Archive | August 2021

bread and butter

My mom used to make all kinds of pickles when I was growing up: dill pickles, lime pickles and bread and butter pickles.  I remember she made the bread and butter batch last because she could use the odd shaped left over cucumbers that weren’t quite right for dill spears or lime  chips.  I never gave the name of the pickle much thought.  The last few years I started making pickles. I have not yet tried the fussy lime pickles but I have made dill and bread and butter a few times.   The other evening my husband was scrolling the internet to remind us how long we needed to process the pickles in the canner. As he was reading he asked if I knew how the bread and butter pickles got their name. I did not.  When he read me the story I thought it would be fun to share on the blog.

Bread-and-butter pickles are a marinated variety of pickled cucumber in a solution of vinegar, sugar, and spices. … The story of how this pickle was named is that in the early 1920s cucumber farmers Omar and Cora Fanning survived rough years by making the pickles with their surplus of undersized cucumbers and bartering them with their grocer for staples such as bread and butter.

I love that tidbit.  I know many people faced hard times in the 1920s and I enjoy stories like this that show creativity in simpler times.  People worked hard and found a way to use what they had rather than waste it. 

A gentleman from church grew a bigger garden than he and his wife could use this year.  He enjoys sharing his produce with his church family.  I was happy when he brought me some cucumbers and tomatoes from his garden.  We enjoyed the tomatoes on sandwiches and I made dill pickles from the cucumbers.  When he dropped off a second batch of cucumbers I decided to make a some bread and butter pickles.  I gave him a jar of home made blackberry jam as a thank you.  Swap and share and use what you have. It’s a great concept.

Photo: Marge McCoy

Prayer Is

Prayer Is the Soul’s Sincere Desire

Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire,
Uttered, or unexpressed;
The motion of a hidden fire
That trembles in the breast.

Prayer is the burden of a sigh,
The falling of a tear;
The upward glancing of an eye
When none but God is near.

Prayer is the simplest form of speech
That infant lips can try;
Prayer the sublimest strains that reach
The Majesty on high.

Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath,
The Christian’s native air;
His watchword at the gates of death;
He enters rest with prayer.

The saints in prayer appear as one,
In word, and deed, and mind;
While with the Father and the Son
Sweet fellowship they find.

O Thou, by whom we come to God,
The Life, the Truth, the Way,
The path of prayer Thyself hast trod—
Lord, teach us how to pray.

Lyrics: James Montgomery (1771-1854)
Music: James Walch (1837-1901)
Photo: Jeff Sollars


It’s true. I’m a simple person. Some people tend to live from trauma to trauma, and that energizes them. I have a hectic schedule, but my mind seeks simplicity – like being in nature, a long bike ride, or sitting on the back porch.

Amy Grant

Photo by Marge McCoy

the center

My family lived off the land and summer evening meals featured baked stuffed tomatoes, potato salad, corn on the cob, fresh shelled peas and homemade ice cream with strawberries from our garden. With no air conditioning in those days, the cool porch was the center of our universe after scorching days.

David Mixner

Photo by Jean Pike

the greatest part

The greatest part of each day, each year, each lifetime is made up of small, seemingly insignificant moments. Those moments may be cooking dinner… relaxing on the porch with your thoughts after the kids are in bed, playing catch with a child before dinner, speaking out against a distasteful joke, driving to the recycling center with a week’s newspapers. But they are not insignificant, especially when these moments are models for kids.

Barbara Coloroso

Photo Courtesy of the McCoy Family Album

it’s porch week!

As August draws to a close, this week seems a good time to celebrate the best part of summer, and for some, the best room in the house. The porch!

The further I wake into this life, the more I realize that God is everywhere and the extraordinary is waiting quietly beneath the skin of all that is ordinary. Light is in both the broken bottle and the diamond, and music is in both the flowing violin and the water dripping from the drainage pipe. Yes, God is under the porch as well as on top of the mountain, and joy is in both the front row and the bleachers, if we are willing to be where we are.

Mark Nepo

Photo by Jean Pike