31 December 2009

Mele Kalikimaka and Pass the Porter

We had heard about its existence; we had tried other varieties, but not until Pipeline Porter crossed our lips did we believe we had found our winter beverage!
The Kona Brewing Company has made some tasty concoctions including, Longboard Island Lager and Fire Rock Pale Ale but I tell you what (as gramps would say) Pipeline Porter is the new Kahuna! Pipeline is brewed with Kona coffee. What a lovely combination.

Most winter beer varieties packaged by brew houses for the fall and winter seasons have a tendency toward the bitter; not a personal favorite twist to our yeasted beverage. So enter Pipeline somewhere in October at a charming cabin aside the Methow River in Winthrop with Lanny and Dirt, and that ‘Newest Branch of the Family’.

Now, skip ahead several weeks to the Tap House Grill in downtown Seattle where five siblings eat out every Christmas season, enjoying the big city and each other’s company and picking up those little extras you can only find downtown. With 160 beers on tap this is no place to order a Coors Light! However, as common as it could have been interpreted, one of the brothers orders Pipeline on tap. Who’d a thunk delicious could have become more delicious!

Our hand was forced! A keg for the Feast of St. Stephen! Talk about your pairings: primerib smoked and barbequed, aside Pipeline Porter (was there anything else on the table? would it have mattered if there were?), beef and beer. Notice the similarity in the two words. Mmm.

Now don’t misunderstand, we’re a principled group!
Yes, keg.
But for lots of people. I’d hate to have any teetotalers out there thinking of us as drunkards. That we are not. We simply agree with the wisdom of our ancients and forefathers on the blessing of beer!

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. -Benjamin Franklin

I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer. -Abraham Lincoln

We old folks have to find our cushions and pillows in our tankards. Strong beer is the milk of the old. -Martin Luther

The roots and herbs beaten and put into new ale or beer and daily drunk, cleareth, strengthen and quicken the sight of the eyes. -Nicholas Culpeper

He was a wise man who invented beer. -Plato

14 December 2009

St. Lucia Day

In Sweden, Christmastime begins on Dec ,13. This is St Lucia Day.

St. Lucia was a brave young woman who was martyred about 304A.D.
In those days, most people hated Christians, so they had to live in dark tunnels. St Lucia brought food to them every single night. She wore candles on her head to light her path. On St Lucia Day, Swedes celebrate the Festival of Light. Long before sunrise , the oldest girl in the family dresses all in white. She puts an evergreen wreath with seven lighted candles on her head. She carries coffee and buns to her family in their rooms.

God Jul (happy Christmas)to you!

When a Northern Front Comes In.

So it’s already been mentioned that weather from the north means electric blankets for the cows, coffee for the hens, hot tubs for the ducks. We girls, however, donned the skates.

Heavy rain followed by weeks of freezing weather makes the best conditions on the pond.

With the exception of a few characteristically placed
branches around the edge that protruded from the
depths of the mud up through the ice
(look out!)
from some windstorms that brought in the front, the pond’s surface was outstanding for the blades.

We visited also, the pond at Vicktory Farm & Gardens. Their pond has the surface of a small lake. And certainly, the more the merrier!

Typical of the green and mild PNW, snow often comes on a warming trend. Yesterday we would skate our last as the snow fell and projections of rain, cloud the forecast. How beautiful and what a blessing to live a little ‘Currier and Ives’ on occasion.
After skating, our family, spread between four homes along the street, packaged St. Lucia buns, and delivered them throughout the neighborhood with caroling and greetings of the season. We do this every year on December 13, the day of Saint Lucia.

The snowfall enhanced the pleasure we took in an already anticipated family event with the addition of several well placed (no black eyes, only some initial stinging) snowballs and made the hot coffee and tiramisu around the wood stove at Pop and Patty MorMor’s that much richer.

I guess our life here on 42nd Avenue really is Currier and Ives!

That is a blessing indeed.

04 December 2009

Soon the Winter

The nights are down into the twenties with the daytime just reaching the low forties. A scosh of snow predicted for Saturday. If any perennials were holding on to their fronds and flowers, our week of frost has sent them into complete dormancy. Only the winter garden remains.
Water trough ice to break, lamp to the coop, blanket over pullet enclosure, hay to the paddock, and extra feed for everybody.

01 December 2009

An Advent Lesson- Day 3

God, when He created man, did not sit on His heavenly throne inventing a bunch of rules for his human creatures to follow, or not follow, therefore in continual consternation of ruin.
Enter Dear Messiah.

O come, o come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel.

What a guttural, echoing cry.

There are more than 600 Mosaic laws, rules if you will. Ugh. I’d ‘av been kicked out after my first Passover and sent outside the city gates; no doubt a corner of my kitchen that didn’t get purged! There is no possible way I could remember feast laws much less all 600 hedge laws!

Christ came to fulfill the law. Redeemed.

Matthew 22 :34-39 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Here Jesus is giving two commandments. Phew! Just two. But these two precepts cover oh, so much ground.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

These words of Paul’s fall under the words of Christ perfectly. They help to fine tune the details of the day-to-day.

If Mike leads his family under these words of Jesus, it navigates the narrow path we are to follow. We don’t have a bunch of rules hanging on the refrigerator door. Big misunderstanding people have of us. The further we walk the narrow road, the narrower it becomes. Less recognizable to us walking it but glaringly so to those still hauling the ‘wide load’ sign.
Funny how we never recognize our mire for what it is until the Holy Ghost gently removes the scales from our eyes (I speak for myself). When Christ calls you from out of your mire, however nicely you have it arranged, or painted, or dressed, or washed, or decorated, transformation is inevitable but inexpressible to anyone who has yet to meet freedom in compliance to Christ. Mike led his family out of a mire probably twelve years ago. And it gets easier. But it doesn’t get any easier. The stakes change. The ante goes up.

Ransom paid! Captive no longer!

Mike doesn’t make up a bunch of rules that his family can’t or won’t follow. He leads us with Paul’s words in mind-what ever is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report- anything that falls under this benchmark is welcomed to his family, to meditate on these things. Our family follows these excellent, inspired principles under Christ's commandments. We girls do as we learn, receive, hear and see the Big Daddy do; one as a wife, the other two as daughters. Wow! That’s a bundle of responsibility! Thank you, Mike for your obedience. That calling is immense and not for the faint of heart though, truly, few men take it. Bless, Father, the broad shoulders upon which, dared to brave Your calling for our family.