Saturday, June 25, 2016

Picture my Week

Some time spent on the trail on a lovely afternoon.

That was a lot more relaxing than working on a coding project I'm in the middle of.
Rosebud created an enormous banana pudding. Complete with homemade pound cake. It was our first time using our homemade vanilla, which turned out to taste great. So good that I'll have a hard time going back to the store bought stuff.
The girls put an assortment of puzzles together. It took Sunbeam a while to get this one, but she was pleased with it once it was done.
Rosebud did several puzzles and then started a huge one. It'll take a long time to get it done.
Another afternoon spent at a friends pool. Buddy thought he had it made to have the girls give him rides on this float-y.

Friday, June 24, 2016

When Life Happens

Have you ever noticed how so often after you have felt especially inspired by something God is showing you through reading the Bible, or listening to a sermon, that something will often happen that allows you to use this newfound inspiration?

It's often not very fun.

For example, I was listening to a message by Otto Koning regarding a spiritual weapon we possess, and how to use it. It's called simply, the weapon of rejoicing.

Rejoicing when things are going according to plan, rejoicing when good things happen. That's all pretty easy.

Rejoicing when things go wrong, when unexpected things keep piling up. Your vehicle breaks down, your major appliances decide to die, health problems arise, betrayal happens, and more. Well that's a lot harder to keep rejoicing and praising God for everything. But so effective.

I'm wielding that weapon right now. It's a little heavier than I imagined when I was feeling so inspired, but I know with every fiber of my being that God is good.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Interesting Night-time Happenings

A sudden noise startled me out of a sound sleep, it was immediately followed by a long sickening tearing sound, and an even louder crashing. I envisioned our chicken coop flattened under a tree, but with the dark and the rain there was nothing to see out the window. It would have to wait until morning.

When light crept through the clouds we headed outside to survey the damage. Only a large limb, about the size of an average tree had fallen, smashing the fence to the cow pasture. Until the branch could be cut up, and the fence repaired, we got all the cows into the front part of the pasture and closed the gate to keep them from wandering into the back part and getting out.
I was up early this morning in the middle of a thunder storm. As I was getting a drink at our kitchen sink I witnessed a magnificent bolt of lightning hitting one of the windmills. Huge showers of sparks continued to shoot from the windmill for a little while after the lightning bolt had disappeared. The windmill is standing quiet today.
Eastern coyotes are much more wolf like than the ones we used to have in the Midwest. We've been seeing a number of them roaming the field here by the barn and visiting the creek by the waterfall. They're nice to look at when we're safely in the house, but the noise they create when howling in the middle of the night ..... let's just say, it's hard to sleep through that!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Growing up, we always kept a supply of grape-nuts on hand. Since store bought cereals were a very rare treat, our favorite cold cereal was grape-nuts. With five hungry brothers we went through a lot of them, and sad to say, I learned to not enjoy making them.

For the first time since we got married, last week I finally pulled out the recipe to make grape-nuts. The girls were amused and intrigued by the very pioneer-ish look of the batter, and couldn't imagine how it would possibly be turned into a good cereal.

Much to their surprise, everyone loves it, and I see it becoming a go to recipe for our family, successfully breaking the teenage promise I had made to myself to not be making grape-nuts once I'm in charge of all food decisions.

They take simple basic ingredients, and while they do take a long time to make .... I can't believe I'm saying this ...... they're worth it. Here's the recipe I used, but you may want to reduce the size.


7½ cups milk
½ cup vinegar
4 cups blackstrap molasses
2 Tbsp baking soda
2 Tbsp vanilla
1 Tbsp salt
5 lb whole wheat flour

In a bowl combine milk and vinegar. Allow to set for a minute or two.

In a large bowl, as in, a really large bowl combine molasses, milk mixture, salt, vanilla, and baking soda. Stir until thoroughly combined. Add flour, about ¼ of it at a time, mixing well after each addition. Divide batter into 3 - 9x13 cake pans and bake at 400º for 40 minutes.

Once cool, cut into chunks and grate. I can't imagine trying to do it without my King Cutter, but LV's family used to use a handheld grater when they made them.

Spread the grated crumbles onto a cookie sheet  and bake at 210º stirring every 10-15 minutes until they're dry and hard. It took me 12½ hours to dry them all, working with two large cookie sheets in the oven the entire time.

Pour into a bowl to cool, then store in an airtight container.

These are really filling. When eating I would suggest starting off with only half a cup full. They absorb a lot of milk, so we always add more than you would think would be needed.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Picture my Week

    On a walk to the woods, Buddy, the girls, and I were thrilled to come upon a patch of flowers with at least twenty butterflies fluttering about. I discovered just how hard it is to take a good picture of a butterfly. After numerous attempts to capture them and ending up with only the tip of a wing or nothing but flowers I decided the best that's going to happen is the one with these two.

   Rosebud designed a dress for Sunbeam, made a pattern, and sewed it all by herself. It was her first attempt at tackling a project like this on her own. Sunbeam is happy to have a new play dress, and after it was complete they decided it warrants a photo shoot. This was one of my favorite poses even though it doesn't show off the entire dress.

   I decided to make a batch of grapenuts. It's a simple recipe, one that we used regularly while I was growing up. It is also time consuming once it has been baked to get it all grated and then dried. Having a different tasty option as a breakfast cereal makes it all worth it.
It wasn't until I was resizing this picture that I noticed you can see another part of our week in it. I spy an unpopped popcorn kernel and a single nicely popped one along the back corner of the countertop. Sunbeam has taken to popping popcorn every evening as a bedtime snack.

   Buddy was impressed with this giant balloon Sunbeam gave to him from her birthday stash. Shortly after this picture was taken the thing popped, scaring us all with its almost gunshot noise.

Sometimes you just have to smile at the things that pass by. This time it was an Amish man transporting a few Jersey cows.

Bumblebees are loving the flowers on those big thistle plants. LV is the best photographer in our family. He gets the credit for capturing this.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. If you could sit beside and/or jump in any lake in the whole wide world today, which lake would you choose and why?

I would probably opt for Seneca Lake in New York, because it's the first lake I have memories attached to. My grandparents used to have a house that looked out over the lake, and during the summer we used to visit it when we could to fish and play.

2. What's your favorite 'fruity' drink?

Lemons qualify as a fruit, right? Other than water, lemonade is my favorite drink.
3. I read a list here of thirteen things to do right now to simplify your life. They were-

clean as you go, re-evaluate your relationships (cut toxic ties), unsubscribe (too many blogs and websites), de-clutter, write down your daily goals, reply to emails right away, forget multitasking, create a morning routine, re-evaluate your commitments (which hobbies and responsibilities are most important to you), say no, clean up your computer, and plan your day ahead

Which of the tasks listed do you currently find most helpful in keeping life simple? Which item on the list should you adopt in order to simplify your life this month?
  • Clean as you go is a good one. I don't care to spend an entire day cleaning, when a few extra minutes of doing it as I go is all it takes.
  • Relationships, I hate cutting ties, but I'm learning that sometimes when things happen and relationships end, it's best to allow it to happen rather than running after them.
  • Unsubscribing .... too much work. A lot of the blogs I used to follow and read regularly, sadly, have died over the years. I'm still subscribed to them though. I have a different email account that I use when asked to subscribe to websites. They can email all they like and it doesn't bother me, because I never check it.
  • I write down goals. I'm big on lists of basically every kind you can think of.
  • I need to start doing better in answering emails right away. I get a lot everyday, and it happens more often than I care to admit that some of them take longer than planned to get answered. Sorry.
  • I have a morning routine.
  • Commitments .... I have re-evaluated them and cut back on some to where it works nicely for our family.
  • I'm also learning to say no.
  • Cleaning up my computer .... files etc, I have well organized so I can easily find what I'm looking for. Outside cleaning ... a weekly wipe down is a must in our dusty farmhouse.
  • Planning my day ahead basically falls in the daily goals we addressed above.
Basically I already do everything on this list, except for the answering of emails.

4. What did you do the summer after you graduated from high school? 

Gardening, canning, taking over the main household duties of cooking and cleaning, and helping out in our woodworking shop when needed.
5. Are you a fan of podcasts? If so what's a favorite? 

What's a podcast? I don't listen to any.
6. Do you think today's fathers have it harder, easier, or just different than fathers in the past?

That depends a lot on the family.

7. Tell us one way you're like your father? Or not at all like your father if that's easier?
We are both a bit of a perfectionist.
8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Today we will be enjoy our annual end of the school year ice cream sandwich celebration. We only have ice cream sandwiches once a year, so this is a tradition the children look forward to.