Tuesday, August 9, 2016


We are on a short home assignment. We are staying with family and so between visits with churches and supporters we are able to enjoy some time with family. 

Today our outing was to Uncle Henry's Handmade Pretzels for a factory tour. The average American eats about two pounds of pretzels a year and the average Pennsylvanian eats 12 pounds a year. Some of that is the German roots and then combined with that is the fact that there are numerous companies here making pretzels. 

My mom asked me what I was expecting and I told her that I thought it would be in the back of a barn. My guess was close. 

We walked in and were at the packaging department. There was no fancy facilities or reception area. The girl came over and began the tour. The first thing we saw was the dough machine. One hundred pounds of flour, yeast, sourdough, water, salt, and soda. One batch makes 2000 pretzels. The day shift makes 16 batches. The evening shift makes 11 batches.

I think one of the most interesting things in the factory was this machine. The lady would knead the dough to get the air out and then put a tube through and turn it and it was cut the tube to the size of piece for each pretzel. The factory was not that high tech.

Uncle Henry's pretzels are twisted by hand. There are about 10 ladies there twisting the pretzels. I asked if there were other pretzels companies that twist the pretzels by hand. She told me that there are two other companies that she knows. The training is three months. That surprised me a bit. They need to be doing about 11 pretzels per minute.

Each tray holds about 90 pretzels. These are formed and then they get a soda bath which gives them the colour.

The salt is put on the peel and then the pretzels are placed on that to put them in the oven. I had made soft pretzels at home. Soft pretzels bake at 400F as that is about as hot as my oven goes. The oven is 600F so that is probably how they can make hard pretzels. The pretzels are only in there for about seven minutes.

After baking the pretzels are cooled for about an hour.

Then they are packed in bags and they cool in front of a fan.

The factory is small with maybe 15 people working there.

I thought this was an interesting sign. There is one

It was a fun outing and factory tour. Uncle Henry's has been make pretzels since 1983. I was told that they ship worldwide.

We got a free pretzels. It was hot, just out of the oven.

We bought a bag to eat. We need to eat our 12 pounds for the year in a month which I don't think we will really do but we are enjoying pretzels.

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

June & July in Review

I actually began this post in June because I wanted to write about one of the books that I had read before I returned it to the library. Then I never got around to finishing this. So now I will combine June and July.

Books read.

Aprons and Silver Spoons by Mollie Moran - The heartwarming memories of a 1930s kitchen maid. I saw this book in the library and thought it was interesting so I added it to my library bag. The first that impressed me was that she wrote this book when she was 96 year old. I loved her humour and love of life. She began as a scullery maid at 14. A scullery maid is basically the lowest maid, the one that scrubs the steps and kitchen, peels the vegetables, and washes the pots. She worked her way up to being a cook in her 20s. I love seeing the relationship change between Mrs Jones, the cook. She tells of her friendship with Flo who was the kitchen maid at the first place she worked. They became friends and at the time that she was writing the book they still kept in touch on the phone and with visits. Flo has also written a book and that is on my reserved list at the library. "The 10 years I spent in domestic service were some of the happiest times of my life and made me the woman I am today. Starting as a scullery mad and working up to cook instilled in me confidence, a good work ethic, self-esteem and pride in my work."

I also read two books on trafficking. That is my book about a current topic. It was interesting to read these two books. One was based in the US and the other was a girl from England. One might have found Christ and healing, while the other girl did not seem to have that hope.

Gilled - This was an interesting read. I borrowed it from the library. A friend had recommended it.

Miss Buncle's Book - I absolutely loved this book. It was funny and light reading. Now I am reading another Miss Buncle book.

In July I read

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Queuing for Beginners - this was a book on life in UK. It gave me bits of information. I still think Britty Britty Bang Bang was a favourite.

The Boys in the Boat - I borrowed this from the library. I enjoyed the references to Seattle and also the history. It was an excellent story of the hard work and all that was done to overcome the challenges and to go for the gold.

I still have a few books that I am working through a Commentary on Ephesians, Seabiscuit, a biography of George Muller.

In June we had some outings and in July our outing was an adventure as we had 1/4 tank of diesel and we got lost. We did finally find our destination.

It was a hot day and we were headed to Slippery Stones one of the wild swimming places.

We drove and drove partly because we got lost. Then we walked a bit. It was in a beautiful area. I think it would be a great place to go for a walk.

I love the blue sky.

One of the books that I recently read or skimmed through was called, 8 out of 10 Brits. It was just full of interesting stats.

77% of adults say that they walk for pleasure at least once a month (8 out of 10 Brits)

I have not worked on any unfinished projects. I have not started any new projects so it is okay at this time.

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Monday, August 1, 2016


One of the things that Miss K has been doing this past year is Brownies. She began it in November and is one of the highlights of her week.

Brownies has been a great activity for her. She group meets at the church and the leaders are from church.

Miss K decided that she wanted to work on the toymaker badge. I looked at the requirements and we began working on it. Since it was almost the end of the year we had to quickly work on this. Miss K made a teddy bear from a kit. Then we made a game.

I was tying to come up with another toy that she could make. One of the suggestions was puppets. As I looked in the craft cabinet I found the wooden clothespins and so we turned them into puppets and created the Three Little Pigs. Miss K drew the houses and each pig had some materials to show what kind of house he made.

Miss K needed to take the things she made to her Brownies and show her leader. She was excited to get her badge. Now we will begin working on badges. I wonder how many badges she can earn this next year.


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