Friday, January 27, 2017

A Day in the Life on the Farm: The Year of the Rooster...Menu for our Chinese New...

A Day in the Life on the Farm: The Year of the Rooster...Menu for our Chinese New...: Saturday is the onset of two weeks of celebration for the Chinese New Year.  Chinese New Year is a celebration of Spring and there are tradi...

Harvest Lane Cottage: Finding Peace in Troubled Times

Harvest Lane Cottage: Finding Peace in Troubled Times: Peace It can mean different things at different times for each of us. One thing is constant. Jesus is the source o...

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Iowa Housewife: Ranch Style Stew

The Iowa Housewife: Ranch Style Stew: Every cook needs a fairly quick “can-opener” recipe or two, and this one from the     "Southern Living the Low Cost Cookbook"...

The Iowa Housewife: Cookbook Reviews Southern Living The Low Cost Cook...

The Iowa Housewife: Cookbook Reviews Southern Living The Low Cost Cook...:   I recently found a used copy of   Southern Living The Low Cost Cookbook .  Published in 1972 by Oxmoor House, it gives recipes for low ...

"I recently found a used copy of  Southern Living The Low Cost CookbookPublished in 1972 by Oxmoor House, it gives recipes for low cost meals, and tips on low cost grocery shopping. Some of the tips are still valid today. I sure wish Lamb and Veal were still considered a low cost meat and were readily available.
  The chapters range from High Quality Low Cost Meal Planning, Seasonal buying, through recipes ranging from Breads to Salads, Soups and Stews."

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Reposting: DWELLINGS-The Heart of Your Home: The Keeping Room Window ~ Hummingbirds in Flight

DWELLINGS-The Heart of Your Home: The Keeping Room Window ~ Hummingbirds in Flight: DWELLINGS-The Heart of Your Home

Through the farmhouse kitchen and keeping room windows are wonderful views of nature. It dawned on me when sharing about all the acti...
From Sarah: Showcasing once again a beautiful one called The Keeping Room. Come and watch what goes on outside their window.
Humming birds......
Farmhouse style Keeping room

Our Life Here at Rolling Meadows Ranch and Lake Kissimmee State Park

Danny and I have a very interesting life and for many an usual one. Danny is a Park Ranger and I Volunteer. We live in a state own house that we (And many others) restored.....
Here are a few pictures of
Our Neck Of The Woods.....
On Lake Kissimmee Sunset :Tiger Creek and Zipprer Canal.  Headed to Lake Kissimmee State Park .
Rolling Meadows Ranch
Lake Kissimmee State Park...Flags just taken down.
Our Sunset Spot . Rolling Meadows Ranch.
Rolling Meadows Ranch
Sunset Spot. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Creating A Morning Routine That Works For You
A Virtuous Women: Creating A Morning Routine That Works For You.
From Sarah.
I am not a morning person. I am also an insomniac with lupus and fibro.
Our schedule is crazy because of Danny's work schedule and his lack of one otherwise.
I do things differently on his Early Field And Early Office Days Than I do on his Late Field / Late Office Days.
Oh his off days,  he has no routine.  He does want he wants, when he wants to.
I have to work around his day. His moods.
My nights are very typical. I get as much done for him at night so I don't have to do it in the mornings.  I function and can talk and would love to.
He moans and groans. Is cranky.
And if he talks.... watch out.
I enjoy my nights in the kitchen. Or I use to.
We both love to SLEEP IN and stay up LATE.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Re-blogged from WordPress : This Past Week In Our Neck Of The Woods
Times are changing once again. All winter volunteers have  left the park. The snowbirds have left as well.
It's time for the locals to come and come they have. In droves....
So the rangers and this year round volunteer are back to doing Scrub downs and other such jobs. Summer is still  not here as far as the calendar says and yet we are breaking heat and humidity records almost every day. Rain is still a problem as flooding continues.
We had one of our 2 roundups at the park. Met some new friends.
I lost a friend this past week. Long story there and one I will share when the time is right.
Danny is on his 8Th Late Field shift..
This coming week is his short week so he took the 3 days off. So we have another one of our Stay at home week off. PLEASE don't call it a vacation.. We haven't had a real one in 6 plus years. We haven't gone anywhere off Rolling Meadows Ranch more than a few hours except for work. Even that was almost 2 years ago.

Mistakes, Miracles, and Belonging

Tilly's Nest : Mistakes, Miracles, and Belonging

Re-Blogged :

I think during the holidays, I seem to find myself thinking about the blessings that I am fortunate to have. I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes people happy.  What makes me happy. I mean truly at the core. I’m not talking about the happiness that is fleeting, like when you buy a new outfit. I’m talking about the kind of happiness that lives in your heart and soul. What I am discovering is that despite being surrounded by “friends” on social media and interacting with them on a daily basis. Many people rarely touch on their loneliness and lack of belonging. I rarely talk about a dark time in my life. It was oh so long ago, but it was a time filled with self-discovery, mistakes, miracles, and the sense of belonging while on the brink of death.


Many, many, moons ago, when I was young. Over half my lifetime ago actually. I spent months in the hospital after a terrible medical mistake. What was supposed to be an outpatient procedure for my appendix turned into months. I nearly died. I got to the point where I would drift to and from, in and out of consciousness, while I was kept alive by beeping, oxygenating, sucking and pumping machines that held onto my life. They were automatic, so I could use whatever energy was left in my body to fight.  I couldn’t eat, had difficulty breathing, couldn’t walk, couldn’t sit up, and I was fighting two infections in my bloodstream after undergoing multiple surgeries to correct surgical damage.  I knew it was really bad, when they eventually began weighing me everyday. I had shrunk and withered down to 70 pounds. How could I have any reserves left to fight?
After eight weeks in the hospital, the doctor told me that they were using a “Hail Mary” medication through the IV. It was either going to kill me or save me. He told me he couldn’t let a nineteen year old girl die. He wasn’t ready. Little did he know that I was. After all, he had called in an infectious disease doctor from Yale University. He asked for a favor. He didn’t know I was already at peace. I can remember laying there and thinking that it was okay to let go. It was surreal. Nothing mattered other than what I needed most. What I needed most was all around me, my friends and family. I belonged to them and they loved me. They were there, in person, supporting me whichever way my life was going to go. They took shifts around the clock and not once did they leave my side. Fortunately, I survived and came out on the other side a different person.
I can remember that night, as the new medication flowed into my body praying and asking God for his guidance and wisdom. Asking him if it was my time. The medications side-effects were causing confusion, soaring high fevers, chills and sweats. They were poisoning me so that I could live. Then in a complete moment of clarity, I recall asking God that if he let me live, that I would dedicate my life to helping others. As soon as I began relearning and focusing on gathering the strength to learn how to sit, eat, and walk again, I applied for nursing school.
So many years now have passed but I carry that story with me everyday. I haven’t shared it with many and this is the first time I have made this public. I guess I felt that it was time. Another moment of healing I suppose. I had so much time to think back then without distractions. Lying there for hours, days upon days. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t remind myself of the important things.
Important things:
Warm place to live shelter
Relationships= Love and belonging
Everything else does not matter.
Everything else does not matter.
Back in the olden days, we all needed to know our neighbors. The farmer fed us. The teacher taught us. The doctor cured us. The mill created wood to build our homes. The neighbor looked out for us and helped with projects and so it goes. Most everyone kept their own flock of chickens. Everyone had a purpose and they needed us as much as we needed them. Because of that we were kind to one another. We looked out for one another and made house calls instead of telephone calls and texts. I look around and think how very far away we have come from that. What made us disconnect with one another?

From Sarah : Read the read of this post at the link  here :

Memories of Better Days With Bobby

Bobby came home for some birthday cake.

I AM In A Strange Mood :By Sarah Re-Posting

I am in a strange mood. Not sad but I feel the darkness coming. It always seems to this time of year. 10 years ago, over Easter week, Danny and I finalized our plans for me to move to Florida and  get married .
Bobby had surprised and PLEASED us by saying he would like to move nearby not long after.
I was thrilled. Danny was delighted. He didn't have any close family around.
We were so happy that Easter.
One month later. Shortly after Mother's Day, Bobby was gone....
I changed then.
Love you Bobby.

Thursday Home Tour ~ It Could Be Yours!

Thursday Home Tour ~ It Could Be Yours! 
Dwellings : The Heart Of Your Home

Our tour today will have you dreaming of days gone by when times were simple.
The late sellers called this rustic antique log cabin home for over 50 years.  The cabin was built in 1820 and is nestled in the hills of Virginia on over 38 acres.

Located at the end of a private drive just off a quiet country road,
this sweet cabin offers privacy and plenty of room to roam.

Come sit a spell and enjoy the cool morning and late evening breeze as you rock your cares away on the covered front porch.  You'll also enjoy the soothing sounds of the small mountain creek that meanders through the front yard.

Check Out The Rest Of This Wonderful Cabin.

::::::::::Becoming::::::::::: Why Grief is Sacred and Personal...

::::::::::Becoming::::::::::: Why Grief is Sacred and Personal... This is personal to me. I didn't write it.
I just live with grief every day. Some day are just harder than others.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Why Grief is Sacred and Personal...

Grief is a deeply intimate and personal journey. It is sacred ground upon which we fear to tread, yet something in us calls for us to enact that which we know is rightfully ours: grief.

And the experience of loss can also be very layered.  We have the primary loss- the death of our child, our children, a partner or spouse, a sibling, a parent, a grandchild, a niece or nephew, an uncle or aunt, a grandparent, a friend, a pet... and then, sometimes, the loss, particularly in traumatic death, comes with peripheral losses: the loss of naiveté, the loss of a parent group, the loss of innocence, the loss of trust in the world, loss of safety, loss of other relationships, loss of a home or a job, the loss of our minds or even what I call a necessary and temporary loss of reality, of our minds - and hearts - as they once were... and, the list of secondary losses can be unending. I am going to briefly share my own experiences of traumatic death and the layers of loss.

Some may be able to relate. Others may not.  But this is my truth, and it's important for me to tell my truth. This truth isn't something I've publicly discussed, but its been in my heart for nearly 21 years. Yesterday, I had a conversation with another grieving parent who shared this truth.  She felt shame for this truth, and it made me wonder if there were others like us...

When my newborn daughter, Cheyenne, died in July of 1994, the juxtaposition of unmedicated childbirth and then death, kicking in the door where He most certainly was not welcomed, for me was traumatic beyond my own imagining. I cannot describe, in mere words, the horror of that day when death violated the inviolable: a mother and her baby.  Every cell in my body was programmed to nurture and mother my child. Yet, I had no where to enact that evolutionary drive. Hormones raced through my veins, messengers of mothering, so I would pace the hallways at night, pangs of distress screaming in my head, my arms burning for her, and milk burning at my breasts for my dead baby. Yes, I was losing my mind. This I knew. Why wouldn't I?

Three months after Chey died, I began to experience what those in the medical field might call 'hallucinations.'  They lasted for about seven weeks, and were primarily tactile or somatic, but on several occasions they were also visual, auditory, and supernatural in a terrifying way.  I didn't understand what was happening to me. I was disoriented and filled with dread.  And I told selective few about these experiences. I wondered if my mind was irretrievably lost in the trauma of her death. Would I ever be the same again? Really, just as there aren't words to describe the loss, there are no words to describe what happened in my home for nearly two months, from October 5, 1994 to November 20, 1994 as I teetered on the precipice of reality.  I do know that, from the moment of her death to the moment the incidents began, I felt alone, lonely, terrified, despairing, and isolated.

And primarily, the ways in which others interacted with me mattered.  Many avoided me altogether. Some cited scripture or holy books (nonplussing because I was, at the time, a secular humanist). Social support was scant. Psychologists I encountered wanted to run from me, perform some 'intervention' to diminish my "symptoms" of grief and make themselves feel more powerful in the face of the unfixable, or focus on my marriage: psychiatrists wanted to medicate me. Neighbors told me to focus on life, you know, unicorns and rainbows, or just "choose happiness" (right, Megan?). Pastors wanted to proselytize and convert me. But exceedingly few, if any, were willing to really sit with me in the middle of the grief's fire and allow me to just be, bearing witness to the deep abyss of my despair. I could sense their own fear and trepidation.  Might their children die, too?

So, really, it was the existential loneliness, sense of disconnection, and invalidation for the worthiness of her life and death that was unhinging me, not my grief itself.  I could barely parent my older three children, whom I deeply loved and over which I felt tremendous shame (adding shame to shame to shame) because of my changed ability to parent. And then, there was what John Lynch, M.D. calls the 'toxic talk.' Platitudes. All things happen for a reason... G-d has a plan... Time will heal... Aren't you glad it wasn't one of your older children... And all the 'at leasts'...

Many - in fact countless - others told me that I was young.  I could have another baby. They assured me that I hadn't lost my motherhood with her death. Yes. All true.  I was young, only 27. And yes, I could have likely conceived again.

As an aside, this last bit really distressed me. I didn't care about losing my motherhood. I didn't care about losing a 'pregnancy' because I didn't lose a pregnancy. My newly born daughter died. And yes, I was young and could have another baby.

But... I did not want another baby. I wanted her.

I was not mourning just any baby.  I was mourning her.

Another child would not satiate my longing for her.

I did not want to be a mother. I wanted to be her mother.

I needed people to understand that she was not and would never be replaceable. Another child would not assuage my grief because I did not desire another child. I desired only her, my child who died.

This is precisely how I felt.

I would have another child, born nearly three years later, unplanned. A son. Beautiful beyond words. He was not her, and she was not him. They were unique people, different children, whose identities were not enmeshed for me. I was very clear in my head and in my heart; I am so glad he is here. I am so sad she is not. I love them both - all - equally.

Off my 'soapbox' and back to my state of mind...

The strange occurrences ceased one day, as suddenly as they began, and I can't explain why or how. I never accepted that I was mentally ill or "deranged" as was inferred. What happened to me was powerful, beyond this world, and I suppose my brain was reacting to the extreme stress and trauma.  As Eleanor Longden profoundly noted in her inspiring and insightful TED talk, its not about what's wrong with a person. It's about what happened to a person... and then there are the vast and lasting effects of others'  attitudes toward us and the way that influences us- the trust or mistrust of our own hearts, and whether or not we are able to integrate and adapt in the face of traumatic experiences...

I remain in awe and wonder about the horrifying phenomena during my acute grief, but, intriguingly, it hasn't reoccurred since November of 1994. Research is clear that traumatic experiences can create reactions in the brain,  sometimes in critical ways, even if temporarily. As a researcher and as someone who has direct experience, this interests me. I know that feeling so disconnected from the world, existing in that liminal space between the living and the dead, though frightening, may have been essential for integration and adaptation.

And I also wonder the role of others in our emotional and mental health.

Specifically, did the desperate angst and loneliness I felt lead to the psychological distress that would later manifest as visions or terror-filled encounters with what felt like the supernatural? I'm uncertain, but I am curious.

So, recently, I connected with a Harvard researcher and we are considering a study to explore these types of 'visions' or hallucinations or seemingly supernatural experiences for mourners.

If this resonates with you and you'd like to share your story with me, please, email me informally.  I'd like to hear from you.


Re posting from Sarah’s Attic of Treasures Facebook. January 2013:My Name. Is it Sarah or Debbie? Park, , , ,

Re- posting from Sarah’s Attic of Treasures Facebook. January 2013

April 21, 2015

My Name. Is it Sarah or Debbie?

My name. Sarah or Debbie? If you ask my mom, She will say Debbie.
If you ask Danny or anyone here in Florida, I am definitely Sarah.
I even had the pastor include the name, Sarah, along with Debra Sue, in our wedding ceremony.
If you would have asked Bobby: All of his life, except for one time, he introduced me as Debbie, his mom. The one exception, when he met Danny. For some unknown reason, when he met Danny, Bobby told him to call me Sarah. He met Danny here in Florida on vacation. They got to be good friends even though Danny was my age. (Well, 4 years YOUNGER). So Danny has ALWAYS called me Sarah. ALWAYS. I am never Debbie to him. Not teasingly, not in anger, not at all.
I am Debra Sue Kasch. That is the name I was born with. I love the name and am very proud of it. I kept the Kasch for most things after I married Danny. At Danny’s request. The Kasch name died with Bobby. Or at least our link to the Kasch name died. So in honor of Bobby. In honor of my father, grandfather and all the Kasch’s before I still use Kasch except for legal stuff etc.  As a child, I was called Debbie, Debbie Sue, Or Deb. My family and close family friends  still am called that.
Classmate call me both. Growing up there were so many Debra’s, Deborah’s, Debbie and Debbie Sue’s. In high School there were over 20 of us. One day in fun, my best friend, Dan (different one of course) jokingly asked me what I wanted my first child to be named if it was a girl. I said Sarah Elizabeth.  Or Rebecca Lee. So he started Calling me Sarah.
It caught on quickly and before I knew it I was being called Sarah by almost everyone I came in contact with. It just clicked with everyone.
I will never forget the look on my mom’s face when Dan was visiting us and he called me Sarah for the first time, in her hearing. OUCH!
She is never quiet if she has an opinion. Mom had one and let it be known that I was NOT SARAH but Debra Sue or Debbie . You get the picture?
I can still hear her say that. I remember my sister calling me that once. Another OUCH. That’s how I always thought of Mom’s words. OUCH. Like a burn. For the most part, no one called me Sarah, around my mom for many years…. To Dan’s wife and kids I was called both. Interchanging. Aunt Debbie. Aunt Sarah. Still Am. When I got on FB, It was 3 years after Bobby died.  My personal site was Debbie-Sarah Kasch. I still have that one.  I needed both names so people could find me.
When I met the Angel Mom’s I was Bobby’s MOM Debbie…….. Yet, here in Florida, I am Sarah.
They never knew Bobby.
Yes, It is confusing at times.
I was quieter then and didn’t post much. Imagine that? I certainly didn’t share myself or Danny to the world like I do now. I didn’t want to share Bobby with everyone. SO I stayed quiet for awhile. I reconnected with my classmates from High School. I added friends I’d known all my life. I added my friends here in Florida. Some continued to call me Debbie. Others called me Sarah. It took a few people awhile to realize I went by 2 different names. They thought I was 2 different people. I started getting questions. The angel moms for the most part are the ones who went from calling me Debbie, to Sarah, when I started sharing Our life here. When I started sharing Our Neck Of The Woods, (A page just for the Lake Kissimmee State Park, Rolling Meadows and life in Florida. History. Our Life), they started calling me Sarah more and more. I called myself Sarah. I can’t explain it better than that. I answer to either.
The name I miss most is MOM.
I never get called that any more. At least not very often. When I do it’s Dan’s kids or an old friend of Bobby’s.
Now about the pages:
Sarah’s Attic of Treasures and  Debbie’s Attic of Treasures are the same except for the name. Exactly.
I have Our Neck of the Woods about Danny and I and our Park Life.
I have Sarah’s Life: What Was . Was is . What Will be. It’s about  Life in Illinois, Colorado. Bobby, Danny and I.  Mainly Bobby and I. It’s very small. Mainly for me.
I have Bobby’s Memorials. I also have a page called Getting To Know My Friends Through Our Children. It’s a page for grieving parents, grandparents. Etc.
Sarah Sue is the account I use for Sarah’s Attic Of Treasures and all of my pages, except The memorials.
It’s a fun account. It’s where I like to hide.

Florida anglers, boaters asked to select ‘Top 100 Family Fishing and Boating Spots’

Florida anglers, boaters asked to select ‘Top 100 Family Fishing and Boating Spots’
From Sarah: 5 Florida State Parks are listed. Lake Kissimmee State Park is one of them. This is where Danny and I live, work, play and love.
LKSP borders 3 lakes: Lake Kissimmee (Florida 3rd largest lake), Tiger Lake and Lake Rosalie . It connects to a huge chain of lakes.
Our Neck Of The Woods at it's best.
Danny and I on Lake Kissimmee .Sunset.

Bobby’s Cove At Rolling Meadows Ranch. Restoring The Sod Fields: A Huge Restoration Project. – Sarah's Attic Of Treasures

Cow Camp- Our Neck Of The Woods

1876 Cow Camp At Lake Kissimmee State Park, Lake Wales.
Our Neck Of The Woods

Our Neck Of The Woods (Where We Live Work, Love And Play)

Rolling Meadows Ranch (Where we live)
Lake Kissimmee State Park
Allen David Broussard’s Catfish Creek Preserve State Park
Collier Farm Road
Camp Mack Road
Camp Mack Fish Camp AKA Camp Mack River Resort
Liar’s Lair
Lake Wales, Florida
Cherry Pocket Fish Camp
Disney and Other Attractions
Beaches and Oceans
The Florida Park Service
DEP  AKA The Department Of Environmental Protection
Fish And Wild Life
Wildfires and Prescribed Burns
Exotic And Invasion Weed Control
And Anything To Do With Florida

I have a blog attached to Sarah's Attic Of Treasures that I am in the process of organizing.
There’s been a lot of confusion here about where Danny and I live and work. It’s is a bit complicated. I talk about us working at Lake Kissimmee State Park , Rolling Meadows Ranch and even at Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park. I also mention Catfish Creek ,the Creek. I mention living at the park and RMR .It’s all true. So here’s a bit of the story:
In  November 2006, I moved to Florida from Colorado. Danny and I moved out of the house his Dad had built when he was a child. He lived in Haines City all of his life. We bought a 5th Wheel and moved to Camp Mack Fishing Camp…..Camp Mack Road, Lake Wales. It’s right across from Lake Kissimmee State Park. Danny was working at Bok Tower Gardens at the time.
February 1, 2007, Danny got a job as a Park Ranger at Lake Kissimmee State Park (LKSP) I started volunteering right away although not full time.
On August 4, 2007, we moved the RV across the street to LKSP and lived in what is called Day Use Area. I was Campground and Day Use  Host….
Among many other things.  FULL TIME and then some. We lived there until December 2008.
We moved over to Rolling Meadows Ranch.  (3 miles from the Ranger Station) It was a SOD FARM till the state took it over 6 years before. The Sod people totally moved out January 4, 2009. We remained in the RV until the Cracker House was Gutted and remodeled. (Part of the kitchen was left as it was. ( I wanted the CABINETS.) We worked on the house for  almost 4 years. We moved into the Cracker House and out of the RV in September 2011. It was not totally finish. Not by a long shot. We also needed the RV to cook in, etc. for months.
Lake Kissimmee State Park manages Rolling Meadows Ranch.
LKSP manages Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park (CCPSP) or Catfish Creek.
LKSP also manages a place called Money Tree and  a few other tracks of land.
Lake Kissimmee State Park also leases pasture land. All the pastures seen from LKSP to RMR on both sides of the road belong to LKSP.
Lake Kissimmee State Park connects to Rolling Meadows Ranch.
Rolling Meadows Ranch connects to Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park
So LKSP has almost 20,000 areas to manage.
Rolling Meadows Ranch is the largest of the 3. It’s where we take our NIGHTLY DRIVES that I talk about. It’s more of our Evening Rides because we usually get home around Dark.
Catfish Creek runs through CCPSP and RMR. I’m usually speaking of RMR’S Section of it. SO HAVE I TOTALLY CONFUSED YOU?  It takes time to fully understand all we do.
From Sarah: There are pictures in the original post on Sarah’s Attic Of Treasures. Showing the Cracker House :Beginning.
Source: Our Neck Of The Woods

Rolling Meadows Ranch
Lake Kissimmee State Park
Allen David Broussard’s Catfish Creek Preserve State Park
Collier Farm Road
Camp Mack Road
Camp Mack Fish Camp AKA Camp Mack River Resort
Liar’s Lair
Lake Wales, Florida
Cherry Pocket Fish Camp
Disney and Other Attractions
Beaches and Oceans
The Florida Park Service
DEP  AKA The Department Of Environmental Protection
Fish And Wild Life
Wildfires and Prescribed Burns
Exotic And Invasion Weed Control
And Anything To Do With Florida