Monday, August 30, 2010

Zoo Land

The day I saw the bug eyed doe, I also spied a black bear, wild pigs, turkey and multitudes of quail. Then yesterday night while driving up our driveway we were astonished to realize the animal in front of our car was a mountain lion. It wasn't very big, so we are suspecting it was a year old or so. Amazing things around every bend and never a dull moment. Or almost never anyway.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bug Eyed

Went to feed Eric and Jo's horses this morning because they are off guiding an elk hunt and Mark was off delivering firewood and beef. My trusty Kubota has been having some issues, so I jumped in the Land Cruiser and headed off.
Came across this doe who was eating some moss. She dropped her moss and just stood there looking at me all bug eyed. She didn't move. She just stared and stared and stared. I have only a point and shoot camera, with barely any zoom, so she was standing pretty close to me.
As I left, I turned the camera and shot a self portrait. When I got home and looked at the photos I realized why that doe stared. I was looking pretty bug eyed too!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I was wrong. It was not a bee moth, but a Snowberry Clearwing Moth and it is nice and lays its eggs on plants. No destruction of bees needed. Sorry for the slander little hummingbird moth.


Yesterday was perfect. Woke up to watch the moon set while planting spinach for fall. Then into the hot tub together to read our morning devotionals and drink coffee. The air was already beginning to droop heavy with heat and the mountains around us were lit up gold and green while we were still in shade. Out of the tub to feed the animals then off to my acupuncture appointment which has really helped with my back and anxiety. A little shopping and I got complimented (aka: hit on) by a sweet 75 year old man. Home again to a scrumptious left over meal of short ribs and mashed potatoes. Watched a surprisingly redeeming movie and cried together. The house was cool and dark. We then headed down to the falls in our open topped Land Cruiser while the sun blasted us with waves of hot air. It was blistering hot, 99 in the shade of our porch. The deep, (over 28 feet) water at the falls was cold, surprisingly cold, and clear. I snorkeled off the air mattress while Mark read in the shade of an umbrella. He is reading "Walking on Water", a wonderful book I recently finished. The sun set behind the rocks and we climbed up the steep hill, soon reentering the realm of the sun. The grass shimmered and waved like a mirage and the smell was divine, though we knew the scent came at a price...intense, scorching interrogation by the unrelenting sun. Home again we flopped into bed for a "nap" before dinner of London broil. We love our meat around here. Opened up the house after the sun set and enjoyed the thick air lightened by the evening's moon and sangrias. Blissful day.

London Broil Recipe

London Broil is really a way of cooking a top round roast and it has become one of our favorite summer meals. It is so easy and it also makes great leftover sandwiches. The one problem with this cut is that they can be tough, so marinading 24 hours is needed and always remember to cut thinly across the grain.

a couple marinades you could try:

1: 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, 3 TLBS. soy sauce, 1 TLBS. ketchup, 1 TLBS. oil, 1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar, 1/4 tsp. onion powder or about 1/8 cup diced onions.

2: 4 cloves minced garlic, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 TLBS. lemon juice or vinegar, 2 TLBS. ketchup, 2 TLBS. Worcester sauce, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. black pepper

Mix marinade of your choice up in a bowl and then coat your London Broil that has been scored in a diamond pattern on both sides. (About 1/8 of an inch thick with the slicing of the diamond pattern.) Place in a Ziploc or covered casserole dish and stick in refrigerator for about 24 hours, flipping a couple of times if you remember it.

A couple of hours before dinner set out on the counter to bring meat to room temperature. This really helps with tenderness. Place about 4 or 5 inches away from broiler and broil for 8 minutes on each side. Let set on cutting board for 10 minutes to redistribute juices. Slice thinly across the grain. (Lines are running from right to left down the length of the steak. Cut across these lines, this will usually be on a 45-degree angle.)


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Poser

Looks like a bee, but isn't. I presume that this little impostor came to our butterfly bush to gather some nectar before finding a bee hive to destroy. You got watch out for wolves in sheep's clothing, even if you are a bee! Bee moth, bee hawk moth, greater wax moth, or honeycomb moth are common names for this insect pest of honeycombs.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Treasure Found

The following prose was written recently by Mark and found by me.

God gently broke me

so that I might step out
of the whirlwind

and see that He was not
contained or impressed by the activity.

He lovingly healed me with
your hands and presence feeding me.

He embraces us, and with
a longing glance, lets us go.

I hope we always
remember to recline together...
with Him.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Chicken Fried Steak

One of our favorite recipes is chicken fried steak. While it might not be the healthiest choice it is surely a comforting dish. We usually serve ours with mashed potatoes and green beans. I am really excited to be serving this because most of the meal, now that we finally have green beans, will be from off our land.

Chicken Fried Steak with Milk Gravy

Cubed steak

Place enough oil in a pan to coat the bottom, put that on medium heat while you prepare your steak. In a bowl, place 1 Cup flour and add 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper (more if you prefer). Stir that up and then dredge your steak into the flour mixture coating both sides well. Place each piece of steak in pan and cook until browned on both sides. Remove steak to a plate while you make your gravy.

Place about 1/4 cup flour into skillet with meat drippings. Add a little more salt and pepper and stir this over medium heat until the flour is slightly browned. Slowly pour in 1 and 1/2 cups of milk, stirring constantly. continue stirring, with a wire whisk to help with lumps, over low heat until thickened and there are no lumps, (or at least not many!). Add a little more milk if you prefer thinner gravy. Return steaks to the pan and turn to coat with gravy on both sides.

You can serve steak and gravy together in a bowl or serve gravy on the side.

Enjoy. Then go for a brisk, long walk to burn off those calories!

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Dirt Road to Home

Of course this is a much shortened version of our drive. We actually have about four slow, pot holed miles of dirt road to get to our place. We often see quail, turkey and deer along the way. I like it when the neighbor's goats cross the road and I have been known to stop and give them a scratch or two. Sometimes you have to dive off the narrow lane when someone is driving to fast towards you. Which thankfully, only happens occasionally because there aren't many who live off this road and most times folks just slow down and wave or stop for a friendly chat.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Meet Emma

Johanna was giving an adorable Jack Russel/Fox Terrier and her name is Emma. Emma comes from a long line of blood trackers that are used to track wounded animals. You can read about her genealogy here. We discovered today that she also loves kids. Adores kids. Wants to have some of her own kids, I think.

The adorable girl is Nola who came to visit with her family and grandparents today. I think they would have taken Emma home with them if they could. Emma was that good.

Mark too is doing pretty good. He tried to do some work yesterday, but he paid for it last night and today. He is back flat on his back right now, curled up next to Emma the wonder nanny.
Eric the Bold just got home from guiding an Elk hunt down in Mendocino county. He had a great time. Called in 12 bulls (I think) and his client got one. Another archer. They did have to do a bit of tracking and they didn't have Emma. Emma the tracker, kid-sitter and wonder nanny. What can I say, I love this dog! But, shhh, don't tell our dog Kate, she might get jealous.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Muffin Man

Around here, Mark is known as the Muffin Man because he likes getting up before everyone else to make coffee and muffins. Then while the lovely smells percolate through the house he sits and reads his Bible. Well understandably, last week the Muffin Man was out of commission and had to suffer through my coffee, but I am very happy to report that he is now back in business.

He is doing incredibly well and only taking about 1 or 2 pain pills a day. This morning, after muffins and coffee of course, we took a little walk and a drive on the ranch in our land cruiser. Glorious! Thanks again for all the prayers and love. It seems to be working.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Mark says I shouldn't do this post. It will scare some folks from coming for a visit or just upset others off because we killed it. We did. We killed it. We feel bad, but not too bad. I know many folks who relocate venomous snakes that lurk beside their door, but here, we don't. If they are off in the woods or on yonder hill, we walk off and let them do their thing, but if they are around our house or barn it is another story.

We were having a movie and chocolate afternoon when we began hearing Kate, the dog, having a manic barking fit. She has been doing this at night lately to keep the bears away from the apples, but it was a bit odd in the middle of the afternoon, so Mark slowly clambered out of the recliner to go have a look. I stayed put, licking my chocolate covered fingers. Shortly I heard a hoot and a holler and jumped up to see what happened. This is what I saw.The snake was right beside our back door in the newly stacked winter's supply of wood. Poor thing was probably just seeking some shade on a hot day. It is strange that Kate created such a fuss though. Normally she just walks right by snakes. Somehow, it seems, she knows the difference between the ones that can hurt you and the ones that can't. Mark is now calling her "Kate, the rattlesnake dog". And, it seems he takes more care in choosing just the right firewood pieces from the stack to heat our hot-tub.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Blanket of Love

I keep crying and I don't know why. I am not the one who lay broken on the rocks. I am not the one who has to lie in bed most of the day. I am not the one. But somehow I still cry. Empathy. Love. Two as one. It all plays into it. That and the little movie that rolls through my head of his accident. The one where I think I am a widow and don't know what to do. What do I do? And then when I saw his unmoving body with his eyes open, but nobody home, and I think , 'he won't like this'. Then, he was resurrected and almost whole, but cranky and yelling and not quite right. Worry invaded my head of what might be happening underneath his shell of skin and the visual of all that blood. All that blood! But now he is whole. Hallelujah! Broken but on the mend, and my walls of self protection slip and the tears fall and we sleep side by side with his good arm under my head, thankful to have each other and have this life with such a wonderful circle of family and friends lifting us up and covering us in their blanket of love. Amen.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sugar and Spice

First cookies arrived today.

Delivered by some of Mark's favorite people.

Nothing sweeter than a smile like this.

Thank you Trinity, Sasha and Casey.

Sugar and spice,
And everything nice,
That's what little girls are made of.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

One- Upmanship

I was told I had to begin this blog by stating that Mark is doing OK. But this is what Mark looked like yesterday.
He wins. He always wins. When we first got married I blasted him with a little squirt gun. I laughed, until he came into the kitchen with a bucket of water and dumped it on my head. He has always been like that and yesterday was no exception. I had a little fall a few months ago and went to the urgent care clinic and came home with only a neck brace.
Mark took a bigger tumble off a horse and ended up with an overnight stay in the hospital and 4 fractured ribs, a fractured iliac crest (top of the pelvis), and 5 stitches in the bottom of his head wound and 8 staples on the top to close it. Think Frankenstein. (Just a little extra gore for our friend Michelle).

This photo was taken after I ran my horse to the top of the hill to mark our trail for the kids with the truck. (Thankfully we had cell phone reception.) Mark was supposed to stay down below in the trees by the creek he crashed into. He didn't. He wasn't right in the head. Nothing new there. First thing I heard was a whistle and when I looked below there was Mark riding his horse up the hill. Crazy. We later discovered the poor horse had an injury of her own, a stick puncturing her posterior.
Here he was shortly after he became conscious and began yelling at me to get off of him. I wasn't on him. The poor man would not lay still. I had to scream at him like a drill sergeant. Nothing new there. Why in the world I snapped this photo I will never really know though. At least his dog was showing him some love while I was wandering around praying and trying to block out the image of his head smashing on the rocks.
Our ride was lovely up until that point. He looked quite dashing with his cowboy hat on. In retrospect it should have been a helmet.
We were riding on the neighbor's place looking for some stray cattle. And FYI, when you hear someone tell you that their cinch is a little loose and they should probably tighten it, make sure they do. It will make the rest of the day a whole lot nicer.

Friday, August 6, 2010

New Sign

Mark and I went to our local farmers market again today and basically sold out. All we had left in our humongous ice chest was some short ribs and stew meat. It was a great day and I thank you if you stopped by today to chat or buy. Both were beneficial!
Jo and I updated our sign and I think it turned out real cute. I need to make another little board with 'firewood' on it as Mark ended us selling 8 more loads.
We are also trying to be at the Miranda Farmers Market on Tuesdays between 3 and 5 whenever we can, but we are serious this year about making the Garberville Market every other week. I am enjoying it.

On another note, Eric the Bold had another bow hunter out on the ranch who got a 3 by 3. 109 points worth if you know what that means, I don't. I am told that this hunter was from the east coast and works at the Pentagon. Interesting. Today Eric is out bow hunting with a young man from the central valley of California. I hope he has a good time and gets his buck. I guess. Maybe you know how it is with those of us who aren't hunters. It is exciting though, for us to see our son pursuing his passion. He is living the life he has always dreamed of. We thank Arrow 5 outfitters for taking Eric under their wings and helping his dream come true.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Resilient Rose

I almost dug this rose bush up and threw it on the burn pile last fall. It is a scrawny plant that came up on the dark side of the house amidst some ground cover. It never bloomed. A couple of almost bare stalks sticking out like a sore thumb. I thought it should go, but then left it anyway.
It is still scrawny, it will probably never make much of a bush in so much shade, but it has learned how to bloom.

Beautiful vivid pink flowers that seem to glow with an inner light.
This morning as I walked around our yard (yea, I'm walking!)I thought about this rose bush and other scrawny, scraggly, ugly things I almost threw out in the past that later bloomed. I think of our now deceased dog Smokey. He was scrawny, and seemed worthless. Everyone told us he would never make much of a dog. He wouldn't be safe. They were wrong.

It is hard sometimes to know the difference between something redeemable and something that is garbage. Look at man through history. What trouble we make. There are so many horrible things that I can be blinded from the good, the positive possibilities. I can forget to hope, forget to love. And love covers, love heals, and I'm glad. This morning I will think on the good and try to shed what little light and love I can to those around me.