Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Bit of This, A Bit of That

Good evening blogger friends!  The last day of May ... can you believe it?  One more month & we will be half-way thorough the year!

John & I did some more work out in the yard this morning.  We got an early start to avoid the 93-degree temperatures, but as soon as we walked out the door at about 8 a.m. we thought perhaps our clocks had stopped for a few hours during the night!  It was so miserably hot & humid already at that early hour with no breeze whatsoever   : (   Still, the work had to be done.  We gave everything a good watering & then John, sweetie that he is, finished taking the sod out of the butterfly garden & turned it over.  Now it's all ready for me to add the topsoil & organic matter!  Another trip to Lowes tomorrow ... lol!  While he was doing all that digging, I was re-weeding the 2 beds I had cleaned up a couple weeks ago.  Oh how I hate weeds!  I have the long bed behind the house to re-weed yet.  Maybe tomorrow if it doesn't rain.  50% chance of storms tomorrow & the next day.  We shall see.  Here's the progress on the butterfly garden thus far ...

I found something really neat in a Gardener's magazine today ... a butterfly shelter!  The description begins "Entice passing butterflies to stop & rest awhile...."  I like that   : )   There is also a little butterfly drinking station that you can buy, but since you place a sponge in it soaked with sweetened water I'm just picturing the ants crawling all over it ... not to mention the bees milling about.  Will have to think on that one for a while.  

I know I told you that I would post pictures of the surprise giveaway items that Angela won as soon as she received them, but you know what?  Her photos of what I sent are SO much better than mine ... I am just going to ask that if you are interested in seeing what she found in her package, please visit her posting about it on her blog, Thru Nana's Window   : )  

Till tomorrow ...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day to all my blogging friends!  I remember the excitement of Memorial Day when I was a child.  Our little town would have a parade & a little ceremony to remember the local veterans who gave their lives for our country.  I don't think that happens much anymore.  So many people now-a-days view the deaths of these brave men & women as "nothing."  It's really a shame.

Well, it's good to be back even though I only last posted on Saturday morning.  I had some computer issues which were finally resolved this morning, hallelujah   : )  I will have to play catch-up with the blogs I follow to see what everyone has been up to.

Over the past 2 days my husband & I planted 6 trees, 3 bushes, & we replanted the 5 large Japanese variegated willow bushes into larger pots awaiting the landscapers to come work on our foundation area.  Once again the central Kentucky tradesmen are a mystery to me.  Those 3 contractors who said they'd come to give us an estimate for paving our driveway never showed up & never called to say they weren't coming.  Two weeks ago when I talked with the landscaping company, the boss told me that he'd call me "at the beginning of the week" to schedule a time to do the work.  I assumed that would've been the beginning of the following week, which was last week, but I guess I should have said "the beginning of what week exactly?"  Sigh!  If I don't hear from him by Wednesday I guess I'll have to give them a call.

Also yesterday I planned out my new garden & John dug it up to loosen the sod.  I am now in the process of removing the sod, then I'll need to get some good soil & organic matter in there & then I can start planting!  Here is a photo of the view from a bit beyond the back porch of where the garden will be ...

... & then the start of the garden itself.

I am making this a butterfly garden & I'm really excited about it!  I've been buying some plants which are indicated as plants that butterflies love   : )   This is rather slow going though because our temps have been in the low 90s!  It is way too early in the year for such hot weather.  I hope this is just a fluke thing & not a premonition of what the summer is going to bring!  We can only work outside in the mornings ... it's just way too hot after that.

I had mentioned on Saturday morning that I was going to pick a pattern & start in on some crafting but that didn't work out because of the computer issues.  Maybe today   : )

Once again I hope you are all having a great Memorial Day!  Do remember to thank God for those brave men & women who gave their lives so that we could enjoy the freedoms we have today.    

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Saturday Morning

Good morning!  Just finished making a pot of tea ... Hot Cinnamon Sunset again.  Doesn't it seem "odd" that I have a "sunset" tea every morning???  Lol!  It just ended up being my morning tea & I hope you will join me in a cup   : )

I really hadn't intended on posting anything today.  Thought I'd give us all a rest ... lol!  But when I came out to the kitchen & looked out the back door, this is what caught my eye ...

This is one of our smoke bushes.  I took the picture through the window of the door because if I open the door a loud "Ding-Dong, Back Door" will sound ("perk" of the security alarm company) & wake up John who is still sleeping.  I might be able to get a nicer picture of it later.  Anyway, we have 6 of these bushes or trees in our yard ... 3 red, as above, & 3 green.  They are one of John's favorite growing things   : )  

While I was trying to get a good picture of the smoke bush, look who came to visit ...

One of our not-so-welcome bunny friends.  Now that the new spring growth has ended they seem to be content to munch on the seed we put out for the birds.  Just as I snapped the picture, a blue jay decided to fly by so it was kind of cute that I got them both at the same time   : )   I really wish the bunnies would decide to move elsewhere.  We have been here for 2 years & never saw them until this year.  My fear is that they are going to multiply ... like rabbits ... & take over everything.  In the meantime I have purchased some Rabbit 
Scram which is supposed to be really good at keeping them away from your plants.  It's all organic & you sprinkle it around the edges of your beds & people swear the bunnies will not cross the line ... & water supposedly enhances it.  We shall see   : )

I did order some E-patterns yesterday ... dollies & ornaments mostly.  I think what I will do is just pick one & start working on it in between the other things I have to do.  Perhaps I'll get a nice little cache of things made if I work it like this   : )   Later this morning John & I will go out & start planting, but after I finish here at the computer I think I will pick a pattern & see what's involved.  I'll pick something "quick & easy" to help fuel the motivation.  I'll keep you updated on the progress   : )

Friday, May 27, 2011

Too Many Interests!

It dawned on me yesterday ... or maybe it was the day before ... that it is almost June & the fall/winter craft show season will be here before we know it!  My friend & I used to work a lot of craft shows "back in the day" when I lived in North Dakota & I enjoyed it immensely!  However, after leaving there I ended up moving to places where craft shows didn't seem to exist or they just weren't profitable.  I have toyed with the idea of signing on with Etsy or another craft selling site ... maybe even making my own website for sales ... but thus far my motivation has been lacking for a number of reasons.  Recently I seem to have been bitten by the motivation bug (maybe it has something to do with losing some weight?) & I am actually quite anxious to get started crafting again!  Unfortunately I also have about a billion other things to do (okay ... maybe only a million) so as excited as I am about this, I'm also thinking "Shirlee ... are you out of your mind?!?!?"

Last night I learned that one of my very favorite people in the crafting business, Trudy Honeycutt (owner of Crows in the Attic Primitives), sells patterns!  I've started paging through her patterns ... & others ... at Patternmart & I keep finding more & more wonderful things that I want to make!

I am one of those people who are "cursed" with a lot of interests.  I enjoy making dolls & ornaments & such.  I enjoy quilting.  I make wax tarts & other wax items.  I knit.  I braid rugs.  I paint.  I own & know how to use a scroll saw.  I make signs.  I'm using the present tense here but I actually haven't done any of these things for months or more for a variety of reasons ... but they are among my favorite things to do!  I like to garden.  I like to read.  I like to travel.  I like to learn things ... currently German & gemology.  In the past I did counted cross stitch, crocheting, rug hooking, glass bead making, jewelry making, bobbin lace making, tatting (actually taught tatting for a while), & other things I'm sure.  I've often wished that I could stick with "just one thing" & get really good at that ... but then I'd miss out on all this other stuff ... lol!

Then of course I've got my collections ... lots of different primitive things for the most part.  Old school readers & Honey Bunch books, sifters, cream & green enamelware, mixing bowls, crocks, jugs, chairs, spice bottles & packages, medicine bottles & packages, kitchen items, laundry soap boxes (unopened), wooden advertising boxes, & brooms ... just off the top of my head   : )   I'm sure there are several others.  Maybe I ought to read that Amish book of mine a few more times where it talks about not having anything that you don't use   : )   I don't collect things just to see how many of something I can get.  Whatever I bring home has to "speak" to me.    

It was so nice visiting with you today!  Do you have any special plans for the holiday weekend?  Nothing special planned here at the farmhouse although the weatherman is predicting 5 straight days without rain so I'm pretty sure all these flowers & bushes & trees we've been accumulating recently are going to get planted.  I hope you will have a wonderful weekend spent with family & friends or just enjoying the peace & quiet of your home   : )

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Guten Morgen!

Yes, I have started my German language course   : )   Thus far it is going well although my voice box isn't used to making some of these sounds ... lol!  I have already learned the names of some things, some colors, & how to ask a couple questions & give a couple answers.  This is fun!

As I posted yesterday, it was predicted that we would have an un-rainy day.  John & I both had this "accomplishment thing" going on & we were looking forward to planting some of the trees & bushes we bought in the past week or two.  First things first though ... we had to make a trip to Walmart to pick up a few necessities.  While we were there, John tells me that we probably need to pick up some "dirt."  "Dirt," to me, is topsoil.  I knew that our Walmarts here do not sell topsoil.  I told him we'd have to go to Lowes for that.  Lowes is at the very end of our  nearest town, & the Walmart we went to is in another town in the opposite direction.  He decided he didn't want to do all that driving so we'd just work with what we had.  I knew that we had several bags of topsoil in the garage so it didn't strike me as odd that he wanted more because we had a lot to plant.  I figured we had enough to plant most of the trees & bushes we had bought.  Well, we get home & we put on our working clothes & we head outside & he looks & says "We're not going to get much planted with this 1 bag of dirt!"  When he said "dirt," he was referring to Miracle-Gro.  As I said up above, my thoughts are that "dirt" is topsoil.  Miracle-Gro is Miracle-Gro.  A rather "lively discussion" ensued & we began planting.  We got 4 things planted ... a Knock Out rose bush, an old-fashioned snowball bush, a green smoke tree, & an Eastern Redbud ... before the Miracle-Gro ran out.  John will not plant anything without adding some Miracle-Gro to the planting area.  Our soil is very clay-like & it's difficult to dig in the best of times.  We usually throw the clay-like stuff away & replace it with a mix of  bagged topsoil & Miracle-Gro.  Anyway, by this time, after working in the 86-degree temperature, we were both dirty & sweaty & we really didn't want to get cleaned up to drive all the way to Lowes to buy more Miracle-Gro so we ended the day's planting.  At least we accomplished something!  Sadly, we had some storms last night & today we are under a severe weather alert so nothing will be accomplished today ... but the weekend is supposed to be rain-free so hooray!  Looks like a busy weekend ahead of us   : )

I also posted yesterday that I'm still awaiting delivery of my treadmill, but UPS did come visit to deliver the treadmill mat.  Perhaps this will be a good day to go upstairs to clear out a space & put down the mat ... then everything will be ready when the treadmill arrives so I can get it assembled & up & running right away.  Here at the farmhouse I am in charge of assembling things, attaching things, & taking things apart & putting them back together because I have a "knack" for that ... but it drives me crazy sometimes ... lol!

Right now I am sitting here looking out the diningroom window.  My laptop sits on our dining table.  I told you that we haven't really "moved in" yet   : )  

It doesn't look bad right now, but if I go outside & look in the distance I can see some darkness.  Ah well, everything in the yard ... planted & unplanted ... will enjoy the rain, & I can get that upstairs area taken care of. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Surprise Giveaway!!!

Good morning everyone!!!

I purposely didn't advertise that I was going to have a giveaway because I wanted it to be a surprise   : )   I decided a week or so ago that when my blog reached 20 followers I would have a giveaway ... but that it would not be the typical type of giveaway where the giveaway item is shown, people tell others about the giveaway, & you get an influx of new people signing up to follow your blog just so they can have a chance to have their name picked to win a freebie.  I wanted my first 20 followers ... you are all very dear to me ... to have an equal chance at getting a little surprise ... so I wrote each follower's name on a separate same-size square of paper, folded them up, tossed them in a bowl, shook them around, & picked one out before writing this   : )   I won't tell what the item is because I want the winner to be surprised when she gets it, but I will ask that she post a photo of it on her blog when she receives it ... if she doesn't mind doing that ... & then I will post a photo of it here in case you do not follow that particular person's blog which, incidentally, you SHOULD because it is a WONDERFUL one   : )   So ... without any further ado ... the winner is ... ANGELA at THRU NANA'S WINDOW!!!  Congratulations Angela!  Please email me with your mailing address   : )

Weight Loss Update

Good morning!  I hope you are doing well!  I've just made a fresh pot of Hot Cinnamon Sunset tea so please help yourself a cup & join me out on the front porch for a little visit before we both have to start our work for today   : )

Can you hear all those animal sounds?  They are coming from our neighbor across the street & just down a little ways ... there behind that row of trees.

I've never met these people but I'm a bit tempted to go over there to say hello so I can see just how many different types of animals they have!  There are dogs, for sure, but I'm also hearing donkeys, chickens, roosters, ducks, turkeys, cows, & yes, even peacocks!  Who knows what other creatures might be over there!  The animal sounds are not annoying at all.  They are in the distance, somewhat muffled, & I really enjoy them!  Many of our neighbors have animals.  John & I have thought about getting a couple cows to put in the hay field out back, or some sheep.  We've also thought about getting a little chicken house & a few chickens to live there.  What holds us back from doing that is (1) we don't know if we are going to stay here yet, & (2) livestock ties you down.  If we wanted to head off on a journey of even a day or two, we couldn't leave the livestock unattended ... & our neighbors are unfortunately not the friendly sort.  I was really hurt when we moved here & no one dropped by to welcome us ... not even our closest neighbor.  John & I made jokes before we moved here that once we moved in the neighbors would probably be coming over to welcome us with a loaf of homemade bread or a goat or something.  I guess I've watched too many movies where this happens.  It's happened in other places we've moved (no goats of course) but not here.

Since I mentioned movies, it occurred to me to tell you about a WONDERFUL movie ... one of my favorites ... that I think is very entertaining.  It's an old black & white film called The Egg & I starring Fred MacMurray & Claudette Colbert.  They move to the country to raise chickens.  All the neighbors are very friendly & stop by to welcome them & help them out when needed.  This movie marks the first appearance of Ma & Pa Kettle.  I've always loved them & I especially enjoy seeing them in this movie.  If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it   : )

As you know, I have embarked on a weight loss program under the care of my doctor.  I wasn't going to bore you with my weight loss journey here on this blog but I received several comments saying that my journey would be of interest ... therefore I will share   : )   I won't go into all the details but just give a brief update every Wednesday.  Today marks the completion of my first week & I must say that it went very well.  My treadmill hasn't arrived yet so I haven't been doing the walking that my doctor wants me to do but I've been getting a bit of exercise doing yard work (when it hasn't been raining) & working here in the house which is a LOT more activity than usual.  I'm eating lean meats, fresh fruits & vegetables, & drinking 80 ounces of water per day.  There are very few meats, fruits, & veges I can choose from but I'm not minding it at all.  I feel so much better!  I definitely have more energy, I'm breathing a bit better, & all in all I just FEEL better!  I have a long road ahead of me (I need to lose 80 pounds) but I will see the end of that road one step at a time   : )   As of today I have lost 12-1/2 pounds!  I know that during the first week of a weight loss program ... especially when you are as overweight as I am ... you lose quite a bit of weight at first & a lot of that is water weight.  I don't expect to lose 12-1/2 pounds every week (although it sure would be nice if I could) but I'm off to a good start   : )

It's been so nice visiting with you!  Are you sure you don't want another cup of tea?  Yes, I have to get on with my work too   : )   Since it appears like it's going to be an un-rainy day, John & I will need to get out in the yard & plant at least a few of those trees we've bought recently!  I hope you have a very good day!  Do stop by again   : )

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Where Does the Time Go ... & Why Is There So Much to Do???

How did it get to be Tuesday already?!?!?  I know it's been busy here at the farmhouse but honestly!  Tuesday! I mentioned to John yesterday that it's almost June!  The time seems to be literally flying by!  Do you remember when you were little ... it seemed to take "forever" for your birthday to come around, or Christmas, or summer vacation.  Not anymore ... lol!

Added to the time passing so quickly, it seems that life is busier than it has ever been ... & it seems it keeps getting busier!  I remember when our children were little.  We didn't have a car back then & some people were kind enough to drive us to church each Sunday.  Naturally I was kept very busy with 2 little children to take care of & I said something to these people one day about how I was looking forward to when the kids would be a little older & there wouldn't be so much to do.  They both got a good laugh out of that & one of them said something like how there's always going to be more & more to do.  I didn't believe that at the time.  I believe it now!  I'm not talking about things like overcommiting yourself by volunteering to head up too many committees or not being able to say "no" when someone asks you to do something.  I'm just talking about everyday life.  John retired 3 years ago & I retired along with him.  You would assume that when you retired you would have all this free time on your hands, but that isn't the case at all ... lol!    

I did finish the mowing last Saturday but we haven't been able to do any planting since then.  Although it hasn't been raining during the day, we are having heavy downpours in the evening hours which make it impossible to dig the next day.  Yesterday we actually had to go out & repot 3 of the variegated Japanese willow bushes we bought last week.  They had grown too big for their pots & some of the branches were starting to dry up & die although we kept them well watered.  Luckily we had larger pots left over from previous purchases.  We moved them into those pots, trimmed off the dead/dying branches, & they look very happy now   : )   We asked some landscapers to come here to dig out a planting area around the front of our foundation ... way too difficult a task for us old fogies ... & I sure hope they call & tell us they're coming soon.  There's no way we can repot these willows again.

Thanks for visiting this morning!  It's always nice to have you stop by for a cup of tea & a little chat   : )

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Whatever Happened to "Good" Produce?

Hi everyone!  I hope you are enjoying your Sunday!  John & I had hoped to get outside to do some planting but the rain poured down last night so that put an end to that   : (   Instead I decided to sort of rearrange our gathering room.  John helped.  I must say that I'm not all that thrilled with the results.  When we moved here we tried putting the furniture every which way & there only seemed to be one place to put the sofa.  Lately I've been feeling like I need a little variety in the house so what we did today is we took the TV & VCR off the coffee table (we had been using the coffee table as a media cabinet), moved the coffee table in front of the sofa, & then moved a buffet-type cabinet from the third & only other wall in the gathering room & put the TV & VCR on that against the wall opposite the sofa. Well, actually we put the TV on there.  The VCR wouldn't fit so John suggested we take an end table, clear it off, & put that alongside the buffet to hold the VCR.  As I said, I'm not all that thrilled with it but it's done & it will stay this way ... at least for now.  Guess I'll have to be on the search for a primitive looking media cabinet again.  Never could find one when we moved in.  Maybe I'll have better luck now   : )

As you know, I have started a weight loss program.  Of course I'm allowed various fruits & vegetables to eat & that's good ... I like fruits & vegetables   : )   I had to make a quick trip to the market this morning to pick up some celery & lettuce.  Here is where I ask the question "Whatever happened to 'good' produce?"  When I was growing up, I don't ever remember going to the market with my mother & her standing there picking up apple after apple after apple ... or lettuce head after lettuce head after lettuce head ... looking for a "good" one, but it seems I have to do this every time I go to the market!  I'll buy a bag of potatoes, start cutting them for dinner & usually find a few that are rotting inside.  When I was little, I used to grab a potato from the bin, ask my mother to pare it for me, & then sit with the raw potato & a salt shaker & eat the whole potato!  Never, ever worried about biting into a rotting area.  There never was one!  If mom wanted apples or oranges or celery or whatever, she'd go to the produce section of the market, grab whatever she needed, & head off to another aisle.  The other day I needed lettuce & I went to one of our local markets.  They had a huge display of lettuce but I walked out of the store without buying any.  Each head was turning brown.  I went to a different market this morning for my celery & lettuce.  They had only a few heads of lettuce, & after looking at each & every one I did find one that looks like it will be okay.  The celery was, as usual, in a plastic bag with advertising on it.  It's hard to tell what the celery looks like behind that advertising.  Again I looked through all they had & picked out 2 bunches that looked like they'd be okay.  When I made my lunch I got one of the bunches of celery & was dismayed to find it turning brown here & there.  After cutting & removing all the browning pieces I was left with just a few stalks from the middle of the bunch that looked "good."  However, when I started to eat it I found that it was very tough.  I wonder if it's the pesticides they're using now-a-days, or ???  I just don't get it.  I've had this same trouble in various states we've lived so I can't just attribute it to where we live now.  Doe anyone else have a problem finding "good" produce?

I think I will go find something else to do here in the house.  I might not be thrilled with how our gathering room looks right now but it also got a good cleaning along with the rearranging so that's a good thing   : )          

Friday, May 20, 2011

Oh So Many Things to Tell!

Here I am, back this evening as promised ... & do I have a lot to share with you!  You might want to get yourself a cup of tea before you start reading   : )

First of all, John & I went back to the nursery/landscaping/gifts/antique place I told you about earlier today.  Yesterday we had purchased 5 variegated Japanese willow bushes but couldn't fit them in the van with the other things we purchased so had to go back ... & here's a little side story concerning these bushes.  As you can probably see by the photo of our farmhouse, we have a very tall & very "blah" foundation in front.  I have been wanting to find something big to plant there ever since we moved in.  Well, last week we went to a nursery & there was this huge bush that I fell in love with & I thought having a few of them along that blah foundation area would be perfect!  I asked one of the workers what it was & she told me it was a variegated Japanese willow bush.  They had small ones available ... maybe 12"-14" tall ... for $30 each.  I wanted 5 of them but just couldn't bring myself to spend that much money on such small plants.  I thought I'd try to find them online ... & I did!  I found a mail-order nursery that had them, 18" bare root, for $15.00 each.  I thought about ordering them but hesitated because the term "bare root" kind of worries me.  I did sign up for that nursery's email offers though.  A few days later I got an email advertising a big sale on selected items.  You guessed it ... they had the variegated Japanese willow bushes half off ... $7.50!  Once again I was tempted but once again hesitated because of the "bare root" thing.  Then yesterday we went to that Lowes store out of town & lo & behold, they had them there ... small ones (maybe 16" or so), very scraggly, for $6.98.  They were all piled together & difficult to get at so I decided not to bother with them figuring that if they have them this year, they'll probably have them next year.  I also thought that maybe if I was lucky, the first nursery that had the nice-looking small ones for $30 might put them on sale at some point.  Okay ... as you know, we stopped at the nursery off the beaten path yesterday on the way home from Lowes & what did they have but a bunch of these variegated Japanese willow bushes!  They were all about 4' high & about 3' wide & they were $20.00!!!!!  I couldn't pick out 5 fast enough ... lol!  Anyway, we went to pick those up this morning & also ended up getting a maple tree to replace one that was planted last summer but died.

Here are a couple photos of the trees we've purchased recently along with the bushes.  You can't really see much of anything since they are all piled together but I thought I'd share anyway   : )


And here are a couple photos of some of the plants we've been buying recently.  Just like they trees & bushes, the plants are all bunched together so you really can't see much of anything but it will give you an idea   : )   What you see there in the background of the first photo is my perennial garden.  I REALLY need to do something to give it some personality!  I don't much care for the old railroad ties but they were there when we moved in.  Needless to say, I need to enlarge the garden in order to accommodate the new plants & I'm planning on extending it along that second railroad tie, but ???  Does anyone have any ideas to make this area look "spectacular" instead of "blah?"

Okay ... on to the primitive stuff!  I did talk with the owner of the nursery regarding what she told me yesterday about needing to move to a smaller place because of her husband's illness & getting rid of a lot of her 40-year collection of prims.  I told her how I was REALLY interested in what she might be selling & when could I see it?  I'm usually not so bold, but hey ... it's a 40-year collection of prims!  She & I got along very well yesterday which was great because what she did was she immediately got a notepad & asked me for my name & phone number.  She said that when she gets everything ready for her yard sale, she will call me & I can come the day before & have first pick!!!  I CANNOT believe this!  Like I said this morning, I just don't GET this lucky!  While we were there today I took a look at what she was selling there at the nursery.  I found a few items to bring home with me today & she gave me a great deal on them!  

These first 2 photos are of some hearth brooms I bought.  I forgot to include 2 of the brooms in the first photo so that's why they aren't all together ... lol!  They are SO COOL!  I just love old brooms!  The third photo shows you how I'm displaying them right now.  Since I don't have a fireplace ... sigh! ... I just stuck them in a crock   : )


The next photo shows an old graniteware bucket (I love old buckets) & a mystery item.  She didn't know what this mystery item is but bought it long ago because it was old ... lol!  There is a heavy wooden long handle & at the end is a little half-circle shaped piece of metal with "teeth" on the end.  Does anyone know what this might be?  I'm wondering if it might be an old implement to dig weeds out of the garden?  It's an awfully nice handle though.

This final photo shows the final 3 items I bought today ... an old sewing rocker, a wooden coaster wagon in very good condition (I have wanted an old wooden wagon for SO long), & a "horse tree."  I have no idea what a "horse tree" is but it's really neat ... & heavy!  I can't hang it on the wall because of the rings on each side but was thinking about maybe hanging it from the ceiling between my kitchen & gathering room?  

And that's it for my "show & tell" this evening ... lol!  I did get half of the front yard mowed today & John & I planted a white fringe tree, a sugar maple, & a big forsythia.  More planting tomorrow along with mowing the other half of the front yard.  

Thanks for stopping by to visit!  Sorry I rambled on so much   : )

An Apology

Hi everyone!  Just wanted to stop by early this morning to say I'm sorry for freaking out in yesterday's post about my chapter exams.  I really wasn't whining or complaining ... just letting you all in on the absurdity of the testing practices at this school.  I had posted about how I can't print out the test questions ... not by choosing to print them directly from the pages nor by copying & pasting them into Word ... & because the tests are timed, there is no way to write them down as I go along.  Well, last night I was thinking about this while I was in the shower (a great think tank) & it occurred to me that as I'm taking my chapter exams I can be sitting here with a tape recorder & just dictate each question as I go along & then I can transcribe them!  This way when I get that ridiculous screen after my completing a chapter exam telling me "You have 1 incorrect answer: #15," I will know what it is I didn't understand!  Oh happy day!  How I wish I had thought of this a year ago!!!

Today is going to be a busy day here at the farmhouse or at least out in the farmhouse yard!  It's dry enough to start mowing again so I'll be doing that.  We also have a lot to plant.  We purchased several things a few days ago, then yesterday picked up 2 trees at Lowes (they have them for half price now ... you might want to check out your local Lowes if you are looking to buy some trees) & something called a Sweet Bush I think (of course I picked one of the plants without a card).  This Lowes was in a nearby town & we had never bothered stopping there before.  Now ... about a week ago we had to go to Louisville & we took the back way which passes right by this townn.  The reason I'm mentioning this is that on the way there we passed a sign pointing up a side road advertising a nursery.  I mentioned to John that we would need to stop by there one of these days to see what they've got.  We did that yesterday on our way home from Lowes.  You drive way back off the main highway & go up a hill & it's just beautiful up there!  Beautiful scenery!  Anyway, we got to the nursery & the sign indicated they were a nursery & landscaping business & ALSO a gift & antique shop!  First off, they have a lot of really neat trees & bushes!  We found several things we just HAD to bring home.  However, the icing on the cake was the teeny-tiny antique section of the shop.  Prims galore!  I was checking them out while John was paying for our stuff when the owner, Sarah, asked me if I was interested in prims.  I said "Oh yeah!"  Well, it turns out that Sarah's husband has some health issues & they can't continue to live on the acreage they have now in that area.  Sarah said she has collected prims & antiques for something like 40 years & she is planning to sell a lot of things because they will be moving to a smaller place where there isn't so much yard to deal with!  It took a moment for me to be able to speak!  I don't usually run into opportunities like this!  I told her I'd probably be interested in some of the things she will be selling.  She mentioned maybe having a yard sale this summer.  I'm sorry to say that my brain was totally overloaded at this point & it didn't occur to me to say "I wouldn't mind seeing what you're going to be selling before then if you wouldn't mind?"  Like RIGHT NOW ... lol!  I kicked myself all the way home!  Well, this morning we have to go back there.  We bought 5 bushes that wouldn't fit in the van yesterday because we had it too full of other stuff (more about that tonight).  I am going to give her my name & phone number & ask her if she would be interested in showing me the stuff she wants to sell before she has her yard sale!  Keep your fingers crossed for me   : )

Okay ... gotta get ready to go!  I'll see you all again later!      

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Convoluted Logic

Here's a real head-scratcher for you.  I mentioned in my first posting that I am studying gemology.  It's an online course which is to be completed in 2 years after which I will move on to a jewelry appraisal course.  I like jewelry & gems & thought it would be fun to learn about them.  The courses are offered by a very reputable school headed by a very reputable instructor.  I checked this all out ahead of time.

I love the course!  I love learning all these things about gems & jewelry!  Makes me wish I had thought to pursue this course of study when I was younger rather than waiting until it's almost time for Jesus to come get me.  The only problem I have with the school is their exam process ... not the final exams but the chapter exams.  The chapter exams are given every 2 or 3 or 4 chapters, they are timed, & they usually consist of 20 questions.  One question appears on your screen, you answer it, & then you are taken to the next page to answer the next question ... & so on it goes until you reach the end.  So far, so good.  Well, at one point I was taking one of these chapter exams & immediately after completing it was informed that I had answered one of the questions incorrectly.  Was I informed of what that question was or what the correct answer should have been?  No.  The only feedback I received was that I had answered Question #7 (or whatever the number was) incorrectly.  I wrote to my instructor & asked him how I was supposed to know what I had answered incorrectly when I wasn't told the question.  He said that if students were given the questions with the answers they should have chosen that they could then go back, retake the exam & get 100%.  Here is where the logic starts to get convoluted.  Some time later I was taking another chapter exam & after completing it & being given my grade, my computer screen turned white.  I wrote to my instructor to ask him if he received my grade for that particular exam.  He must have been feeling talkative that day because when he responded he told me that he never receives chapter exam grades, they are never recorded, they don't count toward your grade, & they are just given so you can see how well you are understanding the material.  I wrote back & asked that if they are not recorded, why are students not informed of the questions they answered incorrectly so they can go back & see where they misunderstood something so they can then learn what they should have learned.  I wasn't even asking that the school give us the correct answers along with the questions ... only the questions!  I pointed out that when you are sitting in a classroom & you take an exam, you get your paper back with any incorrect answers marked wrong & then either the teacher will explain why you should've answered differently or you can review the subject material & see where you misunderstood.

Yesterday I took another chapter exam.  I studied hard & felt comfortable that I knew all the material perfectly but much to my dismay I answered 2 questions incorrectly   : (   They were questions #14 & #19 ... that's all I know.  Once again I wrote to my instructor & asked how in the world I'm supposed to know where I went wrong ... what didn't I understand?  I pointed out that he told me himself that the chapter exams are not recorded so therefore it wouldn't make any difference if someone took them over again anyway.  I said that surely I am not the only student who has ever been frustrated with this setup.  Today I received his response.  He totally ignored the fact that he told me these exams are not recorded.  Once again he told me that if students are given the answers they should have chosen that they could then go back, retake the exam & get 100%.  (Once again I didn't ask for the answers, only for the questions.)  He then said that since the school has been in existence, he only remembers 2 other students expressing their frustration with this process.

I know that this is a rather lengthy post on this one subject & I apologize for that ... but am I crazy?  Does his reasoning make any sense to you?  I know I'm "stuck" with this setup ... it's his school after all ... but it sure doesn't make sense to me.        

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Blackberry Winter

Sounds like the name of a novel of some sort, doesn’t it?  Actually I was informed yesterday that right now here in my area we are experiencing blackberry winter.  Blackberry winter was defined to me as being the time when the blackberries are blooming but it gets cold.  Our temps have been in the 50s for the past couple of days … definitely cold for this time of year.  I like it though   : )   Blackberry winter, unfortunately, is not going to last much longer.  Tomorrow the temps will be climbing into the 70s. 

Today I am beginning my weight loss program.  Don’t worry … I won’t bore you with it here   : )   I actually thought about starting a separate blog just to chronicle the joys of losing 80 pounds (should be a rather short blog as I don’t know what “joys” I would write about … lol!) but I’m not sure if I will do that.  I will just say that I am very pleased that I’m finally motivated enough to take this step.    

To celebrate blackberry winter as well as the start of my weight loss, I am enjoying a cup of Hot Cinnamon Sunset tea right now & I am hoping you will join me for a cup!  If you aren’t familiar with this tea, it is by Harney & Sons & it can be bought at Barnes & Noble as well as from H&S online.  I think that having tea is such a pleasurable thing to do!  H&S has several great flavors of tea, & I just found another tea company that offers some pretty interesting flavors on its own!  The name of this company is TeaCo.  I purchased 3 tins of their loose tea recently but had a difficult time choosing just 3!  The ones I chose are Vanilla Hazelnut, Pina Colada, & Mint Chocolate Chip.  I cannot remember offhand all of the other teas they had to offer but I remember there was one called Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup or something like that.  Can you imagine!  Anyway, I enjoy special teas at any time but when I’m dieting they become my special treats.  H&S has a good Chocolate Mint flavor & I always have that at the end of the day after I finish eating my diet dinner.  It’s my dessert   : )

Today I am also taking my first step toward something I’ve wanted to do for a long time now & that is learning the German language.  I’m not German & neither is my husband, but he worked in Germany for a while & I spent some time with him while he was there.  We both love Germany & have been back twice since then.  We actually considered moving there when he retired but we decided that we had too many “things” that we didn’t want to part with.  That’s kind of sad, isn’t it.  Some of those things are, I think, understandable.  Things like window screens (they don’t use them), air conditioning (not something they have in their homes), closets, & good sized kitchens.  There are many good points about living in Germany but those things, especially the first 2, would be rather difficult to do without.  Anyway, I’ve had my eye on the Rosetta Stone courses since learning about them years ago & today I got an email where they are offering the course on a 5-payment plan.  Works for me!  I’m anxious to get started!  The next time we visit Germany, I will be able to mingle with the locals   : )

I am going to leave you this morning with a picture of my first rose from a new rosebush I bought recently.  I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it.  It’s called a Julio Iglesias rose.  It not only looks pretty but it has a true rose fragrance.  Can’t wait to plant this!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Making Headway : )

Unfortunately I did not heed yesterday's posting yesterday although I hoped I would (didn't do much more than 2 loads of laundry & succumb to a 2-hour nap), but this morning ... ah, this morning I thought "I will accomplish at least one necessary thing today!"  I stood at the kitchen counter looking hither & yon & decided to tackle cleaning off the dining table.  Now to most of you this might not appear to be that great of an accomplishment.  I really should've taken a before & after photo.  For some reason my dining table is a catch-all for just about anything waiting to be mailed, filed, paid, looked at, responded to, etc.  For those of you who are familiar with Fibber McGee's closet, it sort of looked like that closet door opened & everything fell onto my table.  Well, I am proud to say that it is now clutter free   : )   I even finished packing a flea market box that was sitting nearby & managed to do a bit of decluttering of the kitchen counter as well!  Perhaps I'm on a roll ... lol!

It's another cool day here at the farmhouse with the promise of more rain in the forecast but that's okay ... I feel good.  I've accomplished something   : ) 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Amish Peace & the Mulberry Bush

It is rainy & rather cool here at the farmhouse this morning.  The weatherman is predicting a temperature of 56 which is quite welcome after the few days of temps in the high 80s last week.  Of course the rain means no gardening will be accomplished today.  I remember reading a quote recently ... unfortunately I don't remember where I read it or who said it ... that went something like "God sends rainy days so gardeners can do their housework."  I got a kick out of that   : )

Yesterday was a rainy day but sadly I didn't accomplish any housework.  I have so much to do in here that it overwhelms me at times.  I will get up in the morning & think about all there is to do, wonder what I should do first, & before I know it the day has passed me by & nothing has been done.  I've heard it said that you shouldn't focus on the "big picture" ... the many, many things that need to be taken care of.  You should instead make a list of what needs to be done, pick something & concentrate on just that one thing, taking it one step at a time until it is finished & you can move on to something else.  In the book Amish Peace (referred to in an earlier posting), it states that the Amish do not get up in the morning & wonder "What will I do today?"  They already know what they are going to do.  They have certain tasks they do each day.  For example, Wednesday might be baking day.  When the Amish woman wakes up on a Wednesday, she knows that she will be baking that day.  And while she's baking, she is not obsessing about the floors she has to scrub on Thursday or the beans she has to can on Saturday.  She is giving all of her attention to the task at hand.  The Amish "enjoy the journey" to complete a task as much as they find pleasure in completing it.

I was thinking along these lines yesterday & was reminded of an old nursery rhyme song I used to sing when I was a little girl.  It was called "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush."  It went something like this ...

Here we go round the mulberry bush,
the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush.
Here we go round the mulberry bush early in the morning.

This is the way we wash the clothes,
wash the clothes, wash the clothes.
This is the way we wash the clothes early Monday morning.

The song described a "task" for each day of the week ... ironing on Tuesdays, mending on Wednesdays, sweeping on Thursdays, cleaning the house on Fridays, baking bread on Saturdays, & going to church on Sundays.  I wonder if life followed this type of pattern back in "the old days?"  It would certainly make things a lot easier.  I think this "modern age" is both a blessing & a curse.  So much has been invented to help us do things more easily & quickly, but it seems there are more things to do!

Mother Goose & her nursery rhymes.  I don't know anything about Mother Goose, nor do I know when she may have written her rhymes, but I wonder if she wasn't feeling a bit like Solomon when he wrote Ecclesiastes?  Now there's a comparison I bet you don't see every day ... lol!  One of Solomon's observations was that nothing in this life is really new;  everything has been done before, everything has been said before, life is the same thing over & over.  Have you ever thought that about your life?  I'm wondering if when Mother Goose wrote "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush," she wasn't thinking "Here we go again.  Wake up in the morning, brush my teeth, get dressed, do a little house cleaning, cook some meals, clean up after cooking them, take a bath, go to bed.  Get up tomorrow & do the same thing."  Maybe for her, going round & round in life was like going round & round a mulberry bush.

I think I will go try to heed my own posting & accomplish something.  I'll let you know tomorrow if I succeed   : )

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hello Again!

Happy Saturday morning everyone!  After a few days of no rain the farmhouse is being showered upon this morning.  I must admit I'm happy to see it raining again.  It's very odd but after all the rain we had for weeks on end ...so much that I could hear squishing noises when I walked on the grass ... it dried up pretty quickly & I was actually needing to go out & water things each evening!  I'm sure a few of the new plants we've put in are happy with this shower not to mention the ones waiting their turn for planting.  I still haven't made up my mind where they are going to go yet & I actually ordered more yesterday from Gurney's website!

It's good to be able to post & read everyone's blogs again.  I missed being able to do that while the Blogger site was down for maintenance or whatever it was they were doing.  I do have a question for those of you who are blog savvy.  I notice that when I visit some of your blogs, you have an area where it shows your favorite blogs & I can just click on a blog name & visit those as well!  Some even include a sort of ... I don't know what to call it ... notification of the last time a post was made so that you will know if something new has been added recently.  How can I put a list like this on my blog?

I've been thinking a lot lately about how God will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) ... how He is there for us when others are not.  It's probably not the best trait to have but I am one of those people whose feelings are hurt rather easily.  The older I get, the better I am able to not let these hurt feelings get the best of me.  Unfortunately there are still times when they do.  One of the times they surface is when I take the time to write a long letter or email to a friend or family member & it is either (A) ignored totally or (B) the person writes back but does not comment on anything I wrote to them.  Of course there are some things that you just don't comment on.  If I were to mention that I made taco salad for dinner & had a lot of dishes to wash, I wouldn't expect the person to comment on my cooking or cleaning chores.  However, if I write to someone & go on for a couple paragraphs about something that happened that made me upset, a new remodeling project I'm planning, etc ... if the person does not comment on any of that, it's like they can't possibly care less about what happened or what I am planning.  Once I moved to another state & it turned out to be a real nightmare. I could tell you everything that made it a nightmare but this post would grow very long.  Just imagine the worst place you've ever lived & multiply that by at least 50.  Anyway, I wrote a 9-page letter (typed on 8.5 x 11 typing paper, single spaced) to my best friend in the town we had moved from telling her what we were dealing with.  When I received her response, the first line was "Wow!  I've never received a 9-page letter before!" ... & then she went on to tell me about what she was doing & never mentioned anything I told her.  I never bothered to confide anything to her again.  Recently this situation ... where I've taken the time to write to someone about something important to me & they haven't bothered to comment on what I wrote or to respond to it at all ... has happened 3 times & involved 2 friends & 1 family member.  I started feeling very hurt about this but then God reminded me that people are always going to disappoint.  It doesn't matter how much they love us, it doesn't matter if they are our sister or our best friend or our husband or our child, there are times they will hurt our feelings because they are people.  However, God will never disappoint us.  We can go to Him at any hour to tell Him what we are doing or what is bothering us & He will listen & He will care.  We can go to His Word & search for answers that we are seeking & we will find them (Matt 7:7).  If any of you have feelings which are hurt rather easily at times, this is a good thing to remember   : )    

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A New Obsession

It appears that gardening is getting to be an obsession with me.  Well, maybe the word "obsession" is a bit strong.  I just know that gardening is something I've been thinking about quite a lot lately & gardening itself appears to be bringing me some contentment.  I don't know why that is since gardening is a LOT of work ... lol!  Maybe there's some sort of hidden key here though ... hard work equals contentment?

John & I went to a big nursery today & we really enjoyed looking at & bringing home some of the beautiful things they had to offer.  Some of the plants we really loved were rather expensive so we had to leave them behind.  However, I did copy down their names on a notepad & found that I can buy them on eBay for up to 75% less than what the nursery was charging!  We did bring home 2 new bittersweet vines, one male & one female (the bunnies ate the ones I planted last year).  We also came home with 2 delphiniums; some sort of orange/yellow poker looking thing that the butterflies & hummingbirds supposedly love; 2 poppies; a little bush called, believe it or not, a "pink-a-boo;" 3 grape plants; a sugar baby watermelon plant; & a pretty big forsythia that was on sale for half the original price.  As we started putting things into our cart the thought immediately came to me that we are going to need to enlarge our perennial garden.  It's pretty pathetic right now ... a little rectangle-shaped thing with too many plants already, no mulch, & a very amateurish border.  It's in front of & to the side of the garage where you come up the walk to the back door.  It's really only visible when you are in that particular area.  I think maybe we ought to move it to a different part of the yard & just plant grass & put a nice bush or two where it is now.  I'll have to give this some thought.  

Phyllis McGinley, a poet & writer of children's books, said "The trouble with gardening is that is does not remain an avocation.  It becomes an obsession."  Maybe I didn't choose too strong a word   : )            

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


My husband & I had fun running errands in Lexington today but all the running around coupled with the 84-degree temperature really did us in!  We got back home around 2:30 & went to bed for 3 hours!  You can tell we aren't used to being very active ... lol!

One of the places I visited while we were there was Whole Foods.  It's a wonderful organic market.  There used to be one near us when we lived in Virginia & I really enjoyed shopping there.  I needed to pick up some oat bran to sprinkle in my shakes that I'll probably start having next week per the doctor's orders.  In the meantime I also picked up some sesame flat bread (love that stuff), chocolate cookies, & a huge soft pretzel which is calling to me as I write this   : )   I truly am looking forward to starting my weight loss program ... it will be nice to have an easier time buying clothes & wearing things in my closet that haven't fit me for years, not to mention having an easier time breathing & walking across a room!  However, giving up all my comfort foods is going to be a bit difficult at first.  I do know it all will be worth it in the end.

I was just out in the yard watering the gardens where new things have been planted recently & now my nose is running like crazy & my chest feels tight.  Looks like allergy season has arrived!  I don't know yet what tomorrow is going to bring but that's life, isn't it.  The older I get, the more I'm learning that I need to live in the present.  As Joyce Meyer often says, if we are always looking ahead to the future ... how wonderful things will be when ____________ (fill in the blank) ... then we are missing all the good things happening now!

Okay, pretzel time   : )

Monday, May 9, 2011

Life After FarmVille

I admit it ... I used to be a FarmVille addict.  For those of you not familiar with FarmVille, it is an internet game which can be a lot of fun to play & you can become friends with some very nice people from all over the world.  It can also be very addictive, very annoying, & very expensive.  After 19 months of playing, 9 days ago I decided I had enough & left the game ... & I've got a life again!  I think I've gotten more things accomplished in the last 9 days than I've accomplished in the last 19 months!  It's a good feeling   : )

It took 3 days but I'm finished mowing our yard turned hay field.  It was a difficult job but well worth the effort.  Hopefully the grass will never get so out of hand again!  Thus far I've gotten 4 flower beds weeded & cleaned up after winter's neglect.  John & I purchased a few new trees & bushes this past weekend which we've planted along with some new flowering plants.  I have 3 more flower beds to get in shape as well as the rose garden.  We bought 2 new rose bushes today to replace 2 that went to that big rose garden in the sky.  There is still a lot of work that needs done & everything is a long way from magazine quality, but it's all coming together little by little   : )

I have a problem with depression.  There are a lot of reasons I can cite for causing this sometimes but at other times it doesn't seem to be connected to anything ... I just "feel depressed."  I've tried various medications over the years & have not had good results with any of them, but this isn't the point of my mentioning this depression thing.  Like I said, sometimes for no apparent reason I just "feel depressed" & I will say to my husband "I'm depressed" or "I feel depressed today."  Well, yesterday I was on the riding mower just mowing along when suddenly I thought "I feel happy."  Almost knocked me off the mower!  If you were to ask anyone who knows me what is the least likely thing they think I'd ever say, I'm sure "I feel happy" would be among the answers you'd get.  It's like I don't know what to do with this ... lol!  I'm very thankful for it though   : )

Tomorrow we are going to Lexington to run some errands so that will cross a few more things off my to-do list.  Isn't it funny though ... we get various things done but there's always other things to do that take their place.  Such is life   : )                    

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day ... & More

Lots has been happening here the past couple of days.  On Friday my husband surprised me by stopping at a used car lot & buying a van.  This is one of the lots owned by the dealership that had been working on dad's van.  It's a 2006 Dodge Caravan.  It seems to run well, has a 2-year warranty on all the major stuff, & has just enough wear & tear on it that it still looks nice but we can haul bags of dirt & trees from the nursery & pieces of furniture & other things without worrying about "messing it up."  They actually allowed us $1000 as a trade-in for dad's van & they waived the money we owed them for the work they had done on it & that was a real blessing!  The hardest thing was having to go to the main lot to empty dad's van.  When you open the doors it still smells just like it did when dad had it.  I cried as I took out our personal things & said my goodbyes but I think dad would be pleased that it served us for as long as it did & that it helped us get a new van a little cheaper.  

After making several attempts to contact that man who mowed our hay last year to ask if he would mow our overgrown yard, I gave up & went out to continue mowing myself.  There was a 50% chance of rain & the clouds did toss out a few sprinkles a time or two while I was mowing but I prayed for God to please let the rain pass us by & it did   : )   It took a long time making overlapping cuts but I managed to get the left side of the yard mowed.  Today I will be going out to mow the right side which won't be as bad because it did get cut a month ago before the riding mower broke down.  No rain in sight today ... hooray!  I'd like to get the side & back mowed too but that might be stretching it a bit, especially since I also want to do some planting.  Bought a few new plants recently & need to get them in the ground before it starts raining again   : )

Last night I climbed into bed & within a couple minutes went into a-fib.  I have paroxysmal atrial fibrillation which has been under control with medication for a long time (my last a-fib episode was 2-1/2 years ago).  I couldn't understand why it was suddenly breaking through like this.  After about half an hour I told my husband we needed to go to the emergency room.  When we got there, they took me back immediately & hooked me up to all these monitors & did all these scans & asked me all these questions & I'm thinking "just make me better & let me go home."  I did tell them that the last time this happened I had been injected with something that should have helped but didn't & I was then put into ICU & had to remain in the hospital for a couple days.  Shortly thereafter the nurse came in & gave me an IV of amiodarone.  Within 10 minutes my heart rate was coming down & within 30 minutes I was back to normal.  They kept me for a little while longer to make sure I stayed that way & then released me.  It was 2 a.m.  Like I said, I couldn't understand why this had happened.  I told the nurse that I had been taking my a-fib medication as directed & the last time I had taken a pill was that evening at about 8:30.  Well, on Sunday mornings I always put my pills for the coming week into my pill minder box.  I started doing this & realized that I had refilled a few prescriptions last week but had never taken them out of the bag when I returned from the pharmacy.  I was busy with other things & figured I'd take care of them today.  I did not remember that my a-fib medication only lasted me through Wednesday night.  I had made a note on my old pill bottle to put more pills in the pill minder starting with Thursday but I totally forgot to do this!  This means I had been without my a-fib medication for 3 days!  No wonder I ended up in the emergency room!  Thankfully I'm fine but I caused my poor husband so much worry   : (    

Last, but not least, I wish a very Happy Mother's Day to all my blogging friends!  Cherish your children ... & I pray that they will cherish you & one day rise up & call you blessed (Proverbs 31:38).         

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mama Said There'd Be Days (Weeks) Like This

Sometimes it seems like someone scoops up trouble with one of those old-fashioned ice cream scoops & just throws it on our plates, doesn't it?

My trip to Knoxville was very nice yesterday although I was in the doctor's office much longer than I had anticipated ... 1-1/2 hours to be exact.  Lucky me, I've got interstitial cystitis & my thyroid is dying (the thyroid thing is called Hashimoto's thyroiditis).  I've also been having some fatigue issues & trouble breathing & she indicated losing weight (a lot of it) & exercising is a must.  Added to all the other wonderful medical care I disperse to myself will now be vitamin B-12 shots 5 mornings per week, pills for the IC, a diet that a bird could barely exist on, & the purchase of a treadmill.

Our riding mower broke down a month ago while mowing the lawn for the first time this year & it has been in the shop until they brought it back to us today.  It seems to be working fine but it's hard to tell because the grass is so tall.  Because of all the rain we've been having, the lawn looks more like a wheat field.  I thought I'd go ahead & attempt to cut half of it after the mower was delivered.  After struggling to get through some areas where the grass is honestly as high as the top of the mower, my husband said to call the man who mowed our hay last fall to see if he would/could mow the grass.  I've been trying to get in touch with him but thus far there has been no answer (he has no answering machine).

I also have sad news about our van.  It just died one day last week (wouldn't start).  We had it towed to the dealership & they thought they knew what the problem was but the part they thought was causing the problem is no longer made.  The mechanic made several calls trying to find one without success.  He thought that maybe if they took the bad one apart that they might be able to see where it had gone bad & fix it.  They took it apart but couldn't find the problem.  He said he'd make more calls to try to track down the part.  He called this morning ... he still couldn't locate a part so they tried running a wire from the bad part to the starter relay which would mean I could start the van with a switch instead of a key.  This should have worked but it didn't.  This means there's another problem.  What they now think happened is that the power drive train blew & shorted out this part.  They can replace the power drive train for $1000 but this still might not fix the problem.  Our only other choice is to junk the van.  I'm a very emotional person & started crying on the phone telling him how we've put so much money into this van already, just bought 4 new ties, etc.  I asked him how we would junk it.  He said they could tow it back here & we could try to sell it for parts, or we could get in touch with a salvage yard to pick it up.  Still crying I told him I had no idea how to find someone to call, etc.  Poor guy ... he took pity on me & said he'd make some calls & get back to me.  I'm upset about losing the van for many reasons, the main one being that this was my dad's van.  He passed away 3 years ago next month & had always said he wanted me to have the van.  It was like I had a little part of him with me & now that will be gone   : (

I did get out to plant some flowers & do a bit of weeding today but I'm still rather bummed about all the above.  Believe me, I am very thankful that the health problems I have can be fixed with medications, diet, & exercise ... & I am thankful that we have our mower back even if it's not up to the job of mowing wheat-like grass ... & I'm thankful for the 3 years I did get to enjoy the van.  I know that I have many, many blessings, & I also know that we aren't supposed to focus on the temporary things of this earth, good or bad, but keep our eyes on the heavenly things before us.  I am striving to do just that   : )                 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wednesday Morning Musings

Good morning everyone!  The sun is shining brightly here in central Kentucky this morning!  It would be a lovely day to get out in the yard & do some planting but instead I must travel down to see my doctor in Knoxville .. 3 hours there & 3 hours back.  That's okay though ... it will be nice to be back in the old stomping grounds again for a little while & I'm sure it will be an enjoyable drive with the new car   : )

Can you believe that not ONE contractor showed up yesterday to give us an estimate for our driveway & not ONE of them called to say they wouldn't be here???  It did rain in the morning but around 11 o'clock it stopped so the weather couldn't have been a factor.  I just don't understand the work ethics of people anymore   : (

I have been thinking a lot about Amish life lately.  I admit that I haven't known much about the Amish ... just the basics that everyone knows I suppose ... but I just finished reading a book that has really opened my eyes.  The title of the book is Amish Peace & it is written by Suzanne Woods Fisher.  There are various sections focusing on one aspect of Amish life & in each section are a few factual stories, each consisting of 2 pages or so, given to illustrate these aspects.  At the end of each story the author gives you some thought provoking questions to mull over to see how you can find Amish peace in your own life.  I highly recommend it!  Anyway, as I read through this book I constantly wondered what is wrong with midstream America's way of doing things, treating others, etc, that it is so very far removed from the Amish way.  Can you imagine hiring a contractor & having them do perfect work for you, as unto God?  Or having someone forgive you for an offense & never, ever, ever bring it back up to you again?  Or living life not focused on what kind of house you have, what kind of clothes you wear, what kind of degree you earn, how much money you have stored away for yourself in the bank, etc???  It boggles the mind.

A lot of times when a person states that they wish they were Amish, there are people who quickly agree that the Amish life is a good life but they themselves could NEVER give up ___________ (fill in the blank).  However, I think it would be worth giving up anything to be a part of this life.  Just think of it ... I might have to give up my new car, but in return I would have a horse & buggy & no car payments, no insurance payments, no worries that someone is going to scratch the car, no worries about its upkeep.  I might have to give up my jewelry, but in return I would be free from the worries that someone might steal it or I might lose a treasured piece one day.  I might have to give up all my crocks & dolls & sifters & enamelware & all my other collections, but in return I would be free from wondering where I'm going to put the next piece I find & doing all the dusting I have to do & wondering what will happen with all this stuff when I die.  I might have to give up movies & television shows, but in return I would have so much more time to spend with my family & friends ... taking walks along a country lane, spending time talking & listening, getting exercise, enjoying God's creations.  I could go on & on but you get the idea.

I think Amish life is, in a way, like the parable Jesus told in Matthew 13:44-46 ... "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field.  When a man found it, he hid it again, & then in his joy went & sold all he had & bought that field.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.  When he found one of great value, he went away & sold everything he had & bought it."  (NIV)

I do believe the Amish life is a treasure in plain view of our modern society.  Many of us admire their ways but few of us embrace them ourselves.  I, for one, am determined to bring more of the Amish life into my own life.     

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Good soggy morning to you all!  I can't believe the rain we have been having for at least the past month ... probably longer.  I went out in the yard the other day during a rare day of no rain & the ground makes squishing noises when you walk on it!  This can't be good.

Our driveway washes out every time it rains.  It's a nice country gravel driveway when it's in good repair, but right now it's an obstacle course to drive on because of the deep ditches left by the running water.  It was fine when we bought the house.  However, when we came here for closing there had been a heavy rain & it looked as it does now.  Our realtor & her husband, a contractor we hired to do some work for us (& what a nightmare that was), said that it was a very rare thing for it to rain so hard here & it was no wonder the driveway looked the way it did.  The husband said he could get a couple loads of gravel brought in & regrade it himself & it would last for at least 2 years.  Liar, liar, pants on fire.  We told him to go ahead & add this to his work list for us & the first time it rained it started washing out.  Last year we hired an honest man to regrade it & he did a beautiful job but said we would continue to have this problem as long as we had the gravel.  He told us we really needed to have it paved.  We got a couple estimates for blacktopping it ... one was $11,000 & the other was $13,000.  After the shock of those estimates we decided to make do with the gravel.  It is now obvious to us that we can't make do anymore & must use our "fix up the house" money to get the driveway taken care of.  Yesterday I called 3 more contractors to get additional paving estimates.  My hope is that at least one of them will be on the less expensive side.  As you can see in the photo below, there's a lot of driveway to pave.  Sigh!

All 3 of the contractors indicated they would try to get out here today to give us their estimates.  I don't know if they can do this in the rain but we shall see.

I am still trying to learn my way around blog land but my BCD (brain cell deficiency) really seems to be at it's peak whenever I attempt something new here!  After finally catching on to how start a blog & follow one, I'm at a total loss on how to send someone a message.  I have discovered a little window that pops up where I have an option to "send an email" but when I click on that I'm told that I need to follow or sign in ... but I'm already signed in & I'm already following!  This is like a joke that Google plays on all the new kids, right?  

I hope that you all have an absolutely wonderful day wherever you are ... rain or no rain.  My plans are up in the air at the moment but I think some de-cluttering is a good idea   : ) 

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Garage

It's been a busy day here at the farmhouse.  This past weekend we had to buy a new car.  Long story.  Of course because it's a new car it needs to be parked in the garage.  Our garage hasn't been organized since we moved here 2 years ago.  It's a 2-car garage with a little side part that you can use for extra storage or as a workshop if you wish.  You can only imagine the disarray.  (You will need to use your imagination because I didn't think to take a "before" picture prior to tearing it apart.  I really need to be more forward thinking in the future!)

I spent several hours out there moving boxes & tables from one place to another along with sweeping away debris, cobwebs, & stomping on the stray spider or two ... or three or four or five.  I'm not for killing any of God's creatures but I make a few exceptions, spiders being one of them.  I never used to be able to kill them at all ... always had to get my husband to come take care of even the smallest one.  However, living here on the farm we have more than our share of spiders & I've gotten to the point where I can smoosh them myself.  I should be a little more clear on that ... I can smoosh them myself if they aren't too big.  Thankfully none of the ones I encountered today were bigger than I could handle.  

I was able to put some things off to the side to take to the trash dump later this week & I'm very much looking forward to that!  Other things I'm stuck with, at least for now ... empty moving boxes, boxes filled with packing materials, & boxes filled with flea market things.  I could probably find a lot more things to take to the flea market if I were to sort through all the other boxes but that will be a future project   : )

It started getting late ... a storm was rolling in & I still wasn't finished.  I didn't want the things I had temporarily placed out in the driveway to get caught in the rain so I hurried up & brought them inside, just placing them here & there to keep them out of the way of the car.  When the muscles in my arm started complaining when I once again went to pick up the broom, I decided that enough was enough & I would finish the work tomorrow.  I confess that I have been a very sedentary person for the past 2 years.  Most of the things I enjoy doing are connected with sitting.  I really need to make a change there.  

Have a blessed night everyone!      

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hello everyone!

This will be my first attempt at blogging so I hope you will all bear with me until I get my bearings.  My husband John and I live on a small farm (17 acres) in central Kentucky.  We don't operate it as a farm however.  I like to fantasize about sheep grazing out front and collecting eggs from the chicken house out back, but the only animal we will probably ever have is our indoor cat named Sophie.  We moved here 2 years ago and getting used to the area has been quite a journey ... but that's a story for another time.

I have not done much in the way of decorating the farmhouse because we weren't sure at first that we would stay here.  In reality we still aren't sure but, as the Magic 8-Ball might indicate, our staying here is "Most Likely."  There's a lot of work ahead of us if we do stay.

I enjoy quilting and making other things from fabric, painting, woodworking, and knitting.  My quilts and fabric art are created on an old Singer treadle sewing machine.  I love sewing on that machine   : )   I have suddenly become fascinated with gardening.  I'm told it's quite therapeutic and, as anyone would tell you, I need therapy ... lol!  I am studying gemology.  I love the primitive/country look in decorating.  I love my husband ... my high school sweetheart.  And last, but certainly not least, I love God.

I hope you'll come visit often!  I'm always ready to put the kettle on   : )