Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hodgepodging The Jalapenos

Preparing Jalapenos for the Freezer
(This time I remembered to wear gloves!
One tends to forget that only once.)

Join Joyce and the gang

She writes the questions;
we write the answers.
Plug them into your own blog
and join in!

1. Something on your October calendar that makes you smile.

Besides the big picture of a German Shepherd?  two of our children's wedding anniversaries - one on October 1 and one October 17.  One has been married seventeen years and the other has been married four years. One is living in Wisconsin; the other escaped to Texas.

2. Food for the soul or music for the soul...which camp are you in? Tell us why.

Music for the soul. But isn't music food for the soul? I could last a while without my chicken salad sandwich, potato chips, and tomato, but beautiful music feeds my soul. One of my favorites:

3. What are two or three things you've learned recently as the result of an online search?

Most recently, finding the 25 most popular hymns of the 19th century; finding prayers of the early church; searching my own website for one of my favorite pork chop recipes. Then again, I'm always looking up stuff, from news articles to recipes to book reviews - and more.
4. Share your favorite game day recipe. You can describe it, post the how-to, or add a link to the actual recipe.

Game? Are you talking Hangman or Scrabble?

But I do have a recipe to share: Here's a link to my favorite pork chop recipe:

Blackened Pork Chops and Butternut Squash

'Blackened' sounds intentional and so much better than 'burned,' doesn't it. Oh well, they were delicious, and I used both black beans and cannellini beans, drained. The butternut squash was baked and set in the skillet for the photo. This made a great fall dinner.
5. What are your five essential steps for creating the perfect morning routine?

I should preface this with the most important step for creating the perfect morning routine, and that would be not waking (and staying awake) at 4:30 AM. That throws the whole day off key. Now, with that aside:

Bible and other reading
Coffee and protein bar
Morning news

Making soap

That takes me to 8:30, and from there it's up for grabs.

(Mr. C. is gone to work before I even awaken.) I hope my daughter will let me know if that is a bad sentence. :-)

 Jazzie, making herself comfortable

For any who were concerned last week when I mentioned that Jazzie's favorite bed had been moved to make room for the new door to the screen room, please note - Jazzie managed to find it on the other side of the library. She doesn't look too anxious, does she.

6. What small thing have you taken note of today?

The new battery for my computer. I was without computer for about a week, waiting for the new battery to arrive. Why is it the computer can't work on electricity, simply plugged into an active outlet, without the battery? That seems strange to me.

Makes me want to go barefoot

7. Sum up your September in seven words or less.

September - even better than May this year

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

This is a link to a Wisconsin Public Television short video describing the way many of us here in the Northwoods feel about winter - um, that does not include Carla. I think Carla is part Polar Bear.  Anyway, it's a cute video and aptly describes our daughter and her husband who abandoned Wisconsin for a better life (Ha!) in Texas and my sister who escapes each winter to spend half of her life in Florida. The rest of us stay here and try to muster up a good attitude.

We're now into the nights of predicted frost, which means dragging out sheets and blankets to cover flowers and house plants that are currently living outdoors. Squash and pumpkins can take a light frost, so they're toughing this one out without a blanket.

Garden's End
Pumpkins, Sunshine Squash, Butternut Squash
Peppermint in the foreground

 A cheery face near Westby, WI
How I feel before my morning coffee

This post is also linked to


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Have a great Wednesday, everyone!


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hodgepodging Hope - September 23.

Highbush Cranberry
September 2015

Yes, the highbush cranberry outside our office window is in full berry mode. Most of those berries will probably still be there in the spring when the Cedar Waxwings come through and wolf them down in a single afternoon.

Join Joyce and the Gang
She writes the questions;
we write the answers.
Plug the answers into your own blog and
join up!

1. What have you 'fallen for' recently?

Our screened-in porch area! I love it. In early August, just in time for my birthday, Mr. C. and son finished the screened in area of our porch. So now we have the front (open, road side) porch and the wraparound, screened-in north part of the porch. Here are some pics:

 Yes, some landscaping is needed
Coming later...
And, uh, the porch actually is level. Sorry!

 Looking north toward the screen room

 Looking south toward the [temporary] baby prison

Mr. C. put many light fixtures in the porch ceiling.
At night, when it's lit up, it looks like an airport runway!

 Lunch in the screen room

also where our daughter and family slept during the family reunion:

 Remember this one?

 Baby proofed end

 West end of screen room

 Only access to screen room:
A new door between it and the library.
That means there's no access to the screened area from the outdoors,
so NO BUGS. It's wonderful!

 The window in the photo above was replaced by
the glass door.  Jazzie's bed was moved.
Occasionally, she lets me use it.

2. What's something you're 'squirreling away' for later?

Tomatoes and green beans, but you've heard all about that, so I won't bore you with the details - again.

3. How do you like your apples? Sweet? Tart? Crisp? Cooked? Apples are one of the superfoods for often do you eat an apple either plain or as part of a favorite recipe? What's your favorite variety?

I like my apples sweet/tart/crisp - usually raw, but also good in an apple pie, as long as the apples aren't crunchy. I might start eating an apple with popcorn in the evenings. It depends upon whether or not I want to stay awake for the ending of the DVD movie or not. All that sugar would for sure knock me out cold in a short time.

My all-time favorite apple? McIntosh, for sure! We never had to spray our tree with pesticides, and never had wormy apples. I also always went out each morning to pick up the windfalls, as I'd heard that it prevents wormy apples. Worked for me, for many years.

Our McIntosh apple tree
before the big winter kill a couple years ago
I miss that tree's amazing apple crops.

4. According to Fodor's the ten best fall foliage trips in the US of A are-Aspen Colorado, The Catskills New York, The Berkshires Massachusetts, Columbia River Gorge Oregon, Green Mountain Byway Vermont, Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway New Mexico, Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, Upper Peninsula Michigan, Lake of the Ozarks Missouri, and Glacier National Park Montana. Which would you most like to visit this fall and why?

If I could visit any of the above, it would be The Berkshires. They're beautiful, although the life-threatening hairpin turns are pretty scary.  Another place I'd love to be this fall is Harper's Ferry, WV, a favorite of mine. There's so much to love about that place: rivers, hills, history, natural beauty. Can't get enough.

Who doesn't love these gorgeous fall colors!

5. The topic of legalizing marijuana was raised in the most recent televised political debate so let's wade in too. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing marijuana in some form. Four states have legalize marijuana for recreational use. Your thoughts?

Legalize it and tax it. Too much time and too many resources are used to catch these 'criminals,' although no one is considering making alcohol illegal, yet it accounts for far more deaths in this country. Why is that? I'm not suggesting we go back to Prohibition, but just that we recognize the inconsistencies. Not to mention the fact that we criminalize the possession of marijuana but legalize the murder of pre-born or even partially-born infants???!!!  What kind of weird logic is that. How can we call ourselves civilized.

6. Are you okay to watch a movie already in progress or do you need to always see it from the beginning? How about jumping into a TV series somewhere in the middle? Is that okay?

I need to watch a movie from the beginning and now even have closed caption on when it comes to some British TV. I mean, there are some natives that are nearly impossible for the untrained American ear to understand. :-)  The endings of movies, on the other hand, I often miss. Zzzzzzzzzz.

 Campion and the difficult-to-understand but lovable Lugg
'Why do I always want to call him Lag?
Word association, I suppose.'
(I think that was from 'The Case of the Late Pig) 

7. Thursday (September 24) is National Punctuation Day. What rule of punctuation trips you up most often? What rule of punctuation, when broken by someone else, bugs you the most?

I don't get why there is an apostrophe-s when showing possession for Jones and Jesus, for example. Doesn't it look odd to have Jones's and Jesus's???? Joneses sounds weird enough, but Jesuses sounds even weirder. Like St. James's Park. Why??  I like just a final s followed by an apostrophe (and no extra syllable), but no one (except you) asks me. LOL

I'm so glad you asked about our pet peeve of punctuation, for I might have had to eventually write a blog post about it. Why, oh why, do people feel the need to insert an apostrophe into every word that ends in 's.'   How many times have you seen signs on the grocery store window, for example, that read, 'Banana's,  Grape's, etc.'   No one would write, 'We have two dog's,' would they?  Really, would they??

Okay, I'm now going to struggle to get my emotions under control again.

We have had two dogs! (2011)
Bridger and Misty
Note: There is no apostrophe before the 's'
You saw Jazzie on Monday's post,
so she's already had her air time.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I've been reading two authors who dispel the weird and unbiblical ideas about Heaven that most of us have grown up with. I highly recommend both books. 

From 'HEAVEN' -  Randy Alcorn

'...some readers may think, 'But our eyes should be on the giver, not the gift; we must focus on  God, not on Heaven. This approach sounds spiritual, but it erroneously divorces our experience of God from life, relationships, and the world - all of which God graciously gives us. It sees the material realm and other people as God's competitors rather than as instruments that communicate his love and character. It fails to recognize that because God is the ultimate source of joy, and all secondary joys emanate from him, to love secondary joys on Earth can be - and in Heaven always will be - to love God, their source.'

Many think of Heaven as a boring, harp-playing, cloud-sitting, never-ending-drab existence after the excitement of meeting Saint Peter at the pearly gates and getting a few good jokes from him. 

Think about this: think of the things you love most about this world we live in: beautiful music, fragrant flowers, woodland walks, awesome mountains, rushing rivers, playing sports, coffee with a friend, relationships with our sweet pets, wonderful works of art, curiosity, discovery, enjoyment, interesting conversation, pleasure.  

Now imagine those things as represented by a barely-operating old black and white TV with poor speakers.

Heaven, or rather, the redeemed, fully-restored earth, by contrast, would be like all those things we now enjoy, but in HD with surround sound (but still falling far short of the magnificence of its reality). All the things we love about this earth will be here - but MORE SO.  We will forever be with our Lord, enjoying his company and delighting in him, his amazing works, his unimaginable love that took him to the cross to rescue us from our sin and give us a world no longer marred by poverty, disease, sin, and death, but fully restored. Remember, it was God who created beauty, music, joy, humor, etc. etc.  It's not like we came up with this ourselves! Think of that the next time you think of something funny - and thank God for a sense of humor.

And one of the most exciting surprises in all this? The mission of the Church here and now.

From 'SURPRISED BY HOPE' - N.T. Wright

'The idea of the human Jesus now being in heaven, in his thoroughly embodied risen state, comes as a shock to many people, including many Christians. Sometimes this is because many people think that Jesus, having been divine, stopped being divine and became human, and then, having been human for a while, stopped being human and went back to being divine (at least, that's what many people think Christians are supposed to believe). More often it's because our culture is so used to the Platonic idea that heaven is, by definition, a place of 'spiritual,' non material reality so that the idea of a solid body being not only present but also thoroughly at home there seems like a category mistake. The ascension invites us to rethink all this; and after all, why did we suppose we knew what heaven was? Only because our culture has suggested things to us. Part of Christian belief is to find out what's true about Jesus and let that challenge our culture.'

If I could only have one of these books, I'd probably choose Wright, but that's because I've particularly enjoyed several of his other books. They both come in Kindle too, which is handy at 3 AM.


One more Random: There's a new, annoying toolbar at the bottom of my page that suddenly appeared and keeps interfering with everything I write! I need to figure out how to get rid of it. Also, my right-shift key is no longer working - suddenly. Maybe a trip to the amazing Chuck at Hayes' Computers in Cameron is in order.


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and at

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Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!


Sunday, September 20, 2015

September 2015 - Autumn, Rushing to Greet Us

As I scrolled through my photo files, it struck me how much the colors of the garden landscape have changed in the past few months. There's so much orange and brown and gold replacing the almost solid green of May. Remember May? Seems like it was just a few minutes ago, doesn't it!

Fall is at the door and in NW Wisconsin we can expect drier, cooler weather, frost in the mornings, shorter and shorter daylight hours, and the smell of wood smoke in the air. The vines of the squash and pumpkins are dying down, the beans and tomatoes have all been eaten or canned, and it's just about time to clean off the garden. Why is it that I feel so little motivation to execute that part.

Striped Dahlia

I cannot look at the photo mosaic above and the photos below without being grateful to God for his amazing creation, for giving us color and texture and fragrance, the ability to see, smell, sense, hear, feel, recognize differences, to appreciate the changing of the seasons, to see God's hand in our lives, giving so generously to us each day from the glorious sunrise in the morning to the starry skies at night.

Jazzie, enjoying life

Golden Soybean Field


Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
 For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
 In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
  Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

- Psalm 95:1-6

Barn near Leon, WI

Gorgeous Trumpet Vine, Westby, WI

Happy horses,
being what God called them to be

Cashton Holstein
Checking out the photographer

Have a wonderful week, friends!
Sorry I've been so absent. I'm not making any promises about the months of September through November. I appreciate every one of you who leaves a comment, even when I'm not able to respond to them (although I'll try!). I hope to get back on track soon. And if I don't, I'll come up with a better excuse.


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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Westby, WI September Amish Adventures

Rudbeckia, as summer fades

Last week we took our little trip to Westby, WI and visited Kevin's cousin, who feeds every bird and squirrel in the neighborhood. I think he has one of each kind of bird feeder hanging in his yard. Together, we drove through the beautiful countryside east of Cashton and visited Amish friends who were their usual gracious and fun selves, and enjoyed their homemade vanilla ice cream with homemade caramel sauce. Women and children always scurry off to the house as they see us approach. Hmmm. I wonder if we have that effect on others, and I've just never before noticed.

 Not an Amish-made fence

Below is the collage of photos taken of the resident and apparently illiterate white squirrel, who audaciously chows down below a sign that reads, 'Wild Bird Crossing.'  It was also entertaining to watch the bunny as he gobbled up dandelion leaves. When he neared the end of each leaf, I kept expecting to hear the Ding! we used to hear when we got to the margin on our typewriter (for those who remember the manual typewriter and watched too many Saturday morning cartoons).

Resident White Squirrel

A veritable Smorgasbordorgasbordorgasbord

These fellas reminded me so much of my favorite
Yorkshire sheep. Aren't they pretty, with their black faces!

I took this photo when we were riding in Eric's VW Bug through the pasture
of one of his Amish friends. A little hard on the car, I would think.
Not to mention the passengers. But always entertaining.

 We were glad the piece of rock hadn't broken loose and fallen
when we were driving past. Yikes!
I wonder if any sheep went missing.

Wash Day.

I have many more photos of our two-day visit that I'll probably post later on.  I'm leaving with this favorite photo my daughter took of her two little ones, as the 1 1/2 year old was walking her older brother to K4 school last week.

My heart melts.

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

This post is linked to Theresa's
and Eileen's
and Judith's


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