Friday, December 28, 2007

More Snow in Kansas


Last night, it snowed again. We received four inches on top of what we already had.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas Morning!


Click on the photo for a larger view! Merry Christmas, ya'll!
Vj








Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas from our house to your house!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Pictures from the Winter Storm

Tuesday, December 18, 2007, the ice began. This is out our front window.




And then there was snow, about six inches. This is Illinois Creek Road, on Wednesday, December 19, 2007.


This is the Kraus's hay field...


Then came the snow, beginning at 10:45 a.m. on Saturday, December 22, 2007. It was called "almost a blizzard". This is a picture of the road somewhere along Mission Valley Road, northeast of Eskridge, Kansas.







When we got home, my honey measured the snow. At 2:30 pm, we had 7.5 inches of white stuff! And still coming!


This is the tree by our garage. Note: it was still snowing at 6:00 pm.
This is Sunday morning, December 23, 2007. The tree is out by our road.

The following two pictures is the Harvey Road fence line:



This is the restored one-room school house on Old-K10 Highway. The picture was taken on Wednesday last.

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

So, you think it's snowing enough for you? How about 8 inches of snow in 3 hours, still coming down at 2 inches an hour and no end in sight. At 11:30, there was a bolt of lightening and a rumble of thunder, all during the blizzard like conditions in Topeka. At noonish, Interstate-70 between Topeka and Manhattan was closed due to the snow... Well, we had an adventure coming home today, in the 2007 blizzard. Ended up in a ditch, not one block from our church in Eskridge. Got out okay, just four-wheelin' it a bit!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Peanut Brittle - oh, yeah!

Well, it is that time of year and my dear husband and I have been trying out peanut brittle recipes and since I can't find my Grandpa Kenny's best peanut brittle recipe anywhere, we used one I found in the ol' recipe box...


The first batch was too thick. Later, I talked with some lady friends and they said to spread the cooked goo with your hands. -- Now, this stuff is 300 plus degrees of hot sugar and peanuts. I think not.

So tonight, I got the bright idea, use a smaller recipe and more than one pan. Well, the candy turned out too thin, it shattered! Teeny, tiny pieces. but it is good. So, next time, I'm going to use just one pan...

So, here is the best recipe so far:


Ingredients:
2 cups of sugar
1 cup light karo syrup (I used yellow 'cause that's all Solomon's Porch had at the time)
1/2 cup water
1 T butter
2 cups of raw peanuts
1 teaspoon soda
slightly less than 1/2 teaspoon of salt

You will also need a heavy 3-4 quart pan with a handle; a long handled metal spoon with a wooden or insulated grip and long enough to avoid splatters; a candy thermometer that works; one metal cookie sheet pans buttered up real nice and heavy; hot pad holders or layers of t-towels to put under the cookie sheet pan; and a couple of hot-pad holders for yerself... just in case.


Directions:
Measure out the soda and salt and place in a small dish, set aside.
Measure the T of butter and set aside.
Measure the peanuts and set aside.

Measure sugar, karo syrup and water into the sauce pan. Cook the candy slowly and when the sugar mixture is melted, add the Tablespoon of butter. When the mixture reaches a temperature of 230 degrees - it will boil, add the 2 cups of raw peanuts and continue stirring. Stir constantly. (This will take a while, but cook slowly and it won't fail!) When the candy thermometer reaches 301-303 degrees, set the pan off the heat. Dump in the soda and salt mixture and quickly blend in. Now, the candy will foam up and this makes it light. pour the mixture on the buttered cookie sheet. Cool.

Now, you can pick up the pan and tilt it back and forth to spread it out. Do not touch the hot candy, it is very, very HOT. Set outside in the cold air to cool for awhile. Then, turn out on the counter (make sure it's clean!) and break into reasonably small pieces. Store in tupperware or zip lock bags.

Okay, that will last about one day. Tomorrow night, make a second batch for your friends. Merry Christmas! vj



Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I like redneck jokes. A friend sent this to me. Although I do not think Santa drinks Lite Buds, you might get a kick out of this. My dear husband is from the South. He appreciates this humor:


Twas the night before Christmas

'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, AND ALL THROUGH THE SHACK,
NOT A DARN THING WAS A MOVIN', FROM THE FRONT TO THE BACK.

THE KIDS WERE IN BED, WE HAD NINE AT THE TIME,
THE WIFE IN HER CURLERS, WAS LOOKIN' REAL FINE.

A COLD WIND WAS BLOWIN', UP THE HOLLER IT MOANED,
TEN DOGS ON THE PORCH ALL HOWLED AND GROANED.

THE BOYS WERE ALL DREAMIN' OF WEAPONS AND A GUN,
FOR KILLIN' GOD'S CREATURES, THERE'S NO BETTER FUN!

THE GIRLS IN THEIR FEMININE DREAMS WERE ATTUNE,
TO GETTING THOSE GALLONS OF WAL-MART PERFUME.

THE WIFE WANTED JEWELRY, LIKE RINGS WITH BIG ROCKS.
I JUST WANTED MY CHEVY DOWN OFF OF THEM BLOCKS.

THEN OUT IN YARD, SUCH A NOISE DID COMMENCE,
LIKE SOMETHING WAS CAUGHT IN OUR NEW BARB WIRE FENCE.

I RAN TO THE WINDOW, AND SAW PRETTY QUICK,
THE MAN MAKIN' THAT RACKET, WAS GOOD OL' ST. NICK.

YOU MAY THINK OF SANTA IN YOUR OWN MIND'S EYES,
DRESSED IN A RED AND WHITE SUIT, BUT I'VE GOT A SURPRISE.

THAT OLD BOY'S AN ARKIE, FROM UP NEAR MT. GAYLOR,
HE MARRIED HIS COUSIN, AND THEY LIVE IN A TRAILER.

ON CHRISTMAS, OF COURSE, A SLEIGH FOR HIS RIG,
HE HOOKS THE SLEIGH UP TO A RAZORBACK PIG!

HE CLIMBED ON THE ROOF, WITH HIS BAG & EACH GOODY,
HE BACKED DOWN THE FIREPLACE, ALL DIRTY AND SOOTY.

FAT LEGS IN HIS BRITCHES, CHUBBY HANDS IN EACH MITTEN,
I MUST ADMIT FROM THE BACK, HE LOOKED LIKE BILL CLINTON.

THEN OUT IN YARD, SUCH A NOISE DID COMMENCE,
LIKE SOMETHING WAS CAUGHT IN OUR NEW BARB WIRE FENCE.

I RAN TO THE WINDOW, AND SAW PRETTY QUICK,
THE MAN MAKIN' THAT RACKET, WAS GOOD OL' ST. NICK.

YOU MAY THINK OF SANTA IN YOUR OWN MIND'S EYES,
DRESSED IN A RED AND WHITE SUIT, BUT I'VE GOT A SURPRISE.

THAT OLD BOY'S AN ARKIE, FROM UP NEAR MT. GAYLOR,
HE MARRIED HIS COUSIN, AND THEY LIVE IN A TRAILER.

ON CHRISTMAS, OF COURSE, A SLEIGH FOR HIS RIG,
HE HOOKS THE SLEIGH UP TO A RAZORBACK PIG!

HE CLIMBED ON THE ROOF, WITH HIS BAG & EACH GOODY,
HE BACKED DOWN THE FIREPLACE, ALL DIRTY AND SOOTY.

FAT LEGS IN HIS BRITCHES, CHUBBY HANDS IN EACH MITTEN,
I MUST ADMIT FROM THE BACK, HE LOOKED LIKE BILL CLINTON.

HE TURNED TOWARD THE TREE, HIS EYES ALL AGLOW,
HE WAS A BACK WOODS BOY FROM HIS HEAD TO HIS TOE.

HIS NECK WAS A RED ONE, HIS SHIRT SAID "LITE BEER",
HE HAD NO RED HAT ON, BUT HIS CAP READ "JOHN DEERE"

HE LEFT ALL THE PRESENTS, WITH AN AIR OF DELIGHT
THEN IT WAS BACK TO THE CHIMNEY, AND INTO THE NIGHT.

HE RAN INTO THE YARD, THREW HIS BAG IN THE SLEIGH,
THEN HE YELLED AT THE DOGS, "GET THE HECK OUT TH' WAY!"

I RAN OUT TO ASK HIM WHY HE BROUGHT SUCH GOOD CHEER;
BUT INSTEAD HE JUST ASKED ME, "YOU GET YOU A DEER?"

THEN I HEARD HIM EXCLAIM, AS THOSE PIGS TOOK FLIGHT,
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL...I NEED A BUD LITE!"

HE TURNED TOWARD THE TREE, HIS EYES ALL AGLOW,
HE WAS A BACK WOODS BOY FROM HIS HEAD TO HIS TOE.

HIS NECK WAS A RED ONE, HIS SHIRT SAID "LITE BEER",
HE HAD NO RED HAT ON, BUT HIS CAP READ "JOHN DEERE".

HE LEFT ALL THE PRESENTS, WITH AN AIR OF DELIGHT,
THEN IT WAS BACK TO THE CHIMNEY, AND INTO THE NIGHT.

HE RAN INTO THE YARD, THREW HIS BAG IN THE SLEIGH,
THEN HE YELLED AT THE DOGS, "GET THE HECK OUT TH' WAY!"

I RAN OUT TO ASK HIM WHY HE BROUGHT SUCH GOOD CHEER;
BUT INSTEAD HE JUST ASKED ME, "YOU GET YOU A DEER?"

THEN I HEARD HIM EXCLAIM, AS THOSE PIGS TOOK FLIGHT,
"MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL...I NEED A BUD LITE!"

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Beautiful Lake Wabaunsee


Good morning to take a run in the snow! After the 46 degree weather yesterday, there is not much left! vj

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The pine tree I planted in 1996. Note the board I used to prop it up! And it hasn't hit 32 degrees yet!

Across the street!






In our yard!




Poor flower bed!

The above pictures and to the right were taken on Tuesday morning. At 9:15 AM, we lost power, along with 160,000 other folks. As of today, December 14, 2007, we have had no power since Tuesday. However, we have a generator to run the furnace and the 'fridge. Clean clothes. Lots of food. And gasoline to run the generator. God is good! vj




Saturday, December 8, 2007

Where did you spend the day? In a ditch?

It started sleeting this morning about 8:00 and then by 9:15, it was a sheet of ice - black ice in Topeka. However, we got home OK and stopped in Dover at the new little cafe there: Summerset Cafe. Great food. Homey atmosphere. The pie lady must be around 80 and she gets up every day and bakes at least four to five pies. The cherry is to die for!

Friday, December 7, 2007

When my daughter was just a little girl, 3 1/2 years old, we went to White Lakes Mall in Topeka, Kansas for some Christmas shopping. In 1977, the mall was a popular place and at Christmastime, vendors were in the mall selling foods and trinkets. It was quite crowded and full of spirited people in a Major Shopping Mode.

Of course, Santa Claus was there. His throne and all his regalia was set up on the south end of the mall and they were taking the traditional pictures of children on Santa's lap. I didn't have the extra money for pictures and wanted to wait for my little girl to visit Santa. My little girl was quite upset with me and cried.


We walked through the Christmas Season crowds and went into a store at the other end of the mall, which was about a quarter mile from Santa's location. We had been in the store for some time and when I turned around, she was gone...

She was gone from sight! Not in the store, not outside the store, not anywhere. Of course, during those days, there were not too many child-napping folks, but it did cross my mind and I ran down the mall, hollering her name.

My daughter was all of 2 and a half foot tall at that time. She was (and still is) a little princess: tall, long pale blond hair and blue-green eyes. She had taken off on her own, ran down the promenade, had gotten in line and was waiting to see Santa Claus.

When I got there, I waited in line with her until she got on Santa's lap. My dear sweet daughter, in her little red snow suit, froze up and wouldn't talk to him! Eventually, Santa got her to whisper in his ear.

After she was off Santa's lap and in my arms, Santa leaned over and said to me: "All she asked for Christmas was a Strawberry Cake." That Christmas, my little girl received a Strawberry Cake for Christmas and for several years after that, I baked a Strawberry Cake for Christmas as a desert- with white frosting.

Eventually, I started making Strawberry Cakes for her birthday. I also had Strawberry cake for the wedding cake when my dear husband and I got married. That is what I did for for years on every special occasion - regardless of the reason, I make strawberry cakes.

Hence, the significance of the strawberry cake is in our lives -- a remembrance of her and how special she is, and the run down White Lakes Mall!


Whitelakes Mall, Topeka, Kansas

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

How beautiful the fall; How glorious His work of art.

The weather today was an unbelievable 60 degrees. I raked the leaves and cleaned my flower garden, then hauled the leaves via the back roads through the beautiful Kansas Flint Hills to Alma, Kansas. The drive was wonderful. The corn fields lay empty, stubble of stalks standing in rows. The foliage from the trees absent and the hills were pale brown and off-white in the afternoon sun. Shadows in the late afternoon of this winter day, were long. I drove with the windows down, the dust from the gravel road I was taking kicked up white clouds as the leaves flew from the truck bed. Our annual trek to the burn pit, but I took it alone today. Christmas carols played on the radio station seemed foreign with the clear blue sky and warm weather. Christ didn't care about the weather when He came so long ago!

The above picture was actually taken in October 2004 in Terre Haute, Indiana on my too infrequent fall visit. Hopefully, next year I will get to go! As always, vj

Monday, December 3, 2007

I have a great respect for teachers and para-professionals who work with special education children. I, for one, appreciate it more, now, than I did last week. I worked in special education with two different levels of abilities today. One certainly needs a special calling for assisting and teaching low-functioning children.

I actually think I am more a book-person and will need to keep to librarian work. I have a job interview next week as a part-time processing person at the Pot-Wab Library in Saint Marys, Kansas. While I enjoy the reader program at the local school, I do not think I am special ed teacher material. I trust God will measure my steps as we walk through the next few weeks and months.
As ever, vj

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Merry Christmas!

MDH and I spent Saturday afternoon at the Rescue Mission in Topeka, Kansas, with the youth leaders and a dozen youngsters. We decorated the adult section of the Rescue Mission putting up four nice little trees, decorating one huge 12 foot tree and hanging giant candy canes from the ceiling of the dining room.


On Christmas Day, December 25, 2007, over 500 meals will be served to those who are less fortunate. Each of those people, little ones and big ones, will leave with wrapped, new Christmas presents. Lest you think this is an easy slide, remember... many of those people eat only one meal a day (at the rescue center), have no home and/or have no job and transient, have medical bills that they cannot pay due to either no insurance or just simply not enough money to cover the charges, are in the process of a move to, hopefully, a better home with a job opportunity.
Blessed are the poor in spirit. vj