Saturday, July 20, 2013

And To Think That I Saw it On Mulberry Street

Here I am on top of Airport Hill.  The Delaney Butte is behind me.  Luckily there was no coyote up here on top!

On my walk today I got to thinking about a story we used to have on a record (this was in the "olden days" before books on tape and  It was one of the first books Dr. Seuss wrote and I was quite young.  It was called "To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street!". We loved that story and I have always tried to use that philosophy when out on walks to make them more interesting.

For instance today when I went on my walk, I was about a mile and a half from home when I heard a coyote howling behind me.  I imagined a starving pack of them sneaking in the willows getting closer and closer.  The howling continued and I sped up my walking!  If only John or Clint Harvat would show up in their pickup to save me.  I kept on moving quickly looking for a stick to beat them off or a stone to throw at them.  I looked behind me and even turned around a few times and walked backwards but could not spot anything.  Finally as I was puffing up the hill to our first gate, I realized I hadn't heard anything for awhile and I figured I had escaped!  I made it back to the cabin safely with a new personal best for speed.  WooooHoooo!

You may be wondering what happened to my walking partners, the heifers.  They would have protected me.  Well, they got moved to a different pasture.  No help from them and my friend, Mr. Rabbit had hopped away from me without a look backwards!

See, I bet you never thought a regular morning walk could be so exciting.  You should read up on it and try it sometime.  Thank you, Dr. Seuss.

I have some other good examples but they can wait for another time.  Here are some pictures from other recent walks I've taken.  Each one was a fun adventure.

While we were visiting Carla and Jim, we took a drive to Devil's Tower.  I had never been there before.  Carla and I took the walk around the base of the tower.

We were there on a Beautiful Sunday afternoon.   Many people like to rock climb to the top of the tower.  You probably can't see the 2 people on the ledge just to the left of that tree branch.  There were many more climbing on the backside of the tower. 

Brendin Darcy and I hiked up a mountain in Mount Vernon , WA in June.  I have posted some of the pictures from then but here are a few more.  The foliage in Washington is more jungle-like than here in Colorado.

Darcy, Brendin and I are headed down the mountain in Mount Vernon.

Finally we came to the road back to the car!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Meemo Says Mini Taco Salads are Fun Foods !

Looks tasty doesn't it ?

Here's the latest from my cooking adventures.  Yesterday I was rummaging through the refrigerator trying to use up food before it spoiled.  I found a half package of hamburger and decided a nice taco salad was just the ticket.
The little tortilla baskets after baking.

I got to remembering that last fall Annie had given me a set of heavy kind of fluted pans for making those tortilla bowls they serve taco salad in.  Found them and got my small sized corn tortillas (8 inches?) out of the freezer.  I quickly thawed them in the microwave, brushed a little oil on each side, and pressed them into the pans.  I put them in my toaster oven, set it on convection, and baked them at 450degrees for around 10 minutes until they started to turn golden brown.  I could only fit 2 in the oven at a time but that was OK.  It works well for only 2 people.
Mini salads have their meat and cheese and are ready for toppings.

Meanwhile I browned and seasoned my meat.  I kind of cleaned up some leftover Rotel, green chilis, and wonderful  Vermont sharp cheddar cheese one of Thomas's friends had contributed to our 4th of July weekend.  I found some black olives and sliced them and then chopped up my last tomato, some onions and lettuce and I was set.  I put a big spoonful of meat in each little basket, added the toppings and a scoop of sour cream and came up with these cute mini taco salads.  They were perfect for a warm summer supper.
Dinner is ready to serve.

Two mini salads just about did it for me!

I guess I'm not Paula Dean, but I have fun trying to make do with what is around the kitchen. I wonder what I can come up with for tonight?

I finally took my walk up on top of Airport Hill this morning. it was a beautiful morning and I really enjoyed the walk.  Here are some pictures I took while I was catching my breath on top of the hill. 

This is looking to the southeast off of airport hill at the buildings where Bob's Uncle Albert used to live.  Way, way back in the distance you can just barely make out the Rabbit Ears.  You can also see Harvat's red barn on the far left.

My walking partners are waiting for me at the cattle guard.  Half of the heifers ran in front of me and stopped every so often to make sure I was coming and the other half followed behind.  When I got to the cattleguard this time they all got behind me and followed very closely until I got to their salt.  They quit me when they found I wasn't going to give them any grain, I guess.
Here I am up on Airport Hill.  That is the Haskins meadow down the hill behind me.  The cabin is way back there down the hill.
See the little white dot on the other side of the hay meadow?  That is our storage shed on top of the hill above the ponds.


Monday, July 15, 2013

What's With My Eyes This Summer?

No redness in those eyes today!  Another blingy cap!
Have your eyes been bothering you this summer?  Mine have been particularly bad this year!  Bob's have been pretty bad too.  I think I have mentioned my annual eye infection before in my blogs but if not here is the deal.  Every spring I seem to get a severe eye infection that practically blinds me.  This has been going on since childhood and it took me many years to figure out that it always starts with irritated eyes.  The cause since I have been living up here has been that dratted cotton that comes off the cottonwood trees each spring. 

When I was young I always blamed it on swimming in lakes and keeping my eyes open underwater--that was probably true back then.  One summer when Darcy was around 10 or 11, he and I drove up to Casper to visit Carla, Jim and the boys.  Apparently the cottonwoods were in full blowing cotton.  I got a terrible infection and could barely open my eyes especially outside in the sunshine.  I wore contacts at the time and didn't have any glasses with me.  We went to the movies one night (I think it was the first Pirates of the Caribbean) and I had to hold my hands over my eyes and peek through the cracks of my fingers!  The next day I went to the Emergency Room at the hospital.  (Don't even get me started on Casper's Urgent Care places that won't take Medicare patients even if they choose to pay for the visit.)  The Dr. prescribed the "magic eye drops" that cure the condition in less than 4 days usually.  He also told me to continue putting allergy eye drops in my eyes as long as allergy season lasted and to do it every year. 

The drops were slow to work and it took all 4 days to get better so Darcy and I got to extend our stay because I could not see to drive!  The sun was just too blinding.  When my eyes got better we had an adventure on our drive home but that is another story. 
This was taken in Lake Charles, LA when Bob, Carla and I went to the casino there in March.  Another story! I couldn't resist posting such a pretty picture taken from our room.
This year has been the worst!  We went to Elko,NV to visit JJ in early June.  The cottonwoods were in full glory and I began to feel my eyes itching but did not heed the Casper Dr.'s orders.  By the time I was driving up to Burlington, WA (a 11-12 hour drive) the infection had hit.  My eyelids were itching, my eyes were all red and mattery and I could hardly keep them open they were so swollen.  At least I was wearing glasses so it wasn't as bad as with contacts.  I got the "magic drops" again and picked up some allergy eye drops in case.  This was a week or so after my first signs of allergy.  I figured Burlington would be done with the cottonwoods ,but no, they were just coming out!  Before we left Marianne's I was putting more "magic  drops " in my eyes to get rid of a second infection.

  By the time we got here a week or 2 later, the infection had returned for a third time due to the cottonwoods now in full glory here!  This has been unheard of for me! It is July for heavens sake!  I certainly hope I have seen the last of this infection.  I am diligently putting allergy eye drops in my eyes every day!  When Bob went to get his driver's license the other day, he could barely see the letters in the eye exam box.  His eyes were all mattered up so I gave him a dose of allergy eye drops and it did clear them up enough to read the letters.

A couple views of  the cleaning apron I designed and made
I have been moving right along with my sewing and embroidery for the craft fair.  I never seem to get everything done I want to but hopefully I will have enough examples of some of the things I do, so that people can order them for me to do later.  I will be on hiatus for the 3 weeks I am in Phoenix but after that I hope to get some serious work done!  The ugly bathroom is still calling to me to get started on it too!

Here is the promised recipe.  Mom used to make these but most of my memories of Pickled Eggs come from our visits to Pennsylvania in the summers up in the Laural Highlands.  My mother's family came from Connellsville, PA at the foot of the mountains.  Several of my aunts and uncles had summer cabins up in the mountains and we spent many wonderful summers visiting there.  One of the favorite places to go eat was a family style restaurant called Mom's.  There were always beautiful red pickled eggs on the table as part of the meal.  They really are wonderful.  I never was too fond of just hard boiled eggs but these are different and delicious. Nowadays They are a summer standard at the Manville cabin.

                    Pickled Eggs and Beets
                A Good Pennsylvania Dutch

1 Cup vinegar-I use apple cider vinegar
1/2 Cup water
1 Cup beet juice
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp pickling spice
15 or so hard boiled eggs, peeled
1 onion sliced
Pinch of salt
2 cans of beets - sliced, quartered or whole-you can also use fresh ones and cook , peel and quarter them. Save the cooking liquid to use in the recipe.

Boil all ingredients together except eggs, onion, and beets for 5 minutes. Layer eggs, beets and onions in a large jar. Pour hot liquid over to cover.  Add more water or beet juice to cover everything. Refrigerate. The longer they wait the better they are!  We usually try to wait a couple days but a week is better.  The color and flavor soaks into the white all the way to the yolk. Very tasty. They keep a long time just like pickles.

Yum!  The eggs and beets are ready!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

An Unexpected Trip

Our family.  Top left Marianne, Danny, Carla.  Front JJ, Me, Bob.  Thanks Rita for taking our family picture!
 Click on the picture to make bigger.  Hit the back button to come back to the page.

Today I am going to post some recipes but first have decided to talk about another trip I am about to take.  A few days ago I got a call from my friend Annie in Phoenix (the one who had 2 knee replacements last spring and summer.  Bob and I spent about 3 months with her).  She had torn up a tendon in one of her knees and is going to have surgery on it ASAP.  She will be laid up again for another 6 to 8 weeks!  I will be headed back down to help her out for awhile again. 
Remember the Lily Pad pond from yesterday?  We took group pictures in front of it.  I obviously had my camera with me taking pictures of everyone setting up their cameras for timed shots.  That's all I have--no group photo.
This time her niece will be able to stay with her for the week of surgery.  That is good because I have the local Craft Fair to do with Carla before I can get down there.  Bob has decided he can't stand that much heat and he is a little worried about being so far from his urologist.  It is almost time for his stent in the ureter to be changed and he doesn't want to be in any Phoenix hospitals again!  Last year was enough for him.  Anyway, he is going to stay up in Casper with Carla while I am gone.  I will only be able to stay for about 3 weeks and then we will see how well she is getting along.  I have to get back for all of Bob's Dr. appointments I actually have a check up too.

Darcy and Brendin on our hike.  Darcy is trying to avoid mosquitoes, I think.
 Maybe this time I can get to see some of my former students and friends on FB.  (Tonya and Theresa??  Who else is down there in summer?) Of course I may get to visit with Beth's sister Amy and her family too. Then again I was pretty busy last time just getting everyone taken care of.  At least I will be dealing only with one hospital and maybe not even that if all goes well. Annie and I will have some good times reminiscing about the good old days .

I was trying to bind the apron on a table with a just started puzzle and all my sewing paraphernalia.
I am trying to multi-task right now and things are kind of getting in a jumble.  I hope this doesn't sound as discombobulated as I feel!  I am embroidering some lace snowflakes for the craft fair, making a garden apron, eating a little lunch, hoping the lightning doesn't shut me down, and trying to write this blog.  Oh and I keep getting cell phone messages and FB messages as well!  I think it is time to post my recipes!
I'm trying to make a set of lace snowflake ornaments for the craft fair but the thread keeps breaking.

The first recipe is for ice cream  Jason was looking for one just before the Fourth of July so I dug out an old one I've had around for a long time.  Carla brought her electric ice cream freezer down for the 4th so we used it with some modifications to make the ice cream.  We had a major problem though.  The motor was seized up on the freezer!  We had already cooked and cooled the batter and we had a house full of young men who were looking forward to this dessert so they took turns spinning a pair of pliers holding on to the dasher! It took awhile but the result was delicious.  Here it is:


6 Eggs
2  Cups milk
¾  Cup sugar
2 to 3 Tablespoons Honey
¼ teaspoon salt
2 Cups whipping cream
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
Crushed ice and Rock Salt

In a medium saucepan, beat together eggs, milk, sugar, honey, and salt.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and just coats a spoon.  Cool quickly by setting the pan in ice or cold water and stirring for a few minutes.  Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly cooled at least an hour.  When ready to freeze, pour chilled custard, whipping cream and vanilla into a 1 gallon ice cream freezer can.  Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions using 6 parts ice to 1 part rock salt.  Transfer to freezer containers and freeze until firm.

These are the American Egg Board Directions.  You can adjust according to size of freezer and if you didn’t start on time.  I used to put my custard in the freezer to speed it up and then put it in the ice cream freezer when it got lukewarm.  It just takes more ice and time to set up.  The proportions of ice to salt really are pretty important for a nice smooth ice cream.  Cooking the eggs in the custard prevents Salmonella so I definitely recommend it!
Carla’s version we called Drunken Strawberry Ice Cream:  Prepare as above, Partially freeze.  Add 2 cups sweetened crushed fresh strawberries and a couple shots of vodka to the mix and complete freezing it.
Banana Nut:  Reduce vanilla to 1 ½ tsp.  Prepare as above.  Stir 3 large ripe bananas, mashed, and ½ cup chopped toasted pecans to custard mixture and freeze.

Cherry:  Reduce vanilla to 1/2 tsp. add 2 Tbsp.  almond Extract.  Prepare as above.  Partially freeze.  Add 2 pounds pitted pureed dark sweet cherries or 1 can (16 to 17 oz. pitted dark sweet cherries, drained and chopped.  Complete freezing.

Chocolate:  Add 3 squares (1 oz. each) unsweetened chocolate to egg mixture.  Prepare as above.

Mint:  Omit vanilla.  Add 1 ½ tsp. mint extract and 9 to 12 drops green food color, if desired.  Prepare as above.  I think you can figure out Chocolate Mint by yourself.

Plum (really???):  Reduce vanilla to 1 tsp.  Prepare as above.  Partially freeze.  Add 1 ½ lbs. pitted, pureed ripe fresh plums.  Complete freezing.

The paper said more at the bottom of the page but I must have lost the rest of the pages!

  I guess I'll save the other recipe for tomorrow......

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Catching Up on a Rainy Day

Puddles of water on our chairs
It's one of those rare ( for here) rainy, cool July mornings.  I could go out and sit on the porch, but I finally got in the mood to write in my blog and don't want to lose the chance.  I usually get my coffee and sit in the sun and read or watch the wildlife in our little neighborhood or just contemplate the day until Bob gets up and needs his breakfast.  I always have loved this quiet time to myself each morning.  Even when I was teaching and we started school at 7:00 AM I would get up early so I would have quiet time to myself.  Some of my best ideas and  thinking happens at this time.

Base Camp at the cabin.  We had extra beds in the house so many slept outside!
After our big fourth of July week with over 20 people here, I think we have recuperated!  What a great time we had.  All four of my children were here with most of their families plus we had a few extra friends that we love to have come visit.  One person dubbed our front yard "Base Camp".  I prefer that to "Tent City", which reminds me of jail in Arizona.
Some of us played ladder ball after most of the people had gone home.
Carla even brought up a portable potty with privacy tent included!  A real necessity with our one ugly bathroom (Which, by the way, is still waiting for renovations to happen!  Our life just seems to keep spiraling out of control).

Carla's portable potty tent.  Very handy for a crowd!
Even with about $300 dollars worth of groceries (some due to a power outage of the refrigerator and Danny's method of cleaning it--toss absolutely everything out including brand new mustard, Tabasco sauce and other sauces which last forever--so Kathi can scrub it out real well) and all the great food everyone brought up, we were running low on really basic stuff like salt, butter,bread--you get the picture.  Our car had a recall so we had to take it to Ft. Collins for service on the Monday that our last guests left.  While we were there, we went to Sam's and got stocked up on all the basic stuff to the tune of 400 more dollars!  Did I mention we have no grocery store any more in Walden?  (well, it 's bankrupt for the time being anyway).  We were home for a couple days getting groceries put away and me trying to get some embroidery done for the craft fair at the end of the month and then it was time to make our third attempt at getting Bob's driver's license.

One of the favorite hikes is to the lily pad pond.  It is 4.5 miles round trip and not for the wimpy ones!  Steep hills and a roaring river to cross in bare feet over slippery, sharp rocks!  Quite a group made it, though.
 Before I go on I want to clear up the refrigerator incident.  While Bob and I were in Seattle at Brendin's graduation and commissioning ceremony, a transformer was struck by lightning and threw 2 breakers( refrigerator and hot tub--weird but true).  Danny and Kathi had come up to Walden for Rodeo weekend and found the refrigerator off and very stinky.  They called and asked if we really meant to turn off that breaker.  Anyway they got stuck with spending part of their visit  cleaning out the fridge instead of with high school friends.  We are very grateful that they got that opportunity instead of what would have greeted us a week later when we got home! 

Darcy and Chris are cleaning their fish after a successful afternoon at the pond.
Now back to the Driver's license problems!  Back in March while we were still in Texas, Bob discovered that he needed to renew his driver's license before his birthday in late April.  We were not planning on being back in Colorado until mid May, so we went online to see how you get the license renewed when you aren't in state.  I found all the info and we went through all the hoops for people over 65 years old including an eye exam.  We sent in all the the paper work along with a check for $21 and waited for the license to come.  It had said it could be up to 6 -8 weeks so no big deal.  Well at 2 months I thought we should call to see what the deal was but Bob thought he had waited longer than that a couple times so we did nothing but wait for another month.  Finally the day before we left for Seattle, Bob decided maybe we needed to check on it.  I called Steamboat and they cut me short and told me people over 65 could not get a driver's license online and we had been on a fraudulent web sight.  I tried to explain that we had a cancelled check from the Colorado Department of Revenue but she insisted we had been bilked of our $21.  She wouldn't even look at her computer but did give me a phone number for resolving issues.  By the time I got done talking to her the other office was closed so I left our number.  The next day on our way between Saratoga and Rawlins I got a call from the issues department.  Yes, Bob had a license and it had been mailed on March 27.  They were very nice but said it was a Post Office issue and to deal with them. Our feeling was if we hadn't gotten it by then it was time to just say it was lost and get a duplicate.
How can anyone resist taking pictures of the Columbines.  Here's this year's offering.
When we returned from Washington and while we were stocking up on groceries for the Fourth in Steamboat, we stopped  in at the driver's license office only to find out they were not open on Friday 's and Monday's!  OK so the next attempt was on the next Tuesday.  By then JJ and Ozzie were here and were up for a trip over to Steamboat and a nice lunch at Cantina after Bob got his license.  Some of you are already laughing at us, I bet!  We got there about 10:45 and drew number 66.  There were people out on the sidewalk waiting!  They were on 50 and in the next half hour they never called another number.  They closed at 12 for an hour for lunch and still no number called.  We decided the Cantina sounded good so we enjoyed our lunch and got what we needed in Steamboat and headed home.

My latest effort.  A blingy cap.  Carla and I noticed they were all the rage in the tourist shops up in Deadwood.
The next installment of the saga happened yesterday.  We called over to the Hot Sulfur Springs Office and got all the info on what was needed and she mentioned we better come this week because she was going to have to go help them over in Steamboat for the next 3 weeks because they were having issues over there!  DUH!  Well we went over and got in line (1 person ahead of us no need for a number).  We were out of there and on our way home in less than an hour!  My only advice to North Parkers who need a driver's license is to call Hot Sulfur before heading over there!

That's it for today maybe a recipe for tomorrow.

Note to family who were at the cabin:  The baby robins (all 4 of them) just left the nest!  Bob sat there and watched them and the mother who continued to feed them on the porch.  She kept encouraging them until they finally hopped off the porch and went around the corner.  He never called me to come get pictures!