The $84 Dollar Pickles
by DebraThomas
Oct 01, 2011 | 6760 views |  0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

I am not a winner of contests.

BUT, I just knew I was going to win one if not both of the contests at the Weaver Heritgage Day Festival this past Saturday. I was certain I was going to be wearing the sash that said I had made the BEST CORNBREAD or had the PRETTIEST PICKLING items. Was certain.

So back in the summer I scouted all over the county looking for Pickling Cucumbers. I handled them in the farmers market, the grocery stores, peoples gardens and everywhere just looking for the perfect pickling cukes.  I asked folks about them and was told yeah, these will do......but I didnt buy. Then I called my mother in law that lives in a neighboring county, and she said well you need them to be a certain size and so on. Ok, back on the hunt for the most perfect cucumbers. 

I finally was about to give up and I found a local farmer that was selling his wares and one of the produce items he had for sale was cucumbers. They were pretty too. They were green and firm but there was no sign that said they were pickling cucumbers. Now being new to the canning game, I thought you had to have PICKLING CUCUMBERS like that was a breed or a variety special to the recipe. After NOT buying them all these months, I had waited until almost the very last minute to get the job done, and time was wasting fast. So I bit the bullet and finally uttered those words that will live in the lady clerk's memory forevery.  I know that because I can still hear her laughing at me.   I walked to the counter and placed my money on the counter and asked her point blank when the pickling cucumbers would be in . She said "Honey, they are back there just take as many as you want and think you will need."  I looked all over the counter. There was nothing telling me that they were pickling cucumbers, just plain on cukes on a shelf.  So I go back and thats when she tells me that ANY cucumber can be pickled. Anything just about can be pickled. And she laughed. Out loud. Long and with a wheeze and a grab at her side. She asked me why I hadnt bought them all the other times I had been in there and I told her I was looking for PICKLING CUCUMBERS.  More laughter.  Ok, I bought them and came home.

I had gone to the store and gotten the rings, lids, and jars needed for the task. I had the sugar, the recipe the lime and all I needed was the Pickling Spices. Do you know how much they are charging for those things nowadays?

I almost fainted. Thought sure I could get them cheaper at a Dollar store somewhere, so after driving all over the county to save a dollar or less on a bottle of spices and the other stuff it took, I finally got the needed items to start pickling.

Now in the recipe book it says to wash the cucumbers before you put them in the lime water. Ok. I took each and every single cucumber and washed them, not rinsed them but held with one hand on the end and put dish liquid on them and washed them with the other hand. It was a strange motion if you were a neighbor and looked through the window at me doing this jerking motion about my waist high and if you looked from behind it looked strange, but I was indeed washing each and every cucumber with Dawn dish liquid and then rinsing them. Each one of them.

Got them all washed and dried and then I had to cut them into slices. OK. Did that. Put them in the lime water and left them and stirred them as it said. Cant be a metal pan, cant use a metal spoon, has to be a crock, etc.    By now I am having some serious doubts about these pickles but I am half in and half out of the chore so might as well go on.

Out of the water they have to come and it said to wash them off, so again, I washed every single slice of limey cucumber. Every individual slice.  It took hours. My back and body hurt so bad. Then I had to boil the stuff that goes over the packed jars.  Forgot that you have to wash and sterilize the jars before you can pack them.   So, I get the slices out of the crock, then have to put them back in the crock while I boil the jars and the lids to pack them. Now the stock pot that I am using to sterilize these jars and lids is several feet tall, so by the time you get it on the stove, its a little hard to work with since I am not a tall person so it called for getting a stool to stand on to stir the jars while they "cooked."  No one tells you that they dont have to cook, just boil and sterilize.  I cooked the jars and lids until there was no water left. Those were some hot rings, lids and jars.  I got a very good steam bath from that incident.  Back off the stool and back to the chips in the crock. Back and forth. I had seen this same movement of step up step down in videos of people trying to lose weight but had no idea you had to do this to make pickles.

Ok, we are now ready to put the clean jars on the counter and pack the slices in them. Did that. Got the sugary, spicy mixture in each jar and then sealed them and put them into their hot bath.

Back out, drained and ready to sit and listen to the jars seal. I was so excited.

The jars sealed and I was the proud owner of 12 pint jars of sweet/spicy pickles. I am so happy. And I am worn out.

So my lesson learned and the cost of the lesson was:

Cucumbers of almost any size can be pickled. They DO NOT have to have a sign on them that say Pickling cucumbers.  :Price paid: $6.43 for 2 gallons of gas spent trying to find the perfect cucumbers with a sign that says PICKLING cukes.HOT WATER TO WASH EVERY SINGLE CUCUMBER AND SLICES 3 times each: $26.36 according to the Water Works and Sewer Board Bill I got for last month. JARS  LIDS   RINGS   $30       Trips to find Jars, lids, rings, lime,  $5.23 in gas.SUGAR  $7  Vinegar $6   Spices $4     

Now, looks to me like they could have made a sash that said Most Expensive Pickles. Then I would have won. So guess next year I just need to start earlier and them others better be worried cause this next year, I am taking home the ribbon for something............just see.

He Said Its Like Living With Lucy.....
by DebraThomas
Sep 27, 2011 | 1775 views |  0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

I write a lot about my family. Well that's about all I know. I have had them since I was born and then I married, and I got inlaws, so thats all I can relate too.  Oh I worked for over 30 years and if it was a legal job, I did it, but my body gave out long before I wanted to have to stop working, and well, the mind, some days its there and somedays.......

I laugh a whole lot. I laugh at commercials, the animals, my 84 year old Best Friend I call Moma and well just in general. Not all the time is it just hysterical here but when I laugh, I do it with my whole body. And its sometimes at the most peculiar or worst places, like at a funeral or in church or something somber. And even if I am here at home, I can start laughing and get so tickled that I just can not stop and it gets louder. Then when my husband, who is my other best friend, asks me what I am laughing about, I cant straiten up to tell him. And then he sees no humor in that, so he gets miffed and I just go into a screaming howling laughter.   If indeed laughter is the best medicine I should have no medical problems.

Then there are things he finds so darn funny that I dont and thats the times he tells folks that living with me is like living with Lucille Ball.  You just never know what its going to be like from one day to the next.   I dont get it. I dont think I am that unusual.

I have been married so long, I cant remember life without my husband. And I dont want to.  But there are times he can tell one of my "happenings" and I just want to crawl under something.

One of his favorites is when we were newly married. I was working (told you I worked almost my whole life) anyway, I was at work in Jacksonville and there was a gym next door to the bank I worked at.  Well, Hubby had made mention several times about he likes the marital arts and how he would love to train with different teachers and the different techniques and so on, so I just came home all excited one day and told him I had read this sign at the gym and they were offering classes. And one of the new classes they were offering was something called MING SOON. 

With a very quizical look on his face, he asked me over and over what the new class was and I would tell him Ming Soon.  I had heard of Karate and some of the other forms of Martial Arts and I was trying to impress my new husband and how I had taken an interest in his interests.

So after a week or so I guess that curiosity had gotten the best of him and he came to my job. We went to the gym and before he entered the door to inquire about the classes, he looked at me, took me by the arm, and said,

"Deb, look at the sign. It says that they have Karate and they have new classes....but it supposed to say COMING SOON.  The C and O have fallen off and are laying beside the sign on the floor."

Without missing a beat, I wasnt going to let him know I was embarrassed, so I just looked him in the eye and said, "well, I know they have different names for their forms and types of martial arts, so I thought MING SOON was a new one. "

And to this day he still thinks it is so funny.

I dont get it........

He has a strange sense of humor.

I Just Couldn't Have Done It......Nope
by DebraThomas
Sep 27, 2011 | 2659 views |  0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

I am a firm believer that God puts you where He wants you to be at the time He wants you to be there.  With that said, I could never have been a Pioneer Woman.

Nope, couldnt have done it.

I get tired just getting the clothes out of the washer and putting them in the dryer. The idea of having to carry the clothes to the river or stream and then beat them with a rock, I cant even get the hamper downstairs without wheezing and having to get something to eat or drink on the way back.   Then it requires  sitting in the recliner and watching TV just to rest up for the next load. And its just the two of us!!

I wouldnt have made it on a farm either. I love the animals too much. I would have named all the chickens and cows and whatever else there was and couldnt imagine and dont want to now, the way we would get food on the table.

So thats out.   Just to get a Peanut Butter and Cracker with a Coke or Pepsi would have been out the question too. No stores, not much food and there wasnt a whole lot of gas or fuel around so walking would have to be the answer.

Well thats out , and there was no Walmart or Winn Dixie.  So couldnt just run to the store and get whatever.

Feeding the animals is a chore now and I just have the 3 dogs and 3 cats. Well and a husband but he isnt an animal.  Not always anyway, but if there is just one piece of chocolate left in the house, you better get out of the way. Reminds me of those old Mutual of Omaha shows where Jim was in the woods with the moma bear protecting her young and how she reacted, well, imagine a 50 year old man hunting a Snickers or Reese Cup in the middle of the night......not a pretty sight. Especially if there isnt one.

I thought I had it rough just trying to get the outfit ready for him to go to work and a lunch packed and gas in the car for him to go to and from work.  Man, I just wouldnt have made it in the earlier days.

I saw OLD photos this weekend at a local festival we had in Weaver. There was one that struck me and it was a store back in the early 1900s and it was stocked full of fruits and vegetables. The photo was of course in black and white and even then it shows so much detail. I dont know if its my habit of just loving food or what the attraction was but that was my favorite photo of all the ones I displayed on Saturday.  

In those days they didnt worry about feeding the dogs a certain brand of food or having one for overweight dogs or ones that had skin allergies and so on. There was no such thing as cat food back then, or at least it wasnt advertised in the photo, the cats lived outside and ate rats and whatever.

So I took a poll and the votes here in this house from the cats, dogs and myself are that we are where we are supposed to be. And we are doing what we are supposed to do, keeping the man of the house full, pretty well happy with life and gas in the car.

No, I would not have made a good Pioneer Woman. So when I complain now because the dryer door wont shut; the hot water heater is leaking; there is a hole in the siding; the lightbulbs are burnt out and I cant reach them, I just take a breath, sit back down in that recliner and think to myself,

Now where is that last piece of Reese Cups hidden?


A Riddle For You.....
by DebraThomas
Sep 26, 2011 | 1629 views |  0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

What does a belly dancer; Medieval Knight; the Civil War;TeePees;and sausage biscuits and fried pies with cornbread tasting and prettiest picklin' all have to do with each other?  

Now before you answer, there is a tank and a bunch of old cars involved too.

Well, now that you have had a chance to figure this out, and I dont know that you have, well I will tell you.   All of these are things I took photos of and have posted online but thats not the only thing.  These people and this food and these exhibits were all on display at the Weaver Station Hertiage Day Festival. So this should either peek your interest or it should bring a smile to your face because you were one of the thousands of folks that came through the gates at the Festival on Saturday, the 24th.

I am telling you, I saw more folks than I have seen at some college ball games. And most of these were from Weaver and the surrounding area, which tells you of the pride and the love that these folks have for this little town.

There were retired teachers, and retired students that mingled together. There were church families from long ago that stopped to say hello and share a smile. There were dogs and kids of all ages and sizes.  There was every color of jewelry to be found and crafts and artists work that was beyond words.

Music was on the scale of some of the best I have ever heard and when you take in to account that all of this was free, was under the trees and shade of the Weaver Elwell Park and you could come and go with no stamp on your hand or admission charge, well it was just one more fine sight to see. And the seeing was only one of the senses that was stimulated during the festival. There was Smoke N Hot Irish BBQ and he had smoke billowing from his fires all day, then you walked across the trail and there was freshly cooked popcorn with a cold drink ready for you. How about a nice, juicy hot dog cooked outdoors, that is always good, and slather it with coleslaw or cabbage....mmmmmm its making my mouth water right now, not to mention the cotton candy and snow cones. Then you needed to have the sense to feel the warmth from the fire the Boy Scouts built from where they stayed out in the park all night, and then the tightrope they had on display to walk. Or you could shoot the plates lined up at the edge of the woods. How about watching a woman do a belly dance right in the middle of Weaver Park. She was really good and pretty but well, you just dont want to see me belly dancing. I was more iinclined to be the one in the massage chair getting a massage while folks walked on past me to get to the Senior Citizens Building where there were hot biscuits with sausage and fried pies just made that morning waiting to be gobbled up. And they were gobbled up, FAST.  Not a crumb of a brownie was leftover.

The Civil War actors were quite busy doing their parades and shooting rifles at unexpected times during reenactments. Then there was a Midevil Knight and His Lady there to demonstrate the way they lived at an even early time. Indian Tee Pees were there for you to exlplore and take a nap in as we found one young person heading that way but being told by her mom, no its time to go home. But the little girl had other plans. She wanted to sleep in a teepee like the Indian Children did. 

As you rounded the corner, the Blue Knights had their big motorcycles on display. Beautiful motorcycles that are almost as big as my car, but worth a lot more. These guys are policeman that do charitable work for others and are special to us for many reasons.

There were crafters with feathers for your hair or face painting to be done. A MoonWalk and a Slide was ready to have Children jump and yell as they played for quite a spell.

Music was heard throughout the park, some folks sat and some stood and others just walked and listened as County, Rock, Gospel and Slower Old Rock songs were sung.   CountryBags were give out with all sorts of goodies in them for people to go through when they got home. Much like a child at Halloween pours out their candies to see what has been given to them, adults are  the same way when handed something full of all sorts of neat stuff. It just kinda makes our day. And when they found out it was all free, well, hey, lets walk and see what else is here.

So no matter the age or gender, when it all comes down to it, we like to have a good time. And a good time is usually found in a park. And when the park has a festival and there are free toys and games and things for the parents to do, well, it makes it a little more fun for the children too.

We all need a break from the hustle and bustle of being so rushed. Walking in the park and celebrating a small towns heritage, well, it just doesnt get much better nor more Southern than that. And I for one am so glad I got to see it all and be a part of it all, because I was told to look for about 100 or so people to show up and when the people just kept coming and kept coming, I was thrilled. You couldnt get the smile off of my face. I didnt take time to eat the food that was there but with that  Barbq smoke billowing in the air, it was hard not to. But I was having so much fun and meeting new folks and the ones I used to know, well, it was like a homecoming of sorts for the old and the new. We celebrated what we always knew and what my moma told me a long, long time ago, and I never forgot : 

No matter where you go, you will never be able to get away from your roots.

You know what, I am glad I didnt. Life is so much sweeter when you have someone to share it with. And I found I have a lot of people that like me and some that really love me, be it Sunday School teachers from when I was a child, old neighbors from my childhood home, and people I wen to school with and played with and some that I am related too.  Life is good. Small towns are good. And when you have a park and music, pretty weather and lots to see and do.........well, life just dont get much better than this.

Now before I close and let you think that you have missed out, we will do this again in the same park and at the same time next year. But you dont have to wait that long to get that funny feeling of love and rememberence.

We will be having a Chirstmas Parade in Downtown Weaver on December 3. We have a mighty fine line up of folks, and as soon as Santa comes through, well thats not the end of it. WHY NO SIR EEE.....................stick around and go to the Christmas in the park.  There will be music from the local church choirs; other singers will be singing Christmas music and there will be all sorts of Christmas themed HANDMADE and Homemade items for sale. So you come to the CHRISTMAS PARK on DEC 3 and we will be winding up the Parade there but we will just beginning to get the Christmas in the Park started. Chili Cook Offs and Hot Chocolate. All sorts of things to keep us warm as we gather to listen to the stories of old and the music sung by young and old alike as it has been through the years.

So, come on and see me in the Park on December 3. Mark your calendars for the Parade to start at 10 am at the Elementary School and wind up at the park.

Join us at the park, wont you? Just tell them Deb sent you.

Are you Coming to the Park??
by DebraThomas
Sep 16, 2011 | 1755 views |  0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

I am so excited! I have been telling you about the Weaver Station Heritage Day Celebration for a while now, and we are almost there!!! Its going to be great. It has been so long in the planning stages that now we are almost to Celebration Day and its as exciting to me as if it were a county fair or something. There is going to be a cornbread tasting contest; prettiest pickling contest; arts, crafts; prizes; games for kids; pinto beans to eat with the cornbread; demonstrations from Civil War folks and Knights in Armour will be there. The Calhoun County Sheriffs Department is going to show up in one of those BIG vehicles they have and there is just all sorts of live music that's going to be played during the course of the day. The Boy Scouts are going to be there and people that have all sorts of Indian artifacts and dances and just a little of anything dealing with the Indians that once lived here will be evidenced.  I am just like a child when it comes to this sort of stuff.....old cars, antique tractors, who knows what all will be there. And the most exciting part to me is that I was not only involved, I got asked to be the GREETER at the gates. Do you know what that means?  I will get to see everybody that comes and get to hand them brochures and information and booklets and well I guess you will just have to come and see me and I will show you what all I have for you.

It is going to be so, are you going to the park on Sept 24th? If so, I will see you there.....and tell me you read it in the blog......

Thanks and I will see you on the 24th!!!

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