If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

A Curious Little Monkey

I realized one morning that I had not shared photos from celebrating our little Luci.  She turned three years old earlier this month and celebrated by being a curious little monkey.

One of Luci's favorite storybook characters is Curious George.

She can recite some of the words from each book and she is a wee bit like George - curious.

Sometimes here curiosity can get her into a bit of trouble just like George, too.

On her birthday, though, there was no trouble.

Just celebrating Luci and the delight she brings to our life!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

New Neighbors

We have some new neighbors across the street.

They are not fun.  They are not friendly.  They are not enjoyable.  They are not quiet.

Well, we have some temporary new neighbors across the street.

They don't seem to bother me overmuch during the week.  Maybe it is because I am up and out the door before they are stirring.  However, this week I was home for a couple of days with a sinus infection.  This week I didn't feel well.  This week I was whiney and grumpy.  This week I needed rest.  Those new neighbors didn't really seem to cooperate.

I felt so bad that I didn't even really want to eat.  We had heat and eat leftovers on Tuesday.  I barely had energy to stir up chicken noodle soup on Wednesday.  We skipped dinner entirely and just went to bed on Thursday.  The new neighbors never varied their routine.

My head hurt.  My sinuses were stuffy and painful.  My whole body was aching.  I was sniffling and snuffling and struggling to breathe.  It even ached to blink my eyes.  Yet, those new neighbors didn't really take that into consideration.

I hobbled back to work yesterday and stumbled through the day.  Then, I trekked home from work and picked up take-out for dinner.  I propped myself up at the table and munched through limas and mac and cheese and then wobbled off to bed, leaving the foam containers sitting on the table.  The new neighbors seemed to care less.

Since it is Saturday, I thought I would sleep in and take a leisurely day.  If all I got done was to vacuum the bits of leaves and sprigs of grass and dust up off the floor that would be plenty.  Then, I noticed the neighbors.  They were not quiet and not pastoral.  They were not friendly or encouraging for me to take it easy and relax.

All these days that I leave out to go to work and things look quiet and easy going across the street have been a sham, evidently.  I mean, when I return home in the afternoon I have noticed changes but didn't really consider what that might entail...till this week.

Today I was awakened by beep...beep...beep and the sound of the tracks of a dozier.  It started at just about daylight I believe.  Then, at around seven o'clock this morning the sounds of a jackhammer began, followed by the clank and clunk of loading rocks into dump trucks.

You see, our new temporary neighbors are preparing the way for over one hundred houses to be built right across the street.  So, they are building roads and cutting down embankments and breaking up giant boulders and moving rock pieces from here to there and there to here.  They are not friendly and welcomed to somebody whose head is already aching and wanting rest.

I guess the good Lord has ways of preparing us for moving from a rural farmland setting toward a more densely populated urban area.  It comes in the way of jackhammers, dump trucks, clanking, and clunking, and beep...beep...beep making me look forward to the idyllic landscape of a few houses instead of their construction equipment.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

It's Canning and Freezing Season!

Monday was the day for freezing squash.  We cut it up into slices and I cooked us up a batch to eat.  While dinner was on the stove, we cut up some more, dipped it into milk, dipped it into a dry batter of corn meal, flour, and spices, and laid it out on wax paper on cookie sheets to freeze.

Tuesday was the day for freezing okra.  Again, we cut it up into slices and dipped it into milk, dipped it into the dry batter, and laid it out on wax paper for freezing.  We turned out two quart freezer bags filled really full at a time.  That makes enough for a meal with company or for the two of us and leftovers for lunches.

Wednesday I froze three quarts of blanched squash in freezer bags for casseroles.  I simply sliced it into pieces, dropped it into boiling water for three minutes, plunged it into ice water, drained it, and bagged it for the freezer.

Thursday afternoon we picked squash, okra, and tomatoes.  We gave most of that afternoon's squash and okra away, saving only enough for dinner.  I washed off all the tomatoes and laid them out to dry.  The kitchen counters were full of tomatoes - all of them!  There  was a total of about three five-gallon buckets full of tomatoes.  I didn't make a photo but it was much like this bounty:

This afternoon was tomato canning day.  First, I dipped the tomatoes into boiling water for 30-60 seconds.  Then, plunged them into cold water.  Next I slipped the peeling off and cut them into chunks.  From there, I put them into the juicer for squeezing and straining out the seeds and large pieces of pulp.  I used this mechanism that belongs to Mama.

It worked beautifully.  I simmered the juice at 190 degrees for five minutes.  Poured it into jars, added a teaspoon of sugar and two tablespoons of lemon juice.  This made nine quarts of tomato juice that I processed in a boiling water bath.

I took the left-over pulp and pureed it.  Then, I cooked it for five minutes at 190 degrees.  Next, I dipped it out of the pot and poured it into jars before processing them in a boiling water bath as well.  I wound up with three quarts and a pint of pureed tomatoes.  Plus, there was about a half-pint that I just poured into a zip-top bag and froze.

We love soups, chili, spaghetti, lasagna, and such.  So, this winter, we will have home-grown tomatoes in our bowls!

I felt so good because I cleared the counters off and only had this few tomatoes left for salads, sandwiches, and just plain slices for the week.

Then, Mike came in from his afternoon of cutting grass, feeding calves, and gardening.

Tomorrow looks like another canning or freezing day!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Luci's Book

You may recall that way back earlier this year we wrote a book.  The book was a birthday present for our youngest grandchild, Easton.  It seemed like a great idea.  I mean, we are really blessed as a family and our grandchildren really have all their needs and most of their wants met.  So, creating a personalized book seemed like a wonderful, original, personal thing to do.

Then, we created one for Levi.  I don't do these alone, y'all.  I scour and borrow photos.  I ask for ideas of words to represent certain letters.  I ask for ways to have a page for MawMaw and a page for Mama without having two M pages.  I ask for rhyming words.  I ask for ideas of something that is yellow.  Mike is as good as Webster's gold at times and not so good at others - think rhyming words with heart and smart.

Now, we are half-way through the year, have created books for the three youngest grandchildren, and have come to realize that writing and gifting of books is a great idea.  However, it is taxing on a couple of old folks' brains to come up with ideas!  That doesn't even include coming up with all those appropriate photos, too.

Then, stop and consider that we have eight grandchildren.  Eight.  And are expecting a ninth.

Do you know how many words start with Q?

Do you have any idea how many words start with Z?

Do you know how difficult it is to write a rhyming verse?

Well, we persevere and we just wrote our third ABC book for a grandchild.

Here it is, Luci's ABC Book!
Inside Cover 
Pages A & B 
Pages C & D 
Pages E & F
Pages G & H 
Pages I & J 
Pages K & L 
Pages M & N 
Pages O & P 
Pages Q & R 
Pages S & T 
Pages U & V 
Pages W & X 
Pages Y & Z 
Inside Back Cover/Dedication Page 
Back Cover

Three books down and five to go!