March 2014: The Children Are Tender

Caregiving, teaching little kids to read, and riding in the pickup with Farmer John; I tweet, pin, and blog, from my home in rural Kansas. If you've landed here looking for information about my books, visit my author's page by clicking this link: A. Born. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Rain and More Rain

Between 10 a.m. yesterday and 10 a.m. today, we received 4 inches of rain.  The ground was already saturated, and this rain came fast at times.  There are flood warnings throughout the area with more rain in the forecast.  

I was posting about our crazy weather on Facebook, and a friend replied "It isn't raining at all in California!!"  She and her family are enjoying Disneyland while the rest of her Kansas friends and relations are slogging through some truly unusual and challenging amounts of rain. 

But this afternoon, the sun came out.  I pulled on my mud boots and took a short walk down to the flooded lake east of our house. 

It is a muddy, now-sunny, rain-washed and blustery world here, but I truly wouldn't trade it for all the joys Disney has to offer. 

The cattle were curious and did not bolt, even though we just released them into this pasture a few days ago.  

This lake floods the roadbed every spring, but it is a few feet higher than usual today.  

I waded out into the flooded lake and turned to take John's photo--and this was the exact moment that I realized that my left mud boot has a pretty serious leak.  

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Moving Cattle

Upper left--John is making a final count of how many head he has released to pasture.  He's usually accurate but this time around he thought he had 15 loaded, and counted only 14 as he released this bunch.  My count is always wrong; I came up with 13.  
One of my favorite times on the farm is moving cattle to summer pasture.  We rent this beautiful pasture pictured above, just on the edge of the Flint Hills. When the cattle are first released they gallop away, anxious to get away from the confines of the trailer, but very quickly they begin to appreciate their new surroundings.  They are scarcely 100 feet away when they begin to sample the lush, green, grass.  Soon a peaceful scene unfolds as they all graze, and we know they have a delightful summer ahead in this beautiful setting.

Sunday, April 14, 2019


Farmer John has been busy burning pastures this past week.  Controlled burns are good for the grass,  provide non-chemical weed control, and yield a beautiful new growth of healthy green for the cattle.

The air is hazy and smells of smoke, and lots of people who have spring allergies are suffering.  Mercifully my spring allergies seem to be dormant this year.  I'm grateful.

Here are some photos of family life on the farm from this past month:

Almost full moon rising on an early evening walk, March 18.  
Bunny craft project completed with the grandkids.  
Slime was new to me...I'm now a veteran, having made batches with all 4 grandkids this month.  Eww.  
Nature's first green is gold..

Daniel, like his grandmother, has mixed feelings about slime!  

Rebekah and I took a morning walk and found lots of spring treasures--but her main love is rocks--we returned home with pocketsful of rocks that sparkled in the sun.  

John bought a new fairy garden house for me and the hedgehogs were gifts from my grand boys.  
We celebrated our 45th anniversary this March!

Monday, March 18, 2019

An Almost Springtime Walk

It has been a long winter and I've been housebound most of the time because of ...oh, shall I list all my ailments?  Let's not.  Suffice it to say I have to avoid bright light.  But today shortly after noon (a forbidden time of day for me to spend time outside) I had to run to the car in search of a lost item. The air held such an irresistible scent of promise that I risked a short walk.  I donned two pairs of sunglasses and a sunhat, and off I went.  My dog was ecstatic; it has been a long winter for him, as well.  He plowed right into the lake, belly deep, for his first refreshing swim of the season!  I imagine the water was pretty cold because he came right back out again, but I welcomed this additional sign of approaching warm weather. 

Everything is still brown and lifeless, but birds are singing and the air has warmed. And, when I looked closely, there were some signs of green showing beneath the dead grasses.  The blessings of fresh air and sunshine must have trumped possible ill effects, and I returned home feeling uplifted.

It's almost spring!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Week That Was, 2-11-19 to 2-17-19

Clockwise from upper left:  When I realized I had not provided my son with a matching cookbook to the one I prepared for our daughter when she married, I got right to work on compiling recipes.  Upper right:  This is our 3 year old grandson, with his VERY OWN box of chocolates on Valentine's Day morning.  Bliss!  Lower right:  Our weather this week:  snow, sleet, some more snow, and more sleet...  Lower left:  Our 3 year old granddaughter sent us a Valentine that she painted herself.  
Because of weather, I stayed inside all week and feel a little bit stir crazy, but when I was counting my blessings this morning I realized I have nothing to complain about.  Many of my friends and family would have loved to switch places with someone who can arrange her schedule to stay home when the weather is nasty.

I found a project to occupy my time.  I was talking with my son one day a few weeks ago and was directing him to a recipe, "I'm sure it's in that cookbook I made for you," I said.

"You didn't make a cookbook for us, Mom," he said.

Oh dear.

Sure enough, when I checked the archives I found several file folders of family recipes, compiled as I had begun work on a loose leaf binder of recipes for our son and his wife at the time of their marriage.  I'd never finished the project.  They have been married for seven years.

To quote my good friend, Grover, "I am so embarrassed."

Well, better late than never.

As I've sorted and organized recipes, I kept tagging those I wanted to make again soon. Winter days make me hungry anyway, and spending several days sorting recipes made me feel like cooking.  Here are a couple I tagged to make this coming week for just Farmer John and me, as we weather this winter weather together:

Grandma Irma’s Sausage and Rice
“Easy and Good”

·      ½ pound sausage with
·      ½ cup chopped green pepper and
·      ½ c. onion, chopped, and
·      ½ cup celery

Add 1 cup of rice and 2 cups of water, cover and cook until rice is done. 


Grammy’s Hot Chicken Salad

4 cups cooked, diced chicken (4 to 5 chicken breasts)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2/3 cup slivered almonds (may be toasted)
¾ cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated cheddar
2 cups finely chopped celery
 1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 teaspoon minced dried onion
1 can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 and ½ crushed potato chips or corn flakes
½ teaspoon pepper
¾ teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients except cheese and chips.  If it seems too thick add a cup of chicken broth. Place in baking dish (9x13) and add cheese, then chips, bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

I made the following recipe for just John and me on Valentine's Day, such a splurge and so good!  I believe I got the recipe from our daughter, Melinda--it is egg and dairy free.  

Brownie Pudding Cake

1 cup flour
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup milk (can use rice or oat milk)
3 Tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 and 1/2 cups boiling water

Preheat oven to 350.  Stir together flour and next three ingredients, along with 3/4 cup granulated sugar in a large bowl; stir in milk, oil, and vanilla.  Spread batter in a 8 inch square pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  

Combine brown sugar, cocoa, and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a smaill bowl; gently pour over batter in pan smoothing with spoon.  Gently drizzle 1 and 1/2 cups boiling water over batter, being careful not to disturb layers.  

Bake at 350 about 25 minutes or perhaps longer (depending on your oven and metal versus glass pan) until cake layer forms on top and springs back when touched.  A pudding like filling forms--don't think it isn't done when the fudgy goodness spills out as you serve the warm cake.  Serve with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.