change of address



Guess what, lovelies? This little space of internet I call my own has actually become my own! After months of thinking about it, I bought a domain & moved over! From now on, you can get to this blog by simply typing– no “.wordpress” to worry about anymore! So update your links, subscriptions, and bookmarks, and I’ll see you on the flip side!

(Lots of exclamation marks – you think I could possibly be a little excited about this?)

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We will remember

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Today, as we are all painfully aware, marks the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

I was with Dad, taking a load somewhere, and we had stopped for breakfast at a truck stop near Jessup, MD. As I was dishing some scrambled eggs from the buffet onto my plate, I heard the two ladies attending the food bar saying something about a plane having just hit one of the twin towers. We asked her what she was talking about, and she repeated that she’d just seen the news that an airplane had crashed into the WTC. I think at that time most everyone thought it was an accident, but it quickly became apparent something really wasn’t right. Breakfast abandoned, Dad and I moved out to the main part of the truck stop to watch the TV screens in the lobby, along with everyone else in the building. There was mostly sickened silence as we all stood, watching what was happening in disbelief. It was hard to watch, and hard to not watch. Because Dad had his load to deliver, we had to get on the road, but we spent the rest of the day listening to the radio. We had made plans to drive around Washington DC, as I’d never seen the city, but of course we had to choose another route. Our thoughts were captivated, the whole day, by what we were hearing.

Back home, Mom and Ada were also spending the day listening to the radio. When Dad and I got home that night, we all sat in the living room, saying over and over “I just can’t believe it”, praying, thankful that we were still together, saddened and mourning for those families who were broken that day. Thankful for the brave members of FDNY, NYPD, and all of the other first responders who sacrificed much, some their all, to help and rescue those who were left, both in NYC and at the Pentagon. For those on the cleanup crews who worked for months and months after the attack to clean up the rubble. For the heroes and heroines on Flight 93 who gave their lives to save countless others.

Earlier this week while driving home from work, I heard a short audio montage, with clips from the audio broadcasts narrating what was happening that fateful morning being played in remembrance. When I first heard it, I gasped and jumped a little – it was so unexpected, the way it took me back. I think I am just starting to realize the full impact the events of that day had on my life, on the lives of my fellow citizens, my friends who have husbands, wives, other family members, or friends who have or are currently fighting this war on terror, and now, my own cousin who is going through basic training at Parris Island.

Tonight, ten years later, as I reflect and remember, as I hear and see the recaps of the events of that terrible day – tonight, finally, the tears come.

Never forget. Hold tightly to those you love. And God Bless America.

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just in case

…you are tired of all the rain (which really, i am not) than all you have to do is:


via we heart it

some lovely images to aid in your game of pretend:



 made with BHL Mosaic Maker with photos from some of my fave flickrers)

1. the beauty of sunday, 2. Beach Haven, 3. everyday is like sunday, 4. Untitled, 5. “My favorite time of day is just at dark when all thoughts of what must be done stop & small pools of light come alive on tired faces everywhere.”, 6. Hawaii Time

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Got my goat(s)

Allow me to introduce you to the two newest members of our animal family here at Mulberry Lane:


Eclair, aka Clair, Clairey, Clair Bear… she’s 2, and we’re milking her now.



Fiona, aka Onie, Fiony Baloney, and anything else that comes into our head ending “ony” 😛  She’s 5 months and so cute!


We’ve been thinking of getting some dairy goats for a few years now. Sometime last year, we found a lady fairly close to us who’s been raising dairy goats (Alpines) for 20 years or so, so we stopped in and visited her farm (they sell milk and cheese, so they’re used to having people just drop in.) We talked to her and asked questions, tried some milk, and bought some cheese… and then we didn’t really act upon anything until last month.


When we decided that we really wanted to make this commitment, we called the lady and asked if she was selling any at this time, and if so could we come for another visit because we were really interested in it. She said she’d be glad to have us come – so we went there one evening and spent close to three hours with her asking questions and being shown the ropes. We watched her milk the last group (she’s milking about 50 does right now – 8 at a time with an automatic set up), helped her give the kids their bottles, etc. We left with a commitment to come back and buy a freshened doe that we could milk now, and a doeling to be bred January 2012, along with a wealth of information and glad that we had found someone so willing to help us and answer questions.

We spent the next week and a half getting things ready – adding an extra wire to the bottom of our existing high-tensile fence, cleaning out one of the old horse stalls to use as a milking room, building a milking stand, building a crate that Dad could put on his trailer so we could haul the goats home, gathering and ordering all our supplies, and doing lots of reading and searching to be as prepared as possible.

August 4th marked the exciting day -time to go choose and bring home our girls. We chose a black 2yo doe and a fawn colored, 5 mo. old doeling, with advise from the lady (henceforth referred to as C.) on which to choose. She showed us how to milk, since we were going to be hand-milking, how to trim hooves, answered some more questions and gave us some more advice, sent us home with some of the feed she was using to mix with what we were going to be using since they’re different. We’re so thankful that she was so knowledgeable and helpful… even after we pestered her with emails after bringing them home. 😀

And so began my life as a milkmaid. The first time milking on Friday morning was interesting – and sort of funny, with all four of us out in the barn at 5:30am and everyone watching me s-l-o-w-l-y squirt milk into the pail. It took awhile, but by 7am, the first quart of milk was chilling in the fridge. Everything goes much faster and more smoothly now. I take the morning milking, and Ada does it in the afternoon.

Here’s how we do things:


1. Sanitize all of the milking equipment that the milk is going to come in contact with. Since we don’t pasteurize, cleanliness is really important. There are two ways to do it – boil everything, or let it soak in hot bleach water for two minutes, then air dry for fifteen minutes so the bleach evaporates. We use the hot water/bleach method.


2. After the fifteen minutes are up, time to head to the barn. Here’s Clair, ready to come in for grain and milking. We scoop feed into her bucket and prepare the udder wash/teat dip. When everything is ready we let her in an up she goes on the milking stand and starts chowing down. Fiona stays outside and eats a bit of grain, too.


3. We wash her udder with clean paper towels and a solution of water, bleach, and Dawn dish liquid, then dry it with another paper towel.


4. The first six squirts of milk, three from each teat, go into what is called a strip cup. This is a stainless steel cup with a mesh screen on top, and it has a dual purpose – to check for mastitis, and sort of clean off any residual stuff from the udder wash and any nasties that might still remain. This milk just gets dumped down the drain – I tried giving it to Whisper, but he turned up his nose at it, snobby cat.


5. Time to start milking! Basically you close off the top of the teat with your thumb and forefinger to trap the milk in the teat, and then squeeze with your other fingers to squirt it into the pail. Repeat until the udder is completely empty, stopping to massage the udder when you are almost done so she lets down the rest of her milk.


6. When we’re finished milking, we put the lid on the pail to keep any dirt from getting in. We dip the teats in the same solution as the wash, release the headlock on the milk stand, and let her back out in the pasture. Of course we usually stay a few extra moments to pet/play with both of them, check their automatic waterer to make sure it isn’t dirty, and refill the hayrack if needed.


7. It’s best to get the milk strained and chilling as soon as possible for the best flavor and freshness, so we don’t linger too long. Once we get the milk into the house, it needs to be poured through a filter to strain out anything that may have fallen in. We have a strainer and disposable filters specifically for this and the strainer fits on top of a wide mouth mason jar. Since right now we are getting a quart of milk per milking, this works out perfectly. Once it’s all gone through the filter, the jar of milk goes in the back of the fridge, and the pail, strainer, and strip cup get washed with warm soapy water.

And that’s it!

So far, besides just using the milk, I’ve made whole milk ricotta, Chevre/goat cheese, Orange Sherbet (adaped from this recipe) and bread from the whey left over from cheese making. I think my next project will be yogurt, once I figure out the best way to incubate it.

And we are enjoying every aspect of this new adventure – the goats themselves make wonderful pets, and the milk is so good and healthy!


{P.S. I’m linking up to the Prairie Homestead Barn Hop}


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around here

IMG_4593  IMG_5343:: campfires complete with s’mores, hot dogs, and homemade ice cream

IMG_5245:: swimming

IMG_5175  IMG_5487:: baking some yummy treats

IMG_5584 :: harvesting and preserving produce from the garden :: making plenty of sun tea. a blend of green & mint is our fave, no need to sweeten


:: watermelon & cantaloupe, of course. standard summer fare

IMG_5533 :: the grill is getting plenty of use

IMG_5770IMG_5986 :: keeping an eye on the ever-changing, always beautiful sky

IMG_5801  IMG_5814:: loving the summer evening light, and capturing as much of it as possible


:: excitedly keeping watch over my heirloom tomatoes, who have their own special place by the back steps so they have less of a chance of getting infected with blight, etc. can’t wait until these baby tomatoes grow and ripen!


    :: having some fun playing with shaped bokeh

Ada (8 of 20)                              Ada (11 of 20)Ada (18 of 20) 

:: celebrating her 15 birthday


:: rejoicing over the rain we received yesterday. it made for an interesting foggy blue hue at twilight

100_4488:: preparing for the newest arrivals here at Mulberry Lane Farm – Alpine dairy goats. More on this later. The two we’ll be getting are older than these cute kids though.


:: just generally enjoying summer and living life.


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Let Freedom Ring!


My country, ’tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From every mountainside,
Let freedom ring!



My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.


Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees,
Sweet freedom’s song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

Our fathers’ God, to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing;
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King!

– Samuel F. Smith

*cinemagraph via Oh, Hello Friend via super-glue


I ❤ America! I am so thankful for my freedom, for those who gave their all to secure it, and for  our heroes and heroines who are doing their best to continue to preserve it. I am well aware that freedom does not come without a price, and I am truly grateful for those who were and are willing to pay that price – both our military members and those who love them and are waiting for them to come home.

Happy Birthday, USA!

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I have three unrelated things to talk about – ice cream, last days, and chickens.


:: The Ice Cream Story

So, last Sunday the C’s invited us and the G’s over for the afternoon, with the plan to make and enjoy some homemade vanilla ice cream with some delicious topping choices like strawberries, blueberries, and brownie crumbles. We hit a snag when we couldn’t find all the parts to one of the freezers – we had the inside tub, bucket, and top but not the dasher because it apparently broke last time it was used, so we tried our best to fit pieces from a few different freezers (the C’s have 3 or 4) to make one working whole that would hold all 6  quarts of mix. After finally cajoling the motor into turning the tub, we thought we had everything worked out – only to check it later and find that it wasn’t turning correctly, resulting in a frozen outer edge and a soupy middle. By this time, it was time to head to choir practice and evening services, so we decided that the G’s would run to our house to pick up out hand-crank churn and we’d try again after church.

In 2 1/2 hours, give or take, we were back at the C’s for round two of ice cream making – and ran into more trouble. The G’s had brought our 6 qt White Mountain freezer bucket, but accidentally grabbed the 4 qt inside tub. And we needed more ice. By this time we were starting to think that perhaps we weren’t supposed to have ice cream that day… but ice was gotten (by way of busting up a frozen gallon jug of water found after a run to Sheetz proved to be futile because they were sold out) and a Frisbee and a plastic lid stacked under the inside bucket provided just the right amount of height to connect everything together, and after twenty minutes of vigorous churning, the ice cream was (mostly) frozen and we all enjoyed it immensely. Personally I found the whole situation quite hilarious – I think everything that could have gone wrong did, and it was better to laugh than get frustrated, so I laughed.

At least last night’s making of strawberry ice cream after dinner went off without a hitch. 😀

:: Last Day


Friday was the last day of school, and so it was also my last day of work until September. It was terribly sad to leave the children – especially those 5th graders who won’t be coming back next year – and my workmates – I’ve grown to really love those kids, and the girls I work with have become good friends. I hope to be able to get together with some of them over the summer – baseball games, recitals, et cetera. Thankfully there is plenty to do here at home to keep me busy… I have a feeling the summer is going to fly by.

:: Chickens


Last Saturday, Dad went to pick up eight Rhode Island Red hens – yay for fresh eggs rich in omega-3 and all that good stuff! Not all eight of them are laying yet, as they are still pretty young, and the eggs are small right now, but that’s to be expected. Each of us got to “pick out” two hens to name. Dad named his “Brownie” and “Reddie” (so creative), Mom’s are Henna and Sienna, Ada’s are Jenny Wren and Doodle, and mine are Luna and Solis. Solis is lighter than all the rest, and Luna is the darkest one, hence their names. (Luna = moon and Solis = sun in Latin) Luna seems to be the worst-behaved, most backwards and obstinate hen of the bunch. While the rest fly up to the roost each night like they are supposed to (though Dad had to set them up there the first few nights), she insists on roosting in one of the nesting boxes or on top of the feeder. She stays outside when she’s supposed to come in, stays inside when she’s supposed to go out. She stands on top of the others’ backs.  They say chickens all have distinct personalities – and Luna certainly does – a feisty one. 😛 Doesn’t she look like she’s hatching an evil plan?

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surprisingly good




As everyone probably knows well by now, I take coffee seriously.

My first cup of the day is usually poured and consumed when I am still half asleep – part of the morning routine.


On the days when I work in the mornings, it’s poured into my travel cup while I watch, bleary-eyed in the dim light from the coffeepot clock, for the bubbles to rise to the top, screwing on the lid while heading out the door, taking one or two sips before securing the handle over the adjustment lever of the passenger seat, because the travel mug doesn’t fit in the cup holder. On those days, I usually rely on the Marketplace Morning Report* to keep me awake on the drive to work – a twelve minute wait until I can join my tea- and hot chocolate-drinking workmates and we all consume our hot beverage of choice. Sometimes we even give the two or three children who are dropped off that early in the morning a mug of hot chocolate, too. Quiet togetherness with sweet friends and children in that early morning hour is the redeeming quality of a 5:20 alarm bell.

*I can’t help thinking that there must be something wrong with me if I listen to an economic news report to keep myself awake.

Then, on days such as this, when I work the afternoon hours, I have more time and am more awake when I make my way to the coffee pot. Grabbing one of my favorite mugs from the cupboard, always avoiding the one that I reserve for tea, I take time to appreciate the aroma as the coffee splashes into the cup, perhaps pausing by the window to watch a bird hopping in the yard before sitting to enjoy my coffee and make my sometimes written on paper to-do list for the day.

But it’s the afternoon coffee that I really want to talk about. The three o’clock slump that signals it’s time for  my second, and last, cup of the day. While the morning drink comes from the drip-pot, the afternoon cup is usually a more formal affair – French Press, or sometimes a latte or cappuccino if I feel like making espresso.

But recently I found another rather amazing coffee drink that starts with – wait for it – instant coffee. I know, I didn’t believe it at first either – instant coffee coffee can’t be amazing, can it? But Tara’s description of  her mother’s Indian cappuccino was so convincing… it practically begged me to try it, and soon.

The process of “beating” the coffee and sugar together is not for the faint of heart – to get it right, or at least what I assume is right based on her description and my own tries, you do have to beat it within an inch of it’s life. And then some. Your arm may get tired, but don’t worry, it’ll soon be revitalized along with the rest of you at the first sip of the frothy goodness. 

You’ll see the original recipe makes two servings, but in case you have no one to share your coffee break with, or if, like me, your family decrees the drink “too strong and not sweet enough,” here’s what I do – fill the mug you plan on using one-quarter full of water, and then top it off, almost full, with milk. Pour that into a small saucepan to heat, frothing it with a whisk a time or two for even more bubbles, if you wish. (I wish.) 1 1/2 tsp. of instant coffee granules and 2 tsp. sugar go into a small glass dish, and just a few drops of water. The mixture should only be sandy, not wet. Beat, beat and beat  some more with a spoon or small whisk until it is a light caramel color and all frothy and whipped. When the water/milk is hot, pour half of it over the coffee mixture and stir it all together to make sure all the granules are dissolved. Pour this into your mug, along with the remaining milk.


Enjoy, and marvel how something that, in the opinion of many, isn’t even worthy to be called coffee, with a bit of fussing over can suddenly become a star.


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I’ve been


– giving this space a Spring update. Elements in the header are from pugly pixel and fonts from FontSquirrel – more details in the footer

– getting used to FireFox 4. Not sure I like the location of the stop/refresh button, so glad I’m already in the habit of using F5

– enjoying fresh spinach and scallions from the garden

– looking forward to strawberries from our little patch

– just generally delighting in the spring-ness around me

– (except for the battling allergies part)


– missing my grandmother, disbelieving it’s been 6 years already

– thankful my grandfather came through his bypass surgery amazingly well

– busy in the kitchen, of course. Herb-breaded chicken with Dijon mustard sauce, a lentil and pearled barley side dish, a white pizza with chicken and spinach…

– thrift shopping and lunching with Andrea & Danielle. Fabric shopping, too – coordinating outfits are in our future

– keeping an eye on the progress Mom and Dad are making as they build a chicken coop

– looking forward to extra-fresh eggs

– thankful that I was able to recover the photos that mysteriously went missing from my SD card

– taking some time to do some pleasure reading

– watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with my sister, just because. By the way, the car used in the film will be up for auction on the 14th, if you desire to buy with that extra two million you have lying around

– praying for everyone who was affected by the tornadoes this past week

– enjoying some of the Organic Espresso Dark Chocolate given to me this morning. Thanks, Nichole!

-looking forward to the days ahead!





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happy friday!

By rights, any of the words coming out of the ends of my fingers should be finding their way into the Word document that’s safely   keeping (as safe as a digital file can be) my half-finished essay that’s due in a bit less than a week for one of my Bible classes, instead of here.



Freshly washed and line dried bedding. No matter how hard the fragrance companies try, their version of “Fresh Linen” candles and room sprays can’t hold a candle to the real thing.


Green, green and more green – grass, trees budding out, tulip plants poking their way out of the ground… green growing things.



Itzhak Perlman playing Dance of The Goblins. I’ve seen/heard it before, but the it just gets more amazing every time I watch/listen to the clip.


Cream of Mushroom soup, made on a whim for lunch one day after looking through the Culinary Institute of America’s “Gourmet Meals in Minutes” cookbook. The inclusion of nutmeg sprinkled on top was something I wouldn’t have ever thought of, but it was really good.



Raindrops falling down on me in large quantities. Silly broken umbrella.




Have a s’marvelous weekend!

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