Friday, February 26, 2010


I have moved this blog to this website: It is so much more functional and just as beautiful.



Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I am so ashamed it has been since Saturday that I last wrote on this blog. Trust me, it isn't for a lack of anything to say for I assure you, there are plenty of things to talk about. It seems I am at a loss for time. I have been working on the WIP in an attempt to make some headway through the last third of the story. With diligence it will happen.

I worked this week end at my regular job. That meant I arose a 3:50 in the morning while my family snoozed away and I prepared my lunch and dressed and was out of the house by 4:30. Of course I didn't leave the farm without my escort by Corvette Man. Even on the week end my dear husband gets up with me. That wasn't the best part of the story. On both days I was greeted with a prepared meal as I walked in the door. Saturday Corvette Man found asparagus in the grocery store and steamed it to perfection. (And here I think I was the one to rediscover the kitchen this past winter.) Sunday the dear man fried chicken breasts and prepared broccoli to perfection(I know I just used this word, but there is no other way to describe the stalks of cooked broccoli tender yet not over cooked - I can't even get them this way.) There is no other way to show a woman she is appreciated than to prepare a meal for her and make her relax after the meal is consumed. I was made to feel like a queen.  Thank you Corvette Man and kids.

I was asked specifically not to post about this, but this is a small forum and I know he reads all my blogs and I just can't help myself. Help me! Help me!

As a woman, the most important thing in my life is the sense of security and stability in my life. When the Lord designed us, he designed man to provide those items to his counterpart. For this woman, security comes in the form of warmth and comfort. That most closely translates to WOOD.

Our voluminous wood pile has diminished its girth in our efforts to remain warm and comfortable through this unusually cold and wintery winter.
This is the whole of our two ricks of wood.  That's our momma cat on top there.
Armed with the knowledge of a week of cold weather and faced with the dwindling heat source, Corvette Man drove our big truck to work to fetch a load of wood. He did it knowing I would be home today and I would desperately need to stay warm.

He is wonderful and thoughtful and makes me feel like the luckiest women on the planet. I am warm and content and you know what that means....

Love as always,


Saturday, February 20, 2010

One of My Favorite Things

I am only spending the briefest of moments here tonight. I am actually writing on my WIP (writer's slang for work in progress), but I have some little ditty I wanted to mention so I will make myself write about it.

Most people who know me know I am a health fanatic. I don't buy package foods and shop only on the outer edge of any grocery store, selecting fresh foods, meats and dairy and avoiding the additive laden garbage the food industry hopes to foist on an unsuspecting public. Enough of my soap box.

When I bake, which I do frequently. I prefer to use whole grains in my breads and cakes and cookies. Yes it IS possible to make a cake with a whole wheat flour! I discovered a wonderful brand of flour that provides all the benefits of nutrition while maintaining a light texture in the baked goods - it also tastes fantastic. This is it...

This a WHITE whole wheat. White wheat makes a lighter, finer weight flour than red wheat which will in turn give a fine texture to bread while providing all the nutrition of a whole grain.  There you have it. The best of both worlds. Now you do know white flour is over processed and not nutritionally sound. 

Enough of my soap box.

Kroger sells this brand. King Arthur also has a website and they will ship products to your door. (I should get credit for the free ads.) They sell all sorts of wonder grains and things.

Just wanted to share this little piece with you. I hope to share how I use it later.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Hanging Around

I was at home today. I love being at home. Home restores me, rejuvenates me, it infuses me with new life. I use my time to catch up on house cleaning, laundry and cooking. Cleaning and laundry are necessities, but cooking is a joy. It might stem from the fact I enjoy eating that cooking draws me into the kitchen so often, but creating culinary delights my family enjoys gives me a sense of accomplishment. Today I do not intend to go to the kitchen, though. Another conundrum presented itself this morning as I went about my drudgery.

I have a beautiful state of the art, matched set Maytag washer and dryer. I love Maytag products. They work well and hardly ever break down. There is something wrong with the programming on my dryer. The thing beeps incessantly and, at times, it will not turn on when requested. This morning it refused to start. I was sad. There were three loads of wet clothes and towels awaiting an opportunity to have the moisture beat from their fibers. After three hours of making the trip into the laundry room and pushing the button only to have...nothing happen, I conceded the issue and decided to resort to my only other alternative. I must preface that this alternative is my first choice in warm weather, but at forty degrees it leaves something to be desired.

I resorted to the clothes line.

Notice the cat in the foreground. There were more cats when I was hanging.

I love the clothesline in the spring and summer. Corvette Man and our sons installed this beautiful piece of art (I am not kidding either) shortly after our home was erected. He knows how much joy I take in standing in the sun, even if it means hanging clothes. Today they dried quickly because a south wind blew at a fair clip. 

After they were fresh and crisp, the dryer decided to start.

All in all, it was a good day and this clothes line truly is a treasured piece of heaven.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Our Other Best Friend

I didn't write last night due to extenuating circumstances. When I arrived at our house yesterday afternoon the temperature inside was just plain frigid. We are a small barn style construction without central heat or air. That translates to "light a fire in the stove or light the kerosene heater if warmth is desired". Thank the Lord we had enough kerosene in our heater to lend some warmth to the house until I managed to get the fire going.

This is a staunch piece of heaven.

Yesterday's temperatures surprised me, and the other half of Arkansas. A north wind barreled down on us preventing any warming beyond a paltry34 degrees. Even the puddles of water from the day before remained frozen completely-all the water in the puddle was ice. The chickens cowered on the front porch, its southern exposure protecting them from the northern on slaught, and the cats poofed themselves into fur balls to maintain body heat. The horses of course turned their rears to the frigid blast and remained in place (they are my weather vanes).

So you can imagine what the inside of a house, albeit insulated, might feel like with all that cold blowing around it.

Thank the Lord for kerosene heaters because they lend instant heat as a remedy and they don't falter in their endeavor. The heater we now have in service has the same original wick in it, going on three cold seasons. For us, that is incredible. I have three other heaters in the shed, all operational, but stored as stand-bys.(Some where in their history they failed me and a new purchase was required to fill the gap.)The heater in use now, though, is outstanding in its performance.

We warmed sufficiently to get a roaring fire burning in the wood stove. It burned warm, warm all night long.

I hope you all stay warm and well the remainder of the winter (and it just seems to be soooo longggg).

Love, Jeannene

Sunday, February 14, 2010

At Home

This has been a weekend.

The weather today was cold and dreary keeping us all in doors, not to mention half the house had the sniffles and is hardly in the mood to migrate too far from warmth and food. After a quick run for groceries, me and the kids took a short walk, and I do mean short. No sooner were out in the stand of oaks out back when it started to rain. I was not discouraged, though. I had to get out in it, even in the winter drear to take pictures. We weren't alone in our trek. The cats joined us.

Can you even differentiate the cats from the tree? They blend in well with their surroundings.
The snow it melting,but winter still persists. I just wanted to take pictures and have something else to write about.  I like the way this camera will do close ups. I took some great shoots of the kids. They really are beautiful.

This is just a scraggly branch. It is only a practice shot,but I like the results.

I have packed a ton of tasks into these past two days and feel satisfied at all the results.  Today I made soup and bread and ended the day with homemade pizza - and it was good. My kids gave it an A+. They really feel loved after the effort.

I forgot to take a shot after it was cooked. Trust me it was delicious.

That's it for today's piece.

Love, Jeannene

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Love

A few days ago Corvette Man turned to me and said, jokingly of course,

I need to get to the jewelry store.

I looked him square in the face. 

What for? I asked, knowing Corvette Man seldom bought jewelry for me.  I took care of that task myself.

Well, you know, for a diamond of course, he said.

I guffawed in his face. He didn't take offense. He referred to a commercial he had just seen.

What do I need with a diamond? I asked.  I could think of ten different things I would rather have or need besides a shiny rock. (Kitchen stuff, horse stuff, kid stuff, play stuff - all kinds of stuff.)

Corvette Man laughed in return, knowing I wasn't interested in such a bauble.

I returned a response, though. I could use a camera.

Corvette Man grinned  as he eyed me out of the corner of his eye.

We'll go look this weekend.

Yesss.I said to myself.

Today my love took me looking (My intent was not to buy).  I did not intend to shop, but somehow we were sucked into the glamor of the whole thing.  I knew which camera I wanted and what I really felt would serve my purposes best and the salesman captured my attention so effectively we walked away with the camera I wanted and a better telephoto lens than expected (it was the one I really wanted). It is a Nikon D5000 - not the fanciest unit in the line, but for my limited abilities and needs, it will suffice beautifully.

The learning process is so fascinating and the possibilities are endless with this camera.  The picture quality is substantial and the need to photoshop the pictures is greatly reduced.

Thank you my love.  This really is a great week end. 

I love you.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Ramblings of a homesick mom

I started a post last night as I wallowed in my hotel room awaiting an immenent snow fall, which never did arrive mind you, but something else distracted me and the post was all but forgotten. I assure you that would never have happened had I been in our home with my bustling family milling about and numerous distractions forcing me to keep my train of thought. The lesson being: solitude is not all it is cracked up to be.

Most of the evening was spent researching Texas history in the months after the Civil War. Albeit a rather dry subject for most, I found some interesting tidbits to use in the novel I and painstakingly working on. Now, hopefully, I can just write the story with the underpinning firmly entrenched in my brain. (Historicals require a bit more work than just writing.)

Being as I have been away from my family twice in one week, I am so grateful to have been home Wednesday. My absence on Monday seemed to propel my children in illness. One large pot of chicken soup and some mothering brought them back from the brink whatever dark sickness attempted to suck them in. They are well again. I really believe there is something about Moms taking care of families that truly sets the world right.

Cudos to ALL you moms out there. We do a seemingly thankless job at times,but for me I find so intrinsically rewarding. It is as if my very soul yearns to mother and care. Without my family for this outlet, I would shrivel up and fade away, or find some cause to champion. Did the Good Lord make me this way on purpose? Was it part of His design to instill these longings in me? Did he make me this way only to prevent my family from suffering (He is merciful you know.)? He either has a huge sense of humor or is tragically twisted. To make it worse, all the things in which I take my enjoyment - writing, cooking, horses, music... have no meaning without the context of my family. If it is not right with the family, then there is no joy in the extras.

Twisted. I thrive in the midst of the distractions. I missed sitting in the living room, the only place for my desk and computer, with the TV next to me and the wood stove warming me and Corvette Man requesting this or that and commenting on this or that, all as I work on my book or my blog. The practice required to maintain a train of thought in the midst of the varied stimulations aids in the creative process. I'm beginning to see the sense in all this seemingly chaotic order.

I guess to put it quite simply. I missed my litte piece of heaven. I can't wait to get back home where I belong.

Love you all.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Home Again

Finally!! I am back in our little house after being stranded in the big city after it was covered with four inches of that wet, white stuff ordinarily referred to as SNOW.

We aren't supposed to get this much snow in Arkansas.

This is the road that runs by our house. 

I have never witnessed this much snow before  in all the time we have lived here.  We are in a wonderland.
Well Corvette Man drove me to work Monday and then I was stranded there in the weather. Obtaining a hotel room became necessary to provide comfort and warmth away from our own home.  Of course that meant the clothes on my back was all I had to wear and my face would appear at work the next morning in it raw and uncovered state - an occurrence I strive with avid veracity to prevent.  Needless to say, I survived the day, and none of my coworkers remarked on my state unmake-up.

The original plan was for me to remain in the city tonight, as the roads would likely be frozen over in the wee hours of the morning. When I discovered both my children are sick and the youngest is running a fever I freaked out a little.  No one is at home to cook and care for them! Now, they don't starve, and Corvette Man takes good care of them,but... if they are sick they won't have the energy to prepare nourishing, well healing food for themselves. That is my job. Mom's don't get sick.  They trudge onward through the onslaught of disease and fevers, through Kleenex's and rumpled bed linens.  It is the mom who provides the pity and the solace required for healing. I had to be home. I pleaded with my sweet supervisor, who arranged for me to be off tomorrow.  I am in her debt, bless her.

Here is another beautiful view from the west side of our house.

We have six inches of snow at our farm.

I'm so happy to be home.  This is my slice for today.  I could write more,but I have to snuggle with Corvette Man and make up for lost time.

Love, Jeannene

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Superbowl Disaster - Almost

Finally it is superbowl week end.  Yesterday's food purchases were made in anticipation of this evening's game. The morning plans involved early preparations of pulled beef sandwiches and slow cooked brisket - both dishes requiring a minimum of four hours cooking time.  Of course that meant I chopped and marinated some of this last night to place the meat in the cooker at nine o'clock this morning.  The house was meticulously cleaned and any other chores completed long before the five o'clock pregame show.

I served the PW pulled beef sandwiches, wonderful flavor and filling, and cleaned up a little in the kitchen and turned to our TV to find the the station for the game.  Flipping through the channels we discovered no one speaking of the game, no pregame articles of players or predictions of the game outcome.  AAACH! It could only mean one thing.....

It should be noted at this point that our household does not  pay for any cable subscription nor do we own a satellite in order to receive television stations. This woman is cheap and thrifty.  We watch our TV shows via rabbit ears - free reception albeit sparing in choices. Today we discovered the ONE station our antenna does not receive is the CBS station.  BUMMER.

As is the case in most desperate circumstances, necessity is the mother of invention.  I moved the rabbit ears unit this way and that - all to no avail. The channel in question continued to register "no signal" on the screen.  You cannot fully appreciate the frustration of a black screen with those words floating around on it, especially when the game is in the throws of the National Anthem. Upon the realization of the doom of our superbowl evening, with nothing left to loose, I took our measly little rabbit ears antenna and tossed it out the nearest window. That was without a doubt a childish maneuver. But...

Can you believe it? It was a miracle! That darn station came in loud and clear! The antenna lay sprawled on the ground.

No one was more amazed than myself.  Corvette Man and I laughed and laughed.  I have been complaining about not receiving that station since the digital changeover. Little did I know that all I should do was toss the antenna on its head out the window.

This is a closer view.  
At the moment we are enjoying the Colts working over the Saints in perfect clarity.  It's a miracle!

Of course, we can't leave the thing out there.  The cats will chew on it and the chickens will find something unpleasant to coat it with, but for the moment we have CBS in perfect order.

A wonder small slice.

Love, Jeannene

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Sea ... a sea of people

I have to blog something tonight. My attempt last night was preempted by a creative spurt over the book I am in the middle of writing. The subject last night will be reserved for a future post.  Tonight I wish to unload my frustration over Saturday shopping.

After spending an hour and a half in the beauty parlor getting our hair done, a wonderfully relaxing hour and a half I must add with a very satisfying result, my daughter and I returned from the big city to spend time in the nearest town to our small village.  If it hadn't been for the fact that we looked great, the shopping experience would have ruined the entire day, but I digress.

This week end follows the week end of the heaviest snow fall witnessed in this area of Arkansas since 2004. The previous week end found the entire populace of Central Arkansas was confined to their living rooms unable to travel on the ice covered snow roads until late Sunday, or Monday at the earliest. The restrictions of last week end found us all, myself included, out and about in the highways and the byways today catching up with the errands we were forced to neglect last week end. I can't recall running into this number of people on the roads and the shops since the holidays, I almost wish I had been snow bound again.  The super bowl week end shoppers did not diminish the crowd, it only contributed to it.

I chose to shop in the larger town Kroger instead of my home town grocery store. When will I ever learn?  I returned home with many items, some of which are not available in our small town grocery. It is regrettable, though that I neglected to buy many of the standards I never forget when in familiar surroundings. I was dazed by the numerous offerings of the large store. When I say numerous I mean varieties of cheeses, meats, chips, cokes, everything. I was boggled by them, stunned by the choices, confused by the selections, confounded by the indecision and perplexed at my own sense of wonder.

My daughter reacted to my amazement as if I had never stepped foot into a Walmart before.  I wasn't in a Walmart, I was in Kroger store... a Kroger! It was much better than Walmart, trust me. She was almost as awed as myself, and to her credit, did not belittle my astonishment and bewilderment. She tried her best to help me find the items on my list. After forty five minutes of dodging shopping carts and bodies, we were exhausted and confused. It took everything we had to find a requested package of Oreos. Trust me, that was frustration. I was so happy to park my cart behind two other shoppers at the check out, the consume that was THE item for which I had selected this store, was forgotten until I drove up to our house in the country.

It didn't matter by then. I was home.  Home.  Safe and quite and always a constant solace from the hustle of the city.  Thank the Lord for home.

Thank you for your ear.

Love, Jeannene

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Tribute

Today I wish to sing the accolades of a member of my family whose duties are so often taken for granted.  He selflessly and willingly gives of himself to all of us.  At times I'm sure he thinks it might be a thankless job, but I love him for it. It falls to him to assure our safety and our well being. He makes sure all in working order and we are protected from the elements and warm. I am speaking of my wonderful husband Corvette Man. 

This man will sleep only half the night and still awaken at four o'clock in the morning with me to drive the six hundred or so feet to the gate of our property and open it for me in the rain, the sleet, the snow even in the warm.  He is relentless.  This man selflessly makes sure I am not attacked by a coyote or a deer (Believe it can happen, just ask our oldest son.) or maybe even some deranged person in the dark.

To clarify. Corvette Man stands in the rain and unlocks the gate for me. Then he opens it in order for me to drive my car through, thus releasing me from any obligation of exiting the warm confines of my heated vehicle. Am I spoiled or what?.

He doesn't rest until he is assured all is well with his family. I am eternally in his debt. I just wanted to take a few minutes to tell him how much I appreciate the care and attention he gives me and our children.

Thank you Corvette Man.  Thank God he sent you to me. You are another slice of heaven.

Love Jeannene.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chile Lights

Today I would like to pay homage to my chile lights.

What on earth are you talking about? You ask.  For anyone who has had an opportunity to visit our little piece of heaven, you will recognize that of which I speak, and we don't get that many visitors out here so you are a select few.

I hail from the far reaches of wonderful ole Texas, El Paso to be specific. The hispanic influence on that area of the state is profound.  For me it crept into my very soul during the eleven and a half years I basked in the glorious heat of the desert southwest. Three of my four children were born in this locale. Needless to say, I formed deep attachments to the area.  Almost everything I eat, and try to force my family to eat, has some sort of Mexican flavor or inspiration. None of that was discounted when it came to designing and decorating the interior of our home. I love all things Mexican.

To provide the necessary solace for our separation from the desert and its wondrous mystery and beauty, I found some red chile lights and strung them on the rafters in the front room. It reminded me of El Paso, and Corvette Man loved them too.

This is a mega close up.  Can you sense the ambiance?
They really give you a happy feeling, don't you think?

 Everyone needs a little happy in their life, so says my daughter. (She is screaming for joy at my entry!)

This is a view of the whole room.  Warm ambiance throughout the space. I love home.
If it looks like a barn you're looking at, that's exactly what you see.  We decided to make our house out of the barn.

So my friends, this is the first thing you will see as you enter our home.  Happy slices.

Love, Jeannene

Monday, February 1, 2010

White on Road

I will take one more day to revel in the winter we experienced this past week end.  The roads into the big city were all dry and clear this morning, meaning my commute was without mishap.  The only difficulty I have experienced in relevance to the snow fall, was the ascent to the gate leading from our farm.  Our neck of the woods witnessed sleet and snow accumulations of about 3-4 inches. This is significant where highways are cleared infrequently and the liberal use of salt doesn't necessarily exist.  In defense of the Arkansas Highway Dept. they do have a few snow plows and they spread salt mixed with sand on the bridges.  A couple of days pass before my routes are clear enough for me to travel, but that is another story.

I wanted to show how the weather transformed our little piece of heaven here in Arkansas.



That ribbon of road snaking by the tree line leads to the gate of our farm.  Three inches of ice and snow lay on the surface of that road.  For me, three inches is enough to separate me from the rest of the world. I could not take my front wheel drive through that gate yesterday.  That does not mean Corvette Man couldn't do it.  It means I am incapable of it.The tires continued to spin every time I stepped on the gas. I am pathetic when it comes to these sorts of surfaces.

Isn't the scenery beautiful?  The trees were coated with a thick layer of frozen frost.
This was our winter slice.

Love, Jeannene

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Winter Wonderland

I am taking a small break from my real writing to write here.  I am beginning to feel my book is taking a  back seat to the blog. I have made slow progress with it, yet is does have seventeen chapters already - not all of which I'm sure will make the final cut, but when I think about writing that many words I still marvel at the ability.

This blog offers so much more stimulation for me that it is now almost addicting. First of all I especially enjoy taking pictures. The little camera I use offers little variety as far functionality, but it does take some really great shots, despite limited access to manual settings.  It allows me to record everything around me at least and I am learning how to take pictures.

The cold these past few days has presented a realm of beauty we seldom see in this part of the world. I have had fun trying out new things.

I like this shot because, after dozens of tries before this, I finally have achieved a depth of field. My camera doesn't allow me to set the F stop manually so I have to tinker with the ISO and macro modes and see what turns out.  This is great!  Here's another.
See how the foreground is in focus and the back is out of focus.  Effect is achieved.
I didn't even doctor this in Photoshop. I know it is a banal object, but aren't the crystals interesting?

This was sunrise at our farm this morning.  The fog had frozen to everything leaving this beautiful icey mist on the trees and foliage.  I found it fascinating and couldn't resist.

This was today's slices.  Thanks for letting me share.

Love, Jeannene

Saturday, January 30, 2010

How To Walk On Water

Today we have 3 to 4 inches of ice and snow covering the ground in our region of Arkansas. It is the largest amount of snow fall we have had in five years.  It has transformed the farm into a winter wonderland. The animals' behavior is altered as well. I have been entertained watching them cope with all the white. The chickens haven't ventured far past our front porch.  Evidently they have an aversion to cold feet and there is no food to be found with the grass covered by snow.

They are foraging in the narrow strip of grass at the edge of the porch.
As I was taking pictures of our pond, an amazing sight in the snow, our cats scurried over for some attention.  Cats don't seem to have any qualms about walking on water that has frozen solid.

 Cats can walk on water.....if it's frozen.
This guy has no idea there is water beneath his feet.

I spent a large part of the day learning how to use Photoshop Elements and I'm pleased with the progress made.  This is just a piece of our frozen pond I found especially photogenic, in my opinion at least.  The snow gives everything an entirely different look and feel.

Aside from playing on the computer for a large portion of the day, I spent an inordinate amount of time in the kitchen.  Needless to say we ate well and in large quantities.  I love staying home with everyone.

These are the slices for today you all.

Love, Jeannene

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Return of White

Today I truly believed the weather prediction community had misread the signs in the heavens once again and I would be on my merry way into the big city at 0430 this morning.  Alas, I was wrong and my small world was pelted with an inch and a half of sleet.  Needless to say, I did not brave the roadways to make my mandatory appearance at my place of work, a deed for which I am sure to face repercussions, but I have an aversion to accidents and dying so I stayed put.

Of course being at home is the only invitation I require to prepare food. It doesn't matter what kind of food, just any kind will do and my kids are so grateful that foraging in the refrigerator will not be a necessary compulsion to fend off hunger today. Then my thirteen year old will say I'm trying to make everybody fat, but that's not true.  After shedding 35 lbs last year, I refuse to allow those suckers to find me again.

With this as a firm resolution I present you with this morning's tasty dish, at the behest of both my children, Cheesy Potatoes.

You have to start with fried shredded potatoes with onions.

Then you have to smother them in a wonderfully cheesy sauce made from a reux.

Then mix them all together and this is what you get.  Cheesy Potatoes. Mmmm.

This was breakfast today.  A comfort food for all the snow now falling in Arkansas.  

I don't even feel like we are in Arkansas at all.  Somebody moved me a hundred miles north when I wasn't paying attention!

Happy winter all.
Love Jeannene

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Winter Musings

Well...I am supposed to be staying in the big city because freezing rain is expected in our area tonight and my presence at work is highly anticipated at 0530 in the morning, but there was no room in the inn (the hotel directly across the street from the hospital).  I consider this a directive from a being with more wisdom than I possess to spend my time with my family and eat the soup I prepared for dinner.  This opportunity also affords me the time to make some scrumptious bread to go with that soup. Yummy!

The fire in the wood stove is roaring and bathing the house in its warmth. Such simple satisfaction. If we experience a power outage, we will at least stay warm. The chickens are standing with one foot on the ground, a sure indication of cold climes.

We brace ourselves in Central Arkansas for, what the weather men portend, a sure freeze. I continue to have doubts and will believe it when it manifests itself as layers of ice coating everything. The last winter storm they predicted in minute detail disappointed my children immensely.

For now I write. If I had remained in town, I had planned to devote the lonely hours to continuing my novel and filling out an assignment I have almost completed for the workshop I am taking. Alas, the workshop assignment will have to wait as I answer the promptings of the characters of the novel.  They speak loud and long tonight. 

Keep warm and safe

Love, Jeannene

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A day in the life of .... bread!

Today I write.  I am off from work, having worked the week end, and so I spend this day writing.  I hope.  I started this blog as an effort to write and do it regularly. I find the most wonderful things to write about are the small treasures in my own life.  I realize my life has little importance to anyone except myself and perhaps my immediate family, but I take such pleasure in recording the small joys around me.  I enjoy posting pictures as it gives me practice in using this electronic medium and pushes me to learn how to edit photos, something that is not preternatural, yet fascinating to me.

The camera was a constant companion before the digital age and now I find myself relearning all those techniques on slightly a different medium. Today, the digital realm is challenging and so flexible and easy to manipulate. I can take a picture and have it in solid form in minutes after the shot is formed.  Astounding, the technological age we live in! The photoshop editor can do equally astounding feats if I can only master its abilities. Even my simple point and shoot camera can render some breathtaking photos of scenes I was hard put to capture twenty years ago.

Today, being the only day off I will have in the middle of the week for the next couple of weeks, I am trying to stuff as many things into it as possible.  The laundry calls - and I have answered.  I want to write at least another chapter on the western historical I am in the middle of and I want to make bread. Oh, I almost forgot.  I am supposed to rearrange the meager space in my closet and rifle through all those clothes I can no longer fit into to reduce the space they occupy. I really don't feel like doing that....but I will do it.

I did actually get the bread started. This a new recipe I found at another woman's blog. It promises to be delicious and crispy and will be the perfect accompaniment to the Chicken Parmesan my daughter requested for dinner tonight.  I am so eager to oblige her appeal for outstanding food. We will eat well tonight.

The bread turned out exactly as wonderfully as I had anticipated! I now have a new favorite bread and it is so easy.  This is a tribute to Ivory Hut. Thank you.

I tasted it already and am certain this is the "Italian"bread I have searched for all my life.  The crust is hard and crispy and the center is spongy and moist. Ahhhh.  The simple things in life can be so rewarding.

Happy eating.

Love, Jeannene

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bitrthday Dinner

Today was our third son's sixteenth birthday.  I can't believe he was born that many years ago.  It seems like yesterday. I was so young back then, and yet I don't perceive myself as having aged one day since. Perception never seems to maintain the same pace as reality. Would that reality relied on perception - alas....Any way, back to the present.

My schedule today involved a full day at my paying job, the one I tolerate and from which I gladly accept a check every two weeks.  My time away allowed for little time to bake his birthday cake.  Not a crisis since he wanted to bake it himself.  I have raised self sufficient, self reliant people.  They know their way around the kitchen, thank God! Well, actually he enlisted his little sister to bake his cake today.  She does a bang up job with cakes and meals, even at 13.  Today's cake wasn't as pretty as most, but it tasted wonderful.

I have no clue as to the reason behind it's distinctive lean, but it didn't effect the flavor in the least.

This was my daughter's first cake, made from scratch.  Notice the chocolate curls on top.  She is so imaginative and inventive. 
So we do not judge today's masterpiece harshly.  We know what she is capable of.  The fact that her brother was the one to frost it may have played a roll in its state of lean, but we don't hold that against him either.  

Regardless, we love to eat celebratory birthday food and revel in the birthday boy's joy.  

Love to all,

Friday, January 22, 2010

Cats, cats and more cats

I write this for my dad, a consummate cat lover. He was surprised at the gaggle of cats around the feed bowl the other day.  Today I will post pictures of our cats.  Living in the country makes one extremely susceptible to those pesky little varmints called mice.  In our case we have an occasional field rat.  When I say rat, I mean RAT.  Cats are really good at taking care of those nasty pests. 

We brought a male and a female home about a year and a half ago to tackle our inside mouse problem.  Those felines solved the problem post haste and then they procreated and now we have these little gems.

This was in the beginning.  This one is CJ and is he ever tiny here.

Nothing but fur.

This in one whole cat.  He's just very flexible.


Our mama cat                              ....and this is Garfield. He is a big beautiful tabby.

Wood pile sitting is always a popular past time.  This is Zoe and Fluffy.  We named her that because she really is FLUFFY.

Last but not least is TG and Buster.

There are still two not pictured, but this is enough cats.

Thank you all for bearing with me.

Love, Jeannene

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Colors of Food

This is really frivolous, but I just have to include this.  The other day I was making a wonderful soup that required a lot of chopping.  I like to chop.  As my mother pointed out the other day, chopping is therapeutic. I mean hand chopping.  It puts you in contact with the food- direct contact.  The texture is revealed to your touch and the smell and, in the case of onions, that distinct sting to your eyes.  Chopping makes me feel the food.  I am all about feeling the food, especially as it is consumed.

This recipe required at least five different vegetables, all of which were chopped nicely before being dumped in the pot. After they were all ready to go, my daughter passed the chopping board and remarked at the beautiful colors  displayed.  I had the same thought and I had to snap a shot of it.

I didn't plan the assortment, it just happened. Then there was this one.


I like the texture of the tomatoes.  Please don't count me crazy, but I rediscovered the camera. In the drab of winter, besides the morning sky, very little color is available to snap pictures of.

I think I might be getting the hang of this.  Thanks for indulging me.

Happy Birthday Jeremy.  I remember the day you were born.

Love, Mom

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Feed Bowl - Who' s Bowl is it Anyway?

We live in the country.  How I love it out here.  Surrounding our little farm is grass and trees and trees and grass. It is usually quiet (except during hunting season when hunters will fire their weapons against game on their own land). Part of the draw of the country is having animals.  We have some.  They provide wonderful entertainment. We recently added chickens to our animal repertoire. The chickens are free range birds, choosing to roost in various and sundry perches around the farm. We don't feed these birds much either.  They are pretty much on their own.  When it's really cold we'll toss out some corn and grain for them, but for the most part they have to find their own eats.

With that in mind, I post the following shots.  Our chickens, since we don't coddle them, have become extremely resourceful.They eat from every bucket they can find, even from the cat's bowl.  The chickens spend a great deal of their day with the horses scarfing feed that has fallen from their lips.

 Can you make out the feathered 'cats' on the left?  Those cats will allow the chickens to eat with them. Can you believe it?  No shame!

Do you see the roosters waiting in the wings (a little punny)? 

The cats will allow the roosters to intimidate them away from the bowl.  Animals will always amaze me.  Those chickens are a hoot to watch. 

Thanks for sharing this slice with me.

Love, Jeannene

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Western Sky

I just wanted to share a view out of my window.  This was the evening sky tonight. In the past, originating from far West Texas, I believed the only beautiful sunsets on the earth were found in the desert.  I have witnessed countless breathtaking sunsets against the mountains of El Paso. This easily rivals those painted skies and this is in Central Arkansas.

Pretty spectacular isn't it?  I love this stuff.  What an awesome slice.

Love Jeannene

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Structures with a Past

Saturday morning Corvette Man and I took our customary trip into town to buy feed.  This is a trek we have taken countless times over the years, the same route, the same farms and the same buildings on those farms.  This week end, however, I discovered a barn I have seen more times than I can count and yet I SAW it for the first time Saturday morning.  Arkansas has an abundance of such historically artful structures and this one is only a few miles from our farm.

Isn't this the best looking barn?  It wouldn't be so wonderfully aesthetic in the spring as all the foliage surrounding it would block it from view.

This afternoon we drove by another barn not but a few miles from our farm as well.

Arkansas is just chock full of historical paraphernalia. I love looking for these treasures and then taking pictures is a blast. 

Have a great week!

Love Jeannene

Friday, January 15, 2010

My Favorite Pot

I just wanted to give accolades for a special cooking pot I acquired a few years back.  Before we moved to the farm I had this sneaky feeling I would need to be able to cook outside.  I don't mean just camp fire food.  If I have to eat outside I want to eat real food and lots of it. And not just any real food. I want bread and meats and vegetables and desserts - I want to be able to cook anything and everything. What I discovered was there truly was a way to do this.  It is the science of cooking in dutch ovens!I used this skill extensively when we built our house on the farm.  Believe it or not, we lived in a tent for several months and this was how the meals were prepared.  That is another story for another time.(Lots of fun!)

No sooner had I expressed my desire to cook in a dutch oven, then Corvette Man took me to the nearest outdoors store and we researched the market.  I needed a cast iron dutch oven and this place had oodles of them in all sizes and shapes.  I was in heaven.  We settled on two large 12 in pots with feet on them and one 12 in pot with no feet.

This is my favorite pot. God bless it.

This pot lends itself well to indoor cooking.  It will sit over a burner as easily as it will sit on an oven rack.  Anything I make in this pot tastes fantastic and I can make just about everything in it because just about everything will fit in it.

Notice the brand on the lid.  Research revealed a sturdy cast iron pot is to be used if one is cooking over hot coals and poorly manufactured iron pots with not stand the muster under continuous heat.  Lodge is the best brand and most preferred by all cast iron dutch oven cooks.

My research revealed that you can't use just

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Young Lion Syndrome (also known as YLS)

Young Lion

I am the mother of four children, three of which are boys. Any mother of boys will tell you what strange creatures they are, these boys. As small fries they run willie nillie throughout the house, climb on every structure that stands above their own heads in an effort to peer at the world from above and face every challenge in their small life fearlessly, that is until something stops them to make them think about it. As they approach adulthood, they enter into the realm of adolescence.

Ahhhhh. Adolesence. It is a state of being that begins at the age of thirteen and doesn't really end until they have left the nest,but for today's purposes we will say it concludes at the age of eighteen. This is a large span of time to the parent enduring the agony of adolescence. As the victim of YLS I know from which I speak. I am now steeped in the middle of the third son's agonizing transformation into a adulthood.

I just felt the need to document for those mothers of daughters only, not to exclude mothers of sons, the symptoms of YLS to hopefully elicit some form of sympathy. Alas, here it goes.

A young lion with exhibit these telltale signs:

1. An innate knowledge of all things. He will attest to know more about everything than any old lion, which serves only to incite an immediate adverse reaction against the young lion from the old lion. In other words, the old lion wants to give him a swipe of his large meaty paw.

2. An uncanny ability to push himself beyond his own physical restrictions. In other words; surges of testosterone give them a false sense of physical invincibility. This is manifest when he drives an automobile faster than the limit permits or he places himself in a situation where he very well could get killed. Being dead is the farthest thought from the mind of a young lion. They are so full of life.

3. A false bravado instantaneously detectable by any experienced old lion. It is perceived by another young lion as an invitation for altercation - bring it on baby. The old lion will terminate the aggression with one swipe of his meaty paw, thus putting the young lion in his rightful place - subjugated to the old lion. Often times an egregious roar from the old lion is all it takes.

4.Expressions of dissatisfaction in the form of heavy sighs and grey scowls. This sign will elicit a response from the old lioness. Inciting a desire to scratch the uninivited expression from his face and send him scurrying back into his den, his tail between his legs.

Such are just a few of the symptoms of YLS.  I pray we all survive.

Old Lion

 Love,  Jeannene