Life in the A-Frame

Life in the A-Frame

Friday, April 30, 2010

A new project: The Beginning

Mike begins a new project. We are putting an above ground pool in. As you know, he is a big do-it-yourselfer. Yes this area is on the side of a hill as is all of our property.

He begins to mark off a level area.

Landscape timbers will mark the boundary and hold in the new dirt.

Because we live on red clay dirt, breaking up the soil is a hard task by hand. Mike tills and chops and labors for a few days on his own. By the time he gets an area broken up, the dirt turns to brick because of the hot sun. Then a very nice neighbor volunteers to bring some heavy equipment in to help.

Our neighbor can move a lot of dirt with one scoop of his bucket.
Now it is my turn to pitch in and help. In the next few days, I will post the next phase of the process. By the end of next week, we might have our pool up!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Peach Crisp with Maple Cream

I have the first cookbook from Ree Drummond (see The Pioneer Woman Cooks ). I needed a dessert for church so I picked her Peach Crisp with Maple Cream. I brought home an empty dish. Delicious! I think you should try it too. Here is her original recipe .Yeah, I changed her recipe a little because I didn't have fresh peaches, just frozen, but I don't think it made a difference.

6 cups of sliced peaches that have been mixed with the juice of 1/2 a lemon and 1/2 c. sugar, and 2 Tbl real maple syrup

Top with the crumb mixture of 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg, 1/4 tsp salt and 1 stick of butter cut in with a fork.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes more.

While the pie is baking, make the maple cream. 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, 5 Tbl maple syrup, and 3 Tbl light corn syrup are simmered together for 20 minutes until reduced and thick. Be sure to stir it constantly.

I poured the cream in a pretty bottle and served it alongside the pie at church. We noticed people pouring it on some of the other desserts as well. Needless to say, it tasted so good and was a hit. I'll definitely make it again.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Oh, to be so comfortable

I'd like to be able to sleep in any Amos does.  He can be practically upside down with his neck extremely bent and he will be perfectly comfortable.

He senses me moving around but he doesn't care.

But, I guess it is a little annoying to have a camera flash go off while you are sleeping.

He looked at me and then went back to sleep. He has no worries.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Easy No Knead Bread

I saw this bread on that I wanted to try. I took her advice and used this recipe:  It rises for 24 hours and you never mess up anything other than your bowl (if you have some parchment paper....get it and use it to line all your baking pans. IT IS WONDERFUL!). You will need a large bowl, and a dutch oven or large stainless steel pot, mine was a spaghetti pot.

Here is how to make it:

3 cups bread flour
1/4 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups warm water

 In a large bowl, stir the ingredients together and cover with plastic wrap. Leave it on your counter for about 20-24 hours. Two hours before you want to bake it, heavily flour a cotton kitchen towel. (I keep one already floured in a baggie in my freezer and use it anytime I want to roll out cookies or bread dough).  Pull out the dough with a wet spatula onto the floured towel. It it will look like a mess...rustic.Then wet your hands and fold under all the edges so that the dough makes a ball.  Fold the towel over the dough and let it rise for 2 hours. After 1 1/2 hours, preheat your oven and a dutch oven or large stainless steel pot for 30 minutes. Use a circle of parchment paper to line the bottom of the pot if you don't want any mess. Place the dough in the parchment lined pot, place the lid on, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for 15  more minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on a baking rack.

The dough, after 24 hours

Place the dough on the floured kitchen towel.

Tuck under the edges with your wet hands to make a ball.

The dough, after baking 30 minutes with the lid on.

It's done!

You might have noticed that I needed to brush off the excess flour before baking the bread. I used a lot of flour to keep the dough from sticking to the towel, but it needed to be brushed off before placing it in the pot.  The bread was crispy on the outside, then soft, moist and chewy on the inside.  I've already got some dough rising for tomorrow.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Settling in

My son is all settled in there in West Texas. My nerves are settled down now, at least until he starts his job next week. We hope to see him often and Mike's being retired allows us to do so.  We were treated to some very pretty scenery on the way home.

Good things about the move: nice town, nice people, a Memorial Park only a block and a half from the new house, lots of good Mexican food, the lake, tons of Border Patrol and Highway Patrol, little boys riding their bikes through a small flooded area, a nice yard for BBQ suppers, a spare bedroom for me, Lee's ear-to-ear grin and big wave goodbye that made me laugh instead of cry.....the knowledge we will return soon

Bad things about the trip: San Antonio at 7:15 in the morning while 1 Uhaul and 3 cars try to caravan and stay together in the pouring rain
    That is the only one I can think of.

At least the rain followed us home, and watered the garden for me.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I love Texas

I thought you would enjoy some trivia from the State of Texas. I did a little research because we are moving our son across the state.

Texas Facts and Trivia

Texas is popularly known as The Lone Star State.

The Alamo is located in San Antonio. It is where Texas defenders fell to Mexican General Santa Anna and the phrase Remember the Alamo originated. The Alamo is considered the cradle of Texas liberty and the state's most popular historic site.

Texas is the only state to have the flags of 6 different nations fly over it. They are: Spain, France, Mexico, Republic of Texas, Confederate States, and the United States.

The King Ranch in Texas is bigger than the state of Rhode Island.

During the period of July 24-26, 1979, the Tropical Storm Claudette brought 45 inches of rain to an area near Alvin, Texas, contributing to more than $600 million in damages. Claudette produced the United States 24 hour rainfall record of 43 inches.

More wool comes from the state of Texas than any other state in the United States.

Edwards Plateau in west central Texas is the top sheep growing area in the country.

Texas is the only state to enter the United States by treaty instead of territorial annexation.

The state was an independent nation from 1836 to 1845.

Texas boasts the nation's largest herd of whitetail deer.

A coastal live oak located near Fulton is the oldest tree in the state. The tree has an estimated age of more than 1,500 years.

The Hertzberg Circus Museum in San Antonio contains one of the largest assortments of circusana in the world.

Austin is considered the live music capital of the world.

Texas is home to Dell and Compaq computers and central Texas is often referred to as the Silicon Valley of the south.

Professional sports teams include the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars, Houston Astros, Houston Comets, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, and Texas Rangers.

Dr Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885. The Dublin Dr Pepper, 85 miles west of Waco, still uses pure imperial cane sugar in its product. There is no period after the Dr in Dr Pepper.

The first suspension bridge in the United States was the Waco Bridge. Built in 1870 and still in use today as a pedestrian crossing of the Brazos River.

The capitol in Austin opened May 16, 1888. The dome of the building stands seven feet higher than that of the nation's Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Texas has the first domed stadium in the country. The structure was built in Houston and opened in April 1965.

The Houston Comets are the only team in the country to win four back-to-back WNBA championships. 1997-2000 Cynthia Cooper remains the only player to win the WNBA Championship MVP.

The worst natural disaster in United States history was caused by a hurricane that hit Galveston in 1900. Over 8000 deaths were recorded.

The first word spoken from the moon on July 20, 1969 was Houston.

Texas' largest county is Brewster with 6,208 square miles.

Texas possesses three of the top ten most populous cities in the United States. These towns are Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio.

El Paso is closer to Needles, California than it is to Dallas.

Texas includes 267,339 square miles, or 7.4% of the nation's total area.

The state's cattle population is estimated to be near 16 million.

More land is farmed in Texas than in any other state.

More species of bats live in Texas than in any other part of the United States.

Laredo is the world's largest inland port. (as in trucking, manufactoring and traffic)

Port Lavaca has the world's longest fishing pier. Originally part of the causeway connecting the two sides of Lavaca Bay, the center span of was destroyed by Hurricane Carla in 1961.

The Tyler Municipal Rose Garden is the world's largest rose garden. It contains 38,000 rose bushes representing 500 varieties of roses set in a 22-acre garden.

Amarillo has the world's largest helium well.

The world's first rodeo was held in Pecos on July 4, 1883.

The Flagship Hotel on Seawall Boulevard in Galveston is the only hotel in North America built entirely over the water.

The Heisman trophy is named for John William Heisman the first full-time coach and athletic director at Rice University in Houston.

Brazoria County has more species of birds than any other comparable area in North America.

The Aransas Wildlife Refuge is the winter home of North America's only remaining flock of whooping cranes.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Graduation Day!

This week, we have been celebrating the fact that my son has graduated from the state police academy and is now a state trooper. He is moving this week to his new duty station. It was a long, hard process and we can really see the progress he has made.  Congratulations Lee!

Here are a few scenes from Family night. The honor statement at the entrance to the gym:

The celebration cake with each recruit's last name on it.

This sign was here when Mike went through the recruit school 28 years ago.

The graduation ceremony itself was awesome and today we continued celebrating with a family BBQ. This week we move him across the state and he will put into practice all the things he learned at the academy.  I pray that he stays safe and does well. After all, the department's motto is courtesy, service, and protection.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter fun and games

The family was all together, fun on its own-but Shyanne and Granny added a few fun games to the mix.

Lee tries to catch a pingpong ball with an apple juice "bucket" on his head.

Peggi plays the ladder game and beats Mike.

The following game involves sucking M&Ms onto the end of the straw and....

running to another station and dropping it into a different bowl.

The object was to see how many you could move in 1 minute.
The answer: not very many-especially if you are laughing.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Fields of yellow, yellow sunny day

Apparently the yellow theme continues...

We celebrated Easter yesterday at my childhood home. The fields were full of different varieties of yellow flowers.

One of my nieces poses with her yellow bouquet.

Then we have the two older girls pose with her. This is Katelynn, Shyanne, and my daughter Ky.

Of course the moms were then persuaded to be photgraphed. I pose with my two sisters. This is Pennie, me (Kerrie), and Sherrie. Additional bouquets provided by Shyanne.
It was one of those peaceful, fun times with family.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Two photographs, taken by my daughter, prominently displays the color yellow. She made the first still life to photograph and paint, but then the assignment was modified and the painting must include complimentary colors (I don't know anything about those, but she chose purple and yellow). She arranged another still life and is currently working on a painting of the second photo. Yellow is a color I am incorporating into my bedroom, kitchen, and sunroom this year. I thought the arrangements were special and beautiful, so I wanted to share them.

handmade pottery pitcher, lemons and mint from my flower bed

grandpa's yellow chair, lavender fabric, my goose measuring cup, lemons and a pansy from my flower bed

The colors are bright and pretty-cheerful and sunny and I'll proudly display the finished painting.
 And, of course, I'll post a photograph.

Nature Rarer Uses Yellow
Emily Dickinson

Nature rarer uses yellow

Than another hue;

Saves she all of that for sunsets,--

Prodigal of blue,

Spending scarlet like a woman,

Yellow she affords

Only scantly and selectly,

Like a lover's words.