Wednesday, April 30, 2008

the dandelion patch

Remember when you were little .. .
and you lay on the grass. . .
and looked at the clouds?
I'm there again.
I don't intend to let the busyness of life rob me of the moments
that are a gift to me.
What will I gain by finishing all my projects today?
What is it that we are growing in our life?
Are we building positive memories that will sustain us during difficult times?
Are we going to be thankful tomorrow for the decisions that we made today?
Yesterday on our date, we just felt so thankful ..
for one another.
Are we just lucky?
Did we just by chance choose the right mate?
Is it because we've made some choices in our marriage to protect it?
These are questions we've asked ourselves recently.
I certainly don't know all the answers but I know who to thank .. .
Thank you Lord for this man ..
who remains faithful to me.
After our date of going out and purchasing a new chair. . (which you'll see soon)
we went to Dairy Queen and celebrated . .
Have a wonderful day my friends.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

seeing clearly

My little flowers edging the pond are opening up. Always delicate, always beautiful, I find such joy in the small things in life that are dependable.

This weekend, was pond cleaning time.
I looked to see what a person is called who cares for ponds because of course I would want to give proper accredidation to my beloved for yet another hat that he wears. A person who cares for ponds is a pondkeeper. Go figure. I was hoping for something .. . . ologist.

My brother Gerry was visiting with his dog Max. If a person is going to have to do a dirty job such as clean out the pond, well at least he may as well have an audience to cheer him on.
They did this well.

Over the winter the pond accumulates some good muck at the bottom and the fish can't be seen to put in their blue barrel for the duration for the cleaning.
In a few more years, I can easily see the lil' farmhand and little miss n helping to scoop, but this year the job was done by my pondkeeper.

Every bucket that was bailed was emptied and then the ground was checked for flailing fish.

The smart ones allowed themselves to be transferred to the holding tank while their pond was cleaned and refreshed with a new pump. The smart ones maybe didn't purposely trust the pondkeeper but went with the flow anyway. . . (pun intended).

Is is just me or is there a lesson here?
Oh Lord, I pray that I have ears to listen and eyes to see the wisdom that I need.
I don't want to be a dense fish, so certain that I see things clearly when in fact I'm looking through mud.

My beloved heard a speaker recently say something to the effect of .. .

Don't be upset when people who care for you give advice when you need it. . .
Rather be alarmed when people don't care about you enough to give you advice.

We thought there was a lot of wisdom in that statement.

If you can figure out how I got from the beginning of the post to the end .. .
give yourself a woo hoo and have a great day.

(snickering now)

Monday, April 28, 2008

setting up the photo op's

On Sunday afternoon, when the brunch was cleaned up and the babes had finished napping. . .
the photo op was set up for the five month shoot.
The babes are nearly sitting up ..
or at least doing their level best.
Little Miss N's Daddy Stuart showed them what we wanted to achieve .. .
the babes looked perplexed at how to preform that trick .. .
they tried. . .
we laughed. .

When you think that keeping several babes organized for a photo op is complicated .. .
add a basket full of baby chicks.

Good times.

Today is drizzly wet. We're hoping for a break in the rain to run over to our new neighbors a short drive away. . .family has moved back to town .. .
and their yard. . .

well let's just say is needs the touch of my gardener.

Have a wonderful day my friends.

Friday, April 25, 2008

simple rustic rhubarb tart

Simple Rustic Rhubarb Tart

Yesterday I ran out to the over grown rhubarb patch to thin it out a wee bit.

I was met with a zealous plant that seemed to think itself quite smart that it had doubled its size since I last went to visit it.

I had a bit of pastry in the freezer so I pulled it out ..

pulled out a few thick stalks of rhubarb ..

chopped them up and voila .. .

rustic rhubarb tart

for my guests.

Follow the recipe for easy pastry from the Pear Custard Pie recipe that I posted last fall.

Click here for that.

I rolled out the pastry to fit into a tart pan that has a removable bottom.

Oh I love those removable bottoms.

Then .. .

I chopped enough rhubarb to make 6 cups chopped.

Stir in 1 cup of sugar .. .

a scant 1/4 cup flour ..

Put the filling into the crust ..

fold the edge of the crust over to cover the edges about 1 inch.

Roughly trim the crust . .

Brush a little fresh heavy cream over the edge of the crust and sprinkle a wee bit of sugar on.

Bake the tart at 375 for about 40 minutes.

The filling should be bubbling a bit.

If you like, you can drizzle a little melted jelly over the tart filling after it comes out of the oven to give it a bit of a shine.

Don't forget to have a scoop of vanilla ice cream on hand.

Have a wonderful day my friends. .. .

I'm off to entertain .. .

Thursday, April 24, 2008

going to town?

Tell me the truth . ..
have you seen this lady?
I'm feeling a tad curious .. ..
It seems that I live in a very relaxed neck of the woods.
Most days. . .
I see pajama bottoms chosen for the pant of choice.
I understand that they are as comfy as nightwear. .
I've been known to lounge in them myself.
I haven't yet worn them to town. . have you?
Is this just a Western Canadian thing or do you see this too?
Last evening I ran into the grocery store for a few items for our overnight guests and sure enough there was a gal in her pajama bottoms. .
picking up milk.
Crazy. .. I say.
How about you?
.. .like I said. . .the posts will be short and sweet.
Have a great day my friends.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

under the apple tree ..

I took this picture last week on our date to Tulip Town.
I like the gray wood against the gray tree bark and then
.. . . the white blossoms for a spring treat.
I'm off for a breakfast out this morning and then
running into town to do my marketing.
I have guests coming so my blogging
will be short and .. .
hopefully ..
Have a wonderful day my friends.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Spring Soup

Yesterday seemed almost spring like outside once again. We've been teased before thinking that it was here and then woken to see the snow flying, but yesterday I felt sure that indeed it was time for a spring luncheon.
I needed a menu that had no gluten and decided that some fresh spring soup would fit the bill perfectly.

Fresh Spring Soup

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 leeks
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 medium yellow onion .. diced
  • 1 bunch of asparagus .. .sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 14 small red finger potatoes .. .diced
  • 2 - 3 carrots .. .diced
  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • a small handful of fresh dill
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream (optional)

fresh chives to garnish

Trim the leeks. Remove and discard all but 2 inches of the green.

Slice them thin and then rinse well in a colander. (they tend to have grit)

In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter and add the leeks and the onions and saute until tender but not caramelized.

Add the chicken stock.

Add all the veggies but the asparagus.

Add the dill.

Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender.

Add the asparagus and simmer a few more minutes

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Just before serving add the heavy cream to add richness.

It is a simple soup and even adding the cream it still feels like you have enjoyed a light lunch.

Over the years from time to time, the girl cousins that live in our area have made an effort to enjoy a lunch together.

There are seven girl cousins total but five that still live in our area.
Yesterday three cousins were able to come on short notice for lunch.

It is always fascinating to find that though we rarely run into one another nor do we chat on the phone, nor do we see each other at family gatherings often. . .
the connection remains.

When I was growing up,
I adored these girl cousins.
Not having a sister, they represented to me the
all important valued females in my life.

There was no greater treat on a Sunday afternoon than to be invited over to one of these girl cousins house for faspa.
(Mennonite Sunday afternoon supper consisting of homemade buns and homemade treats, peanut butter, jam. and cold cuts)

No matter how much time has passed when we get together our interests in the family continues to be our bond. We rejoice with each other in the happy moments of family life and we
are saddened by the difficulties that all families face.

The other girl cousins still have both their parents.
Some of the time we talk about how the aunts and uncles are doing.
It always amazes me that they ( my mothers siblings) continue on without my parents.

Somehow I thought that after my mom and dad passed away, the others close in age would soon follow. . .

They haven't.
This is a good thing.
The family lives on.

Something else we share. . . .
is one beautiful aunt that we all adore.
I call her Auntie Betty and I carry her name within mine .. .
She is really Aunt Lorena. . . some call her Betty as her Dad called her when she was young.
Some call her Lorena . . . her real first name.

I call her because I love her.

Since I hav invited her to read my blog. .
she does. . .
She is interested in my life ..
She cares, and it shows.

(oh and girls .. .even though you didn't fully give permission to have your picture up .. .
Auntie Betty trumps you .. .she said .. .
put it up)

(that is one of the reasons I love her so .. . she has spunk)

Have a wonderful day my friends.

Monday, April 21, 2008

luncheon prep

This is for those of you who are concerned I had to haul stored sheets out of the closet on Saturday. The sheets were untangled and rescued with just a hint of aluminum scuffs.
Oddly, the the scuffs ended up on his side of the bed. (smirk)
This morning right after the last cup of coffee was enjoyed,
I ran out to the rhubarb patch to have a look.
I once again thinned it out.

I have a rhubarb sauce simmering in the oven.

He said .. . "what are you doing today?"
I said .. . "I am having my spring luncheon."
He said. . ."well I should buzz over the lawn quickly before I start chores"

(OH I love that man)

Inside . .. the table is set.

The custards are in the oven .. .

Perhaps if the ladies aren't terribly shy, tomorrow I'll post their smiling faces ..
and maybe if it turn out .. .
the recipe for the Asparagus, Leek and Red Potato Soup.

Have a wonderful day my friends.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

hoist the flag

oh oh .. . .
I put my sheets out to dry this morning. . .
Knowing that we were having brick NE winds and near freezing temperatures,
I was busy patting myself on the back at my contribution to saving the earth.

I hung the sheets out and was beginning to roll out the line when .. .
it took off. . . on its own . ..
I pulled back but the thing kept going ..
and now. . .
I can't get it back .. .
I've a laundry line situation.
I can just imagine my farmer coming out of the barn to the house for lunch .. .
saying. . ."looks like you have a bit of a problem"
I'll say .. . "help me"
I think I'll go cook up something yummy for lunch ..
Have a wonderful day my friends.

Friday, April 18, 2008

april snow showers

This morning my concrete finisher and I were having our morning coffee, farm fresh poached eggs on sprouted grain bread as we were watching the snow.
We were not amused.
I was planning on going in to town this morning to pick up some prints that I had ordered but now I'll wait until this unseasonal flurry passes.
The winter wheels have already been removed and my chrome wheels and salt/sand don't get long well.

Oh yes, about yesterday. My concrete finisher and I went to the kids arriving a few minutes past the beginning of the work day. We were to arrive at eight sharp, moments ahead of the concrete truck but we arrived to see the truck in place and our little farmhand with eyes wide open watching from the porch.

Last year we were invited to help with landscaping .. you might remember.
This year a set of stairs is needed from the back yard to the street.

Nearly done, the concrete finisher kept inviting the little helper to jump.
Grammie was not amused by this. . . it gave me the eebie jeebies .. .

So, now after learning the sound a truck makes and practicing it every waking moment of his day .. . he knows what a big truck can haul.
Even when coaxed to turn to face me .. .he could not tear his eyes away from the big truck and the action in the back yard.
He cared not that he was still being kept warm in his baby blanket.
In his mind he was a big boy only being kept from helping by his mommy's safe arms.
Have a wonderful day my friends, I'm not posting pedometer results tomorrow ..
I've been terribly neglectful of keeping pedometer Pete by my side.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

tip toe .. . through the tulips

Living in an area that has four distinctive seasons has a beauty not imagined elsewhere.

We headed south yesterday to LaConner to their annual Tulip Festival.

The day was a teensy bit chilly at 7 degrees Celsius,

and the clouds hung quite low .. .

but then the tulips stood

out as if the world had

no other color.

We paid our five dollars each to gain entrance to tulip town.

I noticed that the buses held the retired folks,

the vans held the mothers anxious to prop

their little girls amongst the blooms,

and then there were the cars

with the lone photographers,

and a few couples,

like us.

A few years ago, we might have done this outing on a double date . .

the men could then amuse themselves with guy talk,

as the girls walked ahead a bit.

The outing would have primarily been .. .

two guys. . .with their two girls.

We've done that lots, and had such fun,

we even talked about the last time we had been to LaConner,

yes, it was with another couple.

These days, we can take a day in the middle of the week since that is the day we have farm help.

Good idea .. . that farm help.

I took oodles of shots.

I've really not taken the time to show you the very best.

I want to make some prints and frame them for our home.

There are likely better prints out there . .

these prints will hold memories.

Around noonish we stopped for lunch.

We enjoyed some fresh Northwestern Clam Chowder with some fresh brown bread.

We'll be going back there.

They had delicious looking home made pies .. .

but we didn't know there would be homemade pies and had earlier shared a two pound apple fritter from Starbucks.

(I'm not sure if it weighed two pounds but it may have according to the scale this morning)

We strolled through the town enjoying the shops.
In one antique store I found a Life Magazine dated on the day of my birth .. .
didn't buy it . .. .
already regret it.
We picked out the houses we would be happy to move into.
We picked out landscaping that we could easily enjoy.

This morning we had an early outing.
If I asked you to guess which hat my beloved wore today .. .
you would never ever guess .. .
not the farmer, not the mudder, not the Gardener. . .
this one will be knew to the blog .. .
See you tomorrow my friends.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I love dates

This morning we are heading due south on a date. . .
just the two of us ..
well .. .three if you count "click-ella". . .(smirk)
(pedometer pete is staying home)
Have a wonderful day, I'll post photos tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

whiter than snow

Saturday we given the gift of unusually warm spring weather.
Who would have spent the day indoors of their own accord?
It leaves me perplexed to be sure.

I fully expect that most people would have ripped the linens from their beds, rolling the inhabitants onto the floor and flung the laundry into the machine,
simply to see this .. .
and to
smell the outdoor linen scent later.

I am always amused that this scent can be purchased for the indoor dryer.
. . they say.

I say ..
not even close.

Tell me, when is the last time you have slept on linens dried on the line?
At the very next opportunity . .try it.

This morning I was reading from the book
"My Utmost for His Highest" by Oswald Chambers.

Something I read gripped my heart.

It reads like this ..

"God wants you to be entirely His, and it requires paying close attention to keep yourself fit.
It also takes a tremendous amount of time. Yet some of us expect to rise above all of our problems, going from one mountaintop experience to another, with only a few minutes' effort."

Wow, this really hit me .. .
First of all I smiled since he was speaking of us trying to keep fit, we want it done quickly with no pain. (seemed to ring a bell)
I'm sure we all have areas in our life that requires much more of God,
and far less of ourselves.
but I need to be concerned what I need done in my life.

By the grace of God, I'm forgiven, . . . .that was completed when Christ died on the cross.
I desire to live a life of obedience daily,
and that takes effort to be aware and alert .. .
and a determination to lay aside my selfish nature. . .
oh boy ..

Why is it so hard to let go of selfishness?

If I really believe what the Bible says, I will.
If I really trust that God has my life in His hands. . .
I will.

By the grace of God .. .I will.

Have a wonderful day my friends. . .
I'm off for my walk.

Monday, April 14, 2008

the flower show

Friday I did something I had never done before .. .
Initially I thought I would simply drive the country roads in search of beautiful fields of daffodils.
I envisioned stopping on the side of the road, hopping over ditches, crawling under fences .. .
you know, we've all done that.
I drove leisurely through the country roads, pulling over to let the vehicles that had a purpose to their day pass by.

In time, I came upon signs directing me to the small community flower show.

Parked outside the community hall was a variety of retirement living small buses.
There were some retired community folks helping with the parking.
The sign said .. .
Entrance .. still only $2.00.

I had my debit card, my credit card .. .but no cash.

I had left my vehicle at home and had taken my beloved's truck.
I stopped and started to rummage through his console ...
counting up quarters, dimes and nickles.
I made the $2.00 with a few dimes to spare.

I paid my fee at the door ..
chit chatted with the local ladies eager to welcome me . .
and entered the hall that was fragrant with "real fragrance".

All around me were retired couples taking their time strolling about.
There were many small groups of ladies admiring the hundreds of varieties of daffodils.
There was a group of school children politely filing in towards the stage to participate as a hand bell choir.

At the far end of the hall, a tea room was buzzing with activity.
Clearly several of the groups from the retirement homes had claimed some of the seats and were enjoying their tea.

I felt like a bit of an odd duck.
This seemed curious to me.
I wondered then, when the last time I had been to a proper flower show.

As best as I can recollect .. .
it was likely years ago at the local fair . . .
but I'm not certain that truly counts.

The flower show from years ago was more a side building holding the summer dahlias and gladiolas.
I was certainly not alone .. .
taking my time . .
watching ..

I do know this though . .
next year . .
I'll go again.
Camera and me . .
(I'm thinking of giving her a name)

Next year when I go, I'll be certain to take along a bit more change.
I'm certain there were scones ..
and devonshire cream. .
and perhaps even some lemon curd.
I came home quite happy with myself.
I went straight away to the barn ..
and said. .
"guess where I was?"
he said. .
"tell me"
"a flower show".. .I said (not unlike a small child)
"really .. . by yourself ?" he said
"it was wonderful" I said

Today you must run over to see Jill, she is celebrating again.
I say again with a smile, realizing that as a blogger,
our friendship has spanned more than
a "small" season of time.
Jill is my friend ..
Happy Birthday Jill.

Yesterday as we were planning our week .. .
he let it slip that there may be an out of town flower show in our plans. .
Well, I'm off for a walk ..
oh goodness, I resolve again afresh to become a fit girl .. .
I can do this. . .
"pedometer .. .shall we go ?"
Have a wonderful week my friends.