Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chance Encounters On A Country Road

Or Close Encounters Of A Country Kind! While taking my walks down our country road, I get to experience many interesting sights. Some nice, some not so nice...my latest close encounter was with a cicada! I went for my walk in the late morning, and on our neighbor's fence post one was "singing" with all his might...
...I went a few feet on down the road, and one came zinging up and hit me right in the eye! Good thing I was wearing my glasses or that would have hurt! BTW- growing up we always called these 'locusts'- I never heard the word 'cicada' until I had been married several years. (and it is pronounced 'si-cay-da')

My scariest encounter was with a skunk! This time I was walking in late evening, not twilight but practically. He was in the ditch about 30 feet off the road- when I saw him I was startled of course and didn't know whether to turn around or keep going! I decided to keep going, and I don't think he ever saw me until I had already passed him. I turned my head when I was past, and he was LOOKING at me...but nothing ever happened. Whew! or that would have been PHEW!!!

In the spring I was beside a wheat field that was still green, and I startled a pheasant out of the shade of the wheat...

Once, while I was on the homebound part of my walk, up the road in front of our house I saw a deer standing in the middle of the road. I was still a long way off, but she suddenly took off running right beside the fence of our property, right past our horse in his pasture, (on the inside of the fence) who never turned his head to look after her! I thought that was funny...

I also have to share the road with a tractor every now and then! Some of these are pretty small machines, but once a HUGE one came by that took up both lanes of the road- I had to step off into the grass. 

One of our neighbors has an old Great Dane that is pretty ugly- spotted grey, white, and black, and with red, rheumy eyes. But he is a nice, calm dog- he will come up to me without a sound and let me say hello. He goes out of his yard to do his "dirty work" and does it right on the pavement...  Another neighbor has a fenced in yard with a German Shepherd that barkbarkbarks at me and sounds very ferocious, but everyone says he is really a friendly dog- just likes to bark. My neighbors call me "the lady that walks". I've been at it all summer and since it has been such a hot one, sometimes I have ended up going after dark, with a little handheld halogen light that I turn on if a car comes down the road. I really don't like to be out when it is totally dark but I don't like to miss my walking either- it's so easy for me to get out of the habit if I don't do it EVERY day. Sometimes the children will accompany me on their bicycles or scooters. I have worked up just the past two weeks to 4 miles a day! That is, 2 miles in the morning and 2 in the evening, and that has not been EVERY day, but I have done it several times. That's the goal anyway...

(pictures in this post are from flickr.com and google images)







Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Celebrating Me

Today has been my birthday!

Backing up a little, I was in Louisiana with Julia over the weekend, and Sunday afternoon I went out to eat- to celebrate my birthday- with my brother, his wife, and their two youngest sons at Red Lobster!
 My favorite meal here is Shrimp Scampi, and don't you just love their trademark garlic biscuits?!


Here we are around the table...
my brother Jonathan...

my sister-in-law Cindy and my daughter Julia...

my nephew Colin...

and my nephew Regan with me!

Today, on the really and truly birthday, I had a headache most of the day, so my husband called at lunchtime and asked what I wanted him to bring home for us to eat- I chose Taco Bell! I like their crunchy tacos...


Finally by suppertime I was feeling practically normal so we all got to really go out to eat. We went to a nice Italian restaurant named Zino's- they have wonderful bread and just wonderful Italian food. When we drove up- this is located downtown on one of the brick-paved streets- I thought at first they were closed, because all the cars were parked on a side street. But happily the restaurant was open with just a few patrons, which helps for a quiet meal, which I enjoy! They play big band music, or easy jazz sometimes- it's a relaxing atmosphere. And I got a free treat since it was my birthday!
This was called "cannoli"
It's a crunchy pastry roll filled with
some sort of sweetened creamy cheese and chocolate bits.
The lettering on the plate is
raspberry syrup.


If you're ever in Ponca City,
 be sure to experience this fine dining establishment!








Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What Not To Do On A Hot Summer Day

In July, in the hottest time of the year, in the hottest part of the day - - - DO NOT TRY TO POUR CONCRETE!

We tried...

Actually, my husband ordered the concrete early in the morning, but things happened to delay the job. We should have been finished around 10 am but were still at it after 1 pm! So miserably hot, we were keeping the water hose on ourselves, not just on the concrete, to keep it from drying out too soon. At one point, hubby thought he'd be going down in a heat stroke...but thankfully none of us did. This is one thing we'll never do again- at least that's what he said!!!

At lunchtime we had to stop and take a break even though you should not stop when in the middle of a job- he sat under the umbrella with Julia- see how beet red her face is! We all got very sunburned- hubby had his hat on the whole time, but the kids waited a little too long to begin wearing theirs.




hamburgers from Burger King
I had no energy to go inside and cook



So take it from us- and don't try it unless you can control the outcome better than we did. But isn't that the way things happen? If something can go wrong, it probably will!  ( I didn't get any pictures of David with his red face...) Actually, don't try to pour concrete with only your wife and 2 little children to help you! Hahaha


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Great Recipe for Zucchini

I have found a great recipe for my collection- for using zucchini of course! It comes from allrecipes.com and was submitted by DebiMcG.  I have made it twice now, each time tweaking for my own needs. This is really a winner.
 Zucchini Herb Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds zucchini, cubed
  • 1 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 cups seeded, chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided

Directions

  1. Combine the rice and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, until rice is tender.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a shallow 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.
  3. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and cook the zucchini, green onions, and garlic 5 minutes, or until tender. Season with garlic salt, basil, paprika, and oregano. Mix in the cooked rice, tomatoes, and 1 cup cheese. Continue to cook and stir until heated through. Transfer to the prepared casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
  4. Bake uncovered 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.


 (this photo is one that another recipe reader submitted at the original site)

Here is the original link




The first time I used this recipe, I used brown rice instead of white, and instead of tomatoes, a pasta sauce. The second time, I used minute rice, and no tomatoes of any sort, and just did it on the stovetop. I liked my first results better, with the tomato-y pasta sauce, and baked in the oven, so the cheese gets browned.
YUMMY!






Thursday, August 11, 2011

Summer Tea Party

Back in July, my sister-in-law Angela hosted a tea party at her 100-year-old home in Missouri! Most of the family on her side were attending the national campmeeting of our church that was held in her locale. It was VERY HOT and the coolness of her home was so refreshing...She has decorated a lot with white and I just love old houses anyway. Only one of the sisters-in-law and her girls missed out.

Here are pictures of the table setting...






Our Hostess!


with Julia...

choosing our goodies...


From left to right, here is Kim, Kathy, Mom, 
Cousin Vesta, Aunt Bula Ann, Hostess Angela, 
Aunt Erona, Aunt Irene, and ME!

Here's Julia at the overflow table...

...sitting with her cousin Karissa
and her big sister Alison
(this picture is almost too grainy to post, 
but I can do no better)


This was a COLD soup,
Chilled Summer Squash Bisque
and it was DELICIOUS!
I had never had a cold soup but I liked it so much
that I got the recipe, and tried it on my husband.
He liked it too, so that says a lot!!!

Angela served several kinds of iced tea, and here is what she had to say about one of the libations...

"I am not a huge sweet tea fan, but this one I LOVE!!!  In years past I have gone to Lake Texoma with Kelly O’Dell.  This is her grandma’s recipe!  Grandma O’Dell is a really good cook!  I think she majored in cooking in college!"

We all enjoyed this special mint-infused tea, and requested the recipe! Angela went on to say that the mint she used was started from a cutting she obtained from her husband's cousin Susan, who got THAT cutting from our Grandma Classen's sister, Aunt Anna, which was Cousin Vesta's mother! So we were remembering several grandmas that day! Here is the recipe from Angela for you to try...

Grandma O'Dell's Southern Oklahoma Lemon Mint Sweet Tea
4 Family Tea Bags (I use Luzianne brand.)
12 Sprigs of Fresh Mint
1 Bottle Minute Maid Lemon Concentrate, Thawed (In frozen juice section at grocery store.)
2 C. Sugar

Boil  half a tea pot of water.  Place 12 Sprigs of Fresh Mint and 4 Family Tea Bags in a glass heat proof bowl.  Remove water from heat and pour over Tea Bags and Fresh Mint.  Poke as much mint under the water as you can.  Cover bowl with lid or plate to steep.  (15 min.)  While tea is steeping, put sugar and thawed lemon concentrate in pitcher.  After tea has steeped, pour on top of lemon sugar mixture and stir until sugar has dissolved.  Add enough water to make 1 gallon of tea.  Chill and serve.



And here is the cold soup recipe, which comes from the Williams-Sonoma Soup Cookbook.


Chilled Summer Squash Bisque
6 TBSP Olive Oil
3 Leeks, Including Tender Green Parts, Finely Chopped
6 Summer Squash, Trimmed and Thinly Sliced  (I used 1 Lg. Zuke and 1 Large Yellow instead of the tiny stuff like in the photo of this cookbook.  It says that pattypan are good too.)
4 Cloves Garlic
8 C. Chicken Stock or Broth
2 C. Buttermilk
8 TBSP Fresh Basil, Chopped
4 TBSP Fresh Chives, Chopped
2 TBSP Fresh Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Warm oil in large pot.  Add the leeks and sauté until softened, 5-7 minutes.  Add the squash and sauté until brown, about 5 minutes.  (Mine did not get brown!)  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.

Add the stock, cover and cook until the squash slices are tender, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat.

In a blender or food processor, puree the soup in batches until smooth.  Transfer soup to serving bowl.  Let cool to room temperature and cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours.

Just before serving, stir in the buttermilk, basil, chives and lemon juice.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 12
From Williams-Sonoma “Soup” Cookbook



When I made the soup, I cut the recipe at least in half. IT IS VERY GOOD! If you decide to try it, please leave a comment and tell me if you enjoyed it! It's a great way to use up some ZUCCHINI! I used all zucchini when I followed the recipe.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

I Prayed!

Here's one Christian-based news article about The Response USA Prayer Rally that happened yesterday (Saturday August 6)   I am cutting and pasting from http://www.onenewsnow.com/Culture/Default.aspx?id=1406832

Thousands gather, thousands pray
Russ Jones - OneNewsNow - 8/6/2011 6:50:00 PM
HOUSTON, TX - According to some estimates, more than 50,000 people ascended on Reliant Stadium in Houston Saturday for the anticipated "The Response" prayer rally. And as expected, various groups were on hand to protest the event.

The Response - raised handsInside the stadium, believers sang with arms outstretched in prayer -- and some wept -- as worship music was played and prayers were lifted up. Various speakers led in prayer, among them Dr. James Dobson and his wife Shirley, American Family Association founder Dr. Donald Wildmon, and Texas Governor Rick Perry, who initiated the solemn gathering.

During his time of prayer, Perry said: "Father, our heart breaks for America. We see discord at home. We see fear in the marketplace. We see anger in the halls of government. And as a nation, we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, who blesses us."

"We pray for our nation's leaders, Lord, for parents, for pastors, for the generals, for governors, that you would inspire them in these difficult times," he added.

Just outside Reliant Stadium, however, were several groups protesting the event, including pro-"gay marriage" groups and organizations like the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Ever since Governor Perry had announced the rally, liberal organizations have cried foul.

Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-founder of FFRF, told OneNewsNow that the American Family Association -- a sponsor of "The Response" -- should do its own work and not ask the state to promote its views.

"We said it would be fine if you came here in an individual capacity," she said of the governor, "but he was misusing his public office to promote sectarian religion and a particular agenda of a sectarian Christian organization -- and that is a constitutional no-no."

Jim GarlowBut Jim Garlow, lead pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego and a member of the leadership team for "The Response," contends Perry has the same rights as any other citizen.

"Well, it's intriguing to me. The Constitution nowhere says that when you run for office you lose your right of freedom of speech or freedom of religious expression, freedom of religion," Garlow stated. "He has that as much as any private citizen; he can call anyone to prayer if he wants to."

A Houston judge evidently agreed, ruling recently against the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which tried to block Governor Perry from participating in the event.