Sunday, May 31, 2009

Shadow play

First of all, I owe hubby a big apology. Sorry babe!

You see, I have this nasty habit of not putting the card back in the camera after I’ve taken the pictures off of it. Several weeks ago he and Travis were messing around in Travis’ “fort” and Jim took some awesome pictures – or so he tells me. When I came home he proudly handed me the camera and said “look at the pictures I took of Travis in his fort”. I turned on the camera and all I saw was the message “no card”. Well shit! He should have seen that! Right? Nah, he was snapping pictures.

camera sitting on old tube radio

The camera he was using was our 35 m camera where you look through the view finder and not at the screen. I felt really bad about Jim not getting his pictures and vowed to be more careful about putting the card back in the camera each time. What’s that old saying about good intentions… oh yea, something about paving the road to someplace.

Anyway, this morning Jim saw a great photo opportunity. The sun was playing in and out of the trees along one of the paths as Whiskey dog was ambling along. So he ran into the house, grabbed the camera and… crap. At least this time he noticed the message “no card” before he took the picture.

He did get some pretty cool shots after we put a card in the camera, though.


I love the way the sun is playing through the trees. See the stack of rocks to the left? Those will soon complete the walkway. One of these days I’ll do a rock wall & walkway blog.

Whiskey standing in the shadows looking at the camera

He did get a picture of Whiskey standing in the shadows. Isn’t he cute, Demon Dog that he is…

Walkway to house -  sunlight shining through trees

Roses in full bloom with a sheep golf club cover on table

My cute little sheep is actually supposed to be a golf club cover. We bought him a few years ago when we were in Ireland. But instead of covering a golf club, he covers a glass and sits proudly on my table.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Seeing RED

In between thunderstorms and rain showers, I’ve been busy in my gardens lately. 

bowl of fresh strawberries 

Don’t these strawberries look yummy?  This is the third bowl of strawberries I have picked.  The patch is small and gives us just enough to have fresh berries for a few weeks. 

Bowl of fresh strawberries

They are so sweet!


A week ago my cherries weren’t quite ripe enough to pick…

Cherry trees ready for picking

The weekend of rains changed all of that…

Travis picking cherries

Thanks to the help of grandson Travis, I now have enough tart cherries in my freezer for eight cherry pies.  These are hands down the best pie cherries in the world!  The trees came from an old farmer friend many years ago. 

For years I fought the birds for these cherries.  Sometimes they were wormy and not worth messing with and other years beautiful, without a worm in them.  We have no idea why some years are wormy and other years not.  I wouldn’t dream of using pesticides!   I get enough of that when I buy my produce in the grocery stores.  It finally dawned on us last year that the cherries were beautiful with no worms and the birds hadn’t bothered them.  Finally after all these years we figured out that the only time the birds bothered our cherries was “wormy years”.  We vowed to never fight the birds for our cherries again.  Fortunately we had no bird problems this year, which meant no worms – just beautiful cherries.

Monday, May 25, 2009

I don’t do snakes!

My last post showed a cute little camouflaged toad hidden under my weeds strawberry plants.

Several of you were expecting a snake. Let me repeat… I don’t do snakes! There are several reasons for my irrational fear of those slimy creatures.

When I was a little girl we spent a day at our cousins’ house digging worms for fishing. These weren’t just any cousins, though. Two of them were boys of the worst sort. You know what I mean – the kind who found great pleasure in taking an innocent little worm and chasing you around the yard with them. Yuck. Well, that night I dreamed that each and every one of those innocent little worms we had so carefully placed in old, rusty vegetable cans filled with dirt, turned into a snake. Not just any snake, but long, slimy black snakes. I was young enough to think that a big ol’ black snake must be the worst of the worst. Hey, I was just a little girl. What did I know? Anyway from that day forward, I have had a dreadful fear of snakes.

Now fast forward about 25 years. We had a big family get together here. My sis and her family were visiting from Arizona. One of the places set up for eating was a picnic table on the back porch. I had put a table cloth on the table to make it a bit nicer. After everyone went home, Jim and the kids helped me clean up. Somehow the tablecloth ended up on the porch floor and stayed there for who knows how long. When I finally got around to doing laundry, I scooped it up and threw it into the washer with a load of towels and then into the drier. How was I supposed to know that a snake had found shelter in it? Now I’m sure nobody else has ever done this, but I didn’t get to the dry clothes right away, so the next day I air fluffed the stuff before folding.

Now picture this. I pulled stuff out of the drier one at a time, snapped it to straighten it out, and folded it. About the third towel out, something flew across the room. A snake!!!!! A nice clean, washed and dried, shriveled up snake. OMG! I screamed and screamed and screamed. Jim came running. The kids came running. The neighbors cam running (they would have if we had neighbors…) Nobody could get me to stop screaming. I was truly hysterical. Finally Tessa yelled what has since become the family mantra anytime I get upset about anything. “Slap her dad, slap her!!” I’ll have to admit that brought me to my senses. But it took me years before I could hear the word snake and not shudder.

In my memory this snake was a long, shriveled up black snake. Jim claims it was a tiny, dried up green snake. I’m sure he remembers wrong in his hysteria and all. Right?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Peek-a-boo – I see you


My strawberry patch kind of got away from me this year.  No excuses – it just did.  So I was determined to fix that the other morning.  Look at the clover taking over things!  And the strawberry almost red enough to eat looks so tasty.  Yum!  Wait…  Do you notice anything else? 


I was pulling the weeds like a good gardener should when I shrieked like a girl (wait, I am a girl, so that is ok…).  Jim came running, like the knight in shining armor that he is (even if he doesn’t have any hair, but that isn’t a bad thing)!  By then I had my camera out and was snapping pictures.  Do you see what was snuggling up with my strawberry?


Do you see him now?  Isn’t he cute?  And before Iggy asks, no I did not check to make sure he is in fact a he.  I’ll just go with my gut on this one :)

Happy Birthday to me!


Yesterday was my 57th Birthday.  Fifty Seven!  I used to think that was old, but not any more.  I’ve only just begun.  Thank you for all the wonderful Happy Birthday wishes.

My son-in-law made this picture for me and I love it.  He first posted it on Facebook and I suspect he did so a bit nervously.  Breathe easy, Doug, I think it is awesome.

Check out JibJab if you’d like to do cool pictures of you and yours.  You can do videos too.

I had a wonderfully relaxing birthday.  Jim surprised me with new pillows for my porch chairs and treated me like a Queen all day (actually all week).  We also bought an antique claw foot tub for a bathroom remodel we are planning.  I’ll post more on that later.  The tub wasn’t really a birthday present, but since we found it on Craigslist on my birthday, I’m going to count it :)  He even washed my car!  I love you Jim!

Last night we went to eat with good friends at the Post Office Bar & Grill in Fulton, a little town up the road from us.  As you might expect, this restaurant is in an old Post Office Building.  I forgot my camera last night, which is a shame because the building itself is cool and the tenderloins they serve are the absolute largest I’ve ever laid eyes on! We’ll go back soon and I’ll post some catch up pictures.

Oh and Jewelz, you know your cute little post about silly mom… after all these years, dear, you know perfectly well that I don’t get mad – I get even  :-)  Just so you know…

Monday, May 18, 2009

A little late, but we celebrate

Austin’s 4th birthday came and went with no attention from me.  Now that just isn’t right!

So, just the two of us took a trip to the only place I know of that carries birthday presents, Wal Mart.  OK, I agree there are better places to go to find interesting presents, but time was short and Wal Mart was there, and Austin really isn’t very picky.


On the way to the store we talked about what he wanted and he told me he really likes Sponge Bob (gosh I wouldn’t have guessed that…)



We find a really cool Sponge Bob tote but for some reason Speedy caught his eye.  Ok, I’m cool with that.


Looking around just a bit more to make sure we haven’t missed something important and what do we spy?  Sponge Bob Leggo’s!  A must have.  We are in heaven now.  But we have a problem. Austin thought he was going home with Grandma.  After all, that is the way it usually works.  Oh dear.


But never fear – a compromise is near.  We spot Dairy Queen on the horizon.  An ice cream treat is almost as good as going home with Grandma… right?  Not really, but it worked this time.


A nice thick chocolate milkshake does the trick.  We first try a straw but quickly recognize the danger of a nasty brain freeze coming on.


So we substitute a spoon and all is well in the world.

This was a fun couple of hours.  Happy Birthday Austin!

Friday, May 15, 2009

New life!

I want to thank everyone for their wonderful comments, thoughts, and prayers over the past weeks.

We gave my dad a beautiful send-off today. In his coffin was his favorite cap that he wore while helping each and everyone of us on whatever the project of the day was. Also in the coffin was a note that grandson Dakota wrote to his great grandpa.

Last night at the prayer service each of us kids had the chance to share thoughts of our dad. His pastor gave a meaningful eulogy this morning and two of his nieces sang Ave Maria in his memory. Dad had a wonderful tender voice and sang that song at weddings in his younger years. And the final send off note was Taps after the Honor Guard fired a three volley salute.

I was simply amazed at the number of friends and family who showed up, both last night and today. After sharing a luncheon at the church hall, we headed home.

Hope we did you proud dad! I think we did…

We were bone weary when we got home – and did the only thing a bone weary person should do… we took a nap! Then refreshed, I strolled around outside for a bit. I was amazed at what I saw. New life all around me!


My chives look so pretty peeking up through the periwinkle. They are going to be so tasty chopped up for the salad. And the flowers add such color. Yep, I do like my chives.

Yellow rose bud

Isn’t this a pretty rose bud? By rights with all the shade we have around here I shouldn’t have a single rose, but they valiantly come back year after year, with very little care from me.

Pink miniature roses

And look at these miniature roses! The last time I checked, I didn’t even see the buds. It definitely has been awhile since I’ve opened my eyes and marveled at the beauty of nature.

Miniature rose

pink and yellow columbine

My columbine is holding her head so proudly. Isn’t she gorgeous?



I almost missed the irises completely. I love the delicate softness of my irises. And the aroma! They fill the air with their wonderful scent.

Yellow irises

Cherries just beginning to turn pink

Yikes! Look at my cherries! I’m going to be fighting the birds for these yummy treats real soon! Do you see my house peeking through the branches? Yep? That is where I headed. I plopped down into one of my many rocking chairs and breathed in the fresh, perfumed air and thought… LIFE IS GOOD!

rocking chairs

Monday, May 11, 2009

He had curly hair and a crooked smile and I loved him very much

Dad (last row on the left in white shirt) with his mom and dad and brothers and sisters.  Dad was the last living boy.  Three of his sisters are still living (the three little girls in the picture). 

    Hood family 1936

Dad and Mom.  This is one of my favorite pictures of them.


Is that a suave and debonair look?

Ed 1947

dad & kids 1956

Dad and three of us kids (this was before my younger brother was born).  My smile was crooked too!

cowboy kids 1956

easter 1957


family 1975

Dad passed away this afternoon, Monday, May 11. 

Rest in peace dear dad.  I love you very much.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers – you know who you are… Or do you?

Are you a mother? I am and proud of it! Maybe you are too and don’t realize it.

After all, what really makes someone a mother?

Having a child doesn’t make you a mother. Caring for and about a child does.

Motherhood is a long journey. It begins with the want of a child. I think those who are walking down the rocky road of conception, only to be disappointed, in a way I can’t comprehend, time after time are mothers of the strongest kind. You have my deepest respect.

And I don't know what to say to mothers who love and cherish their babies in the womb, only to have them taken away before they are placed in their loving arms. You are a mother like no other - experiencing the ultimate pain of motherhood.

For some mothers, the journey begins before even the want. Thank you to all the unwed mothers, teens and others who for one reason or another felt unable to care for a child and yet chose to give that child life. (I always struggle with the phrase “chose to give a child life” – I’ll never understand how letting a child live can be anyone’s choice… but I digress). Thank you for having the strength and for caring enough to allow someone who is able to love and raise your gift from God the chance to do so.

Thank you to those who adopt babies and raise them as their own. And thank you to all who watch over our children – foster parents, teachers, social workers, day care providers, and the neighborhood lady keeping an eye open for latchkey kids – you are mothers.

How about the single dad? Or the stay at home dad? Or the grandparent(s) raising their grandchildren? You better believe you are mothers.

And to the traditional mother. My hat is off to you! You are a special breed deserving some pampering today. I hope you don’t mind sharing your day. There are an awful lot of people out there that make our role as mother a bit easier. Thank you to each and every person who cares about a child in any way. The world needs you.


A super cool mother (my Julie) cooked supper for me last night. She made this awesome salad of lettuce, slaw, and cooked deer steak with ranch dressing mixed with BarBQ seasoning and French bread. It was scrumpdilyicious! I don’t know which was better, having someone cook for me or being outside for a change with three of my grandkids to keep me entertained. The hugs and kisses I got are definitely on top of the list of making it a great day.

Travis sitting on the trunk of a fallen tree

We walked through the woods to Travis’ special spot. He built a fort out of fallen trees and brush. I’m kind of not too happy about the location because it is close to an old gypsum quarry at the edge of our property. Nobody knows how deep this quarry is. It is off limits and has a barbed wire fence around it… but when has barbed wire ever been known to stop a curious mind? For now the fort stays but chances are real good that it will be relocated this summer. (sorry Travis :(

rickety shelves built between two scrawny trees

The fort has all the amenities of home, including shelves. And of course we all know that for guys the world is their bathroom. No shortage of trees to choose from.

Dakota brushing spider webs out of his hair

Dakota was NOT a happy camper. The path to the fort was lined with spider webs and bugs and ticks.

A beetle on a leaf

I thought this little guy was kind of cute, but Dakota strongly disagreed…

Travis swinging with Austin on his lap

Back at the ranch we chilled around the play area. It was just nice to be outside. Austin seems to think big brother is A-OK!

Austin peeing on a tree

Speaking of watering trees… Austin told us this tree will grow nice and big now.

Dakota swinging from a rope - eyes closed

After a stint in the house, waiting for the bugs and ticks to disappear (like that’s going to happen), Dakota decided to face his fears and come join us again. Wake up Dakota!

Dakota swinging from a rope

Ah, that’s better. A bit fuzzy, but at least he is awake.

Austin's feet - shoes on wrong

Am I crazy? I really think my feet would hurt if I put my shoes on the wrong feet.

Austin sitting at the bottom of slide with shoes on wrong feet

Austin is proof that it doesn’t hurt at all!

Dakota with a big smile

I love that two front teeth missing smile. I love the color of Dakota’s hair, too. Oh heck, I love everything about my grandkids – each and every one of them!

Azalea bush photo taken from the porch

And long after Julie packed her brats sweet, wonderful, children up and took them home, Jim and I sat on the front porch, me wrapped in a blanket to ward off the chill, and talked about what a wonderful day we had. Thanks Julie and Happy Mother’s Day.

P.S. I’d never think of any of my grandkids as brats… they really are wonderful.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I said please…

As I was heading into town to stay with dad the other day, I noticed a turtle sitting along the side of the road.

Turtle in his shell   I said, “Please Mr. Turtle, can I take your picture?”

Turtle peeping out of his shell

He was the friendliest turtle I’ve ever met.  He put out his little turtle foot and waved at me, and said “Sure, you sweet lady, I don’t see why not.”

Turtle crossing gravel road

So he posed real purdy for me.  He seemed to think this profile shot showed off his best side.  He even told me his name is Speedy because he’s the best there is when it comes to crossing these country roads with every redneck in the county barreling down on him with their 4x4 trucks.

I nicely thanked him, got back into my car and went on my way.  What a nice little turtle.

Oh heck, who do I think I’m kidding…

Actually I really was heading into town to stay with my dad, driving too fast up our gravel road (first time I’ve ever driven too fast, I swear it…) when I came up on this turtle crossing the road as only a turtle can – slowly.

So, I stopped my car, grabbed my trusty little camera and quickly snapped his picture before he retreated back into his shell.

Turtle crossing the road

Then since he was so slow, I snapped another picture.

Turtle crossing gravel road

Bubba here FINALLY figured out what I was doing and tried to get away from me, but I was too fast and snapped one more picture of the coward.

  Turtle retreating into his shell

Then, after I had sufficiently terrorized him, I hopped back into my VW and took off, flinging gravel behind me.  I’m pretty sure none of it hit Bubba, though.

Turtle closed up in his shell

Has anyone figured out that I don’t have anything good to blog about, so I’m blogging nonsense?   Hope the sun is shining in your part of the world – get out there and enjoy your weekend!!!!!