Friday, December 29, 2017

Memories from Manville’s Christmas Past

Snow at the cabin!  This was Bob maybe 10 years ago

It’s the end of the year 2017!  It has left me with a lot of memories both good and bad. I’m sorry I haven’t blogged more often to document some of them. I’m getting old and the short-term memories slip away more quickly!  I do love to go back and read the “so many years ago” memories on Facebook. This past week Kathi posted a blog from many years ago about one of our very memorable family Christmases on her Country Chicken Girl blog.

We were laughing about it and remembering some more recent Christmas adventures that should be documented! So I have decided to take a stab at it. Kathi wrote her story about her first Christmas with the Manvilles--kind of from a newcomers point of view. My story is about a more recent Christmas adventure. I believe it took place 2 years ago. We (at least me, Bob when he was alive, and whoever of our family that was coming for Christmas that year) always planned to spend it at “the cabin”. It was not a simple “over the river and through the woods” type of trip to get there. It is at least a 2.5 mile ride in on snowmobiles or other tracked vehicles through snow covered meadows, draws, several kinda steep hills, up in the trees, and across a creek that is usually frozen and covered with snow. We have to haul all our presents, food, clothing and sometimes gasoline in on sleds pulled by the snowmobiles. Oh, and don’t forget computers, and other electronic devices.

On this particular year, only 2 of Danny’s boys, Danny, Kathi and I were in Walden for Christmas. Danny insisted we spend it at their house since he had to plow snow at the bowling alley and do some other chores before he could get away. He figured he could only leave no earlier than 4:00 and it would be getting dark by 4:30. He did not want to try going in that late in big snow!  The rest of us insisted we could go up earlier with Chris’s new snowmobile and get everything in to the cabin before then and Danny could get whatever we couldn’t fit when he got there. He still insisted it was not a good plan but was out voted.

Chris, Colton and I headed out from Walden to the end of the plowed road about 2:30. We had 1 snow machine, some of the food and our belongings plus Chris’s Labrador puppy. It was cold with blowing snow but the sun was out when we got there. We unloaded Chris’s machine and he headed out to get the sled we needed to haul in our supplies. He took the puppy with him.  We kept a sled at the neighbor’s ranch which was probably 1/2 mile away. Meanwhile Colton and I organized all the things to get loaded. Oh, and of course there is very poor to no cell service up there. We could not see where Chris was and could not call town to see if Danny and Kathi had left either.

 So after about an hour and no Chris we were pretty worried but had no way of looking for him. Finally Danny and Kathi showed up with 2 more snowmobiles and all the rest of the stuff. We got them unloaded and Danny went off to look for Chris. He had been stuck with the sled. Anyway they came back with 1 sled and the dog and as predicted by Danny it was getting dark. We loaded the sled with the necessities for the night and sent Danny, Kathi, Chris and the dog into the cabin. Kathi had the sled and dog, I think there was another sled involved that they had to abandon so that Danny and Chris could break trail as nobody had been that way yet and the snow was deep and powder. They also left Kathi and the puppy stuck in the middle of a meadow about halfway there. They could break trail and come back for her.

Colton and I had no idea what was going on. At least we had a heated pickup to wait in. Meanwhile Kathi was out in the cold blowing snow in the dark wrestling a puppy that wanted to run in the snow but it was too deep!  None of us knew what was happening with each other!  There was nothing Colton and I could do as time marched on. Should we go back to town and get help from my nephews?  Should we stay put?  We couldn’t call anyone so we gave them until 8:00 PM  and then we would go back to town!  Yes, it was several hours ticking by!  Colton took a nap, I was reading my book, and Kathi was still sitting out in the meadow after 1 1/2 hours not knowing where they were! 

 Finally about 7:30pm  Colton got a message from Chris that they had just made it to the cabin!  They had to go back to get Kathi, the sled and the puppy. Then they unloaded the 1 sled and came back for us and the rest of the stuff. As I recall they had to leave the other sled where it was until the next day but had to go out and get everything off it. It was close to midnight by the time we got everything there and got some dinner!  Needless to say, we will probably listen to Danny before we ever attempt a late afternoon expedition to the cabin again. Bob also always tried to get us to be smarter but some of us never learn, I guess. I say this because there are several more Cabin Christmas adventures that need documenting but they will have to wait.

*Note:  This year Skyler and his wife, Kara, Danny, Kathi and I were the only ones here in Walden for Christmas.  Skyler and I talked about going up to the cabin but decided not to even mention it to Danny!  We had a nice quiet fun time at Danny and Kathi's house. 

Digging out the snow machines and sleds!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Meemo's back in town!

Finally I've found a home for the
 afghan one of our hunters' wife
 knit for us many years ago!
I’m a Townie, again!  Well for the winter anyway. As many of you know by now, I moved into the mobile home park about 2 months ago. I am living in this cute little single wide across from the park, behind the swimming pool and kitty corner from the school. It’s a great location and it is just right for a little old lady who loves to cook and sew!  Oh and I also love to socialize so please stop in for a visit when you are at the pool, school or just in town for groceries. My coffee pot is ready and I do have tea as well!
My cosy living room.  I love the flooring!
I’m really not used to sitting at home not doing much, although I have done that for a couple days at a time but it just isn’t me!  Here is what I think is a fun thing to try. I know several ladies who are really into quilting and we have decided we need to get together to share what we are doing and to maybe learn some new things from each other. Our plan is to meet in the basement of the Community Church to do this. So far we haven’t picked a day or time but I will keep you posted. Now, here is the snapper!  As many of my Casper friends know, I am not a true quilter!  Yes I have made some quilt tops in classes and even taught a couple classes but they were truly learning experiences for me.

Free motion quilting.  Carla and I took a class to learn how to do it.
This was one of Carla's practice pieces she did in class and then colored.
Mine, on the other hand, was not worthy of coloring or even being photographed!

My Casper and Wendover friends know I am a machine embroidery enthusiast and most all of you know I love to teach and share all my sewing knowledge with others. So, if you have a sewing machine (or not) and want to join us to learn new ways to use your machines or just to have a great visit, let one of us know and we’ll keep you posted on when we plan to get started!

This is an Advent Calendar I made.
The red and white pockets hold the
25 ornaments I embroidered to hang
on the tree during advent!

This is more my kind of quilting.
 Also known as embroidery and

I have to tell you about a time when I was teaching on the reservation in Nevada. There was a lady living near there that was a dedicated quilter. She taught a quilting class every quarter through the Community College in Elko. They used my room at the school so I felt obliged to join them. I had never made a quilt before then. There were some ladies from the tribe and some from the nearby town of Mountain City and some ranch ladies living in the area who attended these classes. Our teacher was great and we had a lot of fun!

My kind of quilting!  In-the-hoop quilting
done on my Babylock Destiny machine 
These are more my speed!  I love using
 my machines to make gifts and fun stuff
like coasters, dish towels, baby toys and
towels, purses and much, much more!
 The thing I have to share is how the older ladies from the tribe used their time at our meetings. They made beautiful quilts at home and brought them to class to show us. Then they got together in a corner and visited with each other in Paiute or Shoshone.  I never knew which it was but they joked and laughed and had a great time while the rest of us worked on our quilts. I really got a kick out of them!  They were a fun bunch of ladies!

This Nativity scene was a Christmas
 gift several years ago.  I love it!
This storage unit Jim bought and
 assembled for me really classed up
my cosy little house!  Thanks, Jim
 and Carla!

That's it for today!  I have to get cracking making Christmas gifts!  Hopefully I will have another blog before Christmas.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Some Fun Memories of Homecoming Pep Rallies!

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One last picture of fall at the cabin!

Today while I was on Facebook, I was reminded of some really fun activities we used to do at Homecoming time for school pep rallies. This will be a blast from the past for many of you. I am referring to some of the lip syncs teachers (including me, of course) and students did. The Facebook post mentioned the Pointer Sisters and that triggered a memory of a lip sync we did at North Park High School for a pep rally that brought down the house! (It would be totally politically incorrect nowadays!) It was not done to make any kind of statement but just for fun and to fire up the team and the crowd!  We certainly did that!  The song was “I’m So Excited” and we had the makeup and costumes and dance moves to go with it!  It was so much fun and everyone saw a whole different side to some of their teachers! Anyone else remember that?  It was some time in the 1980’s I’m thinking!

Another lip sync we did was not the teachers but the first public speaking class I ever taught. I was “flying by the seat of my pants” teaching speech. I had taken Speech as a very shy sophomore in high school. Our teacher was a highly recognized teacher in Wisconsin and probably nationwide!  We all loved her. I tried to pattern my class after hers and I must say it was my favorite class to teach because it was so much fun and I could see my students grow and improve so much in one semester!  Early in the class I tried to do some “bonding” exercises to loosen everybody up.  It was getting close to Halloween and I decided we needed to do a lip sync just for fun in class. We picked Monster Mash and it turned out to be so much fun and really showcased another side to many of the students that we signed up for the lip sync at the next pep rally!  That was fun! 

I don’t think I could talk enough teachers into doing a lip sync in Owyhee but I do remember some student council kids doing skits at the pep rallies. When I was transferred to West Wendover it was a whole new experience in lip syncing for me!  You need to know a little background about the school before I talk about lip syncing in this town. 

Many of you know that Wendover is in 2 states. Utah and Nevada. The Nevada side is called West Wendover. For years there was one high school on the Utah side and one Grade School on the Nevada side. Both school districts (and states) cooperated on the students’ education. About 3 years after I started teaching in Elko County School District, due to financial and political issues, each state decided to build their own schools. Nevada built a new high school and Utah built a grade school. I was transferred to West Wendover to teach in the new high school!  It was a great opportunity and I was excited to outfit a brand new home economics room. There were some drawbacks!  The students were NOT excited to be ripped out of their Utah high school and all their friends!  Especially the seniors as you can probably agree. We had a lot of tears and hostility the first two years but the students did all big events like prom and homecoming at both schools.

 So, getting back to the lip syncing.  At the Utah school it turns out that was a huge event. Each class developed costumes, dance routines, a medley of songs and a big cast for the competition!  As you would expect, we teachers (who had only met each other a few weeks before) could not be outdone!  Everyone was expected to participate and we had a great young bunch of teachers who chose songs, wrote the script and organized our practices. The plan was to have one of our teachers, Jim Wintermote, relaxing and listening to tunes on the radio.  He would keep changing stations after listening a bit to each song we were lip syncing to. We must have had about 5 song clips including a head banger solo by our young female business teacher, Amber Watkins, who also had been an announcer at NASCAR races, a group dance and lip sync to Lean on Me ( I was in it), Some of the men teachers did a gangsta rap, and there were a couple others that were popular at the time but I don’t remember them and then, our grand finale which brought down the house was done by our female PE teacher, Karen Holmes, and our principal, Fred Gorton. It was “I Just Want To Be King” from Lion King complete with lion ears on head bands like Mickey Mouse ears!  The kids knew our principal well as he had been their principal and a teacher in grade school. They loved it!  It really got us off to a great start with the students who were pretty hostile for quite awhile but they saw us in a new light and maybe made school a little easier for all of us!  By the way, I believe we did not win the competition. I think the Junior class did that year. The lip syncs became a tradition after that for all the years I was there but they never were as good as that first one!

My thoughts always go back to my dance partner from that first lip sync in West Wendover. Her name was Julia and she taught social studies. Her room was right next to mine and we had many good times after that. A few years later she got married and retired from teaching at our school. Several years later she developed a brain tumor that was malignant and passed away. I still miss her!  Rest peacefully my friend and colleague! My other thoughts go out to the "head banger", Amber.  She got married, moved away and has two darling children.  Several years ago she developed breast cancer and so far is successfully battling it.  My prayers are with her and her family as well. 

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These were the female teachers of that era.  Julia is standing on the right in back, Karen is right in front of her leaning over, Amber is in front kneeling on the left and I am in back second from the left.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Fried Mush

Fried Mush with butter and Maple Syrup!
I’ve been missing my dad lately. He’s been gone for over 10 years but is still in many of our memories. He was a huge family man and I didn’t realize that all the “little” things he did for all of us were not the norm in most families. Mom was the main cook of the family and a dedicated “foodie” (that’s where I get it from) but Dad was the breakfast maker in our family!

Dad was always finding different breakfast recipes to serve us. He had his grandmother’s 100 year old cookbook and would browse through it to get his ideas. He wasn’t into the modern breakfast casserole types of recipes. He would try out these recipes or use our favorites on the weekends. During the week when we all got up early to go to work or school, he made the same thing every morning but that is a whole story for another blog! My siblings and cousins who lived with my parents for awhile are probably smiling right now!  

Even when my dad was in his nineties and living in Florida he would get up and pick fresh grapefruits from his trees ( he was a Master Gardener) and halve them, cut around each section and serve them in china saucers with special spoons for all of us who were visiting him!  By then he was getting pretty slow but we stayed out of the kitchen until he called us to breakfast. He would go out and pick fresh flowers for the table and have it set properly. Mom taught him well!
Some of my dad’s favorite breakfasts were different egg dishes and pancakes, but the ones that stick in my mind were hoe cakes, which I cannot make like his and fried mush which I had a craving for this week. It is easy to make but you do have to plan ahead now days. Back in the “olden days” I think fried mush was a way to use up leftovers. I’m thinking we had hot cornmeal mush for breakfast and there was a lot leftover, ha! Not really a favorite in the family I guess!  Anyway, the next day we would have fried mush with maple syrup that we tapped from our maple trees (which was another one of Dad’s projects). Yummmm!  Today, as I was making my fried mush, I realized that the molded (not moldy!) block of mush looked and tasted like Polenta!  Hmmmm!  I never thought about that before—I guess I could go to the store and buy a block of it from the refrigerated section....

Here is the way Dad made it and how I do it—pretty simple.

 Fried Mush

1 Cup cornmeal
4 Cups water
1 tsp. Salt

Follow directions on the box for Corn Meal Mush.
When the mush is cooked butter a large loaf pan and pack the mush in it. Refrigerate it overnight or until it is chilled and set up.
Sorry, I can't make it rotate but you get the idea.
My slices

Nice and crispy!
 Unmold the block of cornmeal and slice into about 1/4 inch slices. Fry in butter or bacon grease until golden brown and crispy on the edges.

 Serve with butter and syrup or jam and jelly. You know I love it with maple syrup! Wrap the rest of the block in plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator for later!  I haven’t tried freezing it but I think that might work too. 

I think I will look up Hoe Cakes on the internet and give them another try.  I never could get them to be as thin and crispy as Dad's were but am willing to give it another shot!  Have a great day! See you at my next blog!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Our Big Fitbit Competition!

The best view from my hot tub

I’m sitting in my hot tub at 5 PM on the first day of fall feeling guilty because I'm indulging myself rather than trying to stay fit!  Now, you KNOW there has to be a story behind this remark!
 Here goes:

The ambiance isn't much, but the beverage and the comfort is great! 

It all began when Carla gave me a new Fitbit last spring. I wore it faithfully for several months and basically used it for a watch and an alarm clock for waking up in the morning. One day early in summer I saw an invitation to join a challenge for the work week from Marianne. I guess she got a new Fitbit for Mother's Day and actually checked out many of the uses for it!  I accepted the challenge as did some of the family and friends. I then realized ( or remembered) how competitive many of us are!  For several weeks Kathi kicked our butts but then Marianne crept up and was getting close. Carla couldn’t sit back so she moved on up. I of course held down last place (except once when Carla didn't wear her Fitbit for several days).  I used the excuses of sore knee and being too old, not to mention a fear of meeting up with a moose or mountain lion!  Carla was complaining that Marianne would wait to see if she (Carla) was ahead and then would go out after dark just before deadline to beat her out!  Marianne insisted she and Brendin had Pokémon Go things they had to do at the park. Anyway, suddenly there was a new person on the list and she kept beating all of us. Apparently Kathi had accidentally invited her and she became the person to beat! I actually had some competition for last place with a friend of Marianne’s who had just had surgery and had to take it easy!  HA!

Here were the standings at the end of last week.
  Very typical with me at the bottom of the list!

June and July went by and I stayed comfortably in last place. Then I went up to Burlington WA for a few weeks.  Marianne’s stomping grounds!  Nothing would do but I had to walk with her. This included four miles on the levee plus a walk with the dog who has knee issues too so can only go to a nearby park (about1/2 mile) and do the Pokémon thing!  Marianne made sure she did a lot of walking at work so I couldn’t keep even! We did some great walks up in Bellingham WA along the bay.

A great sunset on our walk along the bay

A little further down the pier 
 I took lots of great pictures of the sunset there one night.  I still couldn’t catch Kathi or her friend!  One of the events we did while I was there was to attend the Mount Baker Blues Festival! I danced at the concerts and at the after hours jam sessions and got in way over my 10,000 steps goal each
day but still never made it to first place!

Walter Trout at the Blues Fest!
Marianne and I were right up front at the stage!
 I was dancing!

A few weeks after I returned home I went up to Carla’s home in Casper for the Eclipse. Carla had been doing 6 mile walks through the parks. We did a lot of walking around downtown since parking was at a premium.
Carla, Jim, Paul and Caroline viewing the eclipse in Casper

 I did the parks walk and then danced until 1 AM one night at the eclipse festival and then one afternoon at the river festival!  It was dang hot and lots of fun. I got in lots of steps but was never a winner!  I even walked and danced 20,000 steps one day and was still behind!

This was my biggest day when we
 were dancing on Eclipse weekend
I still didn't win
Dancing to one of the bands at the Eclipse Fest.
Lots of steps!

Now that fall is here and things have settled down I think I have found a secret weapon!HEHEHE!!!  Nobody is going to want to go out in the rain and snow for their walks least of all me!  Besides, after my bear scare I am not wandering too far from the house!  The first two years after I retired, Bob and I stayed up at the cabin most of the winter. I did some snowshoeing but the mountain lions were out and about as well as moose and hungry coyotes.   I envisioned myself trying to run in my snowshoes away from them and decided I needed to exercise in the house! So I got a CD called something like walk away the pounds. I faithfully did it through blizzards and blowing snow right in the comfort of my home!  I really felt in good shape!  So I have now dug out that CD and will see how many steps it has!  Look out everyone!  I might even have to break out my old Richard Simmons Sweatin’ with the Oldies!  I actually loved doing those exercises. 

They are really old school but still get the job done!
 I don't need a Gold's Gym to stay in shape
when I'm off the grid!
This was a few years ago in winter.  The ambiance looks better!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

My Bear

A smoky sunrise that I couldn't resist photographing
Last weekend I heard a story about a bear wandering around in a suburb of Denver. This time of year we hear a lot of these kind of stories because it is fall and bears are hunting for food to keep them going during hibernation. It seems like most of these stories end with the “authorities” loading them up and “relocating” them. I'm not positive but I think North Park might be one of the relocation destinations!  There have been lots of stories about bears getting into my neighbors' dumpsters and hanging around people’s ranch buildings and cabins even when there is a lot of activity going on. I have been living ( or spending summers) up here for over 40 years and had never actually seen a bear around here although I have seen lots of signs of bears on my daily walks. Our neighbors have had plenty of incidents and sightings even on our land but I must not be very observant. This brings me to the story of “My Bear”.

One evening about 9PM I was minding my business and reading my book when I heard a light scratching on the screen of the west window. I looked up thinking it was a chipmunk or bird even though it seemed too dark for them to be out. I thought I saw a big paw but just then the phone rang. It is a landline so I had to go across the room to answer. It was my brother and we had some business to discuss. The phone is located next to a big picture window with a smaller window on each side. The windows look out on our porch and then down to the creek.  One of those was open maybe about 6 inches. As we were speaking I looked out on the porch and right below the big window I saw a brown furry back of an animal. I thought it might be a coyote, so I yelled out the open window “Shoooo! Get off the porch!”  

The infamous window where the bear stared at me!
To my horror a bear stood up, put his front paws up on the big window and stared at me not 2 feet from my face with only a pane of glass between us!!!  The phone was still in my hand up to my ear and I screamed and screamed as loud as I could!  Poor Tip’s ears must still be ringing! (I had heard somewhere to make a lot of loud noise to scare bears away). The bear quickly ran away and I “calmly” said to Tip, “Well, that scared him away.”  My heart was beating fast and Tip had no idea what was going on!  I explained and he was laughing with me by the time we hung up. In my mind I was thinking, “His face sure did look like a cute Teddy Bear!”  That night I locked the doors and grabbed my air horn that my son-in-law insisted I take with me on my hikes, and took it to bed with me.  HA!

The next night I was in town until after dark and decided to stay with Danny and Kathi overnight.  We were visualizing me having to make a mad dash in the dark from the car to the door with “my bear” chasing after me! 

 When I told my neighbor about the incident she asked me if the bear had cattle sized ear tags, one in each ear. There were no tags. She had an incident a few years before and the Fish and Game fellows told her if they were tagged they were relocated bears. Mine had no tags so I guess he was wild.

Well, that’s my bear story!  I have some other wildlife stories to tell but none that exciting!  Oh, and my grandsons wanted to know why I didn’t take pictures!  I told them I was too busy screaming! Hehehe!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Two Great Fall Recipes

2 Great Fall Recipes

Fall has arrived at the cabin!
The leaves are changing and there is a snap in the air. Surprisingly we have not had our first frost yet!  Usually it comes before fair but it didn't this year!  I think they are calling for frost tonight. With that in mind I want to share 2 recipes I love that really are old standbys in their generic form but I have tweaked them and they are now extra special!  Here they are:

My Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

I guess I don't know how to make the fancy design with the cream but here is the soup!

2 Tbsp. Butter
2 Tbsp. Flour
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 – 1 ½ Cup milk
8-10 large fresh basil leaves (I just pick a handful), chopped. You can use dried basil, about 1-2 Tbsp.
1 28 oz. can San Marzano tomatoes
1C.  Chicken Broth
Salt and pepper to taste. I use Trader Joe's Everyday seasoning if I have it. (I use it for everything--I buy several bottles every time I am at their store!)
1/4 C. Parmesan Cheese (in the can or shredded--your choice. 
*optional:  1-2 Tbsp. heavy cream. This really makes it exceptional but adds calories!
These are the ingredients you will need.  I got the tomatoes at Safeway
Here are the onions, garlic and basil.  I grow 3 kinds of basil,  I love using it!
That's one very large clove of garlic about 1 Tablespoon of minced!


1.      Make the white sauce by melting butter in a sauce pan. Add chopped onions and sauté until transparent. Add minced garlic and sauté a minute or two. Stir in flour and stir to absorb butter. Add 1 C milk and stir constantly until your white sauce thickens. You can add some seasoning to this or wait until you taste at the end.

After sauteing the onions you add flour and stir to coat onions
Then you add milk and stir until thick and bubbly

2.     Set sauce aside in the pan while you purée the can of tomatoes with juice in a blender or Magic Bullet (I use mine almost daily for everything!). You can put your basil in with the tomatoes to chop them up a little more if you want. Place puréed tomatoes in another pan and heat to boiling. Add the chicken broth and bring to simmer.  Add the basil if you haven't already. 

I add my basil to the tomatoes as I am blending them

3.     Dip out about 1 Cup of the tomato mixture and stir into the white sauce/onion mixture and then pour this mixture back into the tomato purée. This keeps the soup from looking curdled. (Even if it does happen to do this, it still tastes the same).

I'm adding the hot tomato mixture to the white sauce mixture

Now I pour the tomato/white sauce back into the rest of the tomato mixture
4.     Stir and bring to a simmer. Be sure to stir so it won't stick to the bottom. If you think you want more milk you can add it. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

I like to add a little cream to my soup at the end.  It makes it smooth and rich!

5.     Stir in the Parmesan just before serving. You can garnish each bowl with a sprinkle of it on top too. As for the whipping cream, you can also stir it in at the end or add a Tablespoonful to each bowl and make a design like they do in lobster bisque in the hoity  toity restaurants!  I just stir it into my soup bowl when I'm having it for lunch by myself.

Add some Parmesan cheese and any seasonings you want and you are good to go!
Bon Appetit

This brings tomato soup to a whole new level from Campbell tomato soup!  Now next is a recipe for a grilled cheese sandwich that goes with our soup!  I had this at a new restaurant in Casper Wyoming last weekend and it was delicious!  I hope my copycat version is as good as it was!

Adult Grilled Cheese Sandwich

MMMM! Look at all that melty cheese!  A really yummy sandwich.

I am playing with this sandwich and I think anyone can, after they try my original version.  I actually can’t get the Asian Pears here in tiny Walden, Colorado, so I am using the only pears I could find which I think are Bartlett.  They still give that nice pear flavor to pair with the creamy Swiss cheese flavor.  I also think the restaurant used some kind of fancy Swiss cheese like Gruyere that didn’t have holes.  This, of course, was not an option for me!  Any way I made it and it still tasted delicious.  One other thing, I think it mentioned in the blurb on the menu that it had some kind of jam—maybe like fig jam in it.  While I was eating the sandwich I couldn’t taste it or see it so I think the sandwich is good to go without that addition (which, of course, I couldn’t find at our grocery store either).  If you have it, give it a try if you wish!

Ingredients for 1 sandwich:

3-4 thick slices of onion—about ¼ inch thick.  They cook down a lot so use lots!
3-5 slices of Asian pear – thinly sliced—less than ¼ inch at least
2 Tbsp. soft butter
2 slices bread of your choice (the restaurant used sour dough)
2-3  slices of thick sliced Swiss cheese (enough to make a nice covering of the bread)
*Possibly some kind of fancy jam if you are adventurous or have some to use up.

The ingredients for the Adult Grilled Cheese Sandwich


1.     Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a small frying pan.  Place onion slices (you can separate them into rings) and caramelize them.  Toward the end add the pear slices and saute all until the pears start to get translucent but are not falling apart. 

*Please note that I learned a lot more about caramelizing onions than I ever thought I would use!  I googled it and found that it takes a long time to do it if you do what they say! I set my burner on medium and it did not take the 45 minutes the first lady said!  Anyway I will give you a link if you want it and I also did add just a touch of balsamic vinegar to the  onions and the pear slices.   The pear slices only took a couple minutes to cook in the same pan with the onions.

                    Caramelizing the onions and the pears

2.     Meanwhile take one slice of bread and arrange the Swiss cheese slices on it (if trying the jam you will need to spread it on the slice of bread first).
Cover your choice of bread with the sliced cheese.  Use lots so it is real cheesy.  I used Whole Wheat
3.     When the pear/onion mixture is done arrange onions and then pear slices over the cheese in layers.  Add the top slice of bread to make a sandwich.

Layer caramelized onions onto the cheese and then the pear slices.

4.     Spread the butter on top of the top slice.  Flip the buttered side down onto a griddle or frying pan and grill until lightly browned and cheese is starting to melt.  While this is cooking, spread some butter on the top of the cooking sandwich.  When ready flip it over and grill the other side.

Butter the top of the sandwich while the bottom is getting golden brown!
5.     Slice in halves or quarters and serve with your soup!  Yummmm!

I’m thinking of other combinations that sound pretty good to me.  One is the onions (which really make the sandwich), cheddar cheese (coming from Wisconsin, I love the extra sharp but use what you like best) and apple slices, I’m thinking Honey Crisp or Granny Smith possibly on rye bread or whole wheat or sour dough. I bet there are some other Adult type combos you can come up with too!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

My Thoughts on Mother Nature

Lately I have missed writing in my blog.  My reasons may sound crazy--or maybe lazy is a better word but here goes my explanation:  I have written dozens of blogs in my head but when it comes time to put them up on my blog site, I keep thinking about how long and how many problems I have to solve to get where I want to go!  Do any of you get what I am saying?  It takes almost a whole day to get it the way I want it and then 9 out of 10 times it still gets messed up and I have to figure out another way to do it!  Well I just have to bite the bullet and get this show on the road again!

The smoke around our house was thick on Sept. 5, 2017!

I keep thinking about subjects for my blogs but I never follow through!  Here are some thoughts for today. The smoke has been terrible up here in our high mountain desert. My eyes are scratchy and the sun doesn't feel as warm as it should. I can't see the mountains or favorite landmarks from my usual breakfast spot where I drink my morning coffee.

Smoke makes for very pretty sunsets

A beautiful day for fishing.  The fish don't mind the smoke, I guess.

 I do have to admit that the sunrise and sunset is quite beautiful seen through a thick haze of smoke but I could forgo that when I think of all the damages that happen from these persistent wildfires!  We have had what I would call light smoke almost all summer. This has come from fires in Montana and Canada, but this past week there have been several wildfires burning just to the west of us on the other side of the mountain. We even saw a helicopter with a bucket hovering over some nearby mountain lakes.

The old Haskins cabin.  Also known as the "bat

I know I am whining about my minor discomforts when I should be grateful I do not live in Houston or Rockport (where we spent one winter and I loved it and many people I met down there).  Or around the Gorge in Oregon, or just about anywhere in Montana where they have over 40 wildfires burning or in Southern Florida where they are bracing for one of the strongest hurricanes the Atlantic has had in many years!  My heart goes out to all the people struggling to survive these disasters.  I have visited many of these places and dread to see what people will have to contend with in the aftermath.  I guess I just feel like I have to document my little slice of life, pray for all those who are dealing with the abundance of natural disasters we seem to be having and try to help however I can.

On that note I think I will share a few pictures just in case we have a lightning strike up in the
National Forest  we border on and which is littered with miles of beetle killed trees. Yes, it is only a matter of time and we all know the thinking is to "let it burn" to get rid of all the downed timber.

Our winding driveway into our house

Even the beetle kill has changed the beauty of our mountains and our privately-owned lands as well. Mother Nature will have her way!  I still feel blessed to live in "God's Country". Please remind me of this about February of next year when we are snowed in and the wind is howling!

As a matter of fact that might be way sooner than February!


My favorite time of year in North Park is just around the corner. Every year I take pictures. It seems like the same trees are more beautiful each year. I have included some from years past.  They are from 2007 before we could see what the beetles had done to the pines!

This photo was taken in 2007 before the beetle kill became apparent!

*Note:  I just got information that the reason it was so smoky that day we saw the helicopter was because there was a fire in the Forest about 1 ½ miles from us that had been started by a campfire!  This, when there was a ban on all fires in the National Forest!  They did get it put out with the help of the helicopter!