Sunday, August 22, 2010

August My Birthday Month

August My Birthday Month 2010
My, My, how the time flies by when one keeps busy and having a good time!!! It’s been about a month since I last wrote something, so I guess it is time to make another memory moment. August is my “Birthday month”! Sardonyx is my birthstone, and Gladiolus the flower of the month. Such a beautiful tall and colorful.

August is known as the “Dog Days of Summer”. Dog Days are the hottest, most sultry days of summer and can happen from July to September. Normally the Dog Days occur for a week or two; but this year records are being broken and we are having one of the hottest and wettest summers to go down in the history books…with mid 80’s high temperatures throughout July and August and high humidity. I really don’t like to say it….but I will welcome cooler weather any day now! And remind me not to complain about the cold 5 months from now!!

On Sunday, August 8, the Smidt twins, Erma and Ervin, celebrated their 80th birthdays with a family dinner hosted by the DeJong children. Erma is married to Gerrit DeJong, they live in Sibley; Ervin is married to Louise Vander Meulen, they live in Artesia, CA.; Erv and Louise are visiting relatives in and around Sibley this month. Then my Birthday week rolled around!!! The week was filled with lots of visiting back and forth with the Smidt and Stolte relatives in Sibley and Ocheyedan….noon lunch dates were on the schedule with the sisters-in-law and friends. Then Friday, August 20, my day arrived!! And I put on a “Dutch” coffee party for my Dutch family of Smidts!! There were nine guests sitting around the dining room table which was adorned with Dutch Blue Delft serving dishes, and napkins. I served Dutch Almond Patties and angel food cake with lemon filling. It was a hoot!! We have lots of fun and good times together, and I always remind the family that I am still the youngest!!

August is also Canning month….canning fresh vegetables is a long-time tradition in the Midwest. Although I don’t do much canning anymore, I recall years past when my mother and grandmother would can everything from green beans, peas, sweet corn, carrots, beets, pickles, and tomatoes; they also canned meat…beef, pork and chicken which needed to be processed for hours. The women would start their work in early morning hours trying to beat the heat of mid-day. They would have kettles of water boiling on the stove in the kitchen….a kettle to scald the vegetables, a kettle for heating up jars, a kettle for heating the brine/liquid. When the jars were filled and lids put on, they were placed into a kettle to cook for another 2-3 hours in a boiling water bath; all this being done in a house with no air conditioning! It makes me sweat just thinking about how hot it must have been. We would go outdoors to sit under the shade tree to cool off. Years ago, some farm women had the luxury of a summer kitchen equipped with a cook stove so they could do the canning outside of the house.

August is when Osceola County has the Relay for Life….a time of celebrating and honoring the county’s cancer survivors and remembering loved ones whose lives were snuffed out with the dreaded disease. The event is held each year at the Sibley-Ocheyedan track and football field; decorated luminaries line the edge of the track and fundraiser teams are camped along the outskirts of the track selling their wares. People of all ages from babies to older folks take part in this event. Ed and I make it a point to attend the event each year and walk a few rounds in honor and memory of our family members who have had cancer. Those in memory are my sister, Bonnie, Ed’s Mother Edith, brother Roger, and brother-in-law (Bud) Renza Dykstra and many friends. This year I had four cousins in the survivor walk….but there is still hope! It is a time of many emotions, and a time of celebrating the lives of these survivors. This year 87 cancer survivors led the walk around the track.

Now Ed and I are going to end this month with a trip through the Rockies….sightseeing the Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, and points of interest in beautiful British Columbia, Canada.

I love the month of August…my Birthday month!
Wishing everyone a great day!
Mary Ellen