Saturday, July 30, 2011

Scavenger Hunt~ 07/31

This weeks items: Walking Empty Streets, Repeating Patterns, Floor, Then & Now, Fingertips


Walking Empty Streets

Not a Street Car in Sight, as my Grandpa used to say.

Textured empty road-w


Repeating Patterns

I had grand plans for this one, but alas my week got away from me so the pattern of the siding on this old shed will have to do.




My daughter’s messy yet colorful floor!

sis bedroom floor


Then & Now

Four years ago I took the picture on the left (this is still SOOC) with my Kodak Point and Shoot. It really was and still is a good little camera. Back then I hadn’t started studying photography, but I knew that I loved capturing beauty with my camera.  Fast forward 3 years, I began studying photography and I finally got my SLR.  I’ve been learning ever sense! I captured my daughter dancing with a gorgeous sunset as her back drop this week.




This was my daughter’s suggestion!  She thought this pose would be perfect for fingertips.  What a little helper!



For more Scavenger Hunt Photos head on over to Ashley’s.

scavenger hunt

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Memories of Grandma and Grandpa’s Farm

Grandma hasn’t lived in her house by the pond for several years and Grandpa’s been in heaven for fourteen.  It never bothered me much because I still could visit with my Grandma in the assisted living home where she now lives. I could still walk around her pond if I wanted to. My children and I could walk to her house through the over grown pasture or around through the field to pick asparagus or grapes, if we so desired.


But, this week as I was helping my parents clean my grandma’s house to get it ready for renters, sadness settled in. The emptiness spoke of finality.  It shouted of a time gone by with only memories to support it.

As I cleaned the outside of a couple windows I glanced behind me to see the morning glories struggling to survive. Years ago when I was a girl they flourished. Grandpa had twine strung from the ground to the top of the garage. And those vines made a wall of green.  When we spent the night at Grandma and Grandpa’s it was tradition in the summer months to count the morning glories before breakfast.  I remember standing next to Grandpa looking out the storm door counting what seemed like hundreds of deep purple blooms. 

I remembered many hot summer days building cities, roads and homes in the sandy driveway and when we got really hot Grandma and Grandpa would let us carry buckets of water to make moats and puddles, ponds and lakes for our sand creations.

Cleaning the kitchen cupboards triggered memories of Grandma and what a wonderful cook she was. I LOVED eating at Grandma’s she was the quintessential country cook.  There were always “Granny” eggs (eggs done sunny side up) for breakfast, which Grandpa mashed onto our toast for us.  Grandma could can pickles that were amazing, and her rolls and soft molasses cookies were the best.  Grandma popped us popcorn in the evenings there was always home canned grape juice to go with it.  Sitting around Grandma’s table, saying grace, holding hands, laughing, talking, watching nature down by the pond and eating till I was bursting and still Grandma offering more. Precious.


As I wiped down the top of the fridge, I fought back tears as I remembered the glass container that sat on top filled with peppermints that Grandpa loved. They were the pink soft sort. The kind I’m pretty sure they don’t make any more. I remembered the ladybug magnets that Grandma used to hold clippings from the newspaper that caught her fancy, funny sayings, quotes, life lessons.  On top of the fridge sat an old hard leather case.  Inside was Grandpa’s old electric razor. Amazingly, the man that was paid to come in and clean out the house completely of the belongings of my Grandparents (the items that none of the family wanted), left it in the bathroom cupboard.  I’m pretty sure that was a gift from God!

In the living room I remembered all the times my sisters and I danced to the old records we loved.  Records full of silly stories and songs that I had never heard any place else.  We would eventually dissolve in fits of laughter onto the carpet. I remembered the nights snuggled on the couch listening to Grandma read the stories she had written about Grandpa’s Farm.  Or the moments spent snuggled on Grandpa’s lap with one of my sisters beside me, listening to Grandpa sing our favorite songs.  While I brushed my teeth with the toothbrush shaped like a giraffe, Grandma would pull the bed out from the couch and make it up with her special Grandma quilts and blankets.

Wonderful, special, heart-treasured memories of days and nights spent with my Grandparents.

And as hard as it is to see their house empty and know that the era of making memories at Grandma’s house is over, I am abundantly grateful for the memories that my Grandparents helped me create. These gems of untouchable wealth forever be stored in my mind and heart.



Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Today We’re Talking Blackberries and Chickens!


Yesterday the boys and I went Blackberry picking.  It was such a gorgeous day! The temperature was lower and a steady breeze helped keep us a bit cooler.  Out prime picking spot was out in one of my dad’s fields that is in CRP (conservation reserve program). In this field tall grasses grow and patches of Blackberries.  At one place we were up on a hill and the view was so beautiful! To make the day even better, the picking was phenomenal! In an hour we picked two large ice cream buckets full! Sadly, next year due to the field being in CRP, all those lovely Blackberry bushes will have to mowed down. But, for this year we are enjoying and mostly likely over indulging on these gorgeous, juicy, jems!



I happily put 7 quart bags of these beauties in the freezer, we snacked on some, and I saved out just enough for a pie.


pie crust


A scrumptious, amazing Blackberry Pie!


blackberry pie

adapted from Michelle Verdiere’s recipe on Allrecipes

  • 5 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons butter sliced
  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • Extra sugar
  1. Combine 4 cups berries with the sugar and flour. Place bottom pie crust in pie plate and brush with beaten egg. Spoon berry mixture into pan. Spread the remaining 1 1/2 cups of berries on top of the sweetened berries, and cover with the top crust. Seal and crimp the edges. Brush the top crust with milk, and sprinkle with the extra sugar.
  2. Bake at 425 degree F (220 degrees C) for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes.


When I wasn’t absorbed in Blackberry heaven, I was laughing at these guys!



Oh YES! Chickens have come to our Juniper Hills! 

A guy that is on the fire department with Mr. Hollywood wanted to get rid of these beauties.  His wife had bought them as chicks. She wanted laying hens.  She got roosters.  And we got the best part of the deal…free chickens! 

Meet, Daniel Boone, Mingo, Yadkins, and Jericho.  The boys really like the old Daniel Boone T.V. series and thus our chickens received these macho frontiersmen names!  Little sis was fit to be tied that she didn’t get to name any of the chickens. She thought Blueberry was a much more suitable name!

Now I have always talked myself into not wanting free range chickens because I’m a barefoot kind of girl.  I don’t want any surprises gushing up between my toes, if you know what I mean!  But these lovely creatures have been free range since late spring.  So, free range they must!

I must tell you, I had so much fun with these feathered beauties.  When I wasn’t busy with Blackberries and other household duties, I could be found out in the yard checking on the chickens! 

There were a few mishaps when we first let them out of the cage in the morning.  They got scattered first by the dog, who just walked calmly up to see who the new arrivals were, then by the cat who thought he would try to catch a feast.  I seriously thought one was lost for good in the tall weeds that surround our yard, but they eventually all came back together.  They spent the day scratching around the yard and when the sun got too hot they took to the weeds and trees beyond our yard.



We opened up my potting shed (that is still waiting to become a potting shed) to these bachelors, so that they would have a safe haven for the night.  Getting them in to the shed….that’s a long story, but finally we just waited till dark!  They settled down to sleep on our lower deck and then while they were in their night time stupor we easily walked up to them, picked them up and carried them to the shed.

Even though these guys are here only till they are fattened up enough for the table, I am really enjoying watching them! And I’m loving their morning shout outs!  It’s like they are saying, “LOOK, this is such a GLORIOUS morning, don’t you just want to REJOICE!”

And this morning while I was sitting out on the deck watching them, I did just that!  I lifted my voice in praise and thanksgiving to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Scavenger Hunt~ 07/24

This weeks items: Music to my ears, Hat, Clear, Out of this World, Sprinkles


Music To My Ears

Thunder! I love summer storms as long as they are kept on a short leash! :)










Out of this World

Homemade Cinnamon Vanilla Waffles with Homemade Strawberry syrup. MMMMM!

waffles and strawberry sauce



Watering the garden was a must this week.



For more Scavenger Hunt Photos head on over to Ashley’s

scavenger hunt

Saturday, July 23, 2011


I’m tired today. 

My body feels as if my appendages are filled with cement.  My brain is definitely filled with fluff, because I’m miss placing anything and I can’t remember everything. (And yes, I left this how I typed it to show you all…I’m serious here!)

It’s one of those days.

I reminded myself to turn on the dishwasher as I was putting in the detergent. I shut the door.  Two hours later….I realized I hadn’t pushed the button to start my dear helper.  It’s sad when I am talking to myself, reminding myself to do something and I still forget it. Geez!

Earlier this morning I put some money in an envelope, marked it and put it in a safe place.  This afternoon I looked for it for a half hour.  Finally I asked Joel if he had seen it.  He pointed above where I was sitting to the bulletin board where I had tacked it.  It was less than 2 feet from my face. Oh boy!

But, by golly I’m pushing through.

I’m going to hang some laundry on the line, bake some muffins and clean the sinks in the bathrooms. I might even get out to my flower garden and pull some weeds and lug some water.

I think.

I JUST need someone to pry my behind out of this chair, pour some liquid energy down my gullet and give me a push in the right direction. 

Then if I’m lucky I JUST might get my fluff for brains to keep it all straight.  Lord, knows I’m stugglin’ today!

Because right now I JUST don’t feel like I have much more sense than these guys.



And I’m definitely not as perky and bright as this.


snake wort-w

But, I’m trying because I really would like to have a bit more sense in my head than a turkey!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

How does your garden grow?


Oh MY!

This is how my garden is growing!

This garden of mine is keeping me super busy!  It always does this time of year.  For several weeks we were in desperate need of rain.  Then last Monday we got around 1 1/2 inches when a super strong storm blew through our area.  All the tall corn you see in the above picture was blown flat to the ground and some of my other plants took a beating too.  But, nothing was pulled out of the ground or shredded.  Thank You, LORD! The boys and I were able to hill up the soil around the corn and stand it all back up.

Before the rains came I had a good handle on all the weeds… Now it is another story!  They, too, enjoy all the rain. And the heat that has followed has everything growing at top speed. I am spending hours each morning in the garden hoeing and pulling weeds. I’m not sure who is winning at this point.



I took this picture of my baby beans last week.  Monday morning I had my first picking and I got a huge bowl full!  I will be freezing portions or the next pickings, but the first picking always gets totally devoured by my human eating machines!


cucumber dill


I have lots of blossoms on my cucumbers!  We have eaten about 6 of them and this week. Tomorrow, I will pick as many small ones as I can, combine it with the beautiful dill in my garden, the few remaining garlic cloves from last years harvest, and can a batch of Kosher Dill Pickles


Last year was our first year to try Eggplant!  I had never had it before, but I always like to plant something new each year. WELL,  Eggplant was a winner with us.  So,  it made a comeback this year in the form of six plants instead of two.  In the above picture you can see all of the sandy soil that got splattered up on the plant from all the hard rain. 

The majority of our garden is a super soft and sandy soil.  Which I am thankful for since many gardeners in our area deal with hard clay.  One corner and edge of our garden does get a bit hard and has much more clay in it, but each winter we dump all the manure and straw from the rabbit barn onto the garden and it is really improving our soil.


tomato blossom

I, of course, have to have tomatoes! I have 16 plants set out.  Our plan was to put these into raised beds this year, but we didn’t get them prepared in time.  The reason for the raised beds is that we have a fungus in our soil that causes Septoria Leaf Spot on our tomatoes.  What this fungus ends up doing is destroying the whole tomato plant, horribly limiting my yields. Every year I fight it and every year I lose.  All the time and energy I spend babying the plants, trying to keep them up off the ground, mulching, picking off infected leaves and branches, is usually to no avail.  We had tried every spot in our garden trying to get away from the fungus, except the hard clay portion.  This year we stuck them there out of desperation.  I have been keeping thick layers of straw under them. I’m not staking them, because I told Joel to just forget putting up the wire fencing, since I JUST knew they would go KA-PUT mid-season. But, you know what, so far, they are thriving!  I haven’t noticed any spots on the leaves.  I am praying for a successful year with my tomatoes!  It would be the first in 9 years!

So, although my name isn’t Mary and I’m really not contrary


I don’t have any silver bells, cockle shells or pretty maids in a row, I do have these.

flower garden and hay Hollyhocks

And my garden is growing quite well, thank you!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Scavenger Hunt~ 07/17

This weeks items: Black and White, Reflections in Glass, Headlights, Seeing Double, Bare


I wasn’t going to participate this week…but at the last minute yesterday, I decided to take a few photos. This is what I came up with.


Black and White

lavendar-bee-band w



Reflections in Glass

We have screens on all of our windows, so this was extremely difficult. Plus, I knew that since I waited to the last minute I wasn’t going to be able to get any great shots from a plate glass window in town.  But, I happened to see my daughter sitting on our back deck watching her brothers swim.  I pushed the sliding screen back and captures this. Not my favorite shot in the world, but I needed something for this spot.  It will do. ;)





Another shot that I would have liked to differently, but on my self given time crunch this one was what I came up with.  And I actually liked this perspective of my husbands tractor!

tractor headlight-w



Seeing Double

Coneflowers anyone?  They are happy, happy, happy in my garden right now!





This is total documentary style!  These goobers were playing a “see who can stay on the floatie” game! 

boys swim


For more great photos head on over to Ashley’s

scavenger hunt

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Clueless and Careless

A little while back something was said to me during a conversation that left me speechless.  All I could do was put on a plastic smile and make a generic comment. I quickly excused myself and walked away.  Less than five minutes later, I was fuming.  I spouted off to Joel about what this person said.  I was so angry I didn’t even care that my children were in close listening range.  I do remember taming down my comments, but they still were not kind or gracious by any means.

As the days after this confrontation wore on, I was consumed by the words spoken to me.  I spent many moments playing the incident back in my mind.  I thought up all kinds of witty remarks.  Some that were pretty caustic and unnecessary.  Things, that given the opportunity, I would never say.  Yet, I thought them.  I continued through the days thinking horrible angry thoughts.  Every thing about this person began to irritate me.  And since we often have close contact with one another, I began to feel very bitter.

Nasty thoughts about this person filled my mind every time anything about her was mentioned. Anger and a sense of injustice began to take control.  My mind began dwelling on the negative thoughts I was having The more I  thought about it the angrier I got.  I knew I needed to forgive.  But I didn’t really want to.  This person has always had a grating opinionated tongue and I honestly was SICK of it.

But, the angrier I got the worse I felt.  It seemed that all my thoughts were being consumed by this person.  As the week progressed I knew I needed to forgive because I was becoming a mess.

On Thursday evening I went to Bible Study.  We had an awesome time of just playing worship music and praising God.  It was during that time that God reminded me how clueless and careless people can be with their words.  While listening to songs of God’s amazing love, I was reminded of His redemption.  How He died for my sins.  How He continually forgives and forgets all my transgressions.  And how He desires for me to forgive those who wrong me.  It was there during that time of worship that I gave all my hurt to my Savior.  It was there that He placed His healing hand on my heart and mended the cuts and bruises.  It was there through His grace and mercy I was able to forgive.

The thing is, I know that this person is clueless about how angry her words made me.  I’m sure she is clueless about how they hurt me.  I pretty sure she’s clueless about how harsh and demanding they sounded. I’m sure she wasn’t dwelling on her careless words like I was.  That’s the thing isn’t it!  I let that anger consume me.  I let the enemy get a toe hold and before I knew it he was ready to move on in.

The beautiful thing about this is that through her cluelessness she reminded me of an important lesson.

Careless words and thoughts are extremely damaging.

I Peter 3:8-11 says,

Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.  Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.  For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.


Through all of this I have learned once again (and I am still learning) how crucial it is to be careful of my words and thoughts.  I do not want to be thought of as careless and clueless.  I want to be compassionate with my words. I desire to love others as Christ loves them. I don’t want to appear clueless about others feelings.

And when someone once again hurts me with their careless words I want to forgive as God has forgiven me.  I do not want to repay evil for evil, but repay the insult with love, kindness and mercy.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Scavenger Hunt~ 07/09

This weeks items: Things that look like a letter of the alphabet, Weather, Bling, Tangled, Dark


Things that look like a letter of the Alphabet

wooden letter-w



Hot and Dry…send Rain quick!





Who knew canning lids could be turned into “bangles” (her description not mine!)









For more Scavenger Hunt photos head on over to Ashley’s

scavenger hunt

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer’s Happenings…

It’s been busy here lately at Juniper Hill (that’s what we call this here bit of land we have).  Last week we attempted hay. 


Several. Nights. In. A. Row.

I actually only worked one evening.  The baler was pitching fits which in turn had my man quite near to pitching the baler over the nearest steep hill.  It would tie a bale or two and then miss two, or three, or four.  UGH!  I was praying my little heart out as I rode on the back of the wagon.  I stacked about 8 or 9 bales before he called it quits.  Then I sat around for an hour and a half waiting to see if he could get it working.

We were praying the rain would hold off till we could get it baled and it did thankfully.  Now we are pleading for rain!  Isn’t that the way it goes! :)

In the end a friend of ours came and baled it for us.  So grateful for good friends.



I’ve been walking the fence rows surrounding my dad’s fields, picking Black Raspberries every other day.  Jam making is in full swing and of course there’s been some berry eating, too!


Each morning this is the scene I view out my kitchen window. 

 sis berry picking

Little Miss, after doing her dog chores, out picking the berries in the back yard, Blueberries, Red Raspberries, Strawberries and Black Raspberries. The morning I took this picture I laughed out loud as I watched her stick her berry treasures into the dogs food dish.  Not the most sanitary dishes known to man, but it worked.  Her explanation, “I didn’t want to smoosh the berries in my hand so I put them in the bucket.”  Makes sense to me!

My mornings have been full with gardening. Lots of hoeing and weed pulling.  I plan on showing you what I’ve got going on out there, but that’s a whole ‘nother post!

Here’s a quick look at my potato plants in bloom.

potato flower


Afternoon’s have been filled with swimming and cooling off from the toasty, humid days. 


This guy seems to know a good thing when he finds it.  He’s been hanging out at the pool, too!

tree frog-w 

While the kids swim I sit on our top deck under the awning, with my ice cold tea,  and I write.  I have been able to complete my assignment for Union Gospel Press.  It’s on the counter, in it’s envelope, waiting to be addressed, and taken to the post office.  Boy, that feels good!

Now it’s on to the next thing on the list…..

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Scavenger Hunt~ 07/03

This weeks items: Pop of Color, Crossing Thresholds, X-ray, Toy, Farm


Pop of Color




Crossing Thresholds


Exploring with a camera




old dump truck-w


hay-1 copy 2



scavenger huntFor more Scavenger Hunt photos head on over to Ashley’s.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...