Life in the A-Frame

Life in the A-Frame

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.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Brined Rosemary Chicken

I have always heard of brining a chicken but I hadn't ever tried it. The other day, I had the time and the refrigerator space, so I got out my large stockpot and put enough salted water in it to cover a whole chicken-about 1/2 to 3/4 of a gallon. I mixed the water and salt in a pitcher first so that I could taste it. I made what I call a medium salty brine. I covered the chicken with the salty water and then put some fresh rosemary sprigs in. I covered the pot and refrigerated it for 8 hours.
For supper, I took a large glass pan, a little larger than my 9x13 and chopped up an apple, some onion, 2 carrots and 1 stalk celery to place in the bottom. Then I chopped up a slice of thick cut bacon to go over that. I split the chicken along the backbone and spread it apart "butterfly" style. I added salt and pepper and put the rosemary sprigs on top of the chicken. It all baked for 1 hour at 400 degrees. I removed the rosemary after about 30 minutes so it wouldn't burn. After 45 minutes, I coated the chicken skin with butter and let it continue to brown.
The brining really did flavor the chicken and kept it very juicy-even the white meat. Next time, I need to double the amount of vegetables because they were really delicious and cooked down to a small amount. I would have like some more!
I know this would have looked more appetizing had I shown the finished, cooked, golden brown chicken. However, I forgot to take a picture. Take my word for it, it was a pretty, and impressive meal.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The "Property"

We have been really busy lately because we were able to purchase a plot of land near to us. We plan to develop it and leave it as an inheritance for our two kids. Maybe they will both put a house here. That is our dream.

Mike has recently retired and is doing well. He says he "highly recommends it". This property gives him a new project where he can work outdoors, at his own pace, in solitude and peace.

Of course the first time he drove the truck there to work, he got stuck.

Mike poses with his machete beside one of the ruts he left when he got stuck. The machete is the same one that he used to clear some brush on our original property 24 years ago. Here he used it to chop little yaupon trees to place under the tires while he was trying to get unstuck. It didn't work. Thank you to our neighbor who came to pull Mike out.

Apparently we have a little drainage problem to fix on this property. At least Mike has had a lot of practice with this type of landscaping. He did the same on the land where we built our house-on the side a a small hill. Directing the water runoff into a stock pond (our tank) really helped. I believe our new property will also have a tank on it. Maybe two-one for each kid.

Both kids like this idea. It would be great to have them close to us, raising their own families.

We keep calling this place "the property" but I'm trying to come up with a different name for it. Any suggestions?

Fried Eggs with a cornmeal crust

Here is a really delicious way to fix fried eggs for breakfast or even for supper. My mother made these occasionally while I was growing up but I just now tried it for myself.
For one fried egg: Pour about 1 teaspoon of oil in a nonstick pan. Heat the oil and pour in 1 teaspoon of cornmeal. Spread the oil and cornmeal around in the pan and let the cornmeal get browned and crispy.
Beak an egg directly over the cornmeal. Let the egg fry until the bottom is crispy.

Turn the egg over and cooked until the yolk reaches the desired softness. We like our yolks soft. Place the egg on a slice of buttered toast. This is a quick and tasty treat!