Labor Day 2017

That’s it – I’m done laboring with the canning.  42 pints of “pickles” should take care of my Christmas list, I think.  I put all the canning equipment away and cleaned my kitchen – oh, what a good feeling!


Look at this clean stove area.


I also finished my book this morning after I made the last batch of pickles.  “The Lilac Girls” was an excellent WWII story based on real people and terrible cruelty inflicted in the women’s concentration camp at Ravensbrook, Germany.  It was difficult to read about such cruelty and worse to know it actually happened.  I need a lighter book for my next read.  


Here’s my new basket filled with hydrangeas sitting on my new red plant stand.


I also bought this small silk 48 star American flag which I attached to the basket.  I love it!


We have some cool nights coming so I need to start bringing in the most fragile succulents and cacti.  I call this 5-1/2′ cactus the 4-H cactus because in 1980 when I was a 4-H leader, one of the kids brought me a small cactus in a paper cup.  This is that cactus!!  It has some real dead parts and unattractive sections that happened last winter when it didn’t get enough light.  Instead of  hauling this huge plant, I think I will cut off the pretty sections and repot them. I will then throw away the original base plant and start again.  It’s just so big and hard to move that it’s time to cut it down.  Here it is outside this summer.


It’s taller than I am!

Hope you’re all enjoying the last unofficial day of summer – I’m ready to sew instead of making pickles!

43 thoughts on “Labor Day 2017

  1. Cathy

    You should read “Home to Harmony”. It is about a small town Quaker minister and the adventures he has with his parish. I think you would enjoy it very much. It is similar to Jan Karon’s books about Mitford and Father Tim(which you should also read if you have not already).

    Reply
  2. Pam Wakeman

    I’m amazed and in awe of what all you accomplish, Mary! What vitamins and/or medication(s) do you take to be so active?! I want some!

    Reply
    1. Mary Etherington

      Pam – I don’t even take a daily vitamin! Remember what I said not long ago – you have to WANT to do things and then you will. Just do it!

      Reply
  3. Synthia Noble

    I loved seeing your new basket with hydrangeas on your new plant stand with flag. So beautiful and artistically done. You have a good “eye” and are so talented.

    Your countertop full of canned pickles made my mouth water. Brought back the days when I’d buy 100# of cukes just to make kosher dills and then another to make 14-day sweet chunks. Alas, I don’t can anymore so I got a thrill seeing what you just did. 🙂 Keep up the good work.

    Reply
    1. Mary Etherington

      Synthia – I’m hoping to have enough canned pickles for 2 seasons so I don’t have to plant cucumbers next spring. I used to make those 14 day pickles, too – weren’t they delicious?

      Reply
  4. Kathy

    You are very ambitious with all the pickling and then the work in the yard with your cacti to protect them from the coming chill. How I wish I had your energy and enthusiasm for each project you approach. Enjoy the Labor Day and hope to see more of your works of art!

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  5. Marian

    OMG, Mary, you are a worker bee! Scrumptious looking pickles! Great accomplishment! The basket/hydrangea/old flag arrangement is superb! I liked your pep talk again! We all need a cheerleader!

    Reply
  6. Susan Sundermeyer

    Mary, I love all the pictures in your kitchen. This last week in Ohio, we have have temps in the low 50’s. It has been a very odd August this year. Sewing is on my agenda today. I’m making preemie baby hats for our local NICU’s.

    Reply
  7. Beth T.

    End of canning is the official end of summer! Good for you, Mary.

    Today is my day for sewing kennel quilts for Austin Pets Alive!, while taking care of our elderly dog. He’s winding down, I think. It’s sweet to see our younger dogs looking after him, especially the puppy he mentored for her first 18 months. She’s so devoted to him, and today when he had a momentary bad spell she was right by his side. Life can be almost too tender sometimes.

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  8. Janice

    Oh, I feel so lazy! I have canned pickles in the past but this year we didn’t get any cucumbers in the garden and our tomatoes are still deep green. Hope there’s enough of the season to get them ripened. I did make raspberry jam and froze a bunch of blueberries and raspberries to make more but just haven’t got the “want” enough, I guess! We’ve been working on our house, painting and painting and doing more painting! Hoping to get it on the market – was hoping for the fall market but I think realistically it will be spring before it’s ready. That’s okay though as we haven’t found anything we really want yet to buy. I love your hydrangea basket! Looks terrific. Good idea to cut back the cactus – I’m thinking of doing that do some of my overgrown plants. Have you ever rooted your hydrangeas? I’ve heard one can do that. Enjoy the rest of your holiday!

    Reply
  9. Becky from IA

    I love your new flower basket. You just know how to put things together and they look so good! Have a great day!

    Reply
  10. Ann Barlament

    Your basket is even more beautiful with flowers and flag!!

    I found a 3 foot tall cactus at Walmart, for $10, about 20 years ago. It grew 2 feet taller, in the time it was under my care. Whenever I had garage sales, I would take cuttings and sell (potted) for 50 cents each. Too bad no-one wanted to take the mother plant home when I went to the hospital, back in 2012. I will have to buy another, when I get out of Transitional care.

    Reply
  11. Diane

    All three look great together:) You truly do have an eye for decorating, Mary. Ahhh, pickles–another life when we had a garden. I miss it, but the deer are too numerous to succeed. I am reading LILAC GIRLS. I used to teach NIGHT and the Holocaust to my 10th graders. It is hard to do, but they learned so much. We had a wonderful man, Murray Ebner from Columbus, who came and talked to them about being in Auschwitz. He was a lovely, kind man. If you want to laugh, I suggest Wishin’ and Hopin’ by Wally Lamb. I laughed outloud!!

    Reply
  12. Tanya T.

    When you are ready for another WWII story, try THE BAKER’S SECRET by Stephen Kiernan, one of the best books I have read all summer, and set in Normandy. Also great is THE WOMEN IN THE CASTLE by Shattuck. Love those pickles! AND your flea market finds!

    Reply
  13. Linda L

    I’ve been reading the series of .Breakfast with Buddha, lunch with Buddha and Dinner with Buddha. Start with Breakfast, it’s the first one in the series and there are parts where I just laugh out loud.

    Reply
  14. Helen Jane

    Hi Mary…the arrangement is lovely especially with the flag. How about leaving Mr. 4-H tall? It is a lovely plant even with the brownish area. Happy your days are filled with cheer/travel and fun around home. Until next time from Texas

    Reply
  15. Martha Engstler

    I’m so impressed with your pickle project, they look so yummy. A welcome side for almost every meal. It’s always delightful to see your plants, I only have orchids to bring in.

    Reply
  16. Sue

    I absolutely Love your basket arrangement of hydrangeas. And, the flag is perfect. You have inspired me to pick some of mine and make and arrangement. It’s so smokey outside, though, I hate to go out there. Oregon is one big smokey state right now. We have so many wildfires going on.
    I still have tomatoes to can but winding it up after that. Your stove is just like mine except mine is not glass top. My pressure canner is too heavy for the glass and we can beans and fresh tuna and salmon when we can get it.

    Reply
  17. Jo

    Those pickles are beautiful! A couple years ago we had a bumper crop of crab apples, I made jelly and every time I heard the seal pop I could see my mom winking at me. She always winked at me when we canned together.

    Reply
      1. Julianna

        Yes, yes ladies. I know what you mean. That pop is magic and I so remember my Mom smiling ear to ear when that last stubborn jar finally popped! It’s like you can now throw your arms up in the air and yell “Success”!

        Reply
      2. Carol T

        My friend Sandy and I canned applesauce one time before she passed on and she said that little ping was perfect music….she (and I) just loved it…I think of her and her smile now when I’m canning….just did applesauce, strawberry jam and pickles….gotta get some little beets to do! Maybe peaches and tomatoes too….I just love canning even tho it’s not v popular anymore.

        Your kitchen looks SO neat and tidy and I love your hydrangeas!

        Reply
  18. Starrla Opferman

    I too read Lilac Girls and enjoy reading WWII stories but this one I found particularly hard to read.
    Your basket of hydrangeas is lovely, you did a beautiful job arranging them.

    Reply
  19. Jan B

    Love your hydrangeas. Mine have also turned that color for fall. Mine bushes are called “little lime hydrangeas” but they grew at least 2x if not 3x normal this summer. I wish the flowers lasted longer when cut & brought inside. I know they can be dried for use year round & I may do that this year!

    That book sounds good. Will share your review with my friend who LOVES historical stories — fact or fiction based on fact. Have you read the series called “The Bregdan Chronicles”. The author, whose name escapes me at this moment, has recently released #10. They are a continuing historicalseries based on fact that I think started back just before the civil war. Very interesting, especially now that I live in the south, Confederate territory. Thought you might be interested but I wouldn’t suggest sitting down & reading all 10 — overload.

    Another series I’m just finishing up is called Iris & Lily. 3 books, available on Amazon only, I think, but not in your local library. Each one is long but they, too, are pretty good. Not really historical fiction. But they are about 2 sisters & they are written by 2 sisters. The books are said to be fiction but I wonder if they are loosely based on the 2 sister authors own history/stories.

    Love your posts. Hate pickles but thanks for sharing. Back to quilting for you now, I hope. Me too–soon!

    Reply
  20. maxine lesline

    If you liked The Secret Life of Bees.. a few years ago.. you might enjoy Saving CeCe Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman.. remember she and husband Jeff (?) wrote quilting articles and he had a column in Quilters
    Newsletter…After their divorce she started a new career as a successful writer of fiction…

    Reply
  21. Lois palmisano

    Hi Mary, lo e your blog, you ay want to publish the whole blog from all the years. Rememer that Helen Kelly published all her Quilters Newsletter magazine columns. Love to see all your happenings lois in omaha

    Reply
  22. Carolyn Boutilier

    Mary, You made pickles for gifts. We made 20 quarts of concord grape juice. I will take one or 2 quarts and make jelly for my gifts. Picture on my facebook. We had Harvey rain on Friday & Saturday. Yesterday was a good day to pick the grapes.You are right about making cuttings of plants and get them started for the winter.
    Carolyn B Shenandoah Valley VA

    Reply
  23. Kathy Schwartz

    The flower basket is just stunning! The pickles look wonderful. I am also about ready to put all the canning utensils away. It starts with rhubarb jam about Memorial Day and continues to green, yellow beans, peaches, pears, apple everything, carrots, finally tomato everything. Wonderful eating all year. My daughter has a hosta flower that is as tall as she is; she is 5’6″. Made a great photo. This is the year for hostas. I also enjoyed the Father Tim books, by Jan Karon; it gave me a different insight into the ministry. Mary, you deserve a rest!!!

    Reply
  24. Betty

    I too have read The Lilac Girls and like you found it very disturbing just knowing that events like that really happened. For a lighter read try A Gentleman in Moscow by Armo Towles. I found it very entertaining.

    Reply
  25. Felicia Hamlin

    All the picles looks so yummy. Your basket of hydrangeas with flag and stand are a lovely trio. That is a tall cactus. I never realized that they are fast growers.

    Reply
  26. Judith Berna

    I know this is off topic, but are you happy with your French door refrigerator. I have a side by side and am not happy with the refrigerator space as well as the freezer space. I keep losing things and they are hard to find in the freezer section as well as the refrigerator.
    I love your blog and my Molly was once featured in your Goat Gazette. She is now 14 – hard of hearing and cannot see too well but we love her.

    Reply
    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Judith – yes, I love my frig – the shelves can be rearranged making it easy to find things that can get lost. Good lighting, too!

      Reply

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