Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Chats On The Farmhouse Porch

Chats are a day late this week, which is OK, since it gave me a chance to post my traditional Earth Day post yesterday.  So, let's get on with our chat. 

1.  Do you enjoy crossword puzzles, word finds, or any "word" activities? 

 Oh, yes!  I love crosswords, word searches, and the cryptoquip in the newspapers.  I'm not so keen on jumbles or unscrambling words, though. 

2.  What's on your dining room table right now? 

 My old Navy command ball cap, and yesterday's mail. 

3.  Do you like Italian food? 

 Yes, I do.  I love pizza.  Italian pizza is a lot different than American pizza.  The sauce is sweeter, and they don't put shredded cheese all over it.  Just a slice here and there.  It's good, though.  Just different.  Oh, and Ensalada Caprese.  Haven't had a good one since I got back to the States. 

4.  Did you ever want a brother, twin, or sister, when you were a child? 

No, I had two brothers and a sister.  That was enough. 

5.  How far away is the nearest grocery store? 

About 5 miles or so.  I don't rightly know.  I've never checked the mileage.  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day 2014

Genesis 1 

 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
 6 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

 9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

    11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

 14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

 20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

 24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
    26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

 27 So God created mankind in his own image,  in the image of God he created them;
   male and female he created them.

 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

    29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

    31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

He Is Risen

Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; he has risen!

--Luke 24: 5-6 (NIV)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Concord Hymn

Concord Hymn
Ralph Waldo Emerson
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
   Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
   And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
   Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
   Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
   We set today a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
   When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
   To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
   The shaft we raise to them and thee.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For sinners such as I?
Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature’s sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face
While Calvary's cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt mine eyes to tears.

But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give my self away
’Tis all that I can do.

 At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thursday Miscellany

I am so sore from working in my flower bed yesterday.  I mean, like, I can hardly move sore.  I mean, hobbling around work all day barely able to shuffle my feet sore.  Since soreness always hits me harder the second day, I can only imagine what I'll be like tomorrow. 

The good news is, I've gotten my heel flap on my sock done.  The bad news is, next comes picking up gusset stitches.  That's my least favorite part of sock knitting. 

I know some of you are thinking that's a mighty short heel flap.  Truth is, I took the picture before finishing, and well, was just too darn lazy to take another one.  Don't worry, the sock will fit my foot. 

The better news is, whoever was mowing has stopped.  My chest has loosened up, and I'm not gasping for breath as badly as I was.  Have I ever mentioned that I'm allergic to grass? Verily.

Ummmm, there was something else...what was it?   Oh, yes.

I started taking my iron pills again.  I'd quit taking them for a while; I don't know why.  About a week ago, I started taking them again, and I feel so much better.  I've got more energy, my mood has improved, and it feels like my brain is waking up.  Don't expect my blog posts to get more interesting, though.  My life is still as dull as ever. 

The bad news is, when I burp, it tastes like a ten penny nail. 

I'm sure you're all thrilled to know that. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Best Laid Plans

When I put in for my vacation day, the plan was to go to the Memphis Zoo and pet the stingrays.  I thought mid-April would be a good time to go.  It'd be warm, but not too hot.  I had no idea this would be the winter that never ends.  It just goes on and on my friends...

So, between the cold weather and the cold my chest caught, I thought the better part of valor would be to stay closer to home.

After staying in bed until I was ready to get up (not counting letting the dogs in and out fifty thousand times), I took Jimmy in to get his oil changed.  He was overdue on months, but still had a thousand left on miles.  While waiting, because it takes forever, I got a few more things for my flower beds.

Last night's cold snap didn't get quite as cold as they were predicting.  Nothing froze and there was no frost.  I don't think it'll get that cold again, so I decided to take a chance and plant my flowers.  I'm going to have quite a colorful bed this year.

I've got these dwarf African marigolds.

These are French Marigolds.

And my favorite Profusion Zinnias.

I was able to get a variety of colors this year, instead of just orange ones like I had last year.

I picked up two more Gerbera Daisies.  

For some reason, I was thinking I had six, but I only have five.  I left a spot to get another one.

So I can be symmetrical.  I've got to be symmetrical.

These are the things I couldn't think of the name of the other day.  They are Celosias.  

They are new to me also. 

I even managed to get mulch down over most of the bed. 

That was one full bag. I decided not to open the second bag until I was ready to spread the whole thing.  I didn't want any creepy crawlies finding their way into a partially filled bag of mulch.  As you can see, I have room to put a row of Lantanas in the back, if I can ever find some.

Wal-mart doesn't have any.  We've got the weekend off for Easter, so I'm thinking about going up to Lowe's and see if they have any in their garden center. Once I get them in, and the last daisy, then, and only then will I open the other bag of mulch. 

You know the neat thing that happened?  I hadn't even finished planting when the bees found the flowers.

That ought to make the beekeeper in the family happy.

Me?  I'm waiting on the butterflies and hummingbirds.

 They make me happy. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Chats On The Farmhouse Porch

I do declare, this winter just will not give up!  They are predicting lows around 30' tonight, and here is is, just a few days before Easter. 

Speaking of cold, what I thought was a hallacious allergy attack has blossomed into a full blown spring cold.  Between that, and the kicking North wind outside, let's have our chat around the kitchen table instead.  I've got surgical masks for anyone wishing to avoid my germs. 

1.  What are you doing for Easter? 

Well, Cody has outgrown egg hunts, and I keep eating his candy, so we'll just go to church, then dinner, followed by Easter shows on TV.  Well, DVD.  We have Here Comes Peter Cottontail, The Easter Bunny Is Coming To Town, It's The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown.  Yes, I still watch those.  Cody doesn't.  I do.  Jesus Of Nazareth is now up on Netflix, so I'll probably watch that, too. 

2.  How many spring flowers have you noticed the last week or so? 

 Lots.  The daffodils and Bradford pear have already come and gone, but there are still plenty of things blooming.   I showed you my iris and violets yesterday.  Also, those yellow weed things, onion flowers, and those little purple flowers that cover the yards are blooming now.  And I've noticed a few wisteria blooms, too.

Yellow weed things:

Those little purple flowers:

Onion flowers:

 Sorry about the poor quality of the photos.  I was using my phone, and it's very windy out there.

3.  What was your favorite thing in an Easter basket, or as dessert at Easter dinner? 

 The eggs.  The real ones.  The hard boiled eggs that we dyed.  I'd rather eat those than the candy.  That was back before I knew I was allergic to eggs. 

4.   If you were a dog, what kind would you be? 

 One that is loved and cared for in a good home. 

5.  What are your favorite pizza toppings? 

Pepperoni, mushroom, sausage, and extra cheese. 

Thank you for joining me for this week's chat.  I hope to see you all next week.

Same bat time.  Same bat channel.

Monday, April 14, 2014

It's Raining, It's Pouring

The old dog is snoring.  Rylea, that is. I swear, I've never had a dog that snores as loudly as she does. 

But seriously, it rained all night last night, and all day today.  I brought the new plants inside so they wouldn't get drowned, or pounded into mush, as it rained pretty hard there for a while. 

One of my cousins who lives in Oklahoma said they got snow.  Really, snow.  Less than a week before Easter, and it's snowing.   They're saying it's going to get down into the low 30s here tomorrow night.

Thank goodness for global warming.  No telling how cold it would have gotten without global warming.

Yesterday, before the rain started, I went out and took some photos of the flowers -- what few I have-- in the yard.  I'm getting some iris this year.  They didn't bloom at all last year, but it looks like I'm going to have quite a few this year. 

I've only got white iris left.  I'd planted a bunch of yellow, purple, and blue ones several years ago, but they stopped blooming after only a couple of years.  These white ones are hanging in there, though.  I don't even take care of them, except trying to prevent folks from mowing them down.

Speaking of mowing, I actually had one of my Easter Bonnet daffodils bloom!

I'd had several of them at one time, but they kept getting mowed down by overenthusiastic teenagers.  And cousins.  Two years ago, I dug the bulbs up and put them into my flower bed, and lo and behold, one of them came back.  Maybe next year, more of them will bloom.  Here's hoping.

Here are some violets. 

When I was a kid, my dad never would mow until after the violets finished blooming.  These are in my wildflower bed. 

Since it's rained so much, I've had plenty of time to work on the sock. 

I've almost gotten to where I need to start the heel flap, but it's not going to happen tonight.  Heavy rain and strong winds kept me up last night, so I'm going to bed.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Ummmm, Oops.

I hadn't intended to buy any plants today.  I was just walking through the garden center to see what they had. 

But suddenly, all these flowers started jumping into my basket, begging me to take them home.

How could I say no? 

I don't know what these are.  Yes, there is a tag, but it's outside with the plants.  I'll look tomorrow.

They are something new-- at least to me.  That's what I love about annuals.  I can try different things without making a long term commitment. 

I don't do long term commitments.  If I did, I'd have been married long ago.  Be that as it may...

Six of my little bluebonnets have survived and seem to be doing well.

 They are about ready for me to transfer them into the planters. 

The weather guessers are predicting down into the 30s early next week, so I'm going to wait until after that last cold snap to put everything into the flower bed.  They've already announced that we are going to be off next weekend for Resurrection Sunday, so I'm probably going to plant my wildflower bed then. 

That is, if I can find where I put my packets of seeds. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014


OK, y'all, I cast on this pair of socks like a year ago.  Seriously. 

It took me about a month to finish the first one.

Then it took me six more months to cast on the second.  And there it has sat ever since. 

I picked it back up this afternoon.  I'm determined to finish it this time. 

I'm not getting off to a very good start.  Or a very good middle, since I started it months ago.  I've done a grand total of two, yes two, count'em two rounds.

Didn't sleep well, and had a rough day at work.  I'm knackered. 

I'm watching House reruns instead. 

Wednesday, April 09, 2014


For those of you who may have been unaware, this video has been making the rounds the last couple of weeks.

A little girl asks Wil Wheaton if he was ever called a nerd, and ...well, just watch.  It's worth three minutes of your life.

If I could talk to that girl, one thing I would tell her is that the older you get, the more you realize that a nerd is a good thing to be.  Then I would share this photo with her:

You can keep your Snookis and your Kardashians --not to be confused with Cardassians-- Give me River Song, Zoe, or Xena any day. 

Nerdy role models rock. 

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Chats On The Farmhouse Porch

Let's take a quick break from building our ark and chat on the porch for a minute. 

1.  What has kept you busy lately?

Pricing gopher wood and boiling pitch.   Oh, and work.  It's peak season, so it keeps me pretty busy working 6 days a week. 

2.  Are you making or creating anything? 

Other than an ark, just my usual knitting projects. 

3.  What are you really hungry for right now?

An Angus bacon burger from McDonalds.  I actually went there after work yesterday, but the line was so long and wasn't moving at all, that I got out of it (before I ordered) and just came on home.  I'll get one sooner or later.  

4.  What song has stuck in your head lately?

This one:

5.  If I could celebrate my upcoming birthday with you, what would we do?

Float away in my ark.  If it doesn't stop raining soon, that's all we'll be able to do.  

And with that, I must get back to building it.  Hmmm, now how long was a cubit? 

Monday, April 07, 2014

Monsoon Season

Yep, monsoon season is here.

It rained all day yesterday, and I do mean all day long.  And all night long, too.  It was still raining when I got up this morning, but cleared off during the day.  But it's supposed to rain again tomorrow evening, too. 

Anyone know where I can get some gopher wood?

Speaking of, I have not seen the new Noah movie and I don't intend to.   The reviews I've read indicate that it takes quite a turn from the Bible story.  Seriously, take the Bible out of a Bible story, and all you have is a fairy tale.

Don't just take my word for it, here is a review from someone who actually saw it:  Noah Review

While you're over there, check out some of his other posts, especially his newest one about how Jesus wasn't really a nice guy. I'm not sure where this modern idea that he was a mild mannered pansy came from.  He wasn't the doormat that he's been made out to be lately.  I would have though the flipping tables and chasing people with a whip would have been your first clue.

All right, then...

Back to my life.  A while back, I started a Clapotis with some Cherry Tree Hill Sockittome Select, having decided that the yarn is simply unsuitable for socks and any remaining stash would be knit into scarves or hats. 

I'd set it aside for a while to work on some other things, and yesterday when I picked it back up, it just wasn't speaking to me.  I wasn't loving it.

I think it was the yarn.  It just didn't want to be a Clapotis.  I may try it again with a yarn that has much more subtle color changes than this yarn does.  So, what did I do with the yarn?  I ripped it out and started a simple offset rib pattern.

I know it's kind of hard to see in that picture, but the pattern is as follows:

Cast on a multiple of 4.

Row 1:  K2 P2 to end
Row 2:  K1 *P2 K2* Repeat to last stitch, K1

As you can see, I've only done about an inch, but I'm thinking this yarn doesn't want to be that scarf either.  It's kind of telling me it wants to be knit up in linen stitch.

And I'm screaming, "Nooooooooooo!!!!!!" 

Not the dreaded linen stitch.  Please not the dreaded linen stitch.

Alas, the yarn wants what the yarn wants, and over the years, I've learned not to argue with the yarn.  I guess I'd better go find my linen stitch pattern.


Saturday, April 05, 2014

Sexy Or Not?

Someone in a Facebook group I'm in recently posted this video of seven supposedly sexy things men do without realizing it.

Quite frankly, I don't find any of these things sexy.  OK, eye contact is a bit sexy, but not if you look like you're stoned while you're doing it.

Scratching the beard, straightening the tie, fiddling with the watch...that's not sexy.  That just seems fidgety and poorly groomed to me.  So is rolling up sleeves.  Fidgety and uncomfortable.  Nothing sexy about being fidgety. 

The thumb on the lip seems a sign of uncertainty and insecurity.  There is nothing sexy about that.  Women want men who are strong and confident (deep down inside, even the ones who won't admit it).  So that's not sexy. 

The --what did they call it?  --the last dance lean and bracing against the door frame...not sexy.  Shows laziness and poor posture.  Not sexy.  Not sexy at all. 

It makes me wonder who makes up these kinds of videos.  What do you think?  Are these things sexy to you or not?


Friday, April 04, 2014

Welcome To Spring

and all the stormy weather that comes with it.

We had some pretty bad storms blow through last night about 2:00AM  So far, I haven't heard of any tornadoes, but a coworker said they got some hail at his house.  Once the weather cleared, it turned out to be an absolutely beautiful day.

Highs in the mid 60s, breezy and sunny.  Gorgeous weather.  And I was stuck at work.

After work, I tried to get gas, but the card readers weren't working on any of the pumps at the station I went to.  I was a bit aggravated.  I know it wasn't my card, because I tried two different ones and neither one worked.  It worked at Wal-mart, too, so I really know it wasn't my card.  I'll have to go back into town tomorrow and try a different gas station. 

While I'm there, I think I'll buy some garden soil to work into my flower beds.  I mean, while I'm in town, I'll run by Wal-Mart and buy garden soil.  They don't have it at the gas station.

Yeah, I'm a bit tired.  Storms kept me awake most of the night.  Anyway, moving right along...While I was in town today, strolled through the garden center at Wal-mart just to see what they have. 

They don't have much out yet, but I did buy some more daisies. 

They didn't have any zinnias or lantanas yet, or the variety of marigolds I want, but these daisies ought to keep me busy for a couple more weeks. 

Then I came home and started cleaning out my beds.  I got all the old leaves and junk out of my front bed.  It's got Hostas in it, so it's all good to go.  Once they've come up, I'll put mulch around them, but that's all I do for the front bed. 

Oh, sorry to have rambled on so, but I am so anxious to get out into my flower beds! 

But since I have to be at work at 6:00 in the morning, I reckon I ought to get my body into my bed.

Goodnight, folks.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

One Of Those Days

This is one of those days when I actually had a thoughtful and inspiring post mentally composed, but now I find I'm too tired to type it all out.  I think I'll save it for another day. 

What I will give you, though, are some old photos.  Not quite old enough to be a Throw Back Thursday, but old enough.  For some reason, when I tried to download some recent photos from my DSLR, it copied the entire memory card to my computer.  So, we'll start with the oldest photo still on my memory card. 

Taken in March 2008, at the Memphis Zoo.  I have no idea who the person is filming on his phone.  I was just snapping photos, and this one came out just right.

Here is one from 2011, the last year we had any snow worth mentioning.  

As cold as it has been this winter, we haven't had any snow.  Well, just a trace.  That year, though, we had so much snow I thought I'd moved up North.  We actually had two snow days at work.  And by "snow days" I mean we went in at 10:00 AM instead of 7:00 AM. 

Finally, a couple of artsy-fartsy photos I took when trying to be all artsy-fartsy.

And that's about all I've got for you today.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Spring Weather

What with the warmer days and the lovely spring weather we've been having, I'm really itching to get my hands into some dirt.  I did get out this afternoon and try to get some of the dead stuff out of my wildflower bed.  I didn't do too much, though, because I didn't want to disturb any new plants that may have reseeded from last year. 

The plan is to get out there this weekend and start getting my other bed ready for planting.  I'm going to put marigolds, zinnias, and Lantanas on that side, and probably put my gerbera daisies in the middle.  I still just have the one, but I think I might get a couple more.

Look, it's getting a new bloom.  

 I need to get it into the ground, but there is still the possibility of a frost, or even a hard freeze.  What with the way this winter is hanging on, you can't ever tell.  Anyway, I need to wait and see if any of my purple coneflowers come back to see how many daisies I can plant there.

If the coneflowers don't come back, I don't think I'll try to replace them.  Where I've got them may just be too damp. 

I've also got to get my pots ready for my little bluebonnets.   I'm going to put them into planters, because the research I did on them says they don't do well in a heavy clay soil like we have here.

I was disappointed that only seven of the seeds I had planted germinated.  I think I might buy another packet and try to plant them, too. The Hill Country is in full bloom now, and it's making me kinda homesick.  

To quote my friend Dale, "Nothing says home like a field full of bluebonnets."

I was reading a blog earlier in which the author talked about going out and picking some wildflowers from behind her house.  She showed a photo of them, and they were bluebonnets.  I sure hope she picked them on her own private property, otherwise she broke state law. 

If I could remember whose blog I saw it on, I'd go back and tell her. 

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Chats On The Farmhouse Porch

Just a few days ago, I was scraping frost off of my windshield. Today, my air conditioner came on.

The thermometer in the car said 83' when I got off of work. Seems we jumped from winter straight to summer. We have precious few days where it is just right enough to open the windows, which I'm not supposed to be doing anyway. Allergist's orders.

 But I do it anyway. Against allergist's orders.  Just don't tell, OK?

1.  What's your favorite method of travel? 

Well, I usually travel by car or truck, since that's what is available to me.  I'd love to take a train trip, though.  It was always fun riding the train when I was in Italy.   I'd love to take a tour of the U.S. by train someday.  

2.  If you wear jewelry, are you more likely to wear silver or gold? 

 Silver.  I'd probably wear more gold if I could afford it, but we's po folk here. 

3.  How often do you wear sunglasses? 

Never, since I wear prescription glasses all the time.  I do have transition lenses, so I guess that counts, though.  In that case, always.  

4.  Which would be easier for you to leave undone (for a short period of time), dishes or laundry?

Dishes, though I usually wait until I run out of something before I do either.  

5.  On a scale of 1-10 (1-hardly any+ 10- house is full), how much clutter have you collected? 

Sock yarn doesn't count here, either, right?  I'd say 4.  I need to get rid of stuff, but I hate having garage sales, and I just can't toss perfectly good stuff in the garbage.  

Monday, March 31, 2014


I got tired of working on scarves and hats.  The lace was calling me and I had to answer.

I got out the Anniversary Mystery Shawl '10 (Yes, 10!) and knit a few more rounds into it.

I still have a long, long way to go, but I have confidence that one of these years, I'll get it done. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Becky's Chicken And Dumplings

Lots of people keep on asking for my chicken and dumplings recipe.  Well, the problem is, I don't really use one.  I just kind of make it up as I go.  So, I thought I'd make that the subject of tonight's blog post.  How I make my chicken and dumplings.

Buy a rotisserie chicken from Wal-mart.  Eat the legs, thighs, and wings, because that's the good part.  I don't like the breast, so I have to do something else with it.  Usually I make it into soup, or chicken and dumplings, and here's how that works.

Pull off the breast and cut into bite sized pieces.  Put into refrigerator for later.  Wrap the remaining carcass in cheesecloth and secure with a tie.  Put it into a stock pot and cover with water.  Boil for a good long time, to get a nice, rich broth.  No, I don't time it.  I just boil it until it looks right.

If you don't have cheesecloth, just boil the carcass without it, but you'll want to strain your broth to get all the little bits of cartilage and skin and stuff out.

Dump some flour into a bowl.  Add a couple spoonfuls of shortening and some salt.  Sometimes I use cold butter.  Depends on how lazy I am, since the shortening is softer and therefore easier to cut into the flour. Anyway...

Cut the shortening into the flour until it's like little grains of sand.  Or peas.  Or something.  I just do it until it looks right.  Add some milk.  Not too much.  Mix it all into a stiff dough.  Turn the stiff dough out onto floured surface.  (I use parchment paper so I don't have to clean as much.)  Roll dough until it is very thin.  Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into small rectangles.  They will puff up a lot when they're cooking, so make them about 1" by 1.5" or so. 

Put the cut up dumplings into a bowl, coating each one with flour so they don't stick together.  Pull your cheesecloth wrapped chicken carcass out of the broth and discard.  Add the dumplings one at a time until they are all in the broth.  There will probably be some flour left in the bottom of the bowl.  Whisk a little milk into the flour and add it to the boiling broth. 

Add your cut up chicken meat, and boil until the dumplings are no longer chewy.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Or whatever spices you like.  Some people add carrots and peas, but I don't. 

Turn off heat.  Let the chicken and dumplings cool.  Put in refrigerator until the next day.  Heat up and serve. 

And that's how I do it.

I hope you enjoy your home made chicken and dumplings.  Or if you prefer, Sweet Sue is pretty darn good, for canned crap.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Chats On The Farmhouse Porch

Welcome to our chat, a day late.  It is an absolutely beautiful day outside, though not quite shorts and t-shirt weather.  It's still warm enough we can sit out on the porch to have our chat.  Won't you join me?

1.  What is your favorite room of your house or apartment? 

 I can't really say I have a favorite room in the house I live in right now.   I guess it would be the living room, since that's where I spend most of my time.  But if I ever get to build my dream house, it'll be the library.  It'll have a huge stone fireplace, and a window seat big enough to get really comfortable for a few hours of reading.  And of course, shelves and shelves of books along the wall, and a overstuffed leather sofa in the middle. 

2. What's your favorite topping for pancakes or waffles? 

 Maple syrup.  I've never been one for putting things like fruit and whipped cream on my pancakes or waffles.  We just didn't do that while I was growing up. 

3. Do you like dried fruit?

 No, not really, except for dried papaya and pineapple that you sometimes find in trail mix.

4.   Please finish this statement. "As soon as we have good spring weather, I'm going to_______." 

 Get my flower beds planted!  And go fishing again.  It's been quite a while, and I miss it.

5. Tell me a memory from your childhood.

OK, this is a photo of the church I grew up in.  The church has built a new building, so this one stands empty now.   It makes me sad, because I spent many childhood hours here.

Monday evening, the dome on top caught on fire, though they don't really know why.   The memory from my childhood is that when you got to be a certain age-- usually between 4th and 6th grade-- it was a thing to sneak up into the dome.  I remember when I went up there.  It was the music minister's son who showed me the stairs and the trap door to get up inside the dome.  I was so excited, but at the same time, disappointed.  The other kids made it sound like such a big deal, but once I got there, it looked just like the attic at my house.

Still, it was a kind of a rite of passage.  Those who had been up into the dome, and those who hadn't.  After that day, I was one of the kids who had.

I also knew in which Sunday School room you could open the window and get out onto the roof.  That was on the opposite side of the building than the one pictured here.

The porch with the four white columns had a rail around it, and a small ledge around the outside.  When I was in 4th grade, while waiting to march in during VBS (Vacation Bible School), several of us kids would climb over the rail and jump off that ledge.  Then we'd run around, up the steps to the porch, and do it again.  Over and over.  The whole time.  The next year, when I was in 5th grade, I was so excited when it was time for VBS, so that we could jump off that ledge again.  I ran up onto that porch, climbed over the rail, stood on the ledge, looked down, and said, "What was I thinking?"  Then I climbed back over the rail, onto the porch, and never jumped off that ledge again.

So, there you have some memories of my childhood at church.

I hope you've enjoyed our chat.  Please come back next week for another chat on the farmhouse porch. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

No Chat Today

I know, I know.  Tuesday is usually Chat day, but Patrice said the questions will be up later, so I'll just post them tomorrow.

In the meantime, here is a finished hat.

Yes, this is the same hat I was working on the other day.  I finished it Saturday evening.

I also have a new book to read.

It's another one written by a schoolmate of mine.  We called him Jimmy back in school.  He was two years behind me, so I didn't really know him all that well.  I'm looking forward to reading it.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dear Church Member

Although you seem to be oblivious to the noise you are making, let me reassure you that the rest of us most certainly can hear the

*snick, snick, snick*

of your clippers reverberating throughout the sanctuary as you trim your nails during the worship service.  Please, do us all a favor and attend to your personal hygiene at home.


Thank you,

That is all

Friday, March 21, 2014

Spring Has Sprung

Yesterday was the first day of  Spring.

But not really.

Officially, but not really. 

The first day of Spring is just an arbitrary date on a calendar.  Somebody, somewhere, way back when picked a day and said, "Hey, I think I'll make spring start on this date."  Then his buddy said, "Hey, let's say that spring starts on the day of the Vernal Equinox!"  And the first guy said, "OK, then.  Spring starts on the day of the Vernal Equinox." 

And that's how the first day of spring became the first day of spring. But, as we all know, nature doesn't look at a calendar.

Around here, spring starts when the daffodils start coming up.  That was about two weeks ago.  Some years, spring comes earlier than others.  I've seen daffodils blooming in late January, but most often, they start coming up in mid February.

No matter how you look at it, spring is here, and it's making me want to get out and work in my flower beds.  It's still too early to plant.  I don't usually do that until after Easter, which is April 20th this year.  But I can get out and start clearing the old stuff out of the beds, and enriching the soil.

I walked through the garden center at Wal-mart and they are starting to get their flowers in.  Just a few so far.  No Lantanas or Zinnias yet, but a few marigolds and some other stuff. 

This is a Gerbera Daisy.  I haven't had any of these before. 

Technically, it's a perennial, but in my planting zone, it's treated like an annual, because it won't survive the winter.  I'm thinking I may put it into one of my planters, so I can bring it in at night.  It's still getting kind of cold at night, but warm in the day.

Oh, this is the most difficult time of the year!  When it's warm enough to want to get out into the flower beds, but still getting too cold at night to plant anything. 

It's like waiting for Christmas. 


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