Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkeys - Happy Thanksgiving!

Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.
Henry Van Dyke
Happy Thanksgiving! 

In my family, there has been an ongoing debate whether there is a difference between domestic turkeys and wild turkeys.  My niece simply does not believe that there are wild turkeys.  She says "Turkeys are turkeys."  Well, in rebuttal, I will post pictures and testimony, showing the difference between these breeds of turkeys.

Domesticated Turkey Pictures

      Wild Turkey Picture

Second, I have found numerous documentation that says there is a difference between wild and domesticated turkeys.

From, regarding the physical traits of each turkey:
Domestic turkeys are incapable of flying or even running very fast; they make easy pickings for any predator in nature. Their neck skin, or wattles, are heavier. Snoods, the finger-like appendage that hangs over the bill, are longer and breasts much larger and broader. The domestic also possesses a temperament suited to confinement.
Wild turkeys are sleek, alert and built for speed and survival. Its senses are sharpened through generations of living in a harsh, unforgiving environment. A wild turkey that loses its caution could become a predator’s dinner. This constant state of caution has made the wild turkey one of the toughest game animals in the world to hunt or even photograph.
There are many different breeds of turkeys, however there are two varieties, domestic and wild. The wild turkey lives and breeds in the wild and some are kept as pets. It can fly and is said to be smarter than the domestic. The domestic turkey are the type eaten on thanksgiving and they cannot fly. The domestic and wild turkeys are physically different. Domestic turkeys are much larger than the wild turkeys. Wild turkeys have brown tipped tails, while the domestic is white. A wild turkey is much faster than the domestic turkey. The fastest wild turkey can run up to 35 mph, while a full grown domestic turkeys pace is a slow walk (females are a little faster because they weigh less than the male). Wild Turkeys have better eyesight and hearing than domestic turkeys.
Domestic turkeys weigh about twice what a wild turkey weighs. Male Wild Turkeys grow to about four feet long, including the tail. Females grow to about three feet. A wild turkey can have a wings span up to 5 feet wide. Domestic turkeys are much heavier and larger than wild turkeys. Female domestic turkeys are a lot smaller than male domestic turkeys.

Wikipedia says:  The great majority of domesticated turkeys have white feathers, although brown or bronze-feathered varieties are also raised.

At, they say that:  Domestic turkeys have a white tail tip.

At, I found:
Today's farm-raised, domestic turkeys are descendents of wild turkeys that thrived in Mexico and Central America. Domestic turkeys are generally bigger and heavier than wild turkeys, and they're bred to give hungry people more of their favorite cuts -- the breasts and drumsticks.

I think I have shown adequate evidence to show that there is a difference between domestic and wild turkeys.  Do you agree?  (I told you, Mandie!)

Easy Recipe

Here is an easy recipe that my family served the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Turkey a la King

1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 1/4 cups milk
3 cups cooked turkey, cubed

Heat until bubbling.  Serve over toast with mashed potatoes.  Yumm!

Giving thanks,
Aunt Janet


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blessings in Small Packages

But as for you, be strong and do not give up,
for your work will be rewarded.
2 Chronicles 15:7

Ever stop and shout at the top of your lungs: "Stop the world and let me off.  I've had enough.  Enough, enough, ENOUGH!  Please make it all go away!" Then I usually pause and quietly ask: "Hi, remember me?  I try so hard.  Help me, please!"

Okay, I've had one of the decades.  You know, the kind that everything and anything goes wrong.  I've tried to keep a cheerful spirit, I've tried to be kind and turn the other cheek, I've gave to others, without them realizing or acknowledging it, and I've prayed so hard, asking, and then pleading for this to end.  I've:
  • even tried old wife's tails  (burying St. Joseph, a couple of times for good measure, being prepared "just in cause I got into an accident" or something doesn't go according to plan), 
  • contemplated superstitions (Did I break a mirror?  Since I rescued a black cat living in the building's basement, are they possessed?  Did anyone die in the buildings, and now that person haunts them?  I walked under a ladder millions of times while we were working on them - is that why I'm having bad luck?),
  • and even looked into my spirituality (Did I hurt someone and not know it?  Is it because I don't go to church every week?  Was there someone in need that I did not take care of?  Did I do something wrong and unchristian like?).
Well, in my journey to find answers, I did discover a couple of things.  The person that I may have not taken care of is myself.  I need to take time to enjoy the small things in life, and be gracious for the many good things that happen to me.  For example, this week I finally went into our piggy bank, and, even though there is negative in the bank, God keeps sending me money for daily living, so I'm never without what I truly need.  First the piggy bank - it bought gas to get me to work this week, and food so I could eat this week.  I've had a lot of friends buy jewelry, food, and kitchen gadgets from my businesses this week, so more money will be coming in shortly.  So, He has taken care of my needs this week.

I was getting tired of turning the other cheek.  Then I found the following thought -  "Why must we turn the other cheek? Why must we give our cloak to one who’s already stolen our coat? Maybe it is because we know that nothing can really harm us in the end. Sure, a slap on the cheek may hurt, but it would soon heal, if we believe and allow it to. Sure, we may have lost our coat and our cloak. But through the laws of the universe and the goodness of God, we shall recover whatever it is we may have lost… and much more."  Thanks Jocelyn Soriano, author of "I Take Off the Mask Blog".

Lastly, I learned that God sends family and friends when it seems intolerable.  Family that is there when you can't stop the tears, friends with like problems to complain with, friends who will treat you to a movie because you don't have any money, friends that will have a home show for you to help make money, and family and friends that will call just to see how you are doing.  All this in just one week.  I am truly blessed with giving and caring family and friends, and God is awesome.  He truly does take care of me!

Money Savings Tip

Have an emergency fund of $1000.00.  After reading numerous books and talking to many financial consultants, I've discovered how important this is.  Especially after this week.  Money ran out because a large check I received bounced nine days after I deposited it.  Which leads to my second tip...

After talking to the bank, I discovered that a deposited check could take up to two weeks to clear or be returned for insufficient funds.  So, even though you deposited the check at the beginning of the week, the money may not be in your account for two weeks.  If you keep this in mind, you will not bounce any checks that you write.  And, if you have an emergency fund, you will be prepared in case this ever does happen.

You may say, like me, I don't have $1000 to put in an emergency fund.  I was told to save half of what is left over from your living expenses, and put it into an emergency fund until I have the $1000.  Then, only touch this fund when emergencies arise - like a received check bouncing, a car breaking down, a washer on the fritz, etc.  A very valuable lesson.  I wish I learned it a couple of months ago.

Money Making Tips

Spread the word about your business.  In my case, I started to hand out catalogs, email out specials, and just talk to people about my situation.  Even though I still have major financial problems, the outpouring of support and orders really helps.  Thanks!  If you are interested in buying one of the products I sell (jewelry, tasty foods, or kitchen gadgets), please email me at

One request - If you do your Christmas shopping through the internet, please start at my blog, and click away.  I get a small percentage of whatever sells.  I will be updating my business links this weekend.  So, you'll be able to shop, directly from my site, at Sears, Kmart, Kohls, Barnes and Nobles, and many more.  In appreciation for your help, I thank you!  No amount is too small to help a friend in need.

I am grateful,
Aunt Janet

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Indian Summer

... the Indian summer, attains its amplitude and heavenly perfection, -- the temperatures; the sunny haze; the mellow, rich delicate, almost flavoured air: Enough to live -- enough to merely be.
Walt Whitman

I love when Indian summer arrives.  We have experienced a little taste of the cold, the leaves have changed colors, and the days grow shorter.  Then, almost out of no where, the warmth returns one last time to tease us - to give us a brief time outdoors without the nipping cold begging us to go inside. 

Last weekend, we saw Indian summer.  We harvested the last of our fall crops, raked and burned leaves, and cleaned out the garden.  Maggie, our lab, sat patiently in the garden, waiting for brussel sprouts picked straight of the stalk or a cherry tomato that escaped the frost.  It was a simple and peaceful weekend.

Money Savings Tip

I just heard of a great way to save money.  Angel Food Ministries is a non-profit, non-denominational organization dedicated to providing food relief and financial support to communities throughout the United States.  There are no qualifications, minimums, income restrictions, or applications.  Simply go to their website,, and place your order on-line. 

What do you get?  For $30, you get a variety of fresh and frozen foods, enough to make a week's worth of food for a family of four.  I've been told that the food is good quality and delicious, and you won't believe how much you get.  The $30 Signature Box includes meats, vegetables, breakfast products, and some dairy items.  The average retail price for these items would be around $60.  They say that there is no second hand, damaged, or out-dated products.  In addition, the food selection changes each month.

They also have specials that vary from month to month.  This month's specials include 3 meat specials and 1 fresh fruit and veggie box.

Orders must be placed by a certain date, and items must be picked up at the designated site (usually a church) during a certain time frame.  For November 2009, for my area, orders must be placed by November 11th, and picked up at the church on Saturday, November 21st between 9:30 and 10:30 AM.  The dates may be different in your area.  If the order is not picked up, many churches donate the food to those in need.  In addition, Angel Food Ministries encourages using the money you save to help others in need.

This is a wonderful ministry, and one that many can benefit from.  I placed my order tonight, and have encouraged family and friends to place their order (so we can carpool to pick it up).


My mother-in-law cans applesauce every year, and, if my nieces find out we brought some home, they are over in a heartbeat.  I even have to hide the jars, or they would disappear (after one of their visits).  Trying to remember it from memory, I think that the following recipe may be pretty close.

Homemade Applesauce

Apples - I use apples that are sweet
Cinnamon, to taste
Sugar, if needed

The amount of apples you use will depend on if you want it for a meal or two, or for canning.  You will get about 12-16 quarts of applesauce per bushel of apples.

Wash, peel, and cut apples into chunks.  I usually use my apple wedger, and then cut each wedge into about 4 pieces. 

Fill pot with about 1 inch of water.  Place cut up apples in pot.  Turn heat to high, and when it starts really cooking, turn it down to medium until the apples are soft.

Put the softened apples through a sieve, or, if you like really chunky applesauce, use a potato masher to mash to the consistency that you like.  Mix in cinnamon to taste.  You can also add sugar if needed.  Just remember, add a little at a time.  Rule of thumb:  You can keep adding, but you can't take away once it's added, so just a little at a time.

If you are canning, please follow the directions for canning applesauce in your canning cookbook.  If you're just making it for dinner, you can either eat it warm or cool it for later use, and enjoy!

My Pets

For those of you who follow my blog, thank you for your prayers and patience during my time of loss.  She fought until the end.  I saw the pain in her eyes, and I knew.  The vet said that she was a very brave girl, and stuck it out until the pain was too great.  Just to let you know, we miss her terribly but we are adjusting.  Yes, Maggie still looks for Puppy to go outside, and we have not picked up her bowl yet, but the memories of her keep us going.  At first, I kept myself so busy that I did not have time to grieve.  I did not write because I knew my feelings would surface.  I was afraid that if I cried, the tears would not end.  She was definitely my baby, my Puppy.  Towards the end of her stay with us, I couldn't leave the room without her barking for me to come and get her (she needed help standing up).  So, my friends, thank you again for your understanding.  I know that, along with those who have gone before her, Puppy is waiting for me at Rainbow Bridge.

Oh - by the way, Maggie is trying to tell her dad that she is mature and old enough to have her own puppy to mother and teach, just like Puppy did with her.  She misses her friend, mentor, and dog-mom very much.  Usually, she's the first out of bed.  Lately, we've had to go wake her up.  Also, we believe that she's having more seizures due to her grief.  Puppy played with her until the end, not as rough and no running around, but laying on the ground, barking, growling, and play-biting.  Puppy was always very verbal with Maggie.  One thing I did learn is that Maggie followed Puppy everywhere, not me :(  Now, Maggie shares her time between her dad and me.  But, dad, she needs a friend that would play with her the way dogs play - barking, growling, biting, running and jumping.  Are you listening to your Maggie, dad?

So, hopefully, I'm back.  That is, after I get through everything I scheduled for the rest of the year.  (I am a big distractor - I'll keep myself so busy that I don't deal with what really needs my attention.)

Aunt Janet
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