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Friday, September 30, 2011

Ten Etiquette Rules for Everyone (Pilgrims Included)!

I was cleaning out some old files today and ran across this list of 10 etiquette rules for children by Dr. M.E. Waters. I'm not sure where I got them, but they are quite good! I sure do remember being taught these rules -- today's children might be better off if someone took time to teach them also!

Although these rules apply to children,
they are a great reminder to the rest of us!
Do you follow them?


1. DO stay away from people who are troublemakers
2. DO say please, thank you, excuse me, good morning/evening, and I am sorry
3. DO put your hand over your mouth when you cough
4. DO be kind to other people
5. DO be polite on the telephone
6. DO care about your appearance; be neat and clean
7. DO show respect to parents, teachers, and elders
8. DO attend church or other spiritual practice
9. DO open the door and pull the chair out for others (Boys, please do this for girls and ladies)
10. DO take your hats off inside the building

1. DO NOT chew gum in public
2. DO NOT talk with food in your mouth or throw it across the room
3. DO NOT interrupt when others are talking
4. DO NOT use curse words
5. DO NOT smoke or drink alcohol
6. DO NOT disrespect parents, teachers, or anyone
7. DO NOT be rude to other people
8. DO NOT act ugly in public
9. DO NOT put other people down or cruelly tease them
10. DO NOT tell lies about other people or tattle on them

* * * * *  
Photo by Colleen

Here are a few more rules specifically for Pilgrims:
Pilgrim DO's
1. DO secure private lodging if you are sick and contagious.
2. DO share food and drink with other pilgrims often
3. DO dress respectfully when you enter village churches
4. DO leave the bottom bunk for the elderly and disabled
5. DO be SILENT when in churches along the way
6. DO remember that food and lodging is a blessing, not a right.
7. DO clean up after yourself
8. DO take time to say "Buen Camino" and "Buenos Dias!"
9. DO buy something if you ask to use the toilet in a public shop
10. DO take time to really SEE, HEAR, and FEEL the spirit of the Camino 

Pilgrim DON'Ts
1. DO NOT throw toilet paper, water bottles, and trash along the trail. CARRY IT OUT!
2. DO NOT speak loudly and rudely when locals do not understand your language
3. DO NOT steal toilet paper or kitchen tools from the albergue
4. DO NOT fail to report bedbugs if you see or carry them
5. DO NOT take other people's food from the kitchen or fridge
6. DO NOT touch the fruit or vegetables in the tienda
7. DO NOT pick your blisters in public
8. DO NOT make any demands whatsoever
9. DO NOT convince yourself that "donative" means "FREE!"
10. DO NOT forget to show grace and gratitude to ALL along The Way.

If you have others, please add them as comments!
Buen Camino!

If you'd like to walk the Camino
but aren't quite ready to do it alone,
see my website:
for more information about
Guided Walks on the Camino Santiago 
and on other Pilgrimage Trails of Europe

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fall is in the Air!

I'm in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley visiting my mother and Fall is in the air!
I woke up this morning and it was actually chilly!
I looked at the calendar and realized that 
Fall Equinox came and went
and I didn't even notice.
The years are flying by.
Does this happen to everyone as we age?

I love the Fall here!
Having morning coffee out on the porch with mom has been a real joy!
You can see for miles, there is no traffic, and the smells are so familiar.
Cows in the morning, cut hay in the afternoon, fruit ripening in the orchards.
It's amazing how scents take you back to happy childhood days.

We really ARE rooted in the soil where we were born, aren't we?
I feel so "at home" here in Hanford, with its 105 degree summers and foggy winters.
I may change my mind once I've had a dose of the winter fog,
but for now,
I'm loving being home.

Fall is my busiest time of year.
I have to work many hours getting ready for the Christmas season.
This is when I make most of my yearly income.
Hits on my Etsy shop are picking up.
People are beginning to browse, 
getting ready to do their Christmas shopping.

And I've had my nose to the felting pad trying to fill my shop with Nativity Sets.
I've changed the style this year.
These little sets are getting lots of "hearts" in my shop.
Hopefully, people will return and make purchases.
These sets make lovely heirlooms.

So far this week, I've completed three sets. 

I also completed a Felted Porcelain Tea Set.
Isn't it cute?!
I think I'll take a break from Nativity Sets tomorrow 
and work on a cake. 
What shall I make...maybe lemon?  
Hmmmm.... I'll decide once I start.

I did a great trade for some Christmas gifts! 
I won't say what I got because they'll be going to family, 
but I'm happy with the trade. 
Trading skills is a wonderfully frugal way to save cash
and get unique gifts to give for the holidays!
Do you have a skill or talent?
Use it to barter for what you need!

Other news:  
I picked up another person for my 2012 June Camino Tour. 
Now we only need 3 more people and the tour will be full! 
I think I'll make some flyers this week 
and distribute them around town.

Much of the week was spent pruning trees and tying back roses. 
I also made a spray from dish soap and hot sauce 
and sprayed the roses for aphids. 
Killed those little buggers dead and they haven't bothered us since. 
Mom had to fire her lawn guy. 
So we also spent several days interviewing to hire a new person. 
I would do it for her but I'll be gone to Europe 
much of spring and summer, so I can't promise.

I dehydrated five pounds of broccoli and 5 pounds bell peppers this week. 
They were on sale for 49 CENTS per pounds.
I haven't seen that price in years!  
This is what 5 pounds of dehydrated vegetables looks like. 
Filled less than half of a quart sized ziplock bag!  
Later today, I'll pack these up with the sealer 
to take the air out and keep them fresh.

We tried using the hanging air dehydrator for some apples,
but it's too late in the year and the mornings are too damp. 
We ended up finishing them off in the electric dehydrator.
My broken ribs are healing, thanks to my new rib band. It's ugly as heck and not really comfortable, but it holds my ribs in securely so I don't sneeze and break them a third time! 
I've been sleeping in the recliner. I'm about ready to get rid of my bed and buy a recliner for my bedroom. I sure do sleep good in that thing! It totally supports my back and neck and I wake up with happy joints!

That's really it for now.
I'm just too busy to blog right now.
Once I get the shop caught up, I'll do more Camino posts.

I hope you're enjoying the changing seasons!
Soon it will be time to dehydrate and can pumpkin.
The days will continue to get shorter,
and in a few short weeks it will be time
to stoke the fire and curl up with a good book,
spending more time indoors,
and less time preparing for the dark cold winter.

Halloween is just around the corner!
Ghosts and Goblins and Bats,
Oh MY!

Stay safe, and until next time, remember...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Summertime Peaches

This week, I took a trip to a farm near one of the places I lived as a child.They have a wonderful fruit stand there and mom decided to buy a lug of peaches. She wanted to can them.

What is a lug? A lug is not quite a bushel but it is the size of which most produce is delivered to markets these days. They weigh about 31 to 33 pounds. A bushel weighs 33 to 38 pounds.
I have sweet memories of canning peaches in the late summer with my grandmother and aunts. In those days, we'd pick the peaches ourselves. I remember how the peach fuzz would fly, getting between my collar and waistband and making me itch like crazy!  
Butler's Orchard
Peach canning was a joint effort among friends and family back then. The men would set up all the ladders and help pick the peaches. The young children would run around under the trees, picking up the fruit that was dropped.
Photo courtesy of Life Magazine
 The women, who had started their work the day before by sorting and washing hundreds of jars, would pick peaches too. But once the fruit was in the baskets, the men's work would be done, and the women's work would REALLY begin as they peeled and sliced all those fresh peaches.  It was enjoyable work, however, because you got to sit around and visit and gossip with all your friends. Sharing of labor was common then, and I really miss those days!

A lot of families didn't have to worry about rations during World War II or during the Depression if they knew how to 'put up' their own food. This habit continued on and served us through the 50's right up until today!
I remember picking a fresh peach from the tree and biting into it. The sweet juice would run down my chin, and I'd wipe my face with a dusty arm. There's nothing quite as good as a juicy peach straight from the tree. The ones in the supermarkets have been picked green and gassed, and they taste nothing like what I recall as a child. 

These peaches were good, but not quite ripe enough, so we laid them out on the kitchen table, placing them upside down on a white tea towel, covered them, and gave them a day or two to "sugar up."

Then we got busy doing other things and forgot about them!
Oh NOOOOoooo!
By the time I remembered they were there, several had bruises or mold showing.
The others were really getting too ripe to can.
So we decided to dehydrate them.

Slipped skins make peeling a breeze!
The first thing we did was put on a big pot of water and bring it to a boil. The water was deep enough to cover a peach. Once the water boiled, we'd drop in a peach, wait about 30 seconds, then take it out and put it in a pan of cold water. This causes the skins to "slip" and instead of peeling, you can easily just use your fingers to pull off the peels. It saves an incredible amount of time.

The water gets peach fuzz and pieces in it, but it's fine.
Once the peaches were peeled, we sliced them and put them into a pan of water and lemon juice. This keeps them from turning brown.

Aren't they pretty?
After the slices been dipped in the lemon juice,
I put them on the drying trays of my Excalibur dehydrator. 

I love this dehydrator because it has a dial that allows you to set the temperature.
I never dehydrate fruits and vegetables above 115 degrees,
in order to preserve the enzymes.
The fruit took all night to dehydrate. This morning, it was dry, but flexible. It has retained its pretty color, due to the lemon juice bath. I use about 1/4 cup of lemon juice to a gallon of water. I used bottled lemon juice.

I will now bag and vacuum seal the fruit, once it has cooled.
Photos to follow.

The lug of peaches, which weighed about 32 pounds, cost us $20.
So we got these lovely peaches for less than $.65 per pound!
Even with the small amount of electricity it took to dehydrate the fruit,
this is an excellent price!
We had enough to dehydrate a full batch,
and had 2 one-gallon bags of sliced peaches left,
which I put into the freezer.

To freeze the peaches,
I lightly coated the slices with sugar,
then put them into one-gallon freezer bags.
These will be great on cereal, in pies,
or just to eat for breakfast or dessert.
We kept out 3 of the ripe peaches
mom made a small batch of fresh home made peach ice cream last night.
Fresh fruit is one of the things I've missed most about this Valley!

Instead of buying canned or frozen fruit this year,
consider canning, freezing, or dehydrating your own!
It's not difficult at all, and the end product is much healthier for you
than anything you'll buy at the market.
It's also much less expensive.
I figure these peaches cost less than half of store-bought.

It's also very satisfying to put up your own food.
You know exactly what's in the package.
And what a wonderful experience for children!

If you're short on cash,
consider going in with friends or family and buying in bulk.
You can save a lot of money by doing this
and it's so much nicer to do with a group.

Feel free to email me if you have questions.
I've got a lot of experience canning, freezing, and dehydrating
fruits, vegetables, and meat.

Try it!
You've got nothing to lose
and a lot to save!

Until then...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Walk the Camino With Broken Ribs?

Remember I told you about breaking my ribs?

Two weeks ago today, I went camping with my friends and family. 
We had a great time and a lot of fun catching crawdads in the river! 
On the way up to the bank on the last day, I slipped and fell, 
hitting my ribcage on a pyramid shaped rock, 
knocking the breathe out of me.
I sat there in the cold shallow water for a few minutes, 
struggling to breathe, 
while people gathered around to help me up.  
Once up, I immediately went back to camp and covered the area with ice. 
I felt I had probably just bruised my ribs 
and they would be sore for a day or two.

When I got home, I called my doctor.
She asked me a million questions, 
had me palpate my ribs myself, 
then told me I'd cracked them.

Should I come in for an x-ray?
X-rays often have problems revealing fresh rib fractures, 
especially if the bone is merely cracked.
And besides, even if they are broken, there is nothing we can do.
Pain medicine and time...
Can you wrap them?
No, we no longer do that. 
It makes it too difficult to expand the ribcage 
and people tend to get pneumonia 
from not breathing deeply (because of the pain.)
Pain medicine and time...

But what if they're BROKEN!?
There's absolutely nothing we would do. 
You aren't spitting up blood, 
so you didn't pierce your lungs.
It's just going to take time...

Breathing deeply will help set them. 
And it sounds like you've separated the ribs from the chest wall.
Pain medicine and time...

But they feel SQUISHED where I hit!
Yup... they're cracked there.
They'll heal.
Pain medicine and time...
 Well, it's been two weeks.
They hurt as much today as they did two weeks ago.
When I'm standing straight up, they don't bother me,
but the minute I sit or lay down,
I yelp.

Ibuprofin decreases the pain,
but that stuff will kill your liver!
Besides, when I take pain meds, 
I don't feel the pain as sharply
and tend to do too much.
Then I feel worse the next day.

This sucks.

Getting out of bed in the morning is an interesting adventure!
Someone described it as 
"you SLITHER off the bed as best you can," 
and that is so true.
It takes a good 3 to 4 minutes
to work my body to the edge of the bed,
log roll my body,
then gingerly work my straight legs to the floor
so I can stand up without bending.
Getting into bed
is the same type of adventure.
Once I'm down flat, I'm ok.
But the extreme sharp pain
caused by rolling or moving
keeps me in a tense, flat position all night long,
and leaves me with a hell of a backache in the morning.
I honestly dread bedtime.
Too bad I'm not a horse.
They can sleep standing up.
Let me tell you something:
The only good cracked ribs 
are the ones my son Rob makes with barbecue sauce!
I'm done whining for the day...
But if you have it in you,
please send me some prayers or healing energy.
I need these ribs to HEAL!
I have a Camino to walk in the spring!

Oh, one last thing.
The Bible says Eve was created from a rib 
that God took out of Adam.
Now I know why
some men act like they're angry!
Probably still hurts like heck!
And the only advice is
"pain medicine and time."

Poor guys!

* * *
Note:  If you are interested in walking the Camino Santiago, 
but are not quite ready to go it alone, 
consider joining Annie
on one of our small, affordable Camino walks. 
For more information see our website 
at this link: AnnieWalkers Camino

Friday, September 09, 2011

A Missing Pilgrim

I received this in my email today.
I'm hoping this pilgrim simply lost track of the time or was unable to find a computer.
He has not been heard from since August 27 and his family is concerned.
If you see him on the road, please tell him to contact his family immediately.
If you have information about him, please contact

Note:  If you are interested in walking the Camino Santiago, 
but are not quite ready to go it alone, 
consider joining Annie
on one of our small, affordable Camino walks. 
For more information see our website 
at this link: AnnieWalkers Camino