Thursday, May 27, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Computer Blues

My home computer has given it up!

As I explained in an earlier post, I expect my stuff to last forever and h-a-t-e having to get something new. Right now, with the end of school and such, I have no time for picking out a computer.

Do you remember, way back in September, when Handy Man found a big green caterpillar on Kaye's apple tree. It spun this amazing cocoon of gold threads? Right after that I found another caterpillar at school. Both have been in jars in my room and both hatched last Friday and I would love to show you their picture, but it will have to wait until I get all this computer stuff figured out-fuss and bother!

Speaking of Kaye, she should be heading home from her vacation in Gulf Shores as I write this. 1st Lt. and Drummer Boy got her wood floors refinished. With the exception of them taking off too much water and bottoming out her BP at dialysis on Friday, it seems they have had a very wonderful trip- so happy for her!

Stay tuned for moth pictures coming your way soon!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wednesday Fun

May is chock full of activities, both in the classroom and out. It is second only to December in busyness. I always make tie-dyed tee shirts with my kiddos for them to wear on field day. Bean always asks what we did during the day and often wants me to repeat the activity at home.
So, we made tie-dyed shirts yesterday. Bean got away without me getting a picture of his.

Missy Bugg was quite proud of her shirt. As I've said before, she has an amazing attention span for one so young. Any three year old who can wield permanent markers and color a whole shirt, earns top marks in my book.
Uncle Jimi came to visit and brought a cool box turtle. Learning can be so fun and easy. I don't know why we make it so hard.

Miss Bugg is a budding photographer.
She snapped this pic of Uncle Jimi.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Garden Muck

Nothing much happening this evening, so a good night to work in the garden, except it wasn't.
Too much rain, everything is mucky.
No way I could hoe, so I just sat at the edges and plucked, in between hugging Arwen. Miss Arwen is insulted that I'd pay more attention to something as unworthy as a weed, when I could be playing with her.
I so carefully planted three little strips with poppies and covered it with very black potting soil. I left a space for me to kneel and weed between the strips. The rain washed away the top soil, so I don't know where it stops and starts.
Our weeds are horrible because I won't spray with anything, so I spent a lot of the evening on a scavenger hunt, searching for tiniest poppy sprouts among Jack in the Beanstalk weeds.
The peas are all abloom. Some blooms are white, others are lavender and purple. It looks like a flower garden. Tiniest peas are setting on.
It was just cool enough for the comfort of long sleeves. I love to be outside in such weather. Nothing inside holds as much interest as the tiniest thing I find outside.
This weekend I cut about 20 dollars worth of lettuce. A good return on my five dollars worth of seed. We had wilted lettuce salad for supper and it was delicious. I sent a big bag home with Rae-rae and have another big bag for a school lunch on Thursday.

My students are reading The Door in the Wall. The book is set in the Middle Ages and tells about a boy who contracts polio and is taken in by a Brother and cared for in a monastery. I invite the Sisters from the Benedictine Monastery to visit and the children compare the monasteries of today with ones from the past. I fix the Sisters lunch.
Have you ever been to The Dome in Ferdinand? If not, I'd highly recommend it-beautiful place.

Friday, May 14, 2010


I like flowers of all kinds, including roses. For the 20 something years I've lived here, I've tried to grow roses. I put them in the back, in the garden, in the front, in raised beds and nothin' much to show for it. I asked people what they did and got all kinds of advice, used epsom salts, pesticides, fertilizers and so forth. I got cheap roses and expensive roses, tea roses and old roses- phtttt-nothin'.
Once a friend a I were visiting Stream Cliff Farms and their roses were so lovely. I told my friend that she would be my accountability partner, and if these roses didn't make it, no more roses for me-ever! I bought two roses. About the only place I hadn't tried to grow them was on the right side of the house (if you're looking at the house, not in it), where there is a strip of lawn between the house and woods. The woods had about overtaken an old rock garden left by the previous owners, so I decided I'd move the rocks closer to the house and make a bed.
Until this time, I had only gardened on the left side of the house, where the garden area is large and at the bottom of a big hill and has this great looking loamy soil as far as I can dig. Handy Man was gone that weekend, camping I think. "No big deal, I'll dig the rose holes myself." I know you are supposed to go deeper and wider and fill it with all sorts of good things. Believe me I know, I'd been doing it for years.
Umm, who woulda guessed that the right side of my house would be a completely different environment from the left side. I barely chipped out enough rock to get holes big enough to cram the roses in. No fancy stuff for these gals. Yeah, look at them. I almost never bother with them at all except to whack off some of there giantness when spring rolls around.
I am so very sorry you can't smell this little beauty as her fragrance is divine! I still have never bought another rose. I am going back to Stream Cliff Farm in a couple of weeks, and one might be calling to me.
Speaking of these roses, they house something I've been curious about a long time. We have bluebird boxes at home and at school. I know a bluebird nest, chickadee nest, house wren nest -love them, house sparrow nest- destroy them, and a robin's nest. Today at school, as a matter of fact, I was able to show my students some just hatched chickadees and they were enthralled.
Anyway, I've never seen a cardinal nest. I've found this odd, because we have a lot of them and I sure spend a lot of time poking around trees and bushes.
Guess what I found in the rose bush.
Can you see it hidden there?
She lined it in plastic. Birds nests fascinate me.
In other fowl affairs, my kiddos incubated and hatched five chickies about three and a half weeks ago. They had enough of the brooder ( the chickies, not the students-they would have kept them forever), so we brought them home to the coop today.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mother's Day

I enjoyed a delicious dinner at Rae-rae's house on Saturday.
I'm back to non-consumption of carbs, so it was wonderful to have a meal prepared with me in mind. I didn't have to say "no" to anything for the first time in four weeks.
She prepared asparagus wrapped in bacon, free-range baked rosemary chicken and a lentil salad. It was delicious.
I enjoyed seeing all they've done in their little yard. There was a bit of confusion when she asked me about the spinach, when what she was pointing out looked strangely familiar to cucumbers. Ahhhh, garden beginners-it was cucumber. I'm proud of them for turning that tiny yard into some yummy edibles.
It's funny how you see things come full circle. When I was a child, I loved flowers, but was quite uninterested in the vegetable gardening my Mom so enjoyed. I've slowly grown over the years into a rather large garden tender. Now my children are quite interested in where their food comes from.
For my own Mom for Mother's Day, I gave her gifts from the yard and garden. I started her a Forsythia bush that was ready for transplant, picked a sack of poke weeds from the woods, cut another sack of mustard greens to go with it, picked and arranged her a huge bouquet of flowers, brought mixed lettuces and made a big salad, and a dozen eggs.
Miss Bugg was excited yesterday for it to finally be warm enough to plant her soy beans. I have a tiny rake and watering can. She really got into planting and watering. Four generations of planters.
In other garden news, my pea plants are in full bloom and we're enjoying lots of spinach, lettuce and swiss chard.
Today is the day for planting the tomatoes. I can hardly wait for tomatoes.
In Kaye news, she got the first step to change from a chest access port to a fistula in her arm. She's had the surgery and came through it fine. They are going on a little vacation, so please keep them in your prayers.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Obsessive Complusive

I have a lot of interests and when I'm interested in something, I'm really interested. If you ask my sister SueZQ, she will be happy to tell you that what I am is obsessive compulsive. She tells me that- a lot.

I do not seem, however to be interested in the things that many women folk I know place a lot of value in and on. I don't watch tv- ever. I have no clue who the latest evening soap hunk of burning love is, nor do I care to know. I am completely clueless about who is staying and who is going on islands, with dance routines, or by singing poorly. I would probably never, ever buy a new appliance if I could just talk mine in to working the rest of my life. I detest the thought of purchasing a new car. I use what little make-up I use until the latch, mirror and tiny applicator have long since disappeared, then buy almost the same exact thing when it needs to be replaced. I wear my clothes out. And, I'm ashamed to admit that when my first 35mm camera died and could not be restored to its original vigor, I cried.

Sounds boring to me. Currently, my obsess.. oops, I mean interest is this lovely little plant.

This is Swiss Chard, if you didn't know, and I grew it from a small, brown, knobby bit called a seed. I find myself quite enamored. I had only ever heard of this green from my mother-in-law when I was much younger. Then last year, at the Farmer's Market, it was everywhere. A chef was there one day, and made some up and I tried it and liked it. I didn't think much more about it until time for garden planning this winter. I tried to purchase most of my seed from places that concern themselves with heirloom type seeds. For fun, I decided to look up the nutrients, thinking surely this green wasn't worth much or they'd sell it in the store. I was shocked I tell you, shocked. This little beauty is a nutrition power house. It is easy to grow. When you cut it, it comes back, and even winters over if protected. You can saute it, boil it, eat it raw- hey, what more could you want? I don't want anymore, though some people might want it to plant, harvest and cook itself. Dirt diggin' is a favorite past time of mine, so I'm all good with the planting.
What really amazes me though, is how that littlest brown, dried-up, knobby bit knows exactly how to take from the soil what's needed to produce such a wholesome plant. How's it know? I'm intrigued.
Don't you wish we knew how to mine our environment to produce the best of ourselves? I think it's in us to do so, but I sure do find it difficult sometimes.
Have you eaten your Swiss Chard today?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Busy Life-Sending Praises

The last couple of weeks have been wild and woolly. Nothing especially extreme, with the exception to extreme poor planning on my part.
As a teacher in Indiana, ISTEP is stressful. I try to plan some things for the kids to do while we hammer away at review and then during testing week, to hopefully take the pressure off the kiddos. The pressure for me, I've yet to find a way to relieve.
Anyway, once a year we do a Famous Hoosier Wax Museum, where the kids choose a person who is from Indiana and become an expert on him or her. The students write a biography, then a paragraph to memorize. They make posters and sell tickets, determine where ticket sales will go, then become that figure in a wax museum, complete with their own button. Step on the button, the wax figure comes to life and tells all about what made him/her famous.
Three weeks before, the extension office had called and said they finally had an incubator for me, so I plopped some eggs in there the day we got it, not thinking about when this little project would come to fruition. Then a talent show popped up, removing an entire afternoon of review.
On the Sunday before, I had decided on something I hoped would be received in the spirit it was given, to do for dear friends about to start a long journey with chemotherapy, then worried all night that what I decided to do was stupid. Of course, then I was concerned for them throughout that next day.
So on Monday, the chicks started to hatch. I hurriedly called Pete and asked if I could change my Kaye night to Tuesday, as I did not have the brooder ready for babies.
I hurried home and Handy Man helped me drag out all the junk, clean it thoroughly and haul it school. The class was beside themselves with five new baby chickies. Then Tuesday was the museum, then that night I went to Kaye's. Pete told me that he's having problem with sores on her feet- Lord have mercy, that is disastrous for a diabetic. Then he told she is forgetting to call to him and walking with no assistance. Remember, that's exactly what got us where she is today.
To say I left with a troubled heart would be an understatement.
Back to poor planning. I have my kiddos grow their own herbs. Then, when we study our unit on matter we use the herbs to make pizza sauce and ranch dressing from scratch. We make mozzarella cheese and pizza dough from the leftover whey. We squeeze lemons and make a mixture. I had planned it for the following Monday (this one just past) to do after testing. Then on Tuesday we put it all together for a pizza and salad lunch, with caramels for dessert. All this is to bring home the solute, solvent, physical and chemical changes recently learned.
Well, my brother-in-law was bringing me raw milk from the country on Thursday evening, so I was afraid to wait until the Monday plan, so we made it on that Friday afternoon. The first batch turned out perfectly, but the second one was troublesome and let's just say by the end of the day, I was completely undone. Then it was Adam's marathon on Saturday, followed by First Communion for my students to be, then prom pictures for a favorite girl, and Sunday traveling to Florence for my aunt's 90th birthday, all knowing a week of testing and cooking and chick caring was just around the corner. And there was more, but this is dragging on.
Umm, do I have a point? Yes, I'm getting there.
A friend at school asked me if everything was okay. She said, "Whenever I've prayed this week the Lord has placed you on my heart." "You haven't said anything, so all week I've just been praying for you to have peace."
I have a confession to make. I have never liked that Footprints poem -never. It didn't make sense to me that God would be carrying me and not let me know, thinking I was abandoned. I can't imagine my friend had any idea that what she said would mean so much to me. I really like this gal, but we aren't particularly close and only see each other for a few minutes at lunch a couple of times a week.
It just made all the difference in the world to me that God would let me know I was on His mind.
I did get through it all and mostly successfully. The chickies are fine, the wax figures in our museum were awesome and after inhaling their pizza the students proclaimed, "I wish we could do this again!" ( I'm afraid not this year my sweets.)
I was so touched that I knew I wanted to blog about it so I could remember-but I didn't. First one thing, then another. Today I tried twice to blog about something else, but the computer would not let me save it (something that's never happened before). So, I figured I'd best do what my heart was telling me and say, "Thank you Lord for loving me and telling me so."