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

Monday, November 30, 2009

Death Of Local Law Enforcement Officers~ Senseless Murder

I had a different post in mind for today but when my husband and I turned on the news tonight we were horrified to see that 4 of our local law enforcement officers were gunned down, murdered, in a coffee shop not so very far away from us. Four people who have been in Law Enforcement for quite a few years. They were having coffee as they were about to start their work day, protecting the community. I was struck by the fact that all have families, and children they love, and who love them. They probably had a great and filling Thanksgiving meal just a few days ago...never dreaming it would be their last Thanksgiving here on earth with those they love. They were probably thinking about Christmas celebrations, what presents to buy, maybe even how they were going to come up with the money to purchase just that right gift for their loved ones. They probably kissed a loved one good bye and said they would see them later...then off to have coffee with fellow officers and discuss the coming work day. We all are most likely the same. The soldier at home, or even in the field ..the father or mother who drives off for work or every day errands, never doubting they will come back home to do the dishes and laundry, or mow the lawn...have the wife nag ( just a little ) for that one chore to be done, yeah, yeah. And we forget we are mortal. A few moments of violence or an accident can so suddenly remove us from the world of the living into eternity. Are we ready? My sincere and heart felt sympathies to the families of Officers Mark Renninger, Tina Griswold,Ronald Owen,and Greg Richards. To see in the news, the vehicles bearing away the bodies of these Law Enforcement Officers, and the long lines of fellow officers and the community standing silently by, saluting and shedding tears as the vehicles drove by , was somehow even more heart-breaking. This video is longer than I like to post, but seemed so appropriate. "The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18 & " He will swallow up death in victory, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces." Isaiah 25:8

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving~Already A Memory?

The table is set with my favorite Blue Danube China and the children's place cards this year are snowmen with leaf beads and ribbon around their necks, sitting on a leaf. Why? Well, we will probably not see the grandchildren who live on the other side of the mountains until after Christmas , and it has already snowed there, so I decided to give them their traditional Christmas ornament from us as a place card to take home and put on their Christmas tree. Each snowman has the name of the child receiving it and the year it was received written on the bottom. I scattered the fabric leaves around the table and hung blue glass ornaments from the dining room light to tie in the color and theme...plus, it was pretty. ( to me , anyway)
Our oldest granddaughter and her sister, our 3rd granddaughter do a "Vanna White" to point out the table setting!
We roasted AND fried turkey. 2 turkeys for the crowd around our table .Here in the garage our oldest son and my husband discuss the world situation and other matters as they tend to the serious business of the turkey being fried .
My dear husband sits at the head of the table, so very thankful to have all our grown children and their families here with us this Thanksgiving. I think he looks very, very, VERY happy.
One side of the table....
Another side of the table....
A better shot of some happy eaters....and not shown are the two oldest grandchildren who had their own little eating nook very close-by, with their own china plates and little snowmen place-cards.
Later we walked next door to my husband's youngest sister's home to see even MORE of the family and snap a picture of my husband's parents with a few of their great-grandchildren! ( 8 of the little ones are our grandchildren) Alice of Wobegone Cottage, we got to see some of your grandchildren!
Thanksgiving:"A public celebration with religious services in recognition of divine mercies; a day set apart for such celebration." Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary
"Act of giving thanks,the expression of gratitude." Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary "Surely the righteous will give thanks to THY NAME." PSALM 140:13

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Memories~ by Esther Lowery Meyer

~The W.H. Lowery Family in1913~ Thanksgiving Memories
This is a written account of Thanksgiving Memories by my husband's great-Aunt Esther Lowery Meyer. The Lowery family was one of the founding families of Quincy, Washington and my husband's great-Aunts were remarkable women. My husband's maternal Grandmother is the young woman, third from the right, her name is Anna. Esther , the author of this short piece is the first on the right.
~ The W.H. Lowery Family in 1918~ (Esther is the 2nd from the right, my husbands' great-grandparents' Lowery are on the far left and far right of the back row.)
It was now November and Thanksgiving would soon be here. My mother made celebration of any day that could possibly be considered a holiday. Each month had it's special day in addition to the family birthdays. Even on Arbor Day she read us stories and poems about the day and once or twice we even planted a tree. Christmas was probably the most important day but Thanksgiving was a close second. My grandparents had come from New England so mother tried to observe the traditions of the day as her parents had done. We had recently moved from North Dakota and lived for a year with Uncle Jim at Davenport , Washington while Dad looked for a place to settle and get a house built. We had come the previous March to Quincy, in the Columbia Basin, where that land had just been opened up to homesteaders. The house was not yet finished though it had flooring and siding except the east end which was of temporary board and batten construction. Inside we looked up to the rafters overhead. The walls had grey building paper tacked between studs as insulation. Mother decided to invite our nearest neighbors whose name was 'Black' to Thanksgiving dinner. Besides the parents there was a girl my age and a boy, older. Finally the day came and Mother was up early, cooking, cleaning, and arranging the table. She got out her damask tablecloth, the drawnwork tray cloth which would hold the platter of meat in front of the host. Scattered over the table were crocheted and embroidered doilies to set dishes and goodies on. Yes, quite a change from our everyday table covered with white oilcloth. I doubt that any turkeys were available in the newly settled and sparsely populated area, and anyway, the price would have been prohibitive. The "piece de Resistance" this day was a big, fat, rooster, roasted nice and brown, stuffed with Mother's sage dressing and accompanied by plenty of good brown gravy. There would be a mound of mashed potatoes, home-baked bread, home-churned butter and an assortment of jams and jellies. The relishes might be green tomato sweet pickles, chow chow and pickled beets if the summer garden had been productive. Creamed onions and glazed parsnips were holiday dinner favorites. Salads had not yet come into popular use. No greens would have been available at that time of year. I do not remember what we had for dessert, but there surely would have been pie-apple perhaps, or custard, or maybe pumpkin, which could have been made from squash or carrots. Mother made ceremony of a company dinner, assigning each guest to a seat even though the supply of chairs had to be eked out with apple boxes or wooden packing crates. Dad always carved the meat, never mind that he had to do it with the kitchen butcher knife. The company arrived and soon Mother announced that dinner was ready. Mrs. Black immediately sat in the nearest chair, saying "oh, some nice light bread, I don't know when I last had some", reached across the table, speared a slice with her fork and put it on her plate. These people were from the south where they could not use yeast and only made quick breads. Their behavior at table was their custom, we learned. Dishes of food were not passed, but everyone was on their own. Mother was slightly taken aback, but quickly recovered and seated the rest of the company. After Dad asked the blessing he began to carve the rooster, asking each guest if he preferred dark or light meat and putting it on each plate as it was passed to him.
~The W.H. Lowery Family in 1919 ~
The dinner proceeded smoothly, everyone ate his fill. Then the children went out to play games. Being 7 years old at the time I do not remember what the games were, but I was happy to have a playmate my age. I do remember how very cold my feet got. When evening came all agreed it had been a good holiday. The Blacks turned out to be kind and helpful neighbors. Over the years we had many meals and visits at their house or ours. Each family doing things their own way. Mrs. Black's baking powder biscuits were always delicious. They remained good friends until they moved away. I copied this Thanksgiving account as it written. I met Great Aunt Esther and her husband, Uncle Luther Meyer and my husband and I were guests in their home at least twice in the early years of our marriage. They were hard-working farmers until an old age, and as I stated earlier, remarkable people...the kind of people that founded this great nation. May your Thanksgiving be one of giving thanks where it is due, to God, to our families, and to those who have sacrificed that we may be so abundantly blessed!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Turn Around & You're A Mother With Babes of Your Own

Look at how tiny you were and how young we were, more than 3 decades ago on your first birthday.
You and your brothers grew up so quickly and brought ( and still do ) so much love and joy into our lives.
You married the man of your dreams, and gave us another beloved son..
...and the two of you have been blessed with children of your own, grandchildren for us!
Seems just a short time ago YOU were the baby! Happy Birthday Daughter, we love you more than words can ever express.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Lord Is My Shepherd.....

"The Lord is my shepherd....." Psalm 23 "God is the shepherd who guides, the Lord who provides, the voice who brings peace in the storm." Max Lucado

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Whole Roasted Cricket Ball Squash~ Jamie Oliver Friday

My husband's vegetable garden produced 8 acorn squashes. We love acorn squash so I decided to try Jamie Oliver's recipe for them. We are pretty much at the end of our fresh garden produce supply, but there are still carrots and 1 hardy lettuce plant if I am in the mood for a slightly bitter tasting lettuce. Isn't this a pretty dish of squash? I followed Jamie's recipe completely, including side salad and garnish of goat cheese. So here is the recipe for~ Whole Roasted Cricket Ball Squash
  • 4 gem or small acorn squash
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 level teaspoon coriander seeds
  • a pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • a large handful of arugula, washed and spun dry ( I used arugula in a large box of baby salad greens from Costco)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 9 ounces tasty goat's cheese or feta cheese
"Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Slice off the top part of the squash, where the stalk comes out, leaving you with a lid for each squash. Please do this carefully-no slipping! Scoop out the seeds and discard them. Crush up all the herbs and spices in a pestle and mortar or Flavor Shaker until ground to a powder. Drain the sun-dried tomatoes reserving the oil. Drizzle a little of the oil into each squash and use your fingers to smear it around the insides. Season the inside of each squash with salt and pepper followed by a sprinkling of the spice mixture. Finely chop up the sun-dried tomatoes and add these to the squash, giving each one a little mix around. Place lid on top of each squash, place in a baking dish and roast in the pre-heated oven for around 45 minutes to an hour until the flesh inside is soft." "Take your squash out of the oven. I like to let the squash cool down for a little while I simply dress the arugula with a pinch of salt and pepper, a drizzle of good olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Place a whole squash onto each of your serving plates . Cut up the goat's cheese and place some on each plate. Serve with the dressed arugula and a teaspoon for scooping out the incredible flavors." "P.S. I like the fact that there's something lovely and simple about the recipe above, but there are lots of variations that can be introduced to it-you could try stuffing the squash with sauteed mushrooms, cheese or bacon." Jamie Oliver My husband and I were not impressed with the taste of this squash dish. We did taste it Jamie's way, then promptly added butter to the squash. It was tasty with the tomatoes and herbs, but I think I will continue preparing squash with butter and serve brown sugar on the side to sprinkle in. I have never served acorn squash this way, as a bowl with a lid and I very much like the presentation...so recipe? I will not make again, but I will be serving my squash this way many more times!

The Gift Of Reading & Literacy

Our daughter home-schools her 4 children. I am very blessed and thankful she is able to do so. I home-schooled our children and if given the opportunity to raise my children all over again I would most definitely home-school them!No hesitation there for me...I am so thankful my husband worked 2 jobs so I could stay home with my children. I cannot even begin to proclaim the joys of being able to teach them and be with them , and I cherish that time with them to this day. "To teach is to learn twice." Joseph Joubert, "A book is the most effective weapon against intolerance and ignorance." L.B. Johnson "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." Richard Steele Our daughter has given me the privilege of teaching her youngest daughter MN to read.MN's older brother and sister took to reading pretty much as easily as her Mom and I did but MN is needing a little extra here. She is still pretty young , has plenty of time to learn to read and she gets lessons from her Mom, but every Tuesday she comes over to spend the day with me as we work together to understand the mystery of letters and words, and open that big book of adventure, discovery, and wonder called 'reading'. We have alphabet cookie cutters,play-dough, her first readers, paper, pencils and stickers for rewards. I am hoping that for her to handle play-dough and find the right letter cutters, cut them out and form them tangibly into letters will help her connect the letters in her mind to letters and words on paper. She is having FUN, FUN, FUN doing this. ( so am I) " There are so many little ways to enlarge your child's world. Love of books is (one of ) the best of all."Jacqueline Kennedy She spent last night with us , and after a day of fun with Grandma, which included reading lessons, she grabbed her favorite book and her blanket and baby doll ( notice how she placed her baby in Poppa's lap) for her Poppa to read this book to her. She just loves books about babies. So Poppa read this book to her, and she had him read it to her again. She also borrowed it to take home and read again. She was so cute, she just snuggled up to Poppa and seemed to emanate pure joy as she held her favorite blanket and read with Poppa."Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read." M.J. Adams "Children are made readers on the laps of their parents."Emilie Buchwald MN loves all these books and I am so glad I have saved them. She took some of these books to bed here( we were blessed by her being able to spend the night here with us), I always give my grandchildren a little flash-light to take to bed, so MN read books by flash-light. "There is more treasure in books than in all the loot on Treasure Island." Walt Disney I do not remember ever NOT being able to read, reading comes easy to me and I know I taught myself to read. My daughter taught herself to read by the time she was 4 years old. However, our sons took a bit longer. I am glad I home-schooled them because I was able to teach them how to read in a way that worked for each of them individually. "You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture, just get people to stop reading them." Ray Bradbury When I was in high school I had too many credits for the school I transferred into from another state, so I was given elective credits for tutoring a junior high boy in reading. He had spent many of his school years in special reading classes and when I had him read to me, well, he couldn't. He could NOT read at all.How did he get so far in school with the inability to read? So I began to teach him how to read using phonics, and do you know, by the end of the quarter he could read. HE COULD READ!!!! When he read aloud to me a page of our lesson I was so happy for him. A few weeks later I got a hand-written letter from him thanking me for teaching him how to read, and he taught me the blessing and joy of teaching something I do not think anyone should be without~ the ability to read. "No skill is more crucial to the future of a child, or to a democratic and prosperous society, than literacy." L.A. Times
"The man who does not read books has no advantage over the man who can't read." Mark Twain
"It is not enough to simply teach children to read, we have to give them something worth reading. Something that will stretch their imaginations---something that will help them make sense of their own lives and encourage them to reach out toward people whose lives are quite different from their own." K. Patterson
"We read to know we are not alone." C.S. Lewis "A man is known by the books he reads." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Cuckoo Maran Worth A Second Chance & Glance

I gathered these eggs last week, my first eggs from my new flock. I am now getting at least 2 dozen eggs a day from my old and new flock. My new flock consists mainly of Cuckoo Marans, but also a few Welsummers and Americaunas. ( They lay blue to green eggs) So I am getting baskets of pretty eggs, kind of looks like I get to gather Easter eggs all year round. I LOVE it!
Awhile back I posted about this little Cuckoo Maran. She is at least 3 years old now and I do not how how she manages, but she does.
As a new little chick she had curled up feet. I kept thinking she would die , but she did not. As she got older it was hard for her to get around the pen, or to perch...but I just could not cull ( kill ) her because she was so plucky. She just had to work very hard to do what came easy for the other hens, but she did not seem miserable. She touched my heart and I decided as long as she did well she could live, if she seemed to suffer I would remedy that.
Look at her curled up toes. She wobbles-falls, wobbles-falls, every where she needs to go. Well, she is still alive and doing very well...wobbling-falling everywhere,....
....And she is still regularly laying eggs. I don't think she read the poultry books that say she should be a very un-thrifty animal and not worth the effort and expense of keeping.Just goes to show we can't ALWAYS predict the outcome of some things in life and sometimes even the most pitiful creatures are sure worth a second glance and chance.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Just Crafty, Or- What to Do With An Old Sweater

I had this pink angora / lambs wool sweater I had not worn for quite awhile. There was nothing wrong with it, I just did not wear it anymore. Since I have been learning a lot about wool, felting, and the amazing character of wool which allows for so many creative options I decided to offer my granddaughter the chance to create her own sweater. She is much , much smaller than I so I washed this sweater in a hot wash / cold rinse in the washing machine TWICE! There was the chance it would shrink to a teeny size and then it could be a doll sweater, but it did not shrink too much. I got out a selection of pretty and colorful buttons and trim, needles and thread, and invited her over. She seemed delighted. She chose her buttons and also turned up the cuffs and placed tiny daisy buttons on them. I think she showed restraint with embellishments. I also think the sweater looks much better on her than it did on me.
Then she asked if she could go outside and rake leaves! And she did.
How did my bazaar go you might, or might NOT ask? Well I will tell you, I think it was great! I sold quite a few of my wool felted balls. ( above) I sold several miscellaneous items, weaving, locker-hooking supplies, fiber.
I sold some of my hand~spun yarn.
And I sold a LOT of these!
We did get off to a rough start because the first morning of the bazaar I awoke to discover my car battery was dead. My husband had bought a new battery the night before which he had to install before I went off to Lake Lawrence and he went off to work. The second day of the bazaar my husband informed me our well pump had gone out, we had no water. Oh well, that has now been remedied. All that was needed is time and money! Now we're expecting a very big storm...I am off to fill water bottles and make sure I have the candles, matches, batteries and firewood ready! Oh, and turn my computer off at the first sign of flickering lights.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

NOT Jamie Oliver Friday, How Bazaar!

I have been crazy busy getting ready for the Lake Lawrence Christmas Bazaar that starts tomorrow. My husband and I set up my booth tonight, which means I was NOT cooking...however last night he cooked for us! He is an excellent cook.( He is the better cook in the family, but don't tell him I am admitting to that!) Since he was the cook he did not use a Jamie Oliver recipe, he used one we read on Noble Pig's blog. Here was my dinner last night, Vanilla Cider Pork & Walnut Wild Rice. It was delicious. My husband was not too crazy about the pears but it turns out his pear was almost too ripe before he sauteed it but I thought my pear was perfect. It was warm and flavorful and still firm inside. The cider pork was perfection and the wild rice dish could be served as a dish all by itself. In fact, I think we will be making the rice dish for a potluck and we had better make a lot because I could eat a LOT of this! To get the recipe from Noble Pig herself click here* and check out the November 4th recipe. ( For some reason my computer will not allow the hyper-link to the specific recipe, sorry) I made this pie for a potluck awhile ago and this Mile High Apple Pie With Cranberries is from Mary's blog One Perfect Bite. I love, love , love cranberries. Sometimes I eat the cranberries just by themselves, no cooking, or sugar, or embellishments of any kind, so I was delighted at the idea of adding them to apples to make a pie. We have a lot of apples from the trees in our orchard and I have been told my pies are pretty good so hey, I tried it. Looks good on the outside if I must say so myself, and there was no pie left-over or tossed in the garbage at the potluck so it must be tasty. My grandchildren informed me it needed more sugar and I can see where they were coming from. I used the least amount of sugar called for in the recipe, next time I will add the max amount. The grandchildren ate their pie, so it was good, they just prefer MORE sugar!For this recipe click here.* I can't wait to have the busyness of the bazaar over so I can get down to holiday baking and cleaning and decorating and....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank-you For The Blood, Sweat and Tears....

This is a picture of my father in Korea, 1958. I have pictures of him in uniform, all spic and span and looking every bit as proud as he felt wearing his U.S. Army uniform . This photo just struck me though. War is dirty, bloody, bone- wearying, lonely, scary, and even tedious. There is always the practical aspect of war...when not in battle the equipment needs to be taken care of, repaired, serviced. Battle, or warfare is noisy, bloody, scary...I am sure anyone who has fought in a war has much more they could say about war, but most veterans I know , including my father , father-in-law, son , brother-in-law ,nephews , friends, choose not to talk about it much. "We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude."Cynthia Ozick One of the rare discussions I once had with my father about war has always stuck with me. My father did two tours of duty in Korea, and two tours of duty in Vietnam. He said when he held a dying man in his arms he could see the life leaving , and the spark of life was in his eyes, and then it was not. "In war there are no unwounded soldiers." Jose' Narosky This is my son David , reading a local newspaper I sent him. He is shown here in Iraq in the first of his two tours there, with his U.S.M.C. tank crew. They got mighty dirty and tired. Not too much boredom though, things were pretty lively for them ( unfortunately). Since our son was very little he desired a military career. I always marveled at this though because as a little boy he once commented.."Mom, the soldiers on one side are fighting for their country, and the soldiers on the other side are fighting for theirs'...each one thinks they are right.."The most persistent sound which reverberates through men's history is the beating of war drums." A. Koestler We were talking on the phone 2 days ago and he told me he could sleep anywhere when he was tired. He said he slept through mortars and fire-fights. One night he was dreaming he was home with us and in his dream I was in the kitchen cooking and complaining of the mortaring going on around the house. Then one of his fellow Marines came in, a little bloody ( nothing serious) and woke him up because they WERE under fire! "Valor is stability, not of legs and arms, but of courage and the soul." Michel de Montaigne
There is so much I would, or could say..and so much more I cannot begin to know or understand enough to say well. There is so much to cry about, and pray about, and be angry about..but today I want to say THANK-YOU!
To all of you veterans of all wars, thank-you for your service and sacrifice."Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die." G.K. Chesterton
"When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep? " George Canning

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Torque On The Table

This is my ram, Torque,shortly after a shearing when he was young and still behaving himself. Torque was thus named because of the shape and location of his two lower horns which fit the definition of the word 'Torque' perfectly :"natural ring or collar, as on the neck" Funk & Wagnall's Dictionary. Torque became downright dangerous ( click here* to read of his demise) and was dispatched shortly after shearing almost 2 years ago. I kept all Torque's wool separate so I could spin him up! This wool is a charcoal gray, which is Torque's white wool and black wool washed and then carded ( combed) together into wool batts, ready for me to spin.
Look at how much 2 ply hand~spun wool his fleece provided!
I began weaving a table~runner of Torque's wool as soon as I set the ply on the last skein of his yarn. I used some hand~spun wool of a different color and sheep for the accent stripes in my table~runner.
Look~ I finished the table-runner, finally! It is long enough to hang over the ends of our table even with the table extension put in. I could not help but thoroughly enjoy singing this little verse I made up while I spun and wove Torque's wool........
Torque on the table,
Torque on the wall,
Torque in the stew pot,
Torque enough for all! See, there are 4 skeins of 2-ply wool left over!