July 31, 2012

We've Got Chicks!

The new chicks are here!  They love their red heat lamp.

They had a field trip out front on their 3rd day.  Here's a Delaware...

...and a silver-laced Wyandotte.

All are hardy, docile, and really, really cute.  I see a lot of eggs in our future.  =)

July 30, 2012

London Olympics 2012

I love the Olympics - all of it!  I love the athleticism, the competition, the patriotism, and the world coming together, politics aside. The opening ceremonies seemed both odd and wonderful, and a great build-up of the games to come.  Below are a few of my favorite scenes that I couldn't resist posting:

July 27, 2012


You could line up 50 pairs of hands and I could tell you exactly which pair belongs to "me".

July 25, 2012

Baked Beans From Scratch!

It was my job to supply baked beans for a church/neighborhood event, so I went to Costco to pick up a couple gallon containers of baked beans.  I have a recipe to doctor them up beautifully.  But there were no big cans to be had, just the little cans, and I figured it was going to cost me over $30 just for beans.  Not completely sure what I was thinking at the time, but finances won out and I decided I could do it a lot cheaper by just buying the dried beans.

Monstrous, 18,000-lb sacks of beans were stacked high.  What does one do with this many beans? But I didn't pause long enough to consider it.  All I could think was I-am-woman-hear-me-roar!

And so the grand experiment began, with enough laughter and mistakes to fill several posts.  The most notable event was when those beans started growing in the pot.  There are no warnings on the bag.

Anyway, the baked beans were delicious and Joe gave me 2 thumbs up, the ultimate compliment.  Woohoo! I don't plan on buying any more canned beans, which is a good thing, because I'm going to have to do something with the remaining 17,995 lbs.  Give or take.

Baked Beans
9 c. pinto beans -->  Soak overnight in a giant pot with plenty of water.  Drain.  Add fresh water in morning, bring to boil, then simmer 2° until tender.  Drain most of the liquid off.

2 large Walla Walla onions, chopped -->
2 cloves elephant garlic, chopped  --> Saute with olive oil under caramelized

Throw beans, onions, and garlic in the giant pot along with:
3 c ketchup
6 Tbsp molasses
3 Tbsp sea salt
2 Tbsp dry mustard
3 Tbsp vinegar
3 c. brown sugar
1-1/2 lb bacon, cooked and chopped
1-1/2 lb extra lean hamburger

Simmer for several hours...which for me means until it's time to pack up and go.  Time frames for beans are just an idea.

July 24, 2012

Trout Lake Festival of the Arts

We made an afternoon of the Trout Lake Festival of the Arts.  You can see what caught my eye - not the art so much, but the place.  =)

July 23, 2012

Orange Lentils

Oh boy, am I ever living wild!  I made an unplanned, spontaneous, impromptu, impulsive buying decision.

Really, who can resist these beauties?  Now to figure out a recipe...

July 20, 2012

Zucchini Molasses Bread

Oh, man, I felt like a sinner buying zucchini at a grocery store.  I couldn't help but remember all those years when we had so much we couldn't give it away.  

For those that are fortunate to have extra, here is a delightful recipe adapted from one of my favorite paperback cookbooks, Southern Born and Bread.  The molasses in this recipe gives it an unusually dark, rich flavor.

Hope you have a chance to try this out with a friend.  Happy Friday!

Zucchini Molasses Bread
3. c. grated zucchini
3/4 c. canola oil
1 c. molasses
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 c. flour (whole wheat is great!)
1 tsp. each of soda, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 c. raisins

Mix ingredients in the order presented.  Turn batter into 2 greased 9 x 5" loaf pans.  (Line with parchment.)  Bake @ 350° x 45 mins.

July 19, 2012

Good Things Come in Boxes

You never know what you might find in boxes such as these.  The giver warned me, but who could have imagined?

Crystal, glorious crystal candlesticks!  They caught the evening light and everything started to sparkle.  (Hey, it was a magic hour without the hexagenia mayflies!  Ha!)

These candlesticks will grace many evenings to come, outside on those beautiful summer evenings and inside during the winter.  Oh, so many possibilities.  I've already started grouping them in 2's and 3's and am on the lookout for some classy candles.

This is the princess life. =)

July 18, 2012

Raspberry Shortcake

It's raspberry time, and nothing is as good as fresh-picked, Northwest berries!  We ate several pounds and froze the rest to enjoy later.  One more day on the counter and they would have all disappeared.

I feel so RICH.  Over the top!

July 16, 2012

The Garlic is Good

OK, no one bothers the garlic either, and we've pulled up enough to last us for many months!

July 13, 2012

The Mrs. Goes Flyfishing

Sir Bradley has begged and pleaded with me for years to go fishing with him but I have resisted, even with promises that all I have to do is go and be with him.  I can just sit in the boat, relax, and read.

I relinquished.

I also invited Carla, another friend who actually likes fishing, so I knew we would make a good threesome.

My first clue to the adventure ahead was at take off.  As we loaded into the truck and closed the doors, Sir Bradley took off down the hill before we could even get our seat belts figured out.  My husband, Mr. Safety himself, looked straight ahead and gunned it. "Put your seat belts on on your own time.  We're going fishing!"

And so our journey began, with a ride full of laughter and chatting and fishing stories.  It was a long and winding journey up to Merrill Lake, and we were met with absolute beauty.

We arrived at the lake in the early evening, and because it was almost the "magic hour", the fishing began in earnest.

The ospreys were crying overhead.  We saw swallows, bats, and a common merganser with her ducklings, and heard the wrens and coyotes.  Nature at its best!  

The flies were flying over and around me and I tried not to think too much about those hooks.  And being a captive audience, I listened to multiple lessons on hexagenia mayflies.

I learned that fishing is serious business.  The goal of flyfishing, you see, is to cast your line back and forth so the fake fly lands on the water just like the real thing.  You must always keep your eye on the fly. (That's my shoulder in the foreground.  I couldn't turn around in that canoe!  I actually couldn't move at all.)

But my quiet evening of reading on the water never happened.  As I struggled to concentrate on hexagenia mayflies and sit still while my legs and back were crying out to stand up and walk, I was called on to paddle.  Here, there, more quickly, more slowly, more to the left, more to the right, staying more in the sheltered area, going out further, keeping up with the current, letting the canoe drift.  

"Hold on, ladies.  It's almost the magic hour - 8:21. The best fishing in the world."  

I never did figure out how Carla could look so fresh after fishing for hours and hours.  (That's her, above.  We kept a close eye on the location of her flies.  She only caught us once!)

It began to get dark, and we'd been at it for a l-o-n-g time. The wind didn't die down, and so the magic hour was moved back to 8:50. Then 9:15.  Then 10:00, when it's absolutely the best fishing. That's when the real hexagenia mayflies start falling out of the bushes into the water, and the fish start biting.

My pocket camera was unrelenting in the dark.  But I share it here because you need to see how very dark it really was.  I learned that the rule for flyfishing is you fish until you can't see your fly.  As in, you literally cannot see it, or anything else. Then, and only then, do you start paddling back.  I also learned that fishing trumps all - human comfort, the need to eat, or the need to...ahem...use the facilities...

We couldn't have asked for a better guide to fully experience the real thing.  Sir Bradley has certainly earned himself unlimited fishing trips.  With the guys. =)

July 11, 2012

Life is Fragile

Today I pause, grappling with the news that two young men from our area were lost in a tragic accident.  It happened on the first day of a high school church camp.

As an ALS nurse, I am surrounded by death.  It is not unfamiliar to me, but it is never easy and never expected.  Death grabs your heart and flips you upside down as you realize that all of our lives are fleeting.  Life and breath are precious.

We pray for peace and healing in the hurting hearts of the families, friends, and staff.

July 10, 2012

We'll Have to Barter

The deer love our tomatoes.  And beets, chard, parsley, carrots, and anything else that grows around here.  Our garden is just so pathetic.

However, we could barter with our black currents.  Funny thing is, they taste nasty.  Not even the birds will touch them in the dead of winter.  But cooked down with a little sugar, a miracle happens - they change into something fabulous. We will be enjoying iced currant juice all summer. =)

July 9, 2012

A Good Celebration

It was a glorious 4th, neighborhood style.  Once again we got to enjoy our friends' neighbors and all the fun!

There were burgers...


Folks of all ages...

Some competitions, including an all-American watermelon-eating contest...

And medals!  We couldn't be without them in an Olympic year.

And the Revolutionary War reenactment?  Just my luck that the moment it started, I ran out of film.

July 6, 2012

Pies on the 4th

It was a great celebration on the 4th!  While you'll have to wait for film to be developed to see what happened here, enjoy another scene farther south.  What would Amercia be without it's pies?!

Photo by Jim Omundson, my favorite brother =)

July 4, 2012

We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident

Written by Thomas Jefferson and unanimously adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776, 56 men representing the 13 colonies signed the Declaration of Independence.

The last sentence reads:
"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."

One can only imagine their thoughts were as they held the pen in their hands.  What were their families thinking back home?

July 3, 2012

Paris In My Dreams

Oh, I should be talking about all things red, white and blue.  But I got a postcard today from France! My friend is enjoying French food, the Monets and the Renoirs, the architecture, and the Eiffel Tower.

For the record, my Paris fund is up to $143.76. That's 8 months of savings.  I think I'll eat a croissant and skip the math.  =)

Bon Jour!

July 2, 2012

The American Revolutionary War

This was last year's reenactment...the British in their red coats against the Americans who fought for their freedom.

Independence Day is just days away and the celebrations are being planned.  Rehearsals are done and the flour canon is ready!