Thursday, 1 August 2019

Mexican Thumb

I love gardening.
I love garden books and thumbing through seed catalogues. Essays on gardening are such a delicious read. Walking through an arboretum is intoxicating. 
I love gardening.
In theory.

In reality not so much.

I hate weeding a lot. Hot weather just makes me mad. I could erase June, July and August off the calendar and be perfectly content. Gnats, the official insect of West Virginia, are an offence when you spend any time outdoors. They have a penchant for flying halfway down your throat, fluttering their wings and causing you to hack and vomit on the ground. 

But my love for homemade salsa counters all heinous gardening tasks.
So I have a salsa garden. It's all I need.
My salsa is really that good.

Friday, 14 December 2018


Having grown up in a household of three sisters and then raising ten of my own daughters interspersed between eight sons, I know how to do girls. 
Girls make sense to me, annoy me and yet... I get them. It's been my normal.  
 And now I find myself some 40 years since that first little girl was placed in my arms, surrounded by boys. 
Teenage boys. 
It's a strange often alarming way to finish this job. 
Now, these aren't bad/evil boys, but everything is different. 

Nobody wants to sing songs with me, or go to museums or sit and talk about their feelings. 
They even eat different.
I make lots of meatloaf now.
So sometimes when I feel alone in my girl-ness, I make the meatloaf and they get to sit at a very lovely table.
One of them said tonight, "Dinner looks different Mom."
I'll take that as a compliment.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

"You're Still the One" (Decided that's our theme song)

 James and I headed to the Mountain House to celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary this week. We got married when I was 18 and he was 19, so this many years later I find it remarkable that it's still our best thing. Very best.
Luckily we married in October so our celebration trips, which we manage to squeeze in every year, are in the fall...the best season. 

  Today James agreed to hike up to Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory in Monroe County, WV.

 I don't think he loves hiking, but fortunately he does love me. It was a briskly, chilly, sunny day - perfect for hiking. It's a short 0.9 mile hike, but ascends to 3,800 feet. 
 It was worth every rocky step and shortage of breath when we reached the top. 

The view was spectacular, although we saw no raptors. There were some serious bird watchers in the tower, but I think you'd have to have a bit more patience than me to see an eagle or hawk. I thought James was cuter than the birds anyway.

It was the best day.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Happy Birthday Aaron

Aaron is one of our 26 grandkids and today he turned four.  Luckily, he lives right across the street, so it's easy to borrow him for a few hours to celebrate.
His dream birthday included:

#1 Lunch at McDonald's where he ordered fries and a vanilla milkshake. That's all. 

#2 Trip to Walmart where he randomly threw toys into the cart and a Black Panther t-shirt. Simple enough.

We then dropped him back off to his mom because we told him she missed him and probably wanted to hug and kiss his little face. He said that "was just gross".

Grand-parenting is pretty much the best.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Well That Really Stinks

 Yesterday I learned something new - you should never go to the local landfill on Saturday. When you think about Saturdays in summer, you might think people are swimming, picnicking,! Everyone in your town who owns a pick up truck is at the dump. I drove our truck yesterday, even though I can't quite reach the clutch all the way in without semi laying down in the seat.
  The line was really long waiting to get in, and the driveway was a steep hill. Who doesn't love a wait on a hill with a clutch? By the time it was our turn to dump, the truck was overheated and the battery died.  And it was raining.
  With a little lot of assistance the truck was running and my two very capable sons were tossing stuff into the wet stinky pile. 
 I can now happily cross that experience off my bucket list. #notreallyIhatedit

Sunday, 17 June 2018

My Apologies to Hopewell Virginia

I offer my apologies to the wonderful, honest people of Hopewell, Virginia. I misjudged you on my shallow perception of your character, based on my observation of your town. You have obviously experienced hard times as noted by the many closed stores, neglected homes and run down streets.
Image result for hopewell va sign welcome Yesterday we ate in one of your restaurants.  There was an interesting group of fellow patrons. One elderly lady had hair color that rivaled the brightest sunset. I couldn't look away. Most were dressed in things I had never considered wearing and some people seemed as though they had worn the same clothes for a month.  I felt as if we were in a different country.
 When I got to the car I realized I had left my phone inside.  I was sure I would never see it again...because... well... you all looked very different from my family.
 Shame on me. I went inside and asked and YES, someone had turned it in!
  So to all you amazing people in Hopewell...Thank You! I'm glad to have my phone and even happier for this lesson in being humble.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Along the Road

 There is much said these days about eating clean and eating local. With such a large family we mostly eat bulk. Bulk has no clearly defined origin.  It comes in large containers often printed with the words - "New and Improved", which alone is suspect. I picture men in white lab coats sitting around a large table putting spoonfuls of cereal in their mouths, spitting into their napkins saying, "This is disgusting! I can't believe people have been buying it. More sugar.... we must improve this!"
  In the summer however, while my sweet children are sleeping, I sneak away and eat the good stuff. Our neighborhood streets are not lined with sidewalks and street lamps, but with wild thickets of various plants and bushes.
  The first two weeks of June yield beautiful blackberries. The plants are prolific but do have short thorns. I carry a pitcher
on my walk, collect them while they're still warm from the early morning sun and throw them into my yogurt when I get home. Amazing!
  Shortly after the blackberries are finished off, sometimes the deer beat me to them, the wine berries are ripe. Wine berries are the perfect combination of sweet and tart, but the plant makes you work for these treats. They grow in dense patches
and their thorns are long and wicked sharp. The picking invitation specifies formal wear - long sleeves, long pants and gloves, but oh so worth it!
  By the time the kids wake up for their breakfast in a box, I have washed the berry stains off my hands and they are none the wiser.
  I'm always thankful for God's original. local, clean food, which never needs improvement and is new every day.