Day 29: What have I discovered, learned or uncovered in 2020?
Hi good people it’s @Clara116 here from Pensacola, Florida
So what have I or You learned, discovered or even uncovered this year?
The list of discovery seemed to grow weekly:
A gold mine (if selective) has to be You Tube – I've several gurus/teachers of cooking, baking, fermenting, canning, gardening & homesteading. The constant one for me is anything and everything to do with plants, especially propagation. Plants are clearly a new love of mine – and growing luffa sponges and making soap with luffa inside. Belonging to a couple plant groups on FB has helped me to make some extra cash selling plants, seeds, soap and luffa sponges. Also its opened windows to meet other plant lovers, plant geeks & plant addicts aka plant hoarders.
There’s a saying: You can never have enough plants! Oh my...I kind of believe it too. As my collection has grown a lot in the past months.
Many of those hobbies, skills or lessons learned deal with food....which is wonderful & delicious EXCEPT when combined with couch time, binge watching on Netflix which equal = tight, tight & tighter jeans.
Another saying: You can never have enough ice cream. Or Chocolate Bark Candy
I also discovered people, even family will surprise, disappoint, shock you beyond belief sometimes. Just when you think you know or understand a person, what they will do, what they will say, even what they believe in, BAM, they will prove that wrong.
Another saying: You can never really know another person.
Another saying: Don't believe what you think.
I have received so many blessings and that has had the most impact as I truly uncovered where my real support system lies. What is it or who makes me feel whole, useful and cared about. And tolerates me, and all my stuff, my nonsense (sometimes), when do I feel loved, really supported, and feed emotionally? Being able to count on others is a big deal - or just being listened too is critical in my world and probably yours too?
What or who can I count on - anytime? My 3 boys....David, Eddie and Bentley
Eddie and Bentley are little dogs!
My saying: Don't want to imagine life without any of these 3!
The saving grace in 2020: Zoom & my buddies from the Community Center and our get togethers has been a treasure, our cook along, sharing our stories, lives, laughs, worlds, pics and anything else without much hesitation, without judging, just support. What joy all my buddies have brought during this year, friends from the UK, Korea, USA- NY, Kansas, Maine, Ohio, Spain, Brazil, Germany and more. Sometimes it became apparent that these buddies could support me better than family living really close by. We seemed to share more and freely and each session on Zoom would be a super lift for me and added a boost to the days ahead until the next gathering.
I am forever grateful to all those people in my world, especially those reading this blurb that might be my buddies or someone I have connected with on the CC community center or will in the near days ahead. You all mean more than you can imagine and its such an honor to call you my buddies, friends, and fellow hosts.
Final saying: You don't know what you've got till its gone......so let's keep in touch and keep on
What have you discovered or learned in 2020? I'd love to read about YOU!
Be well, be safe as we all step forward into 2021 with PEACE
HAPPY NEW YEAR.....and good bye 2020
oh @Clara116 those dogs are cute.
Your sunrise image reminded me of our Edmonds Brand packaging , "Sure to Rise Baking Powder"!!
It's nice to hear someone else enjoy their garden.
What plants did you learn to propagate?
It's important we look after and share those tips for future generations.
I was most relieved when we were finally to be able to sell things online and sold some plants to appreciative people who wanted some joy in their life.
Now about that Rocky Mountain Chocolate Bark...Do you have a recipe to share?
It looks too divine not to share it..
@Helen427 thanks for your comments & Happy New Year -how right about sharing for future folks indeed......oh I'm propagating anything and everything, well almost everything, monstera adansonii, pothos, begonias, ZZplants, Snake Plants (many different varieties), Fiddle leaf fig (Ficus Lyrata) trying to get roots in every method possible. I have tables all across the living room filled with plants all in front of the windows and bought grow light bulbs for the stand up lamps/table lamps.....some are red....wonder what the neighbors really think with the red lights in my windows shining many hours into the night?? haha
On Youtube I am a huge fan along with 3 million others of Pick Up Limes - she's lovely, a joy to watch on every video and she does food/vegan like - and plants sometimes and more. She showed making this Rocky Mountain Chocolate Bark and I was hooked....first time making caramel and it worked - baked my own cookies to chop into the top layer/ also roasted some nuts to chop...I left out the banana chips (not of fan) just grabbed anything and added it. Even a couple peppermint candies pounded up into little bites added were the perfect hit of essence for the bark.
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Bark
▸ ▹ Vegan, soy-free
Yield: 1 large bark Prep Time: 20 min Cook Time: 15 min Total Time: 35 min (excluding cooling time)
¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (20 g) banana chips, chopped
¼ cup (30 g) roasted hazelnuts, chopped
2 gingerbread cookies, chopped (sub any cookies of your choice)
2 tsp (10 mL) peanut butter (optional)
¼ tsp flaked sea salt
2½ cups (400 g) vegan dark chocolate, broken into pieces*
To make the caramel shards, line a baking tray with parchment paper, or place the parchment paper on another heatproof surface. To a dry, small heavy-bottomed pan**, add sugar and place on the stove over medium-high heat.
Do not stir the sugar, as this can cause crystallization. Once most of the sugar has dissolved and turns a light golden color, stir with a rubber spatula to prevent burning, and then remove from the heat.
Pour the caramel onto the parchment-lined baking tray and be careful, as the caramel is very hot. Use the back of the rubber spatula to quickly level it out into a thin layer, and then let the caramel cool and harden completely. Once cooled, transfer to a chopping board and chop into small pieces. Keep the parchment-lined baking tray at the ready still for step #6 below.
Prepare and have at-the-ready your desired toppings: the chopped banana chips, chopped hazelnuts, chopped cookies, peanut butter, and salt.
Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water, and bring to a gentle boil. Place a large glass or ceramic heat-safe bowl on top of the pan. This is called a 'double boiler'. Break the chocolate into pieces with your hands and place it in the bowl. The heat from the bowl will melt the chocolate. Stir periodically to ensure the chocolate melts evenly.
Once melted, remove the bowl from the stove, and be careful as the bowl will be hot. Gently pour the melted chocolate onto the same parchment-lined baking tray used before. Use the back of your rubber spatula to spread the chocolate out into a thin layer, about ½ cm thick.
Then you can decorate it! Drizzle the peanut butter over the chocolate, and then sprinkle overtop the banana chips, hazelnuts, cookie crumbles, salt, and caramel shards. Using the back of a spoon, press down the pieces into the chocolate to secure them.
Place the chocolate bark in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to harden. Once hard, let slightly soften at room temperature for a minute before cutting to avoid it snapping in other places. Cut into your desired shapes and sizes. Enjoy!
* Vegan dark chocolate often contains soy lecithin, so if you have a soy allergy, make sure to check the label before using.
** A heavy-bottomed pot or pan is thicker at the base, they can distribute the heat better than a thin pot or pan which means your dishes will be cooked more evenly. For any caramel, using a heavy-bottomed pan is essential, as using a lightweight pot or pan may result in burning the caramel.
Storage: the chocolate bark can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. Avoid storing at room temperature, as the chocolate becomes cloudy.
Lovely post @Clara116, thank you so much for taking the time to reflect on your year. Love the photos (I've added the one of your little dogs now).
I'm so interested in your comments about luffer sponges. I actually looked at growing some earlier in the year (before COVID) and then it totally slipped my mind. It's quite remarkable that these are even from a plant. I remember mentioning it to a friend and they were amazed it's even possible to grow (and when you look at them I agree!). 🙂
Do you know if they like particular conditions ie. heat or lots of water....? Is there a particular time of year you should plant them?
Looking to contact our Support Team, for details...take a look at the Community Help Guides.
@Lizzie Thanks so much for adding the pic of my 3 boys.
The Luffa/ Loofah sponges are such fun to grow.....unfortunately, they need a very hot/sunny climate and I'm not so sure you can grow and have success, so sorry - best suited in Africa/Florida and really hot climates where they can get 5 months of hot sunny grow time - and that doesn't sound like the UK I know about?? The best part is many cultures grow and eat them as they belong to the squash group and are much like zucchini squash - that means they are grown and early on when still soft they are harvested and cooked up in soups....my friend from China watches and begs the smaller while growing for her cooking. Where I have fun is that I can harvest at different times to get softer luffa sponges to use for the face - or grow and dry out much longer for scrubbing sponges for the kitchen/bathroom and such. I do enjoy it.
Oh @Clara116, this post and image made me smile...... thank you! 💝
The first thing that your rays of sunshine reminded me of, was a concert Garry went to in England in 1978; just before I met him in London. It was HUGE and I always remember the poster because he had a Tshirt with it on! I wish I had known him a tad earlier, so we could have attended it together...
But maybe, we can make our own sunshine poster for the ZOOMERS! x
@Cathie19 Oh you are a doll.....totally love that poster and wish you could have also met sooner! You bring me back to the days of the best of the best music.....Woodstock was my stomping grounds and the days of burning the bra...LOL......of course that was short lived as working with the friendly skies of Delta flying we even had to wear girdles and nail polish at all times and stockings. Those girdles were a joke, I was really skinny and said I don't need one - required, they said! Step in line! I did.....cause flying was such fun.
You and Garry have to watch a documentary film just released in Nov. called "The Tree Man" about the life of Chuck Leavell who was pianist for Rolling Stones, Allman Bros Band, Eric Clapton and so many more....excellent film....sweetest of stories with him and wife Rose Lane.
I agree we need to have our own sunshine poster for the zoomers!
big hugs sweet friend, Happy New Year and all the finest and best to you both, Clara
@Ute42 that's a total bummer.,.....even stuff on YouTube? I paid through Google $4.99 for us to see it. It's such really good life story and the music is terrific. Chuck was such an important part of all the groups he played in and made better!
Warmest greetings and a easy slide into 2021
Hi @Clara116 ,
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Gardening seems to be a predominant choice for many people in this group who were seeking an alternative hobby during the lockdowns.
Although I live in a small mining town on the edge of a lonely continent, the effects of the pandemic has not directly impacted me or my family, and I’m so grateful for that. Yet, I feel its subtle effects all around in various forms. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in 2020 (through the pandemic) it is this - We are all interconnected in a way we would never have imagined until COVID struck. This is ‘Avatar’ in real life, where one person’s sneeze in one corner of the world can cause another person to fall dead in the other far corner.
I hope we stop and ponder over the ripple effects our actions create, irrespective of how inconsequential they may appear...what goes around certainly comes around!
I wish you a promising 2021 and 365 fun filled days with your trio 😁
@Jason1470 Hi, how truly lovely that you commented and how right you are, many folks whether abroad or here in the US have had a pull or draw to growing their own food - it has spread to so many. My David's been at it for some years so he is fortunate to have many supplies or know the best ways and methods for his organic gardening and composting (he's even the community composter in our city garden's) yuck, I dislike worms, but save many things for them cause the babies, as I refer to them, love to eat....they delight in watermelon rinds, banana peels, toilet paper tubes/and much more -I dislike even looking at them. But they make for wonderful black gold as their poop is called - and that part is a treasure of gardening - you probably already know all this....but someone reading this might not.
Wonderful you and yours haven't had to deal with the pandemic in major ways. I so appreciate your mention of and truths with the ripple effect Jason, now you are on to high thinking there! lol The challenge we have here in the US seems that so many ppl don't think/believe the world exist outside of the USA and the focus is so narcissist we see the after effects and the outcome with glaring truth in the pandemic right here right now. Its embarrassing, scary and such a huge problem that there are actually ppl that think that the pandemic is still not really real, refuse to be part of anything outside themselves and so many are living (and dying) from the ripple effects of the pandemic.....never mind we talk about warming/climate/hunger/fires/storms stronger than ever before - And the impacts we see - those that are willing to take off the blinders, is enormous.
My wish with many new leaders, new ideas and a change of heart is that our country will begin to think more of others and I'm hopeful it will permeate our country in 2021.....and spread far and wide to all ends of the earth. May consciousnesses be raised for the good!
Wishing you and yours all the best and many blessings today, tomorrow and always.
Aw thanks so much for this ray of sunshine @Clara116 (pun intended for the lovely uplifting pic!) - thanks so much for sharing!
The plants look like they're thriving, and the chocolate bark recipe is right up my street, yummm 😋
The jars of preserved foods look delish too - do you preserve them in vinegar?
@Katie Those in the picture are all water bath canned - most without vinegar - there might be some with vinegar - and after opening those would be usually in the fridge to keep them fresh. I canned over approx. 250 lbs./ 115 kg of tomatoes from about 8 different kinds of tomatoes and every possible variation, for spaghetti, salsa, relishes with cucumbers, peppers some spicy, jalapeno, and this summer I'm looking forward to making thick tomato sauce with David growing paste tomatoes, that's even more work, as these tomatoes have to be cooked down thus paste - but will be really terrific (I hope). Those will be a first time for him growing and me preserving them. wish me luck .....this world of preserving foods is actually amazing, and the science of it all fascinates me. As it must be exact, precise and absolutely clean -requires planning, precision and stamina. I love a challenge and it is for certain. Thanks for asking Katie
Happy New Year