Life in the A-Frame

Life in the A-Frame

Friday, December 25, 2009

Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella

While listening to Christmas music this morning, I heard a familiar instrumental. What I didn't realize though, was what the title or words to this song were. Here are the lyrics:

Bring a torch, Jeanette, Isabella
Bring a torch, come swiftly and run.
Christ is born, tell the folk of the village,
Jesus is sleeping in His cradle,
Ah, ah, beautiful is the mother,
Ah, ah, beautiful is her Son.
Hasten now, good folk of the village,
Hasten now, the Christ Child to see.
You will find Him asleep in a manger,
Quietly come and whisper softly,
Hush, hush, peacefully now He slumbers,
Hush, hush, peacefully now He sleeps.

The carol was first published in 1553 in France, and was subsequently translated into English in the 18th century. The song was originally not a song to be sung at Christmas, but rather dance music for French nobility.The carol tells the story of two milkmaids, Jeanette and Isabella, who go to milk their cows in a stable in Bethlehem, only to find the baby Jesus sleeping in the manger. The two girls run to town to tell the village of the coming of Christ, and the townspeople come with their own torches to view the sight for themselves. However, they have to keep their voices down so little Jesus can enjoy his dreams. To this day in the Provence region, children dress up as shepherds and milkmaids, carrying torches and candles to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, while singing the carol.

Merry Christmas to you all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mike cooks!

Mike cooked up a recipe given to us by his sister. She gave us homemade jalapeno jelly and several recipes to go with it. I'd like to tell her that we only have 1/4 of her jar left! He made pork with a jalapeno jelly and spice coating. It was wonderful...

We didn't have pork medallions but had some thick pork steaks in the fridge. We also added more jelly on the side after the pork was done.
Spicy Pepper Glazed Pork Medallions
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin cut into 1 inch slices
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp garlic pepper
1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
2 tbl Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup jalapeno jelly
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup orange juice
Season pork with cumin and garlic pepper. Heat oil in nonstick skillet. Add pork and brown on both sides. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Cook, turning often until pork is well glazed.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What you do after your college finals are over

If you are my daughter, after your last college final is done, you come home and bake! I had some "old school" gingerbread dough made. I'm talking 1 tablespoon of ginger and some blackstrap molasses. She figured out a pattern and made our first ever-from scratch-gingerbread house. We've made plenty of graham cracker ones but this one she actually built.

She used simple, pretty coconut and royal icing to decorate this. Look how dark this cookie is!
Then she used the leftover dough to make these little inhabitants, complete with a ginger Sheriff to look out for everyone else.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Nature's gift, once again

I cut a small yaupon tree and gathered some abandoned birds nests to make this arrangement in our sunroom. I like the neutral colors with a bit of red. The wooden reindeer were a gift a few years ago and so was the crock jug.

My daughter found some little red jingle bells and added them here and there. Perfect~

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Birthday Girls!

Happy Birthday to my daughter, Ky Lynn. Happy Birthday Ky! Do you like your vintage Converses?

My son Lee and his girlfriend, Peggi. Happy Birthday Peggi!

And then there's me. I had a very happy birthday. I'm proud of my new camera and, of course, these delicious chocolates!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Silver tree, golden memories

My family and I are very sentimental about the decorations we use for Christmas. This pretty silver tree belonged to my grandparents and it is the one I remember as a little girl. It is an aluminum tree, manufactured by ALCOA, the aluminum smeltering company.My father and grandfather each worked there over 30 years. My grandfather used the aluminum paint from ALCOA to paint his house, roof, tools and outdoor furniture. I remember that my grandmother didn't particularly care for that practice. I love this tree though, and when I was little, I thought it was the most beautiful thing in the world. Now I get to display it in my home.

It is an ingenious design. It consists of a metal stand that folds, two wooden poles studded with holes, and many aluminum tinsel "branches" that stick into the holes. It takes about 3 minutes to erect.

On this silver tree, we place all our sentimentally significant ornaments. Many were hand made by the kids when they were little, or were given to them by relatives and friends. This is their favorite ornament, some kind of creature-a cat?- that moves as you pull its string. It was given to them by Mike's parents.

This star was made by me and the kids one night when we pulled out the tree, and didn't have a topper. We cut out the star from cardboard and covered it with aluminum foil.

This tree holds many things special to us. I won't show you everything because that would probably be boring to anyone but me. Everything has a story, a place on the tree and in our hearts.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Natural beauty-the last of the color

For a brief time, the fall color was everywhere. Mike and I collected leaves while on our morning walk and used them to decorate for Thanksgiving. A visitor to our home thought the leaves were artificial until I explained.

A full fruit bowl surrounded by green, yellow and light brown leaves show bounty and beauty.
Mike's mother's table cloth and her candles are framed with bright leaves and brown cloth.

An overflowing display in the sunroom, of colorful leaves and dazzling sunshine, and sentimental reasons for leaving my son's boots there the entire weekend.

A closeup of the adornment, the sun stunningly displaying each leaf in its own individual glory.
Then, just as quickly as it came, the color was blown away by the north wind. The yellow and gold turned to brown and the loose leaves now cover our yard. The daytime temperature dropped into the 30's, a rarity for us in Central Texas. It is our signal that winter is coming and the Christmas season is here.
The color will return, this time it will be greens, reds, and gold. The focus will be inside the house, on our indoor activities, and the closeness of our family. Wishes will be made, even more thanks will be given. Let the preparations begin....

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving blessings

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

I'm counting my blessings this morning. I know you are doing the same. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Thank you Lord, for:

Being with my family.

A little sunroom garden...

My church family. Here is my daughter helping the youth with crafts for our Christmas tree.

Mike and all he does for me. Here he is remodeling our front deck. (Amos is puzzled.)

The warmth and shelter of my home.

They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.
from Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation October 3, 1863

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thursday's great performance

We got to go see one of the farewell performances of Riverdance last Thursday. Last year, we saw Lord of the Dance. Both were extremely impressive. The video above will give you a sample of the dramatic dancing. If you ever get a chance to see a performance, please do!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Patches finds a hole

When our neighbor's little dog Patches joined us on our walk the other day, she found a hole, a tunnel actually, at the cemetery. She went in out out of it several times, and once she disappeared completely and I could hear her barking way back under the ground.

She's contemplating the hole, sniffing and digging a bit.
She decides to go in....

Amos investigates, Patches is almost all the way in.

She goes as far as she can and the hole is so narrow, she has to back her way out.

She digs some more, kicking up leaves and dirt as she inches her way out.

She's out! And she looks very pleased.
As I sat down beside her to take pictures, I was very thankful that she made it out safely, that Amos didn't follow her in, AND...that nothing else came out of the hole after she did!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dignity and Peace, Peaceful rest

Here is a closer look at the cemetery that dates back to the early 1800's, that I can see on my morning walk. It is a beautiful, quiet, country place on the side and top of a large hill. It is very, very peaceful, and makes me feel serene.

Catherine Oldham was "the sunshine of our home".

Frank, 10 months old, was God's little lamb.

We can see Bryan/College Station from the top of the hill-and it's 30 miles away.

This is looking back toward my house.

My dearest neighbor is buried here. She adopted my kids as her own grandkids and I miss her. I discovered that her head stone is broken, probably by a bull dozer that did some work at the cemetery. Her marker should read "Alma Zona Marks".

Two headstones, the words too worn to read, stand together close to the top of the hill.

James Lightfoot's headstone features a set of clasped hands and I can't make out the part about "29 days" on the piece behind it. I don't know if it is part of his or someone else's.

A simple large stone marks this grave-an unknown, unnamed soul resting in peace.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Walking Path-Landmark features

I showed you some of the natural landscape that I see every day on my walk. Today I want to show you some of the historical landmarks that surround me. Apparently I live in the middle of what was once a large plantation or "fort" as it was called, which dates back to the early 1800's.
Fort Oldham became an army facility during the Civil War and after.

Some of the old fort remains in the form of the family cemetery. I showed you a picture yesterday of the cemetery on top of a large hill. Here is the grave of Phillis Oldham, the grave at the very top. It is the most ornate, and is enclosed by a pretty wrought-iron fence.
You can see that she died in 1908, at the age of 99. Gone but not forgotten.

At the entrance to the cemetery, right at the foot of the hill, is an enormous cast-iron pot.

The marker explains its use.

A little farther down the road is the site of the army post. Remains of the old post office and barracks used to stand. Now it is just rubble. I don't know when the post office stood, maybe around 1900?

There is an abandoned residence in front of this site. I think some of the old materials were used to build sheds there.

Here is Oldham AME church that was built, I believe, in 1917. It is right across the county road from my house. When we first moved here, we could here the sermons and singing on Sunday mornings. Now the old members have passed away and the church is no longer used. I'm thinking of adopting it and sponsoring a marker for it.

I've become accustomed to where I live. At times, I forget how special this area is. It is time for me to remember and share it with you.
I want to feature the cemetery on my next post.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My walking path-landscape features

My husband and I have been trying to walk 3 1/2 miles every morning. We walk the entire length of our county road until it dead ends. This morning I took along my new camera. It made me enjoy the scenery that I am surrounded by-and should be appreciating.

My newly enlarged tank, full of water.

Mike and little Amos joined by the neighbor's big dog, Lucas.

Wild, native persimmons for Mike to pick and eat.

Our "property" that is undeveloped, waiting on us to make improvements.

A huge broken tree, brought down by flood conditions along the creek.

Large rocks on the road in the flood prone area along the creek, where I fell during the summer! If you don't walk carefully, you will twist an ankle.

The old cemetery on top of a large hill on the end of our road. Some of the graves are Civil War era and before.

Another neighbor's dog, Patches, join us. She and Amos explore an animal burrow nearby.
We are usually joined by several dogs from the neighborhood. I haven't managed to get a picture of big, brown Zeus yet.
I took lots of pictures this morning and will post some of the landmarks that we pass next.