Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving....

Being grateful for... 
loved ones
good jobs
good health
everyone under one roof
(a sturdy roof)
reliable cars
(more than enough, really)
good friends
(really good)

Thanksgiving day will be full of...
Eating...a lot.
Laughing...a lot.
Catching up.
Picking up where we left off as if time hasn't slipped by.

Happy Thanksgiving...xo
(it's my favorite...)

ps...A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is on tonight at 8pm!
I can't wait!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday, Monday...

It's Monday...and I'm not at work. That is a glorious thing, isn't it? Have I ever mentioned how much I love working for the school district?

The weather has finally turned...the leaves are just about done falling from the liquid maple, but the pecan tree just keeps on giving. That darn thing...leaves, sticky sap, seed pod thingys that explode when they hit the ground and disintegrate into a chartreuse powder that gets e-ve-ry-where...oh, and of course, pecans. You name it, it drops it. All.year.long. It's a huge pain...but I'd miss it if it were gone. Isn't that so like a person...complain and complain about something or someone...but when it's gone, you miss it...

So I'm still in jammies (no surprise), sipping coffee (no surprise) and watching bad made-for-tv movies (no surprise). The only thing that must be done today is a doctor appointment...a teen and his knees, unfortunately I'm thinking he's getting that from me. Why must we pass on the bad stuff?

But there's good stuff, too...we'll focus on that instead. xo

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday morning...

Heading to church today...fourth week in a row. 
One week at a time... 
So far, so good.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Do you ever wonder about the history of food?

Homemade croutons to accompany French Onion soup. Yes.

Do you ever wonder about the history of food? I do. Especially simple, delicious recipes. I think my fascination began years ago when I first started reading about the "simple life"...self-sufficiency, making food from scratch, growing your own, raising chickens, that kind of thing. It could get a bit overwhelming, I'll admit, but some of the info stuck with me.

I think what struck me most was the ability people had to make a little stretch a long way to feed a family. There is a video series I love, Great Depression Cooking. Clara is adorable, rest her soul. She had some great ways to make food stretch. This is another interesting video series, people really worked hard to feed their families. We've got it pretty good, I'd say.

Some of the foods that got me thinking recently were French toast and French onion soup. They are so simple and made with such few ingredients I can't help but think these were recipes born out of necessity...out of lack...someone used what they had in an effort to feed their hungry family and created something delicious. This utilizes two of my favorite things...good food and resourcefulness.

I decided to do a quick search and came across a site that lists the history of food... Food Timeline. I instantly knew I wanted to share it. I can't wait to really take some time to dig in and look around. I am intrigued with food history. A couple of summer's ago I read The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder...partly because I hadn't read it since childhood and partly because I wanted to see if there was reference to how they cooked, what types of foods they prepared, what they ate during that time period. And she did...she wrote of making cheese and of making maple candy by freezing syrup in the snow, just two I can think of off the top of my head.

Feeding our families is a big job. And if we want to feed them good, healthy food, it's an even bigger job. I'm not gonna lie, working full-time puts a damper on the "make from scratch" ideal. I prepare my family convenience foods more often than I'd like to admit. But I try to balance it out...boxed mac and cheese with a fresh salad...or instant mashed potatoes (yes, you read that right!) with fresh steamed green beans and a seared steak. (I'm telling you, this meal can be ready in like 15 minutes!) I figure it's a good compromise. And my family's not complaining!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

possum in the hen house!

We've had our chickens for about 5 years now. And for the most part it has been easy. Feed them, give them fresh water, clean their coop now and then, let them out to free-range and forage from time to time. Simple, really. Not much to it. And in exchange they give us fresh, beautiful, brown eggs.

Sadly, last year we lost one of our girls. She got sick and we couldn't figure out why. We tried our hardest to save her...but after almost three weeks it was obvious that she wasn't going to get better. So we made the decision to let her go humanely. It broke my heart, but it was the right thing to do.

Other than that, keeping chickens has been good.

Well, at about 3am Sunday morning I was jerked out of a sound sleep by the sound of something animal of some sort screaming almost. I was half asleep so I couldn't discern exactly what it was but I was hopped up out of bed before I had a second chance to think about it. I asked Chris if he heard it and he sleepily replied, "Yes. It's a cat."

But I knew it wasn't a cat. And then I heard it again...this loud screech screech screech screech...over and over again. This time I was just about sure it was the chickens. I put on my robe, slipped on my flip flops and grabbed the flash light. I shone it out the back door to the chicken coop and there I could see my two golden Buff Orpington's, Nellie and Sweetie, cowering in the corner of the chicken run. I knew right away something was terribly wrong.

Number one, the girls go into their cozy coop at night. So for them to be out in the run at 3am was extremely abnormal.

Number two, where was Betty? She wasn't with the others.

I ran back to the bedroom and frantically told Chris, "Honey! It's the chickens!" He hopped out of bed immediately and we ran out to the backyard, me in my robe and him in socks. Chris cautiously peeked inside the coop and there hissed a HUGE possum. (I'm not kidding, he was HUGE.)

We formulated a plan, pretty much looking like The Three Stooges, but in the end it worked. Chris grabbed a rake and got that ugly possum out of the coop and I grabbed the girls one by one and took them to safety in the garage.

Poor things, they were so terrified and so groggy...ya know, chickens go into a trance-like state at night while they sleep. That's why they're so easy to pick off. Fortunately, the possum didn't hurt any of them. It wasn't looking good for Betty, however, as she was still trapped in the coop with him. She's lucky her frantic sister squawked like crazy to call for help, and she's lucky we heard it! Who knows what we could have woken up to? Chances are the possum was just looking for some eggs. But he was big enough to eat a chicken if he felt like it, so it's possible we caught him in time.

At one point, when we first got out to the backyard, we heard rustling in the trees and we thought for sure that whoever the intruder was had made off with Betty. We were SO relieved when we saw that she was still in the coop.

In the middle of all the craziness our phone began to ring. I didn't have time to answer it as I was running back and forth getting the chickens to safety and trying to keep an eye on Chris, making sure he wasn't attacked by a rabid possum. As it turned out it was our neighbor two houses down, "Michelle! Something's attacking your chickens! Wake up! Something is attacking them, bad!" That goes to show you how loud the squawks were.

In the end...all was well. The chickens were snug and safe and at peace in the garage. And Chris and I went back to bed...eventually. I gotta tell ya, that got our blood pumping!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

could it be?

Could autumn finally actually be here? 

The leaves are falling...that's a good sign. 
The temperatures are cooling...that's another good sign.'s raining today! My favorite sign ever. 

We're getting there...slowly but surely. Welcome to California.