Sunday, August 30, 2009

Preserving the Harvest

Putting food by is the antidote for running scared.
Janet Greene

It's canning day tomorrow!  Canning has become a past time in my household.  Each year, the vegetables are harvested, preserved, and enjoyed.  Salsa and tomatoes, sweet relish and pickles, green beans and tomato sauce, and something new, maybe ketchup or mint jelly.

Starting at a young age, my nieces gathered at my home, sometimes one, sometimes all, dicing and slicing, scalding and peeling, jarring and canning.  When making tomato sauce, they flocked to my house, fighting over who could crank the juicer next.  (No lie!) 

They have learned the pleasure of canning.  When you can, you gather to celebrate the harvest.  It is a time of reconnecting, working together, and enjoying this shared time.  When we are preserving the harvest, the kitchen is filled with chatting and laughing.

Putting food by or preserving food is the antidote for running scared.  Not only does it save money (so your cupboard isn't bear in winter), it brings family and friends together, to talk and help each other sort through the many complexities of life.  Your loved ones help ease the fear of everyday problems, so you won't be running scared.

Money Savings

Canning really does save money. According to Thomas Bewick, national program leader for horticulture of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, for tomatoes, “If you harvest 30 pounds at $2 per pound, that plant is worth $60,” he says. “But it only cost $2.90 to buy the plant, a few cents for water and 15 cents for the fertilizer.”

The initial investment for jars and canning supplies may seem a little expensive, but they will last you for years.  You can find these canning items at your mom's basement collecting dust, a local hardware store, grocery store, garage sale, flea market, or department store, such as K-Mart.  I'll usually load up on lids at the end of the season when they go on sale.  Also, let others know that you are canning and looking for jars.  My family has contributed boxes and boxes (and more boxes) of jars.  For the preserved gifts that we give, I ask them to return the jars after they have enjoyed whatever is in the jar.

Here is our canning cabinet.  My husband's goal is to can 50 pints of green beans.  So far, he's up to 42 pints.  Doesn't it look pretty?  And it saved us $$.  He also have made relish, jam, and pickles.  I made the salsa.  (He's a self-employeed carpenter, so you can guess how busy he is right now.)  Tomorrow I'll be canning more salsa and tomatoes.  If someone stops by to help, I might even try making some zucchini pickles.  (Hey Jill - where's my zucchini bread you promised to make me from all the zucchini I gave you?)

Easy Recipe

This is a great recipe to make on canning day, when you are too busy to cook a meal, and your stove has canning pots boiling away. You just throw it in the crock pot, and let it cook all day long.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle root beer
1 (18 ounce) bottle your favorite barbecue sauce
8 hamburger buns

Place the pork tenderloin in a slow cooker; pour the root beer over the meat. Cover and cook on low until well cooked and the pork shreds easily, 6 to 7 hours. Note: the actual length of time may vary according to individual slow cooker. Drain well. Stir in barbecue sauce. Serve over hamburger buns.

Aunt Janet's Famous Quotes

This is a new one, never quoted before.  "I will share my salsa or pickles with whoever helps.  So, get your butt over here, and start chopping."  I enjoy your company, and desperately need your help! 

All are welcome to help,
Aunt Janet

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Listen to the Silence & Hear

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't being said.
~Author Unknown

I had one of those nights where I just did not understand what was being said to me. I kept asking questions, but still didn't get it. She became more persistent, trying to explain herself, sometimes loudly, but I still couldn't understand. After going through everything I thought was being said, I finally realized, she wasn't talking to me. She was talking to Maggie.

Okay - Puppy kept barking all night. One of those barks that is trying to tell you something. Puppy is dying of bone cancer, so I try to listen closely to what she is trying to say. Having been her mom for over eleven years, I usually get it. I understand her, and she understands me. But tonight was one of those nights that I just wasn't hearing her. After I asked her for the umpteenth time if she wanted to go out, she decided to take me up on it, only to trick Maggie so she'd get up and go to the door. Puppy then went to the spot where Maggie had been sleeping. All along, she wasn't talking to me - she just wanted Maggie to move. So, in the end, as Maggie continued to snore, she used me to help her communicate to Maggie "Get up! I want that spot, now!"

Now, content, she is sound asleep, and Maggie is bugging me. Not having as many years with her as Puppy, I don't completely understand her yet, but I think she wants to go out.

How many times do we communicate with others, but don't understand? Sometimes, we need to look at what isn't being said to completely understand. If I would really looked, I would have seen Puppy keep looking at Maggie. But, I didn't really look. Instead, I was caught up in what was being said. This wise old dog taught me a lesson today - what someone is trying to communicate is not always said in words, but also in actions and behavior.

Time Saving Tips

I hate paperwork! If someone would come to my house unexpectedly, they would find piles of paper. It's on the table, counter, credenza, dresser - everywhere! (Now, if I knew you were coming, it would be hidden in a box somewhere.) I've tried different techniques, and even took an on-line course once, but they didn't fit my personality.

I need tips on how to deal with my paperwork, cheaply because I'm broke. I know someone has a system that will help even me, and thus, save me time and money, please! I'm desperate.

Okay, for my time saving tip, I know that they say to file your paid bills right away. If I do it is a question that I will leave unanswered for the moment.

Easy Recipe

There is nothing like home grown tomatoes. And my tomatoes are ripening on the vines as we speak. Here is one easy recipe that I love.

Marinated Tomatoes

Go out to that garden and pick how ever many tomatoes as you need to feed everyone. Wash & core them using the handy tomato corer I sell. Slice the tomatoes thinly with that great tomato knife that I also sell. Place in a bowl, and cover with Italian dressing. I prefer to make the Good Seasons Italian dressing. Let it marinate for at least 15 minutes before serving.

(Now, if you are interested in that great tomato corer or knife, email me at, and I will be happy to send you a catalog.)

Listen to the silence,
Aunt Janet

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


In a circle
on a beautiful fall day
letting go
and helping the wonderful dog trying to sleep on the grass behind us
ease out of this world
filled with as much love and music
as we could give her.

Selah, Bana, Selah.

Posted by: jlseagull -

I sat on the grass with Puppy laying by me. She loves the outdoors, and we could tell she was happy being outside, next to me, laying in the grass, listening to the sounds around her. Her ears would perk up, and she would look in the direction of whatever was catching her attention at that moment. She was serene.

Puppy is dying. I know the time is coming. But not today. She's not ready to go. My husband and I talked it through as we watched her enjoy the cool breeze and sunshine. We debated - is today the day?

My family trickled in, one by one. Puppy wagged her tail with greetings of love, and soaked in all the pets, hugs, and kisses that were bestowed on her. She made them laugh. Is today the day?

After taking into thought her pain level and mobility, she will spend a little more time with us.

I found this song, and the post fit today so perfectly - A song for a Dying Dog on a Beautiful Fall Day. Read it, and you will understand. It ends with Selah, Bana, Selah. Bana is his friend's dying dog's name.

Found repeatedly in the Psalms, although the exact meaning of the Hebrew word "Selah" is lost, it is believed to mean "we should 'measure' or value carefully what has just been said". So, to me, this song is saying to value the life of this dog, and to look at the happiness and love that she has given unselfishly.

So, for today, Puppy is content. The medicine is keeping the pain to a minimum. We will need to help her get around, but she is not suffering greatly. We can wait a little longer before letting go, using this time to reflect upon the love that this precious dog has given to us, and is still giving to us, and trust that she will tell us when it is time to say goodbye.

Selah, Puppy, Selah.


I have not posted a lot lately because most of my time has been spent working, taking care of the apartments, taking care of Puppy, and gardening. One new discovery I made - a natural way to ward off those June Bugs that love my green bean plants and raspberries.

Fill up a bucket about 1/4 of the way with soapy water (dish soap). Hand catch as many of the June Bugs as you can, and put them into the bucket of water. They will drown. Keep the bucket next to the plants. The other June Bugs pick up on the odor of the dead ones, and will wander elsewhere. You can keep hand picking the bugs and putting them in the bucket if you would like.

As for my bean plants, the June Bugs are down to a minimum, so this hint I found really seems to be working. Now, I have to deal with the spider mites on the plants. This I know how to take care of, and will share it with you at a later time.

Does anyone know how to keep the varmints from knocking down and eating all my corn?? I'll share, but I want to at least enjoy a little of it!

Aunt Janet's Famous Sayings

Well, as many of you can guess, I don't tolerate belittling people. Along with "There's a nice way to say everything, and a way to say everything nice", I'm also known to say "Don't say that! If you say it again, I'll smack you in the head." And all the younger ones know that if they dare say it again, they will get a quick smack on the head. Name calling hurts, and there is no need for it. And, for those I defend, you are very welcome.

I love you all, and you will get a smack if you do this! So, you are intelligent. Find a nice way to say it! (Oh - Puppy just told the cats this. She defends everyone in the family, and will not tolerate fighting of any kind.)

Selah, my friend, Selah,
Aunt Janet

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Trust and Betrayal

Trust is like a vase.. once it's broken, though you can fix it,
the vase will never be same again.
Author Unknown

There are times when, in my heart, I know something is amiss, something is just not right. My mom calls it a woman's intuition. My friend calls it being overly sensitive or a keen to what is happening around me, and thus being able to see something is not right. I think it's God saying "Knock, knock. This isn't what I want it to be. Be aware."

I tend to trust people and their sincerity. Instead of having a person earn their trustworthiness, I tend to trust them until they prove me wrong. Sometimes it's very apparent when this happens. They do or say something that makes you distrust them immediately - a lie, a word of advice from a loved one, or broken promises.

Sometimes it's subtle. It's looking at what's around me, putting together the pieces, and realizing that someone is not doing right by me. It's that knocking. At times, I hide from the realization, not wanting to believe that the person is doing something to hurt me. Other times, I just know in my gut.

I am not talking about minor hurts. A friend not keeping a date or sharing a secret, a spouse forgetting to take care of a matter that they said they would, a child forgetting to call, a colleague telling a white lie... I'm talking about deception, continuing neglect, behavior that hurts you, and gives the other person an unfair or manipulative advantage, whether it be for pure selfishness, neglect, or betrayal. Since I tend to be trusting, people mistake it for being naive or imperceptive. They think they can get a fast one past me, that I'll never notice, and I'll just go along.

My mom told me to trust these feelings. God gave them to me to protect me from hurts, but it's up to me to decide to ignore the knocking or respond to it. If I don't respond to it, more hurt is likely to follow. If I do respond, either verbally or silently, I am standing up for the truth, what is right, and a chance for healing. As the Word has said, the response should be given with love, patience, and fairly, not intending to hurt the deceiver, but to stop the behavior. Does it really matter if they know you have knowledge of their lack of trustworthiness?

Is God knocking on your heart? If He's knocking, remember, respond as He would want you to respond.


These pickles are easy to make and ready in no time, and they last a long time in the fridge. I usually make bunches, knowing my family will steal a jar or two.

Bread & Butter Pickles - Ready to Eat

7 cups thinly sliced cucumbers
1 cup thinly sliced green peppers
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 tsp. celery seed
2 tsp. salt

Let stand until juice forms. Do Not Drain.

2 cups sugar
1 cup vinegar

Pour over cucumber mixture. Keep refrigerated.

Aunt Janet's Famous Sayings

When describing someone, the word stupid is not allowed to be said in my house. Everyone who has tried, will know "No one is stupid. They may be ignorant of the facts, or they may have done something that was not right, but they are not stupid."

Pin It!