Thursday, July 09, 2015

Retirement





How time flies when you are having fun and fun it has been !   Emery retired last September and we have been on a sort of honeymoon ever since.  Enjoying each and every second of spending our time together.  Hiking to see all the swollen rivers, working in the garden that can become overgrown in a matter of 24 hours.  I took a trip to Florida to see my dad, who is a young 94 in a few months.  Both my girls went with me.  We stayed with my sister and her husband as they live just a few doors down from my dad.  What fun we had. 
Last month I took some private swimming lessons to improve my freestyle swimming and since then, I have spent an hour every day in the pool swimming laps for an hour.  The pool is 25 yards long so I am getting a good work out.  At first I felt muscles I had long forgotten I had.   My blood pressure has gone back to the numbers of my youth, which was always on the low side.  I feel so energized.  Every once in a while I take a day off, just to catch up with things at home.  Life is better than good, its down right brilliant !

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Where Have I Been ?




 This has been a crazy Spring in Texas.  As of yesterday afternoon we have had close to 50 tornadoes, rain about 22 of the 27 days of May and so far, we have made three trips to the tornado shelter.  One of the worst springs I can remember.  Our land is a giant mud puddle, the garden is a mess and the poor chicken house will take a month to dry out.   
But, aside from the weather, its been a great month.  My girls and I along with Melissa's husband and baby, went to see my very healthy, very active 93 year old dad and my sister and her husband in Florida.  We just went for a long weekend but we had a great time.  Got to enjoy some sunshine, the beach and go to the pool a couple times and watch Axel swim like a little fish.  
Before leaving for Florida I had seen a really nice piece of accent furniture on Crown French Furniture's web page.   and decided it would be perfect for my bathroom.  Kept the image in my mind and decided to be on the lookout for a piece of second hand furniture that I could paint that way, since Crown French Furniture is kinda far from us, "across the pond" as they say.   After my little Florida trip I walked into Goodwill and found the perfect piece to paint.  $25 was a good price in my eyes.  Two cans of spray paint and I was done.   On the way home from Goodwill we drove past a second hand children's furniture store and in true Hyacinth Bucket fashion, I told Emery to stop and turn around.   The very chair I have been wanting from Restoration Hardware was being displayed.  The chair has not been used for anything other than display in a nursery.  The chair sells new for over $700 and I found it for $40 !  Its perfect for the dressing area of my bathroom, its small but not too small for an adult to sit in.  I felt like I had hit a gold mine that day.   The Law of Attraction works.  How, I do not fully understand.   
Everyone is doing well in the family.  Mei-Ling is on a brand new drug for her ammonia problem and its working perfectly.   Life is good.


Friday, April 03, 2015

Spring Flowers








Spring time is such a busy time for us.  There is planting to be done, trimming trees and bushes.  Every day another task to be done that requires lots of time and energy.   I love it though.  Being outside is one of my favorite things.  
I just wanted to let you know I have not fallen off the face of the earth and that my daughter is doing better.  I suspect there will be a surgery at some point to remove the cyst on her liver but for now, its just tests and more tests.  

Life is good and we all feel very blessed.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Tents of Blankets and Chairs


Our daughter Melanie is in the hospital with a bad stomach virus so Yen and Mei-Ling are here with us this morning.  What fun we have been having.  Making pancakes in the shapes of houses and trees, baking cupcakes and of course making tents with chairs and blankets.  Its the simple things in life that give us so much pleasure.   Our prayers throughout the day have been for our daughter, that this stomach bug pass quickly.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Raisin Bread Recipe


Way back in 1968, our little 4 room school house grew so big that we needed to move the 7th and 8th grade classes to the church basement.   We we privileged to have an amazing teacher that felt we needed to raise money for the school and at the same time, grow proficient in baking bread.  With those two goals in mind, she had us bake bread to sell.  Thus began my love of baking bread.  There have been few weeks in these 47 years of bread baking, when my hands have not kneaded bread dough !  No matter how many new recipes I try, I come back to two.  One is this Whole Wheat Oatmeal Raisin bread that I came up with many years ago.  Its a combination of two recipes we used way back in that church basement kitchen.  And the other, is a delightfully simple Amish White Bread recipe that is delicious and yet so very simple. 
I know lots of folks love their bread machines, but not me.  Don't own one and don't want one.   I like how it keeps my hands strong and I long ago adopted the habit of praying for my children the entire kneading process and that has proved to be of great value through the years.
Here is the recipe.  Makes two loaves.
Mrs Lockwood's Whole Wheat Oatmeal Raisin Bread
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 Tablespoons dry yeast
4 T honey
put these ingredients together in a bowl and let set until bubbly

add to that 
4 T oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup raisins
1 cup white flour
1 cup oatmeal  ( I use quick oats but old fashioned oats work fine too)
5 cups give or take of whole wheat flour, added a cup at a time, to make sure you get the right amount.
I usually save 1 cup of flour to be added as I knead the bread, added as needed on the counter to keep the bread dough from sticking.   
Knead about 5 minutes or until you are done praying for your family.
Shape into a round ball and put in lightly greased bowl to raise, cover with clean damp cloth and let raise until double in size, about half an hour

preheat oven to 350 F punch down dough, let it rest for a few minutes, usually this is done while I grease the bread pans.   Shape into loaves and put in pans, let raise another half hour or so and then bake for 45-50 minutes until browned nicely.  Thump to test that its done.   Butter the tops when you take it out of the oven cool 5 minutes before removing from the pans and you are done !

Friday, February 27, 2015

Tracks In The Snow





A bit of afternoon exploring in the snow led me to several tracks in the snow...ducks, rabbits, squirrels and human.   What a fun wintry day I have had.   Now, its time to sit by the fire, next to my beloved, sip hot chamomile tea and enjoy the quiet of the evening

Hot Chocolate, Marshmallows, Knitting and Dutch Apple Pancakes



Sitting by the window, watching the snow fall once again, made me wonder about our decision to plant the garden a couple of weeks ago, but then I remind myself that we planted only the seeds we know can handle this type of late winter weather.  The stove feels good and my feet, clothed only in woolen socks, are toasty warm as they rest on the brick hearth as my knitting needles fly and the candle in the window flickers.  I don't need the candle for light, but just for its simple beauty on this cold wintry day.  How glad I will be to hear that all my children and grandchildren are snuggled in their homes.  One more to be retrieved from school and then all will be safe from the slick roads.   We have watched more than one tow truck pass by the house with a smashed car on it.  
Emery is busy putting up a shelf in the kitchen for me to store some of my canned goods on while I knit and will later get a bit of sewing done.   I passed by the spring fabric sitting by my machine that I purchased for spring and summer skits...seems almost silly to sew on them today, so I may just work on a quilt I have started.  Today, spring and summer feel far away.  Our wind chill is in the low teens and our actual temperature is 23F which isn't very cold compared to other places in the world, but it wasn't that long ago, just over a week, that we had temps in the low 80's F .  I like this weather, this winter cold and snow.  I always think God gives it to me as a gift, since I love it so dearly.  A Fathers tender gift to his often times rebellious child, but His child that loves Him with all her heart and soul.
The kittens are curled up in one singular ball of red fur, content to sleep most of the day away, well, that is until that time when they decide to run in circles, climb on everything and wear themselves out once again.   Such is this fine winter day on our little homestead.

Winter Beauty






Winter is the king of showmen,
Turning tree stumps into snowmen
And houses into birthday cakes
And spreading sugar over lakes.
Smooth and clean and frosty white,
The world looks good enough to bite.
That’s the season to be young,
Catching snowflakes on your tongue.
Snow is snowy when it’s snowing,
I’m sorry it’s slushy when it’s going.
~Ogden Nash











Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tasha Tudor On Snow



Quotes by Tasha Tudor 

Thoughts On Being A Home Body

Great white flakes of snow are falling once again, slowing falling from Heaven with an unspeakable grace.  Each flake seems to have its own definite purpose, passing other flakes or momentarily suspended, as if to wait its turn to land.  I just saw one flake that was at least an inch in diameter !   When the wind decides to blow, the flakes just take a sideways approach to their landing.  Since I am a "home body"  I have the joy in just standing by the window for as long as I want, just watching these miraculous crystals fall from heaven.  Yes, I know that snow can be problematic, I grew up in New England and have family there so I know all about what happens when snow falls in excess, but for me, right now, its just pure beauty falling from the gray sky.   Mornings like this drive me to seek poetry, not the deep minded stuff, that you have to try to dissect line by line in hope to get a glimpse of what the poet meant when he penned his words, but the poetry of simple folks that weave words in beautiful colors of the ordinary in life.   This morning, I pulled out my well worn copy of "My Kitchen Window" by Edna Jaques.    I love her poems, they so often say exactly what my heart feels.  I think she would have been a "kindred spirit" as Anne of Green Gables spoke of.   This well worn book of poems, first published in 1935, but in its fifth printing in my 1942 edition,  was dearly loved by its previous owner, Gertrude Howard.  There are well worn pages, and page corners turned for the favorites.   I suspect, I would have liked this previous owner.
The snow, now accomplishing the joint goal of each flake, to blanket this tired, worn land in a soft purity, that chases away so much that wears us down.  Snow is a gift of purity for a moment in time at least.  That hushed silence that comes with it, a break from all the noise of life.  It gives us the opportunity to breathe in deeply that magical scent of cold winter air, that reminds us of childhood memories filled with snowball fights, sled rides and snowmen. How is it we so easily forget the joy of the simple when we grow older ? 
I am heading out for my walk among the flakes.  I may just stick out my tongue and catch a few, and laugh at myself for doing so.  I am a home body, so I will just stick to my own land.