Monday, March 30, 2009

To Quote U2- "It's a Beautiful Day."

Today I felt the surge of the new season well within me. I am energized and renewed in my focus of turning our tiny plot of land into something productive and fruitful. After three full days of rain, rain, rain and one cloudy, cold Sunday, we finally have a sunny Spring day. Warm but not too warm, perfect for getting out in the yard and chasing away the last bits of Winter brown.
With my girls as my companions, I raked the leaves and pine straw up from the back yard unearthing tasty tidbits for my foraging brood. Let me just say that there were some very disgusting creatures that went down the throats of those five hens. Blecch. I am so glad I am not a chicken. I would starve.
Penning the girls back up I went to the side garden where I ripped out a patch of iris, a clump of society garlic that I will plant elsewhere and raked away piles of dead, decaying leaves. I did leave some to turn into the garden, the tiny bits of leaf mould will be greatly appreciated by new plants.
This year I am turning every bit of planting space into food-producing earth. If we cannot eat it, it will not go in the garden. The side garden will be for herbs- rosemary, basil, anise hyssop, lemon balm, lemon grass, oregano, cilantro, chives and the like. Years ago that is all that grew there but, after our house fire that killed them all, I did not replant, sad for their loss and waiting for another time. That time is now.
Little by little the front yard is gaining new purpose. I have extended the garden area a little (and will do so every year until I have a full food-filled yard) and dumped the remnants of last years pots into the bed. It's all still good, weed-free soil and there is no sense wasting it. A water trough that I picked up at an estate sale a few years ago (for $3) now sits at the top of the garden beds. The intent is to add a coupling and attach a hose to it, cover the top with fiberglass screening held on with wire to prevent mosquitoes, etc. from taking up residence and use the water that is caught in it to water the garden. I hope it works because that trough holds a lot of water and it would certainly save some $$ and keep the hubs happy.
All in all it has been a very productive day. I have my seed potatoes on the window sill sprouting tiny eyes, ready to be planted on Thursday. Seed pots made from newspaper are collecting under the bench in the family room and they will be filled with organic potting soil and tiny seeds this week. The eight windows I snuck out of my neighbor's trash pile will be attached together to make a small greenhouse for hardening off the little seedlings as they grow.
Yes, it was the perfect day to be outside, breathing in the first wisps of Spring air and soaking up brilliant sunshine. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Where I Have Been.

It's me, Karin, Ace Reporter for A Thread of Red.
I feel as though I have circumnavigated the globe over the past two days.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Click here to see why!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Almost On Its Way.

A few slips of thread through the back binding and this little table topper will be on its way to Clairesky26. It has taken much longer than I had anticipated, what with a visit from my sisters, taking one of them back home, taking my Dad to his dr. appointments at the VA because Mom injured her foot, looking for a job for John, blah, blah, blah. It is amazing how much life interferes with what we want to do. ;)
So,thanks for being patient, Julie! I hope that you like it. I really loved making it for you.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I have another opportunity to participate in Pay It Forward thanks to
CathyJean at Because Nice Matters!
If you also want to join in, but haven't had the opportunity to yet or you want to enjoy the fun once again, then this invitation is for you!
Here's how Pay It Forward works:
I've signed up with CathyJean and committed to send the next 3 people who sign up here with me on my blog a handmade item
and goodie package within 365 days.
By accepting my invitation, YOU agree to Pay it Forward to the next 3 people who sign up with you (on your blog) and send them something within 365 days. (I love that time frame!)
Want to join the fun and Pay It Forward?
I'd love to have you sign up with me!!
Please leave a contact email so I can confirm the details with you.
Let's keep the PIF going strong!
Hmm, I think I may have found a use for those lovely, old photo album pages. :)
Okay, everyone, who wants to play?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Daughters Are Just So Nice.

Or should that be daughter, as I only have the one. Ainslie surprised us on Wednesday by coming home for a few days. It is spring break and since she was not able to go to California to visit her brother, she came home. It was a lovely treat.
We didn't do very much while she was here. In fact, we mostly stayed home, played games (Oceanopoly, our new favorite), watched NCIS and gabbed.

Yesterday we did venture out to an estate sale along with Grammy and Cilla, my partners in crime. We found a few things to bring home but, to be honest, there wasn't really that much of interest. Plus everything was in a very musty basement, not my favorite kind of place.

Out of a big $2 bag of buttons, this is what I am keeping. A few mother of pearl shirt buttons, six beautiful glass buttons the color of the Caribbean ocean, a clothespin, two sparkly studs, some metal cuties and two thimbles.
My big purchase was an old celluloid photograph album. Empty, of course. It is a bit weary and worn, but the inside pages are beautiful.

Six floral lithographed pages, still vibrant in color and ready to be used in some creative manner. I can't help it, I just sit and stare at them, they are so pretty.
After the estate sale we stopped off at the feed store to get the "girls" a new bag of laying pellets and then off to lunch we went. To Red Lobster, courtesy of Grammy and her Christmas gift cards!
Do you people watch at restaurants? I do. In fact, my entire family does. The four of us certainly got an eyeful yesterday as in came a woman who I now call Goldilocks and the Three Chairs.
The hostess seated Goldi in a small booth across from us. As she twisted and turned we could tell that she just did not fit. I am sure the conversation went like this:
"This booth is too tight!" She was moved.
"This booth is to close!" She was moved again.
"Ah, this chair is just right!"
I felt a bit sorry for her. I think that restaurants design interiors for maximum seating capacity and in doing so, eliminate the comfort of their patrons. The chair she sat in was at the table beside us. I glanced over to see that she had the most incredibly long fingernails. They were at least four inches long and painted the entire length with an intricate floral design. In turn, Mom, Cilla and Ainslie caught sight of them as well. How would she eat? How would she pick up her glass? How does she dial her phone, which was kept in use the entire time she was there? And then, the most pertinent question of all- how does she deal with the ladies room? Well, wouldn't you wonder? The questions were flying off of our tongues as fast as we could think them.
Goldilocks turned out to be a bit of a diva, fussy and demanding. Her half-gallon sized margarita was too bitter. Another was made. The next was too sweet. And yet, another was made. Her salad did not have enough dressing. Another pot was brought out for her. Her meal arrived and, yes, there were more problems. Each time her waitress smiled and made sure that she was happy. The woman had the patience of a saint. I hope she received a nice tip.
We had to leave Goldilocks to her lunch and head back home, questions unanswered. A few hours later, Ainslie gathered up her things, a few bags of necessities from the pantry, gave us a hug and went back home. Her home.
I miss her already.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I Hope This Isn't Karma.

I woke up at 7:20 this morning to the sound of heavy rain. Now normally on a Sunday that would be an okay thing, but not today. Today the rain meant that I would be getting wet on my way to the hen house to take care of the girl's morning ablutions. No lollygagging about as I had to get ready to go to church. Well, no time like the present.
I slid out of bed, put on my chicken-tending Crocs, donned my bathrobe and went to the kitchen. Filling a pitcher with water, I grabbed my Monet's Garden umbrella my mother-in-law gave me for my birthday last year and trotted out into the darkness.
Let me describe our tiny piece of land to you- it slopes. And where is the chicken pen? Near the bottom of the slope. And what happens when you have copious amounts of rain? The ground gets muddy. And what happens when you step on muddy, no-longer-grass-bearing, sloping ground wearing your chicken-tending Crocs? You slide. About two and a half feet, until you reach the place where you had to dig out the hill to accommodate the door to the pen. Then you carry on sliding until you come to a stop at the door. And what happens to the pitcher of water you were carrying as you slid down the hill? It pours out all over you. And the umbrella? It rolls away, probably back to Giverny. But that doesn't matter, because you are already soaking wet from the pitcher's contents, which is now seeping through your bathrobe and into your pyjamas.
Yes, that pretty well describes my Sunday morning. I got up from the ground dripping wet, covered in mud and chicken poop and hoping beyond all hope that no one was watching me. They weren't. Or at least that is what I'd like to think. Back to the kitchen I went, filled yet another pitcher of water, cursed my chicken-tending Crocs and went back out into the dark, rainy morning to complete my chores.
I'm pretty sure that I heard the girls laughing in the hen house.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It's 12:47 AM. Do You Know Where Your Owl Is?

11:30 PM- It started, that distinct call of "Who-hoos." trailing through the night. I turned to my husband and whispered, "Do you hear that? It's the owls! How cool."
11:57- The sound is building to a cacophony and I think that there might be three or four owls in the woods behind my house. My goodness, they are noisy.

12:12 AM- The "Who-hoos." have now elevated to war cry status. I am sure there is something out there that is running for its life.
12:17- Silence waves its magic wand over the woods as the piercing wail of a fire engine cuts through any thoughts of sleep.
12:27- The owls must feel confident that the fire engine was not coming for them as they once again begin to serenade us. Oh, joy. Oh, rapture.
12:34- There is an owl in my back yard. Where's a big rock when you need one?

12:47- Through the window comes a sound that sends chills down my spine, something akin to the nasgool as it looms in on Frodo Baggins on the crumbling wall in Osgiliath. Only in this case, there is no Sam to save this victim from impending doom. Or Faramir for eye candy.
12:52- Silence. It's about freaking time.

8:51 AM- Ah, here's Faramir. Why couldn't he be running through my woods ?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Sweet, Little Something I Made.

It's a new bits-and-bobs piece. I was feeling a bit creative last night so I locked myself in the craft room and made this bumblebee pendant from some broken tortoise shell eyeglasses, a watch face, dictionary pages and some jewels.

I am in love with this. I think I'll slip a chain through the loop and wear it today!
Tina at The Garden Goose is having a sweet giveaway over at her blog! There will be sixteen winners- sixteen, people!! You know you want to be one of them.

Monday, March 9, 2009

If You Think Food Is Just Food.

I do not normally get political on my blog, but in this case, I must. Please read the article below as well as the one linked on my sidebar. I think it will open your eyes as to the fact that food is not just food anymore.

Then click this link and let those elected to represent us know just how you feel!!

You can also help by contacting the Senators and Congressmen from your state and encourage them to vote "NO" on this and other related bills.
Enough is really enough. It is up to us to ensure that our children and future generations have access to pure, whole foods as Nature intended, not some genetically modified semblance of food. Not only that, but to preserve the American farmer and his or her attempt to provide us with good, wholesome nourishment.

Okay, I'm off my soapbox now. :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I Wonder.......

...if Winter's last gasp was the snowfall we had last Sunday, or if we are due for just one more taste from him. It certainly seems as though Spring is here, with balmy breezes blowing over us this weekend, temperatures in the seventies.
I have noticed many signs while out and about- buds nodding their heads to the sun, daffodils in bloom looking like teacups and saucers lining a shelf, crocuses dotting lawns like Easter eggs. Even the dandelions, the brave ones, have popped out and polka dot the grass. Yes, it certainly does look like Spring. And that is what gets me every time.

Every year I get lulled into a false sense of security, thinking that it is okay to set out a few plants, sew some seeds in pots and placing them in the dining room window and every time I find that I have jumped in just a tad too early. Well, not this year. I am holding out and it is killing me! I want to dig, plant, prune, plot and I can't. Not yet, anyway. I will wait until Easter has passed, when every old-time farmer I know says it is safe to begin. The only think I can plant now is potatoes and they haven't been shipped yet. When will this madness end?

I wonder.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Family. History.

I have been busy lately, working on a project that should, if I complete it in time, make Christmas presents for my brothers and sisters this year. What am I doing, you ask? I am typing the diary of a man who fought in the Civil War. His name is William Fennelly and he was in the same company from Maine, the 16th, as my great-great grandmother's brother, Winsor Smith.
I think it was Winsor who copied the diary, as there is not one of his own in the papers we have, only letters home to his wife. His sister, Adrianna, married my great-great grandfather, Daniel Smith Kimball.
What lies in these pages are the tales of a group of men, banded together by war, trying to make sense of what they were doing, being courageous in captivity and noting those who did not survive. I cannot imagine what it was like to see a fellow soldier, a friend and brother, perish.

On August 18, 1864, the company was taken prisoner after an unsuccessful attempt at battle on the Weldon Road in Petersburg. There, they were taken into Petersburg, then moved to an "island in the Appomattox land". from there to the railroad station to board a train to Richmond. They were placed in the Libby Office, where a complaint was waged, and ignored. From Richmond, they were transferred to Belle Isle, "about 1100 men, no tents, sun very hot, dew very heavy. Received about 1000 prisoners at night."

Most of the diary is simply devoted to what they ate, where they slept, where they marched and dug trenches, as though detailing these things would make it a bit more homelike.
August 28, Sunday
"Not a sound of as church bell is heard in the doomed city. Heard the Assembly beat over the stream and that was all. Nothing extraordinary occurred. Two pieces of artillery planted on the hill. A few more Yanks went into Rich."
September 16.
Another day of dull monotony. Gen. John Morgan buried in the cemetery opposite the island. Weather warm and pleasant. Report that all the R.R. leading into Richmond are cut. "

From Belle Isle, the men were taken South to Danville, Westboro, Greensboro and, finally, Salisbury Prison, SC.

October 16, Sunday

Eleven men perished last night. Cap't Davis of the 155 N.H. shot dead by the guard, for no provocation whatever. Sun set hazy with the appearance of a storm."

December 25, 1864

A dull Christmas. No signs yet of getting out of here. The mortality continues about the same. About 3500 men have died since Oct. frequent rumors of Union success. There has been a rumor also of the death of Jeff Davis.

Dec, 31-

The Year has closed and I am a prisoner still. Year closed stormy. News scarce, mortality on the increase. Rations very poor, no meat and but little bread.

The last entry of the diary is from Feb. 23, 1865. It reads:

Rained during the night, marched at 8 A.M., passed through Lexington, crossed several streams, very slow and hard marching. Halted at night after making ten miles.

As the last entry of a mortality in the 16th Infantry is on Feb. 19, I assume that William and Winsor had been released. In all 37 of the men died and 8 deserted.

I cannot read this diary, and that of my great-great-grandfather, without felling swells of emotion within me, mostly sadness and anger.

This diary and others like it, are treasures. Links to the past from which we can learn from and, in some cases, relate to. I always tease my dad about the things that he keeps squirreled away in his office. Some of them are really not that interesting, but the things that are need to be kept, shared with the family, so that we will know who our ancestors are and what they did to help form the nation in which we live.

Family. History. Inseparable, needful and ours.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Oh, No! I Almost Forgot!

The Farm Chicks are having a giveaway.
Now fly over quickly, because it ends tomorrow, March 5.
Ack, I'm such a bad message giver.

Monday, March 2, 2009


That is how many errors were on the adapter that brings the Internet into our house. Wow. And each one, in its own way, did its best to make my weekend just crummy. No Internet, no blogging, no reading blogs, no happy e-mails from friends, no farming on Facebook.... you get the idea. I was beginning to think that this whole digital thing was a big mistake. But, thanks to a sweet technician named Luke, I am once again able to surf the Web and visit with each of you.
What was not a mistake here in Georgia, was the weather man's prediction of S*N*O*W!! Leaving church at noon time, we were greeted by big, fat flakes of snow falling from the sky. I swear I zoomed straight back to my childhood, that's how excited I was to see it. My humble apologies to those who have nothing but snow and cold, winter temperatures, but this is a treat here in the south, one I welcome with great exuberance for the one day we receive such a blessing.
Here are a few photos of The Great Georgia Snowfall of 2009. Take a good look at that little squirrel. He stayed in that position for a full two minutes before he returned to munching on sunflower seeds. It was hilarious. But I bet he was really mad at me.