There's no place like home.

There's no place like home.
Home is where my husband and I reside; wherever that may be.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Firsts and celebrating the moments.

Today is the first day of school for most of the kids in this area.  What an easy week you may think (I'm thinking the same thing) When I was growing up we started the day after Labor Day.  But I digress from the point of my thoughts.  In my many years of being a parent and now grandparent I have helped celebrate many things large and small and the cynical part of me can't help but think of the line from the Pixar movie, "The Incredible's," that refers to these minor celebrations as excuses for marking mediocrity.  From a certain point of view that comment may be true but from another point of view mediocrity is hardly what is being feted.  

Today Christopher started pre-school and for a three-year-old it was a big deal to spend half of his day with those who are not family for the first time in his life.  This kid has a hard enough time spending a few hours with grandma!  (all you family members can stop snickering now)  I walked up to the school at noon to pick him up since it is far more convenient for me to go three blocks than it is for his mom to pack his sister into the van and drive 6 miles to get him.  All the way back here he chattered on about birds, grass, big trucks, and where Uncle is today at the same speed that his little feet were going.  At a break in the conversation I asked him if he remembered whose birthday it was today and he immediately came back with "Mother Mary's birthday."

I then began to tell him how pleased she is that he was a good boy at school and how she is happy to help him learn if he only remembers to ask her each day for her help.  In unique little boy style he asked if he could have his lunch with Mother Mary and help her have a happy birthday.  No mediocrity in this celebration! The simplicity of the request and the plainness in the execution of the "party" are all the commemoration that his first day of school needs to fix it in his little boy memory forever.

Friday, August 18, 2017

I am completely baffled!

This little bit of technology on top of the bird feeder is called a squirrel baffler.  The name intrigued me when I saw it at the store as well as tickling my strange sense of humor.  In my mind I pictured the squirrels of the neighborhood standing around with their little squirrel fingers on their squirrel chins wondering what that thing is, that kept me smiling all the way to the cash register.  (I know what you are thinking; here is another advertising sucker!)

Anyway I brought it home and MK installed it and I spent the afternoon on the porch swing waiting to see the baffled squirrels.  So far not a critter has appeared even mildly perplexed.  They all still come to the bounty of the Kraeger bird feeder as if the thing wasn't there.  That baffles me!  Actually I have to say that the colored ones that I have previously purchased do work and they work well.  We are not an all you can eat buffet for these useless creatures and I resent them driving the birds away to consume pounds and pounds of feed that isn't set out for them.  They can go on WIC or Welfare for all I care.  The reason this one intrigued me was the fact that it is clear.  Something perverse in my nature wanted to see the squirrels fooled by its presence and have them sliding off in frustration.  I really need to get a job or a hobby that is more productive, right.

Friday, August 11, 2017


I have heard it said that love and hate are two sides of the same coin and that may be true especially when it comes to machines.  The love flows unconditionally when they work but when there is an issue the well just seems to dry up.

Irons are particularly concerning for me.  I think there is a definite "I kill them" aura that surrounds me and they can sense it when I bring them into the house.  The issue is two fold.  I need copious amounts of steam and it would be nice to have one that is self-cleaning.  I do a lot of fusing of interfacing, adhesives, and fleece which yucks up the sole plate but I also do a lot of heirloom work which requires a pristine sole plate.  Did I mention that I am somewhat lazy to boot? 

With all that being said here is the reason for this post.  My dear, sweet sister-in-law, ReNee' ordered a wedding hanky (read white, delicate, and nerve wracking!)  Piece of cake I thought as I cut the fabric (imported Imperial Batiste), starched it, hooped it and set the machine to do the embroidery.  An hour later when it was all done and trimmed I took it to the board to give it a good press before hemming and adding the lace.  I ONLY TOUCHED THE IRON TO IT!  Didn't even have to move it and there was a big yellow-ish brown mark on the surface of the previously pristine white embroidery.   I had cleaned the iron in my usual way, wadded up waxed paper rubbed over the hot surface usually takes off the leftover glue from interfacing and fleece but this time the build up was too great.

 (This is where irons go to die.)  It no longer makes steam but heats up and all the other things it should do.

So, I did what any sane, rational, and thinking person would do in that situation. I threw the hanky across the room and started work on something else.  This morning I took the offending appliance out, read it the riot act, scrubbed the sole plate with a mixture of baking soda and water and prayed that it would be ready for today's work.  I am pleased to say that it sparkles and shines like it was brand new, we are on speaking terms again, and I am ready to hoop a new piece of fabric and start again.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

It's complicated

Facebook wants to know what's on my mind and I just got a text from my daughter asking how my day is going. I truly don't think either wants to know the true answer to either question.  Let's just say it's complicated.

Today was supposed to be a day spent clearing up some unfinished business and perhaps finished off by reading my book on the porch swing.  Yeah, right!  I started out by being awakened abruptly by the pain of an injured shoulder then nearly having to spend the day shut up in the downstairs bathroom. I guess I can thank God for a loose blade on my saw for saving me from that one. (Yes Matthew it has bee tightened up and is in fine working order)

After extricating myself from the bathroom with my handy screwdriver that just happened to be in my pocket I decided to do up the dishes and tidy the kitchen.  What could possibly happen while doing those mundane chores?  How about trying to grind up a spoon in the disposal?  Please family there is a reason why I don't want dishes piled in the sink!!!!!!  I think that noise took a few years off my life but I girded my loins and sat down to make all of the dreaded phone calls that were on the list for the day.  NO ONE WAS THERE! I HAD TO LEAVE MESSAGES AT EVERY NUMBER I DIALED! Don't people know how I despise talking on the phone. Now I have to wait for the return calls.

If that wasn't enough for one day while hanging the roman shades I made that turned into balloon blinds, (don't aske me how) I managed to strip out half a dozen screws and two drivers.  I fell off the stool that I was standing on and touched the side of my hand to the iron while I was ironing the sheets before I hung them up.

I am now sitting on the porch soaked in sweat (no sweet neighbor lady I did not enjoy my dip in the pool this is sweat!) and wondering if there is anything else dangerous that I can do today. Thank God the ribs are in the crock pot, no grilling for me, and the salad is already made.  I cannot imagine what I would do if I picked up a knife today.

Friday, September 9, 2016

The best gift that a grandmother could get

I have said before that I have the best daughters-in-law. They do not hesitate to share their children with me.  

 These kids hold a large piece of my heart.
Layn made me a grandma and his smile and sweet ways never cease to grab my heart over and over.

Christopher is a miniature of his father in looks and his Uncle Adam in his personality. Those blue eyes and devilish grin are enough to make you want to excuse all his shenanigans.

This little princess has the look of her Auntie Mate and the disposition of an angel.  Her brothers don't know how lucky they are to have such a loving and patient sister.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The End of the Summer's Extraordinary Day Book Monday 6 September 2016

Outside my window...the sun is shining with all its might. Though the weather men are calling for hot and muggy later this week, today it is cool with a light breeze. It is a perfect day to hang the bedding on the line (which I did) and open all the windows in the house.  

Ian and his little Princess enjoying some outdoor time together.

I am thinking...about how quickly this summer has flown.  Even with a concentrated effort to drink in each moment and pile on the memories it still seems as if I just blinked and here it is September.  With the return of school days and schedules I am carrying the times spent just sitting still and watching those around me thrive and grow.  

I am thankful...for the man I love, the children I cherish, the grandchildren that amaze me, and the place where He has placed me.

I am reading...about my favorite Franciscan, Padre Pio.

All a little girl needs is a bed of grass and a loving dog.  

From the kitchen...I will be making spiralized zucchini lasagna for our supper.  I am thrilled that Papa likes zucchini this way so we can avoid being tempted by pasta.

Creatively speaking...bags, aprons, and quilts have been flying out of here these past few weeks.  I am always amazed and flattered when people like my work.

No summer is complete without time spent on daddy's "hauger"  Christopher is a farmer to the marrow and never misses an opportunity to bond with the equipment.

Layn is our newest bike rider.  It was touch and go for awhile there with a lot of scrapes and tears but he has mastered his bike and is poised for adventure.

What boy's summer is complete without time spent helping Papa pick up big square bales.  Don't blink or he will be driving and Papa will be out of a job.

Both these boys are learning from their dad to do a man's job.  Family time spent trimming trees and shrubs isn't really work after all.

Only Papa has the kind of strength and patience to stop and give the guys a ride. (after pumping up the tires on their wagon, of course)

A few plans for the rest of the week...capture every drop of love that my family has to give.  This week I have classes to teach, a home to keep, orders to fill, and my people to love.  That should keep me busy for awhile.

Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...(actually several pictures)

Going off to do chores. I hope Christopher is always as eager to help as he is now.

No job is too big for this guy to attempt.  While dad loads the feed Christopher gets right to work sweeping up the old.

Don't worry there is more than one tool.  Layn gets in the act too scraping down so the cows can reach all there is to eat.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

4 Double batches of yumminess!

Pesto is yummy to eat, easy to make and freezes so well that it is a shame not to grow acres of basil and make it yourself.  Well maybe not acres but we sure go through a lot of it.

Basil Pesto


2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 c pine nuts (these are optional and quite expensive)
2/3 c extra-virgin olive oil divided
sal and black pepper to taste
1/2 c Parmesan cheese

Combine the basil, garlic, pine nuts (if you're using them) in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.  Add 1/2 c of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.  Add all of the remaining oil and pulse until smooth.  You can either mix in the cheese now or stir it in when you transfer it to a bowl.
I pack it into pint jars and freeze.  The recipe says it will last up to 3 months but I can tell you that it won't last that long in this place.

Making up for lost time or how to over do it on the first cool dry day in weeks.

I can only remember a handful of summers in my life when we didn't have a garden.  Even when it was just Doug and I, the first summer, we have planted a garden and fed our family with varying degrees of success, from the fruits of our labor.  There have been summers of huge pregnancy when the weeding suffered late in the season and so did the volume of produce.  I recall one year that some of my children started to plant without me, not a lot that year either.  (when you plant the seeds halfway to China you aren't likely to see results in your lifetime)

This year has been no different but more rewarding in a different kind of way.  This garden season has been away from the farm and the benefit of all things machinery.  The first time we could get onto the ground in the spring MK started to plan and build the raised beds that would be the basis for our gardens.  The one above borders on the patio and hot tub and not only houses my fountain but swiss chard, cherry tomatoes, peppers, various herbs and the Sacred Heart to watch over all.  From early June until a couple of weeks ago we had fresh lettuces just about every day.  The cherry tomatoes are about to overwhelm and the peppers have been steady.  

I shouldn't neglect St. Francis who was a late-comer to the garden but he stands between it and any squirrel that tries to invade.
In the back there are three beds of this size.  This one still has some beet greens left.  I never planned to let them actually fruit but the greens have been a delicious addition to many meals.  The pickling cucumbers that lived here are done now and this morning I weeded out the spent plants to be composted.  

Next to the beets is another bed that had zucchini in it, spent as well but boy were they good while they lasted.  Remaining are MK's winter squash.  

Along the back fence we have about 30 feet of raised bed that gave us peas, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, oregano, evening primroses, and marigolds.  I give the tomatoes another week and they will be done too.  How thankful I am for the fresh sauce I made last night and the 14 quarts of sauce that I have canned so far. Not bad for a first year in a new spot.  

Behind the garage are two more beds.  One is full to overflowing with pumpkin vines and I am not sure how much fruit.  The other has the slicing cucumbers, just producing as the pickler's finish up, and carrots.  This is one bed that is going to need to be amended next year.  It was one of the last ones to be built and so the soil is mostly clay from the farm rather than a mixture of rotted horse manure, peat moss, and clay.  

I neglected to take a picture of the bed that I am most proud of.  It is full of broccoli, brussels sprouts, and until this morning, basil  We have been eating from the broccoli most of the season although they slowed down during the heat wave.  Today I noticed loads of baby brussels sprouts just waiting for me to harvest and eat them.  This morning I harvested the basil and made 4 double batches of pesto to put into the freezer.  MK eats the stuff like a spread and I use it instead of sauce on pizzas.  
 That is some serious basil goodness if I do say so myself.  

 Yesterday in the 86 degree heat with 72% humidity I peeled about 3/4's of a bushel of tomatoes and made a big batch of fresh sauce.  The smell of that on the stove made up for all the sweat and discomfort that goes into making it.  This coming winter I will be able to bring back summer just by opening a jar.