Friday, April 29, 2022

Songs I learned from my parents

Yesterday when I was in the garden, a robin was sitting on the fence watching me.  A song came to mind immediately, one that my parents sang a lot when I was a child.  They didn't sing for an audience, they just sang for the pure joy of singing.  They weren't great singers.  But it amazes me when I realize I still remember some of those old songs, and I got to wondering if some of my readers would like to hear the songs of yesterday I learned... not from the radio, but from my parents.  Daddy, especially, was always bursting out in some song or another, and then my mom would sometimes sing along if we were in the car going someplace, or they'd trade verses.  

So every so often, I'll share one of those with you.  I won't sing the whole song, just maybe a verse and a chorus.  I'm not using my guitar; this is how I would sing it if you were here with me and I wanted you to hear it the way I heard it from my parents.  

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Mother Nature likes a joke

I had two plantings of potatoes:  Almost two rows of kennebec potatoes planted on March 17, and a row of Yukon Gold planted on April 15.  Thanks to all the cold weather we've had in March and April, the first ones planted finally started coming up about a week ago.  This morning I noticed the Yukon Golds are already coming up, even though they were planted almost a month later than the others.

The first picture is of the early potatoes.  The second, the Yukon Gold.  Several are showing up above ground already!  That sprout will be green after a day in the sun.  So much for having two potato harvests. 

The strawberries are finally getting ready to bloom.  I'm excited!

Yesterday I got tomato cages around my five tiny tomato plants.  I pounded in the metal posts myself, although Cliff was going to do it.  That closest cage has seen better days, and there are a couple of sections of wire sticking out of it that I need to wrap in duct tape of something to keep from puncturing my arm.

Blue and Gabe are almost always playing around in the garden when I'm out there.  You can see them through the battered tomato cage.  Over between the house and garage is my source of well water, so I can water my crops with the soaker hose if they need it.  I got a different kind of soaker hose this year off Amazon, and it works much better than the ones I've been getting at Walmart.

I love being able to step right out the back door to my garden.

Cliff's brother and his wife came to visit yesterday, hauling a mower Phil is hoping Cliff can fix.  He's not a farmer, but he does have 60 acres or so and a tractor big enough to pull the mower.  He and Cliff worked on it for three hours in the afternoon and still have plenty more work to do.  It is an old, well-used piece of junk mower, so my dear husband is doing his best to try and make it work for his brother, who evidently thinks Cliff is a miracle-worker.  A new one like this one would cost in the thousands; they paid $1,200 for this.  (That price is wrong, Cliff tells me; it was $2,400.)  They spent an hour just greasing everything on it.  Cliff was worn out last night.

We could get some rain today or tomorrow; I'm hoping!


Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Another lovely day at hand

First, I'll say that my knees aren't aching so badly.  I must have just overworked them.  They're not back to their normal pain level, but much better than they were in my last post, thank God.  

There was frost on the ground yesterday morning, and yet the peach blossoms weren't hurt.  Strange, isn't it?  Maybe the frost was patchy.  Anyway, I took all the old curtains and sheets off the potatoes, strawberries, tomatoes, and peppers; everything is fine.  

I'll do some tilling in the garden today to keep weeds down between rows.  We have good chances of rain in the next two days.  I love seeing a bit of light in the east when I look out my bedroom window before 6 A.M.  This morning the waning moon was showing from that viewpoint too, as well as a bright star that's always above the moon in the morning, and a dimmer star below it.  I don't even try to learn the names of stars, but I like looking at them.  When I see that bright star above the moon, I remember a hymn from my youth, the chorus of which says, "He's the lily of the valley, the bright and morning star; He's the fairest of ten thousand to my soul."

I'm trying out a very simple slow cooker recipe I saw online:  Take three or four chicken breasts, put in the crock pot.  Mix one can of cranberry sauce with 1 cup of barbecue sauce, mix in an onion diced in small pieces, and pour it all over the chicken; cook on low for six to eight hours.  The recipe suggests it be served over rice, so I'll probably do that.  The reviews were great on the site.

Our furnace still comes on during these cool nights and mornings, but I have a feeling it won't be long before we're switching to air conditioning.

I enjoy my dog, Gabe, so much more these days.  He'll be five years old in August, but it's only in the last few months that he has learned to stay with me when I'm outside.  He used to disappear, and no matter how much or how loud I called, he wouldn't show up until he was good and ready, which of course worried me.  I might find him down by the ditch digging in some kind of nastiness; sometimes I couldn't find him at all.  He'd just show up eventually, with me on the verge of crying, thinking my dog had been run over.  These days he is usually in sight, and if he disappears on the other side of the house, he comes back to touch bases often.  Oh, and he comes when I call now.  That makes my time spent outside much more enjoyable, with no worries.  Of course he and Blue, the cat, keep me entertained with their playful antics, too.

Hey, it's daylight at 6:15.  Gabe and I are going to the garden to see if there's anything new out there!  

Have a great day. 

Monday, April 25, 2022

Monday, Monday (ramblings)

Monday used to be my favorite day, back before my kids got old enough to get themselves off to school at ages nine and eleven or thereabouts, so I could get a job again.  Yes, they were pretty young to trust on their own.  I've been told we could have gotten in trouble for leaving two kids that age alone, but they lived through it, and nobody reported me.  We lived on the same property where we are now, in the old house.  There were friendly neighbors all around us.

Cliff worked days back then at the butcher shop, so after a busy weekend I loved the sound of silence after he and the kids were all out of the house.  The sound of the TV wasn't heard until evening.  It was great.

Now it's just me, Cliff, the dog and the cat.  The TV is off all day until an appropriate time in the evening for us to be entertained by whatever streaming app is showing our favorite programs, although Cliff likes to check the weather at 7 A.M. and noon on channel 4.  But once he's seen the weather, he turns it off.  I prefer to look at the weather on the computer, because I still enjoy quiet and I don't have to listen to five minutes of commercials before I know the forecast.  I still love the quiet times. 

Lately my knees have decided to let me down.  If the pain is here to stay, I won't be walking in the woods any more.  Perhaps when I'm not working in the garden so much, I'll be able to go on walks again.  I can still ride the recumbent bike, it's just not the same as being out in nature.  Also, it seems I'm always tired.  My age has finally caught up with me, I suppose.  I was never a real go-getter as far as getting things done, but now I really have to push myself.

I'm not complaining, although I know it looks as though I am; it's just my time to slow down.  I've had so many wonderful years when I could do anything I wanted.  I haven't lost my joy, I promise you.  I always feel Jesus nearby, more so than at any other time in my life.  I'm not preaching here.  I'm just being honest.  I have internet friends who are atheists:  Most of them are nice folks, although there are a couple who like to make fun of Christians, especially around Easter; it makes me feel badly, but I just unfollow them and go on my way.  I wouldn't think of making fun of anyone's religion on social media, if they aren't bothering anybody with it.  

We read a lot.  Cliff has trouble finding books he enjoys, his favorites being true stories.  He's read about all the founding fathers of our country and about every war the Americans were involved in.  Anyway, when he finished his last book, he asked me, as usual, to find him another.  For some reason, I couldn't find any appropriate non-fiction book, so I gave him a thriller/mystery author he's never read.  He enjoys a good who-done-it once in awhile, so I dug up William Kent Krueger; I think I've only read one of his books myself, but he is enjoying the one I chose for him.

As I write this, my husband has had his breakfast and is asleep in his recliner.  I may be the first one to ride the bike today.  There is another frost predicted for tonight, so I'll be going out this evening and covering my two early potato rows (most of the potatoes are up) and the four tomato plants I bought last week.  It looks like it's going to be a lovely day with temperatures in the low 60's.  We got an inch of rain Saturday night, and everybody is finding morel mushrooms around here.  The grandson gave us a good "mess" yesterday.  I'm letting Cliff have them; the fun of morels is in looking for for them more than eating them, and I haven't been able hunt for them in years.  I'll dunk them in beaten eggs, then roll them in flour and cracker crumbs mixed, so they'll be crispy.  Cliff has a strange way of eating them, in my estimation:  he puts them on bread for a sandwich and smothers them in ketchup.  Go figure!

Alrighty!  I'm going to brush my teeth and get on the bike.  Enjoy your day.  Here's a song from the year I got married. 

Thursday, April 21, 2022

We can't do anything about the weather

Our weather has been cold and wet, although not wet enough to give us much precipitation.  We've had several close calls with our fruit trees, but it looks like the blossoms and tiny fruits survived... so far.  I believe the freezing temps are done now.  When freeze warnings showed up, I didn't cover anything until the forecast for Tuesday, when I raked straw back over the strawberries.  There's just no easy way of covering a fruit tree, and the small frost we had Tuesday morning didn't hurt anything I have already growing except perhaps the apricots and peaches; time will tell.   

Meanwhile, we've had cold days with off-and-on sprinkles, but I think we only got about 2/10 an inch of rain all told.  Tuesday we had some errands to run, so I got brave and bought four tomato plants and set them out.

This morning it's foggy, but there are no clouds in the sky.  So I went out to the garden and took some pictures... the new header picture is one I took around 6:15 A.M.  I love walking around the garden in the early morning.

Don't worry about all the grass inside the fence; Cliff intends to mow it.

I went to both of my church services on Easter Sunday.  The Methodist preacher had asked me to sing something for Easter, so I told the Baptist preacher I'd have my guitar with me if he wanted me to sing there, too.  I sang the same song at both churches:  "When He Was on the Cross, I Was on His Mind".  It was well received by both congregations.

We didn't have a big Easter gathering, so Cliff and I had beans and cornbread.  Except for my attendance at the two churches, it was just another day, and that's fine.

I'm very happy to see an uncloudy day!  I intend to take a nice slow walk later.  


Friday, April 15, 2022

Good Friday

As you may remember, I planted potatoes on St. Patrick's Day.  However, I bought some Yukon Gold seed potatoes to plant on Good Friday, since that's the day Daddy preferred.  My other potatoes haven't come up yet, but I expect to see them any time now, shoving through the top of the soil.  I had already tilled  the soil for the potatoes yesterday, so Gabe, Blue, and I went to the garden at 6:45 A.M.  All I had to do was make a row with the hoe and plant them, so it was a quick, easy task.

Later I decided to prepare a place for the sweet potatoes when they arrive; now that was work!  I tilled through the soil a couple times, then came the raking.  Here's how the Tater Man says to do it: 

(1)Till the soil deep in Spring 2-3 wks before planting; (2) Per 25 ft. row: mix together & till in row 3 lbs. of 8-8-8 fertilizer. (3) Make Bedded rows approx. 36”-42” apart. Bed rows should be 8-10 inches high & 12-14 inches wide & flat on top.

I skip the fertilizer.  But raking all that dirt up wore me out!  I'm glad I only ordered twelve plants.  I still have to get the level top wider than it is, but I'll rest before I do that.  I've only planted sweet potatoes once, a few years ago, but they were a huge success.

The Yukon Gold potatoes are planted on the left side of the picture.  The sweet potatoes will be where the string is.  The rest of the garden space on the right side, what's left of it, is for tomatoes, and then my garden will be filled up for awhile.  However, the radishes will come out quickly once they're ready, and then I'll plant green beans or corn there, and okra.  The peas will also be done early and make room for later crops.

All the vegetables in the rows in this picture have come up, although the carrots still haven't all appeared.  Carrots take three or four weeks to germinate, especially when we've had so many days with cold temperatures.

As usual, I planted the radishes seeds too close.

I'm anxiously looking forward to some strawberries from these plants.

Yesterday when I walked, I saw happy little flowers beneath my feed, and the grandson found some tiny little gray mushrooms in the woods, too small to pick.

I've always loved dandelions

Violets.  Sorta blurred; it was windy yesterday.

I'm having a happy day.  I hope my readers are, also.


Monday, April 11, 2022

Good morning

I'm just fine, thank you very much.  One friend emailed me a couple of days ago saying she was tired of "pancakes" (my last entry) and wanted me to sing a song.  I'm not in the notion of putting myself on the Internet today singing, but I am ready to summon my muse and come up with some sort of drivel for you all.  I haven't blogged for several days because of my impatience with Mother Nature; my garden is fine, but all the little plants that were showing above ground had to pause in their growth because of cold weather last week.  One cold front followed another.  We got some wonderful rainfall in the process, but it wasn't fun having to put on my winter coat and go outside to see a garden that didn't make any changes from one day to the next.  My main focus is on the garden in spring, so to pass the idle time, I kept my nose in various books and did very little but read for a few days.  The last two days were lovely, so I decided to take a risk and plant small amounts of corn and green beans... so I'm back!  

We did have a day last week that was nice enough to fence the garden to keep racoons, dogs, and opossums away from my vegetables and strawberries later on.  The fence is a story in itself, but one I'd rather not describe at the present time (of course, I went ahead and told the story anyway; see below).  It isn't a pretty fence, because we didn't want to spend money to protect a garden I may not be using very long.  Cliff is the greatest at using what he already has to make do, and he got the job done.  

Later on, when I'm showing you pictures of the garden, you will see that our fence is not a thing of beauty.  In fact, it could almost be a joke about crazy things rednecks do, like using duct tape and cardboard, for instance, to replace a broken window in the door of a car... not that we've ever gone that far.  I do recall the time my husband put a rusty door lock on my old clothes dryer, though, when it wouldn't stay shut.  Hey, it was all we had, and it worked for years!

No blood was shed in the garden, but when Cliff and I work together there is always some yelling.  I am not good at fence-building and other construction-type projects: moves that are obvious to my husband are oblivious to me.  I knew, going into it, that things would get noisy with our fencing project.  It's all just noise, and after fifty-five years living with a man, you come to the realization that it's only temporary, you won't get hit, and once the project is finished, love reigns.  I've heard the wind blow before!  

Also, these are times that give my husband new stories to spin for the amusement of relatives, and I, the butt of his jokes, laugh right along with them.  The funniest thing so far was that the grandson's significant other came around the the back of the house while Cliff was being loud, and she was shocked!  We didn't know she was even there until after she had turned and hurried away.  Yesterday I breached the subject with her, and we all had a good laugh; the grandson, of course, knows his grandpa is harmless and wouldn't hurt a flea (he's probably been yelled at a few times himself), but his girl friend thought the end of the world had come!   

How's that for a very honest story from two old relics?  And I didn't even think I was going to write about that.  

I'll be back in my garden again, with an attempt at growing some herbs in an old tractor tire full of dirt.  


I am happy to tell you that Cliff got up, read this post, and didn't take offense at all.  That's how easy-going he really is.

Friday, April 01, 2022


When I was around ten years old living in the switchboard house in the small, rural village, of Eagleville.  I walked to and from school which was maybe four blocks one way.  I'd always loved pancakes, and one morning asked Mother to make some.  She told me, "You could make pancakes yourself."

Now she had never tried to teach me to cook, so I wasn't sure how to make much of anything.  But fate led me to the kitchen cabinet where I noticed a box of Pillsbury Pancake Mix; I set it on the counter and read the directions on back of the box, and that's when I realized maybe I could make them myself.  Those directions instructed me not to smash pancakes while they were cooking, to use medium heat, and not to mix the batter too thoroughly, but leave some tiny lumps in it.  The only part of the directions I had a problem with this in this recipe was figuring out how high I should turn the flame for "medium" heat, but after a couple of times, I had it all down pat.

At this point, I decided to walk home from school every day and make myself some pancakes.  Boy, was that great!  I had never eaten in the school cafeteria... too many people around.  I either bought my lunch with the quarter my mom gave me, took a bag lunch, or ate at the little cafe on 69 highway where I could buy a hot dog, a Coke, and a Snickers bar with my quarter.  I do wonder about how I paid the taxes on that, but I remember nothing about that.  Was food taxed in 1952?  Or maybe I got a penny or two from a parent?  Oh well, back to the pancakes.  I had plenty of time to cook a couple pancakes and get back to school on time.  This lasted for a year or two, and then we moved to the city.

Our former daughter-in-law and our two grandchildren lived with us for extended periods of time in the 80's, and when I made pancakes she said they were the best she had ever tasted.  She still says that, and sometimes she and our granddaughter come over and have pancakes with us.  When both our kids had left home, I stopped buying pancake mix and started making pancakes from Bisquick, since I already kept it around for biscuits.  Later, when I began making biscuits from scratch, I decided to make pancakes from scratch too; it saved having so many boxes in the cupboard.

Ex-daughter-in-law and my granddaughter still swore my pancakes were the best.  All I knew was that I had gotten tired of pancakes.  Tastes change over time.  I almost never made pancakes unless the two of them visited.  Cliff was happy to join in with them, but I usually just cooked for them.

A couple of weeks ago, the closest Hy-Vee store had Aunt Jemima Original pancake mix for $1.00 a box, which is less than half the regular price.  I bought one box.  Later I kicked myself for not buying a some of them for the local food pantry, but that's life.  We've been wanting to go to the Knights of Columbus fish fry at Lexington, but I balked at it because neither of us eats much in the evening; our big meal is at noon.  Cliff really wanted to go, so I told him this week we'd just eat a big breakfast, no dinner, and then go to the fish fry when it first opens up at 4:30.  Today is the day, so I thought I'd treat him with sausage and pancakes.  I used that pancake mix, decided I'd eat the second one while he was working on the first, and bit right into a piece of heaven!  That pancake was so much more light and fluffy than my from-scratch mix, I couldn't believe it.  No wonder I had lost my taste for pancakes!

When we used to go camping, I would buy those pancake mixes which only need water added, but that was for convenience; they weren't as good as the other kind.  I don't know how many years I went without eating the original pancake mixes, but I assure you that's all I'm buying from now on. 

Wow, it took me a lot of paragraphs to tell such a simple story, didn't it?

What am I reading?  I just finished "The Maid", which I enjoyed a lot more than I expected.  There's humor in it, wrapped up in a mystery with interesting characters.  Now I've started on "The Last Flight" by Julie Clark, and it's already leaving me on the edge of my seat.  Whew!  

One more thing:  Cliff just told me there's an ad on my blog about how to wipe your butt.  If you ever see anything shady on my blog, please let me know what it is.  I don't see the ads myself, but since they pay me for having them, I've allowed the ads.  When I first started with the ads they gave me some choices of what I'd allow on my blog.  I may have to look that up, if I can, or else I'll get rid of ads entirely.