Saturday, August 28, 2010

Carla and I Have a Saucy Day!

I couldn't resist this rainbow.  Taken from our mailboxes.

Carla has been spending the weekend with us and on Saturday we decided to walk over to the side hill above the pond and see if we could see any ripe raspberries.  We took along a couple little buckets "just in case".  It looked like we needed to wait about a week or have looked sooner before the birds found the first ripe ones.  We got maybe a dozen or so raspberries is all.

Carla picking berries down the hill.

More berry picking.

Carla observed that there sure were a lot of rose hips and wondered what she could do with them if she picked a bunch.  We decided we could check out the internet or else make rose hip tea so we picked and picked!  Along the way we discovered there were also choke cherries to be picked so we picked some of those too, before the birds got them.  Carla then decided they had a whole bunch up in their yard in Casper so she could add those to what we picked to make some jelly or syrup!

Meanwhile I had picked a huge batch of crab apples down at the VQ hotel in Denver and brought them up to make another batch of jelly (I made some jelly last weekend along with some crab apple butter--I will do some recipes and pics on that event next blog).  I also had bought a new strainer to strain seeds and skins from the leftover crab apple pulp easier and in less time.

I got my crab apple juice going and Carla found all kinds of interesting recipes for rose hips on the internet.  She decided on making some rose hip sauce.  She added some surprise ingredients to it and it turned out very delicious!  She was so excited that she went out and picked a bunch more rose hips.  When she came in she decided to make some rhubarb sauce with some of my frozen rhubarb.  I had made a big batch of  crab apple butter while Carla was outside.  Here are some pictures of Carla and her rose hip sauce.

Pretty rose hips.

Some are harder to pick than others.

Carla's bucket of rose hips.

Snipping off the blossom end.

Cooking and mashing the rose hips.
Pushing the pulp through the strainer.

Carla discovers the seeds feel like they are exfoliating her hands!

Rose hip pulp waiting to be seasoned and cooked down in the crockpot.

Carla adds her secret ingredient!
Honey sweetens the pot!
Carla is going home with a jar of rose hip sauce, a couple jars of rhubarb sauce, a jar of crab apple butter, a jar of crab apple jelly, a big bag of crab apples, a bucket full of rose hips, and a small bucket of choke cherries!  I have 2 ice cream buckets full of crab apple juice in the freezer ready to  make jelly or syrup, 6 pints of crab apple butter, 6 pints of crab apple jelly and a jelly bag of crab apple pulp ready to make crab apple sauce.  Not bad for a day's work!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A trip to Hammonds Candies Homemade Candy in Denver

MMMMM!  Hammonds suckers!  Picture taken by Nicole on

I was going to write a blog on our tour of Hammonds Candies a few weeks ago but found this description of the tour with much better pictures than mine!  We did have a great time there and would recommend it to anyone visiting Denver.

I'll add just a few of my pics to make it a little more personal but the author does a great job of describing what we saw.

The hot candy just pored and still steaming being sprinkled with sugar by a candy maker.

A candy maker working with the hot candy.  Sorry about the blur!
The man in the back is working with a big batch of pale green candy.  The worker in front is still working with the hot candy.
Making big suckers. They must make them in 60 seconds before the candy gets too hard!

The man on the left is putting in the stick.  I just didn't get the right angle!  The people in back are making candy canes.

2 ladies boxing up chocolate cherries.

Chocolate cherries on the conveyor belt.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pink Heals at Hammond Candy Factory

A fireman in pink regalia poses in front of Tonya the newest truck of the three at Hammond's Candy Company

A couple weeks ago JJ, Cathi, Becci, Bob and I took a free tour of Hammond's Candy Factory near 58th and Washington here in Denver.  It was fun and very interesting, plus we got free candy!  I took lots of pictures and will write a blog on our tour later.  While we were there they were promoting a Women's Cancer Awareness Day the following week.  Bob and I were very interested in this and so we went last week.

It is a tour called Pink Heals and is sponsored by a group of firemen who travel around the US in pink fire trucks and wear pink to support women's cancer.  They had booths, a bouncing room for kids, prizes and of course, pink candy made right there.  The firemen, dressed in pink fire gear and cancer survivors worked on the candy line in the factory while tour guides read the stories of the survivors.  We did not go inside because Bob did not think he could listen to the stories and we had seen the whole procedure the week before--just not making the pink candy.

Elaine has every inch inside and out covered with signatures of survivors and supporters!

We did visit the pink fire trucks and signed one of them and visited with the traveling  firemen and the founder of this organization, Dave Graybill.    It was very inspiring.

Bob signs Tonya, the newest pink fire truck to visit here.
Dave explained his philosophy to us.  He believes that cancer is every bit as much of a terrorist as Al Quada.  He also thinks it is up to the menfolks to support and protect their women from this terrorist, cancer.  He gives up 6 months of his year to travel around raising awareness of this.  The firemen who accompany him give up 2 weeks of their vacation time to help him.  They have 7 donated fire trucks that they have painted pink.  There were 3 at Hammonds.  The money raised selling the candy that day goes for cancer research locally. The firemen donate all their time and have to raise the money for gas and travel expenses through donation and sales of shirts, caps, etc.  We visited with firemen from AZ, RI, IL and MN.  His group is stationed out of Phoenix.

Dave explains his philosophy to channel 9 TV News.  The truck he is sitting on pulls the trailer with the ribbon on it.  Every inch is covered with signatures!
Dave was telling us he hopes to get a tank and paint it pink to travel around someday!  That would be a fun one to sign!  He also says his next project is to get some blue fire trucks to travel around in support of men's cancer, as well.  A very interesting and dedicated man.  He has lots of stories to tell about how each of his trucks got their names and about people he has met through this experience.  Each fire truck is named after a woman he has known who has cancer.  The stories are very inspiring.

Bob and I show some of the signatures on Elaine.
There were 3 local fire departments there, as well, with booths and emergency equipment.  As we were arriving, one of the departments ended up driving out to a fire with emergency lights flashing!  If you get a chance, be sure to go out and visit the pink fire trucks if they come to your town.  It is fun and interesting and a good cause to support.  The money they collect goes to local cancer projects.

Our contribution to the signatures on Tonya.

Karen, guardian of the ribbon, covered completely with signatures--an impressive sight!
This tall guy is a local fire department symbol.  Dave wants a pink tall guy!
A group of firemen pose in front of one of the engines.

We show off our signatures!
A man and his son sign Tonya with the candy factory in the background.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Visit to Invesco Field at Mile High

Invesco Field as seen from the VQ Hotel pool
 I kind of thought that the busy week we had last week (which I haven't written too much about yet) would result in kind of a quiet week, but I didn't realize how interesting some of the things I planned would be!  I'm starting out with a little adventure I had that turned out to be quite fun and interesting.

It was supposed to be a pretty hot day and I had been wanting to get a walk in for a couple weeks so this was the day for it.  Bob's Physical Therapist had told him he needed to walk and that he could walk around Invesco Field (just outside the door, practically, from our hotel).  He, of course, was not about to do that but did pass on the information to me.

  I left fairly early in the morning to avoid the hottest part of the day.  It was very pleasant and I finally saw where I had to go to get across I-25 to get over to the park on the other side, but for this day I was going around the stadium!  As I got to the gate facing out toward Colfax Ave., I noticed a sculpture of a horse raring up on its hind legs.  As I got closer I realized it was way more than that!  A wonderful fountain with a herd of life-sized horses running up the hill along the fountain!  I took a bunch of pictures of this gift from the Pat Bowlen family to the people of Colorado.

The sculpture of one of the Broncos in front of the stadium.

The whole sculpture and fountain.

Coming up to a pool.

Charging up the hill.

Up over the Falls

Looking up the fountain from the parking lot.

A gift to the people of Colorado.
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I continued on around the building and came to the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.  I noticed they had tour tickets available there and I was curious to know what kind of a tour they had so I went in.  The hall of Fame was very interesting and I spent a bit of time reading about some of the many athletes and pioneer sports people from Colorado.  I learned that the tour was 1 hour and 15 minutes long and included a visit to the locker room, press box, club and some other places.  It costs $9 or $7 for kids and seniors.  I didn't take my money with me, but I do believe Bob and I will be taking the tour this coming week!

While I was there I noticed a couple who left just before I did.  As I was walking along checking out the plaques that tell who had made it into the Hall of Fame in the past few years, I saw them ahead of me.  I continued on and saw that there was a big horseshoe pitching area open to the public.  Then I saw the couple turn and walk down into the tunnel that leads directly onto the football field.  I also noticed the big Security signs.  What the heck, I thought , if they can go down there and not get thrown out , maybe I should try it to.

I acted like I knew what I was doing and came up behind the people who were now talking to the security guy.  He pointed them toward a big glass-enclosed desk area and then turned to me.  I asked him what my chances of going out onto the field to take a few pictures would be and he said, "No chance!"  I kind of started to turn to leave when he said, "Wait a minute."  He asked another guard to cover for him and walked with me out to the field and waited while I took my pictures!!!  What a guy ( he was very tall and athletic-looking, too).  I thanked him profusely and headed out the tunnel.  By then I was back around to the hotel and headed up to tell Bob all about it!  My next excursion will be to follow the arrows that point from Invesco Field over to The Pepsi Center.  I wonder what I can find of interest over there.......

I'm out on the field!

There's the Bronco!

Here's the close up!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Grampa's Stew

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The cousins and Meemo ready to play How To Host a Murder in their costumes.
I got a message from my grandson, Colton, today and he is moving into an apartment at college.  He is going to have to do some cooking I guess and wanted Grampa's stew recipe.  That brought back memories of the summers when all the cousins came up to spend time with us.  It was like summer camp! I did most of the cooking but every so often Bob had to make his famous stew known by some of the cousins as Grampa's "Disgusting" Stew.  Those were the ones who hated vegetables and anything that had them in it.  I was surprised to find out as they grew older that most of them actually liked the stew and would request it when they came up to the cabin or would ask Grampa to make it at their houses when we would visit!  There never has been a written recipe for it but I have Bob here and he can add his two cents to the recipe so Colton can have his stew!  The main piece of equipment that you will need for this is a crockpot.  I know Erin and Chris have one but am not sure of the rest of the kids.  So you may have to go to Walmart  or request one for a back to school or early Christmas present!  OK here it is, kids!

 The cousins hike to the Thinking Rock with Aunt Carla and Louie.


1 lb. of stew meat ( if you love lots of meat add more) 
         We, of course, use Danny and Kathi's meat from Nebraska and hopefully  Colton and Chris can too.
2-3 large potatoes peeled cut in bite size chunks-- How many depends on the size of the crockpot and potatoes
4 big carrots peeled and cut into bite sized chunks
1-2 medium onions--cut into about eight pieces each.  Depends on how well you like onions.
2 cans tomatoes chopped with the juice -- you can buy them chopped already or buy them whole and chop them yourself
Fresh or canned mushrooms (2 little cans) sliced or pieces and stems if you like them or else leave them out.

2 beef boullion cubes
Salt, Pepper to taste
1 tsp. Thyme
1/4 tsp. red pepper (cayenne) for heat.  You can taste and add more if you like
1 cup white wine (for those who are over 21 only!)
1 can corn with juice (optional)
1 can peas with juice (optional) Can use one or the other or both

Grampa always uses a 6 quart crockpot so you might have to cut back on the amounts of vegetables if you have a 4 quart one.


Put all ingredients except peas and corn into the crockpot and set it on high (low if it is going to be 7 or more hours before you get home).  Add enough water to fill up your pot.  It should cook about 5-6 hours on high.  About 1/2 hour before you eat add the peas and corn with juice.  If you are home you can check every so often and add more water if it is cooking down.  If not home, when you do get there check and add more water if needed. 

Dish into bowls, and enjoy with some good bread!

Grampa never thickens his stew!

For those of you near a farmer's market you can use fresh produce!  It should taste wonderful!  Even the thyme could be found there!  The corn that you have leftover from the Panna Cotta recipe I had on my blog last week would be very good to use too!  Lots of times I use some garlic in this recipe too.

I don't have any stew pictures for you since we are in Denver in 96 degree heat and don't have our crockpot here to make it!  So I will just put on some random pictures I like!

This blog is dedicated to  Micah, Nick, Paul, Erin, Colton, Chris, Brendin (who probably will never make this "disgusting" stew), Thomas, Skyler, and Darcy.  I think Grampa has made it for Kim and his great grand daughters Susie, Sammi, and Little Nat , too!

Some of the cousins preparing for the boat race competition.

And the boats are launched!
Participants in the yard clean up competition.

Uncle Jim provided prizes for the competitors.  Are those squirt guns on Erin's lap????

Aunt Carla helps the boys make their Fisherman Fred squares for the generational quilt.