Friday, October 29, 2010

The Crops are Harvested

The harvest season is over....that's always a time to stop and give thanks.

Here's a few reasons why...
1. The long hours are over. (What I'm really saying, "He'll get some sleep and stop being so crabby.")
2. We finally get to see the hubby and father. (Hear me sigh, "Whew! I'm not a single mom anymore!")
3. There were no major problems. (In other words, "I can finally sleep without worrying about the dreaded 'someone's hurt..or worse' call.")
4. He'll be home for lunch. (At last I can make food that involves a fork. How many different ways can one woman make a sack lunch without driving her husband insane with sandwiches, chips and a drink?!?!)
5. It was a good season. (That means there will be enough money to meet our needs this year.)

Sometimes people think farmers only work when they plant and harvest, but really it's just that in those times of the year, they work long, long, long hours. There's a lot to be done in between now and spring, but the worrying about his safety and whether the crops produced is over for another year. The world will have corn and soybeans to meet its needs. And some of them came from our fields and the hard work of my husband and his father.

Next time you buy a bag of tortilla chips, open a bottle of canola oil, smear your finger on newsprint, look at the bottom of your tennis shoes, take some medicine, add some cornstarch to your recipe, drink a soda, put some grapes in a sandwich bag,...etc, remember that a friend's husband and father-in-law may have provided the corn or soybeans needed to make what your using. Oh, and if you like bacon, thank that pig for eating some of our corn too.

My family is just one of many, many farm families that provide food, fuel and fiber that we all use each and every day. And it's a job we love doing...a life syle that we love living.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Having a Little Fun

I was in a festive mood the other day....a crocheted treat bag.

(Free pattern from http://www.lionbrand.comLion Brand®  Vanna's Choice® Pattern #: L0112AD)

Then I made this adorable pumpkin by modifying an apple pattern I found.

What's next? Felted candy corn? Yummy....without all the calories. Ha!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Weekend Away

I drove through the curves and hills of southern Indiana this weekend. If you've never traveled through this area in the fall, you don't know what you are missing. Reds, yellows, golds, oranges mingle with green and brown. It's God's amazing creative hand at work.

Fall is my favorite season. It's the colors, the leaves so casually swaying toward the ground and the crisp cool air. I find myself slowing down, breathing in deeply the scents of nature, walking with more awareness of the world around me, looking within myself at where I am heading my life, reordering my priorities, and talking with more meaning to my Creator. Fall does that - points me toward peace.

So I did this weekend what I've never done before. I went away, all by myself. I booked a hotel room in a far away town. (My father's childhood stomping ground.) And I drove through the hills for a few hours until I arrived in Corydon, IN, Indiana's first state capital. I visited a quaint fiber festival, bought some yummy smelling yarn, picked up some Chinese carryout and spent the evening alone in a quiet, peaceful hotel room.

The next morning I woke up really early for a Saturday, 6:30a.m., to be exact. I opened up my computer and wrote. All too soon it was the 11:00am check out time, so I made one more walk through the Southern Indiana Fiber Festival, and headed my car northwest. I broke up the return trip by spending an hour at my favorite childhood vacation spot, Spring Mill State Park.

I'm so glad I was able to treat myself to this time away. Why have I never done this before?!?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte'


I just made my first homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte! It was a success, so much so that my two daughters loved it. One even said it was the best she'd ever tasted!

The recipe started as the one on the All Recipes website. I changed it up to suit my tastes.

Pumpkin Spice Latte'

3 cups hot skim milk
3 packets Truvia
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
(had to make my own from the recipe at the site)
8 ounces expresso
(one packet for my Flavia machine made 8 ounces)
Silk Vanilla Creamer
a pinch of pumpkin pie spice

Combine the hot milk, Truvia, vanilla, and spice in a blender and blended until frothy.
Pour equal amounts into three mugs. (Original recipe said 2/3 full.)
Pour equal amounts of the expresso into the mugs. (Original recipe called for 2 ounces. in each mug. I made them slightly stronger with the 8 ounce total.)
Add a little Silk to top off the mug.
Sprinkle a pinch of pumpkin pie spice on the top.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Bryony Cap from Interweave Knits Weekend 2010

Today I knit up the Bryony Cap from the magazine, Interweave Knits Weekend 2010. I just love this hat. It is so simple that I knit it in one day! I used the yarn, Jojoland Rhythm, and it knit up beautifully. I'm so pleased, because this cap it a gift for a friend who is going through chemo right now.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

I just finished reading "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith. My question is how did I get through high school, no wait through high school and college with a degree in English and Writing without having read this classic?! What a beautifully written story of a young girl's journey from childhood into adulthood in Brooklyn in the early 1900's. It's a story of poverty, alcoholism, discrimination, family bonds and the strength of women.

I love to read about characters from different cultures, lifestyles, time periods, etc, than my own. Others lives always seem so much more exciting and interesting than mine. Yet the reality is that for someone who comes from a life different than mine, maybe mine is more exciting to them than there own. It gives me hope for the idea of writing a novel based on what I know.

Hum, a small town girl in Indiana..... could it compare with the life of a girl in one of the most famous cities in the world?

Enough about me. Read the book. If you haven't yet, read it. Every library has it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Old Friends' Recipes

Some friends at church had a baby, and I signed up to take them a meal. I nabbed two of my favorite recipes and started cooking. In the middle of mixing up the ingredients, it struck me that I had chosen two recipes given to me years ago by some very special women. Connie, Joan and Anna.

When we were first married, my husband and I lived outside Detroit in the suburbs. He was a youth and music pastor at a church in Washington, Michigan. And if you know anything about churches, you know about potlucks. Yum! Potlucks are the best if you're a new wife and inexperienced cook. All you have to do is taste and ask for the recipe. My first recipe came that way.

Connie wrote it down for me. Actually, she got it from Joan, another amazing woman in the church. Everything Joan said sounded so beautiful and sophisticated when she spoke with her Belize accent. I wanted to grow up to look and sound just like her.

Now Connie, oh, Connie. She was the life of the party, tall, thin, always wearing lipstick and nail polish. I didn't even own either at the time. She knew how to make you laugh and make you feel loved. I sure do miss Connie.

But the main dish came from a fellow mom, Anna. She brought Hamburger Rice Dish to me when my first baby girl arrived. It became Jeff's favorite meal. Anna was a young mother, like me, who became a good friend. We spent many Sunday evenings at a restaurant with other young married couples, laughing and sharing stories.

Unfortunately we moved back to the farm when our baby girl was just three weeks old. I wish our children could have known each other. I know Anna would have been a wealth of Godly advice.

I am thankful for these women, and others (like Carol, my very first babysitter) who came into my life when I was young and homesick, needing friendship and  advice, especially advice on how to cook! And so I want to use this post to thank them, and let them know they meant the world to me and are not forgotten.

Who are the women in your past that influenced you?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Race for the Cure - Breast Cancer Walk

Yesterday my youngest daughter and I walked in the Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure. It was a beautiful day for a walk. But to be honest, I walked it in a fog. This year has seen a lot of death due to cancer for me. I find myself blocking memories, just stuffing down thoughts that try to reach the surface of my mind.

Several months ago, I blogged about two hats for two special women. They both have since lost their battles with cancer. Rachel was honored yesterday at the race. I purposely arrived late to avoid memories and tears at the presentation. I did see her son playing with other boys as I walked. Another moment when I quickly moved on to avoid the prick of pain.

The other hat was for my sister-in-law's sister, Lynette. She died of brain cancer a few months ago. I watched my sister-in-law struggle through sorrow at the funeral. She is the last family member. Her mother, father, brother and sister are all gone. She is a true orphan. Yet she has us, the Batman family. In fact, she has been a part of the family since I was a little girl. So in my mind, she's a full-fledged member, having been one of us almost as long as I have.

And just a month earlier, my other sister-in-law's mother died of brain cancer also. I watch her struggle with her grief every time we are together. Now a good friend at church is in the middle of chemo. It has been a difficult year. Cancer seems to be winning. So that is why the walk was so important for me this year. While I didn't let myself feel too deeply during it, I needed to make a stand, to make a statement to cancer. We will beat you, cancer!

So I walked, and I knit a scarf for the local knit shop to help raise money. I'm not so great at giving hugs and saying the right comforting words, but I'll do what I can. Walk and knit. Knit and walk.