Thursday, April 30, 2009

Chickens are funny.

It was cold, cold, cold outside this morning. My tomatoes are showing it...and so were the girls.
When I went out to check their food and water they were all huddled up in the corner. And...when I entered the coop...they stayed in the corner. They didn't even come running to see what great treats I might have had for them.
I'm telling was cold.
Eventually they got up. And when Nellie saw that I'd brought the camera she decided to hop up on the ramp for a photo op.
She's smiling. You just can't tell right now. She's quite subtle.

Sweetie wanted in on the action too...even though she's a bit skittish. I think she was trying to overcome her fears. So I snapped away while she was being brave.

Good job, Sweetie.

Betty, on the other hand, is not shy. She's bold. And friendly. And loves the camera.

And even though she may not be so happy that THIS is the photo I chose to share today...I did anyway. You know why? Because I love how her feet look! Chicken feet are awesome. I'm snapping away...and talking chicken talk...and wondering in the back of my mind just HOW crazy DO my neighbors think I am when all of a sudden I feel a little something on my back side.
I turn around and what do I see?

Why yes. Of course. It's Libby...pecking at my REAR END! You can see my blue sweatshirt in the bottom left of the above photo...and just prior to my snapping this photo...she was PECKING at my BUTT. Not hard. And it didn't hurt. Maybe I had a loose string? I don't know. I have NO idea. I DO know that it was FUNNY.
And look at sweet Reggie. He is calming down around the girls. Thank goodness. I still won't let them out when he's in the yard...because he's a DOG. And a carnivore. So it's just best to play it safe. But here you can see...he's outside of the coop...looking the OTHER heart palpitations. No saliva dripping. Just a mellow dog rounding up his little herd of chickens (he's part Australian Shepherd).

Good boy, Reggie. Good boy.

I'm very generous. And very humble.

So...because I'm generous and I like to share...I wanted to give you links to some very creative and funny blogs.

I have been an avid read of The Pioneer Woman for quite some time now. I don't remember when, or how, I found her blog. But I've visited often ever since. I've tried her recipes...I've been inspired to use a few more features on my camera...and I've laughed OUT LOUD BY MYSELF...because of her amazing, beautiful and successful blog.

Just this morning as I was perusing said blog...I followed a link that she had to another very funny blog, Coal Creek Farm. Funny. Another one that made me laugh OUT LOUD BY MYSELF. I think my eyes even teared up a time or two. Not to mention, her son's name is Seth. Anyone who names their son Seth has GOT to be cool. Ahem.

So, in honor of The Pioneer Woman and her "Keepin' it Real" mantra....I will now share a picture of my kitchen on the day that I made pepper jelly. Yikes.
Nice. I hope it's worth it. So far my pepper jelly hasn't set up as much as I'd like it to! Still crossin' my fingers.

And if you go visit these funny, inspiring blogs...tell 'em I sent ya'...even though they haven't a CLUE as to who I am.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wednesday in the Word.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

11"No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

--John 8:6b-11

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I love the Grocery Outlet.

Cranberry Feta (50 cents)+ Prosciutto (99 cents) = Delicious Cranberry Feta and Prosciutto Stuffed Chicken Breasts for dinner tonight. Served with a side of Roasted Potatoes with Fresh Herbs (cut from my backyard) and a green salad and you've got a delicious, gourmet (seeming!) meal for under $7. Not to mention...a chicken breast and a half leftover that will make yummy sandwiches for lunches!
This is why I LOVE to shop at the Grocery Outlet. I get some of the most interesting foods there that inspires me to make things I might not normally make. I buy different things all the time. Sometimes things I've never cooked with before. It challenges me to be brave and try new things. And it introduces my family to new things, too. So fun...
And next time...I'll remember to take photos! Oops.

I'm listening.

The Journey

One day you finally knew

what you had to do,

and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice--

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

"Mend my life!"each voice cried.

But you didn't stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do--

determined to save

the only life you could save.

--Mary Oliver

Hurry up!

We let the girls out into the yard the other night...all at once. We've been letting them out one at a time but never all at once. I was a little nervous...but they did pretty good.

After a while it was time to head back to the hen house. Here you can see me trying my best to get a group photo...and this was the best that I could do.

They were in a hurry to get home!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pepper Jelly Update.

As of about 4pm, ALL 7 jars of pepper jelly *popped*!
Now, we just have to wait for them to set...and then, the taste test. Keep your fingers crossed!

Look what I whipped up!

Yesterday, while at the grocery outlet, they had big bags of jalapeno peppers for a dollar. I grabbed two bags...determined to make pepper jelly.
I went to one of my favorite recipe sites and browsed around until I found the recipe that I thought sounded the tastiest. I scribbled it down...literally...and headed to the kitchen.
I got the jars sterilizing in the giant canning pot...gathered all of the ingredients and piled them nearby...

Then got to chopping! Not too spicy, please! I've never done this I wasn't sure how many seeds and membranes to leave in. Hope this works!
Next I tossed the chopped peppers into the mini food processor and chopped them finely...leaving a few chunks for kicks!
There...that looks about right!

Once all of the peppers were chopped and measured I placed them in a big pot along with cider vinegar and sugar. The directions said to bring it to a rolling I did. Then I added the liquid pectin. Look at that vibrant green...

Once the jars were filled the directions said to tighten the lids then invert the jars for 5 minutes then turn them back over and wait for the telltale *pops*! of about 20 minutes ago...out of 7 jars I only had 4 *pops*. So I'm not real sure how this is going to work out...but we shall see.

I suppose if the other jars don't pop we'll just be eating 3 jars of pepper jelly quickly. Hope it's not too hot!
I can't wait to try this on cornbread!


It is a chilly Monday morning. Chilly. The cold wind is blowing and my heater is running. And honestly, this is fine by me.
I've got a lot running through my mind this, meals, money, business, job opportunities, ministry, friendships...too much at once. So...what do I do? Zone out and blog.
I guess the thing to do here is to stop worrying...because "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" (Matthew 6:27) It does me absolutely no good to worry. All it does is cause anxiety...and anxiety is not of God. As a matter of fact...God says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Phil. 4:6)
So, obviously, I am not relying on God at this very moment in my life. Obviously, I am facing the wrong direction...and I am not moving toward God. I'm spinning in circles...getting more and more confused and lost and anxious...and allowing the enemy of my soul to take charge.
This is not what God intends for me. Not even close.
So...because I know the Truth. And because I know that anxiety and worry are not of God. And because I know that God loves me and provides for me and guides me and cares for me...I will turn around, face Him, and move forward.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Along the way...a Haiku for you.

Tendrils grasp. A rose
stands tall in the summer mist,
glad to be noticed.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dinner with an old friend.

Last night I headed to Sacramento to have dinner with an old friend.

When I was 21 or so I moved to Sacramento. I got a job at a trucking company as the receptionist. The ladies that worked there weren't very nice...except for Elaine. We met in the break room and hit it off instantly. We've been friends ever since.

Over the past 20 years, plus, we've kept in touch...with the time in between sometimes longer than others. This past time we allowed three years to pass...and we've decided that is not acceptable. The good part is that we always pick up right where we left if no time has passed. To me, that is the sign of a really great friendship.

Recently we got in touch again...and made a dinner date for a week later. So last night I hopped in the car and headed to Sacramento.

Say hello to The Governator....

This is the capitol of our state...and where Arnold works. It was Friday after 5 so I'm sure he was gone for the day. But I was watching for him!
I parked in the garage Elaine told me to, and waited for her to arrive. I saw her the minute she drove up...even though she had a different car from the last time I saw her. I just knew it was her. She parked. We squealed. And we hugged. And squealed a little more. It was so great to see her...kindred spirits shouldn't be away from one another for so long.
We headed to the restaurant, Paesano's, chatting and laughing all the way.
We got a table right by the window overlooking the outdoor patio. Perfect.
She ordered a glass of red wine. And I ordered a cherry coke.

We shared a salad of mixed greens, candied walnuts, dried cranberries, feta and, I believe, a balsamic vinaigrette. DE-licious. SO good. (My picture was you just have to trust me when I tell you it was beautiful...and, again, SO GOOD.)
We looked at the menu...and since Elaine had been there before she told me all of the items she recommended. And really, nothing on that menu did NOT look good. I could have ordered anything and more than likely would have been in culinary heaven.
But...what caught my eye was one of the Daily Specials: Chicken and Portabella Mushroom Raviolis with Sherry and Cream Sauce. Mmmm. That sounds good. I'll have that. (Can you name that movie?!)
And THIS is what arrived. I'm salivating just telling you about it! It was very good. And very garlicky. Very. But worth it. (although I'm not sure those around me today will agree...I'll just be sure to chew lots of gum.)

When I go out to eat I try to order something that I can't cook at home. And so far I've not tried to make a ravioli. That's not to say that I won't try someday. I think I will. But until then, ravioli is always a good choice for me. I love ravioli...and have since I was a little girl. We used to go to this Italian restaurant in the Bay Area, Banchero's, with my grandfather. And I think we must have ordered the Family Dinner Special because it seemed like the food just kept coming and coming! We'd sit in the bar and wait for our table...the adults drinking adult drinks...and my brother and I drinking Shirley Temple's and Roy Rogers. Then we'd sit down for dinner...antipasti platters, giant bowls of minestrone, garlic bread, family size bowl of salad...and then, as if all of that wasn't enough, the main course! And I would order ravioli every time. Creature of habit? Maybe. But that's OK, because those chicken and portabella mushroom raviolis were worth not being too adventurous!
Elaine and I met at 5:30. And we sat down to eat around 6:00. And I don't think we left the restaurant until after 8:00. We talked and ate and talked and ate and talked and talked. It was great.
But eventually, the line for people waiting to be seated got to us and we decided we better give up our cozy table by the window. So we headed out to find a cup of coffee.
We decided to walk about 4 blocks or so to Starbuck's. Old faithful. Along the way we played with our cameras while there was still a tiny bit of light.
Yellow chairs...
Lonely bike...

And finally...our destination. Here's "Patrick" hooking me up with lots of whip cream and a caramel drizzle on my iced latte. Because, really, after that cherry coke and cream sauce I just hadn't had enough richness. Or calories. Ahem.

What a FUN evening. We didn't leave the parking garage until after 10:30! Five solid hours of conversation, delicious food, creativity and wonderful company. Five hours...but it seemed like five minutes. It went by way too fast.
That just means we'll have to do it again....real soon. I love you, Elaine!

*Elaine has her own blog...go pay her a visit!

Friday, April 24, 2009

I'm in the mood for a Haiku.

I'm waiting on You.
Listening. Starving. Hoping.
Take a deep breath. Wait.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pray with me.

I was offered a job today. I am excited. And stunned. It's just a little part-time job. But it's in the local christian book store. I applied there back in January and she just called me today. I have an official interview on Tuesday...but so far, it looks promising.
If you would, I'd love it if you would join me in prayer...that if the job is meant to be mine, then it will be mine, plain and simple.

Thank you...

Make do or do without.

When it comes to food, "doing without" is not an option. Not even if I wanted to. I'm not of those people that can just NOT eat. I get grumpy and mean. I get sick and headachey. And whiny. And did I mention mean? Trust do NOT want me to go without food.

On Monday I stayed home to get some things done around the house...and eventually, I got hungry. And since I certainly wasn't doing without...I decided to "make do". I thought to myself, "Hmmm...what can I scrounge up to eat using what I already have?"
I opened the fridge and did a quick survey: I had a bag of sourdough dinner rolls, a bit of leftover pizza sauce, a bit of leftover mozzarella and Parmesan and some green onion. Sounds good!

Perfect! Pizza breads it is! I added some cottage cheese and a glass of milk on the side( you think my body is in need of some calcium or what?) and called it a meal.
And a good one at that. If I don't say so myself!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


My absolute favorite time of day.

This is my living dusk.
And my husband's guitar.
It is an accessory.

Wednesday in the Word

Old art.
Isaiah 43:1-2
1 But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD, your God,

Monday, April 20, 2009

Good night.

When I got home tonight I went out to check on the girls...
...and this is what I saw. All of them perched, lined up on the rim of the doorway leading out to their little yard.
You'll notice that you see three faces...and one behind! The behind belongs to Libby, the self-designated overseer of the gang. She's looking out into the coop...watching out for danger.

And as usual, Betty is being confrontational. Their personalities are so hysterical.

Except for Nellie, the buff on the end. She is SO LOUD. Oh my goodness...she is the one that will get me in trouble with the neighbors.
But for now they are quiet...and cozy and safe.
Good night girls.

My favorite tree.

Spring is here. The Japanese Maple is fully bloomed. I love this tree.

Here it is out in front of my house.

It's the first thing we planted after we moved in. I thought this little square planter would be the perfect place for it so I could look out my windows and see it every day. I was right. It's beautiful!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Now I get it.

Years ago...four to be exact...we visited Chris' grandparent's in Ohio. They live on 2 acres in a tiny town about an hour outside of Cleveland. It was a wonderful of our most favorite times. Even the boys will agree that Grandma and Grandpa's house is the best! It's not that the house itself is so special...3 bedrooms, one and a half baths, a basement (which was quite the novelty for us), a kitchen, an eating area and a living room. Small really. But there was just something about it that made it special...the owners I would guess.

At that time I was into gardening...but only flowers. Chris' grandpa had gardened all of his life. HUGE gardens...he grew everything. Then he and Grandma would preserve it..either by canning or freezing. In his prime, Grandpa was diagnosed with MS. And slowly but surely his gardens got smaller and smaller. But he never quit completely. He continued to grow tomatoes and garlic for years so that he and Grandma could can spaghetti sauce. It was famous in their small town...everyone wanted some of Fred's famous sauce.

So when we were out visiting I noticed that Grandpa's garden was full of weeds. I offered to help him by weeding a bit. He took me up on my offer gladly. It was a beautiful morning...and it was a good time. I felt helpful. And he appreciated it.

We stayed two weeks. We caught fireflies. We woke up to a major thunder and lightning storm in the middle of the night. We celebrated Seth's 9th birthday there. We went on a hay ride.What a great time we had. The day before we were leaving I was talking to Grandpa about gardening...hoping to gather some wisdom from someone who'd gardened his whole life, literally. I made the mistake of asking about growing flowers. "Flowers?!" he balked, looking at me like I'd just lost my mind,"What the hell good are flowers? Why would you waste good dirt on something you can't even eat?!"

Hmm. Well...hmmm. Good point. Why would I waste good dirt on silly old flowers? Yes, they are pretty. And nice to look at. But how much better is looking at a blossom on a tomato plant or a cucumber plant knowing that in a few short weeks it will be food? Thanks to Grandpa, my mind made a switch that summer.

Grandpa passed away two years ago this past 15th. We sure do miss him. As I dig in the dirt out back and plant seeds and seedlings I think of him often. How I wish I could just call him up and ask him a question about how close to plant green beans...or what to use to get rid of this pest or that...

I love Grandpa... like he was my own. He was a good man. Funny. Honest. Sarcastic. And kind. He loved his family. And made newcomers like me feel like they'd been a part of the family forever. Grandma and Grandpa's house was all who entered.
And I think he'd approve of the marigolds. Yes, they are a flower. But they have a purpose.
We miss you Grandpa.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

technical question.

I turned my blog into a three-column layout using a tutorial I came across a while ago. I like it a lot. But I can't figure out how to make the center area wider...or the right column more that it stops cutting off the right edge of my photos?

Any technical help out there? Anyone? Please? I am so not technical...and how I was able to follow that tutorial I'll never know. I think it just speaks volumes for the person who created the tutorial...they had to have done an excellent job for me to be able to anything technical whatsoever!

Spread your wings and fly...

Or at least stretch them out a bit!
Last night was the chickens' first full night in their new home. I have to say, having chicks in the house was funny and quirky for about a week, maybe two. But after 3 weeks or so...and actual birds with feathers? It wasn't so cute anymore. It was definitely time for them to be outside.
They did pretty well for their first night! They are enjoying their new digs. They are still getting the hang of the ramp and going from the run area to the house area. I have to say, chickens aren't the smartest animal God created.
Here are Nellie, Libby and Sweetie snacking on bugs. They're loving that!
Poor little Sweetie on the right. She's the runt of the bunch. I think she may be a day or two younger than the others. She's not growing feathers at the same rate and is considerably smaller. But she's doing well...and holds her own.
Here are Nellie, Betty and Libby.

Betty's trying to stare me down.
Can you see Reggie in the background? Or rather, can you see his MOUTH with his tongue hanging out? I am telling you...he is making me so nervous with my chicks!
Here they are, all clustered together. You know...they all get along quite well. None of them is particularly aggressive. I'm glad for that. I can't stand a bully.
Is that a Stink Eye I see? Betty is such a smart alec.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dear God...

I can't hear You.
Could You speak a little louder, please?

Thank you.

The Big Bad Wolf.

aka...The Big Dumb Dog.

And I'm pretty sure he's not thinking, "Can't wait to get some of those fresh, brown eggs."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday in the Word

Psalm 8:3-4
the moon from my backyard
3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A monologue...

...starring Nellie Catherine Gallagher.

You talkin to me?

YOU talkin' to ME?

Well, I'm the only one here.

Oh yeah?