Sunday, January 30, 2011

Exploring We Will Go

Explore. The need to discover. I feel this need. I feel a strong tug from the wooded areas of our farm. There is especially a spot where the creeks meet, below the church camp beside us, that draws me. Yesterday I felt like I'd gone a bit too far when I crossed the creek just to get a look at the rocks on the other bank. Pepper crosses it, Dottie crosses it, with little holding them back they cross it. Yesterday... I crossed it. Just for a minute. I looked around and took a couple of pictures and came on back across. I picked up the rock, on my side, that I had come for. A rock full of fossils, crinoids to be exact. It is a fossil that we grew up calling "indian money." I was amazed when I looked it up yesterday. I've yet to find how old these fossils of animal looking plants are. It's beyond my comprehension I feel.

Miss Pepper always wants to go to the left, up the hill, instead of straight on the path to home. She's fourteen and a half and still never quite ready to go back to the house (unless it's summertime). This day I followed her. When we were almost to the top we made a sharp right through the woods. In the wintertime there aren't near the brush and live twigs on the ground. Not to mention the thought of snakes and ticks and spider webs stretching from branch to branch. I was delighted that we ventured here. I found where a hunting stand was a some point. Not near as old as the fossils I had found earlier, but still cool. I might not have seen it if I hadn't heard a small Downy Woodpecker and looked to my right. He was pecking a piece of wood that used to be the tree stand. Sometimes you need a hint of where to glance.

Past the fallen down tree stand and down the hill, I found a tree. Perhaps the biggest Beech tree I've ever seen. If I stretched my arms out around it they wouldn't even span half way around. I had to just stand there and touch it. Just past the tree, I found another tree that looked to me like it had been shot with a shotgun and the spread of pellets from the shot embedded into the side of it. Upon closer look, I don't think this was the case at all. I found one hole that didn't seem as old as the others. Which leads me to believe that this wasn't a shot wound at all. Maybe it was bugs. Maybe it was wood worms. Maybe it was both and the hole were from a hungry woodpecker.

It's amazing what you can find if you just take time to look. As soon as my hair dries, I'll be exploring again today. I figure when I'm old I might have seen all there is to see on our farm, but I doubt it. The Lord blesses this earth with too many treasures to count and me with a curious heart to find them.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I made myself finish it and I'm glad I did

There are often times when I do not finish reading a book. I absolutely love going to the library. When I started my new job in August I realized that I was not going to be any where near my local library any more. So I looked in to the Davidson County library, which is composed of many, many libraries throughout the county, and joined, which I had to pay for. Judging by the fact that I no longer rent movies, have cable TV or get magazine subscriptions, accept for one which was a gift, I decided to sign up. I have two libraries that are within my lunch hour distance from work. And I can get online and search for any book on their county-wide site, reserve it and they will magically have it waiting for me at the library of my choice which is fantastic!

Last week, on a Monday, I decided to take my holiday reading back and pick up a few new books to browse through over the next couple of weeks. I generally get one good read, one nature flip-through book, a home decor book which is mostly a look-book with cool pictures and antiques, and something else on a whim. The "whim" book rarely applies to any area of my life that I can do anything about. Generally about starting a business or ... starting a business. The only time I touch this selection is to move around in my book bag or return it.

On this day I picked a pretty good book called "Cherries in Winter" by Suzan Colon. It is full of this gal's experience during our recent recession and job lay-offs, family heirloom recipes (even shown on original paper in her ancestor's writing) and stories of her family that put a smile on your face. I really liked it. My problem is, even when I get a really good and fast read, I'll get three quarters of the way through the book and loose interest, get tired of reading, I am ready to move on. I let myself do this for about four days and today, on my lunch break, I finished it. I was able to ignore all conversations all around me in the lunch room at work and eat my lunch, but I finished it. I think sometimes deep down I don't want it to end, I don't want to know what happens so I'll just stop reading the book and take it back to the library and I won't have to find out.

I am glad I have another fully read book on my list. It's a small accomplishment, but I did it.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Confession Time

Well I did it. I managed to make something I can't stop eating... once again!

This winter I was lucky enough to get on the Florida grapefruit/orange bandwagon with my friend Jenn and order me up a box and a half of fruit. I got a whole box of grapefruit and a half a box of the sweetest oranges I think I've ever tasted! Great crop this year! A fellow blogging friend of mine made candied lemon peels last year from a batch of lemons she had ordered, you have to order these things when you're not in the state that they come from, and they looked so tasty. So last night I was squeezing some fresh orange juice, which is out of this world good, and at the same time wishing I had ordered and entire box of oranges and a half box of grapefruit, and I thought hey... save the peels for orange candy. BRILL!! After eating several of them after they were made last night I have continued to munch on them all throughout the day today! Hence.. blog-worthy!

Fruit Candy

3 oranges
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
Extra sugar

Cut oranges in quarters, remove pulp for another use. Cut slices into half inch wide strips. Place strips of orange peel into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil of medium heat, boil gently for 2 minutes. Drain peels.

Combine sugar, water and corn syrup in pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add rinds and boil covered for 15 minutes. Remove cover and boil rinds for 20 minutes more. Remove to cookie racks using tongs to separate pieces. Roll pieces in granulated sugar and few pieces at a time and place back on racks or wax paper. Allow to air dry 24 hours. Store in air tight containers.

The recipe I used tells you to store them in the refrigerator. Others don't say this. I don't figure mine will last long enough to go bad.