Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Trip to Kentucky Motor Speedway

Pop and his eldest daughter,Rhonda, are really big fans of Nascar Racing.Pop was a race car driver when he was young, around the time Rhonda was born.She grew up with her Dad going to and from every racetrack possible,no matter how far away they might be.She has it in her blood now,as bad as her father. Rhonda is presently unemployed,mostly by choice,with the exception of a few days of substitute teaching now and then.That makes it possible for Pop and her to spend a little more time together.I never go with them on the race trips, but Rhonda's husband has taken up quite a bit of interest in it, so he goes with them nowadays.He really gets into the camping part of the trips, I think, more than the race itself. He is a heating and cooling man, so he is as handy as a pocket on a shirt,in that department. He has all of the knowledge and equipment needed to construct anything they could possibly need to make camping more enjoyable,and he does a great job of that.He has constructed an oven to bake whatever needed for the meals while on their camping trips.He contructed Rhonda her own private porta-potty.He rigged up air conditioning for her tent.I don't think there is much they could possibly need, that he couldn't come up with.He is a genius when it comes to finding something to meet their needs under most circumstances.

Well, today,Rhonda's husband,Marc, had a Marathon to run in Louisville,Kentucky, so he was not able to make the trip to Kentucky Motor Speedway with them. Guess who got to take his place. Right! Lucky Me!
As I said, I am not into the racing thing. I'd rather been at home in the yard working with my flowers,but being the good wife that I am, I went along. It was a cold windy day today, so we shivered the entire time we were there,but I got to see a lot of what they normally see when they are there.With the exception of the ten thousand people.They said that alone was a sight to behold.Today was Ford Fan Day.We got to see some of the new Fords and lots of the past Ford models. It was interesting,even though it wasn't exactly my 'cup of tea'.After the tour of the Speedway, they drove around the country,showing me the campsite where they had camped out, and the surrounding sites. One place of interest,close by, was the Belterra Casino Resort.Since we were site seeing, they thought that would be a great place to show me. I have no plans of ever attending, but it was a fascinating place to see, even though we only drove past the place.

All in all, it was an interesting day,although a bit tiring for two older folks like ourselves. I think even Rhonda was glad to get back home.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Little Gardens

It seems my little make shift gardens are paying off. Pop thinks I'm foolish for wanting my little containers all around the yard,filled with potting soil and such, when we live on 20 acres (now).We originally had 5 acres, for 30 plus years.He sees no sense in having a garden other than in the ground. As we all know(well,maybe not Pop)things change. The seasons, the climate,etc. Things that we have no control over.When my little gardens need water, I can water them without stressing the well,during dry times.No wasted run off.When they need nutrition, I can give them a few handfuls of compost.If they need harvesting, I can harvest the produce without breaking my back.There are so many advantages to having raised beds, regardless of what form they may take.Maybe these nice veggies will help him to change his mind a bit, when we have them with our evening meal of brown beans and cornbread.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Bowl of Cherries

"If life is a bowl of cherries, what am I doing in the pits?"
by Erma Bombeck

           I thought I'd do a little research on A Bowl of Cherries, since I have been making these for awhile, but had no hard fast plan for using them.I had heard a phrase using "a bowl of cherries" but could not recall it today. Well, as you can see, it was Erma Bombeck. I may even have her book, but doubt that I have ever read it.

Lately, I have found that I love working with wax. Not so much in making candle, but in making faux food items.I am so pleased with these pretty cherries, but what I will do with them is still a mystery to me.I think  the cherries have peaked my desire to make other things. I can hardly wait to see what all I can make using wax. I have already made a few faux cookies, candies, and baked goods.Now I am into fruit. I will work with that idea for awhile and see what develops.Making the common candle doesn't interest me that much,but this project could have many possibilities.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Planning a New Day

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.
E. B. White

Just another verse that caught my eye,while working with my quotes today.It's still really cold outside, so I decided to take advantage of it, and plan my day around the weather.I will simply work on some small projects indoors. I pulled out a few, but could not settle in on which to do first.I am still accumulating the many ideas for filling my little gift bags. I am trying to stay the course on that plan.That in itself is a real feat for me.I spent a small portion of the day, typing up more of the little quotes.

 I used a similar idea, back a few years ago when I was crocheting my tiny little baskets. They were in white thread, with a pink ribbon laced through the handle,a tiny pink rose glued to the side, and a friendship related verse,typed and matted, and tied to the handle.Not being a salesperson, I ended up giving them all away to friends. This little sample made it through the house fire of 07, so it's not in the greatest shape, but you can see how I used the quotes here.The quotes I am making at present, can be used in any similar manner.
That was Sunday, so today I have started on a few different projects. I have so many.The one project I hope  to complete soon is a face board for my bathroom shelves.I like the open shelf, but it makes the bathroom look so cluttered with all of the bottles of cleaners,etc. exposed.I added the little white shelf this past year and it was a welcome addition. More usable storage space.
Now I want to enclose it some myself,of course,something simple and pretty.I was working on a wall hanging sign here lately, and that gave me a idea for the door for the shelf.The letters on the sign were done freehand, so they are not as straight as my next one will be,I hope, but I love the finished project.That's how I'd like to fix my door for my shelf.We'll see how that idea turns out in a day or two.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Which one are you?

"Somebody has said there are only two kinds of people in the world. There are those who wake up in the morning and say, "Good morning, Lord," and there are those who wake up in the morning and say, "Good Lord, it's morning."

This passage came to me in an email this morning, and I felt it would fit nicely in my post for today.

I jump out of bed most mornings, before Pop , but feel I must be as quiet as humanly possible, as not to awaken him. I usually occupy myself with small projects during that time.That is never hard for me to do. There are so many things I love to do,I awaken daily with something on my mind that I am eager to get started. I'll tend to push small projects aside, thinking I don't have time for that tiny, sit down project right then.I'll do it later.I have always thought it might be my nerves that won't allow me to sit and do these small projects, only when I am forced to sit quietly.Like in this case or waiting in a doctor's office,or in a restaurant,etc. I can't sit idle.I feel I must be moving at all times.Well, most of the time. There are a few times when,I am comfortable, just sitting and doing nothing,but those moments are few.I notice the quiet,at ease moments in my life come more when I am with my immediate family,namely my Mother and my sisters,but even then,at times,I have trouble relaxing.Go figure!

The two little projects, pictured above,kept me occupied this morning. I hate to discard anything. I found a small piece of patchwork fabric someone had assembled,most likely in a bag of scraps,donated by friends or family, that I dearly love.It caught my eye immediately. The colors especially. The color of anything,will get my attention quickly.This little piece of patchwork was so pretty, I wanted to make something useful with it.You know me.It has to be useful. I had a small pin cushion heart that I made years ago,from someone's dear departed Grandmother's old quilt, that I dearly love, so that's what I decided to make with this piece of patchwork.I had enough for four little hearts. I can hardly wait to get them finished. I hope they please me as much as the patchwork piece of fabric and the original pin cushion.The other quiet time project was cutting strips of an old tee shirt for rug making or hot pads.I have so many clothes, I have been trying desperately to thin things down, and since this tee was not good enough to pass along to the church closet, what better plan to use it up. Pop would have used it as a grease rag, but even that pains me to see him use good fabric for such.He has friends who bring him plenty of rags for that purpose.

I will most likely be spending my day indoors, crafting, since we had an all night,desperately needed slow rain shower.This type of rain shower was truly a blessing. Crops and all were getting really dry,especially for this time of the season,and hopefully, my two newly planted Dogwood trees will surely survive now.

 Have a good day!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Dealing with an aging parent

More and more of my generation are facing the dilemma of dealing with an aging parent.Raising children has to be one of the hardest, if not THE hardest job, a person ever faces.It's a responsibility that shows up in horrific ways, if not done correctly. And who is to say what is correct. There are no manuals,at least none that are turning out to be the right way of raising young.Dr. Spock tried, only to be proven,by many, that his theory was all wrong.No two people are alike,so the same methods of teaching and rearing children may not work in every case.Parents are usually left on their own,when it comes to raising their young.Trial and error, so to speak, in most cases.Some folks are fortunate to raise their children with no problems, and them some of the best seeming parents end up with rebellious out-of-control children, who are not able to blend in and contribute to society in a normal manner.Then who's to blame.The parents for using, what they thought, was the best method of raising children,at the time, or the child who has to deal with the conglomerate of genes that are handed down to them from generations past.A parent must simply do the best they can with the tools and knowledge available to them,at the moment they are confronted with each and every dilemma that arises.

Well, that is what folks of my generation are dealing with now, when it comes to dealing with an aging parent. The problems that arise from day to day, with our parents, are many.No single remedy will work for every case.Parents come with all types of personalities,as do children. What may work for yours, may not work at all for mine.Ideas and notions that have been embedded in their brains and way of thinking for umpteen years are hard to change.And then again, the reasoning powers of the aging person, seems to diminish more quickly than most bodily functions.It's like trying to teach a stubborn,rebellious child,all over again. It is a constant struggle. You feel you know what is best for them at any given moment, but with their failing sense of reasoning, they feel they know best,and are just cognitive enough to know that,THEY ARE STILL THE PARENT, and they don't fail to remind you at every turn.

Whether our parents be in a group home or their own home, it takes a lot of rearranging of the lives of our generation, to care for them.We must do, what we must do, to care for them in their hour of need.As they decline,they will gradually loose the ability to live alone, but until that time, we must do all we can to keep their world, as normal as humanly possible.
Keep them as comfortable as possible.
Keep their daily routine as constant as possible.
Keep a close check on their ability to take their medicines properly.
Keep a close check on their bills and finances, as possible.That in itself, is a real task. They are usually just cognitive enough to know, they don't want you messing with their finances.
Keep check on their meals. In most cases, they forget how to prepare their meals.
Keep close touch with them by phone,if not by visiting.
In many cases, their hearing and eyesight are diminished greatly, making it hard to carry on in a normal manner.
The day will come when they are not able to live alone,so we MUST be prepared to accept that fact.No matter how hard that will be for some. A super head strong parent like my Mother,will make life a living Hell for all who are trying to help, but we must be strong and prepared for the inevitable.It is near.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Labor Free Compost

Ten years or so ago, I invested in one of those pricey compost tumblers similar to the one in the link below.

My Dad was still living at the time, so I had him to help me assemble the monstrosity, since it came unassembled in a huge box.It was not really complicated to assemble, but since Dad was into gardening, too, I knew he would be as fascinated by the project, as I was.Gardeners love compost.Now, looking back, it was more or less something a city gardener would use, more than a country gardener.I am a country gardener.Had Dad lived, it would have been an ideal project for him to work with, living in town and all.He could have put his grass clippings and such in the tumbler along with house refuse and a few other additives, and had a great supply of compost, with only a few minutes of manual turning of the handle each day. Knowing Dad, he would have rigged up a motor for the tumbler.He was into mechanics and motors and such.Dad passed away shortly after we assembled the bin, and I carried it home with me, to have it sit idle,for the most part, for the next ten  years.It was in the dry,for most of the time, so it is still in perfect condition today, especially since I realized, it was much easier and more proctical to let my chickens make my compost for me.
my multi-tasking chickens

We have roughly twenty five chickens, and normally, they are in a totally enclosed pen, to protect them from wild animals.They don't lay as well, when kept up in a pen, but in order to have a garden and flowers, as we do, it's a must.This year,we have been letting them run free,for a spell. We have not put our garden in,as of yet, since the bulldozers working on the new property, have things in a bit of disaray in the garden area.The chickens are having a wonderful time foraging on grass and bugs (and ticks,we think).The tick population has been minimal so far this Spring, and Pop and I,both,normally find several on ourselves at the end of each day.Only one of the drawbacks of the country life.Since the chickens have been running free, we have found hardly any ticks at all, on our bodies.

When the chickens are in their usual pen, we feed them grass clippings from the yard, house scraps, as well as store bought feed and corn.Every now and again,I use the big tractor to dump in a huge front loader bucket full of shredded wood chips, which we get for free, from the local tree trimmers.

The drivers all know I love the chips, so when they are in this area, trimming the right away for the roads and the power lines, they bring me lots of chips. We got and over abundance of them this past years. The driver did not know the area, so it was handy just to dump them all here, rather than look for other sites to dump them. More and more folks are gardening now and using the chips, so I am really fortunate to know some of the drivers personally,and having an occasional glass of iced tea or a soda, and a sandwich ready when they stop by, never hurts, either.

After all the scratching, turning, pooping, and more scratching and turning, the finished product is ready to be used in my garden and flower beds.Now that's what I call Black gold.Jed Clampet can keep his Black Gold,I'll take mine,any day of the week.

This past weekend, I finally found a new home for the tumbler.I may have made some folks mad over giving it away to the step daughter, but after begging someone,anyone, to take it off my hands, for years, I finally found someone who actually came with a trailer and picked it up.I hope they enjoy it.It was an expensive lesson to learn,but I prefer my method of composting.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Thought for the Day

.As I was working with my little tags early this morning, while waiting for Pop to awaken,this one little line struck a chord with me.I get a lot of flack over what I do, but I am not going to get discouraged.I love doing what I do, and it gives me peace and contentment. I love to recycle everything.Most things can be used for another purpose. As I was working with my little tags, I pulled out the garbage can,only to find a sugar bag I had tossed away yesterday,inadvertently. It was lined with brown paper which I use a lot of, and I usually save that,too, but I had accidentally tossed it in the trash
I pulled it out, ironed it, and proceeded to make more little tags.

These little tags can be used on varoius gifts.Whether it be a candle, a bar of soap, a jar of jelly,a gift bag,a plate of cookies,etc.Just a simple little verse to help brighten someone's day.They are so much fun to make and cost nothing at all.

My family all know the things I use, and they all save me lots of usable items to add to my crafting supplies.
The twine was a gift from my sister,Vicki. Thanks,Vicki.While visiting my neice this past week, I picked up a few of the tiny pine cones from her yard. I usually end up buying these same cones for my crafts, but she had oodles in her yard.Thanks, Beverly.

P.S. Beverly , Thanks to you and your husband's family for the wonderful time we had while visiting your home and town.We enjoyed our trip and will surely be visiting again. 

more little tags

Sunday, April 15, 2012

What a Catch!

Pop and two of his first cousins get together every now and then to stock up on our fish supply. This one trip should do us all year. Pop guesstimates they caught around 30 fish. Mostly Catfish,and a few crappie.Many of the catfish were pretty much, the size of the one pictured above.Pop does a decent job of cleaning the fish, but he doesn't claim to know what he's doing,and I know even less,but between us both, we got them cleaned and ready for the freezer.

I have a first cousin who lives in Alaska, and when they fish, they really fish. From what I understand,when the time is right for the fish to bite, they set up camp out by the fishing hole, where they catch, clean, and can the fish right there on the spot.They catch enough for the year and they are done.I guess if fish were my main source of protein and we had no other choices, I would do it, but cleaning fish is not high on my list of Things I enjoy.

Pop is so proud of his catch, I wouldn't dare let him know my fish of choice is from Long John Silvers or Captain D's.

The Curse On Women

Did you ever hear of a man being awakened out of a sound sleep with the nagging thoughts of what all he needs to get accomplished in the upcoming day? No? I didn't think so. I awoke this morning thinking of buying myself a new carpet shampooing machine. Mom owns one, and the entire family has used it for years, rather than rent one of those monstrous things,only to find it is nasty,filthy, dirty, leaky, and just plain worn out,from the abuse from so many previous careless renters.Then you have to rush at break neck speed to get your rugs shampooed and get the monster back before the deadline is up. Oh yes, and don't forget. You need to clean the nasty machine,to the best of your abilities, even though hundreds of previous users, did not.No wonder, folks would rather call Carpet Cleaners of America, or what ever they call them selves, to come in and do the cleaning for you. But with all the widespread corruption going on in the world, you need to do a background check on all of their employees, before allowing them to enter your home. You can't be too careful these days.The most unsuspected folks will steal you blind, with you right there in their presence.

I'm convinced! I think I'll rush out and get myself a new shampoo machine as soon as the day breaks.

But then, the dirty rugs are not the only thing that awakened me this morning.

Pop and his cousins went fishing yesterday, and brought home a boat load of fish, and will be going back this morning, to most likely, pick up the trout-lines, and another boat load of fish.I don't even know how to clean fish and don't care to learn, but we both had to pitch in yesterday, in order to get them all cleaned,only to go through the entire messy project again today.Then there's the job of bagging them up for the freezer. I'll bet you can guess who'll get that job. Pop's new found friends are down from Louisville, and when they come down to their farm, they need Pop there to entertain them.I guess it could be worse. They could all congregate here,which they do quite often.Pop stops everything to sit and entertain them, but I know better. I continue on with my work.Someone has to keep the place together.Most times it's only men, but then occasionally, they bring their girl friends and/or their wives, who definitely are not into the things I do. In most cases, they carry their drink of choice with them, so I know right off the bat, I need to keep myself busy and out of the area.

I can sympathize with Priscilla Presley more and more every day.It is sheer hell, at times,being married to a celebrity.

The list of chores that awakened me this morning goes on and on, but you get the picture.Not only this morning,but many mornings I am awakened with thoughts of the many thing that I need to get done.My yard work,which takes precedence nowadays, is no where near done, but I keep chipping away at it every waking minute,as the weather and temperature allows.

Is it just me. or do other women see this as part of the curse on the woman?

(As I proofread my post this morning, I started to delete it. I hate for my blogger friends to learn how frustrated I get at times, but then I decided to go ahead and get it off my chest.Post it!What the heck. It's therapeutic,you know!)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Quick Trip to the Smokies

Sorry, but I failed to bring the camera. We had a lovely time in the Smokies when we delivered my sister,Vicki, back to her daughter's home, in Canton, North Carolina. I had never spent any great length of time in the Smokies. Only once,when I was still working, maybe, for a quick vacation, but I was always so stressed out from work, I could not enjoy my trip.This trip was a little different. Still rushed, but more relaxing. No more job to hurry back home to.The mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina are a sight to behold.The weather was excellent.Even Lillie had a peaceful trip. She slept most of the way,both going and coming home.Not all dogs like to ride in a vehicle,but she does.She sleeps like a baby.I can't even do that in a moving vehicle.I feel I must watch the road. It takes all eyes on the road anyway, going through that dreaded GORGE.I had always heard Pop speak of the gorge,which he had traveled several times with his brother who drove a big truck, hauling tobacco to that area,but even Pop's flamboyant stories,could not depict it as bad as it was.The road was very narrow and the big trucks were many.They had to stay in the right lane the entire way through the gorge,and I feel that was a good thing.Cars could get out of their way much better.There is nothing worse, in my opinion, than traffic moving at 80 miles an hour through an already dangerous stretch of the road.I know the truckers were upset at having to go much slower, and stay in the left lane, but I feel it made it much safer for us all. I awoke the next morning, dreading the trip back through the gorge, but all went well. Pop drove a little slower than he really wanted to, but I was more at ease because of it.

Vicki's daughter,Beverly, and her husband,Lynn,and his family, helped to make our trip to their town very enjoyable.We will definitely consider going back once again.We stayed one night in Lynn's family's cabin which was beautiful.The Pigeon River runs through the back yard.Both the sounds of rushing water and the lovely cabin,made for a heavenly vacation experience. If only we could have stayed longer.

Beverly,Vicki and I made a few stops in town.One stop was at Beverly's booth.Vicki is as excited about the booth as is Beverly. I hope they have lots of sales this tourist season.Vicki bought me a few nice Thank You gifts while we were out shopping.We are all very frugal shoppers. One of the things I got was the lovely piece of fabric, shown above,for 69 cents. I could not wait to get home and make something pretty from it. I am in the process of making 4 place mats for my small table and the little box is to hold whatever, and I have only used half the piece of fabric.I love the color and design in the fabric.I found the cranberry cup,to hold my teabags, and yes,Vicki, I found a cranberry colored box to hold my recycled paper towels.Now if I can get lucky enough to find more recycled towels for 50 cents a bundle.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Gift bags

I delivered my first gift bag to my Mother. She likes pretty things and us girls try to take her pretty things as often as we can.Her memory is failing badly, but she still enjoys the gifts even though she can never remember who brought them.As soon as I delivered the dessert tray and explained that it was not edible, she wanted to hang it on the wall for all to see.I can't see how that would possibly work.Common sense tells me that hot glue just would never work on wax,but knowing Mom, she will find a way to get it done.

Nevertheless, today, I worked on a new addition to my dessert tray. Chocolate covered wafers.I have accumulated several cardboard pieces,which I cut for use in my crafts. Not really having a plan in mind. When I started thinking of something to do with them, I thought of my dessert tray and how I could use them on that. I decided to glue 3  pieces together, then dipped them in brown wax to make chocolate covered wafers.They look so real, I caught myself almost wanting to eat one. I do love the real chocolate covered wafers. I hope this dish will be as pretty as the first, when it's all bagged up.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Envy Your Friends No More

Have you ever wished you could make all of those beautiful bon bons,chocolate covered cherries, petit fours,etc. that your friends make to bring to festive gatherings?Well, wish no more. I have figured out a way to impress your friends, if only through a picture or email.Just make sure they don't get the opportunity to bite into one.I have made mine from wood,foam rubber and black gum balls,and wax,which may not be so tasty.

I purchased myself a candle warmer, which was on sale for half price, in hopes of melting down my many candles and wax scraps, in order to sweeten up the smell in the house, as well as to make new scented candles.After melting the wax, I thought of several things I wanted to try with the melted wax. This was one of the ideas.I plan on experimenting more with the wax color and scent in order to make other things. My sister,Vicki, dipped pine cones in wax, for fire starters, one year, and I got the basket of pine cones as one of my gifts in our Red Neck Christmas. I love the scent they give off, but would not dare use them for fire starters. They are way too pretty. I have lots of pine cones now that we have purchased a small scope of woods, so that may be my next project,but not today. I have too many other irons in the fire.I can hear the flower beds are calling my name as we speak.

Self Confidence

There are many days that I feel I lack self confidence, but this week was definitely one of the worst.Pop had mentioned a thousand times since we were married,33 years ago,that we might possibly get a zero turn mower. I do 95 per cent of the mowing,and most of the time, I love mowing, but as I get older, I want to spend more time doing other things. so I was extremely ecstatic when he finally brought one home.I have been fortunate in that I have driven most anything necessary to get the job at hand completed, but this one, I was not sure of. I have driven tractors, big trucks, school buses, bush buggies, four wheelers, and lawn mowers of all kinds,even a motorcycle, but this contraption is definitely different.It has no steering wheel. My dad drove bull dozers for a living, and I remember him controlling them with levers and shifts of all sorts. Well, this definitely operates just as unusual.

I hopped on, very cautiously, after a brief lesson from Pop, like he knew what he was doing.He had never driven one either, to my knowledge.Well, let me give you one hint, if you ever plan to operate one for the first time. Be on level ground with no shrubs or bushes or trees,or anything nearby, for that matter.At least until you have a few quick lessons on how to mow in a straight line.When you are so use to using a steering wheel to manuever a piece of equipment, it's definitely different to change your way of thinking quick enough to avoid a major catastrophe.

Another quick tip which I learned the hard way, is never mow on wet grass, especially if it's on a slope, without out a clearing at the bottom of the slope. This mower slides on wet grass, and I ended up in the graveled driveway below. Thank goodness the blade was not low enough to mow up the gravel. I'm sure that would not have been good on the blades.

Spring is here and the grass is growing fast so I'm sure I will get in many lessons this season. I am still working on my landscaping, trying to make it more mower friendly. The fewer things you have to mow around,the fewer chances of mishaps.