Thursday, December 31, 2009

Home

As many of you know my friends Rusty and Lynette have been on a long journey with their daughter Olive Hope. I have been praying and rallying for them since her birth. Two days ago they arrived back in the USA from Thailand. What a blessing it is that they all arrived safely. I didn't know it, but they even landed in Atlanta, which I think is pretty cool since so many of you here have been praying for her. And is God's cool little way I received my purchase from the Auction for Olive around the time that they landed here. I think that's pretty cool.

Today Olive Hope goes in for a major surgery. So many people are praying for this little one. She is so special. Check out their updates and lots of pictures on their blog here. What a little miracle.

Many thanks to all of you who have fallen in love with Olive. Your prayers mean so much. I love knowing that my dear friends are so compassionate and caring. I think it also so cool how you have kind of gotten to know my other friends in this crazy blogging world. You mean the world to me!

I am off to start my day and be praying for Olive, her mommy and daddy, the doctors and nurses all along the way.

Oh, and happy New Year's Eve!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

And We're Back

Wow, is Christmas really over? It flew by. Christmas eve was lovely, Christmas morning delicious, and the after Christmas celebrations truly enjoyable. I really don't like traveling at the holidays, but I do love our families. They make it worth it.

The highlights of this year's Christmas:
1) Surprising my niece with a guitar! She thought that she was getting one but was really bummed for it not to be under the tree Christmas morning. that is what you get for snooping and reading your mom's emails. That was the saddest kid face I have ever seen on Christmas morning. We showed up with it and knocked her socks off.
2) Time around the fire outside in Deland. So peaceful, restful and relaxing.
3)Gifts not being the focus this year. Seriously you could count the gifts under our tree on your fingers. I want to keep it this way. The real gift is Christ's love for us and our time spent together.
4) A day spent with old friends. I love our Christmas tea times, movie time giggles and times shared. Old friends are the best.
5) Our Christmas tree. I love it!! It was really Charlie Brownish, and true to form magically transformed with all of the ornaments and lights into a beautiful tree.

I suppose that today is the day to take down the decorations. I swore that I would leave them up into the new year. I love our tree!! But we are trying to decide if we can install a wood stove in our living room. That is hard to decide with an evergreen taking up so much floor space!! I will try to get some pictures up soon. And maybe some of a wood stove come to life!!! Here's to hoping!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wishing You all a Merry Christmas...

Today is one of my favorite days of the year, Christmas Eve. It is a long standing tradition in my family for us to gather together on this special night, exchange gifts and enjoy each other's company. When I was little the anticipation of gifts made dinner seem so long! We would entertain ourselves by playing with candles, searching under the tree for gifts and playing games. My cousins and I shared such joy in passing out all of the gifts. After everyone opened their gifts we were glued to the t.v. to see where Santa's sleigh was. We would come home and Mom and I would watch midnight mass on t.v. before going to bed.

They were magical nights. Some years we started the evening at a church service, others simply around the table. Every year we cherished our time together. And we still do. These days it isn't about the gifts anymore. It is about being together. Celebrating Christ's birth and the year that has past, getting ready to rejoice in the next one. Everyone makes an effort to be there. It is rare that anyone misses our special night together. This is the big one!

We have simplified our time together even more in the past couple of years. Instead of cooking a big dinner we switched to spaghetti so that the focus was on family time, not cooking. This year we have taken it a step further- take out pizza! I am really excited about this. No fuss paper plates and just good time together.

Dave has to work tonight, the duties of a new job. I will miss him. We'll have breakfast with my folks tomorrow and head out for his family tradition. They meet together the day after Christmas! These family times are our favorites. This year the focus is definitely not on gifts but on time spent together. I love it and hope that we can keep it this way.

Do you have any special traditions for this special day?

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Back to Blogging


Ok, I have to get back into blogging mode. Life has gotten the better of me and I haven't sat down to record all of it's happenings. I truly want to keep accounts of my cooking and our life with chickens on a regular basis. I need to.

Things have been hectic around here. Dave started a new job at the beginning of December. It is quite a change and not quite what he was expecting. His schedule has changed a couple of times and currently he works evenings, which means that we hardly see each other during the week. I know that eventually we will appreciate seeing each other more and spend our time together wisely.

Yesterday we went to a Christmas tree farm to cut down our tree. I picked one with not so great pruning practices this year. Who knew?!?! We ended up with our very own Charlie Brownish pine tree. It is on it's way to looking delightful. I have to decorate it today.

Tonight we have friends coming over for dinner. I am really excited as we haven't truly entertained in a while and these folks have never been to our home. I am making a Sombrero Chicken . Haven't made this in a while. I am also making a big ol side of collard greens, mac-n-cheese, lady peas, and trying something new ~ a mixture of sweet potatoes, apples and onions. I found the recipe at Farmgirl Fare. I love this blog! It reminds me of Pioneer Woman, but different. She has tons of recipes!!! I have already made her Easy Beer Bread. We loved it. Go check her out.

Alright, since we have company tonight, I should go finish decorating the Christmas tree. Well, start decorating it actually.

I promise to write again soon!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Sad Day for Chickens and Roosters in Roswell

You all know that I have chickens. I love my chickens. They are wonderful pets and the only ones that I know of that supply food for their owners when they are happy and content. I have been regularly attending city council meetings in Roswell standing up for people who want to own chickens in their own backyards.

Sadly, last night the Roswell City Council passed an ordinance that severely limits the number the chickens that one can own and banned roosters all together. I know quite a few people that this will affect. They will have to give up their beloved pets, or be ticketed. If this were my community, I would already be out of compliance with 7 chickens. I would not be able to get fertilized eggs from friends to hatch at home or at school because they would no longer have roosters. This is not the end of the battle my friends. People around the world were watching this case and their cities were waiting for this ordinance to be drawn up and passed before they wrote theirs. Here is the article from the AJC.

Roswell approves backyard chicken ordinance

By Ralph Ellis

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The protesters squawked, but the Roswell City Council approved a new backyard chicken ordinance Monday night that bans roosters and uses lot size to determine how many chickens a resident can keep.


The ordinance doesn’t apply to property of two acres or more that’s zoned agricultural or land that’s been annexed from Fulton County, most of which is farmland. And chicken enclosures must be set back at least 50 feet from neighboring property lines.No birds will be allowed at single-family homes on one-third acre or less. Homeowners with one-third to one acre can keep six birds. Homeowners with more than one acre can have 12 birds per acre, up to a maximum of 36. Chickens can also be kept at schools.

The council went back and forth over roosters, which many residents said caused noise problems with crowing.

“Ban the roosters,” said resident Keith Badalamente. “I’m asking for no roosters at all.”

But a last-minute motion by Lori Henry to allow roosters died for lack of a second.

The council spent two-and-a-half hours discussing the ordinance and listened to 20 members of the public who favored and opposed an ordinance. The final vote was 6-2.

Chicken keepers seemed surprised by last minute changes.

Under the most recent version on the table, residents could have kept up to 25 birds in some sort of enclosure at single-family homes, no matter what the lot size. People already keeping more than 25 chickens could have obtained a permit for up to 15 more birds. That version was based largely on Atlanta’s law.

Andrew Wordes, who had led the charge to loosen up the city’s backyard chicken law, seemed stunned after the meeting. He said he has about 150 birds, some miniature sized, and didn't know the proposed ordinance had changed.

“I’ve got .97 acre, so legally I’m allowed six chickens,” Wordes said. “I don’t see how we can have murders happening near city hall and we’re concerned about chickens.”

Roswell code enforcement officers cited Wordes in January for keeping chickens in his backyard. Former Gov. Roy Barnes, a professed chicken lover, took on Wordes’ case. A judge threw out the old ordinance in May because it was vague.

On Monday, several chicken keepers urged the council to take no action, saying various laws on the books already dealt with noise and smell problems that occur with chickens.

Mayor Jere Wood will be affected by the ordinance. He said he keeps two chickens at his law office at Woodstock and Canton streets. Those birds will have to go somewhere else, he said.

The law takes effect right away, but residents were given a 90-day grace period to comply.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

So Much to Write About...

I have so much to write about but so little time! I have to get some more chicken pictures up. Sorry that I have been bad about that. We love having the girls around. They are a hoot to watch and be around. We are currently getting 1 to 3 eggs a day. That means that a few girls are laying. We just don't know who the others are.

We did a bunch of traveling for Thanksgiving. And it looks like traveling is on the ticket for Christmas too. I can't believe that it is so soon! I am ready for some time off.

I have to run! Girls night at Ikea. We won't buy too much, don't worry. Actually one of my friends has a list. I don't have one.

I hope to write more soon. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Breast Pump

Got your attention, didn't I? No, it's not for me. My friends in Thailand are trying to get some manual pumps to donate to the hospital there. It can be used, but in good working order. I know that at least one of you who reads this blog has one stored away somewhere. Read more about donating one here. I am willing to coordinate getting it to them.

Also, the auction for Olive raised $12,500! So amazing! God is so good.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Auction For Olive

I think this is so cool. My friends in Thailand are trying to get their precious Olive Hope back to the states. Their family has found a cool way to raise some money for their travel expenses and care. They have an auction going on~bidding ends tomorrow. There is some really neat stuff. What a blessing!

Read about Olive's story here.

Check out the Auction for Olive here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Soft Heart

If you haven't figured it out already, I have a soft heart. I don't mean that I cry at every Hallmark commercial. I mean that I care deeply. I have been thinking about this lately, even found myself pondering it this morning at 5:30am over my morning cup of tea. I have realized that it would be quite easy to have a hard heart. I see them all around me every day. But for some reason I am filled with compassion. Why?

I think that there are many reasons that I have a soft heart. Most recently I have recognized that I cultivate a soft heart~ I seek it out and feed it. Through prayer, reading and action I remind myself to have compassion. I have read two books recently that rock my world. One is Not For Sale and I am currently reading Too Small To Ignore. Both address injustice going on in the world around us and abroad. Both cultivate compassion. Please pick them up for a good read. Of course, the Scriptures do the same.

I have been contemplating my upbringing too. I would say that I was raised in average surroundings. We were probably close to poverty several times, but I never knew that. My parents are still married to this day. We were in church every time the doors were open, and my parents responded to God's call to be home missionaries-now known as church planting. We drove about an hour away every Sunday for a long time to help start a church. My mom was the head of the Women's Missionary Union at our home church for years. I always heard about missionaries and their sacrifices. My dad was known to pick someone up on the side of the road and offer them a hot meal. My sister's friends congregated at our home when in need. I saw my Dad read is Bible every day. Our friends faces were many colors, coming from different countries. Everyone was welcome in our home.

My parents showed me a picture of what compassion looked like. They lived it out in front of me everyday. For that I am eternally grateful. It is a gift that can not be taken from me. They instilled compassion in my heart. I don't know that they ever expected me to travel to Africa, Europe, China and South Korea, but when God called me they knew that I was following His voice and weren't surprised.

Today I work in an environment that could easily harden one's heart. I can not imagine how people work in a public school and have hope without knowing the Creator of Hope. Daily I wonder how a student is the way he is. Why is that girl so sad? Will that one have a bed to sleep in tonight or a meal in the morning? I have seen the drug deal going the down, the gang fight begin, and the aftermath of casual sex, abuse and abortion. Why am I not hard as a stone? Because I have the love of my Father within me. Not my Dad, but God. I know that He created each and every person that I come in contact with. We has charged me with being His hands and feet here on this earth. I gladly accept. Will you?

I am part of a group that is seeking to stop injustice. Yes, it a big task. It is not overwhelming though. It has to start with the individual. Slowly we will educate others of the injustice in this world that CAN be stopped. We are hosting a screening of a film this Sunday November 22nd, 7pm at Fellowship Bible Church. There will also be a couple of speakers from International Justice Mission. Will you come? Unfortunately I will be out of town, but you can get excited because this is only the first of many more events to come.

To watch a clip of the film go to www.attheendofslavery.com

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Relaying Randomness

I seem to be slow on the ball, but I have loved my friends random posts lately.

Lleulu is forcing me to pet her and "making biscuits" next to me. I know that it is only temporary. She will turn on me any second now.

I took some benadryl. I could fall asleep right here. I have this weird rash on my face. Who knows why I got it. Was it the fast food yesterday, the soap, the water in NC or the heater last night? I hope that it clears up by morning.

I love fetching eggs from my chickens. I think it is amazing that they produce food for us. I also find it weird.

I love to cook. I am kind of picky about the food we eat. Sometimes I wish that I didn't care. It would be much easier to eat fast food and make hamburger helper. Or at least would take less thinking.

My friend Jen wants to have a party and watch Mama Mia. I intend on attending and singing all of the songs. Did I mention that I love Abba or that I have seen Mama Mia the musical 3 times? We might have to watch From Justin to Kelly although Jennifer won't possibly watch that with us again.

I want to read all of the time lately. I have been devouring books.

I guess I should go to bed and read. The benadryl is kicking in.

Thanks for the random posts ladies!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Seasons of Change

The seasons changing always affect me. I love fall. I love the color of the leaves. I love to have hot tea on a cold day. Fall is my favorite season. Maybe because the changes are so evident. Maybe because it is birthday and anniversary season. Maybe because Fall ushers in the holiday season.

Well, we are changing seasons in life this year too. Dave has landed a new job. He starts the last day of November. This is an answer to prayer. This is change. Change is good. Change is hard. Change is stressful.

The thing is that God opened this door. This has been hoped for. We are so excited about the possibilities~to get out of debt, to get promotions, to learn new things. The hours might be rough for while. He might have to work the holidays. But after Fall comes the Winter then the Spring. I am looking forward to the Spring.

I think that our time together in this new season will be sweeter. The moments not taken for granted so much. We took a great drive to Blue Ridge on Sunday to buy apples. We so enjoyed the time together, relaxed and laid back. I hope that we have more of those. I am wondering what the next season will bring.

What has this season brought you?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Little Bit of Church at Home

As most of you know, I have been praying for my friend's baby, Olive Hope. She has been moved to a hospital in Bangkok and is improving. They hope to get her stable enough to bring to the states.

I check their blog at least once a day to see how things are going. Today Lynette told a great story that brings a little bit of church to home and reminds us how much God loves us. Check it out here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Houston, We Have an Egg!

Our first egg! Excuse the fuzziness, I stuck my arm in the coop to take it. I found it Wednesdayafternoon when I let the girls out. I did the usual, " I guess that I should take a look." Surprise! An egg. I did a happy dance all of the way back into the house to get the camera.

Later in the afternoon I decided that I should take a look around to see if there were eggs anywhere else around the yard. Sure enough, I found a clutch of eggs in the claw foot tub. The claw foot tub also happened to be Lydia's new favorite spot.

Here are all five of the her pretty eggs. We are so proud of Lydia. Five eggs means that she had been laying for five days or so. I checked the eggs to make sure that they were good. To test an egg you can put it in a glass of water. If it floats, it is bad. The sinkers win. Every egg sunk. Ya-hoo! Normally I don't know that I will wash the eggs. If you don't wash the eggs they can stay unrefrigerated for 7-10 days. They have a natural coating called a bloom that keeps bacteria out.

I am so excited to have fresh eggs of our own. Did you know that by the time eggs arrive at your local grocery store that they are an average of one month old? Just think about how long we let them sit in our own fridges after we buy them. I am so happy for my fresh eggs.

And look how pretty fresh eggs are. Here is another fuzzy picture. It is hard to take a photo of an egg yolk. I wanted you to see how rich and almost orange it is. That is a free range egg! A deep color is a good sign of good nutrition. Let me tell you, it was yummy! It will still take awhile to get used to getting breakfast from our pets. It's not something that we are used to.


Thank you Lydia for the delicious eggs! She laid anther one today in the nesting box in the hen house! Go Lydia. What a smart girl you are. Thanks to my sister for this amazing photo of Lydia. Isn't she stunning?


And not to be left out ~ Atta Girl sitting on the handrail of our back steps. They like to sit there and look into the house. Atta Girl, will you be our next egg layer?

Mixed Emotions

Tonight I sit here with mixed emotions. Ok, mostly sad. I have been waiting to address it, but tonight is the night. I have spoken of my 94 year old neighbor on here many times before. I love her with all of my heart. She has been there my whole life. She saw my Momma's belly swollen with me, my first steps, scraped knees, and waved across the fence to me on my wedding day. We often sat and rocked and talked about food, the neighborhood and what God was up to. Her bible was always open- always. She is the most amazing prayer warrior that I know. If you need prayer you call her!

Two weeks ago Mrs. Williams took the plunge and moved outside of Mobile with her youngest daughter. To see the boxes packed up broke my heart. When I hugged her neck and she said, " I love you" just like she always does I almost lost it. We didn't say goodbye, but that we'd talk soon. Well, now I am losing it. I miss her terribly. We are watching over her house. And it is SO empty without her there.

She is doing well at her daughter's, eating more and gaining strength. I am so glad. I have called three times to check on her and just might call her every night from here on out. It just seems right. She has so much wisdom to share- she never drove, still wears only dresses, picked cotton for much of her life, hated to clean and cook but loved to eat and work outside. Oh, how I miss that woman! God be with her.

My emotions are mixed tonight because her great grandson and his wife will be moving into her house for awhile. They will fix it up a bit in exchange for staying there while they look for a place to buy. They are very nice, young, seem hard working. But they are not Mrs. Williams.

Change is good. It will be good to have someone next door. But will they pray for me? Check to see if we are at home? Ask me to come fix the t.v. or stove? Bake Dave a cake for mowing the lawn? Or shove $2 in your hand for taking her to the store or the doctor? Oh, what fond memories I have. I know that the new neighbors will be good too.

For goodness sakes Kara! She hasn't gone to heaven just to Alabama! It sure does feel like I have lost her though. Kind of like a big chunk of my heart is missing and aching still in place all at the same time. I miss her. I think that a trip to Alabama will be coming along here soon. We'll see how long I can wait.

For now it is off to bed with a book, some prayers for my friends and a special one for Mrs. Williams, thanking God to have her in my life.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Oh My Lands, This is Good!

Ok, so I bought some Swiss Chard last week at the farmers market. Absolutely beautiful. No clue what I would do with it. Poor chard. It sat in the fridge for a week. Today I had the will to cook it and thought about putting it on pizza. Sounds crazy, I know. I googled chard recipes. Tons of them out there! I settled on this one from Angel Valley Organic Farm in Jonestown, TX. You have to try this!!!! Lucky me I planted chard with my fall veggies. So excited!

For once, I followed the recipe pretty much as is.. It is tricky to get it on the hot pizza stone. Try flipping it over onto a cutting board then carefully flipping it onto the hot stone. So worth it! Excellent with some red wine. Yum...I am off to relax and enjoy this delicious meal.

Chard Pizza

Pizza dough:

4-1/2 tablespoons hot water

4-1/2 tablespoons milk

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

pinch of sugar

1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons whole wheat flour

1 cup unbleached white flour

Combine the hot water and the milk. Add yeast and sugar, and stir to dissolve the yeast. Mix in the olive oil and whole wheat flour. Gradually add the white flour, stirring to make a soft dough – the dough should be a little moist. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface (I use whole wheat flour for this) and knead it for about 5 minutes. Put the dough into an oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a warm, damp towel and let it rise in a warm place until it has doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes or so.

Pizza topping:

1 bunch chard (or any other greens of choice), roughly chopped

1 small red or yellow onion

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

handful of chopped pecans or walnuts

balsamic or red wine vinegar to taste

salt

olive oil for sautéing

4-5 ounces white cheddar or mozzarella cheese, grated

While pizza dough is rising, place pizza stone in a 500 degree oven, and warm it for 20 minutes. In the meantime, sauté onion in olive oil until it begins to soften. Stir in chard, handfuls at a time, and cook it all until wilted. Season to taste with salt and vinegar. After dough has risen, roll it out on a floured surface, and place it on a well-floured pizza peel or back side of a metal pizza pan. Distribute all but a few tablespoons of the cheese over the dough. Cover with the greens mixture, the chopped garlic, the pecans, and then the rest of the cheese. Slide the pizza onto the warmed pizza stone and bake in 500 degree oven for about 11 minutes, or until the edges are nicely browned.

Monday, October 19, 2009

No Time!

Where does the time go! I have so much to talk about and no time to talk about it.

Our anniversary came and went with a trip to Chattanooga. It was wonderfully relaxing. Pictures to come...

My birthday came and went with some small celebratory dinners and sweet sentiments from Dave, friends and family.

We lost one of our new chickens. Brown Chicken was very shy. Something gobbled her up during the night. She had gotten confused and gone to bed outside of the coop. Everyone else seems to be coping well. I choose to believe that she is in chicken heaven roaming the green fields. The new white chicken has been watching out for the little ones. We have named her Lydia. The other small chicken has yet to be named. Any suggestions?

I am having a Narimon party tonight and I am so excited. I am excited to educate people about the scope of human trafficking and prostitution. I am excited to see so many friends and family. Are you coming?

Gotta run! The day ahead is long and I have much to do. I promise to write and post pictures soon.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Birthday Wishes

It is almost that time of year again~my birthday. It snuck up on me quickly this year. October is a seriously busy month, especially this year. There is just so much going on. I am finding this year that my desires are changing. I mean, what I want or need.

Honestly, there aren't many needs in our life. For that, I am grateful. I do have some desires. I have decided this year to invest in our life. I have asked the family for fruit trees to plant in the backyard. I would love to have a small orchard. For now, 3-4 trees will do.

I have a wish list up on amazon. You can access it by looking up my name or email address. I like to look at people's lists out of pure curiosity. What do other people desire? Do we have the same desires? I have a ton of cook books listed, bird feeders, books, calendars, movies, a grain mill, etc. Mostly stuff for life or enjoyment of life. My guilty pleasures are the movies and a watch.

Do you have a list? What is on it? Desires, needs?

My birthday isn't until next week. I am wishing for good times with great friends. I can't imagine anything better for my birthday. I think that is a desire and a need!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

You're Invited


You're Invited to a jewelry party! I have handed out many invitations, but failed to get any in the mail. So, here is your invitation. This is a Narimon jewelry party. Here is a bit about Narimon~

You know that dream where you stand naked in front of a crowd of people? You feel dumb, ashamed. You have no dignity. You wake up glad it was only a nightmare.

Now imagine having that same dream every night.

Now imagine that it is not a dream, but real.

This is life for many thousands of Thai women and girls, who one way or another have been forced into showing and selling their bodies.

Now imagine that someone comes along and hands you the most beautiful garment you have ever seen. You put it on, it fits perfectly. You hold your head up, feeling once again that you are someone.

This is Narimon, the women's product division of Servantworks. Narimon products are handmade by women and girls who either once were forced to sell their dignity, or by their situation were at high risk to do so. Now they not only have work, but they make something they can be proud of. They begin to understand, some for the first time, that they are valuable beyond measure.


There was once a time when people knew who made the goods they purchased--the baker, the shoemaker, the blacksmith, the milkman, the tailor, etc. They weren't just goods, they represented relationships. When you bought a suit, you knew you helped John feed his family. In today's superstore world, things are just things. Something might bear the a famous name, but it's actually designed by an unnamed employee and made by someone else in a huge factory.

Narimon products are made with quality in mind, not charity. Each product is personally signed by its creator. When you buy a Narimon product, you know that you have helped a woman find her dignity.


Want to support the cause? Join us October 19th from 5-7pm. I'll have a few good eats and drinks and we will shop! The jewelry will be there, no catalog orders. Come get your Christmas shopping on and feel good about your spending. You are helping someone!

Leave me a comment if you want to come. Please include your email address or a way that I can contact you with directions. All are welcome! If you live out of town consider hosting your own Narimon party!

Friday, October 2, 2009

What You can do to Make a Difference

After reading Not For Sale, I wanted to know what I can do to make a difference. I found Wellspring for Living. They are a great organization. A representative actually came out and spoke to our FCA at school. They did a fantastic job and the students really paid attention.

In November they are having a 5k and 10k to raise money and awareness. I have decided to walk the 5k with some friends and students. Others are going to join us and run it. Want to join us? Click on the "Stop Injustice Run" to register. Under group name type in Marietta High School FCA. Also take a minute to get acquainted with Wellspring for Living. I think that you will be impressed with what they are doing. I am hoping for 12 or more people to join our group. Will you?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Please Pray

Some dear friends that I worked with while I lived in Seattle are now living in Thailand. They recently were blessed with a little girl, Olive Hope. She arrived in this world two and a half months early. Rusty and Lynette and loving on her and praying for her. Many people around the world have joined together in prayer for little Olive Hope. Since I heard of her birth she hasn't left my heart or mind. Will you join me in praying for them?

You can check out their blog here.

I love these people and so does God.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Shocking:

Please take the time to read this article. I think that you will be surprised about what is going in our own communities.

Restaurant investigated for prostitution, smuggling | ajc.com

Posted using ShareThis

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Something Worth Your Time

After our summer Bible study ended this year, my friends and I decided to start reading books with meaning and then get together to discuss them. The first book was my choice. A few people had told me that I should read Not For Sale. A group bread seemed fitting.



This book rocked my world and my heart. So many things are happening in the world around us that we have no idea about. Or, maybe we know about them but have no idea about what to do to change things. This book recounts some personal stories and shares ways that we can have an impact on the situations.

Please take the time the read this book. Once you pick it up, you won't be able to put it down.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Egg Anticipation

Saturday night while I was making pizza, I heard and awful loud and long clucking sound coming from the chicken coop. Of course I always expect the worst. I hurriedly washed my hands, put on my shoes and ran out in the rain to see what was the matter. Daisy, the beautiful blue(translate to gray) chicken was standing there clucking her brains out. Pickle came down to see what all of the fuss was about. I mean Daisy was squawking! Everyone within ear shot knew that there was a chicken in the vicinity. Lord, please don't let the neighbors report us!

She quieted down as I drew near. I think that she is going to lay an egg soon. That is my only explanation for her prolonged loudness. I looked around and didn't see an egg. Their first ones can be shellless, yes shellless, double yolked, oblong, tiny or huge. We are going to have to start checking regularly. Hopefully they start laying soon. I just hope that Daisy doesn't scream like that all of the time! I will keep you posted. Here is hoping for our first egg!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rain, rain go away

It has been raining for a week now. Everything is water logged. My collards and beets are under water. Who knows if they'll survive. At least it is early enough to attempt another planting if they fail. My lettuce is beat up and puddles of standing water are providing riparian entertainment in the yard. Welcome Fall.

I know that I shouldn't complain about the rain. We need it. I know this. But a week straight makes the days dark and gloomy. It has made me get some house work done, like cleaning out the bedside table that collects everything! I also got out my fall decorations. I have plenty of pumpkins. I think that I need some more pilgrims. My salt and pepper family set from Publix looks a bit lonely. I am going to keep my eyes peeled for some vintage looking pilgrims or turkeys.

The rain has also brought my exercise to a halt. I had been walking with a friend and am planning on walking with another friend two days a week on a regular basis. Walking in the rain is no fun. I want to get out there and use my new shoes! I am hoping for a sunny day tomorrow so that I can walk and the yard can dry out a bit.

What have you been doing during all of this rain?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Come Fall. Come

I have been tired lately. Work wipes me out. I have been trying to exercise regularly and keep us fed and clothed. Well, cleanly clothed. Two things put that off the last two weeks. First I fell in the garden. I went down like they do in cartoons- pretty much straight as a stick and almost on my face. My left arm saved me. Dave ran over horrified as I said, "My arm! My arm!" I got up, shook it off and finished planting the fall greens. It ended up that I pulled a ligament in my elbow. It is still sore sometimes, but mostly in the morning. Thank God for soft dirt to land on!

What else has kept me down? A nasty cold. Swine flu has been going around. I use hand sanitizer and wash my hands all of the time. I know that I was exposed because so many students at school are sick, but am pretty sure I only caught an upper respiratory infection. It is clearing up nicely with some elderberry and echinacea, plus some tlc.

On to better things.....

Fall comes soon. My favorite time of year. I love it. I love crisp evenings with the doors and windows open. I think that I relax a little bit. I love the pumpkins and leaves turning colors. I was born in October. We were married in October. My parents were married in October, too. It can't come soon enough.

Come Fall, come!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Yummy Bread



I made a delicious loaf of bread this weekend. I made the same potato bread recipe that I made before, but changed it a bit. The recipe is from Cooking Light. You can find it by clicking on the link. This time I made it with half white whole wheat flour and half plain. It worked out wonderfully!! I also use almost two thirds of the dough for the loaf and a bit over one third for the rolls. I like little rolls, and if you use half of your dough for nine rolls they are more like buns.

This is a really easy recipe and hard to mess up. I actually thought that I had, only for it to come out great! I hope that you try it soon. You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Lleulu's Baby

Meet Lleulu's baby. We call it Baby. It is dirty and grimy and Lleulu loves it. She carries it around the house and talks to it. This afternoon I came home to find Baby looking out the window. I couldn't help but to take a picture to share. This is the first time that I have seen Baby in the window. Note that her face is out, taking in the view.

Lleulu is also a bit OCD. One morning Dave turned my attention to Lleulu's toys on the floor.
Baby barely shows up on the blue tile. She lined up Baby and her bear. She attacks the bear when she needs to get out some energy. Today the bear got in a line up.

She showed them off proudly.


And pointed it out to me. She is so silly!!!

I have never seen a cat talk to her toys, line them up, or show them the view through the window. Lleulu certainly is special. We love her.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Girls

I can never get enough of my girls and I finally got a couple of closer pics. They are a bit camera shy, so I gave them some spoiled milk and rice. They do like it, but not quite as much as homemade tomato soup! They had the pleasure of eating the soup when Dave couldn't finish his bowl. Here they are...



Hasn't Pickle grown!! She is in the forefront here. She is so cute and the Girls really so love her. Edith is the black chicken on the left. She is starting to show some shades of green sheen on her feathers. So pretty!

Jemima, left, Atta Girl, right
Daisy, they grey quacker and Pickle in the background

Here is Pickle showing up the girls in front of the camera. She was strutting her stuff.

I just peeked out to check on them and they are in my tomatoes. It is definitely a favorite spot for them. Yesterday I looked out and thought that I saw them all under a bush. I was trying to find Pickle when I realized that there was another bird outside with them. It was bigger than Pickle but smaller than The Girls. I stepped outside for a closer look. A young hawk was sitting outside with them!!!! It didn't seem to be bothering them. I am thinking that their conversation went something like this:
Hawk: Hey Ladies!
The Girls: Hey....
Hawk: There anything good to eat around here?
The Girls: Yeah, but look out for the rats. We killed one this week.
Hawk: Rats?!?! I am definitely at the right place!
The Girls: Just don't pay attention to us, there is plenty for everyone, except rats.

It flew off when I walked toward them. Or should I say that it glided away. Literally. It was beautiful. I have seen it since apparently hunting small rodents. I hope that it catches the chipmunks so that I don't have to! You are welcome here Hawk. Just don't get a taste for chicken!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Peach Preserves

About a month ago a at the Marietta Farmer's Market a grower was selling their peaches. They were gorgeous and delicious. Upon arriving home, I wished that I had bought more. The next week I showed up ready to buy a box full. I was sadly disappointed when they weren't there.

Needless to say, I was overjoyed when another peach grower showed up in the spot to fill in the gap. They realized that people wanted peaches and no other growers were around. Yay! I bought my box of peaches and hurried home, only to have the peach preserve making put off to take care of the figs.

Here is the box of peaches. I had to work fast! Those babies were softening up every day.

Makes my mouth water just looking at them. Tree ripe. Little fuzz. Yum...... drool, but not on the peaches.

I mean can they get even more tempting? Look at how pretty they are all cut up. This is about 12 peaches cut up and just put on the stove top.

Cooking down a batch of peaches on the right and the figs on the left. It was a long day people!


The joy! The bliss! Peach preserves ready to put on the shelf and open up come winter. It is so delicious! I was half tempted to buy more peaches but my shelves are full. And after four days of spending time over the stove I couldn't do anymore. My feet and knees wouldn't let me.

They turned out so nice and so easy. I used this recipe. I would change the number of peaches to ten. Other than that, it is wonderful. Also for something different, and it takes less peaches, try this recipe for ginger peach marmalade. I used a blender and it turned out great. I can't wait to eat this on a warm piece of bread! Let me know if you try making either one. They are both delightful and very easy. I will use the recipes for years to come. I am sure of it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fig Preserves

I spent most of the last week and a whole weekend making preserves. I will start you off with figs first. A lot of people don't like figs. I love them! The sweet taste and that texture are one of a kind.

My aunt ant uncle have a two HUGE fig trees in their yard. Unfortunately my aunt suffer from diverticulitis and can't eat figs because of their hard small seeds. So my dad and I went over to pick them. It would be my job to process and can them. Once we started picking I knew that I was in for it! We ended up with at least 2 gallons of figs! Glorious wonderful figs! Oh woe is me..... figs have to be dealt with quickly. They are fragile little things. I followed my aunts instructions.

First my dad and I cut all of the figs in half, placing them in a large pot one layer at a time. Each layer was sprinkled with sugar, then the next layer added until you finish up with all of the figs. I took them home and let them sit over night. Then I had this:

The figs made thier own juice with the sugar. Can you tell how many figs we had? I couldn't count them.

Here they have been cooking for most of the day. I added a bit more sugar and a few dashes of lemon juice. I let them cook all day, stirring periodically.

Finally I put them in jars. It took forever! Looks like we'll be eating a lot of peanut butter and fig sandwiches this summer! Long ago I watched my mom and dad make preserves, Now i make my own. One of the things that they have passed down in the process is heat sealing. If your jam or vinegar for pickles is hot enough you turn your jars upside down for five minutes after screwing on the lids.

Here are my figs hanging around upside down. Yes, all of those are filled with figs! Then you turn them right side up. As it cools, it seals the jar. It makes a wonderful popping sound. 98% of the time this works. I still check my jars before storing them. My cabinets are full of figs!! It should be a tasty winter treat. I think that I will have to try my hand at fig newtons sometime too. I will keep you posted on that adventure! Stay tuned....

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Babies

Everyone has been wanting to see the new girls. They were babies to us when you put them beside our girls. Here they are. Pickle is on the left and Lemon is on the right.

This is just before we put them into their new home.



Dave really does love the chickens. Can't you see it?

Our girls were not sure what to do with the little ones. They shunned them and pecked them, but not hard. I can't blame the girls. In one day we took away the six boys, who were hard to catch, and added two little ones. They seemed to tolerate each other after a day or so.

Sadly, we lost Lemon last Saturday. I think that she was sick when got her. The stress of the move plus picking up some illness did it for her. We loved you Lemon!!

That day the girls adopted Pickle. Edith literally rounded Pickle up into the group. Atta Girl slept with her for a couple of nights before she started sleeping on the top roost with everyone else. They share their treats with her. They love Pickle and so do we. We are so glad and proud of them.

Pickle has grown in the last two weeks. I treated all of the girls with some medication just in case what Lemon had they all had. The combo of the meds, a good home and some good food seem to be working wonders on her. And apparently I just grow huge chickens. I need to get another picture of all the girls together. They are so fun! once the mosquitoes are gone I will be out there all of the time just watching them. Want to join me?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Busy

Sorry no big blog. I have so many things to blog about, but I am lacking the time. The chickens, tomatoes, peaches and figs have taken all of my time. You will get to read and see these very soon. Well, as soon as I have the time to blog.

Oh yeah, the one big thing that is taking up my time is work. That thing called a full-time job. The students are back and in full swing. I think that it will be a great year.

Right now I am going to hit the hay. A day spent over the stove has taken it's toll. It is time for bed my friends. I am going to bed with visions of preach preserves dancing in my head!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Coop, Here It Is!

I tried to find my pictures of the progression of the coop and couldn't find them. So, here is a video I took trying to catch the boys crowing. Of course they didn't. And I am not sure how clear the video is. I will take some more pictures soon. Anyway, Coop, Here It Is!

video

Thanks Dave for building our chickens an awesome home. They love it. And I love you!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Cock-a-doodle-doo?

I woke up this morning and opened the back door as I usually do. I like to feel what cool of the morning there is in The South! Today, as soon as I opened the door I heard a high pitched "cock-a-doodle", followed by a low pitched "cocka#*!". The boys are hitting puberty and they are finding their voices. I got outside far enough to see that Xena has become Zorro and is very proud of it! I tried to capture some audio but of course they stopped their crowing.

This morning I frantically tried to find them homes. Have I mentioned that we aren't lawfully owning chickens? Well, now I have. I'll bribe you with eggs to keep quiet about it. The crowing could draw unwanted attention to us. I have succeeded in finding homes for three of them. Hunca Munca, Hank and Elroy will be traveling tomorrow to meet their new owner, Josh. He has a good deal of land out in Lawrenceville where he breeds and raises chickens. He has 8 Cuckoo Maran hens just waiting for the likes of Hunca Munca and Hank! I am not sure who Elroy will be paired up with, but I am sure that he will find himself some lovely ladies.

Now I have to find homes for Trace, Zorro and Hyacinth. I mean Henry. Hopefully they will find one in Woodstock. Fingers crossed and prayers said.

The good news- Josh is bringing me two pullets! I am so excited. Oh, a pullet is a female chicken who is not quite mature. Once mature she is called a hen. My boys right now would be called cockerels not roosters. I can't wait to meet these new girls and pick out names for them. They are close to the age of my chickens and their breed should make them good layers. Hooray!

Here are a few pictures of everyone together enjoying a treat of leftover rice. They devoured it!



What a nice family portrait. We'll miss you boys! I really will. It will be all that I can do not to bawl my eyes out over them. It will make it a lot easier that they are going to a good home where they can make lots of babies! Maybe one day I will get one of their babies! That would be really neat. It is also easing my pain to get two girls in the trade. The coop won't seem quite so empty. I will post pictures of our adventures and hopefully capture some farewell shots.

The chicken saga continues! Stay tuned...

p.s. Josh is taking all of the boys after viewing these photos of them! I am so glad that they will all go to the same home. What a blessing!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tomatoes

The garden is starting to provide it's bounty. The Juliette tomatoes are coming in really fast. They are a yummy tomato kind of like a cross between a Roma and a grape tomato. My mom gave me a bunch to do something with as she was trying to figure out what to do with the large amount that she still had. I didn't want to take the time to blanch and peel them, chop them, cook them and make sauce. So I tried dehydrating them. They were suppose to end up like sun dried tomatoes.

Here is one tray ready to place on the dehydrator. I cut the tomatoes in half, leaving a bit of skin still attached and opened them like a book.

Here are a couple of trays stacked together. I think that the tomatoes look just lovely, but there was no way that I could eat them all at one time. Into the dehydrator you go!

Now we wait............... then rotate the trays. I also started to pick off the ones that were already dried so that they didn't become too crispy.

And here they come.........



Beautiful! And tasty. I plan to use them just as I would sun dried tomatoes. I might put some of these in olive oil with some spices. That makes them quick and easy to use in pasta or on pizza. I might also try putting them just like they are into sauces and stews.


I might even crumble them onto salads like bacon bits. I ended up making them slightly crispy. You don't want them too chewy or they might contain moisture that can cause them to grow mold. I am storing mine in the freezer and refrigerator just to be on the safe side.

I found this way of storing tomatoes very delicious and very easy. If you have a bountiful harvest I highly recommend drying some. You want to make sure that you use a variety of tomato that isn't very juicy, but is meaty. I think that you will enjoy them if you try them. As I start using them in recipes, I will let you know what I think. I want to come up with some creative ways to use them.

For now, I am off to slice up more and load up the dehydrator so that we can enjoy a bit of summer later on in the year.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pumpkin Bread


While cleaning out the freezer I came across some pumpkin that I had cooked and frozen last fall. I needed the space, so the pumpkin came out of hiding. I searched high and low for recipes to make and here is what I ended up with. The first is from a site that is extremely messy to read, but has good recipes. Here is the link. It is called no egg pumpkin bread and if you scroll down the page it is at the bottom. It is delicious! I made two big loaves and stuck one in the freezer. Oh, and for the sugar I used scant cups and substituted one cup of regular sugar with one cup of brown sugar. I may have used more spices too, only because I love a spicy bread.


Here is the second recipe that I made. It is from Cooking Light. This recipe makes a super moist bread. There were twelve muffins when I baked them and the recipe says that it makes 18. I made one pan of muffins and two mini loaves. I guess they were yummy since there are only six muffins in this photo!

I can't tell you which recipe tastes better. They are both good! The first one is very simple with very few ingredients. The second uses more ingredients, but isn't complicated at all. So now the challenge- which one do you like best? Try them out and let me know. At least put the recipes away until fall arrives and a cool autumn morning calls for pumpkin bread. I hope that you like them!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Back To It

Today is my last day of summer break. (Big, deep sigh inserted here) The summer has flown by so fast. I knew that it would. I have been trying to cram so many things into this last week. I have been fairly successful.

Here's a little list of what I got done this last week:
Organized and cleaned out the pantry
Organized my storage containers
Cleaned out and cleaned the fridge
Cleaned out cleaned the freezer
Cleaned out my closet
Experienced Your Dekalb Farmer's Market
Used up some pumpkin from the freezer
Shopped for new clothes for work

I also spent some time with friends, had technology training for two days and saw Harry Potter on Imax. I think it was a productive week. I still have some things to get done today. Mostly loads and loads of laundry. The good thing about doing laundry is that I can sit down and sip some tea in between loads. Maybe I'll even work on my Bible study in between loads. I also have to cream and freeze some more corn. It is only in season for so long, you know. I am going to get to it. Enjoy your Sunday!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Another One of My Favorite Things

Creamed corn has always been a summer staple in my house. My Papa used to grow Silver Queen corn, which I helped plant. After it was picked I remember my parents spending what seemed like a lot of time creaming the corn. A lot of people cut their corn kernels off of the ear to make creamed corn. My family has always used this nifty old fashioned contraption. If you ever find one, snatch it up! They are hard to find. Here are my hands making the yummy goodness.




I forgot to take a photo of the corn after I cooked it. It has to be cooked slowly so that it doesn't burn and I usually have to add some water. Lots of people actually add milk or cream and butter. We like it with just the corn and a touch of water. Have you had your creamed corn this summer?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

One of My Favorite Things

I love okra. I love the way it smells. I love how it gets slimy after it is cut.


I love how it makes a wagon wheel shape when it is cut. Sometimes it looks like a snowflake or a star. I think it is one of the coolest vegetables around.


And of course, it is the most delicious fried. I love the bounty that summer brings! I hope that you are enjoying it!

Monday, July 27, 2009

My Boys

I thought that I should introduce you to two of my boys.
First meet Trace. He is a handsome fella.

And here is Elroy. He really has grown a lot!

These boys have to find new homes. I hate to give them away. I know that I can't keep roosters, so I am starting the process of finding them a new forever family. Cheesy, I know!

I even fed them some of my delicious creamed corn. That is what is in the white bowl. They only got some because it started to spoil. They seem to love slightly spoiled food.


We love the boys and really enjoy watching them strut their stuff. I will try to keep you posted on the outcome!
 
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