Sunday, July 31, 2011

Help to Carry On

Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there's always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you don't let show

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

If there is a load you have to bear
That you can't carry
I'm right up the road
I'll share your load
If you just call me

So just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you'd understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
Till I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Lean on me...
                                                         Bill Withers

Look around - there are people in pain.  Behind the facade of a smiling face, they go on, hanging by a fine golden thread to what is real -  where love exists.  Those closest may see these fine strings, may try to catch a hold of the ever wavering, only being defeated because it never quite swings in their direction.  The closest just don't have the power or strength to grab on.

And twirling and swinging, they pretend that love will grab a hold of them as they are propelled in the other direction.  Failing to lean when they are not strong - in the direction of the caring, the wise, the ones who truly care.  The movement plunges them forward, and away, until others are first heartbroken, after time, can't see the golden thread, and go on, leaning on others.

I've reached out.  I tried to hang on.  Now, I can't see you anymore.  But remember, there is still hope.

For those in pain, reach out before the pain becomes to great, before the forces carry you away into the unknown.  If the pain consumes, the unknown surrounds, turn to the known, the truth, the real, and you will find comfort.  Lean on the True Love, and Love will grab a hold of you.  You can't be helped until you ask.

As you surrender, slowly, oh so slowly, the golden thread will turn to a golden rod, visible to all, and love from everywhere will surround you once again.

Written for those I love who pushed me away until, heartbroken, I went on.  Hope exists.  Lean on Him.

Aunt Janet and Janet and friend

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Fable of the Porcupine

I received this in an email, and the parable is so worth sharing!  But have you ever seen a baby porcupine?!  I would pass it along just for this!

Fable of the porcupine

It was the coldest winter ever. Many animals died because of the cold. The porcupines, realizing the situation, decided to group together to keep warm. This way they covered and protected themselves; but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions. After awhile, they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen. So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth. Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. They learned to live with the little wounds caused by the close relationship with their companions in order to receive the warmth that came from the others. This way they were able to survive. Moral of the story: The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person's good qualities.

The real moral of the story......LEARN TO LIVE WITH THE PRICKS IN YOUR LIFE.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Dirty Hands and Pineapple Sorbet

Dirty hands, iced tea,
garden fragrances thick in the air
and a blanket of color before me,
who could ask for more?
Bev Adams, Mountain Gardening

Not me.  I love getting dirt under my nails, sipping a tall cold glass of iced tea, walking past lemon balm, mint, or lavender and getting a whiff of their abundant fragrance.  I love summer!

I have never found a pair of gloves that work right in the garden.  I need to feel the soil between my fingers.  I can't seed, thin plants, or pick weeds with gloves - they just don't work. 

So, if you see me in the summer, please understand that my hands and nails always look dirty.  No matter how much soap I use or how much I scrub, I always have dirt under my nails and dirty rough patches on my hands.  As my niece tells everyone, my aunt's hobby is getting dirt under her nails.


The Strawberry Ice was such a hit that, when I found myself with a couple of ripe pineapples, I found this cool and refreshing sorbet.

Pineapple Sorbet

1 small pineapple, peeled and cored
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Fresh mint sprigs (optional)

Cut pineapple into 2-inch pieces. Place pineapple and lemon juice in a food processor; process until smooth. Add sugar; process 1 minute or until sugar dissolves.  Pour mixture into 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Freeze for about 25 minutes or until icy around edges. Using fork, pull icy portions into middle of pan. Repeat this step every 20 minutes until all the liquid is frozen into flaky, loose crystals. Cover and freeze. When ready to serve, use fork again to scrape crystals into bowls and garnish with fresh mint sprigs, if desired.  Serves about 9.


I overwintered onions last year - leaving them in the ground over the long winter.  To my surprise, they grew larger than any onions I've grown before.  I decided to harvest them last week so I can plant a second crop.   My onions have always been small, and I used them as soon as I picked them.  I never had extra to store for later use.  So, I needed to read up on storing onions.

While researching storing onions, I learned an interesting fact.  I learned that it's abnormal for an onion to flower.  According to Aggie Horticulture at Texas AgriLife Extension Service:

If an onion plant is exposed to alternating cold and warm temperatures resulting in the onion plant going dormant, resuming growth, going dormant and then resuming growth again, the onion bulbs prematurely flower or bolt. The onion is deceived into believing it has completed two growth cycles or years of growth in its biennial life cycle so it finalizes the cycle by blooming. Flowering can be controlled by planting the right variety at the right time.

My onions always bloomed.  What to do?  I know that I buy onion plants that are normally grown in my area, and I do tend to plant them early.  Everyone recommends cuting off the flower or the onion size will be smaller.  So, instead of worrying about planting time and onion varieties, I'll just cut off the flowers.
To store onions, you need to cure them.  According to Ohio State University's Fact Sheet,

Harvest onions when the tops have fallen over and dried. On sunny, breezy days, onions may be pulled and left in the garden for a day or two to dry before they are taken to a curing area. Curing must take place for the onions to be stored for any length of time. Cure onions by placing them in a warm, well-ventilated area until the necks are thoroughly dry. With warm temperatures, good air circulation and low humidity, curing should be completed within two weeks after harvest. Onions are best stored in a cool moderately dry area in ventilated containers.

Aggie Horticulture makes a great suggestion on how to store the onions:

The key to preserving onions and to prevent bruising is to keep them cool, dry and separated. In the refrigerator, wrapped separately in foil, onions can be preserved for as long as a year. The best way to store onions is in a mesh bag or nylon stocking. Place an onion in the bag and tie a knot or put a plastic tie between the onions and continue until the stocking is full. Loop the stocking over a rafter or nail in a cool dry building and when an onion is desired, simply clip off the bottom onion with a pair of scissors or remove the plastic tie. Another suggestion is to spread the onions out on a screen which will allow adequate ventilation, but remember to keep them from touching each other. As a general rule, the sweeter the onion, the higher the water content, and therefore the less shelf life. A more pungent onion will store longer so eat the sweet varieties first and save the more pungent onions for storage.

I am going to try to spread the onions over a screen to dry, then storing them in a mesh bag.  I'll let you know if I have any problems with this method, but I do think that they will be gone before the end of summer.

I live in Planting Zone 4.  If anyone has any other ideas on storing onions, I would greatly appreciate them.

Aunt Janet
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