Friday, December 30, 2005

Unfolding Masterpiece

No words needed to describe this evening sky

Daily Tasks

When the children were growing up, this was one of my oldest daughters chores. To wash the chimneys of the lamps and fill them. She would also expertly trim the wicks so they would burn the best. Often times the whole counter top by the sink was lined up with lamps. The task is now mine but hardly a time goes by when I am filling the lamps that I don't think about my daughter cleaning them and never complaining about it. There was always a song in her heart as she helped out.
There is something satisfying about making the glass shine, knowing how bright the light will be in the evening hours because you did a good job.
I am grateful for work around the home and our little farm. It gives you a purpose. Everything we do around here is for a greater purpose than the task itself. Gibran wrote, " Work is love made visable." Profound and hopefully true for everyone. It is for me and I know it is for my husband. In the evenings when the warmth and glow from the woodstove creates for us a sense of well being, our conversation is filled with hope, plans, joys, and contentment. Tonight the light from the lamps will shine very bright as does our future.

$1 a yard Prints

Here are the prints. Now I just have to decide what to do with them !

Fabric Finds

It seems I have caught the quilting bug. Probably from being so inspired by some wonderful quilting blogs I have come upon. For so many years I sewed every bit of clothing we wore. Dresses and undergarments for the girls, shirts and yes, broadfall pants for the boys. We also made our aprons and such. It was a never ending task to keep up with the childrens growth spurts. During those years I made a few quilts, for warmth more than for the fun of creating something of beauty.
My sweet sister gave me a Wal-Mart gift card for Christmas, which was the perfect gift for me this year as it allowed me to buy FABRIC. Our Wal-Mart has great $1 a yard stuff. Better than the other local Walmarts. Ladies from all over come to our store for the good bargins. Its not unusual to see a huge line of ladies with many bolts in hand waiting to have fabric cut.
Last night my Gentle Man took me shopping. The first time I had been out in a couple weeks due to this pneumonia thing. To Wal-Mart we went, gift card in hand. What fun I had ! I found just what I was looking for. Solids for some Amish quilts. I am including a couple pictures of other $1 a yard cottons I have recently found at our Wal-mart that are prints, just so you can see what I mean about having a good selection.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Simple Beauty

The freshly gathered eggs lay in a simple woven basket on the floor while I took off my boots. The afternoon sun caught them in a perfect light against the honey brown wooden floor. The beauty of this simple scene had me run for the camera to capture this moment. Later, as I placed the eggs near my mixing bowl in preparation for suppers corn bread making, the simple composition of colors stirred a sense of perfect contentment. A homey warm feeling, the kind you want to hold on to.
Vegetable barley soup is simmering on the stove, parsnips on the top bobbing up and down like tiny buoys in a stormy sea.

Did I sleep through Winter ?

My senses are confused. First off I slept late, almost 9 am before I got out of bed. For me, that's unheard of but with getting over this pneumonia thing, I feel a bit justified for having a morning in bed. However, it seems that sleeping late sets things a bit off kilter. I wasn't sure if I should do my chores first or put on the kettle.
I did the chores first, of course. But even stepping onto the back porch was different this morning. The old tired boards seemed to creek in a different tone and the screen door slammed with a tin sound to it. The morning air was warm and spring like. That soft gentle cool air that carries a bit of warmth to it as if to promise more is coming. I was feeling a bit lost in this unusual morning. I wondered if I had slept through winter altogether. A flock of Cow birds darted back and forth across the pasture, as if they were looking for something, maybe Spring. Dull colored female birds hopping on the even more dull colored ground reminded me of animated fall leaves. Nothing seemed normal this morning. The sky was cloudless and a shade of blue that held your attention for a long time. I kept trying to think of what shade of blue it was. Bright, clear and bold. I decided it was cobalt blue mixed with a bit of milk.
I lingered for a bit after chores, walking around a bit. Looking down at the ground half expecting to see crocus popping up or buds on the trees. The air had that smell of spring. The warming of the soil in the sun. I wonder what's in store for us in the new year weather wise. Maybe January will bring with it winter.
Each new day a blessing, with gifts from creation to delight the eye. As I write this, the front door is open and I can hear several song birds singing, delighting my ears also. Simple pleasures all around us. Who needs a TV or a radio ?

55 degrees out, sunny

Earl Grey tea in my favorite tea cup
no music except for the singing birds outside

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Winter sky ?

With our drought and warm temps, this may be the closest we will get to snow. I have plastic snow flakes hanging from my porch and in the late afternoon they catch the setting sun and shine so pretty. I would much rather see the real thing though !

Fergus MacSnow Grows

Just had to share this picture of Fergus that I took today. He is growing like a weed and so funny. Amuzing himself by swatting water in the big waterer out back or by chasing the cats and chickens.
His ears are starting to stand up more now and he is getting his curly hair . Now if we could just teach him what "stay" means !

Looking Forward, Looking Back

This morning as I slipped out of bed, my bare feet hit the cold floor and had me running to my dresser to get some socks on my feet. A small reminder it is still winter. I took a quick peek out the window to see what the day was like. pulling back the homespun curtains revealed a sparkling blue sky , painted with ever so thin cirrus clouds. The wind is gentle today and not at all like yesterdays high winds. My eyes scanned the horizon where bare trees and grass the color of well seasoned straw caught my eye. I dressed in a hurry to get on with my chores as the clock was not allowing for daydreaming . Mr. Fergus MacSnow was barking his puppy bark, letting me know he is hungry and wants to play. Rooster Solomon, crowing up a storm to let everyone know he is still king of the roost. The rabbits banging their crocks together letting me know they are in need of food and water. Typical morning with some of the noisier critters.
The animal chores done, I move on to the domestic duties of the day. Laundry needing to be hung up. I am just not sure how it is that we have so much laundry all the time.
But it is a job I love to do. I love to hang things neatly. By category and then by color. I love to see the orderliness of a clothes line.
As I did my chores, there was a song in my heart. A song of gratefulness for all the blessings in my life. I look forward to so many new experiences. Grandchildren. More time with the love of my life, more time to give to others. And always with me are pleasant memories. Children working hard at their school work around the kitchen table. The family weeding the garden singing while we work. So many joys to a simple farm life. Seeing new life in spring. Baby animals born and gardens bursting with food to eat.
Lessons learned about having to work when you are tired, when you are not feeling well, knowing that animals depend on you for their care. Lessons of working together to complete a job. Now with the children gone, the work has fallen on just two sets of shoulders but we are strong and vital. We don't need a membership in a gym to keep fit. We lift 50 lbs on our shoulders as though it were 5 lbs. I get my aerobics by hanging clothes. Reaching up and down and hauling the laundry basket is a good 30 minute work out most days.
In looking back I see all that we taught our children and feel good about it. Looking forward, I see that I learned right along with them and I feel good about that too.

The picture is one of looking back. It is Melissa and Melanie in 1991

weather: 55 and sunny

music: psalms set to music
water on for a pot of Rose Petal tea

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Back to Normal, post Christmas !

In the past few days I have had lots of time to just stay put and think. I consider it a blessing to have this quiet time of restoration of my health to define and or redifine some of the reasons we choose to live this seemingly "quaint" or "backwards" life style. To formulate answers to the many questions we get as to why we choose to live so differently than mainstream America. No cell phone, no cable TV, no laptops, no clothes dryer, no dishwasher. We are so low on the tech end of things except for the computer and the digital camera !
Simply put we want to live a life that has what we feel is essential for living a life full of love and purpose. Having time to visit with loved ones and friends. To always have time to stop and visit. To work hard enough to sleep soundly. To have a clear mind that is able to pray and sing. We find that by living simply we can accomplish this. By doing things like, growing our food, caring for animals that help sustain us, raising our children according to how we feel led by God, taking care of our health in a natural way and that of our loved ones also. Worshipping in freedom, seeking to maintain some of the traditonal ways that bind people together by bringing them together in work and community. We wanted to live a life that did not call us away from our deepest values and have us get caught up in the rat race of "wants" and such that predominate society today.
We are soon making one more rather large move to be more stress free and have more time to dedicate to living simply and as uncomplicated as possible. My husband is going to leave his well paying, but high stress job, for a simple 8 hour a day, no stress, low paying job. It will be a huge adjustment for us to be "poor" again in life but well worth it. We feel strongly led to do this and know the blessings will be great. We are at a point in life where money is not a big issue as everything we have is owned outright.
Today I took some pictures of life back to normal after the holidays.
Broccoli and cabbage growing in our garden and there it lots of collards needing to be picked today. Also there is new wood split, needing to be stacked. Just the kinds of chores that make climbing into bed each night a welcome event.

weather: hot and windy 78 degrees. sustained winds of 15 mph and winds gusting to 40 mph. Humidity of 13%
doors open and the smell of smoke everywhere as fires burn throughout the area.

God have mercy on those in danger of loosing everything to fire.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas fun

We had a wonderful Christmas day. Although I am still recovering from pneumonia, I was able to get our rather non traditional Christmas meal of Lasagna, eggplant parmesan, stuffed mushrooms and garlic bread on the table. We did have a chocolate yule log for dessert though.
It was wonderful having family around us and being able to talk several times to our loved ones on the phone. The pictures are of my husband Emery as he dishes out Christmas dinner with my son Steven in the foreground. Our youngest daughter Melanie and son Steven standing by the tree. My sister Sandy getting a hug from our daughter Melissa when she was visiting my family in Boston for Christmas.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas !

Luke 2
The Birth of Jesus

1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
The Shepherds and the Angels 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[
a] the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 " Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Cozy Flannel Quilt

When my sister was here visiting from Massachusetts, she bought me the sweetest flannel to make a quilt out of . I have had the fabric sitting in the dinning room just waiting to be sewn together. I have wanted to finish this cheater quilt before Christmas but it just wasn't getting done. Today I just decided to spend the afternoon sewing and finally got it done. Its hardly a quilt really, no piecing and no batting. I made it just the two layers of flannel, much like a giant baby receiving blanket. I outlined each block with a feather stitch on the machine using white thread which looks nice on the back side as its a deep green flannel with white snowflakes on it. The white stitching just adds something to it. Its just the weight I wanted as there are plenty of heavy afghans and quilts around this house but not a lot of lighter weight blankets.
So now when the evening chill arrives, I can cozy up with my new blanket and a cup of tea.

Weather: 59 and sun just setting
Music: Swedish Christmas music
Drinking: Cherry Tea, lightly sweetened with honey

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Here is Melissa enjoying spinning on her Wee Peggy. Many years ago my girls learned to spin and both of them had their own spinning wheel. Melissa had a Ashford Traveler but never really liked it, she always loved her sisters Wee Peggy. Not long ago her sister offered to sell the Wee Peggy to her. Melissa's husband James bought it for her and gave it to Melissa as an early Christmas present. How sweet is that ?
How wonderful it is for me to see my daughter rekindle her love of spinning. For many years the girls wheels just collected dust in the living room. But I had confidence that at some point in time they would both want to get back into it.
Like a good mom, with a motive to encourage, I packed the wheel up with lots of wool for Melissa to spin with.

Weather: 50 F and sunny
Music: Winter Solstice

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The warm glow of a love filled home

No matter what the weather outside is. The house is filled with love and a sweet glow from the woodstove and the lights. Ahh, there is no place like home !

Looking out the window this morning reminds me of the dreariness of the winter landscape when snow is missing.
The gray sky meets the tan colored grass and the two seem to blend into the most nondescript color. Bare trees and bushes reach upward only to blend into the sky as their tiny barren branches seem to disappear in the sameness of color.
Snowfall covers this sameness with sparkling white. Mounds and drifts creating shapes that catch our eyes and when the sun is out, shinning crystals appear like diamonds strewn over the landscape.
I believe God knows we need a bit of added beauty during this dull landscape time of the year, so he gave us snow.
A gift of beauty for us. The sky turns such pale gray in times of snow, showing off the darkness of the trees whether they be evergreens or just bare trees.
Rain is on the way for us today, making the dreariness more intense. A cold rain, mixed with some sleet. No delight in seeing it and certainly it chills you to the bone on the way out to the barn. But as all things, there is a blessing in this. There is nothing quite as nice as coming in from such weather to be greeted by the warmth and glow of the fire and curling up with a good book and cup of tea in a beautiful tea cup. Perhaps a warm from the oven cookie to nibble on too.
When its not so wonderful outside, the beauty and comfort of the home shows clear.
My pot of tea holds Earl Grey, lightly sweetened with a spot of milk. Gingerbread made yesterday. And the warm glow of the lamp perfect to read by.

Listening to: A New England Christmas
Drinking: Earl Grey
Wearing: woolie socks, flannel shirt and of course a long skirt
Weather: Raining and Sleeting out 38 degrees F

Monday, December 19, 2005

My oldest daughter is living many hundreds of miles from us and we miss her so much. She included this note to me in her box filled with Christmas presents for us. Since I wrote about Gingerbears today, I asked her if I could put a copy of her letter on my blog today. When I read it, tears came to my eyes. Not just sad tears because I miss her but tears that come from mothers when they are just so proud of their children and so happy to be a mother.

Gingerbear Making Day

Here are some pictures of our Gingerbears made today. Even though I had to make them with no children around, I know my grown up children still enjoy seeing them and eating them. Memories for all of us !

Way back in 1983 when our oldest was 3 1/2 and our newest addition to the family was only 9 months old, my sister Sandy sent the girls a book for Christmas. It was titled The Gingerbears First Christmas. The book is so sweet, its a story about a family that makes Gingerbears instead of Gingermen. The little bears come to life and help the mom and dad finish all the projects they have for Christmas. The little bears paint the dollhouse, knit a sleeve on a sweater, they string popcorn and wrap presents. All to make life a bit easier for everyone.
Well Santa comes on Christmas eve and sees the work the unselfish Gingerbears have done for the family. Santa gives each Gingerbear a little red heart to show how much heart the little bears have.
The book was instantly a delight to my little one. The very first Christmas of the book, I found a cookie cutter that was a bear. I stayed up late that first christmas we had the book and made little gingerbears with cinnamon red hearts on them and I put them by the cupboards, by the presents, in the tree, hanging from red and green crocheted cords as though they had been climbing all over the place to help with Christmas. My little one was wide eyed when she saw them Christmas morning. From that Christmas on, we have made these Gingerbears. Still they seem to work their magic in our lives. We love our little gingerbears ! These pictures are from the book. More pictures to come showing our Gingerbears.

I just saw on the news that this is the first time ever that TOYS are number two for Christmas shopping gifts. It seems children now want IPODS, Computers etc starting at a very early age. They showed 6 year olds talking to Santa and they all wanted electronics.

I just finished reading " A Little House Christmas Treasury" which is a compilation of Little House on the Prairie stories from all the books. The stories seem like such a contrast to what I heard this morning. The Ingalls children were delighted beyond words for a peppermint stick, new mittens and one year even their very own tin cup.
I do understand we not longer live in a world like that but seems like there should be some middle ground. Children today seem so greedy and needy.
I never see little girls taking their dolls shopping with them, or hear about little girls wanting a nice doll carriage etc. Do little boys really haul wagons around behind them collecting things any more ?
Even in my day, Christmas was much more simple and involved toys and such things as hand made mittens and hats. I loved getting mittens for Christmas. The more mittens you had meant you could play out in the snow longer, coming in to switch wet mittens for dry ones. Seems like the ones I got were always bright variegated yarn and had a crocheted string attaching the mittens so you could put them through the sleeves of your coat and not loose them.
Maybe with this switch from toys to electronics, Santa needs to change his looks and profile from a happy old man to a young slender geek.

In the picture I am the one on the right. My dolls name was Tammy a "drinkie Walkie" doll I got for christmas one year . I also got the English doll pram on Christmas when I was a kid and it was so special to me. It was a large doll carriage and had two larger wheels just like a real pram does and a curved handle. I Would walk my dolls down the street to the nursing home and visit with the old people there. They loved my dolls as much as I did !

Sunday, December 18, 2005

It was a perfect day for rambling around the old homestead and snapping some photos. Solomon takes a dust bath, Smokey snoozes on a log in the sun, trumpet vines crawling up the side of the cottonwood tree. An old squirrel nest hanging in a tree and finally an old empty shell from a cicada

One of the joys of being prepared early for the holidays is missing all the craziness of the last minute shopping. My daughter, husband and I went to town for a leisurely visit to Starbucks. We sat there chatting and visiting while the world around us was running to and fro. There is a good view from the parking lot at Starbucks to the super Targets below.
Just look at all the cars ! Glad I was not there fighting the crowds.

Last year I started this afghan. I had so much fun working on it until I reached a part of the pattern that was wrong, the graph didn't work out. Which meant I needed to take out two rows. Since that happened, I was a bit discouraged and never seem to be able to get around to taking out the two rows.
I figure if this picture is on my blog, then in time, some of you folks will ask me if I got the afghan done. I will be shamed into finishing it !
There are so many stitches on the needles it amazes me. I could have done it on round needles but I prefer two needles for some reason or another.
I have decided to use a totally different graph for the center section which should work up quickly.
By end of winter this should be done ! Make sure to ask me about it around the end of February.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Gray skies and chilly temps prompted me to put coffee on the stove early this morning along with a pot of beans to cook all day long, filling the house with a rich molasses aroma.
After cleaning out the rabbit barn, the hot perked coffee sure tasted good. Not a fun job but part of the territory when you have critters. Time to bring the clothes in off the line as rain/snow mix is on the way.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

I spend a lot of time thinking about living simply. Not sure why and how this desire to live the back to nature sort of life as it was called way back in the 1970's. Maybe it was reading Thoreau, maybe it was reading Mother Earth News when they were still connected to simple living. Maybe it was the stories my grandmother told me of how things were in the "olden days". You see her stories were fascinating tales of life in the Maritime province of Nova Scotia. Stories of her mother and grandmothers lives. Stories of life before everyone ran from here or there in their cars. Stories of home life. Stories of cooking for many children. Of relatives visiting one another and feeling connected. A life of fewer distractions.
I was given this painting when I was still a young teen. I have wanted to live in a log cabin from the time I was 12 probably.
When the girls in Home Ec class were building scale models of what they wanted their dream house to be, I built a cabin with a cook stove and a walk in fireplace with an oven. Three rooms. Bedroom, kitchen and big living room. Simple stuff even then. I am not living in a log cabin, but a simple house that I love so dearly.
This painting may have inspired some of my dreams. It was painted by my great uncles wife's Swedish family. I have no idea where it was painted or who painted it. But it sure speaks volumes about life in the old days. Its not framed. Never was to my knowledge and the canvas is held on with square head nails. I love the simple beauty of it. Not that its any great work of art, but its a great work of history, of telling a story of what life was like and it also inspired me to dream my dreams that have become my reality.


For the past week I have had these ever constant thoughts about the way the modern world celebrates Christmas. So here is my rant about the subject.
If you have ever given much time to thinking deeply about something in a philosophical way, you know that before the whole picture is made clear in your head, there is that time of confusion before its all worked out as to just what your philosophy is. You have the gist of the idea down pat but there are the deeper elements that need to be worked out.
That's just about where I am right now on how I feel about the way Christmas has become some sort of monster of obligation with no joy for most people.
There are commercials that show a woman wondering how in the world she will get all her shopping done as she enters a store. It is apparent her list is quite long. Her mother however has the solution, runs right over to the gift card display and gets a handful of them, and they are shown happy in the car leaving the store. Didn't take long at all.
Well, just where is the thought in that ? For the person receiving those gift cards, what love do they feel attached to that gift ? Are gift cards just a way to "pay our dues" shall we say and get a gift with no thought of what the person needs, would like, would enjoy ? Now there are some exceptions to this gift card thing. I love Starbucks, but can't afford to pay $4 a coffee on our little homestead budget. So, when I get a Starbucks gift card from a family member, I know they KNOW me well and KNOW what I would like. And there are some other gift cards that work well too. My husband loves Home Depot. Its his candy store. So gift cards for him work, since folks don't exactly know what he has in that shop of his as far as tools go. I think you all know what I am talking about in regard to gift cards. Attitude and thought.
There is a big part of me that wishes we would step back about 150 years in time and go back to Pa carving a mantle for Ma for Christmas, and the children getting a handmade doll or a pair of knitted mittens. A stocking with a gingerbread man, a peppermint stick and an orange in the toe. Planning for months what to make for a loved one that they will love and enjoy. Perhaps need ! I guess we all have too much and hardly anyone NEEDS anything.
Now I am going to be honest here, part of the problem for me with this simple Christmas idea, would be, having just a few packages to unwrap and not much under the tree. I am just as greedy as the next person when it comes to seeing tons of presents under the tree. I like that look. But part of the reason I like that look is a throw back from when I was a kid and got things I wanted and needed. Including hats and mittens.
I just am not sure when Christmas became such a pain in the neck for people. My sister and I were talking the other day how we don't even care to spend much time on wrapping packages. Gift bags will do. Then I was thinking about it. It is almost another gift in itself to see a lovely package under the tree, to have it in your hand, look at it for how pretty it is, be amazed at how much time the person spent wrapping it for you. Oh I see that same theme coming out...wrapping the present to be pretty is not about our time, its about the person we are giving it to, same as the gift shopping and giving ! Things are coming together. Christmas has become about us, not them, the gift receiver. We don't have time to shop, time to pick out, time to make, time to think about what is needed, wanted etc. We are too busy, doing what though ?
Wrapping is the same. We are too busy, no time, too tired, a waste of time. What joy will it be in the future when we buy gift cards for everyone on our shopping list, then put the gift card in the little gift bag and put all these tidy little packages under the tree, all looking alike ? To me that is a very frightening scene.
So I say, scratch the modern way, go back in time. Stay home more. Know your family better. Give gifts to the people you know. Spend less. Have fun hiding a project you are working on for a gift from the one you are making it for. Adjust your children's and grandchildren's thinking that they MUST have something expensive and electronic. Give them tinker toys and watch them learn to play.
I am off to wrap some packages. By the way, I did make many of the gifts I am giving this year. And our budget was $25 for each person on our list. Our children included. As soon as Christmas is over, I am going to start making next years presents, so I am not buying anything already made.
I am once again, marching to my own drum beat and taking more than a few steps backwards.
I have no desire to chase away the fun of Christmas by letting it all become one huge obligation. That level of confusion in my head is a bit better, but I still think there is more to figure out. Christmas is supposed to be a season of Joy

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Its no where near as cold as what my daughter Melissa is experiencing in Vermont, but there is a brisk north wind today that is riding on a cold front. It will be in the high 20's by morning.It was just a good day to cook some old fashioned comfort food. So we are having New England Corn Pudding, fried cabbage, mashed potatoes, sausage and for dessert, warm Indian pudding topped with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream.Just can't beat the old fashioned recipes when its cold and gray out.I just finished hauling in the wood for the night and the warm house felt so good. Chickens are all in for the night, the cats are sleeping on the back porch and Fergus is playing with his basketball. Clothes are off the line, folded and put away. Packages wrapped today and put under the tree. Tomorrow I had better get my Christmas cards and letter off to everyone or people will think I forgot them.

Here are the recipes for the corn pudding and the Crock Pot Indian Pudding.

New England Corn Pudding

From The Governers Inn Ludlow VT
2 cups whole kernal corn
8 tbsp flour
8 tbsp sugar
4 whole eggs
1 tsp salt
1 qt whole milk
4 tbsp sweet, unsalted butter, melted
Stir the flour, salt, sugar, and the melted butter into the corn. Beat the eggs slightly and combine with the milk. Combine the milk and corn mixtures adn pour into a 2 qt baking dish that has been sprayed with PAM. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 45 minutes, until nicely browned.*IMPORTANT* stir with a long pronged fork, breaking the surface as little as possible 3 times during the baking.

Crock Pot Indian Pudding
3 cups milk
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ginger
Lightly greast crock. Preheat on high for 20 minutes. Meanwhile bring milk, cornmeal and salt to a boil. Boil stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Cover and simmer an additional 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Gradually beat in the hot cornmeal mixture and whisk until smooth. Pour into crock and cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 6-8 hours

My little office is a room of many purposes. The room sits between the living room and our bedroom. Its the room that contains all my exercise equipment, the roll top desk that my husband sits at to do his household accounting. Its the room where I study and the room from which I write. This room also contains the computer, a vital link to friends and loved ones. I have two windows in this room and often I find myself gazing out them, looking, wondering, contemplating and more often than not, in total wonder at the marvels of creation. This morning, looking out the windows gave you a real sense of winter. The gray sky, clouds flying rapidly across my view. Leaves tumbling from places unknown, carried on the wind like tiny messages from above. Birds feasting at the many bird feeders. Squirrels chasing each other up and down the branches. Hawks catching the thermals and enjoying their flight.As I was looking out my windows, I thought about this room and how much it contributes to our family. My girls both see this room as the place you come and sit beside me and solve the worlds problems. Our deepest most profound talks take place in this room. Long into the night we have sat and spoke of the things we hold dear to our hearts. My son shares with me his thoughts and dreams in this room also.This room is also the spot where my husband and I compose our many love notes to one another. Many mornings I find a note handwritten, laid carefully across the computer keyboard for me to read. Its also the room where family ties are made stronger through the computer. My extended family has an email list with which we keep in touch. We share family stories, traditions, joys and yes sorrows. We keep up on who is doing what and even share recipes. This room is the smallest room in the house, but is one of the dearest rooms to all of us as its where hearts share.I think I will just sit here a while longer, looking out the window and think about life and how good it is.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Wee little Fergus has discovered its great fun to tug on the hems of my skirts. For many years I have preferred to wear long ankle length skirts as my daily wear.
Now this young pup has discovered it is fun to pull me one way or another by taking hold of the fabric and pulling me.
He also likes to hide under my skirts as I go about hanging clothes on the line.
After my chores were done today, it seemed the perfect time to have a cup of piping hot peppermint coffee, topped with whipped cream and a sprinkle of red sugar.
It was delightful if I must say so myself !

A Changing World

For me, the world is becoming less pleasant at times and mostly due to social media and the way our lives are connected to it now, as oppo...