Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Weekend Continues

Today I decided to try the 6.5 lb. butterflied chicken on the grill!  Armed with advice from Kathi on how to butterfly the whole chicken and more advice from Pat on how to grill it I went to work.  I vaguely remembered Pat telling me how to soak wood chips and put them in the grill so I soaked a bunch of apple wood chips he had brought up here years ago to use and didn't use them all.  Then I got out my (Bob's really) new woodpecker kitchen shears that Kathi and Danny gave him for Christmas,  and tried to follow the video posted on Kathi's blog ( on how to butterfly a chicken.  It was good and easy except I think it looked easier to cut through a 3 lb. chicken than my big 6.5 lb. one!

Bob's Cool Woodpecker Kitchen Shears

These shears are heavy duty and sharp!

Then, I had read about someone who had mixed a bunch of herbs with some yogurt and put them under the skin of the chicken.  I opted to leave the yogurt out and rub the herbs in under the skin.  Next I whipped up some marinade to soak my butterflied chicken in.  Pat had marinated a bunch of chicken thighs last year and grilled them for Brendin's grad party and they were delicious.  I used wine, olive oil, and some garlic and herb marinade that was in a bottle in the fridge.  I put the chicken in a big plastic bag with the marinade and soaked it in the fridge for about 7 hours--I think I'd do it overnight next time.

I heated the grill up on low,  put a small pan of wine and water, mixed, into one side of the grill, put the chicken all spread out on a cookie sheet on the grill, sprinkled soaked wood chips around on the grill (well, below on the burner part), put some more in the wine/water solution closed up the grill and the smoke has been pouring out ever since.  I'm going to check it at 1 hour with the instant thermometer.  It should read 180 degrees when done.
It took about 1 hour and ten minutes to cook it to perfection.  It was juicy and the flavor was delicious!  I made some of Pug's baked beans, German potato salad and brownies to go with it.  How's that for "cabin food"?  The only thing missing for this holiday picnic was home made ice cream,  family and friends to share it! But Bob and I managed to do it justice on our own. The chicken was a winner and I will do it again, soon.

MMMMMM! you can almost smell the sweet apple woodsmoke!

Looks yummy and it was!

Ready to "chow down"

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Weekend at the Cabin

 Memorial Day Weekend 2010

As always, click on the pictures to make them larger and hit the back browser to return to the page.
We got home from Bob's tests in Denver on Thursday just in time to have missed the major traffic in the Poudre Canyon!  Unfortunately we did not miss the State Patrol Officer that pulled us over between Ted's Place and the mouth of the canyon!  He said we were going 60 in a 45 mph zone.  How many of us EVER went 45 on that stretch.  He could have picked up anyone who went past him, I'm sure.  Actually, he was quite nice and only gave us a warning.  I think he was the vanguard for the "100 days of Heat" campaign on drinking and driving so we were OK on that level.

As we drove over the pass I was trying to see how far up we got before the trees were still not green.  It took to almost the top so I was hopeful that our trees would be green too.  But as we traveled down this side of Cameron Pass the green didn't show up until we almost got to Walden and then you really had to look to see any.  By the time we got out to the cabin there was a very slight hint that maybe we would see some green in the next few days.  By the next morning we had some green!!!  Here are the pictures I took.

 Just a thin veil of green is visible!

 A bit greener

  Those on the hill are really green

I also decided it was time to make my family feel nostalgia for the cabin in spring and summer so I went down to the creek to get some pictures of high water.  It really wasn't as high as sometimes but it at least was bank full!  And then I noticed  the dam that all the kids and grandkids have worked on for years is gone!  It must have washed away while I wasn't looking!  Here are some pictures of where it used to be!

 Looking upstream the creek is bank full and the willows are just beginning to get their leaves

Right where the dam should be

 Looking downstream toward our good fishing hole

I walked up to Beth's grave this afternoon and checked out some favorite spots and the wildflowers.  She has such a lovely spot for us to spend some quiet time!  I went over to check out the new Caterpillar or Crawler or whatever they call a John Deere piece of equipment and then went to get some close ups of what's left of "the red truck" for Carla and Kathi.  I had to go see what was doing at the pond but the wind was all that was happening there!  I did decide I needed to dig some worms and do a little fishing when the wind dies down.  I came back across the old rickety bridge without even getting my feet wet!  I noticed that the huge wasps' nest from last summer that was in the calf feeder is gone!  Now where did it go? and then I got to wondering where wasps go in fall when they leave their nests?  Anybody know?

Beth's grave sight is so peaceful
 None of the tulips or irises came up and only a few wildflowers inside the fence

The Luck Penny Ditch is running lots of water!

Micah's Path to the top of the hill

What's left of the old red truck

The ponds looking down off the hill

Me on a very windy day at the pond.  Wish I had my fishing pole but it wouldn't have cast very far!

The old rickety bridge but it's picturesque

Better watch your step--especially Carla!

While I was up at Beth's grave I got to thinking about some memorable Memorial Weekends I have had.  I think the one I remember most was one I spent up in Owyhee on the Shoshone-Paiute reservation (Duck Valley Indian Reservation in northern Nevada and southern Idaho).  On that Saturday I spent the day with my good friend Teola up in Boise getting flowers and other decorations for their family cemetery.  We did a lot of shopping and ate at a restaurant and had a lot of giggles and laughs.  She invited me to come with her family when they went to decorate the graves on Monday.  I felt very honored and excited since it is traditional for everyone in the family from the grandchildren on up to the elders to gather and walk from one grave to the next while the eldest elder gives an oral history of each member of the family buried there.  As Teola and I drove home that day she told me some of the older history of her family when they (her ancestors) lived and hunted in the Jarbidge area of Nevada.  I love the history and stories that these Native Americans have.  It is such a wonderful heritage compared to my pretty boring one!  Well, Monday came and I was plagued with my annual spring eye infections!  My eyes were almost swollen shut so I thought I best run up to the hospital, get some "magic" eye drops that seem to work almost immediately and get back over to the Mannings so I could go with them.  It was not to be.....  It was a holiday with one new Dr. on call and he wanted to consult with some doctors up in Boise before doing anything and being a holiday they were either not there or busy so I waited and waited and waited.  While I was waiting, one of my student's mother who worked up there (I think she, the Dr. and I were the only ones there) came over and sat down next to me to take a little break and to visit.  The first thing she said to me was, "Well, did you decorate?"  I racked my brain trying to think if I was supposed to have decorated for the prom, decorate my room at school, decorate my house, or what!  I kind of gave her a blank stare and then realized she meant did I decorate my family's graves!  Wow! You really know you have made it on the reservation when someone thinks you are Indian enough to have family buried there!  What an honor!  That week end really stands out for me and makes me realize what great friends I had when I worked there!  Unfortunately it was well after noon before the Dr. gave me my eye drops and the "decorating" was all over.  By that time the next year I was in Wendover.

I hope every one has a great weekend and honors those who have given their lives for our freedom.

The hummingbirds are back and very hungry

Happy Memorial day!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Indian Tacos

,I was reading a book the other day when it mentioned what a great cook the Native American mother was.  This got me to thinking about all the great food we used to have up on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation in Nevada and Idaho.  Those people loved to eat and, since there wasn't that much going on up there, we had a lot of potlucks and occasions to get together with food as the centerpiece.

The most popular form of food for us at school was the Indian Taco.  We made them in my classes whenever we could find an excuse to, but we served them in the concession stand at most basketball games.  The most important thing about Indian Tacos is the fry bread used as the base.  Every family on the Rez has their favorite recipe and the kids also insisted that so and so's grandmother should be the one to donate the tacos.  As the Family and Consumer Science (home ec) teacher, I felt obligated to get a really good recipe to use as my basic one in class.  This proved to be quite difficult for several reasons!  First, everyone thought theirs was best and none of them were quite the same.  Next, everyone wanted to show me how it was done right.  And then, when I tried to get the recipe they would say well, I don't use measurements!  I agree there is a technique to shaping but some were easier than others. (there are a lot of jokes about techniques used by different tribes, as well)  I finally got a nice easy basic recipe which I used the whole time I was there and it seemed to work fine.  To be honest, though, I really like the recipe that uses yeast the best but it is not the most popular one in Owyhee!  I am including a recipe and then some variations for you to try.

 4 Cups flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
2  tsp.  salt
2  tsp.  sugar
Enough warm milk to make a soft dough (about 1 1/2 Cups)

Mix dry ingredients together, add milk and stir to make a soft dough.  knead until soft but not sticky.  (too much kneading makes them tough)  Shape into balls about 3 inches in diameter.  Flatten to about 1/2 inch thick and the size of a salad plate. (this is where technique comes into play--my students slapped them in between their hands but just pressing them out or rolling them will work too).  The next part also depends on who is doing it, too.  I cut a small slit in the middle, some poke with a fork, some don't do anything and I saw where someone said to make a small depression in the middle but I don't see how you would do that. Heat up deep fat in a heavy skillet (about 4 Cups oil), add tacos 1 at a time and cook to light golden, turn and cook other side.  Place on paper towels to cool.

2 cans chili beans or 2 cans pinto beans with about 1/4 Cup picante sauce--heated
1 pound hamburger
1 pkg. taco seasoning
shredded cheddar cheese
shredded lettuce
diced fresh tomatoes
diced onions
sliced black olives
sour cream
picante sauce or salsa

Brown hamburger, add taco seasoning and follow directions on package.  Place fry bread on a plate.  Put beans, meat and cheese on top.  Add any other toppings you want and enjoy! 


Fry bread can be eaten with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on them and honey drizzled over them, too.

I like using yeast dough to make them.  You can use frozen dough or make your own and then make 3 inch balls and flatten like the others.

 We never even used meat in the ones we did for concessions, just the chili beans and they were really good too.

MMMMM!  Still warm

Tory fixes chili beans ready for concessions


Monday, May 17, 2010

Coming Home

We finally returned to the cabin last week after being gone since February.  We arrived in a snowstorm on May 11!  The snow was sticking to the ground with big huge flakes and everything was white.  No visibility at the cabin although in town it still was OK for driving and hadn't started to stick there yet.  Everything seemed to be in good shape at home although the hot water was almost black from the rust that had collected in the hot water heater.  This has always been a problem and we just have to run the hot water tank out to clear it up.  We got dinner out of the freezer and were set.  It really felt good to sleep in our own bed that night.  It continued to snow all night and by morning we had 5 or 6 inches of heavy wet snow--just perfect for snowmen and snowball fights as well as huge mud when it melted!
Snow pictures on May 12, 2010

My hearty tulips.  I hope they don't get frostbite!

We kind of lazed around that morning.  Bob complained that the altitude was bothering him for the first time in his life and he was out of breath after climbing the stairs and I just couldn't get back in the routine.  By afternoon I was trying to hook my new computer up to the new TV to see if I could use HULU to watch the last episode shown of Lost.  I just felt really tired and didn't even want to lift up the Kindle to read my book.  I finally decided to go take a nap in bed (something I NEVER do).  As I was trying to go to sleep I realized I had that stomach flu feeling  coming on!  I have not had that feeling for maybe 20 years or more!  I've had food poisoning a few times and am the PB queen of lapband land but no stomach flu for a very very long time.  I was really worried about throwing up, too because of the possibility of my lapband slipping but it never happened.   Everything went the other way and I suffered with diarrhea for 3 days and could not get out of bed or even lift my head except to run for the bathroom off and on.  My head hurt and every hair on my head hurt individually. By Sunday I finally felt like I could get outside,  try to get my suitcase unpacked, and do some laundry  but after that I was back to being tired. (Maybe the altitude got to me a little too) Today I am finally back to normal.

While I was being sick Bob had Dr. appointments in Denver and then we missed going to Scottsbluff for Chris's graduation from lineman school.  Now I hope Bob doesn't get the malady.  He and Lynn had it in Florida so hopefully he is immune.

Today is a beautiful day with a few puffy clouds but nice warm sun!  It is 65 degrees out and I am sitting outside in front of the porch enjoying the sunshine, my favorite activity at the cabin.  The snow is almost gone, the hummingbirds are back and so are the chipmunks and the Canadian geese, so all is well up here.  By the way, our morning alarm clocks (the geese) wake us at 6:30 AM every morning with their incessant honking!  They'll be heading up to Canada in a month or so and we'll get to sleep in again.

One of our Canadian geese that comes through each spring

Sadie holding a hummer that got in our house last summer

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Amazing Maizy

Last night Maizy, the dachshund, had an amazing adventure.  It was about 8:30 PM and the kids had just finally got settled down and we were trying to bring season 6 of "Lost" up on Hulu on my new computer.  Suddenly Maizy who normally does not do much barking began to bark wildly .  She was outside and Kim shouted at her to be quiet but she kept on barking.  Micah went out to see what the deal was and heard a clicking sound.  Maizy was looking under the kids' play table on the porch and when Micah took a look there was a baby diamondback rattler!  He was coiled and rattling very hard!  Micah quickly got Maizy in the house.  He was afraid the snake had bit her but she wasn't hurt, just very excited.

Bob's got him pinned down!

He's still trying to strike!

This pick axe should do the job


They finally got him!

Getting the rattles!

Micah ran out to the garage and Kim and I ran for cameras!  Micah couldn't find anything appropriate to kill the snake so ran over to the neighbor's  to get a shovel with a point.  They both came over and Grampa tried to kill it but only pinned him down.  Micah and Alejandro ran back to get a pick axe while we snapped pictures, Bob held down the snake and Maizy retired to her kennel.  Micah finally chopped off the head and the rattles and the excitement was over for the night!

Next morning, Alyssa's birthday,  the kids went out to see what was left of the snake and to examine the diamonds on it's back.  Maizy was still very excited and ran around but didn't bark.  Several times during the morning she tried to play with it until I put it up where she couldn't get it.  I think Micah is going to save the rattles and give them to Alyssa to commemorate her birthday , but he needs to find out how you preserve them properly.

We are so proud of Maizy !  She must be a snake dog or maybe the kids' guard dog.  Who knew she would turn out to be a hero!

The girls' guard dog!

 Maizy, our hero!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Agnes Shriver

 Agnes Shriver

 I'm thinking about my friend, Agnes, today.  She is my son in law, Jim's, mother.  I have known her for over 20 years, ever since Carla and Jim have been married.  I don't get to see her a lot but we always tried to get together for a time when I was visiting Carla and Jim up in Casper.  She is such a gracious lady.  She was a nurse at the hospital there for many years.  More recently she would help Thomas with his paper route and help out Jim and Carla when they needed it.  The last few years we noticed she would have trouble remembering things and then this past 8 months or so she became much worse and finally had to go to assisted living.  Yesterday she suffered a massive stroke and now is in the hospital.  I pray that she is not suffering!

Some of my memories include the time Jim and Agnes and I went to lunch at a house (restaurant) in Casper.  We had such a nice visit and the food was great!  Another time Jim took Agnes and I out to a famous crossing on the North Platte river where the wagon trains crossed on the Oregon trail.  As always the Wyoming wind was blowing hard but we still walked around and read the plaques.  It was NOT picnic weather so we came on home. 

I also remember the time when I was making my famous Meemo's Munch for a craft fair in Casper and Agnes came over to help me bag and tag it!  We had a nice visit and lots of laughs.  Several times I went with Agnes and Thomas on the paper route and we got to visit then, too.  We spent a number of holidays in Casper and Agnes would come over to help celebrate.  She always brought the green bean casserole--yummmm!

 Agnes and I checking out my embroidery!

I  remember Agnes as a lovely lady who brings out the best in me and is a wonderful friend!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

May Day and 6 Flags!

 A Butterfly for Alyssa 

Yesterday was May Day but not many people celebrate it anymore, I don't think.  Back in the day, we used to make May baskets in grade school.  We would go out in the backwoods and pick some wildflowers, put them in our baskets and go around the neighborhood.  We would put them on the door step of someone we liked and would ring the door bell and run and hide.  I'm not sure why but that was the custom.

Checking out the wildflowers by the silo behind their house

Another custom was the Maypole.  That was even obsolete when I was a child but you see pictures of children with flowers in their hair dancing around the pole holding different colored ribbons attached to the pole.  They would wrap up the pole in a colorful design.  I guess this was done in town squares around the world!

Now days certain countries celebrate May day with military parades to show their might.  It seems like they are mostly Communist countries but I could be wrong on this.

Here's how we celebrated May Day this year.  We went to Fiesta, Texas (Six Flags plus a huge water park).  It was kind of chilly and cloudy as we left the house for opening day of the water park, but we were optimistic that it would warm up if the sun ever came out (which it usually does about noon).  We arrived at the park (about 15 minutes from their home) and lo and behold, right at the stroke of noon out came the sun!  And it immediately warmed up--a lot!  The whole family (except Grampa who does not do water fun) went around the "lazy river" and then we went on all kinds of water slides, green, pink, yellow, and blue.  Then we went to several children's pools one with a pirate boat in the middle.  Samara, Alyssa, Kim and I went down a big raft kind of slide and Micah, Samara, Alyssa and I went down a huge "bumpy" slide like a toboggan slide.  For tobbogans they have sort of foam ones with handles and you go down like a belly flop.  Water splashes up in your face as you hit the "moguls".  A fun ride for sure.  The girls swam in the big wave pool for awhile but then it was safety break time so we went over to the rides part of 6 flags.

Six Flags at Fiesta, Texas The big waterfalls

The biggest Roller Coaster.  Not the one we were on!

The big curve!

Samara and Alyssa wanted to go on the roller coaster.  (I figured it was a children's one since both of them were tall enough for it) so Kim and I went with them.  It was an old fashioned wooden one with no loops or corkscrews which make me deathly sick.  It was a true big peoples roller coaster and I had to hang on for dear life and keep my eyes closed the whole time while Alyssa and Samara had the time of their life!  I am still a little sore from being thrown around!  The picture at the end showed me with my head down but Alyssa was smiling and enjoying herself!  There were a lot more rides for the kids over in the children's part of the park and we spent quite a bit of time there too.  We got home after 6PM and we were all pooped.  We had hot dogs and the girls were ready to go to bed!  We all got a little too much sun and our backs are kind of rosy today but we had a ball.

Juice break at the Children's Fun Park

Another Shot!