Apple Cranberry Bake

6 Granny Smith, Wine sap, or Golden Delicious apples
1 pound fresh cranberries
2 ounces butter (melted)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cornstarch
12 ounces apricot preserves
1/4 cup walnuts or pecans (chopped)   

Instructions

Peel apples and cut into eighths; place in 8×12 Pyrex baking dish (sprayed with Pam); cover with cranberries.

Topping: Mix sugar & cornstarch; mix together melted butter, vanilla, and preserves. Pour mixture over fruit & sprinkle with nuts.

Bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes. Time will vary depending on tartness of apples.

Douglas County RideShare: Providing Alternative Transportation to Residents

Multimodal Transportation Centerb
Douglas County Transportation Center

Gas prices have fallen over the last couple of days, but if you’ve got a long commute to work or school, your commute costs are probably still more than you’d like to pay.  You might want to check out the alternative transportation options you can get through Douglas County’s RideShare program.

Douglas County’s RideShare program provides VanPools, Express Bus Service to major metropolitan destinations, and Carpool matching services to Douglas County residents.  The RideShare program was formulated in 1986 and its offices are located in the Douglas County Transportation Center that is behind the Courthouse.

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CASA: Make a Lifelong Difference in a Child’s Life

You can make a lifelong difference in an abused and neglected child’s life by becoming the child’s voice in the court system as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA).  Pamela Butler, a former CASA recipient who is now a college student, summed up CASA’s role nicely:

“When you’re young, no one listens to you.  To give a child a CASA is to give them a voice.  To give them a voice is to give them hope, and to give them hope is to give them the world.”

A brief history of CASA

CASA was conceived in 1976 by Seattle Superior Court Judge David Soukup after he became frustrated about having to rule on decisions involving abused and neglected children without having sufficient information.  Judge Soukup formulated a program, tapped into social resources, and raised funding to recruit and train a corp of community volunteers to act as the child’s voice by speaking up for the best interests of abused and neglected children in court proceedings.

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World Without End

World Without End

“World Without End” by Ken Follett has been on my reading list ever since it was published (October 2007).  I read Ken Follett’s earlier book, “The Pillars of the Earth,” more than a decade ago and I enjoyed that book too.

I got the electronic version of the book several months ago, and I decided it was time to give it a read.  I started the book last week and am about half way through it.  I expected it to be a good read, but I did not expect it to be such a fabulous read – probably the best book I’ve read in years!  I just wish I knew someone who was reading it too so I could talk about it with someone who is as captivated with the story as I am. 

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Geltner Nature Preserve on Anneewakee

One of Douglas County’s hidden gems is the Geltner Nature Preserve and Bird Sanctuary.  The Geltner Nature Preserve consists of 186 acres of pristine wilderness that fronts a portion of Anneewakee Road between Chapel Hill Road and Highway 92.

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Its rolling hills, expansive forest of mature hardwoods, and it’s numerous waterways and wetlands provide an ideal sanctuary for deer, beavers, and a wide variety of birds.

Anneewakee Creek and Crooked Creek run through the property forming Lake Monroe.  Beavers have created another lake by building an enormous dam that spans over 200 feet and is more than 50 years old.  The beaver lake provides an undisturbed sanctuary for ducks, geese, blue heron and other wildlife. 

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Pick-your-own blueberries

July blueberries

It’s July and the blueberries are ripe!  We all know that the antioxidants in blueberries help to keep us healthy, and if you’ve been to the store lately, you’ve probably seen blueberries there for about $2.50 for a pint container. 

Why not load up your kids and go pick some Georgia blueberries?  I haven’t found a Douglas County blueberry farm, but I’ve confirmed that there are blueberries at the following Carroll County farms:

Garmon Family Farm

337 Old Four Notch Road
Whitesburg, GA 30185
Phone: 770.214.8531
Email: garmonfamilyfarm@earthlink.net
Open:  By appointment only

Garmon Family Farm is a small family farm that grows muscadines, scuppernongs, pears, apples, seasonal garden produce, herbs, free range eggs and flowers. Their seasonal garden produces heirloom and specialty vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, salad greens, oriental vegetables, okra, peppers, herbs, and chard.

The farm is open by appointment only, so call before heading out to pick blueberries (July) or Muscadines and Scuppernongs (late September – October).

Blueberries cost $10 per gallon.  Cash only.  Picking containers are provided.  Call ahead for reservations.

Taylor Blueberry Farm

195 Clem Lowell Road
Carrollton, GA 30116
Phone: 770.832.6857
Open: Mondays-Saturdays from 7 am – 7 pm.

Blueberries cost $4.00 per gallon.  Cash only.  Picking and take-home containers are provided.

Secrets of Learning a Foreign Language

Secrets of Learning a Foreign LanguageI listened to this book when I was gearing up to study the Dutch language in preparation for a trip to The Netherlands. I checked out the audio version of this book from the library.

The book has several great hints and techniques about how to approach learning a new language. I thought it was pretty good and I’ll probably check it out again and listen to it again.

The Secret of Lost Things

Secret of Lost ThingsI always enjoy a book whose characters stay with me after I’ve finished reading the story. The Secret of Lost Things is peopled with lots of unusual characters / misfits, if you will. A coming of age story with many unique twists and turns told in just enough poignant detail, it left me wanting more and I was sad to see the book end.

The book ended when it should have ended, but I can’t help but wonder what became of many of the characters in the story. A really great read and one that I recommend whole heartedly

The Book of Air and Shadows

Air&Shadows

The book did not start well for me, but I found the storyline to be quite intriguing. Unfortunately, the book didn’t get any better and eventually fell apart at about the halfway point. I stuck with it until I was more than 3/4th of the way through it when I decided I just couldn’t take it anymore and stopped reading. I found the book to be tedious for several reasons:   

  1. I didn’t care for the writing style
  2. The story became very boring
  3. There were far too many gratuitous sexual encounters that didn’t have anything to do with or add anything to the storyline. The encounters appeared to be interjected throughout the book at the author’s fancy.
  4. I was put off by the overuse of the “F” word and
  5. The characters were not well developed and were very superficial, so I didn’t care about any of the main characters in the story.

Luckily, I didn’t buy the book. I checked the electronic version of the book out of the Library, so now I can just delete it from my eReader and move on to, hopefully, a better read. I’m sorry for the time I wasted trying to get through this book, but at least I didn’t waste any money on it and since it was electronic, I don’t even have to think about how to dispose of it. There’s a small comfort!