Yard Sale to Benefit the Boalsburg Fire Company Auxiliary

The Ladies Auxiliary to the Boalsburg Fire Company will hold their indoor flea market/yard sale this Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., October 6 & 7, 2023. Please plan to drop by rain or shine! With everything being held indoors at the Fire Hall you can browse in comfort. This event is held twice a year and is a major fundraiser for our group. We use the funds to keep the kitchen up-to-date and donate much of our profits to the Fire Company. The sale in the fall usually features various Halloween and Christmas items.

If you don’t live nearby, check out the activities of your local Fire Company. There may be similar activities in your area. Most Fire Companies are supported by local volunteers and various fundraisers help with their equipment needs.

This flea market/yard sale offers a table for a fee and local folks can display their own items for sale. The table fees support the work of the Auxiliary. The Auxiliary ladies fill up 3 or 4 tables with donated stuff and that money also supports our work.

I’ve shared pictures of past yard sales in two posts. You can see them here: and

If you’re nearby, we’d love to share this indoor yard sale with you! Sale is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on October 6 & 7. Rain or shine! Come support the Boalsburg Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary!

Making French Apple Cake

Fall is definitely the time I see many recipes for apple desserts. I often get inspired to try, one more time, an apple pie, an apple crisp or even an apple cobbler. Unfortunately, I have yet to be successful with any of the standard recipes! I have no trouble cutting up the apples, but for some reason my finished products are runny and the toppings are flavor-less. Bert will eat any of my attempts, but it takes the fun out of it when I am unsuccessful…time after time!

Have I got a great apple recipe for you! I found this on called French Apple Cake. This “cake” was easy to put together and made a nice flavorful dessert. Of course, it called for dark rum, so what do you expect!

Most every recipe I download I usually retype and reformat the instructions to be more like the ones in my Joy of Cooking cookbook. When instructions are given in sentence form, I end up either missing an ingredient or combining things in the wrong order. Here is the way I revised the recipe:

The first time I made this cake, I used a round cake pan. It worked, but once the cake was turned out on to a plate it was hard to cover it to put it in the refrigerator. this time I used a Corning-ware casserole dish that had a snap on plastic lid. Worked much better!

If you follow the recipe above, here are some pictures of the process:

Cut up 3 large apples into very small pieces. Keep covered with water until ready to add to the cake.

Melt a stick of butter and mix into the sugars.

When butter and sugars are mixed, add the 2 eggs and flour mixture. Beat until smooth.

Add 3 Tbsp of rum (optional) and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and mix until smooth.

Drain and fold in the apples until evenly mixed and transfer the batter to a buttered pan or casserole. Dust the top with sugar.

Bake for 45 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Remove cake from oven and let cool in the pan about 30 minutes.

If you used the cake pan, flip it out onto a pan, remove the parchment paper and flip again.

Top with cinnamon and sugar (or powdered sugar).

Check it out! Apples were perfect, cake made it not runny! Success! Next time I’ll leave out the rum, but Bert liked it!

My favorite way to use apples!

Making a Retro 1940s Apron

When was the last time you wore an apron? Do you have a novelty one to use when you barbeque, or a heat resistant one to protect you when you drop that Thanksgiving turkey into boiling oil? Maybe your job has an apron as part of your uniform or you grab one when you’re dressed up and want to pull a dish out of the oven. I don’t think I have a single apron anywhere in my house and I haven’t made one since 7th grade Home Economics class…a long time ago!!

In the 1930s and 1940s when fabric was scarce our grandmothers and great grandmothers used aprons to protect their expensive clothing. Those aprons were often made from colorful feed-sacks or repurposed sheets to save money. My mother seemed to have a hankie in every pocket…long before affordable paper tissues. Bert remembers his grandmother always had wrapped homemade candy in her apron pockets that he looked forward to with every visit.

With my granddaughter’s interest in vintage clothing, I thought I could easily make an apron like the ones from the 1940s. Haha! Easy is not the right word to describe making retro 1940s anything!

I should know better by now. A few weeks ago I made her a dress from the 1950s and was amazed how complicated every step was. Maybe I just haven’t made clothing for many years but it feels like in the last 10 or 15 years the methods of construction have been simplified or the instructions in patterns have better step-by-step illustrations. You can see more about the dress I made at and the final result on my granddaughter at

I’ve been bothered for several weeks that something was missing with the dress. She loved it but you really can’t see how full the skirt is. I finally figured out that the dress needed a half slip…it could even be a crinoline (remember that stiff scratchy stuff?) No, that would be too much. I just ordered her a cotton slip with gathered layers. That might make the dress look more like the picture…at least if she wants to look like 1952! We’ll see!

Anyway, she was so happy about the dress and I was feeling accomplished about making it. I started looking at other retro patterns. I found this Retro 1940s Apron pattern and figured it didn’t look too hard. Again…haha!

I was interested in trying the red one with the lace along the side of the bib. This would be called a pinafore apron. She hasn’t really asked for an apron, so it will be a surprise. Who knows? Maybe it will be useful as a Halloween costume or on stage in a play. She’s headed off to college next year but she does like to bake. Actually, this project will keep Grandma Mary busy, so that’s all that matters.

I won’t try to go step by step, but here are a few pictures as I worked on the apron:

Gathering the eyelet lace:

Figuring out how the bib and straps went together:

Getting the lace attached:

Here is the front of the finished apron:

And the back, with the straps crossed:

If I decide I need an apron, I don’t think I’ll make a Retro 1940s one…at least not from this pattern. If you need an apron, may I suggest choosing one from a kitchen supply store or a novelty one with a clever saying!

Sweet Potato Success

One surprising and delightful result from our 2023 garden season was our success with growing a sweet potato plant in a big pot. It all started with one lonely sweet potato that was forgotten and had started to sprout on the kitchen table last spring.

Bert planted it in a huge pot by the patio and it wasn’t long before the plant made an appearance.

It survived munching by the wandering bunnies and finally made blossoms.

A few days ago, Bert dumped the whole pot into the wheel barrow. What a surprise! The whole pot was packed with roots and small sweet potatoes. Unfortunately, I was so excited to check it out I forgot to take a picture of it! Impressive!

We worked at ripping the mass of roots apart…and it was a solid mass! Here is what I saved from the roots. There were another two-dozen small sweet potatoes hanging from the roots…they were cute not worth the trouble to save.

Basically, I had one large, ordinary-looking sweet potato (on the right) and about a dozen weird shaped potatoes that I think I can clean up, cut into chunks and boil or roast.

When sliced into rounds they roasted quickly. The skins were thin and helped to make them crunchy!

So, that was a fun addition to the garden this year. Maybe next year we should plant a sweet potato in the fenced garden by the patio so it could spread out! We’ll see!

Blog Update Success September 23, 2023

Thanks for your patience! I spent the week trying to figure out what was happening with my website. Many components didn’t work. I couldn’t place pictures or update various things. I was faced with making a decision about how to get tech support…without buying a plan for about $100/year…kind of like Best Buy’s Geek Squad.

Luckily, I have a very patient computer literate son in California who was able to walk me through what to look for and was even able to “share” my computer screen so he could explore things. Turns out I had run out of memory storage and for only an extra $50 or so I could increase the storage…and magically, I can now place more pictures! Yea!!

So, I will continue on with the various articles I had all ready to go to press. Let me know if there are topics you’d like to know more about and I’ll see what I can do! You can email me at


Blog Update September 19, 2023

I am stymied by issues with WordPress, the program that is the base of my website. I can’t seem to insert pictures and other features of the site just don’t work well. Very frustrating! I will need to communicate with WordPress for technical advice.

Until I can get things back up and running, know that I’m still doing stuff! Sweet potatoes are out of the pot and a retro apron for my granddaughter is finished. Bert heads off for his second cataract surgery tomorrow so I’ll be away from my desk a while. Hopefully, I can get things figured out quickly.

Please let me know if there’s anything I’m doing that you’d like to know more about. I’ll either reply with an email or make a whole post about it…as soon as I figure out these glitches.

You can email me at



Lunch at the Hublersburg Inn

Once a month, our group of ladies from the State College High School class of 1964 get together for lunch. We usually rotate around to the local restaurants that can accommodate our group of 10 to 15 folks.

This month, we decided to travel down Rts. 26 and 64 to the Hublersburg Inn, in Hublersburg, Pennsylvania. We car pooled so we could visit along the way. The historic Inn is located at 449 Hublersburg Rd., Hublersburg, PA. We anticipated a 30-minute drive, but on a lovely Wednesday morning we made the trek in just 20 minutes! No…I did not drive too fast…there was just no delay for construction, garbage trucks, mail trucks, etc.

I’d say it’s a well-preserved historic Inn. According to the sign, it dates from 1827!

Inside is a delightful restaurant area that was just perfect for our group of nine. (We did make reservations!)

If you are in the area, check out this great place for lunch or dinner. They are on Facebook and are pleased to offer special dinners with Farm-to-Table menus that look delicious!

So, if you want to try a different dining experience, check out the Hublersburg Inn!

A Barking Dog to Deter the Deer

We have spent the summer being reminded that we seem to have a neighborhood herd of deer that wander around the backyards, eating fallen birdseed and munching on garden plants. They seem to have little fear of people and cars driving by and don’t even wait until dark to check out the feeders. We do bring them inside at dark. Unfortunately, a few wander too close or try to cross the street in front of our house. We frequently see mangled deer on the side of the road near our front yard. As lovely as they are, we’ve all struggled to find ways to keep them out of our gardens.

Our neighbors have hung shiny pie plates around that wave in the wind. We’ve tried spraying the plants with odd mixtures…which need to be reapplied daily! So far, we’ve been lucky that our garden fence on the hill has kept the plants a little out of reach. We really don’t mind sharing a little bird seed, but they don’t seem to read signs to stay out of the garden! When we saw deer prints inside our garden fence we knew it was time to do something!

Here is a view of our backyards looking from our back patio. The deer move from the upper right by the white shed and amble towards our bird feeders.

They often stand around on the hill by the garden…we can tell by what they leave behind.

Then they amble down the hill to the bird feeders. They clean up any fallen bird seed and drink from the bird bath. In the winter, they leave quite a trail in the snow so we know their path.

We’ve tried to scare them away by yelling or just walking out the back door, but they don’t run far. All they have to do is wait a few hours and we’re asleep. Entertainment value aside, I’m always worried we’re attracting the deer with the feeders and they they are vulnerable to traffic on the road out front.

Bert has been exploring solutions online. He finally ordered a motion-sensitive product that has a recording of a barking dog called, “A Barking Dog!” He attached it to the tree right by the garden and in their pathway. It isn’t really very loud, just has the startle effect. the neighbors could sort of hear it so we explained what we were trying to do. They were fine with it.

At first, we discovered the motion sensor picked up all the tree limbs that were waving in the breeze…continuous barking! Haha! So, Bert set it to be activated only at dark. That helped. We know it works because a neighbor boy walked across our yard after dark and walked by the tree. He was really startled and stood there to try to figure out what was going on. I notice he now skirts our property instead of cutting right through the yard! Guess it works!

Since the box was installed, we have not seen any deer at the feeder in the middle of the night and there is no evidence the deer even tried to get to the feeder…no worn paths in the wet morning dew. I’m not sure if we will leave the box on the tree all winter, but for now it seems to have helped to change their behavior. Hopefully, fewer dead deer on the road too.

2023 Garden Winding Down

While it’s nice to clean up the garden each fall, it’s also kind of sad. It forces us to think about what we chose to grow this year and contemplate changes for next year.

The Delicata squash plants are out. Bert discovered the ground under the plants was covered with bugs, munching on the roots and plant stems. Considering we ended up with two small squashes to eat, I suspect we won’t bother growing them again. The others rotted before we could eat them! I looked for them at the Boalsburg Farmer’s Market and several growers said they don’t do well. I was able to buy 2, but that grower only had 4 for sale.

The tomatoes are finished and Bert cleaned them out. We had a tray of not quite ripe tomatoes on the counter for a week or so. They finally ripened (and some just rotted!) so I cooked them up yesterday. By cooking batches of tomatoes as they ripened, I was able to freeze them; I then had enough to make my pizza sauce. That felt productive!

I finally pulled all the radishes. They will keep well in the fridge and add zing to my salads for a week or two.

The carrots still look good! We’ll leave them in the garden and dig them up as needed. I did pull one bunch just to see how they look and taste. The largest was about 6″ long. Delicious!!

The second planting of green beans are doing very well…lots of flowers and beans quite visible. I should have beans to eat in about a week!

The sweet potato plant in the pot finally has a few flowers. The leaves are starting to wilt. Soon we’ll dump out the pot to see if we actually got more sweet potatoes! (I can’t seem to import the photo…sorry!)

My last project of the gardening season is to make pickle relish. Luckily, I can buy a box of cucumbers at the Amish market. I need to do that soon!

More Than Just a Birthday Celebration

The lovely birthday party for my granddaughter went off without a hitch! Kathy made a delicious cake of a giant chocolate chip cookie and homemade icing. I tasted a tiny sliver, but I knew I’d better stop there…sugar rush! They even had banana split ice cream! Never heard of it, but it was enjoyed by the extended family who came!

Looked like “someone” had fun with the leftover icing and added a few extra touches!

The tiny bears I made were a hit. She can have a hug from us anytime…and they won’t take up too much space! The beanbag chair she’s sitting in will be part of her room makeover. At 11 years old…that’s not too far from the teen years!

After the party, we drove to Monroeville to a used book store called, “Half Price Books.” I was so overwhelmed I forgot to take pictures so I took a picture of the bag they had for sale…99 cents! I needed to buy 3 to lug all the books I bought.

I didn’t realize this was a chain…wish State College had one.

I went to buy a few books about herb gardening for my niece, and a few others jumped into my cart! HaHa! They had some new books, old books, gift items like coffee cups, notecards and puzzles. Amazing how much fun we had in 45 minutes!

The next day Kathy and I drove over to Karen’s house (her mother-in-law) and picked up some things she donated to the Fire Co. Auxiliary yard sale that will be held October 6 & 7. Things rattled all the way home, but nothing broke!

Bert had to help me figure out where to store all this stuff for the next month!

Now that Labor Day weekend is over, we’re back to cleaning up the garden and other chores. Tomorrow Bert starts his cataract surgery adventure. Such fun! At least he’s really good at doing the eye drops…something I never really got the hang of. Have a good day!