Saturday, December 31, 2011


Any time I can find a study that tells me chocolate is healthy food I love it.  According to scientists at Cornell University and Seoul National University cocoa has nearly double the antioxidants of red wine and four to five times more than tea.  Bring on the hot chocolate!!  Below is a recipe for Mexican Spiced Hot Cocoa that I love.  You can tell I like it by how wrinkled the paper is from use.

To make it even more fun we received a Back to Basics Cocoa Latte machine.  We just pour in the milk and while the machine stirs and heats, I add the cocoa and other ingredients.  When the beverage is ready I just plop my cup under the spout and out comes hot n' foamy--yuumy.
CHEERS to the New Year and no designated driver needed.
HAPPY 2012!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Not too long ago I commented on someone’s blog that what we need in Idaho are shorter winters.  Normally our weather during the last week of December…

…looks like this.  Snow dumping on us like a thick, cold, wet blanket; 
forcing us outside to get our morning exercise like it or not.

We invest in snow throwers, snow shovels, snow tires, 
snow suits, snow mobiles, snow boards, snow skis, etc.

We roll with it, drive in it, enjoy it, even revel in the white stuff that will eventually fill our lakes and rivers with water.  Okay, after a few weeks of those drifts on the road we start checking the calendar for June when we might see green grass again.

Not this year.  What the heck?  
We’ve got NO SNOW and record-breaking warmness.

Is this weird weather the warming of the planet which, according to the Mayan calendar, will result in total destruction in 2012?  Is it all that sludge China is blasting into their air, heating up temps all the way over on this side of the Pacific?  Has Russia finally found a way to control weather and is sending drought to the United States

Personally I think some Canadians up in Alberta finally realized all the arctic air was escaping from their hockey rink and closed the door. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

AWESOME--in a very scary way

I’ll admit it.  I’m easily distracted.  The part of my brain that’s supposed to focus and keep lists was probably trashed when I fell on my head while trying to walk along the roof of the machine shop when I was seven.  Or the time I fell in the unfinished basement when I was twelve, or when I fell off the horse…anyway I’ll blame it on one of those.

I like to think I’m creative, not a dufus, but a lot of others seem to have different opinions.  I’ll confess I’ve gotten so caught up in studying light and shades of color in clouds that I’ve nearly driven into a ditch.  I can become so fascinated by a pattern on a person’s shirt that I will zone out entirely on what they’re saying.

On Christmas day our family was preparing for a big dinner.  We were waiting for a few guests who would arrive any minute.  New gifts pulled everyone into the living room while I finished up and then went to my computer to, you know, check on things.  I could smell a smoldering smell and blamed it on spillage from the turkey in the oven.  Then it slowly dawned on me that I’d already taken the turkey out of the oven. 

I said one of those words I shouldn’t say and ran to the kitchen.  Black smoke was rolling across the ceiling.  At that moment the fire alarm went off and everyone came to see me pull a small pan of chopped walnuts out from under the broiler.  I’d set them there to “toast” before using them as topping on a dessert.  Now they were ablaze and on their way to becoming charcoal.

I grabbed hot pads and carried the pan to the door like a waiter bringing a flaming dessert to diners at a fine restaurant.  The outside breezes snuffed out the fire.  I set the pan and its charred contents beside the barbecue grill and returned to the scene of the inferno.

Everyone opened windows and turned on fans to chase out the smoke just as the final visitors arrived. No one was harmed in the making of this disaster.  The hot pads are toast—literally.  The pan is probably beyond salvage.  Now the smoky smell has somewhat cleared out of the kitchen I can set the oven to self-clean--and stink it up again.

Sunday, December 25, 2011



To all my Bloggy Friends

Hope you got something super cool.

Friday, December 23, 2011


When the last cutting of hay was stacked and the wheat was safely stored in the granaries; the next order of business was securing the property against an onslaught of pheasant hunters.
The area where my childhood farm home was located, Dietrich, Idaho, was on the map for a good place to find and shoot wild pheasants.  Earnest Hemingway was mostly to blame.

To quote one of his friends, a rancher named Bud Purdy,

“Hemingway stayed with his girlfriend, writer and journalist Martha Gellhorn, in Suite 206 of the Sun Valley Lodge, which he soon dubbed “Glamour House.” Hemingway worked diligently on “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” and soon became enamored with duck hunting at Silver Creek, near Picabo, and pheasant hunting at points south, near Shoshone, Dietrich and Gooding.”

Pheasant hunters actually did farmers a favor by thinning out the flocks of hungry birds that could do a great deal of damage to a new grain crop.  But there were always a few inconsiderate guys who left gates open, wrecked fences and often shot cattle in their eagerness to blow a bird out of the sky. 

Californians (who had more gear than brains) and their big idiot dogs, seemed to be the worst offenders.  They could be seen driving their vehicles with the black and yellow license plates slowly by stubble fields looking for game.  They’d jump from their automobiles and charge through the fences to be the first to bag a bird.

Neighbors and friends who came to the door and asked permission were usually allowed to hunt on our property.  They were given information on the best places to hunt and told where the cows were grazing so they could watch out for them.

My brother and I were given the job of making the “No Hunting” signs.  We used scrap lumber and old paint to label our fields off limits.  This was probably one of my first lessons in the importance of planning ahead when doing a lettering job. I discovered the word “hunting” was too long when painted in all caps on a square board.  The sign ended up reading, YOU NO HUNT.  On another one I ran out of room and stuck on an apostrophe instead of the letter G.  It read, NO HUNTIN’.

We had several big fields a couple of miles from our house.  Hunters seemed to think they could get away with shooting pheasants there even when it was posted.

Mom came up with a great way to get their attention.  We made a scarecrow dummy out of old clothes and straw and hung it on a rope from a tree along the road with a big sign around his neck that read, “I TRESSPASSED.” 

Our “hangin’ victim” seemed to keep the hunters away.  Plus our neighbors reported back how the guy really gave them a shock until they realized the joke.  The hang-man did his job well during that hunting season.  That is until Danny Larson, a teenage neighbor boy, blew away his whole bottom torso with his shot gun.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


This time of year it’s not difficult to get up before the sun.   
There was a fresh layer of snow when I went out for a walk 
so I took my camera to see who would be up ahead of me leaving tracks.

These might be dog tracks, but dogs are usually accompanied by people.  
The footprints didn’t follow the path but went in and out of grasses and bushes 
near the golf course where I’d seen a coyote earlier in the year.

The tracks disappeared into the trees by the river which was black and full of floating ice.

A runner had been down the river road ahead of me.  
It was probably our neighbor.  I see him occasionally coming home as I am going out.

Only the call of magpies and chickadees broke the early morning quiet.

Smaller doggish tracks were left in and around grasses not far from where
 I’d seen a mother fox guarding her den in the rocks last spring.

Whatever was making these tracks was probably just ahead of me and left in a hurry.

Even before I could see the small cat-like tracks, 
each back paw falling precisely into the print of the front paw, I could smell a skunk.  
Fortunately the stinker stayed out of sight.

Then I could hear what sounded like cars with loose fan belts 
as the air whistled through the wings of a flock of ducks overhead.

I’m not sure, but with their white chests they looked to me like buffleheads. 
My bird book says, “usually in small flocks on lakes or shallow bays in winter.”

As I was walking by the pond.  The Canada geese were startled by my approach 
and also took to the air.

These tracks were easy to identify.

The owner was just a few feet away…

…and on his way to join his friends for breakfast.

It was no longer dark as I made my way back to the house.  
I’m SO glad after today the length of the days will again gradually begin to grow longer.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011


My hubby and I have finally found a way to give each other a Christmas gift that we both enjoy.  We plan a trip together and share the expenses.

 This year we had a coupon for great prices on a nice hotel in downtown Salt Lake City.  Fluffy king bed, big screen t.v.---

---and a splendid view from the sixth floor.

Meals were yummy and we did some window shopping at the fancy stores and some serious shopping at a huge outlet mall.

In the evening we walked across the street to Temple Square to see the Christmas lights.

The place was busy with people like us,  there to 
wander around and stand open-mouthed staring at the beauty of the displays.

Workers start setting up for the lighting in August.  
They string strands of LED lights on just about everything.

Christmas lights on Temple Square--our hotel in the background

 Young trees, already strung with lights, are “planted” in the landscaping.  The trees have been harvested from State Educational Trust Fund lands. Using these trees has multiple benefits, for Temple Square and for the state.

For the state, the money used to purchase the trees benefits the state educational system, and thinning state-owned stands of timber allows the remaining trees to grow strong and healthy. For Temple Square, using stand-in trees for the lights display protects the living trees.

Families and Church groups spend an evening draping nets of lights over shrubs, 
while service missionaries hang garlands that function as cordons along the sidewalks.

 When the lights are switched on the evening after Thanksgiving 
the sight is just awesome in every way.

Temple Square is a landmark for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a.k.a.  “Mormons.”  The area includes visitor centers, museums, The Conference Center and The Tabernacle, home of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

 The large temple is the centerpiece of the site.

Note: in spite of reports to the contrary: faithful members of the L.D.S. Church—Mormons- (not to be confused with various and random splinter groups) are law-abiding Christians.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Well?  What's your guess?  Family are not allowed to enter.