March 29, 2013

Baskets of Jelly Beans

Almost every day more things are pulled down from the china cupboard in preparation for Easter. The tiny baskets made their way to the table, perfect for jelly beans!

In our house the white, blue, and green jelly beans are the last to go.  Apparently coconut, blueberry, and apple flavors aren't anybody's favorites.  =)

So our happy and fun traditions have continued through the week, but tonight things will change.  It will be a somber evening of reflection to consider issues of life, death, grace, forgiveness, and love. And then Sunday morning the celebration of joy begins.

Easter blessings to all. =)

March 28, 2013

Boiling Eggs

The Passover Seder is tonight.  We have chickens; thus, I am in charge of the hard boiled eggs. About 54,695,213 of them.

Instructions abound on cooking websites for how to boil eggs.  There are even You Tube videos!  Who knew you can even steam them?  But I've perfected my own method over the years, which someday I'll publish and become a rich woman.  You can say you knew me back when!

It's foolproof:

1.  Place eggs in cold water.

2.  Boil 5 minutes.  Maybe a little longer, especially if you notice that the sink is overflowing, which sometimes happens when ahem, someone puts their carrot peelings down the garbage disposal.

3.  Remove from heat.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Or maybe a little longer when the dog is barking and needs to come in.  It's raining, so a towel needs to be found.  The cell phone rings and it's an important call that needs attention.  Did anyone put the dinner leftovers away?

4.  Cool them down.  If the sink is currently occupied, ice from the ice dispenser works quite nicely. And frozen ice on hot eggs makes really fun crackly sounds.  Remember to throw the laundry over.

5.  Mission accomplished. =)

March 26, 2013

Gift Giving

The occasion required a gift, and who needs more things?  So we shared our "wealth", with a little added merriment.  =)

March 25, 2013

Egg Cups

Now here is a light-hearted posting to start the Easter week!  I pulled down my egg cups carefully stored in the high cupboard, bringing them out again for my planted egg shell project.  It's a fun project that I've done a few times before, planting grass seed several weeks ahead of time so the shells sprout fresh, spring grass.  How Easter-ish! grass seed...not enough time to grow...

So I had the brilliant idea of planting chives!  From a distance, those chive bunches in the garden are so full and green.  Kind of like thick grass, no?


They are really just kind of clumpy down at the bottom and so my idea of green grass, in reality, looks like funny little stalks coming out of these characters' heads!!

And they smell.  Woooo - onions at every meal!

But I do love these little treasures.  They make me smile.  =)

March 22, 2013

Wild Abandon

Miss Elsie would have gone all in if given the opportunity...instead, it was a dip of the snout into the spring.

Cold! Fresh! Good smells!

She lives life with wild abandon, overflowing with energy and joy, and shares it all.  May your Friday be lived the same way!!

March 20, 2013

Pink Bliss, Heavenly Thoughts

This is our world in the Northwest, and how thrilling it is to see color!  Look at the pink!!

The same day I shot that picture, the sky briefly opened up and the clouds parted!  I ran down the hill to capture the moment.  Joy!

The difference is what I imagine heaven will be.  We see a layer of beauty now, but then it will be glorious beyond comprehension, beyond anything we could possibly imagine.

March 19, 2013

Irish Soda Bread

A day late and a dollar short...

Yup, for the first time ever we didn't celebrate St. Patrick's Day on the right day!!  But Irish Soda Bread is good any time of the year, and perhaps the good people of Ireland will be proud that we don't confine our celebrations to just a single day.  =)

Looks wonderful, huh?!   Well, it would have been a hit had I actually followed the directions.  I had too much on my mind, and mistakenly tripled the soda, doubled the butter, and forgot the sugar altogether.  Ayeyayayaya.  At least the chickens will be delighted to enjoy a new treat today.  =)

Irish Soda Bread (the real recipe, not the chicken version)
2-1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
1-1/2 c. unbleached flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp orange rind
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2/3 c. currants
1-1/3 c. buttermilk
1 egg

Mix first 5 dry ingredients.  Cut in butter until dough resembles course crumbs.  Mix in remaining ingredients, stirring until it is a cohesive ball.  Knead a few times on the counter and toss it into a greased casserole dish.  Make 1/2" deep slashes across the top of the dough in an X.  Bake @ 400° x 45-55 mins.  Cover with foil near the end of the baking time if top is browning too quickly.

March 18, 2013

The Last of the Applesauce

Last fall and winter we processed apples until we were dreaming about them. A neighbor generously shared fruit from her trees, and then our own trees produced like crazy AND gave us apples that finally tasted good after mellowing and sitting for weeks.

We dried apples, baked apples, snacked on apples, and had every possible apple dessert on the face of this planet.  And we made applesauce.  Oh, it was good.  I never imagined we'd be using the last of our applesauce in March.

Remind me next year to do more!!  Even when I'm swimming in apples, urge me on!!

March 15, 2013

High Heels

I have a No-High-Heels rule, but I admit to breaking it about once every three years (give or take). This time it was because of the ALS Dinner and Auction Gala, which demanded a dress-up evening! I couldn't come up with any alternative attire, so it was time.

I can't say these were beauties, but they were kinda sparkly and they worked.

It took all of one step into the ballroom, however, to remind me again that that shoes don't matter. Life is precious.  The deep, heartfelt conversations full of grace, kindness, and inspiration were incredible moments in time that I will not forget for years to come.

We "bought" the centerpiece as a donation, money well spent.  A beautiful evening.

March 14, 2013

Pi Day

Today is March 14th = 3.14 =  π = Pi Day.  For many of us, that means Pie Day.  How good is that?!

And so the celebration will include chocolate cream pie with a graham cracker crust.  I hope that's a lifelong constant.

March 13, 2013

If They Could Talk

Geese - there are lots of them, everywhere!  

They mate for life, you know.

Mrs. Goose:   What's for lunch, dear?
Mr. Gander:   Today we have some fine pond weed, followed by fresh grass.
Mrs. Goose:   Oh, how delightful!  Every day is a treat with you.

March 12, 2013


Really??  Could I have gotten it that wrong??

The shelving, he carefully pointed out, is not fir.  It's, umm, maple.  Western maple.

March 11, 2013

A Woodsman's Eyes

Funny how different people see different things.

We walked into the hair salon on Friday, and what did I see?  An entire wall filled with millions of products that I didn't want.  Too many chemicals, too much money.

What did Sir Bradley see?  Old growth fir shelving.  Within minutes he quietly reviewed with me the type of wood, how it was cut, and how the shelving was assembled.

The woodsman couldn't help himself.  =)

March 8, 2013

Friday Plans

Today Sir Bradley is taking a personal day off to work on grades.  So we're headed downtown to Portland this morning...I'm getting my hair cut and he's walking across the street with his laptop to Stumptown Coffee Roasters.  Nothing like a good cup of fuel and an easy chair to do the hard work.

During grading season, this definitely qualifies as a full-fledged date. Woohoo!

Hope your Friday is a good one!

March 7, 2013

Chickens On the Deck

Shooing the hens away has never worked, no sir, as these girls prefer to stay under foot and close. The more you wave your arms at them the more they think you're throwing them treats.  (The motion is kind of the same, if you think about it.  From a chicken's point of view, of course.) So everything broke loose when they saw me through the kitchen window this morning. I should have just ducked down and wished them away, but no, I had to yell at them to get off my porch while making that shooing motion with my arms.  What was I thinking?

She's here!  Run, girls, run!  It's possible she may have treats!

The fifth hen watched the commotion from her newly selected perch, the barbeque.  Oh, for heaven's sake.  But even she couldn't resist.

Good thing I'm a confident Chicken Woman, because it can be just slightly intimidating to see a big blur of feathers headed your way.

March 6, 2013

Pussy Willow Catkins

No soft little catkins should be wasted...and so it was time to fill the salt cellars.  =)

March 5, 2013

Pussy Willow Hunt

The pussy willows are out!  They are so soft and cheery, a fun reminder that spring is really coming!

There are lots of natural springs around here, along with water-loving willows.  So we've made several trips down the road, gathering a bundle or two by the wet pastures.

And we now have two gorgeous arrangements in the house and a handful of little nosegays to give out.

( Yes, more twine!)

March 4, 2013

Today's Muffins

Two confessions:

1.  I'm in love with twine.
2.  I'm a kitchen sink muffin maker.

Twine is inexpensive, vintage, modern, and very cool all at the same time.  It increases the Special Factor.

And yes, my friends, a third confession:  I make muffins like I do casseroles.  I go with a basic formula and then add in whatever I have.  You know, whatever's in the kitchen sink, so to speak. Today's muffins included 1/2 of an over-ripe banana, flaxseed meal, walnuts, and dried apricots.  Delicious!

March 1, 2013

Dahlias on the Soap Dispenser

Saving spare change for my Paris fund makes it hard to justify spending money on things like a new soap dispenser.  Even though ours was kinda sad.  And kinda ugly.  But the recycled hand soap pump did the trick for a long time.

This week I had 7 minutes to spare and I decided it was time to pretty things up a bit.  I found a picture of a field of red dahlias in a magazine, cut out a strip, and Mod Podged it to the container. Voilà!