Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Canine Effect

I have been busy tending two extra dogs for the last....well....it seems like forever.  One has been a resident for a long time and seems like he should belong to me, but he doesn't.  Then, there is a sister of one of my dogs who has been visiting for about 2 1/2 months.  She seems like mine now, too.  But she isn't.  She must someday, go home to her own family.

The four of them have formed a pack.  Not only do they run as a pack, but I am pretty sure they talk to each other, and make verbal packs.  The verbal packs are the ones I would like to address today.

Don't let their innocent looking faces fool you.  Their eyes don't miss a thing.

Earlier in the day I saw them huddled, they were plotting, just like a football team.  They were huddled, then they all looked at me, and they huddled again.

I knew I was in for no good!

So, I took myself outdoors.  I carried my camera and a diet coke, and was not going to be a party to their shinanagins. 

But, no matter where I walked, I could feel their beady little eyes looking at me. Especially the tall quiet one.  He is the worst.

This fella doesn't make much noise.  But he watches me.  I can't take a step without him being in front of my feet.  If I go down the stairs, he lays on the top step and waits for me.  He stretchs out the full length of the step, and  just lays there.  When I come up the steps, he doesn't feel threatened by me at all.  He isn't afraid.  He just holds his ground.  He won't move.  I have to say, "MOVE", as gently as I can, but he still doesn't care.  He holds his ground.  Then I gently nudge him in the side with my toes and try to move him.  I evenetually loose the battle and step over him.

I have to go outside so he can't get me.  But he still watches me.  Stares at me. Watches me through the storm door. Makes me shake when I try to take his picture.

See what I mean.  He must be part gorilla or something.  He is as tough as they come at our house.

Then the last one that joined us, the one I have been tending for 2 1/2 months, well, let me tell you about her.

Her name is Sadie.  "Sadie, Sadie, Pretty Lady". 

Sadie was born with a few problems, but we don't talk about them in front of her.  She thinks she is perfect.  And she nearly is, except for her left eye.  It didn't develop correctly so we grow her "bangs" over her eye to hide it from anyone who might make fun of her.

She is a little lady and likes to lay next to me and be petted, for hours. 
She prances when she walks.
She prances when she goes outside to go potty.
She goes potty by standing on three legs.  She will not stand on four legs.  One is always up.

Sadie's a queen, and reminds us to not forget that she is here, at our house.
She uses her voice and pouts.  She does.  She pouts.  "hummph"...."hummph".  Quietly pouting.
She wants to be held, or petted, or fed, or thirsty, or just wants to be looked at. She "pouts".
"Hummph", in a singing dog voice, is hard to ignore.

Then she plays with the other dogs and she BARKS.  I mean, BARKS. Barks, barks, barks.
She is the smallest in the bunch but she has the loudest bark.  Almost.
She can be outside and running with "the pack" and barks and barks...especially at the biggest dog.
I think she has a crush on the biggest dog.  She chases him and barks at him.
He loves it.  He makes her took at him and bark.  Then he runs. And she barks some more.

Then there is this one.

You know Ivy.  She belongs to me.

She is Ivy Ballerina, truly, that is her legal name.  It fits her perfectly.
She is dainty.  Tall, skinny, and walks on her toes.

But, there is something odd about her.  My youngest daughter calls her "Creepy".  I wish she didn't.
But, it is a little bit true.  Because she is a Ballerina and she can skip past you and you don't see her.
She also has this ....this.....stare.  She stares at you.  It is impossible not to wonder what she sees.
Her eyes penetrate me.  I look at her and try not to blink.  But I loose.  She never blinks.

Ivy is very cuddley.  Almost to the clingy side.  She wants held.  She has to touch me.
She sits at my feet and must touch my leg.  That is, if she doesn't jump into my lap first.
I don't mind it because she doesn't wiggle around.  She sits on me.  She doesn't lay, she sits.

She is the mouser.  She has caught several in her short life.
We live near a field, so I smell her breathe all the time, just to check and see if she has eaten one.
I found a baby mouse skull in my house once.  I know she brought it in for me.  A prize!

Then there is Zoey.

No matter where I go, she has to keep an eye on me.  She protects me.  Always.
She barks at the slightest sound.  She is protecting me, and my family, and the neighbors.
She is so smart.
She tips her head back and forth when I talk to her.  She understands every word.
And she is the Alpha dog in this pack.  Always the Alpha.

She is a tease too.  She takes my slippers or socks outside and won't give them to me.
So, I get a treat for her, and tell her "drop it", and she does.  She loves treats.  Then I love her.
She sleeps by laying on her back with her feet in the air.
And she hates Ivy.  She picks on Ivy.  She herds Ivy.  She bites Ivy on her ears.  She hates Ivy.

But when they are all together they have a great time.  They run around the house.
They run outside and inside and outside.  They all bark.  They all run.

They are best friends.  They make for a fun day, if I just sit back and watch them.
Each one is so different, and yet, so much the same.
I know they are the same, because I shovel their poop in our back yard everyday.  EVERYDAY.


So, like I said in the beginning.  I take my camera outside, and turn around and I see this.

The red reflection on Sadie is my Geraniums which are potted on the front step.

But just look at the face of the "White Alpha Female".

She's laughing at me.

She knows about the huddle they held when I wasn't looking.  "hummph".

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

Today is a special day.  We are going to decorate a few graves and remember, fondly, those we love.

The weather is windy and cool and possible rain showers.

We are waiting for our youngest daughter to arrive home, around 11:30 pm.  Our middle daughter will land in LA sometime sooner than that and then they go to San Diego.  Their adventure to Australia is now a sweet memory for them.  I am thankful they are coming home.

There are many families throughout this country who have heavy hearts because their loved ones are not coming home today.  They are still serving in far away lands and fighting for the rights of others.

We are so blessed to have the freedoms we have in America.

I have had many relatives fight for our freedoms.  My dad fought in the Korean War.  I have uncles who fought in WWII.  I have friends who served in Viet Nam.

I am forever grateful for their sacrifice and service.

I say thank you to all of those who gave their lives, who didn't come home, and thank you to those who did come home.  God bless you for your sacrifice.  God bless your families.

Dad, thank you for your example to our family.  For your service on behalf of this blessed country.
Thank you Dad, for being one of "the brave".    I love you!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Community Garden Boxes

In a land up North, there lives 3 men, who are commonly called "The Three Musketeers" by their loving wives.

These 3 men have been molded and cared for by their lovely wives for many years.  The wives have taught the men to be brave and go outside when it is very cold and windy.  The lovely wives help their husbands to dress warm, wear gloves, and prepare them to go outside and face the elements of the weather in the early spring.

One day, the youngest member of the threesome had an idea.  The idea grew and grew inside of his head, until he had to share it with his two old friends. 

 The youngest wife saw the 3 men gather together and she observed them talking, while she was hidden inside her warm safe home.  She stood by the window and watched as they thought, and talked, and plotted how to make this idea become a reality.  The 3 men were very serious.  They had a huge task ahead of them.  They discussed the idea over and over, from every angle, until they knew that they were strong and smart and could do it!

The 3 men walked together to the oldest man's house to retrieve a moving dolly.  They knew they were going to need this important tool to help them bring this idea to fruition.  These 3 men are strong and smart, and are very helpful to one another.

The youngest wife stayed warm and hidden inside her home.

 As the cold spring morning passed away, the 3 men were busy building their project.
They measured some wood, and they sawed the wood.  They studied their plan very carefully.  They were most precise in their project.

After the many long and heavy boards were cut and ready, they stood the wood on their ends and they screwed the wood together.  They practiced safety in all they did.  They are very careful men.  Gloves protected their fingers and hands.  The gloves also kept their hands warm.

The wife watched as they screwed screws into the wood.  The men were building something important and it must be strong so they used big strong screws in the wood.

The 3 men were careful to rest if they got tired.  They knew that they must not be tired or fatigued when using power tools, or one of them could get hurt.  They are such good friends and look out for each others welfare that they rested when they saw one of them were getting tired.

While they rested their bodies, they checked the powerful tools they were using.  They made sure the parts were clean and free from debris.  They checked that the tools were in the finest working order.

As the day passed the 3 men accomplished their task.  They worked together and carried their project to the location where it would be used.

The 3 men had built three boxes out of sturdy good wood.  The corners were flush and strong so the boxes could hold the heavy dirt which was going to be placed inside the sturdy boxes.

The three boxes were carried to the community garden and were carefully placed in the exact spot where they would be for the next hundred years.  The boxes were leveled and spaced just perfectly.

The 3 men decided it would be best if the boxes were painted so they would look very nice.  The oldest man said his wife could paint the boxes.  He assured the other two men that she would love to do it, and she would be very careful to do a good job.  He said his wife would feel left out if she didn't get a chance to work on the big boxes.  So, the two younger men agreed to let the wife of the older man paint the wooden garden boxes.  They want the wife to feel important and needed.  They were only thinking of her.

As the afternoon sun was setting in the west, the 3 men surveyed their hard work.  They were very happy with the results and they were very pleased with themselves.  They had built 3 strong boxes which would soon be used for the square foot gardening the community was planning.

The men knew the rest of the garden could be planted in rows and the seeds and plants which would be planted on the rows would be just fine, as the garden boxes were going to help the water stay in the garden.  They also knew the trees which would grow up to be tall and strong were far enough away from the garden boxes as not to shade the vegetables and fruit which would be growing in the strong boxes.

At the end of the day the 3 men were very tired.  They had thought and worked very hard that day.

In a few days 2 truck loads of dirt were scheduled to be dumped near the boxes.  They would rest until the dirt was delivered and then they would work very hard with shovels and wheel barrels to put the dirt into the boxes. 

The 3 men called their work good and they each retired to their homes and reported to their lovely wives how wonderful the boxes are.  The 3 lovely wives praised their husbands and fed them a special dinner to show how proud they were of their husbands.

It was a good day to build boxes for the community garden.

The end.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Soup Day

I love home made soup.
I love to make home made soup.
I love to use whatever I have on hand to make home made soup.

So, I made some soup.

I started with my special gift from my husband, my enamel lined, cast iron pot.

I just poured some Extra Virgin Olive Oil into the bottom of it, just enough to cover the bottom, and enough to coat the veggies I am chopping.

You can see I have chopped onions, carrots, celery. In the back of the photo you can barely see the package of mushrooms that will also be chopped and added.

I am also adding some chopped red pepper, because I found one in the crisper drawer of the fridge. 

If I had thought about chopping a fresh garlic, I would have, but since I have a huge bottle of chopped garlic in a bottle, I am using it.

I used about 2 teaspoons of the minced garlic, that was California grown.  They sure are handy to have on hand.  I even share them with my neighbors, because I don't think I will live long enough to use a 48 oz. container of minced garlic.  Do you want some too?  Come on over.  I will be glad to share some with you.

All these yummy ingredients are added into the pot.  On medium heat let the luscious veggies simmer and bubble until they all look transparent, and good.  Don't over cook them, because they will continue to cook more when we add the liquid.

You can see on top of this jar that it is chicken.  I canned it a couple of years ago, and I have loved having it on hand.  Someday I will have to tell you how I canned it.  But, for today you will just have to trust me that it is one of the smartest things I have ever done.

So, I opened up this  wide mouth pint jar and drained the broth into the pot with the veggies.  Then I cut up the chicken.

I added the chopped chicken, which is so tender and wonderful, you hardly have to chop it.  But, I chopped it anyway, and I added it to the pot.

Doesn't that just look Divine??? 
Does it make your mouth water?
Yeah, I thought so.

Well, we aren't done yet. 
We have to add some chicken broth, the kind from the store.


I didn't take a picture of that....so use your imagination.
I added 2 or 3 cans.  What ever you think it needs.

And add some water to make up more broth...

Then, use your imagination again.....
Here comes the seasonings.

Add what you like.
I like parsley, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper....
Even Italian seasoning is good.
Open your cupboard, and see what you have on hand and use it.
If you use different seasonings, your soup will take on a new taste, so don't get in a rut.

I froze some corn last fall, so I like to add some of that, as well.


Be creative.  Enjoy the adventure of developing your tastes and mixing things up a bit.

Throw in some spinach if you have some that is wilting and needs used up. Soups are a great way to hide wilted veggies...just saying.

If you are feeding a crowd, add some Egg Noodles.  You will need more broth, but it is wonderful.

Let it simmer a little while, so the flavors mix up.

Whip up a batch of home made rolls while it simmers.  You aren't eating for an hour, right?

Well, now you know my secret to a wonderful home made soup.
Take a few minutes and make some soon.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

She's Had Another Birthday

39 years ago I lived in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
My baby was due.
It was my first baby and I didn't know if it would be a girl or a boy.

I wanted a boy.  As I had always wanted a big brother.
I had a boys name picked out.
I imagined blue things around me.

She popped out  a girl.
And a wonderful surprise.

She had colic and cried for a full year.
She had the biggest blue eyes I had ever seen.
She hated baby cereal.

She was my JOY!

I loved rocking her.
I loved holding her, everywhere we went.
I read to her.

And now she is 39 years old.
Where did the time go?

I have glimpses of her in dance lessons and recitals.
There is a quick glimpse of piano lessons and her practicing.
We are picking out a dress for a special occasion.
She is in pink sponge curlers.
She loves cheese.

She moved to college and soon after that, the east coast.
I remember a darling home in New York.

My mind races through the memories:
Cooking, gardening, canning, sewing, talking late into the night.
Smiles, giggles, and tears.
Alaska, the rim, Flagstaff, Payson, California, and Idaho.

We have woven rugs and memories together.
We have embroidered dishtowels and experiences together.
We have canned chicken and jokes together.
We have cut hair and fabric and cut up laughing together.

My first born little baby girls has been in my life for 39 wonderful years.  I am so proud of the spirit she has.  Her love of life.  Her love of so many people and things.  And most of all, I am so glad she loves me, almost as much as I love her.

Happy Birthday darling.
Happy Mother's day, too.

I love you, much more than words can say.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Talented Children

I have 4 of the most talented children!

They all know how to hang spoons from their noses.
They all know how to sew on a button.
They all know how to lick their plates when we have sourdough waffles.
They all know how to make me laugh and cry.

Such kids!

And they all are pretty dang good with computers.
3 of them have made their living with computers.

Today, I am showcasing one of the many talents that Nikki has.

Did you notice the new look of my blog site?

Well, let me start at the beginning.....which was last week.

I was out shopping, and my cell phone rings. 

"Hello", I said.

"Hi Mom", the caller said.  She always says "Hi Mom" and so cheery.  I love it.

"Hi Honey, what's up?" I said.  I know how to make good conversation.

"Well, how would you like it if I updated your header on your blog?" my sweet daughter said.

"Sure, that would be great!  Do you have time to do it?" I said, only thinking of her.

"Do you have any preferences of what it looks like?"

"No, darling.  I trust you to do what will look great".  And that is the truth!  I do!

"Okay, I will let you know when I am done", she happily said.

"I can't wait to hear from you, and see what you do.  I love you, honey.  Thank you".

And I went on about my shopping.  I rather forgot about it, as I had big decisions to make.  I had to pick out 5 colors of embroidery floss so I could work on my crazy quilt, which, by the way, is nearly done.  I then I had to get batting for it.  These are big decisions when making a quilt, but after embroidering all winter on this one, IT IS A REALLY BIG DECISION!

Later that evening she called and said the header and more was done.
I was busy with Young Women's and stuff, like dinner and sleeping.  I didn't take the time to go look at it until the next day.

OH MY!  I love it.  It is cheerful, colorful, happy, clean, and did I say I love it?

So, if any of you want her to help you, let me know.  I will hook you up. 

From the bottom of my heart, Nikki, I do love you.  You are so wonderful, and oh so talented!

Love,  Mom

About Me

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happy, in love, getting closer to retirement, love my family, love my Savior.