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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It's a Dirty Job, But...

somebody has to do it.

Now that's a lot of hay!

Guess Who....

By the time you get to the end of this post, you will feel like you need a bath.

We have been working on this drainage ditch project for weeks. My son is a perfectionist and he had to have the slope and everything just right. Ever since we've lived here (just about all our married life), we've had a drainage problem at the side of our yard. The kids loved it when they were little. After a big rain, we would have huge puddles of water down there and they'd run through them and splash around and they'd watch the night crawlers float by. Well, that part was fun, but what wasn't fun was it staying wet and damp for days at a time. We'd squish around waiting for it to dry enough to cut the grass.

So it was my son's idea to do something about it.

We dug the ditch by hand, made sure the pitch was just right, shoveled gravel into it by hand, put the pipes in (and made sure the slope on them was just right), shoveled more gravel over the pipe and then shoveled the dirt back over everything. We ran out of dirt and had to take some from the garden, then yesterday the next door neighbor's project of digging up their driveway and sidewalk provided us with a large pile of dirt to use. We also wrapped the pipe and gravel with some type of cloth that water can penetrate, but it also keeps the dirt from getting in the holes of the pipe.

It took a couple of weeks, but today we finished!

We put down grass seeds and covered them with hay.

Boy it was a dirty job!

I repeat, it was a dirty job!

This picture reminds me of the little boy in the Peanuts comic strip.
I think Pig-Pen was his name.

I helped, but he didn't want to take my picture. You will have to take my word for it. I helped with the digging, shoveling, and seeding, and so did my husband and youngest son. We even had a few of Andrew's friends help with the digging.

I'm tired and I'm glad this project is over. Now, let the rains begin.

Anyone feel like taking a bath now?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Take a Few Minutes

I woke up this morning sore and stiff. The result of shoveling gravel for three hours yesterday afternoon.

But the morning was so beautiful I had to visit it. I brushed my teeth, put on my clothes, and went outside for a walk.

Our weather has been so fickle lately, and from other blogger's comments, I feel everyone's weather has been that way. So, I decided to take advantage of the beautiful blue sky and get out and enjoy it.

The dishes can wait. (They have been sitting there since yesterday and, unfortunately, I don't think they're going to go anywhere.)

I think we all need a little time for ourselves every now and then. We all need to turn off the news and forget about our worries, the economy, and the wars for just a few minutes. Just like my dirty dishes, I'm sure they will all be there when we return from our walk.

We need to be like a kid and enjoy what God puts before us.

Go ahead, I dare you, get a dandelion and blow your cares into the wind for just a little while.

What's your weather like today? If it's nice, go sit on the porch, take a walk, or pick a fluffy white dandelion and disperse the seeds to the wind like you did when you were a child. The birds will greet you and their songs will keep you company.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

First Sign of Warm Weather is. . .


I said I was going to stop going to yard sales.
I said I couldn't fit any thing else into my house.
I said I was going to have a yard sale and get rid of all my clutter and be able to walk in our two car garage again.

Well, I guess I fibbed.

Today is a beautiful day. Sun is shining, temperatures are rising and no rain. We went to four yard sales. The first one was up a road down from my house. They had LOTS of stuff. He said he needed room in his garage (does this sound familiar?) I bought quite a few items from there. The second one I went to I only bought three things and two of those are for the kid's table at our family reunion. I always try to have things for the kids to play with or take home with them at our family reunion in June. The third one I never bought anything! And the fourth one was in the bank parking lot, they were raising money for Relay for Life. I bought a few more items for the kid's table there, also.

This is what the back of our car looks like on yard sale days:

Here are pictures of most of the things I bought.

These bags are full of marbles, some are the round ones and some are the flat ones.
I thought it was a very good buy for only 25 cents a bag.
I'm sure I can find something to do with them.

I love this vase full of flowers

A bunch of new fragrant candles, a Boyds bear, a red iron paper towel holder, chicken pot holder, a group of holiday wash rags, hand made wooden cars and a neat little school desk that opens up on top to put things in.

I got a pretty music box gazebo, wooden plagues with sayings engraved on them, a new pair of long curtains and a cute little heart sign with daisies.

As you can see by the prices, they didn't cost me very much. See why I love yard sales!
I also got my son a computer chair mat to put on the carpet for his computer chair to glide on. He's been wanting one, but we didn't want to pay the high price the stores were asking for them. He loves it.

Have you been going to any yard sales lately?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Walking The Rail Trail

Yesterday was dreary, wet and cool. But instead of sitting inside in the comfort of our house, we walked on the Rail Trail.

We entered the trail behind a sub division in Davisville, WV. Davisville is just beyond WVUP near Parkersburg.

The Rail Trail is the former rail corridor that was constructed by the B & O Railroad between 1853 and 1857. It is 72 miles long, has 13 tunnels and crosses over 36 bridges. It goes from Parkersburg, WV to Wolf Summit in Harrison County, WV.

Last summer we walked on the Rail Trail when we stayed at North Bend State Park. One of the tunnels is located there.

People can walk it or bike it. The flat trail is very easy to walk or bike on, and you can go for miles, as long as your feet don't give out on you.

We walked for two hours. The sky looked ominous at times and the wind threatened to lift our umbrellas. But for the most part, the rain stayed away. It was cool and drizzly and some might say we were crazy. But we enjoyed our walk and can't wait to do it again when the weather warms up.

We tried to distinguish the many bird calls. Woodpeckers pecked away at the trees and the frogs were deafening at times. The wonderful sounds of nature surrounded us all along the way.

I have a few pictures I want to share with you.

Here is an old bridge we passed over.

An old tree with steps up the side.

A field of Mayapples!

Carved out seats to sit on. These would come in very handy on a hot summer day.

Lots of Sweet Williams dotted the landscape. I love Sweet Williams, I picked big fragrant bunches of them for Mom when I was a child. She would fill a mason jar with water and place them in it.

The river flowed past on one side of the trail. Gnarled grapevines hung from the trees.

Does anyone know what this is the remnant of and what it was used for on the railroad?
You can click on it to get a closer view.

We had a wonderful time, but my husband and I are still trying to warm up. My shoes leaked and my socks became soaked. My daughter in law was nice enough to loan me a pair of dry socks to come home in.

Hope you enjoyed the walk.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Peppermint Plants

Peppermint has long been heralded for it's many uses. The aroma cannot be matched. I cannot walk past a peppermint patty without yearning to take a bite. The plant's abilities even warrants mention in my middle grade historical fiction. But, instead of curing my bellyaches, this cross between watermint and spearmint delights in creating my headaches.

small peppermint plants starting to grow

If you don't have a green thumb and wish to grow something. . . anything. . . then plant a sprig of peppermint. But, please do not blame me when this plant takes control of your garden, your yard and every minute of your spare time.

Peppermint propogates by spreading out runners underneath the earth and one plant becomes many.

the long root of a peppermint plant,
notice all the little plants starting to grow along the length of this root

Please plant these in an area where you do not care if they spread and take over. Maybe you have a hillside or bank where nothing grows. Select an isolated spot and just let it grow (and grow and grow). You could also plant it in a large barrel or planter where it cannot spread. Peppermint can reach heights of 1 - 3 feet. They produce small pink, white or purple flowers at the end of each stem from July to September.

I have been pulling these peppermint plants out from my blackberry bushes, from among my rose bush, and from among my ferns and irises for many years now. They keep coming back. When little, the roots pull up easily. I have pulled up some roots that were three or more feet long. You are probably wondering why I don't just let them grow. If I let them grow, they would grow and grow and spread and spread. They would take control of my garden.

To me the only good peppermint is a pulled peppermint. The aroma of the fresh dirt and pulled roots takes me away to the arctic on a hot summer day. (I borrowed this scene from a favorite peppermint patty commercial).

If you like peppermint and dream of sipping this herbal tea, then by all means plant it. Just remember when you fight your way out of the thick growth of minty smelling plants that I told you so.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Vintage Thingies

I'm participating in Vintage Thingies Thursday again, hosted by Colorado Lady. Go visit and see others who are posting their vintage thingies.

I usually have a collection to show you on Thursdays, but today I only have three things. I don't have many family heirlooms from my past, but here are three things of remembrance from my Aunt Leatha.

My mother came from a large family, there were 10 children! Aunt Leatha was one of my mother's older sisters. I remember visiting her on Sunday's for dinner. They lived along a winding, hilly road called Buzzard Rock. I can only imagine how it got it's name. Our roads weren't paved back then and I remember going to her house in the winter time and Dad would put weights of some sort in the back of our vehicle so we could traverse the snow and ice covered roads without slipping over the hillside.

I remember her coal cook stove in the kitchen. And the pile of coal out from her house. We had a modern cook stove in our kitchen and I thought her coal one was the neatest thing. And I remember the big fireplace in her living room. Her and my mom were very close, I have a letter Aunt Leatha wrote her when Mom was expecting her first child, she was worried about her. She signed it To my sweet sister Olive.

When I was little she gave me this little ceramic table.
It's made in Japan and is decorated with flowers.

How it survived all this time, I'll never know. I kept it all these years and brought it with me when I married and set up housekeeping of my own. I must have loved it very much and I still do. Every time I look at it, the little table brings back memories of a wonderful and loving aunt.

She was very talented and crocheted. Her daughter Vera crochets and is very good at it, too. If you want to go look, click here to see a few she has done.

These two doilies were my mothers.
I may be wrong, but I feel confident that Aunt Leatha did them,
because I don't think my mom crocheted, she only did embroidery.

I hope you enjoyed going down memory lane with me.
Small things can mean so much.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What Do You See?

Look real close,
what do you see?

Molly Moochers, of course,
for you and me!

Here's a bigger one. They like to grow around the roots of this tree.

They're still small.
I think they need to make another trip this weekend when the weather gets nicer and they've had more time to grow.

But we're anxious! They taste so good. They're our gourmet mushrooms.

Just enough to make our taste buds want more.

and more. . .

Go here to read more about these delicious mushrooms. There's recipes, information on preserving them and just about everything you would ever want to know about morels.

Have you ever ate molly moochers before? Do you like them?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Patriotic Red, White and Blue

In honor of April being National Poetry Month, here is the first stanza of a poem to go with my post.

by Henry Holcomb Bennett

Hats off!
Along the street there comes
A blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums,
A flash of color beneath the sky:
Hats off!
The flag is passing by!

My bedroom is done in red, white and blue.
Here is a favorite teddy of mine that I made our of an old blue jean shirt.
He's my patriotic buddy. . .

This is a favorite old picture I have of our old glory. . . isn't it pretty?

A bicentennial pitcher sits upon the quilt rack. . .

and so does my child's old rubber patriotic bank drum.

Now here's a little information about me for those of you who don't know me (and maybe for some of you who do know me).

One year I took a notion to walk in our little home town's 4th of July Parade. Ripley is known far and wide for our parade. The President even visited it a few years back, and that just happened to be the first year I dressed up like Betsy Ross and walked in it.

Of course I think I humiliated my kids, they couldn't believe I was going to do it. But I did and I loved it.

Below is the replica of the 13 star flag that I quilted and placed over my arm when I walked in the parade. I throw this over the headboard of my bed in our bedroom.

And here is a little Betsy Ross mop doll that I crafted. It hangs from my quilt rack.

I love my country.
I hope you enjoyed looking at my red, white and blue collection with me today.
Have any of you ever walked in your home town's parade?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Morning

The words may not be exact, but below are the lyrics to a favorite Easter song of mine. . .


Mary came into the tomb of Jesus.
The stone was moved and he had gone away.
The angel said,"Fear not, I know whom seek ye.
But, he is risen." This she heard him say.

He's Gone, the stone was rolled back,
Gone, the tomb is empty.
Gone, to sit at his father's side.
Gone, over death triumphant,
Gone, sin is defeated,
Gone, and he lives forever more.

My friend if you don't know this risen savior,
I beg of you don't wait too late to pray,
don't wait until the bride has been completed,
don't wait until you hear him say "It's too late."

He's Gone, the stone was rolled back,
Gone, the tomb is empty.
Gone, to sit at his father's side.
Gone, over death triumphant,
Gone, sin is defeated,
Gone, and he lives forever more.

Gone, over death triumphant,
Gone, sin is defeated
Gone, he lives for ever more.

Happy Easter

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Coal Garden

When we were kids, we got an old lump of coal and made us a pretty coal garden.

That was a long time ago and I'd forgotten how we did it. I looked on line and found many recipes for coal gardens.

This is how I did it. Don't let children do this unattended, since ammonia is used.

Here are the ingredients:
A lump of coal, salt ( they say you can use table salt, but I used salt we had for making ice cream), food coloring, bluing, ammonia, water.
I bought Mrs. Stewart's Liquid Bluing in the household section of Krogers.

We had a new container of ammonia. I punched a hole in the seal . . .

. . . and used a pipette to get the ammonia out with. This made it very easy and the fumes weren't very strong. You might want to do this in a ventilated area. I put up my kitchen windows.
One of the recipes I saw didn't use the ammonia. The ammonia only speeds up the process.
So, if you are patient, you could probably get by not using it.

Get a container to put the coal on. It can be an empty margarine tub, a plastic plate like I used or a clear glass container.

First I put on the piece of coal - - 3 Tablespoons. of water, 3 Tablespoons. of salt, 3 Tablespoons of bluing, 1 Tablespoon of ammonia, and then drops of food coloring.

In the beginning it looks like this.

After you've did this, put it in a place where it will not be bothered. After the crystals start to grow, you don't want to disturb them.

This picture was taken after about one hour. If you look close, you can see the crystals starting to grow.

Two Hours

Three Hours

And these are close ups after about four hours

Aren't the crystals pretty?

Did any of you ever make these?

These should continue to grow.

If you go to Mrs. Stewart's site, they also give instructions there.
Their instructions are just a little different than how I did it.

Monday, April 6, 2009



I think that I shall never see
a poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Joyce Kilmer

Old in years

along a country lane

tall and proud

spacious and wide

rugged and worn

April is National Poetry Month.
I hope you enjoyed the poem and my trees.

Do you have a favorite poem?