Our Land. The Pipeline. Share?

I have decided to reblog my August 2 post in light of current arguments concerning a North Dakota crude oil pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux and other tribes say the project will desecrate sacred land. I certainly can understand the dismay that many will have if the pipeline construction moves forward.


The pasture with a viewLocation of the pipeline.

Response to Daily Prompt: Profound

Actually, we absolutely and profoundly love to share our land with friends and family. We know that we are very honored to have such a farm…that began it’s existence as a dairy. My husband’s family has owned this land for well over 100 years and we are quite simply stewards…to keep it intact and safe and treasured for future generations. We take this important responsibility very seriously.

Our daughter and son grew up knowing that the farm is vital to our family heritage. They knew that many of our weekends would be spent over two hours away from our home in the city. They never resented the time away from friends…in fact, they totally embraced the idea of having a farm and understood what it took to keep it going.

When they were very young, they learned to fix fences, clear brush…

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Why Rearrange Priorities?



Setting goals is imperative and difficult at the same time. However, following through on these goals is the real challenge. The above quote is so incredibly correct. Before you can reach your final goal, you inevitably will need to get your priorities in order. Change your basic priorities. Rearrange your priorities and your life in general. Actually, there is rarely any other way to go about consideration of priorities without some major change.

In March 2013, Forbes recommended the following steps that most likely will help with goal setting:


For visual learners (like myself…for sure!), a goal that you actually see is immensely important. The author suggested making a “vision board” for your personal motivation. Purchase a simple poster board and cut out pictures and articles that are related to your goal. Goals that might be displayed are organizing your home, an advanced degree, weight loss, preparing more healthy meals, taking a special vacation, or receiving a much better salary. Display the board for you to see every, single day.


By announcing your goal and your need to rearrange your priorities, you are attaching a verbal message to your future change. As you move closer to your goal, your friends will hopefully offer congratulations and support. No matter what your friends say or don’t say, you have told the immediate world what you plan to do. You took a chance and put yourself in a vulnerable position. You certainly don’t want to be caught moving back from your goals!

3. BREAK YOUR GOALS INTO SMALL PARTS!Rearrange your goals into shorter, smaller sections. Don’t say…”I’m going to lose at least 50 pounds in two months!” or you might be set up for real and instant disappointment. Instead say “I’m planning to lose at least ????? pounds this month” and you fill in the appropriate and reasonable amount. Celebrate even the smallest accomplishment. Share your celebration! Make your goals possible and feasible.


Again, make a visible announcement to yourself. Put your final goal date on a calendar. Announce your date to your immediate world. Make it reasonable…just like in #3. It is best to have an exact date to be thinking about. Such as…”My class reunion is in May! Help”…   my class reunion IS in May. I better put the calendar up immediately!





Set Goals!

Remember…my class reunion is in May!

I am telling the immediate world NOW!

I need to wear a size 8! Oh! I forgot! I

need to make a reasonable, sensible goal!



Mama’s Recipes #1 Post.


My Mother’s Delicious Pralines!

I always thought that my mother was the best cook ever and her friends and my aunts were close contenders for the top spot. I honestly did not know any of her very best recipes at all. I am certain that she tried to teach me to cook, but I doubt that I stood still long enough to listen. You know…places to go and people to see. And then…I lost my mother when I was 35 and my dad six weeks later.

After I recovered from the shock…well sort of recovered, I realized that I desperately wanted those recipes. Looking through every drawer and every cookbook and every other place at their house, I found recipes written down on pads of paper from various businesses, bridge score cards, index cards, pretty note paper…you name it…there was a recipe on it. I also found a huge amount of cut-out recipes from magazines and newspapers. I was thrilled that some of her favorite recipes were included in my discoveries!

I never saw her look at any recipe when she was cooking. She had everything memorized or just figured it out while she was cooking. You know the method…”Let’s see! How about a cup or so of sugar. Maybe a little salt”. I cook like that now, but everything doesn’t always turn out to be perfection. I often look up recipes on my cell phone as I walk around the grocery store or on my iPad in my own kitchen. I tend to run into quite a few people! And I still buy cookbooks even though I am overloaded with them.

Fortunately, I have all of my mother’s cookbooks. In order to keep the scraps of paper recipes, I bought two really  large photo albums a long time ago. I placed each recipe  into a picture slot. I included all of the newspaper and magazine cut-outs. With two small children at the time, it took me days and days to organize those books. Now, it is so much fun to look through the books ever so often. I like to think that our daughter will feel the same about these recipe books…a special gift from me, but really from her grandmother.


A Favorite Recipe From My Mother…



2 cups sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon butter flavoring

2 cups chopped pecans

1 tablespoon butter


Mix soda and buttermilk and then dissolve sugar in the mixture. Use a large saucepan and boil slowly to soft ball stage (234 degrees or 236 degrees if the weather is damp). Mixture turns brown as it cooks, but needs stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add flavors, butter, and pecans. Stir until it begins to look like it is very smooth. Drop in small “cakes” on wax paper. Makes about 30 pralines. ***I don’t know why the recipe says “cakes”! Just drop them on the wax paper about the size of a regular size chocolate chip cookie!!***

I promised to give this Praline recipe to “The Chicken Grandma” on WordPress a few weeks ago! She had to be very patient!



Artificial Flowers…Fooled by Fake Again


miniature roses

 If by chance, I receive a beautiful arrangement of flowers, I am totally and completely overjoyed. A sweet child in my class gave me a plant on Valentine’s Day…a small rose bush. I have spent more time with that plant than with some members of my family. I water it more often than is necessary. I just want to make that little rose bush happy. I am not even certain that it should be called a bush. That is not really the point. The point is that someone gave me a real flower. Me! I am honored. I am impressed by such thoughtfulness.

What does not impress me is someone I slightly know(who certainly shall remain nameless because I don’t even recall her name)who has a wonderful array of flower beds in her rather large front yard. I had always admired these flowers. I don’t really know her, so I…

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One Way To Save A Child.


Big Brother Big Sisters is a volunteer based organization built on placing caring adults as mentors to children who have faced adverse circumstance in their lives. As their website (bbbs.org) states:

“For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brother Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (Bigs) and children (Littles), ages 6 through 18, in communities across the country. We develop positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people.”

Key components of Big Brothers Big Sisters center around the well-being and future functionality of the child. This program can be the beginning of a very bright future for a child whose life has not been impacted by positivity. As a teacher in Title I (economically disadvantaged) schools, I was absolutely overjoyed when a child became a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters! Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I knew that the child would:

1. Change for the better in ways I could only imagine

2. Care more seriously about the world around him/her

3. Be able to focus more often on school and friendships

4. Achieve a happy and confident demeanor


The following is a short video of one person’s wonderful experience being a part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program:


Having observed the program success,

I was beyond thrilled when our daughter

decided to join Big Brothers Big Sisters as  a

mentor to a deserving eight year old boy.



Our daughter and her husband recently took Colby to his first hibachi restaurant!


Colby became our daughter’s “Little Brother” when he was 8 years old and in the 2nd grade. He is now a well behaved and polite 14 year old in the 8th grade. Our daughter had been out of college for a few years and was teaching elementary school. She became very aware of the needs of the students at her school and soon signed up for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Colby was not at her school, but she quickly became involved with mentoring him.

My husband and I have been so honored to be a part of Colby’s growing up years. The strides he has made are amazing. No longer the busy and overly talkative 8 year old, he is now quiet spoken, still spirited, yet so proud of his achievements. At a family dinner a few weeks ago, he entertained our daughter’s little cousins with ease. Colby talked about sports and the musical instrument he is learning to play. He talks about possible future plans with confidence. Colby has become a promising teenager with personal goals and aspirations.

Colby is confident and self-assured because of Big Brothers Big Sisters and our daughter’s willingness to volunteer.

Congratulations, Colby!

You’ve come a long way!


What About An Underground House?


Underground Rock Home

When we first moved to the suburbs, our new neighbors mentioned a group of underground houses located in our town. The houses were hidden in a very wooded area that was accessed by a small barely paved road. We found the houses and were amazed by the unusual appearance of the neighborhood.

We saw what looked like roofs covered with green grass. There were entrances that were visible above ground. Several years later, I met one of the underground home owners and discovered that usually there was a small entry with immediate stairs leading to the living area. The house I visited was light, bright, open, and very inviting. Beyond that, the house was cool in the summer and warm in the winter. We considered the concept to be quite interesting.

I have not heard much about underground houses in the last few years or perhaps I have not been reading the right publications. Currently, these houses are often referred to as “Earth Sheltered Homes”. The word shelter is the key word. Shelter: defined as a dwelling place or home considered as a refuge from the elements. Educational studies have stated that shelter is a basic need.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow wrote a paper in 1943 titled “A Theory of Human Motivation”. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, physiological needs were the most fundamental and necessary. These needs include food, clothing, and shelter from the elements. With this researched information in mind, earth sheltered homes become much more than an unusual home. They become a possibly better option for our environment in regards to safety, energy, wildlife preservation as well as a means to provide a subdued place to reside.

According to niftyhomestead.com, earth sheltered homes “use the ground as an insulating blanket which effectively protects it from temperature extremes including wind, rain, and extreme weather events.” Nifty Homestead includes on their website a tour of an 1900 square foot earth sheltered home built by architect Alan Shope. The following video features a tour of this earth sheltered house in Upstate New York.



The website granitehistory.org/underground-houses/ lists seven possibly surprising facts about these underground houses or earth sheltered houses. The seventh fact states that underground houses could possibly be one of the most comfortable places to live. The website goes further and states that underground houses might be the most comfortable living space. Although usually costly to build, underground homes heat and cool with ease. These earth sheltered homes can provide safety in emergencies as well as other weather/natural disasters.




Ouray, Colorado. Worth The Wait!


Ouray, Colorado


Ouray is one of the most enchanting towns in Colorado. I imagine that many travelers would agree wholeheartedly with me. Ouray is not big…it is not glitzy…it is really pure Colorado. Summertime is my favorite time to visit, but I would not wait until summer! You can walk all over the town and visit with the friendly shopkeepers. Ouray really takes my imagination back to an era from many years ago.

To get the full experience of Ouray, I suggest driving from Durango through Silverton. Durango was founded in 1880 by the Denver & Rio Grand Railroad. Located 71 miles south of Ouray, Durango has a Victorian downtown that has been admirably restored. In Durango, you can ride the historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

A few years ago, we rode the train in December and the scenery was absolutely beautiful. You can ride the train one way to Silverton or take a round-trip back to Durango through the fall. During winter the train goes into the valley north of Durango. When we rode the train during winter, we stopped about halfway and had the chance to get off for some waiting hot chocolate. Fun!

When driving to Ouray from the south, Silverton is a small historic mining town that been described as “a gritty little mining town with Victorian pretensions”. The town was  founded in 1875. After leaving Silverton, the best part of the drive is waiting for you and your camera.

The drive to Ouray is spectacular and exciting as you take on the road known as the Million Dollar Highway. The drive is only 24 miles long, but takes about 45 minutes. Dramatic curves edged with sweeping views of mountains are the norm. You can spot very old mining buildings and we were able to explore one of them. A very real history lesson engaged our children immediately.

Yankee Boy Basin Falls

Yankee Boy Basin Falls, Ouray

Soon afterwards, the town of Ouray could be spotted in the distance. Located in a valley, the pretty town has a collection of interesting inns and lodges as well as cabins available for rental through VRBO and HomeAway and other similar websites. Ouray offers delicious meals at numerous restaurants, shopping galore and the best cure for sore muscles after a mountain hike…a sulfur-free hot springs pool facility. There are actually five public and private hot springs located in Ouray.


Hot Springs Pool in Ouray.

During the day, opportunities for mountain activities are immense. Or perhaps you just want to sit on your porch with a good book and a view of the mountains. As much as we enjoy the views, we could not resist renting a jeep! There are countless jeep trails, but some passes are closed even in mid-summer because of late spring snow. There are numerous companies to rent affordable jeeps  and there are also guided tours available. Ouray offers various levels of off-highway driving and…what I consider…the best close-up views of the San Juan Mountains. Ouray is known as the “jeeping capital of the world” and there is good reason for this distinction!


Jeep Trails in Ouray.

Other exciting activities choices include water rafting, mountain climbing, biking, fishing, exploring canyons, riding horses…and the list goes on and on! Ouray…an absolutely historic town filled with Victorian buildings, amazing views, and magnificent mountain views!