Sugared Cranberries

 

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a great day surrounded by family and good friends :)

 

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My friend, Michelle, gave me this recipe a few years ago, and we really enjoy the sweet-tart taste of sugared cranberries :)

 

 

 

 

2 ½ c. sugar
1 ¾ c. water
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp orange extract
1 – 12 oz bag fresh cranberries (about 3 cups)

 

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Combine the sugar, water, vanilla and orange extract in a saucepan.

Heat over medium heat until sugar has dissolved, but it’s not boiling.

 

 

 

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Add cranberries into hot syrup and stir. The hot syrup will loosen the skins of the cranberries.

 

 

 

 

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After berries have cooled a bit, cover them with a plate to keep them mostly submerged in the syrup.

Cover the pan and place in the fridge overnight.

 

 

 

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Strain the cranberries.

 

 

 

 

 

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The leftover syrup is good over ice cream or can be used in a punch type drink.

 

 

 

 

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Put 1 1/4 c. sugar in a rimmed dish. Coat cranberries with sugar.

You can use plain sugar, which makes for a very sweet cranberry. We prefer powdered sugar since it’s not as sweet.

 

 

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Place sugared cranberries on a baking sheet to dry, about an hour.

Once the sugar coating is hard, place them in an airtight container and keep in a cool spot.

I have no idea how long they keep because they never last more than a couple of days around here :)

 

In the hour of adversity be not without hope, for crystal rain falls from black clouds. -Persian proverb.

Fire Starters

 

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Happy Veteran’s Day!

 

 

 

 

 

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Thank you, veterans, who have sacrificed so much for this great county :)

 

 

 

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California Big Horns in the field.

 

 

 

 

 

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I found this warmer at the 2nd hand store thought it looked promising. Please tell me other people buy things that they aren’t sure what they are going to do with them, but they look like a handy thing to have :)

 

 

 

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I found some pine cones, which are really wet from all the rain that we’ve been having.

 

 

 

 

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Then I spread them out on a cooky sheet and placed them in a warm oven (the lowest temp your oven will go – mine is 170 degrees).

 

 

 

 

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After about 4 hours at a low temp, they looked more like pine cones :)

 

 

 

 

 

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I found an old egg carton that is coming apart at the seam, and filled the egg cups with dryer lint. Then I placed a pine cone in each egg cup.

If you don’t have an egg carton to spare, you can also use muffin liners.

 

 

 

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I have some old candles that still have a bit of wax in the bottom, but not enough wax to keep the wicks burning.

 

 

 

 

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I put the candles on the handy little warmer to melt the wax. The bathroom smells pretty good :)

 

 

 

 

 

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Then I poured the wax over the pine cones, which helped them adhere to the dryer lint and egg carton. It should also help the starters burn a little hotter and longer.

 

 

 

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After the wax hardens, cut apart the egg cups and use one to start your fire :)

(or if you are like me and it takes an entire Sunday newspaper and armload of kindling to start your fire, you may just have to put the entire carton in your wood stove :) )

 

 

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When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. When life is bitter, say thank you and grow.

Pumpkin Cupcakes

 

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Heather thought we needed pumpkin cupcakes for the Fall :)

 

 

 

 

Preheat oven to 350 degeres.

1 c. canned pumpkin
½ cup cooking oil (I used grapeseed)
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 c. flour

 

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Mix together pumpkin and cooking oil. Add in eggs. Mix in sugar. Add in cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir well. Stir in flour.

 

 

 

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Pour batter into muffin pan.

 

Makes 12 cupcakes.

 

 

 

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Bake 20 min or until toothpick inserted in center comes clean.

 

 

 

 

 

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Frosting:

4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 TB milk
2c. powdered sugar

 

 

 

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If you lick the frosting off of a cupcake, it becomes a muffin, and muffins are good for you :)

Puff 2′s Two Puffs

 

It was pointed out to me today that there are only two months until Christmas. uhm…mmm. I’m not anywhere near ready for Christmas right now, how about you?

 

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Summer’s last smile of the year…fall colored leaves wave goodbye as they waft to the ground.

 

 

 

 

 

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While I enjoy the vibrant colors of the leaves as they change, I don’t want to think about what is coming…

After all, snow IS a four letter word.

 

 

 

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This little bee is trying to find some pollen amongst the brightly colored leaves.

We’re still feeding the bees. Despite the cool mornings, they are flying during the day, looking for nectar. Honey production was low this year  not only for us, but other beekeepers in the area as well.

 

 

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Puff 2 needed another baby fix this year :) Her first little puff didn’t make it – I’m not sure what happened to the little guy :(

‘Nothing to see here! Keep moving along...’ She scolds me when I appear like I might be looking at her little puffs.

 

 

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Nope, nope. Keep moving along. Nothing to see here!

She is very anxious about her two new little ones after losing the first one. The last one she hatched out under the milking stanchion and refused to go into the coop after s/he hatched.

 

 

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This time she built her nest in the coop and makes certain that they are inside at night.

See? Nothing to see here. Keep moving along! No puffs around here!

She won’t let me anywhere near her new little puffs :)

 

 

 

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So I have to sneak up on her to get a picture of the little guys.

 

 

 

 

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Heather loves the white one. She says it’s as beautiful as Crystal, which is her favorite chicken :)

 

 

 

 

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Aack! We’ve been spotted!

 

 

 

 

 

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Head for the woods!

 

 

 

 

 

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‘Nothing to see here. Keep moving along!’  She scolds me again.

But do you see a very cute little beak poking out from under her wing :)

 

 

 

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Hope you have some Fall colors to enjoy this weekend :)

 

 

 

 

 

Dreams get you into the future and add excitement to the present. -Robert Conklin

Sweetest Day

Happy Sweetest Day! Sweetest Day is kind of like Valentine’s Day, but in October. You’re supposed to do something sweet for your sweetie :)

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What better way to celebrate Sweetest Day than by visiting “The Sweetest Place on Earth.” Thanks to air miles, Andy surprised me with a trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania, the self -proclaimed sweetest place on earth :)

They make millions of pounds of chocolate every day right there in Hershey, which makes them the sweetest place around :)

 

 

 

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This was the bathroom in my hotel room.

Can you see the evil item lurking underneath the sink?

 

 

 

 

 

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Yes, a scale.

Every time you do something in Hershey, they hand you a full sized chocolate bar. And then they put a scale in the bathroom??? How evil is that?!

 

 

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My first day in Hershey, I visited the Hershey Story, which is a museum dedicated to Mr. Hershey’s life.

 

 

 

 

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There was a school group visiting at the same time I was there. The kids were having fun trying on aprons and playing with the interactive displays.

 

 

 

 

 

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Ah-ha!

I found the secret flow chart to making chocolate!

 

 

 

 

 

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This is how they used to move their chocolate around. When one of these cast iron tubs was full of chocolate, it weighed about 900 pounds. Wow! That’s a lot of chocolate.

 

 

 

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Old fashioned Kiss making machine :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Vintage Hershey Bar mold. This was a two pieced metal dealywhopper used to make molded chocolate bars.

 

 

 

 

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Overview of the upstairs of the museum.

Definitely worth visiting if you find yourself in Hershey, PA :)

 

 

 

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Secrets for making Hershey chocolate :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I had no idea that Hershey’s made soap at one time.

 

 

 

 

 

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Nor did I have any idea that Hershey’s made chewing gum.

 

 

 

 

 

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Mr. Hershey gave several million dollars to Penn State to build their medical facility in Hershey. They developed the first implantable Artificial Heart!

 

 

 

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Because Milton Snavely Hershey only had a 4th grade education, he wanted to ensure that other people had the opportunity to obtain a higher education, so offered two years of tuition- free higher education at the local junior college to Derry Township residents.

The township thing is kind of a foreign concept to me – I think it’s comparable to the urban growth boundaries that we have in the west. They have townships, counties and boroughs within the state. Sounds very complicated.

 

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Most people, including myself, don’t know that Mr. Hershey actually started his entrepreneurship as a confectioner making caramel. Chocolate was secondary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mr. Hershey’s biggest challenge was securing sugar at a reasonable cost. He went down to Cuba and bought a sugar mill, along with thousands of acres of sugar cane.

While doing this, he built up the surrounding community by implementing child labor laws, improving the standard of living and introducing a school for the children.

 

 

 

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Mr. and Mrs. Hershey were supposed to be on the maiden voyage of the Titanic! Here is the cancelled check of the deposit he had put down on a state room. Business called him back early, so he and his wife fortunately missed that cruise!

 

 

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One of the things which impressed me the most was the school that Mr. and Mrs. Hershey started. Because they couldn’t have children (she had symptoms which doctors have described as very similar to MS), they decided to start a school for orphan boys. The school started in 1910 with four boys. The school continued to flourish as the years went by and more students were added. The boys had to have lost one or both parents in order to attend the school. The driver that picked me up from the airport happened to be one of those boys at one time. He had lost his father. His mother signed the social security checks over to the school to help her son get further in life. The school never touched that money – they just let it accumulate the entire time the driver was in school. The boys had to live in a stable home environment, so no more than 12-14 boys were allowed in a home, usually a dairy farm (where Mr. Hershey got his milk for his milk chocolate), along with house parents. My driver said that he would get up at 5 a.m. to milk the cows, then went to school. After school, he milked the cows again, cleaned the barn and then had an hour of required school work time. Then an hour was for personal time and bedtime was 9 pm. When he turned 21, the school gave him the entire amount of money that had accumulated from the social security checks from his father passing. When the boys graduated from the Hershey school, they had learned one of 11 vocations taught through the school, and were given $100 and a suitcase full of new clothes to start off their life.

 

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The school is now co-ed with approximately 50-50 boy-girl ratio. There are currently 1854 students enrolled. They still live in ‘stable home environments’ as dictated by Mr. Hershey in his will. They don’t all live on dairy farms anymore, but still have chores around the house to do. When they graduate from high school, they are still given $100 and a suitcase full of clothes. If they have maintained a C average or better in their schoolwork, along with showing good character, and if they want to go on to a higher education, they are given a laptop computer and $80,000 in scholarship funds. When Mr. Hershey passed away in 1945, he put his entire estate into a trust for the school, about $60 million. That trust is now worth about $12 billion and is controlled by a Board of Trustees. So every time you purchase a Hershey product, you are directly contributing to improving the lives of orphan children. Guilt-free chocolate with a good cause :)

 

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This is Founder’s Hall in the school. There are flags representing each of the states that the children come from. I was told that if you are interested in applying to be house parents or teachers at the school, you can go on their website and fill out an application :) If you know a student who qualifies for the opportunity to attend this school, you can help them apply online as well.

This dome is the second largest of it’s type in the world. Only the Basilica is larger.

 

 

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After being totally overwhelmed by the philanthropy of Mr. Hershey, I walked around downtown for a bit.

On Chocolate Avenue, brownstone was added to the asphalt so the street is brown :) The street lights are Hershey kisses :) Every other one is wrapped/unwrapped.

 

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I found ZooAmerica :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I had no idea that there are TWO pink birds in North America. This is a Rosa Spoonbill. Their food floats around inside of a food bowl that is floating around in the water.

 

 

 

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Cute little turtle hiding out.

Give me chocolate!

 

 

 

 

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Ginormous alligator snapping turtle. I would hate to run into this thing in a river – he was 3-4 foot long.

 

 

 

 

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Lizard by the window begging for chocolate :)

Okay, maybe a chocolate covered cricket :)

 

 

 

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Roadrunners. The one on the left was killing a mouse. He would pick it up and whap it on the ground to make sure it was dead. Reminded me of how the chickens kill their mice.

 

 

 

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Vampire bat

There were bowls of blood on the ground for them to drink out of. One of those ‘kind of gross, kind of cool’ things in life.

 

 

 

 

 

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Because it happens. And kids (and adults) want to know what the different plops look like :)

 

 

 

 

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The Snowy Owl was quietly sitting on his perch, taking in everything in his surroundings.

 

 

 

 

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After ZooAmerica, I wandered around a bit more and found Hershey Park, which is an amusement park. They reportedly have a roller coaster that uses hydraulics to propel you from 0-70 mph in 2 seconds. Right now they are only open on the weekends, though. They are having “Hershey Park in the Dark” for Halloween.

 

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Then I found Hershey’s Chocolate World.

 

 

 

 

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Too yummy!!

Probably one of the only places where you walk in the doors and inhale calories from the smell of chocolate wafting around :)

 

 

 

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They offer a free tour of how chocolate is made.

 

 

 

 

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To get onto the ride, you step onto a rotating platform and then get into a car, which is rotating with the moving platform.

 

 

 

 

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The cows tell the story :)

 

 

 

 

 

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100,000 lbs of cacao beans is a whole lot of cocoa!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The process was very interesting: from the grinding, roasting, and breaking to the conching, frothing and molding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The numbers just kept running up as we went through the tunnel. That’s a whole lot of chocolate!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The largest chocolate bar, at a whopping 5 pounds!

 

 

 

 

 

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I enjoyed their 4D mystery movie, where someone was breaking into the chocolate factory, but not stealing anything. It was pretty impressive how the narrator (Hershey) could interact with the audience.

 

 

 

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Kiss and Reese were part of the mystery solving team, too.

 

 

 

 

 

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Trolley rides around Hershey and Derry Township are available. I learned a great deal about the history of the town and Mr. Hershey from the conductor.

He handed out Hershey kisses of different flavors throughout the trip :) You have to try the Pumpkin Spice kisses :)

 

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Conductor addressing those “chronologically mature” enough to remember Jack Parr, who found his wife in Hershey at a dance :) I think Jack Parr had something to do with Johnny Carson and Jay Leno, but I’m not sure. I’m not chronologically mature enough, I guess :)

 

 

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After the trolley ride, I was able to attend Hershey University :)

 

 

 

 

 

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They offer a class on chocolate tasting, not eating.

 

 

 

 

 

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Different flavors associated with chocolate :)

The four steps: Look at the chocolate, inspect the coloration and grain. Then snap a piece to help determine the milk/dark cacao content. Then smell the chocolate to see what scents you may pick up. Then allow the chocolate to melt on your tongue. Roll your tongue around to get all different parts of your tongue covered so that you can pick up the different flavors. Enjoy :)

 

 

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I earned a Master’s Degree in Chocolate Tasting :) I’m going to put it next to my Post Hole Digging, PhD :)

 

 

 

 

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Then I got to create my own candy bar :) You can choose from a milk, dark or white chocolate base. Then you choose up to 3 different ingredients to add in: almonds, crisp rice, chocolate cookie crumbs, butterscotch chips, etc. As the chocolate base goes down the conveyor belt, whichever ingredients you chose to add, are automatically dispensed into the base. Then it goes under a milk chocolate waterfall which covers the base and added ingredients. You can add sprinkles if you like :)

 

 

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Then your specially made chocolate bar is boxed and labeled with your personal label :)

 

 

 

 

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The second day I was there, I visited Hershey Gardens.

I imagine in the summer months that it would be spectacular.

 

 

 

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Mrs. Hershey loved roses, so Mr. Hershey had this garden planted in honor of her memory.

 

 

 

 

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Some of the rose bushes are supposedly the same plants that she had in her personal garden. Mr. Hershey had them transplanted into the Hershey Garden.

 

 

 

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There is a Children’s section. You can see the caterpillar tunnel :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Caterpillar Tunnel takes you back to the Butterfly House, which during warm months houses 300-500 butterflies that fly around and will come and land on you :)

 

 

 

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During the cooler months, it has bonsai trees.

 

 

 

 

 

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These are Hershey Kiss misters :) They occasionally spray up a mist of water for kids to play in :)

 

 

 

 

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Chocolate Lane is a sweet way to learn some math :)

 

 

 

 

 

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See the fractions and Hershey bars?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This weekend and next, the Garden is hosting the Pumpkin Glow, where 150 pumpkins are lit and placed around the walkway :)

 

 

 

 

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There were Halloween figures all around the garden. This was kind of a fun way to recycle a milk jug :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It was a rainy day, but this is still a beautiful bridge :)

 

 

 

 

 

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In the arborial area…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In the Japanese garden area…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The people at the hotel recommended going down to Lancaster area, which has a large Amish population.

 

 

 

 

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So I rented a car, got some directions and headed out.

Okay, so I drive a stick shift that has L-1-2-3 and R for gears. I also drive an automatic that has P-R-N-D-3-2-1 for gears.

What the heck do S and B stand for??? I checked the book and it said the S will rev up the engine for going up an incline, and the B will drag an engine down for going down a hill. But what do the letters stand for???

 

 

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I found the Visitor’s Center in Lancaster, who recommended going to Bird in the Hand. I thought Bird in the Hand was a little shop, but it’s actually the name of the town.

 

 

 

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And the Amish horse and buggies go up and down the streets just like cars.

 

 

 

 

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There were different styles of buggies. This one had a flat bed on the back. Should have a rear dually, too :)

 

 

 

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Sharing the road with a horse and buggy :)

 

 

 

 

 

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Notice anything odd? There are turn signals on some of the buggies. Turn signals are usually powered by a 12 volt DC system. So if the Amish don’t use electricity, how do they charge the batteries to power the turn signals??? I need Hershey, Kiss, and Reese to help solve this mystery, too :)

 

 

 

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There were lots of dairy farms and silos in the area :)

The old architecture was impressive to look at :)

 

 

 

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I have heard of Shoofly Pie, but not actually seen it before :)

 

 

 

 

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Just after the town of Bird in the Hand came the town of er, um, Intercourse. I don’t even want to know where the name came from.

 

 

 

 

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Their food selection was a bit odd, too :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There’s the zip code if you don’t believe me :)

 

 

 

 

 

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Team of mules going up, or maybe down, the road. I don’t know how the rivers flow around there :)

 

 

 

 

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I ventured a little bit north of there and finally found some Fall foliage :) Very pretty :)

 

 

 

 

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I made it down to Strasborg to check out the train situation, but was too late in the day to catch a train ride :(

 

 

 

 

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I made it back last night.

This hydroponic garden is in the Chicago O’Hare airport. They even have a Farmer’s Market right in the airport where you can purchase fresh fruits and veggies :)

 

 

 

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For any other chocoholics out there, this is a great place to visit :) Just shove the bathroom scale underneath the sink so you can’t see it :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kiss, Hershey and Reese welcome you to visit and help solve their mystery :)

 

 

 

You’ll never find a better sparring partner than adversity. Golda Meir

Cast Iron

 

Can you believe it’s October already??? wow! Today begins National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Save the Ta-Ta’s!

Today is also Name Your Car Day. ummm…. I don’t know. The only time I have a name for my car is when it’s not doing what it’s supposed to do. I suppose I should have a name for it when it’s behaving itself :)

 

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I found a couple of cast iron kettles at a second hand shop.

 

 

 

 

 

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There was some pitting and rust on each one.

 

 

 

 

 

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http://www.castironcollector.com/cleaning.php

This web site gives some great ideas on cleaning cast iron. I went with the oven cleaner and vinegar soak methods. The electrolysis method was intriguing, but there’s something about mixing electricity and water that deterred me :)

 

 

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The straight sided kettle is a Griswold. Good score :)

 

 

 

 

 

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The other kettle has a clear maker’s mark, but I wasn’t able to find out anything about it.

Anybody have a cast iron identity book?

 

 

 

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I have always seasoned my cast iron with just vegetable oil and medium heat.

But according to Cook’s Illustrated the best oil to use for seasoning your cast iron is flax seed oil. It is the food grade equivalent of linseed oil.

Step 1: warm the cast iron slightly to help open the pores. Wipe it down with flax seed oil.

 

 

 

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Turn the pan upside down in a cool oven. I put down aluminum foil to catch the extra oil.

 

 

 

 

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Step 2: Turn the oven up as high as it will go and set the timer for an hour.

Turn off oven and let pan set in oven for a couple of hours, until it has cooled a bit.

 

 

 

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This is after the first layer of flax seed oil.

 

 

 

 

 

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The oil seasoning process is to be repeated 5 times.

I found it’s a good idea to do it on a day when it’s cool enough you don’t mind the oven being on, but warm enough that you can open the windows.

 

 

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After the final layer.

Nice, shiny and ready to use :)

I did wash mine after all the layering to help reduce the burnt, acrid smell.

 

 

 

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Not to worry about washing – Cook’s Illustrated said they ran their cast iron pans through a commercial dishwasher with degreaser and it didn’t faze the seasoning :)

As you can see, a lot of the pitting was reduced, too. Hope that helps you with your cast iron :)

 

 

Don’t be afraid to ask dumb questions. They’re easier to handle than dumb mistakes.

 

 

 

 

Smile

 

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Trixie Belle

Betcha I can make you smile :)

 

 

 

 

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Kovu on the platform

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kiara

 

 

 

 

 

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Who, me?

 

 

 

 

 

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Gloria and Aura playing tag :)

 

 

 

 

 

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Madeleine and Olivia

 

Aura, Gloria and Gadget

 

 

 

 

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Just sunning themselves and enjoying the day :)

 

 

 

 

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A pile of ears, legs and cute :)

 

 

 

 

 

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Gadget

I’m the cute one around here, get that straight right now!

 

 

 

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Told you I could make you smile :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being considerate of others will take your children further in life than any college degree. Marian Edelman

Pears

 

Can you believe today is the first day of Fall?

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I guess the garden can……it got hit with a touch of frost :(

 

 

 

 

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The scarlet runner beans fared better than the squash, but they did get a touch of frost, too.

 

 

 

 

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I just love walking through the tunnel of beans :) The peas on the other side of the tunnel are done for the year :(

The bumble bees and hummingbirds love the scarlet runner bean flowers :) For some reason, though, the honey bees don’t care for the blossoms.

 

 

 

Fall brings harvest time, which is a wonderful thing :)

 

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Heather and I peeled and peeled and peeled pears for hours.

There has got to be a better way.

After peeling and coring the pears, they were put into a solution of Fruit Fresh.

 

 

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When we were almost done with peeling, I got the water going in the water bath canner.

I put in a splash of white vinegar to help prevent water spots. Someday I’m going to try putting in some herbs and do a facial steam at the same time as canning the fruit :)

 

 

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Make up a light or medium sugar syrup. I understand that since pears are naturally sweet, you can also use grape juice or apple juice, but I personally haven’t tried it.

My syrup looks dark because I use evaporated cane juice crystals rather than white sugar.

 

 

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Chart of syrups

Taken from Ball Blue Book

 

 

 

 

 

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I thought I would use Tattler lids :) I love the idea of re-usable lids :) I’m not filling the dump station with disposable lids and I don’t have to buy new lids every year :)

 

 

 

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Make sure to wash lids and rings. Then put into hot, but not quite boiling, water.

 

 

 

 

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Get clean jars warming in hot water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Drain ascorbic acid solution off of pears.

I think I waited a day or two too long to process these guys. They were still firm, but had turned yellow. Seems like they almost have to be canned when they’re mostly green or they get mushy. But if they’re too green, they turn out hard. If you wait until they are completely ripe, they kind of fall apart and look really messy after canning.

 

 

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I have always canned pears as a raw pack and they have done fine. But the Purdue University book said they do better if canned as a hot pack. So I thought I would try the hot pack this time. I think they have more discriminating taste buds than I do.

 

 

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After the syrup is hot, add peeled and cored pears. One book I have says to add one layer of pears and when they are hot all the way through, put them in jars. The other book I have says to add pears and boil for 5 min. Be it right or wrong, I added a colander full of pears to the syrup and when they were hot all the way through, put them into jars.

 

 

 

 

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Run a plastic knife down the sides to eliminate air bubbles.

Do you wonder what they did in the old days? The books say not to use a metal knife, so what did the old-timers do? I don’t think plastic cutlery has been around that long, has it?

 

 

 

 

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Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean, damp napkin. This helps ensure a good seal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Affix two piece lids. If using disposable lids, tighten rings down.

If using Tattler lids, screw the rings down finger tight. I always get myself into trouble with this part, as I’m sure any milker does. My finger tight is tighter than other people’s finger tight. So I turn the ring back 1/4 inch.

 

 

 

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Place jars into elevated rack of canner as you fill them.

 

 

 

 

 

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When the rack is full, lower it down into the water. At this point, I usually panic a bit because the water level isn’t where it should be, which is 1-2 inches above the tops of the jars.

Often I add the hot water from the hot lid kettle to help make up the difference.

 

 

001Bring water to a boil and start timing. The chart at the left will tell you how long for which sizes and which altitudes. Since we’re at 2,000 feet in elevation, I processed quarts for 30 min and pints for 25 min.

Chart taken from Purdue University book

 

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After processing for proper time, remove canner from heat. Remove lid of canner. Allow jars to set for 5 min before removing from canner.

Remove jars one at a time from canner. If using disposable lids, don’t tighten the rings. If using Tattler lids, be sure to tighten rings as you remove jars.

 

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Allow jars to cool. If using disposable lids, you will hear an audible ‘pop’ as the lids suck down. If using Tattler lids, allow jars to cool completely. I usually let mine set overnight. Then remove rings and check seals.

Should make some very nummy pear crisp this winter :)

 

Out of a 5 gallon bucket of pears, I wound up with 7 quarts and 11 pints of pears.

 

 

Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance. -Kurt Vonnegut

 

Puff 1

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Puff 1 and her adopted baby…

…yep, s/he’s in the picture, too :)

 

 

 

 

 

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See the little feet? How cute is that?

 

 

 

 

 

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But…Puff 1 needed another baby fix this summer. So she went back to setting.

 

 

 

 

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And look at the cutiepie puff she hatched out :)

 

 

 

 

 

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Mama Turkey also went back to setting.

She hatched out a very adorable little black chick. She jumped off the nest, so I set the baby on the floor for her to take care of. But she was too busy with the feeder to take notice of her little black puff peeping away.

 

 

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Puff 1 was very agitated with the way Mama Turkey was ignoring her baby.

So she adopted Mama Turkey’s little puff :)

 

 

 

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The little puff didn’t seem to notice that it was a different white mama keeping him warm. He was just happy to be warm :)

 

 

 

 

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How cute is that??? :)

 

 

 

 

 

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This penedesenca/maran mama hen managed to hatch out 7 little puffs :)

I’m not sure what to think with all the new little puffs running around. It’s like we’re in for a second spring or something :)

 

 

 

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Rechenka inspecting how well I’m filling the water bucket :)

 

 

 

 

 

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A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.

Blueberry Spice Jam

 

Today is Citizenship Day!  I had no idea what that meant, so I looked it up. It’s one of the newest Federal holidays, just initiated in 2004. No wonder I didn’t know what it was – it’s not a Hallmark holiday! Anyway, it marks the ratification of the US Constitution and is considered to be the actual birth date of this great nation. So today we are supposed to honor the US Constitution :)

http://www.patriotism.org/citizenship/

Tomorrow is National Play-Doh day :) So get ready with the Play-Doh!

This jam is a step above plain blueberry jam with just a few added spices, but I really like the added depth of flavor :)

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Start water heating up in water bath canner. Put lids in hot, almost boiling water. Put clean jars in hot water.

 

 

 

 

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Put 2-3 cups sugar in bowl along with 2 tsp Pomonas Pectin.

 

 

 

 

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Add 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp cardamom into sugar-pectin mixture

 

 

 

 

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Put 6-7 cups of blueberries into a saucepan. Mash berries and add 1/4 c. lemon juice and 2 tsp Pomona’s calcium water.

Bring to a boil.

 

 

 

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Add in sugar-pectin mixture.

Add in 2 tsp vanilla.

Return to a boil.

 

 

 

 

 

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Ladle hot jam into hot jars.

Wipe jar rim with clean, damp napkin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Affix 2 piece lids.

 

Place filled jars into elevated rack of water bath canner.

 

 

 

 

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When rack is full, submerge into hot water.

Bring to a boil and process 10 minutes (maintain boil), adding 1 minute for every 1,000 feet above sea level. We’re at 2,000 feet in elevation, so I process mine for 12 minutes.

 

 

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Remove canner from heat. Remove canner lid. Allow to set for 5 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

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Remove jars to a towel to cool.

Enjoy :)

 

 

 

 

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.
Brian Littrell