January 18, 2012

  • A Promise Kept….

    We’d been promising a hike, when we could all get together on a warm winter’s day, and last Sunday afternoon fit the bill.

    Our destination was a special place close to home, a place anyone can enjoy because it is owned by our state’s conservation department.

    First stop:



    So named because the son of Aldo Leopold (father of modern conservation) stayed here when working one summer in the 1940s. He helped create the plan which reintroduced wild turkeys to Missouri. And it happened here! One of our isolated county’s true claims to fame.

    Climbing to the top of the rock.



    It’s a primitive cabin, with primitive facilities…


    There was evidence of rodents living inside. No one in our group used the facility, just in case.



    Caney Creek runs by the base of the bluff. See the green stalks of cane? An aptly named creek, eh?


    Poppy explained to Wyatt that these canes make great fishing poles.


    Goodbye to the cabin and off to our trail to….


    Three-year-old Addie loved carrying a hiking stick.



    She posed for me on this tree which grows out over a little branch….


    We thought it looked like a bear’s hammock.

    Daddy helped her across the tiny stream, making sure her feet stayed dry.


    Sus and Derek liked these long icicles.


    Addie noticed this odd-looking root. She said, “It looks like a nest!” She was right!


    As we climbed and climbed, the trail became harder to see. We had to watch closely for these.


    Our trailblazers, Poppy and Wyatt, stayed far ahead of us. They are two of a kind, not wanting to poke along and take photos and look at weird roots and odd trees and shiny rocks. They want to GET THERE.


    They called down to us, “Hurry up! We found it! It’s cool!”


    Most of us went down into Onyx Cave (some of us don’t like crawling into holes.)


    Going down the trail was MUCH easier than the ascent. See Sus’s headband? It’s a pattern called Calorimetry that you can find here on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/calorimetry.


    It’s a quick knit–I used Chunky Mochi…love the way the yarn self-stripes. There’s a neat wooden toggle button on the back. Sus says she likes a warm headband much better than a whole-head hat.

    We drove on up to the top of the conservation area and stopped for snacks. Wyatt wanted to climb this tree.


    Sus and Addie enjoyed the view.


    I made Addie’s hat, too. The little knitted red flower made it cute.


    We gathered for a group shot. (I don’t know how to compensate for too much light in a photo.)


     So we changed our angle and sacrificed the long-distance view in the background.


    The sun was setting by the time we drove the North Trail back to the entrance and headed home.


    It was a GLORIOUS end to an alreadly-beautiful afternoon.


    Next on our list: the Spout Spring trail. Come see us and we’ll take you along!


January 12, 2012


    Today, a snowy, blowy sort of day in the winter Ozarks, is a soup day. We love soup in the winter, but sometimes I make it too often — or make too much of it. So I’ve been giving soup a bit of a much-needed rest. Today, however, is SUCH a soup day that I couldn’t resist.

    Since January 4 (there’s no rule about starting on the 1st day of the year, is there?) I’ve been counting calories, and so I counted as I made my soup. I call it “Clean Out the Fridge.” Two birds with one stone, right?


    Here’s how I did it:

    8 cups V-8 juice = 400 calories

    3 teaspoons Better than Bouillon = 30 calories

    2 1/2 cups chopped cabbage = 40 calories

    1/2 cup chopped carrots = 35 calories

    1 cup green peas = 120 calories

    2 stalks celery, sliced = 15 calories

    2/3 cup corn = 100 calories

    1 cup diced cauliflower = 25 calories

    1 cup chopped onion = 67 calories

    1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms = 15 calories

    3 teaspoons minced garlic = 12 calories

    Salt and pepper to taste, and simmer until the veggies are tender and the whole house smells delicious and you JUSt HAVE TO EAT.

    Grand total calories for the whole pot = 859 calories

    This made 13 cups of soup.

    1 cup = 66 calories

    WOW! I could eat this whole pot of soup for dinner and supper and still be okay.

    I might actually be full! (she says excitedly.)

    I think I might do just that ….

January 9, 2012

  • Yesterday the farmboy called me right after he had left the house to do his morning chores. “There’s a big white bird on the lake!” he said. “I’m coming!” I replied, as I jumped into jeans, grabbed camera and ran.


    Usually the lake is covered with a dozen kinds of ducks each morning, but this interloper had caused the regulars to scatter.


    He swam effortlessly up and down the length of the lake.


    I wanted a closer shot so we devised a plan.


    I climbed the dam, hid behind a big cedar and waited, while the farmboy drove his truck to the upper end and sort of “herded” the bird my way.


    He cooperated perfectly.


    I wanted to see him find breakfast, but he seemed content to relax.


    The cold finally made my fingers numb, so I left him to it.

    When we got home from church, our visitor had flown. It sure was nice to have him stop by, though.

    Come back soon, Mr. Pelican!

January 1, 2012

  • 2011 gave us one last, lovely gift — an exquisitely perfect day.


    We spent it with our dear friends, exploring some of our favorite nooks and crannies in our part of the Ozarks.


    First we had breakfast close to home and then headed out for a hike.


    On the trail above us, a couple were going cross-country on their mules. We hollered a Happy New Year to each other.


    Down below,our desination was this beautiful blue spring, aptly named Blue Spring.


    It burbles out of the steep hillside directly under where my Farmboy is standing.


    It was easy to say, “I’d jump right in if it was 90 degrees, but since it’s only 60….”


    Above our heads, this unusual formation reminded me of an eagle’s head.


    Looking downstream from where the spring empties into the river….


    Crystal clear, cold water–it is deep here, looking straight down into the spring.


    I climbed up, up, up to get this bird’s-eye view.


    On the trail, this sign pointed to destinations ahead. We liked the name of the creek and would have loved to go on another 20 miles to explore the old cemetery but would have needed a much earlier start.


    Back on the road, we stopped by an old, abandoned country store….this one is most unusual in that it was built right on top of a spring. Inside, a trap door opens in the floor, and a basket was lowered into the cold water. The basket would have held butter and cream, to keep it cold, in those long-ago days before refrigeration. 


    We longed to go in and poke around….



    Our last stop was at a local landmark….


    And we saw this sign that the day was coming to an end…..


    That’s the moon up there, already riding high. So we headed home, completely filled with the beauty of this wondrous winter’s day. We’ll hold onto it, to see us through the cold, dark ones that are surely in store in the coming weeks. But we’ll savor our memories, for we couldn’t have thought to ask for a better way to ring out the old….in the company of beautiful people, out in the beautiful countryside.

    Happy New Year to each of you–may it be filled with beauty for you, too!


December 24, 2011

  • We won’t have snow….


    but we’ll have snowmen.

    Santa won’t come down the chimney….


    But this sweet little man has visited us every year since 1970.

    My grandmother’s jolly Santa presides over the kitchen….


    And this one helps him out.


    Angels we have heard on high….

                     IMG_8166 High above the doorway.

    A touch of Dickens….


    To satisfy my English soul.

    And one new purchase this year…


    A winter print I’ve always wanted (and a bargain, to boot.) Found at a flea market while spending a happy morning with my daughter…I’ll remember that morning every time I bring out this print for Christmas.

    From our home to yours….may your Christmas be wrapped in love, real love, inspired by that first Christmas gift given so long ago.

December 21, 2011

  •  If there is a knitter on your Christmas list and you still need a little something for her/him, here is a great idea:


    This was a recent birthday gift from a very special friend of mine, and I love it! Each page has a single helpful hint or just something cute or inspriring about knitting. For example,

    “Needles, yarn, a fire in the hearth — Heaven awaits.” Sandy Beers

    “If you know that the word ‘frog’ doesn’t always refer to an amphibious creature, you are a knitter. This bit of knitting slang comes from the act of ripping out stitches, as in ‘rip it, rip it; rip it.’ “

    “An hour of knitting is cheaper than an hour of therapy.”

    “The Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.”

    “Knit a soft, snuggly comfort, prayer or friendship shawl for someone going through a tough time. Each time it is worn, the recipient will be surrounded by the love and prayers knit into each stitch.”

    That last is basically the motto of our Prayer Shawl Circle at our church. In less than two years, we’ve given away countless prayer shawls, baby items, gifts to senior shut-ins….more than I could list here.

    It was such a beautiful thing, the way it came about. We were at a meeting, and the friend who gave me this book shared about the nudge God was giving her to have something for the women in our church (specifically, those who are older widows) to do to feel needed. I confessed the nudge I was getting from Him about a way to share my love of knitting…and voila! Our circle was thus born. There is no question that He has blessed US even more than the ones who’ve received items from us.

    Back to the book: it was probably intended to be read a bit at a time, perhaps a page a day while leisurely enjoying a cup of tea. Not for me — the words were so appealing that I had to read the whole thing straight through. But now I’ll go back and read it a day at a time and let each bit really soak in.

    “Knit your hearts with an unslipping knotl” ~ William Shakespeare


    “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” ~Ecclesiastes 9:1

    Hooray! Permission given!  

    P.S. Here is another b-day gift, from one of “MY” circle friends. Isn’t this adorable??!!


    Another way to enjoy Sunbonnet Sue!!!


December 19, 2011

  • It was a day to remember…..


    The ubiquitous children’s Christmas program at church….


    The shepherds were exceptional actors….they POINTED at the star. Don’t you love their sheep???


    Then, caroling for our shut-ins and at the nursing home…..


    There’s something about little boys singing so tenderly and sweetly…..


    Then, going out on the farm to cut our tree!


    Addie danced around a lot….


    Then back home to put on lights and decs….



December 16, 2011

  • Randomness

    chip in snow

    I’m feeling a little nostalgic this morning. Christmas has that effect, doesn’t it? Brings back so many memories…this picture of Chip in our driveway was taken about this time last year. He’s been gone since March, but just the thought of snow still makes me remember how much this doggie loved it. He had such a warm coat that the cold never bothered him. Best of all was for the two of us to take a long walk in falling snow…he frolicked and played and ran, never tiring of the fun.

    My fingers have been busy these last few weeks. Hello Kitty still needs whiskers, but you get the gist of it…


    And one day when Addie was here, she picked up a funky ball of yarn and said, “Mimi, this is cool.” A 3-year-old said that…so she gets a 3-year-old-size scarf from cool yarn.

    Other projects are finished and some are still on the needles…the needles and the fingers fly at night.


    Our prayer shawl ministry contributes handmade items to the gifts given to the angels on our giving tree. This year, two special members made 30-something crocheted goodie bags, and this special member contributed items for the bag. Here she is helping to fill the bags at our meeting Wednesday.

    I don’t text. Some people wonder why. Here is why:


    I’d have to go outside to do it. Same with using our cell phones here at home….the big rock back of our house is where we get reception. Sometimes it’s rather inconvenient…we still have a land line.


    Cutout cookies are so much fun to make! Addie and Wyatt really enjoyed it this year, almost as much as their mommy.

    Busy weeks, busy days, busy minutes…it’s all part of Christmas. Hope you’re taking the time to ENJOY your busy times.

December 12, 2011

  • For those of you whose husbands buy you nice gifts and fancy cards for your birthday, just ignore this. You will have no appreciation of it.

    stan's note

    Today is my 60th birthday. It’s a busy Monday morning, and my farmboy dashed into the house to grab some notes he’d made earlier about fertilizer prices. He overheard me talking on the phone to a friend from Arizona who had called to wish me a happy birthday, and evidently he realized he’d forgotten. So he scribbled this note and put it beside my laptop on the kitchen counter. I found it a half-hour later.

    Let me just say that to me this is very sweet….the “husband” beside his name is his attempt at being funny. I laughed out loud when I picked it up and read it…and what better gift could a girl get than the gift of laughter?! In fact, he makes me laugh every day! And while there is no sentimental card to read, I know the sentiments of his heart. That’s enough…no need for Hallmark to spell it out for me.

    In years past, I have gotten gifts. He has had assistance from our daughters at times, and I’ve been most appreciative. But as I gain experience, I know the real gifts are the daily ones…the little things that mean more than trinkets. I’m blessed, over and over again, by the one I’ve shared life with for more than 40 years.

    We share 60….his birthday was three weeks ago. So we’ve grown along the road of life together, living and learning and sharing, hard times and good ones, happy and sad ones, but always sharing. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

    I’m so glad he’ll “see me soon”….that’s my ongoing gift, one I never will wear out or outgrow.

December 9, 2011

  • I decided to make a mitten….


    OOPS! It’s too big!

    So I decided to shrink it…..


    And now it’s just right–for an oven mitt!

    Actually, this wasn’t an oops…this was deliberate. I love making felted knitted items, and this is about as simple as it gets. Perfect for a little Christmas gift for a friend who knows her way around the kitchen.

    What handmade gifts are you giving this Christmas? I love ideas, so share, please!