Gettin’ Ready for the State Fair with Roy

Roy D. Mercer’s latest book is all about the State Fair. As anyone who has ever lived in or near a trailer park can tell you, the State Fair is a big event and it requires plenty of planning and not a little fundraising to properly celebrate the fair!

Lucky for us, Roy keeps a little journal just for himself. It started as an attempt to keep track of all the many secret fishing holes and bait recipes he discovered over the years. Roy also takes a few notes about major events in his life, like the coming of the State Fair every fall.

We pulled all his Fair observations together and created a small book for a quick read. It’s only 99 cents over at the Amazon.

Here’s an excerpt to wet your whistle.

 September 5Image

Heard a great new song on the radio today. Something ‘bout, “It’s a mighty good life when you gotta good wife that’s honeycured.”

We’s doin’ the best we can with what we got, I reckon. All in all I’d say we had us a good week. Got me a new satellite dish. Well, actually, it ain’t a real store bought one. It’s one me and Raymond pieced together out of the guts of an old dish and one of the 57 triple-D fiberglass cups Sharon Gene wears under her chest protecter when she’s umpin’ softball. Gets 57 channels, but for some reason all of ‘em are Fox. Maybe it needs some adjustment.

Speakin’ of Sharon Gene, she’s been a-fastin’ this week. Doin’ perdy good, really. Now she’s down to just two in-between-meal snacks. Tryin’ to shed her a few pounds off before the fair starts next weekend. Last year she got so big from the weight she gained down there she made the punkin on her Halloween sweatshirt look like a nectarine.

And Lateesha’s gettin’ ready for the fair, too. She started buyin’ them generic cigarettes about two months ago and savin’ the extry money so she could get on that mechanical claw and win us enough turquoise jack-knives to give all the nieces and nephews for Christmas.

ImageGot out and fished a time or two this week. First time I got out was back on – I know it weren’t Monday ‘cause that was the day Bon Jovi ate one of the neighbor’s Guinea hens and spent the afternoon howlin’ tryin’ to pass all the feathers. So it musta been Tuesday.

Went down to a pond on Lou Smoltz’s place. Lou’s the little wirey old feller that used to have the hogs down there. And then he went up north for a while and had some kindy fight with the Irish up there. Now he’s down here tryin’ to train a bunch of fightin’ gamecocks.

Done perdy good at his pond. Caught three or four bass big as a Sunday newspaper down there on nothin’ but BBQ Corn Nuts that had soaked overnight in buttermilk.

Then Wednesday, I went over to Cousin Doyle’s house to get his share of the money we’re collectin’ to send Mammaw Upshaw to a Winston Cup race next year for her 70th birthday. Got to talkin’ and me and him ended up down there on Lake Hershey-Squirta. That’s Crow. It means “brave who gathers many leaves.” Went down there and run Doyle’s trotlines. Caught two mud cats and then had to come in cause of all the drizzlin’. Doyle’s boys are all talented. They’ve got them a singin’ group called End Stink.

And yesterday, I’s havin’ a cup a coffee and a maple log down there to C.C. Berryman’s Cafe. C.C. was tellin’ me how he was draggin’ brim the size of truck batteries from down there off the middle finger of Divorce Creek. For some reason it’s kindy like real divorce, except when you’re fishin’ in Divorce Creek, after your bait’s dead, the fish’ll finally quit bitin’.

Woodpecker Adventure

While out exploring at the lake today, I spotted a woodpecker with a bright red head. I stopped to get pictures of him and discovered that woodpeckers store food. I never knew that. Squirrels and ants are famous for storing food for winter, but I never heard such tales about birds.

This guy was carefully hopping along the roof line of a trailer, searching for the perfect spot to hide his pecan. Once he selected a spot, he turned around and tapped the nut up under the shingles until you could no longer see it. He flew back to a nearby tree to get another nut once he had this one hidden.

Knowing what he was doing, I then really looked at the edge of the roof. It had several small humps in it that just have to be pecan stashes. The roof was new this summer, so it’s not warped.

Such an industrious bird! I snapped several pictures of his project to share in the gallery at the top of this post.

Favorite November Tree: Kingnut Hickory

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Here at the Lakehouse, we have one particularly amazing tree. It is a Kingnut Hickory tree. These are called by several names including Shagbark Hickory or Shellbark Hickory. Our tree doesn’t have very shaggy bark so we figure it’s a Shellbark. Kingnuts are wonderful because they make the biggest Hickory nuts of any breed Hickory tree. The nuts are 2 inches or longer.

If you’ve never had a Hickory nut, that’s a shame. They are sweet and delicious nuts. They don’t tend to be available commercially, probably because they are so hard. You can’t crack them with a regular nut cracker. You have to use a hammer, and you have to hit them hard. Hickory trees belong to the Walnut family and the insides of the nuts strongly resemble walnuts.

The trees aren’t planted in landscaped much, probably because they are rather slow growing and they don’t produce nuts until they are at least 40 years old. How lucky for us to have a mature Hickory tree! We have another one that is younger. It’s a pretty big tree, but it doesn’t produce nuts yet.

The big Hickory makes nuts every year, but the crop is much bigger every other year, which seems to be normal for these trees.

The nuts are eaten by a variety of wildlife, including ducks, squirrels, chipmunks, deer, foxes and raccoons.

We have been especially enjoying the Hickory this fall because its leaves turned a beautiful blazing yellow. It just glows in the sun.

Some Hickory trivia: the wood is hard, heavy, strong and flexible. That’s why it is a favorite wood for tool handles. It also has beautiful grain that makes it a favorite for furniture and cabinets. Hickory is also favored when smoking meats. Such a versatile tree.

Shellbark hickory trees grow in the Ohio and upper Mississippi River valleys plus areas of New England and west to southeastern Iowa, then south to northeastern Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Kentucky. There are some in parts of Arkansas, east Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and northern Georgia.

44 Uses for WD-40

I received an interesting e-mail the other day and decided to share it. It’s all about WD-40 and its many uses! We mostly use WD-40 to unstick things that are stuck or to make something stop squeaking. But it is good for so many other things.
According to the e-mail I received, WD-40 stands for Water Displacement #40 and was the results of research into a rust preventative, degreaser and solvent for rocket parts in in the 1950s at San Diego Rocket Chemical Company. The winning formula was the fortieth try, thus WD-40.
44 Uses for WD-40
1. Protects silver from tarnishing. 
2. Removes road tar and grime from cars.
3. Cleans and lubricates guitar strings.
4. Gives floors that ‘just-waxed’ sheen without making them slippery.
5. Keeps flies off cows.
6. Restores and cleans chalkboards.
7. Removes lipstick stains.
8. Loosens stubborn zippers.
9. Untangles jewelry chains.
10. Removes stains from stainless steel sinks.
11. Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill.
12. Keeps ceramic/terra cotta garden pots from oxidizing.
13. Removes tomato stains from clothing.
14. Keeps glass shower doors free of water spots.
15. Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors.
16. Keeps scissors working smoothly.
17. Lubricates noisy door hinges on vehicles and doors in homes.
18. Removes black scuff marks from the kitchen floor! Remember to open some windows if you have a lot of marks.
19. Bug guts will eat away the finish on your car if not removed quickly! Use WD-40!
20. Gives playground gym slides a shine for a super fast slide.
21. Lubricates gearshift and mower deck lever for ease of handling on riding mowers.
22. Rids rocking chairs and swings of squeaky noises.
23. Lubricates tracks in sticking home windows making them easier to open.
24. Spraying an umbrella stem makes it easier to open and close.
25. Restores and cleans padded leather dashboards in vehicles, as well as vinyl bumpers.
26. Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles.
27. Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans.
28. Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons, and bicycles for easy handling.
29. Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly.
30. Keeps rust from forming on saws and saw blades, and other tools.
31. Removes splattered grease on stove.
32. Keeps bathroom mirror from fogging.
33. Lubricates prosthetic limbs.
34. Keeps pigeons off the balcony (they hate the smell).
35. Removes all traces of duct tape.
36. Folks even spray it on their arms, hands, and knees to relieve arthritis pain and stiffness.
37. Florida ‘s favorite use is ‘cleans and removes love bugs from grills and bumpers.’
38. The favorite use in the state of New York, WD-40 protects the Statue of Liberty from the elements.
39. WD-40 attracts fish. Spray a little on live bait or lures and you will be catching the big one in no time. It’s a lot cheaper than the chemical attractants that are made for just that purpose. Keep in mind though, using chemical laced baits or lures for fishing is not allowed in some states.
40. Use it for fire ant bites. It takes the sting away immediately and stops the itch.
41. WD-40 is great for removing crayon from walls. Spray on the mark and wipe with a clean rag.
42. Spray any lipstick stains on clothes with WD-40 and wash. It will remove even lipstick that has been washed and dried into the clothing.
43. If you spray WD-40 on the distributor cap, it will displace the moisture and allow the car to start.
44. Removes the glue under labels on jars.
Did you ever wonder what’s in WD-40? The main ingredient is fish oil.

Gourmet Ice Pops is #1 Free book in Cooking/Special Occasions at Amazon

Gourmet Ice Pops for Kids and Adults is free until midnight Monday, and it is tearing up the free bestseller charts over at Amazon! It is currently ranked #105 free on Amazon and #1 in Cooking/Special Occasions. This is our first book to run free at Amazon, so we are extremely pleased with these results.

To pick up a copy and be ready for summer with great frozen treats, click here.

A screen shot showing the book atop the Amazon chart follows.

Gourmet Ice Pops E-book Free May 12-14

Gourmet Ice Pops for Kids and Adults is free on Amazon May 12-14. It is regularly $2.99, so grab up a copy and be ready for summer with cold treats! See it at Amazon here.

Making your own ice pops is quick and easy and it opens the doors to a world of great flavors. When making pops yourself, you can be sure to only include healthy ingredients or adjust recipes to include your kids’ favorite foods or to eliminate an ingredient your kids just won’t eat.

Although they are a dessert item, by creating pops make from fresh fruits, fruit juices, yogurts and natural sweeteners like honey, you can indulge in delicious treats that are still very healthy! Ice Pops can be decadent and heavy, but many of the recipes included here are light and healthy.

Starting with juices or teas, many of these delicious pops are low calorie and low fat or even no fat! (Don’t worry, we’ve included plenty of naughty Pops as well.)

This book is full of recipes and ideas for delicious, gourmet ice pops, divided into 3 sections — kids favorites, gourmet flavors, and adults only (recipes with alcoholic ingredients). Skim through the Table of Contents and you’re sure to find your new favorite!

Gourmet Ice Pops includes more than 50 delicious recipes with tips and notes to help you create your own variations! Includes color photos and illustrations to make the book more entertaining plus a hyperlinked table of contents for ease of use.


Quick Dinner Trends Have Changed, Thank Goodness!

I was looking at a vintage cookbook from Better Homes & Gardens, circa 1963. It’s a quaint little book featuring “Meals in Minutes.” It’s amazing how recipes and cooking have changed.

Here’s an example recipe:

Soup-kettle Supper

1 can condensed cream of vegetable soup

1 can condensed cream of chicken soup

1 can condensed onion soup

2 cups milk

1 8-ounce can cream-style cord

1 4-ounce can Vienna sausage

Mix soups together; stir in milk and corn. Slice sausage links into coins; add. Cover; heat slowly, sirring often until soup comes just to boiling. Serves 6.

There’s also a note on this recipe: “Three soups make a grand new full-mail soup. Serve with crackers and crisp celery sticks. And plan a luscious dessert.”

Yikes! I am stunned that BH&G ever put such fare in their cookbooks. It makes me wonder whether they were owned by the same parent company as Campell’s Soup back then. This recipe probably tastes okay, but all the salt and fat and carbs … At least in the serving suggestions we finally see a vegetable.

 Here’s one more:

Cheese-y Fish Sticks

Place frozen breaded fish sticks on baking sheet. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan. Bake fish sticks, according to the package directions.

What? Like the frozen fish sticks weren’t bad enough already – let’s add cheese!

Scanning through this cookbook, it’s amazing the amount of pre-fabricated, fake foods included.

Okay, one more crazy one:

Chicken Pot Pie

2 1-pound cans chicken in gravy

1/3 cup milk

1 cup packaged biscuit mix


Place chicken in gravy in wide 3-quard saucepan (to make room for dumplings). Heat until bubbling.

Add milk to biscuit mix, and prepare and cook dumplings according to package directions. Before serving, sprinkle with paprika. Makes 6 servings.

A recipe starting with canned chicken in gravy? Blech. And the directions are pretty unclear. Glad I’m not interested in making this dish. Although, apparently a sprinkle of Paprika cures all.

It seems that cooking trends change just as much as decorating trends. Looking at the recipes in this book is a lot like looking at home decor from the ‘70s. Harvest gold. Really? Who ever thought that was stylish?

Interesting to walk down memory lane, but I sure don’t want to eat there!

Semi-Homemade Soup for a Winter’s Day

It’s a cold and blustery Sunday here and the weather has me thinking about soup. There are few things more comforting and warming in this kind of weather. Last winter I had a delicious bowl of soup at a friend’s house, and when I asked for the recipe, I was stunned to discover how easy this soup is to make. It’s cheating, sort of, because it starts with canned soup, but the final result is wonderful.

It also makes enough soup to have leftovers for lunches this week! Give this soup a try. Big thanks to Kim M. for sharing this great recipe.

7 Can Soup

3 cans hearty minestrone soup

2 cans stewed tomatoes, diced

2 cans ranch style beans

1 can Rotel diced

1 pound Velveeta

1 tablespoon Worcestershire

1 tablespoon garlic salt

Brown 1 1/2 lb ground beef (or turkey) with 1 chopped onion. Drain. Add remaining ingredients. Good with grated cheese and Fritos on top.

Recipe – C.C.’s Salsa

We think is the best Salsa recipe around! It’s great by itself with chips, on any Mexican food, or to spice up your HCG meals! In the winter, when the fresh tomatoes lack flavor, try using 3 or 4 cans of tomatoes with few or no fresh tomatoes. Still delicious!

C.C.’s Salsa
16 medium tomatoes (whole or diced canned tomatoes may be substituted)
2 14.5-oz. cans stewed tomatoes
1 medium to large onion
1 tablespoon sliced red jalapeno peppers (mince them)
3 tablespoons granulated garlic (can use minced garlic, but granulated is better)
1-2 tablespoons salt, to taste
1 bunch of cilantro leaves, no stems

Blend ingredients together in food processor. This works better if you chop the onion, and run it through the processor with some tomatoes for liquid. If your onion is too hot, a dash of sugar may be added to offset.

Taste it after it is all blended and stirred together. Depending on your tomatoes, you may want a bit more salt and garlic. A sprinkle of garlic salt over the whole batch may be just what is needed if it isn’t extremely delicious.

Makes about a gallon. Lasts at least a week in refrigerator. Recipe can be cut in half, but this stuff is addictive and you will likely wish you had made the full recipe!

This recipe is included in 25 Quick & Easy HCG Recipes and Touchdown Treats!

George Washington Carver’s 8 Cardinal Virtues

George Washington Carver’s 8 Cardinal Virtues. Worth attempting!

1. Be clean both inside and out.

2. Neither look up to the rich or down on the poor.

3. Lose, if need be, without squealing.

4. Win without bragging.

5. Always be considerate of women, children, and older people.

6. Be too brave to lie.

7. Be too generous to cheat.

8. Take your share of the world and let others take theirs.

This is such a great list of character-based goals! GW Carver was an amazing person for so many reasons, but this list still stuns me.