Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Last weekend Daryl and I had our first fire of the season.  That's a cause for celebration around here!  We enjoy fires outside in our little firepit and inside in our great big fireplace.

We grilled some hot dogs and listened to the Alabama football game on the radio.

I love fall!

And, I'm so thankful.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Wedding Crasher

Two years ago today a squirrel fell from a tree here in the Walnut Grove. 
They are usually such nimble creatures, jumping from tree to tree, limb to limb, without so much as a misstep.

But, on October 24, 2009, the excitement of the day and the beauty of the ceremony were absolutely overwhelming.  Even to a surefooted squirrel.

While the minister spoke some of the most sincere and kind words ever spoken at a wedding, our little squirrel fell.  He landed with a thud just behind the second bridesmaid, directly in front of the bride’s family, and just as quickly as he fell, he was up and running back to his tree.  

Laughter nearly overtook me.  It was one of those laughs that you must contain quickly.  A laugh fueled by the humor of a squirrel falling from a tree during the wedding ceremony.  And by the emotion of the day.  A laugh that had to be squelched at all cost.  

The bride and groom never knew about their wedding crasher.  They were so wrapped up in the love and beauty of the day that even a tumbling squirrel couldn’t intrude.

Happy Anniversary Jackie and Corey!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Flowers and eggs

This morning I headed out to have a little talk with the chickens.  On the way I noticed how pretty the flowers are.    The lantana blooms so pretty up until the first frost.

We seem to have a bumper crop of Granddaddy Longleg spider this year.  Do you see him?  I don't hate them, but I don't like them, either.  They are spiders, after all!  
I got these mums a couple of year ago to put outside around the time of Jackie's wedding.  They are in pots and have survived two summers with me and my sporadic watering schedule.  I think we are becoming friends.

Shiloh came with me to have my little chat with the girls.

 But, they didn't pay any attention to her so she gave up.

The issue we needed to discuss was about their egg production.  It has been horrible.  Yesterday they only gave me 2 eggs!  And there are 25 layers.  24 if Mr. Delaware turns out to be a Mr.

We just have a little egg operation here and I know that the amount of eggs I get can vary widely from week to week.  Usually that has to do with extreme temperatures or with stress.  Several things can stress a chicken.  Moving them from one pen to another, loud noises like hammering going on around them, or adding new chickens to the mix are all things that affect whether they lay or not.  Life has been very stable for them lately, though, and the weather is perfect.

The question we needed to discuss this morning was whether they were having some sort of problem I was unaware of or if a chicken snake was stealing my eggs.

But, when I did a little fact check before we began our pow wow, this is what I found.

 All together this morning there were 9 eggs!  That is more than I have gotten for the last three days combined!  I still don't know what the problem has been, but they decided to correct it on their own.

At least I hope that is what it is.  And not just that I beat the chicken snake to the hen house.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Day of Simple New Recipes

When I search for something new to cook, or for a basic recipe for a staple like rice, I almost always turn to The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook.   The connection I have with this book is strong!  On Saturday I decided to try some new recipes and they were all three really simple and good.

Breakfast:  Country French Omelet

Boil a couple of red potatoes.  When they are tender, cut them into cubes and brown them in a skillet in a little butter.  Scramble some eggs with a little milk or water.  Add chopped chives to the eggs.  In an omelet pan, pour in your egg mixture and make an omelet!  Put the potatoes in the center of the omelet before you fold it over.  You'll be surprised how yummy this is!

Lunch:  Egg Salad BLT

This is nothing more than making egg salad and putting it on a BLT sandwich.  Absolutely delicious!

Supper:  Lemon Basil Grilled Tuna

Grate the rind from one lemon into a bowl.  Add the juice from that lemon, 1/4 cup of olive oil, and 1/4 cup of chopped basil.  Mix together and pour over tuna steaks.  Let it marinate for a couple of hours then grill the fish.

I have started making notes in my cookbooks when I make a recipe.  Things like, "This doesn't taste as good as it looks."  Or, "Cooked this the day we had a wedding planning meeting."   Sometimes I just write the date, but I'm always glad that I took the time to do it.

On this day I should have written, "Yummy!  Cook it again soon!"

Monday, October 17, 2011

First Date Anniversary: #35

Daryl and I have two anniversaries that we celebrate -- our wedding anniversary and the anniversary of our first date.   Yesterday was the 35th anniversary of our first date.  

This picture was probably taken sometime in the spring of 1977 after we had been dating for about 6 months.  We are the ones in the center of the picture with Daryl's brother and sisters on either side.  

We were all children!

Daryl and I first met at church on a Sunday night.  My family was an Air Force family and that Sunday morning had been the first in our new church in our new state of Alabama.  Daryl had been speaking in another congregation that morning so we hadn't met.  I remember another teenager telling me, "Oh, you need to meet Daryl!"  And someone else had told him that a new family was moving to town, "And they have THREE DAUGHTERS!"  

So, we met that Sunday in August of 1976.  It was the year Daryl graduated from high school -- and the month I began high school.  He was 17.  I was 14.  We both had birthdays coming up soon, but we were both so young.

The movie version of Gone With The Wind had been re-released that year and was showing in theaters.  It was one of Daryl's favorite books, he wanted to see the movie, so he called and asked me to go see it with him.  On a date.

My parents said "No."  I was only 14 and he was starting college.  There was nothing against Daryl personally, but I was just too young.  Besides, as the oldest child in my family, we hadn't dealt with dating issues, yet.  This was new territory for us.

Daryl and I talked on the telephone, saw each other at church and at youth group events, and sometimes sat together at church.  He had a birthday and turned 18, I had mine and turned 15.  The thrill of those days is still such a good memory to me.  

A church in Wetumpka was having an area-wide singing on Saturday night, October 16.  I guess Daryl thought that inviting me to a church event might go over better with my parents than the movie idea.  He called and asked if I could go with him.  I said I would let him know.  I asked Mom and Dad.  They said, "No, you can't go on a date.  But, he can give you a ride."

And what a fun, wild ride it has been!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


This is what I did over the weekend:

Cooked some new recipes.

Worked in the yard.

Helped a daddy teach some little ones how to work a little and how to help a little.

Taught a little boy that if you roll down the window while you are riding in the car and put your arm outside, you can make your hand fly in the wind.

Learned how to do something new.

And then I sat outside Saturday evening to see the sun set.

To do this last thing, I got everything I needed.  A house phone in case the phone rings so I don't have to get up to go answer it.  A cell phone in case someone calls me on the cell.  My latest sewing project.  My camera.  The Nook so I can listen to the Vitamin String Quartet station on Pandora.

 Then I noticed how pretty the reflection of the tree was in the Nook.  So I took another picture of the Nook.

It was truly a Heavenly Day

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Green and Yeller

The past few days have been a little dreary.  And I really, really love that kind of weather.  Hot tea, cuddling with a throw on the couch, naps.  I really do love it.

But, the past few days I have been dying to take a picture of the soybeans.  The fields have been two distinct colors - green and yellow.  I wanted to snap a picture of them before they changed to some greenish, brownish hue that isn't very interesting.

This morning for about 30 minutes the sun came out and I got out there in a hurry and captured a picture.

Isn't it beautiful?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Reading is Fun!

Last night was a busy night for The Parents, so the grandkids and Minnie and PawPaw were able to play together for a while.

Lily and Bella took a break from playing, "I'm the Mama, You're the Baby", and sat down to listen to Daniel read a book.

Then, Bennett took a break from his walking practice to get in the picture.

And over here was Jonathan.  Curled up with a good Nook.

Isn't reading fun?!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Walnuts are Falling

I didn't name this blog Walnut Grove Farm for nothing!  Our house was built in a grove of black walnut trees.  They are old, gnarly, mossy, stately, and.....messy!  Each fall the walnuts become ripe and fall off of the trees.  This picture is of SOME of the walnuts under ONE of our trees.  They are just a little smaller and about as hard as a baseball, but then they get smushy, and the green husk turns to black yuck. 

A few years ago I did some research on the topic, "What Do You Do With Black Walnuts?"  Here are the results of that in-depth study:

1.  It seems like the obvious answer to "What Do You Do With Black Walnuts?" would be "You Eat Them."  Maybe, yes.  In my case, no.  But, if you have a relative who sits and watches Jerry Springer reruns all day, you could give them a bowl of nuts, ask them to please pick the meat out of the shell, and at the end of the day you would have enough walnuts to sprinkle on top of your salad.

2.  They are great for twisting your ankle when you accidentally step on one hidden in the grass.

3.  You can throw them at your brother.  If you have a brother.  I don't.  You can also throw them at trees to test your ability to hit a target.  Daryl uses them this way.

4.  The black dye in the husk is wonderful for staining your gravel road into black polka dots.  Of course, this only happens if you are lazy enough not to pick them up twice a day.

5.  They are good for waking you up when they fall out of the tree onto your metal roof.

6.  They will keep your squirrel population fat and happy.

And it is #6 that is my favorite use for all of these walnuts.  I'll even pick them up and dump them in a pile so the squirrels don't have to gather them.  It seems to work well for both of us because I have never had a squirrel eat out of our bird feeders.

I'm not complaining about the walnut trees, though.  I love living here.  Walnuts and all.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I Heart New York

View of Manhattan at sunset from the Brooklyn Promenade

I love New York
the energy
the lights
the restaurants tucked into tiny spaces
the subway, the taxis, the limos
the life lived without a car
the people
the people-watching
the skyscrapers
the rivers
the bridges
the food carts
that in one block you can find food from Thailand, Kenya, India, Ireland, Ukraine, and, yes, America
that in one block you find people from those same places
the parks
the museums
the tourists
the locals
the pizza
I love New York