Waste not, want not…using what I have!

 DSCN0802

Last week I responded to a local ad regarding a bartering offer and I ended up being gifted some plant starts.  A very kind woman took me to her greenhouse and explained how some things in life had been challenging this spring and she wasn’t going to be able to market her plants.  The “need” in the barter request was being fulfilled by another resource.  She said to take any starts I thought I could use or would want since I had responded to the ad and been willing to do the barter.  There were hundreds of tomatoes and peppers of all kinds imaginable.  Various herbs.  It was a wonderful place for me to be…just standing there in that greenhouse with such beauty in the bounty of food all those plants represented.

I tried to be realistic.  I thought about what I could and would do with tomatoes and peppers.  Salsa, spaghetti sauce, canned tomatoes, dried peppers.   I ended up with about 15 tomato plants and the same amount in peppers.  I had 6 pony packs which had cilantro, parsley, fennel, basil, another parsley and another herb that I am unsure what it is.  I think there were 3 squash plants that when I saw them at first I thought they were geraniums.  Might still be geraniums.  These plants aren’t marked. The woman had left me alone and said to help myself.

Butterfly pepper

Butterfly on the pepper plant in the garden.

Because I lost last years garden bounty, I have been hesitant to plant all my seeds and starts in the ground.  I am a renter, and I am anticipating I will be leaving here at some, I just don’t know when.  I was offered a place to garden in one of the many growing areas on this property and I utilized that.  A couple of days ago I planted 6 tomatoes and 5 peppers and 3 pony packs of the parsley and cilantro and basil in the area I cleaned out to use .  I still had LOTS more to plant. I wanted to have a mobile garden.  One I could take with me if I were to move before harvest time.  I did have some black pots I have acquired as well as I intended to make planters with old pallets.  I have been collecting some pallets over the last few weeks.  Figuring out how to use them was the next line of thought.  That was my goal this afternoon.

Do you know how hard it is to dismantle old pallets?  They are put together to STAY put together. The have a bazillion nails in them.  Nails that aren’t easy to get out. I took apart 2 pallets a few weeks ago and realized I just don’t have the strength to do that kind of hard repetitive work.  So I had to figure out a way where I would just cut them without removing the nails.   After numerous searches on the web this is what I came up with.

I cut the pallet into three pieces.  I then cut to size and nailed into place some empty feed bags.  I have used these feed bags to add decor to the walls of my coop also!  The shorter ones are filled with organic potting soil and planted with the herbs.  As a “filler” in the taller one (to conserve on the cost of plant mix) I went and scooped up some of the old straw/shavings/chicken poop that was scattered after the last two cleanings of the coop.  The bottom layer is 9 months old and really breaking down well.  The top layer is still fairly dry and has been sitting for over 2 months.  I believe that anything sending roots down further than the 8 inches will find that the stuff underneath has broken down more and will allow for nice long root systems.  Another experiment for me to monitor.

I did the same trick on the big black pots I used.  I filled them about 1/2 full with the partially composted coop mix and then topped them off with the Organic Plant Mix.  I worked until I ran out of the 2 bags of soil I had and it was almost dark.  I think I planted about 14 pots.  Some of them have double duty with more than one plant in it.  It felt so good to accomplish this.  I have been very slow to get going with planting a garden of any type, and yet when God provided all that I needed to do so, I had to get out there and do my part!  I am grateful for this woman’s generosity.

IN the midst of doing this planting I realized I had not eaten anything except for the Latte I had treated myself to when I was running errands in town.  I had received a FREE coupon a week ago.  Free is always good, but that free drink wasn’t going to give me the energy I needed to get this job done.  I had no ideas of what sounded good.  I just needed food.

What I had that needed to be used

Peppers, onion, Portabella mushroom, mayonnaise, avocado, fresh tomato and potato, basil, Organic Seed Bread, Mozzarella cheese

I opened up my little fridge and started searching.  What you see in the picture is what I pulled out  that needed to be used so it wouldn’t go bad or to waste over the weekend.  There were 3 peppers and a little bit of red onion that was left over and then the Portobello mushroom that my friend had given me the other day.  Hmmm…a sandwich sounded good….what kind could I throw together with this stuff?  I continued to rummage and found the little bit of the homemade mayonnaise with avocado added I had made last week and it was still good, but wouldn’t be for much longer.   My boyfriend had said something about a Philly Beefsteak Sandwich earlier and those peppers and onions triggered the idea into action!  An epic Portabella Philly Sandwich was about to be born!  A sandwich of this magnitude needs to be served with some chips.  But I didn’t have chips.  Yet I had bought an organic russet just today on my trip to Cartwright Meats.  I had also bought 3 of their Bacon Wrapped sirloin with hopes of a BBQ over the weekend.  They are only $3.49 each every Friday!

The chips: Turn oven to 450 degrees.  I used my stoneware bake pan and heated it also during the preheat time.  The chips were made by slicing on a mandolin and soaking in rice vinegar and water brine for 20 minutes. I drained the water off using a salad spinner to get them really dry! This was some good exercise for arms!  Then I drizzled some EVOO on and made sure all the slices had some oil.  I sprinkled Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime blend all over the chips.  I opened the oven and spread them out as single level as I could.  I cooked for 10 minutes and then turned them and cooked another 10 minutes.  This was the perfect amount of time to make the sandwich.

This is how the sandwich was made!!!

Slice 1/2 red pepper, 1/2 green pepper and 1/2 small red onion.  Saute in cast iron skillet on medium heat in 1 tbsp. EVOO until onions are carmelized.  Remove from heat (I used my 12 inch cast iron and only put 1/2 the pan over heat so I just pushed the pepper onion mix on the unheated side to keep warm).  There should be just a small glaze of the oil left seen in the pan..it’s barely there. Slice washed and stemmed mushroom and lay sliced into hot pan.  Put one slice of Organic Seed bread in the toaster.  Turn the mushroom after about 1 minute when it is just seared.  Spread lightly with homemade mayo.  Stir mushrooms with peppers to combine all in pan and add 3 sprigs of fresh basil and cook one more minute. Take off heat and squeeze half a lime over the entire pan of food. Scoop onto toasted bread.  Place 1 ounce sliced mozzarella cheese on top of grilled veggies and place under broiler until cheese is melted.  Add sliced tomatoes and a spread more of the mayonnaise. Top with avocado and a sprinkle of fresh ground pepper and sea salt.

Portabella Philly Sandwich

Portabella Philly Sandwich

I hope you give this a try as a substitute for the traditional Philly Steak Sandwich.  The only thing I will change in my recipe for next time is to have a nice hoagie roll instead of the seed bread.  This has some juiciness to it and the bread didn’t hold up through the time it took me to take a few photos and eat it!  A hefty roll will be much better!  And it would make it portable!  Portable plants and portable Portabella Philly sandwich!

Advertisements

Restoring old cast iron…a messy job!!!

Crusty rusty gross looking skillets that have cooked with oven cleaner in a bag for over a week!

Crusty rusty gross looking skillets that have cooked with oven cleaner in a bag for over a week!

I have had a couple old cast iron skillets for a number of years.  I love them and use them often.  My little one is perfect for frying up a couple eggs.  The 9 inch pan has held the ingredients for a pineapple upside down cake many times through the years.   I recently came across a 12 inch pan and it was in really bad shape.  It was in an abandoned oven and had so much nasty stuff caked on there was no way it could be cleaned, or so I thought!

I have seen a couple threads on Facebook as well as pins on Pinterest on how to restore old cast iron.  I decided it was time to give it a try.  My pans could use some tidying up and the one I just got was in dire need of some help.

I knew I was going to have to use chemicals to do this job.  I simply do not have the physical strength to scrub at something like this repeatedly as I knew it would require.   I have tried the vinegar and soak method for oven racks with very poor success.  There was not going to be another way and I was resigned to it.  So I took the project outdoors and kept it quite contained.   I gathered my tools which were a big garbage bag, a pair of rubber gloves, and Easy Off Oven Cleaner.  I also made sure to have water nearby in case of contact with cleaner and I did it on a windless day!

I unfortunately didn’t think about pictures until after I had already sprayed the pans and let them sit.  The slimy mess in the bag is after they had sat for a week in the 80 degree sun, baking with the oven cleaner on them.   These first pictures are AFTER one attempt.  I had taken all the pans and placed them one at a time in the bag.  I would hold open the bag and use the plastic to turn the pan this way and that.  Then I put in the next pan and sprayed it.  I really soaked them with the oven cleaner.    I did this for all 3 skillets as well as a broiler pan I had found.   That broiler didn’t take the cleaner well.  I should have tested it on the bottom first!  Live and learn I always say.

I waited another 10 days and scrubbed all the goopy mess off again.  There was still some caked on nasty stuff on both the larger skillets.  So one more spray and another 10 days and today I gave them some attention again.  The 12 inch skillet is looking quite good.  All of the crusty mess is gone.  The small one has nothing left except a decent amount of rust.  The 9 inch pan still has some hard baked on mess so I will spray it one more time really soaking it and let it sit for 2 weeks.

I gave the pans a good soaking in a sink full of water with about 4 cups of vinegar in it.  The vinegar is supposed to help get rid of the rust.  I let them soak for about 90 minutes.  I took a steel wool pad to them and scrubbed some while rinsing them under running water.  I placed all the pans in the oven and turned it on to 250 degrees to let them dry and give them a slow heat.  After 5 minutes I took some paper towels and while using my lovely blue hot mitts I  rubbed Coconut oil all over each pan being liberal with the oil, but not having enough for it to pool anywhere.  I then placed both the skillets upside down in the oven and turned it on to 450.  WARNING!!!!  This causes smoke!!!  After about 20 minutes I had my fire alarm going off and had to open all the windows and I set the fan in front of the oven to blow the smoky air out the window!

I turned off the oven and again, using my mitts brought the pans out, wiped them thoroughly with paper towel which turned dark with the iron from the skillet.  I applied more of the oil and put them back into the oven while it was cooling.  I let them set there for over an hour.  I then wiped them again and made one more very thin application of oil and left them to sit in the oven upside down.

They sure look pretty now.  I can’t wait to make a BIG pineapple (or maybe another local fruit like blueberry) upside down cake really soon in that 12 inch pan.

This project cost less than $10.00.  I used 1 1/2 cans of Easy Off Oven Cleaner, 3 large plastic garbage bags, and 2 big hunks of steel wool.  My time was maybe 2 hours over the course of nearly a month.  Was it worth it?   Absolutely!  Griswold 12 inch skillets in good condition like this are selling for $175.00 to $450.00 on Ebay.   It really turned out to be a beauty.  It still has a little hue of rust coloring to it, but I think it’s as good as I am going to get it.  I can live with that.   Is it for sale?  NO WAY!  I have plans for this pan.

As a note:  This is the only harsh chemical I have used for cleaning since I have lived here.  I mostly use Shaklee’s Basic G and Basic H or the homemade vinegar cleaner I make with oranges.  If I could have figured out another way without the harsh chemical I would have.  If you know of a way that truly works without lots of muscle (scraping and using wire brushes and scraping) or without a lot of cost (sandblasting), please let me and all my readers know!  Thank you so much.

Capturing wild yeast and making sourdough bread!

This starter was created the beginning of the second week in May.

My list of new things to learn to do is always growing. When spring approached my research said it was a good time to capture some yeast and start my own science experiment on my counter. I read many different articles on how to make a good sourdough starter. The one I decided to follow was this one Sourdough Starter from Scratch: Collecting Wild Yeast.   My first capturing yeast was done in early April and it was growing well and I had been feeding it for a few weeks. I had put it in the refrigerator while I was gone from home traveling and when I tried to “fire it up” and reactivate it after a few days it developed some pinkish yuck so I threw it out. I started a new batch around May 10th and have kept it going on the counter ever since. I have tried four different Artisan sourdough bread recipes over the last few weeks and this weeks batch turned out the best in my humble opinion. My starter lives on the counter and I feed it daily with 1/3 cup of water and 1/2 cup WW flour. I toss 1/2 the starter about every 3 days. I feed it with AP flour the day before I intend to use it as that seems to create more yeast. The rest of the time the feeding is done with WW flour.

I have a little experience in bread baking over the years and anyone who knows how I am about recipes knows I have to go with my own flow and typically just use a recipe for some inspiration. That is what I did this time. I found yet another slightly different recipe and tweaked it to suit me using traditional American measurements since I have not acquired a scale yet. I found my inspiration with this recipe at Them Apples and I hope you take the time to check out this writer’s blog. He and I share a similar taste for foods! Lots of yummy stuff to be found and I love his layout!

I made my sponge using 1 heavy cup of my starter, 1 cup WW flour and 1 cup AP flour and 2 1/3 cups water. I mixed it with a fork and covered it with a cloth and it set on the counter from noon until 8pm. I wanted to have my bread ready to give a loaf to my physical therapist and my appointment was scheduled for noon the next day! I have learned over the last few weeks that baking good sourdough bread really is about taking your time and allowing the fermentation of the yeasts to develop. I love my set of Vintage Pyrex bowls and the large one was just perfect for this process!

While the sponge was doing it’s thing on the counter I tidied up my kitchen and prepared for an interview I was schedule to do at 2pm one of the reporters from the local newspaper. They are doing a full spread article on compulsive and problem gambling. I have been interviewed about problem gambling a few other times in the past.  I am happy to say this is the first interview I have had where I have significant recovery under my belt. The two other times for newspapers occurred when my life was in a shambles or I was literally sitting on my hands white knuckling it so I wouldn’t go place a bet. There was also a time I was interviewed for a TV newscast, and that occurred when I had been at a treatment facility and was at about day 45  and still trying to figure out how I was going to manage life once treatment was done. This time I am doing well today and it felt good to know that.  I am sure the article will focus more on the devastation that occurred during my 16 year battle rather than all that is good, and that is ok if the story helps educate the general public on the devastation that gambling can bring on a life. One other thing that is significantly different about this interview is that I chose not to remain anonymous. I am allowing the paper to use my name as well as my picture. Not because I am anyone special. Quite the opposite. I am just another person, who lives in the country and raises chickens and likes to cook and bake and has life challenges and loves people and is emotionally and mentally sound and happy with life. In a nutshell that is. I have nothing to hide anymore and it felt very liberating to say yes when asked if my name and photo could be used.

After the interview I hoped on my motorcycle and ran to town to check the mail for my guy while he is out of town and then back out to Applegate Valley Lavender Farm. I had promised my new friend Deborah Thompson, the proprietor, that I would help her do some preparing for the upcoming Oregon Lavender Festival. Check out her webpage and learn more about the Lavender Festival. Aside from enjoying this sweet ladies company, who wouldn’t want to hang out at a lavender farm and enjoy the scenery and the scents and the animals? I love it there. We played with her farm animal friends and pulled some weeds and ate some watermelon. It was a great couple of hours.

At 8pm I was back home and done with phone calls and little things that occupied my time for a while. It was time to make some dough! I dumped the bubbly mass of sponge into the bowl that goes with my standing mixer. I added 1 cup of WW flour, one cup of AP flour and 1/2 cup of oatmeal flour (that I grind myself with Organic Oats) and 1/2 cup of whole oats. I sprinkled in 1/2 tablespoon of sea salt and started up the mixer. Nice and slow at first. I didn’t want flour all over the place! It is a very wet batter as you can see from the photos. I added maybe another 1/4 cup of oatmeal flour after about 3 minutes because it was still sticking too much on the sides of the bowl. Once it all started to come together I amped up the mixer and let it fly for about 5 more minutes. I love my Kitchen Aid Mixer. It probably is the most used appliance I have ever owned. It is started to get a bit wobbly from so much use. When I use the dough hook to knead bread I have to hold the thing still because it bangs all over the place. I just use it as a resting place for the time it takes to knead it! After about 8-10 minutes with the mixer into an oiled bowl it goes!

Now to let it rise. I always pre-warm my oven to 350 degrees for just ONE minute and then turn it off and set my bowl inside with a tea towel or loose lid on it. I have a gas oven so it always stays a little warmer. It is a good thing I am a bit of a night owl because this dough still needs attention. As Rich at Them Apples states in his blog, this dough needs attention for about 4 hours or so. I would just stick my hands in the bowl and punch it down and turn it over and punch it down a few times each hour. At about 1:30 in the morning when I was just about ready for a good sleep I shaped the loaves into nice rounds and left them on a piece of parchment paper. I did the tea towel trick for holding their shape and it worked well. I covered them up and went to bed!

I awakened at 9 and padded out in my bare feet and turned the oven on to 450C degrees. I had a few things to do to put my “Barter Basket” so set to that while waiting for a good solid 30-45 minute pre-heat. I placed my rack in the middle of the oven and had a loaf pan full of water underneath that was heating with the oven. I also threw in some oiled new red potatoes to let them roast utilizing the pre-heat temps! I had my favorite Pampered Chef rectangular baking stone preheating in there too. For those who are curious my “Barter Basket” is a basket of home cooked and home canned food I put together each week for my physical therapist. She is treating me sans charge except for whatever I choose to bring as a barter gift. It is working out well for both of us. She and her betrothed are getting married in September and she has just asked me to provide some of the food for her dinner, which is a BBQ as well as highlight her bridal breakfast with some quiches and muffins and such! I have been so excited and honored about this. I have been enjoying cooking for most all of my adult life and to have someone ask me if I will cook for them for their most special occasion is just wonderful!

At 10 a.m.  I was ready to throw them in and have them bake. I had covered the bottoms of the loaves with a good layering of the oatmeal flour before letting them rise and so they moved about on the parchment paper I had set them on pretty well. I opened the oven and gently lifted each one with a nice long spatula and closed the door gently! Baked for 10 minutes at 450 and then turned the oven down to 200. The loaves were  just barely brown after 10 minutes. I checked on them after another 20 minutes and they didn’t sound quite hollow when tapped so I gave them an additional 5 minutes. On to the rack to cool while I got ready for my appointment with my PT.

My “Barter Basket” contained a jar of Marsala Chicken that I had cooked overnight in the crock pot, the roasted potatoes, a jar of canned peaches, a jar of Blackberry Plum jam, a plateful of Lemon Bars a loaf of this lovely Artisan Sourdough Oatmeal bread and a dozen of eggs from my Layers! My wild yeast starter is still growing on the counter and I believe I will make this same recipe again next week. I had a slice of this bread and it is very good, but I will add a little more salt next time. I think with the WW and Oat flours salt requirements increase! I hope you enjoy learning about Capturing Wild Yeast and making some good sourdough bread!

 

I still get “stuck”.

Today when I was working with my physical therapist she asked me to move in a specific way.  I couldn’t do it.  I listened to her directions and thought about what she said and tried to make my body follow the instructions and I couldn’t do it.  I was stuck!  There was a block in the neurotransmitters making it so I could not send a “move” message to that particular part of my body.  It brought tears to my eyes.  Realizing I was stuck and have been for who knows how long and that being stuck is potentially a big part of my pain, at least the pain in my back was really mind boggling.  I was really blown over by the emotions that were attached to realizing that I have been STUCK for possibly a long time and I didn’t even know it.

We get that way in life sometimes.  We go along and find a way of doing something and it works for that time and so we do it the same way over and over not realizing that there might be an easier or healthier way. We often are completely unaware that our “body mechanics” are a bit off, or our way of seeing things is with glasses that only have pinhole openings. Or we were taught by our families and friends that “this is just the way we do it”, and so you listen and follow the examples you’ve been given and get stuck doing it the way everyone you know has done it for years.  Even if it hurts.  Even if it causes pain that limits movement.

My therapist has me doing Stott Pilates, which is based on mindfulness of body movement.  Breathing, pelvic placement, rib cage placement, scapular movement and head and cervical spine placement are the key focus areas.  Today we were working on my pelvis which is where, based on multiple MRI’s, I have a bulging disc at L4-5.  It is an area that has been injured over and over.  What she asked me to do was this:  I was lying on my back, breathing through my back, keeping my entire pelvic area relaxed and loose, like a bowl of jelly.  I was doing pelvic tips, like rotating the bowl of jelly.  You have to be able to think a bit creatively to do this.  Anyhow, I was able to do it one way, but when she asked me to reverse it, my brain couldn’t get the message from the thought through the neural pathways to the muscles.  The path had not been used for so long it didn’t recognize the message.  I had created another way of using my back muscles that did not include moving the way I was being directed.  Weird, huh?

So why did it make me cry?  Because realizing that my brain can’t make my body work by doing a movement that should be natural somehow triggered my limbic system.  That old reptilian part of the brain, the one that connects movement and emotions.  Makes sense if you have a basic understanding of the limbic system.  Having it make sense doesn’t necessarily mean that you are not going to have the same response that I did.  It was a bit mind blowing actually.  To realize I had lost control of movement and hadn’t really been aware of it.

I didn’t know all of that before today.  I didn’t know that I had mindlessly used my back in a certain way because it worked, but over time it really was preventing me from moving correctly.  The positive thing about all of this is I know with this knowledge I now can work at retraining myself to do something that I can’t even imagine yet!  That’s how mind boggling this kind of work is.  I can’t imagine what it will feel like to make a specific part of my body respond to a command to move a specific way that it isn’t even recognizing right now. I have taken my movements for granted too long.  I now have to actually think and in some instances re-think the way I move!

I was able to see a relationship between this physical being stuck and how I have been stuck in behaviors and characteristics that have hurt me in many ways.  Some of my behaviors were a means of coping with a situation at a time that worked, and then over time it became unhealthy.  The same can be said of my characteristics.  They have evolved, and at some point, some of them became unhealthy and I was stuck.  I was doing what I needed to do at the time, and it worked then.  Since I have been working a recovery program, I am more mindful of my behaviors and character.  I have an awareness of where change is needed and have worked at practicing new things.  It feels so foreign at times, and even today, more than 3 years into my recovery, my pathways to the old thoughts and pathways can still be triggered because they were used for so long. The new ways, my healthy ways, can still sometimes feel so foreign and odd.  So I keep being aware, taking a good cleansing breath and really thinking about it, and move on to doing it the way that brings me to balance.  For me, balance comes with being mindful and exercising my soul in ways that move me with ease through life.

I am so grateful for an opportunity to be living my life both emotionally and physically with mindfulness.   I need the awareness of where I am stuck and some help in moving with ease the way I was designed.  I am finding that help with the connections God is placing in my path.  Thank you God for knowing what I need to be Unstuck!

Honor diversity. Equal rights. Special rights. No rights.

One of the fun things about having a blog is I get to share my musings with all of you and open dialogue to learn more about people.  This is a bit out of the usual for me, but something in this situation struck a chord of thoughtfulness and inspection.

Honor diversity.  Equal rights.  Special rights.  No rights.

I saw this link Student Denied Diploma on Facebook.  A comment I read related to the video said they hope NBC does a follow-up to see if anyone was wearing any religious symbols.  That got me thinking.

How have we arrived to this place?  We did it ourselves.  We opened up all the doors and said all is acceptable and all is well.  We want each individual to be themselves and everyone to be respectful of all the differences. Which is the way I believe it should be by the way.  Yet, a young girl can’t wear something because a PERSON in a place of POWER said so.  Friends, I don’t think that is ever going to change.  There are always going to be people who are in places of power that will have the ability to define what is acceptable or not in that particular setting and they can re-define those rules at will.

I would like to have seen a video of the entire class of students walking in to the graduation at Escambia Academy High School.  I would have been interested to see if there were any students or staff wearing jewelry. Maybe some bore a religious symbol at their neck such as a cross or a pentagram or a star of David.  Or maybe they had their religious symbols of protection or honor or remembrance under their caps and gown, such as garments or a kippa.

Were there any pony tail holders or bow ties.  How about makeup? Who is deciding what “extraneous items” are?  What about tattoos with various meanings for the wearer as well as the beholder?  Essentially, one person, or an entity that one person spoke for, decided a feather was the one thing not allowed.

We can’t change others.  We have to find what is acceptable and tolerable within ourselves and know it so we can act appropriately in situations like this young woman faced.  This wise girl made a decision, a choice.  She knew that there was potential for some type of fall-out if she wore the feather.  She had asked permission and been denied.  She had seen the dress code contract and did not sign it.  She made the choice of what was acceptable to her.  It was NOT acceptable to go without her feather.  Wearing the symbolic feather was more important than the potential consequences that could come from doing something she had been told was not acceptable in that environment.

I know if I float the river I will get wet, I may end up in the river and there is a possibility I could die.  I make my decision to float the river accepting of all the possibilities of the power the river has over my life if I go there.

I know if I float the river I will get wet, I may end up in the river and there is a possibility I could die. I make my decision to float the river accepting of all the possibilities of the power the river has over my life if I go there.

Chelsey Ramer actually showed more maturity and thoughtful decision-making than the Headmaster.  To me it sounded like the Headmaster was coming at it from a stand of power, not of personal honor. I’m sorry the student is having to deal with some fall-out, yet it sounds like she is taking appropriate recourse and maybe it will be handled differently in the future.  It all depends on who is in the position of power.

The one thing I can do consistently when up against that type of power is make my decision based on what I can live with.  Having a strong understanding of what is acceptable to me will make my decisions easier as life unfolds.  Stand true to yourself always, even amidst the fallout of life!

I like feathered creatures!

Donna, my Golden Laced Polish Hen...in the nest!  Love my girls!

Donna, my Golden Laced Polish Hen…in the nest! Love my girls!

I am finding myself drawn to things that fly or things that have feathers.   It started with my chickens.  Wait a minute…back up.  It started with my first parakeet!  When I was ten years old and living at my grandparents house I must have gone through at least three or four birds before I gave up.  I remember my grandfather saying “they must have caught a cold” for each one of them when we found them dead in their cages. Evidently I chose birds with respiratory issues back then.   Anyhow…I really am drawn to being a watcher for things that have feathers.  Obviously chickens, but also ducks and geese, birds of prey and the occasional turkey here and there!  Oh, and I do like bees, butterflies  and ladybugs!  They don’t have feathers…but they fly!  🙂

It was FREE FISHING WEEKEND in Oregon!  My guy likes to fish….a lot!  I am beginning to think he maps out his work week around hitting at least one or two fishing holes on his way here or there!  So, me being the smart woman I am, I asked if he had a spare fishing pole and could we go fishing.  He being the attentive and caring man he is and always trying to make me smile said “fishing, why of course!”.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I wonder if he realizes yet that I wasn’t really THAT interested in fishing.  It was a ruse!  I mostly wanted to spend time with him!!!  I wanted to be outdoors sharing a nice afternoon in the sun with him.  I do like to fish.  Really I do.  I have been a fishing woman since I was 5 years old and caught my first fish in Horse Creek off the McKenzie River.  Yet, while fishing for him is a MUST do at least somewhat regularly…for me it is simply one other thing I can do while being out in nature.

He took us to Reinhart Volunteer Park http://www.grantspassoregon.gov/Index.aspx?page=158 or otherwise known as the All Sports Park in Grants Pass, OR.  It is a beautiful park.  It hosts a wonderful playground for children, multiple picnic sites, the ponds and park waterways where we fished and of course the lovely Rogue River! I did enjoy being in a new environment where I could capture a few photos of some feathered creatures that were abundant with all that fresh food available.   Either the large influx of fishermen made a haul over the weekend or all the wildlife had eaten up all the fish because we didn’t have a bite except for the poor dead little fella that was attached to some hook and line left from a previous fisherperson.

Thanks honey for taking me fishing with you.  I did throw in a line.  In fact I had two in at once!  Toes have a purpose when one is fishing you know!!!

The last day of May

So much lavender growing around here and I was gifted some so I made lavender sugar!  Easy peezy!

So much lavender growing around here and I was gifted some so I made lavender sugar! Easy peezy!

This last day of May. It was a great day. Time with my chickens, time with my guy, time to socialize, and time to enjoy the gifts of friends and the wonderful life I have here in the Rogue Valley! I am blessed.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.