Photo: Great grandparents at their farm in Blandinsville, IL, with five of their six children .. my grandpa was yet a twinkle in grandma's eye. Stable boy and governess also pictured. Hodges farm, circa 1903-4

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Snow Free For Weeks

The land is slowly showing signs of spring. 

Robins have returned ...tom  turkeys are trotting and dancing for their mates
Gobble-gobble.  Look what I spied yesterday out my back door.

 ... rhubarb is emerging and it's nice to have more sunlight each evening.

 Living in the North Woods our winters scrub the landscape turning annuals into mushy pulp, lawn into straw colored mat, puddles and mud holes galore .. and the sight of a dwindling woodpile all are reminders that the seasons march on. 

We've had six family birthdays in six weeks time.   Being a generational family, all living in close proximity to each other, hubby and I treat the entire family to a night eating out to celebrate all the birthdays at once each year .. it's a tradition.  Our youngest son turned eighteen last week.  This week our grandsons have birthdays two days apart. 
Nathan's birthday 'cake' .. his choice.

Living in a four seasons area really makes the approaching seasons longed for ... like experiencing a rainbow (spring), sailing on the high seas (summer),

bundling up smelling smoky campfires (fall),

and sitting by the fire with hot cocoa (winter) each distinct and anticipated.

How are you embracing the changing of the guard?  Or are your seasons not distinct?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

My Last Tidbit

I've just posted my last 'tidbit' over on the Scarf Sister's blog.  I hope to return to regular posts here soon.  Get a tissue if you visit.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Having a Plan ...

Uber busy day.  Baby cakes this AM .. and leaving just past noon to pick up Nathan; he needs an official evaluation for his disability case as he transitions to adult services.  Yesterday .. much the same with stopping in to get him on the 'list' for vocational rehabilitation for when he turns 21 in three years (that's how long it takes to get services at the proper age).  Stopped at the pediatrician's office as well to get his annual physical scheduled before he turns 18 and I'm no longer his parent authority.  That means we are also timing the process of guardianship so when his birthday arrives he's in line for legal services to hear his case before the court so we can obtain legal guardianship.  As a parent you really need to stay on top of this, and timing is everything.  Oh my, prayers appreciated that no major medical event arises between now and the court hearing.  My mind is spinning!   The HIPPA law has certainly confounded being the parent of a handicapped child transitioning into adulthood! 

Saturday, March 08, 2014


I'm posting on the Scarf Sister's blog today.  Forget-Me-Not

Friday, March 07, 2014

Entertaining Spring

We're having a rapid meltdown this week.  The raised garden beds are visible as snow retreats revealing straw covering strawberries, rhubarb and asparagus.  Mucky and yucky!  The house has stayed warm overnight (in the high 60's) without burning much wood.  Hubby has ditched his thermals of late, I did that a month ago ;)

I hear the robins have returned to town.  Not here in the foothills, but soon.

Saturday I plan on planting some seeds indoors for my mini greenhouse. 

Oh my .. and with the time change this weekend, won't it be nice to have sunset and hour later?

Mama moose, spied out my bedroom door recently.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Just Wondering ...

... if I'm the last one on the planet to get a salad/lettuce spinner?
Smallish in size .. salad/lettuce spinner.
I make salad twice a day and need washed and dried lettuce quickly, especially for our son's packed school lunch.  To me these gadgets seemed to be a big space waster.  But after being the recipient of one for my recent birthday, I'm a happy camper!  The model I received can have tap water running through it while the lettuce spins; which really doesn't work that well at actually washing, but it does an awesome job of drying cut/washed lettuce.  Bye-bye wet-soggy salads! 
A quick rinse and the spinner is clean enough to put away.

Changing Shopping Habits

Gone are the days of loading up two carts at sprawlmart or Costco.  Why?  Because we don't buy processed foods in boxes.  Instead, our grocery shopping revolves around a weekly trip to town to buy organic produce .. and a monthly trip to Costco for items such as paper goods, coffee and cheese. 
Garden tomatoes are canned

We also purchase from Azure Standard once a month.  This shipment usually contains organic potatoes, boxed apples, dried beans, popcorn, dried fruit, canning supplies, etc.  Meat, eggs, milk are from local sources that are picked up seasonally (meat) and weekly (milk). 

Once your garden beds are in, the rewards of fresh produce are endless.

At the beginning of the month I work out a budget for cash and non cash items.  Groceries are cash .. the utilities, insurance, etc. are non cash.  I start out with all of my grocery money for the month after the budget is finished.  Cash is put in an envelope and has to last until the next budget.  This method takes a few months to become second nature .. but it does cut down on spur of the moment buys when you know you have a limited amount to spend each month.

Now that the Mr. has retired and we've been living on a budget for the past four years, it's much easier to live on retirement income.  Planning and restraint in spending are necessary to live within one's means.  Maybe the gov. could take some tips from retired seniors, ya think?

If you want to get out of debt and live on a budget, check out Dave Ramsey's website.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

On The Mend

After a day of not feeling well, I'm on the mend; thanks in part of a good immunity.  Last night I made fresh kefir.  Rarely will I take even OTC medication for a cold or flu, instead opting for rest.  My theory is that if you take pain meds, such as ibuprohpen, you start to feel better and tend to not take it easy.  So after a day of rest, probiotic drinks and diffusing essential oils to help keep my nasal passages open, I am feeling 75% better. 

'Recipe' For The Flu!

Have culture, will travel!  I did it!  Neglected my immunity and now I'm sick.  When we travel our packed chuck box looks more like that of a pioneer chuckwagon taking care to bring most comforts of home. 

Cultured buttermilk was packed in our picnic cooler, but one thing I forgot was my nutrient dense kefir!  Kefir is a wonderful probiotic culture that is eons old (long story of history) (short history).  It's similar to yogurt, but much more potent and can keep you 'regular' and build up your immunity.  Studies have found that our immunity begins in our gut

Back to kefir.  Here are what kefir grains look like.

Rather like cottage cheese .. and when rinsed little pieces of cauliflower.  However, it's a mortal sin to rinse your kefir in my humble opinion.   The best place to obtain kefir grains is from a friend that wishes to share.  Or online. They multiply and it's perfectly fine to share about a tablespoon in you have double that amount.

Back to the flu!  On our recent vacation I tried very hard to eat healthy.  It's sometimes difficult when staying at a hotel or when you are a guest.  My sleep pattern was disrupted as well.  Getting proper sleep is right up there with consuming kefir or other cultured foods in my backwoods' doctoring opinion.  I did buy a plain kefir drink at the market, but it was full of unnecessary ingredients, a weak culture and tasted horrible. Dairy free options for kefir are also available, and I went three days without consuming kefir when we returned home.

The last time I endured the flu was in 2009 just prior to changing my family's diet to include organic pastured meats that I buy from local farms, fresh milk .. and soaked grains if we dare consume them.  I may have had one or two colds since then as well.  This is a pretty good five year track record in my opinion and attests to the need for nutrient dense foods and good sleep.

Next time I'll show you the process for making dairy kefir at home.  It's inexpensive once you have your kefir grains and tastes 100% better than store-bought.

So remember, if you're often sick, take the time to nourish yourself and get onto the road of good health .. one bite, sip, nap at a time.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Home On The Range

We found the sun ~ Mt. Shasta, CA
We've just returned from a late winter trip to try and find a slice of warm weather.  Warmer weather we found, including sunshine for two days, then it rained and rained and rained, sleeted, iced over and snowed on the way home.  Over hill and dale, 'round bends .. including BEND, Oregon, whizzing past Crater Lake National Park not able to stop due to foul weather .. only to drive in nine hours of nasty, twisty, turny, white knuckle roads with 18 wheelers flipping over along and cars in ditches.  We had no choice but to drive on s.l.o.w.l.y. as this storm was/is a several day event.  Along the road we saw signs for the Lewis and Clark Trail .. and the Historic Oregon Trail.  In weather like this I was thankful to be seated in a warm 4x4 truck instead of on foot or in a covered wagon.  Brrrrr .. just the thought put a shiver down my spine.  Oh my, won't this be a wonderful trip ... perhaps in the spring or fall .. not winter?
Palouse ... Eastern Washington

Home sweet home at last to a cozy warm lodge with a long driveway in need of plowing.  It's nice to get away, but even nicer to return appreciative and anticipating sleeping in my own bed!

Tomorrow will be spent unpacking and the washing machine will be humming.  I've got sourdough, buttermilk and kefir to reawaken, bread to bake and must get busy with the 2014 garden plans.

There's no place like home .. and sometimes you need to leave home to appreciate all it holds.