Wednesday, July 23, 2014

One Heck of a Surprise!

         What do you get 2 little girls who are hard to buy for? A surprise pony party of course! A friend of mine has a therapy horse program that she takes to nursing homes, community events and parties of all kinds! Jenny and her ponies are wonderful, very professional and eager to teach anyone interested in the ways of the ponies. Her program is called Mini Blessings, and she was a big blessing to us, as I had kept the party a surprise from the grandkids, and the look on their faces and the fun they had made my day!
    My oldest grand daughter May, above, thought she was too big to ride, she wasn't and loved it! Now, she's interested in helping Jenny and learning more, and of course she now wants a pony but this girl loves animals and is so down to earth, makes my heart smile! So, if your ever stuck for a unique gift idea for the kids or grandkids please consider something like this and if your in my area, look up Mini Blessings Horse Therapy on Facebook. Jenny and her boys are just wonderful and the ponies are adorable!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Good Intentions!


           I sit here, only because I'm grounded from a allergic reaction from a red wasp sting yesterday, but I have been meaning to update sooner than this, I had good intentions! Really! Truth be told, I've been thinking about re-vamping this blog, it turns 10 next year and it may be time for a change? True, I'm busy elsewhere, as we all are and I don't want it to become stale so bare with me, your patience will be rewarded!

    A quick update, the summer has been a odd one, we get a couple of days of normal or above temps, followed by a cool front and rain, needless to say, our garden is the best it's ever been here! I've even created a potting station ( above) or should I say, more space to put plants! A lean-to greenhouse is in the works, a birthday gift from my handy man hubby.  My photography and newspaper gig are both going well and keeping me inspired. And we have a wedding in the fall, our daughter so there will alot to do there but life is good, busy is good. Thank you all sticking with me, I have the best of intentions!

Monday, June 09, 2014

Are You Man Enough?


                Here I sit, missing for a couple of weeks in my hectic but wonderful life that I'm blessed to be living and it's almost Father's Day! June is on the same race track as May was, or is it that I'm just getting old and time is speeding up? Your probably wondering about my post title? I'm choosing to write about a subject matter that effects ALL women and most men, yet they don't get the credit or attention, it's menopause, and is your husband man enough to handle it in a loving way? I'm 54 and I first noticed the little signs years ago, things like not having to shave my legs that often, I was cranky for no reason or my eye sight wasn't as good as it once was. Last fall, on a routine doctor visit, I had him check my hormone levels in a blood test, positive! I knew that but wanted someone else to tell me. Then the hot flashes started, nothing too harsh or unmanageable. One day this winter, I woke up and had a pooch of a tummy, not to be confused with my pooch of a gut, that I've always had, it was little and now I don't mind it but this monster under my breasts has to go! It's uncomfortable and unsightly! Now, I'm noticing women my age and older with a belly bump and not of the baby kind, it's almost like were marked! The hot flashes have been upgraded to night sweats that can happen any time of the day or night, paired with this belly bump, I'm miserable!
     I'm not completely sure if my husband understands just what I'm going through, but he is patience and keeps apologizing for it, a hug helps too! Were in this together, it's written in our marriage vows but it's not fair! It's called MENopause but we women go through this, it's no journey or curse but as long as my husband continues to be patience, we shall survive this too! My Mother never spoke of it or how it was for her, I wish now I had asked, it seems her's will effect yours, so ask your Mom and take notes, it may come in handy for your daughters too! So ladies, this is where I am, I'd like to think I'm on the other side of this phase but were all different and I'm thankful for that! I'm armed with herbs and natural ways to keep my sanity, doing more sit ups than ever and praying harder! Puberty was a piece of cake!
      So, when you wish your man a Happy Father's day this Sunday, remind him of your vows and ask him if he's man enough! Keep him wondering!
   

Friday, May 23, 2014

Dream Chaser & Catcher!


            I have a dream, many really with some coming true like I never thought they would! I'm having a pretty good year, my photography has taken off, for the last few months, I've been sharing a recipe weekly on the food page of my local newspaper, and now I have my own garden column " Garden Thyme" every Wednesday! I'm so excited!!! I'm eager to dig in and cover some new content, I feel like most publications recycle their articles and I'm craving some new information and ideas! I hope to explore all issues regarding gardening, there's so much more to it than plant, weed and water. I'm still sharing a recipe each week, and I love a good challenge, so deadlines will not scare me nor will the boots I have to fill, Jim Long used to supply the garden column, but the newspaper is revamping the page and I'm honored to be apart of it! So, you see, you are NEVER too old to chase and catch your dreams! Just don't give up, anything is possible and I'm proof of that! I'm not a expert gardener but I am a learner and I share well with others! I'll be adding some of my articles here too, and you can always check me out online at West Plains Daily Quill.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Blackberry Winter


             It's cold, wet and May! Ozarkians call it blackberry winter, a cold snap when the blackberries are in bloom, yep! But it's green, so very green! I've been sick, busy and blessed. I did a engagement photo shoot over the weekend at this famous mill here, this place never gets old and I must say, a perfect spot for a photo shoot! The garden is loving the 3 inches of rain so far, the chicken coop is slick as snot and fun at all. The weeds will take over at rapid rate once the sun comes out, leaving our chores in overtime. But, we had all winter, a long winter, to relax so no complaints here, even if I have to turn the heater back on tonight! And how is life in  your lane?

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Gardeners Unite!



              I recently read a negative editorial on gardening, this editor went on in great length about all the work, pain, complaints and found everything wrong with gardening, he wasn't even happy to get the harvest, too much work! This kinda offended me, and got to wonder what kind of person would bash a farmer? I took offense and I only supply food for our family, but it's a labor of love!
     With the new age movements making gardening and homesteading hip again, I'm using my blog to encourage MORE to garden! Everyone likes to eat, and you haven't eaten a true tomato until you've had a heirloom tomato that farmers grew in the 1800's, with no chemicals, that's real food! Am I a farmer, heck no, but I do feed my family from a garden, eggs from the coop and I'm aiding Mother Nature by supplying host plants for butterflies and bees. The beauty I'm adding by planting flowers is adding to our home investment and it makes me happy! The herbs I grow are used for medicine, cooking, cleaning, and pest control. We are organic and it's working, so maybe I am a farmer of sorts? There is alot more to gardening than complaining about the sore back, the weeding or the bugs, it's a way of life, one that we can trust and have faith in. The weather, on the other hand, is a beast of it's own, and that is the biggest obstacle this season.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mother's Day


             If it seems like I'm posting more recipes than ever, I am! The weather is back to being cold which keeps me tucked inside looking for a excuse to have the oven on! But, the garden is about 60% in, now just hoping for no freeze warnings tonight! As you know, this hutch of mine gets all decked out for each holiday or season and Mother's Day is one of my favorites, honoring the Moms in our family, past and present. So, below is next week's recipe, a classic chocolate treat that is good for breakfast or dessert!

    Mom's don't always get the credit they deserve, but they can get breakfast in bed at least once a year! Begin Mother's Day with a famous breakfast staple of the Ozarks, chocolate gravy! This depression era recipe is rich in taste and history, and quite common in the Ozarks, so treat your Mom to some chocolate for breakfast or dessert,  either way, she will be one happy mama! 

Chocolate Gravy over Biscuits

Biscuits: homemade or canned, country style 
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups milk
2 Tablespoons flour
3 Tablespoons unsweeten cocoa powder
Mix all dry ingredients in a large saucepan and whisk till blended then add milk slowly, mix together well, no lumps. Cook over medium heat, stirring until thick. Remove from heat, add butter and stir in until melted. Serve over hot biscuits and enjoy! 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Spring Time Sweets


             Where did April go to? Working with the weather hasn't been trust worthy for the last decade, and the thought of  losing any one season just terrifies me, but the weather patterns are changing and leaning to the extreme of things, I'm not amused! It's looking like our loss of plant life from our winter isn't as bad as I thought it would be, I also thought the ticks and snakes would be less common but both have been out for weeks now, so nothing can be taken for granted.
      I did lose some rhubarb this spring, not to Mother Nature but to the tiller and a certain husband operating it, but I still have 2 plants to look forward too. One of my favorite ways to use it is in these easy and yummy bars, so if you don't have any fresh on hand, frozen works just as well. Below is my weekly newspaper article that got cut short due to ads, but it's the recipe you really want!

     The spring starlet of the Ozarks, this trophy crop with it's ruby red stalks is a true vegetable but cooked like a fruit? This gem is rhubarb!  Misunderstood,  it's one of the first crops to be harvested, tagged a perennial, the impatient gardener will have to wait until the second season to pick, but well worth the wait. Tart alone, many pair this old favorite with other fruits to sweeten the dish, but the old timers who grew up with this staple know that no matter how you eat it, it is always the first to enjoy. You can still find rhubarb growing on old homesteads, a prize in pies and jams, it's tangy taste is addicting, weather you grow it or buy it be sure to try my favorite way to use it. 

Rhubarb Bars
3 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb, sliced
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups quick oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter or shortening
1/2 cup chopped walnuts ( optional)
Grease a 13x9 baking pan and set aside.  In medium saucepan, stir together the rhubarb, 1 cup sugar, and the water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 5 mins. Meanwhile in a small bowl, stir together the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the 2 tablespoons flour. Stir this mixture into the rhubarb, cook and stir for one min. Remove from heat, add vanilla. Set aside. 
Preheat oven to 375. In a medium bowl, stir together the 1 1/2 cups flour, the oats, brown sugar and baking soda. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in shortening or butter until mixture resembles crumbs. Add nuts. Reserve 1 cup of the crumb mixture. Press remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread rhubarb mixture over top and sprinkle with reserved crumb mix. Bake for 30-35 mins. or until top is golden brown. Cool and cut. t that's ok, t

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Homemade Cadbury Cream Eggs


       Long before Pinterest, we cooks and bakers had more of a challenge in finding those unique recipes that made our menu's stand out, and Easter is no exception, homemade has never been so easy, thanks in part to the internet, where any recipe can be found. But, this recipe for homemade Cadbury cream eggs was given to me from a friend who made everything by hand, long before the internet! I've only made it once but because Pinterest has helped us to be more creative, it's time to add serve up something sweet on Easter that won't be forgotten. 

1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
4 drops yellow food coloring
2 drops red food coloring
1 12oz. bag milk chocolate chips
2 tsp. vegetable shortening
Combine first 4 ingredients, beat well with a electric mixer till smooth. Add powdered sugar, a little at a time and mix by hand. Mix till creamy. Remove about 1/3of the sugar mixture and place in a small bowl. Add food coloring and mix well. Cover both mixtures and chill for at least 2 hours or till firm. Roll a small marble size from the orange mix and wrap a small amount of the white filling around the orange and form the shape of eggs and place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Repeat till done and chill for 4 hours. You want them to set. Combine chocolate chips with veg. shortening in a double broiler and melt down. Mix well. Take each egg and dip into chocolate and return to cookie sheet. Repeat and chill for 2 hours. Repeat the dipping process and chill again and your done! 

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Birth and Days


            April is becoming busier by the day! Stormy today with a chance of tornado's but it's also Ruger's first birthday!! Hard to believe he was that sweet little puppy, and how time has raced by! But, he's still sweet, so smart and makes us laugh every day! There is no joy greater than a happy home, and Ruger made ours happy once again!
    And it's with a happy heart that I introduce you to my newest grandchild, Olivia Grace was born yesterday, she's our 6th! Pure joy and Miss Ellie will love having a baby sister! Life is good, always so good! Happy April!

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