Saturday, April 30, 2011

Yogie and I practice making angel food cake and pound cake for the farmers market.

Yogie has several fairly regular egg clients. so that is exciting for her. It makes her proud to put her money in her little cup for the chicken food. She gets to see that work has a purpose and pays for new material, food for the chicken, and sometime she has a little extra for her. I think a good lesson in life.

She still has extra eggs, and no I am not into freezing eggs, so we have to figure out what to do with them. We have had creative dishes to eat, given eggs to her brother and sister. but still need some thing to do with eggs before Poppie won't eat them at all. Always a danger with Poppie, he does get tired of things and won't eat them so we try to be careful not to push him over the edge. My ladies at CAKLS gave me the idea to make angel food and pound cake. I knew from reading historic recipes that you made the two together to use up the eggs efficiently, however when I started looking into recipes, yes they both use eggs but the recipes called for whole eggs in the pound cake. Disappointing. I pulled a couple pound cake recipes from the Internet and made the one that didn't take cake flour on Wednesday. It turned out nice.

Yogie was home from school yesterday, had an eye situation, not really sick but the school would have sent her home on the chance her eye was contagious, it never is but they have to think of the other kids. She wasn't, the eye cleared up after I gave her saline. She was home and we had time to experiment. The angel food recipe called for cake flour as well, I didn't have any so couldn't make any or the pound recipe cake that did. I was bemoaning our lack when I thought, I know that the old adage was you made them together to use both parts of the egg, so I ask the Internet for a yolk only recipe, there it was an old German golden pound cake. I figured as long as I was sitting there I would ask it if I could make the cake flour, again, there it was.

The cake flour is so easy, I cup of flour minus two tablespoons of flour, plus to tablespoons of cornstarch, sifted 5 times. Yogie got to do the measuring and the sifting, she was so excited except that her tiny little arm wore out and I finished sifting for her. We just started to make our cakes when Boy and Cubbie came over, they wanted to help. It disappointed Yogie to share her kitchen time, for a moment, but she invited them to share with her. So Yogie stood on one side, Boy on the other (they both have kitchen stools) and Cubbie on the counter by the mixer as we began our recipe. We separated our room temperature eggs, a dozen, and mixed the whites to medium peak, we had added half the sugar, warm water, vanilla, and cream of tartar to the whites before we began to mix. Once we reached good peak we gently frosted and folded the "cake" flour and sugar into the egg whites. We then put the batter into the ungreased tube pan, very important with angel cake no grease on anything, beaters to pan. We popped it into the oven. The little ones happily went to lick their beater and bowl. Yogie and I began our pound cake. She went buttering and flouring the pans. We started with 2 tube pans, but had to butter one more tube and one small loaf to use the dozen yolks, I began to cream the butter and sugar for the full 5 minutes before adding the yolks one at a time to the batter, we then added the flour mix, buttermilk, flour mix,  buttermilk, and ended with the last of the flour mix. We filled the pans and let them set to go into the oven once the angel food was done. The little ones were back to share the beater and the bowl with Yogie.

The cakes came out well, only one didn't want to come out of the tube, Yogie said she would butter the pan better next time, as she saw the importance of a good butter and flouring, the cake was prettier when it came out. Yogie does like pretty, it plays to her girlness. Boy took one of the tube cakes home, Yogie helped him, they were so proud of their creation. After dinner, Yogie and Booboo cut the angel cake, all, including Poppie loved it. So we now have two good recipes (which since I got them on the Internet and they aren't family heirloom recipes I didn't include) for the farmers market, the yolk pound cake was much better flavored than the whole egg one, We love experimenting, the memories we share are worth more than the process..... tomorrow.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The royal wedding, Yogie stays home and lifes potential.

So, yes, I am a royal watcher, a little. I was up to see their wedding, live, this morning, I was happy to see that she wore a traditional wedding dress, and that that is the example to young people she may set. I think that the leaders of the world need to set traditional values, as examples, to help young people to be more comfortable in that lifestyle and not so set with bad trends in our society. Young people are influenced by what others do, no matter what we do at home it does register on their radars. Yes, our teaching is the most important, thank God that is so, but what others do as they grow up does influence their lives, most come back to or never leave their family values but it is nice to have re enforcement in the greater society and the world.

Yogie came home with a "fuzzy" eye when she came home that began to hurt by this morning, I cleaned it with saline this morning, funny how you teach them to tell you or ask for help and it just slips their minds to do so. I try to explain to her to come to my for help for anything. she does but it is important to reinforce it in the simple things so that it becomes second nature in the bigger things.

I was raised in a home where you weren't encouraged to go to our parents for that kind of thing. I think that that was the way they were raised so it was not something they did easy or even thought about. I have always maintained that we change in our lives the things we didn't like in our childhood. I know that some people think they don't change things, that their parents were perfect, but when you really look down deep we all change things about our childhood. Some of the things are just little and suttle but none the less a change.

I always have tried to tell my kids daily or on a regular bases that I love them, yes they know, but they need to hear it not just assume it. Change. I  have tried kiss and hug them regularly. Change.  I allowed my children to voice their opinion, sometime it was hard to hear but I let them express their opinion, Change. I also told them about periods, sex, alcohol, anger and drugs. Change. I let them come to me for help, without judging what they did. It was better to know what they did and help them work through the problem than to go on thinking "my kids never did any of that I raised good kids". I truly know people, to this day, who have no idea what their kids experimented with and how close they came to real problems with their good kids. I did know and was able to talk to them about it, no, I was not their Friend, but a parent that allowed them some neutral ground to tell me or ask for help with amnesty. I think that helped me guide them in a way that punishing them with out being able to hear why wouldn't have. It was a hard line to walk, but worked for us. I had a friend say to me, when I was distressed that I had failed as a mother, "most kids run from their parents house as soon as they can, yours keep moving back or just won't go, you are a good mother", I do hope so.

I have two little ones again and teenage years yet to come, I will continue most of my techniques and change some, again, after all I am a different parent than I was 20 years ago, but they talk to me about anything now and I don't plan on cutting the lines of communication anytime soon. I don't want to be their friend, until they are adults, but their mom, friendship is our future not our present. I know that the future friendship will be wonderful, I am there with my older kids now...... tomorrow.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Yogie's chickens lay lots of eggs, she takes good care of them, Booboo has turkeys.

Poppie has had chickens for three years, we actually got his first chickens when he was in the hospital, they were Easter gifts for the girls. He came home from the hospital on Easter day that year. They did well but eventually all of them died, their were five of them originally, one of them lived over a year. We were given a little rooster that summer but the bigger rooster we had hurt him and he died. We got a dozen chicks the next year and they all were hens which was great. The big rooster started attacking Poppie and eventually we had to have  my brother come and get him to make lures out of. Every time Poppie would turn around in the coop the rooster would hit Poppie in the back and really hurt him. Poppie did not miss him when he was gone but was reluctant to have a rooster again. The new chickens grew up and he had the start of our hens. Last spring we got more chicks 7 regular and 5 meat chickens. The meat chicken grew very fast and because their legs aren't strong they eat themselves to being crippled. As soon as their legs can no longer support their weight you butcher them. We had nice big birds but their legs were still strong but we did butcher them and got 5 nice big birds. Son butchered them. Yogie loved the whole process, I couldn't imagine my little girly girl up to her elbows in chicken guts cleaning out the bird cavity but there she stood, She was totally in her element, she is a farmer at heart down to her core.

We also were given some chicken from Herbalist and Mokie gave us all of their so we had more chickens than we needed. Poppie's friend found one of his hen had, unbeknownst to him sat on a clutch of 12 chicks in his flower bed so we got the hen and the chicks. Way more chicks than we needed. Herbalist ended up taking the hen and chicks because a dog or coyotes had killed hers so she was in need of them. So now we are down to 20 some chickens. They molted in December and quit laying and didn't start back up after molting so we gave them a pound of raw hamburger and they started up and went into over drive. We get 16 to 22 eggs a day. Yogie began by just helping Poppie getting the eggs and then she asked to have the job as her own. She helps feed them, throws scratch to them to entertain them, so they don't get out the door while she collects the eggs. She is always so excited to count and see how many she has collected that day. She brings them in and I help her clean them. She is delighted to re straw their laying boxes with new straw she loves the whole process, from life to death in a chickens life cycle. She now has 5 regular customers for her eggs, even so we still have to be creative with eating eggs, frotattas, omelets, puddings, and with suggestions of friends we will be making angel food cake and pound cake for the farmers market as well. Poppie likes pickled eggs too, I just hate peeling really fresh eggs, but the bottom line is once you have eaten farm fresh eggs store bought are unpalatable.

Booboo was a little jealous of Yogies chickens, so we have bought her 5 turkey chicks, they are doing well, have learned to eat and drink and are thriving. She is hoping to get a hen and gobbler out of them to raise future chicks, and the other three will be for holiday dinners. We have to find a Peahen too as our old hen died in the cold of the winter and our two Peacocks are missing her so looking for a new hen or two. The neighbors all enjoy them, as they are free range, except when they poop on their vehicles. Our birds are coming along well and the little ladies are learning responsibility from having them, win win in my book.... tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New baby goat is doing well, new puppy is named and time to carve again.

The baby bucklings is doing well, he eats most all of the milk his little momma can make but she is making enough for him to grow. He is really a little cutie, he is snow white with a little cinnamon dusting. He is tiny, as tiny as a pygmy baby. He is a little fighter which will help him survive. The neighbor kids came by to see him and one of them was afraid she would make him sick just holding him but we encouraged her to hold him as she can't make him ill. She enjoyed holding him. Cubbie and Boy enjoy holding him as he is little enough for them to pick him up.

My new puppy is doing well, I have discovered she has a inguinal hernia, which is unusual for a little puppy, it is on the left side, which is the normal side for it to be on. The same side that she has the trouble walking on. I am thinking when I get her spayed and the hernia fixed that she may be able to walk better. She is however getting around well and the more she walks the better she gets around, I can't say the better she walks; I think she just is getting her own gate figured out. We named her Sadie, saddie Sadie, which made everyone happy, we had an old loved dog years ago named Sadie that was the same color right down to her nose, so she was honored with a special name and our memories were rekindled about an old friend.

I still have one little doe to have babies or baby yet. She is the other yearling we have, she is due around the 4th of May but looks to be able to have the baby anytime now. She is a dairy goat and we bred her to the boer buck so we are trying to keep a close eye on her just encase she may have a little trouble but with the tiny doe doing so well we are encouraged that all will go well. The first of my babies will be 2 months soon so the weanings will begin as they all turn 2 months, last year we had weaned at 6 weeks but the later born set, that didn't wean until later, did so much better than the younger weaned babies that this year all will wean later. The moms won't be any happier either way. We have made a weaning pen for the babies and two will go over to Mokie's and one is sold and will go to his new home. I am excited about him, he is the first baby I will be selling that I bred and the beginning of my breeding line. I hope to have doelings as well as buckling to sell next year. Though I may get doelings that I can sell from my last little doe. I am going to sell one of my adult moms to make up for the doelings I am keeping. I like to stay at the 6 or 7 mark for my does. The doe that hasn't kidded may be one of the does I sell. I have an offer for my little black doelings so lots of discussions yet to make.

I am going to be making soap today, I do love the process. I will soon have so much milk, after the weanings, that I will have to make soap or cheese daily. I will make a bulk of cheese to start it aging for the summer farmers market. The cheese has to age atleast 2 months before I can sell it and I like to age it longer, I have some still aging from last summer, nice flavor but I did make the mistake of them being to dry but some people like them anyway. I will also be carving today as I  have been sick all spring and haven't been able to carve, because on my lungs, but today I will get to carve a little and will make sure to not carve longer than a set time so I don't make my lungs worse. I do miss carving when I haven't gotten to for a while, but in some ways it improves my carvings as I regain some of the excitement in the process that I lose when I have to do it everyday. Poppie is going to Bug's to work on a car so alone time today, I am not always good at it but Poppie enjoys the time apart.... tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Surprise tiny baby, new puppy with a squiggly gate and the spring concert.

The spring concert the girls and their classmates had worked all spring on took place yesterday at 2 o'clock sharp, well sort of, the children were dressed in their Easter finest. They were all excited to share their wonderful songs with us. The teacher had planned out the songs as a trip around the world, they sang Irish and English ditty's, a french lullaby, and a Japanese song that they had to work hard at. They sang their first public round. We were enjoying their serenading when Poppie's phone began to buzz in his pocket. He usually doesn't carry it at the school so was kind of shocked that it rang. He answered it and Mokie's little tiny goat had had a baby.

She had been sickly in the fall and we had put her in with my little buckling that was sickly as well. They were both struggling and we never thought about them being old enough or well enough to bred. Well we were wrong and a 2 0'clock sharp, sort of, she gave birth to a very tiny preemie buckling, Mokie had to help pull him, her first by herself. He looks just like his dad but with ears. So he looks like a tiny little saanen.  He has no teeth on the bottom, but they should be in in a few days so he is a little premature. His momma didn't want anything to do with him and ignored him for the first 20 minutes, Mokie cleaned him up and dried him off, when he finally started to make noise and tried to stand his young mother started to peak at him with a little interest but not much. I came home from the concert, after the girls were done singing, and he was just standing up. I held his momma while Mokie helped him nurse, she didn't have much but he happily drank it. I gave Mokie some colostrum that I had frozen to help him get by until his mom got more milk.

I was just in the house from all the excitement when a friend of mine, that breeds doxie's, called. She had had a litter in March and one of the little females doesn't quite walk right so she can't sell her and doesn't have the time to mother her. She had offered to give it away last week and she had three takers but the other two fell through so I got to have her. She is the cutest little liver colored beautiful evenly marked girl. We named her Sadie, her gate is more a squiggly squirm than a walk. My friend was not sure if she got stepped on or maybe it is genetic. I looked on the Internet and it maybe a disc problem the doxie's have but either way she  will be loved as long as she has quality of life. She is happy and totally lovable and enjoys just being a puppy so far. She isn't in any pain so we will see.

Today is going to be cold so maybe Poppie can rest up from the greenhouse making, building always hurts him if he does too much at once, which is more than a couple hours, and he likes to do more so always pays for it with days of pain.... tomorrow.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hippies, the free spirited kids from the sixties that touched our lives.

I vividly remember the first time I saw a hippy, it was in the late sixties, either 67 or 68 and my dad was driving us somewhere on the out skirts of Grangeville. We were driving along the highway when we came upon a man hitch hiking, he had beads, dirty long hair with a head band, a back pack, sunglasses, jeans and a shirts with a peace sign on the front of it. He was walking down the road with a his thumb out and a big smile on his face. My dad passed him, there would have been no room in the car had he wanted to stop, waved at him and told us that man was a hippy. We all peaked out the window to see the man like we would have peaked out at a polar bear. We were looking at an oddity in our community.

During one of our trips back from Arizona a few years later we were in a Volkswagon bus that my dad had bought. My dad for all of my childhood wore a beard from October to March of each year, he stopped wearing them in 1980. We were driving down the road, on route 66, and the hitchhikers, alot of them hippies, would wave proudly at him and give him the peace sign. We was one of them, in their minds, a bus, a beard and a vehicle full of kids. My dad would give them rides sometime, usually when us kids weren't in the vehicle. It was fun to see them waving at us as we drove by.

The summer we moved to Corvallis, from Arizona, a hippy and his girl came walking down the road to our house. They were, or at least she was, from New York and they were finding themselves in the Rockies, they spent a week or so camped out in our yard. Mom and dad had checked them out and found them to be just kids on summer break, the girls I believe was to go back to school in the fall, the hippy was going to be off to new pastures, a summer of love, I believe in retrospect. He would spend hours practicing his hitch hiking stance. He taught us all just how to stand, how our thumb should be positioned for the best results. He taught us how to smile just right and catch a ride. We found him to be a lot of fun. We couldn't understand why he and the girl slept in the tent together, if they weren't married, and that they had no plans to marry at all was unbelievable to us. One morning they were gone, just left with no warning. I suppose the open road had called to them.

One day when our older kids were very small we were driving down the road, on a scenic byway, and the kids were being rowdy in the back seat. They were excited for whatever reason, maybe we were on our way to their grandparents, I don't actually recall where we were going. I had tried to calm them with no success so I used one of my parents old saying, "if you don't settle down and be good I am going to give you to the hippies." Bug, who was usually the hardest to settle, as he, we learned later had ADHD, immediately sat as still as he could be and didn't move or say a word for miles. I didn't really think anything about it, at the time, it was just pleasant that they were quiet and enjoying the ride. Bug was around three. About a week later I was driving down to the gas station to get gas and passed the local off ramp to the freeway. There was a hitch hiker walking up the ramp. I said, "there is a hippy", just in passing. Bug sat up like I had shot him. He stood on the back seat and looked out the window with great concern. I thought his actions odd but didn't worry he was always a curious child. All of a sudden he said, "mama, that is just a man." I said "what?" He said, "mama that isn't a hippy, that is just a man" I said, "honey a hippy is just a man". I to this day don't know what he thought a hippy was, and can't imagine the scare that he had had when I was going to give him to his fear, but I never again told my kids I was going to give them to something along the road.

His innocent little voice still rings out to me all these years later, hippies even when I was a child were just men, or mostly kids trying to find their way in this world, and I am glad I had a chance to glimpse at their world if only for a second..... tomorrow.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The bunny came and left stuff all over my living room... Praise the Lord!

I was awaken to the sound of two small girl's excitement; they had discovered that the Easter Bunny had left bikes, candy and hid the 2 dozen eggs they colored last night. They both tried out the bikes for size to see if they fit just right, couldn't imagine how the bunny had gotten the bikes into the house. No fighting over which was which or who's was who's they always know just which one they like, seems like the bunny gets smarter as I get older, or maybe more insinc with my kids. They finally  rushed about here and there finding the eggs the bunny had hidden who knows where. Yogie's carton was full first as she is always my little rush about, not so much at the Easter egg hunt at the park, but always first at home. Booboo gathered eggs more systematically. She however always cleans up at the park, doesn't care what it is, picks it up while the other kids charge on to the prize eggs, she just enjoys the process not the big reward that is hidden in the plastic eggs. She likes the simple things and is organized.

We all peeled our first egg and chose a chocolate marshmallow egg, one in each hand we toasted Easter. We took a bite of egg followed by a bite of chocolate egg, the taste of Easter. I have always associated the taste with Easter and my two little girls share my memory and we have created new ones for themselves. My older kids say "yuck" and eat what they want, but the little ones and I share our moment. We don't eat chocolate and eggs together any other time of the year but love the ones on Easter morning. It's just Easter!

Today Poppie will smoke a brisket of beef all day and then the older kids will come over and have barbecue with us. We will have deviled eggs, potato salad and smoked brisket, followed by our version of black forest cake. Chocolate cake with cherries and whipped cream in the middle smothered in chocolate. Poppie's favorite, since he didn't want birthday cake we will have it today.

The girls can't wait for it to warm up enough to go outside and ride their bikes. I can see them now, in my minds eye, pigtails streaming out riding up and down the lane. I think the real thing will be better than I imagine and I know it won't last long before it is gone so I will enjoy the moments I have with them. The grand kids will come and they will ride their bikes, soon there will be a whole parade riding up and down the road, I am truly a blessed woman.  I have generations of love to share on this special day.

The Lord arose today and conquered death so that we may all have the ability to live in eternity with him in heaven. I know today I will enjoy his love and grace.... tomorrow.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter egg hunt to attend and a green house to build among other things.

Today is the annual Easter egg hunt that two of the local non-profit agencies put on for the children 10 and under. The event is always such a joy to attend, the children can't not seem to control the excitement at hunting for the eggs and toys. Some children will win bikes and other toys and all will get candy, eggs and memories to last a life time. The hunt is divided into age groups to make each hunt fair and more fun for the children in that age group. Booboo won a bike two years ago and she and Yogie had such joy in her winning. The two girls have always taken such joy, maybe more in the others winning, I don't really know why but it has always been so. Today Yogie, Booboo, Boy and Cubbie will go and make new memories.

This morning before the hunt Poppie and I will be working on the new green house. We bought the extra boards that we need to go with all the recycled windows, posts and steel rafters. We should end up with a very nice green house and will  have even more tomatoes, cucumbers and pepper for our use and the farmers market.

Mokie picked up 5 baby turkeys for Booboo yesterday, Yogie takes care of the chickens so the turkeys will be Booboos. Poppie and I spent the afternoon, raking the yards and getting a place set up for the babies, in my studio again. They are all alive and chirpy this morning. Turkeys are one of the stupidest babies there are, they can literally drown themselves in the rain. They have to be taught to drink and eat so that they are alive this morning is a mile stone in their lives.

Going out to Lady's house to pick up a van that she and her husband gave us for Poppie to fix up. Poppie can't do the mechanicing he once did but he does enjoy fixing up older classic type vehicle. He will now have three, a 1973 jeep wagoner, from Belle's husband, a 1965 Volkswagon bug I got him several years ago, and this 1980's van. He also was honored to have bought my dad's 1978 Honda golden wing, that only has 35,000 original miles on it; but more important he has his memories with Dad also. We got a new used carburetor for it last fall and it runs wonderful again. He hopes to get it painted and the full dress fixed to it's old glory and go take my Dad for a ride on it, he can no longer ride it himself. I have a lot to do today and got to get started.... tomorrow.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Rainforest trip and the goaties survived the shots, ring and worming.

We milked the goats on Sunday bright and early and followed up with annual shots or baby shots, worming and one little fellow lost his little jewels. He took it good until a little later it caused him to thrash around on the ground for a few minutes, sounds cruel but much less traumatic than cutting and snipping. He was up and running after his sibling and half siblings in a little while, and leading the herd in some of the play. We didn't get time to get the trimming done but like all other work it will be there next time we get a chance to do it. Dessert and Lamb chops didn't get wormed as once we worm we can't keep the milk for 4 days so as they are on bottle they will get the milk and they milk will worm them.

Our chickens have started the lay eggs in record numbers, they hadn't restarted since molting so we took the advise of my brother in laws aged dad and feed them a pound of burger. It worked like a charm and set their systems to working on over drive. We are getting between 16 and 22 eggs daily. Yogie has stepped up and decided to be the egg taker carer person. She collects them in the evening after school, Poppie sometimes does it in the morning with Boy for her, on weekends she collect 2 to 3 times a day. She is selling them for 2 dollars a dozen or 3 for an eighteen pack. She uses the money to buy more feed and gets a little extra.

Once the chores were done on Sunday we took a nice long walk in the rain forest. We walked around twice instead of once as Poppie was in town and picked us up at the bottom of the hill, Booboo ran up the hill and expended all her energy. We do walk up the hill in the warm spring or in the summer but since it has been a long cold spring the walk up the hill brings alot of cold air in to our lungs and extends the colds we have been fighting for about 8 weeks. They found newly bloomed butter cups, and feed apples to the ants on the ant hill, this week end we will return to see how the ants did on the apple cores, maybe they will be gone without a trace, we will see. 

We used what milk we had extra from milking to make soap. We got two nice batches we made into shampoo plain and floral. We will have a couple more to make today and maybe again tomorrow. This week was busy Yogie got her bottom braces, and got kudos for her brushing, we had to get her a waterpic and a sonic toothbrush, with all the appliances in her mouth she was not able to brush them on her own. Booboo uses the new teeth equipment too. They are using it well.

Poppie and I are working on a new green house, we used guardrail posts that someone gave us to make the foundation. It will be 10 and 1/2 by 16 feet, that will make a nice little green house for our cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers, we will  have an additional raise bed down one side. The structure will be made from our old sliding glass doors and windows, so the whole thing will be mostly recycled. We should get alot of it done today so a nice project planned.... tomorrow.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Poppie and Dad, men who ask nothing but would give you the shirt off their backs.

I meant Poppie when I was, 19, I was full of my self, as alot of 19 year old are, I thought I was so much smarter than he was. I loved him in an instant and knew that he needed me, somehow I think now that it was me who needed him. My dad had always told me that I better marry a man that I could boss around cause if I didn't one would beat me up for my bossiness. Poppie allows me to "boss" him only until he is done with my bossiness and then we get on with being equal partners. It took me awhile in my early marriage to figure out that I was smarter on an intellectual level but I was not smarter than Poppie. He is flat out the smartest mechanical person I have ever meant. You can give his a machine, of any kind, and he can master driving it in about 3 weeks time. He can fix almost anything that has a motor. He can no longer do that kind of work due to his back injuries and disability but he can still help you fix anything if you are willing to do most of the physical work on the motor. He and I complete each other in most of our thought process, as we come at most things from a different point of view.

Over the years I have had people, who don't know us very well say I have no idea what you two have in common, but the reality is that we want the same things in life, and always have, some one who loves us for us and nothing more. When we got married Poppie had nothing so did not know how to share the nothing he had. He took to sharing what he had, when he had something to share, like a duck takes to water, any one that knows him now knows how generous a man he is, he gives to anyone in need. My dad is the same way gives with out hesitation to anyone in need, however neither like to ask for help for themselves.

I recall at time when I was 7ish that my dad brought a man home that he had picked up along the road when he was on his way home from work. I remember the man being ancient, but I am told he was only around 40 but had lived a hard life. The man was plain and simple for the times, a bum, now we would call him homeless. He smelled horrible, and I now know that part of the smell, that was terrible to me, was alcohol but then I had not had opportunity to have smelled it, he was filthy, painfully thin and decrepit. My dad brought him home, he sat him at the head of our table with all of us kids seated at the table around him. He had wanted something like 1.82 cent to begin with from my dad but my dad would not give it to him, not that he didn't have it but it was the exact amount for a bottle and my dad wouldn't buy him a bottle. He brought him home and feed him chicken dinner and then loaded us all up in the car and took him 90 miles to Riggins, Idaho to the bus stop. It was the middle of the week, he had to work the next day and we had school, he needed to help the man in a way that he could live with without contributing to his problem. I still remember watching that man choking on whole chicken bones as he tried to swallow them in his hurry to eat a meal he hadn't had in a long time. I will never forget the man, and my dad's kindness to him.

Poppie, when my older kids were very little, was going to the local gas station to get gas when he came across a car steaming, along the road, with two people standing looking into the hood. He stopped to see if he could help, there was water pouring on the ground and the motor was boiling. The lady was signing to him, Poppie doesn't understand sign so she got out a little tablet and ask him. "if we drive the speed limit can we make it to Deerlodge". Poppie was at a loss for what to say, number one they must have not being do the speed limit when the problem occurred and the vehicle wasn't going to make it to the gas station, a block down the road, little own Deer Lodge, about 100 ish miles or so away. Poppie tried to speak to the man, but he was an illegal alien and couldn't speak English, except to say "cigarette?". Poppie gave him a cigarette and tried to make the girl understand that she wasn't going anywhere. She just kept writing "can I make it to Deer lodge?" Poppie was so at a loss as to what to do, he finally loaded them in our truck and brought them home. He loaded up me and the kids, got his trailer and went back to the car and loaded it on the trailer. We took them to Deer lodge, and dropped them off at the girls families home. It was early in the morning when we got home. Poppie got no real sleep before he had to be at work. The kids luckily weren't in school yet. I again will never forget the kindness to complete strangers that made Poppie help them.

I am proud to say my Dad and my dear Poppie are humble, Godly men, they give so much of themselves and never ask for anything in return. I have benefited from knowing both of them in my live, and I know my children will take their examples of kindness with them throughout their lives...... tomorrow. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pies need fillings like families need love, happiness and understanding to be enriched.

My dad's very favorite pie is a sour cream and raisin pie that his mother used to make. I have never seen or heard of a recipe that comes close to the old family recipe that my Grandmother Gladys handed down to us. The first time I can recall it being made in my childhood was when I was around 7. We lived in an old farm house out in the middle of the Camas Prairie on the outskirts of Grangeville. The owner of the house was a complete character, he had had some of fingers cut off, I believe from a tractor accident years before we meant him, but he took joy in scaring us children by telling all sorts of assorted stories about their demise. I don't remember ever meeting his wife, if she was still living at the time I don't recall. He was in his seventies and had been a hard working farmer, on his families homestead, his whole life. He lived just up the road from the house he rented us. The old farm house was marvelous and I still love anything old and historic. My mother used to say when we drove by an old abandoned house on a prairie, in all the states we traveled to in my childhood, "there is some one's better years." I truly love old buildings to this day and think on those better years some one lived in the old places. The mind can see so many possibilities. Again I digress.

The farmer was Mr. Shumatica, I don't know the spelling of his name or it's origin, we had a lovely giant garden, trees to climb and anything imaginable for a child to do, and a daily visit from the old man. He milked his cows every day and used a milk separator to separate the milk, he would bring us the thickest cream I have ever seen it was totally the best ever. We would have it on oatmeal, in homemade ice cream and if mom soured it for a few days, sour cream pie.

The pie looks like a pecan pie at first glance and to some extent it almost has that texture, it is sweet and tangy and just the best. You make up a pie crust and fill it with the almost custard mixture of:

1 cup very thick sour cream, homemade unpasteurized is the best, commerical will work but not quite right
3/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks, I have used whole eggs but it is not as rich
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 tsp. allspice
3/4 cup raisins

Mix all together. Pour in the unbaked crust, Bake for 10 minutes at 425 reduce the heat and continue cooking for 30 to 40 minutes. Chill and serve with fresh whipped cream, real is best.

Our time at Shumatica's was some of the best times in my young childhood, my Grandparents and Aunts came to visit regularly. My cousins from Arizona came for two weeks and we fought, played and enjoyed our last times of being around each other just to play as children. We fell out of trees, my boy cousin, a couple of years older than me, ran away with my mom's blessing, all the way up the hill almost out of sight before he turned around and came running home. Our summer there was filled with such joy and calm, I do believe there is nothing more fun than a farm and the farm life for children, freedom to just be children with no pressure from the outside world and it's complications. I still love to see, some one's better years as I am driving down the road, eroding into dust and decay with the weeds and moss growing on it, what stories those old walls could tell... tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The rise and fall of Caesar, my dad's life time favorite dog.

My dad got Sherry, Big Red and Caesar from a hound breeder down in the Elk River Valley area, I don't remember exactly where but do remember, as a small child, going there to see the hounds once. Initially Big Red was his favorite, he was a fast learner and a good hunting hound, his siblings Sherry and Caesar were good dogs but dad had put more love and time into Big Red, as his name implies he was a big red hound, again, my dad suspected they had a little golden retriever in them. He thought that because he could never quite get them to not want to go off track for a bird, and that is not that usual for a hound, also Caesar was was a light yellow with spots, the spots from the walker in him but the light yellow, unknown. Sherry was a beautiful red female, they came from a litter of twelve pups. She once had  a litter of eighteen pups. I watched them all be born, she would deliver a pup and lightly bite it if it squealed she would clean it off and put it with the other pups, if it didn't make noise she would bite it again two more times if it didn't make noise she ate it. She delivered 18 puppies but weeded the litter down to 13 puppies that she feed and took care of, survival of the fittest at it's most basic.

The dog were a couple years old when we went to Brock's to sell a young dog that dad had trained, Brock wanted the dog but also wanted Big Red, my dad didn't want to sell him but the money Brock offer was too much for dad to walk away from. He sold Big Red, we all cried when he was sold, mom as well, my dad was very sad that he was gone. Soon after Big Red was gone dad took new interest in Caesar, he eventually became the best dog, bar none, that he ever trained. Caesar was on a chain when he was not working when we lived in Grangeville. The neighbor next door to us, my parents rented them the house, had a cat that would come over every day and tease Caesar. The cat would come over and walk just out of his chain length back and forth, and then sit and preen or hiss at him. One day Caesar lunged at him, as he did daily, and the chain broke. The chase was on the cat ran lickety split toward his home and Caesar was on him like smell on a skunk, he chased that cat into the house, into the kitchen and killed in at the neighbors feet. She was not happy but had known that the cat had harassed the dog and had taken joy in the teasing, she did regret it in the end.

Caesar was a hunting dog and was taught to kill, unlike most hounds that pick up a raccoon or bobcat and shake them when they catch them he pushed them to the ground and dispatch them in and instant, my dad never had another dog to that. He would literally rip out their throat, kill and be done with the kill. He never destroyed a hide. One night my dad and his friends had spent hours chasing a bobcat, they treed it up a hackberry tree my dad had gone up the tree to shake it out to the dogs. He was in the tree and the branch broke on the way to the ground, my dad always said all he could think of was that he hoped the cat hit the ground first because he didn't want Caesar to get him, thank the Lord the cat did, when my dad stood up the cat lay dead on the ground beside him.

Shortly after we moved to Plains, the majority of the dogs were in a kennel dad had built but Caesar was on his chain, he was never in the kennel at this point he was always on a chain. Sherry came in heat, and as they were siblings my dad did not breed Sherry and Caesar so he was going to take her to a man in Thompson Falls's bloodhound to be bred, but she got out of the pen and was running around the yard, mom's pekingese got out and was chasing her, somehow the peke got into the range of Caesar's chain, he killed him in an instant. My mom was so up set she went out and beat him with a belt at the end of the chain. My dad came home from work and was aghast at what she had done, he told her he never disciplined Caesar at the end of the chain, he always tied him short to the collar he was too dangerous to discipline with that much chain. She was lucky he didn't hurt or kill her.

Caesar was always gently with us kids and always had been, my dad really loved him, you could tell him anything and he would do it, he was a very smart well trained dog. My youngest biological sister, Baby Sister, had just been born and Caesar was getting fairly old around 7 ish, in the prime of his hunting life, and he changed, he could no longer tell the difference in a small child and a hunting quarry. My dad knew he could no longer keep him. He contacted Brock and sold him. He received 1500 dollar for him, plain old hound, no special pedigree but he was one of the finest hunting hounds that ever there was. He went to hunt jaguars in British Honduras, I am sure he was in hound heaven. My dad did hear from time to time how he was doing but his loss took the hunt out of my daddy. He didn't hunt hounds anymore, he has always kept a bloodhound, more for my mom than anything but the love for the hunt was gone with his Caesar.... tomorrow.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The day the raccoon came to play and eventually refused to play at all.

My dad loved his hound dogs, while in Grangeville he purchased most of the ones he ever had. I am not sure he really ran dogs before Grangeville and it may have been due to the group of friends he made ties with in Grangeville that he got into the dogs like he did. His best friends were a couple of brothers from, I believe, Missouri originally. They had dogs and sever other other fellows in the group ran them as well. They all had big families, hard working mill working fathers and homemaker moms. A perfect fit for our family. They hunted their hounds alot of nights and on week ends that they weren't, which wasn't often, they all got together to play pinochle, mostly to make the wife's happy, I think, not that they didn't like to but they liked to hunt coons, bobcats and cougars alot more.

My dad had purchased three dogs in a litter that turned out to be the best dogs he ever owned, they had something in them that wasn't hound and in the end the thought it may have been a little golden retriever. One of the dogs was a female, Sherry, the males were Big Red and Caesar, his favorite. He trained and sold dogs to a international buyer named Brock who took some of my dad's trained dogs to British Honduras to hunt Jaguars. My dad really was a quality hound trainer in his time, the most he ever made for a dog, and it was not papered was 1500 dollars and in the 1970's that was a lot of money.

My dad decided one summer that he needed a raccoon, to train his dogs with, he figured he would go out to a local pond and catch one. We all piled in to the station wagon, in our swimming suits, we never missed a chance to play in the water even if the ride was for another purpose. Mom took her Pekingese and we had a fun after noon playing in the water. It was getting late in the afternoon, toward dark when Giggett started to bark, he had found himself a raccoon.  Living by the hounds had either rubbed off on him or he got luck, my dad had brought his coon catcher with him so in a short time had snagged the raccoon on the pole with the cable on the end. He put the raccoon in the crate, he had put in the back of the station wagon, we loaded up and off toward home we went. A couple miles down the road the raccoon came out of that wooden crate angry and snarling. Us children stated screaming and jumping like we had been shot out of a cannon. There were kids everywhere in that back seat, no seat belts used back then, and we were head toward the front of the car. The raccoon jumped on my littlest, two year old, brothers head and on to the next child. Dad stopped the car and look back to see the chaos that was ensuing behind him. He reached out and caught the coon in his hand. I believe, it went to biting him, and my dad was trying to get the coon back in the crate, the Pekingese was barking, my mom was screeching, we kids were crying. My dad got the coon in the crate and called for calm with a bark. The rest of the way home dad held the crate to the back of the station wagon door, and mom drove home.

Once home the raccoon was housed in a rabbit cage. My dad took him out with a collar and put him up a tree to train the young dog to tree coons, but as the coon was housed near them they would go to the tree and look up as if to say "hey, we know you". The coon turned out to be not a good training tool, so we took the coon back to the pond and let him go. He had done what we was asked, served his purpose so dad let him go, he didn't go in the fur pile. We did miss him a little, but as he was a wild raccoon to the end we never actually made a pet of him the loss was minimal.  The hunts went on and the training continued live was good.... tomorrow.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Shots, rings and trimming to do in the goat pen and Sunday school.

Yogie and Booboo finished their Awana's program for this school year this week, Poppie went to parents night with them. It was his birthday and I was making him birthday dinner for when he returned home. The girls had had pizza and all sorts of sweet snacks at the event. Boy wanted to know if Poppie was going to have cake but since Poppie didn't want a big fuss for his birthday we didn't, disappointed the kids but sometime Poppie needs quiet and piece. He has had a painful spring and winter, the cold makes him hurt more than normal and he tends to get grouchy. We are hoping that the real spring will come and warm us up, he spends more time in his chair when he hurts and it is time he got to go out and do stuff.

Today we are all going to give the baby goats shots, dewormlng them, wither the one little buckling and hopefully Son will trim their feet. He doesn't like to trim the does feet when they are pregnant, as we throw them on their sides, which make the process easier. He is afraid that might up set their pregnancy's so we don't during them. The first babies are around a month old now, give or take, so time to get the trimming done. Can't wait until the two bums are 2 months old so we can stop bottle feeding them, will give us alot more milk to make soap and cheese with. I finished up a couple orders of Easter Soap and took a couple orders for laundry soaps. Mokie is going to put together a display to take to a local store to see if we can sell them with her, if not their are a couple other store we might try. We will be doing one craft show at the end of May and are in the jury process for a show the end of June. I have been really slacking, being sick for the the last six weeks, on my Internet stores but will be getting the listings done to get back on track. I have the inventory done just haven't kept up like I should on the listings, I have lots of upcycled items to list which will be fun.

Yogie and I are cuddling and watching Sunday School programing, Booboo, M and Buga are sound asleep, still in the living room, overnights tend to wear the little mites out. Yogie's cough is getting worse, similar to mine so she had to come get an early morning hug from mom. It is always special when Yogie comes to get cuddles, it come easy to Booboo, but Yogie is more standoffish with her cuddles so everyone is special and to get a whole morning full is a real treat. I am going back cuddling and enjoying my Sunday..... tomorrow.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spring yard cleaning and goats brings children's laughter and play.

I awaken to the loudness of silence, it is always quiet in the mornings when I wake up, usually around 4:30 to 5:30, Saturdays it varies as the program that we have set to come on is not on so no actual wake up call, but today is different. The girls spent the night with Mokie and family, I don't know why but my body knows they are not here. It is more quiet on a level I can't describe. I know that being just the two of us again will happen sooner than Poppie and I are prepared for, we were there for really one full year before the girls came to stay in our lives. I am a person who does not do well with being alone, I am rarely alone, Poppie is here most all the time, and when he is not I usually have a child or grandchild with me. I am not sure I am strong enough, in ways, to be alone and God doesn't burden us with things he knows we can not overcome. I hope I never have to find out about truly being alone. I lay hear and listen to the snoring next to me, it is very reassuring to have the comforting sound beside me.

Last evening all of us, Poppie, Mokie, the girls, pseudo grand kids, visited with the baby goats, They are growing, and there is nothing cuter than baby goats, they ran, jump and just play. A child chases one this away and another that away. When the child gives up the little goatie will run over and butt them or jump on them to start the whole process over again, the goat's love the play almost a much as the children. The mommas, some don't care, and others spend their time trying to deflect the child's attention from their babies, some put themselves between the baby and the child. The children are oblivious to the mothers interference, they are so set on playing with the babies and have no fear of the momma goats so never notice. Some of the babies crave the attention and just love to see the children come to play others, usually with the more independent mothers, need more coaxing to play. Play is so good for both the kids and the kids.

Spring doesn't seem too want to truly come so we take advantage of the partially nice days to get out and enjoy the out of doors. We hope to do yard work, raking, shoveling and burning. There is a lot to do to get the property reading for the new year, but the best part is just spending time with the kids, which ever come by, grand kids or kids, and each other. The girls and I will get to walk in the rain forest just for the shear joy, it is funny to watch Booboo, who on her very first walk, all those years ago, needed such encouragement to go, (she was 2 1/2) races up the big hill at the end with such joy and accomplishment. Life is good, tomorrow isn't here and yesterday does not matter, we have today to enjoy our lives and we plan to do just that..... tomorrow.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Pie crusts are the bases of all good pie; as family is for a good life.

I don't actually remember when my mom came across the "never fail" pie crust recipe. I have my suspicions that she read it in a magazine or got it from a friend when we lived in Grangeville. My mother really grew as a cook when we lived there. She was just starting to live again after being depressed for years after her mother had died. She became the good cook she still is there. She to this day makes lots of great pies and the never fail crust gives her a good base to do so.

The never fail crust for those that don't know, as tweak by generational use in our families, is as follows: I always make two double crusted pies, one extra to gift, freeze or for lots of pie cookies.

3 cups of flour (all purpose, wheat or combination)
1cup of lard (it is best but Crisco or butter will work) cold and diced up
1/2 teaspoon optional

Mix together to make a gravelly like flour mixture.

Beat together, 1 egg, 1/2 cup water and 1 tablespoon of vinegar in a small bowl. Add to the flour/fat mixture until it just forms a ball, do not over knead or it will toughing up. Wrap in plastic and chill half hour or more, is best, but if you don't have time you can use without chilling. Roll into round crusts for the pie size you are making.

I had a childhood friend who's mom said you could tell how good a marriage you would have by how nice a round you could roll, I don't know that that is true but you can bet I have always strived to roll a nice round one, roll, quarter turn, roll. I have since noticed Martha Stewart uses the same technique to roll hers. I don't think she invented it but got it from her mother as well.

I have another friend, about my mothers age, that told a story to her daughters, one of which is my friend Going. The prince of the land made a proclamation, much like in Cinderella, that he was going to go into the land and check pastry boards and find the pastry board that had the most flour on it to find a wife. The pastry board was to have flour on it because a good pie baker would use it so much bits of the pastry and flour would still be on the board. The Prince looked far and wide but couldn't find the one that he would choose. One day he came to a house where the beautiful girl had made a pie but as she was not a pig, she cleaned the pastry board up right away. The prince took her straight away to become the princess; The morel of the story was that it is great to make a good pie but a real cook cleans up the mess, who wants to bake in a dirty kitchen. 

I think that as I talk to my friends about childhood things and cooking with our mothers we almost all have a story that includes making a pie. Besides cookie making, mothers probably make more memories with their children, in the kitchen, while making a pie.  I know that I have spent untold hours with all of my kids, girls and my son making pies. We always used the extra crust to make pie cookies. The child's first experience with their own dough was the piece they rolled to make pie cookies. Almost all first attempts at pie cookies are streaked and mess colored, from the re rolling and re rolling a small child will do to make it just right in the own little minds, not to mention they have to get it just right, almost always tough, thinner, thicker and any number of shapes but a master piece none the less. My little girls soon advanced from pie cookies to crust pinching, their little fingers trying to push their little fingers just so, coping momma, to make the crust pretty, I find 2 year old pinch crust is my favorite crust of all.

I don't care what kind of pie you make, the time spent with your daughters and sons, making them, is time you will never forget; you are making much more than a pie. The family bond you are creating will never be broken, the child will not remember the pie, may not even remember their first attempts, you will, but they will remember that momma loved them and had time to just play with them in the kitchen, priceless time. ..... tomorrow.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Feta cheese and conk mushroom hunting, Poppie watched Cubbie and boy.

Even feeding the bums their daily bottle twice a day, which is about 80 ounces of milk, we finally got the 3 gallons of milk it takes to make cheese. I only make batches of cheese that big as I am too lazy to make littler batches, same work but a lot less cheese. A 3 gallon batches usually makes about 3 lbs or cheese or cheeses depending on the cheese, with Mozzarella you get the add benefit of both it and ricotta, but still about 3 lbs total. I don't usually got to the trouble of making ricotta with other cheeses as you don't get as much as when you make it with mozzarella; besided my house plants or garden plants benefit from the whey, if they have already been fed I give it to Swiss Miss our momma pig. She used to be Miss chops but Booboo's little pig died so she got to have Miss Chops for hers and changed her name to Swiss Miss. Digressing again so on I go.

I got set up and sterilized the big turkey roaster, I have found it is the best cheese maker ever. I can control the heat at a more constant lower heat, as needed with cheese and it is a 20 quart container, total win win. I added the spoons, thermometer, tongs and strainer, to get all good and sterile. I let them cook about 10 minutes and drained off the water, removed the utensils to a clean sterile board. I add the milk, culture and strong lipase, you can make feta without the lipase but it doesn't have nice flavor if you do, good feta is not vegetarian, as lipase comes from a stomach part from a baby goat or lamb.  I then allowed the batch to heat up to 88 degrees slowly over the course of an hour, at the end of an hour when all is to the proper heat, where it needs to be held at for the rest of the processes. I added the rennet, I prefer good animal rennet, again derived from stomach of newborn goat or this time calf. I mixed it 20 to 1 in a half cup of warm water, about 1/2 teaspoon. I quickly stirred it in for about 15 seconds. I when let it set cover in the roaster for 40 minutes.

Mokie and kids came in at this point in the process, she wanted to got get mushrooms in the woods if Poppie would watch Cubbie and Boy. Poppie agreed that he would but he would have to pick the kids up from school by 3:30. I told her that my cheese would not be done to ball stage until around 1 so we couldn't got until then. She visited for a short time, took the kids home so I could continue and she would come back and we could got then.

The milk had nicely curded in the 40 minutes, good break, so I was ready to cut curd. I took my long knife and slice ever 1/4 inch across one way then the other, I then tipped the long knife at a 45 degree angle and cut across all the cuts again and then on all sides of the roaster. I let the curd set undisturbed 15 minutes. Check my email, and came back to stir the curd gentle. I do 3 sets of 15 minutes which cooks the curd, not with heat really but time at the same heat to firm it up a little. If when stirring I came across a curd that was to big I cut it down. The curd was all cooked and looked great so I spooned and strained it into the waiting, cheese cloth lined bowl to hang from my curd hook to drain for the next couple hours, the hours Mokie and I were going to go mushroom hunting.

Mokie and I loaded a couple 5 gallon buckets, Boy's wagon, a small hatchet and we were off up the creek about 3 miles from the house. We got to the sight, parked the pickup at a kelly humped road and walked down the old abandoned road to the creek bed. The brush was pretty high and thick so it was kind of hard to pull the little wagon in, we took it in quite a ways but finally parked it and carried the bucket in. Shortly after getting in the right spot we started spying our quarry. We were looking for conk, the common local name for the fungi, They are sometimes called artist mushrooms, and used in medical applications. I have a friend, another crazy goat lady, that her with her husband make a living selling herbal teas, salves, and other herbal applications. They do well and have a budding nation wide business. Mokie and I sell the mushroom to them. I will speak of her again in the future, we are getting a new buckling from her, so I will call her, Herbalist.

Mokie and I were having good luck, went to where we would have to cross the creek on the one side went back and checked to other side of the old road until it was time to return home so Poppie could go get the girls, he also picks up the grand kids and drops them at their home. When we dumped the buckets in the wagon it was full so we had had a good harvest. Poppie thought we had done a good job, he wasn't happy that I had thorn scratches up and down my legs though. He told us the Daughter had called and she had to take Eldest to the hospital as they are burning slash piles next to the school to prepare a site to build a new hospital. The ER said that the old folks, in the nursing home, were having the same problem. Eldest will have to stay home the next few days.

We returned home in time to unload the mushrooms, Poppie was proud of our harvest. We put them by the fire to dry. I turned over the curd ball to make it more uniform for cutting and salting after it set over night. Cubbie and Boy had been good and Poppie had a good time with them, they were both napping so some one wore some one out. All in all a nice productive day..... tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Books can make so much difference in a childs life.

I don't remember having had books that were for small children when I was a very small child. I don't remember my parents actually having time to read them to us if they had had them. I don't know if the push for a child to have them was strong at the time or if my family was out of step. I went to kindergarten, which was unusual at the time in Darby Montana, I walked across the 50 acre pasture, mingled with the sheep, climbed over or under a barb wire fence,  crossed the two way highway and walked into my teachers home. Mrs. Sipma, I don't know if that is spelled right, a local foster parent, provide kindergarten for the country kids around her house. She taught us how to count, say our abc's and start to read, which is standard now but a head of the times in 1965. She taught reading by sounds not letters, an acceptable beginning technique now, unheard of then. I later had a high school teacher tell me I could not spell properly because I was taught to read that way. I don't know if that is true but she did ignite a love or reading in me that has never gone away. I love to read so much that in the 1990's when I suffered from depression, I became a reading addict. Yes, it is possible, I read all the time and my children's suffered from my addiction. I stopped reading current novels in 1996 and have not read one since, and will not, but I do continue to read non-fiction, children's books, classics's and of course the bible.

The winter of 1971 in January, after the mill in Missoula burned down and my dad had to go away to Roundup to work, my mother read to us for the only time I can remember in my life. She does not read much and never has, she does read the bible but that is really the only thing she reads beside sewing or cooking magazines, and she does like catalogs. She is an addicted catalog shopper. I digress, it was winter, lots of snow a foot or more, no tv and no dad in the evens. All this things came together to give us time with nothing to do, I was reading the Little house in the big woods, I had gotten the set of books for Christmas the month before. She took and interest in the books and over the course of the next two months she read us the whole set in the evenings. It was a real special time, as she had never really read to us, maybe some nursery rhymes but if she did I don't recall it and I have clear memories that, per my parents, are back to when I was 18 months old. I don't remember her reading to the other kids either and I remember most of their births. I remember the winter snow being so much like the events in the books that that added to it being such a wonderful loving time in our young lives.

I was ahead of the curve as a reader in grade school, I read all of Mark Twain and a good portion of Charles Dickens before junior high. I took ever modern novel class I could in high school and as I went to 6 High schools each class was different with each teacher having their own idea of what modern novels should be presented in the classes. Moving around had been a disadvantage for math but it had be a boon for this avid reader, I got more introduction to the classics's and modern novel than most high school student will ever get. I was a win win for me in many ways. I could go anywhere in a book, places of my choice and escape.

I have always provided books for my children to read and enjoy from the time they could walk, I also spent many an hour reading to them. My two oldest girls do love to read to this day, unfortunately mostly romance novels, but reading is reading. I am trying to sculpt the littler girls reading habits to a more well balance scope. I spend more time with them in their reading and directing their choices, I as a co-at home parent, have a luxury of time that alot of parents don't have and I think I should be held to a higher standard to make that extra time more productive. I think my girls benefit from the time both Poppie and I have to give to reading. Poppie doesn't read much but he is a good listener. Bug doesn't read a lot but when he does it is not romance novel, I introduced him to the Harry Potter series which he did read and he reads other science fiction and fantasy style books.

I think that one of the most important things you can give to your children is a love of reading, with it they can go anywhere. The places you can go, and to quote Dr. Seuss, the thinks you can think..... tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

School Kids, antler necklaces and lots of questions, chidren are so much fun!

Yesterday to honor a request by my Booboo, I went to the school to show the children how to make antler necklaces. She is a little artist and wanted to share antler art with her classmates. She had asked Mrs. Cooper in advance and when I had taken the goat and lamb last week to both girls class rooms we had set up my coming to her class. Booboo has 18 kids in her class but as they had gotten several new students this spring and lost some she was not certain of the number there would be. When I arrived all the children were excited and chatty, Mrs. Cooper calmed them all down quietly. She has been a teacher since Goofy had had her about twenty years ago. she has grown into a wonderful teacher with a soft manner but seems to keep the children in line all the same.

I started by showing them a moose antler carving, some carved antler handles, pen and ink handles, a feather painting and a scapula pen and ink sculpture. They all had questions about what each was. one of them was sure the scapula was an antler from a deers head. They all got to learn about antlers, bones, and the difference between an antler and a horn. I then let them pick out the antler of their choice, Mrs. Cooper and Mrs. Blaylock got one as well, I let them keep the two extras and brought one home for Yogie to make a necklace. They all made their choice, each piece was the tip of an elk antler or a few were deer antler tips, after picking their favorite one, they used a pencil to draw whatever they wanted to on the side I had sand for them to draw on. Antlers have a natural coating on them so when I draw on them I sand the coating off, where I am going to draw, to access the more porous white interior. The children were at a loss as to what to draw on their pieces, I advised them they could put what ever they wanted. The antlers were long and thin so I suggested, flowers, snakes, their names, foot prints, curlicues anything would be just fine. Mrs. Cooper, drew flowers and SERENITY, on hers. Several of the little girls and boys went to work right away, little snakes, flowers and free form designs began to appear everywhere. One little boy couldn't seem to begin, I drew a wolf on a paper for him, but he was frustrated and couldn't bring himself to just have fun. All the other were done with their drawings and ready to color. I finally helped him draw a foot prints so he could continue. I had told him his mom and dad would be proud of what ever he did. He said they are separated, I told him they would both be proud of him when he saw each of them. One little girl couldn't understand why I knew her name, or how I knew her mom and dad. I told her I had carved the antler she had at her house, I had carved it for a friend of her parents for their wedding, she was amazed.

I don't usually use color on the antlers but had stopped and picked up colored felt markers thinking that the color would appeal to children more than the pen and ink. They began to color and all ended up with brightly color pieces. When each finished their coloring, I let them pick jute or faux sinew as the string to go around their neck. I showed them how to twist the end of the sinew to create a tight needle like end to thread threw the hole. I showed them how to wrap the sinew and create a knot. Booboo end up as the only child who chose the jute, so it tied a little different. When all the necklaces were completed I took them out to the playground to spray them with clear coat to set and protect their artwork and the necklace were complete. The kids were off to PE and I came home.

Poppie picked up the girls a little later from school. No necklace came home. Booboo advised that the kids were so excited after PE they would not calm down, so they could not bring their necklaces home until tomorrow. Four kids had to have refocuses. I believe they enjoyed their craft making, maybe a little too much..... tomorrow.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fathers are so important in the lives of their children, I am glad I know two wonderful ones.

My dad always worked hard all of his working life, when he was 18 his father, my grandfather Jim, got tuberculosis and had to go to Galen for 6 months. His mom had 7 of her 8 children still at home to feed in 1955, my dad had always apprenticed with my grandfather at his job, for no pay. Jim was a head filer at the mill he worked at, my dad stepped up and took over the job for my grandfather. Most adult men could not have done the job but my dad did, he also came home ever week and handed over the paycheck to my grandmother and never asked for more than what he had always had a home and food to eat. When my grandfather got well, he came home to his job, my father went out and got a head filer job of his own, in a different town. My dad worked for the next 40 years and only missed 11 days of work, the 11 days that he had a heart attack and spent time in the hospital.

He worked hard and when he was home he tried to give to us of himself.  He could be a hard task master, he expected you to work hard, to do things right and not short changes anyone including yourself. He didn't always know the things that went on in the house when he was gone. My mom tried to not over burden him, but alot of the time he would have spankings to give out when he came home, mom always sent you to bed to await dad and a spanking. My dad had a plaque that he hung on the wall for as long as I can remember, I have it now. The plaque reads, "the best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother." He has lived his life by that modo, he taught all of his children to do the same. We all love our spouses, and support them. I know that I have always loved Poppie more than anyone, and that includes my children, there have been times that they needed me more but I always love him first and most. I belief in my heart that by loving him more I loved them the best I could. My fathers example always lead in this belief, besides, after the kids are gone you don't want to look across the table and wonder who the heck the person you are drink coffee with is. I have never had to wonder, working on your spousal relationship, staying on the same page and loving your kids together has always worked for Poppie and I.

My dad helped Poppie get his first job after we got married. Poppie had been raised in a whole different kind of family, mostly broken and really dysfunctional so he had no real concepts of work ethic, family of a Godly life. He did learn as he went along, and my dad helped him in many ways become the man he is now. Poppie always worked hard to feed our family, he worked at the mill and worked are home, sometimes he didn't get to spend lots of time with the kids, and now regrets the lost time. He doesn't always remember that he did the best he could at the time. Our son Bug always saw Poppie as not being manly as a teenager, he had lots of logger friends that had manly logger dads.  They partied hard, were loud and fought hard. Bug thought that that was a man, he and Poppie went through alot of years with this between them. When Bug became a father he tried the hard ass dad routine and discovered that maybe the kind of dad, his dad had been to him, was a better choice for him. Yes, he can still have bouts of the strictly manly dad with his kids but mostly he loves them and loves their mother, not a bad tradition to share with his kids.

I even think the Poppie has been a good example for Son, he asks Poppie for advise and seeks his counsel regularly; so the love of a father in law for his son in law is also being continued in the new generation too. I don't pretend that my family is unique, I like to think we are just a loving Montana family.... tomorrow.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday a speical day the Lord gives us each week, we all spend them differently!

When I was a very little child I loved Sunday mornings, we got up and eat breakfast. Mom always made breakfast, we never had cereal as it was expensive and really a new fangled thing back then. We mostly had good old fashioned breakfasts, oatmeal with whipped cream, from the cow, sometimes it had raisins mostly it didn't, eggs and toast, cornmeal mush with toast, or sourdough pancakes with syrup, made from mixing equal parts sugar and water with a little mapleline, all were good and all filled out tummies up. We never got candy, which was good, but we would have left over cold pancakes with butter later as a special treat. Once the mess was cleaned up, and my mom never goes anywhere if the house is not cleaned up, like moms who give you extra underwear encase you are in a car wreck, we would go to church. Over the years we went to many a nice congregation. Hamilton, Lewiston, Wallawa, Missoula, Grangeville, and some that were in strife and not the most fun, but I love going to a good loving Sunday Church service.  Once Church was over sometimes we would go to my grandma, Thema and grandpa, Martins, for Sunday dinner, I don't actually have strong memories of the time but the feeling of warmth in my heart that thoughts of that time bring to me make me know there was always love from them. We went sometimes to my other grandparents, Gladys and Jim, and their younger girls, Delane, Zonna, and Lynne, the love and flat out excitement of being with the rowdy young girls, they were at the time, was always such fun.

Later as we aged, moved and my grandparents both set gone, for different reasons, Sunday became more solemn, sometime there were potlucks, and sometime we went to peoples homes and sometime we came home to the ordinary. When we stopped going to church during the years, at Plains, dad had originally done a service at home which were nice, my father is a good Preacher in his own right. I have never meant a person I would say is more like God when he forgives, God forgives and forgets the sin, it no longer exists, my Dad forgives and the transgression is no longer there between you, he lets it go and it is forgotten. I don't know of very many people capable of that, I do know lots of people the forgive but you are reminded of the transgression again and again or made to pay for it later. Once we left Plains we went to may other churches in other places, all nice and some loving. Where I live now and have lived for 31 years, from the day I got married, I happily will tell you I have move to 5 different houses in those years, but not move once out of this town, my kids went all their years in the same school. I wanted them to have a stable solid base to start their lives from, two have moved away, one back and one lives on the property where she was born. They have a true hometown. The Church here has varied, in the beginning it was a nice little church but through the years has whittled down to completely gone, when my parents moved away it was totally gone, and to some degree was done before that. I do love to go to church but have not come to a place in my life where I can easily go to a different Church. I have several different friends I could go with and they would be happy to take me, two churches that I could not truly belief in the churches differences, so I would be a hypocrite to go there, one that is not in my community and I want to go in my community for my girls, I have gone with the girls grandparents but again it is out of the community. My girls have just started going to Awanas it is a nice congregation and would be the easiest choice for us to go to, maybe we will eventually go there. The girls and I now watch Church on the tv and read our bibles, it is not enough but it is a good start for them. I sometimes, and in this still am under the strong opinion that I was raised with that I need to go to the church I was raised in, the biggest problem I have is that that church as a whole is gone, the new Church it has become is not the one my heart seeks. I do pray that God will show me where I should go and where I should help my girls find their way in God.

Today we are going to go on a ride this afternoon and have a picnic in the woods, God's Cathedral and Church. The Soul cleansing feeling I get from being with God in the woods, that he made, are second to none...... tomorrow.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Lambchops and Dessert got to go to make the children laugh and play.

I had promised the girls to take the lamb and baby goat to school before they got sick so it had had to be postponed. Yesterday was the day they got to go. All of the 40 plus children, of the two classes, were totally excited to see the two little guys. Each child want to hold them and touch the different furs, one curly, soft and oily with his lanolin the other straight soft and a little course to the touch when compared to the other. The children let them suck on their fingers discovering that they don't have teeth on the top but a hard palate. The lamb and goatie would follow them as they ran laughing away. They ask lots of good questions and truly enjoyed being with an animal they don't get to see often, in their lives, even in the country side of Montana.

Our new neighbors have come over to watch us milk the goats, interested in getting goats of their own. I am of the belief that once you get stung by the goat bug you love them the rest of your life, maybe one of the little children got stung today. Our goats are milked twice a day, the ones that's babies are already weaned are giving more than the two that we milk that are still nursing babies. Yogie and Booboo get to help in the evening and enjoy the milking so much, they are both good milkers and can milk the goats almost all the way out Mokie just milks the last little bit to make sure they have gotten all the milk out. Our babies are growing fast, the combined breeding of the Boer and the dairy goats makes for bigger babies on the whole which is exactly what we are breeding for. We try to spend alot of time with them to make them very people friendly. Mokie has been afraid of Caesar, the big buck, he weighs around 300 lbs and has always scared her. He is really good and not aggressive but she was scared, lately she is playing with him, he on one side of the fence she on the other. She will dance a few steps and he dances back at her, he lunges in the air and jumps around. I am glad she is getting over her fear of him on some level, he had intimidated her on purpose as he knew she was scared. Rommy, Caesars son and my up coming buck is very mild personalitied but the Boers have milder personalities any way, a truly good thing as they are alot bigger than diary bucks. I had a diary buck that I had rented out but the lady that had him really wanted him so I ended up selling him and am getting his full blood brother when he weans next month. So we will have a new buckling for the girls to play with, he will be one of Poppies special goats as he like the one with out ears. He will be Zeus, actually the second, but just Zeus.

I sold some soap yesterday to a lady that's grandson has eczema, it is nice when I can help a baby have something that works on their skin. I am getting more and more special requests for my soaps, hopefully I will eventually sell enough of it to help feed the goats, we do need to be self sustaining in the end. I will be making cheese this week to age for the farmers market. We are scrapping the hides from Stew and Beets to tan, I would like to make up mukluks for children, or sell the hides out right if I get them tanned good.

The girls will be going over to the DC's this afternoon. their little boy, Excited, has invited them to play on his WII, he is a little younger than them but he "loves" them, he is between their age and Boys. They should have a great time, Poppie and I will have Cubbie and then pseudo grand kids for a couple hours while they are gone. It is supposed to be a partially nice day out so should be a nice Saturday...... tomorrow.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Plains was the best of times and the worst of times in my childhood.

When we had moved to Plains we had moved five times since leaving Grangeville. We left Grangeville in December of 1970 and arrived in Plains in February of 1972. We had been to Arizona and back, we had gone from a large group of 10 close families at our Church, in Grangeville, that did lots of things together to new possibilities. We had been used to playing at each others homes, our parents had card parties, potlucks, just normal families that cared about each other. Plains was a move of new hope. My dad had a friend that lived there and was his new supervisor. He had know him in the Bitterroot. My mom had not know his wife. He had 4 sons and two daughters. His oldest daughter was one day older than me, we had actually been born in the same hospital and had been in the same hospital ward, but our moms had not meant.

She and I became fast immediate friends, our moms did not. My mom did not make alot of friends in Plains, a few good ones, but not like she had had in Grangeville. She began in gossip to us children about the ones she did have, she was nice to them but once they left she said bad things about them. I as a child didn't really understand this, I do know as an adult the patterning  I had learned when she did this took along time to change. I had to learn not to gossip, not be angry and not to take everything personally, I struggle with it to this day and asked the Lord to help me be a better person on a daily basis. I am happy to say I have mostly over come these bad habits. My mother had always treated her sister-in-laws this way but this was new for her to do with friends. My mother gave birth to my sister, Drama Queen, shortly after we moved to Plains. She had been really sick at the end of the pregnancy, she spent most of it in bed and would only drink Coke and not eat anything. She gave birth at home, just as she had with, Little Sister. My mother may have had post partum depression, in hindsight I believe she did, but it didn't help us as children. My mother had probably spent the prior six year in depression from her parents death but this was different.

My mother at best is a very private, non-affectionate person, at worst is verbally abusive and mean. She is a two sided person, to the public she is the most lovely person you have ever meant, the joy people take in my mother has always brought me a sense of pride. She can actually be screaming violently at you and get a phone call and answer it as an angel. She would use a whole weeks food budget to take something nice to a potluck, so people would praise her for it, but we would eat very little all week to make up for it. I love one of the dishes she made more than any other dessert but have never made it, it brings back to many sad memories. I have never purchased a package of macaroni as an adult, I have eaten more macaroni and tomatoes as our only food to last a life time. My mother has never taken responsibility for anything in her life, it was always some one else's fault. My father was always wrong, he always had to bend to her will, he always did and does because he loves her and knows no other way. If you cross my mother it is never pleasant. I never really did until I was 38 and it was finally time to stand up and be my own person. She has never loved me the same since or forgiven me. I am now useful if I have something she wants but expendable if I do not.

My brothers, not all and I won't say who,  were sexually assaulted by my friends brother when when they were between the ages 3 to 9. The molester was 14 at the time. When my parents found out a couple of years later it was not about how do we help these kids, all of them, including the molester, it was how do we hide this from the public. My mother ranted about homosexuals, and the man that had done this to her. She, shortly after finding out, actually adopted the youngest son to my aunt, yes my aunt loved him and in many ways it was better for him but my mom was more worried about him molesting the younger girls than anything else. She had been mean to him ever since Little Sister was born and this ended any love she had for him. One of my other brothers, that mom had a lesser bond with, became lesser in her eyes as well. They had told the father of the boy, he did not get the boy help either, he did however kill himself within 10 years. The boy himself had issues, abused his wife, lost her;  died of a heart attack by age 28, my mother danced with joy the day he died.

My sister was molested by a family member shortly after the boys were molested, she never told anyone, she had seen what had happened with the boys. My mother found out when my sister was an adult, she viciously accused my sister of enjoying it and asking for it, my sister had been 11. I was molested by a man that I baby sit for when I was 14, I did not tell my mother, but had made the mistake of writing it in a diary. My mother read it to all of my siblings as entertainment. I haven't written a personal journal about my life since, until now.

Plains was a wonderful place to grow up. We loved school, we loved the people we, all of us older kids, consider it our childhood home. We didn't get to go to church on Sunday there, there wasn't our church there, but I did get to go to the youth group of a different church and loved it. The minister of the youth group actually married Poppie and I.

My mom had always been jealous of anyone that got to close to my father, she destroyed his relationship with his favorite sister and fought with her for years. She saw that my father and I had politics, love of history and higher education in common, when I get to close to dad, she purposely does her best to destroy or keep the relationship apart. I am probably the most like my father of all my siblings and that doesn't always sit well with my mother. I don't want to end today's blog with the thought that I don't love my mom, I do, she is my mom, I am alot like her, sometime too much. I do know that I am not the mother to my children my mother was to me, yes, I taught all of them to cook, household crafts but I taught them to be their own whole persons. I enjoy their Independence's and successes. I love that they all love me and say they do, they are comfortable hugging and being hugged. I truly do love the one that is mad at me and she even knows she is welcome home for the asking. My children all find my mother to quote them "crazy" but they had her as a grandmother and know what she is capable of. I always try to find the good in her to be with, it is there.

The past is just that, the past, and can't be changed, yesterday is history but even to this day visiting with my mom is always a surprise, she may love you or hate you depending on the day. Just this week I was told by two of my siblings, I have done something, only God knows what, and my mom is mad at me and trying to get them to hate me. I actually have only seen my mom twice, lately, once when I gave her Christmas gifts, and at my nieces baby shower, I sort of wonder what I could be in trouble for this time but as I have, really become an adult with my own life, am not going to dwell on why she is mad now. The bottom line is that in any family each has a truth, all the truths are each individual truths, it doesn't always match up exactly with the other family members truth but both are the truth; but almost always different degrees from each others truth. I come from a family of 14 truths...... tomorrow.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Meat processing always reminds me of my fourth grade teacher and my Dad.

We lived in Grangeville, Idaho, the beginning of my fourth grade year. I had just had a baby sister, Little Sister, and my favorite teacher that I had had for two years, Mrs. Swanson, had been killed in a car accident in Glacier National Park. Her passing had been hard on all of her students, who had loved her, and the whole school in general, but life had had to go forward. The new teacher, I do not remember her name, was a first year teacher. She in hindsight may have been struggling to get her bearing with her new teaching position but all I remember is that she didn't like me. She thought I was the biggest liar that ever walked the face of the earth and was very frustrated with me. I could feel her dislike of me, but because of truths that I was took young to understand and she didn't know, it was not our fault.

I liked show and tell it was my favorite part of the week. We got to get up and share our lives with our fellow students and the teacher, I like a captive audience, did then and do now.  I always shared on show and tell day. I shared the arrival of my sister, just before school, I shared that my dad had shot a deer, a deer, a deer, a deer, a deer, a deer, a deer or two each week a total of 17 times, and he had also shot a white turkey, even though you weren't supposed to. The teacher assumed that I just had to be the center of attention and when another student shard their fathers harvest I had lied and said my dad got one, I had not lied not even once. My dad had shot the deer, I know now that it was poaching but back then that is how he had been able to feed us, he had never tried to make me into a liar by saying I couldn't tell about it in school. He to this day never knew how much my teacher had dislike my lying in her classroom.

We had always processed the meat at home and it always reminds me of that time when I do it now. I got to use the same industrial grinder he had used all those years ago to process my goats, it is mine now. The white turkey was just the result of my dad and his friends, all with large families to feed,  trying to shoot a white turkey that had become part of the wild flock as a contest. The Camus Prairie around Grangeville was a wonderful place for a deer to grow, all grain feed, to this day the best deer I ever eaten. I moved to Arizona, in December of that year, much to the teachers relief, I think.

My dad was also an avid coon and cat hunter, he and his friends ran there dogs most ever weekend. They enjoyed the exercise, the hunt and the friendship, that the sport afforded them. My dad did get to run his hounds again once we move to Plains, but the law changed in 1972 and he could not longer harvest enough fur animals to feed his dogs so eventually had to sell them all. His health deteriorated shortly after their going. The exercise had helped him stay thin and without it he slowed down and got highblood pressure with in a short time. He was never the same, hunting wise, once the dogs were gone, he did continue to hunt elk and deer, but with in the legal limits, 1972 laws had really changed the whole hunting scene in general. My dad is a very interesting man, the hunter, the father, the grandfather, uneducated by many educated peoples standards, but he is a self educated man, he is a master chess player, also self educated, and the educated Professors he played with at the university always discounted the man when they looked at him, a mistake. He is 74 this year and I hope he lives many more, a truly wonderful man..... tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Egg noodles and three of the women who shaped my life.

My grandmother, Gladys, was born in 1917 and became a young mother in the height of the depression. She gave birth to 8 children and raised them to adulthood with sometimes very little. She was poor like a majority of Montana's in that era. She was able to do more with very little than most anyone I know, I admired her ethics and to this day I probably can do more with less than most people I know.  I am proud to say I am as cheap as they come, my friends say I am "thrifty", I would say a majority of my talent in that department came from my beloved grandmother.

I remember when I got to spend time with my grandmother her having hung noodles all over the house. She had them hanging from the clothes line, she had in her kitchen, the backs of chairs or any place that they could hang and dry. I do not actually remember her making the dough but I remember her hanging them, so they could dry and she would make wonderful chicken noodle soup for dinner. She had children that stepped down in age to only 5 1/2 years older that me so she was still very much a mother when I was a child. I remember her telling my mother that when my mothers family was bigger than her's she would give her the extra large cast iron skillet she had. I was so excited the day we got the pan, and I am prouder still that it is now mine a loved family heirloom.

My mother could not cook anything but spaghetti and salad, by her own admission, when she married my father. She learned along the way, alot of trial and error. My dad to this day tells stories of when she finally learned how to make gravy. She had just dumped the flour in the grease, rather than mixing it with water first, like you are supposed to do to make a roux. He had been under the house so had not seen her do it, she had called down to him to see if he wanted any, and having eaten alot of lumpy gravy had said "no, go ahead and give it to the hound." She was just going to scrap it to the dog when he crawled out and saw it, he stopped her and truly enjoyed her first good gravy. For a long time after that incident he would ask her to make "dog gravy".. My mother is now a wonderful cook and any one who knows her would not think she had not always been as an adult.

The were living in Corvallis, just having come back to Montana from Arizona, when my Aunt Margarette, came to visit. It was in the afternoon and it was getting on to time when dinner needed to be made, my Mom had some chicken but it wouldn't have fed our nine and her six member families. She said, "lets make noodle and chicken soup", my mom who had only watched my grandma make them but had not made them said, "we don't have time to hang and dry them."  Margarette, who is actually my mom's cousins cousin, and not my real Aunt said, " you don't have to hang them, you can just make them" My mother was amazed and, probably for the first time, was interested in making them. They whipped up a batch, sliced them and kind of let them set in a pile on a lightly floured cutting board. When they cooked them up Margarette dropped eggs in the top to poached them and add one to each soup bowl. The eggs never caught on in our family but the noodles did. My dad loved them and that they were nice and thick in the soup bowl made them better, to him, than his mothers.

I as a young mother had been making noodles, since that day when I was eleven. I had always made them like Margarette had taught my mother, no hanging here. One day I was reading a cookbook, one of my favorite past times, and the recipe stated you had to knead them 15 minutes. I always, as taught, just kneaded them a few minutes and went on to cutting. I decided to time the process thinking I probably kneaded them 15 minutes, well after knead along for what I thought was probably the 15 minutes I checked the clock, I had only been kneading 5 minutes, so I knead to the 15 minutes and low and behold at just the 15 minute mark the dough changed to a very stretchy dough. I rolled them out and they rolled so nice and you could roll them out very thin, you could hang them or do anything you wanted with them. I taught my older children how to make them. I am now teaching my younger ones to make them.

My little girls love spinach lasagna. We start with a big bowl, I know that the tv chefs do it on a cutting board without a bowl, but we use a bowl. We put in the same, 1 1/2 cups of flour into the bowl, my mother and grandmother used in theirs, same recipe just different technique.  3/4 a teaspoon of salt, we mix two eggs, two teaspoons water and two teaspoons oil in a little bowl, then add the little bowl ingredients to the big bowl of flour. We make a dough ball then go to kneading, we time it every time and get that nice stretchy dough. We cut them into sheets and dry them to make lasagna or we make them into noodles. They are nice in any pasta form you can make. The most important thing about them is that they are a fourth generation treat, in our home, passed down with love and tradition to the younger ones. ...... tomorrow.