Out of sight, out of…

I have never claimed an out of body experience, but lately these nightmares have me wondering. Sleep does not always come easy as the winter days keep us cooped up indoors. Honey begs for exercise. I just crochet another row…

“Out of sight, out of mind” is my policy when it domes to cleaning. but last week as the winter slipped into a January melt, there was no denying the need to clean. My allergies and asthma demand an environment something like a hospital clean zone. (The idea of hospital triage in an empty parking lot really scares me.). So when I could not figure out where that smell was coming from, well< I tried. Then vertigo took over as my ears plugged up to the Hilton top floor. So finally after enlisting the the aid of my husband I think we finally found that smell that was no longer able to stay out of sight and out of mind.

“Out of gas” is how I felt much of the past week. The medicine for the vertigo did help me feel not so nauseous. At least I could eat something other than jello. If this is what spring in January is like what will spring be like when it actually arrives? Never-the-less I was able to start a new crochet project for my hours of stillness.

It is not however, the plan to keep the greenhouse warm during the bitter cold nights. The little propane furnace keeps the temps above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. I added two compost bins and a few other thermal water containers. We have discovered that our water tank made out of two tractor tires is just a little too deep. The depth allows the tank to stay at fifty degrees rather than actually warming up. So we are making plans to remake the water tank this summer. It should be only four feet deep and have a larger surface area.

Out of house and home is how Honey must feel after I took her old bed away. we bought a raised bed cot for her so that it will be easier to clean. The first night on the cot was really more like her usual of sleeping on the hard floor all night long. I honestly don’t know if she rather likes being uncomfortable or if that’s just her nature. I did make a new comforter/twin fitted sheet pad to put on the top of the cot. We will see if she has more “staying” power tonight.

She has taken to the new bed, but still does her floor flopping a few times during the night. I also started watching some dog training shows again. We play a short game of hide and seek before her morning breakfast. She loves this intelligence sharpening tool and we seem to get along better throughout the day. It is all about “communication.”

Out of orbit continues to be our status with friends and family, because of the pandemic. The little kiddos were sick the last two weeks and their mama, so I have only had face times with the grandees. Kids really do bring a lot of hope and cheer into the world. So glad for the video visits.

Out of sugar use to be the reason for many a neighborly visit in the long ago days. Lately I wish I had a neighbor that would take that as an excuse for a fence chat. Seems like the pandemic has made people even afraid to pick up the phone, let alone take over a cup or two of sugar for the batter in the mixer. Sometimes we regret moving closer to family. The friends that we had in our previous two inhabitations were worth much more in terms of friendliness and comoradery. Sorry if I hurt anyone’s feelings. No, not sorry. It’s just the way it is.

Out of toilet paper is not an option anymore in the family’s toddlerhood. Out of diapers gave my daughter the drive to potty train her two year old. It was successful. We had an enjoyable visit the other day and no accidents!

Things that run on empty sure had me feeling in the dumps for a few days. Finding something new to listen to, something new to do, and someone new to thing about sure helps. Was so glad to get a few phone calls to turn the tide. I also had a visit to the chiropractor and that gave my lungs some renewed capacity. Yay! Life feels better again

.Out of yarn is not something I can claim very often. But when I ran out of aran for the pillow that I was working on, I began digging through the stash. Actually trying to find the inspiration for the next project, I was unsuccessful on the mosic crochet front. So the idea as to clean out all of the old crochet swatches from patterns that i had tried for the last so many years. This pile was in the bottom of the yarn basket.

While there, i rediscovered the tulip stitch shawl that I made a few years ago. then the idea occured to me that perhaps this pattern could be used in the mobius shawl. I do not really have enough of these, I am sure. And something homely for home wear sounded good to me.

After the finished tulip edging, I decided to see how many I really do have. there are only ten of them and each one has a story of it’s own. but the Pretty-Tulips-All-In-A-Row is the only one that was truly started in the figure eight crochet. And those first two rounds were difficult to get the right size on the shawl. I finally measured from the tips of my fingers to my chin and it fit just right.

Möbius twist shawls have a way of keeping the shoulders warm . And they kind of remind me of the pretzel. Of course the history of the pretzel is the monks bringing a simple lesson on prayer into everyday life. The folding of the hands in prayer and the bread of life come together in the lovely salt of the earth snack. Look up the story some time. (I tell myself, too)

The Mobius shawl is names such for it’s figure 8 twist. I had never done one from the center. The others were all twisted and connected after construction. And of course my history of the shawls goes from right to left in the picture. Oops. Blue and lime are made out of a cotton thread that is great for the cooler summer days. Then the yellow and white ones are also summery and great covers for an air conditioning chill. Wine was made for my daughter’s winter wedding. Then the fuzzy grey/green for it’s softness and visiting grand-kiddos and cuddles. Pink was actually the very first one I ever made. I keep thinking to do away with it, but actually have a lot of spring attire with a hint of pink in it. And finally there is the wool twistee that is great for those howling windy winter days. Oh, some war! Each one has purpose and I need them all. Haha

Once a moss stitch had that never really did the job of keeping my ears warm, this stocking cap finally came to life last week and now I love it. The fun ball on the end keeps the dogs eyes on me while I am outside. I think they find comic relief in it’s bouncing about my head while we play fetch.

While cleaning up the residue from Christmas, I decided to listen to some music on my prime account. It keeps me entertained more times that I can I can count. Being “out of Ideas” for musicians, I decided to run through some names on the country music women hall of fame.

My pleasant surprise was that Reba is such a spiritual inspiration to so many in the industry. I am not plugging her for any other reason, that this… when you are fresh out of music artists and need a lift-me-up from an old standby, the song below really surprised me. the past week while I spend much of my time Out of orbit with the happenings of this old miserable world. Prayer is such a vital part of my alone time, and this one is so important.

While country music is known for it’s ability to be played backwards and get everything back that you lost, perhaps the truth of this song will hit home. Instead of turning our backs on the ways of the world and all of it’s misery, we should give everything that we in our selfish pride call our own, give it all Back to God!

Check it out sometime. The practice of prayer in one’s life is more than a calling, a habit, a time buster, or any other function you might come up with to call it. Having a life filled with prayer does not mean that solitude is easy either. Some days I feel that my life is a constant prayer monologue. Other days it is more like breathing. And then there are days when it is a battle to focus on the list in my hand and lift up those desperate for God’s touch in their lives. No matter the day, I hope that when my life is done others will say that like some practice, law, or piano, or medicine… “she was in the practice of prayer.”

Psalm 143:1 NKJV “Hear my prayer O Lord, Give ear to my supplications In Your faithfulness answer me.”

The Twelve Days After Christmas

My favorite after Christmas gifts

Yep we are still making them and we’re still receiving them. Something so significant happened last year that it just put a few of us behind the times. Waiting to get sacked by the worldwide illness, puts a mind ill at ease. And then suddenly, winter arrived with Christmas right on it’s tail. Oh, dear, the wheels started turning and it was here and gone faster than the snowplow after the blizzard.

Who said anything about 12 days of Christmas I think it’s like 37 or 18 days of Christmas. For some of those holiday music lovers, it is 364 days and still on the favorite playlist. When it comes to the Nutcracker, of course, but Nat King Cole, and merry old souls on my Christmas music list it will have to stay on the November and December playlist.

We have some spill over though. Of the gifts, there is no end. Making Christmas every day and trying to complete the tasks of gift giving is not so easy when one side of the family did not even get together at all. With the virus rearing an ugly head, that was probably a wise decision. But alas without even using the technology to gather on zoom, there is a hole in my heart for missing them. How do you express to “close” family members that you miss them and we all just are not “close” enough for your own liking. I know this is a lot to be missed around the holidays, and nothing says someone is not here anymore like the holiday gatherings and an empty chair.

So on go the gift givings and perhaps if you are reading this and a family member, yours is still on the way, or sitting next to me here on the desk.

This beautiful lilac bush mulberry scoop is probably the best gift we received after Christmas. My father has a wood turning lathe in his finished porch. He is busy turning out gifts daily. The fun part is having him come over to the place and find pieces of wood out of the pile. The stack of wood is holding all kinds of gems that are best turned into beautiful pieces of useful items. Some chunks of mulberry tree, maple tree, or other such woods have turned out to be more beautiful than imagined.

“You can scoop ice cream in the bowl until you say ‘wow! that’s a lot of ice cream” and then that’ll be enough.” This was my son-in-laws sister at a family gathering pre-pandemic. Her response after the asking, “How much ice cream do you want?” Has stuck with me ever since. Most people answer with one or two scoops, but her’s was such a classic that I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

How much ice cream do you want? How much Christmas is enough for you? Are you satisfied with one or two scoops? Are you okay with just one day? Or do you want the overflowing abundance that makes you feel full and miserable, and like you never want to eat again for another year?

Honestly, the “little is much when God is in it” is sometimes hard to accept, right?

Enjoying the present in each day was part of my vow or motto for the year 2020. Finding the present in each day is a bit like hide and seek when the two year old forgets to tell you that they are now playing the game. Aaahhhh!

Above is one of the presents that I am learning the value of. I have always wanted a wood turned crochet hook from my father in law. And here it is. It takes a while to get use to the shape and size of a new hook style. My plan is that the larger hook handle will force me use a larger stitch and make a softer fabric. Yep, it’s working. The first item that I am trying it on is a pair of mittens and hat combo. The mittens feel like a pillow on my hand. Hopefully they are just as warm. Thanks, Dad! i might have some ideas for a secon hook soon. Teehee.

This gift above is for my daughter. It will be a pillow case for her re-decorating attempt in her living/family area. I’ll have to take it with some Tuesday to finish it over the pillow. That is probably the only drawback to this pillow cover style. It is rather permanent. Oh, well. I do love this pattern for mosaic crochet. It is one of my favorite so far.

And of course, after the Christmas tree was all put away, I went to the storage shed and pulled out the wooden vehicles that were my husband’s toys as a boy. Many of them were made by his father. We repaired them for our girls when they were little to play with. So I pulled them out for our grandchildren to enjoy for the next few years. Some found a keeping place in the wide window sills of my living room, while others are just on the table or floor. It was like Christmas all over again as our little granddaughter found them one by one. It was good to have them enjoyed. And in a another year her brother will surely argue with her over which ones he gets to drive!

So maybe Christmas really is not over when the tree goes away after all. Each day holds so much potential for enjoyment. I hope like playing hide and seek as a child, your heart will squeal with glee at the gifts that God has in store for you in 2021!

The story of the little boy’s lunch is told in all four gospels (Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9 and John 6). Some people call it the Miracle of Feeding of the Five thousand, but I like to think of it as the Miracle of the Little Boy’s Lunch. Of course , the four gospel’s all agree that the miracle did happen. This year I want to understand the “multiplying” power of God’s touch on little things.

The law of the multiplying seed is visible in so many ways. From the bread dough rising, to the pounds gained after eating cinnamon rolls the effect of the law God placed in nature is evident. And the most obvious is the seed itself, which is such a vast part of my life each and every day in Greenfield Greenhouse. This year, I plan to pay more attention to this law even in my thoughts, my words, and my actions. It is not just a cute Sunday School song from years gone by. “Little is much when God is in it” is a fundamental truth that I believe in.

Spend a few moments of your day to listen to this dynamic truth as song by David Phelps with the Gaither Band some twelve years ago. Be mindful of God’s touch on the faithful and find your small part of His Big Heart!

Turning a new leaf

From the old to the new

Everyone wants to run away from 2020 (the year) as quickly as they can. The book has a new cover and we have all turned over a new leaf of the book in the story of our lives. This past year brought so many challenges and trials to everyone.

This little “Hope Square” pillow commemorates what the past year and the hope for the new year entails. The square below was the first mosaic pattern that I crocheted during the past year. When I decided to make a pillow out of the little square, I used up some lefties. The ugliness is just to remember that the past year was that for so many.

Turn over the pillow, just like we turned over the calendar page.

It is a new year, new hopes and dreams. Most of the hope I have is for those that I love dearly.

Recently there was a lot of “hoopla” around the Star of Bethlehem. i only got to see it one night, on Christmas Eve. The rest of the time we had clouds in the way. Having a star on the top of my Christmas tree is part of our tradition. Some put a bow, some an angel, and others just leave it empty.

When we came home that evening, the yard light was lined up with our little outdoor pallet Christmas tree just right. I had to get this picture. There are so many things that this picture reminds me of. From the doggies and the outdoor play, to the bridge symbol of old and new, to the pathway to the geodesic greenhouse. I love this little lighted blessings photo.

And again, I can’t seem to get these Pink Blush geraniums out of my minds eye. I just love they way they show no shame for blooming in the middle of the winter. The plant is shy about giving me more legs to start more plants. I think I only have three shoots from this one. It is just so pretty!

These cold winter days require some ingenuity. Below is my recent re-make on a poncho that is a year or so old. The Hoodie was very unacceptable to me. So I replaced it with the sweater cowl neck.

I know, I was supposed to be working on those Christmas letters that are all now belated. The New Year’s grettings are being delayed also. And I am trying to make some more of the hope square potholders for my family members. Oh, well, I guess there is nothing wrong with being a bit behind on the schedule.

We will just pretend that since the whole world is backlogged on the vaccine orders, it is all just falling in suit. I am back logged on my crochet projects. I am behind on the letter writing. The salutations will keep for another row or two.

My husband says that since the weather is so delightful, who cares whether I crochet another row or two before the next envelope goes into the mail? They do not know any difference anyways, do they?

So if you are expecting a Christmas card for me, it is on the desk in the other room. I am curled up under my blanket poncho and crocheting another square.

Crochet is not just what I do, it is kind of who I am.

Ecclesiastes 1:11, “Things are forgotten nearly as quickly as they happen, and as soon as things are new they are suddenly old.” Okay that is my paraphrase of the verse, but it really does say that we don’t remember what happened in the past, and everyone has to make therir own mistakes and learn from them. Blessed is she who learns from the mistakes of others. There’s my proverb for the new year. Haha.

We “paws” to reflect

From gratitude to warm fuzzy feelings

This is the time of year that many people take a moment to reflect on the happenings of the past year. Some people that I know are skipping their “usual” in light of this very unusual year. Guilt over their abundance seems to make them pause their reflections and feel overwhelmed by the lack in others lives. That is not the case for me. I just decided to not stress out about writing a holiday letter this year.

Somehow, the common boasting about all that we have done, everywhere that we went, and all of the other things that find a way into the holiday news… well, what is wrong with saying “All is well” during a pandemic? Perhaps, that very statement should be our focus, and praise to the Maker of all things for our blessings.

Our lives are so full this year, it seems to overcome the emptiness of social distancing and quantified gatherings.

My favorite thing about this mild winter so far, is the abundance of geranium blooms in my greenhouse. The new baby plants get their blooms plucked before they have a chance to sneeze their fragrance. But the older plants are allowed to do their thing. The red, white and green keep me feeling so very blessed with new growth. But the “Pink Blush” geranium is my favorite. And of course it is taking it’s own sweet time in multiplying. I have only been able to take one slip from the mother plant so far. The construction hub and the bloom sum up the large majority of my time this year.

We “paws” to reflect on how our lives changed during this year of world wide health crisis and the conflict that spilled over. Anger was just something that I do not choose to live in. The constant upheaval of other’s inappropriate actions will not be my guide to how I live my days.

My consistent browsing on the internet at puppies, found me an old doggie to ad to our farm yard collection. Eva is an old breeding retiree. Her yellow Labrador retriever attitude has brought some upheaval. Otherwise, we just buy more food. She simply does not want to leave anything alone that does not belong to her. I think her years in the kennel have left her wanting. She will spend most of her retirement plainly being a dog.

Honey does not know how to behave with such a mild momma. We discovered that she was snapping at Eva a bit excessively. At one point Honey even caused a blood vessel to rupture in Eva’s left ear. We had to put Eva on steroids. Our little yellow “Ewok” has nearly recovered. She looks like a little Gremlin greeting us in the morning because that ear sticks out some.

Most days the two of them get along okay. They have their own ideas about companionship to me, so we get along okay also.

Christmas would just not be the same without some woodworking project to keep us preoccupied during the preparations. This year our stress level could not handle any large project like tables or desks. So we chose to make a new piggy bank for the newest member of the family. Of course if I say too much, someone will not be surprised. So, you will just have to wait for a full view! Nevertheless, i was rather pleased that making the poly-shade green was easily done with a little tempra paint I found in the back of the closet.

So far, so good! These two unlikely pet-sisters managed to sort of stay for a photo moment. It took over a dozen pictures to find one that is just right for the Christmas card.

However, because we have a new grandson this year, he and his sister will get first pick. Sorry puppies! Christmas at our house will be about the little grand babies!

Merry Christmas to all of my readers.

Thank you all so much ofr the feed back. It is much appreciated.

Security and comfort zone

Comfort in familiarity

How much I love the C2C crochet stitch shows up in every corner of my house. The corner to corner stitch is one of my favorites. I would call it my comfort zone. The weight and feel of the fabric that it creates cannot compare to other comfort stitches. And the ease of making something in the C2C means that a project can be completed in a week, weekend or sometimes less.

The above cornmeal yellow blanket keeps our feet warm all year round. I made a mixed up yellows, reds and blues and the busy pattern took away from the quilt top. So off to charity it went. And this simple yellow afghan is so soft and warm.

This blanket is the remnants of a rug that I once made for the room’s floor. After a few years of padding across the rug, it could no longer be cleaned easily. I decided to take the item of 50 plus skeins and make two rugs. One was water blue circular and the other an hexagon yellows. The edging yarn was left so I made this large squares throw to sit on our hope chest. The new queen size bed did not fit the way the old antique frame sat, so this blanket sits on a different chest now.

There was still some leftovers and we had a blanket that I had made early on in my crochet career. This blanket was again a remake and and add on. It is one of our winter favorites. The diagonal stripes are both fun and confusing. But the practicality is the goal for this chocolate hug!

The C2C quilt-as-you-go crochet blocks afghan is now finished. Yes it only took me one week. But it was colder this week and I just did not want to go out doors and be cold. This blanket is full of old yarn, new yarn, used yarn, and scrap threads. The practicality of the design has me in love with the stitch.

Some people take the stitch and made grid patterns that turn out adorable little characters. but I think I’ll stick to easy. Once upon a time my daughter called me lazy because I did so many things in the same stitch. There are simple neck “turtle” scarves, ponchos, infinity scarves, shrug shawls, and even a washcloth or two. The versatility of C2C seems endless.

There has been a lot of talk about insecurity these days. The “fear” of covid 19 has the media constantly sharing more scare tactics. The virus has found my family and only one of the whole bunch even got tested. So the numbers are really disproportional. No matter what the numbers are, there are so many more that have not been tested accuracy is impossible.

Every day death is around some corner. We don’t know which corner, but that does not keep people from living their lives and doing what needs to be done to stay alive.

We have become much better stewards of the property that we live on simply for the fact that is so little else to do. But after putting up all those jars of tomatoes, the last bucket of tomatoes sat in the fridge for two weeks. I just could not do another batch. We tossed them out to the racoons this morning before picking up all the leaves in the back yard. The wind just goes in a circle there and mulch would be better used on the garden area for the winter.

This weekend we are also doing the social distance thing up a notch. Apparently my husband may have been exposed to the virus and contact tracing gave him a call Friday. The fear set in for a few moments, and then the get busy set in. We had a pot roast for supper and will eat lefties for the rest of weekend.

Security and insecurity are realities that some people are living right now. I have to admidt that the phone call made me feel a little insecure. The feeling did not last very long though. While I trust in the Lord for my eternal security in Jesus Christ, I also trust Him for today. Maybe it does not appear to others that way, but for myself day to day living in isolation has become fairly normal.

Isolation was never meant to be the normal though. I watched a fellow on a video channel share his life in virtual isolation. He lives in the idealization of “self reliant” and heavy work ethic. Though he says he is married, they do not share their daily living experiences. He lives one lifestyle and she another. That does not really sound like a marriage to me. Where is the service to one another’s needs, and the compromise of ideas, ideals, successes and failures. Since hearing that they only “holiday” together, I decided to unfollow the craziness. What’s the point of living life so alone?

I want to share life with my spouse. I want to do meals together. I want to experience the same things together. I am such a togetherness freak, I find it hard to sit at the table and eat a meal by myself. I think of all my family members and others who do so every day. It’s not for me. I need companionship so much, I want the dog less than five feet from me most hours of the day.

Yep, I would rather die doing life together, than die alone. Some of the pictures from our wedding were taken out in the cemetary next to the church. Some said it was a “good luck” portion to the day. I think it just solidified the vows a little more.

That’s my take on this whole mess of a world we live in. And even after spending three or four hours solving the world’s problems, I am sure no one will even listen to me.

Ecclesiastes 11:9. “Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; Walk in the ways of your heart, And in the sight of your eyes; But know that for all these God will bring you into judgement.”

Before dash cam-Dash Lamb

A monitor of a different sort

Once upon a time, there was a shepherd girl whose husband bought her a truck. That truck was actually a Ford Edge to replace the awful eight seater cargo van that she did not like very well.

We got the car the summer of 2010, and then took a family vacation to the east coast. Nothing like putting on thousands of miles right after a vehicle purchase. Other than the serpentine belt going bad this side of Chicago, it was an uneventful trip. The main event was the music camp that the girls attended.

The best McDonald’s toy ever

What is the purpose of those ridiculous Happy Meal toys anyway? Most kids don’t seem too happy after the thing breaks. This little Dash Lamb came at just the right time though. The girls were old enough to drive when we brought this car home. So not long after the first payment was due, they were driving the family truck to get dog food, sheep feed, groceries, and even driving to all of those music lessons.

Once and a while with the food runs, they let me get a Happy Meal. So instead of getting the meals for little kiddos, they were trying to keep their mother happy in the back seat. That was actually one of my requirements for the new car, the back seat had to be comfortable.

When this little lamb came in a meal, it found it’s home on the dash right in a pasture of sage vinyl (PVC). It was the perfect home for this little bobble head creature.

Who put the lamb on the floor?

This was always the first thing said when my first glance at the dash did not find the little lamb in it’s stead. Anytime the dash monitor lost it’s footing, we knew someone was overdriving the conditions. A lamb on the floor meant that the corner had been taken a little fast. A lamb in the defroster vent meant that the breaks had been applied with force.

Before there was ever a dash camera monitor system, we had Dash Lamb. So, it was a little sad when the new vehicle did not have a spot on the vinly for such items. Now there is some little drawer cover to hide the unsightly items.

No spilled coffee here in this family. Dash Lamb never lied. She always told us who was not driving with their eyes on the road or hands on the wheel. She always told mom who was driving with out taking care of her little bobble head. Over driving the conditions could mean a little lamb shaking her head to declare, “no,no, no!”

Poor little thing didn’t even have a name. All of our little special ones got names. There was Lucy, Who-Do, Spot, Moose, Triple-Wide, Smokey, Blackie, and Buck-buck to name a few. The girls had the first fifty or so all named. After that it was just the bottle lambs that received such special treatment. One after the other came and went, season after season the lams came and went. But Dash-Lamb was with us until the day the car died.

Oh, yeah, there was Bam, Bam-the twins that use to come and lift there poor mother ewe right off of the ground. They were the first season lambs that were on the mamas much too long. We learned not to let them be so harsh after those two kept that picture stuck in our minds. Poor mother.

Aside from the fact that the lamb was always rolling her eyes at the driver, or the passengers in their distracting fashion. God is always watching us when we drive, walk, talk, or sit. This little lamb was really a reminder that someone is always watching no matter what we do. But God is the all knowing, all seeing being who really watches me.

Good bye little dash lamb. Tahnks for giving our family car a lot of story time worthy history. We loved having you as part of our lives for ten years. Some things just can’t be replaced. We can get another car. We can get new tires. But a little lamb from a Happy meal? She is really shaking her head now, “No, No, No!”

Contemplation stone

Think, think, think!

The last five weeks have been very full. That does not mean there has not been time to think though. I’m not sure I shall ever be that busy again.

The garden’s fall harvest is in full swing and the business of putting away our winter store kept us very busy. We gave away a lot of produce this year thanks to our decision to increases our garden plot by 200%. Don’t judge my math, I am not the engineer in the family.

So one weekend while waiting for some more tomatoes to ripe, we took on the rock pile and found a few statement stones to place around the greenhouse for the landscaping project. It looks so much better, I don’t know why we did not start this sooner. The perenials that I wish to put around the perimeter will wait until next spring. The dry weather just makes watching them die after a fall plant too depressing.

While we were at our binge exercise plan, we found a large flat stone for a bench. The contemplation stone only named such, and has an amazing comfort to the weary back after bending over the garden tasks. So, think, think, think, we like our beloved Winnie the Pooh Bear, now have a spot on which to contemplate all sorts of topics.

On adding another teaspoon…

Most of the zuchini is made into our favorite pepper relish. Adding just one teaspoon more of the hot dried peppers from the past season can make it nearly inedible. The sweet pickle relish with a kick is a family favorite and keeps the jalapeño plants purposeful.

The tomatoes find their way into salsa more than chilli, or Italian sauce. The family recipe for the salsa can be tweaked by just adding so many habaneros or so many jalapeños. The number is contemplated with precision or the mild batch turns into “fire-salsa” pretty quickly! Oops!

Filling up wonder…

The back porch swing received a new coat of paint along with the propane tank. The gas bubble is not near as adorable as this little girl. She had a cry-fest for this moment. Yep, Grandma let her win. I forgot she wanted to spent a few moments on the swing. So we went back outside to ride the wave. The shade, the breeze and the motion are so very relaxing. Even though it delayed my supper preparation by fifteen minutes. I loved seeing the wheels in her little mind churning in wonder and contemplation.

Grandparents day went by without a peep from the grandkids, but a weekend in August gave us a chance to have the little gal for an over-nighter. Our little two-derfully wonderful toddler has us guessing what goes on in that little head. Sometimes she expresses herself quite clearly, other times we are left to wonder. The best thing about grand-parenting is filling up little brains with wonder and awe as they discover new things and experiences.

Testing boundaries…

Another of our projects was filling up a rather large ‘dead space” with interest. The butterfly shape is just full of rocks for now, but next spring I hope to clean out the rocks and fill it in with interesting flowers and perenials. I have a lot of the seeds already and plan to jumpt start some planters in the greenhouse. Then, fill in the spaces with seed to sprout on their own. The cats seem to think I have created a new playground. The dogs chase the cats through the stones, and they are all testing the boundaries of my patience. During the same time frame of placing all the rocks, our Doodle decided to hunt in the dug out hole out back. Of course she suffered an injury that needed surgery. So we spend another five hundred dollars on her. She healed up nicely and there is only a small imperfection in her thigh. Honey just does not seem to in-dear herself to us in a calm fashion. No matter what happens, the stinger finds a way in somewhere. Honey still won’t loose-leash unless she has a harness. So we wrap the leash around one or both front legs and she’s like a horse that walks on a string of twine. Oh, well. There have been days when she guides me like she went to school for the job, Other days I want to send her away to the kangaroo boxing school.

The view from here…

This little guy is the highlight of my Tuesdays. He watches his sister with so much concentration. His gurgles and giggles when she pays attention to him are so full of glee. I know that the view from here will only become more and more amazing each week that I see him.

I am thankful that for us the threat of the virus seems to stay at least three or four people removed from us. My husband knows people off from work because of the virus, but they never seem to be someone he has any close contact with. We had a nephew that recovered well from the virus, leaving his pregnant wife and four year old untouched by the illness. So for now, I will keep visiting my little grand babies.

Returning to the library…

Going back to finish a project left undone can mean many things. Facing the past failures, or the moment when something had to be redone. This lap-ghan was not nearly the end project that I had envisioned. The smallness actually took me by surprise. However, the stitch pattern that took so much concentration makes it highly valued to me. I can’t see letting it go like a carpet of leaves on the lawn. Give aways are part of my purpose in crochet, but this one might cause me to cling for awhile.

My library / office sat empty much of the month. I spent so much time baby sitting the stove during the last few weeks, I just did not get in here. Sometimes the thought of sitting amongst all those books that I can no longer read, or read with difficulty, I just avoid it.

Then, there was the new update on my blog host, so I was stuck until my hubby got me out of the mud. Any time that changes are made on the site (and sometimes inadvertantly by me) I could sit for days or weeks in limbo. Asking for the help is usually the key to unlocking my difficulty.

Also, this past month, I spent contemplating the though of stem cell therapy for my eyes. There is a company that does the stem cell therapy for retinitis pigmentosa. We made a few phone calls and did some research, but the risk of traveling with the virus and the fact that it is out of the country have made me very skeptical. Is the risk really worth the travel and the money?

For now I feel like someone is giving me a hefty dose of wonder and another teaspoon just might put me over the edge. Perhaps, I shall just sit here on my contemplation stone and let the whole of life pass me by. Living life in the high risk category sure makes for a rocky path. The boundaries seem so unclear and out of focus. Perhaps, this is just not the time to gather the honey.

Taking out the trash

How data banks fills up your memory stores

This past week I discovered that my google memory bank was full and needed back up. Well, before paying for memory (as if dementia has a cure) I started trying to find what was filling up the bank. I found a lot of my old garbage.

I mean really old rotten garbage. Apparently all the stuff that I had put into the trash or tried to delete from my OLD phone had been sent to my my new goggle bank, and phone. Now the notes to self in days gone past have been TRIPLED up in my new data storage. What I though was once deleted has now been stored as deleted, trashed, and created. Three times more, I’ll be spending the next two weeks trying to take out the trash in my new data base.

Thank goodness for my husband. I think I’ll let him do most of the work on his computer. Trying to clean up said trash on my tiny smart phone screen is painful. So apparently, I now have to take out the trash that I though I had take out back in 2014!

What kind of to do list from that summer could just be repeated?

Here’s one: call for a haircut, water the garden, weed the flower patch, pull out meat for supper.

Here’s one best left in the trash bin: allergies a-fright, asthma out of control, order another inhaler. Uff. Life has not changed there any.

Who knows what kind of mess the pictures are in. There are probably multiple pictures in different albums. Googles face rec did that to the pictures I take of the relatives. I really don’t need a full album of my cousin’s child in multiple places. There’s how that data storage gets maxed out. Nope, still not paying.

Finding out that my data group created composting bins rather than actually trashing my old garbage was a little rough on the eyes. Especially when my husband showed me whole files in my junk mail! Oh, that made me mad enough to call the disposal company. Nawh, I’ll just let him clean up the mess. It suddenly does not make me so memory unbalanced with my old fits about him leaving the trash can so full until taking it out. I’ll take out the kitchen garbage and the compost for the rest of our married life, if he will clean up my junk mail and sweep out the data doubled storage in my phone. But the dustpan is gonna be full!

Yesterday was Father’s Day here in our country. We got together as a family and let the greats meet the newest great-grandson. Took a couple of pictures for the memory bank. Of course we have so many pictures just out there in the cloud, I wonder if the greats will ever be able to identify the occupants without the aid of some facial recognition software. Maybe I should just keep those albums of my cousin and her grandchildren.

Today I was trying to call for a haircut for the dog. The system at the dog camp just ended the call when it wanted. I wonder how their business is fairing the pandemic. Not so well, if we cannot leave a message. Maybe their data storage is full from all of the dog pictures they take each week. Haha.

My memory bank is not full. It is happily adding new ones as we enjoy the changes of the little grand kiddos. My grand daughter discovered blowing bubbles this spring. She was able to blow out her two candles on her birthday. So this Sunday, her auntie showed her what else a breath can do. Train whistle, tin whistles, and the harmonica all came out of hiding. We pulled up a video of superb mouth harp on display, and she was hooked. Her parents are thankful the mouth harp stayed at Opa and Oma’s house. Our little grandson did not seem to mind all the noise. Except when the ancient woodwind the flute came out. Our band director son-in-law took a look at it’s tarnished state, found all the pads in working order and then tuned in a scale. Little grandson cringed. The dog began to cry and little grand daughter went back to the harmonica.

Creating new memories was pretty wonderful.

This afternoon I have to visit the dentist. The work was delayed due to the world health crisis. Our family made it through the virus spread without any direct contact. I am thankful for our more distanced living arrangements out here in the Dakota Territory. There are days, it would be nice to holler a “Hello” at a neighbor, but living in the high rise apartment has no appeal to me. We have only been on a subway when visiting Boston and community bus travel goes back ten years to those days also.

Having our own vehicle comes with it’s expenses. Hubby just replaced the thermometer for the engine in our thirteen year old nice car. It’s hard to think that the price of a new vehicle exceeds the price of our motor trailer manufactured hallway. One of these days we will get this money thing figured our. Maybe we’ll grow a tree that produces greenbacks. Not.

Now that the memory bank has been flooded with a variety of new and old subjects, I would say the journal pages will close for the day.

Grab a book, open it up, then slam the covers together. There. That’s the sound entered here.

At new crossroads

Stop doing, start being

One month passed so quickly. For a whole month now the world is in park. The trains, planes, boats, buses, automobiles and even the stock market skidded to a halt. The busy business of human doings is at a cross roads. And so how are you fairing? Not everyone has a country dwelling to go hide from the pandemic. How am I doing at BE-ing?

The first week of quarantine began with the weekend of our little visitor. She tried so hard to be “boss” of our three year old doodle. She stayed for a couple of nights. We had a family supper in conclusion. I spent a day or two cleaning up the house and child proofing for a toddler. It was the beginning of such cleaning habits. My husband went from meetings between manufacturing plants canceled to packing his desk up and bringing work home. Still much doing in our lives. I cleaned up the kitchen and made room for him. We had no idea how much of our activities were shared with the whole world. I learned how to BE quiet during those endless conference calls.

The second week, we made the decision to limit our get togethers. We will only see our grand-daughter and parents every two weeks. We have only outdoor meetings with neighbors or other relatives. This keeps distancing appropriate. It also limits house cleaning to just our own traffic. We are so thankful for the video calling options available to us. We had our first family “conference” call on zoom. Some of the family has escalated anxiety. I began counseling myself to deal with my own losses. BEing more sedentary has led to some weight gains. We added lettuce and spinach to our shopping lists.

we rested more with the stillness of life. The weather was rather nice. We were able to take walks together and watch spring trying to awaken the grass, the trees, and the birds come back. We took a few drives to see the fields and the rivers. Taking in the local views helped us mentally process the global effect of this world pandemic. How do we process all of this new information. My counsel session was riddled with new homework to help me sleep at night. So far the best help is the melatonin. It takes such a minimal amount for me to sleep through the night. I am down to a quarter pill. It seems almost silly when it is such a small amount. But sleep improves my mood more than counseling. We had a short visit with our daughter one evening on the sidewalk. And ate lunch with the other daughter and family the day before Easter. BEing apart from family for so long is hard. But we say a prayer for those who have lost loved ones in recent days without the proper fair-wells.

Week four of this corona virus 19 unleashed, and we are now paying close attention to people in the plant or community spread possibilities. Through this past month, I am cleaning more frequently. Especially when new items come into the house, either by shopping or by shipment. My hands are getting use to being dry all day and rejuvenated with lotion at bed time. Allergy season is upon us here. Every sniffle or sneeze sends us running to the medicine chest to stop the symptoms. BEing overly cautious about everything that we do.

Holy Week 2020 will never be forgotten. We celebrated Maunday Thursday at our own supper table with our Pastor serving the elements of communion via video. It was all so surreal. The weather was nice up until Easter Sunday. With five inches of snow that is still lingering, the cold is not very welcomed. My mind raced through the Narnia scenes of winter and a cold hearts. The Lord’s command to BE HOLY because our God is holy has been echoing through my mind. All this hand washing reminds me that my heart will never be clean enough for a righteous and holy God.

Easter Sunday services, dinners, and get togethers all canceled was also surreal. Not going to church seemed easier with the snow blowing around outside. Our own lunch turned into just a fish sandwich which was rather disappointing. My emotions were all over the place that day. At times I was happy and content, and at other times I was jealous and angry. It was a battle all day to keep myself in check and know that everyone was dealing with the same things. I am so thankful that my parents are still here to remind me of life’s important lessons. My mother sent a text Easter Sunday reading “though my sins be as scarlet, He shall wash me white as snow.” Amen! I am BEing sanctified for God’s purpose daily.

Just like that four weeks have past in quarantine. Here in the midwest social distancing is a little easier because there are so many miles between all of us. We fight fear each time we shop for necessities or it’s my husband’s day to be in the plant. We grip tightly to our faith and attend every meeting that our Pastor sets up for us all. Praise God that we live for another to day to give Him glory. And we seek His grace in showing us how to extend mercy to those in our lives who do not know His love.

These uncertain times have turned us all into anxious beings. Finding peace in Christ and the promises of God keep us sane. This is so difficult to explain. When we don’t understand all that is happening around us. The world offers us so many empty promises, but God offers us His Son Jesus and promises based on an empty tomb. What hope!

I hope that I am BEing a better Human Being. I am learning that doing does not have to be just a “busy” bustling about to make the days pass. I am thinking more about how I am BEing with others rather than DOing all the time. BEing loving, merciful, kind, gentle, hopeful, and happy is definately not based on circumstances now!