Thursday, January 24, 2013

Creeping Crud

Well, the infamous Creeping Crud is trying to take over our house. Cam came down with it last Saturday and was only just able to go back to school today. It's not the stomach flu but the achy stuff that starts with a headache and turns into an upper respiratory menace. I'm just about certain I cut his time of being miserable significantly by having him take Ultimate Aloe through out the days and upping his daily dose of Isotonix OPC3. Two products I fully believe in the benefits of. So, now I'm downing the aloe juice myself (highly recommend the strawberry/kiwi flavor) and upping my dose of OPC3. Yep, it's trying to take hold of me...and I am just not going down without a fight. Cameron never really felt his illness coming on, woke up Saturday morning and BAM! sick. I believe I can feel it because I've already been taking preventative measures to thwart it. Here's hoping!

In the meantime, sitting with a sick child, being Nurse Momma to him and his every whim has left me a little time for some Pinterest Inspiration. I've had a few hours to browse some home improvement ideas and boy am I ready to get started around here. I plan on getting a few things done that have been on the to-do list far too long and then put some energy into doing more. I can't wait. Hoping to compile a list and put it up here for everyone to see. Maybe it'll help me stay on task and desciplined in getting each thing accomplished. Also thinking of including some how-to tuturials when appropriate.

So as I sit here sipping a cup of Celestial Seasoning's Candy Cane Lane tea (yes I know it's no longer Christmas but it's one of only two green teas I like. The other being Stash Morracan Mint) I have a chicken roasting in the oven and planning the rest of tonight's dinner. After the dishes are done and coffee is set for tomorrow morning I think I'll go cuddle up in bed with Jack Reacher and my electric blanket.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The elk stands alone

Back in December a friend of mine had posted a photograph on her Facebook page of some elk that had been frequently visiting the area around her parents home. Another friend posted this poem in the comments. It's beautiful and I couldn't resist sharing. The same elk have visited many different friend's homesteads this past year and I'm sure those friends will enjoy reading this as much as I did.

Antlers encircling the misted moon

Dark king of winter and the night

The elk stands alone

In the emptiness

Of the unknown

Between time that has gone

And time that’s yet to be.

Within his soul, gleams the vision

Of the mystical one

Who glides over glades of stars and through the sky-gate

On clear warm arctic nights

The one whose breath is the falling snow

Whose shining head is the moon

Whose eyes are the fire within the northern lights

The one whose magic hooves slip silently unseen


Time’s call and chiming echo.

The elk stands alone.

And within his eyes the bright

Shadow of eternity

Sheds peace. And all the while the fir trees wait

And grow

Silver and still, in the darkness.

~ Author Unknown

(I have done some Google searches and have not been able to track down who originally wrote this poem. If anyone has that information I'd love to credit the author.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hoping for another bumper crop...

It won't be long and this activity will be taking place in our house again.
I'm really looking forward to it and am hoping that my little helper here is willing to join me again this year. My tomatoes (that are being planted here) did much better than I expected them too. Last spring it was all trial and error as it was the first time I'd started vegetable seeds indoors. It was also the first garden I had planted in 9 years. The last one I had I was carrying this helper in my womb. But in our location I had to give up the garden. The trees around us had just grown too tall and my yard didn't have enough hours of sun to support a garden. That was remedied when some logging was done two years ago and brought sunshine back to our garden plot.

So, I was back at it! I took the opportunity to plant a few vegetables that I hadn't before, a bit of trial and error if you will. I experimented with row and plant placement and by the end of the summer I knew for sure what I wouldn't be planting again. Stay tuned as our winter months turn into spring and the year progresses into summer. I hope to fill the blog with plenty of gardening posts. I also may ask for my reader's help when it comes to seed selection and other various gardening tasks. I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to it all!

Monday, January 14, 2013

A small dilemma

Yep, it's been cold....
cold enough to make this cute little metal bird that adorns my birdbath look like there is a walrus in his genetic background. He was just too adorable to resist.

Back to the knitting. I was able to get some practice in yesterday but I'm having a bit of dilemma with it. Basically, with all the crochet orders I've been doing I've only had time to knit in the evening and for only maybe an hour. When I am next able to pick it up I haven't gotten very far so I rip it out, cast on and knit again. Yep, I start all over. But this time I was getting pretty comfortable with things. Tension was decent and I loved the yarn I was working with (Lamb's Pride). I got this far
and then took a break to have dinner with some wonderful friends. Five hours later and I was back at it. Now it looks like this
and I really can't decide if I should rip it out or continue on. I don't think it looks half shabby for a newbie knitter but then again right now it's all about the practice and each time I rip out I get to practice casting on. Hmmm. Anyone out there with wise words of wisdom of what I should do?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Preparing for Cinnamon Roll Burnout

Was able to get a few things done today that I had been putting off, finishing a crochet hat order was among them. Felt so great to be done, now I no longer feel any guilt when I pick up the knitting needles to practice my knit stitch. But before I could pick up those needles, even before I actually finished the hat I needed to get a handle on something else, give a little practice run to something that I needed to perfect again.
Yep it's that time of year again. The time when I become tired of cinnamon rolls. Who would have thought that could even be possible. (I've never asked a Cinnabon employee but I'm sure it's possible somewhere in their universe.)
The end of January it is my job as a member of this family to make a minimum of four batches of cinnamon rolls and upwards of 6 batches.
See, every January the small family business conducts the annual spawning of the trout fish that we raise. In order to get this done Mt. Hood Community College has students in a fisheries class come to The Ranch and do all of the spawning of the fish for us as part of their educational process, a working field trip of sorts.
Students. Students of every age. Students and instructors that stand outside, some with waders on, and net fish out of a cold pond to spawn. There is a lot of water involved and sometimes the weather conditions of the day are really less than ideal. That is where we come in. After arrival and before they are sent out in the cold wet conditions they are served hot beverages or milk and warm cinnamon rolls. Someone needs to make those rolls. For years my mother in law was the cinnamon roll maker in the family. She slaved over batch after batch of those puppies. All made from scratch. Several years back, when she took over running the main operation I took over the duties of making the cinnamon rolls and...I cheat. Oh do I cheat. Huge bowls of bread dough were kneaded by my mother in law's hands. Hours of mixing and kneading and rolling and rising and baking. Me? Ok, it's a minor cheat but it saves me a lot of time. I use my KitchenAid mixer. And although this is much more efficient and helps immensely I still feel like a cheater. But I digress.
The last few times I've made cinnamon rolls I've felt they are anything but stellar. I still got compliments but I just felt that they weren't quite up to a level that I deemed a great quality. And the batches that I made within the last few months...flops (which my dad confirmed, and I consider him a good judge in the baked goods department). I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. And really it doesn't matter. I think I have it figured out, but I've also switched up recipes. And I can say at this point I'm so glad that I did. (Over kneading btw, that's what the problem was...oh and adding too much flour.)

Kept my eyes on the prize with this one and wasn't disappointed at all. No frosting, just a gooey caramel like coating on the bottom of the pan. Let's just say after delivering some to my parents (to get my dads approval) and the three of us diving in there's not much left. These are Fran's Cinnamon Rolls and they are so good.
Tomorrow's blog post: How To Dust Off Your Treadmill

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Hump Day

Production. I have tried to be productive. In my round about, stall until your eyes twitch, put off until whatever you've put off grows another life form on it's back kind of way. I'm slowly making progress on some crochet orders that I need to have in the mail by this Friday and I've picked my way slowly through my practice knitting. The knit stitch, that is all thank you very much. I've learned from past experience that if I don't learn knitting step by baby step and learn each thing precisely I'm bound to give up within a few days. Tonight's schedule, more practice of the knit stitch. This I shall conquer!

Over the weekend we were able to go for those walks that we had been longing to get out and take. Wow, the fresh air was so...well refreshing in a word. It was great to be outside for an extended period of time doing something other than chores. The first walk was on Saturday and it involved me being lead to within 25 feet of a very large bull elk. (By large I mean a 4-5 point, which my husband likes to point out that since he wasn't witness it must have been a spike.) Now that was breath-taking! We'd seen sign that there were some hanging around on the property, and I'd come across one last year while riding the quad with my son and nephew but this was something else entirely. Husband and son had fallen  back, trimming branches on the trail while the dog and I moved on. She caught a scent and I started following her, talking to her and encouraging her tracking (which isn't what I normally do too much but I just had a feeling) and sure enough the next thing I know an bull elk stands up in the trees, whirls around and runs off through the woods. Spectacular! Why no photo you say? Of course it's one of the times that I just couldn't be bothered to bring my camera. Figures.

A busy week that feels like it's creeping by. I could have sworn when I got up this morning that today is Thursday. What? What's that you say? It's Wednesday? Hump Day? Nooo, it can't be. Can you tell I'm ready for this week to end? I really am not sure why either. Just looking forward to the weekend I suppose.

Our weather warmed up and we had an unseasonably warm spell the last few days. In the low 50's and pouring rain. Now? Well, right now our son is out playing in the snow by yard and porch light while I make dinner and we wait for his dad to get home. Nice! Woke up to it being 50 degrees this morning to it hovering around 33 this afternoon. I love it. Don't get it nearly enough nor long enough.

Dinner, well nothing exciting to see here folks, move along. But dessert? Well, to redeem myself over a dinner that fails miserably in the spectacular department I decided that a little taste of summer was in order. You know, to celebrate the snow falling. Peach Crisp. Mmmm it smells so incredible in here right now. The other option would have been blackberry pie, let's just say I'm hoping for another snow fall soon.

(As a side note this is the worst dessert photo ever in the history of photo's. But, I know that the first bite will console me and by the time I'm done licking my plate washing this dish I won't even be able to recall why I took the photo in the first place.)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


That's it! I'm back. I miss writing and even though I didn't do much with this blog I'm back to give it another go. An honest to goodness shot at being something incredible, and if not that then at least an outlet for myself.

January is my month to learn knitting. Granted, I'm sure it will take a lot longer than one month to learn it all but I'm determined to knit everyday (even if it's only 2 stitches!) and get the basics down by January's end. I practiced the long tail cast on last night. Baby steps.

The weather is cold but dry and crisp. Perfect for walks and hikes. Hoping to get out there and really hit some trails, get the blood pumping through these veins! Went out and walked The Ranch with the family the last two days and missed being out there today; but alas town called and took up most of the daylight hours. Hopefully the dog and I'll make it out to the trails tomorrow.

This post is weak but I am determined. If I waited until I had just the right thing to say or the best shot photograph to post it wouldn't get done, as history of this blog is testament. So hang on, I'm sure there will be some bumps, but sit back and enjoy the ride!