Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Found More Pink Fabric



God bless "staches" I found some additional pink fabric on the shelf so I was able to finish off the top. I made this a bit bigger than crib size so it can be used for a twin bed as the little one grows.

Now I have to wait till the end of the week for my quilt frame to arrive before I get going on the hand quilting part.

Todays Fun



This is a baby quilt I pieced today. I ran out of pink fabric for the sashing so will have to make a trip to the store tonight.

I plan to quilt hearts in the white blocks.

I have 3 baby quilts to do in the near future.

Legacies


This morning as I was sewing and listening to some thought provoking music. It had me wondering about Legacies. Not the monetary type, but something passed on given from the heart and passed down to the next generation. Even if you have no children, think about nieces and nephews or on a broader scope, the neighborhood, your church etc.
I have read so many books in my life and in the biographies I have read or even the old novels of the 1800's, there was always someone who left a legacy to be proud of.
In many of the books I have read, the mother of the hero or heroine, was a woman that made a difference. And more often than not, the child was so impressed by this kindly mother that it impacted the very way the next generation lived and contributed to society.
My mother made a difference, not only in the way she raised her children, but in how she reached out to others. Always made our home a place people wanted to visit. She made everyone feel comfortable. When she passed away, the Mayor sent out a official Memoriam. Her wake was attended by so many people that many waited for a long time outside in the frigid cold to wait their turn to come in and pay their regards. She took the time to really KNOW people and make their lives a bit better. I wanted to be like her my whole life. She gave me the gift of being a good model. That is indeed the best legacy.
In our modern busy times, we hardly know our neighbors. People rush home from work, eat, watch TV for a couple hours and sleep, only to start the whole cycle over again the next morning. Weekends are spent recovering or in "my time". Not much chance to make a difference in the lives of those around you. Its sad.
We as a modern people, don't even have company much. People say they are "wiped out" after work or just need time for themselves.
When I was growing up, we had so many people come to our house that just opened the door and said, "Hi". They never needed to knock, there was NO time that my mother felt was not a good time to come in for a visit. When someone did knock on the door, we all said, "wonder who that could be?"
It is my goal in life to be a woman of goodly character. To be someone my children can look up to. I want them to know you should reach out to others, move beyond just your immediate family. Leave a trail of kindness and friendship. Have your home more than just a place where you eat a quick meal and lay your head at night. Make your home a haven for friends who need a kind word or a cup of tea and a chat. And beyond that, understand that if you have two coats give one away to someone in need. Always have room enough at the table for one more. Never be too busy for family and friends. Kiss babies, and tell their mothers they are sweet. Hold the hand of an elderly one and acknowledge them.
I will always be moved to tears when I hear the song, Cats in the Cradle by Harry Chapin. Not the legacy anyone should want to leave behind. Ask yourself, what kind of legacy will I leave behind ?

A child arrived just the other day,
Came to the world in the usual way,
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay,
He learned to walk while I was away.
He was talking before I knew it, and as he grew
He said, "I'm going to be like you, Dad,
You know I'm going to be like you."

And the cat in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little Boy Blue and the Man in the Moon,
"When can we play, Dad?" "I don't know when,
We'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

My son turned ten just the other day,
Said "Thanks for the ball, now c'mon let's play.
Will you teach me to throw?" I said, "Not today,
I've got a lot to do." He said, "That's OK."
And he walked away and he smiled and he said
"You know I'm going to be like you, Dad,
You know I'm going to be like you."

And the cat in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little Boy Blue and the Man in the Moon,
"When can we play, Dad?" "I don't know when,
We'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then.


"He came from college just the other day,
So much like a man, I just had to say,
"I'm proud of you, won't you sit for a while?"
He shook his head and said with a smile,
"What I'm feeling like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later, can I have them please?"

And the cat in the cradle and a silver spoon,
Little Boy Blue and the Man in the Moon,
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

I've long since retired and my son's moved away,
I called him up just the other day.
"I'd like to see you, if you don't mind."
He said, "I'd love to, Dad, if I could find the time.
You see, my new job's a hassle and the kids have the flu,
But it's sure nice talking you, Dad.
It's been real nice talking to you."
And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me,
He'd grown up just like me.
My boy was just like me.

And the cat in the cradle and a silver spoon,
Little Boy Blue and the Man in the Moon,
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then.


"And the cat in the cradle and a silver spoon,
Little Boy Blue and the Man in the Moon,
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

Monday, January 30, 2006

A Little Weekend Shopping


Its hard for me to think in terms of fat quarters when buying fabric. For years I bought 5-10 yards of whatever I was looking at, as it took 5 yards to make a "cape dress" for me as the skirts are very full and the top has an extra layer for modesty. A cape dress is the plain style dress Mennonite and Amish women wear and if I was going to make the girls matching dresses well then I bought 10 yards, which we often did. I needed even more if the boys wanted matching shirts if it was a darker solid color fabric. In the last couple years I have managed to think in terms of 3 - 5 yards. Just recently I purchased fabric in 1 yard cuts. The fat quarters still seem so strange to me and if I do find a fat quarter I like, I can't buy just one, but at least 4 of them. In time I may begin to grasp buying small amounts of fabric but as yet, it hasn't happened. This weekend I did by a couple of 1/2 yard pieces of baby fabric but the rest I purchased in 1-3 yards. My shelves are filled with big pieces of fabric. Sure limits your ability to have lots of colors on hand as space is not that plentiful on my shelves. Its still hard for me to look at big prints or bold colors. I seem to stick to the same old tiny calico prints and solids. Looking at the other quilters blogs I am in awe at the beautiful bold colors used and how pretty they work up in the patterns. It just seems hard to teach this old dog a new trick.
This was the fabric shopping for the weekend. I did step a bit out of my comfort zone and buy a bolder flower print. So there is some hope for me yet !

A Present for Me


My dear husband ordered this Grace quilting frame for me today and it may arrive by the end of the week. I will try to be patient. He ordered it from the very nice people at Kathy Quilts which can be found at http://www.kathyquilts.com/customer/home.php

I am so anxious to get it and set it up. I love to quilt, much more than the piecing part.
Just not sure where I want to put the frame . There is room in the living room so may put it there so I can quilt while chatting with my family in the evenings.

Amish & Mennonite Catalogs



Both Gohn Brothers and GVS have some good old fashioned quilting supplies. Gohn Brothers sells fabric along with many other Old Order Amish items, such as Amish and Plain clothing, hard to find items that are honestly just that. They have been in business for over 100 years. We have been doing business with them for many years and have always been happy with whatever we have ordered.
They will send out fabric samples too.
GVS has wonderful old fashioned toys for children along with many other items used by Mennonites. Cotton diapers, shoes, socks, greeting cards, and they have a large assortment of quilting threads and some quilting patterns.
And other sewing needs.
Both catalogs are a must for simple living needs.
Telephone numbers to order a catalog are...
GVS 1-800-398-2494
email for them is
sales@gvsdis.com
Gohn Brothers phone is 1-800-595-0031, since they are old order Amish there is no email address for them, but their snail mail address is
Gohn Bros.
Box 1110
Middlebury, IN 46540-1110

Sunday, January 29, 2006

A Quiet night


Some thoughts I would like to share on this quiet sunday evening.
Thanks everyone for the kind comments on the picture of myself. I am suspecting some of you expected to see an Amish looking woman and a few years back you would have.
We still live a very simple life as we did when we were part of the plain community but we have changed some aspects of our lives. Like how we dress and to be honest I have always struggled with being submissive like plain women should be.
There is a feisty, inquisitive side to me that just cannot be stifled. And besides if I was a plain woman, I sure wouldn't be blogging !
Enough said....

Saturday, January 28, 2006

For All Who Asked, This is ME


Here I am, sitting at the computer in our one room that is not completed yet in this old house. Its also our only high tech room. For those who think we live completly off the grid, this is the room that proves we don't. It has the computer in it along with all my exercise equiptment. Confession time...I am an exercise junkie. I love to work out. My exercise machines actually get used and have no dust on them. I love to run and much of my time is spent running, letting the wind blow in my face. I would work out 3 hours a day if I could justify it.

A Visit to Whole Foods



The first week in December I went to the Doctors. I had the flu. Two days before Christmas I went back to the Doctors. The flu had become pneumonia. My 6th time having it.
Well, to make a long story short, I am still coughing. I don't much like western medicine but took all the medicine prescribed since I have almost died twice with pneumonia. Now I am tired of this cough and inhalers and all that junk. So today we headed off to Whole Foods
, which to me is like the best store in the world. I love that place.
I have been studying herbs for well over 20 years and am just about done with my master herbalists, so that store is health food heaven to me.
I got myself stocked up on things I know will help chase this hanging on cough away.
One bag and $80 later we were finished shopping. Everything is for my cough except the incense. Anyone who knows me knows I love incense and have them burning all most all the time. Must be some kick back from my hippy days. I figure today they are part of my mental health since they make me feel happy smelling them.
Hope this stuff works. I am tired of coughing and having people run from me assuming I am contagious !

Cranberry Coffee Cake


Here is the recipe for one of the desserts we had last night.
This has been a favorite family recipe for generations.

CRANBERRY COFFEE CAKE

1 stick margarine or butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pint sour cream
1 teaspoon almond flavoring
1 can WHOLE BERRY cranberry sauce
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Cream margarine and add sugar. Add unbeaten eggs and mix. Add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream. Add flavoring. Grease and flour a tube pan or bundt pan. Put layer of batter on bottom, little more than half the batter. Add half the cranberry sauce. Layer remaining batter. Layer remaining cranberry sauce and sprinkle with nuts.
Bake at 350 for 55 minutes. Cool 5 minutes then remove from the pan.
Frosting: Mix well 3/4 cup confectioners sugar, 2 Tablespoons warm water and 1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring. Spread over warm cake, letting it drizzle over the sides.


Amish White Bread Recipe


This is one of the easiest breads to make and although its white bread, its very tasty. As you can see in the picture, I love it toasted along with a cup of coffee for my breakfast.
You can "fool around" with the flours in this recipe and substitute some of the white flour for whole wheat or some other flours. This is the one white bread recipe I do make for the family once in a while to have a break from whole wheat.



Amish White Bread Recipe
Ingredients:
2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/ 45 degrees C )
2/3 cups white sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 cups white flour

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in the warm water, add yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam

2. Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Work in 5-6 cups of flour. Knead dough on a lightly floured level surface until smooth.
Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn once to coat the entire surface of the dough with oil. Cover with a clean damp cotton cloth. Allow dough to raise until double in size.

3. Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves and place into a well oiled 9x5 inch loaf pan. Allow to rise for 30 minutes or until the dough is 1 inch above the pans.

4. Bake in a 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. When you thump the top of the bread it should sound hollow.


Notes:
For a buttery crust, take a stick of butter and run it across the tops of the hot bread.
Cool on a rack and enjoy
I double this recipe every time I make it since the bread goes so fast.






Friday, January 27, 2006

Baking Bread
















It would not be hard for anyone to assume I am a bit of a purist when it comes to most homemaking skills. After all I spin my own yarn, knit my own socks, make my own soap, sew my own clothes, wouldn't dream of having a sewing machine that embroidered for me and so on and so on. So, it should come as no surprise that I think bread machines are just tiny factories in your own home and you are not really baking bread at all, the machine is. Yes, you can control the ingredients, but you sure are not making your own bread. Its sort of like saying you bake your own cakes but use a mix.
There is no talent to adding a bunch of ingredients into a machine and letting it do all the work. Where is the exercise in that? It's true, making bread is exercise . Kneading bread dough works those arm muscles good. And feeling the dough to decide if you have enough flour or not, and checking the temperature of the milk or water you add the yeast to is talent. It takes time and experience to get the right feel.
Then, hearing that thump thump as you turn the dough over and over kneading it is soothing. It can be meditative.
Jewish women pray for their children when they knead Challah for Shabbat. Be kinda silly to do that while the bread machine was working. Just not the same thing. I like to think and pray while I make my bread too. Kneading bread takes time and that is time well spent if you can pray while you do it .
It used to be that a woman was known for the quality of her bread. For both its texture and taste . Who wants to be known for her bread machine results ? Its just not the same thing at all. Like buying frozen cookie dough and making cookies, then being well known for your cookies. You really didn't do the work, so what talent exactly are you known for ? Taking them from the box, or putting them in the oven ?
When my oldest daughter was about 10, there was a class in bread baking and I signed her right up. We went there and lined up on the counter was every kind of bread machine known to man. My jaw dropped ! Just didn't seem like learning to MAKE bread so we turned around and came home. I taught her how to really make her own bread the next day.
With a machine you miss experiencing the texture of kneading and checking the dough. I love the feel of the nice soft dough when you punch it down after the first rise. That moment can tell you a lot about your bread. You can pretty much tell then if its going to be a good loaf or not. You really can't take much credit for how the bread turns out if a machine really did the work. And besides, don't we have enough machines in the kitchen already. Not sure they save much time since everyone is constantly complaining they have no time.
I learned how to make bread when I was in the 7th grade. Learned for a great lady, my teacher. She had us girls baking bread every Friday and selling it to raise money for our class. We made a ton of money and the bread sold itself it was so good.
So, put that little old bread factory away and make some bread yourself. Its better than going to the gym and much more rewarding. I don't want people to miss out on the experience of doing it all from scratch. Its full of satisfaction and there is a connection to the past that goes along with baking bread for your family and that kind of thing ties us to all that was simple and uncomplicated.

Busy Day




Today is a busy day for me, we are having company tonight which means an added 11 people at our table. So you can imagine its a day of cooking and baking. I did manage to get some quilting done this morning while the bread was raising.
The menu is Zippy Beef casserole, steamed corn, fresh home made bread, fried cabbage and for dessert there is either cranberry coffee cake or pumpkin squares.
The house is all tidy and ready for quests so I took some pictures to show you more of my house. All the pictures on my blog are most often taken right here at home, where I spend most of my time.
The fire has the house cozy and warm today which made for good bread baking.
Lets see, there is a picture of our boys old bedroom, now used a guest room and their old bookshelves hold my fabric. Two of my own dolls, Baby Dear sit on one of the beds. If you think there appears to be clutter around, these are just things used daily.
Another picture is of some items I use in the kitchen, they sit on a shelf over the stove. And the final picture is of course the living room. Its the room we spend most of our time in as its the warmest in winter and the coolest in summer. Tomorrow I will post some recipes and some pictures of our company, if they agree to that !
Back to the kitchen..

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Wooly Wonderful Gift




With todays mail was a huge box from a friend of mine.
It was a gift of wool. Shetland wool, just want I have been wanting to spin for a special project.
I opened the box and the living room filled with the good to me smell of lanolin. I cannot wait to get this wool washed and carded and begin to spin it.
Thanks Marci !

The Best Farm Shoes Ever


With experience there is an opportunity for wisdom. On the farm it was always hard to find work shoes that were good. Mud boots are fine for wet weather but they sure aren't much protection against animals stepping on your toes. Leather work boots are ok but they get wet and then they tend to change shape, and most of them have an amazing ability to collect mud in the soles. And to be honest, big old work boots don't go well with my skirts. You begin to think I ought to have a corn cob pipe held tight in my jaw, and be an expert moonshiner. Yes, I know that is a stereotype, but we are good at that sort of visualization.
Many years ago we came up with the perfect farm shoe. Works great with heavy wool socks or just bare feet in summer. Keeps the wetness out in rainy weather, and a cow can step on your toe and you are just alright. Now admittedly these shoes are not the style at this time but they do receive lots of comments if you happen to wear them to town. My youngest daughter wore them to Wal-Mart a year or so ago and people sure did look at her. She was a clomp clomping through the store and she turned heads. People didn't know if they should laugh or ignore her.
We had a good laugh just at their reactions.
If your in the market for a perfect farm shoe that is multipurpose, then these are just for you. Oh by the way, they look great with skirts and dresses.
And as you can see, we all have them.

The Blues


Some things just strike you funny, when its not all that funny at all. Yesterday when these two blue dresses were on the line I had a brief thought about their colors. Shades of blues, and as I mused about that for a quick second I thought about the phrase "the blues" and wondered where it came from. I think if it was up to me to coin a phrase for feeling down, it would have been called, "the Grays". Like a dreary sky or something. I laughed thinking about my "blues" hanging on the line.
There are very few times in my life when I feel down. Seems to me there is always hope. I am a complete optimist. Probably stemming from a faith that is very child like. I just always feel things will work out.
The only "blues" I know right now is these two dresses hanging on the line !

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Reading in the Evening


From the time I was a little girl, going to Mr. Murphy's used book store in North Reading Massachusetts with my Grandmother, I have loved old books. Mr. Murphy was a man that marched to his own drum beat. His book store filled with old books. The musty smell of the books combined with a couple of old fat cats made for the atmosphere straight out of some old novel. The man knew every book he had in his store, how I will never know. He didn't have any sort of filing system and the books if in any order, the order was understood by him alone. I am not even sure if he had a cash register. I think he had a simple drawer with dividers for the money.
He liked me, and wanted to cultivate in me a love of books. I would find a story book and ask how much it was, his answer was always about the same. 5 cents. One time I went in there with my family and on the shelf was every book Louisa M Alcott had written, in matched 1st editions. I longingly looked at those. I loved her books and had many times visited the Alcott house in Concord. I asked how much, too young to understand what a collection like that was worth. He looked at me and said, "if you can get $2 together, they are all yours" I came home with a box full of L.M Alcott first editions. Some I had never heard of.
As I grew, so did my love of books. Soon I was asking him if he had any Thoreau's or Nathaniel Hawthorns. I read Edward Roe Snows books of ship wrecks and old and dusty copies of many relatively unknown authors.
One thing Mr. Murphy always wanted to show me was the old Bibles he would get in the store. Family Bibles included boxes of books from estate sales. He would show me the family history carefully written in the middle section of these old Bibles and we would talk about how sad that this information was so carelessly discarded.
I would buy those old Bibles from him, always at a good price, the biggest ones being 25 cents.
I had a good size collection after a few years and soon everyone knew about me collecting old Bibles and people would GIVE me their old family Bibles. I would and still do, sit turning the pages, wondering and imagining about the people that turned the pages of these Bibles through time.
The little one on top is from the late 1700's and the bigger family Bible is from a family in Keene NH, the date 1802. The Bible survived two major fires where everything else in the house was lost. I call it my miracle Bible. I still love old books and am always on the look out for an old family Bible. Some things never change.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Silence


In many homes there is rarely silence. The Television is on in several rooms, perhaps a radio is playing too. Cars are zooming by outside. Buzzers go off for our many appliances and phones ring and the list of noise makers goes on and on.
When I am the only one home, silence seems to sneak in. When the children started to go off in their adult directions of work and marriage, I found it difficult to cope with the silence. I would hurry to turn on some music. I was uncomfortable with the silence. For so many years I heard the children's voices all day long. We homeschooled for 17 years so there was no time without the children around. I loved that but at that time I would wonder what quiet would be like and dreamed of it at times. Four children can make a lot of noise, even well behaved children.
I find that slowly I am embracing this silent time of my day. It grows more comfortable. The ticking of the clock on the piano is often all I hear besides my steps on the bare wooden floors as I pass from room to room doing my work. The dog may bark occasionally or in the afternoon when the chickens are out of their house, I hear them clucking and the rooster crowing, but for the most part it is quiet. This is now the time I pray for my children and for those I know with needs. Today as I watched the sun come through the windows of the living room and light up the dark wooden floors, it seemed so perfect a match to the silence of the day. Its hard to describe but it gave me a feeling of all is well. A true feeling of contentment. I am not sure I would have been able to experience this moment in time had the house been filled with noise. It may not have felt special. Sometimes now I even drive the car with no radio on. Just alone and comfortable with my thoughts. In the olden days before we were so machine oriented, life was quite and silence was common. Again, I feel as though I am stepping back in time and it feels right to me.
In this silence, I may just be praying for you.

Uncluttered Simplicity



Uncluttered Simplicity

The older I get the less I want around the house as clutter. It takes so much time to move a bunch of things to dust and clean. It takes time to keep clean nic nacks and collections.
I have grown to love the look of simplicity. When the children were all home, there was a need to have more around the house for their projects and for homeschooling. And then there were toys of course.
But now, I find myself wondering why I would need so much stuff. In this country now, it is more common then not to see people with storage sheds in their yards. Storage facilities that people rent are everywhere. Houses have garages so full the car could never fit in. Why do we need so much I wonder ? What does this say about us ? My mother always wanted to have a full pantry and she said it was due to the lack of things during the depression, which makes sense to me. But why would a nation of plenty want to hold on to more and more and more ? It seems it makes life harder to own so much. When I need to clean, its just take the broom and sweep the floors, no moving lots of stuff, and when I dust, its quick and uncomplicated. But when I had lots of things around, it took so much time to move everything and often I would just say, " I'll do it later" since it was such a big job.
For a while now, when I am tempted to buy things I really don't need but just want, I quote Matthew 6: 19 -21
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Simplicity is indeed the easiest

Aprons, Dresses and Quilts



These shelves hold the fabric for future dresses, aprons, pillow cases and of course quilts. When I walk into the room where these shelves are, I stand looking at the colors and wonder what each piece will become. Some are pieces left over from summer curtains for the living room and some pieces were bought with no purpose in mind at all.

When I iron each day, I face all these fabrics and imagine in my mind what the possibilities are.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Yummy Corn Bread



My family loves corn bread. Simple as that. We have two ways of making it. One of the recipes I use is for a sweet corn bread that gets rave reviews from everyone who eats it. Its light, fluffy and a bit sweet. Its wonderful with honey or maple syrup drizzeled over it for breakfast or a snack. Its good with just about any kind of meal. We often have it when we have baked beans. I often slice a piece in half, butter it and then grill it and serve it with a hearty farmers breakfast.

The second type of corn bread I make is the skillet type. Just a simple recipe and not a sweet one. I pour the batter in the iron skillet and stick it in the oven. Its a more hearty old fashioned recipe and good in its own right. We purchase our corn meal from a Christian Community in Elm Mott Texas. Stone ground and fresh as can be. Not one bit of bitterness in their corn meal.

Here is the recipe for the sweeter corn bread. Its worth the work, just don't think about the butter or calories !

The Best Cornbread Ever

1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 cup Bisquick or any baking mix like that
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup cornmeal

Mix together and bake in in 9x9 greased pan

350 degrees F

35 minutes.

Fergus' First Rain
















Fergus enjoyed the rain so much we couldn't get him to go in his house or seek any kind of shelter. He just ran around playing in the rain. He would sit facing the direction the storm was coming from and bark at the thunder and then just run and jump around like he was having a grand old time. But no matter what we did, he would head out to play in the wet. Poor thing looked a fright !

A Moment of Your Time

As I look at these watches, one mine, given to me by my youngest daughter and the other belonged to my great grandmother, I remember a line in a song. Something to do with the "17 jewels that dictate the rules".
That song was in the 1970's and people felt that we were too rushed then, being forced to do certain things since the clock told us it was time to.
Now we fuss about not having DSL because it makes us wait longer for things, maybe a whole MINUTE. I don't have DSL. Not sure I want it. It will make me expect things faster and already the times we live in have made us a generation of words like "fast food", "Speedy", "High Speed", "no waiting", "quickie mart" and so on. We are impatient if we have to wait in line for any reason. Some will even put their items back if the lines are long or if there is something wrong at the register. Where is everyone going in such a hurry ? People pass you if you go the speed limit only to get a ticket or have a wreck for reckless driving. All over a few seconds time. Why ? We multi task. Talk on the phone while we drive, while we eat with friends, while we shop and on and on. I don't have a cell phone. Don't want one either. I want to do things one at a time.
All this rushing in life and doing so many things at one time is not working well. Studies just came out saying people are more unhappy now then they were 10 years ago. And 10 years ago, people were more unhappy than they were in the previous 10 years. Not good. We are more stressed, more depressed and more unhappy than ever. Sad, isn't it.
I am all for taking things slower. Take time to visit someone not just call them when you have free minutes on your phone program. My mother used to have coffee with her friends. They visited one another. It was nice.

Take time at the red light or behind some slow poke driver to look at the surroundings. Take time to eat at the restaurant and talk to the people you are with. Shop in the store with interest for what you are shopping for, not grab stuff while you chat on the phone to someone and think of that as quality conversation or shopping.
If your computer is slow, remember when you didn't have one. Just once in a while, write a note and mail it to someone instead of sending an email. Getting a letter in the mail box is still priceless.
With all the rush, and high speed life we live, we are not as happy as we were before we had it. That says something.
Now I will end with this. I love email and I love my computer, but they are not my life. They are a blessing, a means to communicate with so many people. Just take life a bit slower.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sunday Morning Breakfast






With the fire roaring, breakfast was on the table in no time. Food cooks fast on a hot stove. There is no turning away from your chore when the fire is blazing. Nothing but cast iron pans will do.
There was oatmeal bubbling away in the small iron pot, so old and well seasoned from many decades of cooking. Potatoes frying in the pan and eggs and sausage gently cooking in yet another fry pan. Chai tea warming in the back. The table set. A plate filled full for my hungry husband. There is wood to be hauled in and he needs his fuel.
The lantern lit and set close to the plates, to chase away the dreariness that come with heavy rain clouds. A perfect morning for curling up on the sofa with a good book...now to decide which book to read. Maybe today I will pull out my old well worn leather bound copy of "The Path to Home" by Edgar Guest. His poems always make me feel good. They are the kind of poems that make you sigh a good kind of sigh. One of agreement and one of "if only everyone felt this way". Yes, that is what I will read today.

weather: 40 and rain
music: Rocky Mountain Hymns



Rain For a Parched Land




While climbing up into my bed last night, my ears caught a strange sound, rumblings from the sky. I strained my ears to hear more and as I pulled the covers up around my neck against the cold night, I saw it, flashes of light in the dark gray sky. There was lightening ! It seemed forever before the accompanying gentle pitter patter of rain arrived, but it did and it lasted throughout the night.
The morning broke with misty dampness. The chill more intense as rain often makes it. That damp cold that seeps down into the core of your bones. Hard to shake that kind of cold off.
With childlike enthusiasm I dressed in a hurry, as though I was getting to play in the snow. This elusive rain had finally appeared and I wanted to touch it, feel it on my face and hear it more clearly falling on the tin roof as if the drops were dancing a lively Irish jig.
I grabbed my camera of course. Mud boots were on, jacket, scarf, gloves. I was set. Fergus greeted me looking like an giant drenched rat. His fur divided into little clumps of puppy smelling hair. No matter to him, he was excited by this wetness. In his young life, this was a new experience to have so much rain.
Off we went together. Stepping lively over branches and twigs. Exploring the land, now wet after months of dry.
When the fun needed to end in order to do chores, the camera was tucked safely in the inside pocket of my jacket,
I hauled water and filled feed dishes with grain. I checked the barns to make sure hay was dry and checked the chickens nest boxes for eggs. My toes began to feel the tingling from the cold inside my mud boots, and my hands soon felt numb despite the added layer of my leather work gloves. My skirt muddy and cold around the hem, trying to cling to my ankles.
Crows calling to each other overhead as if rejoicing in the rain. Flocks of cow birds, flying from tree to tree and then landing in the pasture, specks of black, hopping about the grasses.
Tiny birds looking for shelter from the drops of rain the size of their eyes. The world out there seemed to be so much more alive than in yesterdays dryness.
It was hard to keep my mind on my chores, my eyes darting everywhere looking at the new dark wetness of the tree bark, the puddles mirroring the cloud filled sky. The chores now done, I lingered, wandering a bit more. Time to head in the house and get the fire going and make breakfast. Oatmeal, fried eggs and fried potatoes. Orange juice, and some nice hot chamomile tea to warm my innards.
Thunder again, heavy rain on the way. what a delightful day.


Saturday, January 21, 2006

Shopping at The Country Store



My shopping cart filled up with goodies from The Country Store. Some of the items were home made noodles, soup mixes, spices, home made ketchup, local honey and a new favorite. Lady Finger Pop Corn. Its such tiny little kernels and they pop up so nicely. Its what we ended up with for supper tonight along with some applesauce. The store carries lovely hankies for children with farm animals on them. A friend of mine recently made a quilt top for a grandchild using the little hankies. It came out so cute. They also have pretty ladies hankies, and although I have a drawer full of hankies in my nightstand, the temptation was too great and one more came home with me. I also purchased some diaper pins. Always handy to have around the house for one reason or another and because its been a long time since there were babies at this house, all the diaper pins have disappeared through time. We were a cloth diaper family, even using cloth on our across country road trips. All things are possible if you plan them carefully. My husband found a new black cap that he was needing for work, so even he came out of the store with something.
The air is turning cold tonight so time to build a fire and put the kettle on for some tea.

The Country Store




Around noon time my husband and I headed off to The Country Store. Its a sweet store owned by friends of ours. They opened it in late October but for some reason we just never have driven the 15 miles over there to see it. Last night we made the commitment to go and do some shopping. If ever you find yourself in Grandview Texas, right off Interstate 35, make sure to find the store and do some shopping. The baked goods are wonderful and there are so many home made jams, jellies and relishes. You will also find some very nice quilts, all hand quilted by one of the younger mothers in the church.

Friday, January 20, 2006

A Few Years in the Making
















I really don't remember how many years ago I started this quilt. It didn't take long to put it together and I was going great guns in quilting it at first, then life happened as it does and this poor quilt got folded up and put in the closet. I am surprised it didn't fade with age ! Today when I was looking for a pattern for a little girls dress I found this old quilt, half done. I took it out and ran my finger over the quilting, remembering how I wanted to have so many stitches per inch. Tiny straight stitches. Its time to finish it up and use it as it should be used. I remember picking the colors for a girls room all done in pastels and flowers, now its a room of Asian decoration and the girl is a young woman. Guess that gives you an idea of how long its been !

the weather is sunny and warm, 69 degrees
no music, just the ticking of the mantle clock
Barrys Irish tea waiting for me to drink, 2 sugars and a spot of milk

Generations


This is a picture of my great great Grandmother, Harriet Amelia Densmore born in 1846. She is standing outside her home in Noel, Nova Scotia. There is nothing all that remarkable about a photo of a ancestor standing in front of her home but to me what is remarkable is that I got to stay in this house. I got to sleep in a odd size feather bed with my sister in a room that my great grandmother had as her room. Actually it was the same bed. My cousin owns the house now. The house has been in the family since the 1820's. Its been added on to a couple times. It now has a big screened in porch and another room.
It faces the ocean, the Bay of Fundy, where the tide comes in at record speed.
At the top of the stairway is a huge old spinning wheel, a Great Wheel. When I saw it there, I stood there imagining all the hands that made yarn with that wheel. I was looking at something that those before me used to make needed items for their families.
When I was there, walking along the path to the road and across to the ocean, I felt part of a great legacy, I felt my history. Harriet died when she was 88 in 1934, 20 years before I was born. I look at her picture and imagine her feeding the chickens, lighting the kerosene lamps, milking a cow, spinning wool, making her clothes, cooking on wood, and loving her 8 children and still making room to adopt one more. I love this family history and living a part of it with our homestead lifestyle. Connections, through the generations. A good thing.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Recipe for Sweet Rolls

Here ya go ladies, the recipe. Now I will climb back into bed as the bug has returned with vengeance. Guess I should have stuck with chicken noodle soup yesterday and left the cinnamon roll alone !



BASIC SWEET ROLLS RECIPE

4 - 4 1/2 cups flour
1 pkg (1 Tablespoon active dry yeast)
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 Teaspoon salt
2 eggs

In large bowl combine 2 cups of the flour with the yeast. Heat milk, sugar, butter and salt just till warm (115-120 degrees F) stir constantly, ( I never do that ) Add to flour mixture, add eggs, beat at low speed with electric mixer for 1/2 minute. I mix with a spoon. Beat for 3 minutes at high speed, again I mix with a spoon, makes a good workout.
Stir in as much remaining flour as you can. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. 6 - 8 minutes total.
Shape into a ball, put in greased bowl, turning once. Cover and let rise in a warm draft free place until it is double in size, about 1 hour. Punch down, let rest 10 minutes. Roll out dough.
For Creamy cinnamon rolls melt 3 Tablespoons of butter, brush over dough. Combine 2/3 cups packed brown sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and sprinkle over the the dough.
That's what the recipe says anyway. I just sprinkle on some cocoa, it just gives it a nice little added flavor, not a chocolate taste at all. Then sprinkle on the brown sugar till it looks good, then I sprinkle a mixture of cinnamon and sugar till it looks good and smells plenty cinnamony. You can add nuts or raisins if you want to.
Roll up the dough, slice with a knife. Make sure you sealed up your seams real good. Place in a greased pan. Cover and let rise till nearly double ( about 30 minutes) Now here is the good part. Pour a total of 3/4 cup of heavy cream over the pan. Bake in 375 degree F oven for 20 - 25 minutes.
After they are cool you can frost with Icing made of powdered sugar, about 1 cup, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and enough milk to make it drizzling consistency.
Then enjoy !

If you want to make Caramel Pecan Rolls,

place cut rolls atop a pan filled with brown sugar mixture. In a saucepan combine 2/3 cup packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter and 2 tablespoons light corn syrup. Cook and stir until blended. After pouring the brown sugar mixture in the pan, sprinkle pan with 1/2 cup chopped pecans. Bake the same as for the cinnamon rolls. Invert onto serving dish

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Amish Cinnamon Roll Baking Day


Back to normal health wise so it was a busy day on the old homestead. It was time again to make one of the families favorites. Amish cinnamon rolls. You make your favorite sweet bread dough, roll it out brush on melted butter, and sprinkle the dough with a bit of cocoa, cinnamon and brown sugar. I usually add a bit of white sugar too. Roll it up, slice it and put it in the pan to rise. When its done rising, pour cream all over them, and some in the pan. Yup, cream. Bake them according to your sweet bread recipe instructions. Watch your time as rolls bake faster of course. Makes the most delightfully moist cinnamon rolls.
There are never any of these that get stale in our house !
We always make them big too. This size pan which is huge, uses a double recipe of dough.

When You are Sick


Just like in the olden days, when you are sick on the farm, you still have to do the chores. We have all had some nasty stomach bug complete with all the things you never want to experience. But still, the animals have to be fed and wood needs to be brought in for the stove etc. Yesterday morning the house was cold, and I had a fever. My husband was out working and I needed to warm up the house so sick as can be, I still had to light the woodstove. It took a lot to pull myself out of the warm bed and face the cold house. It sure makes you know what you are made of.
I have watched my children milk goats with fevers and tend to their chores when they were not feeling all that great. Part of farm life. There is no such thing as "calling in sick"
Since we don't have any sort of 'instant" meals on hand, I was mighty glad no one felt like eating, since I didn't feel like cooking. Glad it was a short lived bug. Back to normal in a couple days. Lots of laundry to hang today and cinnamon rolls to make along with some cream of broccoli soup for supper. The broccoli is growing so well right now we are eating it just about every day.

Daddys Hands
















This morning I was listening to a tape called Precious Memories and "Daddys Hands" is one of the songs on the tape.
My children have just such a Daddy. He is so loving, so hard working, so gentle and kind. I love this mans hands for the many kind deeds and the hard work they do for his family. We are so blessed to have this man in our lives. In the 27 years we have been married I have never ever heard an unkind work or harsh word come from his lips.

Daddy's Hands
I remember daddy's hands folded silently in prayer

and reaching out to hold me when I had a nightmare
you could read quite a story in the caluses and lines
years of work and worry had left their mark behind
I remember daddy's hands how they held my momma tight
and patted my back for something done right
there are things that i've forgotten that I loved about the man
but I'll always remember the love in daddy's hands
[chorus]
Daddy's hands were soft and kind when I was cryin
Daddy's hands were hard as steel when I'd done wrong
Daddy's hand weren't always gentle but I've come to understand
there was always love in daddy's hands
I remember daddy's hands working til they bled
sacrificed unselfishly just to keep us all fed
If I could do things over I'd live my life again
and never take for granted the love in daddy's hands