Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Apple blossom time

The flowering crabapple trees have been so glorious this year that I wanted to share a few pictures with you.

The residential streets of Marysville are lined with these beautiful trees. It's the only time of year that I wish I lived in town.

At our son's house, this one is planted outside the breakfast nook window.

The view of Jaye's front yard from the sidewalk. It's a great sledding hill.

For my friends who might be the teeniest bit interested in how my first course in cake decorating went, here is the final lesson's cake.

We are so sick of cake and "buttercream" icing that I want to hurl every time I smell it. I'm taking this one to the Cub Scout Blue & Gold Banquet tonight. Won't all the boys be disgusted thrilled with the pink and green? I wish I had done a little better planning. I would have done the signature colors.  It's the Boy Scouts 100th Anniversary this year, so that's the reason for the inscription. Icing writing is not my forte, as you can tell. And those roses? They're not supposed to have those big holes in the center. I'm workin' on it.

Course II starts next Wednesday. I can't wait.

By the way, I am NOT fishing for compliments, so I would appreciate funny comments rather than sort-of-gushing ones, if you know what I mean.

For your springtime enjoyment, I give you the lovely Andrews Sisters.......

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My (nearly) green home

Since this is Earth Day, I decided to show you some of the ways in my home in which I try to help our beloved Mother Earth. We only have one home and we have to do our best to keep her healthy.

(click to enlarge)

Starting at the top left and going clockwise:

  1. Our barn is built from recycled vintage barn wood. Now we can't take the credit for building it, but it was a primary reason for us choosing this house.
  2. I keep a roll of paper towels in my kitchen, but I rarely use them. I have stacks and stacks of these white cotton towels that I use instead.
  3. We raise some of our own food in the warmer months as many of you do. The older raised beds are built from a recycled wooden fence. We use horse and chicken manure and finished compost as fertilizer and we use organic methods to control pests whenever possible. The chickens are a great pest removal system, but they also like to  eat the veggies!
  4. I try to dry as much of my laundry as I can on the clothesline.
  5. A few of my reusable shopping bags, and I really do use them.
  6. Cardboard boxes that I'm getting ready to take to the recycling center, along with anything else that can be recycled. We don't have curbside recycling out here in the country, so it's up to each individual. My grandkids think I'm funny when I bring home yogurt and milk cups and other #1 plastic containers from fast food places. FYI, I do try to avoid those places, but sometimes it just happens. I'm not perfect.
  7. The rain barrel at the corner of the barn, donated by my father-in-law. We use the water to nourish the veggies in the garden. I hope soon to install one at the corner of the house for my flowers.
  8. My chickens recycle lots of vegetable and fruit scraps, even stale bread and spaghetti noodles. This watermelon was forgotten at the back of the fridge and got a little too soft. The hens don't care about that! They especially love a cold one on a hot summer day! (And I don't mean beer!)
  9. The items that my chickens can't eat go into the compost heap in the corner of the veggie garden. I include coffee grounds with the unbleached paper filters and tea bags, too. This little composting bucket sits right beside my sink.
  10. We only use cloth napkins. I made a bunch of these (some of them are fifteen years old) and I also buy them at thrift stores when I can find them.
These are but a few of the many things that I do in my home, and outside, to help preserve our precious gift. Do you love our Mother Earth as I do?

This is a slightly expanded post of one that I did at Lens.Us.Together for Earth Day.
For my blogger friends who have already commented on LUT, you don't have to comment here, unless you really, really, really want to! ;-)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Monday Movie Meme....On Politics

Today I am appearing as the Monday Movie Meme's first ever Guest Director over at The Bumbles Blog. Molly recently added a chat forum on her blog and finding volunteers for this gig was one of her chosen topics. She "reeled" me in hook, line and sinker and "made me an offer I couldn't refuse".  She knows I love movies, so it was a pretty easy arm-twisting. I perused her past topics and noticed that she had never done political movies, so that's what I chose. Why don't you come on over to Molly's place and see the movies that inspired me. If you would like to play along and tell us your favorites, you can pick up the widget over there and also leave a link to your post in the comments. And if you decide to play, please be kind and visit your fellow Meme participants.

Here are Molly's picks:

All the President's Men

Citizen Kane

The People vs. Larry Flynt

Napoleon Dynamite

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Nothin' but cats

Judy at Split in Two requested new pictures of Sassy Clementine. She is growing up fast. Shortly after she came to live with us at about 3 months of age, she had her first estrus, so she was spayed forthwith. She's full of spit and vinegar and pretty much tortures the other cats and Lucy the dog as well. She loves playing outside and finds everything a huge adventure.

Here she is on the basement stairs.

Stalking a stray bug or what-not.

Sassy with her favorite playmate, Frankie, in the flower bed.

Resting after a wrestling match.

I love her coloring. And her fur is so, so rabbit fur.

Doesn't she look lovely in the evening sun?

Frankie is a sweet, sweet boy, but he gives Sassy a run for her money.

Tobey is my fat boy who lives to love. And he's an expert mouser.

Being half Siamese, Frankie's eyes are cutely crossed. He does have a slight vision problem though. He loves to give me lots of sweet kisses.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lookie what I found, part two

I've been hearing a strange barking sound in the woods behind the barn for about a week in the early morning and in the evening around dusk. I did a little research on YouTube and found the source of the sound.

(the first 30-40 seconds is the red fox's cry or bark)

I've surprised the fox behind the barn a couple of times and figured she is trying to figure out a way to get to my hens. Well, this evening I found out the primary reason she's hanging out there.

When I first surprised them, there were two kits. When I came back with the camera, only one of them ventured out. All that gravel you see is what the groundhogs have dug out from under the concrete floor of the barn. Obviously we should have been paying more attention to how bad it was on this northeast corner. The kit is actually inside the fence that surrounds the perimeter of the backyard and encloses three sides of the barn. The opening also goes out into the woods and that's how they made their way inside. I temporarily blocked the opening inside the fence while leaving the back open so they won't get trapped inside without their mother. Obviously the electric fence wire is not working. The kit was actually chewing on it while I watched.

Three of the hens were just a few feet away while I took pictures. Can you say sitting ducks?  I really can't believe that I haven't lost any of them. I'm sure the mama must be hungry and also trying to feed her babies. It would be hard to begrudge her a chicken dinner. I just hope there are plenty of non-egg-laying critters out there in the woods to keep them happy and well-fed.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A walk with my father-in-law

Visiting my in-laws in southern Ohio (also where I grew up) is always relaxing and their home in the country sits on top of of one of the longest unbroken ridges in the United States. It has the unappealing name of Greasy Ridge, but it is really lovely in Spring. They own twenty-two acres, fourteen of which was my father-in-law Carl's homestead. A few years ago they acquired the eight acres bordering their property when their friends who owned it had both passed away. The rickety old house where his mother lived until a few years before she died was torn down and replaced with a rustic farm house when they retired and moved back home about 15 years ago.

Dad keeps his own hiking trails mowed, so it's like having your very own state park...without all the crowds. I love walking there. Enjoy it with me.

My mother-in-law, Phyllis, has a very green thumb. Her bleeding heart is huge and gorgeous.

The redbud trees were in full bloom and were so beautiful lining the roadsides. The hills are so pretty this time of year when redbuds are alongside the dogwood trees.

There isn't much left of this one, but it's putting on a wonderful show.

The bridal wreath frames an outhouse on their neighbor's property.

The petals are so delicate and they shine in the sun.

This one is on the property that they added to their place. Someday we may build a home there. It has lots of fruit trees, crape myrtles, a gorgeous mimosa's a lovely setting.

One of the many apple trees there.

The plum trees are blooming as well.

One of my favorite spring bulbs is the paper-white narcissus. I have them in my garden, too.

Fungi on a downed log in the woods.

A log bridge that Dad built with my nephew Alexander.

A yellow violet (oxymoron?) near the end of our trail.

Back in the yard again and the lilacs in full bloom against the brilliant blue sky.

I hope you enjoyed our walk.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A "Grand" Parade

Our Easter parade took place in the front yard, starring our "grands".

Gaige forgot to wear his cool new shades that he found in his Easter basket at home and had sun grins. It didn't hamper him from finding lots of eggs in his fancy Kroger "basket" though.

Lauren is sporting her new glasses that change in the sun. She just started wearing them recently to correct a lazy eye. She only wanted the real Easter eggs and not the fake plastic ones...even though the fake ones had real candy and money hidden inside.

Nathan couldn't wait to run to the next hiding spot and he brought along his own Easter bunny to help find the eggs.

Kaitlyn didn't care which kind of eggs she found as long as she got her equal share.

Matthew was soooo excited! His mommy would throw a plastic egg near him where he could easily find it, and he would squeal with delight every time! It was the cutest thing

The lame cake that I threw together at the last minute. I only had about two hours after arriving home from Cincinnati to get the house cleaned and the food started before the family showed up!

The bouquet of daffodils that David picked for me from the woods between the front yard and the road. Don't pay any attention to the browned edges of some of them. That happened because I had to dowse the flowers in cold water to get all the little black bugs off them! There were hundreds of them!