Thursday, December 19, 2013


Last night my daughter and I completed the last of the cookies and fudge to be loaded into containers and delivered to people and businesses in our community.  Every year we make at least 10 different types of treats to fill the containers we find at our local thrift store (Goodwill this year).  We usually give a tin to my brother and his wife, as well as a tin for my daughter's teacher.  All of the others we give to local businesses that have employees who, through the year, have made our days a little brighter.

Aside from the pleasure of cooking and the pleasure of not having to eat all of it ourselves, we also get a great deal of pleasure from the smiles that come from each one of those tins.  In a society that has become focused on the material giving during the holidays, it is good to give of ourselves too.

What do you do to spread holiday spirit?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Ever notice how when the holidays arrive time seems to go right out the window.  It started for me almost a month before Thanksgiving.  There I was, getting everything done and staying organized, mostly, and before I know it, WHAM!, Thanksgiving had arrived and I hadn't blogged in a month!

The worst of it is that I have no idea what happened to the time.  Now, almost a month later, I am still not caught up and don't know if I will be before Christmas gets here.

Oh well.

I suppose my daughter having a few friends for a sleepover the weekend before Thanksgiving, coming down with the flu the day afterward didn't help.  Then we are unable to go to the family gathering as she is still sick, so on the Wednesday I am trying to get all the fixings for a Thanksgiving meal then get is all cooked so we can have at least something that resembles a turkey dinner (it worked out ok at least).  She wasn't truly better until the Sunday after Thanksgiving though.  I was worried.

During Black Friday I stayed home and avoided the crowds as is my custom.  There is just something lacking in Christmas Spirit about the whole shopping frenzy thing to me.  I spent most of the weekend contemplating what Christmas truly meant to me and what message I wanted to give my family, so my daughter and I made a few ornaments out of wooden spools to put on the try and gift to family.  We decided to make ornaments throughout this next year and donate them with a tree to a family that otherwise would not have a tree.

As for gifts, many of them are homemade this year.  Next year I hope to have them all homemade.  New Year's Day I will sit down with my journal and make a list of folks we give gifts to and decide what I want to make for each of them.  Then I will spend the year making them.  I'll have to let you know how that turns out.

Now all I have left is to make the cookies to give away (and keep a few at home), plan Christmas dinner, and finish getting the gifts under the tree.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


This was our kitchen when we first got our farm.  It is about 10' by 10' including the cabinets.  If it weren't for the pantry, I don't know where we would keep food.  As it is, my counters were covered with kitchen supplies that I had not yet found a home for.  To make it appear at least a little larger, I painted over the brown mustard yellow with a white linen low VOC paint.

We only made a few changes as the hope some day is to make it larger.  We went to the Pike Place Market and bought a lovely hand blown lamp shade for a pendant lamp to replace the fixture over the sink, painted two of the walls a beautiful sunshine yellow, and hung old crocheted hot pads around the top of the wall.

Now when I turn on the light, it looks like the sun is shining in the kitchen.  I stand at the sink and hand wash my dishes in the warm glow, gazing out at the chickens running through the yard, or watching the birds flitting in and out of the apple trees.  No matter what the weather is outside, we now have a slice of sunshine in our home.

Changing of the Seasons

Another year is slowly coming to an end.  The dark days of winter approach.  The elk have begun moving from out of the mountains into the foothills for winter grazing.  We have been waiting since the last sighting in spring for their return.

We mark the seasons by the days on our calendars, but that is really just a number.  It is the changes in the plant and animal life that truly marks the changes of the seasons.  This year I canned, froze, and dried food for the winter months.  The broccoli are still desperately trying to put on seed as I continue to harvest their wonderful flower buds for our dinners, although I have allowed some to go to seed and have harvested their seeds too.  The fall trees and flowers are putting on a show.  The pumpkins and squash sit on the bistro table outside looking lovely as the skins harden.  Soon I will cook them too for my family.  The frosts have begun to paint the ground each morning, making the air crisp and lovely to breath.

My goal this past year, and years to come is to track the change of the seasons on the farm and be a part of them.  Following a more natural rhythm in my activities.  My quilt top is nearly ready to be layered with the bottom and the batting, and put in the rack to be quilted this winter.  The house is nearly winterized, and the woodshed nearly built and filled.  The barn needs a last door, the eaves closed in and the last gutter hung.

Thank you elk for coming, and reminding me that the next change of the season is upon us.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Growing up

Sometimes we need to come back home to walk through the paths of our childhood so that we may put some of the ghosts to rest,

and move from the summer of our lives towards our own winter.  Both are beautiful, and both have a lot to teach us.

During the nearly 30 years I was gone from home, my father built this bridge on the farm where I grew up.  After finally returning home, my daughter and I spent a year living with my parents on that farm, healing from a difficult period in our lives.  That year I was able to help my mother recover from open heart surgery, help my father slowly turn over the reigns to part of the family business, and help my daughter gain emotional security.  For myself, I gained some peace of mind.  Walking through the woods, digging in the dirt, and living in the room of my childhood allowed me to reground myself and to put my feet back on the path to the future I wanted for myself and my child.

I will be 48 this year, with a child in college and another in the 3rd grade, and I am taking a walk down the road that has always called to me, only this time I chose it for myself.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Yard Art

In my yard I have planted a bell.  Not just any bell either, but rather one made from the top of a cylinder that used to house a gas.  The artist used other found objects to complete his sculpture, and I have lovingly placed it in my yard amidst the native wild roses and equally wild herbs (but not native).  Sometimes I sit on the bench and stare at the bell or at the different plants taking over the beds, and sometimes I ring the bell.  Sometimes we all need to ring something's bell now and again.

Do you have yard art?  What kind?  What ring's your bell or crank's your motor?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Unplanned Events

Last night was business as usual.  We got home, I started dinner, my partner started a fire, and my daughter let the dogs out and fetched the eggs.  After about 10 minutes I said we should bring the dogs in as it was very wet and chilly, our little dog Jill (aka Jilly Bean) was already in.  Casey (aka Casey Dilla), our big dog was not coming when called.  Micheal went out to find her and discovered her gone.  Our escape artist had made a run for it and was off in the neighboring middle school.  By the time I could get dinner turned off and go after her, she was nowhere to be seen.

After several hours of calling for her and no dog, I called Home Again as Casey is a microchipped rescue, and let the know she had run away from home.  Not 10 minutes after I called, I see this very wet brown face pressed into the sliding glass door looking pitiful.  She came back smelling like she had bathed with some very nasty fish.  I called Home Again and let them know her walk-about was over, then stuck the dog straight in the tub.  She was filthy.

So a wonderful evening of stitching turned out not quite as I planned, but at least it ended well.  Boy will my daughter be happy when she wakes up and sees Casey back.


We are still scrambling to make everything winter ready, especially as summer stopped so abruptly,
but at least the barn is mostly ready.  The new roof was the last major project on it, and the major project for this last summer.  We got one gutter up just before the rains came, so as soon as it dries enough, we will get the other one up.  We still have the sliding door to make and hang, and the overhangs to finish, but those will have to wait until after we get a woodshed in place.  Always something to do around here.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


The starting point, a house with only rocks and weeds in the flower beds.

Wisteria that has run amok, and amok, and amok.......

Wait!  I see a rose bush!

What's that? A snowball bush too!

The poor barn is about half buried under blackberry brambles, what's left of the barn anyway.

Thornless blackberries are taking over the well house.

Get past the drain field and more blackberries, as far as the eye can see it would seem.

A wonderful witch hazel tree, and weeds.........

I have some grassland at least.

Unplanned Events

Ever have one of those days in which everything seems to be going along fine, then all of a sudden it all comes to a grinding halt.  That was Saturday.  I put up 5 pints of tomatoe sauce, 3 pints of pickled peppers, and 5 pints of pumpkin.  The tomatoes and peppers I could process in a water bath, but the pumpkin I had to process using a pressure canner.

I got out my grandmother's pressure canner and read all the directions, the proceeded with a bit of trepidation.  It went along just fine all the way to the end.  I turned off the heat and allowed the pressure to normalize before removing the lid and pulling out the jars.  The problem came when I was still hearing the same sound of steam letting off only there was no steam.  The sounds was coming from under the kitchen floor.  Michael, my partner, raced outside and looked into the vent under the house and sure enough, water was spraying everywhere!!!

Sunday was spent trying to repair a water leak under the house in a minuscule crawl space without setting the house on fire.  It took three tries before he got the solder to completely seal the fittings.  After we turned the water back on, another leak started right up.  This time it was a different size pipe.  Back to the hardware store....

Monday evening the second leak was repaired.  Both leaks were in the hot water lines, so turning off the hot water meant we could take a bit of time to make sure we had all the pieces before cutting open the pipe, but it also meant no showers or dishes until the leaks were fixed.  During this time we learned that the water lines need to be grounded in order to prevent electrolysis from making holes in your pipes.  Who knew!

The good news is that we have hot water again and could take those most needed showers.  I have only just finally caught up on all those dishes made from a frenzied Saturday of canning.  We had homemade tomatoe soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner, we had earned them.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Preserving the Bounty

This weekend has been spent gathering and preserving the harvest, or at least some of it.  As a child, I spent many weekends this time of year gather the fruits and vegetables of the garden, then getting them ready for my mom to work her magic on.  She canned, boiled, froze, and otherwise processed a years worth of gardening to create what would be our family's idea of "fast food."  Pull it out of the pantry, put it in the pan, heat it up and presto, dinner.  I am now learning the rest of the process.  No wonder she was so tired by the end of the weekend! 

I still have peppercinis to put up though, and would love to have a good recipe for canning them.  If anyone has a great tried and true recipe, please send it my direction.  It needs to be something that can be done in a weekend though. 

Many Blessings!

Sunday, September 8, 2013


As I travel down the path of life, not knowing where it leads, I find myself wanting to follow the many new paths that I see.  So begins a journey for me and my family and our new farm.  New to us that is.  We are taking a walk on the wild side; Wild Side Acres.  My hope is to post pictures and writings of the journey, gather information and advice from those I meet, and even stopping for a friendly visit across the fence or at the bench in the herb garden.  Many blessings to all,  Sherri & family.