Thursday, October 30, 2008

A New Blogger on the Block

My friend Esther has started blogging. Be sure to pop over and say hello and don't pass up that amazing poem she wrote. She's quite an artist on many levels.

Click here:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

When there's a will...

...we reach a milestone.

Last weekend, our pastor's family gave us a hand-me-down bike. It was deemed Douglas' because it looks like a boy bike and Sarah already has two; one at her grandparents and one here in need of an overhaul. He is thrilled to have a bike in working order again. In most of our travels we didn't have the joy of much bike-riding. Bikes weren't priority on the packing list. As you can imagine, that boy has spent hours building ramps and flying down the driveway....

Enter one very determined 6 year old.

We got the bike you see pictured for her 4th birthday. I bet some of you even remember the post about it. We celebrated her 4th birthday in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Phillip drew/wrote a treasure map which lead to clues which eventually lead to the bike. It came with training wheels. And because of our sporadic home existence and bike-riding practice, she was just fine thankyouverymuch to leave those training wheels on for eternity. ~ Until her mother put them in the dump trailer somewhere along the way. Yeah, I know...bad Mommy. We'd taken them off in hopes she'd just take off. I truly thought we'd never need them again. But she wanted those training wheels. Until Sunday that is...

Sunday afternoon, I got a glimpse of her wobbling around and walking the bike. I know this girl. She was not about to be left behind. Her brother was having fun and she wanted in on the action. Soon enough, Sarah walked by and just said, "Hey Laura, maybe you ought to start up on the hill.." And the rest, as they say, is history.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Climbing Pike's Peak

I've got lots of pictures climbing this mountain, but this one always takes me over the edge. (smile) Lots of times, I was so anxious I couldn't even look out my window, so I stuck my arm out and snapped pictures without looking. Thank the good Lord for a patient, kind husband! He drove slowly, spoke calmly, and was very encouraging throughout the climb. Several times along the way, I'd say to myself things like...."If we turned back now, I'd be content forever" or "At least I made it 10 miles" (or whatever the mile marker said) The last mile marker you see is #19, but if you're expecting to stop right then, don't hold your breath. Don't hold your breath at all, for that matter! I thought, "O Lordy, mile marker #19, yippee, get me out of this truck and let my feet stand on solid ground!" It was a bit further.
"Look Mom! - No guard rails!"

Did you know there is an annual Pike's Peak car race to the summit? Crazy.....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Garden of the Gods

This is the entrance to Garden of the Gods with Pike's Peak in the background. What's really neat is I have a picture of Garden of the Gods from the top of Pike's Peak as well. Of course, Garden of the Gods is tiny in the picture, but it's incredible to see because all of Colorado Springs is spread out before you while you're standing there taking it all in. It's breathtaking; literally! Garden of the Gods was not all that exciting to us. And, from a photographers point of view, we were there at the complete wrong time of day. It reminded me of being at the Grand Canyon in the middle of the day. Not my choice for spectacular pictures. And too, I think if we'd gone with the intent to really stay and walk around, we would've had a different perspective but we drove down to Colorado Springs that day to climb Pike's Peak....which is exactly what we did.
~ whew...makes me loose my breath just thinking about it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bear Lake

Once inside Rocky Mountain National park, it's hard to decide what to do first. Thank goodness we were given a park map at the entrance. By the way, the elevation at the park entrance is over 8,000 feet; you only go up from there. I learned quite a bit about mountains, elevation, valleys, gorges, passes, weather, and water on this trip. I'd really never thought about lakes up in the mountains before. I don't live near mountains so the concept never connected in my brain.

This is a picture of Bear Lake. It was a cool, cloudy day and we really weren't prepared for the hike around the lake, but I'm so glad we did it anyway. Note to Southerners: Always take a jacket or sweatshirt with you. The temp can be as much as 20 degrees cooler in the mountains depending on the time of the year. We're fast learners. We had a Rubbermaid tote in the back of the truck wherever we went afterwards. It came in handy, actually. We also learned that water was essential, so each day we went out we just packed food/snacks, water, and coats/jackets and prepared ourselves to be gone for the day.
But wait...there's more.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Colorado Stream

This is one of the first pictures I took at Rocky Mtn. National Park. I'd always heard of the streams in Colorado but nothing prepared me for the beauty of actually seeing them up close and personal. Furthermore, the fascinating reality of how the Continental Divide snowfall feeds our lakes and streams across America. The snow that melts on the west side of the Rockies eventually makes it to the Pacific Ocean and what melts on the east meanders its way to the Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico. It is an experience to behold. Having it explained to me made the majesty and sovereignty of the Lord even more real in my heart.

Doesn't it make ya just wanna be there??

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Mozzarella Cheese

A friend of mine decided to take a trip to Houston and asked if we'd take three gallons of goat's milk off her hands. ("Well-of-course"...) A few months ago she'd shown me how to make mozzarella cheese so I was excited to try my hand at it by myself. She let me borrow her instructions which is inside a publication by New England Cheesemaking Supply Co. It worked like a charm. This first picture is the curds forming in the milk. The curds clump together and the liquid left over is called whey. So Little Miss Muffit was actually eating cheese and a natural form of buttermilk. Bleh...
This second picture is the curds formed into a ball and the whey in a separate bowl. What's really interesting is that after you've rendered the curds from the whey, the amount of whey is still equal the amount of milk you started with. How is that?

All said and done, the process makes about a pound of cheese, I'd say. It's so fresh tasting. It doesn't last long around here. We eat it as a snack. It'll be gone before the day is over.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Oh Reba....

I used to want to be like Reba. I'd sing every single song right along with her at the top of my (young) lungs and dream of the day I'd be on stage as her opening act. She was the inspiration behind the voice lessons I took at the local junior college. I'd play a song over and over just to get a lyric and the octave perfect. When she came to Tyler, Phillip and I went. Back in the day, it was most exciting. She was my hero.
That was several years ago and her sound is too twangy for me these days. Nevertheless, I've always admired her. She's always walked to her own drum beat and appreciate folks who have the courage to do so. But her latest comments about her twisted beliefs is most disappointing.

You can read it here on The Boot

I guess she could stand to loose a few fans and not be financially affected now.

Thanks for the memories, Reba.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Remembering Colorado

Most of you who read this blog know we were in Colorado this time last year. The cool weather and a recent chat with my good friend in Nebraska has made my heart long for the Midwest. I can even smell and feel the crispness in the air. The mountains were breathtaking and caused my heart to skip a beat each time I gazed my eyes upon that majestic range to the west. The Aspens were turning, the Elk where bugling, and soon enough we experienced Colorado snow. We climbed Pike's Peak, drove up Trail Ridge Road; up the windy one-laner and down the paved cliff hanger. We hiked up to St. Mary's glacier and spent an anniversary night in Estes Park. It's a memory I'll never forget. I hope and pray our children were old enough to store away a memory or two as well. It was an adventure we never thought this family would ever experience. God is good - in all things - always.

Most people ask if I miss traveling. I have to say I do.

(photo: the trek to Colorado)

I'll be sharing more memories here until this nostalgic moment passes...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Formatting and the perfectionist writer

Have I ever mentioned that the blog formatting here on Blogger makes me a little more than frustrated?? I even know a little about coding and, try as I may to make the page breaks look organized, it STILL doesn't look the way I intend! Please read my posts knowing that the writer wishes the paragraphs would separate the way I want them to! I simply cannot fiddle with it any longer. My family awaits...

Bosch Bread

I teach ninth grade writing & grammar at our local homeschool co-op. In doing so, I've been reminded of the importance of brainstorming. It truly does help a writer get thoughts onto paper so they can be organized and fashioned into something readable. I think it's true for all writers - there's a plethora of ideas swirling around in our heads. The key is to get it out of the upper cranial cavity and onto something where it can then be decoded. Thus, the invention of brainstorming. Who came up with it? I have no idea.

Why a note on brainstorming this morning? Well my friends, let me just say that I've spent some time this morning brainstorming about my Bosch Bread and nothing is falling into place!! My sleeping soldiers will awake any minute and time is of the essence. This proves you just can't rush writing. Hence the reason I simply cannot post here every single day. Thank the good LORD for pictures. Many times they speak the words I can't.

So, here's my stab at a "Making Bosch Bread" post, with a brain that is not in gear.


Hi Y'all!

I've started a little home-based business making homemade meals. The response has been overwhelmingly positive(!) and has only fed the flames of my desire to open some sort of business/restaurant/coffee shop someday. I LOVE to make something that blesses someone else. It gives me great joy. With most meals on the menu, I include a loaf of homemade whole wheat bread.

I remember the days I longed for a Bosch. Most of my married life has been riddled with financial hardship (for which I am thankful), yet somehow the Lord provided a Bosch. He knew we'd need it. We have literally lived off homemade bread several months at a time. Well, bread, beans, and tortillas, truthfully. I rested knowing we were eating something healthy, full of vitamins, minerals, and we would not be hungry.

The Bosch Bread recipe I have been making for many years makes five loaves at a time. With some of the dough, we've also made cinnamon rolls, mini loaves, and pizza crust. We use Prairie Gold wheat berries from Wheat Montana, which is a hard, white, spring wheat. It's light and makes fluffy loaves. I've experimented with all sorts of things, though. You can add a couple cups of oats or make it more hearty (grainy) by adding a few cups of winter wheat, for example. Once you get the hang of it, the possibilities are endless.

Bosch Bread

2T salt
2/3 C olive oil
2/3 C honey
5 1/2 C hot water
2-3T yeast
Fresh ground whole wheat flour

Directions: Put salt, oil, and honey into Bosch bowl. Add hot water. Jog machine by turning to "M" on the switch. This swishes the ingredients together a bit. Add three scoops (I scoop the flour with a 1C measuring cup) while machine is running. Turn dial to "1". Add three more scoops while Bosch continues to run. Add yeast and let machine fun for 1 minute. Add flour one scoop at a time until dough begins to clean the sides of the bowl. This can be tricky and all I can say is that it takes practice. Remember, the liquid is soaking up the hearty flour so I err on the side of wetter looking dough instead of making it too dry. This is just my opinion. When you think you've reached this consistency, turn dial to "2" and set timer for 10 minutes.
During this 10 minutes, spray loaf pans with cooking spray. Oil a clean surface for shaping the loaves. Oil hands, too. Turn dough out onto clean, oiled surface and divide into five balls. Take each one and press them into a rectangle shape. Roll up the rectangle and work the dough a bit to form a loaf. I tuck in the edges and ends and make it "pretty". Put each loaf into an oiled bread pan and set to rise. The rise time will vary. The actual recipe I have says 30 minutes to 1 hour. It usually only takes about 30 minutes for mine. If I wait any longer, the tops are too big and the loaf is disproportioned. Our house is very drafty and cold in the winter so I actually set my oven to "warm" before I begin and turn it off while the dough is kneading. I then set the pans in the oven to rise. This works great for me, but bread baking is an art, so you just have to use your own judgement and do what works best for you.

And finally, when the loaves have risen to your liking, bake them at 350* for 20-25 minutes. Again, time will vary because everyone's oven is different. It doesn't take 25 minutes for me.

Homemade bread slices best with an electric knife.
Good Wednesday to you ~

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Campfire Breakfast

Phillip made breakfast over a fire this morning; farm fresh eggs, sizzling bacon, sausage, and his usual weekend bisquits. It's the kind of breakfast we only eat on Saturdays.

These are the best campfire bisquits he's ever made.
It takes some practice to get them just right.

God bless your Saturday ~

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Farm Work: The Burning

This is the kind of farm work nobody minds. Ever since we've had the timber cut we've been piling up the debris.. It looks like a war zone around here, at least around the house, so I've been doing a little as I can to clean it up. After alot of discussion Phillip finally taught me how to run the chainsaw. I've wanted to run that thing for years, but honestly it scares me. He does the big stuff and I do the little stuff. There's plenty for both of us. ~ So we had five large piles heaped up and, since the conditions were perfect, we burned one after we tended to the animals one evening. They consist of mostly pine so we had at least one heart-attack moment. It didn't take long for it to burn down and afterwards we "joined the evening"*.

It just doesn't get any better than this.

*joined the evening;
a term our Olders used when they were little when we would encourage them to head outside to ENJOY the evening. Now it's all we say.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Farm Work

Despite our croupy coughs, stuffy noses, and fatigue, we did manage to get out in the good 'ole fresh air over the weekend. I believe fresh air and sunshine is good for what ales ya, so a little work was done in the midst of recovery.
We acquired a free load of washout from a local transit company. The kids and I picked it up several days ago and unloaded some of it in the hilly part of our driveway. As you can see in the picture, we put the rest in a place by the gate that gets terribly muddy in rainy weather. We're heading back over there, it's free for the taking. Little by little, we'll have a driveway that is passable. Eventually. It's hard work.

Here's some of us working hard to unload.
This is memory-making at it's finest in my opinion.


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Friday, October 03, 2008

Under the Weather

Cup of soup, anyone?

I'll be back before long.

Have a nice weekend with your family.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Morning Thoughts

I don't usually go out each morning and help with the animals. All three children have designated duties and they do them quite well without me. But this morning I discovered how much I am missing. First, my children amaze me. Our farm is not set up for easy living at this point. We don't have water available in that area right now. But, they've invented ways of getting water to every pen and they've got a system. I didn't stand in the way. Then, I realized I was missing the warm sun coming up over the pasture. Historically, I've always been a sunset kind of gal, but the newness of the day, and the farm "waking up" moved me this morning. I scurried back to the house to grab my camera. Why I ever walk out the door without that thing is beyond me.
And finally, the sounds of the animals as they waited. Each one knowing it's time. They expect my children. They depend on them. And when all is said and done, there is a hush .....
It was a spiritual moment as I pondered my own hunger and thirst, not for the physical, but for my daily bread from the Lord. I depend on it. ~ And when I am full, there is peace.

God's best to you this morning ~