Thursday, September 30, 2010

Do you LOVE popcorn?

I do.
Are you willing to try a new popcorn recipe?
I read this new one today on a website I glance at: Macheesmo. He posted a new popcorn recipe today.

And I'm posting it here because Adam says, "That's good!" And he doesn't usually participate in much popcorn consumption.

I changed it just a bit:

In a large kettle, put 1/2 cup coconut oil (He says to use Canola Oil, which is, of course, just rape seed oil, which is toxic to humans until it's chemically altered, but I won't go there right now....),
and a few kernels of popcorn. (He says to take these out after they pop. WHAT???!!! Does he expect me to dig around in that hot oil with a spoon or something? He's clearly insane.)
Apply high heat until kernels pop. (I didn't hear my mine pop, so by the time I did check on them, they were black and the oil was smoking.)
Then add: 1/2 cup popcorn kernels & a mixture of 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp. paprika. (I used scant portions of both of these.)
Shake pot regularly so popcorn doesn't burn. (Mine burned anyway.)
Pour popcorn into bowl(s), salt, and enjoy.

And we did enjoy. In spite of all my mistakes. Now I just have to go clean the pot.

First Fire

This morning we planned for Adam to build the first fire in the living room fireplace. Cool temperatures reigned yesterday and the world is moist and fallish. We women-folk of the family are enjoying our morning on the couch. I'm contemplating making tapioca pudding today. And I'm writing another book.

Last night, a friend shared her impressions upon visiting the home of a woman who had just died. Her descriptions were lovely, warm, insightful. From them, I wrote this poem:


When we came, her soul had flown to Jesus.
The house was still, the mourning had begun.
And she whose pain had been a daily anguish,
Was deep in the embrace of the Healing One.

The body that was twisted in its illness,
The voice that had been silenced for so long,
Was even then arisen in the heavens,
A mouth and voice exulting in new song.

For she is singing as she never did before,
And all her agonies are now undone.
For now she lives; her soul has flown to Jesus,
Deep in the embrace of the Eternal One.

September 29, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Visiting Latta Plantation

Today I took the 2 girls on a field trip to a small plantation nearby. Latta Plantation is a circa 1800 Southern cotton plantation. The Mr. Latta who built the main house in 1800 was initially a merchant, but he switched to cotton production when the cotton boom came along. The home is beautiful, and has been restored with paint and furnishings inside that are true to the time period.
The kitchen is detached, as was normal in that time.
Beautiful old barn:

This is the pianoforte in the front parlor. I wonder why they don't make them in this shape anymore?
In the dining room hearth, there was a plate warmer (left), along with various items for serving a good tea.
This clock is one of two items original to the house.
In the upstairs front bedroom was this nifty corner shelf, complete with washing bowl and pitcher, and the chamber pot on the floor.
Downstairs, a young man taught us about the life of the Revolutionary War soldier in this area, just before the plantation would have existed. He let the kids dress up in their regimentals, complete with water canteen, haversack, cartridge case, and musket. Don't shoot, Anna!

My little soldier!
The "rug" you see on the floor below is actually made of sail cloth -- like for sails on boats. Very sturdy, as you can imagine. They painted it, it was much easier to clean than wood floors, and when it was too damaged, you could throw it out and get a new one.
Upstairs, this man was working a loom. He was most interesting and informative, and spent lots of time with Anna showing her how the loom works and how he uses the patterns he has for this piece of fabric.
We spent LOTS of time in the kitchen. This lady was truly amazing. She made a gorgeous "brown bread," which looked like a dark, molasses quick bread with raisins on top. She also cooked red cabbage, a pumpkin soup, and finished with an apple pie. We didn't get to taste, of course, but her 3 children who were there seemed to enjoy it very well. She also sent portions to the other demonstrators on the property. Here, she is steaming her pumpkin for the soup.

She cooked over an open hearth, with many pieces of cast iron. I loved to see all her sizes of Dutch ovens. Here she's frying bacon, to go in her cabbage dish.
Julia is beginning to feel hungry, I think. You can see the brown bread right under the lady's hand.
Some of the firewood to be cut:
The biggest cast iron pot I've EVER seen:
Lastly, we visited the hogs. They looked very muddy and very comfortable.
I'd highly recommend Latta Plantation if you're in the Charlotte area. Today was their Homechool Day, and it only cost $5 for each of us. The demonstrators are talkative and helpful, and it's a self-guided tour, so you can roam at will and go back to revisit any spots you particularly liked.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Adam and I had the opportunity to travel to Iowa for the weekend. I hadn't seen the state since 2001. And the temps there were at least 15 degrees cooler then here in NC when we left. How lovely! And the breeze was blowing! And the air was moist with rain! What a relief!
Iowa is a state of large lands and larger skies. I snapped some shots as we drove along.
This photo shows why I love the skies of Iowa. From horizon to horizon -- 180 degrees of glory. Blue blue, with puffy white clouds.
Adam preached at a church there. They had a case of historical material on the church, and there I found this fascinating text -- a split psalter. Isn't that interesting? This format allows the singer to combine any number of musical lines with a psalm text, as long as the meters are compatible. What an ingenious idea! I knew my blog friends would want to see this.
The church, which dates from the 1800s, also has a large cemetery, very beautiful and peaceful.
Our friends took us to see the Mississippi River at Burlington. We were standing on a bluff, at a park -- so Iowa, which many think of as flat, actually has some rather significant hills, near the river.

Our friends also had a most interesting item adorning their living room. Look:
This ominous beast is mounted, and he stands in front of a natural mural which serves as the perfect backdrop. Isn't he handsome?

They also had a magnificent tree in the yard, and you know me when it comes to trees! I had to get a picture.
I have saved the least elegant, least honorable pictures for last. We did fly to Iowa, and I had to take a picture of the terminal at O'Hare Airport in Chicago. The natural lighting was really pleasant. Not all of their terminals are this beautiful.
We had to eat twice in O'Hare, since they did not serve any food on our flights. Here was lunch. The orange chicken was fine, but my rice - bleck! We had a miniature pizza on the return trip, and it was "nothing to write home about," but we were hungry, so it sufficed.
And this -- well, I just had to get documentation of this. This is the type of toilet in O'Hare Airport. No one wants to sit on a toilet seat that has lately been occupied by a stranger. We are all very germ conscious. These toilets will give you a brand new cover on your seat, before you sit down. Just pass your hand over the blue-lit scanner, and the plastic cover slips around on the seat -- the old is removed, and the new is there to welcome you :)
Thanks for your many prayers. We had a safe and very enjoyable trip, met many new friends, embraced many old ones, ministered in the Lord's name and heard His word preached.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Adam is candidating at yet another church this weekend. If you pray, pray for God's blessing and his will, as always. I'll check back in early next week to let you know how it went. Meanwhile, apparently Little Miss Autumn is supposed to be visiting FINALLY and gracing us with her cooler presence on Sunday. Yay! Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


These are the mountains from my parents' window. I miss them. I haven't been there for a quiet, restful stay in ever so long.

There are times for all of us when we have griefs we cannot share, hurts we cannot communicate. Some people live with this for a lifetime -- how damaging it is. I've always found solace in the beauty of the mountains.

"I lift up mine eyes to the hills. From whence cometh my help? My help cometh from the Lord, who made heaven and earth."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

(Blogging Vanity)

Well, I finally, finally found out how to tell how many of you are out there. You know. YOU. You readers. You stalkers and lurkers. I know you're there. I just didn't know how MANY of you there were.

And finally a friend told me where to find my "stats." So I looked. Did you know that my blog was looked at 36 times yesterday!!! My word! I don't know who all of you are out there -- except Gretchen Joanna, who is kind enough to comment often, or other friends like Carolyn who tell me they check my blog often -- but whoever you are, thanks!! I know you're there. You don't have to say anything.

And my hubster Adam, he checks up on my blog on his little Ipod Touch. And he told me that the background color (which was a deep green, but was thoroughly covered by the rest of the layout) made it nearly impossible for him to read my writing. I told him to let the page load all the way. He said, "nay, nay" and that the green never went away on his device. So -- I've changed my background color, for all of you who were squinting at the screen, if you were. Hope that helps.

My stats also tell me where my readers live around the world. And I just have to say -- all you folks from Latvia who are reading here: Welcome! My husband and I thought of moving to Latvia once, and we became interested in the country. And then I started checking the Riga Daily Photo blog, just to see what Riga looks like. It's interesting to think of having silent friends so far away.

That's all for now :)


Here are some photos I took last week on our walk in the neighborhood. One house has two majestic hemlock trees. I stare at them each time we stroll by, like a teenager gawking at a movie star. It has the most interesting cones. They don't look like regular pine cones. They're gray and tight, and very large.
I couldn't get the whole tree in the frame, without crossing the street.

These trees seem to have more cones this year than usual.
I would love to perch in this tree and take a nap.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Thief

I heard his whispered prayers
That no one else could hear.
He turned to look at me –
His eyes were bright and clear.
We felt our painful breathing
Together as we hung,
And knowing guilt, I knew he died
For things he had not done.
When he had disappointed them,
Refused to be their King,
They thought his death would wipe away
Their foolish reckoning.
Somehow as we hung there,
His crown shone bright to me,
And I was glad I had been brought
To hang upon that tree.
To share his death, to know a little
Of his kingly pain,
To understand, as no one did,
The land where he would reign.
Our words were brief, our breath was short,
But I, his honored guest,
Would be the first to follow him
Into our heavenly rest.
I was called to be there,
In shame and agony,
But glad I am, and safe I rest,
Since Jesus died with me.

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
“I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Sept. 20, 2010

For Cheryl, whose conversation prompted this poem.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Thought I'd better just check in and say hi. Life's been busy -- today we did school, I went to Christian Women's Club for a few hours over lunch, came home and cleaned the house, and then we had Bible study here tonight. We took a break from the weekly Bible studies for a month or so, and I've missed them quite a bit. I love fellowshiping with my spiritual siblings from church. I know that may sound really weird to anybody reading who isn't a Christian, but it's just the truth. Being with these friends warms my soul, and there's nothing we love talking about more than God's Word, His love for us, and our hope for heaven.

One day recently my computer told me that its brain was completely full. Not another inch left for thinkin'!! So, I deleted lots and lots of photos from my Iphoto. But before I did, I went through and picked out a bunch that I considered particularly beautiful, so that, when I needed a pretty photo for a blog post, I'd have some to choose from.
So, there's a nice picture to get you ready for cooler weather :) Tomorrow, we officially welcome autumn. Today, I looked at our outdoor thermometer (which was in the sun, I will admit), and it read 100.4. Sure doesn't feel like fall to me, but I'm still hoping. Lately it seems that one extreme season will be followed by another, so perhaps this will be a cold winter. Bring on the fires in the fireplace!! Bring on the fleece pj's and fluffy socks! I'm ready!

This weekend Adam will be candidating at another church, and we're very excited -- these are dear folks we've known for years and love dearly, so I hope it will go well, and God will bless his Word as it is taught.

More busyness this week: Community Chorus rehearsal, church & choir practice, Fall Fling at our church, another Bible study, then getting ready for Adam's trip this weekend. So much to do!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Great Pumpkin Hunt

I heard there was a pumpkin shortage last year. Do any of you recall this from last autumn? Was it only in NC? The Southeast? Well, anyway, I wanted to bake pumpkin this and pumpkin that, and had to wait until nearer Thanksgiving. It wasn't in the stores! That seemed strange to me, but I just shrugged my shoulders and waited for the pumpkin to appear.

Come to find out, there really was a pumpkin shortage! The Washington Post even had an article about it! So, it WASN'T my imagination!

Anyway, after all the pumpkin bread flying around here last week, I decided it was officially time to get baking, and I looked for pumpkin at WalMart. I, and a couple of other ladies, staring at the shelf where it should be. Hmmm. One of them told me that there was flooding in the pumpkin canning facility, and they lost lots of their inventory. I felt the panic rise in my pumpkin-loving heart.

We saw the pie pumpkins in the veggie section, but I just wasn't quite up for that yet. I also looked at another store in town. Nuthin'!! And by that time, I was ready to cry "Uncle!" and go for pie pumpkins. Adam even offered to prepare them.

So, I dropped in at Food Lion today. No pie pumpkins there either! Eeeek! But I'm a dogged soul. Ask my husband if I'm a wee bit dogged, and he'll roll his eyes and shake his head.

I decided to stroll down the aisles, on the off-chance that they had some lonely, misplaced can of pumpkin sitting around.

And guess what?
I bought EIGHT CANS. I felt selfish, and said to that selfish self, "Self, that's JUST FINE. When it comes to pumpkin, I will get what I can!" That should last us for a while!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thank you, Sears!

My garden-clipping adventures of late have been rather tragic. About half the time, the clippers are misplaced and I have to find them. A few weeks ago, however, I realized I'd lost my "best" pair, for good. Probably out in the overgrown shrubbery that they were intended to subdue.

They were an old pair of Fiskars. I'd had them for, oh, about 4-5 years, I guess. They were good clippers, except that for the past year or two, almost every time I gripped down on them to sever a twig, they would do their job, and then stay closed, and I'd have to gently, manually, open them. This gets old when trimming, slowly, the 20 or so azaleas I have on my front walk.

So, good-bye Fiskars, but they were an aggravation anyway. This left me with my 2nd string quarterback:
These are even older -- maybe 8 years? Every time I cut with these, they actually locked closed, and I had to flip the little locking mechanism open again. Sigh. You can see where Adam removed the lock, but that makes them remain open ALL the time.

Clearly, I needed new clippers. So we checked at WalMart. Yeah, I know. End of season. Sale. Their best deal? A pair of Fiskars much like the ones I lost, for $17.00. The others were all $20.

Now, I appreciate a good pair of clippers, but that's a bit pricey for this tight-wad. Especially when I'm a little hard on my yard tools. $17 for something that, in a few year, will seize up on my again?

Then Adam reminded me: What about Sears? Craftsman Lifetime Warranty?
But I asked him: Isn't WalMart the cheapest though?
In the end, the husband and the appealing vision of having ONE PAIR OF CLIPPERS FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, won me over. I went to Sears.

And, Oh My Word.
Aren't they lovely? Can you say $12.99? But, y'know, the $4 difference isn't the thing. The fact that I can return these clippers to ANY store that sells Craftsman, for the rest of my life, if they malfunction, and get a new pair. I can't tell you how happy that makes me.
(Not to mention that the sales lady was wonderful. Just wonderful. Helpful but not pushy.)

I was turning to go when I saw these:
Now, I must admit that clippers are always needed, but those shears -- those are EXACTLY what I've been needing -- something that will take care of unruly shrubbery in a hurry. And how much were these giants? $12.00 also. I would have hesitated, except -- that lifetime warranty. How can you beat that? I mean, I'll probably be clipping hedged and cutting branches for 30 more years.

All I need now is for the weather to cool down again. (It's about 91 today, ugh and double ugh.) Then I will attack these:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Peach Pandowdy?

I've done Apple Pandowdy. But how 'bout peaches?
I had lovely peaches from the local farmers' market. I blanched them to remove the skins, chopped them and mixed them with a cup of sugar, about 1/3 cup of tapioca, and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
As you see, I poured the peach mixture into a large cast iron pan, which had been heated with about 3 tablespoons of sizzling butter. I let it cook for about 15 minutes, so the peaches would be soft, and the tapioca would begin to work its thickening magic.
Then into a hot oven it went -- 425 degrees -- for 25 minutes.
Just as good as apples -- and besides, I love peaches WAY more than I do apples! I think I'm now of the opinion that a pandowdy beats a regular pie, any day.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Early Evening Walk

A perfect evening for a walk with my hubby. I wanted to catch some pictures of the last light of day.
We took Sandy along. These two dogs always bark (and the one also growls) when we go by. This photo shows something I'd never seen them do before! The nicer, larger dog, is trying to pull the smaller, meaner dog backward, by its tail! Whether he's trying to prevent the mean dog from being aggressive, or just wants to keep him from running into their electrical fence, I don't know. They never come out of their yard.
A line of crepe myrtles. The crepe myrtles have been especially lovely and long-blooming this year.
A pretty garden bed:

Now we're back home, and I think we'll watch a movie this evening. Adam has picked out a Russian movie called "The Island" -- one of those dark movies with little talking.