Sunday, January 23, 2011

Nachos and snowshoeing....

I LOVE nachos!  Do you think I'll find me some good nachos in Arizona?  I hope so.
The comida del día (meal of the day) was homemade nachos made with home-baked corn tortilla chips.  After the proper amount of rest required before exercising, I took my first-of-the-year snowshoe walk.  It was the perfect afternoon for it too.  Sunny, warm, light breeze, and 34 degrees.  The snow in many places was still quite powdery which made me sink in more, but generally, it was good shoeing. 

It's either Big Foot or the Gumbo Lily out traipsing in the snow!

It's a snowshoe-er for sure!
Why I didn't wear my wool pants for this excursion, I don't know.  My jeans were soaked through in back from the snow flipping up from behind and sticking to my pants.  
(Note to self, always wear woollies, even if it's warm)
I should be able to make one more walk tomorrow before we fly off to the land of Sun and Cactus. 

Saguaro from AZ 2008

¡Adios Amigos!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Feeding day....

Fresh snow fell over night, about 3-4 inches, but it was warmer than usual for a January morning.  I think it was somewhere around 30 degrees.  I picked up Hazel Peach and we went out together to do the feeding chores.  It was our job to feed alfalfa cake to the cows, bulls, and sheep.

 This ewe was more than happy to nibble cake out of HP's hand again and again and again. 
Good ol' girl!

 Hubs fed  hay to the cows just before we got there with the cake, but you can see they were glad to have us show up anyway.  Hello girls, it's breakfast!

These are the "old cows."  Old meaning more than three years old.  They are grazing in another pasture.  Don't their faces remind you of people you know?  

The cow is of the bovine ilk;
One end is moo, the other, milk.
~Ogden Nash

The friendly cow, all red and white,
I love with all my heart:
She gives me cream with all her might,
To eat with apple-tart.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

(I wish we still had our milk cow and all that lovely cream!)

Friday, January 21, 2011

This and That...

Today Hubs and I needed to make a trip to town to pick up a few sundry items before we fly away on our trip to Sunny Arizona.  We leave Monday and will be gone for a week to visit friends and to check out a college that Youngest Child is planning to attend.  We are all looking forward to a week of mild, possibly even warm temperatures for a change. This was the view from our car as we drove to our small town and then we went beyond it over near those mountains to the big city in the Black Hills.  Isn't this picture a lovely combination of blues?  God is so good to give us delights for the eyes, if we will just take the time to notice. 

As we were in our small town, we met up with the Only Daughter and she and I took a little drive to our favorite store, The Bakery, where we browsed the fabrics and then sauntered to the other side of the store to Bluestem Studio.  This lady has lots of handcrafted items that she and other locals create as well as a few antiques and vintage items.  I found this vintage table lamp that I couldn't resist for just $15.  You can't really see it, but it has a crystal piece just underneath the switch.  I think I'll paint the bottom part, but for now, I need it on my side of the bed for reading.  The lamp shade was not pretty at all but I liked the shape, so I used some adhesive spray and put a white piece of muslin around it and then tucked this piece of lace over it.   I may change the shade again, but for now, it suits me.  This old teacher's chair, salvaged from a country school from days gone by,  serves as my night stand.  It's really not much good for sitting in.  I tried it.  I don't know how teachers did it.  Surely there was a cushion or some padding in this rigid chair?  It's terribly uncomfy.

I have been enjoying a very good book most nights before I turn out the lights.  It's called Pilgrim's Inn by Elizabeth Goudge.  I read another of her books a long while ago called The Scent of Water which I just loved so I figured I couldn't go wrong reading another of her novels.  I was right!  The story is presented against a background of fragrant English countryside, magic woods, and the healing grace of the old house itself, whose history as an inn for pilgrims provides one exciting adventure.  All the elements which Elizabeth Goudge's vast following expect in her books are here:  humor, compassion and understanding; the vivid descriptive passages and the sharp characterization; and above all, the rich satisfying story, beautifully told. (as quoted from the dust cover)  The family in the story continuously refers to the book The Wind in the Willows which I own, but have never read.  I am now certain that I will make it the next book on my reading list.  Or maybe I'll just begin now and read it alongside Pilgrim's Inn.  If you are interested, Fraise Lachrymose has invited a few guest bloggers to share their thoughts and ideas about The Wind in the Willows.  Pom Pom also has a nice blog post about annotating The Wind in the Willows here.

Not only have I been reading a good book, but I've been playing with Sharpies and color crayons every evening too.  Pom Pom piqued my interest in another book called Creative is a Verb If You're Alive You're Creative by Patti Digh.  It is so refreshing to someone like me who enjoys being creative even though I don't think I'm very good at it.  There are many exercises that require the reader to draw and write on index cards which are very non-intimidating.  It's doable, isn't it, to scribble a small bit on an index card?  I've decided that I will kill two birds with one stone:  I will sketch on the cards and send some of them as postcards to friends.  The idea of sending postcards was another inspiration from Frances at Left-Handed Housewife.   Thanks, ladies, for your encouragement and inspiration!

A quote I copied down from Pilgrim's Inn:
"Struggle is divine in itself, but to ask to see it crowned with success is to ask for that sign which is forbidden to those who must travel by faith alone.  Each fresh leap of the flame from the charred wood lights your footprints a little further through the dark." 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Queensland and Victorian Flood Relief Appeal Raffle

Wouldn't you just love to snuggle this adorable little dolly?
Her name is Hollie and she was created by Jenny from Jenny Wren Dolls for a specific purpose.

You have no doubt heard of the recent flood devastation in Queensland and Victoria, Australia.  Last year it was bushfires and this year it's floods.  If you'd like to help the folks there and have a chance at winning Hollie, read on.

Little Jenny Wren is raffling off  her beautiful handmade doll in return for your donation of $5 or more to the Queensland and Victorian Flood Relief.   Just click over to this page and follow the links.  The raffle is open until Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at midday.  Thank you for helping others, and thank you, Jenny, for giving us the opportunity.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Around Home....

 Here's a pic of our little "Toodles" with her Papa.  
She's such a good baby.  Very content.  What a blessing for her parents!
Her mama is not well though.  She just found out she has walking pneumonia and she's exhausted.
You'll find me in the kitchen these days, cranking out the chicken & dumpling soup and other meals to share with our neighbors.  
Miss Peach is here lots more too.  
We're trying to give Mama plenty of quiet rest time.

I finished this fun apron for a friend. 
It's a Susan Branch pattern that DIL loaned me from one of her sewing books.  
She made me an apron similar to it for Christmas and I love it!
You can see it peeking out in the picture below.

I stitched up this child-sized apron for HP using a dish towel and some red polka dot ribbon for the ties.  She and I are messy cooks and we had a big cooking day here today.  Miss Peach always wants to help me cook so we made heart-shaped cheddar crackers from this recipe,  and then we made cheesy scalloped potatoes.  She likes to put the potato slices in the dish and sprinkle on the salt and pepper. 
I'm so glad she likes to work with me in the kitchen.  
She even does dishes!
(plays in the dish water mostly)
We had warm temperatures yesterday and a little rain here overnight.  The  snow is greatly melted and now a sheet of ice covers the ground.  It makes simple walking a very difficult task.  I should have strapped on my ice skates when I went to the chicken coop tonight.  I could skate anywhere I wanted to go!  HP wanted to make snow angels, but we couldn't.  The snow that remains is hard as a rock and then there is the ice.  Not good ingredients for snow angels.  I did pull her around on the sled though.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Stick-on art....

I have a stenciled phrase on my dining room wall.   Note the word "stenciled" which means tedious work to me.   I think the "wall words" type decals are brilliant, but now there is ART out there! I really mean ART! And it's in decal form. Stick-on art! I'm smitten. You must come look around and see it. 

All of these wonderful decals can be found at Etsy. Just do a search on Etsy for wall decals and you will find THOUSANDS of them. Many are very affordable. Some are more spendy, but think of what a nice framed picture from Target costs.  Just sharin'.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Feeling stitchy....

 I'm working on a few things.  Stitchy things.  HP and I got to spend a tiny bit of time in my favorite place yesterday -- The Bakery -- where we looked and touched, compared and matched and chose a few vintage fabrics to play with.  A big spool of red ric rac was unfurled and cut so we could take 6 yards home with us to add special touches to things.  Red ric rac edges are happy edges!

See.  The mushroom garden got a ziggy border.  There's always room for a bit of red in the kitchen isn't there?  I have it hidden in my kitchen drawers so that every time I open them for a whisk or a measuring cup, I get a happy kick of red polka dots.  What colors are accentuating your kitchen?

I'm sorry, I didn't straighten up my drawer before you peeked in, but you did like seeing my red dots didn't you?

Monday, January 10, 2011


She is here!
Mary Beth is born today
so it's her birthday.
Eight pounds and nine ounces of sweet girly-ness
Thank you God for this blessed life
and this new little one to love.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Mary Cassatt...

Mrs. Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren

 As a child growing up, we did not have any sort of art appreciation courses in school, and we did not live near art museums so learning about great art was non-existent.  Art class, yes.  We learned to use paste, scissors, water colors, crayons and such, but art appreciation was not a part of my education until I had children of my own.  As a home school mom, I loved the fact that I could pick and choose the type of education my children would have and I knew theirs would include art.  Yes, cutting and pasting, painting and drawing, but also being exposed to beautiful fine art.  This would be my education as well, and that is the beauty of home education --the teacher oftentimes learns right alongside her students. 

Mary Cassatt became one of my fast favorites because of her many, many pictures of women and children.  Our own children grew to love her work and could recognize her paintings.   It was exciting for me to think that our children would eventually be able to pick out some of the great artists from a group of paintings, but my utmost goal was that they would simply have a love and appreciation of beauty that is truly art.
 Breakfast in Bed
Is this not the way to awake every morning --a cup of coffee or tea and the joyful  innocence of a child beside you in a cozy bed?  Those were the days!

 Young Mother Sewing

I like this picture of a diligent mother fully concentrating on her sewing while her daughter leans on her lap.  There is no disruption, but a sense of "being together" that is enough.  Likely, the disruption came later on.

 Louise Nursing Her Child

What's not to love about this picture?  Both are fully captivated by each other.  What a bond!

Little Girl in a Blue Arm Chair

This picture became one of my daughter's favorites.  She requested it for her birthday, if I remember correctly, and she proudly hung it in her bedroom to look at every day.   She still has it hanging in her own home today.  If you would like to view more of Mary Cassatt's art, click here.  All paintings viewed here were selected from Mary Cassatt Complete Works.

Friday, January 07, 2011

House cat...

 I feel like a house cat this afternoon with my feet pulled up under me as I sit in the sun by the big front window, soaking in every ray of warmth and light I can.   As you can see, I have been spending a little quiet time stitching a redwork tea towel.  It's a mushroom garden which I love.  I find it interesting that in the 70's mushrooms were IT.  And a few decades later, mushrooms are IT once more!  I found the pattern here, but chose to not add all the details.

It was a bright day here with a light wind that gave it a definite chill, but that didn't keep me from taking my two mile walk to the mailbox and back.  I took the parcels up for the mailman, and after gathering the eggs, I decided to walk back up and fetch the mail home.  I have the best-ever, red mailbag that I always take with me.  I made it a while back using a plastic grocery bag as a pattern, so the handles are part of the tote bag.  It is so sturdy and can sure carry a lot of mail.  I'm glad because I always bring A&J's mail along with ours, and we sometimes have Amazon boxes in our mail (the very best kind of mail next to real letters!) which I can fit into the bag too.  I found the link for the bag pattern for you  here!

I had Youngest Son cut a few pitch posts from the old post pile for me so we'd have plenty of fast-burning starting wood for the stove this weekend.  We are expecting an Arctic front to swoop down upon us bringing sub-zero temps and snow.  They are telling us 5-10 inches of new snow so we'll hunker down and see how it all turns out.  In the meantime, we are still waiting on The Baby to come just any day.  Because Hubs is a rancher through and through, he says, "If she was a cow, I'd bet on her having that baby when the storm hits."  Now I know that sounds crude, but we have made our  living calving cows for 30 years together and Hubs grew up ranching -- so I know what he means.  We see it over and over again.  When the weather changes, for some reason, the cows tend to start labor.  Some folks say it is because of the barometric pressure.  I'm not sure if that's it, but you can almost always count on a change in the weather to bring on labor in cows that are close to their due date.  We'll see if it brings on labor for our sweet Daughter-in-Love.

I hope you're staying warm, soaking in some sun, and finding a few moments of quiet to do the things you love. 

Thursday, January 06, 2011

January sunset...

  This evening from my front porch.

Sunset behind the Twin Cottonwoods.

A few minutes later the sky changes
and the moon appears between the branches.
(click on photos to enlarge)

If I can put one touch of rosy sunset 
into the life of any man or woman, 
I shall feel that I have worked with God.
~G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

This morning...

 The sharp-tailed grouse decided to visit our backyard this morning.  At first they were all huddled together, all puffed out with their heads down on their shoulders to keep warm like a big pom pom body and a small pom pom head tied up close together.  After watching them for awhile, they decided move from their quiet positions to scratch and dig in the snow, looking for any corn or seeds that may have been left  behind underneath the new snow.  I've been trying to remember to scatter a little cracked corn and sunflower seeds on the ground for them, but I don't want to attract the deer any more than they already are.  Very prejudice, aren't I?  I figure we feed the deer enough.  They have an entire ground hay pile and the cracked corn from the granary always has some spillage around it that they clean up each night.

I love the speckles all over the sharp-tailed grouse body and the slight head tuft that perks up now and then.  This bird doesn't have her tuft up at the moment.  Do you see her feathery legs, just like Ugg snow boots?  The grouse is the size of a chicken and they very much have the characteristics of chickens.  They prefer to walk on the ground, but they do fly....very loudly and abruptly like chickens.  They scratch the ground for food and have a sweet, low cluck when they are browsing.  You will see them roosting in the trees in the late evening like chickens do.  That is so they are up and away from predators.

Hazel Peach's mommy went to the doctor today and she is right on target to deliver a baby very soon.  It was Hazel's day to stay and play with us.  We went sledding this morning and made snow angels, made snowballs, and played fetch with Sue.  You can see the snowy stick in mid-air just a little ahead of her Sue's open mouth. 
It was a warm day here, in the 30's, with pleasant, fluffy snow falling all morning.  Perfect weather for eating  fresh snow!  I like to sing HP the "Snow" song whenever we are out in the white stuff.  Do you know it?  It's from the movie White Christmas.  I can never remember all the words, but I know the chorus.....snow, snow snow, SNOW!  Click below to take a listen.  After finding the Snow video, I also found an old, old song that I remember singing when I was a girl --  Suzy Snowflake.  I don't remember if I learned it in school or where.  I'll have to teach HP that one too!  Isn't it fun to remember special old songs and teach them to the Littles?

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Ode to a sheep dog and a friend...

What do you say 'bout a friend who's been with you
Fourteen years on the range?
Herding sheep and nippin' cows
And working side by side all her days?

Jessie was her name, but we called her Jess
There's an unwritten rule 'bout ranch dogs
That says they only need one syllable for a name
Unless they're in trouble with The Boss.
Then the name changes back to full-length
And a few "blue words" come out too.
It's not meant to be rough, bad-mannered or unkind
But just helps the dog "come to."

Jess helped me raise our five young kids,
She followed them everywhere
So all I had to do was yell her name
And she'd bring them home then and there.

She'd fetch a stick, a snowball, or a rock ~
Whatever you happened to have on you
I never saw a dog catch a Frisbee like her,
She'd dive in the pond to get it for you.

Jess had a litter of pups when she was nine
Three females, Liz, Merv, and Sue.
We kept Sue and gave the others away
It was fun watching her mother her brood.

Jess walked with me almost every day
Up to the mail box and back,
Or out in The Woods where we'd scare up birds
Jackrabbits,  deer or rac's.

But her favorite thing of all was to help at lambing time
She'd stay in the sheep shed all day
Guarding the gate, nipping at ewes,
Or licking a bum lamb's face.

She liked to take sheep out to new pasture
It was hard to make her see things left-handed
She took the right, and you took the left,
How could she be any more candid?

We did things her way on many a day
It seemed she just knew what to do
A lamb would run off and we were sure we'd lost it
But Jess took off  would run, nearly flew!
She would knock the lamb down and roll it around
And she'd pin that lamb down and wait for you.

She loved a good pat and she always sat
On the rug by the kitchen door
Content to be there since we were there
Why would she want any more?

The Littles always loved her and wanted to hug her
And sit right down on her and play.
She never minded, no dog could be kinder
And patient with wee ones all day.

As she got older, Old Jess's eyes, they got dimmer
And her hearing wasn't much good
But her ears would perk up when she felt the rumble of the truck
In the spring going up to the shed.

Spring always gave Jess a new lease on life
There were just some things that made her life full:
Lambs loudly bleating, pushing sheep up the alley,
Or barking behind old bulls.

We're gonna miss our old friend
On the tailgate end
Of the truck when we are lambin'
But we'll think of her then and and know in our hearts
That she's out herding sheep in Dog Heaven.

Good-bye old Girl.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...