Sunday, January 29, 2023


 I'm actually wintering now.  This weekend I stayed in the house and didn't do much.   It was -9 this morning and every day we get two or three inches of snow.  Since one neighbor went down our hill backwards and another went down sideways, we chose not to go anywhere.  

I finished another feather.  I really enjoy the process.  I'm doing pretty good.  The back looks almost as good as the front.  That is an improvement, as usually it is a mess.
I was pretty proud of my winter meal this week.  I made some wild rice soup, homemade rolls, and homemade chocolate cake.  Perfect meal on a cold winter day.
The soup is easy.  

Wild Rice Soup

1/2 c. Wild rice cooked

4 strips of bacon cooked and crumbled

1/4 Onion chopped and sauteed in bacon grease 

1 can Cream of Potato soup

1 c. Milk

1 c. Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Mix everything and heat until the cheese melts.  

Serve with Texas Roadhouse rolls.  I cut the recipe in half and it was perfect for 2 people.

 2 c. Milk

3 T. Butter

1 T. Yeast

1/2 c. Warm Water

1/2 c. Sugar

1/2 c. Honey

7 1/2 c. Flour

2 eggs

2 t. Salt

Heat milk in sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Melt 3T. butter and cool. Combine yeast, warm water, and 1 T. sugar in a mixing bowl and allow to bubble. Add remaining sugar, honey, milk mixture, and 3 ½ c. flour to yeast mixture. Add melted butter, eggs, and salt. Slowly include rest of the flour ½ c. at a time and mix well. Let rest. Knead in five minutes. Add to greased bowl and allow to double in size. Punch it down, roll into a big rectangle, flatten to ½ inch thick. Fold over into itself so it is one inch thick. Cut into two inch squares and allow to double in size. Bake at 350ยบ for 15-20 minutes.

The chocolate cake recipe is here:

It is a good time to stay inside, take a nap, and eat well.  Hope you had a peaceful week.

Sunday, January 22, 2023


I relaxed this weekend.  My only project was oiling the wooden countertops and wiping down the cupboards.  Each weekend I managed to seriously clean a part of the cabin.

Progress on my second quilt was an enjoyable way to spend the day.  My goal is to add a feather each weekend. I have two feathers appliqued on.  Four more to go.
Probably my favorite part of the weekend was my husband dusting off the DVD player and attaching it to our TV.  We found our old Northern Exposure DVDs.  We cuddled up and re-lived one of our favorite shows.  Something was hooked up wrong and the picture was black and white, but it didn't matter.  It was nice to watch a show that was positive, entertaining, and quirky.  Marilyn's character cracks me up.  She can't say a line without that little smile.
I also finished reading The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen.  I absolutely loved it.  The author does a fabulous job of explaining the key to life.  I looked up the author and I guess it is a bit of a mystery.  He hasn't revealed his real name.  Once I finished that, I read How to Hug a Porcupine.  It was a good reminder for dealing with difficult people.  As the mean old principal, I deal with a few difficult students here and there.

We even managed a walk in the snow.  I really appreciated a peaceful and uplifting weekend as last week was awful.  

What is the best book you have read this year?  What is your favorite TV show?  Past or present.  How do you unwind in the winter?  Quilting does it for me.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

So much for wintering...

Last year I read Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May.  It talked about winter being a time of rest and rejuvenation.  It wasn't the best book I ever read, but her point made sense.  I really looked forward to relaxing and rejuvenating this winter.  I now realize I am terrible at "wintering.". Today will be my example.  It is Sunday a 'day of rest.'

After my two cups of coffee, I start working on my niece's quilt.  I put the feathers together yesterday and planned how they would go on the quilt.  Today I started the task of appliqueing them onto the quilt. 

After Sunday dinner, I cleaned out the freezer in the cabin and the chest freezer in the garage.  

Next, my husband and I started putting the soft top on my brother's Jeep.  We got it on, but now the doors won't shut.  We will solve that problem another day as it started raining.

I then hauled everything from the freezer to the dumpster.  I feel so much better having that cleaned out.  I found a bag of chokecherries which fit into my next project raking my wines and making a new batch of chokecherry. I bottled my sour cherry wine and I'm afraid it tastes like cherry cough syrup.  Drat.

 I didn't dare sit down or I would never get up again. My last endeavor was to make apple crisp with some of the apples I found in the freezer.

I finished reading Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi. I have never been one for time travel stories, but this one was very unique. Now I'm reading The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen by Hendrik Groen. So far, it is humourous.

I am now cuddling on the couch with my husband and I don't think I could move if I wanted to.  

Are you 'wintering' or are you going a hundred miles an hour like me?  I have tomorrow off and I am forcing myself to relax.


Sunday, January 8, 2023

Off to a great start...

I would say 2023 is off to a wonderful start.  My husband and I have been able to relax and appreciate our life.  I am forever thankful to have found such an amazing man to spend my life with.  He is patient, caring, thoughtful, and understanding.

At work, despite many blizzards, my students all returned from their winter break and were overjoyed to be back.  I'm guessing the poor weather kept them cooped up inside and they remembered why they wanted something new.  The picture below is my school. 
Better yet, I heard from many past students.  All of them (even the ones that didn't finish) appreciative of their time at our center.  They have gone on to live successful lives.  One I had to kick out of the high school program until he apologized for his behavior.  He is now happily married and a lawyer in my hometown.  He specializes in at-risk youth.  We had such a good visit.
At home, we have been feeding the deer due to the large amount of snow.  In appreciation, a buck who has the most elegant rack said thanks by shedding his antlers right behind the cabin. His are at the bottom of the photo. He is unusual because his brow tines are as long as his other tines.

Another positive is Ella and I were able to go snowshoeing.  This brings me great joy as it means she is healthy and I love to snowshoe.  I so appreciate that my husband drives our ATV with tracks on our path to pack down the snow for Ella.

I am always trying new recipes and these baked oatmeal muffins are a winner. I found it on the She Likes Food blog.  They are perfect to take to work.  Delicious.
Baked Cranberry and Orange Oatmeal Muffins 

4 cups old fashioned oats, gluten free certified if necessary
1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2⅓ cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
¼ cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
⅓ cup pure maple syrup
1 cup dried cranberries
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 teaspoons orange juice
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or sliced almonds 


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. To a large bowl, add the almond milk, ground flax, maple syrup, vanilla extract and coconut sugar. Mix until combined and then let sit for 5 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients, mix again until completely combined and then let mixture sit for about 10 minutes, until thickened up a little bit.

Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray, or line it with cupcake liners, and scoop oatmeal mixture in using a large ice cream scoop or a 1/4 measuring cup. (I would go with the cup liners.)

Bake oatmeal cups for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and let sit in the muffin tin for about 20 minutes, until cooled and completely set.

The year keeps getting better.  I am now able to spend time with my little brother. We went to a guitar store and I finally heard him play the guitar.  I text him good morning every morning to make up for all the mornings I wasn't able.
My first book of the new year was not what I expected.  The Chicken Chronicles by Alice Walker was a great way to compare the life of chickens to world issues and learn about Alice's personal experiences. I don't agree with everything about Alice Walker, but that doesn't mean I will discount her entirely.  A mentor once told me everyone has something to teach you even those you don't agree with.

My final blessing of the new year was spending the morning with a close friend at a hot yoga class and then a cup of coffee.  We solve the world's problems after an exhilarating class.

2023 is off to the perfect beginning.  How is your new year starting?

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2023.

A look at last year's goals was average for success. 

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.  

I did try to start my flower seeds.  My sister gave me a seed starting mat and it made all the difference.  I had no berries this year.  We had a hailstorm in the spring when all the fruits and berries were blooming.  As a result, we didn't have anything to harvest.  It was so bad we actually had a bear eating birdseed on our porch.  There are no bears in the here!  My pumpkin was not bigger than my husband's.  I was again a bit lack-a-dasical about watering.  My husband actually watered my pumpkin more than I did.  I was able to extend my front bed.  I still need to find a rain chain.

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.

My friends, Jodi and Michelle, made 50 fabulous!  I am so thankful for their support.  I enjoyed time with my husband as we also celebrated our 28th anniversary.  I am forever thankful for my life.

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.  

This didn't happen.  You can't win them all. I guess in some things I am slow.

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.

We made several trails through our property property.  My walks have diminished as I did not factor in the aging of our beloved Ella.  It is getting harder and harder for her to continue a full pace.  Especially, since her illness in November.  Snowshoeing is also out.  I don't mind.  Having her by my side is worth a shorter walk. 

Goals for the future...

What is the plan for 2023?

Berries!  I really missed this year's harvest.  I had no wine, jam, or juice in 2022 and it was maddening.  I need to really focus on my raspberries and strawberries.  My orchard and berries need serious attention to include fertilizer and a watering regimen.  I'm also going to have to add some Harrelson Apple trees as mine are on the decline.

Do something out of the box.  I need an adventure for 2023.  When I turned 40 I went to Denmark.  I would like to travel again.

Take care of my friends.  You can't pick your family, but you can chose your friends and I have chosen well.  Their support and kindness is humbling.

Continue to improve my vegetable garden.  I know what I like: tomatoes, peas, carrots, lettuce, spinach, acorn squash, sweet corn, peppers, beans, cucumbers, asparagus, and garlic.  As for herbs:  Basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, chamomile, borage, mint, hyssop, lemon balm, and lemon grass.  I am also going to get serious about the great pumpkin contest now that there is a trophy involved.

Projects are always abound.  I would like to build a canning shelf for the basement.  Improve my bird feeding stations, especially when it comes to squirrel proofing them. 

I will always focus will be on gratefulness and health.  I am grateful for my husband, family, friends, and the always positive Ella. I will exercise even though it is a bit more difficult since my beloved Ella doesn't have the stamina she used to.  I can't just go without her, so my walks are shorter and I will always be able to snowshoe in the future.  

That is 2022 in a nutshell and my goals for 2023.  Nothing earth shattering.  I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and I wish you a happy and healthy new year.