Friday, August 28, 2015

August Drought

Sorry, I haven't been posting much. Just too much to do and also its been so hot. Mostly in the high 90s and low 100s. This seems to be the hottest summer we've had so far since moving here some 10 years ago now.

In spite of the heat, all the trees in the area are losing their leaves already. I always thought trees lost their leaves when the weather turned colder but such is not the case here.

It seems rather odd to be racking leaves in 100 degree weather and I wonder if this means a very hard winter.

I don't know if it has to do with the drought also, as you can see, the lawn is suffering. We do water the front lawn twice a week but in this heat, it still suffers. We quit watering the back lawn which is much larger. The water district has told everyone to cut back 50%. which makes us wonder why the city water fountains and golf courses are not cutting back. So far everyone is still washing their cars (we aren't) and watering their lawns like nothing is going on. Our water bill has dropped quite a bit but the sewer bill has risen. They still want their money regardless.

I've been canning, still have tomatoes and zucchini.  Also have started on stitched Christmas cards. I'll be putting them in my Etsy shop as they get done. I have some new patterns plus the old favorites, such as the 12 Days of Christmas. Nice to do when its too hot to go outside. I also listed some of my stitched tags, these will go fast as we get closer to the holidays so if you want some, be sure to order early.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Looking back at July

July went by way too fast for me. We've been canning like crazy. Every day is a new challenge with the hot weather but I've keep plugging along getting alot of canned goods for this fall and winter.

                                             Tomato Sauce

                                            Canned whole tomatoes
                                  Parboiling corn to put in the freezer

                 and of course, fig jam, and Alan made quite a bit of fig leather.

The tomatoes are still producing so there will probably be even more goodies for the pantry.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A "New" desk and Canning Soup

Our son found these darling little desk at an estate sale for the amazing price of nothing. Evidently, they just wanted to get rid of it but their loss is our gain. It does need a little work to repair some damage. We plan on giving it some new stain to cover up some light scratching and a few other minor repairs, I think its going to be useful for coming in the front door. The bottom cabinet has 3 shelves inside, a good place for paperbacks!

The tomatoes this year have been doing gang busters. I already canned 5 quarts of tomato soup for the fall and next will be canned tomatoes. Here is the recipe for the tomato soup. Its really delicious and so nice for a fall day.

14 quarts ripe tomatoes (Comes to about 3 lbs of tomatoes per qt)
7 medium-sized onions
1 stalk celery
14 sprigs parsley
3 bay leaves
14 tablespoons butter
14 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons salt
8 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons pepper


Wash; cut up tomatoes (no need to peel them). Chop onions, celery. parsley & bay leaves. Add to tomatoes; cook until celery is tender. Put through a sieve. Put mixture back into pot. Rub flour & butter into smooth paste thinned with tomato juice. Add to BOILING soup; stir to prevent burning. Add salt, sugar and pepper. For a smoother consistency put through sieve again ( I never do this) Fill clean  jars to within one (1) inch of top of jar. Wipe of the rims, put on caps, screwing the band tight. Process in hot water bath 30 minutes. Start timing when it is at a rolling boil...
A bit of work but well worth it as once you taste this, canned soup is just not the same!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday Monday

I just finished another of the Shih Tzu cards. This pattern is one of my best sellers. I finally was able to get a photo that shows the dimension of the stitching. He was really fun to stitch and ready for a new home. You'll find him in my Etsy shop.  SOLD

I'm working now on this candle mat. This one  pictured was made for a giveaway so I'll be making another one of my shop. Its called In My Garden and is from Primitive Stitches. A little primitive but nice for a garden table.

As you may know, right behind our garden and yard is a busy street. The street was only a two lane road when we moved in some 10 years ago but its been widened and now is quite busy. As our property is lower than the street, people could look over the wall into our back yard which was not a little annoying at times.
 To make a long story short, a tall wall is now being built, some 12 ft. which is blocking much of the noise. Its taken some time, at first, they said 2 weeks but its been over a month. Its done now and we're waiting for them to remove the chain link fence that was put up to give us some security until it was finished.The contractors were very nice and are even replacing some of the plants that died, put in a complete drip irrigation system and also just because, they're going to clean our patio area of all the dust from the construction, plus plant two Valencia orange trees as a thank you gift. We were assured that these type of oranges would grow here and I hope they're right.

There's the chain link and the wall..the chain link is over 6ft. so you can see how tall the wall is. Everything is very dry here because of the drought.
I'm tired of all the dust and dirt that this has caused. Even our solar panels are effected. But we're both  happy with the fact that the noise level has been reduced and we have a sense of privacy. Its really an answer to prayer as a few years ago when they widened the road, the entire neighborhood put a petition in to the city for a higher wall which was denied. God does answer prayer!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Fathers Day

My brother posted this photo of our dad, Robert Elliot Philley. He was in the Marine Corp for 34 years and served his country with pride. The gentlest of men and a wonderful father. He passed away in 1977 too soon, and I dearly miss him every day.

I've posted before about all the letters my grandmother sent me that Dad had written during and after WWII. He was part of the greatest generation that is now sadly passing away. If your dad or uncle or brother was part of that generation, let them know how much you appreciate them. I wish I could let my dad know and have faith that one day we will meet again in a far better world. Semper Fi

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I won a Giveaway!

I entered this giveaway  on Facebook and got a message yesterday from Johanna Parker that I had won this wonderful candle giveaway! Isn't it great for Halloween? If you aren't familiar with her work, she designs  Halloween items for the home based on vintage designs.

Here is her website link, if you'd like to see more...Johanna Parker Design.......

Saturday, June 13, 2015

New Dog Rescue and Lexi

We got a call to do a lock repair job yesterday in Nuevo, a rural area north of us. Unknown to us, it turned out to be a very fun and interesting job.
As we worked,  we realized,it was a dog rescue, Miracle Animal Rescue Center! Susanne and her partner Pat run the operation. They are very nice people who love animals.  Please click on the link to see their new website. As they're just in the early stages of the rescue, they need our help and I hope to promote them at least once a week or so. I'll be sharing a dog of the week as I did before the the Sun City Rescue.

As we worked, this large gentle German Shepherd mix sat patiently outside with a huge ball in her mouth wanting to play. She's a gentle giant and I tired out long before she did throwing the ball!

Talking with Susanne, Lexi does better in a one dog household and would be perfect with older children. She loves loves her ball and to play.

          If you go to the website, she even has her own video of her playing with her horse toy. Just click on the adoptable dog link there.

They need much in the way of supplies and help. Susanne told me they need volunteers to just play with the dogs to help socialize them. If you live in the area, and would like to volunteer your time. Please go the website and contact either Susanne or Pat for more information.
They also need funds for food, vet bills and shelter costs so if you'd like to donate to this worthwhile rescue you can do that also.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sunflower Mat

I've also listed some of my stitched items. This candle mat is some of my best work and I almost didn't want to part with it. Its a  primitive summer sunflower pattern from Primitive Stitches and perfect for a summer table.

I padded it with warm and natural batting so it will protect your table. These mats are also good to put under hot serving plates.  China Lake Auctions     

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Venting and Ebay

 Our locksmith business has been dying a slow death so I'm trying to help out a little if possible.
As most of my readers know, we are on Social Security and try to supplement to be able to pay our bills and do have the bad habit of eating.  In fact, we applied for food stamps and we  were just sent a card and I felt relieved. However, the next day, we got a letter saying the total amount the state would pay us for food was a whopping $15.00 a month.   I called the worker but she was unhelpful.
So don't believe the media when they say that food stamps are easy to get! Life is very tough for seniors.
Anyway, enough of venting. God is in control and I know He will open a new door for us!
We're both now Ebay sellers and I hope you will stop by our auctions and see what we come up with.

Alan sells stamps and collectable items. His name on Ebay is proe_designer .right now he has some nice souvenir sheets if you like stamps or know someone who does. He has 100% positive feedback.

My auctions are under China Lake Auctions. I also have 100% positive feedback and have sold on Ebay since 1999. I just have a few things for now listed including some of my red work towels, and these nice vintage duck table set with a matching candle plate....I bought them on ebay some time ago and now they need a new home. They were made back in the 50s but look like new so pretty and glossy.

                                                  Very nice for a summer tablescape!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Dad's Letter

My dad served in WWII and afterwards was stationed in Tsingtao, China. It was called Operation Beleaguer. It mainly was for the  repatriation of Japanese and Koreans who remained after WWII. Dad wrote alot about the life there.Things he saw and experienced. Very interesting reading.

I knew he spoke Mandarin Chinese but never knew how he gained  the knowledge. Turns out he learned Chinese while stationed in Tsingtao. This knowledge helped him greatly when he served later in Vietnam. He told us that speaking Mandarin raised the respect he had with the Chinese businessmen he dealt with at that time. He was in charge of supply. Most of them spoke Cantonese and to speak Mandarin was considered a great honor.

Something I noticed was that the idea of appeasement was already showing  in 1947.
here is just a short paragraph of what he experienced..

"While on liberty downtown here last week, I was unfortunately caught in a light riot involving Rickshaw coolies and service men. In the mixup one of them relived me of my Parker fountain pen!
So I borrowed a pen to write this letter. The Rickshaw coolies are becoming very bold and are robbing and beating men quite often. The policy enforced by our forces of taking most every insult without retaliating, in order to win friendship. The policy has only succeeded in making America lose face. They now believe we are actually afraid of them. I think they need to get forceful with them.
Until recently it was almost unheard of for a coolie to strike a service man. Now we have to go out in pairs for safety. The United States has certainly lost prestige."
Tsingtao, China
June 4, 1947