Coming Soon: Free Book

Coming Soon: Free Book
Planning to give away a book or two!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Statistics - You can prove almost anything with them :^)

Here are some statistics for you.  12.5% of my total posts that were read were read in the month of July 2013.  I have blogged for 28 months with that in mind one month is 3.57% of my posts.  July was 349.22% above the average month.  That proves that I'm a fabulous Blogger that is breaking through with popularity!  Fooled you!

Blog Statistics Chart
October 2012 was the lowest month on record with only 200 posts read.  Early this year the blog did take an upward and constant increase until this month when it hit an all time high of 1,121 posts read.  I have no way of telling how many people read posts.  If a new reader looks online and goes back through history choosing to read 50 posts, I will see 50 on my statistics tracking.  If 50 people sign in and randomly read one story each, then I will see the same thing.

I am excited to see the increase and as I said a few days ago "Thank You!!!!"  After all each of you reading this are the 9004 dots that make up this graph.  My goal is to have so many followers that looking at the statistics is no longer feasible at this level. 

I so very much appreciate each and every person that takes the time to read my thoughts for the day.  Feel free to comment back to me and let me know what you think.  Or if there is something more that you would like to know about.  A lot of times I don't know what I'm going to write about until I sit down to write.  I do know this weekend, I am going to share a special float in the local parade.  (I'm helping design a portion of it.  It has been a long time since I've done this kind of work and I'm nervous about the outcome.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

If money wasn't a worry, where would I be?

I would be outside watching the stars and the moon.

Photo by Trisha Field
Where's the Cheese? Beautiful Moon.
I would be on the lake: fishing and watching the loons.

Photo by Trisha Field
Loon Family
I would be out in nature looking for beautiful water falls.  I would love to have a place that has a water feature; a beautiful water fall and the soft waves hitting the shore in the morning.

Photo by Trisha Field
Water Fall
I love being outside.  Exploring the world that God has created.  I would in a heartbeat, leave the housework fall to the side in order to spend time outside.  Oh, I do that, never mind. The weather this week has been beautiful.  I did a little bit of gardening.  I was hoping to get out fishing with Dale but the wind has been too heavy to pan fish.  I have been able to take the girls (Dobermans) out in the country for their daily runs. 

There needs to be a time in our lives to de-stress and focus on relaxation.  For everyone that means something different.  A major part of me is to be able to spend some time outside especially in our short summer time.  Find the time or maybe I should say take the time to do the things you enjoy.  When I look at the things that I would do if money didn't matter, the only thing that I would need the money for would be to spend MORE time doing it.  You know that it would not surprise me to find out that money could actually stop me from spending more time doing what I like.

Monday, July 29, 2013

What is cooking in the cool down?

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake!  This is one of my favorite desserts. It has "healthy fat" and yes, chocolate!  For those who know me, I rarely make the same exact recipe twice.  And it is even more rare that I follow anyone else's recipe.  So once again her is my modified version of a recipe.
1 3/4 flour (half white/half wheat)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon cinnamon & 1 teaspoon nutmeg (optional
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini (or 2)
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Photo by Trisha Field
Mixing Moists
 The easy way to remember how to mix is you start by creaming and mixing the moist components. Zucchini, eggs, honey, oil and extract.
Photo by Trisha Field
Stir in dry
flour, soda, powers and salt get mixed in next.  I usually start with a cup of flour and the rest of the dry ingredients.  Then I finish off the flour (one cup at a time for bigger recipes.)
Photo by Trisha Field
A little extra flavor.
This part is optional but I added a couple teaspoons of cinnamon and a heavy dash on nutmeg.
Photo by Trisha Field
The messy workspace!
I just wanted you to understand the way I cook.  I pull everything out and it usually stays out until the food is in the oven.  Then I put it away when the food is starting to cook. 
I don't like big chunks of nuts in my soft bread style food.  But the added benefits of having nuts in the recipe and the flavor it adds is perfect.  So I put it in my bullet and chopped it up.  I put half of the chocolate chips in the batter.  The other half will go on the top after baking.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Use the toothpick test to make sure that it is done.  (Stick a toothpick in and if it comes out dry, then it is done.)

Photo by Trisha Field
Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake
Are you drooling yet?  Sprinkling the chocolate chips on top of a hot cake will allow them to melt and you can spread them before they cool down and harden.  What else did I make?  Miniature loaves of zucchini nut bread and zucchini nut chocolate chip bread.

Photo by Trisha Field
Miniature loaves zucchini nut bread
Photo by Trisha Field
Chocolate chip zucchini nut bread

I made the miniature loaves because I wanted to give some away.  Although we do give away many whole zucchini's, I also love to give away treats after they have finished baking. 

Soap Box "Global Warming"

Sorry if I have jumped on this soap box before.  But there are two major things: 

First of all I was taught as a child that my state used to be covered by a glacier.  The growth of the glacier created lakes and other variations in the landscape.  That glacier melted filling the lakes with water.  Before there were cars, before there were major manufacturing facilities, before mankind could create greenhouse gasses (the green house effect), the earth was warming and major glaciers melted. 

Second, I have had people explain to me that a critical portion of global warming is really the extreme weather.  In other words breaking more and more records on a continual basis.  Sorry but to me that sounds like a political explanation covering up the fact that a big whoopla was made about something that it should not have been.  When they were exposed, they twisted the explanation to save face.

For three days, we have had record or near record lows.  The newscasters are referring to our weather as normal for the end of September.  This is supposed to be the hottest time of the year and the Northern corner of Minnesota is under a freeze warning for Sunday night. 

Cell Photo by Trisha
Something is goofy here!?!?
 My Jenny hates being covered by blankets most of the time.  But Duchess on the other hand, she loves blankets. I am taking advantage of the cooler weather and actually doing some baking with my garden fresh food.  Unexpected as this weather is for us; there are definitely perks to having a cool spell hit on a weekend.

Cell Photo by Trisha
Oh, It's Duchess! She was cold. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Do you see how you are blessed?

Here is a special, second Sunday posting.  Hope you have had a blessed day!

I volunteer for a church as the church treasurer.  I drive out of my way to get there.  I plan ahead and do whatever "big city" shopping that I need to when I go to the church.  I was blessed yesterday when I went there in a financial way.  I saved fifteen cents per tank of gas and I was under a quarter of a tank - woo hoo!

Dale works as a maintenance man in an assistance living center.  Recently a man transitioned from the assisted living center to the nursing home.  His family was moved to sell Dale the love seat for a reduced amount.  That in itself was a blessing. But to top if off, they gave him several other pieces of furniture at no extra charge. 

The bible tells us in many places that God "moved the heart of" and "soften the heart of" people.  He never forced anyone to do what he wanted.  A suggestion was made by another person, the holy spirit or sometimes even God himself and with a softened heart many times people will follow the suggestion.  Bad things happen to good people because we still have the freedom of choice and some people have such a hard heart that they refuse to follow the suggestion of a blessing. 

Back to seeing your blessings.  Many people get so used to seeing the everyday good in their lives that they forget those good things are blessings in life.  When the bad comes they begin to blame right away, but what happened to praising for the thirty blessings that surround the one problem.  When you are going through the trouble times in life (it is a part of life - trouble will be there.)  Focus on the blessings!  It will make the troubles more bearable.

Here I go counting a few of my blessings in pictures:

Photo by Trisha Field
1.  A Home to stay warm in the winter, cool in the summer and dry in a storm.
2. The beautiful flowers that God allows to bloom from the seeds I plant.
Photo by Trisha Field
3. A car to drive to work, the lake and other fun places.
4. My Jenny and Duchess, two Dobermans that love without judgment.
Photo by Trisha
5. My second book is at the typesetters (getting ready to publish!)

Photo by Trisha
6. My loving guy, Dale
I could go on and on with all the little blessings that God has bestowed upon me.  But every day, I look around with an attitude of thanks.  God has really blessed me!  May you see the blessings that he has given to you too.

How many movies do you have at your house?

In a "former life" (you know that time in your life that is so old it is no longer on your resume), I used to be a customer service representative (CSR) for a Cable Company.  A part of my responsibility was up-selling.  You can't up-sell without knowing the product.  So we were given free "premium" channels (HBO, Showtime, etc.)  It was a part of the requirements of the job to watch the movies and recommend the appropriate channels to the customers. 

Photo by Trisha Field
Movie Mania
 I was working two jobs at once.  I was also working 1,000 hour temp job at 3M (seasonal job for close to half a year.)  They had a company store that let us buy company products at a discount.  I bought VHS tapes in ten packs at a discount and taped 2-3 movies per tape.  The two worked well together.  But now I have an eclectic collection of movies, TV shows, and made for TV movies.  The picture above shows about half of what is left to dub onto DVD's.  I'm destroying the VHS tapes when done.  So I don't think I'm infringing on any copyrights.  I'm not dubbing anything that I purchased. Legalities in this day and age is so complicated.
Photo by Trisha Field
Already Dubbed Movies
When I took these pictures, I had completed 222 TV shows or movies.  But they are difficult to find what you want to watch in these stacks of 50.  A friend who is doing the same thing with her movies, recommended these inexpensive cases for storage.

Photo by Trisha Field
Forty Blank DVD cases
These cases won't be empty for long.  I had thought about color coding by genre but that won't work.  I am sure that I don't have a consistent breakdown in styles.  I have no idea how many that I have in total.  It will take me quite some time to finish this project but I am well under way.

Photo by Trisha Field
120 DVDs

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Strange Find (on the table last night)

I did tell you that I didn't find anything gross which was very true.  But I did find something that I had forgotten about and to the average person would appear as strange.

Photo by Trisha Field
Dried Sweet Corn on the Cob
A bag of dried sweet corn still on the cob.  At the end of the season when the corn is getting to tough to be tasty, just let it dry on the stock.  Leave it as long as you can.  If it isn't 100% dry when you bring it in, pull the dried husks back and hang them in a cool dry spot.

Photo by Trisha Field
Remove full kernels from the cob
Carefully remove the full kernels from the cobs.  Once the first couple are off the they will roll off very easily.  It looks very similar to seed corn or dried field corn.  For you city slickers, there is a close up photo below.

Photo by Trisha Field
Dried Sweet Corn
Are you thinking, that is a lot of work! What are you going to do with that?  This is a memory from my childhood.  I would go out to Grandma Field's and pick the dried corn off of the stocks.  We de-husked some of them right away.  First we made corn husk dolls. 

Photo by Trisha Field
Corn Husk Dolls
Grandma's is on the left and mine is on the right.  Then we sat down and took care of the corn that was on the cob.  I got to take some home with me for helping. You are still thinking big deal?

Photo by Trisha Field
Dried Sweet Corn in the Air Popper?
Grandma used to make this by putting a little bit of oil (possibly lard) in the bottom of a skittle.  Then covering it we stayed close and listened for the popping to slow down.  NO we didn't have fluffy white puffs.  We had golden-brown kernels that were delicate and crispy.

Photo by Trisha Field
Popped Sweet Corn

We made what is now called "Corn Nuts" or homemade popped sweet corn.  Sure it works fine in the air popper. I put 1/3-1/2 the kernels that I would if I were making regular popcorn.  After all they expand and pop but unlike popcorn they won't fly out of the popper.  When the pops are slowing down, turn it off and dump out the kernels.  I melt a very small amount of butter, moisten the kernels with the butter and sprinkle with seasoning.  (You could use olive oil if you wanted.  But you need a bit of something to help the seasoning stick to the kernels.)  What is good for seasoning?  Sea salt, garlic and herb seasoning, any granular seasoning that you prefer.  I recommend sprinkling a couple of kernels and trying it before you do a whole batch.  Enjoy!

Friday, July 26, 2013

True Confessions

I know!  If a confession isn't factual and true, it really isn't a confession.  Maybe I should have said, "Transparent Confessions"?  After all, that is what I am going to be in this article.  I have a really BAD habit.  It isn't anything more than that; a bad habit.

When I walk in the house I walk in through the kitchen. I usually have random things in my hand that I really don't want to take immediately past the kitchen.  They need to get put away but not necessarily in the main part of the house. As an example: A friend has a corner in the garden.  He picked yellow and green beans today and left some on the steps.  Once I put my purse and camera away, the beans went into the refrigerator. The problem is I don't always get back to do the "put away."

Photo by Trisha
The collection spot for incoming

Then going the other way (from the house through the kitchen), there are a lot of empty boxes that don't always get broken down on a timely basis.  Especially when the recycling bin is filled to overflowing.  (I don't get how a family can get by on just a couple bins.)

Photo by Trisha
Break it down or put it away
Dale is always heckling me that I don't get things put away.  I am very A.D.D. and I will often get things a few steps away from being put away and not get it into it's spot.  The large cooker needs to go on the top shelf in the pantry.  I need a ladder or stepstool to safely reach it.  It will get there (in due time.)

Photo by Trisha Field
WOW! I can use my stove again!
I prepare most of my meals at Dale's place.  I make a small breakfast or lunch but it is usually something microwaved or cold.  It is supposed to be much cooler this weekend.  So I was thinking about making a couple of batches of zucchini treats.  I could not safely do that with everything sitting on top of the stove.  Which meant that I needed to deal with my bad habit.

Photo by Trisha Field
And a clean table too?
Yes, I put away and tore down boxes.  This is just a start.  As I said, it is a bad habit and it will be difficult to continue to keep the tops cleared off!

In case you are wondering, I didn't find anything gross or unexpected in either place.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Celebration Supper

A one inch thick, tender and juicy T-bone steak served with garden fresh peas cooked in the pod and garden fresh baby red potatoes. 

Cell photo by Trisha
Celebration Supper
Are you wondering what the celebration is about?  My second book is on the way to type-setting!  Whoo-hoo!!!!!  The title of the book is The Man I Was.  It is about a man in a bicycle accident who has amnesia. 

I am excited to see the publication of this book.  I have a new publisher with a better marketing department with more opportunities to get my book into stores. 

The full cover of the book is due out for approval in the next week or two.  I can't wait to see it! That makes it very real!!!! (I gave them a very accurate draft so it should be close.)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

You can take the boy off the farm;

Cell photo by Trisha
Repairing the baler
but you can't take the farm out of the boy.  That is my guy kneeling down putting in a new sheer pin on the fly wheel of the baler while the farmer looks to see if anything else is wrong. So how did he end up helping?  The electricity went out all over town.  When I called in the outage, they estimated that it was going to be 2- 2 1/2 hours to get it back on. 

We took a drive around town.  There were a lot of people standing outside chatting. Amazing when all technology goes down the neighbors get outside and get to know each other better. Back to what we were doing.  In a small field on the edge of town, we saw this farmer fixing his baler.  Dale knows him and so he drove through the ditch and onto the field to harass him.  We ended up making an emergency run for sheer pins before the store closed. 

Do you see the two windmills?  That is the store.  They have their own power so the outage in town didn't shut them down. Dale helped get the baler going. 
Cell photo by Trisha
It baled a few more bales and broke another sheer pin.  He went through several of them.  Both guys tried to work on it for a while but decided that it was best left.  Sheer pins are not cheap and there was more of a problem. They guessed maybe the timing was off.  The farmers headed home to call a friend to finish the field before the rain hits tonight.
Cell Photo by Trishs
Flying Bale

Creamy Cucumbers

One of Dale's favorite summer treats is Creamy Cucumbers.  He picked and pealed about a half dozen cucumbers.  These were about 5-6 inches long but still thin and not too seedy.  This slicer works nice to get consistent slices but please be careful.  You can tell that Dale is whipping pretty fast.  When he gets closer to the blade, he slows down so as to NOT cut his fingers on the blade.  It does come with holder that is four times larger than a cucumber.  (I used in with slicing the onion.)

cell photo by Trisha
Slice the Cucumbers
Dale usually chooses one good size onion to slice.  He likes the taste of raw onion. To make sure that the onion mixes well with the cucumbers, he separates the rings. 
Cell photo by Trisha
Add Sliced Onions
Dale's creamy mixture is never the same thing twice.  This time he used about 12 ounces of miracle whip, just a small amount of milk (sorry he didn't measure it), then he added salt and pepper.  We mixed it together well but it will need to sit overnight before he eats it.
Cell Photo by Trisha
Add Cream Sauce
The cream sauce will mix with the natural moisture from the cucumbers as it sits.  That is when the cream sauce will become creamier and infuse in the vegetables.  Personally, I only like cucumbers pickled.  But Dale absolutely loves them sliced with salt or creamed.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Bouquet of Thanks!

Photo by Trisha Field
A Bouquet of Thanks!
Every month the number of readers has been increasing steadily.  As of today, the numbers are on target to hit my second highest month of readership!  Thank you for stopping to read my blog!  Thank you to all of those people who have shared my blog with others! 

It is my goal to share information that will touch your lives, help you, encourage you, and sometimes even make you laugh.  I share my life, my heart and sometimes my frustrations.  In sharing my heart, I share my relationship with Jesus Christ. 

I appreciate your support and encouragement.  Thank you again and I hope to get to share thanks many times more as readership continues to grow. 

May God Bless you the same way that he has blessed me through you!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Fresh Fruit

There is a Mennonite group near my small town. They bring in bulk food at various times. The cherries and blueberries came in on Monday. They are so good!

Cell Photo by Trisha
Fresh Blueberries

As soon as I saw the blueberries I started thinking "Blueberry pancakes!"  We detoured by the lake so the dogs could get a good run.  But on my mind was "blueberry pancakes." 

Dale wasn't that thrilled about it so he bought a Bologna style braat-sausage.  It burnt a little bit on one side while I made the pancakes.  Pancakes with fruit chunks in is a lot more difficult to make.  I need to watch them closely so they don't burn. The sausage was Dale's idea so I let him tend to it. He is normally an excellent cook so I'm not sure what happened.

Cell Photo by Trisha
Blueberry Pancake Batter
Yes, I finally finished making the pancakes and they were delicious!  Although I made enough that I can have blueberry pancakes the next two mornings.
Cell Photo by Trisha
Blueberry Pancakes!

On Pins and Needles

The world is on pins and needles today waiting for the announcement of the birth of the royal baby.  I am on pins and needles waiting for the publication of my second book, "The Man I Was".  My books are in many ways my baby.  Late last Friday, I received an edited copy of my book.  I spent my spare time this weekend reviewing the editors notes.  This morning I returned the document that they gave me to fill out. 

I learned a few new things about colloquialisms.  "Gainfully employed" is a term used in my area of the country that is not common speech everywhere.  They didn't appreciate the use of my mid-evil word "Hence".  But I needed a word that would stop people and make them think. 

Growing up one of my grandfathers and one of my uncles had a phrase that they added to the end of every sentence, as far as that goes.  Sometimes they added the phrase as far as that goes mid sentence, as far as that goes.  I thought for many years that it was just something my dad and uncle said until I heard someone else saying it. 

Take some time and listen to the words that are being said around you.  What are your friends and relatives saying that is unique to them?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I Love small town living...

On a Saturday evening, you just stop by a friends and join the group around the fire.  Friendly conversation and a relaxing atmosphere is the perfect way to spend the evening.

Cell Photo by Trisha
Fire that brings friends together
I was surprised how few mosquitoes and bugs were out compared to what I've encountered recently.

Cell Photo by Trisha
Timber Too
That tree the neighbor was taking down.  We are still watching it come down section by section. It missed the shed by mere inches.  I think all the neighbors on every side came out to watch.  Rick was more than a bit nervous as the tree dropped.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Tom Sawyer at Holdingford, Minnesota

Prairie Fire Children's Theatre and Holdingford Community Education presented Tom Sawyer Friday evening at 7PM.  There is a second performance at 10AM on Saturday too. 

From tryouts on Monday to performances beginning Friday evening.  These young children with the help of their parents learn their lines, their staging, stage presence and a few songs.  "The show must go on!" 

Huck & Tom
They did a great job!  Although, being that my nephew, Isaac, was Huck I might be a bit prejudiced....  I remember being in a summer school musical when I was about that age it was a special for the bi-centennial.  OH NO! I just aged myself!
Photo by Trisha Field
The ghouls
Turning on black lights, the ghouls came out of their graves to scare the towns people.

 And just look at those faces! They are scared.  They did a great job of showing expression, facing the audience when speaking and speaking loudly.  All things that are difficult for adults in theatrical groups to master.
Did Huck really just say "THAT!"?
Congratulations to the kids, the parents that helped them run lines and the theatre company, Prairie Fire Children's Theatre!  You were all awesome!

A few minutes of fun

Despite the heat, the dogs insisted on going out over lunchtime to run in the field.  They love it outside.  This particular field has some kind of rodent that digs tunnels underground.  They love running and "hunting" down the rodent.  Once in a while, they chase a bunny out of the field.  But I don't think that is their main target. 

Photo by Trisha Field
Dobie's Hunting
After five, sometimes ten minutes, Duchess lays down in the shade of a nearby shrub.  That is the signal.  It is getting too hot for all that hunting.  Time to go home.

Photo by Trisha Field
My Jenny coming home
My Jenny on the other side is still a "puppy" and I need to watch her tongue.  When it starts hanging out, I start calling her back in.  She comes quickly but she would easily play until she drops if I let her.

Photo by Trisha Field
Duchess resting after the hunt
 Both of these girls are happy that the humidity is passed.  They didn't get as much time outside this week because it was so humid weather. 

Photo by Trisha Field
My Jenny resting after the hunt
The girls get plenty of water and cool down time. Sometimes they lay directly in front of the fans and other times they choose a favorite spot the bed or the couch.