Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wildflowers in winter..........wildflower poster envy.....

As I was clicking around to the bloggers who are participating in Wildflowers in Winter, I found Barb at from The Heart of Harmony who shared her Sierra Nevada wildflower posters which were beautifully framed and displayed for her family's enjoyement and use. I thought she had such a wonderful idea, especially for those of us who are nature enthusiasts, that I had to borrow her idea (aka: wildflower poster envy). I have been scouring the web and the state parks websites trying to find wildflower posters that depict my northern prairie, but to no avail until today! The Iowa Living Roadway Trust Fund has some beautiful FREE posters that they are giving away to those who will use them for education -- that's sweet singing in the ears of a home schooling mom like me! Although I don't live in Iowa, I know that its prairie wildflowers are very similar to mine. The posters are not only scientifically well-done, but artistically as well. The order form for these posters is not yet available, but will be soon, however, persistant as I am, I clicked "contact" and emailed them my request. We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Wildflowers in winter.....

In keeping with the theme of week 6 in Wildflowers in Winter, Elizabeth Joy asked us to include "art" from our nature journals. So today, I'm including a few pictures from my own nature journals. I don't always consider them as "art," but rather, sketches or rough interpretations of what I see. They represent the passing of days and seasons of my life and how I reflected upon them. May these pages encourage you to go forward and keep your own nature journals, no matter how rough around the edges they may be. In the coming years, they will turn into priceless treasures.

If you would like more information on how to keep a nature journal for yourself or with your children, I have some webpages up that explain how we observed and recorded nature in our own home school. Examples of nature journal pages can be found here. One of my favorite books on the subject is: Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You by Clare Walker Leslie and Charles E. Roth.

Picture by Richard Earl Thompson

Nature study cultivates in the child a love of the beautiful; it brings to him early a perception of color, form, and music. He sees whatever there is in his environment, whether it be the thunder-head piled up in the western sky, or the golden flash of the oriole in the elm; whether it be the purple of the shadows on the snow, or the azure glint on the wing of the little butterfly. Also, what there is of sound, he hears; he reads the music score of the bird orchestra, separating each part and knowing which bird sings it. And the patter of the rain, the gurgle of the brook, the sighing of the wind in the pine, he notes and loves and becomes enriched thereby. But more than all, nature study gives the child a sense of companionship with life out-of-doors and an abiding love of nature.

~Anna Botsford Comstock, Handbook of Nature Study

Monday, February 25, 2008

Wildflowers in winter.....

This week's feature in Wildflowers in Winter is to share wildflowers in art. My friend Debbie gave me this beautiful print of Alaskan Forget-Me-Nots by Sandra Greba, a local artist there in Alaska. Her botanicals are rich and accurate and a pleasure for winter-worn eyes. What a thrill to receive such a beautiful watercolor print and one of my favorite wildflowers to boot! I hope you'll search this site where you'll find many of Sandra Greba's watercolor wildflowers. You'll find a few birds there too.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Yep, it's that time of year again......

Snow's melting.......

A fresh, new calf is born......

Reliable hens are making breakfast.......

Colorful, aren't they?

It's dinnertime!

This was the sweet pea that I found this early morning......

Six new babies were born here today.

Ancestry of Cows
Lady is Sally's calf
and Skyline, Sally's mother.
From there, Anything, then Spot--
geneology of cows
repeated to describe a temperment
as if decades on a place
means identity.
When Lucy kicks the hired hand
across the barn
a farmer can only say,
no wonder, considering her mother
and her grandmother--
Lucy's short for Lucifer --
it's in the blood.
Most people see nothing
from the ground up,
but old farmers can repeat
a milk cow's pedigree
like words to a favorite jingle,
what's lacking nowadays, they say,
is that kind of continuity.

~Anita Tanner

From the book....
(women write from the heart of the west)

By the way.....we're ranchers, not farmers.
And we raise Herefords, not milk cows,
but the ancestry is all the same.
S. named his new bull calf "Malibu."
I asked why, and he said it's the car he's buying.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


I've been playing in the sewing room, experimenting with various tutorials on making tote bags. I practiced with the fabrics I had on hand and I came up with these. The black & white one is made of 1970's twill from my MIL's stash. I made it according to the tutorial here. The other totes were enlarged versions of the same tutorial.

The lime bag above was made using a kitchen towel for the outside of the bag with coordinating lining from MIL's stash.

Another tote made with a peach kitchen towel and daisy searsucker lining. All have inner pockets and are reversible. This was fun! DD took the lime bag, but I wonder if she'll want to trade it in for the peach one when she sees it?

Practice makes........ better!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wildflowers In Winter -- Stitched creations......

Wildflowers in Winter, week 5, asks us to share stitched wildflowers.....creations made with favorite textiles: fabric, yarn, thread. I chose..........

Flower pounding.

It sounds like such a cruel thing to do to an innocent posy.
Why would anyone do such a thing?

Here's why........

A dear friend, who knew my love of nature and flowers, introduced me to a book called The Art And Craft of Pounding Flowers by Laura C. Martin. Just think of the possibilities: wall quilts, pillows, silk ties, wool scarves, silk blouses, widow valances, lamp shades, flower tiles, flower fairy books -- all beautifully made by pounding flowers. You'll find all of these projects and more in this excellent book. This little piece (above) was pounded 2 years ago at the picnic table in my backyard. I smashed sunflowers, larkspur and geraniums into this piece of treated muslin. It's still waiting for some finishing touches.

This piece I pounded while in California with my friend, J. One of the flowers was Mexican Heather and there were some vari-colored Coleus, and some other flowers that I was not familiar with. During this time I was trying out some new embroidery stitches and I had lots of fun outlining and interpreting the leaves and flowers with needle and floss. These flowers hang in our bedroom on my side of the bed. I love waking up to them each morning.
(click photos to enlarge them)

Happy Valentine's Day......

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wildflowers in Winter -- Inspirational flip book.....

In celebration of Wildflowers In Winter, I'm sharing wildflowers in my home with an inspirational flip book made with pressed wildflowers. It was a gift, made especially for me by a dear girlfriend. I keep it on my dresser so I see it each morning when I rise. It reminds me of God's love and beauty every day. My friend's sweet gift inspired me to make some flip books from my own wildflower pressings.
A perfect gift......wildflowers and God's Word.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Browned Beef Stock

I like to make homemade soups and since the folks I live with have been feeling a bit "under the weather," I decided it was time to make a Beef Stock. This recipe is one I've used for years and it comes from the cookbook, Hearth and Home by Karey Swan. I do believe this book is now OOP (out of print) but if you find a copy, grab it. It's one of those family-style cookbooks with lots of "good for you" recipes and additional personal notes that give us a glimpse of the Swan family. Without further ado, I give you Karey's beef stock recipe to try at your house.

Browned Beef Stock

In a large stockpot place:

6 pounds of beef soup bones (neck, shin, shank, or marrow bones)
1 large onion, sliced
2 medium carrots, cut up

Place these in a 450* oven and let brown evenly for about 30 minutes or till well-browned, turning occasionally with tongs. (I put a little olive oil in the pot first to prevent sticking)

Now on stovetop burner add:

3 stalks celery with leaves, cut up
1 large tomato, cut up (opt)
8 whole black peppercorns
4 sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf
1 T. salt
12 c. cold water

Bring it all to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 4-5 hours. Remove beef bones/meat and strain stock.


Tonight for supper.........

I took half of my beef stock (and froze the other half) added in the beef, some extra onion, garlic, dried basil, a quart of home-canned tomatoes (canned is fine too), and brought this to a boil. Then I added a pound of Trader Joe's dried mini-ravioli (cheese) and cooked it in the broth according to the package directions. Lastly, I added a can of white beans, S&P to taste, and some parsley before serving. At the table we passed mozerella cheese to sprinkle on top of each bowl of soup. This was cheered by all and deemed a "Do Again."
(I love it when this happens)

P.S. We do not have a Trader Joe's around here, but I brought a few things back home with me from Arizona. I LOVE that store! Also, if you don't have time to make homemade beef stock, you could make this soup with canned stock and still have a wonderful soup. It can be changed up in a number of ways according to your tastes and preferences. This is how I cook -- use what you have and experiment.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Red velvet cupcakes.....

.....with cream cheese frosting.......
Come 'n' get it!

Elise at Simply Recipes featured this lovely cupcake recipe and I just couldn't resist trying it out.

I made a few changes (I know, but I can't help it!).....

*doubled the cocoa
*added almond extract and the originally prescribed vanilla extract to both the cupcakes and frosting
*baked them for only 16 minutes

I used a ziplock sandwich bag (clip a corner with scissors) to pipe the frosting in a swirl.
This method works great for squirting some in your mouth OR for
squirting a blob on each bite you take! Ah yesssssss!

These should make a pretty plate for the Valentine's Day Tea Party next week too, dontcha think?

Thanks Elise!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

O the green things growing.....

Wildflowers in winter.... stories or poetry about wildflowers.

This time of year I get a little restless and wish for something green and flowering. There's nothing outdoors now but brown grass and a few drifts of snow here and there and it's far too cold for anything but lichens to be growing.

So to fulfill a desire for something green and flowery, I went to my local Stuff Mart and bought a couple boxes of paperwhite bulbs and planted them into terra cotta. Is there anything so wonderful as a bloom in February.....even if it is indoors? I should plant another batch to be in bloom for Easter!

Another way you might want to enjoy a little nature amidst the winter is to grab a good book. Gene Stratton-Porter is one of my all-time favorite authors. Not only is she an excellent story-teller, but she vividly and deliberately flavors her books with her love of wildflowers, birds, and anything-nature. If you're a nature lover like me, you'll fall in love with this author.

O the green things growing,
the green things growing,
The faint sweet smell of the green things growing!
~Dinah Mulock Craik


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...