Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First Day of Kindergarden

It was our oldest's first day of kinder garden and she has been so nervous I wasn't sure we were going to get her there. Her mom promised to sit outside the classroom until our grand daughter gave her the high five sign signalling that all was well and she could go home. First though after the waffle breakfast with scrambled eggs she went and hid in her top bunk and cried.

Who could blame the little tyke as our oldest daughter, her aunt, commented that change hasn't always been the most pleasant thing the last four months.
I wasn't sure who was more upset, our daughter or her daughter? Our daughter never went more than one semester to public school and that was kinder garden. She didn't know what they were going to do to her poor little baby and she was in a state of near panic despite the fact she had known her daughter's teacher for years. Since our daughter is at work, I'm not sure if she's gotten over the days events but when I picked up our grand daughter from school she was all smiles and declared it a wonderful day.
Of course beyond the breakfast, I included home-made cookies in her lunch to remind her that Grandma was thinking of her.
And the cookies spurred a big smile from our youngest as her sister never got around to eating her cookies for lunch and shared them with her sisters for part of an after school snack.

As I tucked the kids into bed tonight our oldest grand daughter said. "Grandma be sure and put your name in my backpack. Mom has hers in there and I want yours also so I can call you if I need you." I guess the day didn't quite quell all her fears.

Thank you to those that comment about my Sunday Spiritual Thoughts, I was wondering how they were being received. I'm sorry I haven't spoken to each of you but I hope you understand that life has been a whirlwind and I am hanging on by my fingertips. I know each of you can say, "Been there done that." and so know that I love hearing from you and please don't stop. I'll catch up a bit one of these day.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Frozen Corn Recipes

Have you noticed that my tomorrow means a general tomorrow. You know, sometime in the future, not the next day. Life, - it is so full right now, like it is for everyone who lives the lives we do. School begins tomorrow and while we prepare for it, (I made dozens of cookies for the month of September for my husbands lunches and our grand daughters yesterday, not to mention all the shopping for supplies) the canning needs done at the same time and it never seems to end, though I'm not doing very much of it in comparison to the usual August. The Lord hasn't given me as bounteous a crop this year and I thank him for that. He definitely knows what's best for us. I'm finding out I've just not much time for the garden and it isn't getting watered like it should and weeding, what's that? Good thing I heeded the prompting from Him to garden big last year and to can, can, can. With what we already have and what we are getting, plus a little stocking up from the store during the fall food sales, this winter we'll be fine.
I'm just not enjoying - maybe that's not the word- let's see, appreciating canning like I usual do. I find myself wishing I had pumpkins and squash to watch change in color. I didn't realize how much I enjoyed them grow and change and the big blossoms. Sometimes it is the lack of things that causes us to really appreciate them. Then when the cooler weather slid in today, I found myself longing for shorter days where I do lots of cooking, quilt, sew, and knit. It's probably enhanced from the to do list I started of all the work that needs done before the snow flies. It's very, very, long.

And though I've worked and worked I never seem to finish a task. Take for example last week. I worked a little at a time early in the mornings painting the sheds at the corrals. A task best done without three little ones helping. But that task isn't done since I've yet to build the new small chicken coop and it will need painted also. I thought I was done butchering chickens but three more have started to crow. So that task is obviously not done. Okay, yes, I can tell a rooster from a hen but I admit I haven't been paying the attention to them that I usually do.
And though I've worked on the fences, Bess has bend some more over and I'm done with the makeshift gates we have. I had a card with some money on it given to me and I purchased two new gates because I decided this year would be the year that irritation was fixed. The rest of the money goes on a mattress for our youngest grand daughter. So now I have a hole to dig to hang them both on as they will swing in opposite directions opening two pens. Not an easy task in solid clay soil. It takes a pretty big tractor with a post hole digger on it to dig holes in this country. I've no tractor so I'll dig just like the painting was done, a little at a time. The other two gates need dismantled and rebuilt. And... And... And...well, you know what I'm talking about. So today, I'm finally getting to you the corn recipes I promised and I'd best hurry because as I moved the hose in the water starved garden, I see I've more beets to can. I'd better get off this computer and go pull them from the ground while the kids are enthralled with Cinderella. Though I don't believe in much time spent watching movies and tv, sometimes it is a pretty good babysitter.
Aunt Larae's Frozen Corn

4 quarts of corn cut off the cob

1 quart of hot water

3 teaspoons of salt

Bring to boil and boil 10 minutes then pour onto cookie sheets to cool. bag liquid with the corn and freeze in appropriate zip lock bags or jars.

Georgia's Cream Corn

14 cups corn

1 1/2 cups water

3 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup sugar

Cook 15 minutes and while it is hot add 1 cup evaporated milk, 1/2 cup butter, then mix and cool all night in refrigerator.

For 5 dozen ears it takes three batches.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Spiritual Thought

Doug Reid said that ?, and I can't remember which relative of course,
always said, "Life is change but growth is optional." That is quite poignant right now as our lives have been in a constant state of change.
What would I do without the Savior and my Heavenly Father, I do not know. It is in their strength that I find change tolerable and growth possible.
King James --1 Peter 3:2
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Round Robin Photo Challenge.

Sorry, this post is getting up a bit late but it is getting up and that's pretty good considering how well the household is feeling right now. Plus, I had to make a dash to the next town over which is a eighty mile trip and paint sheds this morning.
The topic for this photo challenge is expressing a feeling. I threatened to take photos of the flu's casualties but that just got me a real dirty look so I thought maybe I'd better rethink that idea and take a look through my archives for something appropriate.
In this photo I just wish our grand daughter's hair wasn't in the way of the expression on her face as she's looking at her hands. I may be cheating a bit today as I'm using a couple photos from my daughter. Which includes this one but I am doing the best I can considering this flu isn't letting go very fast and I still feel pretty lousy.
This is also one of hers and one of my favorites.

Now that is pride at catching a fish and yes, this ones mine.

I'll get back later with that recipe I promised but for now I'd best go lay down for a little while. Hope your Saturday is filled with sunshine in and out.
Maybe some of you lucky ones are out fishing and will have to view this at a later date.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Dratted Garden Fairies

That's what someone on the Internet said was the reason that my corn is not sweet this year. The Garden Fairies caused it. Well, I guess it is as good a reason as any since no one else I could find had an explanation. Some said it was the type of seed but I know better. The corn should have been good. This is the first year that I haven't had sweet corn. Some of the corn is in heavily manured ground and some not but that isn't making a difference which puzzles me. I added a large amount of manure under my apple trees a couple years ago because the apples were really tart and the next year they were decidedly sweeter. Garden Fairy again, I'm wondering since the manure didn't seem to effect the corn. Here I have been blaming the farmers who I've bought corn from in the past for poor farming practices when their corn was tasteless. Now that theory is under revisement.
I had such high hopes since the ears this year were some of the prettiest I've ever grown. Most are seven inches in length and full. Last year, the ears weren't fully pollinated and the cobs were smaller. We ran the rows from north to south. This year we ran east to west like we did a couple years ago. Wind isn't a problem since it blows most of the time so I'm thinking the direction the corn is planted has a bearing on how the pollen is distributed. During most of my years of gardening I've gone to my mom's for a visit and bought corn since our garden was too small to grow it. So my corn raisng experience is limited. I do know that each kernel is attached to a silk and each silk must be pollinated.
Now even though most of the corn was nice, that didn't mean that I didn't have a few stubbies. And then there was this weird one that tried to grow two ears in one covering. The second ear is at the bottom and still covered.
But for my first picking, I did get a nice batch. No, those are not laundry baskets but they are decent sized tubs. They are headed for the upright freezer today to help with some organization problems. I'll tell you more about that later.

I've a trick to share with you. If you have sweet corn, in order to keep it sweet frozen, cut it off the cob and then blanch it. Don't blanch on the cob. You cut down on a whole lot of mess too.

I'll give you my Aunt's recipe for this technique and a delicious creamed corn recipe my mom got tomorrow but right now I'm headed to the store for seven-up. Yup, my husband has the flu now and I've the three grand kids.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dragon's Tongue

No rest for the weary or the sick for the garden won't wait for me to recover so I'm working and laying down and working and laying down.
Last night, I canned 16 pints of beans.

And today, I picked a few more beans for the grand kids and our daughter and we had a taste test. The dragon's tongue beans (the yellow bean with purple streaks) were a huge success. They were sweeter than the green beans and the kids munched merrily on them and took a bag home. Everyone agrees that they have won a spot in our garden next year. Now I'm going to let them go to seed (hopefully there is time left) and we will try them dry like in navy beans. Another test will be seeing how well they do when the weather turns cold. They did originate from Holland so I've high hopes.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

MIssion Concepion

We definitely knew we weren't in Wyoming when this critter, an opossum, showed up in the motel's garbage can. The maids said they bite and are really a rather nasty animal. They were out there with sheets, and brooms trying to capture it. I wasn't too convinced of the viciousness of the little rat looking critter especially when one of the guys reached over and stroked its back while its head was turned and it did nothing. We haven't got any wildlife that are that tame. In fact, some of our barn cats area whole lot wilder and vicious than that opposum. So when it headed off in my direction and waddled by my foot, I just held still and watched, enjoying the close up view.
And as promised, I'll show you the last of a selection of pictures from our trip. I'm guessing this is the cord you pull for the bell.
When they cleaned years of dirt off the walls, they discovered these murals.

This is the chapel.
It was wow to say the least.

And now I'm going to do livestock chores and lay down. Last night I ran a 104F fever while making six pounds of deposits into the city's waste system. You can guess how good I feel today. This sweet (not) gift was courtesy of the grand kids.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mission San Jose

If you thought things were a little strange with my posts last week, it was because Kirk and I were in San Antonio, Texas at a knife show. My computer skill are... uh, lets say sorely lacking and things didn't post quite as I had planned but hey, I tried to stay in touch.

As always, if I'm along, we have to mix business with pleasure for I'm not one to sit contentedly inside a building for hours and consider it a nice trip. So, we spent a little time seeing the sites. Last year was our first visit to San Antonio, Texas and we were blessed with a private tour of the Alamo with a historian as our guide. This year, we wanted to see a couple of the missions. My next door neighbor in Wyoming insisted( on two different occasions) that we had to see Sea World but that just isn't our style. If we visit a place we want to experience its history and natural landmarks. Sea World is a transplant. We bought tickets on a trolley and headed to San Jose mission on Thursday. It was quite an adventure. First we were shocked that the only ones on the two trolleys that got off to see the sights, rather than drive by with the bus driver commentating, was us. Sure it was hot, REALLY HOT, but the heat was worth suffering through as the mission was an incredible site.

The church is original but only 18% percent of the mission is. You could tell what was old because it was whiter in color and the rest the state is rebuilding replicating the original buildings. That meant much of what we saw was in actuality modern construction but that didn't diminish from the attraction. From what I understood, the Spanish sent the Catholic leaders into a region and they converted many in the area. The people helped build the church and the fort like compound around it as the Comanches raided the area threatening the people driving them toward this mission. In turn the people's every day lives were strictly regulated as to when worship time was, when they worked in the fields, tended to livestock, and trained as solders.
The people weren't allowed to leave once they joined and the religious leaders were known to travel hundreds of miles to drag back someone who left. Hence, the population must have grown. The compound is quite large.
Above is the outside of the small homes that made up the walls of the mission. The dome shape is an outdoor oven. These were scattered along the outside as were wells for water. This is a representation of one of the homes that made up the mission's perimeter walls. On the table is a stone grinder. Corn was the primary grain of choice of the area but the religious leaders said it was for livestock and demanded that wheat be grown and used. The sculpted top of this built in cupboard in one of the homes is a typical architectural feature of this era in the area. I thought this was cool, indoor plumbing the crude way. The vessel is fastened to the wall and you pour water into it. The valve at the bottom closes and opens so the water will flow into the bowl when wante. I bet the housewives loved this.
This is the grain mill and this wheel was turned by water only in a horizontal position and not vertical as we usually see.
The water flowed into this hole. You can see the valve that opened and closed to allow the water into the area with the wheel.

This is the small room where the wheat was poured onto the stone for grinding.

This is Kirk outside the grain mill.

But though the grounds were interesting, it was the church that commanded your attention. I'll take you inside for a peak.

Yeah, wow, it was pretty spectacular. Again I wish I knew what I was looking at but we missed the lecture by just a few minutes and we had to hustle as the trolley made stops at appointed times and that was our only source of transportation.

Note the sculpting on this??? whatever the Catholics call this. I'm guessing it held water for the ritual where the Catholics dip their finger in the water and form the sign of the cross. There were several little side rooms in the church that I assume were for prayer as they had these build in the wall. As you can tell, I'm not Catholic and so the significance of much of what I saw went right by me. That is unfortunate.

I did find this wood circular staircase and the little girl in me wanted to adventure up it to see what I could see. Alas, the gate was locked and being that I'm not a little girl anymore, the stairs would probably break under my weight.

That's it for your tour. Oh, I've lots more pictures but
I know how people feel about going through tons of photos of people's vacation. I'll will do one more post of Mission Concepcion tomorrow and then I promise to spare you the rest but if you get a chance, don't miss visiting the mission in San Antonio. The River Walk is just a canal with lots of noisy shops butted up against each other along it's edges. No grassy expanse as I had envisioned and since I don't like to shop, I was extremely dissapointed. It wasn't even as neat as Jackson Hole, Wyoming where at least the shops have a Wyoming flare where they sell, antler furniture and such. And Sea World is in other cities but the Alamo, and the missions aren't. They are a part of what makes Texas's heart beat and to understand Texas, you need to understand these historic places.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Spiritual Thought

"Discipleship is not a spectators sport.
"Ours is not a second-hand religion. We need to get off the side lines."
Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Friday, August 20, 2010


Yarrow, it is one of the very few plants I have growing in my new flower garden. Oh, I plan to expand some but since I'm only going to have one flower garden I'm carefully selecting what goes in it. I want varrying leaves, types of flowers, and above all - plants that are not fussy about their soil. We haven't decent soil and though I've worked for several years on this spot in preparation of moving some of the flowers from the front to the back yard, I know the ground will quickly return to what it once was CLAY.

This yarrow won the honor of the move since it did well in poor soil, and was a nice contrast to the other flowers. Little did I know it is native to the Northern Hemisphere and as you can see there is one volunteer clump growing in front of the wood pile this year. Since little but grass and stumby sagebrush grows in this part of Wyoming, seeing this plant nestled against the wood reminded me of trips to the Big Horn mountains which is a few hours away. Though it might as well be days as little as we get away to enjoy them. But since I've always lived on one side or the other from these mountains, I've visited them through out my life and so my imagination tickled a memory and as I peered down the lens of my camera I swore I could smell fresh mountain air with its hint of wood smoke and I longed to be there staying in a cabin far from civilization. I could be a hermit so easily. When I walked back and forth between the two plants, the one in my garden and the one by the wood pile, I noticed that my garden's had a much bushier fern leaf growth and it made me wonder, was the woodpile yarrow offspring or a distant wild cousin?
And actually before this moment, I had no idea what plant was growing in my yard as it had always been Fern to me. You know I can't identify very many flowers by name with this poor memory. And a friend had told me what it was when she gave it to me but the name never stuck until I searched my Weeds Of The West book and then looked on the Internet. My curiosity was peeked since not even the Russian Olives have offspring in this poor soild countryside. Where as over the mountain they are a outlawed pesk as they have taken over much of the pastures during our recent long years of drought.

What popped up on the Internet surprised me. It seems I chose wisely to keep this plant as this pretty addition is one with wonderful medicinal value. In herbal medicine, all the plant is used. The flowers and stems are dried and a infusion of it is excellent when battling colds, flus, bleeding, and a number of other problems. But for now, I'll just enjoy its beauty.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First Engraving Project.

Kirk finished his first engraving project, the bolster on a hunter (knife).

The M.S. stamp is for Master Smith, a ranking Kirk holds in the American Bladesmith Association. This is a shot of the bolster as he is removing the background. I think he did a wonderful job especially for his first time. Oh, he's been practicing but he's only been home from the engraving school a month and a half.

If you comment on a post, be patient, I won't be always near a computer the end of this week but I'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Your Next Bee Lesson

Since I'd taken off the two boxes of honey and the bees didn't have lots left, I thought I'd better check the hive I'd robbed. What I found was that the bees had increased the amount of honey in the hive so I felt pretty confident they would be fine for a little while unsupervised.So I hung up my veil and gloves and stood in front of the hive within a couple feet and started to photograph. See how dedicated I am to you. Oh I tried to first take pictures with my veil and gloves on but the camera became sticky and I couldn't see what I was doing.And I didn't want you too miss an opportunity to learn. You were progressing along so well on your bee lessons that we just can't stop now. Get ready, this is quiz time. Can you find the drone in this picture?
Let me help you. This picture does not have a drone in it. Now study it carefully. Note the bee bringing in nectar. That means there is brood but the queen isn't laying too many this late in the year as the food supply is dwindling with the countryside turning a crispy yellow.

Now this photo has a drone in it. Did you find him. He's the one with the fat butt. Now isn't that nice for a change. I swear mine just keeps getting bigger and my husband's smaller. Yup, he's the one in the bottom of the picture that is dark. Now this bee is sipping honey that broke off from a frame that I lifted out to check for how much brood was being laid. The bees will collect all this and put it back into the hive.Don't want to tax the brain too much as I know all of you are probably working like crazy trying to haul in and can the harvest, unless of course you are in Australia and your opposite to us, and so that's the only question for today but I have a interesting fact. Okay, maybe not a fact but I'd say that cutter bees are better at pollinating alfalfa because they aren't as smart. You may argue with me on that but I can read through the lines of research. Oh, the scientist didn't come out and say it but what else is one to suppose when they say that honey bees learn that alfalfa snaps them a good blow and they aren't real anxious to go back and collect pollen or nectar?
Cutter bees just keep coming back. I'd say it was smarts but then I'm rather partial to a bee that gives me honey. They got to be smarter don't they storing up for winter like they do?

How that snap happens is that when the bee visits the alfalfa flower, it dislodges the sexual column causing it to snap. Here is where the observers argue. Some say the bee gets bopped on the head and others on the underside. I don't know about you but I'd rather be thumped on the back than the head. But either way, I'd be a bit leery about a repeat performance too. Yet, since my bees have little else to collect food from, that is what happens to them. When I found out this I almost felt sorry for them but then I had another slice of bread with alfalfa honey on it and my guilt feelings just melted away.

The researchers said honeybees aren't as effective as some others at pollinating alfalfa because they learn how to outsmart the plant and keep it from triggering the snap. See, I told you they were smarter.

Can't remember if I told you this or not but the reason we started with bees was because eating local honey eases your pollen allergies. Our young son had terrible sweet clover allergies and so we put in a few hives near a large sweet clover patch and after years of eating alfalfa and sweet clover honey, he doesn't have a problem with the allergy anymore. Of course by then Kirk and I were hooked on honey and though Kirk has encouraged me to quit because of my having too many projects, I refuse. I enjoy them and oh how good that honey tastes. It is especially sweet since we've had so many years of drought that we have been surviving on our stores from eight or better years ago.

As good as jelly is, we still prefer honey on our bread.

This is your second lesson. Note how dark the bee is flying with yellow pollen baskets on her legs. Then notice how light some of the other bees are. Yup, just like a cat, a queen bee mates with more than one male. Though each often chooses multiple partners during their heat cycles for lack of a better word for bees urges. With a queen bee, it is during her maiden flight and then she is bred for life. Call it a one day fling but it is a doozy for she then spends the rest of her life having babies.

So now when you see a hive with a stark contrast in the look of the bees, you'll know it is half sisters that your looking at. Then again if it is a brand new hive the bee keeper robs bees from other hives and places them with the new queen. Given time those bees will die out and the young queen's offspring will take over the hive. With this hive the answer to the differences in looks of the sister's is that the queen when young just couldn't resist tall, dark and handsome, and the lovely fair haired boy either.