Friday, April 30, 2010

The True Markers of spring

My family has lived in this same community for almost 23 years. We have been in our current home for the last eight of those years. So we have watched many seasons change from these very windows. And, I have to say that there is something so sweet about the predictability of those changes. I know that in December there will be narcissus and late January will bring the daffodils poking through the ground and in full bloom from February through April. Early spring also brings the leafing out of the oaks, (and the poison oak!), as well as blossoming violas, violets, fruit trees, and all of the wildflowers. Yes, it makes it easy to KNOW that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. All of creation testifies to it!
But for me, there are three "real" markers of spring. I so look forward to them every single year. I know that when I see them, spring is here to stay. And, over the last couple of weeks they have begun to arrive, with the final one falling into place just yesterday!

Lady Banks

Cecil Brunners

Baby Chicks

I LOVE baby chicks!!! These happen to be Cuckoo Marans and Americanas.

What does spring look like to you?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lofty Goals

This is where I am starting this morning.

This is where I hope to be by bedtime tonight.

So I am making friends with my favorite chair.

And these tools.

And this stack of books on tape.

My guy may be picking up some take out, come dinner time.
And I may not actually go to bed.
But I'll keep you posted.
Wish me luck!!

Ohhhh....I am feeling lucky already!

Update: Well I spent too much time yacking on the phone, making dinner, eating dinner, and going to bed on time. All very counterproductive. But, I am VERY close to being finished. So stay tuned......

Monday, April 26, 2010

Don Juan and the Seven Sisters

This weekend was the Seven Sister's Quilt Show. My guy dropped me off on our way home from a very fabulous camping trip. I met up with two of my favorite girlfriends, and we had ourselves a lovely little afternoon filled with inspiration.

Here are some of our favorites:

Yes, this wonderful little machine! Don't you wish you owned her? I sure do. I would just love to show up at every stitching event in the world with this little gem in tow.

This is a Sandy Turner beauty. I am not usually a fan of African quilts, but this one is an exception. The layout is clever and the colors are striking. But the really fabulous part of this piece is the quilting. Unfortunately, you cannot see it, but it was exquisite. It had a large lion's head with a full mane, a large giraffe's head and a large parrot quilted into it. And, they were all very well done.

Of course, this Karen Stone quilt was there. It is at every quilt show, everywhere. And yet, I am NEVER tired of seeing it. I love this piece, and I am so wanting to make one myself!!

I do love the pineapples!

What's not to love about yellow and aqua strings! So cheerful.

Now, it is finally full on spring here in my little corner of the world. Hurray!
And here is what's happening out in the yard.

The climbing Don Juan's are blooming. They are so gorgeous. And they smell good, too.

Grandpa George trained them to grow across the top of this fence. They look so nice there, and I would have never thought to do that myself. He's is a great gardener!

This is a yellow climber called Golden Showers. It is also completely fabulous. It blooms heavily once in the spring time, and then sporadically until fall.

Beautiful. I only wish it was a nonfading yellow. But, those are a little harder to come by.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Rana's World Famous Salsa

Have you ever taken a BBQ to the drive-in?

We hadn't either, until last Saturday. I know it sounds really lame, but it was a lot of fun. We invited a bunch of friends to come out and join us for my guy's birthday. We grilled hot dogs and I made my world famous salsa. Everybody brought along yummy sides and snacks which we set up as a tailgate buffet. Lots of fun, you should give it a try! Although, I recently read that there are less than 100 drive ins left in America. So, you may have to travel a long way to get to one.

Now, every party has it's pooper, and ours was no exception. We actually had a guest who doubted my salsa's world fame. And he even said so. Out loud. Can you believe that?

So, in an effort to silence those who do not think that the Vietnamese have ever actually eaten any of my salsa, I am going to post a salsa making tutorial right here on this little blog. And maybe, just maybe, some sweet quilter from Vietnam who likes to read blogs and has always wanted to make a big bowl of salsa will find this tutorial and make herself a batch. And then, the peanut gallery can just pipe down!

Rana's World Famous Salsa

Start with a bunch of fresh veggies; tomatoes, onions, anaheims, cilantro, lemons and garlic.

Put on a really good CD...

And some comfortable shoes, this is gonna take a while.

Chop up the tomatoes. Forget about peeling them, it is too much work. And unless you are using late season, homegrown tomatoes with thick skins on them, it will not matter.

Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice. Be generous.

Chop up your onions. Be very generous. You don't want your salsa to taste like a bowl of plain old tomatoes.

Chop up your chiles. Now, if you are just going to chop 1 or 2 chiles, skip the gloves. But if you are doing more than that, be kind to yourself and put the gloves on, because your hands will burn for hours after you are finished!

Also, if you want a mild salsa, remove the seeds. If you want a medium salsa leave them all in. And if you want a hot salsa add in some jalapenos or serranos, leaving in some of the seeds

Chop up the cilantro. Never mind about pulling the leaves off the stems. It is too much work and no one but you will even know you bothered to do it.

Chop up the garlic.

Now comes the really important part. Stir it all together and add salt.



Be heavy handed here, but not ridiculous. Remember, you don't want this to taste like a big ol' bowl of tomatoes!

Now let it set for a couple of hours. It will get juicy and all of the flavors will blend into a little taste of Mexico. Then all you will need is a big bag of tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Little Notions

Well, it is another day for little notions. So, here goes...

Little Notions
April 16, 2010

I believe that this journal entry thing has too many questions. So, I am going to shorten it to six. This counts as one!

I just love red, especially if it has big white polka dots on it. Or little white polka dots, for that matter. And hey, no discrimination here, medium sized polka dots are great too!

I am grateful for the fact that both of my girls got into their first pick colleges. What a huge blessing!

I am reading Broken Dishes by Earlene Fowler. Actually, I just finished it. And, this is probably my favorite book in the series. I just love Hud, he really cracks me up!!

I really need to wrap up plans for my guy's birthday party, a tailgater at the drive-in. He wants to see Clash of the Titans, which was the first movie his dad ever took him to see in a theater. Funny huh, the two of them bonding over that movie. And have you seen the original version? We were just required to, by you know who, in preparation of the up and coming re-make "event". What a laugh! Technology has sure come a long way.

In my kitchen are several lemons that are going to be transformed into Linda B's Amazing Lemon Bars.

A photo thought about wildflowers in April:


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cowgirl Cuisine

What does a cowgirl eat for breakfast?

Farm fresh, organic, free range eggs hand gathered by her very own mother?


Red velvet cupcakes with a little tea. Plain black tea with whole milk, no sugar.

And in case you're wondering:
The big sister likes her tea with gobs of sugar, no milk.
The mom likes her tea with a splash of whole milk and a touch of sugar.
And the dad, e-gads, would never drink tea. He likes coffee: strong, thick, black and bitter!

Happy tea and cupcakes to all of you!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A foggy morning in our neighborhood

This was the view out our front door this morning. Pretty isn't it?
We don't get a lot of foggy mornings up here on the hillside. There is a definite frost and fog line about a quarter mile down the road. Many mornings when we walk or drive down, it is very prominently visible. And, it does come higher up, but not always. It is more common to look out the window to a clear view, with fog in the distance, blanketing the town. And, the frost comes up this far as well, but I would say it doesn't more often that it does.

This is the view coming up the road to our house.

This is what our horse looks like on cold mornings. Funny huh? My daughter bought this blanket on sale, and we all just laughed. And, don't think the horse likes it either, she puts up a great fuss when it is time to put it on! Poor baby.

This is what all of the oak trees are looking like these days. The deer just love to eat the tender young leaves.

The poison oak is looking lush, don't you think? The deer never touch the stuff.

And the first bottle brush bloom has arrived.

So has the first Baby's Blanket rose.

And the potato bush is blooming.

And so is the mock orange.

What's happening in your neighborhood?