Sunday, December 4, 2011

Getting Ready for the Holidays

I know it's been a very long time since I posted, and I have lots of pictures and fun things to tell about, but not time or motivation. Well here goes with a boring one.

I love the Thanksgiving- Christmas season. It embodies so much of what is important to me. Such a special time, but what happens--I allow myself to get stressed and harried. Every year I plan to do better so we can have that "Perfect Christmas".

I've thought and thought about how I can change the way I do things so that my attitude and feelings are more in keeping with the season. Recently, in a newsletter for the Alzheimer's caregivers, there was a quote that has changed the way I'm thinking about my days and it is making a real difference. Because it has become so meaningful to me I want to share it.

"Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry — all forms of fear — are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past and not enough presence.

Eckhart Tolle

These words have helped me finally understand what the scriptures have been trying to tell me. My only real concern is how am I living right at this moment. While I need to have goals and plans for the future, they can only be achieved by my minute by minute actions. Are my current thoughts and actions helping me to get where I want to be in the future. I can truly only control how I'm acting at the moment. What a relief.

Most of our time and energy should be involved in some form of service, either preparing for or the actual giving. With this new "understanding" I realize AGAIN I cannot change the world nor anyone in it. I can only change my attitude.

Probably you have all figured this out, and I'm just a slow learner, but I thought I'd share just in case.

Friday, May 20, 2011

County Competence?

Often I'm amazed at how much trouble the county goes to, to be helpful. Dad called the utilities to tell them we needed to have our electric and water lines marked before we sight a new shed and set up the rest of the irrigation system. They informed us that we must call the 800 number.

We hear the advertisements that say call before you dig. We did.

We have good records of where we put the stuff into the house when we built it. What we need to know is where those two lines go out to where the mobile home used to sit.

Dad explained several times to the nice woman that we only needed the water and electric and that we needed it behind the house. All utilities are included in the service she said and they are automatically notified. We were told to leave the gate open for them--so we did.

We drove into the yard just in time to see the phone guy marking the line up to our house phone. The water, electric and cable lines had been marked at the street, and boxes in front of the house and up to the house. Nothing beyond.

top - water meter in front now painted so you can see it better.
left- inside fence along driveway
right- phone and electric (also cable we don't use).

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gardening anyone ?

Gardening is beginning to consume our lives as always in the Spring. We are giving time and energy to something that usually ends up kind of hopeless in our climate and altitude. (see Hail and more Hail) We always have grand ideas about how it will work better this year, but it almost never does. Now you get to hear how we are going to make our gardening wonderful yet again!

First, we are moving most of the garden closer to the house. Now we can see it and watch for problems earlier in the process.

Old garden

New Garden (see frame for greenhouse)

Second , we will again be using grow boxes, but they will have a hardware cloth bottom down about 2 feet to keep out the gophers. (Who managed to eat EVERY SINGLE BEAN LAST YEAR)

Third, we drove to Albuquerque to buy truck loads of soil for our boxes. They say it meets soil tests and maybe that will give some of our things a chance at being healthy enough to resist some of the many bugs and diseases we have had.

Fourth, we have a makeshift greenhouse affair to protect those things like tomatoes that like to be warm and out of the worst of the wind.

These are the babies to go into the greenhouse

Fifth, I have bought yards and yards of bridal illusion to keep insects out from the other beds.

Sixth, Terry is working on a drip system, to deal with our dry, dry air and dry, dry, wind, so that maybe we can get enough water to everything even when we can’t be there.

Seventh, I will make an much better effort to really use our compost maker. I have a pile, but I haven't kept it wet or turned it.

There are a few bright spots. A few flower beds are starting to look happy with the warmer weather. We had a lot of winter kill, with the exceptional cold and dry, dry year. However, most things are recovering even if slowly.

This is my old rose that Br. Builta trimmed for me to get it under control. It is starting to look really good.

Here is a quick PS that I forgot to post about Dad's birthday. We did sing and light candles even if we didn't wrap the presents.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Birthdays etc.

April and May tend to be party time at our house and this was no exception.

I'm more than a little slow on the posting, but we did do birthdays. We actually had a little party for Grandma. Her birthday was April 8th, but we celebrated Sunday. The McLeans, the Carols, and the Packs came to dinner and we had Salmon, (a favorite of Grandma's) potato casserole, rolls, salads including jello, and birthday Apple Pie.

It was fun.

I couldn't find my camera in a hurry (and I never think ahead) so here is a quick phone picture.

Birthdays at 92 are pretty special!

The Carols arranged a Passover celebration at our house. We did it a few days early. It was wonderful. We even had a Jewish couple to see if we did it right. It was impressive, thought provoking, and faith building. I hope all of you get a chance to participate in a passover feast.

The next weekend Angela and I drove up to BYUI for school. We got to stay with Emily, and Melanie was there too! Alec and friend and Cora Pack joined us for dinner and frozen yogurt. It was great to see everyone, and Emily shared lots of seeds.

In Idaho Falls we picked up Bethanie and Natalie, delivered Angela to her apartment and started the unpacking and setting up. I got to stay with the Dietrichs Sat. night and Sunday. As usual I forgot my camera so here are phone pictures to prove that I saw them.

The kids were so fun. And, I even have artwork to hang on my fridge.

Bethanie and Andrew took me to catch the shuttle and then off to SLC and a flight home.

Terry's birthday was on his day off, so we did shopping for irrigation parts in Santa Fe. That evening we had a birthday dinner and pumpkin pie for dessert. We didn't even wrap his presents, but he seemed to have a good time. The only present he didn't know about didn't come until a week later.

My birthday always seems strange now without Melanie to celebrate together. Dad took the day off and we again went to Santa Fe for shopping eating out etc. That made it really nice for me.

Mothers day was good too. Dad even fixed the dinner all by himself. (Aaron didn't come to help him, so I was worried about that.) We had hamburger sliders that he grilled, with all the trimmings, and the traditional strawberries, angel food cake and whipped cream. He did a good job, and it was delicious.

We are still hoping that Aaron will come for his birthday so we can party again!


Monday, April 25, 2011

A Most Welcome Spring Break

It took forever to decide what we were doing, but finally determined to just go to Elephant Butte for a little break. We really wanted to make it a chance to see some family, but no matter how we tried we just couldn't make it work. Mary Lynn Pack was willing to take care of Grandma, and we didn't want to over burden her.

It was a bit of work to get the travel trailer ready for it's first outing of the season. We had cleaned it out pretty thoroughly last fall. Dad had to de-winterize which took a while. We did forget a few things usually kept in the trailer, but we had simple meals planned and not anyplace dress-up to go so it wasn't too bad.

We had a really good time. It was restful and refreshing--just what a spring break should be.

We left on Tuesday morning after we got Grandma off to the Sr. Center. We weren't traveling far, so we didn't have to hurry and we got to our camp sight fairly early. (It was right next to a man who had out bird feeders to attract birds) It was so nice to set up in the light and have time to make supper when we weren't too tired. Because Aaron wasn't too far away he got to come and join us for our evening meal and we talked and talked, and watched a movie Angela had been saving for the event.

Wednesday after a leisurely breakfast we drove to Percha Dam and Angela and I started the bird watching more seriously. We were excited to see several birds we hadn't seen before. We drove around to see Caballo Dam and ate our picnic lunch, watching more birds, and checking out several good camping spots in case we wanted to change places.

Thursday morning we moved the trailer to the Percha Dam campground. It was a great place for birdwatching and that way we, Angela and I, could go out early and Dad could sleep in (much more enjoyable for him than bird watching).

Unfortunately one of the things I forgot was my camera, and then I just couldn't remember to use the one on my phone. So, there won't be much in the line of pictures. Hopefully Angela will post with some of her pictures.

Aaron had a change of plans due to a part that didn't come for his work at the exact right time and joined us again that day. We drove around including back to Elephant butte to really see the lake. We were trying to see the two types of pelicans that were on the lake at that time--white inland and some of the Brown ocean type, but we were too late in the day. Lots and lots of Western grebe on the lake and that was fun. We even met Allen Brown, another of Cousin Carols brothers, saw a fun little museum, and lots of pretty places that need farther exploring.

After some bird watching Friday morning, we took our time returning home, and all in all it was a wonderful time. When we arrived home. Grandma was really happy to see us, but not once, complained of us leaving her. That is a real testament to how well she likes the Packs, and Mary Lynn's good care.

We were all ready to enjoy conference the next two days and that concluded our spring break on a very high note!

Just few of the birds we had not seen before, thanks to the Cornell bird websight.

A great place to look up birds and hear their songs.

Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher Photo


Phainopepla Photo


Pyrrhuloxia Photo

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Flower Power

Sometimes it's good to have too much of a good thing. I just didn't get time to dig out more of my ever spreading Maximillian Sunflowers. They are spectacular this time of year. I have just missed their prime, but thought you might enjoy with us.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chocolate Sunday!

I have a million things to write, but somehow something always comes up. So--although I need to catch up on a lot of things that happened this Summer I will just tell you a quick fun treat we had.

It was a Fast Sunday and I was looking for a fast easy chocolate cake to put under the fresh peaches I had sliced and sugared lightly. I didn't want a lot of leftovers or at least something I could freeze for later. This seemed to fit the bill. We all decided that the size of the cakes was a bit large. The note on the recipe will tell you what I will do next time.

Dark Chocolate Cake

Since this is a very rich cake and I use chocolate cake as a vehicle for other things like sliced fresh peaches and ice cream, I would make this in large muffin tins next time. Muffins should make the cakes smaller and more in keeping with what I would consider a suitable serveing size. It took considerably longer baking in my oven, so the smaller size should make that quicker also. I would fill the muffin tins about 2/3 full for a nice level top. PS Chocolate and beans are good for you!

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups (19-oz can) garbanzo beans (chick peas) [I used a 15 oz. can 1 1/2 cups]
4 eggs or 1 cup egg substitute
1 cup no-calorie sugar (Splenda) or sugar [I go real]
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar (optional) for topping
1 teaspoon vanilla
I added 1 tablespoon water and 2 Tablespoons flour to make up for the smaller amount of beans and the fact that we are so high in altitude.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl, carefully melt chocolate in microwave, 2 to 3 min. In a blender or food processor, combine beans and eggs; process until smooth. Stir in Slenda or sugar, baking powder, melted chocolate, vanilla, [water and flour if using]; process again until smooth. Spray 8 4 or 6 oz. oven proof custard cups or ramekins (see note) with cooking spray. Divide batter evenly amoung baking dishes

Bake for 23 min or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Cool and place cakes upside down on a large plate and sprinkle with confectioners'sugar . Serve on individual dessert plates with fruit or fruit sauce and/or ice cream if desired.

Adapted from a recipe by Jean Carper in Eat Smart.