Thursday, May 31, 2007

It's Raining - It's Pouring!

We've been waiting for seven long years for a rain like this one. We're measuring the rain now in inches rather than in hundredths-of-an-inch! Our land, and us with it, have been suffering from severe drought for seven years. We are far, far behind in our ground moisture and our average annual rainfall is only 11-12" so you can imagine how parched we've been. But this past week, we've been showered upon. Rained upon. Poured upon! What a blessing from God. I was in town today looking at some greeting cards when an older gentleman strolled in with a smile. The clerk asked him if it was still raining outside and he answered, "Yes, it's still raining! It's holy water! We've prayed for this a long time."
I couldn't agree more! It thrilled my heart to hear those words, Holy Water -- and it is.

"Drip down, O heavens, from above,
And let the clouds pour down righteousness;
Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit,
And righteousness spring up with it.
I, the Lord, have created it."
~Isaiah 45:8
Lord, help me to remember when the muddy boots come traipsing in and the mud room lives up to its name in it's fullness, that this mud, this gumbo guck, has been made with Holy Water. Your Heaven-sent Holy Water. May I smile as I sweep and drag out the mop and ringer bucket again. You have been faithful. Thanks be to You!

Thin-crust Pizzas

OH MY GOSH! This recipe is so delish and SO easy that you'll just have to try it to find out for yourself. I found the actual recipe at Simply Recipes but you could change this up in any way you like. The thin crusts are made of flour tortillas that are brushed with olive oil. We ranchers are BEEF eaters and so, of course, we had to add some browned ground beef to our pizzas. The guys wanted spaghetti sauce on their pizzas, but I wanted to stay true to the orginal recipe (but I did put some beef on mine too). I thought that the sauce might make the crusts a little soggy, but they weren't in the least. Crisp, thin, tasty, good food! We found that we were very satisfied with just one tortilla pizza each. We had those toppings loaded on top which made it very filling! Now for dessert -- microwave S'mores. (it's raining! no....pouring!)

Here's my recipe.
On a graham cracker, put a square of Hershey's chocolate (or your favorite kind) and one jumbo marshmallow. Top with another square of graham cracker. Microwave the sweet sandwich for about 10-15 seconds or until melted. Eat!

Mud Room (literally)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Blue Jeans Quilt

As a graduation gift to my 3rd born, I made this blue jeans quilt for him. This has now become a family tradition that was set-in-stone upon the first denim quilt I ever made. These are very imperfect creations because they are sewn from old blue jeans that our family accumulates rather quickly on a ranch. My mother-in-law used to call worn-out jeans "turned out to pasture" because they were beyond their usefulness, but I have found that our old Levis -- stripped, cut, trimmed, and resewn into quilts -- have been every bit as loved and as useful as they were when we wore them out to do chores every day. Each quilt has a little piece of each one of us sewn up into it so when our graduate goes out into the world, we go along with him. For inspiration, you may enjoy checking out this site that has lots of great ideas, patterns and tips for sewing blue jeans quilts.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Garden Flowers

Bleeding Heart


Blue Flax

Dame's Rocket


After 30 years of cooking....

I am now able to hard-boil an egg that can be peeled without it going to shreds! It's really the simple things in life that give me so much pleasure.

Here's how:

1. Poke a pinhole into the bottom of the egg shell without going through the membrane.

2. Add eggs to cold water with a little salt.

3. Bring to a boil and set timer for desired doneness (12-15 min. for hard-boiled, 6-8 min. for medium, 4 min. for soft).

4. When timer goes off, remove from heat and pour most of the hot water out and add cold water to eggs. Continue adding cold water until eggs are cool (unless you want them to be warm).

5. Crack, roll on the counter and peel. The shells should slip off easily.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Cleaning the Chicken Coop

for those who care to know.....

First, put on your old clothes, boots, and a bandana around your neck. Throw a scoop shovel and hoe into the bucket of the John Deere and drive over to the coop. Open the door and let all the hens out, pick up the feeders, water buckets, feed sacks and throw them all outdoors. Remove any eggs from nests to a pail to take home later. Pull bandana up around your nose and mouth. Scrape out nests with the hoe and loosen manure and dirt out of all the corners. Grab the scoop shovel and get everything that's loose shoveled out and throw it into the tractor bucket. This is the REAL Shoveling-Out-the-House. Heave it in till the floor is as clean as possible. Sprinkle floor with fresh wood shavings and baking soda. Replace fresh hay in nests. Wash buckets and feeders with soap and water and refill with new feed. Wash windows. If you want to do a deep-cleaning, spray down the walls of the coop with bleach or ammonia in a hose-end sprayer. Allow to dry out before replacing bedding. Repeat three times a year or more according to your standard of cleanliness. Dump the tractor bucket and go home to take a hot shower.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Underneath Are the Everlasting Arms

My Utmost for His Highest
May 24th
"He laid His right hand upon me." In the midst of the awfulness, a touch comes, and you know it is the right hand of Jesus Christ. The right hand not of restraint nor of correction nor of chastisement, but the right hand of the Everlasting Father. Whenever His hand is laid upon you, it is ineffable peace and comfort, the sense that "underneath are the everlasting arms," full of sustaining and comfort and strength. When once His touch comes, nothing at all can cast you into fear again. In the midst of all His ascended glory the Lord Jesus comes to speak to an insignificant disciple, and to say "Fear not." His tenderness is ineffably sweet.
Do I know him like that?

"There is none like the God of Jeshurun,
Who rides the heavens to your help,
And through the skies in His majesty.
The eternal God is a dwelling place,
And underneath are the Everlasting arms..."
~Deuteronomy 33:26, 27
"The Open Gate" picture by Steven Mitchell at

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Good Dogs!



These are my Good Dogs. Ten year old Jessie is a Border Collie/Australian Shepherd cross. She is mother to Sue who is two years old. This breed of dog is great for those of us who ranch because make excellent herders. They primarily like to herd sheep, but since we also have cattle, they'll gladly jump out of the pick-up to chase a few bulls down a fenceline. These good ol' dogs are also handy with a frisbee or a golf ball. They love to play catch with both and probably catch more throws than we do. And just imagine the coordination it takes to catch one in your mouth! I don't even want to try it!

The girls are at attention because one of the boys is about to throw a golf ball for them to fetch, but this is also The Stance when watching a herd of sheep in the pasture or when staring down a bull who doesn't want to move along. Did you notice that Jessie has just half an ear? She was born in the winter and the owners had the litter of pups under a heat lamp in the barn to keep them warm. Jessie had her ear burned in the process, but she hears just fine (when she chooses to). In her old age, she's more choosy about what she hears.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Schwan's Neapolitan
Get some!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

New Raised-Bed Gardens

I've been fighting what we call "creeping jenny" in my very large garden spot and this year I've decided to abandon it and give it a year off to be sprayed and tilled to try to eliminate the weeds. I did plant some potatoes and onions down there and I hope to manage those, but my main focus will be on new raised-bed gardens. My sons built the frames -- 3x10' and I tilled the area where they would set. The extra step of tilling first will be a bonus for drainage and will allow more root room.

We lined each frame with tar paper in hopes that it would repel water away from the boards and therefore preserve the wood a little longer than if we didn't do it. This picture looks down into the frame where I had tilled the soil. I plan to leave grass growing in between the boxes as a walkway.

I filled the boxes with 50-year-old rotted sheep manure, potting soil, and humus. Do you spot the golf bags beyond the raised beds and the bulls too? I plan to fill my gardens with tomatoes, peppers, cukes, carrots, peas and pole beans on the end. Can't wait to get planting!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

Doing our best to be good mothers.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Cows 'n' Calves

Taking cows and calves out to spring pasture.

Old Blue

This is our 1979 Chevy Custom Deluxe. I absolutely LOVE driving this ol' beater around the ranch. I took it out just today with my daughter-in-love to go looking for some prairie flowers out on the gumbo.

This blue wonder was only 3 years old when I first came to the ranch as a young bride. I've lambed sheep in it, hauled bales in it, driven it to town on snowy, gravel roads, and taken kids to the waterhole in it. So many good memories.

There's even a little etching by the window -- two boys' names that I'm well acquainted with. You know, I love it that this is one vehicle you don't have to worry about when you ride in it. You can let the dirty dog ride in front, throw a newborn lamb on the floor, or sit on the seats with wet bathing suits. There's something special about that. Did you notice my handy-dandy window cranks? You oughta here this baby roar!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Prairie Rose for YOU!

Today is "Caring Blogger Rose Day," officially announced by Brit Arnhild. Her thoughts were to give a rose to her readers in appreciation for their comments and encouragement. There are no roses yet blooming on the prairie, but they will soon appear. This picture is of the Wild Prairie Rose which blooms around Father's Day. They are very delicate and beautiful -- something to behold on this sometimes cruel, wild prairie.
To my readers -- Thank you for stopping in. Thank you for your encouraging comments and love. A prairie rose for YOU!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Springtime means robins

Rain shower
Cheer-i-up, cheer-ee, cheer-i-o!
Standing in the sprinkler
with an ear to the ground
eating worm spaghetti
Mouthful of hay
of twine
and string
to build a nest
in the Ash
for me
to see
Red breast
do your best
To hatch a clutch
of turquoise eggs
Cheer-i-up, cheer-ee, cheer-i-o!

~By Gumbo Lily

Robins at
picture by Rod Planck
Labels: Poetry

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Who was here?

Photo 1: Walking home today, I noticed some tracks of a familiar shore bird. Can you guess who these tracks belong to?

Photo 2: Here's another set of prints. Notice the hand-like front foot. Do you see the four prints? Click up the photos for a clearer look.

The answers are:
1. Killdeer
2. Raccoon

Nature Hiking

Today my dog Sue and I went for a hike in search of the white swans that Hubby saw on a stock dam a couple of days ago. We didn't find any swans, but we did find some pretty spring flowers along the way.

This is Wild Parsley. It's named for the parsley-like leaf pattern, but if you take a nibble from the stem of this flower, you'll find it tastes much like parsley or celery. It is one of the very first flowers that blooms in spring on the prairie.

This tiny white flower is Prairie Chickweed.

Golden Pea grows to about 12" and is one of my favorites because it is always blooming in full-force around Mother's Day. My Littles used to pick me bouquets of sweet peas for Mother's Day. (And they still do!)
A prairie full of Golden Peas. You just had to be there to get the full effect.
If you click on any of these pictures, you will get a nice, enlarged view of them.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


No God, no peace.
Know God, know peace.
"Peace I leave with you;
My peace I give to you....."
~John 14:27

Apple-Craisin Oatmeal

It's quick, it's easy, it's even good-for-you!
I heat up enough water for a pot of oatmeal according to directions (or your tastes) and then add an apple or two -- washed, cored, and sliced. Allow the apple to soften a little in the boiling water and then add old-fashioned oatmeal according to directions (I prefer the old-fashioned oats to quick-cooking). Lastly, sprinkle in some craisins, a little cinnamon, and allow it to finish cooking. Serve it up with brown sugar and milk.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Cooking School -- Apple Pie

Last Sunday I hosted "cooking school," as my mom used to say, for my son's girlfriend and the foreign exchange student. What did they want to bake? Apple Pie! Now my son can heartily and confidently sing the old song....
"Yes, she can bake an apple pie,
She's the apple of my eye.
She's a young thing and cannot leave her mother."

Bum Lambs

My kids have always raised bum lambs.

What are bum lambs, you ask?

These are orphan lambs that are bottle-fed. Oftentimes a ewe (female sheep) will die or will not have enough milk to raise her lamb(s) and so the lamb is taken and fed by hand. These are a few of the bum lambs that my son and daughter-in-love are raising this spring. The woolies were born in March and are really getting some bloom on them (healthy growth).

Spring iz Sprung

Spring iz sprung
The grass is riz
I wonder where the flowers iz?
The boid is on the wing.
The wing is on the boid.


In Montana, the flowers iz springing up all over. In my flower beds I have tulips and daffodils and a few little bluebells. The Apple Tree is blossoming! The prairie is springing up with wild parsley, wild onions, star lily, and sagebrush buttercup. Today the weatherman calls for RAIN -- so desparately needed here.
God, please let it rain, please let it rain, please let it rain.......


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