31 August 2014

Kindness of Strangers

After church today we decided to give Pizza Hut a try. We never eat there but I have been craving their pizza, or more accurately the crust. We walked in and were seated, the only people there besides a gentleman eating alone in the corner. After we ordered the place filled up and we payed little attention to the other patrons.

Our food took a while and I was a little grouchy about not getting our appetizer until after our pizza. I do tend to get just a little cranky when hungry. The manager walked over to our table and said our meal had been taken care of. Not because our order had been lost. Nothing to do with them at all.

The gentleman who had been seated upon our arrival had finished and paid for his meal shortly before this occurred. We had glanced his way,Β  but paid no attention other than to note that we didn’t know him. For some reason, completely unknown to us, he decided to pay for our meal. We will never be able to thank him, we can only hope to return his kindness to someone else. I hope this will serve as a reminder to us to do unexpected nice things for strangers or, even more difficult, for those we know and love.

The kindness of strangers never ceases to amaze me.

28 August 2014

I was Wrong

I decided to cook some of my mystery squash today. One I thought would be spaghetti squash like, the other I assumed would have acorn squash like qualities.

I had it all planned, we would have spaghetti for supper and acorn squash for dessert. I cooked them both in the morning and left them to cool. This afternoon when I returned to them I was in for a big surprise.

The bright yellow pumpkin thing was soft and smooth, with an incredibly sweet smell. Just like acorn squash.

The little acorn looking thing was still sweet smelling but stringier. Kind of like spaghetti squash.

These crosses are weird. I didn’t use either for supper but if I could recreate that big yellow one I would have the perfect pie pumpkin.

26 August 2014

Pumpkin Genetics

I love pumpkins, I may have failed to mention that. Probably not.

I love genetics, especially horse color genetics, they fascinate me.

So when I inadvertently took up pumpkin breeding the color genetics behind them intrigued me greatly. Why do most of the volunteers turn out white? Is white really the dominant color gene of pumpkins? I realize that most of the vegetables we eat today do not naturally come in the colors we are used to, but pumpkins not naturally orange? It boggles the mind.

So says I who lovingly grows pumpkins in every color of the rainbow, and grey. Mostly grey.

For a couple of years I planted Lumina’s, a large and beautiful white pumpkin. Or they were the first year after that the same packet of seeds produced lop sided little blobs nothing like they were supposed to look and now most of my volunteers look like this:

The other thing that amazes me are the seeds I saved and planted from ONE gourd. One Gourd. Every plant that came up produced a different type of gourd. I planted quite a few of the seeds hoping to get at least one plant. It worked. I wasn’t expecting this though:

Apparently plant genetics are going to take as much careful study and attention as horses. If they had put genetics in this context durring school I may have become a geneticist. Probably not but I would have paid attention at the very least. I need to do some google-ing.

25 August 2014


I don’t think it is possible to keep up with every thing that always needs done in August. This is the least necessary so nothing gets written.

It has been an incredibly busy month, doing what I can’t even begin to remember. School is going again, we had a big birthday, The garden is going crazy. It is impossible to keep up with the produce.

A couple of weeks ago some friends came over and we had a canning bee. We put up approximately sixty pints of salsa, pickled beans and pickles. It was exhausting and it was great fun with brownies and homemade ice cream. There is so much more that needs canned I think we will have to do it again.

We, just us this time, canned our first batch of green beans in the pressure cooker. I have always been terrified of them but have friends who go about using them with not a drop of fear, peer pressure isn’t always a bad thing, so we gave it a try. We haven’t eaten any yet but they look good and we didn’t die. Always a good thing. I have been looking at other pressure cooker canning recipes and we are definitely going to try that again.

I put up our first batch of oven roasted tomatoes last night. It is the easiest and my favorite method for preserving tomatoes. Slice them in inch thick slices and put them on a pan in the oven for an hour or so, let cool, put in freezer bag in freezer. Sounds hard huh? They have great flavor and I can put a batch on while I cook supper, no extra mess or fuss.

The corn is ripe, finally. Getting past sweet corn stage quickly we need to start freezing some, soon.

The pumpkins are going insane. I love it. I left too many of the volunteers but I think the planted ones are doing okay out in that jungle anyway. I love the weird mixes we end up with though.

We have eaten our first watermelon but they and the cantaloup seem to be taking forever to get ripe. All this beautiful cool wet weather isn’t helping them any.

10 August 2014

Happy Birthday, Small Goblin Child

Today was your birthday, I have not written you a long elaborate post like last year. We were too busy canning tomatoes, sorry for ignoring you all morning, and throwing you a birthday party. The tomato canning is nice to have done, the party too for that matter. I can only hope that as you grow older you will realize that my willingness to go through with this whole party thing is a great sign of my love for you.

Party we did though. I think/hope you enjoyed it. Much to my surprise I did. You and your friends seemed to have a blast on the play ground where you continually tried to kill yourself on toys to big for you. You are our little monkey with no fear and no sense. Anything the big kids do you are sure you can do with no knowledge of what it means to fall.

Tired of the hot sun and worn out from playing we went inside for cake and ice cream or more accurately ice cream cake and snacks.Β  Almost all of your friends were there, so much for the whole one friend per year rule (one friend to first birthday, two friends to second and so on). We packed the room full with everything from a new born to sixth graders. And their parents of course, even a few friends without children, just along for the fun.The candles scared you so we helped you blow them out, you weren’t to sure about the cake either. But decided it was fun to lick it off the candles.

This year you figured out how to open presents, even if they got tossed over your shoulder immediately after. Along with a couple of the new toys, the children, revived by food, quickly resumed playing. I was so glad not to be trying to host it in our house. You all ran and jumped screaming at the top of your lungs. There were only a couple of crashes, those crazy boys they like to play rough. Some of the parents, me at least, had a chance to sit and talk quietly planning play dates and canning bee’s. The other parents, mostly the darling husbands who are excellent fathers kept an eye on the kids. By the time people started to head out you were exhausted. Your, usually, favorite play mate kept touching your things and you were not your usual cheerful sharing self. How dare he want to play with you and your new ball. My, you get grouchy when you are tired.

We made it through clean up with out too many screaming fits as long as one of us held you at all times. We are not sure that we are going to let you have anymore birthdays, the fun and excitement is simply more than you can handle. You were sound asleep by the time we got home. Really, we are already planning next years party. I wish I had gotten more pictures but we were to busy having fun. Maybe I will get some posted another time, right now I am worn out and going to get some sleep.

Happy Birthday, our sweet little Goblin Child.

6 August 2014


I often think that I am THE MAN. I consider myself quite capable of most things farm, ranch, horse and home related. The other day I was driven by desperation, desperate to do the dishes no less, to great new heights. I tackled plumbing.

I hate plumbing, most any job that requires touching gross things and getting dirty for that matter. Let me make it clear that horse and cow poop are not gross, oil, grease and anything under my sink are.

The sink was not draining and the dishes were piling up so I pulled up my big girl pants and looked under the sink. My dad is a carpenter and all around handy man, I know what a P trap is. Putting on my rubber gloves I quickly had it dismantled cleaned out, it was rather full, and with some trial and error put back together. I was awesome.

The next day it wasn’t draining anymore. I was not the man.

Now that is a manly man, nothing could be better.
Now that is a manly man, nothing could be better.

After working a full and very busy day and coming home to greet his child with love attention and play, my much beloved husband got the battery charger on the car whose battery I had been solely responsible for killing. Did I mention that I hate batteries, chargers and most things electric? He then ate a quick supper and got down to some real plumbing.

I though I had braved the disgusting depths of our sinks bowels the day before but he dove deeper. And dirtier. And worked much longer and harder at it. As The Goblin Child and I played and watched T.V. he sweated in the filth and stench of the drain cleaner. As time passed and things worked slowly or not at all bedtime came, the child slept and I looked over his shoulder wishing that I could somehow ease his load.

Finally for no apparent reason, other than working the snake through to its full twenty five foot length, the water started to drain. He then scrubbed the sink clean. Now that is THE MAN.

My delusions of independence and self sufficiency are time and again proven to be just that as The Goblin Child and I wait breathlessly for him to get home. By the ease with which I allow him to take over chores that are too hard or too gross and I don’t want to do them. We depend on him completely for everything. Poor guy.

There is no way I would crawl in there
There is no way I would crawl in there

Same to my brother who works hard full time and comes home to remodel their house in his “spare” time. His latest project, I understand, involves crawling into a dark cramped hole under the porch to rebuild the footings. In our most recent conversation he was unable/unwilling to identify the things that crawl on him while he is under there. What a man.


2 August 2014


It rained. During wheat harvest. The skies all around us were blue but overhead a little cloud dumped rain down, then a little hail but mostly lots of rain.

It was beautiful.

The child and I stood at the door watching the downpour. She stepped outside dipping a foot carefully into the stream of water running past. With a sound of dismay she headed back into the house. I stood to watch this rare and beauteous occurrence a moment longer than turned to follow. I met her coming back up the stairs towards me carrying, what else but her mud boots. She knew what she was supposed to wear to play in the rain. Throwing on my sandals quickly to keep up with her we headed out into the deluge.IMG_20140724_152452_209

Happily we ran and splashed in the temporary rivers that flowed down the drive way. The rain falling gently on our heads. The rain died off as did our rivers and sadly, reluctantly we headed back to the house.