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.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Ten Things of Thankful

Everyone’s story as to why and when creating a blog seems to be a good idea will vary. It was the example of my daughter, who had already created her own blog, and her encouragement as well as a little technical assistance to walk me through setting up my blog that was the impetus I needed. 

Recording a portion of my life experiences had already been a pattern for almost 37 years, starting when our children were young, via writing in journals. For a couple of years I made copies of weekly letters I wrote to our son while he was serving a church mission overseas. (That time was an extremely busy time in my life, so just making copies of the letters I wrote on the computer seemed to be a time-saving plan.)

Toward the end of 2011, the year I set up my blog, I posted only five times to the blog. None of the posts were to the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop which didn’t even exist yet. Then I took a hiatus because life got in the way.

In the middle of 2015 my daughter told me about the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop she was participating in and how she thought I might enjoy doing that too. I already knew the advantages that come from trying to see the sunny side of life even when life looks a little dismal at times. At that time I was trying to recover from a recent back surgery and was also dealing with the fact my mother now needed to live in a long-term care facility when we had anticipated being able to continue caring for her. I needed to be feeling a lot more positivity and gratitude from my own outlook as well as reading those things expressed by others, so I hopped on board. 

The Ten Things of Thankful blog hop broadened my perspective of people and of the world in which we live. In some ways this particular blog hop is much like a neighborhood which ebbs and wanes. Neighbors may move away and one doesn’t see them for years, but then when you do see them again, it is just like old times. That is what is fun about the Ten Things of Thankful birthday celebration! As I understand it, we may get a visit from Lizzi, the creator of the blog hop as well as old timers from the Finish the Sentence Friday blog hop which I also started participating in about the same time in 2015. 

There is nothing new here today as this is a smattering of my old TToT entries I have posted throughout the years. I smiled at some of them when I realized how relevant some of them are today. In addition, if you click here it will take you to  My Forever Long Birthday Celebration story I posted on Finish the Sentence Friday back in August of 2015 with a picture of me eating cake even. After all this is TToT's birthday and FTSF and TToT are doing a mashup post today. Thanks Kristi of Thankful Me and Kristi (a different Kristi) of Finding Ninee for doing this mashup celebration!

1. There are so many ways people can brighten the lives of others.  I often visit my mother in a nursing home.  She, along with others there, suffers from varying degrees of dementia and Alzheimer's.  Fortunately there are people in the area who regularly go to the nursing home and share their musical talents.  Many times, "the lights come on" when people with dementia hear music, especially musical pieces they may have heard earlier in their lives. This week a woman in her 70's went to the nursing home and played music on her accordion. One of the residents asked if she could play any Lawrence Welk type music.  She promptly started playing one of the signature pieces that was often heard on his show.  To see the absolute joy and enthusiasm on the face of the man who had made the request was just priceless.  I'm thankful for those who bring joy into the lives of others as they share their talents. 
June 20, 2015

2. This is kind of a crazy thing to be thankful for, but I'm thankful for fly swatters tonight.  For some reason, we have had a lot of flies in the house tonight.  I'm not sure if the door was left ajar sometime today or what, but we have killed a lot of them tonight.  And this is just an aside, but those new light bulbs, that last forever and are cool to the touch, don't kill flies that land on them! 
September 19, 2015

3. Some couples find it difficult to let their spouses have some time to themselves  to develop talents or do things that are not so enjoyable to the other.  My husband will do somethings with me that are not a hot item for him, but I would never ask him to spend an afternoon going into antique shops or clothes shopping, because I know he would not enjoy that. Likewise he doesn't expect me to watch football games on TV with him.  He is not hurt if I choose to do something else during game times.  That doesn't mean that I never watch any football.  He often plays back some of the funny plays or outstanding plays for me to see, and I do enjoy that sharing he does with me.  I'm thankful for the relationship we have. 
February 15, 2016

4. When I was growing up, my parents had a sofa that was kind of a blue-green color.  Years later when the sofa needed to be reupholstered, my Mother chose another fabric, but in kind of the same color.  I guess that color has had quite an influence on me, because to this day, I love blue-green colors.  That is why when I saw some unusual berries on a vine in our friend's garden I was quite smitten.  She explained that it was a porcelain vine.  It is a grape-like plant and produces beautiful porcelain looking berries. Unfortunately, the vine can be quite invasive, especially with the help of birds dropping the berries here and there.  I'm thankful for similarities between parent and child.  I'm thankful for beautiful colors making life so much more interesting than living in an all black and white world. October 30,  2016

Porcelain Vine

5. Living in this great land
Perhaps it is because of when I was born and becoming aware that our country was in a world war when I was very young, that made be feel such a sense of gratitude for living here.  I knew that there were children who were suffering from the war that was being fought in their countries.
There was a conversation I had with my mother once when I was a child where I distinctly remember asking her a question about why it was that I was born in this land.  I wanted to know why some people are born in one country and others born in yet a different country, ones which may have been lacking in so many advantages, at least from my point of view.  I somehow felt that there must be a reason. Mothers are often asked hard questions that are difficult to explain, especially if they do not even have a hint of an answer.  I nevertheless continued to feel extremely blessed to have been born here.
November 20, 2016

6. Seeing similarities in the lives of my ancestors and my own always make me feel happy.  I suspect I may have already seen this similarity in the past, but I rediscovered it this week. One of my great grandmothers had a twin sister. She and her twin have the same birthday (month and day) as I do.  My mother was young, under six, but she remembered seeing my great grandmother, Sarah H. Andrews Boyd, and spoke of how she sometimes went over to the next state to visit family.  After the research I did this week, I suspect that she went to visit her twin sister.  Knowing how close twins feel toward  one another I feel firm in my conviction that was the case.  I wish I could find a photo of my great grandmother.  If I ever do, I'm sure that will be a 'thankful' on my blog. 
February 19, 2017

7. Poetic thoughts (I think)
One blustery day a few days ago, the wind seemed to have blown up some little leaves that crossed my path in front of the car. That prompted the following thought.

Dead leaves seeming to skip across the road from the brisk wind, enjoying the ride, leaving their earthen bier if but for a moment. Will their form change through this energetic endeavor and mix with the atmosphere and become a new kind of life, or will they settle just as quickly back to their earthly grave? Are we ready for that exit from our bier, or urn, when it is time, and become a more perfect version of ourselves, or do we suppose this is all there is?
January 23, 2018

8. Getting a haircut 
After some time of letting my hair grow and watching it become bushier and harder to control, I opted to go back to the shorter style. I had to laugh when the woman cutting my hair said after trying a couple of hair products on one part of my hair, "It's just going to do what it wants to do." I was hoping the experience would be a little more helpful, but instead she said she was going to go home and google it. (Actually I'd already tried that and hadn't found anything helpful.) So, my hair has a mind of its own, and now it has been confirmed. 
March  19, 2018

9. Walking under and through the pines
There is something awesome about walking through acreage where years ago my husband planted young pine seedlings. Now of course the pines are towering above our heads and provide quite a different habitat than was the case when we moved here. The deer seem to be enjoying it too, as they have left several impressionable highways through the understory.
April 28, 2019

10. That this world is made up of families and that I have my own family with whom to live, learn, and grow in knowledge and understanding of how to live and love
January 17,  2020

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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Six Sentence Stories - Passion

My story written in just six sentences is linked to the blog hop, Six Sentence Stories - Passion, hosted by Denise of Girlie on the Edge's Blog. Thank you Denise for keeping this blog hop in blog-o-sphere all these years.

When the professor saw Xavier with his shoulders slumped, his hands supporting his head, he knew he was not prepared, again, and he wondered why he even showed up. 

He was aware that even getting there twice a week was difficult in normal circumstances for this young man but doing it now against all odds made him feel a deep admiration for him and caused him to question if he would have been as capable if he were 20 years younger and the tables were turned.  

The room was quiet except for the sound of the chairs scraping across the grey institutional tiled floor as students one by one placed their completed assignments in the basket on the desk at the front of the room, until at last Xavier was the only student left. 

The professor, a title jeeringly given to him by those who thought he was showing off in junior high when he used words that would have required them to use a dictionary, had almost succumbed to the taunting that had put him in a very dark place for a few years and had delayed him discovering what it was that was his real passion in life.

As Xavier slowly raised his head, and opened his eyes, the professor approached him and handed him a couple of business cards, one for him and one to give to his mom. "If you are interested, they may be able to help, like they once helped me, and there is no charge," said the professor.