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

Monday, September 11, 2017

Happy Birthday, Mike!

59 looks pretty good on you.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Hanging In There!

Everybody knows that when you have a new baby in the family, there is a little big of adjustment that everybody makes.

I called to check on the family of four the day after they brought Linley Rae home from the hospital and Daddy said she thought she needed to have a party to celebrate coming home that first night.  Mom was up with her till midnight and then Dad was up with her till about two o'clock, I think.

The next night was a bit better in some ways.  Then, the next night big brother, Harris, came home from staying at Granny and PawPaw's house and the night was a bit long and the sleep was a bit short.

So, yesterday afternoon we got a message from Daddy that included this photo...

It was captioned by this...

"It's tough being a big brother!"

and followed by this...

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Big Brother

We added a baby to our family this week and that means we also added a big brother.

Even though it wasn't his first choice, Harris wore a shirt designed just for the occasion.

Becoming a big brother is big stuff!

He was pretty proud to be sporting the button the hospital provided with her footprint, though.

Big brother had to hold her and give her a good looking over.

That was definitely serious business.

He had to make certain that his cousins saw that he was holding baby sister.

He made sure to give her a little reassuring talk when she did some wiggling and squeaking.

He needed a little bit of reassuring and support, too.

All-in-all, though.  We think he loves her and believes she's a keeper!  After all, that's what big brothers do.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Welcome to the World, Linley Rae!

Yesterday was a big day in our life!

Mike and I welcomed grandbaby number nine into the family.

She weighed in at eight-pounds-one-ounce and is nineteen-and-a-half inches long.

She was so alert and was looking all around and taking everybody in.  So, I cannot believe that most of the photos I got look like she has her eyes closed!

She went to work sucking on her fingers right away.  At one point she was trying to put both hands in her mouth.

We were all excited to meet her.

The entire family was doing well when I left late last night.

Big brother, Harris, was probably most excited of all!

We already love you little Linley Rae and are so glad to have you in our family!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Celebrating Labor Day

I spent a bit of time this morning doing some reading about the history of Labor Day.  It is a holiday for America's Workers commemorating the contribution they have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

I also stumbled across some information about the child labor laws that helped to change the working person's life here in America.  This article focused on how Lewis Hine made photos to show the conditions of child workers in our country.  It also led me to another webpage that will take me hours and hours to read from start to finish.  It intrigued me so, that I want to share it in hopes that you will read along with me.  Mornings on Maple Street is more than just a report on The Lewis Hine Project you will see.

To me, the website is also an inspiration.  It makes me wish that I had transcribed many of the stories that my father told of his childhood.  Like his walking across the arch of an old iron bridge that stood near where I grew up or how he and a co-worker's grandfather were taken to the State Fair and slipped under the fence to get in for free or how it came to light that what many thought was a married couple - a man and a woman - turned out to be two men when a fight revealed it to the community.

I also think of the stories my father-in-law told about when the local historic school was being built and he was attending classes in a tent right there on the school grounds.  Those stories are lost to me but many are not.  So, I hope to visit with some relatives and transcribe some of these tales about our local community to preserve them much like Manning and Hime have done!

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!