Here’s Johnny….

We made the decision to unplug from the $220 plus a month cable television service because we were feeling as if cable television was a depressing reflection of what seems so wrong with society today. We were also delighted to discover that we do not miss handing over hundreds of dollars each month for viewing what we felt was unworthy of our time spent. Lo and behold, we also made the discovery that there are 40 plus HD FREE broadcast channels available, and all that is required is an inexpensive HD antenna added to our HD televisions. Now here comes the best part……….

Heeeeeeeeeere’s Johnny!

We are relics, as we are GIDDY to welcome back Johnny Carson into our bedtime television watching routine. We both grew up with Johnny Carson on the TV and watching the reruns of his late night talk show reminds us of polite decency, clean humor and no mean political partisanship injected into every topic or joke. What a breath of fresh air! We were sick of the late night shows reflecting and promoting the division and hate that seems to be thick in almost all television media today. We felt even stupid paying hundreds each month just to be disgusted by media. Now we get these FREE channels, like MeTV and Decades that play all of our favorite tv shows from our youth. These shows that have clean humor, themes about neighbors being friends, helping one another, enjoying life and being part of a community, people solving problems and just being a part of each other’s daily lives.

Wheezy and George….what a pair! Makes us laugh just because George is always frustrating Wheezy, and we can all relate! Their goofy neighbors always play a role, mixing up the plot.

Redd Foxx’s character was always expecting “the big one”, annoying his son, but muddling through life together.

Mama is everyone’s sassy crazy mama or zany auntie, navigating a multi-generational family life.

Oh, and Carol Burnett and her cast is the definition of slapstick and clean comedy.

Then there are these oldies but goodies, like Petticoat Junction, where the plot is simple, wholesome and silly, but still entertaining.

Then there is everyone’s favorite teacher and his sweat hogs, which was a comedic and often poignant look at how a group of kids from different backgrounds and cultures come together to face the challenges of teens growing into adults with such a great teacher and mentor, Mr. Kotter.

So we chose to unplug the media that was bringing into our home messages of hate, contention, division, partisanship, and violence. The result for us is peace and money saved. What a win-win in the world we see unfolding today. We choose love, lightness, and peace. Even the smallest of choices, in our case television viewing, can have the largest of impact.

Television viewing has a larger impact on your mind than what most people assume.

The world can be a better place, one household at a time, one choice at a time.

❤️be blessed.

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More than I deserve…

Lately I have been on a roll. Everything that could go wrong has and everything has either broken or is in need of repair and well, as my long time friend and farrier Justin says, “I’ve got the Tidy Bowl touch! Everything I touch goes right down the toilet!” So I’ve been scoring in the mishaps category. If I knew anything about baseball, which I don’t, I could say I’m batting 1,000. Those mishaps seem to cost about double what was “estimated”.  So I feel I have had more mishaps than I deserve. The following list is a little sample.


1. The neighbor hit my car with his lawn mower and caused body damage and nearly the next day a rock flew into my windshield and broke it badly. The body cost was twice the estimate.

2. The truck needed new front brakes we managed to ruin the rotors by not getting the brakes fixed soon enough- double cost!

3. Fireplace sweeping has turned into a fireplace flue restoration project with three visits instead of one- triple that expense!

4. While chimney guy was here, an important peg to the fireplace screen somehow magically disappeared and now the rigid screen is now broken! Of course they don’t sell that tiny part, but will sell an entire new enclosure! 

5. We have newly figured out that our cat Mayflower has a hyper thyroid and needs either twice daily medicine for life or a one time radiation treatment, both cost a fortune.

I won’t continue, but you get the general idea! Life seems to happen all at once. 


As my week progressed and I began to feel really stuck in the miry clay of life and I began to sink, reduced to sending a teary text message from the parking lot of Fred Meyer to Bill, just to let a little of my frustrations go and wallow in my misfortune. Before I sent the text, he called me and listened, simply saying, “It will be okay. Things will get better.” Maybe that’s all we need to hear, some small but possibly unbelievable reassurance that life will improve and it can’t go on like this forever. The rain never lasts forever and there will be sun again. For a moment I was reminded of this…


…and not everything could possibly keep going down the toilet and I would not sink forever deeper and deeper if I just trusted. 

That was yesterday and today I found myself standing again on more solid ground. For no reason at all, the auto shop called to apologize for their mistake. They had overcharged me and it was a “learning lessson” for a new employee who billed me incorrectly and they were making good on the estimate. I sure didn’t expect that. My windshield and body damage are all repaired. I have my car back! 

My friend Pam, where I keep my mini horse Romeo came by out of the blue with a gift she bought me. She wanted to gift me some new wool boots, just because I took care of her horses during her two fall trips and she is just an all around thoughtful person. How kind and thoughtful. 💕

My mom brought me this cute Halloween planter for my front porch, quite out of the blue. This made me smile! 


My roses and Hollyhocks are putting on somewhat of a rare late summer blooming.  What a delicious and unexpected treat for September. 

Local honey crisp apples are in season! 

My friend Pam made it through a difficult surgery and is on the mend at home. She has had a rough year this year and I would do anything I could to help things be better.


 Mayflower has agreed to eat the liquid medicine that I put on her food morning and night and she seems like she is already feeling better. What seemed like a burden now feels like a blessing because what is most important is that our kitty feels well.

The chimney sweeper will be back next week so we can proceed with making our chimney safe again for warm fires this winter. I have a lots of firewood all ready for chilly days when a warm fire will be enjoyed soon.


We are a month into our final year of homeschooling and it could not be better because this year, Brady has truly enjoyed sharing his 8th grade experience with his best friend Paul. The two are so much alike and they are so blessed with friendship. Both boys are growing and learning so much on this path that is quickly leading to high school. Brady is really LOVING his US History class this year as well as all of his hard working teachers at ORCA. 


And for no reason at all, out of the clear blue, I am blessed more than I deserve and I’m feeling like the ground under me is firm again. If only I would trust more and worry less. 

Be blessed. 💕

Chimneys, gunk and glaze and old homes….

I learned something new yesterday, some new vocabulary, some new knowledge about my century home. I learned about this new term as a young chimney sweep ushered me into my living room with a flashlight in hand. He gestured with his sooty hand up into the darkness of the chimney flue and said, “Look up there! See that black crusty stuff that looks like burnt pizza crust? That’s Stage 3 Glaze creosote.”

Anything that uses the terms “stage 3” cannot be a good thing in my way of thinking. Of course, the cure for this will take more visits, a chemical treatment, 10 hot fires and an additional sweeping. Essentially, I need to throw some more money up the flue and I’ll probably be getting to know my chimney sweeper by first name.

I would like to think of my gunk encrusted masonry like this- delicious BBQ ribs, so I won’t get so caught up on the expensive process to repair and restore. But you see, without the renewal and gunk removal, my entire house could burn down. So, like in life, we often must forge forward with an unpleasant process of removing gunk to be whole.

This old house has taught us many lessons in renewal. The first lesson is there is value in restoration and not throwing away what is in need of repair. There is a sense of satisfaction when you clean and repair. We have painstakingly put back every detail in our century home to as close to original as possible. Using a Sears and Roebuck house kit catalog, we were able to restore our bathroom as close to original as we could down to the tiny details of wood work moldings. A 1″ hex tile floor, claw foot tub and lighting replaces what was a rusted tub, 1970s blue lotus flower tile and faux oak wood paneling.

It took us 23 years to restore this Murphy style folding gate leg table in our original kitchen, but dog gone it, we got it done. I looked and looked for old growth straight grained fir for the table top and I finally found an old church pew that we could mill for a top. 23 YEARS of looking, waiting and finally restored. Details, patience, diligence and attention to detail.

We restored the dining room by replacing hardware with architecturally correct hardware and found the perfect restored vintage pendant lamp to replace the cheap black lacquer and gold chandelier that hung over the dining room table.

We sifted through salvage yards until we found this enameled sink basin that would fit in the exact size opening on our original fir counter tops. We could have easily gotten a new sink at a big box store and replaced the counter tops to fit the sink, but we chose to do the opposite and save the counter tops and go on the intensive treasure hunt for the one in a million sized sink. We found one and it is restored.

While it would have been more fashionable and convenient to gut and remodel, we chose to slowly restore to original. The lessons in the gunk and glaze is in the hard work of searching and finding.

What is old is new. What is broken is mended. What is partial is whole. What is lost is found.

This long lesson has spanned nearly half of our adult lives. A demonstration to us in life about details AND the big picture. While this restoration and the details may not matter to someone else’s eye and could go completely unnoticed, maybe even chucked onto the curb in a free pile someday, it has taught us much.

Some lessons are deeper than surface level and are hidden in an experience and journey. We may not choose to see the author, the director, the creator, but little lessons in life woven in the form of gunk and glazed mason chimneys can often end up finding what has been lost.

Be blessed. ❤️

Holding pattern and falling…

Fall is the time when the trees surrender their leaves down onto the earth. As the beautiful colors fade, the gradual decay feeds the earth and spring will bring green and new life. I patiently wait for the present leaves to change colors, signaling the change of seasons that will usher in the darkness and dampness of winter.

I remain in this holding pattern of not still summer, not yet fall, not yet colorful and not still verdant. The flowers are hungry and dry and are getting sleepy. This is the waiting time, the holding still, the looking up and expecting the beauty to unfold, but not knowing when, but just waiting, anticipating.


The colors finally appear as I take in the last of what was and look forward to what is to be. Seasons of life are often reflective of nature. 🍁 Waiting.<<
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Fresh Oregon berry crisp- one of the very bestest things about Oregon berry season…some sweet memories and tastiness.

Growing up in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, specifically in Forest Grove, come June 1st we would be released early from school to pick berries on local farms on all kid crews. You had to be going into the 5th grade to work. If you were really fast and hard working, your field boss might recommend you to work on the picker machines. I was one of those lucky kids and teenagers who could earn money for school clothes, spending money, and Christmas money working for a local Berry Farm called Love’s Berry Farm. It was hard work, but we worked along listening to our transistor radio, drinking Pop Shop Pop, joking around, all while making about $1.25-$1.75 a flat. I could pick about 16-23 flats a day, netting me about $1000 a summer after working June days in the strawberry fields and July nights on the picker machine. That was a lot of money during the early 80s and it provided me with what I needed and wanted. It also taught me how to work and work hard. Getting on the berry bus at 5:30am in the summer taught many lessons about constancy, the value of going to bed early, and what earning a living would be like later.


Fast forward about 30 years….. I’m working for this beautiful Berry Farm owned by one of the nicest farmers around, Dave Heikes. He is best friends with Jim Love, the owner of the farm that provided me with work throughout my youth, providing me with school shoes, clothes, college money, and all that growing up entails. Life has a way of coming around in full circle, doesn’t it?  I know these crops- strawberries, blueberries, black caps, raspberries, boysenberries, and all the wonderful foods you can make with them-jam, jellies, cobblers, pies, syrups, milkshakes, and the list goes on. Selling fresh berries is a pleasure and customers come happy and leave happier as they tote off the flats. They enjoy sharing what they are going to do with the fruit. They share similar memories about growing up working on our local farms. This is probably my dream job.


So, berries were a large part of childhood as I know they were a part of yours too if you were raised here. Our grandmas taught us how to make cooked or canned jams, they fed us breakfast berry cobblers or fresh pies for Sunday supper. This brings me to fresh baked mixed berry crisp.


10 Cups of fresh mixed rinsed berries, placed in your favorite baking dishes. Easy peasy.


Don’t look but there is *some* unsalted butter (2 1/2 sticks) added to old fashioned oats, granulated and brown sugar, cinnamon, flour, a little salt, a couple of teaspoons of vanilla…as my grandma would say, “This will cure what ails ya.” She lived to be 90+, so I’ll go with that. 


Mix- you have a buttery, oatmeal, sugary cookie crumble for the top.


Top it while eating some. (Don’t forget that step!)


Into a 350 oven until it looks like….


an angel dropped this down from heaven.


Now we have come full circle again. This is what can be done with these fresh and perfectly sweet Oregon berries. Memories of growing up in the Willamette Valley, working for my current boss’ best buddy, making a fresh berry crisp like my grandma did and ending with a sweet breakfast.

Oh the bounty of life and the harvest. 

Be blessed friends.

Stop and smell the roses…

I’ve been really busy, as busy as a bee. While I have been busy, my flowers have been busy too, putting on their annual display of prettiest blooms. After pruning and watering in the cool of the evening, I stopped to smell the roses and take in all the beauty of the garden. It is my paycheck for all the tending the rest of the year. 


My French and English Lavender is covered in bees.


This rose opened in a triple blossom, making a bouquet all of its own.


Double delight is perfectly named because of it’s lovely scent and the vibrant blush against the creamy center. A double treat for both the eyes and nose.


I love the blush roses because I can’t always commit to just one color. This is a peace rose. I love it for what it stands for and that seems to be what we all desire the most.


Day lillies are named for the fact that each flower that opens lasts for one day and the next day a new one opens, replacing yesterday’s blossoms. This seems to reflect the circle of life. 


Orange day lillies remind me of orange creamcicles on hot July days. I think I might be craving a creamcicle now. Darn! I love how this variety is always reaching for the sun.


This is a new variety of hollyhock in my garden it is a creamy yellow one with a purple eye. The photo color makes it appear white, but it is more the color of buttercream frosting. Now I’m on to wanting a cupcake. Back to flowers. If I were a bee, I would tell all my bee friends about these hollyhocks. The pollen is so thick on these and the bees are always hanging out in them. I wonder if they are sweet, like cupcakes or vanilla birthday cake. 😂


Pink hollyhocks with mauve eyes. There is nothing ordinary about these striking flowers. I can’t figure out why so many people can’t seem to grow hollyhocks. I grow a natural fence with a wall of them. They give me no guff and come back year after year. I plant about 6 new ones each spring and so I have hollyhocks every summer. I buy them at Blooming Junction on Zion Church Road. If mine get rust on the leaves, it doesn’t affect their stunning flower show of 5-8′ towering stalks.  🌺 


Hydrangeas are heavy with their bestest blossoms in shades of lavender, periwinkle blue, mauve and baby pink, and sometimes many colors and shades all on one plant. I love to admire their watercolor like shades and thankfully, they don’t make me think of something yummy. 😋 well, maybe lemonade, or wedding cakes, or wedding or love and love is yummy in its own funny way. ♥️ So back to something yummy. 

What’s blooming in your garden? What do you flowers bring to your mind? 

Ahh summer.

Dear Summer,

I love you.  No, I adore you.   

I love your growing pastures and the horses that play.  

 

Warm night skies that are filled with stars….

Gardens that grow….


Sweet peaches and slow cooked food….

Time to just be.


Love,

Your biggest fan. ❤️