Monday, December 31, 2018

Welcome To 2019

Yes, I know I am a bit early, but our son Peter is across the world from us today and he wished me Happy New Year already. So its a new year there. Its kind of weird to me to think of that. On January 1st 2019 Ben and Megan and The Hollar Homestead will announce where they are going to live after this search they have been on for nine months. They haven't even told us. So I will get to find out just like everyone else. Kinda cool I think. Here is the huge accomplishment.

It was a banner year I think. As a Mom I felt like I spent a whole lot of time hanging on by my fingernails. Not only did Kessie, have a baby in the same nine months that Ben and Megan were on the road she wrote this many stories and books.

Me and Mr. Sweetie Pie

The kids at the zoo

Getting to spend two weeks with these guys and get to hold the baby was such a blessing to me. Peter moved to another city for a better job. Ron got another job for the same company but he was back in town. Emilie and Nik work with kids and minister to families full time. Makenzie and William traveled to seven cities and six states and she did 31 weddings and all of the senior and graduation pictures she took and they worked almost every single week and weekend in 2018.

Elliot finished school and began a new job in his field. He still finds time to run a website and make videos for gaming.

Me nothing I set out to do. I did make it through Whole 30 about eight times. It was so hard to start but it has become a way of life for me. I think it healed so many things that were going haywire in my life. With the continued additions of vitamins and minerals from Tangy I feel like my body is finally well. I did not have a migraine except for that first month in January when I started Whole 30 and I was trying to get all of that sugar, flour and dairy out of my body. Which was the first time in 25 years I did not loose days from migraines. 

All in All 2018 was a year of stretching and letting go. I think if I could describe one word 2018 was about letting go of my life, opening my hands and learning that, "Once we give ourselves up to God, shall we attempt to get hold of what can never belong to us---tomorrow? Our lives are His, our times in His hand, He is Lord over what will happen, never mind what may happen,"

I have no idea what 2019 will hold. I am sure that whatever it has in store it will be bigger than I dreamed and more than I ever wished. I am sure that by this time next year, I will be just as amazed as I am today.
So I say to 2019 Welcome. Good bye 2018 you were an interesting year.

"Do it Scared!"

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Post Christmas

I hope you had a very nice Christmas. Its so different to be thinking of a New Year. Don't you think? I think that 2018 just raced by. I jokingly told Ron, I might as well leave all of the Christmas stuff out as Christmas seems to get here faster and faster.

I took everything down yesterday and got the house cleaned and everything put in order. I loved waking up to a nice clean house this morning. I sure missed the Christmas tree though. I loved the lights. We have a cold front coming and with the extension cords lights on the eves we couldn't shut the windows completely so it stayed freezing upstairs. Now with them down all of the windows are closed and the house doesn't have a north wind blowing through.

Our youngest son, Peter is on his way to visit his girlfriend in the Philippines to spend Christmas with her family. He wasn't able to come home because of starting a new job and his PTO didn't transfer like they told him it would. He had to work 10 hour days until he left yesterday. We did Face Time with The Hollar Homestead on Christmas eve and we got to watch the boys open presents. Odd isn't it the times we live in. It was better than nothing so I will take it.

We had the other three who live here Ellot, Nik and Emilie and William and Makenzie over for Christmas morning breakfast. It was nice to have them here. Ron is home until next week. I have mentioned here that we make mulch from lawn trimmings, leaves and all of the chicken manure. We used all that we made last year on my flowerbeds and on our front lawn. When we had to let our lawn die a couple of years ago because of the drought, it really did a number on it and the ground because it so scorched nothing would grow. After Ron worked on it in the fall it now looks like this.

This year, by putting mulch in our flowerbeds was life changing for me. I could go out and in thirty minutes keep weeds out of my flowerbeds both front and back. In the past it would take a week or more of working hours in the heat to keep them weed free, which really never happened. It was more like hacking back the amazon with a machete.

Here are some pictures I went out and took so I could show you our newest and best hobby.

This is my brothers pasture on the other side of the fence. Its our leaves though. So yesterday Ron raked up all of the leaves and today in a bit we will go out and load them in the tractor bucket and take them here.

At the extreme end, is the mulch that is almost ready. The middle is still cooking and the one closest in the picture has just started and is not hot at all. Ron went outside with me and took the piles down so you could see the heat. 

 We just love watching that steam. We just laugh every time he takes it down to stir it up as we add new material. I also stand there with a hose to spray it down. You need water too. 

This is the darkest mulch pile. That is how you tell when its ready to use, there won't be any more steam. We are going to add gypsum to it because our soil here needs that to amend it. Its pretty alkaline here. It also helps with water absorption.

If we ever have many disagreements, its over how we use this wonderful stuff. I want it for my garden. He wants it for the yard. My garden is going to be big this year. I am out of all of my canned food. Here is my garden area in need of some love. 

Ron is going to put in a fence for me. We have so much wildlife out here that its kind of unnerving. Here are the latest game cam photos.

Can you tell what this is? Look at the hair on top of his back.
This was about the time I am out in the back in the morning. It might be a young coyote. There are some more pictures.

This is a picture of normal coyote.

 This coyote is around everyday. With the other things that are moving in, there are some beautiful red foxes like this one.

I put this one on my phone to show my brother next door. I have my chickens locked up like Fort Knox. There are still raccoons, possums, and skunks. There are stray dogs that come through. Big stray dogs. It is so funny and scary the things that show up on that game cam.

I hope you have a lovely New Year. I am so excited about my garden this year. I am already drawing up plans and of course, making lists of seeds. I always buy more seeds than I can plant.

Have a lovely day,

"You've got to be able to make those daring leaps or you're nowhere,"  said Muskrat.
---The Mouse and His Child,
Russell Hoban, 1967

Friday, December 21, 2018

Merry Christmas!

I was looking for a Christmas story to share today. As I went back to the archives of the things I had written, I found this one. I am so glad I wrote it down. I thought I would share it with you again.
I hope you have a lovely Christmas. From my heart to yours.

We watched Scrooge on Sunday night and as I watched it
I noticed that stories we love, are a bit bittersweet. Think of
It's A Wonderful Life, George was going to commit suicide
because he thought that would be a way to save his family.
Yet, that movie touches us deeply.

I have a story and it is bittersweet too. It does have a good ending
I will tell you upfront so you don't quit reading.

This Christmas I am going to share with you is one that
still colors my holidays to this day. Every year I work
myself so hard so that my children can have a magic kind
of Christmas.

My story starts at the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
That Sunday morning my Dad was using a old Ford tractor
improperly. Because in those days tractors didn't have roll bars
the tractor turned over pinning my Dad and my brother underneath it.
My brother was not yet three. We had both been riding on it went it went
over, because my brother was holding on the the steering wheel, my Dad threw
me clear, but he couldn't get my brother off in time.

My Dad's arm was crushed and my brother's neck was broken. He was also
The doctor that was called in told my Mom he wasn't going to do anything because
it was no life for a kid to be in a wheel chair, so it was better to let him die.
But as always in stories sometimes, there was a young doctor, fresh out of
medical school who asked my Mom if he could try some things.
My Mom said yes.
So my Mom had her husband in surgery trying to pin his arm together and my
brother having a new kind of surgery that no one had tried before.

My Dad was self employed. My Mom was a stay at home mom. Christmas
was coming. My Mom told me and my tiny sister not to expect any Christmas
that year because there was no money.

I had wanted a Barbie doll because they were all the rage and a sewing machine
so I could make her clothes. I didn't tell her though. I was afraid I was being
greedy. I prayed though.

We had no money and no food. I know we must have eaten at my grand mothers house.
Because we were there so much because my Mom was at the hospital all of the time.
On a Saturday before Christmas the man who leased the produce department to my
Dad came to our house. He came in the door and he brought bag after bag of food.
More food than I have ever seen in my life. My Mom stood there weeping. Then
he gave her a huge stack of money.
She said" I can't take that, Bill" and she said"I have no way to pay you back." Then he looked at
me sitting there and said," don't take it for me take it for these kids. They need Christmas."

My Dad was able to come home just a bit before Christmas Day. His arm in a sling and
a cast. We had no Christmas tree and I don't know how but one showed up the next morning.
It was so tiny, we put it on a box and Mom put a white sheet around it to cover it.
Dad told me to pretend it was snow.
Then he said, " Next year Kim, you can pick out the biggest tree of all."

I really didn't expect Christmas packages that year. But Christmas morning,
I went in and under the tree were three packages for me and some for my
sister. I didn't get a Barbie, I got Midge, that was okay No one had Midge. :)
I got a box with a dress in it for her and a sewing machine. I was so happy.
Someone knew what I had wanted.

Now of course as Paul Harvey said, "Here is the rest
of the story."
My brother came home from the hospital, he walked
again, who is going to tell a 3 year old he can't walk.
I did get to pick out the biggest Christmas tree the next
year, so big they had to cut off lots from the top and bottom.
To this day, I still always get the biggest tree I can find.
And you know, that man who gave us the food and money.
He was known as a modern day Scrooge. But not that
year, the year I watched I saw a Jesus.

I just thought I would share this today,
it always reminds me of what Christmas is about.
Just making one person's day a bit brighter.

Just a P.S. to this story. Its been eight years since I wrote that down. There are 10 children added and so many changes have happened. But today, Christmas is just as lovely as then. Its only in the looking back do I see the miracles God so lovingly provides.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Just Twaddle Today

I haven't done a twaddle post in a while. I made up my mind last week I would be finished Christmas shopping and wrapping and all of that. I waited in line for 45 minutes to mail packages. They had one poor guy working. Isn't that crazy? It was a very long line, but people are always interesting and nice to talk to in those situations. If I were Charles Dickens I would be taking character sketches.

This will be a nice week, my brother asked me to make him chocolate rolls. When we were kids, and we would come back in the house from being out in the cold, our grandmother would have fixed chocolate rolls. Being a kid, I had never tasted anything so good in my life. (My mom was a stickler about no snacks between meals and never sweets except say Christmas or some holiday.)
After our grandmother passed away, I was the one who got her cookbook. She only had one.

I just love it and its such a time capsule. Its filled with recipes from my extended family as well as recipes, my grandmother wouldn't tell.

I have left it pretty much how I got it. I have went through the recipes very carefully and looked at them. When I got the cookbook the first thing I did was went through it to see if I could find her chocolate roll recipe. It just wasn't there. I have tried for years to recreate it. Yesterday, my brother asked if I could make some like I did last year. I was surprised, because I tasted them and I didn't think they even came close to hers. Yesterday he told me, that they were indeed very close to what she made.

I will give you my bread recipe.
My favorite bread recipe. At least my kids will have it.

2 1/2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
Let yeast soften and then stir until the water softens the yeast. Let rise a bit before adding to the flour.

I have a Magic Mill Assistant mixer. Put in the dough hooks.

I put three cups of flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs
1 cup butter
when I am making cinnamon rolls I add one cup sugar. For dinner rolls I add a half cup. I turn on the mixer and add the yeast water.

I let it mix until its smooth and begin to add flour one cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the bowl. It might be 3-6 cups of flour or even more sometimes. That part is tricky because it has to be by feel and the stickiness of the dough.

I then let it rise until doubled. This can take anywhere to 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on how warm or cold my kitchen is that day.

I then roll it out like you do for cinnamon rolls and put butter then the cinnamon and sugar. Easy Peasy.
Now last year, I took Hershey's Cocoa and mixed it as I would cinnamon and sugar for cinnamon rolls. I went by color not measurements.
So I made them that way. I will try it again. 

I remember when I was a little girl and I asked her about something she was making and did she have a recipe, she told me that good cooks didn't measure they went by smell, feel and taste. She was the best cook I ever saw. Now after all of the years I have been cooking, I think that is so true. I know for that bread recipe I just wrote out, you have to do that, go by how it looks. I have done this recipe so many times that its hard for me to describe how to make it work. I also use it for pizza dough, but I leave out the butter and eggs. I use olive oil then and add spices to it. Its very easy bread dough. Of course make sure your yeast is fresh. Very important.

I hope you have a lovely next week. I always think of Grinch this time of year.

"The Grinch: It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags.
Narrator: The the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.
The Grinch: Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas...
Narrator: He thought
The Grinch: ...means a little bit more."

Merry Christmas

Away in a manger
No crib for His bed
The little Lord Jesus
Lay down His sweet head
The stars in the sky
Look down where He lay
The little Lord Jesus
Asleep on the hay.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Wind is Blowing All Around

We have such a windy day today. The wind chimes are clanging and beating themselves to death. Leaves are hitting the front windows with such force, I have got up a few times to see if someone is there. We don't get wind from this direction very often. As Mr. John Jarndyce from Bleak House would talk about the wind being in the East. Here we call it tumbleweed weather because our driveway fills up with tumbleweeds. We have had enough rain so it isn't a dust storm. We will have rain tonight which will quiet every thing down.

When Ron tore down the old fort of the kids and built my chicken coop, he had three windows that he didn't use. I have stared at those windows for years. Finally I got the bright idea to sand and paint it with white milk paint and hang in in the house. I decided that I would use it to hang my chicken ornaments on. Then after I looked at it I thought it needed something else. I found some metal tags on Etsy and it is finally finished. I love it.
Here it is:

It makes me smile every time I look at it. I really wanted it as an excuse to hang all of these little counted cross stitch pieces I make and have stuck in drawers and plastic boxes every where.

I finally finished this little pillow from last year. I bought the pattern from Rose. She has the best patterns from anyone I have ever bought patterns from, every thing is perfect and she gives little tips to make your finished product look perfect. Three Sheep Studio is just the best.

I also wanted to show you my mirror. I have never had a mirror in my house. Ever. It was just never something I ever wanted. I spend most of my time running from them to tell you the truth. I saw this mirror about 8 months ago. When we were in Tucson, the silly thing went on sale. I decided that if it was still on sale I would buy it. So I did. I even like it better now. I love how it looks. Like a old window from a church.

I look at it but not in it all of the time. I am funny that way. Last but not least.

I love anything galvanized. I am afraid if Ron wouldn't loose his mind because I would have every light fixture in the house be made of galvanized metal. Or chicken wire. I mean he did finally say okay to the mirror. He thought I was nuts because it looked already worn out. It just makes me chortle.
I have found that at Tractor Supply I can buy really neat galvanized buckets and stuff like that for so much cheaper than stores that sell them for crafts. I happen to buy these because our smoker needs one to catch the grease when we BBQ. It was in the garage when I was getting out my Christmas decorations and I thought, it would look wonderful on the top of my hutch. It does, don't you think?

I have been happily hooking again, finally after months and months of no hooking at all. Its so nice to get to be creative. I haven't done any Christmas shopping though. I need to turn my attention to that.
All I have to do is make up my mind to conquer the shopping list and it will be done. What did we ever do before online shopping?

Thank you so much for stopping by today. I am doing an Advent blog on my other blog that I have joined in with some other bloggers I have met though Pom Pom's Ponderings.
Also to get myself back in the habit of blogging every day.
I hope you have a wonderful week,

It is not the years in your life but the life in your years that counts.---Adlai Stevenson

Friday, November 30, 2018

Almost December

Greetings from My Field of Dreams.  I kept thinking about writing a blog, but that meant I would have to not have the picture of that sweet baby on my blog, and I really enjoyed seeing him every time I got on. Such a sweet little boy.

Tomorrow is December. I have been decorating for three days. I made a couple of wreaths. I have wanted to do it for years. I ran across a You Tube channel called Dollar Store Crafts. My goodness, I was mesmerized. A gal showed how to make the Christmas ball wreaths and I was hooked. The only problem was I had to go to the Dollar Store.

You ask why it that a problem? Because me and half of Bakersfield must have been watching that same You Tube channel and I had to park far away and do a bit of a walk to get to the store and then there was almost only standing room in the aisles. I always feel so sorry for those poor people behind the check stands and people were standing four or five deep waiting to buy their things. I still laugh quietly to myself and I had a arm load of things, and it was only 20 dollars.

I have always wanted one.  You know I wish on these blogs they would tell you things. Like I have glitter everywhere. Even after two showers yesterday when I went to Bible Study I still had glitter on my face. Or you have to hot glue the tops to the Christmas balls because they are made from some weird plastic that will just disintegrate in your hands if you mess with them too much.

 The first wreath I made I didn't hot glue them and I had fancy ping pong balls going every where in the kitchen and then on the front porch when I was trying to hang it. Here is my first one. I just cut the top off of a clothes hanger and it worked okay. The next time I used some heavy gauge wire I had from other projects. I used my balance ball to measure around so I could have a nice fat wreath.  (Since that is about all I use my balance ball for.)

I have a couple of patterns sitting here on my computer of things I would like to make, but I need to sit to do them and sitting has been hard for me lately. I guess I got so used to having the kids when we were in Tucson and being busy with them, I just haven't got back into my routine.
I just wanted to check in. I am going to be doing a blog for Christmas for 24 days on my other blog. The link is at the top of this blog. I am going to write about the things that mean the most to me about Christmas. I am doing this with Pom Pom
My daughter Kessie as well. It will be nice to get back into the routine of blogging again.

Thank you so much for stopping by today.

Once I might have wished for that:never to grow old.
But now I know that to stay young always is also not
to change. And that is what life's all about---changes
Going on every minute, and you never know when
something begins where it's going to take you.
---AGathering of Days, Joan W. Blos,1979