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Not Quite Eden

Flo as a Toddler-  RIP

About a month ago I was sitting in my backyard in the morning sunshine.  The veggie garden was flourishing,  the flowers were a riot of color, mostly purple,  the hens were laying well and a nice assortment of biblical birds (doves and sparrows, mostly) were visiting the feeders.  Mrs. Rabbit and the Farm Dog seemed to have made peace and things seemed just about perfect-  Edenic,  in fact.

But I soon realized that it’s not time for Eden yet on this earth.  The first clue was an invasion of gophers.  One by one,  my vegetables began to disappear:  A whole row of onions,  an entire patch of lettuce,  my entire zucchini crop as well as the cilantro and chard.   The corn,  green beans, tomatoes and most of the pumpkins are still unmolested but I am not too hopeful.  Every morning I go out to let the hens out of their coop and survey the latest predation.   The gophers chew the roots off at ground level,  leaving a wilted plant that will soon disappear down the gopher hole.  Very sad.   I have replanted everything in pots on the patio.

Then two of my hens fell sick.   Flo died but the other ailing hen-  my favorite Rhonda-  looked to be at death’s door for a week but thanks to many answered prayers she has recovered.   I had suspected Flo was poisoned by nibbling foxglove but I thought she was getting better,  but nope.  Rhonda looked to be next but I found some remedies on the Internet and I think she’s ok now. She has always been a little lop-sided and I guess she’s a special-needs hen.

So,  it’s not Eden,  no matter how much love, affection and attention I put into my garden and my animals.  Things still go very very wrong.

Genesis 3:18  “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you…”


Years ago, when all five children lived at home,  I used to do what is called Once-A-Month Cooking.  It was very popular amongst us homeschooling moms.  I remember the publisher of Gentle Spirit magazine  used to print menus and recipes and I could hardly wait for my issue to come in the mail.  The idea is to do all your cooking one day out of the month- a big glorious messy exhausting cooking day- and to freeze the meals.   The plan wasn’t to cook 30 individual recipes but to cook five or six recipes, in large quantities,  like six pans of lasagna,  six freezer bags of chicken and rice casserole,  six pizzas,  etc.   I used to make up the menu,  collect my recipes,  make a shopping list and then, the day before the cooking day,  we’d go to Costco and buy the ingredients which would (in those days) include five or six chickens,  ten pounds of hamburger,  five pounds of cheese,  etc.  Shopping day was a lot of fun!   I’d bake the chickens that night and soak the beans.  On cooking day,  I would steadily work my way through all the recipes, stopping only to wash some pots and pans, until everything was stowed in the small chest freezer in the garage.  What a sense of accomplishment!   It was economical and efficient.  All I had to do for the rest of the month was thaw a meal and heat it up, maybe cook some fresh veggies and prepare a salad.  The meals were good and the family liked them.  Later on I added a separate baking day when I baked bread,  muffins and desserts.

As the kids grew up and left home I gradually abandoned Once-A-Month Cooking.  It was determined that the old chest freezer was an energy hog so we (sadly, on my part) took it to the dump.   Now that it’s just Eddie and me,  I realized that our refrigerator’s freezer was big enough for a month of our meals so I embarked on another happy day of cooking.  Eddie eats meat; I don’t.  I made veggie and meat versions of lasagna, stew,  chili beans and a stack of veggie burgers plus four bags of applesauce (from my neighbor’s trees) and six apple pies.  Also,  four loaves of WW bread and several varieties of quick bread.  (Not to mention a few containers of homemade dog food for Lilly.)  I did it on the spur of the moment and it wasn’t planned as well as it could have been.  I have more ambitious plans for next month!

I was thinking…. Now that Gentle Spirit is defunct, maybe I could post menus and recipes for the community,  especially veggie recipes.  Except I seldom use recipes….  Maybe just the menus, then.

How to Kick a FarmVille Addiction

Are you addicted to FarmVille? I’m not here to tell you whether you are or not;  only you can answer that question.   Not everyone who plays FV is addicted, but I know that I was. Spending hours on the game contradicted everything I believe in.  Once the realization sank in,  I wanted to quit but the nature of addiction being what it is,  I had a very difficult time.  But I finally managed it, and here’s a simple plan that might help you, if you too would like to give up this colossal time-waster.

FarmVille is a load of fun; that’s why we play it.  As long as it continues to be fun we will continue to play it.  The secret of kicking the addiction is to increasingly make FV less fun and to eventually make playing the game so burdensome that you come to hate it.

Follow these steps:

1.  Zynga  is continually thinking up new themes  and sub-games to entice  you to keep playing.   Don’t start up any new horse barns or French maisons or whatever New Thing Zynga has devised.   You can set your FB page to hide all FV messages.  Do it!

2.  While you’re at it,  unfriend all the FB people that you only befriended to be FV neighbors.

3.   Sell off all the animals and other items that require daily tending.    Sell all your trees, too.

4.  Sell or delete all the little stuff- the wheelbarrows,  the bird feeders,  the benches,  etc.

5. Sell or delete all the buildings.  Delete your Crop Mastery Signs.  (This will be hard because they can’t be replaced.)

6.  Now,  plow up every available inch of ground.   You may have to delete some plots to make room for all the perfectly orderly rows of plowed plots.   You want wall-to-wall plots with no room for anything else.

7.   Plant the whole thing with RASPBERRIES.   In two hours, you will have to harvest the whole field and you will be  bored out of your mind.

8.  If any joy remains,  plant the field over again with more raspberries.  You will have wasted hours plowing, planting and harvesting raspberries.     Continue planting and harvesting raspberries until you can’t stand it anymore.

9.  After a few days of raspberry therapy,  plant the whole field with a 4-day crop like yellow melon.   After all those raspberries you will be relieved not to have to mess with FV for the next four to eight days.

9.   Harvest the melons.  At these point,  I suspect you will be sick and tired of FV.  If not,  plant another field of yellow melons and come back next week.

10.  By now you are  ready to uninstall FarmVille.  Do it.  You will be relieved,  trust me.  If you think you might be tempted to reinstall FV,   take your FV shovel and delete all the plots till all that’s left is green grass.  Get rid of your money by buying and immediately deleting big-ticket items like houses, etc.  Do this till you have no money left,  then uninstall FV.  That way, if you are tempted to reinstall it,  you won’t have any money left to play with.

11.  Block FV.   By doing this, you won’t be able to see FV on other people’s FB pages.

12.  Congratulations!  I suggest you find a wholesome,  non computer-oriented hobby.  Gardening, knitting,  cooking, hiking, reading… You know, all the stuff you used to do before FV. Whatever you do,  don’t start playing a new computer game.

Good luck and God bless!

Edited to add:  Someone reminded me of FV tractors and harvesters!  I completely forgot about them.   Since the rationale of my cure is to  make  the game so tedious that you would rather eat glass than play another minute,  you have to get rid of the farm equipment first thing.

Home-baked Bread


Wedding Pictures (Crowning)


Wedding3The crowning

With our good friend (and my goddaughter) Grete


With Father Thaddaeus

Overwhelmed with Good Things

wedding crowns There is a lot going on this week and all of it’s good.

Thursday was my husband’s birthday. We celebrated with breakfast at his favorite breakfast cafe and had his traditional apple pancake. Afterwards, we went to Salinas in search of a Guayabera. This is an elegant shirt worn by Hispanic gentlemen to weddings and parties. We found the perfect shirt in JC Penneys, of all places. He looks great in it! That afternoon I attempted to make a rather ambitious lemon cake recipe. It was a disaster but tasted good. R. and C. came over to eat spaghetti and to help celebrate and all agreed that the cake tasted a lot better than it looked.

And the reason Eddie needs a nice Guayabera (AKA “The Mexican Wedding Shirt”) is because Eddie and I are having an Orthodox wedding this Sunday! We were married 35 years ago in a house trailer by a retired Methodist minister. We stood before his artificial fireplace and the “wedding” was interrupted by the phone ringing. It was probably the worst “wedding” I’ve ever attended. But even though the “wedding” was terrible, the marriage has been great.

But this Sunday we are having a “crowning.” This will be a short long service Sunday afternoon, not a full-on wedding ceremony. I am so happy about this! We bought nice silver rings that say “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me” engraved on them, and just today I finished making our crowns. I am so happy to have the chance to have a real church wedding!

So this Sunday, we will attend Liturgy, then go home with some good friends for brunch, then return to the Church at 2:00 for the crowning. After that there will be ice cream and cake on the patio. And after THAT we need to get home to celebrate our granddaughter’s third birthday. I have prepared a modest pinata for her in the shape of a jelly fish. I hope she likes it! I need to bake a cake for her, too!

She’ll be spending the night. Monday evening we are invited to the home of some good friends and I must remember to bring Spanish rice.

There’s a lot going on but as you can see, it’s all good.

Especially the crowning. 🙂

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