Sunday, February 28, 2010
I was happily scouring the lawn and ground around our pond for skeletized leaves to use for making my art cards, along with small cones and lichens I collect for other purposes. Then there are the tiny and detailed feathers left behind from my ducks and wild birds. While looking for these treasures I delight in the little bulbs sprouting, some fantastic fungi and ...OWWW!!!! I walked right into a low growing branch, poking my face and eyes. I immediately thought to myself, " I am so busy looking down I forgot to look up and see where I am going." And then I realized how like my life that is. I get so excited and distracted by my earthly treasures ( family, friends, possessions, hobbies, etc,) I hurt myself by forgetting to look up, up to my Heavenly Father and His Son in Whom rests my help, my foundation, my hope, my eternity. "If you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above,where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth." Colossians 3:1,2
Friday, February 26, 2010
M.N. can read! She is a reader!
(above is MN exclaiming "I can read"! while holding up her first reader and her new purse )
M.N.is so excited . She and I have been having 'reading days' to help her grasp the wonderful world of reading. We began using the reader whose pictures I have incorporated into this post. I have to tell you, I was beginning to think this was going to be a very long process for her. I used many ways to help her grasp the concept of reading and unashamed bribery was part of it. I promised her that when she could read this entire reader we would go shopping for whatever she wanted within a certain price range. In spite of her enthusiasm and hard work, she just was not grasping this precious skill. I also prayed. I believe reading is a blessing, a gift from God. It enables one to unlock so much knowledge and so many worlds, and most importantly, one can read GOD'S WORD!MN does not read sounds as much as she is ( my words here ) a WORD reader, which is how her mother and I taught ourselves how to read. Somehow, some way, over the last 2 weeks things just clicked into place and SHE CAN READ!!!!! When I picked her up to take her to my home for reading day she was positively bouncing off the walls and eager to read to me. AND SHE DID!!!!! Well, we had to go directly to the store where she picked herself out something she wanted. When we went to my home MN read to me the entire reader and I was able to ascertain ( like the big words?) she really could read, and had not just memorized the book. I was almost in tears of joy and happiness for her. Way to go granddaughter~
Come Jerry, come. Let us go see MN's new prize for learning how to read!
READ: "to note, follow, or apprehend the characters of a book,manuscript,inscription or the like." Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary
Look Alice, look!Look at MN's prize. It is a Barbie teacher, student and playground set. Look Alice , look. MN is playing with her new prize! Reading:"The act , practice, or art of perusing written or printed matter and ascertaining or considering it's contents or meaning." Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
My favorite foods at dinner were the Thai Chicken Salad,Chicken Nibbles, the duck itself, and the herb cookies I made. I will post 3 of the recipes here , a few will be posted on our Family Recipe Blog* later. I could have filled up on just the salad and been happy, but I had to share. Isn't this a stunning looking salad? Here is the recipe for Thai Chicken Salad ~
- 1 large carrot, peeled
- 3 cups shredded Napa cabbage, from 1 small cabbage
- 3 cups shredded Romaine lettuce
- 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and deveined, thinly sliced
- 2 Tablespoons fresh Thai basil leaves or fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 2 grilled boneless, skinless chicken breasts lightly coated in with Thai dressing, grilled, set aside and cooled.
- 2 Tablespoons toasted white or black sesame seeds
- won ton wrappers
- pea pods (4 per plate)
- 1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- sea salt and pepper
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
Mint Orange Shortbread I altered a shortbread recipe and believe me, these are so good!
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 2 teaspoons fresh orange zest
In a mixing bowl using electric mixer at medium high speed, beat butter til light and creamy , 2 to 3 minutes. Add confectioner's sugar, beating until smooth and fluffy. Add orange extract and set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour and salt. With mixer at low speed, slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture.Increase speed to medium, mixing until combined. Add mint and orange zest, combining thoroughly. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill, at least an hour. I simply shaped the chilled roll and then sliced the cookie dough and placed the cookies on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake until lightly golden, 8 to 10 minutes. I am eating some now as I type,oh, they are perfect with a cup of hot tea!
Lemon Pudding Dessert
This dessert is from Taste Of Home Best Holiday Recipes, 2006 and was submitted to them by Muriel Dewitt of Massachusetts. Very, very good and a light dessert after eating a lot of food.
- 1 cup cold butter
- 2 cups flour
- 1 -8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 - 8oz. carton frozen whipped topping, thawed and divided
- 3 cups cold milk
- 2 - 3.4 oz. pkgs. instant lemon pudding
My husband enjoying lemon pudding dessert, you could say after preparing and serving this great meal he is partaking of his just desserts.
The dishes are washed , stacked, and await storing, the few cookies remaining are there for tea time, the flowers are barely hanging on after adorning our dinner party. The tablecloth and chef's coat have been washed and put away. The remnants of leftovers were eaten tonight and good memories remain, hopefully for a long , long time.Thank-you Jim, thank-you sisters and brothers.Thank-you Lord for such bounty. "Whose bread I eat; his song I sing." German Proverb
Here is my husband cooking up the last of the delicious duck dinner to accompany a lot of appetizers that accompany the wine-tasting! He put a LOT of planning, preparation, shopping, and then work ( of love ) into this dinner. The guests were two of my sisters and their husbands. We hope they went away happy , with full tummies, and good memories . The kind of memories that bond blood relationships with heart and soul. "Our brothers and sisters are there with us from the dawn of our personal stories to the inevitable dusk." Susan S. Merrill Here is a close-up of the menu my husband prepared for this evening. "If the divine Creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony." Fernand Point ( 1897-1955) One very popular appetizer with no left-overs was the Smoked Chicken Nibblies. My husband smoked the chicken needed for this recipe in the barbecue the night before. He really did do a lot of cooking and preparation days in advance of this dinner! "The best things in life are nearest; breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life." Robert Louis Stevenson Here is the main course.Seared Duck Breast with Apricot Reduction Sauce,Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Almond Haricots Vert ( fancy French way of saying GREEN BEANS with almonds). You must excuse the picture because I totally got distracted by the good food and good company and forgot to take pictures in time. Fortunately there was a tad bit of the main course left to put together a plate for pictures, but it does not do the first plating of this course justice!I have no words to fully express how very good this was. I am glad my husband prepared the duck, now I think I will raise a few ducks every year for the freezer, it is worth it! Because I cannot stomach potatoes I did not taste them but everyone else loved them. Of course we did get down to the wine tasting education which my husband presented. I discovered my brother-in-law Tom and I have very similar palates. Especially when it concerns wine. (We have very good taste even if he does like potatoes) "No one that has drunk old wine wants new; for he says, "The old is nice." Luke 5:39 My sister Karen and her husband Kaare, aren't they cute? "Men are like wine- some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age." Pope John XXIII I think all my sisters and I agree with this, and we agree our husbands are as fine wine! My next post will be the last post about our dinner and it involves dessert! If you are interested in the recipes I will be posting them in my Lefse Girls In The Kitchen* blog along with many other tried and true family recipes.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
My husband has been beside himself with joy and enthusiasm these past few weeks in the planning and preparation of a dinner and wine tasting event he was privileged to host for my sisters and their husbands, and ME ! He has piles and piles of cook books, cooking publications, and hours of perusing food and wine blogs and Food Network T.V invested in this dinner.In other words, he has been enjoying himself immensely. Of course he has the every day part of his life which requires he go to work, repair our well pump himself- which went out last month, and just last week and on into this week,he had to repair our septic pump which required digging up our septic system,working on it, spending lots of money and back-breaking labor on it , and then coming indoors and cleaning up so he could resume his passion, preparing for special dinners with people we love! ( Above is the center-piece of Friday night's event)
How does the table look so far? I'm just getting started. The china and carefully hand-washed and dried wine glasses are on the table, there is so much more to do...."Forsake not an old friend, for the new is not comparable to him. A new friend is as new as the wind: when it is old, thou shall drink it with pleasure." Ecclesiates 9:10 And dear sisters, you are long time ( not old yet!) friends as well as sisters dear to my heart~
My husband prepared one of our home raised ducks for this dinner ahead of time. He ( the duck) is carefully killed and plucked ( I helped with that) and cleaned , ready to be the main course. Because one of our home-raised ducks is the center- piece of the dinner, we used our ducks as the theme. The menu and table setting reflects this. I took pictures of our duck flock, enlarged them and added the menu and made a wine-tasting mat the same way. "Wine was created from the beginning to make men joyful, and not to make men drunk. When drunk with moderation is the joy of the soul and heart." Ecclesiastes 31:35-36 The menu was also the place card and contained a Bible verse central to our philosophy regarding God's abundant blessings.
Here is the menu on a picture of our ducks on our pond. "A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry.." Ecclesiastes 10:19
Close-up of the menu. " Eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart." Ecclesiastes 9:10This is the setting with the 4 wine-glasses . Each wine glass sits on a circle delineating the type of wine to be tasted. My husband also provided a wine-tasting sheet to help the tasters decide the qualities of the wine. "One not only drinks the wine, one smells it, observes it, tastes it, sips it, and one talks about it."King Edward the VII
Close-up of this wine-tasting mat for wine glass placement(above).You might notice this is the picture I use for the header of this blog. "Wine can be considered with good reason as the most healthful and most hygienic of all beverages" & "The flavor of wine is like delicate poetry." Louis PasteurMy sisters , well, 2 of them with their husbands. (Tricia, wish you could be here!) My sister Joni and her husband Tom on the left, my sister Karen and her husband Kaare on the right. We had so much fun, and the meal was wonderful!!!!! I will post the recipes and more in the next post. Be assured, my husband did good, very, very deliciously and just ducky good!"With years a richer life begins, the spirit mellows:ripe age gives tones to violins, wine and good fellows." John Townsend Trowbridge My husband, the chef! He really could do this for a living...but maybe it is all the more wonderful he does this for love. "May our love be like good wine, grow stronger as it grows older." Old English Toast "He makes grass grow for the cattle ( and ducks) and plants for man to cultivate-bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart. The trees of the Lord are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon that He planted." Psalm 104
Thursday, February 18, 2010
I have been reluctant to get to work around here. There is a lot to do, and my husband is preparing a special dinner Friday night for my sisters and their husbands...but I keep finding myself standing by the fence line with Beatrix ( above).....
...I have chicken pens that need a lot of work done in them, wool needing to be spun and locker-hooked, but I am standing at the fence line with Hawk ( above)...
....there are dishes and glasses needing that extra special polishing , table linens to select and arrange, a dessert to be baked, but I find myself standing at the fence line with Willow (above)...what are we distracted by?
Bouncing spots!Little bouncing spotted lambs. They are so much fun to watch, and watch, laugh and watch some more. Sigh.........I am not going to be getting as many things done as quickly as I had planned. And then to add distraction upon distraction,
Miss Alice from Thoughts of Home* sends me these squares of fabric for quilting projects that perfectly suits my color and fabric taste. Now I am distracted by bouncing spots and blue and yellow squares and so much more fun to come. Thank-you Alice!
Distraction: "Confusion from a multiplicity of objects crowding on the mind and calling the attention different ways;" fr. American Dictionary of the English Language
Monday, February 15, 2010
Goth, our big boy here, has destroyed many fences , gates, trees, and even another ram. We have tried to provide him with shelter to protect him from the rain but he has taken out solidly installed corner posts on buildings and the shelters over the years. He, his father and grandfathers killed the huge cottonwood trees in the ram pen by ramming them, for fun. See this post*Goth And The Spot of Ugliness. For a few years I have had this idea for a perfect shelter for rams, bulls and horses ( our sons' horses also contributed to taking out the corners of shelters) but not being any good at all in carpentry or building construction, and knowing my husband has many, many other more needful things to do in spite of my pleading, well, nagging~ my bright idea went undone. I have even spent many hours on-line looking for ready-made shelters of my simple design. I am sure there are many of you who read this ( or not) who will exclaim this is an old idea and YOU might have even incorporated it, but no one has ventured forth with this plan as of yet,( and I have asked many people on-line and in the sheep business around here)....so here is finally, the culmination of my idea and my husband and youngest son's handiwork. THANK-YOU! My husband and son have so many more important things to be doing, but our ram pen is right by the turn-around in our driveway. You see it right away and I don't like such destruction , ripped tarps, bashed in fences, demolished and dead trees to be the first thing so many people see.Hey, I don't like seeing it myself, but I do want to keep Goth. Above is the beginning of the structure. A structure supported by 3, THREE posts, all on the outside of the fence.See, if there are NO posts inside the fence, the ram cannot bash the post and cause the shelter to lean and eventually fall~ which has been the demise of all our previous sheep shelters. You can see on the other side of the fence, the huge wet hay and manure pile our youngest son cleaned out of the pen for me, with a bit of help from our oldest Grandson and my husband. This build-up is from Goth and the 4 ewes that spent the fall with him. I could not get into the pen to clean because I did not want Goth to be tempted to ram me. After our son helped my husband get off to a good start on the shelter my husband finished it, a bit at a time. He is a busy man and the weather has been bad. He had me be the watch-out just in case Goth took an interest in him and the bright green ladder.You can see part of Goth in the background of the picture above, and you can see the trunks of the very dead cottonwood trees killed by years of ramming. And here is my Valentine's present this year , the 3 post ram shelter that looks nice! I can also clean out the manure and wet hay stems with a 3 pronged forked hoe, from the outside of the fence~ yay! No risking life to have a clean ram pen. What is funny is that until my husband could get to finishing the roof, he had one strip of the corrugated metal roofing on the top and Goth would position himself perfectly under the strip to keep himself dry. He's not so dumb after all.
My husband presented me with a dozen red roses and card to melt my heart yesterday. Then he finished my ram shelter ~thank-you Jim, I love you!
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Here is a very easy project to do with children or for you to do up a little finer , and very quickly at that! This can be done almost last minute and economically too. Take a can, a nut can works fine, glue pretty wrapping paper around it, or paint the can, then decoupage a picture or Valentine on it, plop a plant, such as a primrose or African Violet into it and stick a skewer, or sharp stick through a home made heart proclaiming your love, then present this gift to Mom ( or ? ) with a hug and a kiss added to boot!Of course this can be done very, very economically but must be done with lOVE!Our granddaughters made this for their Mom, our daughter....
"And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. Love is patient, love is kind, love is not jealous, love does not brag, and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek it's own,..." I Corinthians 13:3-5
Friday, February 12, 2010
This is the last Jamie Oliver Friday I will do for awhile. There are a few more recipes I want to post but they are very seasonal and this is NOT the season for them, and then there is the one last recipe that requires a lot of wild game which my husband has brought home from the hunt and he will prepare it , in his time. This is the sweet pastry, which in the book is directly opposite the savory recipe I posted last week. I like this pastry but instead of using it as a fruit pie pastry as Jamie suggests, I will in the future use it as a ONE crust pie pastry for cream pies, or lemon meringue.The pastry is rich enough for me to be dessert by itself! You will need:
- 3 1/2 cups organic all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting ( *I did not have organic, just used regular)
- 1 cup icing (* confectioners' ) sugar
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons good quality cold butter , cut into small cubes
- zest of one lemon
- 2 large eggs
- a splash of milk (* and he means JUST a splash)
- flour for dusting
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Introducing Bide-a-wee Buttercup's new lamb, a son ( ram) I have named Basil. I find this picture touching as she nuzzles him and he leans into her. This is a big ram lamb and he is very strong and sturdy. He is also the son of Goth, the dominant ram here at Cedar Pond. I am excited to see how his horns grow, will he have 4 or 6 horns? We'll see. Buttercup's half-sister Bide-a-wee Chicory gave birth to TWINS today. She had a ram lamb and a ewe lamb and I am overjoyed by this. Aren't they cute? In this picture they are still wet from birth and learning to nurse. She is proving to be a good mom. Goth is also the father of these lambs. The boy lamb is on the left and it is obvious he will have at least 4 horns, they are already popping up out of his head . ( YIKES, can you imagine giving birth to already horned babies? ) And then there are the warm, fuzzy, and ridiculously cute babies...chicks! Yes, more chicks arrived in the mail to replace those that did not fare well in the last package. All seem to be doing well now, but i took a picture of them as they will be grown up so very quickly. You can see I have a lot going on around here and later on today my shearer will be here to shear a few more sheep, then there will be the skirting and washing of the fleeces so I can begin anew the dyeing, carding, spinning and locker-hooking of the wool that starts as a lamb late in the winter at Cedar Pond.
Monday, February 8, 2010
I am so happy with my newest lamb, she is sooooo cute! I am so thankful for her too. Last year Delilah's lamb died. I believe it was my fault, I should have been home. I had noticed her showing all the signs of lambing but as usual we had obligations away from home and in spite of my reservations , I went away for the day and came home to find a beautiful, full term lamb, dead on the ground with Delilah guarding it. She had not cleaned the birth sac off from around the lamb's face. Had I been home I could have easily done this and also made sure the lungs were clear of fluid, and the little lamb would most likely have lived. This was one of those times I got frustrated with so many aspects of my life conflicting with one another. Friends and family are important, but to me, my flocks are too. I cannot do a good job shepherding my sheep if I take them no more seriously than a casual hobby...to drop it when it is inconvenient and then pick it back up when I FEEL like it and it fits into my busy schedule. The little lambs are the fruition of months of planning, waiting, feeding and caring for the ewes when they are pregnant...joy when the lambs are born and then the new year of watching the lambs grow and deciding which lambs I might keep. Lambing time comes for a brief time every year, what kind of a shepherdess am I if I take this too casually , and what does this say about my stewardship of the flocks God has blessed me with? I am thankful and comforted my Shepherd, THE Shepherd, is not at all conflicted about His care for me and you ; "Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs, and carry them in His bosom. He will gently lead the nursing ewes." Isaiah 40:11
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Naomi had the first lambs , twins- a boy and a girl. She is one of my older ewes. Nine years ago she was born to one of my favorite Jacob sheep, Ruth. I have kept the biblical names for this line of sheep, particularly names from the book of Ruth. I think I will name these twins Orpah ( the girl and not to be confused with the name Oprah) and Obed. "And the neighbor women gave him a name, saying "A son has been born to Naomi !" So they named him Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David." Ruth 4:17 This is a beautiful story in the Bible and if you read it you will see the son was born to Ruth, Naomi was Ruth's mother-in-law, the mother of Ruth's first husband who died leaving Ruth childless and Naomi without children, or grandchildren . The book of Ruth is the touching story of Ruth, a foreigner, and her love and respect for her Mother-in-law Naomi . This little book in the Old Testament also"shows an oasis of faithfulness in an age marked by idolatry and unfaithfulness." comment in my study Bible. Ruth was the great- grandmother of King David.
Friday, February 5, 2010
This was an easy recipe for me and a chance to make pie dough in my food processor. I make a lot of pastry, but have never done it with my food processor and Jamie's recipe called for this so I was delighted to give it a go. The recipe in the book is simply the pastry recipe so I decided to make a chicken pot pie, a dish my husband always appreciates coming home to, especially on cool rainy days. You will need:
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 7 ounces lard, cut into cubes
- 2 ounces freshly grated Cheddar cheese
- sea salt
- a sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- a splash of milk
- flour for dusting