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Some fall favorites


Each fall we look forward to driving up to the North Carolina mountains to enjoy the changing scenery and to purchase some of our fall favorites. One of our favorite things to buy are the large heads of mountain cabbage. We eat coleslaw all year long and I have quite a few different recipes that we enjoy. Here are links to a few of them:

Ginger Bacon Slaw

Ray's Coleslaw

Mennonite Girls Cole Slaw
My son-in-law who does not care for mayonnaise liked this one. It also keeps very well.

We also enjoy cabbage soup, bierocks, and cabbage rolls. I tried something new when I made cabbage rolls and thought I would share the tip here in case it might be of help to someone else. I removed a few outer leaves from a head of cabbage that we purchased recently and steamed them for a couple of minutes in the microwave, cooled them, and then froze them. I removed them from the freezer a few days ago and used them to make cabbage rolls and they worked just fine. I like to use fairly lean ground beef in the cabbage rolls and I don't always have any on hand so it was good to know that the cabbage leaves freeze well and can be used at a later time. You can also prepare the cabbage rolls and freeze them to cook at a later time.

FrozenCabbageLeaves

Here's an idea for one of our more recent fall favorites. Did you know that if you mix peanuts and candy corn and eat them together it tastes like a Payday candy bar? It's really a good combination.

CandyCornPeanuts

I was also surprised when I went to purchase a bag of candy corn that there are quite a few flavors to choose from now. One of the most unusual that I saw was Carmel Macchiato. Have you tried any unusual flavors of candy corn? Do you have any favorite cabbage recipes?

Becka

My poor neglected blog


I haven't intentionally given up blogging, it just seems that way. :) I've been keeping busy with a variety of projects and have decided that if I am going to keep blogging I need to focus on short posts with fewer pictures until I get back into the habit again. I have written numerous blog posts in my mind for the last few weeks and now it's time to write them here in the computer.

One blog-worthy event occurred a couple of weeks ago when we were able to have a blog friend here in our home for a visit. Several years ago our friend Betty, who lives here in town, told me that her sister, Deb, had a blog that I might enjoy reading. I began reading her blog, Mountain Musings, at that time and have really enjoyed it. She is a quilter and a gardener and often writes about her family and their travels. Her two daughters have their own businesses and post on the blog from time to time as well. Her son is building a house at the moment and some recent posts have described some of that process. I had met Deb briefly when she visited here in town a while back and have wanted to invite her to our house to get to know her better. It worked out so that Deb and Betty could come for supper when she was here recently.

Deb and Betty's mother, Mildred, is a basket maker. She crafts beautiful, unique baskets. I have always admired some of the baskets she makes with potato mashers for a handle and I was able to purchase one from her a few weeks ago.

PotatoMasherBasket

When Deb came for dinner she brought us a gift of some of the hand made soaps that her daughter Hannah makes. I have been using the Lavender soap and have enjoyed the fragrance and the fact that it is not drying to my skin. Don't tell my grandson Drew but I ordered him a bar of "Dirt" scented soap for Christmas. Deb has information on her blog about ordering Pleasant View Soaps and Granny's Baskets in case you are interested.

GirottiSoap

We had a nice evening and it was fun to get to spend time together instead of just commenting back and forth on our blogs or by email.

DebandBettyfall-14

Deb wrote about her visit to our home on her blog if you would like to read about it from her perspective.

Our last day out west


Shortly after we left our motel in Williams we felt as though we were driving through the Grand Canyon. The views were spectacular. Places to stop were few and far between so we were thankful we had water and snacks in the car. We would drive for miles and only see a few scrawny cattle and an occasional trailer or hogan. We stopped in one small town which had a trading post with this hogan outside:

Hogan

When we first started planning our trip we wrote to Rob's cousin Glenn for advice since he had lived in Arizona for several years and knows the area quite well. He gave us lots of useful information and suggested that we might want to stop at the Cameron Trading Post. I had looked it up online and thought it might be a nice place to stop for lunch, so that was our goal. As we drove along through vast areas of desert we kept thinking we will soon be coming to a town called Cameron. Our anticipation grew as our GPS told us we were nearing our destination. We soon realized that the Cameron Trading Post was the main attraction. There was little else there but a lot of road construction and a dry river bed. The Trading Post itself was very nice. There are several buildings including an ice cream shop, post office, and an art gallery as well as the main building which contains the restaurant.

We browsed around the gift shop and saw many lovely things but most were too pricey for our budget. They had lovely baskets, such as this one which cost $2000.

CameronBasket

They also had beautiful wool rugs. There was even a woman who was there demonstrating how the rugs are made:

CameronWeaver

Since the area is so isolated they also had a grocery section. If we had been travelling home by car instead of by plane I would have been very tempted to purchase a bag of this flour:

BluebirdFlourCameron

We decided to try the traditional Navajo Taco which is prepared with a base of fry bread instead of a tortilla. I had hoped they might have some other more traditional vegetables which I have read about but they didn't appear on the menu. The taco was good, and pretty large. We split one and this was my portion:

FrybreadTaco

Here is a view inside the restaurant:

CameronDining

For most of the rest of our travel time in Arizona the landscape was still desert-like with low growing shrubs and few trees. It was still interesting to us how the topography changed in appearance as we drove along.

ArizonDesert1

ArizonDesert2

ArizonaDesert3

MonumentValley2

Almost immediately after we entered Colorado we noticed a lot more greenery and many more trees.

GreenColorado

GreenColorado2

Our destination for the night was Durango, Colorado. As we were planning our trip one interesting place I had read about in Durango was the Bar D Ranch which features chuckwagon suppers. I couldn't find any information on line about the times for the supper. After we checked into our hotel Rob called the ranch and was told that if we headed out there right away we could make it. When we arrived we found we were the last people to register. As we entered the property the cowboys were in a little cabin greeting people and singing.

BarDSingers

There were also a couple of gift shops. Shortly after we arrived everyone was asked to go to their assigned tables and we were given directions as to how to proceed through the food lines. We were impressed at how efficiently the food was served. The food itself was not outstanding, but the evening was a fun experience. You could choose between steak, chicken, or steak and chicken and pay accordingly. We chose the chicken.

ChuckwagonDinner

Throughout the meal the staff, including the cowboys replenished beverages and were very helpful to older folks and children who needed assistance. After a while seconds were offered to those who wanted them and then everyone took their trays to the back and cleared and cleaned the tables.

The cowboys then came out and began their program. They sang quite a few western type songs and some patriotic songs and told some stories and a few poems. The entire program was very family friendly and it was a very nice way to end our travels.

BarDSingerProgram

The next morning we headed on our last leg of our trip and arrived at our friends' home in the afternoon in time to repack, rest, and spend one last evening with them. We had planned to take them out to dinner but they had prepared a special meal to celebrate my birthday which was later that week.

After a good night's rest we said our farewells and drove to the airport to drop off our rental car and to catch our flight back home. We were very thankful for the opportunity to make the trip, to visit with special friends, and to see more of the beauty the Lord has created for us to enjoy.

Next post: Family reunion

Becka

Our trip to Arizona part two


We left our friends in Phoenix and headed toward the little town of Williams, Arizona, which is on Route 66. We arrived late in the afternoon and took a stroll down the Main Street. Just a short distance from our hotel was a grocery store, a quilt shop, and an old fashioned Dairy Queen. We felt compelled to check out the Dairy Queen for old times sake. :)

Before we began our trip out West we had purchased an America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. People over the age of 62 can purchase this pass for $10 per couple. It is good for a lifetime. Younger people can purchase a yearly pass for $80. The pass is good at many of the parks for all the occupants of the vehicle.

The next morning we headed towards the Grand Canyon. Our first stop was in the town of Tusayan where we watched a very informative IMAX presentation about the canyon and got some general information. The IMAX movie had many scenes taken from a helicopter which really helped you to sense the immensity of the canyon. As we entered the park we began seeing a few elk. Apparently they are used to people because they would stop in the road, much to the delight of onlookers.

GCanyonElk

We parked our car and walked to a visitor center to catch a shuttle bus to ride around to some places in the Canyon. The buses come about every 20 minutes and stop at many places in the canyon. It was extremely hot the day we were visiting so we opted for one of the shorter routes.

The views were breath-taking and it's hard to describe how immense the canyon is. We continually thought about how only something as cataclysmic as a universal flood could have created the canyon. We had no desire to trek down into the canyon, especially in the month of July. I think it would be much wiser to hike there when the temperatures are cooler. There were many visitors from all over the United States and other countries. Rob enjoyed speaking German with a family from Switzerland who were kind enough to take our picture.

GCanyonOverlook

GCanyonAvecClouds

GCanyonAvecTrees

PrettyGrandCanyon

RBGCanyon2

That evening after our trek to the canyon we returned to Williams and took another stroll down Main Street (Route 66) and ate supper at Rod's Steak House which has been a fixture in Williams for many years. We enjoyed our dinner and the "steer" motifs which were throughout the restaurant.

RodsSteak

In my next post I will describe our final travel day out west.

Becka

Our trip to Arizona Part One


We left our friends' house in Denver very early in the morning knowing we would be facing a long day in the car. We were very thankful for the nice rental car that we had. It got good mileage and the air conditioning worked well as we traveled through the desert.

Our friend Steve had helped us map out a route and let us borrow his atlas. We were very thankful to have it since our GPS and even our phones did not have service in some of the remote areas that we drove through. We were amazed at how the landscape changed over the course of the day. We left the lush green mountains of Colorado and entered the dry, brown mountains of Arizona. We saw very few animals--just a few cattle and horses.

Here are a couple of pictures from our dirty car window:

ArizonaTerrain

ArizonaTerrain2

We saw very few birds and on some parts of the trip we would drive for 50 miles or more without seeing another car. We did see some saguaro cactus that was in flower and there were birds that were feeding on the nectar. We were later told that those cactus only grow in Arizona, California, and Mexico and that they are highly prized and protected by law.

ArizonaCactus

When we thought we had just another hour to go before we would reach our friends' house in the Phoenix area we realized that there was an hour time difference between there and Denver, much to our dismay. We finally did arrive and received a very warm welcome from Dave and Becky S. and their children Laura and Davy.

Stertzbachs2014

After some light refreshments they took us to a guest room at International Baptist College where Dave teaches and Becky is an executive assistant. The guest room was lovely and we were very thankful for such a nice place to stay.

GuestRoomIBC

SnacksIBC

The next morning which was a Saturday Dave and Becky picked us up and gave us a tour of the college and of Tri-City Baptist Church where Dave is the music pastor. They have a lovely facility and it was encouraging to hear how the Lord has provided different items for the school and church music programs. After our tour we picked up the kids and went out to lunch at a Middle Eastern restaurant.

After a delicious lunch we went to the Heard Museum which has a focus on American Indian art and history. We took a guided tour for part of our visit and enjoyed learning about some of the beautiful artifacts on display.

HeardExhibit1

They have pieces that are very old and then similar modern pieces. We especially enjoyed the pottery and the beadwork displays. The detail in some of the beadwork is amazing. It's hard to imagine the amount of time it would take to construct some of the items which are completely covered in the tiny little beads.

This is a beaded baby carrier:

HeardBeadedBabyCarrier

These beaded vests and the purse were among my favorite pieces:

HeardBeadedVest

It was very sobering to visit the displays about the Indian children who were sent off to schools far away from their parents to try to discourage them from adopting their native culture and language.

After a brief rest in our room Dave, Becky, and the kids picked us up and took us to a very unique place for supper. Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa, Arizona.The restaurant features pizza and live organ music played on the Mighty Wurlitzer organ which was built in 1927 and has nearly 6000 pipes. We sat up in the balcony where we could easily see the organist "pull out all the stops" as he performed.

MightyWurlitzer

For some of the songs there were additional props such as puppets which he could also control from the organ console. People were able to write their requests and place them on the platform and he played many of them. After dinner we taught the whole family how to play the game Tenzi. It was a very fun evening and something we will always remember.

The next morning we attended church at Tri-City Baptist Church which was located just across the parking lot from our guest room. In our Sunday school class we met the parents of some people we know here in Greenville and the parents of one of Rob's students. Rob also talked with a man who was in some of his college classes way back in the last millennium. :)

During the church service Dave surprised us by singing one verse of Be Thou My Vision in French. Dave had gone on a mission trip to France with us twenty years ago and he dug out his old mission team notebook and polished it up again just for the occasion. That was a very special moment for us.

After the service we went out to lunch at a Mexican restaurant with our friends and another family from the church. Even though our time there was rather brief we had a wonderful visit and were thankful that they were willing to take time from their busy schedules to accomodate us and make us feel so welcome. We enjoyed hearing how the Lord directed them to move from the ministry they were at in Vermont to move to Arizona and were blessed to see how He is using them in the ministry there.

Mid-afternoon we were back in the car again and heading to our next destination, Williams, Arizona.

Becka


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