Sunday, December 27, 2020

Christmas Week

We had a terrific snow/wind storm on the night of December 22nd.  All in all, not much snow accumulation, only 3" if that.  But the wind!  Oh, my.  Supposedly gusts of 70 mph were recorded.  No downed tree damage for us, but we did have wood stove chimney damage.

Of the three wood stove chimneys on the roof, two were affected.  The stove pipe on the stove in the heated part of our attached garage lost its cap.  No big problem there.  But the complete chimney on the wood stove in the kitchen went down.  When Papa Pea went up on the roof to survey the damage, he found the whole roof covered with glaze ice.  Ugh.  Carefully crawling where he had to go, he made temporary repairs which he feels are quite safe until conditions change and he can secure the chimney with guy wires to insure this doesn't happen again.  

The storm left a drift of snow at least two feet high, maybe more, along the south side of the house.  This meant I needed to shovel it off the deck (we keep this clear all winter as a safety precaution in the event we wouldn't be able to get out of the back door for some reason) and walkway for a good distance.  I was very thankful the snow was light and not the heavy, wet stuff.  But, yes, my lower back was a smidge bit ouchy and grouchy before bed that night.

The blowing snow made the wreath on our (protected, if you can believe it) back/main door picture card perfect.

The morning after the storm, Papa Pea was out on the tractor moving drifts of snow when Chicken Mama and her little charge stopped by to open a couple of presents.  He LOVES big machinery of all kinds and begs to sit on the tractor at times even when it's in the shed and not moving.

Chicken Mama had a new fox suit for him (He's outgrown the old one that he dearly loves).  Here she's reading him the Little Blue Truck book we gave him.  The series of Little Blue Truck books are great for little ones.  Especially if they like trucks, bulldozers, tractors, dump trucks, etc.!

I'll close with a picture of the mints dear daughter made for me at Christmas.  Each year she makes her dad "healthy" Mounds bar candies and when asked if there was a candy I'd enjoy, I told her some nights after dinner I'd like just a wee little mint to end the meal.  She came up with these and they are WONDERFUL as witnessed by the immediate taste testing.  The good news is that there is a double layer in the tin.

Hope you're all able to enjoy this coming week between Christmas and New Year's.  Stay warm, safe and healthy.  Sending hugs. 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Warm Wishes to You All!

May your holidays be filled with the joy of living and the love of giving.




Monday, December 21, 2020

Here Comes Susie Snowflake . . .

Yep, 'tis the season and I have Christmas music, from classical to pop, going on the player in the kitchen just about all of our waking hours.  Nothing puts me into the holiday spirit like listening to all the old favorite carols and tunes.  My head-shaking goodhearted husband is being very indulgent, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him walking around with his noise-cancelling ear muffs clamped to his head soon.
Speaking of snowflakes, this weekend I finally put to use a blue x-stitch embroidered snowflake I've been shuffling from place to place in my quilt room for over a year.

The snowflake itself is about 5" square.  I chose a deep royal blue fabric for the narrow inner border. 

To that I added a 2-1/2" outer border.

And here's the piece sandwiched with batting and backing, quilted and bound.  It finished up at 10" square and I'm very pleased with it.  I think I know just the spot for it when my January decorations go up.  The colors remind me of the traditional colors used in Swedish homes to help brighten the dark winter season. 

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Blog Post

Catchy title, eh?  That's about as creative as I can get, folks.
If I feel these days I have nothing about which to blog, how come my days are filled to the brim from wakening (slowly and with much grumbling and stumbling) to having run out of steam and the need to put my body into a comfy bed (usually around the complete darkness of 5:30 p.m.) at night?
Yesterday was butchering day here.  Never what I call a fun experience, but after all, we do raise our poultry for eggs and meat.

The operation went very well with our small crew of Chicken Mama (at scalding tub above just outside the garage door), Papa Pea and me.  We did only six ducks and were done with all but a little clean-up by noon.  We tend to like the looks of the black Muscovy ducks and it's proven they suffer less attrition by hawks and owls than the lighter colored birds.  But, oh my, those black pin feathers remaining on the carcasses are, to my mind, simply a culinary turn-off!  Next butchering, Papa Pea wants to try duck wax which is said to be more effective than scalding and plucking.  We shall see how that turns out.
As per usual, someone keeps locking the door to keep me out of my quilt room.  (Or maybe that's just my imagination.)  The time I've managed to spend in there recently (short periods with lots of starts and stops) has been spent organizing my embroidery floss onto spools and into designated containers.

Methinks this is going to pay off in the future and certainly looks much more organized (duh, ya think?) than keeping the skeins in plastic sandwich bags.

Our cookie bake of a week ago was a success, and I've loved having a nice assortment of baked Christmas goodies to give to friends, but it's hard not to snitch one or two (or more) goodies from the selection at various times during the day.  Maybe I should put the tins containing same behind that locked quilt room door instead of on the cool back porch where they are currently stored . . . much too conveniently.
This week just past has been much too busy so I'm yearning to take some downtime today and tomorrow.   Someday (when I find the time) I'm going to analyze why two (basically introverted) people living on a small homestead in the woods (during the restrictions of COVID, no less) always have long lists of daily duties which are rarely completed and never need to wonder what we should do to fill our time.
Oh, bunkerpoo.  I know I have nothing, not one diddly-sqwat thing, about which to complain.  We're living the life we've chosen, in a location in which we feel safe in a myriad of ways, our lives are truly blessed and never do we experience long days of "I'm bored, Mom, what can I do?"  Right now, I am free to toddle on into that lovely quilt room I'm so fortunate to have, put an interesting audio book in the player and busy my hands, heart and head doing that which feeds my soul.  It's a great feeling. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

It's About Time I Got Up A New Post!

Each and every year, I declare I'm going to start enjoying the down time of winter somewhere around the first of November.  Don't know what happens (each and every year) but before I know it, it's Thanksgiving time and then the decorating, gift buying (or making--- oops, too late again) and baking of goodies fills the whole month of December.
There.  That's my feeble excuse for not posting here at decent time intervals.
Of course, this December and holiday season is going to be different as has been most of the year.  Way back in the first of the year, plans were discussed for our California family to be here for Christmas of 2020.  No chance of that happening now.  At least technology these days makes it easier to stay in touch with friends and family that we won't be able to be with in person.

Our decorations are all up (phew!) and we're enjoying all the indoor colors and lights and our little tree.  I always said I'd never have an artificial tree but after getting this one a few years ago, boy, have I changed my mind.  Both Papa Pea and I really, really disliked the task of putting lights on a "real" tree and finding one the right size for the small space we have for it . . . what a chore.  This "cheater" tree is the perfect size and shape and came with lights permanently attached.  Oh, joy!

This is a little X-stitch pillow I recently finished that sits on the back of our couch.  The design itself is only 8" x 8" and worked up fairly quickly using 7-count Klostern.  I'm really enjoying my X-stitching right now but am very much looking forward to spending many happy hours quilting later on this winter. 

I finally purchased the materials to organize my embroidery floss and know it will make a big difference once I get the organization done.  Previously, all my floss was kept in small baggies and it was a chore to hunt through trying to find a color number I needed.  Good thing I have some good audio books to listen to while winding, winding, winding the floss onto the holders.
There will be a Christmas Cookie Bake here this coming Saturday.  I've gotten out of the habit of making holiday candies (only doing cookies) but have a craving to do so this year.  Chocolate Rum Balls?  Yum, let the sampling begin!
Warm pre-holiday wishes to you all with hopes December is going well for you and that you're all staying happy and healthy. 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Sunday Morning Ramblings

Our pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving was so very delicious, but who can resist the thought of an apple pie?  Not me, so that's what I'm making this morning.

Our apples this year are HUGE.  I feel they could have used a little more time on the tree to fully mature, but Mother Nature doesn't always give us that.  Supposedly, some varieties will actually ripen a bit more in storage.  Fingers crossed.
Papa Pea can't tolerate a mushy apple so is very happy munching on one that is hard and crisp.  (One that I would call a smidge unripe.)

I'm the opposite in that his kind of apple gives me an instant tummy ache so when I came across one (that he would call) mushy apple this morning while peeling and paring the apples for the pie, I saved it for myself and happily ate it while finishing the pie preparation at the counter.  (Aren't we all different?)  

I always measure out my apples in the pie plate to make sure I have enough for a nicely packed piece of pie.  Who wants an apple pie with two crusts but only a sliver of apples?

All set to go into the oven.  Top crust brushed with milk and sprinkled with a sugar/cinnamon mix.  Between the turkey stock simmering and the apple pie baking there's gonna be a lovely aroma wafting through the house.  

The apples always settle down in baking but this pie looks as though it will still make adequately thick pieces.  Here it's cooling on the back unheated porch.  (Hope all the bears have gone into hibernation 'cause the pie is scenting the whole back yard.)
Remember the new sloppy joe recipe I tried several days ago that we didn't care for?  Well, never being one to waste any part of a pound of pricey ground beef, I put the remainder of the batch in the freezer.  Yesterday afternoon I wanted a quick, easy dinner for us so defrosted and reheated the remainder of that mix.  Guess what?  We both thought it was much better!  Matter of fact, there is enough left that we're eating it again for breakfast this morning.  (I'm still not keeping the recipe though.)

Last night I finished the Christmas-y X-stitch I've been working on.  Well, perhaps finished is not a totally accurate word as I'm going to make it into a small pillow as decoration during the holiday season.  The design itself is only 8" x 8".  I've needed some new Christmas decorations for a while now (years?) so it feels good to be creating some.  Less than a month now until we'll be putting out a plate of cookies for dear old Santa! 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Our Week . . . So Far

Once again, the long, slow winter has not yet begun.  We have no snow on the ground yet, all that we see is the barren, colorless November landscape.  And more items on our lists than seem possible.  (Just who adds all those tasks??  And would somebody please stop it?)
Our week started off with a trip to the big city for overdue eye appointments for both of us.  In our usual attempt to kill two birds with one stone, we each drove a vehicle an hour down the road in order to leave our pick-with a body shop to get the tailgate which no longer opened without the use of a sledge hammer (not quite, but almost) fixed.
It was not a pleasant first hour of our day.  The highway was covered with a glaze of ice (good gawd, where were the salt and sanding trucks?!) which caused a white-knuckled trip and a speed which never exceeded 35 mph.  Thankfully, the other traffic was also driving sensibly, and we saw only one car in the ditch. 
Fast forward through the day.  We didn't get out of our eye appointments until 4 p.m. which meant nearly all of the 2-1/2 hour trip home was in the dark.  We drove together again until we picked up the truck an hour from home.  Although this last hour of traveling in the two vehicles wasn't as bad as the morning, there were still slippery areas to navigate.  Couple that with the night driving (with four still slightly dilated eyes from the eye exams) and we were both very, very thankful to pull into our own driveway and have Monday's travels over and done.  (I'm not leaving home until next May.)
Since I missed my usual wash day of the week, yesterday was spent on laundry.  And hours of painting in the heated garage.  (Another project that I won't spend time explaining in this post.)  No time for ironing although several of Papa Pea's wool and heavy flannel shirts had been laundered and need a good press job.  I'll get that done today.
I should have taken our Thanksgiving turkey out of the freezer to begin thawing on Monday morning, but completely forgot about it until yesterday.  Whew, hope I thought of it in time for it to be thawed enough for the oven tomorrow.
Speaking of birds, a hawk is wreaking havoc on our poultry population.  We've lost two hens and a duck in the last several days.  On Monday morning as we were leaving for the big city, we saw a hawk fly up and out of the poultry yard.  The birds were still locked up for the night, but when our daughter stopped by later to open up the birds for the day, she found a hawk entangled in the electric fencing.  She went into the house to get a means of "taking care" of the hawk but in the couple of minutes it took her to return to the area, the hawk had gotten loose and was gone.  She made the wise decision to leave our birds locked up for the day.
I've recently spent some time organizing all the miscellaneous recipes I've come across and saved (for how long?) and now have them filed under the appropriate headings in a three-ring binder.  I am so tired of my own cooking that either I'm going to give up eating (fat chance) or find some new taste-tempting dishes to add to our menus.  So far, I've had one success, a wonderful fish chowder, and one I'll-not-be-keeping-that-one, a "different" recipe for sloppy joes.  Lots more to try so I'll keep at it.
Our high-sided trailer has two axles, one of which had to be replaced five years ago.  If we had known then what we know now, we would have had them both done at the same time.  Now the second one is in sad need of replacement, but it's been a tremendous stress producing ordeal getting the proper parts.  Someone really should have had a video of Papa Pea and me underneath the trailer yesterday with camera trying to get a picture of the information on tags on the replaced axle in order to replicate (which is necessary) the first axle.  I can only say I had a much easier time getting under the trailer than back out again.  Ouch, bang, crash, I'm stuck!, owie, owie, owie.
 Never a dull moment around here.  When does that long, slow winter start?  

Monday, November 16, 2020

Howdy, Everybody!

 I think I'm finally relaxing from the busyness of this past summer.  Relaxing so much that I've been having a difficult time finding the energy to do any regular posting here.  Also, there's also some kind of a short between my brain and my fingers as I've not been commenting much on other blogs either, although I have been reading them.
Of course, there are still the items on the daily list that need to be tended to and I've actually stumbled through accomplished some bigger type tasks that I neglected all summer.
I've been out of my pre-made pie crust dough in the freezer so attempted to whip up a triple batch this afternoon.  Just as I was nearly through the second batch, I realized I had forgotten to put in half the butter I should have in the first batch.  (I use equal parts lard and butter in my crusts.)  Arrrgh.  As I say, my brain cells don't seem to be functioning really well.  (And my vision may be going, too.  Didn't I see that butter sitting there?)  I won't go into the details but I tried to salvage that first batch by adding the forgotten butter after the dough had already been formed into one-crust balls and was cooling in the refrigerator.  It was not easy.  Or pretty.

I knew I've never serve one of those pie crusts to unsuspecting friends without trying them out first so I made a haskap berry pie.  We'll sample it for dessert tonight and find out if it's edible.  If not, the poultry will be beside themselves.  And full of huge amounts of antioxidants contained in the haskap berries.
Yesterday I took a mental health day and did a lot of sorting and a little bit of cleaning in my quilt room.  As I've been bitten by the X-stitching bug lately, I sorted through my patterns and a tote of supplies which also contained a few projects that . . . well, needed completion.  (Who the heck would have stashed them away when there was so little left to take the projects to completion?!)
My dear daughter has been asking me for suggestions for what I would like for Christmas.  

In my sorting yesterday, I came across this piece that had only about a third of the border to finish which I did last night.  She does a whiz-bang job of matting and framing pictures (or pieces of handwork!) so I gave it to her today asking that she would do so and give it back to me as a Christmas present.  She seemed happy with the arrangement and I certainly will be. 
Time to go rustle up some dinner for us.  Papa Pea has said he has had a hankering for some fresh, raw vegetables and dip so that's what we're having along with some vegetable soup with beef.  I have a huge freezer stuffed full with frozen vegetables from the garden . . . and he wants raw veggies.  Sigh.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Squash Masquerading as Pumpkin

Did you know you can substitute cooked squash for cooked pumpkin in any recipe?
Last year I grew pie pumpkins, but no winter squash.  This year I did grow winter squash and use it instead of pumpkin when a recipe calls for pumpkin.  (Confused yet?)
It seems to me that the Red Kuri squash I grow has more flavor so I prefer it.  Besides that, my individual squash are usually bigger than the two of us can consume at one meal so I process whatever pulp remains into puree to be stored in the freezer.
We had baked fish fillets, mashed potatoes with gravy and baked squash for dinner last night.  

I bake my squash by cleaning out the seeds, putting cut side down in a baking dish, pouring boiling water into the dish to about a 1" level.  The squash then goes into the oven at 350° for at least an hour.  Last night I ended up baking it about 10 minutes longer until the pulp tested (with a fork) as soft as I wanted.  It was a big squash and when cutting it in half (from top to bottom) I succeeded(?) in getting one half bigger than the other.  Oops.
After dinner I had about two/thirds of the squash left over.

I scooped out the remaining pulp, put it in a bowl and mashed the heck out of it with my potato masher.  There was a time when I would process the pulp in a blender, but found it easier (with less clean up) to simply mash it well.

Then I measure two cups worth which goes into a freezer bag.

Pressing the mixture flat not only forces the air out of the bag but makes flat, pancake-like bags that are easy to stack in the freezer.  The second bag didn't have a full two cups in it (two cups being perfect for a squash pumpkin pie) so I labeled it as such.  No matter, as many recipes, such as pumpkin bread or muffins, call for just a cup or two-thirds of a cup and I can take what I need from the puree in one of the smaller bags.
One big winter squash equals killing two birds . . . or a veggie for dinner and freezer ready puree for baking . . . with one stone!  

Friday, November 6, 2020

The Whacky Weather is Here, Too

After me grumpity-dumping about our extremely cold month of October (temps down to the low 20s), this past week has given us gorgeous days in the 50s, 60s and today we hit the 70s.
Who's trying to gaslight us?  I'm not sure my mind (nor body) can make these adjustments.
Our daughter did some outside painting for us today which we didn't dream we'd get done this year.  She was on the south side of a small building and as the day progressed, she stripped down to a sleeveless t-shirt, rolled up her pant legs and took off her socks(!) in order to stay comfortable.  She may have ended up with a sunburn.  Or tan at least.

We had a pile of huge (HUGE) spruce and balsam logs Papa Pea had cut up two years ago.  I'm sure they were thinking about becoming punky and useless as firewood, but we hadn't found the time to get them split up this year.  With the advent of this spring-like weather (or more like summer up here in the north woods) we were able to get them unstuck from the stack where they had been frozen just a short week ago and today finished getting them split and stacked under cover.  That felt good.

I was even able to do some window washing.  Truth to tell, I had taken it off my Must Do This Fall list, but there was no way I could avoid it today when that thermometer climbed into the 70s.  (Although I sometimes think washing the outside of our windows is wasted effort as after the first rain or snow they seem to look as dirty as before.  Anybody else have this problem?)

I think it was late last week that I finished the Thanksgiving-themed X-stitch I've been working on.  It's now on a kitchen wall, over the stove.  It could/should be a little bigger for that area, but I'm happy with it.

The pattern includes instructions for two other turkeys, one hen and another male turkey in a side view pose.  I may do the one of the hen later on.  Like next year.
Right now I need to close this post and get back outside to help stack the wood that's in those wheelbarrows.  Unless I've stalled long enough that Papa Pea has already done it.   

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Just a Little Catsup. Ketchup? Catch-Up!

 After having unusually cold weather for the past couple/few weeks, we may get temps that climb into the 40s (a real heat wave, no?) this coming week.
And I can finally report that the garden is now completely put to bed for the winter.

The three long strawberry rows are snuggled under their heavy covering of mulch.

No snow yet on the very tall asparagus ferns but rain, wind and frost have bent them down so Papa Pea can no longer claim they are blocking the view of vehicles coming in on the driveway.

After our summer of lots of (sweat producing) hot days, I thought my Red Kuri squash would have matured more than it did.  Even though many of them don't have the intense orange-red color I look for, I have prepared two of them for us and they are good; just not as "sweet" as I would like.  No fear that they won't get eaten.

Our potato harvest was small.  But what did I expect when I planted only about half as many as usual?
A couple of years ago we had trouble with wire worms (ugh) in the potatoes.  The next year (spuds planted in a different spot) the problem was less prolific, but still in evidence.  So last year, I decreed a ban on potatoes in the garden.  We purchased a couple of twenty-five pound bags from an acquaintance who had a great crop.  From those bags, I saved small ones to plant as seed this year.
The result was no wire worms (yay!!) but a smaller yield and not the largest spuds we've ever seen.  Our total harvest was eighty-four pounds which will keep us going well into the winter months. 
I can't think of potatoes without remembering that my dear grandma immigrated to this country from Scotland with her family when she was fifteen.  She related the family had spent more than one winter living on nothing put potatoes. 
That story makes me extremely grateful for our bountiful garden harvest which has filled our freezers and pantry shelves.  We certainly have a plethora of good food to supplement our eighty-four pounds of potatoes. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

I'm Not Sophisticated

Nor is my cooking.  Or choice of cook books.
Katie C., who frequently comments on my blog posts, made a suggestion that I list my ten favorite cook books and why I like them.  
What a good idea.  Especially if you readers would then take the time to comment on your favorite cook books! 
So here goes.
You will see that I'm more like Betty Crocker than Martha Stewart.  I don't cook with ingredients I have to go to the big city stores to find.  I classify myself as a simple cook although I've been told I'm a good cook. 
That said, I confess I couldn't boil water when first married.  (Poor Papa Pea.)  

This was the first cook book I ever obtained.   In 1963.  (Yep, dear old Betty.  She and I have been best buds ever since.)  I devoured this book and my first attempts at cooking came straight from its pages.  I still look through it for new-to-me dishes to try.  Down-home, easy and delicious.

I also have these other four companion-type books obtained at a later date.  All chuck-full of good ideas.

This one may be irrelevant to most of you but considering my absolute love of rhubarb, it's one I dive into every spring.  No matter how many "keepers" I've already tried from its pages, there are still more that tempt my taste buds.

Many years ago there was a publication called "Farm Journal" put out for farmers.  As far as I know, it's no longer available.  In making a search I found a magazine called "Farm Journal Magazine" but I don't believe it has a connection with the one I'm remembering which was in the form of a thick newspaper.  There was a section where farm wives (or whoever the cook in the farm kitchen was) sent in recipes they regularly made for their families.  Subsequently, this cook book with a selection of many of the recipes was published and I've found lots of my favorite recipes in it's pages.  Contained is interesting information about the history of pies, cookies and breads along with all kinds of "tips" from experienced cooks.  Not all the pies and breads are sweet treats but also wholesome, main meal-type concoctions.    It's a big book and I'm a long way from experiencing all it has to offer.

During the years we followed a vegetarian diet, this book was my bible.  I think I opened it almost daily.  I still use it as an excellent source of information and make many of the recipes.

Some of you may be familiar with the Taste of Home publication.  At one time (I'm not sure if they still do), they put out an annual issue of recipes published (from real cooks who feed their families) in the magazine.  I have books from three years, 2002, 2003 and 2011, that I've kept as favorites of mine and I go to them time and time again.

My recipe box doesn't qualify as a "cook book" per se, but many of the recipes that are favorites from the above shown books are filed in there and on a day to day basis (unless I'm looking for a new dish), I use the recipes found in the box more than I grab a cook book.
I'll admit I only infrequently search for new recipes on the  Internet.  I guess you could say I'm addicted to my cook books.

A couple of years ago, I went through all my books and trimmed down the number to these in my cook book cabinet in my kitchen.

Well, those are all of them except for these that wouldn't fit on the other designated shelves.
I know I didn't list ten favorite cook books.   It was hard to choose the ones I did list.  Are they really my favorites?  I dunno, but I was getting a little wonky trying to make the decision.  With so many from which to choose, how could I list only the favorites? 
Thanks for the suggestion for this post, Katie.  Now I'll be really interested in hearing what are the favorites you all choose to list in the comments section.  I just hope I don't see too many that I have to buy!  

Sunday, October 25, 2020

All Those Wasted Years

You would have thought I'd have gotten over it by now, but I haven't.  All the years I was in school, the only books I read were either text books or books as required reading for one specific course or another.
Now in the wisdom (ahem) of my later years, I'm a voracious reader.
So, why didn't I fill all those hours (years!) while in grade school, junior high, high school and beyond devouring book after book that interested me?
This may explain.
When I was growing up, nearly every elementary school had a good sized library as a part of the school building.  This was the "public library" that served all library patrons in the surrounding school district.  My childhood home was kitty-corner to the grade school I attended.  The library was in a bump-out wing of the school building with its own separate entrance.
I think I was about ten years old when one long summer day, I asked permission to go to the library thinking I might find a book to read to pass the time.
I had no idea how our neighborhood library was set up or just where I might find an interesting book in it, so once inside I started wandering around looking at shelf after shelf when Mrs. Ewing, the librarian, came up behind me and scared the bejeebers out of me by demanding asking in a not too friendly voice, "What are you looking for?"
Being a shy child, I'm sure I replied in an almost inaudible voice something to the effect of, "A book to read."
Mrs. Ewing then said (and I'll probably never forget her words or tone of voice), "Well, you're not supposed to be in this section.  Books for your age are over there."  She pointed to an alcove across from where I was standing.
Going to that area, the first books I saw were a series of biographies of famous people written for young readers.  I can still picture those books with the orange bindings lined up on the shelf.  I chose one and started to walk out of the library with it.
Oh, dear.  You can imagine my mortification when immediately accosted by the evil Mrs. Ewing.  Somehow, I managed to get signed up for a library card and leave with the book in my sweaty little hands.
A couple of days later, after reading the book and enjoying it immensely, I got up enough courage to venture into the library again and check out another one of the biographies.  I worked my way through every one of the series on the shelf, but never went back for any other books for fear of being reprimanded for straying out of the section I was supposed to be in.  (Did I mention I was very shy?)
The next library that gave me bad dreams was in my high school.  It was a very large library staffed by a husband and wife team, Mr. and Mrs. Whiteside.  They looked to be in their eighties (in reality probably only in their early sixties), were both short, squat, round and dour.  He was always dressed in a three-piece black suit, she in a black matronly dress.  They both had white hair.  He looked much like Winston Churchill.  So did she.
Upon entering the door to the library, Mr. Whiteside functioned as the official warden greeter, reminding you that there was to be no visiting while you were there, you were to find the material needed, take a set and be silent or check out your book, provided it was one that was allowed to be checked out, and immediately exit the premises.  (I'm not making this up, I promise.)  To say it was not an environment that encouraged young readers or anyone looking for materials that might further their education would be an understatement.
Fast forward several years to when I was first married and got up the gumption to give a library where I might find something interesting to read another try.  (I made my husband go with me.)  
We lived outside a small town which had a small but adequate library and, lo and behold, a librarian who couldn't have been more well-suited for her profession or helpful, pleasant and friendly.  Papa Pea and I started making one night a week our library night and spent happy hours browsing to our heart's content and checking out stacks of books that interested us.
That started my years of devouring books one after another.  To this day, I always have a book (I still prefer the kind with pages to turn and that you can actually hold in your hands) I'm reading (sometime two at once, but my mind isn't really strong enough to do that too often), and I always also have an audio book I'm listening to when doing less than stimulating tasks such as washing dishes or weeding in the garden.  
I have ready access to and can read as many books as I can find time for these days.
And yet, I still think of and bemoan all those formative pre-teen and teen years when I had the time to read as much as my little heart would have desired, but didn't.  What a waste.
A pox upon all men and women who choose library science as an occupation and should not, and blessings upon those who make the same choice but are able to present libraries and their books to children and everyone else in a way that opens for them the big, wide, wonderful world of reading.