Friday, December 13, 2013

Eagle Brand Memories

Some of my birthday treasures

I was surprised by my dear sister's in Christ with a quaint birthday celebration after our Bible study this week. Each of my sisters gave me a can or two of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk. I also received two spoons. Yes, I do mean the spoons that you eat with.

I had recently shared a memory with "K" about my grandmother and the idea was born. You see, "K" is a very thoughtful and creative person. We were texting back and forth when she brought up the topic of desserts and asked me what was my favorite. My list was long and full of the sweetest desserts there are. As I told "K" I'm only in it for the sugar. She laughed in disbelief when I told her Eagle Brand milk. Then I proceeded to share the story of my love of the sugary stuff.

My Grandmother was not a healthy woman. She often had issues keeping a healthy weight. She was tiny. She bore and raised thirteen children during her lifetime. I asked her once when I was young why she had so many children and she told me "that's how many names she had picked out". Made since to me at the time. I have wondered many times if that was her standard answer for anyone that asked her that question. My Grandmother's doctor suggested that she eat a can of Eagle Brand milk due to it's high calorie content to help her gain some weight. Grandmother would open a can up, retrieve two spoons from the drawer and sit down at the table. I would soon find my way to the kitchen. I would climb into the chair next to her where my spoon would be waiting for me and we would indulge in the thick rich substance until it was gone.

The two spoons represented my Grandmother and myself sitting together at the table and the Eagle brand is my treasured memory. The ladies and I also shared a coconut cream pie. It was on my list too. I imagine that they didn't want to indulge in Eagle Brand that early in the morning and perhaps not at all. What a wonderful day! What a wonderful memory! Thank you Grandma and thank you my dear sister's for the loving kindness that you have bestowed upon me.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday

Oh Boy! Number One convinced me to run to Bass Pro at 3 am this morning to pick up a couple of "Black Friday" specials. I have never participated in the Friday after Thanksgiving sales trap, because I always considered it nuts and I was right. First of all, it's 3 am. Second, it takes about an hour an a half to get to town. Third, it was five degrees when we left the house and last but not least, it may have been a six hour sale, but they do not have unlimited supplies for the six hour sale. With my trusty wake up tea in hand(Number One made for me) we headed out the door.

When we got there we must have been 300th in line. With our coats, hats and gloves in place we waited in the cold. Not too terribly long. At least I didn't have flip-flops on like the young lady in front of us did. It was at least twenty degrees warmer in the city. It was three degrees when we arrived back home at 7 am.

I lost sight of Number One immediately when he took a wrong turn for the gadget line. Pretty soon I caught a glimpse of him heading towards the back of the line. Within fifteen minutes all the gadgets were gone. We picked up our "one per person" gadget just in time and then they were out. It should be called the "10 Minute Sale". No rain checks ya' know. By the time we went through the entrance other dedicated shoppers were already checking out heading to their next conquest no doubt.

I splurged and bought myself two Lodge cast iron bread pans. Perhaps a deterrent for next years invitation? They were not on-sale. I have seen other pans, but they are not made in America like Lodge. I just cannot see a life time of potential poisoning from made in China type brands.

The media was there filming the event. I don't know if they had crews at every sales event or if they just picked Bass Pro for some reason. Donuts and instructions were handed out, including instructions on proper behavior. I would like to say that everyone seemed to be in good spirits including the sales staff.

We came home and Number One fell asleep in the chair. I made some hot tea, took the dogs out and watered the chickens. After yesterday's feast, this morning's shopping and just a few hours of sleep I'm ready for a day of relaxation with a good book and more tea by my side. I may have to switch to coffee, strong coffee...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Puritan Prayer Of Thanksgiving

A week ago, I attended the Ladies Thanksgiving luncheon at Church. It was a beautiful time of fellowship. This was the prayer that was read before our meal. Number One and I will pray this prayer before our Thanksgiving meal.

I pray that each of you have a blessed day of Thanksgiving with your family and friends. May God bless each of you spiritually, physically and financially. Have a blessed day...

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Government Shutdown?

I hopped on the computer today to check the weather and saw this notice that informed me that this site was unavailable due to the government shutdown, however, in the same notice it also informed me that it would still be maintained. This seemed a little strange to me and thought that I would share it with you.



Government Shutdown Notice

Due to the Federal Government shutdown, and most associated web sites are unavailable. However, because the information this site provides is necessary to protect life and property, it will be updated and maintained during the Federal Government shutdown.

On my way home from town this afternoon I noticed that that there were numerous vehicles parked on the road near a rest area. I thought that there must have been an accident or something, but as I passed by I realized that the entrances were closed by gates. This did not stop the occupants from getting out of their cars to walk on the trails and take pictures of the beautiful views. This area is a gateway to a national park that the main highway winds through. There is a little Ranger's station that sells books, hands out maps and promotes attractions. They do not have flushable toilets or water for sinks. Now I can see keeping the store closed, but why everything else? It is always open 24 hours even when the Ranger's station is closed. This also seemed a little strange to me.

Then I read that 83% of the government is still functioning and the employee's that are furlowed are going to get paid. This is confusing. No work is getting done. What exactly is the point of this shutdown? They are still spending the money. The only people that are suffering are "We The People". Is this their desired effect? I do not want one soul to be out of work or out of a paycheck. I would like our government to be fiscally responsible. I am appalled by the treatment of our Veteran's at WWII War Memorial. I pray that the solution will "truly" be what is best for us and not what they deem is best for us.     

Thursday, October 3, 2013

What In The World?

I haven't been on the computer much lately, so I was totally shocked by the headlines today. Shootings, murder, road rage, government shutdown, capital lock down, national monuments and parks closed. This is not some third world country it is the great United States of America.

Have we lost our minds or only our morals? When you can't go for a Sunday drive for fear of  motorcycle thugs attacking your family there is something really wrong with our world. Is fear the new normal? Does having a good time require beating up a stranger? No charges filled? Where is the justice in that?

Everything seems to be topsy-turvy. Is wrong the new right, right the new wrong? This trend is very disturbing to me. It's not just here, but worldwide. Miss M is in Kenya right now helping out women in need. She left just days after the mall siege. Miss M was a little worried about her own safety and the safety of those traveling with her, but they went anyway. They went to make the world a better place. We can do the same thing right here. Don't be discouraged doing good deeds. Those deeds still make a big difference to those they touch.

Deuteronomy 31:8
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Catastrophic Emergencies

There have been so many tragic events over the last ten years all around the world. In 2004 a tsunami in the Indian ocean killed 230,000 people. In 2005 Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. In 2010 an earthquake killed 220,000 people. A tsunami in Japan killed at least 15,000. In Moore Oklahoma a monster tornado struck this year. The wildfires in Colorado in the past two years and now the devastating  floods that continue to wreak havoc today. I'm sure that there are more tragedies that I have not mentioned.

Just because they do not make the headlines in the newspaper or on the evening news anymore does not mean that people are not having to deal with the after effects of the catastrophe everyday. People are still suffering. Think about those who did not have insurance to replace their homes like in Hatti or right here in the United States. How many years did victims live in  FEMA trailers in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina?

I read this the other day that "it has been said that everyone is either in the midst of the battle, just coming out of a battle, or about to enter the battle. At first glance, this is often not visible. A smile often masks deep feelings. The writer of the Proverbs put it this way, "Even in laughter the heart may be in pain, and the end of joy may be grief." (Proverbs 14:13 NASB)

We are instruments in Gods' marching band. We use a smile to a stranger on a street corner like a flute to brighten their day. We also use our words like musical notes to encourage one another. Our wallets are like a roaring trombone easing the suffering of others.

I encourage you to reach out to those around you. Reach out to your neighbor who has lost their job in this troubled economy. It is a simple act of kindness to stop and visit the lonely elderly widow who lives down the street. It may seem like small potatoes to you, but to her it could mean the world. Don't underestimate a kind deed.   

Mercy Me "Hold Fast"

To everyone who's hurting
To those who've had enough
To all the undeserving
That should cover all of us
Please do not let go
I promise there is hope

Hold fast
Help is on the way
Hold fast
He's come to save the day
What I've learned in my life
One thing greater than my strife
Is His grasp
So hold fast

Will this season ever pass?
Can we stop this ride?
Will we see the sun at last?
Or could this be our lot in life?
Please do not let go
I promise you there's hope

You may think you're all alone
And there's no way that anyone could know
What you're going through
But if you only hear one thing
Just understand that we are all the same
Searching for the truth
The truth of what we're soon to face
Unless someone comes to take our place
Is there anyone?
All we want is to be free
Free from our captivity, Lord
Here He comes

Dedicated to those who need help

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Legacy Of The Wooden Spoon

My 26 year old wooden bread spoon and the well worn wooden spoon I inherited.

When I was first married I decided that I would master the art of bread making, so I purchased a "hippie" bread book and began my training in the craft. The book suggested that I needed a sturdy wooden spoon in order to mix the dough properly and anything else would not do, so I headed back to the "hippie" store where I purchased the "hippie" bread book and bought a fine wooden spoon. If you had to mix six cups of wheat flour into a cup or so of water you too would need the sturdiest of wooden spoons. My new wooden spoon, however, did not stop my first attempts at making bread from taking on the form and density of a large heavy brick.

Number One has a great sense of humor. He has had to endure many food tragedies during our 26 years of marriage. He has used his humor to encourage me to not give up on my natural ability to cook, but mastering whole grain bread has been a circus act at best.

My wooden spoon has only been used for bread making, so it still has a new look to it compared to my cherished wooden spoon from my "Other Mother", Number One's mother, who left us to be with the Lord in 2002. I have know idea how old her spoon may be. I know that it has been around since before I was united with my husband some 26 years ago.

It is well worn from use. I inherited it after Number One's father passed away last year. I saw it standing tall in the crock where it was held for so many years and it brought back many fond memories of meals shared with family and friends that I just had to bring it home with us.

In our family the kitchen is the center of the home. The act of sharing a meal is a very social event. It is a time to share the events of the day whether good or bad with everyone that is at the table. Sometimes the conversations would run into each other. The volume getting higher and higher with laughter from many stories going on at once.

I wonder just how many dishes it has stirred in it's lifetime? I use it daily to prepare our meals now. Every time I pull it out of it's crock from under the counter I remember the delicious food prepared by a wonderful beautiful woman who loved her family beyond measure. I remember preparing months of Meals for Number One's dad using this wooden spoon before it traveled home with us. We would visit as frequently as we could. During our visits "Other Dad" and I would sit and discuss the food he wanted to eat for the next month and then drive to the store to pick up the ingredients. We would enjoy a glass of wine while I cooked and taught him how to fix his favorite meals with the handy spoon by my side.

We miss them and thank them for the legacy of the wooden spoon that gives us frequent reminders of the love they both bestowed upon everyone who entered their home and shared a meal with them. I praise God for the blessing he has given me by being a part such of a loving family.

This is a poem that I gave to my "Other Mother" for mother's day one year. It is framed and still resides in their home to this day. I read it aloud to her to tell her again what she meant to me a couple of days before her death.

"To My Other Mother"

To My Other Mother

You are the other Mother I received,
The day I wed your son.
And I want to thank you Mom,
For the loving things you've done.
You've given me a gracious Man,
With whom I share my life.
You are his lovely Mother,
And I his lucky Wife.
You used to pat his little head,
And now I hold his hand.
You raised in love a little boy,
And then gave me the Man.
Author: Unknown


Saturday, September 7, 2013

"Next Year"

I woke up very early this morning. I tried to go back to sleep, but just kept tossing and turning in the bed and realized that I needed to just get up. I started my usual routine with a cup of hot tea and my Bible devotion. Afterwards, I went out on the porch to watch the daylight peek through the mountains as it does everyday without fail and began to realize that this whole year and part of last year has been filled with a lot of "next years".

As I sit here with my trusty ice pack on my neck and back reminiscing about the things that I missed out on in the past year (feeling a little sorry for myself) I came to the conclusion that, Lord willing, I can participate next year in working, hiking, biking, fishing, riding, traveling, cooking (really cooking), cleaning, lifting and  pretty much everything else that I have been accustomed to doing whether for fun or out of necessity.

Miss M, my foraging partner, had to go without me this last time, so next year...

I stood by the pristine waters of a nearby river yesterday, yearning to be able to toss a line in and reel in a big trout, so next year...

I watched as my friend lifted her saddle onto her beautiful horse and prepared for a riding trip into the mountains, I could only watch, so next year...

I watched as Number One left out alone for a week at a time to earn a living without me, so next year...

This is just a few examples of my "next years". With the changing of the season comes the reality that the time has come and gone for many of these activities, so next year...

I have high hopes for next year. I certainly have been building it up in my mind and as far my fleeting moments of feeling sorry for myself I just tuck them away and look forward to "next year"...

Monday, September 2, 2013

Harvesting Choke Cherries and Rose Hips

Yesterday morning my girlfriend Miss M and I went foraging. (This is the first time I have been out in the true outdoors in a very long time) Miss M picked me up around 10 am in her trusty Subaru. We had our little day packs with our map in hand and everything else we might need in case we were caught up in one of the storms that frequent us this time of the year. I brought a light hooded jacket, hat, filtered water bottle, chapstick and a small pail to haul whatever harvest we might find.

We stayed in a popular play area to avoid any contact with our more aggressive wildlife neighbors. This also worked well for us since we could forage right from the road without too much physical effort.(I still have limited strength) A beautiful river drops down this narrow winding canyon where trout abound in the frigid waters and serious fishing occurs. You know the kind of fishing where they make you throw the fish back in. I prefer the other kind of fishing called keep and eat.

The dark paths seen here were caused by heavy rain run off from a storm the other night.
 When foraging, be sure to have a trusted guide with you that has pictures and descriptions of edible plants to help you identify a safe harvest. There are toxic plants everywhere, even in your own home, so be careful not to become a victim.

Number One bought me this guide for this area about a month ago.
We were visiting a Ranger's station looking for a good map when I spotted this book. A friend of ours had mentioned to us what a thorough guide this book was and he was right.
 I do not have any pictures of the hunt, but I have pictures of the harvest. We also found black and red currants, wild licorice, raspberries, mustard and many other edibles. This was all growing on the side of the road.  I had only planned to pick rose hips to dry for tea this winter, but the choke cherries were calling to us. I knew that the rose hips were ready to pick, the choke cherries were a nice surprise. Miss M made syrup last night with her bounty and I made syrup with mine after I came home from Church.

I kept all the rose hips to dry at my house and will divide the spoils when they are ready. We are planning another harvest this week(If I am up to it) after discovering all the ways to preserve the fruits. We missed out on the other berries, it was just too late in the season to harvest any amount worth preserving. We are both new at this, but fully intend to learn as much as we can since we enjoyed ourselves so much. We both like the outdoors. I want to harvest some licorice root. It is 50 times sweeter than sugar. Three rose hips have more vitamin C than an orange. I used honey to sweeten the choke cherry syrup. I will use it to sweeten my tea, on my whole wheat pancakes and I may make some jelly.

Choke Cherries

Rose Hips

 Watch for future posts on preserving the harvest. Spoiler alert: I have a batch of pineapple vinegar brewing!!!


Friday, August 23, 2013

Refried Beans

I really do enjoy a good pot of beans, but beans are very versatile, so why stop there? Beans are easy to cook, but require a little more advance planning when cooking at high altitudes. I soak my beans for a few days and then cook them in my electric pressure cooker. The quick soak method does not work here and if you cooked them on the stove it could take days. The first time I cooked beans at this altitude I cooked them for three days and they were still a little hard. I finally gave up.

I started with cold cooked beans.

Fried up some smokey ends and pieces.

Then I added cold beans to the hot fry pan with some bacon grease.  

Once thoroughly heated, I mashed the beans. I used my wooden
mallet for the task.
 As far as seasonings I used salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. You can use whatever seasonings you like. I'm serving these as a side dish with fajitas tonight for our Sabbath meal.

I always make extra beans for freezer to save energy and time. I mixed the extra bacon fat into the extra beans
for added flavor.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Our Daily Bread

Almost every morning Number One reads out loud to me from "Our Daily Bread" 
Number One shared this post with me the other day and I wanted to share it with all of you. It is a reminder  of God's promises. I hope that this blesses you as much as it blessed us.

Text Size: Zoom In

Contained But Not Extinguished

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
In June 2012, the Waldo Canyon fire destroyed 346 homes in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and burned more than 18,000 acres of mountain forest. The fire was declared 100-percent contained when perimeter lines had been built around the entire area of the blaze. It had been confined to a defined area until it could be fully extinguished. A fire information official warned residents that they might continue to see smoke in the burn area because even though the fire was fully contained it “is not controlled and it is not out.”
When our world is rocked by tragic events and evil acts, we long for the day when evil will finally be destroyed and God will bring history to a close and fully establish His kingdom. Until that time, however, the Lord gives us His grace to live purposeful lives of faith as we await His coming. In Hebrews 10, we are urged to draw near to God with sincere hearts (v.22); hold fast to the hope we profess (v.23); spur each other on to love and good works (v.24); and continue meeting together for encouragement “and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (v.25).
Until the time God extinguishes the fires of evil forever, He gives us His grace and strength to endure the trials of life as we look forward to His return.
Dear Lord, thank You for the grace You give us to live
each day for Your glory. We look forward to the day
when You return, all evil will be extinguished, and
we will live with You in perfect harmony forever.
Jesus is coming—perhaps today!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Chickie Birds

We have eight new editions to the ranch. Chickie birds are everywhere. They all hatched on July 3rd. I opened the coop to find fuzz balls running all around. I was so excited. Two of our hens had nests full of eggs. They did not choose the best possible nesting areas, therefore, only eight of the thirty eggs hatched. I know better now and will try remove extra eggs from the nests next time. The eggs on the bottom did not get enough warmth and some of the eggs hatched, but were smashed and never stood a chance.

Number One gave them some scratch this morning, so I snapped a few pics. It was  impossible for me to get all eight in one picture since they move constantly. They are almost all feathered out now. They can regulate their own body temperature at this age, but still snuggle up with their mommies at night. They were out of the coop in three days, but could not get back in by themselves at night and needed a little help. They are a pleasure to watch.

Hen's have amazing parenting skills. The chicks start learning from the moment they are hatched. The hen's keep a watchful eye out for any dangers at all times. I have learned a lot about the language of chickens. They are actually great communicators. They call each other for dinner, warn each other about potential dangers, fuss, complain, they all rejoice together when eggs are laid and much much more. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Soap, Soap And More

My dearest mother sent us a care package of soap today. I just love the care packages her and my dad send us. We never know what will be inside, but rest assured it will be a loving thoughtful gift that we will enjoy.

Last week we received a 38 lb care package. Usually, we get hefty packages from them that include clothes and treats that the two of them have been collecting for a couple of months or years. This time my mother sent her treasured handmade dolls that she has enjoyed for the last 30 or 40 years.

Handmade dolls made from old clothes pins

 They are just beautiful and I will cherish them always. Thank you mother. Along with the dolls came Winter items and a few Summer tops that fit me perfectly, an insulated jacket with matching gloves for Number One and an assortment of other handy items that we will enjoy with the changing of the seasons. Thank you both for your generosity.

Treasures come in many forms. Number One's mother, who has gone to be with the Lord, made this shelf and the ram and her dad made the wooden puzzles that you see in the bowls. A friend of ours took this picture from a creek near our home in the Ozarks when he first started out in photography. These are earthly treasures that we enjoy, but there is a greater treasure not of this world.

Colossians 2

 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Mary Had A Little Lamb...

It has been a long while since I was able to post. Things on blogger have changed and I have not figured it all out yet. Please forgive any spelling errors and alignment issues. I will try to figure it out.

By Mother Goose Mother Goose
Mary had a little lamb,
Its fleece was white as snow;
And everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go.

It followed her to school one day,
Which was against the rule;
It made the children laugh and play
To see a lamb at school.

And so the teacher turned it out,
But still it lingered near,
And waited patiently about
Till Mary did appear.

Why does the lamb love Mary so?
The eager children cry;
Why, Mary loves the lamb, you know,
The teacher did reply.
    We all remember this nursery rhyme from childhood, but have you ever asked yourself "why" the lamb followed Mary? Well, neither had I until this morning when I was doing my Bible study. Mary was a shepherdess. She tended to the lamb, loved the lamb, provided for the lamb's every need. The lamb knew her voice and was comforted by Mary's presence.
    We too have a great "Shepherd". The 23rd Psalm was writen by King David who himself was a shepherd of sheep and then the shepherd of God's people. David realized that he too had a greater Shepherd than himself who loved, provided, protected and guilded him through all kinds of landscapes in this world. 
    It makes sence to me now that the lamb wanted to be close to Mary. I too am a lamb who wants to be close to my Shepherd. I am comforted by His presence. I am provided for, protected, restored and most of all, loved. 
Psalm 23  
King James Version (KJV)
23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
    Sometimes life makes it hard to hear our "Shepherd". Our ears grow dull to His voice due to
    all the noise of this world. We can become disoriented and even lost. Our Shepherd watches out for us. His ears never become dull to our crying out to Him. His eyes are never dim. 
    He seeks us wherever we are. Who is your shepherd?