June 29, 2012

Friday Flowers

These flowers were discovered in an overgrown and largely ignored yard.  So much beauty right there, hidden in the mess.

May your weekend bring more delightful surprises like these!

June 28, 2012

Sugar & Salt

I worked late but caught the last few minutes of yesterday's market.  The sunshine was gorgeous and it was worth the effort even for a short time! I also enjoyed meeting two lovely ladies who have started their own business.  Their stuff was wonderful, worthy of bringing extra cash next time around for some goodies!  How fun does this look?!

June 26, 2012

Gooseberry Tart With Chocolate Crust

Overnight, those gooseberries turned red, so I picked them - in the rain!  And then I discovered the need to "top and tail" every single berry to deal with the stems on one end and tassels on the other. Talk about labor intensive!  Perhaps there's a reason these little gems aren't in everyone's cookbook.

Here is the result, and it was good!  The chocolate crust was a brilliant idea and the cooked gooseberries were, well, interesting.

1 cube unsalted buter, cut into pieces
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 c. flour
8 tsp dark cocoa

Mix together.  Add up to 1 Tbsp chilled water until stiff dough ball forms.  Hand press in tart pan. Back @ 375° x 14 mins.

1 egg
100 ml whole milk or cream
1/8 tsp vanilla
50 gms sugar (Yes, this part came from a British website so I got my food scale out. I am new to weighing ingredients, and I was pretty surprised to see how sensitive it was!)

Whip together.  Place berries in partially baked crust.  Pour custard mix over top.  Bake @ 320° x 35 mins or until firm.

Refrigerate and serve cold.

June 25, 2012


My first taste of "goose-burry" pie (you have to say it with a British accent) was in England many years ago.  The green fruits were tart enough to curl your toes, and even tea with lots of cream and sugar didn't make it go down any easier.

That would explain why I have never ventured to try them again.  (And maybe the fact that there are spikes in those plants.) But today I ventured not a green one, but one that was more red, and it was really good!

Bring. on. the. pie.  American style. =)

June 22, 2012

10-Minute Marriage Advice

You ask how we do it, staying married for so long.  So here's my short list:

  1. Find God and seriously pray for a lot of mercy!
  2. Forgive.  Again.  2,357,194 times.
  3. Learn each other's love languages. (There are 5...just google it.)  Show love to your mate in the way that is most meaningful to them.
  4. Show appreciation for the small things.
  5. Serve your mate willingly.  When you both do it, it's a beautiful thing.
  6. Leave love notes.  Think bathroom counter, lunch box, refrigerator.
  7. Love letters - a longer version of #5.  Once a year is fine.
  8. Spend time together alone, sans kids, pets, friends, and entertainment.
  9. Laugh together till your belly hurts!
  10. Spend time with other couples who have strong marriages.  They're contagious!
  11. Don't get a puppy unless you're really prepared.  They're harder than kids.
  12. Get help when you need it.
  13. Be responsible with your money, because financial problems are marriage breakers. And if problems come even in the face of great planning, remember you are on the same side.
  14. Don't be tempted to stray.  It is not an option.
  15. Say I love you out loud and a lot.
  16. Build each other up every single day.  A little compliment goes a long way.
  17. Pray for more mercy and grace!
PS I forgot #18...serve your wife breakfast in bed at least twice a year.  Monthly would be ideal. =)
PSS Would love to hear your own tips...comment away!

June 21, 2012

26 Blissful Years

We met on a blind date and I changed my clothes 7 times in anticipation.  He showed up at my door and I can honestly say it was not love at first sight.  But I was intrigued with his dark hair and his very distinct jawline. Nice guy.

It was love in 8 days, and that was before he kissed me.  I had dreamed and cried and prayed and imagined and thought about a future man, and there he was!  He was everything on my list and more.  And sheesh, he was handsome.

I waited 2 long months for a proposal.

Happy Anniversary, Sir Bradley.  I love you.

Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella damascena)

June 20, 2012

Split Pea Soup My Way

Anyone that knows me well has had a good laugh at my kitchen follies.  While I am a very careful and thoughtful baker, cooking holds no charm for me. Since there's no guarantee that anything I make will taste wonderful, I figure it might be worth changing things up a bit, especially if I don't have all the right ingredients.  Which is fairly often.

And sometimes - sometimes - a miracle happens.

It happened on a split pea soup night. The original recipe called for...
  Red potatoes --> Didn't have any, so a large yam did the trick.
  Split green peas --> The green and yellow kind with the wild rice mix would have to do.
  Ham bone --> Well, I didn't have that either.  So I just left it out.
  Carrots --> Called for 3-4, but I threw in a few extra thinking they might make everything taste better.
  Bay leaf --> Yup, doubled 'em.

The end product looked a little, well, unusual.  So I decided to whip it up a bit after finding my long-lost, submersible handheld blender.  It was a huge risk mixing those colors but I was thrilled that the orange carrots and yams came out ahead.

And then it happened.  Magic.  One taste and I knew I had just created the best soup of the year!!  Holy cow, this stuff was good!!!

The final recipe is below, but feel free to play with it.  =)

Split Pea Soup
1 c. chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 c. olive oil
1/2 tsp oregano
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4-5 carrots, diced
1 large yam
4-5 handfuls dried green and yellow split peas with wild rice blend
2 ribs celery, diced
2 bay leaves
1-1/2 qts water

Boil it all for a long time.  Remember to take out the bay leaves, though it's always part of the fun to try and find them after the blender has begun it's work. Blenderize it about half way.

June 19, 2012


Look carefully...squint if you have to...

The reflection coming out "backwards" from the eyepiece of the telescope gave us a picture of the sun. The tiny round dot is Venus traversing the sun!  That won't happen again for 105 years.  There were also quite a few sun spots which we could see but they weren't picked up by the camera.

Honestly, it was more fun watching our physicist friend go nuts with excitement than anything else.  =)

June 16, 2012

Graduation Day - Memories!

Oh, such sweet memories!  Emily worked well into the night to make this slide show for her big brother, going through piles of pictures.

Can't tell you how proud I am of both my kids.  

Congratulations, Willis!  You did it!


June 15, 2012

Up Close and Personal

A couple of new friends!

June 13, 2012

That June, Continued

My Uncle Jim writes about the day they left, saying goodbye to all:

"Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Jessie were there with their tears and sage advice.  Grandpa advised Dad to be sure to check the oil and the tires.  Grandma advised us to be careful about the drinking water, and Aunt Jessie solemnly told us to watch out for Indians."

It was difficult for Grandma (Linda, who wrote yesterday's entry).  Moving was not her wish but she desired to keep the family together.  I'm not sure that she had any other options or that she would have chosen something different if she did.  But I am in awe that she wrote so positively, viewing the move out West as a great adventure.

Day 2
428 miles
Cabin    $3.50
Food     $2.93
Gas and oil $5.01

Grandma with her kids, Madison State Capitol, Wisconsin:

June 12, 2012

Another June, Another Century

Uncle Jim documented the family move out west, scanning an aging scrapbook that Grandma so carefully made and adding in his own memories.  Her writing is still so distinct - I would recognize it anywhere.


"After a long day of final packing, laying the last stones of the patio, cleaning up the house and yard, loading the car, and saying goodbyes all 'round, we left Oberlin Road for the last time heading for the Pacific Northwest to make our fortunes.

"We did not leave home until five fifteen in the afternoon and were dead tired already, so we drove only a hundred and seventeen miles that night.  The poppies, iris, and peonies were at the peak of their bloom as if to give us a final beautiful send-off from our native state.  Along the way we stopped to eat some of the warm cherry pie which Birdsalls had so thotfully (sic) packed for us.

"Between Bowling Green and Perrysburg we came to the 'Modern Cabins' and immediately booked up a double one with cot for Joan.  It was completely and artistically furnished and we very gladly turned in the for night.

  Cabin $4.75      
  Drugs    .70
  Food      .60"

Linda May Crumley, June 1, 1944    

June 11, 2012

My Kind of Style

It's not every day that one receives something so exciting in the mail!

I'm not sure I'll ever finish all 956 pages, let alone remember everything, but for now, it's very fun to scan through something new.

The Glossary of Troublesome Expressions is currently my favorite section.  I had a good laugh at, "The standards of good usage make demands on writers and editors, whereas common usage can excuse any number of slipshod expressions."  It discusses word choices like:
   ensure; insure; assure
   hanged; hung
   disorganized; unorganized
   adequate; sufficient; enough
   ought; should

And you can tell by my list that I thoroughly enjoy reading out of order.  Alphabetizing is useful for reference, but not necessarily for pleasure.  =)

If, my friends, you are concerned and honestly wondering how any part of this could hold the slightest interest, I would have to agree that I am in need of a bit of excitement.  But at least I'm not slipshod.

June 8, 2012

And the Graduations Begin

Graduation ceremonies make for interesting cultural studies.  Each one has it's own flavor, but they are so alike.  So much excitement!  Such hard seats!  So many long speeches!  Tassels and regalia!

Congratulations, Miles!  We're proud of you.

June 6, 2012


Silly family!  They saw yesterday's note and thought I was teasing.

June 4, 2012

Happy Birthday, Elsie!

Last week it was Elsie's first birthday, and I completely missed sharing this celebration with everyone. Well, it wasn't such a huge celebration.  Actually, there was no doggy cake.  Or singing.  But there was playing and a whole lot of hugging.

This dog is stranger than any I have ever met in my entire life.  She is over-the-top affectionate and wild crazy.  She thinks she is a human, just one who loves a good squirrel chase and hears every flushing bird. She needs to run like nobody's business and she plays hard.  She lays down to eat with her head in the bowl and takes endless delight in chasing the chickens and winning at Catch Me If You Can, enjoying every moment of the game.  She's quick enough to snatch an entire piece of carrot cake off your plate if you happen to blink.  And each morning she runs up the stairs to greet me, 62 lbs of soft, wiggling love.  Best not to talk about the licking.

Walks are usually pretty exciting, with 3,478 new smells every time.  But today, no.  It was a "hot" day, all the way up to 71°, and she decided enough was enough.  Time to roll under a bush and stay there.  Much to her disappointment, the mud there had dried up, but it was still cool enough to tempt her.

Oh, my dear sweet girl.  Why do I love you??

June 1, 2012

Friday Delights

Not only is today Friday, but it's the first day of June.  Everything is in full bloom and there is promise of a few sun rays!

My Friday brings...
   ...another quick trip up and back to Olympia to see an art show.  I'm one proud mama.
   ...an interesting article on how to make salad dressing.  Four basic steps that I can handle.
   ...a stack of homemade buttermilk pancakes for breakfast.
   ...more book editing.
   ...a new project — figuring out how to make healthy, frozen TV dinners for the folks.

Hope you find your own wonderful things to look forward to!  Have a great weekend!

Wild Strawberries