Archive for March, 2009

I Knew Tennessee was Different, but…

March 30, 2009

I could not put my finger on it, exactly.  Today while sitting at our dining room table, Kevin tells us to “take a look at this.”  Down the highway was a bike rider, riding BACKWARDS!  I have never seen anything like it and thought perhaps we could be in the Twilight Zone!

Have a great day!

March Almost Gone…

March 26, 2009

So many things to post…so little time.  Before my battery camera went, I actually had taken pictures and mean to post.  The first post I wanted to write was a “Signs of Spring” post. 

Signs of Spring, early March, 2009

We had some beautiful Spring-like days in the beginning of March.  The girls love to make beautiful mud cakes.  That is, they take the dirt and dress it up with beautiful greens and flowers.  MaryEllen very much likes pretty things.  I cannot wait until she is old enough to help decorate the house.  It will always be pretty with her around.

girls-and-mud-pies   me-with-pie

We took a walk down to the creek.  It was warm!  (The weather, not the creek).  We found our usual little snail shells, “Indian money,” and a nice piece of bark with some growth on it. 


We went out and picked some lovely daffodils. 


john   shabby

A few days later, my next post would have been titled, “SNOW!”


Not just any snow, FIVE INCHES!!!  Down here in Bodenburg, that is extremely rare!  Kevin went outside and told me there was about 4 inches.  My reply, “No there’s  not.”   Boy was I wrong.  Joe went out with a ruler.  It was beautiful and lasted a few days. 

snow-1     snow-2


On to present things…Joe has been plowing.  We have a pumpkin patch plowed, a regular garden space, and a large space for the children to plant watermelon and gourds.  We’ll see how they do with weeding this year.  They insist (as they do every year) that they will keep up with the weeding.  We’ll see. 

Perhaps I need to go out right now and get pictures of the girls with the blooms.  I saw that the iris plants have buds on them.    Also we had a tremendous amount of rain yesterday.  We have a pond in Frisky’s field and the side stream is running hard and fast, perhaps harder and faster than it has since before we moved here.  The damn burst!  With that went all of Joe’s plumbing to the old water system.  Generally that is how we water the pumpkin patch.  I have no doubt that he’ll come up with something else.

One more story and then I must go.  I had a customer here for a tax return.  She was a 72 year old lady.  The children were told not to come into the school room (also my office) while the person was here.  Never-the-less, right in the middle of the tax return the door opened slowly.  I then see a little arm and hand holding underpants.  A little voice said, “Mama, can you help put these on?”  Charlotte was naked from the waist down.  I had to excuse myself to go help her.  What a humbling moment.  The client didn’t mind, but I know my face was a lovely shade of red.

The Apostles – A Review

March 25, 2009

With great excitement I opened the box that had just arrived in the mail.  Inside was the book “The Apostles Illustrated Edition” by Pope Benedict XVI.  The medium sized book just begged to be opened!  At first glance, I just knew this was a gem of a book.  The beautiful illustrations throughout the book make this a keepsake.  My favorite genre of art is the old classics and this book is full of them along with beautiful mosaics right out of magnificent churches. 

The words in this book are printed very nicely in a font that is easy to read.  The sections and chapters are presented in a way that you can read some quickly, whenever you can find a few minutes.  Then there is the author, the Pope.  There is always a little bit of trepidation when I think about a book written by a man who is as intelligent and full of wisdom as the Pope, but this book is very easy to read and understand.  It also makes for very good meditation and I would not hesitate to bring this book with me to Adoration. 

The first part of the book talks about the origins of the Church.  It talks about the time on earth with Jesus, the institution of the Eucharist, and Jesus’ vision for the future.  The second part of the book goes into detail about each of the apostles.   Each chapter on the apostles gives the background of the apostle, talks about the time he spent with Jesus, and gives beautiful and meaningful insight into his life.  There are extensive biblical references throughout the writings as well. 

Overall, this book is simply beautiful in both words and illustrations.  I have plans to share it with my children.  This can be a starting point for many discussions and assignments.  The rabbit trails that I envision already include early church history, a starting point for extensive study on any one of the apostles, and even art appreciation.  I think this book would make a fine gift for anyone, but especially for Confirmation or for someone entering the Church.  It is both well written and well illustrated.  You can order a copy from the Catholic Company.  That is where I got mine.  You will not be disappointed!

A Quick Note

March 21, 2009

See the pictures at the top of the blog?  That is what it looks like right now.  The Bradford pear trees are in full bloom.  It is beautiful.

I recently lost the battery charger for my camera.  Joe ordered me another, so my camera should be up and running very soon.  I am so thankful because there are so many blooms out there right now.

Irish Soda Bread

March 18, 2009

Yesterday, as your probably already know, was St. Patrick’s Day. We all wore green and the boys made Irish Soda Bread. I told them how my Mother made it every year. Kevin was first. He put raisins in his. The other two boys left the raisins out. A friend of mine asked for the recipe, so here it is. Let me just add that this is probably the best Irish Soda bread that I have ever had, especially Kevin’s with the raisins.

This recipe comes from the book Kids Can Cook Vegetarian Recipes by Dorothy R. Bates.  

Irish Soda Bread
makes 10 slices

1. Preheat the over to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a small baking sheet, or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Mix in a large bowl:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/4 cup sugar (we used sucanat)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

3. Stir in :
1/2 cup currants or raisins
1/4 cup oil
1 cup sour milk or soymilk*

4. Knead the mixture in the bowl 5 times, turn out on a lightly floured surface, and put flour on your hands to lightly knead 10 times.

5. Shape the dough into a round loaf, and place on the baking sheet. Use a floured, serrated knife to make a 4-inch long, 1-inch deep X across the top.

6. Set the timer for 45 to 50 minutes, and bake until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow if you tap the top. Cool.

*To make sour milk, add 1 teaspoon vinegar to 1 cup plain milk, and let it stand a little. (We used plain soymilk with 1 teaspoon of umeobeshi vinegar.)

A New Blog

March 13, 2009

Vogel Boys 2 —

The boys are at it again! If they were only so excited about their math!

Nature Sightings Today, March 10, 2009

March 10, 2009


-second salamander

-ring neck snake

-mouse (found the nest)

-gray fox

-mocking bird down by the creek (I was very close to this bird when we both realized and he flew away!)

-common water snake (with his happy little round eyes)

-2 very large wasps in the house

-eastern phoebes out the window

Kevin’s comment:  This is how we saw the fox.  John threw a branch into a brier patch.  John thought the branch was rolling, but it turned out to be a grey fox!

James and Mom saw the water snake (Mom knows where to look!)

Kevin:  I lifted a rock and I saw a mouse!  I saw the nest with it.

Heard this morning while lying in bed: 
Kevin: “Don’t worry it’s not poisonous.” 
Dad:  “Well it doesn’t belong in the house.”

Unfortunately, the battery charger for my camera is missing!


March 5, 2009

Here are some pictures that MaryEllen and Kevin have been working on.  The polar bears and the parrot were sent off to Nature Friend Magazine with the hopes of having them published.  The War Between the States picture I found sitting on my desk this morning.  Remember, you can click on the pictures to enlarge them.  Enjoy!

Mary Ellen’s Polar Bear:


The rest of  the drawings are Kevin’s:




The Pet of the Met

March 1, 2009

One of the nice things about the children getting older is that they have the brain space to remember neat facts about picture books.  We had an opportunity to go see the opera “The Magic Flute” the other night.  When I told John what the name of the show was, he immediately said, “I think that is mentioned in a book.”  He ran off to get it and surly it was in there.   The Pet of the Met is written by Lydia and Don Freeman (Don Freeman is the author of Corduroy books.)  Kevin was kind enough to read the book to his sisters before we left.  When we got in the theater, John kept saying that he wondered what the foolish bird catcher was going to look like.  As soon as he came out, we knew who he was!  It was a wonderful opera that ran just short of an hour.  Charlotte was on the edge of her seat for most of the play.  The kids all loved it.   The timing was perfect for this performance because I have really been feeling like we need some culture in our lives.  We got a dose that night.  The only picture I took was of the boys  before the performance.