A Change, a Surprise, and an Angry Onion


I discovered this onion glaring at me from behind the sugar jar this weekend. Perhaps it is suggesting I am a tad overdrawn on attention lately….between the house construction, writing books, planning changes to my blog, and unveiling a surprise.

Despite the onion shaking its angry green fingers at me, I ignored it and went my merry way canning pumpkin butter again this weekend. This time, I used fresh pumpkin. Last time, we used store-canned pumpkin, which I thought was an odd thing to do when homecanning, but my cousin’s mother is my canning guru so I just follow instructions….. But, I wanted to make it again, this time using fresh pumpkin. I called Georgia in the middle of cutting up pumpkins to ask her a few questions about substituting fresh pumpkin for canned pumpkin in the recipe. She said, “I don’t know.” I said, “What would you do? How do you do it when you use fresh pumpkin?” She said, “I never use fresh pumpkin!” (I think she wanted to pat me on the head and tell me I was cute.)

As a transplant to country living, I’m often baffled by all sorts of things people do around here, but I’m also always fascinated. My suburban heart yearns to learn how to do things the old-fashioned way. In an ironic twist, sometimes country people are so practical that at the very moment I think they know how to do everything, I realize there are some things they occasionally think are utterly ridiculous, like spending hours preparing fresh pumpkin when there is a perfectly good can of it at the store. And in frugal lives tolerating few extravagances, some modern conveniences are too good to reject. (Then they turn around and home-can pumpkin butter with the store-bought canned pumpkin. Will I ever figure these people out?)

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as I try to figure out how to do stuff. It’s not always easy to find information, especially clear information. How to live in the country for dummies information. How-to’s for seemingly simple things aren’t simple to me sometimes, and often the directions appear to expect me to actually know what I’m doing already. Which I don’t. And they almost never come with pictures. I want PICTURES with my directions!!! And hey, there are probably more people like me, people who want to know how to do stuff but can’t find the clear step-by-step directions with pictures that they need. People who’ve either moved out to the country and want to learn how to do things the old-fashioned way, or people in the suburbs and cities who just want a little bit of country living in their not-in-the-country home. And not everybody has a Georgia living next door. (And apparently even she is no good when it comes to pumpkin!) This led me to some new ideas for expanding my site, which will be coming up soon. The changes to my blog include a new design that is a natural reflection of where my life is going, as well as additional content about country living–fun, informative, clear, with PICTURES. How-to’s, along with recipes, crafts, and other cool stuff. (The design on the main pages of my writer’s website will remain the same. The design changes will be on the blog pages.) It’s going to be really pretty. I hope you’ll like it! I’m very excited about it!

My regular daily blog postings won’t change, so never fear, nonsense will continue to run amok unabated. 😆 (This new content I’m talking about is additional content.)

This will all make more sense as I implement these additions to the site, so please bear with me over the coming weeks.

In another completely separate development, the surprise I referred to above is a new blog called Dandelion that I’m writing with a friend of mine. Material on this blog is a different sort of thing than what I write for my personal blog here, but it’s another subject of obsession with me–websites, blogging, marketing, etc. You can read more of what it’s all about here and I’ve been posting lessons from my blogging workshop as well. (People usually have to pay to hear me say this stuff!!) This is a site with information for bloggers, writers, and anyone in any artistic field interested in making the most of their website and/or blog. We’ll be sharing lots of great ideas, from both a creative and a technical standpoint. Check it out and let me know what you think! And tell a friend!

*This weekend’s winner–#16 Hetty! Email me!


  1. Alice says:

    Hi, Suzanne!
    I found your website while looking for a recipe for Clotted Cream Fudge. My family just got back from a 10 day trip to the UK, and we fell in love with the stuff. I tried a spoonful of the clotted cream by itself, and it seems like cream that is a just a hair away from being butter, so I will see if I can make it myself. The plan is to let cream reach room temperature and then beat it until thick, BUT NOT YET BUTTER! I’ll let you know how it turns out. Your blog is fun. I’m up in Pittsburgh, so we’re practically neighbors! :wave:
    Alice in PGH

  2. Suzanne says:

    Thank you for coming, Alice! Yes, isn’t clotted cream the BEST?

  3. Bonnie Ferguson says:

    The new blog looks cool! :bananadance: I’m also looking forward to seeing your new blog design. :rockon:

  4. Hetty says:

    Wow! That’s great! Thanks Suzanne! I’ve never won anything in my life! Now I just have to find out how to get in touch with you. That will have to wait until later. Right now I have a doctor’s appointment.
    Oh, and by the way…. I have always cooked my own pumpkin and made all kinds of jams and preserves from scratch! It may take a bit longer, but it is well worth it! And I am a city girl – but with a country brain!

  5. Suzanne says:

    Thanks, Bonnie!

    Hetty, click the Contact button in the menu bar above! :elephant:

  6. Ellen says:

    Here’s where I confess that I’ve never even used canned pumpkin – just bought pre-made pies (but they’re good ones!). I do love to bake, but for some reason I never entered into the pumpkin realm.

    Your new blog additions will be great – the country living posts and pictures are awesome and unique! I like your new Dandelion blog as well. :snoopy:

  7. Tori Lennox says:

    Your new venture is awesome, Suzanne!!!

  8. catslady says:

    A long time ago I made pies from real pumpkins – OMG what a mess and took forever and I swore I’d never do it again – the next year I must have forgotten and did it again – the third year I remembered and I now swear by the canned pumpking lol. Of course I didn’t have a clue how to do it and probably did things the wrong and hard way lol. :wall:

  9. Estella says:

    I am going to use your pumpkin butter recipe with fresh pumpkin——I have a huge one left fron fall decorating.

  10. Dru says:

    I like the new site. Will peruse more fully later tonight.

  11. Brandy says:

    The new site is fantastic, even if I’m not a writer! And I for one look forward to your new content. There are many things to learn! *G*

    Have a good tuesday!

  12. Alice Audrey says:

    Wow. Very strange to see me, but not me as the first message. :no:

    I think your new blog is a great idea. I’m looking forward to it.

  13. Kim A. says:

    The Dandelion Blog site is a great idea, Suzanne, and I very much like the logo!

    Looking forward to seeing all the changes in your personal blog…. 🙂


  14. Danica/Dream says:

    You’ve definitely given me a yearning for the country!

    Love the new venture!

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