Thursday, May 31, 2007

Bird Watching

Tonight I went down to the drainage ditch to check on the red winged blackbird nest. Last time I checked it was occupied by at least an egg or two. This time it was holding not just eggs but naked little birds. I couldn't see them very well so I went "ahhhh!" and up popped a tiny head and a rather large mouth.. Very cool!

Oh, Happy Day!

I baked a pie today! It's just plain rhubarb and I think we need some vanilla ice cream to go with it. Rhubarb pie just isn't the same without vanilla ice cream.
Tomorrow we are going to the Buffalo Zoo with Shelly... if it doesn't rain.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Wash Day

It was a great day to hang laundry out on the line. I hung out jeans, t-shirts, and tablecloths but decided to throw the towels, socks and underwear in the dryer so as they wouldn't be quite so "crunchy".
Maybe tomorrow I'll make a rhubarb pie...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Gardens and Stuff

Summer is closing in fast. My son Dave stopped over late Saturday afternoon and tilled up the garden area for me. Yesterday James had Nathan build me some boxes to plant my vegetables in, and this morning we took some time to set out the plants. I still need to plant my pickling cucumbers and I did end up adding four butternut squash and a bed full of flowers (celosia and zinias). Hannah helped me put weed block on four of the six beds so hopefully that will cut down on the weeding that will need to be done later on. Now I'm ready to sit on the back porch and relax for a while. Anybody for some iced tea or lemonade?
Nathan found some more summer fun, a silly little toad. He's looking very serious in the photo. Maybe he was afraid he might turn into lunch. No need to worry. We put him back in the flower garden where its safe.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

This is a day set aside to remember those men and women who have given their lives for the freedoms we enjoy in this country. Most often we think of our American soldiers and their families, but they are not the only ones who have risked their lives for this country. There were also those from other countries who often joined the United States military to defend the way of life we have known for so long. My father in law was just one young Canadian who joined the United States Air Force. There must have been many others. To them, their wives, and families, I say thank you.
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD
(1872-1918) Canadian Army

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

More Things You Don't Really Need to Know

1. I was born on Palm Sunday 1964
2. I am named after my mother's paternal grandmother and her eldest sister.
3. I have lived in NY state for all but six months of my life.
4. I love NY.
5. I don't have any immediate family who live out of state.
6. I have a GED.
7. I never went to college.
8. I suppose that makes me uneducated in the eyes of some people.
9. I don't believe that.
10. I have gone to church my entire life.
11. I was baptized as an infant.
12. I was baptized as a teenager.
13. I'm not sure when I gave my life to Jesus but I know I belong to Him.
14. I have a large print Bible that used to be my Grandpa's.
15. I still need glasses to read it.
16. I am thankful for glasses.
17. I'm also thankful for eyes.
18. I have both an ambylopia and a strabismus.
19. I don't know how to spell those words, I just guessed.
20. I had surgery to correct my lazy eye when I was a preschooler.
21. When I'm tired, my eyes are still wacky.
22. In high school my nick name was Bert.
23. The boys used to call me Bertha instead of Martha and my friends shortened it.
24. I liked being called Bert.
25. No one calls me that now.
26. I don't get invited to high school reunions.
27. Probably because I didn't graduate.
28. Most likely I wouldn't go anyway.
29. I don't drink alcohol.
30. But I do like wine coolers.
31. I haven't had one of those in a very long time.
32. I drink iced tea instead.
33. I used to have a long distance relationship.
34. It started in 3rd grade.
35. It ended after I got married.
36. Letters were far and few.
37. He moved to Maryland.
38. I have terrible springtime allergies.
39. I sneeze incessantly.
40 My nose itches like crazy.
41. I take an antihistimine.
42. I used to get hives from the cold.
43. Now frozen things cause terrible pain in my hands.
44. I try to keep my hands warm.
45. My first kiss was the boy who later became my husband.
46. I never kissed more than three boys.
47. One didn't count.
48. He sold lemonade at the county fair.
49. James and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary last June.
50. Our kids threw a surprise party.
51. We were surprised.
52. I used to write poetry.
53. Once in a great while I still do.
54. I have never had anything published.
55. Maybe some day I will.
56. I doubt it.
57. I probably not as nice as some people think I am.
58. Maybe I'm nicer...
59. I hate having my photo taken.
60. My face is too fat.
61. My eyes like to be shut in photos.
62. I can't keep them open with a flash.
63. I am going to be a grandma in October.
64. I am excited!
65. I almost bought a baby outfit today but I refrained.
66. Some day I will buy one.
67. My vegetable garden is still not planted.
68. Sometimes I'm afraid it isn't going to happen.
69. I'm craving a nice tomato sandwhich.
70. My mom has fed me tomato sandwiches since I was a little girl.
71. I drink coffee more often than tea.
72. I used to drink tea more often.
73. When I was a teenager I loved baking cookies.
74. I don't bake much now.
75. Baked goods are hard to resist.
76. In the fall I bake apple and pumpkin pies.
77. Next week I will bake rhubarb pie.
78. Deep inside I am a country girl.
79. I have always wanted to live on a farm.
80. We used to visit my great uncle's dairy farm.
81. Once I saw a cow giving birth.
82. I don't mind the smell of cows.
83. Pigs and chickens are a different story.
84. My favorite activities used to be bike riding and rollerskating.
85. Now it's walking.
86. I never cared for competition sports.
87. I don't have to win to be happy.
88. I enjoy James' camera.
89. I take too many pictures.
90. Mostly I put them on the blog.
91. I develop far fewer photos now that I'm blogging.
92. I have way too many photographs.
93. I don't think I'll ever get them sorted and into albums.
94. If they were, I'd have way too many albums.
95. My 3rd grade boyfriend and I used to catch garter snakes.
96. I wasn't afraid to touch them.
97. I don't want to touch tham anymore.
98. I still not afraid, I just don't want to touch them.
99. I used to have a pet mouse.
100. Now I have a dog, three cats, and some fish.
101. I need to get up and fold the laundry.
102. The dishes also need to be washed.
103. My bed is made.
104. I make my bed almost every day.
105. I get up after James.
106. He thinks I sleep too much.
107. He used to stay in bed longer than me.
108 I'm just making up for years past.
109. I don't usually sleep past eight.

Friday, May 25, 2007


It has been another beautiful day of sunshine and warm breezes. Bethany stopped by late this morning and stayed to help me dust and straighten up the house. I have been feeling rather discouraged and unsure of what to do first so it was nice to have a "take charge" kind of person here to point me in a better direction. She says I need to make a "to do" list and set some goals to accomplish this summer. Of course she is right but once a body is out of sorts it is hard to know where to start. What would I do without this wonderful daughter?

This afternoon we took a little time out to sit on the back porch and enjoy some conversation and a glass of iced tea. Now she is reading a book on pregnancy that was recommended by a friend. Tonight we are planning to go shopping together while the kids are at church and James is helping Joe change the oil in his truck.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thirteen (or more) Favorite Summer Foods

We eat different food in the summer than in the winter and always look forward to that time when the switch is made. Here are at least thirteen of our favorites...

1. Watermelon
2. fresh garden salads
3. tomato sandwiches
4. BBQ chicken
5. summer squash (Well, I like it anyway.)
6. fried bell peppers. (They make great sandwiches too!)
7. strawberry shortcake (We have this for nathan's birthday every year.)
8. iced tea
9. smores (and plain toasted marshmallows)
10. fresh blueberries, of course
11. pasta and potato salads
12. peaches
13. ice cream
14. corn on the cob
15. 3-bean salad
16. fresh veggies
17. baked beans
18. popsicles
19. hot dogs and burgers

Have we reached 13 yet?

Summer's Return

On Sunday I couldn't get warm and today we are looking for a high of 86 degrees. How I love the warm weather (minus the allergies!). Today I am going to hang my clothes on the line, make some macaroni salad, and sit out on my back porch for a little bit and enjoy the weather.
My yard is full of flowers and life. The bees are quite busy as well as the birds and other creatures. Yesterday Ben found a tree frog. I have been noticing bird calls more this year. Maybe some day I'll learn to recognize them by their songs. I'm so glad God put all these wonderful things here for us to enjoy. The credit really belongs to Him and if we are able to capture a tiny portion of it on a photograph, we are truly blessed!
Time to make my salad and finish the laundry. Maybe I'll be back later for a Thursday Thirteen...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Pusteblume # 2

I'm not exactly sure what "pusteblume" means but I'm with Gudl, dandelions do make wonderful photos. I've taken way more than enough dandelion pictures this year, but I don't think I'm finished either. I also have a strange inclination to take photos of puffy old cattails.

The vegetable garden is coming along at a very slow pace. The weeds took over with a vengance this spring and they are totally out of control. My son, Dave, is supposed to stop over on Friday and help me get it tilled up again. I am fighting with myself on how many veggies to put in. I already have two regualr tomato plants and one cherry, two bell peppers and six chiles, and six celery plants. I am hoping to get some pickling cucumbers (and maybe some for slicing) on Friday morning. I think that will be it... if I keep control... With all the other summer activities maybe that will be enough.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

More of Springtime

The warmer weather is making a comeback. It's time to get my gardens in before its too late. Bethany brought me a Clematis for Mother's day. I need to get it planted too but first I need a trellis of some kind to grow it on.

Our white lilacs are blooming now too. It looks just like a popcorn bush to me. All I need is to pick a big bowl and melt some butter...
This morning James fixed our lawn tractor, which had been out of order for the past week. Ben spent the better part of the day cutting the grass. The yard is looking much more civilized tonight. Maybe we'll go visit Rachel tomorrow.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Ahh, ahhh, aahhhh... chooo!

Allergy season has settled in. As soon as the lilacs start to bloom, I start sneezing. I'm not really sure its the lilacs I'm allergic too, I hope not because I love to get my nose up close to them every once in a while, but something in the air is making me sneezy and itchy. The weather didn't help yesterday as it hovered right at "cold" all day long. I just couldn't stay warm and that made me sneeze too. Today is just a little bit warmer and the sun is shining to boot!
Saturday afternoon was the Apple Blossom parade in town with fireworks at dusk. Since we moved out of town five years ago the parade and fireworks are the extent of our participation in this town event. We prefer to be at home, work in the yard and enjoy the actual apple blossoms instead. I was still tired out Sunday from my running around Saturday and decided that the overcast skies made for good afternoon sleeping weather. I took a nice long nap!
Today is an off day. Its still a tad cold outside and I'm still a wee bit sleepy. My allergies will keep me tired so I just have to fight them off and keep moving. Maybe I'll go make some coffee and check out my garden.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Old Apple Tree

The Old Apple Tree

Oh! The old apple tree in the orchard,
Lives in my memory,
'Cause it reminds me of my Pappy,
He was handsome, young and happy
When he planted the old apple tree.

Then one day Pappy took Widder Norton
Out on a jamboree,
And when he took her home at sun-up,
Brother Norton raised his gun up,
And chased Pappy up in the tree.

When the neighbors came after my Pappy,
Up in the tree was he,
The neighbors took a rope and strung him
By the neck and then they hung him
To a branch of the old apple tree.

Now my poor Pappy lies in the orchard
Out of his misery.
They put the apples in the basket,
Chopped the tree down for a casket,
And my poor Pappy's gone with the tree.

Say "Good-bye," Say "Good-bye,"
Say "Good-bye" to the old apple tree.
If my Pappy had a knowed it,
He be sorry that he growed it, '
Cause he died on the old apple tree.

(Lyrics by Jack Scholl, Music by M.K. Jerome--© M. Witmark & Sons, N.Y. 1938)

Troy Boy

This is Troy's last full week here with us. Next week he will begin his summer vacation at home with his daddy who teaches at a local college. We'll have him a couple days when his brother goes on a school field trip, but otherwise we are done for the summer. It has been a pretty good year. I've learned to stay home much more and made a little money in the process. For all my time at home I'm not sure my house has been any cleaner or supper has been on the table any earlier but I think we've done okay. Life is full of changes and this is another one.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

My Babies!

What to Do...

Yesterday's rain brought in some much cooler temperatures but the sun is back today and that is good. I discovered that my Jack-in -the-Pulpit is not alone in the garden. There are actually several out there. That is cool.
I have just begun the gargantuan task of pulling weeds from my "vegetable" garden. I think I may be out there until July! It's possible that I might give up, decide to go small and just put in a few peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers. We can always buy wonderful sweet corn around the corner and other gardeners beg you to take their zucchini by mid August. Small is sounding better all the time... Maybe I'll just plant grass in the rest of the areas.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


About two weeks ago our neighbor decided to post signs all around his property. He lives alone and apparently isn't interested in being friendly with any of his neighbors. I found his actions to be quite insulting and yet somewhat amusing at the same time. We have no reason to set foot on his land aside from discussing our drainage issue. He doesn't own the orchard, just a five acre plot next door.
The signs are highly visable and keep me thinking, checking my motives and asking God how to purify my own heart. How do I love someone who refuses contact? How do I respond when I pass him in my car or meet him in the grocery store? How do I act when I see him out in his yard? How do I keep myself from wanting to "get even"?
All wondering aside, I started thinking about my own "Posted: No Trespassing" signs. They aren't necessarily visable, they're in my heart and mind. I too have certain lines that I don't want anyone to cross. I'm not really so much different on the inside than my neighbor, but Jesus is working, helping me to realize those areas where I need to change. One by one He can remove those posted sings from my heart and teach me how to welcome others in, even unlovable neighbors.

Apple Blossoms

The trees are blooming and the bees are buzzing in the orchards.
Today its raining.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Just Like Summer

It's been a beautiful summer-like day but tomorrow is supposed to be a little cooler. My little vegetable garden is growing (peas, spinach, and radishes) and the orhcards are starting to bloom. I love being outside on days like this.

I've been trying to weed out my flower gardens which is a never ending job. As long as the sun shines, there will be weeds. I no longer see the trilliums that used to grow in one of my gardens, but I did find a Jack-in-the-Pulpit yesterday. It's nice to know he's still out there.

Last night James and I took a long orchard walk. Poor Jasmine went with us and we nearly had to carry her home. She was so tired she flopped down beside a mud puddle to take a drink. I guess sometimes having only three legs does catch up with her.

Monday, May 14, 2007

An Experiment

Mother's Day Pictures

l to r- Jim, Beth, Joe, Ben, Nate, Dave, Hannah

Getting all our kids together in one place is not so unusual, but getting one photo of everyone is a bit tricky.

Getting James and me in the picture with them is a whole different story!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Friday, May 11, 2007

One of My Friends

This is Little Cat. She was feeling very friendly today and decided to follow me around the yard.

Nature Preservation

A digital camera can turn almost anyone into a nature enthusiast. I was out looking for frogs in the drainage ditch (I found a nice one) and noticed that the female redwing blackbird was rather agitated at my presence. I had seen a picture of their nests online and decided to take a closer look at the cattails and see if I could find one. Here it is! I don't know if anything is in it but maybe I'll go back and check again next week.

Oh yes, we can't forget the frog, can we?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Gentle Rain

It's been raining on and off today. The flowers are happy and the birds sound happy too. I saw my little hummingbird this afternoon and hung out the feeder. It's a peaceful kind of day.

Help! I'm turning into a Grandmother! (and how I know)

(I was warned this could be offensive but it isn't meant to be. I'm just trying to get used to the idea that I'm growing a little older.)

1. My daughter is expecting. Of course this is really what its all about, isn't it? She is due the end of October and I can't wait!

Aside from that...

2. My eyesight is no longer 20/20. I need reading glasses. I found this out a few years ago when I had to read with one eye closed and it gave me a headache.
3. My chin is doubling over. I won't elaborate further...
4. I have to keep plucking that one stubborn hair that keeps appearing on my upper lip.
5. I'm hopelessly out of style and couldn't care less.
6. I have my mother's hands. I don't know how they got onto the ends of my arms but there they are.
7. Sneezing can be dangerous!
8. I'd rather sing hymns.
9. My husband has a few gray hairs. (I don't think I do, but there must be some significance here.)
10. I've stopped trying to keep up with the rest of the world.
11. I forget everything.
12. I talk too much about the weather.
13. I'm thinking about getting a rocking chair for my back porch.

So there you have it... I think I just may be at the point of no return.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

One Room School House

This is where my grandpa carved his initials in a beam of the one room schoolhouse he attended as a boy. When I was in 4th grade my class went on a field trip and this is one of the places we stopped. We walked around the building and as we passed this old beam (they support the roof from the outside of the building), I smiled to myself. I'm not sure I told any of the other kids that my grandpa had carved his initials there 60 years previous. I didn't think they would believe me anyway. Several years later I mentioned the initials to Grandpa and found that he had pretty much forgotten about carving them. When I told him that the A also formed the stem for the P he said, "Yup, that's how I used to do it." It's kind of fun to take my own kids there and show them a mark left beind by their great grandpa nearly 100 years ago and tell them how Grandpa stole the teacher's whip and hid it down the outhouse.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Tow Head

"Whitey", "Tow Head", "Blondie". When I was a little girl I wished for plain brown hair. I wasn't sure I liked all the attention I got for being so very blond, but when I had my own children I secretly hoped for one with hair as white as mine once was. Both David and Hannah have blond hair but I don't think either had hair quite like mine. Now, looking back, I rather like my hair.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35

Oh, that loving others just came automatically. I find myself over and over having to give my heart and thoughts back to Jesus, asking Him to cleanse me once again. I know that my salvation isn't dependent on anything but His sacrifice on Calvary, but the day to day living can prove to be a challenge and sometimes growing hurts. In spite of the pain, or sometimes aggravation, continued growth is necessary in this walk on earth. If every day was easy and things always worked out just the way I wanted them to I would become spoiled and unusable, so even though I don't like being uncomfortable I can thank God for continuing to stretch me in ways I never thought possible. It has taken many, many years and lots of pain and aggravation to see and learn to be thankful for what often initially seems to be little more than an irritation. Yes, often loving is difficult, but with God nothing is impossible.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Better Late Than Never

I'm so thankful that spring has finally arrived. One morning this week I got up and noticed that the world had turned green. I love the brilliant green of springtime grass. The trees are budding and my tulips have also decided its safe to bloom.

This morning I'm off to run some errands. My house desparately needs some attention but that will have to wait until this afternoon.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Busy Days

The past few days have been a little bit busier. The weather is much more pleasant and we have been able to work outside in the yard and garden. Yesterday Hannah and I planted peas, spinach, and radishes in my little garden. Its a very small area where I like to grow some early crops. Once the peas are about done producing, I'll likely put some cucumber plants out there. I'm planning on making Bread and Butter pickles again this summer.

Teal Lake is now just a big dead spot with a small puddle in the middle. The water is still draing from the surrounding areas and we turn the pump on once or twice a day for very short intervals. (Too bad for the toads.) A couple guys from the town stopped by late this morning and took a walk through the back yard and looked at the swamp on the opposite side of the house. Unfortunately, James and I were gone to the bank. Anyway, its good to know they're looking.

We also cleaned off the back porch and set out the chairs. Can you tell I'm hoping the good weather stays? Pretty soon we can sit out there and drink a nice tall glass of iced tea or lemonade.