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Merry, merry Christmas!!

I want to wish everyone the most blessed and happy Christmas!  This has been a tough year for so many and I count my blessings everyday that I have my family, health and God in my life.  Let us all remember the reason for our season and pray for all those less fortunate and we are.  Pray for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.  Pray for the families of Newtown Connecticutt and for some peace in their lives.

 

Merry Christmas to all and I hope you all have a very blessed and happy 2013!!

Orphans at the farm

I love babies of all kinds and have raised two kids of my own but I’ve also raised several orphan animals and thought I would share some pictures of them.  It’s very gratifying finding them quick enough to get some warm food in them, warm blankets around them and a good warm bath no matter if they’re furbearing or feathered.  Here’s some of my babes:

 

Heather & Shawn, my beautiful children.

Heather & Shawn, my beautiful children.

My gorgeous granddaughter, Victoria. I didn't raise her but had her with me every moment I could!!!

My gorgeous granddaughter, Victoria. I didn’t raise her but had her with me every moment I could!!!

 

Sassy - our current baby!!

Sassy – our current baby!!

 

Sassy  & Dandy

Sassy & Dandy

 

Brandy

Brandy

 

Annie and the triplets

Annie and the triplets

Baby

Baby

 

Precious and Bambi

Precious and Bambi

 

Cuddles

Cuddles

 

Little Dan - now he's all grown up.

Little Dan – now he’s all grown up.

 

Baby chicks

Baby chicks

Half grown mallard babies

Half grown mallard babies

 

Baby Dude

Baby Dude

Fuzzy

Fuzzy

 

Baby Alex & Alexandra-dogs made them orphans

Baby Alex & Alexandra-dogs made them orphans

 

Buckwheat

Buckwheat

Garth

Garth

Roxy

Roxy

I can’t begin to tell you of all of the cats, dogs, fawns, squirrels, calves, rabbits, chicks and ducks I’ve hand raised but I can tell you everyone of them was worth the challenge!!

Keeping a journal

I love to write which is the main reason I started my blog but I’ve also kept a journal ever since my kids were small but never on a continuous schedule.  There are times when I just get so busy that I can’t find the time to write down even one sentence.  Lately my journal seems to be written on a quarterly basis instead of a daily basis.  I find myself during the winter months when things slow down pulling out the journals I kept when my kids were in school.  There are so many things that I forgot or put in the back of my memory.  They’re fun and my granddaughter likes reading them too.  My blog is about things that I like to share with everyone but my journals are full of  stories of pain, fun, life lessons, and so much more.  A few years ago we were given a journal that was written daily by my husbands great, great uncle from 1888-1890.  This book has been such a wealth of information about his family and their daily life including costs of things they bought or bartered for,  how our farm evolved, and so much more.  It has been my inspiration for doing a better job of keeping my journals.  I can only hope that my family enjoys it as much as I enjoy writing in it.

Here are a couple pages from the OFWC Journals of 1888-1890.

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This is a photo of my husband's great grandfather and his siblings.  We think the photo was taken at the passing of one of their parents.

This is a photo of my husband’s great grandfather and his siblings. We think the photo was taken at the passing of one of their parents.

 

 

I’m not sure you will be able to read any of the journal but I thought it was worth trying.  Also, OFWC is what he was called but the full name was Oscar Ferdinand Wiley Caldwell.  I think I understand why the initials were easier to say.  OFWC kept many journals but all were destroyed in a fire some years ago and we feel very blessed to have what we received.  It’s given me new inspiration to continue with mine for our children, grandchild and her family down the road.

Front view of OFWC house

Front view of OFWC house

We live on the family farm and in the farmhouse of one of the uncles and recently received a photo of what it looked like in the 1800’s.  This is a picture of what it looks like now.

Home of Eddie and Rita Caldwell 2013

Home of Eddie and Rita Caldwell 2013

Try keeping a journal.  I promise you won’t be sorry and your kids will love it.

My baby brother

Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a rare condition in which a baby is born without the ability to properly break down an amino acid called phenylalanine. Phenylketonuria (PKU) is inherited, which means it is passed down through families. Both parents must pass on the defective gene in order for a baby to have the condition. This is called an autosomal recessive trait. Babies with PKU are missing an enzyme called phenylalanine hydroxylase, which is needed to break down an essential amino acid called phenylalanine. The substance is found in foods that contain protein. Without the enzyme, levels of phenylalanine and two closely-related substances build up in the body. These substances are harmful to the central nervous system and cause brain damage.

Now you may wonder why I would start a post with all this medical jargon. Almost five years ago, my youngest brother came to live with me when my Mom passed away. You see, he was born with PKU and my other siblings could not take him in and none of us wanted him put in an assisted living facility. He is very capable of taking care of himself in many ways but has to be reminded of when and sometime how to do things. If you sat in a room with him you wouldn’t know there was anything wrong with him.

He is 52 years old and healthy. He loves watching TV, riding in the mountains, talking about bear hunting and he is an avid Dale Earnhardt JR fan. His days are spent (mostly) in his room watching television, coloring and “writing” in his notebooks. On very warm days you’ll find him outside sitting on the porch watching for wildlife with the binoculars or riding his “big green tractor” (lawnmower without mowing deck) all over the farm. He has wonderful stories to tell me when I get home in the afternoon. Most of the stories have some added imagination.

The main reason he needs to be with us is because he can’t prepare meals for himself except for lunch (he has his everyday favorite peanut butter and apple butter sandwich). He has to be reminded to straighten his room and bathe. He makes his bed every morning and fixes his cup of coffee before retiring to the recliner to watch TVLand all day. When he first came to live with us, my husband had a small suite built onto the back of the house just for him. He has a sitting area and sleeping area and he calls it his apartment. He has a huge assortment of movie dvd’s and when he’s bored with TV he watches the movies. His exercise consists of going to the bathroom or going to the table to eat. He’s convinced himself that too much walking with cause his knee to go out which it has several times but only when he was working in the yard when Mom was alive.

There are several health issues we may face with him in the future but for now he is doing fine and refuses to see doctors of any kind. We are fortunate in the fact that he is healthy. He doesn’t require any special attention but does need to be checked on during the day and this has come to bear on my husbands shoulders since he’s home being the full time farmer and I have to work to have health insurance (enough about us).

This is just another fascinating facet of my life on the farm!

Love cider time

September and October are my favorite months in the fall. It’s also the one time of the year that we invite friends, neighbors and family in for some fun on the farm making cider. We have two small apple orchards and if the frost is light in the spring it means we will have apples come fall. We always hope for a bumper crop of apples!!

We have about 30 apple trees on the farm and most are old, old trees that have been here through three or four generations and in the last 20 years haven’t been cared for. We are in the process of grafting about thirty new rootstock in hopes of keeping the orchards for generations to be. The grafts weren’t very successful this year but I’ll try again next spring.

My post is to show the fun we have with our family and friends at least one Sunday afternoon making apple cider. About two weeks before we make the cider I email or call everyone we would like to visit and give them the date and time. We usually have about 20-30 adults and children. Our granddaughter helps to entertain the children and our kids help with the preparations if they can. A few days before the gathering we head out on the tractor gather up 15 – 20 bushel of apples trying to mix some tart and some sweet for the best cider. We have our own cider press and some years back a motor was attached to it and the cider making becomes more fun than hard work.

We clean out the barn, clean the press and bring out the gallon jugs I’ve been sterilizing and saving for the cider.

I plan a small menu for a meal at the house after the cider making is complete. We just have some good old fashioned fun and at times teach someone not as lucky as we are what life is like on the farm!

Once the apples are picked and about an hour before the gathering, we bring out a large galvanized stock tank and fill it with cold water, dump in the apples and give everything a good washing. Mind you, we DO NOT spray our apples at anytime of the year. They’re as natural as can be and if a worm might  get in the apple, we figure that some natural protein to add to the juice :)!!

You will hopefully be able to see the REST OF THE STORY in the following photos I’ve taken over the years of our gathering! While you’re at it go to an orchard in the fall. It’ll be the best trip you’ll take all year!!


After all the apples are pressed, we strain the juice through several layers of cheesecloth into those wonderful old milkcans. Then the jugs are filled to the rim and handed out to any and all that would like to have some. Everyone lends hand in the cleanup and then we head to the house to have a meal and drink some fresh cider. Everyone heads home with a full belly and a jug of cider. Those that hang around for awhile sit on the porch to chat or take a spin around the pond in the paddle boat or play a game of badminton or just listen to the quiet (unless the kids are having a good time in the front yard)!

Making maple syrup on the farm

Why in the world would anyone think they could make maple syrup this time of year?, you might ask. Well, my reasoning behind this post is: “tell them now and they’ll be prepared in February or March of next year”. Maybe??
As you know if you read my profile, I love to do things the “old” way and I am fortunate enough to live on a farm that allows me to do a lot of those things. One is making maple syrup for our family and friends. Why make it when you can buy it at the stores? Because, it tastes so much better and the gratification of know ing you can do it yourself!! We do sell some on years of good sap flow.

If you have a maple tree in your back yard you can make your own just like we do (in a condensed version)!  It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup or 20 gallons makes two quarts.  You could cook it off on the stove in your home.  You don’t have to have a sugar house to make your own syrup.

Here’s the instructions we use to make it in the sugar house with pictures and instructions:

First, watch for the right time and to do that you have to have a sugar maple tree of at least 15″-20″ across the girth of the tree (not circumference). In late February or early March wait for very sunny days and below freezing nights. When this happens the sap will begin to move up the tree from the roots. They’re sucking water out of the ground up through the body of the tree.     
Second, prepare your sap taps! The first ones I ever made, my Dad showed me how by cutting a 6″ limb from an elderberry bush. We carved all the bark and stuck a crochet needle through the little limb pushing the soft bark through to the other end. This limb is very soft and porous and will easily push out. You don’t have to wait until spring to do this. In the fall when the berries and leave have fell off the limbs you can cut the limbs then and make the tubes.   BUT, you can also buy the taps (sometimes called spiles) from old country stores (Lehmans) and I have found some at hardware stores or maple festivals. BUT, if you are making your own, continue on to clean out the 6″ limb until it’s fairly smooth and has a good hole for the sap to drain through.  We also use these plastic plumbing tees that allow us to hang the bucket from just like the metal spiles.  The tees are much cheaper!  Both last for a long time when cared for and the tees are easier to clean at the end of the sap season.

Next your going to drill two – three holes using a 3/8″ bit (match the drill bit to your tap) about 3/4″ to 1″ into the trees and about 3′ to 4′ off the ground.   DON’T WORRY, THIS DOES NOT HURT THE TREE!  The holes heal over within a month after the sap season.

Place the tap into the tree making sure it’s tight. If it’s not tight the sap will leak out around the tap and your wonderful sap is creeping down the side of the tree instead of out the tap into the bucket.

If the trees have thawed enough and the sun is hitting them the sap will immediately start dripping from the spout/tap (spile).  Just for fun, stick your finger under the drip and get a taste. It will taste just like cold water. It’s after the cooking that it starts to taste sweet. Also, at this stage it will be somewhat sticky. Let it drip all day and if it’s a good day ( below freezing the night before and very sunny come morning) you might want to check that bucket under the tap several times during the day.  Once the sap starts running good, your gallon bucket could be full and running over within a couple hours.

We use metal coffee cans for the gathering buckets. I use a nail to tap a hole in the top on each side and run a thin wire through and knot for the bail of the bucket. The gallon cans aren’t so heavy that they’ll pull the taps out of the tree if they get full and they will  get full and run over. We keep old milk cans between the trees for holding the sap each day and we keep a milkcan on the ATV for gathering when the trees are some distance apart.  At the end of the day we empty all the cans into the big holding tank.

This part of the work is probably the hardest! I work out of the home all day and it keeps my hubby quite busy emptying buckets all day long.

The taps will freeze up during the night and that’s okay. Usually by 9:00 A.M. on sunny mornings  the taps are dripping again and by noon on really warm up days he will have to empty all the buckets at least three or four times. We usually tap 10 – 12 trees each spring and if I was at home to help, we could easily double that. A few years back we bought a 250 gallon water tank and when the sap is running good,  it’s full in usually about 7 – 10 days.   Then it’s time to start making syrup.

Did I mention that a week prior to all the gathering we bring in a pickup load of four foot firewood for the firepit. Once the sap is gathered, hubby gets the fire started in the sugar house and starts pouring  the sap in the  pan over the firepit. We have all of this under roof because most of the time the wind is howling, it’s snowing, it’s raining, very cold and occasionally a beautiful day.  Here’s a couple pictures of the sugarhouse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As soon as the fire gets started, the sap is poured into all three panels of the sugar pan. This is done quickly so as not to scorch the pan or burn the sap.

Now the cooking begins!!! We have time now to fill up more milkcans or clean out the ones we’ve used. It all depends on how frisky everyone is and how good the sap is still running. The cooker is watched carefully once it starts boiling and the foam that builds up on the top is dipped off and thrown into a bucket. The foam can make it strong but the honeybees love it and we share those leftovers with them for extra food at this time of year. As the sap cooks off it will become thick and it’s moved from the larger panels of the pan into the smaller panel at the end of the pan where it gets thicker and thicker and sweeter and sweeter.

Reading this and looking at the pictures can be deceptive. This whole process of cooking can take as much as two days of working day and night. Shift work between all of us keeps everyone from getting tired too soon and making mistakes or deciding to take the syrup off too soon!! As the sap cooks and boils down, it is moved into the smaller pan gradually and watching the smaller panel is very critical. After about 100 gallons of sap has been cooked and moved it is left to cook quickly and to thicken. When we begin it runs out of the dipper like water but near the end of the process it runs out like thin syrup and it gets sweeter the thicker it gets. While this is happening in the smaller panel, the other two panels are kept full and cooking. The clear sap will start turning a beautiful amber-to-topaz color and we just keep adding the sap while the smaller panel syrup is ready to take out of the pan.

There is a plug and drain line at the end of the small panel and we have a very large stainless steel pot ready to drain the finished syrup into. We don’t use any thermometers, hydrometers or fancy gadgets to test the syrup. We’ve just learned to take it off by the consistency and taste of the syrup along with the color. This process of taking off the syrup is quick with several hands helping. The syrup must be moved quickly, plug the hose, and pour boiling sap from the larger pans to keep the pan from scorching. If it scorches we’ll have black burn flakes floating in the syrup at finish.

Once the first batch is in the pot I take it to the house and strained four or five times through 10-15 layers of cheesecloth and set aside to cool. This is also a fun part of the process because I have made fresh bread the day before, gathered a couple dozen eggs and prepare to make a delicious french toast and serve to all the helpers. Of course, everyone pours lots of “fresh from the sugar house” maple syrup over their toast.

While the second batch is cooking in the sugar house, we let the first batch cool and settlement from the batch settles at the bottom of the stainless steel pot. The settlement is actually maple sugar that can be separated at the end of the process, pour into a sheet pan and left to harden for snacking later. Talk about a sugar rush!!! It looks like harden brown sugar and tastes much like it too. Each time the syrup cools and settles, we run the syrup through cheesecloth again and keep the “sugar candy” separate. After three or four more heatings on the stove and three or four strainings, the syrup is ready to can. It will be boiling hot when it comes off the stove and poured in the sterilized jars. The jars are capped and the boiling syrup seals the jars.

We make sure that everyone that helped with the process is sent home with a jar of syrup, we sell better than half of the jars and we keep some for family/personal use for the rest of the year or until the next season. I’ll drop a few more pics of the processing just for grins and giggles!

Margaret’s coming, Margaret’s coming, Margaret’s coming!!!

I am so excited!!! My best friend in the whole wide world is coming to visit in August if all goes as planned. Meaning: Her mother is elderly and isn’t always in the best of health and this might prevent Margaret from coming to Virginia!!
Margaret and I met when my children were in their teens (20 years ago) and after one visit we have been steadfast friends ever since. Her husband Joe passed away a few years ago and up until then we got to see each other at least once a year if not twice. Since then it’s been a challenge to see each other every other year though we talk every day!
The last visit we shopped so much I put my back out carrying a heavy purse on the same shoulder every day but have remedied that problem since then. We both love antique stores, craft shops, GoodWill, quilt shops and unusual stores. The last time she was here we upholstered two chairs. We spent hours on the front porch in the evenings just catching up and laughing so hard we cried! We even laughed enough to make my husband laugh and enjoy our antics. We do have such a wonderful time together and have so many common interests. I can’t wait until she gets here and have so much to do before she gets here. June and July will hopefully fly by (oops, there I go again wishing my/our life away) and she will be sitting on the front porch eating homemade peach and blackberry ice cream together and reinforcing our smile wrinkles.

PINTEREST – My New Organizer & Memory

I mentioned in a previous post that I am a big fan of Pinterest and here’s my link if you want to visit: http://pinterest.com/ritascrafting/ . I love finding new gardening secrets/ideas, crafts, DIY ideas, sewing, good books and music from the other Pinterest boards. Most of all I love the fact that I can find gift ideas for my family and find the list easily. I can pin the recipes for cleaning and cooking in one spot and find it easily. I can look at what my friends are using/doing and try it myself. I can find some gorgeous decorating ideas, gardening ideas, and so much more.
To view the sites you have to join Pinterest but it’s really easy and you can add your own boards or just browse boards of others. It’s free!!!! By boards I mean groupings of favorites. I have seventeen boards which include DIY, Helpful Hints, Gardening, Wishlist, Family/Friends Wishlist, Music I Love, Books I’ve Read/Want to Read, Crocheting, Quilting, Favorite Blogs, Spring Cleaning & Decorating, Hunting & Outdoors, New Recipes, Beauty & More and a couple more. I’ll probably add some throughout the year and I add new pins to the boards a couple times a week. I would like to do it everyday but this time of year I spend a lot of time outdoors when I’m not at work and by the time I come in the house in the evenings I don’t care much for getting on the computer. I would rather shower and go to bed :)! Anyway, I just want to tell everyone about this site and hope you’ll check it out and maybe start your own Pinterest boards. I want to follow what you are doing!!

Vacation is over and what a week I had!!

My family and some friends think I’m crazy for housecleaning during my vacation! I’m not, I promise! I just love my home and like for it to be clean or at least look that way! Two weeks before my vacation I made a spring cleaning chore list for each room in the house and included the porches and the yard. The week before my vacation I made a shopping list of everything I would need to complete these chore lists. Yes, I’m a little organized when it comes to most things. I called my brother to see if he could help my quest by keeping my younger brother for the duration of my vacation and he and his beautiful wife agreed. Then the work began!
On Friday evening (beginning of vacation) I left work and picked up the groceries needed for the upcoming week and the week following because I didn’t want to spend any of my vacation buying groceries. I went home and did my normal chores and then packed little brother’s suitcase. He was anxiously waiting for “his vacation” from me to start!! I delivered him and hurried back home and spent a quiet evening with hubby on the front porch talking and planning our week ahead. He had made arrangements to be around to help with anything I needed and planned to do some more clean up of the sheds on the farm while I did my clean up in the house.
On Saturday I spent the day cleaning the pantry and finishing the cleaning job on the side porch which I started the weekend before. I worked my way from the ceiling to the floors in both rooms and they looked wonderful and I was very pleased with my accomplishment.
That evening we went out to dinner with my daughter and her family to Liberty Station in Bedford for a belated Mother’s Day dinner. We all had a good time and the food was wonderful.
Sunday found me working in the bathroom painting the shower and doing some sewing for little brother’s bedroom. Our bathroom is dated early 60’s with a metal shower, camode, sink, and water heater in a 5×7 space. Thank goodness there’s a window!! I made new curtains for the windows but mainly just a ceiling to floor cleaning and the paint job on the shower was the icing on the cake. We had to let the paint job seal for 24 hours which meant we took a ride to hubby’s hunting camp about fifteen miles away to use their shower. That was another story all in itself but we struggled through it grinning the whole time. While I worked on the bathroom, hubby made an amazing clean-out of two buildings and loaded up a truck load of scrap for the scrapyard. I’ve included a picture of the empty truck and one of us on our way. We were both on a roll!!
We hauled over 5200 pounds to the scrap yard and left the scrapyard with over $500. We were happy campers because we killed two birds with one stone by cleaning up the junk on the farm and making enough money to play with during vacation. We left the scrapyard for Lowe’s and Tractor Supply for dogfood and miscellaneous items and headed home.
On the return home I started back on the bathroom and finished it that afternoon. It’s so nice and clean I didn’t want anyone to use it but since it’s the only bathroom in the house I had to give in. The new curtains look pretty good. The cabinets have been cleaned out of all out of date meds, the clutter is gone and I can definitely live with it.
Tuesday found us riding through Giles County with Sassy heading for a fishing hole. We went through Peterstown and Lindside and found a private trout fishing business where we caught 8 1/2 pounds of nice trout. We then went back to Stoney Creek to visit a friend of Eddie’s that fileted them for us and had a short visit with him and his son until a storm started brewing. Now, I’m not a fisherman! Hubby did all the “work” and I enjoy the nice quiet day watching and entertaining Sassy. She and I don’t take well to the sunrays or the heat so we had our own adventure checking out the trout farm. Hubby enjoyed the day as much as we did and we put eight packs of filet trout in the freezer on our return home. The rain lasted a short while then we did the outside chores, fixed supper and spent the evening on the front porch again enjoying the peace and quiet.
Wednesday we had planned to visit one of Eddie’s aunts in Richmond but decided the rainy day was not indicative of a safe trip to Richmond on an interstate. So I went back to my spring cleaning and stayed at it all day. Little brothers room was the next chore on the list. I gave his closets a cleanout and hubby made him a new shelving unit for all of his DVD’s and cleared out some space in the room making it look bigger and easier for me to do the weekly cleaning. I cleaned again from ceiling to floor and it looked awesome as you can tell from the photo. When he came home on Saturday he told me he thought he had a new apartment. He’s so funny!! (Little brother was born with PKU and lived with our Mom until she passed away five years ago. He came to live with us at that point but that a whole new post for a later date!!)

Thursday found me going to back to the enclosed side porch to do some repairs. The new metal roof has found a place to let water through and we had a few leaks and stains from the leaks to fix. Hubby was furious because the old roof never leaked and was probably 30+ years old. We worked in the yard and gardens and I started a barn quilt which will be placed on the front of the big red barn as you enter our driveway (yet again another post). Did I say that I never turned on the computer the entire time I was on vacation??!!??
Friday I’m fretting because I only have three days left before I go back to work and there’s still so much to do. The wreck I’ve made of the house cleaning four small rooms will be taken care of on Saturday so this day was spent working on our bedroom. Since it’s my last day at home Eddie and I decide to take a road trip and go through the mountains. We went up Rt 42. Stopped at Hilltop Grocery and got hotdogs. Went through Mountain Lake, up Stoney Creek, through Waiteville, across Crowder Road into Zenith and Gap Mills, across Potts Mountain and back home. We didn’t take Sassy because of the heat called for that day and we saw so much wildlife. We packed a bag of snacks for the day and it was wonderful. I’m stopping here because it didn’t get finished and the front porch and yard were calling my name. I’ve accomplished a lot and enjoyed being at home with my hubby and Sassy and it made me realize also how out of shape I was. I actually lost four pounds during that week off. It’s not a “dream” vacation but it was mine and I loved it!!!

FRUSTRATION

Frustration, defeat, disappointment, letdown, thwarting, foiling, hindrance, hinderance, interference, annoyancy, chafe, vexation.  These are all synonyms for the way I felt by the end of the day yesterday.  At the end of the day I was so frustrated with myself that I could have cried.  I spent the majority of the day correcting one single form for the same thing that needed a different correction five times.  I just could not get it together.  I knew what I was doing but I was over analyzing it all day long.  Have you ever had those days?  Did you ever feel like dimentia or Alzheimers was creeping up on you way too soon?  Did you ever want to say “forget it, I’ve had enough”?  Did you ever wonder if some alien joined you during the night and ate up the portion of your brain that completes forms?  Yes, now I laugh!!!  BUT, I hope yesterday stays far, far away and today is the beginning of a brand new month of coherent thinking and organizing.   HAVE A VERY BLESSED DAY!!!!!!!!

Stressed or just totally losing it!!

Did you ever wonder if you were totally losing your mind?  This has been a fairly stressful week for me.  Monday starts with hitting a deer on my way to work and tearing up my little silver car.  Tuesday finds me over-sleeping because my NEW clock has two alarms on it and I set the wrong one.  Wednesday is grand and hubby takes me out to eat that night.  Thursday my second car starts making a noise that is bad on the way to work but horrible on my way home.  I stop at the grocery store on the way home for a few things and I’m thinking about baby brothers birthday, the wrecked car, the wonderful night out the night before and I walk back to where I thought I parked my car when I got to the store and can’t find it.  I think to myself, “Okay, you’re in the wrong row and I walk up the next row, no car. ”  I go back to the row I thought I was initially in and start to panic.  I’m thinking, I have to go back in the store and let someone know that my car has been stolen and as I start back down the row I see my Blazer and then it dawns on me,  YOU idiot, the car is at home wrecked and you drove the Blazer.  I am so relieved!!!  First, I found the lost car!  Second, I  didn’t call the police and make a spectacle of myself!!  Third, you didn’t make a fool of yourself in front of anyone in the store or the parking lot!!!  Fourth, NO ONE around you at the moment knows your losing your mind!!!!  So, I unload my groceries, put the grocery cart back in the rack, get in my BLAZER and take a deep breath.  Then I remembered my daughter is having a rough week at work so I called her to maybe make her smile.   SMILE, she laughed hysterically and we both enjoyed my senior moment.   I asked  her to give me another chance and not make reservations for me in the “psyche-center” yet and  to at least  wait and give me another chance for a night’s rest and hopefully sanity will return!!

REMEMBER:  We all have those days occasionally!     Right??       Hello, is anyone out there?          

The Age of Loss

I realized last night and thought about it coming to work today of all the losses in my life.  I lost my youngest brother when I was six years old to pneumonia and he was eight months old.  I’ve lost my grandparents and some very special uncles. I lost both of my parents to brain cancer.  Just recently and over the last three or four years I’ve lost some very close friends.  I’m amazed at how many friends I have that are widows and they are all my age.  I worry that they may have financial difficulties if they don’t have their homes and vehicles paid for, that they may not have family close by, that they will have an empty void in their lives because that spouse is gone.  I can’t begin to imagine what they are going through.  I feel very fortunate and blessed that I have my husband and kids close to home.

I feel like I take advantage of the fact that I have a husband and close friends with me daily.  It makes me wonder, do I appreciate this man enough?  Do I tell him enough how much he means to me and how much I love him?  Do I appreciate all he does for me every day?  Do I know him well enough after forty years together?   This goes for my friends too, do I tell them or show them how much I appreciate their being a part of my life?  Maybe, maybe I need to show him and everyone more often and in better ways?  I’ll work on that.

I met my husband 40+ years ago when he dated my sister a couple times and they parted ways but he and I became close friend and six months later we married.  He gave me a home, companionship, my two beautiful children and also gave a home to my handicapped brother when my mom passed away.  Not many men I know would have taken on that burden.  He’s taught me to respect and love the outdoors and hunting.  He’s taught me so much about farming and living off the land as he was taught.  I’m not saying he’s perfect but he is a perfect fit for me!!  He is the reason, I believe, that I am the woman I am today.  I don’t think I would change a thing in my life if I could go back EXCEPT change the closeness I use to have with my siblings.

BUT,  life is good and I do love my family and friends very much!!  (Note: This photo is 10 years ago but he’s my sweetheart!!)