Authentic Compassion

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Matthew 25:35 NIV
35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.

Here on Buhlaland we always have something to eat or drink and most strangers are welcome.
Some of our visitors aren't all that strange - but they are usually interesting at least to us!

Here is a particularly lively and charming visitor. Hollis is a handsome fellow and finds his own reflection amusing beyond all imagination! Perfect dinner guest - the people who came with him were pretty nifty too.

Then we find this critter on a huge fall Peace rose. We have lots of mantis around this year and they are welcomed visitors because of their huge appetite for all the pesky insects!

Next visitor decided she didn't want her picture taken so here she is leaping the back fence - two does come into the backyard and eat acorns. You will probably need to click on the other picture to find the deer - she is to the right a bit and barely visible but definitely there!

We love company here on Buhlaland! You never know when we get to feed an angel in disguise (somehow I don't think the mantis was one - but surely could have been an angel hiding in that little boy!)
Wish we could have visitors from Bangladesh - our boys Elius and Bipul write to us and their requests are so very small. I know most visitors to this blog are more than aware of the needs of children in poverty all around the world and our personal commitment to Compassion International. If you haven't sponsored a child yet or feel moved to spread some of the blessings you have in your life around to someone who is grateful for shoes and rice and letters from a friend in a foreign country - please click here for a child who needs YOU right now . I know times are tight financially, but what for us means not ordering a pizza this week - can for them be the literal difference between having anything to eat each day or not. We live in almost the only country where people worry about what they want to eat rather than if they will have anything to eat. What is the purpose of life? To glorify God - taking care of one of the least of these gives you far more than the $32/month in money it costs. Here on Buhlaland - that's a fact, Jack!

Tin can gardening?

IT was a cruddy year for gardening in Parker County - the reality of farming or gardening in Texas includes the occasional poor return year. The other problem would have to be our vegetable garden spot. We located the large, heavily tilled and fertilized 25 ft. by 25 ft. garden patch behind the workshop, completely out of sight from the house. You've probably heard "out of sight out of mind".
Having my garden spot so completely out of my sight - definitely contributed to being out of my mind (both forgetting to tend the garden and feeling a couple of bricks short of a full load!) DH and I (mostly DH) removed the elaborate sprinkler system he'd installed in the garden and burned off the knee high weeds. He used the weed eater to neaten things up (and eliminated about half my herb garden but how can I complain about it when he did all the work??) THEN we planted a genetic dwarf Bonanza Peach tree and a nice sized Brown Turkey Fig. DH next installed a NEW sprinkler system making sure everything was spaced so a riding lawnmower could be maneuvered easily in previously weed infested garden area.

Now we move to our new idea - we are experimenting with using a galvanized container with drainage holes drilled in it. The big tin can is placed not ten feet from the breakfast room windows and back door. Theory is - if I see the "garden" constantly there is higher probability I'll take good care of it. Right now we have 3 tomato plants, bok choy, red leaf lettuce (which is NOT doing well at all) and two kinds of summer squash. It does seem very late in the growing season to be trying all this but we normally have mild winters and shouldn't have a killing frost for at least 45 days. So we'll see - I think it is fun and if it works - we'll add more containers for a decent veggie garden.

I'm blessed with a clever and resourceful Mr. Buhl here on Buhlaland and that is very good.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Blooming blogging

Update - you know how sometimes an idea seems so perfect, so in tune with what you are doing and you just slip it in there. I felt so "right" about the posting of flowers and tying it into my late Mother In Law's flowers - so doggoned right I'd already done it! :::blushing and about to schedule a mental competency hearing for herself:::: I don't say I haven't gone crazy I do say I don't have to pack for the trip. SORRY!

I was outside this morning taking pictures of the rejuvenated flowering plants around here (mild fall temperatures make for a second season of blooms) Pesky morning glories still invading and overtaking our copper trellis, rose bushes and fence. Crybaby decided to help herself to some tasty tender morsels. Snickers had to be coaxed - it definitely wasn't his favorite taste.

I am trying to decide whether to just cry "uncle" with climbing roses - I have issues about keeping with a routine of pruning and tending my plants. (I have issues about keeping with a routine of tending my BODY let alone my plants). Just about the time I'm set to dig, one of the climbers presents us with a perfect bud deserving a reprieve!

Last two photos are a plant given to my MIL last spring by her other son's family. Before she left she put the houseplant outside (neither MIL nor I wanted another house plant!). I got such a surprise when digging out a clump of hosta. Under some thick foliage her gloxinia was sheltered all budded up and ready to bloom. I began to water it more and we are rewarded with beautiful pink blooms - in the multiple blooms picture I set the pot on our fence for ease of photography not where it actually resides.
Acknowledging botanic explanations I had to learn in science classes about why plants flower - I believe God gives us blossoms to remind us to have joy in our days. Blooms don't last long, are intensely beautiful, nurture hummingbirds and lots of insects - but they have to be enjoyed in the brief time they are available. It is blooming again here on Buhlaland and I'm grateful.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bowl'o'beans ala Buhl

A bowl of beans - no fancy accoutrements, condiments or even breath mints. Sometimes it is a good thing to go plain,nothing complex except the carbohydrates. I hesitate to call this a recipe posting but what the hey, you have to call it something!

I used about 2 pounds of dry pinto beans(no reason to do all this unless you make enough for a couple of good meals and to freeze or make into frijoles refritos), washed and sorted (picked out any little rocks) put into a large cooking pot. Add water to cover by a couple of inches. Put the pot on a burner, bring the water to a boil - then turn it off heat, cover the pot and wait one hour. VOILA!! you have perfectly "soaked" beans (without waiting overnight). Drain off the soakng water. Put beans, a very meaty hambone, a large onion -can cut it up a little if you want, a tablespoon or so of black peppercorns and two tablespoons minced roasted garlic- then cover with water. About the garlic - I don't roast and mince garlic - really I don't. I buy roasted minced delicious garlic at Wally World or your personal favorite grocery store. Adds good flavor, no big mess to use and whooeee I don't have extra nasty finger smells. OK now comes a tricky part - we go from the beans in my nice black cooking pot - to what is this? a red crockpot I see! Got this far and realized I didn't want to keep a propane burner going on low for several hours to cook the beans. Transferred the whole thing over to crockpot set on high to wisely not use as much energy for cooking. I don't add salt to the beans until they are already softened and tender - salt seems to toughen beans. When the time comes don't be skimpy with the salt - I use natural sea salt and tasted the liquid first to make sure the ham hadn't been enough salt. The beans smell great when they are done (we are talking 4 hours in a crockpot IF you don't lift the lid to mess with the beans). If you'll wait and refrigerate the cooked beans overnight (oops - there is an "overnight" instruction after I made the big deal about avoiding "overnight" in beans sorry). Taste will be greatly enhanced and when reheated liquid will thicken.

Hope you make a pot of beans, enjoy them with someone you love.

We had bowl'o'beans tonight for supper - it is good on Buhlaland!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Baking Texas style

As promised - cake recipe coming up! The storm has done almost nothing here - less than 1/4 inch of rain and mild breezes. We are grateful for safety and praying for the literally millions of people in South Texas dealing with no power, water supply issues and flooding.
White Texas Sheet Cake
1 cup butter
1 cup of water
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (one stick)
1/4 cup milk
4 1/2 cups confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla
nuts and or coconut
In a large saucepan, bring 1 cup butter and water to a boil. Remove pan from heat, and stir in flour, sugar, eggs, sour cream, almond extract, baking soda and baking powder until smooth. Pour batter into a greased 10X15X1 inch greased baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees for barely 20 minutes or until cake is golden brown and tests done. Cool for 10 minutes.
Frosting: combine 1/2 cup butter and 1/4 cup milk in a saucepan, bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Mix in powdered sugar and vanilla. Spread frosting over warm cake - top with sliced almonds or coconut (or in my case - both!) ENJOY!
I used an 11X17X1 inch baking pan so the cake is proportionally thinner. It cooked completely in about 15 minutes. Have even made this cake in a 9X13 pan but it gets a bit gooey when it is so thick.
OK no more sweets for a while - I need to cook something like vegetables or meat! The cake is delicious, I know my baked goodies here on Buhlaland!

Friday, September 12, 2008

No guesses?

No guesses were even made! Texas Ranger cookies! (get it huh huh huh? Chuck Norris =Texas Ranger???)
Anyhooooo - recipes for a similar cookie started appearing in cookbooks and magazines in the 1930's! They have also been known as Cowboy cookies. You'll make them and call them what I want in the cookie jar cookies!
The close up is to give you an idea of the texture - I love a chewy crispy cookie and these meet my requirements big time.

Texas Ranger Cookies
yield - at least 5 dozen
1 stick softened butter
1/2 cup Crisco
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon bakng powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups oatmeal (I used regular but some recipes call for quick cooking oats)
2 cups cornflakes
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup shredded coconut
Using a power mixer, cream together the butter, Crisco, sugars and eggs. Turn off the mixer and add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set the mixer on low and combine dry ingredients with the creamed mixture. Add vanilla and mix in. Add oats, cornflakes, pecans and coconut. Put spoonfuls onto a baking sheet (not greased) Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes.
I had to fiddle with the baking time a while - we have a convection oven and I'd set the temp at 350 - found it took at least 8 and a half minutes to be properly done. Don't make these too big - they don't get done in the middle before being overcooked on the edges. I wish I'd chopped my pecans smaller - just did a rough chop with a big cleaver and the dough would have been better with smaller nut pieces.
I read enough variations on the recipe to know that some heretics use rice krispies in place of corn flakes - a dangerous bit of blasphemy and not nearly so good -trust me on this.
We are experiencing sugar and fat overload at the moment here on Buhlaland - I think high protein and a plain veggie will be a good choice for supper tonight (right after I eat that broken cookie I just spied on the platter! can't have broken cookies leaking their calories all over the countertop) . Likelihood of posting tomorrow - high with moderate allowance for interruptions due to housecleaning and/or hurricane related power issues. What's coming? You know the chocolate cake PioneerWoman makes and we all love? I have a white cake version of it - oh so cleverly named - White Texas Sheet Cake.
Perhaps you should be planning a bake sale or freezing ahead for the holidays? You can do what I did and take a ziploc bag of cookies to your acupuncturist!
Beautiful warm fall day on Buhlaland and it is good.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Eating my words will be easier than my bread

I'll make something else. I made a loaf of pannier - which I must assume is a fancy word for moist and heavy cakey bread. So I won't be posting a pannier recipe here. Here is a picture of the loaf - little green specks are bits of chopped fresh rosemary. The shape of the loaf is unfortunate, it might have looked better baked in slightly smaller pan but as we say around Buhlaland - that's the way the pannier crumbles.

Here is a hint on what I will be doing as a substitute, correct guess could be a stretch for most of you but maybe it is enough hint. NO it isn't ham!
Love to keep you guessing - we'll be cooking and posting soon here on Buhlaland. Right now we are praying for those in the path of Hurricane Ike which includes us. Ike should be a tropical storm or just a very heavy rain and wind when it reaches North Texas but still preparing for possibility of electrical outages.
Keeping it real here on Buhlaland and enjoying the results of a day spent cleaning the kitchen (Murphy's Oil Soap smells SOOOOO good). Next I attack the master bath and bedroom - woo hoo! Housecleaning is my life (that is sooooo not true).

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Upon reflection

You've heard that in movies - some character says "upon reflection, we will be able to offer you a better settlement" or whatever stuffy statement they make. I think the phrase is supposed to make viewers think - doggone - those folks are DEEP.
Not deep here -only reflection is me taking a picture of our water trough in the goat pen about an hour ago. Hiya y'all! How blatantly silly is this? Pretty much all the way up the scale. I think I'm about to make something to eat - not sure what yet but if it turns out well - will be posting recipe and pictures. Rainy almost dreary day - OH word to the wise - don't go walking in the woods in North Texas during prolonged rainy spells . All this rain makes fire ants VERY mobile and more nasty tempered than usual. She speaks the truth here on Buhlaland - and can't wear a shoe for a day or so!

Monday, September 8, 2008

A potpourri of images

pot·pour·ri - a noun - apparently from the French in the mid 1700's- pot pourri - literally meaning rotten pot ( you can honestly say reading my blog is educational ,I don't always set a good example so I'll just have to serve as a horrible lesson.)
1 : a mixture of flowers, herbs, and spices that is usually kept in a jar and used for scent
2 : a miscellaneous collection
We're going the potpourri #2 - collection rather than smellocybervision because it doesn't work - you could sniff your computer screen all day long and not even get a hint of life on Buhlaland (unless your computer screen is quite dusty - very dusty - then you'd have a sniff of most of my house - I'm keeping it real here folks!) Also need to point out - I'm apparently possessed by an parentheses demon because you'll be subjected to many improperly positioned thoughts excused by parenthetical insertion (in other words - my brain isn't functioning on the grammatical syntactical level today- said she parenthetically).

The moon photo was taken with a view of our back porch one early evening last week.I accidentally (translation of accidentally is: didn't look in the viewfinder just clicked some pictures) included the gutter and side of our house. Kind of cool how the camera caught the deep purple hues - which can make you begin to hum Deep Purple if you listened to popular music in the early 1960's (yep - I'm OLD). You can take a moment and listen to the immortal sounds of Nino Tempo and April Stevens if you are so inclined.

Last Tuesday hurricane Gustav had blown inland and these beautiful clouds were scurrying across the North Texas skies. We were blessed with all the cooling effect and beauty without the destruction and fear parts of a hurricane. I roamed the campus of Tarrant County Junior College last Tuesday, camera at the ready. The lake is man made and the campus is along it's eastern side .

Pink flower - sweet surprise reminder from my late great MIL. She got the plant as a gift from her other son and his wife this spring. Ethel and I agreed neither of us wanted to tend another houseplant so she set it outside in our little garden. When I dug up a big clump of hosta last week I found the little plant had survived the summer heat and was about to bud out. So even almost two months after she went to heaven, we are still getting sweet surprises from Ethel.

It is good to be a cat on Buhlaland. Moe cat is a good mouser, loyal friend and usually the ruler of Buhlaporch Kingdom.

Last but definitely not least in this hodge podge pot of photos are the goat citizens of Buhlaland - they come running when we walk up to the fence. Our goats are anticipating something good is about to come their way - usually hoping for a snack but a scratching is acceptable. Makes me feel wanted even if just for my pockets of goat feed or useful scratching tools (fingernails) . Their persistent enthusiasm for us is a good reminder of how we are welcomed by our Heavenly Father

Psalm 146
1 Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul.
2 I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
3 Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save.
4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.
5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God,
6 the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— the LORD, who remains faithful forever.
7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free,
8 the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous.
9 The LORD watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
10 The LORD reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the LORD.

Yes - it was time to do some praising here on Buhlaland and it is GOOD.