Settled in for Fall

13 11 2011

The leaves have changed the picture of my world in more ways than visually. I have always loved autumn for it’s colors, it’s cozy clothing, the anticipation for the holidays and family-time that it brings with it, and it’s relaxed feeling. The change in the air we breathe feels like a deep breath of perspective for me. It’s a time of year that I feel like it’s ok to sit down and rest (metaphorically). Fall is my time-out, used to sort of re-group and enjoy where I am. I can allow myself not to feel pressured to make big strides as I focus on family, God’s love, and rest. I look forward to bowls of hot comfort foods with the ones I love and snuggling with a quilt on the couch for laughter and the feeling of slowing down, even though the holiday season is so busy.

The wind is howling outside and the only dread I feel is for the grocery shopping that simply must be done! I had a wonderful visit with my mom, aunts, grandma and other family for the last few days, and it really just felt like the holidays are already here. I can’t wait to share a feast of Thanksgiving with those I am so thankful for!

This will likely be the last Thanksgiving and Christmas with our son still living at home, and I will treasure every second. God is good. Even when life is far from perfect – especially then, I think. Right now, with the changes at my husband’s job, we are not assured of an income for more than a few months, but I feel strangely at peace. I know that it is my assurance in my savior that allows me to feel so secure – nothing matters more than eternity – and I know what eternity I have in store.

It’s funny how I allow fear to consume me at times, and how I feel fearless at others. We go through mountains and valleys regardless of our actions and reactions, I suppose. I guess I’m just now mature enough to see that. I know that I am blessed and I feel that I can hardly stand how much I’m blessed considering how little I deserve it, sometimes.

Life is beautiful – and sometimes it’s ugliness makes it all the more lovely when you know that God is in control.

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All’s quiet on the western front

19 03 2010

Maybe this research on Daniel Boone is getting to me.  Although I haven’t  heard that phrase in a long time, it came to my mind easily this day.  It’s quiet in the house.  I can actually hear birds in this concrete world we’ve created (so sometimes I can block out the factory sounds from nearby, the constant hum of the interstate and the heavy machinery making the road wider so all those people who are going nowhere in a hurry can do so without runnng over each other).  Sarcasm?  Who me?

So I can hear the birds this morning.  The house isn’t technically any quieter, but I guess I’m just more in tune to their chirpings this morning.  Maybe the coffee is working faster??  Who knows.

Anyway.  Last night I had to confess to my husband that I am in love with another man.  He took it well, only smirking at me.  I think he has suspected it for years.  I have 52 copies of the same picture of him that I treasure openly, and I have talked about him many, many times past the point where others wanted to listen.  In truth, though, I think that I could not be a good match for Daniel – he stayed gone from home way too much.  I am too demanding for that!  Not that I’m difficult, I just need lots of quality time in order to be happy in a relationship.  Rebecca was a strong, strong woman.  <sigh>  He is wonderful, though.

Spring “Break” has come to an end for me, as today is the last day.  I hope I can finish up my paper today, and I’m trying not to dwell on the fact that I have another paper due in a month, and no “break” to do it in.  I suspect the topic won’t be so romantic, either….a psychological disorder.  That should do plenty to bring me back to the 21st century.

I must get started, and I think I may try playing some of that classical music I’ve depended on to help me fall asleep this stressful week.  Just real low in the background.  Maybe that will be nice, now that I’m hearing the factory and that darn dozer – or whatever it is!





Life and Jelly

9 09 2009

Why is it that there can be so much going on in my head, but when I place my fingers on the keyboard they sit motionless while I struggle?  I suppose it’s just hard to know where to start sometimes…

“What have I been up to?” you ask.  Ok, so you haven’t ask, but for posterity’s sake, let’s pretend.  I need someone to ask today, and since there’s no one around, I shall indulge myself in imaginings 🙂

I’ve been up to lots of things.  I’ve been trying to be a full-time teacher to my sixth-grade daughter, for one.  I have found it easy, as a home educator, to leave my children on auto-pilot for a few hours each day, while I keep other responsibilities under control, but I’ve discovered that this approach doesn’t work quite so well with this child as it did with the first.  Siblings can be so different!  That’s another conversation entirely, and I’ll stay on the current one.  Staying near my daughter as she works, being available to answer questions (she won’t search the house for me like her brother did), asking about her progress regularly (to inhibit daydreaming – or whatever it is her mind turns to), and moving her from one task to another (to eliminate the time wasted when she fails to come to me when she has completed what I have given her) is sooooooo difficult some days!  In case you haven’t concluded so yet, today was one of those days.  By the time we finished the school day, it was 4:50, and I truly thought I would implode before dinner was cooked.  Some momma-chosen tunes and self-control, along with the cooking assistance and companionship offered by my love helped put out the fuse!

I’ve really slowed down in the hobby area, simply because of the lack of time.  I’ve set up and made only a handful of postcard trades since school began a month ago, and letterboxing was completely ignored  through the entire summer (although I did think about it many times).  Hiking is not happening, either, but I have probably spent more time dreaming/planning about where and when I can hike than any other single pleasurable think I have been able to allow my brain to escape to these last few weeks.

My mom and niece came for a visit over the weekend, and it so happens that I had been planning to make apple jelly on Labor Day for two weeks.  My daughter expressed a desire to know how jelly was made, and see the process, so the homeschooler in me delighted at the chance to indulge her curiosity and delight in her eagerness to learn something new, and I forged ahead with it!  Although my mom had made jelly many times when I was growing up, I don’t remember ever helping past the point of helping gather the fruit,  so I had no experience making jelly from fruit.  In college, I made jelly from canned fruit juice once, but that was the extent of my experience with jelly-making.  So, I became excited easily about the prospect of going through the entire process using fresh apples from a local orchard.  That my mom just happened to be here to see the process along and share in the fun, was just perfect.  The jelly turned out great, it is delicious, and though not a requirement, it is  absolutely gorgeous!   But out of the whole experience, I was most excited to learn that you don’t have to have whole apples to make apple jelly.  It may not be a surprise to you, but I was elated to learn that all you need to make apple jelly are the apple scraps!!  The cores and peelings alone result in wonderfully tasting, beautifully colored jelly!  The first batch we made was made from whole apples,  We left on the peels, but tossed the cores and the result was a very flavorful, light peachy-pink jelly, perfect in sweetness.  When I looked at the huge bowl of apples remaining and began to discuss making another batch with my mom, she suggested that I freeze or dry some of the apples for other uses, since there were really enough apples left for two more batches.  It was during this discussion that she revealed that all we needed were the scraps from the apples we  would freeze or dry to make another batch of jelly.  I couldn’t believe it at first, and then it sunk in as we discussed the ‘old way’ and how it would never have allowed for the ‘waste’ of good fruit just for jelly.  True.  And I couldn’t wait to try it.  I am still ecstatic with the result 🙂  And I still think it’s so cool that you can make lovely, sweet, scrumptious jelly from the parts I usually throw away!!!  And to make my new knowledge even more amazing, the ‘scrap’ jelly is much deeper in color – never again will I think of peelings and cores as garbage!

Check out the difference in the color…(the taste is pretty much the same, I think, but my tastes of each weren’t within moments of one another, so there could be a slight difference).

Apple Jelly  Apple Jelly

This jelly still needs a name.  I just haven’t been able to come up with something creative enough – it’s one of those “I’ll know it when I hear it” sort of things…suggestions are very welcome!!

In case it helps, the apples used were Empire, Jonathon, and Cortland.  “Think, think, think.” says Pooh.  😉

We also canned two whole pints (hee-hee) of the jalapenos growing so well in the garden.  I promised you pictures when it was all in full green…sorry about that; I never took photos and now it’s in that not-so-lovely stage, where the lettuce is gone, the tomatoes and bell peppers, some scallions and herbs are still green and producing, but mostly just the jalapenos are thriving!!  Maybe I’ll get pictures during it’s peak next year. 

I’m also getting ready to start back volunteering in the children’s ministry at church.  Not writing for them as I had hoped, but God has other plans for my writing 🙂  I’ll be teaching Kindergarten boys – such cute little bottles of energy and curiosity, and I am very excited about it and implementing the changes that have been made in the progression of the hour we have them.  I am working on a postcard-sized newsletter to send home weekly to update the parents on what their boys are learning and encouraging them to help reinforce it at home.  I need a few creative group activities to use with them in a whole-family group setting, so if you’ve got any ideas or suggestions, they are welcome!

Even though the preceding barely touches the surface in attempt to tell you what I’ve been up to, I’ve sat still long enough and have to move on to something else.





Speeding Through Summer

8 07 2009

I can’t fully comprehend how it is that I find myself nearing mid-July, when I have little recollection of the preceeding summer months.  To say that summer is speeding by would be a simple enough statement.  This July 4 was spent relaxing with extended family at Cherokee Lake in Tennessee.  It was very nice.  The weather was warm and sunny, with only a little rain on the last day, so I can’t complain about the weather, for a change 😉  It’s always so great to have all the cousins together, playing and to listen to their conversations.  I find it absolute pleasure that they seem to just pick up the relationship in all it’s ease, even if it’s been months since they’ve seen or spoken to one another.  Wouldn’t it be nice if adults were so free in their meetings?  We always hold back, wary of the possible judgement or hidden agenda held by the other.  That’s what comes from experience with people, I suppose.

I’ve neglected my site here to lavish time and effort on the postcard trading hobby – it is very enjoyable, and affords me the chance to meet peoples from all over the globe, who have similar interests and agendas for our dealings.  It does take quite a bit of time of organizing, having to keep my online trade album updated with what I have in stock, keep up with addresses, preferences, and such, but it is fun.  I’m indulging myself with more time to spend with the hobby right now, because I know that when school begins, I will have to seriously cut back.

Speaking of school, I am elated that our school district has decided that middle and high schools should begin school an entire hour later than in previous years, but still release at the same time!  I can’t exaggerate the good things that means for our household.  This past school year being the first that we’ve had to deal with considering “out of home” school schedules in 9 years, was quite an adjustment for all of us.  Since I will not send my son, who never seems to be full of belly, out of the house on a meager, cold breakfast, I raised myself from the bed every morning (there were about a dozen exceptions – most exusable because of surgery), to cook his meal at 6am.  Now, you may consult any home educator about this – 6am is early!  Three to four mornings a week, I went back to bed after my son and husband left, which meant that I slept later than I would’ve if I had  not gotten up to cook and laid back down, which meant that home school for my daughter started and finished later than we’d like.  For my husband, this change of schooling type meant that he got a hot breakfast every morning, which he loved, but it also meant that he had to take our son to school and deal with traffic he could otherwise avoid if our son missed the bus.  Even though our son managed the earlier beginning and later ending to his day quite well, he will savor every minute of that extra hour he gets to sleep!

I am also researching Kentucky and its history, which has taken me away from regular hobbies and things.  Right now I’m particularly looking for quirky facts and quotes by Kentuckians.  It is particularly difficult to find quotes from KY women in history, so if you are interested and would like to help me out, it would be greatly appreciated!





Country Girl Making Due in the ‘Burbs

23 03 2009

Project garden has been underway around here…Obama’s stimulus showed up on dh’s paycheck, and alas…it won’t be enough to allow us to buy some acreage.  It did pay for a can of stain for the cedar planters I lucked up on last week.  Next week’s will cover the second can I had to buy when one wasn’t enough to do the job. LOL  Ok – that’s enough, I know …”Nobody likes a smartass.”

My neat little home for veggies and herbs (’cause my dh didn’t want “to have to weed-eat around anything else!”:

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As-purchased, without the roof

I found two of these covered sandboxes at the local garden center.  I just happened to walk up and show interest in using one as a planter (hadn’t looked at the price tag yet), when one of the employees said his job today was to break them down to be sold as planters, because the pulley system to raise and lower the roofs were broken and they weren’t drumming up any interest as clearanced sandboxes as-is.  After speaking with the owner, he offered me a very good deal if I bought two, because they really needed them out of the way for new spring stuff.  I ran home and measured my space, because I wasn’t sure if they’d take up the whole back yard…and I needed to have a phone conference with my honey over the deal.  They fit, and hubby approved, so I headed back to the garden center to pay for them and arrange to pick them up when my honey got home from work with the truck.  As I was excitedly paying for the two veggie homes, the guy who made me the deal walked up and said he’d found a third in the back and that I could have the three for even less each.  My mind was reeling with whether or not they’d even fit in the yard, whether the money was even in the checking account, and thinking quickly, I asked if I could have the same deal if I paid for two now and came back for the third before they closed that day.  He hesitated, then agreed.  He then offered to follow me home to deliver them – for free – because he really needed them out of the way.  Of course, I didn’t argue with that!  And after measuring and consulting with my dh when he got home, we went back and bought the third for less than a nice dinner out 🙂
After staining and placement

After staining and placement

I’ll post more pics later.  I’ve already planted some herbs and seeds, and still have a few places to touch up with stain, plastic corners to put back on (after having spray-painted them tan – they were primary colors).  They look very nice and will provide some growing fun and of course, the satisfaction of plucking something I’ve grown for my family to eat.  The roofs have a green tarp over a cedar frame, and will eventually be stained and have clear plastic instead of green tarp – but I want to do some research first to see if it’s worth it.  I don’t know much about coldframes and hotbeds and such…and don’t even know which is which.  I only know that right now the roofs will serve to protect from frost on nights when it is still possible.

In letterboxing news, a most frustrating situation has materialized.  I’ve been working on a set of 9 themed boxes for months.  Seven are planted, one is waiting to be planted (because the building on the plant site is undergoing renovations and I simply can’t plant until that is done), and the last one is nearly complete.  I recently got an “attempted” message on one of the plants – which could usually mean that the box may be lost…but this one was inside a building, inside a case that only employees can access, and was enthusiastically placed there by the owner.  So, of course, I had to go there and see what is going on!  An employee informed me that it was removed because “it didn’t receive enough traffic” – which I didn’t promise loads of!  Since the owner was not there, I left a message and am hoping with all my heart that they didn’t just throw the box away.  Surely not!  But it is difficult to think of much else until I hear from him.

<Deep sigh>  It was one of my favorite boxes.

The dryer is beeping at me.  And it is time to get the potato salad fixed so it’ll have time to chill before dinner.

Hasta luego.





Trail Time

6 11 2008

Lots of stuff to catch up on here.  It’ll take a few posts.  First on my mind is the awesome night we spent backpacking over the weekend.  I have hiked many miles and hours, but never had I camped off the trail.  This was something I have been dying to do since my son and husband were introduced to it through Boy Scouts.  I mean, it is perfect, really.  I love to camp, but to me, the most burdensome part of camping is packing all that crap stuff!  I’m always the one asking, “Do we really need that?” as the pile of gear gets higher and wider.  And all the food!  I like to get away from the kitchen when I camp, not just take it with me 😦  I’m not much on sandwiches, but fruit, nuts, crackers, cheese and such is enough to make me happy, since exercise and heat usually leave me quite content with just having something to digest…it doesn’t have to be a typical meal.  However, of all the years I’ve camped, even as a child, I have been at a campsite surrounded with enough stuff to make me tired just thinking about packing it all back up again – not to mention putting it all away when you get home (and for some reason no one is as eager to put the stuff back as they were drag it out and add it to the pile).  Now, don’t get the wrong idea.  I am not, by any means a spoil-sport over the lack of attention paid to my pleas to cut back on what we take along.  I love to camp, and enough so that the ceremonial packing and the unpacking of the perceived necessary gear does not damper my spirits too much.  But backpacking – oh the joy!  Be very assured that everyone puts much thought into what can be done without when every ounce of gear will be strapped to our backs 😉  I’ll wager that what we “need” gets less and less with experience, too!  We did not hike far on this our first time, because we didn’t want to overtax ourselves and make it so difficult as to hinder our spirits for another go at it soon.  I carried about 30lbs in my pack, dh and ds packed about 40-45 each, and we were careful to keep dd’s load at about 10-12. 

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We went 1.25 mi down the trail to a beautiful natural arch, where we explored a large rock/cave area and admired the arch close up.  At the bottom of the arch was a sobering reminder to be careful – a sad shrine dedicated to a fallen hiker whose family makes an annual pilgrimmage to visit the place where they lost him.

att000881  att00076

It was dark when we finished and we put our packs back on and used headlamps to follow the trail back and find a suitable place to set up camp along the way.  We ended up camping less than a mile from the trailhead on a tree-covered knoll with just enough of a view through the canopy to spy on the bright stars.  Absolute heaven.  Saying too much here could totally spoil it…so here’s a pic that says it all for me 🙂

The best cup of coffee there is...regardless of the taste.

The best cup of coffee there is...regardless of the taste.





Fabulous Fall!

17 10 2008

I feel like a kid on Christmas.  I have energy again, for one thing.  It’s my favorite time of year, too.  I do wish we’d had more rain, so that the trees would be in vibrant color, but it’s still pretty, and the weather is great.  And iron supplements rock!!  lol  I’m a bit bummed that I pretty much missed my favorite time of year for hiking, but I like hiking enough to do it when it isn’t my favorite time, so I’ll survive 😉

We recently took a spontaneous two-day trip with some old friends, and it was soooo great!  Beautiful weather, beautiful fall foliage in the mountains, and the best of company!  Here are some pics…

While there, they told us they’d once heard that there was a place to stay in the area where you had to park, and carry your belongings on a hike to get to the shelter.  We don’t know what kind of shelter it is, or whether this place even still exists, but it is certainly on our research and do list!!  I can’t think of anything more cool at the moment.

Hiking seems to be the subject for my days lately, as it is popping up in several different areas in my life.  I love to hike, and luckily, my honey does, too, and both kids – they’d sure be miserable if they didn’t, I guess, because they’d have to go with me anyway! lol  Anyway, my daughter’s Girl Scout troop recently voted to work on the hiking badge, these friends just told us about this “hike to your shelter” sort of accommodations in the Smoky Mountains, and I had recently set a mileage goal for myself for the time-frame of October 1 to May 31 – 100 miles.  So hiking is just on the brain recently.  I haven’t tried backpacking yet, and had planned to do an overnighter tonight, with the family, but the area we had planned to go is expecting rain in the middle of the night and early morning, which wouldn’t be so bad if it were warm, but not for my first trip, when it’s also going to be in the high 30’s range in the area tonight; we decided to postpone.  So I put another date on the calendar – soon 🙂

My daughter is working on her first lapbook for a postal letterbox ring, and it’s a really neat little thing.  I had heard the term before, but not being much the crafty-lover, I didn’t get any further than looking it up.  She is enjoying it, though, and is old enough not to need my help for the crafty part.  She wants to look at her options online for different elements and have me print off the templates, but mostly she’s on her own – just the kind of project I like for my kids to do.  I get to carve the stamp for the postal, though, so I’m very happy with the way it works out for both our contributions.

Laundry beckons me, with an annoying buzzer, so I’m off.