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

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Gladness Of His Heart!

Our brother-in-law Kaare is celebrating an upcoming milestone birthday! This is all the more special and precious because this past fall he had at least 2 heart attacks and spent a fair amount of time in the hospital and in recovery. He is back at work and so thankful to be celebrating LIFE with his family.Kaare sat next to his father who recovered from a heart attack a few years ago, both of them seem to especially appreciate time with loved ones. "Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one's labors in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward." My sister Karen, (left, holding the cake) is Kaare's wife. She arranged this bash at an Italian restaurant because she is beyond happy and thankful for her beloved husband recovering and still here with her. She is still very much in love with her husband of more than 30 years, as he is with her. "Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God."
Here is our end of the very long table full of just a few of the many family members Kaare and Karen have. We were so happy to be able to celebrate another year of being together.We never know when one of us, young or old, healthy or infirm will be called home to eternity, and it is often so easy to forget that until we almost lose someone dear." For he will not often consider the years of his life because God keeps him occupied with the gladness of his heart." ~all quotes are from Ecclesiastes 5: 18-20~
Here is a long picture looking all the way from one end of the room to the other, full of family that love Kaare. Happy Birthday Kaare, and may God grant you many more to be occupied with the gladness of your heart!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Jamie Oliver Friday~Italian Bread & Cabbage Soup

I bet you thought I forgot about Jamie Oliver Fridays.My husband thought I did. However, with all the holiday festivities and foods and all the family get-togethers this month there was not time for me to shop especially for the recipes in his book. Had I planned appropriately I would have saved some cabbages from our garden, but cabbages are very affordable and easy to find in just about any supermarket. This recipe is very affordable and easy but I have a few words to say about it first..... .........Jamie, please stream- line your recipes! After I prepare one of your delicious recipes I have always remarked to myself " boy, I could have made that in fewer steps and with a LOT less dishes, pots and pans". This alone makes me absolutely positive he has someone, or hey, even a whole crew cleaning up after him! Unfortunately I am unable to see how I can do this until I make the recipe, my mind doesn't work that way, but our daughter has said the same thing about some of Jamie's recipes she has used. She is smarter than me though and usually figures this out BEFORE she begins cooking. However, I digress~ above is a picture of Italian Bread & Cabbage Soup just before I put it into the oven. I was so excited about this recipe! I photographed the recipe and I believe you can enlarge it. I won't do this anymore, I will write it out, but I wanted you to see how Jamie publishes his recipes. I like the anecdotes he includes and his personal way of speaking comes through in his writing, and my husband and I very much enjoy watching Jamie's cooking program on the Food Network because of the unique and quirky way he prepares and presents foods. Here is my bowl of Italian Bread & Cabbage Soup With Sage Dressing. I thought it was delicious! However, my husband does not like soggy or wet bread and this recipe calls for a lot of that. I liked this hot, but do not think I would like this as left-overs and you can see I made a big pan of this for the two of us. We decided I would make this again but here is what I will do...and I think it will be MUCH better : instead of a layer of bread I will use a layer of toasted cubes of bread, or a bag of purchased non-seasoned stuffing, or even a bag of seasoned stuffing. This would soak up the flavors but not get soggy and my husband would be happy with that. I will make this again, with croutons or stuffing, cut the recipe in half, and simplify the cooking process. So try it, you might like it! (I almost forgot, we grow and use a lot of sage but we did not want the sage dressing so we skipped that part and were happy we did, sorry Jamie.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Preparations For Spring....

This is Swallow Lane Barnaby. He is 11 months old and he has been having a lot of fun with a small flock of ewes ( female sheep ). Barnaby needed to be sheared and then moved to a pen away from the ewes who are due to lamb ( have babies) anytime now. So this afternoon my shearer, actually Lanny's* shearer & husband, came over to shear Barnaby and a 3 other sheep.Barnaby is now a very naked ram lamb and I decided to spare him the embarrassment of displaying his nakedness online, but I am happy with his condition and he appears to be a ram that will out-ram Goth, given the chance. We'll see.....
Here is my Grandson, also my first grandchild. Hallelujah and thank-you Lord, he is a hard worker and he is now old enough and big enough to do hard work for ME ! Here he stops to pose for me by the goat's house and pen.
As you can see Thorin & Bombadil can really make a mess of their place. CT has been working hard to keep their place fairly clean, they do not cooperate though. So this provides CT with a job. And this is a job that needs doing every few weeks, so one could say Thorin and Bombadil are providing CT a valuable employment opportunity, very definitely steady income.
See? And Thorin and Bombadil also provide manure and rotted hay for compost and garden fertilizer. Once in a while I spread all this around our fruit trees and blueberry bushes. You could even say Thorin and Bombadil are regular producers of a valuable commodity in one way or another.
CT is quick about the job, wasting no time to dilly dally.
Younger sister MN is feeding the goats their favorite treat, soda crackers.Here Bombadil eats out of her hand.
Thora , Goth's sister peers over Naomi's back as I snap a picture of my two newly sheared girls. Naomi and Thora have both uddered up and Naomi looks ready to have lambs any day. Spring is in the air....

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

They Jump !

I have a very similar story to the little drama shown below. Only it was my husband who was going to save me from a very big wolf spider that had been on the wall all evening. My husband worked swing shift at the time and I watched and checked on that spider all night just waiting for my husband to come home and get rid of it. I would not attempt this myself because you know, spiders can see you with all those eyes, I know this because I have watched their eyes follow me, and there is this--spiders jump! Well, my brave husband came home and I showed him the spider I had been observing all night. My husband laughed at me for being so silly and not taking care of this myself. Then he got a container to take care of it, climbed onto the couch to reach it and IT JUMPED RIGHT AT HIM! I did not know my husband could scream like that. In fact I have never heard him scream like that before or since. The spider scrambled under the sofa where my husband decided it could be left alone....and I never did know where that spider went but you can bet I did not sit on the sofa for quite awhile and for sure did not allow my naked feet to hang below the cushions. A spider like that could easily be waiting for a tasty chunk of foot or toe.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Spot On Freshly Gathered Eggs

I just gathered my eggs and took a picture of them. Aren't eggs beautiful? These eggs come from the chicks I posted about last year. The chicks that grew up into chickens.The chicks were Ameracauna and Cuckoo Marans. The Ameracauna hens are Aracauna chickens bred with different varieties of chickens and the shade of green, from blue to mossy green depends upon which variety of chicken the Aracauna is bred with. If an Aracauna is bred with a brown egg layer the hen will lay the darker mossy green eggs. If the Aracauna is bred with a white egg layer the eggs will be a light minty green to almost aqua or blue. These are my favorites. The Cuckoo Marans lay a dark brown egg. The best of the Marans lay an egg that is a dark chocolate brown, my desired brown egg color. My favorite way to eat freshly gathered eggs is to whisk 3 or 4 eggs with a dash of soy sauce and Johnny's seasoning salt to taste. I cook the eggs in a small frying pan turning and turning with a spatula until the eggs are JUST done and not a bit more. I then add a lot of grated cheddar cheese, turn over in the pan again until the cheese is melted then flip it onto a plate. I pour myself a cup of freshly ground and brewed coffee and butter bread right out of the toaster to add to the plate. This is the best brunch ever!( I don't eat breakfast, my tummy does not desire it) A brunch like this is often all I need to sustain me for the whole day and I am very happy to repeat this again the next day.If you're unable to raise chickens yourself it is well worth it for you to find a source of fresh eggs from a local egg seller, the difference in taste of fresh eggs versus the best eggs from the average supermarket is vast. Try it, you'll like it, fresh eggs that is.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hold My Heart~

Last summer as I was driving to town, with my heart heavy -laden with fears and worries about the future of our son and his 4 daughters this song came on the radio. I had never heard it before and I was amazed by how much this song echoed the cry of my heart ~ a cry that went so deep into my soul and being... and then how amazingly comforting it was to pray the words of this song and then just simply KNOW God is in control, He will do what is best ."..and He who searches the heart knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints ( all who name Jesus as Savior) according to the will of God." Romans 8 : 27

Friday, January 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Joni~

My younger sister, well, all my sisters are younger than me, and taller- my younger sister Joni had a birthday yesterday and to celebrate it 3 of us girls got together for lunch in my home. Our youngest sister is in New York . We miss you baby sister! If you want to laugh til you cry just hang around these ladies. I kid you not, I am the "straight man" in the foursome, they are so funny. I always feel like I am several steps behind them as the jokes and pranks are speeding by, or over my head. I eventually catch on, but by then they are several funnies ahead. At this rate though, if we have the privilege of spending many more birthdays together we will have to wear some Depends because of all the laughing. Here is Joni holding up her new birthday girl goblet ( I get mine on my next birthday) and my kitten Ralphie. Joni is a cat lover and wants a cat very badly. She loves her husband way too much to inflict a cat on him, so to make him happy because she loves him Joni will enjoy my cat when she is here. So, happy, happy birthday sister, I love you!"Family faces are magic mirrors looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future." Gail Buckley
On a totally different note, please check out Debbie's blog, Of His Pasture, and read a post that will make you think.*

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Party Animals

Last night while watching the election results and comments regarding Scott Brown's amazing victory in Massachusetts and reading and commenting on some of my favorite blogs I realized there was a party going on in my own home....Ralphie has shown himself to be a real party animal! If he were a teenage boy he would be facing severe restrictions and consequences ( yes, my teenage boys were held accountable for their misbehavior because after all, we were -and still are- their parents first, and NOW we're their friends too) and since Ralphie is not a teenage human boy, but a pet, well, I can confine him to my craft room with all the necessities of life for a kitten. Above is a picture of Ralphie eying my Betta ON THE TABLE ! Oh no..here he is checking out my candle sticks. I left him in the dining room after taking this picture and removing him from the table. As I was reading and commenting on some of my favorite blogs I heard a CRASH!!!! Oh no, Ralphie had tipped over one of the candle sticks and was happily slapping a small votive candle all around the dining room. He did break the candlestick which I was able to super-glue back together, but I was upset about this. I have long contended cats have parties after we all go to bed and Ralphie has proven me right. Actually, all my cats have proven me right. "Every dog has his day, but the nights are reserved for cats." I have often told friends and family I would love to write a childrens' book about cats having parties after the lights are out and the family is sleeping, because I KNOW cats are having parties then. Just look at the evidence in the morning. Why, I have awakened to whole rolls of toilet paper unrolled and strewn throughout the house, the meringue topping licked clean off a lemon meringue pie baked and set aside just before I went to bed ( this happened more times than I can count and YES I did hide the pie, but the cat found it every time) my Wee Little Sheep destroyed, stuffed Teddy Bears looking as if they had a rough night on the town ( and indeed they did, WITH the cat) not to mention balls of hand-spun yarn unraveled and tangled around every furniture leg and the garbage tipped over and any food scraps eaten or scattered throughout the kitchen. These are just a few of the many bits of evidence of feline partying...I will not even repeat the true and grisly details of feline rodent & bird murders and the evidence of these deeds.One of my sisters-in-law had a cat door into her home for her cats. One night she and her husband were awakened to a loud thumping and clunking noise. Well, neighbor cats were in their home and playing with their own cats. The noise was made by a neighbor cat that had opened a cupboard and rolled a can of cat food out of the cupboard, off the counter and towards the cat door before stopped by my sister-in-law. See, their own cat had invited all the neighbor cats to the party! All I can say is that in spite of all the late night or early morning partying my cats do... ..I love them! "no party is any fun unless seasoned with folly." D. Erasmus This is NOT my motto, but my cats'. "Cats do not have to be shown how to have a good time, for they are unfailingly ingenious in that respect." James Mason

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Time Flies As Swiftly As The Wind!

This weekend came and went so swiftly, as swiftly as the wind storm that blew into our area in the Monday a.m. as I was cleaning up while thinking about our special week end company. As I began to write a blog post the winds slammed the house, the lights flickered and the computer did that thing it does as the power comes and goes. So I shut down the computer and tried to distract myself from the sound of the winds. I finally did get to sleep after I plugged my ears and snuggled under the covers. I awoke to a home with no electric power and had to call my friendly neighborhood sheep shearer and cancel a shearing appointment for 2 rams.Above is a picture of a bird's nest I found in the huge branches that came down onto the roof of our sheep shed. Our youngest son, his wife, and one of our oldest son's daughters came to visit over the weekend. We were happy to host an Artistry product party here for Breezy and lunch was served along with a great and informative presentation. Above is Breezy, Judy, and daughter A.Joy listening to Breezy talk about the benefits of the products.
I got to cuddle little MN as I listened.
The granddaughters had fun playing dress-up. They were giggling as they showed us their finery. The 2 blue dresses were worn by my sisters in my wedding.
Later on that day we had home church in our home, then visited some more late into the evening with Daniel, Breezy, and our granddaughter who quickly fell asleep on my lap after we polished our fingernails together. She got striped nails!
Oldest Son's #3 daughter hugs Aunt Breezy....
...and Uncle Daniel. His birthday was Sunday and my husband made him a chocolate cheesecake a la Nigella Lawson. Do you know, he shared one piece with my husband, his Dad, and then took the rest of it home! Why, the cheesecake got boxed up before I could take a picture of it.I think he likes chocolate cheesecake. I also received a needle-felting kit in the mail so I can participate in the needle-felting challenge issued by Shannon Phifer of Kenleigh Acres ( click here to view her blog*) . Check out her blogs about her farm, and her studio. Don't you just love weekends, and all they bring?They come and go so very quickly....and time flies swiftly...like the wind. And then comes Monday...MY day of rest!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Thanks For The Memories Mrs. Okimura!

My Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook was a Christmas gift to me in 1972 from my parents. I had a hope chest to put it into until I married and left home. When I was growing up and during the first years of my marriage this was THE "go to" cookbook for me. It contained all the recipes and how to's I needed, even a chapter on table settings and etiquette for serving! This book contains so very many memories. Memories that start way back in Hale Kula Elementary School at Schofield Barracks , Hawaii where I attended 3 years of school. My favorite teacher of all my school years was Mrs. Okimura, my 4th grade teacher. Look at this page of my cookbook!(click on picture to enlarge and read recipe) It has the very first recipe I baked all by myself thanks to Mrs. Okimura. I don't remember the occasion, but our beautiful teacher ( yes, she really was the prettiest and nicest teacher in the school and all us kids wanted HER to be our teacher, I got to be in her class!) decided we needed coffee cake to serve to someone visiting, I think. So she allowed me and a few other students to mix up this coffee cake batter and pour it into pans to be baked in the school cafeteria. WOW! I was allowed to do this with little help, she thought I could, and I did! When I went home later that day I showed my Mom the recipe in our cookbook and Mom allowed me to bake this. I baked it many , many times over the course of my growing up years and when I received this cook book as a gift I immediately marked the recipe with the date and place I first made it. I have also baked this simple coffee cake more times than I can count during our children's growing up years. I would whip it up for surprise company, or a quick dessert . Now when I make it I add a dash of instant coffee crystals and almost triple the topping recipe, so much better...but still reliably good baked just as the book requires. Our granddaughter came over for her weekly reading lesson with me and I thought back to my good experiences in learning, what made and still makes me happy and I immediately remembered Mrs. Okimura. Well then, today MN and Grandma would start the lesson reading a cookbook recipe and baking it. And MN was delighted! Look at her smile. ( BTW, when she comes over she requires that BOTH of us go upstairs to my bathroom and put on our "whipstick", hence the lovely red lips)
MN cracked the egg, added the ingredients and mixed the batter up all by herself. Then poured this mix into the baking pan she had greased by herself.
The brown sugar & cinnamon topping is yummy!
Look, butter and sugar coated hands!
Better finish off the batter left in the bowl before washing up, can't waste this!
And before we move onto more of our reading lesson while we wait for the cake to bake she washes the dishes. MN thinks THIS is the best part of all, washing the dishes and cleaning up. Really. She then offered to help me clean my entire house, yes, really! I decided we needed to continue on with the reading lesson instead.
The cake was done just as Poppa came home from work so the three of us had cake and coffee or hot chocolate.
This is what MN thought of her cake! And I was thinking about Mrs. Okimura, and how she affected my life for the good all those years ago and how special people like her give the gift of memories that affect people for the better for all their years. Thank-you for the memories Mrs. Okimura, and I suspect our little MN will thank you too.
"Memories: The state of being remembered; a living continuously in the minds of men." Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary

Monday, January 11, 2010

Spot On Some of My Quilts

This is a quilt I made almost 2 decades ago. Obviously I did not finish it. I started it when we lived in Tacoma and worked on it every once in awhile after we moved out here to the country. During our years of building our home, home-schooling our children and all the family events in between I cut and pieced this little bit of a quilt top using used fabrics cut away from old clothes, scraps of fabric left over after other sewing projects, and some new fabrics bought in the sale bins of fabric stores I would frequent. I finally tacked it up on the wall in our spare bedroom, maybe I will finish the top , add batting and backing and quilt this one day. For now there are so many other things I would prefer to do, besides, I have a sister and friends who are very talented with quilting and love to add their quilts to my collection. "Quilters touch the past and the future." I won this quilt!Many of the women in our community made quilt blocks and after entering the blocks in the Lacamas Community Fair, they got together on their sewing day in the community hall to assemble two quilts using the collected quilt blocks that had been judged at the fair. The raffle tickets for the two quilts were drawn at the Lacamas Christmas Bazaar and I won first choice of the two quilts! "A bed without a quilt is like the sky without stars." ( click to enlarge and see the detail in the quilt blocks)) I chose this quilt because of the lambs and the bees. The theme of the fair, and the quilt itself, was "You have to bee here..." and fair type and honeybee squares fill the quilt, with the prize-ribbon fabric being the unifying fabric. "A quilt is a treasure which follows its' owner everywhere."
Don't you just love this happy quilt?"When life gives you scraps-make a quilt."
"Good friends are like quilts. They age with you, yet never lose their warmth." "May your sorrows be patched and your joys quilted."

Friday, January 8, 2010

Uncle Dinkel & Little 'T'

Little 'T' is all giggles and smiles as she is enjoying breakfast with her "Uncle Dinkel".
I woke up to laughter and came downstairs to find two of my favorite people laughing together as they ate their morning cereal. My youngest son was eating breakfast with my youngest granddaughter, his niece. He was on this side of the mountains shoeing a few horses and visiting special friends, and he brought Little 'T' to visit and spend some time with us as Little 'T' does not yet attend school and can be away for a few days. ( Thank-you oldest son for letting her visit us!)
Of course our son brought one of his very best friends along, Taz. Taz was in our youngest son and his wife's wedding too, he wore a bow-tie for the special occasion.Taz is getting on in years and has saved our son's life at least once, and protected our son from harm at other times, good dog Taz!
This is our son's rig and shoeing trailer hooked up and ready for the long drive back home.....
Inside his trailer are all the necessities for his horse-shoeing, an anvil....
.....his forge,
Just look at how efficient and organized his shoeing trailer is ~ truly a very well organized shop on wheels. But, what is that way in the back of this manly shop equipped to shoe horses? Click on to enlarge and view the bin of pink, purple and turquoise, the only "horsey" thing in this bundle is the My Little Pony backpack on the top of the heap...the traveling necessities of a tiny little girl who has captured his heart.
Little 'T', with her Uncle "Dinkel" and Taz!