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, July 30, 2012

Colonial Creek Campground Scenes

This week we camped for a few days at Colonial Creek Campground in the North Cascades. This is where mountains rise up to over 9000 feet. A place of fast running rivers and icy cold alpine lakes. Where the breeze is cool and fir-scented. Some call it the American Alps. I call it tranquility. And yes, the water really is that green.

I rose early one morning and strolled down to the lake where I saw...

Birds flying above the clouds...
Paddlers making ready...


Mirror-like reflections in the water...
Preparing to launch...
Alpine wildflowers...
Morning mist on the lake...

Paddles slicing through glassy water...
A place to reflect...
A reminder of our Native friends...

And I returned to this...coffee a-perkin' and sausage a-sizzlin'...

Life is grand in the Pacific Northwest.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Processing RAW Photos

Tomorrow we're off for a little camping excursion, and I went to bed early as we are departing early. But as I lie in bed an hour ago, the thought occurs to me; what if my dear Farmlady and Joanne try to take some pics in RAW, and then have trouble processing them? So I hopped out of bed to give you this little explanation on how to process RAW photos. I do love you, don't I?

Some things you need to know:

1. RAW photos are totally unprocessed, and as such, your camera can't show them to you on the little monitor on the back of your camera. So when you photograph in RAW,  your camera shows them to you in JPEG. You don't actually get to see the RAW version until you process them on your computer. Oh the suspense!

2. After you take your photos, download them into program that came with your software. I have a Canon Rebel and the software I got with the camera shows up on my computer as EOS utilities. I download them exactly the same as I would my JPEG pics; but up in the corner of the photos it says 'RAW'. I understand that Photoshop will give you many better options for processing both RAW and JPEG, so if you have it, by all means use it! (That will be my next purchase!)

3. What seems like magic to me is watching the RAW photos materialize on the screen when you've downloaded them. They take a bit longer than JPEGs and you can actually see all of the fine details come out in them. I tell you it's like opening Christmas presents when you finally get to see the results of your photos!

4. You can fiddle around with them using your EOS utilities or Photoshop just as you would JPEGs. By this I mean you can crop them, lighten them, mess with saturation, etc. When you are happy with your photograph you need to save it. This is the part that made me jump out of bed to write this little tutorial for you...

5. This is  IMPORTANT...after messing with your photo and deciding that you love it, you need to save it. Now hear me...go to your file dropdown and pick the SAVE AND CONVERT setting on your menu. Here's why...
Your computer will not save your photos in RAW. (Well it will, but you won't see the pictures, you'll just see a little icon in the picture's place.)It wants to see them in JPEG. So you will convert your photo back into JPEG mode in order to save it. Don't worry though, all of that beautiful color and detail will be kept intact in the JPEG mode. So after you push the SAVE AND CONVERT button, you will notice that you now have a copy of the RAW photo in your utility, and one that says JPEG right next to it. That's your newly saved picture. That's the one you will post on your blog for me to see!

6. In a nutshell. Take the pic in RAW. See it in JPEG on your camera. Load it into your computer and see it in RAW. Edit it as desired. Change it back to JPEG. Now all the RAW features you wanted are in JPEG.

7. Is it worth the hassle. YES, YES, YES!

Farmlady, you have some beautiful pics of the sky...I just can't even imagine how they'd look in RAW. Please try it!

Joanne, you just have to try some pics of that little grandbaby in RAW. OK?

All right ladies. It's nightie night time for me. My vacation starts at 6 am tomorrow. Hope to see some fabulous pictures!


A simplistic view of RAW photography

"Dusty Teacup"

I took this picture for my photography class using the RAW setting. For those who don't know...RAW is an uncompressed format on your EOS camera.

 As my instructor explained it: "When you are shooting the sky, for example; your JPEG format will look at the colors of blue and if they are fairly close in hue, it will decide to lump them all together into one color. RAW, on the other hand, will take the picture exactly as you see it, distinguishing all of the subtle variations in color."

The difference between JPEG and RAW is like the difference between wearing your glasses to read a prescription bottle or not. The colors are so vibrant! But RAW takes up a lot of space...I can shoot about 400 RAW photos on my memory card as compared to 1200 JPEG. So you have to be aware of space when using this format. You need to process RAW pics differently too. Your camera should have come with some software that will allow this. Photoshop, of course, is great for processing RAW photos.

That little 5-night photography course was one of the best $100 I ever spent! All of those mysterious settings suddenly make sense!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Favorite Warm-Weather Recipe

It's 2:00 pm and I'm busy, busy, busy getting ready for a little camping trip we've planned for later this week. In addition to all of the chores I still need to finish, I have my last photography class tonight at 6:30. I won't be home for dinner with hubby, so I fixed something quick and easy that he can assemble when he gets home. This is my favorite warm-weather recipe (even if the warm weather has been MIA.) And it's healthy! It's from a wonderful cookbook called "Herbs in the Kitchen...a celebration of flavor." If you love cooking with herbs or are thinking of learning about cooking with herbs, this is a fantastic reference. Pretty pictures too!

Pasta with Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce

1 1/4 lb firm ripe tomatoes (I use 3 nice round ones for the two of us.)
2 or 3 garlic cloves...live dangerously, go with 3
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
pinch of red peppers, optional
3-4 large basil sprigs (if you don't have fresh, use dried basil to taste)
1/2 lb pasta--rotelle or other shaped pasta is nice to catch the sauce

Rinse tomatoes, core them and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Mince garlic. Mix tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and red wine vinegar in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer.
Cook pasta. When pasta is nearly done, tear basil and add to the sauce. When the pasta is just done, drain it and mix with the sauce. Serve immediately.

This recipe is so nice with Parmesan cheese and a loaf of crusty bread, if you have it.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Where's Posie?

Urban camouflage

Have cats been domesticated for so long that they blend into their urban environment?

Or did I buy a rug to match my kittie?

Friday, July 20, 2012


Stopped and bought a flat of raspberries (or as my dad called them; razzleberries) at a local farm market today because I am too busy to go out and pick my own. They are luscious, sweet, and expensive!

 Guess what I paid for 12 eensie weensie boxes...$24! Holy razzleberries! When we were kids we picked raspberries for school clothes. One dollar per flat was the pay scale. The flats were 'cannery flats' so the boxes were twice the size of these little cardboard ones you see today. On a great day; and I mean great day; I could pick 24 flats and earn $24.

Oh well, they are beautiful and will make very tasty freezer jam for the winter. And though strawberries are my favorite berry to eat fresh, in my humble opinion razzleberries and blackberries make the best jam.

But next year I'm going to plant a couple of bushes out in the back yard. I wonder if I can get the grandkids to pick them for me...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Spinach-Apple Salad...Coleus...Staying in the Moment

This is a wonderful salad for empty nesters. Just throw together what you have and Ta-Daaa...a healthy salad for two! (I think we've covered all the food groups with this one.)

My Spinach-Apple Salad for Two

Place in salad bowl...

A bunch of fresh spinach, washed and torn into bite size pieces
1 apple, sliced and quartered, mine was a Jonagold (don't use Grannys--too tart!)
Two or three slices of cheddar cheese, broken into pieces
Handful of sunflower seeds
Toss in dressing; however much suits your taste


1 T. Good Seasons Zesty Italian Dressing
1/4 C. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 T. Red Wine Vinegar
3 T. Apple Juice.

Bought some coleus for the outdoor planters, but they were so beautiful that I kept them inside! Coleus are such opulent looking plants. They make me think of musty Victorian rooms with red velvet settees and heavily draped windows with filtered light and  fancy carpets from exotic places.
I'm finding these plants to be very thirsty indoors, they get droopy easily, so if you get one, keep the watering can handy.

Baron and I took a lovely walk this morning; through the park and all over town.  Walking Baron is necessary...he get's pretty antsy if he doesn't burn that lab-puppy energy. Actually, he's become my own personal fitness coach...spurring me on when I'm feeling lazy! Today I had so many things to do that it was difficult to make myself get out with him. But you know, his health and mine are just as important as spading up the flowerbeds. So I decided to leave my watch at home and just enjoy our time, no matter how long or where our walk took us. We arrived home an hour later; refreshed and ready to take on the day. Stay in the moment, friends...it's the key to happiness.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Are you being nice or being kind?

"Always be kind. But think twice before you're "nice." Nice, is often a mask of pleasantness we put over negative feelings. Nice is often a form of self-rejection. Real kindness feels good. It's when we give because we want to give and we give in ways that respect everyone, including us."

Tama J. Kieves

Wow! I read this quote on Tama Kieves' website and it really made me think. We're told to be nice so often; but really we need to be kind, don't we? You can link to her site here:

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Hovander Homestead

My last post was about Hovander Homestead with pictures from the barn. Today I'm sharing some photos of the house and gardens. The home was built in 1901 by Hakan Hovander, a Swedish immigrant and architect. He and his wife raised their 7 children in this 6800 sq. ft home which is situated on 260 acres along the Nooksack River in Ferndale, Washington.

The gardens are old-fashioned and very romantic. I didn't take too many pictures though, as I am becoming a little bored with photographing flowers. But this bean-pole birdhouse was just too charming to pass up! This would be fun to make, but I have to wonder if then birds would poop on the beans?? On the other hand, they'd surely help eat the bugs!

This charming succulent garden was planted in a birdbath that was tucked under some foliage.
Meet witch Hazel. She lives in a children's garden with about 10 other delightful scarecrows. She's my favorite. BTW...did you know that Witch Hazel is wonderful astringent that is effective for acne, psoriasis, hemmorhoids, eczema, and bug bites? The branches of the Witch Hazel tree is are commonly used as divining rods.

Love Mr. Broomstick scarecrow's flat top.

Friday, July 13, 2012


A visit to the barn at Hovander Homestead conjures up images of...

Grandpa Miller. Driving around the county in his horse drawn wagon; selling housewares and such.

Playing hide and seek in brother Allen's barn. Hiding behind old wooden crates and mysterious tools in shadowy corners and nooks.

Filtered rays of light coming through spidery cobwebs on brittle windowpanes.

 Building forts and tunnels in haymows...jumping from dizzying heights into piles of hay.

Being all itchy afterward.

And this one reminds me of Jesus. He says:

"Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. "

And I feel thankful.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

For Sandy Bishop Noblet

I learned last evening that my cousin Sandy has passed away.  We are related on mom's side; our mothers Mabel and Ruby were sisters. The news of her passing was expected, but sad.

I was born late in life which meant that my siblings and cousins were almost grown up when I arrived. So Sandy was much closer to my sister and brothers than to me; as they share a childhood history.

Sandy holds a different kind of place in my heart. She is an important link-- a link between our mothers and their families; a link back to the days of Ruby and Mabel Youngedyke and to those who came before them. Sandy is one of a handful of us who knows the old stories of Walter and Lydia; of the Michigan days and the old farm up in Sumas, and about the McKinnon clan. She knows our story and shares our roots. 

I always loved to hear that Sandy and Cheryl (her wonderful sister) were coming to family events. Her presence made things well, just so happy. Always smiling and always laughing! And such a hearty laugh she had...it welled up from deep within her. It reminded me so much of her mother Mabel. 

 Even sad events were made better by her coming. I'll never forget how kind and generous she was when my mother died a few years back. People were gathering at my house after the funeral and I was more than a little nervous about hosting this event...hoping we had enough room and food for everyone. Then in came Sandy and Cheryl, all smiling, arms laden with so much beautiful food! I could tell many stories of her kindness and generosity over the years to so many members of our family...but my little blog could not contain them all.

It is said that the giant Redwood trees in California have surprisingly shallow root systems, as trees go. In fact, if one were to grow isolated from the grove; a strong wind might easily blow it over. But the secret to the strength of the Redwood is that it's roots spread long and far. They intertwine with all of the other trees in the grove; much in the same way that we might clasp one anothers hands and lace our fingers together. So that when the storms come; they stand strong together as one.

This is how it is with family. Our lives and hearts are inextricably intertwined together to create a glorious tapesty of stories and events. A tapestry that shows us where we came from and who we are... and gives us a sense of place in this world. This was Sandy's gift to our family. She stood among us in the sunshine and the storms, hands clasping ours. Her place will be sorely missed.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Picnicking in the Country

Lovely summer Sunday! We went to a church potluck on the beautiful grounds of  Enfield Farms! The Enfields are local berry growers. They have the prettiest place around for gatherings. It's tucked away in a large stand of fir trees, flanked by rolling pasturelands with ponds and windmills. Not only did the Enfields offer this beautiful pastoral setting; but they barbequed salmon for the whole congregation! Yum!

Enfield Farm

Potlucking in the woods

Do Not Feed the Bears!

Aawwww, Shucks!

How about a push?

Potlucks are my favorite way to dine...it's like going to an all-you-can-eat restaurant but the food is much better. Church ladies can cook...and that's a fact! You have to try everything at a potluck...it's required. After all, how would "Elsie" feel if you didn't try her special recipe for cherry crisp? Best not to risk offending anyone; eat everything. Counting calories at a potluck...forget it! I did however, take a lovely salad of mixed greens and mandarin oranges with home-made dressing that is both tasty and healthy. I got the recipe at the the Sisters Cafe blog; http://www.thesisterscafe.com/2011/05/green-salad-orange-dressing This recipe is easy and doesn't have too many ingredients...just my style. Since we have a superabundance of spinach, lettuce, kale, and radishes in our garden right now; this was a great way to share some of our bounty.


Thursday, July 5, 2012


...and the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air; gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave...o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

I always get a lump in my throat when I hear that old anthem; when I see Old Glory flying high; when a soldier salutes tall and proud; and when fireworks sizzle on the 4th of July...

God Bless America!

photos taken at Blaine Harbor, July 4th, 2012
all rights reserved.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Simple Woman's Daybook

Here's my Simple Woman's Daybook; hosted by Peggy Hostetler. You can visit Peggy's blog at http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/ where you too can participate in the Daybook! Thank you Peggy!


Outside my window: Newly potted tangerine orange tuberous begonias and yellow daylilies. Bought them yesterday at the Hi-Hoe Nursery; a local favorite of mine. The pic is from their facebook...I just wanted to give you a visual on the color of those begonias!

I am thinking: About how I will spend my days this week, as my kitchen floor is being tiled. (No kitchen for 1 week...hmmm)

I am thankful: For a new-found friend, Stephanie. We met at the dog park...her dog Sasha and my Baron are best-buddies. We were chatting about gardening and she offered me some beanpoles from her family farm...and we'd just met! How kind she is!

In the kitchen: We've remove all of the appliances for the tile installer. Not much happening out there.

I am wearing: blue denim capris, a blue and white striped boat-neck t-shirt with 3/4 length sleeves, orange flip flops.

I am creating: I'm trying to figure out how to make a row of paper lanterns as shown in the picture below. I know you can get multi-socket light cords...this must be the secret. Isn't it beautiful? Any hints on how to replicate this?

I am going: Over to my community garden plot tomorrow...to put in the beanpoles Stephanie gave to me.

I am wondering: If I'll be able to get some writing (my book), and good photographs done this week with the workmen tramping about the house.

I am reading: "Excuses Begone!" by Dr. Wayne Dyer.

I am hoping: To figure out how to use my camera tripod before the 4th of July. I understand it is a necessity for fireworks shots.

I am learning: How to govern my thought life.

Around the house: The stove is in the family room; the fridge and microwave in the dining room; my dining room table is covered with boxes of things we might need while the kitchen is out of commission...food, dishes, cooking supplies, etc. Hubby's watching more golf...it's been on all weekend; Baron is napping--whimpering and twitching in his sleep--I think he's dreaming about that pretty little Silver Lab that visited our house yesterday! Posie-cat is quite alarmed by fireworks going off in the neighborhood.

I am pondering: How the Lord shows his goodness in my life in the small things; like the beanpole thing...

A favorite quote for the day: Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him...

One of my favorite things: Shopping for fresh fruit at the Green Barn produce market. I love the colorful variety of fruits and veggies; bouquets of flowers that invariably have sunflowers in them; milk and eggs from local farms; and the old-time country music playing in the background.

A few plans for the rest of the week:  Pole the beans, replant some hosta, work on my book, exercise, pray and meditate, buy some daisies for my new iris and daisy flowerbed,  call my sis, find a farm to take some photographs of cows, stake my tomato plants.

A peek into my day: Went to church--stayed after for tea and made some new acquaintances, fixed leftover tacos for lunch, did all of my laundry because the laundry room is also being re-tiled and the washer/dryer are now in the garage, planted begonias, lilies, and heucheras. Moved some hosta and iris. Took Baron to the dog park for a romp with Sasha the great dane/boxer mix and Oso the german shepherd. Went through McDonald's drive-through for a chicken ranch salad for dinner. Not bad! Then home to move all of the kitchen appliance out and clean the filthy floors where they once stood. Blogged...obviously!

Add your picture here:

This is me and my beautiful grand-daughter Isabella...affectionately called La-la!


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