Taking time for relaxation

This is the time of year my family really looks forward to relax; as you read this, we will be sitting around the pools in the Catskills in New York. It is great to renew the many friendships we have made there over the years. There are additions to some families and, sadly, some friends are no longer with us. That is life, and that is why we should enjoy each day and never put off what we want to do or tell folks that we love them and appreciate them. No one is promised tomorrow. This year, we have been so inundated with work and responsibilities that we would not have taken the time to go if we hadn’t made the commitment years ago to devote this time to relax and enjoy our family. There was one unfortunate hitch this year – both husband Norm and I had hired house sitters and somehow we didn’t get the information to each other. Both people are excellent and responsible, so it was a hard task to tell one not to come. Anyway, both will get plenty of work this summer as I take on the task of bringing this old house up to what I want it to be. Bring on the dumpster.

Norm spent last weekend getting the Delaware house opened up and all the usual work to do that after no one being there all winter. This time, he had help with him and I didn’t have to do anything. My idea of opening up and cleaning up. This house on the hilltop will be a different story, so I intend to rest up before I tackle that task.

Momma Molly and her five kittens are giving us lots of entertainment. The kittens are old enough now to run and play, and even give the dogs a hard time. The first task when we return from vacation will to find them all homes. Cassidy and Baylee are certain they can talk Grandma into keeping all of them, but that is not an option unless we keep them as “barn cats”. We have tried to keep the devil cat, Butterscotch, otherwise known as Diablo, out to become a barn cat, but he continues to run into the house every time a door is opened. He is going to lose that battle.

Cassidy and Baylee are getting ready for their completion as finalists in the National American Miss pageant in Columbus, Ohio, at the end of the month. You may have read their story as well as that of Courtney Griffiths from Marietta, who is also a finalist in that competition. She had a fundraiser to help with the cost of competing and I had hoped to have one for my granddaughters, but that turned out to be impossible with the predetermined dates of our New York trip. A number of folks have expressed an interest in helping these girls with the expenses as it is a push on family funds. To help sponsor any of these girls, one could send a donation to Courtney Griffiths, 3432 Warren Chapel Road, Marietta, OH, 45750 for Courtney or to help Cassidy and Baylee Cunningham, one could send a donation to either one of them at 728 Wells Road, OH, 45786. A special thanks to anyone who helps these girls.

Have you been to any of our local Farmers’ Markets yet? That new lettuce is beautiful. Fresh strawberries and rhubarb just say “Spring”. I get my eggs from local farmers there, too, since I am not in the Chicken Lady Business anymore. Both Parkersburg and Marietta, as well as several smaller communities, have these markets to bring local, fresh eggs, meat, vegetables and fruit to us. The crafts are special, too.

Next Sunday is Father’s Day, so start planning now for a special day for the King of the Castle. What did you get for Mother’s Day? Respond in kind. Diamonds need a special meal and/or gift. Nothing deserves – well you decide. There will be a couple of recipes in today that are good Father’s Day food, so you can get the ingredients this coming week. One can’t bake a cake or pie at the last minute. Ribs or steak seem to be preferred meats. Steak could be “last minute” but ribs take longer cooking time. Remember, one can catch more flies with honey than vinegar. That isn’t bribery; that is just good sense….

Norm won most of the War of the Roses. Most of the bushes are flowering beautifully, and where I tied the climbing roses along the fence, they are growing as was planned. The only bush that isn’t doing so great is my Climbing Peace. It had such big, beautiful blossoms last year, and so far is just showing leaves. I guess it wasn’t cut back soon enough. Don’t tell Norm that I admitted that.. In general, the roses are prettier this year than they have ever been. Maybe, I can hire him out as a rose pruner.

If you have taken any trips in the country, you have been treated to one of the nicest aromas of the season – fresh mown hay and honeysuckle. Just stay away from any barns that are being cleaned out. If honeysuckle is on the roadside, one wants to turn off the air and open the windows to get that wonderful scent. It is especially nice in the early morning or evening. I have always been tempted to plant some closer to the house, but have been warned of the work it takes to keep it from taking over all other plants. I still like it. Sparing just plain smells good.

Enjoy these days before it gets to scorcher temperature days. It is nice to be able to open up the windows and doors. That probably won’t be the case in July and August and it certainly wasn’t the case before the warmer breezes came. Just a lesson to us, I guess – enjoy each day and not be concerned about what it will be tomorrow.

Make the grill your summer kitchen and try grilling some things you never thought about before. A magazine that came recently even featured grilled glazed doughnuts. Now, I never thought of that. Food just seems to taste better outside, and often you get a lot of extra help from those who like to rule the grill. Enjoy your grill, plan for Father’s Day, and smell the honeysuckle. God Bless.

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KENTUCKY BOURBON PIE

(Great for Father’s Day.)

One cup chopped English walnuts

Three tablespoons bourbon

One cup sugar

One cup white corn syrup

Four eggs

One stick butter, melted

One cup chocolate chips

One teaspoon vanilla extract

Two unbaked pie crusts

Pour bourbon over nuts and set aside. Beat sugar, syrup and eggs together. Add butter, chocolate chips, and vanilla extract. Add bourbon and nuts. Pour into unbaked pie shells and bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 45 minutes.

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MARINADE FOR STEAK

One-fourth cup olive oil

One-fourth cup dry red wine

Two cloves garlic, minced

One teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

One-half teaspoon salt

One-half teaspoon Dijon-style mustard

Combine all ingredients. Pour over steak (in a zip-lock bag) and place in refrigerator for up to twenty-four hours. Turn bag occasionally so that all the steak is marinated. Also, place bag in a glass baking dish in case the bag leaks.

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WINE MARINADE

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Three yellow onions, sliced thin

Three carrots, sliced thin

Two whole cloves

One bay leaf

One clove garlic, crushed

Ten peppercorns

Four or five sprigs fresh parsley, chopped

Two cups dry white or red wine

One-half cup vegetable or peanut oil

One-fourth cup vinegar

Season meat with salt and pepper and place in a plastic zip-lock bag. Combine all other ingredients and add to the meat. Force out air and close bag. Place bag in glass pan or bowl. Marinate for two or three days, turning frequently. This marinade is good for any meat or hunting season game.

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NON-TOMATO BBQ SAUCE

Six tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Three tablespoons commercial steak sauce

Two tablespoons vinegar

One-half cup butter or margarine

Juice of two lemons

Several dashes Tabasco sauce

Melt butter and stir in all other ingredients.

NOTE: This sauce can be used for chicken, beef, or spareribs and since it has no sugar or tomatoes, it doesn’t scorch or char like regular sauces do during long periods of cooking.

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FROZEN MARGARITAS

One-half cup lime juice

One-half cup tequila

One-fourth triple sec or other orange-flavored liqueur

One cup confectioners’ sugar

Four cups ice cubes

Coarse salt and lime slices for garnish

In blender container, combine all ingredients except garnishes and ice. Blend well. Gradually add ice, blending until smooth. Put coarse salt in a dish. Rub rims of glasses with a slice of lime, then dip into the salt dish. Fill with margaritas and add a slice of lime to the rim of the glass.

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BLUE CHEESE SALAD DRESSING

Sour cream and Hellman’s mayonnaise – equal parts of each

Garlic powder or minced or pressed garlic cloves

Dried parsley flakes

Lemon juice to taste

Crumbled blue cheese to taste

Combine and refrigerate to blend flavors. This is good as a topping for bake potato as well as on a salad.

Contact Patty Christopher at jkoenitzer@aol.com