Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Homemade Tomato Soup

Yes I know, I said my next post would be about the little town or Greeneville, TN and what gives the place it's claims to fame, 
        but....this was already written and the soup is soooo good! Try it, you'll like it I betcha.
The recipe is part of: 1. research for a story I'm attempting to write about a family in the Appalachians in the 1930s; 2. research of recipes for a bed and breakfast my husband and I were hoping to start (didn't work out). No matter what led me down this path, my husband and I have very much enjoyed my trying new recipes and developing my own versions of some! I guess you might say it's tasty research!

Homemade Tomato Soup

I tried my hand at making my own version of tomato soup.
It turned out 'right good' in Southern Speak.

1/4 small onion chopped small
1 or 2 stalks of celery chopped small
1 stick of butter
dash of garlic seasoning
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup flour
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

In a large frying pan heat the butter, chopped onion and chopped celery on med to low heat. Saute the onion and celery until onions are clear. 
Add the diced tomatoes and garlic seasoning. Cook to blend flavors.
Transfer tomato mixture to large pot and add the chicken broth and tomato paste and stir. Bring to a gentle boil.
Put the flour in a one or two cup measuring cup and add some of the hot liquid only from tomato mixture. Use a small whisk and mix the flour and enough broth to make a smooth thin mixture. Pour the mixture into the pot of tomatoes slowly, spreading it over the tomatoes, not all in one spot. Stir the tomatos and mixture until begins to thicken. 
Add the milk in the same manner. Stir to mix well.
Add salt and pepper to taste and let cook, stirring frequently, until thickened to your liking.
Serve hot with crackers or bread.
Bread Suggestions:
A variety of breads will taste great with this soup but here are some of my favorites:
Sweet corn bread muffins from the modern mixes.
Small croissants.
Garlic toast made by covering thick French bread slices with olive oil and sprinkling with garlic seasoning, and toasting on cookie sheet in the oven until browned.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Pleased to Read Old Comments & Hubby Honors Vets

I've just been looking back at my old posts and at the comments I hadn't seen! Thank you all. I do realize it's quite possible most of you gave up on me during my long absence, but if you are still reading I hope you see this post.

I'm so pleased to read your comments. How it is that I missed most of them is a mystery to me, but today was a great day to discover them as they lifted me up and today was a down day for this old lady; partly because it's not the same here without our sweet dog, Rusty.

Hubby Honors Vets

Mr. Toney has had a beard for over 35 years and strongly resembled someone
you may recognize.

A few weeks ago this man decided he wanted to participate in the local Honor Guard. You may know this is a group of veterans who will come to the funerals of other veterans when they are asked. They carry the US flag, play taps on a bugle and shoot the guns for a 21 gun salute. Mr. Toney was an enlisted man in the Navy, so he wears the ceremonial dress uniform for an enlisted Navy man.

The first thing he did to get ready for this transformation was to shave!!! Next he lost 20 pounds, and with the help of my brother, Leroy, and several others who wanted to honor the veterans with donations, he was able to acquire the dress blues and dress whites plus the ceremonial accessories for both uniforms. He also had to buy the patches and ribbons he earned. The ribbons he had weren't available. Our son used some in a framed work for his wall, and some he'd lost over the years.
Here he is the first day he tried on his ceremonial dress blues.

Today he is going to town to sit with the other veterans in front of our local Walmart to educate the public about the Guard and ask for funds. The money is used for gas to get them to the funerals, more uniforms, accessories and other items needed to carry on this work. All the veterans are volunteers and get no money. 
You may have guessed, I am very proud of Mr. Toney.
signed: Mrs. Toney

The above was written a few weeks ago. 

Mr. Toney has attended several veterans' funerals in the last couple of months. He usually carries the flag in the service. 
It's warm now so it is time for the Dress Whites. 
He lost an additional ten pounds in that time. He's enjoying getting to know the other guys in the Honor Guard and he's having fun being noticed too, because he's the only Navy man. The others are Army and Air Force.
He is motivated to do this for his fellow vets. Since just after he decided to be in the Honor Guard he has been having terrible pain from several things. They all started to give him trouble on the same day! But, he hasn't missed more than three or four funerals due to Dr. appointments or a particularly bad day. 

There have been approximately one veteran's funeral every four days for over a year here in East Tennessee. 

Soon I'll tell you more about the only town in the USA to have a Naval vessel named for it, Greeneville, Tennessee. 

You may know Greeneville was also the home of Andrew Johnson, who became the president when Lincoln was assassinated

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Death of Our Dog "Rusty, A Mountain Dog"

My Facebook Post from yesterday, Friday, May 2nd, 2014.

I know many of you already our dog, Rusty, was killed recently.

Please do not read this if you don't want to know the details,
but if you live up here you should read it.

Wednesday night I heard dogs barking and something else I couldn't figure out (but most of the dogs bark every evening because there's a deer path behind the house, there are lots of animals, and a variety of dogs running the mountain). I looked out, but saw nothing and heard nothing more.
(I didn't hear anything more because Rusty was already gone. I didn't see anything because he was lying just out of the light.)

Rusty was in his own pen and the gate was latched. The Sheriff who came to take the report said he was sure he had been attacked by pitbulls. They got into the pen by jumping up on some wood stacked on the outside and over onto the large covered barrell on the other side and that they left the same way.

Earlier in the evening two pitbulls tried to get into our friends' car to get at a puppy the wife was holding on her lap. She rolled the window up and her husband jumped in the car and got them away from where they were.
They were on their own property behind us where they have a garden.
The dogs ran after their car, but apparently when they got to our house the dogs decided to come after Rusty.
They snapped his neck.
He put up a good fight but they killed him.

One of our neighbors is known to have pitbulls, and to let them run free sometimes. The Sheriff's report says when he talked to the man he was friendly. The dogs penned up at his house, didn't seem to have any new scratches and marks. One of the dogs was younger and had no signs of ever fighting. The other had scars from fights but no new scratches. (We have no way of knowing if the neighbor has other dogs that could have been hidden or still running free.)

We still believe this neighbor's dogs are the ones, but if they are or aren't our other neighbors should be aware and on the look out for these animals described by our friends who saw them:
two pitbulls, one brown, the other has brown and grey markings similar to a German Shepherd. If our neighbor's dogs aren't the ones, that means the dogs that killed Rusty are still running free on the mountain!

Rusty wasn't little; he weighed at least 85 pounds & probably more. Based on the noises I heard, they made quick work of killing him.

Keep your smaller pets especially, someplace out of their reach, and keep a watch out.

The report says "complaintant was told a report would be forwarded to animal control." We don't know if this means it was forwarded or just that we were told it would be. That means we don't know if we'll be getting help up here to find these animals of not.

We have learned it is legal to shoot stray dogs that come on your property.

Rusty was ten years old. We got him as a puppy, the day after we moved up here. If he had died of old age we would have been sad, but this is so much worse. If ever a dog didn't deserve this it was Rusty.

Rusty a loyal mountain dog. We'll always remember him and always miss him!
Animal Control will not do anything until Monday! And even then all they say they can do is contact the neighbor we suspect owns the killing dogs and advise him of the leash law in Tennessee. My husband has learned the man does own a third pitbull that was not there when the Sheriff went to talk to him.
It's going to be another 'that's too bad' thing. Those of us who live up here will have to take care of things on our own I guess. Animal Control and the Sheriff both told my husband we have a legal right to shoot any stray dog that comes onto our property.

Additional Info:
Story made our local paper, the Greeneville Sun - Wild Animal May Have Killed Pet Dog: Official
Animal control Director Justin House - just from the location, I would assume a wild animal killed the dog.
Interesting as the Sheriff who came up was certain it was pitbulls, because wild animals would be very unlikely to get into a cage, and because the way in which our dog's neck was broken. Also I believe a wild animal that went to the trouble of killing something would eat it. Rusty was bitten but no tissue was missing as if the animal had tried to eat him!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Acupuncture, He Got the Point!

My poor husband has been a bundle of pain for the last couple of months. We've found our some things, and had a couple of things done, a shot, some non narcotic pain pills and he was told to rest, never mind the man is a work-aholic, he's got to rest. 

He is trying to rest. I almost hate to hear him say, "I'm not hurting so bad today!" That statement is a warning. It means he's going to find some work to do. At times he is careful and so it's OK. Other times he gets busy and goes full blast and puts himself back into pain. I try to caution him, but I'm not his Mom or his doctor, so he doesn't listen very well.

Recently a neighbor told him about an office with acupuncturists. We got him in to one. It seems to have helped after only the first treatment. We'll be going several more times in the coming days and weeks. It's not as costly as we thought and for that we are thankful. It means he can go enough times to make a difference we think.

I'm having to drive us every place right because if he drove it would aggravate the joints and nerves he's trying to let rest and heal. Poor man. He can barely sit still on the seat because he's uncomfortable. Add to that he's lost control of the car, and control has gone to me. I noticed him yesterday, I think he was hiding his eyes! 

The road we have to take to his acupuncturist is a curvy mountain road with a creek on one side and mountain on the other. The road in some areas is very narrow, and if that's not scary enough, semis have been using the road. It's quite 'exciting' to see a semi coming toward you on such a road, and I'm not exaggerating. See what I'm saying, I really think he did hide his eyes. Funny, but not.

As for the acupuncture I reminded him of all those straight pins I had in my sewing things, and offered to help him. He could give me the money and keep it in the family. He liked that idea even less than my driving us everywhere! Oh well, I tried.

Bye for now, from the winding mountain roads of East Tennessee

May you have abundant laughter to balance the tears. 
May you never forget God loves you & he is only a prayer away.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mom would have said, "That's what thoughts done." Whatever that means.

For about fifteen minutes, or maybe a little longer, my husband and mostly I, thought we were going to open a Bed and Breakfast in our home. Well, "That's what thoughts done."

It turned out we really can't do that. We aren't up to it, and I'll leave it at that for now.

While we thought we could have a B&B we did so much work. We remodeled our home and added lots of pillows, sheets, etc. etc. And! I researched many recipes. So I thought today I'd share one recipe I worked out recently. For a while I've been working on a story. In the story one of the children in a very large family is a natural cook, and she makes the bread pudding on her own, from left over biscuits. This recipe is a result of my reading many bread pudding recipes. I made the pudding and it's husband tested and approved.

Bread Pudding from Biscuits

Bread Pudding from Left Over Biscuits
(or you can make 'em fresh if you want - I did)
Ingredients & Preperations:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a baking pan (13 x 9) scoop a generous amount or butter and place the pan in the oven until the butter is melted.
Crumbled 8 baking powder, or buttermilk biscuits in a large bowl.
In another bowl whisk the following ingredients all together:
6 eggs beaten
2 cups milk
3 T molasses
2 T honey
1 tea cinnamon
pinch of salt
Pour egg mixture onto crumbled biscuits and gently mix.
Add ½ cup raisins if desired.
Spread bread and egg mixture in pan.
Bake 45 minutes or until golden brown and top springs back when pressed with finger
or tooth pick place 1" from edge comes out clean.
Let pudding sit for 20 minutes then serve as you like, with whipped cream,
sprinkle with powdered sugar, or fresh fruit, or ice cream - whatever you like best.


I may have posted this before on this blog 
but I don't remember, so I'll post it again.
"Petunias in a Pitcher"
acrylic on canvas

I'm posting the painting because after posting it on Facebook and getting several nice comments it made me wonder why I haven't been painting. I haven't work on my art for several years. It's about time to begin again.

The painting was copied from a photograph a friend gave me. She wanted me to paint a watercolor of it. I did and we traded. Below is the photo. It's in one of the guest rooms.

I think there is a story in the title of this painting. I'll have to work on that soon.

Until another day! 
Janet Toney

Monday, April 14, 2014

Random Thoughts

Just Looking at the First Photo on "Art*Ph0tography*Writing" Blog 

Remembering when I took it. My brother paid for me to tour the Biltmore Estate with him and his wife. 

And then he made fun of me for taking so many pictures! I did look a sight, carrying my big purse (not sure why I thought I needed it) and a sweater, and the rather large camera.

 Just the same, I'm glad I ignored him because I've always thought this picture is just plain old pretty. 

Maybe my Being Nosey Helped a Couple of College Students 

Two young women at Walmart were trying to get supplies for an art appreciation class. I butted in and explained the paints because they didn't have the right ones. 

They thanked me but they were ready to cry about how much everything was going to cost for only an 18 day class. I couldn't help them there, except I did suggest they share their supplies. 

When I left them they were looking at the supplies and each other. I bet they shared.

Tonight There is a Lunar Eclipse

This is exciting. They call it a blood moon. It begins her about 2:30 AM and is over about 5:30 AM, but we are forecast to have rain. So....not sure it will be worth trying to be awake.

Facebooking Today with Family and Friends - I Love it!

In the years I've been on Facebook I've found so many people that I would not be in touch with otherwise. It happens I have tons of cousins and many, many of them are my 'frinds' on Facebook. It is very nice to get to talk to them, and to know what's going on in their lives and be able to share things from my life with them too.

Besides my biological family, my church family is very well represented. We have lived in several places and now we can talk to our church brothers and sisters from all the places we lived. The other people are those we've met thru our jobs, other web sites and neighbors where we used to live and where we live now. May Facebook never go away. 

I love seeing the faces of all these folks, and pictures of their families. It's fun to see the other people's children as adults and then see their children, even though that makes me really feel old sometimes.

Today was very good for conversations. I enjoyed visits with some of those cousins and an old friend from church. Most days we exchange a comment or two, but today some of us had longer visits. It's all fun and heart warming/healthy!

Tomorrow is another day!
Good night all.
Janet Toney

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Where Did I Go? No posts for three years! Time Does Indeed Fly!

My life must have been much busier than I thought. My last post was in 2011! 

Quick update list.

Years 2009 to January of 2013 we spent time in Arizona. We were snowbirds. My husband worked at an RV park in the town we used to call home, Yuma. Two of those years we spent eight months in Arizona and 4 here. (I, however, only spend a month and a half here one year and two months one year-another story). We lived there nearly 30 years before buying this place in 2004.

Just traveling back and forth made life hectic but then family tragedy came our way.
my sister at 3 years
One tragedy began in the spring of 2011 my sister, who never married, had one baby who was still born, and lived in Phoenix by herself found out she had colon and pancreatic cancer - she passed away November 11, 2012. She went into the hospital the 22nd of June, transferred to a rehab hospital in July and never came home. It was, as you can imagine, or as you may know from your own experiences, a bitter sweet time with her. 

I thank God every day I was able to be with her and I ask him everyday why don't I feel as if I did enough. I won't tell anymore here. While going thru all the above I did tell my family and friends on Facebook. They helped carry the burden and did more for me than they know. But it's enough talk about it now.
my sister and Hairy, her dog
That brings us to January, 2013 when we sold out in Arizona and left maybe to never return. We'll see.

Since then we have been home in Tennessee working on our house. There were several things that happened to the place while it sat empty and those things needed to be fixed.

For some reason I got the idea I could make a Bed and Breakfast in this house. My husband was helpful in that he did many remodel jobs but the entire time we worked on this project it seemed it was going to be MY job. Since he was here and working on the rooms I thought it could work out. 

the Old Apple Tree B & B

We picked a name, got a business license, got a tax ID number, and checked the zoning. I made an email account for the B&B, opened a bank account. I continued: painted a sign for the corner, and one for the outside of the house, created a Twitter account, bought sheets and blankets and mattress and pillow covers, painted used furniture purchased at thrift stores, we put in direct TV, added flat screen TVs, added electric fireplaces, decorated, made sure each room had a desk and chair, and an extra seat besides the bed, made separate entrances to each bedroom from the outside, added patio furniture so guests could eat their breakfast outside on the front or back decks, made business cards, brochures, rearranged lots of stuff in the guest bathrooms and placed personal items in our master bedroom and away from guest spaces. I made a blog for the B&B. I made a page for an online rental agency and had it up and running. We had three inquiries.

I researched recipes and practiced recipes. Hubby loved that part. Blew my Weight Watcher's weigh ins more than once.

About two months ago now my husband got up one day and he could barely lift his arms, and he could barely walk because his muscles in his legs were all cramping and locking up. Hum. We headed to the doctor. Tests, and tests were done. He doesn't have cancer. We didn't know they were checking for cancer! 

He has a pinched nerve, carpel-tunnel in both hands, a torn rotatory cuff (?) and not sure what's going on with his legs, maybe a bulgng disk against a nerve.

My right knee has begun to hurt worse than it ever has.

We gave up the Bed and Breakfast idea!!

I removed the online ad, deleted the Twitter account, re-routed the email, tore down the signs, turned the business cards over for notes, pitched the other things I'd made on the computer, and deleted that blog!

So here we are. Our family who stay now will want for nothing in their rooms! I can cook even more rich foods than before, and the Mr and I are free to have surgeries or whatever. I guess so long as one of us can still drive the other one to the doctor we are good!

How have your last three years gone?

I will edit some of the posts from the B&B blog for posting on this one now. I hope to find some followers again. I have recipes to share!

Lesson learned: I haven't a clue and I need a nap.

Janet Toney