October 31, 2011

Happy Pumpkin Hunting!

May your evening be filled with ballerinas, farmers, kittens, princesses, giraffes, pumpkins, candy, laughter, and fun conversations with neighbors and their kids. =)

October 28, 2011

Inspired by a Stranger

The blogging world is interesting.  Like people, there are all varieties - soft, loud, cheap, colorful, fun, too busy, international, lavish, comforting, inspiring - you name it.  Once in a while you land upon a site that makes you want to pour yourself a cup of tea and find a laptop so you can sit in your favorite rocking chair and have a good read by the fire.

Today's landing brought inspiration from a stranger.  She loves to write.  She still does all her own photography (yes!) and, by choice, uses old-fashioned film cameras.  She takes pictures of custard donuts in London and loves the surprises her "mistake" shots bring.  All the while, I'm moping around because I have to use my very unforgiving, nondigital Canon.  She uses Blogger like the rest of us and she doesn't know how to write code for websites and she doesn't accept ads.  And yet her blog is a reflection of her extraordinary skills and passion.

And here's the real kicker.  She plans a trip to Paris with a friend and a year later actually does it, bringing along 40 rolls of film.  And uses the opportunity to think about writing a small book about her adventures.

Thanks, Molly.

October 26, 2011

First Fire Celebration

So we had our first ever First Fire Celebration.  We turned all the lights out and wondered if the occasion warranted something official, such as singing the national anthem.  In the end we just lit the fire in haste, quickly closing the door to the wood stove as the little puppers decided that matches and kindling are fun things to eat. With the fire roaring, we drank hot cocoa with homemade marshmallows and danced our way to silly fits of laughter.  More good memories were made along with promises to find more things to celebrate.

October 25, 2011

A Spot of Tea

This little windowsill is by a favorite chair in my favorite room.  The Study is always full of light and books and musical instruments and inspiration, and I decided it was time to bring out a few of my favorite teacups. These tiny cups will only hold a tablespoon or so of tea, but they are so exquisitely beautiful.  Spode, Royal Albert, and Grosvenor, you inspire me!

October 24, 2011

Rock Walls & Castles

I love our little rock wall, which over the years has sprouted ferns and vegetation.  We still have a few flowers hanging on into the fall. I wonder how many little flowers and cool rock walls are in Scotland?  There's a Country Living Fair going on there next month, and wouldn't it be fun to jump on a plane and spend a week checking it all out?  They have Bed & Breakfasts there, you know - in castles.  Menus include things like cranachan, granary, and Loch Fyne kippers.  I don't know what any of those are, but I'm willing to bet that they're all fabulous. =)

October 21, 2011

Peace in Big and Small Places

Today I pray for peace.

Peace for the nations.  So much turmoil around the world has erupted into the media, spilling into our homes.  May we all have the strength and courage to work towards harmony and peace.

In our little corner of the world, I pray for my nephew.  Today he undergoes part 1 of 2 procedures to replace a heart valve.  May the doctors have steady hands and sharp minds.  And may he experience a quiet heart (literally) and peace in the depths of his soul.

October 20, 2011

It's Official!

I'm headed down to Honduras again next year.  Can't wait.

Please consider stocking up on vitamins, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, toothbrushes, soap, and bandages of all sizes to contribute to our team.  Everything will be put to good use!

October 19, 2011

Autumn Leaves and Sunshine!

Sun, glorious sun!  Here in the Pacific Northwest we don't see it a lot.  We crave it.  And yesterday we had it all - sunshine, blue skies, a warm wind, and magnificent leaves.  THIS is delight!

October 18, 2011

What To Do With the Corn

Rolled oats, steel cut oats, lentils, corn, and beans.  Wait, go back. See the corn?  It seemed like such a good idea to buy it.  Oddly enough, I'm not sure that it really has a purpose on the earth. Hard as nails.  You can't grind it, smash it, soak it, cook it, or even feed it to the squirrels.  So what, pray tell, can I do with it other than save it as decoration?  This remains a great mystery.

October 17, 2011

Beautiful Women, Running Inspiration

We got up early and cheered Briana on this morning at the Girlfriends' Half Marathon.  She ran in spite of being sick - truly, she was amazing, along with all of those women!  It was inspiring to see so much sweat and determination and...well...gorgeous legs.  It always makes me think there is hope...maybe if I get back into running that far...

There was another source of inspiration, and that was watching those women who looked like they shouldn't be doing this kind of thing.  We saw women of every size and shape, those with bowed legs, bodies bent from years of strain, bad knees, and twisted backs.  They weren't just in the back of the crowd, and nothing stopped them from running. It was incredible to see the power of the mind.  I've decided that when you can run that far, the drive and zest for health is what makes you knock-out beautiful.

P.S. Running skirts are IN - I saw a lot, and they were very cute.  I think I need one.

October 14, 2011

Aunt Jo

Aunt Jo, 1960.  Her career spanned four decades and I think she delivered about 3,589,215,449 babies.  Maybe more.  She taught me Pig Latin, let me sit on the kitchen counter, and took me traveling to the faraway land of British Columbia.  She started me on my miniature teacup collection.  She remains the Scrabble Queen.  She shows her love through hugs and words and packages, and she still makes a mean tart. I am sorely in need of one today.

Are you reading this??

October 13, 2011


I learned (by trying) that these helicopters are too beautiful to fly.  Too red, too fresh, too heavy.  They need to dry up and turn brown to be able to spin like crazy.  Who knew?

October 12, 2011

Honduras Medical Mission 2011

Are these kids sweet or what?  This little guy lives in a squatter camp next to the city dump, and his mother brought him to our medical clinic.  See those fillings?  I wondered how he could have gotten those in his situation.  But on closer examination, I discovered those weren't fillings at all. They were cavities - rotten teeth.

As I figure out how to maneuver my world so I can return to help these beautiful children, I am mindful of the many "small" things in life we take for granted: running water, a toothbrush, toothpaste.

October 11, 2011

The Joy of Compost

Gotta love corn fresh from the farm.  We enjoyed it immensely.  But the husks always present a dilemma as I ponder what I should do with them and whether I should be more clever and inspired. (Yes, I know I'm weird but my mind thinks of these things.) I realize there are websites galore showing all kinds of nifty crafts and creative things to make out of them.  But I just can't go there. Yet another reason to love compost -- it relieves all the guilt.  FREEDOM. =)

October 10, 2011

Things Puppies Chew

Sticks moss pine cones water bottles zipper pulls furniture shoes shoe laces toes
hair ears eyebrows tails bones blankets leashes CD's boxes tape pencils pens checks rotten apples watermelon rinds corn cobs corn husks clips stuffed animals socks paper bugs
flies flowers watches foam pussy willows bird decorations

October 7, 2011

Drying Plums

I love harvest time.  Last weekend we came away from the corner farm with a big bag of plums. We saved a few to eat and then started drying like mad.  Talk about easy, cheap, delicious snacks for winter -  and they are the easiest fruit to dry. Wash, cut in half, pit, cut the halves in half again, and dry for a good 12 hrs.  Pack away in a closed container.  They make for good snacking and are perfect for lunches on the go.  They are also great lightweight snacks to pack along for a hike or snowshoe adventure. If you can manage to hide a few for long enough, they might magically appear in the kids' Christmas stockings!  

The idea of "putting up" generally refers to canning.  But really, it includes preserving in a broader sense, working with food for long term storage and making provisions especially for the winter when less is available.  I have had friends (and you know who you are!) who look at my food projects with both wonder and bewilderment - how many times have I heard you carefully say, "You know you can buy that.  We have stores."  Well, yes I do know that.  But I do it out of satisfaction.  Out of respect for our pocket book that takes so many hits in this economy.  Out of concern for our family's nutrition.  Out of my desire not to waste.  Out of my need to keep a dying art alive.  And I just plain like it - it makes me smile. :)

October 6, 2011

Hoke Farm Apples

I'm proud to report we have an apple harvest!  The dehydrator is working round the clock and we have more apples than we can manage right now.  This is a good problem.

October 5, 2011

Miss Elsie, Born to Run

Oh my goodness!  Yesterday our little puppers ran 6.8 miles!  (For our international readers, that's 10.9 km!) She also went for another walk and later in the evening she had a good run in the field. What will we do with all that energy?!

October 4, 2011


Snowberries...quiet and enchanting.  That's how one native plant nursery described them, and they're right.  The berries are actually edible, but there will be no snowberry tea trials.  I haven't tasted them, but they are described as bitter and soap-like, a famine food that is used when all else fails.  Maybe that's why the birds won't touch them unless there's a snowstorm in the dead of winter.

No project here for me.  Best left untouched, to be thoroughly enjoyed with the eyes only.

October 3, 2011

Drying Tomatoes

Aah, the tomatoes are beautiful!  The strange weather this summer made everything late, so here we are in October...

These beauties are Cherokee Purples - red and green with a hint of purple on the edges - and the sweetest, most luscious tomatoes on the face of the earth.  Slice them about 3/8" thick and dry them for about 16 hours in a food dehydrator.  They come out paper thin, weightless, and packed full of sweetness.  Fabulous all winter long in soups, casseroles, and roasted potato dishes.

These dried tomatoes are so sweet that I eat them straight as a snack.  Rationing is a good thing to consider.