26 October 2011

Worthy Epicurean Art

tortelinisalad3[1]Whilst sojourning in the tropics a fortnight in June 2009, our family was introduced to a scrumptious dish cultivated in the melting pot called Honolulu. The developer- one Sam Chow- restaurateur and chef. Found in the local paper, Ms.TR scooped it right up and did Mister Chow's recipe well. We devoured…. er…. enjoyed the dish, so, I brought it home to the main land to share with all.

Now I need add, I’m not proud of how poorly I follow a recipe. I’m a that-looks-about-right kinda girl; sewing, gardening, housekeeping, trimming children’s bangs…mmm hmm.

Be fore warned- the only thing perfectly accurate to the Chow dish are the proportions of the tortellini filling- everything else is claimed only by this simple chef of the people: Me (she claims modestly).

Sautéed Shrimp with Goat Cheese Tortellini

Tortellini filling: mix the following well.

4oz goat cheese

1T parmesan

1tsp minced chives

1T cream

½ tsp nutmeg


Wonton wrappers (homemade pasta works great too!)

12 jumbo Skinned Shrimp (of course, this portion is always expandable!)

Golden raisins (or cranberries, or dried cherries, or...)

Pine nuts (or pecans perhaps, mmm)

Balsamic vinegar

Cut wonton wrappers into circles (I used the goat cheese package as a template-it measured 4 ½ in. dia.).

IMG_1079Fill with about a teaspoon of filling.



IMG_1081Fold in half and seal.



IMG_1088Wrap ends around finger to complete tortellini and seal.

Boil for about 5 minutes. You may also freeze them for later use.

IMG_1086Sauté Shrimp in butter and garlic (how much butter and garlic is enough? Or shrimp for that matter). Toss with boiled tortellini, raisins, pine nuts, balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with salt. I serve this on a bed of beet greens and spinach from the garden.

20 October 2011

Twinkies, Meet Daughters

Not a worthy introduction, I’m quite sure, but regardless, it was made (and it was fun).

With a twelve year shelf life, we could say it adds years to your life, right? Who can resist, the plasticized, cream filling, inside the soft foam rubber mold…er…cake?

America keeps Hostess in business and this week, I was a culprit.

fall2010, new calf 2011 005_thumb[2]

Possibly the exact opposite of Certified Organic, I wonder when Hostess will take a page from today’s marketing strategy playbook and make a Twinkie with organic ingredients and silly moms across the fruited plains will jump onto the bandwagon of all-things-organic-equals-nutrition. Hostess could do the same with fruit pies, Ding Dongs and other various confections! Just think of it!

I’m certainly thankful to live in a country where free men everywhere can eat Twinkies, Ho-ho’s or maybe, raspberry filled powered sugar doughnuts, in peace, if they so choose (until years later, when man, with good sense, takes a bite and says to wife, “what have you done to me? I used to like these!”)!

17 June 2011

Whoa Nelly on the Big K

For you non-scientists out there, that K stands for kalium- Latin that is, for potassium and I’ve plenty of it!

In the PNW, soils from British Columbia to the south end of the Willamette Valley are heavy on potash (alkaline) and deficient on calcium (Ca, for the closest chemists). That means, of course, I have to add it, and add I shall.

Amend at a rate of about 50lbs to 1000 square feet of garden. Good. It’s cheap stuff. Ours, purchased through Azure Standard of Dufer, Oregon, was six and some change, for a 50lb. bag. Oops, now! Don’t overdo it! More is too much and you could do damage to the tilth (healthy dirt).

Soil west of the Cascade Mountains, range from coarse loam to clay. Ours here in the Hedgerow falls smack dab in the middle at fine silt.

Though only a few feet under the surface lies clay (fine, flat particles, fitting tightly together), the fraction of clay particulate in the topsoil for balanced loam, is quite probably wanting. Did I say balanced loam? That would be redundant, silly me!

Loam is soil that is balanced. Just about equal parts sand, silt and clay (clay being the slighted fraction) and loam is what we’re aiming at.

Our garden is blooming with math and science. It’s a new classroom (without the ‘class’ or the ‘room’) everyday we’re in it! We hope yours is too.

28 March 2011

Ode To “D”

O, Vitamin D

O, D of vites

You give me strength

You give me might!


Bring forth cheer when skies are grey

In that little oily way

How can it be that you can do

So much for me and my dull mood


Here in my most NW’rn of climes,

When Spring comes slow and takes it’s time

To greet those winter weary kind

Like myself. Beam now, Sunshine!


Until the glimmer breaks through the cloud

You, my friend, will be my vow

Of good health I do pronounce!


O, Vitamin D!

10 March 2011

Big Equipment Farmer

Here's the Boss-Man farming the only way he knows how: Big equipment.

2010 04 25_0129When driving by the CAT dealership, forget any conversation you might have been engaged in... someone just lost connection...and it wasn't me. "Uh, huh," I hear, from lips on the port bow of the truck, responding absently. Give it another block or so and he'll return to the land of human relationships, and pick up the dialog with no suggestion of distraction.

Most men hook their truck up to the travel trailer to move it. This is much more efficient, Mike might tell you. Some men may scoff. But then, every farmer knows his crop.

Have a truck that no longer runs, has flat tires? Need it flipped around? Say, try the a loader bucket!

Big Equiptment-2

Need a tree stump removed where there happens to be a hive nearby? Just wear your sister's beekeeper net!


No guts, no glory- or something like that.

2010 10 03_1355

Who said the Big Guy and I couldn't work in the garden together? We both move around soil with two hands and puff exhaust. My hoe turns delicate, detailed areas around beets and rutabagas, while his D3C XL (XL? duh.) cuts through hard pan and clay, falls trees, and shapes swaths of land.

I know women who require their husbands to shower before bed or keep clean fingernails. There's no doubt that makes housekeeping easier! For that matter, I know men who have a tidier dispositions than their wives, flannel wearing or not. As for me, give me a farmer, whatever the crop, covered in dust and smelling of diesel fuel-

White sheets can always be replaced!

16 February 2011

Early Season Planting Begins

Ducks have proven to be a critical part of the garden. Allow me to encourage you to add some to yours.

They eat slugs; many, many slugs. They waddle to and fro destroying very little. Watch out for your flower bulbs (they eat them) and your lettuces (they trample them) but all around the laughter that fills the yard is quite pleasant. When the pond gets crowded, ducks are yummy with rice pilaf and spinach salad and the down makes a lofty pillow (how resourceful!).

Ducks also devour pea seeds and sprouts. The floating row cover renders useless to the nature of the wriggling duckbill; functional for ranging chickens, F.Y.I., but futile under the influence of Quackers. Because of the pricey lesson last year, this winter the peas go to the front where the ducks are unable to roam. We instead will have to chance it with crows, weasels, voles and cottontails.

When the native Indian Plum (oemleria cerasifomis)begins to show its leaves, it is time to begin the pea crop. We planted today and will plant in two weeks, twice over, to ensure a longer harvest. Varieties this early season include ‘Sugar Star’ (snap) and ‘Oregon Sugar Pod II’ (snow). As the weather warms we'll use warmer tolerant varieties.

English peas classify as legumes- a nitrogen fixer into the soil. The deep taproot pulls nutrients up from the hidden layers of the terra firma and deposits them for shallower rooted plants. Peas will get the first crack at this bed and the season shall finish out with summer and winter squash.

Fall nursing included tilled green and horse manure to replace weakened nutrients last garden season.

In the garden we are at the mercy of the weather systems. In terms of expectations, a casual wave of the hand with “we shall see…” is our best outlook! However, let's anticipate, somewhere around Easter, our first picking.

07 February 2011

One Ton of Fun

Big Daddy only drives big trucks.

When we go to Seattle for our annual Christmas dally and dinner, we have to take our small car, ’95 Chevy Suburban. He doesn’t enjoy it but it is the vehicle what fits in a parking garage.

Last year we found open parking on 7th and Stewart so, (yep, you guessed it!) we all piled into the F-350 this last December!

Mike really, really likes his truck, and in part thanks to Chuck at the Powershop in Enumclaw, who brought it back from one wheel shy of the wrecking yard or a total rebuild with a Cummins block.

Needless then to say, we girls have few opportunities to drive the big blue one ton. Driving it is the next best thing to being with the Big Daddy- we take it when we can! We had it one day last week...

Out to buy groceries we saw our chance to park next to a SmartCar.

Wanna see?


Bwaaa! Ha-ha-aaaaaah!

Get a load of this (or rather we could take a load of this).

01 February 2011

Rarely Seen Footage

“Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished” says the Lord (via Jeremiah’s clay and stylus).

Two summers past, Mike and I had the fortune of witnessing parents of a fine young man make a proposal of intent, on behalf of their son, to parents of a daughter back home. Our mouths were agape. It was possibly the most beautiful scene of real life we’ve ever been a third party to.

It was if we’d taken a step into the world of Austen or Dickens (except we were bikers that weekend and I’m not sure leather chaps, and helmets translates favorably into a Dickens type character that I would wish to be) where children entrusted their future spouse to the wisdom of their elders, their parents.

A deal was made, all parties in agreement. We parted ways an hour or so later, crying, praying, contemplating and the respective parents of the projected couple were off to talk with their kids about the proposal.

Side note: The parents in the above story really didn’t make the choice. It was God’s selection. The children had trust in their parent’s godly authority to speak into their lives as young adults through submission to Christ. Everyone in our story had free will.

Out dated and uncivilized? Archaic, you say?

We would have too, several years ago but really, what better liaison could one have for negotiating a spouse then godly parents who know the deepest character of their children, what God gifted them to be and whom would befit them as a partner.

According to God’s word, we are to "find wives for our sons", and "give our daughters to husbands". Parents are not monsters that take pleasure in their children’s torment but exactly the opposite, so we can conclude they would skillfully, advisedly choose a life partner. Doesn’t a parent want the best for their children? Isn’t God a Parent? Doesn't He desire His Best for us?And isn’t our walk with Christ about submission and the yielding of self will. Is it not said that our relationships with others reflect our relationship to God? How beautiful to have children that tribute with faith and humility, their parents.

See the heavenly connection? The Son submits to the Father, The Father loves the Son.

Those kids are married now; loving their new spouse, and thanking their parents for wisdom and faith.

20 January 2011

Gooses, Geeses

I heard some Canadian geese honking today.
I also saw a northern “V”. It’s been rather noisy the last few days.
Whew! Spring comes mighty quick!

19 January 2011

Cinderella Who?

20th anniversary 056

Smoke billowing out of the woodstove means only one thing: I’ll be on the roof with a brush in one hand a flat screwdriver in the other.

Today, I timed myself. How long does it take this little lady to do a man-job?

45 minutes.

Thirty minutes to set up the ladder, climb up on the roof, oops, I forgot the screwdriver, retrieve the screwdriver, back up the ladder, attach brush to pole sections, remove chimney cap, brush stove pipe, brush chimney cap and replace, ask Dale for the broom, sweep roof, gather tools and head down the ladder. (Deep Breath) Fold up ladder, put away the Bossman’s coveted Snap-on Screwdriver, breakdown brush and pole, and into the house to eradicate creosote from the firebox.

Thirty minutes. Not bad, though I don’t know the current record for such a task. Maybe I should aim at beating my time.

The 45 minute mark comes in with that tiresome piece of insulation lid inside the stove that comes out fairly easily but is a beast to return: this is what slows my time, every time. Argh!

Ah, I do this sneeze inducing task but twice a year, so in spring, I may implement new methods. Any ideas? Cinderella you say? Nah, we don’t have time to moon romantically over ashes!

07 January 2011

The Surprise Gift

Last night was Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, or The Feast of the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles. Take your pick. It is always January 6.

The Mommies made sushi with the kids, family gathered for the feast, and to end the day, Boss man and I each opened a gift.

Now a few days ago, I explained to the daughters the Epiphany gifts were for Daddy and myself. One girl puzzled that both gifts were the result of my shopping not daddy’s and how could I open a gift I had bought and wrapped myself. I explained that in the Christmas gift buying process, extra needs always get tossed into the mix and I simply wrap them for the pleasure and reminder that even a need fulfilled is a gift. It really does not matter to me if I know what is under wrap and in a box. To open it is still a delight and a need met. I challenged them to reflect on their own gifts and that they receive mostly what could classify under “needs”, and how rapturously they receive with a delighted heart.

But both gifts are from mama, not from mama to daddy and daddy to mama, child questions. Watch and see how it works, I encourage the small, bewildered person.

Big Daddy and I opened our gifts last night with the anticipated cheerful results. We read a book, The Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke and beautifully illustrated by Robert Barrett.

It is the story of Artaban, a wise man who traveled to meet three of the friends that had been studying the promise in the ancient writings that a star would rise signifying the birth of a Great King. He had just ten days to meet his friends at the Temple of Babylon for their journey in search of this King. Taking up his treasure gift, he began his travels. However, on his flight to Babylon, Artaban stopped to help a sick man lying along the road. This gracious delay caused him to miss his friends in Babylon. Attempting to catch the traveling party in Bethlehem, he came across a woman hiding her infant from Herod’s slaughter of infants. Artaban helped save this woman’s child from the sword with a portion of his treasure. He heard that the Baby King’s Family had fled to Egypt and there too, Artaban searched. He searched across many lands for thirty- three years, all the while feeding the hungry, clothing the needy, when finally, in Jerusalem, hears that two notorious robbers were being crucified along with a man named “King of the Jews”. Meanwhile, he heard the cries of a desperate girl, being drug to a life of slavery as payment for her father’s debts. With the last of his treasure gift for the King, Artaban buys the girl’s freedom. The sky blackens and the ground shakes. A crumbling building strikes Artaban to the ground. In his desperation of not having delivered his gift, a voice comforts him, “you fed me when I was hungry, you clothed me when I was naked, and you healed me when I was sick. Whenever you helped these, you helped me.”

Big Daddy pulled up from YouTube, Keith Green’s “Sheep and Goats”.

Eww. Please: No Keith Green.

Here is where I explain, I’m not any sort of fan of Green, or his music/vocal style, but Mike thinks it fits the present topic of discussion, and the foundation built by a dad is Holy and Divine so- let ‘er rip, Big Daddy! Show us what ya got!

When the video finished, we smooched the girls and sent them to bed. The weary mama I was, I lay down and shut my eyes. Unbeknownst to me, Mike was now on a Keith Green Internet Quest.

He found the Easter Song. I hadn’t heard it for years but many of the words found their way to my lips.

I awoke this morning with the words of the song not just in my mouth but resonating from my soul. Mike had gifted me last night. Not in the roundabout way of being the moneymaking provider that made, through me, store purchases, but as the strong, earthly guard of my salvation. I fell asleep with such peace, the joy of my Deliverance only to awaken with the same.

Free to all, Mike’s gift to me, I pass on to you this day because the Story of The Magi: Gold for a King, Frankincense for the High Priest, Myrrh for the Sacrifice, have Everything to do with the Resurrection.

I may have to reconsider my feelings about Keith Green.

05 January 2011

The Orient By Way of Central America

Picture This:

Two girls brainstorming the common thread between the Twelfth Night gift under the tree and the rice candy attached to the calendar.

AnnePants and AbiDale agree the theme is- things from the orient.

The Mama nods and with a prompting grin “…and tomorrow is …”,

“Three Kings Day!” the daughters chime together.

“We Three Kings of Orient are...” quotes Pants.

Dale, struck with quandary, “Oh, I thought they were from Mexico.”