Monday, December 31, 2012

A review of 2012 and goals for 2013...

Well, 2012 came and went.  As I have said before I don't make resolutions.  I'm more of a goal setter.  I like to see how I did achieving last years goals then set new ones for the upcoming year.   I hope you enjoy my overview.

My many goals for 2012:

-To have our cabin filled with the laughter of family and friends. We didn't have as much company as last year, but we did host a rollicking game of kickball and some sad sledding.

-Fence my orchard, so the deer stay out.  The ultimate goal is that my berries will flourish and so will the wine and jam.  We have the orchard 2/3 fenced and I had no deer damage this year.  Just 12 more post holes to go. I can't say I did too bad in the jam and wine making portion of life.  I still sulk at the thought of digging post holes.
-Small adjustments to the greenhouse, with salsa at the final result.  It was a great year for the greenhouse.  I did get sidetracked making some very bad tomato sauce, but still managed to make some jars of salsa and added awesome canned vegetables to my repertoire.
-To be able to run 10 miles, in one shot, by 2013.  I'm up to six miles in one shot.  I figure that is ok, because later on (when I got the ice cream maker from my parents for Christmas) I added a goal of gaining 10 pounds.  I gained 6 pounds and can run 6 miles, so if figured I broke even on this one.  To some people that would be a lose/lose, but I'm being optimistic.

-Celebrate my 40th with gusto and appreciate what I have done and have yet to do. I enjoyed my birthday thoroughly.  Age is awesome.  My husband and I also celebrated 18 years of marriage.  I have a good life and look forward to what the future has to offer.
-Teach Ella to roll over.  We didn't achieve this one, but we did take her on her first pheasant hunt, which included taking my nieces on their first pheasant hunt. Ten times better than teaching the dog to roll over. 
-Go snowmobiling with my husband (bravery will be needed for this one). Darn, no snow.  I'm heartbroken to not have met this goal;)
 -Build a peony bed with Kelly.  The bed is built and I got one peony in.  (Mom I need some peonies.)

-Fill our little pond with fish.  Our pond didn't fill up this year due to the drought, so no fish.

-Make a quilt.  I'm making great progress, but figured out that a quilt every two years is a more reachable goal.

-Finish my rose garden. It is exactly how I want it. (Now if I just don't lose any roses over the winter)

-Keep in touch with my blogging friends and continue to keep my little world a place where people want to come and sit on the porch and share in my adventures.  I'm still here and still getting feedback so I'm happy with this one.

 My goals for 2013

-Visit Christina in Denmark for 2 weeks. and see Hamlet in the actual castle, Elsinore.   I am so excited about seeing my friend and touring her country.

-Finish my quilt and start another for my parents.  Since Mom taught me to quilt, perhaps I should make one for her.

-Plant a Christmas tree, with the goal of posting it on December first 2013 loaded with lights.

-Read 10 books.  (Ten is such a nice round number for such things as jogging, weight, and # of books read.) 

-Get a successful harvest from the expanded vegetable beds.
-Focus on salsa and canned vegetables and try making eggplant soup.  (Any recipes sent my way would be appreciated).
-Finish fencing the orchard (I'm going to keep this one up until it is done.  I don't think Dad will hire me fence his cows in.)

 -Run the half marathon on the Mickelson trail in June, then I'm done running.  (I really hate running, but I keep my promises, so 13 miles it is.) 

-Landscape below the fire pit.  I'm leaning towards an alpine rock garden (If I can get my husband to move the rocks with his tractor)

-Continue to enjoy my life.  I have an incredible husband, wonderful family, and great friends.

I say it over and over, but I am a lucky woman.  I have a wonderful life and it is because of everyone I share it with.  Here is wishing you all a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous 2013.  Thank you to everyone who has supported me and my blogging habit.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Winter fun in the snow...

I was pleasantly surprised when my sister called and told me she and the mob were on their way to the hills.  Yes! Sledding! We managed to fit in quite a few things even though it was a quick trip.   

 As you can see, the sled run was not a fast track.  In fact, we could only go a few feet before getting stalled.  We had better luck on the short track by our garage.  Notice one little one got rides both up and down the hill.  The littlest one thought it was way more fun to just walk up and down the hill. 
There is nothing better than homemade apple cider and a game of Jenga after fun in the snow.  
I think they had a good trip.  It was good to see my sister and her family twice in a month.  What a great way to end the year with family fun! 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Twas a Merry Christmas indeed!

I hope everyone had as wonderful a Christmas as I did.   It was a long drive, but worth it.  It is so fun to see the holiday through the eyes of children.  These photos were taken at the Hayes International Airport on my drive home Christmas Day.  I have driven by it for years and finally stopped to get some photos.  It is one of my favorite Christmas displays.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bonnie's Bumble Berry Pie...

In case you haven't noticed, I love berries.   Needless to say, when my husband, in-laws, and I tried bumble berry pie at the Purple Pie Palace in Custer it wasn't a surprise to anyone I created my own version.  I'm getting ready for my trek across the state to my parents and decided to make it and a few other pies. 

First, I dug through the freezer and found my berries, apples and rhubarb.  It was the perfect day to make pies as we had snow flurries all afternoon. 
Bonnie's Bumble Berry Pie
2 c. Saskatoons (blueberries will do)
2 c. Raspberries
2 c. Rhubarb
2 c. Strawberries (I didn't have any, but I don't think anyone will notice)
4 c. Apples (peeled, cored, and sliced)
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
dash of salt
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes

While it was baking, I got a few gifts wrapped and rounded up some things to take home.  Now if I can just remember to load everything. 

Kelly, Ella, and I wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Red Velvet Cake...

As the mean old principal, I feel it is my duty to make birthday cakes for my staff.  With some staff it boils down to whatever I feel like making, but some have specific cakes.  Barb's birthday is a few days before Christmas.  For some reason I have had it in my head that she needs a red velvet cake.  The problem is I have found most red velvet cakes to be somewhat tasteless. Sorry, but that is how I felt, until I found this recipe in the December 2009 Southern Living .  It is my favorite and comes out perfect every time. 

1 package Red Velvet Cake Mix
1 1/4 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. butter
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
Mix and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  Enjoy!
The frosting recipe comes from my Betty Crocker's New Cookbook
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 pkg. Cream Cheese
1/4 c. butter
2 t. milk
1 t. vanilla
4 c. powdered sugar. 
My staff seem to like it, but of course who is going to complain about free cake? 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I love it when a plan comes together...

As I have mentioned on more than one occasion, I quilt for the monotony of it.  I like being focused on lining things up and the repetition calms me.   Picking fabrics has the opposite effect.  I have a hard time looking all the colors and seeing the end result.  I tend to over think pattern combinations and get overwhelmed.  My loving husband comes to my rescue when I start a project.  He is able to find the perfect combinations. This quilt is a great example.  I was so worried that there were too many creams and the circles would get lost.  My husband stayed the course and kept telling me it would be fine.  He was right.  I couldn't wait to piece together these runs.  Lo and behold, there are circles.  If it wasn't for him, I'd probably still be in the fabric store driving the sales people nuts.  Thanks to him I sit in my new quilting nest with the machine humming away, pleased with the results.
  Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years. ~Simone Signoret

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Something old is new again with a quilting nook...

Funny how things can change in 10 years.  When we first built the cabin this corner of the loft was set up for the computer.  Back when computers were huge.  Now I have a little laptop that is wireless.  I can sit on the couch and click away.   

When I started my quilting project this fall, I took the sewing machine from the guest bedroom to the computer table.  There was still a bunch of computer things up there, but not anymore.  I spent the morning rearranging.  I took the unused computer stuff to the basement.  Then I cleaned everything top to bottom.  I brought in some crates for shelving.  Brought up all of my sewing stuff.  Then I added little things from here and there.   I am very happy with the results.

If you look closely above, I can pull the machine forward while I'm sewing and the keyboard table gives me all sorts of room to keep my material.  Below, I can push the machine back and I have plenty of room for cutting. 

The nice thing with this move is if somebody comes to visit (which rarely happens in the winter) I don't have to move all of my sewing stuff out of the guest bedroom.
My little nook is right next to the window.  I get plenty of light and anytime I want I can just look out at that wonderful view.

 All and all, I'm happy with my little weekend project.  It turned an old computer corner into a new quilting nook.   

Friday, November 30, 2012

Wrapping Roses...

I love roses.  But there is a problem, we are in a zone 3.  If I want roses to survive, I need to baby them.  In the fall, I cover the bases with compost and after it freezes I wrap them.  I finally wrapped them a few weeks ago.   My husband took a photo tutorial for me. 

First, you need: Straw, stakes, twine, scissors, and small mesh fencing.  I love my stakes.  They are old door handles on metal stakes.  Easy to push in and easy to pull out. 

Earlier this fall I cut the roses way back and surrounded the bases with rich compost.  Now I take the straw and wrap it around the base, making sure the straw is between the fence and the rose.

Then I tie the cages shut, tie them to the stake, and finish filling them with straw. 

It doesn't look like it is going to be a real cold winter, but better safe than sorry. 
I always feel better knowing my roses are tucked in for the winter.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Oh the possibilities...

 Last year my husband shot a moose in Alberta, Canada.  A year later we are still eating moose meat.   Also a year later we got the hide back.  Yippee.  It is amazing.
 I am extremely excited about the potential for this beautiful piece of leather.  If you see the little triangles, they are used by the tanner to identify the taxidermist that sent the hide to them.  The top is smooth and you can see from the photo below the back is rough.
If you are wondering what my plan is.  the possibilities are endless.  The photo below from the Prairie Edge website looks like the direction we are heading.  I want the hide to tell a story.  I am going to do a lot of research before I start this endeavor.
Buffalo Hunt Robe By Mike McLeod
 You probably won't see an update on this project for awhile.  I have a quilt I am determined to finish.  I also want to make sure the plan is perfect before I start painting it.  Don't worry I will keep you posted on its progress.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Going going gone...

Well, it wasn't my best turkey, but we made it through Thanksgiving.   It was a nice day.  The turkeys again surrounded the house oblivious to what was being eaten inside.
You would have thought it was the Fourth of July for the light show at sunset.  I can't remember seeing more beautiful colors and the clouds constantly changing.  It was amazing.  My mom said it was the same at home and that my sister also took some photos.

The day is now over.  The turkey, stuffing, and pie has been eaten and leftovers pilfered.  Bellies are full and the day was wonderful.

It seems like the older I get the faster time goes.  Now comes Christmas, then spring:)  Ok, probably not that fast.  I hope everyone had a great day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I am thankful for...

I am thankful for:
My husband.  He love me, supports me, spoils me, sees the good in me, and makes me so very happy.  He is my best friend.
My parents.  They taught me to work hard and to be responsible. 
My in-laws.  They welcomed me into their home and treat me like one of their own. 
My sister and her husband.  They taught me not to be terrified of little kids and that a home can be filled with laughter and love.
My brother.  For teaching me the true meaning of sacrificing for your country.  I will never look at a veteran the same again.
My older sister.  She taught me that everything, no matter what, happens for a reason.
My Grandmother Hyde.  Happy Birthday!  Thanks for giving me for baking advice and for teaching me the importance of history. 
My Grandma Gregg.  (I so miss you) She taught me that a great teacher only sees the good in her children (students).  That is the greatest gift a teacher can give.
My Grandpa Gregg.  (I miss you also) That life is to be enjoyed.  I wish I had the twinkle in my eye that you did. 
My Aunt Bonnie.  To be named after someone is a great thing.   I have never once heard my Aunt Bonnie complain or speak poorly of another.  That is amazing to me.  
My students.  No job could be as rewarding.  They teach me that one can overcome all obstacles set before them.  I am so thankful they come into my life.  Each one has left a mark.   
My friends Jody, Christina, and Heather.  We don't see each other often, but my life is better because they are there.
The people I have met blogging.  You have taught me things, changed my mind, made me think about 'stuff' and taken me places I would never have gone on my own. 
I am also thankful for the people that have passed through my life.  I was told once by a mentor to learn something from everyone you meet.  I have tried very hard to live by that rule. 
There you are.  My list of thankfuls.  I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving.  Enjoy your life and the people in it.  Everyone has something to give.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Deer love pumpkins...

In case you didn't know it, deer love pumpkins.  I now make it a point to put my pumpkins out for them when I take down my fall displays.  I was ready with the camera today and got some shots of this little spike enjoying his pre-Thanksgiving treat...

 He must have liked it the way he is licking his lips.   
I hope you enjoy the photos as much as he enjoyed the pumpkin. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Visitors and visiting...

We have had lots of visitors with the cold weather.  This Merlin Hawk was trying to cut down on my chipmunk population.  

The doe below is babysitting all of the neighborhood fawns.  She has been around for years and is the matriarch of the area. 

I count my blessings that I can just look out the window and watch the local wildlife.  It is better than any TV show.

I was perusing The Rural Journal's Rural Thursday's postings.  I appreciate that Nancy hosts these blog memes.  Today I was especially appreciative, because I read this beautiful post done by Thistle Cove Farm.  Please, take a moment to visit this blog.  It is a beautiful story.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

What was I doing?

Well, 40 isn't all it was cracked up to be.  I went deer hunting this weekend, but forgot to take my bullets:)  I'm blaming it on memory loss due to age.  My loving husband didn't point out that he reminded me to pack shells the night before, he just invited me to hunt with him.  Despite freezing temperatures we had fun watching the action.  Deer love was in the very cold air.  I didn't get any photos, due to freezing rain.  I did remember the camera. 

Today it was just too cold and windy to go out, so we stayed home.  I continued to work on my quilt and racked all of my wines.  I currently have buffalo berry, chokecherry, crab apple, hard cider, and raspberry in the works.  I don't just make wine, I also drink it and had a small bottle of Rowdy Rhubarb tonight.  Very nice.   If you are wondering what the little bird and bee pincushion are doing in the photo above, they were birthday gifts from my sister.   They are just cute and I love them.

I haven't been posting very often lately.  Mainly because the sun is down before I get home.  It is very cold here 3 degrees was the low today and 14 was the high.  I wanted to wrap my roses and cover my flower beds, but just couldn't bring myself to go outside. 

I want to say thank you to the American Veterans out there.  My brother served in Iraq and the cost was immense to him and my family.  More than we could have ever imagined.  I hope that returning veterans never go through the pain we have endured.  Freedom is not free and I appreciate the sacrifice made by every man and woman in the military.  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

apple cider...

I was inspired by one of my relatives and longtime neighbor of my parents, Judy, for this next project.  She has a wonderful orchard and is known for her apple juice.  When I had a chance to buy a basket of apples, I jumped on it with thoughts of apple juice and hard cider in my head.

With Judy's guidance and advice I started the project yesterday. I sliced and cored 4 quarts of apples. I boiled 4 quarts of water with 4 teaspoons of Cream of Tarter. I mixed them all together and let it set for 24 hours. I chopped up the apple cores and gave them to the worms.
Twenty four hours later I looked at what I had.  I boiled the apples in the water they sat in.  Then I pureed the apples.  I poured the water and puree through a strainer.  Then reboiled the juice adding 3/4 cup of brown sugar, 1 t. of cinnamon, 1/2 t. nutmeg, and 1/2 t. of cloves per gallon of cider. 

One gallon is going to become hard cider and the other gallon was canned in quart jars for those cold winter days.
While I was waiting for things to set and boil, I worked on finishing up the blocks for my quilt.  I have 4 more blocks to make and then I'm on to the next phase.

I taste tested the cider and it turned out perfectly. I don't think I would have been brave enough to try this endeavor if I didn't have Judy as support. It was fun and I can't wait for company this winter.

I haven't figured out what to do about uploading photos, but this time it let me.