Thursday, June 29, 2017

Six Sentence Stories - Peach

One of those quick and easy desserts I used to make for our family was peach cobbler, but I decided to go back further into history for this Six Sentence Stories - Peach post which I am linking to the blog hop administered by Zoe. Writing a story in just six sentences using the cue word is the challenge. Each Thursday bloggers are able to start linking up to her site

"We must save them to protect our soldiers in case there is a gas attack by the Germans," said Gussie to her husband, Alvin. The children, too young to understand this discussion about the Great War, were playing a game of tiddledywinks on the worn wooden porch as their parents conversed quietly while rocking gently in the porch swing after a busy day of working on their farm.

"I heard talk down at the barbershop that the farmers are going to save the shells of nuts too," said Alvin.

"Well, I guess if everyone does what they can there will be enough to burn to make the activated carbon needed to make the protective gas masks for our soldiers," said Gussie. "This year I'm not going to add the stones when I can the fruit, even though I think the fruit tastes better with one added to each jar."

Alvin smiled as he thought about the peaches that were ripening in their fields and the sign he'd seen in front of the high school earlier in the day that said, "Do your bit, Save the Pit." 

Now, go check out what other bloggers have written for their SSS - Peach. Just click on the link above. If you are able, I hope you will be able to enjoy some peach shortcake like this one available at a local farm store as you read the stories.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful

What an exciting week it has been, in a good way! I hope it has been that way for you too, but I know sometimes life and one's circumstances may feel overwhelming. In reality life is full of ups and downs, and so it should be, otherwise we would be flatlining.

Before I get on the road with my Ten Things of Thankful post, I just want to give a shout out to Josie Two Shoes who is the administrator for the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop. She reads every Ten Things of Thankful post which is linked to her blog hop and responds with thoughtful comments. Click the link to see what others have posted this week. Bloggers' posts can be added beginning shortly after midnight (Central Time) Thursday evening until Tuesday evening. 

1. Serendipitous discovery. For a while I've been trying to figure out what would be helpful in alleviating a certain situation with my body. One day this past week I was making a fruit salad using crushed pineapple, bananas, and canned mandarin oranges. I'd intended to add some coconut flakes to help thicken it a bit. When I went to the shelf to get the coconut, I discovered there was none to be had. One item I did find was a small unopened container of guar gum that I suspect I'd purchased because it was called for in a gluten free recipe. (Some friends of mine eat gluten free meals.) 

My husband was confusing guar gum with something else and suggested that I might be able to use some of it to thicken the salad. When I googled the use of guar gum, I discovered that one of its uses is as a thickening agent. I decided to give it a try because it can thicken both cold and hot liquids. Although I had no idea of how much I might need, I thought the amount might be similar to how much cornstarch would be required. Let me just say, that was not a correct assumption. One does not need anywhere nearly as much, and it thickens quite rapidly. We enjoyed the thickened fruit salad, and found that my body benefited quite nicely from eating it. That discovery sent me back to the internet to read about health benefits and any interactions from eating guar gum. It isn't for everyone, but can be helpful for some people. Have you ever found the solution to two problems while in the process of just trying to solve one problem?

2. Accomplishing goals in moderation. In the past I've been one to push onward trying to finish the desired objective without taking forever. At the time, it seemed like a good idea, but over the years I've learned the hard way, that doing things in moderation and taking breaks, resting, going on vacations, etc. offer healthy benefits. This week, I started doing some hoeing and weed pulling but made myself, often with my husband's reminder, stop after a half hour or 45 minutes and then going back in the house. I worked in the morning when it was cooler. After a couple of years of not being able to manage a hoe, I wanted to make sure I didn't overdo. I've felt excited about this jump in my flexibility without additional pain. Seeing some tidiness outside, at least in one area, has lifted my spirits as has the higher FitBit scores from the exercise involved.

It took me most of the week to weed this area.

3. Multiple uses of things. A whiles back one of our daughters shared how she cleaned her cacti. It was one of those things that for whatever reason, I'd not considered. I usually associate showers as a place people can bathe. This week I used the handheld sprayer in the shower to spray the dust off my five Christmas cacti. They probably wished I'd used this method a whole lot sooner. It certainly beats trying to wipe each leaf with a moistened rag.

This Christmas cactus just had a shower.
4. Walking with a friend. One evening I invited a friend to go on a walk with me down and back on a nearby dusty road. It was after dinner, still light, but relatively cooler than it had been earlier in the day. We hope to do more walking together, as we have a similar goal to do more exercising.

Inexpensive "sparkly" I found on   dusty road
5. Names that just seem exactly right. With all the wild animals that come around, we've never given one a name, but there is one doe who has been visiting who just beckons to have a handle, maybe Dandy or Daisy. We've seen her eat the flowers off the English Daisies and the Dandelions. Interestingly, she doesn't have any interest in the leaves or stems. 

There were more Dandelion blossoms before the doe ate them.

doe eating English Daisies
7. Warm places for the cold blooded animals. Among the various animals here is a lizard that enjoys hanging out and soaking up the sunshine on top of a pile of bricks.

Western Fence Lizard on pile of bricks

8. Challenges. There is a patch of wildflowers (or weeds) growing in a dry shady area.  I have been trying to identify them. With all our books and the online helps, this should be easy, but so far the only one I've found that looks similar supposedly grows a different area of the country. The reference book is kind of old, so I supposed it could be a plant that has migrated westward over the years. Anyone up to identifying this plant?

Can you name this plant?

9. Finding a pen pal I used to write to when I was 10 years old. At the beginning of the week I was thinking about a girl from Sheffield England. She and I were pen pals for a few years, but then stopped writing to each other. The thought came to me that perhaps with all the past family history research skills I had learned and with all the resources online, that I might be able to locate her, even though I had no idea what her married name was, if she still lived in the same area, or if she was still alive. Within a couple of days, I'd learned enough to be fairly certain I'd found her. I decided to call her. She answered the phone, and we had a delightful visit. We were both equally excited about being able to talk to one another. It just made my day, and we will be keeping in touch. 

10. My husband. My husband was just as excited for me having found my pen pal as I was I think. He encouraged me to phone her. In fact, that is one thing I enjoy about my husband. He is an encourager. He also likes to surprise me, such as having a  photo enlarged and printed on canvas of me wearing my floppy garden hat. It came in the mail this week as a surprise.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Six Sentence Stories - Well

This short fictional post will be linked to Zoe's Six Sentence Stories blog hop. The cue word this time is "well." It is quite entertaining to read all the various stories written in just six sentences using the same cue. Click the link and read a few, but once you start, you'll want to read them all.

For a very scientific guy, Joan thought it a bit strange that her Dad would hire a witch, but this diviner had come highly recommended. She and her siblings gathered around to watch, but stood out of the way of the witch who was wearing attire, not at all  like that worn by Halloween witches. It was quite peculiar, to her way of thinking, that the witch was a man and had an unassuming name of Sam.

After Sam removed a copper rod from the back of his pickup, he began walking slowly back and forth over the portion of land indicated by her Dad. As he held the rod horizontally, straight out from his waistline which was completely hidden by his bibbed overalls, suddenly the rod turned toward the ground. "There is water for your well down below," said Sam somewhat smugly, not sounding in the least like a witch. 

For information about well witching click here.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful

Is it really possible to feel thankful each week for things that are happening when headlines, phone calls, texts, or emails with bad news, and sights flashed across the screen cause our minds and hearts to feel angst? Yes, it is possible, but we must take time to ponder what has happened in our lives, big or little things, make note of them and really feel grateful for them. There is a blog hop administered by Josie Two Shoes where some bloggers, myself included, like to link a post to the blog hop Ten Things of Thankful. Many faithfully link up each week, while others may link only occasionally, but we know they are feeling thankful even if time or health doesn't allow them to actually write their post. There is no limit to the number of bloggers who can link up to this blog hop, so if you want to chime in, read some of the posts which are linked to get an idea of the wide assortment of ways to share ten things of thankful. I hope to see your post next week.

1. Inventions. I went to a baby shower this week. As the gifts were unwrapped, I was not alone in thinking, "I wish that had been available when I was nursing my babies." However, the material from which it was made hadn't even been invented.

2. Being able to overcome fear. Unlike many teens, I wasn't desirous of learning to drive a car because I feared I'd have a wreck. So fast forward to six years after I was married. We had an almost three-year-old ready to attend a nursery school. We had one car. I wanted our daughter to be able to attend a nursery school, but didn't want to impose on anyone to be able to get her there. My very patient husband taught me to drive. I got my license, although it took two attempts. A whole new world of activities were opened up to both our daughter and myself because I overcame my fear.

3. Being able to experience something good more than just once. My husband and I recently went to see the movie Hidden Figures and really enjoyed it. This week some of the women in my church got together at the home of one of the members to watch this same movie. I almost chose not to attend this "free night at the movies" because I'd already seen the film, but decided to go at the last minute. It was so worth it to see it again.

4. Bigger flower pots. The orchid my husband bought me last year, or maybe two years ago, had gotten way too cramped in the small container. After checking some youtube videos about transplanting orchids, I decided to give it a try. The new bigger pot has holes on the side to allow for the needed flow of air to the roots. It is hard to believe that the plant was stuffed into that little pot.

Repotted orchid next to its former pot

5. Hiatus. For three months I have been having neuromuscular therapy on my shoulder, arm and back. This past week I made the decision to take a hiatus from the treatments. I probably will need to return at some point, but for now I feel my body just needs a rest. I may try something different, but I haven't decided what that will be.

6. Smiling faces. As I was decluttering this week, I came across some rocks and shells in the bottom of a box. They are no longer inside my house and have a temporary location outside. I can't even remember how it came to be that I have the smiling face rock, but I'm glad I rediscovered it. Smiles whether on people, or rocks, make me smile too.

Smiling rock

7. Wildflowers. At some point my husband scattered some wildflower seeds. This past week as he was meandering through the vegetation he discovered several plants beginning to bloom. Not knowing if these were a type of wildflower or a weed, he gave me an assignment to see if I could identify it. After looking through several books, I was able to declare its identity.

Western wallflower in beginning to bloom
 8. Free furniture. For some time we have been keeping an eye out for some stools to use at our kitchen counter. Years ago I had purchased some old stools that had been used on a boat. They needed a paint job and eventually some taping around the legs to cover some scars. After years of use, we really wanted a different look in our kitchen. Imagine my surprise when a family we know offered some chair stools free for the taking. My husband saw the offer on FB first and told me about it right away. I was the first to respond, so I was able to pick them up the same day!

One of old taped stools by replacement chair stools

9. Entertaining talented musicians. My husband introduced me to a musician, Tommy Emmanuel via youtube. He is incredibly talented. Enjoy.

10. My husband who has brought me love, and with him children we love. He brings me laughter, and experiences that make my life more than it would ever be without him. Together we are more than either one could be by ourselves. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

SSS - Link

At last, some writing juices are beginning to flow, so I am able to write six sentences for a story to link to Zoe's blog hop Six Sentence Stories - Link.  Yes, the cue word this week really is link and my story is a link to my past. Be sure to click the link to see what other bloggers have written for the SSS.

Generally parents have known their children were gaining weight because they outgrew their clothes. Not all homes used to have bathroom scales to the extent they are common items in many homes now, so parents didn't know exactly how much their children weighed.

If there wasn't a scale in the home, the parents had the option of waiting for a visit to the doctor's office where the nurse had the patients stand on a scale before they were seen by the doctor. The lollipop scales, so named because of their shape, seen in most drug stores in earlier years was an inexpensive way to get weighed as were the fortune telling penny operated scales placed in various places such as movie theaters, grocery stores, and amusement parks.

At a farm store a youngster might have been given a chance to stand on a platform scale used for weighing bags of grain or boxes of other items, and no penny was needed. Some farm kids may remember this exercise of strength and the grimace on their father's face as he lifted the 1940's Hanson hanging scale up with the child clinging tightly to the rope tied onto the link at the bottom of the scale.

Very simple outline of the scale my Dad used to weigh me.

White penny weight scale in front of Keystone Inn.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Ronovan Writes #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #153 Star&Bloom

It has been quite a while since I have posted a haiku. I am linking this post to the blog hop at Ronovan Writes #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #153 Star&Bloom. Be sure to click the link to discover the links to others who have written a haiku for this challenge.

astral in nature
she gazed on the star shaped blooms
closed her eyes and wished

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful

There are times when the things we do during a week don't automatically speak gratitude to our minds. The experiences of our day-to-day lives just seem a little mundane, or perhaps those things happening in our world cast a shadow that blocks out the kind of light that lifts up our spirits. Whatever the case may be, I had to think a little harder to come up with a list for my Ten Things of Thankful post this time, but I did it! Josie Two Shoes is the administrator for this blog hop and would be happy to have you visit her site to read the other Ten Things of Thankful posts. Just click the link to get to her site.

1. Variety. When I was young, there were very few varieties of fruits and vegetables sold in stores other than what was grown in the area one was living. With the advent of better transportation systems, refrigerated vehicles, and the ability to deliver items quicker, more fresh fruits and vegetables could be enjoyed by many people. Still, on the mainland of the United States of America people eat mostly Cavendish bananas, a dessert variety, although there are more than 1,000 varieties of bananas worldwide. There are 7,500 varieties of apples in the world, but in my area we might see a dozen different varieties in the grocery stores. Doesn't this just make you want to travel more and experience these different tasting fruits? Did you know that some bananas have the taste of apples, and some have the taste of strawberries?

2. Decluttering. I mentioned this last week, but this week I'm grateful that I have been sticking with doing this, and have even felt excitement in doing this. Some items that I've discarded this week have included old Christmas cards, with the exception of special letters and photographs included with them, old artificial flowers, cardboard boxes we didn't need to save for other purposes, old pens without refill options, dried up play dough, junk mail, old phone books, and more. It is kind of like a treasure hunt trying to spot the next item(s) to discard, recycle, or donate.

3. Ophthalmologists. Once a year I see my ophthalmologist, but I called to see if I could be seen a few months early to verify what my dermatologist diagnosed as some rosacea in one of my eyes. I didn't want to continue a medication if that isn't what it really is. The ophthalmologist confirmed the diagnosis. This is a new condition for me as of this year. Fortunately I just have the subtype 1 rosacea at times on my face which just makes me look like I am blushing. The ocular rosacea makes my eye feel dry or as if it has been scratched, but the antibiotic is helping the eye. The prescription medication for my face is helping also. The main thing to do for this condition is to just use sunscreen, wear sunglasses, and protect myself from the sun by wearing long sleeves, broad brimmed hats, etc.

4. Feeding the hungry. Although the missionaries for my church do not beg for meals, they really do not need to. The members take turns inviting them to their homes once a day to eat a meal with them. The missionaries and their families pay for their own mission expenses, but members, who are able, help defray some of their food expenses  by sharing their own meals with them, usually the main meal for the day. We had that opportunity this past week. The two missionaries are going to return this coming week and do a bit of service for us, in the way of helping us with some needed weeding. The forecast for the day they are scheduled to come is for sunshine, unlike today which was filled with heavy downpours.

5. Gift shopping. There was a time when shopping trips were kind of exciting, but at this stage in my life I really just want to find the items and return home fairly quickly. This was a week for shopping for a baby gifts for a couple of new babies, and a birthday gift for a granddaughter. Although finding one of the gifts took a little longer than expected, I did enjoy seeing some newer items on the shelves. I also needed to do a special order for some clothing items for my Mom at the beginning of the week and talked to an especially helpful person on the other end of the line. To my amazement I received the completed order today in the mail! She had mentioned that it might take up to four weeks for the order to arrive.

6. Sometimes changes in plans are not always a bad thing. The zoo trip we had hoped to reschedule for this past week had to be cancelled due to rain, but we ended up watching the direct broadcast of the senate hearing on that day which is actually something we had wanted to see. We were able to watch and hear for ourselves and not have to rely on hearing newscasts or reading news articles about what was said or not said. As for Nora, the polar bear, it looks like we will still have a few months to see her before she moves to the zoo in Salt Lake City.

7. Words written in the past which still have great meaning.

Sir Walter Scott quotation from Marmion

8. Gazes of creatures

Blacktail doe just gazing at me standing by the door.

9. Sturdy oaks

Oak trees lining our lane
10. Energy. I'm thankful that my energy level seemed to be on a high this past week. 

Lastly I am thankful for my husband, family and other readers of this blog. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful

Another week has passed. The weeks just seem to keep going faster and faster the older I get. Is that true for everyone I wonder? There is probably a scientific explanation for this, but I think I'll just let you ponder that one while I write my post for the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop. Our administrator, Josie Two Shoes, is probably wishing I'd get on the stick and get my post written sooner than later. Be sure to click the link to read the other bloggers' posts.  There are lots of things and situations for which we are grateful, and it really does help to write them down and share them with others.

1. Yearly physicals. There was a time when that didn't seem so important, but again, as I've gotten older, I've come to realize that it isn't something to skip. 

2. My primary care doctor, who has been the best doctor ever for me, is moving out of state. I've been dreading the day when she would retire or move her practice. She has used both a conventional medical approach and an integrative medicine approach with me. It isn't good for me that she is moving, BUT I will still have access to her integrative medicine services via phone, Skype, or email if I choose to do so. She will have an office where she will be moving and just do consulting in the field of integrative medicine. The good thing is that another MD in the clinic I go to will take over my doctor's patients for conventional medical needs, so I don't have to try to find another doctor who takes new patients on medicare. When I had to do that for my mother-in-law quite a few years ago when she moved from one city to another, it proved to be quite a task.

3. Places and people to see and dates with my husband that bring a break in the routine. One day this week we drove to the Portland Zoo. A nice thing happened when we were searching for a place to park. A couple had a two day passes to the zoo and gave them to us because they no longer had a need for them. We drove through the various parking lots, and were not able to find a single parking spot! We resigned ourselves to the fact that we were not going to be able to take any photos at the zoo that day, so we found a couple that gladly accepted our "free passes." Now we just need to find another day when it isn't going to be raining that is a day that is free from appointments, AND we will be there when gates open! A nice visit and conversation with some friends in another city made up for the disappointment we felt at not being able to see the animals at the zoo.

4. Discovery. Sometimes seeing something unexpected is exciting, like seeing vetch with white blossoms instead of the usual purple blossoms. I was walking among some of the weeds on our property and spotted this unusual vetch. Neither one of us had ever seen this kind of vetch, yet the very next day when my husband was at a national wildlife refuge in the area, he spotted some there! What are the changes of that? There is probably a word that describes that kind of a conundrum, but I don't know what it is.

Vetch with while blossoms

5. Anticipation. I love anticipation for good things, but not so much for dreaded things. We have some wild blackberries that are flowering. I can almost taste those berries that will ripen a little later this summer. Yum!

Wild Himalayan Blackberry blossom

6. Knowledge. I'm wishing the little Baird's shrew that made an appearance in one of the bathrooms this week could tell me how he (we will pretend he was a male) got in there. He apparently didn't find any insects to eat (that is their diet and the little bit of knowledge I learned about shrews), because he appeared to be barely alive. I picked him up with a tissue and took him outside and placed him among some leaves on a shaded hillside. A few hours later he was gone, so hopefully he found a more suitable residence.

Baird's shrew

7. A Pollyanna nature. Several times recently, my husband has commented that I always am trying to see the good side of situations. (Just so that you know this has been a work in progress for me, because as people closest to me know, there have been many times, when worry was all mixed together with the Pollyanna side of me, and sometimes worry took over.) As I was considering his comments to me, I remembered a book that I received when I was about 10. Perhaps I wasn't a Pollyanna then and it was given to me to help guide my thinking.  I really enjoyed this book written by Eleanor H. Porter that was first  published in 1913.  Later as a teenager I read The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, first published in 1952. That book also had a great impact on me. A very short scripture in The Book of Mormon hit home with me too."And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness." (The Second Book of Nephi, chapter 5, verse 27) Are you a Pollyanna, a worrier, or a mixture of both?

8. Audio books. I just discovered LibriVox, a free public domain audio books site. It has Pollyanna! Do you listen to audio books?

9. Decluttering. A friend has been decluttering her house using a really easy plan. I decided that I can do that! Each day of the month indicates how many things to toss, recycle, give away, or I suppose sell. It is easiest to begin with the first day of the month and work your way through the month. If you find yourself liking this plan, start over again at the beginning of the next month. 

10. Family, faith, and freedom. So many people are separated from their family members, and long to be with them. There are people who hold on to that faith that they someday will be reunited with their family members, because they believe the All Mighty will hear and answer their prayers. Many people are escaping the lands which have been dear to them in the hopes of living in a land where there is freedom from war and terror, from abuse, and where they can work and care for their families, and where there is freedom of religion. I am thankful for my family, my faith, and my freedom.