Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Super Snow Moon, Flowers, Books, and Apple Muffins

Hello, Dear Friends, I hope that you are weathering 
the storms of life and hanging on to the hope of spring. 

The heavens have been illuminated by our recent
Super Snow Moon - an amazing sight in this beautiful world.
I took this photo with my 6 year old Nikon Coolpix P520. 

We had another dusting of snow yesterday morning
to sugar coat my world. 

I was feeling hopeful that the snow was finally gone, 
and brought home these sweet little blooms 
to plant in this tub.
Ramblin' Man drilled drainage holes for me.  

A hellebore and mini-daffodils. 
Hope springs eternal :)

I think I shall be so grateful once warmer 
temperatures arrive and I can play outside in the dirt once more. 

Ramblin' Man has been cheering me up with 
lovely discussions of future plans.......
a camping trailer, finishing the loft remodel, 
building a workshop and an old window greenhouse. 

Sometimes I get impatient, but I know how busy 
life is. He has a demanding job, overseeing 9 
district managers and 180 distributors in 
a territory that includes all of the Pacific Northwest 
and Alaska.

I am very proud of him, but I must be very independent 
and self-sufficient, as his work takes him away 
for many hours and often, many miles.

I keep the home fires burning.....

Coffee keeps me going during these cold 
winter days. I admit, I drink too much caffeine. 
I am working on that......

I just ordered a book on making herbal teas.
I am very interested in herbs and how to grow and use
them in cooking, health and beauty. 

Most of my library, including all of my herbal and gardening books,
 are in storage right now, waiting for the remodeling to be done. 
We are turning the master bedroom into a library
and the loft will be our bedroom. 

I get frustrated sometimes, because progress is so slow. 

This long winter is not helping. 
I've been trying to get interested in a decorating or craft 
project, but I am not inspired. 
I am in a bit of a funk. 

I did order a few new books that might entice me 
to forget my frustrations......
Some wonderful memoirs. I love memoirs. 
Especially written by women. 
I love books about pioneer women.
I found several. 
Building our home on raw land, 
here on the edge of the wilderness,
gives me new perspective on the trials 
and tribulations of our early pioneers. 
I think women have been largely forgotten in history, 
unless they were royals, famous, married
to famous men, or somehow notorious.

I ordered the books from

They offer discount books and very affordable shipping.

This book is a favorite memoir - not exactly pioneers,
but the memoir of two young women in 1908 who accepted
Indian Service appointments as field matrons for the Karok
Indians in northern California for two years.
Wonderfully written, and full of adventure, fun and a good
dose of brevity for the challenges they faced, they write;
"In the sixty-mile stretch between Happy Camp and Orleans,
we were the only white women, and most of the time quite
scared enough to satisfy anybody."
Written in 1957 by Mary Ellicott Arnold, it gives the reader
a compassionate glimpse into the life
 of our native peoples and the courage
and bravery it took to navigate that world.

These are more modern memoirs that I highly recommend.
Heather Lende  writes from Haines, Alaska
and I love her books. She also wrote for 'Woman's Day' Magazine
in 2012. Her writing inspired me to become
a reader columnist, that same year, for my regional newspaper,
'The Tacoma News Tribune'. I wrote a monthly
column about life here 'on the edge'.

'Call the Nurse' and 'Nurse, Come you Here',
are wonderful memoirs about a woman
who moved with her family to a Scottish Isle
and found herself reluctantly (at first) enlisted as the region's only nurse.
Both of these books are written with warmth, humor and compassion
for the people in their small communities.

This memoir takes place in my neck of the woods, 
Washington state. I am almost done with it. 
It's about a forgotten young man who was abandoned 
by his family, but had a strong desire to succeed in life.
He worked his way into the University of Washington
and was recruited for the rowing team. 
It's a story of resilience in the face of daunting adversity.
And of course, there is a sweet love story as the backdrop, too.  
It was recently made into a documentary. 

This is my next memoir to read while I wait for my new books.
I am in love with all things Italian, after my recent
visit to Rome and Tuscany.
My love affair actually started with the memoir,
 'Under the Tuscan Sun'
and just progressed from there.

I'll let you know how I like it.

I generally don't read too much fiction, although
if someone recommends something,
I am only too happy to read it,  
and I do love the classics. 
I inherited this beautiful, classic library from my parents. 

I love books.
I don't think you can have too many.
Ramblin' Man indulges me, even though
he rarely has time to read, other than
books about managing business.
He does like how-to books, and has an ever-growing collection.
He built this house by reading books.
He had never built anything, other than a dog-house,
before he jumped right in to build this house
for his family.
Now that's devotion.

I am truly interested in the human condition
and figuring out the psychology of how the world works.
Books satisfy that desire and curiosity.
I also read a daily newspaper.

There is not enough time to devote to all the subjects
I am interested in.
I think I need 2 - 3 more lifetimes........

Books are my windows to the world. 
I travel to far-away places, live many different lives, 
and learn anything my heart desires 
through the pages of a book. 

When I was a child, my favorite place was the library. 
Being shy and introverted, I was happiest when I 
could escape into another world.
If that world included horses and animals, 
I was in heaven, indeed.  

My (messy) living room bookshelf holds my childhood favorites. 

In high school I read 'How Green was my Valley', 
'Green Mansions', 'To Kill a Mockingbird', 
David Copperfield, Mark Twain, and even Shakespeare.  
We spent a whole semester reading, 'Romeo and Juliet'
and then going on a class trip into Boston to see 
the newly released 1968 Franco Zeffirelli movie
starring Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey. 
I had just started dating Ramblin' Man 
and he sat beside me, sweetly holding my hand. 
We imagined we were they, 
as my family was very much against our relationship 
because they thought we were too young.
All these years later, here we are. 

Later, I fell in love with James Herriot 
and his, 'All Creatures Great and Small' series. 
I read the 'Little House on the Prairie' series 
to my children, along with 'The Education of Little Tree', 
which made us all cry, 'Hatchet', and 'The Call of the Wild'.

Some other favorites of mine were, 'Gone With the Wind', 
'Jane Eyre', and 'Rebecca'. 

As a young mother I lived in a rural part of Oregon, 
far from the nearest library, but a book-mobile program 
allowed me to check off books from a mailed flyer
to be delivered to my door. 

The selection was limited, so I found myself reading 
things I might not have, otherwise. 

This book had a profound impact on my interpretation of the world, 
and led to a lifelong interest in books 
 written by people who have lived in 
parts of the world that do not have the freedoms we take 
so much for granted. 

Another excellent book I read was 'My Life with the Eskimo', 
written in 1913 by Vilhjalmur Stefansson. 

This book inspired my interest in other cultures, 
especially native peoples. 

I've read books written by slaves, native Americans, 
Holocaust survivors, and people who have survived 
all manner of trials and tribulations. 
It is these stories of shared humanity, resilience and hope, despite 
the travails and struggles of this sometimes, cruel and inhumane world, 
that inspires me so. 

While I wait for my books to arrive, 
I have been searching for some new, healthy recipes.
Cookbooks are another passion.  

I found these healthy, delicious muffins. 

Here is the recipe:

Apple Muffins

Makes 18 muffins. 
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. 

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 tart apples, peeled and chopped into small dice
(about 3 cups)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup natural applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Fill muffin pans 
with 18 paper liners. 

In small bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, 
cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. 

In a separate small bowl, mix apple pieces with 1/4 cup 
of the brown sugar; set aside. 

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and 
remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar together 
until creamed. Add eggs, one at a time, blending well. 
Add applesauce and vanilla extract and mix together. 

Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk, a little at a time
and mix just until blended. Stir in apple pieces. 
At this point you can add a handful of raisins or walnuts.
Or both :) 

Fill 18 muffin cups. 

Bake 20 minutes. 

Cool 20 minutes......

Meanwhile, clean up and brew some tea. 

Pour the tea and add some butter to the warm muffin.

Enjoy! Preferably with a good book!

These muffins get better with age
(don't we all?)
due to the moisture of the apples.
They also freeze very well.


"You can never get a cup of tea large enough
or a book long enough to suit me."
- C.S. Lewis -

I am very thankful for the freedoms we have in this country
and the voices and heroes that have
fought to make it so.


What type of books do you like to read?
What are your favorite books?


Today I am sharing with:

 Thankful Thursday
Keep in Touch

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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Cabin Fever

Hello, Dear Friends, I hope that you all had a 
Happy Valentine's Day and that you 
managed to treat yourself to something sweet :) 

I use any excuse to beg for chocolate. 

(Sorry, Lovey, chocolate is lethal for dogs)

My wish was granted.......
Ramblin' Man managed to get down off this 
little mountain, after our big snow started melting, 
just in time :)

Meanwhile, the rest of us had a very bad case of 
cabin fever! 

The floors were littered with chewed up doggie bones, 
and all the pillows were askew, 
as we waited and waited for the snow to melt. 

We had to shovel snow off the deck twice, 
after the snow reached over 8 inches deep each time. 
That was a lot of work and we were full of aches 
and pains for days. 

These guys just got to play......
We still have our little house guest, Lovey 
the dachshund, for another week. 

Whitey Bear and Kai are enjoying 
the company. 

I fed the birds during our snow, inside the dog pen
to protect them from predators as much as possible. 

They made a huge mess. 
I had so many birds.......
They stripped all the branches of moss 
above my walkway, looking for bugs, 
and there was moss and twigs and branches 

It didn't take long for the predators to come. 

There he is.......
perched right on the flight path,
early in the morning.

A Rough-legged Hawk.

These are common winter residents, 
here in Washington state, 
nesting in Canada's Northwest Territories
and Alaska. They are much smaller with weaker talons
than other birds of prey, which means they must 
hunt for smaller prey. 

Luckily, these little sweeties are too fast to be on the menu. 
This is a female Anna's Hummingbird. 
The male has a dark head that shines a 
deep rose red in direct sunlight. 
Both have iridescent green bodies. 
They are partial, to non-migrator's, 
which eat insects, nectar and sap from holes drilled 
by sap-suckers. 

She sits on my Rugosa rose, surveying her kingdom. 

Soon, the Anna's will be joined by the smaller Rufous 
Hummingbirds which migrate all the way to 
Central and South America! 

The snow has melted, for the most part, leaving 
us with fog and mist to start the day.

Gradually dissipating.....

Leaving just a necklace of coral
around Mt. Rainier to end the day. 

If you can't wait, here's a


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Saturday's Critters

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