Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Such a pitifully small amount of Huckleberries, but what do you want for a first harvest? LOL The plant that I have alternately nursed and tried to destroy isn’t a Stinging Nettle, but a Garden Huckleberry, and a volunteer plant at that. It is very similar in appearance to that dreaded Stinging Nettle, which I am direly allergic to.

Huckleberry bush shown on the left, its berries on the right. I wasn’t sure what the plant was when the berries began appearing. Previous to this, I had posted photos to the FaceBook group Tehachapi Gardeners, but no one knew what it was, but when I shared a photo of the plant with berries, I got a quick and very pleasing diagnosis.  Elizabeth Burroughs commented: “Looks like garden Huckleberry. We grow it yearly. Berries are terrible tasting unless cooked. Makes fantastic syrup. Great feed for birds and poultry. Wait until berries turn dull and nearly black before harvesting. Hearty reseeder.”



Stinging Nettle as shown below is very close in appearance, especially when there’s only a few leaves present. Stinging NettleNettle-6

It’s growing amongst my two Concord Grape vines (which have already dropped their leaves and gone dormant for the winter). Perhaps a bird dropped the seed. Who knows? I think it’s a cool gift from Mother Nature!

I was up early this morning and watched the first train of the day as it sat in the shadows from the morning sunrise. I leave you with blessings, and a wish for safety, health and happiness. Be sure to tell those you love that you love them.DSCN1785






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Sunday, December 1, 2017

The first of three bake sales was held at the Tehachapi Depot Railroad Museum yesterday. I worked the sale from 9:00 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. This is one of the Museum’s primary fundraisers and always brings in a tidy profit. I was pleased but exhausted at the end of the day.Christmas tree by Cory Shirley














Once again, I missed the Christmas tree lighting ceremony, but the photo above (taken by Cory Shirley) is from a previous year, when we had snow. If you want to know what the inside of the Depot looks like, but can’t make the trip to see it in person, the Museum web site has numerous excellent photos of the interior and exterior of the Museum. Go to http://www.tehachapidepot.com

Mike Nixon graciously donates the use of his modular G Scale layout for the month of December, setting it up and providing help in keeping the trains running. When people come on Saturdays to get pictures of their children sitting on Santa’s lap, the train layout adds to the excitement of the visit.

Mike Nixon G Scale Train layout by Andrea Fish














All of my donated baked goods sold out. I made Peanut Butter Chews cookie bars, Caramel Corn with Peanuts, and Peppermint Bark. I’ll make these same goodies along with a new recipe for Chocolate Coconut cookies. Here are the recipes for those who collect recipes. I ALWAYS share my recipes. You never know when you’ll lose a recipe and if you share it, you can always ask a friend to share it with you!


Jane Boehrer, Food Services Director for San Diego City Schools was happy to share this recipe, which she says is very popular with kids of all ages. NOTE: I used to buy these cookies when I attended Clairemont High School in the early 60’s. They bring back wonderful memories. This recipe makes 32 bars.

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons margarine, butter or shortening
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup rolled oats

3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons peanut butter
4 1/2 teaspoons very hot water

Combine butter, sugars, peanut butter, eggs and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Mix, creaming well. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add rolled oats and mix well. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Mix until well blended. Spread batter into a greased 12-by-18-inch cookie pan with sides. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not over bake.

For the glaze: Combine powdered sugar and peanut butter. Gradually add hot water. Spread glaze on warm Peanut Butter Chews. Cut while warm. Cookies will be of a chewy consistency. (From the San Diego Unified School District Food Services Department.)


7-8 Qts. Popped Corn
1 cup Oleo (I used Butter)
2 cups Light Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Light Corn Syrup
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 Tbsp. Vanilla

Melt oleo, sugar and syrup; bring to a boil and stir constantly for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add soda and vanilla. Bake at 250 deg. for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Makes approximately 24 cups. Watch for burnt tast if you bake it too long. Test for crispness after 30 min. I pop my corn, remove any old maids and place it in a large sheet cake pan. Keep popped corn warm while making the caramel. Turn caramel corn out onto waxed paper. Separate into clusters and allow to cool before packing in reclosable plastic bags.


1 Cup crushed peppermint candy canes or hard peppemint candies (Starlight mints)
1 package white chocolate bark
Non-stick aluminum foil

Line an 11″ x 17″ cookie sheet (with 1/2″ sides) with non-stick aluminum foil. Melt the white chocolate coating/bark in a glass container in the microwave, starting with 1 1/2 min. on high. Stir the coating and microwave for an additional 30 seconds. Remove and stir to smooth. Pour the melted coating onto the foil-lined pan. Quickly sprinkle the crushed peppermint candies on top. Place cookie sheet in refrigerator for 10 min. to harden candy. Remove from refrigerator and break into pieces. Store in reclosable plastic bags.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.
½ cup plus 1 ½ tbsp chopped chocolate (56 percent cacao or higher)
3 egg whites
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup plus 2 tsp sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ cups sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the chocolate in a couble boiler to melt. You can make your own double boiler by using a metal bowl that fits over the top of a pan. Fill the pan about one-third full of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and place the metal bowl with the chocolate in it on top. Make sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Stir the chocolate until melted. Avoid overheating it. Once the chocolate is melted, set it aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl, by hand or with the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, stir together the egg whites, cocoa powder, sugar, salt and vanilla. Add the melted chocolate and stir until well blended. Add the coconut and mix until evenly incorporated.

Using a 3/4-ounce portiioner, form mounds of the mixture and place on parchment-lined pans. You can also use a spoon to roll the mixture into balls, using about 1 ½ tbsp for each. They should be the size of a walnut in the shell. Leave some space between the macaroons for even baking. They will not spread.

Bake for 25 min. until the cookies are slightly crispy on the outside and still soft on the inside. If you are unsure whether they’re done, squeeze one. Remove to a cooling rack and cool completely. These cookies stay very moist in a sealed container or bag for up to a week. They can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

Nutrition per serving: 130 calories, 7 g fat, 95 mg sodium, 17 g carbohydrates, 6 g saturated fat, 15 g total sugars, 1 g protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g dietary fiber.
From “Zingerman’s Bakehouse,” by Amy Emberling and Frank Carolla. Published in Bakersfield Californian, December 7, 2017, Page D6.

Be safe, be well, and please be happy. Be sure to tell those you love that you love them.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017


There’s nothing quite like having gifts to open come Christmas. This year, as in the past 4 years, I participated in a swap with other members of an online quilting group. Each November we sign up for the 12 Days of Christmas swap. We complete a questionnaire and agree to send our Secret Santa partner gifts to open for the 12 Days before Christmas. The 12th day must be something we made, and there must be at least one yard of fabric as part of the 12 gifts. We include candy and other treats. The photo above shows my 12 days of gifts and the glass train ornament that I was instructed to open first, as soon as I received my box of gifts. I think they knew that I was a lover of anything train related!

Speaking of trains, today I spent the morning at the Depot with other volunteers, putting up the Christmas tree and decorating the freight room. I should have taken my camera and got photos. I might just do that tomorrow as I need to go back and get the tables set up for the Bake Sale. I was impressed with what I did for the display case decoration. It turned out really nice. After we finished putting all of the unused decorations back down into the basement, we all adjourned to Denny’s for lunch. There were 10 of us so it was a nice time.

I’m over my respiratory infection (thankfully!), and ready to work on my latest project again. I’m making a quilt for a very special person. I won’t say more than that because oftentimes they read my posts here.

Two weekends ago, our eldest son drove me over to our place in Apache Junction, AZ, and helped me pack up our personal effects. The younger son drove over with his wife from their home in San Diego, so there were four of us working. I’ve been unpacking, one box at a time, and sorting through things. There is no way I can keep everything that we packed up. It’s time to do some serious de-cluttering of this house! My niece, Jeanette Vogt, was up for a visit this past weekend, and when she left, her car was loaded down with things for a garage sale. She lives in San Diego and is trying to raise money for two half-marathon races that will raise funds for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. She’ll hold a garage sale with the things I’ve given her and the proceeds will go towards her fundraising commitment. Here’s a link to her donation page:

We’re seeing some really low temperatures at night, but today the sun was shining and temperatures were in the 70’s for most of the day. Nice… We won’t be doing anything for Thanksgiving this year. Perhaps next year we’ll hold a family gathering and cook. We shall see.

Be safe, be well, and please be happy. Be grateful for all you have been given in this life. The important gifts in life are those that can’t be bought. Remember to tell those you love that you love them. Have a blessed holiday…

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Thursday, November 2, 2017

This day had to be my laziest day in some time. It’s been overcast, cloudy and cold all day today. Tonight, as I look out my office window the sky is dark, and traffic on the highway is a steady stream of headlights and tail lights as people head for home up or down the mountain.

I didn’t accomplish a whole lot today — no sewing, that’s for sure, which is disappointing considering how much I have yet to do on my big project. I’ve even felt a bit guilty for wasting the day away. When you’re running on the short end of your life, you feel a bit more pressure to not waste the time you have left on this side of the veil.

I did call the management for Roadhaven to let them know we were going to be putting our home on the market, and that I was going to be coming in on the 11th to clear out personal effects so the place could be listed for sale. I also called Salt River Project to have the electricity turned on effective the 10th. It’s never truly been shut off except at the back power post, but I’ve always been an honest person and want to be billed for any usage. I’ve arranged to meet with the realtor the morning of the 12th and she will have the place thoroughly cleaned before it’s viewed by any potential buyers. It’s been vacant for three years now, so the dust bunnies have had time to make generations of baby bunnies. LOL

The eldest son will drive me over in his truck, and our youngest son will drive over on his own from San Diego. I asked him to please bring someone with him for company. He said he’d see if one of their boys wanted to tag along. It would make me feel more comfortable rather than thinking of him making the long drive all alone. That said, I have to think about the older son driving long distances by himself to and from his work sites and I never seem to worry about him. Maybe because he’s been doing it for so many years. I don’t know… It’s a long trip and far too much for Robert to withstand at this point in time, but it’s something that needs to be done.

I’ve done a lot of sewing for the Depot gift shop lately and have told the gift shop manager that I needed to switch gears for a while to get my other personal sewing done. She said that personal sewing took precedence and thanked me for the things I’d made. They’ve been selling almost as fast as I can get them made and put up for sale in the shop. I told Robert just this morning that I had always doubted the quality of my work, but either my work is decent enough for people to want or they can’t resist the prices being set for the items. One way or the other, the Depot is benefiting and that was my goal.

May you all be blessed. Be safe, be well, and please be happy. Life is precious — enjoy yours! Be sure to tell those you love that you love them.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Monday’s prostrate surgery went well and Robert came home from the hospital this afternoon. He returns to see the Urologist on Tuesday. Until then, he’s on limited actitvity–allowed to walk around the house but not much more for at least two weeks, and possibly up to a month. Overall, the doctor says to expect a recovery period of up to three months.

Taking things one day at a time. Be safe, be well (please!) and please be happy. Tell those you love that you love them.

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

We fully intended to take a day trip up to Laws, California, to see the Slim Princess run. http://www.lawsmuseum.org/

I set the alarm clock for 6 o’clock (it’s a 3 hr. drive from Tehachapi) and we went to bed fairly early. When the alarm went off this morning, it was an easy decision to skip the drive and stay home. I realized that Robert would be need to be rested come Monday morning and we have Docent Duty at the Tehachapi Depot Railroad Museum tomorrow, which usually leaves us a bit tired at the end of the day. I really hadn’t thought it through before agreeing to the trip. Robert gratefully returned to bed and right back to sleep.

He thanked me this morning for canceling out on the trip. I don’t think he relished driving for three hours first thing this morning. He said he was leaving it up to me but he was glad I made the decision I did. Laws will be still be there, and we’ll make the trip another time.

Meanwhile, we have the day to rest up. Be safe, be well, and please be happy. Enjoy your life, and remember that we are all blessed. Be sure to tell those you love that you love them.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

This is my long-awaited extended ironing board. I love it!! It’s 22″ x 54″ and I can iron full widths of fabric with ease. It’s a bit soft right now, almost fluffy, with its three layers of batting under the muslin cover, but it will eventually settle down into a soft padding. When the cover gets dirty, I can change it out quite easily. I’ve put it onto my old ironing board, keeping the newer board for quick projects. It’s stored in the laundry room so it’s close by. The end of the new ironing board is just to the left of my sewing machine, so it’s really handy for pressing block pieces. Nice!!!

Tomorrow is pre-op for Robert. He was sneezing and coughing a bit tonight — don’t know why, and am hoping it’s not a cold. I’ve sneezed off and on for the past few days but I think it’s my allergies. Robert does NOT need a cold right now.

His low blood pressure spell seems to have ended–happiness is. We didn’t know what was going on, but his blood pressure in the mornings was only 85/58. Not good. We cut his blood pressure medication in half (called the primary dr. and told the receptionist to note Robert’s chart) and a few days later the situation corrected itself. Much better now…

Nothing else to report so will close with blessings to all. Be safe, be well, and please be happy. Be sure to tell those you love that you love them. Life can be incredibly short at times and we can’t go back and recapture those missed opportunities…

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