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

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Spot on Sun Room ( Bird's Nests )

~~~Our sun-room is a small room that is full of my bird's nests, and geraniums spending the winter in more agreeable climate, the assorted house plants and one very, very noisy bird. Here is a bird's nest in the chandelier in our sun room.~~~"Most birds build a new nest each year.Some that have more than one brood each season will build a new nest for each brood." Peterson's Field Guides' WESTERN BIRD"S NESTS~~Another bird nest in our sun room displayed by the field guide to bird's nests.( below) "Exact time of year when each species nests is not given, principally because it is impossible to be accurate. Not only does nesting time vary from south to north and from sea level to mountaintop, in the range of some species, but it varies greatly in the same species in the same geographic location. External factors such as rainfall, temperature, water levels, amount of snowfall, and similar phenomena may influence time of nesting from year to year." Peterson Field Guides WESTERN BIRD"S NESTS ( book displayed below) ~Even MORE bird's nests...I have bird's nests in the plants and trees in my sun room. I found the book identifying bird's nests ( above ) in an antique store. I still have not identified all my bird's nests, but it is fun trying. By the way, all bird's nests except one , were collected well after nesting season and most of the eggs in the nests are from my Zebra finches and doves, and a few eggs are from my tiny bantam hens. "Even during breeding season the place where an adult bird is discovered is not necessarily the place where it's nest is located." Peterson Field Guide ~This little fairy (below)is in her own nest, and I placed her in a big pot with a fig tree and there are a few bird's nests in the pot and in the fig tree.
~Here is a close up of the little fairy in her nest. ~
~Here is another nest in an IKEA candle lantern. In the spring I hang this lantern on my porch. "The nest itself is described in detail ( in book) Materials will vary with availability. For some species this has been noted, but readers should bear in mind that Spanish Moss would no more be available to a bird in Montana than spruce needles would be to a bird in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. The basic structure of of the nest of most species is so uniformly true to type that even though materials used may vary, the format generally does not. An American Robin nest in Washington or Oregon with mosses built into it still looks very much like a Robin's nest in Arkansas with mud and grasses predominating." (fr. above mentioned guide book) ~I placed this nest in a small fig tree in my sun room. There are some very long, coarse hairs ( I think horse hairs ) in this nest, and some fishing line ! "Birds, like people, often display individual traits that defy rules. There is much truth in the old saying "Birds never read the books." Consequently , we find a maverick Northern Oriole near a fishing lake that has built its hanging nest of monofiliament fishline;" Peterson Field Guide ~This nest too has some fish line. We don't live too close to any body of water used for fishing...but there are a lot of fishermen in the area. "a White-necked Raven that used barbed wire for the foundation of it's nest on an old piece of farm machinery; a Great Crested Flycatcher that substituted cellophane for snake- skins; a Solitary Vireo near a campsite that constructed the outer part of it's basket like nest from facial tissues and paper napkins." Peterson Field Guide ~Why am I blogging about bird's nests in the fall ? Well, I have had to bring my geraniums into the sun room for the winter and now I have to rearrange my bird nests, and also, this is the time of year I add more nests to my collection. The birds are done nesting. As I clean things up and move the nests around I take time to look closely at the nests. I am still amazed at the intricate structures birds build using only their beaks and feet. How do they weave the materials into such perfect little baskets and hollows for their eggs and to rear young ?Some of the nests I have are composed of feathers, wool from my sheep, yarn, dog hairs that look suspiciously like yellow Lab fur. ~~~"If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young;/ But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest prolong thy days." This quote is supposed to be from the Bible but I have not found the source yet. However, I found it interesting,. K.B.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Busy Days, Fun Days~

~Three of our grandchildren playing on the bales of hay. Who needs a playground structure when there is hay to climb? ~This weekend we enjoyed our grandchildren when their Dad, Mom, and baby brother went on a short trip. The grandchildren got to play with us for 3 days ! What fun we had. Besides playing in the leaves and on the hay........~There was dress-up !(below) Here #2 Granddaughter has put together a fairy outfit. The dress she is wearing was my Sunday school dress when I was little. It is made of real silk my father had made for me when he was in Thailand ( courtesy of the U.S. Army). ~The red thing in front of our granddaughter is our new wood stove. Yes, we had a busy weekend. We put in our new wood stove, after taking out the old one. You know, wood stoves are heavy. ~#1 Grandson poses for me in front of our new wood stove.I love it. It is pretty and functional. I have a fire in the stove right now, as it is about 45 degrees outside. ~I re-arranged my living room so the children could play Disney's Video Bingo. This is a crowd pleasing game, I have witnessed grown-ups enjoying this game. Plus, every so often the bingo game halts to play blurbs of favorite Disney movies. The children request this often, and love to play it. ~In the evening there was more game playing. #1 Grandson won the game of WILDCRAFT twice ! He is the little naturalist in the family. Take him to the zoo and he'll tell you more about each and every animal than you might ever want to know, and then some !WILDCRAFT is a teaching game and the premise is : some children need to climb the mountain to gather herbs for their Grandma.Of course there are some pit falls, and set backs, and the children need to be home before dark. So they are also encouraged to help each other out for the benefit of all. The game teaches herbs, their uses, cooperation....and is fun! ~We all had a wonderful time. This time I was careful not to give the children too much chocolate, and put them to bed at a reasonable time. I don't know what got into me !Can't wait to do this again, even if I do wear them out !
~#5 Granddaughter smiling for me because she LOVES to play on the hay and now she is a big girl and can climb it without me lifting her !~

Monday, October 27, 2008

Autumn Leaves

~A glorius autumn day at Grandma and Grandpa's!~~Grandpa and grandchildren are raking the bright autumn leaves.~
~It is so much fun to rake the leaves.....
~the leaves are so pretty, and the grandchildren have a plan~
~They might even need more leaves than are on the ground, let's help a few more fall so they can be raked into a very large.....
~Leaf pile !~
~Just perfect for jumping into !~
~Let's hold hands and jump into the pile together!~
~That was fun, let's do it again.....~
~"Look grandma, aren't the leaves pretty ?"~

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Take Joy in The Journey

"For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity." William Penn~I can't help myself. When I spend a lot of time crafting, gardening, cleaning...why my brain just wanders around with thinking. As I get older ( not so much wiser though) I do see that my life, your life....life in general is a journey. The journey of my life did not begin with me though, not really.The journey, my journey began a long long time ago....with my parents, their parents, their parents, and so on. Physically I am the bits and pieces genetics have brought together thus far. Mentally and emotionally , genes, upbringing, and life experiences have contributed to making me what I am. But I think there is so much more.
~I love the writings of Tolkein. ( Don't know what genes contributed to that preference...no one on any side of my family reads Tolkein) There is a part of the third book of the trilogy THE RETURN OF THE KING, where the journey to throw the ring into Mount Doom seems hopeless. The whole story has become doom, gloom, dread, suffering and destruction. Sam and Frodo are suffering miserably and it looks like all is lost.Sam is pondering , and he says "It's like in the great stories Mr.Frodo , the ones that really mattered.Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy. How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened. But in the end, it is only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass." Sam talks about how really , he and Frodo were just a part of the big story. Two little hobbits , and in the grand scheme of life, appearing to be so very insignificant. And yet, they play the crucial part. ( For those of you who have never read this book or seen the movies, it has a happy ending) ~ I must go back through my book to find the pages and re read this. But here is my point, we mere mortals forget that though this life is fleeting, it is not the end. There is eternity. We too are part of the really big story. Oh sure, most of us will not be written up in history books, we will not make amazing discoveries and have the kind of adventures that make headlines . But we really are on an amazing journey that began in the Garden of Eden and ends....no, does NOT end, but we die and go on to eternity. We are maybe a comma, or dotted 'i' in the book of life for man here on earth, the drama of joys and tragedies. I am part of this epic ! Wow ! My life's trials and sorrows and mundane day to day activities do matter. They really do ! ~ The Bible is chock full of true stories about people most of us would have called way below ordinary, maybe even people we would most definitely have avoided, yet they are important in the big picture here. So you know, you are important, I am important...in as much as God has seen us important and special enough to have allowed His only Son to die a horrible death on the cross, the worst part of His death was not the agony and humiliation, but bearing our sins...and then He rose from the grave, triumphant over death. "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life." I John 5:13
~Here we are. Our journey began "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" Genesis 1:1.......and sometime in the future....."And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost,.......He who testifies to these things says "Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen. Come Lord Jesus.The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all.Amen." Revelation 22:18, 20,21 There, the first words and last words of the Bible....the journey we are on is somewhere in between.
~Take joy in your journey, no matter what your circumstance!~

Friday, October 24, 2008

Scary ( ?) Picture and Recipe From A Noble Pig

~ Look at the picture of our porch carefully. I did not notice this until I pulled the picture up on my computer....( cue scary music )....I did not know my Joey cat was in the picture. It did not show up on the small screen of my digital camera.....shiver and tremble.... O.K., maybe I did not see him because I wasn't wearing my reading glasses and the screen is very, very small. But anyway, just look at him in the blur, barely showing. A black cat, a big pumpkin, October.....hmmm. And, I did NOT pose him for this. So this picture was just a bit of a treat, or trick ?~ Anyway, my Hubby and I have been a bit busy. I am getting ready for the Christmas bazaars, and he is busy at work, catching up on all the important things he needs to do at his job. I had to run a lot of errands and lingering in the back of my mind...no, blaring out to me " make me for dinner ! You're so hungry for me...make me for dinner ! " was the recipe I saw on Noble Pig's blog early in the morning as I was finishing up some e-mails and my blog. 1-2-3 Dinner! ~Well, don't you know, I printed up the recipe and stuck it in my purse before I went to bed. I had to stick it in my purse so I would remember the recipe and buy the few things we did not have stocked in our fridge or pantry. Specifically Chinese 5 Spice Powder. Never heard of that before, so I knew I needed to buy it. ~ When I got home from my errands, and with the above mentioned spice my Hubby began to make our dinner while I cleaned up and started the rice. The dinner is very, very good. Thank-you to Noble Pig's son who requested this recipe for dinner and suggested she post it on her blog. Thank-you Noble Pig for giving us this recipe, it is delicious and we will make it again. By the way, the only alteration we made in the recipe is we used MY home made plum jam and Hubby sprinkled sesame seeds on top of the chicken and rice when it was plated. ~ If you want to make this, and you will very much like it and especially appreciate how easy and quick it is to make, why just click on NOBLE PIG in my sidebar and take a gander at the October 23, 2008 posting of this recipe.
~Here is our dinner. Hubby made enough extra for his lunch tomorrow. Very good !~ "Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly." M.F.K. Fisher ~"Good food ends with good talk." Geoffrey Neighbor, Northern Exposure 1993

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Breakfast ! Shirred Eggs With Spinach and Cream

~Fresh eggs, and I want to try something new for breakfast !~~ This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks, and it is called Shirred Eggs With Spinach and Cream. I very much like everything the recipe calls for, so let's try it, it is EASY!
Here are the ingredients: 2 Tablespoons spinach, fresh or frozen 1 teaspoon butter
2 Tablespoons cream ( your choice, light or heavy)
1 egg Kosher salt freshly ground pepper freshly ground nutmeg 1 tablespoon grated cheese of your choice
~Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees~
~1.Put the butter in a 6- or 8- ounce ovenproof ramekin. Melt in the microwave (about 20 seconds) and swirl around to coat the bottom and sides.
~3. Briefly cook the spinach until wilted , then squeeze out the excess liquid. ( This can be done quickly in the microwave.) Put the spinach in the ramekin.
~ pour in the cream~
~Crack the egg into the ramekin. Grate salt and pepper onto egg. Dust on the nutmeg.Top with the cheese. 4. Place the ramekin in the oven and bake about 15 minutes, until yolk begins to set. Serve hot.~
"A shirred egg is simply an egg baked uncovered in a buttered dish, usually with a few components to give it interest. You have your choice of cheese here. Parmesan is a safe option, but this is a good opportunity to use up that bit of interesting cheese that is languishing in the refrigerator. This recipe serves one. In making these for a number of people, simply multiply the recipe as needed. Always bake in individual ramekins, although the ramekins can be placed in a baking dish so they are easy to handle in and out of the oven. Shirred eggs can be assembled and refrigerated for up to an hour before baking." THE FARMSTEAD EGG COOKBOOK" by Terry Golson
~ I quickly took this photograph of my breakfast, then ate it, piping hot. It was delicious. This is now my favorite breakfast, after left over Chinese food. I also refrigerated a second ramekin of this dish for SEVERAL hours, and baked it for my Hubby when he came home from work. He said it was delicious too. Hubby does NOT say a food is delicious unless he means it..so you can actually refrigerate this quite a few hours before baking.....I think this will be my new breakfast of choice for overnight guests. ~ Terry Golson did not pay me for this endorsement, but I would recommend, nay..CROW and CLUCK to anyone who raises chickens and / or loves to eat eggs ,buy this book! ( or borrow it from the library, as I did before I decided I NEEDED this book ) It is beautiful and practical. Google Terry Golson and you can take a peek at her chickens via her hen cam, installed in her chicken coop. She has compiled so much practical information on eggs and recipes using eggs...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Spot on My View, and a "Thank-You !"

~This is my view as I stand at my kitchen sink and cook, clean, can our produce, and often my view as I talk on the phone, or visit with company. As you can see, our kitchen overlooks our living room and dining room . I love this view. As I work in my kitchen I can see our pond. I can watch the storms rage, I can see the sunshine, or the snow, depending on the season and weather. Often though, because I see this view so often, I take it for granted and can actually see out my window without really 'seeing'.~Lately this is all I see(below). The fruit from our orchard and vines is abundant, and the fruit in this basket is but a small bit of what awaits me in bags in the fridge and pantry. Again, I take for granted this abundance.....and I am ashamed. Lately I have viewed our abundance as a nagging reminder of the 'work' awaiting me, and the fruit is not patient. Oh no ! Fruit left unattended rots ! It attracts fruit flies, it goes to waste. Again I say, shameful ! ~This year I vowed I would be more diligent about preserving the harvest of the fruit and vegetables my husband works so hard to produce. For the most part, I have done that. We have quarts of pears, applesauce, green beans, grape juice, pints of plum, strawberry, and blueberry jam.I still have an awful lot of apples in bags and baskets, and as many more on our trees. I almost, I said ALMOST, complained. ~My view of the kitchen sink just yesterday, before I headed off to Alice's for spinning. I actually got all my grapes canned, as grape juice. The best grape juice I ever drank ( not including some very fine wine ) was grape juice I canned. I don't care for grape juice I have bought and usually prefer water to it, but I do like my canned grape juice. I got 21 quarts of grape juice put away in the pantry. ~Anyway, the point of this post is that I have forgotten perspective. Forgotten that I am where I should be, where I need to be. I have all I need and more than I ever expected to have in this life...and yet sometimes I will complain or grumble. I will be a little jealous of someone else, I will covet someone's view, or .......you get the picture. ( or view ) ~The last two years have been difficult years for our family, and difficult for me. I am so thankful for friends and family that upheld us in prayer, and did practical things like check up on me....give help to the family member we were so worried about, just listen as I poured out my heart and sorrows. Friends and family who also gently reminded me of what we did have..and WHO is really in control and cares for me and mine even when it seems not to be so. ~ I also want to say thanks to all of you out there in blog land, who even before I began blogging, were my view to a world that showed me people survive trials and tribulations . A world where hurting people were offered sympathy, humor, encouragement...perspective. And sometimes, a healthy escape, just for a few minutes, from what troubled them so much.To enjoy the life YOU enjoy and blog about, wow ! A small bit of living vicariously in healthy way, and seeing life through someone else's eyes and experiences. Recipes,decorating, art, joyous living and ultimate triumph through or in spite of tragedy ! ~Our prayers have been answered. I am so grateful for the working out of so many tears and prayers...to a good outcome I had given up hope of ever seeing. ( believe me, I can and do work up some pretty dark and dire outcomes to any situation) So, all this to say, here is my view from my sink. The cat enjoys it, my grandchildren enjoy it.....my hubby enjoys it, and so do I.
~But here is my prayer for my life, and also my favorite hymn.~ " Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart, be all else but naught to me save that Thou art; be Thou my best thought in the day and the night, both waking and sleeping, Thy presence my light." ancient Irish Hymn

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Spot on Monday Night Spinning

~The third Monday of every month Alice Mattson of Reflection Farm in Eatonville , Washington opens her home / shop to any and all interested in gathering to spin, knit, crochet, craft.....we gather in the evening and stay as long as we like. There is coffee, tea, hot chocolate, someone or someones usually bring something tasty to eat. The ladies gather in the living room and begin on the projects they brought . I usually bring my spinning wheel to spin or ply my wool. ~Of course I don't begin spinning until I have perused Alice's shop. Aren't these spinning wheels beautiful ? The wheels alone are works of art...useful art ! Why, they are so beautiful I think they would be nice in my home JUST for viewing pleasure.~ This is Alice( right, spinning on her wheel ). She is amazing. You need to see her farm. Alice has a huge pond in front of her home where you can see wild ducks, she has peacocks roaming her acreage, and a very large number of sheep with the very best fleeces. ( wool ) These are just a few things that make Alice amazing, she would probably humbly disagree with me. Alice is very kind and friendly too. ~ These are Alice's fleeces. Her sheep are shorn, the fleeces are for sale. There are many, many more fleeces around the room. I did mention Alice has a LOT of sheep didn't I ? ~ Here are some of the many ribbons Alice has won for her exceptional fleeces. Alice breeds her sheep for the fleece, but she also takes very, very good care of her sheep and her sheep wear COATS all year round to keep their wool clean and almost free of the debris MY sheep seem to fill their wool with. Hay, mud, leaves, whatever the lambs stick in their mom's wool as they jump on and off their mom's backs. By the way, the ribbons are displayed above a wool picker, something I have been coveting but cannot justify buying right now. ~ This is Kellee. She is Alice's English Shepherd. She is a sweetheart and she likes me. I think she likes everybody. She is a working dog. Well, a sometimes working dog. Alice has big white guard dogs for her sheep, but she needs a dog to herd her sheep where she wants the sheep to go. Kellee is young though, and Alice said Kellee will be going off to dog boarding school to learn to do her job better. Kellee will be a career girl ! That's Alice's plan...Kellee, listen up ! ~This is Lindsay. Lindsay lives next door to Alice with her family. Lindsay's family owns Bel Tine Farm. They spin wool into amazing yarns. Lindsay is very talented too. She spins, but tonight she is knitting. ~Here is a sweater she just finished !I am not kidding you, her workmanship is so good that the sweater can be worn inside out and you would not know, that is how wonderful her work is. I was told this is a 'Philosopher' Sweater pattern. I was also told it is very easy. Yeah, right ! Anyway, throughout the night Lindsay would stop knitting and help some ladies new to spinning work on learning how to spin. ~ This is Lindsay's mom, Sharon. Sharon is another of those women who seem able to do ANYTHING they set their minds on. Sharon and her family also have a herd of dairy goats, they make soaps among other products from their goats. Just google Bel Tine Farm if you're interested in checking out their yarns. ~This lady was here with her daughter, and granddaughters. They were trying out spinning wheels and drop spindles.They do not yet know how to spin and were beginning to get the hang of it just before they left. They're hooked, I know. They'll be spinning soon. Then they'll need to have a sheep or two or three.... ~Ahhh, Kellee. Isn't she sweet? You just know SHE thinks she was born to keep someone company on the couch. Curled up into a ball, snuggled into you. ~Come on out next month ! Third Monday, 7:00 p.m. Alice's place will be open. Lots of ladies there to help you learn, or just hang out with enjoying the soft whirring of spinning wheels, quiet clicking of knitting needles, stories about our farm animals, and learning from one another ! ~"She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.....she is clothed with strength and dignity ; she can laugh at the days to come...." Proverbs 31: 13, 17, 19, 25