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The Simple Life

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  • Sheryl Simons
    The Simple Life By Sheryl Simons Gardening is the heart of simple living. A special HI to all! Yesterday I found a local strawberry farm, and bought 8
    Message 1 of 23 , Jun 28, 2006
      The Simple Life

      By Sheryl Simons

      "Gardening is the heart of simple living."

      A special HI to all! Yesterday I found a local strawberry
      farm, and bought 8 quarts of strawberries, just picked that
      morning. There berries were fantastic! My friend had bought someat
      a local fruit market, and they were all mushy. When she took them
      back, she found out they were from Mexico! I don't know how long it
      takes to get strawberries from Mexico to MI, but several days to be
      sure! So if you want the most yummy berries, BUY LOCAL GROWN!

      My hubby cleaned them, I chopped them up with my hand chopper,
      the kind from Pampered Chef (works great) and made two batches of
      jam. I like the reduced sugar Sure Jell. Making Jam is so easy. I
      cook the jam, and put it in jars. My mom had given me all her
      canning stuff, but when she saw my jam, she wished she had not given
      it away! I gave her some jam, and told her we will do a batch
      together.
      For dinner, we had warm homemade biscuits, covered with
      strawberries and whipped cream. The biscuits were still warm.
      Yumm! I always use the recipe from the back of the Clabber Girl
      biscuit can
      1/3 c marg (the recipe calls for shortening, but this is better)
      2 1/4 c flour
      2 t Baking Powder
      1/2 t salt
      2 T. sugar (my addition)
      about 3/4 c milk
      The dough should be almost dry enough to not be sticky. If it's too
      sticky, add a bit more flour. For good biscuits, don't stir it any
      more than you have to. Put some flour on your pan ( I use a baking
      stone) Preheat oven to 450`. Pat out the dough on the stone, using
      a bit of flour under and on the dough. Pat out to 1/2 inch. Cut
      with biscuit cutter, or glass. place one biscuit on top of the
      other to make a double high biscuit. Bake for 12 minutes. THESE
      ARE THE BEST BISCUITS EVER!!!! Very Simple. If you have biscuit
      mix, just add 2 T. sugar. You can double this batch easily!

      Now what is more simple than a strawberry dinner in summer???

      * * *

      From a tomato in a pot to crops in a huge plot, a garden
      grounds us. It brings us back to basics. It makes us see what
      matters. It gives us the responsibility to realize that when we
      nurture something, we touch the earth, and it touches us back.
      If every child had a plant to take care of, or maybe a small
      garden, the violence in this world would be almost non-existent. We
      all need to learn to nurture. A child who learns to grow things
      doesn't want to hurt things, but learns to take care of things. We
      need to feed and water a plant to get it to grow. Watch a gardener
      walk among his plants. He talks to them. He waters them, feeds
      them, trains them in their growth. He waits for them through long
      winters and welcomes them each spring. And each morning, he walks
      among his plants, touching them, enjoying the fragrances, noticing
      what kind of care his plants need. Weeds are plucked, flowers
      deadheaded to encourage more blooming, watering here, harvesting
      there. And then, enjoying the fruits of his labor. Sliced
      strawberries on a bowl of cereal for breakfast, an onion slice on a
      hamburger for dinner, or an ear of juicy-sweet corn steaming and
      dripping with butter for dessert.
      Gardening is a peaceful endeavor. Gardening is inexpensive –
      from the cost of a seed packet or two, to the cost of a flat of a
      variety of plants. Maybe a pot and some potting soil and a bit of
      fertilizer. But when combined with some freezing, drying and
      canning, it can be a money maker. Think of the cost of strawberry
      jam for a year. Now think of the cost of a few jar lids and some
      pectin, and you have free jam for a year! Gardening can be good
      exercise, from building a new plot with a shovel (the best way), or
      it can be merely relaxing by planting a few plants in a pot and
      watering them.
      However you choose to garden is your choice. But no matter
      how you do it, it will make the world a better place. Even with a
      few weeds, (and not all weeds are a nuisance) No doubt about it – it
      makes your corner of the world a great place to start!
      * * *

      "Hope is seldom found in the things we can see; it is the sweet
      fragrance of grace."

      "I would rather live my life as if there is a God, and die to find
      out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't, and die to
      find out there is." ~~ unknown

      "If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written
      upon the heart. The spirit should never grow old."~ ~James A.
      Garfield
      * * *
      Simple Watering
      Having a garden means watering. But watering doesn't have
      to be expensive. Water plants well, and mulch with newspaper,
      plastic, leaves saved from last fall, grass clippings, or old strips
      of carpet. When mulched, plants need little watering unless it is
      very dry.
      If you must water, consider it a pleasure to walk among your
      plants and water each plant. It gives each plant a good drink, as
      well as a chance to observe insect problems, and also doesn't water
      the weeds like a sprinkler would do. Watering each plant starves
      the weeds. After watering, take a few more moments once a week to
      move your hoe lightly along the surface of the soil. That is all it
      takes to eliminate the small weeds. No large equipment needed. Or,
      if you have a large garden, do several rows a day. Keeping it
      simple in the garden.

      * * *
      Simple BLT's and Strawberry Shortcake

      Fry up some bacon and slice up a nice juicy tomato from the
      garden, and wash some bibb lettuce from the garden. Add some salad
      dressing and you are on your way to a great sandwich dinner. Slice
      some strawberries and mix in a bit of sugar or splenda. Spoon over
      ice cream, with a dollop of whip cream. Put a sweet biscuit under
      it for shortcake. To make easy biscuits, use a biscuit mix, adding
      a tablespoon or two to a batch making them just slightly sweet.
      Warm biscuits, fresh from the oven, under your shortcake is truly
      the best strawberry shortcake there is!

      Keeping Summer Simple,
      Sheryl
    • Sheryl Simons
      The Simple Life By Sheryl Simons The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be happy. Lessons for the Garden A garden that one makes
      Message 2 of 23 , Jun 25, 2007
        The Simple Life
        By Sheryl Simons

        "The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be
        happy."


        Lessons for the Garden

        A garden that one makes oneself becomes associated with one's
        personal history and that of one's friends, interwoven with one's
        tastes, preferences, and character, and constitutes a sort of
        unwritten...autobiography. ~Alfred Austin

        "If we make our goal to live a life of compassion and unconditional
        love, then the world will indeed become a garden where all kinds of
        flowers can bloom and grow." Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

        * * *
        This week we put up a new arbor, painted Buttercream. I
        mixed the color, adding just a little yellow paint to some white I
        already had. It is not easy to paint an arbor, there are a lot of
        nooks and crannies, but I did get it all covered. I had a
        beautiful `heavenly blue' morning glory to climb up it, along with a
        few other colors, and when it was all put together, the effect was
        beautiful! I had some morning glories that came up from seed on
        their own. But I had to transplant them. Why is it when they come
        up from seed, they don't come up where they should be? The next
        morning they were looking pretty wilted, even though I was so
        careful. By the next day, though, they were looking healthier. They
        are going to make it!

        In the garden we are still planting some seeds. With no rain
        now for a week, we are sure to give lots of water to our healthy
        plants. Especially when they are just coming up, they really need
        water every day to help keep them strong. It's getting harder to
        find seeds, but there is still lots of time to plant things like
        radishes, beans, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, and many favorites.
        Even some plants that need a longer growing time, can be found with
        shorter days to harvest. Good care helps, too. The proper watering
        and fertilizing help to get plants producing. Too much dryness,
        stunts growth, and keeps the plant just hanging on instead of setting
        fruit.

        So, if you are wanting to plant some fall crops, pick up your
        seeds while you can still find them! If you have extra seeds,
        storing them in a cool, dry environment can help lengthen their shelf
        life. I keep mine in tins, veggie seeds in one, flower seeds in the
        other.

        For watering plants around my deck, I use tap water that
        would normally go down the drain. My tap runs almost a gallon of
        water before the water gets hot in the kitchen, but I don't just let
        it run down the drain, I use it to water the plants close to the
        house, and a few indoor plants. I try to conserve when possible.
        Keeping my fertilizer right under the sink makes it easy to add to
        the water.
        * * *

        Simple Pork Chops
        4 to 6 pork chops
        1 cup ketchup
        1 cup Coke
        Brown pork chops and place in baking dish. Mix Coke and ketchup
        together and pour over pork chops. Cover with foil. Bake at 375 for
        45 minutes. You could also grill these, wrapped in foil, on a medium
        grill. Nice and tender!

        * * *
        No one has an exclusive on opportunity. When the sun rises, it rises
        for everyone. ~~Chinese proverb


        When your bow is broken and your last arrow spent, then shoot--shoot
        with your whole heart. ~~Zen proverb



        Keeping it Simple,
        Sheryl

        Please contact me with recipes, questions, comments and simple living
        ideas that work for you. Email: thesimple_life@...
        Join the online newsletter to print recipes and look up previous
        columns.
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/thesimple_life
      • Sheryl Simons
        The Simple Life By Sheryl Simons We can stay young by focusing on a dream instead of on a regret. Simple Good Oatmeal Muffins 1 C Old-fashioned Oatmeal 1 C
        Message 3 of 23 , Jan 28, 2008
          The Simple Life
          By Sheryl Simons

          We can stay young by focusing on a dream instead of on a regret.


          Simple Good Oatmeal Muffins

          1 C Old-fashioned Oatmeal
          1 C Milk
          mix and let sit for 5 minutes
          Add:
          1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
          1/3 c brown sugar
          ½ t salt
          ¼ c oil
          1 egg
          1 c flour
          1 t cinnamon
          1 T baking powder

          scoop into greased muffin cups. Makes about 8 muffins. Bake @ 425
          for 20 minutes until golden brown.
          * * *
          Special Delivery

          When you wish to give a plant to someone in the hospital, put
          together your own and take it to the hospital to the volunteer desk
          with the patient's name and room number. It'll be "delivered" by the
          volunteers just like the florist shop items! This can save a lot of
          money because you use your own container purchased from a thrift
          store or garage sale and your own plant and make your own delivery.
          The patient just knows that you were thinking of him/her, and then
          you can make a visit later that day or the next day if you are in the
          same vicinity. Try it. No one questions your dropping off a gift to
          be delivered. This also gives you incentive to repot those `extra'
          plants, like those extra baby spiders plants, or take cuttings from
          your philodendra. Even orchids make baby plants you can get starts
          from! When you get them established, you can get them potted up in a
          nice pot for a birthday or "cheer –up" gift. You could also look for
          clearance plant sales, just to get a start! When a friend gave me an
          orchid, she also gave me a note card with instructions for care, and
          the likes and dislikes of the particular plant. It's easy to look up
          plant names on the internet and make your own little plant cards and
          keep them in a filebox for your own reference.

          * * *
          I try to get out every day and get some fresh air, and go for a
          walk. Even though I don't often feel like getting out, especially
          when the wind can be so frigid, but I really enjoy it, once I get out
          there. The past few days 6(!)Bluebirds have been entertaining us
          right in front of our bay window. I was watching them this morning,
          and the thought crossed my mind that maybe we were the ones being
          watched. Maybe they feel sorry for us, thinking we are stuck in the
          cage called a house? Who knows who is the watcher and the watchee!
          They flit about and sing, and ruffle up their feathers to look
          bigger, and now that there are 6 instead of 2, and even though there
          is about a foot of snow still, there they are. If they can stand the
          cold and the snow, just maybe I will make it too. While they have
          cheered me up this morning, who can I cheer up today?

          * * *
          I have been spending a lot of spare time working on our family
          history this winter. There are a lot of free sites you can access
          from the Internet, just by searching genealogy, family history sites,
          etc. I am combing through family photo albums, and notes as far back
          as I can find. The other day I was able to add my Great
          grandmother's middle name (Nora), and some other details, all one at
          a time. It's like adding more and more pieces to a puzzle. I hope
          to just keep adding more and more. I even found a cousin Sue, that I
          have never met on the internet. We share a great-great grandfather!
          If you are looking for a simple, and yet meaningful hobby, family
          history is really fun, and it can get creative and artistic. You can
          find lots of ideas at libraries, and most local libraries have
          genealogical societies, that will be glad to lend you a hand, and
          point you in the right direction.

          * * *
          Keeping it Simple,
          Sheryl

          Email: thesimple_life@...
          Join the online newsletter to print recipes and look up previous
          columns.
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