Growing Home Again

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Never Clean Your Fridge

Mid way through the holiday season I had enough. My house, my barn, my life was too cluttered. Lots of excellent, very desirable activities and things filled my world and I was suffocating underneath them all. Truth be told, my husband and children were too. My husband admitted to it and my boys, well, their words told me they could never have enough toys but the constant chaos and mess told me something entirely different. I made a decision, once the rush of the holidays was over I was going to start cleaning out the clutter.

Personally, I was over extended. Multiple classes for this and that. Too many side projects. Something had to give. I gracefully backed out of one of my key time hogs. The others I need to slowly back out of or risk leaving others in a lurch. One down, 5 or 6 more to go! Did I mention we’re growing the farm this spring?

Domestically, we are drowning in stuff. I’m not saying we should be on a TV special with stacks of newspapers everywhere and paths from the door to the bed but – we have too much stuff! The house is always a mess and no amount of tidying makes it go away.
My goal for the winter season is to tackle 2 or 3 rooms a week. Each session includes removing one bag of garbage, one bag of donations, and general tidying. The first room I tackled was my kitchen. I uncovered around 200 baby food jars that I’m sure had a great purpose waiting for them down the line – but to what end? Do I need 200, two-ounce and 4-ounce jars? Into the garbage bag. Before anyone freaks out, that was actually the glass recycling container. An hour later half of the lower cabinets in my kitchen were no longer death traps. Nothing would fall out when I opened the door. One bag was filled with garbage, plus the recyclables. Another bag full of donated goods – who needs 3 hand mixers? A third bag was labeled for my son’s daycare.

Next, I tackled the fridge. I might have found a few zucchinis that were on their way to evolving to a higher level of being in the back of the crisper. There was also some generic, conventional American cheese in wrappers that had actually started to mold. I didn’t think this was possible but with enough time – who knows what can happen?!?! After 30 minutes my fridge was no longer a toxic cesspool and would pass a health board check. Popped a couple of beers into the fridge for after dinner and offridgef to farm chores I went.
Weird thing was – at dinner, the beers were cool but not cold. I chalked it up to my fridge being opened too long. 30 minutes in the freezer and problem solved! Ice cold beer. Then the next morning, I noticed my ice cubes were a bit slippery. Anyone else picking up on the problem? I wasn’t yet. Entirely oblivious. It struck me nearly a fully day later while making dinner that my fridge wasn’t exactly cold, not even cool. It’s official – my fridge died from the shock of being cleaned! For the next few days, Mother Nature became our freezer and refrigerator. She did a great job.

Yesterday morning some nice men came over, hauled out the old unit and I can proudly say, for the first time in my life, I own a brand new sparkling fridge. On the homestead, we don’t buy a lot of brand new sparkling things but my child like grown up self – is very happy with her pretty new appliance!


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Best Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving is here, so our minds have turned
To what time has taught us, to what we’ve learned:
We often focus all our thought
On shiny things we’ve shopped and bought.
We take our pleasure in material things,
Forgetting the pleasure that friendship brings.
If a lot of our stuff just vanished today,
We’d see the foundation of each happy day
Is special relationships, constant and true,
And that’s when our thoughts go directly to you.
We wish you a Thanksgiving you’ll never forget,
Full of love and joy—your best one yet!

By Joanna Fuchs

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Jalapeno Popper Dip

Several years ago I brought two dips to my friend’s house for Thanksgiving – Artichoke and Jalapeno Popper. In my hurriedness, I accidentally doubled the Jalapeno P0pper dip. The reviews on the Artichoke dip were wonderful. It was appreciated. The emptiness of the double order of Jalapeno Popper dip bowl was defining. It’s been requested every since. And without further ado…

Jalapeno Popper Dip


  • 8oz cream cheese at room temp
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar – divided
  • 1 cup shredded or grated parmesan – divided
  • 4 – 8oz pickled jalapenos – chopped
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 large clove garlic – minced
  • Olive Oil

Heat an oven safe skillet over medium heat and sauté the minced garlic for a few minutes. Don’t let it burn! Remove from heat and scoop garlic and pan drippings into another bowl or plate. To the heated pan add the cream cheese, mayo, 3/4 cup cheddar, 3/4 cup parmesan and chopped jalapenos. Sprinkle garlic on top of the cheese mixture and stir well. If you don’t remove the garlic I’ve found that it doesn’t distribute evenly and tends to burn near the bottom of the pan while in the oven.

In a separate bowl mix the remaining cheese and panko bread crumbs and top the cheese mixture.

Pop into a 350-degree oven for 30 to 45 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling.

Remove from oven and reduce the urge to dive right in. It’s molten lava at this point in time. Let cool for 30 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, French bread, etc…


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Deep Peace

Deep peace I breathe into you,
O weariness, here:
O ache, here!
Deep peace, a soft white dove to You;
Deep peace, a quiet rain to you;
Deep peace, an ebbing wave to you!
Deep peace, red wind of the east from you;
Deep peace, grey wind of the west to You;
Deep peace, dark wind of the north from you;
Deep peace, blue wind of the south to you!
Deep peace, pure red of the flame to you;
Deep peace, pure white of the moon to you;
Deep peace, pure green of the grass to you;
Deep peace, pure brown of the earth to you;
Deep peace, pure grey of the dew to you,
Deep peace, pure blue of the sky to you!
Deep peace of the running wave to you,
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the sleeping stones to you!
Deep peace of the Yellow Shepherd to you,
Deep peace of the Wandering Shepherdess to you,
Deep peace of the Flock of Stars to you,
Deep peace from the Son of Peace to you,
Deep peace from the heart of Mary to you,
And from Briget of the Mantle
Deep peace, deep peace!
And with the kindness too of the Haughty Father
In the name of the Three who are One,
And by the will of the King of the Elements,
Peace! Peace!

From The Dominion of Dreams Under a Dark Star by Fiona Macleod (1895)