You Might Be a Redneck If ….

By , May 18, 2012 10:11 AM

Cow Panels in Windows

You have to put cut up cow panels in your front windows to keep your dogs from jumping out!

The Downside of Dog Doors

By , May 3, 2012 11:12 AM

Warrior Dogs Capture and Kill!

The photo (almost) says it all. It does fail to display the two baby possum siblings that were left for me on the back porch last week.

Do you suppose my dogs thought I failed to show them adequate appreciation for their previous kills and thus felt the need to bring this one inside?

Quilt Top Adventure

By , March 13, 2012 12:12 PM

Sewing Strips

With the plethora of exceptional quilting blogs on the Internet where women post photographs of what can only be described as works of art, I am almost embarrassed to show you what I’ve been doing. But I must! I cannot remember the last time I had such fun. I am finding this to be one of those activities that I become so immersed in that time seems to stop, and I will look up and literally hours will have gone by. I’m listening to a recording of Alexander McCall Smith’s Love Over Scotland as I sew, and that probably contributes to the my sensation of time slipping past.

I don’t have a pattern and I don’t know what I’m going to do next, and I’ve never done this before, so it all really is quite an adventure. This is what I have so far!

Stay tuned!

Moving Towards Spring

By , March 12, 2012 8:23 PM

Stepping Forward

“Build a little fence of trust around today-

Fill the space with loving deeds and therein stay.

Look not through the sheltering bars upon tomorrow-

God will help thee bear what comes of joy or sorrow. “

Mary Frances Butts

My interests seem to go in cycles.

On any given day of the year, I enjoy baking, sewing, crocheting and knitting, writing, reading, gardening, photography and dog training. But for whatever reason, I find it difficult to do a little of each every day. Instead, I have days when I put everything else aside and just write. Or train dogs. Or garden. One  interest will predominate for a period of time and then drop from my internal radar, to be replaced by one of the others.

Lately, I have found myself with a renewed interest in sewing.

My oldest son turns 24 years old today. When he first went away to college, I went to the fabric store and bought material, intending to make him a quilt, but this turned out to be a project that fell to the back burner and then out of focus entirely. (Life has a way of getting in the way of my projects, too!)

Last week I pulled out my fabric stash and started sorting through the patterns and colors, discovering them like old friends. I recognized the need for more red. Saturday I went to the fabric store, and that evening began cutting out strips. Last night I began to sew them together. This will be my first “real” quilt (assuming I finish it) … but I have a feeling that I will, and I hope it will be the first of many.

I am most blessed to have a sister who, though she would demur, is a master quilter (at least compared to me) and she has been holding my hand and helping me along. (You can see some of her quilts here.)

I will post photos of  my quilt as it begins to look like something other than a jumped heap of scraps!

** Poem is from a leather bound book called Helps to Happiness that was my grandmother’s, and was published in 1907.

Rye Bread

By , March 6, 2012 12:33 PM

I bake.

I bake cookies and pies and occasional cakes, but primarily, I bake breads. The aroma of bread baking registers a primal note in the olfactory section of my brain, forming a resonant triad chord with brewing coffee  and frying bacon. In the subtle psychology of fragrances, these three tell me that all is right with the world, that the Lord is on his throne, and that I can breathe easy.

I love rye bread, but have never baked it before. My husband doesn’t like the taste of caraway seeds, and I have tended to primarily bake breads that I knew he liked. He has been at a convention for the past several days, however, and I decided to experiment.

First I baked this this recipe from Allrecipes for Swedish Rye Bread. It had a five star rating and good reviews. I did not  like it, though … it wasn’t what I was mentally imagining. It was dense and gritty and coarse … but the flavor was good. For all I know it is a perfect rendition of Swedish Rye bread … since I don’t know what that is supposed to taste like, I cannot say. All I know is that it wasn’t what I was looking for.

So yesterday, I tried again. This time I took my own bread recipe which I have published here and altered it to make the bread pictured above. This is what I ended up with:


Brett’s Rye Bread

  • 3 Tablespoons yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (115 degrees)
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar

Mix the above into a warmed bowl (rinse first with hot water to take the chill off the bowl) and let sit until foamy, about ten minutes. Then add:

  • 2 cups rye flour
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 2 cups freshly ground white wheat berry flour
  • 3 eggs (room temperature)
  • 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider vinegar
  • 4 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups warm kefir (you can also use milk)
  • 3 Tablespoons Caraway seeds (I toasted mine lightly in a frying pan before using)

Mix well into a soupy dough, and then slowly add, one cup at the time, additional flour. I added a cup of rye, a cup of white, and a cup of freshly ground wheat … cup by cup until you have achieved a soft dough that can be handled. Knead, either with oiled hands on an oiled surface, or with dough hooks, until dough is smooth and pliable, then turn into an oiled bowl and cover with a warm, damp cloth and let rise until double. Punch down, knead once or twice and then divide into four sections with a serrated bread knife. Shape into loaves, placed in greased loaf pans and let rise until almost double.

Bake on middle rack in oven at 375 degrees for approximately 20 minutes … loaves will sound faintly hollow when tapped and be faintly golden on top.

Remove from pans, and brush on all sides with melted butter.

This recipe makes a fragrant, soft loaf with lovely flavor and character … if you like soft bread and the delicate flavor of rye/caraway, you will LOVE this bread!!!


PS … should you want to purchase white wheat berries, they can be bought at Honeyville Grain, and their shipping charges are only $4.49, no matter HOW MUCH you order!



Obviously, Mitt Romney Did Not Read Big Red

By , February 6, 2012 11:18 AM

Remember the old saying about how dogs and babies are the best judges of character? There just might be something to that.

I am as conservative as they come (but not necessarily Republican, for I hate Bush’s wars as much as I detest Obama’s bailouts and insane spending) but I’ve nonetheless been paying close attention to the Republican debates and caucuses.  From the very beginning Mitt Romney has struck a “false” note with me … he has that self-satisfied fat cat demeanor (carefully disguised but still discernible) that alerts me to the fact that he views the White House as one big luscious canary … and that once he’s there, we can all watch out.

It’s always nice to have your suspicions confirmed.  This story:

confirmed by Snopes to be true:

says all that I need to know about Romney.

I don’t care that this event occurred in 1983.

He might have changed. He might have changed enough to where I would let him pet my dog.


However …

He will not get my vote.

I’m looking for a presidential candidate who has shown wisdom and consistency for decades, and who is an experienced leader.

Ron Paul will get my vote … even if I have to write him in!

Which, for what its worth, I did in the last election!

And the one before that.


Happy New Year?

By , January 10, 2012 8:57 PM

The bells have rung, the chorus has beensung, the confetti has fallen and the ball/acorn/squid/whatever had dropped. The new year is here … hello, 2012! I welcome you! However ….

Here in blogland, where all is cheerful, colorful and humorous, I feel weary. IS it a happy new year? I am not so sure. Time, only can tell.

If the truth be known, which I feel able to write about now that no one is reading my words, I am absolutely, utterly EXHAUSTED. I have been so for thirty years and three weeks. For thirty years, I’ve managed to pull myself together to tilt forward into the harness and continue to pull forward … but for the past three weeks, there seems no ploy available with which I can “trick” myself into continuing pushing forward. My forward gear, folks, has broken.

There just doesn’t seem to be any purpose in continually pulling forward  … for no reward. For for what FEELS like no reward. Which is not necessarily the reality of things.

However … the good news is … I am a Christian. I have a Helper, and I shall persevere.


New Beginnings

By , December 29, 2011 11:50 AM

I have a new friendship in the making, and feel honored that my new friend has shared her blog with me. Her blog is private (I think) and I do not have permission to share it, but trust me when I say that her writing is deep, real, wrenched with pain and filled with joy all at the same time. It has touched my heart in a deep way, being written as it is to work through past events, to heal, to record memories, and to expunge pain. It is very genuine, and I do so dearly love all things genuine. She has inspired me to pick back up with Quack and Quill, which has been “on hold” while I was busy in other areas of my life, and while I tried to figure out exactly what I want to DO with Q&Q. I still don’t know, but she’s rolling again, so stay tuned!

Words are such a gift. A privilege. A powerful tool that must be used with care. We paint with words. Heal with words. Rip big gaping holes into people’s hearts with words. Like so many tools, they can be used for good or for harm. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 31:26, ” She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”

I aspire to this, but confess that many times, many, many times in my life I have fallen short of this lofty goal. James 3:8-9 tells us of the tongue, “but no human being can tame the tongue.  It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.” It is apparently part of the human condition, so perhaps I am not alone. None the less, I aspire to the first, to have the teaching of kindness upon my tongue.

I value above all other human qualities, kindness and charity … and I define charity as deliberately making the effort to see people in their best light … as others have so often done for me.

I am a person of many acquaintances, but I can count my true friends on one hand, the first one being my husband. Not many people gain access to my life, for my life is so full, and only the most rare and special of people are admitted … those that God brings to me. This new friendship is still in its infancy, and may go nowhere. It is being born between two women, wives and mothers who have been knocked about by the winds of life and yet who have deep roots and who know how to bend.  We each have wounds, we each have been wounded by women, which makes women relationships harder. Yet here we are … sharing, taking small risks in sharing of ourselves and our pasts, forging a tender new bond.

I pray it will grow strong as a redwood tree, and endure through this world and into eternity.


By , July 29, 2011 8:26 PM

A Winter Barnyard Scene

By , July 29, 2011 3:23 PM

The real man, who also is the real photographer around here, has been learning some new after capture techniques. While I took the above winter photo several years ago,  he made it into a work of art today.  I cannot wait to take a few lessons from him!

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