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26 Feb

I didn’t sleep good last night, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t alone. Earlier in the day, at my Master Gardner’s class we sat outside learning how to propagate plants, laughing occasionally at how the wind was blowing our supplies all over creation.  We had canceled that particular class a week or so ago due to bad weather and needed to get it done and over with as propagation time is here.  Who wants to take a class “after” they need it, ya know.

We all got cuttings from Homestead Purple Verbena, Purple Trailing Lantana, Honeysuckle Bush,  Belinda’s Dream, Monsieur Tillier, Souvenir de St. Anne, Mrs. Dudley Cross, and a rose we all tagged “Gone With the Wind” (official name to come later).  Apparently that particular rose cutting came from an actual rose-bush on the estate the movie was filmed at, tagging it as such became even funnier as we chased down our cuttings blowing off the table.

Okay, one more thing for me to look up, take care of and figure out where to plant.  (sigh)

We’ve had company for the last week so when I got home I had to run around and get chores done so I would be finished before supper.  As I ran about filling waterers and throwing out the girls afternoon treat the wind continued.  I decided to leave the ducklings in their separate pen as I was afraid the increasingly chilly winds would be too much for them and their downy little selves.  Then of course, I felt guilty they would be missing their afternoon swim.

I walked into the new greenhouse to check the temp and see if anything needed to be watered and the wind continued.  I surveyed the growing number of vegetables starts and (sigh) made plans to begin their transition to the outside world.  Having just learned in MG class that I would need to “gently” get them accustomed to being outdoors or I would “burn the crap outta them if I just plopped them out in the field.”

Back in the house with 30 minutes to spare I thought I would lay down on the couch for a little “shut my eyes for just a minute” kind of rest.  Flipped the TV on my favorite news station for a little background mumbling, grabbed a light throw to keep the chill off, got myself settled and shut my eyes.  and the wind continued….

and it blew….

and it gusted…

My eyes kept popping open as the wind whipped around the house.  Just listening to it was wearing me out.  Our dinner company blew it right on time and I was somewhat distracted for several hours.  The whole time they were here the back of my mind was picturing chickens flying through the wind whipped air and flats of vegetable starts crashing into the windows.  As they were saying their good-byes I grabbed my coat and a flashlight, I couldn’t get outside fast enough.  I had to check on things one more time just to be sure everything was still intact.  I shut and locked the pop door for good measure, then as I passed the greenhouse I said a silent prayer it would all be there come morning.

I sat down in front of the tube to watch a few of my recorded shows and hopefully get sleepy before going to bed.  Three shows and three hours later my eyes felt like they had been open for an eternity and I was dog ass tired.  Unfortunately the wind was still whipping around out there and my mind with it.  I forced myself to get up and go to bed knowing there was a ton of work waiting for me in the morning, hoping the never-ending wind would not add to my list.

Okay, that wild cucumber vine growing up our window screen has got to GO!

 

the trash…………

13 Dec

trash……..everybody has it in some form or another, but do you know how to “make the trash”?

The name cracks me up, it’s the most unappealing “name” for a treat on the planet, but once you know what it is—ya gotta have some. It’s like Lay’s potato chips, you can’t eat just one.  Thirty years ago, our precious Nana and Maw would make it in a garbage can, hence the name “trash”.  Now don’t be all grossing out or anything, they had a brand new plastic can specifically for “making the trash” and it never got used for anything else.  Every Thanksgiving we would receive a large plastic tub of the stuff and it would last until well after the new year, return the tub and you get more next year.

This is one of our favorite “family traditions”, so I thought I would share.  Hope you enjoy.

The ingredients:
2 large boxes Cheerios
3 boxes Rice Chex
3 boxes Corn Chex
2 boxes Shredded Wheat (do not use Wheat Chex — they burn)
2 bags skinny Pretzel stix
1 X-Large box Goldfish
2 small bags Fritos
3 bags Oyster Crackers
2 boxes Wheat Thins
2 boxes Cheddar Squares
3 pounds toasted nuts(Pecans, Cashews, Walnuts & Peanuts–toast in the oven on 200 degrees for about 20-30 minutes)
Canola Oil
Lee & Perry’s Worcestershire Sauce
Garlic Powder (do not use garlic salt or it will be way too salty)
Lowry’s Season Salt (use Lowry’s–the off brand taste a little different)
Large Plastic Tub (for mixing cereal)–or if you just really want to, you can use a new/clean garbage can
Large Metal Pans (for baking)

Measure out the following and set aside:
2 1/4 cups Canola oil
6 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
6 Tablespoons Garlic Powder (mixed with) 3 Tablespoons Lowry’s Season Salt

At this point you have two choices:
1. Throw all the cereal, nuts and crackers into the “garbage can” or Large Plastic Tub and mix well. Remove in “batches” to finish off with seasonings.
OR
2. I prefer to do all my mixing “1 batch” at a time. This way I am more in control of the combination of ingredients in each batch, plus I don’t end up with a tub of cereal sitting around if it takes me more than one day to finish, as it usually does. The following directions are for 1 batch at a time.

For mixing 1 batch at a time I use a 4″d X 12″w X 20″l metal pan. I add 1 layer of each cereal at a time followed by the rest of the crackers and toasted nuts…

Start with Cheerios

Start with Cheerios

Add other cereal and goodies

Add other cereal and goodies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wash your hands really good and use them to mix it up, just makes it a lot easier.  Also makes it a lot more fun if you have a helper doing the pouring so you don’t have to get everything in the kitchen covered in Canola oil.  Once you have the pan almost full of cereal, crackers and nuts;  poor 2 1/4 cups of Canola oil over the top, immediately followed by 6 Tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce then; mix, mix, mix, toss, toss, toss, stir, stir, stir really well until everything is coated all nice and shiny.

Coat well with Canola Oil

Coat well with Canola Oil

Make sure there is no oil pooled at the bottom of the pan

Make sure there is no oil pooled at the bottom of the pan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sprinkle about 1/3 of the dry seasoning mix you set aside earlier (6 TBSP garlic powder and 3 TBSP Lowry’s) over the top and mix, mix, mix, toss, toss, toss, stir, stir, stir until well incorporated, repeat 2 more times.

Garlic and Lowry's mixed together

Garlic and Lowry’s mixed together

lightly cover with seasoning

lightly cover with seasoning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The picture here is just after sprinkling seasonings on top and before the mix, mix, mix process.  Make sure you are mixing, to the point that each piece has a little seasoning and no piece is drowning in it.

You can bake it in the large pan if you wanna go that route, it does take a little longer to get everything toasted.  We split ours into 2 smaller pans to make it easier to toss and makes the process go faster.  So, “split the batch” into 2 smaller pans and pop it in the oven at 200 degrees F.  Set the timer for 20 minutes, when the timer goes off take the pans out, stir the trash around a little, and put the pans back in the oven rotating them each time.  Repeat the process  5 more times for a total baking time of 2  hours.  The goal here is to get everything “toasted” so at the end of baking each piece should have a crunch to it.  When baking is completed remove from oven and dump trash out on a paper covered table to cool.

divide into 2 pans

divide into 2 pans

Trash 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I have 1 batch (split into 2 pans) in the oven, I am mixing up batch #2 in the larger pan.  This way, as soon as batch #1 comes out of the oven I am ready to go with batch #2.  The total ingredients listed above makes about 6 batches which is ridiculously way more than any one family needs.  Then again you can put it in little tins or mason jars to pass out to family and friends, send some to out-of-town relatives,  give the college kids some to take back to school after the holidays, or whatever.  Nana and Maw would always make this at Thanksgiving and it would get nibbled on throughout the entire holiday season right through until New Year’s Eve.  Yes, it last that long if you have it in an airtight container.

Trash 9

If you don’t want or need this ridiculous amount of trash it can be cut down very easily.  Just remember this:  “1 batch” is approximately 2 1/2 gallons of dry cereal, crackers and nuts.  To each “1 batch” you will need 2 1/4 cups Canola Oil, 6 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce, 6 TBSP Garlic Powder and 3 TBSP Lowry’s Season Salt.  Otherwise you end up with this:

Trash 10Yes, we are crazy for the trash!  Today I will be making “trash bags” for all the kids to take home and a few to mail out to relatives.  The rest will be consumed in large quantities during the two-week period we have Christmas company.

Merry “Christ”mas everyone!

When your fingers go walking………..

8 Dec

Way, way, way back in July, my fingers were doing some shopping without consulting “the man” and ordered fruit trees online. My reasoning was simple;  In order to make jam I need fruit, why buy fruit at the market when we can just as easily grow it ourselves.  If we have our own fruit trees not only can we sell the fruit, we can make jam too.  I mean come on, it was just a couple of trees, three actually: 1 apple, 1 peach and 1 plum.  What could it hurt, these three little trees, and they’re dwarf so they won’t take up much room.  Due to arrive after wedding #3 (Oct 6), I had plenty of time to inform his highness and make preparations.

A few weeks later I received a nice little pre-printed note from the nursery informing me that since my trees could not be shipped for several months they were “giving me” 4 free trees as a way of thanking me for my early order.  I looked at the list of potential freebies and selected 4 free Raspberry bushes, what the heck it’s free right.

3 fruit trees + 4 Raspberry bushes = 7 living plants needing site preparation (not too bad, I can handle this)

A few more weeks go by and I am needing a break from pre-wedding planning so I figure it’s time to do a little research on my recent purchase.  Yeah, well, shoulda done that first.  What I discover is that my apple and plum trees will benefit from a pollinator, which also means I need more trees.  Pollinator research completed, my fingers go back to the nursery to order companions for the aforementioned apple and plum trees.

I’m not real sure what happened after that, the poor things must have been tired after all that research or maybe just a little frustrated.  It could have been a spasm of some kind or side effect from ordering all those invitations, truffles and sparklers for 200 people.  I printed out my receipt and stared at the paper.  What on earth have I done?

2 apple, 2 plum and 2 peach (I mean really why not make it 3 of each?)

and then the freebies I somehow got to order at the end of checkout:

2 raspberry, 3 blackberry, 5 grape and 3 sweet bay magnolia for show (and how is this company  making any money?)

FOR A GRAND TOTAL OF:

3 apple + 3 peach + 3 plum + 6 raspberry + 3 blackberry + 5 grape + 3 sweet bay magnolia =  26 living plants needing site preparation, followed by planting, watering and TLC over winter!

I take a deep breath and find a way to gently let the man know we have an orchard on the way.  At the time he was working on his “Father of the Bride” speech so he may not have actually heard the numbers, on account of he took the news so well.  I wasn’t going to rock that boat so I just eased on out of that conversation.

The wedding comes and goes without a hitch on October 6.  Two weeks later daughter #4 gets engaged.  Two weeks and two days after that the phone rings and all hell breaks loose with Maw.  (and) Two weeks and two days after THAT the orchard arrives.

Was I ready? %@&&, NO!

By the time the orchard arrived, Maw was recovering from her surgery, and Uncle J had arrived for an extended stay to look after Maw;  going back and forth from the big hospital and then back and forth from “the hospital” every day.  I was taking a much-needed break from tending to Maw to clean house and get ready for the kids to come home for the weekend, and to prepare Thanksgiving dinner for 27 people.  Just as the mirliton sat in their box for a while before I found time to get them in the ground, the orchard wound up in a bucket to chill out over Thanksgiving weekend.

We managed to get the apple, plum and peach trees in the ground the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  The raspberry and sweet bay magnolia followed a few days later, although I’m thinking about relocating the raspberry as I’m not completely convinced we chose the right location.  The blackberry and grape are now in a smaller bucket on the kitchen counter, placed there on purpose to stare me in the face.  You would know the best spot for them will require several hours/days of ground work to remove overgrowth, weeds, grass and work the soil.

Wouldn’t you know it, the forecast for today and tomorrow:    Rain          🙂

When the phone rings……..

7 Dec

So I am anticipating the arrival of my new seed, the phone rings and all hell breaks loose…………….

first a little background info:          Maw is my husbands 99-year-old grandmother.  On February 23, 2013 she will be 100!  Maw has lived in what is now our home, since she was 3 years old.  She gave birth to her children in the main room of the house where the 110 year old fireplace is located, and in the room that for lack of a better word we call the dining room, although we don’t actually “dine” there.  In her better years she was a homemaker, a seamstress, crocheted many a blanket, tended a garden, canned and/or preserved vegetables, fruit and meat, she was a wonderful cook, and a remarkable artist in many mediums — pencil drawings, pastels, acrylic and oil paintings, ceramics and even jewelery making, she read bible stories to her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren and even her great-great-grandchildren and gave art lessons to them after school.  To top all that off she was a hairdresser until she was 90 years old.  A remarkable woman who had(has) a positive impact on many, many lives.

In her 96th year after a hospital stay for low potassium, followed by a fall that resulted in a broken wrist, all complicated by a growing Dementia, the decision was made (by her son) that she would be better off with 24 hour a day supervision.  Therefore she was admitted to “the hospital” to live her remaining years.  We call it “the hospital” because (back in the day) when you put someone in the nursing home it was referred to as “the dying place” and that just wouldn’t do, so “the hospital” it became.  Having spent the previous 3 years taking care of Maw in her home, I volunteered to be one of her primary contacts for any emergency at “the hospital”.

Okay so……….

The phone rang, I look at the caller ID and it says “The Hospital”, &%^$ what now.  Over the weekend we had a call concerning a “possible fall” (nobody witnessed it), Maw was complaining that her right leg was hurting as a result of this fall.  They ordered an x-ray which came back negative for fractures or breaks.  Both myself and my husband inquired as to the possibility that her femoral artery bypass (performed 30 years previously) was failing and were both assured it was not in question.

On the other end of the phone is the “wound care specialist” informing me that as Maw had continued to complain about her right leg hurting, from “the fall”, she had been called in to check things out, ordered a sonogram and found none other than a femoral occlusion!  &%^$ could ya have maybe looked for that on Saturday after me AND my husband asked about it?

I made several pone calls as I rushed to get to the ER where they were sending her, informing my husband, my sister-in-law and Maw’s son of her condition, plus a mass text to the great-grands.  Four hours later the ER doctor is confirming this diagnosis and offering me (us) 2 choices of treatment:

Choice 1:  perform surgery to repair the occlusion. (okay)

Choice 2:  give a round of IV antibiotics and send her back to “the hospital” where the antibiotics will relieve the pain and swelling for (oh) about 3 weeks, then it will become inflamed and painful again.  At that point they would repeat the antibiotics for another 3 weeks of comfort, until gangrene set in, at which point they would simply make her comfortable until the gangrene took over.

NO &%^$, those were my 2 choices!!!

We’ll take the surgery thank you very much!  Who in their right mind would “choose” to allow their grandmother to endure the horror of Choice #2???

Several hours in an ER is long enough for any patient to have to bear, let’s remember however, that Maw has the added bonus of Dementia.  All this time she has been her normal sweet adorable self, so I delude myself into believing that all is well and I am in control of the situation.  This was NOT the case after making the 1 hour trip to a larger hospital where the surgeon was located.  By the time they let me into the cubicle where they had put Maw, Dementia was in full swing and I was in for the ride of my life.  Eight hours into Maw’s ordeal I am exhausted, and my phone is on fire from the calls and texts when my husband walks in.  By this time and after several more tests have been completed, we learn the artery is so deteriorated it can not be repaired, there is nothing viable left to bypass, and an amputation must be performed!

To say her hospital stay was uneventful would be a total and complete lie.  First of course there was the amputation, a major deal in itself.  If that wasn’t bad enough, there was the “discovery of the amputation” multiple times, thanks to the dementia.  Then of course we had “phantom pain”, which is even more confusing for a Dementia patient!  Change of any kind is difficult for someone with this debilitating disease, even something as simple as a new room-mate can be complicated.  The trip to the first ER, followed by the second ER, the loss of her leg, nurses in and out, and the morphine drip had our sweet, sweet Maw in a total and complete dementia episode to the point she barely recognized anyone.

We were greatly relieved when they returned her to “the hospital” and she entered all smiles; actually recognizing her room, and belongings.  She completely enjoyed the attention her return brought her as one staff member after another, and one fellow resident followed by others came to tell her they had missed her.  Dementia aside, our little Maw has been a real trooper throughout her ordeal, and we are ever amazed and oh so proud of her.

This past week I traveled with her to the surgeons office for her 4 week check up and staple removal.  We laughed together in the waiting room as she informed me that now she only needed 1 shoe, but they made her buy 2 anyway.  Here she is, our 99-year-old grandmother making jokes about having only one leg.  Gotta love our Maw!

I look back over the stories of Maw’s life and see that it has been blessed.  A few days after surgery she looked at me and said, “All I want to do is go to sleep and not wake up, but God hasn’t taken me home yet so He must have a reason why I’m still here.  What do you suppose that is?”  I held back the tears as I gently kissed her face and said, “Maybe God knows we still need you here with us honey.”

The mirliton seed arrived right on schedule, but of course I simply set them aside.  They sat in the box for nearly two weeks as we tended to our sweet and precious Maw.  They are now safely encased in their little hay filled holes (in the ground) to over-winter until spring.  The fruit trees arrived a few days before Thanksgiving, which has come and gone, and with it a house full of company.   Somehow during all of this we managed to scout out and secure a barn for daughter #4’s reception and set the wedding date for July 29, 2013.

Hhmmm, the fruit trees arrived, one day I might just learn to plan ahead……………………….

Oh no, not again…? :-)

24 Nov

Most of this year was spent planning the wedding of daughter #3.  That successfully carried out Ralph and I thought we would have some time to relax, catch up on the farm, and enjoy the holidays.  hahahahahahahahaha

We got home from wedding #3 and barely unpacked when boyfriend #4 decided it was time to pop the question.

Two weeks TO THE DAY after wedding #3, daughter #4 became engaged!

Lord help me, please!

Hahahahaha     hahahahaha     hahahahaha

Hahahahahahahaha     hahahhahahahahahaha

Hahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahaha    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Okay, I feel better.

We’ve had some pretty difficult trials and tribulations in the past with the boys/men our daughters have chosen to date/get involved with.  My biggest fear has always been that they would end up with someone who treated them badly or abused them in some way.  That is of course every parents nightmare.  And I suspect we came close a time or two.

I don’t know what we did right, or what we didn’t do wrong but somehow, someway, all 4 of our precious babies have ended up with men that are perfectly suited for each of them.  As an added bonus, they all fit in, compliment and complete our family!

So even tho I am once again in wedding mode, things I want to get done on the farm will take a backseat to another wedding, and my job title will continue to be wedding planner instead of fledgling farmer………

I couldn’t be happier!

8 Oct

Lord have Mercy, Praise Jesus and Thank you my Heavenly Father, it is done!!!!!!!

October 6, 2012 our beautiful, intelligent, warm, loving, compassionate, strong minded, little bit geeky, rural-country raised daughter was married to a sweet, handsome, zombie loving-game playing, also little bit geeky, Texas A & M, city raised metro boy.  I just want to say, “It’s about dang time!” and, “Welcome to the family!”

They are now in Jamaica enjoying their honeymoon.  It will drive me insane until their feet are on American soil once again.  That would be Texas of course, don’t ya know.  I don’t know why, but I just can’t stand when my girls are not where I can get my hands on them, if necessary.  It’s not that I’m a control freak mom cause Lord knows I’m not.  It’s just the whole health, safety, protective thing that all mom’s and dad’s have in their head.  The night before the wedding, this particular daughter accidentally cut her hand while attempting to cut a price tag off of a sun hat.  Left hand of course, between the thumb and index finger.  Not that big but could have used a stitch or some glue.  Well ya know, at 3 am in the morning when you don’t have insurance ya clean it good, stick a band-aid on and go about your merry business.  Here I am thinking about a 1/4 inch gapped open boo boo swimming around in the nasty waters of Jamaica.  It’s a little bitty thing but it keeps me from worrying about all the other things one has to worry about where your child is on the other side and within spitting distance of Cuba.

Please, please, please, please, please do not leave the resort cause there really are gorillas in the jungle, and I’m not talking about the kind that eat bananas!  Why is it that all the cool places to go on your honeymoon are surrounded by machine gun-toting idiots?

So, I’m back here on the farm and I’ve been told to take it easy this week.  Really? LOL Okay.

I was out-of-town for only 4 days, in which time the temperature dropped 30 degrees!  We’ve got 6 birds that need to be butchered, a coop that needs to be cleaned out, sterilized and converted into a duck pen.  Arrangements need to be made to pick up the 625 gallon water tank we are getting to convert to a duck pond.  The vegetable garden needs row covers to prolong the growing period.  The garlic arrived while I was gone so I’ve got to get that in the ground.  In three weeks the apple, peach and plum trees, along with the raspberry and blackberry bushes and the muscadine grape vines will arrive for a total of 20 plants that need planting.  LOL, at the moment I have no idea “where” they are going.  And they are all due to arrive the same week the hubby doodle is due to go on his next great fishing trip.  Won’t that be fun!

Life on the farm is a little laid back and damn busy all at the same time.