Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Around OakMeadows in Photos

Around OakMeadows

Bandit and me on my LadyBuggy

Around OakMeadows

I have been reading recently about how robots are supposed to be taking over all the jobs. I'm aware that many jobs have been and are going to be done by robots but most of this has been written by scholarly men who don't know how to run a home, take care of children, cook, clean, or fix anything.  Are we going to replace police officers with a robot to go to a domestic violence complaint? How about a robot to fix the leaky seal around a toilet in the guest bathroom.  Is your sick child going to want to sleep cuddled up to the robot? And who is going to fix the robot when it breaks down? And finally, what robot is going to change all the poopy baby diapers? Wouldn't that be a great invention!!

We are having spring today.  It is way above normal temperature. I'm not sure if this is real spring or just today spring. The trees seem to think it is real spring because the tree pollen levels are way up there. I'm running the air conditioning mostly to keep the pollen and humidity at a reasonable level. This is the first year I have ever run the air conditioner at least some in every month of the winter. This does not bode well for summer temperatures. 

I have a couple of books going right now. Lindbergh by A. Scott Berg is excellent; I am reading it with the GoodReads History Group. And I'm reading Thank You for Being Late by Thomas Friedman. It is also excellent but I do have one criticism: Thomas Friedman loves words, the more words the better, never say it once when you can rephrase it and repeat it again and again. Good material but as my high school composition teacher would say, "Wordy, too wordy." 

I keep watching the train wreck in Washington and ardently hoping that the Donald doesn't decide his ratings would go up with a small nuclear war somewhere. I think Congress is adequately paralyzed to keep from doing away with Social Security and Medicare, so that's a blessing. Many of the Trumpophiles want to do away with the ACA but so far there is nothing to replace it with, so we muddle on. 

I am finally getting the Sampler Quilt top together. I hope to have it finished by the end of this week. I'll post a photo when I get it together.  

This month's (March) $125 charitable donation is going to my much loved National Butterfly Center. January's donation went to the local Food Pantry and February went to Planned Parenthood.  I budget $125 each month for a donation. There are more worthy causes than I have money to give to so JMM and I decide on one each month and that's that. 

I'm binge watching House of Cards on Netflix streaming.  It seemed kind of appropriate.  

That's all the news from OakMeadows where the cats are loved and so are the people. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

March Menu

1. Steak, GMP, GB
2. Leftovers
3. Out
4. Bacon Sandwiches, Oven Fries
5. Slow Cooker Chicken
6. Baked Fish, Carrots/Thyme, Corn
7. Chicken-Rice Bake
8. Hamburger Pie
9. Leftovers
10. Out
11. Macaroni and Cheese, Corn
12. Pancakes and Sausage
13. Shrimp Jambalaya 
14. Chicken and Snow Peas Stir Fry
15. Corned Beef, Cabbage, Carrots
16. Leftovers
17. Out
18. Scrambled Eggs, Canadian Bacon, Toast
19. Slow Cooker Beef
20. Tuna Salad
21. Roast, Carrots, and Potatoes
22. RB Hash, Corn
23. Leftovers
24. Out
25. CBHash, CSC
26. Veggie Soup
27. Seafood Pasta
28. Stuffed Weiners, Corn
29. Spaghetti and Meatballs
30. Leftovers
31. Out

Saturday, February 25, 2017

February Thoughts

We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes.

I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes – something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.'

February Poetry

In winter's cold and sparkling snow,
The garden in my mind does grow.
I look outside to blinding white,
and see my tulips blooming bright.
And over there a sweet carnation
Softly scents my imagination.

On this cold and freezing day,
The Russian sage does gently sway,
And miniature roses perfume the air,
I can see them blooming there.
Though days are short, my vision's clear.
And through the snow the buds appear.

In my mind clematis climbs,
And morning glories do entwine.
Woodland phlox and scarlet pinks,
Replace the frost, if I just blink.
My inner eye sees past the snow.
And in my mind, my garden grows.

Cynthia Adams, Winter Garden

Friday, February 24, 2017

Goals for the Week of February 26 - March 4, 2017

     Daily Bible Reading
     Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis

     New Sit & Be Fit Exercise DVD
     32 oz. Water Daily
     Healthy Breakfast

     Put Sampler Quilt top together

     The Underground Railroad by Colton Whitehead
     Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
     The Unsettlers by Mark Sundeen
     The Death of Expertise by Thomas Nichols

     CB Hash, CSC, Salas
     Baked Fish, Oven Roasted Vegetables
     Potato Soup
     Beef & Veggie Stir Fry

     Start Hardwood Flooring Savings Fund
     New door wreath and flowers for basket

     Lunch with Sherry - Monday
     Haircut - Thursday 
     Yellowstone 2018 Planning

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray

America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray 

What an excellent book of historical fiction! This book is about the life of Martha (Patsy) Jefferson, daughter of Thomas Jefferson and her family. The book opens with the flight of Patsy, her mother, and baby sisters, Polly and Lucy, from their home at Monticello to a cabin hidden deep in the woods to avoid capture by the British.  Tragedy strikes after their return to Monticello when her mother dies after getting a promise from Patsy to take care of her father and a promise from her husband never to remarry. Thus, Patsy's life is set. She will take care of her father during his grief over the loss of his wife and later baby Lucy, while he is in Paris representing the United States, in Washington as Vice President and President, and finally during his remaining life at Monticello. The love of Patsy's life, William Short, is thwarted and she marries Tom Randolph with whom she bears 11 children.  Poverty and financial ruin are constant worries as is the necessity of owning slaves. There is so much depth of character and so much attention to detail that I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Read it. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

February Cooking -- More Casserole

This is an old family favorite. It makes a huge Casserole. Now that it is only JMM and I at home, I divide this into halves and freeze one. 

More Casserole 

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 8 ounce package noodles, cooked and drained 
1 pound frozen mixed vegetables 
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 Tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound shredded cheddar cheese 

Brown ground beef and drain off grease. Mix first 4 ingredients into a large bowl.  In a sauce pan heat the remaining ingredients except the cheese stirring constantly.  Add cheese and heat until melted. Pour over mixture and stir. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes (covered). If frozen, 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 hours. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

February Thoughts

Mark Twain
“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”
― Mark Twain

February Poetry

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the withered air
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farm-house at the garden's end.
The sled and traveler stopped, the courier's feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, and housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Goals for the Week of February 19-26, 2017

     Daily readings

     Healthy Breakfast
     No Coca Cola

     Cut out lattice

     Lindbergh by A.Scott Berg
     Thank You for Being Late by Thomas Friedman
     America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray
     Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

     Baked Fish, Oven Roasted Veggies
     Stir Fry

     Clean out closet, drawer, and garage (neverending)

     Start planning 2018 trip to Yellowstone 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Three Days in January by Bret Baier

On January 17, 1961 President Dwight Eisenhower spoke to the nation in one of the most remarkable farewell speeches in U.S. history. As he spoke of the future, he warned Americans against the dangers of elevating partisanship above national interest, excessive government budgets (particularly deficit spending), the expansion of the military-industrial complex, and the creeping political power of special interests. Seeking to ready a new generation for power, Eisenhower intensely advised the forty-three-year-old Kennedy before the inauguration. 

This book interweaves Ike's remarkable life and career with his famous farewell speech. It also discusses how his two terms changed America and demonstrates how Ike offers us the model of principled leadership that is so missing in politics today.  Eisenhower reluctantly entered into politics. As president, Ike successfully guided the country out of a dangerous war in Korea, peacefully through the apocalyptic threat of nuclear war with the Soviets, and into one of the greatest economic booms in world history.

An excellent book about a truly great man. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Around OakMeadows

Around OakMeadows

Spring-- Winter-- Spring-- Winter. That is how it has been around here this week. Record high temperatures followed by back to winter.  Sometimes two seasons in one day. Air conditioner on one day and heater on the next.  Figuring out how to dress appropriately for the weather gets tricky. Oh well, No complaints, I have means to heat or cool the house and clothes to keep me warm or let me cool off. No complaints. 

I have two SILs, one of whom has rather severe COPD resulting in lung function about 44%.  She is planning to go to a clinic in Arizona for a "stem cell treatment." I am quite certain that it is a waste of money ($7,000 plus airfare, hotel, meals).  It is not FDA approved so Medicare will not pay for it thus it is all out of pocket.  They are aware that it is "unproven and may not work" but have been told of people that it has helped and are willing to risk it.  So I wish her well and say nothing. 

The mess in Washington boggles the mind. If somehow we can survive 4 years of this nonstop turmoil without a war and with Medicare and Social a Security in tact, I will be so relieved.  But it has only been 3 weeks and it seems at least 3 years. 

I finished reading Three Days in January by Bret Baier.  It was an excellent book about President Eisenhower and what led up to his famous farewell address. If you like Ike, this is a great read. 

Making progress on getting my Sampler Quilt top together.  The hardest part was deciding how I wanted to do it.  I decided on a block and lattice pattern.  Tomorrow I will cut out the lattice strips. 

All is well at OakMeadows.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Goals for the Week of February 12- 18, 2017

     Daily Bible Reading
     The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis

     32 oz. water daily
     Veggies and hummus for snack
     Exercise DVD

     Cut out lattice pieces for the Sampler Quilt 
     Order Scrap Quilting Book

     Lindbergh by A.Scott Berg
     Thank You for Being Late by Thomas Friedman
     Three Days in January by Bret Baier
     America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray
     Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup
     More Casserole 
     Cutlets, GMP, GB
     Schwan's Beef Pot Pie

     Order new spring door wreath
     New flowers for basket

     Order LLBean shorts for summer

February Cooking -- Chicken Noodle Soup

This is so good and so easy. 

Chicken Noodle/Rice Soup

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 carrots, chopped medium
2 celery ribs, chopped medium 
1 onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cup uncooked egg noodles or 3/4 cup uncooked rice
1/2 cup frozen peas
Parsley if desired

Dry chicken thighs and season with salt and pepper. Brown thighs in hot oil well on both sides, 6-8 minutes. Transfer to plate. 

Add carrots, celery, and onion to pan and cook over medium heat until softened, 7-8 minutes. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, thyme, and red pepper. Stir in 1 cup of broth, scraping up any browned bits. Transfer to slow cooker. 

Stir remaining broth and bay leaves into slow cooker. Nestle browned chicken with any accumulation juices into slow cooker. 

Cover and cook 6 hours on low.  Add rice or noodles and peas during last 30 minutes of cooking. Remove chicken thighs to a cutting board and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker. Remove bay leaves. Garnish with parsley if desired. 

Serves 6-8. 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

February Thoughts

We abuse land because we see it as a commodity belonging to us.

When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.'

February Poetry

"Loud are the thunder drums in the tents of the mountains.
Oh, long, long
Have we eaten chia seeds
and dried deer's flesh of the summer killing.
We are tired of our huts
and the smoky smell of our clothing.
We are sick with desire for the sun
And the grass on the mountain.

Paiute Late Winter Song

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Quick Trip to Brazos Bend State Park

This morning we went to our nearby state park to see the ducks. But there were no ducks. I don't know where they are, but there are no ducks wintering at Brazos Bend.  However, there were plenty of other birds.  The surprise was the flock of American Robins. I don't remember ever seeing them there before. We have been having roller coaster weather lately and while yesterday was warm, this morning it was cold with a stiff breeze--hence the quick trip.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Around OakMeadows

Around OakMeadows 

We had planned to go birding at Brazos Bend State Park this morning but the weather was not cooperative. So that has been postponed until Thursday. 

Signs of an early spring are popping out: little white flowers in the grass, a green haze over the large acacia, and pink buds on the crabapple. The true herald of spring has not sounded yet: the mockingbird singing night and day to hold his territory.  With the exception of a couple of days, we have had an exceedingly mild winter. Perhaps that why we had so few goldfinches this year; we usually have 20-30 scarfing down thistle as fast as we can fill up the feeders but this year the most we ever saw at one time was 6. 

I am so anxious to get out and start getting our butterfly garden going.  This year we are adding two new plants, Blue Mist flower and Mexican Flame vine.  I want to expand the milkweed beds and add more salvia too. But nothing can be done until after the trip to London which is fast approaching. What is going on in your garden? Or are you buried in snow and garden catalogs?

Oh my, do I have a good book to recommend if you like historical fiction. America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray is next to perfection in my opinion.  Thomas Jefferson's daughter tells the story of her life with her father after the death of her mother.  We were at Monticello last summer and I can visualize the rooms and gardens on the mountain. I've not finished it yet but so far it is well written, interesting, and historically accurate.  Are you reading anything really good?

I am putting together a Sampler Quilt top using blocks that I pieced by hand about 30 years ago.  It will go to be machine quilted when it is together. Here are some of the blocks:

That's all the news from OakMeadows where the cats are spoiled rotten and so are the people. 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

February Cooking - Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup poppy seeds
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs at room temperature 
1/4 cup oil
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 Tablespoons grated lemon zest
1tsp vanilla extract 

1. Position rack in center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 F. 
Prepare muffin tins with liners or spray with Pam. 

2. Whisk flours, sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Set aside. 

3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and buttermilk until smooth.  Whisk in lemon juice, oil, lemon zest, and vanilla until well combined.  Stir in the prepared flour mixture until moistened. 

4. Fill the prepared tins until 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins have lightly browned, rounded tops and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. 

5. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool for an additional 5 minutes before serving. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

February Thoughts

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by
The smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building can be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world your best anyway.

Kent M. Keith

February Poetry

"I stood beside a hill
Smooth with new-laid snow,
A single star looked out
From the cold evening glow.
There was not other creature
That saw what I could see,
I stood and watched the evening star
As long as it watched me."  
-  Sara Teasdale, February Twilight

Friday, February 3, 2017

Latest Quilts

Blogger has decided to let me post photos of my latest 2 quilts. 

Baby Boy Quilt

Scrap Nine Patch Quilt

I'm now working on a Sampler Quilt using blocks that I pieced 20+ years ago. 

February Goals

     Daily Bible Reading
     Imitation of Christ

     Exercise DVD
     Fruit -- 2 daily

Quilting -- Sampler Quilt blocks

     Lindbergh by A.Scott Berg
     Thank You for Being Late by Thomas Friedman
     Three Days in January by Bret Baier
     America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray

     Schwan's Lasagna, Salad
     Baked Fish, Carrots/Thyme, Cabbage
     Chicken-Rice Bake, Salad
     Schwan's Beef Pot Pie
     Applesauce Raisin Spice Cake

     The eternal garage cleaning out project

      Friday--Monthly Lunch with P&W&C&B