Monday, September 30, 2013

31 Inspiring, Creative Days in the Garden

  Secret Obsession

Welcome to my "31 Days" kick-off post!  What is "31 Days" you ask?  Well, grab your favorite beverage, put on your fuzzy slippers and chillax, because we're going to have some FUN!  "31 Days" is a blogging challenge conceived and hosted by "The Nester", where participants pledge to blog every day in the month of October on a single subject of their choosing.

It is one of my goals to get to the point that we can produce at least half of the food we consume on our farm.  We moved in in mid-July this year, and while we got some plants out, the produce has not been staggering, to say the least.  But we did get some, and I have learned a whole lot.  So, I'm not waiting for next spring, I'm going to start getting all my ducks in a row this month!  Hence my theme of "31 Days in the Garden".  (Oh, and I'm rather inordinately proud of my little "31 Days" button that I made on PicMonkey - a free online service.)

What follows today are a list of the topics I will cover during the month.  As each post goes live, I will come back and create a link from the list to each day's post.  And since I am a novice gardener (unlike my husband, whose family farmed for years and generations), any tips y'all have will be most appreciated.

Please note:

  1. The links in parentheses are blog link-ups in which I will be participating.  The first week, the challenge name is printed out; for subsequent weeks, they just go by initials.  The Sunday link-up is a multi-hostess affair, so each week's link in the list below takes you to a different host blog!
  2. This is actually my Tuesday post, but I wanted to link up with "Inspire Me Monday" at Create With Joy, and the official linky for #31 Days goes live tonight.
  3. The prompt for the "Creative Thinking Challenge" at Figuring Out How the Pieces Fit does not go live until tomorrow, but since I'll be coming back each day during October to link up my daily posts, that info will show up in the next day or so.


Tuesday 1st - you're already here!  Good for you! (Creative Thinking Challenge)
Tuesday 1st - 2nd Breakfast - 2nd October Challenge
Wednesday 2nd - Site of Our 2014 Garden  (Wordless Wednesday)  AND IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!!!
Thursday 3rd - Vegetables and High School Memories
Friday 4th - Fruits and First Days  (Friendship Friday)
Saturday 5th - Herbs & Spices
Sunday 6th - Memory Garden Daily (Let's Get Social Sunday)
Monday 7th - Farm Animals All Atwitter (Inspire Me Monday)

Tuesday 8th - Diggin' Into the Veggies
Wednesday 9th - Singin' on the Farm (WW)
Thursday 10th -  Pumpkin & Cream Cheese Candy at Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge
Friday 11th - Plants Need Companions Too (FF)
Saturday 12th - supplies needed for the herbs (Strut Your Stuff Saturdays)
Sunday 13th - God in our garden/Musings on Ephesians 1:7,8 (LGSS)
Monday 14th - supplies needed for animals (IMM)

Tuesday 15th - fun gardening implements (CTC)
Wednesday 16th - pictures of garden supplies (WW)
Thursday 17th - plan/layout of vegetable garden
Friday 18th - plan/layout of fruit garden (FF)
Saturday 19th - plan/layout of herb garden
Sunday 20th - God in our garden/Musings on Ephesians 1:9,10 (LGSS)
Monday 21st - plan/layout of animal habitats (IMM)

Tuesday 22nd - Vegetable Immortal Recipe Contest result
Wednesday 23rd - pictures of the immortal recipes (WW)
Thursday 24th - Fruit Immortal Recipe Contest result
Friday 25th - Herb Immortal Recipe Contest result (FF)
Saturday 26th - Animal Product Immortal Recipe Contest result
Sunday 27th - God in our garden/Musings on Ephesians 1:11,12 (LGSS)
Monday 28th - Gardening when your space is limited. (IMM)

Tuesday 29th - Reduce, re-use, recycle, repurpose!
Wednesday 30th - gardening reference books (WW)
Thursday 31st - "31 Days in the Garden" wrap party!

If any of y'all are still here, give yourself a pat on the back!  This is one of the longer blog posts I've EVER written.  Feel free to leave a link to your #31Days posts in your comment(s).  Let me know if you subscribe and/or follow, so I can return the favor.  Happy days!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Musings on Ephesians 1:3,4

  Let's Get Social Sunday

This is the 2nd week we have been memorizing Ephesians 1.  This week we covered Ephesians 1:3,4.

I probably should say at this point that I am not putting myself out as a a gospel authority or scriptorian.  Far, far from it.  I'm just a woman digging into the word of God and seeing what I can learn.

3.  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
I am glad that the 3rd verse opens up with several of the same words as the 2nd verse ended; it makes things easier from a memorization standpoint.  ("Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" - Eph 1:3; "from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ" - Eph 1:2).  We humans are a rather thick-headed bunch and time and the repetition helps to perfect whatever it is we are trying to learn, whether it be an intellectual pursuit, a sport, an artistic performance, etc.

I see Paul's use of the phrase, "Blessed be the God....", as his acknowledge of God's exalted status.  This puts me in mind of the hubbub created back in the 1980's when Nancy Reagan went to England for the marriage of Charles and Diana and the news that when she met the Queen, she would not curtsey.  I guess that ticked off a lot of English folks.  But I would have done the same thing.  (Oops, there goes my invitation to tea - and I'm a serious Anglophile.)  A person not living in a monarchy does not follow some of the social rules particular to that system of government.  But we are all  children of God.

And, luckily for us, our Heavenly Father has given us "all spiritual blessings";  He has given us everything we need (which is not the same as everything we want).  We only have to talk to a soldier or a first responder to know how important it is to have everything we need when we go out on patrol.  Why does He do it?  Because He loves us and because Christ "took the bullet" that had our name(s) on it.

4.  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 
Even before the world was made God chose us for His own.  How cool is that?  Before the light was separated from the darkness, God knew us and loved us, each and every person that has ever been born.  We all have the agency, the power to choose paths that will change our lives, for good or bad.  He knew not everyone would consistently make the righteous choice, but He gave us that freedom.  I cannot imagine the faith and trust that took.  He wanted (and wants) every one of us to return to Him; in order to do that we have to be 'holy and without blame', as no unclean thing can live in God's presence.

For which spiritual blessing are you most grateful this week?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Four Unusual Recipe Contests


I will be participating in a 31-day challenge during the month of October, where we are supposed to write each day on a single topic.  Now, I'm not giving away my theme...exactly, there are four posts I've scheduled for the latter part of October on which I need some lead time.

Here's what I propose:


1.  I will create a vegetable recipe, featuring your favorite vegetable(s), and named after you, your favorite team/pet/etc, or to go along with a character or book you have written.
2.  I will create a fruit recipe, feature your fruity favorites, and named after you, etc.
3.  I will create an herb recipe, using your favorite herb/s, and named after you, etc.
4.  I will create a recipe, using your favorite animal product/s, and named after you, etc.

Each winner will be contacted by email to hammer out particulars (allergies, etc) and then the four recipes will be featured on Back Porchervations' posts from October 20-24.  Are you ready to become immortalized in a recipe?  The entries will close September 30th.


Leave a separate comment for each entry.  Please include your site name/link (Twitter, FB, Pinterest, etc) in your relevant comment:

1.  Leave a comment with your favorite vegetable, fruit, herb and animal products.  (If you don't include a vegetable (etc), I'll assume you don't want to be considered for that contect.)

2.  Follow Back Porchervations by email.

3.  "Like" Back Porchervations on Facebook.

4.  Follow me (@Kentuckygal) on Twitter.

5.  Follow me (LuAnn Braley) on Google+.

6.  Follow me (LuAnn Braley) on Pinterest.

7.  Follow Back Porchervations on Bloglovin'.

Before you go, here's a giveaway for a Pickle Biotic Home Fermentation Kit at Herb Magik that needs some love.  Do you love pickled foods and/or have a garden/farm?  This is a great contest for you!  It is open for about another 2 days.

Musings on Ephesians 1:1-2

  Let's Get Social Sunday  Life on Lakeshore Drive  

The folks at Do Not Depart are running a scripture memorization challenge of Ephesians, Chapter 1.  Only one or two verses a week...very doable right?  What if you start two days after everyone else does?  Still doable.  Most people started Monday (16 September).  I started Wednesday.  Fortunately for me, memorization comes fairly easily - must have been all the theatre I did in college.

So this week, we covered verses one and two of Ephesians 1.

1.  Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.
When Paul's name was Saul, he persecuted Christians.  Then, he was on the road to Damascus one day (to find more Christians to tie up and cart back to Jerusalem), when Jesus appeared to him.  The experience was so life-changing that he could not see for three days.  Thereafter, became a Christian himself, and a missionary, and was finally persecuted himself and killed.

I found  my most satisfying definition I found for the word 'apostle' in an answer at as an 'ambassador'.  Thus an apostle of Jesus would be an ambassador of Jesus.  The use of the word apostle as opposed to follower or disciple means to me that Paul could speak of Jesus and act, in Jesus's name, with some authority.  And of course, nothing happens if not by the will of God.  But sometimes we just need to be reminded of that.

So Paul tells us by what authority he writes, then proceeds to tell us to whom the message is written.  Of course there are saints in Ephesus of the day.  But maybe there are other Christians passing through the city or visiting relatives, etc.  Certainly a missive from one of the foremost apostles of the day would want to reach the biggest possible target audience.

2.  Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. gives a definition of 'grace' as a manifestation of favor.  So Paul is conveying a message of grace and peace to the Ephesians both from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.  What better gift is there in the world?  One word:  NONE.


Most, if not all of the Bible verses I quote will come from the King James Version (KJV).  I just love the formality of the language.  But then, Shakespeare is one of my favorite authors.  No matter the version of the Bible, I think a wonderful poetry shines through the language, so you get:
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.  Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Instead of simply:  "To Whom It May Concern".


Now, it's your turn:

1.  Are you participating in the 'Hiding Ephesians 1 in My Heart' challenge at Do No Depart?  Would you like to?

2.  Do you have a favorite Bible verse to share?

3.  If you are not religious and/or not Christian, do you have a favorite quote or saying to share?


Friday, September 20, 2013

100 Ideas for a 31-Day Blog Series

This "List of 100" thing is a technique I got from a book about journaling many years ago.  The idea is to write down 100 things on a single topic ... in. one. sitting.  (Yeah, I fudge on that one sometimes.)  Originally, the idea was to do the list in one sitting, and not censor yourself while writing it.  Somewhere in the middle, your subconscious mind takes over and your craziest, most creative ideas come out.

Now to the buttons:

Friendship Friday is a weekly feature over at Create With Joy.  Anyone who knows me knows I am a fan of that blog.  Go check it out.  Seriously.

The "31  Days" is a challenge being run for the month of October over at Nesting Place blog.  The above links to the category, as the challenge sign-up is not even live yet (I don't think).  And the Nest Mama is having people make their own link-up buttons.  Don't worry, there are plenty of tips and info posted on her blog with more to come.  (I just borrowed the button from Nesting Place to get the word out!)

So on to the list.  (You may want to get a drink and a snack...I'll wait.)

1.  31 lists of 100.
2.  jam recipes
3.  bread recipes
4.  entrees
5.  veggie recipes

6.  things I love about my faith
7.  things I love about my family
8.  things I love about my home
9.  things I love about my state
10.  things I love (or...) about my job

11.  things I love about my country
12.  colors
13.  flavors
14.  places to visit
15.  historic landmarks

16.  why we homeschool
17.  blog post ideas
18.  blog series ideas
19.  craft project ideas
20.  craft series ideas

21.  favorite books
22.  favorite movies
23.  favorite plays
24.  favorite magazines
25.  favorite spa treatments

26.  stories about your family
27.  stories about your ancestors
28.  your earliest memories
29.  someone else's earliest memories
30.  things I like about x-elected official.

31.  things I dislike about x-elected official
32.  happiest moments
33.  saddest moments
34.  scariest moments
35.  Halloween

26.  Thanksgiving
27.  Christmas
28.  Valentine's Day
29.  Independence Day
30.  back-to-school

31.  last day of school
32.  serialized story
33.  cartoons
34.  pictures of your cat
35.  pictures of your dog

36.  your favorite cause
37.  charitable organizations
38.  recycling
39.  upcycling
40.  flea market finds

41.  your favorite style of decor
42.  different styles of decor
43.  saving money
44.  saving your sanity
45.  saving the planet

46.  favorite scripture verses
47.  favorite scripture passages
48.  ways your church/concregation ROCKS
49.  ways your church/congregation could improve
50.  favorite bloggers

51.  favorite authors
52.  interviews with bloggers
53.  interviews with authors
54.  ways to monetize your blog
55.  DIY cleaners

56.  DIY beauty treatments
57.  favorite mani-pedi's
58.  doodle art
59.  knitting projects
60.  crochet projecgts

61.  quilting projects
62.  follow one project through the month
63.  favorite blog posts
64.  US Presidents
65.  world leaders

66.  your own religionn
67.  other religions
68.  history of your country
69.  airplanes
70.  methods of transportation

71.  famous mothers
72.  famous fathers
73.  famous children
74.  famous animals
75.  entrepreneurs

76.  potato chip flavors
77.  movie genres
78.  works of art
79.  modern art
80.  performing arts

81.  favorite actors
82.  favorite actresses
83.  greek mythology
84.  roman mythology
85.  other mythology

86.  cooking styles
87.  desserts
88.  books you'd like to 'see'
89.  books you'd like to read
90.  books you have read

91.  favorite quotes
92.  process of old chicken coop renovation
93.  language lessons
94.  flags of different countries
95.  flag etiquette, history, making, etc

96.  things you'd like to change
97.  things you hope don't change
98.  technological innovations
99.  quilt designs
100.  favorite websites

See?  They don't all have to be gems.  Some of them may be the same.  It's all good.  It's given me many ideas from which to choose.

How about you?  Has this list given you any ideas to write about?  Please join me at one or both above links and let's share!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Creative Thinking Challenge #25


I am linking both to Inspire Me Monday (a weekly link-up) at Create With Joy, because it's one of my favorite blogs ever, and to The Creative Thinking Challenge (a bi-monthly link-up) at Figuring Out How the Pieces Fit because that's where I found the idea for this post.  I'm joining Inspire! at A Cat-Like Curiosity for the first time today.

10 Creative Uses for Staplers

1.  Paperweight.

2.  Door stop.

3.  A steeplechase obstacle for a child's small animal figurines.

4.  Tool to retrieve small items from under your couch when they're just a little too far for you to reach on your own.

5.  Weight to hold down tarp over cut and stacked firewood.

6.  Dog toy.

7.  An inner core for a clay figurine.

8.  A projectile in miniature office accessory golf.

9.  Tongs for cooking or barbecuing.

10.  Oddly-shaped stamp for paper crafting.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Cinnapple Meringue Pudding

Lady Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge

I'm calling my submission to the Behind the Curtain's Dessert Challenge:

Cinnapple Meringue Pudding

This is an adaptation based on a recipe for Lemon Meringue Pudding by Mary Pitts found on page 219 of The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery.

So, without further ado, here is "my recipe":

2 c bread crumbs

4 c milk

1/2 c butter

1 c sugar

4 eggs, separated

1/2  c apple cider

3 T. confectioners sugar


Soak bread crumbs in milk.  (I used biscuits and would suggest either that or bread with some body to it.)

Cream butter and sugar.  Add beaten egg yolks and apple cider.

Mix with bread crumbs.

Pour into a baking dish.  (I used a 13x9 pan, but am thinking of using individual ramekins next time).  Bake in a 350 F for 45 minutes, or until firm.

Cover with a meringue made from the egg whites, beaten with the confectioners sugar and cinnamon.  Return to the oven and brown the meringue lightly (about 10 minutes).

Serve and enjoy.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Edge of Night

We live out in the country.  Some might say in the middle of nowhere.  We can hear (but not see) our neighbors' houses in the daytime.  But night is something else altogether.
At night, we can just see our northern next-door neighbor's security light as a pinprick through the trees.  There's another light across the field that I would swear came from my FIL's (father-in-law's) place, but Chris says they don't have a security light.  Maybe it's aliens.  (j/k)
I've sat out many a night on the porch (a carport on the side of the house, really) and looked around while the dogs are getting in some fun and exercise.  Our security light does a very good job on the near side of the house.  It covers the part of the yard that is mowed regularly.
Outside of its reach, however, it is like someone dropped down a black velvet curtain around our yard.  With the exception of the aforementioned lights, unless the moon is full, the barn and field are shrouded in black.  It is like what people thought of the world before sailors of old started setting out to cross the Atlantic Ocean.  If I didn't know otherwise, I would not be able to swear that anything existed beyond where the light shines.
It reminds me of our recent trip to Mammoth Cave (in western Kentucky).  At one point, they turned off the lights (with a fair warning), and you could not see your hand in front of your face.  Most of the time, when I wasn't gasping for breath from walking up and down 500+ steps, the scenery was spectacular.
Here is one of my favorite photos (of the 98 shots Chris took) from the trip.  I call it "Cave Ninjas":
The light, or absence thereof, did not change what was close by, just our perception of it.
Do you remember a time when your senses told you one thing, but you knew otherwise?

Monday, September 2, 2013

3 Cut Gifts

Cut flowers

I was in a play in high school called Lazarus Laughed.  It was about...(drum roll please)...Lazarus in the Bible.  One of my characters was Lazarus's mother, who was killed by Roman soldiers.  During one of the rehearsals, my Roman soldier missed the spot between my arm and my body and stuck me in my side.  To add to that, my father passed away at the age of 47 during the weeks of rehearsal.  On opening night, I got some anonymous flowers.  Whether it was from the son of a family friend, who was playing Caligula, or from the dude that "got me", I'll never know.  But they were so appreciated, then and now.  (And, in case you were wondering, I did a FABULOUS "death" in that particular rehearsal. *lol*)


My family and I went to a local community help fair a couple of year ago at a nearby church.  One of the features was a free haircut.  We were able to get both the boys hair cut and my husband as no cost, which was incredibly important at that time.  I will always be grateful to those two barbers who took care of "my boys".

Fresh-mown grass

There's just something about the smell of fresh-mown grass.  It practically shouts summer and easy living.  (Granted, I might not feel that way if I were the one doing the mowing...)