Saturday, July 23, 2011

R E P U R P O S E in the COUNTRY


heavy on recycling     I grew up doing all of these RE-RE-RE-RE’s., as did my sisters. W e didn’t have recycle bins, or high profile advertising nor was there much, if any, abundant, even wasteful government spending telling people to re-anything . We just did it. We took care of what we had, and when things became worn, we had them mended or repaired. Shoes were resoled, buttons were put back on or replaced, hems were let down, seams were let out , outgrown clothing was passed down to the younger ones or shared with the cousins .
     Today, these kinds of practices are not just for a select few . . not just underprivileged or poor people (so – called), with lots of kids and precious few resources .. not just for the 21st century hippy. Many people are getting on board. Many folks realize that new is not always better; many also understand that quite often, LESS is MORE. Perhaps torn can be mended, too long can be shortened, too small can be passed along. Plant material (potato and carrot peels etc.) can go back into the earth in the form of compost, instead of going down the garbage disposal or into the trash bins and dumpsters that feed the landfills.
     An old entertainment center can be made into a darling “kitchen” for the little princess in your life (saw this idea somewhere on the 'net, and then a dear friend actually did this for her small daughter’s birthday and it looked great - really cool)!
     Maybe a SpongeBob© lunchbox can hold your kitchen sponges. At Christmas time, I serve homemade Scottish Shortbread nestled on a green cloth napkin in my old red plaid lunch box – very pretty.
lunch box    
     I have an old “big-black-manly” lunch box that houses my hot glue gun, glue sticks, mat and holster; I labeled it GLUE GUN with white liquid paper (another repurpose). 
     My once-was-a-coal-bucket (that I put wood in when I had a fireplace) now displays some favorite house plants and a G/F has her coal bucket outside on her deck, also with plants in it. 
     For this installment, I’m going to give my sister, Eleanor, the BIG-4-R-BUTTON (Reduce, Recycle, Reuse and Repurpose). Her “item” is not new .. rather, something she accomplished a few years ago, but just the other day when I wore mine, I realized what she had done. 
     Here’s the story, as I know it. Our mother had three sets of French Havilland Bone China. When she passed away, each of us (her 3 daughters) selected her favorite set (I chose the delicate, plain white and June picked the Greek Key Pattern). Eleanor chose the set that had been in our Dad’s family; a delicate pink rose pattern. 
     Some years back, a visitor in Eleanor’s home put a piece of that china in the microwave and the dish exploded. Eleanor saved all the pieces for a long time; kudos to you, Big Sister – I probably would have cleaned it up, thrown it out and cried for days. She finally found a jeweler/craftsman who was willing and able to make pins for us from the salvaged broken pieces of our mama’s oldest-in-the-family-china. See why Eleanor gets the big 4R button?!?
     My pin even sports the ridge or curve from the side of what I assume was the edge of the plate. This was a case of fabulous repurposing. Ele she did that lemon thing .. you know the one .. when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. 
     I’ll have more 4-R’s for you next time. Perhaps you have some RE-RE-RE-RE’s you would like to pass on to us? Email them to me and I’ll use those too!
    Have a wonderful time repurposing all that stuff you have; this is a good thing whether you live in the country, or just wish you did!

© 2011 Cat Brennan © 2011 Cat’s Country Place

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cool and Nutritious in the Country

grapes largeFrozen grapes .. Yummy. I can’t claim to be the originator of this dee-lishous snack, after all, there is nothing new under the sun (Ecc 1:9), but I’ll gladly pass on the idea. FROZEN GRAPES!

I’ve tried many different varieties; large black grapes and big reds. I’ve frozen the smaller seedless whites, greens and reds. They are all so good. The only criteria I have is strictly personal .. I choose the sweetest grapes. However, you may like the tart ones. These frozen delights remind me of Popsicles with natural sugars, no guilt and I get to decide on portion size .. a single grape or a handful of these cold little globes. grapes 5When I bring home my grapes, I carefully remove them from their bag; rinsing it and setting aside to drip dry. As I remove each bunch of grapes, I wash well, then check for and remove any bad ones. Once they are all checked and rinsed, I let them sit in a colander for a few minutes to drain excess water.

Place the cleaned grapes back into their original bag and put the whole thing in the freezer. Depending on your appliance, they will be frozen in a few hours or overnight.

If your teeth are very sensitive to cold, choose the smaller grapes as they will be easier to bite into.

Take your summer country cooling one step further and look around at the other fruits from your garden, farmers market or wherever you acquire fresh produce. Water melon? Cute into shapes, balls or chunks, spear with a Popsicle stick and freeze. How about blueberries? Have fun experimenting with your favorite fruits.

Summer is in full force as we find ways to stay cool. You still can’t beat the original hydrator; water! Drink plenty and, if possible, stay inside during the hottest parts of the day.

Here’s to your Country Life whether you’re in the country or simply wish you were!
© 2011 Cat Brennan © 2011 Cat's Country Place
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Monday, July 18, 2011

Country Quote

"gold letter Dreams may be filled with silver and gold;
As long as you dream them, you'll never grow old."
© 2011 Cat Brennan