My Momma, Hip Surgery, and Comfort Food!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I’m here in New Mexico with my folks at the home I grew up in, helping my Momma recover from a total hip replacement.  My mother is a hard working Ranch Wife and I’m pretty certain her motto in life would be, “Get up and get going”!  So this thing of being sort of chair-bound is a little hard on her. 

I love being here and have been enjoying an early morning walk most mornings, if I can squeeze it in.  But I’m going to be honest and say that I haven’t worked this hard since we finished building our house! 
Don’t get me wrong.  I’m NOT complaining.  I’m so happy to be here and consider it a huge privilege to help take care of my mother.  I’m thankful every minute that I still have a mother and that she is in good health and such a treasure to me. 
But I’m exhausted.  And when I get really tired I laugh constantly.  At the worst things at the wrong time!  Like when I went to move Mom’s walker and knocked her in the knee with it and she just about jumped out of her chair.  I laughed so hard I had to sit down on the floor.  My Dad laughed just as hard, mind you.   Dad said,  "She’s going to need a knee replacement next"!  Smile! 
So, imagine my horror yesterday when Mom said (from the recliner where she was forced to lay because it was time for her ice pack), “Today we are going to can those apples”.  I burst out laughing.  She just looked at me seriously.  My next thought was that I was going to call my sister at work and say, “WHY did you pick all those apples off Mom and Dad’s tree?  They were fine just hanging there”!  But instead I wearily said, “Okay, let’s get you set up in the warm sunroom”. 

My Mom was so happy.  She peeled, cored, and sliced apples to her hearts content.  I love watching my mom’s hands when she does something like that.  They fly through the air like you would not believe.  She is FAST. 
So we canned apples.   And you know what?  It was so lovely.  I realized so many things from those few hours.  Probably the biggest thing being that I am my mother’s daughter.  I love the same things she loves.  I’m happiest when my hands are busy; be it cooking, crafting, working, or writing.   I pretty much hate laying around.
When I got up this morning and looked at our beautiful jars of canned apples on the counter top, I smiled.   I’m going to be here two more weeks and, even though I miss my family in Tennessee more than you can imagine, I’m so happy to have this time with my dear Momma and Daddy.
And one other thing I’ve learned that I never realized before is that I’m my Daddy’s daughter too.  He and I can laugh until the tears are rolling down our cheeks! 

So to close out this very (exhausted) jumbled blog post, I thought I would share with you my Mom's favorite comfort food! 

A fresh pot of Pinto Beans. 


All you need is some dry Pinto Beans and Salt Pork. Throw the beans in a large stock pot, cover with water.  Add a few slices of salt pork and bring it all to a boil.  Lower the temperature, put a lid on your pot and let it sit there and simmer for several hours.  Check frequently to make sure there is enough water and add more as necessary.  Add salt as desired but only after beans are completely cooked and soft.

We love to serve our beans with what I thought was my Mom's bean relish recipe.  She said, "It sure is funny that both you and your brother make that bean relish with cucumbers".  She says she never did, so I'm not sure where we both came up with the idea to add cucumbers.   Anyway, here is my Mom's bean relish recipe (my version).

Chop equal portions of onions, cucumbers, tomatoes and green chile (preferably Hatch, New Mexico green chile right out of your Momma's freezer!). 


Throw them together into a bowl and pour in a bit of olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. 

Have your dear daughter (smile) dish up a bowl of steaming hot Pinto Beans with bean relish on the side and serve it to you in your recliner! 
On a very serious side note.  My mother would far rather be the one serving ME.  I can only think of a few times in her life that I've had the privelege of being the one doing the serving.  And believe me when I tell you that if you are ever sick or in need of some TLC, nobody does it better than my Momma!
Dad and I just have to tease her a bit! 
P.S.  I am so excited that I'll be going to the airport tomorrow to pick up Eldon!  My Dad is just as happy as he'll have someone to escape with him to The Ranch!   


  1. Love reading this and hearing about your time with your Mom and Dad! Edie

  2. Dori, you are so expressive and I love all you share. I can picture you all together there. Your mother looks really good after just having hip surgery. Hope she gets along well. Give them both my love, Elaine Linderman

  3. What a sweet looking mother! Treasure your time there, but take care of yourself too. They don't make women like you and your mom anymore you know........and I do the same, laugh when I'm tired and nervous and all the wrong times. I think God gives us that for stress relief!

  4. So glad you are able to be there with your Mother! I know it is a work of love and serving. She is beautiful, like you. I pray she recovers well from the surgery and gets back to doing the things she loves to do. Hope you enjoy the times you have together.

    Take care.


  5. Thanks for sharing this. You are truly blessed to have this time with your mom and dad. Love the laughter and lessons.

  6. I am so glad you are having a good time with your parents, Dori. It looks so sunny and warm there I may come join you! ;>) I will say a prayer for a speedy recovery for your mother.

  7. You are such a wonderful daughter, mother, wife and grandmother, you are so special. I shall pray your mother has a speedy recovery.
    PS. driving to Tennessee this friday to see my boy. Can't wait.

  8. Care-taking IS very exhausting - your momma is blessed to have you! I feel totally lazy in comparison to you both. I broke my wrist recently, however, so maybe that's my excuse :)

  9. You never cease to amaze me! Love you, Dori.

  10. Nice to be able to help your mother when she needs you. I am still smiling after reading the part about canning the apples!! Very few people do work this hard and when you are a "worker" you totally understand! Love the picture of your mother cutting the apples. When you get back home the memories here are forever. She looks very happy to have you. Wishing her a speedy recovery!

  11. The canned apples are beautiful, I'm surprised to know an apple tree would survive in the desert. How nice you can care for your Mom, that's a privilege you won't forget. Your parents are great country folks!


  12. She is already canning apples? She'll be up scrubbing floors next! Hope that you all take good care of one another, get your rest, and keep laughing. It is great medicine...

  13. Your mom looks very happy peeling her apples, Dori! Nice to be able to there to help your parents for a length of time too. Home cooked meals to nourish the body and soul. Thank you for this wonderful family post, Kathleen in Az Enjoy the cool sunshine in NM

  14. Thank you for sharing Dori! It is beautiful to see how much you love your parents. Glad that your husband came for a visit. Sounds like more sweet memories are about to be made. Also, thank you for your lovely card. I was so excited to get it. :0) I finally found the card making supplies from Hobby Lobby (thanks for the tip) and our bigger girls and I got to work making some "get well soon" cards for our neighbor's granddaughter. She had to have her appendix taken out. She's 7 and resting at home now. Thanks for the encourage and great ideas. Will email you an update soon. God bless!

  15. Encouragement...I'll blame it on my fever. ;0)

  16. Your mother is a beautiful woman. What a lovely photo of her happily hard at work :)

  17. A lovely tribute to your parents! I, too, was very close to my mom and dad. They passed away in 2000 and 2001 (mom only 15 months after dad). I miss them so much. Enjoy this time with your parents and savor it. You're blessed to have a strong and positive relationship with them. I know several people who don't and I always think how sad that is. Saying a prayer that your mom recovers quickly,

  18. Oh how hard it must be to live away from your parents..I am so thankful that you got to go and spend precious time with them. Praying for her recovery. Embrace every moment, every is so short. Blessing Dori.

  19. Hi Dori, I made the pinto beans & relish (minus the chopped onions) for my family last night and the meal was delicious!! I'm so happy when you post recipes and craft how-too's, as we can all learn from you. :) I have a question re: the butcher block counters that we recently installed. We too applied several coats of tung oil mixed with orange solvent and they're beautiful but rough. I was hoping you'd be able to share if you had this same problem and what you did? Thank you from Laurie in San Juan Capistrano, CA

    1. Hi Laurie! Glad you enjoyed the meal! As for the butcher block. I'm not sure how rough yours are, but mine were definitely NOT smooth for awhile. And believe me I had sanded the dickens out of them. But what I've noticed is that the more they are used the more wonderful they get. Mine (especially on my island) are slick and smooth now. There is one area in the corner next to my refrigerator that doesn't get the use as much and it is not as slick as the rest of them, but certainly not rough. I do wonder about the wood though as my daughter purchased some IKEA Oak and is has never gotten as slick as the Birch seems to get. So it may be the kind of wood also. I personally would give it some time - a few months at least. If you feel like it isn't improving, there is certainly no harm in sanding and re-oiling. Also, oiling every few months is key too, for the first year at least. You can always email me if you want to discuss it more in-depth. Thanks for reading and commenting! - Dori -

  20. This message was beautiful and timely for me! I hope your dear Mama is feeling better. I want to come can next time! ;)