Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Winter and Changes

Snowy greetings from me to you!  I’m perched by the fireplace and watching the wind sculpt the snow into huge snowdrifts here on my little piece of rural heaven.

I remember back to some of my very first winters living in rural Idaho and after one particular white-knuckle drive into town, I quickly learned when Mother Nature decides to let loose that it is best to stay home.  So last night when the wind started up, well ....I knew what was in store for today.  Country living has a way of teaching a person about life and to respect things beyond your control. Perhaps it is the wide-open spaces that just seem to make things larger than life.  Take today for instance, here is a quick clip of what my world looked like at 5:00am with the wind howling and blowing snow. Click here if trouble opening up the video and open in Chrome.

Winter storms remind me that sometimes when there is a storm brewing, it is best to hunker down in a safe place, let it pass and then dig yourself out.  I need Winter as it helps me take time to be silent and reflect.   For some reason, I’ve just felt quiet inside and haven’t had the need arise for the 2:00am word sessions.  Perhaps it is because I coming to terms with the many changes that are coming about in my life.  And let me just say, they are good changes.  Just like the wind sculpting the snowdrifts, my life is changing the way it looks.  I’ll share more on that another time, but what I do want to share is that I am seriously thinking that I will sell my farmhouse and some acreage around it. (I’ll still keep all the rest of the farm ground and continue to report on what is happening via the blog) .  But this girl’s location is going to change and it is time to move into town.  While it will be hard, it’s the right change for me at this time.  This place has been my haven during the crazy stormy times of my life and living out here has definitely been a blessing, but some new adventures are on the horizon.  While I’m in no hurry, the search for a new place is underway.  

 I'm hoping your Christmas season was a wonderful one.  Mine was and I changed up my routine and spent it with Kaitlyn in her new house in Boise.  I took my own advice and simplified my holiday  routine a bit - of which I wrote about in the Nov/Dec Home and Harvest magazine

Before I sign off, I want to share a couple of comfort food recipes that have come out of this girl’s kitchen today.  
Baked Oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal
 In a 2 quart casserole dish, add in:
2 ½ cups regular rolled oats
¼ cup oat bran
¼ cup steel-cut oats
2 teas baking powder
½ teas salt
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
mix well, then in a bowl mix the following:
1 egg
1/3 cup applesauce
¼ cup canola oil
2 cups milk
Mix this well and pour over the oat mixture and mix well

Bake 20 min in a 400 degree oven, then stir in  2 cups fresh fruit and bake another 20 minutes uncovered.  Serve warm with yogurt, milk or cream. 

Nothing is better than homemade chocolate pudding….

Chocolate Pudding
In a medium size sauce pan, add:
½ cup white sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 TBL cornstarch
1 TBL flou
pinch of salt
with a wisk, mix well. Then add in:
2 cups milk and over medium heat, wisk well. Cook over medium heat for about 5 min or until pudding thickens.  Remove from heat, add in 1 TBL butter nd 1 tsp vanilla.  Mix well and pour into a bowl or individual cups. Refrigerate until chilled.  Once you have homemade pudding, you will never go back to box mixes…. Yummm.

As always, thank you so much for stopping by, and as always feel free to email me at swheatfarmlife@gmail.com.  All my best, Gayle

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving 2016

Happy Thanksgiving from this girl's little piece of agriculture heaven.

 As we gather today, I look back on different Thanksgivings and I think this will be one of the best ones yet.  Maybe it is because my youngest daughter, Kaitlyn is dating someone she considers her soulmate and I'll have to say I must agree.  He is wonderful and I love the way he treats her.  Also I haven't introduced you yet to one very special man that has entered my life.   And I also consider him my true soulmate.  I'll share more on these special men in future posts. I just wanted to say that Kaitlyn and I feel we have finally found a happiness we had hoped would happen.  And with the onset of these two men, both fill a special place in our lives.... in a permanent way.

My oldest daughter, Jen is on call  today and was headed to the hospital due to an emergency surgery.. Her hubby, Soren thankfully isn't on call today, so he'll bring the kiddos over to my mom's house, (Gigi) where most of my siblings and their families will gather.  The head count so far is 26.

A drawing of our turkey, by Miss N
When I was hanging out at Jen and Soren's house a couple days ago, Soren relayed something that had happened while he was on an ambulance transfer.  He and his partner were headed back and had stopped in a small farming town for lunch.  There, they saw a man and his young son eating and both were sporting clothing that had a special military insignia on it.  While in the cafe, a song came on and it must have triggered something as the man had tears in his eyes.  Soren went over to him, asked if he was in the military, of which, the man confirmed and Soren then thanked him for his service to his country.  When they got ready to leave, Soren paid for the man and his son's lunch.  And that random simple act of kindness by my son-in-law warmed my heart and soul.  It made me thankful to have such a kind man in the life of daughter #1. 

And as I sit down to a table with many family members present, I am thankful for those faces that I see across the table.  For we have laughed and cried together, we regularly torment each other with good natured antics (ok....umm maybe it's me who does that.. but they love me anyway) and those kinds of bonds are the ones that keep a family united.

I wish you a very wonderful Thanksgiving and hope you are surrounded by loved ones and sharing a good home cooked meal. And coming from a state that raises potatoes.... yup a large helping will be on this girl's plate, I can guarantee it. 

As always, thank you for taking the time to stop by and feel free to send comments and emails, swheatfarmlife@gmail.com.   All my best, Gayle

Also the new Home and Harvest issue is out!   I wrote about holidays, so I invite you to check it out.

A holiday painting from Miss N

Friday, November 11, 2016


Thank you to all who serve our country. A heartfelt appreciation from one farm-chick

Happy Veteran’s Day America!  I am honored to be an American.  We have freedom of choice, freedom of speech and freedoms to enjoy that so many in other countries do not. With the onset of our recent Presidential election and people’s reactions, it seems to me that Americans have a choice, we are at a crossroad.  Locally as well as nationally.   

I awoke with the thought, that there is a certain kind of magic that happens when you step out of your comfort zone and share insights about the real you.  It was dark outside and as I reached for the clock to see what time it was, it was precisely 2:33am…….of course, I thought to myself. For some odd reason, this is the auto-set time this crazy farm-chick brain decides it’s time to begin another blog.  Somewhere along the line, I must have lost the “Gayle” owner’s manual that would give instructions on how to reset the “inspiration thought clock” buried somewhere deep in the brain….sigh.  So with a cup of tea in hand, here I am unsure how the story will unfold….. it may be long, but I think it’s important and hope you do too.

A few evenings ago I had attended an event hosted by President Schulz wherein the Board of Regents were able to mingle with one of the councils I work for. And it was at that event that a personal connection with others occurred. And it was authentically energizing as we went around the room and told a snippet about ourselves and in what area we worked in.  Once again I was in awe of the talent and accomplishments of others.  Afterward, I had an amazing conversation with one particular Regent, Ron Sims, former deputy secretary of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development.   He shared some highlights about changing the culture of your work world by getting out and talking to his staff, from the janitors to upper management. And the simple question he asked was, “who would you walk through a wall for?”   And when it was time to promote from within, his selection was easy and he knew who were the right people.  I was enchanted by the concept and thought, am I a person others would walk through a wall for?  I hope so.  In my world, there are so many people that I would walk through a wall for. Amazing people in all walks of life as they demonstrate love and compassion for others and doing the right thing. We can change our work world as well as our personal world by our choices.

So getting back to current events, yesterday an event stood out, a student had his car vandalized with crude and vindictive slurs written in red paint.  He couldn’t get it off and drove it anyway onto to campus.  When he came out of class, faculty and staff of about 20, were buffing the offensive words off his car.  A simple act of compassion for others was being demonstrated.  They were “righting a wrong”.  Let us all do more, especially now.  We have a great opportunity to show that we are still a great nation and that we can overcome the negativity that has seeped into our culture which has been stirred up by our politicians.  Let us be the example to combat racial tension, lifestyle choices and political affiliations.  We can agree to disagree, but do it constructively and in a way that is respectful. We know better than that. Come on folks!   I come from German stock, my maternal grandfather came from Germany when he was 13, sent by his parents for a chance at a better life. He was alone in this country and didn’t even know the language.  He was deeply embarrassed by the acts of his country, in so much that never taught his children his native language, nor spoke about his childhood.  He considered himself an American and embraced the American culture.  If you see injustice, combat the negativity and do something that demonstrates compassion and good.  Together, let’s show the world that we are bigger than that, we can come together in a way we never have before and move forward.  So let us be the “change you want to see in the world” great words spoken by Gandhi.  And yes, that means me and you… yes all 324,721,000 of us. Can you imagine what the USA would look like if in one day over 324,721,000 acts of good happened?  I for one want to be the kind of person others would walk through a wall for.  So each day, I will pledge to help, show kindness and try my darn-est to live a life of compassion and forgiveness.

As always, thank you for stopping by and as always, you can reach out via email at swheatfarmlife@gmail.com .  All my best, Gayle 
Out of the darkness comes the rainbow, a sign of hope.

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Power of One Kind Heart

Tonight as I drove by the familiar scene, I smiled and wondered how many people get to experience the best of small town living. 
Mel and his wife, Glenna by the hot water pot
Here one man whose name is Mel Wilks started a wonderful tradition of offering the parents, trick-or-treaters and anyone else who stops by the welcome of a warm fire, a smile and kind word topped off with  a cup of hot cocoa and candy for the little ones.  This year marks the 20th year of his yearly Halloween respite. Locals sit and chat around the fire as they watch the mini parade of masked kiddos stop by with their moms and dads.

Yup, I couldn't resist the cocoa and a quick chat

A kind tradition continues
When I asked Mel what made him start this wonderful outreach, he said it was watching one cute little tutu clad youngster shivering in her costume on a cold evening. It bothered him and he said to his wife, next year, I’m building a fire so those little ones have a place to warm up.  And now some of those kids so long ago have their kids that they are bringing by.  How cool is that?  It makes me glad that I live where I do, as this is the kind of community spirit that is alive and well and is the true beauty of small town life.

It just shows how one man can create a wonderful tradition that many enjoy and warms not only the body, but the heart and soul of all those who pass by.  A kind heart in deed, thank you Mel and Glenna.

I for one admire this spirit of kindheartedness and wanted to share a bit of my world with you.  If this inspires you to start something wonderful, I hope you will share what you are doing, as I'd love to hear about it.  Happy Halloween!  All my best, Gayle