Happy Anniversary to me!

I am coming up to my one year of eating gluten free.  What a trip it has been.  Good, Bad, confusing, trying and succeeding!  On this journey, I have discovered that not only gluten, but some other foods bother me.  So I started keeping a log, which sometimes I do not fill out and of course regret, because I tend to eat it again and feel yucky.  I am still learning.

But along the way, I found some great brands such as UDIs which no matter what, will taste good.  I have to remind myself, to try and keep away from preservatives and additives in the foods, some really bother me and shoots my pain up.   I have found that I am getting that I just do not want bread anymore.  UDIs has a multigrain bread that taste good, but I am just as happy using lettuce as my bread or just served on a plate.  Apples slice length wise, makes great substitute for bread for a turkey and cheese sandwich.

Now for noodles, some are awesome and some are … ah no, not eating that.  I make my own chicken noodle soup, using broth, some veggies and GF skinny noodles, broke up to smaller lengths, I have learned to make gravy with corn starch, still as tasty… now, this year, I am going to attempt to make a GF dressing… time will tell.

I am amazed still of how many premade food has gluten in them.  At the same time, food places are getting on the ball and offering GF chooses, one is entirely Gluten Free.

Another milestone for me, is the articles that I write for the local newspaper that comes out once a week. (it also has been one year)  As most of you know, I volunteer at the Lucy Bensley Genealogy research Center here in town around 20 hours a week.  Through this, I now write, once a week a “Looking Back” article regarding events, or people or something from this area during the years since the town was established in 1834.  ( we have folks living here as early as 1807 and the first child born here in 1809)  I love researching, so fits me I guess.  I have learned so much about this area, and now we have folks coming in sharing their stories, which gives me some great ideas for future articles using what they bring me or share with me.  From mysteries, to facts, to Churches, and Cemeteries, Schools and people, stores and more, it has been a fun journey.

So Happy Anniversary to me for all I have done this last year.  Looking forward to see what the second year brings me!

What an adventure!

new bed

Wow the year just keeps speeding by.  I Have been super busy the last few weeks since the Erie County Fair.  I have done 5 butter demos, my last one was at the Olmsted camp, a awesome place in itself, and the view is just spectacular!  I had Aunty Herb with me and what a great time we had.  I also had my needle felted pictures with me and sold 2 of them as well as some of my note cards.  We gave out lots of sample of fresh butter with herbs and meet some of the best folks.  I so enjoy being out there.

I also have been giving talks on both genealogy and grave stone art work, and have two more lined up next week.  Along with all of this, I have been staying gluten free and finding more and more places have GF options which is such a plus.  I have been able to turned down cookies and cakes that have been offer to me and not feel the  … Oh I really want to eat that … feeling anymore.  My pain level has gone down so much and I continue to be amazed that something as simple as going gluten free ( not saying that part was easy) really helps my pain.

I decided in my wisdom to get another bed to sleep in so started doing research on both bed frames and mattress.  After much looking and checking found what would work for me and my size ( I am no little thing so it had to be sturdy).  I ordered all the mattress, frame, sheets and such in one order… and of course the mattress came first, which I hope would not happen.  Oh well, we brought it upstairs as it was one of those that comes rolled up and will decompress and relax and grow to the right size once it is laid out.  It had said that if it was store where it was cold, it would take longer so upstairs it came.  the sheets came next and 2 days later the frame.

I got a Pragma bed frame for several reasons, one it folds flat when you are done with it and can be stored or moved easier, two, I was good for my size, three, the head and or foot can be raised, which I need sometimes to help me breath at night and just for comfort.  The mattress was a Zinus, which was rated good, had layers within it.  Now like everything it had pros and cons and some loved it and some had problems with it, as with the “Purple” mattress and another one I looked at.  But I decided to give it a shot.

I have such great friends, and was able to call one to help me after I got the room cleaned and vacuumed where I wanted the bed to go.  Setting up the frames was really easy as you just slide them out of the box, open the legs, attached the braces with wing nuts, then attach the two frames together… easy.   They were heavy but once together will slide across the floor if I need them to.

Now the mattress,  I should have video that.  Getting it to slide out of the box was funny, as it was packed really tight and just would not come out.  So, we cut the box, carefully as to not cut the mattress and removed the box.  Ok, that is done, now we lay it on the bed. The direction warn that if you removed the second layer of plastic, have it on the frame itself as it will start to decompress and relax.  Think of a can of biscuits that you pop open and they start to grow.  You got it, so after removing the first layer, then the second, remove the plastic…. it was flat and on the frame.  Now all we have to do is wait 24 to 72 hours until it has reached the full size.  Then you can add the sheets.  So I am now waiting.

The following morning it had reach the right thickness, and when I get through at the Lucy Bensley Center I will arrange and add sheets and such.

Wow first night I slept on it and I love it!  Rosebud has still not accepted the bed, the room being unarranged and rearranged and put back together and still is flipping when she sees me.  Just too funny.    Now all that is left to do is go through all of my junk that had accumulating over the year, things I kept for who knows why, good reason to go through and clean out and get myself organized.

Oh what will the next few weeks bring?  Who knows!

Where did the summer go?!

Geez, Did the Erie County Fair for 2 weeks.  Camped out in a RV with 3 other people and was at the Historical Building every day… Churned 90 pounds of butter and meet some really wonderful people as they came through this building.

Came home from the fair and 24 hours later… I was on Amtrak heading to New Hampshire to babysit my grandpets while my son and his family took a vacation to Disney.  I got a few days alone with the pets before my spouse joined me, I got some articles written and lots of computer work done, then we used their house as a home base as we visited several cemeteries and even a light house!

Now it is the 2nd week of September and I am trying to get back on a normal schedule for me….. yea, I over scheduled myself and hit the ground at home with craft shows and talks and butter churning plus my volunteering at the Lucy Bensley Center.  What was I thinking!? My body was not happy that I had not been home for 5 weeks, first on a thin mattress in a RV, then on a pull out bed.  My house looked like a storage shed… all the clothes I use for the butter churning, and all the clothes I took on the trip everywhere… the house had not been cleaned since I was not home since and with two cats, a parrot, I was amazed to say the least.  I was trying to clean and volunteer and do my craft show and demos and talk …. not smart on my end and I had to stop and regroup.

Finally got the house where 90 percent of the items I used, or packed are put up, took several days and got the house vacuumed.  The cleaning bug stayed with me as I went to the Lucy Bensley Center and cleaned my desk there off.  Starting to feel somewhat normal again.  For those that know me I enjoy sitting on my porch and watching the birds along with the outside cats that my neighbor and I take care of.  I got shepherd hooks for my bird feeder so the squirrels would quit breaking my feeders and eating all of the food.  I had to add a spring to stop them from climbing up the pole to eat the bird food.  I also would yell at them when I see them on or near the feeder.  As a result, now, when I pull up in the car or sit on the back porch the squirrels yell at me!  Funniest things I have every heard… I get out of my car, and two or three of them are yelling at me…. I think they got the idea.

Last week I filled the feeder and was taking them back to hang them up, when I had two little birds land on the feeder and start to eat, while I was still holding them!  I have never had that happen before, that was awesome.  As you can see from the photos I managed to still have peppers growing…

So I have my house somewhat normal, I have my desk where I volunteer cleaned.  I have some more talks lined up, one craft show and finally do not fill rushed and unorganized.

Welcome Fall… I am ready for you !!

I got me a herd!


August has been a whirlwind of a month so far.  I had the joy of churning butter during the Erie County Fair, at the Historical building.  What a fantastic time it was.  I churned all but one day, and manage to churn 90 pounds of Butter this year, handing them out as samples.  The flavors for the fair…. why Black Raspberries and Everything but the bagel topping with parmesan garlic, along with plain.  Everyone loved the flavors and I usually had a line waiting to try some butter.

Along the way…. I gained a herd of cows!  Some strayed so I named them all and they helped me demonstrate the ease of churning butter.  People were amazed at how easy it is and how fast it makes.  Heavy cream, (Upstate is the best) at room temperature, and either in a churn, a mix master, a mason jar 1/3 of the way, a kitchen aide, a whip… and you will get butter and butter milk, the product that is left over which is a creamy skin milk.  Now think about it, you have create the butter, which is fat, the liquid that is left over is skim milk.  You can drink the skin milk, or use it for cooking.  I had my group of folks that follow me, guess you could say my groupies…. Anna who is 10 now, has helped me churn and explain for 4 years now, came several times, and then there were the folks that look for me each year.  Some of them have started to make their own butter, so got to hear how they did, and what flavors they made, help some that tried to make butter and failed, (has to be heavy cream, not half and half) and meet some other great folks, who want to try it on their own now and with their grand children.

All ages loved it, all groups of people, and it was fun to hear their stories of when they themselves churned butter or their parents, of how they always enjoy coming home and having a snack of home made bread and butter or even crackers and butter.  I so loved hearing all the tales and wish I could have recorded some of them.  I also got to hear some stories of when they started coming to the fair, and how they could drive the car straight to the buildings, and the different foods that were available.

In the building I was in were 20 booths and around 10 cases where different Historical Societies and other groups displayed items from the past in their towns they were from.  The theme was World War I and II in your hometown, and what wonderful displays they were.  We even had two booths that displayed medals and uniforms from local men, and two of the men in their 90s came to see them.  There was a display that showed how metal, paper, rubber, drives went on, and so many photos of local men that were in the military, how folks in the home town helped by being part of the Civil Defense and watched for planes. The Legion had a booth in there as well as it is the start of the 100th Birthday for them.  The Legion was started in 1918 and by 1919 the were Post established in towns everywhere.  There was even a display case displaying beach glass from our local area.

Through out the Fair were wonderful exhibits set up, shows running day and night, food vendors where you could eat all types of food… and even… the largest wooden bowl being created and turned outside our building.  Of course we can not forget the animals, from small hamsters to Draft horses.  Many, Many shows went on in the horse rings, arenas where the cows, alpaca, pigs, sheeps and even chickens, ducks and such were shown.

It was a great 12 days of the Fair, and I camped out for 2 weeks , and that was an adventure as 4 of us were staying in a very small camper.  Good thing we all get along so good, but it was so nice to have a camper to run to and cool off on the days that were so hot and humid, and get into and sleep at night.  Giving us a few extra minutes of down time as we were at the Historical Building 10 to 12 hours a day.

We broke down on Monday morning ( August 20th) and cleaned out the building as well as the camper we had rented.  Then I brought all of that home, to unload, and also pack up as I was leaving to go to my son’s house on Tuesday to house sit and keep a eye on their animals.  So on Tuesday morning at 8;51 ( ok, 9:30 am) I got on the Amtrak train and headed to New Hampshire and the next adventure begins!




So much has seemed to happened over the last few weeks… Great things and sad things…. My 19 year old cat, that I had from a kitten, sadly died… It was her time, and I got to hold her several hours before she passed on. She was not in pain, it was just her time. She watched the birds from her favorite spot, she seemed to walk around a go to “her” places to rest awhile, and at the end came to me and wanted me to hold her.. I did, and I cried but held her. We also had visitors coming to the Lucy Bensley genealogy center where I volunteer… a bunch of them… 4th graders, so I had to go in the next day (after she died that night) and talk to them. It was a good thing for me, as it keep my mind busy, so I did not dwell on my loss. Coming home was hard, but I have two love bugs Fraser and Rosebud ( the other cats) waiting for me as well as my small parrot. Then, I had a event I went to at SUNY… a living History day, where I demonstrated how to churn butter and gave out samples and gave a talk on the art work on tombstones ( now isn’t that a combo talk!) I really enjoyed doing that. Then we have had folks coming in to do research on family and the town… 5 to 10 a week since then.

And then it got hot,..I mean really hot for us.. We went up to Old Fort Niagara for the French and Indian re enactment… and it was too hot for me to stay long, that was a first, as we usually go from opening to closing.. not this time. Came home, and AC went in the window, much to the relief of animal and humans inside.

And I have been doing butter churning demostations, getting ready for the Erie County Fair, where I do demos and work at the Historical Building, making phone calls to set up the inside demonstrators at the building, while I was also helping folks with research, both in person and through emails that they submit, writing articles for the paper ( in the Springville Times) trying to get ahead for when I am at the fair, Helping the Civil War Museum in town, working with my patio garden, watering and weeding, and times just seems to be speeding by.

In the middle of all of this I lost a set of keys I use.. that had 8 thumb drives on the ring, with 2 keys… and of course, after 10 days, still have not found them anywhere. I have notified everywhere I can think of to find them and still nothing. On a good note, I have cleaned out several old totes and bags looking for them, and under the furniture and flip and changed the beddings in the process of looking for them, talked to some great people who are helping me look.

Today I go and churn for South Wales old home week, next weekend is booked as is all the weekends in July, August I am at the fair churning twice a day, then head up to stay with my granddog while my son and family go on a trip. September is open… well no it is not, I have several events planned for that month as well… geez… when did I get so busy?! So I will be posting and updating when I slow down… really I will but until then., maybe I will see you at one of the events I do.

Oh… and on a positive note… I am still staying gluten free… getting easier and easier to do .. but gosh darn it, you really have to read the labels on everything.

My GF journey is getting easier!

I started in November going gluten free, thought it was going be to be impossible, but wanted to try it.  I was amazed at how easy it turned out to be.  Every where I went I could find choices that were gluten free.  Some good , some not so tasty.  Some restaurants had complete menus, while others only offered one or two items.  When I went to the store, I again found some had lots of choices to choose from, and some not so many.  Now I am seeing that they have a section of gluten free food in one area, and then scattered through out the store in the aisle with the regular food.  So many brands have hoped on the band wagon and now have gluten free choices such as Hidden Valley bars, you can get regular, or gluten free.

Then I learned that chicken wings are usually not battered.  What!!  I can satisfy my fried chicken taste buds with chicken wings, with no sauce!  Woo Hoo…. I am a happy camper indeed.  Still trying to find a bread I really like.  I have some that are ok, but still not  what my taste buds really want.  so the search is on for that.  Some noodles I like, but take to long to cook, but then I found one that cooks in under 5 minutes, and they are great!

I have learned how to read labels faster, and know what to look for.  That did take some work, but now it is easy.  There is always fresh Veggies and fruit I can have with no problems, and most places, can order a sandwich, hot dog, hamburger with no bun, which is ok.  The Mexican food I like, still trying to figure out what I can and cannot have, but I did find out that, our local Mexican restaurant has a fantastic grilled salmon with veggies that will melt in your mouth! Go figure, never would have thought to go there to have it.

With the heat upon us, I also have to be careful with ice creams, but there are still lots of choices to choose from.  No cones, but hey, less mess!

I do butter churning demos, so I have found some pretzels they could use to try some of the butter which of course I try to keep a little in a small container for just those that are GF to try.  sometimes those crackers are sure tempting.

So 8 months into my journey, and I think I have this.  I feel better, and I did discover that if I do eat something with gluten in it…. I tend not to feel good the next day.  So I know it is working!

As always one day at a time, one choice at a time… learning more each day.

What a whirlwind !

What a whirlwind the last few weeks have been!  I have been having fun sharing history with the younger generation.  I went into the Hamburg High School for three days, sharing with them different primary resources that were not found on the computer, cell phones or google… what a shock, there were actually books and artifacts that could be used to learn about the past.  I brought some old atlas of our area, to show how from 1866 to 1880 the town lines changes, town names changes, and you could research different families by seeing who and where land/farms were.  Then they got to use the old bound newspapers to continue their search, also finding old ads, from the area to see what indeed was here. I had two different newspapers from our area that recorded a new firetruck in 1921.  It was like looking at articles for two different trucks, two different points of views, that was fun for them. I took artifacts  for them to see if I could stump the kids, and the one that stumped all the ages I talked to…. a wooden egg on a stick… or as us old timers know,… a darning egg for socks.  Well why would you have one of those?! they all ask, which opened up the discussion of how socks, were not always bought in a pack of 6 or 12 at Walmart, but had to be used and worn for a long period of time, and you did not want to walk on a lump where you mended the sock.  I totally loved the 11th graders I got to visit their classrooms for 3 days, absolutely a joy.  They could think outside the box and were amazed at what all they could find out and learn.  We even went into a discussion of how food was made and stored, learned about “Pop” Warner and the fact that not only was he a coach for football, but he could paint as well, to ink wells and quills to write with, how ink was made and with what, salt wells, candle molds, that had a lot stumped and I learned from them as well.

The next group of kids I talked to was the 7th graders.  They were a little tougher, They also got to see old photographs, and learned that you had to sit still for up to 2 minutes for the photo to come out, and how the photographers would sometime travel around and take photos, and you can age the photographs by looking at their clothes, hairstyles and other items that were in the picture. They too also enjoyed the old papers, the old car ads, (learned they were also called automobiles) were amazed at how articles were written, how many cars brands there were, the size of the tires and then they learned about type setting that the newspapers had to use to print the papers.  They got to learn about the schools around here and what classes were offered.  I had fun with them as I took a artificial arm with me to show them.  The person it belong to had loss his arm during the Civil War, but came back and lived a long and productive life as a farmer.  At the time, they were not paying much attention, and you know raising your voice does not always work, so I used the arm as a selfie stick, putting a cell phone in the hand ( had a very strong thumb spring still) and extended the arm to be straight.  When the kids ask me what I was doing, I told them I needed a hand to take a selfie with a cell phone.  Then one student looked up more about the arm and discovered that it was designed in 1857 and patented in 1863, told us what kind of wood it was and paint.  I was very impressed by his research..  I was only with them for one day, but think I got them thinking of primary resources away from the computer, cell phones and Google.

We had a group come through from Clymer Historical Society to see what all we had at the Mercantile/Heritage Building and us at the Lucy Bensley Genealogy Center.  They seem to enjoy all we had to offer and look through some of the books and items we had at the building.

This last week, was 4th graders came in all 3 days we were opened.  So much fun again!  I love sharing my enjoyment of History with kids.  We played a game that I called, what is in Grandma trunk?  I started with .. If you found this trunk ( a large suitcase) in the attic   (and explained what was a attic for those that may not know) what are these items and how do you think they were used.  I started off with a rug beater.  It was fun to hear them try to figure out what it was… Why not plug it in a vacuum cleaner ? was asked., Were they even invented yet? into what? I replied, and then went on to explain, there was not electricity in the house then.  What?!  and then told them how you would pull the rug out (not beat the rug on the floor in place) and beat it outside and then take it back in.  That’s a lot of work, one little boy said. I had some tin type photos, followed by the 3 X 5 photos that the photographers would take in the 1880s, some pieces of a quilt were in there as well as other items.  Then I went into a what is genealogy?  I had created several forms for them to take home, a family tree, questions you might ask your grandparents, old photos, and to try to get the information, do you have a favorite food item your grandmother or Aunt makes, some fun facts and such.

Through all of this was laughter, and great questions and maybe, just maybe, I opened some eyes and minds for these kids to look back into their families, or learn a little about the history of the town.  I did have one student that told me, I made history interesting…. Now that I will take as a compliment!