Pumpkin Bread and Tea


Second day of just having juice and only raw foods.  Incredible headache. It must be chai withdrawal. I am having green tea and still cooking for my husband. Several weeks ago we visited and Indian and Asian grocery store. I found this tea pot there and love it. My husband is amazed, as I am, at the lower prices in international grocery stores. The bread pictured is pumpkin. I’m still working on breads.photo

Happy Vedic New Year


Today is a day of juice, water and raw food fasting for me. I just thought it would be a good day to fast. On the other hand my husband’s dinner is a black bean burger and sweet potato fries. This is my first time making a black bean burger from scratch. It’s decent but not perfection. I had one yesterday. I will keep working on it. As for the juice I threw everything in – parsley, apples, carrots, cabbage, red bell pepper, beets, celery, and romaine lettuce.  I’m still hungry.

 

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2014


Happy New Year Everyone!  Perhaps a little belated.

One of my goals for the new year is to learn new things.  That can apply to a variety of different subjects.  One is bread making.

I love bread, especially organic seeded bread, which we have been purchasing at Whole Foods – expensive – in more ways than one, considering we are 1 1/2 hours away from Whole Foods.  Sometimes I opt for the Trader Joe’s variety, but I try to go for as few ingredients and ones I can pronounce, therefore, Whole Foods won out in the bread category.

This is the year, though, that I decided to break down, bite the bullet, and learn to make my own bread from scratch.  It has been trial and error.  I’m learning about yeast, for one thing.  Maybe it’s the fact that I started this whole endeavor in the midst of one of the biggest cold fronts in history.  It has been below zero several times over the last few weeks.  I did discover a feature on my oven that has come in most helpful.  It is something called Standard Proof.  Yeah!

My ingredients thus far has been:  bread flour, spelt flour, yeast, olive oil, sea salt, sugar, sometimes butter in lieu of the oil, and various seeds such as pumpkin, sunflower, poppy, and sesame, all organic.  On two loaves I omitted seeds and added raisins and cranberries.

I’ve been watching lots of youtube videos on bread making.  Any suggestions are most helpful.  One of the best things is nothing really goes to waste, as my husband will even eat what I consider my flops, and tell me how great they are.

One of the best things is thatPictured below are two of my attempts.

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Ponds and Waterfalls


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20130715-124720.jpgThese are pictures of our front pond.  On July 4th we began digging to extend it a little.  Our ponds are always evolving, hopefully not devolving.  Several years ago we saw the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon.  That has always been such an inspiration.

Chips Ahoy


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20130713-191957.jpgWe were outside eating dinner and Chris said chips ahoy, thus the title.  I can fix some weird dinners.  Tonight it was Bocca chicken patties with a chutney sauce along with kale chips, zucchini chips, and potato chips inspired by http://theroadtoserendipity.wordpress.com/  In my opinion the ingredients for successful chips are parchment paper, sea salt, mixed pepper, a little olive oil, and nutritional yeast.  I did not use it on the potato chips as they were good alone, and that would have been overkill.

This year or at least this summer we are living a little more off the land.  The kale, zucchini, and potatoes came from our garden.  Our lunch of a salad consisted of lettuce and cucumbers from the garden, and the blackberry cobbler we had for dessert from yesterday’s post was made from blackberries picked on the farm.  We picked a new batch today.  That was going well until the tractor (we were also working on the trails as we went along) disturbed a yellow jacket nest.  I was stung only once luckily.  It still hurts.  Most fortunately Chris wasn’t stung at all.  He is highly allergic.  While out picking, though, a new idea for the farm came, “Blackberry Fields Forever.”

The peaches are small, but it is the first batch ever from our peach tree.  Earlier we had some blueberries from a very small bush that we have.  The birds kept getting the later yields.

 

Blackberry Farm


20130712-190840.jpgOur farm has so many wild blackberry bushes, that I’m considering naming it Blackberry Farm.  I have yet to run this by Chris.  Above is my first blackberry cobbler of the season.  We picked blackberries until almost dark last night.  The recipe is below.  I had to substitute brown sugar as I was out of white.  It still tasted great.  Now to make some homemade vanilla ice cream with the next batch.

EASY BLACKBERRY COBBLER

1/2 c. butter

1 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. sugar

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. salt

2/3 c. milk

1 (16 oz.) pkg. frozen blackberries, thawed  (I probably used three cups of fresh blackberries, as I like lots of berries.)

Melt butter in a 2 quart casserole. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and milk in a small mixing bowl, mix well. Pour mixture over melted butter, do not stir. Spoon blackberries over batter; do not stir. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Eat Your Fruits and Veggies


Last night Chris picked blackberries which we had for breakfast. This morning I picked some kale and lettuce adding zucchini, cucumbers and potatoes from the garden. My goal is for us to eat this today. I’m thinking salad and a veggie casserole.

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Portobello’s


This past weekend we ate at Mellow Mushroom.  We ordered the portobello mushroom appetizer.  It inspired me to try a similar version.  Their’s definitely looks prettier on the plate.  Some of the ingredients they used were artichokes and sun dried tomatoes along with spinach, mozzarella, feta cheese, spring mix of lettuce and balsamic vinegar.  I also used artichokes, but with regular tomato slices, and mozzarella cheese.  Along side that I sauteed squash, red bell peppers, zucchini, and polenta.  I did use balsamic vinegar.  I was planning on a mixed salad to pretty up the plate, but a big downpour started, so I opted out on going out to the garden to gather lettuce.  20130611-083857.jpg

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Sidetracked by Summer


I begin the trail in from our back yard.  This is our fish pond in back.

I begin the trail in from our back yard. This is our fish pond in back.

I tend to become missing in action from the world of blogging at times, particularly in times when the great outdoors calls.  In most instances it is just my backyard calling.  On nice days I even move my yoga mat outside to the grass.  But today it is raining.

I have been taking pictures intermittently while out on the trail.  Soon we hope to do a time lapse version.  After a good rain, which may be the case now, would be the best times as the creeks and waterfalls should be active.  Currently they are rather bland.  However there are pros and cons in both cases.  Dry creeks make rock hunting much more favorable.

Below are some trail pics and sights along the way.

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Trail Time


20130530-091320.jpgWe have been spending time working on the trails around our house.  We hope to get most of it to the point where we can take the tractor in for easier maintenance.  There will be some rerouting to follow in order to get the tractor though, as we don’t wish to cut any trees.  Possibly we could get 70% of the trail tractor worthy.

Yesterday I walked the entire length of what we have in trails thus far, tracking it with GPS, and20130530-091401.jpg20130530-091433.jpg20130530-091345.jpg20130530-091418.jpg taking pictures only a short distance of the way.  There are some very steep hills, and as you can see it took me a while.  I was so exhausted.  Eventually, and hopefully soon, we want to make a time lapse movie of the trail.

Our dogs, Barney and Binka walk with me, but even they got wore out before completion yesterday.  I found them waiting for me back at the house.

Yesterday’s Picks


We planted a lot of kale.  Hope to make some kale chips today.  I used the cilantro which is growing back from last year’s plantings in some hummus which was for lunch along with the salad greens picked the day before.  And for supper I tried to make an eggplant lasagna.  It was great, but I’m not sure I would term it lasagna, other than the fact that it was layered.  I would call it a casserole.  It consisted of eggplant, potatoes, onions, portabella mushrooms and cheese, which we were able to enjoy outside.  We have so much lettuces, kale and spinach.  It looks like they might be included in every meal.

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From the Garden


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20130528-104831.jpgThe various lettuces were picked from our garden yesterday.  There was also some cilantro in there, which came back from last year, and something we are confused about.  My husband says he planted spinach there, but it doesn’t look like spinach.  I think it might be chard.  I made it into a wrap adding some cream cheese, flax tempeh, tomatoes, cucumber, spinach tortilla, and homemade quacamole.

A Pleasant Day Out on Christmas Past


img_3391As I stay up late with my husband who is working on a kitchen cabinet, I’m finding more stuff about Shakertown that I had previously written.  This is regarding a trip we took around Christmas time 2009.

Yesterday my husband and I went on a fact-finding mission to ascertain whether Shakertown would be a good location for a retreat – a silent yoga/meditation retreat with room enough to accommodate 150 people. There is no question that Shakertown or Pleasant Hill, Kentucky is one of the most spiritual, serene, and peaceful of places for such a retreat. However, the question was whether or not certain aspects of the facility would be suitable for the programs of this particular retreat.

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We awoke to a thin layer of snow and twenty degree weather and got a later start than intended. That was a good thing after seeing three or four wrecks along the interstate on the way down. We ate a very light breakfast at home, thought about stopping in Lexington for lunch, but opted going straight to Shakertown to take care of business first. Lunch there was fully booked. We talked to some of the staff and walked around the premises for a couple of hours, as well as drove to some of the outer buildings.

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Spiral Staircase in Trustee’s Building

Everything seemed to work in a synchronistic order. We were given a key to one of the rooms above the dining area in the Trustee’s Building. This particular room didn’t have trundle beds, which a lot of the rooms do. We were told the meeting rooms were in use. Still we ventured on foot to the main meeting room where we found people we knew, or people I knew. The meeting going on was that of Friendship Spinners. We were invited in and offered food. I talked to people I had previously done arts/crafts shows with and introduced them to Chris. This was a pleasant surprise. They urged me up to the second floor, which maybe I should have said no to. There were plenty of yarns and handmade items for sale. I bought a shawl type wrap, hand woven. The lady said something about the amount of work that went into it, to which I replied that I was a weaver. She said then you know, to which I said yes. This morning I awoke with the idea of knitting something similar or perhaps even weaving my own version.

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Side View of Centre Family Dwelling

 

There is plenty of walking and fresh air to take in at Shakertown. We walked to Meadowview Barn, another alternative meeting area. This was an old tobacco barn renovated for this purpose. Still it is rustic to say the least. I was told over the phone that the floor was dirt. I personally kind of liked this idea; however, we found in actuality that the floor had a small gravel covering. The barn had electricity but we didn’t see lights. Also, where were restroom facilities? We walked at least a fourth of a mile from the main village of Shakertown to this barn. Not having restrooms there was a definite con.

There was still another meeting room to check out. As with the first, this was also too small and too far away from the main village. Walking to it would be out of the question for most. My guess is that it was a full mile away from the village proper.

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Our last check was the summer kitchen, which was locked up. It was also too small and perhaps too dark. It would probably only seat fifty at one time.

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Ducks by the Pond

There was one last stop to make – the craft shop. I had been thinking of a particular craftsman a few days before making this trip. I don’t know if it was the thought of Shakertown that brought him to mind or intuition, or both. When we entered the shop, Mr. Kramer was present giving a demonstration on making Shaker boxes. Many years ago probably the same time of year I was also there with my loom along with him and one other craftsperson doing a demonstration. Perhaps this was some memory triggered inside of me, which caused me to think of him prior to going. It also turned out that he had gone to Scotland on a group trip with someone from my hometown and wanted me to say hi. I will be sure to do that.

After two hours walking the premises we left for Lexington. By this time we were starving. The traffic and parking situation was horrific. Chris had Mexican in mind, which I actually did too, only we were thinking different restaurants. We drove up to one he was thinking about. This particular restaurant was about the only place there was parking. My intuition, which Chris always trusts, said no, so we moved on to the mall. We ate at the one I was thinking of that we had never tried before. At first it looked like vegetarian was going to be hard, but the waitress started naming off all these things. I had told Chris I wanted the very thin tortilla chips. That’s what they had. The food was excellent. I had spinach and avocado enchiladas with cheesy mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli, different for a Mexican restaurant. I could have eaten a whole plate of the broccoli for lunch. The mashed potatoes inspired me. Therefore I’m going to try them today with asparagus and roasted tofu and vegan mushroom gravy.

The next stop was the Comfort Zone. On a previous trip I had one of those twelve-minute acupressure massages, and it greatly relieved the sciatica I have. I talked Chris into going for it too. It greatly helped both of us. While waiting in line I overheard one girl say this was the best twelve dollars she had every spent. I would have to say it certainly is at the top of the list.

We can’t make a trip to Lexington without going to Whole Foods. After that it was a stop at Starbucks and onwards towards home. At Starbucks they had an espresso machine greatly reduced. This is something Chris has wanted for at least a year. I brought his attention to it. The lady working there said at a nearby Starbucks there was a much better one also on sale. While the manager was telling Chris about it I was telepathically thinking throw in a free bag of coffee. Chris ended up buying it and the guy said I’ll give you a free bag of coffee. As we drove away, Chris said he was also thinking the same thing while he was talking.

It ended up a nice venture out, a little expensive, but then we don’t exchange gifts at Christmas. So, this with my hand woven item, Chris’s espresso machine, and our trip to Whole Foods we had our gifts.

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Buggies

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Shakertown Walkway

Shakertown at Pleasant Hill, KY


shakertown10Last night we found ourselves on Harrodsburg Road going to Asian Wind, one of our favorite restaurants in Lexington.  As we were driving I said that we might as well go on to Shakertown.  We haven’t been in a couple of years.  We didn’t, but perhaps this summer we can make time.  It would be a good hiking place.

Shakertown, also known as Pleasant Hill, KY, is located near Harrodsburg, KY. This is one of the original Shaker villages, which still stands. Although, there are no longer any Shakers the life style is preserved through interpreters in costume in the original buildings, 28 of which still stand, on the original site.

It was founded in 1806 and closed in 1910.

The village offers lodging in these same buildings and meals consisting of the fare that was once served in their dining halls. I have to comment that this is some of the best food that I have ever eaten. The tour of the village is self-guided. You will see craftsmen and craftswomen performing the same tasks that the Shakers once performed there. Some of these include broom making, weaving, spinning, sheep herding, oval box making, and hearth baking to name a few.

 

There are special events throughout the year as well as paddleboat excursions down the Kentucky River.

The United Society of Believers in the First and Second Appearance of Christ, or the Shakers, the name given to them by the outside world because of the dancing they did during their meetings, were a celibate religious sect, who followed the teachings of Mother Ann. Mother Ann, after having been in prison for disrupting a Sabbath, left England, bringing with her eight followers to the United States. She believed that carnal relations were the cause of most of the world’s troubles. Although she couldn’t even read or write, she started one of the largest and best know communal societies in this country. There were nineteen communities from Maine to Kentucky.

Shakertown has always been one of my favorite places to visit.

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The Trustees’ Office, built from 1839-1841, was where business with the world was conducted. The deacons and trustees of the village welcomed travelers and visiting Shakers here. The building is now used for dining and overnight lodging.

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One of the twin spiral staircases in the Trustees’ Office. This along with their building construction attests to superb Shaker craftsmanship.

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The forty-room Center Family Dwelling, the largest of all the structures, stands in the center of Shaker Village. Families in the religious community were divided into groups. The center family was the main family. The building now serves as a museum housing original Shaker furniture and implements they used in their daily lives.

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The West Family Dwelling housed what was considered to be the west family. You will note two doors. There was a division between the males and females; and, they always entered the dwelling places separately. There were also separate stairways within. There were other communities, such as East and North, within the larger community as well. The children were kept in another dwelling where school was conducted. Workshops stood behind each family dwelling.

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Much of the food and herbs served in the dining restaurant is grown on the village grounds.

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The larger building is the water house. A water tank was placed on the second level operating by gravity. The smaller structure was a bathhouse. The Shakers were quite modern for their time.

Pictured below are some of the gentle rolling hills and horses pull carts during the village hours showing visitors the grounds.

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Excavation still continues to unearth where structures once were.

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Eating in Asheville


My Rendition of Laughing Seed Cafe

My Rendition of Laughing Seed Cafe

We love the flavor of Asheville, North Carolina, – mostly their mountains, shops and vegetarian/vegan restaurants.  It was our anniversary destination and on route to seeing our family, mainly our grandson.

Upon arriving in Asheville, one of the first things we did after settling into our hotel was to go to Laughing Seed Cafe.  It was a late anniversary lunch before our challenge walk to Grove Park Inn from downtown.  We would need all the fuel we could get for what turned out to be a 8.22 mile walk in rain.

We ate at Laughing Seed twice before departing Asheville.  It was the first thing and the last thing we did.

 

Chilled Apple Carrot Soup

Chilled Apple Carrot Soup

Indian Pakoras

Indian Pakoras

Havana Cuban

Havana Cuban

Omega Hempnut Burger

Omega Hempnut Burger

Hodgepodge


An Impressionistic Take on Our Overgrown Lawn

An Impressionistic Take on Our Overgrown Lawn

Today it must be yard work.  I woke up feeling yard work calling….exterior decorating.  While in meditation this morning the term interior decorating came to mind.

The yard had become a jungle while we were gone.  So, the first task was to mow, after a day of rest from the trip.  I so love spending time with my grandson, but a toddler can be exhausting.  And, I was totally exhausted.  I guess it was also all the walking and hiking too.  My daughter and I walked together the morning we left.  It was all I could do to keep up with her.

Yesterday I discovered the special effects that you can create on Iphoto.  Yes, after all this time I figured out a few things on the computer.

 

A Picture Taken a Few Summers Ago

A Picture Taken a Few Summers Ago

This picture reminds me of an Edward Hopper painting.

This picture reminds me of an Edward Hopper painting.

 

We have a day outing.  We take Wynn to the Remedy Diner.  He loves the fake crab, avocados and fries from my plate.  It’s all vegan.securedownload

Chris has the unreal hot dogs.securedownload-1From there we go to Pullen Park.
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Before coming home it’s Starbucks where it’s time for a clothes change as well as fraps.  Wynn had orange juice, even though we texted a picture to his mom with Chris’s drink in front of him.  She freaked, exclaiming you are not giving him coffee!  No, we were just kidding.20130523-092049.jpg

After wanting to stay in bed for most of the day on Sunday I am revived to go see the new Star Trek movie.  Ok, clean off the porch is also on the agenda for the yard work.  The dogs had kicked a flower pot over while we were away.20130523-091953.jpg

The Challenge


photoMost people say I have a competitive nature. It’s not necessarily competing against other people, because in that category I really don’t stand a chance.  It’s more like competing with myself.  It’s about doing something when people say I can’t do something.

We had limited time in Asheville.  Upon arrival we enjoyed this great early dinner at Laughing Seed.  It is a vegetarian restaurant almost across from our hotel.  It is one of our favorite places to eat.  We also love the hotel we stayed at, The Haywood Park Hotel.  It is located in the heart of downtown Asheville and has some significant history.  It was Asheville’s first department store in the 1930′s, and still carries much of that flavor.  In 1985 it was converted to a hotel with only 33 rooms – large rooms.  I love large rooms because I always take my yoga mat.  At least 3 people could have done yoga easily in that room, and we got the smallest room.  We had stayed there a year ago, and had a great room with a great view.  Coincidentally, we were given the same room, without requesting it.  We were on second floor – men’s ware.  The voice in the elevator still says that.  We took some great pictures both years, so I will compile and post more about the hotel later.

We had contemplated The Grove Park Inn, but it would require some driving into and out of town, plus the fact it was much more expensive, and the room would have been much smaller.  Still yet we wanted the Grove Park Inn experience, at least a little part of it.  So, my idea was to walk from town, supposedly a 5 mile trek round trip, mostly steep uphill getting there.  We asked the waitress at Laughing Seed about walking it.  She strongly recommended driving.  Basically she said you can’t walk it.  I asked if there were sidewalks the whole way, to which she said yes, but still don’t attempt walking it.  We went back to the hotel and asked at the desk.  We got the same advice.  We left for Grove Park Inn, my husband following my determined lead.  We are notorious for getting lost.  I asked someone not too far into the trek if we were headed in the right direction.  This was a young guy who hiked.  Maybe it was our age.  He said, that way, but you can’t walk it.  At this point it was really a challenge.  Not too far out of town it began raining.  No umbrella.  It was a light rain, and we were supposedly closer to the hotel at this point than to town, and I wasn’t about to turn back.  But, we took a wrong turn, going through a long tunnel.  So, we had to back track.  The total trip instead of being a little over 5 miles registered  8.22 miles on my phone GPS.

Grove Park Inn Waterfall View

Grove Park Inn Waterfall View

A Blurry Us at Grove Park Inn
A Blurry Us at Grove Park Inn

 

Back to Blogging


20130521-092836.jpgIt’s kind of hard now to make myself even open the computer.  We’ve been away for over a week.  I took my computer, but not once on the trip did I open it.  I basically just used my phone for information and directions, and to count miles walked.

Our first stop was Asheville, North Carolina.  We love that town.  We were celebrating our eleventh anniversary. There is lots of hiking, and walking in general.  There are lots of good vegan and vegetarian eating places.

There are great shops.  And, there is lots of chocolate.  We particularly enjoy French Broad Chocolates.  That was basically our dinner every night, after having a great breakfast and lunch and lots of hiking and walking.

Above, is my rendition of the tea and creme brulee I was enjoying.  I usually don’t eat eggs, but sometimes I make an exception.

 

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The First Bite is the Hardest


At 9:30 AM this morning I came off my juice fast which was 3 days.  You could say four days if raw food can be included since I had a salad and a banana the first day.  I went through lots of detox symptoms.  I waited until later in the morning to eat because I just wasn’t hungry.  I made orange juice in the juicer this morning.  Then when I ate I had toast with coconut oil and green tea.  To satiate my desire for food, I found an outlet in cooking for my husband.  I even made him homemade ice cream, not even a lick for myself.

One of the dishes I made my husband.

One of the dishes I made my husband.

The above dish is oven baked french fries, topped with cheese, tomatoes, and green onions.

Sadly, I don’t own my weight.  I step on the scales in the morning, and my husband looks and records it inside an envelope.  He said I lost 5.1 pounds over all.  My husband can eat and eat and eat and not gain a pound, that is as long as he works a lot outside, which he is always doing.  In fact he stepped on the scales to find he had lost ten plus pounds.  There is almost never leftovers in our house.

Herbal Tea

Herbal Tea

We even went to Starbucks.  While my husband had his frap, I had herbal tea.  I think that is allowed on a juice fast.  Also, wouldn’t you know that they would be having the half price fraps now.  I hope to take advantage of that one in four days, when I come off my dairy fast.  I’m just not into soy drinks.

I’m really kind of sick of green juices at the moment.  This was the juice I sipped on yesterday throughout the day.  It had a variety of things, but mostly spinach.

Green Juice

Green Juice

 

3 Day Juice Fast


My daughter and I began a three day juice fast today.  I kind of started yesterday, but added salad and a banana into the mix.  It’s hard to pass up the sprouts I made.

The beginnings of my juice this morning.

The beginnings of my juice this morning.

Finished product - my husband's breakfast in the background

Finished product – my husband’s breakfast in the background

My daughter's morning juice

My daughter’s morning juice

Salad with sprouts

Salad with sprouts

 

This and That


20130502-135931.jpgIt’s May and time for another resolution.  In March it was about yoga.  In April it was about walking.  Thus far I’m on track with both of those resolutions, and there were a few times I really had to make myself keep them up.  So, what for May.  I have a seriously bad dairy habit.  I over indulge with the chai lattes.  So, I’m doing my best to give up dairy for the next ten days.  I’ve managed almost two days now.  So, technically, I’ve been vegan for these two days.

I’ve been away from blogging for a few days.  It’s just too nice outside.  I’ve started to walk the trails again and mow the lawn, etc.  My husband is really more of the gardener than I am.  I love flowers but we have a real problem with our dogs trampling over them and making 20130502-182751.jpgthem into a bed.  We’ve tried a few things, mostly fishing line, which really didn’t work.  During meditation an idea popped into my head about how to solve the problem.  We laid out fencing over the flowered areas just high enough that it would create a problem for them to run through it.  It would be uncomfortable for them to lie in.  The flowers could grow through it and fairly soon into the growing season wouldn’t even be visible, or at least too visible.

 

With the nicer weather we don’t miss an opportunity to eat out on the deck.  Tonight’s dinner was salad (romaine, cabbage, artichokes, sprouts, olives, tempeh, sunflower seeds, walnut oil, pepper and sea salt) and sweet potato fries. I’m especially proud of the sprouts that I’ve been making.  They’ve been going on as many dishes as it seems appropriate.  We have sweet potato plants ready to go into the ground.  We finally got the green house covered in plastic.  Eventually, we want it to be glass.

 

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Yeah! It’s Friday


 

20130426-085707.jpgToday an old memory hit me. I used to clean the house on Friday. It was date night, when Chris drove the 2 1/2 hour drive to see me. Our eleventh wedding anniversary is coming up. He just made reservations for Asheville, NC. We love Asheville. There is history, nice shops, great vegetarian restaurants, and most importantly lots of good hiking. So, back to the memory, a wild thought occurred that I might clean the house today.

This is yesterday’s entree.  I had it for lunch.  Chris had it for dinner, and there was enough left over for his lunch and possibly mine today.  But if I get inspired and am not too tired from cleaning I may make something else.  Basil and tomatoes are calling out to me today.

The ingredients are extra firm tofu, safflower oil, vegetable broth, cabbage, peanut sauce, grated ginger, broccoli, rice noodles, and cashews.  I love my wok which I’ve had for over thirty years.

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It started out like this.  I cubed the tofu and stir-fried in just a dab of oil and peanut sauce.  I emptied the remainder of two jars, one from Whole Foods, their brand, and another which is actually a peanut dressing from Trader Joe’s.  I would go with the latter.  It adds more zest.  I grated a bit of ginger over that and added the rest of the ingredients.

 

For the final touch I served over Annie Chun’s Rice Noodles which takes about 3 minutes to make.

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Food


Finished Sprouts

Finished Sprouts

 

 

Food – We all love it.  We are always trying to eat healthier.  I struggle, being lacto-vegetarian.  I have way too much dairy in my diet.  Then there is wheat.  Recently I went twenty-one days without wheat.  Perhaps that wasn’t long enough.  I saw no change in the way I felt.  For the last three days I haven’t eaten dinner.  When I skip dinner I DO see a change.  It’s like a mini fast for me.  Yesterday while doing yoga and walking I felt so much lighter.  I have been trying to make meals I think my husband will really appreciate.  I practice with lunch, since that is my main meal.  Then I repeat at dinner, and sometimes change it around a little or add to it.  I have begun sprouting again.  I love sprouts, on salads, on sandwiches, but not really for juicing.

Some of the latest food entrees:

Veggie Burger with Sweet Potato Fries

Veggie Burger with Sweet Potato Fries

On this non-gmo veggie burger is cilantro, salsa, and avocado.

Salad using the sprouts

Salad using the sprouts

Black Beans with Veggies and Cheese on Spinach Tortilla

Black Beans with Veggies and Cheese on Spinach Tortilla

 

Rueben with Hummus

Rueben with Hummus

I use tempeh when making ruebens.  I added dandelion greens to the hummus.  For the evening meal I added fries for my husband.

Rueben with Fries

Rueben with Fries

 

Sprout Beginnings

Sprout Beginnings

Lintel Soup and Tortilla with veggies and cheese

Lintel Soup and Tortilla with veggies and cheese

 

Making Kale Chips

Making Kale Chips

A Step into Nature and What is Natural


Saturday was clean up day for our county.  So, we took advantage by doing some clean up around here.  A friend brought over a trailer, and my husband and he worked together on both our place and his.  There were people at the unloading spot to take advantage of other people’s discarded stuff.  I’m not sure ours would be of use to anyone, but hopefully so.

Tulips at the Aboretum

Tulips at the Aboretum

I fixed a pretty healthy late lunch for us, a salad and lentil soup.  I throw everything into soups and salads.  They are vegan and mostly organic, so overall healthy.  Since lunch was late we weren’t so hungry for another meal but wanted something else.  Did you ever notice how husbands and wives after being together for a while have the same thoughts?  Sadly, we were both thinking MacDonald’s fries.  It’s been years since we’ve eaten anything at MacDonald’s.   My husband had his Ipad handy, so I said look up the ingredients for their fries.  The list cried out total GMO to us.*  We came back to our senses.  I thought I have potatoes, organic ones.  So, I got off my lazy butt and went into the kitchen.  The fries I made turned out great.  I sprinkled olive oil, sea salt, freshly ground mixed peppercorns, chili powder, and nutritional yeast on them and baked.

My Own Baked Fries

My Own Baked Fries

On Sunday we went beyond the natural wonders in our own back woods and explored The Arboretum in Lexington, Kentucky.  http://www.ca.uky.edu/arboretum/index.php  We have done two weekend Lexington trips in a row now.  I think we’ve pretty much used up our tax return on Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.  On both trips I’m happy to say we took the opportunity to explore walking paths in Lexington.  On the first trip we took the 2.5 mile hike at Shillito Park.  It was a nice walking trail, but I much preferred the beauty of the arboretum trail.  The Arboretum trail with it’s sights along the way made the walk seem like it went by so fast.

Visiting other trails are often an inspiration for us for ways we can improve our own trail and property.  We have piles of saved up old lumber, barn wood, etc, that hopefully we will have a use for.

Me, Walking the Trail

Me, Walking the Trail

A Sculpture Along the Trail

A Sculpture Along the Trail

Walkway, and Possibility for Our Own Trail

Walkway, and Possibility for Our Own Trail

Carving, Another Possibility

Carving, Another Possibility

 

*McDonalds FRIES are cooked in genetically engineered oil. Prepared in vegetable oil (Canola oil (85% gmo), corn oil (85% gmo), soybean oil (90% gmo), hydrogenated soybean oil.  From:  Millions Against Monsanto by OrganicConsumers.org

Growing Green


20130418-103015.jpgWe are trying to grow our own veggies for our juices and cooking. I started celery and romaine lettuce from the stalk part in water. It’s doing rather nicely. So, I started another pot full.

April 16th was National Barefoot Day. It was my first day barefoot outside. It was a day of firsts. While out walking around our small field trail I really noticed the first green buds. I took a picture of some of the redbud. It is .4 miles circular. As I come back upon the house it makes me feel good to see the fruits of our labor…the rock work on the outer wall from rock gathered on the farm, and the deck we built over the summer.

Just this past weekend my husband got the greenhouse under roof and 20130418-103125.jpgsurrounded by plastic. Eventually, we want to use glass. We have yet to join and rock the two buildings. In front you will see the wagon which we hook up to the tractor to go out in the woods and gather rock. We have various seedlings going inside the greenhouse as well as the kale which is pictured.

We also just fenced around part of the garden to keep animals out. Under the hay we have potatoes planted. We have various other things planted in there among the weeds. I don’t consider dandelion a weed. I think it is as nutritional as kale. I often use it in salads, juices, and pestos.

It was also the first day of the year on which I mowed the lawn.

 

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Dandelion is great for the bones, being rich in calcium, and anit-oxidants such as Vitamin C and Luteolin. Being rich in these anti-oxidents it could be useful for cancer prevention. It helps with liver disorders, particularly jaundice, helping to maintain proper bile flow, stimulating the liver and promoting digestion. It is a natural diuretic removing extra sugar from the body, thus being beneficial for persons with diabetes. Being a diuretic it cleans out the kidneys and removes toxins from the urinary system. Being a toxin remover it also helps with acne. Some people will use it for weight loss due to its diuretic properties. It is also beneficial for the gall bladder, anemia, high blood pressure, and is a great source of fiber. I offset it with something sweet in juicing as it has a very bitter taste.

Below is the kale we started in the greenhouse.

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Report Card on the Beginning of this Vedic New Year


Vegan LunchToday is an auspicious day, as it marks the Vedic New Year.  According to the Sanskrit tradition this day is of cosmic importance and marks a new beginning.  So why do I feel so sluggish today?  Perhaps I started my own new year too early.  I began on March 1st slowly incorporating in better habits.  I started on this day for various reasons.  I will name two.  I believe that this is the actual birthday of Jesus Christ.  There is a post somewhat further down in my blog regarding this belief.  It is also when the weather begins to change for the better in my own opinion.  It is the forerunner of Spring when all things begin new life.  After the coldness of winter I am in need of new life.

I began a daily practice of yoga on March 1st.  I have done this before and even kept it up for an entire year without skipping a day; however, this time I wanted my daily practice to be a complete set of poses, a routine of various setting and standing poses.  My goal is to not worry about how long my yoga practice is but how much effort I’m putting into my yoga practice.  Thus far I have kept up with that resolution.  There are days when everything seems to flow.  There are days when my back feels as if it where going to break.

On April 1st I have committed myself to a 3 mile walk each day, which could be a walk, a hike, an elliptical adventure, or a combination of any of these as long as I get at least three miles in.  The hike could even include a rock hunt, which was the case this past weekend.  I have yet to unload the rocks from the wagon.  That was a deal I cut with my husband.  He hand laundered a shirt for me in exchange for me getting all the rocks I could lift on my own from the wagon.  It was my idea.  The rock job I don’t mind at all.  On the other hand I hate doing laundry by hand.  Possibly that is sometimes why my back can get so out of sorts.

There are still so many more resolutions I am thinking about adding in to this upcoming year.  There is eating better, juicing more, sprouts, organic gardening, etc., etc.  It’s all an effort at better living and somehow avoid the chronological age of 60 that is coming upon me in August.

As far as eating better goes, I had a green juice this morning, a midday chai latte, a great lunch of mostly organic ingredients (A tofu veggie burger with avocado, salsa, cilantro, on a wheat bun – the one with only three ingredients, and some sweet potato fries), and I plan on substituting dinner with another juice.

Now out for that walk!

Easy Delicious Salad


20130409-081415.jpgThis is something I make quite a lot.  The ingredients are:

Romaine lettuce

Shredded cabbage (purple would add color)

Flax tempeh (cubed and browned)

Black olives

Marinated artichokes

Sunflower seeds

Sea Salt

Freshly ground pepper

Walnut oil – small amount for the dressing

 

When Thoughts Synchronize


IMG_0006I find more and more my thoughts form something real, if anything is real at all.  Isn’t science now finding that we actually do live in a matrix?  Norman Vincent Peale said, “Change your thoughts and you change your world.”  If only my thoughts were of a more profound nature.  Right now I’m thinking my kitchen looks like a cyclone hit it and that I need to get up and clean it.

I also think every thought is a prayer, and that every prayer gets answered.  The problem is that we waffle back and forth on our thoughts so much, the answer changes with the thoughts.

Mostly my thoughts are simple.  Yesterday I began thinking about my name. We were going on a small trek out of town yesterday.  While in the car I asked my husband if he ever noticed how my family always said my first and middle name together, as if it were one word?  My full first and middle name is Jerri Lynn.  The people in the newer phases of my life just call me Jerri (actually pronounced jera), that’s another story – something my father did who named me.  I didn’t know people made up names in Starbucks, until one day I heard a bunch of teenage girls in front of me discussing the names they were going to use.  I had a roommate in college over thirty years ago who did that at a local pizza joint.

IMG_0007IMG_0008Our trek out of town mostly involved a trip to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, a rare treat for us.  Right after checking out at Whole Foods, my husband asked me if I noticed the name on the check out girl’s badge.  I went back to look.  It was Jerilyn, one word.  I told her my name.  We both thought that happening was rather unique.

It must have been a name day.  We were in another shop, and someone asked me to spell my last name.  She was rather flabbergasted and told me her last name, nearly identical.  We both discussed how people had the same problem pronouncing them.  So, I basically have a full name that defies pronunciation.  I do love how my parents pronounced my name, but am not particularly fond of the spelling.  At the same time, I think everything is for a reason.

I’ve been wondering (thinking) lately about why there has to be so many ingredients in bread.  We usually steer clear of foods that list zillions of ingredients we can’t pronounce.  We walked into Trader Joe’s.  The first think I saw was a display of bread, boasting only three organic ingredients.  I thought I had found bread heaven.  And, the half loaves were huge.  The three ingredients were whole wheat, filtered water and sea salt.  I wasn’t even aware that you could make this sort of non-flat bread without yeast.  We had some for breakfast this morning, and it tasted great.

The weather is nice out today, so on to gardening and hopefully some rock gathering.  I have been thinking I would love to have a huge waterfall out in the eastern part of the field.  I will let you know if that thought comes to fruition.

Vegan Fifteen Minute Woking


20130405-071933.jpgI do a lot of stir fry.  It’s simple and I love using my wok which I’ve probably had for thirty years.  It’s also something that is quick, and sometimes I wait until about fifteen minutes before my husband comes home to start dinner preparation.  I’m usually waiting until the last minute to start dinner because I’ve probably just finished hiking and I just want to sit down for a moment.  So I turn on the television for the first time during the day and start getting involved in a program.  We only have Netflix.  I tend to find one program and watch all episodes until the end….not all in one sitting – over the course of  a month or more depending on the program.  I re-watched all the Star Treks, and a few others that didn’t have long life spans.  I’m currently on The Dead Zone.  Back to the cooking part.  With the wok it’s also something I can do where you can mostly throw in whatever you have in your refrigerator.  This was what we had last night.

I have no precise measurements, but I will do my best.

Brown Rice – prepare according to package

While rice is cooking, heat a little oil (I use safflower) in wok.  Throw in the following:

Chopped onion

Tablespoon of whole cumin

Cubed extra firm tofu (about half the package)20130405-071953.jpg

Two to Three stalks of curly kale – remove from stem

Some chopped cabbage

A sprinkle of unsalted sunflower seeds

About a fourth a cup of water to keep from burning.  I try to use very little oil.  It’s just a starter.

Don’t overcook.  The veggies should look vibrant.  I use medium high heat.

Serve over the brown rice, and use sea salt to taste.  Also, I recommend using organic ingredients.

This meal really tasted great.  It was one of those meals where you didn’t have to eat a lot to satisfy you.

The North Trail and Rocks


View at the beginning of the hike

View at the beginning of the hike

 

The North Trail, that is my name for one section of the trail.  It’s our newest section of trail, redone, with the tractor.  Trail work is a never ending job, so to make it easier, last year we rerouted one section of the trail where we could get the tractor through for easier maintenance.  Otherwise it is get out there with a weed eater at least a couple of times of year and a rake – it is slow going and hand blistering even with gloves.

I will admit that this is my first time out on the trail this year.  When the weather got cold I hibernated inside, well not totally.  We traveled twice since the new year to see our grandson, and worked on two grandiose house projects which totally

Some big rocks

Some big rocks

took every spare moment of time.

My muscles were sore afterward.  But, I decided that with the beginning of April that I would put in at least three miles of walking each day.  I found the trail to be in good shape after the winter rest.  There were only two trees down that had fallen across the trail, one of which will be nice firewood.  The weather was perfect for walking yesterday, and the sky was incredibly blue.  My picture taking skills are not the greatest.  My husband always reminds me that there is an editing feature.  The pictures taken here were done with an iphone, one of the older models.  I have resisted updating due to the cost.

Another outcropping of big rocks

Another outcropping of big rocks

Although I prefer lush greenness during a hike, this time of year is perfect for rock hunting.  I am rock crazy.  Luckily the supply never seems to end on our farm.  We have rocked a good portion of the house.  We use them for ponds.  We built a rock wall out front.  We still have two small buildings to rock.  And after that, possibly the barn.  We even rocked a floor for one section of the barn.  My uncle once asked if there were any rock left on Trough Camp.

While walking I was planning for our next rock gathering adventure which I hope we can fit in this weekend.  That involves hooking up the wagon to the tractor and loading it with as many as we can carry back.  And then there is garden preparation and planting also planned for this weekend.

Not far into the trail I grew tired of taking pictures.  That is my husband’s forte.

The following pictures will give you some idea of what we use the rocks for.

Resolutions


Our grandson, Wynn, 14 1/2 months, dressed for Easter.

Our grandson, Wynn, 14 1/2 months, dressed for Easter.

Many people make resolutions at the beginning of the year….January 1st.  I’ve chosen March 1st as my own new year and a time for making resolutions, although I don’t make them all at once.  That would just be too overwhelming.  So, I’ve decided to try making a new one at the beginning of each month.

March seems like a good time.  It is nearing Spring when everything comes to life, hopefully myself as well.  And, I am just not a cold season person.

On March 1st I started with yoga.  I vowed to do it everyday, a full routine, as best as I could, and not worry about the actual time I spend doing it.  In other words if my full yoga session which for me is an array of various sitting and standing poses happens to result in 35 minutes or one hour, it is okay, as long as I do my best in the poses.  I would term this resolution successful thus far, even through various schedule changes in which I could have made excuses.  We began March 1st traveling to see our daughter, son-in-law and grandson, a glorious start to the month of March.  Traveling can make resolutions difficult.

Now, on April 1st, I vow to walk, hike or do the elliptical each day.  I haven’t really thought as of yet whether I should say I should walk 3 miles per day or for a certain time each day as of yet.  Later I will get out there and just follow my instinct.  If it should happen to rain I will get on the elliptical and follow my gut as well.  In the wintertime I neglect my trail.  I prefer to be enveloped by the lush greenness rather than be exposed through the barren tree limbs.  That probably says something psychologically about me.

April 1st also started out on a good note.  For Easter weekend our daughter, son-in-law, and grandson were here.  They left for home this morning.  Before leaving for work, my husband told me I was a good grandma!

My overall goal is balance in all things.

I Think Everyone Has It Out for the Groundhog, Even Us Vegetarians


photoMonday:

Snowing yet again!  I think possibly an inch has accumulated thus far.

Even though we turned off the heat in the house yesterday, I am amazingly warm.  I have a fire going in a wood-burning stove.  That used to be our single source of heat.  The reason for turning off the heat is that we are in the process of putting down coats of varnish on the barn wood floor we just laid.  The smell is bad enough without vents distributing it throughout the house.  A nice Spring day with windows wide open would have been the ideal situation.  Phil told me it would be so, but Phil lied.

On the bright side when Spring does finally arrive we will move outdoors for our projects, that greenhouse that we started last year, the gardening, our hiking trails, and the continuous lawn upkeep.  In the meantime low temperatures and snow keep us indoors to complete our latest indoor adventure.

Our projects are far from perfect.  We always start out with grand ideas, but it’s not long before I’m making all kinds of compromises.  Usually the end effect is homey, and definitely eclectic, but mostly the end of a project comes with the elation of getting the house all picked up of the dust and construction clutter, not to mention all the other stuff we have had to crowd in other rooms throughout the house, and our house is small.  We basically have no storage.  My belief is that if you don’t use something on at least a semi-regular basis, you don’t need it.  What little storage we have is for seasonal items.

We always seem to be working under some time constraint, while getting behind in other chores.  Hopefully, the baseboards will go up tonight.  The large ones are planed.  Then there is the ceiling and window we need to fix – saving that for a later time.

I just discovered the HGTV app.  We don’t have television service so didn’t know we could watch this.  Like cartoons are make-believe for children, HGTV is the make-believe world for adults.  They both give one the false impression that you can do unrealistic things, for example, liking transforming a room completely in a weekend on a limited budget.  I’m not so sure I need to watch this though because I’m already too addicted to do-it-yourself house projects.  You already know you have a problem when you are in either Home Depot or Lowe’s when the doors first open, and they recognize you.  Possibly we should pitch an idea for our own program.  There has to be others out there like us.

Once again, hi ho, hi ho, it’s back to work I go.

Tuesday:

We woke up to snow on the ground.  My husband had built fires in both wood burning stoves so it was nice and warm.  We are still working on the baseboards.  But fortunately the smell is gone and the heat is back on.  Snow flurries continued all day but melted upon touching the ground.  We were able to move some exercise equipment into the room on Tuesday night.  That was an exercise in itself.  There is still more varnishing to do and some touch ups here and there, but that will have to wait as we are expecting my daughter, son-in-law and grandson in for Easter weekend.

Wednesday:

I’ve been working all day on the construction clean up.  Saw dust will probably fall out of things for awhile.  I’m even beginning to clean closets.  The sun has been out.  It was even looking like Spring for awhile, then some more snow flurries made a brief appearance.  Maybe this time we’ll actually use the exercise equipment we have been moving from room to room.  I need to build up some muscles as my “hi ho” has been wearing down.  The front porch swing and hammock have been calling my name.

Someone brought up affordability of remodeling projects.  What we have done thus far with the room cost just a tad over $100.  That was mainly stucco or drywall compound, which I was using to do the stucco, paint, nails, a saw blade and varnish.  We also were able to do hallway walls as well.  It was our good fortune that the barn wood was given to us.  If that hadn’t been the case, the project would have never taken place.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off To Work We Go


BeetJuiceWe have a long weekend, well, my husband does.  We are trying to pull one of those marathon work weekends because my daughter and her family are coming in one week.

My husband planed barn wood, which we originally thought was white oak, but now are leaning towards the thought that it is poplar.  He also carried it back and forth, cutting and trimming it.  I merely placed boards and nailed, as well as stuccoed another area in the house.  I was plenty tired.  I wrote in my journal wishing for as much stamina as my husband.

Coincidentally, last night before falling asleep I was thinking about the beets I forgot I had, and that I should use them today.  This BarnWodFloormorning one of the first things I read that happened to be posted on Facebook was how beets gave you stamina.  So, I juiced a beet along with the kale, carrots, apples, cabbage, and celery.  We will see if it works.

Today, along with working on the floor I will paint the hallway I stuccoed yesterday.  I love the stucco look, which is a very good thing, since we are horrible dry wallers.

I love that we do these projects together.  Hopefully, after this we can move to the never ending outdoor work.  I also love to mow the lawn, but am not really much on planting, which is my husband’s forte.

If anyone can tell us for sure by looking at the picture what this wood is, please do so.


athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.:

I see so many things I want to make and try, and then forget. So, I thought I would reblog this to remember. I used to be great at making omelets and quiche, as well as any kind of custardy desserts, but gave eggs up to go lacto-vegetarian.

Originally posted on Vedged Out:

DSC_0003Vegan Pudla (Omelet Thingy)

I’m having a love affair with the Vegan Pudla. I can’t stop making them. I was introduced to these babies by Kittee at Cake Maker to the Stars. Girl knows her stuff, she’s been vegan for more than 2 decades.

I thought it was supposed to be some sort of a vegan omelet replacement, but after more research, the pudla comes from Indian origins and is probably more identifiable as a pancake. Whatever it is, it’s delicious, and you need to make it, NOW. I followed Kittee’s guidelines hereand then used them to make this recipe. Then I added lots of spinach, some nooch and some mustard powder… Eggs Schmeggs.

To see all of Kittee’s pudla’s she’s featured on her site, click hereI’ve also made these with artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes and kalamata olives. Believe me, more vegetables =…

View original 35 more words

Is It Spring Yet?


Temperatures for the next two nights are supposed to drop below 20. My husband’s not a violent man, but he’s ready to track down that groundhog.

If I can’t have green outside I will have to settle for it inside. This mornings’s juice – kale, cabbage, carrots, celery and an apple.

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Very Inspiring Blogger Award


Thank you to  http://willowdot21.wordpress.com/  for this award.

Rules

1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. State 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.
5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

Seven things about me 

1.  I love a beautiful hiking path.  That is why I periodically rake our hiking paths in our woods.

2.  I  love it when I have a day filled with synchronicities.  All days are filled with synchronicities if we are open to them.

3.  I love it when I feel really flexible when doing yoga.  Instead of having that “ah ah” moment, I have that I can’t believe my body is co-operating moment.

4.  I love seeing vegetables coming up in the garden.

5.  I love my swing and hammock and weather nice enough to use them.

6.  I love when my husband and I have enough time to sit out on the porch together and go out on our hiking trails together.

7.   I love being a grandmother!

###################################

The bloggers below are all people I have met ‘Virtually’ recently, and would like to offer the award to:

Spiranima

theseeker

theroadto serendipity

livingsimplyfree

Doron Art

Fabulous 50′s

A Random Harvest

Pets, People and Life

On the Homefront

Education, Leadership, Life and Transformation

Cindy Knoke

idealisticrebel

kalabalu

Vedged Out

An Unrefined Vegan

These are a few of my favorite blogs.  There are so many more.

 

 

 

March Madness


Wynn and I

Wynn and I

 

 

Yesterday I wore sandals and meditated in the hammock.  Today huge snowflakes are coming down, and the temperature has dropped by almost 40 degrees.

March started out strong.  We traveled seven hours to see my daughter, her husband, but mostly our grandson. That is a good way to start off any month.  As soon as we got home we started our newest construction project.  I posted something about that earlier.  Yesterday was a good day to work outside, and

Wynn and Opa

Wynn and Opa

we worked until we dropped.  We always have a deadline, which never seems to be met.  We hope to have the floor and room finished by Easter, the end of March, which is when our my daughter, son-in-law, and grandson will be up here to visit.  Our house is so not childproof.  I worry about that.  He is now 14 months old and walking all over the place.  Somehow though our daughter survived.

I love being a grandparent!