Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Day in Pictures

The day started out hot and sunny, moved through dark and rainy, and ended with cool and sunny. It was pretty near a perfect day.

Girls walking in the summer rain.....

Getting ready for 4-H competitions . . .

Summer at its best.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Tomatoes are what I love most from my garden. And yet, another year it seems that I will lose many of them to blossom end rot. Almost nothing in the gardening world breaks my heart like seeing that black stamp on the bottom of an otherwise beautiful tomato.

It doesn't affect all the tomatoes on a plant but definitely affects some of the tomatoes on all of the plants -- regardless of the type. So far it doesn't look as if my cherokees in the planter on my deck have been affected. We'll see. Maybe next year all of my tomatoes will be grown in planter boxes where the moisture can be more carefully regulated.

My husband picked up a pond lining a month or so ago that he found on Craigslist. I choose the hottest of days to dig a hole big enough to set it in. I can't wait to fill it - I am sure that it will be greatly appreciated by the chickens, dogs, and the cats. We all will enjoy it too. And it was great to spend some time with my little guy who worked very, very hard for me.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Last night I attended a memorial service for a cousin I really never knew. He was the older brother of my cousins with whom I grew up. This older cousin of mine--he was legendary. He was a real renegade. I had always heard of my cousin--there were stories by the hundreds! But I never knew him.

After last night's memorial service, I wish I had. Sure, he engaged in some unhealthy behaviors. Ultimately, it was alcoholism that killed him. But that wasn't all he was. From the number of people who attended his funeral, I would say that my cousin had quite a few friends. I never knew this. I didn't know that he was vegetarian (unusual for my family); I never knew that he was a staunch protester against the Vietnam War despite being extremely proud of his dad--a WWII vet.
I didn't know that even as a young child, in a hunting family, he refused to kill a deer. And was unashamed to say so.
Hearing his stories from the perspective of others made me wish I had known him. I think we would have, at some level, understood each other. I have always been told that I was the black sheep of the family, that I was odd. I never could understand why I was so damn different from the rest of the family. Why I was/am such a freak, so different from the rest of the world.
My cousin struggled with spirituality as do I. His sister said that he believed in God (I do too) but struggled with how God is depicted. I understand that.
My cousin was a musician, an artist, a gardener, a caregiver of others . . . . I didn't know him.
I realized last night that this is my family. We all look alike--us folk from my dad's side of the family. I love them. I cannot believe that I've let 30 years go without seeing most of them. I've always been closer to my mom's side of the family. But wow, on my dad's side, there is no denying. We all. look. alike.
If there is nothing else I follow through with this year, I will keep in touch with my cousins and my uncle. I can't miss out on losing another part of my family.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Dog Days of Summer

I can't think of clever titles. And apparently last night not only did I have difficulty coming up with a snazzy title, but the post was riddled with poor grammar, misspelled words, and bad punctuation.

What can I say: it is summer and my brain is soooo not functioning! There are so many other things to think about--it is almost time for me to start canning! So many things to can. I love to can. I plan to double the amount of spaghetti sauce that I can this year. More jars of italian peppers in tomato sauce is on the agenda too! We still have peaches from last year but I'll can as many of those as possible because nothing is better than the taste of summer peaches in the middle of winter.

I took in some of my last jars of hot pepper jelly to the office. I'll be making more of that too--my family doesn't like it but my co-workers do!

I'll make sauerkraut again because it is fun to make. Nothing like sitting in the living room pounding the cabbage while watching a football game!

I do like summer-I really do. It is the heat and the humidity that I don't like. I'm more a fan of the temperate feel of fall or spring.

But 6 months from now, I'll be complaining about the cold, about having to wear layers upon layers of clothes, about not being able to work outside without gloves. and a hat. and a scarf.
And I'll be dreaming of this:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Beauty amidst ugliness.....

Not sure what is happening to me. Certainly it can't be (can it?) my experience with the human race last year that went awry. Yesterday my cousin died. Of acute alcoholism. I wasn't close to him but I was really close with his family. He was an older cousin - a cousin of myths-- a renegade who never grew up. He's dead now. Assuming he lead his life recklessly but possibly he drank himself to death quite alone. With only his sister keeping him company his final week. He is the first of my family to die young. My family--both sides--are known for their long lives. Same for my husband so I'm expecting that my kids will live to see 200!

This is an odd feeling. Not so much like my aunt (my loveliest, sweetest, aunt) who died of cancer no doubt caused by years of smoking. But Phil, my cousin, was only in his early 50s. I didn't know him. But I knew his family.
And I'm sorry.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I'm baking again.

This is such an awful picture - that dark spot on the right is a shadow. This really is a beautiful stove - circa 1948, made at Cleveland Co-operative Stove Company. Haven't been able to find much on the internet regarding parts, operation, etc. but there is a story behind it. I love things that come with stories.
This little stove has had two owners before me. The man I purchased it from had used it for 9 years and for the past 4 years, it had been stored in his garage--and it has the mouse nest to prove it. I know this is true because I was talking to the son of the man who was selling it and kids don't lie.
Anyhow, true or not. . . he bought it from a woman who purchased it new in 1948. On this stove she made many meals for her family of 15, she baked 10 pies every day to sell to a local diner--all in this gas oven. The day came that she had saved enough money for one of those 'new-fangled' ovens that didn't require a match to start. After that, it was put into use for a new family--a family who moved into their home with nothing. The seller told me that he had made all of the holiday meals on this stove. And if it weren't for the fact that his wife wanted a new, electric range, he would be cooking on it still.
Let's hope that this stove comes with a little bit of luck against burnt bread, fallen cakes, and lumpy gravy. Because now it is mine.
Did I mention that I love things with a story?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The good, the bad, and the green....

The Good . . .

the bad (remember the Firestarter?!)

and a bounty of new life!! Our single blueberry--which has survived way longer than any of my previously planted blueberry bushes;
new chicks for a whole new season of laying; a hollyhock-wannabe.....very miniature, but a Hollyhock nonetheless;

our last remaining cantelope plant. With blossoms. And a mini-cantelope.

and the farm chihuahua, Max!
And special prayers going out for a kind co-worker of mine who is going through the most nightmarish heartache one can imagine. Strength to you, Kate.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Simple times

This was our Fourth of July parade.
Just local people with their lawn tractors and hay wagons.

And lots and lots of candy!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy 5th of July!

Ok - so some of the family members don't actively participate in the celebration of Independence Day........ My photos didn't turn out! And althought we didn't have our annual Fourth of July badmitten tourney, we had a great day!

The pictures of the obscene amount of money spent on the fireworks last night prompted a ton of comments. And my thoughts flow back and forth between both camps.
It does seem as if there was an obscene amount of money spent on these fireworks. Money that was blown up to the sky. But . . .these fireworks brought our community together (kind of). It was our way of saying 'Yay! for America' or perhaps, Yay for the America we could be if we were truly represented by the people. And not by a group of elitists that pretend to represent the people. The fireworks were sponsored by area businesses - and the land on which they were launched was donated by the local University to be used for the fireworks. I think what is ticking people off is that there are furloughs at my University that will become a reality to a number of people in the Agriculture College (can you imagine). And the threat of furloughs virtually everywhere on campus. But without some type of celebration, where would our morale be? It is just a celebration folks! True, it doesn't have to be as spectular as it was, but it is just a celebration....
But without a celebration of Independence Day . . . where would that leave us? I think that if nothing else, the 4th of July celebrations bring us together as a nation. Whether we are for the government or not, it brings some interesting topics of conversation to light. Like it or not, we all live in the United States of America. And my heart belongs to the good old U.S. of A. but I love Canada as well. And if I traveled to Switzerland with my girlfriend, I'm sure I would love that country too.
But the U.S. is my home. Just like all of us wanting to break loose from our small hometowns when we were teens, like it or not - America is our home country. With all of its faults and all of the things we could fix if only we were is our home. Land that we love.
So quitcher bitchin'.......if you don't love it, DO something about it! If you actually do something, you may not change the way of the country. But in miniscule way, you will have some impact on the future of my,our America.

A torrid love affair

 I've written about the ducks quite a bit. It's a little like Peyton Place around here I think. A couple of months ago, the male d...