Sunday, June 19, 2016

Courage, Part I

Courage, sometimes you don’t know just how much you possess until you need it.  I learned about courage from both of the dads in my life. 
My dad, Jack.  Not too many pictures of him and none ever captured him smiling

My dad growing up on a ranch in Montana
 I grew up the daughter of a bricklayer and in the construction trade, it is ether feast or famine.  So basically we grew up very poor and always moving to follow work.  I didn’t much like my childhood with its chaotic transient style life. I wanted normal, a dad who went to work at a job in morning and returned home at night with mom who stayed at home and did those mom things like be a Sunday school teacher and 4H leader.  Instead we were sort of like gypsies who traveled in a 10x50 mobile home following the next lead of promising work. Mom had to work to help support us.  Later explained to me by my dad, (Jack), he felt stifled in the old mining town where he and my mom grew up, so he mustered up his courage to move his young family on a quest for a better life.  My dad is a good man and loved us in his quiet way, but he has always been a loner, rarely smiling and sort of an intense man. He was brilliant in his work life. He encouraged those around him to unleash their true potential and seek out that creative spirit.  He truly fits the “artistic” profile.  Before his stroke took away his livelihood, he was an artist in stonework.  There are masons and then there are masons who transform stone into an artwork.  He was the latter.  From him I learned the value of a good work ethic and our lifestyle forced me to always land on my feet in any given situation.  A life lesson that I continue to draw upon as well, my life seems to emulate a roller coaster sometimes.

Left, my step-dad, Doug talking with my former father-in-law, Andy. This is a favorite picture of mine, these two old geezers solving the world's problems
My other dad, Doug married my mom when I was about 20, and it was from him that my brothers and I learned about family time.  Of course, I always thought I was his favorite, and he would put up with my antics. Such as every single croquette game we played at their ranch-ette, I’d grab my brothers and together we’d design a not-so-normal course by carefully placing the metal brackets in front of horse or cow turds, thereby dubbing our game “barnyard croquette”……. Plus it was an “extreme course” in their pasture and the game wound its way over creek beds, over their covered bridge  and under propane tanks.  So guess a word to the wise, don’t let me loose especially where my brothers are involved – because who knows what will happen. As I look back, it was a magical time in our lives and treasured memories will always live in my mind.  We enjoyed many BBQ’s and being the only vegetarian in the family, Doug would always ask me, “how do you like your steak?  Of which I’d reply “on someone else’s plate”  - it was a ritual.  Every holiday was spent with my mom, step-dad and my side of the family.  He truly loved us and to him we were his kids.  Late in life he was diagnosed with bone cancer, and he would never concede he had it, fighting to the very end.  It was when I was with him and witnessed his last rite, that the thought struck me, while he could have bought almost anything he wanted, but in the end it’s not the money that brings happiness, it’s the memories made from a life well lived.  From him I learned about the kind of fatherly love and about the kind of courage it takes to fight till the end, no matter the odds.  

With that, I wish you a Happy Father’s Day.  

As always, thank you for stopping by and feel free to email me at as I love to hear from you.  All my best, Gayle

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A Well Baked Life

Pumpkin Applesauce Bread
For the love of a well lived life.  It truly takes so many different kinds of aspects in proper doses to create a life that you are proud to live.  For me, it’s been a continuous journey of trial and error. But fortunately I seem to err on the side of caution (mostly) and somehow, my slightly mischievous nature seems to keep me on the good side of the law (whew!!!!). Truth be told, it brings a delight to my slightly warped nature to cause my daughters to question what their momma is up to (it could be a bit of revenge for their teenage years).     Of course, I once again awoke at 2:00 am thinking about a topic to write about.  I really try to write once a week to keep blog master, Kristi happy.  But sometimes the words just seem to pour out of me and I have no control…. I just wish it was a more reasonable hour.  

I was asked to review and write about a new cookbook…. And 3 were offered. I chose one near and dear to my heart and the flour frenzy commenced!  I did share the title on my S-Wheat Farm page… then I found out it wasn’t going to be available in August…. And the publishing company asked that I perhaps make a debut of it mid-July.  

Then my crazy brain starting thinking how life is sort of like a recipe.   It takes a lot of sugar to sweeten up your world, flour is the stability factor – sort of a plain ordinary everyday kind of staple, but that is okay.  Then you add in the leavening factor like soda or baking powder – which stirs up ingredients and makes the mixture rise – which I attribute to not so pleasant areas in a person’s life…… you have to experience some unpleasant stuff to grow and rise above the situation.  Then you get to fold in the spices…. Vanilla, cloves, cinnamon and all the spicy good stuff that truly makes it perfectly seasoned, and small doses are needed to ensure just the right amount makes you appreciate the overall flavor.  The eggs and butter just seem to add a richness to one’s life and without it, your life and the recipe would be bland or fail.  Then of course the creation must be properly baked in just the right temperature to turn out.  Too hot, it burns, under baked it falls and never reaches its potential. Then a perfect creation emerges from all the different things that are needed to create a master piece….. you and (okay) maybe me.  

And today, I didn’t want to turn on the TV because of today’s events that unfolded in Orlando, which is a sad example of a life that somehow ended up being mixed up all wrong and the results ended up disastrous to so many.  My heart hurts and I just want to bake and make it all better for those grieving people.  With that, please grab your loved ones, hug them, call them or drop in and say tell them you love them to the moon and back.  XoXoXo  Gayle

My view from the front steps

Another view from this girl's farm

 P.S.The crops are green, the sky is blue with white fluffy clouds and all is well in this girl’s world. Blessings to you all. Feel free to email me at I always love to connect with you.  

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

When the Farm-chick is Away, the Critters Play

As I’m sitting on my deck on this warm glorious evening, I’m tired but happy.  This past week-end was spent partly with my other daughter, Jen and we invaded Spokane to go to the Farm Chick sale and attend a craft workshop.

Yup we have fun together!

Chaps is one of a kind, must go kind of place

Any trip to Spokane always has to begin with a breakfast at Chaps ( I’m pretty sure it would be pure sacrilege if we went anywhere else!  Lol).  Throughout the day, good conversations took place and the mom/daughter time was very special, as it doesn’t seem to happen often enough.  Of course I remember the days of raising a young family and working, so when she can sneak away, well we grab the opportunity and gleefully run with it.  The other bonus was getting to stay with good friends, Gwenn and Dave.   Gwenn and I sat up late and had heartfelt conversations.  And once again the power of positive connections with people you love is the recipe for a good life.  (that and a good cold beer on a hot day.... well it just doesn't get any better!  Just sayin.)

While I was away for the week-end, Lulu the farm dog decided she wasn't going to let my close neighbor take care of her, and decided to take it upon herself to meet our new neighbors a couple miles away and break into their fenced yard to say 3:00 am.  Oops.
Who me? Running amuck in the fields???
I had another chicken fatality on the farm and the other red ruler of the roost literally disappeared.  So now I’m down to Betty Bossy Butt and she now has started hanging out the with plastic pink flamingos.  Good thing I have two more babies coming and will work on integrating them so they can once again go on chicken adventures and run amuck to annoy this farm chick!  =)  Lol (in case you are wondering, they completely annihilated a raised bed that contained my basil, after they ate all of it, then they took a dirt bath and well..... guess the grocery store still sells it, so I'm good to go). 
Betty hanging with the plastic flamingos

Miss N has helped raise one of my newest chick-ettes

The peas seem to have grown by leaps and bounds over the week-end.  I'm going to be excited when I can go out and pick fresh peas out of the field.  Once the chicken and chick-ettes discover it, then we're all gonna be happy campers.

This week, I have tentative plans to do a photo shoot with blog task master, Kristi, for the virtual cookbook of recipes that I’ve created and she put the online version together.  I have to make up a couple of cakes to showcase and the setting (I’m hoping) will be awesome.  In my mind’s eye, it’s going to be good.

As always, thanks so much for stopping by and feel free to email me at  

Talk to you next week my friend.

All my best, Gayle