Thursday, March 31, 2011

ATV...hummmmmmmmmm (cont.)

What made me look up, I don't know.  I could hardly believe my eyes.  There was a large...no huge mass of good gravy...BEES flying overhead.  Shutting off the ATV, I watched in amazement as this mass of flying insects became swollen in mid-air, hovered, then landed on the limb of the tree above me. 

I've never seen anything like it before.  By the time all the bees landed, joining the swarm, it was the size of watermelon just hanging from the limb.  Not knowing what to do nor what kind of bees they were, I had to get the Pres.  He called our neighbor, Buddy who knew someone who keeps honeybees and told us that if they were still there in the morning, he would come by for them.

We must have been just a resting point, a "pit stop," if they even do such a thing, because they were gone the next morning.  Too bad.  I would have like to see the bee keepers come and remove them. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

ATV...hummmmmmmmmm

Putting down mulch can be an arduous task.  However, here in the Hollow it is simplified slightly because of the ATV.  Filling the small trailer with the mulch and attaching it to the ATV, it's then easy to maneuver around the yard.  Then all that's left is to evenly spread it with a pitchfork.  I like to put mulch along the entire creek, around the trees and shrubs.  I do not put it in my perennial gardens as I prefer the plants to naturalize, crowding out the weeds which has always worked well here. 

It's summer and picture the ATV stopped, engine idling, with the little trailer filled with mulch.  Taking a hefty amount on the pitchfork, I heard a loud humming.  Walking back to the ATV, again I heard the loud humming.  I kept on thinking it was the engine.  It sounded as if something was vibrating, but I saw nothing against the engine as I climbed back on ready to move to my next spot.  Still, that humming.  This was a different sound.  A sound I'd never heard before...a sound that wasn't going away.

to be continued...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

WiFi here=NG

The WiFi here at the resort is NOT GOOD...it stinks...no, it sucks!

Just when I get on to try and read your blogs that I miss terribly....does that mean I"m a BLOG-A-HOLIC?...the server goes down and I get kicked off.  I just now asked at the front desk and she said, the wind impacts the signal.

Well, I'm no IT person but that sure seems like a lame answer to me.  I miss you all and all your storeis as well.  I'll certainly be busy when I get home!  I've been "on" for about 20 minutes and got to send two emails, and look at two postings!  Then whammo...I had to wait to get reconnected...

Pelican"s Brief

Or perhaps I should say brief pelican!  As I walked along the beach tonight around 5:30pm, I noticed a large, dark colored pelican floating atop the bue water.  He would then take flight, turn and dive into the shallow water near the jetty.  The tradewinds were so strong tonight that I found it difficult to keep my footing in the white soft sand.

Bracing against the wind, the pelican dove and dove into the ocean, then would swallow and simply float for a short while.  Tomorrow I will walk there again, hoping he will return.  Tomorrow I want to try and get a few pictures of the island's parrots that roost in the Divi Divi trees.  A flock of them took off suddenly as I walked Monday mid morning.

Behind Bars



No, not me!  Good gravy, that's all I would need is to get arrested here while on vacation.  I'll try to get pictures of the prison on the North side of the island if I can.


IT'S YOU KNOW WHO WAITING FOR HIS YOU KNOW WHAT.....


Although it's only been a few days, I miss the kids like crazy!  They're what makes me want to be home because they are so worth it.  Remember, it's Tuesday and time to head over to Angela's at WVTreasures for Tuesdays Show & Tail

Monday, March 28, 2011

Playing in Aruba



Since I didn't want you to be bored with airport pictures, I thought I'd get right to the "good stuff!" 




Iguanas basking in the sun near MY pool!









 
 
 
A typical Divi Divi Tree.  Becasue of the constant tradewinds, all the trees grow sideways!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I ran into this guy, when I was  on one of my early morning walks on the beach.  I've been doing three miles each morning...:)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I've nicknamed them Ricky and Lucy!

I had to show you this one.  These are Owl Buttlerflies getting "drunk" on the orange nectar.  Then they chase around the females of their species flirting until they have found "the right one!"


 
 This is the hatchery for the caccoons and crysalis waiting for life to begin again.



Yes, the island, which is approximately 20 miles by 6 miles, has a lot of commercialized areas.  However,  peace and quiet can still be found...just like in the Hollow.






What's in "The Barrel?"


Remember I told you how I put moth balls in my perennial gardens to deter rodents and snakes and that I put some under the rain barrel located on the corner of the house?  Well, each morning, when I'm outside and pass by the barrel, a few moth balls are pushed out towards the lawn.  Today I think I saw the little critter that has now become my nemesis. 

Tail bristled as he ran along the top railing of the fence, he was in the clear before Moon, who was in hot pursuit, could even get a good whiff of him.  I say HIM because men always give me a hard time!  But, don't you worry, I'll get that little varmint!  Personally, I think he came from The City Beneath the Garden which is where, I'm sure, he has his recliner and remote!!



A few hours later, after I was finished working outside, I walked in the bedroom to add something to the suitcase.  As I peeked out the bedroom window, there he was!  Pulling the camera out of my backpack bound for the Caribbean, I got a few shots as I zoomed in on that little devil.



Tell me something.  Is it my imagination or is this little "guy" a little on the hefty side?  Of course, he could just be big boned, but do you think HE could be a SHE?  If that's the case, just think...when I return, I'll have a nursery next to the City Under the Garden!!!!  LOL!!) 


Sunday, March 27, 2011

A-Team (cont.)


After I unpacked his food, bowls, blanket and toys, I put BA on the leash and took him outside to "hurry."   But, I noticed that when he went, it was loose. Not his normal rambunctious self,  he was very quiet the remainder of the day.

The next morning, when I got up there were several small piles of vomit and diarrhea all around the kitchen.   Poor BA was sick...really sick.  He was lying on top of the heat vent shivering.  He wasn't crying, whining or whimpering...just shivering.  His nose was dry.  Wrapping him in a clean blanket and placing him in my lap, I called my Vet.  Telling him the symptoms, I was to meet him at his office in a half hour.

Greeting me at the door as I held BA snugly in my arms, I followed the Vet and his assistant down the hallway as he turned on lights.  It was time for me to let go.  Taking him out of my arms and doing a preliminary exam, he said, "He's one sick puppy.  We'll keep him overnight and put him on an intravenous.  As soon as the results come back,  I'll call you."

Leaving there, I remember only thinking of little BA...not even thinking of my daughter and her husband.  The next morning the Vet called and told me that BA had made it through the night which was a good sign.  However, when I asked what was wrong with him, he replied, "Parvo enteritis.  He's riddled with it.  He's holding his own for now."

Hearing those dreaded words,  I thought of my daughter now and how upset she would be when they got home.  My mind remembered the look on my Vet's face and the deep sigh he made, when I'd told him BA came from the pound,  He wasn't happy about that, since they didn't have a good reputation for cleanliness.

Later on that afternoon my Vet called me again.  This time, it was to tell me that BA had died.

Only a few days had passed when I received a beautiful sympathy card with footprints in the sand saying that BA would be waiting for those who loved him.  My Vet never sent me a bill for BA's care and a few weeks later, my daughter and son in law came by to show their new pitch black kitten.  My Vet had called them saying it needed a home.  It was healthy and feisty.  They named him Vern.  He, too, came into my life.  But, that's another story.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A-Team

Did I ever tell you the story of "B A?"  I don't believe I did.

If you're old enough to remember the A-Team, then you'll remember BA Barackus.  He was the big, tough looking dude with a mohawk haircut and muscles everywhere!

Well, way back then, my daughter and her husband decided to adopt a puppy from the local pound.  Since this was going to be my first "grandchild" on my side, I didn't care that it had four legs and a tail!  I was going to be a real honest to goodness Grandma!

When they stopped by with this little guy, I immediately fell in love.  Pitch black, dark yearning brown eyes, huge paws and sleek and shiny as a polished pair of shoes, he gave unlimited kisses.  His name was BA.  The folks at the pound told them he was a Great Dane mix and he was going to be a big one!

They had him about two weeks when they asked me to babysit for him overnight.  Of course, I said yes and headed to Jennifer's to pick him up that Saturday morning.  They would be returning on Monday, which was a holiday, as they had an out of town wedding and were leaving at noon.

When I arrived at Jennifer's that Saturday morning, she told me to keep a close eye on BA because he had been very quiet all day.  Picking him up from the couch, I placed him in his crate on his blanket and headed out the door.


to be continued...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Forever

Red Writing Hood

This week's prompt is simple: write a piece, fiction or non-fiction, inspired by the delicious shot. Word limit is 600.




 ~~~~~~

Biting into the mouth watering treat he'd given to her for "no special reason," she felt the guilt.  Being very independent and occasionally aloof, she first thought about being stubborn and not taking it.  Then she realized that this was not just a donut and sunk her teeth into it.  She devoured the entire thing, savoring every last crumb!  He knew she loved it.

Let me tell you what happened and you decide for yourself.

They hadn't been to something like this since they were young and just the anticipation, once again, stirred up all those emotions and endorphins that sometimes lie dormant when couples are together for so long.  Natasha knew he felt it too.  His eyes always radiated warmth when he looked at her as that sheepish little grin that came across his face.  Perhaps it was the way he cocked his head slightly to one side.  There was something.  They belonged together in each others arms with each other.

Asking her to dance to a slow number, he held her ever so gently but with a certain strength.  His hold seemed to drown out the crowd as he placed his hand on the center of her back, ever so lightly pressing inward as if to say, "I care."  Smiling, she could feel her eyelashes skim the surface of his face.

The song ended and as they walked back to the table, an old "friend" took him aside.   Making her way back to the table, Natasha sat waiting for him.  Shortly after Vladamir returned, she came over placing her hand on his shoulder leaning down to whisper softly into his ear.  Looking her in the eye and smiling at her, Natasha asked if she would care to join them.  With her came the books and other paraphernalia she'd brought for the evening.  Rambling on and on about doing this, and going there, and doing that, she was beginning to get on Natasha's nerves as Vladamir listened attentively.  Natasha's hand remained on his knee, well hidden beneath the tablecloth, because...well, just because.  It had always been a good feeling for her and him.

Suddenly, Natasha got up and walked over to an old "friend" of hers and thought, I can flirt too!  She didn't bother to look back because she felt him watching.  They somehow could always feel each other even when no words were spoken.

Laughing and chatting with her friend made the time race by and it wasn't long before the lights came on and it was time to leave.  It was over It's time to leave, she thought.  Now she would, once again, have him all to herself and that woman would be a thing of the past...a mere interruption in the life they shared.

Driving home while listening to their favorite tunes, he abruptly pulled into Dunkin Donuts on East Main and this is what he brought out.  As she unwrapped the waxy tissue, she saw the pink, then the hearts and the sprinkles and then most importantly, his love.  Although he said it was for no special reason, it was Vladamir's way of saying I'm yours....forever.

My Life: First Grade

 Today I'm linking up with Lisa over at Two Bears Farm- Memory Lane Fridays to remember First Grade!  Why don't you stop by as well?

 ~~~~~~

Although I don't remember all the circumstances surrounding what I experienced in First Grade, some memories are still quite vivid.  My teacher was Mrs Dockum.  A sweet elderly woman, petite in stature and gentle in her ways, she always greeted you and spoke to you through her smile.  She was kindness disguised in clothing.  Everything about her was gentle, including her walk.

Looking back at grammar school, First Grade makes me shudder.  There were limited bathroom breaks... one being mid morning, the other mid afternoon.  Of course, you could never break the line when walking back to class from the cafeteria either.  Marching like little duckings all in a row, we would immediately take our seats upon entering the classroom.

At some point during the afternoon, I "peed" my pants, as I could not hold it any longer.  I had been too busy having fun, surrounded by all my happy classmates to even realize how badly I had to urinate.  Looking back, perhaps I was too intimidated to raise my hand and ask.  After all, that would mean that everyone would turn around and look at me.  I would be noticed. 

I do remember quite vividly how the twins, Dorothy and Mary, laughed and teased me about it drawing attention not only to my indiscretion but also to my embarrassment and humiliation.  To this day, whenever I see either one of them. they remind me of the incident.  Will they ever forget? 

As others laughed and snickered, Mrs Dockum remained her sweet patient self and escorted me to the girls bathroom, her arm atop my shoulder as we walked down the hall footsteps echoing on the linoleum.  Helping me to dry my tears, wash my face and asking me to put a smile on was just her way telling me that she cared.  That felt good.  That I remember very well!


Copper and the Yellow Jackets


"Throughout the summer months, it is not uncommon for humans to have close encounters of the stinging kind as they use lawn mowers, edging tools or any other lawn equipment that makes noise.  The sounds made by various lawn tools will anger and disturb yellow jackets in the immediate area.  These stinging pests (often misidentified as ground hornets or honey bees) will often take a bulldozer "hostage," as the equipment operator abandons the equipment for safer ground."
  
It was August and had been a very hot dry year here in the Hollow.  Learning about yellow jackets the hard way since moving here, we would occasionally see them around the yard.  Then once their activity was spotted, I would tell the Pres and he would go out after dark and bomb the nest.  I never went on top of the hill near the Yuccas because they covered the steep hillside pretty well and I hadn't seen any activity.  It was a what I call a low maintenance spot once the Yuccas were trimmed and cleaned up for the year.

Apparently, Copper didn't get the memo or read the fine print because he blatantly disregarded the above statement.  It was a beautiful sunny day and as usual, we were playing Kong. Throwing it high like a "pop fly", when it hit the ground, it ricocheted bouncing at an angle landing right near those Yuccas.  As Copper headed for the Kong, he stepped on a hive that was apparently underground....a hive that I didn't know existed.  All I can say is thank goodness it was daytime and the nest wasn't loaded.

Watching him cower and diminish in size as the hungry wasps stung and stung again, he immediately came when I called him.  There were so many yellow jackets on his head, face and neck, it was insane!  I began swatting them away with one hand while continuing to brush them off with the other.  Trembling and obviously in pain, he leaned into me as if he were saying, "help me, Mommy."  After getting them off of him, I took him into the house and applied ice wrapped in towels.  Applying the cubes, using the ten minutes on ten minutes off rule, he finally stopped trembling.  Looking so forlorn, he settled down nicely in his crate.  My poor handsome man! 

Reminding the Pres to go out that night after it was dark, I breathed a sigh of relief once he came in and said he'd gotten the nest.  However, just for kicks, he dug it up a few days later.  It was the size of a small football!

Since that incident, I am so diligent on watching yellow jackets and their "hustling bustling" of activity.  They seem to like the banks of the creek a lot here in the Hollow.  Of course, I realize that they do eat small insects and that's fine they can eat their insects...but not MY DOG!   Hopefully, it will never happen again.

Busy as a bee, I'm linking up today with Amy over at Verde Farm for her Farm Friend Friday .  Come on by and say "Hi."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Almost There

Guess what?  You are all going on an adventure with me!  Flying out of Charlotte, we"ll leave Saturday and arrive that afternoon.  I've never taken my laptop with me in the past,  because there was never a need.  However, since I was feeling rather melancholy about leaving you behind, I decided to pack the old laptop.  I have yet to master blogging via Droid unless I can learn it before Saturday!  But one way or another, you're coming with me and at least you know you're in my heart!!...:) 

Oh, one more thing.  I forgot to tell you where we're going...

A is for all of you
R is for some running too
U is for umbrellas in the sun
B is for butterflies having fun
A is for the airplane ride...and for the Antilles Island surrounded by ocean blue and wide!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Early World




My early world is so serene
My early world is like a dream
My early world makes me feel free
My early world lets me be me.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Forgiveness

RemembeRED

This week's prompt is about forgiveness. Forgiving others, forgiving yourself. Write about a time of forgiveness. Your word limit for this prompt is 600 words.

~~~~~~
I was twenty two and had just given birth to my daughter, my first child.  Being two months pregnant, when I married did not go over well with my guardians.  In fact, since they had disowned me for other reasons, I'm not sure what I really expected when I called my Aunt that night.  They had raised me since I was four and I so wanted to have their love in my life even though it was abusive in so many ways.

She answered the phone.
Happily and enthusiastically, I said, "Auntie Ann, it's me.  I wanted to call and tell you that I just had a beautiful baby girl.  Her name is Jennifer and she weighed 6 lbs 13 oz.  Wait until you see her...she's beautiful!"

Hearing the unpleasantness and sarcasm even before she uttered a sound, I waited patiently for her response.  "I'm not interested in you or your little girl," she said before hanging up.

Tears filled my eyes and as they made their way down my young face, I slowly withdrew into my shell under the hospital linens, hidden from sight.  I had to hide the tears and the pain because I heard the sound of familiar voices.  My husband and in laws were coming down the hall.  They were my new family and welcomed me with open arms then and always.
Learning to forgive is one of the most difficult things to do in life.  While growing up, my Aunt would tell us stories about "girls in trouble" and how she looked at them saying that "they just couldn't wait until they were married."  Thinking that she had a heart of gold, I was so proud that she didn't belittle these young women.  

It took me a long time to forgive her for that night.  I often wonder if she ever forgave me.    

Monday, March 21, 2011

Frank? Frank who?

A long, long time ago, my younger cousin was a member of the local 4 H Club.  She needed a project for the year so my Uncle bought three dozen Capons.  Since she and I did a lot of things together, I was helping to care for them.  You all know, I'm sure, that a Capon is a castrated rooster.  We had the big pen out in back, watering troughs, daily feeding schedules as they grew plumper by the day.  My Uncle wanted them for their meat, which is considerably more tender and juicy fed the right diet, and couldn't wait until my cousin's project was completed and they would be ready.

Do you know what happens when the caponization (castration) fails?  You get a rooster.  You all know what roosters do.  They crow sometimes a lot sometimes not.  HE did.  His name was Frank.  I named him after a fellow I had dated that summer.  He was a pain in the you know what, as he wouldn't leave me alone.  He was always calling, driving out "to the country" and "just happen to be going by."  I went out with him once and that was enough.

Frank was the first one to go, if you know what I mean.  He tasted good, stuffed tightly with that bread and cracker stuffing my Aunt used to make.  Although I was a little squeamish staring at his golden brown juicy skin when he was placed on the table, those feelings went away quickly and I cleaned my plate savoring the cranberry sauce and biscuit at the end.  So to you I say...Frank?  Frank who?

P.S.  Linking up with Angela today at W VA Treasures for her Tuesdays Show & Tail.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Alva's Out of the Closet

Taking Alva out of the closet, I remembered that a few weeks ago, I did a post about "Alva," (something ugly that became a thing of beauty Aunt Alva).

Since several of you had expressed an interest in Alva, I thought it would be nice to show you the real thing.

See all the dried leaves and how scraggly all the stems look.  Since it hasn't been watered since last fall, the dirt is as hard as a rock.  But, then again, you would be too if you hadn't seen any sunlight or had any water in six months!

So, the next thing I have to do is very carefully and ever so gently, remove all the dead stems without disturbing any of her roots.  I'll give her a nice drink and put her on the table in Moon and Copper's room (aka my porch) so she's in indirect sun for now.  As she grows, I'll try to remember to take a picture or two so I can show you her progress.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Remembering "WaWa"

My son turned thirty six earlier this week so I've been thinking about him a lot. I thought it was only fitting to tell you a story about something he once said to me.

It was when money was tight.  Things were tough even though I was working at "the bank" as I was still only a part-time teller.  We lived in our apartment at the time.  There we were driving down that huge hill heading to the grocery store in the nearby plaza.  Passing by WaWa, a small convenience store, on my right, I approached the traffic light at the intersection.  It was then that my son, who was probably six or seven at the time, said something very profound.  "Mommy, when I grow up and get a job, I'm going to make lots of money."

"Good for you," I said.

"Do you know what I'm going to do with some of my money?" he went on.

"No, I don't Jason.  What will you do with your money?"

"I'm going to buy you a new dress."

Beaming with pride for being so considerate at such a young age, I said, "You are?  I would love that, Jason.  And where are we going to get this dress?"

"I'll take you shopping," he said glancing off to the left.  "I'll take you to WaWa."

I probably wanted to laugh my butt off, but contained my emotions so as not to hurt his feelings while my heart beamed with pride. 

Now, I'm not sure if any of you even know what a "WaWa" is.  They are a convenience store chain and were quite popular in Connecticut.  They sell, milk, bread, cigarettes, candy, soda and snack foods.  Can you imagine?  That poor dreamer...a dress for his mom from the local WaWa!  This is the same boy that, as a child, would tell me he "loved me more than there are stars in the sky," and "more than there are grains of sand on the beach."  He has grown up to be a good man, a great husband and a terrific father.

P.S.  The instant replay of that scene still invokes the same emotions in me...pride, laughter and lots of love. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

We're Where?

Red Writing Hood

This week's Red Writing Hood assignment is to write - fiction or non-fiction - about a time when you took a detour. Where had you intended to go and where did you end up?  Your word limit is 600.

~~~~~~

Knowing that we had the long Labor Day weekend to party before returning to work on Tuesday, Cheryl and I threw our clothes into my VW and headed to Jersey.  We had high hopes of "beaching it" as well as partying in Wildwood, so we left right after work that Friday...right at 5:30pm.

Driving for hours as Cheryl tried earnestly to head us in the right direction, I knew we were lost.  It was because of that stupid detour we had to take.  "Who does construction on a Friday night when you know all the workers want to be out partying?" she had remarked as we negotiated our way through the orange cones off the highway and onto a road that "paralleled the highway."  Well, that's what the map said.

Exhausted and hungry, I began to feel lighted head and dizzy.  It's my body's way of telling me I have to STOP.  And so we did.  We were in the middle of no where with no sign of life.  Total blackness smothered us.  I pulled over off the road and onto what looked like a grassy field.  Her willowy frame climbed into the back seat to sack out while I stretched my five foot seven thin frame across the gear shift and the two buckets seats in front.  "We'll re-assess in the morning," were my last words to Cheryl before drifting off to sleep.

Hearing the knocking at the driver's side window, my eyes widened with anxiety.  There was a man in a uniform.  No, there were two and they had guns slung over their shoulders!  Waking Cheryl and telling her we were in big trouble she mumbled, "we're where?"  Obediently, I rolled down the window while she climbed into the front.  The guards continued to interrogate us through the window before asking us to exit the vehicle.  The standard questions.  Who were we?  Where were we headed?  Did we have any weapons? Identification please.

I had parked the car on a Naval base near Wildwood and now we were being escorted onto the base by these two uniformed guards to speak to the commanding officer!  Our original intentions were to "beach it" and enjoy Wildwood.  We did.  We were wined, dined and entertained by the United States Navy the entire day and that evening for dinner and dancing.  Escorted to the entrance by vehicles weight down with men in uniform Saturday morning, we bid our farewells and, once again, headed for Wildwood.

Ladders & Bears

Once when I was out driving, I spotted an old wooden ladder that someone had put out for the junk pick-up.  Thank goodness I was in the Wrangler.  Pulling over and stopping so fast, I popped up the hatch and slid it in after I folded down the front seat faster that you can imagine!



Well, to tell the whole truth, that day I came home with three old wooden ladders and they've all been put to good use too, I might add.

Here's one hanging on the family room wall.  You see, I needed to put something big on this wall.  So why not a ladder?  The wall to the left has a collection of fireman memorabilia which is right above the Pres' chair and the wall to the right has this bear scene.  What better transition from fire fighting to retiring/hunting here in the woods than to use a ladder holding a fireman's pillow, some pine cone candles and a coyote to bring in the outdoors?


This picture is a story in itself...not the picture, but the frame.  You won't believe it when I tell you!  It really was quite interesting.  Remind me...

P.S.  I'm linking this post up to Amy's at Verde Farm for Farm Friends Friday.  See you there!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Boy

To Copper, life is just fun and games.  I mean, look at him. He was made to move.  I refer to him as my handsome boy!  He, as you can see, was in play mode while I was picking up "dog residue," and sticks are the yard the other day.  I should have taught him to pick up sticks, not retrieve them!


As he got closer, he fumbled, dropping his Kong.  He stopped, picked it back up and continued his trek.

He brought me Kong and I said, "release" as I took it from his mouth.  Then once again the energy kicked in and he started bobbing and spinning for me to throw it again.  This time, I gave him the hand signal to "sit."  I like to keep him on his toes and not let him get bored with the same commands and actions over and over.  You know, it's like throwing him a curve ball once in a while.  Diversity is the best thing to keep a hyper over active dog happy.  Can't you see the wheels turning inside that head of his?

His face says it all...devotion, love...unconditional love!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Japan-Update

Boop will arrive in Connecticut this afternoon.  She is safe.  
Her nephew has left Japan and will stay in friends in Hawaii.
Thank God.  I think I want to cry.

Across the Pond


 I met Diny, Menno and their daughter, Sylke while vacationing in Aruba a few years ago.  One year, I even met her Dad who was such a sweet man.  Although he has since passed on, he spoke to us about gardening and shared many stories with us from his younger days.  We laughed and smiled a lot!

For the most part, they are in Aruba the same weeks we are.  They, too, have a time share and it is so wonderful when I see them, that I get all teary eyed!  They are such wonderful company. 

This past May, when they came to the states, before heading to their home in Florida, they came and stayed here in the Hollow for several days.  It was so nice to have such warm, dear friends share their time here.  Both of them really like my small coffee maker and the coffee it made!  

Diny continues to work for KLM (airline) and Menno is not only a professional photographer but also a radio personality!  Yep, a "DJ!"  Boy, he has some stories of when he used to broadcast from a ship.  He was what you call a "pirate" because it was not permitted at that time.  

Although they have given me numerous gifts, the best gift of all is their friendship.
 
This post is dedicated to my friends from the Netherlands.  Menno is currently being treated for cancer, undergoing periodic chemo treatments at the hospital.  They are in my thoughts and prayers each day.   

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

They'll Be Back!


Before we know it, my little Hummingbirds will be returning to the Hollow with their aerial antics and attitudes.  They are such a joy to watch as I sit on the stoop of the shed.  Nature teaches us so much.  I hope others stop to learn from her as well.


Today is Tuesday and it's time to link up with Angela at WVTreasures for her Tuesdays Show & Tail.  This is the post I'm bringing with me.

Red

RemembeRed
This week, we'd like for you to write about your favorite fresh fruit or vegetable.
Share a memory of when you first tasted it, where it came from, when you last had it, a favorite way to prepare it, and such.  As you write your piece this week, think of it as writing a scene. Be sure to engage our senses, make us feel, see, taste, hear, and smell. Pull us in with your description.
~~~~~~

So there it was...one of six, sitting in an opaque plastic bag tied with a green twist tie.  Removing the twist tie, I reached in, grasping the plump red gem.  The skin was thick, hard and slightly waxy as I grabbed hold of this almost grapefruit sized treasure I was about to taste.  Feeling heavy in my hand and examining it carefully, I noticed there appeared to be a small crown-like part on one end, giving it an almost regal flare.  Noticing that the specimen in my hand was a bright, vibrant red, there were others in the bag that were slightly lighter in color, almost pinkish, and others that were a deeper almost cranberry shade.

Now I needed to know what to do with it.  After searching on the internet for a "how to," I removed the small chef's knife from the kitchen drawer and placed a large bowl into the kitchen sink.  Placing the pomegranate into the bowl, I cut off both ends only to see lush red juices seep out and into the bowl.  Then, placing it on it's end and using a sharp paring knife, I scored the skin into sections vertically, following the natural pattern of seams created by nature.  Grasping the entire fruit in both hands, I split the sections, hearing a crisp snap with each separation, gently placing them into the bowl which continued to house the deep red luscious juice. 

Separating the arils, plump with the juice as well as a seed, from the off-white almost translucent pith, I could not help myself.  The temptation was too great.  I had to get a spoon and taste some.  It was sheer heaven!  Tart, thirst quenching, succulent and crunchy all at the same time, I felt the rich red juice satiate my palate.  It flowed effortlessly down my throat, feeling so refreshing and satisfying.  Wanting more and salivating as I worked, I couldn't wait to get more arils onto the spoon and extracted from the bitter pith. 

Peeling my first pomegranate took me a fair amount of time...probably close to twenty minutes.  I will admit that during the process, I wondered if it was worth all the time and effort.  However, since savoring my first tantalizing treasure, I have become impervious to the task and have become quite adept at it.  Now, writing this and feeling slightly humbled by it, I will admit that I never tasted this fruit until I was fifty eight.  This has got to be the most delicious, thirst satisfying fruit there is.  Addicted, I eat it nearly every day not only because I love it but also for it's nutritional. value and health benefits.

Now part of my routine, anywhere from six to twelve pomegranates find their way into my home weekly while they are in season.  I have learned that the arils can be frozen, which I do, dating the zip-lock bags.  Consequently, I relish their flavor until the following winter, awaiting more of these red gems.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pay It Forward


As I was visiting my blogger friends yesterday, I found out that Teresa over at Run-A-Round Ranch was kind enough to give me a present!  Isn't it just the prettiest color green...so Springy!

The way this works is I'm supposed to tell you seven things about myself that you do not know about me and then pass on this illustrious award to five more bloggers.

So, I've been thinking.  You all know so much about me, this could be a little scary.  This is what I came up with:

1.  I buy my own birthday cake each year.
2.  When I was growing up I raised Capons as a 4 H project and Chinchillas at home.
3.  I was on a bowling league and quite good.
4.  In college, I was on the debate team.  (Doesn't that make sense?)
5.  When I was little, I used to make pixie hats with Hydrangea leaves.
6.  In High School, I dated the star of the basketball team. 
7.  I was both a Brownie and a Girl Scout.  That's why I have such great survival skills here in the Hollow!!! 

And now, my pretties....I get to pass on the Versatile Blogger Award to five bloggers:

1.  Snappy Di,The Blue Ridge Gal
     Diane is very versatile.  She smiles a lot, laughs a lot and has a wonderful imagination!
2.  Lisa at Two Bears Farm 
     Lisa is an all around winner.  She's a great mom, great cook, crafter, runner. She does it all!
3.  Joy over at Granny Mountain
     Joy always has a kind word for everyone and post on numerous topics.
4.  Shirley at Shirley's World
     My friend, Shirley is an absolute peach!   Her love for animals, antiques and life are endless.
5.  Glenda at Country Living in the Ozarks
     I have never met a more incorrigible woman than Glenda.  She can do anything!

And so, to you ladies, grab your well-deserved Versatile Blogger Award, then tell us seven things about yourselves and  then PAY IT FORWARD!



Sunday, March 13, 2011

Newsflash: "Topical" Updates

Realizing this is a little out of the "norm" for me, however, I felt that I just had to fill you all in on a few things:
(because, after all, what's excitement if I can't share it with a few friends, right?)
  1. Japan ~ Boop and her nephew are fine!  She is coming home Wednesday...:)
  2. Did you all notice my new button?  It was created by Diane aka The Blue Ridge Gal .  Isn't it just WONDERFUL!!!!  I LOVE it...:)
  3. Helpful Hint:  Don't EVER hit yourself in the face with a pyrex dish.  It really hurts!!  The black and blue is unsightly and right on my cheekbone!
  4. Regarding my tool bench:  I bought one of those screw/nail organizers, hung it from the pegboard, did labels for my perennial seeds on my computer and keep the dried seeds in the drawers, which are, of course, in alphabetical order.  (Remember, I told you that I excelled in organizational skills?)
  5. Regarding carving the letters:  pencil them on first (I did free hand but I guess a stencil would work);  although the Dremel has bits that can to carving/engraving, I found that the Ryobi wood carver is much easier and uses less "muscle."  However, my Dremel is used faithfully to clean my garden tools at the end of each season, sharpen blades when needed.  Good investments!
  6. And, you all thought I just sat around all day!!! LOL!!!...:)JP

My Tools



This is my tool bench.  It's a tad messy, as you can see, but one of these days, I'll get to it.  One of these days.

I'm quite a busy beaver, in case you haven't figured that out yet.  I like to tinker sometimes.  I've got a belt sander, a scroll saw and two other favorites...my trusty wood carver and my Dremel.  I've made all kinds of things!  You'd be proud!   


These are two of my many projects.  There's just something about the buzzing noise that gets me even more motivated!  As you can see, I used old pieces of wood that I found here and there.  This board for my gathering room sign was in an old barn up in Connecticut.  The "North" sign was done on an old piece of discarded picket fence that I took apart with my trust hammer. 
Oh, one more thing, I'm pretty selfish with my tools.

But, on the other hand, when you come to my house to visit or stay over, you won't get lost.  I have signs everywhere!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Be Safe & Come Home NOW

This post is dedicated to my BEST friend! 

Studying under a Reiki Master in Tokyo for the past several weeks, she was scheduled to come home today.  In speaking to her husband Friday, who is also my BEST friend, I did find out that she and her nephew, who lives in Japan, are safe.  Thank God!

So, Boop...wherever you are:  
BE SAFE, STAY SAFE AND COME HOME AS  SOON  AS YOU CAN 
P.S.  Boop, that's my "mommy voice" I'm using, so you know what that means!


Friday, March 11, 2011

Aunt Alva

Red Writing Hood 

This week's assignment is to write a short piece, either fiction or non-fiction, about something ugly - and find the beauty in it.  Word limit is 600.

 ~~~~~~

Walking into my home holding a six inch, green flower pot, my friend Joyce grabbed my attention and took me aside. 

"Lets go out on the front porch because I want to tell you a story."

She began immediately.  "JP, I want to tell you about my Aunt Alva.  She was a homely woman...very homely.  I mean she was down right ugly!  She was my Aunt on my mother's side and there was nothing, absolutely nothing, pretty about her."

Smiling and questioning her intentions with this introduction, I asked her if this was a joke.  Clenching her lips, she shook her head side to side.  Listening intently to this tale about her Aunt and not yet grasping the purpose, I glanced over toward the flower pot then re-focused on Joyce.

"Although Aunt Alva was as ugly as sin, she had a heart of gold, JP.  She had no boyfriends when she was young and men never wanted to bother with her as she aged either.  Living alone her whole life, she never married nor had any children.  But, everyone in the family knew that what she had in her heart, she gave to others without hesitation."

"Now, we don't know where she got this plant to begin with, but each Spring, she would pass on a sprig or two to another family member.  I've taken some sprigs off of my pant, JP, which I got from my mother, to give you because we want you to consider yourself part of the family."

My eyes, now beginning to tear, once again ventured over to the bright green pot, wondering what this beautiful cascading plant was called with it's delicate, almost sheer, lavender flowers.

"Since you invited Bill and I out to your home, we wanted to bring you something special.  And, what I will tell you is this.  Although none of us know the proper name of the plant, we want you to have it."

She went on.  "Each fall, when the weather gets cold, take it in and put it in a closet.  Leave it in the dark all winter.  Don't water it.  Ignore it.  In the Spring, take it out of the closet, put it in indirect sunlight giving it a nice watering.  Carefully clip off the dead withered vines.  Before you know it, you will see small gray stalks emerging from the soil.  Then it will change from an ugly, brown, dead, scraggly looking thing to this beautiful plant you see here."

Mesmerized by her explanation, I immediately wanted to ask questions but didn't know where to begin.

Joyce continued, "we've called it Alva as far back as I can remember.  As you can see, the blossoms are truly a thing of beauty.   It reminds us of Aunt Alva...a beautiful person on the inside."

Hugging and thanking Joyce, I accepted the gift with great pride.  Alva continues to thrive in my closet each winter.  She is a thing of beauty each Spring, Summer and Fall and that beauty will live on forever.

Meet Miles

Miles is a peacock who lives on a farm
Miles is so sweet, he won't do you harm
And sometimes when he wants to look just his best
He spreads out his tail feathers and then he's all dressed!

Miles isn't mine...belongs to Ellie and Mike
Wonder what he'd look like if his feathers were spiked?

P.S.  I linking this post up with Amy today over at:  Verde Farm for Farm Friend Friday...:)

Snakes

 Although this is definitely not my favorite topic, they do exist.  They do live here in the Hollow and since I've been here, I've learned a lot about the little devils.  Knowing that snakes like rodents, I had this bright idea that if I eliminated the rodents, I would reduce the number of slithery creepy crawlies.  Sounds logical, right?

So, one day when my friend, Lisa from Two Bears Farm stopped by, I was telling her how each morning when I came around the corner of the house I would see a shiny black snake with a ring around it's neck poking his head up out of a hole.  Reassuring me that he was not poisonous, that he was one of the "good" snakes and being oh so knowledgeable in so many things, she suggested that I give Moth Balls a try.  

Since then, every year just like clockwork, early in the Spring, I sprinkle Moth Balls in and around the beds.  Of course, while sprinkling I couldn't help but notice all the holes, so I decided to fumigate them as well.  Dropping balls down there holes, I made my away around the flower beds.  I even spotted this little escape route under the front rain barrel.  Thinking I'd be slick, I droped a few balls down the hole you see on the side of the barrel.

Guess what happened?  A few days later, there were five moth balls pushed out from the entrance!  Some little rascal apparently is fighting me on this.  It's become almost a daily battle.  I pick them up and put them back in the hole of the barrel.  He (and I have to assume it's a male because it's giving me such a hard time) pushes them out of the bottom.  See what I mean?

So, my battle with the snakes, oh now that will have to be another story! 

Did I ever tell you about the time...

P.S.  I'm linking up with Lisa today at Two Bears Farm for her Memory Lane Fridays.  I haven't been there in a while so I've been missing out.  Stop by. She'd like that.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Marshall's Tale

One day, I decided to go to Marshall's.  It's one of my favorite places to wander and waste the day.  Somehow their "Clearance racks" talk to me.  Swear to goodness gracious...it's as if they say, "hey, come over, today is your lucky day."  I go shopping every six months or so unless I really need something for a specific reason.

On one of visits last year, I was in the check out lane and two women were in front of me.  Good friends obviously and they seemed nice enough.  One of them was purchasing a decoration for her yard.  A planter that looked like a tricycle.  I swear, all I said was, "that's adorable."  Well, from that point on the conversation ensued.  We stood outside the store on the sidewalk talking for at least a half hour.  Meanwhile we exchanged phone numbers and, as always, I told them if they were ever around Boones Mill to stop by.  

I got home and a short while later, the phone rang.  It was Sheryl, one of the women I'd met earlier that day.  She asked if she and Dottie could come by and I said, "absolutely."  Giving her directions on how to get to the house and to not be scared when they pass the old bus on the left, I was happy they took me up on the invitation.

About a half hour passed and there they were pulling in the driveway.  Opening the front door and greeting them as if they were old friends, they immediately began saying wonderful things about the front porch.  We went inside and I gave them the "tour" which they loved.  Then, before we sat down to have some lunch and a few cookies (pulled from the freezer), they took me back into my living room.  Out of a canvas shopping bag, they pulled something wrapped in brown paper and tied with raffia.  Handing it to me, they said, "This is for you.  We stopped at a place on the way here.  We want you to have it for being so hospitable."   Wasn't that so sweet?  They gave me a framed old cross stitch.  Isn't it great?! 

I immediately placed it on the mantel over the fireplace. because, to me, it was such a heart warming thing for them to do!  They both live out at Smith Mountain Lake...right on the lake actually.  I've been there a few times to visit.  They like it a lot when I bring cookies...:)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Meeting Me


Imagine you are meeting someone for the first time. You want to tell them about yourself.  Instead of reciting a laundry list of what you do or where you're from, please give us a scene from your life that best illustrates your true self.  Word limit is 600.




The Girls




The other afternoon, while I was out with Moon and Copper, a few of the local girls were visiting as usual.  So, peering through the apple trees, I snapped a few pictures to share.









Sorry this one is a blurry.  I was trying to tiptoe in my  boots.  And at 63, I'm certainly no gazelle!

Last night, there were nine in the yard.  I think the most we've ever had was twelve or thirteen!

The best time is when the fawns start coming in.  They jump,frolic and kick their heels, running wildly across the hillside.  They're too funny...:)

I'm heading over to Angela's today at WVTreasures.  It's time for Tuesdays Show & Tail !

Monday, March 7, 2011

"Powerful" Neighbors

I knew something was wrong during the night when I woke up and everything was pitch dark.  It didn't take me long to figure out that we had lost power!  Brrrrr...I was chilly as I got up and headed toward my "office" to grab my little flashlight.  Finding my way in the dark wasn't bad because I am very organized and leave things in their designated spot.

Grasping the mini Maglite and turning it on with a quick twist, I headed down the hall towards the bathroom.  Although it was a "little uncomfortable" sitting on the bowl, I quickly adapted!  I decided that I might as well stay up and light a few of the oil lanterns that are located in the dining and kitchen areas.  I sat in the family room chair wrapping the blanket around me sipping on a glass of OJ.

Using the old phone, which is the only phone that works during a power outage, I called Melvin & Jesse next door.  They, too, had no power.  

Waiting until about 6:30am to disturb the Pres, I asked if he could get up and start the generator, which he did.  Our generator is not big enough to run the entire house, but we'd be able to let the heat pump run as well as the pump for the well and our septic.  Besides, now I could make a cup of coffee!  

Meanwhile although I told the Pres to go back to bed, he stayed up.  Normally he sleeps until after 8:00am, which is why I take the dogs and walk so I'm not tempted to start doing anything in the house.  That way, he sleeps in because it's so quiet.   Anyway, since he was getting anxious for his newspaper, he headed down the road in the red Dodge Ram.  You see, normally Melvin drives down the mountain, gets his and our paper and then drops ours in our mailbox or hands it to me if I'm out walking.

When the Pres got back home, he told me what he saw.  I HAD to jump in the Wrangler and head down there to get a picture.  Of course, that was after I gave Lisa over at Two Bears Farm a jingle.  They had power.  When I got down the road, there they were...just dangling.  That explained it...old Mother Nature was working overtime!  The winds we had on Sunday were so severe that it sounded like a freight train was running through the Hollow at times!  

So, now, as I write this, the generator is still running and running and running.  The only running I'll do is perhaps to walk the mountain a second time today with Moon and Copper.  I'll have to go to the Y tomorrow.  After all, tomorrow is another day...:)

Island in the Stream

It rained for a good portion of the day Saturday.  Sunday, it began raining heavy since around 6am.  Although I was concerned about the creeks, I didn't go outside until noon.  I'm glad I did.  At the fence line that crosses the creek on the South side of the house, there was a slight problem.  You see, my little rascal Moon used to escape by literally ducking under the water and under the fence.  So, a few years back, I asked the Pres to put something to prevent her from accessing that as an escape route.  He placed an old unused fence post under the wire and that was just enough to block her passage.
However, with all the dried leaves that blow into the creek bed and accumulate all winter, when a heavy torrential rain hits, they often create damns here and there.  And so, off I went into the pouring rain wearing my nylon waterproof parka, waterproof pants and my LL Bean boots.  

My first task was to clear away the accumulated debris on the fence line to get all that water flowing.

My next task was a little tougher because when I looked down towards the road and the culvert that crosses under the driveway, an island had formed.  Now, I'm all for the  islands, but I really don't relish the idea of one in the midst of my creek.
Besides, the left side was eroding the bank.  I didn't want that to happen.  So, with the help of my trusty pitchfork, I cleared the block and got the water flowing along the road again...right into the culvert!  

Remember I told you a long time ago, that "it's not what you accomplish, but rather what you learn from it?" (Yes, I said that!)  Well, want to know what I learned when I was out there doing this?

I learned my waterproof parka ISN'T WATERPROOF!  LOL!!!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

They're BAAAAAACCCCK!


The other morning even before I began my walk, I kept hearing what sounded like a chain saw.  At first, I thought it might have been Sam up on the other side of the ridge.

However, when the dogs and I headed down the road, about 3/10 of mile away from the house, the noises were louder.  As we rounded the bend, this is what we saw.

When I last spoke to Emerson, he had told me that the loggers were going to start cutting in a roadway to access his property.  He's having it clear cut.   Of course, the property owned by the church was done last year and now his.  That same feeling of "invasion" came over me, although I know that clearing timber from the land promotes new growth.  I do know that.  I just don't like it.  Let's just hope and pray that the Pres doesn't want to get ours done!

I know I've told you this before when I talked about loggers...it makes me feel like the people in the movie Avatar!
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