Sunday, April 14, 2024

Spring is sprung?

I heard the frogs this weekend.  That means spring is around the corner.  The snow is almost off the lawn.  I planted Pak choi, lettuce, spinach, and peas in the greenhouse.  There is a smattering of crocuses blooming throughout the gardens.  My tomato, pepper, and eggplant seedlings want to be planted, but I'm giving them one more week.  The greenhouse is prepped and ready to be planted.  I moved some birdfeeders to the front as I am able to sit on the porch in the mornings with my coffee. 

The turkeys are ridiculous.  I spent all morning watching the tom's attempts to woo the hens.  Overall, the hens could care less. One tom hasn't left our yard all day.  He just struts and struts.  He must be exhausted. Sorry to show you my foot, but I just wanted you to see that my nail polish made it to see spring.  Every fall, on what I think will be the nicest last day, I paint my toenails bright orange.

My goal is to have it last until a fresh coat in the spring.  It was down to one little tiny dab on the top of the big toe, but it made it.  A fresh coat of polish it is.  
My husband and I spent Saturday exploring our property.  We found one antler shed and plenty of green.  It was good to get out, stretch our legs, and find spring.

The Pasque is our state flower.  I was very surprised to find a few of them blooming at the back of our property.  I have yet to see them anywhere else.  They really stood out with their lavender against a sea of brown pine needles.  
I love moss. Pictures cannot encompass how soft and vivid the little patches were.  Soon the whole forest will be green and they will blend in, but for now they were little flags of hope. 

I am still working on the graduation quilt.  Time is ticking.  
Have you planted anything?  Can you hear frogs yet? Do you have any snow in your future?

Sunday, April 7, 2024

In the blink of an eye...

 We came back from Nebraska in time for snow.  Things had been melted off prior to that and it didn't take long for melting to begin.

I have been seeing a lot of elk on the way to and from work.  It is kind of unusual to see them in the spring.  The bulls have yet to lose their antlers.  

The sun came out and it actually warmed up.  Life was good.
Better yet, the crocuses were out adding a beautiful splash of color to our very brown world. 

You had better believe on Saturday I was out raking and checking to see how my plants had survived the winter.  I was soaking up the sun, loving every minute of it. 
My Aunt Bonnie used to always say if she could just make it to rhubarb it would be fine.  Well, I made it to rhubarb.  I see them poking out from under the pine needles.  
The turkeys are keeping us serenaded.  The crows help also.  The crows caw and that makes the turkeys gobble.  Around and around they go. 

Then came the snow, slowly creeping up the valley.  It always gives us plenty of warning.  We can see it coming and there is nothing you can do about it, except mentally prepare yourself.

It is wet and heavy.  Shoveling isn't much fun (like it ever is). It is still snowing.  We got about a foot with another foot supposedly on the way.  Hoping the weather reports are wrong.  Glad there aren't leaves on the trees.
Of course, if there is snow, indoor activities are in order.  I found this recipe for slightly sweet unleavened bread.  I've never made unleavened bread, so now was as good as a time as any.  It turned out to be delicious. I found the recipe at:

Slightly-Sweet Unleavened Bread
2 cups of white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup of brown sugar
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) of melted butter
1/4 cup of water
2 tablespoons of honey
1/4 teaspoon of salt IF your butter is unsalted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or grease it.
Mix the dry ingredients together, then add the wet ingredients and stir together (just a bowl and a spoon, no electric mixer necessary).
Dump the dough right out onto your prepared sheet pan and pat it out with your hands to between 1/4- and 1/2-inch thick.
Bake for about 17 minutes, until golden and mostly-set.
Let cool, then slice into strips. It should keep fine in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days.

We also did a lot of bird watching.  I was surprised to see this flicker.  We usually get them in fall.  We have seen the flying squirrel a few times.  It is impossible to get a good picture of the little bugger.

There was plenty of quilting to do.  I am doing wandering flowers but have decided to add a bee once in a while.  I am getting better.  It does take practice.  
It is a typical spring with a blink of an eye the weather changes.  A few more days of snow and then we are supposed to be back in the 50's.  I sure hope so. My poor little seedlings have only had one day of sunshine.  I wish I had taken a picture.  Happier little plants you never did see.  
I am hoping you are having better weather in your neck of the woods.  Did you do any projects this weekend?  Are the wild turkeys parading for you?  Have you ever made unleavened bread?  How are your seedlings faring?  Any crocus adding color to your world?

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Bucket List Check Off...

 This week, my husband and I were able to do something we have wanted to do for a long time.  We went to North Platte, Nebraska to see the Sandhill Crane migration.  We have always had an affinity for the cranes.  They are the harbinger of spring and the last call of fall.  Whenever we hear them, we find each other and then watch them until they circle out of sight.  Despite the fact they are always circling they are gone before you know it. 

We have always wanted to go to North Platte where they stage up before they complete their spring migration.  They fatten up in the fields along the Platte River before the final leg of their journey.  Instead of thinking someday we will go, we decided this year we will stop wishing and just go.

After a 5 hour drive to the Platte River, we didn't see a bird.  Not only that we didn't see the river.  It was surrounded by trees.  We got to town around 7 pm and I can't say how worried we were that the trip was a bust.  No birds, no river, not even a deer.  

Right inside the city are some crane viewing blinds.  We got something to eat and went to the river's edge thinking our trip was for nothing.  Were we ever wrong.  My camera didn't get a good picture of the cranes, but you can certainly hear them.

The next morning our with our spirits lifted we took a recommended drive for optimal crane viewing.  It was better than we ever expected. We were able to watch them dance and saw thousands of cranes close up. 
I am so glad we went.  It was a fantastic experience.  I don't know why we waited so long.  Not only did we see cranes, but also many different ducks and lots of wonderful farms.  

We were not aware that Buffalo Bill had a ranch in North Platte.  We didn't have enough time to explore the ranch or the state park.  I did take a photo of the house as we went by and it looked amazing. 
Something else we didn't realize is that North Platte is the hub for several rail lines.  This is the Golden Spike Tower, so you can see where the 8 tracks meet and how they check all of the cars and engines.  We aren't big train fans, so we didn't tour the rail yard and I didn't get any good train pictures. 

We only spent a day.  It was a perfect day!  Then the drive back.  There are two things you should know about Nebraska, there are lots of trains and windmills.  Also, the ranchers still use windmills to fill their water tanks.  I think that is amazing.  I had so much fun trying to get some good windmill photos. 

We don't go on vacation often.  It seems all of our trips are to see family.  I am so glad we decided to check this off of our bucket list.  Someday you will run out of tomorrows.  
We came back in a snowstorm, but hopefully the snow won't last.  It was worth because we will always remember this trip. 
We can't wait to see the cranes fly over this spring and wonder if they are ones we saw on our visit.  What is something on your bucket list?  I hope you had a wonderful Easter.

Sunday, March 24, 2024


Another weekend over in a flash.  I got quite a bit done, never as much as I want to.  Saturday, my husband and I made a quick trip to Spearfish to pick up the batting I forgot to buy for the quilt.  Since the weather was nicer than we anticipated, we took a walk on one of Spearfish's beautiful and plentiful walking paths.  It is good to see a community place value on the recreation of its citizens.  There is a paved walking path from one end of town to the other.  It is paired with mountain biking trails, disk golf courses, and many nice benches to just sit and enjoy the view.

The corral below was used to hold horses for the Spearfish, Lead, Deadwood stagecoach.  Can you believe it is still standing?  Better yet, no graffiti.  I wish I had taken a photo of the plaque. It explained it better than I could.
Another snowstorm is on the way.  At least the cabin has the occasional bloom to keep my spirits up.
Here is the storm, slowly creeping up the valley.  Drat.
Probably just as well.  I am running out of time and have to get quilting.  I was going to do in the ditch, then bees, now maybe flowers.  I need to just get started.  Sandwiching everything together is my least favorite part.  I have to crawl around on the cold tile floor in the basement.  

I finally found some coarse sea salt at the store, so it was time to work on my flavored salt project. I really enjoy Pinterest, as I find so many new things to try.  Long ago I found this Melot and Maple popcorn salt.  I LOVED it.  sweet and salty.  Of course, they (I don't know who they is) stopped making it.  I've searched everywhere.  I looked it up and could find a wine salt recipe, but not Merot and Maple.  I decided to try: 1/2 cup of homemade wine, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup (I'll be honest.  I just globbed in there and didn't measure).  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Take 1/2 cup of salt and add 2 tablespoons of the wine mixture.  Spread out on a cookie sheet and bake 30 minutes at 200 degrees.  Make sure you swirl it around every 5 minutes or so.  Otherwise, it hardens.  Turned out great. Can't wait to use it on my popcorn.

I'm not certain what I am going to use my bacon salt on, but something will come up.  I added 2 tablespoons of crumbled bacon to 1/2 cup of coarse sea salt.  My husband smoked it on the grill for an hour at 200 degrees.  Again, make sure you swirl it around.  It hardened and didn't take the smoke very well.  We mixed it up and put it in for 1/2 hour and that worked better.
I took a walk in the woods today.  You can see our cabin if you climb the big hill across the way.  There is nothing more refreshing than a walk.  Dressing warm was a must as it was about 15 degrees and snowing.

Normally, sunrise and sunset photos are my thing, but the moon has been just as amazing.  Every night my husband and I go outside and look around before we go to bed.  It is a new tradition in honor of Ella and we are enjoying it.  Life is pretty amazing if you just stop and look around.

Have you ever made flavored salts?  Any ideas for the bacon salt?  Any ideas for a pattern to quilt?  Do you have anything blooming in your home?  If you have anything blooming outside, I don't know if I can hear about that right now.  It is supposed to snow for the next couple of weeks.  Let's not talk about the garden.  It may put me over the edge.  Hope it is sunshine and roses where you are.