Saturday, November 18, 2017

Nature journal -- Deer...

 I've added new pages to my Fall Nature Journal --
the dear deer.
We have a lot of deer roaming on our ranch, and the harvest is on.
Our hunters are getting some prime hunting here.

As for me, I enjoy capturing deer with my camera
and now I'm using my paint brush.
It's all a learning experience for me and that keeps it fun.

The Christmas (all holiday) Cactus is in full bloom.
It just missed Halloween, but I am sure it will be blooming
full-tilt for the remaining winter and even spring holidays.
I've seen it bloom all the way to Easter,
all in the quiet and humble laundry room where it thrives.

Are you gearing up for Thanksgiving?
I am.
We'll have a nice houseful of guests,  although not the entire tribe this year.
I'm cooking the major stuff and our guests will fill in with their favorite dishes.
It's always nice to see how the dinner rounds out.
I wish you a week of humble and joyful preparation
and a day of true thanks and giving.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

November...

 No sun—no moon!
        No morn—no noon—
No dawn—
        No sky—no earthly view—
        No distance looking blue—
 No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
   No comfortable feel in any member—
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,
        November!

~Thomas Hood 
.........................................
November days have been colder than usual, and suddenly quiet.  I am such a bird lover and always have a listening ear for them, and suddenly there is silence. The birds have gone -- almost no birds as Thomas Hood says.  Canada Geese flying south in high Vs overhead are still on the move.  Last night we got home around 10 pm and there were geese flying above us.  Such an odd thing to hear the geese calling to each other at night. 

The cold has come down suddenly too.  Last night our thermometer registered -1* and that just feels so icy for November.  The sudden cold and a dusting of snow inspired us to get busy and cut wood for the wood stove.  Although we were below zero this morning, the temperature climbed all the way up to 36*.  That sounds chilly, but it was perfect weather for cutting wood.  I kept unzipping my jacket and then took off my hat, but quickly zipped up and put my hat back on when we stopped for a coffee break.  Hubby and CarpenterSon used the chain saws while two granddaughters and I carried logs to the pick-ups.  It's good, satisfying work, and I really like end result -- the warmth of a wood fire burning on a cold day.  

I'm still finding things to sketch and paint for my nature journal, but with all of the "No" of November, it's getting harder and harder to do it, but  I will persist!  Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Time to hunker down...

 Fall Nature Journal entry.

The daylight hours are becoming less and less and our autumn days are growing colder and colder.  We had our first snow squalls on Thursday along with crazy winds.  Today was cloudy, chilly, and windy too, but the coming days promise even more cold with highs near or below freezing along with snow and wind, of course.  This will be one of those Halloweens when the trick-or-treaters will cover  up adorable costumes with heavy coats, mittens, and hats.  Living in the north, we experience blustery, snowy Halloweens a lot. Sometimes it's just best to buy a funky stocking cap for a Halloween costume or dress as an Eskimo! 

I rather like that it's getting dark earlier.  After a very busy summer and fall, I am ready for some slowing down.  The dark evenings mean that the menfolk will be in early from their work and we will have some long nights together inside where it's cozy and warm.  We start playing cards -- Canasta or Kaluchi or Cribbage or Hearts, depending on the number of players.  Hot buttered popcorn is a favorite cold-weather snack,  and I start making cups of tea in the evening and spend time with my embroidery, hoping to have a few handmade things to give as gifts.   Have you tried the Yogi Bedtime Tea?  It's very good and has a spicy, sweet blend of herbals.

Tomatoes ready to be roasted.
Today I share a couple pages from my Fall Nature Journal.  My Black Star chickens are doing so well, and all of them are laying an egg a day so I usually find 25 eggs when I go collecting.  I figured the girls deserved a page in the journal for their generous gifts.  I thought I ought to add the tomato in my pages since I complained so much about only getting green tomatoes all summer.  I picked SO many green tomatoes and ripened them in the garage and well... here's yet another pan of beautiful tomatoes ready to go into the oven for roasting.  As I was slicing, I kept on grabbing a slice and shoved it into my mouth.  Each perfect, red slice was just too irresistible.  So I gave in and gobbled down many a perfect tomato slice.  These were the last of the tomatoes, save 4 others that didn't fit on the baking sheets.  I'll eat those myself.  Lastly, I've been noticing a great influx of ladybugs.  I'm not sure why we have so many ladybugs now, but I suppose they are trying to find  their way inside for the winter.  

If it's cold where you are, I hope you are sporting your wool socks and slippers and a large cardigan.  Or perhaps you have a favorite afghan or soft blanket that you like to wrap up in on these long, dark nights.  It's been "nice" long enough, now it's time to hunker down, stoke the fires, light the candles, and put the kettle on.

"We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, 
small (and yet really not small) gifts." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Sunday, October 22, 2017

A week of doing...


I made one white and one with wheat & flax seed. 
Both were delicious and easy!

 Here's another easy recipe from Jenny Can Cook.
I've made lots cinnamon rolls in my day, but these are the BEST.
I like that this is a small recipe and only makes a 
9" round pan of eight rolls.


Today I spent the morning making
"Grammy's Lotions and Potions" as my kids call them.
This is my toothpaste.
 It's got dirt in it (bentonite clay).
I like dirt. 
I like cinnamon, cloves, and peppermint in my toothpaste.
 Homemade Toothpaste  from Wellness Mama.
I also made
and my favorite...

Bee Butter

(or Non-Petroleum Jelly)



2 ounces extra-virgin olive oil (4 T.)

1/2 ounce beeswax pastilles (1 T.)

1-2 t. raw honey (opt.)

Essential oils -- 12 drops (opt.)



In double boiler over simmering water, combine the olive oil and beeswax and slowly heat until wax has melted.  Remove mixture from heat and cool about 10 minutes, then add honey and/or essential oils of choice.  Beat with small whisk until creamy.If it separates a little, just stir it up.

Makes: 1/4 cup of bee butter.  Store in glass jar with screw top lid.  Keeps up to one year.


Uses:  Face cream, hand cream, body cream, chapped lips, dry feet, eczema.  The beeswax gives the skin a protective barrier from the elements:  weather, dry air, wind, sun, and pollutants. 




These are the pumpkins I decorated.
 I know... who spends time painting flowers on pumpkins
or making a patchwork pumpkin?
I do.
I like to create. 
 I just do. 
 So I do.

Do you see my rolled up hose on the porch?
I still haven't put it away because it's been warm here.
But it is supposed to get cold again.
 Oh, and speaking of the porch,
I finally oiled it!  
Another project ticked off the list!

We sold our steer calves this week at the local sale barn.
 
What fall projects are you doing?

Sunday, October 15, 2017

She's a Frisbee dog!




Heidi has been our summer boarder.  I think we've had her living with us since June when our youngest son came to the ranch to work on fence for us.  Now she's become a permanent resident.  One of her favorite things to do is to play Frisbee.  She carries it around with her most of the day or at least she knows right where it is in case someone comes along who is willing to throw for her.  If you have a dog, I highly recommend the Kong Flyer.  They are made of the toughest rubber known to human or canine.  This dog cannot bite through it which is a miracle.  We've had the Kong balls too and they are great, but they tend to get lost in the tall grass between our houses.  

Today I thought I'd snap some shots of Heidi playing Frisbee.  She can catch it in mid-air which I think is quite a feat for a large German Shepherd.  I've never had a German Shepherd before, but I've read that they have lots of energy and need to play hard so we play.  Heidi has also been a super walking friend.  She keeps me in a swift gait while we walk.  I'm working now at teaching her to heel as we walk along.  She's doing really well until she sees a rabbit or deer running in front of her. This evening we walked in a pasture where some lambs were grazing and she walked right beside me as we strolled on by them.  I was so proud of her!

It's been a beautiful fall day here this Sunday -- 56* and sunny with a little breeze.  It sounds like the coming week will actually be hot for us --  maybe up to 80*.  That seems crazy since most nights we drop below freezing right now. Many of the trees have lost their leaves, but the Cottonwood trees are the prettiest yellow-gold right now.  It's been a wonderful fall.

"Happiness is a warm puppy.” – Charles Shultz (cartoonist, Peanuts)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Fall Nature page: Seeds


I was inspired to put some seed pages into my Fall Nature Journal when I discovered the journal pages that Heather and her children were making.  I remember making seed charts when I was a 5th grader in school.  It was so much fun hunting for seeds around the neighborhood and then labeling and gluing them to my chart.  I think my chart was fairly "freestyle" compared to some of my friends' charts, but doing the project was probably way more fun to me than the end result. 

I have a pile of zinnias and marigolds that I pulled up last week that have dried out.  I'll dig through it for some of the seeds to save and plant in next year's flower beds.  The grandkids planted Forget Me Nots in their tire gardens and so I gathered up a few of those seeds to scatter in my beds.  

I felt like a 5th grader again collecting seeds and pods and sketching them into my nature journal.  Fun!  Are you a seed saver or a seed appreciator?

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Fall nature journal pages...


I finished another couple pages in my Fall Nature Journal.  It's funny how things make it into my journal.  I don't really plan anything, but just watch for things and then add them in as they come along.  I am sure that every fall season looks very different from others and yet similar too.  At least here, we can sometimes have snow at this point in the year, but today was a beautiful day -- 75* with gray clouds mixed with sunshine.  One moment I was in my shirt sleeves and the next moment I had a light jacket on.  That's very fall-esque.

I feel like I've been on a bit of an emotional roller coaster this past week.  The Las Vegas massacre started it off -- such a sad, sad thing. I've been praying much for people.  And I've been praying for our nation.  Then we put down our old dog, Sue.  She was 12 years old and a dear friend.  At the same time our youngest son, TheGolfer, left for the season.  He had been living with us, working on our fencing project, and taking in golf tournaments all summer.  His German Shepherd, Heidi, was here the whole time and became another good friend to us.  They left together this week and it was a bit of a let down -- kind of like when everyone comes for Christmas and you're having such a merry time and all at once, everyone leaves.  There was joy in remembering the days, but a little emptiness when it all ended.  Today GolferSon came back to help us again and brought Heidi back with him.  He asked if we could keep her.  He said she was miserable at his place in town, so now we have a new dog-friend.  She's just a year old and has a ton of energy.  So totally opposite Sue.  I'm thankful for a walking buddy and a protector and a playmate for the littles when they are here.  She's so good with the kids.  I do feel sad for my son, but he loves her and knows what's best for her.

Hubby and I watched the movie, The Shack this week.  It was good.  I read the book years ago and I liked it then, and the movie just added another dimension to it.  The movie came along at a good time since the message is: love one another and forgive one another.  We all need to do more of that, don't we?  I sure do.

Thanks for stopping by, Friend!  God bless you!

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Cabinet painting...



I love how the sunshine is coming low into the windows with the short, fall days.  I had to click this pic of our applesauce in the glowing sunlight of late afternoon.  My daughters and one of their friends came and we had a big day of making applesauce a week ago.  It was fun and busy with twelve children running hither and yon while we were busy in the kitchen.

I've been painting my lower cabinets for several weeks.  My cabinets are only 5 years old, and were  put in new in 2012.  They were chipping and getting water damaged, especially around the sink, and so I decided it was time to repair them and repaint.  My cabinets were all cream like the upper cabinets.  I chose to go with Annie Sloan's chalk paint in French Linen for the lower cabinets.  I am really happy with the results.  It is not perfect, but it is perfect enough for me.  After priming and painting them with two coats of chalk paint, I then sealed them with three coats of MinWax Poly-crylic in a flat finish.  Traditionally, Annie Sloan paint is sealed with wax, but I chose a hard sealant by using the poly to keep water problems at bay.  The poly was a water-based latex so it was easy to apply, clean up,  and it dried fast between coats.

I'm linking a great little web page here that shows you all of the Annie Sloan colors as well as what they look like when you apply the dark wax to them.  This same site has lots of tips for painting with Annie Sloan chalk paint.   However, I do recommend you go to a store that carries the paint and take a look at their samples.  I was lucky to have a store nearby that carried the paint AND she had many samples of re-furbished furniture and lamps and mirrors that she used AS paint on.  That was great for me because I was leaning towards another color--Paris Gray-- but when I was able to see the French Linen next to Paris Gray, I knew I wanted the French Linen color.  I think it looks very homey and warm in my kitchen, and now I'm breathing a sigh of relief that I am DONE!  I think it will show less dirt in my very lived-in ranch house too.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

So long September....


SEpteMber was full of lots of happenings:

Walks
Bike riding
Fencing
Picking apples
Canning apple sauce and apple butter with the daughters
Making plum jam
Digging potatoes
Pulling carrots
Planting garlic and lettuce
Picking brocolli
Working cows and pregnancy testing 
Turning in the bucks
Pullet hens begin to lay 
A few nice rainy days
Painting kitchen cabinets (still in the process)
Starting a watercolor nature journal

Now it's time to say, "So long September, it's been nice knowing you."

Monday, September 25, 2017

Fall nature journal pages...





Pom Pom invited me to participate in keeping a fall nature journal.  I really love doing this.  I used to keep a nature journal for years when I was homeschooling the kids.  We all kept journals and learned together.  Those journals are treasures. With this nature journal, I'm challenging myself to do it in watercolor.  I'll probably add in a little ink too, but basically, I'm wanting to practice watercolor all the way through.  

The past four days have been very cloudy, cool, and drizzly and we've even had a pouring rain a time or two.  It's been such a blessing that I had to make a cloudy, gray, fall sky for one page of my journal.  The temperatures have cooled off here -- 40s for the highs -- so the air really has a cold snap to it.  It's definitely jacket weather.  I had a nice walk along a fence line this afternoon.  The skies were watercolor grays and there was a light mist that felt refreshing as I walked. CarpenterSon drove the pick-up while I pulled steel posts out of the back and leaned them along the fence.  Behind us, Hubby and TheGolfer were pounding them in.   Fall teamwork!

I hope you're appreciating all that Fall is bringing your way.  Don't forget to stop and smell the falling leaves.  I love that smell!

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