Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I have been doing some cleaning out in our basement.  Some of what is down there is storage for things we need.  Like the oversized griddle I rarely use, suitcases, books that are waiting for that new bookcase I hope to get soon.  Stuff like that :)

We have boxes of saved momentos, too.  In those boxes are a KFC napkin from our honeymoon, some of Jackie's old stuffed animals, school papers from everyone, and an old pair of cowboy boots.

Today I was reminded of why I believe in keeping some things.  While looking through a box of random items, I found an old, small jar that had been on Mama Skaggs' dresser.  In the jar is her old hairnets, a piece of paper with the address of a Vallie Mullins in Chugiak, Alaska, some buttons, and this ring.

It is tiny and barely fits on my pinky finger.  I don't know anything about this little heart ring, except that it used to be plated in 18 carat gold.  I can see that mark on the inside.  I will ask my parents if they know anything about it, but today the details didn't matter.

The memories that looking through her little storage jar brings are very dear and very sweet.  Mama Skaggs was a good grandmother to me.  My life is richer today because of the memories we made together.  I am thankful that she was a part of my life.  And I am thankful for the little ring that made me think of her today.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Salt or Not

There are two types of people in the world.

Type #1 - People who do not put salt on their fruit

Type #2 - Strange people who put salt on their fruit.

And many times they are married to each other.

I would like to give a little preemptive suggestion to my Type 2 husband:  Please salt the fruit after you put it on your own plate.  I think the Bible says somewhere that a little salt salties the whole batch and I would not like salt in my batch of fruit.

Thank you so much!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The sound of thunder

When I looked at the weather map this morning, the whole Southeast was covered in red.  Something about an "unstable air mass."  What that means to me this afternoon is that I am here in the house listening to the rumbling of thunder outside.  That is one of my absolute favorite things.  Thunder feels like coffee, a good book, and a purring cat.  

Earlier today, before the hint of any instability, I went out to do my chores.  

(The word 'chores' makes me think of The Waltons.  I bet that John Boy had to do some of the things I do:  weed the garden, feed the horses, feed the chickens, figure out how the rooster keeps escaping from his pen.)


I took my camera with me on my chore excursion.

These are called Happy Flowers.
Not really.
They are Black-Eyed Susans without the black eyes and they make me happy.

This year I decided to stick with a color theme in the garden.  Green (of course), white, yellow, and a little purple thrown in.  Yellow squash, yellow corn, green peas, green oregano, basil, & rosemary.  And some red when the tomatoes are ripe.

This Euphorbia is one of my favorite plants this year.  The first time I saw it was in a pot on Mom's deck last summer and I fell in love with the delicate white flowers.

This ear of corn will be in my tummy on July 4th.

I really like how this grass has grown tassels.

And my favorite picture of the day............
The Leaning Tower of Peas.

Something really needs to be done about that.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Where we were

Over the weekend Daryl and I were in Panama City.  Every summer Edward Jones has a meeting for all of the financial advisers in our area and their families.  We don't always go to the same place, but the first one of these meetings we went to back in 1999 was at Bay Point Marriott, also.  

I wish I had gone back and shot this picture when the tree lights were on.

This walkway takes you out onto the bay and to a little beach.  There is also a restaurant out on the water.

See that chair at the end of the path?  I want to go back and sit there!

Go ahead and read the sign.
As I was headed back to the walkway, I read the sign, noticed my sandals,  and felt much safer.

This is a No Diving sign.  See the sand under the boardwalk?  

Thanks for posing so well, Little Bunny.

When we got home yesterday afternoon, I got out and cut about half of our grass.  This morning when I went out to finish the job, the cut grass had grown already.

I am definitely back in the real world!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Some rain and some wheat

We have had two days in a row of rain!  I guess we had just gotten accustomed to drought because everywhere I go people are talking about how grateful they are to get wet.

The rain is such a relief.  A relief from the heat, the dust, the pollen.  And a relief from feeling like we will never see rain again.

A few weeks ago I was reminded of farmers and how their livelihood is so connected to something they have no control over.  The weather.

The wheat in the front field had gone from being a beautiful green....

to a beautiful golden brown.

Then came the day to cut the wheat.

The day I took these pictures was almost unbearably hot.  While the farmer is in his cab he has an air conditioner and probably a CD player.  There are always problems with the machinery, though, and he had to get out under the combine.  I really felt for him.  He is the little white speck out in front.

Farming gets in the blood.  Year after year people will find a way to plant in the spring.  It says a lot about resilience, hope, and the support of the federal government. :)

Daryl and I are headed out this morning to Panama City Beach.  He will have some business meetings and I will be relaxing.  We will both be eating some good food!

I haven't checked the weather forecast for the beach, but any weather is good weather when we are on vacation.  Rain or shine.  It's all good!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A completed project

This week I totally finished the throw I have been working on all year.  I haven't worked on it that many hours, it is just that I kept puttering at it and never getting it done.  So, I finally did a smack down on it!

I'm talking about the one that Twinkle helped me lay out.

After I put all of the blocks together it had to be blocked.  Blocking is laying it down in its final size and shape, pinning it, and spraying it with water.  When the throw dries, it is much prettier.  Has something to do with the water and the pinning.  :)

See all of those puckers?  I do, too.

When I chose the yarn I was thinking of how it would look if I crocheted a throw and threw it on my bed.  I'm satisfied with it.

I'm probably thinking of crochet today because Mom is back in the hospital for her final (we hope) surgery of her ten month ordeal.  When she is in the hospital, I crochet.  Usually, I am sitting in Oklahoma City doing it, but this time I am here in Alabama.  Her surgery went well and she should be back home this weekend.

Now, on to my next project.  I think I will knit a sweater.  It should be finished in a couple of years!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Clean sinuses

I bought a Neti Pot.

I have been having some sinus headaches and congestion that led one time too many to a sinus infection.  I had heard that these little gizmos are good for preventing problems, so I thought I would try it.

The theory is simple.  Mix together some salt and water, put it in this little teapot, put the end of the pot in one side of your nose, put your head down, and pour.  The salt water will find its way all through your sinuses and out the other side of your nose.

Sounds lovely, doesn't it?  This is what it feels like:

Imagine yourself at the beach.  You have decided to brave the sharks and stingrays for a little walk in the surf.  You are enjoying the sand and the cool water when, suddenly, a rogue wave knocks you down and tumbles you around in the ocean.  You don't know which way is up, but eventually, you are washed ashore upside down in front of your husband who is laughing hysterically at you.  Remember how your head feels after that?

Well, if you like that feeling, you should head right out to Walgreens and buy yourself a neti pot.

It must take some practice to become proficient at neti potting because when I used it last time the front of my face felt a little strange.  Sort of like I had just poured a tub of salt water into my brain.  And much later when I leaned over to pick up my shoes, out came a flood of saltwater.

Which makes your husband laugh at you.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Always go

I listened to a "This I Believe" podcast once titled Always Go to the Funeral.  In it, a woman tells the story of when she was a teenager and one of her teachers died.  Even though she was young, she went to the visitation and spoke to her teacher's parents.  Years later, when she sees her teacher's mother she is met with warmth.  Here is an excerpt from her story:

I believe in always going to the funeral. My father taught me that.
The first time he said it directly to me, I was 16 and trying to get out of going to calling hours for Miss Emerson, my old fifth grade math teacher. I did not want to go. My father was unequivocal. “Dee,” he said, “you’re going. Always go to the funeral. Do it for the family.”
So my dad waited outside while I went in. It was worse than I thought it would be: I was the only kid there. When the condolence line deposited me in front of Miss Emerson’s shell-shocked parents, I stammered out, “Sorry about all this,” and stalked away. But, for that deeply weird expression of sympathy delivered 20 years ago, Miss Emerson’s mother still remembers my name and always says hello with tearing eyes.
That was the first time I went un-chaperoned, but my parents had been taking us kids to funerals and calling hours as a matter of course for years. By the time I was 16, I had been to five or six funerals. I remember two things from the funeral circuit: bottomless dishes of free mints and my father saying on the ride home, “You can’t come in without going out, kids. Always go to the funeral.”

I have thought about this essay many times since I first heard it.  For many years it was difficult for me to make it to funerals.  I had little children, or I was in college, or I was working.  As I have gotten older, and as I have matured, I have come to realize the importance of just being there.  

It can be easy for me to put the focus on me and ask myself things like whether or not I can be a comfort to people I don't really know that well.  And I can't answer that question.   I know for sure that God can't use me to be a comfort, or to give a warm hug, or just to be a presence if I am not there.   

So today I will get out of my little introverted comfort zone and go to a funeral for someone I didn't know at all.  I am an acquaintance of his widow, though, and I can just be there.

Here is the link to this essay.  If you have time, you would enjoy reading it.   

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Last week I woke up knowing that two of our grandchildren were coming to play with me.  And so I did what all good grandmothers do - I mopped the floors.  Don't you hate it when your grandkid's knees and socks get all grimy and all they did was play on your floor?  Well, I got the floors clean and not just two, but FIVE grandkids came to play!  Two stayed for the day, and three for just a little while, but I was able to corral them into one chair for a photo shoot.

When I see them all together I feel so blessed.

But when I look into each child's face and see them as the person that they are and the person they will be, I am so full of love.  That is one of the great blessings of being a grandparent.  We have been through a cycle of watching a baby grow into an adult.  So now I can look at Daniel, or Bella, or Lily, or Bennett, or Jonathan and have a real glimpse of who they will be when they are 10 and 20 and 30.  I don't just love the little person they are now.  I love the adult they will become.

And I am thankful for them all.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The best Flag Day ever!

Thirty years ago yesterday was the best Flag Day ever - it was the one that Ben was born on.  Yep, my oldest child turned 30.  And what a blessed 30 years it has been.

Ben has grown from being a sensitive, happy boy into a sensitive, happy man.  He is a cook, a fisherman, a fixer-upper, a dad, a husband, and a wonderful son.

He is the oldest of two oldest children.  He and I were thinking this week about how my parents are both oldest children, Daryl and I are oldest, and so are Abbie, Sarah, and Corey!  The only ones  somewhere other than that in the birth order are David and Jackie.   

When I think of something funny, I can always call Ben and share my joke.  He always 'gets it' without further explanation.  

Ben is my friend.  There isn't much better than that, is there?

Last night we celebrated his birthday, along with a late celebration for Abbie.  Just for a little added fun I decided to get a pinata.  A shark pinata!

Daniel helped hang the shark

Don't remember what was so funny, but I love to see everyone laughing!

Funny shark!

Get it, Bella!

After the kids had their turn, we let the birthday people have a shot at the shark.  And after Abbie took a few swings, this is all that was left of him......

Way to go, Abbie!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Macramé plant hangers

Smells have a way of bringing back memories when you least expect them, don't they?   I was tying up the tomatoes with some twine last week and it took me back to my grandparent's backyard.  

At some point during my growing up years I got on a kick of making macramé plant hangers.

Like this one.

I have no idea why I would do that.  It is unlikely that I had any plants to hang.  I should probably apologize to anyone I gave one to.  It was probably a gift that makes you say, "Ummmmm......thank you?"

I remember the summer that I was a macrame specialist.  Both sets of our grandparents lived in Pasadena, Texas and every summer we would travel from our home in Indiana, Alabama, or some other place to visit them.   On this trip either Dad or Papa Skaggs  installed a hook on the ceiling of the back patio so I could stay out there and be crafty.  I stood there making planters for days.  Or at least that is how the smell of jute makes me remember it!  I have always loved the feeling of being productive by making something out of strings, threads and fabric.  Today that love is fueled by yarn and embroidery thread.

But, I still use jute to hold the plants up.

I love that smell!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Basil Pesto

One day this week I was bored with nothing to do.  Not really, but I was wasting time by surfing the internet. I surfed on over to The Pioneer Woman and saw that she had posted a recipe for Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce.  

Well, two things about that post worked for me.  I had no dinner plans, yet.  And, I have basil!

Lots of basil!  It is growing in the garden in places where it wasn't planted.

In a brick....

and on the walkway.  I figure that if it wants to grow there, who am I to tell it not to.  But, I sure can use some of it!

So, I got about this much.  The recipe calls for 3/4 cup and after I got the best leaves and packed it down well, this was about right.

I use walnuts instead of pine nuts.  Don't know why I started doing that, but I think it had something to do with the price of pine nuts.  

It really was delicious.  For dinner that night I made the Pesto Cream Sauce and served it over chicken breasts and pasta.

Thanks, PW!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thankful Thursday

This morning when I opened the door to go for a walk I was greeted by a beautiful fog.

The foggy garden

I don't know what this weed is, but I think I will go back and cut some to mix in with the roses in a vase.  It looks a little like babies breath.

There is a little farming going on out on Greer Farm this week.  Imagine that!

Headed back home

Deer tracks, but didn't see a deer

The sun trying to break through

Back to the garden

Living out of town like we do is a lot more messy and a little more complicated than living in a neighborhood, but I am thankful that the things that matter most to me about home are all found here.  

P.S  After I posted this I went outside to cut a little grass and tend to the animals.  

SO... I noticed that one little chicken had escaped from her pen so I tried to catch her, was unsuccessful, went back and forth out of the horse pen trying to "show her the way home", left the horse gate open on one of those times, Midnight got out, finally got the chick back in her home, went to get Midnight, he said "no, thank you" to coming back home, I said, "you wait until your dad gets home, " he changed his mind, I put him in the fence.  

Good thing this is "thankful Thursday" or I'd be having some ungrateful thoughts!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Litterbug thoughts

I found this lovely gift while I was out walking this morning.  And I thought to myself, why throw things out of your truck on my road?  Just take them home and throw it out in your own yard.

I'll never understand it!

But the cigarette box reminded me of my visit to the doctor yesterday.

From where I was sitting on the table I could see the computer screen that showed all of my information.  I noticed that under the heading of Tobacco Use it said "Denies".  Well, of course, I deny using tobacco.  Because I don't use tobacco!  Why doesn't it say a simple "no" or "none".  The word, "denies", seems to imply that they doubt my answer.  Am I getting paranoid?

And all of that reminds me of the words and phrases I heard yesterday that would never have come up twenty or even ten years ago.  Things like:

 - yes, that's a bunion

 - menopausal

 - well, as you get older (doesn't that go without saying?)

 - schedule a colonoscopy (boo)

 - I'll prescribe a statin

 - does anyone in your family have gout? (what?)

Of course, some things were good.  Such as:

 - you must be exercising (my favorite)

 - your good cholesterol is very high

When Ben heard that I had gone to get some lab work done a week before my appointment he told me that is what happens when you get older.  He is right.  But since he was born when I was only 19, he's just not that far behind me!  And it looks like I might be around to say the same thing back to him!  What a blessing!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Time to beat the heat

This week we are having a little cold snap.  I think the high will only get up to around 97 or so.  (I am being sarcastic.  Just in case you didn't get it.)

But, last week, it was REALLY hot!  We were setting records for the heat.  There is still plenty of work to do outside, though, and my only option was to get out early.  The time stamp on these photos is 5:11 AM!

I think we need to start a new saying, "As curious as a chicken."  May not have the ring to it that "As curious as a cat" does, but around here it is more accurate.  What they were asking me was, "What did you bring me?"  I save my fresh food scraps for them and rarely go out empty-handed.  They love it when I give them egg shells, carrot peels, leftover beans or cracker crumbs.

I just love the color that a magnolia blossom gets as it is fading away.  Such a rich color.

I turned the water on the garden and then just stood there to hear the tsch, tsch, tsch of the sprinkler.  That is one of the true sounds of summer.  Love it!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Accidental Rooster gets his own bachelor pad

A while back I told you about how we came to be the owners of a very fine rooster.  It was an accident.  Usually, when that happens we find someone to give the guy to.  This time we just never got around to it.

And, you may not know this, but when there is only one guy and lots of girls -- well, it just causes problems.  With Roosty (as I so creatively call him) living with the hens, everyone was in a constant state of turmoil.  
Now, he has a place of his own.  He lives right next door to his old girlfriends, so they can talk across the fence, but there are no house visits.  The girls are all so much calmer. 

Poor Roosty, though.


He spends his days pacing along the fence just looking for a place to break back in.

Not happening, buddy!