Friday, November 23, 2007

DREAMSCOLOR - The Artwork of Scott Horton

My sister recently gave me the website of her stepson, Scott Horton- I don't really know Scott at all - (he was gone from home when Merrill & James got married) but after looking at all his paintings, I was very impressed with the breadth of his talent - he uses all different mediums, and uses them well, in my opinion. I asked him if I could write about his artwork on my blog and he said "Sure" - All the pieces that I'm sharing with you are copywrited, of course, so please respect that. (I don't have any way to watermark them) This is one of my favorites , it is called "White Birches" 11" x 15" - Watercolor on paper (It is in a Private Collection )

I love this one - it is SO colorful!

Dogwood In Vase 18" x 24" - Oil pastel on paper (This one is for sale - he lists the prices on his web site)

His style on this one reminds me a lot of Vincent vanGogh - but I think he still has both his ears.

Flowering Field 36" x 24" - Acrylics on board (for sale)

To understand his "mixed media" Foundation Series, the best thing is to read his explaination (click on "Foundation Series" for the link) - but a short quote from his web site will give you somewhat of an understanding of what he is undertaking with these pieces:

"Foundations as a series of work, represents the history or "foundation" of communication. Each symbol depicts ancient communication of thoughts, events and ideas. This concept is reinforced by creating symbols on what appear to be pieces of stone, the combination of which results in a stone wall; a "foundation" for the art."

So, I hope that you will take a few minutes and check out Scott's website and that you enjoy it as much as I did. (Plus he is a web designer by trade, so his website is fresh and easy to navigate - gotta love that!)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving from the Whole Kit & Kaboodle

Sinda is thankful for the beautiful gardens that I have to play in all year long.

Neelix is especially thankful anytime his mom will give him a bag of "nip"

Hrmph - sheep ration, again. Oh, well, that is our lot in life, and we're thankful we have such a good shepherd, who never lets us go hungry. Luna, Jewell & Moni

Girls! Scooter is thankful for Girls!

We are all thankful for all the good friends we have made by blogging - cats, sheep, spinners & knitters, and just regular old folk. Wishing you all a very good Thanksgiving!

Oh, and here's ANOTHER pumpkin recipe! I made these for church last month - everyone wanted seconds. Enjoy!

Tangy cranberries stud these luscious, spicy pumpkin bars.
Preparation time: 20 min Baking time: 20 min Yield: 60 bars

Bar Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin (or two cups fresh or frozen pumpkin puree)
3 eggs
3/4 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries

Frosting Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter (MUST USE BUTTER!)
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 to 1/3 cup milk
Ground cinnamon, if desired

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, baking soda and ginger in large bowl. Stir in 3/4 cup butter, pumpkin and eggs; mix well. Stir in cranberries.
Spread batter into ungreased 15x10x1-inch jelly-roll pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.
Meanwhile, melt 1/2 cup butter in 1-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly and watching closely, until butter just starts to turn golden brown (3 to 5 minutes). Immediately remove from heat. Pour into medium bowl; cool 5 minutes.
Add powdered sugar and vanilla to butter mixture; mix well. Stir in enough milk for desired frosting consistency. Spread frosting over cooled bars. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon, if desired. Cut into bars.

Nutrition Facts (1 bar): Calories: 110, Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Sodium: 80mg, Carbohydrates: 17g, Dietary Fiber: 0g, Protein: 1g
2001 Land O'Lakes, Inc.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Somebody turned 60 today.

Looks pretty good for an old guy doesn't he?

Oh, that's right, 60 is the new 40, right?

Happy Birthday, two ewes!!


(Now, Neelix, that's not nice. Ha, ha, ha)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Red sky at morning -

Sailor, take warning...



Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It's "that" time of year again...

All year, they grow, and grow, and grow, and grow. The Amish Pie Pumpkins tended by The Shepherd.

They grow in raised beds of barn compost. He does not till it - it composts down over the winter until the spring when he transplants the seedlings that he has grown from the seeds chosen from last year's best pumpkins.

We wash them, cut them up and roast them. This year the meat is so thick that we are having to roast them for over three hours!

After the roasted pumpkin cools, I scoop it off the skin into my huge yellow Tupperware bowl. (what would I do without it?)

I mash and mash and mash, and then I scoop it into freezer bags - 2 cups / 1# in a bag (a pint's a pound is the motto here).

It's just enough for a pie or pumpkin bread, or Farmgirl's Spicy Pumpkin Raisin muffins. I've mentioned these before - they are so moist and tasty. I use Pampered Chef "Cinnamon Plus" spice blend instead of the Cinnamon, Nutmeg & cloves. Try them - I know you'll love them!

Farmgirl's Spicy Pumpkin Pecan Raisin Muffins
Makes about 18 large muffins

1 cup raisins
3/4 cup orange juice

3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg (slightly less if freshly grated)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup (2 sticks/8 ounces) trans-fat free margarine or butter, melted (I use a good quality butter)
1 cup golden brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup honey
3 eggs
1 15-ounce can packed pumpkin (or 1 pound fresh pumpkin puree)
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (toasted if desired)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place raisins and orange juice in a small bowl and microwave for 2 minutes; set aside. Grease muffin tins.

Combine flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a large bowl and set aside.

Combine margarine, brown sugar, honey, and eggs in a large bowl and mix well. Stir in pumpkin. Gently fold in dry ingredients, alternating with the raisin/juice mixture. Stir in the pecans.

Generously fill muffin tins. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. (Bake baby muffins about 15 minutes.) Cool muffins in tins for 15 minutes, then remove from tins and serve warm, or let cool on wire racks. Store in an airtight container for up to three days or freeze.
*Lowfat version: Simply omit 1/2 cup (1 stick) of the margarine or butter.

© 2005, the award-winning blog where Farmgirl Susan shares stories & photos of her crazy country life on 240 remote acres.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Separated at birth?





Separated at Birth? - You decide

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Time flies when you're having fun...

When we left the Grand Canyon, we returned to Flagstaff and back to Kathy and Ralph's where Kathy and The Shepherd proceeded to evaluate everyone in the barn - whether whey wanted evaluated or not! We had another couple of fantastic dinners out and Kathy, the Master Spinner, gave me some helpful hints for a beginning spinner (yes, that would be me).

We really felt like we were leaving life long friends - and made big hints as to appropriate areas that we thought they should retire to (Wisconsin not being among the chosen places...)

Sunday a.m. before we left town, Kathy fixed us the best biscuits and gravy you've ever tasted as a "going away brunch". We bid them farewell - but who is that on the table? Could it be Penelope? No, I think it was Penelope's sister.

At any of the "Scenic stops" on tribal lands, there are many tables of vendors. I'm kicking myself, because the ones at the Little Colorado stop had these great ceramic Christmas ornaments that looked like they had been sand painted - between my inablity to choose "just the right one" and thinking we'd see them again, I didn't buy one - and of course, we didn't see them again - (you'd think I'd learned that lesson when I was in China years ago)

The quality of the goods at these vendors was generally quite good and much less expensive than in the stores "in town" - -plus you knew your money was going to the vendor/artist and not just to a "shop keeper".

We followed the Oak Creek Canyon route down through Sedona - which not surprisingly was one of Arizona's first "officially designated" scenic highways. Every turn brought a view more spectacular than the last.

We drove through the little town of Jerome - an abandoned mining town that, according to legend, was re-patriated by the hippies and artist types in the 60's. It's a harrowing, tight windey road - trailers and motorcoaches are not allowed on the highway because they would never make the turns.

We left Jerome, went "Up and Over" the mountains to Prescott - where we planned to have lunch - they must have some kind of laws banning restaurants in the city of Prescott - we drove around looking and looking, for about 45 minutes - finally ended up back out at the freeway interchange at a huge mall and gratefully found a Wendy's. (I don't think my bladder could have stood another mile! It certainly didn't like all the speed bumps in the mall, ha, ha, ha)

Lunched and rested we headed off to the last stop on our vacation - the town of Wickenburg, where The Shepherd lived as a child. The school he attended is on the national registry and has been preserved. The house he lived in has been replaced, but some of the neighboring houses were still there and occupied. He has a very uncanny sense of direction and was able to find all kinds of landmarks he remembered from the 5 or 6 years that they lived there.

The church where his parents worked as caretakers was still there. Seeing it again, he suddenly remembered the old fellow who was in charge of "ligurtical matters" and realized why he feels so strongly about ceremony and patterns of worship - apparently this gentleman ran the church with somewhat of an iron fist - because those traditions are still ingrained in his memory.

Wickenburg is a town where the cowboys load their saddles up in the Ford and take it to "Ben's Saddlery" on main street for repair.

It's a town where the store called "Ranch Dressing" is not a restaurant, but "A Clothes Store for Cowgirls".

It's a town where some of the kids he grew up with are still listed in the telephone book. It's a town that has a lot of restaurants, and we happened to pick THE WORST ONE for dinner :-(

It is also a town that is growing like topsey. There were huge tracts of land north of town that had been cleared and were very clearly "staked out" for subdivisions.

So there you have it and so ended our vacation - not much between Wickenburg and the Phoenix metro area. The little towns that used to be "Out in the Booneys" are now all connected. In 2006, Phoenix was the 5th largest city in the US, and the 13th largest metropolitan area in the country with a population of over 4 million people.

But you know what Dorothy said in "The Wizard of Oz"? "There's no place like home, there's no place like home"

Grab your ruby slippers, Shepherd, we're outta here!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

We bid farewell to the Canyon

OK, so The Shepherd is USED to gettting up early - he gets up at "O-dark-30" every morning to feed the sheepies. Every morning during our vacation, he'd get up, go eat breakfast (did I mention that the Hampton Inn's had GREAT breakfasts?) then he would take a walk - by the time he got back to the room, I'd be up and showered and ready to go have a bite, and he would go have the 2nd course of his breakfast with me, and we'd get on with our day.

This was the view of the canyon from our room. I figured I could watch the sun come up, and snuggle back into my nice warm bed and get a few extra Z's - worked for me...

This is the same view, but outside on the lawn. We were in the Thunderbird Lodge - like I said, not fancy, but clean and the bed was comfy - and you just couldn't beat the view.

On John's early morning travels, he found the mule pen with all the dudes and dudettes getting ready to ride down the canyon on their new found buddies.

Off they go down the Bright Angel Trail

And if you click on this picture to biggify it, you can see the trail as it winds along that plateau in the center then drops over the edge down to the river.

We have been trying to get to the Grand Canyon for about 15 years -ever since we got together. A couple of times we almost made it, but it snowed (in April of all times) - the last time was in 2005 when we went to California to see the Redwoods. The gasoline situation looked like it might be kind of iffy, so we canceled the Arizona leg of our trip.

The Shepherd's dad actually helped put the railroad into Arizona when he was a young man - (many, many years before the Shepherd was born) - but the family moved to AZ when The Shepherd was 11 or 12 and they used to visit the Grand Canyon every year. That was before the time of the BIG motor home coaches - Facilities at the Canyon Village were limited. Many families camped, or like The Shepherd's family, rented one of the small cabins that were available. (they are still there, having been refurbished).

In those days, you could drive anywhere along the rim in the canyon - today many areas, private vehicles are restricted - - these areas, having been loved to death by the public are only accessable by bus. From looking at the handouts the the National Park Service it appears that they are developing a whole system of bus routes to transport the tourists from one area of the canyon to the other. I am glad we got to go when we did.

It will be sad, because you will be shoved into someone else's timetable. But, I can see their reasoning. Vehicles are responsible for a lot of the haze and smog that settles over the canyon. We were lucky - there was a bit of a breeze blowing the whole time we were there - keeping the skies bright and blue. The only smoke & haze we saw was from a few fires that the park service had started to keep the underbrush down.

So we left the canyon - back to Kathy & Ralph's Sheep Thrills Farm in Flagstaff to get a closer look at their little flock of sheeps, and to help them celebrate their 31st anniversary!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Sunrise on the canyon

The Shepherd got up to greet the dawn.