Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dutch Belted Cattle

When I was a little girl growing up on the farm, my daddy raised Hampshire pigs.  They were black with a white band around their tummies.  I used to stand on the wooden fence and pass my time watching them root in the ground with their snouts, snuggle in the mud, grunt, and eat the slop from their wooden troughs.   

See the Calf In Front of Mama
Not too far from where we live now, a farmer raises cows that are black with a white band around their middles.  They are the Dutch Belteds.  We stopped to take this picture because the calf was sucking its mother, but by the time we positioned ourselves to click the camera.....well, the calf decided to stop sucking and pose for the picture.    

I did a bit of checking about this breed, and here's what I discovered:
    Belted Beauties
  • The Dutch Belted's history is a bit unclear before the 1600s.  A few records and paintings show belted cows grazing on the estates of Dutch nobility before this time.
  • The breed flourished in Holland in the 1750s.
  • Dutch Belted cows are known for their easy calving, easy handling, and docile, friendly nature.  They have unusual longevity and continue producing calves later into life than do most other breeds.
  • The breed standard is a belt at least 6 inches wide making a complete belt around the body.
  • The Dutch Belted is considered a critically endangered breed.
  • There are other breeds that have belted cows, like the Galloway and Welsh Black.
  • The breed was introduced to the United States in 1838. 
  • In 1840, P. T. Barnum imported several head for exhibiting in his circus.  He displayed them as a "rare and aristocratic" breed of cattle.  Barnum discovered that the Belteds were excellent milk-producers, so he placed the cattle on his farm in Orange County, New York.  The Dutch Belted Cattle Association of America was established in New York, New York, in 1886.
Cows in their
One has to stop and consider just how much cattle contribute to our lives.  Just imagine a world without milk, cheese, yogurt or butter.

Back when I was a little girl, small farmers pastured around 20 cows, we milked them by hand in the morning and evening.  It was critical to my daddy that our cows were milked exactly at the same times every day.  When it was time to get them home from the fields, we'd walk up on the hill to bring the cows home.  We'd call out, 'com boss,' and they would instinctively start to walk in single file back down to the barn.  They followed the path that was well worn from their daily marches to be relieved of their milk.  They would go right to the barn, they knew which stanchion they belonged in, we would lock the stanchion so they couldn't get out, and then the milking by hand began.  No automatic milkers...only our hands, a milk pail, and a stool. 

What it was like to
milk a cow by hand
Ahhh, the memories.  But, don't for a second let me glamorize this chore.  The flies drove us nuts, the flies drove the cows nuts, the cows kicked and switched their tails, and we cussed.  Once in awhile a cow would kick and get her leg into the pail of milk.  Omigod, that meant that pail of milk had to be poured out.  This was not a good thing cuz milk was a major source of our family's income.  I remember clear as if it was yesterday, me sitting on a milk stool sandwiched between two cows, milking a cow by hand, vowing openly (with sweat dripping and flies biting me) that I would never ever marry a farmer.  My mom often warned me not to say that.  She said when it comes to love, the heart has a way of taking over when the brain is sleeping.  Boy, that really bugged me, because the last thing I wanted was for her to be right and I'd have to eat my words someday. 

As it turned out, I got my way.  I guess my brain stayed awake as a young guy came along and captured my heart.  I've never admitted this to anyone before, but on my wedding day I was secretly grateful that my mother wasn't able to tell me, "Aha, I told you so."

Monday, May 30, 2011

Honoring Our Heroes

Celebrating a 90th birthday is a life milestone, and yesterday we were honored to be  part of our aunt's special day.  The role of aunt is quite unique, actually.  It seems that aunts are known for being supportive and for giving their genuine love. 

Part of the 90th celebration was reconnecting with our cousins that live just far enough away to keep us apart.  The older we get, the dearer these relationships become.  We didn't want to let go of the good-bye hugs, because there's always the possibility we won't ever see each other again.  Life has a way of removing us one by one from the family circle. 

For me, the day held extra meaning, in that I was able to welcome dear cousins to my blog.  I can never give enough praises to technology for expanding the venue of the human heart.  With just a few key strokes, we can visit with someone across the world.  No stamp, no envelope necessary.  When I was a little girl I couldn't have, in my zaniest dreams, have imagined being able to do something like that.  As I've said a million times, life just keeps getting more amazing every day. 

Notice the Black Flag on the Right Side
(Cemetery Where My Hubby's Parents Are Buried)
 Today is Memorial Day.  We owe so much to the dedicated people who serve our country and have given their lives so we can have ours.  United States Flags surround
our cemeteries today, and the one that gives me the shivers is the black flag honoring the Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action.  That one flag screams loudly of human sacrifice, something we should never lose sight of.  When we say the words, "God Bless America" we are begging Our Creator to watch every person, in every capacity, who is living in dangerous situations fighting to keep us Americans safe and free.

I can get teary-eyed if I let myself think about the young people who are leaving their families to go across the world to fight the horrid wars that only World Peace can prevent.  Will there come a day when our world leaders can pull us all together?  Perhaps not during my lifetime.

One would like to be able to personally contribute something toward a world of peace.  Maybe the best thing we can do is follow the example of our dear aunts.......be supportive and keep on loving, no matter what.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Girls

We visited the cemeteries yesterday and placed yellow bouquets of fabric flowers beside our parents' gravestones.  Up until a couple of years ago, our mothers would have been in the back seat of our car orchestrating this annual rite.  Each of them would bring their flowers, put them in the trunk of our car, and off we'd go to reverence the family dead.  First to one town, then the next town, then the next town.  There was a strategy involved here.  The last town was the one where we wanted to eat supper.  "The girls," as we affectionately called them, were both fond of eating out, and each one of us took turns paying, or treating, as we called it. 

Last night we visited the girls.  When they left us, boy, did it hurt.  That's because we cared for them as though they were our children.  In fact we named our car, The Mother Bus. 

Our fuzzy one went with us yesterday.  If the mothers were looking down, they were smiling.  Both of them adored the fuzzy one, and we tried very hard to be even-steven with their babysitting her. 

Sweet sorrow, I guess is what it is.  We were so very blessed to have had our mothers live to be 92 and 88.  They each had very different personalities, but they were wise enough to know that the differences make for the most fun.  There were times the The Mother Bus must have rocked from side to side as we laughed our way down the country roads.  Every outing ended with finding a place to eat.

We never realize what we have until we lose it, but, we are sensible and know that we wouldn't want them to be here yet if they were suffering.  Their bodies declined to the point we had to move them out of their homes into a rest home.  For awhile they were both living there together.  At Christmas or other holiday times, we went to eat with them in the common dining room.  It was a harsh contrast to their homemade meals, yet all that really mattered was that the four of us were still together....hanging on with all our might to something we knew would end any minute. 

Today if "the girls" are listening........we sure do miss the two of you and the fun times we had barreling down the road, the fuzzy one between us looking at the two of you in the back seat, and our discussing and deciding where we should go to eat.  I can still hear one or the other of you saying, "Remember now, it's my turn to treat."

Ya gotta love memories like that!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Grace, Elegance, Sweetness, and Poetic Romance

     (from Graphics Grotto)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Onion - The Magical Bulb

Allium - Ornamental Onion
 Yesterday we came out of the dental clinic, and next to the sidewalk were these purple Allium, or Flowering Onion.  They look like little pom-poms on the end of a stem with no leaves.  If I had to choose one word to describe them, I'd pick 'dainty.'  Allium, an onion genus, with about 1250 species, is one of the largest plant genera in the world.  Who'd ever think this flower would be related to an onion?

Allium Cepa - Edible Onion
 Onions, whose botanical name is Allium Cepa, are one of the oldest known vegetables.  Over 600 species are found all over the world, and are a native to Asia.  Ancient Egyptians regarded the spherical bulb as the symbol of the universe.

Peeling onions makes us cry.  The reason why is because onions contain a chemical compound that, when released into the air, irritates the tear glands in our eyes, resulting in the production of tears.  Some say that chewing gum while peeling an onion will stop this from happening. 

Onions have gobs of nutritional benefits. At our house we love onions and think they add flavor and pizazz to most recipes.  We put them in our salads, casseroles, soups, stews, sandwiches, on top of roast beef and steaks.  They contain only 60 calories per cup, have a very low amount of sodium, and are a rich source of fiber, vitamin C, and other essential nutrients for our good health.  I did a bit of research about these magical bulbs, and this is what I find.....
  • Onions contain allyl disulphide and allium, the two phyto-chemical compounds that help the body fight against different types of cancers.
  • They have anti-diabetic properties and help in lowering sugar levels in diabetics.
  • They are good cholesterol sources.  According to studies, individuals who consume one onion every day raise the levels of good cholesterol (high density lipoprotein or HDL) in their body.
  • Onions contain a flavonoid called 'quercetin,' which helps in reducing and eliminating effects of free radicals.  When onions are simmered to make soup, their quercetin does not get degraded.  It simply gets transferred into the water part of the soup.  By using a low-heat method of preparing soup, the health benefits of the onion are preserved.
  • Onions purify the blood, improve cardiovascular health, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Onions reduce the growth of cancerous cells and tumors and prevent the development of different types of cancers, like ovarian, prostate, colon, breast, and cancer of the esophagus.
  • Onions have anti-inflammatory properties and reduce the pain and swelling due to rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis and complications due to asthma.
  • Onions, especially spring onions, are known to help sinus infections.  Smelling the juice of a spring onion or a slice of onion is a popular remedy in China for curing sinus infections.
In our area, the Kwik Trip Stores use onions as one of their "leaders."  Customers are led into KT for their every-day onion price of 38 cents a pound.  We think that's a bargain you just can't beat with a stick!

As a little girl, I'd walk up to our garden in the field, pull green onions out of the ground, clean 'em off a little, and chomp down like a rabbit.  If I was in the house, I'd first dip them into salt, and ooooohhhh, that was even better yet. One thing for sure, if onions are as nutritional as they say......well, this chick should live to be over 100.  Cuz, onions have been in my diet since I was old enough to chew!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Connect the Dots

People, like me, who are being gifted with 64 plus years of life, have a panoramic view that younger people can't expect to have.  The big picture is starting to show itself, and it's time to sit back and sigh, "Ahhhhhhh, that's what it's all been about!"

I remember sitting with a #2 pencil and a coloring book carefully drawing a line from 1 to 2,  2 to 3 and 3 to 4 and so on until all the numbered dots were connected.  That was big stuff for us back when we were kids, because art was not something the Catholic nuns focused on.  When we reached the astounding heights of the stick man, we were given a gold star and that was that.

The dots in our life start out when we're newborns.  An invisible pencil starts drawing and continues drawing until one day only two dots are left.  What appears at that point is the picture of our life.  It is only then that everything that has happened to us makes any sense.  It's Our Creator's way of keeping us always in the dark, not knowing the reason for us being here.  I cannot count the number of times during my life that I wondered why oh why things had to be happening like they were.  There were years that followed one after the other that added one painful thing after the other.  I thought for sure my world would end.  But, just like all storms, there came the day when the sun came out once again and my line straightened out on its way to the next number.  My point being:  we cannot despair.....everything works out in time..... but we have to grow older to see the big picture.

I'm hoping that there are more dots left on my page to connect.  It's interesting how yesterday I was in a book store, and a thought ran through my head.  I'd better read every book that interests me, because I don't know how much time I have to consume and digest all the written words that are sitting on the book shelves.  It's like I want to know all I can possibly get to know while I'm here.

There are dots waiting to be connected, and my line won't draw itself.  I'd best strap on my #2 pencil and get moving here. 


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Joplin Tornadoes

The boyfriend has gone fishing today.....in the rain.  He and his cohort are garbed in rain jackets, rain pants, and boots.  When the Northerns are biting......hey, it's their responsibility to show up for duty.  It's the warrior in them.

But, I worry nonetheless.  Visions of their boat being struck by lightning are plaguing my head.  I sit back here praying there won't be another burial at sea!

Yesterday we saw two fawns.  Yup, the does are having their babies, so keep a lookout for the little buggers hopping around after their mamas, getting to know the world. 

Having No Mercy
 Boy, there have been some wicked storms in the Midwest last couple of days.  My heart goes out to the people in Joplin, Missouri, and the other towns in Oklahoma where the tornadoes have swept away lives, homes, and towns.  The skies have the look of evil when those funnel clouds form and lower themselves to the ground.  The people who experience tornadoes say that they sound like roaring trains.

What's up with all this destructive weather?  A person can't help but wonder if man's interrupting the atmosphere with satellites and all other signaling is creating unnatural conditions that eventually produce turbulent weather down here.  One can only ponder.

Water is running down the side of the street in front of our house.  Cars are driving by as people are leaving for work.  Raindrops are splattering in the rain puddles on the front porch.  It's a nice slow rain, so the corn fields are probably singing as they soak up the nourishment that heaven is dropping down on them.  The corn rows are now visible in most of the fields around this area.

Let's pray that the sky gods calm down and look upon us earthlings with favor. 


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ground Value

Digging in the dirt brings out the puppy in me, and that's what I did yesterday afternoon.  Actually, all I did was pull weeds out of a flower bed back of the house.  Our little neighbor kids and their daddy walked over and sat down on the grass with me, and I thought that was about a sweet as it gets. 

I'm a farm girl at heart, so dirt is nothing new to me.  I never was dainty, and I never was a fuss budget either.  And, if somebody thought they'd have fun with me and throw me a double-dog-dare......well, I'd take the dare hands down.  I'm a tom-boy at heart, and maybe that's because I didn't have sisters.  I hung around with my brother and boy cousins, and they shared that wonderful world of boyhood with me.  We made imaginary guns out of sticks, we chased each other till someone fell, and we'd do battle in all venues, from out west to the jungles.  We fought, we cussed, but we always made nice when the battles were done.

I was told that the first cuss words that came out of my preciously adorable little mouth was at the age of 2 when I told a thing or two to our team of old plug horses.  I guess I put my hands on my hips and scolded Daisy, "Hosso bite, you usna bitch." 

Cussing was vital to farming in the 1950s.  It was critical to the family unit itself.  Farmer men swore, farmer women swore, and their children learn to swear from being around the swearing.  Tensions had to be released somehow.  I don't think that I'm exagerrating when I say this, but Catholic priests would have to admit that Swearing was the #1 sin confessed in the farming community. If not, then it would have been Lying.

Farming may be different today, but back in the 1950s, farming was darned hard and squeezed the sweat and life blood out of a man like nothing else.  Things were forever going haywire, hail ruined the crop that had to support the family, fences needed repair, bones were broken, thumbs were hit with hammers, and animals got sick and died.  The days unfolded into a litany of unexpected occurrences that took its toll on everyone in the household.  If daddy wasn't happy, momma and kids definitely weren't going to be happy either.  That was 1950s Farming 101.

The feel of dirt is good for us.  It brings us down to our own size.  We need to look down more.  There are those who go through life with their heads up in the clouds, but that ain't me.  I have too much respect for those who raised me to reverence the ground we walk on.  A flower bed is a simple way to touch the past, yet create the future.  Dig up the remains of last year's bounty and plant new.  Roll up the pant legs and sleeves, pretend being a kid again, and the ground will absorb our cares and give fresh and healthy abundance in return. 

Once again, Mother Nature has the secret elixir for whatever ails us.  She is generous and gives freely of her medicine.  All we have to do is.....dig for it!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Freezing Rhubarb

We cut up all of our rhubarb, put 2 cups in each freezer bag, and delivered them to our niece to put in her freezer.  She doesn't have rhubarb plants, and we know she and her family really like it.  While we were at her place, I took some adorable pictures that I just have to share.

Baby Robins
Look at these precious baby robins.  Their nest is tucked inside a young evergreen tree, and they are visible from one side through a small gap in the branches. 

Last year about this same time I blogged about a nest of blue robin eggs, and that picture was also taken in my niece's yard.  She and I share the love of nature, and that is obvious cuz we were on a tour of spring sightings the minute we stepped out of our car.   There's something so neat to see oneself reflected in another family member....other than one's own child.

Baby Bunnies Sound Asleep
We visited another nest, and this one has baby bunnies sleeping in a pile.  These little guys are laying beneath a blue creeping flower, and they wouldn't have been found if J hadn't moved part of flower it to see why some of the foliage was not turning green.  Nothing in nature escapes her curiosities. Aren't they precious?  I wanted to pick one up, but we know better than disturb spring babies of any kind. 

Beautiful Blue
Tucked partially beneath her deck is this clump of pretty pansies.  Their colors remind me of the Indigo Buntings that come visit our bird feeders occasionally.  Isn't color an added source of pleasure for us?  I often wonder about the colors of flowers and how they naturally lure the birds and bees to them with their nectar and scent. 

Magnificent Magenta
Positively Pink
Regal Red

Dainty Lily of the Valley
Living Under a Hosta

Whisps of White

Woodpile Posey
See the mud?
Our last discovery was this Barn Swallow nest tucked in the woodpile.  The reason we know it belongs to a Barn Swallow is because the nest is made partially of mud.  Strict orders were given to the family not to disrupt this charming little country abode. 

What started out to be a simple delivery of rhubarb, turned into a back yard nature tour of the nicest kind.  Plants, flowers, birds, and animals know they're safe when they live close to my niece, cuz she's going to protect and watch out for them until they're old enough to be on their own.

 I sure hope they enjoy the rhubarb.  I just know she'll be making her Gramma B's scratch rhubarb cake.  It's how generations hold onto each other, and in our family, food is the best way to do that!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The World Didn't End Yesterday!

I simply couldn't get myself very excited about being included in the mass migration to Heaven yesterday. 

Who is this man that was so sure the world was going to end yesterday?  Well, according to the Christian Post, here is the skinny on Harold Egbert Camping:

  • He was born in 1921 in Boulder, Colorado.
  • At an early age, he moved to California where his interest in math and science developed.  He later attended the University of California Berkeley during WWII, where he received a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering.
  • He started his own construction business and earned his own living.
  • In 1943, he married, and he and his wife had seven children.  
  • During these earlier years, he and his wife belonged to the First Christian Reformed Church of Alameda, where he was the most popular Bible studies teacher. 
  • He was a self-taught Bible instructor for his students.  His charisma and careful eye for biblical details are said to have helped him gain popularity among his students and the church.
  • After 1954, he became the owner of Camping Construction Company, and by 1958, he and two others formed the non-profit ministry of Family Stations, Inc. in San Francisco.
  • Family Radio was the ministry's Christian educational network, and it expanded over the decades as its broadcast teachings, Bible readings, as well as Christian music, like the southern gospel, spread across the country.
  • In his 40s, he started hosting an Open Forum program on weekends, which still continues to be broadcast on more than 140 stations in the U.S.
  • In 1973, he sold his business and became a full-time volunteer employer of Family Radio, where he served as the president and general manager of the stations.
  • The network is reported to now be worth more than $120 million and has 66 stations throughout the country.  These broadcasts are available in 61 languages online.
  • In 1988, he started talking about the world's impending end during his radio program and in his Bible classes.
  • In 1992, he published the book "1994?" in which he predicted that the world would end, but he wasn't yet sure about the year, only that it would happen in the near future.
  • In 1994, his followers gathered at the Alameda's Veterans' Memorial Building to wait for the return of Christ.  They dressed in their Sunday best and held their Bibles open-faced toward Heaven.
  • Nothing happened.  So, Camping said it was just a 'preliminary study' and that's why there was a question mark after the title of the book.  He spent the next ten years studying.
  • In 2005, he published 'Time Has an End' where he officially proclaimed that he had recalculated the rapture date to be May 21, 2011.  (That was yesterday.)
  • He predicted that around 200 million people would be raptured at 6 p.m. last evening, and the rest of us would suffer for five more months until October 21st.  He made that the definitive date for complete world obliteration.  Blotto.  Kaput.
  • It is reported that among his family members, only his wife of 68 years believes him and none of his six living children, 28 grandchildren, and 38 great grandchildren believe in his theories.
Quite a story, if, in fact, it is accurate.  There are countless ways to become rich and to become a household name.  How better than to be the man who could predict the end of the world!  I would imagine that his wife has no other choice but to believe in him after all these years.  If she is faking her loyalty to him just to keep peace in their home, then she would have been left behind with the rest of us to suffer.  Seems to me that Heaven is going to be a pretty lonely place if Harold knows what he's talking about.  Kinda like a club for the elite only. 

Looks to me like this present-day prophet might have a B.S. degree not only in Civil Engineering, but also in Bible.....but that's just my inkling.

(Underlining mine)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Never Let Go of a Friend.....No Matter What!

It's a long story. 

Suffice it to say, that once upon a time I wrote a letter to someone in the State of New York asking if she'd like to be my pen pal.  I found her picture and short story in a 1970's women's magazine.  Back then, editors of these magazines had a Pen Pal section for their readers.  Anyway, I wrote the letter, received an answer, and the rest is history.

The two of us shared alot of the same interests, experienced more than a few synchronicities, and met each other in person three times.  Just like with all relationships, things sometimes happen that shouldn't.  But, I've learned the hard way that what we view as 'pot holes in the road' are in reality disguised necessities that eventually will recreate new futures for us.  And, I realize that's exactly what happened after I received a recent phone call from New York.

Our email inboxes are now steaming, and we laugh about how we used to have to wait weeks for handwritten letters to reach each other.  Back then, we wrote our letters on pretty stationery that we bought in boxes.  Now it's so slick cuz we're able to send multiple notes a day, skim over the lost years, fill in the blanks, and reminisce.

In one of L's emails yesterday, she sent to me the words that are on a tapestry hanging on her upstairs wall.  She reads it every day.  It doesn't surprise me that once again our worlds overlap with the Weaver's theme.....

My life is but a weaving, between my God and me;
I do not choose the colors, He worketh steadily,
Oftimes He weaveth sorrow, and I in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper, and I the underside.
Not till the loom is silent, and shuttles cease to fly;
Will God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why,
The dark threads are as needful in the skillful Weaver's hand
As the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned.

We should never despair that our friendships might be unraveling and fraying away.  We forget there's an upper and underside to our lives.  A good lesson for sure.

I like to compare my heart to an English tea cup.  Fragile, but strong.  The English tea cup holds my friends......old, new, and in between.......those nearby and those far away.  I would not be who I am if their lives had not touched mine....in whatever profound way we may have met.  

As for this unique pen pal friendship.....well, L and her husband are coming to visit us in less than a month.  We're happy that the loom of life kept right on weaving these past years designing a pattern that was completely unbeknownst to us.  We're making plans for day trips to show them our special places, and we look forward to sharing meals together on our screened-in patio out back.  It's spring, and it's time for renewal.     

And, so the story goes............     

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Garbage Truck Rule

While stumbling upon new and interesting websites, I came across the story of The Garbage Truck Rule and just have to pass these meaningful words along..... 

"One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport.  We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us.  My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches!  The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us.

"My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy.  And, I mean, he was really friendly.  So, I asked, 'Why did you just do that?  This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!'

This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, 'The Law of the Garbage Truck.'

"He explained that many people are like garbage trucks.  They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment.  As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you.  Don't take it personally.  Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on.  Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.  The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day.  Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so......'Love the people who treat you right.  Pray for the ones who don't.'

"Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it!"    (From Sabina)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

We Won the Lottery!

Woke up this morning wringing wet......after dreaming that we had won the lottery and physically carried 32 million dollars to the bank on a Sunday morning.  My dream was so vivid and to detail, that I remember pinching myself in the dream to see if we really had won.  

The one thing I was going to buy for myself was a little convertible.  Beyond that, we stashed all 32 million dollars in our small-town bank and were going to maintain our usual lifestyle.  What?  Huh? 

It is said that our dreams can have lots of different interpretations, but who for sure knows which one is right....if any are.  I'm going to pretend that last night's lottery winning dream means that the abundance of the Universe is mine.  Something is telling me to clear my thoughts and open my heart to the many positive things that are coming my way.  But, instead of hoarding them, I'm going to share my "wealth" with others.  How and what comes to be....well, we'll just have to wait and see.  This will give me something to look forward to.

Oh, by the way, there won't be a little convertible parked in our driveway, but that's okay.  I can always get a scooter if I feel the need to let my hair fly! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Toilet Bowl Brush

Who on god's green earth would wash their toilet bowl brush in the dishwasher?  Well, evidently some do.  If you read today's Dear Abby, that's one of the questions presented to Abby.  What does the father-in-law do now that he knows his daughter-in-law does exactly that.  Most family gatherings are held at her home, and he no longer wants to eat there.  Hmmmmmm. 

If I was in this situation, I would bring a sack lunch and wait for my son to divorce this idiot, remarry someone with a brain, give them a new dishwasher, new dishes, new pots and pans and then keep a close eye on things before accepting an invitation to dinner.

But, that's just my opinion!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Abandoned Houses

 Once upon a time.......

a pioneer toiled and sweat building this stone home for his family.  I'm supposing he was married and had children.  How many?  Well, we'll never know.  We also won't know the mysteries and secrets that these walls saw and heard and continue to keep.  If only we could ask and get answers.

Far too many abandoned houses in the country these days, and I can't help but feel sad when I see their distinctive architecture left to ruin.  Stone structuress intrigue me the most, because the home I was born into was a 3-story old stone house.  For me, they hold another dimension of curiosity.  Where was the stone quarried?  How was it cut into blocks so the walls would be straight and even?  How long did it take to build?

Kerosene lamps and candles likely lit this home, and a wood stove kept the family warm during the cold months of the year.  Trees had to be felled, chopped into fire wood, lugged into the house, someone needed to tend the fire night and day, and the ashes then carried outside.  Floors needed sweeping often, and everyday life required the individual efforts of every family member old enough to pitch in.

What we today know as sports were at at the time the source of putting food on the table.  I know personally what that was like, because that's what my parents had to do to keep us kids fed.  Friday night fish fries today entice us to eat out, but while I was growing up meals of fried fish were the norm.....as was pheasant, squirrel, rabbit, and venison.  I'd watch daddy clean a squirrel on a little gizmo he rigged up on the spring house wall with two hooks.  The two of us visited while he skinned the critters, but for the life of me I can't remember what we ever talked about.  All I remember was that he was serious about what he was doing, and, for me, it was something to do.

So much history around us sitting on hillsides and down in valleys.  Skeletal remains of homes from the past gracing our countryside, forgotten, worn and weary.  So many life occurrences happened inside them, families were raised, children born, family members died, birthdays celebrated, and in many houses the abusive situations prevailed.  All we can do now is fantasize about the dilapidated dwellings, the times of laughter, the times of tears, the long and hard hours of work, and the relationships within.  

Someday our home, too, will leave its present condition and someone of another generation will wonder about us and what our lives were like.  Sometimes I look at our home and try to imagine who will live in it after we are gone.  Will they take good care of it?  Will they love it the way we do?  Will they feel the good times and the sad times we will leave behind?  Nah, they'll only be able to fantasize according to the way they themselves choose to think.  That's just the way it goes.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Green Peppers and Guilt

Here it is 10:30 already, and my brain has turned to mush.  I've been flitting from one website to another, sipping coffee, texting my niece, and getting nowhere.  But, it's fun!

Frost on the roof this early morning.  Last week we had 93-degree days, and this week frost.  What the hay is going on?  It's hard to know what to wear in the morning. 

My closet holds few clothes, so I wear the same things over and over.  It's apparent that I'm not going to win any awards for the best-dressed gal in town, but I'm close to winning the most comfortable!  I went shopping with the girls a week ago for the first time in a long time, and I found some really nice tops.  I'm one who searches out the sale racks, and I'm fairly proud of myself for having found two tops that were regularly $45 and I got em for $2.97 each.  Nobody else must've wanted em, but I think they're kinda neat.

The hubby is outside putting our new patio furniture together.  Our old ones are structurally just fine, but the cushions have soiled from wear.  It would have cost us about the same to buy new cushions as it did to replace them.  One of these days the temperatures will get to where we'll want to be outside all the time, so he's daily making progress in cleaning up winter's residues.  So much work to keep a place up anymore.  Most of our garden is planted, with the exception of the tomato plants that he got from a friend gardener who started them from seed.  Can't wait till we can pick our own green peppers.  I refuse to buy them in the store for what they're charging these days.   

Summer salads are always fun to look forward to and to create.  It's a good thing we like fresh vegetables at our house, cuz we pile a plate high with goodies and call it a meal.  It's the darned dressing that causes the problem, depending on the kind we use.  My faves are french, ranch, and blue cheese, or a combination of those.

There's a fair wind outside right now.  I'm watching the tree branches wiggle and twist through the window.  Wish I had the energy they do.  Guess, tho, when one gets to be my age there doesn't have to be that guilt factor about constantly doing something constructive.  The way I see it, if I should happen to croak today, what difference will it matter if I leave things undone?  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

New Digs

Welcome to my new spring digs!

A few minutes before noon here, my husband came upstairs to see if I was still breathing.  Yes, I was still in bed sound asleep.  My fuzzy one was cuddled beside me and must've known that I needed the extra hours of rest after dancing my heart out last night at an old-fashioned barn dance.

We, and our friends, look forward to this annual event and are ever so happy to be included on the invitation list.  This is no ordinary barn.  It's been completely renovated, and the dances are are held in what originally was the hay mow.  This is a far cry from the days we harvested loose hay, before bales even, and our putt-putt John Deere tractor pulled the trip rope with a forkful of hay up and into the hay mow.  We called them "putt-putts"  because that's what they sounded like.  I spent hours and hours sitting on the grass watching our family fill the hay mow, but my daddy wouldn't allow me to operate a tractor or get near any part of farming where I could have been hurt.  I don't know how many times I was told to "stand back and out of the way."

A husband and wife team provide the guitar music for this hootenanny.  If one enjoys dancing, they will definitely entice one out onto the floor.  I was beyond happy to resume dancing after having to sit out the last couple of years because of the pain in my hip.  My hip replacement last August fixed this chick up, and I was able to have fun with the rest of the crowd.  It pays to take care of our deteriorating bodies best we can, even if that requires major surgery.  Being alive is just too darned precious to let it erode away from us because of pain.

Boat Motor Mixer
As I mentioned in a recent blog, our rhubarb is ready to be picked.  Gotta share a low-calorie Rhubarb Fluff recipe that I put together yesterday and served on top of angel food cake.  I took 3 cups of cut-up fresh rhubarb, 1/4 cup of orange juice, and one small box of sugar-free strawberry jello.  Cooked that until the rhubarb was soft.  With what I call my 'boat motor' mixer, I pureed the rhubarb and put it in the fridge to cool.  When it was cooled and sort of set, I stirred in an 8-oz. container of Lite Cool Whip.  One could add sugar, or sugar substitute, if it's too tart for one's taste.  Great way to serve rhubarb and not put on the pounds while doing so!

Think I'm going to take the day off and simply lounge around, watch some t.v., and spend time with my fuzzy little girl.  She's been left behind quite a bit lately, and is starting to express her frustration with us.  Dogs are furry people, but I think a person has to be born with a few canine genes themselves in order to fully appreciate that statement.  Actually, I was born with more than a few.  (giggle)

Hope everyone is enjoying their day.  If any of my readers are having a tough time with life right now, well, please know that you will be included in my night prayers.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

My First Blogiversary!

Where it's at!!!
Cannot fathom that twelve months have slipped by since I opened my laptop to type that first apprehensive blog on May 15, 2010.   Anniversaries are 2-day affairs, actually.....one marks a sweet ending and the other marks a brand new beginning.

How well I remember being a bit nervous about scattering my thoughts and feelings around the web like bird seeds.  A year later, I realize that a window opened in my life that every morning lets in a sustaining breeze of mental energy.  Some days ideas surface that conjure up giggles and other days they conjure up tears as I flip through the pages of my past.

One of the neatest elements of the Blogger Host that I use to publish my blogs is that we, the blogger, can see on a world map what countries access our blog site.  Never in a trillion years could I have imagined that my everyday musings would travel to computer screens in far away places, like The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Canada, Slovenia, Russia, South Korea, Brazil, Chile, Finland, Sweden, China, Iran, Spain, France, South Africa, Philippines, and even Pakistan. 

This morning I say thank you to my faithful followers and to my new readers.  Bless your hearts and bless your days.  I pray that your heart and my heart stay connected by this amazing World Wide Web that has been masterfully woven for humanity's ease and growth.  Our beautiful Earth has struggled for peace since the beginning, but technology today lets us hold hands and hearts and minds with strangers that we will never meet and never know.

Take my hand and let's keep walking the walk..........

Friday, May 13, 2011

Shopping, Fishing and Eating

Yowza, the Blogger host site has been down for some hours now.  That means that I haven't been able to access my dashboard to write and publish my blog. Makes me wonder if Friday, the 13th had something to do with the frustrating glitch. 

Went grocery shopping this morning.  When one says 'grocery shopping' it really entails so much more than food.  We carried enough plastic sacks in the house to start our own retail outlet.  Both of us dislike carrying in and putting the stuff away, and I know that I skate by with doing the least.  But, sometimes it's smarter to let the other person do it.  Then when we can't find something, the blame target is a whole lot easier to identify!!! 

Also bought my fishing license and trout stamp, so now I'm good to go whenever the boat launches.  My fish pole is all rigged up with a strong test line just in case I hook into a lunker. When I was a little girl we'd pick our own nightcrawlers, and now they're over $3 for 20.  After rains, the crawlers would be sprawled on the sidewalks and were easy game for those of us who fished a lot.  Otherwise, we'd prowl around at night with flashlights looking for them in the grass.  We'd be ever so careful to pull them out of the ground slowly so we wouldn't rip 'em in half.  

The air is much cooler and more comfortable today where I live.  We had a few days of 90-degrees, and that, in my book, was just plain miserable.  Sweatshirt weather is my favorite.....not too warm and not too cold.   

At noon we ate a bowl of chili at a family restaurant.  We both commented on the size of a bowl in a restaurant versus the size of a bowl at home.  We're trying to discipline ourselves in the portion-control department, so this was a good practice.  When we finished our chili, the waitress asked if we'd be interested in a piece of one of their famously divine cream pies. We both smiled at her and politely lied, "Oh, no, thank you."  

Sometimes I have to get my mind off of food and think about something else...............aren't the bleeding hearts pretty this time of year!     

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Virginia Bluebells

Virginia Bluebells are dear to my heart.  When my Auntie was in the rest home some years back, I picked a bouquet of bluebells and took them to her.  There was nothing in the world that I could have given her that would have made her happier, and they brought simple elegance to her bedside table. 

When we're out on one of our more remote springtime drives, my husband usually makes it a point to stop and pick me a small bouquet.  He knows how special they are to me, and I can't describe the delicately sweet fragrance that saturates our vehicle until we get home and put them in a vase.

"Pretty little thing
sometimes you gotta look up
and let the world see
all the beauty that you're made of
cause the way you hang your head
nobody can tell
you're my Virginia bluebell
my Virginia bluebell."

Lyrics by Miranda Lambert

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wrens, Radishes and Rhubarb

The wrens are back!  Not only are they back in the neighborhood, but they're setting up household in one of the houses we have out for them.  Yippee!

The radishes and onions are happily growing in our 'portable' garden.  Only a few minutes ago I took this picture, and it's obvious how the sun's brightness affected the picture.  Today's forecast is for up to 90 degrees.  This chickie does not fare well in hot weather, so in the house I shall stay. 

This morning I attended the last session as volunteer reader.  Both the student and I agreed that "Elsewhere" was a most intriguing book.  The program ends now with the termination of the school year and will resume again in the fall.

The sound of lawnmowers is penetrating its way through the closed doors.  Tis the season for that weekly  task to start.  Lawns are lush and look so pristine after being freshly groomed.  Our John Deere needed some kind of a kit, so yesterday we picked that up at the JD store.  I'm mechanically illiterate, so I don't know what the kit consists of.  All I know is that it was necessary for our lawn tractor to begin business.

The rhubarb is ready.  Another spring delicacy. 

There's good chance that we can expect late-afternoon thunderstorms with such a change in the temperature.  Seems whenever we get really hot temperatures in the spring, nasty clouds build up in the southwestern sky about 4:30 or 5 in the afternoon.  When we were kids on the farm, I remember the cows would run with their tails up in the air before a bad storm and then they'd huddle together under a tree. 

Lots of springtime wonders happening all around us. 

Monday, May 09, 2011

Cherished Posies

Joy to My Heart
Tears to My Eyes
Love to My Life

Sunday, May 08, 2011

A Day of Digital Drama

Our digital camera was smoking yesterday, capturing one spectacular sight after another.....

Boulevard Beauties

I Smell As Good As I Look

Spring is Bubbling Up All Over the Place

Adorable Old Stone House

Stairway to Where?

Let's Sit and Visit 

Quaint Stone Church

Don't Forget About Me!
Notice Tiny Violets
Looking Down at Church Steeple

Wouldn't I Make a Gorgeous Bridal Bouquet?
TA DAH!!!!!!

Can you see the Cardinal
That Follows Us
Wherever We Go?
Layers of Loveliness
Home Of President Ulysses S. Grant