Sunday, May 30, 2010

Around My Folks' Farm

Warning: if you wear glasses, you'll sure need them for this post. The pictures are from my cell phone.

My parents live on a 20 acre farm in Sutter County, California. The farm is situated near the base of the Sutter Buttes, reportedly the smallest mountain range in the world - at least that's our claim to fame. Winter (well, we don't really have one) and spring, they are green and lush. In summer, they turn brown, or golden as my daughter says, due to our lack of rain. This year, we had an unusually late spring. A couple of weeks ago, I went out to visit the folks, and got these pictures on my cell phone. Sorry for the poor quality!

Originally, the Maidu Indians called the Buttes Histum Yani. Follow this link - for more information - and better pictures.

When I was growing up, we were told that the stone fences in the Buttes were built by Chinese laborers, but archiologist, historians, and experts in Chinese fence building dispute that fact. The fences were actually built by day laborers, possibly miners looking for work during the winter months when the Sierras were snowed in.
You can't really tell from the above pictures, but the Buttes are covered with hardy oak trees, which were heavily timbered in the mid to late 19th century. Intensive ranching didn't help, either. Seems they're now making a comeback.

One cool historical fact: John C. Fremont actually camped for a few days somewhere in the Mexican-owned Buttes a couple of years prior the US takeover of California. As kids, we used to bike out to a monument commemorating his visit.

For me, the Buttes are home.

A New Blessing

While all of Norway was celebrating their Constitution Day, we welcomed a new addition to our family. I have no idea what that has to do with anything other than it just sounds cool and international to write!

Grace Isabelle was born in the early morning hours of May 17th to my eldest daughter, Andrea, and her husband, Brian. I'm happy to report that, after a somewhat problematic preganancy, both mom and baby are fine.

Cousins Reid and Sydney, and Aunt Julianne gave Hannah advise on joining the sibling club.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

More On Shoes

While John recuperates from foot surgery, I found some more shoes which might fill in for the previously mentioned pair.
First, we have Swedish Hasbeens I'm in love!

I found these shoes at:

I feel them calling to me - from Sweden...yet again! What is it about Swedish shoes?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Spring Shoe Fever

Perhaps I have Spring Fever, or perhaps, as my style guru and fashion advisor/daughter Julianne tells me frequently, I have really odd taste. I'm in love with a pair of shoes. I first saw the shoes in a blog I follow - Ulrika from Sweden. The shoes are made by Knulp. Problem - they're from Sweden, and I can't find them anywhere in the US. Darn it! The above picture is taken by Ulrika, and I assume those are her legs, too.
Take a look at her blog. Among other things, she's into pottery, retro fashion, pictures of Sweden, and stories of her family - I think. As I've stated before, I have no real idea of what she's writing as I don't speak Swedish, but I believe she just may be my Swedish alter ego.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Day Trips in Northern California

Spring is the best time to visit Table (Top) Mountain, just outside of Oroville, CA. Beginning with my Great-Granddad England, my grandchildren will make the sixth generation of visitors from our family. From the valley, the mountains look like they have been sheared off. When we were little, my mom said that Paul Bunyon ate there, and I believed her!

The name: I grew up calling it "Table Top Mountain, " but I've lately heard it called just plane "Table Mountain" - a crime to the memory of Paul Bunyon!
We go for the wild flowers, the superb kite flying, and the spectacular view of the valley.

Technically, the field is owned by a rancher (so shush!), and another area, just down the road, is set aside for picnickers. However, the view is not that great, the wind isn't as strong, and there are a whole lot more people, with weddings and such, at the other place.

We, like countless of others, break the law and sneak through the fence, but we always tidy up after ourselves.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Stimulating Conversation

My kids know I love to talk about current events, so Saturday night, after a wonderful Mothers Day Barbecue, they indulged me. The topic: Arizona and illegal immigration. A lot of facts and figures were thrown around, so I thought I'd try to do a little research.


With health care and financial reforms off the radar for a while, I guarantee immigration will become the next BIG issue in the upcoming elections as it was in Great Britain. What do I honestly think? It is a really tough, tough situation! Many good friends came into this county illegally. Heck, I have ancestors who did the same in Texas and during the gold rush when Mexico owned parts of the present-day US. The reasons they come are mostly economic, and times are rough in Mexico. They come thinking this is their only chance to make a better life. However, it would be impractical to open the borders completely. The solution: I have no idea, but I don't like Arizona's solution, that's for sure. Apparently The Governator agrees with me.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Meatless Monday - Succotash

(Photo from

I'm a facebook fan of Paul McCartney, so when I saw this link, naturally, I had to follow it:
I'm not advocating a strict vegetarian lifestyle, but we do eat TOO MUCH MEAT in the US. It's bad for us, and bad for the environment! My only issue with this website is that the recipes use ingredients I don't often or ever buy, so I've included a succotash recipe which uses ingredients found at any grocery store, and doesn't take much time to prepare. There are many similar recipes online:

FYI: "Succotash" comes from "Misickquataosh, " a Native American name for a dish of corn and kidney beans cooked in bear grease. I thinks we can safely omit the bear grease.*

Years ago, my son brought this cookbook with a succotash recipe home from Williamsburg, VA. I am happy to see that it is still in print:

Christiana Campbell's Tavern Bean and Corn Succotash*
  • 2 C fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1/4 C (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, cut into tiny dice
  • 2 C canned hominy, drained
  • 1/2 C fresh or frozen baby lima beans
  • 1/2 C fresh or frozen peas
  • 1/2 C canned black beans
  • 1/2 C canned kidney beans
  • 1/2 C canned garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • salt and pepper to taste
Place corn in a medium saucepan, Add 1 T water and cook over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the hominy and cook 5 minutes longer. Add the lima beans, peas, black beans, kidney beans, and garbanzo beans. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and heat over medium-low hear for about 5 minutes.

You can experiment with this recipe, and use locally grown (always the best option!) ingredients.

It would be fun to exchange real-life recipes which don't use meat. Have a great Meatless Monday!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Are Establishment Republicans Turning Against Fox? -

This past week, I had a friend give me the rundown on all things evil in our government, recounting specific undocumented and unsupported accusation against our current administration. I really, REALLY try to stay impartial - keep my mouth shut - as I have friends and family, who I greatly respect, from differing political parties. The troubling thing for me about this whole conversation was that she gets her information from one commentator featured on Fox Network. I was equally alarmed last year to hear from one of my brightest high school students that Fox News is the ONLY news her family ever watches. I've included the following article for consideration as it states a problem which should concern everyone who cares about the trend in reporting/commentating the news. I believe it is best to get news and current events from several sources and weigh each according to cited evidence and references. I am wary of bias and, well,... sponsoring interests. Fox News makes the Big Bucks by doing just what it does, and we should all be wary of its contents! Are Establishment Republicans Turning Against Fox? -