Friday, January 30, 2009

A River runs through it...


The Enoree in winter, Remembered

She carried the fog cuddled like her first borne
Carefully, silently, lifting and swaying
Over the slick black icy flow
Inducing her child, this babe of nature
Into an ethereal and eternal slumber of grey
And frosty silence..

She glides over and through the wet mossy tumult
Like a quiet Goddess swirling her fingers
Through endless locks of deep dark flow,
Seething sensual beauty littered only by the leaves
And Her scattered gems of frozen light
Dashed upon the stones.

Listen! Her voice of Nature!
Incessantly, a roaring muffled voice
Echoes through frozen forest slumber.
Her earthy wet perfume drapes
The mist that washes my mind
And rinses the eyes of my soul clean again!

The sound of her message calls out
And who can refuse Her?
Who can avoid the awakening?
Who can desert her side?
And wander becoming an orphan
To her family of Nature?

"Not I" screams the Kingfisher
As he blazes black and blue
Back and forth,over and across
That place we all love
Echoing the beat of my own heart
In his flashing wings.

January 2009

From time to time, I'll share writing duties.
My husband has a gift that has graced our relationship since it began.
From time to time, it surprises even me.

When you understand that he came to this home with our marriage, to the land that was my family heritage, and early on he fell in love with the home and the land and especially the river, you will find that his attachment, while not as long as mine, is quite as deep.

Thank you, dearest, for sharing this gift.

Good morning, Sunshine!

After a week of gray days and fog and drizzle and rain, this morning, here at the very tip end of January, I discover that first little harbinger of spring.

Pushing up through the dead brown leaves, springs first crocus waiting for just that moment in the sun to bring forth their cheery goodness.

For all the years that I have lived here, the spring bulbs have been a delight.

I've planted them with my aunts, who tended to increase the bulb population by dividing them and by sharing with other aunts and uncles the abundance of their divisional nature.
Past a certain point, every third or fourth year, bulbs get crowded together and their size and beauty decrease, unless they are reset. Sharing them increases their beauty tenfold.

I've planted them with my children who wielded their garden tools in all seriousness and for whom the lessons of bulbs and seeds mingled with the faith that these bulbs, planted beneath the earth would, with warmth and sun and water, come up and bloom year after year after year...

I've forced my long-patient husband to dig and move and replant for more than 25 years now. (He's a keeper!)

I've planted them in solitude, when the earth is quite cold in the late fall, knowing that the spring will hold that breathless surprise, no matter how many years this drama unfolds.


Crocus come in many colors, cream and white, purple and lavender, and several shades of yellow. The earliest ones here on the farm are these yellow ones. The color of sunshine and spring.

What a treat!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Silent, still and very light...

Awakening this morning was sort of dreamy. The bed was nice and warm and there were the sounds of the hubby making coffee. The light from the window was so luminescent and the place seemed so quiet and hushed.

This was why.


While it was really only a dusting, and nothing to get excited about compared to the snow that much of the country deals with for months in the winter, it's quite a novelty here!
We can go several years without seeing snow and we can get powerfully excited when we do have some. Naturally, since we don't have a lot of experience with snow and ice, we don't drive well in it. But today was a nice day for tucking into a favorite chair with a blanket, a good magazine and settling in to watch the inauguration of the new President~!

Rather enjoyed the perspective of the young pup too, who was perplexed by the cold white powder!


The snow passed off by mid afternoon, leaving us crispy cold and moistened, but refreshed.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tale of a big dog....

Things have been crazy here, but it's time for the story of Nana.

For a number of weeks after the death of our Elvis (was nuttin' but a hound dog!), this place was very, very quiet. Even with three other dogs, I'd come to understand that Elvis had been the keeper of the alarm system. He was the one that let me know when something was 'up'.

While every bit of reasonable thought would indicate that even on a large acreage farm three dogs should be enough, I'll go into a little background, so you understand.

We have Bailey:


Bailey came here to live 7 years ago, about two weeks before my darling daughter went off to college. We were, at the time, looking for a 'large breed dog' and the dear girl went to the orthodontist and stopped at the pet center and lo, and behold, fell madly in love.

(If it's ever been doubted that she is a child of my heart and soul, this would be confirmation).

Bailey, it turned out was part whippet. We discovered this after she was hit by a car and required surgery to her tiny little hips. Bailey could happily set off metal detectors and sits, walks and wags sideways because of her metal enhanced hip and leg. She is loving and good, visits and protects the senior neighbor lady and will occasionally, but only occasionally be 'Bailey to the rescue in time of trouble'. Bailey LOVES to catch squirrels and is good at snake removal. She's a gem of a doggie.

We have Daisy:


This little love was pitched from a car... like so many abandoned animals, she has issues. When she arrived she was too fat to walk. We feared the sudden appearance of puppies, but alas, in the 6 or so years of her life with us, no puppies have been forthcoming. We discovered that she has an 'eating disorder'. The poor girl will eat a 50 pound bag of dog food without stopping.... She would literally eat herself to death. After we convinced her that she would have to stay with us (and eat moderately and exercise), she's been a devoted little sidekick. She sits and rocks back and forth and seldom lets you touch her, but she's ours and we love her. Her farm job is be the alert animal for the deer who use the garden as a buffet. She's excellent at it. (most of the time)

And we have Maggie:


Maggie came to live with us 4 year ago, when my aunt 'broke up housekeeping' and moved to live with her daughter, after my uncle died. Maggie simply got in my car, that last day before the rescue group came to get her... as if to say she was choosing her own destiny. Like all cockers, she's bright and devoted. But then she went blind... totally, completely blind.
(That may be a story for another day - the life of accommodations for a blind dog.) She's amazing, she really is.

But these three combine to be a perfectly 'useless' farm dog welcoming committee. They will wiggle, wag and lick a stranger to death. "Get out and come on in" they say...

And I NEED a warning system... in the weeks after Elvis' death, I had several incidences of what rural folks would consider 'trespassing'. Trespassing makes country folk 'jumpy'. Too much 'jumpy' is not a good thing. One of the visitors was a process server, who got completely around to my chicken coops without my being aware of his presence. He was looking for someone named Doris... uh.. NO! The first week in December, two young men drove up and got out and took a look around, unaware of the fact that I was watching them from the upstairs windows. When I made my presence known, they nearly killed themselves getting back into the car and leaving. Farm women who are sneakily watching you case their property from upstairs windows are SCARY things. 4 burglaries happened in our small neighborhood that day. I NEEDED a serious dog.

I needed size that said "stay in the car". I needed a big deep booming voice. I needed an appearance that said "I'm serious as a heart attach"... I needed smart... I really, really needed smart. I needed young enough to be able to train. I needed good and calm with the family, but the good sense to know what guard dog needs to know. AND I needed a dog that will not kill the other farm animals or the neighbors cows. Not too much to ask for... right?

So, I go to the shelter. For four days, consecutively, and quickly eliminated all but two contenders. Getting to the point, the end choice was a large, brindle Bouvier/German Shepherd cross pup. Right at 7 1/2 months old. She came with papers, from the breeder forward. She's obviously been loved and cared for and much effort had been made to make her 'work' for her initial owners. Obviously from the trail of paperwork, no expense was spared. When I contacted the vet of record, they were relieved to discover that the dog was headed to a farm, with experienced people. They assured me that she was not a 'bad dog' but one that had not been what her former owners needed.

Upon paying the fee, the guard went to release the dog and he somehow 'missed' in getting a leash on her and a wild, crazy romp ensued. She ran down the poor guy, who was thoroughly disgusted with both me and my new pet and wanted us to LEAVE. I opened the door to my van, and she leapt from 5 feet away and skidded into the passenger area, slamming into the opposing wall of the van. Hmm.... I began to wonder...

So, we came home:

OH, JOY! Cats to herd!

herding cats

And a big boy to play with : "Is he trying to ride me?"


An interesting pond to reflect in: This is when we figured out that she could best be called camo-colored.


A color coordinated 'dad'...

camo anyone?

Toys of all kinds, both storebought and found:


Rivers to explore:


Woods to race about in, accompanied by people who love to be outdoors:


Cats to kiss:


Feet to lick, after you've gotten mom all muddy:


Proof that you got mom all muddy:



People to love on you, when you're loopy from being spayed:


Cute big sis and blind dog to play fetch with:


At the end of the day, when she sits down on my feet, I'm really glad she's here. I wish her former owners, who had to have loved her, could know that she's found her true home. A job to do, a place to 'own', a family who loves her already... these things are no small feat for a dog from a kill shelter. On two occasions now, not only has she alerted me to visitors, but she's discriminatory between family and friends that she's met and people that she doesn't know. Her mere size and presence has kept two sets of strangers safely in their vehicles.

"Lady, we didnt' get out because that sure is a BIG dog"... uh huh... that she is.
"Good girl, Nana".

She came with a name... a name that she did not answer to and that did not suit a farm dog.
I need a name that I can go around hollering for without seeming like I've lost it completely. (yeah, yeah, that's debatable, I know...)
You need a name that 'goes' with Bailey and Daisy and Maggie...

Her name is Nana... after the keeper of the nursery in the story Peter Pan.

She's our 'big girl' and we love her.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

on wings of Eagles...

Saturday dawned bright and early... a day that he has planned for a long, long time.
My youngest has been in Scouts, well, a long, long time. He went to Cub Scouts by default for years with his big brother( because mom was the den leader), and started scouting unofficially long before the proper age. The example that his big brother set for him on the path to Eagle was a good one. The adult leadership in his troop could not be stronger or more the solid kind of men that you would want your son to emulate.


For his Eagle project, he chose to improve a trail in a State Park that is less than a half mile from our home. This is a new state park, with an amazing amount of development and improvement over just a few years. The park is technically a State Historic Site and was home to the Revolutionary period Musgrove Mill, and a private citizen home, which functioned as a Loyalist hospital and as a strategic hold on the ford of the river, helping to maintain a British stronghold in several upcountry counties. The British forces, largely made up of provincial regulars were defeated by Patriot militiamen in a battle in August of 1870.


A good number of the Scout troop arrived early and went to work willingly and made an amazing amount of progress, widening an existing animal trail from a parking area to a scenic rock encropment that edges into the river. The boys' good nature and attitudes were testament to the many good things that scouting teaches them.



My part in all of this was to make chicken stew and brownies for lunch. Easy enough!
Most of the work was done by midafternoon. A few details remain along with finalizing the paper work. I appreciate the fact that he took on a 'man-sized' project at a place meaningful to us, and close to home. Having lived on this river nearly all of my life, I'm glad that he's chosen to give time and effort right here.


Special thanks to all of his fellow scouts and to his adult leaders for being a part of his project and his life as a scout.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Meeting the challenges

Sometimes, the frustrations of life go from bad to worse... and even when I like to just sit down and have a pity party, I do realize that many others have it much worse. Life has taught me to slow it down, try to balance, and keep moving forward a step at a time... which is what I'm doing this week, apparently.

Strange, strange week.

I've had issues at work. I work part time, doing long term substitutions at a high school. I normally do not have any problems with discipline or behavior and I adore the teenage years... the kids this age are so very much about to burst with who they are becoming. Lovely, lovely time of life... anyway, the story of what or why is too long to go into, but I've chosen not to complete a sub slot due to very unacceptable behavior on the part of a very large class. They simply need a bouncer, or a police person. The administration is understanding and good to work for.

Still looking for the keys... sigh...

I currently drive a van. A large, white custom full sized van. It's a holdover from the 'mom of three' days. Right before the holidays, the transmission went out. Simply quit, while running down the road, on the way to take one of the kids to the Opthomologist. So, off for a new one, transmission, that is. While it might be time to downsize, you simply can't trade in a vehicle that will not run. Anyway, I picked it up Wednesday afternoon late. And this morning the new transmission went out.
I'm becoming far too acquainted with the rollback guy! Luckily, the new transmission is warranted.

The chicken pen door keeps popping open and the chickens keep popping out and the dog thinks that they're chewable feather dusters. So far, no casualties. I've gotta get the door fixed.

Enough already... I'm done whining... I promise!

Alas, tomorrow is a full moon!?!

Just shoot me now!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Totally random thoughts...

So, sometimes yesterday I lost my keys. And I've spent the better part of the day, alternating between trying to get things done and trying to stave off a panic over the missing keys. I've cleaned in some amazing places, looking for the keys.

You see, every once in a while, I misplace the darned things. And invariably I find them, someplace very unexpected and strange, because I have a periodic problem with being sidetracked or preoccupied.

sigh, I sure hope they turn up.

And then this evening I get an email that reminds me that sometime, likely within the year, I may have the exquisite pleasure of making the dress for my daughter to wear down the aisle (or through the field, or crossing the river in a canoe ~ whatever they decide will work for them on their special day). I have another moment where I wonder how in the whole wide world is it possible for my little curly haired, wide awake baby to be a grown woman who loves a man enough to give her hand to him. I've sewn the 'special' dresses, for the most part, and have loved every moment, except possibly one where I labored for a week over an ornately lacy Easter extravagance, only to HATE it... it so overwhelmed her delicate being... I need to remember that lesson as we approach a wedding gown. It helps that she is opinionated and has a sense of her own style. Back when she was three, she had it then too, but had not yet begun to assert herself in these matters. She liked dresses and would happily put on anything that qualified, even if she ended up looking like she'd rolled about in the heirloom lace department far too long.

This new dress needs to be hanging in the closet months before the day, so we need to do some planning and start the process of seeking the things we'll need to do that. I've always loved to see her in something that I've made, loved to see her move and play and enjoy herself in them. Strange,,, the things we think about when they're quite grown up.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

There are some days that words don't come easily... or at least not the type that would be of interest. Though some days, there is interest in the ordinary...

These are ferns growing wild in the woods behind the house. I came upon them on New Year's Day, when the hubby and I went wandering.
January ferns

The Late in the Evening, Getting Ready for Tomorrow
Very Ordinary List of Things to Do

Mail stuff.

Block New Knitting.

Wash knitted hat for kid returning to college (to prevent a felting episode with his favorite hat)

Laundry... laundry....laundry....

Clean the kitchen, AGAIN.

Pack a bag for work tomorrow.

Pack lunch for tomorrow. Fill and freeze water bottle.

Finish corralling the holiday wrap and bow materials and return them to their closet.

Update the calendar.


Make phone calls.

Organize the desk. Again.

And on that note... it's time for bed... will leave the list, and it's expectations and get some rest.
Tomorrow is another day, full of possibilities.

Monday, January 5, 2009


It's that time of year!


Every gardener spends some time during the winter 'off season' (though truly here in the deep South there is no 'off' season) in their favorite chair, with their newly delivered seed catalog making their lists for spring planting. Here, we're just weeks away from needing to get seedlings started if we truly start from 'scratch'. Last year, for reasons of economy, we started nearly our entire garden from seed. The cost of 'started' plants has risen steadily and the health and vigor of the plants that we've been able to find the last few years have been less than impressive in a number of cases.

I'll post my list when I've narrowed it down a bit.

We're very fortunate to live in close proximity to one of the time honored seed sources. Park Seed has an amazing garden center located at their greenhouses, where they sponsor an annual festival in June, I believe that attracts thousands of people from all over. While certainly living close enough to attend, I cleverly manage to skip that, but love to 'hit' Parks anytime I'm in the area. They always have end of season specials which are truly music to the frugal gardeners ears. They have also opened an outlet store in conjunction with Jackson and Perkins a few miles away from their main location. I must admit that I went to both places today.

There's something almost magical about wandering among the greenhouses with the sun beating warm against your shoulders looking at all that raw potential and wondering what lovely green-ness will call your name today.

It is entirely possible that I might have purchased some early season seed, some amazing sweet English peas, called Maestro, and some early lettuces, that might be found growing in a container very soon.

And I was completely unable to help myself, when this beauty followed me home.


A lovely kumquat, which I have never grown before, and now will be needing to research. It's one of those odd things, where they only had a few plants at such a price that no self-respecting plant lover could leave it sitting there. This particular cultivar is the Nagami. The plant cost me less than a small bag of kumquats at the grocers, which I'll point out would be eaten and gone in one fell swoop. I will also admit to eating one of the sweet tart orange globes of goodness on the way to the car.

I will admit to having purchased a few items like this that didn't work out so well.
In my defense, I tend to love things like the kumquat, and prefer the exotic over things like longstem cut roses. Some of my 'finds' have been amazing, and a few have simply been perplexing, but those are stories for another day.

For now, I'm pretending that I actually read and figured out that the Nagami is going to get 12 feet tall BEFORE I brought it home. Really... but I don't want to go counting my kumquats before their arrival, now, do I?

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Sunday's are usually church days for us. And like many families, getting it all together in the morning and making it to church on time poses an interesting challenge. I promise with all my heart that before marraige, my husband was not chronically tardy... he wasn't. For the last 25 years, it's been a constant battle. I'm learning (about time!) to distract myself in order not to be such a nag... or to simply get in the car and go, as being late EVERY time you go to church is quite embarrassing. We made it to church as the organ started playing and 'skidded' into place.

Anyway, today was nice. One of my favorite things in the world is when one of my children takes part in the service. Our church has many children and worshipers which take part and it's always a moment that is quite humbling when you realize that you are in service to other church family members. Today, my son was Crucifer and it was the last Sunday of Christmas. To watch him enter the sanctuary, holding high the cross, and solemnly and slowly make his way forward to the alter is sure to produce a lump in my throat no matter how many times I see it. Clothed in a simple white robe, it is his right and his responsibility as a member of this church to participate. As a parent, I can't help but believe that children who know their importance in a family of God will also remember this when they are faced with difficult decisions. The moments of reverence and respectfulness have to color the other times for a teen and in the world that we live in, that's a blessing. As they grow in the church, to accept their role as a part of God's family, I've been blessed as well.

Today's Biblical lesson was Matthew 2.1-12, the story of the Majii finding the Holy Family, and we had liturgy that gave us reflections as we enter a New Year. The music was beautiful and the santuary peaceful and serene.

As my husband was also taking part as an usher, I sat by myself. During the greeting moments, several friends and families asked if I'd like to join them, and while I appreciate the gesture, I needed nothing other than to worship together, in a place with my greater church family to feel very, very blessed.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise God, all creatures here below: Alleluuia! Alleluia!
Praise God, the source of all our gifts!
Prasie Jesus Christ, whose power uplifts!
Prase the Spirit, Holy Spirit! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Saturday, January 3, 2009


As a followup to yesterday's post, and as the timing was ironic, when I finished posting last evening, I joined my youngest in front of the fire. After the usual greeting,,, "I'm HUNGRY!", he decided that it would be nice to make some doughboys. After grabbing a coat and some clippers, he headed out with a flashlight into the night to retrieve the essential tool.. a one inch, or so, diameter green stick. He skinned the bark from the branch on about the last 6 inches or so. He retrieved some leftover beignet dough from the fridge. (Doughboys are usually made around campfires with canned biscuit or crescent roll dough, but we're big believers in making do with what you have.)
He flattened a portion of dough and formed it around the skinned end of the branch then cooked it over the fire. Now, truth be told, the first one was very, very, very well done and in true manly-man fashion he ate every bite of it. I'd go so far as to say that it was crunchy burnt, but hey... that's just me.
When the doughboy slips from the branch easily it's done. If it's still pretty stuck, it's not done on the inside. When it does slip, it's time to poke a little butter down in the 'cup' that it's made, and then a little strawberry jam. Or maybe a lot of strawberry jam, in the case of this boy. The second one he made was beautifully golden and perfectly done. He went to the kitchen and prepped it 'butter and jam' style, wrapped it in a napkin and brought it to his mama... ahhh, what a good boy he is! I believe that he fixed two more for himself. At no time during this did I disturb myself from my chair or my knitting to assist him. He's quite adept and a handy little guy to have around. In fairness, I did remind him to put away the dough.

We learned that beignet dough has an additional very good use as doughboy dough, in fact, maybe even good enough to make it up for that use exclusively. It would certainly be cost effective, compared to a several cans of storebought dough, which are chock full of preservatives.

It was a nice late night treat, made there in the near darkness by the fire.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Laid in against the cold

Laid in against the cold...

My husband has been busy this last week. He has taken a week vacation from work in order to catch up on chores about the place and to get in the last of his vacation days before the new year begins. Being off at this time of year allows him to be about while the children have free time from school which is a really nice thing as well. One of his chores is cutting wood for the woodburning heater. It has warmed us nicely for 25 years. The use of the wood heater cuts our electric power bill in half during the cold months which is an important benefit as well. This week he's been cutting up a windfall tree in the river bottoms and bringing it up to the house and stacking it. It's one of the pretty things here in the winter... a nice big woodpile, laid in against the cold. This stack is located on the front porch for our ease in getting to it and to keep it nice and dry. The stack is contained by a rack that was recycled from reclaimed metal. He's pretty good at coming up with useful repurposing of goods as well. It's not very scenic, oh, say from the decorator standpoint , but it comes in very handy when the cold winds blow.

I appreciate his efforts in keeping the home fires burning all these years and teaching the children the skill of laying and keeping a good fire. Waking in the morning, to find a boy asleep on the couch, kitten alongside, with the embers still aglow is pretty nice. In the quiet of the evening, with a fire blazing and warming the house, with a good book or some knitting and excellent companionship it's easy to be content.

***Modern woodburning stoves are built to be environmentally friendly and are an alternative to using fossil fuels. Wood, on this farm, is a renewable resource and does not have to be transported from another location. We manage our woodlot in a manner that is sustaining to wildlife, with many dead trees left standing as homes for woodpeckers and other wildlife.***

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year! Wishing you good health, happiness and prosperity in 2009!

Happy New Year!

In keeping with southern tradition, our New Year's festive meal consisted of collard greens, black eyed peas, rice and tomatoes and cornbread. The story goes that eating this meal will bring you health, happiness and prosperity for the coming year.


Jumping off place: ~ noun
1. a beginning point for a journey or adventure

2. an out of the way place, a very remote spot

3. the farthest limit

The beginning of a blog for me, from my out of the way place, to the farthest limit of my imagination. Covering lots of topics, as I am able.