Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Monday's Asian Shopping and Eating

















Pho 95 is my all time favorite restaurant. Pho is a wonderful
soup. Served with lots of noodles, some fresh bean sprouts and mint.
You choose what kind of meat you want added to the soup.
Now this particular Pho restaurant does not have forks so you had better
be good with chop sticks before you go there. The other Pho restaurant in the picture is good but not as good as Pho 95. A couple doors down from Pho Hung is a chinese pharmacist that has an amazing shop and a good knowlege of Chinese medicine, which I am a real believer in. Yes, yes, I know I am once again breaking out of the mold of being what people expect.
We shop often at Hong Kong Market for our food. I grew up with Chinese neighbors and much of my formative years were spent eating Chinese foods and learning about the culture. This love of Chinese foods and culture is deeply rooted in me. We know what to buy and how to fix it. My girls are well acqainted with all sorts of Asian foods. Melanies boy friend is thai and so now we are now learning about thai foods. Many times we have meals of Tibetan foods or chinese foods or Japanese foods complete with the right music to make the meal complete. I love cultural diversity. Sunny needs to help me out with some Korean cooking !

The Good Earth


















The air is warm and dry today. Spring like with a gentle breeze. One apricot tree is beginning to bloom and the daffodils are delighting us with their little yellow bonnet heads. This morning when I woke long before the sun, I knew it was the day to plant. You can feel it in your bones when you have gardened as long as I have. Maybe its like the feeling you have in early spring when you have an overwhelming desire to drive with the windows open, let the wind blow your hair and perhaps that perfect old song comes on the radio that reminds you of your youth. You turn it up loud. Its a perfect mix, you just feel that spring is here.
I headed off to the store to buy some plants and met a man there, 83 years old. He asked me something about the blackberry bush he was holding. Said he just knew I would know what he wanted to know. He said my head covering and dress told him that. We chatted for a while and that while turned into over an hour. Just talking for an hour in the plant section of Wal-mart. Now everyone in my family says I am a people magnet. Everyone comes up to me and talks to me. Its true. People just come over to me and start talking about all kinds of things and I listen. Every person walking free on this earth deserves to be heard at least once. Some I admit may be not so pleasant but we never know how a stranger got to be where they are. Anyway, this kind man was so full of wisdom and grace, yes he was a godly man, full of God's grace. He told me of his love for the Amish and how he went up there a few years ago to become one. He shared with me how he drives around his big old Texas ranch in his Amish buggy, taking life slow and enjoying what you can see and hear at that speed. I liked this man and invited him to church and he was happy about that. If I had been in a rush and hurried him off, it would have been me that was cheated. I would have lost an opportunity to learn from him. I would have lost a blessing. When we did part I said to him, " the Lord bless you sir" and he had a tiny tear come to his eye. He said that was just what he needed today. My heart was filled with such a happy feeling after my encounter with him. And it continued..in the fabric department I purchased 5 yards of a nice solid blue for a new dress. The woman cutting it for me, shared with me all about her 3 children, her 10 grandchildren and her 25 great grandchildren. She was married at 15 and is now 75 and working at Wal-mart. Staying vital and busy. She told me how blessed she was. I parted there after chatting for a bit with my dress fabric in hand and turned to her and said, " the Lord bless you." and she came running up to me and hugged me. Said that was just what she needed today. We all have such a purpose each day. We may be just where we are to say a simple kind word.
I came home, had some lunch with my husband and set to planting in the garden. The beds were stiff and crusty on the top. The soil baked a bit. The hoe easily made the soil into dark rich beds to plant in. On my knees smoothing the soil and digging little holes in which to put the plants, the earth felt good. The soil slightly cool and moist. A good mixture. The tiny clumps breaking with my fingers and reminded me of brown sugar. I planted lettuce, romaine and a red lettuce. I put in lots of spinach and some Brussel sprouts. I stood up, looked at my work and felt good. My bare feet and hands dirty. My white apron, not so white any more. The hem of my slip dusty and brown. Good earth all over me. It occurred to me that having a garden is like meeting that kind older man today. You take some time from your busy day and find gold. Golden moments. Before I came in the house I took some pictures so I could share this all with you and I picked some cabbage from our cabbage patch. Only a few heads left now. I came into the house thinking about baby chicks, tiny ducks, frisky goat kids and reminding myself that there are so many things to be happy about. Each season holding its own joy. I am indeed blessed.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Saying Good-bye


It was so hard to say good-bye today to my daughter. My husband came home for lunch, then the girls and I headed for the airport. We had a tearful parting and then after we were on the road about 10 minutes Melanie's cell phone rang and it was Melissa, saying good-bye one more time. We all felt pretty down in the dumps.
Here is Melissa with my husband just before we left for the airport.

Each and every moment with our children is such a blessing. We feel so rich.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

"New" Sewing Machine and About My Day


The day started off with sun, which was more than a welcome sight after a week of rain.
My husband and I headed off to church and were happy to see so many old friends visiting for the wedding weekend. Church service was very good and the visiting minister, Isaac Martin from California said something very profound in his sermon. He said, " Hard times either makes for hard feelings or hard work" and how true that is and how good to remind us to NOT choose the hard feelings as in the Christian life, there is no room for that. Hard work is good for a person too.
All during fellowship meal, my mind would wander and would think about the mounds and mounds of laundry waiting for me at home and hoping Monday would be as nice as today so that I could wash and hang up the last weeks worth of dirty clothes. Rain does not allow for hanging out laundry !

After the Fellowship meal we stopped by a friends house on the way home and she gave me her Aunts 1921 Singer treadle sewing machine as seen in the picture. I was thrilled. She is moving into a smaller home and decided she should give me the machine to enjoy. And enjoy it I will. She even had a case with the attachments, needles and extra bobbins. My day was turning out pretty nice.
When we pulled into the driveway, we saw our girls both outside playing with the animals, which warmed our hearts. But when we walked in the house, there were stacks and stacks of clean clothes folded and ready to put away. Melissa had washed and hung up 5 loads of wash. All dried and folded by the time we got home late in the afternoon ! What a treat for me. Melanie had helped her bring in all the clothes too.
I sure was a happy mom. Children are such a blessing. Each one in his or her own special way.
Tomorrow we will take Melissa to the airport and I can hardly think about that without wanting to shed a tear. But this week has shown me what a blessing our children are to us.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

New Dress


Some of you have asked that I share a picture of the dress I was making last week. Here it is. Same pattern that I have had for 15 years. You just make adjustments for weight changes, hopefully always having to make them smaller ! There was a wedding this weekend and so time to make a new dress. Church dresses in time become work dresses, after a bit of wear starts to show.
The dress is made to be modest in keeping with the Biblical command to be modest in dress. The top part has an added layer called a cape. It is loose fitting and certainly does not show off any shape. The length of the dress is mid calf or longer. At least 3/4 length sleeves. Neck opening is close to the neck. Amish have no zipper or buttons. Mennonites use the invisible zippers most often. Amish and some Mennonites use only solid color fabrics. Other Mennonites allow for small calico type prints. Amish like to use polyester knits. I like cotton !

Some Days Chores are Less Fun than Other Days


















Some days chores are just a bit more of a challenge than other days. We have had rain or mist for an entire week now. Which is good since we are so behind on rainfall. However, all this rain makes doing chores a bit more of a chore. Take today for instance. It was time, over due really, to clean out the manure in the rabbit barn. Its a bit messier in wet conditions but certainly not as dusty. I grabbed my shovel and rake and went to work. Thinking all this rabbit stuff will be great for the roses. Now mind you I do all my farm chores in a dress, a long dress. I wear boots as you can see in the picture. Bright red ones, since red is my favorite color and also they are red for a practical reason. Everyone else in the family has black, so when my boots were black too, everyone was wearing mine and getting them all nasty. So if mine were different, they had no excuse for grabbing the wrong pair. Back to my chore of manure scooping...it was a messy job to say the least but glad to have it done. No one was around to help me so I got my workout. You have plenty of time to do some thinking while you are shoveling and raking that kinda thing. You could spend the time complaining to yourself about the task at hand but its far more helpful to think about the good aspect of the job.
It was nice to get the wheel barrow load of "stuff" put on the rose bushes and know the rain will help deliver the nutrition into the soil and give me some really pretty flowers this summer.
My boots are mud covered and my skirt is covered in mud splashes. My coat is soaking wet from the rain, but the rabbit barn is nice and clean !

Friday, February 24, 2006

Cookbooks


I am often asked about Amish and Mennonite cook books. So today I took a picture of some of my favorite ones. The Mennonite community Cookbook has many simple practical meals in it and how to cook for a barn raising ! The cookbook I use the most is the one in the upper left hand corner, Cooking From Quilt Country by Marcia Adams.
The photos in the book are wonderful. Its like a picture book too. Lots of good recipes in there that always get rave reviews when used. One such recipe in the book is for Oven Fried Chicken.





OVEN FRIED CHICKEN
Cooking From Quilt Country by Marcia Adams
serves 4-5

This is the best fried chicken recipe I've tried, bar none. ITs is quick to prepare and doesn't require watching. The outside is crusty, and the inside is moist. The flour mixture can be made up in large amounts and stored to use as needed.

1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cip (2/3 stick) butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon dried marjoram (optional)
8-9 chicken pieces - legs, thighs, breasts

Place the oil and butter in a shallow cooking pan ( a jelly roll pan is perfect) and put in a preheated 375 oven to melt. Set aside.
In a large paper sack, combine the flour and seasonings. Roll the chicken pieces, 3 at a time, in the melted oil-butter mixture, then drop them in the sack and shake to cover. Place on a dish or wax paper.
Place the chicken in the pan, skin side down until you have them all done.
Bake for 45 minutes. With a spatula, turn over and bake 5-10 minutes longer, or until the top crust begins to bubble. Serve hot or cold, but the crust texture is better if the chicken is not refrigerated before eating. If you can addord the calories, the pan drippings make an absolutly divine gravy for either mashed potatoes or Baking Powder Biscuits.

Rain on the Roof



If you have been reading my blog for any length of time you know that we have had a severe drought in our part of Texas. Wildfires raged most of the fall and winter.
Today the sky looked rather odd for a bit. The clouds appeared as waves on a sea of gray sky. We kept looking around to see them from another direction. (In the picture the clouds show up better if you click the picture and make it bigger). It wasn't long before rain drops started to fall, sprinkles first and then in an hours time it was pouring rain. Everyone I saw was happy about the rain. The comments were all similar. "Good for the garden". "Good for the hay crop" and on and on. Even the mail man was happy to be delivering mail in the rain.
Poor little Fergus thought the rain was fun but he sure is a mess. Finally I put him in his pen and told him to STAY in his house. Not too sure he has listened.
Its a perfect night to curl up on the couch with a book by the woodstove. Lamp light flickering, rain drops steadily falling on the roof. I am thankful for the rain but more thankful for a cozy warm house and all the love it contains.



More Thoughts on "The Good Old Days"
















In the back of my mind all day today has been thoughts regarding the "Good Old Days". My son Steven took out the whole family for lunch today. He has a heart of gold. 21 years old and serious natured like a man. He sat there so happy to be treating us all to lunch and sitting next to his sisters, laughing and being "the big brother", even though he is younger than both of them. I was watching him and my husband and listening to their talk and hearing in their conversation, and watching in their mannerisms. They are really living proof that you can take the "good" from the "Good Old Days" and be a part of modern times. Neither of them use any slang, not one word. Not even the phrase "kids" for children. They both have old fashioned values and ethics. They work when they are sick, work when they are tired and don't say unkind things or have a temper. They cherish family and love God without feeling silly for doing so. Now, my husband is a bit more old fashioned than my son. Steven likes technology and since Emery never grew up with it, its just not a part of his life and he is still getting used to using a computer.
The cordless phone with all its features is still somewhat of a mystery to him. He is a man that can build anything and fix just about any machine there is. He can plow a field and milk a cow, yet still knows how to run an office.
I watched the two of them with these thoughts mingling androlling around in my head. My girls are modern through and through. College did that to them. They know all the latest music, movies and technology. They use modern terms that have us asking, " what are you talking about?"
The lifestyle I live and seek more of, is one of stepping back and looking for the good we have misplaced in todays society. I want to hold on with all my being the things that were once sure and certain. I want kindness to remain, and predictable behaviors. I want to see value placed on the things that really matter. Not money or possessions.

I want less stress, less rushing. More respect for age and all that comes with it. A moral code that is includes honor.
I believe it is those very things, that draw so many to the plain people. To the conservative Mennonites and Amish folk. In not buying in to the ways of the world, these folks have held on to the very things so many of us seek. Yet, so many are not willing to sacrifice what it takes to live that kind of life. We just wish for the same benefits. Its not just their "quaint" life style that intrigues so many, its how they treat one another also. In the pictures you see the men of the community building on a room for our house. We needed to enlarge the room for bible studies and we could afford the supplies so they came and built the room and later a second room. Community. Christian brotherhood. Kindness without any motive other than to help. That is the sort of thing we all want. But with television and movies and the like bombarding us with just the opposite types of behavior, we get lost. We feel like we don't want anyone to walk on us so we get hard. We demand this or that. We get used to seeing violence and accept it as the way things are in this world.
In the Mennonite and Amish church, they don't press charges if someone steals from them or hurts them. There is NO revenge or feelings of "its my right". They live by a code of "heaping coals" as it says in the Bible. Repay evil with good.
As I watched my plain men sitting next to me today, I was thankful for their "backward" ways and their not so modern dress. And I realized that people are fascinated with the Amish and the Mennonite folk in part because they still maintain the very things we wish for and work towards when we say things like "back in the old days".
Just a side note here. Both times the men from the community helped us build, the girls and I sure had fun cooking for all of them. Nothing like 20 or so hungry men and boys to feed !

Equal Time !



Mothers are always very aware of treating their children equally, and this week has been one of sharing pictures of my oldest daughter and I having fun. Melanie has been hard at work this week and missing out on all the fun and has not been in any of the photos I have shared. Melissa and I feel bad that she has not been able to be with us for all the fun. We have always done things together, all three of us ladies. The boys are never much interested in such adventures. Seems like they want to build things or eat home, my cooking.
I decided this morning that I need to post some pictures of Melanie so you can see her too. In one picture, Melanie is modeling the Renaissance outfit she made for the Renaissance Faire held in our area. Her closet is filled with such outfits. In the other picture, you can see she has inherited my love of hats !
There, I feel better. Melanie will think I am just being silly

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The "Good Old Days"


A few days ago I was buying some fabric at Wal-mart and the cashier was an older man. He made a joke as he was ringing up my fabric by saying, "so you are a sew and sew". I laughed and he asked if I did a lot of sewing. I told him I did and used to make all my children's clothes. He then shared with me that when he went off to college in 1945 he took with him 31 shirts all made by his mother. I was amazed, thinking how making men's shirts is just not much fun and very detailed. No one was behind me in line so he told me about how his mother made lots of his sisters dresses out of sugar sacks and feed sacks. Then he said, "you know the good old days really weren't all that good" and he meant it. He said that life was hard, food was short, his mother went to bed exhausted from all the hard work with no modern conveniences and communication was nothing like it is now. People had to worry for days or weeks waiting for news of loved ones. His 31 shirts represented his mothers worn fingers. He said it would be better if she could have bought them and wasn't so worn to the bone by all the hard work.
I thought about what he said a lot this week. I work hard at doing things the old fashioned way and he had me questioning why. The more I thought about it, the more I realized its not the way we do things now that has me wanting to step back in time but the way modern society acts. I want things the old fashioned way in some attempt to recapture the way people used to behave. With some sort of decorum and by an unwritten code of ethics that seems so much kinder than how people are today. Its not always necessary to say to someone just how you feel. Sometimes its kinder to just let some things slip when they are hurtful or unkind. We are too bold, we don't blush. There are so few mysteries to life any more.
I have thought about the life of some of my ancestors. In the picture is my great great great Grandmother. Born in 1838 in Ireland. Came to Boston and worked as a maid. My great great great Grandfather saw her working when he was in Boston after sailing from Nova Scotia on his clipper ship. He was a man in love with the sea but also fell in love with her and her red hair. Joseph Webb married her and they had three children. The oldest girl in the picture is my great great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth. Margaret and Joseph had a wonderful love but after the baby was born, Joseph was lost at sea. Joseph had no radio to call for help or a cell phone to use. There was no coast guard helicopters to search for his ship. Margaret had to wait and wait and wait, hoping he would return. She waited for years. She had to raise her children alone, no government help. No social security. She had no family to help her except for her in laws. The good old days were not all that good for her.
I think technology is a blessing, just we have changed so much in the last 100 years in the way we treat one another, but we don't know how to recapture the good we have lost. We don't know how to make children respect their elders or play like they used to. We don't know how to be patient or have friends and family be a real part of our daily lives. We are lonely for family when we are all scattered. Women are so busy trying to do it all and then not even sure why they are doing it. People quit things when they get a little hard. We wish they didn't. I guess its not the soap making, or the spinning wool that I am really after, its more the way people acted when everyone was doing that sort of thing. Little House on the Prairie is good not because they live so old fashioned, but because they lived so kind to one another. I think that sums it up

Evening Meal



















Here are some pictures from tonight's meal, along with one of Melissa at the table. My other daughter was working and Steven is sick. We had bistro type music playing in the background, candles lit, fresh spring flowers lightly scenting the room. Here are a couple of the recipes I used tonight with all the credit to Mireille Guiliano for sharing them in her book, "French Women Don't Get Fat".
I highly recommend her book, its a treat to read it and certainly gives all American women much to think about regarding eating habits and in presenting the meal.

Fancy Cream of Carrot Soup
Serves 8
Ingredients
2 bay leaves
5 cups peeled and sliced carrots
4 medium-size onions, peeled and sliced
2 potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Whole nutmeg

1. Bring 10 cups of water to a boil. Add the bay leaves and all the vegetables. Simmer for 45 minutes.
2. Remove the bay leaves, and then purée the carrots in a food mill. Add the sugar and heavy cream and heat over low flame until piping hot.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Grate a pinch of nutmeg as garnish.

Chicken Au Champagne
Serves 4
Start with the best and most flavorful fresh chicken you can find. Organic, free-range chicken is more widely available than ever. As for the Champagne, I recommend Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut. (Quelle surprise!) Okay, here's my disclaimer: I work for the company, but I am also addicted to its rich, full-bodied style and quality. Lots of good sparkling wines are made around the world, but they don't taste the same as French Champagne. And even Champagnes vary a good deal, depending on the grapes used, winemaking, and aging. Champagne has two reliable properties for cooking (or drinking). The first is dryness. Champagne is an austere wine, high in acidity. With chicken, I am not looking for sweetness, so Brut is the style of Champagne that works best. Second, I consider the flavors the wine imparts to the chicken. Veuve Clicquot is notable for its rich, full body and full flavor, having been made mostly from red grapes (Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) with about a third Chardonnay. Ingredients 4 chicken breasts (with skin and bone) Salt and freshly ground pepper Chervil, tarragon, or thyme (optional) 1 shallot, quartered 1 cup Champagne (Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut recommended)

My personal note: sparkling apple juice works fine in place of Champagne

1. Place the chicken breasts in a roasting pan, and season them. Pour 1/2 cup of the Champagne over breasts. Make a slit in each breast and insert a piece of shallot.

2. Place the pan under the broiler, skin-side down, for 3 minutes, until the skin is nicely browned. Turn and broil the other side for 5 minutes.

3. Remove the chicken from the broiler, baste with the pan juices, and add the remaining 1/2 cup of Champagne. Adjust the oven temperature to 475 degrees and bake the chicken for 30 minutes, basting once or twice.

4. Serve over brown rice. Sautéed mushrooms add a special touch and go beautifully with Champagne. (In a warm frying pan with a touch of olive oil, add clean, roughly chopped mushrooms, and cook for a few minutes. Add a few drops of lemon juice, freshly chopped sage, seasoning to taste, and 1 tablespoon of butter.) Pour the cooking juices from the chicken over the meat and rice. Serve the remainder of the bottle of Champagne (about 6 glasses) with the meal.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

FREEB!RDS and STARBUCKS




















Burritos at Freebirds are an experience. Huge monster things filled with all fresh ingredients and made right in front of you. We had so much fun chatting and looking at all the "art" made of aluminum foil that the burritos are wrapped up in.
We shopped a bit and then headed for coffee at Starbucks. We enjoyed a hot cup Marble Mocha Macchiato along with some good conversation.

Morning Mist



Since my oldest daughter is home we have been doing some of the things she has missed the most about Texas. This morning was cold and misty out. Melissa went out to do chores with me and had fun playing with Fergus. The fog was rather dense so we waited till noon to go into Ft Worth for lunch and shopping. Naturally we had Mexican food. Not a lot of that to be found in Vermont !

Monday, February 20, 2006

Quilting Frame and More Fabric



My husband got my Grace quilting frame put together. We had stained it so had to wait for that to dry properly. Now I just need to read the directions on how to put the quilt on the frame.
Also I had to go by the fabric department today when I was getting something at Wal-Mart, and there were all these new blue fabrics. I ended up buying more fabric. I just envisioned a quilt of blues.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Big Surprise At My Door Tonight


Tonight there was a knock on my door. We were surprised to see my daughters friend there. The roads are all so icy and she lives at least 40 miles from us. We welcomed her and then a bit later there was another knock at the door. I opened the door to find my oldest daughter who lives in Vermont. She surprised us by coming to see us for a week during her vacation. She kept it a secret from us. My daughters friend had picked her up at the airport and then made Melissa stay outside for a bit to make the surprise bigger.
I can't stop smiling. Its been over a year since we have had any time with Melissa. She came for a couple hours in September but that hardly counts.
In the picture my daughter Melanie is on the left, in the middle their friend Sloan and then on the right my oldest daughter Melissa.
I am one happy mother tonight !

Infant of Prague


When I was just a small child, my mothers friends Mary and Ralph went to Rome and came back with a statue of the Infant of Prague for my sister, it had been blessed by the Pope.
My sister used to stand by their huge statue of the Infant in their dinning room and gaze up at it. Never saying a word. They remembered that when they went to Rome and bought her one of her own. Smaller than theirs. My sister placed her statue on her dresser in our room. I remember laying in bed and looking for what seemed like hours at that statue of my sisters. It was so beautiful to me. We were not Catholic but secretly I always wished I was. Where I grew up, 5 miles north of Boston, 99% of the population is catholic I think. Italian or Irish Catholics. When all my little friends were making their first communions I was so jealous of their pretty white dresses and veils. I remember asking my mother to buy me a first communion dress. When she told me we didn't do that, I felt cheated.
As the years passed, my special affinity for the Infant of Prague remained constant. My sister knowing remembered my love of her Infant of Prague and gave me my own statue a couple years ago. The one in the picture.

I have always felt so close to the Infant of Prague. Around my neck is always a medal of the Infant that my best friend gave me. Never is my house without a candle with the Infant on it.
5 years ago a dear friend of mine showed me how to make Rosary beads and I have made many and several Infant of Prague chaplets.
Its never mattered to me that this type of adoration was not something non Catholics felt or particpated in. My age, combined with my rather ecclectic outlook gives me the freedom and security to do the things I feel close to without regard to it fitting in some nice slot. I love the Rosary, I love my Infant of Prague statue. Its a vital part of my Christian experience. Simple as that. And being that it is so special to me, I wanted to share it. As I walked by the lit candle this morning, it seemed so beautiful to me so of course I had to snap a picture.
Once again, I am not fitting into the stereotypical mold, but that is who I am.

Iced Cabbage and Other delights



Yesterday was cold and icy but today is even more so. I had to snap a picture of the cabbage again today as it looked frosted with sparkling sugar only it was ice. The tiny red yucca blooms long since past their time, faded and dried on the plant, caught the magic touch of the ice painter giving it beauty once again.
How delightful the hand of the Master Creator for giving us beauty in so many ways throughout the year.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

More Orange

Here is the orange yarn that I started a couple days ago. The spool here shows how much more I have spun in about 4 hours of spinning since the last picture I posted. I am making this very fine. To compare, the white cord you see in the picture is a double strand of ordinary string, the kind they use to tie up the boxes in a bakery. The yarn spun here will be plied with another strand so that it is a two ply yarn when I am done.

Cozy Night

The evening had us all gathering around the woodstove to stay warm. The other end of the house is not quite so cozy and no one lingers in the other rooms. Melanie has spent the day with a warm wool hat on, while in the house. The other rooms are not horribly cold, maybe 62 or something like that. But the contrast makes it feel a bit more. We have piled on the blankets just in case someone forgets to get up in the middle of the night to put another log on the fire. Mornings can be a bit cold with no fire in the stove.
I spent a couple hours sitting close to the stove in my rocker, spinning some wool. After a bit I decided to do some sewing on a new dress I am making. When I sew my dresses, all the seams are double stitched, that is so when they get too worn for church they will become practical work dresses and withstand the stretching and pulling from doing chores. We have a late night guest coming to spend the night so they don't have to drive far in the morning on the icy roads. We are getting the bed ready now. One more place for breakfast. We always have room for more !
Time for a cup of sleepytime tea and then off to bed.

Chilly Saturday






Take a walk with me as I head out to do my morning chores. Its cold so bundle up !
This morning going out to do chores required a few extra layers of clothing. A nice warm flannel slip under my dress, leggings along with hat, gloves and my big work coat. Thrusday we had hot weather, 85 dergrees. Today it never got out of the 20's. And with that there was a brisk north wind giving us wind chills of about 12. The stairs off our little back porch were tiny skating rinks. Solid ice. I suspected this and hopped of the side, skipping the stairs all together. The grass under my feet crunching as if you could hear each blade brake like a tiny piece of glass. Naturally the water in the bucket for the critters was frozen. The bucket is large enough that I could put my foot in there and break the ice. Certainly beats using a hand to break the ice and then have wet gloves to do chores with. I had brought out a small pail of steaming hot water to give the rabbits to help warm them up a bit. They were as appreciative as rabbits can be. The nesting boxes were filled with warm eggs. I tucked them in my pockets , taking off my gloves and finding some added warmth in the pockets from the eggs. The rest of the chores went quickly. A quick check of the garden showed that most of the hardy vegetables made it fine, even though they had ice all over them. The cabbage and collard greens appear to be sprinkled with sparkling ice diamonds.
It felt real good to walk through the house and find my way to the woodstove and warm my hands up. I love cold weather simply for the contrast it gives us. After being outside one really appreciates the warmth of a cozy home.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Old World Lunch


Very often we eat a rather unusual lunch by most American standards. Deep within me runs a core of a true health food enthusiast. For years we have eaten more unprocessed foods than not. Now that may be hard to believe in view of some of the recipes and pictures I have shared, but they are just a small part of what types of food we eat. Today's lunch consisted of the foods shown in the picture, muesli bread, mission figs, pecans, almonds and ginger. Before these items we did have butternut squash soup, which was perfect for this chilly day. We ended our meal with steaming mugs of Pero, a drink from Switzerland made of malted barley, barley and rye. Its quite good. A bit of sugar and milk added to it.
Dala horses danced all over the table with this cloth from Sweden. The bright colors bringing a cheeriness to a rather cold and gray day. I love all things Scandinavian.
I had first purchased the fabric for curtains but decided to just hold off cutting it and have used it as a table cloth many times, but secretly I envision it as the backing for a quilt. I would love to make an appliquéd quilt top of bright red and blue dala horses. Someday ! First I need to learn how to appliqué.
The wooden spoon in the picture is one my father carved for me a couple years ago. The mug, is ceramic from England, made by monks and the glaze is called gun powder or something like that. I have two mugs from that monastery and they are treasures as they are no longer made. Today's music is Chant, a CD by Benedictine monks. I have a deep love of Gregorian chants and even taught my children Latin just so they would be able to understand what is being sung when we listen to my collection of Gregorian chants. The gift of knowing Latin has been far reaching for the children, far beyond just understanding chants.

Sunday Blessings

Soft music, the gentle kind of music that makes you feel content with life... the view from the window as I sit and spin at the wheel makes ...