Wednesday, June 30, 2010

photo of the day

These were growing in my flower bed last week.
They don't last that long, especially after the wind that just wiped through my neighborhood.
They remind me of my Grandma Ethel.

One morning last week I stood at the front door while Cole ran out to the driveway to get the newspaper. An SUV slowly drove down my street and pulled to a stop in my front of my house. They didn't notice me at the door and a conversation took place that I could hear:
"What are they?
Don't know.
No, couldn't be.
Well, I never saw such a flower.
Me neither.
well, huhhhh."
If I hadn't been wearing my pajamas and trying not to laugh, I would have stepped out from my hiding spot and told them to stop on by in a week or two and they could have millions and millions of poppy seeds of their own.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Yardwork: Scofield style

This picture just says so much about Cole. I crack up every time I see it.
We were trying to decide how to deal with this pine tree. It has been growing on the hill in Scofield for as long as I can remember. We tried to decide how old it was. Summer counted the rings and she came up with 18 which we figured was about right. However, it is time for the tree to come down. There are a couple of HUGE pines quite close to the house and this was one of them. Initially Rick was just planning on trimming the very bottom branches so that we could walk between the tree and the brick wall you can see if the foreground.
But, he kept trimming and trimming and thought maybe he could take the tree down himself. I recommended that he wait and watch a little youtube to make sure he knew what he was doing. Perhaps learn from another's mistake. I wish you could see how big this tree really was to start with. I would say it was about 3 stories tall. He got as many of the lower branches off that he could reach from the ground. Then he climbed a ladder and took off several more branches. Once he started cutting a notch in the trunk, Cole and I hooked up to the Rhino just in case it started to tip the wrong way, I could put the pedal to the metal and try to pull it up the hill and not let it fall down the hill and into the house.
Cole was my right hand man. Don't you just love the goggles. Because those were really going to protect him should anything go differently than planned. Rick was in control of the various chain saws, and Summer was behind the camera. But, when it came time for the action, Rick was behind the wheel of the rhino ( I didn't want to be the responsible party). And Summer got all wrapped up in the action and almost forgot to record the event...

It was totally impressive and went EXACTLY as planned. And then we spent the next 3 hours stacking pine branches. I was so sad, too. It was the most perfectly shaped pine tree you could imagine. It really should have gone to the capital for the national Christmas tree or something. But not. It just got cut up into small pieces for firewood. And the smaller branches got put into the green waste pile to turn into mulch. So sad.
And there is another tree that needs to come down. Its location is much more complicated in relation to the house and the power lines. It's better left to the professionals (to the tune of $1,000.00 or so)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Field Trip to Clear Creek

I am totally fascinated by this little community. It is a small unincorporated community in Carbon County, located at the south end of State Route 96 and the Pleasant Valley Branch of the Union Pacific Railroad. Whenever we go to Scofield, it is a tradition to take the 6 mile drive around dusk up to Clear Creek to look for deer. However, this year we have been pleasantly surprised by all of the different types of wildlife that we have been able to observe. We saw several deer on the route, but just as we entered Clear Creek, we made the turn and to our right we saw this fox:
Rick jumped out of the Honda and snapped a photo just as the fox turned around to look at us. We think he had a potgut in his mouth.
We circled around town (which takes about 12 seconds) and took a little dirt road that we want to go back and ride on the 4 wheelers (about another 24 seconds) and then headed back down the little canyon. As we exited the town we saw 4 baby fox playing in a field in front of an old warehouse. I grabbed the camera, but the best I could do was to snap these 2 guys:
We watched them play for a few minutes and then we saw the daddy fox off to the right (the one from above).
We also saw some badgers:

There were a total of 3 badgers, but you can only see 2 in this shot. It is a hoot to watch them dig. Dirt goes flying everywhere. Kinda reminds me of Cole in my flower beds. These guys are located on the route where Rick runs. He says that badgers are a bit mean so he stays on the opposite side of the road when he gets to this area. I don't think I run fast enough to take this route. I will stay away.

Uncle Dick used to take this drive often, as well. However, he often did it with his shotgun. So, we think that the reason that there is such an abundance of wildlife may have to do with the fact that Uncle Dick is no longer with us and is unable to practice his shooting skills. :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

crockpot 365

a few years ago I came across this website:

I tried a few of the recipes and I really liked the ones I tried.
Here is the deal. The blog is written by a girl named Stephanie and she made a vow in 2008 to use her crockpot every single day for a year. After about Valentines Day she realized that she was onto something big. She contacted the Rachael Ray Show and they featured one of her recipes. She went the entire year using her crockpot for traditional crockpot foods like pulled pork and taco soup. But she also tried all sorts of other things like brownines, bread, deserts, and even things like homemade yogurt (which I have yet to try!).
Well, I kept thinking that I needed to go back through her blog and see if there were other recipes that I wanted to try but had missed along the way. Then I discovered that she was going to put out a cookbook of all of the recipes that she had tried and blogged about. It seemed like a waste to order the cookbook when I could just find them on the blog for free. However, in a moment of Amazon weakness, I broke down and ordered the cookbook. I'm glad I did. The cookbook does not have any photos, but if I need to see how to do something or what it looks like then I can just look at the blog and search for the particular recipe that I am looking for.

I have tried several recipes from her blog in the past, but this is the first of many that I have tried from the cookbook. I chose this one because I had all of the ingredients on hand:

Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Curry and Honey:
--1 head cauliflower
--3 T olive oil
--1 tsp kosher salt
--1/2 tsp black pepper
--2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
--2 cups water
--1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (1/4 was enough for me)
--1 yellow onion, chopped in chunks
--2 1/2 tsp curry

The Directions.

Cut the cauliflower into florets, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower has begun to brown and turn crispy.

While the cauliflower is roasting, plug in your crockpot and turn to high. Use a 4 quart or larger size. Add the chicken broth and water. Chop the onion and add it along with the cayenne pepper and curry powder.

When the vegetables are finished, add them to the broth.

Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours, or on high for 3-4. This is finished when the onion and cauliflower are fully tender.

Carefully use an immersible blender to blend the cauliflower and onion. If you are going to use a traditional blender, go slow and blend small batches at a time.

Drizzle honey over the top before serving.
We served this over rice. And I used the full amount of cayenne. It was HOT--just how my family likes it. And we skipped the honey.

It was so good. Plus it made my house smell good. Like an exotic restaurant.
I looked on Amazon to see how the reviews were for the cookbook and it got some mixed reviews. Some people were annoyed that it didn't have pictures. Others said that the food was bland. This is what I think...look at the blog first to see if it something that you would eat. There are plenty of pictures. I think cooking in a crockpot is brilliant. You just have to be smart enough to plan your dinner 8 hours ahead of time. It uses way less electricity than a conventional oven. It doesn't heat up the whole kitchen like the oven does. And I don't seem to be as apt to burn food in the crockpot. And as far as the bland food goes--nothing I have tried is bland. And if it is, just serve it with ketchup, salsa, ranch dressing or cheese. Kids will eat anything with ketchup, ranch or cheese.

Another plus about the recipes is that Stephanie has some gluten issues in her family and so all of the recipes have gluten free instructions included.

The name of the cookbook is:
Make it fast, cook it slow.
Make It Fast, Cook It Slow
**photos and recipe are all from Stephanie's blog

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

My dad was pretty lucky when he was a kid.
He was the oldest of 6 kids.
But his aunt Jenny was a school teacher and every year when they would have school pictures, my Grandma Faye would take him down to the school to get his picture taken with the school kids even before he was old enough to go to school.
So, he was lucky to have so many cute photos taken of him as he was growing up.
Now that I think about it, I guess that I am the lucky one because I get to look at the pictures of him.
This is my dad and his younger brother, Dell.
Miss you, Dad.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Girls Camp Review

I am doing a little review of Girls Camp because I happen to know of a few people who are involved with camp and it may be of some benefit to you or to others out these who need some ideas or direction...

First of all, I am not currently in YW's so I had no part, no input, no say, or any influence whatsoever in any of the activities or ideas that I am about to discuss. I did happen to attend the parent meeting last month and I did happen to volunteer to help with anything they needed. And I did happen to get a phone call the following day asking if I was serious about helping followed by an invitation to attend Camp.
The camp director is a friend of mine.

They decided to attend camp in Wayne County, Utah. The nearest town would be Boulder, Utah. Here is the description from the Public Lands Website:

8700 foot elevation. 17 campsites in ponderosa pines between Pleasant Creek and Oak Creek. Fishing in either creek for brook trout, as well as in Lower Bowns Reservoir, a few miles away on Forest Road 186. Additional nearby attractions include Larb Hollow Overlook, which offers a panoramic vista of Capitol Reef National Park, the Waterpocket Fold, and Lower Bowns reservoir. Close access to the Great Western Trail, for hiking, OHV use, mountain biking, or horseback riding. Easy day trips to Capitol Reef and the Escalante -Grand Staircase.

Did you catch the part about the hot showers? That's right. We didn't have showers. Just a spit bath for the week. more info HERE.

The first thing we did when we got there was to divide the girls into groups for their tents. There were 26 girls give or take a few. I know that in the past a lot of care was taken to decide who would be in what tent. Girls were allowed to write down the names of 2-3 other girls that they wanted to "camp" with. And lots of blood, sweat, tears, and some prayer went into dividing the girls up into groups that would make everyone happy. Well, this time around all of the girls names went into a hat and they pulled a name and that is what tent they got. Easy as pie. And almost no tears. Really, there was minimal complaining. I think for the most part it worked out GREAT.
So, once the girls were divided into tent groups, they began decorating a flag for their tent. This is Summer's group decorating their flag, while another group is in the background setting up a tent.

after we decorated flags we set up the tents, then we decorated a camp t-shirt which identified the girls into "tent groups". They had fun decorating their shirts and signing each other's shirts. However, they didn't end up wearing the shirts all that much. Maybe because they were white. I don't know. Or maybe they were just layered under jackets and sweatshirts because it was cool. This is our camp director wearing her shirt:

About the food:

The Relief Society sent us off on the first morning with milk and cinnamon rolls. It must have been because they knew what was on the menu for the next few days. J/K
We each brought our own sack lunch to eat when we first arrived at the camp site. That worked out great.
We also each brought a tinfoil dinner to eat that evening. They were kept in a cooler with ice.
The only problem with that idea is that a few of the girls didn't attend the meeting and didn't get the advice to precook their meat. Summer and I had some chicken with teriyaki sauce, onions, pineapple, peppers and rice. It was really good except that I wished I had a little more sauce.
The next thing about food was the Biggie...72 hour kits. The girls/leaders each had a 72 hour kit that was prepared before hand. They had 3 days worth of food to eat for the next 2 days. Some of the girls were freaked out about it but, this is what I thought:
The head lunch lady for camp happens to be a professional caterer. How can you go wrong?
She had spent (probably) hours and hours compiling all of the items for the 72 hour kits. She even had the girls sample a bunch of different protein bars and vote on which ones they wanted to include. Here are some of the things that they added to the kits:
protein bars, nuts, dried fruit, cup-o-soup, peanut butter, crackers, instant oatmeal packets, MRE's, powdered drink mixes, beef jerky, jelly packets.

There was plenty of food. Some of the girls didn't like certain things in their kits so they traded around. The MRE's were the big issue. I have tasted some of them before. I think they are fine for what they are--nutritionally balanced food for when you have no power/water/modern conveniences. I wouldn't want to eat them every day, but they were fine for camp. Some girls turned their noses up, but they just ate ramen or nuts or some other food they secretly brought from home.
I have been to camp 2 other times and I have seen leaders cook "gourmet" meals trying to keep picky girls happy. This was a brilliant idea to just hand them 3 days worth of food and let them figure it out. Most of them were just as happy as if they were served a gourmet meal. In the past, the leaders were completely wiped out by day 2. With this menu option, all of the hard work went into those meals long before the girls ever arrived at camp. Each girl got a giant ziploc back with their name on it and food for 3 days. the end.

The theme that the YW leaders chose for this camp was something like..."You are stronger than you think you are" which leads into the next topic...HIKING.
That whole subject just flips some girls out.

So, for day 2 of camp, we all went on a hike to Calf Creek Falls. It's about 2 1/2 miles to the falls. We were hiking in the sun on a clear, hot day. We probably should have given a little lecture about dehydration because I think that some of the girls didn't take that seriously enough. I also think that some of the girls might be a little whimpy and have never really sweat and worked too hard. But, in the end, the pay off was worth it...
The girls loved it.
At the beginning of the hike

Eating lunch from 72-hour kits at the waterfall
At the end of the hike, enjoying the last of the shade.
later in the day, after a long nap by most, the girls worked on certification stuff and then skits after dinner:
The girls are baking cookies with a reflector oven.
They turned out pretty good. so I hear.
This is Summer's tent performing their skit.
Lexi, Rachel, Caroline, and Summer

Day 3 was the sunrise hike into Capitol Reef, ending at the visitor's center.

The view from the road as we were driving to the hike location.

This hike began across the road from the Chimney Rock turnout. It was about 6 miles. It was a little longer than the day before, but most of the girls enjoyed the "hike" part of it a little more than the previous hike. I think that was because it was cooler since we were in and out of the water and also because we stayed closer together as a group. In some areas we had to be a little technical and help each other down some rocky areas. Some girls wore swim suits and got wet. really wet. and really dirty.

This day also ended with some napping and some camp certification instruction.
The next day was a service project.
We picked up trash on the road to and around the Lower Bowns Reservoir. Not the girl's favorite part of camp, but it could have been a lot worse.
After the service project, the day was devoted to Feast and Spa time...

This is our YW president.
Because the girls did a lot of their camp certification stuff at home, before camp, it left a bit of free time during the week. The girls had a good time playing games like this cup stacking game. They also played a bunch of other games that I never did figure out. Amazingly enough, the girls were great about including each other and there was no real drama, well except the part about Cassie and David Archuleta.
Thursday night's meal was the "Feast" part of camp and was planned by the girls. It was Navajo Tacos. This is the only picture I got of the entire meal because they made my use my 13 years of fast food experience and I had to crank out the scones for the Navajo Tacos...

We also had dutch oven cobbler. My favorite part about this meal was that I got to use the phrase..."There's more than one way to skin a cat." I think I learned that one from my dad. thanks, dad.

Later that night we had a testimony meeting and also some of the girls chose to burn the flag from their tent.
these were the leaders with their flag.
"Behold, we count them happy which endure."

Here was a quote that I found that we gave the girls on the one of the days that we hiked...
"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." Christopher Robin to Pooh.
I think that that turned out to be the perfect theme for this camp. Some of the girls admitted to being pampered little girls and that by hiking and eating from 72-hour kits, they learned that they were capable of doing things that they normally would not have dreamed of doing.
it was a lot of fun and I am glad that I got to go to camp and spend the week with Summer and her friends.
now, I need to get the house cleaned so that I can go to day camp with Sierra and her Activity Days group on Wednesday and with the Cub Scouts on Thursday.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

We're back

Yes, LeAnn. It was Girls Camp. Down at Boulder Mountain near Capitol Reef.
And Yes, Audrey, I did get fired. However, since I was willing to get wet, dirty, hot, stinky, cold, go without a shower for 5 days and because of my mad deep fryer skills, I was allowed to tag along.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

vacation time

Capitol Reef National Park
This is where Summer and I will be for a few days.
I have been busy and have lots of pictures to prove it.
Watch for more fun...glad summer is here. Busier than ever.
See ya when we get back!