Saturday, January 28, 2017


Winter does not seem to have even come to my part of the country and it soon will be February.  I miss a good snow storm like I grew up with in Wisconsin.  Another thing about longer winters is that you get more projects done of cleaning and redoing things in the house, of sewing, quilting, knitting, and painting.  I find that I have not accomplished as much as I have planned for this season.  Maybe I planned more than I should have but as I get older, I almost feel like I have to speed up to get my projects finished.  My friend, Helga , always says that she and I always have so much creativity that we have to live to be 150 to finish it all.  

With thoughts of another quilt this winter, of wool work to applique, and of knitting and learning more about my painting, and  on and on, I also cannot help thinking about spring on this sunny cool day in January in Missouri.  I trimmed some of my houseplants and cut some of my indoor herbs.  My kitchen smelled so lovely, and I am grateful for the growth, which makes me think of growing which makes me think of garden, which makes me think of spring.  

It does not have to be spring for some time as I have lots to do indoors, but one cannot just think a little about it on such a pretty sunny day late in January.  

Challenge Myself.....

Do you believe that if you stay stagnant, you just grow older?   I tend to believe that and as of late, I have felt a bit older.  I have been sick for over a week now and it just brings me down.  But, as I feel some better each day now, I have been challenging myself.  It may be a challenge to just "undust" the furniture, or walk outside a little bit or throw out a pile of magazines.  It may be a challenge to finally fix a better meal instead of soup and sandwiches.  Actually one night we had mac and cheese and fried spam.   Wow, for this person who prides herself on being a wonderful cook, I sure can slip fast.

Challenging comes in more forms than what I mentioned above.  I need to challenge myself to set boundaries with people who I do not want to set boundaries with because they are my family, husband, and children and grandchildren.  Challenge myself to say no more and yes to myself more often.  Challenge myself to expect more respect from them. 

Challenging goes to what I do also.  Do I just keep doing the same things, or learn new things.  I am a learner and you might saw I have "learned" that about myself.  So I have to challenge myself with the difficult things I have wanted to learn, more of my FRENCH, more of my wool applique work, more writing.  

Some people who are city dwellers probably think that I challenge myself enough by living in the country.  Some actually have never come for a visit because they think I live "too" far out in the country.  My comment to that is maybe they are not as good a friend as I thought.  But living in the country brings challenge and joy.  I challenged myself late last year to be home more and for weeks at a time so I can focus on my things in a better way.  I am enjoying that challenge.  That challenge makes people I know think I am becoming a hermit or recluse.  To each their own thoughts, but my thoughts are of days with the dogs, the freedom to do what I want and to listen to birds and the breeze in the trees.

So life is a challenge and even if I am 68, I will challenge myself to do all I can as I get to feeling better.  I challenge myself to be me, a country person who enjoys her own company.  Okay, I talk to myself a lot, but if someone sees me, I could say I am talking to the dogs.  In actuality, I even talk to the birds and the trees and the bees........

Challenge yourself right were you are at, and if you feel really courageous, I challenge you to spend more time in the woods.

Thursday, January 26, 2017


Country living brings many lovely country photos and I feel blessed by having many framed in my home.  I also have walls with photos from great trips I have taken.  I have made cards to share with others while I still continue to post many on facebook, and other sites.  It is a joy to see the progress from years ago.  Good equipment helps with that process also.  But the important thing is to get out there and do it, daily actually.

Now I have been so encouraged today as my oldest granddaughter just posted a lovely album of photos she took on a short visit to an animal park in St. Louis area.  She received a better camera from her boyfriend's brother.  She also works as the manager of a WalGreen's Photo Lab in the area.  But, what encourages me so much is it blesses me to see this grown woman who I used to encourage to take photos with my camera and than just take my camera and take a walk and take photos.  I have done this with my younger granddaughter also.  This love of photography is being passed down.  To top it off, she wrote that she is learning by doing it daily and enjoying the process.  

 MO capitol in Jefferson City.
 Sunset from my front porch.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


My country life is so pleasing to me but at times other things can creep in, or I allow them to creep in and steal my calm and pleasing life.  It is sad to me when I do this, but I am human.  When it especially comes to family, I can allow way too much drainage and heartache at my cost of joy just because they are that, family.  Everyone has issues from time to time, but my family is most often very dysfunctional while looking good.

Now you put holidays on top of that, and well, you know, because maybe you have an Uncle John who is always angry or drunk or both, no good day with an angry drunk for sure.  I do not  have an Uncle John, but I have grown children and grandchildren who know better that to act like they do.  Who have no reason to be hateful to one another and at my home.  Of course when I call them on it, they get mad but never spout off at me, or seldom anyway.  They usually let it all brew until they are boiling over and than rant and rave.  So unbecoming of them or anyone.

Just the other day my grown 24 year old grandson was having a hard time with anxiety and depression which he suffers from and is working on with his doctor and medication.  He had not taken his medication and had a real melt down.  So dealing with that with him, and then addressing it with his parents and making them realize he needed to be checked on and cared about even at 24, well, I was worn and tired and up way past my bedtime.  Even my dogs were telling me to come to bed. I finally did and slept well after a cup of lemon verbena tea which helps me sleep.

So the next day, I got up and told my husband that I was going to town, about 45 miles away and doing some "shopping therapy".   Really how silly of this retired therapist/counselor to say and do this.  I suppose it is good for some but I do not even like to shop.  I headed out by myself, not wanting my husband to accompany me.  I shopped for some sale items at one store and enjoyed talking with a nice lady.  I headed to the pet store and enjoyed the cats and toys and treats and also pet a ferret and talked to him or it.  Than on the Hobby Lobby for just a few simple things and found several ladies that I visited with, no one I knew.  Next lunch and one of the ladies had gone to Panera also and we sat and visited over our lunch...pretty neat.  Off to the grocery store and got lots of meat items for the freezer, but again visited with people and cashier was so sweet.  Off to home and stopped to visit a friend/neighbor with alzheimers who is doing well even after 4 years now and being almost 80.  She said, "Katie, I know you like being home but if you could find the time to come visit me at least once a week, really, I would so enjoy it."  I was blessed and then realized that my shopping therapy was not that at was a time to get out and see that there are nice pleasant and friendly people in this world that enjoy talking with me.  I was blessed.

Also as I sat at home in my living room with my dogs around me working on sipping my tea, that I did not have to go anywhere away from my calm and beautiful country home.  I enjoyed every part of it and stayed home sometimes for weeks at a time.  What I really needed was "nice people" therapy and yesterday I did receive that.  Now I must learn to be able to stay home when family is being nasty and just "let it go" and with that I am heading downstairs to do my daily yoga.  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Ice Storm Coming...

Today we are to expect a severe ice storm.  It is to start sometime this afternoon.  Schools are closed and some people even heading home from their jobs early, getting ready to stay in place at home.

I am staying at place in my country home and have been here for about a week now, storm or not, because I like it.  But I also note that when storms are coming, weather changes, I must put out more food for my bird friends.  This morning so many were flocking at the feeders.  We have several, and a jar of peanut butter attached to the tree, screwed lid to the tree and cut the bottom of the plastic jar out.  The birds and squirrels love it.  I put out some halved oranges also as the bluejays like those.  The seeds are flying away with the bluejays, cardinals, chicadees, finches, sparrows, and snowbirds.  We even have a covie of quail that come and eat.  One year the weather was bad for a few days and we even had a hawk that took its place on top one of the feeders, waiting to have the birds come feed so he could feed.  I must say I never saw them take his being there are a time to come and feed.  

It is fun to watch how the animal word responds to the weather changes, and they do not even watch the many reports.  They never get nervous, but just take care to get "fed up" in their world, not the way us people get fed up with the bad weather.

So, I sit indoors enjoying my country life like I did for days now.  What will change for me with ice coming is that I will not get out to walk as much in the next few days, but plans to enjoy reading, knitting and other activities.  I can always take some photos, even from my many lovely windows with many lovely directions of "country" on every side.

To those that feel stranded or closed in by this store, I say, get some good books, some hot tea, and a few dogs, a blanket and wait it out in comfort and enjoy each relaxing moment you have before you have to get back to  your so busy life.  I will be here doing what I do most days, enjoying what my country life brings me each glorious day.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

January in Rural Northeast Missouri....

One never knows about the weather anywhere they live, because we are not in control of it for one thing.  But I know that most places I have lived I could count on some winter and other seasons when they were suppose to happen.  I have lived in a number of states to claim this fact.  Here in Missouri, and I have lived here 27 years now, well, it is different.

We had snow last week and it stayed on because than the temp went down to almost zero.  Then a few days into that, it went up into the 40's and now almost 60 today.  But tomorrow it is to be 30 again and tonight and for several days rain.  What I think I am trying to say is we have had spring, winter, fall weather all in a matter of a week and a half.  

Now, do I mind.  Well, it makes life interesting in what coats I will wear outside on my lovely walks to enjoy the nature and beauty of my country life.  Other than that, well, I am retired, and if it is rainy, snowy, icy and I do not want to drive somewhere, then I just don't.  So I really do not pay much attention to what weather is coming, only what presents itself for my current day.  It is, of course, often a great surprise.  

Do I like it.  I would like more snow, but I do live in Missouri, not Wisconsin or Colorado.  I enjoy the sunshine unlike when I lived in Indiana where it was cloudy lots of the time.  I do not care for the humidity, but it seemed worse in North Carolina.  So each place has advantages.  I just learn to enjoy my life, especially country life.

While out walking today, I try to do 4-5 miles a day, I was thinking about just that, "country life", and decided that you can have a country life style even in town, because you can garden a little patch, have flowers all over your porch, take walks in parks, and go camping, kayaking, etc.  Now, do I want to do that.  Well NO NO.  I have fields and woods around me, not houses and people.  I can enjoy nature right from my own spot.  But, if you live in town, please get out and have a "country life style".  It is good for the soul I believe when we are close to nature.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Trek to Town.....

Yesterday I had to head to town, meaning Hannibal, MO which is around 20 miles away.  No big deal, but two inches of snow and very cold make it just.  People don't always seem to be able to drive in any amount of snow, and yet I am told that they "used" to get much more snow before I moved here some 26 years ago.  Really, then they should know how to drive, right.  No, because I saw several vehicles off the road and others sliding as I carefully drove to town, on some steep hills to visit a friend and in downtown Hannibal where it was not plowed.

The day was good, and went as planned, with a wonderful stop at my favorite quilt store, and voted one of the top 10 in the nation some years back.  The Hickory Stick had just opened for the day and as I planned it that way, Nancy was free to help me with two wool applique projects, collecting all the needed colors, backing and threads.  It was so much fun visiting and picking things out.  It was as if we were doing the project together.  We did this for 1.5 hours, with no other customers, only the store owner, Pat coming in.  I so enjoyed this time and Nancy said she did also, wanting me to bring in the finished projects to share with her.  Now, bad weather/road issues, and getting there when they opened at 10:00 made a great plan work even better.

Next I hit the Mississippi Marketplace..lots of interesting things, bulk items and specialty items.  I purchased my very good vanilla, some Amish popcorn, and good molasses plus a small package of sesame seed sticks (yummy treat).  Off than to the Brick Oven for a wonderful brick oven baked pizza and a tall glass of purified water.  I don't do the Hannibal water as it comes out of the Mississippi.  Icky.  

My hair appointment was at Penneys and I enjoy Michelle's talent so much.  I swung through Penneys store and purchased a nice $48.00 sweater I had looked at previously but today bought it for $14.00.  Hair and visit went well, off to get a few groceries and pick up some medication at CVS.  

Now my treat of the day, even if all the others were grand on their own.  I got to go up steep hills, snow covered and visit my friend, Hilly, who lives in a vintage house on millionaire road in Hannibal...Fifth Avenue.  She lives in a double house, lives in one side and rents out the other.

A big Hello and hug, taking off my coat, and sitting for a bit to talk about family, politics, our country and love of it, and also much about reading and knitting.  We both have circular knitting machines for socks and it is always interesting to see what one is doing.  She also had a lovely shawl she had just finished.  We discussed gardening even if it was snowing and cold...why...because Hilly and I always discuss gardening.
 Hilly at Folklife Festival fall of 2014 in Hannibal in her booth demonstrating her antique circular sock machine.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


The mist and rain is really needed and it is only in the 30's so not so bad for January weather in NE Rural Missouri.  Now, what does one do on a day like today.  Well for this country woman, it is have nice hot coffee and some television news time before getting going on a few chores.  Than...

I did some sewing, hemming around nice pieces of fabric that I am going to embroider "Memory" pillow fronts for myself and my daughter.  We took a nice trip to Wisconsin last fall and thought of this idea for a memory.  I also sewed a neat vintage fabric apron.  It was fun and used lots of bias tape.  I enjoy sewing with bias tape.  It makes me think of all the lovely bias tape, piping, and rick rack I used on so many of my daughter's clothing when they were growing up.  I also made nice things for my son, but usually no decor like the tapes and rick rack.  

Then to make the house feel warmer and tasty, I put a spatchcocked chicken in the oven with lots of olive oil, herbs, and lemons, garlic and onions.  It is an Ina Garten recipe that I have wanted to try.  It is smelling wonderful.  We will have it with green beans and also the last loaf of my baguettes which were fresh yesterday.

It was even a time to walk around in the mist with my dogs for a bit, but the cold really does hit this old body as I have fibromyolgia and also osteoporosis.  Actually that sounds bad, and is, but I feel quite fine and tend to do lots more than many much younger than I am.  I forgot to mention I also got my yoga in this a.m.

Nice touch to the day, napping in my large recliner covered with a homemade crazy quilt with my three little dog children all around me.  It was nice to just be cozy after coming in from outside.  Before sitting down, I hit the hot tub in the basement which we enjoy daily.   

So for a rainy cold was very fulfilling to me.  Hoping you had a great day also.  If not, there is a tomorrow on the way.  

Monday, January 2, 2017


Morning comes early to this country woman even if I am retired.  My body and my mind and my dogs get me up usually by six o'clock or a little before.  And you never know what I am getting into right away in the morning wee hours.

This morning it was baguettes.  I did my starter last night and it is good to let it rise for at least 14 hours.  I use the wonderful King Arthur recipe and it makes 3 wonderful baguettes.
I then, at 6:00 mixed the starter and other ingredients with my wonderful Kitchen Aide mixer with dough hook, which certainly helps with the kneading process.  Then putting it in a butter bowl (not greased but buttered as I love butter), I place it in my nice LG oven with its "Proof" setting for breads and it will stay in there for 3 hours.  So you see where this is going...lots of hours to making three small loaves of breads but oh so worth it.  

My son stopped for a visit after he checked his traps for the morning and we visited, and as he was ready to leave, I pulled my dough out of the oven to put it into loaves.  He stayed and watched as he likes to recall helping me make bread when he was young, he is now 48, but he also bakes breads from time to time.  I butter the counter top and divide my dough and roll it into long loaves and place them on my buttered three loaf baguette pan from King Arthur Flour.  My son, Brook, comments that he needs to try making bread and kneading it to shape in butter instead of flour which gets everywhere.  

Now the loaves have to rise another 1.5 hours before baking.  While they are rising I cut out an apron and a pair of pajamas.  My yorkie grabs on of the pattern pieces and runs with it.  I do not chase but let him bring it back and he does with a few holes and tears.  I was able to selvage it, the pocket piece, but I have sewn enough years that I could have replaced the piece myself if need be.  This is why I believe I do not get too upset with little Hemingway.  He is my lovely friend and so playful and I enjoy every moment of him.  A pocket, well, I could even go without it if need be.

It is good to be retired and good to be relaxed and good to live in my country setting.  Oh, and all of this is done before I even got dressed, still in my pjs and long yoga cardigan which I use as a light weight robe.  It looks nicer also.  

Now that sewing items are put up until another day to sew, and I have bread out of the oven and have sliced four nice chunks for my lunch..with butter...and some to share with my dogs, Hemingway, Vincent, and Mr. Molesley, while I also sip some lovely hot tea from Paris  which I seeped in my dear friend Hilly's old tea pot she friended to me...I is 1:00 now.  I think I will get on the computer a bit .  Why get dressed now.

I admit I even go outside with my dogs and walk around off and on during the day in my pjs because I have fields and woods around my house.  My dogs don't mind.  You see, I really did need another pair of nice pjs.  I must sew them this week.