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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Two Questions

Recently...well...a month or two ago...two people asked me two different questions:

"Do you do what you do in the garden because you enjoy it or because you are expected to do it?"

"What keeps you motivated?"

One question came via a phone conversation and one by Facebook, within the space of a week or so.

I have been pondering these questions since and I believe the answers are almost the one and the same.

To me gardening is, in many ways, magic.  God's magic as it were.  It is the old, old story of death and rebirth.  The circle of life. The sort of magic that never gets old, that never ceases to thrill. 

How miraculous is it that you can take teensy little dead things like this...


plant them and get a plant that grows taller than you are and produces, under ideal circumstances of course, pounds and pounds of fruit like this?


I love to watch the little green beans sprout and unfold their initial umbrella leaves.

 The sweet potatoes fascinate me as well.  Just plant a little slip like this:


and then you can get several pounds of these.


What could be a better motivator than this?  I dunno.  But in the dead of winter when the temps are hovering around ten degrees I love to pop open a quart jar of green beans and heat them up for supper.  For dessert it's fun to roll out a couple of sheets of pie crust, pop open a jar of apple pie filling or blueberry pie filling and slop it into the crust, cover and bake.  Super easy.

In the freezer are stacked bags of corn, ready to be taken out, cooked and enjoyed: the taste of summer in mid-January.

Or a jar of homemade salsa to go with some tortilla chips.  That is another taste of summer in a jar.

The list could go on, but I guess this is enough to give an idea of my motivations for gardening and also to answer whether I do it because I like it or because it's expected of me.

Of course okra and cabbage fall under a different category.  I grow them because Gary likes them and I need a variety of things to feed him.  But I wouldn't be inspired of my own self to grow them for me.  If that makes any sense.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Learning Life Skills

It needs to be said now at the beginning here; I am not and likely never will be much of a homemaker.  It's a fact.  But I have a daughter; therefore I needs must teach her SOME life skills of homemaking and sitch.  This summer I have been attempting to do that. 

We are transitioning her laundry into her responsibility.  I still help a bit, but she does most of it.

This morning I had her put it in the washer and then we went down to visit my mom.  (Who is doing quite well, BTW, though it's routine that she forgets to take her meds.  Which story is for another blog post perhaps.)

My mom, after a bit of chitchat, inquired about our activities for the day.  I told her we'd harvested our onions, weeded in the garden a bit, and played with the dog.  But we needed to go home so Ellen could hang out her laundry.

My mom was puzzled: "Ellen needs to hang out HER laundry?"

"Yes." I said.  "She's learning how to do her own laundry."

Mom:  "Why does she have to do her own laundry?  I always just did your laundry and all of it all together."

Me: "Yes, I know, Mom.  That's why I reached age 20 and had no clue how to do my own laundry.  This is not happening with my child."


Ellen giggled and my mom laughed.  As she does at every thing, serious or not.     
I distinctly remember one morning, way back when, when Mom was at work, I had the morning off from college classes and I thought I'd do some laundry.  I was quite proud of myself for figuring out the washing machine and getting a load done.  I remember being a bit crushed at my mom's rather irritated comment as to how I could have been doing it all along.  Ha!  True enough.  But I was never forced to learn how and was never given regular chores to accomplish.

I had an ideal childhood.  True, I did plenty of outside choring around; cutting kindling and hauling wood was a year round job. I remember working hours in the garden, weeding, hand-plowing, harvesting, shucking corn, picking peas by the wheelbarrow load, shelling them, trapping gophers...  But as far as day to day chores; laundry, housecleaning...I had little to no part of it.  And very little got done.  I am not trying to pick on my mom here, or criticize her parenting, but I do want to make sure that Ellen grows up knowing how to do the things that I had to struggle to learn on my own...and am still struggling with this day to a certain respect. 

I am not going to overload Ellen with responsibilities, but as she masters one chore or skill I am going to add another.  She's going to know how to cook when she gets into her teens, how to do laundry, run a vacuum cleaner...etc. 

I have very little self-discipline of my own, so trying to teach my daughter is a challenge for me, but I am persevering at it.  

Thanks:  I am thankful for a daughter who realizes that she needs to learn how to take care of herself, even though she does protest at times.  I am thankful that I am aware enough of that need to force myself to teach her, even though I have to endure her occasional prolonged protests.  I am thankful that I can spend the time with her teaching her these things instead of someone else teaching her.  I am thankful that my mom can laugh at the past even when I make snarky remarks.  I am thankful that my mom didn't catch my snarky remark.  I am thankful for the wonderful onion harvest that we got today. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Ellen's "Times"

In various books that we have read together the children in the story have written their own newspapers.  Ellen wanted to follow suit, thus here is her newspaper, spelling errors and all. 

May 29, 2016  By Ellen

Memorial Day
Tomorrow, as we all know, is Memorial Day!  It is a day to remember all of the Vetrans.  Lots of people celebrate with barbecues and such.

Fashion Trends
The most popular fashion Items are swimsuits.  Of corse they will be, well because its summer, and it's also time for swimming.  Popular patterns are usually cheveron and Polka dots.
   Boy fashion: Plaid shirts and Nike/Under Armour are very popular

Hard Times
As we most all likely know, the Beloved Long Lane Elem. has closed. ):  My Long Lane friends and I are trying and have secksessfully ajusted to the new school.  How did we do it?  Easy.  4 cups of faith and one of friendship.

5 Questions ansewerd

Today unknown has ansewerd 5 questions to the book The Dragon's Whim, By Pamela Dean.  Here are the questions:

What is this book about?  Five children in an imaginary land.
Who are the characters? Ted, Ruth, Patrick, Ellen and Laura
What is the setting?  The Hidden Land
Why do you like this book?  It's fun
What about this book do you like?  The literary style

Bluebirds day
Today a local blue bird nest's eggs FINALLY hatched!  There are five baby blue birds in the nest.

From the author
Dear Reader; Thank you for reading this.  If you love it don't throw it away.  I did it, exept for the front, by hand..  Ellen

Thank you for inspiring me to do this.

I guess we don't need one.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Country Can-do...

 On Facebook a few people commented on my fix of my broken glasses:
Hubby's idea; A section of coat-hanger and hot glue.  So far they have worked for 3 days!  It was something to the effect of a Humboldt or Ozark fix... Anyway; I said I liked to call it "Country Can-do."  You come up with whatever works.

I did that in another way last week, too.

We do not have a microwave.  This was a mutual decision hubby... (Rabbit trail:  Why do I keep calling him that?  I dunno.  That's what I started calling him when I first started this blog, and I have just kept it up.  I call Ellen Ellen...  Hmmm...  His name is Gary.  Maybe I will just call him that.)

Anyway.  Gary and I decided to forgo having a microwave for a couple of different reasons.  Gary doesn't believe they are healthful.  I have never had luck with a microwave; they will last maybe a month for me and then go KAPUT!  Then I have to figure out how to get rid of them.

Then there is the fact that I have very limited counter space here in the house.


No microwave.

However.  On occasion I get a serious craving for microwave popcorn.  You know what I mean?  Well, maybe you don't.  But if you do  you know that even though you may have one of those poppers that spits out healthful happy kernels of puffed up corn, that's just not the taste you crave.

It is very difficult to have microwave popcorn without a microwave.

Hence another Country Can-do:

Open microwave popcorn bag and scrape contents into your skillet.  Cast iron is probably best since it heats more evenly.

Make sure you have a roomy lid that will fit over your skillet.  Make sure it fits securely.  Ha.

Turn heat to medium, shake pretty much constantly.   After a short time the kernels will begin to pop.  Keep shaking until popping slows down.

Do not remove lid until after you have removed skillet from the heat.  Wait, but shake.

Remove lid.


 Enjoy.  This makes for some yummy toasted old maids, too.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Another Mom-ism

As much as she is able she tries to keep in contact with family and friends from California.  She does, when prompted, remember names and situations.

For instance; at the senior living apartment complex she'd lived in for so long there were a few neighbors she became friends with, or otherwise was acquainted with.  She does remember them and ask about them from time to time.  The apartment manager, Doris, has written her a couple of letters and kept in touch; which is very sweet.  There was one man there who was friendly, but irritating, that she remembers; Brad.  He had Parkinson's Disease, I believe, though don't quote me on that one.  He was in a wheelchair, but could use a lift to get into his truck and hold a part-time job, I think.  Or he volunteered, I am not for sure.  Anyway. 

A couple weeks ago Mom got a letter from Doris saying that Brad was in really bad shape and was waiting for a referral from his doc to be admitted into a care facility. 

Mom:  "Oh, that's too bad, I didn't know anything was wrong with him, except for what was wrong with him."

This also struck me as funny.  How could she know what was wrong with him until Doris told her?  I don't know.  She is just funny.  Sometimes I can't help but laugh; (as long as it's appropriate) and mom will laugh along.  Still cheery as ever.