Friday, June 27, 2008

From the Family Garden

It's hard to believe that the month of June is drawing to a close and July is getting ready to open! I think we should start preparing ourselves for the onslaught of vegetables that will soon be coming from the garden- if we get some rain!

"The Family Garden"
We had to expand the garden this year as we wanted more corn and desired to plant a few other types of vegetables. Beans, Okra, Black Beans, and Popcorn were among the new types and then we have "the staples" to any garden, tomato's, peppers, squash, watermelon, and sweet corn.

My sunflower patch from last year was incredible but something has happened to this years'. Out of 50 sunflower seeds only six germinated! I'm rather disappointed but oh well!! That's life!

"A Pepper Plant"
We did not start the peppers from seed as we were running out of time. Collin loves hot peppers which is what this one looks like! I don't know for sure if we actually have hot peppers in the garden; I think we have ones for use on salads.

"Tomato Alley"
Most of the tomato's came from a neighbor who had way to many for his own use! It was a huge blessing to get these for our tomato seeds took over a month to get here and it was way to hot for seedlings to survive by that time.

"Green Beans"
This is the first year doing green beans and they sure look happy! Daddy and Collin built the trellis' and then strung fishing line around the entire thing for the plants to crawl up! They look really good and add a whole new dimension to the garden!

"Sweet Corn"
Gotta loooooove fresh corn on the cob, cooked on the grill and slaaaaaaaaaaathered in butter!!! Perfect for the fourth of July!

No garden is complete without watermelon so my brothers say. I personally don't like it and they all think I'm nuts!
Despite the drought the fruit is doing really well!

"Sayre's Spot"
Sayre found several volunteer squash coming up earlier this spring and he decided to have his own garden! He mounded up dirt walls so that we can tell where the family dirt ends and his dirt begins!

I love squash! Momma steams it, then salts it, and boy is it good!!! I've heard that you can fry it but I can't imagine that it is as good or as healthy as having it steamed.

"Tomato's with Popcorn behind it."
Collin has taken it upon himself to keep the big garden watered which has been a huge blessing. The lack of rain has really made things interesting for us. Tristan waters a section of the cow pen so that the cow will have green grass to eat rather than putting her on feed.
Sayre has plans for a vegetable stand up at the road once the fruit starts ripening!
Thank you for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Hope Chest!

For many years Daddy and Momma have talked about getting me a hope chest, but we could never find one that I really liked. When Daddy and Momma had visited Bottle Tree Antiques back in May, they had found a cedar chest that they thought I might like, but upon visiting the following week we found that it had been sold. The "bottle tree lady" said that they would keep their eyes open for us and let us know when the found a chest!
About three weeks ago they found this chest and to make a long story short, we bought it!!
It came from the estate of a brother and sister who were artistic and just so happened to live in Greenwood, twenty minutes down the road! The Bottle Tree Lady showed us some of the other boxes and goodies that they got and they're really neat!

Trevor, Thelma, and I went to pick it up and the boys were kind enough to carry it upstairs for me!

I love the contrast between the light color of the cedar and the dark color of the stained wood!

I spent part of the next afternoon putting all the stuff I had accumulated in it, and then re-organizing the closet!
I'm so tickled to have a spot to put all of the things for my future home!

The chest has no key to fit in the lock, but Trevor and Tristan managed to figure out how to lock it! Simply pick one end of the chest off the ground, set it down, and then try to open it! To unlock it, pick up the other end, set it down, and open it!! Now if I can just remember which end to pick up!! :o)
I must be off...... Sawyer and I are "holding down the fort" while Momma is out grocery shopping. Things are a little to quiet....... I'd better go check on him!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Let's Celebrate!!

Two celebrations took place at the "Castlebury Homestead" over the weekend!!! The most memorable one for Mother and I took place on Saturday morning while the boys reveled in delight Friday evening!!
Let's start with the one that has the most impact on my Mother and I!

After four looooooong weeks of working on seventy-five pairs of John John's, five volumes of Jonathan Park , and hours spent picking bad seams out, we are ecstatic to announce that we are officially DONE!!!!

"Mother Dear sewing buttons and tags on"
There is such relief knowing that they are "out of the house" and that we did our best on them. Momma danced a happy gig when the sewing room was all cleaned up and the John John's were packed and sitting at the back door!!!

Now I can observe the goings on in my garden!!! There are pair of birds that have literally kicked their babies out of the nest, and they in turn have been hopping around the garden learning how to use their wings!

I also have a pair of hummingbirds that are frequenting my garden!! I now have time to try and capture their visits or just watch them! I love working out there and hear the tell tale "huuuummm" as they flit around from feeder to feeder!!

Lastly, I now I time to give my much neglected garden some much deserved attention! The Cleome, Phlox, Black Eyed Susan, Gerber Daisy, Hyssop, Blanket Flower, and a host of other plants are all beginning to bloom. It's time for me to "spruce things up" and improve the looks of things.
Ohhhh, I feel "as free as a bird, happy as a lark"!!!!!

The purchase of fifty-six acres nearby precipitated another celebration at our house! Daddy and Momma signed the contract Friday morning and that evening we headed out with a picnic to our new land!

Sawyer didn't even know what a picnic was but he was sooooo excited to go!!! All I heard after his nap was "picnic Ashee!!". Here he is helping Momma load the cooler!
Notice how securely his cup is tucked in his arm?! It was his job to keep track of it!

"The Gangs' All Here!"
Momma had prepared a delicious meal of Walnut Chicken Salad with crackers, Deviled Eggs, Lemonade and Iced Tea. When we got home we dove into the Butter Pecan Ice Cream that Tristan had brought home from Happy Cow Creamery. It was all soooooo wonderful and filling!! Even Jasper was allowed to participate in this happy event!

"Walking Back to the 'Burb"
The land hasn't been used in quite some time so the grass is tall and things are rather overgrown.

"The View"
The land is rolling and affords a pretty view from the top of one of the hills. You can actually see a white church spire off in the distance!! I can only imagine what it will look like in the fall!

Sayre went exploring and found several skulls and bones from deceased cows that our neighbor has deposited near the property line!

"The Boys"
Left to Right- Trevor, Sayre, Collin, Tristan
Please forgive the blurred spots on the pictures. I have spots on my camera lens that I have yet to successfully get off.

We found several already hatched Turkey Eggs while prowling around!! I imagine several of the boys will be hunting next season!!

Upon our arrival back at the 'burb, we discovered that Sayre had a stash of "artifacts" that he wanted...... Dad told they would have to come back with the truck!!!

On the other end of the property we found some old graves!! There are head stones and foot stones for each one but sadly there are no markings on the stones. There appear to be just three of them but maybe upon cleaning the spot up we will find more! That would be neat!!!
Momma has always wanted a graveyard!!

I think this picture accurately depicts the happiness of all the menfolk to have property with plenty of potential!!! They spent all day Saturday over there clipping the thistle heads and digging the plants up, bush hogging, and exploring the place even further! They are wanted to use the property for cattle purposes but who knows what all they will decide to do!!
We thank God for the ability to purchase this land and our prayer is that He would show us how to use it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Things from the Past

I am not a shopper by nature, unless I happen to love the shop or have had good success in finding what I need there. My method of shopping is walk into the store, stroll down the aisles in search of what I might possibly need, and then leave! It takes a total of fifteen minutes to do this usually!! :o)
However, when it comes to antique shopping I change my ways. I'm learning that you have to DIG through piles, move things around, and just in general take your time. I know that I have missed many a heirloom just because I didn't take the time to look carefully.
About a month ago Momma and I again visited the local antique mall where I found several treasures!

I was digging through a pile of old, and not-so-old, linens when I found several runners that I had seen on other occasions. I was rather surprised that they hadn't been sold yet as they are beautiful!

This runner found a place in my mind when I first saw it months and months ago. The stitching itself is beautiful, but even more beautiful is the inscription on it
"From Mother.20.DEC.1938"
The thought that "Mother" made this for her daughter or maybe her daughter in law just takes my breath away.... she spent her time making something to beautify and possibly encourage her dear one. Just think of the love, thoughts, and care that went into the making of this runner.
The runner is in excellent condition! I would wager a guess that it was kept in a drawer and rarely used, for there in nary a spot, stain, or discoloring on it and the colors are vibrant and fresh. I feel that I have not only found a piece of history, but that I have found a treasure!

This runner was also in the pile of linens I was rummaging through. I love the cheerful colors and you know what?! There are two large flowers, one at each end of the runner, and each one is a different color! The vibrant cherry red flower pictured above is the predominant red color but the other one has a brown tint to it. The person making this ran out of thread and had to finish with the darker color!! The handmade linens have such character and life to them, don't you think?!

The same day that I found the runners Momma and I also visited Bottle Tree Antiques where we are becoming frequent visitor these days!! Momma and Daddy had visited the shop a week earlier when they were out celebrating their anniversary. While they were there they found this shelf that had my name written all over it! Momma took me back to get my opinion on the shelf and we wound up buying it!! I'm in desperate need of bookcases these days!! The next weekend I spent cleaning the shelf up and then re-staining it. The "Bottle Tree Lady", as we call her, had recommended some stuff that re stained without you having to strip the piece of furniture. So I washed the shelf down with ammonia water and the lightest piece of steel wool on the market to get the dirt and some of the old finish off. Then I applied the stain and rubbed it dry as I went along. I must say that I'm so pleased with the results!!!
I'm not keeping much on the shelf right now. The top shelf needs to come down a notch which means Daddy will have to "operate" on the holes that the holders go in, and I have a few holders that need some newspaper wrapped around them to help fill in their respective holes. When all that is taken care of I then have to pull all of the book out of my closet, catalogue them, and then decide which ones to put out!! Decisions, decisions, decisions!!!!

The flowers from my garden looked absolutely beautiful against the dark wood and bright cheerful runner!!
There is one more special item that came from Bottle Tree, but I'm going to save that for another post!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cow verses Dogs

This will most likely be the most pointless post that I have ever done; please bear with me as I try to come up with some decent pictures for some decent posts!
Posted below is something that I encounter every morning and evening. It can be rather frustrating at times but it's one of those things that I'm trying to use to my advantage!

"ohhhhh please let me have some!"
Lila used to literally inhale her dog food each time I fed her. I guess she was hungry or maybe she was afraid it would get taken away if she didn't eat it fast enough. Now that she's two years old she has decided that it's high time to be a lady when she eats. She takes her time and prefers eating while I pet her. Actually, things are now to the point where I have to stay out there so that the cow doesn't get the food!

"Lurking, in hopes that she can charge the dog and get the food!"
The cow gets as close as she dares to the dog without provoking a chorus of growls and snaps from the daintily eating pooch. She will stand there switching her tail until the dog leaves or until I chase her off.

"Buck to the rescue!"
Every once in a blue moon things will get interesting without my intervention!! SOMETIMES, Buck will CHARGE the cow, much to my delight, and chase her off!!! She doesn't go far though, and is soon back staking out the dog bowl!

"If we don't look at her we don't know anything about it!"
But most of the time the dog "turn the other cheek" and choose to ignore the behaviour of the obnoxious moo cow.

"You'd think she was hungry!"
See, this is what happens when Ashley isn't around to make sure that Lila gets her meal. Now, if you happen to drop by, maybe you'll understand why certain animals are thinner than others!

How can I use this to my advantage? Well, since I know that the cow likes dog food and will do anything to get it I'm trying to tame her! Lila doesn't always finish her food soooooo, I'll use what's left to draw the cow nearer. I've been able to scratch her head and around her ears this past week while she eats the food and I'm hoping that she'll learn to trust "us humans" a little more each week!
It sure is annoying to have to "babysit" the food bowl though!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Fun with Sawyer

Sawyer usually gets' a little snack after getting up from his nap each afternoon. It's often just a graham cracker or a few animal crackers with a cup of water or milk. On Wednesday I decided to spice things up a bit especially as I was getting ready to partake of a cup of tea that my Mother had brewed for us ladies who were sewing our brains out (for more information please go here)

I remember how much Sawyer had enjoyed having his own cup of tea last Sunday, so I thought it would be fun to see how he would relate to having a tea party! We invited "green bear"-who goes where ever Sawyer goes, got his tea pot all ready, prepared the crumpets (graham crackers), and found Sawyers' tea cup.
Green Bear was such a wonderful guest! He sat quietly and let Sawyer help him with his tea! Yes, Green Bear did have tea in his cup! Sawyer would hold the cup up to green bears nose and then he would take a drink out of it to make it look like green bear was actually drinking tea!

Sawyer tried to keep things neat and drank the spill out of his saucer!

Hmm... I think I can remember my Grandpa dunking! Wonder were this little guy gets it from!

Pouring out tea was Sawyer's Highlight of the tea!! He was very careful with it and didn't spill a drop!! That's pretty good for a two and a half year old!

I showed Sawyer how to clean up his dishes when we were done. He still doesn't grasp what soapy water is all about or even rinsing the dishes. We had fun though!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Something Very Special

Living out in the country is just GREAT! I love the peace and quiet that surrounds you (when the teak wood mill down the road shuts down for the day!); listening to the "Whi-por-will", crickets, and frogs in the evening; swinging on the front porch and watching the breeze sweep through pine trees; catching a glimpse of deer, herons', and other kinds of wildlife; and just living a "slower" kind of life.
Friday morning was a special morning for us; we were able to see and experience something not many people get to see!

Early that morning Collin took some books up to his tree stand hoping to grab a few quiet minutes to read. As he was reading he heard a noise that made him get down and investigate and what he found was amazing!

A Momma deer had just given birth to twins!
I love how the warm brown of his fur contrasts with the white spots!

When Collin came upon them Momma deer ran off and this little guy was left behind. Collin was able to get some pictures of the newborn and left him alone.
Do you see that his nose is white at the tip?

Sayre and I came down an hour later and found him all curled up just sleeping away. He was curious enough to look around and even get up to figure out what was going on!
We left him after about five minutes figuring that Momma deer and the other baby were around somewhere and would come back for him.
Look how his spots seem to be running a pattern all the way up his neck?!

Can you see that his legs are still wet?! To think that we had the priviledge to observe a newborn creature is just amazing!
This is just another reason why I love living out here! To be able to see God's creation and actually experience it like this opens your eyes even more to how sovereign, creative, loving, gentle, and kind our creator is.
I'm reminded of the refrain from the hymn
All Things Bright and Beautiful
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.
I have had this hymn playing through my mind all spring and on into this summer and I think it fits perfectly! I love to sing this hymn to the music composed by William H. Monk which I think the link should take you to.

I hope you enjoyed catching a glimpse into God's exciting creation with me!