Friday, October 17, 2014

Last Bouquet, Cheesecake, Chalkboard, and Camera Cuts

                     Pumpkin Cheesecake

I followed the recipe for the cheesecake part itself and it was not right. It ended up being glorified pumpkin pie...kinda.  Next time I will use half the sugar and eggs. And not beat it too much. The recipe I used didn't call for any spices, so I added them anyway.  That, I will do again.
And the crust was my GF creation of blended oats, brown sugar, butter, sorghum flour, and pecans. This part was right, too.
     That was my 101 on cheesecake. Next time will be even better.

We repurposed an old wall hanging for our chalkboard. It was a rather nice framed painting back in the day, but there appeared a large water stain exactly in the middle where the trees hung over the peaceful water. A coat of black paint and a couple quick coats of flat white paint for the frame and we were right in style. Love this. Amy has an easel that holds it perfectly.
   The flowers came from the garden which still has not been completely frosted yet. The poppies are budding. If we do not have frost soon there will be a whole new crop of beauties out there.


 Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
                                                                       Psalm 73:25,26

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


      Abbey and I took Brad and Amy out to Nebraska and it was a good trip. (They plan to stay for a couple of weeks to visit and help out with harvest and other projects.) We headed down there on Friday.  For my little brain of fluff the roads were crazy. My car did well working the traffic, so I should not complain. But I had to concentrate a lot. No lolly-gagging along looking at the prairies, windmills, and corn crops.  Eyes on the road, speeding along at a ridiculous rate. Still makes my toes curl to think about it. What if we had actually changed lanes smack into that big white SUV? We would have all gone straight to heaven pronto. Somehow we like to die nicer than that, I guess.
     It is autumn everywhere. In Iowa and Nebraska this means that huge, wide machines swipe up and down the endless acres eating and spewing into trucks or gravity wagons the golden crops of beans and corn.  Everything is big out there: the roads, the sky, the fields, the machinery, and the horizon. Even the sunset sprawls out in brilliant blazes from a much larger ball of fire than we ever see in cozy, tree covered Wisconsin.
     We had good visits and coffee times with our family there.  They were gathering up the last of garden crops: a few ripe tomatoes, the last bouquet of zinnia, over looked squashes and peppers. Afterward, Gabe took a bush hog and mowed the whole tangle of vines and weeds down to little more than a soft covering of "green manure" to be tilled under to maintain the black loam. Jenny rejoiced in the completion of freshly turned soil.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Discovered Settings

 We found lake Camp 4 on a Sunday afternoon drive. (I posted a picture of that a couple of posts back.) So for my birthday we had a picnic there.  It was getting dark much sooner than we expected for some reason and so it was all very short and sweet. Soup packed from home, gifts from the family, and a canoe row around the lake ending at dusk. Perfection.
That was discovery, the first, on my list.

 I love corn candy. Because it is pretty and "musty" (must have another one). I know, it is pretty much all the bad sugars packed into one lethal piece of nonsense. Oh well, we only indulge once a year, that is, for a few days in the fall.
We had a fire going, chairs set up, a table of food at our elbows in about five minutes that evening. It is a lot less work for me than it used to be to do an evening outing. Now everyone makes a couple of hauls apiece and presto we're all set up or all put away depending on which side of the picnic we're on.

 And here is Discovery, the second. I needed a desk area: a place to scribble, and to keep the laptop from getting sat upon when not in use.
   This has been a work in process. The book shelves used to be one piece built for Mom Graber's use. She bequeathed them to me once upon a time. I had no wall large enough to accommodate

 them. So I cut them apart and added the board needed.  Looks like I did it, too. I filled them with books and you are none the wiser, albeit my terrible carpentry.  We used them that way for many years. We had seven other book cases, too, at some point in our school years. By and by, we shifted down to only five or six, and these two started to just be in the way. Until I thought of hanging them after dreaming over New Decorating Book by Better Homes and Gardens.
 Then we painted them right into the wall, so to speak. We have enjoyed this so much. It changes the room entirely to exactly the right cottage feeling we love.
   So. The desk and book cases and window out of which I can see our lovely maples and lawn makes me happy. It doesn't take much, yes?
   Discovery, the third, is realizing that I can actually understand and adjust the settings on this camera I have been fussing about for the last year. It's Lance's camera, a cast off of Clark's, and Lance reminds me betimes of those facts.

 Anyway, I FINALLY changed the settings to get rid of that nasty over-exposure and the blue-ish tinge on every vista out our windows when I take indoor pictures Wow!
   Conclusion for this bit of scribbling is this: We are never too old or stupid to learn and make changes with the things we already have. We should study our current stuff/assets/tools. Perhaps we can do better with what we have, instead of coveting.

Monday, September 29, 2014

 The Stonehouse roof was in bad shape. For several years the shingles have been disintegrating and washing down onto the patio when it rains. "Greeny" shingles were a mistake. So Elv requested a work day to have a reshingling.  It was Elv's first ever request for a work day on something of his own. There is no way that you would be as impressed about that as I am... because I know him. But I can assure you, this is big.

 The traditional American "work day" should never die if we can help it. I'll leave it at that.
  The little boys must have been prepped about ladders and falling objects because they stayed back nicely.  Next time the roof needs to be done, in thirty years, they can do it.


 Meanwhile the ladies visited and worked on

juicing ten boxes of grapes.


  And the children played: across the road at the playground and underfoot and on this old stump.

And we got 60 quart of concentrate and lots and jam stock from our day's work.


Thank you, all of you who came that day and gave of your time and effort to help. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Just Sayin'

   Old is an attitude. I am not old. But being fifty is another matter, entirely. It's one of those between ages, like 17, when you don't really belong to any category. I am not a senior! But neither am I forty and frantic about either getting pregnant or not, as the case may be, thank God.
I am looking forward to learning how to act the age of my hair, gracefully, I hope, someday. Someday when I am finally all grown up, like my mom. Change is too big a deal where I am right now.
   On the other hand some of the changes are good. Like finally getting around to finishing undone projects on our house. And Elv having clearer vision about our own dreams again. And "repurposed" wood made into a lovely patio bench.
   And grown up children. I LOVE that our children are all adults. I guess it only gets better from here?
   And the lovely fall season.  It is so easy to be thankful when color is everywhere with the blue sky overhead.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Fleeting Days of Summer/Childhood

 Summer is gone. We had good times. But it did fly by too quickly, as good times always do. I kept thinking that I was doing well at savoring. Used my camera a lot and spent as much time as possible with Lisl who is moving back to Thailand next week. We had the usual, regular patio suppers and Sunday afternoons of visiting and children refereeing.  But it is all kind of a blur.

                           It's a happy blur, of course.  Jube and Lisl planted my garden for Jube's education and Lisl and my enjoyment this spring before the wedding. The garden grew and produced and is tilled away already. Jube dug potatoes, gathered tomatoes and found cucumbers among the vines. So he truly had the education they wanted for him.
    We went camping. Elv took some of them fishing a couple of times.
   The heat of summer is past. The awesome color and coolness of fall is here. While we mourn the loss of summer we welcome fall with delight. These two are not dichotomous.
     Forward we go, facing the changes in life either to enjoy them or to dread them. Since God is in control we should not waste our energy mourning what is gone. Besides we do not want to miss out on the joys ahead by getting stuck in a rut of what is past. Cannot live in yesterday or tomorrow. Must do today with all that we are.
    There are four new babies on the way at church. More happy changes. God keeps us sufficiently supplied in responsibility and joys. And we are grateful to Him. 

Monday, September 8, 2014


Rain and more rain. Wind that knocks trees helter-skelter. Mugginess, then a cool wind and back to muggy a few times a day. Blue sky one minute, gray heavy clouds the next. Brad is filling the wood box with wood that has been thoroughly rained upon all morning, all week for that matter. This house feels damp and icky, chilly. A fire should dry things out temporarily. It's September and I'm afraid Indian summer will never get a chance.  We came into the month with very little fall color. At the moment there is a stiff breeze blowing. That should scuttle the clouds away.

A year ago I wrote in a post about grace and forgiveness being integral in our marriage and how good it is.  Still is good. Here I am needing to relearn, again. How frustratingly slow is my growing up!

I am always "preaching" about being kind to others no matter who they are or what they've done. And that everyone deserves kindness in the sense that none of us does, really. And we are instructed/beseeched to love one another by the Apostle John of the early church. The other thing I thought I had learned was to not let rumors and wrong impressions about us ruin our joy.
It seems God has been testing all those beliefs. Knowing what is the right thing to do and actually being able to DO the right thing are two different things. It has been a very daily duty of hard going fraught with yawning ditches of discouragement.

What if, what really happened never comes to light? Am I so insecure in my relationship/identity with Jesus that I must charge around trying to take care of my own reputation? But this is hard work. Each of us has his own "take" and to prove anything as more true than any other thing in this muddle is a mistake. Finally, we will each have to take our baggage to Jesus.

I don't have a clue about the song, but hearing "Let It Go" from the lips of a grandchild from the back seat about 15 times in a row did good things for me. I don't think Jube has a clue about the song either. God uses the strangest things sometimes, doesn't He?  I mean the song, not the boy.

And one more thing. Nobody is always right or always wrong. So the sooner we realize that we're all just people in need of a Savior, the sooner we can decide to trust Him and live, happy.

 I'm praying, "Here Jesus, You carry this thing for me, It's so heavy and I'm tired of it." Jesus invited his disciples to do this as His last word to their doubt about His validity. They kept asking, "Is this the One?"
It is the same question we're asking, really. All of our fears and elbowing are rooted in that question. Such folly, when we know the answer!

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.