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Archive for the ‘Winter’ Category

       For a person who spent most of this winter freezing tushie…I can’t be sad that our weather has taken a turn for the better (and warmer); however, for my grandchildren who are coming to visit from a much warmer state, I am sad.  They have been hearing about the record snowfall this year here and have been looking forward to playing in the snow.  Last night it rained all night long…surprising us with such a meltdown of snow…that, I personally can’t believe I didn’t wake up in another land, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.   A Spring fling has decided to tease us this February…we didn’t even get our traditional January thaw like usual.

         The temperatures have gone from single digits to the 50 degree mark in less than a week.  All this next week, it will be warmer than normal.  This does not bode well for getting some recovery snow to at least blanket the ground with a soft white appearance for the grandchildren.  The fates are against them seeing the kind of snow of a kids dreams. 

         On the other hand, as a person who pays, and pays dearly, to warm up a big old farm house during these wintry days…I can’t be truly sad about the snow loss.  🙂  I have a secret desire to feel a tropical heatwave…shhhhhh….don’t tell my grandbabies!!!!

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       People are funny; when things get tight…their fists often get tighter; but not always.  This year, like no other year in recent memory, people are hurting.  They are hurting in many areas financially.  Many have lost their homes, their jobs, their savings…along with medical coverage.  It is a difficult time for many in our nation.

        Most everyone has something that they have been blessed with that they no longer use.  Those things that you have been blessed with and no longer use just might be terribly useful to someone else.  Have extra blankets (or sleeping bags) in the closet or attic that you have no use for?  Someone else has need for them; donate it to a shelter, a church, or an agency that gives to those in need.  Don’t forget places like the Salvation Army or Goodwill.  Let’s challenge ourselves to find ways to have a positive impact on those around us.

         What about checking out deals, when you grocery shop, that make use of buy one get one free…then, donating that extra item to a food pantry?  In fact, things people often run out of and have a hard time replacing are necessities such as laundry soap, shampoos/conditioners, toothpaste, dish soap, toilette paper; when money is limited…having those things donated to a food pantry can really be a big help.  Maybe you have a baby or toddler that has outgrown their diapers or pullups…and you have a partial package left; donate it, don’t let it set on a shelf somewhere unused.  What good are those items doing sitting there collecting dust?

          Do you have warm clothes that either don’t fit, things that aren’t your style; or, perhaps you just have an extra set of clothes that you could pass along?  What about coats or boots, mittens or hats/scarves?  Items such as these are desperately needed in colder temperatures and climates.  The fall and winter weather is unforgiving if a person is not sheltered and dressed appropriately for cold temperatures.  Children and adults are both in need; so, please check your closets and storage areas for things that you are not using.

          Here is another idea; have you had a tree fall on your property that you would like removed?  Offer it to those who heat their homes with wood for free…just for the taking.  Wow…how wonderful to get it removed and bless someone else with the wood who could use it to heat their homes. 

          So you say…you don’t have anything physical to give.  How about donating your time or possibly a service like raking leaves/shoveling snow for an elderly person who you know isn’t able to do it for themselves?  Maybe you could offer to get their mail so they don’t slip on the snow and ice or offer to run some errands for them.  There really are so very many ways to help another person who is in need. 

          Think about the homeless who are living on the streets.  Do you perhaps have a shelter or tent that is not going to be used in the near future?  Can you live without it?  Find an agency or charity that will use it to house those folks who cannot or will not live in a shelter.  We have many veterans and run-aways who live under bridges and tunnels all around this nation.  Is a tent or a shelter from your basement or garage an ideal place to live?  No but, it may just keep someone safer from the extreme elements, temporarily, until they can get back on their feet.

           Are any of these suggestions going to cure the ills our nation is facing; probably not…but, it may just help communicate caring to someone who is feeling desperate and alone.  Think about what you can do to help someone who has it a bit worse than you and yours.  Your donations could mean the difference between life and death for someone; and it doesn’t have to cost you more than a bit of compassion for others!

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          Does it seem like the news scene is exploding with activity to anyone else but me lately?  Geez…each day there are tons of news stories that are equally important…but, there is not enough time to do them justice so i will just touch briefly on the most noteworthy for today.

            The biggest story is that Hillary Clinton the ended her bid for the Democratic nomination for running for the office of the President of the United States…she says that she endorses Senator Barack Obama now and urges her supporters to throw their support to him in his bid for the office of the President of the United States.  This is newsworthy because their duo quest for the Presidency was historic; Hillary because she was a female running for the job…and him because he is the first African American who was running.  Some of Hillary’s supporters are angry and say they will not vote for Barack.  Both Hillary and Barack are calling for unity in the Party so that a Democratic can win the Presidency from the Republicans.

            Today it was announced that Lynda Carter, the actress who played Wonder Woman, found a body in the Potomac River, Washington.  It was a woman and Lynda didn’t have a cell phone so she called to some fishermen to get help.  She stayed near the body until help arrived.   She said it was something anyone would do.  I beg to differ, as earlier this week…a video showed a person being hit by a car and noone stopping to help him out.  The world is slowly becoming desensitized to people in  need.  Good job Lynda for acting with compassion.

            On a sad note….a person of great renown in the sports world passed away.  Jim McKay a wonderful sportscaster who set the bar for todays new crop of televised sportscasters died at the age of 86 at his home in Maryland of natural causes.  I remember watching him while i grew up and he had a voice that you wanted to listen to.  He could create a natural excitement about whatever sport he was addressing at the time.  He was special.

           Also, the weather is playing a big part in the news this past week.  There has been horrendous storms in the central part of the country.  There have been tornadoes, torrential rains, flooding and lightening strikes.  Right now the National Weather Service has issued warnings for 15 counties in Indiana.  There are several dams that are on the brink of failing…and already widespread flooding is occuring.  Parts of several highways have been shut down due to flooding and people are being evacuated in several areas for the same reason.  With rain predicted off and on over the next few days…the threat could become more widespread for the residents of Indiana.

              Last but not least, the Dow Jones dropped 400 points today and the price of oil jumped again making the leap up 13% in the last two days.  The price of gas continues to fly skyward…making many families fearful about their financial future.  There seems to be no end in sight as to the lengths that the gas/oil industry will push the cost of purchasing the much needed precious fuels that make the world go round.  It is frightening to think what this winter will hold when it comes to gasoline and heating fuels. 

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       Today is the day i am making homemade bread rolls; the weather is cold, and i figured that i may as well take advantage of that and warm up the house in a pleasing way.

         It is a time consuming process…but, from the time i started heating the milk , butter and sugar for the base in a small non-stick sauce pan; i start anticipating that nutty, sweet bread smell.  The tangy yeast dissolves in the warm water quickly; and, when added to the liquid base…it starts taking on a life of it’s own.

         I started adding the eggs to the liquid base and whaaaa laaa…the grains and flour start going in.  Soon, it is time for the nitty- gritty of bread baking.

          Time to get rid of the mixing spoon, stick my well washed hands in and just start hand blending all of the ingredients; so that they are all well mixed.  It starts to take on that yeasty bread smell.   It takes a few minutes to get the sticky dough off of my hands.  Well worth the inconvience, i say!

           Put it all in a large glass mixing bowl and cover it up with a towel and let it rise in the warmth of the open oven door.  Waiting is the time consuming part.

            This particular recipe is extra- special good…but, it has to rise twice.  Once in the bowl…then, i pinch off small globs and put them into greased muffin tins.  Let them rise another 20 minutes….until they resemble puffed up, mushroom shaped rolls.

             While the oven does its stuff heating up the dough to the right temperature to finish baking them into the warm, fluffly rolls; I melt the stick of real butter that will be brushed on top to keep in the moisture and add the last finishing touch.

               There is nothing, that says welcome home, like fresh baked bread.    It’s only to be matched with a nice batch of home made chicken soup.  Ummm..it is good to be hibernating on this freezing cold day.  Thank you God for a home to be in and the ingredients to make a wonderful meal that will last for a couple of days.

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      It is official, the punk (Punxsutawney Phil) says six more weeks of winter.  Now Phil, the groundhog from Punxsutawney, Pa about 65 miles  northeast of Pittsburgh, Pa; he says he is never wrong.  Many believe him. 

      He does have nay sayers though….General B. Lee, Phil’s competition from Georgia did not see his shadow.  I don’t know about you…but, this girl is sick of winter…so i choose to go with General Lee. 

      It may be denial and all…but if so, i happily choose to believe that spring will come early.  Denial may be the only way i happen to get through what’s left of winter this year.  It is cold, costly and downright annoying to be stuck in a world of perpetual white for 6 months out of the year, i say!

      By the by, it is also my sister in law’s birthday….have to remember to call her and say…do you know what day this is?  No matter whether she says it is her birthday or whether she says it is ground hog’s day…i can say why NO, it is the opposite of which ever one she chooses.  What fun!  Happy Birthday…or Happy Ground Hog’s Day…which ever you choose to celebrate.

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      Keeping warm, here in michigan, during the winter is difficult.  It is difficult for a number of reasons; not the least of it being financial.  Everything under the sun keeps going up in price.  Jobs are scarce and the people who do have jobs really don’t know day- to- day whether they will have their job at any given moment.

      My house is a huge old farm house.  The walls all need insulating.  We pumped lots of money into insulating the attic a couple of years ago…however….it doesn’t do the trick because it is a multi-story home. 

     We spend a huge amount of our income to keep the furnace running on it’s propane.  With the price hikes in heating costs…we just spent about $800.00 and it will last about 5-6 weeks.  It isn’t like we are wasteful either.  We keep our heat on 58-60 degrees.  It is cold but we bundle up.

       Winter heating really starts in early November where i live; and, goes into April. Even on a conservative estimate it is 5 months of heating.  That could mean between $3,000.00 to $4,000.00 dollars this winter to heat our home.  Is this not insane? (more…)

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