Friday, November 30, 2012

Pippin Post from the Past: It was just the tiniest of bucks...

I'm having a lazy, sleepy, "I don't know what to write!" kinda day. I really shouldn't feel that way. The sun is out. The temperatures are glorious. I am heading out to water trees and gardens. Life is good. But... my mind is in neutral. So, I'll repost a "Pippin Post from the Past", written two years ago.

My Mrs. Owner captured Doc and me. She tied us up and made my skin all twitchy and tingly with the brush. Unless you live in a very dry climate, you have no idea of the slightly uncomfortable effects of a brush running through long Haffie hair causing static build-up and discharge. 




Then my Mrs. Owner came out with the black spaghetti contraption. I haven't seen it in ages. She put it on piece by piece. She tugged here. She pulled there. She made disparaging comments about my collar not fitting very well. Hmmmm, it seems that my neck has grown. I'm thinking I do look more magnificently and manly muscled than previously. 

My Mrs. Owner said it was fat.

After standing around for a while she took me to the place where I can go around and around and around. 
It was windy. 
There was a bit of a chill in the air. 
I haven't been out doing things with my Mrs. Owner in days.

At her signal I jumped ever so slightly and began a brisk trot.
trot - kick - trot - trot - kick - trot
what is that thing that keeps tapping me on my 
gluteus gelatinous maximus? 
trot - kick - hop - buck - kick - buck!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again

Yesterday I visited friends from my old neighborhood. Mickey and I took her gaited horses out for a ride at a nearby park. I rode Cheyenne and she rode Jewel. I haven't ridden since I sold the boys, and it was wonderful to be back in the saddle, again.

Of course, one first has to mount the horse to be back in the saddle... I made it half-way up and realized I couldn't do it! How scary, how humiliating! Sure, Cheyenne is a bit taller than my Haffies - but he isn't THAT big! I need to start working out - lifting weights so I can lift the saddle with ease, and step class so I can get in the saddle with a bit more grace!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch: Sleepover

I'm late, again, for chatting on the porch with Patrice from Everyday Rurality and her friends. But, wait, I was on the porch yesterday... I just wasn't chatting. It was more like muttering under my breath! I washed the glass of our two French doors that go out on the porch. I erased a few months of doggie nose prints. So, even if I wasn't exactly chatting on the porch... I was out there!

  1. Do you still write letters (snail mail)?
  2. Do you sing?
  3. Did you participate in Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday?
  4. How many guests can you have spend the night at your house? Could Wendell fit?
  5. Have you ever gone fishing?

My Answers:
1.  I write a few letters now and then. Generally, I type them, because I can type faster than I can write, so sometimes I will type a letter and then print it out. I need to get back into the habit of writing a weekly letter to my MIL. I did that for a while, putting a few pictures of something that happened that week, and telling her about it.

2.  I sing in the car. I have little talent, but I enjoy singing along to the radio.

3.  I did some Cyber Monday shopping. I bought the silliest thing. When I got on Amazon's site they had a special on coconut water.  My son and daughter-in-law (that's the first time I've written that :)) It is so nice to say!) will be here for Christmas and they like it. So, why not?! No, I won't wrap that one up - it will just be on hand for them to enjoy.

4.  I could host a sleepover - why don't y'all come for a visit?

green room: double bed
blue room: queen bed
basement: two twin day beds
basement: two couches
living room: one couch
in storage: two twin inflatable beds
RV: queen bed and queen sleeper sofa
and a flop-down sofa that supposedly sleeps two!

2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 4 + 2 (if you are really small) = 17

Oh, and Wendell is more than welcome to come, and can bring a friend! We have two stalls with lovely Dutch doors that open into a large paddock. I think Wendell would be very comfortable. 

5.  I've gone fishing a bit. I haven't done it in a while, but hope to go soon, since I gave Mr. Dreamy a fly-fishing trip for Christmas - last year!

Dreaming with her catch - 2 years ago
Hey, SC friends... check out the hat!

Come join the chat. You can respond to Patrice's questions, too, and we can get to know each other a bit better. You can answer in comments on my site, or her site, or you can link your blog responses to Patrice's site:

Everyday Ruralty

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I had every intention of getting to work on all of the little chores waiting for me. It was time to put down the laptop, get up, pick up, put away, clean up, put up....
But, I took one more look at Facebook - and I was hijacked!

One of my friends posted the following picture:

I thought it was terribly cute. So I did get up... but I didn't do any of the chores. I went to find our leaf rake.

I took it off the handle and did a hasty job of painting it green with spray paint I had on hand from other projects. I left the paint looking patchy as I wanted the patina of age and little spots of rust to show.

I found my buttons and glue gun. I began attaching the buttons randomly. I used predominantly red, green and white buttons.  Using cardboard, I cut out the shape of an lopsided star and spray painted it white - because that was what I had on hand. I glued silver buttons on the star, and then hot glued the star onto the top of the rake. 

Ta daaaaa.....

Even Mr. Dreamy likes it, and agreed that we didn't want to rake up the fallen leaves after all!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas Carousel

I feel the weight, holding me down
 as I am pushed to the back of the seat....
We are inching to the top of the peak...

I am at that magical point in time....
A balancing point.
That bit of a pause
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Then, with a whoosh...
It is here.
With the headlong rush...
The dizzying spins...
The stomach churning anxieties...

Of too much to do, in too little time.
Of rushing from one event to another.
Of shopping,
and buying,
and decorating,
and wrapping,
and baking,
and making,
and visiting...

Just like the end of the roller coaster ride - with the wild rush
and breathless loops and turns,
Christmas will come too fast.


I wish the holiday season was a bit more like a merry-go-round. I'll take all the glitz and glitter, but a slower pace without all of the twists and turns and ups and downs would suit me much better!

How about you?
Is your holiday season a wild roller coaster ride,
or a carousel?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Saturday Centus on Sunday: Decisions

How interesting that Jenny Matlock would provide the prompt,
"I finally understood the phrase, "A deer in the headlights" 
for her weekly challenge, what with our Curious Case of the Deer in the Night, that we experienced this week! But I won't bring that up again!
To participate in Jenny's challenge we must use the 10 words of her prompt, with no more than 100 other words in our response. Oh...  and no splitting of the prompt. Well.... I might be using a bit of artistic license, but here goes:

First a bit of background: Our son is graduating from college in just over two weeks. He has had a tough semester, but he is glowing in the knowing that the pressure he has been under will let up. But as he looks toward the future, I see him grapple with choices. I see him trying to decide between finding a job in his field, or starting a business venture. This is 'my baby' caught in this dilemma, and as I observed his inner struggle,

I finally understood the phrase, 

A deer in the headlights
Doesn’t know which way to leap;
Should she stay where she is?
Or face eternal sleep?

Decisions. Decisions.
So tough to make.
Do you go out on a limb?
Or is it the easy road you take?

Do you grab for the ring
And risk a fall?
Or live life predictably, safely,
Is it any fun at all?

I think kids these days
Are walking that line,
And opting for adventure
Instead of safety, this time.

But, no, that’s not true,
For nearly a century gone by,
A poet of that time 
Proposed we take the road less travelled by.

Visit Jenny's site to see the responses from other bloggers.

Jenny Matlock

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bye-Bye Beasties

The Black Beasties Beauties, plus one, returned to their home yesterday. This morning I lay in bed, relishing the fact that I didn't have to get up and feed horses. I think I had an extra 5 minutes in bed before the dogs insisted that I get up to procure their breakfast! A woman just can't laze around and dream!

I was finally able to get a picture of all 5 of the horses looking in the same direction! LOL It took a 6-horse trailer with windows, and someone rattling a bag of feed to manage this feat! They are, from front to back:
Lady Bug
Don't they look beautiful?!

The black horses are owned by the woman who owns the trailer. She operates a horse transport business. The woman rescued the horses from various situations through the years and she provides hay for them each day, since pastures out in Colorado cannot sustain a horse. We've been told that one would need at least 50 acres per horse in order for them to subsist on the land alone! This year, with the drought, it would probably be more.

Sharron is now taking care of the Black Beauties and Zoe. She has been a missionary for Youth for Christ for many years. She was in Australia, working with troubled youth, when she decided to return home to Franktown, CO so she could receive some training in using horses in her ministry. She intended to return to Australia after a year at home. However, it seems that God had other plans! Sharron fell in love with the Black Beauties, who were living in a pasture adjoining Sharron's family's home. They could all use a dose of love and affection. They could help youth, and the youth could help them. Sharron realized that she didn't need to return to Australia to conduct her ministry. Her prayers were answered. Her neighbor agreed to Sharron using the horses, and letting her use both the neighbor's pasture and her own. A local family owned Zoe. She was not being used and they were paying monthly board and other expenses for her. They decided to give Zoe to Sharron, continuing to contribute to her care. Sharron established the Son and Reins Ranch and is working with youth, and the horses, in this area. It is a win/win for everyone!

Here are a few pictures of the horses employed in their new jobs:

In this season of Thanksgiving, it does a heart good to see horses being loved, and children's lives being enriched!

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Curious Case of the Deer in the Night - or - Thanksgiving for the Animals


This post has
content and pictures
that may be offensive to some people.

*   *   *   

Last night we rolled in around 11:00 PM after an incredible Thanksgiving dinner at a friend's house. As we came down our driveway we found a dead yearling doe in the ditch next to the fence. Evidently she had been chased across the pasture and cornered in an area where the fence is almost 5' high. We are speculating that she caught her front feet as she tried to clear the fence and slammed into the ground, breaking her neck. There were no signs of struggling, so thankfully, she did not appear to suffer. 

In the midst of tryptophan torpor we left the deer, planning to deal with it in the morning. We weren't sure whether we needed to contact legal authorities, or what steps we might have to take to dispose of the deer. Our ground is rock hard.  It is next to impossible to dig a hole to plant a shrub, let alone bury the carcass of a deer.  Mr. Dreamy made a few calls this morning and it was suggested we call a critter control company. He also called the local waste management landfill. Then, he went out to look at the doe in daylight. Cancel those plans.

It seems the coyotes and carrion eaters had their own version of Thanksgiving. In 12 hours the doe has been reduced to a hide, the head, a few bones and some offal.

Deer are beautiful animals. It is sad to see one die. But, it is awesome, in its own way, to see the way nature provides. We watched the coyotes warily moving around the remains this morning, tugging at it and running off with prized pieces. A large flock of magpies have also been hard at work. It will be interesting to see what remains in another 24 hours.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Redux

Looking back through Blogposts from the past I came across this conversation between Doc and Pippin, and decided to resurrect it. I miss my "boys" so much. I don't think a day goes by that I don't gaze out at their pasture, and wonder about them. I don't regret selling them. It was the right thing to do at this time in my life. I am thankful that they were sold together and that their new owner wanted them as a team, and drives them as a team.

Thank you, all, for being part of my life.
I hope you enjoy the boys' thoughts about the day:

Hay there, Doc.

What do you want now?

You don’t have to be so surly. I just wanted to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.

What’s that?

It’s a time to be thankful
for everything we have.

Like what?

Well, I’m thankful that we
live in a nice barn with nice pastures.

OK, you’re right, and I kinda like my stall. At least it is cleaner than your’s!

Wait, I can’t help it if I
sometimes mess up my stall. At least my Mrs. Owner cleans it up. I’m thankful for that.

I’m thankful that my Mrs. Owner sometimes keeps us separated so I don’t have to put up with you chewing on me all of the time!

You are being really mean. I was trying to be nice by thinking about things I’m thankful for. You know, I’m thankful that we do get to be together. It would be really lonely without you.

I have to admit that you are right about that one. I hate it when you leave or when I’m taken away from you for a ride.

I’m thankful for the food we get at night. Yum!

I’m thankful for the treats I get when I’m good.

What? You get treats?

Yeah! Maybe you should try being good once in a while and you’d get them too.

Hmmpph. I don’t think I’m going to talk to you anymore.

*Grins* I’m thankful!

Note about photo: This picture was taken the first week I owned the horses. My son and I took the horses out into the common property near our house. We had a lot of rain that year (2009) and the grass was higher than anyone had seen it in years, and higher than it has been since. My son is actually crouched in the grass, holding the lead ropes! I think the horses were very thankful that day!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

It Is All About the Pies

When the boys were little we invited our best friends over to our house for a communal Thanksgiving dinner. They brought half of the food, we supplied the other half. Following dinner we went "Thanksgiving Caroling"! Hah! I bet you've never heard of that before! 
We walked through our neighborhood, stopping at about a half dozen homes and sang the following, to the tune of "Frère Jacques". Go ahead, try it... it's fun! 

Turkey and muffins.
Cornbread stuffing.
Pumpkin Pie,
One foot wide.
We were all much thinner
Before we came to dinner.
Me, oh, my!
Me, oh, my!

And, once you've mastered the song... you can sing it in a round with your best friend! Isn't it amazing how a person will do something really silly, or daring, or something totally stupid with a friend standing beside them? 

Anyway, today is "get ready to make pies" day. I am in charge of a pumpkin and an apple pie for our "sort of" family dinner. I always use the pumpkin pie recipe on the back of the can. That's how my mom made it, and I always loved it, so why make any changes?! (One year I did make a pumpkin cheesecake with a carrot cake crust... and that was delicious- but oh, so much more work!)

Usually I make a plain Jane pie crust, or, oh horrors! buy a frozen crust. This year I am trying something a bit different... I am going to use some coconut oil in the pie crust. 

You see, I just received a sample of the Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions to use and review. That is a whole 'nuther' post, by itself, so tune back in later to read all about it! But, it seemed timely that the sample arrived just in time to make the crust. So... why not?! Nothing ventured, nothing gained! 

And the other pie.... last year I baked Grandma Ople's Apple Pie and received raves. So... why do anything different? Well, actually, I want to make a different crust for the pie. I want to use an all butter crust with almonds. I thought the subtle taste of almonds, from the almond flour, might be interesting. So... off to the kitchen I go...

The coconut oil is quite firm and has a slight odor of coconut. I scooped out the required amount, breaking it into smaller pieces, and added an equal amount of cut up unsalted butter. I placed the bowl in the fridge for a bit to get everything well-chilled. After whirring the flour and butter/coconut oil combination in the food processor I mixed in the ice cold water. Curiously, it took almost double the water than the recipe called for, and when I made the other pie crust dough, it also took more water to get the flour/fat mixture to clump together. I wonder if the very arid climate in Colorado contributes to that? 

I baked samples of the coconut oil crust, the almond crust and traditional butter crust, so that Mr. Dreamy and I could taste test them. 

Mr. Dreamy said he couldn't taste a difference between the three. I also did not tell him what the differences were until he had finished tasting. I could taste a hint of the coconut oil. I was a bit disappointed that I couldn't taste any of the almond. Only 20% of the flour mixture is almond flour, however, so perhaps if I used a bit more it would make a difference. The traditional crust, one I had made earlier and frozen, was simply butter, flour, salt and water. I could really taste the buttery richness in it. 

The coconut oil pastry was the flakiest of the three samples. The traditional pastry shrank more than the others. The coconut oil pastry may have been a touch darker in color. 

Making and tasting the different pie dough was fun. Tomorrow I will bake the pies in the morning before we head over the river and through the woods.... well, maybe over the highway and through the traffic would be a more apt description!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Over the River and Through the Woods

I loved that song as a little girl. It always brought Currier & Ives prints to mind. I guess, even then, I was smitten with horses and the idea of driving them.

Although we never visited my Grandparents by sleigh, we did spend many Thanksgivings with them. They lived about 1 1/2 hours from our home.  I would have to dress in my Sunday best: stiff dress trimmed in velveteen, with petticoats, white tights and patent leather shoes. All of the clothes were uncomfortable! Apparently my grandmother was not much for cooking and as I recall, wasn't all that fond of children. She was actually a step-grandmother, my Grandfather's 3nd wife, and she had never had children of her own. She preferred to have us meet at "The Club" for the Thanksgiving buffet. All of this had to be timed around the Buffalo Bills' game, if they were in the playoffs, since my Grandfather was a huge Bills fan.
"The Club" was as stiff and starchy as my dress, and equally as uncomfortable. My father had been raised with the attitude that children should be seen, and not heard. This carried over to our upbringing, to some extent, and definitely applied to Thanksgiving dinner with the grandparents. I was a twitchy little thing and found it very difficult to sit still and be quiet.... still do!
But, those family occasions didn't kill me, and years later, as a young adult, I was thrilled to be able to host Thanksgiving dinners at my home, and invite my grandparents to join us there. 
This year we will visit relatives of my Dad's lady friend. I am bringing an apple pie, a pumpkin pie, and baked Brie with some fruit as an appetizer. I may have to go get a turkey to cook on Friday; I'll miss the wonderful aroma that permeates the house while it roasts!

What about you? Do you have special Thanksgiving memories? Do you recall a Thanksgiving disaster? What is your favorite, or your least favorite dish? Do you have a special way of cooking 'the bird'?

I will set this up as a blog hop - or maybe I should say a 'Turkey Trot'! 
If you'd like to link your Blog to my blog, click on the link below. You can respond to my questions, or put up your blog so others can link to it. If you don't care to link up, you can share your thoughts in a comment right here!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch: Thankful

Patrice is back on the porch. It is another beautiful, sunny Colorado day, so chatting with my friends would be great fun. Please join in! Check out Patrice's questions and respond on your own blog, linking to Everyday Rurality, or respond in the comments section of my blog. It is always fun to see how friends respond to the questions!

  1. What's the last thing you baked?
  2. What's your favorite condiment?
  3. Do you have a smart phone, dumb phone, or no phone(we're talking about cell phones)?
  4. Do you have a favorite card game?
  5. Tell me ten things you're thankful for - please:)

My Answers:

1. We bought a "Take and Bake" pizza on Sunday. Does that count? I guess the only other thing I've baked is two loves of zucchini bread - probably in August! I love baking and I love eating the baked goods - but my body doesn't like the end results and I have absolutely NO will power!

2.  Just like Patrice, I'd have to say Ketchup. I don't use it excessively - just on fries, burgers and hot dogs.

3. I have an iPhone. I love it. I am in awe of all I can do with it. Technology is truly amazing... and scary!

4. I haven't played cards in years. We used to play Pinochle with friends. I enjoyed that game - I guess because it is a bit different.

5. Here's my 10 things "I'm thankful for" countdown:

10. good health
9. a beautiful home in a nice location
8. enough savings to enjoy travel and treats now and then
7. having my father living nearby
6. pets and ponies
5. the opportunity to go to college
4. an interesting career and a steady job
3. family (including a daughter-in-law) and friends
2. my two sons who have grown into wonderful young men
1. a loving husband who has stuck with me through thick and thin

Click on the image to magically be transported to Patrice's Blog. From there you can hop to answers from other folks sitting on the porch today!

 Everyday Ruralty

Monday, November 19, 2012

Back At Ya

I spent most of Friay in this chair. I spent a good part of Thursday evening, well, make that Friday morning in the same chair. For some reason my lower back began to ache terribly on Thursday. It isn't the sharp pain I associate with a pinched nerve, or a pulled muscle. It aches all the time, not just when I move. I have no clue what is going on! But, after I managed to sleep for about 1 1/2 hours the pain woke me up. I couldn't get comfy in bed, and instead of dwelling on it, I got up and read blogs. It was very pleasant. All of the fuzzy children, and Mr Dreamy, were in bed. It was just me. No noses poking at me. No deep eyes boring into my soul from across the room....

Earlier, Jesse (Guest dog) stared and wagged
beseeching me to come pet her.
She didn't want to give up the prime real estate of Gypsy's new bed!
I have some new followers. I'd like to thank them for taking the time to stop, for a moment, to see what I have to say. I am so appreciative - as I am of all my followers!

Melissa found me via Farmer's Wifey. She writes a delightful blog called, The Things I'd Tell You... where she converses with her mother in some of her posts and shares all of the pain and frustration of raising a family, as well as the exciting news and events of the day, and wishes she could hear her mother's replies. Melissa's son, 9 year-old Alexander, writes his own blog, Through Alexander's Eyes. I think I am in love with Alexander! I want to give him a (((hug)))!

Three other followers are Marissa Fox McCann, Hey J, and Yvonne. I can't find out if they have a blogs as the link I follow for each just goes to a list of blogs they follow. But, regardless, I am thankful to have them as new friends and one day hope to be able to follow their work.

Oh, so, back at ya.... 
I'm tired. I called the Doctor's office the minute they opened. I'm usually not a wimp, but there is nothing that stops the ache, and it is wearing "on my last nerve" (as my friends would say in the south!) Aleve doesn't alleviate... they lied in their advertisements! 

The Doctor doesn't think it is a kidney infection. I haven't had a bladder infection, which usually precedes a problem with the kidneys, and the pain is below the kidneys. He's treating me with a course of Prednisone, to put a halt to any inflammation that may be causing the problem.

I suppose I could have wrenched something hauling that crumby hay for the horses ;-)  Hopefully it will resolve itself in a few days and I'll be back to my chipper self!

P.S. I am on the mend. The volume of the ache has been turned way down. I slept without any medication last night - that's progress! 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Little Something

It began innocently. 
A little taste. 
Isn't that how most addictions obsessions begin?

On one of the first days of our cruise the Daily Program listed a cooking demonstration, "A Little Something" and a wine pairing. Why not? What else is there to do at that time? So, Mr. Dreamy and I made our way to Deck 7 and the Culinary Arts Theater. There we met Kaitlyn,  a delightful, bubbly "Party Planner" who demonstrated how to make a quick appetizer. As Kaitlyn finished 'plating' the appetizer, offering tips to make it look especially attractive and appealing, the wine steward arrived. He brought a wine he thought would pair well with the appetizer. He described the wine, its taste, a bit about the grapes used in making the wine, and any other information he thought would be entertaining and informative. We could purchase a glass for $4.00, a shipboard bargain. Then, the audience was given the opportunity to taste the appetizer while sipping the wine. We received recipe cards, so we could recreate the recipes at home. We were hooked.

Yeah, we collected just a few recipe cards!

Each evening we would look through the program for the next day and mark the cooking activities.  This is not something we have ever done before! Almost every evening had the appetizer demonstration and wine pairing. "At sea" days had a morning cooking demonstration with one of the chefs.

Kaitlyn and Manuel 'plate' our special luncheon
Often they demonstrated something that was available at one or more of the ship's restaurants. In addition to the demonstrations, three different cooking classes were offered.

 Mr. Dreamy and I went to school. We earned our aprons :)  The class was limited to 10 people. We cooked a fabulous luncheon that included:
  • Dungeness crab cakes with Thai sweet chili sauce
  • Grilled lamp chops with oregano and apple chutney
  • Le Cirque chocolate souffle
Mr. Dreamy sears the lamb chops
After we finished cooking our portion of the meal, our meal was 'plated' and taken to a restaurant on Deck 8. We proceeded to the restaurant where we had the opportunity to enjoy the product of our labors.... and some extras.... and some wine. Yummy!

And the best part of the cooking class? We didn't have to clean up the mess!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Twinkies Revisited

How sad that Hostess will be closing. I don't have all of the facts, but it seems terrible that the actions of the bakery union will cause the entire company to shut down, impacting 18,500 people - not to mention the ripple effect for their suppliers, marketing agencies, transportation companies, and on...

In January Hostess announced that it was seeking bankruptcy protection. I wrote a blog post at that time. Just in case you missed it.... I've reposted it here:

Although I'm not a fan of Twinkies or Hostess Cakes... and Wonder Bread makes me shudder, I do have fond memories of enjoying them all as a kid.

I've put together a compendium of information about Twinkies that I'm sure will entertain, if not astound you!

First, Twinkies in the news. Here is the announcement that Hostess is seeking bankruptcy protection from Tuesday evening. The serious story takes a rather funny turn, as the news anchors of ABC World News Now have trouble maintaining their composure:
(This news clip originally aired on January 10, 2012, was removed by ABC. I'm thinking they were a little embarrassed by their news anchors! You'll have to click on the video, then click on the link to navigate to the video on YouTube.)

OK, let's get a bit serious... here's a bit of history:

1933 - Twinkies were introduced by The Continental Baking Company in Indianapolis, which also made "Wonder Bread" and had a snack line you're probably familiar with called Hostess. One of their bakers named James A. Dewar got the idea for the "Twinkie" while he delivered one of their products, a cream filled strawberry shortcake. The machines to make these sat idle when the strawberry season was over so he came up with an idea to use them to make a snack cake filled with a banana filling, and only charge a nickel for a package of 2. It was good idea as money was tight for people during the great depression. Dewar came up with the name for these tasty cakes (that may be a matter of opinion) when driving by a billboard that had an ad for shoes from the "Twinkle Toe Shoe Company". He shortened the name to ....Twinkies....
1940's -
Just like the song went "Yes We Have No Banana's " popular during the WWII because bananas were rationed, Hostess had to come up with a different filling.
They switched to vanilla creme and it was popular so they never changed back.

Several years ago I ran across the The T.W.I.N.K.I.E.S Project. Students at Rice University conducted tests during finals week. Yes, I do remember the stress of finals week in college having strange effects on people! The scientific approach used in conducting tests on Twinkies, and the website itself, always made me smile. I shared these experiments with my students to demonstrate the scientific method!

T.W.I.N.K.I.E.S. stands for Tests With Inorganic Noxious Kakes IExtreme Situations. 

One of the tests was the Gravitational Response Test. Visit the link to the project above for more Twinkies tests!

And another historical Twinkies tidbit: Twinkies were used (loosely) as a defense for murder and since that trial the Twinkie defense is a derogatory term for a criminal defendant's claim that some unusual factor (such as allergies, coffee, or sugar) diminished the defendant's responsibility for the crime.

And finally, other Twinkies trivia:
• Twinkies have been featured in major movies, including "Ghostbusters," "Grease," and "Sleepless in Seattle."
• In the TV series "All In The Family," Edith put a Twinkie in Archie's lunchbox each day.
• In 1999, President Clinton and the White House Millennium Council selected the Twinkie to be included in the nation's Millennium Time Capsule, representing "an object of enduring American symbolism."
• Chicago consumes more Twinkies per capita than any other city in the US.
• It takes 10 minutes to bake a Twinkie.
• Interstate Baking Corp. bakeries can produce 1,000 Twinkies in a minute.
• When Twinkies were first introduced, the price was two for a nickel. In 1951, a package of two cost 10 cents; in 1966, 12 cents. Today, the price ranges from two for 99 cents to two for $1.29.


Can you recall the last time you ate a Twinkie? And.... did you eat just one?!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Crumby Hay

Hay prices continue to rise in our part of the country. We have had a significant drought for several years. Some farmers didn't get a second cutting and even their first cutting wasn't as productive as they had hoped. The hay produced in this area of the country is being purchased by ranchers in other hard hit areas, which is driving up prices for local folks. For perspective, last year at this time I  'topped off' my hay supply (so it would last until the 2nd cutting this year) at a cost of $10 per 55-65 pound bale. Recently I've heard that my friends have paid as much as $18.95 per bale!
Holy hay bale!
I saw a lot of hay in the field in the northwest this summer. Many times as we drove from one point to another, we could see farmers baling hay as we passed. I noticed that most of the bales were large round bales, or large rectangular bales measuring 3 or 4 feet square by 8 feet long. 

I guess one can't blame the farmers. It is much more economical to create large bales, requiring less time and less fuel to bale each acre of grass, hay or alfalfa, and also needing less man power (but more machine power) to handle the finished product. But most "backyard farmers" don't have the machine power to handle bales of hay that can weigh 1000 pounds or more. In response to their needs, companies that reprocess large hay bales have sprung up. They open the large bales and rebale them it into what we call "small squares" - the traditional hay bale size and shape. 

Some of the hay that I have been feeding the guest horses evidently has been reprocessed. It is very crumby!

Shyloh stood downwind when I tossed a flake of hay in the paddock,
and now she's wearing her dinner.
Since then I put it in a wheel barrow and distribute piles instead of tossing them.

This shows a flake of traditionally baled hay on the top of the photo.
The stems of grass are 10 - 14" in length.
The long stems hold the flakes of hay together
The flake of the crumby hay is shown on the bottom of the photo.
The 'stems' of grass are 2 - 4" in length,

and the flake falls apart in your hands.

But, the taste testers don't seem to care....
one way or another!

I don't particularly care for the rebaled hay. Besides the mess in trying to handle it, it serves no purpose putting the hay in a NibbleNet slow feeder - it sifts out onto the ground. It blows around easily in our wind. I wonder if the horses get has much chewing and reflecting time. I also don't like their increased exposure to the sand and dirt. At least with longer stalks of hay, the horses can easily 'lip up' a few stalks, without getting dirt, something like playing pick-up sticks. The reformatted hay seems to have much more chaff, and seed heads, which they love, but how much sand are they getting when they try to hoover up the little bits?

What are your thoughts? 
Have you had crumby hay?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch: Thanksgiving

Brrrr..... it is a bit chilly to sit on our front porch this morning, but it should warm up by the afternoon when the sun will be on the porch. Care to join me? Patrice has given us some questions to start our conversations - how would you answer these? Join us by responding on your blog or in a comment on my blog. You can link to other's responses by clicking on the Chats on the Farmhouse Porch image below my post.

Thanksgiving - 24 years ago

  1. What's your favorite Thanksgiving side dish? For anyone not in the US, what's your favorite fall side dish?
  2. What's the first thing you do when you have a headache?
  3. Do you like to "people watch"? (Observe people in public while waiting for something or relaxing)
  4. Where's your family most likely to eat for a day to day meal? (Read= not holiday)
  5. Tell me about your plans for Thanksgiving Day. Or tell me something special you will do soon.
My Answers:

1. I can only pick one dish? Well, if I can only have one, I'd choose the sweet potato casserole, mixed in with a bit of stuffing that was sitting next to it on the plate. (Was that cheating - trying to get two 'dishes' in one?)

2. I rarely have a headache - so when one comes along, I usually drink a tall glass of water - thinking I might be dehydrated, and then, if that doesn't take care of it, I pop an Aleve. Years ago, when my hormones were doing some strange things, I had miserable headaches. The only thing that came close to touching those headaches was Excedrin. 

3. I do enjoy people watching - but I get easily distracted with a book, or now, with games on my phone. Recently I've been hooked on a Math puzzle called KenKen. It is similar to Sudoku.

4. We usually eat at the table in the kitchen 'nook'. However, if something interesting is on TV we will plop down in front of the TV. Oh, horrors! My mom would have a fit!

5. I haven't received an official invitation, but I've been told that we are invited to .... see if you can follow this .... my Dad's girlfriend's nephew's house. 

Everyday Ruralty

Sunday, November 11, 2012

American Values

On Veterans Day we reflect on, and celebrate, those people who have fought for our rights and upheld our American values, both today and throughout history. Thank you, to all of our service men and woman for putting your lives on the lines to keep America strong and to keep us safe. Thank you, every day!

In September I visited the Center for American Values, in Pueblo, CO.  I didn't realize, at the time, how touching this collection and the information would be.  I walked into the beautiful open room, with pictures covering each wall, and to be honest, I was less than thrilled. I guess I am still a child at heart and prefer to 'do' things rather than to look at static displays.

Each recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, other than those granted posthumously and those who died prior to the project,  has a portrait on the walls of the center. The Portraits of Valor are arranged in groups by armed conflict. Each portrait was taken of the Medal of Honor Recipient in a location of his choice. Some are wearing their uniforms, some are pictured in their homes, some are pictured doing something they love. Under each portrait is a quotation from the recipient. One can't help but be touched by reading the Patriotic, encouraging sentiments of these great soldiers. But this program goes far beyond the display. The Center has been involved in a "Narratives" project. They have been collecting audio recordings and video footage, a collection of recollections of the recipients. These are accessible on iPads when one visits the center. Visitors can lounge in the comfortable chairs and browse the portraits, or search for a specific medal recipient. Each recipient's citation is linked to the portrait. Additionally one can hear voices from the past, or see outstanding video footage describing experiences the recipients had in conflict that caused them to earn the Medal of Honor. The inanimate portraits of valor on the wall come alive for visitors.
I am in awe of everything this center has to offer, and I am grateful that these voices are being kept alive for all Americans to hear.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Failing Memory

This week's Saturday Centus was difficult for me. Jenny challenged us to use the words, "The pain was excruciating..." in any style, with no more than 104 words in our post. I thought of many possibilities where pain could be excruciating, but that wasn't what I cared to write about. I felt like Winnie-the-Pooh:

Then, I thought about my father. I see my dad suffer when he knows he used to be able to do something, and has lost the capacity to recall how to do it now. The pain must be excruciating!

The old man sat hunched over his desk, swallowed by the worn sweater wrapped around his barrel chest. He stared at the computer screen in front of him, with rheumy eyes, a tear escaping and rolling down the leathery skin of his cheek. The mouse in his gnarled hand felt comforting, but images on the screen brought deep despair. He remembered that he used to work this computer. He used to know how to find things on the computer. He knew much of his life was inside the machine, but he was damned if he could get to it now. The pain was excruciating.

Visit Jenny's blog to read more responses to her Saturday Centus prompt:
Jenny Matlock

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tu-Many Tu-lips

This spring we were blessed with tulips. 

They thrived with the water and attention they received since we moved in. The original bulbs were probably planted 6 years ago and needed to be divided.
late last spring, 
after the leaves had died back, 
when it was sufficiently hot to make this task almost unbearable, 
I dug up bulbs.

After they dried I snitched a bit of hay from Pippin and Doc and layered the bulbs in the hay. I almost filled a laundry basket! They spent the summer in the cool of our basement, but now it's time for them to be reintroduced to their garden bed.

I have enjoyed working in the garden this week, since the weather has been sunny and just warm enough for a T shirt. I love mucking around in the dirt. I cleaned up some of the perennials. I tagged some so I woudn't forget what they were. I moved some that had grown far too large for the space. Then, as I worked at removing weeds, I dug a little deeper and planted tulip bulbs.... and planted some more.... and some more!

Our guest dogs, Jesse and Clyde, helped me with my chore. They were very careful about dropping the ball into the garden, but not coming in themselves!

Tu- days, and tu-baskets of bulbs later, I am finished. Well, sure, I could plant more. I figure I planted about 120 bulbs and probably have that many left! Hmmm, should I put a stand up at the road with a sign, "FREE Tulip Bulbs!"? Oh, wait, maybe I should do that the next time they need to be dug up and divided!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Merry Hallowthanksmas!

Phew.... the election is over.

  • I won't be accosted with political advertisements on all forms of media.
  • My Facebook friends won't be going back and forth about the merits or shortcomings of one candidate over another.
  • I won't be besieged with political telephone calls.
  • My mailbox won't be filled with pleas for money from political factions.
For me, the problem is that the election process just goes on far too long. It is impossible to maintain a high level of excitement for anything over time. The singularity sinks to the ordinary. I feel besieged by announcements and petitions for attention. All of the sparring back and forth just wears on me and after a few weeks of it, my mind is numb and I just want it to stop. Cease and desist. I recall that I used to get excited by the election. But I am thinking that in days of yore, we didn't have the instantaneous access to 'news', and reporters reported, and what they reported were the most essential bits of information for the public to know. In my opinion, the constant barrage of information we are subjected to becomes an annoying background noise.

I think it is similar to our exposure to Christmas. It used to be that stores pulled out their decorations just after Thanksgiving. It was a magical transformation that heralded the beginning of the season. This year I have seen Christmas merchandise and decorations displayed in September. And, just like with the elections, by the time the event roles around my mind has tuned it all out: the decorations and Carols, the bells ringing and the hype are all reduced to an annoying drone. When the celebration finally arrives, I am more anxious to get it over with than to enjoy the time.

Imagine my surprise, and pleasure, in seeing the following poster on Facebook:

Hooray for Nordstrom's. How exciting that one store is bucking the trend, and harkening back to tradition. It will be wonderful if others follow suit. Imagine the joy to be experienced in savoring each holiday.  Maybe this is one way to make life a bit simpler and allow us to treasure the moments.

In some ways it is like a box of chocolates. If you gorge on the chocolates, eating them in a short period of time, you fail to enjoy the subtle differences between each candy. Your mouth becomes desensitized to the sweetness. You look at the empty box with regrets and have nothing left to look forward to. 

I want to work to savor my candies one at a time. I want to enjoy the events of our lives in the same manner. 

What about you?

What is Four?

Have you ever thought of the meaning of "four"?  Four is the number of: seasons in a year. corners and sides to a square. virtues....