Thursday, September 30, 2010

We're Surrounded!

Living in the natural world, we sometimes lose sight of the supernatural. We are so often ridiculed when we speak of the supernatural, that we relegate it to the far corner of our mind, where it tends to grow dim. We start to believe that faith is simply 'mind over matter.'  The Kingdom of God seems like a place light years away, a time far from now. But it's not.

Colossians 1:13-14: 'For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.'

As those whose trust is in Christ Jesus, we are living in the Kingdom. We may not see the 'heavenlies,' but they are there.

Remember Elisha in II Kings 6:16-17? Elisha and the young man with him were surrounded by an enemy, a situation that would bring terror to most of us!  'And Elisha prayed and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw; and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.'

As Francis Schaeffer writes in his book, True Spirituality, '...the significant thing was not that something would come. It was already there. The only difference was that the young man's eyes had to be opened to see what Elisha already saw. The supernatural was not something far-off; it was there. All the young man needed was to have his eyes opened to it.'

Hebrews 12:1 says, 'Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, (referring to those saints, mentioned in Chapter 11 of Hebrews, who have gone before) let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.'

What a great comfort to the believer to know that the reality of God is here and now, with us, not in some distant future. We are surrounded by the supernatural as we go about the business of living life before and for our Lord Jesus Christ.

P.S.  Feeling down today? Read Chapters 11 and 12 of Hebrews. I always feel so encouraged by reading about the saints of old, knowing that we, along with them, are part of the same Body of Christ - by grace through faith! What an amazing thing!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Apple Crisp Crumbles

Here's what you do when you refuse to buy apples because you already have about 100 pints of applesauce on the shelves from last year's crop. And, of course, there are no fresh McIntosh apples on our tree because this year we had a total apple crop failure.

Above is a part of a typical crop from our lone McIntosh tree (For those of you who like to play 'which of these things doesn't belong here', you're right: the yellow basket contains onions!) :-)  So, back to 'what to do' with no fresh apples but lots of applesauce.

Starting with Bob's Red Mill GF oats, I placed the following ingredients into a bowl:

2 c. brown sugar
1 1/3 c. brown rice flour
2/3 c. tapioca flour
2 c. BRMGF oats
1 T. cinnamon
1 T. nutmeg
3/4 c. soft butter

An apple crisp recipe will call for more butter and more sugar. I didn't want it very sweet, and I definitely didn't want the crumbles to feel greasy.

With a pastry blender, thoroughly cut butter into the mix. Pour the mix out onto a greased (cooking spray) heavy cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 28 minutes, stirring at least twice during the bake time so that it doesn't burn.

Pour a little applesauce into a sauce dish (or one of the cute plates that Becky and Ian gave you) and sprinkle the crumbles over the top. When cool, store remaining crumbles in an air-tight container. I think I'll keep mine in the freezer until I want to use them again.

Another time I would have put a little GF vanilla bean ice cream on top also. It was probably a good thing I didn't have any on hand in my moment of weakness.

P.S. I always wonder why people usually have a negative first reaction to the words 'gluten free.' I think people don't like the sound of the word 'gluten.' But it's kind of like saying, 'poison free.'  And you never hear anyone saying, 'Oh please, don't leave out the poison!' So why wouldn't they be happy to hear that their food is going to be free of that scary stuff, 'gluten!'   Such a puzzle.

This post is linked to Tempt my Tummy Tuesday
and Tasty Tuesdays
and Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods
and Tuesdays at the Table
and Tuesday Tag-Along

Monday, September 27, 2010

Getting Ready for Winter

Here is pictured that good, hard-working man who loves me and takes care of me. He sees that I have wood to keep me warm in the winter and an occasional chocolate bar to cheer me.

What a beautiful sight! Wood that is dry, ready, and waiting to keep our house toasty warm, even when it's very cold outdoors.

Green beans waiting in the storage room - a nice side dish for chicken or beef.

Tomatoes for my soups and stews

A selection of books to read in front of the fire

The tried and true DVDs that are my favorites

Maps to help me plan and dream

A reminder that I actually did start knitting last winter. I need to branch out a little, moving from hats to an easy baby sweater, perhaps.  They tell me there is such a thing. We'll see.

The Ritter Sport dark chocolate with hazelnut bar which I'd better limit this winter. I need to keep reminding myself what the word 'occasional' means.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Askrigg, North Yorkshire, Part I

Today we're going to visit [virtually] the village of Askrigg in the North Yorkshire Dales. You will see that I ended up with a pretty messy map, but it helped me at the time to circle the towns we're going to visit, so that when I looked up from the map and then looked down again at the map, I'd not lost my place.  I'm also hopelessly visual, hence the castle icon at Castle Bolton. I know. It looks kinda like a second grade workbook, doesn't it!

The yellow trail above shows you the route we took from Askrigg to Richmond. From Askrigg, we went up the hills to the Askrigg Common, then down again to Low Row, Grinton, and eventually into Richmond. Having made Leyburn our hub for several nights (it's over toward the bottom right of the map above), it was only a twelve mile trip to Askrigg, although that twelve miles took about a half hour. Am I complaining? Not at all. Dales scenery, even in March, is breathtaking.

But in this, the first of two parts, we're going to wander around the village of Askrigg.

It was a sight we certainly don't see anymore in NW Wisconsin - a milk bottle sitting outside the front door. It was one of the first anachronistic things we noticed about Askrigg. Walking down the streets of this lovely village was like stepping back in time. It just occurred to me that perhaps those milk bottles are really like lawn ornaments, purchased at Tesco. ;-)

Askrigg, like every other Dales village we visited, is made of stone. I always think of the great labor involved in picking all that rock!  Although they're beautiful to look at, I'm sure the farmers who worked in the 'byres' only noticed how miserable, cold, and dank they were. I would imagine that it would take a distance of several years for that memory to ever morph into nostalgia.  Yorkshire winters must be bone chilling.

St. Oswald's Church, erected in 1466. In 1587, Elizabeth I granted a charter for a weekly market to be held in Askrigg. Notice the market cross in the center of the photo.

Church graveyard

Sign on church yard
Placed at dog height,
for the literate pup.

I hope there are no sleep-walkers in the house.

I thought this was such a pretty, terraced garden.

 It was fun to see dogs accompanying their owners almost everywhere! I still like the sign we saw on a pub, 'Dogs and well-behaved children welcome.'
The road sign above, contrary to logic, meant 'national speed limit.'

This building was filmed as 'The Drovers' pub for the TV series All Creatures Great and Small.

Crown Inn, under the same name since 1850
not nearly so impressive if you consider the fact that the pub we went to in Dorstone had been a freehouse since the 12th century!

Crown Inn interior, where we had...
what else: 'n' chips.

Tile fireplace - A welcome fire on a chilly March day

Askrigg, Part II is going to be mostly photos of the Askrigg Common and the sheep who graze there. Coming soon...  :-)

This post is linked to New Friend Friday
and Friendly Friday Follow
and Friendly Friday
and Home and Family Friday
and I'm Lovin' It

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Last Rose of Summer... to speak. I actually don't raise roses. They tend to threaten the reputation of my 'green thumb.' I've had a few bad experiences. The reason I'm posting these photos which I took on September 18, is that it never ceases to thrill me to see the beauty of the flowers that are still holding their color, even the middle of September.

We will soon have a hard frost and will lose this stunning color until next spring.  We, who choose to live in NW Wisconsin, will live in a world of white from November or December until sometime in mid April, when the daffodils bloom.

So, I enjoy and appreciate every bit of living color I can get now. I suspect that this is my very last echinacea of the season.




When we take the time to look closely at any one of these blossoms, to notice its distinct complexity, we can't help but be reminded of how much care went into the design. The same One who designed the intricate blossoms of the zinnea and echinacea also designed each one of us and cares about the smallest details of our lives.

...God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety upon Him,  for He cares for you.  I Peter 5:5b-7

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lemon Watergate Cake

For many of you who may never have heard of the Watergate incident, that's probably because it may have happened before you were born and you were looking out the window in history class, instead of paying attention to the teacher. In 1972, five men were arrested for attempting to break into the headquarters of the DNC at the Watergate office complex in Washington D.C.

'Behind every cloud is a silver lining,' they say, and this particular silver lining is the recipe for the Watergate Cake, popular after that event. I have no idea how or if the cake is connected to the Watergate scandal.

If you know, feel free to inform me in a comment. I'm sure others would like to know too. What matters the most to me, of course,  is that it's simple, moist, and delicious!

Watergate Cake, the recipe I was given, a long time ago:

1 regular white cake mix
1 pkg. instant pistachio pudding mix
1 c. 7-Up
1 c. oil
3 eggs
Combine ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Pour into greased Bundt pan and bake at 325 degrees for one hour.

The variation pictured above:

1 regular yellow cake mix
1 box of instant lemon pudding
1 c. Mountain Dew (because I didn't have 7-Up)
1 c. oil
3 eggs

Combine ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Pour into greased Bundt pan and bake at 325 degrees for one hour. Frost with any good cream cheese frosting, such as this one, for which I would like to thank a fellow blogger, but I don't remember which one. So, to whomever posted this recipe, thank you. Of course, this recipe is for the lemon cake. For the pistachio recipe, I would simply eliminate the lemon.

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/8 c. butter, softened
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 t. lemon zest
1/2 t. vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. confectioners sugar

Combine ingredients. Beat. Drizzle over top of cake, enough so that it runs over the sides. You can see that I got a little carried away on this part, but it was delicious.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Making a Travel Journal

I have found a great way to come home from a trip with a keepsake that I will enjoy for years to come. I like to purchase a Cambridge 6"x9" spiral bound drawing tablet, for it has good, heavy paper. For this particular one, I found some pictures of England and made a collage for the front cover, then laminated it.

The inside of the drawing tablet has a pocket which is nice for storing adhesive mailing labels which I pre-print and take along, so that it's easy to address postcards to mail home. On the inside front cover, I glue the print out of our flight and itineraries. I also use adhesive labels to keep important contacts  and phone numbers close at hand.

The only other items I need to take along on my trip to make my keepsake, then, are a gluestick and camera. The gluestick has to go into that one TSA-allowed quart-size Ziploc baggie of toiletries, such as shampoo, toothpaste, and soap. When I once packed a bar of soap separately, I found out that  even bar soap scans as a liquid, so I make sure to pack my gluestick in that baggie as well.

Wherever we go, I collect ephemera, and when we're back at our hotel in the evening, I tear our pictures from brochures, postcards, etc. and glue them here and there on the page. Then I start journaling around them. If I've taken a certain photo that day that I'll later want to include, I make a note of it in the journal so that when I print out the photo after arriving home, I'll make sure to place it in the journal.

I think it was about the time of the Churchill Cabinet War Rooms that I realized I need to make better use of my journal space. That's when I started overlapping, as you can see in the photo above. The two WWII posters are hinged at the top, so that I could lift them up and write under them. Same thing with the photo of Winston Churchill. He's hinged on the side. You don't want to see Churchill unhinged.

Tickets, receipts from the grocery store, ale labels, and business cards all went into making my journal a fun keepsake to read and re-read (if you're like me). :-)

Occasionally, I'd even sketch in my journal. This is supposed to represent the holiday cottage we rented with our daughter and son-in-law in Sutton on the Forest, near York. Okay, the illustrators of the world have nothing to fear from me.  By the way, I was fascinated by the many chimney flues that poked out of the tops of the houses.

If you're ever in London, it's definitely worth the small cost to take a London Walks walk. They're greatly entertaining and we learned so much from them! It just so happens that the man who owns London Walks and writes the fun brochure (see link), is from Wisconsin! Who would have thought!

More 'layering,' allowing me to lift up the photo and write in the journal underneath.

I'm trying to visually scan these pages and see if I'm giving away any family secrets. I hope not. But you can see by this page, above, that we paid $110 per room per night in downtown London, near Victoria Station. (That's US Dollars, not British pounds.I think the exchange rate at the time was 2:1, USD:GBP. It's not that bad now, although airfare has gone up dramatically.) For someone who generally stays at Super 8, (like we do) that may seem like a lot, until you compare it with other hotels in London - or even Duluth, MN!! It was really quite a find, and our hotel room, though microscopic, was very clean, and our hosts very friendly and accommodating!

By the time I returned home, I already had most of my journal done - all except for the occasional photo I would add later. Above, the beefeater is 'hinged' on the edge so it can be moved to reveal more text.

In summary, this is a great way to remember a trip. It's so easy and inexpensive, and unlike the huge project of making a scrapbook after you return, it's almost done by the time you get home! I happened to have enough space leftover from the 2007 trip, that I decided to take it along on the 2008 London adventure with Joe and Anna. Now my journal sits on the bookshelf next to our England guide books. :-) It occasionally comes down so I can enjoy it all again, and will continue to do so until airfare comes down!

This post is linked to New Friend Fridays
and Friendly Friday Follow
and Friendly Friday
and Home and Family Friday
and I'm Lovin' it

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Imperial Upright Piano

This is a photo of our Imperial Upright piano made by the McPhail Company for the 1893 Columbia Exposition in Chicago. Its exterior birdseye maple is beautiful, but it hides a serious inner problem. The piano does not sound healthy.

We had the piano technician come out the other day to look at the piano to give us a diagnosis and an estimate of what it would cost to restore it. I mean, we don't need the exterior restored,  'only' the pin block, the sound board, etc.

Some years back a different piano technician told us that we needed to lay the piano on its back and pour wood glue into the holes into which the pegs go. That seemed a little fishy to me at the time, for I figured that if we did that, the first time the piano went out of tune it would be all over! When I told the current piano technician that story, he just rolled his eyes and said he was glad we had had sense enough not to do that.

He also shook his head at the story of our 7' grand piano which has been sitting in Duluth, MN for fifteen years, waiting for a different piano technician to get around to working on it. Needless to say, we've simply given up on that one. Today it would cost between $15,000 and $17,000 to have it restored.

Restoring our Imperial Upright, on the other hand, would cost a mere $5,000. Even if I had an extra five thousand, I doubt that we would spend it on a piano.  There are windows that need to be replaced and a porch that needs building in order to divert water from the basement. And right now, I just want a good studio piano with good sound.

What we have is a beautiful piano that's useless. I can think of several spiritual analogies here, but...

...I think I'll go on Craig's List.


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