Timber!

Dear and Dan had a great time completing several projects at the home on the mountain. Tree felling was added to the list of things to accomplish while Dan had a helper. The first tree the guys felled was close to the house. Jamie, Addy and I could watch from the nursery window. The tree was dead and the rain had paused so it was a good time to fell it and cut it into rounds to dry until next winter.

The weather on Easter was so wonderful with no rain all day and beautiful sunshine. After our Easter Brunch company left we changed into work clothes and headed out for a hike on the property to find more dead trees. Addy was snug as a bug with mommy.

This tree that was leaning on another was the tree chosen to untangle and chop down. This time they used an ax.

We supervised from a distance.

We headed back to the house while the guys found a creative way to bring the felled tree back up to the house to cut into rounds.

A wonderful dreamy first Easter for Addy.

Here are some photos from the Southern California gathering with part of my side of the family. My niece Melissa shared this next one of my dear old pop coloring Easter Eggs with her in Southern California.

My older sisters, Kathy and Vera, baked the Russian Easter Bread (Kulich/Paska) for the Easter gathering. Quite a nice batch. Good job sisters! On Easter day they gathered at Debbee and Lenny’s home to celebrate Jesus together. My little grandniece Ellie had her first Easter egg hunt. Look at her bunny purse for her egg gathering, so cute.  Grandnephew Jack and Grandniece Avery got quite a haul. My nieces Melissa, Michelle and Debbee prepared the strawberries to go with the Easter bread and Seernaya Paska.

My Pop (one month shy of 94) with some of his grandchildren and great grandchildren who all live in Southern California. The Texas crew and Washington crew are missing plus some of the California grands, too.

Dear and I traveled home again on Tuesday April 18th. Being conditioned to take the morning Addy shift, I woke up at 4 am today ready to go. It will take a few days to extend my sleep to a more normal pattern. We were gone for 13 days so the lawn needs mowing and some weeds need pulling. As soon as we get a good dry day we’ll whip things into shape. The rain has been relentless. It was tough to say goodbye…

Thank you for visiting and the time you take to leave a comment. It is always appreciated. Hope to visit y’all soon. Blessings.

Cherry Varenya ~ Russian Tea Sweetener

This was one of my most visited posts in 2016. I first posted this in 2008. I’m adding a photo to the top of the post. If you look carefully you’ll see a glass bowl of Varenya on the table next to the tea cups in front of my paternal grandfather (dzedushka) and grandmother (babushka).

img578The Russian immigrants I grew up around would make and enjoy this Cherry Syrup made with whole pie cherries in their hot tea. They used this syrup in place of sugar to sweeten their tea. I called my mother this week (April 2008) to get the following recipe from her to share for The-Sweet-and-Savory-of-Yummy.

This is a very simple recipe for Cherry Varenya. This is a syrup made with Cherries to sweeten hot tea with.


Cherry Varenya

1/2 Cup Water
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Whole Sour Cherries (Pie Cherries)
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

You would increase the proportions of this recipe according to how many cherries you have on hand that you want to make into Varenya.

Boil the water and sugar to make a clear simple syrup. When the liquid is clear add your cherries and let it boil for 10 to 20 minutes (depending on how hard the cherries were to begin with) At the end of the boiling add 1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to help preserve the brightness of the syrup.

You may want to can it at this point. (I don’t know how to can anything so you are on your own here!)🙂

You can do this process with sliced lemons, too, to make a Lemon Varenya.


Lemon Varenya

When I was young our family would go to a Cherry Orchard somewhere near Lancaster, California in July when the pie cherries were ready to harvest. It might have been in the Leona Valley. We would pick cherries all day and take home upwards of 40 pounds of cherries. That’s a lot of Varenya. When we picked this much my parents would give about half of the cherries away to other relatives and friends who couldn’t make the trek out to the Cherry Farm. Then it was a full day of preparing the cherries for Varenya. Washing, cooking and canning.

The photos are quite dark in this post and I’ve learned a few things since 2008 about taking photos of food and brightening them up before posting them. The photo of my grandparents is an old film photo scanned.

Hope the end of the year 2016 is going well for you. Maybe a cup of tea will help to brighten your day. Blessings…

Looking Back ~ Buster Brown

Seajack 6 pentax-001 The Bellefontaine Cemetery had a great system for finding all the notable famous and fascinating people buried on their grounds. There was a clear white line in the middle of the road that you could follow and then each of the 58 notables were marked with red markers. Black markers showed Civil War notable people.

Bellefontaine 076-001

Bellefontaine 123

When I heard that George Warren Brown (1853-1921) the maker of Buster Brown shoes was buried here I wanted to see his grave site. When we were young my siblings and I would be taken to a shoe store in Montebello on Whittier Blvd. that carried Buster Brown shoes. Even though we always struggled to make ends meet my pop was determined we’d have good shoes to wear. We would get our new Buster Brown school shoes every year and a pair of shoes for church.

Bellefontaine 122George’s brother Alanson (1847-1913) is buried across the road.

Bellefontaine 124The Journey Through History book we bought at the front office at the cemetery gives the history of all the notables buried on the grounds. It was worth the $5 to purchase it. Here’s what is written about the Brown brothers…

“Traveling to St. Louis for a church convention, Alanson Brown found the city centrally located and populated with ambitious citizens. Seeing opportunity, Alanson decided to invest in a new wholesale shoe business in St. Louis.

His brother George Brown worked as his star salesman but found the shoes he had to sell did not meet the needs of his customers. When George could not convince Alanson to manufacture shoes in St. Louis, George set up his own company making shoes, including the still popular Buster Brown children’s line. Recognizing George’s success, Alanson’s company also began manufacturing shoes in St. Louis – then a city known for shoes, booze, and news and last in the American League.

Both brothers supported St. Louis institutions and focused on improving the lives of others. George’s widow set up the George Warren Brown School of Social Services at Washington University.

With parallel lives, the two brothers rest across the lane from each other at Bellefontaine – Alanson in a 1910 domed mausoleum by World’s Fair architect Isaac Taylor and George in a 1928 hexagonal tomb by the St. Louis firm of Mauran, Russell, Crowell.

I put out the call to my friends from Montebello on Facebook to help me remember the name of the shoe store on Whittier Blvd. in Montebello. They pulled through big time with more information than I ever knew about the couple who ran this store. Here’s how the conversation went…

To my Montebello friends…does anyone remember the name of the shoe store on Whittier Blvd. (on a corner) that sold Buster Brown shoes??? My brain will not bring it up.

Lana: Was it Kinney shoes?

Nancy: I can see it but I can’t remember the name!

Nancy: Lana would remember since she”s MUCH younger than us!!

Randy: It wasn’t Kinneys,that was up on 20th st and Beverly Blvd. Sorry

Judy: Was it Sandlers? It just popped into my head so it may be totally wrong.

Lynda: That sounds right Judy.

Ellen: Yes..Judy thank you!

Anne: It was Sandlers! Judy is right!

Tania: thanks for shaking up my brain Ellen. Maybe when it resets I can remember some of this stuff.

Gloriya: Sandlers sounds correct.

Steve: Sandler’s Shoes was on Whittier & I believe 5th Street, right across the street from the Deluxe Cafe. They had one of those old X-Ray machines where you put you feet into a slot and and Mr Sandler could see if my toes were touching the end of the new shoes in the mid 1950’s. Needless to say, the poor old man died of cancer in the early 60’s, which we now know was radiation poisoning from that machine X-ray device.

Ellen: Steve, thanks for the info. That is so sad about Mr. Sandler. Did his wife work along side him. My dad remembers a man and woman team in the store. They always commented to my dad that he only bought shoes for his kids never for himself…

Linda: I also remember my mom taking me to Sandler’s store to get Buster Brown shoes. She had my feet x-rayed there and trusted that the shoes fit better than anywhere else. She instilled on me that need. I have never had bunions or crooked toes thanks to her.

Steve: Ellen, yes there was a blond lady that worked there, that was probably his wife. Linda, I always wondered why my toes would glow in the dark when I was younger – LOL

Facebook bugs me in a lot of ways but when I can interact with old friends and get good memories like these it redeems itself for me.

Do you use Facebook and have you found some good ole friends there? Did you wear Buster Brown shoes when you were growing up?

It’s Not Over Yet…

…we’re still in the midst of celebrating here. Monday is our daughter Katie’s 25th birthday. Really? How can it be that she is 25?

To celebrate we are going out for Italian and then headed for some fun at the bowling alley. I’ll be sitting and watching and taking photos since my tennis elbow which seems to be a shooting elbow is keeping me sidelined. In the meantime here are photos from our glorious Christmas day.

Santa was very generous with all of us. We start our Christmas morning with opening the gifts in our stockings. Then we head to the breakfast table. This year we went around the table reading the Christmas story from the Bible in Luke chapter 2. Next Dear cooked up his famous Swedish pancakes that are a Christmas morning tradition we will not give up! Dear is half Swedish from his mother’s side. It’s fun to know that Dear’s only brother is also busy cooking up Swedish pancakes at his home in Southern California for his family.

Now we head to the tree to open all the bounty. We all said we were cutting down this year but when you have 7 adults exchanging gifts cutting down is still a lot! Everyone was grateful, surprised, and overwhelmed with the love shared.

While Dear and I prepared for our meal together, the kids had a few rounds of their new game, Blokus.

The kids played with their new toys and Dear and I prepared our main meal of the day.  The red goblets were a gift from our son and daughter in love. I put them to immediate use. Dinner was all very tasty. Dear smoked our prime rib in his new smoker. We had potatoes, creamed corn, salad and Yorkshire Pudding to top it off.

Katie, the birthday girl, and her fiance Andrew. Andrew is a Marine and took leave to come to our house for Christmas from North Carolina. Katie is so pleased that she can have him here for Christmas, her birthday, and for New Years!

Our son Josh and our DIL Laura.

Our son Dan who was able to travel from Eastern Washington for our time together. He had to leave early on Sunday morning to make it back for his work shift that started at 8:00 P.M. on Sunday.

Dear and me enjoying the wonder of it all.

More sweets then have seen the inside of my house for the whole year all together in this place.