Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bath time for Midnight

I don't know what is going on around here, but this has been a spring of invasions.  First, we had carpenter bees, then there were the cicadas.  Now, the horse flies have moved to town.

They are a nuisance to us, but to the horses those guys are pure torture.  You can always tell when they are back because the horses just can't keep still.  They stomp their feet, bite at the ones they can reach, and swish their tails at the others.  Constantly.

Yesterday was our day to give Daisy and Midnight some relief.  There are chemicals you can put on them to ward off the pests and in the past we have sprayed it on the horses.  They get jumpy, though, and don't like to be sprayed.

We decided to try a new way this year.  And it involved giving these sensitive family members a bath, then sponging on the bug spray.  Don't know why, but we have never bathed our horses.  We weren't sure how they would like it.

Daryl is wearing the classic 'give-a-horse-a-bath' attire.
They seemed to love it!

Of course, it helped that it was around 95 degrees yesterday.


And that there was a sweet feed bucket right under their noses!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

New Perspective

While reading Whole Living Magazine this month I decided to participate in a 10-day Reboot.  It is a plan to get moving physically and to clean out mentally.  At least, that is my take on it!

One idea I really love is to clean out your closet.  Not with the mindset of "How does this fit?", but of "How does this make me feel?"  That was a big difference to me.  Sometimes when I buy clothes, the item doesn't end up fitting like I had thought it would.  And every time I put it on, I don't feel good about how I look.  I guess it is because I don't buy that many clothes, but I have always left it in my closet until I finally say something like, "I have kept you long enough not to feel guilty about giving you away."  

So this week I weeded out a few things.   It feels good already!  There are probably some others, but I just can't do it all at once! 


This flower didn't know it was in a child's plastic swimming pool.  It bloomed as beautifully as if it had been in a pond at a botanical garden.  There must be a lesson in there for me somewhere!

Enjoy the holiday weekend!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thankful Thursday


Exactly!!!







I am thankful for small things.

And sometimes it is just the small things that make me giggle - out loud by myself - that can help make a day happy!

Have a happy Thursday!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Just thinking....

I like to get my color inspiration for inside the house from outside the house.

I have a bedroom wall painted the color of one of the green eggs my chickens laid.  For realz!  I even took the egg to the paint store to get them to match the color.  And the sales person did not give me any strange looks!

What about this color combination for my dining room redo?


I think I would choose the more turquoise color of the sky in the next picture.  And there is LOTS of wall in the dining room so I need to be careful with my color choice.  Maybe white trim in the color of clouds and a chair rail to divide the wheat and the sky?  And while you can't see it here, I will incorporate some green into the mix.



This is a plate I bought at Dillard's that combines the colors well.

Hmmm......    Just thinking.....

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The intimidated leading the young

Early this year I decided that I would take up knitting.  It isn't a totally new thing to me, but it does intimidate me and I want to gain some level of mastery over it.  I bought a learn-to-knit book and started at the beginning.  The first project in the book is a simple purse.  I don't need one of those, but decided I could use a little makeup bag.  I lined it with a scrap of fabric and was really happy with the results.


Then, I wanted to make a prayer shawl for a room at church.  It was nothing more than knitting row after row until the piece was long enough and then adding tassels.



The book quickly moved into knitting sweaters.  I am so intimidated by making one, that I can't seem to get past the first row.  I have started, though.  It will be a brown sweater for a little boy.  I'll have to see how big or small it turns out to know who it will fit.  Since I have grandsons aged 4, 2, and 7 months, I hope it will fit one of them!

A friend at church would like to learn how to knit and her mom asked me to teach her.  I really don't know what I am doing, but maybe we can learn together.  She is left handed.  I am right handed.


I accidentally started off teaching her how to knit backward, then figured out what I had done.   We both look confused, don't we?  The best I could tell her when we finished is, "Well, maybe those YouTube videos will make a little more sense now."   Poor Madelynn.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A "You've Got Mail" kind of day

There is no explanation for this, but when I am sick, I watch "You've Got Mail."  It is the movie equivalent of comfort food to me.

And I knew this morning when I got up and thought about watching that movie that I had better get myself to the doctor.

He diagnosed a sinus infection, gave me a shot and a prescription, and sent me on my way.  I am off to bed with my movie...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Bring in the happy

There are a few decorating blogs that I read and last night this post on the Room Service - Decorating 101 blog really caught my attention.  I have always liked the idea of keeping the things that make me happy close by.  It is easy to store them away because they are just my memories.  Keeping them out, though, reminds me of happy times.  And that adds joy to my life.

An element of that idea is to go ahead and cut the flowers outside and bring them in the house.  I have some hydrangeas blooming outside and just love to see them.



Today, I cut some and brought them in.



I put them on the mantel next to a rock that one of the grandchildren gave me.  We obviously needed more rocks around the fireplace. :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A wedding, a baptism, and a funeral

Last weekend was one spent with family.  Close family, extended family, and family friends.  The reasons we were together were varied.  Grandchildren spent the night with us so their parents could be alone together, the daughter of friends was married, nieces were baptized, an uncle was buried.

I am thankful for people we love and that we get together during the events in our lives.  Big events like weddings and funerals and small things like a night out.  We celebrate as family and we grieve as family.

Sunday evening Joy, Bell, and their cousin, Scarlett, were baptized in Ellen's pool.  It was a real celebration!  The girls were so happy and excited.

Bell, Scarlet, John, & Joy before their baptism.

Ellen and Joseph led the music

 Lily and Pappy reading the words to the songs.

It was really cool for a May evening and the girls warmed up by the fire.

Ben and Bennett.  Mary and Don in the background.

 Ellen, Daryl and Bennett

Mary, Savannah, Marilyn, and Jacob.  Between Mary and Savannah is a drawing of Savannah when she was a little girl.  So cute!

Thanks, Anna and Betsy, for allowing all of us to be a part of such a happy day!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Runaways

We got a call Saturday from Floyd.  He left a message on our answering machine that was something like this:  

"Hi, Cindy.  This is Floyd.  We found three little chickens walking around in our neighborhood and when we called them they came right to us.  We picked them up to save them from the cats.  We know you have chickens and thought you might take them."


Well, sure!

What were these guys doing walking around in a neighborhood in Montgomery?  They look like they are about a month old.  Someone must have thought chickens would be cute in an Easter basket, but then let them play in the backyard when their cuteness wore off.  I don't know that, though.  Maybe they escaped from the chicken store and were runaways out to make their way in the big world.

I am curious about what breed they are.  I got out an old Murray McMurray Hatchery catalog to do a little investigation.



Baby chickens don't look much like their adult counterparts, but these new friends are not newborns like the ones in the pictures.  I will have to wait until they are a little older to figure it out.

And, did you know that there are chicken catalogs because you can order chickens online and have them delivered to the post office?  There is a 25 chicken minimum order from Murray McMurray.  They are a day or two old when you get them and all 25 fit into a box the size of a small shoe box.  The mailman will call you and ask you to please hurry on down and take them home.  Then you are the proud parent of 25 new noisy, stinky cuties.

I'm glad Floyd only found three.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Comfort food for a cold May evening

 When I was in Oklahoma recently, I wanted to cook something for dinner that might taste good to Mom.  She had been in the hospital almost a week, hadn't eaten for half that time, and was at the mercy of the hospital "room service" the rest of the time.  I looked in the refrigerator, found a rotisserie chicken and some cooked carrots, and thought of chicken pot pie.  Not having a memory for recipes, I searched online and ran across a blog that was talking about the Marshall Field's Cookbook.  On the cover was a picture of our dinner!

The recipe for the pot pie was included in the blog and I adjusted it a little for the ingredients at hand.  It was delicious!  My next website to visit was Amazon.com where I ordered my own copy of the cookbook.

Yesterday was an unusually cool and breezy day for May and, once again, I thought of chicken pot pie for supper.  And, once again, it was wonderful.


The secret to the flaky crust is that it uses butter, and plenty of it.  


I froze most of the recipe in these cute little dishes for us to eat later.


This is the one we ate last night.  And even though it was good on a cool May night, I am pretty sure we will enjoy it on a hot July evening, too!

Here is a link to the recipe on the the Simply Recipes website.  I used chicken breasts instead of a whole chicken and substituted dried thyme instead of the fresh.  I didn't use the sherry or the fresh parsley, either.  Okay, maybe I just used the idea of this recipe :)

Bon Appetit!  (I just watched Julie and Julia again.)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Two in one

Today is Abbie's birthday.  And her and Ben's anniversary!

That makes it a doubly happy day in our family.  It seems as if we have been family with Abbie forever.  Since Ben was living in town when they began dating, we have spent much time together.  She was the sixth person in our little single-wide trailer that we lived in for so long, and  Jackie hardly remembers a time without Abbie as a part of our lives. 

You have been a blessing to my life, dear Abbie, and I'm grateful for you.

These are some of the best years of your life - live them to the fullest!

Happy Birthday!


Lily was my photography assistant and I asked her to choose groups of people for me to snap pictures of.  She chose her mom, first.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Invasion of the... Cicadas

Do you remember the Langoliers?  It is a Steven King short story which was turned into a much-hyped TV mini-series.  I remember watching the show, seeing the effects of the scary Langoliers, but never actually seeing the creatures.

There is a scene where a grown man grabs a little boy and screams at him, "THEY.  WILL EAT YOU.  ALIVE!"



I think of that wonderful show when I hear the cicadas in the woods.  Their noise is so loud, so disconcerting.  With the trees so close to our house, it is sometimes like having an inner-ear problem.  I can hear them even while driving the lawnmower.  

I am coping as well as I can.  I play the music a little louder.  And I eat chocolate.

It is time for them to go home.

While I was out taking a picture of cicadas I came across this chain and pulley hanging on a tree limb.


Who put it there?  And why?  And why leave it there?  Maybe Steven King can work it into his next alien story about cicadas...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Invasion of the... Carpenter Bees

Every year we get these crazy carpenter bees.  They look just like bumble bees, but they bore into wood.



When they were at their most obnoxious, I was painting some outdoor chairs.  Before I got a chance to put a coat of paint on this chair, one had drilled its little home into the under side.  I got online and read about them and they prefer unpainted wood.  I guess that is why they are at their worst out by our little horse shed.

They seem to have no fear of people and will guard their territory by buzzing right in front of you.  The grandchildren are afraid of them and it just irritates me.  I have never been stung by one, but just in case, we keep a tennis racket around as a weapon. :)


Now, for a little game of "Where's Waldo Bee".  This little bee was staying right with me and was closer than he might seem from the picture.  You probably can't see him, but...



Here he is, right in the middle!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Best Star Spangled Banner Ever

I was going to say that this is the best version of the Star Spangled Banner ever.

And it is really great.



But this version is pretty awesome, too.  I tend to tear up when I see regular people showing so much compassion.

Autistic Man Singing National Anthem

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

An Open Letter

Dear Chicken Snake,

I know you are living in my tractor shed.  Daryl saw you.  You were climbing up a wall, you gymnast, you.

I would like to request that you go live somewhere else.  And I am only asking once.

You are not welcome here.  You are making me jumpy when I go collect the eggs.  Jumpy when I reach for chicken feed.  Jumpy when a fly sits on my shoulder.  You are going to make me hurt myself.

Just because we share a first name does not mean we are friends.  I am a chickenlady.  You are a chickensnake.  Ladies and snakes are not friends.

I have killed snakes with a hoe and with a truck.  With a shovel and a shotgun.  Who knows how you will meet your demise if you don't leave.

No, don't tell me you are only out there to help me with my mouse problem.  I have cats for that.  They are not nearly as sneaky as you are and they don't hide out in the layer boxers eating my eggs.

You heard me telling you this when I was out there this morning, but I knew you would only take me seriously if you have it in writing.

Have a great life in the woods.

Sincerely,

Chickenlady

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The long way home - part 2

My drive home from Oklahoma City to Montgomery took 14 1/2 hours.  Not too bad, really.  I think I enjoyed the Dallas route better than the Memphis route.  It felt cleaner.  If you have ever driven I-40 between Memphis and Little Rock, you know what I mean.  And it wasn't that much longer.

A drive that long gave me lots of time by myself.  I wasn't alone, though.  Ben, David, and Jackie all called to wish me Happy Mother's Day, I was in touch with both sisters, my mom called to let me know about the river levels on my route, and I talked to Daryl all along the way.  He somehow always knew where I was before I told him.

Mississippi River on May 8, 2011
Even with all of those conversations I still had time for mental ramblings.  And part of having a blog is being able to bore you with, I mean share with you my ramblings....

 - On the other side of the river from where I stood to take this picture, the water was almost up to the bottom of the highway out across the river bottom.   I wonder what will happen if both I-40 and I-20 are flooded?

 - While driving on the outskirts of Dallas I saw an exit sign for Farmer's Branch, TX.  We lived there for a year while Dad got his Master's Degree at Southern Methodist University.  I was in the sixth grade and have pretty good memories of my time there.  It is not uncommon among children who move many times, but I don't remember the names of my teachers in school.  Or the names of many of my friends.  It is a very strange feeling.  But yesterday, when I saw the Farmer's Branch sign, I remembered Mrs. Hess.  She was my sixth grade teacher and I haven't known her name for a very long time.

 - I saw a sign for Ruston, Louisiana.  It made me think of church and preachers.  Do I know someone who lives there?

 - When I looked online to see the route I was planning to take home, I noticed the exit I would take off of Interstate 20 after I got into Alabama.  At dinner the night before I left I was talking about it with my family and couldn't remember the name of the town.  I said, "It is a four-letter word.  I think it is a person's name.  Like Ezra, but not Ezra."  Later, when I looked it up again, I saw that it was Cuba.  Why did I think of Cuba Gooding, Jr., and not Cuba, the country?

 - There is a pattern here - I have a bad memory!

 - While I was packing the car early on Sunday morning, Dad was in the kitchen packing snack bags for me for the trip.  He cut up apples and grapes for one bag and put chocolate and crackers in another bag.  Mom had just gotten home from the hospital the night before.  I had gone in her room to tell her goodbye, but just before I left she came out, on a walker because she is pretty weak, and made sure I had everything I needed. What a blessing it is to still be a daughter!

 - At one point in Mississippi the interstate had some great rolling dips!  I haven't had that much fun since the last time I rode a roller coaster.  Thanks, Mississippi!

 - We have the 13-year cicadas around here.  More about that in another post, but Mississippi has them too. I was driving 70 mph with a book on tape playing in the car, but when the woods got close to the sides of the road, I could hear the eeriest, loud sound outside.  It reminded me of aliens.

 - I saw an exit sign for Philadelphia.  Not the Philadelphia of Pennsylvania, but the Philadelphia of Mississippi. It made me miss you, Jackie.  I wish I could have taken the exit and dropped in for tea.

 - The Mississippi Welcome Center is on the banks of the river.  I got out to stretch my legs and snap some pictures.  There is something very moving to me about big American flags.  I love this flag!  Just thinking about a group of people deciding to fly this flag so high over the river makes me feel all patriotic and fuzzy inside!


The End.


Monday, May 9, 2011

The start of a garden

I love the idea of having a garden.  I love watching seeds grow into plants that give me food and flowers, walking in the garden, and just sitting and looking at it.  I don't love the hard work that it takes to get to that point.  Because I like the result so much, though, I put in the work.  It is always easier with some help and last week Daryl spent Saturday morning with me getting the soil ready to plant.

A few days before, I had gone out early to snap this shot of fog over the field.  You can see how neglected the garden was.  The vines on top of my pole teepee are from last year's green beans.  I think I need a ladder to get them down!


When we got out to get started, there was a hot air balloon floating over us.  Does that bring good luck, maybe?


Daryl gave me an awesome Stihl tiller for Christmas!  I have used it some, too, but he still does the tilling best!


My oregano that I planted last year is growing great right now.  I usually put flowers in this planter, but decided to plant an ornamental grass and some sweet potato vine this year.


This globe was spending time in the basement so I brought it out for a little garden art.



I planted lots of flowers, some corn, and three tomato plants.  I think I might plant one squash hill (they get so big) and some okra, too.

This is a picture from last year's garden taken on June 7th.  I feel like I am a little late getting started, but maybe not.  I just need to get the seeds planted around the green bean pole.  It's a great place for the grandkids to play!


Saturday, May 7, 2011

The long way home


I am driving home tomorrow from Oklahoma.  Before I left to come out here I knew that there was a chance of Interstate 40 being flooded.  After all, the Mississippi River was 3 miles wide when I was out here six weeks ago and there has been nothing but rain since then

This photo was taken yesterday.  Both lanes are closed now.

.

The road was clear last week, but from Memphis to Little Rock there was an awful lot of water in the fields.  And during one of the rain storms I drove through, I got a glimpse of a river that appeared to be way too close to the bottom of the bridge I was driving over.

Now the interstate has flooded.  There are detours, of course.  One of them takes you 296 miles out of your way and the other is a mere 219 mile excursion.  On mostly two-lane roads.

So, I am taking another way back to Sweet Home Alabama.  I'll be driving south to Dallas and then due east to Montgomery.  This way is longer than our normal I-40 route, but hopefully without detours.

When Grandmother and Granddaddy Atkinson lived in Linden, TX, we took this route several times.  I remember one winter night during a snowstorm.  We could barely see the road, but the big trucks were speeding past us in the left-hand lane.  They knew that the road wasn't slippery, I guess, but we drove with white-knuckles the whole way.  The high temperature tomorrow in Dallas is 94 degrees so I am okay on that.

Have you ever heard of HAARP?  Me, neither, until today.  I talked to my uncle and he thinks that all of the bad/different/strange weather patterns the past few years are caused by it.  Maybe so...

The Battle with Burweed

I am still in a war to take back my yard from the pokies!  The crop of them this year is bigger than ever thanks to my great idea to put weed-n-feed in the yard.  

A few weeks ago I talked to a lawn professional about my problem and he told me that I am on a three year mission to totally get rid of the burweed.  Three years!  And that I should have started spraying chemicals on the yard in January.  ARGHHHH!

After trying Ortho WeedBGone, which worked some, but not as good as I had hoped, I went back to what Daryl had suggested -- 2-4-D.  I put some in a hand-held sprayer to test it out and it worked great.

The left side has been sprayed and has dead pokies.


Daryl got involved and built a fancy, pokie-killing machine.

Instead of the hand-held sprayer I now have a 25 gallon tank...

and a 7-nozzle spray boom.
This is war!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bedside Manor

When I am out here with Mom, I consider her hospital room my home away from home.  We camp out with our computers, books, and yarn.  We usually eat in the cafeteria and for the most part, just stay put!  But today, Cathy and I got out and went shopping for a gift for Mom for Mother's Day.  I don't think we have ever done that before.  We found something fast and both of us knew it was the right thing immediately.  We texted Cheryl, got her approval, and were out of the store within 15 minutes.  We did good!

                                                   ~~~~~~~


                                                 ~~~~~~~

While we were out I told her about something funny that happened at the hospital today:

I was in the room with Mom and one of her nurses.  The nurse said to me, "When the doctors come in, ask them if they would take out the sutures from around there so that I can do this other thing a little easier."  (That isn't exactly what she said, but no need to go into detail on this story.)  I wasn't clear on her terminology, so I wrote down exactly what she said, read it back to her, and she said, "Right."

Dr. B. is a very good surgeon.  Everyone tells us this.  But he does not have much to say.  Today when he made his rounds he brought an entourage with him of about 37 (maybe it was only 8) doctors-in-training and they all came in our little room to check on Mom.  After he had said all he was going to say, I asked my well-rehearsed question.  "Dr. B, the nurse wonders if you could take out the sutures from around there so that she can take care of Mom better."

And all 38 doctors just stared at me.  It was very quiet in the room and I heard the clock make a few ticks.  I looked down at my notes and asked the question again.  You would have thought I was speaking Chinese.  He really had no idea what I was talking about.  Neither did I.  I was just asking for the nurse.  Then one of the doctors-in-training spoke up and explained Mom's surgery to her surgeon and he proceeded to tell me that the nurse needed more training and that, no, he would not be removing the sutures.

Which is fine with me and fine with Mom.

And that is the last time I will relay questions in foreign languages I don't understand to doctors who don't have much to say.

                                                 ~~~~~~~

I took this photo last week while Daryl and I were working in the garden.  I just love the little garden ball.  And I like this picture because I can see myself and Daryl in the reflection of it.

                                                 ~~~~~~~

Hope you had a happy Cinco de Mayo!

My peeps

I haven't put many pictures up lately of all of my peeps, but I'm still practicing my photography "skills" on them.  They are very cooperative.

This is Bella while Daniel had gone to the doctor one day.  As much as they love each other, they do enjoy some time as the only two year old in the house!

Bennett does not usually wear orange and blue, but it sure looks good with his red hair!

Lily was sitting on Midnight when I took this picture.  She is really growing up, isn't she?

Daniel and his toad :)

You know how kids just can't find their natural smile sometimes?  That's the way Jonathan was when I took this, but he LOVES Buzz and Woody and I had to get their picture together.