Category Archives: Country Living

Winter Cardinals in Oklahoma

I absolutely love Cardinals! I think both the male and female are crested beauties! The males have a black mask upon their glorious red and the females are a mellow brown with touches of reddish orange here and there. My, my, how that red stand outs against a bleak and snowy landscape.

Cardinals do not migrate in the winter and often come together in flocks to band against the winter harshness. I can look out my window on a dreary winter day and see flashes of red in the thicket in the pasture. This bird is a seed eater and some of its favorites seeds are sunflower, cracked corn and safflower. An excellent sight for birdwatchers in Oklahoma, Bird of Oklahoma.  Today I found a site for birdsongs, it’s wonderful on this arctic winter day to hear sounds of spring.

If you want to draw Cardinals into your yard be sure to plant vines, climbing roses and evergreens. Tangly, hardy vines like the clematis, honeysuckle and trumpet vine make good hiding places. Cardinals like to build their nests in shrub and climbing roses; the thorns make for good defense. Evergreens make good plants for roosting, especially in the Winter.

Alex and I made Orange Baskets treats for the birds on this wind chill factor -10 day. Turn the orange with the stem end up and cut wedges out of the top on both sides thus leaving a “handle” to hang the basket. We used recycled old ribbon for the hangers. We decided the orange smelled so good we ate the wedges or if you can resist the temptation, feed the wedges to the birds. The Orange Baskets will be hung from the Pecan tree in the backyard.

Orange Baskets for the Birds

My Impressionism era photo of Winter Cardinals.


Farmer’s Market One Yard Wonder

My Christmas Present

One of my plans for 2010 is to start a Nowata County Farmer’s Market at the Fairgrounds.  Gardening has always been my passion and therapy. I have also been involved with a series of Economic Development meetings for Nowata City/County and believe that Agritourism is an important aspect of  Nowata’s economy. I have been working on networking and planning since October 2009 for the market. Another page will be added to this blog about the market and keeping everyone updated about the progress.

Vintage Design

My very creative daughter, Holly, made this bag for my Christmas present using a pattern from the book, One Yard Wonders. She used vintage material for her creation.  I love it, love it! Holly and her friend, Audrey, have developed a collaborative creative project, Mama Says Vintage. Please stop by to read their unique blogs.

Rolled Up to Store

The bag rolls up and has a velcro strap to secure. You could store it in your purse or glove compartment or in a milk crate in the back of your mini-van. I have a plastic milk crate that I keep the following items:

  1. cloth shopping bags (from various stores)
  2. newspaper for wrapping my junking finds
  3. a few recycled plastic bags for multiple purposes
  4. a box of baby wipes
  5. hand sanitizer
  6. paper towels
  7. 2 small size quilted moving pads to protect my junking furniture pieces
  8. 3 bottles of water
  9. disposable cups/snacks
  10. a box of various size plastic storage bags

My van hauls grandkids to various activities and always seems to stop at garages sales, estate sales, flea markets, etc. so the above items come in very handy. One never knows when and where one might need any or all of the items. Like maybe on a trip to Tablerock Lake through the ups and downs and curves with a 4 year old sitting in the back seat who got carsick…… which we did not have because we were in Grandad’s truck.

If you are reading this  and live within 40-50 miles from Nowata and are interested in the farmer’s market, please make a comment and I will let you know about the planning meetings, etc.

I will be a fashionista at the Farmer’s Market with my new one-yard bag!

Amish Cheese House

Last month, Holly, my oldest daughter was going to Choteau to run some errands, so I offered to go along to drive and wrangle Ruby and Alex. Any excuse to spend time with my babies (no matter how old they are). One of the stops was The Amish Cheese House, a fantastic sandwich shop and cheese shop. Actually much more than cheese is sold there, things such as, meats, cheeses, candy, spices, cheese balls, jams, jellies and so on. 

I bought a few items:

  • Taco Seasoning (takes two tsp. per 1 # ground beef or turkey)
  • Ground Cumin
  • Curry Powder
  • Whole Black Peppercorns
  • Ground Thyme
  • Chicken Base for soups, chicken noodles, etc.
  • Creamy Coleslaw Dressing Mix
  • Southwest Dip Mix
  • Black Raspberry Dip Mix
My Amish Spices

My Amish Spices

I suggest the cheese balls for entertaining. I bought a delicious dessert cheese ball covered in pecans and had tiny chocolate chips inside, YUM! Great served with a plain cookie and apples.

There is a Amish bakery right next door that has the best baked goods you have ever tasted! I bought caramel breakfast rolls and banana nut bread to take to a family gathering. The two-crust fruit pies looked like they should be sitting on Aunt Bea’s window ledge and there are two sizes, small (2 person) and regular.

AND everything was VERY reasonally priced. If you have a chance to go through Choteau, plan to stop for a sandwich and other goodies. The Amish Cheese House, 101 S Chouteau Avenue, Chouteau, Oklahoma. I highly recommend it because of the natural ingredients, cleanliness, variety and value.

I also bought a small jar of Unker’s Deep Penetrating Pain Relief to rub my sore muscles/joints and the usual chigger bites summer brings. It works! It has natural ingredients and is recommended for arthrtis, colds, coughs, sore throats, burns, bruises, sinus troubles, insect bites and chapped hands and feet.

Unkers Pain Relief

Unkers Pain Relief

While in Chouteau, we visited a flea market, lunched at a Amish Restuarant and purchased fabric at an outlet shop. A great day with some of my favorite ladies.

County Fairs and Prairie Wildflowers

County Fairs are so much fun! Delicious food, fantastic exhibits, fun animals and a comforting ambiance. I am going to enter some items into the Nowata County Fair this year. I want to encourage everyone to enter some items in their county fair. The more exhibits in the Fair, the better the Fair. I will be sharing a series of my 2009 county fair exhibits.

My exhibit into Open Class Photography/Adult Division

Plant Life

Oklahoma Prairie Wildflowers


Showy Evening Primrose


Common Spiderwort


Prairie Field of Golden Coreopsis


Golden Coreopsis


Wavy-leaved Thistle

 The Nowata County Free Fair has a Stick Horse Rodeo and a Pedal Tractor Pull, doesn’t that sound like alot of fun for young and old alike! County Fairs are an integral part of our American heritage. Most county fairs are held at the local fairgrounds and the office may have the fair books or will know where to obtain the books. The booklets provide all the information about the sections, divisions and classes for exhibits. Share some news about your county fair!

Oklahoma Summer Livin’



Alex & Ruby cooling off on the 108 degree heat index day this summer. This activity can last for hours and then they invade the kitchen for jell-o, popsicles, mandarin oranges, cheese sticks, etc.  This weekend Ruby had already ate two popsicles and wanted a third, to which I replied “No, we need to eat something different.” I watched her little face and could tell the wheels were turning, she said “Can I have a different popsicle?”  My reply was “Good try, Rub!”

We had a Hawaiian Culture Day with grass skirts, leis, hula, pineapple tidbits! I bought the outfits at the dollar store. We read about Hawaiian culture, ate pineapple and looked at Pineapple Plants. We watch Lilo & Stitch (a good movie for their age). 

Hawaiian Culture Day

Hawaiian Culture Day

We have had to replace the pool because Alex decided that she needed to drive her bicycle into the pool; poked a few holes. She learned a lesson. After a talk about inflatable pools and sharp objects, a new pool was purchased on sale and will be inflated today. I developed a method of keeping the pool relatively clean this summer, which I will share with you.

Pool Cleaning Process:

  1. they step in and out of the pool in a plastic wash pan to lessen grass, etc.
  2. once a week I pour about 5 cups of bleach into the water (a day when the pool will not be used)
  3. the next day I top off the pool with fresh water
  4. about every 3 weeks I empty water out and clean and fill with completely new water 
  5. I use the old water for my flowers and garden ( be careful about the bleach amount)

We have lots of cool fun filled hours with a $10 pool! They have a canvas folding chair to lay their towels on for drying off and lots of pool toys.

This weekend I covered one set of my iron patio chairs while I watched the girls swimming, so I was able to multi-task. I will share the process and finished product this week. I hope you and yours have had some fun enjoying the great outdoors this summer.

Vintage Tupperware & Harvesting

Harvesting Green Bell Peppers

Harvesting Green Bell Peppers

 My set of three “harvesting” items, a vintage Tupperware Cutting Board, a handled red garbage bowl and a washing bowl.  My garden is small so I developed a method for processing small amounts of produce. I first put a small amount of produce in the green bowl and fill it with water to wash the dirt off of the produce. The vintage tupperware piece is fantastic for chopping produce and pouring into small plastic freezer bags. The red garbage bowl is for the bits and pieces from chopping the produce and the contents go in the compost heap.

Diced Green Bell Pepper

Diced Green Bell Pepper

My sweetie doesn’t really like green peppers, therefore, I only use about 1/4 cup in various dishes like chili, spaghetti, taco filling, etc.  I pour about a 1/4 cup into a small freezer bag and seal it then put the freezer. When the batch is frozen I put the bags of green pepper into a larger plastic freezer bag. When I need some diced green pepper for a recipe, I just grab a small bag from the freezer. Easy!

A Finished Batch Ready for the Freezer

A Finished Batch Ready for the Freezer

I process several veggies this way, onions, other peppers and various squash (zucchini for bread, yellow for casseroles). Just adjust this process to fit your garden and family size and likes. A combo of green peppers, red peppers and onions could be processed into one Southwest Seasoning combo for stews, soups, etc. I will share my recipes for Zucchini Bread and Squash Casserole later this month.

Old Junque Art Gardening

Hen & Chicks in Old Enamel Pot
Hen & Chicks in Old Enamel Pot

I love using old pieces of the past in my gardening. I often plant perennial succulents or annuals in old chipped enameled pieces. Be sure and punch a few holes in the bottom before planting or the rain can stand in the pots and cause rotting to occur. Sometimes you can use a big nail and hammer or use a drill with a sharp drill bit to punch holes, this depends upon the condition of the enameled pot.  These old enamel pots and pans can be found in flea markets, antique stores or yard sales. The price can range from WOW to very cheap (a $1 per pot), just shop for those bargains. Gardening Notes: 1. Keep moist in winter. 2. If the temperature drops 20 degrees or below put the pots in a protected place, like a garage or shed.

Perennial Succulent in Green/Beige Enamel Pot
Perennial Succulent in Green/Beige Enamel Pot

I look for unusual items to place in my landscape to add interest and detail. In my new butterfly garden  I put a vintage hand driven cultivator and a red and white enamel dish pan. The cultivator adds some ambiance from the past and provides for a trellis for the recent planted Passion Vine. The dish pan provides water for the birds and butterflies, it needs a unique rock or something for the butterflies to land on to drink.

Butterfly Garden with Cultivator and Dish Pan
Butterfly Garden with Cultivator and Dish Pan

Old rusty iron pieces have a special appeal to me, the bits and pieces remind me of days gone by when they were used by the farmer out in the field or by the farmers wife in the milk house. I have combined a rusty piece (milk separator??) with a vintage tin watering can; both pieces have drought resistant annuals planted in them because of the intense heat of Oklahoma Summers. The rusty planter displays bright pink rose moss and the tin watering can displays multi-colored periwinkles (vinca minor); both are heat and drought tolerant.

My Junque Art
My Junque Art

Old junque art pieces not only add interest to a garden but it also recycles odd bits and pieces that would otherwise end in the trash pile. Our small towns have an abundance of junque art in the yards and gardens. I love to drive around and look at all the ingenuity of fellow gardeners. What a great one day trip! Just go to small towns and look for junque art, take pictures and enjoy lunch at a restaurant with local cuisine. I might just have to take a day trip soon! I know that there are many of you out there that also have found unique pieces of junque art and have used the great finds in creative ways. Please comment and leave a link so we can all share in this joy of junking.

Rose Moss
Rose Moss
Multi-Color Periwinkle

Multi-Color Periwinkle