As gorgeous as the sunsets have been around here...and they have been beautiful. You can still only take so many pictures of the sunset. So my challenge a few nights ago was to figure out how to photograph the sunset with a twist. Here is what I came up with.
I've been up since 3am, waiting in line to buy our year's supply of sock at 50% off. Yes I'm one of those people OK... but if you had 5 kids you might stand in line too, lol! Anyway if I didn't get those socks today then what would my kids have in their stockings for Christmas?
WHAT you don't put socks in your kids Christmas stockings?
You put in candy, and CD's, and books?
Fine, whatever, just don't tell my kids or they will want to come live at your house!
These pictures are as light and fluffy as my brain is right now...I'm off to have some leftovers and then a looooooong nap.
I'm slaving away in my kitchen getting ready for the big day. Choppin', stirrin', slicin', dicen', generally making a big giant mess. I was going to share all this with you. I know you really wanted to see my kitchen disaster, my hair a mess, and the chaos in general, but...
I glanced over at my windowsill and saw this breathtaking beauty...
and decided to spare you the chaos and just give you the gorgeous...
Now you can't say I've never done anything for you!
Happy cookin' and cleanin'! Kim, the inadvertent farmer
We love banana bread around here, seriously dig the stuff. I have perfected what I think is the yummiest whole wheat banana bread and it happens to be low fat too! So if you love banana bread but want a healthy version that is moist, sweet, yummy and very bananaeee (new word, like it?) then hold onto your peels this recipe is for you!
1/3 Cup Veggie Oil
1/3 Cup Applesauce (I use unsweetened)
1/3 to 1/2 Cup Sugar (depending on your taste)
3 1/4 - 3 1/2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour (this kinda varies depending on the size of your eggs and how runny your applesauce is)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
6 large mashed bananas (smashed, smooshed and otherwise mutilated bananas if you are cooking with a kid!)
Nuts are optional...I would suggest walnuts...if you don't live with any nut-haters that is.
First you start out with a good old friend...lets all give a warm welcome to 'the New Cook Book' by Better Homes and Gardens...although it isn't even close to new as it was a wedding present that was given to me by my grandma 25 years ago (again let me reiterate that I was a child bride) . Banana Nut Bread from page 51 is the starting point for this recipe.
One...ok me...must also wonder why someone would name a book 'The New...' anything considering that it will soon not be new and therefore it will then be a big fat liar, just a thought
Sorry Grandma I laid your nice book on a hot burner...now this would have surprised my Grandma but since the rest of you visit here once in a while I betcha it doesn't surprise you. My hubby always keeps 2 fire extinguishers in our kitchen...just in case!!!!!!
Start with the oil poured by my lovely assistant Sweet Girl
Next is the applesauce
Next comes the sugar, yummy
Scoop up an egg...
Touch the egg, plop it down a couple of times, poke it, smell it, play with it till mama sees what you're doing and makes you stop
Measure out baking powder, talk to mama about leavening and such...science is so cool! Don't forget the baking soda and salt.
Add half of the whole wheat flour...mix but don't over do, quick breads like to be treated tenderly, they are the princesses of the bread world. Unlike yeast breads that like to be slapped around a little...ok I'm stopping before this discussion evolves into something sorted!
Have fun smashing the bananas! Note, if you lick the bananas off your fingers make sure no one's watching!
Pour in the bananas...WAITwhat is that I see a tiki hut?
Oh my goodness its a couple of Hawaiian girls and a palm tree, you discovered my secret to super duper bread...shhhhh don't tell!
Stir and then add the rest of the flour, stir some more, remember gently, gently ...it tastes better when you stir it wearing a groovy headband!
Put into pans and then into oven,
no,...pour into pans and then place into the oven, pouring it into the oven is a bad idea. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Fresh out of the oven...oh so pretty! Can you smell it? No? Sorry just trying to torture you a little!
Most and delicious...very, very good
Moist and delicious with applesauce...even better!
This really is a great recipe and it can be enjoyed with little guilt (well unless you smother it with butter which I hear is good, I would never do that myself, not ever...really I wouldn't!) This particular bread should never be enjoyed alone though...go grab someone you love (or are wildly attracted to) and give 'em a big kiss and share some homemade goodness with them...the bread silly...what did you think I was talking about?
BTW...if you don't have a groovy Hawaiian plate to use you could put on a bikini and a grass skirt and I think it would work just as well. Aloha!
Get yourself a cup of tea, maybe a cookie or two, I'm taking you on a journey.
Along the way you will discover my secret to growing the best cucumbers and why I have steel toed muck boots!
...caution not for the faint of heart or those that are squeamish
First gather you equipment...
Guessed where I'm going with this yet?
Snow Shovel? Yes because...
We're gonna scoop poop! I find a snow shovel more efficient for scooping large quantities of poop that just a little shovel, and after all efficiency is my middle name, choke, gasp, groan...that was my hubby when he reads this, lol!
I want you to notice how I tried to make that poop shot look as artsy as possible as not to offend you all's sensitivities...after all I'm all about you!
First the crowd begins to gather...
Big sis, little bro,
But where's the big guy?
Hmmm what do we have here? Maybe some grain or a little hay?
OK...this does NOT smell like grain!
Meanwhile I'm shoveling away, oops. Wipe poop off lens cover...
Sometimes you just need to put your leg into it...how is it that manure turns to concrete?
Oops dropped the shovel...what are the odds? Of course it falls on the before side rather than the after side? The results?
A very pretty shot of camel manure...wipe poop off shovel handle.
Fully loaded and ready to go... now move Gizmo
Notice white arrow? It points to the reminder to me not to lock a camel in his house when he doesn't want to be locked in, ughhh.
Hey get out of the way darn it...
What don't you understand about MOVE? Don't make me get my stick!
Finally make it out and to the gate...NO you cannot come with me!
A tour of my backyard starting on the left,
Sweet Girl's and Baby Boy's play set (the instructions said it would take a few hours to put together...took me two weeks!)
Next is one of the wood piles, I insisted on a brown tarp this year because the blue one was just tacky...of course a tarp of any kind is kinda tacky but less tacky is better than more tacky!
Next comes the giant fir tree in the pasture that used to hang to the ground until we got a hungry camel...
A sewer pipe that we didn't use when we built the house that lies on a slight incline so the kids use it as a tunnel for their cars and to yell through.
Finally are the tracks the wheel barrow is making in the grass because is it soooooo darn heavy! Notice I'm having to drag it behind me instead of push it? That is what you must do when you have overloaded it with camel poo!
Bystander along the parade route...
Through the garden gate...the one that is made of hog wire that I put up temporarily...10 years ago! Remember my fantasy list about the Concord Purple Gates? Well this is where one would go!
We finally arrive at our destination...Row B, Bed #2...next year's home to...you guessed it, Cucumbers!
Dump a little poop
Spread it around
You have a poo covered garden bed...Oooohhhh Aaaahhhh!
Next I get out the lawn mower and mow the front lawn...
I take those lovely clippings with the chopped up leaves and dump them on said garden bed
Spread them around...
And VOILA'! You have a garden bed already for next year's prize winning cukes!
(The following is an excerpt from a later conversation with hubby,
"I see you mowed the lawn today"
"Why did you only mow part of it?"
"I only did as much as I needed to get clippings for the garden"
Rolls eyes, then sighs... "I knew it was something like that."
I love my husband
Last thing to do
Spread new straw...notice that I'm having to spread around giant feet and legs? You guessed it, the camel refused to move.......sigh! Now you know why my muck boots have steel toes!
Thanks for coming along on my little journey, next year when you are eating your fresh cucumbers think of me and what lengths I'll go...
Not quite through with ya...
This is what Gizmo did as soon as I turned my back to leave his nice clean stall...guess he showed me!
( you know I must love you to guard your eyes from the sight of a camel pooing, lol!)
I don't want to be as pretty as the day is long, or even as pretty as a picture (some are quite ugly if you ask me, which of course you didn't but I'm just sayin'...)
No, I want to be as pretty as a pomegranate...now that is one pretty fruit.
Oranges are quite nice, bananas are a little weird, kiwi is just too fuzzy for me. If I was gonna be a fruit it would have to be a pomegranate. Ok, so it is slightly lumpy on the outside and well not a whole lot to look at there, but cut it open and...ohhh it is simply divine!
That doesn't even touch on how yummy, juicy, sweet and nutritious they are...
I must say I'm completely envious of all that can grow these delicious and strangely attractive fruits....yes I admit I have Pom envy!
This reminds me of honey comb or some strange lunar landscape...or a honey comb on the moon, just about to be eaten by an alien. WHAT, that isn't what you see????
Must say that this reminds me of fish eggs, like the ones hubby uses for fishing...
"here fishy, fishy, fishy...here fishy, fishy"
Yes that is a Sesame Street reference in case it feels slightly familiar, remember when Bert and Ernie went fishing? Bert told Ernie that he needed a fishing pole to catch fish and Ernie said he could just call them, Bert scoffed as usual, and then Ernie started calling... "here fishy, fishy, fishy"... and a whole crap load of fish jumped into their boat. Then your kids would laugh hysterically and you would chuckle because you couldn't help it. Besides not to laugh at Bert and Ernie would mean that you were dead!
Poms the weird and wonderful fruit!
I betcha Ernie likes pomegranates! Burt probably like bananas...on his oatmeal!
If there are any 'haven't ever watched Sesame Street kind of people' reading this post right now I extend my deepest heart felt apologizes for the cruel cards you have been dealt. For those of you who have been blessed by Oscar, Big Bird and the lot then I bet you can hear Ernie laughing right now...hear him?
It is that my garden reality keeps smacking my garden fantasy up alongside the head.
I have this HUGE winter to do list but I also have this HUGE in my wildest dreams list that is just as important to me. When is it gonna be that the two will intertwine, intersect, or just plain get along?
It is evergreen, beautiful, easy to grow, and it will cover anything, ok not stretch marks but you all know what I'm talking about...
it is also invasive, grows at an astonishing rate, and it is hard to kill...
It likes to climb up and under the siding and can even climb metal gutters! Now I think an ivy covered house would be gorgeous, just think no painting, no washing those pesky windows, just beautiful green ivy! I would worry though about it sneeking in through the cracks and strangling me at night...then again I'm a little paranoid!
It grows under the brick porch and back out the top again...through the mortar! See it could get in through the cracks...who's the crazy one now?
The front porch has been possessed by the stuff. I don't let baby boy play in there, I'm afraid I wouldn't find him until he's 5!
Next the ivy has decided to take on the roof (which you notice is not finished yet, we've only been here 10 years...if my hubby is reading this, tongue and groove would look mighty pretty up there!)
It has blooms...who knew? I didn't, did you? If you did then the smarty pants award goes to you!
It may be beautiful but is considered a noxious weed in Washington and Oregon. It is taking over and killing trees in our urban forests. Mine is planted where it can't escape...well unless it goes clear over the house, which if I didn't cut it back every so often it would!
So please plant with care...and keep away from small children, it might eat them!
I've been tagged by Children in the Corn to disclose to you all 6 random things about myself that most of you don't know...since I've only been bloggin' a few months this shouldn't be too hard! I will try to keep it clean...
1. I met my hubby at a Red Robin where he was a waiter, I kept pouring my water in the plants so he would have to refill my glass and I could watch him walk away...after 25 years he still has a great arse! (this was of course before I knew you will kill tropical plants by drowning them in ice water...oops!)
2. Oldest son was 21 when baby boy was born, 21 was also the age I gave birth to oldest son...completely freaks him out that I had a baby at his age...freaks him out even more that I had baby boy at MY AGE!!! (for all you math whizzes out there if you try really hard and read my blog enough you will probably be able to calculate how old I am, let me tell you right now...I will deny it!)
3. I was married as a teenager...which my children are absolutely not allowed to do.
4. When I was a Master Gardener I specialized in children's gardens and would go around to schools doing gardening crafts. I also spoke at parent's groups about how to make gardening fun for kids. BTW the kids were much more fun than the parents, which would explain why I specialized in children's gardening wouldn't it???
5. I've never ridden a camel...nor am I gonna...ever!
6. I'm a vegetarian, although hubby is not, two out of three older boys are not, one is, sweet girl and baby boy are, my sister is not, my mom is , my dad wasn't, my grama was, my grandpa wasn't, my dog isn't, my camel is...although he tried to take a bite out of one of my kid's hind end once, does that count?
Nobody should ever tag me for random thoughts because random thoughts are what I do...that is pretty much all I've got, rarely a cohesive thought in the bunch!!!
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...
I love moss... I love the tender feel of it upon my fingertips...adore the squishiness of it under my bare feet...have great affection for its soft mounding habit as it grows on almost anything here in the Northwest.
It is tough, pretty, and adaptable...things that I would want to be if I was a plant!
These pics are of moss all growing upon the same ancient cedar fence post. If it wasn't enough that these little mounds of moss are just adorable but add to it the early morning dew that hangs from them like tiny pearls of light then throw in some lichen with its crunchy texture and you've got an unbeatable combination...ohhh how I do love moss
I want to start by saying "thank you " for all of the sweet and heartfelt words on yesterday's post. It is so helpful to be able to put down in words what my heart if feeling.
You would think after 5 years the girls' birthday would get easier, but alas it just doesn't. I do give thanks that the rest of the year is much better than it used to be. I may rail against God in one breath but in the next I must give thanks for all the amazing blessings He has given me including and especially the 5 healthy kids I get to hug every day (well except the ones away at college but I can still call and talk to them and give them a hug via their cell phones!)
I want to extend my deepest sympathy and regrets to the many of you that understand so intimately the pain of losing a child. It always breaks my heart to learn so many parents must endure and learn to live with this unique and lifelong pain. I'm so very, very, sorry.
You can choose to dwell on the loss of yesterday and ultimately lose the joy of today or you can choose to focus on what wonderful things you have in your life so as to hold onto today's happiness and ultimately the happiness of your future. My journal 2 years ago
Today is a day that I visit a different kind of garden. This garden is on a hill overlooking the lovely valley in whichI live in. It is bordered by stately fir trees, standing like towering sentinals guarding its edges. The garden I visit is always awash in blooms, lilies, roses, and sunflowers, all finding a home here. Rain does not stop them nor does frost, even in snow fresh blooms can be found.
This place is dotted with garden ornaments both ancient and new all having been chosen with great love and placed with reverence and respect...
I am more intimately attached to this tiny bit of land than any other on this earth, my own garden that I toil in daily does not hold my heart like this place does...
This is the garden in which I have railed against God, learned of His mercies, and have found some bit of peace...
It is a place that shatters a parent's heart, it is a place where I have left two small pieces mine...
It is the garden in which my sleeping children lie...my sweet, sweet baby girls born too soon. Layed in this hallowed ground in their tiny snow white casket, together forever, identical twin sisters...
For five years this garden has been where I go to ask God why, and where I go to dream of all that might have been...
Happy Birthday my sweet angel babies...mama loves you forever and ever
Note: this is from my personal diary posted here in the hopes it will touch other parents like myself that have lost children. My thoughts and prayers go out to you...
Any comments on this post will be held privately and not published
I was walking along the lake this weekend and instead of looking out at the water my eye was drawn to the thousands of lovely leaves that had fallen into the lake. They were resting just under water at the shore's edge.
I often wonder how people find my blog. When I go look at my stats I'm especially interested in how folks have arrived here who are just out searching through google or yahoo. My biggest search hit numbers by far have arrived through my white grape jelly recipe, then my applesauce recipe, and finally my camel...weird combination I know, lol!
Last Sunday morning I had a visit from the strangest search yet..."dog ate 1/3 bar of Irish Spring soap" I kid you not! Some poor pet owner is worried about their pet, the vet is closed for the weekend, they turn to the net in desperation and what do they get? A blog about fruits, flowers, kids, and a camel. My post about the extinct Y2K soap would have been buried deep in the General Insanity of the blog and would have done them no good whatsoever if they had found it!
If that poor dog owner ever comes back to visit..."I hope your dog is ok and sorry about the camel"
I would love to hear of some of your strangest search hits!
I was meandering around the orchard the other day making mental notes of things to get done this winter...prune the grapes, prune the fruit trees, mulch, cut down blackberries, tie up the marionberries, you know, the never ending list that gardeners have whether on paper, or like me, in their overcrowded heads!
I noticed that I had missed a few bits of fruit when I was doing the last of the harvesting. Now that the leaves are gone the fruit looks so beautiful hanging there against such a stark back drop.
Grapes...baby boy ate, yummy!
Golden Delicious Apple...sweet girl tried but noticed the brown spots and wouldn't eat anymore...she was sure worms were involved!
Black Currant...mama ate, slightly soft but still scrumptious!
Now that there is nothing left to eat I guess I need to get started on that list...
I see the moon and the moon sees me, God bless the moon and God bless me
This is baby boy's favorite rhyme. Everytime he sees the moon he yells "moo, moo" and starts swaying back and forth expecting the rhyme. Here is a moon that had him shouting "Moo, Moo" at the top of his lungs! These were taken as the moon played hide and seek with us from behind the clouds...and this time of year there are plenty of those around here!!!
For all these and other freedoms that you have fought and died to protect...
Thank you that I can worship in any way I please
Thank you that I can gather with others to protest
Thank you that I can vote
Thank you that I have the right to home school my children
Thank you that I can own a gun
Thank you that I can travel and visit the world
Thank you that I can get my day of justice in court
Thank you that I own the land on which I garden
Most of all thank you that when I tuck my children in at night I know that you are and have always been out there keeping us safe from those that wish us harm.
Note: These photos are of an antique flag (45 stars) that hangs in our living room, hanging a flag indoors is a wonderful way to introduce your kids to national history, love of country, and civic pride.
When I was taking pictures of weeds for yesterday's post the chickens were out keeping me company. We have 13 hens that I let loose in the garden when the growing season is over. One of my darling Barred Rock hens is molting. Now molting chickens just arent very attractive. Old feather are falling out and new ones haven''t completely replaced them yet. She just looks so dishevelled!
She must be sooo embarassed standing next to that beautiful Buff...can you say bad hair day?
I was wondering the garden yesterday (between downpours) and thinking of all the grand plans I had for it. ..a bed just for asparagus would be nice, some flowers around the chicken yard would make it pretty, a greenhouse could be used all year...on and on I imagined. As I was dreaming of my perfect garden I was rudely confronted by reality staring up at me from all corners . .. WEEDS...dried seed heads everywhere, empty for the most part having spewed their little seeds everywhere, sigh.
Weeds, the torment of gardeners around the world, have taken over my precious bit of land. I have to admit that it is my own fault. I have not kept up with the weeding like I should (remember my strawberry patch?) So lest I forget, I took out my camera to chronicle all the weeds and to have a visual reminder of what can happen it you neglect your chores. So I'm saying right here, right now, that next year will be different!
I'm embarrassed to say that I could have posted at least 20 more pics of that many more varieties of weeds but I didn't want to scare you...or myself!
Daisies make me smile...any color, anywhere, anytime, I just can't help it! If I was a flower I would want to be a daisy, a happy, hardworking flower rarely bothered by pests, that's me...now I'm not saying I smell like a daisy though, kinda stinky they are!
Hmmm, let me revise this...I work like a daisy but smell like a rose, that's it, a very accurate description I would say, lol!
Here are some that are still blooming up a storm in the garden, bless their little stinky souls!
I know you're smiling...just can't help it can ya ??!!!