Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cooking School at the Canebrake!

Today was Baking Day at the Canebrake Resturant (You can access their info via Facebook). Several friends and I drove out there, paid our $20, and had the Time of our lives!! Pictured here is Pastry Chef Sarah. Just a pup, but she's been cooking ever since she could reach the countertop, and man, we learned a LOT. Even the "old salty" bakers learned some new tricks and techniques.

She's rolling out the chocolate pastry dough for the Reese's Cup Pie.

And trimming the dough in the cool pastry pan.

Next she mixes up the peanut butter filling.

Here are some pictures showing how to make checkerboard cookies. Remember to always keep the dough cold. Freeze it, in fact. Stick it together w/eggwash. Then cut across it to reveal the little squares. Butter makes a softer cookie. Crisco helps the cookie to keep its original shape. If you want the Best of Both Worlds (yeh, sing it, Hannah!), then use 1/2 butter, 1/2 Crisco.

Sarah rolls the dough out between two 1/2" dowel rods. This assures that the thickness of the rolled out dough is consistent.

Next she alternately stacks each layer, "gluing" them together with egg white wash. Now return it to the freezer until quite cold. Maybe overnight.

Now the cuts come. One half inch strips. Four of them. This is best done when the dough is partially thawed so the knife can cut thru with a little of resisitance.

Here's 2 strips.
Add 2 more to make the finished bar. Then re-chill. Slice and bake. The unused "ends" you can twist together and make "marble" cookies.

Regarding braided yeast breads. Begin braiding in the middle, then braid to the end. Go back and braid from the middle to the other end. Makes a more balanced rope. Now you can form it into different shapes, depending on the holiday or your mood. Hearts for Valentine's Day, Wreaths for Christmas. You can even wind it into a coil.

Cut out pastry leaves to embellish pie crusts. Or use other shapes from little bitty cookie cutters. I have hearts, circles, gingerbread boys, even dog bones.....

Good friends, good food, good recipes. We learned a LOT today! Even some French stuff I could not pronounce---but I can Bake it!!! Here's me with the Chef. Such a darling girl. I felt like I was living in HG TV for a few hours.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Things You teach Yer Kids.....

THIS can backfire. It can cost you a lot of Time and Money. Even heartache and effort that you do not want to release.

Teach them to love and respect animals, and they bring home strays.

Teach them to eat healthy and exercise and you become a Lifetime member of Weight Watchers.

Teach them to be neat and tidy, and they pick up after you, and you cannot find anything.

Teach them to be brave, and they move away to strange cities.

Teach them about God, and they remind you to read your Bible more often and to judge not.

Teach them about tithing and money management and you eat generic Cheerios when you go visit....AND wear a sweater in their house...

Teach them about caring for the Planet, and they complain that they have become "just like Mommmmmm!" when they fill their minivans with bags of leaves for their compost piles.

Teach them to love growing plants, and they will dig up your yard.

Teach them to love their husbands, and they WANT to go home after only a few days' visit.

Teach them compassion for others, and your fingers work frantically to knit 3 hats in as many days before you drive halfway across country.

And this is where my story begins......

Kathryn called last night. Coming home from Bible Study....A third friend of hers at church has been diagnosed with breast cancer. The three friends are all losing their hair. But, being from the same church, they have literally formed a "club cancer" and are bonding with bald heads in a cold climate.

Kathryn, after raising a child with very little hair to cover his head (he's getting a bit now that he is pressing towards 2 years old), and being very aware of "holding in that core temperature" when they go outside, asked me to knit. Knit some hats for these three ladies. Purple ones, if you have the yarn, Mom....Purple is our church's icon color.

So, as we talk on the cordless phone, I am digging around in my yarn stash for purple. Purple wools, all shades, from my trek to Vermont last summer. Too coarse for delicate, "newly exposed" scalps. Purple varigated. Too "busy." Something, soft, Mom, and something that will cover their ears. And, oh, yeh...could you include some Collie wool somewhere on it for embellishment?

I'll need at least 3 skeins of matching yarn to make these hats. And several hours of just sitting and knitting to finish the project before I take off for the dog show (and my sister's home) in Georgia. Nevermind that the car needs vaccing and the dogs need brushing, and oh, yeh, I Should be packing some things.....

After I hang up, I remember the purple (dark lavender, really) yarn that I have "recycled." Recycled yarn is yarn that is un-knitted from another garment. I read about it on the internet. There's a whole Group of knitters who only use recycled yarn. You can even buy it on ebay! Find a nice sweater at a junk store, take it home, and spend an hour unravelling it, and give that yarn a New Life. It's been fun to find sweaters that can be easily "un-knitted," and I've even begun a project making a shawl out of one very long sweater.

I've finished two hats. For the first one, I made the brim out of the recycled purple with some Collie wool and fuzzies as "embellishment." The body of the hat is lime green (God's favorite color)of a very soft and fuzzy and sparkly acrylic.

Never one to make 2 things exactly the same (you should see the mittens I've tried to knit!), I knitted the other hat with a lacy brim. Same purple, then topping the brim w/more Collie wool, then using the same green for the body of the hat. I've begun knitting a rib stitch for the third brim, just to change things up a little more....With maybe a few lacy rows in between.

But right now.....Right now I am going to vaccuum the car and plan my packing.....I'll knit when the sun goes down. And mail them off by Saturday. Be on the lookout for the hats in the mail, Kate-o! Boy, I sure did a Good Job (too good of a job!) raising you!

xoxoxo Momma

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Hot Springs Open Obedience


I post this video because in a very small way, it depicts the Joy that we experienced in the ring. Since we have begun dancing, the Obedience Ring has taken on a "performance" venue for James. SO very blessed that I have a dog who can actually DO all this.....
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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Marshmallow Test

Marshmallow Test

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Delayed Gratification....One of the most Important Tools as a parent....or a dogtrainer....

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cool Weather and Cooking

Ever notice that when your kitchen is all spic and span and shiny and sparkly---that you suddenly want to Cook Something?!! Add to that, this wonderful "chili stew" weather, and there is nothing else you can do except bow to the Kitchen Gods and create.

So, today, while Rob was struggling with the paint sprayer on the deck, I pulled out the ingredients to a coffee cake I had not made in years. Perhaps 20 years or so. It is an old Pennsylvania Dutch recipe given to me by a lady I met in a shop near Valley Forge....October, 1971....I was a newlywed.....

I made two of them. Might as well, since the kitchen is gonna be messed up anyway. I froze one for you might want to come visit.....Or here's the recipe. You can make one of your own.

1/2 cup sugar
3/8 cup butter
2 eggs
1/4 cup molasses
3/4 teasp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teasp. baking powder
2/3 cup sour cream
1 teasp. soda
dash salt

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup nuts
2 teasp. cinnamon

Grease and flour loaf pan. Combine cake ingredients and beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Spread half of the batter in pan. Sprinkle with half of the Filling. Repeat. Bake 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sometimes Things Have a Way of Working Out----Romona Jasper, July, 1976

Last April, I travelled to Massachusetts with 2 of my Collies to attend the Collie National Specialty near Boston. While we were there, Prosper took Third Place in Open Blue Dogs.

The final day of the Nationals, a woman in our group got dangerously ill and had to be taken to the hospital via ambulance. This was RIGHT BEFORE the final judging---when the Best in Show would be announced. The VERY BEST COLLIE of the whole nation would be awarded the crown, so to speak. NOT something that one (esp one who had driven over 2000 miles) would want to miss....I left my dogs in the exercise-pen with another dear friend, and elected myself to be the one to accompany Betsy to the ER.

Another couple, Collie breeders from Arkansas, and also friends of Betsy, decided to drive behind the ambulance as "backup." They stayed in the waiting room for an hour or so, as I came out periodically to update them on Betsy's progress and care. Then they were forced to leave in order to catch their plane back to Arkansas early the next morning. I assured them that I would stay until other friends (and possibly Betsy's family from N.Carolina)would arrive after Best in Show. Wonderful, KIND people. Arkansas folk, after all, and living not too far from our older daughter in the Little Rock area....

Betsy is doing just fine these days, but that certainly was a harrowing night in the busiest ER in the country (busier even than Boston or NYCity!).

Fast forward to this past weekend in September.....Dog Show in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Prosper turned 2 this week, and I decided to enter him in his first breed show as a grown up boy (he already has 2 qualifying "legs" on Rally Novice and even a leg on a Freestyle Dance title). I am all by myself in this show. None of Prosper's "family" to help me with showing or grooming or even encouraging....

On Saturday, Prosper came in LAST, and Discouragement was starting to Take Over...I was convinced that I was just not cut out to show in this venue and to stick to obedience and dance---count myself lucky I have such an intelligent, beautiful Collie.

Sunday found us at the show site again (after all, I DID pay my entry fees, might as well stroll around the ring one more time). As I passed the grooming area of the owner of some of the "competition," I realized their owner/handler was talking to the couple who'd driven to the ER in Massachusetts six months earlier!

I greeted them with, "Seems like we spent the night in the hospital not too long ago..." and we all hugged in recognition of our friend Betsy.

Later, they visited MY grooming area, and Prosper, standing on the table, smoozed and kissed them, trying to convince them to take him away from all this brushing and fluffing and puffing...Instead, Neil offered to trim Prosper's ears! A snip here, a snip there, and it made all the difference in the world, getting those tiny fuzzies off.

We took Winner's Dog that day, for Prosper's very first point in Breed! (only 14 more to go!).

Isn't it just Wonderful how this old World just keeps on turning round.....
Thanks, Betsy.....

Sunday, September 13, 2009


The beginnings of a new shawl. Made from Collie Wool. The pattern is "Cat's Paw," and is my first attempt at making lace. Well, it's a very simple pattern, but I think I kinda Like making lace. Some of the ladies at the Knitting Group call the yarn over directions "YO's." We are ALL working on our Fear of YO's....By facing the YO's and creating from them Lace......
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More Pictures from the World Competition


Ah, to have such a Beautiful Creature look up at you with such delight.....
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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Making A Difference: The starfish story

  • Making A Difference: The starfish story: "The starfish story
    Many starfish washed up on shore. A young boy started picking them up and throwing them back into the ocean. Someone saw what he was doing and told him that it was pointless, that there were too many to save, that it wouldn't make a difference. Throwing another starfish into the sea, the little boy responded, 'It makes a difference to this one.'"

Monday, September 7, 2009

Prosper Dances

And even the Liddle Wolf Cubbie danced HIS heart out as well. Of course, working the perimeter of the ring was an option as well.....
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Dancing with Dawgs

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Rob's Bicycle Route Tuesday, July 7

I am trying this out to see if this map will embed into my blog. This is a bicycle route Rob will ride tomorrow as a "training ride" for the Hottern' Hell Hundred.

Rob is planning on riding his bicycle in the Hottern' Hell Hundred next month down in Wichita Falls, Texas. This is where they ride their bicycles 100 miles in 100 degree heat in ONE day....Yeh, and Rob is no the ONLY crazy one...This ride hosts over 10,000 bicyclers! It is quite a party.

Rob's been riding this ride (give or take a couple of yrs missed because of previous bicycle accidents) for over 15 years. This year, both of our sons-in-law are riding in this event. All three boys are staying in a host church the night before (event coordinator and corporate safety son-in-law set that one up!...complete with showers after the ride).

I cannot tell you how excited Rob is to be able to share this weekend with his two favorite men. Well, actually, Rob cannot tell you, because he is a BOY, and boys do not gush, you know. That is the female role, and they Depend 0n us to spread the news with our delight and over-abundant joy....

iframe src="" height="700px" width="100%" frameborder="0">home to Tenkiller state park half century
Find more Bike Rides in Tahlequah, Oklahoma

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Office

For the past week and a half, Rob and I have been re-doing the Computer/Workout/Bicycle room. We started by clearing everything OUT of the room (and storing it in the guest room), then ripping up the old berber carpet, exposing the plywood floor underneath. Our "plan" was to install laminate flooring, but we kinda got off-track a little......Looking at the walls, we decided that it would be best to repaint before we laid the flooring. The baseboards had been taken off, and we did not need to put down any tarps to protect against paint spatters, so we headed to Lowe's to choose the colors.

Rob picked out the colors---yes, we used TWO colors! It looks really good (tho I was a bit skeptical at first regarding the "terra cotta" color), and we are "accenting" with black furniture.

After the painting, we began to lay the laminate floor. We could not purchase any more of the Formica brand flooring (that is in the hallway, kitchen and dining area) because they no longer manufacture it. I did find some that matched in color pretty well, so I was pleased with the segue. This took us about 3 days, on and off, to install it, and it looks Beautiful!!

Rob and I worked Very Well together, much to every ones surprise. It has been lots of fun and quite an education in building our relationship. After 38 years, seems like we would be further along, but we are still working. Marriage is hard work. Continual work. Most of the time, it is rewarding work. When two such stubborn, passionate souls are paired together, the result, most of the time, is fire and rain and Great Discussion.....

Next came the baseboards and quarter round (What kind of name is Quarter Round?). I'd decided that I wanted "taller" ones, and Rob agreed to cut them with his new table saw. He did Great on the angles! I painted them cream to match the rest of the house.

As we have begun to move things back in to the room, we are also de-cluttering, and down-sizing. It almost makes one feel quite "holy" to purge this way.....

New black bookshelf. New black wooden file cabinet. Kept the same black desk. Spray-painted the baskets that were on the desk cubbies a gloss black.

We might hang pictures today. I'll post photos of our progress later.

Right now, I am heading outside to repot a water lily to take to a friend. Outside is Best. Always.

Happy Independence Day!! Be brave. Speak your mind. Be kinder than necessary.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Sweet Smells that Nourish my Soul.....

I smell things. Odors, scents, smells, aromas.....They elicit deep feelings and memories unlike any sounds or sights can bring. Fragrances can waft past me, and I can be flooded with delicious scenes in great detail.

There are several wonderful "dog smells" that elicit pure joy for me. The smell of a sleeping dog....Did you know that they smell differently when they sleep?! Perhaps a sort of protection to let others know they are not ready for immediate action... There's the Crown coat conditioner spray that is a signature scent of show dogs....And wet dogs, soggy from the rain or the bath. Adolescent puppies who smell like peepee and testosterone they cannot yet completely control. Paws that smell like toast. Ears pungent, warm and spicy. Leather leashes. Warm breath. A mane of fur to bury your face in.

I am amazed at how powerful the sense of smell can be. Amazed and quite thankful.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Almost Home from Camp

I attribute these feelings of "post Camp" rather akin to post partum blues......A Whole Year has gone by, and it only took a couple of weeks before we are counting the days till Camp again. I do not think I can ever write anything that even comes close to describing the experience I have each year. It is perhaps the most Positive Place on this planet, complete with everything Dog. And even if you have a dog who falls very short of being perfect, no one seems to mind or even judge. Mostly we just grin and tell each other we've been there before, too....

Prosper was perhaps the worst dog I have ever taken to Camp. Last year he was a puppy, around 8 mos old, and Very agreeable to all that he had to learn and experience. Of course, being the "thinking dog" that he is, he took it very slowly and "processed" everything new, but eventually he mastered it. THIS year, however, was quite different. Still the thinking dog---I'm guessing that will not change much, it's his method of operating--but NOW, he's a teenager, 19 months old. His world is altogether different now.

We started out Camp with my Very Favorite activity. An early morning walk in the Vermont woods with about 30 dogs off leash. It has always been so much fun, with the dogs tearing off to cavort thru the forest, then coming back to me, tongues hanging out, grinning broadly, exclaiming how much fun this is. The woods are cool, moist, green with ferns and lush undergrowth and thick, loamy soil. Spongey under your boots.

So, I elected to take Prosper on this walk Monday morning, first full day of Camp. We came to the area where we unsnap the leads, and Prosper took off like a shot to the front of the group. I never saw him again until an hour later when we finished the hike. He stayed up front with the "pack," wildly chasing and zooming with his dog friends and paid no heed to my requests to return to Mom and the confining leash. Some campers who were also towards the front took some video of mostly his backside, but I only got shots of him when we finally all gathered up at the end of the walk.

It took nearly 2 whole days to even partially "get him back" and convince him that I was, once again, the Center of his World. During that time, I wore blisters on my hands and even had to take my wedding ring off for a few days to let the sores heal......It was like skiing behind a 65# pulling Collie. Uphill and downhill. Life was so full of new and exciting activities and we were getting there waaaaay too late. Plus, there's that need to wet on every piece of grass and bush on the paths of the campus.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Musings.....Just Musings......

I look at myself a lot and smile at me.....Sometimes I can even kinda "see" me....Like I am someone for me to observe....This woman who finds a tiny snail shell and treasures it, putting it in a safe place on the windowsill. This woman who rejoices over the robin's blue egg shells left on the lawn. Who sees bird poop on the driveway, and "knows" to look UP---thereby finding a nest in the tree above. Who delights in every surface of every rock she has ever held. Who walks across a lawn of dandelions and sees the brightest color yellow ever created. Who smells mud and muck from the pond and counts it delicious. Worms thrill her heart! Possums delight her soul. She's a very, very curious woman, indeed. And SO very beloved! A truly rich woman.