Showing posts from August, 2017

Before There Was Google

In honor of school starting up, I thought about doing a post on the history of school buses. Maybe for another day. My own kids are headed to class soon too, but they won't be traveling on a school bus. They have cars of their own, and will drive 2.5 and 3.5 hours away, respectively, to their universities. I will miss them so much and I can't believe the summer has ended already. Well, not technically. Summer's still here till September 22. I had to Google that to find out the first day of fall, aka the Autumnal equinox . Like the Vernal equinox (aka, first day of spring, which was March 20), it's when day and night are exactly the same length of time. The word comes from Latin "equi" or "equal" and "nox" meaning "night." Of course, that means the first day of summer has the longest amount of sunlight, and the first day of winter has the shortest amount of sunlight. Thanks, Google!  (Or some other search engine, optional

Hanging Out the Wash

Before clothes dryers became a fixture in everyone's house, hanging out the wash to dry in the sun and fresh air was a routine. Maybe you even remember it from your youth, the clotheslines stretched across the backyard, sheets billowing in the summer breeze. In my childhood backyard, we had two poles for the clothesline, spaced so far apart that my mom used "props" to keep them in place -- long, thin metal poles with a little curl of wire on top to hold the clothesline. Mom made clothespin holders, which were bags with a side opening attached to a clothes hanger. We also had clotheslines in the basement for use during rainy days and winter. My mom and grandma came from rural Kentucky and had ingrained habits from less-affluent times. Line drying was one of them. Line drying is still a worthwhile practice! There are lots of reasons to do it. Here's a list, off the top of my head: 1. Saves money on electricity or gas. 2. Sun-dried clothes and bedding sme

Let's Go Camping

A summertime camping trip is the ultimate in family fun — well, maybe not for everyone, but it's certainly a popular pastime. Fall camping is even better, I think. Crisp cool air scented with color-turning leaves, a toasty campfire, hot cocoa, s'mores... yes. My family and I just returned from a camping trip in NW Ohio. Granted, some might call it "glamping," since it involved a 26-foot travel trailer complete with beds, full bathroom, refrigerator, microwave, TV, and air conditioning. OK, so it's a little like towing a mini-version of your house along with you, but even so it affords opportunities for family togetherness, appreciation of nature, and new experiences. You might be surprised to learn that recreational camping has been a popular pastime since the late 1880s! Yes -- we're talking about camping by choice. Westward-ho pioneers, homesteading settlers, military encampments, and displaced Dust Bowl survivors in the 1930s roughed it out of necessity

Tomato Canning Time

Early August is that time when gardens here in Ohio are producing like crazy, if we're lucky, and have a bounty of tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and green beans. There's also corn, peppers, blackberries... the list goes on. We eat as much as we can... and we can can what we can't. :) Alternatives for food preservation include dehydration and freezing, but I've always thought canning was more satisfying. It's a nice feeling to hear those lids go pop-pop-pop on the counter, and the glass jars full of colorful foods gleam like jewels. I got started canning in the early 2000s, when we visited my husband's Aunt Betty and Uncle Ralph. They owned a large acreage in the hills of rural SE Ohio and grew a big garden. This time of year, they would have an old door propped flat on a couple of sawhorses, filled with ripening tomatoes in all shapes and sizes. They sent us home with grocery bags full of them, along with green beans and cucumbers, and I promised not to le