Friday, February 29, 2008

an entertaining outing

Today we drove the 7 mile or so into town, despite the accumulation of another few inches of snow on top of the foot that had already fallen. We’re kinda crazy that way…at times, especially Coop who loves to drive in the snow.

After taking care of errands, we definitely needed to put some petrol into the old car before heading back to the country. We were fortunate to find that one station had it for $2.89 a gallon. Everyone else was priced at $3.05 or above. So, despite the line, we pulled in and were able to zip into an open bay because our gas tank was on the appropriate side. (Thank you universe!) As I waited in the car, I watched in amusement, as we citizens came and went, feeding that great machine created by the oil industry and capitalism. Two isles over a woman sat in her car, waiting, waiting, waiting to pull forward just one space to the pump. However, everyone else lined up at that pump was facing her. After the third car pulled up, with her (woman A) still waiting her turn, she stepped out of her car and confronted woman B who was at the pump. I heard woman A explain to woman B that she had been waiting a very long time and it certainly was her turn. Woman B explained she had been waiting a long time, also, then add sarcastically, “I’m here, what can I do about it now?” Woman A replied, “I was waiting when you pulled in, you could back up”, to which woman B replied, ‘it’s too late. I already slid my card.” Woman A got back into her car and turned as she did, saying, “you’re a bitch’, to which woman B said very defensively, “I am NOT a bitch.”

I’m thinking to myself that this may progress further, but can’t help but chuckle inside at the ridiculousness of the situation. Luckily it didn’t progress. I was left thinking that if everyone weren’t in such a hurry or so self centered, they might be a little more considerate of the next person. What a fine example of our values!

So…of we go with one more stop before getting home. We needed to pick up milk, butter and eggs from Sam and Fanny’s house, providing we could get in their driveway. It had been cleared enough to allow safe passage, so we were able to get in. As we came up the drive, we saw Sam out with his team of two horses with a sled rigged up, trying to herd four half grown calves back to the barn. Coop offered a hand of course, but Sam said he had it taken care of, so Coop proceeded into the milk house to get our jugs filled. I watched Sam take his team around in circles a few times to head the cows around in the right direction. All the while Sam was shouting in German and making a weird sound and throwing snow balls at the cows when they veered off in the wrong direction. It was terribly entertaining and quite funny to see.

Suffice it to say, the necessary brief trip out today made for some unexpected entertainment in the least expected places. I have to say, also, that I just love how Sam and Fanny deal with things. Sam could have gotten all p***** off over the cows, but he didn’t. He jut did what needed done to get them back to the barn. When he was done, he went on with other things. He took it all in stride as just part of the day.

I often see the difference between the behavior of these simple people and mainstream society. If you’re exposed to both, you can’t miss it. The Amish I’ve met are not pretentious at all, but very humble, polite people, lacking the over inflated egos seen so often in society. We could learn a lot from them in so very many ways.

for your consideration

My daughter and I have a grocery exchange thingy going on. Because she has to make the 80 mile trip up every other weekend for my granddaughter’s scheduled visitation with her dad, we manage to make the trip more functional. Since she has a Whole Foods Market close by and I don’t and since I have Amish nearby and she doesn’t, we both are able to have access to the items we want and normally wouldn’t be able to get. I provide her with homemade butter, raw milk and free range eggs for instance, from the Amish. She brings me fair trade coffee, nuts, and necessary bulk items. It’s all good!

I think it wound be a wise practice for all of us to consider our neighbors and friends when we are making a trip somewhere. You know, just a quick call to a person to see if they need anything while you are out. Say I’m going to town for whatever reason. How hard would it be for me to call my neighbor and say, “Hey, can I pick up anything for you while I’m out?”

If we all did this, not only would it lessen the carbon footprint, but it would be doing a simple, thoughtful act for another...rippling out a little positive energy into the universe. It’s win-win any way you look at it. Now I imagine there are those who might not want to bother with this because they think they don’t have the time. Truth is, we need to stop all that hustle and bustle BS and just slow ourselves down a bit anyhow, so consider that just one more reason to start practicing this little act. It’s good for the planet, good for connecting with our neighbors, good practice for thinking outside our selves and just plain good for the soul, no matter how you slice it. :)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

garden talk-the growing challenge

Fresh, ripe, juicy tomatoes are just about my favorite thing from the garden. For big, luscious slicing tomatoes to eat fresh I love Brandywine the best. Who doesn’t? They have the old fashioned flavor I remember from childhood. Rarely a summer meal is served without a plate full of Brandywine slices or wedges being set on the table.

This spring I will be trying a couple new varieties from rareseeds. I thought it would be fun to grow some truly unique tomatoes. For instance White Tomesol and Green Sausage.

Another summer favorite of ours is squash. This spring’s newest addition to the garden in the summer squash realm will be Lemon Squash, a the shape, size and color of, you guessed, a lemon!

Last season we raised Swiss chard and beets. This year I’ve decided instead of taking up garden space planting chard I will add more rows of beets. Beets serve a duel purpose. Not only do we get to eat the root, (yum!) but the tops are just as tasty as chard. I really can’t tell much, if any difference, which makes sense as chard is a member of the beet family.

That’s my weekly post in relation to the growing challenge. More garden talk to come in the weeks ahead.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

oh my goddess!

Meet the girls I have been working with. The two items in front, "Gaia in Repose" and the pendant were made a few years ago. I just recently decided to glaze them. The "Daughter of the Moon" plaque is a very recent creation, my first attempt at getting back into practice playing with the clay.

I used to make a lot of sculpted beings I called "metamorphs". They were figures that depicted aspects of the human spirit. I was often commissioned for special orders which were accomplished by using my intuitive abilities to tap into the customers spirit. It was a meditative process with very accurate results. Every commissioned piece was a no obligation, no money up front deal to reassure the customer and to protect me just in case my intuition was way off. The amazing thing is, it never was. Everyone was happy. Each metamorph would come with an exclusive poem I wrote to resonate with the spirit of the piece. Sometimes the poem came first, sometimes the sculpture. Each one was unique and significant. Many were done on a stone base and some had crystals or stones added for their significance. For a few years metamorphs were sent all over the country as well as places like Japan and England.

But then life changed, we moved and I was ill for some time after which my life got busy in the business of moving again and the...again. I just never got back to working with the clay much. In that time I got interested in jewelry making and proceeded with that. But every now and then the spirit of the metamorphs would whisper in my ear and I would think about getting back to them. Whether I dive back in completely or not is still in question, but for now I'm at least dabbling.

So, since I'm on the subject I thought I'd share a few pieces from the past.

Hide n Seek resides in Minnesota and was about how we often
are searching outside ourselves for meaning when we do wiser to look within.

Integration resides in Florida and is pretty self explanatory...about balance, peace,love.

to the left Peace Guy, who, as of now belongs to me.

Below is Sleeping Beauty, about self love and recognition and awakening that spirit within yourself. She resides in Maryland.

I would have liked to have shared a few more, but being they were taken with an old mavica, some just showed up far too choppy.

Anyhow, now you know what a metamorph is.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

from my kitchen window

This is what we are privy to view on a regular basis here. As a habit it seems I’m often encumbered by Coop’s presence at my sink when I am trying to cook or clean up the kitchen. But then, I often find myself standing there alongside him, appreciating the view.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Growing Challenge

I came across elements in time the other night and decided to take the growing challenge. The rules are simple; you must grow one additional type of fruit or vegetable than you did last year, and grow it from seed and you must blog about gardening once each week. I figure that's not much of an obligation as my seeds are ordered and I'll be planting all kinds of new things this year, and like last year I'm bound to talk about it here on a regular basis. The main thing is the benefit tome and my garden. I think it may encourage me to be more conscious of my take more notice in the day to day changes occurring there. I figure anything that encourages one to be more conscious and to prioritize what matters is a positive.

My seed purchase this year was entirely heirloom. The only old familiar standbys I ordered were Brandywine tomatoes and zucchini. I can't wait to get them and look through all the packets of potential. I am anxious for Spring...aren't we all who relish the thought of getting their hands in the earth? It won't be terribly long until I will be gathering my seed starting pots from the shed and setting my table and light up to begin the process.

Here's a look back at last years gardening efforts.
Old CDs and a string fence worked to help discourage the deer.

Can you say peppers?

a variety

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

give peace a chance ☺

Just some things I've been playing round with. The heart shaped pendant has red jasper and various wood beads. The earrings are tiny glass beads.

And here I had to try one made with some big wood beads. Not a great picture but you get the idea.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Total Lunar Eclipse: February 20, 2008

A total eclipse of the Moon occurs during the night of Wednesday, February 20/21, 2008. The entire event is visible from South America and most of North America (on Feb. 20) as well as Western Europe, Africa, and western Asia (on Feb. 21). During a total lunar eclipse, the Moon's disk can take on a dramatically colorful appearance from bright orange to blood red to dark brown and (rarely) very dark gray. Click on the title link for full information.

a matter of life and death

I watched Michel Moore’s’ SICKO today. I admit I have put it off for some time, knowing it would make me angry. And really, who wants to go there deliberately? But I figured despite being aware of how our health care system works, I still might have something more to gain. My overall reaction was primarily sadness, albeit mixed with anger. As warned by my daughter, I cried...a lot.

And now I ask, what has our society become when one of the richest hospitals in the nation rids their beds of undesirables by literally dumping them onto the street, still in their hospital gowns? How can we allow a little girl to die of a fever because the hospital she was taken to refused care? Why did this happen? Because the hospital wasn’t a participant in the patients HMO plan. Despite a mother who begged them to treat her daughter, they refused and sent her to another hospital. By then it was too late. And then there was the young husband and father who died not because treatment wasn’t available, but because his insurance company denied approval of the treatment that would have saved his life.

These were just a few of the stories shared by the victims of our shamelessness. And why did these preventable tragedies happen? Because our health cares system is based on money rather than care. What’s startling is that had these people lived in any one of good number of other countries their deaths most likely would not have occurred.

People will tell you that socialized medicine is inferior. The statistics (and the residents) say different. People in both Cuba and France for instance have a lower mortality rate and live longer, healthier lives than we do here in this country. And I personally think even if, as we’ve been (mis)led to believe, the care were somewhat inferior, at least the people have access to care. This year there will be another 18,000 (or maybe more) unnecessary deaths in this country due to the lack of health insurance. This number is according to the Institute of Medicine, January 2004. Now I’m not sure if that number indicates just those without any coverage at all or includes those who have coverage, but die from refusal by their insurers to approve necessary procedures and treatments.

I could go on and on about this issue, how we’ve failed and how I feel and who I think has blood on their hands. But I won’t. I’ll simply urge you to educate yourself and watch SICKO if you haven’t yet. Even if you despise Michael Moore, the facts speak for themselves as do the victims. I urge you even more to contact your representatives and urge them to support H.R. 676 so that all individuals residing in the United States can receive high quality and affordable health care services. For 18,000 (or more) people in the U.S. it's a matter of life and death. You, I or a loved one could easily be one of those 18,000 at any given time.

To find out who your reps are, visit here.

To see if your reps support this, visit this link.

To learn more about what you can do, go here.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

saturday stuff & a brunch recipe

Sourdough onion bread that was starting to stale, fire roasted red peppers, eggs, creamy fresh milk, a variety of leftover cheeses, freshly ground sausage and little salt and pepper should make for a scrumptious meal. I just took this egg based casserole from the oven. Here are the basics…

10-12 eggs beaten lightly (I use a whole dozen)

2 ¼ cup milk

1 tsp. salad mustard

5-6 slices of bread (cubed or torn into pieces)

salt and pepper to season (about 1/2tsp. each)

1 lb bulk sausage (cooked and crumbled)

1 ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (or whatever and however much you have on hand)

Now you bake as is or improvise if you like with other goodies like chopped onions, diced peppers or additional spices. I like to toss in a couple of diced jalapeƱos or as mentioned, some roasted red peppers once in awhile. On your plate a little salsa on top or on the side (even some sour cream, too) can be a good thing.

Pour into oiled 9x13 pan and baked at 350 for 50-60 minutes. Done when knife inserted comes out clean and browned nicely on top.

The house is quiet today. Coop is finishing up some paint work on the house up the road. The past two days were filled with my girl’s presence. Kandice, Destiny and my sister Sue were all here Thursday night. K and D spent the night. On Friday morning my “other daughter” (niece actually) Jenni came over to visit. Two days of catching up with the girls was fun. Special thanks to Jennie for the cute basket full of pink! (minus half the sweet treats now!)

Destiny modeled a capelet I had finished. I think it looks sweet on her.

Other than that I’ve added a few items to my etsy store and things have quieted down now at the homestead.

The sun is shining bright and warm and that is definitely welcome.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

crocheted tea pot cosy

I have finished up a few crochet projects the past few days, one being a tea cozy. I've always wanted one and still need to make one for my larger pot, but I did get one made for my small teapot! I used Peaches and Cream 100% cotton yarn in peppermint. It reminded me more of valentine colors than peppermint and with the touch of pink it works well in my pink kitchen.

It's a basic pattern I made up as I went along for a custom fit, done in rows of half double stitches, aside from the row surrounding the spout which I did in double crochet. Simple, but effective. The top is drawn closed and tied by weaving a crocheted chain in and out. I added the "love" button just because it was cute and seemed appropriate...adds a little more positive chi to my chai, hee, hee.

A trip to town early this afternoon made us anxious to return home. After our first stop which took a matter of less than thirty minutes, the freezing rain began. We came out to our car to find it iced over. Three other stops were necessary before heading back home, so by then the roads were quickly becoming layers of freezing slush. I was glad to get back to the warmth and safety of home again. Truth be told, if it weren’t for the occasional necessity of making a trip to town I couldn’t care less if I ever left my humble abode…even in the warmer months.

My daughter and I were talking the other day about vacations. Someone she had been speaking with was shocked that, as a child she had never been on a “real” family vacation. That translates to never having been to Disneyworld despite the fact that we had traveled to Florida to visit friends back in 1988. Anyhow, she and I got to talking about how big, expensive vacations were probably highly overrated anyhow. Don’t get me wrong, I would love the luxury of taking a trip to Scotland and I have fantasized, too about heading north to see the Aurora Borealis for real instead of in photos. But in general vacations feel unnecessary to me. Like I told a friend of mine last summer, I take a vacation every evening when my work is done. I simply step outside onto the patio. I know I’m very fortunate in not having the need to get away from it all and having nature at my doorstep. I don’t take that for granted at all.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

wintery reminiscing

Yesterday Coop spotted a coyote passing through the woods behind the house. As a safeguard we kept the ducks penned in for the day. We watched Shadow as he guarded the edge of the property, fully aware of the coyote’s presence. I think the ducks would have been safe because of that, but there is no sense in tempting fate.

Last night brought terrible winds and cold. The gusts are so strong at times they are forcing air through the window seals, making a whining hum despite having this place sealed up quite well. That’s when you know it’s windy! I’m glad we have nowhere to go and can stay in. I will spend today doing small things…balancing the checking account, finishing up a crocheted capelet I began the other day and cooking a pot of soup.

This type of winter weather brings to mind days past when we lived here the first time. I remember a day the electric was out for 16 hours. Kandice and I stayed huddled on the sofa under a blanket a good share of that day with the kerosene heater taking center stage in the living room. Fortunately our electric co-op seems to have improved lines and service since then and we seldom get a power outage anymore. And when we do it is short lived.

The high winds of today bring memories from even further back of the blizzard that hit our area thirty years ago. The weather service declared the blizzard of January 1978 as a severe one that was rarer and far more dangerous, one of “unprecedented magnitude”. At that time I was 22 and living at home with my folks. We thought for sure the plate glass window in the living room was going to blow out. Fortunately it didn’t. Dad and my brother left work early that day and were fortunate they did, else they would have been stranded there. Days after the blizzard, I recall driving on roads still covered in layers of icy ruts, my old ’71 Plymouth Duster literally bouncing this way and that as I pushed forward to make it to work on time. Twenty foot drifts lined the roads, some higher, burying the countryside (and a few travelers) and hiding the view, giving the effect of being in a tunnel of snow. But enough reminiscing about the past, it’s time to get on with today.

photo courtesy

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

wet wednesay

All the storm activity the past two days has caused the creek (as seen my kitchen window, so you'll have to excuse the clotheslines. ) to rise and churn . I'm glad we are on high ground. Last night brought some seriously loud thunder booms that rattled this old house. In the midst of yesterdays work, we happened to be upstairs and noticed a damp spot on one interior wall. Not a good sign, but certainly glad we happened to be up there and take notice.

As to what we were doing...Coop put up some shelves for my studio. Right now I have all my sewing and crafting supplies stored in the small room. Over the next few week or months, whichever the case may be, my plan is to move my crafty stuff into the lager room. The windows in there face south and west, giving me much more daylight, not to mention the fact that it's a much larger room. Lots of space to set up a table, my ironing board, etc.

The seed order is nearing completion. Aside from some herbs and and maybe a packet or two of flower seeds, my garden seed order is in order. I hope to finish that up today.

Yesterday was a busy one. I didn't especially intend for it to turn out that way, but as you know, one thing often leads to another. So, the matter of cleaning the dust bunnies out from under the bed turned into a complete bedroom cleaning and organizational project. Curtains came down and got washed, the mattress got turned and the new chocolate colored sateen sheets went on the bed, even a book self unit (that crowded the room) was removed. When all finished I was very satisfied and acutely realized just how much better the energy of our bedroom felt.

I have been focused on the house the past few days and haven't even picked up a crochet hook or project of any kind. I think it is the warmer temps (despite the cloudiness) inspiring me to clean, so am off to sweep the remaining rooms.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

one more reason to give up eating commercially raised beef

Video footage being released today shows workers at a California slaughterhouse delivering repeated electric shocks to cows too sick or weak to stand on their own; drivers using forklifts to roll the 'downer' cows on the ground in efforts to get them to stand up for inspection and slaughter...In addition, this beef is going to feed our kids in public schools.

read more | digg story

Seven Words that can Change the World

A 22 page book by Joseph Simonetta, viewable at no charge reveals a simple yet profound philosophy of global transformation based on seven simple words. This book will most likely cause you to think more deeply about the things you believe (and why you believe them), what sacredness means and how each of us can easily and immediately create change.

read more | digg story

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Friday night accessory modeling

So, daughter Kandie and her hubby Tom came by tonight on the way from dropping Destiny at her dad's for the weekend. This time I remembered to take advantage of her presence by having her model some of my creations for my etsy shop. I didn't even have to bribe her, lol!
Her younger hands photograph so much nicer than mine.

...and she wears the hat so well....
and here she is without a head at all, just a chin...
She was such a good sport....little does she know that the next time I'll be having her model shawls. :)

Thinking Spring

The gardening and seed catalogs are arriving in the mail on a regular basis now. I’ll be purchasing most of my new seeds from this year. I plan on our having an entirely heirloom garden this coming spring and this supplier has such a good and unique variety. Next week I will seriously have to sit down and make my final decisions on what to order because it won’t be terribly long until I will begin growing the plants.

My canned food supply in the cellar has dwindled. Now I see that a more generous supply of spaghetti sauce and salsa will have to be canned next fall. We have eaten well all winter off last summers gardening endeavors. There is sufficient veggies in the freezer to see us through until fresh is available again.

It’s a good feeling to know oneself as self sufficient enough raise and preserve food, as well as (at least partially) sustain one’s self by the labor of one’s hands…and back I might add. Not everything did great, but we were gardening totally organically, so there were challenges and downfalls. We had some plants that failed, some that thrived and some that didn’t even come up. I learned about blossom end rot on my tomatoes and that it’s due to a lack of calcium. This year I will be planting crushed egg shells with my tomatoes. I learned that planting dill with my tomatoes this year may keep those tomato horn worms at bay. (I also learned that those same destructive worms turn into those cute little hummingbird moths.) I learned, too, that even if a garden product says it’s safe for organic gardens, you really need to question that and read all the info to make sure it’s something you really want to expose your plant and yourself to. There’s some pretty scary stuff out there that’s ”approved” for organic gardens.