Monday, June 30, 2008

Cherry Pickin' in Humboldt

So incredible! E's tree is just LOADED with sweet, dark red cherries just waiting to be eaten! The tree is about 30 yrs old and one of the biggest cherry trees I have ever seen!

Nick trying his best to rediscover his inner child and climb this tree!

DIL takes her cherry picking very seriously!

One for me and one for the bucket! That's about how it goes when you're pickin' fruit this delicious! I think we all had stained teeth and hands by the time we got done!

When we finally finished gorging ourselves we wound up with a HUGE bucket filled with cherries.

Lucky for us I had a cherry stoner which made the job of pitting the fruit super easy. E & Kate sit down on the job and really make it look easy!

E set out all the ingredients for making a cobbler; her first one she's ever made. Actually, they picked enough cherries to make three! DIL and I took home enough to make 3 more! After all this hard work, the rewards are sweet and delicious! We are going to return again this week to pick enough to preserve. Should be good, but that will have to be another post!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Making Whole wheat bread

Several years ago I wanted to learn how to make my own bread. I began by searching recipes and reading about it and talking with others who had this same passion. After much trial and error I finally found a mixer, a recipe and a supplier to provide me with all that I needed to succeed. Wheat berries, a wheat grinder, a bread mixer, dough enhancer, quick rise yeast were all I needed to accomplish my goal. Very quickly I became what is know as an urban homemaker. Now let me tell you just what that is. An urban homemaker is one who loves to cook from scratch, uses as many natural or organic ingredients as possible, obtains all such ingredients from the best possible sources (which may or may not come from ones own garden) and does all of this from home. I don't live on a big ranch or grow my own wheat or raise all my own food, but I do admire all those people who do. What I do like to do is obtain my food from known sources so that I can discern its nutritional value and substance. Basically I want to know what it is that I am eating and where it came from. Over the course of this life experience I have now become a proficient bread maker. My friends and family have become accustomed to the rich smell of freshly made bread wafting through my house. It all starts here...with hard spring Montana wheat berries and a good wheat grinder. In go the berries and out comes some vitamin rich freshly ground wheat ready for baking.

I invested in a heavy duty mixer that will make a large batch of dough. The recipe that I use will make 5 loaves of bread at a time. (I have a big family, so we use it!)

Here it is in whirling action.
Once the machine is done mixing and kneading (yes! this machine even kneads the dough for me) I can shape it into whatever it is that I want to make. Loaves, rolls, pizza dough, cinnamon rolls, bears, whatever!

This is one big lump of dough! Today I made the entire batch into rolls. The recipe make 75 rolls.

The rolls as they begin to rise. This takes about an hour.

Sweet, golden deliciousness. With a little butter or peanut butter and some homemade jam, these babies will be gone in no time!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Heat is on in Southern Humboldt

Did I ever mention how much I love sunshine? I am truly a sunseeker. So why did I move to Humboldt County? Well, that's another blog.... But seriously, I do like the heat, which is why I like to go down to SoHum every chance I get. I love to find a quiet spot next to the river, plant my chair in the sand with a good read and just soak it up. The kids and the dog run and swim and play while I effortlessly but vigilantly perform my duty of childrearing via my lounge chair. Hey, somebody has to watch the kids all summer! Mommy duty doesn't have to be all hard work.
On a side, with the Solstice thunderstorms and consequential fires that followed and then the big marijuana raid by the FBI, our little neck of the woods has been a-buzz. Lots of activity and lots of rumors! Some of the blog comments have been absolutely hilarious. It seems that there are a lot of people here in Humboldt County that are more than just a tad bit paranoid. The comments range from the surprisingly accurate to the outrageously absurd! From the looks of the posts, the dates of the arrival of the 300-400 DEA , FBI, IRS, & Postal investigators was dead on. Someone did a little research to discover that most of the local motels and hotels had been booked for this week by various federal agents and one of the local conference centers had been booked all week for a "training exercise" for law enforcement. Absent were the accuracies of just where they were going and whom they were going to target for their busts. By mid-morning yesterday, most of the blog sphere was furiously reporting everything from cannabis club raids to 215 patient home invasions to Arcata grow house break-ins to Guantanamo Bay-type mass arrests of hippies with dread locks in orange jumpsuits!
What amazed me was the types of comments folks were posting. The anger and the verbal lashing out being expressed by these supposed mellow pot smokers was downright vicious. Considering the promoted assurance that marijuana doesn't make people violent just wasn't evident. Preserving their right to smoke pot seems to be right up there with the Bill of Rights and the pursuit of happiness. Life is short, eternity is long, perspective is necessary. Get serious, really. There are other things in life that deserve more energy and attention than promoting and protecting the inhalation of a small amount of grass rolled between a thin layer of paper. It just seems so ludicrous. Just some passing thoughts.........

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Some Fun!

Today what brings joy to my heart is the sound of laughter. Laughter that isn't fake or forced, but the kind of belly laughter that can only come by extracting rich humor and intense fun out of life. Little Mister, my grandson, can muster up this sort of laughter at the slightest provocation. He finds delight in the most simple things in life. He laughs gleefully whenever you look at him! He generously gives this unique gift of joy just by being himself. Effortlessly. Abundantly. Sweetly.

This little girl is very hard to keep up with! I just love her two yr. old energy and her curiosity of the details of life. Nothing gets past her! She notices everything. I get in the car and she carefully reminds me to put on my seatbelt! I recently bought new throw rugs for my kitchen floor and she excitedly confirmed, "Grandma, you got new rugs!" Funny that she was really the only person in the house who noticed.

I only caught her hair in this photo, but I like it. This captures her energy, I think.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Turquoise Day in Humboldt

How's this for an amazing sight? Clouds casting shadows over other clouds. I don't know that I have ever seen that. We had quite a thunder and lightning storm Friday night. We don't often get aerial shows that are this dramatic. Some of the thunder felt like it was feet above the house. Next morning, the sky continued to unveil its majestic abilities by offering this glorious sunrise.

My daughter had a test to take in Eureka, so I tagged along with her to run errands and do some grocery shopping while she took the test. I walked along the waterfront in Old Town on this most amazing morning. This is the Pacific Northwest and the mornings are most often either rainy or foggy, so to be able to experience a morning like this is pretty monumental. Notice that there are no white caps on the surface of the water here.... still as can be.

I had to take a photo of these flags because I don't know that I have ever seen them lying flat against the poles!

Sometimes I would like to have a sign like this in my bedroom in the morning.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Morning Dew

Lately I've been trying to walk more when I need to do errands or get a coffee or grab some groceries. I have been trying to do my part in using less gas and not driving so much. We have a big truck, so I don't like to fire it up unless I absolutely have to. I guess this is one of the benefits of living in town. The view out of my bedroom window is serene and picturesque, even though there are houses and neighboring yards in it. I can see all the way to the ocean from here. It's a very comforting view to me because I usually am in bed when I look at it! One morning after a rainy late spring night, I got up early to capture some delicate scenes in my garden that I miss when I don't get up early.

After finding this tower of snails I realized that might be the cause of some of my disappearing plants in my containers. The rest of the snail family didn't make it into the photograph, but they are making their way up the stalk of this iris.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hanging out at the Humboldt Auction

Mark & TJ called us to head on over to the auction yard to keep an eye on their heifers that they had brought in to sell. They were on their way but weren't sure they would get there in time to see them come up for bid. So Jo and I walked over to check it out. It's been a long time since I've been to the auction yard. My first mistake was to walk around and look at all the cute sheep and goats that were there. Last time I did this I came home with a little ram lamb that I paid $20 for! When we were kids (teens) we used to go to the auction yard and we would often times come home with some cute little something or other; piglet, lamb, or kid goat. My dad would pitch a fit, but we felt good about saving some poor little darling animal from a most tragic ending. Eventually, though it seemed like they met that fate anyway! They do grow up!

I had to remind Jo of this yesterday as she lured the little drop calf over for a scratch.

The beef prices were decent but not great. You'd think with the price of everything going sky high lately that cattle prices would follow as well. Unfortunately for farmers it doesn't always work that way. After the sale, we all went out to lunch. I just couldn't bring myself to have a hamburger though, so I had fish and chips instead!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Two of my favorite guys share a birthday today. Son #4 (S4) was born 12 yrs ago at our humble home in Shelter Cove weighing in at 10 lbs. 11 oz. He continues to grow tall and lean. At his checkup last week he was 5'5". As he grows in stature, he also grows in joy. The love that he has brought in to our lives and others' lives in beyond measure. Even as a little, little boy he would come up to me and say, "Mom, you need a hug." And most of the time I did. I thought it was so amazing that a toddler could sense the joy that could be attained by a touch, a reaching out in tenderness, in a simple hug and a loving smile. He still does that. He has continued to freely share his joy with any one he meets. What a gift.

And then there's my dad.

He kept telling me that I was going to have the baby on his birthday, but I argued, saying that was 10 days past my due date. History explains the rest!

Happy Birthday, Gentlemen!

1 Thessalonians 5:23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I know I didn't need another cat. I know kittens can be a lot of work. I know all these things. But she was just so dang cute. As soon as I picked her up her motor began to purr as she snuggled against my neck. I mean, just look at that face! It just begs to be loved!

My other cats are mortified. How could you?, they cry. There has been lots of hissing and dissing, but eventually they are getting used to the new roommate. Every once in a while I even catch them playing together.

You can just see the disgust in this guy's face. You did what??? Does that actually mean I have to share the foot of the bed with her? And the afghan? Please.
The grand babies are a little shy of her. I think it's the razor sharp kitten claws that keep them at bay.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Wedding shower for Evelyn

The wedding is quickly approaching with only 50 some odd days left. We have had two showers for Evelyn; a "Garden" shower a couple of weeks ago where we were to bring gifts for the out of doors and a "Time of day" shower this past weekend where we were to bring gifts corresponding to a certain time of the day. I was to bring a gift for 9 a.m. My daughter had 10 a.m. We had a great time! (no pun intended)

The bride-to-be was surrounded by gifts shimmering with silver bows and glittering ribbons draped in organza & tulle fabrics & creative wrappings.

As she delicately unwrapped each gift, her perpetual smile left little doubt that she was truly blessed. What a treasure to see her friends pour blessings over her as she sets out in a direction in her life. There is a bitter sweet send off as they anticipate her transformation from singleness to betrothal as a wife and someday a mother.

Nick came along to enjoy some of the delicacies on the food table. They are both so excited to be joined together in marriage. Keep praying for them. You know there can be a glitch somewhere in the plans no matter how organized we think we are! July 26th will be here soon!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Headwaters Forest

I had the privilege to take a hike to the Headwaters forest yesterday.

What an amazing experience! Perhaps I will start with a little history about this forest reserve for those of you who may not know. Several years ago one of our country's finest stands of old growth virgin redwoods was destined for harvest by the Pacific Lumber company. An intense campaign began to prevent this from happening and to make a very long drawn out story short, PL was required to sell the forest to the Federal Gov't for the hefty price tag of many millions of dollars. Now the land is owned by the Feds and managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Guided hikes are offered on a regular basis to anyone wishing to trek through the somewhat rugged terrain to indulge in this magnificent natural wonder. The trees are absolutely astonishing. Sequoia sempervirens are among the tallest trees in the world with heights reaching over 350 ft. This Headwaters reserve offers a visual banquet of just this sort of delight. As you can see from the photos, such a sight is difficult to capture on camera. The trees are simply too big to get into the frame of the camera lens!

As we made our way through the forest, its beauty was captivating. The day was sunny and warm which offered ideal conditions for venturing under the tall trees. Ferns, flowers and fauna greeted us at each turn in the trail.

Trees this magnificent are worth any amount of money that we may have had to shell out to protect them. Many of the trees in this forest bear a stripe of blue paint on the outer bark across their lower trunk - the mark of a harvest never to be. With natural resources depleting at an ever-increasing rate in our world, preserving the beauty that we still have should definitely be a high priority. Don't read me wrong. I am not a raging environmentalist, but I certainly do appreciate the passions that those idealists express. For those are the voices that are calling for another look at how & what we humans do with our natural resources. I don't always agree with the tactics that are use to achieve the desired goals, but I do applaud the driving passion that is put forth. The ends do not justify the means, though the end is a good thing. Each of us has a passion deep within us to right a wrong, justify a theory of thought, preserve a way of living or fight a fight worth fighting. And each of us come equipped to pour that passion out of our lives, to be a voice when no one may be listening, to save what may need saving, to restore what may be crumbling. I am continually amazed at our creativity as human beings to transform our world into ways that benefit one another. While many of us will disagree as much as we agree on any given subject, we undoubtedly have the unique ability to be the change that we want to see.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Summer Jobs

Trying to find projects for my two boys for the summer is my latest adventure. Both boys are strong, young and capable yet it seems they lack the creativity to funnel that energy into usable tasks. That's where I come in. A typical morning in the family room consists of them tapping away at the keyboard on the computer deep into the "MySpace" world or draped over the furniture watching some WW2 movie for the umpteenth time or just plain old fashioned horse play. So being the driven mother that I am, I get them off their behinds and outside into the never-ending realm of home improvements. Here they are building a fence in the backyard. Much to my amazement, the fence actually came out looking great! It's straight, sturdy and structurally pleasing to the eye. Now my backyard looks like a cute little courtyard area for relaxation. Thanks, guys. Now off to find the next project! Oh yes, insulation needs to be put up in the new garage room!

And of course after this comes the drywall installation. That should keep them busy for at least 2 weeks. Then comes summer camp & vacation bible school & probably more home improvements. Before I know it August will be here and school will be starting. come the time seems to go so fast these days?