Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Feeder Mystery

I bought a new-to-me kind of bird feeder the other day.  It is especially for finches, so it has tiny perches and tiny holes for them to put their tiny beaks in to get out the tiny seeds.

We hung it on a limb outside the front door so that I could see it from my sewing table.  This morning when I stood there, I saw it.  On the ground.

It was standing up with the rope neatly swirled around it.  When I looked up, I saw that the baling twine was frayed.  Lots of moss with a string of twine in the center.

What happened?  Was it a nocturnal squirrel who gave up on the seed and chewed through the twine?  Was it a raccoon?

A chicken?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

In Bloom

When I was in the fourth and fifth grades, my family lived in Peru, Indiana.  We lived at the end of a cul-de-sac in a house with a very large yard.  At least that is my 10 year old girl view of the yard.  I remember cutting the grass with a push mower and, to me, that yard was huge.  One time when my grandparents were visiting, I was cutting the grass, no doubt looking very pitiful.   My granddad felt sorry for me and took over the job.  I'll never forget his kindness because I felt very loved when he took the handle of that lawnmower.

In that Indiana yard was a crabapple tree.  And a cherry tree.  

One year I helped pick the cherries and pit them.  I became obsessed with getting all of those cherries pitted and worked non-stop to do it.  My fingers turned into shriveled-up little stubs.  That's the way I was as a child.  Now, I have learned to take breaks.  Long breaks and rests.

I don't remember what Mom did with all the cherries, but I do remember what she did with the crabapples.  She made jelly.  Even as a young girl that jelly was pretty to me.  I always thought I would have my own crabapple tree and make jelly, but 40 years later, I still haven't done it.  

My parents live in Oklahoma now, and they still have a crabapple tree.  Last week it was in full bloom.    Even if you never made jelly, the beauty of the blooms make the tree worth having.

At about the time that I obsessed about things like cherry pits I toyed with the idea of joining the circus and being a triple trapeze performer.  I was an odd little child.

A New Feeder

My father-in-law gave this bird feeder to me a LONG time ago.  I have really sort of treasured it.  I have painted it a couple of times and as it started to wear out over the years, I have repaired it.  And most recently, I have repaired it with duct tape.  Just lovely.

The birds have never seemed to notice that their feeder was looking ragged.  And even I kept overlooking how bad it had become until two things happened.  #1 - it stopped keeping the seed in the hopper, and #2 - the duct tape on top of the feeder started flapping in the wind.  Both were fatal flaws and it had to go.

I took this well-loved, but retiring feeder down and put up a pretty, shiny new one.

It isn't at all like the other one, but I sort of like it.  The birds are not so sure, though.  This morning I looked out to see -0- birds on the new feeder.  They were all gathered on and around the old feeder I had left on the ground.

That won't last long, though.  The cats will be by soon.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I Hate Snakes

I really hate snakes.  I only show these pictures as a public service announcement to warn that you should never go swimming.  At least not in a flooded river behind my house.

David saw this water moccasin swimming in the river.

These guys are mean and bad.  He had already been shot when I took this picture.

Did I say I hate snakes?  

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Beautiful Music

There are many reasons that a song is beautiful to me.

This one is beautiful because of Jackie and Corey.  They danced their first dance together at their wedding to this song and when I hear it I am transported to that evening.

The cool air
The candlelight flickering from mossy trees
A beautiful, beaming bride
A fire to warm your hands by
White covered tables scattered across the yard
Many smiles

Neil Young's "Harvest Moon"

Friday, March 25, 2011

On the road again

I will be driving 13 hours today and here are some thoughts:

1.  On my way to Oklahoma earlier this week I realized that I was in control of a very large, very heavy, motorized vehicle, barreling down the interstate at (about) 70 mph.  This is a legal activity for 16 year old people to do, also.  Can this be safe?

2.  When I thought about how strange it is that 16 year old people can drive motorized weapons on a road, I got out my camera and took a picture of the road.  I know that wasn't safe.  I won't do it again.

3.  I will be driving across the Mississippi River into Memphis today and right now that mighty river is miles wide.  Really.  I took a picture of that, too, but I won't post it due to its unsafe nature.

4.  When we checked on airplane ticket prices for me to fly to OKC last week, the price was $1,350 round trip.  Now you can get a ticket for about $700.  That, my friends, is the cost of spring break.

5.  At the end of my 826 mile journey is a Dead End.  Also known as Home.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday


Today I'm thankful for
short walks
being together.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Medical Mystery

I have a medical mystery that needs to be solved:

Why does sitting in a hospital room make me eat?

It doesn't make any sense, does it?  I thought I had it figured out a few months ago.  Mom did not have an appetite a few months ago and the doctors gave her a medicine that would make her hungry.  I was sitting in the recliner next to her bed when they put the med into her IV and I immediately got up and bought a Snickers bar.

She doesn't have that problem this time, though, and I just got back from the cafeteria.  I bought peach cobbler and Miss Vickie's Jalapeno potato chips.  For me, not for her.  Her room is on the seventh floor and I have walked up the stairs once to get off this extra weight, but you can't carry your food very well and climb the stairs.

Any scientific explanations would be appreciated.

Monday, March 21, 2011

An Heirloom

When Mom found out she was sick last year, she spent a week working in her flower beds.  She knew that the summer would end and winter might be here before she was able to be out there doing what she loved.  One of her chores that week was to divide the daffodils.  When I first saw them, there were hundreds of bulbs drying on her deck.  She sent me home with a grocery bag full of small, shriveled, brown bulbs.

Mom is a master gardener and I am not.  I did know that it is best for the bulbs to be really cold for part of the year, but instead of reading exactly what is best here in Alabama, I sat the grocery bag in the carport.  And left them alone.  I was happy and appreciative for the gift, but my inexperience led to procrastination.

A while back, though, Daryl and I planted those bulbs.  We grouped them together in several little circles in my garden like Mom suggested and we waited to see if there was any life left in them.  Before long I started to see the greenery pushing up through the dirt.  I was thrilled!  I had no thoughts that they would bloom this year, but at least they were alive.

Then one day I saw a flower.  It seemed like a minor miracle!  I was so thankful that my mother's gift had not died.

As I snapped this picture, Mom was in the hospital having "emergency" surgery.  She is doing better now, but I was here, not there with her, my dad, my sisters.  I was very lonely and felt like I was in the wrong place.  The day was beautiful though, and as I looked outside I saw the flowers.  Part of Mom was here with me.  And then I knew that we were really all together, just not in the same place.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Most Beautiful Music

"Nessun Dorma" is one of the most recognizable operatic songs.  I know that is true because I am not a knowledgeable fan of opera, but I am familiar with and love this song.   It is from Puccini's opera, Turandot.

The most famous person to ever sing the song is Luciano Pavarotti.  His performance of "Nessun Dorma" is considered to be absolutely the best.   If you really just don't think you can take three minutes of opera, begin listening at the :59 mark.  This is definitely on my short list of most beautiful music.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hello Mousy

We feed our chickens scratch feed.  

That is the name on the feed bag.  Scratch Feed.  Presumably because the chickens scratch in the dirt before they pick up a kernel of the feed.  Strange, isn't it?

Well, we keep the scratch feed in a plastic tub with a poorly fitting lid.  Last week when I took off the top, we had visitors.  One fat little mother mouse and her baby.

Two babies!

Hi, Mousy.  Hi, Daniel.

At first I thought, "How cute!  That little mother is protecting her babies by sitting on them."  But, no.  When she had a chance she ran away and jumped out of the box.  So I just let the babies out to go find her.

Today there were seven little mice in my feed box.  I don't know if I need another box or another cat.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Night Walks

Lately, Daryl and I have gone on several walks after dark.  We just couldn't seem to get our walk in any earlier. I found out that I will actually walk faster if we are out late.

Because of  this:

Dark gravel road, shadows of leafless trees, the woods coming up next to the road, and then:

(Please click on the links to experience my walk :)

We heard a barred owl hooting.  I'm accustomed to this hoot and have taught it to my granddaughters.  Bella loves it, Lily does not.  But I'm not used to hearing this, which I think was a Great Horned Owl.  Before I knew it, my heart rate was up to an aerobic level and I was on a pretty good pace.

Then we turned the corner to walk through the woods and over a creek and a beaver slapped its tail on the water.  Which sounds pretty much like hitting the flat end of a paddle down on the water.

I was back home in no time.

I should consider myself lucky, though.  While I was looking online to find the owl sounds I happened up on a website of night recordings in Alabama.  Please click on the Alabama Bigfoot website.  You'll see that the third recording says that Mr. C. W. McLain heard voices in the woods saying, "he-ta, he-ta, ho-ho."  I heard no voices at all in our woods.  And nothing said he-ta, he-ta, ho-ho.

I did not make this up.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Did you know?

That you can take one of the leaves from a clover?

Three-leaved clover or four-leaved clover will do.

And it will look like a heart?  And you can give it to your Minnie and tell her that you love her?

Monday, March 14, 2011

River's Up!

The river is up at our house.  And it is really exciting.  Sort of like the exciting feeling you get when there is a tornado watch.  Either something terrible could happen or you just get a little something different to think about in your day.  If you know what I mean.

This is part of the drive to the house.  Take a left just past the flood and you'll be on another muddy road which leads to me.  To the right of this road is town.  To the left is the river.  The reason there is water on the right is because of all of the rain flowing out of town to the river.  The reason there is water on the left is because there is too much rain for the size of our river.  Most days in the year, this is a very narrow, shallow stream.

You might be surprised at how much trash a flood brings.  This picture was taken about 30 feet from my back door.  I can testify that people who throw their plastic soda bottles in the river mostly drink out of green bottles.  They prefer Mountain Dew.

David put the kayak in behind the house

This is  Shiloh swimming.  She loved that David was out in the kayak and got in with him.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Mighty Fortress

God is our mighty fortress,
always ready to help in times of trouble
And so we won't be afraid!
Let the earth shake 
and the mountains tumble into the deepest sea.
Let the ocean roar and foam,
and its raging waves shake the mountains.

God is our mighty fortress!
Psalms 46

The tsunami coming ashore in Japan
Picture from

Friday, March 11, 2011

I Hear Voices

Daryl, Ben and David all have the same voice.  There is something about the tone that makes it hard for me to  distinguish them from each other if I can't see who is talking.

The same thing is happening to two of our grandchildren.  Except they don't sound like Daryl.  They sound like cartoon characters. 

I heard Daniel talking about eating lunch earlier this week and he sounded just, exactly like Gus from the movie, Cinderella.  

My truck has a DVD player in it and Lily's favorite movie to watch when we ride together is a VeggieTales movie named Lord of the Beans.  She has watched it so often that she can quote some of the lines.  And I can't tell if it is Lily talking or that little brown-haired asparagus guy.

This doesn't matter to anyone except me, I'm sure.  But I think it is hilarious!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for rainy days.

There are so many things that can't be done while it is raining outside.  My list is narrowed down to inside projects and those can be numerous, too.  But the rain outside asks me to slow down a bit.  Look out the window some.  Enjoy a warm fire.  Drink a cup of hot tea.  Bake something made with yeast.

Roll in the mud.  Eat some grass.

We're all different out here, but we're all thankful!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chicken Urban Legends

I have a rooster.  He is just an accidental rooster, though.  Not an on purpose rooster.

When you go to the chicken store to buy your baby chickens, you say, "I would like 25 baby girl chickens."  That way you get all eggs and no crowing.  And no more baby chickens.

This system is not foolproof, though.  Sometimes a baby rooster looks like a baby hen.  And sometimes you get an accidental rooster.   I honestly have no clue whatsoever how anyone can tell the boys from the girls.

There is much to say about this little bad boy, but my point today is that there is an urban legend that roosters crow at the break of dawn.  Exclusively.  But, as Wikipedia explains it, "this idea is more romantic than real."  Roosters crow whenever they want to.  Mine wants to crow at 3:00 AM, and 11:30 PM, and at whatever time it is that you would like for a small child to take a good, long nap.

I have no idea who thought that crowing is romantic, but it certainly is entertaining.

First, you go to the highest place in the chicken coop.

Then you stand up very tall and straight.


Finally, you look around to make sure everyone was paying attention.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Problem with Burweed

We have pokies in our yard.  Most people would call them stickers, but out here we call them pokies.

I have never had what someone would call a "lawn".  "Lawn" sounds like someone cares for, maintains, waters, trims, weeds, and feeds their grass.  Mine is just a yard.  My challenges are much larger than weeds and tall grass.  If I can keep the log piles, Bobcat ruts, and tire tracks to a minimum I feel like a huge success.  Removing large limbs and moss piles are weekly chores.

A couple of years ago, though, maybe about the time I was planning to have a wedding outside in my yard, I decided that a little more refined maintenance might be in order.  I suggested to Daryl that we put down some weed-n-feed.  You know, just to green up the grass and kill some weeds.  He didn't take to the suggestion very well because of the size of the yard, thus the large expense.   And besides, there was very little grass and lots of weeds.  So we compromised.  I got my yard weeded and feeded in the areas closest to the house.  It really did look better.  I was happy.

Until last year when we had a horrible, terrible, crop of pokies.  They are the kind that have thousands of little lancet-type stickers.  The grandkids couldn't go out barefooted, and even in sandles, they got in your toes.

As the weeds started growing the past few weeks, I noticed that our yard is carpeted in these little plants!  I decided to do some research to find out what kind of menace I was dealing with and find the best way to get rid of it.

I found out that these cute, little, fern-like pokies are called burweed.

And if you use weed-n-feed you will kill most weeds.  And this will make room for more burweed to grow!  ARGHHHH!!!!!

I just hope they enjoy their nice cool morning because this afternoon we are bringing out the big guns:  Ortho WeedBGone.

If this doesn't work, we may have to move.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I'm Just Beachy

When we were in Destin last week, you may have thought I had lost my mind.  I mean, who goes to the beach when it is 80 degrees outside and thinks about knitting all day?  Well, that would be me, I guess.

But I came to my senses just in time to put my toes in the sand and watch the sun set.

Have a beautiful week!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cindy's Sit-N-Knit

Several years ago there was a knitting and yarn shop in Montgomery.  It was in a small house that had been converted into a business.  When I walked into the shop I felt like I had walked into a soft wonderland.  The walls were lined with bins and baskets of colorful yarns, tables displayed scarves and sweaters that had been knitted as examples of what could be done with the skeins of yarn.  The front part of the little cottage had a sitting area where women were always chatting, working on their projects together.  

I had knitted and crocheted a very small amount as a younger person, but the yarn store inspired me to pick it back up again.  I knitted a few scarves in a very simple stitch, but never moved on to anything more complex.  At the same time, I started crocheting again.

And then the little shop closed.  Even though I hadn't bought a lot of things there, I had felt their presence and had known that I could stop in to get some help when I got stuck on a pattern.  The closing was, in a silly, little, small way, a loss to me.

That is when I started thinking about opening my own yarn store.  I would name it, "Cindy's Sit-N-Knit".  There would be cozy chairs, a cat or two, maybe a small dog, a small fire in the fireplace, and lots and lots of colorful, soft yarns.  People would stop in to knit or crochet a while.  We'd keep the coffee brewing and share ideas.  Ahhhh.......

But I am a realist and not a dreamer at heart.  I don't want to work away from home, and it would become work.  I could open a shop in my house, but my house is too remote.  Hobby Lobby is very convenient and they can sell their yarn cheap.  I can't make any business plan where there would be a profit.  

So when Daryl had a business trip in Destin and asked me to come with him, the first thing I did was to look online to see if there was a yarn store there.  And there was!

Not the cozy house type of shop, but still full of yarn bins and baskets.  I wondered around, bought a little yarn for a new project, and just enjoyed being there.

So what does someone like me do with a full day to herself in Destin?  I crochet!

My sister, Cathy, and I have our own sit-n-knit/crochet times when we are together, and we've had lots of time together recently.  We always have some yarn and needles in our lap.  

I'm often interested in how things work out.  Not like we think, but they do work out.  I do have a friend to knit with, to share ideas with, to get help from.  Not in a cozy yarn store with new friends, but in hospital chairs with my sister.  With our mother watching us and chatting with us.  With two of the oldest friends I have.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thankful Thursday

It has been said that one of the surest ways to win a mother's heart is to love her children.

And today I'm thankful for the women who love my two sons.  They are two of the best mothers and wives I have ever known.  Both of them are blessed to work at home with their children, and they make warm, loving homes for their families.

They for sure have won my heart!

I took these pictures the first week that Bennett was home.   Sarah came to Abbie's and I wanted to snap a picture of everyone together.  I got this little photo session started by hitting Bella in the head with my camera. (Sorry, Bella)

So she cried.  And Lily looked at her.  And the boys wanted us to hurry and get it all over with.  And Minnie still wanted one more shot...

Thank you, Sarah and Abbie, for being such great moms and wives.   And for being such good sports with your mother-in-law and her new camera.

I am thankful for you.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March comes in...

Instead of coming in like a lion, March has come in like a lamb.  Such a beautiful day!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Lessons from a Cold

Lesson #1 - Never again will I say, "It is just a cold."

Lesson #2 - While looking up the best ratio of salt to water so I could gargle some salt water (1 teaspoon salt/1 cup warm water)  I found this study that shows that gargling salt water three times a day can reduce the risk of getting an upper respiratory tract infection by 40 percent.  Wish I had known that earlier.

Lesson #3 - Never take any medicine that says "Non-Drowsy" on the box just before going to bed.

I already knew that, but this time I mean it.  NEVER!  About 30 minutes after I got in bed the other night I realized that I wasn't going to sleep.  So I started my counting/deep breathing method of relaxing and falling asleep.

1......2......3......4......5..... I wonder what would be good for supper tomorrow night.  Hmmm........Did we leave the horses' electric fence on?  I sure don't want that crazy horse back in there tomorrow.

Wait, I'm supposed to be counting.... 6.....7......8......9......10   (deep breath)...............21.......22........23

My feet are cold.  I should get up and put on some socks.  No, I'll just stay here.  They will warm up.......16.....17.....18......Wasn't I up to 25 a minute ago?  Why did I start back on 16?   Deep still,  you'll wake Daryl up........wonder what time it is?   No, you don't want to know what time it is.......

NEVER again, I tell you!!!