Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Colors of ... May

For the "Colors of May" I decided that I would just take the camera everywhere I went for a couple of days so this is really "photo heavy"

To show off the lush green hills around our town, I took this picture on I-5 heading south out of town earlier this month when we went down to Monroe to pick up our processed wool from Gretchen's Wool Mill in Monroe WA. Even though it is only about 60 miles away it takes a good 1 1/2 hour to get there, and sometimes longer - like this time, when there was an Antique Car Swap Meet at the Monroe Fairgrounds, which is before you get to where Gretchen lives - so you have to get through all the traffic - I wouldn't do well living in a city with a lot of traffic...

I prefer quite & pretty places - like our back yard (although it's not too quiet if the sheep know you are there - because they figure you should be either feeding or entertaining them)

This is a blossom on one of The Shepherd's bonsai plants. It is a Japanese Azalea - so pretty with the multi-colored blossoms.

And we have a little bit of a pink and white theme going on here, I see - this Columbine flower is also pink and white

Another Azalea - you can see this one through the trees when you come into our yard - and it is on the far side of the house from the driveway!

I was afraid that we had lost this fern last winter - but he chopped it off and it came back - even prettier than ever!

This little species iris is so delicate - it is not much bigger than this photograph shows it.

Another Azalea - this one is in a pot - I have always said "Some people move their furniture around - my husband moves his plants"

It is one of the prettier ones, I think - it is also very fragrant.

Here is one of The Shepherd's colorful bonsai plants. This little one is a seedling from the large red Japanese maple that we have at church.

Grasses add such a nice bit of texture to landscaping - and different colors too - this one being of a blue shade.

Ah, another pink and white blossom - the is a Chinese tree peony. They don't have many blooms but they are very showy.

Something new for our yard - The Shepherd had decided to plant lavender plants and he is growing them from seed. Aren't they cute?

Speaking of seeds - The seeds that this maple has make it look like it is covered with red flowers.

This is a lace leaf Japanese maple that The Shepherd gave me for my birthday a couple of years ago - Also in a pot, it will grace the front porch this year.

Here are some Hens and Chicks from my rock garden. It is about the only thing that hasn't gotten invaded by this horrible zebra grass that I planted (because it was so pretty and soft -- little did I know that it was also SO invasive!)

A close up of Miss Kim, my Korean Lilac bush that we brought with us when we moved here from my little house in town.

When I first put it in my garden, it was less than a foot tall - now it is about 5 feet tall and about 5 or 6 feet around - it is also 30 years old!

One last friendly face from the planter by the back porch that The Shepherd filled with pansies for Easter. Here it is almost June and they are still going strong -

I hope you have enjoyed my "Color's of May" If you would like to see some more (often astonishing) colors of May from all around the world go see Sue at Life Looms Large.

Thank you so much, Sue, for this wonderful glimpse into each month through the eyes of the rest of the world!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Goofballs - A day in the Life...

Vern and Galloway are such a pair. When he gets bored, Galloway (the wether) will walk up behind his brother Vern (the ram), bop him in the butt and take off running.

Vern will chase him around the pasture, they will head for the "play station", Galloway will run off to the side and "BAM!" Vern will bash the ball - head on - in the play station - and then off they go again. They will do this time after time - until they get tired, and they'll go lie down next to each other, companionably chewing their cud.

"I like to tease Vern - it's the only way he ever gets any exercise!"

"I think The Shepherd feeds him too much - he is getting kind of porky".

"Watch who you're calling 'Porky' there buddy - I can whup your butt any time"

"Besides that, I'm not plump, I'm fluffy and this is my perfect Zen pose"


Sunday, May 23, 2010


The Shepherd caught this picture a week or so ago -
I call it "The Amazing Flying Felix"

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Belated Blogoversary...May 7

Happy belated blogoversary to me,
Happy belated blogoversary to me,
Happy belated - oh, sorry, I didn't know you were here.

Yup, 4 years, 587 posts and over 29,334 visitors later (I didn't put my counter on until a year or so into blogging) I'm still here - thanks mostly to the encouragement from you all - and surprisingly (to me, anyhow) I have about 30 visitors on any given day.

Yellow Bell photo by Sandra in Kamloops BC - a talented artist and weaver. Her water color that she has on her blog header alone is worth the visit to her blog. Photo used with permission.

I started my blog, as many of you may know, because I was diagnosed with uterine cancer. I decided to do a blog so people could read the info if they wanted to know what was happening - rather than having to tell everyone what was happening "over and over again" - it worked well for me and I found that I had somewhat of a knack for writing - and I've enjoyed sharing my photography as well.

After the cancer thing was settled (stage 1, surgery, no other treatment necessary) the blog became a fun way to tell others about our little farm, and show off all the hard work the The Shepherd (aka The Gardener) does in our yard. I was "off and running" so to speak.

And I have met some very nice people from all over the world! Here's what I know about bloggers:

*They are friendly & encouraging

*They are generous - (helping pay for someones pet's vet bill is commonplace in the cat blogosphere)

*They are funny and entertaining (after reading about all the "virtual" parties that the cat bloggers give each other, I was emboldened to have my own virtual Birthday Party for Sinda when she turned 20 last month. I had a blast putting together the "party blogs" and had many visitors who have returned to read stories about the farm, etc.)

These three pictures are from the blogs of two very talented fiber artist ladies from BC Canada. I "met" them through doing the "Colors of ---(name your month here)" that was started by Sue at Life Looms Large. who I met through Leigh and Sharon. See - the web just spins out and around - six degrees of separation -

Baby Face & Bird Bill photos by Evelyn Oldroyd Used with permission.

Anyhow, from the top - Yellow Bells, then delicate white Baby Faces & the purple flowers are called (in our neck of the woods anyhow) Bird Bills. Three of my favorite spring flowers from the "scab lands" of Eastern Washington where I grew up. I was thrilled to see them on these blogs and to be able to share them with you. Think of them as my blogoversary gift to you, dear readers. Have a good weekend.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Yes, Life is indeed, good.....

My friend Donna has given me the "Life is Good" award. I thought the questions were interesting - they certainly give you a bit of insight into a person...

1. What would your prefect day consist of?
Sleeping until I wake up – then having the day to putter around the house, not having to go anyplace or do anything – favorite music on the stereo or complete quiet -

2. How would you describe yourself if you were an item of clothing?
A comfy rumpled old t-shirt – one that has a picture on it commemorating a fun event.

3. What hobbies are you currently working on?
Spinning & crocheting; photography

4. Walking in the woods in wellies or bare foot on the beach
Bare feet on the beach for sure

5. Have you ever hugged or sang to a tree?
I’ve sung to one more than once – they are very good listeners, you know.

6. Growing your own veggies or nipping to the supermarket.
Having The Shepherd grow them for me, as long as they don’t come in the house with bugs, slugs or worms!!!

7. Have you found anyone exciting in your family tree?
No one exciting that I know of, but lots of cousins that we’ve never been in contact with.

8. Slap up meal in a posh restaurant or fish ‘n’ chips from the wrapper
Both would be fun.

9. Which element do you most resonate with, Earth, Air, Fire or water?

10. Do you believe in fairies?
Of course. We had one named Alvin living in the basement when I was a child and I’ve been a believer ever since. They live in a parallel universe – that’s why things (like car keys or important papers) will disappear for a time and then re-appear when we aren’t looking.

In turn I tap the following bloggers to join in the fun: Brandi & her mamma Carol , Shannon & the Kook Kitty Krew, Vicki @ The Virginia Purl, and Gail at I Need Orange - - Some old friends, some new - It will be interesting to see how they answer the questions and get to know them a bit better!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

An Easy Taco Salad -

Last month I ended up with TWO potlucks to go to on the same day - one, my spinner guild lunch and the second, a potluck with my church choir.

I had been hungry for a good taco salad for a while, so I decided that was what I would take.

The taco salad cravings go way back - in 1975 I started singing and playing my 12 string guitar before the show and during intermission at a little local movie theater. That led to an invitation to come sing Sunday nights during the dinner hour at the Mexican restaurant around the corner from the theater.

A job I loved and kept for 21 years. YES, you read it right, 21 YEARS!!! And no, I didn't sing Mexican songs - at the beginning, they were contemporary and folk songs - towards the end, they were all considered oldies - (you see, I was still singing the same songs for the most part...) But I got a few bucks and dinner, and by the end of my tenure there, I had a huge following - in fact, even now, once in a while, someone will ask me "What ever happened to that "girl" who played Sunday nights at "Dos" ---

Anyhow, that's how I got my love of Taco Salad. Bill, the owner, made his a little differently than most - with an oil and vinegar dressing on the lettuce and ground chips under the cheese - He passed away in 1995, but it's still the best taco salad I've ever had. And, thanks to my friend Greg Atkinson (author of West Coast Cooking) I have the recipe for the dressing. I have changed it a little, because I didn't want to fuss around with coddling an egg - a couple of tablespoons of mayo essentially does the same thing - provides an emulsifier to keep the dressing from separating - it also extends the life of the dressing if you have some left over - it's OK to keep in the fridge for a week or so.

( - ala "West Coast Cooking" and Tina's kitchen)
(serves 2 or 4 depending on if you want a dinner salad or a side salad)

1 small head of iceberg lettuce, finely shredded NOT chopped (or buy Fresh Express Shredded Lettuce for tacos)

1 cup crushed tortilla chips (plain, not flavored - either use your food processor or take a rolling pin to medium sized sack - save the left overs - you'll want to make this salad again, I'll bet)

1 1/2 cups (about 6 oz total) shredded Monterey Jack & Cheddar Cheeses (I get the already shredded Kraft or Tillamook "Mexican Style" cheese - with cheddar, jack & asiago cheeses - Don't get the kind with the pepper jack - unless you like it really spicy)

2 medium tomatoes - sliced into wedges

About 2 cups of "Taco Beef" - your favorite recipe or see below)

For the Dressing:
1 coddled egg OR 2-3 Tbsp. Regular Real Best Foods (or Hellmans for you folks on the East Coast) Mayonnaise - the Canola kind is OK - don't use the low fat - it will be icky) OK, you can use Kraft mayo too, but if you don't have a good quality mayo best to use the coddled egg

1/4 cup white wine vinegar - Don't use cider or plain white vinegar - it just won't taste right

1/2 cup canola oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

Pour your vinegar and oil into a pint jar, put your mayo & maybe 1/4 tsp salt & pepper in. Put a lid on the jar and shake the heck out of it until your mayo breaks down and you have a smooth dressing. You could also make this in a small bowl, using a whisk, but I think it's a lot faster to just use the "jar" method.

Just before you are ready to eat, distribute your shredded lettuce evenly between your plates. With your hands, kind of "mound" it up. Sprinkle crushed tortilla chips over each mound of lettuce, distribute your grated cheese evenly among the salads and put a couple of tomato wedges on each plate.

Drizzle the salad dressing over the salads and just before serving top each salad with a generous portion of hot Taco meat. Serve at once, offering bowls of a nice tomato salsa, guacamole and sour cream to add to the salad.

Since I was making mine for a crowd, I used a huge "not so deep" pasta serving bowl that we got oh, so many years ago as a wedding present. Put in your lettuce, sprinkle on all the crushed chips, and all the cheese. Garnish with the tomatoes, drizzle on all the dressing (actually I generally double the dressing and then use about 3/4 of the amount - I hate a dry salad) and then put your taco meat over the top.

There is just something about how the flavors of the crushed chips and the salad dressing mix with the cheese and the lettuce - yum - I'm making myself hungry!

And here's a Taco Beef recipe in case you don't have one.

1 medium yellow or sweet onion, peeled and chopped
1 TBSP chili powder or some Taco meat seasoning to taste
1# lean ground beef
1 tsp of salt (less if you are using taco meat seasoning)

Put your onion and a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook a few minutes until it starts to be limp. Add your chili powder and cook for a just few seconds then add your ground beef. Increase the heat to medium high and cook until the meat is browned through - 10 - 12 minutes. About half way through, I will often add a cup of pico de gallo for additional flavor. You want to make sure all the vegies in the pico get cooked through.

Hope you enjoy this salad - watch out, it's addictive!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Somewhere back a couple of weeks...

We had our 16th Anniversary.

Here's the card I got for The Shepherd...

Here's the card he got for me.

The inside talks about being married to your best friend. Great minds work alike, I guess...

Here's to another year of peaceful co-existence.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Happy May Day!

When I was a child we would make little bouquets of wild flowers for my mom and grandma (who lived right next door) on May Day.

First you take construction paper and decorate it with glitter and crayons. Then you cut a strip off the "short side" (this is for the handle), and then maybe a little more so your paper is in a square. Form the paper into a cone and staple or glue the sides together. Take the strip that you cut off and staple or tape it to the sides of the cone so you have a handle.

Go for a walk out into the "scab patches" (or if it was raining, just thru mom & grandma's gardens) and pick a little bouquet of flowers to put into the cone.

Proudly give it to your mom (or grandma).