Coffee and the African Queen

A few months ago we got an email from the Dearliest’s uncle. He needed to clear out his stuff from a warehouse in Oregon and was looking for a home for a vintage coffee grinder, was anyone in the family interested?

The Dearliest jumped on the opportunity, because he loves coffee and antique equipment and oh yes, did I mention the 5 hp steam engine that powered it?


I was fascinated and interested, then excited on top of it all when his uncle mentioned the steam engine is exactly the same sort that powered The African Queen in the Humphrey Bogart movie (one of my long time favorites).

“We’ll take it!!”

The Dearliest’s brother (the one who lives in Oregon) kindly picked up the grinder and engine for us, and last weekend the Dearliest made a quick trip to get it.

He is in the research stage now. In the mean time, the kids are all set to open a coffee shop with it. Arc just wants to run the engine.

It made me want to see “The African Queen” (which I haven’t seen in 15 or so years), so last night we watched it with the kids and enjoyed the adventure all over again.

“Can you make a torpedo? Then doso, Mr. Allnut.”


Dworshak and Kokanee

May was also anniversary month!

Some may think it entirely unromantic to go fishing, but I was quite excited when the Dearliest suggested it. I haven’t been much because of logistics, but Indy is bigger now and I can be away longer. A day of fishing in the reservoir above Dworshak Dam sounded absolutely lovely. (For the locals and the curious, we launched from Dent Acres.)

Continue reading

The Year of Unblogging

April is nearly over, and I haven’t blogged all month. I just couldn’t let that pass…except you know what, I could.

Having decided I don’t want to be a Blogger (capital B indicates the discipline to blog at regularly scheduled intervals; once a week, twice a month, what have you), I’ve been rather enjoying the step away from public words.

I ditched social media months ago, and I haven’t looked back (no, Facebook, I’m not going to change my mind).

I stopped following a lot of “how to improve your writing” blogs and started following some cooking ones instead. It’s far more relaxing. I’m still writing, but lately it’s been primarily correspondences. My time for words grows smaller as the days grow longer and the call to go outdoors pulls harder.

A few pics (with commentary) from the last month. Continue reading

My Color-Coordinated Picture of Life



Which is a horrible and entirely laughable pun because my life is anything but organized right now. Also, it wasn’t until I laid out the items that I realized they more or less matched each other. It was a soothing balm to my OCD tendencies, to accidentally find order in the recent accumulation of pursuits.

Does that even make sense?

Oh well.

  1. Resistance band. Exercises. I’ve let my posture slip, and I want to gain it back. I’m still trying to figure out a new daily routine to include what I know I need to do. It’s not going well so far, but I don’t like where things are headed if I do nothing, so it’s time to initiate change.
  2. New tea. I had to order it online because none of the local stores carry it. Aunt S in Oregon introduced it to me last Thanksgiving, but I forgot about it until she reminded me. I like it a lot. Celestial Seasonings, Vermont Maple Ginger.
  3. Recording microphone. The approach of spring has me wanting to make music again. I attempted some scales at the piano yesterday, the results were rather dreadful. It’ll be a while yet before the mic gets used.
  4. New book! A true account from the 1940s of 18 boy scouts and their scout master road tripping across the country for 6 weeks in a fruit truck. The Dearliest’s grandpa was one of the 18 scouts. I’m not very far in, but what a ride it’s looking to be!


Recipe Roundup

There have been some new discoveries in the cooking department, and here are the recent favorites:

Figgy Pudding

We made this a lot around Christmas in a Bundt pan. The Dearliest declared he would keep the needed ingredients in the house year-round. Alterations we tried and settled on:

  • 2 cups dried figs (no dates)
  • 3/4 cup honey (no white sugar), reduce water to 1 3/4 cups, reduce cooking temperature to 340 degrees F
  • cooking in a Bundt pan took longer, closer to 40 minutes if I remember correctly

Nut Energy Balls

So far 5 people have asked for this recipe. It’s so good and versatile! I haven’t found a nut yet it doesn’t work with. If you love nuts, it’s a must try. My twists:

  • 1/2 cup almonds, 1/2 cup pecans, 1/2 cup cashews
  • substitute some or all of the dried dates with dried figs
  • vanilla extract instead of almond

“Healthy” Chocolate Banana Brownies

I was looking for a way to use up bananas that wasn’t banana bread/ muffins. This was a hit with the Dearliest and most the kids, so yay!

  • Honey adaption: substitute sugar with 2-3 Tablespoons honey, reduce cooking temperature to 340 degrees F.

Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs

A favorite with everyone. It worked beautifully with drumsticks (which is what I had). I might do a little less garlic and black pepper, only because the two youngest said it was too spicy (but they still ate it up).

If you’ve discovered a recipe recently that you really liked, feel free to share in the comments!


Image Source: Pixabay

Thoughts at 3:00 am

(This post brought to you by several nights of minimal sleep.)

It was day 4 of a nasty cold in the house. All 6 kiddos had it, and I was fighting it but not nearly as much as they were fighting each other. Sleep had been a foreign concept for two nights and fuses were lit and low all around. I finally called a time out for everyone, and everyone was sent to their own corner “until further notice.” (This, for all the non-mothers out there, is my code for “until Mommy feels like she can handle life without yelling again.”)

It sort of worked and I started a 10 minute pickup in the dining room, hoping that having even a small corner of clean space would help everyone feel a little more cheerful.

I wish I felt just a little bit worse, then I could take a time out too.

I stood up. I laughed at myself. Since when did I have to wait for a cold to worsen to take a break?

I cancelled my non-essential chores for the day. I sat on the couch with a stack of books and read to the kids until my scratchy throat couldn’t take it anymore. Then we played games, and I drank more tea and coffee than I probably should have.

I put a verse on the white board: “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

And we got through the day. And the night. And the next day. And the next night.

God gives grace, and I’d been dealt it bountifully. I was grateful, even as I half-slept upright in bed, the congested baby on my chest to help him rest.

Then the worst was over, and I saw around me children who were a little kinder, a little more cheerful. (Also children who now sling “Those are grievous words!” at each other like cannon balls. Even the 3-year-old. It’s kind of hilarious.)

Life continues, we’re picking up all the tissues and carrying on.

God is good.