The Advent of Fall Part 1: Pie

tmp_10027-img_20160928_144449-582144024We break from the canning frenzy to bring you the first pies of the season. Pumpkin, of course. The Dearliest makes sure to keep me in constant supply of the needed ingredients year-round, and my youngsters make sure to keep me on my toes when I’m cooking it. Judging by the finger swipes, I had an off-guard moment.

Pie making is easier this year. I now have 2 kiddos old enough to truly be helpful (Pokado cut out the butter for the crust and measured ingredients, and LK did all the tmp_10027-wp_20160928_11_42_56_pro-372141833mixing), plus Squeaky, who tries very hard and can do things like fetch spices and spoons and rags to clean up the mess that invariably hits the floor.

When I sent the kids outside to play, Pokado asked to stay and help more (“Because I like you, Mom.”), so I gave her the pie dough scraps to “practice” with. After a she tired of rolling it, she sculpted a volcano and a snake before settling on her favorite–a horse.

tmp_10027-wp_20160928_11_47_03_pro-1062025848The horse refused to stand up for her, but instead of moving on to something else, she declared the horse was simply lying down. Clever girl.

Everyone is looking forward to dessert tonight! And breakfast tomorrow. And tea time tomorrow. Because PIE!

Stay tuned for another Advent of Fall post. It’s about something that has been with me since before I met the Dearliest, was there for our courtship, our engagement, on through our honeymoon, and is with me still. Here’s a sneak peek:


Pressing Matters

The grapes are coming on, and last week we started the Great Grape Get-Along.

Pick, pluck, press, process.


Right now I feel like I will be doing this clear until Christmas day.


But I dearly hope it won’t really take that long.


Cooler weather chased the wasps away, and traps took out the yellow jackets. You know what surprised me? With the yellow jackets gone, guess who came to call?wp-1474407133469.jpg

Honey bees! I don’t know enough about them to know if they were after the sugars or the water, but the vines positively hummed.

It was a beautiful song, let me tell you.

To make easier work of the juicing, we borrowed the family’s cider press, lined it with cheesecloth, and walla! We got about 2 gallons in 2 hours.

We took the remaining pulp, covered it with water, boiled it, and ran it through the food strainer. It made the prettiest purple! And will make for some awesome jam.


A hunting we will go…

For elderberries, that is.

In the second chapter of elderberry picking, we trekked out towards Waha to a lovely little mountainside that backed up to Blue Lake. Lesser in size than its neighbor Waha Lake but still good for fishing, Blue Lake has some notoriety with the locals in that a body showed up in it after the person supposedly disappeared in Waha Lake. Continue reading

Two of Seven, reporting

I laughed at myself the other day because I realized that over the course of just a few hours, I used “comply,” “irrelevant,” and “objective” in talking to the kids.

I think Star Trek Voyager is going to my head.

Or maybe I’m just okay with adopting some of Seven of Nine’s mannerisms. She and I see eye to eye on a lot of things and have for many years.

Happy Friday, everyone!



(As a grammatical side note, I never know what to do with quote marks in a situation like this. Before the comma? After the comma? I’ve researched it several times over the years and have yet to come away with a definitive answer.)

4 WWII Films that Made an Impact On Me

This post recently came across my blog reader, and I immediately clicked to read it because my first viewing of A Town Like Alice left a pretty strong impression on me. I found it as a teen in my grandma’s collection one overnight visit, and I watched it with her and my aunt. 

I remember feeling like it was an eye-opening experience, but I can’t specifically remember why. Some of it may have stemmed from watching my grandma’s reaction to it, things like her giggle when the captive women received Lifebouy soap after days on the trail.

I grew up with a number of war movies, and a couple became viewing favorites, but the one I first heard about was The Flying Tigers. It’s important to my family because my grandfather was one of the P-40 pilots for the film! Beyond that, there’s a scene where John Wayne’s character comes back from a mission and steps down from his plane, and the back shot is none other than my grandpa.

The Great Escape was the one I watched the most. I kind of fell in love with Steve McQueen’s acting over this film, and I even built a short tunnel in the backyard at one point so my brother and I could play “Escape.”

Perhaps my favorite WWII movie is Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison. Some people are irritated by the ending, but I personally like it. The first time I watched it I wasn’t sure how interesting two people surviving on an island could be, but I didn’t know the story at all and it proved quite riveting. This is one of the rare instances where I like the movie better than the book.

Other WWII movies that I like a great deal include The Miracle of the White Stallions, Father Goose, and Where Eagles Dare.

Lastly, since war movies are on the mind, I’ll mention my two favorite WWI movies: Sergeant York and The African Queen.

I must admit that I have seen very few of the modern depictions of WWII. I hear titles like Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers and am torn (I have not seen either). I understand they’re a more realistic portrayal (which is attractive from a historical standpoint), but that’s also the problem for me. It’s easier for me to read about it than see it on-screen, so I generally avoid war movies once special effects come in.

What are your favorites?

Another Scenic Sunday

Steptoe Butte lies in the middle of nowhere (this, honestly, can be said for most if not all the beauties in our area). It stands 3,612′ high, 1,000′ higher than the other hills around it, and on the clearest days the visibility is said to range as far as 100 miles.


We couldn’t see that far on Sunday due to thunderstorms on most the horizon, but it still offered a pretty incredible view.



On the way home we decided to explore a road we’d never been on before. It looked like fun, and when the gravel turned to dirt it proved quite the adventure.


I’m proud to report that The Goldfish handled it like the pro minivan it is!

As an aside, I must admit that overall I think our area rather ugly. For a few months the land bursts with green, but it’s a swift and fleeting time most years and brown has never been a favorite color except where chocolate is concerned.

That said, it was here that I came to understand the line “amber waves of grain.” Brown, not so pretty. But amber waves of grain, as the wind ripples through the wheat before harvest? Yeah, that’s definitely beautiful and worthy of the song.

Next weekend: More elderberry hunting, this time heading southeast. The berries grow bigger there, if the clusters the Dearliest brought home the other night are any indication!

The year Labor Day became a joke.

wp-1473197348176.jpgI mean that literally, because 8 years ago Labor Day fell on September 1st, and that was the day LK came into the world.

I laugh about it now, but trust me, I wasn’t laughing then!

This year LK’s birthday happened during the week, so it made sense to postpone celebrations to the weekend. A birthday hike with the Dearliest followed by an ice cream sundae party made for a full Saturday, and even our night owl (Pokado) crashed early that night.wp-1473197265260.jpg

Sunday we took a drive to Steptoe Butte, but that’s a topic for another post. (keywords: dustdevils, dirt roads, and a 70+ mile view)

On to this year’s Labor Day, on which we made quite a bit of progress on several fronts.

We started the grape harvest, though we’re still on the early side yet. The vines are loaded, and the Dearliest plans to borrow his parents’ cider press to make easy work of the grapes because why crank juice by hand when you can press 6 gallons at once? Yeah, I didn’t need to do the math twice either.


We will use the hand-cranked strainer for other things we picked on Labor Day.

The house also saw a face lift over the weekend, and truly it lifts our spirits to see the change!

The last step is to paint the porch posts, touch up the trim, and paint the door. Some of us will miss the red door (LK and Arc in particular), but c’est la vie.

The final episode from our Labor Day started in the garden.


But an active hose, shovel, and river construction on the part of LK and Squeaky quickly moved the event to the driveway.


Pokado watched with amusement before offering up her gem of wisdom. “This good girl is staying out of it!”