Monday, June 29, 2009

Flea Market Binder-book

This blog is mostly about my bit o' earth, but I have many other interests as well... or er, maybe vices?

Anyway, one of my "vices" is the overwhelming urge to have BOOKS. My hubby insists that if I walk near to a bookstore there is a strange kind of magnetism that overtakes me and renders me completely incapable of resistance.

Well... ok, he's pretty much right.
I am most completely a bibliophile... sounds like a bad word, doesn't it?

I simply love anything leathery and old. The older, the better.

Well... I went to the local flea market... one of the best places to find old books, right? I always go too late in the day. I know, I know... silly me. But I do...

I walked into the main entrance and headed toward my usual routine of walking up and down the isles... when right near the front I noticed a guy who has everything priced at $1.00. How could I ignore that? I walk in and started looking around. A nice young man walked over and asked if I saw anything I was interested in. I said "not yet..." and we got into a little conversation. It turns out he's a student ... school is out and he's leaving for the summer... he has to sell everything (emphasis on the "has to" part) ... thus the "Everything must go ... $1.00" sign. I thought he was a nice kid, so I looked through his row of boxes... nothing was unpacked... perfect!

Then I spyed this....

Donna. "Who's Donna?" I asked him....
"Oh an old lady I know (I immediately thought ... "probably my age")

"She had a few things to get rid of, so I told her I'd add them to my stuff" ...

Well, this sure "binder thingie" looked a bit "dated" ... and at first glance, it was pretty ugly as well.

Other than the binder he had mostly "guy stuff," so I told him I'd be back.
He gave me that "knowing nod" that said ... "yeah, sure."

I went through the flea market and didn't find a thing I wanted... certainly nothing I "needed," but in the back of my mind that "binder thingie" kept popping up, so I headed back. It was the end of the day anyway. As I walked up, he was packing to go, but still had a ton of "guy stuff" left over.

I stopped in and asked him... "what will you do with all this stuff now?"

"... uh... Salvation Army... but I sure could've used the money."

Needless to say, I felt sorry for him. I'm such a wimp that way...

I picked up the "binder thingie" and asked him ... "what kind of book is this anyway?"
He didn't know... but suddenly I got a bright idea. ( Do I really need another idea? Argh!)

I told him I'd help him with his money issue, and gave him a dollar. We had a laugh over that... and maybe mine was the only dollar he made that day. I really hope he has enough money to get home ... wherever that is. I have the satisfaction of knowing I helped a little. (:

At first glance, this is just an ugly brown binder type of book...

But on second glance, you will see that its a unique kind of binder book...

Isn't that cool? It sits up when open!

My idea?

What if I could turn this into a wonderful RECIPE book ... that has the appeal of something like Judy would make over at Visual Anthologies? It sits up so nicely! It would be perfect to use while cooking or baking.

I'm definitely not as adept at paper and books as Judy is, but I can give it a try ... maybe?

The big problem is that I already have a huge pile of projects waiting to be completed... and books waiting to be read... and the garden to harvest and put up... and ... and... /o:`

Do I really need another project?


But how could I resist?
...considering that its a "BOOK, "
...and its a unique book
...and that mysterious megnetism was right there at the flea market!

Does anyone have an idea what this binder book was actually used for? I've never seen one like it, so I don't have a clue. I'd love to know if you have an idea.

Have a great week everyone~ (:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

~Happy Father's Day~
to the 3 Dads in my life

To the 1st Best Dad in my life
You've always been there for me
~I love you Dad~

To the 2nd Best Dad in my life
You're the best Dad
I could have chosen for my children

~I love you Honey~

To the 3rd Best Dad in my life
I love the Dad you've become
to our 1st Grandbaby

~I love you Son~

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Today's Harvest

Lots and lots of it (:

I've learned to love this plant. Until last summer I had never even tried it. Then a French friend told me about how wonderful it was, so I decided to try it. I went to the grocery store and bought 1, brought in home and made a potato-fennel soup recipe I found online. Everyone in the family loved it... so that settled it. I bought 2 dozen fennel starts this spring just to see if it grows well in my garden...

Well obviously it does!

In fact, it grew so well that we had way more than we can eat. Needless to say, we took about a dozen and a half large stalks down to the homeless shelter... where the cooks will turn it all into a delicious meal for the homeless for tonight. I also took my potato-fennel soup recipe to them. They already had one of their own! Those people are amazing... they take whatever is donated to the shelter and turn it into great meals!

All info from "All Recipes"

Fennel Nutrition and Info:

Bulb fennel is a powerhouse of nutrition. A one cup serving provides you with:

  • 4% RDA iron and calcium
  • 17% RDA vitamin C
  • 3 grams dietary fiber
  • Only 27 calories
  • It is also high in potassium and surprisingly enough Vitamin A.

Selecting Fennel
Look for vegetables that are firm and heavy in your hand, with a fresh aspect to the green top, and no brown spots on the bulb.

Storing Fennel
You can store fennel in the refrigerator for several days, although it does tend to lose some of its flavor the longer you keep it. Wrap it well or store it in a plastic container to keep it fresh and avoid having its flavor mingle with everything else in your refrigerator.

Preparing Fennel
Before preparing these fennel recipes, you need to cut off some of bulb. Begin by removing the green tops, which can be set aside and dried to flavor a soup or stew. If you want whole bulbs just cut off a small piece of the base. Otherwise, cut it off at about 1/2 inch, then remove the two most outer leaves which can be tough.

Raw Fennel
You can serve raw fennel slices with a dip. The leaves make great scoopers and the fennel adds a pleasant licorice taste. Fennel can be chopped finely and served in a salad as in the recipe below. You might also like to try raw fennel with apples, melon, ham, or smoked salmon.

And one other recipe from "All Recipes" just for fun
Baked Fennel with Parmesan

recipe image
Rated: rating
Photo By: Allrecipes
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 35 Minutes
Ready In: 45 Minutes
Servings: 4
"A very simple but totally delicious dish. Fennel is baked with cream, creme fraiche and parmesan cheese. An ideal accompaniment to many tomato based italian dishes as the creaminess balances nicely with the tomato."
2 fennel bulbs
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup half-and-half cream
3/4 cup creme fraiche
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Cut the base off of the fennel bulbs, and cut a cone shape into the base to remove the core. You can see the core because it is whiter than the surrounding green. This is optional, but helps the fennel cook faster. Slice the fennel vertically (upright) into 1/4 inch thick slices.
2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the fennel, and fry for about 5 minutes. Stir in the half-and-half and creme fraiche until well blended. Transfer to a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.
3. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is golden brown and the fennel is tender enough to pierce with a fork.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2009 Printed from 5/7/2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Baring Aaaallllll....

Yes, I am baring all today...
telling you all...

about my unfinished projects!

I asked myself why I'd expose myself this way...

and I have the answer
I figure that if I do,

maybe I will embarrass myself enough
to actually finish them!

Very attractive painted chandelier

A couple of YEARS ago I found this at the local flea market.
I fell in love with it and had all kinds of ideas...

Now, I can't remember what I was thinking,
although its still lovely!

Maybe candles in it, and hanging on the back porch?

But NO...
here it hangs...
gathering cobwebs...

A Pique Assiette Tabletop
which belongs....

on this!

Tall pillar with base
Yes, the table (once finished) is to go on top
of this
pillar I found in a the dump...

And besides that...
I was going to plaster

the base with lovely shells.

but here it sits...

the top on the back porch
the bottom out in the garden.

We could be sitting at this
pique assiette table
with the lovely shell-encrusted base.

But no...
instead, its collecting cobwebs.

This should be a crime, right?

Garden sink
This is self explanatory...
The fence needs repainting
and the garden sink counter
that hubby made for me

should be tiled by now...

(3 years and counting!)

on this handmade redwood heart garden shelf...

on this cast iron hose holder...

on the back of the garden gate...

Now I'm really feeling guilty!
Maybe my plan to expose my procrastination is working!


And now...
just to make myself feel a little better,
a few pretty pictures of clean places in my garden.

and a few pretty flowers
I think I'll leave this gate just the way it is though...
its kinda pretty with all the moss.
A wonderful week to all

... as for me?
"Get stuff done Vicki!"

Friday, June 12, 2009

Once upon a time...

There was a family who were so fortunate as to purchase a bit o' earth.
It was only after many back breaking days, weeks and years
that the money was saved to obtain this precious piece of earth.

President James Madison made it official.

It belonged to a family for 4 generations

(back row far right: Great Grandma Minnie and Grandpa Johnny)

Upon this piece of rich soil, the family put down roots,
and watched them grow.
The family took much pride in its Amish roots,
and the Home Place was built by Amish workmanship.
They took pride in the value of a meticulously operated farm
that raised corn and all sundry of farm animals.

They took official photos of it (below)

With much blood, sweat and tears
this place was built from oak trees cut right from the property
by Amish craftsmen. They cut and lumbered the precious wood
They stacked the milled lumber in the order
of which each would be needed
The foundation timbers on top,
followed by the wall timbers and flooring, etc.
until the bottom layer contained the roof materials.

Being of Amish decent (and that's another story for another time...)
it was a good house... transformed into a home,
the house became know as "The Home Place" to the family.

It was a place that was passed down from generation to generation,
(where my dear daddy was born...
and I'm sure so many other family members as well)

Until one day Harold fell in love with Zella Mae

He asked her to marry him...
He was a handsome hard-working man, and she accepted.
He took her home ... to the Home Place,
which at the time in 1933, belonged to his own parents.

The two lived happily for a few years
in the one room summer house behind "the Home Place"...

...until one day Harold realized his family was growing.

(my own dear sweet daddy is on the far right... the eldest son)
Harold worked hard, until one day it was time for his own
parents (Minnie and Johnny) to retire
and pass the Home Place on to their son.

They built a new fangled home just up the road...

and Harold and Zella Mae moved their little family into the Home Place.
When they first moved in... the house was not "electrified"
and it needed two more bathrooms... instead of an outhouse.

Within the Ohio farming community of the late 1800's,
the Home Place was considered to be a rather up-scale house.
At the time of its building, it cost approximately $10,000.00
(perhaps comparable to a $4-5M in today's money)
How Grandpa JM did that, none of us know...

It was a place where grandchildren of 4 generations came to visit.
(Me (middle), my sister and brother in 1966)

It was a place where Harold and Zella grew older

...until one day they were too old to continue managing such a large farm.
All their children had gone to college and on to other careers...
leaving the farm and Home Place physically behind...
but always and forever kept dear in their hearts.

None of the family members were in a position to keep the Home Place
and it was sold to a company who didn't care for the house.
They used the land, and the house was left empty and alone.

It fell in to disrepair...
and no one lived in it for a number of years.
It suffered...
and the company wanted to tear it down...

...until one day a woman came along who saw it for the grand old house it was!
She bought it... falling down roof and all...
She worked hard and made it liveable again.

Again, with much blood, sweat and tears the Home Place
was refurbished and built up...

Unfortunately the barn was too far gone, and had to be torn down.
I have a piece of that barn sitting on my hearth (photo sometime later)

So the Home Place lives on a bit pink!
But the family doesn't care about the color!
The family only cares that the Home Place is now another family's
Home Place...
its loved
and its cared for

The Home Place still houses a family
My family in front of the Home Place
February 13, 2009
following the funeral of my beloved grandmother,
Zella Mae

~And it lived happily ever after~

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Valeriana officinalis

When I started my garden where we live a number of years ago, I planted a number of special plants. They are an herb call Valerian. My grandmother used to tell me it was good in the garden because it attracted earth worms... and every organic gardener knows that earth worms are our friends. So I planted some, and have added a few new ones each year since. It's true, whenever I dig near my Valerian plants... lots of earth worms at work, making good soil for my vegies! (:

The interesting thing about this plant is that the flowers have a wonderfully delicate appearance, as well as an unmistakably sweet aroma... but the roots are another matter. They are very pungent smelling. Personally, I love the scent of them, but many people don't.

Cats love the smell of valerian and find it quite intoxicating. It is useful stuffed inside cat toys... which is what I will do with the roots I dig this fall. They make great gifts for friends of cats.

History and folklore say that the word comes from the Latin word "valere," from which the common name of this plant originated, and means "to be strong or healthy." It may also refer to the healing applications of the plant or it may refer to its strong odor. The ancient Greeks called this plant "Phu" (like phew!). It was believed that this plant had the properties of turning anything bad into good.

If anyone has an interest, here is an in depth report on the virtues of this lovely plant, Valeriana officinalis,

My disclaimer on the use of herbs for the purpose of medicines: Although this plant is used widely in Europe as an anti-anxiety and a sleep enducing herb, I do not promote or encourage its use without consulting a professional.