Archive for May, 2012





Here Comes Peter Cottontail

Friday, May 25th, 2012





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Here Comes Peter

Cottontail!


You might remember that in our family, we have one Sir Flying Ace who lives in Northwestern Oklahoma in the town of Alva. Sir Flying Ace is a man now…strong, mustached and goateed. He flies, repairs aircraft and works for a company that makes aircraft interiors. He combines wheat for the fun of it and hunts with his buddies in season. So you get the picture. He’s a man!


Well, Sir Flying Ace has a dog. His dog’s name is Belle, as in Blue Belle. She is a blue heeler and Tenacious is her middle name. This past week, as she romped through the back yard of her western Oklahoma digs, she did exactly that…she dug. And she dug. And she carried a present to Sir Flying Ace to deposit at his feet…a little brown, furry thing.


Now Sir Flying Ace, not having encountered too many little, brown furry things except a raccoon or two, called me to inform me that he was trying to warm up what he thought was a baby ground squirrel. It’s eyes were still closed and Sir Flying Ace had run to the local WalMart to grab some puppy formula to attempt to feed this tiny animal. He took a picture with his cell phone and sent me the photo of the critter. It was not a ground squirrel. It was a teeny tiny bunny rabbit.


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I received a text message shortly thereafter that Belle had produced another bunny rabbit and by the evening, Mr. Sir Flying Ace was playing mommy to six little rabbits, all with their eyes closed. Belle had discovered the nest under the apricot tree and had ruined everything for Mama Rabbit.


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For three days now, my son has been feeding baby bunnies. Unfortunately, one of them did not survive, but the rest are thriving. Using a syringe, without the needle and with a tiny tip, he pushes just a little bit of milk into their mouths until they start sucking it out. He is pretty smart, I have to admit. He knew that if he took the box of rabbits to work, all of the young ladies in the office would go crazy and beg to get to feed them. He was right. In fact, one woman took the thumpers home overnight to feed every hour, so that her children could see them. But of course, she brought them back.


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Today, the cottontails’ eyes opened.


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And they started cleaning each other with little tongues. And they are semi-hopping on the floor. It won’t be long until Sir Flying Ace will have to let his babies leave the nest. But I am very proud of him for taking such a serious and gentle interest in the little orphans. He’ll make a good mama someday…I mean, husband! :-) And yes, now he is going to kill me. Love you son!


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UPDATE: Just got back from visiting Sir Flying Ace and I got to feed the bunnies! They are sooo cute! Here are a few pictures that I took to share. They are growing up!


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After feeding, the bunnies pile up together to sleep. They are eating grass clippings and pieces of apricot from the tree.


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They are getting bigger!


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Sir Flying Ace is giving the rabbits time in the grass each day to get them used to being out on their own.


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But they are all still pretty small! Still too young to be turned loose.



Happy Memories!



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Random Travels II: Woolaroc

Saturday, May 19th, 2012





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“WOods, LAkes

and ROCks”


Last post, I took you to my birthplace of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. As part of that day trip, Mr. Fix-It and I made a detour to the gorgeous landscape of Woolaroc refuge. If you are ever out our way, you have to go see this place. It is beautiful. And the museums are amazing. You can read about the park here.


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Established in 1925, Woolaroc was the precious retreat of oil businessman, Frank Phillips of Phillips Petroleum fame. The name, Woolaroc, is taken from letters of ‘woods’, ‘lakes’ and ‘rocks’, highlights of the 3600 acre property. Located just outside of Bartlesville, Woolaroc has been preserved to offer visitors a step back into the late 1800′s and early 1900′s and to remind them of the rich heritage of our state of Oklahoma.


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Most people think of Oklahoma as “the plains” where the wind comes rolling down (according to the song in the musical), and there are parts of the state where that is true. However, in the Bartlesville area, the Osage Hills offer lakes and forests that are quiet and breathtaking.


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Teepees dot the glades near the Mountain Man Camp on the property.


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Frank Phillips searched all over for wildlife to populate his retreat. He turned the acreage into a preserve. We saw buffalo and several albino deer in the pastures.


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There are several museums on location, but this particular one is incredible. Packed with artwork of the west, Native American artifacts and even buggies and wagons of the Land Run days, several hours must be set aside to see everything.


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One of the spur collections in the museum. Even today, cowboys on the ranches still use spurs when working on horseback. A quality, handmade spur is a thing of beauty and a source of pride.


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The collection of Native American artifacts is extensive. This display of head dresses, as well as displays of numerous beaded, leather outfits are just gorgeous.


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Western artwork is on display throughout the museum. This painting by Frederick Remington is just an example of the fine collection.


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Right in the middle of one of the large rooms is a full-sized schooner wagon with complete setup for heading out onto the plains in search of land to call home!


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On the museum grounds, is a lovely garden centered around a display of petrified wood stumps.



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The infamous outlaw, Belle Starr, is imortalized in bronze near the gardens


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This friendly statue is at the entrance and the exit of the park to wave ‘hello’ and ‘good-bye’.


Be sure to go online to the Woolaroc website to see all of the events and opportunities that are offered. And if you are looking for a fun vacation place to visit, put Woolaroc on your list! As the song says, ♪♪ “O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A! Oklahoma!! ♪♪



Happy Trails To You!



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Random Travels – And Pictures!

Thursday, May 10th, 2012





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Oil Boom City


Once upon a time, many, many, many…ok MANY years ago, a chubby, dimpled child was brought into the world to a pair of teachers who were living in the garage apartment of a home owned by a wealthy employee of a wealthy oil company. I am sure that if it had not been for oil being discovered in Oklahoma with people becoming wealthy as a result, the birth hospital would never have been built (named after the oil man’s wife) and the teachers wouldn’t have had a place to live, thereby making it impossible to bring a baby into the world. In other words, I wouldn’t be here today. Yep, I was that chubby, dimpled baby.


The town was Bartlesville, Oklahoma, former home to Frank and Jane Phillips of Phillips Petroleum Company and it is that company that made Bartlesville into the beautifully landscaped and artistically pleasing town that it is today. It is truly a jewel in the prairie – as Oklahoma as the wind and as modern as any east coast city. And it’s my home town!!


The crazy thing is that last week is the first time that I have been back to my home town since I was a little girl. And trust me…that was a little while ago. Mr. Fix-It saw to it that I was going to make that trip and so on Wednesday, he announced that we were going on a day drive. We loaded up our little Ellie dog (long-haired dachshund) and headed out early in the morning. I did not know what to expect from the north central part of our state, but I can tell you that I fell in love. It is absolutely beautiful. So, I have included a few photos of the town of Bartlesville just to show you that we aren’t a bunch of country hicks down here. Next post, I’d like to share photos of the amazing Woolaroc Park just west of Bartlesville, former country ranch of Frank and Jane Phillips that has now been turned into a wildlife preserve and Native American artifacs/American art museum.


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When one first comes into Bartlesville, hillarious water towers labeled Hot, Cold and Warm are there to meet.


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The Price Tower is hard to miss as its 19 stories hover over the downtown. The Price Tower was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, one of quite a number of buildings in Oklahoma with his signature. This building is the only skyscraper built that was designed by Wright and is created along the lines of 1920′s Art Deco architecture. It was finished in 1956. Covered in decorated sheets of copper, it is one of the most unusual buildings I’ve ever seen.


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The “Spirit of Performance” Sculpture by Tasso Patsiri – it was presented in 1992 to the City by the Phillips Petroleum Company in honor of Phillips Petroleum Company’s 75th Anniversary


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In Oklahoma, many of the towns have taken on animal mascots and Bartlesville’s is the buffalo. Artist Jan Martin McGuire’s life-size bison, painted with various scenes, dot the city and stand sentinal in front of businesses and city buildings. These critters are on the grounds of the Community Center.


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I thought the architecture of community center was just lovely.


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Mr. Fix-It was fascinated by the huge, wooden replica of the first commercial oil well in Oklahoma near Bartlesville in Indian Territory, the Nellie Johnstone #1 well. It produced over 100,000 barrels of oil from 1897 until 1947.


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Frank Phillips built a home in 1909 in Bartlesville in order to bring his family from Iowa. Family remains philanthropic toward the community. Donated to the Oklahoma Historical Society, the home has seen wonderful care. Now open to tours, the home offers you the chance to truly step back into the early 1900′s since most of what is in the home is original.


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The houses in Bartlesville are just gorgeous.


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This was the Junior High near our home back in the ’50′s. Isn’t it pretty and well-kept for its age?!


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And this is the home where my parents lived in 1954 in that garage apartment at the back. It’s in awesome shape, isn’t it?!


I thorougly enjoyed my day trip to Bartlesville, getting to actually see places of my past. Mr. Fix-It sure knows how to make a day special!!



Happy Motoring!



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Snakes Are Out

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012




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Our Recent Visitor


Well, the sneaky snakes are out in force. This critter showed up on the driveway and was so big Mr. Fix-It and I could see him from the house. He was around 5 feet long and 2 ” in diameter. He had been eating because there were bumps all the way to the tail and he was really slow. I poked him with a stick to make sure he was alive and not hurt, and he showed me he was fine by coming after me!!! As best as I can tell, he is a Prairie King Snake and they are pretty aggressive. So, I took off with a squeal and gave him his space. We leave king snakes alone because they eat the pigmy rattlers and copperheads.


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Happy Summer!



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Winner In The Mother’s Day Giveaway!

Monday, May 7th, 2012





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Two Winners!!!


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Surprise – surprise! As Mr. Fix-It was doing his due dilligence in drawing a name out of the bucket for the winner of our Mother’s Day Tea Party gift, I decided, on a lark, to give away TWO gift sets. Mr. Fix-It generously agreed to draw out a second name.



And so, I am proud to announce that the winners of our May giveaway are Ryan Gott and Gayle Jones. Both will be receiving a box with the tea party gifts in the photo above, just in time for Mother’s Day. And for the rest of the month, in honor of Mother’s Day and Spring, our Apricot Orchard tea will be on sale at 15% off. A $4.25 tin of loose tea will be $3.60 through the month of May. This tea is just amazing and makes wonderful hot tea or iced tea, depending on your mood.



Happy Mother’s Day!



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Adventures In Canning

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012





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Don’t forget to comment below to enter the Mother’s Day Giveaway. Time’s a–wastin”! Drawing will be May 5th. Winner will receive the items pictured above – a Tea for Two Tea Pot, a tin of one of our signature teas, a tea infuser and a package of Victorian House Scones Mix. Drawing is May 5th. The perfect gift for Mom.



Trying Out The New

Tattler Lids!




I like to think of myself as “Low-maintenance”. It doesn’t sound all that spectacular, I know. Mr. Fix-It says that he considers me to be “pretty low maintenance”. I think he appreciates that I don’t beg him for the latest $250 shoes or a bigger house with swimming pool and hot tub.. I’m positive he was relieved when I liked a Nissan Versa rather than a Mercedes (as if we could afford a Mercedes!). And it’s been a really, really, really long time since I’ve gotten a piece of jewelry. I don’t wear it and so I don’t care about it.


I’m at the age where I’ve finally figured out that “you can’t take it with you”, and so practical and useful in the here and now is more on my wish list than gorgeous and flashy. Out here in the country, the squirrels, cows and bunny rabbits could care less whether any of us has a diamond or a cubic zirconia. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I get more excited over kitchen items then I do a fur coat!


So, you can understand how excited I’ve gotten over a new product introduced to me by friend and reader, Shari. As an avid canner and as a canning teacher, any new-fangled canning item is a treat for me. When I learned about the Tattler Reusable Lids, I just had to try them. These lids can be used over and over instead of tossing them as one must do with traditional lids after use. The website offers free shipping, which is awesome, and sometimes there is a sale – which is how I ordered mine! I have been waiting until my first crop – the strawberries – came in to try the lids out and so this past weekend’s pick of 8 quarts of strawberries gave me the opportunity.


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A box of 12 reusable lids includes 12 plastic lids and 12 rubber rings. These items are BPA free.


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The lids and the rubber rings are prepared in hot water (do not boil) just like the traditional metal lids.


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After washing the rims of filled jars, the rubber rings are placed onto the rims.


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Then the lids are carefully placed over the rubber gaskets.


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Metal rings are screwed onto the jars but not tightened. Using one finger to press onto the lid, finger tighten the ring. (I had to use one hand to take the picture so no finger on the lid!!)


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Jars are processed exactly as jars with the traditional lids. Since this is strawberry jam, I waterbathed the jars for 15 minutes.

When jars are removed, the lids are immediately tightened. When the jars have cooled completely, remove the metal rings and pull gently on the lids to make sure they have sealed. You can either store with the metal ring reattached or without it. To use the food in a jar, a dull table knife is gently inserted between the rubber gasket and the glass rim to pry up the lid. Once used, just wash the lid and rubber ring in warm, soapy water and store for next time. Reusable! Cool, huh?



Happy Canning!



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