Friday, December 25, 2009


Merry Christmas Everyone!

From our home to yours, I wish you a joyous Christmas and a blessed New Year!

Our Christmas has been very peaceful and calm and nice.
We attended communion services last night at church together and enjoyed the simplest of meals when we got home... chicken and dumplings.  The kids donned Christmas pjs', though they're hardly toddlers, they still look forward to getting new pjs' on Christmas eve.

Early this morning, the 16 hear old bounced me from sleep but was convinced to go back to bed for a while, until the older ones woke up.  We had our traditional beignets and coffee and opened our gifts to each other.

We've shared greetings with friends and family from far and near.
We've enjoyed the company around the fireplace and around the table.
For all of my blessings, I am deeply grateful.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A hunting they will go...

Shall we play 'find the boys?"

This afternoon, they decided to rabbit hunt. 
Never mind that we have no hunting dogs...
...and they were duly warned that they'd be dressing out and preparing any game they took.
I simply did not have the time today, nor was I inclined.

In the end, there was nothing to dress out or cook.

Most of the time, I'm pretty sure it's not about what you take...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I'm fine!

I've been so busy, I'd forgotten to bring you up to date. 
I've survived the head cold, which was actually a wimpy little thing... just enough to aggravate with a vengeance and throw a kink in the process of getting the December things done.

Kicking the cold was assisted by the arrival of nice, healthy band fruit... fresh from Florida... the perfect breakfast or snack.

Yesterday was my last day of work for a while.  I have a built-in break, which has both good and bad components, but at this moment, frees me up to get caught up on the Christmas crush and slow things down and enjoy the season, and most importantly, my family.

Since Saturday, I've had 2/3rds the right number of kids in the house. 
The college kid migrated home and has taken up residence in his upstairs domain.
You forget how much you miss them... seeing their sleepy faces in the morning,
hearing them bump around in the night... trying to keep food in the house.
He's an amazing cook and has produced some excellent meals which is a huge treat for me!

We're churning out snack mix at a rapid pace.  A big double recipe batch each evening, is not lasting until the following afternoon.  The first two batches never even got cool... and they were GONE!

I'm cranking back up the sourdough starter.  Looking forward to bread and homemade soups.

I've a stack of sewing projects to attend, beginning with mending which has been gathering about the sewing machine like a multiplying mound.  Mending is a good thing and a source of satisfaction when it's done.
With growing kids and living on a farm, it's a necessity.  When you get used to doing it, not doing it simply doesn't make sense.

And I'm finally in the mood for some decorating.  I love simply fresh decorating.  It needs to get done!

And last but not least, I promised a young lady that I'd help her learn to crochet as part of her 'Senior Experience'.  This afternoon, I'll spend a couple of hours getting her started, so that she can make a project over the holidays.  This is my first look at a 'senior project'... just in time to see it in advance of the kid having his own Senior Experience next year.

So, this is 'coordination' day for the next 10 days or so...
  uhm.... I'd better get started!

Monday, December 7, 2009

December crush!

I must whine... I absolutely MUST whine...

I have a cold... a sore throat, stuffy nose, ear-achey kind of cold.

And I have this cold in DECEMBER!  

I have the day off and need to do laundry and clean.  I need to Christmas shop and bake.
I have projects in the sewing room and several household tasks that have been put off too long.
I don't feel like doing any of that stuff.  None of it!

And I have a calendar that looks like this:

And that calendar doesn't include the 'regular' stuff.. the practices, the normal day to day activities.
It contains appointments and exceptions.  You notice that Christmas week in December is empty...
I refuse, REFUSE to schedule that week.

I spent this morning rearranging things, to fit in more things and to try to arrange the itinerary in a manner that makes sense and order.  Prioritizing... a massive, massive task.  Especially when you're 'under the weather'.

I want to find the time for dinner with my oldest and dearest friends.
(Ok, David, so you're not THAT old... you know what I mean!)
I want to make the Christmas eve pajama's and I want to make them now... not on December 24th.
I want to borrow someone's babies and little kids and make and decorate Christmas cookies.  
I want to take fruit and a bit of Christmas greenery to the shut-ins from my church.
I want to have time to sit a while.

For the record...

my adorable brother in law brought me HIS meds from his cold, in an effort to make me feel less miserable.

My best buddy and pal called and listened to the whining.

And the band director offered to order the kid to come home and do dishes...

and SANTA left me chocolate candy on my chair this morning and a nice fire in the fireplace...
Thanks, Santa!

Folks are trying to help!  They really are and I appreciate it.

Next year, remind me ...  remind me what December is like...
Remind me that I will struggle with the schedule and the hassles,
in the effort to keep the holiday. AND I'll catch a cold in the middle of it all.

Man, I am whiney...

So, I'm going to have some tea...

and I'm going to take a nap, then I'll get up and try to tackle the day again.

Thoughts on being champions...

Saturday night our football team became state champions  by virtue of hard work and practice and devotion of many dedicated men who are coaches and a team of young men who are athletes.

The excitement was palpable, the air charged with that electricity of a big thing about to happen.

The community at large and the devotion of a small town to her youth was impressive.
Nerve wracked parents... fathers who played a generation ago, with faces so full of emotion...
a student section, both pensive and wild in anticipation, cheerleaders with pom poms...
folks for whom this was a first ...
and folks who have seen a lot... who have been in this place before.

I recall a time, more than 30 years ago, when, in the aftermath of a state championship game, I got bear hugs and kisses from a football player, who became the man that I would later marry.
I know what these memories mean.

May they enjoy the victory
and carry with them
the amazing feeling of being champions as they go.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Putting the place to bed...

Late afternoon...
early evening...

I head out to tuck the place in for the night.

I feed the dogs.
I feed the barn cats.
The horse whinnies, low but insistant that I not forget her feed.
I pour her grain into a bucket and scoot through the fence to nuzzle with her a few moments.
I ponder that she is now alone... lonely in a pasture... I run my hands down her flank.
I wish her goodnight.

I notice that the light is fading faster.
I hear the birds in the treeline along the woods...
their urgent calls to their mates to come to roost for the night is near.

I tend my own flock. 
I fill the feeders and drag the hose and fill their waterer.
I pull them some grass and promise them pasture in the morning.
I think that I need to spend some time in their coop,
cleaning and making ready for the colder weather.

I close the tack room door that's been left ajar.

I check the broccoli in the garden, planted too late, really, but it will bear.
I notice the fig bush, bare in the twilight...
I think of it when it was a twig, an off-shoot of my grandmother's  fig bush...
my grandmother who is no longer alive,
but who is connected to me in so many ways.
I notice the cherry trees which have survived a second summer...
from my husband's grandmother's home, after her death... a legacy that we hope will bear for years.
I close the gate to the garden.
I turn off the water at the spigot.
I'll coil the hose tomorrow.

I sit for a moment on a heavy stone wall and tie my boot.
I listen and I feel the fading warmth.
Just ahead lies days that are cold and wind that whips about the place.
I make a mental note to make a list of the winter jobs that need to get done before the cold arrives.

I head to the clothes line.
I fold the clothes that have waited patiently until last.
When did my son get legs this long? 
How do I manage to hang out 7 socks?
I need to mend some things, remember to set aside time to do the mending.
I smell the sunshine on the clothing... on the bed linens.
I love the way it smells.

I walk back through the yard to the house, with the basket,
big dog pushing on my thigh with her full weight, racing off to chase a cat.
The moon has risen over the old, old trees.  The dusk is thick around me.
Golden light pours from the windows in the old, old house.
Warmth within will welcome me.

Last week of Junior Year Marching band season.

Insert a deep, deep, maternal sigh here...

Marching band competition season "proper" ended in October.
Football games necessitate lots of travel on the part of the band, and weeks that run well into December.
That is where we've found ourselves this year.

This coming Saturday, we'll have a long, long day at marching band, but it will be the last day of marching band this year.
First, we have Christmas parades, which are fun, in and of themselves.
You all know that a parade 'sounds' like the merry sound of a marching band, playing carols.


We are scheduled to do three parades, but will be cutting the day short, in order to go to
the state capital with our football team as they vie for the State 3A championships.
We wish the best of luck to the Clinton High Red Devils on their way to State!

This makes for a long, long, long season for the parents, whose presence is required
and necessary.  We coordinate and pack, and load buses and trucks.
We encourage and discourage and keep careful watch over our own progeny and all their friends.
We feed them and hug them and dry their tears.
We watch in those moments of pre-performance fear and in those moments of  sheer elation.


This coming Saturday will mark the end of my youngest child's junior year of marching a snare drum.
I fully appreciate his buddies on the drumline, for making a season full of spirit and fun and being a tight band of brothers.
I am thankful for a young and enthusiastic band director, who brought us to a new place and made us better and made my child smile again, while strapped into his drum.
I appreciate all the parents who came and worked and cared.
I appreciate all the smiles and hugs that came MY way.

I wish for my son, a senior year of marching band...
of heat and sun, of cold and rain,
of trials and triumphs,
of hands and hearts together as one...
on a field of competition... under the lights.
For all the life lessons learned... for the depth of feeling of the family that is band,
for the measured steady beat of a snare drum in the night,
I thank him for being the 'baby' in the family,
and for sharing this journey with his mother.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Thanksgiving brings up a lot of emotions for me... for lots of folks, I think.
It's a time to think about what we're most grateful for... our blessings, if you will.
This blog is full of my blessings. 

For today, I'll think about the actual act of gathering family and friends in around a table
to celebrate that closeness where we know that we are part of a spirit of companiable being together.

I happened to inherit the house in which my extended greater circle of family has celebrated most holidays for the last 110 + years.  For many, other than just me, it is a home-coming... a returning to where earliest memories are of relatives and friends, of food and celebration, of human touch and connection.  There is nothing fancy here... nothing modern or new. It is old and soft and offers up the charm of time gone by.
I am thankful that the house still stands, home to me and mine and a place that we love to share.

Thursday was Thanksgiving day... and this Thanksgiving there were people missing among our number.
We felt the space and miss the souls that have gone on.
We celebrate the incoming of new members to the family, by birth and by marraige, by engagement and by new friendships.  We hope that they feel and know how very welcomed they are.
The definition of family here is not what you would first think of, but is all encompasing. 
I am thankful for the family that I have... that which I was born into, that which I married into, that which I made with my husband and those friends who have joined me on the journey, whom I love and adore and count as family where I find them.  They are all a blessing to me, truly.

As folks gathered to share the meal, the chatter and noise picked up and the hugs went round like wildfire.
Dishes were cooked and brought to share.  The table was expanded (yes, with that extra leaf it IS a trick table) and mismatched chairs gathered round.  I am grateful that no chairs broke, nobody fell down and that no filled plates went airborne in the attempt to gather round.

Grace was shared... and then the feed began.  Goodness... what fun... and how quiet things get in that ten minutes after everyone is seated.  As appetites are whetted the conversation picks back up... and you hear the familiar voices... the zany sense of humor... the signature laughter... you see their smiling eyes.
I'm thankful that I love to cook and that I love to eat and that I've health in abundance to share in this time.

I need a solid week to revel in thanks giving... to enjoy the afterglow of the coming together of us all.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Wednesday, I happened upon a scene that made me smile... a scene I've seen hundreds of times...

Two brothers getting ready to go fishing.

Fishing supplies, in large part are kept at the ready, in the OLD brown van, which serves as a river vehicle.

Essentials... plenty of rods and reels... plenty of tackle... a can of worms, a box of crickets...

The right tools and the knowledge of how to use them.



Uhm... well... some modern conveniences, just in case we need to keep in touch.

A lantern, in case it gets dark,  and a walk to the river...
with your brother.

Companionable silence or chatter...
with your brother.

Time well spent with your brother.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sleepy mornings.

This has been a busy week... like most weeks.
Next week will be a busy week.... fun, and I'm looking forward to it, but busy.
Last night, we attended a local highschool talent show.
At first, I admit, we thought to skip it.  Our son was part of an 'act', but we thought that we'd have a rare 'date' night and have dinner, out, together.  Actually, we were having dinner when we realized that we were alone... my 'usual' waitress at a local restaurant asked me where were my 'kids'.  The kids she referred to were one of my own children, a selection of band kids and several adults with whom I often eat in advance of all things band.

We ate a leisurely meal and STILL ended up needing to hang out in town and the show had just started.  The proceeds all go to the local Memorial Home for an emergency generator. So... we attended.  It was cute.  The 'bad boys' of the highschool drumline took first place.  Even if I am a drumline mom, they did a great job.  It's an awesome thing to see 9 young men work so in synch as if they breathe one breath.  They'd all worn all black and were truly a good looking bunch.

Anyway, that brings me to this morning. The menfolk that are here are asleep... quiet and warm, it's a pretty Sunday morning.  Cloudy and overcast, the light is soft about the place and nothing at all is stirring on the farm.  My morning coffee smells and tastes wonderful and the quiet... the quiet is so peaceful and calm.
Rest comes in varying forms and I love early mornings that are like this. I find them restful enough to 'store up' that feeling for when I'm tired and world worn.  I take a lot of comfort and find peace in being the first one up.  I love knowing that my family is sleeping just a room away, and sometimes, I peek in and smile.  I love to see their sleeping faces, all sweet and at peace.

So, I'll sit on the porch, with a fleece blanket and my coffee and watch the world come to life... but I'll relish these solitary moments and the quiet beginning to my day.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

So... I'm not good at this posting everyday thing.... really.

Life is too busy... routine life that is... have recently begun to figure out that part of the issue is being part of the working world again AND band season in combination.

A few weeks ago, the morning after our school sponsored an Upperstate Band Competition, I awoke to an insistant husband...  He insisted that I get up and eat breakfast (he had cooked) and that we WERE going on a day trip that I had planned but had decided to abandon.

We went to SAFF.  Southeaster Annual Fiber Festival... Crazy fun for those who knit and/or those who love animals who produce fiber.

The man packed a surprise picnic... AND talked me into dressing and getting in the car.  He drove mountainward and it was beautiful.

The colors were near peak and the drive was leisurely ... nice to spend time with each other, considering the hurried-ness of the last weeks.

We get to SAFF, and the man produces the picnic... and it was really, really nice,,, tablecloth... the whole thoughtful thing....

So, at SAFF, my agenda/travels begin in the outdoor venues.  A real favorite is petting the bunnies and trying hard not to take one home. (We've 'done' bunnies before and I'm thinking... uhm... no!)  Then you walk around to the alpacas...

Hello!  Gentle humming... soft brown eyes... the most incredibly soft coat.

There are Llama's...   LOOK at these eye-lashes...

And so I'm walking along... enjoying the sunshine... sidestepping the mud and like always, I'm just talking away... and I get a couple of funny looks... so I turn to discover... the man is gone... GONE... Not walking along listening intently to my every word... (OK, so that part is not a surprise!)

I KNOW the man.... I'd better find him...

uh. oh...  That's the contemplative stance...  He's thinking about it...

No... no... no.... Let me run back over there...
Turns out the whole pen full of males were CHEAP... owners needed to unload them TODAY...

Those darned creatures were making eyes at my husband... and this is exactly how we landed a horse, many years ago, when we had no pasture fences.    I tell you, the man has a hard time resisting eye batting.

Couple of things saved us...  I can be very convincing,,, ok... so we'll accept the term 'bossy'... and we had driven a smallish car to SAFF (How many critters CAN you put in the trunk and back seat of a Ford Focus?).

We're an excellent balance for each other... keep each other 'in line' so to speak.

Might we someday need to own some alpaca and llama?... indeed... I'll about guarantee it...

But for now, we're good. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The river's high!

Living on the river has it's positives and it's negatives.

And sometimes, even the negatives are meaningful.

After a two day hit of rain from Tropical Storm Ida, we have a full flood stage on the river.
The raw and powerful surge of water coming down from the mountains and foothills remind us that life is not within our control.  What, on the average day, is a mild mannered, peaceful and very lazy river, was by midday, a muddy and spread far out of her banks sort of crazy river.

We forgot to move the camper.  And noone has braved the rain to go and check.  The guys I work with jokingly said that while they were out replacing a kiosk panel that they saw a camper go floating by...  tis possible... but more likely  if the water got up to the camper, then it's full of muddy water and propped up sideways on a tree.  Sigh...

The park has interpretive signboards under water and trails that I'm told we'll spend two weeks trying to find again. 

In the morning, I'll take a few minutes and go down to the river and watch.  I love the river most in the peaceful phase... but I  like to see it in every light.  From various favorite spots along the river, it helps to 'know' this place that we live.

One of the nicest things about a flooded river, is that everything usually comes up pretty clean after a flood... a new downed tree here or there, but a new and deeper channel of water and new sandy beaches and a blissful perfect quietness and cleanness.  The water this moment is muddy and angry, but in a day or two will be calm and quiet and clear again...  it will be cooler with the late autumn weather, with little puddles of leaves caught in an eddy... well worth the walk, well worth the moments to sit and think.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Nest

Pretty much everyone who knows me knows that the fullfillment of my life has been being the mother of my three children.  Having a husband who has given me that great joy and with me, provided for them is also a true blessing.  For these, God's blessings, I am truly grateful.

This was a gift to me, from my child.

It speaks to what we have intended as parents, all along.

" to grow and built to last~"

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Wedding thoughts.

I have a half-brother... half.... brother..... weirdo phrase...
he's not half of anything,
... he's a whole brother.
Another way of putting it is that we shared a father.
We also share a sister.
He shares his son with me,,, my only nephew.

I really didn't get to know him at all until we were adults.

I love him.

Today, he was married. 

I welcome his bride to our family.

I will pray for them as they become a family.

For all the joys and all the struggles that life in a family entails, I wish them strength for the journey.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Quote of the day...

The less routine the more life...   amos bronson alcott


We live a lot here... a LOT!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


One of autumns most beautiful surprises in my yard are camelias.  I have both sasanqua and japonica camelias
which are next to perfectly carefree, grow in the moderate to deep shade under my mature old oaks and bless the cold and dreary days of fall and winter with these amazing blooms.

Though our nights are quite nippy  lately... we've had a few early frosts... the blooms are magnificent... covering the 10 foot high bushes with a layer of pinks.  The little pollinators have been busy with this last of autumn burst of blossom and I've enjoyed the delicate bloom as well as the steady drop of what looks like pink snow flakes onto the ground below.

Several years ago, I planted a holiday camelia... which should be dark red and bloom nearer to the winter holidays.  It's been a slow starter for me, but I am so looking forward to having red blooms in vases brightening up the house.

Another fall favorite of mine is the ivy.  I know folks have very differing opinions on ivy, but I enjoy my ivy.  The colors of it, dappled in the sunlight are simply beautiful... a dark and glossy green year round, but especially when the winds are cold and all the rest of the gardening world is dull and brown.  I use ivy in holiday arrangements a lot and it keeps forever in a windowsill vase.

As it becomes time to put the garden to rest for the winter, I value the things that I can bring inside... to brighten the shorter days and to remind me that seasons come and go quickly.

Monday, November 2, 2009


I've been challenged to post an entry a day in November... many do it... we shall see.  As you can see, I'm off to an iffy start... I'll have to settle for two entries today... as I missed getting yesterday's finished on time.

Today, I have a day off... a scheduling change at work gives me today to catch up on housework.

Housework... I wish I were good at it, but I am not.
I live in a house that is more than 100 years old and yet I cannot do it justice by caring for it properly.
I am often sidetracked by life, other tasks and by things I want to do, rather than things that I should do.
In the great, grand scheme of setting priorities, the people in my life come before the house... for which I do not apologize.

A clear-eyed look at things indicates that it's time for some serious work... new paint and repairs
that will be necessary to keep things going for some time to come.  I've no desire to change the quirks that come from living in an 'heirloom'...  I just need to rethink. 
In advance of colder weather, holidays and homecomings, I need to be able for the house to be the
setting of the human story, not a distraction.

When each child joined us, I simplified... serious, serious simplification.
I had to make the tasks easier, to be able to focus on the humans... not the house.
As children are now leaving our home, I'm finding myself wanting to simplify again.
I begin to think of what we need to please ourselves and how that works with an influx of
happy adult children on various occasions.

I see, just down the road, time to do for myself and time again to do things as a couple.
I don't want to do it somewhere else... I want to do it here.

This past weekend, everyone came home... at different times, for different reasons...
Every footfall on the porch, every opening of that front door, every warm body that sat to my table
is a reason to get down to business and refocus what we need the house to be.
We all come here for comfort, for rest, for a retreat from a world that is fast and furious.
This house, it's time and place, is timeworn and a reassurance of past, present and future... a framework for the lives lived around it.

Of wedding gowns and old wives tales...

First let me say that there will be no photos... because I inadvertantly erased the ones in the camera that I made last night...  Which is a really weird thing because I've never had that problem before... and as I intended to sit here and write about an old wives tale associated with wedding gowns and the photos were of my daughter... wearing my wedding gown.   It is just as well...

In 1983, I got married and while some of my aunts and uncles who raised me wholeheartedly approved of my marriage, a few of them balked.  As I was hard headed and very independent their objections did not prevent my wedding, and time, itself has proven our steadfast love and devotion to one another.  With 100% surety, the old ladies in the family explained to me, that though I would be fine sewing every stitch that everyone else in the wedding wore, folk lore held that for every stitch I would sew on my own wedding gown, I would cry a thousand tears.  I was not allowed... it would be 'wrong'... and though most of them sewed, no one stepped forward to tackle the task, so one day, a few months before the wedding, I simply went to the mall and bought a dress.

Now, let me say that weddings are NOT about dresses... or any of the other assorted things that now seem to be 'the thing to do'.  Weddings are about the commitment, stated, before God, in public of the intent of the bride and groom, and witnessed by those who love and support the couple.  Plainly and simply, at the end of the day, you will be married regardless of the pomp and circumstance or lack thereof.

I liked my dress.  It was a LOT of lace and ruffles, sequins and beads.  High necked and long sleeved, with a long train, I wore it without a veil.  The symbolism of veils held little meaning to us, as a couple... I wore flowers instead.

Yesterday, the occasion arose that my daughter was home for a few hours without her beloved.
It gave us the opportunity to for her to try on my gown.
We giggled as we opened it's sealed package... we laughed about a blast of air from the 80's when we cut into the sealed case.  We opened the box and slipped the gown over her head and let it fall.
It could not have fit her more perfectly, if it were made for her.

And I had a very strange moment...  My daughter... myself, in a mirror... two very different women, though she comes from me... she is very much her own...

This is not a woman for ruffles and lace... nor should she wear an heirloom...
... with luck, she will wear a dress made by my hands... but in her likeness...
...elegant, sophisticated and modern... but not a dress to 'steal the show'...
a dress that will flow with the day and the moment...
and be a minor backdrop in the exchange of sacred vows.

On the day that she was born, I dressed her in a gown that I had made.
On that gown, was tatted lace, made by her 'nanny'...
her great, great aunt who delighted in her more than words could ever say.
On the day that she was born, lace was made expressly for her wedding day
and laid away, to bless her union, to connect her to more than a hundred years of
tradition in a family of strong-willed women who would all wish for her never to cry a tear,
but who would be very proud of her faith and her spiritual commitment to Christian marriage.

Here's to a journey filled with love and happiness, deep and abiding faith...
... and a little bit of lace...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

I do not know what possessed me... I truly do not!  Except that I found the costume in a clearance bin AND I happened to have a dog the right size and our local highschool's mascot is the Red Devil.

I have a friend who's dogs are amazingly, frighteningly photogenic.  And I LOVE to pretend that someday, Nana is going to appear different in photos than her usual self.  I realize, after today's experience, that this is false hope!

So, armed with the camera, the costume and a leash (cause you know I'm not gonna need it, but just in case...)
I head to the porch, which is wet and tumbled with leaves and a general wreck.
(Hey!  I'm still in the post band season cleaning phase!)
Naturally, the big dog thinks we're going to play.  You HAVE to love that expectant adoration in her face... she KNOWS that we're going to play!
Armed with the costume and the camera at the ready, I slip the cape on her... front side only....
the velcro on the back side got tangled up in her legs.
Then it got stuck to my pants, then we somehow got into a dog on top of human situation...

I kinda gave up on that...
I got the little hood, with devil horns and quickly put it on her, forcing her big funny ears through the slots... this is where she picked up on there being something seriously wrong...
dogs, especially country dogs, do not relish the wearing of costumes.
I fire off a shot or two... (with the camera, of course).
Then, oh.... no.... she's off... and running.
She picked up on the fact that I was about to employ the leash to bring compliance into the afternoon... NOoooooo..... noooooo... no!

She streaked across the yard, across the road and into the neighboring pasture.
ARgh.... must get the dog from the pasture.
It's raining... I have on ... er... um..... no bra...
(I know, too much information, but face it folks, I'm telling it like it is!).

I race off to the pasture (ok, so I trot a long... it could hardly be called a race...)
and about the time I get my posterior stuck halfway in the barbed wire fence, I hear it...
a car... a nice, pretty, sedate large black luxury sedan, full of folks who no doubt got off the interstate, looking for the state park.  
At this precise moment, the large, and scantily clad dog (oh, wait... it was me that was improperly clad!)
bolts from the pasture, soaking wet from the creek, and with the costume on upside down and backwards, gallops back across the road, into the yard.... leaving me standing, wet and mortified, in the road with the leash.

Waved at the tourists... (I mean, really, what else is there to do!?!)
I realize that I have just singlehandedly ruined the bucolic drive along the peaceful little quaint country road, all clad in autumn colors on the way to the waterfall... I might as well wave, huh? 
And now, they do not know when wild life of any hue and type might bolt into the road in front of the car...

I am grateful that I will not see these folks again... seriously.

And just to prove that I have NO cooperative dogs, here is Bailey, and as  you can see, she realizes what is about to happen... and then is not happy about the situation, but in her wise old age does not give chase... (and naturally, people... by this time, you can see I've figured out to use the leash!)


I am now done embarrassing my angelic, adorable, happy, wild dogs!
Not to mention myself!

Sigh.... Happy Halloween!

I'm off to bring in the dog... so that she doesn't sit on trick or treaters and lick them to death...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Soup's on!

This time of year just begs for setting the big old soup pot out on the stove.

It demands that you pop in a couple of slices of bacon, chop a big sweet onion from the summer garden, three or four cloves of garlic (two if you're timid), a polish sausage, diced and stir them around on high heat until they're nice and brown.  While that was browning, you dice a couple of pounds of new yellow potatoes, washed but still wearing their skins.  They get to brown a bit too, then you add a bit more than 2 quarts of nice homemade chicken stock, some salt and pepper to taste, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.

You simmer this until the potatoes are tender. (Twenty to thirty minutes, long enough to get in the laundry from the line, call a friend or feed the chickens.)  Then you throw in two or three good handfuls of julienned spinach and at least a cup of milk.  When it's all warm through and the spinach is wilted but still bright green, you call the menfolks ( the youngest of whom had earlier inquired if this particular soup could be had for dinner) and ladle up some 'first fall weather' soup.

Truth be told, the darling daughter called while the soup making process was happening to ask if we had a fire in the fireplace. " Not yet", I said, " but soon."  as she lamented that her city apartment had no fireplace to warm her tired self. (I interjected 'tired self' here, as she was just getting off of a 30+ hour shift... what I would give to be close enough to share my evening soup with her.)

There is no mystery to making a pot of soup.  You throw in ingredients that 'like' each other and taste it here and there.  You bump up the nutrition factor by using fresh and simple ingredients and adding things like spinach or any fall greens. Wholesome, hearty and just the thing to stave off the dampness and cold that seems to have settled over us like a blanket.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Simple things~!

It's October... and these past couple of weeks have brought rain and dampness...
and the leaves just beginning to turn, while beautiful, sort of herald a shortening of days and the whole 'harvest home' on the farm feeling... We've had a bumper crop of wild, strange mushrooms all over the place from the moisture and the alternating warm and cool temperatures.
As summer gives her final performances and the signs of fall approach, I find myself in between seasons and with a fluctuating state of mind.  I relish cooler weather and traditional fall meals, but I miss the vibrant greens of summer.  I love a fire in the fireplace, but really don't care for layering on the clothes.

Then one morning this week, in the faint natural light of early morning,
as I'm on my way to start the coffee, I realize that an orchid is blooming.
This is a small phalaenopsis that my daughter gave me a while back.
I think that this is the third or fourth blooming phase it's had.
I really enjoy the intensity of color and the exotic nature of orchids. 
They're really quite easy as houseplants if you have the right window and light.
The longevity of the blossoms make for many smiling mornings. 
Regardless of the season, the happy  blooms of the orchid bring a smile to my heart. 
What a nice start to the day...