the view from my kitchen window

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Anyone up for going SKATING!!

It's Christmas!  It's cold and frosty . . . the farm pond should be frozen enough for ice skating, I would think!  We could have such fun out there swirling and twirling around . . . falling down, getting back up, skating in pairs or ice dancing. 
Then we could come back to the house, get close to the firepit and the toasty warm and cozy fire while we sip hot chocolate, coffee, tea, cappuccino and/ or cider.  I've made lots of Christmas cookies . . or we could pop some popcorn, even make 'smores over the fire.

We could laugh, share in the joy of one another's company and we could sing Christmas carols!  We could sing loud and clear . . . raising our voices to the starry skies and the heavens!   Then we can tumble in the house, shed our outerwear, put on our Christmas jammies and slippers . . . laugh and sing some more!   What a glorious night we could celebrate!   "O HOLY NIGHT"! 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Tree Lit from the VERY TOP!!

Our "Miracle Tree", the Colorado Blue Spruce that is at the end of our driveway and about 30 feet tall had to have it's tippy-top pruned off  because it was a tad bit close to the power lines.  We asked the tree company guys to be GENTLE, CAREFUL and THOUGHTFUL . . . because of the history of this stunningly beautiful tree's survival of our terrible fire in July 1994.
I watched them carefully trim off the top . . . and was glad they were careful, but it still made me a bit teary eyed.  As my  hubby says, "that tree was hard won".   I went out and asked them for the top and decided it would make a perfect little Christmas tree out on our deck.  The end was just perfect to fit in the hole (for a patio unbrella) in the middle of our metal patio table.  I strung on some mini lights and topped it with a good Scottish tartan plaid bow . . . and we have our little blue spruce Christmas tree . . . all lit up from the top!!!  Another way to enjoy a bit of our "Miracle Tree"!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The "COMFORT and JOY" of homemade bread

My mom was a farmwife, farmmom and the best cook ever and that included her mastery of homemade bread.  She taught me everything I know about making bread and it is such a pleasure to engage in, what is now, an indulgence.  When our children were still at home I made all of our bread, as well as other baked goods.  After we became "empty nesters" and I was working more than one job, my hubby became the cook in the house.  So, my breadmaking basically went by the wayside.  It is now becoming one of MY holiday traditions . . to set aside days to bake and that includes my favorite yeast breads.  I made several loaves and put them in the freezer to enjoy long after the holidays are over.  I don't have a bread machine and have never used one.  I'm not against their use, I just don't make bread often any more.  However, I actually enjoy kneading bread . . . it is therapeutic for me!  It is an activity that allows me to remember my mom, my life as a "farm kid', gives me opportunity to express gratitude to the Lord for His grace, mercy, comfort, strength, provision and love.
It is truly a COMFORT to me to make bread, taking in the aroma of the yeast and the baking smells, hearing that "hollow" sound with a thump that tells me the bread is done, rubbing a little butter on the hot tops.

The JOY is in slicing of the "heel" . . end piece while it is still warm and savoring it with butter and, sometimes, local honey.  I enjoy homemmade bread anytime . . but for me, the JOY is that very first, heel slice fresh out of the oven!   My family knows that that piece is MINE!!!   Better not try to steal it from me!!

Honey Whole Wheat bread, fresh and cooling on the rack!

Getting my "therapy" by kneading the Oatmeal Molasses bread.  That "heel" piece was just heavenly!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Angels Watchin' Over Me

It was about 1:00 AM on Sunday morning, July 17th, 1994.   The angel who was attempting to rouse me from sleep looked like my mom!   This angel's job was to get me and my husband, awake, out of bed and out of our house because within 1/2 hour it caught fire and was totally destroyed!
It was an arson fire started by malicious pranksters playing with illegal fireworks!  I don't believe they intended to burn our house down but it was malicious and irresponsible!  Our yard and natural wooded area on three sides of our property were already engulfed in flames and we had time only to get dressed, call the fire department, get out, move our vehicles and pray!!!!

My mother had passed away earlier that year in February and this angel who had her appearance used the strategy to wake me that my mom had used when I was in high school and had to get up EARLY to practice the piano before going to school.  I'm thankful for her!  For that angel!  For the fact that she was already in heaven when this happened and for the fact that both of  our children were no longer living at home.

God worked a miracle out of that terrible catastrophe and we are grateful for how He worked through it!  Yes, I believe in angels!  I have many reasons to believe, without a doubt that they exist, that there are out there watching over us, protecting us and keeping us out of harm's way many, many times.

There are three lovely angels on this "tree".  Some of the other Christmas angels are in pictures below with the sleighs!
I collect angels and have them all over my house.  Some of them are put out only at Christmas, others are out all the time.   I ALWAYS have some gracing the top of my piano!  There are some Christmas ones there now, but I also have some hanging out in the bathroom.  I can see them when I'm getting myself put together for the day . . and I'm reminded of their presence in my life and the lives of those I love so very much!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Sleigh-ing we will go

Someday I'm going to go for a honest-to-goodness sleigh ride.  Seems like our winters of late have been rather sparse of snow, except for the last couple.  We were in Arizona for the Christmas holidays the last two years which put a crimp in any style for a sleigh ride.  We have gone cross-country skiing at night in the moonlight and while it is cold, we stay active enough and aren't out terribly long.  There is something about that crisp, clear, snowy, moonlit venue that is invigorating and refreshing . . .and not just because of the cold.  It's quiet and you can really reflect on that nocturnal beauty.

I have a few sleighs for decorating my house for Christmas and I'd like to share a few pictures of them here. I love to decorate my house all over and that includes the bathroom.  It's just so fun for me to "deck the halls" of my house!

A vintage gold colored metal sleigh with green metal holly leaves and red bells as the berries.  I've filled it with vintage glass ball ornaments, placed in on top of a vintage-look Christmas box.  It sits on my dining table with some other items.

This sweet little white sleigh sits in my bathroom on the "towel table" and is graced with vintage hankies and an angel.  There are Christmas towels, other vintage hankies and angels here as well

Another cute little red sleigh on the counter in my bathroom, enhanced with silk decorations, vintage hankie and linens, including doilies, a sweet crochet angel.  And there are other Christmas decoration items here as well.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Clucking in my Kitchen

I grew up on a farm and we raised a lot of different animals, crops . . and lots of chickens.  I can tell you more about chickens than you'll ever want to know.  But they seem to have some charm when it comes to kitchen decor and I have a few little "chickies" gracing my kitchen.  
I'm also very fond of antique items and have some treasures that I was able to claim from our farm and a few things that were in my in-laws house.
Thought I'd have some fun and use the first egg scale we used on the farm in my decor, weighing a ball ornament.  Use some cute little aluminum molds to hold more vintage ball ornaments or light string bulbs and add some other bric-a-brac.

A vintage quart milk bottle makes a great container for peppermint sticks.  Tie up some silverplate utensils, add a vintage gallon milk jug and a complete set of vintage glass tree ornaments and use some fun dress shaped potholders and Christmas themed napkins.

Vintage thermos bottles all dolled up for the holidays, along with cordial glasses holding vintage ball ornaments, chickens, rusty bells, plates, mugs, evergreen branches, an antique butter churn and more napkins.   And, just lay it out on kitchen-y towels and redwork tea towels.

Better look at the churn with a fun 1950's salt/pepper set and antique kitchen utensils.
Well, in true farmgirl, "lover-of-old-stuff" fashion, I wanted to incorporate some of these antique/vintage items into my kitchen Christmas decorations along with the chickens.  Boy does this remind me of Christmas on the farm . . that big, two-story house whose only heat was the Warm Morning coal stove in the dining room and the fireplace in the living room.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Santa Claus . . and Snowmen

I LOVE CHRISTMAS!   I have such a fun time decorating my house and planning festivities to celebrate the season.   In my heart I KNOW . . and BELIEVE . . that "JESUS is the REASON for the SEASON".  That reason and that reason alone are what it is ALL about!  HALLULEJAH!  WHAT A SAVIOR!!!!

I enjoy the other parts of Christmas just for the fun and joy of it.  In my Christmas boxes, bins and tins are lots of decoration items.  Boy!  I have a vast array of fun things.  I have enjoyed collecting Santa Claus figures over the years.  They range from a tiny Santa doing handstands, or one barrelling down the slopes on skis to a tall Santa dressed as a woodsman with a toggle button jacket and burlap gift sack.  I just enjoy looking at all the different features of each one.
This is just a FEW of my Santas . . I just love the blue one on the left.

I also have a wonderful and delightful collection of snowmen figures.  They range from a miniscule clay snowman covered with a glittery finish to a tall resin snowman holding garden implements.  There are soft sculptures, metal, wood, clay . . . all kinds.  I even have "Irish Snow People" which includes one with sheer green angel wings and another wearing a green Irish cloak. This pair was made for us by a fellow traveler on a tour in Ireland several years ago.  Again, I just enjoy handling them, looking at the faces, admiring the different features.   My snowman collection stays out through January!!

Just a couple of my snowy friends.  I display my snowmen on this snow/snowman themed mini-quilt that I made.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lovely Treasures

I was just tickled pink to find this lovely embroidered vintage vanity set in excellent condition. A hairbrush, clothes brush and mirror with beveled edge.  It sits on my dresser and I am able to admire it daily.   I was able to obtain the vintage gloves in a barter with a farmgirl friend.  With the doilies I thought these are a lovely addition to my dresser.  Reminders of decades gone by.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Some Farmgirl Favorites

The sweetest, most wonderful peaches were grown on our family farm
My "valance" of vintage potholders over my kitchen sink . . . just so fun to see them there!

The joy of baking . . in miniature!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My "Silverware" Tree

I just had to have some fun with an odd selection of forks, spoons, butter knives, etc. So I bent then all in half, applied a little metallic paint here and there, glued on an embellishment which was either an earring, pin or some other piece of jewelry.  Some folks may think . . . "hmmmm . . . and why"?  But I like this for a simple elegant table or credenza decoration.  Furthermore it is a whole of of fun.
And, once again, I liken it to the beauty that can be manifest through the quirkiness of us as individuals . . . God's children, created in His image!!!

A "Do-Over"

What do you do with ratty looking, worn out things that some folks would not hesitate to toss out.   Well, if you're like me you examine them for ALL the possibilities for a "do-over".  This project WAS an old leather suitcase but with a lot of tender loving care it became TWO . . . yes, TWO . . .lovely little wall units for my house.   The first one is the main part of the suitcase and it has hangers on it so it can be hung on the wall as well.  This is currently sitting on the chest of drawers in my bedroom on top of vintage linens and with some other lovely decoration pieces with it.   The other picture shows the lid of the same suitcase made into a display unit which is hanging in my bathroom.

Loving tender care . . . GOD's GRACE!!!!

Life is a Bowl of Cherries!

I'm "sweet" on cherries and I love this vintage tablecloth that I was able to barter an apron for.  And, I found this Mary Engelbreit teapot (sans the lid, sorry to say) at a local thrift shop.  But I'll be able to enjoy it.  Life is kind of like cherries  . . there's the sweet, yummy part; the hard, difficult part that would be the pit and if not properly cared for they can go bad in a hurry.  I want to be able to savor the sweet, yummy part and know how to the deal with the "pits" with grace and more grace.  I don't want to miss out on any of it  . . I want to enjoy the "cherries" of life!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

An Apple a Day . . . it's Apple Time!

It's almost October and it is apple time!  Our farm produced several varieties of apples . . . yummy!   And I spent many days on a 3-legged picking ladder with a picking sack hanging off my shoulders.  I love the smell of apples, apple orchards . . and apple time!!!  I was able to bring home the box stamps my dad had made that were used to stamp the big cardboard boxes we used when packing and shipping apples.  There are some with the apple variety name, such as "Red Delicious", some with size, description such as "Extra Fancy", and one with the Gardner Diamond T Farm and Orchard label/address on it.  I also was able to get some of the old wooden apple boxes and I use many of them in my house as shelving units, etc.  Dad also made the best . . . oh, the tastiest apple cider . . . what a treat!!!   We live just over the fence from the orchards (we no longer own them) but we are able to pick, enjoy the flavor and fragrances . . . and the memories!!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cat in a Bumbershoot

Yesterday was a rainy day and in the southwest we don't use rainboots or umbrellas much, but yesterday was a RAINY day.   So, I put on my "pink plaidies" and took my purple bumbershoot to go get the mail.  Of course, you don't close up your bumbershoot while it's wet.  A little later in the afternoon I turned around to see our kitty, Skye, preening herself inside the upside down umbrella.  As soon as I got my camera she turned around, sat up and posed!  Sweet kitty!   She is a tortoiseshell calico and unbelievably spry and active for her age.  She was 10 months old when I got her from the shelter in June of 1995!!!  She is a sweet, affectionate, "people" cat and loves to cuddle.   She has been missing her top fang teeth for a long time but can still, without those teeth and at her age, wrangle down rabbits, squirrels, mice and gophers half her size.  And she loves to engage in rough & tumble play with our dog, Bramble.   We call their romping "rodeos"!  Sweet kitty!!
By the way, out here in the west we call these articles "umbrellas" . . but they are also called "bumbershoots"!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Peonies and worn boots

Peonies are one of my favorite flowers and I have this bush that produces some of the most beautiful and fragrant pink flowers.  To me they are a sweet reward!  I love to inhale that fragrance at any time, but at the end of a long, work-worn day it is extra special.
The worn boots just remind me of the rewards of hard work!  Yes, we will be tattered and torn, ragged around the edges, worn out . . but the accomplishments are so rewarding and satisfying.  Ahhhh . . the fragrances of work done!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Aren't NIECES just NICE!!!

My daughter, Robin and I were able to see and spend time with my oldest sister's (Jan) daughter, Lynnelle Beaver, who lives in Westminster, CO

And, we were able to see and visit briefly with Kerry Gardner, who actually married into the family.  She is married to Tim Gardner, my oldest brother's (Noel) middle son and they live in Parker, CO.  On the far right is my oldest sister, Jan, who also lives in Westminster, CO.

In the Coeur d'Alene, Idaho area my sister's (Marilyn) daughter, Melanie Danbrook, came from British Columbia and spent the weekend camping with us and some other farmgirl friends.

I have lots of other nice nieces and nephews too.  These are the ones we were able to see this summer!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Robin, Mary Jane, me and Megan
Precious daughters, Megan and Robin
Robin, my daughter, and I had the wonderful privilege of taking a three week road trip this summer.  We traveled in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Utah. 
Our final destination was MaryJanes Farm in Moscow, Idaho where we stayed at MaryJanes Outpost B&B for three nights.  On our second day there we enjoyed a Tea Party hosted by MaryJane, her daughter, Meg and other gals at the farm,  Kim, Rebekah, and Alicia.
It was such fun to share this time with farmgirls from Wisconsin, Missouri, Idaho, and Washington. (I'm from Colorado and my daughter is from Arizona)
It was such and honor to meet Mary Jane and for a few moments we "traded" daughters.  As you can see we had such fun and enjoyed each other so much.

I know that MJ and Meg are close and their relationship and friendship is priceless. 

I am so grateful for my daughter and the incredible friendship we have and that we can just have the best time doing things together, traveling, sharing a tent, laughing, stopping at Starbucks, hanging out . . .whatever.
It was the trip of a lifetime!  Time with my daughter!!!  I am blessed!!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Western Hospitality . . . AWESOME!!

This summer I had the WONDERFUL privilege of taking a road trip with my daughter, Robin,  . . . "Farmgirls on the Loose" in connection with MaryJanes Farm Farmgirl Connection.   We met and were taken care of in grand, glorious style by farmgirls in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.  There is absolutely NOTHING like Western hospitality!  Thank you for sharing your homes, your familes, your dining tables, communities . . and all the fun with us!!!!Ilene Wilson, one of the "chicks" in our Farmgirls Southwest Henhouse.  She prepared one of the most fabulous lunches ever for a "chick" lunch at her home in Denver

The Pilgrim family on the ranch near Baggs, WY  let us stay for a couple days.  We saw their ranch, cattle, horses, sheep . . tied aprons on goats and calves. Man what a good time we had.  Michelle is one of our Farmgirls

On the right is Denise Smart, Farmgirl from Green River, WY with her daughter and grandson.  They provided an amazing lunch in a park for us as we traveled through their beautiful city. 

And, then we were able to stay with the Ed and Kathy O'Hara, with their daughters, Mia and Erin.  They have a beautiful place in Hayden, Idaho which is near Coeur d/Alene.  Marvelous cinnamon rolls, great burgers . . . and such a fun time.

 Cy and Diana near Orofino, Idaho have a BEAUTIFUL place overlooking Dworshack Reservoir.  They have a HUGE house they hope to turn into a B&B.  We all had our own bedroom with quilts made by Diana.  What a restful, relaxing gorgeous place to stay. 
THANKS TO ALL OF YOU for showing us your true WESTERN HOSPITALITY!!!

Friday, August 5, 2011


Reading from Oswald Chambers, "MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST" .  The typical view of the Christian life is being delivered from all adversity.  But it actually means being delivered in adversity.  "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." Psalm 91:1.  God does not give us overcoming life - He gives us life as we overcome.  The strain of life is what builds our strength.  If there is no strain, there is no strength."
I pray for His continued strength for the stresses and strains of life and the difficulties that come my way that seem impossible.  Thank you Lord, for your grace, mercy, strength and love!

"Gunsmoke" . .. and cornflowers

One morning about 2 weeks ago as I was returning from my morning power walk I noticed that all of our Longhorns were laying down, enjoying the morning sun.  They had been across the lane in another pasture up until about 3 days before this picture was taken so this pasture had grown up quite nicely.

This is a picture of "Gunsmoke" the 4-month old Longhorn calf, now a steer, peering at me through the periwinkle cornflowers. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Around here they say you can plant your garden when "the snow is off the Sleeping Ute". By that they mean the Sleeping Ute Mountain which is to the southwest of our house and right in the very SW corner of Colorado. It is on the Ute Mountain Ute Indian reservation and visible from our house to the SW.

USUALLY, the snow is off the mountain about now and, USUALLY, we have planted part of our garden (NOT the plants such as pepper, tomato, etc. because there is ALWAYS a late frost the first part of June)

We have had THREE days of rain, hail, snow . . well just about all there is that is called wet. As of this morning, Saturday, May 21st, this is what the Sleeping Ute Mountain looks like. Not only is the snow not OFF the mountain . . . it just received more.

Hmmmmmmmmm . . . .what's a garden-planting farmgirl to do??

Bill has tilled the garden, but he wants to till it again.  At first he said we needed to put the sprinkler on it first.  Well, not now!  We have to let it dry out now before he can till it again and fertilize it.   We know everything is in God's timing!!!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Meet my MOM

Since Mother's Day is fast approaching I thought I'd share this photo and a little bit about my mother.  She was born Evelyn Marguerite Gilman on March 29, 1914, the oldest of eight children.  She married my dad, Gaylord N. Gardner on December 7, 1933.   They met, married and lived in the Belen, New Mexico area until 1945 when they moved to southwest Colorado.  They bought the farm that I spent my entire life on, sometime before 1948.  
This photo has the date August 1955 in the margin and is one the very first color photos in my mom's photo albums.  Left to right:  my sister, Marilyn, who is their 3rd child.  Next to her is our mom and then Janice, who is their 2nd child and the oldest girl.  The little tyke standing on the fence is the youngest of all of us, Gaye Lynn and next to her is the oldest child, Noel.
In front on the left is me, and then my brother Gerry, who is their 4th child.
My mom loved the Lord and served Him.  She loved her family and was the utmost as a farm wife and mother.  She was also a musician, played the piano and taught a multitude of piano students all through her life.  She encouraged, nurtured and helped four of her six children to learn to play and do it well, fortunately I am one of those four.  She worked hard at caring for our home, her husband and her children.  She was the best cook and knew how to raise a garden of gargantuan size, put it all away for the winter, bake, sew, do just about everything there was to do,  keep us all pretty well . . . and love us like crazy!!!   She became very ill with chronic lymphocytic leukemia which eventually, after several long, hard years, took her life on February 6, 1994.   She was quite the lady!!!!   And I miss her so much!!!  THANK YOU MOM FOR YOUR LEGACY!!!!  HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Farmgirls . . . . Sisters! Friends!!! This picture is one from MaryJanes Farm and one of my very favorites. It just expresses the spirit of the heart of a Farmgirl. I have three sisters and two brothers and we grew up on a true, blue, work-hard-every-day farm. We drove tractors and while I don't think that all four of us girls were ever on the tractor together and most certainly not all six of us kids, this makes me think of my family and our farm.

It also reminds me of all the Farmgirl Connection farmgirl friends I have all across the country and how much I appreciate each one of them. I have had the wonderful privilege of meeting some of these farmgirls in person (and hugging their necks!) and I will have opportunities to meet more. But we have managed to build relationships through modern technology called "cyberspace" . . and we have managed to share the kindred spirit of a farmgirl. That spirit is one of caring, sharing, encouraging and having fun together!!!

I'm grateful for Farmgirls . . . Sisters . . . Friends!!!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring is Coming!

When we see the little blades of new green grass poking up through the ground and the first sign of flowers and spring it just seems to also bring a feeling of excitement! We have longer hours of sunlight, the temperatures are warming up and we see all the promise of new life. We can shake off the doldrums of the winter cold and dark nights!! Thank you Lord for spring and the new signs of life . . and allowing us to hope for the joys, newness and fresh growth you can bring into our hearts and lives!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The LORD Reigns!

PSALM 93:1-2 "The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty; The Lord has clothed and girded Himself with strength. Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved. Thy throne is established from of old; Thou art from everlasting."

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Hope for New Year

It's hard to believe that a new year has begun already! How time flies!!
It would be easy to be depressed and discouraged about the way the world is and about some of the struggles, obstacles and difficulties that come our way in our own lives.
There are many things that could "sideline" us from a closer and more intimate walk with the Lord. I, personally, am going to try to focus on having an attitude of gratitude for all that God is! After all, HE is the Creator of the universe, HE is in control of everything and HE loves me like I'm the only one He has to love.
It is because of the God that I serve that I am HOPEFUL for this new year!!! I serve the GOD OF MIRACLES!!!