Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Bright Side

I set out this morning with a list of errands and the determination to find a bright side to the inevitable annoyances.  Here goes:

  1. You can get your food quicker in McDonald's drive-thru than you can by going inside - because all the employees are focused on the drive-thru, not the customers at the counter.   Bright side: I have a car.
  2. No matter how sure you are about what you want at GNC, the clerk will try to talk you into something else.  Bright side: You get practice in sticking to your guns.
  3. Hobby Lobby is too BIG!  Bright side:  You get plenty of exercise.
  4. Michael's small size makes finding what you want easier, but sometimes they need a bigger store just to accommodate the long lines.  Bright side: You develop patience (maybe).
  5. Kids' latch hook activity kits have 1400 little pieces of yarn in each one.  Bright side: I don't live with the kids I'm buying these for. (Tee Hee)
  6. Nice boxed sets of stationery are not to be found - not even at an upscale establishment described as a "papeterie."  Nice boxed stationery used to be everywhere - from department stores to dime stores.  Bright side: A lesson - don't take anything, especially good things, for granted.  Nothing gold can stay.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

August Resolutions

“Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful’ and sitting in the shade.”
Rudyard Kipling

One of the few joys of a flaming hot August in southern Louisiana is the flourishing potted plants on our deck.  Of course, having them flourish means a religious dedication to getting out in the heat to water them.  I haven’t always been so dedicated, but I’ve resolved to water and to sweat, and the pay-off is worth it.  

I haven’t set foot off Bywater Farm in seven days.  I was looking forward to going to church this morning and having lunch with my middle daughter.  But I have some kind of virus, so I’m home again today.  I’m really a home body, but after seven days or so, I’m feeling the effects of cabin fever.  And for me, cabin fever means too much thinking - too much naval gazing.

I wonder why resolutions come to my mind in August?  Aren’t they reserved for January?  Maybe so, but I think it might be a natural result of the stifling August heat.  The mind can’t help but ponder what might make your own life and the world in general a little better.

The fourth commandment says, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” It was an easier commandment to keep back in the 1950s when I was a child. Stores closed on Sunday. A few drug stores and gas stations were open, but retail stores were closed.  I’d venture to say that some people back then went to church simply because there wasn’t much else to do.
The fourth commandment makes it clear that God doesn’t think it’s good for all seven days in a week to be just alike. But it takes concentration today to make it different.  Few stores close on Sunday and neither does social media, so distractions are everywhere.

I feel another resolution coming on. Social media is full of angst - political posts and depressing news articles about rape, murder, and abductions - not to mention the airing of personal dirty laundry.  I’m too private a person to ever air the personal stuff, but I do make political posts, and I share depressing news stories.  I am resolved to stop making these posts on Sunday.  On Sunday I’ll post cute kittens, uplifting poems, and photos of beautiful scenery.  Maybe I’ll post some creative writing about a fantasy world free of political corruption and mankind’s inhumanity to mankind.  If I was a better person, I’d probably resolve not to make any posts on Sunday, but I have to start somewhere.



Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Pitchers - Now & Then

Whether you are a full-time or part-time homemaker, no doubt your daily round includes some cooking, laundry management, and cleaning what shows.  As a break from the dailiness of everyday life, I sometimes enjoy doing the seasonal household chores.  

Cleaning all the stuff and places that don’t show usually means encountering surprises - and some are actually pleasant.  Yesterday my hubby helped by getting on a ladder and handing dishes and other items from a high shelf down to me.  One was this lovely old pitcher that belonged to my grandmother.  Inside the pitcher was a magazine clipping and my late mother’s notation in pencil that it was clipped from “House & Garden,” the June 1974 edition.  I’ve certainly dusted this pitcher many times since 1974, but I don’t remember seeing this clipping.  Although my grandmother’s pitcher isn’t exactly like the one described in the clipping, when I looked at the bottom of it, I saw that its hallmark is identical to the one in the clipping - which, of course, is what prompted my mother to save this clipping inside the pitcher.

As I washed my collection of pitchers, I wondered why people don’t use pitchers much anymore.  No doubt it’s because of the way things are packaged today.  We pour a glass of milk right out of the gallon jug.  Our grandmothers - or great-grandmothers - milked the cow and needed something to put the milk in.  Today we pour juice from the container it comes in.  When I was a child, juice always came in cans.  It wasn’t safe to store the juice in its can in the refrigerator, so it was put in a pitcher for serving.  Although the heyday of pitchers is past, I still use a pitcher for iced tea or lemonade.  One or two pitchers would be sufficient, but I can’t part with my little collection of pitchers, so they will go back on the high shelf in my dining room now that they’ve had the dust washed off of them.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Be a Mockingbird!

There must be sorrow in the mockingbird world.  Surely feathered friends die and young mockingbirds occasionally rebel. The mockingbird economy is based on worms, insects, berries, and our garden tomatoes.  Surely it experiences down-turns.  And surely there are territorial disputes among mockingbirds.  I've seen the fights.  But none of that dampens the mockingbird spirit. Every morning a mockingbird sits atop the weather vane on our barn and greets the day by singing his heart out. Apparently, there are no grumpy, sleepy-head mockingbirds.  I want to be like a mockingbird and greet the day with gusto,  praising God for his glorious creation!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Kindness Rocks!

On a recent trip to visit the grandkids in Georgia, we found this painted rock hidden in plain sight in the fork of a tree.  On the back were instructions to post a photo of it on the Marietta Rocks FB page and to either re-hide it or keep it.  I was completely clueless about this business of hiding "Kindness Rocks," but it seems like the whole world has been doing this while I was in the dark.  Of course, now I want to paint a rock and hide it - as if I need another hobby!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Escaping the Devices

I am device weary - and artificial environment weary. Every day I say, “Tomorrow I’m going to get outside and away from the devices.” And tomorrow never comes. I’ve squandered the glorious spring days inside, staring at screens of various sizes for various purposes. Now the pleasant spring days are gone, and the heat has set in. It will be in the mid-90s by this afternoon.

After feeding the horses at about 8:00 am and turning them out, I decided that today is the day to spend some time outdoors. Our deck has been adorned with dead plants in pots - casualties of neglect and our frigid winter. Although I’m not prepared to plant anything new at the moment, empty pots look better than plant corpses, so I started the cleaning out process. The big plastic tub on a rolling cart that we bought about a year ago has not served very well for the barn purposes we had in mind, but I think it’s going to be useful as a garden cart - you know, for removing dead corpses.
Rocky, enjoying breakfast
Empty pots
One dead corpse that I almost think deserves a funeral was the little bonsai tree that I paid $50 for two or three years ago. Lesson learned: Don’t buy expensive plants, Jude, because you have animal husbandry, not gardening, in your genes.

Days of freezing temperatures during the winter took their toll on our citrus trees. The satsuma and orange trees survived, but the lemon tree is dead. Removing it will be a project for another day.

I used the cart to haul four plastic lawn chairs to the roadside. They are serviceable chairs, and I imagine somebody will pick them up. I need the space they were taking up to park my gardening cart. I used to imagine family gatherings where we all sit out in the yard and listen to the birds sing. But family gatherings are few and far between - and when they do happen, everybody sits inside, looking at their devices. I am resigned. It’s 21st century life. Maybe I’ll put the croquet set out by the road next.

It’s not too hot yet - only 83 degrees - and there’s a pleasant breeze. The mockingbirds are in fine form this morning - going through their varied repertoire with gusto. I’ve filled the bird bath and watered Jerry’s tomatoes while he helped me prune some of the plants that are still alive.
Jerry's tomatoes
Of course, I’m looking at a screen as I write this post, but at least I’m outside at the picnic table, listening to the birds, watching the horses, and enjoying the ripples that the breeze is making on the deep green surface of the bayou.

It’s almost 11:00 now. Time to get on to the indoor tasks, but my morning outside has been restorative. God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Misplaced Charity

When I was a child, our next door neighbor had a giant chinaberry tree in their backyard. The neighbors had five children, and - since I had no siblings - I had a grand time playing with them and climbing their chinaberry tree.  

The children's mother, Mrs. M, was a great volunteer.  Almost every day, after Mr. M left for work, Mrs. M left to do church work or work for some local charity. In the summer, she left the older children in charge of the younger ones.  I'm not sure what she did with the little ones when the big kids were in school.  At any rate, she was seldom home.  My mother had a good view of the M's backyard from our living room windows.  If Mama hadn't been able to see what was going on, I doubt that I'd have been allowed next door.  

My mother, as well as the other neighbors, often lamented that Mrs. M's children looked like orphans.  Their clothes were seldom clean much less pressed.  Hair went unbrushed. I don't think they knew what a hot meal was.  And, with both parents gone most of the time, they were seldom supervised.  Everybody said the M's children were raising themselves.   Mrs. M may not have been much at discharging her domestic and maternal duties, but she was widely recognized and admired for her charity work.  I suspect that most of the admirers didn't know anything about her home life.

I hadn't thought of Mrs. M in years, and it sounds strange to say that what's going on in Congress right now made me think of her and her poor ragamuffin children.  Some Congressmen and Senators remind me of Mrs. M.  They throw all their support behind illegal immigrants.  They use tax revenue to provide for illegal immigrants.  Listening to their rhetoric, it's clear that they are more concerned about the welfare of illegals than they are about the welfare of native-born Americans or immigrants who are here legally.  Like Mrs. M, they neglect to take care of the people they are responsible for while they work to provide for the ones they're not responsible for.  Mrs. M did her charity work for the accolades she received.  Congressmen and Senators support amnesty for illegal immigrants for the new voting pool it will create.  Mrs. M practiced misplaced charity on a small scale.  Congress practices it on a much larger scale.

Charity and concern for others is a good thing, but like all good things, it can be misused and abused.   Charity for others should never mean neglect for those we are responsible for.  1 Timothy 5:8 says, "But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." Congress should ponder this as they neglect Americans, including our military veterans.