Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Busy As A ......


I've got quite a few irons in the fire at the moment. So many, in fact, that I think I need to grow another set of hands to take care of them.
I'll be back in a few days. Promise.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Say Hello to My Little Friends.

This is Jemima.
And her sister, Gussie.


They are Merideth's new children.
Only two.
Thank goodness.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mrs. Smith, In the Garden, With the Hoe.

Mission accomplished- one garden put in. Seedlings planted, seeds tucked under a warm dirt blanket and straw mulch surrounding each plantling. :)


Tender tomatoes tip toward the sunlight.



Perky potatoes poke through for a peek.


Zippy zucchini , um...... zig zag through the straw.


And this? Why it's the pumpkin bed, of course!! Actually there are pie pumpkins on one side and tiny white cucumbers on the other. The idea is to have the plants grow through the springs, shading the roots and keeping them cool. Underneath, the tiny seedlings are planted directly in bags of soil, with holes poked through for drainage. I really hope it works because I think it looks adorable!! There are green beans, dry beans and corn as well, making this a full-service garden!
Did I do this all by myself? Why, no. I had the help of Mr. Smith and John and I am very grateful. It took hours of digging, planting and mulching on this 80+ degree day! But, we are done.
Now all there is to do is water, weed and wait.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Language Lesson.

My son called today with a funny story. He is at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA learning Farsi for the Army. Anyway, in class today they were asked to hold a phone conversation. Nathan was trying to say "Do you eat meat?" or something to that effect. Instead, he said this (using hard g's) :

"Gorbay garemez, gorbay garemez,
Chaycar me-cone-ay."
Now, I don't write Farsi, nor do I speak it. This is written phonetically, as I heard it. What it says, is this:
"Red cat, red cat,
What do you do?"
So now, you know how to say it, too!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I Did a Bit of Sewing Today.

After spending a couple of hours outside in the garden, I came back in with an itch to sew. I've had this idea running about in my brain for a while now. It's a string bag for my kitchen. I am always trying to find a place to store my kitchen twine and I really don't need one more thing cluttering up the counter top, so a bag was the perfect solution. I think it turned out super cute!

I need to shorten the tie a bit as it is a tidge too long.

My twine will always have a home and I will never have to hunt around for the end again, thanks to this handy grommet I placed at the bottom.
They say that necessity is the mother of invention,
and I guess they are right.
I'm going to go tie something up now.

PS- I'm making up a bunch of these, string included, and they will go in my very neglected Etsy shop next Monday. Once I dust the cobwebs off, that is.

Happy Earth Day!

I found this absolutely fascinating. And quite eye-opening.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

And Where Was My Camera?

Today I met two of my cousins. Well, first cousins, twice removed. That terminology always confuses me. To me they are just cousins. Much easier to deal with. This is our common great-great grandfather:



Here is a family photo. My great grandmother is seated on the far left.
I wonder why, for the vast majority, families looked so dour back then. There aren't to many happy, smiling pictures out there.


But not this girl. She has a beautiful smile and today I met her daughter.


Here she is on her wedding day. Her daughter looks just like her.


And this handsome fellow? I met his son today.


I think he would have been very happy.



And now for the big question- where was my camera, that I am never without? Having its battery charged. I am so sad. No pictures to mark this day for the next generations. Only a memory of their faces. Luckily, one of them lives here in Georgia, about an hour and a half away. We have vowed that we will get together again and link our families together in this generation.
I love meeting relatives I did not know I had. It gives me a great sense of connection to them, who remember my grandparents and aunts and uncles and can fill in blank places when things seem to hit a brick wall.
My dad was thrilled to see these cousins again. He has been on pins and needles for days waiting for them to come. A few hours visit just does not seem like much, but for him it was perfect- to have them in his home, reliving memories and catching up, sharing photos and phone numbers. Next time, my camera will be fully charged and ready to go. I've learned my lesson.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Homemade Yogurt

One of the farmgirl's at MaryJane's Farmgirl Connection had asked for a recipe for homemade yogurt this past week. Well, in the many replies was a recipe for crock pot yogurt. "Hmmm," I thought. "I bet I could do that."
And guess what? I did! Here it is:



I did not sweeten this yogurt with sugar as much as I would have liked to. Even so, it is full-flavored, silky and very tangy. Not tart or bitter, just... tangy. I now have a half gallon of this lovely stuff in my refrigerator. It will last about three weeks. What? I don't think so. I'll say it should last three weeks. There, that's better.
Here is the link for the crock pot recipe: Crock Pot Yogurt
I started mine yesterday morning and followed the directions, adding a half a cup of powdered milk to the yogurt-milk mixture. I wanted to be sure that it firmed up. I always have powdered milk on hand, so the cost was minimal. I think this batch of yogurt, 1/2 gallon, cost me $3.80. Not bad, since the 4-cup container of organic yogurt I bought for the starter was $2.69! (I bought a big one. What was I thinking? I only used 1/2 cup.) As I continue making it, I can use my own yogurt for the starter, making it even more cost effective.
When I went to bed last night, I took a peek and noticed that the milk mixture was still very liquidy. But, when I woke up this morning, that milky mix had magically turned into yogurt. I was thrilled to bits with the result.
Oh, FYI- I used Organic Valley whole milk and Stoneyfield organic whole milk yogurt, with live, active cultures. The live and active part is necessary for making yogurt. If it isn't alive, it won't work.
In my quest for eating healthier and being more responsible about what I bring to my kitchen table, I have to count this project as a success. Which is good because, so far, I only have the one.
Unless you count the girls in the back yard. Providing us with eggs daily, they are definitely a success!
Now for my next project.........

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fabulous Farm Chicks Giveaway!



The Farm Chicks are hosting another fab giveaway over at their blog for TWO yards of the adorable Pixie Dust fabric by Stacy McCallum. Two yards!




Ah, sigh. It's all just so pretty.

Now, go! Follow the guidelines and enter for your chance. Unless, of course, you just want to let me win! ;)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Wow. Just wow.

You must listen to this. You will be so glad you did.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

Promise.

In my family room window lies the evidence of Spring.
Seeds, planted in healthy potting soil are beginning to sprout-

The tomato starts brought by the UPS man today are gleaming in the sunlight,

their leaves perked up by a nice, long drink of water.

It doesn't take much to make me happy.

The promise of what these will bring make me deliriously so.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Walking The Path of History.

My sister and my niece are here visiting from Florida for Spring Break this week. And what has the weather been like? Cold. Spring went back to sleep for a bit it seems. So, we decided to go visit a place that at least sounded as though it would make us feel toasty- Warm Springs, Georgia. Home of FDR's Little White House. It is one of my favorite places to visit in my home state. I love the feeling that is there, it envelopes you the minute you walk into the house
Before you reach the center of town you come to the pools that FDR had built for the children and adults stricken with polio. It is a lovely site nestled in the woods. If you listen closely you can almost hear the faint shouts of joy of the children and adults who swam there.
The water from the springs in Warm Springs stays at a comfortable 88 degrees. This is my niece, Alyssa, dipping her fingers into the basin from which the spring water flows. It was the warmest she had been all day!




An iron lung for those who were severely compromised by the disease. I cannot imagine a life spent in such a place. I remember when I was a little girl in Braintree, Mass., the girl across the street from us had had polio. Her name was Jeanie Hurdle. I will never forget her. She wore special shoes with a brace on her leg and walked with a limp. My mom told me I should not be afraid of her. I don't think I ever was. She was just Jeanie. I wonder what happened to her?



A letter from Edsel Ford found outside the pool area.


The pools. There are three areas, all interconnected. Imagine them filled with the warm water and children splashing away, playing with a president.



What a wonderful gift this place was. There still is a Roosevelt Institute where those with disabilities can come and receive treatment, using the same warm spring water that flowed in these pools.



The road from the pools leads to the Little White House. They have recently built a new museum in which to house a vast collection of memorabilia from the president and his family.

As you walk to the house you first come upon the gate house and the bump gate. The bump gate was designed by FDR who, it seems, had a bit of a wild streak in him. As he approached the gate in is hand-controlled car, he would not lose speed, causing his passengers to wonder of they would survive the trip down the driveway. They always did as the President had designed the bump gate to spin at the touch of the car bumper, moving it safely out of the way. I bet he had quite a few laughs at their expense.



This is the garage over which was housed the servants quarters. Above is a small sitting area, warmed by a wood stove, a tiny bathroom and two bedrooms. Though small, it has a very comfortable, lived-in feeling.



The Little White House, where FDR and his family spent many happy days. Where heads of state and government officials were entertained and where he spent his last days.



It is as he left it on April 12,1945, the day of his death. The interior is a humble as the outside. The bits and pieces of his life here on display for all to see, to get to know the man he was.



The President's bed, where he died after falling to a cerebral hemorrhage.



A corner of the living room, which is no bigger than my own.



The better china that was used for dinner parties. I love the cornflowers that border it.



The stove upon which Daisy Bonner, the President's cook, prepared his meals.



Stone steps lead to the back yard.



In the new museum there are many things that will delight and intrigue, teach and impress. Like this decorated coach bearing the name Warm Springs.


Or the car FDR used to drive about the countryside speaking with his neighbors.



Letters and photographs greet you at every turn.



A beautifully embroidered cloth bearing the numbers of the popular votes he received by state.



Along the edge of the above cloth is a beautiful hand-crocheted edge. Can you imagine how much time this took to create?

The original Unfinished Portrait, for which FDR was sitting on the day of his death.


If you live in Georgia, Warm Springs should definitely be on your "must see" list. It is a privilege not known to everyone to have such history in one's own back yard.
If you don't live here but want to come visit, you just let me know and I will gladly go with you.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Sweet Little Things of Spring.

After a few more days of rain, we were blessed with a perfect sunny day. Just right for taking a few photos out in the garden. Enjoy!












Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Tree.

In our front yard is a single tree. It is large and beautiful, and leaning. For some reason this tree grew away from the sun and is tilted towards my neighbor's driveway. It must come down.
Yesterday, in the bit of time between rain showers, I cut a few branches off the tree. They were not small. I used my parent's pole saw to reach up and catch a branch, the pole saw wiggling its way along. It isn't an easy thing using one of those. They are long and unwieldly and I have a huge blister to show for it.
Down came the branches, one by one, into a pile at the base of the tree. Immediately sunlight cast itself upon the garden and I knew I had made the right choice of branches. The only problem now is that the tree appears to be leaning more. I know it isn't, but the lack of a few branches on one side make it appear as though the slightest breeze will topple it. I am sad.
This tree has shaded our home long before we were here. It has rocked many baby birds to sleep in its branches, been a playground for dozens of squirrels and cooled us in the summer. I will miss this tree.
When my brother comes to visit the tree will come down. In its place will be planted fruit trees, four of them. Two apple and two pear that will grow and provide us with sustenance. Blueberry bushes will be planted along the edge of the property and, if I can convince my husband, a fig or two. I love figs.
The tree will serve another purpose, becoming firewood to warm my parent's home in the winter. It is a worthy end for something that has served us so well through the years.
Goodbye, faithful Tree.



PS- I am still in need of two more Pay It Forward players. Isn't there someone who wants to join in on the fun?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Revenge of the Black Jelly Beans.

Clearly, my system has surpassed its quota. That's all I'm going to say.