Friday, March 25, 2011

Food for Thought


These are some books I've been reading recently.  I have really enjoyed them.  They are cookbooks with stories from the Great Depression.   I've had my interest piqued lately about the Great Depression.  Many of our grandparents or great-grandparents lived through that era.  I wonder how many of you remember your grandparents talking about the Great Depression.  I know my husband and myself had grandparents who were greatly influenced  their entire lives from that era.  Conserving water, making use of every last thing, eating oatmeal rain or shine, and feeling a sense of uneasiness towards banks and governments were all things we both remember hearing about.  Sometimes when we were younger their excessive expression of those things would seem wearisome to us,  but now as the days get more and more difficult, I long to hear what they had to say.  Sad to say, our grandparents have all passed away.  There are, however,  still many valuable nuggets to be attained from our parents and  from stories like these, in these books.   I really enjoyed and appreciated the stories or even just "one liners", particularly in "Clara's Kitchen".  She talks throughout the cookbook about what they did and how they ate to survive.  Her story, her life, her outlook and her recipes are all delightful.

Seeing the days that seem to be coming upon us, I thought it would be a good idea to take seriously the wisdom "that" generation has to give us from those days.  We at least have the ability to look back, and then look ahead and pray "Lord, give us wisdom, give us a plan".
I have been mulling over ideas that would help earn money, save money, and stretch what we have, and help us persevere through difficult times.  Would love to hear your ideas.

If you get a chance, you should visit Clara's Blog and enjoy the little video below.   Clara is 94 years old.  depressioncooking.blogspot.comdepressioncooking.blogspot.com

"God is our refuge and strength
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea:
Though  its waters roar and foam,
Though its mountains quake at its swelling pride......

....The God of Jacob is our stronghold."
Psalm46

Don't forget to scroll down and pause my music before you press play.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Crocheted Baby Hoodie



My first crocheted sweater.  It is very satisfying to have completed it.  I cannot say that it went smoothly, but the fact that I was actually able to complete it is a huge victory to me.  Now I only have 4 more to make before Christmas.

Blessings to all
Much Love Pam
Found these cute little doggie buttons, Couldn't resist them.

Monday, March 14, 2011

For the Love of Goats


This story was brought to my mind recently through a blog conversation I had with Keri from Keri--on.blogspot.com, so thought I would tell the story for everyone.   It is a funny story, at least... 20 some years later it is...funny.  I really am amazed that over 20 years have gone by since that happened... but yes, my first four children are now 26, 26, 28, and 30. I think they were about the ages of 2, 2, 4, and 6 at that time.... guess that makes the story closer to 25 years ago, but  let me tell it to you.

     When I was a little girl, I had always dreamed of growing up,  living in the country, and owning all kinds of animals. I kept that dream into my young adult life, and married a handsome cowboy from Colorado. After about 7 years of marriage, we were able to move to Colorado (or in Steve's case: back to Colorado).

Oh what delight to get to begin the dreams of having a farm/ranch and all kinds of animals.  Now obviously,  horses and cows go hand in hand with any ranchers idea of what ranching is all about, but chickens and goats and what ever else I could come up  with were not necessarily something this particular rancher was as enthusiastic about.... but this rancher was eager and ready to please his wife, so we went to a little farm auction not far from here and got our first goat.  We really didn't know anything about goats, but were willing to learn and I was excited at the prospect.  I had an image of Eden in my head, where all the dear little animals would roam happily and freely around the property, coming in eagerly at milking time or bedtime,  playing gently with my  children, and walking companionably with us all on afternoon walks.  Chickens roaming the gardens and eradicating all the unwanted bugs while not touching one plant that did not belong to them.  Oh yes, such bliss.  I'm sure you can get the picture.

It really was fun...no really it was... and crazy... and chaotic.... We did get to milk our goat, and learn how to make goat cheese.... She did play with the children...( did I say  gently? well, never mind that)... she did go on afternoon  walks with us (only a few head butting battles and minor injuries... no worries... tough kids).....but lets see in the process, we also learned about goat breeds, and goat pens (and consequences of the lack of them).... companionable goats? yes,  at least to all but the Mama  of the family (I was never really sure if she was trying to kill me or she was just playing).... we did learn that some goats are taken purposely to farm sales  because... well, they were not necessarily ideal. We did love our chickens.... and had wonderful fresh eggs... and we did  have a delightful garden... what was left of it....and we did learn not to let the goat out of the pen (which we eventually constructed) while the "addition" to our little house was under construction (especially while husband has framing hammer in hand and no more patience for goat who takes too many liberties and one too many blueprints eaten for lunch .... hubby did,  however,  improve his tomahawk throwing skills while practicing with framing hammer) or leave her out while changing out chocolate cookies in oven.... unless of course you didn't mind a goat coming through your ceiling.

Okay, so now I have you.... and if any of you don't believe this story, just ask my older children, they were there... happily eating cookies at their little table in the kitchen... thinking all was right with the world until..." what in the world is that noise....?!!!!?"

Now I was also thinking all was right with the world and humming happily to myself and breathing in the delightful smell of fresh baked cookies When..."Uh oh. I left the goat out while I popped back inside to change these cookies  "rats", Steve told me not to  do that... he reminded me how she loved getting into the "addition"  and onto the roof because of her fantasies of being a mountain goat... he reminded me how he had  ripped off the existing roof on that one side and there is nothing there right now except insulation and sheet rock. he told me to keep an eye on her ... is that a hoof I see coming through the ceiling? ".

Well, the rest just gets better... or is it worse.... there were no more delightful thoughts of chocolate  cookies, no serene motherly blessings to such dear children... no, there was a goat on top of the stove!

The children were crying at least some of them were...(I'm sure like myself, they had no idea what was happening... earthquake perhaps... "the rapture".... I don't know it was just something loud and unbelievable.  I heard Luke (the 4 year old) mutter "Daddy's gonna shoot that goat, he's gonna shoot that goat and use real bullets"... and then the goat ran bleating through the house.... apparently not a scratch on her.   Steve was away at the moment... I was thinking.. "what shall I do  what shall I tell him?"  I did think quickly, because I knew we would be eating goat for dinner if I didn't come up with a quick plan.

"Oh yes", I thought to myself , "the neighbors have been wanting to get a goat themselves.... I will call them and tell them to come quickly and get this goat if they would like to have it for free".  And so I did and so they did.  My husband called before returning home.  This is what I told him on the phone; "Sweetie, there's been an accident"... now I really was getting choked up as I was trying to tell him... and of course my husband thought someone has been seriously hurt, so his heart went right into his throat.  "whats going on is everyone okay?"   You can imagine his relief  when it was nothing more than; "the goat fell through the ceiling!"

Ahhh such blissful days when we were young....ha ha. We have had quite a few goats and chickens since that day and my husband is a patient man who has blessed me with his perseverance and love.  He fixed our kitchen ceiling, while at the same time finishing the floor to our upstairs, and the addition was completed.  We never again had a goat in the kitchen, although, there have been many calves in there (those needing a little extra help after coming into the world on a cold wintry night).  There are many more stories to tell, but another day, another blog post.  In recent years Steve's career went through some changes and we come and go from the ranch more often, and don't raise the animals like we used to...so we have only 2 dogs and 2 cats to entertain us. But I was dreaming yesterday about "Alpaca's".  Wool is such a delightful thing... I would really love to learn how to "Spin" and "weave"....  I feel the full "Proverbs 31 Woman" coming on.  Smile.
Have a blessed week everyone
Love  Ya,
Pam
To this day, I still really love goats, and Nubians are my favorite
Steve brings a little Valentines Day Calf to join the party  20 something years ago. (Steve on left, Elizabeth in foreground and little friends on either side).
All of the "four" together with friends... about the time of "goat incident" (The Blondies are all mine).  (Nathan in back on left, Elizabeth on his lap, Marie on friends lap, Luke squeezed between baby Danielle (friend) and Marie.
Nathan and Himilce with new baby goat.... the first time Himilce came to meet us.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Old Friends


I got a package in the mail yesterday.  It was from some old friends.   Such a sweet surprise.
We got to visit with them last month....prior to that, I think it was Marie and Himilce's baby Shower that we last saw them... was that almost  2 years ago? Time sure flies.

Art and Barbara are old friends whom we met almost 30 years ago when we moved in next door to them.They love the Lord, and what  touched us about them when we met, was that they would talk about the Lord and how He blessed them in almost every conversation.  It bonded us to them.  We all became very close.  They were like family to our kids, and I think we to theirs.  Our kids were babies at the time, and theirs teenagers.   We were in and out of each others'  houses all the time.  Barbara was/is a great cook and homemaker.  She always set the prettiest tables and to this very day I think of Barbara when ever I am setting the table.  I love to make it pretty the way she does.  I love to use pretty china and lovely centerpieces and my Mom's beautiful silverware, because of Barbara.  Art used to make us laugh with his booming voice and hilarious stories about hunting and fishing and horses and well... you name it, Art could tell a hilarious story about it.  We used to go out to the desert and have cookouts together (we lived in Arizona then, where they still live today).    For many years we spent our Thanksgivings together, and I miss those days very much.  I miss living next door to them.  They are very special friends.  Their 4 children also are blessings (grown now of course), and their grand children are all scrumpscious.  We get to see 10 of those grandchildren (theschefflers.com) on occasion because they live only a little over an hour from us....  they are all such treasures and every time I see them I am blessed.

Art celebrated his 70th birthday this year, and we were the happy participants of a wonderful family birthday party at his daughter Shari's and Son in law Bob's house last month.  What a great time we had... they even included me in the birthday celebration  (Art and I are 1 day and 20 years apart and have often celebrated together ....  with a little math you can figure what that makes me... a half a century now, along with my hubby :) ).
Love you Art and Barbara.  Thanks for the sweet box and the happy memories, they are treasures to me.
Much Love,
Pam

Art took this picture of Steve and I;  Barbara sent it to us in our little package.... It turned out pretty sweet, so thought I would post this one.  The one on top is a picture of Art (in the middle) and Barbara on the right, with 10 of  their grandkids at Art's 70'th.  It was taken with my phone, and I didn't have my settings right, so it didn't come out as clear as I would have liked, but well, what the heck... everyone looks so cute don't they?

Friday, March 4, 2011

In Like a Lion out like a Lamb Crochet Project


Well it is March and as the little saying for March goes "in like a lion and out like a lamb", I thought I would post this little lion for my  weekly project. I finally got the nose and mouth sewed on, which was all it has been needing for the last month.  I started this while visiting Marie.  We started them together actually, but I came home with the pattern, so Marie was left with only the beginning of the head. Instructions are following so Marie and any one else can whip it up in no time.  Now I am hoping to come up with a nice little " lamby project"  so that I can post it at the end of March.
Check out little Tobby posing with Lion... isn't he cute?


Instructions for Crocheted Lion
This came out of one of Vanna White's little crochet books with a few variations of my own.
I used one color, hers called for three
I used 1 portion of 1 skein of gold yarn
2 plastic eyes

Head and Body
Begin at center off face, chain 2
Round 1
work 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook.
Place marker for beginning of rnd; move marker up as each rnd is completed. 
Round 2
2 sc in each st around : 12 sts.
Round 3
(2sc in st, sc in next st) 6 times  -18 st
Round 4
(2 sc in next st, sc in next 2  sts) 6 times - 24 sts

Round 5 
(2 sc in next st, sc in next 3 sts) 6 times - 30 st
Round 6 
(2 sc in next st, sc in next 4 sts) 6 times - 36 sts.
Round 7
(2 sc in next st, sc in next 5 sts) 6 times - 42 sts.
Round 8 
Sc in each st around.
Round 9
Working in back loops only,  sc in each st around.
Follow package directions to attach safety eyes.
Rounds 10 -17
Sc in each stitch around.
Round 18
(Sc2tog, sc in next 5 sts) 6 times - 36 stitches
Round 19
(Sc2tog, sc in next 4 sts) 6 times -30 sts.
Begin to stuff piece firmly.  Continue to stuff as work progresses.
Round 20
(Sc2tog, sc in next 3 sts) 6 times- 24 sts.
Round 21
(Sc2tog , sc in next 2 sts) 6 times - 18 sts.
Round 22
(Sc2tog, sc in next st) 6 times - 12 sts.
Round 23
(Sc2tog) 6 times - 6 sts. Fasten off.
Mane
For the mane, I did single strands inserted in each stitch, tied and knotted.
Here is the other variation:
Join with slip stitch into any stitch on round 9.

Round 1
Working in front loops of round 9, chain 1 ( sc, hdc) in same stitch as join, (dc, hdc) in next st, (sc, sl st) in next st, *(sc,hdc) in next st, (dc, hdc) in next st, (sc, sl st) in next st; repeat from * around.  Fasten off.
Ears (make 2)
Ch2
Round 1
Work 8 sc in 2nd chain from hook.  Place marker for beg of rnd: move marker up as ech round is completed.
Round 2  
Sc in each st. around - 8 sts
Round 3 
(Sc2tog) 4 times 4 sts.  Fasten off.
Legs (make 4)
Ch 2

Rounds 1 and 2
Work rounds 1 and 2 of head and body
Round 3
Working in back loops only,  sc in each st around
Rounds 4 and 5
Sc in each st around.  Fasten off.
Tail
Chain 5. 3hdc in 2nd ch from hook.  Fasten off.
This little tail seemed too skinny to me.. I added another row of stitches and a little fringe on the end like the mane.

Finishing
Sew ears to head.  Stuff legs and sew to body.  Sew tail to end of Body.  With contrasting color, embroider straight st nose, mouth and whiskers.

If you have any questions comment me.
Enjoy

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Kefir


       While I was in Ohio for the birth of little Grandson Ezra,  my son in law, Jon gave me a gift. 
Now this gift is not something many of you would often think about desiring to own, unless you knew about what a delightful thing it was; I have been so delighted with my gift, that I would smile and giggle every time I would look at it.  What in the world could this gift be?  And have you ever seen the like of such a thing?  It is a living organism.  It  is something that is good for your body.  It tastes really good when made into a smoothie.  It is well known in many parts of the world, but hasn't been as well known in the U.S. until recent years. I had been tempted to make you guess.... but of course the title of my post has already given me away.  Yes, It is kefir.   Jon knew the value of kefir and brought it home to his family.  He  then grew and multiplied his kefir, and blended up its produce into many lovely smoothies (I was the delighted recipient of these smoothies).  In short order his kefir culture multiplied, and he sent me home with a share.

Many years ago I ordered kefir through our food co-op in a variety of flavors.  The kids thought it was a real treat.  When Russell, Olga and Eddie came to live with us, I would pick up kefir at the health food store on occasion.  It was a familiar food to them, because it is a common food in Russia.  Eddie often asked for it. Now I can make it myself.... because of my son in law.  Thanks Jon.

Once you have the little kefir cultures or grains, (check the internet to order some),  it is easy to make and maintain.  It goes like this.  Put your kefir culture in a quart sized canning jar.  Add two to three cups milk (might as well make it organic milk if you are trying this for a healthy treat). Place lid on top loosely.  Allow to sit at room tempurature 12 to  36 hours.  Once milk and culture mixture are thick, strain into a bowl, using a plastic strainer and spoon.  (Jon told me and I have since read on the internet that metal can cause your kefir to respond negatively, which may inhibit its growth, so use plastic instead).  Set the  kefir liquid to the side.  Put kefir grains back in jar.  Add 2-3 cups of milk,  Now the process starts all over again.  Meanwhile, blend your kefir  with banana and other fruit, and you have a wonderful smoothie. When blended with fruit and a little sugar and even some vanilla, it is a delicious beverage and tastes like yogurt in drink form. If you cannot attend to your kefir as soon as you would like, you may keep it in the refrigerator where it keeps nicely with out spoiling.  Also, as a note, the longer you let your kefir sit and ferment at room temperature, the thicker it gets, and also the tangier it gets. If you prefer less tang, refrigerate or drink it sooner.  It never seems too tangy for me, but that is just a little info to help you on your way.
Enjoy