Preserving

globe ball jarsRhubarb!! We are overwhelmed with it. There is just so much you can eat.Friends either really like it or really don’t like it, so I can only give away so much. I would love to freeze some, but the freezer is full. We just have the freezer that is with the refrigerator…no large separate one. We use to have a big freezer, back when I had a big vegetable garden and froze produce along with pigs, beef cows, etc. We even had someone from somewhere in Canada come to the house once a week to deliver bread, English muffins, etc. That was great, but there were always loaves of bread that ended up in the bottom of the freezer, to be found a year later and tossed to the pigs.

ball jar logo dating chartSo, back to my little freezer, which seems to be filled with blueberries, blackberries and raspberries from last summer. It’s so nice to be able to freeze surplus fruit, but I have a problem with using it all. I want to save it for something, I’m not sure what, so now I have to quickly use it all, to be able to put more in the freezer shortly. Unfortunately, there is no room for rhubarb. I must get this feeling of having to save stuff from Gael who saves everything!!! So, it’s rhubarb pies, muffins, coffeecakes and bags of rhubarb left off a friend’s houses. Then, we’ll move on to blueberry pies, muffins, coffeecakes, along with blackberry pies, muffins, coffeecakes, not to mention raspberry pies, muffins and coffeecakes. I did find a bag of currants in the bottom of the freezer that someone gave me a few years ago. They got tossed. I guess it may be time to start making jams again. It’s been a while, but if I remember correctly, I had the same problem with jams and jellies. I would save them for some reason and then end up giving a lot of the jars away. Pickles! Another thing I would save and then throw away the contents a few years later so I could use the jars to make more pickles.

Right now, I’m not even going to think about pickled beets or green beans. We’ll wait and see how many empty jars I have, come August, and worry about it then.

Editor’s notes….. I have the answer Judy, or at least an answer from a guy’s point of view. Just one of those Globe canning jars in the picture above is worth $100 to $200. You can buy a lot of canned goods at Hannafords for $100.

Ball jars, in the common green shade, a wire bale 1910 is worth $400. A cobalt blue model fetches $10,000 or more.

Mason, Kerr, Hero, Atlas, Columbia, Bartow and Willoughby Stopple are names of others. Is there a VAE member out there who collects canning jars? How about giving us more information.

Cat Tales, etc.

Spring! It will come, better late than never! Also, VAE car shows – Shelburne Museum, July 16th and 17th; , The Vermont Antique and Classic Car Meet (formerly, Stowe Car Show) now taking place in Waterbury, August 10th 11th and 12th, just in case anyone has forgotten!

Our Colorado daughter, Martha, has set us up for a trip to Alaska the first week and a half in July. I hope to be able to get some vegetable gardening done before we leave, as we are out of relish and pickled jalapenos – now that is serious. We (hopefully) will be back before the Shelburne Show. My brother and his wife, will be going with us, and Martha.

A friend will be staying here while we are gone as our three cats will need food and company. By the way, I really enjoyed Nancy Olney’s “cat tales”; she and Gary do need more than one cat, of course. We could help with that since we have one that needs taming. Two of our cats go outdoors and back in, about 20 times a day – guess that is my exercise. I’ll just mention cat pans which they use before going out.

Our third cat is really, really elderly and mostly eats and sleeps, first on Wendell’s chest, then my head. O.K., enough about cats. It’s about time to clean up the yard – Wendell has almost all the logs he’s been splitting and stacked in the shed for next winter, so there is now a project for getting ready for lawn mowing – lots of chips and bark to rake up – and haul out. I am hoping the asparagus will do better this year – maybe getting the weeds out would help. I also hope the horseradish will be doing well, as we need to make horseradish sauce for the shrimp Wendell and others (not me} like a lot. That’s it for cats and gardening – for now!

A Page from “The Willy Chronicles”

As I was rummaging among our winter coats the other day looking for something to wear to run errands, I was thinking how winter clothing has changed over the years.

50s pea coatWhen I was young, a hundred years ago, I remember pea coats, knit mittens and galoshes. Gael still has a coat from the ’50’s that must weigh a ton, corduroy with some kind of fur collar. Our first trip to Freeport, Maine to the LLBean store in 1969 when it was on the second floor of an old building with creaky floors, I purchased a great coat which I wore for years and then our oldest daughter took it over. It was heavy, but not as heavy as Gael’s coat.

My mother knitted the kids hats and mittens to match their winter coats and snow pants, and they wore bread bags over their feet, inside their rubber packs to keep their feet dry. Down filled jackets probably had been around for quite a while but they arrived at our house in the 1970’s. Gael still wears one our son discarded, many years ago. It is looking a bit worse for wear and there are feathers everywhere when Gael wears it, but he isn’t ready to give it up yet. It must be on it’s second zipper by now.

LL bean great coatI’m not sure when fleece arrived on the scene, but it changed my way of thinking. Gone is “the heavier, the warmer” phrase and jackets now are light weight and as warm as their predecessors and good for washers and dryers. I have so many heavy sweaters that I hardly ever wear anymore. Were our houses that much colder back when? I can’t part with them, some I spent hours knitting and have fond memories wearing them. I must admit I do really like the fleece jackets, vests, hats and mittens that are hanging on our coat rack. Most of the time they are adequate, for most of our weather and with good heating systems in cars these days, who needs a heavy, bulky coat to drive in.

Winter footwear has changed over the years too. Gone are the days of heavy leather boots. We’ve moved on to lightweight winter shoes, LL Bean boots and Muck shoes. Moriarty (sp?) hats, remember them? We probably have a few still kicking around in back of the cupboard, along with the knit hats and mittens the kids wore many years ago. I just can’t get rid of them yet.

Another kind of coat that we have is the waxed jacket. I bought several of these on one of my trips to England many years ago and they are great. I happened to visit England a few years later in the Fall and picked up liners for the jackets. Queen Elizabeth even has one of these. Hopefully, by the time you read this, you will have put your winter jackets, etc., away, all cleaned and ready for next fall, perhaps with a few moth balls thrown in for good measure. You might even have left a dollar bill in one of the pockets.

A Page from “The Willy Chronicles”

‘Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose…..’

No, this article isn’t about who sang this song. If you know it was Janis Joplin you are probably about the same age as me and you would know that I just turned 70. This isn’t bad, but it is when I’m sure that I don’t look a day over 69!

Sorry I’ve gotten off track.

Willy, if I haven’t mentioned him before is a cat that used to come to our door at 6 AM and would scratch for food. He started this about 5 years ago. We would put food and water out twice a day for about 6 months. He wouldn’t have anything to do with us and would even wait to eat until we had gone inside. Once he thought Gary was too slow putting his meal down and he raced forward, bit Gary, and then raced out of reach! That is another story: The Rabies Watch.

the willysWith winter coming on, we started encouraging Willy to come in the house. After several weeks of moving his food closer to the inside (and the fact that winter had arrived, and he was living under our car trailer) he finally came in. Willy would eat, bed down for the night, wake up, eat and demand to be put out for the day. After, a couple more weeks, he would let us touch him but never hold him.

He did get used to us enough, so one day, armed with a big towel, we caught him, stuffed him in a cat carrier and we all went off to visit the Vet. He had an infected tail and it was amputated. The doctor said it had gotten broken (probably in a fight) and his ears had been torn. We brought him home with a 2-inch stub, all his shots on board and decided he would become an inside cat. But Willy had other ideas, he begged to go out almost immediately and as ‘good’ parents, we let him. Several hours later he returned, well after dark and wanted to come in. He was soaking wet and had a head injury. We figured his friends, who were still enjoying their freedom, had laughed at his shaved butt and stubby tail and he had to defend himself.

That did it, we did not let him out no matter how much he begged. It took months, but he seemed to settle into a life of tasty food, treats, and a warm place to sleep. I should mention he has 2 servants who cater to almost every wish and go out of their way to please him. And he stopped begging to go out. About 3 months ago when Gary didn’t realize Willy was near by and the door was open about 5 inches, he scooted through and out on the porch. He walked around the porch and went right back in. Hallelujah! I was close to a panic but could now calm down.

Fast forward to about 2 weeks ago, same scenario, door open a bit and gone! He sure can move fast but this time he explored about 15 minutes before he decided to come back, I’m in panic mode this time!

Now 3 days ago, someone came to the door and Gary answered it. Willy snuck through and again gone! We watched him taking his old route from years ago, across the front of the house, under the car trailer, to the first neighbor’s house, around the shrubs in front of neighbor #2 and out the back (which takes him to the next street). Full panic mode!! I couldn’t stand waiting to see if he was Gone-Gone, so I told Gary I was going out. I needed to exchange some of Gary’s clothes and get his medicine. In about 45 minutes, my cell rang, and Gary says, ‘did you find Willy?’ and I said,’ no I am not looking for him, I am at Tractor Supply’. Gary thought I was so upset that I had gone out on a search, but I was doing errands! Gary said Willy was in the kitchen, muddy and wet, but home! Hallelujah!!!

We have been trying to figure out why after the plush life we have given Willy, he would want to escape and the only thing we can come up with is that he has seen a former friend (namely girlfriend) and is willing to throw it all away for Love! Gary has noticed a lot of cat prints in the yard lately.

Local Boy Makes Good

filabotIt’s very common these days to wring our hands over the fact that the younger generation has little interest or motivation beyond their smart phones and social media. In the VAE, our Golden Wrench Awards are aimed at encouraging young people to move beyond these distractions and focus their interest on science and math.

This month I decided (with a little prodding from Wendell) that it would be a good idea to write about a Milton young man, we have known, who has been recognized for his achievements. He has always been a “tinkerer”. Among many other things in the family garage, he put together a mini-bike, which he briefly rode around town, but it went faster than was wise with the increasing traffic. He came here to see our old cars, in fact. I think he did some work on old cars, as well as, all of his other projects. His name is Tyler McNaney.

tyler mcnaney
Tyler McNaney

After graduating from Milton High School, he attended Vermont Technical College in Randolph, but came up with the idea for a machine to turn recyclable plastic into filaments for use in 3D printers. He calls it “Filabot”, and he left college to start his own business to manufacture and sell his machines. His Filabot business has earned him a “Rising Star” award from Vermont Business Magazine and Best Small Business Award from Central Vermont Economic Development Corporation in 2016. He was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list a few months ago.

His team includes Whitney Trudo, Josh Heisler, Ben Holleran and others. I would like to think that we might have had some influence by encouraging him along the way. But I suspect he would have done just fine anyway. Tyler has many more ideas and hopes for future developments and to quote him, he will “Hit the ground running”. It’s gratifying to know that there are young people who have the drive and intelligence that Tyler has shown.

Editor’s notes…….

This from Tyler’s website filabot.com

Who are we? 

Used by NASA, Dupont, MIT and others all across the globe: Filabot is a plastic company that builds machines for filament extrusion. Our Filabot product line-up is built to convert plastic into filament for use in 3D printers. 

Check out our webstore for products and accessories, our blog for updates about Filabot and our customers and feel free to give us a shout with any questions or concerns. Thanks and happy printing! 

Winter Driving

On my way home from a friend’s house last night, in the dark, I happened upon a car that was stuck on a hill with a person behind the steering wheel and one person behind the car pushing it. There wasn’t much I could do, so I continued on my way. This got me thinking about past situations that involved having trouble getting home on bad roads in winter. All before cell phones! I think our town does a good job maintaining our roads in winter and in mud season and in recent years we have had fairly good snow tires, but there have been times in the past when our cars haven’t been the greatest and our tires just OK. This is just the way it was back then.

Our road has a nice hill just after a sharp curve and it is tricky on occasions not being able to get enough momentum to get up the hill. Fortunately, a neighbor built a house about half way up the hill with a driveway that has come in handy on more than one occasion. When, after trying to get up the hill two or three times and finally knowing you aren’t going to make it, you can either pull into the driveway and use their phone or leave your car there and walk home (2 miles). The other option was to drive around to the other end of the road which is closer to our house, go as far as you can, leave your car there and walk home which includes a stretch of road that isn’t plowed in winter. There were times when our son would have to stand on the rear bumper of the car for weight to get the car up the hill. This usually worked. We often drove Volkswagens that did amazingly well under bad conditions. I remember making it up the hill, only to find out that the road was so drifted I couldn’t tell where it was. I would be pushing snow with the front bumper so visibility was 0, having to roll down the driver’s window, look out the side and figure out where the road was by the trees alongside the road. One time Gael couldn’t make it home, and the next morning we walked down the road only to find the car completely covered by a snow drift. There was a time when we drove a VW pickup truck and in the middle of a bad storm, Gael drove over to a neighbor’s house with a long driveway that was unplowed. The neighbor was so impressed with the truck, he went out and bought one himself. There was one VW that we drove briefly (a Joe Kaelin car) that was so rusty we often had more snow in the car than was on the road. When the school bus started coming up our road, the road conditions got a little better, although we lived about a mile from the bus stop.

By the time our kids were old enough to drive, they had seen almost every kind of road and winter car problem and, surprisingly, managed quite well under bad conditions. They couldn’t call home quickly, no cell phone or AAA back then. Now, as adults, they can handle most situations very well, although they all have their phones and AAA now. Hopefully, they have passed some of their experiences along to their kids.

Happy New Year – 2018

happy new year 2018As the time is getting close, I will first wish one and all a Happy New Year. It is a bit hard to believe it will be 2018 (if you are reading this, it is 2018!) It seems like yesterday that we were all trying to decide how to say the years in the 2000s, should we say 20-01 or 2,001 and now we are 18 years later!

Now that the introduction is out of the way, on to the subject; New Year’s Resolutions. I did some research (on the internet) so you can agree or disagree but isn’t everything on the internet on the up and up?

New Year’s resolutions started with the Babylonians over 4000 years ago. They started off each new year with the resolve to change something for the better. Previously, it was usually something for someone else like pay off a debt or return a borrowed item. The Romans made prayers to their god Janus, for whom the month of January is named. Other groups made resolutions through the years, and for the most part the present-day resolutions, have gone from trying to help or improve life for others to self-improvement. The most popular goals include improve your physical well-being; eat healthy, lose weight, exercise (more), drink less (alcohol), quit smoking, get rid of old unhealthy habits. Other thoughts are laugh more, enjoy life, reduce stress, improve finances, get a better job or do better at the current one, volunteer, settle down, spend more time with family, go to church. The list can go on and on and I really commend those who take the plunge and can manage to reach their goal and stick with it, but the internet tells me that less than 8% achieve their goals.

Which now brings up the question of why can’t we seem to keep our resolutions and reach our goal, after all, whatever we have chosen to ‘improve’ without much doubt needs improvement or we wouldn’t have chosen it. I have given this much thought and guess what? The internet backs me up! We tend to set goals that are too hard, complicated or just plain too big, like lose 100 pounds, get a job that pays 4 times what I’m earning now, which probably would require more education, moving, etc., all of which I am not willing to do. You get the idea. We might have more success if we said lose 4 pounds a month and plan how to accomplish this, i.e.; walk, skip one restaurant meal a week, shop in the produce aisle for half of my groceries. Is there a light dawning? For most of us, we need to start small and build on that.

Another thought I have is going back to what was the original purpose for New Year’s resolutions; make someone else’s life better, return the shovel to your neighbor or give your parents back the money they laid out for your education. Now that would sure brighten my New Year!! I am sure you could make someone’s life better with just a friendly smile and a hug. Realizing the world we live in today, how about a smile and a wave or handshake. I am sure the Milton road crew’s life is made better every time Mary shows up with cookies! Probably their wish is that Mary’s New Year’s Resolution is to set a goal of a dozen or 2 cookies twice a month!

Beware – Friday The 13th!

These BRRR mornings are reminding us that there is a cold winter to come. Cold as it is, we in Vermont have it much better than most parts of the world, so no more complaining. In Vermont, tornadoes, earthquakes, wild fires, mud slides and hurricanes are rare. Of course, there are exceptions, like the microburst that blew down our barn in 2008. Anyway, on Friday the 13th, I once again fell and broke some ribs, right in my own kitchen. With the help of Tylenol and sympathy from the medical profession, I can still cook meals, feed the cats and birds and do laundry. I’m forbidden to do anything really strenuous like use the vacuum cleaner, oh darn!

Fortunately, I had already cleared the flower beds and what little we had for garden vegetables – cherry tomatoes and basil was about it.

Then it was time for the Gypson Tour up next to the Canadian border set up by Duane Leach which I first thought would be too painful – antique cars do bounce around when on back roads. But, take Tylenol and a blanket and go for it, I decided. So glad I did as it was a great tour, with beautiful scenery. Then there was all of the delicious food at Gary and Sharon Fiske’s home, once we got there – I am not the best navigator so we were the last to finish, but there was food left!

Then came the gale force winds that rattled the area last weekend. While there was havoc all around us, we were fortunate to have only one tree blow down and Wendell started up the outdoor wood furnace, so we had warmth and never did lose electricity, as did so many others. Our blessings, right? That was true until last Thursday evening when we were alerted by Green Mountain Power of a fifteen-minute electricity outage while some final fixes were made. It turned into a two hours outage. Guess it was our turn for a little taste of inconvenience. But, all is well now – so far!

This is the season for church suppers…

There are church suppers everywhere… the most popular are chicken and biscuit suppers, but once in a while you will read about a ham dinner or even a game dinner. We’ve been to several in the past month and they are wonderful! A lot of the churches have been putting these suppers on for generations. They have become so popular that reservations are now required. Sometimes there are three “seatings” with take-out available. If you don’t have reservations, you need to get there early. They are usually served family style with refills all the time. We’ve been to a few with friends and it is a great way to see the foliage, visit with friends and catch up on the local gossip.

The season for ice cream socials is over, but they are good and lots of fun, too. Often there is music to go with the event which is a nice added feature. Another thing that is happening in recent years are the monthly community suppers that are usually held in local churches and put on by the members of the local church. They are usually free, with a donation basket at the door. You could go to these almost every night of the week if you don’t want to cook. After years of cooking or trying to think of what to cook, the thought of going to these suppers is getting more appealing to me every month. The local church has been hosting these suppers once a month for a number of years now and we rarely miss one. There is a group of us that get together at this supper and you get to visit with people who live in town that you might not see otherwise. Every month there is a different menu and you never know what is being served, until it is posted on the FPF or the Clark’s Truck Center notice board in Jericho, where local events can be posted for free and it is seen by all who travel Route 15.

The Knights of Columbus put on breakfast once a month at a local church that are wonderful. It is another meal where there is a donation basket and the proceeds go to a good cause, whether it is local or not. This is another one we rarely miss, with the same people going, and we usually fill up a whole table…people who we might see only at these breakfasts. You can refill your plate as much as you like, although usually the first pass-through is all that you can eat. Although there might be seconds for bacon. Twice a year, the K of C puts on dinners instead that are delicious. Here, again, they are so popular that reservations are suggested. This also is the season for beer fests and they seem to be happening all the time now. With so many small local breweries and people making their own beer, they are all the rage. The one that takes place in Underhill has lots of food, music, cider making, children’s craft tables and has become a local family event. Rain or shine! Everyone out enjoying themselves before cold weather and darkness settles in and forces us indoors. You should get out the old car and go to one of these. You won’t regret it.

Walk a Mile in My Shoes / Everyone has a Story

Having worked in medicine for 50 years, I have had many opportunities to listen to patient’s stories concerning their health, family, friends, the town, the State and the Federal government. Some have a lot of incite and some not so much, but we listen and many times I am so taken back by what I am hearing. Some of the stories are just horror stories, others are sweet, loving things that have happened to them, but later you realize that for the most part almost every story helped form this person. I must say that some-times you say to yourself, ‘how did they get this far?’. Where I am trying to head is to not form a judgement on a person from how they act or talk or what you hear about them. We have no idea that the lady who cut in line with not a glance or apology, has just got-ten a report of a serious health problem or the rude person who cuts you off and steals your parking space has just been laid off from their job. There are a million reasons why people do or say what they do, rough day, rough morning, bad report card, forgot your wallet, left late, break down and on and on and on.

I have been talking about the negative but you do run into some positive people. The negative occasions you remember, and these are where I would like you to give them a break. I was reminded of this when a group got together recently and while passing through a certain village, remembered the time they were having lunch and this “mad woman” came in the establishment ‘spitting fire’, obviously something they had never seen before or since. I would gather they would not want to see this again! I would have loved to have been there, to hear all the reasons they could give, why this poor distressed woman finally seemed to be on the edge or maybe a little over.

She had lived this event for weeks, made meals, and chased grandchildren and was left behind because someone else was late and she had to ‘fix it’ and then catch up in an area she wasn’t familiar with and maybe, just maybe she had the wrong instructions, but don’t think she hasn’t thought a million times if ‘he’ said it, she must be wrong. So, if you were there, cut her a break and forget it. Remember the other times when she is the only woman to show up and smiles and acts like she is enjoying herself. If you weren’t there, let that little lady cut in front and just smile and realize she probably must get that milk home to her loving children. Of course I am also open to the fact, the little lady can spot a sucker when she sees one!

In closing
, if I were that ‘witchy’ woman which I want you to know for sure that I’m not or wasn’t, of course I wasn’t even there, was I? If I was, you’d remember, wouldn’t you? Oh! Just walk a mile in my shoes!!