How can it be December 2012 already? What happened to the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s? Geez, you blink and you’re 40 years older but Christmas is still coming and then the new year. Fortunately even though I can be a terrible procrastinator I’ve been getting ready for this month since May. I’ve been canning, collecting and now I’m baking. The older you get the less your really need but most everyone enjoys something good to eat. A jar of jam with some cookies is always a well received gift. My dog Macky has a lot of friends and they all really like homemade dog treats. Sometimes Ralph thinks he might want one and then he realizes what kind of cookies they really are. I think it’s the bacon grease that makes them smell so good. All summer and fall I’ve been canning; Dansom plum jelly, strawberry-plum, mixed berry, raspberry and blackberry jam. I just made some apricot butter, and Ralph and I made some of his spaghetti sauce and we’re getting ready to make some elk mincemeat. I’ve got dill and bread-and-butter pickles in my pantry along with some apple-pear sauce and raspberry vinegar. My Christmas potpourri mixture is full of lots of wonderful things that look great in a nice container or a see through bag that you can put in your car or your closet. This past weekend I went out to Smith and Smith Farms in Dayton and pressed fresh apple juice for the first time ever and used apples from our tree along with some of Carol’s. What a great gift that is going to make.This is always a good time to spread some cheer around too. Money is like manure, it’s no good unless you spread it around. There are so many wonderful local organizations that are helping out those less fortunate in our community and not just around the holidays. Pick one and if you can make a donation. A little or a lot it all adds up.This coming Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. I will be at Adele’s as Mrs. Claus helping Santa pass out cookies. The event “Cookies with Santa” is a fundraiser for the Ron Wood Family Resource Center. Charlie and Karen Abowd are always stepping up to help out our community. They both represent the true spirit of Christmas all year long. I’ll be joining them next Sunday with the Loving Hearts Club in Reno at Tent City just off of Record Street and spreading a little Christmas cheer and some good food to all the people that live around there and rely on a hot meal from this great organization.This is going to be my last column for a few months. Once again I’m going back to work for the Legislature this coming session.I hope Christmas brings everyone the kind of joy that will stay in your hearts throughout the year.This cookie recipe that I’m going to share is easy to put together, They look festive on a pretty Christmas plate or you can put them in little paper containers for gift giving. Bert’s Raspberry Squares3⁄4 cup butter, softened1⁄2 cup sugar1⁄4 teaspoon almond extract13⁄4 cups flour1⁄4 teaspoon salt1⁄2 cup finely chopped walnuts1⁄2 cup coconut8 to 12 ounces raspberry jamCombine the first 3 ingredients, stir together flour, nuts and salt. Add to creamed mixture and mix until crumbly. Reserve one cup for topping. Pat remaining mixture into 9 X 9 square pan. Spread jam over crumb mixture, top with reserved crumbs and coconut. Bake 350 until golden, about 25-30 minutes.Cut while warm. Makes 20-24 or more depending on size you cut them.Macky’s Dog Biscuits21⁄2 cups whole wheat flour1⁄2 cup powdered milk1 teaspoon, garlic powder1 tablespoon wheat germ1 teaspoon beef or chicken bouillon (granules)6 tablespoons bacon grease1 egg1⁄2 cup cold water or more as needed to make a workable doughPreheat oven to 350. Combine all dry ingredients. Cut in grease and mix in egg. Add enough water for mixture to form a ball as you stir. Pat to 1⁄2 inch thick. Cut into various dog bone size or small biscuits. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool. Woof!• Linda Marrone is a longtime Carson resident, manages the 3rd & Curry Street Farmers Market and is director of Nevada Certified Farmers Market Association.