Saturday, June 30, 2007

Of Ice Cubes and Popsicles

It's almost July (three hours and counting) and it's getting HOT (mid 90's each day here). Is there anything more refreshing than a tall glass of cold icy water with a couple slices of lemon squeezed in and filled to the top with crystal clear ice? Can't you just see the glass sweating and frosting up? MMMMmmm. As you go to the freezer to grab a handful of cubes to plunk into your glass, you find............. a bunch of empty ice trays and no ice in the box. Grrrrrrr!

I have been officially dubbed the Ice Fairy. Why? Because I am the one who willingly, kindly cracks out all the ice cube trays and refills them so there is usually a nice, full box of fresh ice daily. However, even an Ice Fairy gets busy now and then (or forgets that hot July is waiting in the wings). I'm trying not to be crabby about my little fairy job. I think I needed this little hot spell so I would be reminded of my calling once again.

Another fairy job I have is to make popsicles. I have some really cool rocket popsicle molds that I love to use. The brand name is Tovolo and I found them on Amazon. I fill them with anything and everything. Sometimes it's left-over orange juice or grape juice. Somtimes I like to make a batch of fruit smoothy and pour it into the molds. Of course, there's good old Kool-aid and lemonade too. I've heard that jello makes a good popsicle, but my favorite is pudding. Make some instant chocolate pudding and pour it into the molds. They turn out kind of like a fudgsicle. YUM!

I grew up on popsicles. My mom used to send a dime with us when we went swimming at the pool -- a great outdoor pool with a bouncy diving board. My friends and I became brown as berries swimming every single day. At break, we went to the Little Store (that's what we called it) and bought a popsicle with out dime. Do you remember banana and blue raspberry and lime pops?

Here's a bit of POPSICLE History for you........

Invented accidently by 11 year old Frank Epperson in 1905, they were originally called Epsicles! It would be 18 years before he realized that there were commercial possibilities, and in 1923 he applied for a patent, which was granted in 1924. His kids would ask for pop's 'sicles', and so the name Popsicle was born. Epperson also created the twin popsicle, the Fudgsicle, the Dreamsicle and the Creamsicle. Popsicle sticks are made from birch wood.
The Twin Popsicle was invented during the Great Depression so 2 could share one for a nickel.
Good Humor owns the rights to the popsicle, and according to the company, 1.4 billion sticks were used to make Popsicle products - that is more than 9 million miles of sticks! (2001)

Got a popsicle recipe to share?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Simply Potatoes

Oven Fries..... Simple to make, simple to eat.

5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (our fav but you can use other kinds)
figure at least one potato per person
Olive oil
Montreal Grill Seasoning (or any other seasoning you like)

Slice clean potatoes (skins on) into wedges. I figure on slicing each potato into 6 wedges or so, depending on how large and thick the potatoes are. I do not fuss much about this, but make rustic wedges. Cover a cookie sheet with foil, add potatoes on top and then drizzle them with olive oil (approx. 3 T. or so). Now toss the potatoes in the oil until they are slathered in it. Set wedges on their skin edge so they are tipped up like little sail boats. Now sprinkle with your seasoning. We like Montreal Grill Seasoning, but you could use Italian seasoning, Lawrys, Mrs. Dash, lemon pepper, paprika, garlic, chili powder or a combination. Now slide the potatoes into a 425* F oven for about 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve plain-o or with ketchup, ranch dressing, sour cream or any kind of dip you like. We're having our Oven Fries with chipotle burgers on the grill and fresh garden greens on the side. Simple food is good food.

Poor by Pouring

"'Having nothing....'
Never reserve anything. Pour out the best you have, and always be poor. Never be diplomatic and careful about the treasure God gives. This is poverty triumphant."
~Oswald Chambers
My Utmost for His Highest .... June 26

"This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood."


Luke 22:20

Picture: "Pitcher Girl" by Victor Thirion

Pretty Everyday Journals

Above photos courtesty of "Eyes of Wonder" blog.

Jewels, from Eyes of Wonder, inspired me to make a pretty Everyday Journal from a simple blank journal and my favorite pictures and quotes from magazines and catalogs. This is really a very simple thing to do, and it's fun! Here is a link to Jewel's page where she tells us exactly how she embellishes her journals. There you will find pictures to encourage and inspire you! And here is another article with more pictures and ideas.

After reading Jewel's articles, I jazzed-up my own journal which is 5.5 x 8.5". Jewels recommends a blank, hard-cover sketchbook, which I can see would be a much nicer size to use and would allow more space for writing or pictures, depending on your preferences. The open white space becomes a nice backdrop for the pictures and for your writing.

So now, for a few pictures from my journal. Mind you, my journal was not blank, but has colored pages. It gives you the gist of the project.

Did you notice that I flipped ahead in my journal to October and November and decorated some pages? I think you could do an entire sketchbook and give it as a gift or do as Jewel did and give a Kit -- a basket or bag with all the goodies needed to make-your-own embellished Everyday Journal .

It's such a pleasure to flip to the next page and see a bright and beautiful page to write upon. However, if you did this day-by-day, you could add quotes or pictures or magazine clippings that had meaning for you in that particular day. Whatever you do, enjoy playing with your scissors, glue, pens, and pictures. I did! Thanks Jewels, for the inspiration!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sunday Treat -- Rhubarb Dumplings

There's still rhubarb out in the backyard, so I aim to use it up! Here's a family favorite --Rhubarb Dumplings. We often call them Rhubarb Rolls because they're a little bit
like a cinnamon roll.

This recipe was clipped from an old issue of Country Woman Magazine
and the cook was Elsie Shell of Topeka Indiana.
Elsie, if you're out there, my family thanks you from the bottom of their bellies!

Rhubarb Dumplings


1 1/2 c. sugar

1 T. flour

1/2 t. ground cinnamon

1/4 t. salt

1 1/4 c. water

1/3 c. butter

1 t. vanilla

red food coloring (opt.)

In a saucepan, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Stir in water; add butter. Bring to a boil; cook and stir one minute. Remove from heat and add vanilla and red food coloring.


2 c. flour

2 T. sugar

2 t. baking powder

1/4 t. salt

2 1/2 T. butter

3/4 c. milk

Cut in flour into dry ingredients and add milk. Do not over-mix. This is a type of biscuit so you want that consistancy. Gather dough into a ball and roll out on a floured surface into a 12x9" rectange. Spread over dough with:

2 T. softened butter

Sprinkle with:

2 c. finely chopped rhubarb

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 t. ground cinnamon

Roll up the dough with filling into a long log. Cut into 12 even pieces and place in a greased 9x13" baking pan. Pour sauce over top. Bake at 350* F for about 40 min. or until golden brown.

My recommendation is to serve warm with vanilla ice cream and a cuppa hot coffee.

A good friend sent me this little "Did You Know" about Rhubarb......

"A good dictionary will tell you tht rhubarb means a loud dispute or a noisy argument that may be a prelude to a fight. But the book won't give any hint as to why the name of a vegetable with edible stalks is attached to a squabble.

This usage arose from a common practice of stage and movie directors --- Simultaneous shouting of 'Rhubarb! Rhubarb!' by numerous extras in a crowd scene creates an impression of angry chaos. Actors who participated in mob scenes adopted the shouted word to name a loud fracas."

~From: Why You Say It - The fascinating Stories Behind Over 600 Everyday Words & Phrases by Webb Garrison

John Deere Model A

Number 1 Son refurbished this old tractor several years ago as a teenage boy. It's a John Deere Model A. We still use it for disking the Big Garden and for disking shelter belt trees. I just thought you might enjoy seeing a picture of our Oldy-But-Goody. Today he disked the weedy part of the Big Garden. I gave it up for the summer, but it still needs an occasional disc-through.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ice Cream Cake

We just celebrated our middle son's 19th birthday, and by request, I made him his all-time favorite birthday cake -- chip & mint ice cream. This is such an easy "cake" to make and it really is a nice summer treat. Here's how I do it........

Step 1: Grease a spring form pan and add crushed Oreo cookies to the bottom. Press to the edges.

Step 2: Run under warm water, a pail of ice cream, for about one minute or until the ice cream easily slips out of the container. Place ice cream on a piece of waxed paper.

Step 3: Tip ice cream on it's side and slice into chunks. Then put these chunks into the spring form pan, pressing ice cream in until it fills up the pan. You can do a thin layer of ice cream, add toppings like caramel, nuts, fudge, fruit, etc., and then add another layer of ice cream on top of that. There are no rules for this cake.

I filled this pan up with the ice cream only and then......

Step 4: Topped it with Hershey's Chocolate syrup and more crushed Oreos. You can add any topping or nuts or fruits you like at this stage. Now toss it into the freezer with a bit of waxed paper over the top. The final stage doesn't happen until you're ready to serve the cake.

Step 5: Lastly, just before serving, take the ice cream cake out of the freezer. Two of us put our warm hands on the spring form pan to thaw the edges. Release from the pan and put it on a cake plate. Now the fun part.......frosting it! Spray whipped cream all over the top and then add any colorful toppings you like. We added mini-M&M's to this cake. Isn't it pretty? To cut the cake, take a long, sharp knife to the table along with a glass of warm water to dip the knife in in-between slices.
Dig In!

Song for June

Allium (summer blooming)

Song for June

Summer is not the golden blaze of sun,
Nor lilac dark along the country lane,
Nor opal morning where the cool brooks run,
Nor velvet midnight laced with sudden rain.
Neither is summer the unfolding rose,
The frosty blue of berries ripening,
Nor tawny silken tassels down the rows
Where the tall corn makes dusty whispering.

These are but part of summer, not her heart,
Not the deep marrow that sustains the bone,
Investiture, yet from the whole apart,
For more than these is summer's self alone.

Summer is in your eyes that look on me
With sweet fulfillment of spring ecstasy.

~Gladys Taber

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Good Beginning....

It's been on my To-Do List --painting this granary and chicken coop. It's been on my list for over a year, but now I can gladly say, it has begun. My daughter-in-love and I power washed the buildings to remove the loose paint, and now it's time to start painting. We decided on barn-red for a color with white trim. I think it'll look very nostalgic and charming, even if they are just a couple of old, worn-out buildings.
Here's the Before.

And here's the Good Beginning.
I have other chores to do today, but I thought if I could just get a good start this morning, it would energize me to carry on with it. I'll have more help in the days to come and so I don't think this will be too difficult to complete. Sometimes though, you just need to get started.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


This is my ride -- "Pete."

I'm taking off across the prairie to find my sons and the cows and calves that they are bringing home.

We pass a buck antelope along the way.
He wasn't bothered by us at all.

And this building and corrals are called "The Shearing Pens" because years ago, before I came to the ranch, this is where the sheep were sheared each year.
We still use the corrals for working sheep.

Pete and I catch up with the boys and the cows and help take them home. Way off in the distance to the right, you can see our buildings.

The cows are hot and tired and really don't want to go any further, but we push onward.
Today, the cattle are getting insecticide and will be sorted. We'll have a cull bunch and another bunch that we will breed in a few weeks.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Basketball Hoops and Parachutes.....

Since it's Father's Day,
I couldn't resist adding this picture
of the Old Cottonwood Tree at the Tree Fort.
Our sons and daughter built and played here.
They even asked Old Mrs. Cottonwood
if they could play basketball beneath her limbs
and she said, "Yes."
(Did she know they were going to nail a rim onto her trunk?)

Eastern Cottonwood Tree
(Populus deltoides)
A very stout, water-loving tree that is sometimes found on the prairie near creeks or ponds.
She can grow from 80-100 feet tall with a girth of 4-5 feet;
she has perfect heart-shaped leaves with serrated edges.
It's Cotton Time when the lady trees let loose their cottony billows from strands of pearls.
Floating through the air, these little seeds are searching for a nice, wet place to set down roots and sprout into grand trees themselves.

Western Salsify
(Tragopogon dubius)
About 2 inches across, borne on single stems that are 1-3 feet tall.
Grows on dry prairie (and in my flower gardens).
The milky juice in the stems was used by Indians as a remedy for indigestion.

Who can resist Salsify's giant puffball seedhead?
It makes a dandelion look like a Sissy!
Another name for this plant is "Goatsbeard."
My children and I prefer this name, can you imagine why not?


......and you thought we humans invented them!

(click on picture to get a closer view of the parachutes)

"While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
And cold and heat,
And summer and winter,
And day and night
Shall not cease."
~Genesis 8:22

Friday, June 15, 2007

Raised Bed Veg Gardens (cont.)

I've had such fun (really!) gardening this year. I hardly break a sweat anymore. No hoeing and hacking and dragging around hose. The project began when I went down to the Big Garden to plant potatoes and onions. I realized that the garden spot was infested with creeping jenny (bindweed) and that there was no hope of me keeping up with it. So......I was rescued from my garden dilema by my teenaged sons who built me two 3x10' raised bed frames. You can read about its beginnings here.
Front: tomatoes & marigolds Back: lettuce, kale, radish, carrot throughout.

Now look at my pretty veggie beds! Today I set the wire trellis for the pole beans and snow peas to climb. I also staked my tomato plants with dead branches from my willow trees. This garden fairy is delighted!

Front: pole beans, cabbage, bush beans, zucchini. Middle: snow peas End: peppers, cukes.Carrots are sprinkled through most of the gardens.

How about a tub o' onions? I decided to use some of my flower garden spaces to grow veggies too. This whiskey barrel sits in a bed of purple petuntias with more onions growing here and there among them. I sprinkled some red poppy seeds in the barrel with the onions in hopes that they add a little pop of color and interest later on. Poppy seeds are also sprinkled in the flower bed. When it's looking fabulous, I'll take another picture.

Patio Project Complete

From beginning.........

To completion.......

It's done! (with a go-kart parked on it!)

Can ya hear the rumble?

The sun's going down, but there's enough daylight for a few windrows. You know the old slogan, "Make hay while the sun shines"? We take that literally here. We're in the season of Making Hay. The men have the machinery purring, the gears are greased, the tanks are full, the sickle is set. It's time to RUMBLE! Haying begins! Let the cutter bar slide!

Look at that beautiful, green, mowed hay! The smell! Mmmmm.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

View from a Saddle

My family and I gathered up a small bunch of cows and calves this evening from the pasture. It was so much fun to ride through tall, green grass again. It's been a long time coming. I remember doing this same ride a couple of years ago in tears -- it was so dry, there was no grass with dust boiling up behind the cows.

This is Prickly Pear Cactus in bloom. It's a beautiful rose-type blossom. The grass is so tall, it hides them from view until you're right on top of them.

Pillow Slip

I took a quick browse through the thrift store yesterday and made a bee-line directly to the linens. I found this pair of pillow slips bundled tightly in clear mailing tape so I couldn't un-do them to see if they were plain or embroidered. I knew the quality was good by the feel of the fabric so I took a chance and bought them for a mere $1.85. When I got them home, I unwrapped them and was thrilled at the design. White-on-white embroidery. At first I thought of doing a little silk ribbon embroidery on them in soft pastels, but I think that it would spoil the simplicity of the design. I'll have to find some plain pillow slips for the ribbon embroidery another time.
Do any of you call pillow cases "pillow slips?" I think it's an old-fashioned word -- one that my mother-in-law and grandmas used. I like to use it too.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

All Creatures Great and Small

A dewy morning revealed this translucent spider's web in my window.

All things bright and beautiful

All creatures, great and small

All things wise and wonderful

The Lord God made them all.

He gave us eyes to see them

And lips that we might tell

How great is God Almighty

Who has made all things well!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sunday Flowering Beauties

All flesh is like grass,
and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers,
the flower fades,
when the breath of the Lord blows upon it.
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God
stands forever.

~Isaiah 40:6-8

The prairie rose.
I promised you it would be blooming by Father's Day.

Columbine humbly bows her head.

Blue Penstemon. A praire wildflower.

Another penstemon. She's giving us her beautiful profile.

I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania some time of the night,
Lull'd in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the snake throws her enamell'd skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in.

~William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream

Saturday, June 09, 2007

A Baking

When life gives you rotten bananas, make banana bread!

Fresh out of the pan!

Wheat bread made with molasses and some rye.

Please pass the butter!


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