Sunday, January 26, 2020

Four falling feathers...

A busy, but pretty quiet weekend.  My husband worked in his barn.  He is partitioning off a portion for a woodshop.  Meanwhile, I cleaned house and worked on my quilt.  I have four feathers on and two left.  I'm super happy with my progress.  
Winter definitely seems to go a little faster with a project or two in the mix.  I probably won't be saying that by March, but I'll hold onto that philosophy for now. What are you doing to keep busy?

Sunday, January 19, 2020

A busy week...

 So far I am enjoying winter.  I've been working on my quilt, beading earrings, making wine, baking cookies, enjoying the outdoors, and working out.  This week I was elated about the chance to spend time with my parents, sister, and her family.  I got to see the older girls play basketball, help the younger girls with their homework, and we all worked on a puzzle together.  The puzzle was finished tonight without me, but they sent a picture.  My nephew was adamant it looks like our cabin.  I got home for the weekend and was lucky enough to enjoy a glass of wine, cozy on the couch, with the dog.

 My brother made this wonderful tray and it works perfectly for my beading projects.  I love the juxtaposition of colors and textures in the photo above.  I'm finishing a feather a week on the quilt, so progress is good on that front.   

I rewarded myself today with a hot yoga class.  I've been watching on-line yoga videos for guidance every night, six days a week for three months and am amazed with the results.  A friend of mine teaches a Bikram yoga class in Spearfish.  Bikram yoga is done in a heated room at 105 degree temperatures.   I love sweat lodges and saunas, so Bikram yoga was right up my alley.  It was my first official yoga class and I was super excited.  It did not disappoint.  Afterwards, I enjoyed coffee with a few friends.

I was also pleased because I tried a homemade electrolyte drink for my yoga class and it was excellent.  I took 2 1/2 c. Water, 1/3 c. Lemon juice, 2 t. Honey, and 1/4 t. Salt.  I highly recommend it.  There is no sugar, it tastes good, and I felt great after drinking it.
I made my husband's all time favorite cookies, white chocolate chip cookies.

2 1/4 c. Flour
2/3 c. Cocoa
1 t. Baking soda
1/4 t. Salt
1 c. Soft butter
3/4 c.  Sugar
2/3 c. Brown sugar
1 t. Vanilla
2 Eggs
1 1/2 c. White chocolate chips

Mix together and drop by tablespoon on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes at 350 Degrees or 325 degrees at high altitudes.  

It has been a great weekend.  Tomorrow my huband and I are going on an adventure.  That should make the weekend perfect.

My husband felt bad for the deer around the cabin, so he got them a couple of alfalfa bales.  They must have told every deer in the tri-state area, because we went from 10 deer to 21.  Holy moly.
Well, that is all I know. What a great week.  Time with family, friends, exercise, projects, baking, and relaxation.  Life is good and I am thankful.  Who did you spend time with this week?  What projects did you work on?  Did you exercise?  Did you bake anything?  I can't wait to hear about your adventures.

Sunday, January 12, 2020


Thankful.   That is my word for 2020.  Last Friday I held a retirement party for a very good friend.  The picture above is the group of people that were at Boxelder Job Corps when I started.   I have learned something from every single person in this picture.  They are all friends, mentors, and a wealth of knowledge.  We have been through a lot together.  Some have long since retired.  Some were here this year when the government fired us in May and it was my job to look all of our staff in the eye and tell them it was over.  Then the government decided to keep us at the end of June.   Still, we move forward.   We had several breaks in our water pipes before Thanksgiving and again we were on the brink of closure.  Still, we move forward.  This year we lost five former students to various tragedies.  Yet still, we move forward.  We got together that Friday.  We laughed and at the end we cried. I don't talk a lot about my job.  It is stressful.  We deal with youth from poverty.  Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose.  The wins are worth it, but the losses are heartbreaking.  I couldn't have a better job and I have been lucky enough to work with some incredible people.  The gentleman third from the end, in the cap, once told me, "learn something from every person you meet, no matter if they are your best friend or your greatest enemy."  I have always remembered and try to apply that advice.  A huge thank you to these people and the impact they have made on my life.  I'm blessed.

On the home front, I've been keeping busy.  I bottled 10 bottles of plum wine.  It turned out pretty good.  I have been finishing a feather a week on my quilt.  I've been coyote/lion hunting every weekend.  I haven't seen anything, but it is great sitting outside.  Finally, I've been trying my hand at making porcipine quill earrings.  It is harder than it looks.  I now wish I had more quills.  I'm getting better with each attempt.  It is fun sitting on the couch beading.  Funny how those little beads escape.

Ella and I are still going for our weekly jaunts.  Today was absolutely beautiful.  What projects have you finished so far this year?  Are you getting outside and enjoying the winter?  I hope so.  It is beautiful out there.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

New Year and a new decade...

 2019 was a difficult year.  In May, I sat in on a phone conference where we were told that all Forest Service Job Corps were being closed.  I then had to tell our 57 employees that in September we would be done.  Thankfully, legislators and support from the Forest Service kept that from happening.  Still it was a scary year.  Twenty five years at an alternative school and finding out you need a new education job at the end of May does not bode well for a person.  Still, we made it through.  Now that that heart stopping obstacle is over, I'm mentally stronger and ready for a new year.   I'm a goal setter and I feel like I already have a good head start on 2020.  

First is self improvement.  I have been doing yoga six times a week for the last two months and I cannot say enough how much better I feel.  My balance, strength, and stress level has all improved.  Last year I started reading a book a month and I will continue that into 2020.  I am still looking for something to do within the community.  This one is more important than ever as the support we received from the community was overwhelming when we were told our program was going to close.  Very few of our students are local, yet the concern from the people around us meant more than they will ever understand.  I really feel the need to give back.

Gardening is always a goal.  I need to be proactive with all garden intruders.  Last year it was deer.  This year it was mice and slugs.  They ate all of my vegetables.  I do have a sneaky suspicion that Ella ate the broccoli.  I found Sluggo and this year I'm not afraid to use it.  I want to add one more cutting bed by the barn.  I would also like to add some plum trees to the orchard.  I also need to come up with a water feature.  My beautiful birdbath was decimated by the hail storm two years ago and I have been unable to find a replacement.

On the family front, I want to create a finished family cookbook.  With every family there are traditional meals and dishes that everyone is known for.  For the last year I have been gathering recipes and photos.  I gave myself two years to complete the project, so it was an enjoyable experience and not a rush to complete the job.  

I also started a big commitment and plan on making a quilt for every niece and nephew that graduates.  I believe there will be one every year for the next 10 years.  Oh my gosh.  What have I gotten myself into?  At least it will keep my winters busy.

My biggest goal this year is to support my husband on his new endeavor.  He plans on retiring in April.  We have been preparing for projects and a few bucket list items.  I am really looking forward to enjoying this summer with him.  His job had him busy and rarely able to make any weekend plans.  Now the world is our oyster.  Maybe we will even be able to take a trip.

Those are my future plans.  Now, lets see how I did last year.  

My biggest goal for 2019 was war with the deer.  They decimated my gardens in 2018.  It was very frustrating.  Generally, I don't have problems with them until the fall.  This year they munched through my garden in the spring, summer, and fall.  It was very disheartening.  I will spend the winter making battle plans and stinky smelling sprays.   Well, the deer didn't give me any problems.  Unfortunately, the slugs and voles ate everything.   The mice girdled all of my orchard shrubs, ate my plants, enjoyed my strawberries, and munched on my melons.  I spent a majority of the summer sniping them with my pellet gun.  I got pretty good towards the end.  The slugs would just attack a plant or zucchini and it would disappear overnight.  We had so much rain this year the slugs had the run of the place.  At the very end I found Sluggo and sprinkled it everywhere.  We will see how they do in 2020.

Focus on seed starting for the vegetable beds.  I did not have any luck with my seed starts last year and it hindered my vegetable garden.  I may even toy with using a grow light.   The greenhouse took it pretty hard with last year's hail storm.  Hopefully, I can get it back into shape.  I want more cherry tomatoes to broil and freeze for the winter.  More canned vegetables for stews.  Herbs for my olive oil and herb ice cubes.  They work great for cooking.  I'm still trying for a giant pumpkin.  I did great with my seed starts.  I had broccoli (until Ella ate it), melons, pumpkins, and tomatoes.  The tomatoes never ripened.  It didn't get warm enough.  My herbs did amazing.  I not only made my herb ice cubes, but also made salts, smudges, and teas.  I brought them all inside this winter and they are doing great.  

On the orchard front...  I am super excited about my new fish fertilizer program.  I am anxious to see how the orchard responds next spring.   I am definitely going to add grapes this year.  I am also looking at adding some June berries and adding more raspberries.  Despite the mice girdling the shrubs, the orchard actually did really good this year.  I continued with my fish fertilizer program.  I added some grapes and raspberries.  I still need to get some more June berries.

I want to add more flower pots to the rose bed and a bench.  I also want to make another butterfly bed by the barn door.  I was super happy with last year's butterfly bed.  I have some new garden chairs and I think adding a little sitting area outside of the barn would be lovely.  The flower pot project was a huge success.  I put lavender and marjoram in pots throughout the yard and since it rained regularly they were beautiful.   I didn't get the bed next to the barn done, as we were working in the area.  This year it will happen. 

Since I finally have some healthy habits for my body, it is time to expand my mind.  My brother, sister and I are going to try and read a book every month.  My brother calls it the FBC (Family, Book, Club).  We will see how it goes.   We each picked four categories and then will chose two books out of the four categories.  Some months we will read the same books, some months we will read from the same category.  I also have to take a college class for my teaching re-certification.  I'm a bit grumpy about the cost and I haven't had a college class since 2004.    If I'm a bit sporadic on my posts for the next couple of months, it is because I'm either reading a book or doing homework.   I not only passed the class, but also learned a lot about research.  I am utilizing this knowledge for a project this year.  The family book club was sporadic, but overall I would consider it successful.  My brother and I enjoyed reading and discussing books. 

In  October of 2018, I was honored to be nominated for the Spirit of South Dakota award.  It was an amazing experience and a great adventure for my family and I met some outstanding women.  I didn't win, trust me I didn't expect to win, just being nominated was an honor.  I was in the league of women all over South Dakota who had made a huge impact in the lives of the people around them.  The experience did inspire me to be a stronger influence in my community.  I am confident that at work I give everything and do my best to make young lives better.   I try very hard to be a solid support for my friends and family.  Now I need to look at how I can be a more impact in my community.  I'm not certain what my niche will be, but the Spirit of South Dakota experience showed me the importance of community involvement.    As I wrote above, this is still a goal.  If any of you have ideas I would love hear them.  What have you done that made a difference?  What was something that somebody else did that made a difference?  Please let me know what you think.

I hope you all had a wonderful 2019 and that 2020 will find you all happy and healthy.  Happy New Year!