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bit slower and people took time to get to know each other just a little better, there lived, way far up on the mountain, a mountain man by the name of Jaspar MacAbee. He lived a simple life, the way his father had taught him, and respected the laws of nature and the simple rules that had been drilled into this head from an early age. If you were to ask him anything from how to skin a bear to how to sew on a button using sinew and a bone needle to the best way to cook possum, you could be guaranteed that Jaspar would have an answer.

Jaspar loved his life on the mountain. At times, it got a bit lonely, but that never lasted too long. The preacher from the village at the foot of the mountain made a trip about twice a month to a point half way up the mountain where he’d meet with some of the less isolated folks and give them a sermon. Jaspar would, from time to time, venture down to have a listen to see if anything had changed as far as God’s view on things.

Now, twice a year, spring and fall, Jaspar made his way down to the village to pick up supplies. He’d take a few things to trade – some hides, a few herbs, roots, bark, berries, nuts, depending on the time of year, and some of those nice gold nuggets he pulled out of the cave that was so far back up in the mountain, not even the bears knew how to find it. The nuts, berries, those sort of things, went to the general store for trading. The nuggets? Well, they went to the bank just the way Pa had taught him to do. The banker, an honest man whose own great grandfather had once been a mountain man himself, took the gold, gave Jaspar “a li’l money” for his visit to town, then put the rest of it into an account for him. Pa had always said it was a good idea to have a “jest in case” stash. Jaspar wasn’t sure exactly what that meant, but he did just as Pa told him.

So spring came and, Jaspar being a creature of habit, he made his way down the mountain, pulling his supply cart, to pick up what he would need until the fall trip. His bank trip done, he was off to the general store, thinking of how nice it would be to have some fresh flour for some biscuits and maybe a few pieces of that hard candy the storekeep kept in the big jar next on the counter. Why, if he was real careful, he could make that candy last all of 3 months or more.

What Jaspar didn’t expect when he walked in the doors was the surprise waiting for him behind that counter. Seems that the storekeeper’s niece had come to live with him and work for a while. And she was by far much sweeter than any candy in that entire store.


No Pain, No …?

Posted by: adminin Rants-n-Ramblings

It’s been a crazy summer.  Crazy year, as far as that goes.  There have been times, especially lately, when it seems like everything just falls down on the head and keeps coming.  Trying to keep up with it just makes me nauseous, which I really don’t need since my stomach stays in a mess anyway.

Everywhere I turn, there’s pain.  Not just mine, but everybody else’s.  My husband has a high tolerance for physical pain.  I typically do, too.  It’s the emotional pain that wrecks you.  Makes you wonder and question everything you know.  Why me?  Why him?  Why that?  Why now?  Why ever?  Why?

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for questioning.  I teach science and I believe that the way we understand is to question.  You can ask why for as long as you want to.  But ultimately, in some cases, the truth comes out and the bottom line is, there’s no answer.  It’s just is that way.  That’s all.

Well, now, that’s just not fair.  Let’s rant and rave and get mad and stomp our feet and demand an answer.  Okay, go ahead.  It’ll make you feel better.  I know that for a fact because I’ve done it myself and there’s a stress relief from letting that energy go.  Cathartic, I believe, is the term.

When the boys were little, I was determined to always give them a why for things.  Alot of the times, it was easy.  “Don’t bounce on your bed because if you fall you’ll bang your head and you’ll be in the hospital hooked up to ivs for the rest of your natural life.”  “Don’t eat the candy left over from Halloween two years ago because it’ll make you sick and you’ll be in the hospital hooked up to ivs for the rest of your natural life.”

But as they got older, the answers got tougher.  And because I’d always provided them with a why, and we’d worked hard at problem solving skills, when I came up with a why, they’d counter me.  Even if my whys weren’t just lame excuses at providing one.  So… Now what?

“Because that’s the way it is.  It’s not fair, it’s not right, it upsets your life and it’s not what you want, but that’s how it is.  Deal with it.”

Geez, those are tough words for a kid to hear.  Infuriating.  But the truth is, that’s life.  It’s not right or fair and it ruins your plans sometimes.  It’s not how you want it or what you wanted,, but it’s what you’ve got in front  of you and there’s no other way to go but straight through it.

Why?  I don’t know.  I wish I did.  I’d bottle it or write it down and make millions and I’d be right where I wanted to be.  Life would be perfect.

But it’s not.

Why?  I really don’t know.  Still, I’ve had to come up with something that makes sense to me so I can survive at those moments when the pain gets so intense, I really think I’ll lose my mind.

It goes like this. As a parent, I’d like to protect my children from everything.  When Elijah was little, we took up skating and I put pads all over him – knees, elbows, helmet on his head, gloves on his hands.  And off we went, around the block.  Up the great big hill, but down the smaller one.  And here he came, at a nice little speed.  Whoa…that’s not a nice little speed.  Slow down, slow down, brake, brake!

And he didn’t. Well, he broke when he hit the pavement and slid down the hill on his knees.  And those knee pads I so carefully put on him before we started off slid down to his calves, allowing the pavement to absolutely obliterate his knees.  Oh, my.

So I gathered him up and took him home to clean up.  And he’s crying and asking me why they didn’t protect him.  Why didn’t they keep him from getting hurt?  Why, mom?

Oh, sweetie.  What do I say?  Because sometimes, things just happen and we can’t change them.  And they hurt, but we keep going and it’s okay.  Really.  You’ll make it.  I promise.  I’ll be right there with you and we’ll get through this together.  Just hold on.  Trust me.  It’ll be okay.

Why do bad things happen?  Because they do.  Because know matter how prepared or good or wonderful or careful we are in life, sometimes, things just happen to us.  For reasons we’re not supposed to understand.  And it’s not fair.  And it makes us angry.  We rage against it, scream, yell, search for answers knowing they don’t exist.

WHY????  Why, God?  Why do you let all of this happen?  How can you not make it stop?  I asked you to stop it and you didn’t.  Why did this have to be?  It hurts so bad.  So many people hurting so much.

Because it did.  And it hurts, but you keep going and it’s okay.  Really.  You’ll make it, I promise. I’ll be right there with you and we’ll get through this.  Together.  Just hold on.  Trust me.  It’ll be okay.

I know that, God.  Just keep telling me that.

I’ve never stopped.  Not since the day you became you.

I know.  I just forget sometimes. Forgive me, Father.

Oh, sweetie.  It’s already been done.

Ripe Tomato Catsup

Posted by: adminin Canning, Tomato Recipes

1 gal ground tomatoes

1 qt vinegar

5 cups sugar

2 tablespoons salt (I only used one. Two is too much)

4 med onions (I keep dried on hand for this purpose.)

3 or 4 hot peppers

2 large bell peppers

1 tsp

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1 tsp all spice

Cook slowly 3 hours after begins to boil or until thick.

Cool then can.

I planned on keeping up with this. Really I did. I thought I would enjoy typing up my feelings and putting them here. I would enter stuff about the garden and the chickens and just life in general.

But… life in general was…. life. Ya know what I mean? And it got crazy and chaotic and out of control and there was so many other things I wanted to do instead of sit here and… No, no, that’s not true. I just didn’t want to do. Period. When I had time to do nothing, I wanted to do nothing. And I did that too much. I think it’s bad for your brain. Really it is. Your brain needs to be occupied with stuff and things. If it’s not, it gets lost in the shuffle and has nothing better to do with its time.

So, I’m baaaaaaack. Or something like that. And here’s why. I’ve got alot on my mind. And because I do, it’s time to dump it somewhere. Oh, you’ll find the names

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changed to protect the innocent or the not so innocent. But it’ll still be here.

I mean, have you LOOKED at some of the stuff out there to read? It’s crazy, dude. People post all kinds of stuff. So at first, I was like, I’m not doin’ that. But now I’m like, well, heck, if Joe John Jefferys can do it, I should be able to as well. So I think I will. And I’ll catch up on some stuff, too, because it’s time to before I forget it all.

So hold tight, cuz here we go. It’s a new day! Kinda gloomy, but still a NEW DAY!

See? I’m being positive. Kinda. Sorta. Maybe.


Smith Family

Posted by: adminin Household News


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Smith History


Posted by: adminin Household News

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Back to Work

Posted by: adminin Rants-n-Ramblings

It’s been a crazy summer already.  We had to be at school an extra couple of weeks.  Scott and I took the kids to Pennsylvania right after that.  Trip was great until the way home.  That really stunk.  So we’re running late before we even get started.  Hate it when things go that way.

And then motivational issues set in.  I’m having a really hard time getting myself moving.  Tons to do, but I usually take a little down time before I start and I just don’t have time for that this year.  Which just adds to the frustration of it all.

I think the garden’s finished, which seems crazy to be saying at this time of year. We had to plant late because of the weather.  Last night, we replanted a couple of trouble spots and then put out a late bunch of squash.  Hopefully, some of it will take.  The only thing I have to do now is put in some replacement eggplants and peppers, which I’ll do as soon as I can drag myself out of the house this morning.

The good news is that what’s out looks pretty good.  Scott picked up more cattle panel and the tomatoes and pole beans are ready to run.  I’m going to put up stakes and string for the other sugar snap peas and maybe the cucumbers.  But the big work is completed…except the weeding.  With everything else, that got away from us.  Luckily, the rows are wide enough that Scott just mowed down through there last night.  And we have a big empty section as well.  One row we thought we’d need turns out we didn’t.  The tomatoes, green beans, and corn are sort of separated from the rest of the garden.  Which is fine since the squash types are next to the tomatoes.

So I’m thinking I”m going to put a checklist up on here and start marking things off as I get them completed.  I think that sounds like a plan.  Of course, I always think I’ll use this site more than I do…and then I don’t.  Hmmm….

Oh yeah!  The Welsh Harlequins are here.  Eleven of them.  Apparently, they send you a bonus duck just in case one dies.  It didn’t.  They’re a mess.  Literally.  They got moved out earlier than Ka-pwack and George, who are doing very well, thank you.  George is the girl, by the way.  They were two months old June 2.  I’ll have to check and see how old the babies are.  I’m thinking just a couple of weeks.  Need to get pictures up of everybody.  Crazy crew I have around here.

Alright, so that’s it.  Lots to do.  No time to do it.  Arrrgh!!!!!

Missing my Grandfather

Posted by: adminin Rants-n-Ramblings

While I adored both of my grandfathers, my Granddaddy Malone is the one who always comes to mind in the spring.  He’s probably where alot of my gardening pleasure comes from, though at the time, I didn’t realize exactly how important it would be to me later.  Once the weather starts to clear and things begin to turn green, he’s always in my head.

There are so many things about him that have stayed with me.  Watching him sleep in his chair with a kitten resting on his shoulder.  Listening to

Grandaddy Loved Magnolias

him talk about Kentucky basketball.  Watching him make my aunt’s boyfriends squirm when they came to pick her up.  Seeing the glow of his cigar when we were all out there during the summer, sitting on the front porch in the dark, talking.  And the yelling “conversations” he carried on with the people across the road.

And there were the dogs.  Man, there were so many dogs.  He raised coon hounds and beagles, a couple of bird dogs.  I watched him be so gentle with them and was amazed that a man that gruff could be so sweet.  He could love them, train them, raise them, trade them, and start all over again.  Sometimes, I’d be upset that he’d traded one that I liked, but there would always be another one coming along.

It was part of who he was, you see.  Just part of Grandaddy.  Like he traded knives.  I don’t remember alot of guns, but I remember pocket knives.  There’s no telling how many of those he went through.  I have stories about him and his dogs that would fill a blog, but that’s not for today.  No, today is just Grandaddy day.  And the garden thing.  And I think that’s okay.

He was a pain, I won’t even deny that.  He loved to aggravate and tease better than anyone I’ve ever known.  And he could make you wish you’d never met him.  And then, the next minute, he’d laugh and smile, and you forgave him.  Just like that.  You couldn’t help it.  At least I couldn’t.

I remember watching him every spring, tilling that garden.  Never a small spot, oh, no!  If it didn’t take up most of the back field, it wasn’t big enough.  He’d get home from work and be out there again, planting, hoeing, weeding, fertilizing.  And singing or whistling.  If he couldn’t think of a song that fit the mood, he’d make one up.

Garden Past

When the garden started coming in, we’d start picking and processing.  Grandaddy would help pick and I remember him breaking a few beans or shucking corn.  Maybe helping shell some peas.  But the actual processing wasn’t his job.  He had better things to do.  Of course, that’s part of his generation.  I wonder sometimes what he would say about Scott helping me.  I’m sure he’d aggravate the crap out of Scott for it, like he always did my dad for the things he did for my mother.  And Scott, like my Dad, would take it all in stride.  They’d like each other.  I know they would.

But the funny thing about the garden was I don’t remember my grandfather eating alot of it.  He planted tons of stuff, but only ate a select group of things.  Seriously.  I remember my grandmother telling me he just loved to watch it grow.  Watching it all come up and produce.  That was the fun of it.  And I understand that.  I really do.  I feel the same way.  And I know he smiles when he watches me.

I know he’d like the ducks and chickens, too.  He’s one of the reasons I wish we’d bought a bigger place.  I’m he thinks I need some hogs to

Hey, Grandaddy? Our chickens are a bit spoiled...

slaughter.  Well, I’m not too interesting in THAT, but I would like goats.  Not too sure what he’d say about that one.  I remember all sorts of animals, but not goats.  They didn’t even have cows by the time I came along, or at least by the time I was big enough to remember them.

I guess, besides the garden, there’s another reason why spring always reminds me of him.  Especially with the weather the way it’s been.  See, my freshman year of college, there was a nasty system that blew through.  Winds were awful and it whined and howled all night.  The next day, Saturday, the wind was just as bad, though the clouds had passed.  I was supposed to go and meet the mother of the guy I was dating at the time, taking a day trip to Milan, Tn.  I decided not to go and got up early to call and let him know.

Daddy had been up most of the night with the storm, so he went back to bed after he knew I wasn’t going.  I couldn’t sleep, so I just stayed up.  Not long after Daddy went upstairs, I heard someone at the door.  That was the first time I knew my grandfather made frequent stops on Saturday morning to have coffee with my parents when he “came to town.”  Usually, I was in bed at that time.

When he heard Mom and Dad were still asleep, he got ready to go.  I told him to come on in and I’d fix him coffee.  I knew how, for goodness’ sake.  He looked at me funny, but came in and sat down.  We had coffee and talked for a while, then he went to run his errands.

I never thought anything about it until later.  I was told he went home and told my grandmother I’d grown up.  And I realized that was the first time we’d sat down and talked like adults. And I think it was the first time he truly realized I wasn’t a little girl any more.  I wish I could remember what we talked about.  Just a part of it to have now would be nice.

Less than two years later, I was married with a new baby and away from home for the first time. The day my mother called and told me my grandfather had cancer, I think part of me just melted.  Zach was only a couple months old then, and there were so many things I wanted him to learn from my grandfather.  I wanted him to see how to train a dog to hunt.  To take the “scenic route” to places just down the road and see all of the things and  places my grandfather had to share.  I needed him to be there.  To never go away.

My ex-husband made plans to move us closer to home so I could be with the family.  He knew how much it meant to me to be able to see my grandfather as much as possible.  That was at the end of October.  My grandfather died the next fall.  He got to see his only grandson born and his great grandson turn 1.  I remember worrying because he stopped talking.  When my grandmother asked him about it, he said he was just listening so he could remember.  After ages of being the entertainer, how odd to find him being entertained by us.

At the time of his death, he was so tired, I knew it was time to let him go.  But I miss him so much.  I don’t think I’ve ever stopped.  Zach doesn’t remember him.  Elijah and Donovan, of course, never got a chance.  Still, I think it’s okay.  I think he’s never far away from them.  The man who had nothing but daughters and no grandson until the end of his life  would never be far from his three great-grandsons, now, would he?

Violets for my Grandfather

So in a couple of weeks, I start putting out the garden.  And I’ll stand outside, looking at it, and I’ll talk to my grandfather for a while.  Out in that spot where I let the little wild violets grow.  I won’t let Scott mow them until they’re done.  See, other than magnolias, I believe those were his favorite.  Grandaddy never mowed that spot until they were done blooming.  My grandmother used to say he’d dig them up from other parts of the yard and put them all together. We follow the same rule here.  Well, not about the moving, but the mowing.

I’ll hope I don’t embarrass him too much and that he’ll forgive my imperfections.  I’m sure he will.  Though he’ll tease me a bit.  I can hear him now, telling God about his crazy grand daughter, using that nickname he insisted on calling me.  And he and God will smile and laugh.

I love you, Grandaddy.

So I haven’t posted in a few days.  I’m afraid I’ll over do it and then I’ll get tired of it.  Man, today, I’m just tired in general.  Skipping exercise time because I think I’d collapse.  And instead, I’m posting.  About flapping things.

You Dirty Rat...I mean Duck!

Last weekend, we took the ducklings outside for a swim.  They had doubled in size since the weekend before.  Seems ducklings don’t stay little long.  They’ve doubled again this week.  Anyway, this was the first time they really decided to try diving.  And that was just too much fun!  They also learned how to raise up out of the water and flap their tiny little wings.  Won’t be long until we have feathers on those wings.

Strike a Pose

Donovan’s new obsession is to drive you nuts about taking his picture.  I’m afraid he thinks he’s always doing something cute.  Which he is.  but I don’t want a picture of every little thing.  Every time you’re outside, he wants his picture taken.  We tried to explain that we were getting pictures of the ducks this time.  Not of him being cute.  So he picked up the little frog statue that sits at the pond.  One of my kids last year gave it to me.  So then, you have to be, “Take his picture, Scott.  Please.  Before he drops it and breaks it. ”  And as you can tell by the smile, he’s perfectly aware that he won.  But I got HIM!  I chose a picture where he’s blurry and the frog’s clear!  That’ll teach him.  Yeah…right…hhhmmm..

Anyway, the ducklings enjoyed their swim.  Donovan got his picture made and everyone’s happy.

KaPwack or George? That is the question.

Now that they can get out of the pond without any help, they seem much more content.  They get out, stand around for a few minutes, look at what a great job they did getting out, then get back in.  Kind of like watching kids at the pool in the summer, ya know?

In…out…back in again…then out..I’m hungry…I don’t wanna stay.  I don’t wanna go in.  Just a couple more minutes.  Hey, I was eating that leaf!  Well, maybe not that.  But my mom ate clay when she was a kid.  But that’s another story completely.

But splash time is good for the ducks and we enjoy watching them.  They’re tame enough you can hand feed them, which is great.  And I really think we’re doing the right thing getting more.

KFC - Hey, I didn't name him that!

Now, this face…THIS is one I sometimes wish I’d never seen.  He struts around my yard like he’s in charge.  Smarty pants rooster.  Fairly well behaved, I can’t complain too much most of the time.  I’ve gotten used to his crowing and don’t hear it most of the time. It’s the attitude I can’t stand.  Thinkin’ he’s all that.  He’s a big bag of feathers and some rubbery stuff on his head and cheeks.  But he seems to think that’s important.

What a Prima Donna

When he’s out, he spends most of his time, strutting around in front of the hens.  They really don’t pay much attention to him, though when they get scared they come racing for him.  “Oh, save me, save me.”  Not a problem.  When the big hawk flies down, who do you think he’s gonna eat first?  Yup.  You’ll  be history, dude.  And while you’re being carried away, the girls will go safely inside.

Seriously, I always want a rooster til I have one.  Then I’m trying to figure out why I wanted one.  The girls actually do something important.  All he does is walk around and look good.  And make my hens look like crap.  I told Scott I wouldn’t have another one.  He said, that’s good because this one could live 17 years.  I’m thinking roadkill.  Might take a little work since he doesn’t like to be out in the open.  But Donovan’s got his truck and his John Deere.  Maybe I can work some sort of accident up.  I can explain it to Scott.  Really I can.  It’ll just take some work to convince Mr. Attitude to stay in one spot long enough for a good impact.


Now this one is my favorite.  We got Buffy from a friend of mine a couple of years ago.  She was small and not in the greatest of shape.  It took some care and attention to get her looking like the does now.  The others picked on her for a while, but not any more.  And she lays green eggs to make it even better!  We have a couple of “Easter Egger” chickens.  At first, it was fascinating, but not so much any more.  I really don’t care what color the eggs are.  Just that they’re laid with some regularity.  Which they do unless it’s gloomy. Or cold.  Or there’s a change in their diet.  Or if they’re molting.

Scratching for Creepy Crawlies

They’re sweet, though.  We had a picnic one day and some of the came to visit.  A red sex-linked decided she needed pretzels and when we weren’t doing what she said, she decided to serve herself.  Crazy birds.  They’re just too funny.

We lost one the other day.  One of the red sex-linked.  I tried to convince Scott that since I lost one, I needed two-three more.  He said no.  I let him win.  THEN he said he’d see about building an incubator so we could hatch our own.  So I think I won.  But he’s the one who’s been wanting to hatch eggs.  So he won.  Actually, the chickens won.  They always do.  Make sure they eat well so they lay well.  Spoiled little critters.


Kitchen – After

Posted by: adminin Restoring News

Keep in mind, I love my little country kitchen. And I know these colors wouldn’t suit everyone, but they work really well for the spot. Something I never would have done at my old house.

We’ve decided that the wall is the same color as the grape jam we make with the grapes from the vines out back. Kinda neat. The combination’s a little different, but it’s so

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much better than the old, dirty white.