Cousin Hannah Visits

Thursday, July 23 –
Cousin Hannah came over to spend the night and spend some time with Carolina.

DSC_0787 DSC_0788 DSC_0790 DSC_0792 DSC_0794

DSC_0793 DSC_0801

More Family Fun

Wednesday, July 22 –

Continuing the fun from yesterday, family members met up in Lubbock for even more food and fellowship with the Hamilton clan.

DSC_0727 DSC_0734 DSC_0742 DSC_0744 DSC_0745 DSC_0753 DSC_0758 DSC_0760 DSC_0766 DSC_0768

DSC_0739 DSC_0772 DSC_0775 DSC_0777 DSC_0780

More Decorating Updates

Just a couple of shots of a few updates, new curtains and tablecloths that Carolina and I have been working on.


We’re still waiting on our fabric to arrive for the long curtains for the kitchen window.


DSC_0632 DSC_0633


Visitors from the East

Tuesday, July 21 –

Today, my uncle and cousins stopped by for a visit. It’s not often we get visitors from North Carolina, so it was a very special occasion. We had lunch and then spent some time catching up. The kids rode horses, swam and jumped on the trampoline. It was a great day.

DSC_0635 DSC_0636 DSC_0637 DSC_0638 DSC_0640 DSC_0641 DSC_0642 DSC_0644 DSC_0646 DSC_0650



Elbows & Knees

Monday, July 13 –

Marian sets the record straight about what goes where.

A Milestone

Sunday, July 12 –

Today Atlanta turned 25 years old. I just wanted to post a few pictures to help celebrate her big day. Daughter, sister, friend, wife and mother; you’ve been them all with grace and beauty. We love you!
























Happy Birthday!

Wild Plum Jelly

Sunday, July 5 –

Yesterday, while at Cim & Courtney’s near Afton, we picked wild plums. We didn’t make any at our place near Northfield this year, but the Afton bushes were really loaded.



We had a lot of help picking.


Elaine Phipps


Brandi Buxton




It’s not easy to pick these because the bushes grow all together in big groups, not to mention that the bushes are covered with thorns, the air is full of gnats, and since they get ready around the 4th of July, it’s usually very hot. Did I mention the rattlesnakes you have to watch out for that like to curl up in the shade of the plum thicket?

Here’s the plums we ended up with.



When we got home Saturday night, we spread them out in shallow dishes so they wouldn’t crush each other.


We had some special events after church today, so it was almost 4:00 pm before we got home. I decided I’d better go ahead and boil these down before they got mushy. First, I washed them, one bowlful at a time. The leaves rise to the top and can easily be tipped out with the overflow of water.


Once they were all washed, then I put them in pots on the stove, just covering them with fresh water. Because I’m out of propane, I had to stoke up the woodstove. It was a hot day and by the end of it, I had run Nathan out and all the doors were propped open.DSC_0513 DSC_0514

When they start to boil, they only need to boil 5-10 minutes.DSC_0515



The juice is bright red at this point.DSC_0518

Next I poured the juice into a collander with a large bowl underneath.DSC_0533 DSC_0537 DSC_0538

Nathan had to help with this big, heavy pot.DSC_0542


I had a lot of juice when I got done. I had intended to store the juice in the refrigerator and make the jelly on Monday, but I really didn’t have the refrigerator space and since the fire was going and Nathan had brought me a pile of wood, I decided to just get it over with.

DSC_0543 DSC_0544

I started collecting jars and washing them.DSC_0545

Here I’m boiling caps and lids and starting to bring my juice to a boil. I used some new pectin that I bought through our Azure food co-op. It’s called Pomona’s Universal Pectin. One of the things I had to add to the juice was lemon juice and some calcium water that I mixed up (included in the pectin bag).DSC_0546 DSC_0547

The selling point of this pectin is that you have lots of choices for sweetening your jelly. Unlike the store-bought stuff which requires lots and lots of white sugar, you can use honey, stevia, concentrated juice and more. I was out of organic sugar anyway, so I decided to use honey. DSC_0548

The recipe said to add the pectin to the honey and have it ready to add to the boiling juice mixture.DSC_0550 DSC_0551

Here I am stirring it in. DSC_0553 DSC_0554

After it came to boil again, then I took it off and poured it in the jars. Then the sealed jars went into a boiling water bath for about 12 minutes.DSC_0555

I was very tired after I got it cleaned up, but glad it was done. The jelly was extremely firm which is unusual for jelly made with honey, almost too firm for me. It was also right on the verge of not being sweet enough. Since the sweetener went in at the boiling stage, it was almost too late to add more when I tasted it. I did add another cup of honey at this point, with more pectin, but by then it was boiling again and I had to take it off before I ended up with plum taffy or something. I guess the next time I’ll tweak the recipe a little bit and try to get it sweeter. The plum juice is very tart and the lemon juice made it more so. We like to keep the tartness and have it contrasting with the sweet. Everyone seems to like it so far, so maybe it won’t go to waste.




The Fourth

Saturday, July 4 –

Today we went to Cim & Courtney’s for the afternoon and for supper. We picked plums, watched the kids shoot fireworks and play tag and visited. We had Mexican stack for supper with all the fixings and homemade ice cream for dessert.


We took our jeep with us and it worked great for taking rides around the farm.


On the way home we stopped by Roaring Springs and watched their fireworks show. It was a great day!

Check out this video I made for Marian while we were there:


Birthday Goodies

Friday, July 3 –

Carolina’s miracle cake and some birthday gifts for Carolina and Stockton make for a fun evening. We even managed to surprise them with some new bikes.

DSC_0495 DSC_0496 DSC_0497 DSC_0499 DSC_0500 DSC_0501 DSC_0503 DSC_0504

20150704_091640 20150703_182658

The Miracle Cake

Friday, July 3 –

This is the story of a birthday cake that shouldn’t have been edible, but somehow survived a very unusual baking process.

It begins with a broken stove. My stove went out and we decided not to try and repair it because I didn’t like it that much anyway. I’ve only been using it a short time because the one I really like has been out of commission for a while.


This is the stove I really like. I paid it out little by little until I had paid the full amount to a man with a little antique/salvage business on FM 1585 in Lubbock. That was about 15 years ago or more.DSC_0175 DSC_0952

It’s an O’keefe & Merritt gas stove from the 40’s or 50’s. You can see there’s a lot of history here.stockton licks fingers windy's camera 9-09 163

Anyway, until I can repair this big stove, we bought this little apartment stove that has a charm all its own.

20150714204711 20150714204738

So, back to the cake.  Now that I had a stove again, it was time to bake Carolina a birthday cake. Unfortunately, after only about 15 or 20 minutes into the baking, my propane ran out! I called Nathan to see if propane could be delivered, but being Friday, July 3rd before a holiday weekend, they were already out of the office. So I hurriedly kindled a fire in the wood cook stove and hoped it would get hot before the other one cooled down too much. Once it was hot enough, I carefully moved the jiggling half-baked cake to the woodstove and continued the baking.

Here I am with the nicely cooked cake and the hot, hot stove in the background.



Well, there you have the miracle cake. I wouldn’t recommend this method, but I’m glad it worked out this time.


So was Carolina.



Latest Random *more photos added*

Another batch of pictures that don’t fit any one category. Alas, they are still interesting.


another fashion must-have from Carolina


Daisy goes from bad hair day to good hair day


picnic on the play house


milk cows making milk


cute shot captured through the front picture window




cowgirls watching cowboys


don’t forget to charge the dog…


Rapunzel eat your heart out