Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch

It is time again to visit with Patrice on her porch. It is so nice to see her winners of her giveaway celebrating a year of Chats. Can it really be that long? Can you believe we are to August? I start back to school in 20 days. There will be so much to get done in this short amount of time.

So lets get to this weeks questions:

1.    Do you have any special plans for this fall?

Sewing lots and lots of fall things, or teaching school? Things like that? Fall is always busy and I love fall so much.

2.    Do you collect anything?

Yes, Books, lots and lots of books. Raggedy Ann dolls, chickens, gosh if I am not careful I will turn into a hoarder.

  3.  Have you done any canning or freezing this season?
Yes, as my brag posts have shared but just in case here is a picture of my pantry as of today. :)

4.    Do you have a friend who lives far away? Where do they live?

All of my friends live far away. All over the U.S. and Canada, and Europe.

5.    When in a store, restaurant, or other business, do you ever complain or praise to the management?

I try never to complain. I try to find something good about every situation. Even when a new person dumped two whole, full glasses of ice water in my lap, I tried to be nice. I did yell a bit as the water was cold and I did jump to my feet.  The poor kid was very new and I could see he was almost in tears. I have been on the other side of that counter and I know how some-days you just need a smile.

Thanks to Patrice for having these chats. This is number 53.

Everyday Ruralty

Just Thinking

This is one of my just thinking posts. I try very hard to not talk of touchy subjects. Just because mainly I am a coward at heart and do not like to make waves. The views I am getting ready to express are just my own. I have thought and thought and tried to make sense of them and I finally thought I would just share them and of course hope I don't get flamed.

 My sons, who have been very excited to see Dark Knight Rises before all of the stuff happened in Auroa. My older two left for camp and my younger two thought they would wait until their older brother got back to see it. I was hoping they would decide not to go see it at all. Sunday night my son got a bunch of guys together from camp and they all met at the theater to see the movie. My three sons and a bunch of really great young men.

They got home on Sunday night and did the " Oh it was an okay movie and went upstairs and as I was tired and ready for bed I let them."

Monday morning I was folding clothes while my son cooked breakfast. I asked him about his evening and he told me but was still acting funny. My Mom radar was going off and I said, " What else happened?"  He said,
" Well, the movie had just started, when down at the bottom of the theater the outside exit door opened. 4 guys came in and sat down." He looked at me and then continued his story, " He said, every single person in that theater was on high alert and no one was watching the movie. A older man got up and went and found someone to ask them to see their tickets, while everyone watched." He kind of laughed, and said that two of the young men with him who are great big guys and weight lifters were talking between themselves how they were going to take those guys out. "

As he was telling me this story, my knees buckled and I had to leave the room because the fear and the tears and all of the other emotions flooded over me. I kept telling myself " get a grip, nothing happened they were safe."

As I have thought about people who shoot innocent people. I have thought about all of the other times crazy people have shot other people, since I am getting ready to start school and I am still looking into the Civil War, a big crazy that comes to mind is John Brown. He killed innocent people and was hanged for it. There are leaders who do it like the nut jobs in North Korea. But a young man with a seemingly normal life, with normal parents in the same kind of world that my kids are from. That is when this become personal to me. Did that kid play games like my kids play? Did that kid watch all of the movies my own children watch? His parents were in a church. The shooters Dad is in the same field my husband is in so what makes my kids any different? So I have thought and went over my parenting and looked at my life.

The only clue I have found, and I have thought about it over and over was it seems like that kid was alone. He didn't have friends. Was it out of that emptiness and loneliness that young man with the red hair decided to strike out at the world.
There is the words in the last movie Return of the King, Gollum's Song.

Where once was light
Now darkness falls
Where once was love
Love is no more
Don't say goodbye
Don't say I didn't try

These tears we cry
Are falling rain
For all the lies you told us
The hurt, the blame!
And we will weep to be so alone
We are lost
We can never go home

So in the end
I'll be what I will be
No loyal friend
Was ever there for me

Now we say goodbye
We say you didn't try

These tears you cry
Have come too late
Take back the lies
The hurt, the blame!

And you will weep
When you face the end alone
You are lost
You can never go home
You are lost
You can never go home

 That is the music that plays in my head as I think about the things that have happened. I have thought about the computer age and how isolated we have become from one another. We need other people and we need friends. Liking a status on Face book does not make you a friend, like picking up the phone and saying hi does, since that guy wasn't even on social media, does that mean he didn't even have friends in the world as well? Was he really instead of the Joker, really Gollum at heart?

I have no answers, just questions but they continue to haunt me as I try like puzzle pieces in my brain try to fit this all together. As Gandalf says to Frodo, "
Frodo: It's a pity Bilbo didn't kill him when he had the chance.
Gandalf: Pity? It was pity that stayed Bilbo's hand. Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends. My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play yet, for good or ill before this is over. The pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many. 


Sunday, July 29, 2012

It Has Been 3 Years!

When I started blogging 3 years ago, I didn't have any idea how to blog, or take pictures. I would have one of my kids who was walking by or my husband go out in the garden to take pictures for me. This is my grandson out in the garden and now he is going to start school. Time goes by too fast.

This was my very first post.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hot July

It is really hot today. Hotter than a firecracker. The chickens are just standing out with their wings out on either side and the baby chicks just stand around panting.
Oh July!

I was so scared when I wrote this, when I hit publish, I promptly turned off my computer and ran away. All the thoughts and fears I had never happened. Instead it has been 3 years of meeting new friends. Learning new things. Entering a world where as far as I can tell, people are nice and normal and not at all like you see on the nightly news. Just normal people who love their families, who work hard who love their country and who are willing to share even the shirt off of their back. It has been a time of wonderful blessing for me.

I am for one very thankful that I did hit that button to publish.

All of it has been a very nice adventure. I have written piffle and have written down stories of my life. I am thankful to be able to share them, because my kids do get that glazed look in their eyes when I start in so it is nice to have some place else to share.

Some things haven't worked out like having bees. I learned lots and lots and having the honey that second year was very nice. But I don't think I will ever be a bee keeper again. So I have to say sometimes things work out and sometimes they don't. I don't even complain now when I have to pay so much money for honey. After being stung every time I walked by and chased every single morning. Bee Keepers earn their money and I am happy to pay it.

So thank you for reading me and visiting and for just being my friend. I am still thinking about a give away. I am a very slow thinker. If you want to know the truth. My husband had the idea to write a blog. I didn't I thought he was going to write and take pictures and all of that. I wasn't going to live out-loud in a public place. I was going to watch him and well, something happened. He got too busy with work and I just couldn't stand to see the poor blog sit idle so I had to jump in and do it.
So now you know, and the rest is history.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Thoughts for Saturday

I was out in the garden the other morning. I tried and tried to get a good shot of the pumpkins with the sunflowers that I planted growing around them. The sun just wasn't right or it could have been the photographer. I love how full it is with pumpkin vines.

This sunflower was just in the process of opening. I thought it looked so cute with only part of it's petals opened.

I tried to get a decent shot of this sunflower and now it is too late as this morning when I was out there the weight of the sunflower seeds in the flower has the poor plant bent over like a old woman with too much weight on her back. That was what I thought of when I looked at it.

I planted one whole bed of Jack-be-Little pumpkins. I noticed yesterday that I have lots of tiny pumpkins. I am so excited because last year I read how you could take the tiny pumpkin, and cut the top off, and remove the seeds and pulp and then fill it with brown sugar, butter and pumpkin pie spice and bake it for about 40 minutes and you would have your own tiny little baked pumpkin. So I am excited to try it this year. Doesn't that sound like a wonderful fall snack. Kinda like having pumpkin coffee. My other fall favorite.

This morning I was outside and even though it is hot and is going to remain hot, it could have been my imagination but the air felt like school starting and it felt like fall was coming. It is 4 weeks until we start school so it really could be just my imagination.

It is a nice Saturday, I hope you are having a nice day. My daughter's kids are coming down with chicken pox, the baby has it first and you know the two will follow. At least they will have it over with. When mine caught it I had 4 of them come down with it at the same time and it was so much harder on the older ones than the young ones.

I hope you have a lovely, restful Sunday,

Friday, July 27, 2012

Just Friday

I love when Friday arrives. I especially love that tomorrow is Saturday and my campers will be home from camp. I have felt all week like the house has been waiting and holding it's breath. It is hard I suppose to learn to love quiet. I am a bit uncomfortable with it I admit. After my Dad died and my Mom was alone in the house, she would say," what I miss most is laughter." I couldn't really understand then but now I do.

Yesterday was a migraine day. I believe one of the worst I have ever had in my life. It is funny this one was so bad I couldn't remember words. I would try to type and I couldn't spell and I would transpose letters. So if I left you a comment, and it was weird or more so than normal, I blame it on that.

Yesterday, things become smaller and more compact. The littlest thing in a normal day become big when in pain. Putting my chicks up when the bug lady came, folding laundry. I always find comfort in doing the normal things. What I thought about yesterday was love. Pain narrows my vision. Everything that on a normal day that I think is important isn't. What matters most, is that loving others and knowing they are loved is what is important.

To wake up this morning to a new day it was wonderful. The demon that lurked in my head is gone but it leaves a trace of pain. I am thankful for pain though, because when I am in the midst of it, I am reminded how beautiful life is and I am reminded of how truly thankful I am for friends and family and how fast it could be gone.

I am glad today is Friday and like a fresh canvas I have been given, I am ready to paint my world today.
It is so nice to be back,


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Learning to Spin

I told you earlier today about Megan coming over to teach me to spin. Okay, so I thought I would get this really easy and it would be a breeze. Megan told me it was sort of like trying to pat your head and rub your tummy. But I am here to tell you that it is a whole lot like that. I would forget to do the treadle, and then I would forget which way I had the wheel going and start it the other way and then my fiber would all unwind.

At one point I had nothing but knots and big lumps. Megan was so patient and she would take it out of my hands which were all thumbs by the way and she would straighten it out and show me again and again. I couldn't remember where or how to start the fiber and she would show me how to just let it slide between my hands.To me it felt like trying to make a rope out of spider web. I felt as clumsy as a bull in a china shop.

So I guess it will be awhile before I am spinning, but it was a good day anyway. I told her I was going to blog about it and I  twisted, asked her if I could. You know how gracious she always is to me. Always in my mind she is my Ruth and I am Naomi. She is that good. :)

The boys saw me taking pictures of their Mommy and wanted to be in it and she just looked so cute sitting there spinning I just had to keep taking pictures. The boys were really cute too.

Then I managed to corral them all and get a picture without them being just blurs.

And then of course, I have to show you a picture of Mr. Adorable. He is such a perfect baby. He never fusses and he is so mellow and just puts up with everyone giving him kisses and pats on the head.

I found her pictures of her husband, my oldest son who looked just like this when he was a baby. I stare at him and it is my son, 25 years ago. :)

Gosh I don't know what is happening to me, I am going to have to change this blog name to Kim's brag Page. I feel like that is all I have done all week. I will get a grip soon, I promise.

Have a wonderful Thursday!


Today on Wednesday

I picked my first basket of peaches last night. I am going to turn this into a pie and a cobbler. I didn't think I had many peaches so I was surprised when I was able to get this many peaches yesterday.

I made zucchini relish yesterday. I enjoy making this and  I try to make it once a year. I only use it in tuna and on hot dogs, I need to learn to use it in other things.

I have worked on the August Word play just a bit. I wanted to share with you the tiny sunflowers in this one.
I have had such fun making each one.

This morning Megan is coming over and bringing her spinning wheel so I will finish up my list of things I wanted to do this summer. It should be fun.

I hope that you have a nice Wednesday. I just thought I would let you know the battle with skunks continue.
The other night we had 3 in the front yard and two in the back. Last night we were out by the pool and I have a slide that is on the play house and water collects in the bottom. Last night we watched the skunk get a drink out of the water on the slide.
I don't know if we are getting used to them and they are to us, we just look at each other and say, " watch out there is a skunk out there" and go about our business.

I will try to remember to take pictures of learning to spin.
Have a great Wednesday,

Monday, July 23, 2012

Just Chatting

It is 102 right now and I just got back in from giving everyone fresh water and spaying down the ground so all of my hens have puddles to stand in and try and beat the heat. I am out of watermelon or I would take them some, to cool their little parched throats. I cleaned the chicken coop this morning. I have been sadly lax in this job. Every time I clean the coop, when I go to gather eggs in the evening, Mr. Snake is laying in front of the next boxes. I don't know if the noise of my rake or what it is disturbs him, but I hadn't cleaned the coop in awhile.

Today I had made up my mind that if Mr. Snake shows his little head he is getting relocated. I have went out there 3 times so far and no snake. The snake is a gopher snake and is not poisonness  or a bad snake, well unless you are afraid of them, like I have gotten in my old age. They really are beneficial. It is time he moved on to another place.

I made crushed tomatoes today with my tomatoes I picked. They look pretty in the jars. I was starting to get tired I knew I was doing to much today, but I am trying out for the woman who can make the biggest messes of the year award. I was using my food mill and I had not set it up right so my measuring cup I use to catch the peels and stuff was sitting sort of cock-eyed and it was starting to fill up which made it even more crooked. I knew I should have fixed it but I thought just one more crank when the measuring cup fell over sending wet tomato skins over the edge and made this really great plopping sound as it hit the floor and splattered the cabinets. I had been on my feet so long I thought my spine had petrified into a solid stick in my back. I was under the cutting board cleaning up the tomato stuff and in the food mill juice keeps dripping even if you aren't turning the crank, so it dawned on me that my other measuring cup is full and that wet feeling of dripping on my head and back is tomato juice running over the edge.

I jumped up, and hit my head on the cutting board, dropping the peels that I had wrapped in a paper towel, making an even bigger mess in a place I had already cleaned. I should have taken a picture of my kitchen, I was trying to do too many things at once. It is all nice and clean now though.

I have to quit reading canning books. I think I need to read some vacation books. I picked every tomato that even sort of looked red today so I can do something different tomorrow.

Have a great Tuesday!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Our Pictures of 4 Years of Gardening

I thought I would look around on my computer and show you how the garden has changed in four years. This was they first year We started gardening and writing a blog. We tried  to grow everything we could think of and I had so much produce. I was giving so much a way. We learned so much though.

Our Second Garden.

My garden in these pictures were not my favorite. My Mom's death as I look back had taken a bigger toll on me than I had thought. I didn't have the energy to do much with it and I know I didn't can a single thing. I think I must have just picked the tomatoes and gave them to the chickens.

Our Third Garden.

It wasn't much better this year either. Just look at all of the weeds. I had lots more going on and lots more on my plate and the garden sort of got pushed back on the to do list.  Even my sunflowers didn't do worth a darn.
The heat was intense and it never let up 2011 It was really hard to decide to keep gardening.

2012 garden, and my favorite so far:

This garden is more spread out. There is lots of room to drive the tractor. There is lots of color from the flowers. We have spent lots more time out here this year. You can tell how much we have been out here this year.

This is earlier this summer when things were just coming up. I just thought that since it has been almost 4 years since I started this blog, I would share how my garden has changed. Not only the garden, but me and my husband both. It really had turned into a labor of love. Just like life, there are bumps in the road along the way, and lots of things to be learned. But life is a journey and part of that journey is finding out what works and what doesn't work, and if you keep your eyes open and keep looking, there is treasure everywhere.

Thank you for being apart of that journey.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Still Jamin'

Today I ran across the list I had made of things that I wanted to do this summer. 
My summer projects:
1. Make strawberry jam

2. Sew lots.

3. Keep garden weeded.

4. Bible Study with the girls.

5. Learn to spin.

I realized that today if I didn't do some serious weeding, I was going to fail on this list. I went outside even though it was hot, and weeded the garden.

It isn't perfect by any means but it is now livable and I think I can go back to my Tuesday weeding and get it under control.

I bought strawberries yesterday because I planned on replenishing my store of strawberry jam. I was tired but I thought that my strawberries wouldn't wait. So I got out my things and started making jam, as my son said, " I have spent my morning "jamin" in the kitchen.

I made 24 jars and I used up all of my small jars, all of my lids and I had to resort to my wide mouth jars I am going to use to put zucchini  relish in when I make that.

This morning before I started chopping weeds, I picked my third basket of tomatoes.

I think it looks really pretty. It makes me so happy to think of making this into something good to eat.

The only thing on the list that I haven't done yet, is I haven't learned to spin. My DIL brought a beginning book so I need to sit down and read it before she brings her wheel. The kids have been taking swimming lessons and right now it is fun for them to be in the swimming pool. I do mean to get to that next though.

I was pretty happy to see I am doing what I wanted to do this summer. I have had a nice summer so far.

The two oldest that live here have been getting ready to leave for camp in the morning. The are going to be camp counselors. I will only have my two youngest home this week. My daughter was house setting next door and I think I got used to the kids running over so it might be a quiet, lonely place next week.
I am glad I have garden work to do to keep me busy and lots and lots of sewing to do.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Friday, July 20, 2012

Just Friday

As a Mom who has let her kids attend Midnight showings for movies, I have to say I am so upset about the shootings in Aurora, Colorado. My prayers are going up for you today.

Earlier this week, I got a package for dying cloth. I have been frustrated because I couldn't get the colors I wanted or the look I wanted so I broke down and bought a book. I am very happy with the product. I found this package on a website called Pioneer Primitives. She had a package that included a dye book, spoons, the five dyes needed and the swatches for the colors you could make out of these five packages of dye.

The book explains how to mix the Cushing dyes and then the right measurements to get each color.

 So out of the five dye packages you can get all of these colors. I am so excited and I can't wait to dye some more wool.

Yesterday while I was waiting for my beets to cook so I could can them, I made up all of these dye solutions.
I can't wait to see how it turns out. In the book the lady has step by step directions and they are really easy to follow so I think it will be fun and rewarding and I will get the colors I see in my head.

I only got 5 pints of beets out of the little bit I come up. I have had the hardest time with beets. I have soaked the seeds and I thought that would do the trick. So I was reading a blog and a lady was sharing how hard of a time she had with beets and she said they just started them in sets, so I am going to do that next year. I have had such better luck starting things in sets this year and it really has helped with the weed problem. I don't think these will last long, both of my daughters said they were going to take a jar and eat it all by themselves.

Us girls around here love beets. The guys not so much. I think it is we might need iron and beets are very high in iron.

Have a lovely day and I hope a nice weekend. Our humidity is gone this morning so it feels a bit better. We will be over a hundred all weekend and into next week though.

Bye for now,

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Canning in my Kitchen

Don't you think this is a bunch of pretty flowers? It is German Camomile. It isn't supposed to be this kind. I didn't know it looked like this and it is so pretty but not  what I wanted for tea. Oh well live and learn.
Yesterday I made what my Ball Cookbook said was Spicy Spaghetti Sauce. One year I put up 100 jars of the stuff. Out of about 50 pounds of tomatoes yesterday I only got 7 quarts. I was exhausted last night and today wasn't much better. I have no idea how in the world I made that much. I also made some dill pickles this week too.

I went out and picked this amount of tomatoes and bell peppers.
I had the other ones I had picked on the counter too.

I had two of my largest pots filled with cooking tomatoes and bell peppers and onions and garlic. I cooked them down to mush.

I then took that hot tomato stuff and ran it through my food mill. I love this thing. I don't know what I would do without it. I sure do make a mess but one of the odd things about it is I love cleaning up my kitchen after I am all finished. I love mopping the floors and cleaning the cabinets and my kitchen stays so clean when I am canning.

This is what the cooked vegetables look like after they come out of the food mill.

This is with the spices and everything cooked down into one large pot. Then I had to cook it for 4 hours. I walked back and forth all day stirring as it simmered. Once it was cooked down and was thick I put it into quart jars and put it in my water bath canner.
32 years ago for a wedding present, one of my aunt's gave me this for a wedding present. Inside was a jar lifter, and wooden spoons and jar lids and pot holders and a Ball Canning Book and every thing you can think of that you might need to start canning. I have used it now for 32 years. It is my old friend and when I get it down from the cupboard where I store it I am always so happy to see it.

Here it is in the quart jars. My pickles and then the rest of the jam I have made so far this year. I need to make a few more batches of strawberry jam. My kids have almost gone though most of what I have made this summer. The favorite snack around here is peanut butter and strawberry jam.

This is my brag picture. It makes me so happy to sit and stare at this. I guess you could say it is all of my work in jars.

Thank you for reading along and looking at the the photos. I hope you have a lovely Thursday.