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Sunday, July 31, 2011

So long hot dry July...

July is leaving in a blast of hot dry air and August isn't promising anything different. I'm always happy to say so long to July, even though it is my birth month. Summer is my least favorite season and July offers all that I dislike about summer...stinging and biting insects, hot weather, no rain, snakes, etc. At least with August I know Autumn is just around the corner.

I went out this afternoon in near 100 degree heat to pick my green beans. Sadly, July was not kind to the garden and the green beans are not worth picking. They are dry and tough with no beans inside. The cantaloupes are done, the cucumbers have withered away and all that is left are some very small bell peppers, spindly tomato vines with small tomatoes and butter beans that have gone nuts. Yeah, I'm pinning my hopes on those crazy butter bean vines! I tried to dig up a carrot to see how large they were, but the ground was so hard I needed a jack hammer to get it out!

So long July and good riddance! I'll see you next year and I can promise one year will be too soon for me!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sneaking up on those senior citizen discounts...

Fifty-two years ago today Frank and Edrena welcomed their first baby into the world (that would be me). They were a young couple and had been anxiously awaiting their baby's overdue arrival (funny how that trait has followed me through life...I'm always running late) which finally happened two weeks past Edrena's due date. I was a beautiful baby and a joy to be around (that's obvious in the photo above, right?) so every year on this date the whole world rejoices!

Okay, enough with the fantasy stuff...I was an average baby and a major pain in the rump in my teens, but fortunately I've outgrown my teen angst. Now I just have old timer's angst...achy joints, white hair, wrinkles, and forgetfulness. At least I have something to look forward too...senior citizen discounts! I've been getting those AARP membership envelopes in the mail for the last two years and in a few more years I'll be able to fill one out and mail it back. YIPPEE...not.

All in all, it's been a good birthday. Don got me some books and THREE birthday from him, one from the cats and one from the dogs. My in laws were in town Wednesday and treated me to dinner and brought a gift...a lovely musical figurine of a mama bird and her babies. My wonderful daughter, son-in-law and grandson sent me a card with a Kohls gift card in it so I went shopping this morning before Don went to work. My sister-in-law sent me a funny card and my son called me to wish me a Happy Birthday. Oh, my dear little grandson called and sang Happy Birthday to me! That made this Granny very happy!

So thank you Frank and Edrena for giving me a birth day and being great parents. I really appreciate it and think I'll give my mom a call now and wish her a happy birthday too. After all, it's as much a birth day for her as it is for me!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Little gestures that touch my heart...

During my lifetime I've come to realize it is the little gestures that mean the most and make life special. Don is good at little gestures, which is one of the reasons I love him. Today he brought me a cluster of Trumpet Vine blooms and wished me an early Happy Birthday. Isn't it lovely?

Of course, it will probably be the only time he ever brings me Trumpet Vine since I informed him (after thanking him for it) that it is toxic and can cause a skin rash. It's even known as Cow Itch Vine! On the other hand, it's also known as Hummingbird Vine because the hummingbirds love it and that makes it a welcome plant on our farm. I also think it's quite pretty and am not to concerned about it being an invasive weed.

In the years we've lived on the farm Don has brought me quite a few wildflower bouquets, plus feathers, turtle shells, snakes (which is a bit disconcerting, especially when he brings them in the house), moths, and small bones. He usually wants me to identify the bones.

I love these little gifts. They let me know that when he is out walking the property I'm in his thoughts and in his heart every day. For me, this sprig of Trumpet Vine is far more special than a bouquet of flowers delivered to the door. This little toxic twig tells me he paused during his daily routine and thought about me, instead of making a hasty last minute save the day call to order something. No, my piece of Trumpet Vine is far more personal and I truly love it.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Creatures of the night...

I love creatures of the night...the moths and bugs that crowd my porch light! Whenever I see an interesting one I have to snap it's photo and then learn all I can about it.

Above is a Walnut Sphinx Moth perched on a dog food bag. The larvae feed on walnut and hickory trees, both of which we have here on (or near) the farm. In my research I've read that they make a squeaking sound when disturbed. I guess I wasn't disturbing the one above when it sat on my hand because it never made a squeak!

A couple days ago Don came in with another Walnut Sphinx Moth he'd found in the garage. It was much larger than the one pictured, but was the same color. (They come in a variety of colors so it's easiest to identify them by the unique shape of their wings.) After we admired the moth's huge body, bulging black eyes and beautifully marked wings Don took it out and set it free.

I guess old habits never die. When my son was a small child he had a little green lizard. We would leave the porch light on and then catch moths to feed the lizard. Here it is 24 years later and I am still out on the front porch most nights looking at moths! I continue to be amazed at the variety, the color and the beauty of nature's night creatures.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Rain, glorious rain!

It rained today! Not a glorious amount (actually, barely enough to tamp down the dust), but the storm that brought the drizzle was quite glorious with all the lightning and thunder. Gave the dogs quite a scare and I spent several hours this afternoon with dogs huddled around me. My pitiful beagle, Tadhg, shook like a leaf.

Things have quieted down now, inside and out. The dogs are snoozing and the thunder has given way to the happy sound of singing birds. Best of all the temperature dropped to 79 degrees which makes me want to sing too! Ah, it feels nice!

For the second time since we've lived here there was a double rainbow in the eastern sky. I can never get a good photo of it, but hopefully you can see both in the picture above. Superstition leads me to think a double rainbow must mean double the luck. If that's the case maybe it's going to rain twice as much tomorrow! However, according to this old poem, my double dose of luck may come in another form:

A rainbow in the Eastern sky,
The morrow will be fine and dry.
A rainbow in the West that gleams,
Rain tomorrow falls in streams.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hanging on...

I just came in from giving the outside critters some fresh cool water. Told each of them to just hang on like the grasshopper and find themselves some shade in the grass or under a tree. They all seemed grateful for the cool drink and a misting down.

You see, it's hot out there. To look at the weekly temps for next week one would think this is a fairly mild summer since we're only predicted for highs in the low 90s. It's the heat index and humidity that's making us so miserable. No breeze doesn't help either! As I type it is 93 degrees, but the heat index is at 108 degrees. We have a predicted 50 percent chance of rain tomorrow and I sure hope it happens. There's been no rain in over a month now, other than a few fat drops several days ago.

The dogs refuse to go outside. They're all sprawled around the house napping. The chickens look absolutely miserable with their mouths agape and their wings held out. They were grateful for the fresh water, so were the backyard dogs.

The rabbit is snoozing next to his bottle of ice and the ducks are now happily splashing in their fresh water. They love to be sprayed with the water hose and it is hilarious to watch them trying to catch the spray in their mouths as they lean into it.

I was only out there for 20 minutes, but I swear I could feel my skin burning. I do believe it's time for me to have a bowl of ice cream and chill for a bit. Yep, that sounds like a good way to hang on in this heat!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cantaloupe anyone?

We're drowning in cantaloupes! This year I planted a row of breakfast cantaloupes (small size when ripe) and they are producing more than we can eat. Well, I guess we could have cantaloupe for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but feel sure that approach would burn us out on cantaloupe eating very quickly.

So, I am asking for cantaloupe recipes! Anyone make cantaloupe pickles? Is there such a thing as cantaloupe casserole? BLECH...just the thought of that turns my stomach! I'm sure I've seen recipes for cantaloupe soup and cantaloupe ice cream. Hmmm...wonder if I could get Don to eat those?

If I can't find any good ways to use these up I will have to feed them to the ducks and chickens. Ducky, my old Pekin, loves cantaloupe. I think she could eat her weight in cantaloupe and she's chubby duck. The chickens like cantaloupe too so it wouldn't go to waste. We also have a dog, Drake, who loves cantaloupe!

If you have a great recipe using cantaloupe, or a favorite way to eat cantaloupe, please feel free to leave a comment and share with me. I'm desperate here! They're taking over the kitchen! HELP....

Friday, July 22, 2011

Making hay while the sun shines...

Yesterday  our hay was baled and I am relieved it is done and over with, at least until Fall. Hay baling time is very nerve wracking around here. Our dogs do not like having strangers on big loud equipment driving around and around the house.

When the farmer came last week to cut the hay the dogs were outside barking like mad. So, I brought them inside where they stood at the windows and barked like mad! Same thing happened when the farmer and his helper came back yesterday to bale it up. When they left I let the dogs out, thinking they would calm down, but I was so wrong! They stood at the fence and barked at the bales of hay! By the end of the day I had a headache from all the racket.

Fortunately the dogs are all laid out and dozing due to the heat today. No one has any energy to bark. Don counted the bales and we have a dozen big rolls of hay...more than enough for the horses this winter. If they do another cutting in the Fall we may actually have hay to sell...a first for us!

In the past we have let a farmer cut the hay in exchange for half of it. This year we get to keep all the hay because the farmer who baled it used our 13 acre field to plant corn. We're doing a barter type thing with him and I think it's going to work out pretty good.

The dogs probably disagree!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

RIP Aunt Rosie...

About a year ago I saw an ad on Craigslist of two chickens being given away. One was a rooster, the other an older Rhode Island Red hen. I can't pass up free critters and was needing a rooster after mine lost his head (literally). So I drove to Strayhorn and picked up the two free chickens. The rooster I named Strayhorn and the hen was named Aunt Rosie (I name all my hens "Aunt"...I don't know why, but it just seems right).

Aunt Rosie was already an old girl when I got her, but I was happy to provide her with a comfortable retirement home. She never laid us an egg, but she was a pleasant chicken and got along with the two other hens, Aunt Bernice and Aunt Bertha.

For the past few days Aunt Rosie has not been herself. I knew the end was near when she refused to eat and wouldn't stand up. She just sat in the shade and dozed. We debated on whether or not to end her suffering, but she didn't seem to be suffering and, when Don went out to do the deed, she was standing up and clucking so he left her alone.

Yesterday morning Don found her dead in her little house. She seemed to have passed away in her sleep. I'm sure the hot weather had something to do with her passing, but mostly it was just old age. Now she is buried in the garden. Rest in peace Aunt Rosie.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Leaving the nest...

Every year we have a pair of barn swallows come to our back porch to raise their family. They've been using the same nest for four years now and it is in the perfect spot for me to watch them from the kitchen sink. It's a sight that makes washing dishes a more pleasant chore.

This has been a tough year though. Towards the end of May we had a very chilly night and the two parents slept on the nest to keep their fledglings warm. A few days later I commented to Don that the three babies had left the nest. We both thought it seemed early for them to leave so Don went to take a peek in the nest. Sadly, he found all three dead. We figure they must have smothered the night their parents tried to keep them safe from the chill. Don removed them from the nest and I told him the nest would have to come down as the birds would no longer use it.

To our delight the barn swallow parents immediately started building a new nest. It isn't in as good a spot for me to watch from the kitchen sink, but I don't mind. I'm just glad they stayed. Shortly after the nest was finished the mother barn swallow began sitting again and it wasn't long before she hatched two little birds with gaping mouths. Once again I got to watch the parents diligently feeding their hungry offspring and held my breath every time one of the fledglings got to close to the edge.

Last week they left the nest. I knew it was time. They had most of their adult feathers and looked like miniature versions of their parents. Fortunately, they have continued to return to the nest at night and rest on the porch during the heat of the day. The fledglings were easy to spot at first. They still had fuzzy heads and looked more long-legged than their parents due to their smaller body size.

Today there are no barn swallows on the porch. I believe the parents have taken their children out into the world now, away from the safe haven of my back porch. I wish them safe travels and I hope they eat all the mosquitoes they can find!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Another lazy southern Sunday summer afternoon...

Here it is, another lazy southern Sunday summer afternoon and all I want to do is curl up in a box like Murphy's doing! Been listening to John Prine today and feeling really mellow.

It's fairly pleasant out for July in Mississippi...87 degrees and a nice breeze blowing. That breeze makes all the difference, even the mosquitoes lay low and leave me alone when there's a breeze.

I'll probably mosey on down to the pond in a little while and just sit still and listen to the birds singing. Until then I need to head upstairs and work on some quilt blocks I'm making for a block swap. Started them last night and should be able to finish in a couple hours.

Then again, I may just go take a nap. John Prine seems determined to sing me a lullabye!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hot house flowers? No thanks!

Today I had to venture off the farm to do my grocery shopping and errands, a task I dislike, but especially dislike on Saturday. So, to cheer myself up I thought about buying some flowers at the grocery store. However, once I walked in the door I changed my mind.

As I stood there looking at the glads (which were on sale this week), the roses, daisies, etc. all I could think about was how harmful these lovely flowers were to our environment. Every time I see commercially grown flowers I remember an article I read on the amount of rain forest lost to flower farms. On top of that is the amount of fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, nematocides, etc. that are used to raise flowers...all of which are harmful to the environment and human health.

So, I kept walking. I have lovely flowers right here at home, courtesy of Mother Nature. They are as natural as can be...not a bit of chemical fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, nematocides, etc. made these flowers grow. Nope, all it took was some dirt, some rain and some bright sunshine. It doesn't get any better than that!

Now I have a lovely bouquet of orange butterfly weed and white Queen Anne's Lace. It only took a few minutes to go gather the flowers and didn't cost me a penny. No fuel was used to ship the flowers to me, nor did I have to get in my car to go buy them. Nope, I just walked out the door on my own two feet, took a few stalks from each plant (I never strip a plant because I want it to continue to grow and be healthy), thanked Mother Nature and am now enjoying my lovely vase of wildflowers.

I hope you have a lovely Saturday. Take a moment to step outside and enjoy Mother Nature's beauty. Bring a bit back into the house to brighten it up. Mother Nature won't mind. She likes to share!

Friday, July 15, 2011


I just enjoyed a yummy homemade chocolate cupcake. I don't make cupcakes often, but prefer them over cakes because those tend to get wasted here. I always find myself throwing out the last couple of slices because it has gotten old. Cupcakes are the perfect solution since there are only two of us. I freeze them and only take out the amount I think we'll eat in a few days. No wasted cupcakes for us!

In an effort to eliminate high fructose corn syrup and artificial ingredients (not to mention my meager efforts to cut down on plastics) I've stopped buying those tubs of frosting at the grocery store. Fortunately I came up with a simple frosting that is super easy to measuring involved!

First, I allow about three ounces of cream cheese and a couple tablespoons of butter to soften. Then I use my handheld mixer to blend these until fluffy. Add a dash of vanilla flavoring and keep blending. Slowly add powdered sugar until the correct consistency is achieved. BAM...frosting! To make chocolate frosting I add cocoa, then start adding the powdered sugar. It's so good and so easy I don't think I'll ever make any other kind of frosting from now on.

Don likes a little dessert in his work lunchbox every day and a cupcake is perfect. The only problem is trying to stop myself from eating the rest of them! I've had my one for the day...hopefully I can keep my paws off the rest!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sumac Jelly anyone?

A few days ago I noticed the Sumac (I believe it to be Smooth Sumac) was loaded this year. I had heard that Sumac is edible so I immediately began to research and read up on the subject. Sure enough, a very refreshing drink can be made of the drupes (seed clusters) once they ripen to a nice deep red. The drink has a citrus flavor and is very high in Vitamin C.

Hmmm...interesting! I kept researching and learned that Sumac also makes a nice jelly. Now, I love to make jelly out of unusual things (kudzu and elderberry are two favorites, although our absolute favorite is dewberry jelly) so I most definitely plan to make some sumac jelly. I'm really looking forward to making some elderberry-sumac jelly as I've read that the sumac enhances the flavor of the elderberries. Yummy, sounds good to me!

From what I've learned, making sumac tea is easy. Pick the drupes when they are a deep red color. It might be wise to taste one to make sure they are flavorful as the flavor comes from the skin of the fruit and is easily washed away with rain. If you have flavorful fruit, steep it in cool water until the water is a nice color (you can do a taste test too). Strain through cheesecloth to remove the "hairs" of the fruit and the seed. Add sugar to taste, pour into a tall glass of ice and enjoy! It is supposed to be delicious.

The drupes also make a good spice for fish and chicken dishes. I need to do some more research on how to prepare it for spice. I know it is ground, but I'm not sure how it is processed.

As you can tell from the photo, my Sumac is not ready to be picked yet so I must have patience...a chore for me! However, after sharing my newfound knowledge with Don, he has agreed to stop bushhogging down the Sumac growing beside the driveway. 

By the way, many people believe Sumac is poisonous. This is not the case. There is a Poison Sumac, but it grows in swampy areas and has white berries. Staghorn and Smooth Sumac prefer well drained soil and has dark red berries. The two are very easy to distinguish due to these two characteristics.

Monday, July 11, 2011

So far it's a "let 'em in, let 'em out" kind of day...

The other night I saw a tee shirt in a catalog and told Don I needed to get it. The tee shirt read: "To Do List: Let the dog in, let the dog out, let the dog in, let the dog out." Actually, I'd need one that had "times 18" added to the end of it!

It has most definitely been THAT kind of day. Every five minutes one of the dogs has a desperate need to go outside. Five minutes later they desperately need to come back in and doze for five minutes then repeat the whole process again.

Normally I put the dogs out in the front yard when Don goes to work and they do really well. Today is excessively warm though...a heat index of 105 currently. I wouldn't want to be out in a fur coat when it feels like 105, so why should I make the dogs do it?

When we moved into this house we had naive ideas that dogs would use a doggie door and they would stay close to home. Now that we've learned different (cats will bring live rats into the house through a doggie door and dogs will explore miles away from home) the dogs are confined to our fenced in yard and the doggie door has been removed and replaced with a slab of sturdy wood bolted onto the door.

Anyway, it's getting old. I respect that the dogs feel it is their honor bound duty to make sure the front yard is secure and safe from zombies, buzzards and anything that moves, but come on! Every five minutes? I don't think a zombie invasion is going to move in on us in five minutes!

If you'll excuse me I need to go let Eoghan in and Conan out before one of them claws the door down.

P.S. If you'd like to help me feed all these mutts please click on an ad. Every click helps!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

In a pickle...

Recently I've found myself in a bit of a pickle or, to be more accurate, up to my elbows in pickles! For some unknown reason I planted an entire pack of cucumber seed around the scarecrow in my garden. Favorable weather conditions resulted in every single seed sprouting and every single cucumber vine to provide me with a bounty of cucumbers!

I'm not much of a cucumber eater and there's only so many cucumber slices marinated in Italian dressing that Don can eat for lunch. So, I've started making pickles. As you can see, I've canned eight pints of dill pickles and have two more pints in the fridge for snacking. Still, I have cucumbers coming out of my ears! So I'm going to put up some sweet pickles as well.

This will result in more pickles than we can eat, but perhaps I could give jars of pickles as Christmas gifts? I know one thing...Elvis and the chickens are not that fond of over sized cucumbers so I'll not put them on my Christmas pickle list!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sometimes life is sweet as honey...

Sometimes unexpected things happen and life is just a little sweeter. That's what we discovered yesterday when Don left for work. On his way out he stopped to check the box we have at the gate to see if I'd gotten a package in the mail. Turns out the box was full...of honey bees! Can you see them on the box in the picture above?

I've always had a knack for attracting (or finding) stray animals, but this is the first time I've had a swarm of honey bees find me! Don and I have always felt that we must have invisible signs floating over our heads that say "STRAYS WELCOME HERE" but we're quite surprised to find that bees can see those signs as well as a cat or dog.

Research and posting on a beekeeping forum shed some light on the situation. Don wants to move the box since it is so close to the driveway gate. Turns out he needs to do this at night...dusk actually. He needs to block the bees entrance into (and out of) the box with screen. He also needs to wear protective clothing.

At first we thought about contacting a beekeeper to come get the box of bees, but now Don is thinking it might be really cool to set up a hive and have our own honey in the future. How sweet is that? Free honey for the taking! Seems like Mother Nature has offered us a sweet deal that we'd be nuts to turn down. Hmmm...or is it nuts to think about keeping a swarm of bees at your house?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Goodies from the garden...

Every Spring Don and I have grand plans for the garden that we never quite achieve for one reason or another. Last year we ended up not having a garden at all because Don had shoulder surgery and wasn't able to use the tiller.

This year we planted a huge garden and are now struggling to banish the weeds that threaten to take over. We've found that it's very difficult to convert pasture into garden...miss a week of weeding and it's pasture again! So now we have grand plans for this Fall to heavily mulch our garden in hopes of killing off some of the grass and weeds.

Still, it's fun to go out every evening to see what the garden has in store for us. We both get excited over garden "babies" and tiny veggies like the baby cantaloupes and tiny new butter beans we have right now. There's also another game we play where we put all the day's harvest together and figure out what we could prepare if this was all the food we had to eat.

That's what the photo above day's harvest from our farm which consisted of two eggs, an onion, the last bit of broccoli and squash - yellow and zucchini. We decided we could make a squash casserole with a broccoli/cucumber salad on the side. Doesn't sound bad, does it?

It gives us a sense of security in knowing that we can provide for ourselves should we ever need to do so. Of course, we'd probably get really tired of eating squash every day!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Teddly the Garden Toad

I'd like to introduce you to Teddly, my little garden toad. A few months back I discovered him all snuggled into a nice little toad hole in my new strawberry bed (above). Unfortunately it didn't take long for some fire ants to build a big nest there also and Teddly vacated the premises.

I really missed the little guy. We had some nice chats while I was pulling weeds and preparing the garden for planting (he was a great listener). It was quite a delight to find him living under the cucumber vines recently and our afternoon chats have resumed. Mostly they consist of me promising Teddly to be careful not to step on him while I'm picking cucumbers...something I've been doing a lot lately!

Teddly isn't the only toadie in the garden. While preparing a flower bed in the front of my garden this Spring I found a very unusual toad...a small red toad with black spots and a pointed nose. I thought this type of toad only lived in rain forests! A bit of research revealed that I had found an Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad. They are secretive (which is why I've probably never seen one before) and like to hang out in their underground burrows, which is where I found this one.

I'd found another one in the garden a year or so ago when I busted up a rotted piece of log that my frog statue sat on. It was black, but I suspect it was also an Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad as they can change color based on their environment.

Teddly and his shy little friends are most welcome in my garden as they eat insects. Anything that helps cut down on the insects devouring my vegetable plants is going to get a hearty welcome from me!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Mother Nature's Fireworks...

Happy 4th of July! We've been having quite a fireworks display here, courtesy of Mother Nature. The storms moved in around 2 p.m. and so did all the dogs! We have several dogs who are terrified of storms for one reason or another. Poor little Tadhg, our bluetick beagle, was shaking like a leaf and Katie immediately tucked herself under the computer desk (as you can see in the photo above). I don't know how she crams herself into that little area under there, but today Conan finally managed to cram himself in there with her!

I'm late posting today because the power kept going off and on so I had to turn the computer off and wait it out. Plus, it would have been very difficult to type with the beagle that was in my lap and the eight or more dogs crowded around me!

There are two quilts on the clothesline, but I didn't get out there in time to bring them in. I guess Mother Nature thought they needed washing again! Did manage to get the windows up in the Yukon before the interior got very wet and I closed the garage door so the backyard dogs, Guinness and Finn, could weather the storm in there. If I hadn't let them in the garage Guinness was determined to claw his way through the back door!

The weather and the dogs have settled down now so hopefully I can accomplish something today. From the looks of the photo above I need to sweep floors and reupholster our old footstool!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Summer Sundays in the South...

Hermione relaxing on the back of the couch.

I'm so sleepy I can barely keep my eyes open. Just a typical summer Sunday here in the South...drowsy, slow and relaxed. Even the dogs are sprawled about napping. Drake's snoring isn't helping my eyelids stay up one little bit either!

Growing up in Alabama Sunday afternoon in the summer was my favorite time of the week. There were no chores to do and the whole afternoon was mine to do as I pleased. Mornings were spent at church, then home to a big dinner (that's what lunch is called in the South) and afterwards I could usually be found somewhere comfy with my nose in a book.

Things are different now. Don works on Sundays so it's just another weekday in our house. However, the afternoons still retain that easy going Southern atmosphere that I felt growing up. The whole world seems so still and quiet. The low droning of insects lulls everyone into a stupor and honestly, I think I'm going to head upstairs and take a nap!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Run, run as fast as you can!

Late yesterday afternoon I was on the front porch watering the flowers when I noticed a piece of broken glass on the porch. There is a tub that's been sitting on the back side of the porch for over a year. It contains canning jars. I picked up the piece of glass (it was from a jar) and went to get the tub and bring it into the house. I was planning to wash the jars since I will need them for canning this year (not sure why Don put them on the front porch in the first place).

BIG MISTAKE! When I moved the tub red wasps swarmed out and I was stung once on the right ankle and once on the calf of my right leg before I could get into the house. Oh my! Red Wasp stings HURT like the dickens. I immediately put some Benadryl cream on the bites (the one on my ankle was bleeding) and took two Benadryl capsules. I am mildly allergic to stings and was concerned, but other than having chills, swelling, redness and pain I'm okay. I did a little research online and ended up making a paste of baking soda and water to apply to the stings. That really helped make the swelling go down and I highly recommend it should you get stung.

This morning the pain and swelling have subsided, but the two areas are extremely red. I'm just glad they no longer hurt. Last night I kept having bursts of pain that felt like I was being stung again, which was very annoying.

This afternoon Don went out armed with a can of wasp spray and a long stick. He discovered TWO nests in the tub and quickly took care of them. I stood inside at the window and told him where wasps were so he could spray them. He also took care of two more nests he found up in the eaves of the porch. Hopefully we are now wasp free and the front porch is a safe haven once again.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Welcome July, month of celebration!

Granny (me) with my daughter and grandson.
Ahh, July, the month that starts off with a bang and ends with one! Does anyone have big plans for the 4th? In years past we always had a big celebration here with family. There would be horse back riding, burgers on the grill and lots of fireworks in the evening. It was great fun to set up lawn chairs in the front yard and watch all the spectacular fireworks the guys had bought earlier in the day. The photo above is from a couple years back. We set up a kiddie pool in the front yard for my grandson, Jude. He had a blast while we were grilling. Unfortunately, jobs and distance have put an end to that so we will celebrate quietly this year.

However, there are still lots of celebrations this month. My mother-in-law's birthday is in July and mine is at the end of the month. Don usually takes me out to eat and to a movie. I'm not sure we'll do that this year. We both have doctor appointments on the 13th and will probably go out to eat then. We've pretty much stopped going to the theater...the price of tickets is outrageous and we much prefer to just watch a movie at home.

Did you know July is National Ice Cream Month? Don and I are ice cream fanatics. We always keep several cartons of Blue Bell Ice Cream in the freezer and enjoy a bowl every night at bedtime. Sometimes Don will stop on his way home from work and get me a pint of my favorite Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream - Chunky Monkey. Isn't that sweet?

I was quite surprised recently when Don told me he's never had homemade ice cream. I'm looking for a good, old-fashioned wooden hand-cranked ice cream maker now. Dang, those things are expensive! Wouldn't it be great fun to make Don some homemade ice cream in celebration of Ice Cream Month? Guess I better start looking harder!