Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursday Walkabout: Our National Bird

The Bald Eagle became our national bird in 1782, and is the one eagle unique to North America. The bald eagle's scientific name signifies a sea eagle with a white head. Bald eagles may be found throughout most of North America, from Alaska and Canada to northern Mexico.

Bald eagles were declared an endangered species in 1967 in most areas of the United States. In 1995, the US Fish and Wildlife Service upgraded the status of bald eagles in the lower 48 states to "threatened." In 2007 the American bald eagle was removed from the Endangered Species List. They are still protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen an increase in Bald Eagles in our neck of the woods. They’re literally in our back yards in this area now.  Until that time, I had never seen a Bald Eagle up close and personal. Viewing a Bald Eagle in flight makes my heart skip a beat!  This ‘eagle season’ I’ve had two meetings with them. A few weeks ago an eagle swooped my car (just saying hi?) when I was getting close to home. A few days after that encounter, I was feeding the geese and one flew just a few feet over our heads peering down on us. Awesome! (But, maybe he/she was eyeing my geese?!).

Mr. W and I were able to capture some photos of  “our locals” this week.  In the mosaic you will see an eagle in flight, and one roosting in the tree  – both of those eagles have a mottled appearance. That means he or she is a juvenile. They’re not the best quality pics – lots of zoom and crop here, but not bad! I’ll throw in my favorite shot of the day at the end.



Enjoy your day!


Monday, February 22, 2010

It began as a dreary, gray day… and then…

Well, first let me show you another snow picture or two. We had rain, and lots of it yesterday. Which turned to ice. Last night it began to snow. Again. IMG_8768


And then the sun tried to peek out ----


(It finally succeeded). From this point, the day just got better and better.

I went out to the mailbox and what did I find? A ZSQ!!! What IS a ZSQ, you may ask? Why, it is a Zippy Strippy Quilt. Made by none other than JENNY MATLOCK. It is truly adorable, made in a camping theme, with fleecy warm fabric. Keep in mind that Jenny Matlock lives in a perpetual state of sunshine and warmth. It was pure fate that I won this giveaway, given the perpetual frozen tundra state we seem to be in these days. The giveaway was in memory of her sweet friend Mike. Please read more here, but be warned, there is a famous Jenny PKW (possible kleenex warning) on this post. So sad, but so sweet, and I am completely honored to be the recipient of this darling quilt.

I couldn’t get a picture that captured just how big the ZSQ is. It’s BIG!! And oh so cozy.


Close-up of one of the fabrics. So cute!


Needless to say, it will be loved. Jenny also enclosed the sweetest little card (I think she made that too).

Thank you so very much, Jenny! Bless you. Every time I see or use this quilt, I will think of your friend Mike and the wonderful memories you must have.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thursday Walkabout: Let’s Go for a Drive

We took a drive late this afternoon, so technically, these aren’t really walkabout pictures… are they?  Maybe I’ll just pretend this once,  k?  Several of these photos are along our route to and from work. A few are just slightly off our beaten path. It was a gorgeous, sunshiny day. We’re still waiting for warmer temps, but the mid-thirties today seemed very pleasant. The local weather dude says that 45 is the average high temperature for the latter part of February. It would be so nice to see that number soon!

A few of these photos were snapped by Mr. W. Thank you, Dear! :)

Roadside Squirrel, Snowy Fields, Wild Turkeys (they sure are making a lot of appearances these days), Sky Viewnature_rocks

Old Levick’s Mill Log Cabin, Barn, Windmill, Old Lonely Farmhouse, One Room Schoolhouse in a Cow Pasture, Love those Windmills (Note to Self: All we need to make our farm complete -- Windmill & Chickens).


Here’s the Snowy Field in solo form. For some reason, it brings me peace and serenity.  Need to chill? Take a deep breath, and gaze at this photo a few seconds…


Did it help?

We’ve almost survived yet another winter’s week. Hope yours has been a good one!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursday Walkabout: Yep! More Snow…

It’s been a daily job to keep the feathered friends happy, but they’re more than worth it.

Wintry Birds2 2-10

We’ve had two snowstorms in a week’s time, with more predicted for the weekend. I know we’re not alone in our winter weather, but sheesh, bring on Spring already!

I stepped out of my color comfort zone here and transformed everything to sepia tones with Pioneer Woman’s Soft and Faded action. (Photoshop Actions are so much fun!). We have snowy scenes and some of our frozen fog from this morning.


Enjoy your day! I hope to be back with a Valentine’s post and an update to our 2010 mini-journal  later this week. But if not…

♥ Happy Valentine’s Day, Friends! ♥


Saturday, February 6, 2010

It’s a Giveaway! Hop on over to…

another dear friend’s blog - Patti (Osage Bluff Quilter) for a fantastic giveaway. It’s her BIRTHDAY – today!! First, wish her a Happy Birthday, of course. She will announce the winner on February 10th (that gives lots of time for LOTS of Happy Birthday wishes per Patti).

She is giving away a set of Wade seasons collectibles. I won’t pretend to know anything about collectibles (I don’t!), but I can say they look very cute!


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thursday Walkabout: Sunshiny Woods

We have been blessed with a little sunshine this week, which made for a nice couple of walks in the woods.

Frozen waterfall, critter home, another icy waterfall, sunshine through the trees, woodsy hillside, frozen “crick”, sunny cedar grove.

2-4-10 Mosaic_Woods2

The most exciting event this week on our Walkabout was sneaking up on a group of wild turkeys. Of course, with my two sidekicks (Chloe & Banjo dogs), it’s a little hard to sneak up on anything. Here’s one of the turkeys in flight.


Mini-Journal update of random stuff 1-28 thru 2-3-10:

Thursday- Other than work, I don’t recall? lol

Friday – I returned from work to find a message requesting use of one of my Barn Quilt photos for a soon-to-be published book on the topic. I was happy to cooperate! The author has a nice blog following the trail of barn quilts. Follow this link to learn more about "Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail"

Weekend – Mr. W brought up a load of wood. The Fiddler suffered with strep and a cold. Mr. W & I did some cleaning in the garage. I can actually park in it now! We also had our first successful coffee bean roast.

Tuesday – Out the door and headed to work, I heard the first Spring call of a Cardinal! What a great way to start the day. And on Groundhog Day, no less. I’m going with the Cardinal’s prediction :)

Wednesday – Enjoyed the great outdoors as much as possible. Snow and colder temps in the forecast!

Weather for the past week: We dodged a bullet of more winter weather, missing the snow that many others around us received. The temps stayed mostly in the 30’s during the day, with a little bit of 40’s.

Hope everyone is having a great week! 

Till next time..

Monday, February 1, 2010

Coffee Bean Roast #2 – Modification & Results

(If you want the whole scoop of our initial attempt at roasting coffee beans, please go HERE).

In previous posts I forgot to include a picture of green coffee beans. Here is what we started with…


The modification: Mr. W placed a steel plate over the fish cooker burner to diffuse the heat. Just a plate of 3/16” steel.  Excellent idea! I’m told you can also use a cast iron pan for that purpose. We roasted two batches – again using the Colombian Supremo green coffee beans from Coffee Bean Direct (via Amazon). And again using the Whirley Pop. There was a little smoking involved, but it wasn’t unpleasant (like before). We’ve learned that we may have to ignore the thermometer a bit as “first crack” seemed to arrive at 250 degrees F or so (if we wanted to believe that thermometer).  Also, by the end of the roast, we had barely reached 400 degrees F.  We can now understand that it’s probably best to learn to judge the beans on smell and appearance, as well as listening for those 1st & 2nd cracks.

The best part this time was that we were able to actually see the beans while they were roasting. With our maiden roast, it was smoking too badly and we couldn’t see the beans when we opened the lid. This time we could actually check every 3-4 minutes (or more often toward the end) and see that the beans were going from green, to the various stages of brown. Awesome! The smell wasn’t nearly as bad this time. Let me emphasize this – we could actually breathe in the Roasting Room (aka Blacksmith Shop).

We did two roasts this time. Each one took approximately 15 minutes. We kept the heat on high, but with the diffusion from the steel plate, the roasting process was slow and nice.  And, I assure you, these roasted beans smell yummy! Definitely not burnt offerings. Here are the successfully roasted beans, in all their glory --


I put the beans in our Melitta Mill and Brew pot last night, set the time for 5:10 a.m., and we were awakened with….

…the wonderful aroma of fresh ground, fresh roasted coffee. The taste? Delicious. I think at this point we’re hooked.

If you’d like a synopsis of why people roast their own coffee beans, check out Wikipedia's explanation. Thanks goes again to Jayme for introducing me to home roasting! Without her encouragement, I would have given up with that first burnt offering batch.


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