Sunday, October 13, 2019

Bon Appetite: Pumpkin Pie

I have to admit, pumpkin pie is one of my favorite pies. When fall arrives, so does the thought of pumpkins. Although the usual color of pumpkins is orange, they come in lots of other colors, such as green, yellow, red, white, blue and tan.

Pumpkins are considered part of the winter squash family and are used as decorations and Halloween jack-o-lanterns. The ever-famous fall pumpkin contests bring people together to witness the giant ones which have been known to exceed a ton in weight.

Pumpkins can be consumed in pies, soups, purees, cakes, and cookies. Even the seeds are roasted and eaten. In some countries, the leaves are consumed. Whether they are boiled, steamed or roasted, the pumpkin is part of our country’s traditional autumn harvest.

Here is my recipe for pumpkin pie.
Pumpkin Pie

¾ cup granulated sugar
1- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp salt
2 large eggs (beaten)
1 – 15 ounce can of pumpkin
1 can evaporated milk
1 deep dish pie shell

Mix sugar, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in pumpkin, and then beaten eggs. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into the prepared pie shell. Bake in preheated over at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 40 to 50 minutes more until a knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.  Calories: 230


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Sunday, October 6, 2019


Autumn is here, and around the corner is the Clearfield Revitalization Corporation’s FALL FESTIVAL on Saturday, October 12th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in downtown, Clearfield, Pennsylvania. I’ll be there with my books, some wooden pumpkins and stars and lots of time to chat. So please stop in to say hello and see all the wonderful vendors, arts, crafts, entertainment, and food booths.

I’ll have WILLIE, MY LOVE, my newest novel, set in Clearfield when the logging industry thrived. 

 Here is a little blurb about the book:

The year is 1856. White pine is king of the forest.

The last thing Jonathan Wain wants to do is ride miles through Pennsylvania’s wilderness to help his father’s logging partner in the small settlement of Clearfield. His family owns clipper ships in the Chesapeake Bay that carry the coveted logs to the markets each spring, and they can’t afford a loss.

The last thing Wilhelmina Wydcliffe wants is a handsome sea captain from Maryland meddling in her father’s logging operations under attack by unknown enemies. A feisty tomboy and better known as Willie to her crews, she has a dream to be the largest logging operator east of the Mississippi River.

When both Willie’s and Jonathan’s lives are threatened, they are forced to work together to find their enemies before both of their companies are in shambles. But as their attraction to each other escalates, can they set aside their differences, unearth the truth and troublemakers, and discover contentment in each other’s arms?
Skidding logs during the winter.

Friday, September 13, 2019


Today, while my husband mowed the lawn, I started trimming some of the plants and shrubs that look like they were dragged behind a fast moving car on a dirt road. I know I’m jumping the gun on my transitional plan of moving from summer to autumn this year, but our outdoor vegetation seemed to have reached its peak and gone over the proverbial edge.

Most of the leaves on the flowers are brittle and brown. The ferns are brown-tipped and tired-looking. The Black-eyed Susans have lost all their petals. And many other drooping flowers have gone to seed with the exception of goldenrod and asters that line the roads.

So when exactly is fall?  This year, it will be Monday, September 23rd. The first day of fall lands on the Autumnal Equinox in the northern hemisphere and lasts until the Winter Solstice in December which starts on the 21st —the shortest day of the year—and in the Northern Hemisphere, the darkest day. 

In the stores and landscape centers, mums, gourds, and pumpkins have popped up on displays. Pumpkin spiced coffee is in the cafes and donut shops, and apples are piled high in the supermarkets. Cider is now available.  The scents of cinnamon and nutmeg drift in the air.

 I have to admit, autumn is one of my favorite seasons. It brings cooler, crisp temperatures, colorful maples leaves, and a cozy feeling when you break out the homey fall foods. What is better than the smell of a roast with vegetables in the oven, pumpkin pies or cookies baking, or applesauce simmering on the stovetop? And who doesn’t like a cup of hot chocolate at night?

Are you a fan of fall? Or do you like another season better? 

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Saturday, September 7, 2019


September is here and so are the pumpkins. Leaves are beginning to dry or take on color, sumac is turning red--and all the smells of autumn waft in the air. Everyone knows I’m a fan of the taste of pumpkin whether it's pumpkin cookies or pumpkin pie (with lots of Kool Whip or ice cream to accompany it). Here is a little recipe for pumpkin cake.


 Pumpkin Cake with Apple Cider Glaze

For the Cake:
1 Yellow Cake Mix
1 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree           

For the Glaze:
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons apple cider
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Empty the contents of the boxed cake mix and pumpkin puree into a large bowl. Using a hand-mixer or stand mixer beat until well incorporated. The batter will be very thick, but will come together nicely.

Pour batter into a greased 7 x 11 X 2 pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not over bake.

Let cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan, then flip onto a platter.

Make the glaze while you're waiting.

Combine powdered sugar, apple cider and pumpkin pie spice. Glaze should be thick but pourable. Add more sugar or cider if needed. Pour over the cake while still warm. Reserve some to pour over each slice when served.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

We Got Skunked!

            A group of striped skunks have invaded out neighborhood. We noticed them one night as they emerged to eat the seeds dropped from our bird feeders. Earlier, I had seen holes scattered around our yard where they had dug for insects, mushrooms, earthworms, grasshoppers, beetles and grubs. I later found out they eat wasps and honeybees as well.
Skunks will eat honeybees.
Skunks are adept at digging.
The striped skunk range covers most of the continental United States from Canada to Mexico. A group of skunks is called a surfeit, and they travel no more than two miles from their dens or from a water source. They have poor eyesight, but excellent hearing and smell. In the wild, they live from 2-4 years and weight 6-10 pounds.
Best known for their black fur coat with a white stripe running up their back, these mammals are nocturnal—active at night—and for the most part, are generally solitary creatures that live and forge alone. However, they are known to hibernate during the coldest months in winter where they gather in communal dens for warmth.
Mating season is one of the only other times when they tend to socialize. The females have litters of one to seven young kits in late April through early June.
Skilled little diggers? You bet. They are proficient excavators with five clawed toes and can damage foundations when they tunnel underneath a home or a building to take up residence. A burrow can reach three to four feet below ground and six to twenty feet long, ending in round chambers lined with leaves and grass. Our furry Pepe Le Pews dug their burrows under the cement foundation of one of our pole buildings.
Everyone knows skunks are notorious for the foul odor of their spray, but did you know that they are almost predator-free creatures with only the great horned owl as an enemy? Their defense mechanism—their sulfuric spray—is capable of reaching 10 feet and the odor can be detected up to 1.5 miles away.
Although skunks may appear to be cute and furry, they carry many diseases including leptospirosis, canine distemper, canine hepatitis, intestinal roundworm, and rabies.
How do you rid your yard of them?  Professional trappers are the easiest means. To date, five have been removed from our yard and our neighbor’s property.
I’m hoping they will all be removed… and long-lost relatives do not show up for a late summer visit.