Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Making Green Tomato Relish and Piccalilli. Waste Not, Want Not

Makes about 8 pints
12 pounds green tomatoes, (peeled and chopped)
1 1/2 cups coarse salt
1 medium head cabbage, chopped
12 cups (96 oz) Cider vinegar
8 onions, chopped
3 Sweet Red Peppers, seeded and chopped
2 green peppers, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons celery seed
2 tablespoons mustard seed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 clove garlic, peeled
Sprinkle chopped tomatoes with salt,cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Drain thoroughly and place tomatoes in large kettle. Add cabbage and vinegar. Bring to a boil and simmer 30 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and cook until thick, stirring occasionally. Remove garlic clove. Ladle into hot sterilized jars. Sell immediately.
This recipe can be made by chopping the vegetables by hand and or using a food processor.
Making relish is a two day process if you follow the recipe here.
However, preparation is important.
Before any process in the recipe is started, the kitchen needs to be clean, crocks and utensils cleaned, jars and lids made ready. Vegetables and ingredients are gathered for a day or more and stored properly until ready to use.
Here's a photo of the beautiful, aged crocks turned upside down, drying in preparation to being filled with the relish ingredients. Each step of preparation is rewarding as the process unfolds.
Makes 5 to 6 pints
2 Sweet red peppers, seeded and chopped
2 green peppers, seeded and chipped
4 cups chopped green tomatoes (about 6)
1 cup chopped celery (about 2 stalks)
2 large onions, chopped
1 small head cabbage, chopped
1/2 cup coarse salt
3 cups cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 1/4 cups firmly packed light brownsugar
1 teaspoon turmeric
Layer peppers, tomatoes, celery, onion and cabbage, sprinkling each layer with seal. Let mixture stand covered at room temperature overnight. The next day drain thoroughly. Put mixture n a large kettle and add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Ladle into clean hot pint jars, leaving 1/8 inch headspace. Seal immediately. Process 5 minutes in boiling water bath.
Each step of preparation is rewarding as the process unfolds. When these things are in order, the first day of this two day process begins.
It's time for cleaning and chopping the vegetables. If you really think about it, it's much more then a two days process, especially when you sprout your own tomato seeds that you gathered from the previous year and have tended those little seedlings until they became mature plants and produced tomatoes.
It's more accurate to say, it's a year long process or life-style.
I would encourage anybody who is considering home food preservation to invite family members or friends to join you.
The social part of working and creating together is just one more valuable components of this experience.
Conversations while chopping and measuring are relaxed and friendly. Time slows down and words seem kinder and gentler during this interlude from daily outside stress.
Shared memories are created and relationship bonds are strengthened as cabbages are shredded.
Spending time with my son Abe is the greatest reward of making this relish. Who ever it is that joins you in this journey from garden to kitchen to pantry will enjoy this path you share. We always make enough for ourselves and some to give as gifts.
Abe shared stories with about the relish he has shared throughout the year. His friend Brad Smithard loved the relish so much, he invited Christina and him to come and stay in his hotel in Astoria, and of course Brad reminded Abe to,"Bring some relish."
Another happy recipient of the relish reciprocated with a rattlesnake barbecue and handmade rattlesnake watch band.
Even though true gift giving is an act that never expects a return, one may be surprised by how other's may want to show their appreciation.
Everything we have is provided by the Great Giver, so it is only natural to give back.
As my late mother, who taught me home production, canning and food preservation, Joyce Skilling, aka Nana Skilling taught, "It is better to give then to receive."
Read the recipe, check your pantry for what you already have and then acquire what you don't have.
Spend some time studying the process the recipe uses.
There are sequences to making relish or piccalille, some are more critical then others.
For instance, only some of the vegetables and salt are put in the crock the first day.
The green tomato relish recipe calls for the cabbage to be kept out of the crock until the next day and while the other vegetables are put in the crock with salt. The spices and vinegar are not put in the crock until the next day.
Gather all ingredients before starting relish.
We grew all the tomatoes for this recipe, but had to acquire the cabbage, green and red peppers, celery, onions and garlic. Fortunately we already had the salt, apple cider vinegar and spices.
I always keep a large supply of salt and vinegar in my pantry, I buy it in bulk. These are good items to have on hand for many reasons.
They are inexpensive and very important.
With my lifestyle of striving for self sufficiency and using natural remedies and cleansers, salt and vinegar are some of my go-to supplies.
I used vinegar in many ways from cleaning sinks to drinking it in water in the morning and also for bathing.
It's a healthy alternative to many over the counter cleansers.
Our tomatoes were picked after a light frost so they had gotten some frost bites.
Like us, we get a little weather beaten, but we're still good on the inside.
The frost bites were only skin deep and showed up as dark skin and in some cases soft spots. I just used a parring knife to cut those places off. The inside of the tomatoes were not damaged.
Abe sorted the bad tomatoes out, and put the ones we couldn't use in the bucket for the compost. He washed the usable tomatoes and put them in a bowl for me to cut. After cutting tomatoes into chunks, the tomatoes went into the food processor.
Have three bowls. Abe moved the bucket of muddy tomatoes next to the sink where he washed and rinsed the tomatoes. He placed them in the first bowl. The second bowl is for the parts to be cut off, it's the compost bowl. The third bowl is for the freshly trimmed tomatoes ready for the food processor.
Handling the tomatoes and vegetables is a rewarding experience. Take note of their textures, colors and fragrances. Let all your senses become involved, it's very enjoyable. Connecting with the food we eat and being thankful for the Good Lord for providing is good for the soul. In Brownsville, Oregon in the little patch of earth we've been blessed with, we had a bounteous harvest this year.
Allow your heart be filled with gratitude!
The photo is of the piccalilli. Each layer gets a layer of salt: cabbage,tomatoes, green and red peppers, onions and celery.
Now it will sit over night in one of my husband's (John Holbrook) grandmother Pyland's crock.
Relish and Piccalilli is made from what is left over after the harvest. Waste not, want not is a motto of days past. Nothing was wasted in my parents generation at least not by their families.
My mother was raised during World War II, 15 miles south of London in Cowley, Middlesex. Her family consisted of her father (William) Edward Davies, mother Emma Cockerel and her two older sisters Peggy and Phyllis. They shared a house their grandmother, cousins, aunt and uncle. They experienced extreme shortages and food rationing.
My step-dad, William (Bill) Skilling was raised in Cottage Grove Oregon and Northern California, he tells stories of the Great Depression when his family had to live in a cleaned out chicken coop. He spoke fondly of seeing his mother and aunts making piccalilli.
My father, William Douglas (Doug) Conklin's family consisted of his father William (Bill)Henry Conklin, mother Netta Delone (Dee) Aubrey, brother Dale and sister Anita (Ginger, they fared a little better in Hollywood California as his father's paint business "Treasure Tone Paint" prospered, but other family members tell stories of saving bits of string to have on hand since they didn't have any money to buy more or it simple wasn't available. His Aunt Clara could unravel an old worn out sweater and use the yard to knit something else useful. She continued this practice even after the depression ended and she was living comfortably in the river rock home her and her husband built with their own hands in Livingston California.
Some may think that recycling is a new idea one thought up by progressive thinkers, but it's actually a very old way of living.
It's nice to see it making a come back. In years past, everything was preserved and used.
I love the aromas and colors of the chopped vegetables. We put all the chopped vegetables that the recipe calls for in the crock.
Since we used heirloom tomatoes, we saved some of the seeds. I'll plant the seeds in January or February indoors and move them out to the grow boxes when the weather warms up. Cut slices of the tomato, I just picked some out of the bucket that is heading for the compost. These are Green Tiger Heirloom tomatoes.
After separating the seeds from the tomato, place the seeds in a fine strainer. Rinse the seeds with water, while pushing the excess tomato through the strainer with your thumbs or fingers. The tomato flesh quite easily rinses through the strainer, while the tomato seeds are cleaned by rubbing them around on the wire of the strainer. Enjoy the slippery texture of the seeds.
Air dry the tomato seeds on parchment paper or wax paper that has been labeled with seed type and date. (DON'T THINK "I'll remember.)
In a couple of days, when seeds are dry, put them in a jar or zip lock bag and store in cool dry place. (This is important because seeds need to be kept cool and dry, preferable away from light and animals that eat them, i.e. mice.)Keep them in a safe place until they are ready to plant, you have already begun next year food preservation.
These little jewels hold the future of next years harvest.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mother's Been Gone 4 Years This Thanksgiving Week.

This is my mother and I. She was probably about 27 or 28 and I was 7 or 8. We were both young.
Family dinners: My mother created the best! She learned to become a great cook and baker as an adult.
She grew up not being allowed in the kitchen, the 3rd daughter of older parents, she was a surprise baby, her mother thought she done having children and in your 40's in the 1930's you were pretty safe to think that, my mother was the exception.
Born in 1933, spending most of her growing up years during World War II, 15 miles south of London.
Her childhood held memories that no child should ever have to have and many beloved memories of her parents patience with her and their protection. She loved sharing memories of her father's victory garden and rabbits, his humor and kindness. Her mother's sternness. She regretted causing her parents heartache during her teenage years. Despite being raised during a war, she had a wonderful sense of humor, loved freedom, was very patriotic as an American who earned her citizenship and never forgot her mother country, England where most of her family remained.
She tried hard and dedicated her life to her family and church, always striving to create traditions that would hold her family together in her new country, so far from her family in England.
We are coming up on 4 years this Thanksgiving week, without her wonderful meals, especially during the holidays. Oh, we try to replicate her delicious pies, English potatoes and gravy, but she still holds the honor of being our favorite cook and baker. She always gave her Aunt Minn credit for teaching her how to make perfect flaky pie crust. Never had a recipe, just went by feel, first putting flour and salt in a bowl, then Crisco, and slowly adding just the right amount of water until it felt perfect, never overworking the dough, just hand kneading it a little so as to not make it tough.
She said some people have a chicken gene, causing them to love chickens. She had the gene and loved her chicken flock. I inherited the gene.
I am thankful for the years I had her as my mother here on the earth. I miss her. I miss going to her home and feeling like a daughter again, no matter how old I was. I miss her English accent that everybody loved and I couldn't discern because she just sounded like my mother, that's what she always sounded like. However, I could hear her beautiful accent when she left a message on the answering machine or in a home movie, and I loved it too.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The world of waterfalls.

I left the stress of every day life by visiting water falls with my friend Teresa Graves. Walking further then we expected, up and down more hills then we bargained for, we were rewarded by these majestic creations of nature. Getting drenched with the spray of the falling waters, having all sounds muted except for the roar of the water and the amazing wind it created transported my friend and I to a different place. We were suddenly stress free, worry free, and feeling the freedom that mother nature offers.
We didn't talk to each other by the waterfalls, the waterfalls did all the communicating. We listened, looked, felt what it had to say. It reverenced our words, no words can really describe the power and wonder of a waterfall.
The white spot to the left of the waterfall about 1/2 way though the falling water is my friend walking along the trail, she's wearing a white coat. This gives a perspective of the size of this waterfall.
A whole different climate was created by the waterfall. With just a few steps towards it, we entered another dimension. We walked behind it and out the other-side. A few steps away from it, the climate we started in, returned. I can only think of a few things that can transform everything you feel in just a few steps or a few moments. If you want a change, visit a waterfall.
Viewing the world of fall colors ranging from yellow, green, orange, red and blue sky with pure white puffy clouds through the waterfall enhanced our awareness of the changing season and all it's beauty.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Wholesome Living: Don't Throw Out the Hush Puppies! Read the Tipping...

Wholesome Living: Don't Throw Out the Hush Puppies! Read the Tipping...: Guarded by the book fairy statue, my reading spot is nestled in the shade of a hazelnut tree with the water of the bubbling mill race percol...

Don't Throw Out the Hush Puppies! Read the Tipping Point and find out why!

Guarded by the book fairy statue, my reading spot is nestled in the shade of a hazelnut tree with the water of the bubbling mill race percolating in the background. Swinging gentle on the garden swing, I just finished my summer book today,
"The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference" by Malcolm Gladwell,
just in the nick of time, I still have the Hush Puppies!
They are not the Hush Puppies I wore in elementary school, they belonged to John's late mother. She had an amazing collection of shoes. I loved her shoes in the Hush Puppy box, and asked if I could have them. She wore a size 6 1/2 and I wear a 9, and sometimes a large 8. No matter how hard I try, I can't squeeze my foot into them. My friend who I thought could use them has an extra wide foot, they don't fit her either.
I remember the grey suede lace up Hush Puppies I wore in the 1960's to elementary school. They were not pretty but did come with a cute shoe brush with stiff metal bristles. They were practical and went along with my simple wardrobe including my grey wool skirt, which I loved. Girls only wore dresses, jumpers and skirts at Kamala Elementary school in Oxnard, California in the 60's. Pants and shorts were never worn to school. We changed into our play clothes when we got home from school, which were usually pants or shorts or an old dress. I walked to school like so many children did in Oxnard, it was only a few blocks away and on the same street that I lived on. My address was 1212 West Kamala Street.
Today I like to use the numbers 1212 as my lucky numbers.
My family even had a basset hound like the one on the Hush Puppy box. Her name was Bridget, she was brown and white. When we moved from the city of Oxnard to the country in San Luis Obispo, Bridget and the rest of us suddenly had a new found freedom. My brother Dane and I got our first horse, Big John and my mother purchased chicks which grew up and taught us where eggs come from. Dane was blamed for Bridgett chasing a killing sheep. Dane was blamed for everything that went wrong, so I'm still not sure if it was his fault, either way, Bridget had to go to a new home where there was no livestock to chase.
Gladwell defines a tipping point as "the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point." The book seeks to explain and describe the "mysterious" sociological changes that mark everyday life. As Gladwell states, "Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do." The examples of such changes in his book include the rise in popularity and sales of Hush Puppies shoes in the mid-1990s and the steep drop in the New York City crime rate after 1990.
It was a fun book to read. The value of the box of Hush Puppy shoes in my bedroom went up from the pile to be donated to the thrift store to,
"Maybe I could sell these on E-Bay."
The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea,trend,or social behavior crosses a threshold and tips into huge influence or popularity. Trends like Sesame Street, teenage smoking, crime, epidemics and much more are discussed in this book.
When I was child I remember my dad, Doug Conklin talking about words that become popular and trying to come up with a word that would catch on.
The words, cool, neat, rad etc. all have their tipping points from ordinary words to extraordinary.
I don't think any of my dads words took off, I can't even remember what they were.
Many people want fame, fortune and recognition. How does that happen for some and not for others? Well, it seems you need: Salesmen, Maverns and Connectors. These are people with distinct personality traits that make things happen.
The Tipping Point discusses these phenomena in great detail.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Wholesome Living: Help from Grandchildren; Farm Life is a Good Life....

Wholesome Living: Help from Grandchildren; Farm Life is a Good Life....: My granddaughter Ruby was eager to carry the grey plastic bucket and pick up apples that had fallen off the tree. It's a good lesson for...

Help from Grandchildren; Farm Life is a Good Life.

My granddaughter Ruby was eager to carry the grey plastic bucket and pick up apples that had fallen off the tree. It's a good lesson for a 2 year old to learn where apples come from. Apples don't come from the grocery store, they come from trees. The good apples are for the people, some of them will be eaten raw, others will end up getting baked into an apple pie, and some will be made into applesauce. The bruised apples are fed to the animals.
Barney the mule and Hasbro the horse were eager to eat the apples that Ruby threw to them. Nana Laura learned recently that it's best to just let the horses pick the apples off the ground and not hand feed them. Horses don't know the difference between your fingers and a french fry, they don't want to bite your fingers, but they easily can bite your finger off while trying to bite an apple. So its' best to play it safe.
Ruby helped me collect eggs. She's always happy to help her Nana Laura. Reaching into the laying boxes takes some courage for a youngster, especially if there is a hen still inside. An important lesson here is to always wash your hands when handling eggs, they carry germs that can make a person sick. Nana Laura had to remind Ruby not to touch her face after handling the fresh eggs. There was soap in the barn, so everyone was off to the barn to wash hands as soon as the eggs were all collected.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Independence Day! Celebrating 4th of July!

4th of July with family and friends. A perfect way to celebrate Independence Day.
The morning of July 4th, 2012 began with parade preparations in Junction City OR. with my friends from the Damsels in Disguise, 40 Something Cowgirls. Seven cowgirls brought their horses to the staging location and two, including me, cowgirls were there to help the other cowgirls and their horses and children. Mary Trummer and I rode in the back of the pick-up truck with 5 girls, waving and throwing candy. This parade is very much about the candy that is thrown to the spectators. People came with bags and grocery sacks to collect the candy being thrown. They were barking at the truck as it went by, "Throw candy!" Mary and I kept warning the girls that the parade was long and not to throw too much of the candy at the beginning of the parade, but they had a hard time resisting the demands of the candy hungry crowd. We did run out of candy about a block before the end of the parade at which time we heard rude comments from the greedy spectators, "Cheap-scapes!" One of our girls decided to chant, "We ran out of candy, throw us your candy and we'll throw it back to you!". We were surprised when a few people actually did throw candy to the girls, who in turn threw it back to them, with a lot of laughing a giggling!
This photo is of Dianna Chappell, Teresa Nielson and me.
I loved spending the evening with my family in Salem Oregon. My little granddaughter Ruby had about as much tolerance for the loud, smokey fireworks as I did. After reaching our saturation point, an hour or so before anybody else did, we watched the colorful fireworks from inside the house by the window. One of the especially pretty fireworks had sparkles and firey fountains, I said, "Ohhh, that one's pretty!" Ruby replied, "Pretty like Nana Laura". Could anything melt my heart faster than that? How can a little two year girl know how precious that comment was?
I said, "And pretty like Ruby!"

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

4 Generations Photo

What a blessing to have 4 generations of family at my home yesterday (6-25,2012). My father, Doug Conklin came to my house to visit his posterity. Back row: My son John Nielsen, Me: Laura Conklin Nielsen Holbrook, My daughter-in-law Rachel Nielsen mother of Ruby and Adam, My father: Doug Conklin. Front Row: My grandson, my father's great-grandson Adam Nielsen, My granddaughter, my father's great-granddaughter Ruby Nielsen. Time seemed to stop and love abound at my home with the company of my family. My husband John Holbrook and my father's friend Sharon joined in conversations of family memories. Old hurts and misunderstanding vanished as we realized our family relations are more important than any THING. It was fun, we laughed, I recorded stories my father told on the video camera. Not shown in the photo is my son Abe, who is my father's first grandson. He arrived at our house 30 minutes after my father left on his journey home to Washington state.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Family Visiting, Eating and Sharing, Good News For Some

John, Johnny and I enjoyed being treated to lunch at Los Dos Amigos in Sweet Home by my step-sister Sue Skilling. Sue is one of those thoughtful courteous guests who always brings something we will enjoy, this visit she brought cashew nuts and a cute mug, both very thoughtful.
While in Sweet Home we went by 1230 47th Street and delivered paint for the painter to use. Our new tenant doesn't like the smoke smell in our non-smoking rental. The previous tenant did not honor the contract and smoked inside.
Johnny heard good the news he's been waiting and hoping for, a job offer in Mississippi for a company that will use his Navy training. He is very happy about the job offer, I am saddened by the thought of him moving to Mississippi. I've always promised myself that I will not be a mother that holds her children back, so I have to be supportive of his decision.
I've seen mothers who selfishly hold on to their children and prevent them from living their own life, I don't want to do that. I can understand why a mother would do that, it's hard to see a child leave and go on their own journey, especially when it is so far away that they will no longer be a regular part of the family gatherings and the younger generation will not be able to get to know them. Uncle Johnny, who Ruby loves, may fade from her memory as he moves 1,000's of miles away. Life is individually lived and collectively shared by many.

Friday, June 8, 2012

FINALLY! Found My Blog and Wallet!

Finally I found my blog and have figured out how to post a new post! Not only had I lost my blog, I had lost my wallet. During this dismal time of looking for my blog and wallet, I became more organized. Prayers are answered in mysterious ways. How many times have I prayed for getting organized, let me count the ways!
In the last two weeks:
1. I've cleaned off my desk.
2. Cleaned out my car.
3. Done all my laundry and even turned the laundry basket upside down and given it a good shake.
4. Cleaned out my purse.
5. Recruited the help of my husband John and son Johnny in the search for my wallet.
My drivers liscense along with credit cards, temple recommend and other important documents were in my wallet.
Suddenly, without my drivers license, my driving skills improved tremendously. I stayed well within in the speed limit, was super curtious to everyone especially in the construction zone of I-5 going through Eugene Oregon. I stayed at the posted 50 MPH, dispite the pressure from those behind me (it was also a no passing or changing lanes section).
Those pushy, tailgating drivers owe me a big THANK YOU! I was leader of a pack of cars unknowingly heading into a speed trap. We entered the trap nice and slowly, and when those pushy drivers behind me saw the highway patrolman parked on the side of the freeway with his radar pointed right at "us" they suddenly allowed the legal space between their cars and mine.
I deserve a huge thank you, and maybe a bonus for saving them all speeding tickets, which are twice as expensive in a construction zone.
Pushy Drivers: You can send your thank you's to this blog.
After I looked everywhere I could imagine for my wallet and it's valuable contents, I mentally began reviewing who had been at my house and had access to my purse. We had a wedding at our house and I began wondering if my wallet was stolen. I had thoughts that I am not proud of, like, "We must have had a thief at our house," and reviewed each guest and came up with a few possible thieves. (Not mentioning names.)
This lead to calling my credit card company to find out the last transaction. Fortunatley, it was mine the week before at Market of Choice in Eugene. If my wallet was turned in at Market of Choice, surely they would contact me, with all my identification, they could find me. John sugggested I call them or go by but I thought it was unnecessary because they would have called me. I can't just drive to every place I've been in the last 15 days.
I had an acupuncture appointment in Eugene the next day. My meditation during my accupuncture appointment was invisioning my wallet coming home to me. I saw it as a black fish, swimming to me. I invited it home and welcomed it's arrival.
After my acupuncture appointment I thought, "Maybe I should go to Market of Choice and inquire about my wallet." I drove straight to Market of Choice. A friendly worker lead me to the office where I inquired about my lost wallet. With-in 5 minutes, my wallet was in my hands and I was rejoicing. Everything was there of great importance, there was no cash. Who cares? I welcomed my wallet home!
Like my mother used to say, "Be careful for what you pray for."
Should I ever pray for help in getting organized again?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Wedding at our Ranch Home.

K.C. Curtis and Melissa Casey got married in our garden outside our home on May 26, 2012. Days before the wedding Melissa and her family and friends came to our home and clean the pool room and yard in preparation for the wedding. I enjoyed having the help to beautify my home and they were thankful to have the wedding here.
We've had other weddings at our home. David and Michelle Holbrook got married in the front yard here, Ron and Beverly Vick were married in our living-room, John and Jessica were married in our backyard. We've also had Tamara and Brendan Smith's and Joseph and Crystal Nielsen's reception in the pool room here too. It's wonderful to have weddings and receptions at our home, the joy and love that abound during a wedding is a welcome experience. I also think it's a compliment to be asked to have a wedding at our home because the couple has a special feeling about home to make it the sacred ground for their union to begin.
One of the more entertaining candid photos I took was of the groom taking off the garter, since I wasn't taking the professional, some of mine of just bloopers.

Mother's Day 2012, Mama Llama

It's nice to relax on the hillside and watch the llama mama and her baby. For Mother's Day, we had a mama llama and her baby surprise us. When we discovered the baby was a girl and saw the cute white patch of fur on her head that looked like a bonnet, Johnny, John, Rio, Hayden and I named her Bonnie. Visitors came to visit the new baby, Stephen and Rachel brought Ruby and Adam to visit Bonnie after she was a few days old. Mother's Day is a special day to honor mothers and in my opinion all those who mother others, including those who have not born children from their own bodies, but "mother" and love others.

Monday, April 30, 2012

My Next Horse? Arranging a Trade for Sunny.

Cheri came and inspected our hay last week. She wanted to make sure it was of the quality she needed for her horses, before we proceeded any further in negotiating a trade for her horse Sunny and my hay. I'm happy to announce that the hay passed her inspection and we move on to the next step; I ride Sunny. It's very exciting and exhausting preparing to buy a new horse, at least for me it is. I've been selling hay all winter to raise money for my new horses. It's probably why I ended up with pneumonia. John agreed to let me use the money I made from the hay sales for my new horses. I've had only three horses in my life, since I was 10 years old. Each one had a very special meaning to me.
My first horse "Big John"
was an older, sickly horse my parent bought from a boy going door to door in our neighborhood in San Luis Obispo, California, looking for a new home for his old horse. My parents agreed to pay the $10 for the big old pitiful thing after my brother and I begged them and made promises to take care of him. Big John was so sweet, gentle and patient with my brother and I as we learned to ride him. After a while, Big John got so lame that my parents made the decision to send him to the glue factory. This was not a popular decision with my brother and I, especially me. I didn't fully comprehend what it meant to send an animal to off like that, but I learned they never returned from such a place. My step-dad bragged for years that he made money on that horse.
Horse #2.
Two years later, for my 12th birthday
My dad (Doug Conklin) and step-mother Mary surprised with a beautiful retired race horse, as they drove up to our house in Atascadero California on Santa Lucia pulling a horse trailer. This wonderful gift came after two years of saving money, studying the classified ads and telling everyone I was working towards my next horse. My parents taught me a valuable lessons with this process, set goals, work on them and you will attain them. They taught me that other people and the blessings of God would work in your favor to attain these goals. I used the money I saved to buy tack and care for my new horse, since the horse was a gift. When my birthday present arrived, I was thrilled beyond my imagination.
I learned quickly that with a retired racehorse, you should never run through an open field with your girlfriend's horse alongside of you.
After my new horse sprung into his earlier training, and his imaginary gate at the race track opened, he bolted and ran full out. I woke up on the ground and wondered where my horse was. He was at home, the finish line. With the help of my hippie step-brother Michael, we settled on a name for my wonderful big gelding: Eo, short for Eohippus,the first known horse. Michael lead me to this name after giving me details of the prehistoric horse. It was groovy to Michael, so it became groovy to me. I was forced to sell Eo, one of the biggest disappointments of my life, when my parents moved and said I couldn't take him.
Horse #3. A gift from John.
John gave me a choice of a few horses, which I evaluated and rode. One of the horses, a sorrel, was very pretty, but I had to go with the black mare because I had seen her in a dream, years before. I called her Dream Angel. She is now retiring, in her late 20's, having been a very fun horse for me, and given me 12 years of enjoyment. Angel will still be going on some rides, but not as many.
I get extremely attached to my horses and want my next decision to be a good one, like my others were. I will buy two horses, because I normally ride with a visiting friend and don't like to ride alone.
My son Johnny understands this, he said, "That's why I have two mountain bikes."

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

An Event I look Forward to Twice A Year

This is an event I look forward to. Many times my family and friends gather in my home and watch this broadcast on TV and discuss it.
I like to take notes and write my feelings as I listen, so I can review it later.
A friend of mine, Beverly Vick gave me a "Conference Journal" that I like to bring out for this occasion. General Conference is held twice a year for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. As the years have passed, this journal has become a history of my feelings and highlights from this special event.
The highlight of this event for me is when the prophet and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints speaks. There is always a feeling of love and encouragement with his words.
Hearing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and other spiritual music is always a treat and inspiration too.
If you have ever wondered what the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or "Mormons" believe, why not listen in on what their leaders teacher. This is a time when a modern prophet speaks regarding our day, just like Noah and other prophets spoke to their people in their day.
It's open to everyone.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Treasured Memories Preserved Through Easter Decorations

As I handle the old Easter basket from my childhood, I remember my mother thoughtfully giving me the basket and explaining that I should keep it and use it as a sewing basket. She thought it would be a perfect little sewing basket and that I was old enough to have a basket with a purpose. I agreed, even though I wondered if my childhood was coming to an end soon and I would be a grown up.
These decorations are souvenirs, a type of journal entry, a preserver of memories. They keep family memories alive.

The ceramic rabbit that opens up, contains memories of a day I spent with my mother at a garage sale down the street from her last earthy home, on Ash St. in Brownsville Oregon.

It was love at first sight
when I first saw the white rabbit. I didn't buy it, even though I wanted to. It seemed like it was frivolous to buy "another" Easter decoration. We left the garage sale and later my mother returned and bought the rabbit for me and surprised me with it.
The little basket with silk flowers I made for my mother one Easter and placed satin stuffed Easter eggs that I crossed stitched Easter scenes on. She treasured it and brought it out every Easter following.
While my mother and I were in Utah visiting my sister Sarah, and attending a women conference at B.Y.U. we stopped by Thanksgiving Point and bought gifts, including Easter egg lights which we couldn't resist. We both had a soft spot for holiday decorations.
I fondly remember the blue basket as a gift from my sister Emma.
The old window changes seasons, from Christmas to Easter, it holds a memory of driving around Brownsville the night before the city clean-up day where I picked up a dozen or so discarded windows with my friend Teresa. It was before her stroke.

I hope my children have memories of Easter.
Do they remember when I hid their Easter baskets and wrote instructions for a complex treasure hunt that they had to go on before they could find their baskets? Coloring hard boiled eggs with the vinegar solution and dropping the color tablets in each cup takes me back through each of my children, Abe, Joseph, Tamara, Stephen and Johnny. Julie, my step-daughter and I colored eggs too. Coloring eggs goes way back to my own childhood with my older brother Dane and younger siblings Emma, Micah and Sarah. Now my grandchildren are coloring eggs, last year Ruby colored eggs at my house, sitting on her mother Rachel's lap.
One of my oldest Easter memories is with my Grandma Dee. I was coloring eggs at her house in California. I wanted to make a special egg for my dad so I wrote his name on an egg with a wax crayon. I placed it in a cup of dye and when it was done I proudly showed it to my grandmother. She burst out laughing. I asked why she was laughing. She assured me it was cute and I shouldn't change it. I still didn't know what she was talking about. She pointed to the name on the egg, "DUG" and said, that is not how you spell your father's name, it's Doug. I suddenly felt embarrassed and didn't think the egg was special any more, but my grandma insisted I give it to my dad.
Keeping memories alive is part of traditions and celebrations. Take time to keep your memories alive, memories are one of the treasures of life.

This home video shows my oldest Easter basket and walks through precious memories of my mother and loved ones.

Easter reflections wouldn't be complete without mentioning my black duck. In elementary school I got a stuffed toy black duck for Easter. At first I wondered why the duck wasn't white because all the ducks we fed at the park were white, and I hadn't seen a black one before, but soon the little black duck became my favorite toy. I loved it until it's neck flopped over and it's furry body was clumpy. When I was a teenager, I said good-bye to my little duck, but I still miss him.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Real Value In Gold Panning

Johnny, my youngest son, (a student at Oregon State University) eager to try out his new gold pans,invited me to go gold panning with him today. Excited about gold panning since I was a young child when I experienced my first and only gold panning at Knot's Berry farm in California, I answered, "Yes!". I remembered the thrill of finding the gold flakes in the metal pan at Knot's Berry farm. Even as a child I suspected the gold flakes were planted there for everyone to find, and wondered if they were real. Real gold or not, I love the memory of finding it and the time I spent with my family that day at the amusement park! I leaned towards the gold being real and for many years kept the glass vile with the tiny gold flakes at the bottom.
Johnny and I were out the door, walking to the Callapooia River across the street from our house in 5 minutes. Buck, the river loving dog, lead the way.
First Johnny filled a strainer with rocks and sand, which eliminated the bigger rocks, leaving the little stuff for us to take to rinse in the river with the gold pans. After a few pan fulls of gravel and sand, we learned how to reduce the gravel down to the fine black sand that sparkled in the sunshine. We didn't see any gold flakes today, but look forward to giving it another couple of hundred tries.
Life is full of gold panning experiences, some producing gold and some the experience and lessons learned. I would say that today was a golden experience, the real treasure; the time spent with my son.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Comfrey "Queen of the Herbs"

Here's the comfrey I grew and dried for use in tea and poultices.

Comfrey is another example of an herb that my mother introducted to me when I was still living at home under her care. She used to buy it in a box at the health food store in California in the 1960's, it was "Comfrey Mint Tea" which is a delicious blend. I make that blend also with the mint that grows so abundantly in my yard here in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

I've done a lot of research throughout my life on herbs for personal and family health. One of the best descriptions of comfrey is the "Queen Herb". Some herbalists claim that if they had to choose only one herb, they would choose comfrey because of it's many uses.

I use comfrey sparingly, only a few days at time because of the warnings which can be read at the end of this entry. It is helping me heal from the upper respitory illness I have right now, along with horehound tea, lemon and honey and vegetable broth that I made a huge pot of. I'm also using Yin Quao Jie Wan and Monolaurin.

Herbs are wonderful, however I never substitute home remedies for going to the doctor or hospital when the need arises. I feel modern medicine and all the miraculous knowledge associated with it, is a blessing; it has saved my life and health as well as family members.

Here's a sample of a little online research:

Comfrey (Symphytum officianale) has been used since ancient times as an herbal remedy. The name "comfrey" comes from the Latin words "con firma." In ancient Greek and Roman medicine, comfrey was also known as "knit bone" for its ability to speed healing of broken bones. The roots were soaked in wine or boiled in water, and a compress of the resulting comfrey tea or the boiled roots themselves were applied to the wound.

Comfrey leaf has a long history of use to promote the healing of bones and wounds, as well as internal use to treat a wide variety of ailments. It was also used to treat various ailments such as ulcers, dysentery, diarrhea, indigestion, gum diseases, sore throats, tuberculosis and other lung diseases, whooping cough, cancer, and arthritis. Comfrey leaves are rich in allantoin, phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium, trace minerals, calcium, and vitamins A, B-12 and C.

Dioscorides recorded how it was used in treating the armies of Alexander the Great, and Pliny the Elder also makes mention of its great many uses. Its use in Chinese traditional medicine spans over 2000 years.

One of the country names for comfrey was ‘knitbone’, a reminder of its traditional use in healing bone fractures. Modern science confirms that comfrey can influence the course of bone ailments.

The allantoin contained in the plant is thought to help replace and thus repair cells in the body through its profliferant properties. Comfrey was reputed to have bone and teeth building properties in children, and have value in treating "many female disorders".

If you choose to take comfrey tea, it is strongly recommend that you do so under the guidance of a qualified herbalist or physician.

Used externally, comfrey appears to be relatively safe. An external salve or ointment of comfrey may be used to speed healing of broken bones, cuts, wounds and sprains. Never apply comfrey to broken skin. Apply it instead to the skin around the affected area.

An FDA report also implicates comfrey in the death of two people in the United States. (This report was made many years ago, and I'm not sure over what period of time). These people took excessive amounts of comfrey, but the FDA thought it prudent to issue a warning against consuming comfrey tea until more data demonstrated its safety.

Much of the research demonstrates conflicting results, but until the final word is in, it may be best to exercise caution and use comfrey only as an external treatment.

Comfrey is the organic fruit grower's secret crop booster. You can use it to make a nutrient rich liquid fertilizer, feed, mulch or you can make a good potting-on compost. Whenever you want a readily available fertilizer for flowers fruit and seeds then give comfrey a try.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Dr. Seuss Books, What are Your Memories?

How many of you have memories of the books written by Dr. Seuss?
While watching the Martha Stewart Show today honoring the 108th birthday of Dr. Seuss, childhood memories started flooding back. At an early age I was hospitalized because of tonsillitis and had my tonsils removed. I was probably about 7 years old. My family gave me a gift while I was in the hospital, "Cat in the Hat" by Dr. Seuss. I read the book over and over, pretty much memorizing it, and brought it home with me from the hospital, treasuring it as a souvenir. I hadn't thought of that precious gift for decades and was thankful for the memory sparked by the celebration of Dr. Seuss' 108 birthday today.

I can hear my own late mother's voice, her English accent that everyone loved, reading to my brother Dane and I as children.

Reading books to my younger siblings, Emma, Micah and Sarah when I was a pre-teen and teenager are some of my favorites memories. My brothers Guy and Clay were also younger than me, but when I visited them, we mostly played at the beach in Manhattan Beach California.

Then memories of the many sweet hours of reading Dr. Seuss books and hundreds of other books to my five children, Abraham, Joseph, Tamara, Stephen and Joseph percolated up for me to enjoy.

Now I have the joy of reading to my grandchildren! Ruby loves me to read to her, I get to go to her house and read and sometimes she comes to my house. Ruby can memorize parts of her books, even though she isn't even two years old yet.
A few months ago I got to read to Anaza while I shared her bedroom during my visit to Hawaii. We would lay on the blow-up bed and read together until she got sleepy and fell asleep, then I would pick her up and put her in her little bed. Rayco likes to read about trains, I always think of him whenever I see or hear a train. He also likes airplanes and liked to show me his airplane collection that his Uncle Dane gave him.
My other grandchildren, Rio and Hayden come to my house, but we mostly play outside with the chickens and do farm chores, which are fun when they help. Hayden told me about his teacher reading his class a book about Lewis and Clark and how the dog Seaman also talked and had thoughts in this book. I shared what I was learning from the Lewis and Clark book I am reading right now that was a gift from Abe.
My oldest grandchild, Randal is in college, he's probably a better reader than I.

Dr. Seuss, never had children of his own, but entertained millions of children by his witty humor and creative characters that live on in our hearts.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Horse Shopping With My Friend Kay

The picture here is of my friend Kay Pynch with a horse I'm interested in. I brought Kay out for my second visit to Sunny, to get her opinion. It's always better to go shopping with friends and family (if they are good shoppers). This is true with all sorts of shopping from clothes, shoes and especially horses. There are friends that have expert opinions on all of the various types of shopping. The doctor I go to and love was recommended by a friend. My hairdresser who I think is wonderful was found by another friend. My clothes that bring the most compliments were chosen by friends. The list goes on.
Kay Pynch is my horse shopping friend. With her experience and wonderful way with people and horses, she's the perfect friend to take horse shopping. She's able to ask the hard questions to the horse owners, which I really appreciate. She keeps them talking and gathering useful information, while I glean information.
I buy and sell real estate for a living, so I do have some experience with the business side of making a deal. There is so much wisdom in a second opinion, especially with a large purchase.
Because it's easy to fall in love with a beautiful horse, especially when the imagination get racing with all the possibilities, so it's especially important to have a voice of reason near-bye. I don't want to make a final decision until I get an opinion from a knowledgeable friend. A friend who knows me well enough to know what is good for me. A friend who is more knowledgeable about horse "bloodlines", the good ones and the not so good ones.
Many people know I'm "Looking" for a horse right now. I'm told, "Take your time, look at a lot of horses." I'm not sure how many a lot of horses are, but I can say I've looked at the pictures and profiles of hundreds of them, emailed dozens of their owners and now have visited in person with 5 great possibilities.
The shopping will continue until I find the horse for me and the approval of my friend. I may have already found one, I just need to do more visiting with her, and get to know her so I can be sure.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Good Telephone Poles For Sale

I never really know what I'll be doing in a day, like today, learning about treated telephones that my husband wants to sell. These nice telephones poles were going to be used to take power to our back property. That's where they are right now, patiently waiting to be put to good use. We've decided to sell them and eventually put underground utlities back there.
Treated poles have 100's of uses, some are the obvious, power poles for utilities, also fence posts, pole barns and other buildings. I like seeing them used for entrances to homes and ranches. There's one such entrance near-bye that has the ranch name up on it with iron work. I've studied up on treated poles today and found that the telephone company uses them for about 45 years, then replaces them, however, they are thought to be good for 75 years. The ones we are selling are new.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Good-bye Kimmy, it's hard to say good- bye to a faithful dog.

As I hurried outside on Saturday to take photos of the sunset, my two dogs followed me, as always. Older Kimmy, followed by younger Buck. Kimmy has been my constant guardian for many years. People knew how to find me on the ranch, "Just find her dog, and she'll be right there," they said.
After photographing the sunset,Kimmy caught my attention. The way she was sitting, a little sentinel, always watching, always protecting. This time, she looked different. I noticed the gravel road behind her and something inside me whispered, she'll be leaving you, just like that gravel road is leading away, she will be leaving. I took her picture, with the gravel road next to her.I felt it would be the last picture I would take of her. She was aging and her health was starting fail, I thought, "Her health would continue to fail, a 15 year old dog is an old dog."
Little did I realize that this would be her last day.
A speeding car took her life. My neighbor Stephanie was the first to know, she broke the sad news to me.
In an instant, she was gone.
My husband John and son Johnny took over her care as soon as we knew she was hit. Johnny said, "Mom, she didn't feel anything, it was instant."
Tears. Lots of tears. Grief; a lump in my throat, pain in my chest, disturbed sleep and the sadness of seeing her food dish the next morning, all a part of the process of saying good-bye and feeling the loss.
Good-bye my faithful friend, I will miss you. You took your responsibilies so seriously, never letting up, always dilligently protecting all the little critters from chickens to kittens. You even patrolled the sky above, if ever a hawk flew too close, you barked and chased it away.
Many people said kind words to me, of comfort and understanding, which I am thankful for. I was told, "All dogs go to heaven." I'm sure Kimmy is there, with all the other good dogs that were loved, and horses and cats and all our loved ones.
I was not Kimmy's first owner. I adopted her from the animal shelter. I looked for a dog for about a year, and when I saw her in the cage, I knew instanly, she was the right one for me. I inquired about her and was told she was a new arrival,her name was Rimmy. Rimmy was 7 and belonged to her first owner until she was too sick with M.S. to take care of her or her other farm animals. She was raised on a farm. I vowed to take good care of her, and remember her former owner who would have appreciated knowing her dog was going to be loved.
I wanted to name my new dog something that had meaning to me, but was close enough sounding like her old name, that she would easily adjust. I had been looking for my childhood friend Kimmy Kirkman for decades, searching every means known to me. I thought, "If I name my new dog Kimmy Kirkman, it might help me find my friend."
I did find my long lost friend Kimmy Kirkman, a series of events lead me to her, not the least, my new dog.
Kimmy is re-united with her first owner. Some day, I will enjoy their company, until then, fond memories and thankfulness for the time we had here will adorn my thoughts.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Good bye Lucille, My mother-in-law's celebration of life.

My family celebrated the wonderful life of their mother, grandmother, aunt, loved one and friend on Friday February 3, 2012. After trying to figure out a funeralprogram, Peggy Howell, my sister-in-law, Lucille's daughter found the family Bible and inside was a note, that she had never seen before from her mother that outlined how she wanted her funeral, including the song she wanted sung, "Come Home", the location, a church, (not the funeral home) and she wanted food following so people could visit and enjoy themselves.

The program included family and loved ones sharing their memories of her life of 93 years, well lived.
Here is the program and obituary:
Officiant - Pastor Don Courtain
Eulogist - John Holbrook
Organist - Ron Nunn

Musical -Come Home by Steve Howell
Eastern Star, Mizpah Chapter 30
Closing Song - God Be With You Till We Meet Again
1. God be with you till we meet again; By his counsels guide, up-hold you; With his sheep securely fold you. God be with you till we meet again.
2.God be with you till we meet again; When life's perils thick confound you, Put his arms unfailing round you. God be with you till we meet again.
3. God be with you till we meet again; Keep love's banner floating o'er you; Smite death's threat'-ning wave before you. God be with you till we meet again.
Chorus: Till we meet, till we meet, Till we meet at Jesus' feet, Till we met, till we meet, God be with you till we meet again.

Casket Bearers
Randy Schwirse David Holbrook Ryan Holbrook
Jim Burri Josh Sullivan Brad King

Lucille(Lucy) Caroline Martin Holbrook-Clammer passed away peacefully at home surrounded by loved ones on January 26, 2012 in St. Helens Oregon., she was 93. Lucille was born in Jackson Prairie, Washington on April 3, 1918 to Oliver Power Martin & Caroline Graham. She graduated from Kelso High School in 1936. She married Burnell Holbrook, her high school sweet heart, in 1937. She moved to St. Helens Oregon in 1945 where she managed The J.W. Copeland lumber yard while her husband was away in the service. In 1948 they purchased Columbia Lumber Company and re-named it Holbrook Lumber Company. In 1964 She married Robert Clammer
Lucille was an active member of the Women’s Club, Zenith Club, Business and Professional Women, the Yacht Club, Elks, Elks Travel Club and the Eastern Star. In 1956 she spearheaded an effort to receive a National Community Achievement award. She flew to Detroit Michigan to receive the first place award of $10,000. The money was awarded, in part for the many projects which improved and beautified St. Helens, including the building of Civic Pride Park and the trees in the Courthouse Square. She organized a dinner in her home for Governor Mark Hatfield who came in honor of winning the award. Lucille said, “This puts St. Helens on the map.”She enjoyed hunting, fishing, clam digging, cards, dancing and traveling with the RV club.
She is survived by her son John J. Holbrook & wife Laura of Brownsville OR, Peggy Howell & husband Steve of St. Helens OR, step daughter Susan West of Tualatin OR, nephew (son) Jim Martin & wife Kathy of St. Helens, Fred & Linda Martin of AZ., Eddie & Gladys Martin of AK, Grandchildren Randy Schwirse of Deer Island OR, Alisha & LaRon Livsey of Ridgefield, Wa , Peggy Sue & Jim Burri of St Helens, Kimberly & Brad King of Jamul CA, Stacy & Josh Sullivan of Scappoose , Teresa & Casey Tafoya of Flint MI, David & Michelle Holbrook of Escondido CA, Ryan & Wendy Holbrook of Brownsville OR, Julie Holbrook of Eugene, OR, Cindy Martin of Arvada CO,. Abe Nielsen of Portland OR, Joseph & Crystal Nielsen of Hawaii, Tamara & Brendan Smith of Midland Texas, Stephen & Rachel Nielsen of Salem, OR, John Nielsen of Brownsville OR and 23 great grandchildren and 1 great-great grandchild. Proceeding her in death were, husbands Burnell Holbrook andRobert Clammer, grandson Ryan Schwirse.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Snow on your Beak!

Sometimes we all get caught with snow on our beak, or the human likeness of it.
With the New Year, 2012 just getting started, I've made some resolutions, like I usually do.

It's easy to pass a judgement quickly, and then find it's completely wrong, I've unfortunately done this before.

For many years I've tried to avoid jumping to conclusions about people, but find there is always room for improvement.

Like this chicken in the video, she's unaware of the snow on her beak. It may look like she's an untidy chicken, but she's not, she was just caught in an awkward moment.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Cleaning the Hen House and Gardening January 8, 2012!

I felt so lucky to have a free day today to work outside. A sunny day, in January in the Northwest is rare treat. I even had to discard my jacket because I got HOT. The dogs, Kimmy and Buck stayed by my side while I worked.

Cleaning the barn has to be done every day, but taking the manure outside on a dry sunny day is a lot better then in the rain or snow.

The chickens were thrilled when I cleaned out the chicken house, replacing the used nesting material in their boxes with fresh hay and wood shavings. The main part of the hen house is where the real dirty work was, I shoveled out all the old manure and replaced it with fresh hay and a thin layer of cedar chips. (Wearing a filter mask.)

To make the job more enjoyable, I replaced the 2 x 4 chunk of wood that has been used to prop the chicken door open every day for several years with a chain and hook ... a major improvement. Taking this little bit of extra time to do something I've wanted to do for a long time, sweetened the job and energized me.

The chickens notice these improvements, they are very keen to change, they like to come in, inspect the house and scratch around.

Ann and Rich Anderson who also keep a flock of chickens here on the ranch in my mom's old hen house, cleaned and scrubbed their house today too. We chatted as our paths crossed, sharing the wheelbarrow and tools.
The whole chicken community is clean, happy and healthy!

Nothing is wasted, I put all the manure where it can aged and will be used in the garden and grow boxes. Using as many of the resources right here on the ranch and avoiding commercial products is most rewarding.
Making compost from kitchen scraps, yard clippings and manure is an all around good practise.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Is decorating your home a waste of time?

Some of my family and friends didn't get to see my home decorated for Christmas, so before I take it all down, I took some photos and made a short video.

I put up about 1/3 of my decorations
this year and
really enjoyed it.

This Santa display is new, it was John's favorite decoration.

This year, I came to understand something about decorating and my feeling guilty that I was wasting time. (My confession: I tend to think that "wasting time" means doing something I really enjoy as opposed to "work" I don't like to do, which isn't wasting time. I'm working on this, I know it's not healthy.)

I was starting to feel like I was "wasting time" decorating, because it does take a lot of time, but when my husband John said, "Decorating is one of your talents, I'm glad to see you using one of your talents."
I felt justified in putting one of my talents to use and sharing it. I never looked at it like that before.

Sometimes I feel guilty using my creative talents, because I have a lot of fun when I do and it doesn't feel like "work". If I was practising the piano (I don't play the piano, but have a lot of admiration for those who do) for a Christmas program, that would never be considered a waste of time.

Decorating is like my Christmas concert, it is how I share one of my talents.

It's good to enjoy your home, decorating it for the different holidays. It's a talent to develop, share and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Get the Most from Your Lip Gloss!

Until recently, I threw the lip gloss out when I couldn't squeeze any more out of the tube. My husband John gave me this idea when I caught him cutting open the toothpaste so he could use the last little bit in the tube.
When I thought my favorite lip gloss was empty, I remembered my frugal husband's technique and tried it on the lip gloss tube. To my delight, there was another couple of weeks worth of lip gloss left in the tube.
Try this!