You've probably heard the saying, "Eavesdroppers never hear anything good about themselves." Well, the same might be applied to Internet eavesdroppers who go poking around to see what people are saying about their book. Yes, I'll confess, I've been poking. And that's what prompted this blog. First of all, thanks to all of you out there in blogger land who get what I was trying to accomplish with my latest novel "Small Change". I wanted a fun read that would encourage women to think about their lifestyles, where they're spending their money, and then make improvements one small change at a time. I understand that a girl can't please everyone. But to doubt my financial wisdom. Aw, that hurts. Okay, I'll admit that simply planting rhubarb in our flowerbeds won't save us if our economy is sliding south. That alone won't keep the wolf from the door. But it won't hurt, either. I'm convinced that incorporating edibles into your landscaping is a financially wise thing to do. So is having a small veggie garden in the back yard. I mean, why not? If you have a house with a patch of land, why not make that land work for you? You're going to be watering something. Make it something edible. And why not find bargains at garage sales, clip coupons, and cut back on your spending? It does all add up. Really. I know this from personal experience. Over the years we have driven used cars no teenager would take as a gift, we've passed on expensive dinners out and found creative, inexpensive ways to have fun with friends. We've scrimped and saved on everyday expenses, pinching our pennies into submission. And the money we saved kept us out of debt and helped us build for a financially secure future. I even sold treasures on eBay to help put our son through college. Yes, I am growing rhubarb and am proud of it. I also have a couple of fruit trees, a veggie garden, blueberry bushes, and strawberry plants, which make great ground cover. Oh, and I'm growing raspberries, too. (No, I don't have a huge chunk of land, but what I have I'm using to the max.) I have also just scrounged a new "back-up" espresso maker for when my current one goes belly up so that I can continue to make my own lattes when the girls come over for coffee. So go ahead, you doubters. Think I'm crazy. But I'm still gonna grow my rhubarb, find treasure at garage sales, and generally save money. And if you're in the neighborhood I'll feed you rhubarb muffins and give you chocolate mint tea made with my own mint. And maybe, if you see the light, I'll even give you a rhubarb start.
I admit it. I'm not a nature girl. When my husband drags me off hiking our conversation goes something like this.
Me: Are we there yet?
Gerhardt: Ten more minutes.
Me: Are we there yet?
Gerhardt: Ten more minutes.
Yes, I am a whiner. But I can have fun in the woods when we're with friends and we're looking for goodies. Which is just what we did last time we were out. My friend Rick is an herbalist and he introduced me to all kinds of cool secrets of the woods. Like plantain. (Something I always considered no more than a big, leafy weed.) Well, guess what. If you make a salve out of it, it's good for all kinds of skin problems, like eczema and age spots.
So we picked some and came home and made some salve. And if you want to try and make this special salve, here's how I made mine. Fill a medium sized colander with the plantain. (Yes, I know, I should have measured more accurately, but what can I say? The main idea is to stuff your pot full of the herb, so I stuffed) Rinse it well then dry thoroughly. Melt a container of Vaseline in a pot on your stove top. (Don't get the heat too high and don't leave the stove - you don't want to burn your house down.) After the Vaseline melts add the plantain. It will foam up. Continue cooking until the plant is done foaming. Rick told me it would do this for about twenty minutes. My batch was still foaming after half an hour (I don't think I dried it thoroughly enough). When it's done foaming, remove the plant and let your salve in the pot cool until it's lukewarm and you can put your finger in it without burning it. Then pour it back into the Vaseline jar and let it set. And there you have it, Dr. Sheila's Herbal Skin Care Salve. Rick said it may take several months to work, so I'm giving it a try on my poor, sun damaged skin. We shall see!
Like most Americans, we had a great time celebrating the Fourth of July. Check out my fun centerpiece made from garage sale finds I've collected over the years. The dessert was an easy one I found on the Taste of Home website (top ten patriotic desserts) - easy to make with whipped cream, flavorings and cream cheese whipped together and then layered with fruit. Delicious, quick, and easy - which gives the hostess freedom to enjoy her guests!
Our friends the Hales, who own Hales Ales in Seattle, are opening a new restaurant in our neck of the woods. So there has been much cause for celebration. We were on hand last night for a party celebrating their success. The restaurant looks great and the food is wonderful and reasonably priced. The location's not too bad either, right in the Kitsap Mall. Go Mike and Kathleen. We wish you all the best!