Welcome friends...thanks for coming by. We're seeking beauty in all of creation... in our faith and our families; our art and our music; our crafts and kitchens, and even in our own backyard. We'll share a poem or a recipe, a picture or a memory; maybe a dream of how we wish our life could be. And though we acknowledge that the world can be harsh, we're keeping it pleasant in our little corner; endeavoring to keep the words from the Book of all Books: ...Whatsoever things are lovely; think on these things.

I so enjoy hearing from you...so leave me a comment; it'll make my day!

Photo: Bee and thistle: Taken high in the Cascade Mountains where there is a bee buzzing on every thistle. by Debora Rorvig

Monday, May 25, 2009

Finally; a Safe Herbicide!

We finally found a product this weekend that satisfies our need to weed less but be kind to the environment. It is called 'Concern'. It's a corn gluten based herbicide that performs similarly to Preen, but without the chemicals. I am so excited about this product! It's absolutely safe for the environment, animals and kids (unless you are allergic to corn). Our cat Posie, actually thought that the bag we were storing in the garage was cat food...she ripped it open and tried to eat a bit. What a relief to know that it won't harm her. I used to feel so guilty when I saw the birds eating out of our 'Preened' garden. Not any more! This product costs about the same as 'Preen'. It doesn't last quite as long, but our growing season is not all that long; and I'm willing to pay a little extra for the peace of mind.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

With sweet old fashioned lilacs, red geraniums... diminutive bluebells

freshly laundered sheets, an ancient apple tree; yellow iris...

delicate columbine and ferns...

hostas and rhodys

flashy crimson pink azalea

and friendly-faced pansies next to the back door, saying "Good Morning!!!"

That's how my garden grows!!!


Monday, May 18, 2009

Chicken Picatta...mmm!

Photograph from http://www.foodnetwork.com/

I saw this recipe on Ina Garten's 'the Barefoot Contessa' last week. It looked so tasty and simple (not to mention economical), I thought I'd give it a try. We had it today with baked potatoes; steamed broccoli, and green salad. It was delicious. One warning though, the lemon was a bit much. I used only one lemon, and can't imagine it with more! And as a non-alcoholic household, I used chicken stock instead of wine. My hubby, who prefers very simple fare, gave this on a thumbs up! For more great recipes visit http://www.foodnetwork.com/. Ms. Garten's recipes may be found by clicking 'chef recipes.'

2 split (1 whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 extra-large egg
1/2 tablespoon water
3/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
Good olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), lemon halves reserved
1/2 cup dry white wine
Sliced lemon, for serving
Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
Mix the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a shallow plate. In a second plate, beat the egg and 1/2 tablespoon of water together. Place the bread crumbs on a third plate. Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.
For the sauce, wipe out the saute pan with a dry paper towel. Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and then add the lemon juice, wine, the reserved lemon halves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Discard the lemon halves and serve 1 chicken breast on each plate. Spoon on the sauce and serve with a slice of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.
Bon Apetit!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

For Kelly; after 21 Years

Dear Kelly,

We've done a lot in 21 years. I've been going through my 'mental picture album' today, and I've come to realize that we've shared a life that some would only dream about...

We have walked the beaches of Paradise Island, Waikiki, Kailua, Shi-Shi, Cannon Beach, Freeport in the Bahamas, Daytona Beach and the Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu.

We've dined atop the Space Needle and the Honolulu Towers, and we've munched on sausage and crackers as we drove to Leavenworth. (All equally delightful!) We've listened to Bavarian music while eating brats in a Munich beergarten and walked the cobblestone streets of Basil late at night hand in hand, eating ice cream cones.

We've sped through the Alps on the Autobahn to Austria and Switzerland. Listened to a stringed quartet playing Mozart in a castle in Salzburg. We made a friend in Baden Baden and attended a car show with him; and though we didn't speak his language; you and he could communicate about those cars just fine!
We've ridden on planes and trains, trams and ships; kayaks and speed boats, buses, trolleys and gondolas all over this beautiful world.

We've camped at Lake Diablo, Klamath Lake, Vancouver Island, Kelowna and Banff. The KOA cabins in Winthrop and Leavenworth were fun. Caught a few fish, here and there, too.

And Harrison Hot Springs; well, we honeymooned there; it will forever be 'our place.' I'll never forget that first dinner we ate in the Copper Room. I was wearing a white dress with those ruby earrings you bought for me. You were wearing that linen sports coat and taupe-colored tie you bought for our wedding day. A huge raccoon came right up to the window next to our table. The Jones Boys were playing old tunes from the 40's. It felt like heaven.

Disneyworld with the family was a blast; and later again, with just you it was so special. Loved that place we stayed at; the Wilderness Lodge. I still have the blanket you bought me that evening at Epcot when it turned cold outside.

We've won in Vegas a few times at least - and occasionally lost our wad, but we had fun doing it! And we never spent more than we could afford. Remember the butterfly-shaped blue topaz ring you bought me after we made out like bandits at the MGM Grand? Or dancing with the Village People? Your folks were there that night. And golfing with Sam has been so much fun. When you think about it, we've golfed some very nice courses, haven't we? How can I ever forget that winter day we golfed with Mike and Dee; the pond was frozen. You tried to retrieve Dee's ball off the top of the pond. It started to crack and down you went, right into that freezing water. Game over!

What how about the time we went to San Francisco? We spent a wonderful day riding cable cars and eating at Fisherman's Wharf.

Speaking of sunny days on a wharf: how about that date we had to Pike Place Market; over 21 years ago? We took the day off. It was in the spring. I was pretty broke, but I bought a new sweater for that day. Salmon-colored. We ate at Ivars. It was perfect.

We had no idea back then, just what a ride we were in for. Blending our two families was a tall order; but we did it! No shortage of drama there. Seems like we were either laughing hysterically or crying hysterically (and sometimes shouting hysterically)as we raised our kids. It was a time filled with gym shoes and ball games; spaghetti and hot dogs; sorting out squabbles between the kids and trying to figure out who broke the handle on the back door. (Looked like a blow from a nine iron to me!) You sure did your share of fixing those fixer uppers the boys had! Remember how John's radiator blew up before we even got the car home? And can we ever forget Sam's mop-bucket speakers in his trunk? I even helped fix the breaks on that old blue bucket of bolts Sam bought. But now, look what we have to show for it? An absolutely beautiful family with the prettiest, sweetest grandchildren on earth!

Kelly, do you realize we have owned 6 homes in 21 years? We've bought 7 cars and 2 trucks (not counting kid's cars.)

There have been quite a few cats at our house over the years, but you'll agree- Brutus was the best. We both cried when he died. He had belonged first to Grand-dad; and it felt like losing Grand-dad all over again when Brutie died.

We've said goodbye to so many people over the past 21 years. My brothers and mom, and your grandparents and dad were the toughest. But we were there for each other, and God was there for us. Couldn't have stood it otherwise.

In the past 21 years, we've had some great times. We've also had some incredibly hard times. But the biggest thing about our life is that we have been through these things together.
The best thing about all of my mental photographs of our life together is that YOU are in them. Without you, it's all just scenery.

We're getting older, but there are still plenty of beaches left to walk. Our golf games haven't improved too much, but there are courses yet to try out. There are grandchildren to take swimming and kayaking, fine dinners to be enjoyed and walks to be taken. My mental photo album is still full of empty spaces that are reserved just for you.

Happy Anniversary Kelly! I love you with all my heart.


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