Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Favorite Christmas Things

I probably posted these Nativity scenes before, but it is Christmas again, and they are still my favorite decorations. We have a small collection of them beginning with the one below. It was a gift to Jay from one of his customers whom he helped. I have two pop-up Nativity books like the one below.
This one is my favorite because my children created it with my Wasband, Granger, when we lived in the state of Misery (some people call it Missouri). I love the little wooden horse leaning against the back, Kimber's horses in the coral, and Baby Jesus in the manger/basket.

I love making aprons, and this is the latest creation for Jay's daughter, Rachel, who lives in Hawaii. I like how it portrays the erupting mountains and vividly colored flowers.

And then, there is Family! MamaPajama arrived at the airport in Lewiston yesterday after a long day of flying and layover in Seattle before touching down.
She is resting today after such an arduous beginning to our celebration of Christmas this week.

I am so grateful she shares our values for what this holiday means. And I'm grateful for the fact that she is so spry at the age of 87 that she can still travel to share this holiday with us.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Snowy Greetings

Tis sunrise over the garden area greeted us this morning as we finished our breakfast of yummy, rich and yellow-yolked eggs (from the farm up the road) and toast with home-made Blackberry Jam. An idyllic life we live, surrounded by astonishing beauty and filled with delicious and nutritious food. And I am reminded of one of my favorite verses from Psalms:

"The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, surely I have a goodly inheritance."

We have received over two feet of snow, with more due today. The plows worked overtime to clear the roads so shoppers could attend the many craft fairs on Saturday.

One pile of snow plowed from the street is taller than I am!

This poor Elm tree lost a significant branch as we breakfasted several days ago. The snow was unusually heavy, and the temperatures were in the mid-teens...perfect for tree crashing!

There was a good turnout for church even though the roads were icey. And Pastor Brent joined the Praise Band yesterday morning accompanied by his newly-made mandolin.
He is quite an accomplished musican AND woodworker.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Plant Yourself!

Give me a Fanny Garden!
Plant yourself down for a cruise through the pictures of my going west to see my precious son, Kelly, home for two weeks on leave from Afghanistan. I was blessed to be invited to spend time with him and his family.
He greeted me at the door in very non-military attire...bib overalls and a big smile, as he was happy to see me too! Marcus has REALLY missed his daddy and spent a lot of the time very close, if not on Kelly.
Marcus made his very own dinner...a jelly sandwich, and wanted NO help making it!!! There was a small dab of jelly spread thinly on one piece of bread with another piece of bread smashed to it. He later asked for more jelly. We love eating together, he and I.

My great-grandson Cameron was at the house too, with his mother, Mandi (my oldest grandchild). Brianna had made a breakfast with Kelly of scrambled eggs and French toast with strawberries and whipped cream. Cameron and Marcus are fast friends!

Here is the darling Brianna who rustled up the delightful breakfast. She had requested cooking b'fast with Kelly, and Alana had requested making spaghetti for dinner with him. We were well fed, believe me!

Clowning for the camera, Marcus isn't setting a very good example for Cameron, but Cam was watching his Mama, fortunately.

I stayed at the Comfort Inn with an indoor heated pool so that there would be plenty of room for the others at Kelly's house. We all went swimming together, another request of an activity the girls wanted to do with their dad while he was home. We swam Saturday morning before lunch and in the evening after dinner. Cameron and I are snuggling up to get warm and dry.

If I'd been in this picture it could have shown 4 generations.
After church with Kelly and his family I drove to meet my sister Margy at Borders Books in Vancouver for a couple hours before attending to Kimber's family.
Dante is now a year old!
He is still small and darling with some blond curls, mellow personality, and ready smile.

He KNOWS who his Grammy is!

He doesn't walk yet, but does stand alone when absorbed in some activity, forgetting that he's standing by himself.

Toys from Isabella's babyhood are brought out of storage for Dante's pleasure...and Isabella's

It was tough getting back home before Thanksgiving. The weather was not conducive for travel. So, I did it in spurts. First I left Kimber's later than I'd anticipated Tuesday morning. I stopped by Stacie's for a much-welcomed and encouraging visit with her and Margaret.
Stacie's hubby had taken the 5 older ones to the beach for 4 days to give her a mini-vacation. Lily (20 months) was the only one at home with Stacie, so our visit was nearly uninterrupted.
I had to wait out the storm one more night, so Kelly's invited me to camp on his couch Tuesday before braving the tough driving conditions on Wednesday. Marcus had found one red mitten which he loved wearing just after getting up on the morning of my leave-taking.

I could not believe the stark reality of winter's descent upon us.
I took this along the Columbia between The Dalles and Walla Walla as I drove.
I just pointed the camera at the river and landscape. My little all-wheel drive Subaru with new studded tires all around did just fine. It was a long journey home, many hours of concentrated driving, and I'm glad I made the trek to see my kidlettes and theirs.
I have been richly blessed!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


You see my delighted self holding one of the ten Galeux d'Eysines ( pronounced, gallo day seen) French Heirloom squashes. I bought one of these a couple years ago at the Farmers' Market and loved the flavor and texture. So, this year I bought plenty of the seeds. They don't grow where we live because they need plenty of heat and many more days than we get on the prairie. Several of my favorite gardeners agreed to grow one or two hills and return one squash to me. My DH and I just weighed them for a whopping total of 147 pounds!!This is the description from the catalog:
"(C. maxima) Possibly our most beautiful heirloom squash. This flattened, round, 10-15 lb fruit has gorgeous, slamon/peach-colored skin covered with large warts! The sweet orange flesh is used in France for soups and also can be baked. This is one of the best tasting squash I have tried; the flesh is so smooth, flavorful and deep orange; it's fantastic!"
Well, that's exactly what I thought when I first tasted it, so I'll be making LOTS of soup later on this winter. They ranged in weight from 6 lbs to 22 lbs.
Thanks to: Connie, Ellie, Tanner, Leah, and Kim for growing these beauties!
Next I will post my favorite squash soup recipe. Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The LORD has Spokane!

It all began last April when I discovered Beth Moore would be in Spokane in October. I prayed up whether I should buy tickets and how many. Being led to buy 3 tickets, reservations were made and Jay's daughter Lovella and some other friends got into the spirit of it to join me for the event that Beth dubbed, "The LORD has Spokane!" Below you can see the fabulous lunch we had at The Aloha Grill upon our early arrival into Spokane.
Lovella has come (reluctantly) from Hawaii to live in the wilds of Idaho for some time, so this was a blast from the past for her.
There was ONE table for two, and we ordered 'Plate Lunches" of Teryaki chicken on veggies, rice, pea salad and macaroni salad...all very native Hawaiian things to eat for lunch.

Beth's message was from Ephesians 4:1-16.
She spoke on the ONE-ness of God, the theme being,
"The sum total of every Divine equation is ONE".
One Father, One Son, One Holy Spirit =ONE
The Word for me was: "Pay the price! Do what it takes to fire up the flame to produce, to expand your gift." My gifts are teaching, encouragement and giving, and I've been in the process of really cranking down on those, so it was an affirmation for me to hear this
iterated by Beth and reiterated by Lovella on the way home.
"All of your work is meaningless if there is no love in it!"
and..."Forgive offenses because WE are offensive," Beth said. Unity in the church is more important that when or how we are offended.
However, if you don't respect your leadership, move to another church.
Fortunately for me, the respect I have for the leadership in my church is VERY high!
Getting to a Beth Moore event early and standing around for 1 1/2 hours to visit with others at the front of the line is all part of going to hear what God has for me. We did exactly that and were rewarded with seats on an isle and close to the front.
Below you see the picture I took of Beth presenting the owner of the restaurant at which she had had the pleasure of eating her lunch.

Beth always dresses in somewhat interesting clothing, and we were somewhat taken aback to find she was dressed like ME...black pants and a black V-neck, 3/4 sleeve shirt for Friday night.

Below you see how she is on Saturday speaking from Ephesians 4:14-16 in her more Beth-ish outfit with lace shirt under colorful and 'interesting' blouse under a brown vest. She'd collected fall leaves to spread on the stage because they don't have fall in Houston apparently.
She cracked us up, as usual, with humorous family stories to accompany a heavy message.

Below she joins Travis and another singer in the praise team for the Victory in Jesus song. I love how you can see a small screen of what was projected onto the big screens in the arena.

Travis Cottrell is an awesome worship leader, singer and piano player, so the experiece was rich in that regard too.

Also, God did a wonderful work to bless me in that I had this extra ticket in my pocket that my daughter was unable to use. I didn't feel led to call at the last moment to find someone for it, but merely kept it in my pocket. Just before the doors opened a young woman came along the line asking every ten feet or so if someone might have an extra ticket.
When she got to me, I smiled and told her I did. She just about fell down.
She'd been counting on the LORD to provide...and He did.
We serve and awesome God who provides for our every need. I was deeply disappointed that my daughter couldn't join us, and am grateful for how everything turned out for the best!
And another thing: Just a few rows behind me, when I turned around to look at the full arena holding 5500 women, were four dear old friends from my Gateway church in The Dalles.
Was THATa wonderful surprise and blessing!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Seed Time and Harvest Time

Yesterday before the hard frost last night I picked ALL the tomatoes on the vines...
All 60 pounds of them!!
This box weighed 10 pounds, and it was from ONE plant...a Rutgers.
I'm saving some seed from the biggest and best.I harvested all the green cabbage too. It doesn't look that great in the picture,
but once the outer leaves were removed, it was sweet, crisp and delicious.
I shredded all 5 pounds of it and put it in a crock for kraut.
So far, nothing is happening like it is supposed to, so I may fail as a kraut maker this year.

More tomatoes.
Would you look at the size of these puppies?!
They are 6 inches long, and more... called Opalka Paste Tomato

Below is the cart carrying 55 pounds of Burgess Butternut squash from 6 hills planted.
I am baking (whole) the 3rd largest as I write this, and we'll have a taste test tonight. If it is a 'keeper' I'll ax the biggest in half to save the seeds, and then bake it also.

Below on the right are the 7 (16 pounds) of a squash called
Uncle David's Dessert Squash, noted for it sweetness. In fact the Fedco catalog states that some folks bake it into pies without any other sweetening. Stay tuned; I'll let you know if that is true.
On the left is something out of this world. I planted 3 seeds for each hill. The hill the orange squashes came from was my Costata Romanesca Zucchini.
I DID get 2 of those, but I also harvested, today,
25 pounds of this Orange Mysterious...along with the two other Butternut-ish ones.

Not shown are the 23 pounds of Butternut-like squashes from ONE hill. My dear gardening friend, Connie, gave me the seed for these from her father's squashes in North Dakota.
I hope they are tasty because they did so well.

So, I've off to save some seeds from the harvest, make some pie,
and rustle up some squash grub for dinner for my DH.
We LOVE winter squash, and I'm grateful for the 124 pounds harvested today.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

When I'm 64...to the tune of the Beatles' song

My words to the tune of the Beatles' song are different from Paul, John, George, and Ringo's Anywho...
Here I am setting out on my camping trip with my new hair; it is a means to an end, really. Wanting to grow it out a bit and wanting it curled has led to my first perm in about 25 or 30 years. It will relax soon and I can fuss with it to make it more to my liking.
I took this picture of myself while driving for Margaret, who INSISTS on a picture.
Here, the welcoming committee greeted me loudly as I pulled into their empty campground. There were no othere campers! There were several stalwart folks in their RV's and travel trailers, and some in a couple of the cabins at Chief Timothy Recreation Area to the west of Lewiston. The weather was pretty cool, but I wanted to see if I could still do this.

Looky here: Setting this up was cake-ish. I'm glad I'd bought a new stepladder for the kitchen on my way because reaching the top of this miserable tent was not in the cards I'd dealt myself. This was a miserable tent because, basically, it was a screen-thingy with a rain fly. I was SO cold in the night that my full-length, fleece bathrobe was needed for covering. The new cot was not to my liking either because cold air raced into the space beneath the it...and my underside. Shivering all night long until finally getting up at 5 to go potty was pretty much the extent of my sleeping in the new tent.

Bunnies romped around looking for some of my popcorn, I suppose.
They awakened me in the night as they gnawed on acorns from the oak treees.

This was the view this morning after my coffee and daylight dawning.
The river is between the trees and the mountains. It was simply divine viewing.

I stepped out from under the trees momentarily to take this 'dawning' picture just as the sprinkling rain began. By 7:30 everything was packed up, and I was heading home for a hot bath and putting everything away.

All in all, this was a successful outing. I found out I can, and like, to do this. I want better equipment, including a stove to cook on. Just as I was finishing my coffee and making the skillet ready for bacon and eggs the sprinkling began in earnest. Being only 1.5 hours from home was nice in that I could look forward to surprising my dear husband and move on to the weekend chores. I LOVED! this, and I'll do it again. You bet!
And now I can check another 'when I'm 64' goal off the list.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Budding and Blossoming

Fridays flow easily at school these days. Only one of the girls comes, and that is merely to do her homework. She is diligent that way, and it honors me. Her big brother comes because it is the day the big boys and the little boys are here. One of my big boys has been missing lately, for health reasons, so it is a light day for me...as opposed to Mondays where all the big boys and the 6 girls are present.
Below you can see the budding geniuses, Gracie and Wyatt working and thinking. William is Wyatt's sidekick,
and you can see him working away on his Cursive writing assignment.
Carson is persuing some wayward spelling words during the test.

And Dillon is focusing on writing his spelling words in cursive,
a task needing his full concentration!

A friend had too many blossoming Dinner Plate Dahlias; can you imagine???
She brought me this bouquet as a thank you for leading the Beth Moore Bible study we have each Wednesday evening.
Thank you, Jodi!!

The garden continues to grow some.
Tomatoes are slowly ripening, squashes are gaining size and thickening shells, and the flowers continue to bless us with divine color.
It is a good thing.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Such as it is...the Garden

I've made nothing but disparaging remarks about my garden.
Here is our first tomato. We have tomato Number 3 on the counter in the kitchen ripening. They've both (Number 1 and 2) tasted like a little piece of Heaven. These three tomatoes are the sum total (is that redundant?) of the ripe tomatoes so far...and it is the end of September, the beginning of fall! I AM sorely disappointed in the harvest so far. The squashes are another story. They are flourishing and quite surprising.
I planted a Costata Romanesca in this spot but have a bright yellow/orange threesome growing beside a butternut-looking one. How does that happen????? I can hardly wait to try them out.
My DF (Dear Friend) Margaret came for a visit just before school began.
She is a lover of the sun and resting. Margaret taught me how to do the same.
And it was simiply Divine! Thank you Mago.

The zucchini production is disappointing also.
Here is one of 2...count them, One, Two zucchinis I've harvested.
And this was the big one!

Connie, this is for you. I did not plant zinnias this year. So, where did this come from ????? I didn't know they volunteered. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE red. So this is truly a gift from God.

The temps are dropping; we had a tiny nipping of frost in late August. It didn't touch anything by a few leaves of the squashes, so I'm hoping for an excellent harvest in a week or so when we get a hard frost. It has been a disappointing and dull garden year.
However, being a true gardener, I have higher hopes for next year.
Tomorrow is another day, said Scarlet O'Hara.