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Friday, January 23, 2015

Keep Clam and other adventures on the Beach!

 I'd never been clamming  before.  My dear husband was just itching to go, so we packed up our camp trailer on Monday and headed to the coast.  Our destination is only about an hour & a half from home.  You dig for clams about an hour before low tide, even if it's after dark.  I refused to be on the beach in the dark, but we got our limit of clams quite easily before the sun was completely set.
 There were an unbelievable number of people on the beach!  We must have seen 1,000 people and at least 500-600 cars!  Everyone was polite and orderly, but it seemed very weird to move around the beach searching for clams with such a huge crowd.   I can't imagine where they all came from since the local towns are very small.

My dear husband (in the red plaid shirt) was having a blast.  I enjoyed it immensely right up until a sneaker wave hit the back of my legs clear up to my backside and just about took my feet out from under me.  I grabbed for DH, he grabbed for me and I stayed on my feet, but my rubber boots were filled with icy cold ocean water and the next 45 minutes or so were not the most enjoyable of my life.  It is winter, after all.
 Have you ever tried to walk in rubber boots that are filled with ice water?  I don't really recommend it. 

The day had been mostly sunny and pleasantly mild but once the sun went down it got pretty chilly.
 The ocean was calm and the clams (razor clams) were plentiful and quite easy to find.  I had absolutely no idea that all that sea life was just underfoot . 

Kind of creepy to think how many times we've walked the beach and really it was teeming with life just below the surface!  Ewwwwww!
 As usual, we can't make ourselves eat 'camp' we dined on pubhouse halibut, steamed broccoli, new potatoes and parmesan garlic rolls.....and coffee, of course.
 Here's our haul from the first day.   We repeated our fun the next day, sans the dunking in the cold water.  It was much more enjoyable staying dry.  We had our limit in about a half hour.   Now personally, I think clams are creepy and I can't imagine the first person who found one in the sand and thought, hmmm, here's an ugly blob in a hard shell.....guess I'll eat it.
 The weather is often unpredictable at the beach, though you can usually count on rain & fog in January.  It was amazingly pleasant for our little adventure and I got some nifty pictures.

(You should be able to click on any of them and they will enlarge so you can see them better.)
 Like a little kid, I can't help collecting things as I walk along.  Here are my finds from this outing.....I especially liked the barnacle-covered shell.

Have you ever broken a sand dollar and found the little 'birds' inside?  We loved to do that as children!
 It was so nice out on Wednesday morning that we were able to sit outside for awhile in the sunshine and weren't even chilly!

Some of the other campers dropped in and chatted about their clamming experiences, too.
 I think this pic with the seagull was my best shot.
 In between watching DH dig and pointing out clam holes to him, I was able to enjoy watching the sun go down as well.  We do have the advantage of gorgeous sunsets over our beaches which, of course, the east coast doesn't get to see.
 One last sunset view and that's all for this trip! 

A gal in a little shop gave us a recipe for baking the fresh clams.  You just dip them in a beaten egg, roll in crushed Ritz crackers and put them on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with butter and bake at 500* (yes, HOT!) for 8-10 minutes or until crisp & golden.  Husband LOVED them.  I bravely chewed up one and then generously allowed him to eat the rest.  I'm just not a seafood lover.
Evenings in the camper we watched a couple of movies, had a Yahtzee marathon (I won, of course!) and I got a little crocheting done on my afghan.

We stayed at Grayland Beach State Park and it was a blast!  The campsites are gorgeous and the park was well-maintained.  It was a wonderful adventure and we'll definitely go back!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Milk goats, Mini Lops and Meandering to the Coast for Clamming

 The wind's been blowing and the rain has made everything puddles & mud.  I'm glad my rabbits live inside the big greenhouse where it's dry and out of the wind!

Tailor-Bird wonders why I'm pointing my camera at her and isn't too sure she likes having her picture taken.

 This is Bitty Boots.  She's a very dumb cat.  When she was about 2 1/2 weeks old, her mama ran out of milk.  We didn't realize it right away and Bitty Boots was nearly starved before we figured it out and starting bottle feeding.  She's about a half-bubble off, but a pleasant kitty, nonetheless.  She walks to the barn ahead of me......weaving back & forth right in front of my feet and scowling back at me if I nip her heels a bit.
 Just for you, Y. Pudding, here's a picture of MaryAnne (on the left) and Shiloh (on the right) waiting for me to commence milking.  Each gives about 3 quarts in the morning and considerably less at night since we don't milk in even 12 hr intervals.  My milk stand has stanchions (head locking devices) for three goats at a time.  It's nice because all the goats have a chance to eat their grain that way as I milk pretty fast.
 As I walk out of the barn to the house, MaryAnne & Shilo head for the water bucket.  I guess grain makes you thirsty.  There are three more doe goats in the same pen, but they are still arguing over the grain tossed across the hay and can't be bothered to come outside and get a drink.

Our two milking shorthorn (breed name) steers are looking on in the background.
 While doing rabbit chores this morning, we lined up four of the Mini Lops and took a picture.  These guys are tri-colors - aren't they stunning?  My daughter raises Mini Lops, French Lops, English Lops and orange Netherland Dwards.  I have English Lops, New Zealand (meat breed) and one French Lop named Olivia.  We specialize in rare colored rabbits. 
 Back in the house again and here's a picture of my latest project in sewing machines.  This is a vintage Singer Serger.  It needs cleaning and doesn't have a power cord.  I bought one and am waiting for it to arrive in the mail.  I'm going to use the pedal in the picture and hope that I can get it up and running. 

My new quilting frame has fabric leaders (on the bars that hold the quilt top & backing) that need to be serged on the edges before I can start machine quilting.  I've got it almost ready to go and am anxious to start quilting!
 Ticking barn cats are in my Ebay store now.  Mostly I've done pigs....pigs and more pigs. 
 ...And today is no exception.  Two sets of pigs sold, so I spent some time cutting out more pigs!
 This is an old fashioned Coca Cola bottle crate.  I use lots of buttons and some black beads for eyes in my crafting and needed an organized arrangement for storage.  I tacked this crate to my wall and slipped matching jars into each hole.  I glued a sample of what's in each jar to the lid.  Works great!
This is just above the sewing machine I sew most of my primitives on.  I've nicknamed that machine Old Faithful.  It's an old black Singer model 201 with a powerful potted motor and it sews like a dream.

Well, the day is just about over and I'm tired.  I have two rooms upstairs in our house that are 1) my personal sewing machine museum & crafting/sewing room and 2) an adjoining crafting materials/storage room that now houses my new quilting frame as well.  I spent some time today reorganizing to make more room for the 7 1/2' frame.  Tomorrow my husband & I are leaving for a couple days at the beach in our camp trailer.  We live only about an hour & 15 minutes from the coast.  Hubby's going to dig a few clams (I will watch....) and we'll enjoy the scenery & have dinner out.  I'll post some pics when we get back.   The weather is supposed to be dry for the next couple days, but this is western Washington, after all, so there's no guarantee on that!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Of Baked Pancakes, Comfort and Keeping Your Eyes on Him

 Comfort foods.  The old standbys through the ages are the comforting and familiar. 

When I was in junior high school, Mrs. Albee taught us to make what she called Baked Pancakes.

I think some people call them Dutch Boys.

 Melt a 1/4 cup of butter and pour into a large pie plate.

In a little bowl, mix 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup milk, 2 eggs and 1/2 tsp. nutmeg.  Pour into the butter but DO NOT STIR.

Bake at 425* for about 17 or 18 minutes.  Mmm.  Smells good!
 Sprinkle with powdered sugar, cut into wedges and (here's that word again...) VOILA!  You can call it whatever you like.  I call it Breakfast.  Pour a cup of coffee and you're all set.  

Must be good, we've been eating it for 42 years....

 My passion in collecting is people-powered sewing machines; treadles & handcranks.  I've got not a few.

For Christmas I bought myself.......a personal quilting machine.  New.  White.  Plastic.  Oh, dear.
Well, my husband (enabler) bought me a quilting frame and I bought this mid-arm quilter so I'll be able to finish my own quilts at my own pace on my own quilting machine.  I've wanted one for simply ages, ever since I first saw one at the country Fair many years ago.
 Here's my latest quilt block from our monthly $5 Quilt Club.  I'm using "In the Beginning" fabrics by designer Jason Yenter.  It's going to be a lovely Christmas quilt when it's all finished!
 During the holidays and after, as I've been battling diverticulitis, I've left only my ongoing listings up.  They are primitive rabbits, pigs and fat lil birds.  It hasn't slowed anything down much and I've been swamped with trying to keep up and keep my store going while I'm under the weather, so to speak.

It's actually about 8:15 in the evening as I type this and I have a load of rabbits and pigs in my oven, drying the paint so I can finish them before tomorrow.  My ma has an oncology appt. at 8:30am, which means we leave the farm here at 7:30am.  Ugh.
 I'm trading milking times with my daughter - she'll milk for me in the morning so I don't have to get going quite so early!  (I'm getting the better end of THAT deal....the goats give way less milk at night!)

The fog we've had for the last week or two finally lifted this morning so we were assured that the hills are still there!  You can see just wisps of clouds still rising off the trees.
 A familiar trek for me here.  I walk to the barn to milk my goats every morning.  Right now just two are in milk - Shiloh and Maryanne.  I'm hoping that two others are actually pregnant, but time will tell.

Every day I look at the hills and this hilltop farm and thank God for allowing me to live here in this beautiful place!  I love every mud puddle, every bunny, every fir & maple tree on these 81 acres!
 Here's my 'selfie'.  I take horrid pictures.  Scrooge is a beauty queen compared to me.  I always look sad, mad....just plain bad :-)   My shadow looks ok, though.....I'm not fat, I'm just wearing a Carhart jacket.....

I just realized it's time to prune all the fruit trees.  We've got about 20 or so of them and it's time to get at it.  Well, not today.
You've heard of dog bones, of course.  Well, this is a bone dog.  Doesn't it look like a little dog?
I found it on the beach where the mighty Columbia River empties into the Pacific Ocean.  I guess it's a fish or whale vertebrae.   It still looks like a little dog to me...

Well, that's what I'm up to.  I realized today as I whined and whimpered, worried and waffled that it's much easier for me to be upbeat and cheerful when it's someone else's health in question.  I'm usually like Pollyanna saying there's always something to be glad about.  Then I started having the current health difficulties and straight away became fearful.  Tonight I was listening to an old CD (1993) by Christian artist Buddy Houghtaling.  The song that really spoke to my heart is one he wrote called Keep Your Eyes on Me.  It's based on Matthew 14 and is the story of Peter walking on the water to Jesus until he took his eyes off Him and went down.  It's awfully easy to follow Peter's example and take my eyes off Jesus.  When I do, I flounder.  When I keep my eyes on Him, He is the shelter in every storm of life and calms my troubled seas and heart.   "There is shelter in a storm, When it's me you're looking toward.  When you travel a troubled sea, Be keeping your eyes on me.  When you travel a troubled sea, Keep your eyes on me."

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Accepting the 2014 Newbie Blogger Award

Hare on the hill thars much foot stompin' an halleluyoorin' agoin' on tonight as we celebrate gittin' the NEWBIE-WHO-HASN'T-QUITE-GOT-THE-HANG-OF-IT Award, presented by nun other than MR. Beef Gravy hisself, the ESTEEMED Yorkshire Pudding!   (tiny smattering of applause)

Oh.  This just in:   Mr. Pudding was unable to attend today's presentation as he was still suffering fom bad choices at the goin's on at the big award celebration last night.  Poor Mr. Puddin'.  No doubt he'll feel better when his gout heals up.

Accepting now with a clear head and ear to ear grin.....Thank you, thank you.