Friday, January 27, 2012

Under the Dumb Plum Tree

A fresh batch
Valuable Junk
by Jaime Kaufhold
(January 27, 1991)

January seems like the longest month of the year. Thank goodness it is almost over. My poor little plum tree looks so desolate, cold and lonely. Spring will be here before we know it, and once again it will flourish. I can hardly wait.

Most New Year's resolutions are broken by now. I no longer make resolutions since I cannot keep them. I have tried and failed.

I use the winter months to reorganize my home so that when spring finally arrives, I am ready to spend my days outdoors.

Once I read in a magazine that if you do not use an item for a year to dispose of it to eliminate clutter. I am the original pack rat. I have discovered over the years that if I throw it out today, I will need it tomorrow.

Once during a cleaning frenzy in the garage, I shamed my husband into junking an old rusty walking tractor. To my knowledge, it never ran. Not long afterwards we were at a farm sale auction and a replica of our old beat up tractor sold for $1,500. When it comes to the garage, I now organize, I do not discard.

If I pack all our 'valuables' away in an orderly fashion, I can make room for all the new things that I'm sure to find this spring at flea markets and garage sales. Last week my iron died, but did I worry? Not on your life - I have three in the cupboard in the basement. I'm not sure where they came from, must have been a garage sale.

I decided last week to throw out the old useless stuff in the attic, to make room for my more current and much more valuable junk. I proceeded to the attic, garbage bag in hand.

What I discovered in the cramped quarters was a goldmine of memories. I began removing boxes but couldn't throw them out without first examining their contents. Old posters which had been glued to a bedroom ceiling, school notes and stuffed toys were in one box. Could I throw out my daughter's first painting made in kindergarten, with the heading, "To Mom, with love" or their report cards? What about the crumpled paper which held the speech, "Why I love my brother." That speech commanded and received a red pencil mark of 100.

At the bottom of the box was "Baby Boo." Baby Boo was a doll that Santa Claus brought to our home many years ago. She had been a lovely doll, with long blonde hair. My youngest daughter had cut the hair off and fed Baby Boo peanut butter once. Remnants of both still remained, and as ugly as the doll was, she was loved. She nursed my daughter through many fevers and even spent a couple of days in the hospital. Did this doll deserve to die?

I sorted for many hours and almost everything was returned to the attic. Someday when my grandchildren are older they will enjoy looking through their mothers' school work and books and who knows, maybe one will adopt Baby Boo.

Many items were placed in a separate box and placed not in the garbage heap, but in my bedroom closet. Some items should not only not be thrown out, but kept within closer reach.

Today I cleaned out my kitchen cupboard where I keep cook books and recipes. I came across my son's favourite cookie recipe. Maybe I will make some tomorrow and send them home with him next time he comes by.

Until next month, don't clean too hard.

Jaime's Oatmeal Date Cookies

1 1/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

Cream the butter and add sugar. Add milk and rolled oats. Add the flour, baking soda and salt. The dough should be very soft. Chill for about 30 minutes. Roll thin, cut out with the rim of a large glass and bake on a cookie sheet at 325 degrees for 12 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.

Date filling:
1/2 lb. dates
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch cinnamon

Cut the dates into small pieces. Add water, sugar and cinnamon, cook until mixture is quite thick, stirring often to prevent sticking.

When the cookies are cool, spread an ample amount of the warm filling across the bottom of one, then place another on top. Serve with a glass of milk and your children will love you. Store the rest in a plastic container and the cookies will stay soft and chewy.

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