Archive | September, 2016

The Week That Was

28 Sep

Well, not a full week, but it certainly seems as if it has been that long. And it’s only Wednesday.

Monday morning, The Squire went off and bought new bulbs for the lights when they only needed ballasts. He had to go back to the hardware center to get the ballasts anyway, and then discovered he’d gotten the wrong wattage of bulbs. Like the Tar Baby, I just didn’t say a word. (It’s a good thing he can’t read my mind, though.)

Monday morning while The Squire was dancing with the lights, I went up to visit Eldest Daughter, Local Granddaughter, and Granddaughter-in-law. While I was there I did a load of wash, which I brought back home, fully intending to put it on the line to dry.  As it happened, the weather clouded and promised rain, so I threw the sheets into the dryer. When the dryer buzzed, I went into the back room to discover most of the contents of the water heater all over the floor.

Lovely, just lovely.

The Squire turned off the water, and hooked up the garden hose to drain the rest of the tank, while I called the folks who had installed said water heater. They came out yesterday – Tuesday. I don’t know what it says about our water, but that was a three year-old, glass lined heater with a six year warranty, with a hole eaten into it.

Yesterday morning I hopped into the car, filled the tank, and set off into the wilds of deepest, darkest Pennsylvania. I have become very friendly with a young Amish lady who had worked at the local farmer’s market until right before the birth of her son.  Linda had invited me up to visit, so I cranked up the GPS and headed off for Loysville. This little town is directly south of Altoona, and only a few miles north of the PA Turnpike.  Slightly over a hundred miles, in other words.  I must be crazy.

We really did have a pleasant afternoon. The weather was just perfect, and we enjoyed a nice lunch, then she showed me around their farm.  Chickens for eggs and chickens for market, a large vegetable garden, and offered to hitch up their horse and take me for a buggy ride. Lunch was homemade soup and sticky buns, and a glass of fresh milk. I haven’t had farm milk since about two years after The Squire and I got married. Delicious! What a difference between fresh milk and pasteurized stuff!

We talk comparative religion, and all sorts of things. She offered to make me a smoothie for the road, and then really surprised me by pulling an electric blender out of the closet and plugging it into a wall socket! They have solar panels, which she uses for a few appliances, and her wringer washer. The stove and fridge are propane, and all of the lights are Dewalt lanterns. You just never know bout these things.

Linda said a lot of the rules are changing. There isn’t enough land for all of he Amish to farm, so many of them have turned to woodworking, and other businesses, and they need computers to handle their records. They also need telephones because placing and receiving orders by snail-mail is almost impossible, and using a phone shack for business is even more so. Once you get used to having a phone for business, then you want one in the house. Linda and her husband have one in the living room; it’s a desk set, but works on a TracPhone  principle, and they use solar power to charge it.

I got royally lost coming home.  I managed to get on the Interstate, but the Get Gas light came on just after I crossed the Maryland line. Gas stations are few and far between up there, and I had to drive about six miles on fumes. Then, I couldn’t work my way back to the Interstate, so I had to rely completely on the GPS, which had been set – not by me! – to avoid freeways. I saw parts of Maryland I never knew existed. The trip up took me two and a half-hours, and the trip back was four!

Next time, I’m taking a plain old Maryland State Police road map.

Right now, we are waiting to see if this flood warning is going to amount to anything. The Squire has moved all the “floatables” off the carport, and we have plenty of drinking water and food. We did get about forty-five minutes of steady rain, but it really didn’t amount to much.  According to the Weather Channel, it is supposed to rain from tonight clear into Saturday. We shall see.



26 Sep

For quite some time I have been complaining – voraciously – about the fluorescent lights in several of the rooms downstairs.

The one in the den only agrees to come on twice a year; you must either leave it on 24/7 or use the computer by candle light. The irony of that is not lost on either of us. The kitchen and bath come on when they sense you are finished whatever you came into the room to do. This is not really problem in the bathroom; I don’t wear makeup and The Squire doesn’t shave, and there’s a nightlight that will serve for just about anything else you need to do. The kitchen is more problematical, as I often need a flashlight to read a recipe or tell how full a cup is. As I am putting the food on the plates, the light will come on – and I swear you can hear it snicker.

“Would you please replace the ballast in the lights?”

“There’s more to it than that.” This, I understand, is Husband Speak for “I don’t want to be bothered right now”.

Saturday, after flipping the kitchen switch a dozen times, The Squire went off and purchased new bulbs for all three rooms.  They now come on, but they flicker.  This would be maddening enough all by itself, but the warning sign for each of my three TIAs has been that I see flickering lights behind my eyes.

The Squire is now off to The Big Store to purchase ballasts for the fluorescent lights. I hate to say, “I told you so”. (Not really. I’m gloating.)

Great Balls of Fire!

24 Sep

We are having a Fall Festival at church in mid-October, and I have started making bread and stashing it in the freezer.

Yesterday, I made two loaves of onion dill bread, and today, two loaves of a two-toned bread that always goes over well.  We were just sitting down to dinner when the oven began making a really weird beeping noise, and the smoke alarm in the kitchen started shrieking. I have no idea what happened, but the bottom heating element had stopped working, and the broiler, the top element, was glowing. I threw a sheet of foil over the tops of the two loaves and hoped for the best, but it was no use. The tops of the loaves were burnt beyond redemption.


Burnt Offering

We had to turn off the oven at the main switch, and those two loaves are not fit for sale.  If you cut off the top crust, they are tasty, but not much on looks.

I start my bread in the machine, and then pull it out and put it in pans for the final rising.

Onion Dill Bread

1 package yeast, or 2 teaspoons if you buy it by bulk

3-1/3 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1 egg

Mix together, warm and add:

1/4 cup water

3/4 cup cottage cheese

3/4 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons minced dried onion

2 tablespoons dill weed

1-1/2 tablespoons butter

Makes 2 8×4 loaves. Bake  at 350-F for 40 to 45 minutes, or until an internal thermometer reads 190. I generally bake the loaves about 20 minutes, and then insert the thermometer, removing the bread when the beeper goes off.




Happily Never After

19 Sep

On Saturday, our parish had their annual murder mystery costume party. Somehow, I got roped into playing Alice in Wonderland. (I’m quite certain I did NOT volunteer for this job!) I purchased the wig at the local Costume Emporium, found a dress in my closet that would do, and took an apron from the Colonial Costume Closet. The White Rabbit started life as a bear from the Thrift Store, but with the help of some card stock ears, he passed muster. The Squire was my wizarding friend. I think he resembles a Jedi, but he says that’s the wrong fairy tale.

It seems to be every girl-child’s dream to have long blond hair, but it is definitely was not my colour, and I thought the long curls pulled my face down and made me bear a strong resemblance to a horse. Cute.

We really did have a good time. Hansel was not there, as his sister Gretel didn’t want me to marry him, and we were afraid she’d make a fuss if he showed up. Goldie Locks was in attendance, alice-and-the-wizard as was Baby Bear, who was hot on her tracks for breaking the furniture and eating all the porridge. Our church organist was Maleficent, and did a terrific job; she is a marvelous actress. Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Snow White, Cinderella, and her fairy godmother, the Queen of Hearts, and various other characters.

Somebody killed Sleeping Beauty, and it turned out to be – Gretel! Didn’t break my heart. With her out of the way, now I can marry Hansel.

I’d had a scratchy throat all week, but when I got home, it was suddenly much worse. My uvula was swollen, and when I tried to sleep on my back (normal sleeping position) I kept choking, and when I turned onto my side, I couldn’t breathe. I was supposed to read on Sunday, but the Squire hustled me down to the local Doc-in-a-Box, where I was advised I had nothing more serious than a really bad cold and to keep out of other people’s way.


I have been blowing my nose almost non-stop. It’s amazing that my head can hold so much sh -, um, snot! Yes, that’s it. Snot! S’not funny, McGee.




What A Mess!

14 Sep

As you know, we have just finished remodeling the guest/sewing/TV room, which meant moving everything from two rooms into various nooks and crannies, primarily The Squire’s workshop.

Repairing the mess under the bow window involved unloading and moving the corner cupboard, thus piling miscellaneous dishes and table linens on one end of the dining room table. I did manage to find a long flat box to hold most of that stuff, but it is hard to work up any enthusiasm for getting the table decently set when you can’t even shake the crumbs off the cloth.

Today, The Squire decided the entire house is a mess (It is.) and rather than start by, say, helping me do something small, such as completely tidying the guest room, cleaning the bathroom, or putting away the laundry, he proceeded to tackle the largest mess of all, which is the workshop. Most of what is up there is mine. I used to do a lot of miniature work and I have about fourteen years worth of mini-magazines, all stored in boxes. I have contacted a friend who is willing to take all of them, but she can’t get to it until after next Wednesday.  We’ve both been sifting through our book collections, and I’ve found a stay-at-home mom  in the next county who sells books for spending money. Every once in a while I shoot her an email and we meet up so I can load her trunk with boxes.

None of this can be done today, of course, which is frustrating. Another major problem is that the book cases we purchased will only hold 15 pounds per shelf. Believe me, the amount of photo albums, complete collections, etc., that we have accumulated are putting a strain on that system!  I have to explain to visitors why there is an ancient kitchen scale on the bottom shelf.

And then there are record albums. Is there a market for old LPs?

When we rearranged the guest room, we discovered there isn’t space anymore for a barrel chair which I reupholstered several years ago. My parents set up housekeeping with that chair, and I’d rather not part with it if I can avoid it.  I have my mum’s wicker baby carriage and a life-sized doll she played with as a child. Again, it is jammed into a corner of the workshop, and I’m “shopping” it around the family, trying to find it a loving home.

Maybe we need to rent a P.O.D. for a month or so.



The Squire Hangs It Up

7 Sep

After many years of knocking over spray bottles, or picking up the wrong one repeatedly, The Squire finally got fed up. He got a length of PVC pipe and attached it to the opposite bottom shelves in the bathroom closet, and this is what he did.

Everything is up off the floor, and I have labeled them so we can grab the correct bottle.

Clever man!


We Survived the Wedding!

6 Sep

After many trials and tribulations, we managed to survive the Wedding of the Century.

A lot of the problems were caused by the bride either freaking out over nothing (The limo will be black instead of pearl grey! The sky is falling!) and not realizing she didn’t have to do everything herself.  She had made arrangements with a friend to do the girls hair, but didn’t think she had time to get her own hair done, too. She thought she had to be at the church herself to let in the florist and the caterer, and asked the hairdresser to meet her at church to finish her hair.

“Do you have a key?”

rachels-cake“No. Do I need one?”

I informed her that the Altar Guild or The Squire would take care of opening up, and she should have her hair done here or at the salon, but it was not a good idea to try to do it at church. For one thing, I knew she’d be jumping up every twenty seconds to try to tell the professionals how to do their jobs.

I had finally simply given up on getting her to decide on a cake, and just did something I hoped she would like. Carrot cake, fondant, green ribbon, and silk flowers. She loved it! (I think it’s a tad gaudy, but what the heck.)

In fact, the caterer liked it well enough to ask me if I did these professionally! I told him I’ve done a lot of cakes, but because I don’t have a professional kitchen – not with a dog and cat in the house! – I don’t really do them for sale. Hmm. “Well, if something came up, I could do the cake here at church, because this is a commercial kitchen.” So, we swapped telephone numbers, and we shall see what happens.

Anyway, we got them hitched without a hitch. The bride was so emotional she choked up over her vows, and the groom was simply glowing. The kids all filled their parts perfectly, and all was well.

Now, The Squire and I are watching the younger daughter until they get back on the 12th, and we’ll be lucky if we all survive.  Pray for us.


The Perfect Gift

1 Sep

Looking for the perfect shower, wedding or housewarming gift for a clergy couple? Look no more! Whether they are newly weds, or just moving into a new rectory, we have the perfect thing.

Liturgical colander