America, Celebration, Culture, Family, Farm, Funny, Summer, Travel, Uncategorized

Thoughts from an MOH

My best friend is on her honeymoon right now. I didn’t text her to check in to see if they’d made it safely to their destination but she sent me a message once she arrived. Not a message to necessarily tell me that they’d made it. She sent me her thoughts from a plane. 

I’m not sure who started doing thoughts from a plane. I want to credit her with it because I feel like she was the first one who came up with it. But, it may have been me. I’ll have to confer and get back with you on that one. 

Anyway, thoughts from a plane are literally just that: your thoughts about what is going on around you while on a plane. Maybe we started doing it because it can get terribly boring being cooped up in an airplane for a long time. Or, it could’ve been because you’re in such tight quarters that you can hear and see everything that everyone is doing. Either way, it’s funny to us to share our thoughts from a plane with each other. I wrote about it one time, if you want to read about it here

As I was saying, Jordan got married last weekend and part of my Maid of Honor duties were to write a speech, which I then relayed at her rehearsal dinner. 

I’m not a great public speaker, but I’m generally not terrible. I don’t think I did very well with this speech for two reasons

1. I wasn’t quite sure what emotions were going to be going on, so I was a little apprehensive about being overly emotional. I made it through just fine though.

2. I wasn’t sure what crowd size I’d be speaking to, so I’d made my speech more for a little bit more intimate of a gathering and there were quite a few people there. 

I feel like I’m generally better when I’m conveying thoughts through writing rather than speaking. It just comes more naturally. Even though I tend to write exactly as I would think/speak a thought. 

So, since I’d written the speech anyway, I thought I’d memorialize it in blog form. Because this seems like an official place to memorialize something of magnitude, right? 

Here they are: my thoughts for my best friend on the evening before her wedding: 

When Jordan told me that I would need to make a speech tonight, I wasn’t really sure what a Maid of Honor speech should be like, so I just wrote what came to mind. 

Jordan and I have been friends for a long time. Our families have been friends for over 100 years, so we technically have a long history together. But, I didn’t grow up with her, so I never really officially met her until we were around 14 or 15 years old. 

I remember the first time I heard about Jordan. I had just switched schools and some of my friends were hanging out by my locker, talking about this girl and her shoes. I have never cared too much for fashion and as an 8th grader, I cared even less. But, there was apparently a girl walking around in pink stilettos. And it was Jordan. 

It’s ironic that my first memory of hearing about Jordan has to do with shoes, because I swear, the girl currently owns about 500 pairs. 

I really got to know Jordan in high school. We had a class together and the first day I walked into class, there she was, seated in front of my desk, crocheting. She had her yarn spread out and could care less what anyone thought about it. I thought maybe during the lecture, she would take notes, but she continued to crochet. 

We did our classwork together, probably mostly because I was the one with the notes, and also because we were two of the only girls in that class. I’ll not bore everyone with stories of our youth, that most likely only the two of us would find funny. But, we began a friendship that has personally enriched my life a lot over the years. 

We are pretty much opposites when it comes to most things, so I think we both stretched each other in different directions in a way that causes so much growth as people.

Jordan wouldn’t let me have a slide show, but immediately, when I first started thinking about this speech, there was one picture of us that immediately came to mind. It was a picture of the two of us, on our last day of high school, right before we graduated. 

I had tried like everything to convince her to go to the University of Arkansas with me and she had likewise tried to convince me to go to OSU with her. But, both of us knew that the other place wasn’t where we were meant to be. So, we were going to be parting ways and on the last day of high school, that reality was sinking in a little bit more. 

You can tell in the picture that we had been teary eyed saying bye to all our friends. And, I know it seems a little bit childish now, but it was a big deal to us then. We were, in a tiny way, embarking into the unknown. We weren’t going to be full fledged adults by any means, because what 18 year old can really be considered an adult? But, we were striking it out on our own. 

We had no idea the people we’d meet or the new friends we’d gain, most of whom for Jordan are seated here tonight. We had no idea if we’d still be friends after it was all said and done. And, we had no idea the lives we’d eventually lead. So, the tears were understandable. 

But had we known then what we know now, how even though this step from high school into adulthood was a bit daunting at first, how it lead to so many great things, we may have still been teary eyed, but not because we were sad for moving on, but because we were overwhelmed and happy for the new things to come. 

And, as I’m writing this, I’m expecting that there will be some tears as Jordan and Jade now prepare to enter into a new, exciting phase of their lives together. But now we know that if we get a little teary eyed, it’s not for sadness of what Jade and Jordan are leaving behind, but for joy for the life that they’re about to walk into. Congratulations Jordan and Jade! I am so happy for both of you and can’t wait to see what blessings marriage brings to your lives!

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America, Animals, Celebration, Culture, Family, Farm, Funny, Outdoors, Summer, Travel

Pura Vida 

We found a boy with a machete to cut a way through the jungle to take us to see a waterfall. I wish it were less sketchy than it sounds, but it’s not. 


We were supposed to be fishing on Lake Arenal in Costa Rica. But, the wind had other ideas. So, Plan B? A “horseback ride to a waterfall”. My mind is conjuring up images of a peaceful, smooth horseback ride down to a quaint waterfall, a splash in the water, then back on the horse and to the barn. This picture encapsulates my mental image. (Also, there’s the lake I should’ve been fishing in the background.)


What I didn’t have in mind was climbing up and down very steep hills (more commonly called mountains) on horseback and nearly sliding down the mountain on the back of said horse. 


I also didn’t realize that our guide would be a 15 year old boy with a machete and his uncle. Who didn’t speak much English.

Or that they would need the aforementioned machete to slice through the jungle to create a “path” that would could “walk” (read: slide) down.


Or that it would be such a slippery, steep, and narrow “path” that I would need to hold someone’s hand the whole time to navigate. 


These poor guys had to switch spots to constantly be in front of me to help me every step of the way. I know this because they kept talking to each other and saying “ella”, which I knew was me because I was the only girl in our group of 4. 

I only fell down twice, and laughed through most of it, as the ridiculousness of what we were doing kept setting in more and more. 


I also didn’t realize that this hike would take nearly two hours to complete and that it would be the most intense hike I’ve ever done. 

So, here’s me, not thinking about what I’m actually getting myself into. What’s new? 

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Culture, Family, Farm, Religion, Summer

Running on Empty

I think I’m well on my way to becoming the Maysville Call Center. My grandparents keep walking in with phones that won’t work. Last week, my grandma walked into the office holding her flip phone that had finally died. It just so happened that on the same day, her wi-fi went out, leaving her completely unable to contact anyone. So, she walked in, needing to use the phone. Of which I was able to offer her 5 options. A few days later, my grandpa walks in. Carrying his own flip phone (haven’t all of these disappeared yet?) Says: my phone won’t work, can I use one of yours? I didn’t even ask any questions. I just handed him the cordless and let him make his calls.

VBS week has me feeling like the kid in the blue. I think I’m having fun, but I’m also slightly terrified and confused. Basically, I’m just rolling with life at this point. Should I mention that I took orders for 3,596 shirts last week? Actually, I didn’t. I took orders for more than that. But, I stopped counting there. Because I got a little too overwhelmed to even keep count any more.


I planned VBS in my usual fashion. We talked about it a few weeks before in May and decided that the second week in June would be good. So, I waited until the first week in June to remember that it was the first week in June and we had tentatively planned to start at the beginning of the second week in June. Everything got lined out really fast. AKA: other people took over and assumed their roles and I hastily put together our schedule and it came together.

Scavenger hunting


Treasure hunters

So, we’re in VBS week. And we’re printing 4000+ shirts. And, it just so happens, we don’t have water. Not in the Al Gore, global warming, type of way. More in the our well system isn’t really working type of way. Apparently, when you have a hole in a water pipe, it doesn’t matter how much water you have access to. The water isn’t getting from point A to point B. Calling a company to come out and fix it was helpful too. They said they would come, then called the next day saying that someone had an emergency in a tiny town in Missouri, so they wouldn’t be back in town for a few days.

I don’t know what this other person was going through or what constitutes an emergency these days, but I feel like me not having access to drinking water is a little bit of an emergency too. Not to mention that we have no water to make coffee with. I mean, that seems a little emergent. Yes?

So: VBS week + piles of shirts + no water. Don’t worry, I issued an emergency bulletin to all (3) of our staff that read: “Warning Notice: Skyline Printing and Merchandising is officially in a state of emergency as water levels are reaching an all time low. Please be advised that conditions may worsen. Updates will be provided as this situation unfolds.” I think I was the one who was the most amused with my antics.

Luckily, a different company came to the rescue and fixed the water situation the next day. We’re back up and running. Literally.

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America, Culture, Farm, Food, Garden, Health, Summer, Travel

Leading the Whey

I’ve been a lot of places in the world, but I’ve yet to find a place that I like better than home. 
I don’t know if it’s the people or the place or a combination of both, but there’s just something special about the place I come from.

This time of year is especially beautiful because everything is green and growing. I left a few weeks ago, with freshly planted seeds in the ground (literally, I planted the watermelon, cantaloupe and squash the day before I left) and came back to a pretty little garden developing. Also, my sweet potato slips are in full growth mode, in case anyone was wondering. 

That first row is my baby sweet potato plants that will soon take over everything

The people make our little corner of Arkansas pretty unique too though. I’m not just talking about my family. They’re definitely unique, but when you come from a tiny farming community, you know most people like family. Farm people are a special breed. They’re raised on hard work and sweat and a little bit of gossip.

I love the barter system. They talked about it in history class like it was an ancient thing. The trading of goods or services for other goods or services. But, the barter system very much lives on. People around here trade work for work, milk for eggs, garden produce for fresh bread, the list goes on. Last night, we traded one of the neighbors some fresh raspberries for some work on my car. Not kidding, that’s really the way it works. And, we’ve learned to trade t-shirts for just about everything.

My brother and I come up with crazy ideas just about on the daily. If I haven’t thought of it, he definitely has. Generally, he’s the one with the idea and I’m the one he convinces to go along with it. I could list a million of these day dreams: buying a hot air balloon was one we thought about for a few days, starting a farmer friendly barber shop (that one is possibly still in the works).. Starting a screen printing business was one that he came up with about 10 years ago. And, we all see where that’s taken us. 


So, when he said he wanted to try cheese-making, I got on board fairly quickly. Any way to produce farm fresh food is pretty much a sure deal for me. The cheese making supplies arrived in the mail a few days later. 

We’ve been getting raw milk from our neighbors for awhile now. Everyone tells me: don’t drink that, it’ll make you sick! However, I’ve been drinking it daily and feel strong as ever. See, the pasteurization process destroys some of the raw milk’s antibodies in the heating process. So, it’s technically healthier. And, I think it’s pretty safe. It’s how our ancestors drank it and generations of humans have survived since then, so it can’t be that bad, am I right?

Anyway, raw milk. In reading about cheese making, it is the cream of the crop. Pun intended. It makes the most curds, which in turn yields the most cheese. So, since our neighbors milk 21 gallons a week, we have access to excess raw milk. 

Side note: let me tell you a little history about where this milk comes from. These neighbors got a blind dairy cow from another neighboring commercial dairy farm, so they were going to milk it by hand. But, the cow “got down” and wouldn’t get back up. So, these neighbors called us to use our “hot shot” (an electric prod) to get this cow back up. Which is how we ended up in the free raw milk exchange. 

When we decided to make cheese, we knew we’d need extra milk, past our regular weekly gallon. So, we called and they said to come over and get a couple extra gallons. 

Now, it’s country rules that if you ask something from your neighbor, you don’t go without giving something in return. Well, Jake had just baked a few loaves of fresh bread.[He currently has a sourdough starter, for those of you who know what that would be. So, it’s producing three loaves of bread weekly right now] I had some homemade mulberry jam in the pantry, so we decided to take that. But, I also had some raspberries from the garden and Dad caught some catfish, so we took fish and berries too.


When we arrived, the exchange was happily made. We got our raw milk, they got their farm fresh goods and we went on our way. But, not before I got to meet their pet squirrel. I can’t make this stuff up, ya’ll. 

I’m a little sad to say that no one knows how to make cheese any more. I asked both of my sets of grandparents if they’d ever made cheese or seen it made and none of them had. I thought they were supposed to be the ones teaching us how to do this type of thing?
I really thought it would be much more difficult than it turned out to be. You start with a gallon of (preferably raw) whole milk. The cheese process essentially takes all of the milk solids (read: fat) out of the liquid. You will typically yield about a pound of cheese from one gallon of milk. 

(Side story: In Laos, I asked my nutrition training participants what was the first thing they thought of when they heard the word “fat”. Their answer? Cheese. Looks like they were right.) 

You start with citric acid, vegetable rennet, and your milk. Mozzarella is the simplest cheese to make (because it doesn’t have to be aged), so that’s what we decided to start with. 

Note: the cheesecloth was not used in this process. I’m told it’s for “cheddaring”


I’ll condense the cheese making process for you. You dissolve a little citric acid powder into a little bit of water, pour the milk over it, heat to 90 degrees, and watch the milk curdle a little bit.

Then, you pour in a little bit of rennet and water. Wondering what rennet is? I was too, so I did some really official internet research. It’s actually an enzyme that is produced in the stomachs of mammals that consume milk that helps us digest it. Apparently, in ancient times, they somehow harvested the rennet from the mammals stomachs to use. However, these days we might consider some of their methods a little barbaric. So, they figured out how to engineer vegetable rennet, which is essentially molds that mimic the process of breaking down milk. Sounds tasty, right?

Anyway, rennet goes in. The milk gets stirred gently for 30 seconds, then left to set for 5 minutes. It gets to a custard consistency, then you break it up a bit, cook a little longer, and you officially have your curds and whey. 

And yes, I do feel like Little Miss Muffet. Really though, what was she doing eating curds and whey? After seeing this process, there would be no way that I would want to eat curds and whey. 

This is the point at which things become really interesting. You separate the curds and whey, using a slotted spoon and a strainer. And your goal is this: get as much of the whey “water” out of the cheese solid as you can. You can squeeze it, heat it slightly, squeeze it again, whatever method works. 

I thought it would be really delicate, but it isn’t. You pretty much knead it like bread, until it forms into a solid little disc. You yield just about a gallon of whey water out of the process. Which, I didn’t throw away, of course. This is a really protein rich liquid that has multiple uses. The Swiss actually bathe in this water because it makes your skin really soft. I won’t be bathing in it, however I will attest from handling the cheese, that it does make your skin incredibly soft.


We made the first disc of cheese and it was so easy that we decided to make a second one. The first one took a little bit longer, but by the second round, we had it down to a science. All you need is 30 minutes to go from milk to mozzarella. 


Maysville Mozzarella, coming to a store near you!

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Animals, Asia, Culture, Farm, Food, Health, Missions, Travel

Ride or Die

 I’m still trying to catch up on my posts from Vietnam.We moved around a lot from place to place while we were there, which provided lots of travel time to write. However, what I lacked was the time to actually post what I was writing. If you know me very well, though, my delay should not come as a surprise.

                                                              

I ate a cricket this morning. And it was surprisingly refreshing. Not because it tasted great or anything. But, because I wasn’t going to do it, then I decided that I could handle it. So, I did. Pushing the limits you set for yourself can be a good thing.

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My carefully selected snack

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 I also rode an elephant. It wasn’t a first or anything. But, I was in the hotel room in the middle of the afternoon and I got a phone call. I answered, of course, and the voice on the other end said: “do you want to go ride an elephant?” No hello, no this is so-and-so, just elephant ride? And what’s your natural response for a phone call like that? Sure.

                                                              

So, we went on elephant excursion number three. This one was pretty typical: elephant, basket, little boy sitting on his head while we trek around. But, the seating arrangement was different. It was a wide metal basket with a narrow bench and no harness or strap of any kind. I’ve only been in bamboo baskets, which create for a little more traction. But with the metal bench and my denim shorts, I was sliding all over the place. Combine this with the fact that we were climbing down a steep embankment and the “driver” kept hitting the elephant on the head with a metal rod: I was sure I was going to topple out of the basket any minute.

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Treacherous looking basket

 But, I survived. Upon dismounting from the basket, the animal wranglers were offering other various rides. I had never seen anyone ride an ostrich, but they had them saddled up and ready to go, so I thought I’d give it a shot. It kinda made the elephant ride feel safe.
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Taking in the view

 The “saddle” has handles on the front and the back, and you are encouraged to hold onto both. Because those things take off like they’re trying to buck you off. Me and my ostrich were pretty in sync though for the most part and it was calm. We settled into a little routine. In fact, in most of the pictures, we even had the same facial expressions.

                                                              

Until the boy with the metal rod came around again and started hitting him. Then he took off and I nearly fell off again.

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Trotting along

I’m thinking some animals just weren’t meant to ride. But, then again, there’s a first time for everything.
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America, Family, Farm, Funny

Wednesday, March 2

Let me tell you what I’m not doing right now. I’m not searching for my phone. Because I didn’t lose my phone. My brother lost his. Which never happens. I’m always the one who loses my phone and goes on an elephant hunt back through my day to figure out at which point I set it down and forgot about it. And when this happens, I’m always given a lecture about how I shouldn’t be constantly losing my phone and how I need to keep track of my stuff. But, now, the aforementioned lecturer has lost his phone. And am I lecturing him? 

No. 

I am relishing silently in this glory, basking in his frustration at having to figure out where he irresponsibly laid his phone down at. Because for once, it wasn’t me. 
  
Let me tell you what I am doing, though. I am in a narrow stairwell, having Jake take a passport picture. Why the stairwell? Because we need a white wall for a background and a two foot wide stairwell seemed to be our best option.. Which basically means his phone (which has been located) is right in front of my face, which causes me to laugh because this situation is just so ridiculous and results in a passport picture that looks like a cross between a mugshot and an emoji. He took a decent one, but I’m pretty certain he’s currently in the process of printing the mugshot emoji one. 

Wednesday, March 2 was not an eventful day for me. I currently babysit on Wednesdays for a friend, so my day consisted of bottles and diapers and rockers and all things baby. Me and the baby have developed a good working relationship. We have mutual respect for each other, understand our roles, and perform our jobs to the best of our abilities. We’re all business, no drama.

However, Wednesday, March 2 was eventful for my brother. Which he relayed to me at the end of the day. And I took such a liking to the story, in all of its ridiculous detail, that I told him he should write about it. 

The thing about me and Jake is that we both love stories. I love to be told stories. And I love to tell stories. But, vocally telling a story is not my forte. I become too bogged down in the details and lose the point too easily. I like to write stories, it’s more organized and detailed. It suits me better. 

But, if you have ever heard Jake tell a story, his medium is definitely vocal. He does impressions, voices, mannerisms, he’s a mockingbird, including every detail in the way he tells a story. It’s enjoyable. In fact, he made me laugh so hard at a story he was telling the other day that I choked on my coffee and was fairly certain that I was going to end up with pneumonia from aspirating liquid down into my lungs. 

So, he obliged me and wrote the story down. Which really has no point except for that I found it amusing. So, here it is, in Jake’s words:

The week prior to leaving on a trip is always chaotic, however I think…. “we’ve done this enough that we should have this down to a science.”  If only life were that simple.

My grandpa lost his cell phone in the field a week or so ago while feeding cows and has been off the grid when he leaves the farm to run errands. This is driving my grandma insane because she had become accustomed to picking up the phone and calling him to remind him he had a funeral that day, the baptistry needed to be filled up while he was out, or that they were out of Bran Flakes (her current favorite).

In a cataclysmic turn of events, their home phone and internet services have also been on the fritz this week.  Let me just say, it’s been several phone calls back and forth to CenturyLink.

Wednesday’s are an odd day of the week for us at work because Brittney is out of the shop.  It also happened to be that my mom had an appointment with her eye surgeon that my dad needed to take her to. This meant that it would only be 1 person coming into work for the first part of the day. 1 out 3, it’s hard to pass with 33%, imagine trying to take a self portrait with a tripod that only has one leg.. You get the point.  Any other time, I would sit this morning out, except this was not possible, remember, three days until we leave for Vietnam.
 

One man shop

 

(8:30 am) My day started with slow single person tasks and as I was mid-first monogram of the day, my grandpa came in the shop looking for my dad.  I told him he was gone this morning, what did he need? Their home phone went out again, he needed to borrow a cell phone to call CenturyLink. After waiting 15 minutes on hold, he gets through and then the phone call cuts out. What is it with Maysville and glorious telecommunication services?  (aside: #MaysvilleLivesMatter). 

 Another call back to CenturyLink and passing the phone off to me, I get a few instructions to troubleshoot their problem.  My grandpa felt equally confident that he could do as the lady instructed and also that what she instructed would not fix their problem, so away he went.  In the meantime,  I text my dad to get them a cell phone card for a cell phone my aunt gave my grandparents.
  

Morning embroidery

(10:30 am) My dad called for me to meet him in Gentry (20 minutes away) to pick him up as he was going to leave my mom’s car with her at her work. I told him we needed to grab lunch at McDonald’s because we didn’t have time to sit down and eat lunch at home and we were already sitting for 20 minutes in the car on the way home. (Note- even in an apocalypse, efficiency is the key to survival.)

(11:30 am) When we got home from Gentry,  we went directly down to my grandparents house (1/4 mile down the dirt road) to setup the minutes on the cell phone they have because my grandma had an appointment to get a perm that afternoon. My grandma said the phone in the kitchen on the charger, unfortunately, it was the charger to their old phone. Also unfortunate was the fact that the new cell had enough battery life to appear functional.  I read the directions on how to load the minutes and as soon I loaded the minutes, my grandma asked if I could make that phone have the same number as the old phone (which, remember, is sitting somewhere out in a hay field). It dawned on me that I didn’t even know what phone number this phone had so I read off the number to my grandma.  She reread the number out loud and then looked surprised, “that’s Sherri’s number (my aunt)… not our number”.  The minutes didn’t load on this phone and the phone still has the same number as my aunt’s current phone. What a debacle. We still aren’t sure where the minutes went but put Net10 on the growing list of telecom people to call.

(11:45am) Back to work, I was only halfway through our first printing order of the day when I got a phone call from CenturyLink. The guy was on his way out to setup our internet/phone in the shop, but at this point I’m wondering why bother? Anyone got a tin can and a string? I’m about ready to kick it old school and tie hand quilled invoices to doves to deliver and hope they bring back payments.

I quickly finish the job we’re working on because I knew there would be a pause when he got there. My dad saw him pull through the gate and as soon as he said “he’s here” my cell phone rang…. It was Lisa, my grandma’s hairdresser. 
(Remember #1 This is Arkansas #2 I love Nanny- my grandma we’re referring to here and #3 I’m central contact point for Maysville, apparently.) Back to Lisa’s call-
Lisa:  “Hey Jacob, have you talked to your grandparents today? I’m worried something happened, they didn’t make it to their 12 o’clock and I can’t get a hold of them- that’s not like her…”

Jacob: “Yes, I was just down there and their phone is out and he just lost his cell… But don’t worry their appointment was at 2, right? That’s what she told me just 15 minute ago and they are planning on being there”

Lisa: “Is there anyway you can go tell them they missed their appointment? Maybe they can borrow your phone to call me back and reschedule.”

Jacob: “Uh-oh, oh-no and okay”

At this point my dad hears my end of the conversation and says “Do I need to go tell them they missed it?” sort of hastily, I said yes confused as to why he was in a hurry. I look out the window to see the CenturyLink guy is stopped in the road talking to my grandparents, who are now leaving to go get their hair cut, permed, and washed. The CenturyLink guy comes on out to the shop as I watch my dad, seemingly in slo-mo, take off across the yard to catch them.

(11:55am) Sorry it took so long to account for 10 minutes of my life, but wow.  So the CenturyLink guy asks me if I’m related to “Mr.Scott”? To which I say “Yes, all of us.” Because he had then met all three “Mr.Scott’s” of Maysville.

He continues (imagine this in a cyber native Arkansan accent):
“Yeah, his phone line… I fixed it last week when it went out. The problem with his line is that it runs through the other way…”

(Aside- our property lies between two telecom lines and also two power companies, our home and shop phone line comes in from the south while my grandparents comes from the north)

“… That darn line is so chewed up and bad. I’m trying to get CL to come run a new line for them. Their line now runs through two creeks and it floods every time it rains, then that makes all them mice and rats nest up in our service boxes. That’s what’s making their phone and Internet go out. I cleaned out two mice nests up in that service box last week but I’ll back and clean it out again.”

Basically what he was saying is: If CenturyLink doesn’t fix the problem, this morning may be repeated for you on a weekly basis. Ahhh…

Wednesday’s are also a short day for my dad and I in the shop because we have to quit around 4:45 so he can go get ready to drive the church bus and pick up kids all over the tri-state. So a quick recap of the rest of the day… My dad caught my grandparents at the mailbox, they used his phone and sweet talked Lisa into fitting them in that afternoon. My dad then got a call from a friend and had to leave quickly to go help him. Somehow through the chaos of the day, we still ended up getting about 500 prints done, which is a semi-normal day.
 

All in a day’s work

 

I text Brittney and said “God is calling me to be a comedian because he is giving me so much content today, I don’t even know what to do with it all.”  I told it all to her when she got home, who I’m sure found it more amusing and humorous than you just did, and suggested I guest post on her blog. Sorry if you find yourself saying “Geez, that was a great read for wasting 10 minutes” and you’re welcome if you needed to waste 10 minutes reading someone’s mundane recollection of Wednesday, March 2nd.

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Craft, Dessert, Farm, Food

I Think I Can…

There is nothing like homemade bread. Nothing. I have been craving it for days. Mostly because I just finished reading a book about the Russian autocracy and it mentioned bread quite a bit. So, next on my list to bake: Russian black bread. I’ll let ya know how that goes. The thing about baking bread is it’s a process. This one is a 12 hour process, with all the rising and such that has to take place. So, you can’t just have it when you want it. You have to plan for it. Which probably makes it taste that much better. This is one of my classics: maple oat bread. I found the recipe in the Spring and I think I’ve made it a dozen times since then. It’s so good!

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You know what goes great on bread? Homemade jam. Which I made a few weeks ago for the very first time. Out of mulberries I picked. How much more down home do you get than that?

Fresh picked mulberries

Fresh picked mulberries

I have always wanted to try my hand at canning, so I got up the nerve and finally did it. We were going to visit our friends while in Canada, so I thought mulberry jam seemed like an appropriate gift. TSA agreed with me after they checked all my carefully bubble wrapped jars. After they went through it, they probably thought it was a grandma’s bag. But, nope, just me, a twenty something girl, hauling jam across international borders.

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If you’re going to make jam, you need to have a bunch of sugar. Like so much sugar that it literally made me feel a little anxious. I never use that much sugar for anything. Plus, I had just watched a documentary on the decay of America’s eating habits and how sugar is to blame for that. So, expert tip: don’t watch a sugar doc right before making jam.

Also to make jam, you need a whole bunch of fancy utensils that you can dirty up. Just go ahead and take out half the dishes you have and plan to get a sticky purple mess all over them. The instructions said I would need a special pot that had a basket for the jars to go in. You fill the pot up with boiling water, then completely submerge your jars in a few different steps. Well, I didn’t have the fancy pot or a mason jar basket. So, I improvised and used a steamer basket, the spaghetti noodle pot, and a pair of tongs. Was it the most practical? No. Did two pairs of tongs get hung up in the steamer basket at the same time and nearly spill boiling water everywhere? Yes. Did it work even though it wasn’t the fancy set up I should have had? Yes.

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After making the jam, I had a little leftover, so I made a jar and didn’t seal it. Since I needed an expert opinion on whether or not the jam was good, I asked a friend to take the extra jar home and test it out. Turns out the cup holders in my car fits a jam jar perfectly. And I got his seal of approval. Pun definitely intended.

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Have jam. Will travel.

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