Thursday, July 30, 2009

When the cleaning is done- BAKE!

This is a little glimpse of an apron from "at home with the farmers wife" I was trying to take my own picture and my arms are too short. But you can see the details in the bib. Suzanne makes lovely aprons, out of recycled mens shirts and vintage fabrics. She even makes her own custom bias tape, very nice. I felt very elegant grinding grain and baking today.

The cupboards have been washed and tidied. This one was full of canned goods before.

I had everything crammed down here now we are all spread out nicely, it's so much easier to get to the things I need to use. Kayla helped a lot she did the scrubbing.

I took my cupboard doors off to see how I would like that farmhouse look. The idea is to recycle them into the laundry room. Hunny makes cabinets but not door fronts and they are expensive. I'm trying it out for a bit, what do you think? Look how clutter free everything is. I am beside myself.

It's been raining every day. I haven't taken a picture of the garden in awhile but here is some of the okra, and some apples. The apples are from Krogers, no false advertising here.

Today I did one of those things I do well. I baked. I made a batch of regular wheat bread. I also filled up my bin with the artisan dough to let it start getting sour.

As long as all this dough is happening might as well make some pizzas for dinner.

I actually managed to get the crust on this one thin and crispy. Pepperoni is a favorite here.

This one is pesto and sundried tomato as well as some fresh sliced tomatoes. It tasted sweet because the tomatoes are so ripe. Hunny and Kayla liked the pepperoni the best. Good more of this one for me.

The living room is back to normal. Wow. It's been weeks of work. Good things that you work hard for are so satisfiying. My kitchen is getting happier every day. It was so much easier to work in today. I had plenty of free counter top to work on, and it was easy to get at pans and racks. I was grinning like the cheshire cat.

The rescue that has Riley won't adopt out of state. I understand there concerns but isn't the whole point to get these dogs good homes? They are a bit over the top with their wanting to come and inspect your house and also they want you to cook for the dogs all organic food.
Actually I really don't care what they want. I want to give that adorable dog a home. He can sleep on my bed and that's as good as it gets.

I didn't mention it to the hunny until after I found out from them. He never had that moment of elevated blood pressure, except for the painting he is doing today. He hates painting. I used to do all of our painting every bit of it until I found out that he CAN paint. He just doesn't like to paint. Guess what? I don't do all the painting anymore.

Anybody for some pizza?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


It's done. He should get a gold medal. There should be an Olympic medal or a medal of honor or some kind of huge award for being my husband. There should be a reward for making someone else dreams a reality. He's magical. Not really, he worked HARD! There is no price tag on this. I couldn't afford to pay.

Amazing. It all fit! Look at all those buckets of grain, beans, rice and yes the old evil white sugar. I have 45 pounds of sugar. I need to bake some pies for this man! He loves dessert. Tomorrow the cook is getting cooking.

You'd never know all the effort that just went into this. Scroll down for the before photos when this was a laundry closet and had dirty carpet in the hallway.

Kayla and I worked hard today. We cleaned up in here.

Way better. Way way way better. There is still a little bit left to do, but not much.

Next thing to do is move Kayla upstairs and me down stairs before my surgery and maybe go to Georgia. I'm looking into that doggie in the rescue. OK bear with me here but in a divorce you have 2 people, neither of which wanted to keep their dog? I got divorced once and replaced that bum with a dog and was way better off. Well, then the hunny came along. I loved Rasmus so much, the worst thing that ever happened was for him to get cancer. He was so beautiful and so graceful, he even showed his grace with that terrible disease. We can learn a lot from dogs. We can learn a lot about doing the right thing, about not being selfish and self serving, about loyalty and kindness and play. Dogs make life so good. Now cats? I'm know we have two cats and I just wanted to get you riled up. Riley. Perfect name don't you think?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

wishful thinking

This is Riley. He is in a rescue. due to a divorce. This dog just kills me. Can you fall in love with a photograph? It would take me 7 hours to drive to where he is. Then you know they have to approve you. I'm crazy about him. I think he's the cutest thing I ever laid eyes on. I'd let him sleep on the bed. He looks like a leaner and a grinner and just the right kind of a guy. How am I going to ask my husband if I can go on a 7 hour trip and look at a dog and hope that we fall madly in love at first sight? But you know it's only with dogs that it happens that way. I sure wish there was a real Santa Claus or a good fairy or some magical genie in a bottle. I just can't quit looking at him. Riley.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

It Feels Like Forever

Some things are getting more disorganized.

While other things are getting ready to be put away. Look at all that canning! How do you like the floor?

These are the shelves going into the pantry. I'm not sure if it's fortunate or not to have 12 barrels taking up most of the space. We have done some thinking though how to maximize the use of this area. I'm just going to leave the wood unfinished. I like it and if it's painted it will get scuffed. If it gets scuffed I'll feel compelled to scrub it clean. My husband is surprised at me not to want it all matching, but I don't. Something in this place can be a bit rustic, or hillbilly.

Check this out. Pretty nice huh?

The little utility sink and for now the ironing board can hang on the door. It was hanging upstairs in the hallway before.

In the middle of all the construction we had a guest. This is Chai Tea. We have known her since she was a young girl, she is so pretty. Kayla had just come home from camp she had a great time.

They are looking at stuff on the internet. What else is there to do? Actually we looked at dogs. I saw 2 I would love to have but they were both in Georgia. If I tried to get a dog in Georgia right now my husband might kill me. Or he might just walk down the road into the sunset never to be seen again. He has his limits. He is really really really tired right now.

He spent days on his knees on the concrete. He had to take up the old stuff, clean it, prep it and then figure out this fancy directional linoleum tile I bought. I thought I was making it easier to pick a bigger size square. Nope, it wasn't. The floor is done in here now. This picture was taken before the ones on the top.

It is really pretty though. It looks like slate.

He's still working as I write this. From the time he gets up until he gets ready to quit at night he is working. My ideas are really great but they sure take a lot of work to make come true. A LOT of work.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Verdict

I have been praying. I asked God to show me clearly today what to do. I asked him to have my doctor have the time to really think about my situation, my job, the work I do, or did. I asked for a clear path.

Have you ever had a doc make you feel special? I'm being serious here. You know in this busy day when so much poop is hitting the fan on a daily basis not many people even remember how to be real anymore. I knew I liked him, I always liked him. I still clean surgical incisions with alcohol because I learned it from him, give em a bath in it, to keep them from infections. It works.

Our conversation went something like this.

Doc, "So how you doin honey those sandals working OK for ya?" ( I had ditched the crutches and the braces already. I was going back to work.)

Me, "Yeah, I'm alright." (thinking good maybe this means I can work)

Doc, "So you going to get your hip fixed?" (humm, could be a snag)

Me, "Well, actually I was thinkin about just forgetting about it and going back to work." (there it is just threw that bone out there)

Doc, "The core procedure?" (actually no, thinking about a job here)

Me, "No, nothing, just forget about it."

Doc, "Well, you could try that for awhile but it's hurtin you isn't it? ( did he really have to mention that?)

Me, "Yeah, it does." (it doesn't move very well either but I am not going to admit that out loud)

Doc, "This isn't play, this is the real deal. Your hip will get worse and hurt more and maybe break. You'll get really cranky, your a happy person. You need to fix it."

Me, "I feel bad about my job, they've been really good to me."

Doc, "You've been good too. Most nurses are grumpy. There should be premium pay for you."
He gives me a real thumbs up.

Doc, "This guy I want to fix your hip, he's going to be the guy to fix my mom's knee."

Me, "OK." (your killin me here with being so nice, just quit it.)

The nurse, "He's on a mission trip right now that's why you can't get in sooner."

Me, "OK." ( that's cool!)

Doc, "You fix your hip and you'll be up in 6 weeks fluffin and puffin, making your patients feel better."

So that's it. I went to talk to my manager and he was really cool about it. He's going to ask HR what the next step is. He's even going to ask if they can find me a desk job. Imagine that, a desk job, feels like being put out to pasture but I would be grateful for any job that I could do. It's so amazing to reap so much kindness from people. I know that it is true that we reap what we sow. We never reap at the same time as when we sow, but still it is a gift.

To have people go out of their way to be affirming and to help. It makes me so glad that I have been the kind of nurse I am for all these years. In my mind I know it makes a difference. From being sick a long time ago I knew it made a difference. This time after years of working hard, of seeing hundreds of faces of families pass before the eyes of my memory, this time I know down to my tippy toes; being kind makes a powerful difference. And something else, I have never been in control. I have always liked to pretend. It seems like we make plans and set goals to achieve this and that, but it's only by the grace of God that anything happens at all.

While we are in this get real mode. We have had two guests with the house a total mess, sheet rock dust on everything, stuff everywhere, the table isn't even cleared off. Guess what? I made a batch of biscuits and a pot of spaghetti and everyone had a good time in spite of it all. That's a first, I always like everything to be just right for guests. They enjoyed us anyway, they really did. Sometimes life can be so amazing that all you can do is just take a deep breath and go for the ride. Do you know?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Favor of the Lord.

I'm awake really early like 5:30am. We have a guest in the middle of construction who doesn't like cat bed mates so it fell to me. I had to get up and let them out. I don't know about you but usually once I'm up that is it. I woke up with a song,

Jesus in your name we pray come and fill our hearts today, and glorify your name.
Your name is a strong and mighty tower,
Your name let the angels sing it louder,
for nothing has the power to save, but you Jesus.

Reflection is good for the soul. I had a life changing experience when I was 30 years old. My life was in shambles and I had a reckoning with God. It is so amazing that when you just acknowledge that Jesus is there and alive, that what He did for us is enough, and say yes; that in that instant you truly are reborn. It is amazing, awesome.

Over 23 years I have heard a lot of stories about the favor of God. I have heard about miraculous provisions and seen healing. I know that God is real because I talk to Him every day. I'm actually not crazy enough to be talking to myself yet.

Over the past 6 weeks of being home we have seen the favor of the Lord rest upon us. We have experienced miraculous provisions. God has indeed brought money out of thin air for us. We have had checks come in from unexpected sources and we are not behind at all. All my fears and worries were for nothing. My confidence has grown. The future is not so scary now, it is still unknown but it will be alright. My God is an awesome God.

The next step. This morning I go see the doctor about my feet. I have been walking for 3 days without any supports, no braces or crutches. Crutches drive this person crazy fast. I hope my doc is in the mood to talk because I need to make some decisions about work. My manager has been so good to me. I want to try and go back, but can I? It doesn't seem possible.

My God is a way maker. He has a plan. This morning with a song in my heart I am willing to lean on Him and trust that He will show me which way to go and what to do. It is a good thing to have your heart in the right place.

Which reminds me of a book I just finished, recommended by Debbie at Wisteria & Roses who always picks a good read, "Heart in the Right Place," by Carolyn Jourdan. A wonderful true tale of a woman who finds her place through adverse circumstances, and she finds joy. It's funny and inspirational and you all need to read it. You will laugh and cry and those are the best kind of books. No dark and depressing books on my list.

Currently I am reading "Wesley the Owl," by Stacy O'Brien. Amazing tale of a woman biologist who keeps a baby barn owl and all of his antics. I can see my granddaughters doing jobs like hers. If they could stick it out and get biology degrees they both would have a blast studying animal behaviors. One of her points is how long it takes science to catch up with what we know; that animals are individuals and they have feelings. Although she approaches her study from evolution which is different from me. I think the more people study the closer they have to move to intelligent design. It takes a lot of faith to think that order comes from chaos.

We know that because God created everything and it was good. Our job is to care for animals and the Earth as good stewards, not exploiting them for profits or abusing them. We are to care for all the creatures with a kind hand and a clean heart. They are part of the joy, they are our responsibility.

If you are still reading then my hat is tipped to you because this is an early morning ramble if ever I saw one! I haven't even finished my cup of coffee. We have been hard at work tearing up the house. It's coming back together but is still a GIGANTIC mess. The garden is producing also at gigantic rates now. I am busy and not posting as often because there is so much to do. It's funny how during the day as I am fluttering around trying to accomplish something on these tasks, I think about ya'll, wonder how your day is, and say a prayer.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Time Flies.

This little guy is about the same age as our new grandson. We haven't been able to see him and hold him yet. We can kind of imagine how it might be if we were there.

It would be so fun to watch the little guy hold his head up. This little boy likes to know what is going on. His personality is already showing up. He is seriously checking out this old guy holding him, "Who are you?"

He prefers to be upright and not on his back. Pa can't help but cradle his little head because he is just a little infant. This boy will show you what he's made of if you let him. He wants up. His dad has got it figured out.

We were there to celebrate a birthday, his daddy's. This is the present I gave him. All from our garden.

It made a lovely centerpiece, if I don't say so myself.

Of course a fresh loaf of bread. The birthday man thought it was a good present.

You can't say "Birthday boy" with a forest fire on your cake. Only a mom would put that many candles on a cake and say BLOW!

Seriously he could have an attack. Or catch the table on fire. Where is their fire extinguisher? It made me nervous. I am getting old now, I saw danger. She had some of those candles that don't blow out, they spark. We had to take them out and put them in the sink and put water on them. I was very relieved when we didn't catch the house on fire and all the candles were out,

so was the birthday boy, he went to bed. Putting that fire out would exhaust anyone of that age. I hope that everyone forgets my birthday this year, I have 10 more candles than he does. My house would surely burn to the ground.

Happy Birthday buddy.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Broken Feet Forever, I am Insane

I cut up 21 cups of the most delicious tomatoes you ever tasted to make home made salsa. I used a recipe from my ex sister in law. The recipe called for a lot of salt. ME the queen of changing recipes FOLLOWED the recipe and it is tooooooo salty. Sting your tongue, get a drink, too salty! I boiled raw potatoes in it to try and soak some of the salt out. I added some tomato paste and worked on it all day to make something salvageable of this, 16 pints of salty salsa. We will be eating a lot of beans and soups. I figured I could use it to make beans for the rest of my life. I threw the recipe in the garbage. Anyone have a good recipe for cooked salsa? I love salsa fresca but I want to can it. Or how about cooked tomatoes?

That was a bummer but I think it's sort of rescued. Ask me when we all swell up from too much salt.

The daily bread. The folks here are living off of bread so I made 2 loaves to give me a couple of days without turning the oven on. I am experimenting some with the baking process. This dough is so wet that it doesn't seem finished when you take it out. So this time I baked it on my dark thin pizza pans instead of the stone. After 40 minutes I turned the oven down from 450 degrees to 350 degrees and baked it an additional 20 minutes. These were perfect. The crust was actually crunchy and chewy not burned and the bread on the inside was moist but thoroughly baked.

Did I mention that we are also doing a small construction job? Oh yeah I did, you know all about that. It's coming along nicely but in the mean time the living room looks like this. I also dusted and then my husband sanded. Nothing looks dusted. You can now write your name on any surface of anything in this room. This room is down the hall from the construction. Sheet rock dust flies on a breeze.

I did a bit of rearranging because when you do construction you reorganize things right?

I had been thinking of selling this little chest and then decided to put it here. It has table cloths and lace in it. One less thing for the over crowded closet in Kayla's room.

This piece that was on the dining room wall is perfect in my room. I always wanted this up here. I needed it downstairs for all the contianers of grain. When you don't have many cupboards, no closets, or a pantry you improvise.

The hunny moved all the furniture even I have limits to my stupidity. I put all my favorite books up here. I have been reading another book that Brin recommended it is also a somewhat morbid dark tale. What do you do when your reading a book and you like the characters and then something happens that turns your stomach. Do you keep reading to see if good prevails over all? Do you throw it in the trash so no one else's stomach gets turned? One time I inked out all the swear words in a book. It was a great story and not a single one of those cuss words added anything to the tale. That's about it for me with Brin's taste in stories, however I do love the way she writes about her own life!

My idea of a good book is 50 Acres and a Poodle. Actually I found an awesome deal on Amazon for one of my favorite stories and I am going to give it away when it gets here. That is after I recover from shipping a prize to New Zealand. I did not send it global that would have been $68. Yes that is right $68, to ship scarves in a big hurry. BUT we are not in a big hurry and I inquired regarding a slow boat via China. Chris will get her scarves in about 6 months. They are travelling by beasts of burden.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Winner Is--who would've thought it?

This is the biggest turn out I've ever had for a give away. 6 first timers! While some people may be thinking oh whoop de doo 6 new people, that is a lot for my blog. I am not the Pioneer Woman. I am not MckMama. I am Karen Deborah from Fresh Fixins known to an intimate group of a few luvin bloggers. Welcome to Fresh Fixins but be warned you never do know what your going to get here. That is the only disclaimer you will get.

This reminds me of the surprise popular item at a garage sale. Who would think so many people would like some silk scarves?

I even entered Debbie and each one of her daughters, is that stacking the odds? I thought it was fair, they each got one chance. Stacking the odds would be giving them 10 chances each. Of course that would be CHEATING! If I would have known that her girls would like them, there would have been no give away at all, they would have just gone there. But it doesn't always turn out like you think.

The hunny is looking so enthused. He is used to this by now. Actually he said, "Your just supposed to take a picture of my hands!" Well I didn't. Aren't guys great?

You know there was a certain someone that I had in mind for these from the very beginning. Someone who LOVES to sew and loves the color blue. She was my inspiration for the idea of this give away in the first place.

And she is the winner picked by the man! I wonder how much this is going to cost me in postage? It's a good thing I wasn't giving away bricks! CHRIS from DIET COKE ROCKS in Auckland, you are the WINNER! Considering all the things that have happened to you lately I am glad! You could use a wee bright spot. I wonder what you will make with them.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More Tasty Bread

There is big progress in the laundry room! The carpet is out the sheet rock up and one layer of mud on it today. YEAH that's what I'm talkin about!
Kayla and I went and picked out paint and flooring today. I am not saying one word, you get to be surprised. I think it is going to be really interesting!

The bread I baked today. It is delicious.

These guys need to give me a cut on the profits the way that I am promoting this book. But people let me tell you it WORKS!!! It is so easy!

For the bread that I made. I used their method of 6,3,3,12.
6 cups of water, 3 Tbs yeast, 3 tbs salt and 12 of flour. The dough will always be wet.

BUT here is the Karen Deborah tweaking part.

The first thing I did was make a sourdough starter with rye flour. It called for 1 c rye flour, 2 c water and 1/2 c any kind of raw bread dough. I kept this going for one week. Since I did not want a huge amount of starter I used a quart jar and added 1/4 c of water and rye flour each day for one week. The starter did fine. I stirred it every day and after 5 days put it in the refrigerator.

For this bread pictured above I used 2 cups of starter and replenished my starter with 1 c water and 1 c. rye. Starter is NOT required for the bread in this book but I am looking for a richer taste.
I added 4 cps water to the Bosch. Just tepid. With this technique they do not worry about water temperature or proofing yeast. There is also no sugar/honey and no oil in this dough.
For flours, I divided into equal parts, 4 c Prairie Gold whole wheat 4 c high protein unbleached soft white wheat, and 4 c. King Arthur rye flour. I don't have any rye to grind.

I added the salt along with the flours.

This dough is just run until mixed and sticky it isn't kneaded. That is the HARDEST part of making this bread. I almost can't turn the dial off because everything in me wants to run the dough in the mixer for awhile, at least 5 minutes. But the authors of the book say not to do it.
This bread never does get kneaded! It never gets socked down or any other way requires, "work." It's a very gentle process which the more I read gives a better dough anyway.

I did oil my sterilite bin with olive oil and pat some oil on the top of the dough to keep it from getting a "crust." The dough is then left in the bin in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, it gets more sour each day. Today was the 3rd day and the first batch I baked. To bake it you preheat the oven to 450 and put your pizza stone in the oven to get hot. Also put a broiler pan underneath it. Sprinkle some cornmeal on the stone.

To shape a loaf you pinch off a chunk about the size of a grapefruit, from the tub of dough and cloak it in flour, shaping it into whatever shape you desire. It is sticky. It is then supposed to sit and rest for 40 minutes before you bake it. I think when the preheat light went off I went ahead and put it in. It would be very helpful to have a pizza paddle to shake it into the oven. I just pick my loaf up and set it on the stone very gently. You also need to make some slits on the top in some artsy design for steam to escape. Immediately add some water to the broiler pan for steam and close the oven door.
bake 40 mins.

The book has a lot of different ideas and recipes all which make it worth every penny! A nice Bosch mixer is great but a big Kitchenaid would also work, even a big bowl and a wooden spoon done by hand! Seriously!

They say the proof is in the pudding. I would not win any baking prizes or compete with real sourdough from San Franciso but the bread is very good. The dough seems a bit wet to me even when finished but it has good texture and it slices well. The crust is excellent. The crust really is that chewy artisan country style bread, it's wonderful. My family likes it and it is NOT labor intensive. Just bake it as you need it.

The only problem I have is that I could use another refrigerator for different kinds of dough.
I can only house one bin at a time and I would like to have several varities of dough at the same time. There are some amazing recipes that I can't wait to try.