Saturday, April 29, 2023

Cat Head Biscuits

 No Cats Were Harmed in the Baking of these Biscuits

Called cat head, the story goes, because these biscuits end up roughly the size of a cat's head -- and because sometimes a biscuit that's "eyeballed" instead of being rolled and cut in the formal tradition -- sometimes comes out looking like a cat's head (you can even try to do that on purpose to entertain the children, if you like!) -- these delicacies of the southern breakfast table were a staple at our grandparent's house when we were kids. Easy, because they take out the rolling and cutting steps, they are fluffy and delicious with some homemade raspberry preserves! From our house to yours, I give you:

Cat Head Biscuits


  • 3cups all purpose (or cake) flour
  • 1/2teaspoon baking soda
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • 2teaspoons baking powder
  • 2tablespoons lard or buttermilk*

  • 1
    cup melted (a couple tablespoons) butter for tops of biscuits (optional)


  • Mix dry ingredients and sift into mixing bowl, then cut in lard until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  • Stir in buttermilk until it is incorporated with the flour mixture. The dough will be kind of wet and very sticky. This is good. Too dry and you'll have dry, crumbly biscuits.
  • Flour your hands and turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough in the flour just enough to make it handleable - you don't want it to stick to your hands too much, but don't work in too much extra flour either or the biscuits will be heavy and taste of raw flour.
  • For each biscuit, pinch off a piece of dough about the size of a large egg or a small lemon and pat out in the ungreased pan with your hands. You don't want it to be really flat, just pat it down a bit so it's relatively biscuit-shaped and about 1 inch high.
  • Bake at 475 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Keep your eye on them while they're in the oven so they don't burn.
  • Brush tops of biscuits with melted butter, if desired. Some folks like a little garlic salt sprinkled on top.                 
  • ENJOY!
Makes 8 large biscuits.
* If you don't happen to have buttermilk on hand, no problem: it's easy to whip some up: for each cup of buttermilk, simply add 1 tablespoon white vinegar, plus enough milk to measure 1 cup. Stir, then let stand for 5 minutes. Easy Peasy!

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Two-fer Tuesday on the Feast of St. Mark

1) First of all, remembering that this is the day of the Greater Litanies, when we pray for God's blessing on our crops at the beginning of the growing the growing season, I'd like to share a post with the traditional blessings for all the parts of one's property. Click here.  

In the life of our family, this practice of blessing our property was one of the highlights of our year, as all the parts of the ritual, itself, appealed to all of us -- and the very fact of the blessings gave us a special feeling of security, as if God's arms had been placed in a special away around our home. The post linked here was put together in about 2022, when we lived in Nebraska! (How time flies!) It chiefly details the prayers said.  I need to put together a simple how-to regarding the craft of making the "staffs" that we plant on the four corners of the property, but there is really very little "craft" involved -- and no right or wrong way of doing it. 

In a nutshell, we have the children go find strong straight sticks, at least five feet tall and either save from the pantry small jars or bottles (about the size of a small vanilla container) or we buy little jars at Hobby Lobby (that have caps) and fill them

with Holy Water. We then take either a plain little bit of a Palm Sunday palm or a palm that has been folded into a cross (see here) and with some ribbon (as much as you like, tied however you think best) we tie the holy water and the palm to the staff (stick). Sometimes a bit of glue-gun glue might be employed. When we go around placing these at the four corners, we bring some strong twine, because sometimes the best way of making the staffs stand up (especially if the ground is either especially damp or is frozen) is to tie them to trees. Alternatively, you can bring a T-post and a post driver with you (something you'll only need to do once) to place permanently at the corners of your land. Each year, the family will affix a new staff to the post -- or re-do last year's staff, if you like.

2) To end the day in a special and memorable way, Mom (with her helpers) can prepare a Venetian dinner in honor of the Basilica of St. Mark in Venice, where St. Mark's relics were laid. You can find some great menu items here. And some more ideas here and hereAnd, since the iconography of St. Mark is a lion, you can listen to the story of how that came to be right here -- and make the cutest little lion cupcakes, following the instructions here. The recipe for a lion cake can be found here. 

It is called a feast day, after all! Creating memories of happy times connected with holy things are one of the best ways of snuggling a love of the Faith into the hearts of our children -- and because we are human, the way to our hearts... well... may not actually be through our stomachs -- but the love and nurturing and time and effort that goes into making our homes come alive with the traditions of our Faith... This really does help pave an excellent path to the children's hearts and our own! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Two-fer Tuesday

 A Photo

 Sophia and Chloe

 (Kevin and Ina's oldest with Cathy and Louis's oldest)

 All dressed up to share a recipe -- which leads to:


 A Recipe

(From our Family Cookbook. ❤️ Because St. Valentine's Day is coming up!)

Monday, October 24, 2022

Simple (Or Is It?)

Once upon a time, back in the halcyon days of the internet, when blogging was more a thing,  a lot of of us Catholic blogging Moms shared one another's links on hostess blogs with fun weekly themes... Remember those days, imaginary Blogging Public? There was a haiku day when we all shared links; there was clearinghouse day for household tricks and tips; there were homeschool link days; and there was Simple Woman Monday that gave us blogger Moms a little podium to share our random  Life Experiences of the Moment.  Just the simple little things. Which, as it turns out, are they most important things. We didn't know it then, but these Simple Woman posts were like little bookmarks, marking seasons of our lives. When I have occasion to use the search engine on this old blog to find a photo or a recipe (which happens more often than I would ever have imagined!), I invariably turn up old Simple Woman posts -- because pretty much everything could and did come up on these weekly logs. And I read and remember what life felt like two, five, ten years ago...  Who I was, who we were, what we were doing, who my friends were, what they were doing... How we were building our homes, nurturing our families hearts and souls and bodies -- and therefore constructing solid building blocks in the foundation of society. No less.  It was good to document it, it was that important.

I'm pretty sure the original hostess of these posts has moved on, though I haven't actually looked. The special little community I loved, where women from all over the world connected over the coffee table of faith and family, no longer exists as I knew it -- and my own focus has shifted from child-raising, anyway, now that I'm in my late fifties (how weird is that?!) and have 15 (No Kidding: FIFTEEN!) granchildren, so I would no longer fit into that old world of bloggers, anyway, at this stage of my life. I'm grateful for all those years, though. This internet log served as a diary during some of the busiest and most important times of my life. It's a treasury of reminiscences now. And recipes.  

How crazy is it that now that I am retired from that most important and most busy time of my life and actually have the time to write -- I find I don't have much to write about. At least, nothing that is as important as what I used to write about. I devote my days now to other things and other media. But I think I will try to periodically add to the Daybooks, even if do nothing else on here.

Anyway, to that end. Here's the Simple Woman Daybook for Monday, October 24th, the Feast of St. Raphael.

Outside my window... It's a gray drizzly day. Not all, but most of the leaves that so recently dressed the big cottonwood tree outside my window, now lay around its feet thanks to the big wind that blew in the chilly wet weather we are enjoying today. There's almost no color out there any more, green or otherwise. It was not a vibrant autumn this year -- I'm guessing because the weather conditions just didn't cooperate; we went -- in one weekend basically -- from summer straight into the depths of autumn, with 20 degree overnight temps. The leaves still hanging onto the trees for dear life are a limp beige color and the ground is covered with the less tenacious leaf bretheren -- also limp and beige. Funny thing, though, is that the raspberry and blackberry bushes are still a deep green. Wonder why that is?

What I'm wearing... a black-back ground A-line skirt with pink and blue flowers scattered all over it; blue socks; blue sweater, pink polo shirt, and blue reading glasses on top of my head. Even if I don't see a soul all day, it just pleases me to color coordinate.

What I'm doing... I've been working on entering recipes for the Davis Family Cookbook I'm trying to get together for Christmas presents for everyone this year. (This is a full-cooperation endeavor; the kids are adding, too!) Also working on a podcast on Saints Simon and Jude for Friday and a podcast on the history of Processions in the Church. Also, just starting preliminary work on a study guide for the book If All the Swords in England, by Barbara Willard. And have been babysitting for various grandchildren at very times for various reasons, usually about once a week. Which is the greatest pleasure. This morning, when I got to watch Clara and Margaret, we talked a lot about ducks (because today was a good day for ducks!), made sculptures out of pipe cleaners, read books together, drew, played with stickers, and -- because it was a day for ducks, we watched some Donald and Daisy Duck cartoons. (Life is hard, huh?)

What's up in the kitchen... A sausage stir fry for dinner. I've got a bunch of eggs set aside from the henhouse to make some mayonnaise. Hopefully tomorrow! 

What I'm reading... I recently started What's Wrong with the World, by GK Chesterton -- and it's too complicated to put it in a nutshell, but his diagnosis just what you would imagine he'd have figured out a century ago -- and is just as pertinent to our own time as you would think. I've also got The Diary of a Hunted Priest waiting in the queue! I want a couple uninterrupted days to just dive in to that one and enjoy it! If I get a jump on Saints Simon and Jude tomorrow, maybe I can devote Thursday and Friday afternoons to enjoying that one! (And then maybe line it up for a study guide if it lends itself to one!)

What I'm planning... coming up in the next month, we'll be helping my sister, Linda, move into what we hope is her "forever home," the nicest little house you can imagine in a much safer neighborhood than the one she's in now! Hopefully, we'll be able to help her fix up her old trailer for a good turnover profit, too! Other than that, more immediately,  I'm hoping to go spend the afternoon with Cathy and her two littles, Chloe and Max, on Wednesday and incidentally, drop off my wedding ring to have a bent prong fixed before I lose my diamond! 😬). Also, there will be a baby shower for Dominic and Monica's newest little cherub, Killian Pius, over at Michelle's house on Saturday -- and we'll also say goodbye to two wonderful families, cousins of Monica's (Thomas and Ben), who are moving to Idaho shortly. We're going to miss them! (But know they're doing what's best for their families!)

Big Projects on the Hopeful List... Dan and Dominic started the frame for a small shed to park up against the back of the Rv (Otherwise known as "The Tiny House"), so that we can add a proper water softener to the plumbing -- also some electrical improvements and space for storage. We're still hoping to get a good shelter built to cover all. And the long term hope is to expand into a bigger tiny house at some point -- with more space for entertaining and work space for both me and Dan, but that's a prayerful one for the future... maybe there are more important things for us to concentrate upon. Deus Vult. We have nothing to complain about right where we are. 

Incidentally... We've had the expected season-change influx of rodents in the tiny house -- and have discovered that our little dog, Dawsey, bless his little heart, is not just a beta dog -- he's more like a zeta dog. He's afraid of the mice. No kidding. Crazy dog. We need to bring one of the cats in. But Dawsey is afraid of them, too....

Picture thoughts for catching up...

The Most Recent Big Event
The Baptism of Killian Pius Davis
Birthday, October 10th
Dominic and Monica's first son, third child;
Our Fifteenth grandchild, fifth grandson;
 William and Philomena, Godparents!

Killian shown here with Mom n Dad,
Fr. Carlos Borja, Clara, and Margaret

Philomena, Killian's aunt, Monica's sister
with Killian and Fr. Borja

And here's our handsome little man!
(BIG little man; 9lbs, 6oz at birth!)

And More Family, in No Particular Order

Fr. Philip and William, who sat with
us at the banquet during the Fatima
Conference we were finally able to 
attend this year! (It was awesome!)

Gabriel is a postulant in the Minor Seminary
in Western Colorado this year! There he is,
third from the left.

The Sister Sisters, Sr. Antonia (L), and Sr. Evangeline (R)
with Margaret Mary during their visitation -- always too short!

This is a "Remember When" photo --
taken c. 2000 in Byers, CO, when Cathy was a baby.

Celebrating Dominic's birthday at the restaurant
attached to "Thunder Bowl" in Council Bluffs at
the end of September. All the Local Gang present and
accounted for: Shelly's family, Cathy's family, Dominic's
family, Dan and me. (Gabe and William already back
to school and seminary, as this was the end of September.)

Kevin with Sebasian (Basti) and Sophia -- still
in Germany -- but coming for a good visit in December!

Cathy with Louis, Chloe, and Max

Paul with Nicole, Lillian, Evelyn, and Gavin
on their summer vacation

Gabe had an epic summer, in that, he got his driver's license...

He graduated from high school... 
(Wish they'd made some attempt to smile in this photo --
it's actually pretty funny how awful they all look! LOL!)

And, Gabe, together with his entire senior class from St. Joseph Minor Seminary -- as well as 
William (who could have graduated and opted not to) and Fr. Philip were able to raise enough
funds to go to Germany for their senior class trip. (And, of course, stayed with Kevin in Bavaria!)

There's Kevvy with his beautiful wife, Ina.

And here you see Dan and me (below and above),
just this past weekend, at The Surfside on the Missouri
River, just a few miles from our house.

And Michelle with her littlest, Anya - number 5! -- a couple 
months back...

Enjoying some time together during the Visitation of the Religious in June. So much fun having
almost everyone together!

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Simple. Am I Simple?

Simple Woman Monday on a Tuesday...

This morning... The sun is shining bright and hot. The daylilies outside the RV window are so tall and spindly, they reach the bottom of the window. I love day lilies; they are the perfect flower for an existentialist, living big and beautiful for today -- and only today.

What I'm wearing... ankle length, very comfy, A-line black skirt, light pink polo, black apron.

What I'm listening to... a comedian on a news talk show. One is not sure whether to laugh or not. (I generally laugh. You probably guessed that.)😊

Breakfast... Burnt boiled eggs. Yes, you read that right... I put a half dozen on to boil then completely forgot about them! But they're actually just a little bit burnt, where they touched the bottom of the pot -- and peeled surprisingly easily. 🙂

What I'm reading... actually nothing right at the moment, though I was just talking yesterday with William about rereading the Don Camillo stories. I just finished rereading Outlaws of Ravenhurst -- and doing a study guide for it -- which makes for very close reading. A good exercise for an old brain! (Gosh, that's a good book!)

What I'm making... I have a recipe for gluten-free crackers that I've been wanting to make, but didn't have the correct flour. Now I have the correct flour - but not sure I want to heat up the tiny house by turning on the oven today... 

What I'm planning... A day with our little grandson, Quinn (not quite two). His Momma, Michelle, is taking his four sisters to hang out at Catholic Girls' Camp for the day. So Quinn's uncles and I get to spoil him today. I expect there will be UTV rides involved -- as little Quinn is a total car dude.

Picture Thoughts for the day:
Smile, Basti and Sophie! (in Bavaria)

Smile, William! (Here, with the armour he's making!)

Can we get a little smile, Quinn? (poolside, Iowa)

Smile, Gabe! (Homestead)

Smile, Raspberry Girl, Margaret! (Homestead -'scuse my thumb.)

Smile, Paul, Nicole, Lilly, Evie, and Gavin! (Minnesota)

Clara? Nope. Ain't happenin'.

(Need some more photos of Shelly's youngin's and Cathy's! But I'm having a terrible time syncing my new laptop with my new phone, so downloading photos at all is a chore! Hopefully one of the boys can help me figure it out...)

Sunday, April 24, 2022

How We Bless Our Property on the Feast of St. Mark

I posted this in 2015 when we lived in Nebraska, but, for a re-share, this was the best and
easiest round-up of the prayers we've said for years on the feast of St. Mark.

If it's at all possible, it's a good thing to do these blessings after attending Mass and the Greater Litany Processions. But it's not necessary. (But the more blessings, the better, right?) There is an alternative Feast Day on which to do blessings (The Feast of the Holy Cross, September 14th). You can make special, substantial crosses (rustic or fancy, it's up to you), to have blessed on this day (a traditional custom in some times and places) and then place them around your property in September -- then, come March 25th, add small vials of holy water and fresh palms and decorations as you go about doing the blessings on the Feast of St. Mark -- which is the Church's Day for Blessing farms and crops. Alternatively, you can make new crosses every year, using branches and twigs -- you can have them blessed if you like (but it's not a necessity) -- and then take them out with you when you do the blessings on St. Mark's Day. You can perhaps have four different children hold each of the crosses until each is staked into its corner.

Or, honestly -- keep in mind, you can choose another day to do these blessings if you are doing them strictly as a family pious exercise. It's nice to make a
Our Busy priests: hard to catch sometimes.
tradition out of a particular day that the children can look forward to, though. And being in sync with the Church is a wonderful thing in every way. In addition, if you have a priest who has the time to do these property blessings for your family, that is top-notch, and the best possible scenario. But it's hard to do. Most of our priests are so pinched for time and have so many parishioners that something so time consuming is much more easily accomplished by the Father of the Family -- or a big brother if Dad is unavailable.

Also, you certainly don't need to have a farm or property to do these blessings! Any yard will do. Just eliminate the blessing prayers that aren't needed.

(N.B. I tried to find the original link to these prayers and had no luck. It's a little weird how hard it is to find these things these days. It used to be no problem! If anyone else can find them, please share in the comments! I will try to type them out on a pdf and make it available in the next few days, if possible.)

We started here:
Blessing of a Farm
(This prayer may be said to obtain God's blessing on a farm with its buildings or for the farmhouse alone.) Bless, O Lord, Almighty God, this house (or this farm). May health and purity, goodness and meekness, and every virtue reign here. May all those who dwell here be filled with faithfulness to Thy law and with thanksgiving to God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. May this blessing remain on this house (or this farm) and all who dwell here. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Here we have Dan leading a gang of children out for the St. Mark's Day (Rogation Day) blessings.  Theresa took pictures since I didn't get to be there (bless her), but some of the girls' bffs were on hand to take my place, All the children made the hike with Dan around the four corners and did us the favor of helping pray our property safe.  Thanks, girls! 

On to the Animals

Blessing of the livestock.  Right now all we've got is chickens.  And cats.  And one big sweet St. Bernard.
Blessing of All Domestic Animals
Lord God, King of heaven and earth, Thou the Word of the Father by whom all creatures were
given us for our support; look down, we beseech Thee, on our lowliness. As Thou hast given us
these animals to assist us in our labors and needs, so mayest Thou in thy great goodness and
mercy bless them from above, guard and preserve them; and, while Thou givest thy servants
temporal benefits, mayest Thou grant us Thy continual grace so that we may praise Thy holy
name with thanksgiving. Amen.
Blessing of the well.  (Need to have someone pick up all those wood scraps over there!)

Blessing of a Water Supply
O Lord, Almighty God, who hast given us an ample supply of water, led off by pipes from this source, grant that, by Thy assistance and blessing and our cooperation, every diabolical attack and confusion may be kept off and that this water supply may always be pure and uncontaminated.  Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessing of a Spring or Well
We cry without ceasing, O Lord, to Thy Fatherly goodness that Thou wouldst sanctify this fountain of water with Thy heavenly blessing and make it suitable for every use.  Drive from it every influence of the devil so that whoever draws from it or drinks this water may enjoy good health and full vigor, and give praise and thanks to Thee, the Preserver and
Sanctifier of all things.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Processing around the north side of the property, heading along the cornfields toward the northwest corner.

It was pretty wet and muddy I'm told.

Blessing of Pasture, Meadows, and Fields
(This solemn blessing may be said at any time before cattle are put on the pasture for
O God, through whom every good thing has its beginning, and through whom it is improved
and increased; grant, we beseech Thee, to us who cry to Thee, that this work, which we are
beginning for the praise of Thy name, may be happily brought to completion through the never
failing gift of Thy fatherly wisdom. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Almighty, eternal God, Thou hast given to Thy priests a special grace so that we may be sure
that whatever is worthily done by them in Thy name is done also by Thee. We beseech Thy
clemency that Thou wouldst visit what we now vist, that Thou wouldst bless what we now bless,
and that Thou would'st stretch forth Thy mighty right arm over that which we now do, and that
by the merits and intercession of Thy saints and this entrance of our humble persons, the
demons may be put to flight and the angel of peace may enter in. Through Christ our Lord.
The Litany of the Saints  is prayed next, followed by:
Send forth Thy spirit and they shall be created; And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.  For the Lord will give goodness; and our earth shall yield her fruit.
We humbly beseech Thy clemency O Lord, that Thou wouldst render these fields (pastures, meadows) fertile with rains in due season, that Thou wousdst fill them with Thy blessing, and so grant that Thy people may be ever thankful for Thy gifts.  Take infertility from the earth and fill the hungry with Thy gifts which the fruitful earth will yield in fullness that the poor and needy may raise the name of Thy glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Coming around the southwest corner... The horse stalls, to the right, the back of the chicken house and the woodshed. 

That you 'Squatch?

The Solemn Exorcism of Harmful Animals

I call upon you mice (worms, sails, snakes, spiders, lice, ticks, etc.) in the name of 
God, the Almighty Father, of Jesus Christ, His only Son, and of the Holy Spirit who
proceeds from both, that you go out from these fields and pastures and remain no
more in them, but depart for places where you can harm no one.  In the name of God,
the Almighty, of the whole heavenly court, and of God's holy Church, I declare you
accursed wherever you go so that you will become fewer day by day.  May no part of 
you be found again, unless it be for man's welfare.  May He graciously grant this, who
will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire.

* Note: Any prayer that is called an "exorcism" must be performed by a specially authorized priest in order to 
truly exorcise.  
You could pray this prayer, of course, and it would be heard by God as all prayers are, but not to the same effect.

Through the jungle...
Under the pear tree..

Blessing of Orchards and Vineyards

We beseech Thee, Almighty God, in Thy goodness, to pour down Thy blessings on these
young shoots and sprouts which Thou wouldst grow into mature fruit.  Grant to Thy people
that they may always be permitted to grow, with due sunshine and rain, and make them gifts which the fruitful earth produces in fullness so that the poor and needy may praise Thy glory.  Amen.

WOOT!  Are we ever blessed now!

I love this shot of Monica. Who would ever have guessed at this time that she would marry our son, Dominic, and be the mother of our granddaughters, Margaret and Clara -- with baby #3 due in September?