Tuesday, August 28, 2007


When we went to Grammy and Poppy's house to get peaches, the fun was not just limited to stuffing peaches in freezer bags. Grammy has horses. Emily Rose got to go out for a trail ride behind Grammy on her beautiful horse Chief. Grammy didn't realize that Grandma Faith had been teaching Emily a few things about horses too.

So when they got back to the corral, Emily got to show Grammy what she could do. She rode Chief around in the fenced area for quite a while and did a real good job. Next time we are at Grammy's Emily will get some more lessons.

Forest wanted to go out looking for little critters, so Poppy took him for a hike. They found two live rattlesnakes they named Timmy and Jimmy. They found the skin that Timmy had recently crawled out of, so that came home with us, and Timmy stayed at his home. They found a mama cricket full of eggs, along with other things that I don't recall.

Grammy and Poppy have a young horse named Bucky that they have been working with. He was ready to have a person sit on his back for the first time. Since Forest is the lightest kid available, he got to have the first try. Poppy stayed with him the whole time, and Bucky did really well. They gave him a treat, and practiced getting on and off several times. Then Emily Rose got a turn. Bucky did so well. It is clear that he is going to be an excellent horse.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Good Vantage Point

This beautiful bird came and landed on my husband's amateur radio tower last week. I think it is an osprey. (Tell me if I'm wrong.) I've never seen one here before. He must have been on his way to somewhere and found the tower to be a good vantage point. There are no fish to catch here, but there are lots of mice and other rodents.

Looking at these pictures, I think my husband must have climbed the tower a ways to get such good photos of this fine bird in the evening light. It is a long ways up there. Do you see the bird on the lowest vertical beam of the antenna?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sew Crafty Friday - Berry Cute Apron

I didn't think I would have time to sew today, but it turned out that I did. My daughter's favorite overalls started to have some irreparable mechanical difficulties. So I cut off the bib, and sewed on a skirt and ties to make it into an apron for her. It didn't take too long, and turned out real cute. The fabric is of strawberries, blueberries, blossoms and butterflies. It came out of my stash. My husband says if I were to make an under dress in a coordinating color, it would work as a real nice pinafore.

We are going to make some bags out of the legs of the overalls and a little purse out of the back pockets. I love the idea of remaking old clothes. I have remade a couple large skirts from the second hand store into smaller ones that fit me. But I've never made one clothing item into so many interesting new things before. It is so neat when things don't go to waste.

Rosemary Potatoes

Do you have any Rosemary growing in your garden? Have you wondered what to do with it. I picked some recently and the smell was so delicious I knew I had to make some Rosemary Potatoes. We have learned it is delicious even with no free oil added.

It is really easy to make. No exact proportions are needed.

Cut up some potatoes into a baking dish. I like to use the thin skinned type of potatoes such as Yukon Golds or Red Potatoes. It is fun to use those tiny little boiling potatoes that come in a bag, but they are very expensive, and don't taste any better. So I stick with regular sized potatoes cut into cubes. Cut some onion into large chunks and scatter it on top of the potatoes. Use a lot (unless you don't like onions) because it give such a nice flavor. Get a head of garlic, separate the cloves, and them smash each one with a large chef knife. This firm action smashes them just a little bit to release flavor, and loosen the skin. The skin comes off easily now. Scatter the garlic cloves over the potatoes. Lay 3 - 4 sprigs of rosemary on top. Pour in just enough water to cover the bottom of the dish. The put on the lid or cover with foil. My 9 x 13 inch dish full of potatoes took 1 hour to bake at 400 degrees.

When the potatoes are soft, lovely smells with be wafting through the house drawing in your hungry family. Serve the potatoes with a pitcher of cashew gravy , then you don't need any margarine or butter. Complete the meal with a huge Romaine and Vegetable salad, and a bowl of barely cooked (frozen) green peas. Yum!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dry Falls

It was a gorgeous summer morning when we drove past Dry Falls, Washington last week. It is a really interesting place believed to be formed when a huge amount of ice melted, water backed up behind an ice dam, and then when the dam broke, water flowed forcefully everywhere, including through this dry falls and canyon.

There were people in canoes and kayaks down in the water. I'm not sure how they got there. They looked like tiny dots from up at the view point. Maybe we will have to try doing that sometime.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The New Look

Sorry it has taken me so long to get pictures of my newly painted walls up for you to see. I am really happy with it for the most part. There is one section that I may change to the lightest color. And I still have all the trim by the front door to paint, including a stair railing. Then I should paint down the stairs and in the downstairs hall. But that might have to wait until the weather gets a little colder. Right now there are so many things to do that are desperately needing my attention. The before picture for the wall is here.

After I painted my walls and got things back together, my friend called me to come get peaches from her trees. She worked with me and by yesterday afternoon there were 98 new quart bags of tree ripened peaches in my freezer. I am so happy because that means we can have peaches at least twice a week in our smoothies. And they will be sweet and worth eating, since they were picked ripe.

In this picture you can see the brown wall, one of the peach walls, and a touch of the purple in the kitchen. The shades on the windows are a gray and beige mixture. So I would like to make some new valences to hide them just a bit. They are in good condition, and I just can't justify buying new ones. It would be too expensive, because I would need them for three large windows and two sliding patio doors.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Cormorant Condo

Near Lopez Island in the San Juan Islands, WA

These lovely red condos come with a fresh sea breeze and a view worth living for. They come with the music of the wind and waves and the call of sea birds flying by. The current flowing by moves an apparatus underneath which makes some chimes ring to warn fog bound ships of the condo's location. There are eight units available, each with private access and landing pad. The demand is high, so send in your application right away so that you can fly on in the next time there is a unit available.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Fresh Cucumber Tomato Salad

Here is another recipe that I'm making with the produce from my garden. Cucumber salad is delicious all through the year, but is best when the tomatoes and cucumbers are straight out of the garden. It is a nice cooling side for a spicy curry.

Fresh Cucumber Tomato Salad

2 - 3 cucumbers, diced or sliced
3 - 4 tomatoes, chopped or wedged
1 medium sweet onion diced
the juice from one fresh lime (or lemon)*
1 tsp. salt

Mix. Taste. Add more lime or salt if needed. Serve right away.

*Fresh lime or lemon juice is so much more delicious then the preserved stuff in a bottle. Really. Do a taste test. They are not the same thing. And the fresh juice doesn't have added chemicals.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Super Squash Curry

Did you know that my favorite food is Thai food? Because the weather in Thailand is hot, I often think of curry when the weather gets hot. I lived there long enough to really get it into my system. I've got Thai basil growing in my garden and it is just begging to be made into something delicious. My favorite use of Thai basil is in Squash Curry. You have just got to try it. And if you don't have any Thai basil, don't worry. It tastes fantastic without it.

Super Squash Curry

1 can coconut milk
1 can water
1 - 3 tsp of Thai Kitchen green or red curry paste (I used 3 tsp. green paste and don't think it's too spicy) *
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 - 2 onions, peeled in large chucks
1/2 large red pepper (optional but adds nice taste and color)
1 - 2 cups frozen green peas (optional, but I miss them if I don't have any)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (important)
1 - 2 handfuls of leaves of Thai basil (optional)
1 - 2 tsp. salt to taste

Cooked Rice.**

Pour about half of the can of coconut milk into a soup pan on medium high. If part of the coconut milk is solid, use the solid half. Add 1 - 3 tsp of curry paste and stir until it is bubbly and smells really good. Add the onions and the squash, the remaining coconut milk and about a can full of water. Use the coconut milk can to measure. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the squash is tender. It might take around 20 minutes, depending on how big your chunks are. As soon as it is soft add any of the remaining ingredients that you have

*A note about the curry paste. Any Thai curry paste will do, but not all curry pastes are equal. I have tried quite a few. Most will do if you don't care about what is in the curry paste. Read the label. Many have shrimp or some other sea creature which I have no desire to eat. Some add MSG, but call it "spices." I was about to give up buying curry paste and just make my own. It isn't hard to make. But then I found the Thai Kitchen brand. It is vegan and gluten free and delicious! You can find it in heath minded stores such as Wild Oats, Whole Foods, and Huckleberries. My favorite is the green curry paste which has a few spices found in Indian foods. The red is very good too. I use the red in potato curries quite often.

**I really like Jasmine rice, but because of it's low nutrition content, I have switched to brown rice. My favorite is organic short brown rice. I really think that the organic rice tastes better, and the short brown rice cooks up tender and soft, easy to eat.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bean Pesto

The Basil in my yard is growing fast. It is time to eat it every day if possible. Here is one of my favorite recipes for basil. It is dairy free, and doesn't contain pine nuts. It is a delicious addition to Raw Spaghetti. My recipe is here. And Raw Spaghetti is a great way to use all the big zucchinis growing in your garden.

Bean Pesto

1 1/2 cups (1 can) great northern beans, rinsed well and drained
1 cup fresh basil
1-2 cloves garlic
2 tsp. nutritional yeast
1 tsp. fresh lemon or lime juice
2 Tbsp. raw pumpkin seeds
salt to taste (optional)

Blend and serve.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What Kind of Flower are You?

A blogging friend told me about this flower quiz and I gave it a try. Which flower are you? It is fun to see if they are right.

You Are A Lily

You are a nurturer and all around natural therapist.
People see you as their rock. And they are able to depend on you.
You are a soothing influence. You can make people feel better with a few words.
Your caring has more of an impact than even you realize.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Garden Produce

Yesterday while I was painting the garden was growing produce. I knew it needed picked yesterday, but didn't know just how badly it did. There is still painting to do today, but I made the garden number one on the to do list. I was excited to pick so many of the large tomatoes because that means I can start freezing them. We ate every peach off of the peach tree without freezing one, so I bought four boxes to freeze. They should be ready tomorrow. My to do list is getting long.
Emily Rose came out with the camera and caught me picking basil. I wasn't going to show it to you, but decided that you might like to see my successful tomato picking garb. I wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt that my husband doesn't like to wear, buttoned to the the top, and at the sleeves. Garden gloves would cover my hands, but I can't feel the tomatoes very well through the thickness. Usually I go without gloves, and then itch for quite a while afterward.

Today I grabbed a pair of the vinyl gloves that I use to protect my hands when painting. Success! They were perfect for picking tomatoes. I could feel the tomatoes, and yet, when I was all done, I wasn't itching anywhere! I'm going to keep a box of those gloves by my garden shoes from now on.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Focus on the Lamb

Sunset at Rosario, WA

I have been thinking much about worship with my children lately. It seems there is precious little time to teach them about Jesus. Soon they will be grown. I've let so many chances to pass when I could have led my children in worship. I get so busy doing things and thinking about things. And when I do make time for worship, the question of what to do or say weighs heavy. It seems there are so many books, songs, and activities you can do on a spiritual topics. What should I choose? Am I choosing the best?

I shared my thoughts with a respected friend who has college age children. Her experience, wisdom and living walk with Jesus means so much to me. She was able to simplify things in such a meaningful way.

She reminded me of the Hebrew system of worship when they were out in the desert with Moses. Morning and evening they would gather, and the whole focus was on the Lamb.

And isn't that the way it should be? Morning and evening coming together to thank the Lamb of God, Jesus, for dying for our sins?

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name.
For the Lord is good and His love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations."

Psalm 100:4-5

Friday, August 10, 2007

New Couches, New Colors

When I wrote about our old couch this morning, I intended to photograph the new couches and include them in my post. But then I accidentally pushed the publish button before I intended to. Then I found my camera batteries ran out just when I needed them and no new ones were in the charger. The pictures are a little delayed, but here they are.
Here is the couch I bought a couple years ago. It has been moved into the spot held by the old couch and looks very lovely there.

And here are the new/used couches I just brought home this week. (Can you believe that they wanted to sell them after just one year? There is nothing wrong with them. They decided that they would rather have leather.) They are in our family room, which is connected to the kitchen, making one big airy room. Some of you may remember my purple kitchen. When I stand at the sink, which is in an island, with the purple wall behind me, this is what I see. You can see the purple wall on my old blog here.

The reason I'm telling you about this is I bought paint today so I can update the room. The white walls have been there ever since we moved to this house. I've been hoping for time to put some color on them. I feel a little daring, and I hope I'm not making a mistake. But I do know if I don't like it, that I tried, and I can go choose a better color. My friend reminded me this morning that it is just paint.

I am hoping to put the warm cinnamon brown/burnt Sienna color on the wall you see behind the new couches, and on the small wall you don't see, to the right. The peachy color will go on the wall to the left which includes the wall with the grape table cloth and curtains in my other blog. The lightest color will go on the ceiling, and the next to lightest color will go on some other white walls in the hall etc. I'll try to remember to photograph it when I'm finished. I can't wait to see if I like it. I hope it won't be too shocking for friends who prefer safe pale colors.

Out with the Old! In with the New!

I think we could have won the ugliest couch contest with this fine piece of furniture. But it is too late now, because it has gone out the door and will never be allowed in the house again. This is how it looked when my husband bought long before we were married. And this is how it looked when we got married. Because it was the only couch we owned between us, it stayed. It did have some nice features about it. It was long enough for my husband to stretch out on a take a nap. It did give a comfortable nap. It was also a couch I did not worry about at all. I let the kids play on it, eat on it, roll on it and drag the cushions around to make forts.

After a while I was ready for a new couch though my husband wasn't. So we compromised, and I bought a slip cover and some pillows. That helped tremendously! My eyes could rest too. We kept the couch another 5 or 6 years. We moved to a bigger house. I did buy another couch because we had a living room and family room now. But the old couch stayed. It was still loved by my husband.

It may have left sooner, but I had another problem. I find furniture stores so overwhelming. There are so many things to choose from, but they don't usually have something that I like, at least at the price I am willing to pay. I have gathered my courage numerous times, gone to the furniture store, and then went back home, not one step closer to figuring out what I wanted.

Then I bought a recliner at a garage sale. I came to love the chair. So did my husband. Sometimes we would try to sit in it together. We have even tried to add the two kids to the pile for story time togetherness. It was at those moments that I came to long for a double reclining love seat. But I knew they were way too expensive. Then at the first of July we visited friends. I sat in their new reclining love seat, and knew it was just what I wanted, down to the fabric and color. I dreaded going shopping, but finally knew what I was going to be searching for.

Last Friday I checked the classified ads in the paper and found what I thought I was looking for. The lady let me come over to see, and it was. I didn't even have to go to a furniture store. She had two double reclining pieces. One love seat size and the other was couch size. They are beige in color with microfiber suede fabric. And they were only one year old from a non-smoking home without pets. They are so comfortable and look so nice! And now all four of us can snuggle up for story time, and the grown ups get to have their feet up too.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Perfect Peaches

Back on March 30, 2007 I posted a picture of our peach tree. You can see it here at my former blog site. I was concerned that a frost that night might keep us from an abundant harvest. Well, instead of a decreased harvest, we have had our best harvest ever! The Red Haven Peaches are sweet and wonderful, straight off the tree, with no pesticides sprayed on them! I don't think there are any better peaches around. I'm really thankful for our little tree and look forward to when we have enough trees producing to freeze our own peaches too.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Garden Richness

The rest of the garden is doing well, though nothing compares to the tomatoes. I've got two kinds of basil, Italian basil (front right), and Thai basil (front left), a second crop of broccoli (right), kale (left) and leeks in the far back.
The cabbage is looking lovely and growing large. Beside it are some potatoes, and stevia. There are eggplants and several kinds of peppers in another bed.

In this abundant bed there are two kinds of cucumbers in the front and New Zealand spinach that self seeds from year to year in the back.

Abundant Tomatoes

Through the month of July my garden was pretty much neglected. The sprinkler system watered it it for me, but not one person went out there and weeded for me. When I got back home this is what my tomato patch looked like. In just three months my tomatoes turned into a jungle. For those of you who didn't see what they looked back at the end of May you can look here.

I remember the first time I grew tomatoes here, I didn't know what to do. The jungles started growing, and I managed to make a tunnel through each row. That year there was a huge production of tomatoes. I was giving boxes away. The next year I cut down on the number of plants and started cutting vines that were out of control. Last year I pruned even more vigorously then ever, but then I didn't end up with enough tomatoes. Part of the problem was that I tried some varieties that didn't do as well as usual.

This year I got back to the tried and true varieties: Early Girl, Beefsteak, Roma, and Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes. And I'm not going to prune if I can help it. Instead to tame the jungle, I went out with some string that used to hold together hay bales, and started tying up tomatoes. It took me quite a long time. It was hot, but I had to wear long pants, long sleeves and gloves. I get quite itchy when working with tomato vines.

I was really happy with the results. I could then walk down the paths and pick a very abundant crop of cherry tomato crop into an extra large bowl. There were a couple of the larger tomatoes ripe also, with many more almost ready. We really had a feast for lunch. I look forward to the long harvest which stretches far into October. It is so good to have enough to share.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Sew Crafty Friday - Baby Quilt

Today is Sew Crafty Friday, started my my friend Shereen. You can go to her blog and see what others are making and post a link to your Sew Crafty Creation.

What I have to share today I made back in April for my new baby niece. I was so excited when I finished it, I quickly packed it in a box and mailed it off, forgetting to photograph it. My dear sister just sent me a photo of the quilt so you can all see it now. I made the quilt to look good in a Pooh Bear themed room, without having a single Pooh Bear on it. It is an extra large crib sized quilt.

Also in the quilting room is an Alaska themed wall quilt that I am almost done quilting. I hope to have it finished and the binding on very soon.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Bigger Better Bike Seat

We went for a family bike ride yesterday afternoon, the first one for a long time, and the best one ever. The good news is that both kids are able to handle their bikes well now, and even Forest is more aware of safety. He's on a big enough bike now that he can keep up. My daughter is on my mom's bike now. Mom gave it to her for her birthday last year. She was thrilled to have a "grown up" bike. My husband purchased my bike for me just after we were married. But sadly, because of pregnancies and small children through the last few years, it has been ridden more by visiting friends then by me. Part of the problem is the seat on the bicycle. It is a gel seat, and supposed to be comfortable, but the part of my body that contacts the seat disagrees.

While we were out riding, I was starting to dream of owning one of those seats made just for women with cut outs right where they should be. I didn't know that my daughter would be the solution to the problem. While we were waiting for my husband to run into his office at one of our stops, I noticed the seat on Emily Roses' bike, the bike that had belonged to my mom. It was one of those seats that are wider in the back, and designed with the female anatomy in mind. I got very excited, though I tried not to show it. I asked Emily if I could ride her bike for a minute. (She is only 2 1/2 inches shorter then I am now.) With the needed permission, I took off around the parking lot. It was almost a miracle. Who would have known that all I needed was a new seat to make me like bike riding better? I had been told several times that you just need to break in your bike seat, like shoes and then it would be more comfortable. And the reason I didn't like my seat was because I hadn't ridden enough. After 11 years of owning my nice Trek bike with the gel seat, I just didn't agree.

I thought I might be able to convince my daughter to trade seats with me, when she offered to trade bikes with me. I couldn't believe it was going to be so easy. I rode the rest of the way on her/my bike and loved it. I sit closer to straight up on it and am so much more comfortable. I'm not a racer. I just need to get there comfortably.

And she loves my/her bike. She thinks purple is a better color. And her friend has the same brand so they will "match". What a great trade! I'd say that it is one of the best benefits of having a growing bigger daughter. I'm looking forward to many more family bike rides to come. And who knows, maybe we could start using the car less?

The Mystery of the Missing Fish and the Escapades of Nikki

I always have gotten a little nervous when we have cared for a friend's pet while they were away. I mean, what if something happens to the pet while we are gone? What if the pet even died?

Very early in our marriage my husband's friend asked us to care for their little Yorkshire Terrier, Nikki, while they were away for the weekend. I don't remember where my husband was, but he wasn't there, so I had to deal with this all by myself. Nikki came to stay at my house.

When it came time for bed, he climbed up on my bed, and took up command of my pillow. If he could have written a sign, it would have said, "New Owner. Old Owner Go Away." I wasn't quite ready for bed, so I gave him a little time to get distracted and go somewhere else, but instead, he settled in more snuggly into my soft feather pillow, showing clearly that he was not moving until morning light shown in through the window. What was I going to do? My husband's pillow was gone with him.

I decided to try to sweet talk Nikki off the pillow. It didn't work. I tried to bribe him off the bed with treats. It didn't work either. Tiny little Nikki growled at me. I gave him some more time. Finally I decided that I had to go to bed. I was bigger then him. Growl or no growl, I needed to just take charge, scoop him up and put him in the bathroom. So with a quick move I reached out to remove him from my pillow. With an even quicker move, he growled and snapped his tiny little teeth at me and grabbed my thumb. Yikes! Blood oozed from my thumb. At that point I knew who was in charge, and it wasn't me. But then I could go to bed after all, because in all the commotion, he did get removed from my pillow, and I quickly took possession of it.

The next day, before his owners could return, he decided to run away. Oh dear! I called and searched, but didn't find him nearby. So I decided to drive the few blocks to his house. He wasn't there. On the way back home I called and looked, and drove past his old house. They had recently moved to a new place. And there little Nikki was. With shaking heart I retrieved him, and thankfully he went along sweetly with me back to my house.

Little Nikki is now long gone, but this same dear family, and yes, we are friends, now has a daughter, and this daughter was given two gold fish at a birthday party. One goldfish died, but the other one was still alive when it was time for them to go away for the weekend. This girl is very close friends with my daughter, so naturally Emily Rose was chosen to care for the precious fish while they were gone. I had forgotten about what had happened when we cared for their dog.

Everything went fine all through the weekend. Emily Rose was careful to keep her bedroom door closed, so our cat, Hunter, couldn't get to the goldfish bowl. I wasn't too worried though. We had cared for another friend's parakeet a couple different times, and nothing bad happened, even though Hunter had spent some time carefully watching that bird, and we had taken the precaution of wiring his cage doors closed, just in case.

Monday morning, just before I was to go off and do my first day of teaching ESL, my daughter came screaming up the stairs, "Mom, the fish is gone! The FISH IS GONE!"

Gone? Where could a fish go? It's not like fish have legs and tennis shoes to put on. Even though mom needed every second she had to get ready to go to work, she went with Emily Rose to investigate the mystery of the missing fish. Surely my daughter still had sleep in her eyes and just couldn't see the fish, or something.

But my eyes were open, and there was no fish in the fish bowl. And there was no water spilled out on the shelf. Where was the fish? Was Forest playing a practical joke? No, not this early in the morning. And I really didn't think that was something he would do anyway. He liked the fish.

Well, that was too bad. I guess we would have to get our friend a new fish.

Minutes later, Emily Rose came screaming again. "Mom, come see what Hunter is doing and bring the camera!"

It was just like in the cartoons! Oh how he hoped another fish would appear in the fishbowl. The first one was delicious, but just a little small.

The mystery of the missing fish was solved. The guilty party was caught and duly punished. There would be no treats for him for a long time. Our friend got to go to the store and pick out a new goldfish. I made it to work before the students. And our lesson was well learned.

My Students

I thought I would show you a photo of the fine students I was working with in July. Two of them missed getting into this photo. Five of these students were in my class. And I must say they were excellent students! Of course, the two red headed ones are my students all year long.