In the Garden, Day 8

It’s been a week of daily watering.  The only thing green in the garden is the tomato plant.  I haven’t had good luck with tomatoes in the past.  I’m trying something different by putting a couple of water bottles in the ground to get the water down to the roots.  I’ll see how that works.  Weather has been warm in the upper 70’s, so it shouldn’t be too long before I see something sprout.

Nothing Yet.
Nothing Yet.  The seeds are in the wider black area.  I water in the furrow between the rows.
Garden addition
Garden addition.  Cantaloupe can trail out into the yard and squash will fill the rest of the bed.

I had some peat moss and various soil additives, bone meal, gypsum, etc. left over.  Instead of buying bags of “garden soil,” I thought I’d buy the stuff they sell as “top soil.”  As soon as I opened the bag, I knew exactly what they were calling “top soil.”  It’s nothing more than well-aged cow manure with a little wood mixed in.  Looks exactly like those big, black mountains surround the feed lots throughout Texas and Oklahoma.   Once the water hit it, there was no doubt.  On the bright side, it should grow beautiful plants.

Gorgeous weather here.  It’s the perfect temperature, day and night.  I don’t need to run the furnace or the air conditioner.  Makes for great sleeping weather.  I love having the house opened up with the breeze blowing through.  We’re lucky if Spring lasts more than a few weeks.  All too early, the air conditioner becomes a necessity.

Mulberry tree in full bloom.
Mulberry tree in full bloom.

The mulberry trees are in full bloom. I’ll have to wait and see how the garden does this next week.


Mulberry leaves opening up.
Mulberry leaves opening up.




©2016, My Granny Rocks | Janette Thornton. All rights reserved.

Money Saving Tips for Small Dog Owners

Okay, I admit it. I’m frugal.  Well, actually cheap.  I’ve discovered several ways to save on Maggie’s grooming and food.  Maggie is a Maltipoo, a small indoor dog.  The photo above is shaggy Maggie.  She definitely needs a bath and trim.

When Maggie was a pup, she wasn’t much larger than a bunny.  Since we often have red-tailed hawks flying around our place, she doesn’t go outside unless someone goes with her.  She’s just like having a kid around. Right behind you every step of the way, always wanting to see what you’re doing.

  1. Do the grooming yourself.  There’s no way I’m going to spend more on her grooming than I do on mine.  I dilute the pet shampoo 3 parts water to 1 part shampoo.  This makes the shampoo last longer and it doesn’t irritate her sensitive skin and make her itchy.  I put it in a recycled spray bottle and after getting her wet, spritz it on, then work into a lather.
  2. Buy a pair of good clippers.  It’s not that difficult to trim your dog.  Start with one of the longer guards because you can always go shorter if you mess up.  Make sure their hair is clean, dry and combed through – no matts or knots.  Cut in the direction of the hair.  For trimming around the face, grab their chin hair to hold their head still, then cut the hair with the scissors.  Use the shortest guard to trim the hair between the pads on the paws and to do the sanitary trimming.  There’s several dog grooming videos on You Tube.  Watch one applicable to your breed and after a couple times, you’ll have it down.
  3. Buy a pair of toenail clippers with the guard.  I recommend the clippers with the guard so you don’t accidentally cut too close.  Never cut into the pink part of the nail.  When in doubt, it’s better to leave them a little long. I haven’t tried any of those rotary nail trimmers.  They may work fine.  I just haven’t tried them yet.
  4. Don’t buy expensive treats.  Buy the smallest bag of large breed dog food you can find.  Give out one or two pieces at a time for a treat.  A small bag will last a long, long time.  I found a small bag that fit perfectly in a gallon pickle jar.  By keeping it in a jar, the semi-soft pieces stay moist.
  5. Don’t buy expensive stuffed chew toys.  For most stuffed animals, the expensive ones don’t last any longer than the cheap ones.  Maggie disembowels her stuffed toys regularly.  She has a knack for finding that weak seam and chews in that one spot until she can get the fiberfill out. I’ve got a few to re-sew right now.  I use heavy duty thread and beeswax to repair them by hand stitching the seam or hole. Using beeswax keeps the thread from tangling.




©2016, My Granny Rocks | Janette Thornton. All rights reserved.

How to Prevent Boil Overs

Reduce heat and foam begins to subside
Reduce heat and foam begins to subside

You may have already heard this and wondered whether or not it works.  Well, a wooden spoon placed across the top of the pan does prevent starchy foods, such as potatoes and noodles, from boiling over, for a time anyway.  You know how the smell of something boiling over takes over the kitchen?  It totally wipes out the smells of all the other good foods, so I avoid it as much as possible.  When I’m in the kitchen, I’m usually distracted with preparing something else while the potatoes or noodles cook.

Wooden spoon works
Wooden spoon works

Using a spoon across the top of the pan does buy enough time for me to reduce the heat without a mess.  This is one of those tips that’s now became a habit.  I still have to keep an eye on the pan, just not as close as before.

Now, I never boil anything without a spoon.  It works!





©2016, My Granny Rocks | Janette Thornton. All rights reserved.

How to Wash Vegetables and Fruits

No matter where you get your vegetables, at the store, farmer’s market or from your own garden, they need to be washed.  Prepared washes are not always available here.  When they are in stock, they can be pricey.  The easiest and cheapest method I`ve found is using ¼ cup white vinegar in ½ gallon of water.  Scientifically, I don`t know how much bacteria, germs, etc. it does remove.  However, no one likes excess dirt or creepy, crawly things in their food.  When you spend the time to prepare food, you definitely don’t want to make anyone sick.

Unwashed Peppers and Cilantro
Unwashed Peppers and Cilantro

First, rinse the produce well under running water.  Don’t scrub with a brush as it may scratch the surface and let unwanted bacteria in.  Use your hands to rub off visible dirt.  I’ve recycled a ½ gallon pickle jar to wash my veggies in.  If I have a lot of produce to do at once, I recycle a gallon pickle jar and increase the white vinegar to ½ cup.  I make sure the skin is intact with no holes or mushy spots.  Some vegetables float, so when the lid`s put on, it keeps them submerged.  Keep the vegetables in the vinegar/water solution for 15 minutes.  Dump out and refill the jar with cool water.  Return the produce to the jar for 5 minutes, then rinse briefly.

Peppers and Cilantro in Vinegar Solution
Another view, Peppers and Cilantro in Solution
Pepper and Cilantro 2
Pepper and Cilantro in Vinegar Solution

Following the initial soak for leafy greens, (cilantro, parsley, leaf lettuce,) I swish the greens around and change the water a couple times until the rinse water is clear.  I’m on a private well, so I don’t have chlorinated water.  Our drinking water runs through a RO system.  I’d use filtered water in the vinegar solution if I lived in town rather than the chlorinated city tap water.

Always be sure to wash cantaloupe and watermelons.  Even though you don’t eat the rind, the bacteria is transferred inside when you slice it.




©2016, My Granny Rocks | Janette Thornton. All rights reserved.

30 Essential Spices

I’ve been noticing a lot of posts lately that always begin with “The Top Ten…”  Well, try as I may, I can’t cut my spice list down to only ten.  Plain old salt and pepper are a given.  Everyone has those.  The following are my ‘go to’ seasonings for cooking and baking.  Many are combined with others and used in rubs, seasonings for roasts, marinades.

  1. Allspice – Use in soups, barbeque sauce and marinades.
  2. Basil – Use this in spaghetti sauces, lasagna, breads.
  3. Bay Leaf – Makes any soup or stew taste better. Be sure to remove the leaf before serving.
  4. Caraway Seed – Essential for Caraway/Rye bread.
  5. Cayenne Pepper – A dash here and there adds a little zip. Great for livening up Spinach dip.
  6. Celery Salt – Add to flour when breading chicken for frying.
  7. Chili Powder – Mexican/Southwest meats, rice, cowboy beans and of course, chili.
  8. Chives – Put in scrambled eggs, top baked potatoes, add to biscuits and dumplings.
  9. Cilantro – A must have for Mexican/Southwest meat, rice or bean dishes.
  10. Cloves, Ground – Use in cookies, pumpkin pie, pumpkin rolls, spice cake.
  11. Cinnamon, Ground – Use mostly in baked goods.
  12. Cream of Tarter – Use when making a delicious, soft sugar cookie.
  13. Cumin – Another must have for Mexican/Southwest meat, rice or bean dishes.
  14. Dill Seed – Use in dips, sautéing/roasting veggies, herb bread
  15. Dill Weed – Use in dips, sautéing/roasting veggies, herb bread
  16. Garlic Powder – Use in everything (except cookies or cakes)
  17. Celery Leaves – Adds a nice light celery flavor in soups, stuffing, baked poultry
  18. Celery Seed, Whole – Use in coleslaw, meat rubs and season veggies.
  19. Ginger, Ground – Use in cookies, pumpkin pie, pumpkin rolls, spice cake.
  20. Mustard, Ground – Use in Swiss steak, good to have on hand.
  21. Nutmeg – Use in pumpkin pie, pumpkin rolls, spice cake.
  22. Onion, Minced – Good to have on hand in case your run out of fresh.
  23. Onion Powder – Use in everything (except cookies or cakes)
  24. Oregano – Use this in spaghetti sauces, lasagna, breads.
  25. Paprika – Adds color when sprinkled on deviled eggs, use in goulash.
  26. Parsley – Adds color and a little flavor to biscuits and soups.
  27. Red Pepper Flakes – Use to add a little hotness to foods
  28. Rosemary – Use on poultry, in herb bread.
  29. Sage – Use in stuffing, dressing, baked poultry
  30. Thyme -Use in herb breads, sautéing/roasting veggies, and on meats.

I have a few other spices in my cupboard, but don’t use them as often as these 30.  It’s always good to have Kosher salt or sea salt on hand, too.  Some recipes call for a larger salt crystal.  Never substitute table salt for Kosher or sea salt without reducing the measurement.

Spices have always been expensive.  When I was first starting out, (back in the day when minimum wage was less than $3.00/hour,) I’d buy a spice tin each payday.  Dang, I’m showing my age.  Spices came in tins – not bottles.  Even now, I don’t buy garlic or onion salt, I make my own by mixing 1 teaspoon powder with 3 teaspoons of table salt.  I guess I could do the same with celery salt.  I hadn’t thought about it as I don’t use it as much as I do garlic and onion salt.






©2016, My Granny Rocks | Janette Thornton. All rights reserved.

Raising Children

Keeping him safe
Keeping him safe

The inspiration for this page came after reading yet another of those magazines that contained an article regarding how to raise a child. I thought, what’s the problem here? Don’t people realize how to raise a child anymore? There has been so much written as to be careful, don’t hurt your child’s feelings, don’t ever spank your child, don’t stifle their creativity, don’t do this, don’t do that, etc. Now look at our children, and sociey, in general, and see what we’ve created. I am aghast at what the youth of today do, are allowed to do, and are allowed to get away with. Why? Why do we, as adults, tolerate this behavior? Why is the unacceptable being forced down our throats until it becomes the accepted norm? Who is letting this happen? We are. As adults, it’s time we take charge of our fate and that of our children.

Children need rules. They need guidelines. They need consistency. They need to know that you mean business. What you say goes, without question or explanation. When my son was a toddler, I would tell him to do something and he would ask, “Why?” For several months, I would spend my time trying to explain the reason I wanted him to, for example, pick up his toys. Once I was at a friend’s house. (She happened to be an elementary school teacher.) She said, “If you don’t do something with his behavior, you’re really going to have trouble with him later on.” This remark took me by surprise. I asked what she meant. She said, “You’re the adult. Why are you trying to reason with a two-year-old? He should do what you tell him without explanation.” It was like someone had hit me with a ton of bricks. I hadn’t realized what I had been doing. He was my first child. For the first two years of his life, I had read the baby magazines, read Dr. Spock, read everything I could get my hands on regarding how to raise a child. I wanted, so badly, to raise him to be the best kid ever. How could I have let this happen? Continue reading “Raising Children”


Granny JJI’m new to this blogging thing and here’s how it came about…I’m over 50 and one day when I was feeling particularly tired, I said to my 14 year-old grandson, “I’m getting old, aren’t I?”  Without missing a beat, he said, “You’re not old.  My Granny rocks!”  Well, that planted the seed and here I am.

My favorite quote is from Earl Nightingale, “Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it.  The time will pass anyway.”   I was raised in a time where my dream was to get married, be happy and have a nice family.  That was it.  I never thought about much more than that.  Now, I let my mind wander to the possibilities and it’s like, yeah.  I can do this.

Another quote I really like came from my sister-in-law, Barbie.  She said, “I don’t like to start on yesterday tomorrow.”   Starting on yesterday tomorrow applies to so many things.  Every day, do as much as you can whether at work or on your own personal goals.  If I’ve got something to do, I get it done.  It’s really simple.  Do it now; then you don’t have to worry about finding time to do it later.

Both are powerful statements I live by daily.

At work, if your boss needs something by say 3:00 pm.  Respond as quickly as you can.  Boom!  It’s off your plate and you can continue on working.  I often make the mistake of thinking that everyone thinks like me.  When I ask my grandson to take out the trash.  It means DO IT NOW.  If I wanted it done later, I’d ask later.  Simple, huh?

Around the house, avoiding yesterday tomorrow may mean doing the dishes at night instead of letting them pile up in the sink to do tomorrow.  Really, what’s it take?  All of fifteen minutes to wash and dry or maybe five minutes to load the dishwasher?  Come on folks, no excuses.

As I’ve grown older, I realized everyone has something to contribute to the younger generations, regardless of whether they’re 50 or 90.  There are so many things younger people don’t know.  This is my way of sharing the knowledge I’ve gained and I hope you find it useful.

©2016, My Granny Rocks | Janette Thornton. All rights reserved.