Monday, April 30, 2007
Julie of Another Chance Ranch is hosting today's Fun Monday and challenging us all to post "Your best spy camera photo and story about the photo." You can pop over there to join the fun.
Peek with me through one of the knotholes in our fence. This is our neighbors German Shepherd and she does NOT LIKE ME. What's more, she does NOT LIKE THE HUBBY.
And you know what else?.
She does NOT LIKE THE NEIGHBORS that live behind her or on the other side either. In addition, she scares Bill across the street. I hope you appreciate my bold stealth in sneaking my camera up to the hole for this quick spy shot.
I enchant most dogs. It must have something to do with their noses. I'm always getting sniffed and licked and that old jump on the leg problem that I've mentioned in a previous post.
But not her. Nope. She growls when I work in the flowerbed or change my bird feeders. If we are on our patio in conversation, she puts her unwanted opinion in by barking very loudly. Our other neighbors have barbecue pool parties that keep her yipping until she is hoarse, and yet she barks on. Unless the owners are home, whereas they take her in the house.
She belonged to their daughter in another town and the dog did NOT LIKE HER BOYFRIEND. So, they took the dog in to spare her from the animal shelter. They owned two labs at the time and those dogs loved me. I fed them biscuits through the knotholes in the fence.
Personally, I suspect that someone brutalized the dog prior to her adoption. Probably someone on the other side of a fence. . . . . . .
The neighbors are very kind to her and she seems content with their affection.
I'm content with the fence.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
every day - but I'm lucky to get set up once a week.
It is time to pitch all my brushes and get new ones.
There is a point at which they no longer hold the "juice" (as I call it) and the smooth texture is unattainable.
My "To Do" list includes doing a painting that is
reasonably well done of each of my beautiful grandchildren.
Jammin' is f.i.n.a.l.l.y complete and "At the Framers!"
There is a framing shop in town that employs a wonderfully gifted sculpting artist who does the framing. She shares my taste in frame choices. I could hand per a painting and say "Frame it" and trust her to choose the perfect fit. However, I don't put her under that much pressure. I pick it.
Yesterday, while chatting with her, I confessed that there were at least six Jammin' s at home. Some half done, a few complete. Something wrong with each.
"You know Pamela," she smiled so soothingly, "there is an artist we work with who paints commissioned watercolor portraits. She told me that she is on her eighth attempt of the same picture."
I feel much better now.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Hey, it could happen
You know what she did. YUP! She nominated me.
Thank you Blonde Blogger!
Alright! Enough snickering in the balcony.
Shortly after that I received an Email from The Arkansas Songbird to let me know that
Then yesterday ----
There was a box from Plow and Hearth on the doorstep when I got home Wednesday evening from work. It was addressed to me. I haven't placed any Internet orders recently so I was very suspicious.
I was alone and there wasn't anyone there to stop me from opening it. So, I did!
Vicki at Catching Light sent it to me just because!!!
She knows how much I enjoy the hummingbirds and all the other birds that visit our backyard.
1 Part Sugar, 4 Parts Water.
I know the recipe very well.
If you walk out on to my patio in the morning and hear something humming -- it could be that little Caliope hummer checking out the fancy new dish.
Or ---maybe I'm warming up to sing along with my new CD and book that should be in the mailbox very soon.
Or---- it could be the Hottest Mama Blogger practicing her acceptance speech. Giggle.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
The White-crowned Sparrow has arrived this week. They are migrating north, so they are only resting, feasting, and entertaining me. Several Cassin's Finch have joined in the fray. I saw a hummingbird on Sunday, probably a Caliope. A pair of Quail, maybe the same ones as last year, have returned to the neighborhood.
The sounds of tires in gravel woke me before the birds were ever singing. I climbed out of bed and peered out the windows to see if someone was stealing our car. After much squinting, I finally realized it was my stomach growling. What?? Do I have a gizzard full of gravel grinding my food down there, like my bird friends?
Yesterday, I was laughing about Sheryl Crow's announcement that to protect the environment we should all use only 1 square of toilet tissue when we visit the room. It brought to mind A story that my dad told me when I was very small. There was a stingy old fellow that wouldn't purchase such niceties because of the cost. Instead, he gathered smooth stones for the job. I should share that with Ms. Crow and put a whole new spin on her career as a ROCK STAR. WhooHoo.
Monday, April 23, 2007
Robin over at Pensieve is hosting this weeks Fun Monday.
She chose "bad hair" as her topic - knowing that
"Bloggers are notorious exhibitionists."
The truth is I have a bad hair day every day
now that I am gray. I see some beautiful silver
and slate tresses out there, including those belonging to my sisters. Unfortunately, my hair is salt and pepper and pipe cleaner.
As generations choose their new hairstyles, they are guaranteeing that they will look at their old photographs many years down the road and wonder, "What were we thinking?"
My generation thought "big hair" and "ratting" was quite the thing. That was before the politically correct term of "teasing" even made it to town.
My favorite memory is of a
That's when a gift arrived from somewhere high in the sky. With no warning, a big bird blob of poop fell directly on the top of her style. The gooey mess made sudden impact with little initial damage because she was hair-sprayed stiff as a chain-link fence. However, as she walked, there was a slow slicing and dicing down through the tangled layers towards her scalp. Its cold tickle must have registered in her brain and she began to shake her head, flail her arms, and scream "H.E.LP, H.E.L.P" to her walking partner.
Perhaps I should have yelled "Bombs Away," or said something equally as clever a bit earlier, to make her aware that she'd been splatted. Unfortunately, I was
Hope you enjoy my big hair, and check out the rest of the participants locks as well.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Thursday we went for a walk in the evening.
We met a friend riding his antique bike.
White bleeding heart. Basket of Gold.
Lavender Phlox. White Birch.
Dandelion. I love dandelions.
As a child I picked them for necklaces or held them under a friends chin to see if she "liked butter."
The weather has been unseasonable cool, which has
been wonderful for the spring flowers. The tulips and daffodils have been blooming for over a month.
Every photograph was taken Thursday within four blocks either direction from our house.
There are at least four separate creeks/streams running through our neighborhood. The one with the split rail fence reflecting in the water is in the yard of the house directly behind us. That is where Karmyn performed her Polliwog hunts.
This is Yellowhawk, where Amanda and Jennifer met their friends many wet socks, shorts, and T-shirts ago. This beautiful creek babbles on its way and through the middle of the High School campus.
The spy action is for Vicky. A young lady was lounging above the creek waiting. Her friend was coming down the road and may have seen me snap it
There are so many trees that blossom in pink. The first one appears to be some kind of flowering cherry.
Dogwood is pink, too. However, this dog would be chocolate. Zoe is a lab.
Someone loves Ivy. These massive trees are covered with the questionable vines.
At the end of our street there are two open pastures.
One has a stable and two horses that love apples and carrots.
The other field grows grass around an old tractor that never moves. In the summer, cows are brought in that rub up against the tires and eye us curiously across the fence.
Bet you don't know in which yard
the fireman lives.
It's a good thing we got back in time for our regular Thursday visit from the Schwans Man. However, if you are observant you will notice she's a lady!
Friday, April 20, 2007
I couldn't identify the raptor - so I sent the photo by E-mail to my Audubon friend.
He and his wife happily informed us that it is a Swainson's Hawk. This bird winters in Argentina and, after one of the longest migrations of all hawks, summers in the central and northwest United States and Canada.
Apparently there are several mating pairs that are nesting in our valley. This one must have stopped to rest during his search for a meal.
This hawk is endangered because of loss of habitat in the United States, and because of DDT usage in South America. I read that the population had decreased by 90% in Central California alone.
What a coincidence to see an article in the local AGRI-TIMES today pointing to Wind Farms as another serious problem for the low flying hawks. My Audubon contact said "The blades turn at over 100 miles per hour" and that the "hawks get confused" and think they can fly through them. The good news is that some Wind companies are monitoring and studying ways to minimize bird and bat kills.
Isn't that just Murphy's Law? We find a clean source of energy, then fear that it may be lethal to the feathered friends. The noise generated by the turbines may also disturb the ground nesting birds. (see the Killdeer in an earlier post.)
Wind Farms silhouette the hilltops around my valley. I pray that my hawk stays close in and rears a healthy brood.
I'm will watch for him/her through the remaining spring and summer.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Here are the rules:
I will start with a question/phrase. The First person to comment must answer this question and then pose a new question of his/her own. The next commenter must answer that question, and then ask a new question... and on and on and on. I'm so excited to hear from you all.
My only request is that all questions and answers be rated at least PG (my friends and family read my blog, too.)
Here is the question for the first commenter:
If I could compete on one Game show on Television it would be ................
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Part 1 of my father's short journal told about the depression and his experiences in California. Part 2 narrated a satisfying 5 weeks living off the fat of the land on a self sufficient farm in Southern Oregon. Befriended by a Hop grower in Part 3, he was hired as a chauffer and then offered a job in the hop fields. Dad described his first impression of life on in a Hop Yard in Part 4. His high hopes of continuing the easy chauffeur type duties were doused by a hard dose of manual labor. The teasing by his fellow crew members and the young Russian beauties are not mentioned again. I think this says much about his discretion; Dad didn't kiss and tell. So, on to a part 5, where he describes a Hop Yard in the 1930's with boring detail. Unless, of course, you want to know how to grow hops for your own micro-brewery.
A brief description will give one an idea of the appearance and operation of a hop yard.
Hops are perennial plants which grow a new vine every season. The leaves are shaped something like grape leaves. The growth is rapid and luxurious. The vines and stems are covered with a rough, hairy growth. This helps them to cling to the strings and trellis work. It also helps them to scratch unmercifully. The hops are checked or squared in hills about seven and half or eight feet apart. In every third or fourth row heavy poles, twelve or sixteen feet high, were set in with Double-Q wire fastened to them at their tops. The wire is stretched tightly and the poles are anchored securely. These are known as line wires. In the opposite direction, heavy “string” wires are placed over every row of hops and fastened with removable hooks to every line wire. The string wires are also securely anchored to posts and the ground at each end. This trelliswork is maintained permanently.
At every hill a wooden peg is driven, to which is tied one end of a cotton or a composition cord. The other end is tied to the string wire above. The growing hops climb these cords to the trellis above. While they are growing they have to be cultivated, “grubbed”, treated for disease, and have their crowns pruned. Then follows training, re-training, turning down, stripping, and spraying. There is plenty to do and most of it is hard labor.
Came the middle of May. Baby hops were all planted, about 110,000 of them. The crew had been greatly enlarged for the training of the young vines which were sprouting from the old bearing crowns. This was a tedious kind of work at which the women seemed to excel. In fact, women do most of the work except cultivation with teams and tractors. In training, one squats to his toes or kneels down on the ground. The choice of position varies with the worker. The trainers cut or pull out all but four good vines in every hill. The vines are then twisted around the twine which has been attached to the wooden peg and the trellis wire above. A peculiar thing about hops is that they twist counter-clockwise around the twine, instead of clockwise, as most beans and other climbing vines do,
Most hope yard crews consist mainly of young men and women, although every age is represented from adolescent to grandma and grandpa. Consequently, romance was always with us, either mildly flirtatious or deeply serious. The love-making was rough and ready, open and above board, with no such prudery as I had seen in my own Middle Western State. But morals were as good or better than existed in my native community. Young people in a hop yard seem to have a frank and mutual understanding of one another.
June rolled around. I must have liked my job for the time hurried along with unbelievable speed. First and second training was over. The young and vigorous vines were ten to fourteen feet long and were above the string wires, ready for turning down. This job was done from a training sled about eight feet high, drawn by one horse. The worker took the ends of the vines and twisted them around the strins (sic) wires, causing them to grow horizontally, instead of the natural vertical way. Only five or six worked at this job. The rest picked off diseased plants called snake heads and downy mildew.
Spraying was also started at this time. Putman’s son came home from college and took command as general foreman. I was put on the spraying crew as a nozzle man and was also made responsible for the engine and pumps. This gave me a raise in pay.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Ice Cream Mama is hosting today's Fun Monday.
She loves "the television show Inside the Actor’s Studio. The show has three parts. The first part consists of a one on one interview in front of a live audience (so much better than a dead one). The final part is a Q & A with audience members asking the questions."
The second part is her favorite ad is also this week's Fun Monday Challenge.
So - here are the questions she posed. And, my answers!
What is your favorite word?
“Grandma…” followed by any little sweet voice telling me something very important.
What is your least favorite word?
What turns you on (creatively, spiritually or emotionally)?
I don’t know. If I did, I could change many things in my life.
What turns you off?
What is your favorite curse word?
Crap. It can be used as a noun, verb, adjective and adverb. It might even be a dangling participle.
What sound or noise do you love?
The haunting whistle of a train traveling up the valley. Especially in the middle of the night, while I am warm and snug under my comforter.
What sound or noise do you hate?
The incessant clicking of a ballpoint pen in a meeting by some nervous twit.
S.C.R.E.A.M…… Gimmme that pen!!!
What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?
Philanthropist. I guess that really is not a profession, but I’d still like to be one.
What profession would you not like to attempt?
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“ I’m glad you didn’t say IF, Pamela.”
For more answers check out the list of other participants of Fun Monday #13.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
We spotted these two Killdeer chicks and I HAD to run and get my camera. I had no idea they would be running around on April 13. Early Hatch?
Mommy Killdeer let out some sweet (but loud) "killdeeee, killdeee" calls.
They listened to her call and followed her lead to move
away from me
And when I tried to catch up with them she hid them beneath her wings.
Psalm 91:4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.
Today is The Blogging Chicks Carnival #36!!! Hurray, there is no theme.
Please read my post Big Girls Don't Cry and then head on over to the Carnival and see who else is enjoying the fun.
Or, you can always go file your taxes.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
I love Anona. That isn’t what we call her, but you can call her that. Although she is somewhere in her 7th decade, she is also a newlywed of one year. A blushing bride again after many years widowed.
She reminds me of the Fairy God Mother in Cinderella, from her sweet rosy cheeks, right down to the pixie dust that sparkles over everyone that she encounters.
Anona affects laughter from the people that surround her. Not by purpose, but through humorous misfortune, misspeak, or misstep. For instance, one Saturday she met with some other women at a local coffee shop and proceeded to order a crappuccino.
There are many other “Only Anona’s”, but my favorite story was told by her late sister, Alta.
The sisters traveled together to
While Anona was in the restroom doing her business, one particular song found its way back to her lips. She began tapping her foot and singing right out,
“Big girls don’t cry, Big girls don’t cry
Big girls don’t cry-yi-yi (they don’t cry)
Big girls don’t cry (who said they don’t cry?)
A deep masculine snicker in the next stall interrupted her. That’s when she noticed a shoe hooked to a mans leg under the partition next to her.
“What is that man doing in the women’s restroom,” she thought indignantly.
Finishing up as quickly as possible, she unlatched the door only to encounter a second man in the ladies room.
“Oh dear, Oh dear,” she gasped and did a running pass at the sink and escaped. She heard the laughter ripping from the two men as the door slowly closed. She glanced back and grimaced when she saw the “MEN” sign on the door.
After dashing to the car, she was more than anxious to get back on the road. She sat uncharacteristically silent for the first 10 miles. Finally, with some distance between her and the scene of humiliation, she spilled her story.
“I’m so embarrassed, let’s never talk about it ever again,” she begged Alta, who would have doubled over and fallen out the car had she not been buckled in. Nevertheless, the remainder of the trip was interjected with quivering lips and full out guffaws. They were beginning to feel guilty that they could express such amusement while voyaging to a sad farewell gathering.
“We’ve got to get our minds on something else entirely,” Anona expressed with firm resolve.
They arrived at the memorial service to join other bereaved family members at the front of the church. While more attendees continued to find seats, music specially chosen by the deceased mans sons played over the church sound system: Golden Oldies.
Anona’s eyes reflected sorrow laced with apprehension when Frankie Vali and the Four Seasons began to play. You know those early sixties favorites “Sherry” and “Walk Like a Man.”
Then it happened. She turned abruptly and stared into her sister’s shocked face as “Big Girls don’t Cry” began to flow from the speakers and echo across the pews.
Anona and Alta plunged into each other’s arms, their bodies began shuddering, and their muffled laughter masqueraded as sobs from their shoulder crushed faces. The actions were repeated through out the service. They held on – just barely.
I’m sure that as time passed the truth about that afternoon was shared with family.
But, at that very moment in time, Anona didn’t want anyone else to know that:
Big girls don’t cry-yi-yi (they don’t cry)
Big girls don’t cry (that’s just an alibi)
Thursday, April 12, 2007
In my previous post, I shared my accidental use of Vanilla flavored Soy Milk in Cheese sauce. Some of you laughed with me. Others were curious, and I felt obliged to satisfy them. The queries and my responses:
How did it turn out?
Like vanilla flavored cheesy pasta, Little Miss Moi. People eat pineapple on pizza; it really is not that different.
Did it taste bad?
It is an acquired taste. I haven’t acquired it yet. There was some memory of the first time I sampled beer. Bleeech, and then belch on it for a few hours.
Were there curdles involved?
Oh no, you didn’t?
No, Animal Mind Matt. I didn’t. ME2 did it. (Did not. Did too. Did not. Did too. Did not. Did too.Did not. Did too. Did not. Did too.Did not. Did too.)
What is cheese sauce?
It is what you make first. Then you make reservations to go out for dinner. Thanks, Swampy, for the reminder by E-mail that sometimes the back up plan is the best.
Scary, did you really do this?
Yes, Barngoddess,. Scary! However, it could be worse. I could have been cooking naked and started a fire and had to be rescued through an upstairs window by a fireman and his ladder. Scary for the fireman, I mean.
There have been many ruined recipes in my kitchen over the years, because I didn’t read the recipe or check the label. It is an inherited gene from my Grandmother Grace. At least I didn’t eat dog food, which was one of her famous Goofys.
My most common mistake involves salt. I either forget to put it in, or forget that I already measured it and added. That is what I did to Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls.
It is odd that no one asked me if we ate it. Time’s up.
Thank you to all your positive reinforcement and encouragement. I promise that when you come to town and want to get together for dinner, we'll go to Applebees.
So, let’s hear some of your best recipe flops!
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Monday, April 09, 2007
People who survived the depression lived by the motto, "Use it up, wear it out; Make it do, or do without."
When our children were growing, we did not adhere to the philosophy. With two full time working parents, our household took the convenient route more often. The girls had school and extra curricular activities and so did we. We didn't include recycling.
Now that the hubby and I are older and wiser, (I'm mostly older) we are more aware of the things we use.
Earlier this year, Swamptwitch and Robin began a recycling challenge for 2007 (S.P.E.A.R. Challenge 2007) that I am revisiting; Swampy introduced it on her post Talkin' Trash.
Robins entry can be found at Me -Talk- Dirty- One- Day.
This month, D (Kelly's home schooled daughter at Pass The Torch) is writing guest posts about Save The Earth Saturday. Last week she wrote about recycling.
She studied diligently and lists "need to know" facts about trash. I invite you to click over there and chime in.
I rejoiced this winter when our street was offered curbside recycling and many of our neighbors signed up.
I love it. No more messy boxes sitting in the garage waiting for someone to throw them into the back of the pick-up and haul away.
I now look on the bottom of food containers before purchase to see if our service will accept them in the green curb box.
We also compost. It begins in a small compost crock by my kitchen sink.
Kitchen Compost Crock at Giaim
Last year our thimble-size vegetable garden was fertilized from our home brew. The one butternut squash plant grew like a mutant from a B horror movie. It climbed the viburnum bush and opened its yellow blooms at the top and peaked into the neighbor's yard.
It was strange to see the squash hanging from the branches.
We hope to create a cane or bamboo disguise
for our black compost bins. They were well
hidden until we had to tear up our yard in 2006 to replace the $eptic drain field. (That wa$n't
Over the past ten years, we switched to
wildlife friendly products on our lawn to help it stay green. We are pleasantly surprised that the
aphids are controlled by the local sparrow population. Robins, Flickers, and other birds
find in our yard an insecticide free food source for their chicks.
We leave the majority of our flower beds
in tact through the winter to provide seeds, fruit, and
shelter for the wildlife that remains through the winter.
There are so many little things we can all do to make our little corner of the world a better place.
The Creator said the earth was "Good" and appointed us stewards of His beautiful work. Let us all do our part to treat it well.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made and forgot to put a soul into.
Henry Ward Beecher
I don't think God forgot it - I think he meant for flowers to be an extension of yours and mine. Flowers restore my weary soul.
I hope that while so many people are out smelling the flowers, someone is taking the time to plant some.
Tulip bulbs can be buried in autumn and forgotten through the winter. Yet they listen for natures voice to speak the true Easter Message: come out of the grave, look to heaven, and bloom with joy.
Nobody sees a flower — really — it is so small it takes time — we haven't time — and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.
The Flowering Quince requires one to stop and look closely to see
the intricate and delicate blossoms. It grows surrounded by thorns - but
the end result is a rare fruit, like a true friendship.
A bit of fragrance clings to the hand that gives flowers.
I love our Vibernum. It blooms longer if our spring weather stays cool and the sun lingers behind the promise of rain. The fragrance is soft and seductive. If I could weave it into a blanket, each of you would be wrapped in an intoxicating spell.
A Cat is a Lion in a jungle of small bushes.
The Contessa loves to prowl the flower beds with us.
Here, she is sampling the ornamental grasses; however the picture depicts a Lioness in mid roar. Or maybe she is just laughing her socks off. Like owner, like cat!