Monthly Archives: April 2013

A Little Beauty, A Little Sweetness

Hurray, I got some pictures again.  My new computer was not uploading pictures for some reason so I am using our old laptop and it is working, so now my blogs won’t be boringly picture free.

I don’t know about you, but it seems we Americans have seen enough bombings, explosions and bloodshed to last forever.  We have been blest not to have had to endure these things in our country so much in the past, but they seem to be becoming a part of life.  I truly pray all those who have been affected by all these horrible things will recover or be given peace.  I can’t imagine the horror.

That said, I think we all are ready for some beauty in our lives.  Some kindness.  Some love.  Here is my love to you with flowers.




















These are all flowers and bushes in my garden or will soon be planted in my garden.

Now how about some sweetness?  I have been baking.  Rhubarb pie. The rhubarb is not from our garden.  We bought it at Appleworks some time ago and it’s been in the freezer.  Our rhubarb is ready so there will be more of these.


Wait a minute.  That is a pie shell.  Did I make a different pie?



We found this at Wal-Mart and since David loves Key Lime Pie I had to buy the four cans they had.



Wait, this is my rhubarb pie.  Did I make two pies in one day???



You bet I did and David and I ate every last piece.  I didn’t like the key lime pie too well.  The consistency didn’t appeal to me so David got most of it.  When I was little, Mom would let me play with the pie dough and make little pies in my own little pie pan.  Now that I am not so little, I use the left over dough and make cinnamon rolls.



I think these are better than some of the pies.  I make my pie dough with lard which is the only way to get a truly crumbly, flavorful dough.  Mom use to buy lard by the five gallon can and kept it in the kitchen where she would turn out pies almost every week.  My Grandma Ridenour made the best pies ever.  When she lived with us, she would be in charge of making the pie dough and taught me how to make good dough.  When I was in high school, I took Home Economics and one time we had to make pie crusts.  My best friend and I were a team and honestly, we could not make a bad pie crust.  The teacher’s pet made pie crust after pie crust and they just wouldn’t turn out and my friend and I would stand back and pat ourselves on the back because our crusts always turned out.  Not very nice, but we were competitive about the whole thing. It could have been because we were both farm girls and had learned to cook and bake when we were younger.  I had the best teacher of all, though, and for that I am very happy.

Now are you ready for some cute?


Parade of the chickens.  The girls are growing.  Five of them are doing well, but one of them has gone off her feet and I am trying to doctor her.  I think she has rickets, which is lack of calcium in the diet, so I bought polyvisol with vitamin D and am putting supplements in the drinking water.  I am really worried about her.  I don’t remember what my dad did when hens got sick.  I really don’t remember too much about the care of the chickens except for feeding and watering them.  I am watching the rest of them closely.  I really don’t want to lose any of them.  David said, “And that is why you don’t name chickens.”   But I did, and I love them all like pets so I will worry.

I hope your days are filled with sweetness, beauty and light.  Bye.














  Because I can’t get my pictures to upload I will continue on my lectures. Today it will be about Histoplasmosis.  Tomorrow, it might be about toenail fungus.  Who knows?

  Histoplasmosis is an infectious disease caused by a fungus. Sounds fun so far, doesn’t it?  I have had a run in with this disease.  Chickens have gotten a bum rap for causing this when one can get it in many different ways.

  My history with histoplasmosis began after the birth of my third and youngest child in 1977.  I was a pretty healthy woman and had not suffered any kinds of diseases or health problems ever except for tonsillitis  in my youth.  One day as I was watching television, I noticed the people all had two heads.  Hmm, that was strange.  Was I just tired or did I need glasses? This happened just before David and I was to take a youth group to Arkansas to a Passion play there. 

  We were making plans to take this trip and I didn’t have time to think about my problems with a new baby and two small children at home.  We took the trip and at the Passion play I was seeing everything in double.  Well, I must need glasses pretty badly.  It was a very stressful trip in more ways than one and we were so ready to get home.

  The next week, I made an appointment with an eye doctor and he said I might have cancer of the eye.  Well, this made me very upset.  I was sent to the IU medical center in Indianapolis to the eye center where one of the bests eye specialists practiced. 

   I was put through all kinds of eye exams, one of which  was having a dye put in my veins and pictures taken inside my eye.  It was soon discovered I was allergic to this dye as I passed out on them. After all the tests, Dr. Schlegel told me I had Ocular Histoplasmosis.  I didn’t have a clue what that was.  Then he told me something very interesting.  He said that most people who live in the Ohio valley and surrounding areas have Histoplasmosis in their bodies, usually in their lungs. Mine had gravitated from my lungs to my left eye and destroyed my central vision there.  Histoplasmosis can be caused by pigeons or any kinds of bird dropping where people breathe the fungus from the air.  Evidently the Ohio valley has a large amount of birds, thus the fungus. 

  I was sure I was going to go blind and not see my children’s faces as they grew up.  I was beside myself.  Then think what I thought when Dr. Schlegel told me I had two options.  Take  corizone  which would very probably make me gain weight or get a cortisone shot in the eye, which wouldn’t.  Guess which one I chose?  I didn’t want to gain weight.  So a shot in the eye I got.  If someone had told me that one day I would have to have a needle put in my eye I would have told them it’s never going to happen, but when you are faced with the decision, you must make it.  Seeing that needle come toward my eye was a weird feeling, but it really did not hurt at all and it stopped the bleeding in my eye.    

  David and I had to make several trips to Indianapolis where I would get a shot in my eye every few months.  Then one day Dr. Schlegel told me my eye was as bad as it was going to get and there was nothing else to be done for it.  I was really glad of that.  Now I have heard from eye doctors that this disease of the eye can be surgically corrected if caught in time.  Mine cannot be fixed.  But I am use to it now and don’t even think about it unless I shut my right eye and then everything gets blurry.  I am so thankful that I still have my vision in my right eye.

   Years later, my husband had an x-ray taken of his lungs and a spot was found.  Since he smoked, we both thought it was cancer.  After many tests, the doctors said it was a calcification of Histoplasmosis in his lung. 

  Then our son called us one day when he was stationed out west in the military and said they had found a spot on his lung.  Of course he thought it was cancer and was very worried.  Then he went to a doctor who was from the Midwest and he asked my son where he was from and when he said Indiana, the doctor actually laughed and said what he had was Histoplamosis. 

  So that has been my family’s experience with this disease.  It isn’t fun, but it isn’t life threatening unless you do nothing about it.    I have found with just about any disease people learn to adjust their lives around it whether it causes you to go blind, lose your ability to walk, or any other of a myriad sort of things.  People are tough.  I found out how tough I was to face this rather frightening disease.  Now I can even joke about it and I can’t watch 3-D movies, but that’s okay.  I saw my children grow up and can see my grandchildren and that’s worth everything I went through.

  Here’s to sight, health and being tough when times get tough.  Bye.


  Since I can’t get my pictures to upload here for some reason, I will talk about tithing today.  I don’t intend for this to be a theological blog or anything, but this is the way I lead my life so I will talk about it if it is important to me.

  I have attended church since I was a very little girl.  For my first few years, we didn’t go to any church, then one day my mother decided we really should go.  She ordered us new clothes and I can still remember the day the box arrived and Mom pulled out a pretty plaid dress with a full skirt and long sashes that was for me.  I was so excited.  This church thing must be really important to get new clothes. 

  We went to a little Brethren church and my class was downstairs in the basement. I was always a shy child, but I felt welcome in this place.  We all sat on little red chairs and listened to our teacher.  She told us Jesus loved us.  Who was this Jesus and why did he love me?  He must be really nice.   We went to this particular church for a few years and then switched to a Methodist church that was closer to home and I grew up in that church and was married in it.

  I had some wonderful teachers while there. I remember Mrs. Dimett, Miss Neff,  Miss Neff(yes, there were two Miss Neffs, sisters) Mrs. Cranor and Mr. Bane.  They all taught me many things about the Bible and about God.  I joined the MYF youth group and was very active in it for years and later, David and I would be the leaders of the group after we were married.

  Growing up I heard about tithing.  We all should give a tenth of what we make to God.  It is Biblical and God expects it. That isn’t much when you think about how much our government takes from us.  Not giving is really stealing from God.  My Dad always said, “You can’t out give God.”  I have learned that is so true.  I hate to admit it, but when David and I were first married, we didn’t tithe as we should. Sure we gave to our church, but we always had bills to pay and thought we needed the money more than God. As we have grown in our faith, we now tithe regularly and I want to tell you, what my Daddy said was right.  You can’t outgive God.  Sometimes when I write the check for church I think to myself that we could really use the money for something, but I write it anyway in obedience.  And guess what?  All our bills get paid and we live very comfortably and I just don’t worry where the money is coming from anymore because I know that God will provide.

  When I was growing up, people nowadays would consider us poor.  I never felt poor.  Maybe it was because we had all the important things in life, a family that loved us, a roof over our heads, clothes to wear and good food to eat.  My parents were both hard workers and did all they could to provide for us and keep us safe.  I always felt safe and loved.  They tithed even though I know it must have been hard sometimes.  Our aunt lived with us and she didn’t make a lot of money, but I heard her and my mother talking about tithing and my aunt believed it was so important that I am sure she did without some things to be obedient to God. 

  I guess what I am trying to express is that tithing is Biblical, it is necessary, it does a person good, and no matter what you think, you can never outgive God.  He will provide for you. 

  Now we go to a Southern Baptist church(yes,we have tried many denominations) and we tithed gladly.  It is the first check I write every month and we don’t miss it one bit.  Try tithing and see what happens. God will bless you in more ways than you will ever know. 

  Here’s to tithing and being faithful.  Bye.


Busy Weekend Ahead

Whew, do you ever wonder where the days go?  I get up and before I turn around it is time to  go to bed.  I’ve been trying to stay up later, but by ten o’clock I am tucked in with a good book and nodding off by eleven.  I thought it was nine o’clock when I got up this morning although as I came down the stairs I thought it was awfully dark for nine.  When I saw the clock on the stove, it was just seven.  I decided I was not going to go back to bed because David and I had plans for the morning.

  When David got up we went to IHOP for brunch where I got an omelet and spinach and cheese melt, yum,  and then went shopping for gardening things.  I got a new potato fork. Whoopie!!  I won’t be digging any potatoes with it, but will use it to turn the compost pile.  I’ve been wanting one for a while.  Better than any jewelry.  We looked for some new food for the dogs.  Suddenly they are both turning up their doggie noses at the food they have been eating for years.  Maybe it’s because I have spoiled them with treats and scraps in their food and when they get it plain, they don’t like it.

  I got some pink phlox and hamburger at Jay C.  How’s that for diversity?

  Then on to Rural King.  One of my favorite stores.  I’d rather go there than any department store.  Had to check on the baby chicks even though I won’t be getting any more for a while.  The Austrolops are so pretty.  There were some chicks with little white bottoms.  I don’t know what kind they were, but they were so cute.  Wonder if they keep their white bottom into adulthood?  They would be easy to see for a predator, I would think with their shiny bottoms gleaming

   We got some basil and thyme plants, a magnolia tree and fifty bags of mulch.  Let the mulching begin.  Will probably put down a hundred or so bags before we are done.

 I love Spring and getting ready to garden.  I have tomato plants growing and will plant cucumbers and pumpkins and garlic.  That’s about it.  Seed is so expensive anymore you can almost buy the food for what the seed costs.  Last year after all the time, money and work, I only got two quarts of green beans from the garden so I am definitely not planting green beans this year.  David says I am a hoarder because every time we go to the grocery I buy several cans of green beans.  I like having plenty on hand and eat a lot of them myself.  I can buy almost thirty cans of green beans for what a pound of green bean seeds would cost me.

  I am reading a really good book right now.  One I probably wouldn’t have chosen on my own, but I read about it on a blog I read and they are doing a discussion group on it.  I ordered it for my Kindle and I can hardly put it down. It is about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a theologian during the second world war who was one of the men who tried to assassinate Adolph Hitler.  He led such an interesting life and lived out his faith during the war.  He was held in prison and eventually murdered, but he also wrote many letters to his fiancée and there is a book of those I would like to read next. Not a book I would have looked at and said “Hey, I need to read that,” but I am glad it was brought to my attention.

  David and I are going to our first auction this weekend.  We haven’t been to one for a couple of years and have really missed it so we made a promise to ourselves we would get to one or two this year.  We use to go about every weekend, but how many antiques and bric a brac can two people have?  We should open an antique store ourselves.  But we never get rid of anything.  I am not a hoarder, I promise.  You can walk through my house and I have room to store things.  I just really should not buy anything else.  We shall see what happens when the bidding begins!

  Hope all will be well with you this weekend.  Bye.

Lunch Boxes and Other Things

I was in elementary school in the latter part of the fifties and early sixties.  While we had a cafeteria at school that served wonderful, delicious meals, think cinnamon rolls and homemade mashed potatoes, sometimes I took my lunch to school.

It was always the same thing. Bologna sandwich, potato chips, maybe a banana or apple and a cookie.  Mom always had homemade cookies in the cookie jar.  I would buy a little carton of chocolate milk in the cafeteria.  Our cafeteria always smelled so good.  Most of the cooks were mothers of students in the school and they were very good cooks, let me tell you.

I took my lunch in this lunch box.


It was metal with a pull off lid and handles on the side.  I saw one just like it somewhere and it was called an antique.  I think my brothers and sister may have used the same lunch box.


It still has the tape on it that I wrote my name on so everyone would know whose lunch box it was.


Years later, my mother used it for something else.



For years my mother kept crayons in it and my children used the crayons when they visited.  I would be willing to bet there are still a few crayons in here that I used as a child.  Our family never gets rid of anything.  I will pass this on to my children one day.



This is a lunch box that belonged to my husband’s grandfather.  It was probably carried in the late 1800’s or early in the twentieth century.



It has it’s own built in cup.


Hot water could be put in here to keep food warm or ice to keep food cold.


A nice wooden handle to carry it.

Through the years lunch boxes have changed.  In the seventies and eighties my children carried popular characters of the times lunch boxes.


Both my boys had super hero lunch boxes.  I only have one of them as the other got all rusted and I threw it away.  Wish I hadn’t


I do have both thermoses.


They are both the same.




My daughter carried a Strawberry Shortcake lunch box.  She had Strawberry Shortcake everything.  Strawberry Shortcake sheets, pajamas, pillows and most, if not all the Strawberry Shortcake dolls that came out at that time.  I will have to show them to you. I still have their boxes and everything.

Getting away from lunch boxes, my garden is finally coming to life.  Daffodils, rhubarb and forsythia is coming out and up and all the perennials are peeking out of the ground.




Sometimes it seems that the plants will never come up again and then the miracle happens and life is renewed.  I can’t wait to make a rhubarb pie from this plant.


The chickens are thriving and have adjusted to the big house.  I put them outside in their pen where they can scratch around and they love it.  In a few months I should be getting some eggs.  I can’t wait.  This is Dorcas, or is it Beatrice?  I never can tell those two apart.  She is quite a little ham isn’t she?

Hope the sun is shining wherever you are.   Bye.




















Two Ladies

Not much today.  I just wanted to say good-bye to two ladies who affected my life in different ways.

Annette Funicello.  I remember coming home from school and watching the Mickey Mouse Club before supper.  It was in black and white, of course, but it was still magical.  I wanted to be a mouseketeer, especially one like Annette. She was so pretty and so charming and always acted so sweet even after she became an adult.  My brothers liked Annette, but for different reasons.  Anyway, I watched her in all the beach blanket movies where she was the only one to wear a bathing suit while all the other girls wore bikinis.  Frankie Avalon(sigh) was always her love interest.  They remained friends throughout their lives.

In later years Annette got MS and wrote about it in her book “When You Wish Upon A Star.”  She lived a life of dignity and style even then as she fought this terrible disease.  I saw her in a made for television movie when she appeared in a wheelchair, but, you know, she was still beautiful and captivating as always.  While many of the mouseketeers had problems in their lives, Annette always took the high road.  She was definitely part of my childhood and she will be missed.  God bless you Annette.  I know you are dancing in Heaven now.


Lady Margaret Thatcher.   She was a big influence on me on how I looked at the world.  She was a strong leader and she really saved England.  She was a good friend of Ronald Reagan, who was and will always be my all time favorite president.  The world just seemed right with those two in control.    I became a conservative during this time and have remained so since then.  We need another Margaret Thatcher as we need another Ronald Reagan.  They broke the mold when those two were born, I’m afraid.

In later years Margaret Thatcher was vilified by many for standing up for what she believed was right.  A movie was made about her starring Meryl Streep which did not put her in a good light which was intended, I’m afraid.  Even then, she is still looked up to by millions and today she is being lauded and praised for the way she led England in the eighties.  God bless you, Mrs. Thatcher. I’d love to hear what God says to you.

Today we lost two great ladies.  Bye.

Bunnies, Chicks and Little Boys

   A week of April gone already.  I wish these Spring months would last  longer.  Why is April a short month when it is one of the prettiest of the year? 









Easter came early this year.  We had three of our grandsons all weekend.  This is the quietest they were the whole time. Notice the smiles?!!?? Put a boy in front of a camera and you never know what will happen.



Took them to our church’s Easter egg hunt where they made crafts, ate lunch and hunted hundreds of eggs.


Four handsome men ready to go to church.


Been working on a couple of quilts.  Cutting hundreds of squares for ninety blocks.  I really enjoy the process.  Now that it is getting warm out I am spending more time outside and not in my shop.  I miss my shop when I am outside and when I am in my shop I think what I should be doing outside in the yard and garden.


David took the cover off the pool.  Right now it looks like a dirty, muddy river.  Hard to believe in a few weeks it will be pristine, sparkling water again.


Hard to believe this vast wasteland will be full of flowers and green grass again.  Looks pretty barren right now, doesn’t it?  I always think this is the ugliest time in the garden just before all the perrenials come up and brighten the landscape again.  Season follows season and it never changes.  Warm weather will come with scudding white clouds and bright blue skies and warm, balmy breezes.  I know I am probably one of very few who thinks winter went too fast this year.  I was actually glad we had one more real snow before winter bid adieu. I kind of like it when you can’t go out and can stay inside and drink hot chocolate and watch movies on television.  When it is warm, I want to be outside as much as possible.  My tomatoes will be ready to plant in a few weeks and then the rest of the garden and there will be no rest keeping the garden watered and free of weeds. Well,  I try anyway.  About July I loose all interest in weeding when it’s ninety degrees outside and the weeds are growing faster than the vegetables. I tell the vegetables to fend for themselves and go into the air conditioning.


Meanwhile the chicks are growing bigger every day.  I can hand feed them now and they come running when I call them.  Soon we will take them outside in their pen where they can scratch for bugs and worms in the warm earth.  They are going to love it.  The pen is getting rather cramped for them as they grow bigger and bigger.  Sorry for the poop in the picture, but I just look at it as good fertilizer.  Do you know chicken poop is high in nitrogen and is good for the garden?  You have to let it “ripen” for a while before you put it on any plants as it will burn them otherwise.  I have a compost pile I will put it on until it is ready to use.  Chickens really are the perfect pet and animal.  They demand very little attention, eat bugs, lay eggs, aerate the ground, provide fertilizer and, if you would do so, provide fried chicken for the table.  My chickens are not getting eaten, but will be egg layers.  Fresh eggs have yellower yolks, taste better than store bought eggs and you know they are fresh when you gather them every day.  Anyone could keep a couple in a pen in their garage with very little trouble and you could have fresh eggs every day.  It’s a win-win situation.

Hope you are enjoying Spring and all it has to offer. Bye