Adam and I met on a chat room when we were 17. It was 4 years before we met in person. We have spent most of our married life in Georgia but we are finally back in Utah where we a few acres and hope to start a little homestead soon. We have 7 dogs and 2 cats. I like all things crafty, active, pioneery and outdoors and this is the place where I record all I'm learning and doing.
There was a joke in Adam’s family that all his personal pets (not the family dogs) outranked him because for some reason, he had given them all titles. So we have carried on that tradition with our dogs. First, we pick out their names, then we pick a title that goes well with their name. It is not part of their official name, nor is it even ever really used but they still must have one. Bear and Jasmine were hard to pick out names for. We had each one for a few weeks before we finally decided on the names. I think you all know that Bear’s real name is Bearregard so he has been dubbed General Bearregard. Jasmine’s title was actually her name when we got her (no, she is not named after a Disney Character) so she is Princess Jasmine. I found Jack in an ice storm and he survived the night somehow during the driving snow and ice. His teeth chatter if it’s too cold now and he has fat now that he didn’t have then. So I had to name him something that would commemorate his harrowing experience in the ice storm. His full name is Jack Frost. Neither of us call him that though, it’s always Jack or Jackie. I figure being named after Old Man Winter was a good enough title. Now Tucker needs a title too. We call him either Tucker or Tuck. Just a little side note here. When we got Jack and I named him Jack, I didn’t think about how Similar Jack and Jasmine sounded until every time I called Jack, Jasmine would come. It was complicated by the fact that we sometimes call her Jas. I thought we was doing good when we named Tucker because that doesn’t sound like either one…until we started calling him Tuck. So we have Jas, Jack and Tuck. I had thought about it and Friar Tuck came to mind but I quickly ruled that out since it didn’t suit his personality. Last night, it came to me. He has now been dubbed King Tuckankhamun, or King Tuck for short.
On my 12th birthday I received a journal from my new young woman’s leader. I don’t remember who she was though. She told me I should write in my journal every day to record my experiences and life. I faithfully wrote in my journal everyday for a few years, even if it was nothing more than something similar to this, “I woke up, ate the regular breakfast, went to school, came home and did homework. I played baseball at the park with the boys. I did real good. Then I watched “Paradise”. 2 thumbs up. And now it’s time to sleep.” I actually made a lot of entries like that. And every time I would go back and read it, it would make me laugh at the ridiculous things I thought were important or amazing.
As time went on, my journal entries were spaced further apart, maybe once or twice a month or so. But they were more about my feelings, and about the things I was doing and going through. And about what was happening in the lives of my family members that I wanted to remember. Journals are our lives, wrapped up into a small package (or a few packages as is my case). They offer us a chance to learn from our mistakes so we don’t make them again, to realize our weaknesses so that we can become better people, to find the humor in what was once thought of as the end of the world as we knew it, to rejoice in our accomplishments we never saw before and to see how God has touched our lives and continues to and how, at His time, he can heal your broken spirit and raise you up to a higher person than you were before.
One of my entries in my most recent journal (which is sadly only written in about 3-4 times a year) stated that through going back and reading my entries, I was able to see God’s hand in my life. That each time I wrote about something awful that was going on, the next entry was always about how He had helped me to find peace again. Ok, so it wasn’t always the next entry, but it always came eventually. That insight helped me to be a little more patient in my trials because I realized that in His time, I will have His peace, whether or not things work out the way my heart wants.
There are pages that, as I wrote, were wetted with tears from the emotion that I couldn’t contain. And as I reread those entries with their slightly wavy pages and smeared words, a fresh batch of tears would grace the pages as I felt anew all the pain and rejoicing I had felt at another time…almost in another life it would seem sometimes. But I think that that is one of the things I enjoy about rereading my journal. I can feel all those things again, go through those trials if you will, and become closer to Heavenly Father as I overcome and rejoice in His love as he blesses me with peace and His understanding opens my mind to things I didn’t understand, or even care about understanding before.
Journals can be a huge blessing in our lives and I think it is for that reason that we have been commanded to keep them.
I tell you this, not so I can brag about how faithfully I have recorded in my journals, or how wonderful my entries are. Neither is actually the case. Sadly, journals have been brought to the forefront of my mind with the sad discovery that my journals were lost in a box that got shipped about 2 years ago and I will never see them again. I’m thankful that I went back and read them fairly often while I had them so that I could gain some insights from my own life and past experiences. But I am sad because I have lost a lot of memories and very personal accounts of my life.
Well, I've had some things I wanted to do but couldn't do much of anything this past week or two so I tried fitting as much into Saturday as possible. I spot cleaned the carpet to fix some of the mess Tucker made of it. I took the dogs for an hour long walk. Usually it's only 30 minutes and the dogs are dead because it's in the heat of the evening so that was nice for them. I made a meal plan for the week and a grocery list before heading out to get my driver's license. Then I went to Aldi & Kroger for grocery shopping. There were some crazy good deals at Kroger in the ad on the internet but they didn't start until Sunday so I had to go back on Monday after work to get those. Back at home, I ate lunch and mixed and kneaded a new wheat bread recipe. I got the recipe from my favorite food website http://www.recipezaar.com/. People leave reviews...I really like that part. Then Lanette called me and asked me to come watch Isaac while she takes a nap. So for the three hours I was over there, I got 3 loads of laundry done, got 2 loaves of bread and a pan of rolls cooked. After I got back home, I spent a little time with the dogs then mowed my lawn with the push mower that Charmay left for us.
Now, I could go on and on about how wonderful that push mower is. And I will just a little bit. It is not just that I don't like technology, or emissions or anything like that...if I didn't care a lick about the environment I would still love that mower! At its loudest, it was still very quiet and it cut very nicely. It was easy to push up the big hill in the front yard. My arms didn't feel like rubber afterward and I didn't get even close to a blister. The push mower has made me enjoy taking care of my lawn again. And it's light so I carried it right through the door to the back yard and mowed back there too. We haven't been able to ever fit a lawn mower back there because we have no gate so I have always mowed it with a weed whacker. Needless to say, it was always overgrown...poor dogs. But that will change now; now that I have my secret weapon.
Before work, I put the roast in the crockpot with some liquid and seasoning, fed myself and the dogs, got ready and left. After work, I went to Kroger to pick up Adam's medicine and to get the great deals I read about on the ad that weren't available on Saturday. I got 23 lbs. of split chicken breasts, 11 lbs. of ground turkey, 6 packages of bacon and 3 8-oz blocks of cheese. I spent only $46! I saved more than I spent. That made me feel very powerful. :o) I threw everything into the fridge to wait until later to get it ready for the freezer.
I tasted the roast beef and it was so delicious!! I don't know that I can ever make a different roast beef again...this recipe will live in my heart forever....and it's so simple! I quickly cut up some carrots and potatoes and drizzled a little olive oil, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning on them. I mixed it up good, spread them on a cookie sheet and roasted them in the oven while I made the gravy. Then I saw that my neighbor with the garden was outside so I ran over and had a 15 minute conversation about gardens...he says it's a little iffy on the quality of what I'll get if I plant tomatoes this late but gave me some advice on what I probably could grow this late. So armed with a tiny bit of knowledge, I will begin working on my soil so I can plant something soon. It seemed like every time I looked at the clock it was an hour later. I finally ate at 7:30 and the dogs too, of course. I squeezed a couple of tablespoons juice from an orange and let it sit out at room temp until I used it later for something.
I did a load of dishes, walked the dogs after the sun went down, unloaded a few boxes from the trailer and found all kinds of kitchen stuff. Bread pans, knives, cooking utensils, eating utensils, pots, tupperware, the sporuting jar and some other misc. stuff. Then I went to Barry and Lanette's to borrow some gallon freezer bags. I still haven't found those yet. Came back home and wrapped the chicken for freezer storage, bagged them up, labeled them and stacked them in the freezer. So now I can just pull a single breast out instead of a bag full and thaw for just one or two.
Then, with my newly found sprouting jar, I got some sprouts started. They'll be ready to eat in about 4-5 days. Then, I added rye flour to my little bit of orange juice as the beginnings of my sourdough starter which will require daily feeding and/or care for the next 10 days at least...but could be a little longer. Last time I made it, I made it with pineapple juice which has more reliable results but I had an orange so I decided to use orange juice instead and see how it goes. Nothing but a few handfuls of flour and some orange juice lost if it doesn't work.
I was ready to crash at that point but I had two things left to do. There were a couple of misunderstanding this morning. Adam had left his pill bottle out but didn't tell me he wanted me to take care of it so I left it there. He ended up dropping it off on his way to work and I picked it up later which seems perfect. I had wanted him to check the roast's liquid level and flip the meat before he left but he didn't check his voicemail before he left home. We have this cork/white earse board. It's been in the trailer still so I went down and grabbed it. That is now our communication board. We can tack notes up there if there is something we need the other to know or do. It has become a necessity now that we don't actually see each other awake much. I wrote a note to him on it, explaining it and then telling him about where to find dinner.
Last but not least, I needed to put the laundry away. So I took the dogs out one last time then climbed the stairs to the bedroom, changed into my pajamas, folded, hung and put the laundry away. Then, I laid right down and fell asleep.
I still have things I need to do...that never changes...but I'm hoping that the next few days won't be so packed.
So, for the roast beef recipe...sorry, no pic...I just wanted to eat.
Directions: 1. Add roast to slow cooker. 2. Add remaining ingredients. 3. Set to low heat. 4. Cook all day.
I added a couple cups of water to the crock pot so I would have enough broth for french dip sandwiches (on the rolls I made) tonight. It didn't make the broth weak tasting at all. In fact, I think I'll add a little more water next time so I can have even more yummy broth!
As I recall, I have always wished I was a pioneer, or a farmer at least. In Dayton, I would get a farmer game going with the boys. We would harvest our "wheat" which was just tall weeds with seed heads at the top. I, of course, had to have one of those hanging from my mouth like a real farmer would do. ;o) We would gather the onions which grew wild in the backyard. There were mulberries to be picked and lettuce in the form of dandelion leaves. We would stack the wheat up as high as we could. Then it was time to eat our harvest. I actually convinced Jared to eat a small portion of our harvest once. (I got in trouble for that one).
In Florida, I had a friend named Shashayla and another named Desiree. Jill Jensen was my best friend but she wasn't into the pioneer thing really so I never did play that with her but both of the other girls played it with me almost every time we got together. I loved it. Desiree had a big back yard with a vegetable garden and some fruit trees. We weren't really allowed to pick anything but we pretended. The coolest thing, though, was her bucket. It was galvanized metal and I thought it was the most pioneer looking bucket I had ever seen. So I was the lucky user of this bucket every time we played at her house. I would go get water from the well which was nothing more than the water hose.
In Utah, I tried my hand at a vegetable garden. Luckily it was a very small one because it failed miserably. While I had the desire, I had no idea what I was doing. Underneath a big pine tree, in rocky soil, is no place to grow vegetables. When we moved into the Pead's house and they had the garden on the side of the house, I tended to it, as I think other people did as well. Sadly, it was mostly jalapeno peppers which I didn't like. The next year, I weeded the garden except for inside the tomato cages. Nothing got weeded inside the cages because I didn't know what the plants looked like. I was very sad when time went by and nothing looked like it was growing big. That's when I found out that they don't just grow back every year...you have to plant them again.
Back in 1986, I went to my grandparent's house for the first time that I am able to remember being there. It was like a paradise to me. They had lots of cats and the allergies killed me but it was worth every time I felt like ripping my eyes out of their sockets so I could really get in there and scratch. Grandma taught us how to pick berries and let us have as many as we wanted. Grandma told us that snails were bad for the plants so the boys and I made this game up. We would run around looking for a snail which weren't hard to find. As soon as we found a snail, we'd yell out "cop a snail!" I don't know where the name came from but it sure kept us entertained and we collected a ton of snails off her plants! I spent a lot of time looking at all the plants and thinking I was on a real live farm. Grandpa showed me how to collect the eggs from the chickens they had in the cages out back. I was too afraid to do it without him right there...the chicken with only one eye really freaked me out. I went out with him every morning to get them but I would usually just let him do it but I felt great pride just being with him while he got the eggs.. Then, he brought out his riding mower and let me drive it. Well, that did it. I was on a tractor, on a farm, at least to my young mind. I felt so grown up driving it. When I crashed into something, he would just yell above the engine noise and tell me what to do to get out of the mess...he never got mad that something got broke or bent. He just laughed and it made it very fun.
Looking back, I think that that visit to my grandparents' was what started my dream of living on a farm. The fun and positive experiences I had that summer have stayed with me all my life and every time I think about it, I smile.
Sadly, my grandpa passed away recently. I regret that I never took the time or effort to get to know him on any real level. He was such a happy man who was quick to laugh and slow to get angry. Though he was blind, he knew every inch of his yard, where every bird feeder was and where every plant was. He was sharp as a tack! Too bad I didn't get that from him as well.
It just didn't seem right, him not being there. And as strange as it was for me, someone who has only been there a handful of times, I can't imagine what it must feel like for my grandma. But she was a rock, at least while we were there. She was smiling and reminiscing with the others and tears would come to her eyes occasionally but she never cried. I am amazed by her strength. She and Grandpa were best friends and they did everything together so I know it can't be easy. She is an amazing woman with a wealth of knowledge that astounds me. I wish I could just have all the information she has stored in her brain!
It was great seeing my extended family. It had been 11 years since I had seen my Aunt Liz and her children. Of her 5 children, only Matthew and Kelly were able to come. Matthew was 9 last time I saw him and now he's a full grown man, taller than me! It had been 12 years since I had seen Grandma and the uncles. I am so glad I went even though I felt a little weird about going...like I might be intruding on a personal matter since I didn't know them all that well.
While I was there, I found out that Grandma and I have a few things in common. We both love cookbooks! Her collection is MUCH larger than mine but she’s had a few more years to work on her collection. I took pictures so Adam could see what mine could look like someday. Also, we both like crocheting. Her skill level is well beyond mine of course. She taught me how to crochet a granny square and a square with a rose it. She was a very good teacher. I guess if she could teach blind people how to decorate cakes, then she can teach a sighted person to crochet. I really enjoyed that time we spent together while I was learning those squares. What an amazing woman! I am going h=to have to make an effort to keep in touch with her this time and let this opportunity pass me by as well.
I did not include any pictures of Aunt Liz or Matthew since they prefer not to have any of their pictures seen…or at least Aunt Liz does.
Grandma giving us a tour of the garden.
Grandma's new garden shed. It even has electricity.
Purple people eaters
These cana lilies are taller than her house!!
Yum! I had one for breakfast one morning, along with a tangerine from another tree and some berries from her vines.
Passion flower. She gave me some clippings from it but I don't think they made it. :o(
This is what Grandma taught me how to crochet during my visit. Her's looked much better, of course.
Uncle Mike. It was the only picture I have of him looking at the camera since this was the only one I happened to mention to him that I was going to be taking his picture. He told me about his email service. It's really cool. It reads his emails to him.
Uncle Jim and Carla. It was the only picture I managed to get of them...and it's a very bad pic.
My final is scheduled to be taken next Friday. I was nervous, but hopeful before seeing the study guide. Now, after going through the study guide, I think I’ll be lucky to pass, forget finishing with honors. You have to get 90% or better to do that. I think you have to have 70 or 75% or better to get your certificate. This is going to be tough. This weekend will be devoted to studying!
I finally got my computer connected at home. I downloaded all my pictures from ID, UT, CA & GA. I couldn’t find a single picture from CA and I was so worried that I had lost the card. I finally found the card they were on. Turns out the pictures really aren’t that great. My little camera has a black blob that is on every picture. And the flash doesn’t work nearly as well as it used to so the inside pics are all grainy. But I am SO glad that I have them and didn’t lose them. Hopefully Mom’s and Aunt Liz’s turned out better.
So pictures will be updated soon...after I finish with my test.
Adam had a three day weekend this week, Mon – Wed. He worked some on the laundry room/bedroom. He got some more plumbing done. Last night, he built the wall frame for where the door used to be from the bedroom to the closet and got a couple of outlets wired, 1 for each of the rooms.
Barry came over a couple of nights ago as I was just finishing up a walk with the dogs. He brought in a couple of tools to do “an experiment”. The experiment was seeing how well his little jack hammers would tear out the fireplace rocks. It was very loud and dust filled the house. The dogs got stressed and Tucker ended up being the focus of Bear’s stress. He let loose on Tucker. I took Tucker outside and stayed out there for about 10 minutes while they finished up their experiment. When I walked back in, the dust started scratching my throat. They only worked on a small section and there are two holes now. I guess it’s official…this fireplace has to go now. The dumpster sitting in our yard will be picked up soon so they have to get it out before then or we’ll end up having to pay for another dumpster…which is not an option, if you ask me. I told Adam that before we started another project, we have to empty out one of the bedrooms so I can have it to unpack some things into or use in any way I want to...a table for eating, a desk for the computer instead of in the small living room, or my bookcases filled with books :o). I'm not too picky just as long as I get one of the rooms, I'll be happy. We got our deposit refund from the house in ID and we split in half. We can get whatever we want from our own halves. Other than some books I’ve been keeping my eye on, I don’t really have anything I need so I think I’ll be hanging onto most of it for now. I will be buying a toaster oven with it though. Adam is oddly excited about it. With Adam’s half, he bought a Wii system and Wii fit. He tried it at his friend’s in Boise and he really had a good time. He thinks this will motivate him to exercise. It came with a sports game so we played a game of bowling last night because we were both too tired to do any exercising. As usual, he creamed me.
After that game, I went up to get ready for bed but somehow (can’t remember why) I ended up asleep across the bed with my head burrowed into Bear. I woke up about 30 minutes later and called down to Adam to see if he was coming up. He had fallen asleep in his recliner.
Well, I am really tired and can't find the motivation to do anything that doesn't require sitting. I was woken up this morning by four big paws jumping all over me. I slept in. It was 6:54 AM. Tucker was wide awake and ready to start his day.
This long weekend has been tough on me. I stayed up too late on Friday night because we went on a double date with Barry & Lanette and saw UP. It was a good movie. But it ended at 12 something. I went to bed after getting the dogs all settled for the night. It was 1 at that point. That is by far the latest I have been up since moving here.
Then I woke up before 7 because I heard Tucker chewing on Jasmine's collar. He kept pulling it off her neck so I finally left it off her and set it on the hearth. The tags on it were tinkling together so when I heard that, I knew it was time to get out of bed to keep Tucker in line. We went for a walk (all 5 of us). After that and a good breakfast, he was fast asleep...like he is now.
I spent the afternoon and evening at Katie and Aaron's. We had bbq ribs and lots of sides. It was good. I taught them "graces". We played too long and left an hour later than we were planning on. We had hoped to get back before too much of the traffic started in the towns gathering for the firework displays. Really, the dogs are scared of fireworks so we needed to be home anyway.
Adam made it out to their house for a couple of hours. He was on call and ended up getting a call when he was only 10 miles from their house and then he got another one not too long before the rest of us left.
Back at home, our neighbors were shooting off rockets. We could see the light and colors through the sky lights. I took the dogs out to be in it. I played with anyone who was brave enough to come off the deck. Tucker was nervous about it at first but quickly forgot about the blasting and played. So maybe he will grow up fine with the fireworks and gun shots. Poor Bear was huddled behind the toilet. It's not an easy place to get into but he managed it. When Adam came home, he laid under Adam's legs for comfort and protection.
Again, I went to bed around 1. Now I am TIRED! I need to take a nap or get to bed very early tonight so I can be awake through the work week.