Saturday, August 31, 2013

More about the Dump

In the last post, I mentioned that I go to the dump for useful items. What we have is a VERY large recycling/dump center which is across from the landfill site. I guess this helps out with the travel portion of refuse elimination. Anyway, the center has large bins which are marked for metals, wood, household trash, household items, plastic, paper and plastic bottle and aluminum, oil and reuse. Like I said, this is a large site.

The reuse area is like a backyard metal shed. It is a decent size where you can put stuff that still can be used by someone. It's like a yard sale without the prices. You take what you need and leave the rest. I like this option because it benefits those who leave stuff and those who need stuff. Saturdays and holidays are the busiest times. Everyone is out on Saturdays. Some people come for gifts they can give for the holidays. This is the time I especially like to leave stuff. One time, I left a video game racing wheel with the programs to go with it. A couple of older women came behind us and took it home. It made me feel good. But at the same time, it made me sad. For me, I like the challenge of getting something and remaking it and giving it to someone who needs it.

I like the fact that they recycle oils that would normally get pitched into the landfill or loosed into someone's yard. They take any oil, cooking oil, etc. I'm surprised how many people actually use this portion of the site. Every time I visit, there is someone being responsible and dumping oil into the bins. Yay!

Also, they remove what is left in the swap shed at the end of the day and take it to the appropriate bin and put it into the landfill. Nothing sits overnight.

Quite a few people work the site during the day. That's good for our area. They wear orange vests. If you need help lifting something into a bin, they'll help.

Do you have something like this in your area? If not, see if your county will sponsor this. It never hurts to ask.

Take care.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


I went to my favorite place the other day - the swap shop at the dump. No, I'm not destitute or anything. I'm not rich, either. I just like finding stuff I can use or stuff I can fix up and give to others. I usually do a drive-by after work to see if there are any interesting items in there that I could use. I've been doing this for a while and I enjoy it immensely. Especially when someone I give something to really appreciates the item.

OK. Last week I picked up a small plastic rocking horse. I have to give it a good scrub and bleaching. It needs a little refurbishing, but not much. Then I'll give it to a friend of ours who has a small child. I gave them an adjustable walker last year and the baby loved it!

I also picked up a wooden box with one side open. It looks like it had been used as an end table and a coffee table. I'll be recycling this into an item I can use in my bathroom. Pictures later!

Monday or Tuesday of this week, I don't remember which day, I picked up a wooden wine rack and a nice serving platter with no chips. And to think I was in the process of talking myself out of stopping there. Oh boy! I have a good use for that wine rack! It's something I've been looking for for a long time. I think you'll be surprised what I'm going to use it for. Pictures later on that, too!

Here are two websites I frequent for ideas and a good browse. Trash2Treasure is a really great one. This lady has a couple of booths in a couple of different antique malls. She makes really cool things from other things. I've mentioned this site in a post last year or so ago. Check out Miss AJ's site and see what she comes up with!

Here's a really cool site for refurbishing furniture and other things. This is the first time I've mentioned her site on my blog. BetterAfter is the name of the blog. Miss Lindsey is interested in how people reinvent items found in the trash or items that were not loved any more. Lots of the furnishings are painted, which is fun to see. This stuff is far out!!! You MUST check this website out.

Comment below to let me know how you like these blogs. I'll be interested to know if YOU'VE gotten any inspiration from them.

Take care.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Reprieve from Rain!

Yay! Saturday was a little sprinkly here and there. Nothing that would keep us from being outside.  We went to Tractor Supply for straw for the chicken coop. We also went to Lowe's and got some cement to finish off our pavilion wall. Hubby laid block and I stained a fence.

Sunday was superb! It was under 80 degrees F with a breeze. It got a little over 80 degrees and still had a breeze. There was an overcast sky, which made it really nice.

I had a lot of outdoor chores to do. I trimmed the large cactus growing into our driveway. I also got rid of all of the berry bushes and pine trees growing in that cactus. arms look like they were in a fight and the bushes won. I also got a bug bite which turned into a biggie. I trimmed the willow tree growing over the driveway. It was rubbing the tops of the trucks as we came in to park. I also trimmed up the trees growing up the side of the ditch. They needed it. Now our driveway looks pretty good and our ditch looks better. I couldn't stop there so I trimmed my Weeping Holly a bit. Then I pulled weeds from around it. I have a LOT of weeds to go to finish out my flower gardens. Did you know that termites will live in your mulch? I found that out. They are living in my composting pinestraw mulch. A little bug killer and that is that. I know I just got the ones on the surface, but I'll go back over it with some more later.

Now I'll mention that Hubby cut and weed-whacked the grass, laid block, started preparing our garden for fall planting, plus a few other things. He got a Dietz lantern out and we sat out under the pavilion Sunday night. This was the FIRST time this summer that we were able to do that. The rest of the summer, it was either too wet or the mosquitos ate us up so bad that we couldn't sit out.

We're expecting company in November and I have lot of things to get done beforehand.  Mostly getting the yard in order so kids can play outside.

So, three days without rain and we're back to working in the yard.

Take care.

Friday, August 23, 2013


I don't know if any of you have kept up with the weather in the Southeast, but it's raining again here. So far this summer, it's been one rainy summer.

We have mosquitoes to the glory. Around here, we can't have any standing water. In 3 days you'll see mosquito larvae. That goes for any standing water. I've seen larvae in the dogs' indoor water fountain. We have one of those 1.75 gallon waterers. I only fill them half way so I can give them fresh water every couple of days. I was taking the lazy way out. I don't do that any more. That was just plain nasty. The girls get fresh water every day, even twice a day.

Another effect of the rainy weather is frogs. LOTS of frogs. We have tree frogs here and lots of them. They like to hang out around our porch light at night. I also keep a small container for the compost pile on the railing so I can put my coffee grounds and scraps in it every night. Then I empty it the following day. Well...sometimes a day or two after I should. The frogs find out that flies and gnats love to do their thing in the compost tin. They'll sit around it at night and snatch up the flies and gnats. Right now, we have frogs the size of pencil erasers coming around. You know the pencil...yellow #2. Yep. Frogs that little get around pretty well. They crawl up the siding and hang around the porch at night. They're fun to watch on the window. Last night, I watched one stalk a small fly of some kind. Frogs sure do have patience, don't they?! I hate to say this, but they pop when you step on them. Yuk! I didn't do it on purpose, mind you. It was a bigger frog a couple of years ago. I watch going out in bare feet now. Uh huh. Sure do!

Any how, every few days the frogs mate in the ditches. They sing so loudly for about 3 days until they get their stuff done. The noise is so deafening that you can't sit out and talk. Then you see little frogs everywhere. It's like magic.

Well. Because of all of this rain, we lost a lot of tomato plants. The tomatoes rotted on the vine and the vines are losing leaves and are growing spindly. It's time to plant winter crops, anyways.

The strawberry patch is holding on. The plants are losing leaves from the heat, but they're alright.

The elderberry plot has grown by leaps and bounds this year. We had two flowering stalks which were promptly eaten by birds or something. Next year should bring some good heads. I didn't gather wild ones this year, yet. I'll be hard pressed to find some still holding on to the stalk with all of this rain. What's funny is, everyone born down here thinks they're poisonous. I love to make jelly from them.

That's how things are going here in our piece of heaven.

Take care.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


I've joined an online group called Postcrossing. "What is Postcrossing?" you ask?

First, here's a little info about my life as a younger person. I always liked getting mail. Any mail. I used to rush outside when the postman came just to get the mail so I could see what came. To me, this was like opening a present every day. It was kind of a secret addiction which no one knew about until this very post. When I found out there was such a thing as a pen pal, I got one. Back in those days, you had to write to someone to get a pen pal. Then you received a postcard with a name and address of another person in the world that you could write to. My pen pal was a girl in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. It was so fun to send and receive mail from her. I still have the trinkets she sent to me for my birthday and such. I don't remember what trinkets I sent to her. I hope I did them justice.

Fast forward 35 years and I found out about Postcrossing from a lens on Squidoo. (Did I say I'm an information junkie, too?) I went to the Postcrossing site and joined. What it is, is a bunch of people from around the world register on this site to send postcards to whoever is randomly selected for them. Random! Cool, ain't it?! I sent my first two out last week - Poland and Germany. I received my first one this week - Philadelphia. I have two more to go into the mail this week - Russia and Washington state.

Yes, there is a cost to it. You buy the postcards. You pay the postage. That's all unless you want to donate to the site crew for upkeep. US postcard postage is 33 cents. International postcard postage is $1.10. This will be my little contribution to help keep our post offices running. Every little bit helps, eh?

This is going to be so much fun! Feeds my not-so-secret-now addiction. Check out the link above and see if you'd like to do something like this.

Take care.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

3 Bean Salad

I made this last week for something to take to work. I've been thinking about it for a long time, but just never got around to it. It's 3 Bean Salad and it's pretty yummy. It's a different take from the vinegar and oil based salads I've been making most of my life. When I was working in a family-style steakhouse, we bought this stuff pre-made in cans. It's so simple to make and costs a whole lot less. It also tastes better than the canned stuff.
3 Bean Salad
As you can see, the three beans are green, waxed and kidney. The green and waxed beans are the staple of the salad. If you like, you can replace the kidney beans with cannelli beans or limas or whatever you'd like. Black beans or black-eyed peas would be pretty and probably taste really good in here.

Here's the recipe:


1 can cut green beans, drained and rinsed
1 can cut waxed beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed - I used dark kidney beans for the color contrast
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped

1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil - if you use olive oil, it will coagulate until the salad warms up
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix the dressing ingredients together. Add to the beans. Stir and put into the fridge to chill for a couple of hours.

*You may need to double the dressing ingredients as this is just enough for my taste.*

This is pretty good to serve with just about any type of meal. It's nice on a hot day when you don't want to heat beans on the stove. It also is good to whip up if you know company is coming soon and you don't have much to serve. As long as the sugar dissolves, you can serve it lukewarm. In my opinion, it just tastes better if it's chilled.


Take care and happy cooking.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

New Cake Recipe

A long time ago, I ordered a Hershey's cookbook. If you sent in so many Hershey's chocolate chip packages, you'd get a cookbook. Well, the cookbook was REALLY nice. It was a hardback and spiral bound cookbook. It had glossy pages. It is one of my 'go to' cookbooks for baking...especially for cheesecakes ; )

Well, we have a couple of birthdays at work this coming week. So I'll be baking a couple of cakes to take with me. I decided to try this chocolate cream cheese cake recipe, which is baked in an oblong pan. However, the recipe in this link shows for cupcakes, which would be much better to make. It's the exact recipe I had in my cookbook.

The recipe tasted really good, but I had a few problems and I have a few suggestions to make it better.

First of all, I should've made it in the oblong pan as the recipe suggested. I decided to make it in a bundt cake pan. By making it in the bundt pan, the baking time increased dramatically. What should've taken 55 minutes to bake, took almost 2 hours to bake. This made a tough crust on the bottom of the cake. It is almost too tough to cut.

Next, my recipe called for nuts sprinkled on top of the cake. So with the bundt pan I had to put the nuts on the bottom before I added the cake batter. The nuts baked into the cake and had no flavor. I used chopped almonds. I'll skip the nuts next time.

Then, the cream cheese filling didn't sink like it should have. I'll have to dunk it to get it into the middle of the cake. What happened is the cheese colored brown because of the length of time I had to bake the cake for. The filling didn't get hard, it just colored brown and made it look like chocolate. I didn't have a nice contrast between the chocolate and the filling.

What I'll do different is make these as cupcakes as the link shows. If I make it as a cake, I'll skip the nuts and add a simple glaze or ganache. And I'll dunk the cheese filling.

All in all, this cake was a winner. Being it was the first time I made it and I didn't follow the directions exactly, it's my fault I didn't have a pretty cake. I usually make a first recipe like it says the first time. Then I'll fix it up to my tastes. Live and learn!

I hope you have a great weekend.

Take care.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Banana Pancakes

Did you ever get a bunch of bananas and not get them all eaten? I'm sure all of us have had a bunch over our lifetime as a housekeeper. Right? It must be so since there are so many banana bread recipes out there. I made about 3 double batches of banana bread over the course of a month. Yeah. That's a lot. Each of my double batches makes one very long loaf, which I have a special pan for, and 3 mini loaves. A lot of these were given away.

SOOOO, this time, I decided to make some banana pancakes instead.
Banana Pancakes & Sausage
Were they good? Yep! Were there leftovers? Yep! Are they in the freezer for later? You bet!

I have my own recipe for the batter, which I've perfected over the years. The standard batter from cookbooks just don't turn out good for me. But the banana pancake batter is a little different because of the bananas. Here's how I did it.


Dry Ingredients
2 cups white flour
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 to 1 tsp cinnamon

Put all of this in a bowl and stir it together. If you decide to add chocolate mini-chips* to the batter, add them now, to the flour mixture and stir until they're coated.

2 very ripe bananas mashed well with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Mix this together in a separate container.

Wet Ingredients

In a 1 cup measuring cup, put two eggs.
Put in a heaping tablespoon of sour cream or unflavored yogurt.
Stir together.
Add enough milk to this cup to make 1 cup of liquid.

Add the banana mixture and the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir well.
If you want your batter to be a little looser, add some more milk, a little at a time.

Cook on a greased hot griddle and serve with your favorite syrup or jelly.

I got about twelve 6" pancakes from this recipe. I use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to portion the batter.

In my opinion, these turned out really well. You can add chocolate mini-chips to the batter*, if you like. Also, I wanted to add nuts, but I didn't have any walnuts on hand. Raisins are good to add, too.

If you decide to try this, please come back and let me know in the comment section. I'll be very interested to see if you liked them.

Take care.