Sunday, December 15, 2013

Hop on over to this blog....

There's always something happening in Blissville, be it good or bad. Something VERY good (and fluffy) is going on these days that keeps us as busy as ever. Want to know what? Visit the blog my daughter and I write for HERE.

Enjoy the day-

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Best Dog Ever: Zoe

Our appointment is for 10:50 this morning. I plan on being late. Late on purpose. It's an appointment long coming....for my little precious pup. I won't get into defending the 'why', although that's my instinct. The instinct is to explain and defend why this morning is the last morning that my little Zoe will wake up here on earth. But I won't. Instead, let me tell you the beautiful, amazing story of how God has used a dog.

We met in a pet store in 2000. My sister was one of the managers of the store. Even though this little Boston was technically not for sale because of medical conditions, after an argument with one of her co-workers, my sister let me take her home. She had an eye infection, and her poor little ears turned backwards, along with several other ailments. She was broken. It so happened to be a time in my life, that I felt broken too. She was perfect.

Daughter was 2 at the time going through the 'Elmo' phase, hence, the name Zoe. Zoe rode shot-gun in the stroller, happily sitting along side our toddler. Husband trained her ears to go in the right direction with popsicle sticks and tape. We all loved her. Everyone loved her. She was a big dog trapped in a little dog body.

Zoe especially loved my father-in-law. Even in this last year, being blind and deaf, she still knew when he was almost here. She'd sit in the driveway and look in the direction of his road. And wait. 

She has been a great nurse and comforter. There are things I've been through physically. Painful things. Twice I thought I might die. These are the times that you realize how alone a person can be in life. No matter how many people are around you daily, when push comes to shove, it's just you and God. And thankfully, God's gift to me, my faithful dog Zoe. Whatever ailment or hard time my body went through, she would cuddle all the more close, loving unconditionally, and not leaving my side. 

When we first moved to our home on the lake, it was Zoe that taught me about the dangers of water. She couldn't swim. She sometimes tried, only to struggle and sink. Shortly after moving here, she slipped off a log in the lake and went down, not even popping up once. I ran to the log, laid down and stuck my arm into the murky water grabbing for whatever I could find. Luckily, she was wearing a bandanna, and I found it, pulling her straight up and onto the log, pushing on her back to expel lake water. She was no worse for the wear, but I walked away from that experience knowing that it could easily have been a child.  

Years later, a friend adopted a 10 year old boy from Russia. She was struggling with him and the fact that he didn't believe God was there. This little boy had been through so much. He loved dogs and fishing, so she brought him by for fishing, playing, and the intent to take him downtown for a movie afterward. While visiting, our larger dog (no longer here) snapped, and literally/nearly ripped Zoe's throat from ear to ear. The little boy found her and came running, screaming in his broken English "dog dead, dog dead"! I rushed Zoe to the emergency clinic while my friend and her boy locked up my house and went to the movie theater parking lot, where the boy asked for his new mom's help to pray for Zoe to live. Weeks went by with daily calls and prayers from this little boy. The clinic gave me no hope. I told my friend to prepare her boy for the worse. Zoe's spine was severed, she'd never walk again, and the damage to her throat was irreparable, or so I was told. They reluctantly let me take her home because we were out of money. Poor Zoe was given no hope of recovery. Little did they know about the power of prayer. Long story short, God answered a little boy's prayers. It took a year for her to recover to her new 'normal'. 

There are so many wonderful times we've lived through, and great adventures we've had. Standing on the peak of the canoe, never wanting to get left on shore. Jumping in the chicken brooder. Running away to Gramma's to find me. Chewing rocks. Stealing tomatoes from the garden. I am thankful for the years we've had together, for the unconditional love, for the comfort, and for someone always happy to see me. 

Comfort. Comfort does not come in the form of a 'bridge' or 'rainbow'. Comfort comes in only one fact. The God who made us...the God who made all things including our pets...He is in control.

Life is short. Enjoy each day.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Ketchin' Up - Ketchup Recipe

I find that a hiatus from this blog is a necessary thing when the busy season of summer hits. It's either 'do' or 'write-about-doing'. The preference for me, is getting out there and dirtying my hands. And BOY are they dirty. So, DO, I do.

The garden has been an amazing blessing this year. Photos of the bounty will follow. But for now, as the vines continue to produce tomatoes, it's time for ketchup. 

The question asked often (after people hear how long it takes to make), is, "is it really worth it?" Unbelievably YES! 

People. Have you read the backs of the ketchup containers in the stores? There are very few good ones out there. High-fructose corn syrup and all kinds of other junk! 

The next question I get from friends and guests, is, "how much ketchup can a person really eat? A little bit of gmo on a burger isn't going to kill you, right?" I bite my lip, as the answer I WANT to give is "no, but it will. and ever so slowly :)" But, I digress, and answer, "my family eats a LOT of ketchup". And with ketchup this good, you'll find other uses for America's #1 condiment.

And besides. It's time to 'dump the tea in the harbor'. Revolt against these manufacturer's poisons. 

Ketchup takes a loooong time to simmer down. Like, 5-7 days, depending on how much you make, and how thick you want the end results to be. So the number one ingredient is patience. 

In our household, ketchup is made every three years. 

I used to have the recipe memorized. Luckily, as my memory recently failed me, I keep all my 'sent' emails as far back as 2007 :). Here is a pic of the recipe that I sent to my cousin a few years back.

Literally, toss all the ingredients in a big pot. BIG, chunky, ingredients. Cover and simmer. 

Around day 3 or so, I run all the ingredients through the blender. Process pint jars for 25 minutes in a water bath. When I make ketchup, it's usually the recipe x8 or 10.


Enjoy the day -H

This post linked to: Frugally Sustainable

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Country Living Fair - 2013

Do you have a 'bucket list'? I keep one. Mine's not so profound, and really, I keep it real and short term. 

One of the things that have been on my bucket list is The Country Living Fair. I told you, not so profound. But TOTALLY worth adding to YOUR list of fun things that you need to do. That is...if you consider gardening and gardening related lifestyle-things fun.

We (Husband, Daughter, and 8 other friends) went to the fair in Rhinebeck, NY. This was the first year for the Country Living Fair in NY. Basically, it was the magazine come to life and they did a great job with it! 

The seminars were fantastic! Bees in the Country Garden with John Benzinger, Sow What Now with Ken Greene, Handcrafted Soap Making with Anne Marie Craig, and Courageous Containers with Andrew Koehn were some of my favorites. 

Spectacularly creative vendors filled the fair grounds. This girl had to hold tight to her wallet because the credit card wanted to jump out more than one time. I gathered some great ideas to implement for the home and garden that I'll share as the season goes on. 

Here are some photos of my adventure along with videos of the soap making class:

Bee Keeping - John answered lots of questions I had.

Always learning...Sow What Now turned me on to a new tomato plant Cosmonaut Volkov, which I purchased.

Cari from HGTV's Cash and Cari. 

Fabulous container garden ideas, plus a couple of "new to me" plants. 

CROWDED! But that's the nature of these things.
Below, is a section of video from the soap making class. Ann Marie was a great teacher. Books she recommeded were The Soap Book by Sandy Maine, and The Hand Made Soap Book by Melinda Cross.

Would I go back again? You betcha! Did I mention that we were camping during this fair...and that rains from a tropical storm beat down on us? No? Tomorrow I'll fill you in on all the happy campers. 

What's next on my bucket list? The Mother Earth News Fair, of course. Who's in?

Enjoy the day-

Sunday, March 17, 2013

We Love Our Bunnies!

So I received an anonymous message from someone who wants me to stop breeding bunnies due to an overwhelming number of them in shelters. I can see this as a real problem. Especially for the poor bunnies who were promised to be taken care of for their whole lives, only to be discarded when people become bored.

While this is only our first litter, we plan on interviewing potential new owners before they purchase our bunnies. It is a life long commitment for the life of the bunny. Daughter and I have also decided that in our policy handbook, we would end it with the disclaimer that bunnies may be surrendered back to us at any time.

Enjoy this video: