Archive for February, 2013


Apparently, it must be National Be Mean to Old People Week.

Why didn’t someone warn me? How did I miss this memo?

After writing Monday about people treating the elderly disrespectfully, Captain Cavedweller and I arrived home last night to find a frantic message from his grandmother followed by a cryptic message from his mother which ended in “call me when you get home.”

CC called his mom to discover some scammer called his grandmother, pretending to be “her oldest grandson.”

When Grandma asked him what his name was, he couldn’t remember.

When she asked him why he sounded funny, he said he had a cold. (CC talks to his Grandma enough she’d recognize his voice if he had a cold – or was trying to holler into a windstorm.)

Not being the easy mark the scammer thought she’d be, he tried to play up a whole sob story about being in jail in Mexico and needing her to bail him out.

Since CC has never been in trouble with the law and never been to Mexico, both statements sounded fishy to Grandma.

So she hung up, called us, then called CC’s mom.

My most wonderful mother-in-law assured Grandma that if any of us were in jail in Mexico, she’d be the last person we’d call. (Not sure that helped Grandma’s ego at that point, but it was kind of funny.) Grandma was just glad for the assurance that CC had not completely changed his personality and turned to a life of crime and debauchery. We’re glad to know if something ever did happen and we needed her help, Grandma has got our back.

Anyway, to those who heard CC was in Mexico waiting for his grandma to bail him out – sorry to disappoint you. He was at work all day yesterday. I know that for a fact because we carpooled.

And to those of you who think it’s funny, cool, or clever to try and scam old people – knock it off. You obviously have creative skills that are not being put to good use.

Get a job.

Work for a living.

Be a contributing member of society instead of a trouble-making parasite.

She Who Has Had it With People Picking on the Elderly


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cookbook crockpot cover

I received a cookbook to review the other day. If you like sweets (particularly warm sweets) and enjoy using your slow cooker – this is the book for you!

Slow Cooker Desserts by Jonnie Downing, offers recipes for everything from custards and cobblers to pies, cakes and more.

cookbook crockpot pers

You can make yummy things like Pears with Caramel and Maple.

cookbook crockpot chocolate chip cookiesChocolate Chip Cookie Bars (that’s right!) in your slow cooker.

And my favorite…

cookbook crockpot browniesTriple Chocolate Brownies. Vanilla Ice Cream puddling off the top of a delicious, warm brownie – oh, my!

Downing, along with her daughter,  offers dozens of slow cooker recipes on her blog Crockpotninja.com 

They showcase everything from new recipes to tried and true favorites.

This cookbook gives you the best of her dessert recipes with full-color photos and easy to follow step by step instructions.

She includes information about the different types of slow-cookers, cooking times, measurement conversions.

From pineapple crisp and luscious lemon cake to sticky toffee pudding and banana bread, you’ll find a great assortment of delicious desserts. She even has a section at the back of the back titled “Emergency Desserts” with several fun recipes.

If you love your slow-cooker and have a sweet tooth, check out Slow Cooker Desserts.

Available from Ulysses Press, you can find it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

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If you’re as ready for spring as I am, here are a few fun party ideas to bring it on!

Colorful macaroons

Fabulous colors for a spring party from Punchbowl!


cupcake flowers

Cupcake Flowers from Sheek Shindigs. Love, love, love these!


tea sandwiches, scones 067Tea Sandwiches from Home Cooking in Montana. These are so fun!


nest with flowers

Three of my favorite symbols of spring: a nest, tulips and daffodils – from Martha Stewart.

pink tablescape

From The Party Dress, this amazing tablescape. I want to eat lunch there today, please.

She Who is Ready for Spring

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old hands

This weekend I had a front row seat to see how someone’s thoughtless, childish, rude behavior crushed two senior citizens.

Although I’ve known this for a while, you can get a perfectly clear picture about someone’s character from watching how they treat the elderly.

Just because a person’s skin is wrinkled, their vision has dimmed, and they no longer move with any speed, doesn’t mean they should be treated with less respect, care or kindness.

It also doesn’t mean they are stupid. Don’t assume just because someone is aged that their mind no longer functions.  A lot of them are as sharp as tacks, and those who assume otherwise are the ones I think aren’t hitting on all cylinders.

Getting old sucks.

Even if the mind is willing, the body is often lagging behind.  Things that used to come easily now are challenging and life seems to move both so fast and so slowly, making it difficult to keep up.

Despite their physical challenges, so many of the elderly have such great stories to tell, such wisdom to offer. Those who shun them or treat them disdainfully are hurting themselves the most because they are missing out on time spent with these walking time machines.

If you want to check out someone’s character, take them to a senior center or have them interact with a group of elderly. It will tell you more about them than hours spent in conversation.

Despite delusions that it won’t ever happen to us, we are all going to be old someday. It’s how things work.

I don’t know about you, but if that saying  “what goes around comes around” is true, I hope that those who are kind to the elderly now in their youth will receive similar treatment in their old age.

As for those of you who treat the elderly like something nasty stuck to your shoe – just remember there will be some self-centered, cruel person out there who will offer you the exact same treatment someday.

Be kind and patient with our senior citizens. Offer them encouragement and a helping hand. Ask them about their life. Engage them in meaningful conversation. You’ll be glad you did.

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Bacon Hearts

Today’s recipe is so involved, so difficult, so time-consuming you might want to run for the hills right now.

Just kidding!

This is so easy, you can do it with one eye closed.

Like I did.

Because it was way too early in the morning.

I made these Bacon Hearts for Captain Cavedweller for Valentine’s Day. I don’t know if he appreciated them or just the fact he had hot, crispy bacon at 6 a.m. on a workday.

Whatever the case, his grunts of approval let me know he liked the bacon at any rate.

Start with some bacon. Thick sliced is best.

Start with some bacon. Thick sliced is best.

Line a baking sheet with foil. This will keep you from having to scrub bacon grease off the pan when you still aren't sure you are completely awake. Go ahead and preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with foil. This will keep you from having to scrub bacon grease off the pan when you still aren’t sure you are completely awake. Go ahead and preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Place bacon on the baking pan so the ends form the top of the heart and squeeze the middle of the bacon together to make the bottom point.


Use toothpicks to hold the ends and the bottom point together.

Use toothpicks to hold the ends and the bottom point together.


Bake at 425 for 8-12 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your bacon. Remove from oven, take out toothpicks and serve!

Bake at 425 for 8-12 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your bacon. Remove from oven, take out toothpicks and serve!

Captain Cavedweller got his heart bacon on top of hash brown casserole with a side of homemade raspberry danish.  I may have had some, too.

Captain Cavedweller got his heart bacon on top of hash brown casserole with a side of homemade raspberry danish. I may have had some, too.


She Who Had Way Too Much Fun Making Bacon



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The other day I wrote a post about growing up on a farm.

In fact, my parents bought the original part of the farm fifty-one years ago. They added more land when surrounding property came up for sale and when I was just four-years-old, they built the house they lived in up until the middle of December.

They finally decided it was time to move into town.

Searching for just the right house, they found a nice one in a great neighborhood with wonderful neighbors. I think part of the reason Dad liked the house so much, was because the particular shade of yellow it’s painted  goes so well with all his John Deere stuff.

The farmer may have left the farm, but he certainly hasn’t left behind the country way of life.

john deere plates

There are John Deere plates on display in the kitchen.


jd sign

This sign front and center between the two bays of the garage facing the driveway.


And in case any one missed the fact that Dad is into John Deere stuff, the big windmill in the corner of their yard pretty much gives it away.

She Who Smiles Every Time She Looks at The Windmill Photo

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A few weeks ago, social media outlets were all abuzz about the Ram Super Bowl Commercial dedicated to farmers.

I have to tell you, every time I watch it, I’m overcome with a sense of nostalgia. It may even make me a bit teary-eyed.

Growing up on a farm, I can relate to the commercial on so many levels.


My dad came from a long line of farmers. In his high school yearbook under the line that asks what he planned to be, he simply listed a farmer.

And it’s what he did.

dad on combine

He and my mother married young, moved away from their families, and worked on a variety of farms and ranches until they saved enough money to buy their own farm.

They lived on that land for fifty-one years.

Fifty-one years.

Daddy worked hard and expected all of us to give our best as well. He was most often up long before the first rays of sunshine would streak the morning sky and could be found out laboring until there was no longer any daylight to work by.

In the summers, if I wanted to spend time with my dad, I went with him to irrigate. I accompanied him many times in his semi-truck when he’d deliver a load of hay (the sleeper in the cab was a perfect place for my baby dolls to ride.) There was a time when all the guys at the parts counter at the John Deere dealer probably knew me by name because I would ride along with dad to go on a parts run. He always bought an icy cold glass bottle of Coca Cola from the vending machine and we’d share it while we waited for his parts order to be filled.

My mother thinks Daddy was one of the few farmers who had a four-year-old in pigtails asleep at his feet on a pink blanket while he swathed hay. I think he was probably one of many who spent time with their kids anyway they could, even if it meant having them underfoot while they swathed, baled, or combined. As I got older, I went from just tagging along to having chores to do, and then taking on more responsibility and work.

My dad didn’t just want to be a farmer, he needed to be a farmer. He loved farming, loved the land and loved his family – and to him they were all intermingled and entwined. Farming was as essential to him as air to breathe, water to drink, and food to eat. It was never a job to him. It was a way of life. His life – and all he ever wanted to do or be.

Was it easy? No.

Was it backbreaking, worrisome, and sometimes scary? You bet it was.

But my dad didn’t see it as work. You know that saying about when you find what you’re always meant to do, you’ll never work another day in your life? That was my dad.

It didn’t matter if the temperature was 103 degrees or 3 below, he did what needed done to keep the farm going.

Sure, he’d got tired and worn out. Sometimes I think he would have liked to take a long break, but he never did. He and my mom both used to say, all the time, “rest and go again tomorrow.”  That is exactly what they did.

What I learned growing up on a farm, besides how to precisely set irrigation tubes of all sizes, move sprinkler hand lines, and buck hay bales, was responsibility, loyalty, and perseverance. If things aren’t going just like you want, you don’t quit and walk away. My dad taught me that you figure out how to make it work. I learned all about multi-tasking, time management, and organizational skills by watching and working with my dad.

Lessons learned while I was working on the farm are ones you can’t find in a classroom, you can’t glean them from a Google search, and you can’t duplicate them without the experience that goes along with the lessons. Daddy taught me by example. By watching him, day after day, pour his all into what he loved, I learned so many life lessons that have served me well over the years. I’ve had a few people call me tenacious. If I am, it’s because I learned it from my dad.

For those of you who may not have seen the Ram commercial, I encourage you to watch it. Well-done, it is a tribute to farmers – past, present and future.

When you do watch it, notice the farmer’s hands that are worn and with broken, split nails. Those hands look exactly how I remember my dad’s hands always looking. Always. His hands were rough and callused, weathered and worn. Most often there was grease staining his skin, soil embedded under his nails (the ones that weren’t broken or missing), and at least one knuckle would be scraped raw. As rough as those hands were, they were such a comfort to grab onto when I was a child and needed a little reassurance. A farmer’s hands seem to have the magical qualities of being able to pull a calf, repair a piece of equipment, and gently wipe away the tears of a little girl all within a morning’s work.

Another thing about this commercial that really gets to me is Paul Harvey’s voice. The fact that Ram chose to use Paul Harvey’s “So God Made A Farmer” to go along with their commercial is both brilliant and perfect.

My dad would come in for lunch every day and turn on the kitchen radio to listen to Paul Harvey. Without fail. Unless we had company, you could bank on my dad and brother sitting at the kitchen counter, eating their meal while listening to Paul Harvey’s common sense wisdom.  At times, when I was a teen who knew absolutely everything, I would cringe to hear Paul’s voice come on over the radio, wishing we could listen to some my favorite music instead. Now, when I have the rare opportunity to hear a recording of Paul Harvey, it takes me back to my childhood summers, listening to his voice fill our kitchen while the scent of fresh cut hay drifts in the open windows.

Being a farmer in today’s world is no easy thing. People have forgotten how hard a farmer toils, how much he brings to the table both figuratively and literally.  Farmers and ranchers, to me, are the ties that bind us to something infinitely precious that so often goes unacknowledged and unappreciated.

The next time you pour a glass of milk from the carton in your fridge, grill a hamburger, crack open an egg, eat a slice of bread, or enjoy a juicy piece of fruit, stop for a minute and say thank you to the farmer who made it possible.

While I’m at – my hat is off to Ram for making such an awesome tribute to farmers and ranchers. In my opinion, the dollars invested in this ad are well spent, indeed. Ram has declared 2013 the Year of the Farmer. I back them in that declaration.

If you go to their website on the page entitled “keep plowing” and scroll down past the commercial, you can share a badge. For each badge shared, Ram will make a donation to FFA (Future Farmers of America) and other hunger and educational programs.


So God Made A Farmer – by Paul Harvey

And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board.” So God made a farmer.

“I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait lunch until his wife’s done feeding visiting ladies and tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon — and mean it.” So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, ‘Maybe next year.’ I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain’n from ‘tractor back,’ put in another seventy-two hours.” So God made a farmer.

God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor’s place. So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark. It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week’s work with a five-mile drive to church.

“Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life ‘doing what dad does.'” So God made a farmer.


Note: This is not a paid advertisement or endorsement for Ram. They don’t know me from Adam, but they definitely know how to make one great commercial.

She Who is Proud to Have Been Raised by a Farmer

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