Friday, January 27, 2017

The Week in Review

1. Saturday was a gorgeous day. Temps in the 60s. Very unusual for this time of year. We spent the morning doing yard work and then went for a walk at Lincoln Log Cabin Historical Site.

2. We took Gus with us. He loves riding in the truck and hanging out with his food people. I didn't get a picture, so this is Gus last summer.

3. Each year I go through my pictures for the year and make a photo book. This is what I give my kids for their birthdays each year. I finally finished choosing pictures and ordered my 2016 book last week. It came  yesterday. I tried a new company called Mixbook and am pleased with the result. Below is the cover. I decided on the soft cover instead of hardback since it was cheaper. Now I'm kind of wishing I had paid the extra. 

4.Since it is winter and neither of us likes the cold weather, we decided to get a treadmill. Now I've seen how they often become clothes hangers, but we have vowed not to let that happen. So we have now been using it for 2 days. 

I have compared walking outside to walking on the treadmill and have found one huge drawback. When one walks for 30 minutes outside, one must turn around and walk back home. When walking on the treadmill, the chair is within eyesight and easy walking distance from the treadmill. This might be a problem.

5. I retired at the end of July 2016. Having worked for so many years, I am used to structure and now I have none. Up until now, I have found plenty to do and motivation to keep busy. Perhaps it is because of the time of year, it's too cold to do much outside, anyway boredom has set in. I think I need to make a schedule.  

Tomorrow we are going to watch granddaughter play in the All State Band. She plays clarinet. Very proud grandma here. She may or may not be in this picture. It's a little difficult to tell them apart. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


Linking to Wordless Wednesday

Frustration. I have been trying to make comments on the links provided, and I have been successful on some, but others I'm getting a message that says 'comments have been turned off to prevent spam'. What is that?

Sunday, January 22, 2017


Saturday was a beautiful day with temperatures in the 60s and much needed sunshine. A well received respite in the middle of winter. We decided to go for a drive to Lincoln Log Cabin Historical Site so Gus could have a walk.

I took my camera in hopes of finding a bird to post today. But alas all I found were some cattails.

I was pleasantly surprised on the way home to find what appeared to be swans in a field.
Sadly, they were too far away for even my camera to take a decent closeup.

Linking to I'd Rather B Birdin'

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Week in Review

My week in review. Mostly not a good one. 

1) I rarely ever post anything religious or political on social media. I did yesterday. I am really tired of all the snarky comments about other people's choices and views. What do you suppose I got? You guessed it, snarky comments. What did I learn? Don't post anything about politics or religion on social media! I'm taking off my rose colored glasses!

2) During my previous marriage, I wasn't allowed to cook, so for 8 years I didn't. I always loved to cook and I'm really enjoying getting back in the game. I tried a new beef stew recipe last week. It has been filed in the keeper file. Of course, I got to use my new cast iron kettle, a Christmas present from DA. If anyone is interested, here is the recipe:

Beef Stew 
2 lbs. boneless chuck roast, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp freshly ground pepper
2 yellow onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup flour
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red wine
3 cups beef broth
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
4 carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch slices
2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch slices
3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut in eighths

On medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil to a large heavy pot (one that has a tight-fitting lid).
When it begins to smoke slightly, add the beef and brown very well. Do so in batches if necessary. Add the salt and pepper as the beef browns.
Once browned, remove the beef with a slotted spoon set aside.
Add the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes, until softened.
Reduce heat to medium-low, and add the flour and cook for 2 minutes stirring often.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add wine and deglaze the pan, scraping any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. The flour will start to thicken the wine as it comes to a simmer.
Simmer wine for 5 minutes and then add the broth, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary and the beef.
Bring back to a gentle simmer, cover and cook on very low for about 1 hour.
Add potatoes, carrots, and celery and simmer covered for another 30 minutes or until the meat and vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Turn off heat and let sit for 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with the fresh parsley if desired.
NOTE: I don't add salt. If you don't have to live by salt restrictions, go for it. Season to taste.

3) Mr. Weatherman was wrong about last weekend's weather. We were threatened with an ice storm. I got out candles, lanterns, and flashlights to make sure they were in working order in case of a  power outage, which happens here more than I like. We dashed off to the grocery store to make sure we had food. No need to get out and risk broken bones. All the preparations were for naught. No ice. Not that I'm complaining. Even though it was a dreary day, we were able to a walk around Lincoln Log Cabin Historical Site. 

4) As a youngster, we often went to our local A&W Root Beer Stand for a root beer in a frosty mug. Many years ago, the A&W changed it's name to D&W but still served the same root beer in those frosty mugs. When I would come back to Illinois to visit my mom, we always went for lunch and a root beer. Great memories. I enjoyed the time we spent talking and laughing together. I miss those days. Anyway, much to my surprise, there is an A&W/Kentucky Fried Chicken in Charleston, IL. DA and I went there one day and we discovered they still serve root beer in frosty mugs. Unfortunately, we can't go there often, but once in a while, we sneak in some junk food and a root beer.

5) A rant. I belong to the local camera club. Most of the people have been members for years. I have been a member for a few years, not sure when I started going, but probably around 4 years ago. We meet once a month and have a different assignment each month. This month the assignment was Black and White. Which I did like. A couple of years ago, the club started choosing topics for the entire year so we would have more time to find a suitable subject for the assignment. I loved this idea, but most of the topics are repetitive i.e. patriotic, winter, flowers, farming, weather. You get the idea. I had hoped this time when we picked for the year we would have some time to come up with something different and not the same old boring topics. Sadly, this didn't happen. With no warning or time to think, we were handed a sheet with the twelve months listed and told to write down a topic for the month. When it came around, I saw the list was mostly the same old topics. I was happy to see there was at least three different and interesting choices. I wrote down Patterns, thinking that would be something that would require some thought and get our creative juices flowing. As the list was being read at the end of the meeting, one of the major players said, "Patterns is my least favorite on the list." I will honestly say I got my feelings hurt. I am so upset by his comment that I am seriously considering dropping out. I feel like I'm being a baby, but this isn't the first time my ideas have been shot down. Rant over. This is the picture I used for black and white. I didn't win, but there were way too many better submissions. 

I'm hoping for a better week ahead. Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and near 60 degrees. That in itself would brighten my mood.

Linking to Willy Nilly Five

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Thankful Thursday and a Good Fence

Another shot from our Wyoming trip last November. I hoped to see at least one buffalo and I was not disappointed. However, I was thankful for the fence separating me from these awesome creatures.

I wouldn't recommend a trip to this area in November due to likelihood of snow, but we were really lucky. The temperatures were in the high 60s and low 70s, plus there were only a few tourists. The roads were free from traffic and parking spaces easy to find. Next time I would like to go in late September or early October.

Linking to GOOD FENCES

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Badlands National Park

This is the beginning the The Badlands. This was my first view of the Badlands as we traveled west on Interstate 90 in South Dakota.
The Badlands are so named due to being considered unsuitable for agriculture.

The rock formations are something to see.

The National Park has 39 mammals and 206 species of birds. We hoped to see buffalo and mustangs, but they eluded us. However, we did see prairie dogs...

...and bighorn sheep. They were grazing beside the road. Almost close enough we could have reached out the window and touched them.

Linking to Nature Notes

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Hawk

I haven't been taking many pictures of birds lately. I hope to get more use out of my camera now that DA is doing much better and his doc appointments are becoming fewer. So, I can't take credit for my bird post today. Well, in a round about way maybe I can. These pictures are courtesy of my son, who seems to have inherited my love for picture taking. He is a natural in the way he frames his shots. My only advice was to remove the date stamp. Proud mom here.

I'm hoping someone can identify this guy. He lives in Napa Valley. I've been through my bird book, but can't decide.

Linking to I'd Rather B Birdin'

Linking to Saturday Critters

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Thankful Thursday and a Good Fence

I'm getting back into blogging on a limited basis after several months away. What better way to begin than with a post for Thankful Thursday. Some of you might recognize me from Rubbish by Roan.

I'm not sure what to post, should it be something heavy, humerous, or something I might be enjoying today. I'm assuming any of these, but I will be a bit serious at first. Looking back on 2016, I will say I am thankful to still have DA by my side. He had a heart attack last June. I will never, ever, take him for granted. I am enormously thankful he survived and is doing well. I am also thankful that we were able to get married on November 4th. 2016 was a year filled with both good and bad. Thankfully it ended on a good note.

I am a huge fan of nature, trees in particular. I once identified a road we lived down in the early 70s by recognizing a tree. This is one I saw in Oklahoma taken last weekend.


The one thing I've really missed about blogging is Good Fences. I'm happy to see it has been picked up.

This picture was taken last week in the Collinsville, TX area. Had we waited for our visit until this week, we would have had temperatures in the 70s. Sadly, when we were there, it was freezing cold and snowing.

Linking to GOOD FENCES

Schafer Hat Works

It was well worth the trip to Oklahoma for DA's new hat. Fred measures your head and makes the hat himself. Made to fit, and it does. Below is a video I found on YouTube about Fred.

Below is Fred and DA's new hat.

I like the sign in the shop window. It says, "Cowboy Parking Only. All others will be whupped."

One of the many satisfied customers.
 Below is DA's saddle which he donated to Fred for his shop.

Linking to Willy Nilly Friday 5

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hat Trip Part III

Saturday January 8th, we went to another friend's house near Ada, Oklahoma. The roads were either covered in snow or had slick spots. BE lives down a long road with no near neighbors. Nice place!
 While there, we drove over to see RE's new property. It has a really nice pond.
Below is RE's brand which decorates the gates.
Below is one of BE's horses. When we were there last spring, Speed had ripped open its face and was being treated by the vet. The wound seems to have healed nicely.
 Then there is Margo the pig.  So cute!
The snow had melted as we were heading back home the next day.
We had a great visit. The guys told lots of stories and we laughed. Good time with good friends. Looking forward to the next visit.

The Hat Trip Part II

We drove down into the very northern part of Texas to visit a friend. It was a quick visit and then back to Oklahoma. The weather was terrible. Cold and snow. If only we had waited a week the temperature would have been in the 70s. I lived in Texas a lot of years and still miss it. There's something about crossing into Texas, I always want to yell, "Woo Hoo!"
This is ranch country. Horses and cattle everywhere.

Enjoyed spending time with this fine Indian fella...
 ...and this old cowboy. He had lots of stories to tell.
I enjoyed trying on the old Indian's hat...
 ...and this sombrero. I think I like it best! May have to get me one.
At first it was merely colder than you know what, but then it started snowing. We made our way to the cafe to eat fish anyway. 
The weather didn't seem to interrupt feeding time. 

Smokey didn't have a problem hanging out inside.Smokey is a Blue Heeler. Sweet pup!
To be continued...

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Hat Trip Part I

Last fall, DA, my husband, ordered a hat from Schafer Hat Works in Noble, OK. Tuesday, January 3rd, he got a call saying his hat was ready. The hat could have been shipped, but any excuse for a road trip! We packed and left Wednesday morning. I found the art of hat making interesting. The man certainly has a talent. He has made hats for such notables as Charlie Daniels, both Presidents Bush, Travis Tritt, Toby Keith, General Schwartzkoff, and even Steven Tyler.
Don's hat is silver belly Gus hat. Below is DA's new hat and the hat maker, Fred Schafer. If you want a hat made, contact Mr. Schafer in Noble, OK.

Noble is a small town located in Cleveland County, OK. It is considered to be part of the Oklahoma City Metro Area. As of the 2010 census, the population was 6,481. Below is a shot of the unimpressive main street. Noble is known as the Rose Rock Capital of the World due to the concentration of barium sulfate in the soil, which is considered to be higher than anywhere else and causes the formation of rose rocks. The town holds the Rose Rock Festival in May. Visitors can visit the Timberlake Rose Rock Museum, but we didn't take the time this trip. (factual information courtesy of Wikipedia)

We left Noble around 11:00 a.m. for a quick trip into Texas to visit a friend. We took the Interstate south. Oklahoma has beautiful rolling hills in this area.
 Along the way, we took an exit for a scenic overlook where, to my surprise, we found graffiti.
I would like to say how terrible it is to deface this wall of rock, but I found it interesting and even beautiful in an odd way.
And then on for a very brief visit in Texas.