Saturday, July 30, 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

My first job

When I get up in the mornings, my first job is to get outside and do whatever needs to be done.  Before the temperature gets up to 85 degrees.  Which means I have to get out there very early!



While it is still foggy.



But, well after I have had my coffee.  First things first.

This morning while I was riding on the mower I remembered my first job.  The summer between fourth and fifth grades I got a job cutting our neighbor's grass.  The memory of doing this has always been with me, but until this morning it never registered in my brain that I had a paying job when I was ten years old!

That was also the year that I put a penny on the railroad track behind our house to see if it would get flat.  It did.  It was the year that Dad had a remote controlled airplane with a wind-up propeller and when he taught me how to do the wind up I let go too soon and the blades cut my forefinger on my right hand.  I still have the five little scars on that finger where the blade cut me as it unwound.  And it was the year that one day when I didn't feel like going to school, Mom took my temperature right after I had drunk some hot chocolate.  Not surprisingly, my temp was horribly high and I got to stay home.  I knew why it was high, but didn't mention the hot chocolate to Mom.

Until now.

(Hi, Mom!)


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Last week Jonathan, Lily, and I did something we have never done together, but I hope we will do lots more in the future - we went to the movies!  All three of us were VERY excited.  It was their first time at a movie theater so the whole experience was very new.  On the way I heard some great conversation in the back seat....

Lily:  Jonathan, at the movie the TV is as big as the WHOLE WALL!!!
Jonathan:  Ooohhhh!

Lily:  Minnie, I'm wearing Minnie Mouse panties!
Me:  That's great, Lily
Lily:  Girls wear panties, boys wear underwear.
Jonathan:  That's right, Lily.
Lily:  My daddy wears underwear.
Jonathan:  And I wear underwear.  Let's think of something to talk about.  Let's talk about trees.  Look, I see some trees as big as mountains!
Lily:  Yeah!!

This picture is poor quality, but so funny to me.  It is also sweet, but mostly funny.  The picture I took before this one was too dark and Lily told Jonathan that he wasn't smiling.  I caught this one as she was making sure that his smile was okay!


We went to see Winnie the Pooh, but couldn't find any posters or signs of that movie.  They liked the Lion King sign, anyway.


After the movie we met PawPaw at IHOP where both kids got smiley face pancakes.  Gotta love that!


While we were eating, we had my favorite conversation of them all.

Daryl:  Was this the first time you went to see a movie?
J&L:  Yes, sir!
Jonathan:  And this is the first time I have been to IHOP!
Lily:  Thank you for bringing us!
Jonathan:  Oh yes, thank you!
Daryl:  Well, this is a really good day, isn't it?
Jonathan:  Yes, sir!
Lily:  And we're all together.

Yes, we were.  And I'm so thankful.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Overgrown

There comes a time every year when there is a decision to make.  Either the weeds take out the garden or I take out the weeds.  The decision is never as easy as it should be to me because I find it so easy to start something and so difficult to finish it well.

With my garden there is always something to blame for its being out of control.  Everything from droughts to floods, vacations to laziness.  Today I decided to get out there and kick a few weeds out.  This is the area I started in.

Before

I have a hard time pulling up plants that have a purpose, but are either too old or in the wrong place.  Sort of like they are alive and I am killing them.  Wait, that is what I'm doing.  No wonder it is hard for me!  After some hoeing, raking, and hand pulling of weeds and basil, this is what it looked like.

After
Not very good, but much better than before.  And in case you don't realize exactly how much better it is, here is my wheelbarrow full of what I pulled out of there!  I usually set little goals for myself.  Things like, "I'll work out here for one hour".  Or, "I'll pull weeds until the wheelbarrow is full".  Or, "When it gets hot enough that I almost pass out when I stand up, I will go in the house."  Today was the full wheelbarrow goal.  And here is a little tip for you in case you want to use that goal, but not work too long - put lots of large basil plants in the bottom of it.  You will get done quickly and feel really good about yourself!




I have a little fig tree that has died a couple of times and then come back from the roots.  I hope that this year it will survive the winter.  It has some cute little figs on it, but I have to say that fig trees stink.  Cute, but stinky.

The tomatoes and squash are almost finished for this year.  And I tell you, if you miss a day gathering the squash you will go back out there and find giant yellow gourds as big as watermelons!



When I got one of those this morning I cut it up and tried it out on Midnight.  Surprisingly, he ate it!


I really wish I had been able to get of picture of Daisy trying the squash.  She took a bite, then put her head in the air and showed her teeth really big.  Kind of like a big grin, but I think it was a grimace.  Seems like David used to do something like that when he ate squash. :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Food Dreams

I had a colonoscopy yesterday morning.  And, boy, did it put me in a bad mood!  Not because of the procedure itself, but because of the preparations for it.

As much as I hated drinking the gunk you have to drink, the worst part to me was that I was told that I had to have a restricted diet on Saturday and couldn't have any solid food at all on Sunday.  On the weekend!  What were they thinking?

All week I worried about if I could survive a day without eating.  I wondered if I would remember to not eat.  I kept feeling like I would mindlessly start munching and not even know it!  To prevent this I wrote down what I would eat on Saturday night and Sunday.

MENU
Saturday supper - Cream of chicken soup
Sunday breakfast - hot tea
Sunday lunch - chicken broth
Sunday supper - Sprite
Snacks - Water and Sprite

There are times that are very instructional to me about my most basic makeup and this is my lesson learned over the weekend:  I don't eat to live, I live to eat.  I read cookbooks like novels, hanging on every word and ingredient. There are so many recipes to try and so little life to try them in!  One of my relatives and I have talked about how different we are in this way because she mostly cooks the same few things each week with a rare new recipe thrown in.  I love to try new recipes and will try a new way to cook an old favorite at the drop of a hat.

I knew how disturbed I was when I started dreaming about food!  I dreamed one night about chicken-fried steak and last night I dreamed about chili dogs.  

Life should be back to normal for the rest of the week and, hopefully, these dreams will stop.  I am already thinking about the salmon I want to grill for dinner tonight....


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ireland - Part Three

Halfway through our week in Ireland, we left Killarney and headed toward Dromoland Castle where we would spend the next three nights.  On the way we made a stop at Blarney Castle so we could kiss the Blarney Stone.  

Blarney Castle was originally built before 1200 AD and was rebuilt in 1446.  The legend says that if you kiss the Blarney Stone you will receive the 'ability to deceive without offending.'  A nicer way they put it is to receive the 'gift of gab'.   


To reach the top of the castle where the stone was placed you must climb a winding staircase every bit as old as the castle itself.  The steps were very narrow, maybe 18", and winded around the outside walls and it was fairly dark.  Several people stopped midway because of claustrophobia.  I just put my mind somewhere else and kept trudging.  When we reached the top, the view of the surrounding countryside was beautiful.


This is my picture of a man kissing the stone.  He is the one laying on his back hanging upside down.  Since you can't see very well what is going on, I found the next picture on Wikipedia.

picture from Wikipedia
Daryl and I just stepped right over the crazy folks hanging upside down and decided we would make do with whatever gab we've got!  Tripadvisor has called the Blarney Stone the most unhygienic tourist spot in the world.  I don't know what they are talking about - the man on the right there had some Lysol sitting right beside him!


Dromoland Castle sits on about 410 acres.  Most of that is either a golf course or gardens and has trails everywhere so you can explore.  I was sitting in the middle of a pond looking back up a hill to take this picture.  It was a very peaceful place.



This flower border is inside a walled garden and was one of my favorite places.  A little inspiration for next year's garden here at home!


On the morning we left there wasn't a cloud in the sky so I snapped one more picture of our hotel and it turned out to be one of my favorite shots of the week.  Wouldn't want to live in a castle, but it sure was fun to visit!

A couple of days after we got home we were driving on the Northern Bypass and I saw a rainbow.  At first, there was only a small piece, but finally we saw the full rainbow.  It reached from North Montgomery to one of the RSA towers.  It was so close to us that we could easily see each stripe of color.  I know that God's promise of a rainbow had to do with rain, but it felt like a personal sign to me that day.

The lucky leprechaun and pot of gold are never found in Ireland or any other vacation spot.  The end of my rainbow is in north Montgomery county, on Greer Farm Drive, here on my little Walnut Grove Farm.

There's no place like home.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ireland - Part Two

On the second full day of our trip to Ireland we went out to drive the Ring of Kerry.  We were in County Kerry and the Ring was a road around the Iveraugh Peninsula.   All along the road we saw scenery like this.  On our left were green fields dotted with sheep, on our right was the ocean.


At one place where we stopped, this guy came up from somewhere with his little donkey and baskets.  He put a smaller basket on the ground for tips and was there to pose for photographs.  Something about the cell phone on his ear takes away from his age-old authenticity, don't you think?  I didn't pay him for this picture :)


To the right of our bus was the Atlantic ocean.


Along the way we stopped to see a sheep dog demonstration.  As we drove up in our bus, the tour guide said that the farmer was a "fine hunk of an Irish man" and "just looking at him will do ye good, ladies."  We all had a good laugh and were very interested to see what he looked like.  I think the guide and the shepherd might be dating.

The movie, Babe, is my only 'real' experience with dogs herding sheep, and I must say that these sweet dogs did seem more like wolves when they were on the job.  One of my highlights of the whole trip was when the fine hunk of an Irish man turned to his dog and said, "That'll do, Bess."  How many of you know what I'm talking about?


After the dogs put the sheep away we headed into a little shop for tea and scones.  While we were drinking our tea, the owner of the shop came out to talk a little and entertain us.  She chatted a little bit and then asked someone to say an American song that everyone knows.  A man to my left called out, "God Bless America".  I think she was looking for something with a little more beat because she grabbed a guy in our group and got him to dance with her.  So we sang God Bless America while they danced.  I was laughing so hard, it was hard to sing.  Maybe you had to be there, but it is very funny to see someone dancing a jig to that song!   She got to choose an Irish song next so we all sang "Danny Boy".  No one danced.


Daryl and I ate lunch at a creekside cafe.  This was our view from the deck.


When the Ring of Kerry tour was over we came back to the hotel, went out to dinner with some new friends, and then came back for our last night in Killarney.  I wanted to make sure to take some pictures of the hotel.  We only sat in this room one time, but it was as cozy as it looks.


This oversized pool table is for a game called Snooker.  The table is 12 feet long!


Looking at someone else's vacation pictures is about exciting as a trip to the dentist, isn't it?  I'll finish up tomorrow.  Promise!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ireland - Part One

After a partly rainy, mostly sunny week in Ireland we came home to a mostly rainy, partly sunny week in Alabama.  And that can only mean one thing:  I have cut my grass two times in three days.  The last time I cut it was yesterday morning.  When we went out this evening I noticed that the grass has already grown a couple of inches.  So, to the grass I would like to say one thing and that one thing is this, "I have other things to do!"

Like go through my pictures of our vacation!  Here are the highlights of the first two days.


The first night of our trip was spent in an airplane over the Atlantic talking to a sweet girl from Limerick, Ireland.  By the time we landed I was speaking with an Irish accent.  The next three nights we stayed in the Killarney Park Hotel.  The hotel was right in town so we were close to lots of shops and restaurants.


We ate lunch the first day at The Laurel's Pub.  


After lunch that day we went to this castle in a national park.   It was the beginning point of a trip that included riding in a small open boat across three lakes and then riding in a jaunting cart around the lakes.


Don't mistake the expression on Daryl's face as one of pleasure.  What he is thinking is, "I can't believe we are out here on this rainy, windy day on a large lake with big waves in a small boat.  If I ever get my feet on dry land, I will never let my wife talk me into this again."  Essentially, his smile is an evil one that means that he wants to kill me.  I, on the other hand, was having the time of my life!


The current was really strong as we came through the arch under the bridge.  And the tourist on the bridge was being really silly.


The scenery was beautiful.


This house was the end of our boat trip,


and the beginning of our jaunting cart trip!  The cart holds two people on each side and the driver jumps up in the middle of all of you with the reins and a little whip.  It was very cozy :)  One of those situations where I laughed almost the entire time.  Partly because it was funny and partly because it was so much fun.


This house was along our cart ride.  I think I could live there.


A Killarney traffic jam:  Cars and horses sharing an 8' wide road.




Instead of branding the sheep, they were painted!  The paint washes right out of the wool.


Kate Kearney's Cottage was at the end of our road that day.

More pics tomorrow or the next day...... depending on how fast the grass grows!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Home again, home again, jiggety jig

Entrance to a walled garden at Dromoland Castle in Ireland
We are home!  And really glad to be here.  We had a wonderful vacation in Ireland, though, and I want to post some of our pictures.

Right after I get over this jet lag :)




Wednesday, July 6, 2011

See ya soon


All our bags are packed
We're ready to go.
Twinkle's sitting there
Beside the door.
Already she's so lonesome
She could cry.

We're leavin'
On a jet plane
In one week, we'll be back again.

photo from travelsinireland.com

See ya soon!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A holiday with Bennett

Bennett came to play with Minnie and PawPaw for a few days and we are having such a good time with him. He is crawling around and sitting up, and just generally enjoying his life!

Bennett had never met Bubba before.

And just like his cousins and sister, Bennett loves Bubba.

I think I have a picture of Jonathan that looks a lot like this.

Hi, Cutey!

I love these guys!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day for Harry

My rooster has earned a new name.  I now call him Harry.  As in Harry Houdini.

The last time you saw him he was safe in his new home learning how to live next door to all of his girlfriends.


Within a couple of days he had escaped and was experiencing freedom.  Not exactly where he wanted to be, but not in his solitary confinement, either.


We put him back in his pen.  He got back out again.  The problem with his escape is that he was putting himself in danger from malicious varmints and out of reach of his water and food.  Not very smart.

His escape has become a great mystery to us.  The place where he was living has been a chicken pen for months and no one has gotten out.  And now that we have put him back in there with the passageway between the pens open, he is staying in there.  We have looked all around the wire walls and can't find a hole anywhere.  I even went inside the pen and got down on a rooster's level.  No success.  As far as we can see, the only way out is through the door.

Which could only mean one thing:  someone is fighting for his independence.  And there are only a few possibilities for who would do that.  At the top of my list is all the other chickens.  They may be smart enough to know that letting him out puts him in danger.  And that would mean no more Harry.  And their lives would be much more peaceful.

Of course, it could be Shiloh, Daisy, or Midnight, too.  At this point everyone is a suspect.