Category: the homestead


Enchanted afternoon


Parker, the middle great grandchild decided he wanted to spend the day with Pa and Gamma Grape.

We agreed and entered the wonderful world and imagination of at three year old for several hours.

Our toy box has none of the electronic bells and whistles, so it was not long until I was sitting in the arm chair with him as we drove to the store, inconveniently running out of gas and having a flat on our imaginary adventure. Things that have happened in his world.

Later, after a meal of hot dogs, mac and cheese and pickles, I turned on the computer to share Parker with some family far away.

In the toy box, he found a Spiderman figure, a large two piece Easter egg and some Lego’s. These items became a space ship. He and Pa had a serious discussion over where the ship would go – moon or Mars.

Finally he succumbed to a nap, snuggled on the couch with an afghan and stuffed toy. I might need one too!


We have been visited by winter. Last week, 8.5 inches of snow and then about 3 inches of fine sleet.

The sleet has compacted to a great layer of very slikc ice, thick enough that my 130 pounds will not crack through the crust..

This morning, with temperature hovering around 10 degrees, it fell to me to take water to the kennels and check on the chickens. Not a difficult task on most days and one I have done many, many times in the past. Dressing for the weather, in high top boots, heavy coat, fur hat, I picked up my water jugs and stepped out.

The porch and stairs, nicely cleared due to the efforts of Hubby and Brett was no problem, nor about the first 20 steps across the glacier that was once our yard.

Then, Right foot went one way and left went another as I tried some sort of ice skating move! There was not grace, no beauty in my loss of traction, water spilling from the jugs just made the whole situation worse!

I found myself resting on the ice, on the well padded portion of my body, wondering ‘what now’?

Simply put, I was uninjured (if you don’t count my pride) but never the less in a mess! No way could I get up on that slick stuff, I would have to crawl to something to use to get up!  Sudden realization that my gloves were inside was not  pleasant knowledge. Sliding across the layer of water covered ice, I was remembered all the safety rules – not quite soon enough!

I made it to the dog pens, got back on my feet, carefully made my way back to refill the jugs and started over, with a walking stick in hand.

Soon the task was complete, the animals cared for and yes, now the gloves are in my coat pocket!


I walk into the kitchen for more coffee.
Hubby greets me with “It’s 2 below right now.”
“And you think I want to know that?” is my reply.

And it doesn’t really matter, the weather is something we have and can only accept.

Outside my window, sunshine, a few clouds zip across the bright blue sky in the wind.

Cardinals fluffed out to keep warm, stick close to the feeder and preen a bit in the sun.

I think, I can choose to grumble about the cold, or enjoy what is given to me outside that window.

I am warm, cozy and being treated to a lovely view. Things to be happy about, many do not have even this simple pleasure.

The mail brings catalogs of garden seed, poultry and crafts to contemplate over the coming days. Winter will pass.

Daylight arrives a bit earlier and lingers longer, Spring will come , it always does. All is well!


Ice fog settled over Sunrise Ridge during the night. White coats gently wrap branches, waiting for the sun to come over our hilltop. Then my world will be filled with brilliant jewels!

High clouds and blue sky promise some sunshine for the up-coming day.

Diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires will sparkle from the branches in the sunlight.
I love  mornings like this – especially when I can stay inside to enjoy it. Sometimes I have to wish for a ‘pirate chest’ to store them up.

It’s a big blessing today, this month has been so overcast that a sunny morning by itself s a great joy.


I really hate to admit how behind the times I am. Apparently I still live in the past.
Technology and I are on a speaking basis. I can operate my computer and surf the internet. I have even progressed to using Skype, something I love, to chat with family and friends from time to time.
But I have no idea how to do more than run through the channel listings on the satellite box to find a TV channel. I have no idea what many of the options on the remote even do. I could manage quite well when we only had 3 channels and a dial.
I know the TV has buttons to make it do things or change functions for the DVD player. I do not know how to do those things. If I want to watch a movie, I require assistance, usually from a preteen. :\
My cell phone is prehistoric, it makes calls and I have managed to figure out texting, but not ‘test-speak’. It won’t even take a picture. It stays for the most art in the bottom of my purse and reminds me of its existence, most often in church, when it beeps (loudly) to let me know it needs to be charged.
My kids have asked on occasion, that I answer their phones – forget that! They have no buttons or keys, I can never figure out what to do.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate technology and many of the things it does.
Instant communication, social networking and millions of choices for entertainment are great, I think I will see if some of the little kids can teach me to use what I have.


Several years back, I did quite a bit of babysitting for family members. It included some ‘Mom, I need some laundry done’ and a parent who worked night shifts.

In order to hang on to some small shreds of sanity, I developed this set of general rules.
We are having lot of guests here, this end of summer time, so I dug out the rules to make sure everyone is on the same page; that page being mine.

RULES

There are other rules enforced, respect for one another, a loose division of labor, (If you can open the bread, get it out and spread peanut butter, you may be on lunch duty.)

It worked quite well before, it will be interesting to see how it works now.


If you read the recent post, “Green beans in a jar”, you know that I had some great help and fun with canning vegetables this summer.
Grandson Erick entered a jar of green beans and one of tomatoes in his local county fair last week.
I proudly add pictures of his blue ribbon winners.
green beans

Erick ribbon


Three gallons of green beans arrived in the kitchen on Sunrise Ridge.
I shanghaied one of he current resident teenagers this morning and demonstrated the fine art of tips, tails and snapping to a more or less willing apprentice. Before long, aid apprentice got the hang of things and we raced through the last half-gallon to see who was faster. ;)
The next part of the lesson involved jar and canner preparation.
While water was heating in the pressure canner, the assistant finished heating beans and getting them properly into the jars.
Soon we had 7 jars of beans in the canner and a respite of time while they cooked.
I regaled my young helper with tales of long ago July days when canning meant keeping the wood stove going, and how glad we were when another was procured and set outside under a big oak tree. There was still a wood fire to feed, but being out where there was a breeze sure beat doing it inside.
Now, I admit, I am pretty sure my helper still has no idea about the wood stove canning and I hope never as to learn how to do that particular thing.
We got the second canner load ready and all finished by 11:30.
That gave us plenty of time to fix dinner and prepare for the second lesson.
We did tomatoes this afternoon, and assistant was pleasantly surprised to find out by dipping the lovely red orbs in boiling water for a few minutes then into ice water, the skins slip right off.
So, now the pantry shelves are filling. A teenager has learned some new things and I have had a very good day. Yes, a very good day!


This week, it has been ‘just the two of us’ here on Sunrise Ridge. Digging through the freezer in search of inspiration, I came across a beef roast. o doubt, I purchased it a while back when there were more mouths to feed, but since we hadn’t had beef in a while, I decided to fix it.
Sunday, it had not thawed, so Hubby cut thin slices and fajitas were the dish of the day.
Monday, I put the roast in the slow cooker with veggies and after several hours it appeared with biscuits and grave as the centerpiece for dinner.
Today is Tuesday and roast beef sandwiches were tasty for lunch as well as roast beef hash for our dinner.
There is still a pretty good chunk of meat left for two people. I packaged it up for a return to the freezer, it will appear again when I feel a hankering for beef. I Wonder what guise it will have then?


Someone asked about the worst kitchen disaster you ever had.
I ran that through my brain and thought of this one: Several years ago, I was getting a ‘company’ meal ready. The dessert was to be a pineapple upside down cake. As I was removing the cake from the glass pan to cool, there was a knock at the door. Startled, I bumped the tray it was on and at the same time dropped the glass baking pan on the floor. It shattered, the cake went down right on top of the scattered shards of glass. Truly the worst disaster. Dinner was late, after the cleanup and I have no idea what I might have served for dessert that night.
The second worst, when I think of it, was one night when there was sleep over at our house. The girls decided to make fudge. You know how fudge is sometimes, this was one of those times. It did not set up. The girls poured it down the sink. You guessed it, it set up in the drain! Hubby spent much of the next day unclogging the pipe.

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