Monday, October 31, 2011

Goodbye October

Halloween, the last night of October. No spooks or goblins knocked on our door this evening, so I guess we'll have to eat the candy ourselves. :)

Yesterday I found the vines on this old barn looking like a giant spider web.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


This afternoon Bethany called with a spur of the moment request. She was at the LW Emporium and Whistle Stop Antiques and wanted to know if I'd like to browse antiques with her. It sounded like fun.

I grabbed my purse and headed out the door. We didn't have much time, but I think she and I could have a lot of fun browsing together given the entire afternoon. Forty-five minutes just wasn't long enough to take it all in. I think we'll have to go back again.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Falling Over

What's more fun than a pile of freshly fallen leaves?
My Last Year's garden came to play yesterday! What a great way to end the week. 

Today I met James for lunch at Moe's and ran into my friend Bella who gave me the nicest smile and a great big hug. :) 

Though my week started out stressed, it ended relaxed. To top it off Josh turned four today and we had a really great birthday party.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Escape Hatch

I was totally overwhelmed on Monday. It wasn't the small children playing in my living room, just an overall unsettled stress deep within. Sometimes I find myself wondering whether the room is spinning or just my mind, and then I realize it's all those loose ends that never stay tied. On Sunday afternoon I heard part of a message on the radio. The pastor was speaking of those times when we go to pray and all we can muster is "Oh, Lord..." He said that was okay and God hears the cry of our hearts and so my prayer was just that, "Oh, Lord."

I had been wondering if God was hearing my prayers anymore or if He would ever answer my cry. On Tuesday morning my friend Vinnie came to play. I felt a sense of relief wash over me when I laughed at him kissing the goldfish through the side of the bowl. It was just the beginning. There was a phone call from a mom who I had agreed to babysit for. She doesn't need me after all. A little more stress relieved. Another phone call told me that my grandkids would be here today rather than Wednesday and that left Wednesday free and clear aside from putting Emma on and off the bus. Relief. And my friend Heather came to visit too. It was a wonderfully dark and rainy morning, perfect for a little bit of cleaning and a visit with a friend. In the afternoon Hannah and I ran out to the bank and a quick stop at the store. We ended the day with a Scrabble game between James, Hannah, and me. I think I lost, but that's okay. Today the pressure is relieved and all I had to do was trust God to provide a way of escape.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

O is for Osage

O is for Osage Orange which I know little to nothing about...

however my friend's artist husband evidently found them interesting enough to paint. The painting hung on the guestroom wall when we stayed there overnight and I happened to snap a picture. (It was one that caught my eye online and there it was for real, right in my room!)

I did a little googling and found the fruits of the Osage orange are also known as "hedge apples." This little bit of information jogged my memory. A fellow blogger once wrote about "hedge apples" so I went back and looked it up on her blog and there they were! Evidently they smell much better than black walnuts...

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

Dear Annie

Happy milestone birthday to you, my beautiful niece!

I missed your baby and toddler days because we lived so far away, but I thought of you often and wished we could have been there. I am grateful for the few vacations we had together and for your willingness to give up your bedroom when Hannah and I came to visit Texas. You have been a blessing from the very beginning in ways you may never fully understand.

I love you! Have a wonderful birthday with your handsome husband!

Your Auntie Martha

PS. Facebook will not let me steal a picture, even my own, so now I have to go dig one up.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Way of Escape

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 
1 Corinthians 10:13

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Happy Birthday to My Darling Daughter

Daughters, and sons too, have been known to look for special birthday wishes. Today was Bethany's twenty-sixth birthday. She spent it driving home form a weekend getaway with her two guys. We will celebrate her aging process along with Josh's 4th birthday this weekend (I think).

I've made several Bethany Lists already, but in honor of this special occasion I give you yet another.

1. Blond hair and green eyes, she looks like me and yet her daddy's Aunt Sharon all at once
2. Creative
3. Advocate for Compassion International in her own sense
4. A big sister and yet a little sister too
5. Baker and seller of pies
6. Energetic
7. World traveler
8. Brave
9. Encourager
10. Silly
11. Fun loving
12. Daughter, sister, wife, mom, aunt, cousin
13. Beautiful


PS. Don't forget my other post below, the fishy one.

Something Smells Fishy

It was a gorgeously awesome autumn afternoon. Although we were tired and in need of naps, we chose to go out for a drive instead. The farm markets were calling, but, unfortunately, they were calling everyone in western New York. The pumpkin patches and cornstalk teepees were mobbed, not a parking spot in sight, so we drove on past the fall festivities to the fish hatchery at Powder Mills Park.

No small children fell over the edges of the concrete holding tanks today. No dogs ran recklessly through the park. (Now that I think of it, it was a small dog who pushed that little girl in several years ago. He jumped up to say hello and over the edge she went. He daddy hauled her away sopping wet and crying.)

We bought handfuls of fish food from the "gumball machine" dispensers and when our quarters were gone, we scrounged a few pellets off the ground around the tanks. It's most fun to throw a whole handful in at once and watch the fish wrestle for them. The smaller fish are much hungrier than the big ones. I think James was wishing he could drop in a fishing line and have a tussle with one on them.

I don't suppose my kids will be around to go farm marketing for much longer, after all they are sixteen and nearly eighteen, but they were happy to go along today. It's one of those family traditions that I'm glad they are still happy to participate in. On the way home we stopped at Wendy's to get a Frosty. We ordered three small chocolates and a medium vanilla, but someone filling the order made a mistake and we all got mediums. I'm not complaining. :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wooly Bears

Out in the fallen leaves, crossing roads and sidewalks, braving dogs, cats, and curious children march the Wooly Bear caterpillars. Wearing fuzzy brown coats trimmed with black, the little creatures scurry along looking for a winter hideout. The Little Man and I found such a fur animal wandering across the driveway on our way in from gathering nuts this week.

We stopped to admire the caterpillar do his Wiggly Dance. Once he was safe in the grass, My Little Friend brushed the bristly haired creature with the tip of a tiny finger and a smile crept across the little guy's face.

It made me smile too. :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Miss Organized

I think it highly unlikely I shall ever find myself organized. It isn't that I don't try. It's partly that I give up too easily and partly that in order to become truly organized, I must also instill a sense of organization into the other occupants and users of my home. Either that or I must throw out three quarters of our belongings. (Now that might be an idea...)

I truly love organizational ideas. I like bins and boxes, closets and crates, shelves and shoe boxes. And, once in a great while I come upon an idea that actually works. Years back I purchased three large, round tubs at Walmart to sort our dirty clothes and keep them from being dropped on the basement floor. They were wonderful! Now I am liking the pressure rod in my laundry room and finding the shower caddy great for holding my laundry supplies. Now if only I could organize the computer room.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wanna Paint?

I have dragged my bucket of painting supplies back up from the depths of the basement. It may be wishful thinking, but perhaps I shall find my self immersed in a project or two. Maybe I'll finish an old project... or two. Maybe my dear sister will find her way to my house and paint with me some day... Wouldn't that be fun?

PS Aren't my paint holders "Darling"?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

On the Outside Looking In

Sometimes I feel like I am on the outside looking in, unable to open the door and at the mercy of those inside. Of course, everyone feels like that sometimes, at least I think they do. I know, deep inside, that God is still working on my heart and in my life, but sometimes it feels like I have been set up on the shelf to cure or something. And you know, it gets a little lonely up on the shelf, and it gets a little lonely standing outside the door too... although Sherman doesn't look entirely miserable... In fact, he looks kind of happy. I could learn something from that dog.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

N is for Nuts

N is for nuts, black walnuts in particular.

I had already raked and picked up the nuts that dropped a week or so ago (see here) thinking I would most likely leave the remainder for the local squirrel population. This afternoon I changed my mind. These nuts are a nuisance! I gathered my resolve, along with a wheelbarrow (or two) and a five gallon bucket, and headed out to see what I could do about getting my yard cleaned up.

Every five gallon pail full holds about 150 nuts. I lost count of how many times I filled and dumped the bucket, but I'm sure I picked up at least 1000 of them. It's looking quite a bit better now and walking isn't near so dangerous. If only I knew what exactly to do with my collection.

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

Monday, October 17, 2011

I Like This

My adventure to New York City gave me a new per
spective on the world around me. It's not really a grand discovery, just a fresh way of looking. I'm sure it's related in some way to my list of 1000 Gifts, as well as the cry of the artist buried deep within. Staying in the home of an actual artist contributed greatly, partly because of looking at the world through Danny's eyes, and partly because of his vehement statements that we should avoid the "furniture" section of the art museum at all costs. He was rather disappointed when he found we had toured the furniture section and actually enjoyed it. "You see furniture every day!" he lamented.

I found myself smiling at the thought of this man, a plein aire painter, distressed at our interest in furniture. Of course, my husband builds furniture and he has very little interest in paintings and sculptures. (At this point I was somewhat relieved I was there with Hannah rather than James.) "But you see paintings every day," Hannah replied. I shot her a look and hoped she wouldn't say anything else, but it was true. In his zeal for what he had identified as "art," Danny had failed to see art of another kind.

For the remainder of the trip I found myself looking at the world around me in a new way. "Look, Hannah," I would say as I pointed to an ornate building, "Art!" On our last morning, as I was chasing Hannah through Battery Park, I pointed to a structure and said, "What do you suppose that is?" (I was serious...) She gave me one of those "really Mom?" looks, quipped "Art" and kept on walking. I stopped and snapped a picture.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Goose is Getting Fat

Perusing new blog posts today, I came upon a post put up especially for me. (Imagine that.) It was a reminder to remind myself. Christmas will be here in no time at all. Thanks, Joeks!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dave!

The pies look perfect! They smell good too. But I am certain they will not taste nearly as good as we hope. I forgot to add the salt when mixing up the filling. Blah. :(

It is a good thing Leta made pistachio cake and brought ice cream. It is a good thing I saved the pie for the birthday boy instead of serving it up to company. It is probably a good thing I realized before Dave cut into his birthday treat. He's had fair warning. It's too bad one can't salt an already baked pumpkin pie.

I think I'll be cooking up a couple more pies in the very near future.


Friday, October 14, 2011

A Splash of Color

The rain is pouring down. It's dark and sleepy inside the house. All we are missing is a chill in the air and a fire in the wood stove. Perhaps that is coming along faster than I would anticipate...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

All Out of Words

I am all out of words. Maybe it is allergy season leaving me overwhelmed, maybe my plate is overloaded, and then again, maybe I am having a midlife crisis. If that is so, I should live well into my nineties...

My friend Shelly planned her own midlife crisis a few years back. Got any grand ideas for mine?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

M is for Monkeys

M is for monkeys. They live upstairs on my bedroom window sill. They're very quiet so long as I don't disturb them. They're typically well behaved, unless of course I take them out to play.

My daughter thinks I am too old to play with toys... My husband wishes I would be a little more mature... But the monkeys don't seem to have a problem with me at all.

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

Eye to Eye, Face to Face, Toe to Toe

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hey You!

James and I went out for a ride yesterday. We drove south to Naples, NY, ate in a little restaurant, bought a grape pie, and headed toward home. In Canandaigua we stopped to buy gas. As James pumped gas, I glanced across the busy Main Street and chanced to see a large yellow dog taking his owner for a walk. I looked closer. I got out of the driver's seat and put my hands up to my mouth. "Hey!" I yelled. The woman looked my direction and I waved my hands. She stopped, stared for a moment, and shouted something I couldn't hear. The she pointed to the intersection just down the road and I knew she was going to cross over and talk to me. It was my sister, home from her weekend trip to Ohio, out walking (or being walked by) her dog. Sherman was excited to see us in his neck of the woods and slobbered us up the best he could. After a brief conversation we climbed back into our van and Priscilla continued her walk.

If only I had a van today I would drive back out to Priscilla's house for a real visit. I have long looked forward to Columbus Day, a day of no school, no small children, and a chance to do whatever I please. Sadly, I made an appointment for my husband's van to have the brakes done and put it right on my only day of uninterrupted freedom between now and Thanksgiving. I am trying to be adult about it. I haven't kicked, screamed, cried, or finagled,... at least not on the outside.

All of this has absolutely nothing to so with these brightly colored plastic Adirondack chairs we saw at the farm market in Naples. Personally, I think $249 is a little over the top for one chair even if they are pretty.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

So Far

So far, so good... It sure does look cheery.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

A Couch Jumping Party

The children have arrived all the way from Tummy Mountain. :)

It's couch jumping time!!!

Friday, October 07, 2011

The Neighborhood Nuts

This neighbor- hood has gone nuts! I've started collecting them. Yesterday I filled a five gallon pail and today I filled the wheelbarrow. (To be fair, I did dump the pail into the wheelbarrow, but only so I didn't have to drag the wheelbarrow around the yard.) I've heard that squirrels love black walnuts. Part of me feels a little bad cleaning them up. I did see a squirrel out there yesterday... but then again, the trees will be dropping those things for weeks to come and they make a terrible mess. If only I liked black walnuts, then maybe they would be worth the trouble.

These are butternuts from my neighbor's tree across the street. They've landed in the orchard road opposite our driveway. They are oblong rather than round like black walnuts, and have a fuzz covered skin. I have no clue what they taste like, but have read that the Butternut tree is endangered due to a canker of some kind.

Interesting black walnut article here.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Looking For Some Ideas

I've been perusing the barns in search ideas. I'm looking for a project and there are plenty of them around. I have plans, but most of them require me to either borrow someone else to do the work or somehow learn to do it myself. I really need to learn how to use power tools...

In the barn attic is a broken rocking chair. Only one rocker is busted, but it renders the chair pretty much useless, at least as a rocking chair, but I found an incredibly brilliant idea online. It involves "upcycling" an old chair and I have just the one! First I'll need to remove the legs and rockers altogether and attach the seat to a couple of sturdy boards with holes drilled in the ends. (Two boards, four holes) Then I'll get out a bright and cheery can or two of spray paint and liven it up a bit. Finally, some good strong rope and someone to help me hang it from that hefty branch on my weeping birch tree.

It will make the perfect swing! (Kind of like this one-->)I just wish winter wasn't looming so near. I might run out of momentum by spring. I wonder if there is anyplace wonderful to hang it inside...


But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them
2 Timothy 3:14

I went to church last night and came home with a verse of encouragement to ponder. God is good, isn't He?

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

A Ball in the Grass

I have been busy and distracted. The lawn has grown long and I have all but given up on someone cutting it neat and short again. I thought perhaps I would cut the grass closest to the house. Sometimes things get lost in long grass. I rolled the garden hose and dropped it in the garden by the dog house.
Down the way a bit was a ball, practically buried in the grass. I thought to move it a bit and gave it a nudge with my foot. It felt strange and appeared to be "rooted" to the ground. I took a closer look at the white mass along the garden's edge.

A shovel was fetched from the barn, a grocery bag (or sack, if you prefer) from the house, and I proceeded to remove the massive ball from my yard. (Actually, there were two of them. Can you believe I naively thought there were two white balls left to lay in the grass... I am just way too distracted!)

I must admit I thought them poisonous and thus handled them with the utmost care, but curiosity got the better of me and I found a sharp knife in my kitchen drawer with which to cut one in half. It let out a puff of golden "steam." Inside was sponge-like and greenish gold. Scary! Mom insisted they were puffballs and after searching a little further online, I've decided she is right. They are Giant Puffballs. My dad used to eat them, on the rare occasion of finding one at proper maturity. This on was well beyond the eating stage, but not quite to the "kick up a cloud of spores" stage.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Sing Me a Song

Hannah is learning to play the guitar.She has a digital piano due to arrive on Thursday. I think we're going to have a little music in the house. Now if only I can get her to sing...

L is for Lips

L is for lips. What would we do without them? Either we wouldn't be able to open our mouths or we couldn't keep them shut. They're rather useful when it comes to communicating whether it be with a word or a kiss. They're also helpful when it comes to eating. They make a pretty tasty snack if they're made with apple slices. Spread them with peanut butter, add some mini marshmallow teeth, and your food just might just smile back at you. (Scary, isn't it?)

To see the other participants in of ABC Wednesday Round 9, click here.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Cake Mix Cookies

I finally made those cookies I've been dreaming of, dark chocolate Cake Mix Cookies. (And this after banana nut muffins this morning...) Several years back my blog friend Judi posted the recipe. Cake mixes were on sale last week and I picked up a dark chocolate one for just this occasion. Add two eggs and a half a cup of oil to one cake mix, roll in balls and bake at 350ยบ for about 10 minutes. Instant cookies! And in any flavor you choose.

I don't typically bake because it's so hard not to indulge. Just to prove it I cheated and ate a few. They were yummy.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Wild Nuts

It was a wild wild wood.
Wild flowers grew all over the ground
and wild winds blew through the air.
Wild nuts fell from the wild nut trees
and wild grass tickled the fur child's nose,
tickled his nose and made him sneeze....

-from Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown

Outside my bedroom window, not quite directly across the street, grows a butternut tree. In the dark of the night, before we go to sleep, we hear the nuts drop into the street or onto the top a car parked beneath its branches. Klunk.

For ten years nuts have dropped from the lofty heights. (We also have black walnuts in our yard...) I have jumped at the sound of cars flattening the fruits and peered out the window to make sure it wasn't one of my cats. I have raked up piles of round, green skin covered black walnuts from my own yard, shoveled them into the wheelbarrow, and watched my neighbor do the same with his butternuts, but this is the first autumn I have stopped to actually smile at the sound of them landing with a thud. Maybe it is because there were so few nuts on the trees last fall that I enjoy their presence. Maybe it's because I have been counting blessings and find another gift in the thud of a nut falling to the ground. Then again, maybe I'm just a weirdo. :)

PS. Little Fur Family has been my favorite children's book for forever.