Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Hodgepodging A Nice Country Walk

 We park the truck in the field drive


Join Joyce and the Gang for:
She writes the questions;
we write the answers.
Plug them into your own blog post
and join in.

1. Give us three rhyming words that say something about your Thanksgiving holiday (or your most recent holiday gathering if you didn't celebrate Thanksgiving). 

Our family celebrated Thanksgiving in mid October when the weather was beautiful.
Twenty-one, joyous fun, sun to sun.

On November 24, it was just Mr. C. and me.
Just us, no fuss, not a plus.

 October Thanksgiving

November Thanksgiving
Imagine how quiet it would have been,
had the cat family not been here!

2. When did you last say, 'the more the merrier'? Did you mean it?

I said 'the more the merrier' when telling someone to pass along the invitation to the Caroling hymn sing at our house  (December 16) to others. And yes, I meant it. The more voices singing, the better.

 Not many, but they made a huge and wonderful sound.
Brit's Pub, Minneapolis, December 2015
We hope to repeat this visit in a few weeks.

3. What's one piece of advice you'd give someone who is your same age?

Don't buy the headstone just yet.

4. You're ordering a veggie plate, what four veggies are on it?

Black olives, manzanilla pimento-stuffed olives, kalamata olives, castelvetrano olives
And now that I wrote that, I'm thinking they're actually fruit, aren't they.
So, we'll try again with the veggies:  Sweet potato, Carmen peppers, yellow onions, parsnips (and they're roasted with garlic).

5. Shop til you drop! Did you? Have you ever? Will you between now and Christmas?

I have never ever shopped til I dropped. I hate shopping. I really mean that. I do like to go to stores and wander around, however, seeing the people and pretty things. But I'll do my actual shopping online unless it's a pair of boots, which I have to try on. I rarely buy clothes, but if I'm wandering through a store, and an item speaks to me, I might buy it. I almost never go into a store hunting for an item. That is so frustrating.

Just browsing, thank you.

6. What's your favorite chair in your house, and why is it a favorite?

My favorite chair is the new sofa and loveseat that we are going to purchase after Christmas. We've already actually gone to the furniture stores and chosen the one we want. Not just because the other one is more than 25 years old and completely worn, mind you, but because we're feeling extravagant (well, actually because I need a comfortable piece of furniture to sit on). It will be a favorite because it's big enough and comfortable enough to double as an extra place to sleep (like during the middle of a movie).

Christmas Past

7. Share an early memory of faith, religion, or spirituality.

I have a few of these, remembering my mom praying with me when I was very young, on the back steps of our house. But I actually don't remember a time in my life when I didn't believe in God and didn't know he was there. When I was young, my perception of God was God, the Tooth Fairy Far Far Away, and my prayers were more 'God, please do...' When I was in my teens my perception of God was God, the Cosmic Killjoy, and my prayers were more, 'God, please don't...' The day finally came when my perception of God was God, the gracious, merciful, sovereign maker and ruler of Heaven and Earth and my prayers were more like, 'Be it unto me, according to thy will.'

 Sunrise, November 22

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

 Yesterday's walk 
I'm determined to get out and walk at least four days a week
during the winter, as long as there's no wind and it's not twenty below zero.

(maybe 10)
(maybe 5)
But it wasn't bad yesterday. Cudl Duds top and long johns, plus a rain hat over a warm cap, made it a nice warm(ish) walk. 


Praise God, a sweet young woman answered my Craigslist ad for Audrey, the mama cat, and when I responded to her, I told her that we also had one kitten available if she were interested, that I was hoping to keep mama and one kitten together, but no pressure if she was not interested. She came to our house last night and she is such a natural with animals and I am confident that she is going to give both of them a wonderful home. Audrey and Fraidy could not have gone to a better home, I am sure. She loves animals and also has a couple kids who will tame that little Fraidy in no time.

I'm hoping that in a couple weeks' time we will be able to take down the gates and let the remaining two kittens (Yes, we're keeping Smokey and Tom Kitten) and we'll see how Tuppence deals with them. She should not get the same treatment from them as she did from the nursing mama cat.

This couldn't have ended better.  The cats are in pairs, rather than being split up, and all we need to do now is phone a vet and find out how soon we can get these kittens in to be neutered/spayed.

 The last pic of the little cat family.
Taken Tuesday evening.


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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe GF, Advent

Easiest Pumpkin Cheesecake

I promised that I'd post the recipe for this easiest of all pumpkin cheesecakes, but I wish I had been able to get a better picture to show you. It really isn't green, but I took the photo at night and any lights I turned on were casting big white reflections on the ceramic stove top. So, here is the cheesecake, loaded with pecans on the top (because I could), and I don't recall where I got the recipe. It was somewhere online. I take no credit, except for making it gluten free by using a gluten-free combination instead of the Bisquick. I'll give that to you also.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe with Gluten-free option:

with or without Pecans (That's the title, but I can't imagine wanting it without pecans)

15 oz. can pumpkin
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
3/4 C. sugar (I used 2/3)
1/2 C. Bisquick *
1/2 t. vanilla
2 t. pumpkin pie spice
Tons of pecans, chopped

Spray 9" pie dish with oil. Mix everything but nuts in food processor for a couple minutes until combined. (Could this be any easier??) Scrape down sides as necessary. Pour into plate, top with pecans, if desired. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. Cool completely and store, covered, in the refrigerator.

* Gluten-free substitution for Bisquick
1 c. any gluten-free flour mix (I used Krusteaz)
2 t. sugar
1 t. baking powder
1 T. shortening

Okay, this cheesecake isn't exactly like the baked cheesecake you're used to, but for something quick and easy, it's really pretty good. And, if you take small bites and savor them one at a time, it's really a lot better. You can savor many, many bites that way. I proved it.

 A pretty sunrise last week.
No filters. Viewed from our front porch

The day it snowed. (Fortunately, it's mostly gone)
Mr. C. (@mistercranberry) getting a pic
 of the neighbor's equipment in our soybean field - for Instagram
He doesn't know I took this. :-)

Tom Kitten getting a bath from his mother AND a sister

Celebrating The First Sunday of Advent


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Friday, November 25, 2016

Novembers Past and Present

I hope you all of you American readers had a nice Thanksgiving. Mr. C. and I had a pretty quiet Thanksgiving Day because, as you know, our entire family gets together for a wonderful Thanksgiving in mid October. I wouldn't change a thing about that. So rather than turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie and a houseful of people, we were eating chili and green salad and pumpkin cheesecake (the recipe which I'll share with you soon because it's so good and so easy!)  and watching the kittens play. This is not a bad thing, folks. It was a nice, quiet day.

You wouldn't believe how much time I spent looking through photo archives yesterday evening. I can waste an incredible amount of time editing and resizing photos. This post is pretty much a random collection of photos. We've had some quite cold and snowy Novembers, and then again we've had some years where we didn't get snow until December 13. Those are usually my favorite.

So all of the photos in this post are some of my favorite November photos from various years, 2013-2016, kind of grouped together. There aren't any family photos among them for these collages because I tend to do enough of that in other posts. The green barn is my favorite barn in the area, and of course I'm so grateful for the view from our front porch. We see some amazing sunrises.

You can probably guess which November this is. 

Update on the kittens, because several of you have asked:  The family who were going to look at the kittens and maybe take all three of them and their mama, texted me and backed out. It seems that they just had a new baby two weeks ago (Yeah, what were they thinking???- regarding the cats, that is.) So anyway, there are two other parties interested in at least one kitten, and Tuppence is still hissing at everyone besides Mr. C. and me. Do you see that middle kitten in the photo above? That is Smokey, and how I would love to keep that sweet kitten (well, all of them, actually), but we'll see what happens. We might have to keep gates up for the rest of Tuppence's life. Sigh.

 Lionel and Tuppence, upper right
He's the only cat she's ever loved (or tolerated)

This post is linked to Amy's Five on Friday
and Eileen's Saturday's Critters
and Tom's Barn Collective
and Maggie's Mosaic Monday

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...and more! Check out all my handcrafted soaps at

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Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Amish Photos and Hodgepodging the Generation Gap

I'm finishing up the Amish pics from our visit to southern Wisconsin a couple weeks ago. 

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

1. What's something you might say runs in your family?
Humor. My dad and his siblings all had a wonderful sense of humor and although I think my mom had a more difficult life and saw things more seriously, her siblings were all fun and funny, and my cousins are all a little crazy and funny. It's quite wonderful. Mr. C.'s parents both had a good sense of humor and so do his siblings. Our kids do, and for an example, last weekend (see previous post) family was here and we were watching White Christmas with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye.  At one point in the afternoon, I looked at our daughter and said with all sincerity, 'You are a beautiful woman, Honey.' She turned to me and said, 'Muuutual, I'm suuuuuure,' like the annoying blonde from White Christmas. Of course it cracked me up. We can't have a conversation without laughing. Or occasionally crying.

2. I read here a list of ten things you should do before 2017 arrives (in less than six weeks!)...which tasks on the list might you do? What would you add to your own 'before the year ends' list?
visit your Dr. or dentist, deep clean your home, donate unwanted items to charity, look someone in the eye and tell them you love them, write an honest letter to yourself, clean up your inbox-desktop-photos, travel to a place you haven't been, compliment a stranger, watch the sunrise, think ahead to your goals/plans for the new year.
I think the only ones I've not done are travel to a place I've not been and deep clean my home. This is not the time of year to venture into unknown territory.

Brussels Sprouts on an Amish farm

Waiting at the Hardware Store

3. What's something other generations (not your own) misunderstand about your generation?
Yes, we may look ancient, but we still have a few synapses firing. Well, usually. And we could teach you a thing or two.

Amish farm

Same farm, zooming in on the popcorn hung to dry

4. Sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, cornbread dressing-which would you miss the most if it weren't on the holiday dinner menu?

I didn't know there was any stuffing other than sage and onion. I would miss nothing else.  Just give me the stuffing.

5. What are you overthinking right now?

The kittens.

6. Your favorite slang word lately?

Whaaaaat???? (said with my son-in-law's voice)

SE of Westby
Winding, narrow roads

7. Write an acrostic for the word grateful.


And on those winding roads, a huge grain semi

 8.  Insert your own random thought here.
This relates to the over-thinking question. I put a listing on Craigslist for the three adorable kittens and their wonderful mama. I was so sad to have to do that, but Tuppence Meowed at me in no uncertain terms that I was 'RUINING HER LIFE.'  I don't want to ruin her life. She's been a wonderful cat and apparently old dogs aren't the only ones that are rigid and inflexible. She's in no mood to be nice to anyone but me, and especially to some upstart whippersnapper kittens and their mother. Did I say how sad this makes me?  I was really truly hoping...But, the day I placed the ad, I received a text message from a family who wants to come look at them and may be interested in the whole kit and kaboodle. To me, this is an absolute miracle. Of course they haven't visited yet, but once they see those kittens, I can tell you it will be a DONE DEAL

He made it.
The end.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Everyone!



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Monday, November 21, 2016

Weekend in Review

 Littlest granddaughter, aka Elsa (when wearing the dress)

Mr. C.'s brothers were with us for a rare but enjoyable visit this weekend, but of course I didn't get any pics of the three of them. Men don't tend to stand close together when they visit, and they don't like being herded.

I did, however, manage to get a pic of my sister-in-law and my niece.

The grandkids
Chasing each other, when they weren't chasing the kittens

 Under the table
because that's where the kittens were

 Finding out that this jigsaw puzzle wasn't as easy as it looked.

This puzzle was more his speed. Because he is now 6, and the box
said For Ages 6+, he was determined to put it together.
By the way, there are several of these nice Ravensburger puzzles
at from $7+ to $11+
Kids love them.

 Teasing the kittens with a mouse on a string

Going home with his hunter daddy

 Son and daughter-in-law after I told them
that I wanted to get their picture and they were supposed
to pretend that they like each other.
(they do, btw.)

A couple movies we watched this weekend were White Christmas and The Bishop's Wife.

We can't have Lucy around without at least a few viewings of White Christmas with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera Ellen. What a fun movie! The best part of the entire movie (in my opinion) is 'Sisters' with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. Lucy likes the dance scenes with Danny Kaye and Vera Ellen.

The Bishop's Wife is an old movie with David Niven, Loretta Young, and Cary Grant. I'd never seen it before, but I remembered that Heide, from Apron History blog had recommended it. I rented it online from Amazon, and so loved this movie that I later purchased it for about $8, I think it was. My favorite line from the whole movie was when the angel Dudley (Cary Grant) said, 'If only people would behave like humans.' What a great line, considering the fact that humans were created to be God's image bearers in the world.

From  ― N.T. Wright, The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is :

“Our task as image-bearing, God-loving, Christ-shaped, Spirit-filled Christians, following Christ and shaping our world, is to announce redemption to a world that has discovered its fallenness, to announce healing to a world that has discovered its brokenness, to proclaim love and trust to a world that knows only exploitation, fear and suspicion...The gospel of Jesus points us and indeed urges us to be at the leading edge of the whole culture, articulating in story and music and art and philosophy and education and poetry and politics and theology and even--heaven help us--Biblical studies, a worldview that will mount the historically-rooted Christian challenge to both modernity and postmodernity, leading the way...with joy and humor and gentleness and good judgment and true wisdom. I believe if we face the question, "if not now, then when?" if we are grasped by this vision we may also hear the question, "if not us, then who?" And if the gospel of Jesus is not the key to this task, then what is?”

Like Dudley said, 'if only people would behave like humans.'

Have a great Monday!


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