Sunday, December 8, 2013

Do You See What I See?

Honey, come quick and look at this!  my husband called excitedly.  I quickly ran to the window to join him. It was a glorious start to the morning.  I grabbed the camera and raced outside to capture the moment.  Suddenly, the moment of wonder was shattered.  All I could see were power lines cluttering my view.  How could I capture this beauty when the picture wasn’t perfectly composed and pretty? 

Just take the picture.  The commanding silver voice cut through my anxious thoughts.

No Lord.  I want it to be perfect, I stubbornly replied as I glance at my truck to see if standing on the bumper would elevate me above it all.

Lovey.  My Child.  He gazed at me sadly as He slowly shook His head.  Do you see what I see?

I paused and looked again more carefully, once again captured by the beauty of the sun illuminating a thin cloud that crowned the mountain with gold and glory.  Click.  Power lines, houses, and junk pile included.  Yes, somewhere within all the messiness and imperfection that is here on earth, I had for a brief moment, in spite of it all, glimpsed a small piece of Heaven.  The award winning, accolade receiving photo wasn’t what mattered.  It was learning to see with Kingdom eyes.

Yes Lovey, keep seeking the babe.  Keep your eyes on the Kingdom.  Keep following the star.  Until.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Thoughts

I am consumed with humanity. The hollowness, the human-ness, helpless. There is nothing to do but reject the wretchedness. With hope, lifting my soul to the LORD - my Redeemer -my Ransomer. The One who wore the mantle of the humanity that hammered the holes in His hands. 

The emptiness of my heart and life have been replaced by the emptiness of the tomb. I trust in that cross-crucified, curtain-tearing, crypt-conquering Christ. He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Prescribing Common Sense

Actually had a good experience at the student health clinic today.  That's probably not a normal thing to say after having been to a doctor's office.  I haven't gotten over the flu 100% that I got at Christmas and my ears were starting to hurt. Went in today and the NP confirmed that I have an upper respiratory infection.

Then she said, "I don't want to freak you out but I'm not going to prescribe any antibiotics if that's what you came here for."  I told her I actually hadn't come in earlier because I was afraid that was what they were going to do.  She said new research coming out of Europe is showing that antibiotics aren't that effective in this sort of case.

She recommended a nasal steriod to help the inflammation go down so my sinuses can start draining and using my neti pot.  I couldn't believe it.  She knew what a neti pot was?  And was advocating it?  Then she said I was dehydrated and needed 3L of water today.  She said that was a lot and for the third liter I needed electrolytes.  She recommended gatorade and I told her I wouldn't drink the stuff because of all the other garbage in it.  She said she understood and to just drink chicken broth instead or add some sea salt to water and have a banana.

I was completely blown away that she didn't want to cram me full of antibiotics and send me on my way. What a relief!  And she actually listened to what I had to say, asked intelligent questions, and I felt like my treatment options were within the realm of what I was comfortable with.
Going to the doctor's office is never going to be on my list of fun things to do, however, next time, I'm not going to wait so long!  It also gave me hope that some practitioners of Western medicine are realizing that pumping people full of drugs is not always the answer.  
 Anyone else have a Doctor prescribing common sense lately?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Study Buddies

My two study buddies sleeping on their quilt by my feet.

I've got Fridays off this semester and then Monday is a holiday so it should have been a fun four day weekend.  Instead, I have been in my office most of the time working on a project for one of my classes.  It's frustrating me to no end.  So I'm taking a study break with my two buddies right now.

A couple of years ago, we hired an artist friend of ours, Debbie Graviss to do their portraits.  You can see them on her page if you scroll down and look for Julie and Annie.  As part of the process, we had to take almost a million photos of the girls so she had a good photo to work from.  Here are some of the outtakes and fun photos that came out of that process.

 Julie treeing a squirrel.

Annie got tired of laying and posing.

Julie's got a tickle up her nose.

Two happy, good looking dogs!

This is one of the photos Debbie ended up using.   These two dogs always put a smile on my face!

Okay, last goofy one.  Goes to show that composition is important!  Silly girls.

What goofy things do your dogs do that always put a smile on your face?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Daily Living

Yesterday I got 11 quarts of smoked chicken/turkey stock canned up.  That was fun because it was the first time I'd used the canner since we moved.  Feels good to have a few things in the pantry again.

Today it was back to the real world, or as real world as being a full-time student is I guess.

When I got home I had a hankering for something warm and cozy to eat.  Decided on French onion soup.  Carmelized the onions for over an hour in the cast iron.  Then I added some of the broth from the smoked chicken that I didn't can, and finally popped it in the oven to finish it with the cheese.  It was exactly what we were craving.  Then I'm also finishing up dehydrating 5 trays of mushrooms tonight.

Finally, to round out the evening, there were four laying hens listed for free on craigslist.  So, I went and picked up 3 sex-links and a black and white hen that I'll have to try and figure out when it's light outside.  Unfortunately, their owner could no longer afford to feed them so she was giving them away. 

I've only been getting on average 2 eggs a day the last couple of weeks from nine hens and she said she was getting 3-4 from these gals so we'll see.  My other 9 hens were also CL freebies earlier this fall.  So now our backyard includes four Royal Palm turkeys, and 13 laying hens.  

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Free Old Books!

Do you know about the internet archive?  If you love libraries, this is a place you can get lost in!  It's a free resource with all kinds of old books, as well as music, audio, and video recordings.  I haven't looked at any of the other stuff, just the books, but there is some GREAT stuff in there!  You can read on-line, download to your kindle, or save as a pdf.

For instance:  Poultry Production by Lippincott, 1916.  Everything you wanted to know about how they raised poultry before bagged feed and antibiotics.

Here's another one:   Secrets of meat curing and sausage making; 1922.  Because everyone wants to know how to make sweet pickled spare ribs and braunschweiger liver sausage, right?

Or how 'bout some Weather lore by Richard Inwards; 1869.
"A year of snow, a year of plenty."

Here's something fun:   A manual of politeness, comprising the principles ofetiquette, and rules of behaviour in genteel society, for persons of both sexes; 1842.  This covers general deportment all the way to personal hygiene.

For your entertainment there's always Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads by Alan Lomax, 1938.  Here's one that I liked:
 The Cowman’s Prayer

Now, O Lord, please lend me thine ear,
The prayer of a cattleman to hear,
No doubt the prayer may seem strange, 
But I want you to bless our cattle range.

Bless the round-ups year by year,
And don’t forget the growing steer;
Water the lands with brooks and rills,
For my cattle that roam on a thousand hills.

Prairie fires, won’t you please stop?
Let thunder roll and water drop.
It frightens me to see the smoke;
Unless it’s stopped, I’ll go dead broke.

As you, O Lord, my herd behold,
It represents a sack of gold;
I think at least five cents a pound
Will be the price of beef the year around.

One thing more and then I’m through,
Instead of one calf, give my cows two.
I may pray different from other men
But I’ve had my say, and now, Amen.

I could go on and on: ghost towns, gardening, tall tales, folklore, cowboys, outlaws, farming, parlor games, fashion, wit and humor, dogs, poetry...  

Oh, and one more, a cookbook I just discovered that I think is a hoot:  Marion Harland's Complete Cookbook, 1906.  She incorporates life lessons along with cooking. 

What are you reading on these cold, dark Winter days?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Following Recipes

Do you follow recipes?  I used to when I was learning to cook.  Now I'm much more comfortable treating recipes as guidelines as demonstrated earlier this week... 

I was given this beautiful book for Christmas this year!  It is full of wonderful things I want to make.  For instance:  brown butter ice cream, country-style terrine, salted butter tart, and the slow roasted pork belly with fennel and rosemary.  However, I started with the duck fat biscuits with cracklings on page 141. 

It seemed like a pretty simple recipe.  After all, there were only 7 ingredients.  Flour -check.  Baking powder -check.  Sea Salt check.  Chopped chives... hmm -tarragon?  Sure why not.  Duck fat... uh no.  But I do have some chicken fat that I skimmed off the top of some chicken soup last week.  It has a few herbs and other stuff kind of mixed in but it should work.  Poultry cracklings...  never heard of such a thing.  Oh well, why let that stand in the way of a delicious recipe.  We'll just skip that part and continue on.  And finally, milk.  Well shoot, none of that either.  But wait!  I've got a pint of fresh raw cream. 

Okay, let's see here.  Of the seven ingredients, I'm going to omit one, and substitute 3 of the remaining six.  Sounds like a plan to me!  Whipped it together, popped it in the oven.  It turned out so divine that I'm not sure if I'll ever make the recipe the way it was written.  Or then again I might -depends on what's in the fridge!

So how do you cook?  Pinches and dashes or cups and tablespoons?