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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

On understanding Eeyore and on being invisible

 This is my maternal great grandmother.  I've always thought I looked a bit like her.  She looks so melancholy.  She died many years before I was born, when she was only in her 50's and my grandfather was only 16 years old.



 Here's me, about 2 1/2 or 3 years old.  Even then I couldn't quit thinking.









Then there's Eeyore.  He can't quit thinking either and he's feeling melancholy, too.  Not to mention, invisible. 

I had another invisible moment recently.  It was actually while I was in the hospital.  I had shuffled into the emergency room, walking softly, to avoid jarring my painful innards, wearing my flannel jammy pants.  (Just FYI, I am only seen in public in flannel jammy pants when in dire straits...you didn't see me, did you???)  Anyhow, the nurse came to collect me, promptly led me to the actual emergency area, handed me a 'sample' cup and pointed me towards the restroom.  Just before she shut the door, she stared at my feet, hesitated, and then asked, "What size are your feet?"   In my poor befuddled state I was trying to decide what bearing my shoe size would have on the pain in my stomach.  I hesitatingly told her size 7,  and she informed me that she had a pair of new shoes that she couldn't wear and that my feet looked just the right size.  (And....you're telling me this while I stand here in pain?) 
Then she decides that my husband can answer medical questions on my behalf, so she shuts the bathroom door and off they go.  By the time I got out of the bathroom, there was no one in sight.  I'm an introvert and always feel a bit awkward in strange situations.  I was beginning to feel a bit sorry for myself.  After all, I was the patient!  Where is the sympathetic crew to pat my hand and croon over me?  Nope, no one in sight. Even the desk person had left.  I finally listened and realized that down the hall I could hear my husband's voice so I shuffled along until I found the correct cubicle.  Sigh.

Well, now I'm at home, recuperating nicely.  My Ebay store has gone crazy, so I have plenty to do while finishing up my recovery.  I always figure there's a lesson in everything and no doubt several in my recent health experiences.  I'm seeing the other side of the coin in a small way - from being a caregiver to being cared for.  Of course, I don't need much care, but it definitely looks different being on this side.  I'm getting a a glimpse into how frustrating it is to not be able to do all you once did, dependent on others in many ways.

Once again, I'm grateful to the Lord for seeing me through and for giving me new insight into caring for my aging mother, who, by the way, has never found me to be invisible.  She has always been my cheering squad,  my staunch supporter, always watching out for me.  Even now as she makes her way to the living room, dragging her oxygen cord along,  she says to me as I am folding some laundry, "Should you be doing that?"

Cherish each  moment you have with your loved ones and do your best to be patient with the sick & elderly.  Don't make them feel invisible. (I think I'm back to being melancholy again!)




Friday, December 26, 2014

Of French Toast, Contentment and Simple Things

 Everyone should eat French Toast occasionally, but only if you make it from yummy ingredients.

I made white bread (just this once we'll ignore the old saying 'the whiter your bread, the quicker you're dead') and added candied fruit. The next day it was just begging to be made into French Toast.  Seriously.


 Day old, it sliced up fabulously (what was so great about presliced bread, I'd like to know?)

I beat up eggs (our own, of course, from feisty Black Austrolorp hens), add in copious amounts of vanilla & cinnamon and mellow it out with fresh milk.  Did I mention it is goat milk?   And artificial vanilla?  Don't even go there.  Real stuff, all the way.
 Dip it, slap it on the griddle, flip it,  and in about 5 minutes you've got breakfast!  Be sure to put real butter & real maple syrup on it.  After all, what would be the point of eating fake food?
Voila, the finished product.  (Have you ever noticed how many times people spell VOILA incorrectly?  I've seen such horrid examples as 'wa-la' and 'walla'.  Oh dear.)  (Have you ever noticed how many times I put things in parenthesis?)

On another note, Christmas is past now and we look ahead to the New Year.  I always feel melancholy at Christmas.  My kids haven't married, so no extended family there.  I'm an only child..no family there either.  I only ever knew my Mom's side of the family and most of them have passed away.  Christmas nowadays is very quiet.

I guess I didn't appreciate it as fully as I should have.  This Christmas I spent the day in my recliner with a heating pad on my painful lower abdomen (enough information there!).  At about 4 the next morning, my husband and I travelled the 30+ miles to the hospital emergency room, where I was subjected to many unpleasant experiences until it was determined that I have diverticulitis.  Seriously...me?  But I'm only.....never mind.   This was NOT on my Christmas list. 

Now I'm home and taking antibiotics and trying to be happy to sit in a chair.  I prefer to be moving all the time from arising in the morning, until I hit my bed at night.  This......this just SITTING.....makes me twitch.
And while everyone else is eating delicious leftovers from Christmas dinner (with GRAVY, no less!) I am reduced to chicken broth and jello.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm writing this tongue-in-cheek.  I am THRILLED to be home in my recliner as opposed to tensely waiting on a hospital bed.  I LOVE our home canned chicken broth and feel fortunate to be in my own home sipping it, comforting heating pad & all.  The jello became a joke as for some reason my daughters seem incapable of making jello that actually sets up (today was no exception) so I mustered up all my gumption and made it myself.  Don't laugh, but it now is calling to me from the fridge....cool, orangey, practically solid!

It was a great Christmas.  I love my kids, my husband, my mom.  We are so blessed to have Mom still with us after all her health issues this past year.  The Lord blesses us richly every day and I'm grateful. 

I think I'll go see if the jello set up.  And I'll be thankful with every nibble for a lovely quiet Christmas just past. 

Thank you Lord Jesus for every earthly gift you've bestowed upon us this year, but especially for the promise of salvation sent down those many long years ago to that lowly manger in Bethlehem.  We are undeserving, but oh so grateful.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

More on Caregiving and....Can we settle down for a long winter's nap yet?

   Today after a long morning of caregiving, I escaped drove into town for groceries.  I had already seen to all Nanny's morning needs, helped my husband cut & wrap elk meat and dealt as best I could with the fact that we have very little water at the moment and we're not sure why.
I barely made it halfway through Walmart before the fatigue set in and I wasn't completely sure that I could finish my shopping.  Groceries didn't seem all that important all of a sudden.  Sitting down in my recliner sounded good.
 Of course, it takes about 3 years to get through Walmart, another decade in the checkout line and then you have to hike back to your truck and load the groceries in.  After a 35 minute drive home, you get to unload said groceries, put them away, take the dog out and come up with some dinner.

Can you say....Pajama pants?  Quilt?  Hot cocoa?

 Of course, while I was gone someone bought a set of these Fat Lil Redbirds, a set of Fat Lil Crows and three Belted Pigs.


 At least I sew sitting down!

Today my mom was a bit fixated on the heater in her room.  She was cold so she turned the electric wall heater on.  As soon as it warmed up a bit, she was hot.  She turned it off.  Each time it was on, she wanted to leave her door open.  You cannot heat the entire house with one wall heater.  You will burn the heater out. You MUST leave the door shut to that room while the heater is on.  She argues about it with me.

 She wanted her room rearranged.  She insisted that if she were to lie down on her bed for a nap and at that time I was to decide to move her bed, I should just do it while she was napping on it.  I thought she was joking......She wasn't. 

Today she wanted cranberry juice.  I had apple, grape and Gatorade.  When she found out I was headed to the grocery store, she went and made a list.  
Cookies.  And three kinds of ice cream.  Vanilla.......and......and.....Some other kinds.  Not chocolate.  Vanilla with.......things in it.

She doesn't actually eat much and certainly cannot eat that much ice cream. 

Oh well.  It's not worth arguing over.  I'm learning this.  I'm actually learning a lot.   About myself. 

I'm back home again after buying TWO kinds of ice cream and a bag of store-bought cookies.  She's closed her door and gone to bed, so I now have a couple of hours to myself before I go to bed.  And then it will begin again tomorrow.  And I will learn more.  About myself.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

 The newest addition to my ever changing collection is this nice oak treadle sewing machine.

It is in quite nice shape and has quite a few attachments included.
 The interesting part is that it is a Two Spool machine made by the National Sewing Machine Company.  Instead of a spool of thread on top and a bobbin under the machine, this one has a canister underneath, where you would usually find the bobbin (pictured below) that takes another spool of thread.  I suppose they figured that would save you winding bobbins. 
 On my imaginary list of machines that SHOULD be in my collection, this one was pretty near the top.

My daughter found it by chance at the local Goodwill Store.

It was not a bargain.  It took me all of about 1/2 second to KNOW it was mine!
 The most amusing thing was when we went to pick it up, the warehouse guy apologized, telling us that some kids were playing with it and broke the 'power cord'. 

I guess that's sort of true.  Its power comes not from a motor, but is people-powered.  The leather treadle belt could be considered the power cord, I suppose!
 Look at the lovely grain of that oak!
 The original manual was still in the drawer, though in pretty ragged pieces.

A fabulous addition to my 'herd'.  I can't wait to try her out!

I earn my sewing machine money myself by creating primitives.
 Mostly I've been busy with Christmas primitives, but sure enough rabbit and pig orders pop up anyhow.

Which reminds me, I need to make a set of these bunnies tonight.
 My newest creations have been Olde World Santas.  Here are two of my most recent ones. 

I don't care for the modern 'fat guy in a red suit' santa, but I can tolerate these Olde World Father Christmas types quite well and am definitely having a lot of fun making them.
 I've had more time for sewing and crafting lately.  My mom is much better and doesn't require so much care.  (Praise the Lord for THAT answer to prayer!)  Apparently He isn't finished with her yet!

I'm working on a gift quilt, have some unfinished stuff lined up to work on and of course I'm gathering fabric for a new Christmas quilt for myself - not that it'll be done by Christmas, but it's fun to buy and plan with Christmas fabrics at this time of the year.

It's been rainy & windy - perfect weather to do the household necessary chores as quick as a bunny and then get right to my sewing/crafting studio and CREATE!!!

 You can find me at:
 http://stores.ebay.com/hilltophomesteadprimitives

 These little guys are
popular, too.  I have an Ebay store and am gaining followers and enjoying my little corner of the Ebay world! 

God has richly blessed me and I'm so thankful.  Every good and perfect gift is from Him!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fruit Fly Traps, getting ready for Winter and Easy Macaroni & Cheese!

I'm all about comfort foods at the moment.  We're working hard to get everything buttoned down for the season and Nanny likes food that's easy to eat. 

Macaroni & Cheese - how can you go wrong on that?
Easy Recipe:  Boil water, add two cups favorite pasta & cook til tender.  Meanwhile, put an egg, a cup of milk & two cups of shredded cheddar or combo of cheese (we like grated parmesan) and a squirt of honey mustard in a casserole dish.
When pasta is done, drain it, add it to cheese mixture, cover and bake at 350* for 30 minutes.  All done....

I'm about done working on Fall primitive projects.  Here are some tags I did....I've worked my way through pumpkins, bats, pigs, rabbits, witches & witches hats. 

Today I finished up a pair of Californian Rabbits, a
trio of Fat Lil Crows and started on some Gingerbread Boys.
  I had to quit after that because I promised myself I'd clean all my rabbit pans today - I was joking to myself about weakly rabbit cleaning (pun intended).  I have 24 'holes' in my rabbitry and they all have rabbits in them!  That's a lot of pans to empty and lots of bunny pals to pet!
I took my hummingbird & finch feeders down & cleaned them for the season.  I need to get the porch furniture put away and find all the scattered shovels, rakes & forks, too, but not today.
 How do you like my new 'designer' scissors?  They are a stunning pattern of orange - perfect for my favorite season....FALL!!!
 Recently we've canned apple pie filling and 12 half gallon jars of cider.  To finish up the apple canning, we made applesauce & apple butter.  This year the trees made GAZILLIONS of apples - the orchard floor is a carpet of apples, way more than we could even think of using.  Every night the fat bush bunnies and trio of deer come and stuff themselves. 
 My cellar shelves have changed.  When the kids were growing up I put everything in quart jars.  Now, it seems like we always end up wasting stuff, so we've canned a lot in pints.  We'll see how that works out. 
 Yesterday the sun shone long enough for me to get out on my beloved John Deere lawn tractor and mow, mow, mow my fields! 

My family thinks I'm weird because I LOVE to mow!  I'm in my own little world on my mower - high on my hilltop farm enjoying the air, the leaves, the hills...  I thank God every day for letting me live on this farm that I love.
On the other hand, I HATE fruit flies!  I cannot remember ever having a fruit fly infestation like this year!  GROSS.  However, I googled fruit fly traps and it actually WORKED.  Canning jar, paper funnel and vinegar in the bottom.  All gone fruit flies.  It only took about 3 days to get them all.

Ahhhhhhh.  Much better!

Well, the day is done.  Daughter had us down to her place for lasagna, green beans, garlic bread, orange jello & whipped cream and then coffee & blondies for dessert!  Back to the 'big house' now and time to settle down in my chair and catch up on some sleep reading now. 


Friday, October 10, 2014

Caregiving is hard so take a break and come tour my personal Sewing Machine Museum!

Fifteen weeks have passed since my last entry.  Seems like it's been longer...an age, an era.  Three weeks after my last post, my mom (hereafter referred to as Nanny) came down with chemotherapy-induced pneumonia and spent three long weeks in the hospital.  She came home changed. 

Now we are caregivers.  We have learned many new and exciting things.  Can you say.....oxygen?  Ensure?  Prednisone?  Depends?  Wheelchair?  Immodium?  Steroid psychosis?  Memory loss?  Confusion?   I used to be the mother of small children that needed my watchful eye upon them at all times; my finely tuned ear trained to hear the merest whimper, the slightest cry.  I am 55 and thought I was done with all that and then.....this.  And I am reinvented.  I alternate between patient and loving, then exasperated and frustrated.  And I am unhappy with me when I cannot be pleasant and detached during the hard moments.  I am newly devoted to prayer, to depending on God even more than usual.  I am insufficient for this job for sure.  The Lord gives me the grace to continue each day.  I am doing better as each day goes by.  But then, so is Nanny.  So am I only handling it better because she is getting better?  I have an all new respect and admiration for caregivers EVERYWHERE!  Bless you, whoever and wherever you are.

My refuge is my Sewing Room.  My Craft Room.  My Museum (don't laugh).  I shall take you on a tour and you will love it, too.  I'm serious.









There.  Don't you feel better now?  I should be slim, trim and beautiful before long.  This haven is UPSTAIRS in my house, so I run the stairs many times a day.  I have MANY machines (no, I don't know how many....)  Some are common, some are not.  Yes, I sew on them.  I make sure that each is complete and works as it was intended.  They are beautiful.

Recently I learned of a musician named Peter Hollens.  You can look him up on YouTube and listen to Shenendoah and then, The Prayer.   At the moment, they are my favorites and I have listened to them about a zillion times.

I made four loaves of bread today.  Dinner is in the oven.  Nanny is watching TV in her room.  Dinner is in the oven.  At this moment, all is well and peaceful.  Thank you Lord, for every good and perfect gift.....and this moment is one.

Until next time,

Matthew 6:34King James Version (KJV)

34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.




Thursday, June 26, 2014

 I live in a very GREEN part of Washington State.  I always have, and I love it!

We camped (yes, again!), this time at Cape Disappointment State Park, home of the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, the Coast Guard Station and former military batteries which were part of the 'Harbor Defense of the Columbia'.  Originally built in 1904 with 6" guns, they were decommissioned in May of 1945.

Our climate is very suited to rust, mold & decay, so much of the wood used is gone but the concrete
 remains and is very fun to explore and imagine the past activity there.











 Of course, WE did not add graffiti to our list of fun things to do, just took advantage for a pic!
 No American camp-out would be complete without the token S'mores.  This was our first time to try out the GIANT marshmallows.  I was not impressed, though we got slightly hysterical watching one of us try to consume the sticky mass.

Several good friends/relatives have been in our thoughts and prayers this month as one lovely lady passed away, another friend fell and broke several bones in her shoulder/clavicle and my mom's brother fell and broke his hip AND collar bone!  So hard to see those you love hurting and many prayers have been going up for these loved ones!
 Later this past month we hauled our camper over the pass into Eastern Washington to atttend the Washington State Convention Rabbit Show.  We stayed at a KOA on the Yakima River and showed 4 French Lops, one English Lop and one red New Zealand.  The bunnies did well - better than we did, actually.  I suffered a nasty attack of vertigo and was glad to exit the huge building teeming with rabbits, dust & people!
 A typical meal for us while camping - salisbury steaks, potato wedges & roasted brussels sprouts.  Yum.  We like our 'real' food, so we take it along!
 Eastern Washinton - many parts are barren, dry, and well, ugly!

Did I mention...hot?  In its defense, there were some very lovely farms, stunning old barns and lush alfalfa fields in the valleys.
 By the time we were headed home, the top of White Pass was looking much more like our familiar tree-scapes and we stopped at the top for coffee & goodies (red licorice, cheddar cheese & sour cream potato chips) and a stretch of the legs.
 Last stop for the day - La Wis Wis Campground.  A primitive campground in the heart of the Cascade foothills.  Stunning rivers, old growth trees, quiet......

The water was GLACIAL.  Can you tell?
Beautiful La Wis Wis is located in the Tatoosh Wilderness area of the Cowlitz Valley Ranger District. The campground sits where the Ohanapecosh River, Cowlitz River and Purcell Creek meet. 








A funny thing happened that evening. About 9:30ish, we were in the camper, settled in for the evening reading in our jammies when we hear a knock on the door.  "Is it too late to see the rabbits?  Have the rabbits gone to bed?" in an English accent, no less!  Of course we love to show off the show bunnies, so we came out and opened the tailgate of the truck, got out a couple of impressive 15 pound French Lops and visited with the interesting stranger for a half hour or so.  She was originally from Yorkshire, hence the accent.  She was suitably impressed and we enjoyed the visit.
 
Back home here it seems like everything grew a foot in the 4 days we were gone and the work to do has doubled!  We're breeding rabbits for the ARBA National Convention in Texas this coming Fall - only a 9-day window of time to get them bred in order for the young bunnies to be old enough to travel with their transporter come Fall.  Garden to weed, strawberry jam to can & lots of other stuff so I'd best get to doing something useful! 

Psalm 62:8

King James Version (KJV)
Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.