Category Archives: Things on my mind

Spa Day and Father’s Day

I did something unusual for me.  I got up at six o’clock, something I very rarely do nowadays.  I have become a lay-a-bed in the past year or so because I have been staying up late at night.  Last night I sat outside and watched the lightening bugs flit around in my garden.  It was magical.  They would light up all at once and then there would be a short period when few were lit up and then they would light up again.

Anyway, I jumped out of bed this morning, ready to go, got dressed and out the door to do some chores before it got too hot.  David was still asleep.  He is almost always up before me.  I was thinking he was supposed to be at work at five, but his employer changes his hours often, so I just thought he was going in later.    I weeded a flower bed and spread some mulch.  I watered the flowers.  I took out an unwanted bush that had grown up on the fence. I trimmed down a small tree that had popped up in one of my flower beds.  Then I went inside and it was seven o’clock and I thought if David was going in later, he should be up by now so I went upstairs and he was still asleep.  I really hated to wake him, but I was wondering when he was suppose to go into work.

“You didn’t have to go in at five this morning?” I asked him as he opened his eyes.  “No, I go in at ten,” he replied.  “That’s your Saturday hours,” I told him.  “It’s not Saturday?!”  he asked and jumped out of bed.  He was dressed and out the door in fifteen minutes.  As soon as he left the phone rang. It was his manager wanting to know if something had happened to him.  I told her what had happened and that he was on his way.  I think this is only about the second time David has ever been late for work.  He prides himself on arriving early.  This will bother him for days.  He was also hoping they would keep him for two hours longer to make up for the two hours he missed this morning.   Yes, he has a very strong work ethic.

After he left for work, I went out and cleaned out the chicken house, spread some new bedding, raked their yard and fed and watered the chooks.

Then I decided I would do something else I have not done in years.  I took a spa day for myself. Not a go to a spa and get myself pampered.  My spa day was a long soak in the tub, washing my hair and reading all morning.  I very rarely get time to read during the day.  I do most of my reading in bed at night.  So this was a treat for me today.  I am reading a very interesting book by Vernon Coleman.  He has become one of my favorite authors. He not only writes fiction, but he writes about the medical profession, politics and the EU, which he hates.  He was a general practitioner in England until he retired to write.  I didn’t know if a doctor retires in England, he loses his license to practice medicine ever again.  Is it that way here in the United States?  Sounds like a horrible idea to me, but it’s one of the EU’s laws.  Anyway, I read one of his books all morning and enjoyed myself immensely.  Maybe I need to do this more often.  When I was a girl, I would read all day sometimes swinging on the porch swing.  Now that I’m retired(if a homemaker can ever really be retired) I should find more time to read.

I got this book and DVD in the mail today.

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At the Creation Museum near Cincinnati, Ohio, they have built an exact replica of the ark as described in the Bible.  It’s longer than a football field and four stories high.  I sent some money to help it get built and received these for donating.  Very interesting.   It opens on our wedding anniversary, but I think we will wait a while to go see it until the newness wears off it, because the crowds to see it will probably be enormous for the first few months.

This Sunday is Father’s Day. I lost my daddy decades ago, but I still think of him every day and miss him.  I know he’s in heaven, probably building something or taking care of animals.  My daddy taught me a strong work ethic.  Because of him, I am not afraid to work.   In fact, I love to work.  He was a farmer and a factory worker. He raised six children with my mother and I think all of us turned out pretty good.  He saw some tragedies in his life that would have broken weaker men.  He was a Christian.  He got saved later in life and I remember when it happened. Now my father was always a kind and good man, but he could swear with the best of them, especially if he hit his finger with a hammer or some such accident and he smoked cigarettes continually.   The day he was saved, all swearing disappeared, the cigarettes were tossed and he started going to church every week and became very active in the church. Before that, he only attended once in a while.  I kept waiting to hear him swear, but I never heard him say a swear word for the rest of his life.   He took his salvation seriously, as we all should do and lived it until the day he died.

My father showed no favoritism to any of his children.  I loved being out with him when he was working especially when he was in the milking parlor where he taught me how to milk cows by hand.  Later he got milking machines.  He showed me how to squirt milk into a barn cat’s mouth from several feet away.   We kids always loved it when he took some time out from his always busy days to play basketball with my brothers in the haymow.  Daddy didn’t have a lot of time in his days.  He was always working.  Later in his life he slowed down a little and he would come in, lay down on the floor and take a short nap.  Then it would be up and out and working again.  He was the love of my mother’s life and when he died, she lost her best friend, lover and constant companion.  She was never truly happy after that and I understand her completely.

I received some books of my mother’s a while back and in one of the books that was like a high school annual, my daddy wrote my mother a poem.  From the words, it appeared they weren’t dating yet and daddy was trying to get my mother to like him.   Later they would date and elope and were married for over fifty years.

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My daddy was a very handsome man.  He had very blue eyes.  I remember once when I was about five years old, I did something naughty and all daddy had to do was cock an eyebrow and look at me sternly and it would crush me.   I only got one spanking from my daddy in my life and it was when I was grown and old enough to know better.   I said something very disrespectful to my mother and my daddy whipped around, threw me over his lap and gave me a few whacks on the bottom.  I was more embarrassed  than hurt, but daddy was not going to stand by and hear his wife talked to in that manner.  Now that I look back, I sure deserved that spanking and I have never held it against my daddy.  In fact, I rather admire him for sticking up for his wife, which every man should do.

One of my grandsons reminds me so much of my father.  I tell him that all the time.  Daddy had delicate features, but was one of the toughest and strongest men I know.   He wasn’t a big man either, but was tall in stature in my eyes.

Happy Father’s Day, daddy.  I know  you are watching over me and I will see you again one day.  Say  hi and give my love to mother, too.  Bye.

 

 

This is Retirement?

I don’t think David and I thought very much about retirement when we were younger.  We were just trying to make a living and raise our three children and keep food on the table.  I always heard that retirement was the time when one could kick back and relax.  Do some traveling.  People picture Grandmas and  Grandpas sitting on the porch, Grandma with knitting in her hands.  Well, a little of that happens around here, but we evidently didn’t get the message about how to behave when retired.

It seems we are busier than ever.  Work just as hard and the days go by much, much more quickly. Here it is, June already.  Where did May go?  I spend most of my days outside in the garden or taking care of the chickens and playing with the dogs.  Between laundry, cooking, cleaning, and other household chores, I keep pretty busy.  I don’t know how our ancestors did it without all the labor saving devices we have now.  My great-great-great grandmother had to heat the water for the laundry, wash everything on a washboard, hang the clothes outside, weather permitting, iron all the clothes and by the time she was done with that, it was time to start all over.  She did this while raising a garden, canning enough food to get the family through the winter, cooking every single meal, and raising a family.  Whew.  I get tired just thinking about it.  I can stick a load of clothes in the washer, go outside, and when I come in, the clothes are washed.  It almost seems like a miracle to me.  But I see miracles in a lot of things.   Not all that long ago if you had leftovers, you had to get out pans and heat them on the stove and then you would have all the pans to wash afterward. Now, with the microwave, we can fill up a plate with leftovers, heat it for a few minutes and have a good, hot meal, almost as good as the original you cooked before.  Miracle.

But I got off subject. I do that all the time.  Here are a few things that we have been doing the last few weeks.

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We celebrated Memorial Day, a day to remember our fallen soldiers and also to remember loved ones who have died.  David’s grandmother always called it Decoration Day because it was the day she always took flowers and decorated the graves of family members.

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I fix a pot of grass for the chickens every once in a while.  They need their greens, too.

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“What are you looking at?  Can’t we eat without being disturbed?”

I’ve become a sock model.

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Why do I always have a bruise on my shins?

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See that pie safe in the background?  I took that step ladder there and climbed up to see if it needed dusting on top.  Well, since I  haven’t dusted up there in years, I found a dust storm up there.  I was a little amazed, thinking I kept a pretty clean house and there was such a dusty place almost right over my nose.  I took everything off it, washed what I could to include several American flags I had in a can.  I scrubbed the top three times until I felt like it was clean enough.  Now it’s good for another ten years!  I reckon if I looked hard enough, I could find several dusty places in my house, but I’m not going to look too hard.  The thing about dust.  It will always be there.  It won’t go away on its own.  I read one time that we could have the dust from the first Adam’s body in our dust bunnies under our beds because dust travels all over the world.  Maybe I have Moses under my bed or maybe Christopher Columbus.    If so, they will be quite safe there as I don’t like to dust all that much unless I really feel like it.

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We had sixteen people here for dinner the other day and the kids all played in the pool. I love having lots of kids in the pool.  They had so much fun.  Besides that, they stir up all the stuff on the bottom of the pool and that actually helps to clean it.   And the water definitely was stirred.

David and I have eaten at a couple of different restaurants lately.  One was called Stone’s Family Restaurant in Mihousen.  The food was so-so, but it was worth the trip to eat the fried biscuits and apple butter.  We could have made a meal out of those.  The restaurant is in this little off the beaten path town time has forgot.   We drove several back roads to get there and the scenery was so pretty.  I don’t think any place is prettier than Indiana in Summer.

The other one was in the little town of Vernon.  Vernon hosts a town wide garage sale every Labor Day weekend.  There are yard sales all the way along the highway to Vernon. We went one year and there was just about everything for sale, plus there were vendors selling their wares.   We have eaten at this restaurant before.  Really good food.

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We missed the Karaoke.

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This is what it looks like on the outside.  Nothing special, but I don’t think I have ever had as good fish as I did there.   It was done to perfection.  Not greasy and not fishy tasting.

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We ate there on the way back from this place.  Streamcliff Farm.  A nursery, winery that was having a flower sale.  I was not going to buy anymore flowers this year. But…..

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Of course, I did.  You took a little red wagon through the greenhouses to pick up your plants.

I bought several perennials and a rhubarb plant. By the way, our rhubarb has done wonderfully this year.  I have several packages of it frozen so that in the middle of the winter, we can have rhubarb pie and think of Spring.

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The plants sold here are so healthy and big.  I don’t know what kind of fertilizer they use,  but the plants sure do flourish.

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There are little gardens everywhere.  I wonder what it is like to wake up every morning and know all this is yours and you can walk through it anytime?

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Fish in the fishpond. Everyone needs a garden they can escape to whether it’s on several acres or on the rooftop of a city building.

There was a man there playing  and singing Johnny Cash songs and he sounded just like him!

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Man in black.  I love Johnny Cash songs.  He was a great song writer and singer.

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This is what I have been doing today.  David is replacing the fence boards along one side of our back yard so I decided to stain them.  There will be hundreds. Today I stained forty some.  He went and bought some more and some more stain, so guess what I will be doing tomorrow.

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David put up the original fence about twenty-five years ago.  It’s held up pretty well, but it’s time to be replaced.

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Just so they won’t think I have forgotten them, here’s the puppers.  Always watching for me to come out.  Playmate, come out and play with me, and bring your dollies three, climb up the apple tree.  Look down the rain barrel, slide down the cellar door.  And we’ll be jolly friends, forevermore.  My mother use to sing that song to me.

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Molly looks like she has a big cigar in her mouth.

Hope you are having a wonderful Summer(or Winter in some parts of our world.)  Soon the longest day will come and the days will start to shorten again.  It never changes.  Bye.

 

My New Obsession

I love making things.  Mostly sewn things.  It was my goal years ago to have at least one hundred quilts before I died.  Well, with having a quilt shop and making so many display  projects, with family loving quilts too, and with going to auctions for years, I finally accrued, created and found at least one hundred quilts.  I don’t own all of them.  Many of them have been sold or given as gifts.  All my grandchildren have at least two quilts I made especially for them.  I have made quilts for charities, for church projects and for Samaritan’s purse.  I wish I could see all the quilts I have made in one big pile.   I have quilts for every season.  Quilts are on every bed, on both couches, on every chair and hanging on walls.  I have a big box of unfinished quilts in my shop.  I have one quilt on my sewing machine in the process of being quilted.

But……..a new obsession has taken over my life.   At the beginning of the year I read Lucy’s blog, Attic 24, where she was learning how to knit socks. She made it sound so appealing, I immediately ordered the Minwick Mum’s Sockalong book that took you step by step through the sock knitting process.  At first, it was all Greek to me.  I read it over and over.  Tried knitting socks. Tore more socks out than I care to mention.  Learned that tearing out your knitting stitches was called “frogging.”  Dropped stitch after stitch.  Knitted more ribbing and sock legs.  Learned how much fun knitting the heel flap is.  Found out turning the heel was easier than I ever could have imagined, picked up stitches even when I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing. Knit the gusset and finally decreased the toes. Decreasing the toes is when everything usually fell apart because the book said I had to use double pointed needled to do it.  Then, the other day I just went ahead and decreased the toe stitches on my little circular needle.  No dropped stitches and easy as can be.  I can’t tell you how many times I would get to the toes, dropped three or four stitches and tear out the whole sock.  But, I didn’t give up and have finally found what works for me.

Now, my quilt is still sitting on the sewing machine waiting to be completed.  I hardly look at my fabric even though I have a purse needing to be finished and material for a skirt.   Now I  surf the web looking for yarn companies and drool over yarn like I would drool over fabric.  I have several circular needles, sock blockers, and other knitting paraphernalia. I have looked up my old knitting books from the seventies when I knitted sweaters, booties and hats for my children.  I have baby things on my mind.  I even ordered yarn for a baby project.  And there are no babies ahead in my family. At least I don’t think so.

I have finished two pair of socks and have two more pair almost done.  Today I ordered more yarn. For four more pair!  I think this obsession is going to stay with me for a time.  David has had to listen to me when I could not get it into my head how to knit socks.  He kept encouraging me and said I would figure it all out and he was right.  One day it all just clicked.  The fear was gone.  Now the socks glide off my needles with ease. Oh, I still drop the occasional stitch, but with a small crochet hook, I usually can pick it up.   I wish I could explain to you how euphoric I feel that I finally figured it all out.  It was like a dark cloud of doubt that was hanging over my head just went “poof” one day.     The lesson I took from this is “never give up.”  And I didn’t.  Despite several attempts that went all wrong, I now know how to knit socks.  Now I am looking at fancier socks like ones with cables or other designs.  I’m hoping I can knit socks for gifts.

I guess I owe Lucy and Minwick Mum a huge thank you for turning me on to sock knitting.

I am sure you are tired of reading about my sock obsession.  David says when I decide to do something, I jump in feet first and start swimming and don’t stop.  When I start making things, like purses, quilts or dolls, I never stop at one.  I make a dozen or more.  Now I probably won’t stop knitting socks.  EVER.  I love the process and the finished product.  But, enough about socks, although I could talk about them all day!

We have been doing some things other than me sock knitting and David helping me wind the yarn.  I am trying to start my walking regimen again.  I was up to walking five miles a day a year or so ago and then I hurt my right leg and then by the time it was feeling better, I tore a ligament in my left leg that has taken months to repair.   I just noticed the other day my leg didn’t feel stiff any longer and I wasn’t walking with a limp.    Molly is bound and determined to run into that leg every time I go out in the yard with her.  She loves to play and takes it that I want to play with her every time I go out the back door.   Many times I will play with her, but when I don’t, she follows me as close as she can and then she and Belle get into a tussle right behind me and sometimes slam into my legs.  I’ve taken to carrying a rake and holding it behind me so they won’t hit me.  I really don’t want to have a sore leg all summer.

Last Christmas my older son gave me a cute bench.

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A painted Santa face peeking out.

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A kind of creep Santa peeking out!

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With bird house posts on either side.

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With birds painted on each post.

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Snowmen on the armrests.

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Even Santa’s belt painted on.

Well, it’s almost Summer now and it still sits on our porch.  I tried covering it with a quilt, but it kept getting blown off.  Every time I passed it, Santa was looking at me and creeping me out.  David and I could not lift it because it was made from really heavy wood.   I had no place to store it anyway, so…………

I probably did the unthinkable to some people, but I feel very happy with my new little bench.

I painted it.

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Now, it’s suitable for year round and I can decorate it at Christmas with tiny lights and a wreath, so I am happy with it.   And we don’t have to move it.  It also provides a nice place for the UPS man or the FedX man to leave packages out of the weather and off the floor.   So it’s a win-win for me.

I don’t get up very early any more.  For the first decades of our marriage we had to get up for work or to get the kids up for school.  The alarm rang at 5:30 most mornings.   Lately, I have been sleeping until 9:00 or later.  One day David worked until 11:00 a.m. and when he came home, I was still asleep.   You see, I love staying up late, but I really love the early morning so one of them had to go.  Today, I woke up at 4:30, laid awake and said my prayers until 5:30 and decided to get up.  It’s amazing how many things you can get done before 8:00 if you get up early.   I did a load of wash, did all my ironing and knitted half a sock.  This getting up early seems to be a good thing.  Now I have the whole day to do other things.

When one gets up early, they get to see the sunrise.  I sat out on our front porch and watched the sun come up.

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I have been missing some beautiful sunrises.  The hummingbirds were out feeding and the birds were waking up.  It was glorious.    Still don’t know if I will give up my late nights.  I love to knit and read in the evenings and the time just gets away from me.

I will leave you with some pictures of the late May garden.  It’s peony time and I am loving it.

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And last but not least.  Two years ago when our new porch was being built, I saved some of the concrete pieces from it and planted flowers in them.  I had this one plant I didn’t know what it was and it stayed green all Summer and all Winter. But it never bloomed.  I watched it all last Summer and it didn’t do anything.  Just some green leaves.  This Spring I looked at it and thought to myself if it didn’t produce anything this year, I was going to tear it out.  Well, I am so glad I was patient with it because it is now my header picture.

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It’s phlox and I really do not remember planting this.  There are two different ones and they are so vibrant and pretty.

Here’s to sock knitting, early mornings and the patience to wait for a flower to bloom.  Bye.

 

Rainy Day

See that beautiful redbud and bright blue skies above?  That is what we had a week ago.  Then rain, sleet and snow came and we are back in winter weather.   It is suppose to warm up again and none too soon for me.

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During the cold days there is potato soup making. (This is actually broccoli soup, but I did make potato soup also.)

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There is yarn winding.  Here’s my very patient husband helping me wind a ball of new yarn.

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There’s outdoor fires and sitting around the fire with friends.

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This is one of the friends. Ha.  Look at that toothy grin.

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Despite all the problems she has caused us(David), I love her so much.  She is definitely my dog.  Looking at me with her doe eyes.  Trying to pretend she wouldn’t do anything bad.  No, not at all.

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It rained all day today.  Looking out the window it looked so misty and mysterious over in the now empty lot beside us.  Still getting use to not having a big house there.

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That muddy place is where the big, beautiful house once stood.

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David says he would love to buy this lot.  I sit and imagine planting hundreds of flowering trees and flowers and making our own park in it.   The grandkids could really have a great Easter egg hunt there.  I see wandering paths and benches for people to sit upon.  I already have it all planted and landscaped and it isn’t even for sale!

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Our back yard is coming to life.  It looked so awful just a few weeks ago and then the miracle happens like it does every year.  I never stop being amazed at the change in such a short time.  David has mowed the grass once already and it needs it again.  Note to self.  Plant more flowers and trees and get rid of more lawn this year.

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The garden is in its pink phase.  My very favorite.  First there’s the yellow daffodils. Then all the pink flowering bushes and trees burst into bloom.

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Love it.

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Rain pouring off my shop roof. I haven’t been out there to work on anything for a few weeks.  Knitting socks has been consuming my time.

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I do have this pretty, Spring like fabric that I will be using to make a skirt.

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So cozy sitting in a warm house looking out on the rain.  It’s really beautiful in its own way.

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See the rain pouring from the gutter?  It really came down hard for a time.  They say rivers are going to flood around our city.  A few years ago we had a major flood. Our hospital was flooded, patients having to be evacuated.  Many people lost everything when the water came up to their houses.  We have several friends who lost everything and had to completely redo their houses.  I can’t imagine how horrible that was.  We were not affected at all.  In fact, I didn’t know it was that bad until a day later.  Our town is surrounded by rivers and a flood can really devastate.  Hope it never gets that bad again.

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But the garden loves this rain.  It’s true.  April showers bring May flowers or in this case, April flowers.

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I planted grass for my chickens.  Yes, my chickens like grass and crack.  What can I say?  Ha. Actually, I am growing lawn grass and when it gets tall enough I will put these in the chicken yard so that they can have a salad.

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So hopefully glorious Spring  will return tomorrow.

Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A New Day and An Old House

  We celebrated Easter this past weekend.   Resurrection Day for Christians all around the world when we celebrate the resurrection of the living Christ who died on the cross for every single person on earth.  Took all our sins upon Himself so that no one  would perish.  All one needs to do is accept Him as your Savior and you are saved for all eternity.  How wonderful is that? 

I love Easter and all it means.  But I also love all the renewal in nature with the trees budding, the flowers growing and the birds nesting and making new families.  I love to be with family on Easter and have a big dinner and an Easter egg hunt for the kids.   We had seventeen at our table this Easter.  Friends and family and I felt so absolutely blessed.

 

We had a big Easter egg hunt.  We put money signs in some eggs and candy signs in others and the children had to turn their eggs in for money or candy.

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They were all excited about the money.  Yes, money wins over candy, but not by much.

Here they are ready to start the hunt.  We made it a little harder to find the eggs this year as they all found them way too fast last year and they are all getting bigger so we wanted them to be challenged.  One hundred and seventy eggs to find.

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And the race was on for the eggs.  We hid them in the front yard, in the back yard, in the side yard and in the tiny woods next to our house.

 

 

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When the hunt was finished, they all lined up according to age and Grandpa counted their money out and they picked out their candy and I think they were all excited and happy to receive their prizes.  I told David that next year I want to make it bigger than ever.

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And as in past years, we had a contest to see who would get in the pool first.  It was 54 degrees cold.  All the boys(and that big boy)  jumped in the pool.  Immediately they all ran for the hot tub.

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Fifty-four degrees to one hundred and one degrees in five seconds.  I think these two were numb from the cold.

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The biggest boy of all had to get in also.

Yes, it was a blessed and fun Easter.  I am so thankful we can have this time together to make memories.

And in other news.  I love old houses.  Our house is over one hundred years old and I love everything about it.  Yes, it can be drafty and hard to keep dusted and it’s not open concept like so many people want nowadays.  Yes, it’s a lot of work and we have spent a lot of money through the years to make it up to date and liveable, but we would rather have this old house than any new one.

We had a beautiful older house right next door.  It belonged to a doctor who had his office in it.  When we first moved here, his office was a bustling business.  People in and out all day.  He was an OBGYN and everyone I met through the years knew of someone whose baby had been delivered by him.  He and his wife were nice neighbors.  They let us use their yard when we were building our pool for all the equipment needed to build it to come through their yard.  They even gave us flowers for a gift for our pool.   Then he closed his office and retired and they moved to a house not far away, but kept this old house. Every week they would come and mow the yard and clean up around the house.  They would pick up their mail every day. But the house stood empty for years.  One time some kids broke into the house and David went over and caught them and we called the police, but the doctor and his wife let them off.  They were nice people like that.  So through the years the house stood there.  David and I wondered what would become of it.  Would some family buy it and bring it to life again?  Would it become a business?  One time David offered to buy it for our quilt shop, but it was the family home so it wasn’t for sale.

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It was a beautiful old house. Notice I wrote, “was.”

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For the almost thirty-nine years we have lived next door I could look out any of our southern facing windows and see this beautiful old house.  There was something comforting about it.  Knowing it had stood there for years sheltering families and a doctor’s office.

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A grand old home with a big front porch.    But then…….

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This pulled into the side yard the other day.  David and I speculated what was going to happen.  David thought they were going to dig a new sewer system.  I had a premonition that the old house was going to be torn down.  Sadly, I was right. It seems the house was uninsurable and had to be torn down for liability reasons.

So yesterday I woke up and heard a noise next door I wish I would never have heard.  The sound of an old house dying.

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Piece by piece, it was torn apart and the pieces put in a huge dumpster.  It would take eight dumpsters to haul away all the pieces.

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I get tears in my eyes just looking at this picture and realizing this house will be no more.

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How quickly decades of living and memories can be all wiped away.  A house is built and families come and go in it and it holds all the memories.  Where do the memories go when the house is gone?  Who will remember the things that went on in this house?   Who will remember the people?  I know I will remember Doc and his wife for as long as I live.

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Finally the last vestige of the house remains.  But it can’t withstand the machine pushing it down.

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A final push and it’s over.

While watching the house going down, David and I noticed all the things left inside.  It was almost as if Doc just up and left everything in it and locked the door.

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Clothes hanging in a closet upstairs.  Some look like army uniforms.  Probably from the second world war.   Why did no one want them?

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Painted cabinets and beautiful woodwork and wallpaper.  I wish I could have gone through this house before it was demolished.

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A coffee pot and medical records.  David found one that blew out and it was dated 1932.

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A sign on the wall about the first year’s growth of a baby.

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An old wooden cabinet.    Someone could have torn this out and used it.

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I saw this old door and really wished I could have gone in to save it, but in the dumpster it went.

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Beautiful old wallpaper.

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The old house sat in a big yard.  A yard my children and the neighborhood children played in years ago. Doc was nice about letting kids play in his big back yard.  Baseball games, kite flying, walking dogs.  There was even a “secret” gate into the adjoining field that my grandchildren loved to look for and go through.   Yes, many memories surround this house for our family.  My daughter played under a big old mulberry tree with two neighbor girls.  Neighbors met in the field to talk.  Now most of the neighbors are gone and now the house is too.

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I don’t want to remember the house like this.   Just like a person I have loved who has died, I want to remember them in the prime of their life.  That is how I will remember this house.

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Beautiful and stately with redbuds blooming around it.   Good-bye, old house.

Here’s to the hope of Easter and dear old houses.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

Love, Joy and Sorrow

This past weekend was my birthday weekend.  David and I had planned a getaway to northern Ohio to visit my brother and sister-in-law and go antiquing and sight seeing, but life got in the way.

Two weeks ago one of my favorite aunts passed away and she didn’t have a funeral so this past Saturday there was a memorial for her.  Most of her family got together to remember her.  There were pictures that made me cry.  She was my mother’s sister and my mother has been gone for a long time so to see her in pictures with her three sisters was a little sad.  Her two sons and daughter got up and spoke about their mother.  I don’t know how they did it. I would have been a basket case to do something like that, but they did wonderfully and I learned things about my aunt I didn’t know.  It was a day of nostalgia and remembering the good times and visiting with family I haven’t seen in years.  Two of my cousins were born about the same time I was and we always have felt a little close because of that even though we hardly ever see each other.  I met a second cousin who was named after my great-grandmother, Kate Driggs, just like I am.   We spoke for a while and she told me things about Grandma Kate I had never heard before.  I wish people would write their family history down because once people are gone, it’s lost forever.   As I get older I realize there are fewer and fewer people who remember me when I was a child.    I remember going to grandpa’s when the cousins were there and when it rained my cousin, Cathy, and I would put on bathing suits and stand under the rain gutters.  My cousin, Tim, and I would walk all over town talking and getting into trouble(not really) and having fun together.  It was always a special time at Grandpa’s when the cousins were there.

Sunday we were with family once again.  We went to eat at Scotty’s restaurant.  I have never eaten there before so was looking forward to it.  As we got near the door, two little boy bodies came bursting out of the door and enveloped me in hugs and as I tried getting into the door, my other three grandchildren came up and hugged me.  Nothing makes me happier.  It was so nice having them all together.  We had a nice meal and spent two hours talking and it went so fast.  The only thing I had against the place was they had these tall chairs and I had a dickens of a time trying to get up on one with my sore, short legs, but I finally made it with much coaxing from family members!

After a weekend of doing absolutely nothing but visiting and resting, I decided today to try to get some work done. As it was nice outside, I raked the yard and tried cleaning up all the things the dogs had scattered around the yard.  Our back yard looked like a junkyard dog lives there.  And she does!  Molly had brought up a few pieces of wood and chewed them up all over our back deck, so I got that cleaned up.  I transplanted some tomato plants I am growing into larger pots.  I did some ironing and made soup beans.  I fed and watered the chickens and gathered the eggs and cleaned up the garden area where the chickens play.  It felt good to get a few things done after such a lazy weekend.  I don’t do well with lazy usually.  I have to be doing something.

Last night I watched the last episode of Downton Abbey and it was like getting a wonderful gift wrapped in a big bow and sent with love.   I loved every minute of it.  Sure am going to miss it.  How can anyone top Downton Abbey?  I don’t think it’s possible. Just like no one could make another Gone With the Wind.  Things like these only come around once in a great while.

Hope you had a nice weekend.  Bye.

 

Paper Dolls and Valentines

A friend posted on Facebook the other day, “do you remember paper dolls? ” Do I remember them?  I was the paper doll fanatic in my day.  I grew up in the fifties and sixties and during that time I cut out my share of paper dolls.

When I was a little girl, I would go to the grocery store with my mother.  While there, she told me I could pick out a couple of comic books.  Back then the comic books were on a revolving rack and there were so many choices.  While my brothers went for Superman and other Super heroes, I went for the comic books that had paper dolls in them. Veronica and Betty and there was another one who was a model and there were always several fashions to cut out.  My favorite by far was the Katy Keene comic books.  Katy was a model and while I read her stories, what I looked for were the paper doll cutouts of her in its pages.  I have not met anyone who remembers Katy Keene comic books. (Note: I looked up Katy Keene comics for sale and they are bringing up to twenty-seven dollars or more. Comics I use to buy for ten cents or a quarter.) But every week I would look for her comic books. Sometimes there would be extra thick comic books that cost twenty-five cents instead of the usual ten cents.   When those would be on the rack, I would be in heaven.   Through the years I gathered quite a few paper dolls.  They were really one of my most favorite things to play with when I was little.  One time I even designed a paper doll complete in her bra and panties and designed clothes for her and I gave my creations to my best friend at the time in second grade. She was happy to receive them.  I wish I could see that paper doll now.   At the time I thought she was really pretty, but being a second grader, and her artist, she was probably pretty primitive.  My creative juices were flowing even back then, though and continue to this day.

I was cleaning out a drawer the other day looking for Valentines when I came across some paper dolls I had been collecting.  Several years ago there was a magazine called Home Companion created by Mary Engelbreit.  There was always one framing quality picture Mary had drawn and always a page of paper dolls.  These were not simple paper dolls, but bright, detailed, beautiful dolls.  I began to look through them.

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Ann Estelle was one of my favorites.  I think she was Mary’s, too.

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If you have seen pictures of Mary Engelbreit, you will notice Ann Estelle looks a little like her.  I remember the first time I saw Mary Engelbreit in a magazine telling how she was given a closet in her home, when she was a little girl, to go into and create.  How neat was that?  Her creating turned into an empire of paper dolls, calendars, greeting cards, fabric, dishes and much, much more.  But I loved her paper dolls.  Sadly, Home Companion went out of circulation a few years ago.  Wish it would come back.

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As you noticed, I didn’t cut out many of the paper dolls.  I just couldn’t bring myself to, but I did cut out one Ann Estelle and some outfits for her. Here she is in her Halloween costume.

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Dressed for a rainy day in London.

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As far as I know, Ms. Engelbreit only drew one boy paper doll.  Tommy.

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I’m sure she copied him off someone she knew.  He was so cute.  And he got several pages in the Home Companion through the years.

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One year(2003) Mary Engelbreit came out with this paper doll calendar.  Now I am going to expose a deep,  dark secret I have held inside for years.  I bought this calendar to give to my only granddaughter and just couldn’t give it away.  I’m so ashamed!   But, it is still around and it would probably be gone by now if my granddaughter had had it because she would have probably actually played with it.  Now I can look at it and enjoy it once again.

Each month had a different outfit for four different paper dolls that were also included in the calendar.

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Really cute outfits. With accessories.

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Yes, I love Mary Engelbreit paper dolls. They sure brought this “little girl” a lot of pleasure.

Another paper doll I collected when I was a girl came in the McCall’s magazine each month. My mother subscribed to McCalls, but I was the first one to look through it to look for the Betsy McCall paper doll.

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Yes, I saved some of them.  Not many.  In fact, I forgot I even had them.

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Betsy came ready to dress with a story about her adventures.

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There was a game on the page.

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And a crossword puzzle.  So much fun in such a little space.  Some magazine needs to bring back paper dolls in its pages. I believe it would sell them even faster.

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I found these paper dolls in my stash.  I really don’t know where I got them, perhaps at an auction or in an antique store.

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Clothes to color and cut out.

Besides paper dolls, Mary Engelbreit  has designed some really cute Valentine’s Day cards.

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I can’t show them all because some people I love will be getting some for Valentine’s Day.

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Valentine stickers by Ms. Engelbreit   I love them.  I love stickers anyway.  If I can stick a sticker on something, I will.

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These are especially nice.

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I’m still coloring in my adult coloring book I got for Christmas.  I ordered a tin of seventy-two colored pencils.  This is half of them.

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The tin is really nice to keep them in.

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A picture by Mary Engelbreit.  Since this Sunday is Valentine’s Day, I want to wish you all a happy day.  You are loved by someone.  And you are the apple of Jesus’ eye.  Just wanted you to know.  Love you all.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Brand Spanking New Year

What is it about the start of a new year that makes a lot of us want to make resolutions, make plans, get nostalgic, and think of all the possibilities? I don’t know about you, but when I wake up on a new year’s first morning, I feel like anything is possible. I can finish all the projects I’ve started, clean every room in my house, learn a new skill, walk several miles, meet the newest best friend I have ever had in my life, save the world and do things I didn’t do in that old, rusty last year.

My only plan I have made thus far for this year is to knit a pair of socks. Not a big venture for most people, but I have never knitted a sock, so if I can manage to get a pair knitted, I will feel quite accomplished. I also want to learn to crochet. For all you sock knitters and those proficient in crocheting out there, you are thinking, well, that will be easy. But you have not seen me try to knit a sock to the heel and have to rip the entire thing out, or start a baby sock and find a hole in the middle of it and tear it all out or start a sock on my new sock loom I got for Christmas and find I am all thumbs. I am now starting my third sock. So far it is going well and I have high hopes I will get this one completed. You will know if I do. My first sock is now almost a completed scarf. It’s pretty, but it’s not a sock. I’ve ordered some beautiful sock yarn and should be getting it next week. I am an optimist and believe I will make socks from it.

I plan to read more this year. I read quite a lot of books last year. Ever since I got my Kindle White, I feel like I read so much faster. I am reading a book by Liane Moriarty. She is my new favorite author. She wrote The Husband’s Secret and What Alice Forgot. I just finished her book, The Last Anniversary. It was so good with a twist at the end I wasn’t prepared for. Now I am reading Big Little Lies and have The Hypnotist’s Love Story waiting in line on my Kindle. Another book I really loved was Stephen King’s 11/22/63. Now let me preface this by saying I quit reading Stephen King books years ago because they got too gruesome and scary for me. But, my son told me that it was the best book he had ever read and it wasn’t gruesome or gory. It did have its places, but this story is about a man who goes back in time to try to stop President John Kennedy’s assassination. I was fourteen years old the day President Kennedy was killed. I can remember it almost as if it were yesterday. I remember sticking by the television watching all the news and seeing the funeral and John John saluting his father’s casket. So heart wrenching. Well, this book brought back many memories. It starts when the lead character goes back into the fifties. I remember the fifties as I was growing up then. So much that Mr. King wrote was so true to what the period was like. Anyway, this is one Stephen King book I would recommend. It’s long. Almost nine hundred pages, but I read it so fast and it didn’t seem that long at all. If you were alive during that time, it will remind you of all that was going on then.

I bought tomato seeds today and two books on building tiny houses. Ever since David and I bought three acres in Brown County, I have thought about us building a tiny house in the woods where we could go and stay for a day or two. We could have a bed to sleep in and lanterns and a cooler and fluffy pillows and quilts. For cool weather we could have a small heater. If I had a book or two to read, I would be all set. Plus, our grandboys would be within feet of us and would visit and we could walk in the woods. It would be rustic, like camping out, but that is all I really want. There are so many ideas for cute tiny houses, some not much bigger than the chicken coop David built, so I know it would be possible. Who knows, maybe that will happen this year.

We want to go on a vacation this year, but haven’t decided where to go. We have been just about everywhere in the United States. I think Martha’s Vineyard would be a wonderful place to visit. We loved the Outerbanks and being on the ocean. But then, the mountains call to us and we think we would like to go out west again or Alaska and take the ferry up the coast. That was one of the most wonderful trips we have ever taken. Who knows where our wanderlust will take us? I pray we have good health this year so that we can do all these things.

What are your plans for this shiny new year? Are you going to plant a garden. sew a quilt, raise some chickens, take a wonderful vacation or just stay at home and work on the old homestead? No matter what you plan to do, I pray you do it all with gusto and enjoy the ride. It’s going to be a very interesting year, I believe. We have a big election here in the states this year. A brand spanking new president. Lots of exciting things happening.

Happy New Year to all my friends around the world. May you be blessed with health and blessings far beyond your wildest imaginations. God bless you all. Bye.

September or Fall’s a Comin’

It’s here, whether we want it or not. Fall.  You know, that glorious season right before the bitter winds of winter?   The season of beautiful foliage on the trees as they make their last hurrah before they loose all their leaves.    The season of trips to the orchards for crispy apples, trudging through pumpkin fields to pick out that perfect pumpkin, taking drives down country roads to see all the beauty of the season.

In the past September was, for me, the time for the start of a new school year.  Going shopping for new shoes and clothes.  It meant the smell of new crayons, getting new yellow tablets, and new  school books.  I have always loved the smell of books.  Somehow you don’t get the same smell from a Kindle.  It was meeting the new teacher, getting your seat assigned, and hoping your best friend was still there for you as you had not seen her all Summer. It was seeing the big yellow school bus coming down the road and wondering if the driver would be nice or grumpy.

September meant that Summer was officially over and it was time to get out jackets and sweaters and knee high socks.  No more shorts and sleeveless tops.  Early evenings and homework before bed.  No more hide and go seek games in the yard.

On the farm September meant harvesting.  The corn was ripe, ready for picking and I would ride in the wagon behind the corn picker as it threw the corn cobs out into the wagon. Oats combined and shoveled into the oats house so the animals would have something to eat during the long winter.  The Spring calves were almost grown and would be the new milk cows.   Time for butchering a hog or a cow for meat for the table.

September meant  my mother gathering in the last of the vegetables from the garden and canning  or freezing all she could for our family to eat.  Winter was coming and we must be ready.

Some people are sad when September comes.  Songs are sung about September.  September is both a beginning and an ending.  But September will come no matter how much you want one last day at the beach, one last ride at the amusement park, one last lazy day to dream.  It will come and stay for only a moment like all the other months as the year rapidly draws to a close.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas come one after the other before you know it. September has the last holiday of the Summer, Labor Day.  This weekend we will have our grandsons staying with us so it won’t exactly be a holiday, but we will plan some fun things for them.  It reminds me how quickly the boys are growing and how we must grab the little snatches of time we have with them.  They have been in school for a couple of weeks already. No child should have to start school before Labor Day in my opinion.

September means a lot of things to me and as I grow older it means different things. I watch as others send their children off to school and feel nostalgic for those days, yet glad I don’t have to take part any longer.  It means time for a new haircut, a new exercise routine, more books to read, less lawn mowing, closing the pool, getting the house ready for winter.   It means more sewing and quilting and antiquing and being able to take a vacation during the school year.  Yes, September is a month of change and I am glad of it.

I saw a bright red Maple leaf on my porch yesterday.  Yes, Fall’s a comin’.   Bye.