Good Times!
Yesterday afternoon and evening were spent with a group of friends, riding fourwheelers and enjoying a meal together. We started out riding around in a wooded area where there was a small cabin and clearing. We had a great time! Here's a few of the pictures I took while we were partying:

 Here's the little cabin; it even had a loft and stove! 

Three of the younger ones decided it was time to relax in the loft. 

My favorite part of the cabin (besides the loft and stove!) was the Buffalo Bill picture that hung up beside the doorway.

At some point in the afternoon, while riding the numerous trails, we were shown this deer stand.

There was also a hand-dug well we checked out. The rope was broke, so you couldn't use it very well, but it was still neat to look down!

After all of this fun, we went back to the cabin to play a game. Basically, there were about five or six tree stumps with notches cut out in them. You'd lay a board between a couple of the stumps and get someone to stand on it….

Then, people would continue to climb on…

Until you reach about six or seven people…

Then, the last person that climbed on would reach down, pick up the board behind them and hand it down the line until the first person could drop it into the notches on the next stump.

Once you've made it to the last stump, the last person picks up the boards as they go and everyone hops off. It was fun! I preferred being on the ground and taking pictures, but I did try it once. 

Random fact - Total, we had around 10 atvs ripping around throughout the evening.
Another random fact - Nobody got a ride in an ambulance!

Here's the group shot. Usually, I'm forced into it, but this time I made it behind the camera!

Of course, there was only so much ridding one can take before the need to refuel is strong. So we loaded up and headed back to the house for supper!

Mmm - It was good! Burgers, hotdogs, beans, veggie salad, deviled eggs, and chips made for a picnic-style feast! Of course, you can't forget the dessert! Homemade ice-cream, some cake and rice-crispie treats topped it all off.

While we were eating, "Junior" played the role of entertainer for the evening. He would run around and hop on whoever was sitting on the ground eating. It was cute to watch!

After that, we went and rode in the back pasture a bit. Then a massive storm blew in, so we all packed up our gear and boogied towards our respective homes. 

In the end, we had a great afternoon/evening and it was a lot of fun!

A Walk Around The Farm
I went for a walk around the farm this afternoon. Just as you step outside the garage door, you're greeted with the sight of six little kittens and a very protective mother (for an example of how protective she is, just ask our dog what happens when he gets within ten feet of her babies!)

 I was sitting right beside the kittens when all of a sudden, a horrendous racket started right behind me. Guess who it was? The turkey toms that have nothing better to do than quietly sneak up on poor unsuspecting people and cats.

 I wasn't the only one that jumped! The noise brought up quite a few little heads.

 Everywhere I went, the turkey boys had to follow and cackle along right behind me.

 We made a pit-stop in the garden and checked out the plants. The mint is loving the rain we've been getting! 

After that, I went out to check on the turkey hen maternity ward. Can you find the babes?

 Sadly, there are only two left out of the original four in this brood. But they're happy and healthy!

 Tom was getting rather fed up with my ignoring him and his howling, so he decided to start putting on a show.

 (Side note - The peaches are growing!)

I finally sat down and gave Tom the attention he thought he deserved…

After a bit, he decided he'd had enough of me and went to sleep.

Hope you have a wonderful evening!

One Little Mistake...
          All it took was the little mistake of forgetting we had bags of sourdough starter that needed given to friends, and BOOM!! The day to make it all has arrived and the starters have still not left our kitchen. So, as of this moment I've made 11 loaves of "Amish Friendship Bread" and have at least three starters left. I ended up cleaning out every loaf pan between my mom and grandma; in other words, I'm sick of bread! Thankfully, I wasn't alone in making the bread; I was accompanied by my trusty cat "Hoss".

This is what it looks like when we forget about those sourdough starters… The entire kitchen looked like this! 

 Every once in awhile, I would pop my head out the front door to grab a breath of semi-cool air. Here's what I would see… Strange how they just stared at me...

As I just stated, Hoss never left my side (I wonder if it had anything to do with the large bowls of milk he would receive?) After I finished cleaning off the bar, I went to wash dishes and he seemed to think it was his job to sleep on, around, under, or beside my feet. Strange cat.

Ugg… My being in the kitchen has rarely ever ended up perfect. This is definitely not one of those perfect moments! (I'm referring to the ponds that made themselves at home in several of the loaves.)

Just one of those things that I felt like sharing! 

 It rained!!! Now it wasn't much (for us, it was less than half an inch) but it settled the dust. I'm looking at the bright side here! We got all the potatoes in the ground right before it broke loose and most of the other portion of the garden got weeded. So we're feeling pretty good! While it was raining, I was so excited I went out and snapped a few pictures.

 This was after it quit; the five year old was headed out to the shop when he spotted mud puddles. Needless to say, he didn't make it to the shop!

 Oh boy, I hear him coming inside now… Better run! 


Just Hangin' at the Reservoir
This is what results when I'm at a large reservoir watching the guys crappie fish. Luckily, I had my camera, or I would have been sorely tempted to go for a swim (No, not really. Or at least not where we were fishing!) Sadly, we caught nothing that time, but we did have some fun! Here's the two pics that turned out decent from our little trip:


Kittens, Ducklings & Turkey Poults
It is definitely spring around here! We've got kittens in the garage, ducklings coming out of the woodwork (no, not really, but they seem to be!), and turkey poults popping up right and left.

The babies are growing quickly! As you can see, we only have six now. Sadly, a couple of them didn't make it…

Here's a pair of the ducklings. There are several more we need to move from the incubator in the morning.

 Here's one of the turkey poults in the incubator. 

 And here's a strange picture. This one was lying under the heat lamp earlier (that's why the picture is red) and I guess it was soaking up some sun! No, it wasn't dead or hurt, if you tapped the side of the stock tank it hopped up. 

 And then here's my favorite picture! This nest of babies is what I found while on the phone earlier. Needless to say, I hung up quite quickly! We knew there were eggs under the hen, we just didn't know her eggs had hatched! A couple of these four little angels were under an old tractor away from mama and couldn't find their way back. Mama was squalling and the babes were squealing! Nobody was happy. So we picked them up and took them back to the nest. They're fine now, all safe and happy!

Night all!

The Latest Additions To The Farm

Welcome to the farm little babies!

Yesterday afternoon, we noticed our VERY pregnant momma cat was suddenly quite skinny. So this morning, I went out and started looking in some of her favorite places to have her kittens. Surprisingly, she had had them in the first place I looked; under an old mower (a very old mower; it doesn't run anymore so there is no chance of them getting hurt.) 
We gently took both Haggles (the momma) and her babes into the garage. They're now happily lying in their corner with a rug! 
As you can see in the pictures (or maybe all you can see is a mass of little fur balls!), Haggles had eight babies. She's always had big litters, but I think this might be her biggest so far!


Cattle & A Bucket Calf
I spent Friday afternoon with some friends hauling hay, feeding cattle, and playing with a bucket calf. We had fun and I learned a few things! 

We had just started the feed truck and were on our way to get loaded, when the cattle all headed up to the feed bunks already waiting for us. 

The truck was loaded with straw, wet corn distillers (leftover ground corn from when beer is made (it makes the feed taste better!), chopped prairie hay, and some silage. I'm sure the cattle enjoy it! One of my favorite parts of feeding was the smell. I can't say I've ever smelled anything quite like it… I was told it was the silage and distillers; if it smells this good, I wonder what it tastes like?? (No, I'm not wanting a taste. Just curious!)

 These boys sure love their food! 

 After feeding a bit, I went and watched the little bucket calf, Buddy, be fed. Can you believe he was just born on Tuesday?? I fed him a bit, and of course, I came away from the pen looking like I had just drooled all over myself. (No, it wasn't me. The wet, white stuff was thanks to the calf!) 

Right before I left the pen, Buddy decided to make friends with Bella. She wasn't too interested!

Hope you're having a great weekend!

For The Love Of A Spice Cabinet
I love spices for their colors, flavors, and smells. They're all different and each have something unique to offer. For this, I just grabbed a few of my favorites items out of the spice cabinet and started playing around. Instead of just tossing together a few pictures, I figured I'd add a little info about each so that your time spent reading this post was put to good use….

First let's start with cocoa; now technically, some people say cocoa is a spice and others say it isn't. I'm siding with those that say it isn't, but it really doesn't matter! Cocoa is really ground up cocoa beans from the cacao tree. 
When the pods are harvested, they are laid out in piles or on grates and allowed to "sweat", this means that the thick pulp vanishes and leaves behind the beans. Then the wet beans are taken to a place where they are dried and then they ferment. After that, they are shipped to places to make the cocoa powder, chocolate, etc. The beans are roasted, then cracked and their shells are removed. After all of this, the pieces of cocoa beans are called "nibs". The nibs can then separated into cocoa butter and cocoa powder, using a hydraulic press. Now you've got the cocoa we get in our little brown Hershey's boxes!

Next comes a wonderful smelling spice… Cinnamon! The name "cinnamon" came from the Greeks and not only has the spice been considered a gift for kings and gods, it's referred to in the Hebrew Bible in Proverbs and Song of Solomon.
Cinnamon comes from either the Ceylon Cinnamon tree or the Cassia tree. The tree is grown for two to three years and then coppiced (the tree is cut back to ground level, covered with soil, and then the shoots are allowed to grow out of it). Once the shoots have grown out of the stump, they are cut off and then stripped of their bark, which is laid out in the sun to dry. When the bark dries, it curls into "quills" (or what we call sticks) and then is packaged and shipped. For the ground cinnamon, the sticks are ground up gently and you're done!

My favorite thing about paprika is the color. I love the bright red! 
Paprika is a spice made from dried and then ground, sweet bell or chili peppers. Hot, sweet, smoked, plain, Spanish, Hungarian - There are many different variations of paprika and it's the fourth most used spice in the world. One use for paprika is coloring. Whenever a dish is bland and colorless, paprika is generally heated and added; because when heated, paprika releases its color and flavor.

Ground mustard (also known as dry mustard) is made from ground mustard seeds. Not only are the seeds of the mustard plant used, but the leaves and stalk can be used as well. There are three different kinds of mustard seeds; white (or yellow), brown (Asian), and black. Black mustard seeds have mostly been replaced by brown seeds as they can be grown and harvested more economically. In terms of how pungent the seeds are, black is much more pungent than the mild white seeds, while the brown seeds are in between them. 
Typically, to make English mustard, the white and brown seeds are blended together; for Chinese and European mustards, the brown seeds are the main ingredient.

Ok, so yes. Parsley is an herb, not a spice. But it was one of those things I grabbed and it's in the picture. So I think I'll tell you a bit about it anyway! 
Basically, dried parsley is just that. Dried parsley! While there are more than 30 different varieties of parsley, the most common of them are the curly-leaf parsley and then the more flavorful flat-leaf parsley. Since parsley doesn't hold up very well during cooking, it's generally added at the end of making the dish. Dried parsley adds mostly color and curly parsley is used for garnish, while Italian parsley is used for flavor.

The last thing I grabbed was peppercorns. Whenever I'm cooking, I like to grind peppercorns instead of using the pre-ground pepper as I feel it adds more flavor if it's just been ground. Peppercorns are the fruit from a flowering vine called the Pepper plant. The fruits (peppercorns) are dried and then sold whole or ground. Black pepper is the world's most traded spice. There are actually six different varieties of peppercorns; Pink, Green, Malabar Black, Sarawak White, Tellicherry Black, and Muntok White.

Well, I think I'm feeling rather hungry after typing all of this!


Blog Love
If there's one thing that I've learned during this crazy process called blogging, it's that you meet so many more bloggers and make a lot of new friends! It's crazy the amount of blogs out there. I've seen so many that I have come to love looking at. So in light of that fact, let me share a few of my favorites with you! (I'm posting links with the names so you can visit them, and please do!) These aren't in any particular order, just however they come to my mind.

Besides posting several yummy looking recipes, the Country Chick also shares pictures and tales from life on a farm, in Alabama, with all of her animals. Just when you think her life must be busy enough, you see the little tabs that allow you to a) order their soaps and b) buy eggs and chicks from them! If you haven't gotten my drift already, it's an amazing site and one I look forward to receiving every post update from!

Oh my… Now I have to think of something to say about this wonderful blog when there seems to be only one word running through my head at the moment - YUMMY!!! From the Carne Asada Skillet Nachos to the Apple Pie Granola - It's all wonderful looking! I've really enjoyed looking at all of the pictures on here and just moseying around the site in general.

As their description says, it's home cookin' for today's busy cook. And I must say that Brandie does a wonderful job at keeping her readers looking forward to the next post. The recipes look tasty and there are several I'm looking forward to trying very soon!

I'm still questioning what it was that brought me to this site… But whatever it was, I'm thankful it did! You might have noticed that this site is a bit different from most of the blogs I follow - That's because it has nothing to do with food. Kirk posts everything from Duck and Goose hunting to fishing with his son. It's be fun to keep up with his posts along with the other 800+ readers!

Reading Chickens in the Road may very well be one of my favorite past-times. Between the old-fashioned recipes, tales of life on a farm in the foothills of the Appalachian foothills, crafts, and photographs, this site is well worth a visit! 

Hope you're having a great day!

Pasture Burning

     The other afternoon and evening, the entire farm and surrounding areas were covered in a haze of smoke. Is this anything to be concerned with? Nope! At least if you can see the fire is aways away and not headed towards you. 

     I should probably warn you right here, this post is going to be rather boring for those of you that come here for the recipes or craft ideas! So I apologize, but be assured, I have two wonderful recipes coming up that will more than make up for it. Promise. 

     Some people wonder why farmers/ranchers burn their pastures and fields. Right now, it's mostly pastures being burned to get rid of the dead stuff. Later after harvest (say, wheat harvest), some will burn the wheat fields before they plant, to clean them up.

     People have burned pastures, fields, and prairies for hundreds of years. Tall grass prairies (such as the Flint Hills) have been kept free of trees by the occasional wildfires that swept through the prairies and pruned them. Do the fires actually kill the grass? The answer is no. While the grass stem on top of the ground is burned and dead, the root of most tall grass is deep underground and not harmed; this factor allows the grass to grow back fire after fire.

     On a side note, if we were talking about burning fields I would launch into the topic of back-fires and firebreaks, but we aren't. So I won't even mention it. Nope, not saying a word...

We burn pastures because:

- Burning helps reduce the brush, dead grass, and weeds. Basically, it's spring cleaning for a pasture.

- It kills the ticks and parasitic worms that hide in the dead grass.

- Pasture burns also help clear the land for native plants to grow better and creatures such as the Sharp-Tailed Grouse need the open prairie to nest on. 

- Burning helps with an "uneven" pasture. When a pasture hasn't been burned in awhile, it develops "clumps or bunches" of old grass. Because the old grass stems poke cattle in the mouth, they generally avoid these areas and go graze where the grass is shorter, softer, lighter, etc…

- Another reason to burn is that burning removes the dead grass or "filler". This grass has no nutrients or good things to offer the cattle and it just fills them up. Since cattle are bought and sold by the pound, it helps when your cattle have grazed on healthy green grass all summer and are fat and slick vs filled up with the dead filler grass and weighing 50 pounds less than the other cattle.

- Besides all of this, burning a pasture can make it plain gorgeous after the grass starts to grow back. It's all green, soft, and new!

A Neat Ol' Bridge
Quite awhile back, my dad snapped some pictures of this old bridge. He says he remembers driving across it when he was younger and there were still a few boards left. While dad was out snapping pics, mom sent me a text saying my father was turning into a "shutterbug" (I think she was mentally adding on the part "just like you".) 

 Jeepers, that's high up!

Thank you, Dad!

For the Love of Travel
Don't you just love to travel? Not everyone does, but I most certainly do! I have a rather broad list of places to go to. France and Italy are ranked up on the top of the list, while some states such as Texas, Montana, New Mexico and Alaska are next. Here's a few of my favorite places and why I want to go to each!

1. Paris, France
     Even as a little girl, I've always loved Paris. The food, the Eiffel tower, and just the thought of being in Paris!
     The food is one of the main things that pulls me to Paris, especially recently. Crepes, Cream Brûlée, Mousse, Pot de Creme, Eclair, Profiterole (Cream Puffs), and lastly, Ice Cream (Yep! I'm being serious 'bout that.)
     Between all of those amazing little items and then the thought of seeing the Eiffel tower at night with all the lights on, oh my.

2. Italy
     With Italy, I'm not as specific about what I want to see like I am with France. Or at least that's what I thought until I started researching it!
     Italy is home to some amazing Italian chefs such as Massimo Bottura and Benedetta Vitali. The cuisine of Italy can claim roots as far back as the 4th century. Many famous desserts also come from Italy; such as, Cannoli, Biscotti, Pizzelle, and Sfogliatelle. As for places to visit, the Leaning Tower of Piza is definitely on that list (yes all 296 steps!), as is the famous town of Pompeii and the Colosseum of Rome.

3. New Mexico or Mexico (Maybe both!)
     I have an obsessive love for Mexican food. That and Spanish. And pictures of peppers drying in the sun. And- You get the point. I love most things Mexican! So why not go to Mexico? That's a great idea!
     Mexico is famous for their salsa, chilies (did you know these little babes are actually a fruit, not a vegetable? Neither did I!), and chocolate. Some say that the Mexican Hot Chocolate at Café Pasqual's is worth a trip to Mexico alone. Maybe I'll find out for myself one day!
     Not only does Mexico boast many wonderful foods, but it's also a place of historical thrills. For those of us that are new history buffs, it's fascinating to look at some of the places such as Palenque, the ruins of of an ancient Maya city; Copper Canyon, a series of canyons that are several times bigger than the Grand Canyon; and El Castillo, the temple-pyramid of the largest of Maya cities, Chichen Itza.

4. Texas
     Texas has always been another of my favorite places; sure I've been there a few times, but we didn't actually taste the foods or visit the sites. Foods from Texas are genuinely thought of as somewhat inspired by Mexican food and always hearty. "True" Texan food is never thought of as light or portioned small.
     A few of the more notable cuisine items are Chicken Fried Steak, chips and salsa (yes, in both Mexico and Texas), chips and queso (The more filling sibling of salsa. Where one is, they both should be), BBQ (Texas is king of BBQ, any kind you want, they got it!), chili, pecan pie, and sweet tea.
     For those of you that love a challenge, the Big Texan restaurant in Amarillo has the steak for you! A 72-ounce steak, roll, potato, and salad, free of charge, and to be eaten in an hour or less. If you can't stomach the whole meal, you'll end up paying around $72.00 for it. (I'd love to go here, but I will definitely not be getting a free meal!) For those brave enough (and hopefully starving before they started!), they are seated on a table above the rest of the patrons with two live video cameras on them for everyone else to watch.
     Not only is the food amazing, but so are some of the places! The Alamo, the Dallas Cowboy's Football Stadium, Six Flags Amusement Park, and the Big Texan Restaurant.

Well, I'm ready to head to the airport now!
Hope ya'll are having a great day,

(Disclaimer: I claim no rights to any of the pictures on this post.)


- Meet Jumper (as the five-year-old named him), the baby cottontail one of the kids rescued from the jaws of our dog. 

- We only had him for a very short time (as we took him back to the nest) but he was showered with hugs, petting, and lots of love while we held him. 

- It was amazing how tiny he was, his eyes weren't even open and he breathed so softly that you had to pay very close attention to see his little body even move.

- Another surprising factor about the little bundle was how strong those legs were! I went to move him in my hand and he started kicking me! Like I said, quite strong.

- I suppose I will just classify this as one of the things about living in the country. You never know what little people will find and bring up to the house! One day it may be a baby snake, the next day a bucket full of wild turkey eggs (yes, we quickly took them right back to the nest!), another day a baby rabbit, and yet another day they will come up to you stuttering and pulling on your sleeve.

"What's wrong?" 



"Bbbig, sssnake! Hhurry!"

- So you follow the mini explorers towards the area of concern and here there is a four foot long snake making a rattling sound! Yes indeed, it makes your blood pump faster, your breathing accelerates, and the urge to jerk the kid away and run is extremely strong!

- Anyway, I believe I got a wee bit off track.. At least I didn't launch into a complete run-down of the multiple adventures we've had. The summers always hold the promise of excitement and adventure!


Small Town USA

I am so thankful that I live in rural America. I've been to some large cities in California, Alaska, Texas, etc; and I have to say that every time we go it makes me appreciate our quiet home in the country even more! The traffic, noise, and tight spaces have always bothered me. Some of my favorite little things about small towns are:

- You can go to an public auction and right before you buy something, the auctioneer tells you that someone will help you load the item, but today only. Not tomorrow, as it's Sunday and we will all be in church.

- Your neighbors are always willing to lend a helping hand. You know that you don't need to worry about your animals while on a trip, the neighbors are more than happy to take care of them for you!

- Everybody knows everybody. There is no such thing as a stranger in a small town. (This can be both good and bad!) When someone gets married; everyone knows. Someone is having a baby? Don't bother sending out announcement cards, they all already know!

- It's perfectly normal to see tractors and machinery driving down main street in town on any given day.

- When it's Sunday, it's Sunday. Don't go expecting businesses in town to be open; you'll just have to wait until tomorrow or drive 30 minutes until you get to a town big enough to have a Walmart.

- During harvest, it isn't unusual to see close to half of the vehicles on the roads are grain trucks. Most every field (of whatever is being harvested at that currant time) has a combine, trucks, and people in it.

- You can drive down a dirt road with the average small town farmer and he can tell you the name of every owner/farmer of every cow/calf and piece of land within a twenty mile radius.

- You can walk into a restaurant and know just how good or bad your service will be by seeing who is waiting on you.

- You can leave your keys in the car and the house unlocked at night, and wake up the next morning with everything still there!

- And lastly, the stars. You can see every star from your front porch! I bet you can't do that in the big city....


In Search of the Nest
The other day we noticed that one of our turkey hens was missing. We usually pen the turkeys up in their pen around sunset so that they won't fly into the trees and roost. She showed up outside the pen a while after penning up the other birds. 
The next day we decided to let the turkeys out and wait until one of them left the group and then follow it. While I stood there watching them I noticed that one of the females would wander away from the others and then start calling loudly. She finally took off on her own towards a neighboring field. I followed her quietly and watched as she settled down under a pile of brush. She picked around a bit and then I walked over to see if she had lead me to her nest. 

 Here's where she decided to nest! We gently lifted her up and went to work uncovering the eggs.

 There were eight eggs! None of them broken. I put the eggs in my pockets and my mom gathered the hen in her flannel shirt. Then we headed back to the pens.

 The hen had some issues with us taking her from her nest and started going loco when we put her and the eggs in the turkey pen. She wouldn't accept the eggs as her own, so we gathered some sticks and leaves from the earlier nest and made a little version of it in their building.

It worked! She was happy with the eggs! Her she is covering them before heading out for a drink. 


A Bird's Eye View
This afternoon we were in the process of cleaning up around our farm and we found that our zip-line needed some tightening. So we tightened it and then my brother and I hitched a ride on the forks of the forklift. Before long, we were 20 feet above the ground… then 30… and finally 42 feet above the earth. If you want to get technical, my camera was approximately 48 feet above the third planet from the sun… AKA, Earth. Thankfully, I had my camera strapped around my neck and so I snapped a few pics.

On a side note, if it hadn't been for the fact that I wanted pictures so badly, I'm sure I would have passed out… Ugh, I've found that heights (that include standing on a pallet on two forks almost 50 above the ground) and I do not get along!
On the bright side, it's amazing how far you can see!


The long cold winter is melting away
A single redbird was spotted today

Through the mist the sun is peeking
Squirrels are about and acorn seeking

New life has come to fields and woods
Kids venture out in sweatshirts with hoods

In just a few weeks the river will flow
Blossoms on trees will be starting to show

There's still a chill in the springtime air
Winter is gone but the memory is still there

Summer is waiting a few months beyond
To warm the air and meadow and pond

A gopher peers out from the holes that he makes
Springtime is when the whole world awakes

(Unknown Author) 

Hope you're having a wonderful evening!

My Favorite Etsy Finds
     Etsy is a amazing site full of crafty ideas and little projects. Not only does it have a wide market of handmade items, but it also is host to a huge amount of vintage wares as well. If something is considered vintage, it has to be at least over 20 years old to be sold on Etsy. You never know what all you might find, so I've compiled a list of my favorite ideas. Maybe these will help kick start some creative thinking of your own...

I love looking for camera straps and I love leather; so when I saw this I was thrilled. It's the same thing that guitar straps are made of, so it's quite large and comfortable. $32, a lot less than some of the other leather straps I've seen!

I don't know why I liked these so much. Probably because they're very unique bookmarks. These are copper feather bookmarks. They come in a set of three (for less than $4!) and have the hole at the end to thread through beads, ribbons, etc. If you'd like another kind of metal bookmark, click on their store as they have several others.
You can find them here: 3 Copper Feather Bookmarks

I love terrariums! This one is especially neat because of the Marimo, shells, and water inside it. A Marimo is a living Japanese moss ball, these little babies are found only in a handful of small lakes in Japan and even have a yearly festival held in their honer! A super easy plant to care for, they only require low lighting and an occasional water change. They're $25 and the shop only ships in the US.
You can find them here: Marimo Terrarium

This would make a great gift for that geo-lovin', traveler, or map-lovin' person in your life. Coasters, are something almost everyone needs/uses and these have the extra bonus of a 1954 student map on top. Great conversation starters, too! They're $24 for a set of six coasters. 
You can find them here: Set of 6 World Map Coasters

This is another great idea I love. Very similar to the next idea, but not quite. These wall planks are very versatile, they hold flowers or herbs, but can also hold cotton balls, q-tips, etc in the bathroom. Made of recycled wood that is weathered and rustic, and can be made custom. One plank of jars is $25.
You can find them here: Mason Jar Wall Hanger Planter

This is a more expensive version of the one right before this. For $85 you will receive a custom repurposed window shutter, 4 mason jars, a bag of stones (to go in the bottom of the jars), and a few pages of herb growing tips. It has a strip of burlap at the top of the shutter in order to hang it in your kitchen (or any other room). 
You can find this item here: Recycled Shutter Mason Jar Herb Garden

Love this idea! For $25, a set of 3 hand painted pint mason jars. One in dark brown, one tan, and one pink. You can email the creators for a custom order if you like. (Flowers and tablecloth aren't included.)  I think these would be some great center pieces with some flowers inside…. Hmm.. Brainstorming in process!
You can find them here: Set of 3 Mason Jar Vases

I've wanted a set of these towels for a long time! Maybe I'll finally break down and buy a set. This is a screen printed towel (for $15 a piece) and would be great to hang in a country themed kitchen. 

My last great find on Etsy was this little cork garden. For $14 you will receive 4 little zen inspired wine cork planters with hand drawn lines and stamped with Chinese characters meaning "health", "good luck", "longevity", and "love". The centers are drilled out for you to fill with soil and little herbs or succulents. 
You can find them here: Mini Wine Cork Garden

Hope ya'll are having a great weekend! 

Toothbrushes, Interstates, and Skittles
Yesterday afternoon, my mom and I went to one of the "big towns". At least it's big enough to hold a Walmart. That's good enough for us. Anyway, we made the mistake of walking through the toothbrush aisle…

- I saw a line-up of those fancy electronic toothbrushes.

- They had lots of buttons.

- I inherited a fascination and love of buttons from my father. (You can only imagine what I did next, I'm sure.)

- I decided to press one little button. That was one of the worst mistakes I would make that day…

- Anyway, I pressed one little button on the most expensive toothbrush there and it started making a horrible grinding noise.

- My mom at this point is holding her stomach laughing and running (with the cart) towards the end of the aisle, determined to get as far away from me and my dying toothbrush as soon as possible.

- So, I, being the weird person I am, decide to press it again. I do and it starts making another sort of grinding noise. By this time, my mom has vanished and I'm staring at this vibrating toothbrush in horror.

- I jab it a couple more times and it starts flashing lights at me. By this time I'm really scared! Finally, after at least six jabs, it stops. I don't want to risk the temptation of pressing anymore buttons in this aisle, so I take off in search of my mother.

Morale of the story: Who knew a toothbrush aisle in Walmart could be so dangerous?

Now, you would think that I had learned my lesson… today just wasn't my day! I should just go sit quietly in the back of the vehicle… But no, no, I get to drive!

- We decided to take the interstate. This really shouldn't mean anything to any of you, except for the fact that all I've been driving on recently are the old county back roads….

- You know how people are supposed to "merge" when they are getting onto an interstate highway? (And remember I said I've been only on the backroads recently (no, there is no reason for that. Don't think another minute about it.)) Looks like I forgot how to gently mingle with the other traffic. Add that to the fact that I was chugging Sour Skittles by the handful, and it was sure to be interesting.

- Instead of mingling, I just burst in and about took a white Hummer in the rear end. It wasn't pretty.

- Of course I should mention that the Hummer was being rather rude… It wasn't all me.

- We did make it home safely, we did have a few tense moments, and I did end up regretting eating all of those Skittles. But the main thing is that we are now home.

- Now, I'm off to schedule an appointment with my psychiatrist… I'll probably be grounded from toothbrushes, skittles, and driving for awhile.. But anyway..

Hope you are having a great day!

Food For Thought: Proverbs
 Proverbs is one of my favorite books in the Bible, it has so much to tell us and the scripture passages are small enough to quickly and easily commit to memory. I recently was reading through the book of Proverbs and picked out a few of my favorite passages. Now don't get me wrong, they're all great verses, but these are some of my favorites!

"The one who guards his mouth protects his life; the one who opens his lips invites his own ruin." - Proverbs 13:3

"There is profit in all hard work, but endless talk leads only to poverty." - Proverbs 14:23

"A tranquil heart is life to the body, but jealousy is rottenness to the bones." - Proverbs 14:30

" A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wraith." - Proverbs 15:1

"The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, observing the wicked and the good." - Proverbs 15:3

"If you stop listening to instruction, my son, you will stray from the words of knowledge." - Proverbs 19:27

"Teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." - Proverbs 22:6

Hope ya'll have a great week!

A Place Lost In History: The Marion County Poor Farm
     In 1887, the Marion County Board of Commissioners bought the W. E. Glover farm for $4,500 in hopes of establishing a "poor farm" on it. They had $10,000 to put towards the buying of property and the building. The three-story limestone building was built in 1888 with help from one of the county's well known stone masons, Fred Scheaffler. It was built of limestone from Florence, KS and it's doors opened to the poor and public in 1890. The site it's on was chosen because it's on higher ground and in the middle of three towns - Marion, Hillsboro, and Peabody.

     In 1893, W.K. Palmer took charge as superintendent and it was said that he did an incredible job; while his wife worked alongside him and cooked for the people living there. It took tact, patience, kindness, and good and sound judgment to keep up the farm and care for the residents. During his time as superintendent, he averaged 12 inmates at a time; six men and six women. Back then the people who stayed there were called "inmates" instead of what we would call them today, residents or clients. It was said that most of the inmates were incompetent to a certain degree would require the same treatment that little children would.
     Each person was given tasks that matched his or her abilities and would be required to complete them. The farm had one hired man that helped the men and together they farmed 160 acres, made improvements around the farm, kept a large garden, raised hogs and cattle, and did their own butchering.

     The women spent their time sewing and mending, cooking, and keeping up the with the housework. The men and women were kept separate and never met other than at meal times and they were all required to wake at a certain hour and complete their duties. Not only did it serve as a place for the poorer people and mentally handicapped, but it also housed unwed pregnant mothers until their babies were born and then adopted.

     Not only were there frequent activities going on around the farm, but there was never a Sunday without the wonderful addition of a church service or special program from the surrounding churchs. Visitors were frequent around the home, as were the Boy and Girl Scouts. Christmas was also a special time, there was always a Santa Claus with a sack of nuts and candy for everyone and Christmas carols. Whenever birthdays were happening, you could be sure to find a giant cake for the special person to share with their fellow residents and friends.
     It was also said that the Marion County Poor Farm was better furnished then half of the private United States families, as they were always receiving the latest in modern improvements and machinery. Not only did the Poor Farm sustain itself without help from the county, but it also made enough to pay $200 annually to the county treasury.

     Art Loewen once told the writer of another article on Cedar Rest this: "I wish you would mention the fact that when TV first came out, the patients of the home all saved their nickels and dimes and chipped in to buy a set for their own enjoyment. That set was still there and in use when we retired in 1958."

While under the management of Mr. and Mrs. Godfrey Beisel, the State Department of Kansas notified the county that the building was going to need major renovations and repair. The residents were moved out and the farm was closed for two years. Then in 1950, the Marion County Commissioners of the Welfare Department moved towards reopening the farm and 120 acres of the land was sold to pay for the renovations. The total for enlarging the building, adding new equipment, and installing an elevator was $34,000.
     The then appointed managers were Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Loewen and then name of the home was then changed to "Marion County Rest Home, Cedar Rest" because of the attractive cedars on the property and also to remove the stigma of a "poor farm" or "poor asylum". Cedar Rest was used until the large fifty-bed Marion County Home was built in Peabody, KS.  

     The old house had a large basement which had a dinning room, kitchen, shower, laundry room, 4 bedroom ward, and furnace room. On the next floor, there was another 4 bedroom ward, several single bedrooms, and a sunroom. The next level's layout was quite similar to that of the second's.

     My Grandpa remembers living a mile away from the poor farm and having an elderly lady come over to their place from the farm and climb to the top of their windmill. She then proceeded to stand on the wooden platform at the top and threaten to jump into the stock-tank to kill herself. The caretaker of the poor farm then came over and thankfully managed to talk her down the windmill and take her back to the farm.

     Another story (this one I have no proof of) is that at some point in time, there was a caretaker (or gardener) stealing jewelry and valuables from the residents. An elderly man finally caught onto what was happening and cornered the caretaker on the top of a balcony one day. The elderly man with the wheelchair ended up pushing the thief over the edge of the balcony and down to his demise. Thus their problem was no more.

This picture of Cedar Rest was taken in 1908.

     In November 1964, after the residents had all been moved to the Peabody nursing home, the home and property was sold at auction. Several years later, Art and Virginia Miles bought Cedar Rest and remodeled the first floor into a restaurant called "Cedar Villa", it opened in 1968 and operated several years before being closed. During the remodeling period, several walls were knocked out and an area for diners, two bathrooms, and a new furnace were put in.

     The building then sat empty for several more years until Rev. Bill Cowel, Pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Marion, KS, bought it with the hope of turning it into a youth center for girls. Volunteers put a new roof of asphalt shingles over the original wood ones, but that was as far as the remodeling went. That dream of a girl's center was never completed.


     The pastor then sold the home to Nancy Marr and her husband, she's said that when they first bought it, it was falling to pieces; doors and windows were broken and everything was dilapidated. Thankfully, Marr's husband was handy and had several friends to help with the cleaning up. Remodeling included sandblasting the stone walls and installing new plumbing and wiring on the first floor and basement. The ceilings, doors, and windows were also replaced on the second floor and beds were added to the second floor bedrooms. 
     At first, the home was used as a weekend get-away from their lives in Wichita. But then in 1974, their family spent their first winter in the home. "It was real funny," Marr said, "like going back 100 years ago. It doesn't have many closets, because people didn't have possessions back then."

     In 1978, Marr and her husband divorced and she became the sole owner of the former poor farm. Today, you can still drive by and see the giant limestone structure sitting back in the trees. Although it once held it's own thriving little world, it now sits, quiet and lonesome. Just waiting.

God Hath Not Promised…
God hath not promised skies always blue
Flower strewn pathways, all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labour, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing kindness, undying love.

God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptations, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many and burden, many a care.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labour, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing kindness, undying love.

God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain, rocky and steep,
Never a river, turbid and deep.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labour, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing kindness, undying love.

- Annie Johnson Flint

Just A Thought

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”  - John Steinbeck

Snow, Sleds, and Crashes
I'm tired. That and I need a break. So what do I do? I start a blog post. But anyway, I wanted to share a few pictures from a snow sledding adventure a few days back. That's what this post was for.

Not tell you all about my lovely day.

Which really hasn't been all that lovely.


We had a lot of fun sledding! Of course there were some crashes. A few thought they were going to die... Then were afraid that they wouldn't! (See above picture for example)

And then there were the cute ones...

What a crew!

Some found that excessive speed, steep hills, snow, and dips (coming up really fast!!) do not go well together.

"Ugg.. I think I'm dead."

"Nope. Wait. My head! It's here! I'm still alive!!"

"Woha, buddy! Coming in a little fast, don't ya think?"

"Brakes! Brakes! I need brakes! Not gonna make it… Oh dear..." *Thud* 
"Never mind. I'm good!"


"Hey, this sledding thing isn't half bad! Peace, bro."

"Hey guys! I've got a brilliant idea! Lets chain ourselves together and fly down a hill at mach one!"

"We can fly! We can fly!"
*Others violently yelling "This shouldn't be happening!! This really shouldn't be happening!!"*

"Not bad! Wanna go again?"

"Heck yea! Why not..."

Well, that's about the extend of our little expedition.

A Place Lost In History: Chingawassa Springs
     I was recently given a whole bunch of papers on the history of Rainbow Lake and the nearby Chingawassa Springs. In those pages I found some fascinating history and info that I wanted to share!

     Now, some of you might be wondering what Chingawassa Springs is. It's a group of mineral springs  located around four miles northeast of Marion, KS. The springs got their name from an Osage Indian Chief named Chingawassa, which means "Handsome Bird" who often camped by the springs with his tribe. Legend has it that Chief Chingawassa was an honest, friendly chief and was killed by a jealous Kaw chief and later buried near the springs by his avenging tribesmen.

      Although this is just a legend and there is no proof that he was murdered by a Kaw and buried there, there is some written history of Chingawassa himself. In Kansas Historical Collections, Vol. XVI (1923-1925), there is a treaty that was signed in St. Louis on June 2 with the name "Chingawassa, Handsome Bird, Great Osage Chief" as one of the signatories. In the same volume of Historical Collections, another treaty signed at Council Grove Aug. 10, 1825 has the name "Shin-gawassa, Handsome Bird, Chief Great Osage."

     In the "History of the Kansa or Kaw Indians" by George Morehouse (also in the Kansas Historical Collection), there is a story of a cunning and tricky chief called Wah-ti-an-ga, who was under the influence of liquor, and decided to follow the Indian agent H.S. Huffaker around one afternoon. It states, "A friend by the name of Ching-gah-was-see (Handsome Bird) did a handsome thing by watching his chance and telling Mr. Huffaker that the drunken chief had made his boast that he would not leave town till he had taken the life of Tah-poo-skah, that being the Indian name for Mr. Huffaker, meaning teacher. Wah-ti-an-ga claimed that it would be a great deed to kill so important a personage. It was fortunate that Handsome Bird informed him, for it is never safe to trust an Indian crazed or foolish with liquor. Ching-gah-was-see was a good Indian and a noted brave, and had the honor of having a spring named for him. The spring is a few miles north of the city of Marion and is noted for its medicinal qualities."

     This is the story behind the name of the springs, now for what happened after this.

     The springs were mentioned in Lt. Zebulon Montgomery Pike's journal he kept of his 1806 - 1807 expedition, but not by the name Chingawassa. Authorities have confirmed that these are indeed the legendary springs, due to the location details. Although the springs were known for many years before 1888, it wasn't until then that people became more interested in them.

     In 1888, the Marion Chingawassa Belt Line was built by Levi Billings. The small railroad started at the Santa Fe Station (now the Public Library) in Marion and ended at Chingawassa Springs. At the springs, Mr. Billings created a large summer hotel and dance hall, which ran from around the first of May through October. Before the hotel, a large depot and "eating house" were erected. At first the visitors would camp in tents, but then the hotel came and change all of that. Walks and rustic bridges were also built for people's enjoyment. A ticket from Marion to the springs was exactly a dime and the train would stop anywhere along the line to pick-up or drop-off passengers.
     During the fall and winter, the train hauled stone out of stone quarries both east and west of Marion, and if a farmer wanted his grain hauled to market, the train would deliver the cars anywhere along the line to be filled. For the handling of each of the cars, the price was only $2.00.
     On the opening day of the railroad, July 4, 1888, the train gave 2500 passengers round trip rides. The cash receipts for that day alone were $500.00 and it was a record never beaten.

     Al Nienstedt reminisced in 1941 about that railroad. He said, "One time in the fall, as the hotel was about to close for the season, the railroad crew went after the hotel crowd at the springs to take them to a show in Marion and then after the show back again to Chingawassa. The engineer overlooked his water supply for steam and as he passed our place stopped to get enough water out of our well, carried to the engine with pails, to go back to Marion.
     The engineer, Frank Wright, says to my sweetheart and future wife, "don't you and Al want to ride with us to the show and back?" To which we both replied we would be happy to go if they would hold the train long enough to make a change of clothes to our glad rags. The reply was that for 50 cents he would wait for both of us to make the change and bring us safely back. I said "It's a deal; here is your 50 cents." I will venture to say that this is the only time in history that a boy and his sweetheart held a passenger train and crew with their consent long enough to make a change of clothes and be taken to a show and back home to their own front yard."

     In 1889, it was noted in the Marion Record that the water was strongly impregnated with Sulphur and other minerals, and possessed healing properties that were tested in successful treatment of rheumatism and kidney diseases. Many sources have said that the water was so clear you could read every line of a newspaper lying at the bottom of the deepest spring, quite easily.

     Sadly, the outfit was a financial failure and in three or four years, torn up and forgotten. In 1893, the terse statement "The Chingawassa Railroad is no more" was recorded in the Marion Record. The cross ties were bought for fence posts, one of the coaches bought for a dentist office, and the other a lunch stand. The hotel was bought and the lumber used to build a barn and other things.

     In the Marion City Library, there are on file, the 160 shares of stock in the railroad purchased by the city of Marion, a season ticket and a round trip ticket to Chingawassa Springs. This is all that remains of the Chingawassa Springs Resort and Railroad, but those springs still bubble up from the depths of the earth.

     On a last note, it is said that if a person will stand, at sunset, above the stones that mark Chingawassa's last resting place and call: "Chingawassa: Chingawassa: what were you murdered for?" He will answer (and if you listen closely, you will hear him) "Nothing at all. Nothing at all."

For The Love Of Mason Jars
My latest obsession is Mason jars. Actually, any kind of canning jars, be them Mason, Ball, etc. There are so many different ways to repurpose them. You can use them to decorate, organize, and beautify.
Here's a few of my favorite ways to use them:

You can use them for lighting...

Herb planters...

 Smelly candles (I know you guys just love 'em!)

 Mini terrariums…

 Succulent planters…

 Home decor (love the white plates and blue jars!)

 Cookie mixes (great gifts!)

 Kitchen Canisters…

Or little greenhouses to help start your baby plants.

Now this one isn't really using any jars. But I figured it could fit in this post anyway! I think this one is my favorite of them all…


Rainbow Lake
Sunday afternoon, a couple friends and I went to look at an abandoned rock quarry, nicknamed "Rainbow Lake". It was interesting how many different little caves or nooks n crannies there were! It is said that the limestone the Marion County Courthouse is made out of came from this quarry.


Our Wonderful Mutt...
Have you ever wondered why a perfectly healthy dog (I would say normal, but I'm not sure that applies to this mutt!) would go stand in the middle of a culvert?
Stand there with the ice and water.
Stand there for seven whole hours.
Stand there even when there's a backhoe making horrible sounds above him.
Stand there even when dirt and rocks are falling all around him.
Nope. I'd never even thought about it. Or at least I hadn't until recently when our dog decided to do just that.
So we (being the nice people we are) pull out the backhoe and head down to the culvert.

We start digging and scratching around trying to scare him out and what does he do? Look around, take a step forward, five steps backwards, and then he drops. He just drops right there and looks at us!

So we halt all digging, head over to the hole...

And stick our heads inside. Finally we decide it's not worth digging up the whole culvert and ruining the driveway, so he can come out when he wants to...
Later that night, we go out to do chores and start calling for the cats so we can feed them and look at what comes running!!

Jack! With not a scratch on him. (The picture is a bit blurry because he wouldn't hold still and stop wagging his little stump of a tail long enough for me to snap a clear picture of him!)


New Year's Eve!
It's almost a new year! This past year has been great. I've accomplished things I thought I would fail, started a blog, made new friends, gone to new places, tried new foods, read new books, and learned new things.

Abraham Lincoln once said: "I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday."

Every past year, I've created my list of resolutions. They usually didn't last much more than the first couple of days into the new year, before I had blown them. This year I'm hoping that will change. And in order to do that, I need a realistic list. One that I can actually follow and hopefully add to in the future. So here's a little bit from my list:

1. Yea, it's a little messy... But it's not a dump. Or is it?
Yep. This is one area that could use more than a little help. My desk, my other desk, my bedroom, and surrounding rooms.. They all need a little help. So I'm hoping to clean up my act in this area. My solution? YouTube tutorials and baskets. Lots of pretty green and brown baskets! Lots and lots. That and I'm being told to ditch some of my books. (I know. Impossible, right? That's exactly what I said! Let's just make the closet bigger!) So maybe I'll end up giving away a few.. Maybe. But I hope not.

2. Travel!
I love to travel! I have this whole list for places I want to go someday. For this present new year, I'm hoping for Hawaii and New Orleans. Two very different worlds. Worlds I'm really, really wanting to explore!

3. Finish The Darn Novel Already!
So, yes, I love to write, but, I don't like to sit and work on my stories. I have one novel in particular that's coming along quite well. I just can't seem to hold onto enough patience to work through it slowly and thoroughly and not want to rush through. So I work on it in bits and pieces, maybe a chapter or so every once in awhile when I have time to sit and type. My goal is to have it done my the time I'm 85, but I've always liked to think of myself as an over-achiever. So maybe I'll hit that goal at 75. Maybe. (I know I'm really pushing myself here!) So for this next year, I'd like to get more of it put together and then maybe this time next year I can soothe myself to sleep with a lovely rough draft of it!

4. This Blog
I love my blog and I love hitting that little publish button, but its come to my attention that there are some major things that need changed. Now don't get me wrong, I won't change anything and then leave you hanging wondering what I did or anything. I do think it needs a little updating and revising. So if you start noticing some little changes here and there, don't be alarmed! (If I do anything drastic, say change the web address or such, I'll be sure to fill ya in!)

So these are just a few of the items for this next year (about 3 minutes away now). I have some more, but those I'm not gonna post! Hopefully you have had a great year and next year will be even better!
Happy New Year!

Write A Good One...

Porch Invaders 
 This is what we outside our front door at some time throughout every day. I think they miss their peeps. What can I say? They like us!

Christmas Day
Christmas is finally here! I've been looking forward to this day since last Christmas. Last night, my family opened our presents after the Christmas Eve program. Then today, some of us went to our grandparents. (Those of us that weren't sick.)
Those who went had a great time.
I ate way too many cookies and peanut-butter balls.
I did feel semi sick afterwards, but I'm hoping that it's only due to the overload of cookies and that I'm not coming down with what the rest of my family has.
Wanting for it to only be from the cookies!

Jake got a toy Peterbilt last night (complete with trailer and hay bales) that he absolutely loved!
(From today) These are my grandma's cookies... I have no words... Well, maybe one. Yummy!!

Grandpa got this amazing picture from Vegas. A guy made it with two aerosol cans and paper from a phone book. (Yep, I know. Wow!)

Now just because today is a holiday, doesn't mean that our animals understand that and accept the fact that we want to relax instead of doing chores. I've tried explaining it to them, but they just won't let us off the hook.
So we comply and feed them even though it's Christmas Day.
Even though we want to relax.
Even though we've eaten tons of cookies and feel like beached whales.

And of course, chore time was a perfect opportunity to test out my new camera. I still haven't figured out what half of the buttons and knobs do, but I guess that's where reading the manual might come in handy. Just maybe.

Yes, Tom. I know you're thirsty. I'm working on finding a non-frozen hydrant. I'm coming, I'm coming...

Hello beautiful!

Hopefully, you and your family have had a wonderful Christmas!
Enjoy your evening,

Snow Days
First we had ice pellets. Then it turned to snow. Now there's lots of snow. 

If you've been following my blog much, you probably remember that I love snow. Snow makes all the cold weather worth it and much more enjoyable for those of us that tend to lose all feeling in our toes from October through April. People like me!

I really think I should clarify. I meant the beauty of watching the snow fall is what makes it worth it. 

Watching it.

Watching from inside a very warm bubble. 

With hot cocoa. 

And my cat. 

Then is this cold weather worth it! 

I'll be quiet now.

Riding the snowmobile around is fun, but only when bundled, and allowing for "warm-up" breaks every 30 mins at least. Trust me. You'll need those breaks!

Enjoy the snow!

Western DinnerWare

I'm adding these to my wish list! My great-grandma has a set like this top one.

The Adventures of Frosted House Construction 
Our church had their "Kids of the King" bell choir party this evening. They decorated cute, little gingerbread houses. Only thing is that they weren't made of gingerbread. But still. That's how I shall refer to them… Anyway, here's how it went down...

 We started with one house each. Of course there were some extras, which turned out to be a very good thing!

 Napless five-year olds and gingerbread houses just sitting in front of them aren't a good combo. At all.

 We each got a plate of candies (decor) and icing (our sealant).

 And we got to it! I painted the house and he decorated it. It turned out quite colorful!

 Some of our friends (who shall remain nameless!) had a tornado wipe through their place before construction was finished. This is the remains… Gingerbread Man is now homeless and seeking a job!

 Back to our little builder, this is the finished product… Sadly, there was no warranty. 

 And right after the mandatory picture in front of the Christmas tree, it got tipped over onto the floor. Like I said, no warranty! 

 But never fear! That doesn't mean you can't eat it and start over, right? Right.

 So we set about constructing a new house. Complete with door bell and light.

 Here's our finished masterpieces!

 Hope you have a great evening!

Happy Thanksgiving Ya'll!
Just a couple little funnies thanks to Facebook! Have a great day!


A Time For Thanksgiving

    Right now, I'm curled up by the fireplace, Michael Buble Christmas is playing, and it's all of 20 some degrees outside. The weekend is almost over and Thanksgiving will soon be here.
     Speaking of Thanksgiving, what will you be doing Thursday? Some people are having dinner with family, others are just staying at home. Some people will be alone on Thanksgiving, others surrounded by people that love them.
     One thing that keeps coming to my mind is our pastor's comment this morning in church. He talked about how Thanksgiving isn't a time to just think thankful thoughts, it's a time to be thankful and give thankful giving. It's a time to share and give to one another. Be it just a phone call, a note dropped in the mail to a friend, or a small gift; it's a time to be give thanks and share.
     Some of my favorite verses for this time of the year (really any time) are:

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." ~ Psalm 107:1

"I will praise the name of God with song, And shall magnify Him with thanksgiving." ~ Psalm 69:30

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name." ~ Psalm 100:4

What are some things that you are thankful for? Think of that song "Count Your Blessings".
I'm thankful for:
-Jesus and my salvation
-Our home
-A heater that works
-Good health
-Clean, fresh air
-Sleep (Although I would like more, I'm thankful for what I get!)

My list could go on and on, and I'm sure yours could too.
But for tonight I think I'm going to head to bed and try to count some sheep. Or maybe I'll try turkeys tonight. Just to keep with the season!
Have a wonderful evening,

Scottsville, Minneapolis, and Rock City, KS

Yesterday, my family and I took a nice long road trip. We had six hours of truck time to sit and stare at each other. It was great. Really. We actually did have a good time (setting the upset stomachs aside) and we got to see some great sights! Here's a few pics:

Welcome to tiny, little Scottsvile!

This building now has a basketball court inside it…

We think this one was a service station.

This was a bank. Love the doorway and pillars!

I was supposed to take a picture of the waterfall in the background, but it didn't work… Oops!

Welcome to Rock City! Home to 200 Dakota sandstone concretions.

Some of the concretions are up to 27 feet in diameter and 15 feet high.

Aren't they amazing???
Have a great evening!

Sunday Afternoon Four-Wheeler Ride
Sunday afternoon, we had some friends over and rode four-wheelers for a few hours. It was a lot of fun, the only thing was the chill in the air… Little bit too nippy for my liking, but we survived! (Someday, I'm going to buy a phone that takes good pics so I can stop borrowing other's smartphones!)

Food for Thought   

     Mondays and I have really never gotten along very well. They have to keep reminding me throughout the day that I've got a whole four days left before the weekend. Tuesdays are a bit nicer, but we still aren't best buds. Why does it seem that if Monday and Tuesday aren't the greatest, then the rest of my week just heads downhill from there? I would really like to know, so if you figure it out, please tell me!
     I'm sure you're wondering just exactly how do I keep ploddin' through the week??? Prayer and my Bible. And lots of it! So to hopefully help your week run somewhat smoothly, I'd like to share a few verses with you.

The first one is helpful for those times when you just feel down and you need reminded to take all of your problems and fears to God and just leave them there with Him.

"Don't worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:6-7"

This next one is also one to help encourage and uplift you. It tells us to take the peace that Jesus is offering us and in turn give our problems to Him and not worry! It's hard not to worry, I understand that because a couple of years ago, I worried about absolutely everything. It truly takes great faith and commitment to quit. So even if you don't worry about life and such, I'm sure that in some way or another you will find this verse encouraging!

" Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful. ~ John 14:27"

This next verse is short and sweet. I never realized how one sentence could be so powerful. It's one of those verses to say to yourself when you are scared witless! Be it a speech ( ;D ), a test, or just any stressful time, it fits all of those situations and more.

"When I am afraid, I will trust in You. ~ Psalm 56:3"

The fourth verse is one I say to myself all of the time. It's one to think of when you're biting your tongue.

" A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath. ~ Proverbs 15:1"

The last verse I want to share with you also helps me when I'm angry and hurting, and it also can help temper and calm those angry thoughts before they come out of your mouth and cause more grief.

"A hot-tempered man (or woman) stirs up conflict, but a man slow to anger calms strife. ~ Proverbs 15:18)

I hope you have a great week and that you think of these verses often when you need them,

What A Weekend…

 It's been a busy but great weekend so far! We've taken nice long four wheeler rides, we've winterized vehicles and tractors, and we've just hung out together as a family.

 Down to the river…

 What a four wheeler.. I love my baby!

 Going in? Time for a dip???

Across the bridge we go!

 Lookin' down.

 This was the double-cropped bean field that was just cut, see all the volunteer wheat poppin' up??

 I love leaves. Mostly yellow and red ones, but I love leaves.

 Can you tell that I love leaves???

Have a great evening! Ashleigh

The Last of the Soybeans

Yikes! Look at all the dust pouring out from behind the combine... I only got caught in it once and it was awful... But these are the last of our soybeans getting cut. Kinda sad in a way, but okay in another! 


Sunday Afternoon Drive

Sunday, some of my family and I set out for a Sunday afternoon drive. We figured we'd be gone for a while, but we didn't expect to drive over 115 miles! Being the crazy person I am, I ended up sitting down too fast after standing on the running-board of our truck to take a picture, and I smashed my head into the doorframe. It made quite the thunk and I've still got a big bump on my head... Ugh, where's my Pepsi and Ibuprofen???

At first, we saw farmers all over cutting milo (having loads of fun with the terraces!) and planting wheat.

And then it started getting more and more desolate the further into the hills we got.

Soon our gravel road turned to little more than an old cowpath. (I think we left some black paint on most of the branches that scraped us.)

One of our cheery adventurers commented that we were basically driving in a pasture, if it wasn't for the fences on either side of us.

I counted at least 3 big balls of barbed wire. I think we need some for the front yard!

Help me!!! I have no cell phone signal!!!

It was sad to see all of the old abandoned pens and such...

I think that this hill would be fun during the winter, after a heavy snow and with a sled.

We weren't sure if would make it through this washout!

See??? There's a REAL road up there!!!

But we weren't done with our drive just yet. We had to go check out some more minimum to no maintence roads in the county.

Have a great day! Ashleigh
5 Things I Love About October

1. Autumn Colors
This is the time of year that makes one happy to just be outside in the cooler weather, so long as you don't think about the coming months when all is gray, brown, and white. Sad. But I won't go into that. The transition from the summer green (or in our case, brown) to the red, orange, and yellow is beautiful! And it's the perfect time of year to take loads of pictures! (As you can probably tell if you've been following my blog any.)

2. Loads Of Food!
Something about fall just makes people feel like baking more often. Maybe it's the cooler weather or the fact that the guys hang in the kitchen longer after dinner now, than during the summer. I'm not sure, but whatever it is, I love it! The cookies, the cakes, the pies, and, in my case, cheesecakes! They all end up showing up on our kitchen bar sometime during the month of October.

3. Football, Baby!
Okay, yes, I admit that I know very little to nothing about football. And I'm really not that crazy about watching a whole game. Anyone close to me shouldn't be surprised by that revelation. But I do know that it's something that most all of my family will sit down and watch together, and it's nice to have everyone in one place sometimes! And wherever there's football, there's food. Hearty stick-to-your-ribs kinda food. (Have I mentioned that I like food?)

4. Relax Time!
Do you ever feel guilty when you get a new magazine in the mail and you want to go sit and read it, but you know that there's something to do elsewhere and it's calling your name? (That's where mental earplugs come in handy!) That's how I felt throughout the whole summer. So now that it's cool outside and dark by 7 o'clock, I can go relax with some hot cocoa and a stack of books and magazines or a sappy romantic comedy during the evenings. Yay!

5.  The Holidays Are Upon Us!
That feeling where you know that Christmas and Thanksgiving are getting closer, but you don't need to do anything for them, hits me hard during the fall. Except maybe think about gift shopping... But that's purely for fun! If you're kinda crazy like me, then you love shopping and look forward to it all year long! 

Happy October! Ashleigh

The Pumpkin Patch

The park and Walter's Pumpkin Patch were our stops for today. We had a great time!

 At the Pumpkin Patch, I found a friend right before the wagon ride started. Isn't he cute?

 Halfway through the wagon ride, we made a pit stop at one of the pumpkin fields to pick out our own pumpkins.

 And they let you pick all the seeds you wanted from the fields..

 I just thought this pumpkin was kinda pretty... That's all!

 These slides were a lot of fun. For those of us over 5', you kind of needed to duck your head or you'd be hitting it all the way down!

Goat headed up...
 Thank you for attempting to stick your nose up my camera... 

 "Look! See? No gravity!!!"

 One of the things our guide told us was that because the Pumpkin Patch has to get rid of the leftover pumpkins around the end of October (so they don't reseed and cross-pollinate), they bring in cattle and let them eat the pumpkins in all of their fields. He said that once the cattle know what a pumpkin is, they absolutely love 'em! So that's around 28 acres of pumpkins for dinner!

 Combine turned playground.
Ahh.. The maize. The maize we got lost in... Well, not really, just confused. And did we ever find the finish line? No. We gave up and walked all the way back to the beginning to get out! 

Yay! We. Are. Out!!!

Let's go warm up, shall we?
The Lodge
This is my dream house, but I'm not planning on anything like it for a very long time! Although, I wouldn't say no... Anyway, just some of my ideas. :)
I love the big open feeling to this kitchen! Very rustic and roomy!
This is my kitchen. 100%. I wouldn't change a thing in this picture!
Love this
I love this idea for a bar. And it would work for the bathroom sink too.
Cowboy Bar Stools
Bar stools.
Pioneer Woman, The Lodge
I love this pantry! Huge, with loads of shelves.. Perfect.
Rustic Entranceway
I like wood and rock accents throughout the house, so this entry and staircase would fit in great!
Basement entrance.. gorgeous. Love the lighting and brick wall.
Although the brick wall idea is pretty... I think I would have rock instead, and I won't have sheet-rock on the walls. Barn wood, maybe? Not sure.
Valley Woodcarvers at Silver Dollar City...   I think this would be great on my mantle in The Lodge!
Silver Dollar City - Valley Woodcutters
Love this idea, but I think it would need to be bigger to span the fireplace.
L.O.V.E...... <3
Oh yes.. My very own library! Complete with ladder, or you could tie the top shelves in with the upstairs and have a balcony over the living/family room.
Laundry Room Design Ideas, Pictures, Remodels and Decor
Of course, the ultimate laundry room! Love the size.
A bed tuck away in this wooden "bookcase" makes this the perfect bedroom for any cowboy ya know!
This would be a great guest or teen room. Not so great for kids or a master bedroom though.
For the cabin
Kids room.
Dream bedroom for a log cabin house(:
Perfect master bedroom, complete with fireplace! (I love fireplaces, can you tell??)
 The view, the chandelier, the mountains..
I really, really could use this right now... 
log tiles
Log tiles for entry.
Leftover rebar was turned into a rustic railing adding depth and texture to the balcony and stairway--love this idea for a rustic home
Leftover rebar used for staircase and railing.
I LOVE the rolling barn door look!
Rolling barn doors.
"Welcome" sign!
Love the wagon wheel!
Wagon wheel table.
My theme will be Aztec/Southwest decor.
I need this
Gun safe, anyone?
Hidden Gun Rooms and Vault Rooms.  by Creative Home Engineering.
Or maybe a hidden gun room/vault!
And last but not least, the front porch. Swingin' beds. I like it!

Soybean Harvest

Yesterday afternoon, some of our friends kindly let us come ride/hangout with them when they were cutting their last field of soybeans. Soybeans are dusty. Very, very dusty. If you have any sort of dust allergy or such, I wouldn't recommend hanging around a bean field when it's being cut. I don't have any allergies and I was coughing some throughout the evening... 
We had a great time. Thank you guys for puttin' up with us! 

Sittin' in the Peterbilt at the Coop, just unrolling the tarp.

We had unloaded at the Coop and were heading back to the field, when I decided to snap a couple of shots of the sunset through the window. Even headed down the highway, it was a beautiful sunset!

So harvest is over, the combine and header are cleaned up and put away, and it's time to turn ourselves to other areas of life... Like football games... And chips n' cheese.. And loads of mexican food.. And cumin... And- I'll quit rambling now!  
Have a great evening, Ashleigh. 

A day of shopping!!!

This past week we celebrated a birthday in our family by going shopping and just hanging out together. We had a lot of fun. Here's some of the highlights:

Cabela's - no need for words.

The giant stone fireplace.
I'm not sure why I added this pic... it's only the jacket I almost drooled on... But didn't pick-up.. If you've read my earlier posts, you know how much I love pink camo.. And I finally got a pink camo sweatshirt! It was in the Bargain Cave (which I love and could live in!), but it's really cute.

And the US made gun safes. It's nice to see stuff made in the US..

The old fashioned hard candies, which we did try and really liked!

Seat for my truck?

And then we went to Sam's. This time, they had their race car and pit crew outside the front door serving hot pulled brisket, it was really good!

Here's the inside of the race car.

This is what it looks like on almost every aisle in Sam's... It's huge... Beyond huge...

And the book table???? Oh... Don't even ask... I love it. It's the best part of the building.. Really.

That's just what a little bit of our day was like. Thanks for listening!

After the storm

Last night we had quite the thunderstorm. Some people got hail, some people got rain, and some people got both! Thankfully, we only got the rain, but right after the storm, there was a beautiful rainbow. And between the dark blue sky for a background, the rainbow, and the sun shining on everything - I couldn't resist snapping a few shots and sharing them with you!

Psalm 107:29 ~ "He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed."

Another Visit to the Field!

We made it to the field again today! It wasn't too hot, but there was a nice breeze to blow the dust in your face... Here's some pics: 


I caught this pic while it was running down the road...Little blurry, but not bad!




Gauges, gauges, and more gauges! (In the Peterbilt)  

Duck Dynasty

I just recently decided to watch some of Duck Dynasty because I'd heard so much about it... It's my new stress relief program. When I'm sick of whatever I'm doing, I just watch a few clips! And don't even ask about my favorite person on it... I have no way of picking just one!
Duck Dynasty logic... #funny #lolduck dynasty quotes I have got to find out what duck dynasty is.... that is funn

Duck dynasty
Have a great Monday! Ashleigh

Wheat Harvest (this past summer!)

I started this blog after wheat harvest, so I didn't have a chance to share any pics of it with you! So, because I love taking pictures around harvest time and got a few random shots that turned out half-way decent.. I'd like to show 'em to ya!

In the combine.. in the field...

In the combine... On the road!

Fish Fry!!!

 Yesterday, was a long day... There was tomato canning, fixing of tractors, cattle getting out, and then a fantastic fish fry to top it all off!

     A couple of days ago, a kind soul gave my mom a 26 pound box of tomatoes... Now what do you do with 26 pounds of tomatoes??? You can 'em! We didn't get quite all of them canned, but a lot of them! Now they are sitting in nice neat quart jars on our counter, waiting to join the 50 some quarts of green beans in the storeroom. It's a good feeling...
     The tractor fixing and cattle getting out is really another story, so I'll skip to the fish fry.

First, we had wonderful, homemade hush-puppies. The crunchy outside and soft breaded inside are perfect together!

Then we had corn ears from my grandparents garden. It was delicious, especially with salt, pepper, and butter... Yummy!

 Then the main dish, the fish! It was crisp and crunchy on the outside, while juicy and yummy on the inside. The fish were channel and flathead catfish. Needless to say, it was a great ending to a long day!

Second Trip to the Field

Well, here they are! I have to say, we had a lot of fun hanging out with our friends, even more fun when people showed up with the cookies! ;)

Corn Harvest

It's corn harvest, it's itchy, dusty, sweaty, and dirty... But it's also fun! Recently, we have been riding with two different groups of friends.. Here's some pictures from our first ride.

I'll add pics of our second trip to the field in a bit!

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