Monday, January 31, 2011

A Taste of Spring!

Yesterday God gave us a little taste of spring. Our temperature was close to seventy degrees and sunny. It was the kind of day that we look forward to here in the south during the winter months...a short reprieve from cold, dreary weather. It was the perfect day for a woodland walk. We are very fortunate to live near the Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge. It was established in 1963 and has 8,443 acres of fields, wetlands, and woodlands that provide protected habitats for many different types of wildlife. We spent our beautiful Sunday afternoon exploring some of the trails at the refuge. Even though the landscape is still a little bleak, there is so much beauty to be seen this time of year.

The refuge has many creeks and ponds to provide habitats for fish and waterfowl.

I don't think this little fellow belonged here in the wild. I sure hope his owner was close by.

I just love walking down the trails surrounded by the tall trees.

If you walk quietly, you'll notice that you are not alone in the woods.

This little woodpecker didn't even seem to notice me.

This covered bridge is kind of neat, don't you think?

I think someone wasn't paying much attention to his fishing.

My goodness, I hope these didn't belong to the same fisherman.

Years ago, the Gaddys' pond was the winter home of many geese. Now, we are lucky to get fifty geese.

We were not allowed beyond a certain point on the trail. I wonder where this leads?

Isn't the bottom of this tree interesting? I love how God provides shelter for all of His creatures.

The Carolina blue sky promises more days like this one.

I wish I could have gotten pictures of all of the different birds in the fields. They seemed to hear us before I could get close enough. Next time I'll have to take a chair and just sit quietly for a while.

Oh well, it was back to reality today. It temperature stayed in the low forties and the clouds overpowered the sun. Hopefully, we will have another taste of spring soon and these dreary days will become few and far between.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Our Worth

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while know that I am a bird lover. One of my favorite times of the day is early morning when the birds are having a feeding frenzy in my yard. I enjoy sitting in the sunroom having my quiet time with the Lord and occasionally glancing out to see the activity. Of course, with all of that activity there is bound to be a window collision once in a while, and that is exactly what happened this morning. The noise made was loud and all too familiar. It was so loud that I had to investigate, and this is what I found.

Poor little bird. He looked so scared. I did not open the door as to not alert the cats. That was the last thing this little fellow needed.

Fortunately, I checked up on him later to find him perched a little higher in the star magnolia right outside of my back door.

It always amazes me that after a little while these creatures are able to continue on their merry way. I don't know why I am amazed each time...doesn't Jesus tell us about the worth of our feathered friends?

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father." Matthew 10:29

What Jesus says next just fills my heart with joy.

"So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Matthew 10:31

Isn't it nice to be assured of our worth once in a while? Praise God, just like that song of old says...His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Carson singing Taylor Swift's Untouchable at the Ansonville BBQ

I've been suffering from a little blogger's block lately so I thought I would share something that makes me of my precious girls, Carson, doing what she loves to do. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Longing for Spring

I think the winter blahs have set in. You know what I am talking about...the time of year when one starts longing for spring...longing for signs of new life. It has actually set in a little earlier than usual around here. I think that it may be because our winter weather has been colder and started earlier this year. I don't know. What I do know, however, is that the bleakness of winter makes the joy of spring all the more sweet. Don't you think?

Monday, January 17, 2011

As I sat on the pier watching Carson and her best friend Abbey laughing and having fun in the canoe, I had no idea that I was learning a valuable lesson in friendship. In fact, it wasn't until days later, while viewing the pictures that I took of the two friends, that I realized I had witnessed some of the best traits of a true friendship.

One of the first being that real friends truly enjoy each other's company.

Another trait of a true friendship is that when one friend gets tired, the other one will take over and row for a while.

Still, another is that a true friend doesn't mind trading places once in a while just to see things from the other's point-of-view.

Lastly, and probably the most important trait of a true friendship is that once in a while, when one friend is going through a tough time, the only thing the other can do is sit quietly in the boat and just be.

I posted this originally back in August, however, today I felt the need to post this again. Sweet Abbey (Carson's friend in the boat) lost her mother yesterday to a long, hard battle with cancer. Her mom, Jennifer, was one of the strongest ladies that I have ever known. My heart is breaking today for her family...especially her two girls (who are the same ages as mine). Please send up a little prayer for this family, and for Carson whose heart is breaking for her friend. I know that Jennifer's life has already touched many people. I am praying that God will continue to comfort this family and all of those who knew and loved Jennifer.

"A friend loves at all times, and brother is born for adversity." Proverbs 17:17

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day Soup!

After posting about our snow day, several of you asked for a recipe for the mushroom and potato soup that I made. I would love to be able to post an exact recipe for that soup, however, I don't really cook with exact measures. This soup was actually a take off on a mushroom soup found on the Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen site. If you would like that recipe you can look here. For those of you who like to fly by the seat of your pants, feel free to read on for my take on this soup. Remember, I warned you that I don't really follow recipes when I cook!!

When I heard the kitchen calling my name the other day, I got out my favorite dutch oven.

I diced up some carrots and an onion.

Then, I sauteed them in a little bit of olive oil until they looked like this.

While they were cooking, I diced up some mushrooms...

...and added them to the pot.

While the mushrooms were cooking, I diced up some potatoes. (This is where I really took a detour from the original recipe.)

When the mushrooms, onions, and carrots looked like this, I deglazed the pot with some white wine. Any white would do, but I happen to like pinot grigio.

Of course, I always pour a little for the!

After the pan is deglazed, it should look a little like this.

Next, I added the diced potatoes and salt and pepper. Don't ask me how much salt and pepper...I just guess at the right amount.

Then, I added vegetable stock. Chicken stock would probably be tastier, but I have a vegetarian in the house.

For a little twang the original recipe calls for some tomato juice. I added a small can. I just love those little cans, and the juice adds a little something special to the mix.

After all of the veggies are happily in the pot, I cover and simmer until the potatoes are cooked perfectly.

When all of the veggies are cooked through and tender, I add some cream. I used heavy cream because that was what I had on hand. Half and half would probably work great too!

All that's left to do is find a bowl and eat up!

Of course, after eating a bowl of soup on a snow day, one must follow up with homemade chocolate cookies.

Don't even ask me how to make those..........

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day!

Yippee! We woke up to the first snow of 2011! This was actually our second snow of the winter. Some of you may wonder what's the big deal...well, here in the southern part of North Carolina it is very unusual to get even one snow during the winter season. Last year we managed to get several measurable snowstorms. I wonder if our weather pattern is changing.

This was the view from my front porch this morning.

What does a young country girl do when it snows?

Doughnuts on a four wheeler! That was Carson's idea of fun.

My idea of fun was a little different. I kind of liked sitting by the fire drinking my coffee.

And when I got tired of that, I sat in the sunroom drinking my coffee.

Then, I did a little garden daydreaming.

After that, I heard the kitchen calling my name.

There is nothing like ending a snow day with a bowl of delicious mushroom and potato soup.

Snow days in the south are glorious! Since we are so unprepared for clearing the roads and sidewalks down here everything seems to stand still for a day or so...and that's not a bad thing. What do you do on snow days?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Inspiration For My Blog (Repost)

As I was visiting some of your wonderful blogs yesterday, I came across a lovely reminder of where my inspiration for my blog was found. One of my very first blogging friends, Zuzu, posted on some wonderful gifts that she had received from others.

One of those gifts was this beautiful book. The words that follow this next picture were written by me last February. I thought that some of my newer followers might like to know the story behind my blog.

I didn't just happen upon writing a blog by accident. I had some inspiration for my endeavor. One of my favorite books is a diary written by a naturalist and artist, Edith Holden, in 1906. Edith kept a diary of birds, butterflies, bees, and flowers each month of that year. Her words were carefully written by hand and the art work was her own. The book was actually found on the shelves of an English country house seventy years after it was written, long after the death of its author. It was then published and became a favorite book of many, including myself. I am certainly no author or artist, however, I am inspired by nature and the wonderful God that created it all. I want to capture what I see around me in my own everyday life here in my little corner of the world.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Treadmill

When the new year rolls around most people resolve to do a few things different. I am not much for new year resolutions since most of them get broken within the first week, however, I did resolve to get a little more exercise in the coming year. So far things are going well with that.

Even though the skies have looked like this...

...we have managed to take a walk every day.

Even though I have a treadmill inside...

...I still much prefer this view.

The scent of the pine trees wafting through the air gives me some much needed therapy. Has anyone else resolved to move more this year?