Friday, June 26, 2020

Ten Things of Thankful

Wild Himalayan Blackberry blossoms reflecting
their different stages

After a few years of participating in the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop hosted by Kristi of Thankful Me, I have come to appreciate the various stages of understanding, experience and talent of those who take time to consider the things for which they are thankful. Be sure to take a minute to see what others are saying this week. Just click on images at the bottom of the page.

1. Being able to discover the source of a leak when it was still daylight and sending an email to the necessary company so they could come the next day and take care of the matter

2. Rocket has playmates although the twin fawns born this week are not nearly has fast as he is!

3. Sweet and sour red cabbage and pickled beets were two dishes I prepared using some of the veggies that were in the produce box I bought this week. I think I'd only eaten sweet and sour red cabbage once at a favorite German restaurant years ago. After making it I found out that it tastes just as good cold as it does hot. When I was growing up pickled beets were a favorite. It wasn't until I was an adult that I learned that the cans of  pickled beets one buys in the stores are sweetened. I prefer the unsweetened ones which are made by cooking the whole beets in boiling water for about 30 minutes, slipping off the skins under cold water, slicing the beets into a bowl and soaking them with equal parts vinegar and cold water for a couple of hours.  

Sweet and sour red cabbage

4. Being able to make a little progress in tackling the weeds in the shrub bed has been a visually rewarding task this week. There is still much more to do, but I have been playing it smart by putting time constraints on my body and sticking to it.

5. We still have a couple of lizards (that we have seen) even though one young one was killed by a trap we had put out with the intention of narrowing the ground squirrel population. I suspect the lizard below eats mostly ants, flies, and spiders.

Fence lizard

6. A YouTube video showing how to divide my leggy kalanchoe houseplants was helpful. I was impressed that no water is required initially to get them to take root. 

Divisions of my kalanchoe plants

7. Discovering that pollen pine cones are little and they are purple! How these pine trees grew so large and I only noticed the large seed cones and never noticed these tiny purple cones, I will never know.

Little purple Ponderosa pine pollen cones

8. I recently got a short free Audible book that isn’t my usual genre, but the title was intriguing. Click the link Nut Jobs Cracking the Case With Marc Fennell to see a very short YouTube video of an interview with Marc Fennell giving you just an hint of what this is about. So interesting.

9.  Faith and prayers and the comfort afforded by them

10. Vic and our family

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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Six Sentence Stories - Thumb

This is a "little" post for the blog hop Six Sentence Stories - Thumb. Thanks to our host, Denise of Girlie on the Edges Blog I did a little ruminating before finally figuring out where I wanted to go with this prompt. I did enjoy the journey though, so it was worth the extra time involved.

He was quite a character, legendary to be exact, an extraordinary feat considering his size.

If it hadn’t been for Merlin, well who knows, if he would have even existed. 

Infertility seemed to have been the parents’ cross to bear but Merlin was known throughout the land for his magical powers, and Old Thomas  thought it was worth a try for his  wife  to schedule a consultation.

When Merlin learned of their desire for a son, even if he was no bigger than a thumb, he knew this would be unlike any of his other magical endeavors.

The baby, aptly named as Tom, after his father, and surname, Thumb, well because of the obvious, had many adventures and became a favorite in the court of King Arthur.

The Queen  became jealous of all the attention given to Tom, and  one thing led to another until he died from the poisonous bite of an arachnid.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Ten Things of Thankful

In was interesting to me how a couple of items on my Ten Things of Thankful post this week brought back some memories about my Dad, especially since Sunday is Father’s Day. Kristi of Thankful Me provides the link to the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop.

My parents and me

1. Rat traps are good for more than just rats.
One of my early memories of rats and rat traps is a time I was asked to go to the barn to get some potatoes out of what we called the dungeon. It was a brick-lined room which we think may have been the location of a furnace in the barn which originally had been a prune dryer. When I opened the door to the room I saw a single large rat atop the pile potatoes. I quickly shut the door and went back to the house empty handed. Thanks to my Dad quickly setting a rat trap in the room, I didn’t have to fear my future errands to the dungeon.
I am thankful that we have never seen rats here on our property, but taking their place are ground squirrels which are quite problematic this time of year and are the bane of many a farmer or gardener and can leave a beautifully landscaped yard with patches of upturned soil and holes ready to twist the ankles of the unaware. My husband set a rat trap outside near one of the holes where we had seen some young ground squirrels exiting. We now have one less young ground squirrel. They are cute but destructive. There are many other ways of ridding one’s place of these critters, especially the adults.

2. Clean windows
Thanks to finally being able to use a gift certificate from our kids, the outside of our windows are clean and a gutter which was beyond time for cleaning is ready for those downpours which we are still getting even though the first day of summer is at hand. Because we are being very cautious about having anyone come into our home during this pandemic, the company was willing to substitute cleaning the windows on the inside for doing the gutter cleaning. 

3. New (to me) way to dry windows
I don’t know what tip you learned this week, but here is mine. How I missed learning this before all these years of living I do not know. My mother used to use vinegar and water to wash the outside of the windows and she dried the windows with crumpled newspapers. At the point in time in my married life when I tried cleaning the the windows using this technique, I ended up with streaks, so I didn’t use newspapers again. After that I either used paper towels or a rag to dry the windows, but streaks were still a problem. This week as I washed the inside of our windows, my results were very different, and I wondered why I didn’t know this tip years ago. The magic ingredient was using one of Mom’s old cotton tea towels, one I had used to dry dishes when I was a kid. It had long ago made it to her bin of rags she kept in her garage. When she passed, I kept the rag. I learned this week that cotton tea towels, which are so thin that when you dry dishes with them they quickly become quite wet, are actually ideal for drying windows and leave absolutely no streaks!

4. A window cleaning lesson I learned from my Dad
When I was growing up our barn had some very dirty six-paned windows, many of them covered with cobwebs, and some of which had a resident spider or two. Dad decided that they really needed to be cleaned and that I should be the one to wash them on the inside. What I learned from being given that task was sometimes we have to do things that need to be done even if we are a little afraid and don’t really want to do it.

One side of the barn

5. Flowers that remind me of certain people
The property where we lived needed to be partially cleared before our home could be built, which meant at some point we would have some landscaping to do. One of my neighbors introduced me to one of the old timers in the area, a woman who had moved here in a covered wagon. She had a lot of flowers that needed to be divided and so she dug up a clump of bellflowers so I could have flowers on our property.  Our clump eventually became quite crowded and we decided  get rid of them. Well this spring I was not able to do any kind of yard work for a month and with the weather such as it was everything grew like crazy. Now we are seeing flowers blooming that we haven’t see in years because somewhere there were seeds just waiting to germinate. This week I thought of that kind little widow, born in Hungary, who taught me the history of the area and shared some of her flowers with me.


6. History and the various ways to access what has happened in the past and how becoming more educated about those things that have transpired gives one an opportunity to try to understand not only the past but the present

7. Ruby Bridges, the movie, the woman, and the author 
This week I watched the movie and also watched a video of Ruby speaking to children about her life and answering questions about her experiences.

8. Food 
Creamed chicken and wild rice  soup, but substituted 1% milk for cream
Steamed beet greens (A neighbor shared some of their bounty.)
Roasted cauliflower and broccoli 

9. Waking up and finding out the scary dream was just that

10. My husband, the father of our children and the influence he has had on their lives

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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Six Sentence Story - Iron

The invitation has arrived to write a Six Sentence Story -IronDenise of Girlie on the Edge's Blog makes it easy by opening the link every Wednesday. Hope to see you there.

There were still some details to iron out as to when and where they would do it, but they had agreed that they would work on the project together. The teacher had obtained a specimen for them to use when they had the other materials ready to set up. Animal behavior interested both of them, and the girls’ parents were supportive as long as the experiment was only carried out at school.

The last day before Christmas break, the teacher told the girls that one of them would need to take the creature home for the holidays because someone would need to feed and care for him while the school was closed. If this detail had been explained to them earlier, they probably would have chosen to do to something that didn’t require a living organism, but as it turned out one agreed to transport the specimen inside a shoebox positioned on her lap as she rode the crowded school bus, which smelled a little more rank than usual that afternoon. 

When she freed her scared captive into an empty rabbit hutch and then fessed up to her dad, he grounded her for three months after his suspicions were confirmed that the white rat had escaped, no doubt heading towards bags of grain in the barn and to find a solid gray mate.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Ten Things of Thankful

It seems like just yesterday that we all gathered here to celebrate the 7th year of the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop, but the world never stands still, so here we go again. There is always something to appreciate even if at times it may require some real meditating to unearth those feelings. Other times one just blinks and discovers something staring you right in the face. At times the thoughts shared by those linking up are deep and thought provoking while even within the same post a bit of humor shines forth. We are all human with real life experiences taking a positive look at life. This post is being linked to Ten Things of Thankful hosted by Kristi of Thankful Me.

1. The mashup of TToT and FTSF last week was the instigator of causing me to participate in the Finish the Sentence Friday blog hop this weekend. It has been quite a while since I have done that.

2. Wildlife to watch
This wild turkey is probably a jenny from last year now grown up. The same day we saw this turkey sitting on the railing by our ramp, we caught of whiff of a skunk which meant one was probably investigating one of the culverts on the lane, and we saw three baby ground squirrels eating blossoms  and tender green leaves of weeds. I would have loved to have been able to get a photo of them eating. Even though they are pests, watching them eat the blossoms was cute.

Wild turkey

3. A stand-up weeder
At my age, no other explanation is needed here as to why I am really thankful for this tool.

4. An upcoming blueberry crop

Unripe blueberries

5. Movies based on real experiences that help me feel the experiences of others so I can understand a little of what it is like to be in someone else’s shoes
We watched Just Mercy which given the circumstances these past almost three weeks seemed apropos in many ways. Once again Vic found a movie that he knew we would both find educational.

6. First food box for the summer
I joined up to receive a box of fresh local farm produce each week. I was not disappointed. Each Wednesday I go to the destination to get my box of produce. I am getting the small box since I wasn't sure if the larger box would be more than just the two of us would eat in a week. This week the box  included strawberries, lettuce, kohlrabi, filberts, wild rice, red cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.

7. Homemade shortcake so we eat strawberry shortcake

8. Small pony beads and my neighbor who had some for me to try with the ties on the cloth face mask I’ve been using
I have not used pony beads before other than using some similar looking large wooden beads back in the day when I was doing macrame. I doubt that I even knew then that there was a name for that type of bead.

9. KN95 face masks
A friend told me about these, so I decided to order some and try them out.

10. An online order from one of our local restaurants
Clam chowder, sourdough bread bowl, shrimp salad w/ 1000 island dressing and a lemon bar 

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FTSF - Welcome to my house

For some time now I have only been participating in a couple of blog hops. Earlier on I participated in some other blog hops too, one being Finish the Sentence Friday hosted by Finding Ninee. Last weekend there was a fun mashup of Ten Things of Thankful and Finish the Sentence Friday, so I thought I'd write something for Finish the Sentence Friday this week. 

Welcome to my house

One of the first things people see as they enter our home are houseplants. More times than not there is something in bloom. Currently there are four African violets and a poinsettia blooming. It is beyond my understanding how it is that the poinsettia is even alive let alone blooming. Over a year ago, it was on my list to take it to the compost pile since there was no sign of life left in it. As I walked by it one day I saw a tiny sprout of green, so I gave it some water, something I hadn’t done for several months, since to my way of thinking it was dead. It began to come alive and then to bloom. It has been blooming since the beginning of the year.


This room where the above mentioned plants are is one of my favorite rooms in the house, if not the favorite. There are large windows along one wall where I can sit in my rocker and watch the birds and other wildlife that may traipse by on their way to a favorite dining spot which varies depending on the season. Our country property has a perfect back-to nature look at this point in our lives. In past years when we were able to do a lot of gardening and outside labor, the property was more groomed. We like to think that the bees are loving the scene now.


The next room visitors enter is a living room where an old upright piano sets along one wall. My paternal grandmother sent money to my parents when I was nine years old so they could buy me a piano. My grandmother was under the impression that my being able to play the piano would lead to my popularity later. Being on the shy side and also being a bit of a perfectionist, playing the piano for others only made me extremely nervous, and being nervous led to a lot of mistakes playing a piece which I had mastered while playing by myself. So in my case playing the piano did not have anything to do with being popular. However, after I got married and after we were able to buy our own home, I was reunited with my piano. Having the piano in our home has led to many enjoyable experiences for me and for our family even though I never became a virtuosa.

Piano as adorned at Christmas

Often those who enter our home for the first time look up and all around. The inside of our home, except for the bedrooms has a very open look as well as a ceiling that goes from the height of one story to the height of two stories above several open rooms consisting of a living room, family/dining and kitchen area. For many, this is their first experience of being inside an earth-sheltered home. In some areas an earth-sheltered home may mean the home has sod on the roof, but that is not a viable feature in areas that get as much rain as we do. Our home is built into a south-facing hillside with the soil being within a couple of feet from the roofline at the back of the house. 

The other thing that attracts the eyes of many who enter, is all the wood. My husband lived in a couple of homes that had knotty pine walls when he was growing up. When we went on our honeymoon, we stayed in a cabin that had knotty pine walls. When we found the ideal property on which to have this home built, knotty pine was a feature we wanted to maintain. It was kind of a tradition in the family. In addition there are some cedar walls and railings. Although I no longer smell the scent of cedar, there are some who come and comment about being able to smell the cedar.

From glancing around it is easy to determine that although our family is grown they are still close to our hearts if not in miles, and that we have an interest in birding, photography and also in reading. Having a picture of the Savior in plain sight is one of the daily reminders to me of how important he is to me in my life.

For me our home is a place of memories, a refuge, and a place of peace.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Six Sentence Story - Therapy

One never knows the memory a cue is going to going to stir up or the story that awaits to be discovered because of that memory. I am linking this story to Six Sentence Stories - Therapy hosted by Denise of Girlie on the Edge's Blog.


Within the four-room building in Erie, Pennsylvania the compound began to take shape and was promoted by the father and then the son as they considered ways to attract the public.

The timing was perfect considering the plethora of ways people were dying, often suddenly and without the care of a physician because of distance, and of being unable to quickly notify a doctor, not to mention that transportation could be slow.

Ailing people were ready to treat their symptoms without resorting to gathering herbs, and so the small pills applauded in the ads in the newspapers seemed to be almost a panacea and became a staple in many medicine cabinets beginning in the latter part of the 19th century and through more than half of  the 20th century when the FTC filed a complaint.

It was 1943, wartime, but the FTC was ready for action against the company they claimed was misleading the public with their false advertising and labeling.

Could it be, wondered some that their tried and true beloved pills were really just some quack therapy and that the FTC was creating quite a hullabaloo?

It wasn’t until 1959 that the final decision was made when the Supreme Court refused to review the FTC’s order and then denied the company’s appeal to keep its original labeling including the word liver and the use of misleading advertisements about a little pill that that was said to do so much more than be merely a laxative.