All posts by turg7269

About turg7269

I am a Minnesota woman who grew up on a farm in Swede Grove Township and spent much time in the Arizona Desert during the winters. For many years I was a professional communications writer. I had my own recipe column with a weekly publication and was the press secretary/assistant communication director for Minnesota's Secretary of State. I am a two time cancer survivor and am currently in remission from Multiple Myeloma a blood cancer.

What Is On My Mind Today? Happy Independence Day From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary!

july 4th


INDEPENDENCE.
…what it means according to the  Merriam-Webster Dictionary: 

Definition of INDEPENDENCE:
—-freedom from outside control or support : the state of being independent

Definition of INDEPENDENT:

—-not subject to control by others

—-not affiliated with a larger controlling unit 

—-not requiring or relying on something else

—-not looking to others for one’s opinions or for guidance in conduct

—-not bound by or committed to a political party

—-not requiring or relying on others

—-showing a desire for freedom

Definition of FREEDOM:   

—-the state of being free: such as the power to do what you want to do

—-the ability to move or act freely

—-the state of not being a slave, prisoner
—-the state of not having or being affected by something unpleasant or unwanted

—-the right to use something or go somewhere without being controlled
 —-a political right

Have a great time today celebrating independence and freedom! 

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Recipe: The Day My Dad Shot Elvis…Four Roosters and Chicken Pasta Fruit Salad

This is a great salad to serve during the summer months, and who doesn’t like a great chicken story.

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter

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Once upon a time on my dad’s farm lived four young roosters who needed names. A good name can make or break a soul in this world so when dad called me at 8 a.m.in the morning, while I was at work, and asked my assistance in selecting names for his roosters, I was honored.

Since I had never seen his new roosters, I asked him to describe them for me.

The first rooster was black, small for his age and the first to learn to crow. He really had a thing for the lady hens. His most distinguishing characteristic was the long feathers that hung down on either side of his beak like sideburns. We named him Elvis.

Then, dad explained he wanted his other roosters named after Civil War generals.  I am a Civil War buff, so he felt I would be the one to help him find appropriate military names. He stressed that the…

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Recipe: Minnesota National Guard Pie Fight Rescue–Serving up Patriotic Berry Pie on the 4th of July

This is a great patriotic berry pie to serve your guests as you celebrate the 4th of July.

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter

pie social

Traditions die hard in small towns and our church’s annual  ice cream social was no exception to this rule.  Each summer our church would hold an ice cream social usually as a fundraiser for our youth group –FLY–First Lutheran Youth.

My church was our town’s Swedish Lutheran Church.  In a small town with less than 600 people we boasted four churches.  Three were Lutheran…Swedish, Norwegian and German and then there were the Baptists. The basic difference between Lutherans and Baptists as far I could tell was that we could dance and they could not.

In my early teens, I was vice-chair of  FLY and my older more responsible cousin was chair. What I may have lacked in responsibility, I certainly more than made up for with a strong desire to help God out, great capitalistic attitude, endless creativity and boundless enthusiasm.

As it happened right about the time I became part of the leadership team for FLY, we needed…

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Letter’s From Grandma Pat: Three-fingered Kenny and 4th of July Trivia

Happy 4th of July and be careful with those fireworks.

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter

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Howdy!  Hope that your week is going great and that you are having a lot of fun during your summer vacation from school.   However, fun, no matter how inviting or exciting, is never an excuse for not being careful and safe.  Brains were not made by God to set on a shelf, they are meant to be used. You have a good one, use it.

Which brings me to the point of this week’s letter…not blowing off your fingers or toes, or blinding yourself with fireworks. Fireworks are great fun to see, hear and have during our nation’s birthday celebration on the 4th of July.  However, they are dangerous and demand respect. I know its fun to shoot off a firecracker or two, but safe first!

I once knew a kid in high school that did not have respect for the power of gun powder. He became known as “Three-finger…

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What Is On My Mind Today? A Very Thoughtful and Delicious Gift

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Last week a friend of mine sent me the most wonderful and thoughtful gift.  She knew that I am not a jam maker so she made jam from several family recipes posted on my blog and added a few of her own.  Then, had them shipped to me.

There was Rhubarb Orange, Rhubarb-Pineapple-Raspberry, Zucchini Freezer, Apple and just for good measure she included a jar of Blueberry pancake jam.

Last night my dad called and said that he and mom were coming for a visit today.  They would get here about a hour before noon. Like father, like daughter, my dad has always loved jam.  So, I told him that we would have a jam fest for lunch.

This morning I woke up early and made his Aunt Ida’s Two-Hour Buns recipe.  When you are going down memory lane you might as well go all the way.  Besides, I cannot imagine having homemade jam on anything less than warm bread right out of the oven.

Then it was time to find my last stick of butter in the house and set the table.

Our lunch consisted of milk and warm bread topped with Mary Cummins’ jams.  It really does not get better than that.

Mary, thank you!  You made my day and my parents.

God bless you for your thoughtfulness, and for sharing the products of your expertise jam making skills!  Delicious!

 

Just Saying: Obituary for Decency….Meanness Runs Amok!

casket in grave with spray

Decency died the week of June 17-23, 2018 from neglect and abandonment.

Sadly, its long decline and demise went unnoticed by those who profess to love it the most.  The cause of death is communicable and was determined to be from gross impoliteness.  This contagious epidemic is most often found in the not able to mind my own business, because I know what’s best for everyone divisive and nihilistic ideologies.

Decency is survived by hypocrisy, self-absorption, arrogance, grandstanding, rudeness, hate, meanness, mob violence and many bullies and ideologues.

It was preceded in death by respect, kindness, acceptance, tolerance, selflessness, manners, polite conversation, open exchange of ideas, and patriotism.

Decency will be missed by all who cherished its memory.

Behavioral change in lieu of excuses and escalation is requested.

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For those of you who do not read Grandma Pat’s Thor Stories, you will find that each creative action story is used as a teaching moment to encourage young people become good humans and not just another animal in the jungle.

The latest story,

Thor Stories: The Fence….Nothing Is Harder to Defeat Than Grandma and Minnesota Gophers

 

provided rules for acceptable behavior so simple children can understand them.

So, help bring decency back from the dead!  Learn about it and teach it to your children.  You will be amazed at the difference it makes at home, school, work and in public.

Grandma’s Rules of Acceptable Behavior:

1.  Treat everyone just like you, yourself would like to be treated.
2.  Be respectful of your elders and others.  Always say please and thank you.
3.  Kindness like cleanliness pays.
4.  Be responsible and take responsibility.
5.  Always be honest with your words and actions.
6.  Don’t use bad words, unless you like the taste of soap.
7.  If it isn’t yours, it is not yours.
8.  When you want something, work for it.
9.   Don’t pick your nose.
10. Be thankful to God and count your blessings.
11. Never, ever, pull Grandpa Walter’s finger in grandma’s presence.

Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Thor Stories: The Fence….Nothing Is Harder to Defeat Than Grandma and Minnesota Gophers

Thor was just finishing washing and wiping the breakfast dishes.  He didn’t mind doing this chore as he could look out of the kitchen window that was over the sink and survey his backyard….otherwise known as…the jungle.

Rex

As he looked out the kitchen window he saw Rex, his trusty dog sniffing along the bottom of the backyard fence.  This fence was all that kept the jungle in and troublemakers at bay.  Why without the fence Ned the fainting goat would wander off and pass out only heaven knows where; there’s just no telling what kind of trouble Morton the Spitting Squirrel would cause for neighbors; and protecting the jungle from dinosaurs, rooster pirate kings, farting trolls, cat ghosts and mischief makers of all varieties and sizes would present an even greater challenge.  Yes, his backyard fence was just as essential as its big door that lets folks go safely in and out.

No sooner did he finish his sublime thoughts about the importance of the jungle’s fence, than heard Rex utter a loud yelp. Quick as a wink the whole dog disappeared under the fence in a “Pop”!

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Thor spun on his heels and ran to the calendar…sure enough it was strawberry picking season. That means that Gus the buck-toothed  gopher, along with his family and friends, had burrowed under the fence and let Rex loose as part of their plan to decimate the strawberry patch.

Thor knew that of all of the enemies that had caused mischief in the jungle none were harder to beat than Minnesota Gophers.  Saving his strawberries from the gophers would be a supreme challenge.  Especially, since Rex was now stuck on the other side of the fence, howling his heart out.

First things first, Thor opened up the front door of his house and hollered “Dog Treats.” Rex was there in a flash.  With his trusty canine friend by his side Thor quickly began to formulate a “Save The Strawberry” game plan.

Going one to one with a  Minnesota gopher is never good strategy.  Too exhausting and too easy to trip.  No, what was going to be required here was a very offensive team with an even more offensive gopher elimination plan.  Thor had no choice, he was going to have to call Grandpa Walter.

grandma on phone
Vicki Lawrence as Mama in Carol Burnett Show

Grandma answered Thor’s phone call.  Thor got out two words…gophers and strawberries.

The line went dead.

He was on his own.

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Bill Murray in the movie Caddy Shack

Thor had watched gopher fighting training movies and had learned that to catch a wily rodent you have to think like a wily rodent.

Morton.  Yes, Morton the spitting squirrel, Thor’s arch enemy was an expert at the obnoxious.  He would be just the ticket.

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Thor grabbed his protective eyeglasses, rain hat and coat, rubber boots and umbrella, opened the mighty gate in his fence and entered the jungle.

The vision that greeted his eyes was disturbing.  Gophers gnawing away on fresh strawberry after strawberry. Their buck teeth emitting non-stop chatter like the clicker of the telegraph operator on the Titanic.  Strawberries as doomed as the ship.

He had to find Morton!

Thor braced himself to be assailed with spit wads and slimey loogies only to discover that Morton had gone over to the dark side.  He was taking a nap on top of the chicken coop.  At times, squirrels can be worse than useless.

Rex and Thor raced back into the house to formulate another plan.  First, Thor went down into the basement to get a plastic bucket.  Then, he went into the kitchen to get a fork, Styrofoam plate, a jar of maraschino cherries, a strong rubber band and a towel.  Thor grabbed his favorite cat and headed for the jungle.

chickens-web

By now the chickens were sounding the alarm, which made Rex began to howl again.  All of the noise distracted the gophers from their strawberry patch raid long enough for Thor to hook the wire handle of the pail into the fork, and fit the fork to the rubber band like an arrow against a bow string.  Thor pulled the rubber band as far as he could and let fly.

The bucket sailed through the air landing right in the middle of the patch. Since, everyone knows that a Minnesota gopher cannot resist getting a bucket, the gophers raced for the bucket excitingly dribbling all over the place.  Gus the biggest gopher was the center lead and got to the bucket first.   No sooner had he run into the  bucket and claimed it as his own than the cat pounced on top of the bucket trapping Gus.

With their leader rendered helpless, the other gophers forgot their game plan.  They  began running around completely disoriented as their dribbling increased two-fold. It was a foul scene. At that very moment the backyard gate crashed open with a bang as loud as a shot out of a cannon.

There stood Grandma!   Wrinkled stockings and knees sagging down to her ankles with a huge kettle in one hand and large metal spoon in the other.  She began to bang on the kettle with the spoon with all her might creating sound so loud it would make thunder blush.  Of course this woke up Morton the Squirrel who immediately began spitting at grandma.

The situation was quickly getting out of control.  Thor took out his rubber band and loaded it with a maraschino cherry.  He aimed carefully and just as Morton took another deep breath before he lobbed another spit loogie at grandma, Thor let the cherry fly.  Into Morton’s mouth it sailed and he swallowed it with a gulp.  The high levels of artificial red dye and sweetener from the Maraschino cherry put Morton into an immediate sugar coma and he fell fast asleep.

Thor threw grandma the clean towel so that she could rid herself of squirrel spit.

Then, he did the most cruel thing he had ever done to an animal in his life, because Thor knew that you cannot show any mercy to Minnesota gophers or they will beat you every time. He pulled out the Styrofoam plate and flashed the gophers with a non-recycleable item.  The horror! With the environment of the jungle supremely compromised, the dazed shrieking gophers cried foul for being so severely penalized for merely being off-sides and double dribbling. They quickly bolted for the fence to get out of bounds.

By now grandma had cleaned off all of the squirrel residue along with most of her makeup, and was walking towards the bucket being guarded by the cat.  Grandma tipped the bucket up and grabbed Gus.  She then benched him by the picnic table.

grandma rules
Vicki Lawrence

She eyed him over as she said, “Well, what have we here? Looks to me like we have ourselves a strawberry thief. Do you have anything to say for yourself?”

Gus thought about it and then blurted out, “I did not take any strawberries.”  “You cannot prove that I did.”

Grandma’s eyes narrowed to a squint as she glared down at him over the rims of her bifocal glasses.  “Do I look like I was born yesterday?”  You have strawberry juice stains  around your mouth, your big buck teeth are as pink as a sunburned pig’s butt and your feet look like you’ve been line-dancing barefoot at a bloody vampire festival! Gus, you make bad choices. Do you know what we do to strawberry thieves in these parts?”

pig butt

Gus negatively shook his head as his pondered what his gruesome fate would be.

Grandma reached into the pocket of her apron.  At that moment, Thor’s heart sank as he realized the fate in store for the gopher.  “By golly, young fella, it’s time someone teaches you how to follow the rules.”  Then, out they came, a razor sharp pencil, a small notebook of paper, and a sheet of paper with writing on it.

It was a copy of Grandma’s rules for acceptable behavior.

Grandma believed that most things in life improve with practice. That includes rule following and writing.  Thor knew all of grandma’s rules by heart.  Whenever he was caught in a violation, you can be sure he would be found copying them 100 times.

“Gus in my opinion you could use some work on all of these rules, but numbers five and seven are the ones you really, really need to focus on. Oh, don’t think that you are going to take any short cuts or escape…I plan to sit right here to point out any omissions you  make.  As for escaping, well, I might be slow, Gus, but the dog, cat and chickens are not.”

Grandma’s Rules of Acceptable Behavior:

1.  Treat everyone just like you, yourself would like to be treated.
2.  Be respectful of your elders and others.  Always say please and thank you.
3.  Kindness like cleanliness pays.
4.  Be responsible and take responsibility.
5.  Always be honest with your words and actions.
6.  Don’t use bad words, unless you like the taste of soap.
7.  If it isn’t yours, it is not yours.
8.  When you want something, work for it.
9.   Don’t pick your nose.
10. Be thankful to God and count your blessings.
11. Never, ever, pull Grandpa Walter’s finger in grandma’s presence.

As Gus began his journey of human moral assimilation, Thor picked up the bucket.  While, grandma supervised the gopher’s character development, Thor filled the bucket with strawberries, then dumped bucket after bucket of the berries into grandma’s big kettle.

As Thor picked, grandma cleaned the berries.  By the time Gus was done learning right from wrong, the strawberry patch was empty.

Grandma carried Gus to the fence and tossed him over the side.  Everyone knows that Minnesota gophers know how to bounce.  No harm no foul.

No sooner had the rodent disappeared than Thor’s dad came home from work and walked into the jungle alongside Grandpa Walter.

Thor’s dad wondered why on such a bright sunny day and with the garden hose off that  his son was wearing rain gear and eye protection.  He then noticed that there was a squirrel sleeping on top of the chicken coop, a jar of Maraschino cherries had been left outside, a towel was hanging on the line covered with mascara stains and goo, his mother was there without makeup on, and there were sheets and sheets of paper with her rules for acceptable behavior copied on them floating around the yard like dry leaves in the fall.

Suspicious that his mother had his son spend the afternoon practicing writing skills Thor’s dad asked, “Son, what have you been doing today?” “Nothing much.” Thor responded.

Thor’s dad saw all of the picked cleaned strawberries and said, “Your mom has ice cream in the house for those.”

On the way into the house they all walked past Grandpa Walter. Grandpa Walter stuck out his finger and Thor’s dad pulled it.  As Grandpa Walter ripped a leg lifter fart that fluttered the fabric of the seat of his pants and sent Thor running, Grandma handed Thor’s dad her notebook, pencil and her list of “Rules for Acceptable Behavior.”

grandma angry
Vicki Lawrence

“Get copying son, and focus your attention specifically on Rule Number 11. It is just luck that a strong breeze prevented Grandpa’s wind from spoiling all of the strawberries and rendering us all blind and unconscious! For Pete’s sake, most of your garden is wilted and uprooted, and the ferocity of the release of all that hot anal air blew half of your fence over!  A methane emission of that magnitude could advance climate change by decades! There are reasons for rules!”

In grandma’s world, with the single exception of Grandpa Walter, no matter how old you are acceptable behavior is acceptable behavior whether human or beast.

Thor immensely enjoyed eating fresh strawberries and ice cream while watching his dad improve his penmanship.

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