Thursday, July 28, 2011

"Our Town"

Fourteen years ago, we moved from a rather large, populated, crowded metropolitan city to a small town that I have nicknamed "progressive Mayberry".  I love it...I love every thing about it.  Instead of trying to explain why I love this place, let me give you a rundown of the day Elizabeth and I had several days ago.  We are on a mission to "get her ready for college", and have many errands to run in our attempt to prepare for this daunting task.  On this particular day, I was armed and ready with my "to do list" and this first place on the list was the post office.  By now, I should know never to go anywhere without my beloved Nikon, but it seems I never learn and this day, I did not have it. So, I will have to describe my scenes well and use a few photos taken after the fact!

 We stopped at our cute little post office to return some mail ordered clothes items that did not fit Elizabeth.  I walked up to the counter and the postal clerk  pulled this cup out and asked if this cup looked familiar?  Now, it has been weeks since I have been in the Post Office, but the last time I was there, unbeknownst to me, I left my cup.  Apparently, she saved it for me and has been waiting for me to return so she could give it to me!  Really, who saves a dirty, used cup for weeks for someone they barely know..... the people in Our Town.

Next, we made a stop to the gas station to renew Elizabeth's expired brake tag.  The man who owns the gas station has become a buddy of mine as we always talk "chickens" when work on my vehicle needs to be done.  He owns all types of chickens and is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to laying hens.  After we exchanged "hellos", it was time to get down to business and we let him know we were there to get her a new brake tag ~ as we pulled out her required, license and registration....we discovered that her registration is expired!  After he fussed at her and told her all the proper credentials she needs to have in her car, what does he do - renews the brake tag - no problem!  (without driving the car or testing the brakes or having hardly any of the necessary paperwork!) His biggest concern was the fact that she had the title in her glove compartment and someone could steal and sell her car! Only in "Our Town"

Next stop is a gift store - here we pick out a gift for her friend she is going to visit in Colorado.  The whole time we are shopping, the owner of the shop made sure to catch us up on everything going on in "Our Town"!

Then, we run by the house to take the title out of the car as our friend from the gas station really scared us straight about having the title in the car.  As we are letting ourselves in the house,  I hear my name being called from down the street.  We look up and the post man is running toward the house and calling my name!  As he got closer, he said (out of breath) , "You got a package this morning, and since it was raining, I didn't want it to get wet so I took it to your husband's office downtown.  Your husband gave me this umbrella so I wouldn't get wet, do you want it back?"  I was so amazed that someone would care enough to leave and take my package to another location to make sure it stayed dry that I was happy for him to keep the umbrella!  Our town is just an awesome little mix of folks looking out for one another :: if these things happen in one morning, can you imagine living here?

::  Switching Gears ::
My mother brought this wallet to Sara as a gift from Nicaragua.   Several months ago - I heard Sara say I am making Laura a wallet and using this one for a pattern, but in usual "Sara fashion" there was a flurry of material flying and before I knew it, the wallet was wrapped and gone!  I never saw it. 

The other day, I was with Laura and she pulled out the wallet that Sara made ~ it is definitely 
blog worthy so here it is!  

It even has a coin purse in it with a zipper ~ any one want to put an order in?

Here are a few more pics from camp - this one is a keeper - the camp photographer is getting better!  

Here is one of the fun activities they have at camp called "Down and Dirty" - They whack each other with  socks full of powdered sugar and top it off with  pudding, sprinkles and whipped cream!

After it is over, they run and jump into the swimming hole to clean up!

Finally ~ I will have basil.....I am rooting it fast and furiously! 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Gone Fishin"

One of our new past times around here has been to feed the fish and it is becoming quite exciting to watch the fish in the pond you see featured on the header munching on handfuls of feed in the water.  The catfish are plentiful and huge...which led us to the bright idea of trying to catch a few!  

Yesterday, we made a fishing date of 9:00 AM...determined to catch some of these monster catfish.......

At precisely 9:00 AM, here is how GranE arrived to pick me up for our fishing date!  Such a high-tech gran-ma she is.......

We fished in the pond, we fished on the river bank....

 even though the Lady Anglers got some encouraging nibbles, we got nothing
 more than moss and sticks.

I guess when you have five dogs swimming around the river, having the time of their life, the fish aren't exactly going to bite like crazy.

Good thing we weren't really counting on catching fish ~ it was fun just watching the dogs do their thing...Mattie, the Rotweiler has become quite a retriever.

We decided to hang up the fishing poles and go for a hike ~ the woods are so pretty right now

We found this new trail  - Dora the Explorer had nothing on us - and it led us to this beautiful grove of cypress trees with a green carpet underneath them.

Here are GranE and Mattie - Mattie usually won't pose for a picture so you have to move quickly to get a good one of her. 

 Banana Spiders ~ our woods are full of them.  They don't bite but are a bit intimidating. 
Next time we fish :: dogs will be put up, we will have worms and a cane pole :: 
we will be armed and dangerous ~ fish beware!!!!

Change gears - I have this new concoction I have been using is so simple and I cook everything with it....Chicken, fish, eggs - anything - 
Rosemary, Garlic Butter

Squeeze a clove of fresh garlic (or chop) into a glass container

Cut some Rosemary

Cut it into small pieces and put into jar ( about a teaspoon) 
and sprinkle a bit of salt or Tony's Chacheres in there. 

Take a stick of butter and place into jar; heat for a minute in the microwave and you are done. 

This is seriously a wonderful thing to keep by your stove!  Guess you could do it with olive oil too..

Here are my "MULLET EGGS" that I eat for breakfast, every, single day of my life!  Now, why do I call them them "mullet eggs"? Because when you fry them with a teaspoon of this little is 
all business in the front
and a party in the back!

Here are some fun photos off the camp web site of the girls.....

Sara is perfecting her kayak skills - look at those biceps

Isn't she cute - I am missing her!

Here is Ellen ~ Sailing on a misty morning.

The count down is on and it won't be long till they are home, sweet home!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A letter to Ellen

For anyone who is recently tuning in, my two youngest girls (16 and 12) are at a summer camp that my girls have attended every year for many summers.  Except, that this is Ellen's first year, so many letters are exchanging hands...this"camp" is very old fashioned and campers are completely "unplugged".  They can only communicate with loved ones by "snail mail".  We can email a central email address; the camp prints the letter out,  gives it to the camper and they (hopefully) respond by sending back a "real" letter.  Of course, we can send good old fashioned letters too, but when you are missing your little ones, it sure is nice to be able to write and know that they get it the very next day! I have written and emailed almost every day and this morning - I was trying to think of something that a twelve year old would like to read and this came to me: I am adding pictures for the blog's sake, but the email went without the cute photos!

Dear Ellen,

Finally, I got that woman off her computer so I could get on and send you a letter, although it is kind of hard to type with these big old paws of mine.  Life in the country has been awesome, except that you haven’t been here to play with. Other then that…I have been having more fun – I haven’t missed a mud puddle to roll in, I swim in the river ALL the time and look for fish, and my new trick is to chase those big white birds that hang around the horses in the field!  Scout and I run like mad when we see them, and I always think that I am going to get that bird, but sadly, I never do. 

 Basically, I stay wet and muddy ALL the time.  Your Mom says I am like "Pig Pen" on the cartoon Charlie Brown....whatever that means.  I think it means I am dirty ~ which is a good thing right? 

Cause it is fun to get down and roll in the dirt and muck.  Every once in a while, your Mom gets frustrated and brings me up on the deck and says, "Libby, I am tired of you being wet and dirty, we are going to get you all clean so we can pet you"...then she washes me down real good and rubs me all over. 

 I don't mind telling you that it does feel pretty good!  You wouldn't believe the amount of cockle burrs she cut out of my tail and boy, do I look pretty now! So, she washed me up, brought me in and she and Dad played with me and the rest of the dogs all night.  

I think they are going bonkers or something ~ maybe you and the other girls need to get on home cause they are starting to act real strange.  Well, I stayed clean until they let me out the next morning and as soon as possible, I jumped in the river and got right back to my good, old, nasty, wet self!  Rolling around in the dirt, wrestling with the other dogs.....your Mom didn't seem to pleased about it but, oh well.  I heard her say that it won't be too much longer till you are home, now, don't hurry home on account of me cause you know me, I am just having a good old time playing in the dirt all day long!  Not that I don't miss you ~ but like you...I sure am having a fun summer!


I can just hear Ellen laughing out loud when she reads this, and I guarantee that she will be reading it to all her cabin mates and anyone else who will listen ~ she loves this crazy, dog who won't miss a mud puddle.  Somehow, she got off without a picture of Libby, and her first letter was a request for a picture....of course, I went straight to the post office - and even paid for it to go priority is a camp necessity to have  a picture of your dog!  Ellen got it and reported back that the picture was nestled right by her pillow, so she can sleep with it every night!  Every child needs a dog about the time that they are ten or eleven.  We got Libby for Ellen two summers ago (I was blogging way back then ~ here is the post ..."Give me Liberty or Give me Death") when her older two sisters left for camp, and Ellen quickly became an only child!  It was a magical summer of a puppy and a little girl becoming best friends ~ and it has never ended!  I think leaving Libby might have been the hardest thing (including her Mama) that Ellen had to leave behind! Thats OK - I love Libby too. But more than that ~ I love that Ellen loves her......

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A very unusual fence post

So ~ our week with no children began on Sunday when Elizabeth left with her best friend and their family for a week's vacation in North Carolina.  We started our "honey-moon" with fireworks....working on fences....AGAIN!  Just so you don't think the romance has faded after 23 years, here we are walking hand in hand, back from a hard day of fence building!  I was too tired to go to the movies as planned but it has been nice to accomplish some tasks on our list! 

Last night, I washed all FOUR dogs so we could play inside with them when Gary got home from work.  We usually bring them inside at night, but keep them in their "dog boxes" as they are always fairly dirty, and with the rain we are getting lately, they are really dirty!  Well, after a very nice meal of pesto chicken, fresh bread and baked potatoes, we relaxed and FORGOT to play with the dogs.  So, at two o'clock this morning, I awoke and realized that my all my efforts were going to waste; so what did I do?

Much to the surprise and delight of our dogs, I let them out.....

and we played!!!!!!!

Gary woke up and got into the action!  See what having no children for a week does to you! 
We are crazy I tell ya.... 

Here is the real topic of my post!  When we were fencing on Sunday, I noticed this tree with the barbed wire having grown completely  through  it.  I am sure this tree is decades old and look how cool it is that the fence just grew with the tree and has made it through hurricanes and other natural disasters for all of these years   I made a mental note on Sunday to come and photograph this.
After my two o'lock play-date with the dogs this morning, I was settling back down for a bit of shut eye and all of a sudden - "zing"; I was reminded by that internal brain gun that goes off at the least unexpected moment, just when you are about to drift off....BAM - you feel like you have been shot!  I knew I had to wake up at the light of dawn and go GET A PHOTO OF THIS TREE WITH THE BARBED WIRE THROUGH IT.

So, wake up I did - I had only half-slept for about an hour. It would have been so easy to just roll over and  shut my eyes, but God must have been the one shooting that idea gun, because when I tell you that the world was a beautiful place this morning....well ~ words cannot do it justice - just scroll down to the next pictures.  So, I am out in the misty, wonderland at 5:30 AM, getting my photo, and look who
pokes his head around the corner!
Why, hello Doc!

I MEAN HELLO DOC! Hungry are we???

Flash hurt your eyes?

I don't have any food!!!! I promise!!!!! Now, they are all coming! 

Once horses figure out that you don't have food on you, they pretty much leave you alone.

Horses love you for your food :: just the way the story goes

I heart this photo.

~ This one too ~

It was a magical morning - the moral of the story is...

When the gun in your head goes off.....

You have got to