August 30, 2013

Kids, Cereal and Onions

It's the end of an era.

We are no longer buying cold cereal.  I cannot remember a time in my life when there has not been cereal in the cupboard.  And since we've had kids, cereal has always been stored on the lowest shelf, so they can help themselves.

No cereal.

And tomorrow no kids.  Way too many goodbyes.

So today, the basket of onions and garlic from the garden has a new home.  And we work to fill that emptiness in our hearts, to find new directions and blessings and dreams.

August 29, 2013

Sturdy Muffins

A little zucchini from a friend's garden...with a few carrots added in...and some freshly ground whole wheat, flaxmeal, nuts...

Time for some very, very sturdy muffins.  The kind the good doctor would be proud of.

August 28, 2013

Flower Lady

We went to the farmers' market and met the Flower Lady.  She insisted that we each take a bouquet of flowers.  I saw a lot of dollar bills flashing between pockets in an attempt to pay her, but she kept slipping them back.  She insisted that they were gifts.

She and her husband both work full time during the week in the city, and every evening they drive 50 miles south to their land, working with the dahlias.  And every Saturday and Sunday they are there by 5 a.m. to cut fresh flowers, driving back in time for market.

We were invited to the farm, and there was talk of having noodles.  My, they work so hard and such genuinely friendly people!  What can I possibly make for them in return??

August 27, 2013

Miss Broody Takes a Bath

Miss Broody has decided it's time to give up sitting on the eggs.  Funny how they never seem to hatch without a rooster around.  I think she just figured it out.

She celebrated her decision with a nice, invigorating bath.

August 26, 2013


It might just happen this year.  We might actually get some lemons!  For those of us in the Northwest, this is big news.

August 23, 2013

Fairies and Plums

Processing 50 lbs of plums is serious business.  I'm done with jam for the year so I've made multiple loaves of "Plum Good Oatmeal Bread" and the rest of the plums - bags and bags of them! - are getting dried.

Even when they are only a few hours into the dehydrator, they are truly sweet and irresistible.  There are some sticky fingers in this house, but strangely enough, no one is admitting to anything!  It must be the fairies.  =)

August 21, 2013

Haiku for Wednesday

If barns and Jerseys
beckoned me for evening talks
I'd share my days' ends.

August 20, 2013

Seattle With a Truck

It was a quick, overnight trip to Seattle to see our son - man style.

Lots of driving, coffee, little restaurants out of the way, more coffee, buying lumber, looking at tools, loading up a new mattress since we had the pickup...

We had some good conversations together, though, and really, who needs Pike Place?  =)

August 16, 2013

Volunteer Tomatoes, Giving Thanks

We stopped planting tomatoes this year, finally giving in to the fact that we can't compete with the deer.  But it was our good fortune this spring to discover volunteer tomato plants in our garden!  We left them alone, figuring they would soon be goners.  They rambled about without proper staking, looking like an overgrown mop of a mess....and apparently looking so natural that the deer have ignored them.

All of the sudden we have bowls and bowls of these little lovelies!  We have enjoyed them in egg scrambles, salads, and casseroles, with plenty left over for afternoon snacks.

I remember my father asking for the food to be blessed every evening as we sat down at the dinner table, and he regularly expressed his thanks for allowing us to live on the side of the world with food. We take so much for granted.

Have a wonderful Friday.  Keep your eyes open for something equally extraordinary!

August 15, 2013

Wild Blackberries

Talk about living in the land of milk and honey!  Thanks to some generous friends willing to share their yards and gardens, I picked another 3 gallons of both blueberries and wild blackberries.  The freezer is filling up!  Not to mention our bellies.

The beginnings of a wonderful blackberry cobbler...

August 14, 2013

This Little Piggy Went to Market

I'm convinced the Queen of England would not approve of discussing pigs immediately after a wedding. It is not proper.

But we went to the county fair and sometimes we just can't get around these things.

It was late in the evening, hot and dusty, and everyone and his brother were there. Even the pigs were exhausted.  But it didn't keep them from snuggling.  No kidding, pen after pen of snuggling pigs. It made us laugh.  =)

August 12, 2013

The Wedding

A fine wedding it was.

It had an international flavor... the bride and groom met several years ago in Oman, where they both travelled to teach English.  They will be returning there after their honeymoon!

I had the honor of sitting at the piano, so there are no pictures of the ceremony.  But following are some reception pics to share.  The bride's mother (my incredibly gifted cousin) catered the event...a crazy idea, but it was her gift to her daughter and new son-in-law!

The bride's gown was stunning.  Cream and gold.

Holy cow, those people in the kitchen worked so hard!!  This was the assembly line for crostini with strawberry topping.  I wish you could have seen the energy.

You know me, I can never resist shiny things.  =)

There was an abundance of food, only some of which I was able to capture with my camera.  Lighting was an issue and people were digging in...and I was hungry, so I had to hurry!  (There is a reason I was not the wedding photographer.)  =)

The fruit and vegetable trays were gorgeous.

 Tray upon tray of salmon kept coming out.  Have to love that we live in the Northwest!

And of course, there had to be some kind of honorable mention to the humble camels, who are everywhere in Oman!

A family friend did the flowers, using lots of Northwest flowers, plants, and grasses.  They were very different and absolutely lovely.

And of course, the naked wedding cake thing.  These cakes were made by another friend...delicious and creative!  The bride and groom both hate frosting, so it was a nice touch!

There was something for everyone, and age did not define choices.  Brownies, lemon bars, and another amazing creation that involved pistachios, rose water, mascarpone cheese, and phyllo dough were all highly popular!

All of this was a delicious and memorable way to celebrate a wonderful marriage. There was so much love that more than one of us had to wipe away a tear or two.

To my sweet cousin:  You did an stunning job this weekend - it could not have been more perfect. And you raised one beautiful daughter.  Now put your feet up, pour yourself a good cup of coffee, and revel in your blessings.  =)

August 9, 2013

Wedding Bells

We have a wedding coming up, with one special gal marrying a man who appears to be her equal. =)  It will be a grand celebration on Saturday!

Believe it or not, her MOM is catering the meal.  She does it like no one else, and it is her gift to her daughter.  Wow.  I'm proud to say we're related, and I've already warned her that when it's our turn to put on a wedding, we'll be calling!!

P.S. They're having a naked wedding cake.  As in no frosting.  It's the new thing, and not a bad idea for those of us that always discreetly scrape the frosting off anyway.  (A quick check on Pinterest confirmed the growing trend!)  I will have to bring my camera.  =)

August 7, 2013

Campfire Memories

Evening campfires are just the best!

With us there is always a mixture of laughter, dessert (banana boats or peach cobbler, anyone?), and banter at the end of long, fun days. There is also serious talk late into the night as we contemplate life. This time we discussed those things we want our kids to inherit. My short list included such things as an intellectual inheritance (i.e. wisdom), a spiritual inheritance, and a financial inheritance (which in our case involves oh, so little money but a lot of good principles of careful money management!).

It was our typical first night of camping.  The second night was pretty typical as well...the parents with young children quietly slipped away into their tents, giving in to sleep deprivation.  =)

August 5, 2013

Oh, Deer!

We had some visitors to our camp site this weekend!

August 1, 2013

Inspiration at the Doctor's Office

I do realize that using doctor and inspiration in the same sentence is a bit of an oxymoron when you're the one at the other end of the stethoscope.

But yesterday we met a new (to us, but with a fabulous reputation) doctor for a bit of a tune up.  He was really smart, kind, funny, personable, experienced, and well, just plain great.  His practice is research and evidence based, and he questions everything.  And he tells his patients to question everything and ask for evidence.  Love that!

We got the talk about food, exercise, and sleep and how we can make choices to prevent and reverse heart disease, not to mention cancer, type 2 diabetes, stroke, dementia, osteoarthritis, obesity, and high blood pressure. Our choices can have more impact on our health than drugs, medical treatments, or clinical trials! Strangely enough, we came away not beaten down, but inspired to do better. How did he do that?

So here's the food update:

What's In
  • fruits and vegetables
  • whole grains
  • beans, especially pinto
  • raw nuts and seeds
  • extra-virgin olive oil and good fats
  • oily fish 3 x week
  • dairy, mostly cultured (yogurt and kefir) and hard, aged cheese
  • eggs
  • butter in moderation
  • red meat in moderation, and lamb doesn't count!
  • daily dark chocolate >70% cocoa 
  • heavy whole grain bread, ie rye
  • fiber! 
  • flavor!

What's Out
  • regular bread
  • white flour, white rice, refined grains, bagels
  • processed foods
  • crackers
  • chips, pop, and junk food (nothing missed here!)
  • preserved meats (nitrates)
  • hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated anything
  • fake foods (non-dairy creamer, egg substitutes, artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors)
  • cold breakfast cereal, even the whole grain organic stuff
  • commercially fried foods
  • juice
  • SUGAR :(

So off I go for the day, the beginning of a new month, and I'm looking forward to making better choices. I'll enjoy some tomatoes and kale in my eggs with a side of blueberries, and pack some chocolate to go.