Sunday, June 21, 2009


uhm... we're hot...

This is one of those thermometers that register indoors ( 78.6 degrees) / outdoors (113.7 degrees) and humidity 47% thermometers. It's in my kitchen. Admittedly the temperature probe is in the sun. This was about 7 pm yesterday.

And this was on my front porch, shaded all day...

This was in the shade, down by the chicken pens:

And this was on the deck, in the sun, but at 8 pm...

Last night, after the sun was down, I walked outside for a bit. The earth positively radiated the heat of the day. We've had lots of rain, so everything was still steamy and moist.

I love nature, I really do. And I'm a spring and summer kinda girl... but when these heat waves come, it helps to have 'indoor' things to do and air conditioning to do it in.

July and August in South Carolina is amazingly, breath-takingly hot.
This is just the June 'trial run'...

Time to...

... rise early to get chores done.
... do heavy things and yard work in the late evening, almost dark hours.
...make a half gallon or so of fresh lemonade every morning and ice it down good, against the heat of the afternoon.
... plan meals of simple things, tomato sandwiches, egg salad, fresh fruit.
...break out a good book, or some sewing, or a quiet, indoor past-time too fill some afternoon hours.
... sit on the porch of an evening, with the aforementioned lemonade and rock, with your feet up, a dog panting underfoot, and the fireflies lighting the darkness.

Ya'll go make yourself some lemonade...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happy birthday!

16 years ago, at one minute after noon, a little boy joined our family!

Actually, he wasn't very little at all. He was our 'biggest' baby, weighing in at 9 1/2 pounds.

He was a happy addition to the family, bringing with him the excitement and chaos that only a third child can bring. We now had more children than we had adults...

He brought to us that feeling of a 'full' family... of being complete.

He was a happy, carefree little man. Often full of mischief and fun, that holds true today.

As we had calmed down in our parenting style by the time he came along, we'd like to think that he got the 'best' parenting of the three. We had relaxed... we realized that everything would be fine and that the child would unfold as was part of the Divine plan for his life.
Admittedly, we had moved down the scale from homegrown organic babyfood entirely, to his having popcorn and Sprite for breakfast. (Yeah... we relaxed!)
He was active and full of energy. We spent more times in Emergency Rooms... we did more First Aid. We grew accustomed to both of those activities.

He was rambunctious and a free spirit. Active and with a wicked sense of humor, there have been few dull moments since he joined the clan.

For 16 years, we've watched and loved and encouraged this boy. For 16 years, he's brought us laughter and sweetness like no other. For 16 years, he's been our carefree 'wild one'.

His persistence far exceeds average. His intelligence and his use of it are a true gift.
A truly affectionate child, he has a tender side and a dedication to his home and family that is precious.

What he brings to our family is immeasurable.

For this time and for the future, we are grateful.

Happy Birthday, Son.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Mares eat oats...

While I was feeding chickens last week, I noticed the grain.

Accidentally planted by my carelessness as I fed the chickens.

This would be barley and oats. I love how they look when the heads mature, so much so that I should really plant some deliberately.

I sometimes cut them, like you'd cut flowers and put them in a vase on the kitchen table.

I love to watch things grow.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Nana update!

Nana has lived here on the farm with us for nearly 6 months now. Half a year of awesome wiggle-tail, big sloppy kisses, crazy skidding-in-for-a-landing big dog fun.

In that time, she's been run over by the truck. (She suffered no harm at all... far less harm in fact that the husband who ran over her, and was convinced that she was dead). I'm telling you folks, she was standing at the door, wagging her tail, when I went out to check on the reported 'dead dog'.

She's been bit by a copperhead and suffered a swollen, wop-sided face... sort of like a bad day at the dental clinic gone wrong. The fact remains to be seen if she learned the 'lesson' of copperheads.

She's killed an other creature or three, mainly by lovingly sitting on them until they no longer breathed. Her dismay when bringing you these creatures was touching, right up till the time she learned that chickens, once they are not breathing, can be considered a snack. If I'm in the yard when she catches an 'escapee', she will carefully 'squash' the chicken, until she can get a single foot in her mouth, and then gingerly bring it to me. She forks it over without complaint. We're working on this habit.

Generally, she is mannerly (when she's concentrating on it) and very tender and sweet. Playfulness comes at a price... she's big enough to bowl me over with a single playful jump, though she only does it when 'playing'... not as a surprise attack while I go about my chores.
Being sat upon and slurped about the head and shoulders brings new meaning to a 'spit bath'.

She behaves beautifully when out in 'public', responds to verbal and hand signals, and is extraordinarily good when approached by strangers. She's learned to walk (vs pulling) on a harness and ride in the car (not her favorite thing to do, by the way!).

So... today, I cleaned out the dog pen, which has been functioning as an overflow pen for the juvenile chicks. It was wretchedly stinky, as we've had so much rain that it's been neglected.
(Sorry, but it's true!) I pulled the smaller bird cages out into the grass, to enable the chicklets to have a bit of nature and sunshine. I, naturally, got sidetracked. When I cycled back around to that side of the place, this is what I saw...
Ahem... Should I speak or watch?
Hmmmm... she's thinking... "exactly what is my job, here?"

"OH! I remember! I'm a guard dog!~"

Yeah! for Nana, our big goofy girl. Her booming voice in the night, when a strange car lingers too long... her loud thump and long sigh, when she settles against the front door for the night... that amazingly ridiculous dog-grin each and every time she sees you.... and the wag-wiggle of that little short tail.

She's exactly what we needed!

*** Remember, this dog came from a city pound! There are many like her, waiting on homes, many with short 'dates'. If there's room in your family, consider a pound animal before all others. Be ruthless in making a choice, given what you're able to provide and do and what the animal needs. I went everyday for a week and spent much time considering the dogs available in light of our needs here on the farm.***

Friday, June 5, 2009


May was a long, long month.

May is, generally speaking, my favorite month of the year... it was the month in which we married, and it contains Mother's day. It's when the garden looks like you're serious about something, and the 'greens' of summer arrive. You invariably have kittens and chicks and babies of all kinds on the farm and new life abounds. The days are warm, and if you're lucky, the nights are still refreshingly cool and the night noises are amazing... On the edge of the woods, with the lights turned off, sitting in the dark, you hear the frogs and owls and all the little bugs. By far my favorite night sound is the whip-poor-will... that first time you hear it in the spring is a true gift of living where the night is quiet and dark. Fireflies or 'lightening bugs' spread their gentle blinks about, ascending to the trees in the warmth and darkness.

Many nights, when my children were small, I cuddled a sleepy infant, and sat and watched and listened to the beautiful nighttime 'show'. As toddlers, they chased the fireflies and rolled in the grass with the pups, until bedtime called.

All of these things have happened this May... and savoring the moments of recognition of all of the above things have been sanity savers... I tell ya!

Early in May, my father in law was hospitalized, after collapsing before some scheduled tests. He's been super healthy and one of those solid sturdy souls that never complains and never whines. Quite suddenly, we were all pitched into the world of diagnostic tests and waiting, more tests and more waiting, all the while dealing with some scary symptoms. The end result, after two weeks, was a diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma. A particularly unhandy part of this has been acute renal failure, so we've been on the learning curve of dialysis as well. A chemo regimen began yesterday. His spirit is strong and his will to fight is in place.

We, as a family, covet your prayers for strength to deal with the days ahead.

And just in case you still need reminding, take your loved ones out and sit in the dark and listen for the night noises.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


It's been wet enough to be quite lush. And I love the shades of early summer!

Spring mint!

Ivy, decimated by large dog! ; )
English Dogwood

The baby is on the roof!

Some days, you simply wonder where the time went.

Last week (and there'll be time, I'm sure, sometime, to fill you in on where I've been) in the late evening hours, the kid comes bounding up the stairs, to where I am on the computer. "Mom!"
he says, " it's raining!" Well, yes, dear, it's raining, it's rained every day for quite a few days, I'm really getting tired of the mud!... but NO! He means "it's raining on me, while I lay on the couch, in the living room downstairs." HUH???

We both bolt into his room (over the living room) to see a steady stream (really, a stream!) of water pouring down his wall.

Now, folks... this house was built about the turn of the century... the previous century.
And the roof is original to the house and has served us well all of these years, thanks in no small part to the fact that my husband is part mountain goat, and part expert fix it guy.
So, I call him up and say "uhm... can you bring home some of that roof paint when you come?"

Poor, poor guy... he knows just what this means.

Then, Saturday morning dawns clear and warm. (alright, so it wasn't warm,,, so it was hot as the oven right before you put biscuits in!)

There is manly discussion over the breakfast table between father and son and all kinds of rustling about. I am blissfully distracted by my coffee, and my comfy chair. The banging about on the roof begins and I go outside and guess what?!?

Folks, the baby is on the roof...! Only the baby is 15, and pretty darned capable. But you know the baby's grown when he climbs up on the roof and does a man's day of work.
Oh, and he got pretty dirty too! (which reminds a mother that there's a wee little lad still in there somewhere!)