Friday, December 23, 2011


Living on a Christmas tree farm, you'd think that we'd bring the biggest, fattest, tallest tree in the field into the house. That is an urban myth. It is my duty now to dispel of such thoughts. Last year, we didn't even have a tree. This year, we have a rescue. 

When an oven decides to smell of electrical burning, Mom sends everyone outside so that we don't breathe in the stench. We finished our chores. We really couldn't think of anything else to do. Then someone suggested that we go find our tree! Brilliant idea, I say! So off we went a-tromping through the field. We found several trees that sort of met the strict criteria, and we couldn't agree on any single tree (of course). Then, as we were headed back to home base, there it was - a lonely, slain tree sitting out there in the middle of the field severed from its life source. Someone must have cut it and found a better one, poor thing. There was only one thing to do with it. Give it some love and bring it into the house. We trimmed off the lower branches, gave the tree a shake, took fifteen minutes to cut an inch off the stump, and stood the tree up in it's stand. 

It looked pathetic. It couldn't decide if it would be a Charlie Brown tree or a Dr. Seuss tree. And my sister hated it from the get-go. She now hates me for bringing it into the house. Maybe she'll hate her Christmas present just as much. :P

Meanwhile, my brother, who has the highest standard that a Christmas tree can attain, was away at college classes. He had no clue what we were doing. His facial expression when he walked in the door was priceless. Appalled. Sheer shock. He also hated the poor tree. 

Despite the vocalizations of dislike, we strung lights up and decorated it. It didn't look as bad, but the top was still on the funky side. 

Oh well!  

At least we have a tree this year. 

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Mini Christmas Tree

Kids. Ya gotta love 'em. They have very different ideas about things than what you (the adult) could even begin to imagine. 

Case in point:
Today, as a family was getting out of their vehicle, one of the kids was begging for a mini Christmas tree. My dad offered the parents a killer deal for a small second tree, and they agreed. They successfully slayed the first tree and began hunting for the next. As they were tromping through the field the child picked up one of the sheared off tree tops and declared that he had found the perfect mini Christmas tree. The 'tree' was just the over-achieving efforts of a tree to be tall that was taken off. It really was just a stick covered with some needles and some stem buds, perfectly straight. Smaller than a Christmas tree seedling. Not even big enough to consider a Charlie Brown tree. But it was perfect. The little boy came back skipping and ever so happy about finding the perfect mini-tree. 

I will most certainly have more tales to tell from the Christmas tree farm adventures. Stay tuned. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011


There once was a baby chicken. She was not like the other 50 chicks that she was shipped with. You see, when someone orders over fifty chickens from the hatchery, they send you a free, 'rare' bird with the order. When the box arrived, there were 50 Cornish crosses and this special little black chick. No on could figure out what breed she was or if it was a he or a she! For her first 10 weeks of life, she grew up with the disgusting meat birds; always the smallest of the bunch (Cornish cross grow at a ridiculous, unnatural rate). Well, the time came for her ugly white accomplices to leave forever. I don't think that she misses them that terribly, but she took a certain liking to me. I never gave her any special attention, nor was I the primary caretaker. 

With her freaky mail-order friends now gone, we needed to integrate her into our existing flock. They didn't take a particular liking to her at all. With all the hen-pecking going on, she kept close to me while I was doing the chores. I walked across the driveway, and she followed me. I walked back to the barn, and she ran after me. The other hens started giving her a hard time, and she flew right up onto my shoulder and sat down. Then I walked back across the yard, and she stayed on my shoulder. I filled water buckets and she sat right on top of the well head watching me. I tried to set up a small pen for her on the lawn and she flew right out and ran after me again. But that's not all - she even sat at the front door all afternoon trying to get into the house. 

This chicken needed a different name. Eli had originally named it 'Waspus.' Ask the 7 year-old what he was thinking when he named it that. But yesterday afternoon, we decided that she needed a new name to fit this outgoing personality. It was unanimous; the bird's new name would be 'Kevin' after the bird in Disney Pixar's 'Up.' 

And yes, Kevin is a girl. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The First Waltz

~*The Victoria and Albert Ball*~
November nineteen, two thousand and eleven
Victorian Era ball attire, or modern white tie required

A lovely chair in the bridal suite where we got ready for the ball


The ballgown

So many pretty dresses! I'm going to have to see if I can figure out how to draw this picture. Hmm...

There was even a billiards room

The ballroom

Hoop skirts and stairs don't work out too well.

Live music!

It was such a lovely evening! There's something about all the men wearing black tuxedo and all the ladies wearing their finest that made the entire night feel like a scene from a movie. We had all put so much time and effort into planning out gowns, and yet the evening flew by in an instant! I hope we can have more formal balls in the future!

Sunday, October 30, 2011


 Oh, the bane and temptation of my existence! Why is our world so interconnected now? Thank the invention of the interwebs. The source for all the great gossip, coot kittehs, pop culture sensations, annoying ditties, stalking your friends and staying up to date on just about everything else going on in the world at that very moment that you had never really paid much attention to anyway.

I've had enough. My brain is loud enough without all the extra distractions. Honestly, it's really noisy in there all the time; my 'mindless' thing to do is listen to music. I have plenty going on and don't need to fill any extra time blocks. Those have been taken already. My brain is on overload, and things need to quiet down even just a little bit.

So, that's why I'm seriously cutting back on facebook, gchat, etc. Cutting back even more than once a day. I'm too ADD to handle all this. I don't hate you; I'm not avoiding you. If I feel a need to electronically connect with friends, I will log on. I'm realizing how much I relish the opportunity to have a real face-to-face conversation with someone. I won't be deleting accounts because that's how I'm able to get a hold of people about events, pictures and such. Email is still a viable form of correspondence as well. I'm still going to there in your computer, there will just be much less of me haunting the pages and connections of your world.

I'm also realizing how much privacy has become a nostalgic word. There is none of it in this overly-connected world. I can be having a private email conversation, and the ads pertain to what is in the email. Doesn't that raise some red flags? That annoying 'ticker' thing in the upper right-hand corner on Facebook? Do you really need to be able to see how your friends are interacting with their friends. You don't even know who they are, and you can see their lives per Facebook  Viruses, hackers, malware are all out there to get personal information and make your (electronic) life miserable.

Laptop, you are hereby exiled from my room. No more sitting there ever so slyly on my desk right next to my bed. No more shall you annoy me with your 3 AM installations of the latest Windows updates that you decided that I needed. Text speak? Puhlease... Use correct grammar and punctuation in all forms of communication - your future employers will thank ye.

No, I won't shoot the computer - yet. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Milkshake

Note: When it comes to the spices, you will want to do it to taste. Since the pumpkin mixture is going to be very diluted once it is in the milkshake, be sure to put a little more than tastes good at the moment. You can always add some in the blender, but you can't take it away. 

You will need:
1 ½ cups of pureed pumpkin
Pinch of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice to taste
Vanilla ice cream and some milk

First, put your pureed pumpkin into a small mixing bowl. Then add just a slight dash of sugar, and the various spices to taste. Be careful with the ginger and cloves though! They are quite potent. Then you will mix the pumpkin mixture so that there aren’t any clumps of spices or sugar left in the mixture – those don’t make good eats. Now put the ice cream in the blender along with the pumpkin mixture and some milk. Blend until completely mixed. Enjoy with a dollop of whipped cream and a dash of nutmeg or cinnamon on top.

This recipe is by Sarah G; it was inspired by Burgerville’s seasonal shake that she can never get enough of. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall and Friends

Some refer to us as sisters. Others say that we were triplets separated at birth. Three peas in a pod. All I can say is that I have some awesome friends. And a brisk walk in the Hoyt Arboretum is the perfect place for some fun pictures of us together! 

If we look strange in this picture, it's because we had quite the laugh fest trying to get the picture. :)

So many pretty trees! I love fall.

And if you want to eat Dave's Killer Sin Dog, you have to make a face. :P Love you, Sonia!

We're sitting in a tree if you can't quite tell from this picture

Can you tell now? ;)

Oh, Hai. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Changing of Seasons

God's provision, grace and blessings are clearly seen in all the seasons. Winter is a time of quiet - a time of rest after the craziness of all the other seasons. It's a time of getting ready for the next year. In Spring, we see rebirth. Emerging from once lifeless ground, sprouts push towards the sky with all their might. The most vivacious, vivid green is everywhere you look; the first blooms are preparing to greet you. Babies are everywhere it seems - baby plants, sheep, goats, birds, cows, deer, coyotes, chickens, etc. Summer is a time of golden hues, growing, maturing, bare feet, weeding, gardening, fresh fruits, veggies, fields of wheat gently swaying in the breeze, a refreshing drink of lemonade, a siesta in the hammock, and watching the long, lazy sunsets, each custom painted by the Creator.

Autumn seems like a rushed blur after those dog days of summer, but it is a time of storing up for the seemingly harsh winter that is quickly approaching. Bringing in the harvest is simultaneous with school starting again (why do they have to do that?). Cool, crisp air is a relief after the muggy summer atmosphere; heavy dew settles on whatever it touches in the dark of night. The breeze shifts directions, becoming more of a wind instead of a breeze. Trees retreat down to their roots, leaving once green leaves shades of orange, yellow and red. Squirrels are busy hiding their stash only to be forgotten by midwinter; flocks of birds by the thousands are flying in formation to warmer climates. The aroma of baking, canning, and cooking wafts through the house. Crunchy leaves are underfoot and under car - you open the car window just to hear that wonderful sound. The last pieces of produce are brought in from the garden as once healthy, vibrant plants wither back to the ground. 

As much as I love all the seasons, autumn has to be my favorite. Sometimes I wish it could stay this way forever, but if we were stuck in one season all the time, wouldn't it get a bit boring? Now, you'll have to excuse me - I'm going to go jump in that pile of maple leaves. 


The Pumpkin

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

. . . Ah! On Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West,
From North and from South come the pilgrim and guest,
When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board
The old broken links of affection restored,
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more.
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before,
What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past, like the rich pumpkin pie?

Oh, fruit loved of boyhood! The days recalling,
When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!
When wild, ugly faces were carved into its skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!
When we laughed round the corn-heap, with hearts all in tune,
Our chair a broad pumpkin, our lantern the moon,
Telling tales of the fairy who travelled like steam,
In a pumpkin-shell coach, with two rats for her team!

The thanks for they present! None sweeter or better
E're smoked from the oven or circles in platter!
Fairer hands never wrought at a pastry more fine,
Brighter eyes never watched o're its baking, than thine!
And the prayer, which my mouth is too full to express,
Swells my heart that thy shadow may never be less,
That the days of thy lot may be lengthened below,
And the fame of thy worth like a pumpkin-vine grow,
And thy life be as sweet, and its last sunset sky
Golden-tinted and fair as thy own pumpkin pie!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sewing projects

 One reason why I've been so busy lately - teaching. Another reason - farming. And another reason - sewing. And lots of it! I've been sewing doll dresses, pillow covers, costumes, etc, etc, etc!
Reworking the doll's regency dress pattern from Sense and Sensibility patterns is quite simple and fun! You know, I think I like working with dolls because they don't complain when something doesn't fit them quite right, and they are all a very consistent shape - no tweaking the pattern to make it fit better - and a one size fits all sort of deal. 

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I thought I'd see how a pilgrim dress would do in the store. There's a girl's pilgrim hat and apron to match too! 

Now, for the piece-de-resistance! With the Victoria and Albert ball in less than a month, I thought I should probably get my dress started. ;) A friend and I went to the most wonderful fabric store, found the most wonderful fabric, then while we were getting the fabric cut, there were the cutest ribbon flowers that matched the colors perfectly and a jar of peacock feathers. I honestly did not realize that the colors I had chosen for the dress were similar to that of a peacock's. I'll have to figure out some creative way to make it work in my hair. :)

Hope y'all are enjoying your October!