• In the Garden,  Let's Eat,  The Art of Beautiful Living

    Homemade Spaghetti Sauce From the Garden

    Homemade Spaghetti Sauce From the Garden Our garden is bursting.  It has overrun its beds like a river rises out of its banks after heavy rains.  Ironically, those heavy rains are what has caused the garden to be so productive.  We are firm believers that, even though it was “free” food, we don’t want to waste it.  Our new favorite meal from the garden is homemade spaghetti sauce with grilled eggplant.  Of course, the Italians call it sugo con melanzane e pomodori.  That sounds so fancy. Making the Homemade Spaghetti Sauce I usually grab the tomatoes that are the ripest and blanch them so that removing the skins is easy. …

  • In the Garden,  Let's Eat,  Uncategorized

    Mustang Grape Jelly: A Family Tradition?

    They Grow Wild and Free As far as wild ideas go, the decision to make wild Mustang grape jelly fits the bill.  Wild idea.  Wild grapes. Texas is blessed with abundance, usually, and I do wonder about what my great, great, great grandparents thought about Texas when they emigrated here from Scotland in 1851.  They had been promised that Texas was a land where things grew easily.  Where life would be easy.  Abundance.  You know, the typical stuff you would say in order to get people to move half way around the world.  My great, great, great grandmother, Isabella Wood, wrote a letter back to Scotland and told a different…

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation

    Vanity Lighting in the Master Bathroom

    Once upon a time, we had a plan.  We purchased vanity lighting for all of the bathrooms and had them installed by the electricians.  And then Jerry said “we are purchasing the vanities today” and everything fell apart. What Happened? What happened was that the plumbers were coming soon to install all of the fixtures.  That started a chain reaction…the marble counter top had to be installed before the sinks.  Before the marble could be installed, there had to be vanities.  Jerry announced that we had to purchase them that afternoon.  He said he would be home in 30 minutes to pick me up and that we were leaving immediately…

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation

    Vanity Insanity

    Twelve Feet, Three Inches 9/11 is a number we will never forget.  Likewise, December 7, 1941 really is a date that will live in infamy.  Not even on the same planet is the number 12’3″. I am absolutely not comparing any part of our house renovation with the tragedies that have occurred throughout history, but isn’t it funny how some things just stick into your brain?  Like maybe your childhood phone number or your locker combination from high school?  Come to think of it, it may be more of a miracle that any numbers stick in my brain…I remember vividly not being able to recall my locker combination while I…

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation

    Master Bathroom Barnyard Accent Wall

    Vision I am 53 years old and I need to go to the eye doctor.  It used to be that I had trouble with distance vision.  Now, I can’t see at a distance.  I can’t see up close, and I benefit from lenses that help me see at the mid-range distance.  It is an enormously frustrating part of getting older. Unfortunately, I can see well enough to know that there are huge stacks of lumber in our backyard.  I can clearly see that the mess is horrendous.  And I can see all of the possibilities and those endless possibilities prohibit me from burning everything in one big pile. 20/20 Vision…

  • Let's Eat,  Uncategorized

    Wine Making Class – Step by Step

    First, It Isn’t Difficult or Complicated When I made an offhanded comment back in 2009 that I wanted to learn how to make wine, I really did mean I wanted to learn.  I thought I would watch some You-Tube videos.  Maybe read a book.  My husband had other ideas.  He got online and purchase all the equipment I needed to get started and suddenly, with no preparation or warning, I was making wine. It is a good thing that he did this because if I had been left alone, I might have gotten around to watching a video or two.  I probably wouldn’t have purchased a book.  I would never…

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation

    Turning Trash and Scraps into a Keepsake

    I May Hurt Someone’s Feelings Someone, probably someone in my family, gave me the picture frame above.  It had a white background and the cute little wire with clips you see above.  I opened it up and placed photos in it several times.  I knew that there should be a theme…there were four clips, we have four children.  Baby pictures?  Didn’t resonate.  And then I thought, “well, how about pictures of a specific location, like a family home that isn’t there any more?”  I didn’t have four pictures of any of the houses that were no longer standing. I was at a loss, but, like so many times before, I…

  • Uncategorized

    April 2 – Day 16 of Our COVID-19 Adventure

    Some Things Stay the Same No Matter What In 1994, Jerry, the kids, and I moved to Sardinia.  I was so excited.  Sardinia is a small Italian island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.  My life was about to be both exciting and exotic, but above all, it was going to be DIFFERENT. And it was and it wasn’t.  The water isn’t potable on Sardinia and so we learned to cook and brush our teeth with bottled water.  I learned how to hang clothes out on a clothes line.  We learned how to survive 115 degree and up temperatures with no air conditioning.  We also learned how to manage…

  • Uncategorized

    April 1 – Day 15 of Our COVID 19 Adventure

    Is There a Silver Lining? I have been reading lots of posts about, if there is a silver lining to be found during this pandemic, it may be the amount of time that we all have now to focus on things that are important to us.  I think there is a lot of truth in that statement.  However, I think that it would be difficult to convince medical personnel right now that they have more time, for example.  So I suppose that for some of us there is a silver lining, but not really one for all of us.  Some people are handling the crisis with aplomb, some are panicking. …

  • Uncategorized

    March 31 – Day 14 of COVID 19 Experience

    Skewed I hate to shop.  I hate shopping.  Crowded stores make me crazy.  Rude people make me nuts.  I don’t like crowded parking lots.  I hate being pressured.  I hate making important decisions on the spur of the moment. There was a lot of hate in my world today. Jerry and I spent the majority of yesterday making lists (I do love lists!).  We inventoried all the food, personal hygiene products, and cleaners we had.  We made a list of all the projects we wanted to accomplish in the next couple of months and what materials we would need to get them done. And then, today, we went shopping. We…