Easy Homemade Vegetable Soup

Posted by Tara on December 3, 2012 in Food an' Cookin' |
Easy Homemade Vegetable Soup

My homemade vegetable soup. Yum! I got this recipe from #1 Daughter Anna and it sure is easy and tasty; that’s a combo I like!

1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon butter or oil
1 can each of:
• whole kernel corn
• lima beans
• cut green beans
• green peas
• sliced or diced carrots
• potatoes (optional)
• large can tomato sauce
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
dash cayenne
(optional: a ½ pound or so of browned, drained ground beef can also be added to this if you desire to have meat in your soup)

Sautee onion, garlic and bell pepper in the oil til tender. Add all ingredients in soup pot and heat on top of stove or in oven just until heated through, being careful not to burn or scorch.

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Chance Literary Explorations

Posted by Tara on January 27, 2010 in Family, Humor, Inspirational / Devotional, Oh! Those Babies! |
Two Cherubs Reading, Detail from Madonna and Child with Saints by Rosso Fiorentino (Battista di Jacopo)

Two Cherubs Reading, Detail from Madonna and Child with Saints by Rosso Fiorentino (Battista di Jacopo)

Can anyone tell me, who are “Munner Murray” and “Jophus?”

Well, I can tell you who they are; they are true life characters who my little Chance grandbaby reads about with me in his little book, I Learn to Read about Jesus. This is a wonderful little book which was mine as a child, given to me by my mother. Sadly our original was lost when our home burned but blessedly my mother happened across another copy of it and was able to procure it for me to read to the grandbabies. And, boy, do my 3 grand boys love to read!

It has been so much fun to introduce the love of reading to the boys. At this point in time our little Chance is wide eyed with enthusiasm as the literary world unfolds before his eyes and his imagination. He loves his books and I just really feel a desire to record here his favorites and the things he says about them.

His very first favorite book was Good Night, Gorilla, and he was quite taken with the main character, Gorilla, who he called Mawntee (Monkey), and the elephant who he called El-e-phawn-tay. One night he was playing with his baby brother, Thorne, and suddenly his eyes lit up and I could just see a light dawning in his little understanding. Transfixed, I drew nearer to him, studying him, knowing that some realization had hit him about his tiny sibling. Amazed he pointed to his brother and screamed, “Mawntee!” We quickly informed him that Thorne was not a ‘mawntee,’ but he just looked at us like we were crazy and said, while pointing at Thorne, “Mawntee, Mawntee, Mawntee!” Mawntee it is…I only hope the nickname doesn’t follow poor Thorne past his babyhood…

My little “Chance Pance” also loves The Little Engine That Could and for some reason when he was VERY small he noted in the illustrations an obscure little Humpty Dumpty amongst the toys going to the good little boys and girls on the other side of the mountain. “Dumpy Dumpy!” he cries when he sees the book and all the way through it until we get to “Dumpy Dumpy’s” page.

How precious it is to see a child’s mind unfolding and growing like a blossom in the spring. As I watch and enjoy I am often reminded of a conversation I had while walking our first grandson, “Micah Man,” at the park one day. There were two older gentlemen and one commented on Micah and I stopped for a bit of grandmotherly show-off time. The other of the two men began telling me how when his grandchildren began coming he and his wife ‘escaped’ to another part of the country to live. I was saddend over that statement and all it represented; it haunts me to this day.

Thank God I am able to live so near and see my little heritage and have them often in my home. What a blessing to know their expressions and their dimples and their personalities in such an intimate way because they are a part of my everyday life as well as a part of my heart.

What are some of the cute things your youngsters say/said?  Feel free to share; I’d love to hear.

Blessed is the Grand Maw who has a quiver full, y’all!

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Year of the Emu

Posted by Tara on August 26, 2009 in Around the Farm, Family, Farm Animals |

Emu at the National Zoo by Vlad Kharitonov

Emu at the National Zoo by Vlad Kharitonov


What would we do without grandparents?  They love us unconditionally and spoil us horribly.  This meets with the joyous approval of the ‘grandchilder’ but is often greeted with a certain amount of wariness from the weary parents.

I know this good stuff from experience, y’all.  My Papa and I pulled numerous scams on my grandmother, who to put it mildly was not a pet lover, and that is how I came to own my Welsh pony, Silver, who sometimes visited our urban home and grazed in the backyard, compliments of Papa, and how I acquired my pet chicken, Walla Walla.

It is also how my own dear kiddos became the proud owners of their very own pair of emus.  After several discussions with Momma and Daddy about whether or not an emu would be a wise investment, our younger daughter took it upon herself to call Gramma and Grampa to gauge the temperature there.

Rory and I were outside in the front yard when her happy face stuck out the door to announce that she’d called Grampa to ask if he’d take her to get some emus.

“Oh yeah?” Rory asked her, “What’d he say?”

“He and Gramma’ll be here in a few minutes!” she happily crowed, face glowing with joy.

Sure enough, in short order, Gramma and Grampa drove up the drive, picked up my daughter, and off they went. Upon their return a few short hours later, our pair of emus and our daughter were safely deposited in the front yard.  Gramma and Grampa had to leave and hurry home, however, because they were the proud owners of 10 emus themselves!

Rory threw up a pen outside the old barn on our farm while the emu babies (named Twit and Tweet) lived in a box in the house and terrorized our poor elderly Pomeranian, Samson, by chasing him from room to room trying to peck his eyes.

They grew quickly and soon it was too late to saddle train them as our offspring had intended to do.  It was also too late when we realized that grown emus can easily escape right over a six foot fence.  Twit was gone and Tweet was inconsolable.

Where do you look for an escaped emu?  A quick tour around our rural area gave no clue as to what had become of Mr. Twit. The next order of business was to attempt to console the once-proud owners of the emu escapee.  A bit of research revealed that emus are the ultimate hunters/scavengers and that they can forage out a living with great success in just about any region.  Equipped with that amount of comfort, the girls slowly adjusted and life at Avignon Farm went on.  Tweet adjusted to being an only emu, but taking pity on her we soon gave her to Grampa and she moved to his farm.

About six months later, on a lovely fall day, the dogs began to kick up a fuss.  Several times I went out onto the porch to see what the matter was but there was nothing to see which could explain their upset.  Several times I called out to them to quiet but they always started up again shortly.

When Rory got home from the plant that afternoon, he became concerned at my report on the dogs’ ongoing behavior. As they had for me, they hushed for awhile at his insistence and then began barking again.  Rory ventured out into the field searching for an explanation–to no avail.  We gave up.

It was toward dusk that we noticed an increase in the dogs’ level of excitement and ventured out again to survey the situation.  Rory was the one to spot the cause for the alarm.

“Look,” he said grinning widely, “the emu’s back!”  Sure enough, Twit was making his way slowly up the field, wariness exhibited in every step he took.  Rory grabbed a cattle lead and was off in a flash.  The children and I watched as he circled around to the side and came up beside the bird in a smooth motion which caused no alarm to Twit.  He put his hand on Twit’s back and that emu actually seemed to be glad to see Rory.  Rory gradually fixed the loop of the lead around the neck of the great bird who seemed not to mind and seemed no worse for wear after his six months of adventure.  He was a bit lean but seemed healthy.

After his escape, our pen was no option and he needed to be transported to Grampa’s place as soon as possible.

Emus have tremendous strength in their legs and have huge sharp talons and claws and they must be handled carefully.  While more gentle than the ostrich, if they feel threatened, they can do just as much damage.  Rory quickly wrestled him to ground and roped his legs for the journey.  We moved Twit into the back of the Suburban and the girls accompanied him to his new life at Grampa’s.

If they ever missed the emus, they never said so.  I know that they were glad to see Twit and to know that he was alive and well, but it seemed to be a chapter they were willing to close.

They were ready for the chapter of The Sheep…

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