Sunday, January 30, 2022

Tarts are tart...

 I've always wanted to make a tart.  This weekend seemed like the perfect time to try a new endeavor.

My husband and I made an orange tart with a chocolate graham cracker crust (store bought as I'm terrible at graham cracker crusts).  I found they are aptly named. That sucker is tart.  It isn't bad, but I think we will just cross it off the to do list and move on.  If you like tarts or have ever wanted to make one here is the site.

We also went for a drive out to the prairie.  We were looking for a cabin we had wanted to buy many years ago.  It was completely in the middle of nowhere and the day we figured out where it was it was the very day they were closing on its sale.  It is so well hid, we didn't find it this time and we have been there. We did enjoy the drive and saw some nice scenery.

We wish we had brought our fishing poles.  It was a nice warm day and these ponds are right next to a fish hatchery.
I think odds would have been in our favor.

I also went the Stock Show and Rodeo to see my niece rope.

She missed her calf which is a bummer.  I did enjoy seeing all of my nieces and nephew.
January is almost over.  Winter is trudging along.  I hope you are finding things to keep you busy.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Passing time...

We have been busy with winter projects.  My husband has the wood stove cozy and warm.  His latest project has been tissue boxes.  

I think they turned out perfectly.  Also he has good timing as it seems like everyone has been getting sick.
I couldn't help myself and made some orange almond biscotti.  I was cleaning out the fridge and there were a few overripe oranges begging to be biscotti.

There was, of course, quilting.  I'm getting closer to the end.  A few more rounds on the last of the cabin blocks.
There isn't much else to do.  It has been cold and windy, but Ella and I braved it for our Sunday walk.  The rest of the weekend was enjoying the fire.
What projects have you been working on?  How has the winter been?  Hope all is well.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

One thing leads to another...

  It is funny how one thing leads to another.  I love to do yoga as I find it really helps keep my aches and pains at bay.  I've had my yoga mat for many years and it has lost its grip.  Not a good thing when you are balancing in a twist and then something slips.  I decided to get a new mat.  

Here is a picture of the culprit.

That was the beginning of the end.  Since I had a new mat, maybe I should tidy up my yoga room (aka spare bedroom).  Before I knew it I cleaned under the bed, then the corner cabinet, of course that led to desk drawers, then 'what the heck' might as well hit the closet.  If I'm going to do the downstairs bedroom, I might as well clean under the upstairs bed, then that closet, might as well get the crawl space.  Next thing I know I'm in the sewing/craft nook.  6 bags of junk later and I'm too exhausted to do yoga.  

I think the biggest challenge was a drawer of cords.  I plugged those suckers into everything.  Cords are the new keys.  Everyone has a drawer full of keys that they have long forgot where the locks were.  Well, now there is a drawer full of power cords.  Second verse same as the first.

The thing is, I'm pretty good at tossing junk yet here I am taking bags of junk to the dumpster.  

Mom and Dad gave me a nice trunk several years ago.  It is perfect for all of my letters and photos.  I am astounded at how many letters I have.  I'm super happy that I finally have one place to put them.  I made several trips downstairs corralling my correspondence in one place.  I cried as I read letters I had sent to my grandfather that were returned to me when he passed and a note from my niece who passed away this year.  I hope someday after I have passed, my nieces spend a day sitting together reading about their history: recipes, newspaper articles, and just a letter about how the week went.

What is the biggest obstacle when you do a deep clean? Do you have a secret for keeping junk at bay?  Do you keep all of your correspondence?

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Off with a bang...

The new year is off with a bang.  I got out my little houseplant kit and tidied up my plants.

Ella and I took advantage of the warm weekend.  Wednesday it was -18, so I enjoyed 27 as much as I could.
We even had coffee on the porch.

My husband and I started off the new year by burning some slash piles.  It is fun watching them go up.  There is also something satisfying about chunking the stumps until there is nothing left.

I also made some Swedish Bourbon Cardamom rolls.  I absolutely love them.  

I made big ones and little ones, so people who were trying to keep holiday calories down could still enjoy a bite.
Here is the link to the recipe:

I do advise watching YouTube videos on how to make the rolls as the directions in the post leave a lot to be desired.

"Being in a long marriage is a little bit like that nice cup of coffee every morning - I might have it every day, but I still enjoy it" -Stephen Gaines

That's it for my adventures into 2022.  Are you off to a good start?

Sunday, January 2, 2022

In with the new and out with the old...

This is my favorite time of year.  It is a time to look back and reflect and to look forward and plan. I think it is always important to know where you are going and where you have been.  

First a look back at last year's goals and if progress was made.  

At the top of my list is to do some adventure with my husband.  We really enjoyed our time together this summer and I want to spend a couple of weeks with each other doing something fun or even a project.  

Our adventure was taking the month of October off to elk hunt and enjoy our lives.  The elk hunting was a grand adventure.  We will forever enjoy those memories together.  I got my elk the third day of October so the rest of the month was just appreciating our life.  It was relaxing and I highly recommend taking a "Sabbatical" as I called it.  The lady that took my bear claw and elk ivory just sent me a photo of the necklace she made.  I must say it is the perfect way to capture the memory of my two favorite adventures our Canadian bear hunt and my once in a lifetime elk tag.

Next is to continue family and friend traditions.  I missed our family gatherings this year.  Even though we still had a week at Aunt Bonnie's not all of the nieces could make it and it just wasn't the same.  I was happy to have my sister come out.  That was fun.  I am committed to a new tradition of providing all of my nieces and nephews with a family cookbook and a quilt when they graduate.  I have also enjoyed taking a little time here and there to meet with friends.  This weekend I went hiking and had coffee with my friend, Michelle.  I'm super excited that my friend, Jodi, is moving back to the area.  I really missed going to the Festival in the Park with her and going to quilt camps.  

I can't say I was overly happy with the week at Aunt Bonnie's.  After months of planning, things got changed at the last minute.  I did my best to be a good sport, but am not sure if I have the heart to go through that again.  The tradition may be no longer.  We will see.  As for keeping up with friends that has gone well.  I enjoyed spending the Festival with my friend.  I also had some grand visits with my other friends.  My sister was able to come out for a few days without the little ones and it was nice to just sit and visit.  I am also halfway through this year's quilt for my nephew.  I'm putting a lot into this quilt, as his mother passed away this year.  I cannot imagine what he and his family is going through.  It makes me appreciate mine all the more.

I am adamant this year that we need more water features on our property.  Long ago when we moved up here the road past us was filled with giant potholes that were always filled with water.  Tree frogs used them for laying eggs.  Butterflies and birds used them for water.  Now we have people living past us and they have drained or filled all of the puddles.  There has been a huge decline in the number of tree frogs.  I want to add a small pond or at least some puddle pools.  Hopefully, that will make a difference.

Bless my husband's heart.  He had somebody come up with a back hoe and dig me a big old frog pond.  I love him.  It was later in the summer and a very dry year, so I am anxious to see if it fills up this spring for my little peepers.  I also added a washtub water feature which was relished by one fat frog.  I also found that little cups and pans filled with water was appreciated by the birds and wildlife, especially since it was such a dry year.  

In the garden, I want to include Westerland, Campfire, and Music Box roses.  There are some orange hollyhocks that I am dying to try.  This fall I really put a lot of work into my bee and butterfly bed.  Hopefully, I will see some results.  I'm very excited about the bigger greenhouse.  I am addicted to roasted peppers and tomatoes and want to produce enough to keep me happy and well fed all winter.  Of course, I also have eyes on the biggest pumpkin prize.  

I was very successful in many aspects of the garden.  I was able to get my hands on all three roses.  The campfire rose didn't look like it was going to make it.  In fact, at one point after emailing the company about its struggles their horticulturist told me the Campfire was out.  Lo and behold  it came to and made some progress.  Hopefully, all three will make it through the winter.  I was able to get my hands on some orange hollyhock seeds.  I can't wait to start them this year.  All the work I put into the bee and butterfly bed was enjoyed by the turkeys this spring.  Drat.  My new greenhouse was a success.  My bumble bee tomatoes were amazing and I even enjoyed some today on the nana bread pizza my husband made me.  A taste of summer long into winter.  I did not win the biggest pumpkin.  My husband's reached a hefty goal of 26 pounds.   

Probably the biggest thing I learned from COVID was how important it is to slow down.  Life goes by too quickly.  I spent the summer working from the porch and enjoyed not having to make the high stress drive to work and the immediate demands of the day can drain you. Now that I am back in the office and the students are trickling in, I am trying very hard to pace myself at work and try to balance paperwork with people.  That is difficult, because the government likes its paperwork.  Being without the students taught me just how important my time with them is. 

COVID made me incredibly thankful for my job.  Working with the students is what keeps me going.  We are slowly getting back to the new normal.  I think I had a pretty good balance of students and work.  There were some curve balls I did not anticipate, but in the end I managed to juggle them and I am very proud of that.  

Where do I go this year?  I've been thinking about my goals for a couple of weeks now.

I want to put some extra effort into seed starting.  Especially, to create my annual planters.  I was appalled at what petunias cost now-a-days.  I am frugal by nature and it takes all the fun out of gardening when you you suffer from sticker shock.  I am also going to focus on rotating my outside crops, having a successful strawberry harvest, and growing a pumpkin bigger than my husband's.  I need to extend one of the planters in front to deal with some erosion and perhaps add a rain chain and water barrel.  

This year is 50 for me and I am going to embrace it.  I'm going to live this year with confidence and appreciation for life.  I am thankful for my husband, home, health, way of life, and career.  My hope is to complete a few challenges, as I did when I turned 40.  I'm not certain what they will be, but I will continue to ponder.

I finally stepped up and volunteered to be part of a community committee.  I'm still feeling my way through it.  So far so good.  Now I want to try to start a small side business of sorts.  Not sure what yet. There are so many things I enjoy creating.  I will probably go in with my husband, who is also leaning in this direction.  At least I will try to put my toe in the pool.  

The land around us is getting bought up and built on.  I can say I do sympathize with the show Yellowstone.  Weekend warriors driving back and forth 6 times a day is getting nerve wracking. We need to mark the boundaries around our 20 acres, as we have had a lost landowners bulldoze three acres of our oak trees.  Also perhaps a few more trails, as our road is now becoming a highway.  My peaceful walks in the woods are constantly  interrupted by well meaning neighbors wanting to chat, not understanding that my sanity needs some quiet time.  

I guess that is the extent of it.  I like to keep things short and manageable.  I hope everyone looks back at some good memories from last year and have a happy and healthy 2022.