racing to get this done before the mail carrier comes. I should have started sooner, but I was listening to Paul Harvey and this slipped my mind. I did get your grade book in an envelope and out to the mail box so you would get it pronto.

How did you manage to get through yesterday? I slept spasmodically after you left. I guess it was on my mind that you were traveling. The baby slept until about 5:00 and after that I didn’t sleep. Danny comes down each night and finishes the night out with me. Monday he kept chuckling and telling me about all the records that you had played for him – both sides!

David went to the dentist yesterday. I guess that they only x-rayed his teeth and I’ll have to call in and see what has to be done more, if anything. David also played football after school and his team won.

We dug two rows of the late potatoes last night and not nearly a full bushel – mostly good sized ones, too. But I spoke too soon about the ones near the top of the garden. we not only couldn’t find them, but we couldn’t get the shovel in the hard soil to hunt for them. We did get the sweet potatoes dug and they are lovely this year. Found a few tomatoes but they are about gone for good.

I should have gotten the check cashed yesterday, but I neglected that, so will send you the money when I get it done.

Now I had better close and race this out to the door. Enjoyed the speakers this morning. Tozer gets down where it hurts, but what I need. I hope you can get to hear some of the conference. This afternoon I am going to try to do a washing. First time I’ve tried it. Still no parts for the washer, but I don’t know if I’ll know how to use it when they do come.

All my love,

Nellie

Rutabagas and Our Rat

10-09-57
Wed. a.m.

My Dearest,

Oh, it was good to hear your voice and so unexpected. Lots of times when I pick up the phone I hope it will be you, but last night it took me by surprise and you sounded so close that I could hardly believe you were still in Oak Park.

If you got my letter of Monday on Tuesday than the mails are improving. [!!] You should get these letters before you leave. I’m sorry that you will miss the meeting on Saturday night. I know how you enjoy them and how comparatively few support much missionary endeavors.

Cloudy today – looks more like winter is around the corner. We went out to the garden this morning just to look around. I did bring in a cabbage head and two rutabagas. In case your folks come in they will be ready to fix β€” but can’t you hear the family yell clear down there! I fixed squash on Sunday, like we had at Bad Axe [a city on the “thumb” of Michigan]. They ate their spoonful when I put it in their mouths. Johnny and Jimmy, that is. So yesterday I put the rest into pies. Johnny tasted it and was sure that it was pumpkin pie and enjoyed it. Jimmy wasn’t sure and wouldn’t eat it. But then Jimmy never has liked spicy things like pie or spice cake.

Our rat [??!!!??] still evades us, but we do know that there is some way for it to get on the back porch from the basement, and perhaps from outdoors by way of a tunnel under the porch. We saw it on the back porch and it acted slightly sick then [??!!!??] but it disappeared and we don’t know how or where.

I’m feeling better each day which is encouraging. The youngsters have been doing very well in helping out. David is going to make a good fireman – he has done it all this week and the house has been just fine all the time.

The baby is waking up for her feeding so I’ll close and get this out to the box. She has certainly been good β€” we’ll have to get the scales down this week to see how well she is gaining. I’m sure she is.

All our love,
Nellie

Zacchaeus Kissing in the Tree

Saturday 5-13-57

My Sweetheart,

A rainy cloudy day so we are not getting anything done in the garden. I was hoping that we could, since David is home. He makes a good gardener, especially if I work along with him out there. But this rain should help our corn and potatoes to sprout that are already planted.

I was feeling rather blue last night because I didn’t make arrangements to come down to the banquet. I kept thinking that Jimmy would be coming down with the measles, so didn’t give it much serious thought until yesterday. Then just as supper time arrived Mrs. Wolcott called to remind us of an announcement that I hadn’t even heard that Leonard Brooks would be at the Chapel to speak. So it was good to have my mind diverted and we hustled around and went to that. We did enjoy his testimony – he went back and told a good bit about the war days there, then of his work and studies here in the states, and now how he is going back. Then he showed pictures of the work there. I’m glad that we got there.

After the meeting I called Mrs. Storms over to ask her if Karen and Mary Ellen would consider staying with the youngsters if I should be able to get away for any of the graduation exercises down at Emmaus [the college where my dad taught]. She thought that they would be glad to do it if I had confidence in them. The youngsters love them and would not mind being left with them. So if dates do not conflict with graduation here, why, I would like to come down and make an appearance before school is out. After hearing of the work all year, it would be a treat to see the student body and see, at least, the finish. Providing that would work out O.K. with your time there. I really would not enjoy it much if I couldn’t see a little of you.

Well, today Jimmy has a hollow cough, a half degree of temperature, and a nose that is beginning to trickle – so you can guess what is coming! He doesn’t complain and is playing inside as it is damp and cold out. I have a little fire going in the house.

I could write a page or two about Jimmy and the things he says. Time has not much meaning to a four year old. He came in last Sunday morning to ask if he could wear the overalls he had worn the day before. I said, “No, this is Sunday.” Beaming, he asked “Oh, is this tomorrow when we go to Sunday School?”
“How long till my birthday?” “Two more months.” “Is that as long as a year?”
Another time, “How long until the school bus comes?” “Just a few minutes.”
“Will that be about an hour?” I smile and give up.

The other day he came running in, “I know why Jesus came to earth.”
“Why?” I asked.
“To die on the cross for us,” was his answer and off he ran.
Next thing I heard him singing, “Zacchaeus kissing in the tree —-“
Did you catch your breath like I did? That line comes from a rhyme they use to tease the girls about their boyfriends.

I just told him yesterday that he was to visit kindergarten next week and we have been going through the questions of how long it is till then. It will be hard to break the news to him that he can’t go now with the measles! I’ll not say anything until he feels punk enough that he won’t feel like going anyhow.

The girls brought in a lovely bouquet of lilacs and narcissus.

I have to go to Howe for gas, milnot [canned milk], and want some seeds from the hardware store down there. So I had better stop this Saturday chatter and get to moving. Always plenty to do on Saturdays.

I hope someone moves in here that wants a large garden – as I still feel sure that we will be doing something else besides taking care of that this summer.

I love you, and am as bad as the youngsters about counting the days until school will be out this year. I hope you get a little extra sleep this week end – and you had better not count on coming home until school is out. If that Sorenson house should develop into a possibility perhaps that can be an excuse for me to come down on a Friday and then back on Saturday afternoon, so we’ll be together at least once this month and save you the tiring trip home when you have so much to get finished up. I’ll bring David along as he knows how to change tires and I don’t care to travel alone that far. Well, we’ll see, and I’ll not feel too badly if nothing develops so that I can come down.

Always yours,
Nellie

Thyme in a Bottle

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I harvested and dried thyme from my herb garden. This morning I painstakingly picked the leaves off the branches while I caught up on a few of my favorite podcasts. What you see represents two to three hands-on hours. Yep.

Curt (my husband) raised an eyebrow when the slow speed of the progress registered in his brain. Really, Babe? was what his face said. “You have NO IDEA of the preciousness of thyme,” was my curt reply. πŸ™‚ I don’t see it as a waste of time to work on thyme.Β 

This is year 2 of the thyme revolution. It’s a life-changer! If you have a shred of belief in aromatherapy, you might comprehend the fund of joy I receive when I unscrew this lid and smell my dried thyme. Especially in February. Because I am a show-and-tell girl down to my DNA, I have been known to make visitors take a whiff.

“That spice cabinet is amazing!” they say.
“Thank you,” I politely say. “Smell my thyme.”

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Awake Thou Wintry Earth

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Chives growing in my garden, February 12, 2016

Awake, Thou Wintry Earth is almost a life anthem. I came to Thomas Blackburn’s poem by way of Bach’s Cantata 129. When I heard it, I came to understand in a new way that spring is an annual demonstration of resurrection. Listening to this still gives me shivers. Singing it means I end up whispering to tell that dead is dead over a voice that is breaking.

I took a walk around my backyard this morning and was delighted to hear garlic and chives laughing at winter, death, decay.

Awake thou wintry earth,
fling off, fling off thy sadness;
ye vernal flowers laugh forth,
laugh forth your ancient gladness.
A new and lovely tale
through-out the land is spread;
it floats o’er hill and dale
to tell that death is dead.

Here is a joyful organ. 1 1/2 minutes that will lift your day high. Sing along! It’s pretty loud; turn your sound down. Or don’t. The organ is a dominating instrument and its volume is glorious!

More Conversion Stories

 

From basil…

…to pesto

 

Pesto Recipe

4 -5 garlic cloves

3 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves

1 cup Parmesan cheese *

1/2 cup pine nuts * (when pine nuts cost the equivalent of gold nuggets, I use 1/3 cup)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil *

 

Mince garlic in food processor.

Add basil and process.

Add cheese, nuts and salt.

Add olive oil in a stream.

 

I used to freeze basil in ice cube trays. Now I prefer snack-sized ziplock bags. A friend freezes hers in baby food jars. Unless you have a reason to use this all today, you must freeze pesto. You can keep it in the fridge in a container with a layer of olive oil on top. Air is the bad boyfriend to charming Pesto; she turns dark and ugly after long embraces with that bad boy.

Add pesto to pasta for a perfect side.

Add pesto to pizza sauce for a perfect sauce.

Add pesto to poultry for a savory main course.

Spread on crackers with sun-dried tomatoes and cream cheese.

(From Sheri’s comment, below: Add a dab of pesto to soup to make it amazing.)

Or just Google pesto recipes.

 

[Side bar: I learned the first year of marriage to always have the ingredients of a quick meal handy. Something easy to put together if you had unexpected guests for dinner. Back in the day, I shudder to say, tuna casserole was my go to dish. Maybe that’s why friends often had “other plans.” Pesto and pasta is an elegant dish to make on the spot.]

 * I buy these at Costco or Trader Joe’s. I store the Parm in the freezer, pine nuts in the fridge.

 

::     ::    ::

 

 

from oats (and friends and relations)…

 

 …to granola

 

Granola Recipe

12 cups rolled oats (whole or quick, your preference)

1 cup each, your choice:

Wheat Germ

Sesame Seeds

Sunflower Seeds

Walnuts, chopped

Cashews, chopped

Sliced Almonds

(other grains per your taste. See note on fruit below.)

 

Mix:

1 1/2 cup canola oil

1 1/2 cup honey

a glug of milk

a glug of vanilla

 

Microwave oil/honey mixture for three minutes.

Give it a swirl, and pour it over the oats.

Mix well. Then mix it again. And again.

 

Turn out onto Jelly-roll pan (a cookie sheet with lip) or onto Silpat. I line cookie sheets with parchment paper, but that is optional.

Bake in oven until deeply tanned, stirring every 15 minutes.

 

I buy oats in 25 pound bags; I get nuts at Costco or Trader Joe’s.

I just found a 2 pound bag of sliced almonds at Costco. Nice!

Opt: add dried fruit (raisins, Craisins, dried blueberries) AFTER baking. Trust me—after.

Opt: reduce oil and honey to 1 cup each. Just keep the proportion 1:1.

 

My greatest challenge with granola is baking it to perfection.

My original recipe said Bake 275° for 30 minutes. Eating raw oats does things to you.

Depending on my schedule and my patience, I’ll either bake it at 350° with a close eye or I’ll bake it at 250° until I can smell it, then start stirring in 15 minute intervals. The edges cook faster than the middle, so mix the granola around the cookie sheet. What I’ve found is that you wait and wait and wait…and when it turns perfect you have a 5 minute window. Then it burns. I’m pretty much an expert in how to burn granola. Step 1: Check your Facebook…

 Sheri, in the comments section, makes granola in the crockpot.

DUH!

Of course!

That’s how I’m making it from now on.