Thursday, May 31, 2012

Random Bits and Pieces

Yesterday morning we were pleasantly surprised to find the stench of rotting deer carcass had subsided. Thinking it had something to do with a little rain and change of wind direction, I kept my western windows closed and ventured outside cautiously. Being a smell that hides in one's sinus cavities, I was nonetheless haunted throughout the day by thinking I smelled it.

Our lawn had become over- grown in the past week and so Ben skipped out on his normal Wednesday at the ambulance base and stayed home to cut grass. He spent the entire afternoon on the ride-on mower. With Hannah gone to horseback riding and the little one tucked in for a nap, I decided to start up the push mower and start on the area close to the house. Not so good when one is plagued by seasonal allergies, but it needed to be done.

A break in the heat wave, and a generous neighbor, convinced me to bake a rhubarb pie yesterday afternoon. I didn't actually eat any last night (pie goes right to my hips, and butt, and chin, and so forth...), but I was told it was very good. I had fun taking pictures of the delightful dish, and enjoyed the aroma wafting from my kitchen.



After my little friends had gone home for the evening, I went back out to finish mowing around the house. One of the orchard workers was across the street cutting the long grass. I fully expected him to mow around the stinky carcass, but someone must have moved it either earlier int he day or sometime in the dark of night. I am seriously considering sending someone a note of thanks. It truly was an answer to prayer. Yes, I actually prayed that God would make it go away. You can ask  the other women from my Tuesday morning prayer group.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

T is for Truth

T is for "truth". 

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes”

Mark Twain


The truth is that some people think the truth is their own interpretation of any given situation. Truth is often hidden and seldom told in full. Truth is often lost in facts and yet is made up of them. Leaving out a fact or two, or even rearranging events, can turn truth into a lie.

I looked up the definition of truth on Merrium-Webster's online dictionary and found this amidst the definitions, "a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true". I guess my question is, how is something actually true when it only takes acceptance of its being true to make it so? (I am grappling with my own set of truth and lies today...) If one party believes something to be true and yet another party knows it not to be so, are there two truths? 

I think not.


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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Martha's Random Ramblings

Someone hit a deer outside our house sometime last week and it is creating quite the stench in this 90 degree weather. I am afraid to go outside.

This is not our first encounter with a deceased deer, but the previous animal was on our property and in plain sight. We dragged it off to the back yard and dug a hole to get get rid of it. This beast was hidden from sight in the tall grass across the street until a few days passed it got all puffed up. It's legs were about the only thing visible. Now it has deflated and I'm afraid it's a little late to drag it off for burial... at least without a gas mask. I'm keeping my windows closed, especially when the wind is blowing, and praying that flock of turkey vultures will show up.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Decoration Day

 "Where are the men and women whose knees are as calloused as their hands?"

Although my father joined the Naval Reserves as a teen, he never saw war. Although he sailed one tour to Cuba, he never crossed the ocean or stood on the enemy's shore. Excused for medical reasons, he never looked down the barrel of an enemy gun or hid with his buddies in a foxhole. Instead, he stayed stateside, married, raised a family and fought a battle of another kind.

Dad was a soldier in the Lord's army. He took his little family to church each Sunday, read Bible stories to his children at night, and prayed.  Dad struggled in his Christian walk just like the rest of us do. There are battles in every life. Dad's childhood battle with polio taught him to persevere in future times. Raising an autistic son taught him compassion. Facing a teenaged daughter's pregnancy taught him love and forgiveness on a level he had never reached before. By the time dad faced his battle with lung cancer, years of testing had solidified his faith in Christ. He never let go, never questioned God's faithfulness, and remains to this day a hero of the faith.


Our family lost a great prayer warrior when my father left this world. They say prayer is a powerful weapon in the hands of the believer, and I believe this to be true. Our family needs a warrior. Who will fill those shoes?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Frozen Eggs

Two eggs huddled together in the back of the refrigerator neither one able to keep the other warm. Each was cracked, but not leaking, and there they sat all day and then overnight. Saturday morning their discovery prompted rescue. Knowing they were still fresh enough for breakfast, I decided on a meal of eggs.

I was somewhat surprised when the first egg slipped out of its shell and into the pan a gelatinous frozen ball. The second egg, a bit more reluctant to leave its protective coating behind, did not slide out its shell and into the pan beside its refrigerator-mate. I found myself instead peeling a frozen egg in much the same manner as I would one hard boiled.

Frozen eggs? Should I cook them? Should I toss them in the trash? I decided if it was okay to freeze chicken, it was probably okay to freeze their offspring. My frozen eggs slowly began to thaw out in the hot pan. I sprinkled them with salt and pepper.
I poked them with my little rubber spatula and scrambled them up into a tasty little breakfast. Don't they look nice?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Never Growed Up

I am hopelessly and forever a child. I love children's books, marble chutes, and doll houses. I want to go to the zoo, watch a parade, and swing on a swing. No wonder I keep little people around. I can't even fathom a house without toys! :0)

My little "Gnome Home"drawer has finally moved off of the dining room table and out onto the back porch. Summer has been hanging around the past few days and I'm hoping perhaps she's here to stay. My plants are moving out of the house and into the sunshine, and I am planning to enjoy lots of iced tea, maybe read a book or two, and take a nap outside at least once a week. I'm also hoping a friend or two will stop by to share a visit. I think it all sounds very nice, don't you? :0)

Today Rocky and I went out running errands. I put her in and took her out of that car seat seven times as we went to the bank and five different stores. Hard to imagine how we ever survived without those contraptions, isn't it? At our last stop, my favorite greenhouse in Webster, the nice lady behind the counter, who reminded me that our two daughters will be turning 27 this year (we were in the hospital together), let Rocky pick two "prizes" from a little plastic tub of rubbery animals. My little darling took a red salamander and a teal colored frog. To top it off she was also allowed to pick out a tomato plant to take home. I've never known a two year old so possessive of a vegetable plant. She was thrilled to take it home when her daddy arrived. :0)

(I'm thinking that dresser drawer is kind of like a miniature sandbox, except it's not. Perhaps that will be my next good idea...)

And I am still having a hard time believing my baby is going to be 27 in October. Do I have to put up with that?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

S is for Swing


S is for swing, tire swing.

It was a beautiful evening; sun shining, gentle breeze, perfect temperature. I thought about going outside. I thought about the old tractor tire swing that once hung from a Silver Maple branch down behind the barn out back and I missed it. It would have been the prefect spot for Hannah and me to go after dinner. Years back another daughter and I would spend a few after supper moments swinging gently and talking, enjoying the evening air.

Made from a tractor tire and big enough for not-quite-grown-up children to climb inside, wide enough for a pile of kids to swing on, and always a destination point for children. One day I went to find my daughter and nieces out back. It looked as though only Hannah was there, pushing the swing and playing alone, until I took a closer look. Two cousins were tucked inside the tire for a ride.

With the acquisition of a sawmill and the accumulation of large logs, the tire swing destination became a little dangerous. My children grew up and time stretched the ropes until the rubber nearly met the ground. The tree branch was worn and so was the hardware that held the tire aloft. My husband decided it was too great a risk and took the old tire down.
video
I still like a gentle ride on a swing, but the tire swing will remain but a memory of fun days past. I am instead looking forward to hanging my old Rocking Chair Swing from the branch of the Weeping Birch outside my kitchen window. I think it will be fun for both little ones and old people. :)


For more ABC Wednesday fun, click here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fishing

I think I shall take up fishing and maybe even learn to love it. When I was a little girl, I asked my daddy to take me fishing, but he never got around to it and I never learned to love it like my husband does. The other day I came across this photo of my sweet nephew "in his element" (according to his daddy) and decided that maybe I should give it a shot. Darius says it's not too late. Maybe it's time to get my first fishing license.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Onions and Allium

"Allium is a Monocot Genus of Flowering plant informally referred to as the Onion genus. Allium is the Latin word for garlic." (Wiki)

I have an eclectic garden. The thing about perennials is that one can always count on plenty of variety. From flowers to weeds, something new is continually making an appearance. Today my allium decided to bloom. I suppose the summer-like temperatures were a great encouragement. Although I prefer purple cone-flowers, Black-eyed Susans, or Bee Balm, I do find these short lived blossoms interesting. My friend Deborah says they look like "flower planets".

Tonight I am aiming to find my way to bed a little earlier than I typically have. The sun wakes bright and early these days, and if I were to rise bright and early too, I might get more accomplished during the day. It is possible...

A Tea Party


Yesterday we hosted a bridal shower for my soon to be daughter in law, Sabrina. With a little help from her friend Heather, Bethany did a super, wonderful job of making everything beautiful. There was more than enough food to go around and lots of pretty teacups and dessert plates. It was a gorgeous day and we were able to take the party outside into the fresh air instead of down into the basement which made it even more special.

In just 20 days we will officially add Sabrina to our number and then I will have two favorite daughters in law! Things just keep getting funner and funner!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Beautiful Day

I think I might actually be ready for Sabrina's bridal shower tomorrow. I've done all the prep work I can today and still managed to spend a few hours at the Apple Blossom festival in town. So often it's either too cold or it rains on our parade. Not this year. No one was wearing jackets. There were, however, several people carrying umbrellas... to keep the sun off, I guess. Not me. I am sporting a pink, sunburned face instead.

Hannah and I wandered about ahead of the parade looking for people we know. We saw several, and yet I am always amazed at how many strangers there are walking the street of this small town during the yearly festival. Do they all live here? Where do all these strangers come from? Perhaps it's really the fact that most of the people we used to know have grown up or gotten older.


I found my friend Shelly with her mega camera and took her picture while she wasn't looking. We watched the parade together and snapped photos.
I'm betting she got some really good ones that I missed, but I did get a little distracted by one of my little "garden flowers" who was there to see the parade with his mom, aunt, and new baby sister. I even managed to get a smile out of him today. Maybe because I gave him those Tootsie Rolls.


After the parade Hannah, her friend Kelly, and I got in line for a drink. The sign in the "Bloomin' Onion" trailer window said "Lemonade $2". When we got close enough to order, we found another sign that said $3 instead. Hmm... I asked the "nice" man about the two dollar lemonade. Seems he had forgotten to remove his "old" sign on this warm, sunny day, but there it was plain as day, "Lemonade $2". We ordered three and he took the sign out of the window.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Kneeling in the Dirt

"You’ll work best if you are kneeling.” -the Farmer

I've been blessed again by reading Ann's words "Sometimes weeds go deep." Weeds go deep. Yes. And that is precisely why the art of growing a garden takes perseverance. Without perseverance there will be no fruit, no flowers, just an overgrown area full of troublesome and undesirable growth.

So, here I am thinking again, thinking about gardens. Thinking about prayer and Bible study, and about those weeds that grow, not only in my garden, but in my life as well.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Weeds

I pulled some weeds from my back porch flower garden while Hannah cut the lawn this morning. My nose is good and itchy now, but I found my old friend "Jack" hiding 'neath the foliage. Good to know he's still in the pulpit doing his part. Actually, there were several Jack in the Pulpit plants hiding in the weed cover. Perhaps they are planning a convention? Or maybe a pastor's conference?


I've decided gardening is not my thing. I love the flowers, the greenery, and the fruits and veggies. Hey, I even like the dirt! It's just gardening in general I am not so fond of. Maybe it's this thing with the weeds. They grow so much faster than I can pull them out and remind me a bit of life. The harder I try to get things taken care of and finished, the faster my plate gets loaded up with more. (Sometimes I think it's one of Murphy's cruel jokes...) Gone are the days of spotless bathrooms and clean refrigerators. Most nights I don't even know what to make for dinner. (Tonight we're having something with boneless chicken breast, but I'm really not sure what. Maybe Alfredo?)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Lucky for You

Lucky for you I have nothing to say. My brain is too busy bouncing around and therefore I cannot stay focused long enough to write anything grandiose or amazing. You will just have to take my word for it.



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Grass Grows Long


Keeping up is tough. The grass just keeps growing. We have enough lawn mowers, we just don't have enough lawn mowers, if you know what I mean.

I think the neighbor needs more of both kinds of lawn mower... Or maybe he likes trails and stripes.

R is for Rainforest

R is for Rainforest, Rainforest Crunch.

I am not a concessionaire of coffee, but I do have a favorite flavor. I am not entirely certain how I came upon Rainforest Crunch coffee, perhaps I first purchased this variety in a little sample package, but whatever the source of the original cup, I find this to be my favorite. Sometimes it is not available in my local supermarket, and I have found myself wondering if it could be seasonal. A week or so ago I spotted some on the shelf as I meandered by. In a moment of weakness I popped it into my cart along with a canister of French vanilla creamer. I do not indulge in much, but I do enjoy a nice cup of coffee. My back porch is the perfect place for sitting and sipping right now.

Care to join me? Do you have a favorite coffee? How about a cookie too? I'm having some of those fancy Spritz cookies. :)

For more ABC Wednesday fun, click here.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Strawberry Plants and Vacation Plans

Bethany had too many strawberry plants. She sent out a plea for takers, but I did not respond. I was not sure whether or not I really wanted strawberry plants, but she thought I should have fresh strawberries of my own, and so she dug some up and brought them over.

I looked about my yard wondering where in the world I might put those pretty little plants when my eyes fixed upon an empty garden box. Do you know why I love those square foot garden boxes? It is because they are so stinkin' easy to plant in. The dirt is never walked upon and I have kept them covered in lieu of cats. They are clean and neat and right outside my back door. Into my garden box went a boxful of strawberry plants.

We are making vacation plans. James and I are hoping to take a little trip together sometime in June, after the wedding... (Did you know my son is getting married in just a few short weeks? Yikes!) We have not been away on a vacation in almost six years. No wonder I find planning a challenge.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

I did not go out to do my regular errands today, and so I did not pick up the token Mother's Day gift I had imagined. Such is the "Martha way". If I am ever slightly disappointed that my own children "forget", I can take comfort in knowing that they are all too much like their mother.

Last night Mom and I ate dinner alone (well, alone together, if there is such a thing). James and Ben had run out to the bank, and Hannah, home late from horseback riding, was upstairs in the shower). I filled Mom's plate and set it on the table along with her cup of milk, and suggested she say the blessing. She was happy to oblige, and I sneaked a photo while I was supposed to have my hands folded and eyes closed. I don't think she noticed, and I'm sure God knows my heart's intent. I really just wanted a picture of my mom praying.

I never imagined  years ago that my mom would actually end up living in my home... It was one of those things my sisters and I would occasionally discuss, each of us saying we would be more than willing to take her in, but never really believing  it would happen. It has been 18 months now since Mom came here to stay. The road had been rough in patches and I have had to learn how to maneuver the curves and potholes in new ways, but the "FAIL" sticker that so often graced my forehead those first twelve months no longer appears in the bathroom mirror. I've traversed enough territory to realize I'm not alone. I am not alone in failing, because I am not the only one who struggles, and I am not alone in success because in order to succeed, I need help. I need help from my friends and family, and I need help from my Father in heaven. Thankfully, I have both.

I pray my mom feels loved and appreciated on Mother's Day tomorrow. I think I can give her something that doesn't involve paper and pens, flowers or material gifts and I have an idea of something she may appreciate even more... (Of course I'm not telling!)

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Teal Lake?

It rained this week, but Teal Lake did not make a grand appearance. Instead of a large backyard puddle, like previous years, we have a slow trickle of water miraculously draining away into the tiles we laid last year and making the underground journey to the drainage ditch. It isn't pretty back there yet, but perhaps by the end of the summer it will be beautifully landscaped (I can dream...), or maybe I will bring home a few nice lake rocks every once in a while and strategically intermingle them with tall ornamental grasses and wildflowers.


The apple orchards directly around our house seem to have fared okay in spite of the early warm temperatures and late snows. Though some of the blossoms have appeared sickly, others are bright and cheery. The bees were buzzing about in yesterday afternoon's warm sunshine and tractors have been running in and out the orchard roads in a constant hum of activity.


I have a few "favorite" apple trees behind the house. They actually sit just inside our property line, or very close to it. They are the old apple trees, Rhode Island Greenings, good for cooking but not the best eating apple. I love the gnarly way these old trees grow. This one reminds me of the tree from the movie "A Bug's Life".


Oreo decided to keep us company in the backyard yesterday. It is highly unusual to wander the yard without a cat  on my heels. He is kind enough to say hello to each of us as we stop to snap pictures or dig in the dirt.

Today it is cold enough for a small fire in the wood stove, just to "take off the chill," of course. We've decided to stay inside and play Duplos and marble chute.


Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Bruised and Abrasive

A little over six years ago I started a blog. I named it "Lookin' Up" and made an unspoken commitment to keep my writing upbeat and positive, vowed not to use it as a vehicle to hurt or demean others, and purposed it to honor the One who lived and died for me. I also wanted to keep my writing honest and have found through the years that sometimes honesty means that life is not all roses and sunshine. Everyone faces storms in life. There are challenges and heartaches of every kind. Sometimes we laugh at life, and other times we weep. Sometimes we are strong, and other times we are overwhelmed. Lately I have been overwhelmed.

I am easily bruised and easily abrasive. When I speak my words are not always well thought out. Disagreements and misunderstandings leave me literally tied in knots and in physical pain. Though I know the pain in my neck and back are not caused by structural issues, I still find myself in pain. A chiropractor can not take it away. I need to pray more, I need to read my Bible more, and I need to learn how to give all my anxieties and fears over to His care. Thankfully, I have a God who already knows exactly what I need.

Q is for Quilt

Q is for quilt. I love quilts. They remind me of all things warm and cozy, like Grandma's house.

A couple weeks ago Mom and I did a puzzle together. It was called "Quilt Sale" and pictured a variety of old fashioned quilts. Though she struggles now to put the pieces together, I still enjoy sitting at her table and working a jigsaw puzzle with my mom. I guess that's because it's kind of warm and cozy too.

To see the other participants in the new round of ABC Wednesday, click here!

Monday, May 07, 2012

And Then We Had Breakfast

Priscilla arrived early this morning. She brought her Christmas Present Waffle Iron along, and her very own special mix for making waffles. As she cooked up waffles, I made coffee and orange juice. We topped our fresh cook waffles with vanilla yogurt and blueberry topping. Oh, yummy! Did I say I was going on a diet? How silly of me!!!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

A Tale of Two Pies

The weekend is drawing to a close. This afternoon James and I enjoyed a visit from some friends who we haven't seen in quite some time.
Not too long ago Jon asked about my "doggone perfect-looking" pies, and thought maybe I could teach him how to make a top crust. So today we got together to make a blueberry pie and visit. Jon and Emily brought a very yummy "secret ingredient" pecan pie (which Jon made), and we ate altogether too
much pie. :)  Don't they look great? That diet I was going to start is altogether too elusive... Well, at least there will be no pie around to eat for breakfast. Between Jon and Emily's two boys, and Ben and Hannah, there is nothing left.


Rachel brought Mom back early this evening, and tomorrow morning I am expecting another special visitor. I hear she is bringing something wonderful to cook up for breakfast. (Did I say that diet was elusive?) Maybe I should take some orange juice out of the freezer just in case we decide it might go good with the menu.

James and I finished off the evening with a brisk walk through the orchard. No sprayers to dodge or outrun this time, just bee boxes to steer clear of.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Blossoms and Bees

In spite of the nasty spring and dour reports of lost fruit crops, the sprayers have been busy in the orchards surrounding our house. On spraying days there is the constant drone of far off sprayers, kind of like giant mosquitoes in the distance.

James and I went out for a walk last night. After listening to see where the tractors might be, we decided to venture south, across the road, and along the woods toward the pond just over the hill to the west. Rather than come straight home upon reaching the street, we took the old orchard road that leads back toward the lake and around behind our property. We were directly north of the house when we heard a parade of tractors enter the orchard from the main road, there must have been three or four. Not wanting to get caught in the spray, we made a direct "run" for the house, except we weren't really running. I had just reached the barn when I looked back toward the apple trees where a sprayer was shooting a cloud of spray. Whatever they are spraying doesn't smell and must be okay for the bees, however, I don't think I would like to find myself face to face with either the tractor or the sprayer. I was glad we beat the crowd and made it back home.

My blueberries are looking okay so far. The flowers haven't yet opened, a perk of being so close to the lake. Sometimes it keeps us warm, and sometimes it provides just enough cold to keep the blossoms from opening too early. I hear other local farmers were not so lucky. I must remember this while out picking at the end of July. If we have a berry crop, it will be a gift.



Apparently there is hope for Mr. Fox's apples too or I don't suppose he's be out there tending to them. I'm guessing that irruption of Red Admiral butterflies might also be good for the apple crop. I think they're helping the bees this year. They've been everywhere the past few days!