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!!!!!
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
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 much better than the old, dirty white.
I could post pictures of the kitchen while the renters were still here, but it’s rather gross and disgusting. I think the plan was to keep the house as
nasty as possible so no one would want it. Too bad it didn’t quite work with us. We have a habit of seeing around those things. Of course, it helps when you have a spouse who tends to be messy. Seems it doesn’t bother him as much as it does most people. Still, it was pretty bad.
I’m not much on white kitchens, especially since I have 3 boys, counting Scott. Can’t keep it clean. Even if I lived by myself, I have this need for color. My ex husband always wanted things white. I love color and the affect it has on a room.
My kitchen isn’t very big. I had a huge one at the other house and the amount of wasted space always bothered me. I’d looked at a house years before with a small kitchen and said I’d never be able to stand it, but after living with a kitchen the size of my current bedroom, with a breakfast area added on, I decided that it was just too much space I didn’t need.
For canning purposes, we’re lucky that there’s a room to the left of the cabinets with the open area at the top. It was once a back porch. That’s where my great grandmother’s kitchen cabinet is. There’s a table in there as well. We use it as a butler’s pantry. It’s a great place to put our things that are cooling or to put vegetables out of the way on processing days until we can get to them.
What you can’t see in the pictures is the layer of cigarette smoke all over the cabinets. And the grease. We don’t fry anything, so the grease really bothers me. And the smoke… well, that was just too disgusting. I cleaned everything about 4 times to get it the way I wanted it. On the view from the dining room, the stripes are actually pieces of ribbon. She had painted over the wallpaper and used ribbon to hide the seams. Great idea, huh? Even hid the fact that water damage had caused the plaster to fail on the opposite wall. Until I got to cleaning and found the plaster falling lose and sliding down to the floor behind the wallpaper. Scott learned about plastering very quickly.
All of the walls are plaster except for the ones that are brick. Because two porches were enclosed to make 3 rooms, we have brick wall that’s been painted. Awful to paint, but I like the affect. And I love the archways we get with the plaster. There are 4 of them in all in the original part of the farm house.
So why post old pictures? Because the repaint job in the kitchen will be done for the most part this weekend and I was looking back through the way it looked before I posted the new pictures. We’ve still got a long way to go. My dressing room and the bathrooms are the major projects. And now, Elijah’s ready to turn the garage into his room. Should be interesting to see what he does with that. Last time I let him pick colors he picked light blue and yellow. The time before that it was purple and banana. I’m beginning to see yellow as a theme. Just hoping we can sort of go more earth tone this time. Like the rest of the house. Just wait. You’ll see.
Let’s see….not much of anything. Time outside with Donovan. Haven’t started moving the lilies yet. That starts today. Looking forward to it and not looking forward to it at the same time. Alot of work, but will be worth it when the new front walk is finished. And the lilies will be in a better place than in holding areas.
Painting some in the kitchen. Just taking it piece at a time. No rush. Sort of fun that way. Got the shelves where my jars go painted and shelf liner put down. I don’t use canisters but a variety of empty jars instead. Kinda gives it that old kitchen feel in a way. Besides, I like having my flour in the big gallon glass jars I can see through. I have labels on them for now, but will come up with a design I can use for all of them based on the colors in the kitchen and the Heart’s Keep theme.
My favorite job of the week has been the ancestry search. I’ve found information I never thought I’d locate and have been talking to a distant cousin I didn’t know existed. Found out afterward that my grandmother talks to her great uncle on a regular basis. Shows how in touch we all are sometimes. We’re going to make an attempt to get together and search some cemeteries. There’s some information we both want and it seemed like a nice idea to get together and search. May drag Mom along, too.
When I was younger, none of this seemed so important. In fact, I laughed at the idea of researching all of this. Now, it’s like finding pieces of my family. I know I could pay someone to do it, but seriously, it’s so much more fun to search through the records myself. I get so so excited when I find something new. And I’ve researched things that I never thought about. I mean, when I read that one of my ancestors was a mechanic on a base in 1850, my first thought was, “What would a mechanic do in 1850?”
Putting the pieces in place myself has been such a fantastic experience. And through it, I’ve met some people that I know will be a part of my life for a long time. Like Harold, who is related to me from ages back before one of my ancestors changed the spelling of my maiden name. Christmas cards every year. Emails about family members from his side. Someone who actually may have information on my paternal grandmother’s family. And a relative who, like me, is searching for someone they know exists but has a huge gap in their information. Have to love those.
I’ve made mistakes. Like marrying someone to two different brothers and in the process of trying to fix it, causing breaks in my tree it may take me YEARS to figure out. And the occasional mix up in who really is related and who isn’t. But I think that’s just all part of the fun. And someday, maybe the boys will have an easier go at figuring out who they are.
Going through old files, I found some things that Scott had kept I believed were long gone. Reminds me how much I love him and how lost I would be without him. And how much I miss my feeble attempts at writing…
There are days in our marriage that are hard. Days that are only mindless and ordinary. But from being in a bad marriage, I understand more just how precious a good marriage is and how lucky I am he found me. Or I found him.
I believe that God understood me and knew what I needed when I didn’t understand myself. How wonderful is that? Quite a gift to receive when you didn’t know you needed it.
So for my husband, whom I adore and cherish more than I ever thought possible…
I love you, Scott Alan….Always….
I found myself the other day in a place most unlikely
not hidden in the back of my own mind,
cowering in a corner as I had suspected I would do.
Not overexposed in the boisterous words tumbling from my mouth, as I had so feared I would do.
Not limboed in some point on the brink of sanity, teetering on a wall as I had been told I would do.
But protected in the warmth of another source
safely kept, as I had so dreamed I would do
I found myself the other day in your eyes.
On Trusting Again…
I answered questions I did not know that I had asked~
Until I saw the answers there in black and white..
I felt the impact of their every word come at me in a wave~
So strong I could not help but wonder if the force might carry me away..
Yet I knew that I was stronger than before I asked the questions
I realized that I had ridden that wave too many times
Too much to fear the impact it would have upon my life
So I simply rode the wave
Into the part of me I had not known
Discovering not an end but a beginning to my life
And all the dreams that I had known