Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday and Sunday, The Time Flies

1. Wysteria cascades over an old outbuilding. It has a wild beauty that I admire. I tuck a small cluster behind my ear to carry the sweet scent with me.
2. We suited up and went into the bee hives for instruction. The hives were teeming with bees! We eagerly witnessed a new bee poking its way out of a cell, tiny antennae groping its way out. It was merely one of tens of thousands, but each little cell is a tiny miracle.
3. All of our movements are done in slow motion. That, combined with the white suits and veils, gives the impression of a group moon walk.
4. I hear all positive reports about the planting day at church so I swing by to see the results. All the shrubs are planted and the borders are all so neatly edged! Later, Steve shows me the photos he took of everyone working on the property. Kids, adults, dog, shovels, hoses, pots and plants; it all reminds me of the busy beehives.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Good Old Todd, A Perfect Day, Not Enough Thanks

1. While driving today, the MP3 mix brought up Todd Rundgren . My absolute favorite musician in the 70's, I went to every concert, bought every album and named my female cat Todd. I will never tire from some music.

2. I've decided that 69° F. is my ideal temperature.
3. I found exactly the right thing to give someone to say. "Thank you." Now I can't wait to give it and say it!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Out and About, Confused Yet?, A Great Work Force

1. B. and I finally had a chance to walk together again. The dogs loved the three mile loop and Lindy went into almost every body of water we passed. I think she had the best time of all three- no leash and water play.
2.  I was invited to lunch at the cozy White Oak Tea Tavern by my friend who is visiting from Alaska. She is also the mother of Daughter #1's husband. (My daughter married my friend's son, so my friend and I share our children and grandchildren which is actually pretty cool! We were friends way back in our NY days before we were family in Virgina/Alaska.) It was great to catch up in person.
3. Working with an all volunteer work force requires that you fly by the seat of your pants. But you won't find a nicer, happier, more willing bunch of people.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Strutting, Taking a Break, Yankee Candle Used It

1. Meet Russel Crowe. He's big on attitude. He's a show-off for Mrs. Crowe or any of the chickens for that matter. He's also very noisy. It's difficult to work around that much attitude.
2. I closed my eyes while she cut my hair and I almost fell asleep. Spring is such a hectic time that it seems I need to use my hair appointment to grab a few minutes of rest. It was nice...
3. People are cutting their grass wherever I go. The scent of cut grass has been absent for several months. It has returned, bringing memories of summer days, children's voices at play, and the wonderful drone of lawnmowers off in the distance.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Warmer Than I Thought, Green in Rows, Diamonds on Velvet

1. I worked in my garden for a while, sitting back on the shady grass to rest every now and then.
1.a. I was extremely pleased to see so many earthworms in the soil.
2. We took delivery of a hundred shrubs for a church project. They are lined up in rows and it looks like we have our own personal nursery. I wish!
3. The crescent moon hangs like a teacup with Venus and Jupiter above and below. They are an odd trio hanging there together, but bright and beautiful nonetheless. The rest of the sky is thick with stars, shining layer upon layer far into the black nowhere.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Fashion Imitates Nature, It Needs to be Killed, I Am History

1. When I saw this chicken at Wiloma, I immediately thought of this dress. A cocktail dress of copper-colored satin with a black lace overlay, it once belonged to Steve's grandmother. (Photo shows the back of the dress.)
2. The alfalfa fields are overtaken by mustard plants. While this is a bad thing for the farmer, it is visually stunning to stand at the top of a hill and gaze down upon oceans of yellow blooms in every direction.
3. He describes the dairy farm where he grew up. Dulles Airport now stands in its place. She brings out an old, yellowed newspaper article and there are photographs from a bygone era of his family and farm. I love hearing history described first hand like this. The confounding thing is, he and I are the same age. The "history" we are speaking about are the years of my own childhood. How can that be?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Soothing Rain, Ready for Bare Feet, Good Read!

1. Saturday dawns with gentle rain and faint rumblings of thunder. It's a welcome change from the building heat of Friday.
2. I use the hose to wash away winter's sleep from the screen porch. I adjust the nozzle to a strong spray and channel sheets of water across the floor.  Once everything is back in place, the Boston Fern is set in a shady corner as the final touch.
3. I finished reading 11/23/60 by Stephen King. It's a hefty 849 pages, but never boring for a moment. The main character, Jake, is led to a time portal hidden in the back of the local diner. He steps back in time to the late 1950's with the intent of stopping the JFK assassination which he believes will then prevent the domino effect of other painful events in our country's history. The problem is, time resists change and Jake finds his task much harder than he imagined. He also needs to worry about the "butterfly effect" and how even the tiniest change might adversely affect all of history. I highly recommend this entertaining story.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Job Perks

The Little Fellow

His mama is gentle and doesn't keep him from exploring.

He snuffled my face and gave ticklish, whiskery kisses. He tried to nibble my schnoz, but at three days old he is all gums so it didn't hurt. He is a love!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Rent-A-Mom, Ladies' Night Out, Spring Runneth Over

1. According to Daughter #4's facebook conversations with classmates, she refuses to give me away but she will rent me out.
2. A friend invited the ladies out to dinner and a play. We enjoyed both at local venues, Three L'il Pigs and The Attic Theater. It was a fun, relaxing evening and I appreciated the short drive home.
3. There are so many beautiful flowering things appearing all at once that I am overwhelmed with spring!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Little Guy, Carefree, What Kind Do They Want This Week?

1. One day old, the foal stands on long, wobbly legs. He wants to lie down, but he doesn't know what to do with those legs. After a few tentative attempts, he manages to fold them under himself and he plops down onto a bed of hay. He exhales a sigh of relief and closes his eyes to rest.
2. Dressing for mild weather is a wonderfully simplistic affair. Capris, shoes with no socks, and a nice loose blouse and voila!
3. Daughter #4's male classmates are begging her to bring cookies to school again. Teasing, I tell her, "You know, they say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach." As she gives me a condescending look, I hear Daughter #3's boyfriend chuckle as though this is a revelation.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hunting for New, Dark Skies, Don't Forget to Water

1. I went shopping alone and just for myself. My winter-weary wardrobe really needed boost and even something as simple as a spring scarf can really boost one's spirits.
2. Rumblings of an afternoon thunderstorm moved in slowly. It allowed enough time to open the windows and catch a cooling breeze before the rain began. (Who ever thought we'd be looking for a cooling breeze in March?!)
3. Another first! This is the first time I've owned a Boston Fern. It's foliage is lush and beautiful and reminds me of a shady forest floor. I hope I don't kill it.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tradition, Up for Grabs, It's a Hefty One

1. Spring has arrived so I decorate the house with our Pysanky eggs.
2. If I have a little something left over from cooking, like olives or strawberries, I leave them on the counter with a note that says, "Eat me!". Later, when I return home, the bowl is empty. Somebody ate them but I don't know who.

3. I'm reading my first-ever Stephen King novel, 11/22/63.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Nice Find, Slow Motion, Poor Little Guy

1. When I went to the car, I found fresh eggs piled into all the nooks and crannies of the console.
2. We laughed so hard we couldn't make the Foosball guys kick.
3. Thunderstorms during the night frighten little Henri onto our bed. He was just bathed and groomed on Friday and he feels like velvet, so I let him snuggle into the quilt and pet him until he stops shivering.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The View, A Surprise, Cauliflower Gratin?

1. Up on the hill, he stopped working to watch the clouds for a few minutes. They were pretty today, so we decided to return to the hill this evening with a blanket and bottle of wine.
2. While I was reading the front of the birthday card, a piece of paper slipped out from inside. It's an ultrasound scan? I opened the card to see what this is about. Oh! We're going to be grandparents again!
3. I cooked many things to day, but my favorite was this Cauliflower Gratin. I have a thing for crunchy breadcrumb toppings.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Thanks Mom, Dessert, Face Lift

1. I thanked my mom for birthing me all those years ago. I listen again, to the story of how I was born during a blizzard. We chuckle and ponder what the meaning behind that might be. She is almost 90 and I am 53. But in my mind, she is always my strong and vibrant mother and I am still her headstrong little girl.
2. I made a delicious strawberry rhubarb cobbler before I even thought about dinner. I figured if dinner didn't get made, we would at least have the cobbler and I would be happy with that alone.
3. Kneeling and sitting on the ground, I snap off dead stalks and winter worn leaves in one of the perennial beds. New growth now appears and the bed looks fresh and promising rather than dead and forlorn.
4. He remembered. I wondered if he would and wouldn't have been surprised if he didn't. But he did. And now I am surprised.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sweetly Scented, Cocky Fellow, Together

1. A twenty pound bag of Holly-tone fertilizer in my trunk scents the interior of the car with memories. Summer days, warm dirt, our back porch where shoes came on and off, and my dad dropping seeds into rows with promises of good things to come.
2. A peacock sees his reflection in the chrome on my car. He cocks his head this way and that, sizing up his new-found competitor.
3. He's home this evening. He sits in his chair while I am in mine and we both read in companionable silence.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Purple Haze, Three Good Ones, Rubblebucket

1. Periwinkle drapes itself along the wooded banks and graveyard. It overflows the slope and glides into the gully like a flowing stream of purple.
2. Browsing for books to request from the library, I plunk three into my account and get excited about having some books to read again.
3. Daughter #2 shares some fun music.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Music to My Eyes, A Good Thing, Whay-ul

1. The flowering pears have joined the plums in spring's symphony. The dogwoods and the redbuds haven't even entered the score yet and it's still magnificent!
2. I miss him when he is away from me and I'm glad.
3. When I listen to my voice mail I hear, "Whaaale, whaaale, whale, whale, whale, hiii, hiii, hi Nonna."

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sundays, Sharp Top and The Peaks, Save the Daylight

1. One by one, the occupants of the household find a spot to nap and the house grows very quiet. A short while later, refreshed, they gather back in the kitchen and ask, "What shall we do now?"
2. We decide a walk would be nice, but we don't want to follow the road. Instead, we take to the fields and follow the tree line, stopping at hilltops to scope out the view. At the far hill, we sit and relax until we're ready to walk home.
3. Everyone has gone and thanks to DST the sun is still high at 5:30. I change into work clothes and go outside to plant some bricks. I have a full two hours of light to work in!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Rhubard Pie, Our Reward, Sweet Sound

1. Life in the ground quietly emerges, stretching toward the sun. Almost in unison, all the sleepy beds wake up.
2. We finish our morning's work and sit on the hillside overlooking the mountains and valley. We're up high enough that Route 220 looks like a ribbon threaded through green hills.
3. On the phone with Daughter #1, she tells the baby to say, "Whale". Mari says, "Whale, whale, whale." She'll repeat anything her mom tells her to say so I get to have a phone conversation of sorts with my granddaughter. I hold the phone to Pop's ear and I can tell he's heard her talking, too by the smile on his face.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Is It Here Yet?!, The One, Full Bellied Moon

Flowering Plum in bloom this week.
 1. The red-winged blackbirds are harbingers of spring. Every morning, beginning in March, my father would bring me to the door to listen for their arrival. How happy he would be at the first sound of them. I heard an entire flock in a big old tree today. They're here Dad!
2. We schlepped from store to store pulling on and taking off so many outfits and combinations to find just the right thing for her. Hours into the task, I entered the dressing room just as she turned from the mirror to show me.  Our eyes met, our eyebrows went up in surprise, we smiled and I said, "Wow!"
3. Full moon has kept the night sky bright.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lift With the Knees, Comic Relief, Good Endings

1. I challenged myself to quite a workload today. But, I wanted to see if I was up to it and I succeeded! I did house work for three hours this morning, took a break and then mucked sixteen horse stalls with Daughter #3. This may prove to be the best "keeping fit" program I could ever find.
(I did scold a few horses for dirtying their stalls right after I cleaned them. They could at least wait until I was gone. Really? Come ON!)
2. Chickens look funny when they run.
3. Showered and bone tired, I crawl into clean sheets and rest my head on a down pillow. Thank you God.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Saturday's child, Fair Exchange, The Right Kind of Dough

1. Daughter #3 turns 19 today! She was such a handful as a child, I couldn't wait for her to grow up. Not much has changed... and I wouldn't have it any other way.  : )
2. Her: "I'll drive her down if you'll feed the horses." Me: "Deal!"
3. Kroger in Bonsack now carries frozen pizza dough. A staple in the stores up north, I was thrilled to finally find it down here. It comes in a frozen lump and you simply thaw it out and build your own pizzas, calzones, etc. Tonight I made calzones, stuffed with ricotta, mozarella, parmesan, garlic and pepperoni with a marinara sauce on the side for dipping. When we lived in Birmingham, my brother-in-law came from New York to visit. He brought with him a cooler filled with frozen pizza dough packed in dry ice. I am serious about my pizza dough.
*Walmart (Bonsack) carries it too, but you have to go to the deli and ask them to get it from their freezer in the back.

Mondays child is fair of face,
Tuesdays child is full of grace,
Wednesdays child is full of woe,
Thursdays child has far to go,
Fridays child is loving and giving,
Saturdays child works hard for his living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Poor Man's Fertilizer, Run Like the Wind, Giggles

A shed with an old well pump on the right.

My favorite color sky.

Spring peeks through.

1. Snow day and the world displays my favorite colors. My dad called late season snow white fertilizer. I've also heard it called poor man's fertilizer.
2. The wind kicks up which prompts SeƱorita to gallop around the field, her tail held high and her mane flying.
3. Still trying to figure out why I get such a kick out of hearing the men crack up on pool night. They get so  raucous and are even prone to laughing fits. I suspect it's because I've grown up in all women households and have one of my own, plus Steve is normally a solitary kind of guy.   Either way, it's a wonderful sound to hear men who work so hard all week relaxing and having a good time.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Wellspring, Mangiere, Jambalaya

1. Voices sing a cappella and fill the hill top church (and my heart) with joy.
Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
2. Son-in-law #2 sees Boyfriend #3 pile three pieces of chicken on his plate and happily uses this as permission to do the same.
3. The second shared meal of the day centered around a Mardi Gras theme. I made a Jambalaya for the first time and it was really good! It's also super-easy to make.

Andouille and Chicken Jambalaya
1/2 c. vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
3 c. chopped onions
1 c. chopped Bell peppers
3 tea. salt, divided
1 1/4  tea. cayenne, divided
1 pound andouille or chorizo sliced into 1/4" slices (I used chorizo)
1 1/2 pounds boneless white and dark chicken meat cut into 1-inch cubes
3 bay leaves
3 c. medium grain white rice
6 c. water (I used vegetable broth)
1 c. chopped green onions

Heat the oil in a large cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, peppers, 2 tea. salt and 1 tea. cayenne. Stirring often, cook the vegetables for about 20 minutes or until they are caramelized and dark brown in color. Scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned particles. Add the sausage and cook, stirring often, 10-15 minutes. Season the chicken with the remaining 1 tea. salt and 1/4 tea. cayenne. Add the chicken and the bay leaves to the pot. Brown the chicken for 8-10 minutes, continuing to scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned particles. Add the rice and stir for 2-3 minutes to coat it evenly. Add the water, stir to combine, and cover. Cook over low-medium heat for 30-35 minutes, without stirring until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the pot from the heat and let stand, covered for 2-3 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Stir in the green onions and serve.
Makes 10-12 servings

Friday, March 2, 2012

Carpet of the Sun, Bring out the blues, Deep orange and organic

1. Daffodils in full bloom carpet the highway median in waves of yellow.
2. I changed up my kitchen windowsill to reflect the changing season. On sunny days it catches the brighter light and on dreary days it cheers the view.
3. I restrained myself to cook only what I had, which was portioned for three. Now there were five at the table; would there be enough? My worries were needless because those two yams would have fed the five thousand!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Windows down, I would like to have lived there, Turned the corner

1. The spring-like weather called for some very upbeat music to drive by. Smash Mouth reminds me of the sound of the 60's with a little spy intrigue sound thrown in there. I'm thinking Honey West, Private Eye.

2. So many empty ghost farmhouses around here. They all sit on lovely, scenic property and you can tell they were situated so carefully and purposefully all those years ago.
3. Daughter #4  finally says she's feeling better after months of sinus, ear and cough problems following a simple cold. It took a trip to the doctor and two rounds of antibiotics to help. I'm very relieved to hear her sounding better.