"It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." A.Holmes

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Spot on Camping....

Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington~~~We are camping in Paradise,, well, Paradise with rain, but the rain is what makes it Paradise ! We are having a wonderful time. Friends, family, fishing, fun, food, camp fire....and tonight is Fry Night ! Everyone has brought something to fry in deep fat for dinner ! This should be very, very good and very , very unhealthy for us. Can't wait!
~~~We live in our tent trailer while camping. It is quite cozy. Our dog Beatrix likes it too ~~~
~~~The kids enjoy the many little roads around the campgrounds. Here Lanny and Dirt's daughter Anna gives our #5 granddaughter a ride around the campgrounds. #5 granddaughter is practically velcroed to me EXCEPT when Anna is around. ~~~The blazing campfire with cooking aromas sending out an invitation to all hungry tummies. ~~~The view of our home on wheels from the forest. This is a very deep forest with rivers, mountains , real mountains, a deep rapid river, and trees still standing since before Columbus set eyes on this new world. Got to get ready for Fry Night, and maybe tomorrow I'll have caught fish for dinner ! Like last year...~~~

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Spot of Plum Jam

~Here is a basket of Shiro plums I picked in our orchard. These plums are so juicy and sweet, you cannot eat them without getting plum juice everywhere. They do not keep well so when they are ripe I need to use them right away. Sometimes I prepare the fruit and freeze it to turn it into jam later in the year, but I think the jam tastes so much better when I make the jam right away. ~~~It is raining again today so the weather is perfect for staying indoors and canning fruit.~~~
~To make jam you will need 5 3/4 cups of pitted crushed plums. Leave the peeling on while crushing. Add 1/4 cup lemon juice to the plums. While you are preparing the plums, sterilize your pint or half pint jars, bands, and new lids. Leave jars, lids, and bands simmering in the boiling water until you need the them. ( picture below)
~You will also need 10 cups sugar and a dab of butter or margarine and a box of pectin you can buy at your supermarket. I am using MCP pectin.
~Put the crushed plums in the pan with the dab of butter ( this keeps the cooking fruit from foaming too much) and the pectin. ~~~Bring the fruit, pectin and butter to a rolling boil. This is a boil that cannot be stirred down. Then add the 10 cups of sugar. When the plums and sugar again come to a boil, boil while stirring constantly for 4 minutes. ~~~Immediately after the 4 minutes boiling, remove the jam from the stove and begin ladling into hot sterilized jars. Wipe the rims and tops with a clean hot cloth to clean off any jam and put the lids on and then screw the bands on. Doesn't this look like liquid gold ? I have to label it 'jam' because it looks just like the jars of honey Hubby bottles from his bees. ~Here the jars of jam are placed into my canner. Now for years and years, all us little old jam makers just turned the freshly filled hot jars of jam over, let sit for a few minutes, then turn right side up and VOILA, the jam was done ! Now there are new standards that require we give the jars of jam a water bath. I never had any problem with my jams before, but since we give a lot of our jam away as gifts we play it safe . So.... a hot water bath it is !The jam in the boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
~~~Boiling away~~~
~This yellow plum jam is delicious on toast, but better on ham and pork roast. It is also a favorite jam of many in my family so we rarely have any to spare. After you take the jam out of the canner and place it in a draft free area, you will begin to hear little metallic pops as the seal sets in the jar. Leave the bands on the jars overnight. The next morning, remove the bands ( DO NOT STORE THE JAM WITH THE BANDS ON ) and check to see that there is an indentation in each lid. If not, the jar did not seal properly. No problem though, just pop the jam in the fridge and eat it right away ! ~~~Make some jam. You can get the recipes for your jam of choice in packages of pectin. Follow the directions carefully and you cannot fail. Jam is easy to make and your home made jam is so much more tasty than most of the jam you buy. Jam also makes great gifts. Everybody likes jam!
~~~JAM POEM~~~ from Mrs. Jone's Letter of the Week 'J' Who'll have jam ? There's jam for tea. Jam for Pam and jam for Sam And jam for little me. Who'll have jam, there's jam for tea. Damson jam and Bramble jam, And apple jam for me.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I Love A Rainy Sunday !

~I love rainy days, especially rainy days we are able to stay home. Sunday was just such a day. The type of day I long for so many other days of the year. It was not too cold, the rain was constant, I had a good book on CD to listen to while I plyed my yarn. I put a pork roast with vegetables in the oven , and with the rain beating on the sky lights and the view of the rain falling on our yard and pond from my comfy spot in the living room..I was so happy ! I think this red legged frog at the edge of our pond was happy too !~Rain beckons me, calls to me. I love to sleep with my bedroom window open on rainy nights. After plying yarn for awhile, I decided to venture out in the rain. Everything is so fresh ! Here the hostas by the front entrance sidewalk seem instantly refreshed. The Lady's Mantle and sedums grow quickly after summer rains.
~"Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby." Langston Hughes April Rain Song 
The downspouts gurgle and make little streams.
The little birdbath set amidst the ferns and rhododendron is filled with the rain water.
Thorin and Bombadil do not share my love of rain. Thorin peers out at me from his perch in the goat house. They go to great lengths to keep their feet and faces dry. They will jump from board to board to rock, sometimes with difficulty to avoid getting themselves wet. You would think they melt in rain the way the behave. ~The ducks mill around. So many choices for water loving ducks on a rainy day. Puddles, streams, the pond ? Or just hanging out on the water soaked lawn. The slugs are out in full force today so the ducks can graze on gourmet ( to ducks that is ) food without much effort.As much as I love the rain, I'll pass on a little boat ride around the pond.
~Rainy days fill me with energy ! I can accomplish so much while it rains. When there have been too many rainless days I get depressed. I also pine away for rain when I am visiting other places and states that do not get much rain. To me, a rainy day is to be cherished, like a vacation of sorts. I guess I am weird that way. ~One of my favorite passages in the Bible is where God answers Job out of the whirlwind and addresses the audacity of man to question his creator. Here God speaks of the rain and weather. "Who has cleft a channel for the flood, or a way for the thunderbolt; to bring rain on a land without people, on a desert without a man in it,to satisfy the waste and desolate land, and to make the seeds of grass to sprout ?Has the rain a father? Or who has begotten the drops of dew ?..Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, so that an abundance of water may cover you ? Can you send forth lightnings that they may go and say to you 'Here we are?' ...Who can count the clouds by wisdom, or tip the water jars of the heavens, when the dust hardens into a mass as the clods stick together? " Job 38; 25 -38 ~~~
~And there is one more reason I love a rainy day , an unknown author says it perfectly ! "God made rainy days so gardeners can get the housework done ."~

Monday, August 25, 2008

Family Celebrations and Other Things to do With Eggs !

~~~Oh look, we're having a baby party and everyone brought babies ! Well, that is what it seemed like . Everywhere there were new babies being handed around and cuddled, nursed,having their diapers changed..but I forgot to bring my baby to the party. I need to remember to bring a baby to the next family gathering.
~Our daughter and her husband threw a family barbecue to celebrate the birth of their new son , their 4th child and our 8th grandchild. Since our family and her husband's family are so large they decided a summer born baby was a good opportunity for a barbecue bash ! There were about 80 people gathered to celebrate. Our son-in-laws' sister ( middle) and cousin ( left) also had babies within the month so we really had a celebration of new babies in the family !~Here is our daughter with our new grandson.
~ I was met at the party . # 2 granddaughter is holding a bag full of water to drench me ! The other children were bearing water balloons to hit me with, but as I had my arms full of food to be carried to the kitchen and I had forgotten the machine- gun sized water gun I had told them I was bringing to GET THEM ALL WET ,but they decided to have mercy on me and went after other unsuspecting adults. We had so much delicious food . Our son-in-law and his family can put on a barbecue ! You have not had barbecue until you have eaten at Guamanian barbecues. Trust me, you will not go away hungry or dis-satisfied. In fact, you will probably waddle away with a full tummy and several containers of barbecued meats, salads, rice dishes and of course desserts. We did throw around a lot of things at the barbecue...water balloons, and eggs ! Here #2 granddaughter and her partner are tossing eggs to one another. The game is simple, you and your partner start a few short feet from each other and you toss an egg to your partner. You each back up a step and partner tosses the egg back to you. You keep this up until one by one other egg tossing teams' eggs crack and the last team standing with an intact egg wins the game. ~~~I tell you, she and her partner were tossing hard boiled eggs. No, not really, but she and her partner missed their egg several times and the egg bounced ! It did not break, but it bounced !
~~So besides eating eggs, what is another thing to do with them ? Wear them ! Here my brother-in-law partner and I are out of the competition, because I am wearing our egg !
" If you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses. " Dr. Joyce Brothers
We are so thankful for the family God has given us !

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Spotted Lambs With Horns !

~Here are three related Jacob Sheep lambs. The ewe ( girl) lamb is in the middle. She has 5 horns. She was born in February of this year and her mother is the sister of the big lamb's mother. Both the mother of the ewe lamb and the big ram ( boy) lamb are sisters we bought in Oregon from Bide-a-Wee Jacobs. This is quite a size difference, and the biggest lamb is one month younger than his sister .Just look at the horns of this ewe (girl) lamb. She has 3 horns on the left side of her head, and 2 horns on the right side of her head. You can see the horns a little more clearly here. I haven't decided on a name for her yet, I would like to name her something that brings to mind her unique horn set, yet a name that is still nice. Any ideas ? (click onto picture for close-up of horns)
~~~This is a ram lamb who is a twin. (below) He and his sister were born late this spring. They were born a month after all the other lambs. Being a twin and a late born lamb makes him a bit smaller than all the other lambs except his sister who is smaller. He is sprouting 5 horns ! Click on the picture and I think you can spot his 5th horn on the right between the 2 larger horns. He will most likely not keep the 5th horn because as the middle and side horn get rapidly larger they will squeeze out and fuse with the 5th horn. ~~~I am so enthralled with my sheep. I love to watch them as I drink my morning coffee. I speculate on their horn sets as they grow and think about their wool and the many things I can create with the wool. I watch my sheep and know my sheep. I know them well enough to tell if they are not feeling well. I can tell when they are distressed, when they are happy, when they are ill. I think about ways to make my sheep more productive and which sheep are detrimental to the well-being of the whole flock. ~~~I am very interested in this little ram lamb ( below) . He is everything I love and admire in a ram. I am hoping he does not damage his horns, that in his eagerness to be a ram he does not get himself in trouble, mortal trouble , with his half brother, Goth. I marvel at the ability these animals have to run full force into hard structures and not damage themselves, but cause damage to the walls and trees and barriers they ram.~~~ ~~~What can I say ? I really love my sheep. I do not want to not have sheep. Having sheep I love has opened up worlds of new interests and activities. The more I learn about my sheep through owning them, observing them, and caring enough to learn more about them, the more I realize I need to know. I can keep on learning til I die! I will be happy learning and caring for them til I die , and hope God grants me the health and circumstance to do this . ~~~I have been privileged over the years to listen to a local shepherd talk about his flocks and sheep. This gentleman had some serious health issues and last year had to sell off or butcher his remaining sheep. This man knows and has forgotten more about sheep and shepherding than I can ever hope to know. One thing I DO know, this man is not long for this earth because when you have listened to him you will know that his inability to care for his beloved flock has caused him to have no reason to linger here . ~~~Each of us has something or someone we hold so very dear. To lose that very special part of us that causes us to wake each day with eagerness and hope and excitement must be the deepest loss, the kind of loss that feels like a part of us has been hacked off and we cannot go on...I feel that to lose any of my family, my ability to keep my sheep, or to be a vital part of my family and close friends would seem as a type of death. Thankfully, THE SHEPHERD, tends this old ewe (me) and He knows what is best for me. So, I guess I need not fret or worry. And so far I am fine and dandy and looking forward to many more years of tending stubborn sheep who give me a whole lot of reasons to get up and go in the morning! Like ; mending fences, feeding, spinning their wool, mending fences, feeding, making rugs out of their wool, mending fences feeding, etc.,
~~~"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them , and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish ; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand." John 10:27,28 ~~~

Friday, August 22, 2008

Spot On Dinner ! Yum !!!

~~~" If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold , it would be a merrier world." J.R.R. Tolkein~~~I cannot leave Hubby alone with the Food Network. It is dangerous I tell you ! I go to bed with a spotless kitchen ( I am a night person and I clean before I go to bed ) and I wake up with the kitchen looking like an army of chefs were busy while I slept. Gosh darn-it, the Food Network strikes again. Dear Hubby was inspired by Mario, Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson....Bobby Flay, anyway, Hubby has whipped up a gourmet breakfast again ! Since I am not a morning person, breakfast just doesn't appeal to me until around noon. So after many years of marriage he knows NOT to wake me to eat breakfast. Just leave me a cup of very good coffee and I will come around and enjoy leftover breakfast round noon!~~~
~~~Since I have discovered the world of blogs, and FOOD BLOGS...Hubby has had a whole new world opened up. Now we have the NOBLE PIG ( click on sidebar) to seduce my Hubby. He checks her blog in the morning. He could not wait to tell me about her new postings when I was away for a few days. He clicks on ALL her food and wine links ! And he loves to try her recipes . So, here goes another posting about food. Mind you, I am not going to post the recipe, Cathy at Noble Pig does that very well and this recipe is hers..so check out her posting titled 'A Tiny Addiction" for that.~~~
~~~Here are the assembled ingredients to the recipe. Scallops, Champagne grapes , butter, onion, lemon. Our ingredients are lacking the almonds...Hubby forgot to buy them assuming we had them already. So we tried this with toasted pine nuts...it was O.K., but almonds would have been better, and since Hubby bought lots of scallops and grapes, he will pick up some almonds on the way home from work and we will have this dish tomorrow night too ! With almonds. Hey, any excuse to eat this again works.~~~
~~~Hubby is busy preparing our dinner. He asks me to go out to the garden and pick lettuce for the salad. I pick lettuce, fling a few fat slugs I found eating my lettuce to the ducks, then come on in and wash the lettuce very well. Hubby will assemble the salad to his liking.~~~
~~~Dinner is ready. Hubby has selected his wine of choice, we cooked green beans freshly picked from our garden, and to the salad Hubby has added tomatoes and Feta cheese.~~~
~~~Is your mouth watering ? Does this make you hungry ? It should. This is tongue tingling, toe tickling, heart warming good !~~~
~~~Hubby waits for me to taste his labor of love. ~~~
~~~Yes, it is pretty good. I think we will have to try this again tomorrow night WITH almonds!!!
~~~"Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity." Voltaire

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What Goes On In Vegas...Shouldn't Go On Anywhere !

~~~#3 granddaughter and her fluffy stuffed pet. ~~~
~~~#4 granddaughter swings on the railing overlooking the amazing white lions.~~~
~~~#6 granddaughter waiting for me to stop taking pictures and PICK HER UP !~~~
~~~A good night's sleep after a very busy, fun, hot day in Vegas.~~~
~~~We were in Vegas because our youngest son and his wife had a business conference, and since Vegas is close to where the oldest son and his 4 daughters live., they invited me along for the road trip and family visit. We stayed at the Marriot, which is a good 10 miles from the famous Vegas Strip. I had seen the Strip oh, say 45 years ago when with my parents, we drove through on our way to Oregon. Our parents parked our family car in the shade, left me and my sisters in the car..and then they went into a casino to feed coins to slot machines. We were out of Vegas within 2 to 3 hours. The Vegas of the late 50's and early 60's was a bit different than the Vegas of today..probably no more or less decadent, it is just so much MORE of everything depraved and decadent. ~~~For some reason, after surfing the web and finding Vegas supposedly had Kid Friendly activities and attractions I thought taking the girls to the Strip for some of these attractions would be fun. So, let me put it this way...just tuck your child's bedtime story book into the pages of the latest very naughty, no one should read it, magazine. Now go ahead, read the story to your children....they won't notice the naughty pictures will they ? ~~~Yes, the attractions were noteworthy, and even amazing. Yes, many of the people working in these places were very nice and even helpful. But why view flowers in a sewer when you can view them in a garden? Everywhere you look Vegas has super huge signs and screens, with pictures you would not, should not have on view for children..actually, us grown ups shouldn't be viewing the filth either. I am choosing to NOT describe the pictures and videos the size of houses that were plastered all over the place. Let's just say that you have to have very special magazines and T.V. channels to see these at home. In Vegas they are IN YOUR FACE ! ~~~And........to reach any of the so called kid friendly attractions, you all have to traipse through the casinos. While you're traipsing through Sodom and Gomorrah your little ones will ask you all sorts of questions you do not want to answer. And( here I show my indifference to gambling) the casinos gave me the creeps. I have actually never gambled in a casino so was shocked at the zombies playing the machines. Really, glazed eyes, oblivious to surroundings. The noises and smells and what I saw gave me the creeps. I now know I do not ever want to get used to this and think it is a fine and dandy way to spend some time and money. But hey, I don't judge you your thrills. ~~~So I guess you know how I feel about Vegas. We had a pleasant and special time together at the hotel, on their grounds and in the pool. We cherish the time we had together and would do it again, except, EXCEPT---I would have stayed at the hotel and nixed the Strip. But you knew I would say that. ~~~"And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,.......and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them." Romans 1:28 & 32

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Spot On "Family Trip" to Vegas

~We've loaded the car and we're on our way to Vegas ! Youngest son Daniel and his wife Breezy are going on a business trip and since oldest son and his 4 daughters live 2-3 hours away from Vegas in California, they will join us for a family get-together! Daniel and Breezy. Daniel is a farrier (horse-shoer) and horse trainer. He used to ride bulls and bucking horses and calf-rope too. Fortunately for me, his Mom, he doesn't rodeo anymore .
~Oldest son David, fresh out of 12 years with the U.S.M.C., and 2 tours of Iraq as a tanker. Last tour as a tank commander . I am also thankful he is not active U.S.M.C. anymore. Here David poses for me with his 4 daughters, 4 of my 6 granddaughters .
~Aunt Breezy swims in the hotel pool with # 6 Granddaughter ! The hotel pool was one of the trip highlights for the little girls. 
Uncle Daniel also takes a turn at swimming with #6 Granddaughter. 
Uncle Daniel, the Human Water Park !
How many little girls can grab and hang on ?
I get to cuddle #3 Granddaughter.
Aunt Breezy is the coolest! Really, that is what the nieces and nephew say !
And Uncle Daniel rocks !
~I had a great time, with 4 very energetic and friendly little girls. I am blessed with good health and lots of energy so I was able to keep up with them, and I slept well at night. We swam, played in the sand , took walks around the beautiful and vast gardens and pools of the Vegas Marriot Hotel and just hung out together. ~We did spend one hectic day on the Vegas Strip, to see the 'Kid Friendly" attractions. More on that tomorrow. But I say, vacation wise, Vegas is for adults and if kid friendly is your priority there are hundreds, probably thousands of other places you should choose !

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What Goes On In Vegas......Might Be On My Blog !

~~~I am going on a road trip to Vegas with some of my favorite people .We join some more of our favorite people when we get there,time to pack .I hate road trips, and I really do not like the heat or particularly care much for the desert, so guess what I am doing at the hottest time of the year ? I am going on a road trip, to the desert, in the summer . But I am very excited to go on this road trip because I will be driving to Vegas with my youngest son Daniel and his wife Breezy ! We will be meeting up with my oldest son David and his four daughters,four of my granddaughters .How can I NOT be excited ? All of these precious people are not only related...they are FUN!!!! (sorry Breezy about the bad picture ) Here, Daniel and Breezy have driven about 5 - 6 hours to pick me up for the trip.We are checking our route.
~Wouldn't you know it, since Hubby will be in charge of the critters while I am gone, I go out to do my morning feeding and there is MR. BRAINLESS ( aka Goth ) with an injured horn. The numbskull ( quite a literal term for him) has been bashing away at the fences, the tree, etc., to get to the ewes, and caused damage to his horn, leaving a bloody, gaping wound at the base of his horn. Really, you can lift the flap of skin at the base and see all the inside parts of anatomy you DON'T want to see ! And I'm leaving tomorrow...I can't leave Hubby to manage this. ~~~So, it is time to move Goth in with the ewes so he will be busy and not get himself any more injured while I am gone. This means we need to move the ram lambs OUT of the ewe pen where they are so happy with their Moms. Well, they are not happy tonight, they have been bawling all night for their Moms, but they'll get over it. Meanwhile, we catch Goth, apply triple antibiotic to the base of his horn, put a ram mask on him, and spray him with fly repellent in the hopes the flies will leave him alone to heal. Then..hooray, he is in with the girls ! (if you click the picture it will enlarge and you can see some of the damage ) ~Here is Goth with the ram mask. The mask blocks his ability to look straight ahead, thus making it a little more difficult for him to run rapidly and ram straight ahead. He can see fine out of the sides of his head. Like blinders on horses. This really has make a good difference for our ram management.
~~~Off to Vegas ~~~

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

From My Porch

~~~This is Delilah. She is my only non-purebred Jacob sheep. Delilah is 1/2 Jacob, and 1/2 Romney. I think she is sweet, and she gives me a large quantity of brown / black wool. Today I will spin up some of her wool.~~~~~~On the way to the porch, after checking on Delilah, I got distracted by this beautiful dragonfly. I am fascinated by dragonflies, and the varieties around here are many. I think having a big pond in our front yard attracts them, and also provides a constant food source for them too.
~~~Here is a basket of Delilah's wool. I think her wool is getting lighter as she ages. Last year her wool was definitely black. This wool does not look black, but I can use dark brown wool too.
~~~It is relaxing to spin my wool on the porch and enjoy my porch company. As my bobbins filled up with single ply yarn I noticed the difference between the yarn Delilahs' wool produced last year and this year.~~~
~~~Do you see the difference ?~~~
~~~The difference is subtle, but the colors are different. If you were to begin knitting a garment with last year's yarn, then proceed onto this years' yarn to finish it, the difference would be glaring.~~~
~~~Candy-Cat sits with me. She is always a quiet companion.~~~
~~~This hummingbird is feeding at a feeder hanging from the grapevines growing along the porch, just 3 feet from where I am spinning. There are 2 feeders hanging from the grape vines and the hummingbirds come and go from dawn til dark. Sometimes the hummingbirds whiz by so close I can feel the air quietly whoosh my face. ~~~Beatrix is smiling at me. She loves me so much. She is happy to spend all her time just being near me. I don't think I am so very interesting, but Beatrix would even ignore food to be by me.
~~~The ducks, ever curious and hopeful there might be edible handouts waddle past, just checking !~~~
~~~There is room on my porch for more company, come on over, bring your needlework ! I'll brew us a pot of coffee and serve us some pie !~~~