Sunday, December 25, 2016

Week 52 - And Wise Men Still Seek Him

Today is Christmas Day...while a lot of folks concentrate on the gifts, and the food, and the stuff, it's really about one of the greatest Gifts mankind has ever been given.  Now, I'm the first one in line for the gifts. And no one looking at me would think I don't like the food. But I am always mindful of the Reason for the Season (I know, it's a cliche, but one I love!).  The Blessings of the season never cease to surprise me.  

Mom suggested I show you a few closer pictures of some of my nativities.  Here you go:

 Here's one that I just brought home a couple of days before Christmas.  It's so simple and yet it moved me!
 Can you see the bears on either side?  Those are from John...he has restarted a tradition of getting me bears for Christmas (we had a gap of a few years when we moved here).  Each bear has a year on one foot...this year, he decided to get me both the boy and the girl bear. 
I made a yummy breakfast for this morning - yes, folks, I really DID cook!  
Not the best picture but it's crescent roll dough placed in a 'wreath' shape, bacon, scrambled eggs, cheese and then the points are folded up and over to seal everything in.  Baked for 20 minutes and served warm.  Mom and John both had seconds!

We were able to Skype with John and Jill and all the grands...what a blessing they are!  We are so very fortunate in the daughter-in-law we have...she's a treasure!  And those 5 children are truly wonderful!  

I can't believe I was actually able to blog every single week of this year.  I don't think I've ever been able to say that.  I'm going to shoot for another year of weekly blog posts...stick with me folks!

Well, this will be the final posting of 2016.  We leave you with wishes for a very Happy New Year filled with continued health and friends and families and any other blessings you desire.  Thank you for being our friends and stopping by here at Pieceful Harbor! 

See you next year!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Week 51 - Snow and Ice and Still I'm Nice

This week saw a lot of different weather.  We had 50° weather and -3° weather and everything in between.  We had winds, and rain, and freezing drizzle, and fog, and snow, and ice. 

The cows are munching away at hay to keep warm.  That;s Belle, staring at the back of the house as though to say, "Hey, John, bring me a sweater!"

Mom and I went down to Branson on Tuesday.  We saw the production of "Moses" at the Sight & Sound Theater.  Wow!  It wasn't Charlton Heston playing Moses but the acting and the music was sublime.  

Mom's first Selfie!

And we finished decorating for the Holidays this week.  I put out almost all of my Nativity collection this year. 

And the tree is spectacular, as usual.  

And we have already hung our stockings.
If Christmas were to be today, there would be tons of unwrapped gifts but I can sit back and relax for the rest of the holidays.  

See you next week.  Merry Christmas to you all.
Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Week 50 - First Snow and a Birthday and a Mini Vacation

I didn't think I'd have anything to write about but once I looked back, I find that it was fairly eventful.  
Mom told me recently that she'd always wanted to contribute to Toys for Tots but hadn't had a lot of extra money to do so.  Now that she's sold her house and has a bit put by, she said she wanted to buy a bunch of toys and give them to the Marines for their annual toy drive.  We went off to Walmart late last week and spent a most enjoyable hour picking out toys.  Id never done anything like that before and we were both quite overjoyed to do that.  

Then, on Tuesday afternoon, we stopped at a Marine Recruiter in Springfield. I asked him if they were still accepting Toys for Tots (there was no sign in the window, hence my hesitation)...he said they sure were!  I'm not familiar with Marine ranks so I'm not sure what he was so I'll just call him Mr. Fagin.  Mr. Fagin came to the car and unloaded all the toys...I heard him say to the other Marine with him, "We can do a lot of good with these!".  Made mom feel so good!
On Wednesday, the Ozarks got their first snow. Not a lot, just enough to cover the deck...didn't even make the streets slick.
And, on Friday, I took some vacation time and we all went to Silver Dollar City for the Olde Time Christmas festival.  It was so stinking cold!  The temps started out in the teens and got all the way up to 23°...for a bit. Then it deteriorated down again.  Lordy, it was cold!  Even bundling up, it was still cold.
Silver Dollar City is so magical during the holidays.  There are decorations that take your breath away, strolling carolers, and hot chocolate and hot cider all throughout the park.  We never miss an opportunity to see their showcase production of A Christmas Carol. Mom was quite impressed.

This is a five-story tree that is spectacular at's lit with over a million lights and it changes with music.  John's favorite.  And it was so cold that we absolutely could not stay long enough for dark to set in so he could see it lit up.  That made me sad, but I was too cold to care.
We also were able to have our picture taken with Santa! A very nice man offered to take the photo for us.

We're putting up the tree and getting set for the holidays today  Will post pictures next week.  Hoping you have a most amazing week.  

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Week 49 - The Beginning of the Holiday Season

This week began the holiday season around here.  Shops are decorated and their shelves are jam-packed with merchandise for sale. The streets are adorned with holiday finery.  Yards are beginning to sport Santa Claus figures and a plethora of lights and candy canes.  John pulled down some of the boxes from the attic so we could begin decorating Pieceful Harbor.  I need to take down the Autumn decorations first.
One can see that he didn't get the tall tree down.  Only the 3' tree that usually sits in the window in the studio (I'm not going to use that this year since the table in the studio needs some severe de-cluttering).  He moved the video cabinet so I can place the tree in its usual spot.  Pictures to follow next week.

Have completed mom's stocking. I'm so pleased at how it came out.

The weather has turned cold...really cold.  But it hasn't deterred the chickens from coming out of the barn and scratching around.  Foghorn Leghorn and his girls come out several times a day, peck around, and then rush back inside the barn when they hear any noise at all.  Later, they come out again.  The rooster is learning to's funny to hear his crackly voice several times a day - almost like a teenage boy whose voice is changing. 
Foghorn is the one on the far left...he has a beautiful comb...quite regal!

More next week.  Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Week 48 - Thanksgiving

I took this week off from work.  No specific plans except to sleep a lot and do whatever I wanted, when I wanted, if I wanted.  Today is my last day of Staycation.  Mom and I made peanut butter cookies, almond spritz cookies, caramel apple fudge, and buttery coconut pecan candy.  We made pies for Thanksgiving dinner, spent a bit of time at the Yarn shop, and generally relaxed.  I have to admit, I really enjoyed having this time off.  I even lost almost 5 pounds...who would have thought it?

Thursday was our Thanksgiving feast.  We had 3 of John's sisters, along with our nephew and his wonderful family join us for dinner.  Turkey cooked on the Big Green Egg, glazed ham, candied sweet potatoes, fresh green beans with onion and bacon, maple-glazed butternut squash, deviled eggs, pickles, olives, and for dessert, 4 kinds of pies.  

It's always so good to have family together.  Here we are with most everyone enjoying post-dinner conversation.

Good food, conversation, laughter, stories, plenty of love to go around.
Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving and hoping the coming Christmas season is joyful and abundant.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Week 48 - Fall Trees and a SuperMoon

Most of the autmnal color has gone away in this part of the Ozarks.  Sometimes, though, I see a splash of orange or red that catches my eye and makes me stop what I'm doing and enjoy the last vestiges of Autumn before we enter the cold season.  I was at the drive-thru banking window the other day and I looked around and saw this:
 In real life, it's much more vibrant than this picture depicts. It made my heart smile.

This past week we were able to see the SuperMoon.  Living in the country, I don't think it was as large and awesome as folks who live in the city saw it.  That's just my guess, though.  It was a normal-sized moon here...pretty, none-the-less.

I took this just as the moon was our east and you can see our grove of trees just below the moon.  Shortly after that, the clouds moved in and obscured the view.  It looks like the moon is hanging from a small cloud, doesn't it?

Our Gilligan is what we call an Up cat...he always wants to be up....hates being on the ground....I think that comes from his kittenhood...what we first adopted him, we were always holding him and he came to accept that as his due. 

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here...yes, once I typed this, I heard the song in my head....and it won't go away!  Darned earworms!!!

Was in mom's room and saw the Post Office truck go by...not unusual but today is mail delivery, normally.  John came in a few minutes later with packages in hand.  Evidently, Amazon is trying a new program with the post office and they will be delivering every Sunday till after Christmas...we are in a test zone and got several packages today.  
I'm told by Mr. Wonderful that there were more packages delivered but since it's That Time of Year, I'm not to ask too many questions.  These packages were ones addressed to me or to Knotwell Family Christmas....or to Dad Knotwell Birthday.  I'm allowed to handle those!  

Well, the laundry buzzer is making itself heard throughout the land and I need to get some more things done around here.  This next week I am on and I are going to bake cookies, gingerbread, candy...and, of course, Thanksgiving is Thursday.  Should have some great pictures to share from this week when next we meet. In the meantime, 

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Week 47 - A Happy Birthday Surprise, 3 Weeks Early

First, let's get the election crap out of the way.  I'm appalled at the actions of so many so-called Americans who feel that the way to show their unhappiness at the outcome is to name-call, loot, riot, burn, and generally have major temper tantrums.  It's not going to change the outcome.  I was raised that I was to cast my vote and then accept what ended up being the decision.  I was raised that we, as Americans have the luxury of being able to change our government once every 4 years.  I was NOT raised to damage other peoples' property just because the candidate I favored lost the election.  I was NOT raised to call people names just because disagreed with their opinion or how they voted. I saw something the other day that made sense, in a weird way.  It was a cartoon of all these rioters gathered in the street and the caption said, "That's what happens when everyone gets a trophy for participating." No one has to accept defeat anymore.  Folks don't understand, or maybe care, that there are two sides to every decision, election, or question.  And usually one side 'loses'.  That's not an excuse to pillage.  Get over it, folks... remember that when Obama won in 2008 and 2012, there were no riots, there were no protests.  Grow up...And to think we get to do this again in 4 years.  Sheesh!

On to happier things.  On Friday, which was not only Veteran's Day (thank you to everyone who served or is still serving.  Thank you for making the sacrifice of family, home, hot food, and relative safety) it was also a day to celebrate John's birthday - albeit 3 weeks early.  I had been secretly arranging to purchase him his very own brand spanking new tractor, brush hog, and hay spike.  Well, all things finally aligned and they were delivered on Friday evening.  He sure was surprised.  Can you tell?

Too close?  How about this?

Now he can cut down the tall grasses without borrowing our neighbor's tractor and brush hog...and he can put hay out for the cows, too.

Our neighbor across the road put this out the other day. Can you see his festive neckwear?  It makes me happy.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Week 46 - Fall Weather

Fall weather is now upon us...thank goodness!  The heat and humidity of summer is, apparently, gone and we are enjoying the cooler temps.  Mom and I sat out on the front porch the other day and knitted for about an hour. The breeze made the flagpole flap and we agreed it was a most lovely sound.
I finally did some more fall decorating this past week. We'd had these trees in the entryway for literally 10 or more years.  But the bottom was just a metal stand - quite unattractive!  So I took some burlap and some squished packing paper and gathered it all up onto the trunk and fastened it with some sparkly fall-colored ribbons and Voila!  It looks like it just came from the nursery and is awaiting planting!

While I was on a roll, I worked up this lovely tray for the morning room table.  We had gotten the tray, a rustic metal and wooden one, from Hobby Lobby and I wanted a new display for the table.  Add a miasma of autumn-colored silk flowers and you have a beautiful table decoration.  Even if I DO say so myself, it's quite pretty.

Last weekend the folks who were processing chickens were able to process 51 of them.  They were our friend's chickens.  This weekend, they did ours.  We had 34 chickens to process.  We started out with 37 but lost 3 over the course of the last 8 weeks.  Not bad really.  All the chooks (I love this term...from my Australian friend, Jennifer!) were processed and set into an icebath.  Once rigor mortis had passed thru the bodies (takes about 18-24 hours), they are now able to weigh and bag them.  I'm suspecting ours will come in at around 6-7 pounds each.  A lovely size for a family dinner with bones left for making stock!  I'll be out in the garage moving frozen items around in the 3 freezers to make room for this batch.  And we have chicken for almost a year!

I'm working on a Christmas stocking for mom...evidently, she never did get a stocking from me all those years ago when I was a stocking-making machine.  Well, time to correct that oversight!  I had several kits and she picked out the one she wants.  Here is a picture of the package.

Of course, it won't say Eric.  I've embroidered out a 'nameplate' that says Bette and will applique it there.  I like doing these...they do, however, take time.  This one will zip along quite quickly, though, cause there are only 37 pieces to it.  Will show it once it's done.

Thank for stopping by!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Week 45 - Happy Halloween (one day early)

Mom and I went on a mini adventure yesterday. We started at a PopUp Shop that my friend and knitting mentor, Lisa, was doing.  It's hard to explain a PopUp Shop - basically several shops get together and just 'appear' at a vacant storefront for the day.  Folks drop in and shop and at the end of the day, the shop is vacated again.  You never know where or when they will PopUp again.

This PopUp Shop took place in Nixa - about 40 miles southwest of us.  We drove to the locale and started browsing.  Bought some yarn - Lisa sells yarn at her yarn shop, One City Market - and then browsed in a shop next door.  Anjie's Boutique knew about the PopUp going on and prepared for it with mimosas and spiced/spiked apple cider and mini muffins.  They are a high end women's boutique. We each found a cute top and then drove back home.

All the time we were gone, John was killing chickens!  Between us and our neighbor there were 86 chickens that needed a trip to Freezer Camp.  There were evidently 7 folks over there working different processes...

In the background, you can see the Kill Zone with the cones and the yellow wheelbarrow.  The Blue thing to the left is the WhizBang Chicken can see how it works on  Fascinating!
And here you have chickens being cooled down really fast.  
Today they weighed and bagged 51 chickens.  All those belong to our neighbor, John and his family.  Next weekend, they will process our 35 chickens...and we will be set for chickens for the winter!

On another note, John's 7 Brown Leghorn chickens are finally venturing out of the barn during the day. He leaves the barn door open and only recently have they started to come out. I call the rooster Foghorn.  Here he is with his 6 ladies, the Harem.
Ever since we moved here, I've wanted a flag pole.  But the farm was the priority and John just didn't have time to install one.  When Mom moved in with us, she really wanted a flag pole and she decided that she was going to make it happen.  We ordered a flagpole and flag, a Navy flag, and a solar light.  Then we called my handyman and asked him if he could do it.  In all its glory, here is our new flag pole, folks.  Ain't it purdy?
Thank you all for stopping by. 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Week 44 - In Which One Gets Older

No, it wasn't my birthday. But it WAS someone's....Our youngest granddaughter, C, turned 4 this past week.  She is sassy, and smart, and totally the baby of the family and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Aren't those dimples To Die For?  Happy, Happy Birthday, Miss Bear Bear!  

On another note, her daddy is up for re-election this November.  He has already served 2 terms in the House of Representatives and it thrills me when I see his name on the Utah ballot.  

While we don't get to vote in Utah, it's still fairly obvious that we would definitely vote for him if we could!

And one last anyone who says that knitting is a hobby?  I have this to say:
I'm certainly ready if the time comes...both in needles AND yarn.  Bring it on!

Have a wonderful week, my friends. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Week 43 - A Short Week

Sometimes you just need to take a day off.  That was me this past week.  I took Friday off, in spite of the fact that Monday had been Columbus Day holiday and therefore no work for me, and my regular day off is always Tuesday.  Friday is John's day off so we all hopped in the car and went to Silver Dollar City for the day.  Currently, they are in the middle of their annual Festival of Craftsmen and Cowboys.  This, along with their Olde Tyme Christmas, are our two favorite festivals at the City.  We rarely miss seeing these festivals each year.  There are basket-makers, weavers, woodcarvers, animal trainers, glassblowers, potters, jewelry-makers, quilters, coopers (barrel and buckets), folks who make sell honey products, vendors who make natural creams, lotions, soaps, salves, and balms, amazing cooks offering food from huge HUGE outside wok-like skillets to the usual kettle corn and dipping dots.  And the autumn decorations are out of this world. See?

The workers were busy putting up lights in preparation for the Olde Tyme Christmas festival that starts on November 5th. 
There will be a total of over 5 million lights throughout the park.  We will post more about this festival later in December.  

Mom and I went into the Pottery shop...John ambushed us when we came out.

That's a lady named Joanne behind us...she inadvertently photobombed us so we introduced ourselves...never saw her before or after!  TeeHee.

We had a wonderful time at the City...ran into our nephew and his wife and children while we were's always neat to see folks you know at the City.  

Of course, we went to Brown's Candy Factory for fudge and brittle - Pecan, Cashew, Black Walnut, you name it, they have it!   Then it was on to the Taffy Shoppe - pear, mango, cherry coke, peach jalapeno, banana, watermelon, cinnamon.  And, of course, some Cherry Mashes for John and Mom...they were in heaven! When we first arrived, John rushed down to Sullivan's Mill and ordered 2 loaves of fresh Indian Bread...we picked it up after 3:00...while waiting for it to cool enough to be put in bags, we also picked up some freshly ground corn meal, and some sourdough bread mix as well as a 5 pound bag of Indian Bread mix so we can make it ourselves.  The head baker there told John that their sourdough bread mix works equally well in the bread machine!  I see sourdough bread in our future much more often.

My brother recently retired and his wife sent us this picture.  The only thing I can say about this is - I am totally jealous!
Have a wonderful week, my friends.  Thanks for stopping by.