Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stifling a Scream

What do I do when I come home and find my mother reading through my Gratitude Journal? It's not totally private, but it's not like it's public either.

"What are you doing?" I asked, hoping she might realize she is over stepping her bounds.

"I'm reading your blessings," she smiled.


I should never have left it on the table underneath my Bible. I already know she's nosy. I already know she will poke in where she should stay out. I have no one to blame but myself, but I really want to scream. I want to grab it away from her and tell her she should ask permission to read my things, and yet I have just pawed through all of her belongings... If I take it away and tell her it's not her business, she will sulk, and so instead I smoke and fume. Truthfully, I want to cry. (Actually, I want to grab it away and smack her with it!)

Update- I know my dear husband will come with a gentle rebuke for the fact that I posted this at all. In a way I have broken my own blogging rule #1. Don't blog posts that show others in a negative light. But it is really me that is struggling here. It is me that is wrong more than my mom and it is only me who I am ultimately able to control. For those of you who wonder, I didn't smack anyone and I didn't scream. I did, however, eventually take it away and tell her she had read enough. There was no sulking and from now on I'll just leave the book upstairs in my bedroom.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Strangely Silent

It is strangely silent in my house today. No small children sleep on my couches, no toys grace the floor, and no little voices call. My "flower gardening" job is suddenly over and, though I have plenty to do, I am finding myself not quite sure where to start.

I haven't been home alone in months! What does one do when home alone? Maybe I should make some coffee and see if I am as good at baking banana bread today as I was at rhubarb pie yesterday. Hopefully someone will come home to eat the stuff because I'm not planning to.

Or maybe I could clean out the cupboards...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

X is for eXtra

X is for eXtra; eXtra hot!

For several years now I have attempted to grow chile peppers. (See "P is for Pepper") Though the tags always say they will grow long and thick, they have typically ended up short and skinny, not near big enough to roast on the grill like I hoped, and hotter than hot! Maybe I have finally gotten the good ones this year. So far I see only two peppers which is a rather slim crop, but they look to be a better size and I am hopeful that others will appear as the summer progresses.

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

Battle on the High Sea

I'm not completely certain who won the battle. There were no casualties and both ships sailed back into port unscathed. I did learn however, that covering one's ears is a must when the cannon is fired, even if the cannon balls are nothing but smoke.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

An Afternoon Sail

I have to admit I was a little nervous this afternoon. I've never been on a Tall Ship, and although I was excited, it was just a wee bit scary too. I needn't have worried. The lake was calm and the only motion of the ship was a gentle rocking. No getting seasick and no urgent calls of nature mid trip.

It was a gorgeous afternoon, partly cloudy with a little bit of breeze, the perfect day to be out for a sail. We were out on the lake for a little over two hours, wind in our sails and smiles on our faces.

What a wonderful way to finish up our 30th anniversary week! Thank you, James!!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Bright Bouquet

They were a bright bouquet, a smiling garden, precious flowers. There were tired days, childish squabbles, and messes to clean up, but mostly there was love and laughter. School is done for the year and all but one of my small flowers will be spending the summer with mom and only two will possibly return next year. Though I have plenty of ideas of things to do and plan to have a wonderful summer, there is a little piece of my heart that is sad too. Whatever is a gardener to do without her flowers? Will there be new seedlings in the garden? Will there be a garden at all? Will I be resigned to only grandflowers? Will I have to steal them away for the day just so I have a little one to snuggle? Only time will tell. In another week or two I will have a new grandbaby. Now there is something to look forward to!

Setting Sail

Tomorrow afternoon.

Friday, June 24, 2011

My Ship Comes In

Water and summer time just belong together. I'm still practicing the art of living along the lake shore, something my father took full advantage of as a boy. There must be a little bit of mariner running through my bloodstream too. I find a ship on the water a romantic sight.

Last night James and I took a ride to The Port of Rochester to get a closer look at the ship I fell in love with last summer. Even the sight of the rigging and rails is captivating and makes me wonder what it all looked like through my father's eyes.

Seeing it all up close gives new meaning to the phrase "learning the ropes." Very cool. Now I will have to go back, see the sails open, and watch her put out to sea.

On second thought, I think I'll take a cruise myself. :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summertime, Summertime

I am enjoying my back porch and my mother is too.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Out For an Ice Cream

Highway robbery, that's what it is, but there is nothing quite like going out for an ice cream, especially on our anniversary. It was a small celebration. We went to Bruster's after our weekly visit to the nursing home. I had Cotton Candy Explosion and James had Butter Pecan.

No pictures of the "old couple," just a few of our fellow celebrants. Adam was there too but he was off walking the dog who snubbed her free doggie sundae. It even had a milk bone on top!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Walking the Neighbor's Dog

James and I went out for a walk this evening. We took the long way as usual even though his foot was hurting. The orchard is typically pretty quiet when we walk and our talking probably scares away most wildlife, but once in a while we see something on our orchard walks. Tonight was one of those rare times.

We were just rounding a bend in the road when a barefooted man appeared. "Earth dwellers!" he commented as we came into view. He struck up a conversation and asked if we walked there often. We commented on his bare feet. "I'm just out here walking the neighbor's dog," he said. Sure enough, there was the dog a hundred feet or so behind him, hobbling along on three legs... Too funny!

I think he may have been tasting a little of the dirt on the bottom of his toes when he realized that we were the neighbors who owned the dog. I had to laugh just a little bit as Jasmine came hopping along and did her trademark somersault in the road, landing at our feet. We talked a little bit with Martin and gave the dog a pat or two before heading home. Jazz decided to stick with Martin tonight. I suppose maybe we'll see her again in a few days. Goofy dog.

W is for Watermelon

W is for watermelon, the kind with seeds.

When I was a little girl growing up in upstate NY, water- melons were trucked in from the south where they grew large and sweet. They were giant, oval shaped beauties with crimson flesh and filled with seeds. We washed our ears in a concerted effort to devour every last bit of the luscious fruit.

I was telling my nephew the other day how water- melons in the days of my childhood were twice as big as the ones I find in the supermarket today. He looked doubtful and said he'd have to ask his mother. I'm not sure why he thinks I would lie to him... Not too long ago watermelons also had seeds which were wonderful for spitting at my sister Rachel. We never laughed so hard in our lives! Can somebody tell me where to find one of those old fashioned watermelons?

Since I borrowed the first two photos from a free online photo source (That's what it said. Honest.), I leave you with my sister's favorite watermelon eating dog, Sherman. I searched my entire blog before realizing this was posted on Priscilla's instead. Summer has just begun. Watermelon season is here!

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

PS. The nest is empty.

Monday, June 20, 2011

30 Years!

Happy Anniversary to My Darling and me!

I think maybe we should go out for ice cream after the nursing home.

A Dwindling Garden

My little "flower garden" is dwindling. School is almost over, just one more day of preschool tomorrow and then a few scattered "flowers" through the end of the week. By this time next week I will be down to one little "blossom." She will come a few times a week through the summer and I hope to have some fun while she is with me. I think we'll plan some field trips, pack some lunches, and pray for good weather. Maybe one day we'll visit Della.

My little "Vinegar" has a birthday tomorrow. He will be two on his last day here. He has taught me some good lessons, challenged me, and captured our hearts. Our days just won't be the same without him running aimless while looking over his shoulder to see if we notice. I might even get some outside work done but I'm going to miss him terribly. Maybe he'll come visit...

I guess it's time to catch up with the Father's Day remnants in my kitchen, throw the clothes in the dryer, and vacuum the floor. It won't stay done but the effort will be good for me... maybe.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day!!!

It's hard not to miss my dad on days like today and I'm still just slightly lost when it comes to knowing what to do. Missing him is a given, but we are starting new traditions and have new little people to teach and love. I'm looking forward to a great family picnic when Jim is home in a couple of weeks.

It was not only Father's Day here, it was also Nathan's 21st birthday. We had the traditional strawberry shortcake after our cookout. The back porch was rescued just in time.

And tomorrow James and I celebrate 30 years together. Wow!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Good Old Summertime

If I don't hurry up and get with it, summer will be over and I will have missed it altogether. My back porch has not been quite the haven this year as others. Distracted by small children and hampered by cold weather, our favorite summertime spot has been neglected, but we are working on a remedy. My favorite Priscilla made some new covers for my rattan loveseat and soon I will have the frame freshly painted. (I even bought a cover to protect it from rain and sneaky pets. aka Jasmine) This morning I purchased some fence sections to keep my folding chairs on the porch during unexpected windstorms and My Darling installed them for me. A new broom, a couple of plants, a vinyl tablecloth for a small laminated table... I think I'm finally ready for summer. Now all I need is a good book. Could you pass the iced tea?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Snow Peas

This afternoon I finally harvested enough snow peas to put in our dinner. I was thinking some kind of stir-fry, so I did the best I could with what we had in the fridge; diced baby carrots, sliced Vadalia onions, strips of red pepper, fresh snow peas, and a little soy sauce served over rice. When James came home he tossed some toasted cashews in his.

Never mind the salad with Caesar dressing and the hot dog. It was a long day. I hadn't thawed any chicken and I used up the stew beef in Stroganoff last night. Caesar dressing doesn't really blend well with soy sauce or teriaki, but then I didn't try to mix them, just enjoyed each flavor individually. Too bad there aren't any leftovers. Guess I'll just have to try it again. I'm thinking some water chestnuts would do well or maybe some baby corn. What do you think?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Teeny Little Super Guy

Turtles are rumored to be slow, but once they get going they can really move, especially the tiny ones.

I have been keeping an eye on the side of the road the past few weeks. I have seen more dead turtles than I'd care to admit and I don't want to run over one myself. I was rather disappointed one afternoon upon finding a limp and broken painted turtle in front of my house. I couldn't stand to leave him there and watch every other car crawl past (Yes, people do slow down for turtles...), so I quickly disposed of him.

Yesterday afternoon Ben found a baby painted turtle up by one of our barns. He took his good old time coming out of his shell, but once he did he made a beeline for the bushes. Not wanting him to get away before we had a chance for a photo session, I made a quick grab for the little guy. He was not very cooperative with the photographer. Camera shy, I guess.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

V is for Vinegar

V is for vinegar. Where there are apples, there is vinegar.

Fleischmann's has two major vinegar making plants and one of them is about a half hour drive from my house. I'm sure there are days when the air is heavy with the pungent odor but I didn't smell anything when I stopped to take the photo.

Fleischmann's acquired this plant from Waylon Foods back in 1990, but I'm sure the vinegar vats go back much farther. They have a yesteryear type of air about them, leaving me to imagine the scent of vinegar heavy in the air. I can almost see the apple trucks hauling in their autumn loads.

Sometimes, on my walks through the orchard, I really do smell apple cider vinegar, the over ripe and rotting carcasses of discarded apples. I kind of like it.

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

For those of you who visited last week, these little ones are not so ugly anymore. They're really kind of cute.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Baking Day

Last week we had temper- atures in the 90's. It felt like mid-July. Today it felt more like late September or early October. It was a baking day. I made a box muffin mix (apple cinnamon) and a batch of snickerdoodles. Mmmmm!

My baking adventure commenced after Andrew had fallen asleep on my lap and before my friend Vinnie came to play. It was a good way to warm up the kitchen, but my resistance is low today and I cheated. I ate one cookie this afternoon and half a muffin this evening.

Tomorrow I shall behave once again. Back to salads for lunch and no yummy goodies outside of special occasions... like Father's Day or Nathan's 21st birthday... or maybe my 30th wedding anniversary.

Multitudes on Monday

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Such a simple suggestion. I always thought I was being thankful, but now I know how easy it is to rush through life without ever stopping to notice how very blessed I am. Since starting my Gratitude Journal in February, I have become "addicted" to counting; from brilliant sunsets and birds in the morning to small children on my lap and meeting friends in the grocery store. It really is a wonderful thing to stop and take notice of the Lord's blessings in my life.

1020. Chives blooming

1054. Finding a blog friend at a graduation party

1062. Blueberry promises

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Go to the Ant, Thou Sluggard...

There are four [things which] are little on the earth, But they [are] exceedingly wise:

and this is one...

The ants [are] a people not strong, Yet they prepare their food in the summer; (Proverbs 30:24-25)

I'm not too sure what they were doing, but they were all involved. There were so many ants that it looked like someone had spilled coffee grounds on the rock walkway.

Summer is upon us and it is time to work. I wonder what we shall accomplish?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Watchful Eyes

Mother and Father robins do not appreciate outside interest in their babies, but I am interested none the less, and so I keep peeking. It is good that we have a handy dandy doghouse parked up near the barn window, one with a two-tier roof that is relatively easy to climb upon. It comes in quite helpful when I want to get a nice close up of hungry baby birds.

Mommy and Daddy Robin really need not fear me. I will not touch their little ones unless they are in mortal danger, and I promise to chase away any naughty cats that see them as an easy meal. I wish them the best with their little family and hope one day the baby birds fly safely away to raise families of their own. In the meantime I plan to keep a watchful eye myself. In fact, I think I'll go sit out on the back porch and have a gander their direction.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Say What?

Kids say funny things. If one takes the time to listen it can be quite hilarious. One of my small flower children loves words and has quite the repertoire stashed away in her little mind. Though she often remembers the words she is also a little off on either the meaning or the correct pronunciation.

The girls were playing a game. Each was a different character and this time they were girls. "My girl's name is Average," said one. My ears perked up. Average did several things in the game and though I longed to listen further, I had a pressing matter and had to leave the room. I whispered to Hannah, "She's a girl named Average." When I returned Hannah smiled and told me Average had changed her name... to Glimmer. Too funny. She had been just an average girl up until the name change.

Yesterday the same child was singing a little song. "Skip to the loo," she sang. I smiled again and wondered if that was anything like running to the outhouse.

No Pool, No Problem

Hot weather means swimming, or at least trying to...

After lunch we hauled out the big buckets, carried water, and handed out cups. The kids went wild. They knew exactly what to do and enjoyed every minute of it.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

U is for Ugly

U is for ugly.

Baby robins are just plain ugly. Maybe in a few more days and with a few more feathers they will be cute, but for now they just aren't. Funny thing is I checked this nest just a few weeks ago and it was completely empty, not even an egg, and now there are three babies. It sheltered a family last year and I was curious if it would be used again this summer. I thought it had been abandoned.

Mama and Papa must have been working on the house about the time I checked. It's apparent they did at least a little remodeling and cleaned up a bit. I think they did a nice job. It's all tidied up.

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