Sunday, August 31, 2014

Harvest 2014

The last several weeks we have been harvesting at Dusterhoft Farms. Yes, we have our own little farm, on less than an acre no less. Actually, it's less than less than an acre! Currently, we live in a condo with tiny front and back yards. Since we've been here awhile, we know what grows well in this area so we farm our small space and enjoy the bounty it provides.

I'm sure you've seen our tomato plants from previous posts. This year, we had to replace the planter because it was falling apart. I promised my guy I would only plant three plants. Unfortunately, I had no control over the rogue plants that cropped up from last year's fruit droppings. Gotta love mother nature! We've been eating tomatoes for several months and will probably have them until December as in previous seasons.

Our grape vines were really prolific this year. We had a paint bucket plus another large pot full of grapes for our harvest. And we only have four plants! It took an entire weekend to make our yearly grape jelly stash. And I must say it is really yummy! I know what everyone is getting this year. 

Pickles, pickles and more pickles. Another day was spent making sweet bread and butter pickles from the fruit of a single plant. Just when we think we were all done. More showed up. Unfortunately, the pickles we made were not quite sweet enough so we will be un-doing the jars, starting the process again, and adding these last beauties to the mix. All in a day's work on the farm!

Can everyone say "Herbs"? I can't hear about a big shout out for "HERBS"? ...that's better! Yes, we we've been drying our first and second harvests and finally bottled them up today. I daresay we filled 10 bottles and it took us several hours to complete this task. I worked on the Thyme alone while my better half bottled up the Sage, Oregano and Basil. It's almost time to harvest more and start the process all over again.

With only a few more things left to harvest this season, I am thinking ahead to next year and beyond. We will be incorporating some new things as we go and at some point, we have plans to add animals to the mix...but that is down the road! We have a great future in store!

Tomatoes, grapes, pickles, herbs...I am wondering what will be ready next.

Wishing you moments to enjoy your own farm or garden or whatever space you might have!

Like anything you see here? Then contact me, Susan Dusterhoft at I am always looking for more books/products to review. I can also provide assistance with blog writing!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Labor Day History and Celebration

Aaaah...Labor Day. A national holiday many wait for the entire year. For others, this means a three, four or five day weekend depending on how lucky you are. But do you really know the origins of this holiday?

During the late 1800s in America, it's was common for people to spend 12-hour days and seven-day weeks working in order to eke out a basic living. People toiled in factories and mines just to earn a wage. And it wasn't just the adults, children worked right alongside them only to earn a fraction of the pay that the grown-ups made. From the very poor and to the recent immigrant, it didn't matter because they all faced challenges laboring in what we now call an unsafe working environment. For them, it meant insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and the ability to take breaks.

With the rise in manufacturing, an increase in employment brought along a growth of labor unions; the first which appeared in the late 18th century. Loud and vocal, American's saw strikes organized and rallies unfurling a protest of poor working conditions. Employers now had to renegotiate hours and pay for their workers. Unfortunately, many of these protests lead to violence and death. The most notorious of these events was the Haymarket Riot of 1886. Over the years, workers began to take unpaid time off that ultimately led to the traditions we see today. 

When the idea of a holiday for the average "working man" started to spread across the country, many states passed legislation recognizing this celebration It took Congress, however, another 12 years to legalize the holiday which is now celebrated the first Monday in September. It's too bad that another massive protest in America's labor history had to take place for all to see. On the 11th day of  May in 1894, Chicago's Pullman Palace Car Company employees went on strike in protest of wage reductions and union representative firings.  

Over a month later on June 26, 1894, Eugene V. Debs, led the American Railroad Union in a boycott of all Pullman railway cars. Knowing that railroad traffic would be derailed nationwide, the federal government sent out troops to Chicago to break up the strike. More riots ensued resulting in more deaths. In the wake of this tragedy, Congress passed a law making Labor Day a legal holiday in the hopes of repairing the damage felt by American workers. 

To this day, it is not clear who should be considered the true founder of Labor Day. At this point though, does it really matter? Today, we celebrate Labor Day and pay tribute to all the contributions made by us, the American workers. From barbecues to parades to fireworks, we gather together to mark the end of summer and back-to-school season.

From Today's Writing Woman, I want to wish you all a fantastic, and safe Labor Day Weekend. Enjoy your time off by putting your feet up and spending quality time with family and friends. 

Wishing you memorable moments during your Labor Day Weekend!

Like anything you see here? Then contact me, Susan Dusterhoft at I am always looking for more books/products to review. I can also provide assistance with blog writing!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Never Give Up, Never Surrender

I can't tell you how many times I've heard the words, "You'll never be able to fill in the blank here." If I had ten bucks for every single time that I heard that sentence or any variation thereof, I'd be rich. It was really tough to have grown up with it constantly thrown in your face every time you asked to do something. There was so many things I wanted to do or try and because I feared everything, I held back.

It wasn't until I married and moved away that I actually started to spread my wings. But only a little. It took many, many years to start living my life the way I want to and stop worrying about what others thought. After hitting a milestone birthday this week, I realize that I may have wasted a bit of time worrying so much. Granted, I missed out on a few things, and some of my dreams went by the wayside. But I made new dreams for myself because I slammed the door on that dreaded sentence. I am still dreaming, and you know what? I made some of those dreams a reality. And no one can take that away from me.

So here's a newsflash! Stop living in fear and go out there and live! Take this advice from someone who is tired of trying to gain approval and living in fear because of what others might think, do or say. For me, it's just not happening anymore, and it shouldn't be for you.

Do yourself a favor...Never Give Up, Never Surrender!

Wishing you moments to stop living in fear and start living!

Like anything you see here? Then contact me, Susan Dusterhoft at I am always looking for more books/products to review. I can also provide assistance with blog writing!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Rules of the Road

I've said this before and I'll say it again. I think everyone needs to go back to driving school at least once a decade at a minimum. This should become a mandate to renew your license. I'm not asking for a road test or anything, just a basic refresher course to remind everyone the "Rules of the Road".

Every time I get into my car and venture out onto the streets and highways, I put my life on the line and hope that that the rest of the drivers out there with me won't run me over. The rudeness and blatant disrespect I witness on a daily basis is not right and I am getting a little tired of it. It doesn't matter the time or even a particular day of the week, this girl is a little sick of being the whipping toy of many a driver in recent weeks and months. 

I don't know about you but our local motorists don't seem to know how to merge properly. I've had cars and trucks speed up and refuse to let me onto the highway. I've had big rigs run me into the shoulder. It's rare these days when someone is kind enough to let me merge.

And this is not the only problem I've faced. Traffic in our area is increasing on what seems like a daily basis. Rush hour is madness; to leave work during that time to try and make an standing weekly appointment means I have to drive with my hands glued to the wheel and my shoulders hunched up to my ears. My nerves are usually shot by the time I get to where I need to go. Sadly, I have no choice but to suffer through this and hope that I make it to my destination without ending up in the ditch. 

Unfortunately, I have not always been so lucky and have, indeed, spun out on the highway or run into the ditch. All because someone doesn't know how to break properly and is about to have an accident or cut me off. Most recently, I was practically run over not once...not twice...but three the same vehicle! The third time, the driver just laughed and waved at me because he thought it was funny to cut me off within less than a inch of my life. The next time he does it, I am going to pull over, write his plates down and call the police. I'm done being nice!

Then there is the occasional driver that speeds up behind you and flashes his lights because he wants to pass you up. But when you don't pull over, he whips around you and then cuts you off only to make an exit at the next off ramp. What he doesn't know is that he burned up several gallons of fuel in the process to save a few seconds on his commute to wherever he was headed. 

And finally, there are those few, who insist on driving so fast that they put Mario Andretti to shame. It's a good thing that I pay attention to everything around me because it's usually not just a single driver but two or perhaps three who insist they can drive faster than anyone else on the road. But when I finally get to see their comeuppance, I am filled with delight as I pass up the "hot-rod(s)"  who were lucky enough to get pulled over for driving in excess of the speed limit. I just laugh and turn the radio up as I go sailing by at the speed limit. Pity they couldn't take a lesson from me. I am going to go home, put my feet up and have a glass a wine. They, on the other hand, will be crying in their beer as they write the hefty check to pay the traffic fine.

Seriously people, the "Rules of the Road" are not complicated. Obey the traffic laws, and be courteous to your fellow drivers. If you follow these simple edicts, you'll get home safely and so will everyone else on the road with you, including me.

Wishing you moments to drive safely!


Like anything you see here? Then contact me, Susan Dusterhoft at I am always looking for more books/products to review. I can also provide assistance with blog writing!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Piles and Piles To Go Before I Sleep

Sometimes the detritus in our lives clutters up more than just the space it lives in. This is true for the tangible, and often, intangible stuff we cling to because we don't know any better than to not let it go. A hoarder finds comfort in the piles and piles of stuff they accumulate, unlike the rest of us, including myself, who start to feel claustrophobic and do I dare say, anxiety ridden. 

Granted, you can't shove 10 pounds of stuff into a five pound box. It doesn't work because the excess just oozes out and makes a real mess. This is your sign to purge, but be aware that as fast as you shovel it out, you risk the urge to let more stuff come in. And if you're not paying attention, I swear it will multiply...exponentially!

Seriously, despite the chaos of life, you really do need to stop once in awhile and go through the piles before they overrun your life and take on one of their own. Truth be told, somethings you need to downsize the external piles (the tangible things you can see) before you can let go of the internal piles (the intangible stuff we cling too). 

Clearing out the clutter that surrounds us can be very cathartic and liberating. And while it might seem overwhelming at first, I find the best thing to do is to take it one pile at a time. Once that first stack is done, then I tackle the next one. Before you know it, a whole section of the house is cleaned up. 

Now I know you're probably thinking why don't you pick things up immediately instead of waiting until the stacks get so high that they topple over. Unfortunately, not all of us are able to manage this way of life when you work 14-16 hours a day, have a two hour commute and need to sleep. This is not an excuse; it's just the way life is for some of us.

So before the piles inside your home get out of hand, make the effort and downsize. It doesn't matter how long it takes, just make a start. Believe me, you'll feel better before you know it.  

By now, I am pretty sure you've figured out what I am currently doing...and believe me, I have piles and piles to go before I'll sleep better.  I know that changes in life are difficult, but before you are able to rid yourself of the intangible stuff you're clinging to, you need to break free from the tangible stuff piled around you. Just take it one stack at a time. I know you will get through this and so will I.


Like anything you see here? Then contact me, Susan Dusterhoft at I am always looking for more books/products to review. I can also provide assistance with blog writing!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Write More and Facebook Less

I've been told that the only way to start writing again is to actually do it. It's been a long time. Not for lack of want, mind you, it's been more of finding the motivation to write. I can come up with numerous "excuses" and they all sound great in my head, but on paper, not so much.

So how have I been filling my days and nights since I was really serious about making this writing career work? Well, about a year ago, I had to deal with a very serious and life threatening family issue. While that has been finally sorted out for the time being, I been engulfed in another somewhat chaotic situation that has continued to get worse until only recently. But, I feel that is now finally coming to an end and I can get back to a more balanced life.

My energy has been so tapped out with these events, that all I could do most nights is pick up my Kindle and read a few sentences in whatever book I was reading at the time. Or, I would just pop in one of my many "happy" movies and watch it until I fell asleep.  

Today, things are a little bit different. The only thing I think that is holding me back now is the dreaded "FB" addiction. My husband thinks that if I want more time to do other things, I need to "Facebook Less". He's right. But I do need it to use it in order to stay up-to-date for certain aspects of my writing. What I need to do is concentrate on putting more words on paper and use FB as a tool to get my writing out to the masses. 

I had planned to write something really prolific yesterday as it was my "big milestone birthday", but decided that my time would be better served spending it with the one person who has been severely neglected during all of this time. Waiting another day wouldn't hurt. Starting today, I plan to write every day and am putting it out there to regain my readership and take my writing to a whole other level. I am going to get back on track with my plans and make it work. For reals this time!

So for anyone out there who is following me, here is my pledge:

I am going to "Write More and Facebook Less"! 

Wish me luck!


Like anything you see here? Then contact me, Susan Dusterhoft at I am always looking for more books/products to review. I can also provide assistance with blog writing!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Common Courtesy

Whatever happened to common courtesy? It feels like the age of technology has swept it away and those caught up in the wave have become oblivious to the rest of the world who stands by and shakes their heads.

I get the fact that cellphones are the link to a whole new world of information and communication. However, when those same cellphones actually cut you off from human interaction, what good does an easy link to communicating via social media do for you?

Case in point. Standing in line at a local store, my husband was trying to unload his cart, but the young girl who was waiting for her father to finish paying for his order was unobservant and blocked my husband from even putting his items on the counter because her nose was buried in her cellphone. How someone so young could be so discourteous to her fellow shopper is beyond me. The worst part about this... it is not the first time we have seen this happen!

Don't get me wrong as I am all for technology! Over the years, I've owned numerous computers including both desk and laptops. Additionally, I own a tablet (generic of course!), two kindles and I am on my third cellphone. Notice I said cellphone. I don't own a smartphone and I don't want one. I use my phone to talk with people via voice or text. That's it! If I want to get online, I use my tablet or laptop. Call me old-fashioned, but I like it better that way!

How many times have you been walking somewhere when you come across somebody with their head down and buried inside their cellphone? It doesn't matter where you are, there will be someone of any age, who will be walking along with their eyes engrossed in the latest social media via their "smartphone". Whatever happened to social interaction? Talking and hanging out with one another...being courteous to your fellow man?

I was watching television not that long ago, and it seems like one of the biggest names in consumer products hit the nail on the head. Our younger generations have lost the art of getting together. While I see many people walking together, but they are usually not talking while they are walking. Everyone of them is carrying a phone and either are too busy looking at their screens, or have earbuds in and listening to music. I remember a time when it was fun to go to the mall and shop with my friends. We hung out, tried on clothes and laughed. I don't see anyone laughing anymore. It's really sad.

My husband said that it will come back around, but I just don't see least not anytime soon. If I could wish for something right now, it would be to have everyone put down their "smartphones" and walk with their heads up for awhile. You might just discover something really cool while you're walking around.

Wishing you moments to rediscover the things you've lost.

Like anything you see here? Then contact me, Susan Dusterhoft at I am always looking for more books/products to review. I can also provide assistance with blog writing!