Sunday, February 24, 2019

Mystery Soup

 It’s time to replenish the meat supply around here.  Mother Hubbard’s freezer compartment is almost bare.  I found a package of some kind of meat with this cryptic label -  “4-5 BF.”  No doubt a gift from some hunter friend of Jerry’s.  I thawed it out and sautéed it.  It turned out to be some kind of spicy, ground-meat sausage.  I made soup out of it, and it was delicious!  Wonder what it was - exactly?  I’m thinking the “BF” must stand for beef?  But it could just as well be the hunter’s initials if they were dividing up meat at some hunting camp in the woods. I guess it could be  anything from alligator to rattlesnake.  Well, whatever.  It was good!

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.