Life in the A-Frame

Life in the A-Frame

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Quilt for a New Baby

We spent the 3rd real day of Mike's retirement at home. We took a long walk together then he went out back to burn some brush piles since we've finally had enough rain to lift the burn ban. I brought the sewing machine downstairs and put together this little quilt for a friend's new baby boy.

I had all the squares cut already and the sun was bright through the windows in my sunroom, and the quilt went together quickly.
I finished it by tying the middle of the squares and each corner of the squares with brown embroidery thread.

And because it is Texas after all, I made sure the red print reflected that fact with these little cowboy hats. I had such a peaceful morning, sitting in the sun and sewing this gift for little baby Aidan.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

In Mike's Honor

Mike worked his last day with DPS on Friday. His friends and coworkers gave him a very nice reception at the Courthouse. The cake included a replica of the patch worn on the uniform as well as the sergeant's stripes. It was a bittersweet occasion because he has a great love for his job as well as the people he works with. But, he is ready to move into a new phase of his life, in areas with less stress such as mission work with our church. On Saturday we met some family members in San Antonio to celebrate.

A very nice lady took a picture of us on the Riverwalk. Left to right, bottom row are Mike's brother, Mike and our son Lee. The second row is my brother-in-law's friend, our daughter Ky, me-Kerrie, and Lee's girlfriend.
We toured the Riverwalk, had a great lunch, then spent some of the afternoon at our hotel. We stayed at the Menger. It was built adjacent to the Alamo in 1859. The Menger bar is where Teddy Roosevelt recruited some of his Rough Riders. And, the hotel is said to be haunted. The image of a lady who is sitting and knitting has been reported by guests and staff. We didn't see her but the hotel is heavy with a feeling of history. The weather was very warm and we even spent a little time in the pool. Every time we left our hotel, we passed by the Alamo which is also a place that is heavy with history. Most visitors stand before it in awe and you can feel their reverence for the people who fought there. It is a solemn landmark and I've never lost that respect even though I've been there many times. What an awesome place to visit!
So, we started Mike's retirement in a very special way. This will be an adjustment but we are really looking forward to it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Movie to enjoy:Waitress

I've watched this movie twice since yesterday. "Waitress" is the story of a young, very unhappy, woman who is a master pie-baker. She is saving money in order to leave her abusive husband when she discovers that she is pregnant. She doesn't want the child at all, and she actually doesn't know how to make her life any better. She feels trapped and worthless. She doesn't discover that she is actually rich in life because of her 2 waitress friends, the pie diner's owner Joe, and her extreme baking talent. She doesn't even discover her own self worth until her baby girl is born.
Keri Russell plays Jenna, the unhappy waitress, and Andy Griffith plays Joe, the pie diner's owner. No one likes him except Jenna and they become friends. My favorite line from the movie comes from Joe. He tells Jenna "I'm dreaming for you, because my dreams is all gone".
Jenna lives to create pies. She makes up a new recipe each day and serves them at the diner. The end of the movie is wonderful because she finally realizes that she has control over her own life. When she finally gives birth, she calls the baby that she never wanted "the love of my life". Then Joe gives her a gift that enables her to own her own diner and she is able to live a full, contented life.

After watching the movie, my daughter told me that writer/director Adrienne Shelly ( who also plays one of waitresses, Dawn) was murdered in her office building by a construction worker before the film opened in theaters or appeared at the Sundance Film Festival. He tried to make it look like a suicide but investigators discovered the truth a few days later. I was looking up articles about her and found out that she also wrote the lullaby that Jenna sings to her baby at the end of the movie:

Baby don’t be blue
Gonna make for you
Gonna make a pie with a heart in the middle
Gonna be a pie
from heaven above
Gonna be filled
with strawberry love
Baby don’t you cry
Gonna make a pie
Hold you forever in the middle of my heart.

I am truly touched by this movie. I hope you will check it out sometime and enjoy it as much as me.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Banana Tree for me!

A friend gave me a tiny banana tree at the beginning of summer and look at it now-it has tripled in size. I hope to give it a permanent home somewhere in my yard soon. I'm supposed to cut it back this winter, so I'll probably plant it in the spring. Each new leaf is about 18 inches long. Actually each new leaf is larger than the one before. It is fascinating to me. My friend tells me that he has grown a few bananas on his. That's what I'm counting on!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The rain falls, the tank fills...

Over the last week, we have gotten almost 10 inches of rain. That's more than our total for the last 18 months. As you know, it takes a hard rain to make the water run off of the soil, and you can tell how hard it is raining in this picture. Mike braves the storm, yes-it is thundering and lightning, and digs out a runoff area so that the water is diverted into our newly enlarged tank. He already had the "dry creek" built but it was raining so hard that the water was running over the sides. He runs out and shovels out some more dirt and builds up a better dam. It really helps and the tank is now half full of water.
This is my muddy view from the front deck. I can see the water from here! It is very reddish brown from the clay but it will settle. The water will clear up and water plants will start to grow. Then it will be ready for some catfish. Hopefully we will get some more rain and it will finish filling up.
I love reading your comments and from now on, I will reply to them in my comments section. KathyB from does this and I love it. So if you ask me a question or leave me a comment, check back by my comment section for the reply. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Happy Birthday to my Mom

We celebrated my Mom's 70th birthday last Sunday. She is so young-only 19years older than I am. We all got together for a brunch. I made this cake for her. It is the "best ever Carrot Cake" from Reader's Digest. It has 3 sticks of butter in it and cream cheese icing, and yes, it was good. We rounded out the menu with migas, pigs in the blanket, and sopapilla cheesecake. It rained hard the entire 24 hours that we were there. The creek was out, and the road was washed out. We were able to make it back home and discovered that we had about half of the rain that she did and our newly enlarged tank is about half full. It was definitely a memorable weekend!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fingerling Potatoes with a Crunchy Parmesan Crust

Oh....these are so good!
Fingerling Potatoes with a Crunchy Parmesan Crust: (for 4 people)
16 fingerling potatoes, cut in half
1/2 stick of butter
4 oz. freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or more!, I also used Romano-delicious)
salt, pepper

This is Pecorino Romano since this is the strongest flavored cheese I had in the fridge.

Melt the butter in 400 degree oven, using a 9x13 glass pan. When the pan is hot and the butter is melted, sprinkle the cheese evenly over the bottom of the pan. Place the potatoes, cut side down, over the cheese. Season the skins with sea salt and black pepper.Bake for about 40 minutes.

As you can see, the potatoes oven-fry in the butter, and the cheese becomes a golden brown, crunchy crust.

Cool slightly then turn the potatoes over to reveal the cheesy crust. These are really tasty. I also have used this method with regular russet potatoes but, to me, the fingerlings are better.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New News! New food Website

I love reading the Pioneer Woman's blog. She recently started a new food and recipe sharing site called Tasty Kitchen. Yesterday I got up the nerve to join it and post a recipe. Here is the picture of myself I used:You can find Tasty Kitchen here:, and my first recipe is listed under the bread category. You can find me here: I am under the recent recipes section.

It looks like there are a lot of good recipes here and I'm excited now that I posted my first recipe. I hope you will check it out and let me know what you think.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Stage 3, the finished tank

Here is the newly enlarged tank. It is at least twice as big as it used to be. Hopefully we will get a heavy rain soon and catch some water. With the tank being twice as deep, it is less likely to go dry during the next drought. Amos and I explored...

I am standing where our new "fishing deck" will be, looking toward what used to be the shallow end.
Amos runs down and then across the bottom of what will be the deep end. He blends in with the dirt and is hard to see.

I stand at the bottom and take a picture looking back toward our house. Hopefully this will be the only time I'll be able to do that. When we do catch some water, I will definitely post a picture!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Monarch of the Glen

This is the cast of one of my favorite series ever. (Thanks James for reminding me about it-glad you like it too). I started watching it on BBC during the 2nd season. Last year, I bought the entire series on DVD and we have been watching them over again.

ION TV says:
Inspired by the highland novels of Compton Mackenzie, this show follows Archie MacDonald as he finds himself thrown into the role of the new Laird of Glenbogle, his family's financially failing Scottish estate. With the help, and sometimes hinderance, of his family and faithful retainers he works to get the noble estate back on its feet.
I will say that we like the originality of the story and the quirky characters. It is a heartwarming series with lots of humor. The only thing we had to adjust to was the Scottish accents. After a while, we could finally understand what the characters were saying.
I haven't seen the entire series yet and have about 3 seasons to go. I highly recommend Monarch of the Glen for those who want something a little bit different-with lots of substance.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Stage 2!

Our tank enlargement continues: It is amazing to watch. This dozer can move so much dirt in such a short time. I'm starting to love heavy equipment...

Amos sits where our little bridge once started. This will be the site of our new deck with a fire pit (I hope).
Our friend enlarges the shallow end. It is at least twice as big at this point.

He carefully digs the dirt from the bottom and pushes it up the side to make a bank. He has to be careful not to get the dozer too vertical as he goes.
Final stage coming soon!