Friday, November 23, 2012


That is what I thought when I finally logged into my blog this morning and saw that I have been away for well over a month.  Closer to two months.  Huh.  How did that happen? 

Sometimes the creative juices don't flow.  I think maybe a topic specific blog would be easier than a general blog.   But then there are those who have a blog with tabs.  You know the ones - cooking, crafting, kids, pets, day-to-day. Do tell me how they manage.  Where do I start?  I guess from the present, huh.

We had one of the best Thanksgiving ever.  All of my children and their families made it to our house to celebrate.  We spent the day visiting and eating and eating and visiting and eating.... The weather couldn't have been better, which is a good thing, because with over 20 people here, we quickly figured out we needed to overflow to the screened in back porch.

A funny story on my mother-in-law.  As many of you know, she has Alzheimer's.  She really is in her own little world, making up things as she goes along, and repeating herself often.  She's always been an outspoken, rough around the edges type of gal. She didn't disappoint yesterday.  I fixed her a plate of food and set it in front of her before I went back for my own plate.  Someone asked her how the food tasted.  Her reply?  "I've had better".  We all exploded in laughter - it was so her!

I was going to share some Thanksgiving day photos, but discovered I have exceeded my free photo space limit.  Yet when I went to upgrade it showed I was only using 35% of my allotted free space.  What to do, what to do.  I don't mind (well actually I do) paying for more space if I need to.  But I'd hate to find I upgraded when I didn't have to.  I'm cheap that way.  I've gotten spoiled with the free blog!

Hopefully each and every one of you had a good Thanksgiving.  In addition to all of the other awesomeness in my life, I am also thankful for each and every one of you.  Assuming there is any you still reading my blog after all of this time!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

 How did it become Fall overnight?  At night the temperatures have been dipping down to freezing.  Daytime is fun time.  I love the crispness of Fall.  Crisp temperatures and crisp colors.  Somehow it lightens my step and energizes me. 

Yesterday we worked on a rock walkway that has been a work in progress for quite some time.  Our property is mostly rock, with a little soil mixed in for good measure.  That, combined with Jim's strong German heritage's love for all things rocks, he has surrounded us with wonderful rock walls and walkways.  If it isn't rock, then it is brick.  Usually he works on these by himself, which means he is up and down.... pick out a rock, sit down to try to place it, only to find it doesn't quite fit, then back up to pick another rock, then back down.  He's never complained, but it is definitely easier when I help and he can sit and dig and place, with me bringing him rocks to choose from.  Now we can both rub our backsides and say, oh my I'm sore (or something like that). 
After wearing ourselves out playing with rocks, we retired to our metal chairs around the fire pit and had some wine and cheese.  I've yet to figure out who drank that entire bottle of wine.  It couldn't have been us...

I started to snap this picture and Whiskey ran up the steps to get in on the photo op.  Silly dog.
Hope everyone is enjoying life as much as I am right now!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

What to do to celebrate eleven years of life...

You mark flying off your bucket list.

You even allow your mother to go with you, since she's never flown before either.

Said mother must agree to sit in the back, since it IS your birthay after all.

You take over the controls from the pilot.  After all, you are eleven!


You leave Grandma and Grandpa behind, protected by OCHAs

While you do a fly-over of the state capital and the capitol building


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"We moved in and they forgot to move out."  This is what Uncle Cy told us about this shack in Folk, Mo.

It was the mid 1920's, a few years before 1929's Great Depression.  For some, though, Black Friday came early.  Mom lived in this shack when she was a little girl, along with her two older brothers, Cy and Tom, her mom and dad, and apparently, for a short time, with her grandma and grandpa - until they remembered to "move out".   

Mom (on the right) and her cousin

Times were definitely hard. 

Joseph Forck

As I look into the eyes of this ancestor I never knew, I have to think his heart hurt to not be able to provide for his family the way he would have liked to.  He was an unsuccessful farmer most of his life. 

This was also during the time of Prohibition.  Desperate times meant desperate measures.  As Uncle Cy tells it, "One day dad came home all excited.  He knew what he was going to do to get rich."  You guessed it.  Moonshine. 

Uncle Cy poked his finger at the picture and said, "Dad put in a still in the upstairs of that house.  But we never did get rich.  He drank more than he sold and was never right in the head after that."  As Cy got into his story, embelishing as he went along, his much younger brother sat there and shook his head.  There was some disagreement about the "never right in the head after that" part.  But there was no disagreement that times had been hard.

Seven people in a shack with no electricity or running water, bugs and mice, probably a snake or two, with an illegal still being run out of the upstairs....  I have to think they were very lucky that the weight of the still did not fall through the upstairs floorboards to the floor below. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

As the sun rose in the sky this morning, and I watched all of the Labor Day posts on blogs and Facebook, I couldn't help but think about how this season has played out. 

We had one of the most beautiful Springs ever. 

We were energized.

Beginning of Summer 2012

Our energies waned as the heat of the summer took its toll.  We watched helplessly as the virbrant colors of Spring turned to brown.  This is not how it is supposed to be.  But it is what we have been dealt.  A rain dance or two was done and prayers were offered up daily.  We needed relief from one of the worst heat waves and droughts on record.
We watched in horror as Isaac ravage the South, knowing it was going to bring some welcome relief, to the Midwest, from relentless heat and devastating drought.  It is strange how that works sometimes.
On this Labor Day I am thinking about all of the good people in Louisiana, who are still without power, as they once again work to pick up the pieces of rebuilding their lives from yet another storm with a name.  I can only imagine that they are wondering which name is going to hit them next...   

End of Summer 2012
I am also thinking about all of the hard working Americans - my fellow Midwesterners - who are drooping from working day after day in the intense heat of this past summer, in the end to only realize no reward for their hard labor.

Even when things look impossible - hopeless - we don't give up.

We look to the future and dream of what can be if we work hard and believe.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Barn Charm Tuesday - Number 100!

I'm a little late today, but I still want to Barn Charm !  Especially since this is Barn Charm number 100.  What a milestone!  So, please join me, and all of the charmers, and hop on over to Tricia's to check out all of the other barns captured worldwide.

I found this charmer in my files.  I think it was taken somewhere near Olean, Missouri.  Other than that, all I can tell you is that she is loved and well cared for.  Sure wish all barns could say the same!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Out of control

I've always considered myself lucky to have a small corner of my inside world dedicated to my scrapbooking fetish.  A place where I can start a project and leave things out without messing up the rest of the house.

As you can see, things had gotten out of control.  There was no rhyme or reason to where I had stuff and scrapbooking and card making was almost becoming a chore.  It isn't much fun working in the middle of chaos.

The lightbulb came on when we got Jim a drafting table to use for his art work.  It has great work surface.  The height is perfect for standing and working or sitting on a bar stool.  His table was so much easier on my back than sitting down at my plastic folding table.  Jealousy was consuming me.  I had to have a drafting table!  So the search was on. 

Jim has become a Craigs List officiado.  He scours the lists for the unusual, the hard to find, the one man's junk is our treasure, type stuff.  And he spent many hours looking for the perfect drafting table for me.  He finally found one in a damp, moldy, basement in St. Charles, an hour and 1/2 down the road from us.  The table had originally been used at the McDonell Douglas Boeing Plant in St. Louis. 

W(H)e had to dismantle it to get it out of the basement because it appears they had put the table in all those many years ago and then built a wall around it.  Frankly, it was gross.  But it was an oak drafting table and held promise.  So we loaded it up and brought it home.  I lost count of the number of buckets of water it took to clean the mold off.  At one point I was questioning our sanity (actually I do that a lot).  But we persisted.

Then we were faced with the dilemma of fitting it into the small space allocated for it.  We had measured, of course, but still, tables don't bend around doorways.

Frankly, I'm not too sure how we got it in, but we did.

No, Jim is not putting the table back together.  He is trapped behind it and trying to crawl out.

Errr, putting in a computer table we no longer use to give added surface space.  Can we say trapped again?
I'll have to admit that by now I was in a fits of giggles. 

And now my scrapbook room is a work in progress.  I love spending time in there playing.  When the guy we bought the table from threw the long arm florescent light in free, I figured I'd never use it.  Love it!  It is so nice to be able to swing it over whatever I'm working on and really see what I'm doing.

Now I'm a card making, scrapbooking, freak.  Definitely out of control!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

How did you spend your 16th Birthday?

Grandson, Travis, turned 16 yesterday. 

The first thing he did was get his driver's license.  Of course that is after waking up, checking facebook for all of the birthday wishes, brushing teeth (he skipped breakfast - bad boy!), and getting dressed.  I'm sure there was a text or two in there somewhere.  But the first important thing he did was take his driver's test - and he passed it (no surprise there). 

How do you think he spent the rest of his day? 

Driving around showing off?  No car. No gas money.  So no. 

Hanging out with friends?  Nope

Moping because he has no money and no friends?  Ha.  True about the money, but not true about the friends.  And no moping.

He spent the day working with Grandpa. 

Travis stacking brush

We have an eyesore on the front of our property in the form of a septic system that sticks up out of the ground.  When they installed it oh so many years ago, they hit rock, and couldn't set it into the hillside like it was supposed to be.  For all these years it has stuck out like a sore thumb.

Jim cut trees around the system so we could get dirt to the area.  As Jim cut, Travis stacked the brush.  He stacked, and stacked, and stacked!  Jim quickly discovered keeping up with a 16 year old is no easy task. 

Would you believe me if I told you this is six dump truck loads of dirt?  I wouldn't believe it either if I hadn't seen for myself each and every truck that brought a load in.  This is turning out to be a bit of an expensive project. 

Of course it wasn't all work.  His family came out for supper and birthday cake later in the evening. 

Happy Birthday to you.  Happy Birthday to you.  Happy Birthday, dear Travis!  Happy Birthday to you!

Thank you for spending your day with us... working, no less!  We are proud of you as a person, and we are proud to call you Grandson.

Monday, August 13, 2012

A visitor... or two... or three...

Guess who came to visit us over the weekend...
She brought her children along...

For the most part they were very well behaved, although they did tend to help themselves to what little food was available.... much like my grandchildren :)

Come on in little ones. Join the birdies and squirrels.

They only stayed long enough to grab a bite to eat and let me snap a few memories

Tori, we had a mama deer and her two babies come visit us over the weekend.  They are just beautiful.  The babies still have their spots.  They almost walked down our brick sidewalk, they were so intent on grazing on what little green remains in our part of the country. They are struggling along with the rest of the wildlife and are welcome to whatever they can find.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Happy Saturday

The torrential downpour of rain that we were blessed with a few days ago was shortlived.  It would be so nice to experience a day or two of nice, gentle, cooling, rain.  Our farmers are devastated.  Of course we can't fully understand how far reaching this drought really is. 

Our normally green hillside.  The pond to the left was bank full at the end of May.

Trees look to be dying all around us.  Are the leaves just turning brown early or are the trees really dead?  Time will tell, I guess.  Food prices are going to sky rocket.  Something I've never understood, though, is why the prices don't come back down when the crisis is over.  Farmers are having to sell livestock because they won't have any hay to feed them this winter.  They could have (and some have been able to) made silage out of the ruined corn crops, but if insurance covered the crops, then the corn could not be used for anything else.  That would have been double dipping.  Could they have given it away?  So many things in our world just doesn't make sense to me. 

On a bright note, our temperatures are downright wonderful right now.  We enjoyed temepratures in the 60's as we sat on our porch, drinking our morning coffee, the past couple of days.  The highs are reaching only in the 80's.  What a relief.

I'm pretty sure I have overdone it on the bird feeding front.  A few days ago the feeders were empty.   While sitting on the feeder a little guy looked my way and gave a chirp.  I thought it was cute, but definitely a coincidence that it looked at me just as it chirped.  But then last night while sitting on the porch (we seem to do that a lot these days), a Titmouse sat on the porch railing and fluttered its wings at us.  When we paid it no mind, it came further in.  Then it came back again and looked straight at me and chirped.  Yes, I fed them this morning.  It's no fun to be fussed at!

Time to get busy with fun stuff like cleaning the house.  Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A cause to run outside

THIS is what we experienced about 8:00 last night.

It was a sight we have not seen in a very long time.

It came so hard and fast that the new oversized gutters couldn't handle it as it rolled off the metal roof.

Oh thank you God for the blessed rain.  I don't mean to be greedy, but can we have a bit more, please?  Pretty please?  Pretty please with cherries on top?  Thank you.  Amen.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

How smart is your refrigerator?

Do you know how smart your refrigerator is? 

Until this morning, I never gave it a thought.  It keeps cold things cold and frozen things frozen.  It automatically makes ice so we don't have to fight over who didn't fill the ice trays.  That's a nice marriage saving feature.  This one that we bought about a year ago also has that nifty little feature that most people have enjoyed for years - a water and ice dispenser.  Love it!

But, I discovered this morning that I didn't really know my refrigerator at all.  She is such a surprize!  Yes, she has to be a she because she multitasks and is very efficient.  Don't argue with me, this is my blog.

Anyhow, I was fixing breakfast... bacon, eggs, toast, fresh from the garden tomatoes and cantalope (unfortunately not fresh from my garden).   I'm standing at the stove frying bacon.  I hear a beep.  Actually 3 beeps.  I look at Jim and say "what was that"?  He doesn't know.  I grab the eggs that I had just gotten out of the fridge a few minutes earlier.  And we hear it again.  Beep, beep, beep.  And that's when we realized just how smart our fridge is.  I had not gotten the door shut all the way.  Beep, beep, beep!

How smart is your refrigerator?  Do you really know for sure?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

This Rocks!

A week on Hilton Head Island, SC is a great get away.  The cast of characters was Jim, Deanna, Greg, Alicia, Allen, and Reagan. We flew out of St. Louis on Saturday morning, had a layover in Atlanta, and then on to Savannah, where we rented a car for a relatively short drive to Hilton Head.  We originally thought about flying into Hilton Head.  That thought was very short lived, once we checked on the cost.  They are very proud of that little jaunt.

After checking out our condo/apartment, we headed down to the beach.  Allen immediately did a little writing in the sand.  This Rocks.  Then he summed it up with "I Love Summer Vacation!"  That about says it all.

I Love Summer Vacation!

It was a relaxing week away from everything.  The fine white sand was great for long strolls, or just sitting and gazing out over the water while listening to the roar of the waves. 

As I strolled along the beach at dusk, we were trying to get a "Footprints in the Sand" picture.  We failed. 
The sand was great for digging and buiding sand castles.  Allen happened onto this hole someone else dug. 

The Island has one winery. So of course we had to check it out. We all agreed that the wine was pretty darn good. 

We all thought the "locals" were somewhat snobbish.  They weren't very friendly and at times were downright rude.  It was like they resented the touristy presence, and yet their entire economy depends on tourism.  It was very confusing.

Hilton Head Island is known for its fabulous golf courses.  We even played a round of golf.   As far as we were concerned, it wasn't anything to write home about.  Maybe that is because it was put-put type golf?  It sure was fun.  I had forgotten how bad I am at that game.  Reagan started out slow, but by the time we were nearing the end, she was giving us all a run for our money - including Allen.  It is amazing how quickly kids figure these games out, while us grownups kind of plod along.

We toured Savannah, GA on the hottest day of the week.  In hindsight that was a mistake.  We all ended up a bit tired and cranky by the end of the day, and called it quits before we had done all of the sight seeing we had wanted to.

We were in awe of the architecture and beauty of The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.  We were lucky enough to get there just as a tour of Girl Scouts was leaving (the Girl Scouts were founded in Savannah, did you know that?).  Just as we were leaving, another tour bus showed up. 

Did you know that Forrest Gump was filmed in Savannah?  The bench where Forrest sat telling the story of his life to anybody who would listen, sat right outside Chippewa Square (there are many squares in Savannah).  The bench has been moved to a museum.  What we found strange is that Savannah doesn't seem to capitalize on the Forrest Gump presence at all.

Since they didn't replace the bench with a replica for us to sit on, Greg and I positioned ourselves in about the right place.  I was trying to tell Greg that "Life is like a box of chocolate..."  But then he already knew that.  Another tourist actually had a freeze frame shot on his phone of Forrest sitting on the park bench.  That way he knew where to stand to have their picture taken.  We followed their lead and had ours taken there too.

 Because of the heat, we didn't see near what we thought we would. The beach was calling. 

We all promised each other that we wouldn't post a bunch of tasteless swim suit clad pictures of each other.  But I don't think Greg and Alicia will mind this family picture.  They look so happy.  I believe we were at Harbour Town when this one was taken.

Dolphin watching was on our agenda, and we did see a lot of Dolphins.  They were especially active when a small fishing type boat would happen by.  They know where there is food... they are smart like that.  They are also smart enough to not pose for pictures.  I'll spare you the black humps of a back, tail fin, or snoot sticking out of the water. 

It seemed that within a blink of an eye, the vacation was over.  The kids were troopers from start to finish.  It was so much fun to see their faces as they played in the sand or "rode the waves" on their boogie boards.  Now, where are we going next, kids?