Saturday, April 30, 2011

Come exploring with me....

I have a few wonderful links for you to explore today.  Enjoy!

Mother's Day Door Hanger which says "Quiet Please" and thank you.  A gentle way to say "go away."  I cut one out and it fits into a standard long envelope for mailing -- a perfect Mother's Day card. 

Dear Lord, thank you for not falling asleep.  Read this and be blessed.

Tailor Your Shirt.  Do you or your son or husband have a shirt that fits in the neck and sleeves, but the middle is tent-like?  Behold!  A simple little tutorial to fix that.  I fixed one of my son's shirts today and now he has several in the sewing queue for me to tailor.  You'll like Modesty is Pretty blog too.  She does amazing things with thrifted clothing, shoes, jewelry and more.

@  An easy, delicious and beautiful Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread recipe.  I made it for breakfast.  YUM!

@  The cutest lil Hankie Bonnet tutorial is found here at This Mama Makes Stuff.   My vintage hankies were very thin and worn, so I made my own with some polka dot fabric and red ric rac.

@  I'm thinking about this Building Blocks Baby Quilt.  It looks pretty simple and I'm all about simple projects.   Perhaps I'll add a wee bit of bunny embroidery here and there.

Friday, April 29, 2011

All kinds of weather....

It's been a real mishmash of weather this past week.  One day it rains and rains and for a moment, the sun peeps through the clouds and brings a rainbow.  This bow was brilliantly bright when I first sighted it, but as soon as I went in the house to fetch my camera, it was fading into the gray sky.  How do you like this old truck?  It's a 1972 Chevy Cattle truck.  We used to haul livestock in it.  Now it is replaced by the horse trailer you see next to it, but the truck still hauls gravel and hay bales for us.

Yesterday we had a lovely, clear day.  It was fairly warm by our standards this month -- it might have reached 60* at one point.  Hazel Peach came over for her Grammie Camp Day and helped me mow and dig in the dirt.  Mary Toodles stayed home with her mommy since she is still a breastfed baby and can't be very long without her nourishment.  First we picked up sticks and twigs from the yard and then we I mowed down the entire yard very short which helped to suck up the majority of the deer poop left behind on the lawn this winter.  To quote HP, "Now it's clean and fresh."  Yes, as fresh and clean as a country yard can be.  After the mowing and an afternoon nap, we went back outdoors to dig dandelions and grass from the flower beds.  I brought up plenty of worms per shovelful and HP hesitantly received some of the worms in her garden trowel to "play with" in another pile of dirt.  I really didn't think she'd consider playing with them, but in no time at all, she made quite a Real Pretend out of those little worm friends.  

We did get to go visit the Peeps in between our work, and it is always an excitement and a joy for little hands to hold fuzzy, peeping, live balls of fluff.  HP's daddy came in to see the peeps too, and she cautioned him to be careful and not hold them too tight.  He obeyed, of course.

This morning we awoke to another shower of rain and then a snowy blizzard-sort-of-thing continued all day long.  Thankfully, the ground is fairly warm and when it finally stopped, the snow began to melt on the grass.  The gravel roads have become very smooshy and gooshy and my walks to the chicken coop and to the bum lambs have been very slippery.  "I feel the earth move under my feet!"  The moisture, coming as it is, is so good for our land and it soaks right in.  Do you see the duck pair in the snowy picture above?  There are a few pairs that meander up to our small pond near the house.  I love to watch them.

This was my snowy view from the front porch today.  Looks quite wintry, doesn't it?  It's spring snow -- the wettest, most beneficial kind of snow there is.  It sounds like we'll be having more of the same kind of weather -- wet and chilly -- all weekend, so I plan to bake and cook and sew.  I've already sewed up another 8 diapers for Betsy Cupcake's stash today.  I think I'm up over two dozen diapers now, but I'm still chugging away at that pile of cut-outs.  I also sewed some cute, eared hats for my grandgirls today as a little diversion from the diaper pile.  It's still a bit too chilly for Littles to be outdoors without something warm on their heads, but it'll be sunbonnet season before we know it -- won't it?

Wishing you a happy weekend, no matter the weather.
Prayers for those in Alabama and all the south that have had such violent weather these days.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bridal bouquet wrap...

It is finished and on the way to the bride.
Some of the hydrangeas are blue for the
traditional "something blue"
for the bride to carry.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Babies, babies everywhere....

 I picked up my baby chicks at the feed store yesterday.
Aren't they the sweetest?

 They like to huddle together when it's chilly.  
These chicks are in a sunny window for the moment and seem to enjoy the warmth.
This year I bought White Leghorns, Barred Rocks, and Red Star pullets 
which should lay eggs by fall.
Eighteen chicks in all.

On the way up to the mailbox, I spied a newborn calf and his mama.
He's still got all that sticky, yellow stuff on him, but mama is busy licking him off.

"Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms"
~George Eliot

Monday, April 25, 2011

Embroidered softie dollies for wee hands...

The two littlest grandgirls got these softie dollies in their Easter Baskets.
I was busy stitching them whilst Only Daughter was in labor.  
It is good for me to stitch and pray.

I thought about doing a "Remains of the Day" post about our Easter -- showing you pictures of the dirty dishes, the unmade beds of my children who came and went, the many, many chairs still standing around our table that is leafed to its capacity and still covered with the table cloth and candles.  Now there are only three of us here at home.  It's always this way. They all come in a flurry, and they all leave at the same time.  For a little while I feel overwhelmed and overflowing, and the next minute I feel empty.  But I'm not empty, really.  I'm full.  Full of the blessings of family, full of new life, full of knowing that my Redeemer and the Rescuer of my soul lives in me and mine today!

(The dollies are patterns traced from old Ondori books.  One pattern can be found here.)

I hope you had a FULL Easter.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Grandangel arrival....

She's here!
Elizabeth Ann came into the world this morning
weighing in at 7 lb. 15 oz. and sizing up to 20 1/2"
Mother and Child are healthy and well.
Mother and Dad are much sleep deprived.
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
The Lord will guard your going out
and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.
~Psalm 121:8

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Simple Things....

My dad made the wooden tulips in his workshop.
I found the cute tin watering can, 
added Easter grass and the wooden eggs Dad made.
I like my Easter basket.
 Hazel Peach let me put braids in her hair.
I love golden braids  (or brown braids).

I made a canning jar soap dispenser.
You can too if you follow the directions here.
 These are the two bum calvies I feed each day.
See how much slobber they can make from sucking their bottles?
It gets all over my pants.

 I found a nest of five kittens in the hay rack.
Now I am watching for bird nests.  Have you found any?

The frogs are croaking and singing in the creek below our house.

Waking up to the meadowlarks and robins singing is pure bliss!

The recent snow is melted and today --

I'm almost done with the wedding bouquet cuff 
and am started on some fun embroidered stuffies for my Littles.

Waiting on lil Cupcake to arrive.
She is due on Easter Sunday!  
I wonder what they will name her?  Can you guess?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

For Holy Week -- a Holy Story....

"Stay up with me?" Jesus asked His friends.  They said yes and waited under the olive trees, but they were tired and soon fell asleep.  

Jesus walked ahead, alone in the dark.  He needed to talk to his Heavenly Father.
He knew it was time for Him to die.  They had planned it long ago, he and his Father.  Jesus was going to take the punishment for all the wrong things that anybody had ever done, or ever would do.

"Papa, Father," Jesus cried and he fell to the ground.  "Is there any other way to get your children back?  To heal their hearts?  To get rid of the poison?"

(To finish reading this incredible version of the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus excerpted from the Jesus Storybook Bible, please click here.)

Isn't it just like us sheep to be dozing and take our rest while our Good Shepherd is outside in the middle of the cold, dark night praying for us, making a way for us, laying down His life for us so that we can live?  Not just exist, but truly LIVE.  Every year during Lent, I read the story of Jesus from the Bible.  Last year, I read it from The Jesus Storybook Bible and it spoke to my child's heart.  It melted me.  If you have never read it, I wish you would.  I hope your child's heart melts with the words.

You can find the Jesus Storybook Bible here.  It is written by Sally Lloyd-Jones and the pictures are by Jago.  I like the pictures as much as the words because they look like a child might have drawn them.  I have my very own copy and I plan to give my grandchildren their own books.  It is truly a fascinating read.  Heart wrenching.  Heart melting.  And joyful too.

Did you notice?  It's a full moon tonight.  It is called the Full Pink Moon because the pink phlox is one of the earliest and widespread flowers of the spring.  It is also called the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Peony Moon, the Egg Moon, and the Fish Moon due to the shad that are swimming upstream to spawn. April's full moon is sometimes called the Paschal Full Moon.  I just like to look at it and think of God speaking it into time and existence.  Awesome!  I also think of the many, many people like YOU who are looking at it the same time as I do, and I think of all those historic people from days gone by that looked upon the same moon and planned by the same moon that we see and love today.  Even Jesus looked upon this night light.  Even Jesus.

Happy Holy Week.

"Behold, the Lamb of God...."  ~John 1:29

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The beginnings....

The beginnings of a wedding cuff for a good friend.

The first calf is born out of the cows.

I saw the first grackle. (I don't like grackles)

Lambs are racing happily on the green.

The fresh-laundered towels are on the clothesline and I have more laundry scheduled to go out.  It's still a chilly morning, but promises to be a sunny, nice day.
After a wee bit of wet snow this past week, the grass should really shoot up.

Wet, spring snow is poor man's fertilizer. 
It does wonders for the grass and plants.

Have a Happy Day!

On the grassy banks,
Lambkins at their pranks;
Wooly sisters, woolly brothers,
Jumping off their feet;
While their woolly mothers
Watch by them and bleat.

~Christina Rossetti

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I really can't believe I'm going to write a post about American Idol, but I am.  I was going to write about yesterday -- when I spent the afternoon walking around in the pasture picking up the hay bale wrap from amongst the cow pies where the cows spent the winter eating and pooping, but I decided that it might not be all that interesting telling about kicking around in the cow manure.  I did have some deep revelations, but perhaps I'll save that for a Sunday Post!

So back to American Idol.
The confessions?

Confession number 1:  I watch.  I have watched for years, but I only really start watching the show when they get down to 20 contestants.  I can't stand the other stuff.

Confession number 2:  I have never voted.

Confession number 3:  Until tonight.  I voted.  Three times.  Yes, I did.  Thankfully we have DVR and could rewind to the numbers on the screen!   I never, never, never thought I ever, ever, ever would.  I have watched all these years and never voted, but I felt I had to tonight.  Some of the contestants spoke to me.

Confession 4:  I know you want to know who I voted for.  Contestants 5,6, and 7.  Casey Abrams, Haley Reinhart, and Jacob Lusk.  Do you know who I'm talkin' 'bout?  (secretly you do)

Casey sang Nature Boy (please listen) by Nat King Cole, a song I had never heard until tonight although I do know who Nat King Cole is.  This song was really unusual and a risky choice for American Idol.   I'm afraid that those teeny-boppers won't *get* this performance.  So I HAD to vote for him.  I want to buy Casey's  album NOW. 
Perhaps, perhaps Americans will  get Jacob Lusk's performance, Bridge Over Troubled Waters.  AMAZING!  I was giving him a standing O!

And Haley.  Well, I just like that girl.  She smiles AND sings.  She sang Call Me by Blondie.  She seems to be out there "just having fun," but I'm sure she has been working hard.  I like her and I like her voice. 

So....... I voted.  I can't believe it, but I voted on American Idol.  There.  It's out.  Whew.  I feel so much better now.

(When the videos are up from tonight's show, I'll post them for you to watch.  So good.  So darn good!)

If you want to watch one of my favorite past performances of Casey's, click to vid below.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Seed for tomorrow....

Do you ever get to the end of the dirty clothes pile, have all the laundry done and folded, and then find a pair of jeans hanging on the hook?  (these happen to be mine)  My dear mother-in-love used to call it Seed for Tomorrow.  It might be a dirty dish that we missed in the cleaning up after supper or a a sack of trash that didn't get burned with the other garbage.   It is a negative connotation and yet a positive one too.  That "seed" will grow more of itself.....dirty laundry, dirty dishes, garbage too, but I'd rather think of Seed for Tomorrow as something good.

Sowing a seed of kindness -- a kind word spoken, a kiss on the cheek, doing a chore for somebody so they don't have to do it this time.  I think of God's Word as seed.  Seed planted in the soul-soil will surely grow and bring forth fruit.  One of my Hubby's favorite scriptures is, "You reap what you sow,"  Perhaps it is because we are agrarians that we like the analogy of sowing seed so much.  It is such a good word-picture.

Now to sow a little sugar-seed!
A sweet recipe that I made for our Sunday Breakfast this morning.
I call them Cinna-Muffs.  I wish you could see the cinnamon streusel inside.
Find the recipe here.

Sower with the Setting Sun, Van Gogh

"A sower went out to sow...."
~Matt 13:3

Friday, April 08, 2011

Great expectations...

 From small beginnings....

 I have great expectations.

A little sunshine, a little rain, and there will be tulips and iris and columbine...

house finch
and more birds will fly home for the summer
Puddles on the trail tell me there will be green grass and
abundant wildflowers on the gumbo prairies this spring.
The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his Heaven—
All's right with the world!
~Robert Browning
The lovingkindness of God endures all day long.
~Psalm 52:1

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Family photo gallery wall....

I've always had the "Wall of Fame" in our upstairs hallway and after taking everything down to repair and repaint a few weeks ago, I decided to update it and add in some old-time family photos.  Initially, I was only going to do black & white photos, but I decided to add a splash of color here and there with the framed fall leaves and a few colored photos.   The old ranch branding irons add a bit of nostalgia (we use electric branding irons now).  I made the stair rail a few years ago from a dead cottonwood branch that I found on the ranch.  I sanded it and sealed it with a polyurethane finish.  I did not pre-plan my gallery wall as some do, but just started in and pounded nails as I went along.  I had a lot of fun with this project and look forward to adding to it as our family expands.
This photo is taken from the top of the stairs looking down.  The blank frame is securing a place for a senior picture of our youngest.  If you are considering doing a gallery wall, you might enjoy looking around at the Inspired Room where there is a Gallery Wall Party happening!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Wren Bay, a book review...

A long-time blogger friend of mine, Clarice Fox-Hughes from Storybook Woods has written her first self-published novel, Wren Bay The Story of Making a HomeWren Bay, is a reflection of Clarice herself.  She loves homemaking, fashion, creating something lovely out of everyday items, she is resourceful, she homeschools her two daughters in Charlotte Mason style and the lady cooks the most amazing foods, many which are French inspired and several are her original recipes.  Clarice used to be a caterer so she has a special love and appreciation for good food and its presentation which the book mirrors perfectly.

Wren Bay is s a newly married, Boston socialite who is learning how to find her special niche in her new home, Bay Farm, her husband's estate.  Wren is intent on using this time of separation from her husband Devlin, who has gone to war, to focus on making their house a home and a refuge for the both of them.  Wren was taught early the joy of cooking with perfect ingredients from her Madame Mimi,  and she inherited  a creative bent from her eccentric Aunt Sophia.  As the days go by, Wren counts her blessings in a journal that records her thoughts and hopes and dreams.  The story is dreamy, inspiring, and heartfelt, and you'll find a bevy of recipes to try. I can hardly wait to cook up an Onion Tart, some Jam Hand Pies or Gateau Noix au Chocolat.  I'll baked Auberne's Chocolate Mayo Cake and it was so rich, moist and delish!  Find the recipe here at the blog!

 Thank you, Clarice for a lovely story.  You can find Wren Bay at The Storybook Woods Store.  And you might enjoy visiting with Clarice at her blog, Storybook Woods.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Wash me...

Peasant Hanging Out the Laundry  by Berthe Morisot

Every day, everywhere I look, something or someone needs to be washed.  Wash the dishes, wash the clothes, wash the counters, wash Peach's face, wash the lamb bottles and calf bottles, scrub the floor, wipe the table, muck the pens at the barn, wash my hands.  Life on earth is messy.  It requires washing of every kind.  So often I think of my job as a homemaker and rancher's wife as a life of mundane chores -- a cooker, a washer lady, a housekeeper, a fixer of things broken, a helper.  Nothing earth shattering, nothing of great importance, but something evidently worth the doing.

Even Jesus washed the feet of His disciples (John 13).  He laid aside His garments, the very clothes that identified Him, and girded Himself with a towel.  Did He do it to make a point or did He actually scrub dirty feet?  I think both.  I never think of Jesus doing anything halfway or ceremonially, or just to demonstrate.  He wanted them to know (and me to know) that in this world, there would be dirty work to do, and that all of us need washing up.
Feet of a Kneeling Man by Albrecht Durer 
Today as I was washing my hands at the mudroom sink, a sink where the dirtiest of the dirty is cleaned off and cleaned up, I thought about how much I need washing up.  We all do, don't we?  Jesus, will you wash away the filth?  Will you wash me every day because I'm dirty every day?  At the sink, we use Kirk's Castile, a bar soap that is mild and yet really cleans our hands well.  I always have a bar of it at the mudroom sink as along with a bottle of Ajax dishwashing soap for greasy hands that come in from the shop.  I've just started using a homemade laundry powder, a recipe that a friend shared with me.  I really like it too.  It's mild and yet effective.  Soaps for different kinds of washings.  Isn't it just like God, to show us how to wash even the dirtiest of the dirty -- the feet?  If the Lord Jesus washed His disciples feet with His own hands, how much more ought I be willing to wash what's dirty in His name?

Lord, keep me ever humble, washing feet, hands, bottles, boots, dishes, that I might know You and serve you quietly in whatever peculiar niche you have for me.


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