Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Winter's Reprieve

Just when I needed it the most......Mother nature, in her kindness, has granted us a slight reprieve from the biting cold of winter and the last two days have been sunny and mild.

Now, I know you are thinking~What, I thought she said she liked the winter?! No, my friends, let me clarify. I like the SNOW.....not the winter. Once the pretty white stuff melts....I am over it and ready for Spring!! Even though precious BJ at Sweet Nothings did a very good job of extolling the virtues of the season in her post the other day, about this time of year I start to feel like a caged bird.......

The timing of my unrest always seems to coincide with the arrival of my seed catalogs~ It is a chicken and the egg scenario....I'm not sure which one comes first:)

I start to be overtaken by the powerful desire to get out and play in the dirt. Just to till up a patch of ground, inhale it's warm earthy scent (sorry, Michelle, I know you are gagging right about now) and enfold tiny vegetable or flower seeds within. Seeds with so much promise and potential.... like a wee babe, just starting out on its journey. Of course there will be adversity; weeds, pests, possible/probable drought. But through it all, if it is nurtured correctly, it will persevere and bring forth a beautiful harvest:)

NO...I did not spike my coffee this morning:) I'll just blame my ramblings on a bad case of Spring Fever!

I hope you all get at least a few rays of warm Sunshine today.....and just think, in a few months time we will all be talking about how hot it is and wishing for snow:)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Tasty Tidbits

Wondering what to make for dinner, tonight? Might I make a suggestion?

I have made meatloaf my whole life, always the same way~the way my Mama made it and the way her Mama made it before her.....

A couple of months ago I decided to branch out. I went over to the food network site and perused the recipes. I found one for Meatloaf with Tomato Gravy and decided to give it a try. Oh, my goodness!!! This one is a keeper:) We loved it! It is now officially my meatloaf recipe. Sorry Mom....actually, if I get her to try it, she will probably switch too;)

So, if you are at a loss for a fresh idea, follow the link and give it a try. You can serve other things for dinner with it, if you want. I made corn on the cobb and greenbean casserole to go with mine, but it doesn't matter because the only thing you will want to eat is the meatloaf.

Just thought I'd pass along this tasty tidbit to you.....Oh, really, it was nothing. You can thank me later:)

Speaking of passing along tasty tidbits.....

Robin from Bittersweet Punkin gave me this award the other day. Robin is one of the first blog sites I found and now I wouldn't consider having a blogging session without checking in to see what she is up to. She is a real treasure with a heart as sweet as golden honey....that must be why she collects all those honey pots;) If you haven't met her, stop in and say "Hi!" You will bee glad you did. "Thank you, Robin!" It really made me smile to receive such a precious award from you.

I would like to pass this award on to Hope from Second Time Around. This sweet lady is a true Kindred Spirit and I am enjoying getting to know more about her each day. Hop over and go pay her a visit, tell her I said "Hello!"

Hope you girls have a great weekend.....stay warm. Except for you Amanda....hope you are sitting by the pool enjoying a nice cool drink:)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ole Bessie

Yes, I know you have all been sitting around wondering where is Rhonda.....I haven't seen her in days....do you think she froze to death in the ice and snow?......Maybe she hopped on that Flexible Flyer and slide all the way to sunny, warm Florida:)

Well, no, nothing as dramatic or glamorous as that. I have been buried under a pile of books and papers. What types of books you ask ~ Ancient Literature, Poetry, Steamy Romance perhaps?.....NOPE. Assessment of the Gifted and Talented. Do you have any idea the number of tests designed to measure intelligence? Do, you even care....I thought not. I don't blame you, it is very dry reading.

I have been getting ready for the final exam in my Gifted Endorsement class (this is the second class in the four class series, so WoooHoo, I'm half way there!!) . It was supposed to be held Tuesday night, but the weather threw us a curve ball and we had freezing rain all day. So...the class was cancelled and re-scheduled for next Wednesday. That means an extra week to worry about it....Uhmmm, I mean prepare for it;)

Yesterday, as the temperature warmed to a balmy 48 degrees, I headed outdoors to spend some quality time with my new/old love~ Ole Bessie ~

This truck belonged to my Papa. I can still see him in it....driving up the hill, headed into town. Often times, to go to the hardware store, or to the market for my GramMa. Driving it makes me feel somehow still connected to him. I have something akin to love for this old machine, and I can't begin to describe the peace and contentment I experience just from moseying down the road in it. Yes, I know, I'm crazy sentimental:)
After my Papa passed away, I purchased it from my GramMa. The last couple of years it has resided at my parents, but now she has returned to me and I suspect she will live here until the day it is time to put her out to pasture. Until then, she is my work horse and my friend. We're just a couple of old girls enjoying the ride.....happy trails:)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Snow Day Two!

It hasn't snowed in two years....now look at this~ Twice in a week:)
This didn't stick well though, the ground was too warm....but it was so beautiful to watch. It fell in big soft flakes that looked like feathers floating down.

This picture reminds me of the song by Alabama, "Christmas In Dixie...it's snowing in the pines...."

In case you were wondering.... a Flexible Flyer will slide just fine in a 1/2 inch of slushy snow, provided the the hill is steep enough. Just so happens we have such a hill in the front of our house. Now the only problem is stopping.

All of this cold snowy weather has me making lots of warm comfort foods~ Chicken and Dumplings sure hits the spot.

I also made another Emergency Chocolate Cake because the first one is long gone:)
The down side to this is, tonight the temps are going down to 18 degrees. So I guess all this wet stuff will be a sheet of ice in the morning. Ice is no fun for anyone.
Well, I need to sign off and go make sure my chickens have all gone inside the coop. Lately some of them have taken to roosting outside. On a night like tonight, that could be a very bad choice.
Have a great weekend...stay warm.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Snow Day

It started falling about 5:30 Wednesday evening. The weather forecasters had been calling for it for days, but I never believe it until it actually happens...I have been bitterly disappointed too many times.

I was making supper, and looked out at the deck, and there it was.....Snow:) Beautiful, tiny, snowflakes drifting down to earth from heaven above. I called to my son to come quickly~he was delighted! Out we went to try and catch the flakes on our tongues. We laughed as we managed to get more in our eyes than in our mouths.

Miraculously, the snow had not vanished during the night as is the norm in these parts, but was still there this morning so we decided to make the most of this rare event.....it was time for a snow day.

We packed up our snow playing gear and headed about 5o miles further north to my parents house where we met my sister and her two boys.

We rode sleds down slushy slopes and made a Farmgirl snowman....uhmm, I mean snow-woman;)

Of course, what is a snow day without a snowball fight......

Uh-oh! Looks like this one has got my name on it.....YIKES:)

We finally went in when we were all soaked to the skin and shivering.

I know that for my friends up north it may seem a bit silly to take a day and celebrate frozen water. But here, snow falls so seldom, that when it does, it feels like a gift and is greeted with pure bliss.

I'll leave you with a photo I took today of a windmill in a valley pasture. It is located on the backroads that lead to my Mom's. Any other day it would probably not rate a second glance, but today.....well, just see for yourself......

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Letting Go

Thank you to everyone for stopping by and wishing Hope a speedy recovery. I am sorry to have to report that Hope died this morning at 3:15 am. I so wanted to believe that she would get well again. At first it seemed hopeful. The medicine seemed to be helping and she was eating and drinking....but yesterday, she decided that she had been through enough. She stopped eating and drinking and she sat and she waited.

Animals accept death more willing than humans. We fight like hell for the very last breath, but animals are different. They know the limits to which their bodies can take and when it is reached they let go......

It's as if they understand better than we, that life is supposed to be finite.

Good-bye sweet Hope, I will miss you.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bunny Doc

I'm sorry I have not been around visiting. I am dealing with a sick rabbit. My sweet little bunny Hope is sick. It is hard enough for small animals to recover when they get sick, but considering that Hope is almost 9 years old, makes it even more difficult. So, I've been very consumed with turning rabbit pellets and cooked carrots into mush and trying to convince my reluctant sweetie to clean her plate and take her medicine. I will stop by as soon as I can and maybe even bring a piece of chocolate cake with me:)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunday Sustenance

I tried another of Farmgirl Susan's creations this weekend~Emergency Chocolate Cake. It was quite addictive:)
Wishing everyone a SWEET Sunday.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Farmgirl Fare

I have been spending a lot of time at a new site I have found~Farmgirl Fare. Well actually, the site is not new, Susan has been posting on this site since June of 2005, but I am new to it. She has the most beautiful and often inspiring photos from life on her 240 acre farm in Missouri. Now, right away you can figure out my attraction to the site. Having the heart and soul of an old-fashioned farmgirl, the photography just drew me right in, moth-to-the flame style. But what keeps me going back are the RECIPES!!

Such as the one I made last night. In going back to the earliest posts, I found a recipe for Three Onion & Three Cheese Pizza. What intrigued me most was the simple pizza dough recipe. I have mentioned my love of bread making and although I don't have near the experience that Susan has, I have been known to turn out some tasty loaves.

I was so excited to try some of her bread recipes that I went out and purchased a wooden dough bowl.....which was no easy feat as my precious son can attest to. I had to visit at least a dozen stores before I found one that was just the right shape and size and made of natural unfinished wood (it can not be painted or stained). Toward the end of the search, each time we would enter a different store my son would start chanting, "Please, let them have a wooden dough bowl. Please let them have a wooden dough bowl." At last, I found one at Crate & Barrel that was exactly what I was looking for:)

Last night, I put it to the test and made homemade pizza using Susan's dough recipe. I made one modification. I decided to incorporate some of my own wheat flour, so I ground up a cup of the Soft Winter wheat and replaced one of the the cups of bread flour with it.

My dough was not as soft as she described and did not rise up as high as I thought it should~probably from the addition of the whole wheat or possibly because the only Instant Yeast I could find was in a package written in German where it originated, before it was shipped to Australia and finally made it's way here to the U.S.. Even though the date was still good, it makes me wonder if it was a wee bit weary from the travel.

There was enough dough to make two nice size pizzas, my first crust was a bit misshapen....hey what can I say, I'm learning:)
I topped it with some homemade pizza sauce, Canadian bacon, caramelized onions~from Susan's recipe, freshly grated mozzarella, and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
I cooked it on my baking stone at 500 degrees F, for 10 minutes and although the crust was more of a thin and crispy style, it was simply delicious.

The second pizza had a bit more of the round traditional pizza shape to it~see, I'm getting better already.

I highly recommend that you stop by and pay Susan a visit, especially if you love to cook, but even if you don't, her style of writing and photos are worth the trip.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Flying By the Seat of My Pants

Today, I am sending out a big "Thank You!" to everyone for stopping by and offering support on the recent calamities and changes going on around here. Things are settling back into normal and predictable patterns, which I find very comforting. In a way this surprises me, I have always considered myself a "fly by the seat of my pants" type ....hmmm maybe my age is starting to show:) Anyway, I really appreciate you taking the time to offer encouragement, I'll keep you updated on the job search, right now it is a waiting game~sort of like fishing.....cast out your line, then take a nap on the bank until you get a bite.

I wanted to show you my latest project~I made an Indian Teepee for my son for Christmas.

Talk about "flying by the seat of my pants." I decided just a few days before Christmas that I was going to make it. I have had the material and pattern for awhile but waited to the last minute to proclaim that it must be made for Christmas ( I should have mentioned Chronic Procrastinator on my Random/Weird Facts list).

So, I enlisted the help of my dear sweet Father-in-Law...he cut and drilled holes in the six, seven-foot long PVC pipes, and I stayed glued to the sewing machine for 3 days.

On Christmas morning, all of his Santa Claus gifts were waiting for him inside the Teepee.

It is currently set-up in the living room, filling the spot left vacant by the Christmas tree. He does not refer to it as a Teepee. It is the "Spy Hide-Out" and is outfitted with all of his Spy Gear, and because he loves the movie National Treasure and has seen it at least a dozen times, he has taken to calling me Ben and I am to refer to him as Riley (the two main characters). In all of my wildest dreams, I would never have imagined myself in the role play of crafty treasure hunter. Everyday here, really is an adventure:)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Games and Honors

Amanda from Cottage Contessa has presented me with this fun award that comes with a TAG attached. The tag is for 7 random or weird facts about you...well how hard can that be!? I am after all the queen of weirdness, just ask anyone who knows me, they'll vouch for me.

7 Random or Weird facts:
1) I have a wee touch of OCD and so I prefer to do the house cleaning and washing of clothes myself. I truly appreciate my DH's desire to help me, but I can not get past the fact that it is not done the way I would do it and it drives me INSANE.

2) My fingernails are terribly brittle, so once I went and got acrylics put on. The fact that the technician took a Dremel tool and filed down my own fingernail grossed me out so badly that I have never done it again, and never will.

3) I have 2 large containers of wheat, one hard spring and one soft winter. I own the grain mill attachment for my KitchenAid mixer and I love to grind my own wheat and make my own bread. In a perfect world, where I have all the time I need to do whatever I want, I would bake bread everyday.

4) I have small brown moles all over me and have even as a child. One very prominent one is near my mouth just like the one Marilyn Monroe used to have, I am not sure if hers was natural or painted on. Another one is located on my lower eyelid in my eyelashes, which prompts every physician who sees it to look twice. The other day, I noticed that my son has developed one on the side of his neck just like mine. Like a dalmatian puppy, you get your spots as you get a little older. LOL!

5) I love Ancient Literature. Some of my favorites are; Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Lady of Shalott, Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market, and Alfred Noyes' The Highwayman.

6) When I was a child, I could not eat at fast food restaurants. The food literally made me sick~I really wish I had retained that aversion.

7) I do not like to sleep late.
I am not sure who this has been passed on to, so for now I am going to wait about tagging anyone else.

Hope from Second Time Around gave to me this precious award. It's described as:
"So here's to all the blogs that you've discovered that you can't possibly live without. They make you laugh, cry, think and feel connected every time you read a post. They give you a thrill as you see them loading into your browser and you get an equally satisfying thrill when you see that they have commented on your blog."
I want to pass on this award to: Robin at Bitter Sweet Pumpkin, Amanda at Cottage Contessa, Polly at Counting Your Blessings, Esther at Esther Sunday, Penny at Lavender Hill Studio, and Dena at Swaddle Cottage. Thank you ladies for the Daily Dose of laughter, and inspiration. It is always a pleasure to visit you.
Thank you Amanda and Hope for passing along the fun and honors:)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Working Girl

That's right, yours truly is job hunting. My little one will enter Kindergarten this year and I will return to teaching. Actually I will not start working until this August, but now is the time that teaching positions are being filled for the up coming fall term. So, today I am off to deliver resumes to 3 prospective elementary schools.
I won't even start with the...."Oh, my! Where has the time gone!" Or the tears that I know will surely flow eventually.
Today is all business~ Wish me luck:)
Note: Thank you Hope and Amanda for the awards and Tag. You girls are so sweet to think of me:) I will post them tomorrow.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Out of Sorts

I thought I was back to normal and ready to resume posting and visiting. But I forgot to consult Murphy of Murphy's Law and Mother Nature for permission....

2008 has started out with a bang~

As I happily prepared our New Year's Day good luck dinner...ham, blackeyed peas, and collard greens. My husband and son went down into the basement and discovered that one of our hot water pipes had sprung a leak and flooded the basement.

As I was cleaning up wet carpet and water logged possessions, I over cooked the ham~ a beautiful $20 spiral ham...ruined. My DH said it tasted fine, bless him, he is such a poor liar.

We have also been in the deep freeze all week~teens and low 20's at night. This means that extra care must be taken to insure that chickens, rabbits and outside cats do not freeze to death.

One night, we forgot to leave the water dripping...when you live in a 70+ year old house with no insulation, you have to take precautions. We woke up to no water~frozen pipes. My poor sweet husband had to go out into to cold armed with a blow-dryer and a propane torch to melt the ice off the pump.

Of course I know the real reason for all the misfortune. I did not take the Christmas Tree down before the new year. Yeap, automatic bad luck. I finally got it taken down yesterday, so maybe the bad luck will go with it.

All of this foolishness has left me feeling strangely out of sorts and quite frankly, I'm ready to run right back up to the little cabin in the woods and stay there.

So, now that I have told you what I have been up to, I'm going to come stop by and see what you guys have been doing. Of course, I'll remember to ask permission from the powers that be first:)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Welcome 2008

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. We enjoyed spending time with family and just being off the radar for a little while:) Down time always makes me feel rejuvenated ...... a perfect way to usher in a new year.
I will stop by later on to say "Hello" to everyone....see you then.