October 31, 2008: Halloween Past

Cheryl, of Cheryl's Garden Goodies fame, had the cutest pictures of her children from Halloweens past, I was wishing I had mine available. Then I remembered having scanned one of them, and sure enough, here is a photo of my three youngest on Halloween 1976!

Amy, on the left, is the mother of our new grandbaby, Alicyn, and fourteen-year-old Alicia. Shannon (center) has four children; Jared, Shayna, Ethan and Sierra. Our youngest son, Scott, is the father of grandson Kevin. Not shown are my two oldest, Rick and John.

They weren't in costume yet, just getting ready to celebrate their brother John's 17th birthday.

October 31, 2008: Happy Halloween!

Halloween Glitter Graphics

And HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my son, John!

October 30, 2008: The Cactus Garden in Summer

I don't grow any vegetables through the winter at my Arizona home. I might try a few in pots this year, but I haven't had much success with the greens I've tried to grow in the past. My gardens are mostly cacti and oleanders, and most of the cacti bloom after I've gone back north for the summer. So last spring I left a digital camera with my neighbor, and he took photos of them as they blossomed. I had never before known just what I was missing!

And here are the two cacti that bless me with their beauty before I have to leave them:

October 30, 2008: DISH-ing the Dirt

Not to be outdone by the incompetence of AAA, on the very first evening back in our Arizona home our troubles with DISH Network began. I had used extra cell phone minutes during my conversation with the AAA dispatcher that evening, so even though I was tired and wanted nothing more than to climb into bed and get some sleep, I waited until I could use my free minutes to call and have our local programming changed from Tri-Cities, WA to Phoenix, AZ. Now….we have done this every year for fourteen years. No biggy. So I called, and everything was a go for the channels to switch within 5-10 minutes. I climbed into bed, turned on the TV to CNN to catch up on election news, and fell asleep. I woke up at 5:00 a.m., so I checked the local channels and we were not getting the programming.

Back on extra cell phone minutes, I called DISH again. This time we went round and round over the address of the residence where I was supposed to receive the signal. When they had asked my address, I gave them my PO Box. They wanted a physical address instead (Does this sound familiar? Do AAA and DISH hire the same people?). I gave the address, but asked what they had in their previous records on our account. She admitted it had been the same one every winter for the past 4 years, so you might assume it would be the same this year…no?

So we got our Phoenix programming. But wait….when we picked up our mail that afternoon, we had the new Smart Cards from DISH. I followed the instructions and inserted the new cards into both of our receivers. After they were inserted, I got a message that I had to call DISH to activate them. More cell phone minutes. When I finally got through to a person, she had no idea why I was calling. I told her what it said on the screen, and she said “Oh, just hit “select”. Good Lord, why didn’t it just say that in the instructions?

I went outside to finish unpacking the Ranger, so I didn’t check the channels until later that evening. I turned to a local channel, and…nothing. They had switched us back to Tri-Cities, WA programming!

Another call to DISH, and over an hour on those extra cell phone minutes, they finally had me go through the garbage to retrieve the old Smart Cards and reinsert them (why didn’t they do this immediately? Why an hour with the tech trying to get the new ones to work?). They were still keeping me on the line when I said “You have my phone number. If you need to tell me something, you call me. I don’t think I need to stay on the phone while you try to rectify your errors.” And I hung up. So far so good with the programming, but daughter is going to have a heart attack when she gets the cell phone bill (family plan!).

I’m seriously thinking of switching to DIRECT TV. What is a good substitute for AAA? Maybe I should just sell this place and stay in Washington the entire year.

On a happier note, Alicyn is over a week old now, and I think she's beautiful. I wish I could be there, holding, hugging and spoiling her.

Alicyn at one week old

October 29, 2008: "Grandma, why is your dog vibrating?"

I was driving my grandson, Kevin, home one day. He was holding Otter Dawg, who was shivering as he always does in the car. “Grandma, why is your dog vibrating?”, he asked.

This week Otter vibrated all the way to Arizona. Nearly 1200 miles. That’s an awful lot of vibrating!

All in all, both the pups were pretty good travelers. The trip south was uneventful until we were 70 miles from our destination. At Lake Havasu City I asked Mr. H to stop at Wal*Mart so I could pick up some fresh bread, milk, lunchmeat, etc. I needed just a few groceries to tide us over until we could come back into town for a real shopping trip. Of course, Mr. H balked. He said it would take me 5 (expletive deleted) hours to get in and out of the store. I, wanting to prove him wrong, looked at my watch and made a mad dash through the doors and into the store. I flew down the aisles, grabbing only the necessities, and was standing in the checkout line in less than 13 minutes. Just as I was swiping my debit card, in walked Mr. H with a sheepish look on his face. He said he had decided to get the pups some fresh water while we were stopped, so he tossed the pickup keys up on the dash and got out to go to the back of the truck, where we had put a water jug. He no sooner closed the door when Annie jumped on the arm rest and her foot hit the door lock. We were locked out of the Ranger, the dogs were locked in with all the windows rolled up. Luckily the sun was setting, so it wasn't blistering hot.

We have had AAA for quite some time, but have never had to use it. In fact, I had really thought seriously of dropping it this year, but changed my mind and renewed just before we left for Arizona. And, luckily, I had thought to get an extra cell phone from my daughter before we left, just in case I lost Mr. H and had to call him, because our cell phone was locked inside the pickup with the dogs. I called the emergency number for AAA, and told the dispatcher of our predicament. She asked where we were, and I told her Lake Havasu City in front of the new Super Wal*Mart. Not good enough….she needed an actual address. I told her Highway 95 and gave her the street number from the front of the store. Not good enough…she wanted a “cross street”. I said I didn’t know, and wasn’t about to walk down the highway to find out, that it would be the same street that Home Depot was on. Not good enough….she said that was not a “cross street” as it stopped where it entered the highway. This conversation went like this for more than fifteen minutes on my cell phone minutes! At one time she was going to dispatch help to the old Wal*Mart, which had closed six months ago, because that was the only one on her computer map. According to her, the shopping center I was standing in did not exist. It was not on her map. I screamed at her to just tell the tow truck driver to go to Wal*Mart, as he was local and would know where it was. Nope. She still would not dispatch to a place that didn’t exist on her computer maps. Then she hung up on me.

I had two choices. Let Mr. H break out a window, or call 911. I opted for 911. That dispatcher had a tow truck there in minutes, we gained entrance to our pickup, and AAA got the bill. We made it home, two hours late and tired and mad as hell.

Annie adjusted to her new digs immediately, but Otter has been rather traumatized until this afternoon. She has investigated every room of the house and every inch of the property, while he has stayed close by my side or on Mr. H’s lap. Both pups are used to a pet door leading out to a big securely fenced back yard full of cool, green grass on which to pee and poop and play. Here they have a solid screen door that will not be pushed open, and when let out it is to a piece of desert land, with dirt, sand, rocks and cacti. They refuse to piddle on dirt. The nearest thing to grass happens to be the living room carpet. Here we thought we were through with housebreaking them months ago! Last night Annie woke me up at midnight, so I put her on the leash and took her out. She went on an investigation of every dark corner of the property, while I kept yelling “Pee!”. “Pee!”. She never did pee. At 4 a.m. Otter woke me up, so I took him out…good thing, because he had diarrhea!

Mr. H just hollered at me that Otter peed outside. Maybe we are returning to normal.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Plants (for Ribbit):

John, my friend from GardenWeb, said we couldn’t get as much stuff in our Ranger as the list I’d given him. John doesn’t know us, as we have been making this trip, with nothing more than the Ranger to pack it all in, for the past five years. That’s when we got rid of the motor home and bought a residence in this small Arizona town. Not only did we get everything on that list packed, we also loaded a big rabbit cage for Cookie, then stuffed that full of greens and carrots that I had dug out of the garden and put into plastic containers. I was determined to extend my gardening season, even without a garden! Everything made it just fine. Now I just have to keep them alive and hope the lettuces don’t bolt in this heat.

Plenty of room left for bunny cage and garden greens!

I have several containers that I’m considering planting. One large one became the home to some cucumber seeds this morning. They take 56 days to produce, so it will be touch and go whether or not we ever get a cucumber from them. I was really wanting pole beans, but I had used up all those seeds. It was down to cucumbers or zucchini to grow on the hot side of the house.

The greens made the trip just fine.

October 23, 2008: Granny and the Drug Squad

I was just reading about Cynthia's poppies on her blog. I was going to leave a comment about my experience with growing them, but my comment soon became long enough to be a blog.

Many years ago I was admiring the gorgeous poppies in the yard of an elderly couple, and they kindly gave me some seeds to plant. At that time, our house was adjacent to a vacant piece of land, a hillside, that rose away from our back yard. I could imagine how beautiful a sea of poppies tumbling down the hill would be, so I scattered the seeds and let them land where they may. Sure enough, the poppies blossomed and it was a glorious sight. Around that same time, our local newspaper published an article about opium poppies and how to tell the difference by the shape of the seed pod. I ran out to my lovelies, and sure enough....I was growing a field of opium! I called the local police department, and they sent out the drug squad. They ripped out all of my beautiful poppies.

Someday I'll tell you about my marijuana plant!

On second thought, I'd better not leave you in the dark. We had a small rental, with a young man as a tenant. When he moved out, I went to clean it up and noticed the prettiest plant growing in the front flower garden, one I had never seen before. Again, the local paper happened to print an article (I swear, those newspaper people must have been watching me!), this time about marijuana plants. Yep, that was what was growing in the flower bed. I hurried over to remove it, but someone had evidently identified it before I did, as it was already gone, roots and all.

Now you know all about my "dark" past!

October 20, 2008: The Bun's Out of the Oven!

No, not the "hairy gray rabbit"!

My daughter had her baby girl this morning at 11:55. Alicyn Paige was 21" long and weighed 6lb. 14oz.

15 Minutes Old

20 Minutes Old

22 Minutes Old

It's going to awfully hard to leave her for six months.

October 18, 2008: There's a Rabbit in My Oven!!!

My daughter called tonight. She said she'd opened her oven and there was something in there that was gray and hairy, and it looked like a rabbit!

Upon further inspection, she discovered it was the lasagna from the dinner we had together a week and a half ago. She'd forgotten to take it out of the oven.

October 17, 2008: It's Chilly Enough for Chili

The evenings are cool now, perfect for a dinner of soup, stew or chili. I have used the same chili recipe for years, and everyone I've served it to has raved about it. Except my friend, Bigfoot, and my youngest son.

Bigfoot, who is also known as Jim, had "appointed" me as the bean lady for our numerous cookouts. Through the winter, while we are living in Arizona, we frequently get a group together for a trip into the desert where we build a big fire, cover it with huge grills and cook our dinner over the open fire. I usually bring my big old cast iron Dutch oven, filled with precooked pinto beans with ham, and keep it simmering on the grill. One such trip, I decided to bring a pot of my home made chili instead. It went over well with everyone except Bigfoot, who told me it was the worst chili he had ever eaten. I have never taken, nor will I ever take, another pot of beans to the cookouts! Yes, I hold a grudge.

Yesterday my son was visiting, and asked what I was cooking. I told him I was making chili and invited him to come eat with us. He said something to the effect of "Mom, you make terrible chili". Yes, I will invite him for dinner. Some day. Maybe. But I'll sit and glare at him all the time he's eating.

I *heart* my chili! Try it, if you dare, and let me know...is it the worst chili you ever ate?

Crockpot Chili

2 cups dry pinto beans

Wash and sort beans. Place in a large kettle or Dutch oven, cover with water and bring to a boil; boil for ten minutes (add more water if necessary). Remove from heat and let stand for one hour. Return to heat and bring to a boil, adding additional water, if necessary, to keep beans covered in liquid. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender, about one hour. Drain, reserving 2 cups liquid.

1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
2 medium onions, diced
2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 tablespoon brown sugar, firmly packed
3 beef bouillon cubes
cooked pinto beans
reserved bean liquid plus water, if needed, to equal 2 cups liquid

In a large, non-stick frying pan, brown the ground beef with the diced onions until the meat is no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, chili powder, salt, pepper, cocoa powder, brown sugar and bouillon cubes. Pour mixture into a crockpot. Stir in the drained, cooked pinto beans, Add reserved bean liquid to cover, and set the temperature to high. Cook, covered, 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. I usually cook for 2 hours on high, then turn to low and cook an additional 2 or three hours.

Building the bonfire.

Cooking over the coals. That's my good old Dutch oven behind the grill.

Food, fun and "Margaritaville" in the desert. Ahhh...that's the life I love!

Sorry about the abrupt ending. My camera batteries died!

October 16, 2008: Annie, What Have You Gotten Yourself Into?

Leave it to Annie! She chewed a hole in her bed, and then got herself stuck in the hole. What a sight she was, walking down the hallway...the beautiful little belle, wearing her ball gown. I grabbed the camera, but I was laughing so hard I ended up getting a picture of my own feet. Out of four shots, I got only two that hadn't been ruined by my shaking with laughter. Brother Otter must have wondered what on earth little sis was doing. Annie was very proud of herself, her tail was wagging like mad!

It has been said that laughter makes one live longer. With Annie and Otter in the family, Mr. H and I should live a really, really long time.

October 15, 2008: OK, So I Lied!

I really had planned to not blog until I announced the birth of my grandchild, but since she is taking her own sweet time entering this world, and I did end up doing something in the garden...well, I'm baaaaaack!

The past couple of days have been rather busy. I combined all those bags of composted steer manure with the bale of peat moss and spread a 2" layer over the empty garden beds. This still didn't quite raise the level of the soil to the tops of the boxes, so I'll buy another yard of compost in the spring. I'll need it then, as I'm planning on converting four of the 4'x4' beds into two 4'x10' beds. I've decided I'd rather have the extra 16 square feet that is now being taken up with pathways, and plant more vegetables.

I had moved two half-barrel planters to the back garden last week, planning on filling them with sweet potatoes next spring. But I changed my mind (as usual!) and decided to move two blueberry bushes and put them in the barrels instead. These are rather old bushes, and one was looking...well, old. Hopefully they will thrive in the barrels, planted in a combination of compost and peat moss. I've already begun feeding them our coffee grounds and crushed eggshells. I think they look so pretty against the new cedar fence that I'm going to bring a third barrel back there and buy another blueberry bush for it next spring.

I'm anxious for spring to come, so I can get the raspberries planted in that bed that's ready and waiting for them! I've almost convinced myself to fill both of the other two beds with strawberries next year....maybe June bearing in one, so I can get all the jam and frozen berries done at once, and day neutral in the other bed for eating fresh throughout the summer.

October 13, 2008: Looking Back on 2008

My 2008 gardening season has come to an end. Looking back, it's been quite a productive year considering the catastrophe that led to its beginning. I am really looking forward to spring, when I can get an early start to a larger, more diverse garden.

This will be the end of the gardening portion of my blog for a few months, but I hope you'll continue reading and responding through the winter. We'll be leaving for Arizona a week after our daughter has her baby, which is due any day now. Through the winter, we take a lot of 4-wheel-drive trips through the desert, and I usually have a lot of photos to share. This will be the first trip south for the puppies, so stay tuned for Annie & Otter's Awesome Arizona Adventures! I'll also continue to post my favorite recipes from time to time.

I'll leave you with a look back at my 2008 gardening experience. I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I.

October 12, 2008: Brrrr!!

It finally hit. The first killing frost of the season has relegated most of the garden to a crisp, saggy mess. It's still only 28F at 8:30 this morning, so the temperature must have really plummeted last night. From the window, I can see that the two remaining summer squash plants are gone (I'm glad I picked that last tiny zucchini yesterday!), the last cherry tomato is toast, the marigolds aren't the least bit merry, and the basil is kaput. I covered the rabbit's mesclun bed and my spinach/lettuce bed last night, so I don't yet know if they were damaged by the cold.

Yesterday in the garden I planted my garlic. I've always done spring planting of garlic in past years, but I've been told it will grow much larger with a late fall planting, just before a freeze, and it looks as though my timing was perfect. Not being a connoisseur of fine garlic, I picked up two healthy looking heads at the grocery store and had enough to plant 21 cloves, with plenty left over for the kitchen. I amended the small garlic plot with composted manure mixed with peat moss, and buried the cloves pointy side up, about two inches deep. This is quite a bit deeper than my spring planted garlic, but necessary to keep the freezing and thawing ground from heaving them to the surface.

My two blueberry bushes, which had been sadly neglected for the past couple of years and rewarded me by giving me an entire cup of berries this year rather than the abundant pickings of previous years, got a good top dressing of the manure/compost/peat mixture as well. Next spring I'll be sure to give them an application of fertilizer for acid loving plants. If it warms up enough to work outside today, I need to do the same for the rhododendron bed.

October 10, 2008: End of the Garden Recipes

The weather man can't quite make up his mind when we're getting our first killing frost. It was supposed to be tonight, but now the AccuWeather forecast says tomorrow night. Oh well, we took a couple of tarps out to the garden and covered two of the boxes.....the bunny greens and the Granny greens. We must save those greens!

I had the large container of baby spinach that I'd picked yesterday, so tonight we had a delicious wilted spinach salad with our broiled sirloin steak and baked potatoes. I can remember, as a child, my grandmother and mother making wilted lettuce and I hated it! It wasn't until after I was married that I learned to like it, when my mother-in-law made it and added sugar to the vinegar and bacon grease for a delicious sweet-sour flavor.

This is the artery-clogging bacon fat version which, of course, is the most flavorful. For a healthier, and almost as good tasting version, see the *Note at the end of the recipe.

Wilted Lettuce (or Spinach) Salad

2 large bunches of leaf lettuce (I prefer the red variety) or baby spinach
6 slices bacon
1/4 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons sugar
salt and pepper to taste
4-6 green onions, slice and separate the white from the green stems

Wash, drain and tear lettuce into large, bite-sized pieces in a large bowl. Add the sliced green onion tops, reserving the white bottom part for the dressing.

Cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp. Remove bacon from the pan and drain on a paper towel. To the *bacon drippings, stir in the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pepper. Add the sliced white part of the onions. Bring to a boil, stirring. Pour the hot dressing over the lettuce and toss well. Crumble the bacon over the top of the salad and serve immediately.

*Note: For a healthier version, discard the bacon drippings and, to the same pan, replace with 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil. Continue as above.

I had to do something with all the green peppers from yesterday, too. Plus I still had a huge red bell pepper and a jalapeno that I didn't use in last week's hot pepper jelly, and the last of the green onions from the garden. I made a few changes to the corn and black bean salad that I usually make, and ended up with.......

Granny's Confetti Corn Salad

2 cups fresh or frozen sweet white corn
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup sliced green onion, with tops

1 cup diced red bell pepper

1 cup red bell pepper

1 jalapeno pepper, finely minced

3 Tbsp. Olive oil

2 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp. sugar or Splenda

Combine all ingredients in a bowl with a tight fitting lid. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight, turning and shaking the ingredients occasionally.

Usually when I make this salad I use half that amount of peppers, no jalapenos and 1/4 cup onion and only 2 Tbsp. oil. This version was pretty strong, but it was good.

October 8, 2008: New Sweaters for Winter!

Otter, do I look fat in this sweater?

No Annie, but your ear looks wrong side out.

Today in the garden: I went to Wal*Mart to buy ten bags of composted steer manure to spread over the garden beds. They only had twelve bags left, three of which were broken open, so Mr. H and I loaded the nine good bags onto the wagon. When we got to check out, I asked if they'd give me their last three bags at a discount, and I got them for 60 cents apiece! I also bought a bale of sphagnum peat moss for the blueberries and rhododendrons. I like to put a mixture of peat and manure on them in the fall, something I hadn't done for a few years, and they are looking a bit sickly. I normally get about a gallon of blueberries from my two small bushes. This year I got a cup. The manure and peat got stacked in the garage by Mr. H, but it will be up to me to get it to the back yard and into the gardens. I really wanted to get some chopped leaves over the tops of the beds before I add the manure, but the trees are still green, no leaves are falling. I've asked my neighbor to save their bagged leaves for me and just toss them over the fence so I can use them next year.

I picked the last of the green peppers and pulled that plant. The peppers are small, but I doubt they'd grow any more in this cool weather. The spinach and lettuce are loving the cold, though. I picked a good sized container of each.

I was extra diligent about washing the spinach after finding this guy on the underside of one of the leaves.

October 6, 2008: The Last Rows of Summer

The weather forecast tells me we can expect our first freeze on October 10. I have the garden just about cleared out now, there's not much sense in leaving the plants that have no chance of surviving or maturing.

I transplanted some leaf lettuce into a container, along with a few tiny carrots, to see if I might be able to grow them a bit longer for the rabbit. The container was sitting in the yard, and Annie went over and pulled out all the carrots and ate them! How would a little dog know which of those plants were carrots? She didn't bother the lettuce at all.

So here are "the last rows of summer"....

And the last rose of summer....

The marigolds are still hanging in there, and gorgeous....

October 4, 2008: Today in the Garden

We had a rain storm yesterday! We don't get much rain where I live, so it's very much welcomed when we do. But it was quite cool and windy today, after having temperatures in the mid to high 80s all week. I did get out in the garden for a bit, as the green beans hadn't been picked since Wednesday. After picking about four pounds from that 4x2-1/2 foot patch of bush beans, I decided there just wasn't much reason to leave the plants in any longer, so out they came. There are little beans forming on the ski pole beans now, so if it doesn't freeze soon, we'll still have fresh beans. Cookie (my house rabbit) was out of mesclun and red leaf lettuce, so I cut a full pound of that. He loves the stuff, and it's still really growing well in the cut-and-come-again garden. I pulled one of the last two green onions for our dinner. If you haven't read my blog entry about planting your store-bought green onions, run don't walk to August 22, 2008: I Heart Frugal Girl! I included a yardstick in the photo I took of my veggies today, so you can see the onion has grown to 21" long PLUS 4" of roots!

The red tomatoes were picked semi-green earlier this week, the green ones were removed from the plants I pulled Tuesday. That's the second little crookneck I've picked from the one remaining plant, with several more struggling to make it before it gets too cold.

I'm trying to get some mesclun seeds started for a possible bunny greens garden when we get to Arizona. I used toilet paper rolls and homemade newspaper pots, with packaged seed starter mix. So far so good. I think the lid will have to be removed tomorrow, as the little plants are nearly touching it.

Thursday I made another batch of Hot Pepper Jelly from some beautiful red bell peppers I found at Winco for less than 50-cents each. I increased the amount of jalapenos to a full cup, since the original recipe was way too mild, and I also added some dried red pepper flakes. I really packed the chopped peppers tightly into the measuring cup. Too tightly, I guess, as I ended up with two whole cups more jelly than I was supposed to have....and it didn't set. So yesterday I opened up all 8 half-pint jars and poured them into the old Dutch oven and boiled it down a bit, then processed it again. I think I boiled it a bit too much, as it went from 8 half-pints down to 5 (it should have made 6). It's a bit stiff now, but I didn't have to get out the electric knife to slice it, so it's OK. It tastes delicious, and it looks very pretty. I just hope it doesn't get any firmer!

October 3, 2008: Making Friends and Preserving Friendships

How does one become friends with someone they have never seen, let alone never met? How can friendships form from simple correspondences with complete strangers? How can one common interest bring a lasting camaraderie?

Well, one way is to just join an on-line forum and/or write a blog.

In the past two months my life has been blessed and enriched with new found friends. There's Cynthia from Brambleberries in the Rain. Kristen, The Frugal Girl. Teresa, of Quack This, whom I met through a recipe group several years ago, and who remains my friend to this day. And then there are all my new friends from the Garden Web Forums, and especially from the Square Foot Gardening Forum, who are numerous (and I know I'll forget someone, so if I do please blame it on my age, not on my lack of love and respect for you); Angela, Carolyn, Laura, Medo, bettyinga, rjinga, docarwen, John, Ribbit, Dan, duhast, Mike in Paradise, Sinfonian, lissa, Cheryl aka gardengoodies, crystabel, reba.

Now, who did I forget?


Ah yes, I know who! My "bestest, funnest, funniest, goofiest garden buddy", Engineered Garden!

I've only seen one photo of EG, goofing off with Spongebob Squarepants! All I really know about him is that he is a very kind man, and one of the first to offer help when needed. You never know what EG is going to do next, so I wasn't terribly surprised when he "cybershared" his pear preserves with me, with a "Granny" sign and all.......

But nothing prepared me for what he did this week. He sent me a real jar of his pear preserves! What was even more unexpected was the box it came in. Only EG could come up with a "talking" box!

Be sure to click on the image to enlargen it, so you can read all that a jar of pear preserves might talk/sing about on a trip from Alabama to Washington!

Of course, such very special preserves deserve the best of homemade biscuits!

Biscuits Supreme

2 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2/3 cup milk

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cream of tartar and sugar in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening until the mixture looks like course crumbs. Add the milk all at once; stir quickly with a fork just until the dough follows the fork around the bowl. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead gently, 10-12 strokes. Pat or roll dough to 1/2” thickness and cut with a 2-1/2” floured biscuit cutter. Bake on an *ungreased (see note) baking sheet at 450ºF for 10-12 minutes.

*Note: I melt about 1/4 cup butter or margarine in the bottom of a 9”X13” baking pan. Dip one side of each biscuit in the melted butter, then turn it over, butter side up. Bake as directed. This gives the biscuits a delicious, golden, crispy exterior.

EG's Pear Preserves

Verb: Preserve. Keep or maintain in unaltered condition; cause to remain or last.

Thank you, EG, for "preserving" our friendship.