Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Short Detour on the Way

Today Daryl and I were on the road again.  Somewhere out in rural Alabama I glimpsed this little church building on a side road so we pulled off to take a look and I'm so glad we did!

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church

When we got to the hotel tonight I looked online to see about the Canebrake.  It is the name for a five county area of Alabama that was known for having extremely thick stands of bamboo.  The cemetery here is said to be a Who's Who of the western part of Alabama.  

 The front doors to the church are padlocked shut from the inside.  I love the iron work on the hinges.

This moss is growing on one of the oldest tombstones in the cemetery.

 Each family plot has beautiful iron fence around it.

I'm so glad we took the time to stop for a while.  Daryl and I seem to be drawn to old cemeteries.  We have walked around in one in a seaport town in Alaska and in an old New Hampshire village.  And now in Alabama.

Tombstones really move me.

"In defence of his country"
There was a siege in Petersburg, Virginia during the Civil War from June 1864 until March 1865.  Walter must have been wounded before the siege began.

What could possibly have taken  little Mary and Julia  away so early?  The carving of such a caring angel and the two girls together must have been a comfort to their parents.  After all these years, my heart goes out to H. and J. Reese.

I had to look up "relict" in the dictionary, but apparently Olivia was married to W.A. Robinson first, he died, then she married J.T. Collins.  This is just a way of listing both of her husbands on her tombstone.
The line on the bottom of the stone is a quote from Jesus.  When Mary anointed Jesus feet with oil and was criticized for it, Jesus said, "She has done what she could.  She anointed my body for burial."

What an educational side trip!  I wonder what we'll find tomorrow?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bye-bye Kitty

The kittens turned 6 weeks old over the weekend so it was time for them to find permanent homes.  I decided to take them to the Humane Society to be adopted and I wanted them to get there at their cutest age to guarantee an adoption.

I cried when I left them.  Don't really know why, but I did.

Daryl took this picture of the five of us last week.  They were CRAZY fun!

Tomorrow Daryl and I are headed out on a road trip to visit with our Oklahoma family.  The high on the day we get there should reach about 103.  And it is usually breezy in Oklahoma.  In Alabama when you combine heat and a breeze you call it a convection oven.  We should cook very quickly.

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Last week

Last week began with receiving a text from Jackie saying that she had just experienced an earthquake and ended with her having a hurricane party - in Philadelphia of all places!

Meanwhile, back here on the farm I got a little sewing done.  I had an idea to make a blankie for a premature baby that we know of.  The easy part was knitting the center of the little thing.  The hard part was deciding how to put the satin border on it.  I studied some of Lily and Bennett's blankies, but the geometry of figuring out the mitered edges stumped me.  I finally put the edge on like I would for a pillow.  It looks fine, but I'd like to conquer that little math problem.

While I was outside I noticed something really funny.  At least to me.

 This is a picture of the garden before we did anything to it this year.  Notice the bean pole?  It is for growing green beans or green peas or whatever it is I planted around it.

Well, look at it now!  One reason I don't remember what I planted is that it didn't grow anything except vines.  And they apparently grew up to the top and back down again!

I'm not sure I'll do this again. It isn't even pretty and it reminds me of the kudzu that takes over forests and eats houses.  Not a pretty thought!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

This moment

August morning

I'd like this moment in a bottle.  

On an icy February morning I would open the bottle.

I would hear the cicadas and the chickens. 

Smell the horses and the cut grass.

Feel the air, the sun, the calm.  

The peace.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Time to clean house

When I got up this morning I knew it was the day to clean house.  Not mine, but theirs...

They push and shove to get out like people in line at Walmart on the day after Thanksgiving!  

Then it is down to the business of who can find the best snacks the quickest.

I go in their space and clean out the nesting boxes which is immediately met with looks like this one.

What a sweetie!

I top off their food bowls, burn the trash, 

and then check in with Shiloh to make sure everyone is behaving.

I clean out the floors.  Sort of.  Then I get on the mower, notice the tires are low, fire up the air compressor, put some air in the lawnmower tires, cut a path to an old hay bale, find the pitch fork, get some hay, rake up some grass clippings, water some plants, stand in an ant bed, feed some horses, wipe the sweat out of my eyes a couple of times, bring the hay to the hen house,

and put down the new floor covering.

To the thanks and admiration of my adoring flock.

Wait....only one came back to say thank you.  Hmmm....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I have so much to be thankful for today!

Not the big things, but the little ones.


Air Conditioning
     One of our air conditioner units quit Tuesday evening.  When the repairman came yesterday he said that the capacitor had blown up.  I said, "That sounds like something out of Back to the Future."  And we had one of those moments when I realized that he is too young to have a clue about the flux capacitor and how that is what makes time travel possible.  He just smiled at me, kept walking, and I was left in the kitchen mumbling to myself.

Internet access in my house
     My modem has slowly been getting less and less reliable.  It quit on Monday so I called the satellite guys to come out and replace it.  For $150 they would replace only the modem with the same model I had.  Or for $100 more they would upgrade our whole system and install a new satellite dish.  I'm a sucker.  New everything for me, please.

Cut grass
     Around here we have a 'fix-it-yourself' mentality, so it was more than a little strange for there to be two repairmen at the house at the same time.   Daryl came home from work early to see if he needed to help with the air conditioner repair.  He didn't, but it still left him here earlier than normal.  Instead of just relaxing on the couch, he went outside and cut some of the grass for me!

Fall can't be far away
     Walnut trees have a very short growing season.  They are some of the last trees to get their leaves and around the end of July the leaves begin to fall.

A walnut before it falls

This was the driveway about a week ago.  Yesterday the road was covered in leaves.  I love fall so much that it makes me giddy!

I'm so thankful.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Finishing well

(pic from
Right after I finished posting about the garden being overgrown a couple of weeks ago, I started the next thing on my to-do list which was to exercise.  I have been riding an exercise bike and, while I know it is good for me, it doesn't seem to be tough enough to make big changes.  So, I decided to try Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred DVD.

One of the thoughts I had about the garden is how difficult it is for me to finish the growing season without just giving it up to the weeds.  I wrote, "I find it so easy to start something and so difficult to finish it well."

When I was 15 minutes in to Jillian's 20 minute workout I was thinking that I had had just about enough.  Then she said,

Hang in there!
You are tired right now.
You just want to stop right now and shut off this DVD.
Don't even think about it!
We don't quit at the end!
This is when we finish strong!

Wow!  Thanks, Jillian!

The apostle Paul talks about finishing well, too.  He was thinking about that at the end of his life and as I get ready to turn 50 this year it is probably good for me to think about it, too.  I don't think I am close to the end of my life, although we don't know.  I have lived at least half of it though:)  So it seems like a good time to take a life inventory and see what needs to be finished well.

There are small things like not letting my beautiful garden turn into an eyesore.  Bigger things like not letting my body take its natural course and get soft.  And some really big things like finishing well as a mother, wife, grandmother, and daughter.  Somewhere in there is finishing well as an individual person, separate from my roles.  

I don't want to fizzle out.  I want to keep going until it isn't possible to go any more.

While I'm at it, I think I should invest in some sort of full body support.  All of this jiggling while exercising can't be good for a person, can it?

Friday, August 19, 2011

The State of the Kitten Nation

In between cat feedings, cat baths, and cat naps we have had a lot of time for cat exploration time.

Aren't they cute?

Aren't they sweet?

And they are free!  No, really, I'm not charging anything as an adoption fee!  I'm just a giving person like that!

I think I might just keep this one for myself.  Sarah might take one.  Any takers on a couple of bottle-fed, litter box trained, sweet, snuggly kittens?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thankful Thursday

The one year anniversary of Mom's ovarian cancer surgery was yesterday.  That time was sad and frightening and exhausting and full of new experiences.  We all would rather have lived without the hard things.  During this time, though, there were so many things to be thankful for.

family prayers via Skype
yarn to keep my hands and mind busy
a sister to crochet with
friends who brought bagels from Panera Bread
so many people who came to the hospital to share their love with Dad
a doctor who looks like Pippi Longstocking
Mom's flower beds that kept blooming while she was fighting in the hospital
beautiful Oklahoma sunsets
being able to help Mom
compassionate nurses
neighbors who really care
a sister who will drive all night - to sit at the hospital all night
phone calls from loved ones in Alabama
nurses who will sit and comfort you in a dark hospital room, then make you a cup of coffee

and the biggest reason to be thankful today,

Mom is doing well!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Moving powder

I may not know how to kill ants, but I sure have figured out how to get them to move!

If I had used the single strength powder I suppose they would have moved half as far.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cat herding

On Friday evening, I was a little tired.  And when Shiloh began crying at the door begging to come in the house, and Twinkle got determined to sit on the couch in the exact place I wanted to rest my arm, I said, "I don't want one more 'thing' to need me".  

Well, some evil spirit must have heard me because Saturday morning I heard a loud, persistent little meow in the garage.  When I opened the door a tiny, skinny, black kitten was sitting there.  Crying.  Needing me.  I leaned over to pick it up, and instead of running away like many of the "wild" kittens around here, he wanted to be held.

We have a few feral cats at our house.  They are descendants of a long line of cats who have lived around here for many years.  Occasionally, one of them will be a little tame, but for the most part they are pretty wild.  Their job is to keep the mouse population controlled.  My job is to feed them.  We have an agreement.

I knew that a litter of kittens had been born because I had seen them a couple of weeks ago.  I had never seen who the mother was, but assumed that the babies were being taken care of.  I guess I was wrong.

Little Black Kitty spent the day resting in a box in our kitchen.  Saturday evening David and Daniel were outside when they heard another kitten crying.  That was good because now Little Black Kitty had his brother, Little Tabby Kitty, with him,  (Let's just say they are all boys.)  I thought I had seen four kittens in the litter so I assumed two had survived, two had not made it.

Yesterday morning I heard a kitten crying outside.  When I looked out the back window to find the soundmaker, I saw the mother cat.  She was irritatedly allowing a kitten to nurse.  When she saw me, she ran to the window, looked into my eyes, and ran away.  I knew what she meant.  She just couldn't do it any more, would I please help her.  Outside I found the other two kittens.  They ran right to me and into the box they went.

I think the little fellows are between 3 and 4 weeks old, but I'm not sure.  I bought some kitten formula and a little baby kitty bottle.  They are eating well and starting to be comfortable with us.  I even saw them wrestling with each other this morning.

I'm giving them a bath every evening to get rid of their fleas.  They don't mind it as much as you might think!  This picture is after their bath.  I know it is fuzzy, but they are rambunctious children and won't sit still to be photographed.

This morning I heard another kitten.  What I thought was a litter of four must have been a litter of five.  When I went out to check on the little one, it ran away from me.  Mama Kitty came running behind it and when she saw me she ran away, too.  I'll take that as a sign that the two of them can take care of each other.  But, I didn't tell them that I don't want one more thing to need me.  I won't be saying that again!

Monday, August 15, 2011


We have been so busy having fun that I haven't been using the computer much and without using the computer there isn't a whole lotta bloggin' goin' on.  Glad to be back at it, though.

Jackie was able to come visit for a few days so we all had some great family time.

When I looked through some of our pictures I noticed that at least some of our time was spent wrestling with the two younger boys in the fam.

We have been so blessed with rain this summer and a storm blew up Saturday afternoon.  Lily and I were about to go gather the eggs when we noticed the rain.  I just love the way it feels when the wind starts whipping the trees around so we stood and watched it for a while.  Lily stepped out and Jackie caught this picture of her.

With that rain came a little taste of fall!  The temps are lower and the humidity is much lower than last week.  Can we all say, "Ahhhhhh....."?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Today's job

Today, I am attempting to rid my house of pet hair.

You talking about me?
Yes, Twinkle, I'm talking about your fur.

For many years we did not have an inside pet.  There were several reasons, but one of the main ones is that we don't like pet hair everywhere.  Not on our clothes and not all over the furniture.  We tolerate it fairly well due to our great love and affection for Miss Twinkle, but I have hit my limit.

Today I have swept and mopped and vacuuming is next.  Then comes the cat training in how to clean up your own messes.  I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Well, we did it -- we drove five hours for a cup of coffee!  And enjoyed every sip.

Yes, that is my plate of beignets.  Yes, I am exercising this week.

The Cafe du Monde is open 24 hours a day and if you like to people-watch, this is your place.  We were there about 10:00 and you can see how crowded it still was.

Our little jaunt was not all about eating, though.  For years Daryl has wanted to visit the National World War II Museum and we spent a couple of hours there.  Daryl is standing beside a Higgins boat.  It was used on D-Day and was designed and built in New Orleans.

We're already making plans to go back one day.  The next time I think we'll eat dinner at one of Emeril's restaurants.  But dessert will always have to be a beignet!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Beware the random comment

Thursday evening I said one of my crazy, random thoughts.  This is how the thought became words:

It was too hot and too late for a cup of coffee, but I wanted one.
Daryl went on a fishing trip last weekend.
He drove through New Orleans.
We went to New Orleans together about 30 years ago.
While we were there we went to Cafe Du Monde.
Cafe Du Monde is famous for French press coffee and beignets.

And out of my mouth popped, "I think it is time for you to take me back to the Cafe Du Monde for coffee and beignets."

Usually this type of offbeat, quirky, out-of-the blue comment leads to discussion of trips we'd enjoy taking -- one day in the future.

That's not where the conversation went on Thursday night.  That Thursday night Daryl just said, "Okay!"

And, as fast as you can say, "Who Dat?", we had a plan!

Cafe Du Monde, here we come!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Smoothie thoughts

A few weeks ago we had a conversation with a woman who swears that her Vitamix is the best thing since sliced bread.  I listened to her talk about how she makes smoothies in her Vitamix.  She throws in spinach and peas just for fun!  She throws in the watermelon seeds with the watermelon and the Vitamix just chews those things right up!  And watermelon seeds are so full of zinc!  (Yawn.)  And she has lost 8 pounds since she bought her Vitamix!

Wait...  I'm awake.

Lost 8 pounds?

Next thing I know, I am on the internet researching Vitamix machines.  They are super-powerful blenders, used by all the top chefs, blend so fast that the heat generated by the blending can make ready-to-eat soup (the soup actually gets hot), and they make great smoothies.

And they cost $500.  For a smoothie maker.

SO, with the losing 8 pounds still in my head, I decided to pull out my $30 blender and see what it would do.  I haven't graduated to spinach and watermelon seeds, but my beginner efforts are really yummy and healthy.  We started out with bananas, strawberries, frozen blueberries, vanilla yogurt, a spoon of orange juice concentrate, a little apple juice, and some ice.

I'm sure hoping that it isn't the spinach in the smoothie that causes the weight loss.  I think I had better keep doing my workout DVD just in case.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A whole lotta fun

Over the weekend Daryl and Ben went tuna fishing.  They went with some friends out of a harbor south of New Orleans so they needed to spend one night away from home.  This meant that Abbie and I protected each other from the bogey man by spending the night together at her house.  And that meant that I got to spend more than my normal amount of time with Lily and Bennett.  Yay, me!

Bennett is in constant motion and it is hard for me to get a good picture of him.  Lily is a great assistant, though.  You can see by her hands and the set of her mouth that she is intent on keeping her brother still long enough to have his picture taken.  Thanks, Lily.

On Monday I got busy working on my big project for this week - making a guest room out of this mess.  Have you ever seen a room more in need of a makeover?  Once upon a time it was a beautiful guest room.  But, the furniture we were storing for some friends needed to go back home,  we had an enormous rain that seeped water into the bedroom floor which ruined the carpet, and without any problem at all, this room became a junk/play room.  I really, really dislike having such a dead space in the house and this is the week to reclaim our room!

It did make such a wonderful spot for hanging beautiful works of art like you see below.  Whatever will I do with this photograph of cows staring at me?  This room was the perfect place for it.

Just like every other major cleaning out project I do, it has gotten worse before it gets better.  I did get the walls painted yesterday and will get to the trim tomorrow.

The closet in this room has been a depository for all things without any other home.  Among others I found my junior high band jacket, a collection of Precious Moments figurines, Daryl's favorite T-shirt from high school, Abbie's wedding dress, and several dead bugs.  No one knows how or why the wedding dress got there.

I have enlisted some help today and my favorite twins will be here soon to help me sort out the toys!

Or were they coming to play with the toys?