Friday, August 31, 2012

Pappy's Paradise~ The Texas Cabin

Our trip down to Texas this past weekend was so much fun! Our favorite way to visit the kids is a getaway and this was our second visit to Pappy's Paradise near Lake Texoma. It's about 5 hours from us and a little over an hour from our daughter's family in Denton... perfect! We stayed at their new Texas Cabin, 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths it would sleep 10 if you add the loft game room that was outfitted with sofa beds. Wii, Xbox and Kinect~games galore, plus a book corner with a huge chair and a half to fit me plus my GRANDson! 

We had plenty of room to set and talk, it had everything we needed for a relaxed weekend. 

Julie and Billy Vier are the proprietors of Pappy's Paradise that sets on 12 beautiful wooded acres near Pottsboro, Texas. They couldn't have been more hospitable, Julie spoils her guests with a delicious breakfast casserole that's waiting in the fridge with milk, juice, sodas, bottled waters, butter, eggs, a pan of brownies, still warm from the oven, setting on the kitchen counter!

I took two casseroles and fixin's for lunches, since I knew the cabin was furnished with cereals, sweet rolls and coffee. We were there three glorious days and the weather actually cooperated for once! It was in the 80's making hikes and outdoor activities fun!

As I get older, I really like the comforts of home. I guess camping years are behind us, but the rustic cabins are just the right amount of "roughing it" for us!

Friday night we attended a Family Festival sponsored by the Pottsboro Ministerial Alliance. So much fun, and every single activity was FREE. The games, the rides, the food... even booths set up with school supplies for the kids, free haircuts, toys and books. The fair began 6 years ago and has grown to a huge celebration for the small community of Pottsboro. It sure didn't feel small that night, everyone was there and having a wonderful time!

Ewan couldn't wait to climb the stairs and slide down!

It wasn't hard for him to pick out a favorite toy... the cars won!

The Cotton Candy line was long but worth it!

So good!

Can you tell he liked it?

Jelly biscuit... yum!

S'more fun!

Thanks Julie and Billy, we had THIS much fun! 
Love, Ewan

Thursday, August 30, 2012

County Fair

It's County Fair time in NW Arkansas this week. Summer is winding down, school has started and for farmers it's a time to show off a little and relax. It's been a long, hard summer with record temperatures and no rain in the forecast... the recent showers are much appreciated. In a farmers' life, there's always next year.

There's a lot of work that goes into winning a blue ribbon. Future Farmers of America encourage our kids to be the best they can be by preparing them for a life of feeding the world. A career in agriculture is more than planting and's a science, a business and a lifestyle.

FFA programs are funded though sponsorships and private donations at the local, state and national levels. Yearly membership dues are only $7, a small price that allows anyone who desires to join.

Agricultural education began in the school systems in 1917 when Congress passed the Smith-Hughes Act. Now over 800,000 students participate in agri education programs.

The FFA Creed
I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds - achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists; in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years.

I believe that to live and work on a good farm, or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits, is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement, I cannot deny.

I believe in leadership from ourselves and respect from others. I believe in my own ability to work efficiently and think clearly, with such knowledge and skill as I can secure, and in the ability of progressive agriculturists to serve our own and the public interest in producing and marketing the product of our toil.

I believe in less dependence on begging and more power in bargaining; in the life abundant and enough honest wealth to help make it so--for others as well as myself; in less need for charity and more of it when needed; in being happy myself and playing square with those whose happiness depends upon me.

I believe that American agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our national life and that I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task.
We could all benefit from living our lives by this creed, don't you think?

There's not a kid alive that doesn't love going to the fair... it's an experience that lives in your heart your whole life!

Biggest and Best Produce... bragging rights for a whole year!

Cotton Candy... hungry for it now, aren't you?

Candy Apples

Deep Fried Snickers... oh yeah baby!

Don't miss your county fair, it's so much fun no matter how old you are!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fair to Middlin'

We're an odd group here in the Ozarks. Many of our sayings come from Olde Country, for our family that is English/Irish/Scottish. We use the Queen's English and don't even know it when we are asked how we feel. "Fair to middlin" is the response, meaning not at my best. I've heard it since I was knee high to a grasshopper, said it before I knew what it meant and stored it to memory so that I can say it to my grandchildren. Along with down yonder, fixin' to and tump over, they are absorbing the lingo into their pores.  In time it will become a part of who they are, define them as the region to which they "belong." You may spend a few of your young adult years running in the opposite direction of who you are, but in time we all return! 
What are some of the funny expressions where you live?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cherry Days

Home again, missing kids and grands. It's always a few days of this whenever we come back from Texas. I miss Ewan asking "Nana, do you know about the core of the Earth?" He's very smart and he reads books that are well beyond his 5 years. I'm a little proud of him, can you tell?

We had long conversations about his favorite things to do and what he loves to eat and going to school for the first time this week. He was a little nervous but he's going to do just fine. For one thing, he's never met a stranger! His attitude will take him far in life, it's good to be able to schmooze with the masses! He called his cousin in Cincinnati while we were setting out on the front porch at the cabin. Just to talk. He asked him if he knew about the core of the Earth... it's on his mind!!!

Tumbler gifs

Ewan also told me he loved cherries, the ones without seeds. We were walking down to the duck pond and he just thought about it when he looked at the red polish on my toenails. Kids are like that, they go wherever their minds take them. That allows them to travel to wonderful places, it's a very good thing!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Ewan's First Day

That familiar school bus is making it's way down Old Prairie Creek Road that winds back to our house. If I come home from shopping 4ish, I get behind the bus. It makes half a dozen stops out our way, not too many kids live out our road. They always look like pack mules carrying backpacks, lunchboxes and jackets! Tired little disheveled bodies pour off the bus and run wildly up their driveways or roads. I was a city kid and never rode the school bus. Our daughters did and complained unmercifully about the torture they endured on the bumpy, un~airconditioned buses. There was always a mean driver, or a kid that picked their nose, or just the fact that it came so darn early! I would drive them to the main road where we would wait patiently for the bus to round our curve and stop. We'd listen to the radio and talk. Great talks about friends and feelings, right and wrong, meaningless talk that makes Moms and daughters bond.

Today our GRANDson Ewan starts Kindergarten, his very first day at school. I have a little lump in my throat thinking about it and worrying like all Moms and Grandmothers do  about the whole growing up thing. His Mom was in Kindergarten yesterday 28 years ago.  I know how she feels this morning and I know what's ahead for her in the next 13 years. Lots of homework, lots of sleepless nights and lots of joy.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cookie Monster's Famous Sugar Cookies~Nom Nom Nom!

From Big Bird's Busy Book, circa the 1970s, here is Cookie Monster's famous Sugar Cookie recipe! 

 Cookie Monster's Famous Sugar Cookies
Put 3/4 cup of butter or margarine (that's a stick and a half) into your mixing bowl. Measure 1 cup of sugar. Pour sugar over butter. With fork, squash butter and sugar together until they are blended. Crack shells of two eggs and pour eggs over mixture in bowl. Measure 1 teaspoon vanilla and pour over mixture. With fork, blend everything in the bowl together. Measure 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and pour over mixture in bowl. Measure 1 teaspoon baking powder and sprinkle over flour. Measure 1 teaspoon of salt and sprinkle over flour and baking powder. Mix everything together either with the fork or with your hands. Put dough in icebox to chill (at least one hour) then roll out the cookie 1/4 inch thick and bake at 400 degrees. 

Cookie makes Apple Raisin Oatmeal Cookies in this old Sesame Street episode... well, almost!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Hopes and Dreams

Well, we're on our way to Texas right now for a weekend with the kids. I've been packing for days, we have a  cooler stuffed with everything that youngest GRANDson Ewan might be hungry for! I'm not taking any chances, I'm bringing it all!

It's a long trip, so along the way we'll listen to the radio, I'll take some pictures and we may even play the Hopes and Dreams Game. 
I saw it here and it sounds like a good way to pass the time! Jesse has a list of thirty questions, some we've never asked each other...and that's saying something since we've known each other for 40+ years!

Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and explain how they became fears.Illness, losing our parents and the future. All of these are unknowns, and they do scare me.

What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now? My husband, kids, grandkids, home, and travel!

What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced? Being a Mom to my Mom, Alzheimer's/Dementia, I miss her advice.

What is your dream job, and why? Guy Fieri's job, duh!

You guys pick a question to answer.... be honest!

What are 5 passions you have?
List 10 people who have influenced you and describe how.
Describe your most embarrassing moment.
Describe 10 pet peeves you have.
What are your 5 greatest accomplishments?
What is the thing you most wish you were great at?
What has been the most difficult thing you have had to forgive?
If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood.
If you could have one SUPERPOWER, what would it be and what would you do with it first?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?
What do you think people misunderstand most about you?
List 10 things you would hope to be remembered for.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Support Local Farmers

The price of eating fresh fruits and vegetables has really gotten out of hand this year, this summer's drought across the nation has put a death grip on costs associated with food production. That not only includes grain of all kinds, but the transportation costs associated with shipping our food to market. From farm to table, it's an expensive process.

One way we can save on costs is buying local. Farmer's Markets are a great way to find the freshest fruits and vegetables in your area and you are helping a farmer with each and every purchase.

Have you seen okra in your grocery store this summer? Me neither. It's almost impossible to buy here unless you know someone who grows it. A southern staple in the summertime, we cut it up and give it a dip in cornmeal before we fry it crispy. Served with fish and cornbread, for those that love it, this is as close to Heaven as you can get!

Late gardens are bringing on a flood of turnips, greens, winter squash, carrots and beets. The great thing about these are their "keeping quality." If you have a cool place to store, they will last for a long time.

Cabbage is another great fall vegetable, taking only 80 days to maturity it can be planted in mild weather states in late summer. A visit to the Farmer's Co-op to pick up a tray of fall seedlings will give you the head start you need to keep that garden going! Fall really is the best time to plant.

I came across this great idea the other day on Vegetable Gardener... growing a hill of potatoes in laundry baskets from the Dollar Store! Yes, this does work and it produces about 8-10 pounds per basket. You simply add soil, seed potatoes and then keep topping it off each week with more soil as they grow. Some people say they lined the basket with straw or burlap and that helped keep the soil from coming out the sides. 

Earlier this spring, we were having a problem with black tree ants. I noticed greater numbers outside on the patios, then on the decks and one day they had somehow found their way into the house. At first only one or two crawling across the carpet. I know it only takes a small crack for a bug to enter your home, so I began my search. In no time, I saw a large number of them in the upstairs windowsill. It was closed and locked but somehow they were getting in. I had a spray and used it along the sill, that killed the ones there in no time. But what about the great numbers I was seeing outside under the oak trees? 

A quick call to Richard at the Farmer's Co-op and he had a solution for me. Diatomaceous Earth. Ever heard of it? It's actually a natural product from the ocean.

The fine powder absorbs lipids from the waxy outer layer of the insects' exoskeleton, causing them to dehydrate. They die in a very short time, usually hours after application. That's exactly what happened after I applied a light dusting around the oak trees where I saw great numbers of the ants. The good news is that Diatomaceous Earth was poison free, pets coming in contact with the powder couldn't get sick. In fact they could actually lick it and it would work the same magic on intestinal pests! Watch the video and you will be amazed at this natural occurring marine settlement that's beneficial for so many uses!

One more thing you may want to add to your fall planting list is garlic. Simple and easy to grow, you probably have everything you need in the kitchen right now! That is, if you cook with fresh garlic. It's convenient to have the bottle of minced garlic in the fridge, but nothing tastes as good as fresh in my opinion. The bulbs I buy in the produce section last for a a good month, maybe longer. That's pretty good for shelf life! But having some growing in a sunny place in your yard is even better. Mother Earth News says planting garlic in the fall produces full sized bulbs that have more flavor. About a month before the ground freezes, place the single cloves of garlic in a sunny part of your garden, about 2" deep. Mulch well and then let Mother Nature slowly grow you a bumper crop of garlic!

It was 57 degrees at my house this morning, cool enough to get me thinking about fall desserts! I found this great recipe on Pinterest this week and it's making the trip to Texas with me... I bet it will be a big hit with my kids!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
2 cups crushed gingersnap crumbs
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 (8oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter cut into pieces
caramel sauce
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 8″x8″ glass pan with foil, be sure to cover the sides, you are going to use this to lift the cheesecake out of the pan.
Combine the melted butter and gingersnap crumbs and press into the bottom of the pan. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
In a bowl beat softened cream cheese until smooth. Beat in sugar, sour cream, vanilla, eggs, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Beat until smooth and creamy. Note: if you end up with lumps you can transfer the mix to a food processor and pulse a couple of times until smooth.
Pour mixture onto gingersnap crust.
In another bowl combine flour and brown sugar. Using a pastry cutter cut cold butter into the mixture until crumbly.
Sprinkle mixture over the top of the cheesecake. Bake for 40 – 50 minutes or until the center is set. If a knife inserted comes out mostly clean you are good to go.
Allow to cool on a cooling rack for about 40 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until chilled through, about 2 hours. Cut, drizzle with caramel sauce and serve.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Summers, Summer's, Summers'

I think I've told you before that I was Spelling Bee Champion at my elementary school, Mary S. Boyd. It's not something that I still hold onto, I'm sure I've been out spelled for years now and I'm OK with that. What bothers me is that I've lost so much of my ability to retain the rules of writing and spelling, punctuation, the use of the English language. Anal, obsessive-compulsive or just embarrassed, I don't know for sure the write right way to write. Are you following me? Is it happening to you too?

Until I started writing down my thoughts on this blog 3 years ago, the most writing I ever did was checks. Yes, even more than writing letters, I wrote checks! So, I guess you get out of practice in time. You are a forgiving lot, my blogging friends who know I write "Arkan-ese!" I should not try to embarrass my Arkansas family since I am truly from Missouri so I'll just say "Ozark-ese!" Whatever, I write like I talk in person and it's a mixture of all the blood I have in me going back to pioneer days when my Grandmother's family migrated from East Tennessee. My Great-grandmother was full blooded Cherokee and came to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears.

Iroquoian is the official language of the Cherokee and according to Wikipedia, it's in imminent danger of extinction. Just like me, they are losing it by not using it. Less than 10% of the Cherokee people still speak or understand the language of  their ancestors. There are language programs in place, but there's just not much interest anymore. If you'd like to see what Cherokee looks like on a keyboard, you can click HERE. It's unique, they use Roman orthography with certain accents and symbols added to represent sounds not available in the 26 letter Latin alphabet. I think it's a lost cause on me, I can't even keep up with the correct use of apostrophes!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Love, Me.

If we could all be more like our pets... they sleep sound, they never complain about the same old bowl of food every day and most all the pets in our little neighborhood walk around with their tails wagging all day long! Jet and Ringo, the dogs that live closest to us are best buds. They are young dogs and love to explore when given the chance. More than once they have brought home their "treasures" from excursions in our woods, a possum skull or a deer bone isn't really what you want to see first thing when you step out the door! But they are so enthusiastic over their finds that you hate to scold! They are country dogs, in my opinion the luckiest dogs on Earth. Now you may beg to differ with me, and I will agree that fluffy little lap dogs live the Life of Riley too... but there's something about a country dog that just sets the standard for Happiness!! 

It doesn't take much, a stick is just as good as a store bought toy...

In fact, riding around on an ATV ranks up there with meal time as "favorites!"

Add a truck and it's as good as it gets!
Hope you have a "dog-gone good day!"

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