Monday, July 30, 2012

36 Years

36 years
4 children
4 partners of our children
8 grandchildren
320 acres
1352 square feet
25 years of milking cows
37 gardens grown
5 continents visited


with our 4th granddaughter
Priceless memories -
incredible blessings -
It's been quite an adventure!
Here's to all that is yet to come !
Happy Anniversary to my husband!


Sunday, July 29, 2012

On This Day in History!

I saw a great idea on Lisa's blog, that she found via Nora Griffin, that I just had to do too!  The idea is to go back in your blog archives and see what you posted on this day in year's past.  I'm getting close to 2000 posts so I thought it would be cool to go back for the last 6 years and have a look.

2006 - We were just home from a three week adventure to visit Melinda and Tyler in Taiwan.  Our friends Audrey and Aime' came too and we also saw Hong Kong and China!


And we had been grandparents for just one month!  (So much has changed in 6 years!)

2007 - Melinda did a triathalon in St. Albert and I was her support / photographer!  Now she's a Mom of two little ones but I think she'd love to do something like this again.  


2008 - I wrote a Ten on Tuesday post that talked about fishing, raspberries and weather.  Some things never change!


2009 - We enjoyed our last day in New York City with Melinda, Tyler and Samuel.  


2010 - The post included a little poetry and pictures of raspberries - yes, the end of July is raspberry season here!


2011 - We'd enjoyed a day in Drumheller with two of our grandchildren.  And I did a Five on Friday post that talked about saskatoon picking. 



I loved this walk down memory lane!  So many blessings and so many adventures have filled these years.  Thank you to all of you who stop by and read my blog - I'm so glad I started this blogging thing!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Five on Friday

1.  Go and check out this new blog I found, Liz and Jewels!  In their own words, here's how it works:

"Every week, we will come together (virtually!) to challenge each other.  We will both cook the same recipe, then style and photograph it. But far apart from each other… Liz in M√ľnster (Germany), Jewels in New York.
We do expect difficutlies: and that’s exactly what tempts us! Will we find the same ingredients? How much does the dish cost in Germany? How much in the US? Will Liz find and use the same brown sugar as Jewels? Will we interpret the recipe the same way?
When two people follow the same recipe, will they actually end up eating the same dish?
Whatever the outcome is: We will share it with you. And we want you to participate by giving us ideas for recipes. Tell us what to cook or bake next!"
This week they made Berry Cobblers.

2.  Walking into a fabric store always makes me happy - even when I'm not buying anything.

3.  I enjoyed every minute of having 3 of our grandchildren here this week!  It was busy but marvelous - and the house feels really empty now.

4.  Imagination is a wonderful thing.  Scrap paper + glue + punches + ribbon = beautiful "stuff"!

5.  The fresh corn we had this week was delicious.  I hope we'll be able to buy a whole bag full later.  

Lists of 2012 - #30

Listography 2012 - #30 - 25 Things I Love About (This) Summer

1.  picking beautiful, colorful, fresh flowers from gardens

2.  grandchildren at our house

3.  fresh raspberries, strawberries and saskatoons

4.  road trips - actually any kind of trip!

5.  birthday and anniversary celebrations

6.  checking plants and finding treasures like tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini

7.  corn on the cob, dripping with melted butter

8.  going on a garden tour (more details coming)

9.  fresh herbs like basil, oregano and thyme

10.  pulling an onion and using it right away

11.  birds singing and eating berries right outside my kitchen window

12.  rosebuds and blooms

13.  breezing by the vegetables in the produce aisle when grocery shopping

14.  cooking meals that use all homegrown ingredients

15.  chickens clucking contentedly in their pen

16.  watching our grandchildren care for the chickens

17.  fresh fruit crisps and pies

18.  green alfalfa fields + blooming fields of yellow canola + water in every stream + green trees = beautiful landscapes right outside our door

19.  relaxed schedules

20.  watching the Olympic games on TV

21.  lots of visits with friends and family

22.  waking up to sunshine and enjoying long, long days

23.  a pedicure and painted toenails

24.  wearing sandals

25.  eating fresh potatoes with cream and dill

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Gratitude Gifts Today


#4472 - #4512

- writing out memories
- learning more about growing with every crop
- pillows on the couches
- small businesses that fill a niche
- songs of birds filling the early morning air
- bowl of berries to share for breakfast



- little ones singing at the supper table
- no trips to town this week
- afternoon tea and talk with friends
- sharing news about all our children
- pelican gliding on the lake

- pie shells
- rhubarb-saskatoon-strawberry crisp
- long telephone conversations
- pulling beets from two very long rows
- fresh lettuce



- last transplants in their pots
- a few marigolds to fill the rows
- cucumbers blooming
- finding pleasant surprises from last summer in the freezer
- summer sunshine
- cosmos reminder of my Gramma



- rearranging the greenhouse
- stakes and ties
- picking saskatoons and raspberries
- town and country garden tour
- stories shared by gardeners
- more roses blooming



- photos in albums
- stories from Ann about her week in Haiti
- more strawberries
- trusty vehicles
- hugs and kisses
- raspberries ripening



- driving through the country
- pulling potato plants from the garden
- parcels mailed
- great big shop vacuum cleaner
- that only half the basement got watered

- His words for this summer "I will give you rest"

Sunday, July 22, 2012

5 Things

Over at  Enjoying The Small Things, today Kelle asks the question:

For fun this weekend...what are five things you are tired of and five things you are not tired of?

Tired of ... dirty floors - transplanting (but it's finally finished for this year!) - telemarketers - dusting - aphids on the peppers!

Not Tired of ... fresh strawberries, saskatoons and raspberries - fresh vegetables (especially beets, peas and potatoes) from the garden - looking at beautiful flowers and gardens - spending time with friends - our new living room furniture!


Let me know if you do this so I can come and visit to see your answers!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dear Little Jar

Dear Little Jar,



You are the last bit of apricot salsa left on my pantry shelf!  You have lasted 10 whole months, squeezed in between your cousins, the tomato salsa and the apricot syrup.   I was thrilled to find you today and bring you up to add to the taco meat I was prepping for supper.

You started out as just an idea when Heather and I were in BC last September and saw shelves and shelves full of fruit salsas.  We sampled the nectarine type and thought it might be worth creating some for ourselves.  When we came home, the apricots were ready to be canned right away and after doing 14 quarts of fruit, I decided to use some of the rest and try my hand at salsa.

I couldn't find a recipe so I just modified my favourite tomato salsa recipe and went from there.  Personally I find you a bit tart and think a little sugar might make you taste better.  I love your orange colour though and definitely think you have a place on my list of preserving.

You'll always have a special place in my heart since you were my first non-tomato baby in this salsa making adventure that happens every summer.  Thanks for turning out and for keeping in your sealed jar all winter.  It's been a slice? a scoop? a blast?  Whatever - I'm so glad you came into our lives - and that you will soon be ready for filling again!

Love,
Crystal

Friday, July 20, 2012

Five on Friday

1.  In her post  The Awe Factor for (in)Courage,  Tsh Oxenrider asks the question, "What's the most spectacular piece of creation you've ever seen?"  That's a question I've been pondering all week.  I think my answer is Igazu Falls in South America - but many places in the Rocky Mountains are a close second (Lake Louise, Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park, Moraine Lake, Maligne Canyon, Athabasca Falls, etc, etc,!).   What would your answer be?  Do share!

2.  I found this creed on the Forth Haven Farms blog - it sums up our beliefs about farming too.


A Farmers Creed
I believe a man's greatest possession is his dignity and that no calling bestows this more abundantly than farming.
I believe hard work and honest sweat are the building blocks of a persons character.
I believe that farming, despite its hardships and disappointments, is the most honest and honorable way a man can spend his days on this earth.
I believe farming murtures the close family ties that make life rich in ways money can't buy.
I believe my children are learning values that will last a lifetime and can be learned in no other way.
I believe farming provides education for life and that no other occupation teaches so much about birth, growth and maturity in such a variety of ways.
I believe many of the best things in life are indeed free; the splendor of a sunrise the rapture of wide open spaces the exhilarating sight of your land greening each spring.
I believe true happiness comes from watching your crops ripen in the field, your children grow tall in the sun your whole family feels the pride that springs from their shared experience.
I believe that by my toil I am giving more to the world that I am taking from it, an honor that does not come to all men.
I believe my life will be measured ultimately by what I have done for my fellowman, and by this standard I fear no judgement.
I believe when a man grows old and sums up his days he should be able to stand tall and feel pride in the life he's lived.  
I believe in farming because it makes all this possible. 

3.  Here's why I take pictures!





Thanks, Stacy Julian, for explaining it perfectly!


4.  The raspberries are ready!  The first time I picked earlier this week there were just enough for us to have on oatmeal.  But yesterday I had 1/3 of a pail and we've enjoyed them twice already.  There are lots of berries still to ripen :) and I have 1 bag from last year still in the freezer.  


5.  I had made time this week to finally get the pictures for "A Week In My Life" in order.  Yes, I know - the project was in April!  Now to finish the journalling - - - .

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lists of 2012 - #29

Listography 2012 - #29 - (Just Some of the) Books I Want to Read

1.  The Secret Lives of Dresses by Erin McKean



2.  Gold by Chris Cleave



3. Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard by Nigel Slater



4.  Chocolat, The Girl With No Shadow, Peaches for Monsieur le Cure' (2 more books that continue the story begun in Chocolat) by Joanne Harris



5.  Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen



6.  The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh



7.  The Golden Scales by Parker Bilal



8.  Earth's Children #5 - Shelter's of Stone by Jean Auel


     Earth's Children #6 - The Land of Painted Caves by Jean Auel



9.  Lipstick in Afghanistan by Roberta Gately



10.  Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese



11.  Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof



12.  Cinderella Ate My Daughter:  Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture by Peggy Orenstein



Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Gratitude Gifts Today


$4432 - #4472

- the seasons moving along steadily, no matter what
- grandchildren playing with sounds as they learn and listen
- being home
- buying groceries
- thrift store finds

- supplies for chickens
- apologizing
- a cool basement on hot days
- weed-free rows
- finishing a stack of sewing projects

- mending completed
- lightning flashing across the sky
- showers of rain
- last jars of the 2011 harvest
- more pots for transplanting, an unexpected find

- Egyptian dress and all the memories of that trip
- taco salad
- cool breeze blowing in the windows
- water hoses running on garden rows
- leaves of crinkled spinach



- polished toenails
- special gifts
- putting books on hold at the library
- beautiful rose blossoms
- hay bales rolled up, dotting fields around the countryside

- driving on country roads
- weekend plans
- little yellow zucchini forming on big green plants
- new varieties of vegetables in the garden
- yellow and orange marigolds for the garden



- company for Sunday dinner
- a whole meal from the garden and the sea
- time at the lake with little ones
- pails and pails of strawberries picked
- help with getting them in the freezer



- strawberry pie
- so much goodness provided by God
- amazing growing conditions, a gift from Him
- reading in His word
- bedtime prayers from our grandchildren

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hello, Monday

Hello middle of July!

Hello rain - you were much needed and greatly appreciated!

Hello leftovers.

Hello roses - how nicely you are growing now.



Hello clean house.

Hello frozen strawberries.

Hello afternoon tea with friends.

Hello last of the transplants - finally.



Hello time for sewing.

Hello time for letter-writing.

Hello grosbeaks eating the saskatoon berries right outside my kitchen window.

Hello last piece of strawberry pie.



Hello new week!






Friday, July 13, 2012

Five on Friday

1.  Ann Voskamp, from A Holy Experience,  and her family continue to amaze and inspire and bring me to tears.  She is in Haiti this week with her son Caleb, doing amazing things!


2.  Did you know there are three Friday the 13ths this year?  January 13th, April 13th and today.  And did you know they are all 13 weeks apart?  (Randomness from the Scrapbook & Cards Today blog)


3.  It's been so very hot here all week and we've had to start the water running on the apple trees, the saskatoon and raspberry bushes.  Today we moved on to soak the cucumbers and peas in the garden.   


4,  We caught a few chickens this morning and weighed them just to see how big they are getting to be.  We had a 4 lb. hen and 5 and 6 lb. roosters.  They are growing great and I have a butchering date all booked :)


5.  This week's featured item from the garden is beets!  We've had sauteed beet greens, borscht (beet soup), hot beets with butter and a beet and walnut salad.  Tonight I'm going to roast some and try another salad idea.  



Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lists of 2012 - #28

Listography 2012 - #28 - The Best Part About Getting Older

1.  I get to be the adoring grandmother of 8 wonderful little people!

2.  Playing pretend games, jumping on the trampoline, building forts, dancing and singing, reading books and making messes are wonderful ways to spend a day.

3.  Staying up late and sleeping in.

4.  Time takes on a new meaning and new perspectives.

5.  Helping others and sharing what I have.

6.  Having an attitude of adventure + a longing to learn more = great travel opportunities.

7.  Knowing what I like to be surrounded with in my home including photos of those I love, books, bright colours, and fresh flowers.

8.  Memories of childhood that creep back into my thoughts.

9.  Watching my children marry their life partners and become amazing parents.

10.  Knowing that laughter and tears are good for the soul.

11.  Resting in God's assurance that He has it all under control and I only need to love and trust Him.

12.  Having so many friends and family members to share my life's journey.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Gratitude Gifts Today


#4377 - #4432

- printing pictures, lots of pictures
- smiling over the memories
- recalling stories for my Dad's 80th birthday
- seeing the absolute joy in our son's eyes as a new father
- cousins crowding around her

- flourless chocolate cake with whipped cream, strawberries and blueberries
- gifts read:  good books to get lost in, reading to grandchildren, lists for a new week
- recipes written down
- online advice on how to garden and how to raise chickens
- neighbors coming for supper

- rhubarb, saskatoon and strawberry crisp
- little helpers with the chickens
- all the room that Canada offers
- new potatoes + cream + dill = deliciousness!
- lettuce from the garden

- a gift in red: strawberries
- a gift in white:  vanilla ice cream
- a gift in blue: denim jeans
- irises blooming
- phone calls on cell phones



- water droplets on big leaves
- pulling weeds
- chickens happy to peck through the weeds
- garden growing wildly
- rainy days :)

- a day of mending and finishing sewing projects
- clean kitchen counters
- trip planning
- walnuts in salad
- healthy crops in the fields

- a gorgeous scenic trip
- mountain goats right outside the car window
- American and Canadian flags blowing side by side
- sweeping vistas
- Weeping Wall of melting snow water, right outside the car window



- colorful wildflowers
- one-hour shopping trips
- 70% off sales
- exploring
- eating together

- fresh cherries
- photos through the years all proudly displayed
- picking fresh peas
- shrimp and snow peas sauteed in butter and garlic
- a walk through a new neighbourhood



- wild turkeys in the driveway
- visiting with cousins
- surprise Sunday afternoon barbecues
- taking Bob's parents to visit Darrin & Kelsey and Heather & Jonathan
- wild hugs and enthusiasm from grandchildren when we arrive

- 1000 miles safely driven
- God's amazing creation
- that His love is as wide as the big blue sky
- praise music
- words of wisdom found in the Bible

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Weekend Lens in July, part 2

We took a little road trip this weekend and drove with Bob's parents to Kalispell, Montana to visit Mom's sister and some of her family.  The two sisters had a great visit, reminiscing and laughing about times when they were young.

It was very hot and that, combined with a record-setting amount of rainfall in June, has made for awesome growing conditions.  This garden had the biggest leaves of spinach that I have ever seen!  Mine are positively measly compared to Uncle Philip's!



On our journey down we decided to take the scenic route around Waterton Parks and through Glacier National Park.


The Going-to-the-Sun road is breathtakingly beautiful with wide mountain vistas! 



 This 50 mile long road took 10 years to build in the 1920's and is now a National Historic Landmark.  


The road opened on June 15th this year and there was still lots of snow around.


We crossed the Continental Divide at Logan Pass.


This section of road is called The Loop and it winds right along the side of the mountain.    The rock railings along the edge of the road (that you can see here) are being historically restored.


As we came around near the end of The Loop, you could see far down into the valley.  In the center of the photo is a waterfall that splits.


You can park your car at either end and then use the shuttle system to explore the area.  At every lookout point the parking lots were full of cars.  The park was being enjoyed by lots of people this weekend.  


These three mountain goats were right along the side of the road!  It's the first time we've seen the elusive goats while driving through the mountains. 



I can see why this drive is considered one of the most scenic mountain drives in North America!

Fun fact:  "Glacier has some of the darkest skies around and is an ideal lace for viewing many celestial wonders." (from the Glacier Visitor Guide)  So there's an educational programs, 'Half the Park Happens After Dark", which provides an opportunity to see the night sky in all its glory.  They even do laser guided constellation tours.  Cool!




Monday, July 09, 2012

The Weekend Lens in July

Canada Day - the perfect day to gather as a family - and to celebrate a baby!  Our families gathered on July 1st and Peyton was the star attraction :)  Everyone got to meet her and hold her and love on her!


There were lots of presents - 


and cute clothes - 


and even some dress-up clothes!


Her little closet is filling up and she's absolutely adored by all of us!