Saturday, June 30, 2007

showers and rainbow

Yesterday, we were treated to heavy showers, then a sun peek, more showers and then a rainbow as a special gift. The sky always makes me ponder the wonder and majesty of the God who created all this beauty.

I was in the middle of a garden shop when the first torrent of rain came. I went to stand under the eaves to wait it out . . .and I waited for sometime realizing that I could knit a sweater or two by the time it would end.

Finally I decided to make a run for the car in my flip flops shorts and T shirt. I came home to find Terry waiting with the bark mulch. " I have nothing" I said. He put the bark mulch on and I'll scrape and plant later, if the mood comes upon me to venture out to hunt late season annuals once more.

Later we ran out for some Chinese Food, took a quick trip to the mall and when we came around the bend back to the farm, we were treated to such a beautiful rainbow. It was huge. The colors were so vibrant. I was just in awe.

How can I not think of God's promises with a sight like that? His mercies are new every morning.

Have a wonderful day, I'm off to clean house.

Friday, June 29, 2007

first generation Canadian

I have just recently read a series of historical fiction novels by Janice L. Dick. (Click on her name to learn more about her and her novels.
My parents have both written accounts of their life. Between the three novels, and my parents own accounts I have developed a better understanding.
I have always had a difficult time sorting through in my own mind what nationality am I really?
I am a Canadian of course, I was born here, but what were my parents . .and their parents and even beyond that.
My parents were both born in Russia, and yet their families hadn't lived there for multiple generations.
Before that . . .they came from Germany, and then before that Holland.
Understanding Mennonite heritage is perplexing since many people who immigrated chose not to speak of the circumstances that eventually led to many Mennonites immigrating out of Russia.
Since reading Dicks three novels I have come to truly appreciate the difficult situation that they faced and the enormous sacrifice many of them made to leave the only country that they knew to come to a land that promised peace and freedom of religion.
I would highly recommend these books as they have clarified in my mind the political and personal events that led to the move to Canada. The first one is called Calm Before the Storm. I purchased them at my local Christian Bookstore.

My own Dad's experience was different still in the fact that his mother died shortly after his birth and he was the youngest of ten children. His Uncle and Aunt asked to adopt him and bring him across to Canada. Again, I am amazed by God's hand. This morning I reread that part of his story and I was once again reminded why he had such a deep faith in his Saviour.

He was the only one from his family that came to Canada. One sibling immigrated to Brazil. The rest that survived stay in Russia. Eventually, and in the last decade two of his siblings, one brother and one sister moved to Germany with their families.

My Parents had the joy of travelling to Germany to meet his family in the early 90's.

The reunion in heaven that met my Dad upon his passing from this earth must have been fantastic. I just can't imagine.

My Mom remembered the time on the ship coming across the Atlantic Ocean. She wrote her account of it and again . . .I was just amazed.

The families were so poor when they arrived, and yet there was such joy in the freedom that they had longed for.

Sometimes it has been intriguing to me to listen to various groups discussing the policies on allowing immigrants into our country. Those of us who are one or two generations into this country seem to have acquired an opinion on this as though we own this land, it's been ours for a long time after all. How long? Not nearly as long as the Mennonites had been in Russia, and yet when push came to shove they found that the three hundred or so years that they lived in that vast land, really was nothing, and they were considered new comers. Yet here we are, many of us considering ourselves to be quite deeply planted in this wonderful land and my family only arrived in the 1920's.

This time that I have spent pondering my heritage has once again made me so thankful for the land that allowed my family entrance when their seemed no safe place to go.

In the last few days, I've perused the Internet for Canadian trivia quizzes and interesting facts and that sort of thing to post for Canada Day. In the end I decided against doing that since if I can find it . . .well then so can you.

On Sunday, I will post my tribute to Canada.

Have a wonderful day my friends, I'm off to seek out some red and white flowers at the garden store.

(the postcards posted today are more from my Grandmothers collection of vintage postcards)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

roll kuchen

Something that I grew up with and is very typical Mennonite food is Roll kuchen.

It is eaten with a nice cold Watermelon on a hot day.

Yesterday almost got hot and so out came the whipping cream and the eggs.

I feel like there should be a disclaimer with this recipe for its obvious lack of nutritional value.

No worries. Just don't eat it every day and you'll be fine.

Something else that we learned last summer is that these delicious rich deep fried rolled fritters are delicious with strawberries and whipped cream. Oh the guilt never ends.

The ingredient list is very simple and I'm happy to say that it does have farm fresh eggs included in the recipe so, . . . .well, there are plenty of nutrients in those . . .so, its all good.

Roll kuchen

1 cup whipping cream

3 eggs

1 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. baking powder

3 cups of flour

Mix these ingredients together and knead into a ball.

Wrap the dough up and refrigerate it for a few hours.

Letting it sit makes it so much easier to roll out.

Rolling it thin, makes a crisper roll kuchen and leaving it a bit thicker makes for a softer roll kuchen. No doubt you'll be making them a few times in summer, so you can experiment on how you prefer them.

Because the dough is rich, its very easy to work with. No sticking problems.

Cut the dough into about 3 -4 long strips and then cut across to make rectangular shapes.

Cut 2 slits in the middle of each so that they don't become one big balloon in the hot fat.

Heat some fat up in a large pot. I use Canola Oil. When the fat has little bubbles coming to the surface, it is likely hot enough, but put in a small piece of dough to test it. I know there are tricks for this but for the life of me I can't think of one of them. Ladies, help me out here.

Also, there are as many different recipes for this as there are Mennonite women. I'd love to know what your recipe ingredients and amounts are. Please let us know your tricks.

I'd love to improve on my attempts.

Eat as many as satisfies. I have no idea how many I ate today but somewhere along the line, I got out the Rogers golden syrup and started to dip the roll kuchen in that . .(for dessert).

So, tell me, how do you eat your roll kuchen. (rolled cookies) Is that the right translation? Tell me if its not . . .please so that I can correct that sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

the cover up

Some time ago Bea and I were shopping at a thrift store and we spotted this little gem.
It probably sat in some Oma's living room for years and was obviously cared for.
The upholstery is actually in very good shape and the springs are in perfect condition.
I snapped it up and it's been sitting in Terry shop waiting for further instruction.
I was tempted to leave the original upholstery but opted rather to make a slip cover that can be washed and taken off if my mood reflects a little retro stylin'.
I ran down to the only local fabric store we have . .(grrr) and found this off white . . kind of a little too fancy fabric. It said dry clean only which I wasn't a fan of. I brought it home and threw it into the washing machine and the dryer to boot. Having firmly showed the fabric that I was having none of its silly fancy shmancy requirements, we decided to work together.
So, yesterday I set to cover up the 60's retro fabric with off white . . . work with whatever the room color currently is . . . . well adjusted washable fabric.
I'm relatively happy with it.
Today, the sun is shining just gloriously. I've made up some rollkuchen dough for supper and will post the results tomorrow. Not the weight gain generally reflective of a watermelon and rollkuchen feed, just the recipe itself.
So, off you go, have yourself a delightful day.

Monday, June 25, 2007

learn to laugh little girl

Let's look at this picture together . .shall we?
First of all I am the one in the blue corduroy dress made with love . . ..
by my mom who is the one on the left.
She is the woman wearing a dress and an apron complete with a necklace. Typical early 60's.
I can also see my mothers drink of choice from my earliest recollection until the day she passed away . . .Postum. A hot cereal beverage. I'm often tempted to buy it just to see what it tastes like.
The dishes are Melmac. . . .in not the best condition.
The family home was in the process of a renovation and the furnace in the background was not yet enclosed.
Do you wonder what my problem was? I had just consumed a delicious piece of chocolate cake and no one had told me there was going to be a picture opportunity at the end of the meal. Pictures were rarely taken and even at that age I wanted to look my best.
Imagine my discomfort to realize that the picture was all about me and my state of . . .
Sometimes, I wonder if I remember occasions because there is a picture to remind me or do I actually have a really good memory. I can tell stories of my childhood with the tiniest details as though it was yesterday.
I can still remember crying and saying, I don't want my picture taken. I truly wish that I could have even at that age been able to laugh at myself with others instead of what has become an annoying bad character flaw of being overly sensitive. I always have liked to lay blame squarely at the feet of my older brothers but really, it is who I am.
When I'm teased (even in love) I still am uncomfortable with it and I still would like to cry like I did as little girl. It's so unlovely to be that sensitive. I'm working on it and my goal is to laugh at myself with delight by the time I'm all grey. (take that however you like)

After the picture was taken, my older brothers and my parents who were all in attendance did their best to cheer me with a promise of a proper picture taken.

So, there I sit, with my favorite baby, my doll buggy that I was rarely with out. My diaper bag that had a string for a handle.

I can still remember my brother Rich taking that picture. The other picture was forgotten . ..or was it?

Oddly, the two pictures were side by side in the photo album from then on. Perhaps even my mom had hoped that I would see the humor in my own reflection.

You'll be glad to know, that as I looked at the pictures today, I did think it was quite humorous indeed.

Well, I'm off for my 30 minute walk,
enjoy your day.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

morning song

Blessed assurance Jesus is mine!
o what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit,
washed in His blood.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Saviour all the day long:
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Saviour all the day long.
Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
Perfect submission, all is at rest, I in my Saviour am happy and blest;
Watching and waiting, looking above, Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

Fanny J Crosby, 1820 - 1915

This is one of my favorite hymns. There is really nothing like the peace that comes from above.
I woke up early this morning with my heart overwhelmed by God's love.

There is no place I'd rather be . . . .

I do hope your Sunday will be filled with joy and peace.
If it's not, I pray that someone will come along side of you today and show you love.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

hand gestures

I'm adding these two pictures on Saturday afternoon. It's Okay. Everyone that should have a helmut . . .has one. Even Tobee wanted to try it on.
Helmut, gloves . . .now we just have to work on long pants and a long sleeved shirt.
It's an improvement.

If I didn't tell you anything at all about this picture, would you know what Stuart is indicating?

This is the hand gesture that little boys learn very young in life. It generally is used after the mom says . . .oh . . . you aren't going to hurt yourself on that thing are you?

His facial expression which I did not quite capture was . . .of course I'm not going to hurt myself on this thing.

Yesterday afternoon Stuart and Terry went to go take a look at this bike and an hour later they were unloading it. Now all three of them own something that will enable "guy time together". Well, that's their take on it anyway.

I always felt like we had dodged the bullet when the boys were younger, they constantly were trying to put together a go cart or something of that nature but never really succeeded in the real deal.

I do hope they have a great time on their machines of choice.

Wild at heart. It's all good.

I wasn't going to post today but I thought I would pop this one up for bonus.

Yesterday I did a bit of experimenting with making a video. You can check it out on the Otis and Indee site that you can find on my side bar. (very experimenting . . ..)

Have a great weekend, I'm off to clean house.

Friday, June 22, 2007

mom . ..can I try on your wedding dress . .. again?

I wonder how many times my mom heard me ask her if I could try on her wedding dress. It wasn't a dress to be played in. When I was allowed she would take it out of the tissue and help me pull it over my head and I would walk around in the soft satin dress for a while and then it would come off. She would carefully put it back in the tissue and in the box.
I don't need to ask her anymore, I've been given the job of "keeper of the dress". Now I carefully pull it out of my cedar chest and carefully iron out the sharp creases and the thrill of wearing her dress is still the same. My mom made her dress, veil and crepe paper flower bouquet. Make sure you click on the pictures below to see the details a bit better. Wasn't she just beautiful? My Dad gave her the locket she was wearing. I still have it . .with their pictures still inside.
This morning when I came out wearing it, Terry looked at me and asked . . ."going somewhere?"
My parents would have been married 65 years this month if they would still be with us. Had they been alive, they certainly would have celebrated. They did every year, thanking the Lord for the years that He gave them.
My mom wrote down her thoughts about their wedding day and I pulled it out again to read it. I thought especially for my family it would be nice to know what she wrote concerning that special day.

Wedding Day in Glenbush Saskatchewan

I was too excited to go back to sleep, trying hard to lay still so I would not awaken Mary. I was wondering about how did they decorate the church, would it be ready? The choir and the young people had volunteered to do this for us, and we were not to come and peek.

Finally everyone was awake and excitement increased. Everyone was buzzing around, chores still had to be done, and dinner to get started. My dear Aron come in the morning and we did not go to church today (it was a Sunday). We had a little time to reflect on the past - how the Lord lead us in such a wonderful way, and from now on we could share life together, no more curfews, what joy filled our hearts. Just to know also that God has said - "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you" Hebrews 13:5. We wanted our lives to shine for Jesus.

Soon the guests started to arrive for the dinner meal of Plumi Moos and potato salad and I do not remember what kind of meat, but ,more than likely it was ham. Our guests were Mr. and Mrs. Nick Pauls, Mr. and Mrs. David Epp fromSilberfeld, Mr. and Mrs. Andres Aron's parents and a teacher that was boarding with them. I don't know how long it took us all to eat, but that was beside the point at this time. When everyone was finished eating it was time for me to get dressed up.

It was Aron's mother that helped me. I remember Grandpa had to leave his room and that's where I was getting all prettied up. My heart was racing and I almost felt like crying. I was so excited. Finally I was ready and came out to meet my waiting bridegroom. Finally the people started leaving for church and less commotion and we were expecting our wedding car to arrive soon. Aron had asked Mr. Klassen if we could use their car - the nicest one around. Of course he gave permission and it was Abe that came to pick us up. They had to decorate it a little bit first - I can't remember who came with him, was it his sister Tina or else it seems to me that it was Gladys Harms, his girlfriend. We finally were all set to go, and for some reason it was decided we must be 5 minutes late, so everyone would be ready and expecting us. So, it was, when we arrived at the church we were surprised to see so many cars there never mind the buggies.

The church was filled to capacity and waiting. We had no attendants, we walked in arm and arm. When we were ready our pianist palyed "Saviour Like a Shepherd Lead us" and we walked down the aisel to our awaiting chairs beneath a bower of wild roses - it was so beautiful. The young people had done such a wonderful job. It paid to sit down for wedding ceremonies in those days. We had three messages.

She also mentions that their good camera had not cooperated and so the pictures of the wedding were actually taken later. There was a reception after the wedding but they had no sweets except for the wedding cake. There was a war on and the rations were in effect.

After the wedding they went home to do chores again and then went back to the church to pick up their gifts.
Amazing . .. such a simple wedding and yet they were happy.

She wrote these words as part of her life story finishing it less than a year before she passed away. What a gift to all of us.

(this picture was taken at their 50th wedding anniversary)

As I'm writing this in the background the group Chicago is playing the song "You're my inspiration". It seems so fitting. I'm choking up when I think of how much you loved one another. Mom and Dad you often have been my inspiration. You were such a wonderful example to us kids.

You did the best you knew how. The best gift you gave us is loving one another. What a fantastic heritage I have.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

berry wonderful

I'm working in my office this morning but I thought I'd give you a quick pic of yesterday's lunch since my sweetie was good enough to pose and take a picture. We had lunch at the Cactus Club. He asked . .do you want to sit outside? I kind of looked and wondered if I'd be chilly since it was still in the shade. Knowing we should spend every moment of the sunny day outdoors, I said Sure. I told him I'd meet him in a minute and when I arrived at the table there was a blanket on my chair. How delightful. They provide them for our chilly Canadian almost summer days. We shared a pesto chicken quesadillas with a little salad and some fries. Oh it was yummy. We like to have a light lunch so that we can enjoy a bit of a treat in the afternoon.
While we were walking we spotted this Ferrari across the street. Terry told me to take a picture of it for Stuart . . .(Hi Stu) and I thought it was very nice of the owner to park in front of a Canadian Souvenir shop.

Later that evening he knocked on the door and when I came to see what he was knocking on the door for, he presented me with the first raspberries of the season. Sweet.
So, we had a wonderful day. I do hope yours was as well.
Do you have raspberry fields where you live?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Now I lay me down to sleep . .

"Abraham Darby" Rose is feeling fabulous today. The sun is shining and the buds are opening moment by moment.
One of the items that I wished for when it came time to dismantle the family home after my parents passed away was this picture. My mom had embroidered it with love while awaiting the birth of her first child. I wondered when I was awaiting my first child if it would be passed on to me . .but it wasn't. She reframed it herself and once again hung it above the crib for her grandchildren. Now I've once again reframed it and it hangs in the room that will be for our grandchildren to lay their sleepy heads.

Someday it will be passed on to my children when they await their first grandchildren.

Some time ago, we were given this old dresser by friends that had no use for it. I never say no to an old dresser.
Terry did his wonderful restoration work on it. First he sanded it, then painted it, then wiped some of the paint while it was still wet, resanded it on the edges and finally gave it a coat of satin clear.

On the top left corner you can see where the original owners must had chiseled out a section, and I wonder what the story is behind that. It could be that it didn't quite fit a space or Terry thought that it may have splintered and they simply shaved off the offending piece.

Another wonderful part of the old dresser that I wanted to keep was these original handles. It seems that they are simply shaped heavy wire attached with eyelet screws. Terry bought tiny little washers to fit in between the screw and the wood. The wood was quite warn were the screw and the wood met. He distressed the washers with a bit of black paint and . . ..viola . .
Well, it's date day today, the sun is shining and we're off to spend some time alone. (away from the farm)
Have a wonderful day my friends.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

bloomin' in June

Yesterday I heard from our local weather forecast that so far in June we've had 98 hours of sunshine. I can't say I was shocked. It's been cold. Our furnace has been coming on in the morning. Brrr. The part that is frustrating is that this is one of the prettiest times in my garden and the only enjoyment I've been getting is a quick run for a new snapshot. We are truly thankful that our area seems to be out of the flood risk. We see daily the damage done in other areas.
The roses have their best bloom mid June. Once these buds are finished they will bloom again but not ever as nice as the first bloom. Often by the second bloom the leaves look sickly.

So, we have cool weather with lush looking greenery and gorgeous flowers in June. We generally try to have a coffee outside in the afternoon, weather permitting and we haven't even been able to do that with the drizzle.

The raspberry plants next door are looking especially lush. Freshly rototillered soil always looks so nice.
There are the raspberries. All they need is a kiss of sun and they will blush bright red.

The bedding plants are beginning to take off. These begonias are peeking out a an old brass pot.

Oh Indee, why must you stand in my flower garden enjoying salad. Those Victorian salvia's don't stand a chance with you nipping the buds off.

My Mary Rose smells divine. Oh to send you a bud or two. Wouldn't that be fun?

So, what are you up to today? The sun is promising to peek out here. Yesterday I bought some fabric to make a slip cover for a rocking chair that I bought at a thrift store. I may begin that. Once it's all done, you'll see it of course.
Otherwise, there's not much to tell here on the farm. I just wanted to say a quick Hi. I do hope your day is wonderful.
I'm off for my 30 minute walk.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A few good men

What this dying world could use is a willing Man of God Who dares to go against the grain and works without applause; A man who'll raise the shield of Faith, protecting what is pure;Whose love is tough and gentle; a man whose word is sure.

God doesn't need an Orator who knows what just to say;He doesn't need authorities to reason Him away;He doesn't need an army to guarantee a win;He just needs a Few Good Men. Men full of Compassion, who Laugh and Love and Cry- Men who'll face Eternity and aren't afraid to die- Men who'll fight for Freedom and Honor once again- He just needs a Few Good Men.

He calls the broken derelict whose life has been renewed; He calls the one who has the strength to stand up for the Truth. Enlistment lines are open and He wants you to come in- He just needs a Few Good Men.Men full of Compassion, who Laugh and Love and Cry- Men who'll face Eternity and aren't afraid to die- Men who'll fight for Freedom and Honor once again- He just needs a Few Good Men.

Men full of Compassion, who Laugh and Love and Cry- Men who'll face Eternity and aren't afraid to die- Men who'll fight for Freedom and Honor once again- He just needs a Few Good Men.
(lyrics from a Gaither Vocal Band Song)

This weekend we had a male quartet sing this song and I just thought that the words were so powerful.

Today I was thinking about our sons and the blessing they have of not having one good dad but two good dads. They are so blessed. They both had two dads who pitch in willing to help, and encourage their children with their time and love.

They both have two dads that pray for them and accept them. They both have two dads that will drop what they are doing to spend quality time with their grown up kids. They realize that the job of parenting is over as far as instructing. They realize that they have taught them all they knew for a quarter of a decade. They taught by example.

They both have a dad and a dad by love who are committed to family. All three of these dads did their best to raise children who have become pretty terrific kids. I want to tell these three men, that they did a good job.

When these three dads someday stand before their heavenly Father, he will tell them that they were good men. Our sons have two dads . . .a few good men.
Today I celebrate . . . .my husband who is a wonderful dad to his two sons and the girls that have joined our family. I celebrate the Fathers that Terry and I had who loved us and were Godly men. I celebrate the men I know who are dads and everyday do their best to make their home a safe place where children and wives feel loved and protected.
Such a legacy.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

30 years ago

'Tis the season for high school graduations in our local schools. It's such an exciting time to be in the last few weeks of high school. It's been thirty years since Terry and I graduated. 1977 was the same year that Elvis died. Queen Elizabeth was celebrating 25 years of her reign. The space shuttle made its first test flight. A 44 pound lobster was caught off of the Nova Scotia coast. The television show Three's Company made its debut.
Yellow was in that year. I recall wearing yellow often. I've noticed that yellow is making a come back again this year and you wonder if the fashion designers systematically reintroduce colors. My mom made my grad dress. It was a Belinda Belville (I think) Vogue Pattern. She changed it slightly by scalloping the top and added some embroidery. Hats were very popular and mine had a yellow chiffon ribbon that can't be seen. Terry my grad date bought me the largest and most beautiful corsage.
We didn't go to the grad dance since my parents felt quite strongly against dances. Looking back now I marvel at my lack of rebellion. My curfew for that evening was later than usual. After the graduation ceremony we went into the city and enjoyed a dinner for two at a sky view revolving restaurant. I was home by midnight.

This was Terry's car that year. He came to the farm to see me nearly every day that he could. Even back then he was very particular about keeping his car clean. He would come over and the cats would sit on his hood . .. every day. It's not surprising that he's never really been fond of cats since that time. Every day he would go home and rewash his car. He kept coming. I'm glad he liked me more than he disliked my cats.
Terry and I went to the twenty year reunion and agreed at that time that when the next one came along for our 30th we would opt out and go out for dinner again just the two of us. I'm waiting for the invite. It's going to cost him a little more than a dinner at the top of the revolving restaurant this year. I think I'd like to stay the night. I'm holding out.
Have a wonderful day my friends, I'm off to clean the house.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

the dog house

This first picture is mainly for City Farmer. She left a comment on my last post and I ran over to see what she was up to at her house clear across the continent and guess what? She was wondering what her plant was. I was happy to tell her I had one just like it. It is a climbing hydrangea . It blooms so beautifully and climbs up just about anything. (click on hydrangea to see more about it)
We have a rule on the farm. Dogs don't get a new dog house until they are a year old. Way back when, . . we had a black lab puppy that ate it's entire house. Since then we don't exactly roll out the red carpet with brand new siding when a new puppy comes to join us.

Last year, Otis decided that he didn't need a dog house and started to sleep on our porch regardless of the weather conditions. This past winter I posted pictures of him covered with snow and he was quite happy about it.
We never did have a protective fence for Otis around his dog house but we decided to put one up for Indee. Occasionally we hear coyotes and I'd hate to have her try to defend herself and poor old Otis . . .well, that wouldn't be fair to him either. During the day Indee doesn't leave Terry's side so it is just the night time that she needs protection.
Terry went and picked up 75 pound bricks and laid them down so that we can easily hose down her kennel.
Back to the story. . . . .so above you can see evidence of puppy teething.

I was asking Terry if he was going to spruce up the old dog house just a speck. The entire time we were discussing it Indee was busy working on a piece of plywood.

She nearly has lost all her molars and the vet thinks we only have another month left of the chewing . . .we'll see, we are not convinced.

In the meantime, we love her. She's very sweet and she's working very hard to learn all her tricks.

New fluffy bed in an old house. One year Indee and you'll get your new house.