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Lula’s Hot Applesauce Cookies

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This cookie won first prize two years running at the Kern County Fair….. I baked them both years but my sister Denise won the ribbon the first year…..  she entered too many categories and I helped her out. Not sure if she ever acknowledged the fact nor thanked me.

Two part recipe; 

Dry stuff

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp allspice 
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts(optional)
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • Add to hot mix below once it reaches boiling

Hot mix

  • 2 cups applesauce
  • 1 stick of margarine or butter
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Heat to boiling and then add 1 tsp baking soda

Add dry stuff from above

Bake at 350 for 15 – 20 minutes. They are best after day 2. 

TTFN

Bishop

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Honey Caramels Recipe

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I have an insatiable sweet tooth. It is no wonder that that one of my Rugby buddies refers to me, affectionately, as “Fatboy”! Thanks Steve! For a number of years another Rugby buddy, Vince P and I catered large BBQ’s and fundraising events – we were also affectionately known as the “Fatboys”. Now, don’t read too much into that affectionate stuff, Ruggers just tend squeeze tight in scrums, ruck and mauls!

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Just an FYI….I am the Skinny one pictured on the apron! LOL

Back to talking about the Caramels……..Just a side note….how do you say “caramel”?

caramel

noun car·a·mel \ˈkär-məl; ˈker-ə-məl, ˈka-rə-, -ˌmel\

Looks like Merriam and Webster will give you a choices.

Even though honey season is over and I have “officially” sold out, I did keep a 1/2 gallon jar(6 lbs.) of late summer honey for my personal use. Did I say I had a sweet tooth? I do love my honey!

While cruising through Facebook a few days ago I ran across a mention of Honey Caramel candy and just had to try it. End result – very, very tasty but did not turn out as aesthetically pleasing as the results on the recipe web page! See below.

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Looks so yummy and I think they must have frozen theirs or cheated some other way that only food photographers know the truth…..

caramel

I wound up rolling mine in wax paper like Bakersfield’s famous Dewar’s Caramel chews.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon plus 1/4 cup butter, divided
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Line a 8-in. square pan with foil; grease the foil with 1 teaspoon butter and set aside.
  2. In a large heavy saucepan, combine the cream, honey, sugar and remaining butter. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until a candy thermometer reads 238°.
  3. Using a pastry brush dipped in cold water, wash down the sides of the pan to eliminate sugar crystals.
  4. Cook, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer reads 255° (hard-ball stage). Stir in walnuts( I only used 1/3 cup) and vanilla; return mixture to 255°. I think Hard Ball stage is a little higher than 255 deg F.
  5. Remove from the heat. Pour into prepared pan (do not scrape saucepan).
  6. Let stand until firm, about 5 hours or overnight.
  7. Using foil, lift candy out of pan; discard foil. Cut candy into 1-in. squares. Wrap individually in waxed paper; twist ends. Yield: about 1-1/2 pounds.

I originally heated it to “soft ball stage….235 deg F – I reheated to 255 deg F and research indicates that the hard ball stage runs up to 265 deg F. My suggestion if you want to try this recipe is go on up to the 260-265 deg F range.

One more suggestion…..use heavy duty foil in the pan!

Originally published as Honey Caramels in Taste of Home Christmas Annual 2013, p144 

Busy day today…..Earlier in the day I took one of my favorite customer and his wife out on a bee inspection tour. We first visited my topbar hive here in Kingwood. The hive is doing beautifully. They were taking photos and shared the results with me. There was a perfect view of a bar with a perfect dense brood pattern……text book. The queen is doing her job!

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Look at the tight dense pattern. This was one of several bars with a similar pattern.

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The girls are working hard, putting pollen away, making bee bread and some honey across the top of the bar.

Next we visited one of my 8 frame garden hives.

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This is a deep frame with an almost perfectly capped honeycomb. Close to 5 pounds – both sides looked just like this. Yum

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There she is….tucking some pollen away. The symmetry is almost mind-blowing! I just marvel at what nature can accomplish!

 

I am going to end this post with sadness in my heart. A woman who came into my life when I had to immediately move a hive upon nasty request by my HOA, has passed away. She graciously offered up a location for my hive on her ranch up in Franklin,Texas. It was a bit far away, but it grew into a friendship and a mentorship. Johnnie wanted to become a beekeeper and I helped….She was so cute in her bee suit….I had to coach her about donning the outfit….Still makes me smile and laugh a little. We wound up with two hives for her and one more across the road on her niece’s property in addition to one for me. My original hive was productive but absconded…..

 

I found a good deal on 4 NUC’s and installed them the spring of 2016. We had problems with hive beetles. We lost two and another was not doing well. Johnnie nursed that hive back to health. She physically squished hundreds of hive beetles and kept the beetle traps loaded with mineral oil. She was becoming a beekeeper. We picked up two strong NUC’s at the end of summer and now we had 4 good hives. This was when she began telling me of some pains. It wasn’t long before it was diagnosed and the prognosis wasn’t good.

I visited her a few weeks ago, sat beside the bed and held her hand. She had a grace and sweetness about her that touched my heart. My mother passed away at the end of July 2016,  teaching life lessons up until her last breath. Johnnie also showed me grace, dignity and no fear of death. She was ready to shed her earthly body. She passed away early this morning. There is a little less sweetness on earth today but heaven has gained a beautiful soul.

Rest in Peace Johnnie

Bishop

 

 

For Bonnie

4 Comments

I commented on a blog I follow this morning, “The Iris and the Lilly” by Bonnie Michelle with a bit of a lament on how cold it was in Pennsylvania. She takes wonderful photos and writes a great blog. I have included a link to her post below. After chiding her on how different the weather was here she challenged me to post a bit of my trip, So, Bonnie, I hope it warms you a bit.

https://theirisandthelily.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/caterpillars-contemplating-their-transformative-nature/

I flew into Los Angeles on Friday the 13th – it wasn’t scary, it was one of those perfect weather days. 78 degrees F, a little breeze and the clearest skies that I have encountered in several years of visits. I left the airport and decided to drive the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway, Highway 1) north to visit my mother in the Morro Bay area, Los Osos to be exact.

I jumped on the PCH and fought the usual traffic until around Sunset Blvd. The traffic moved well. On the left the views were stunning! Santa Catalina Island was clearly visible. the drive north offered stunning views of the Santa Barbara Channel Islands. I have always loved seeing the silhouette of Anacapa Island. I took my open water scuba certification on the leeward side of the island. Such great memories!

I drove along with the window down, watching the surf, the tourists and the locals enjoying a day as close to perfection as it gets in southern California. The best yet was finding K-Earth 101 on the radio. Now I was flooded with nostalgia – ah, some amazing memories….Most will be quietly enjoyed with a smile and a nod of the head……linked closely to the music, the sound of the surf and the stunning visions along the route. Unfortunately just north of Malibu the PCH was closed and I was diverted through one of the many canyon roads over to Highway 101….not an unpleasant diversion but I did want to see Zuma Beach and Pt. Magu. Oh well, it was OK.

I drove through the strawberry fields in the Camarillo and Oxnard area, had lunch with my oldest daughter Melissa in Camarillo and then back on the road. I kept the camera close but didn’t stop to capture anything. The hills were as green as I have ever seen them. Once through the hills at Gaviota when Highway 101 leaves the coastline, the view changed to rolling hills, cattle grazing and vineyards everywhere. I was tempted to stop and shoot a few but decided I wanted to arrive at Mom’s at a reasonable hour so I pressed on. Strawberries dominated the fields visible as I passed through Santa Maria.

I arrived in time to take mom out to dinner. We had a good visit and I retired early, still on Texas time. Up early the next morning I wandered around and was surprised to find a couple of young bucks feeding adjacent to the Sweet Springs Nature Preserve a short block from Mom’s house. I almost missed them as I wasn’t looking for nor expecting them.

Young buck wandering off to join his buddy off in the brush.

Young buck wandering off to join his buddy off in the brush.

I then drove in the direction of Montana De Oro State Park and stopped for a few more photos.

Morro Rock and the surfline beyond the dunes.

Morro Rock and the surfline beyond the dunes.

Another view of Morro Rock and a bit of the estuary.

Another view of Morro Rock and a bit of the estuary.

After a another great day visiting with mom we dined at her favorite restaurant….BK….She had her usual, a Junior Whopper and a Mocha Frappe….Quality dining.

Sunday I had to leave early in the morning and had high hopes to capture a  view of Morro Bay from high up the hills along Highway 46 heading over to Paso Robles. The stunningly clear weather of the day before gave way to the standard morning fog that settles in over Morro Bay. Oh well, one of these days I will get the shot. I saw it once but, it’s a long story, I wasn’t allowed to stop and get the shot.

Not far off Highway 101 along Highway 46 is this ranch house.

Not far off Highway 101 along Highway 46 is this ranch house.

Cattle grazing on the greenest grass!

Cattle grazing on the greenest grass!

A rustic barn along the Highway.

A rustic barn along the Highway.

Down in the mist is Morro rock. The image I will capture one day will show the rock lit up in golden light of an early morning.

Down in the mist is Morro rock. The image I will capture one day will show the rock lit up in golden light of an early morning.

On the western slope heading into Paso Robles was a tidy barn near a ranch house.

On the western slope heading into Paso Robles was a tidy barn near a ranch house.

Leaving Paso Robles on Highway 46 on the drive back to Bakersfield I took a winding detour on the Bitterwater Road that leaves and rejoins Highway 46 in 30 mile loop. I was hoping to find some interesting sights. The primary surprise was the early emergence of the wildflowers.

Brilliant California Poppies

Brilliant California Poppies

California Poppies dominate the scene.

California Poppies dominate the scene.

A single bloom

A single bloom

The hillside with splotches of color.

The hillside with splotches of color.

Ah….a great trip.

FYI – my wife is caring for my strawberries in my absence, snacking on the sugar snack peas and keeping the bees fed with sugar water. I hope she sends me a couple of photos while I’m gone.

TTFN

Bishop

 

 

 

Having My Morning Coffee With The Bees

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Took my little Nikon J1 camera out to the hive in the backyard to enjoy the nice morning, to also savor a good cup of coffee and share some time with the Bees. I could spend hours watching them come and go. I am easily entertained! The is something in bloom nearby that has the workers loading up on a nice yellow colored pollen. They are also draining a quart of sugar water in less than a day and a half. I am hoping to have a nice enough day on Sunday to take a look at the inside workings and to see how well they have recovered since the stormy upset this past summer.

I headed out to the backyard on a very nice and pleasant morning. I made a good cup of coffee and went out to drink coffee with the bees. I love watching them come and go, busy with the chores needing to be done to support the hive. Enjoy the slow motion show captured Saturday morning. Watch early on in the video for the clumsy bee that head butts the hive. Look closely and you will see a few bees with pollen laden legs.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/yyfgp1h2zpphttb/SLO%20MO%20BEES.wmv?dl=0

 

Coming and going....busy little bees

Coming and going….busy little bees

I have the restricted entrance opening now to keep the toads and mice out. They seem to be thriving!

I took my leaf vac/chipper over to the next door neighbor’s yard and picked up several loads of fallen leaves for my garden and compost bins. Another neighbor stopped by with her two year old son….he calls me Mr. Bishop. They followed me over to the garden and I let him pull a carrot  up and pick a lemon. Simple things can bring so much joy to little kids. I just love it. Hopefully, making some good memories for both Mom and son.

Strawberries are beginning to heavily bloom and we have seen them ripening…may be a banner year for my strawberries and jam making!

 

TTFN

Bishop

 

A New Toy – an Early Father’s Day Gift

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Thanks Ashleigh and Ben….. I put the “wine barrel tumbling composter” into service today. Y’all did a fine job with the project. I love working on the barrel because each cut or drilled hole gives off the scent of the barrel’s previous content….

I will load the barrel over the next few days. It is hotter than Hades here right now! Pulling up some elephant garlic leeks today in addition to installing the door on the barrel was a three t-shirt day. Absolutely soaked through. Just hand-watering today raised a “sweat”!

The barrel in position behind the garage. Need to trim the center dowel. I reinforced the glued up staves with 1.5 inch aluminum strap.

The barrel in position behind the garage. Need to trim the center dowel. I reinforced the glued up staves with 1.5 inch aluminum strap.

A look inside showing some slats that may aid in the tumbling action of the contents. Apparently they extend the life of the barrel.

A look inside showing some slats that may aid in the tumbling action of the contents. Apparently they extend the life of the barrel.

A look from the other side.

A look from the other side.

The kids made a turned piece of oak to fit the bung hole. It is a handle and a reminder of the Father's Day Date this year. Don't you just love it.

The kids made a turned piece of oak to fit the bung hole. It is a handle for rotating the barrel and a reminder of the Father’s Day Date this year. Don’t you just love it.

Some of the day's harvest - Elephant Garlic.

Some of the day’s harvest – Elephant Garlic.

TTFN

Bishop

A Walk on the Wild Side

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The wild side of Houston could certainly be found , Downtown, Midtown, Montrose, Washington Avenue and Rice Village to names few. No, the wild side I am referring to is on the north end of Lake Houston and specifically up the East Fork of the San Jacinto River including Peach Creek and Caney Creek. I had visited the area several years ago and have followed the news of it’s transformation, an ongoing transformation. More on the transformation later. My daughter Lisa is prepping for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer here in Houston April 20th and 21st. It is a challenging trek and she has 5+ weeks to get ready for it. She lives near our home in Kingwood. Kingwood is blessed with an amazing maze of trails through the greenbelt and woods surrounding the community. I suggested we try branching out and explore the Lake Houston Wilderness Park. http://www.houstontx.gov/parks/ourparks/lakehoustonpark.html

Our first visit was late Sunday afternoon the third of March. We chose the Ameritrail, a 10 mile loop if done in it’s entirety. Due to waning sunlight we wanted to get a few miles in and explore a little. We followed the blue dots on the trees delineating the Ameritrail for about 2.5  miles then spun around and returned. It was a well maintained trail pretty much following Peach Creek. Peach Creek finally joins up with Caney Creek and becomes Caney Creek until it joins up with the East Fork of the San Jacinto River. Sunday’s walk was brief but whetted the appetite to do the entire loop. I carried my big heavy camera and lens, Nikon D-200 and the 80-400mm Nikon lens, a very heavy load …. I promised to better equipped to carry my gear when we returned. The park is home to a handful of wintering Bald eagles and I was hoping to be lucky enough to capture a shot or two.

A view along Peach Creek

A view along Peach Creek

Beautiful Peach Creek adjacent to the trail

Beautiful Peach Creek adjacent to the trail.

Yesterday, the 7th of March Lisa and I prepared to tackle the full loop. We gathered our gear, I took the big camera again but used my camera back pack. In the top pouch I included my Nikon J1 with telephoto zoom along with the standard lens. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to capture wildlife with the D-200 but I will share a shot that happened quite by chance. The only wildlife spotted on our previous jaunt was a single doe standing off in the shadows watching us. Our second trip was quite a bit more exciting.

Our first glimpse of the wild side was a single coyote the slowly meandered into the trail in front of us. Both cameras were safely tucked away in the back pack, darn! The coyote stopped in the trail, casually glanced our direction a went 0-60 in about 2.2 seconds. I decided that I needed to be better prepared so for the remainder of the hike I kept the J1 in hand with the telephoto in place. A bit later a very large shadow of a bird passed over us. I quickly looked up and there was a Bald eagle soaring by at a quick clip. The wing span is breathtaking – it appeared to be 6 or 7 feet across. The trees limited both picture taking and viewing but for that brief moment it was awesome!

the 5 mile bench where we ate our sandwiches Halfway through the loop.

the 5 mile bench where we ate our sandwiches Halfway through the loop.

We should have been more patient breaking for lunch….. a half mile or so along the path was a beautiful small lake ringed with Cypress trees.

The camp site on the bank of Lake Isabel

The camp site on the bank of Lake Isabel

A wide angle look across the lake from the fishing dock.

A wide angle look across the lake from the fishing dock.

One of the many large Cypress trees ringing Lake Isabel.

One of the many large Cypress trees ringing Lake Isabel.

One of the other critters spotted on the fishing dock

One of the other critters spotted on the fishing dock

While hiking I kept pointing out to Lisa many of the patches of torn up ground due to the rooting nature of the wild hogs. I also told her not to worry, they are seldom seen during daylight hours, preferring to rototill the soil in the dark of night. Not long after our stop at the lake I spotted another coyote lurking in the brush off to the left of the trail. He spotted us but slinked away, not like he was running away. It looked more like he was trying to hide in the dense brush. A moment later I saw a wild pig step out in the broad trail in front of us. I managed a picture or two but really wish the other camera had been in my hands. It turned out to be a sow and she was followed by 8 or so piglets. I missed the shot as they were strung out chasing momma across the trail but got a little piece of them in one photo. Lisa said they were so cute! Not sure I agree. I think the coyote had a pulled pork meal on his mind.

The wild sow on her way across in front of us

The wild sow on her way across in front of us

The piglets emerging from the left in hot pursuit of momma

The piglets emerging from the left in hot pursuit of momma

We finished the long walk tired, a little confused due to the lack of trail markings on the return loop and ready to sit for a bit. My app logged our trip at 11 miles. It was a good jaunt. I guessed correctly on the trail that diverges from a long section of two track back to the nature center. What I discovered when chatting with the young park ranger was that they are in the state of finishing a lot of work to finalize trails, facilities and markings. Campgrounds are not yet finished in some places and the archery range has been cleared but is planned for some time in the future.

We visited the Kingwood Farmer’s market on our return home but that will be another story…..

If you would like to help Lisa Decker and the Avon Breast Cancer Walk  ….Follow the link….

http://info.avonfoundation.org/site/TR/Walk/Houston?px=6400511&pg=personal&fr_id=2180

 

TTFN

Bishop

Sweet Potato Alert

4 Comments

For family dinner in Thanksgiving my wife lovingly prepared a sweet potato casserole with my home grown sweet potatoes. I’ll bet it could have been good! We have a new memory to laugh and smile about for future gatherings. FYI I did sample a bit that appeared to be free of broken glass. The emergency room indicates that I should be able to eat again in a few days. Just kidding!

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