Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My latest thing, it is keeping me up at night.

I created these tonight, one I gave away the other I am displaying in my new house.  My plan is to display verses all over to keep them in front of me so that I can remember God's promises.  It really is a great artistic outlet for me.  I just wish I could sleep. 

On a different note, it looked briefly like it would rain.  Sitting back from my suburbia state of mind, realizing my "farm" life is mostly theory.  The idea of rain jolted me back to realizing, some things will be changed forever.  Rain, wind and sun now mean good things or bad things for what we planted.  As I walked into Safeway (something I hope to stop doing in the foreseeable future) a young girl took a deep long drag off her cigarette, staring up at the smokey clouds obscuring the sun she questioned through squinted eyes to avoid the glare, "Is it going to rain today?" deep sigh.  "I hate the rain" she exclaimed to her co worker.  I thought for a long while about this.  How could anyone living where we live hate the rain?  I hope it pours, we haven't been out to water the plants plus tomorrow the grader is coming and it would really cut down on dust if it were to rain. 

The scriptures are coming alive to me because of this little farm. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Very Next Day

Abby wore her blue painter tape initial to school today.  (the one from yesterday) Yes with her holy camouflage tights that she refuses to take off with jean shorts and a hot pink tie die shirt and a big blue letter A covering her entire torso, just to finish the look off.  (What girl needs accessories when you have painters tape?)  I told her if the kids teased her to say that she was unique and that by wearing the A it made her original, and who knows maybe everyone would want to wear their initials in painters tape on their shirts to second grade.  Mason told her if the kids teased her she should just run for her life into the bathroom and rip the A off crumple it up and throw it in the trash.  (we are working on confidence)  Well about lunch time she did take it off, after what she described as everybody in the whole entire school staring at her and asking her why did she tape an A to her chest.  I think, what really ended the A was one girl who said "why do you have a giant A on your shirt?"  And Abby's reply was "A stands for Original" and the girl remarked back to Abby that Original started with an O.

Good concept.  Poor execution.  Or at least misunderstood.  She is only 7!

(Abby and I had our board meeting today.  We will not be getting a  mouse at this current time.  However we will reconvene in six months to reevaluate if having a mouse is conducive for her and make a decisions at that point.)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

today at red robins

if you notice that in my title there are no caps and nothing kitchy, cute or catching about it.  i feel it represents my mood right now.  Done.

I won't go into details about today.  I think that today should be wrapped up in a brown box, tied with a string, put in a steal lock box and buried far beneath the surface of the sea guarded by vicious,trained to kill, man eating sharks. 

I will say however my kids make me laugh and cry and scream and act crazy and laugh some more.  Here are the highlights.
Sometime in the evening after dinner at Red Robins.

After many angry looks and my meanest  firmest mommy voice, I sent the kids in the house to get things ready for school tomorrow.   I stayed outside talking to my friends (desperate for real conversation)  All of a sudden the four older ones come running, no bounding out of the house straight for the park with blue painters tape on their chest of their initials.  (they have done this before) but it was the order in which they ran...Judah, Abby, Mason.  Now, I may be slightly slap happy and ready for Monday, but... They spelled JAM.  Nettie was not included in the impromptu spellathon,  but if she were it would have spelled JAMN, now that would be funny!  No, Nettie was wearing one of my shirts, which she has been doing lately.  I think it may be a bonding thing, who knows, but she didn't get into the painters tape.

Nettie almost 7 going on 17,  feels the need to point and stare at every brown, African descent person she sees.  (IE the African American server) Not only is it rude but annoying.  I don't mind talking to her about her heritage but it is never polite to point and stare at anyone.  This was done at Red Robins today.  Yes I took five kids by myself to Red Robins .  It was easier than cooking dinner.

Which leads me to highlight my children's personalities.  Sometime mid afternoon.  After many of my angry looks and much yelling Abby decided to do something about it and took to cleaning the kitchen for me.  Mind you she is 7.  She did a better job than her dad and  heck, even me.  I paid her well.  She is still cheaper than a maid.  Which has given her control and Abby thrives on control.  Sometime just now (Bedtime).  She has just informed me to shut all the kitchen cabinets, rinse my cup out and that I need to make sure I make breakfast right tomorrow.  She has also informed me that she will be working in the kitchen more often and she wants a mouse( the kind that eats cheese) and a schedule.  We decided to write her wishes (demands) on a paper,  post it on the white board and hold a board meeting tomorrow to discuss these things promptly at  3:40 after she gets her homework done.  I think I made her night or month with all that organization.  I can't complain, she even arranged the four free coconuts (anyone want one they are still in their green skin?)  that Gary took off a tree and hauled back from Hawaii.  She also arranged my cabinets to make more space, moving everything around the way she sees fit.    hum.  Well at least I'll have one that'll keep their house clean when they grow up.
Abby's organized Coconuts

Mason is a persistent little  booger bugger.  He takes my breath away, and not in the good way.  He exasperates me at times.  To go to Red Robins for dinner they had to read ten books and I had to sign off on it.  Mason wrote the titles of his books on his certificate.  The two that I can remember were -  book of Since and josef and gipt. 
(The Great Book of Science and Joseph and Egypt)  The rest were even worster than that.  I get that  those are hard words to spell, but for crying out loud!  The books were right  in front of him.  He could have (gasp!) looked at them. ??? No, that would require effort.  Lord help me.  When he sees that Abby out spells him by a mile he says "Wow that's freaky man"  and that I didn't teach him spelling in homeschool.  I then go on to yell explain to him when I taught him spelling and how  hard we worked on it and what a big fit he threw everytime and how he didn't pay attention to me.  Only to find at the end of my lecture he wasn't paying attention to me.  I am met with a "huh?" so I meet his "huh" with a "SEEEEEEE!!!!"  and he meets my "SEEEEEE!" with the drawn, polished, sword of whimsical laughter that can only be wielded by an 8 year old boy, thereby winning the "whatever it was we were doing."

Judah, age six.  He is the man.  Butt he laughs every time I say anything to him.  My angry eyes and angry mom voice do nothing to this fearless lion cub.  This makes for a long, long, long day.  He thinks everything is funny and points to his eyes, then back to mine and mouths "I got my eyes on you."  He is constantly running around behind me, pulling up my pants which are constantly falling down.  (not from lack of fat, more like the hereditary inverted hips) Oh the fond memories he will have of his mommy.  I feel pity for him.  Butt.... like I said he is fearless.

Oh and Calamity  Serenity, almost six months old.  Please.  She yells and spits and nearly choked on two things at the table tonight at Red  Robins, crayons and  the plastic wrapper they came in.  She also pulled off my nursing cover partially exposing my left breast at Red Robins and knocked over Nettie's drink onto my lap and the floor.

These mind you were just the highlights.  I need to get off this computer and do my bible study while I still have one, deformed, half functioning brain cell.

In conclusion.

I am sure I am parenting wrong.  I am sure I am messing them up.   The experts in any book would agree and to be perfectly honest, right now I could care less.  And oh ya, I did laugh today.  I laughed when Nettie's balloon from Red Robins flew away.  I know I suck and I am terrible mom.  But she literally asked for it.  All through dinner she fell into uncontrollable fits of laughter throwing herself onto he ground hitting her head, etc.  Ignoring my pleas to stop the madness.  Normal  attention seeking drama for her.  She wanted everyone to laugh at her so when we walked out of Red Robins she declared between giggles, "Look guys I am going to let my balloon go!"  I don't know what she was thinking but then she did let her balloon go and surprise!  it flew away which sent all the kids, including me, into a roll of laughter, which made her cry, which made an old man and his four wrinkled, old people companions watching our freak show in the parking lot,  feel very sorry for her, which scored her a new balloon from the grandpa type onlooker, just as I was trying to teach her a lesson on consequences, behavior, and logic.  I promptly took it away and continued on with my lesson right in the middle of the Red Robin parking lot.  When she was able to see how crazy her behavior was she laughed at herself and in my opinion that is one of the best lessons you can learn.  Which earned her pity balloon back, which popped 10 minutes later which made her laugh.  In fact out of the four balloons plus the pity balloon that we left with from  Red Robins ( I am trying for some advertisement on my own terms for RED Robin) none lasted for more than an hour. 

Funny as I think about our dinner at Red Robins, the waiter didn't say goodby to me.  He said "Good Luck".

Oh and I had the delicious Burning Love HOLY peno burger with fries and a Oreo milk shake.  I was slightly embarrassed ordering this, I may have blushed. (not just because of the massive calories and I am on a diet)  Now that I am closer to 40 you just don't say Burning Love to strangers under any circumstances, especially young men.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Just a Day

It is close to 10 pm.  I am tired.  Mason is on his way home from a birthday party in the hood.  I didn't worry as much as I thought I would.  Good for me.  I want sugar.  All I have is Raisin Bran.  I don't think that counts.  I can't believe I am wasting carbs on Raisin Bran. oh well.

Today out at the "farm" I had a sort of moment.  I walked through our budding little orchard, talked to each plant and prayed for them.  Then I wen to water the grape vines and was shocked to see how much they have already grown!  I must admit I got all teary as I examined them closer and found teeny tiny weeny bitty grape clusters on them.  I was so happy to see the growth and it dawned on me that God loves to see us grow too.  After I finished watering the grapes I went to take a little walk through my favorite place on the property, the citrus trees.  In the quiet of the late afternoon I pulled a lemon off one tree so I could use it in the bake sale tomorrow (making lemon bars)  and a beautiful little dove flew out from it's nest.  God is so good to provide food for us and homes for the animals.  He is a multi tasking God and I love that.  I examined and marveled at the grapefruit tree, how full and green it was.  It looks like we are going to have another round of grapefruits with all the blossoms.  The air was full with the lingering smell of orange blossoms from the neighbors yard.  Serenity was in the front carrier grabbing and batting at leaves and enjoying the shade and scents as much as I was.  That is until she started gagging and throwing up.  I am bit slow so it took me three rounds of this game to realize perhaps she had something in her mouth.  DuH.   I took her to the house and fished out a tiny bud of a grapefruit, stem and leaf.    Rolling eyes.  This child is into everything and she is only 5 months old!!!! 

This evening when we got home we were all playing at the park next to our house.  Abby disappeared inside and after a while I figured I better go see what she was up too.  Inside the house I found her with a pained look on her face.  She told me she fell into a fish hook cactus.  Sure enough she did.  Apparently she was watching some bees because she was curious about how they make honey when suddenly she felt they were after her (having been recently stung I am surprised she was even going close to them)  She was wearing a yellow shirt and she figured they were drawn to it.  In her attempt to get away she landed her bum directly on one of our cactus.  But like she did with the bee she just pulled all the quills out herself and went inside. 

It is 10:30.  I am toast.  I would eat toast except I don't have bread.  My eyes are falling.  Mason will be home any minute.  Abby is in bed with me because she may be getting a nasty stomach bug.  I hope not. 

10:40 Mason is home, strung out on sugar and very "happy"  he also has a new joke (when your in third grade and you happen to be a boy, popular equates to how funny you are)  So here it is, maybe I will be popular.  "your mamma is so fat when she sat on walmart she lowered the prices"  hahahah now do you love me?

10:41  Do fruit roll ups count as sugar.  Well I am on my second on.  Off to bed with me now, puke bucket in hand just in case.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Pay Check at the End of a Hard Day

This is what I get at the end of the day.    This is the stub, the reward, why I do what I do and the small sweet things that keep me going.  The room was dark so I just got his voice. (Judah)  It has been a rough few days over here at the ranch, (ranch in theory anyway because technically I am still residing in a residential community)  You can see below why it has been a rough few days.  But let me tell you first a little about Judah my youngest son.  He was adopted from Ethiopia 5 years ago, he is 6.5 now.  Our road hasn't been without a few bumps as some of you know.  But God is good and to him I give any credit of family life that even half way resembles normal.  Well maybe a quarter, a half way normal life may be stretching it.  His name means Praise and since he has been here he has been singing his little heart out.  I was putting the baby to bed and he came in and plopped on me.  At first I nearly sent him away because I was putting the baby to bed but he started singing, I happened to have my camera and captured this sweet moment. 

This is why it has been a hard few days.  Our daughter aptly named Serenity. HAHA the joke is on me I guess.  I set her down and surprisingly enough she sat for a few minutes then all heck just breaks loose and you can see even at 5 almost 6 months the temper, the fear the raw emotion.  I know some people would say let her cry it out.  Trust me I have thought about it.  Even tried it.  After 30 minutes of this intense screaming I am done for.  The 30 minutes mostly being forced in the car.  I have let her cry here at home too when I am getting dinner ready or something that I can't wear her for.  She doesn't like slings, or wraps.  She likes the front carrier.  It is not conducive to baby wearing though as she grabs at everything.  This is my  life, the good the bad and the ugly.

No babies or children were harmed in the filming of this youtube video.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sisters and Best Friend Forever

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Just Found this old post from over 2 1/2 years ago. pretty cool

Friday, November 7, 2008

Farm Life

You know we thank God before our meals, so that we can remember the bounty he gives us, and how he takes care of us. Unfortunately it is hard to remember the rain that grew the crops and the sun that fed the little buds of wheat when you are ripping open a package of (I am embarrassed to say)... cheese filled fish sticks. I know gross. Or throwing some instant oatmeal and a few frozen blue berries on the table for breakfast. We are so removed from the process of our food as we turn more and more to processed food.

I wish I lived on a farm, so I could see the majesty of God's hand in the making of my food.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

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Our neighbors pecan tree, I love how the tree is going the same direction as the clouds.
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Looking Forward

Posted by PicasaThis is Serenity the youngest memeber of our family caught in a sweet moment with the oldest member of our family, my husband. I know the look on his face, his brow is slightly furrowed and that means he is thinking. This picture was taken candid when I saw him staring out over the land. Serenity has a deep serious look about her and in their own ways they are looking at our future.

Have you had your morning coffee?

We love our Cafe La Llave!!!

Angels sometimes deliver Girl Scout cookies, so be nice to them.

This is Netsanet, my daughter and a Daisy Scout. She was born in Ethiopia nearly 7 years ago. Let me say a little something about this girl. She is a ham and loves the camera. All of these pictures are without prompting or posing, except the one I had her hold the thin mints up but she decided the pose. She is a natural beauty and we love her to pieces. Her name is what was given to her by her birth family and it means Freedom. I couldn't have picked a better name for her.

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Muddy Shoes

We stopped by the house today to drop off the fig tree I bought and do a bit of cleaning. My kids are wild, they look wild, smell wild, act wild. While I was nursing Serenity they were wrestling down stairs in one of the bedrooms. I didn't know this and I have told them not to, but what do I know? Suddenly I hear screaming and a gaggle of kids running up the stairs shouting words like broken widow, open door, wrestling. I wake the baby in my haste to asses the damage. Apparently Mason was showing Abby a wrestling move and picked Nettie up slamming her into the mirror closet door shattering it to pieces. Thankfully no one was hurt. I was so mad I couldn't see straight. Thirty years those groovy glass mirrored closet doors have been there. They have seen us and several other people through the years. Three days with my kids in the house and they are broken. That doesn't look good.

I just threw a bajillion shoes in the laundry machine, crossing my fingers the mud caked on the bottom doesn't clog the works. This being a mom thing is messy business.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Lasagna From a Box, But Tangelos From My Tree. Transition.

Today down on the farm ette, we got all of most of our trees planted. Well Gary did the planting I did the watching and nursing (hey someones got to do it and it can't be Gary) A few things I decided today. 1. Lemons suck. They have thorns and when you get the juice in your eye or a cut it can make any good Christian girl want to say a bad word. 2. Why would anyone plant more than one lemon tree? I am personally going to chop the second one down. I think. It is so pretty, (Isn't there a song like that?) I feel everything on this little bit of land needs to be in full force productivity. We don't have time or water to waste on food going to waste. I am over the lemon tree. You can only do so much with lemons. When life gives you lemons, call a friend. Anyone need a lemon or 50?

The last thing I realized when it comes to planting our trees is the stark realization that this will take me being home as a full time job to a whole new level. The amount of food I think I will need to learn to process is certainly going to be a challenge. Let me tell you though, there is something so gratifying about seeing something grow, then to pick it, then to eat it. Such a simple concept but we have lost touch with our food and how it comes to us. I cannot wait for the day you (anyone who is reading this) will come to my house and I will pull out some fresh baked bread with plum preserves and just squeezed orange juice, or maybe you will stop by for dinner and I will defrost some yummy chicken soup with veggies from my garden. I know I know. I am a dreamer, but isn't that the fun of it all?

Some other things I learned.

So we found out tonight that there are a pack of local coyotes just a few blocks down in a vacant over grown lot and they love the neighborhood chickens. We also found out that we have to clip our chickens wings if we want them to stay in our fence. I also learned that 3 pound Chihuahua's will attack full grown horses. Bees sting at night. Mud keeps kids busy for hours on end. Gopher hunting is the bomb diggity and possibly a new family sport. Eating Gatorade powder will give a kid stomach aches. And that when you dig holes for trees and the kids are helping you make sure that as you go keep an eye on the kids. Kids like to fill in holes behind what you just dug out. Actually I just observed the after affects of Gary digging like mad and Abby filling them in without him knowing and Gary cursing under his breath when he looked back and saw the aftermath of an over zealous 7 year old girl.

For an update. The house is nearly fitted with AC. Yes a big and proud moment for this ol' house over 30 years in the desert with no air conditioning. That is a lot of sweat.

There is no recipe tonight. We ate lasagna from a box. We did throw the tangelos in the salad to the side and had grape fruit juice. Slightly disappointed in this dinner but it was fast and easy.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Today as we continued our work on the property shaping it into a nice little farmette, I had the stark realization that my children will be the fourth generation living under that roof. So I sat down with my dad, who built the house and counted how many people have lived there. Lets just say this house and the barn have been home to more than we can count.

Everytime I visit the property and work on it I feel this very deep connection with the land. We lined up our trees to the places where they will be planted and sat back in the sunset looking on our hard work ahead three years trying to imagine what life will be like. I guess this is what it feels like to dream in real time.

Here is a short list of people who have lived on this property
Grandma Mary, Grandpa Jo
Granddaddy Elgie
My parents
My siblings
My children
My siblings children
My uncle
My friend Heather
3 foreign exchange students
foster kids
Keith (family friend)

I am sure the list will grow as I feel we are forgetting some people.

We were inspired to think of all the things that have happened on the property. We have had people get married in our barn, and my sister gave birth to her 5th child when her and her family lived there. I guess in a period of over 30 years there is bound to be some history. I am feeling blessed to inherit the memories and guard over them.

Tonight's recipe will be an easy one if you don't already know it. It is one I recalled tonight as I heated up left over chicken soup in the kitchen. I am sure by now my husband is sick of me saying.... "I remember when......."

Another croc pot recipe. You take a good cut of beef, pot roast, beef bottom round and brown it on a skillet with some crushed garlic and olive oil. Just throw that sucker in your pot with 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup and 1 can of water. You can add more mushrooms if you want. Cook it on high for 2 hours or so and then add baby carrots and quartered red potatoes or russet, celery if you want. I usually let the veggies sit towards the top so they steam nicely and not get to mushy. Then cook for another 2 hours or until it is shredded. That's it. Freeze the leftovers, if there are any. You serve this with home made biscuits to sop up all the gravy and juice and a yummy salad.

I guess we are next in a long line of people who have made this house and this land come alive. I wander what the future holds for the people who will be served by this food we plant and the doors we hold open.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chicken Comfort Soup

This process of getting ready to move has left me a little frazzled. I guess it isn't just a move but an entire life style change. Realizing that I would have to get up before the crack of dawn to take care of animals leaves me feeling a yawny ( I may have made that word up)

We got our citrus juice press in the mail today so now I can really take down those lemons. Also today we picked out and paid for a majority of what will someday be our little hobby orchard. We are scheduled to have the land graded and AC put in on Saturday. The Lord has truly blessed us through other Christians. We are able to cut some cost of this little farm thing significantly thanks to friends and family.

We are getting friendly with one of our neighbors and he even stopped by today and let the kids take a ride on his champion show horse he was training. Lets just say the horse was worth more than our Suburban.

So in honor of chickens everywhere and the people who have to get up early to take care of them here is my easy recipe for chicken soup. I made it tonight but it turned out terrible because I forgot to bring some ingredients from our current residence to our future residence where we had dinner tonight.

I don't even use a pot just a croc makes life so much easier.

Take one whole chicken throw it in croc pot on high until the skin starts to come off, about 2-3 hours. Sometimes I just throw mine in frozen, it doesn't really matter but obviously the frozen takes longer to cook.

Add about 1 1/2 cups of water or some kind of broth. I use chicken broth.

1 yellow onion finely diced

2 cloves of cut garlic

pack of sliced mushrooms (optional, I like mushrooms)

let simmer for about 2 hours on high in your croc pot

take chicken out, (skin should be falling off,)

debone it on a plate and remove extra fat and skin from remaining broth with skimmer

put the chicken meat back in the croc and add chopped carrots, corn, peas and celery,

Add salt and pepper to taste, a few basil leafs, oregano and more onion if you like

If there doesn't seem to be enough broth just add some more water or broth to your liking.

Let that cook for a few more hours until the carrots and celery are a nice texture, I don't like mine to mushy.

Cook the egg noodles separate and add to the broth when serving. This keeps the noodles from sucking up all the juice.

Serve crusty french bread and butter, mmmmmm, butter.

Make extra and freeze it. This is a great meal to keep on hand. I don't freeze it with the noodles generally but you can. You may just have to add more water or broth when you defrost it.

So there you have it. I am sure there will be much chicken soup in our house this fall. Who knows I may not even feel guilty for eating the buggars.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Patience Grasshopper, Patience and Blueberry Cobbler

I have never been the kinda gal to sit around and wait. It was hard for me when I was engaged, got pregnant, adopted, house hunted and well you get the picture. Waiting, for me, is like a slow form of mental torture. Perhaps that is because I am a "live in the present tip toe around the past" kind a gal, projecting myself into the future is not something I am so good at doing. My husband on the other hand has a hard time living for the moment. So in a sense we compliment each other as we have all three time dimensions covered.

In shopping for our orchard today I came to the stark realization, as I was presented with tiny, weed stalks my husband dared called trees, that I wouldn't really have an orchard for at least three years. The nice young gardener at Lowes actually said "I figure you will have fruit in three years, if we are all around long enough to see that." uhm, okay. So a fight between the petunias and avocado trees at the nursery of Lowes, between Gary and I ensued in what I perceived to be a matter of life and death. He didn't see it that way. He told me I was making a scene. No.... that would be the five monkeys we brought with us on this fun family adventure of shopping for trees. You know the ones we named and feed everyday. The ones climbing on the bags of fertilizer and running through the misting system. Really, I told him I was close to 40 and I didn't care if I was causing a scene. I needed to be able to feed my kids fruit off of our own trees. I needed good, whole, organic, fresh picked fruit and I needed to have this like yesterday.

After much hesitation I gave in for the cheaper, smaller, younger trees. I am going to pray that God speeds them up though. Gary said I would be so busy with life I wouldn't realize the wait. I hope he is right. I treasure every day and I don't take a single year for granted. I hope that I am around in three years to see them growing and producing fruit. I hope we are all around, not to sound like my friend the melancholy gardener at Lowes. I mean I hope my family is here and whole and healthy. There are so many uncertainties in this life we are given.

To trust in God to cause the growth in me and the trees is Paramount. It is the key.

So neither the one who plants or the one who waters is significant, but God who keeps everything growing, is the one who matters. 1 Cor 3:7

I feel sad. I know all of "this" can vanish in a moment just like it did for the people in Japan. The world is unstable, more so now than I ever remember. My trees are so little, so fragile so young. So are my children. That about sums it up.

So I decided to make that blueberry cobbler (recipe below) I had planned a few weeks ago, I mean what the hay? I have a can of sweet condensed milk in my pantry and if the world is going to end in a few years I can skip that diet!! At least I will enjoy that momentary false sense of security wrapped up in buttery goodness and melting icecream. I get started mixing and get to the end of the directions and as I am licking blueberry and sweet milk off my fingers the box says the cooking time is 70 minutes!!!!! Are you kidding me!!!!! Patience Grasshopper. Well to pass the time Gary and chatted about the chicken situation. He wants roosters and I refuse to eat fertilized eggs so I told him we could put chicken dog houses on the lower acres and have two flocks separated. I think that may have cost me some credibility. But as I sample this lovely blueberry cobbler (it just came out of the oven) I will gain it back again, especially since I will serve it up with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream. This could be how the wait causes weight. uh oh. Well here is the recipe.
1 pint of blueberries (frozen or not)
mix that with 1 Can of condensed milk 14 oz
2 tsp of lemon zest
take 1.5 cups of baking mix and mix with 3/4 cup of butter (get it all crumbly)
combine the two
pour onto a greased 9 inch square baking pan
Mix 1/2 cup of baking mix with 1/2 cup of brown sugar and two tablespoons of butter (nuts if you have them )and spread on top of the blue berry mixture cook at 325 for the very long time of 70 min or until brown and serve warm with vanilla icecream.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Smart girl, Nettie after getting lemon juice squirted in her eyes, ran and got her goggles!
Does anyone dare despise the day of small begininngs? Zech 4:10

I have been "practicing" food storage for a few years now by going to our local food co op and buying in bulk. It is such a satisfying feeling to make and can your own food, in some cases freeze it. Now that we have a few lemon trees and so much fruit I can't give it away I needed to do something with all those lemons falling to the ground.

I gathered them up and took them home. The kids helped wash them off in the back yard in a laundry basket. I then sat down with my little clan and we took to peeling about 50 lemons. (My commercial grade citrus press has yet to arrive) I then threw them into my juicer and got a decent amount of juice. I separated it out into little baggies and added some sugar and tossed it in the freezer. When I defrost it in a pitcher I just add enough water to make it taste great as the lemon juice is pretty concentrated. Now I have enough icy, organic lemonade to feed the family at dinner. I am so excited to get my press and take those lemon trees down. My kids loved it and it cost me a little time, but so worth the look on their faces! They all beg to be the one to have the last bit and more importantly I feel good that the fruit God gave us is not going to waste. I love every little lemon on those trees. In fact my family pretty much devoured the juice from 50 lemons in two days. I hope they grow up with great memories and take the time to do this for their kids.

The bible says to know each man by it's fruit. (Matthew 7:16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is how they act, do you pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?) I think in today's society we have lost touch with the idea of knowing someone by their fruits because in the store our fruit is already sorted, washed and waxed, laid out in nice rows. As I took on the arduous task of sorting the massive amount of lemons, I had to examine each one carefully after I washed the bird poo and leaves off it. I squeezed it, looked at it and cut it open to see if it was juicy and fresh. When we go to judge a person based on their "fruit" we should do more than just look. In some ways you really need to be around that person and know what is going on to see if they are a tree making good fruit. The Lord even says to taste and see that he is good. (Psalms 34:8, Taste and see that the Lord is good, happy is the man who trust in him) There were a few lemons that looked pretty weak on the outside but on the inside they were just fine. So before jumping to conclusions about someone, take the time to know them, to taste and see, to use your senses that is why God gave them to us.

Spring Clean Your Food Pantry Easy Bean Soup

Well this soup was supposed to be a chili, but I messed up. In and effort to rid my pantry of canned foods I threw this together in my croc and it turned out great!

Make an extra batch to stick in your freezer for dinner in 2 weeks.

1 carton of chicken broth
4 cans of whatever beans you have in your pantry. ( suggest different kind of kidneys and Navy)
1 can of green beans or corn or both!
4 carrots (fresh or canned)
1 onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 tbl spoons of Cumin
1 tsp Oregano
1 can tomato paste
1 can of stewed tomatoes or fresh tomatoes if you have them
a dash of chili or Tabasco

Serve with crackers or cornbread and milk :)

I doubled this for our family of six and made enough to save. You can use all cans or substitute for fresh. It is very filling and my kids mostly ate it, some picked out the green beans and some the stewed tomatoes and some gobbled it down and asked for seconds. All in all a recipe that works and that is fast for those kinds of nights!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Taking On Old Fashion Cooking

Part of the direction I have been going in the last few years is to learn how to cook and preserve food like our grandparents did. It has only been in the last fifty or so years that we have gotten away from making our food from real ingredients and whole foods. At this point what used to be normal is now a lost art. Canning, drying, cooking! So tonight I was talking to a friend who just made her own butter and I was so inspired to make my own. She was able to use a Vitamix blender and in the process saved some money. So of course I will be trying that tonight because we love butter over here. In our conversation she asked me to post some of my recipes that I found work for our family here on this blog.

This will be the first one. I love making pizza. Well I don't love making pizza but I love the feeling I get by knowing how to pronounce every single ingredient. This is a healthy crust my whole family loved. I didn't have wheat germ but I did use ground flax seed and chia seed. I also made my own sauce. Simple throw together kind... in my Vita Mix. Garlic, tomatoes, onion and seasoning with salt. My kids loved the fresh taste. I don't have any fresh tomatoes tonight so I will substitute with canned. Anyway here's the recipe for the crust if anyone is interested.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Greasy, Grimy Gopher Guts.

Greasy, grimy gopher guts. Why did we used to sing this on the playground and where did it come from? Well apparently it was a folk song sung by children in the USA and has a place in history at the Smithsonian. I thought it was made up by some farmer that had enough of the pest. Nevertheless it was going through my head today.

License to kill gophers by the government of the United Nations. Man, free to kill gophers at will. To kill, you must know your enemy, and in this case my enemy is a varmint. And a varmint will never quit - ever. They're like the Viet Cong - Varmint Cong. So you have to fall back on superior intelligence and superior firepower. And that's all she wrote.
Caddy Shack

Today was officially the first day of working on our property, we irrigated. No sooner did the water start to flow than we realized we had a terrible gopher problem. We sprung several leaks due to the extensive underground critter tunnels. Unfortunately we lost many gallons of precious water as it went where it wasn't supposed to go. So needless to say, gopher extermination otherwise known as Operation Kill the Buggers has begun - starting today.

Don't get me wrong. I was a very strict vegetarian for over 10 years due to the fact I don't believe (or didn't believe) in killing animals. Here's the thing. This is my land. This is where my kids will play, and our food will grow. If it comes between choosing a disease ridden mole and my kids, I am going to choose the kids (although some-days I bet the mole has more manners) that being beside the point, I don't want to kill but I will. (Well I won't actually kill one, that would be the job of Gary or anyone else but me)

I have devised a plan. First I will pray them off. Yes pray. Why not? God can move animals, he caused a giant fish to swallow Jonah so he can make a gopher family leave my little homestead. If that doesn't do the trick we will try trapping the buggers and then releasing them into the wild. ( I am pretty sure this won't work although the image of me gently releasing them into the wilderness wearing a long flowing dress and flowers in my hair seems appealing.) In the end I regret to say we have to kill them. I plan on using my Rat Terrier dog, perhaps a snake (we would have to catch a wild Gopher snake, that being in and of itself a blog post worth posting) We can use irrigation and flood the suckers or bomb them with fire crackers or feed them Juicy Fruit gum or smoke them out or even dry ice them out. The possibilities are endless as is the amount of work. Today was marked by killing the first one. A poor little soul who lost its way and met it's maker. I am not going to say who or how delivered the blow because we are not proud. Every creature was once a baby and when you imagine the little gopher as a baby they just don't seem so pesky. It had to be done and while I don't condone it I am not going to cry a river either. So with that said, the kids had a blast running in the dirty water just as I did when I was a kid. Mason got burned to a crisp, which also marks the first day of sunblock for us.

So because this blog is an archive of stories for my kids I feel the need to post this gopher related story.

It was a lazy summer day, circa 1980's, I know this because we were watching Fantasy Island and it wasn't on TV land nor was it a rerun. Somewhere between scenes we heard the sound of gushing water, much like a giant toilet being flushed. Suddenly the closet door flew open and a torrent of water flowed into our house. There was a tube that ran underground, designed to cool air from outside that led into the living room closet. A gopher had broken the berm that was used to keep the water from entering this tube from the outside and there you have it. Our basement was flooded. We hopped and screamed trying to unplug things before water got to it. My dad nearly had a heart attack trying to fix the berm outside, grabbing his chest and falling down into the mud. Not a great moment for me because I having just been trained in CPR ran inside the house to call 911 leaving my three younger sisters who didn't know the first thing about CPR to handle my poor dad. Good thing it wasn't a real heart attack. Hey I never said I was good with emergencies.

Well a few days later when we got the basement carpet out and my parents were back to sleeping in their room, that naughty gopher attacked my dad. He had been flushed in through the pipe during the whole debauchery and lets just say, that was the last time he messed with my dad.

That is my story and I am sticking to it.