Make It Easy on the Cook

chicken dinner

There is a magical recipe to bake a chicken.  Do you know what’s inside the chicken in this photo courtesy of PhotoPin?  If it’s one of mine, the secret ingredient would be half of a lemon inside a bird that’s been touched well with butter and olive oil.

Place your 4 to 6 pound chicken at room temperature in a preheated oven at 425 degrees placed upon a rack of some sort.  Cook one hour and 15 minutes.  Sprinkle a little salt and lemon juice over it.  Slice and enjoy the moistest chicken ever.

Here’s a photo of neighbor Sam Fisher who raises organic chickens.Sam Fisher

Twice a year Sam rents the conservation service’s chicken plucker machine and we take a couple of our chickens over to be stripped of feathers and interiors.Chicken Plucker (2)

There are many types of chickens to raise: for eggs or for meat.  Once there was a Rhode Island Red at the Lazy Bee.  She liked to jump the enclosure and take the flock with her.  Oh, my, she even brought the flock up to enjoy the front deck and had caused a lot of havoc before that digging up flower beds.  She wouldn’t be caught and taken to safety.  We finally found her red feathers scattered one day.  Moral of this story: if you’re a chicken, you’re best reward to be in a baking pot in an oven so you’ll look just like this.






Review: U.S. Passport Agency

us passport

If you are a U.S. citizen and have a passport but don’t have it anymore for some reason, there’s deep feeling of loss. (Thanks PhotoPin for the photo).

We needed to renew our passports and our small passport cards for going to Canada.  This is done on a form obtained at a U.S. post office or at an  official passport location.  We each filled out the form and took it to the Stevens County Clerk’s office, an official passport office, to be sure we filled them out correctly.

Instructions said to include passport and or card, so Bud chose to send his passport card and I put my check within my U.S.  big passport in the form.  We placed these in a Priority Mail packet at the Post Office on Wednesday and sent them off to the address for the expediting agency’s office.  There is different address for those wishing regular service.

In two days we heard from the folks at the expediting office by e-mail and a few days later by letter.  There was a phone number to call.  Soon we heard the caring voice of Mary and later of another gentleman saying that we  needed to forward both the big passport and the card.  So, we needed to send back their letter along with the missing card or passport.

“We’ll do everything possible so you can go to St. Andrews Church Sunday.  You can overnight it.”

We breathed a sigh of relief.  Our passports were in good hands.  The large passports would arrive first.  “We print those here at this office.  The cards are printed in bulk at another location.”

We chose to use Priority Mail, but could over-night from the Post Office for $24.70, but had to have it to them too early to make that deadline.  For twice that amount, over night service was available via UPS.  One agency gentleman even placed a return call telling us that the U.S. passport agency in Seattle could issue ours the next day, but we live 350 miles away so that wasn’t an option.  The fact that he cared enough meant a lot.

The freedom and power of having a U.S. passport was in the hands of the unknown, who we quickly learned take time to give true quality service.  Personnel at the U.S. Passport agency receive five-stars for superior service.

Adrift without a passport is a lonely place to be.

Call of the Open Road

Sarah and her Harley

A motorcycle often says a lot about who you are and the way you choose to live.

Sarah Groves pictured in Colville, WA. with her new Harley, along with son Vince Budinger, Alaska airline captain, are showing the world that they live freely and with a spirit of adventure.  However, no photo of Vince was available.

Vince rides his back and forth between home and the Seattle airport.  Sarah and her husband’s first trip in their new Harleys was to Banff, Canada.  Here she is arriving for a Colville Rotary meeting.

Riding a motorcycle claims the open road.  Herein lies the secret of living life to its fullest.  You don’t know what lies ahead, but you keep riding, exploring, going places in most exciting way.

Happy trails for these warriors of the road.  Be safe on the road.  Especially look out for wildlife and unseeing drivers, tractors, stray cows and horses.

A Lazy Day

3651 Shady Garden Platform

A day of leisure is like a mini-sabbatical.  Time slows down in my shady garden, pictured above.  A few hours of not doing – no achieving or pursuing anything brings cool breezes in the garden.  Then after a swing or two in the hammock, I walk down a forested lane.

The day glowed with the pleasure of tying a new recipe to make an old comfort food.  I walked along thinking it was delightful to realize that nothing felt important to do or to be done.  So I ignored the pine cones the squirrels plummet from the trees collecting on the shady garden floor and leave them to pick up another day.  And gave no thought to plotting The Ladies of the Ti-Pi.

It was summer’s end.  A little fire in the old cook stove in the kitchen seemed a good idea.  With the forest wild fires that had been blazing all up and down the Pacific Coast and up into Canada now mostly under control, a fire no longer meant fear but the joy of a little warmth.

It’s an okay day to think of fire being enjoyable, especially after the smoke and the destruction it’s left for so many people now without homes, or, those tired bodies of the men and women who have fought them.

It’s a lazy day – a ride on a slide – into the pleasures- of non doing.

A Different Twist to An Old Favorite

Toasted Cheese Sandwich

(Photopin provides this delicious photo of my old favorite, the toasted cheese sandwich.)

When the cat and I have the house to ourselves, I like a bowl of tomato soup right from the can and a toasted cheese sandwich.

For crunch for the bread slice that will fit on the frying pan, I added mayonnaise mixed with three large tablespoons of softened butter as I held each bread piece in my hand.  Upon one side of the sandwich to be, I placed a slice and one half of American cheese,  and placed it lovingly in the fry pan.  Then, to the second piece of bread, I added shredded cheddar cheese, and set it on top of the other piece in the pan.

A slice of lettuce and slices of the reddest Beef Stake tomato just picked from the garden, plus a new pulled carrot, the enriched sandwich was soon ready to place on a plate.

Next time, I might add a little raspberry jam to the mix and see what happens to the taste.

Meanwhile, this old favorite with a crunchy twist was just right in all ways for a lazy day.

New Plan for Building Wall Between U.S. Mexico

woman thinking

A new plan to build the wall between the U.S. and Mexico would force the nations contributing illegal aliens to care for their own citizens.

Andy Biggs, a U.S. representative from Arizona, has introduced a bill that would fund the final stages of building a secure wall between the U.S. it’s other nations to the south.  It’s called The Fund and Complete the Border Wall Act.  It would fine nations $2,000 for each of their citizens crossing into the United States illegally.

More than four hundred thousand are caught each year.  The proposed sum of eight hundred million dollars per year expected toward finishing the wall would be cut from a country’s foreign aid.  Also, as part of the bill, fees would be deducted from those in the U.S. wiring money to other countries (research shows that the second largest portion of the Mexican economy is from this), and raise fees for tourist 1-94 forms from six to twenty-five dollars.

Yes, we Americans do pay for the medical care and education of the desperate humans once they find themselves here in the U.S.  In the movie, Sin Numbre, the story of a father and his two young adult children who save up enough money to leave the southern part of Mexico shows how they travel to the border on the top of a train with hundreds of others.  That a church en route provides showers, food and clothing along their route in Mexico.

They put their lives at risk.  If I were hungry in my country, if I were feeling no hope or prospect of a better life, I’d do the same.

In a few years the U.S. must offer safer ways to screen and allow hard-working, non-violent immigrants to to work in the U.S. and to have a path for them to become a citizen if they desire.

As the wave of baby-boomers grows older, we’re going to require more caregivers and agriculture workers, as will other nations, who have elder populations, and the U.S. will finally come up with a plan to legally import these workers so desperately needed.


Unforgettable Sweet Roll

jeffrey Schrock Bread Box Chewelah 2018

Scandinavians like me LOVE our sweet rolls.  I’ve looked far and wide for the perfect sticky bun and finally found it.

It’s shaped like a ten-inch round pie.  There’s a rich deep bronze topping cluttered with just the right amount of half-sized walnut pies placed over half-inch pastry.

Would it taste as good as it looked?  Indeed, the texture of the base qualified it as having the smoothest savory.  Soft, but sturdy, with a subtle bread flavor, enhanced by the buttery caramel sauce, a little sticky, maybe slightly gooey, the walnuts spaced and so flavorful in their own right over the top.

The discovery came at the Colville Farmer’s Market on a recent Saturday morning at the Bread Box vendor.  “To find us,” said Jeffery Shrock who owns the store with his wife Carolyn, “Go right at the only stop light.  We’re just over the tracks on your left.”

A few days later, I had a chance to travel to the Bread Box enroute to Spokane and discovered a wide assortment of baked treasures: cookies of many varieties, breads, and other Danish pastries in this little cottage store that has an old-world atmosphere.

Several of his Mennonite friends help out.  In the summer, the ladies are a delight to behold in their long, fresh-looking fabric long dresses and dainty white caps as they assist customers.

Later, I went back for more only to discover I’d arrived too late in the day.  Store hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.Best Sweet Roll Bread Box Chewelah 2018 Want to try a slice?