It is the small simple things of life that bring us peace.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Little Rainbows and Big Blooms

I'm in the final weeks of school, set to graduate in August.  Plans for more school?  Maybe, but tonight was my short class and we all bolted out the door at 8 p.m.  While I was in the building the wind had picked up sharply and the clouds had changed from light and fluffy to dark and fragmented.  As I got in the car I decided that since it was still early that it might be prudent to fill the car with gas tonight.  So I pulled into the station by my neighborhood.

As I started the pump I stood gazing across an open field, over the rooftops of houses, wondering about the weather.  The wind was still blowing strong. Then I saw it, just the end of a very light rainbow stretching from clouds to the rooftops. Usually these appear when there is rain, but these clouds were not rain clouds so I was puzzled.  It was faint, but I kept my eyes on it while watching first the small strip of yellow color dominate, then the pink and then the green.  Rainbows always remind me of God's promise to Noah and to mankind that never again would he destroy the earth. 

The normally boring, time consuming task of putting gas in the car was no longer tedious.  The exhaustion of the day seemed to disappear during those few minutes I spent peacefully watching the rainbow's color display, feeling the evening breeze on my face, and loosing myself in thought.  God's promise/God's love/so refreshing!

No, I don't have a picture of the little rainbow, but I do have this crepe myrtle to share.  Since we've had rain recently the crepe myrtle's have just exploded with color.  In all my driving around it has been fun to spot them, white, pink, purple, red showing off their colors. This one is in the front of the building where I go to school.  Last week before class I took the point and shoot camera out and walked back outside to make pictures; I'm glad I did because yesterday morning we had torrential rains and tonight there were very few blooms left.  Not to worry, I had almost 5 inches of rain in the rain gauge after the storm, so I'm sure in a few days the blooms will reappear.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wednesday, 06.25.2014

Produce (and dog treats) from the Farmers' Market at the Pearl Brewery

Friday, June 20, 2014

Summer Friday Night

Mow the yard and smell the fresh cut grass.  Light the grill and let the aroma drift all over the neighborhood.  Watch the food finish cooking in the almost darkness.  Summer night at its finest!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Slow and Easy Way to Cook

I recently bought a second crock pot.  That sounds extravagant, but it made sense and I'm glad I did.  I originally had an avocado green crock pot (can you date it?) that was a wedding present.  It worked great and I cooked many wonderful meals in it.  When I began on my second life I bought a new crock pot, one that the crock lifted out and was easy to clean.  I've used it a lot, but it cooked way too fast, even on the low setting.  I think that had an effect on the food, too.  So my solution was to buy another crock pot.  Plus it made sense to have two so that I could use both at the same time to do a complete meal if I wanted to. When I went shopping I knew that I wanted one that would really cook on low and would turn itself onto a "warm" mode when the meal was done.  And, I got exactly what I wanted!

I made baked beans on my first use, and they were delicious! Today I put in a roast and it was perfect.  I didn't get a picture of it, since we were busy helping plates so we could commence to eating, so here is the empty pot waiting to be cleaned (yes, the crock and the top go in the dishwasher!).  I put in potatoes with the roast, made fresh green beans, coleslaw, rolls and we had some mighty fine eating! 

Following is the recipe I like to use for crock pot roast.  It is in Southern Sideboards published by the Junior League of Jackson, Mississippi.  The dear lady that submitted the recipe is Mrs. W.W. Westbrook, Jr. and I give her all the credit!

Slow and Easy Chuck Roast

3-4 pound lean boneless chuck roast, that has the fat trimmed off as much as possible
Sprinkle Cavender's Greek Seasoning, lemon pepper seasoning, and one package of onion-mushroom dry soup mix over both sides of roast and place in crock pot.  Add 1/2 cup water and cook on low for 8-10 hours.  The gravy can be thickened, if needed, with flour or cornstarch.  Serves 6.

I added potatoes on top and you could also add carrots if desired.  The chuck roast is a cheaper (budget friendly) cut of meat, but cooks up nicely.  

Friday, June 6, 2014

70 years ago today

Early on the morning of June 6, 1944 the Allied Forces invaded the beaches of Normandy in the largest seaborne invasion in history.  Of the 150,000 soldiers, half were American.  General Eisenhower told them before their departure, "We will accept nothing less than full victory"; D-day is regarded as the turning point of World War II.

It still isn't known exactly how many soldiers gave their lives that day. The Army estimates that there were 9,000 killed or wounded; there were many who would be listed as missing in action. It would be weeks before their families knew of their loss, something that is hard to understand in our world of instant communication.  The news reels would bring the story weeks later, too. Germany would surrender on May 8, 1945.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
(Francis Scott Key, The Star Spangled Banner,1814, 4th stanza)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Meeting Jelly

Why is this ten-year old smiling so happily?  Because his mother is filling out the adoption papers for a dog that he just had an incredible experience with.

This is going to be his dog!  Her foster mom named her Jelly and her litter mate Peanut (cute, right?)

We are all thrilled to welcome her into our family.  She'll come home to live with her forever family on Tuesday after she gets spayed.  This was a case of love at first sight and instant bonding between a boy and a dog!  Here's how it happened:

Saturday morning we headed down to the Farmer's Market that's held on the beautifully restored and repurposed historic San Antonio Brewing Association property (where they made Pearl Bear for many years).  It was already getting hot and we had had to park on a side street and walk across to the Farmer's Market.  However, before we got to the market there was a pet adoption event sponsored by SnipSA, a local rescue organization.  So, we slowed down! We looked at the dogs, some in cages and some on leashes being walked around.  We admired some beautiful calico kittens (if my house wasn't full I think two of them would have come home with me!) before walking on. 

We were headed to the market but passed a little grassy area where there were several dogs on leashes.  A young lady was holding two very similar dogs and as we walked by one of the dogs came toward us, of course we stopped. Jaydon knelt down and started to pet the dog (actually I think this was Peanut that came forward first).  A few words were exchanged, we laughed about the dogs' cute names and then it happened.  Jelly came toward Jaydon and he started petting her and within 30 seconds I could tell that they were bonding!  I've never seen anything like this, ever! The look on Jaydon's face was incredible!

His Mama told the foster mom that although they wanted to get a dog that she knew she couldn't take both.  The foster mom explained that although she had found the dogs together that they were not specially bonded and were easily separated.  A little more discussion and Stephanie went to get the adoption process started.  Jaydon and Jelly had made that special dog/human connection and Stephanie knew this was the right dog for them!

Peanut and Jelly together
Jelly is between six and nine months old, per the vet that checked them out.  She is very calm and I'm sure will train easily.  Jaydon took her and walked around and even without much training she was easy to walk. The foster mom was hoping that she would find homes with children for the dogs because of their easy personalities, so she was very pleased! She had found them at a local park and had agreed to foster them for the organization. I'm sure they had been dumped there as she said they were full of fleas and filthy dirty.  Even so, the foster mom said they were just very friendly and hopped right into her vehicle.

I'm super excited for them and will never forget the look on this boy's face as he bonded with his dog!