Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas past and present


This is the first chance I have had to post in a while...I am using this photo from a post in the past...partly because I don't have my computer and partly because I just love the photo. It was taken years ago with my one of my Nikon cameras.

I hope all of you have happy and healthy Christmas and New Year...

I am thankful for many things, but foremost right now is that Sarah just came through her second surgery last week...all is going great in that department. One of these days things will be back to normal.

Lorelei is changing daily it seems...she is just so busy all the time.

She sings Jingle Bells, Happy Birthday, and other songs...

and has just been playing the drums and singing
She loves you, Yeah, Yeah, yeah
She loves you Yeah, yeah, yeah

Over and over.

She now tells me to 'Get up---I need you' She will get my hand and take me all over the place. Otto hardly has a moment's peace...and for the most part he enjoys every minute of it. This morning she went for a short but wild ride on him....unplanned. She was climbing on his back and was astraddle of him and up he got. She hung on for a second or two before falling off. I half expected her to get back up and try it again but she didn't.

Our oldest daughter will be here at this time tomorrow night...along with a bit more snow. I am not sure how much is in the forecast. I am hoping not much.

This will probably be my only post on here for a little while to come...one of these days I will get back to it on a regular basis I hope. There simply is not time to be on the computer...when there is I plan to try to catch up with everyone.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The man has been busy....

Between frequent trips to Indianapolis Roger has been busy. This is latest creation....he made it for Lorelei's dad.
This knife really has a nice feel to it....the wood for the handles is African Padauk. It is an an excellent hardwood with straight grain...it hard,heavy and resists decay.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

You either love 'em or you hate 'em!

One day last week I was cleaning an onion--I was making spaghetti and even though I just buy sauce in the jars I always add onions, sometimes garlic. Spaghetti is not the subject of this post though.

It is onions. Just with the simple act of cutting into the onion, I am immediately ravenous! I don't care if I have just gotten up from a holiday feast, or if I have just had a steak meal, or barbecued ribs...if I smell an onion I am immediately hungry. I want cornbread! Southern style, I suppose, without sugar. I don't know if that is a southern thing or just from my particular neck of the woods. But I do know that I have yet to meet anyone up here, that makes our type of cornbread.

But back to onions. I want cornbread and a slice of pork shoulder or salt cured bacon, cooked over an open fire with onions to eat with it. Or if I smell onions, I want soup beans and cornbread and onions...and you won't believe this. I like them cold out of the fridge...one of my sisters used to come back home to visit and I can remember her/us getting up after everyone had gone to bed, and we would go raid the fridge and if there were cold soup beans, she would have cornbread, soup beans and onions. I had not had that in years and years, and last spring, I remembered and tried it again, and I still love it.

And let's not forget wilted lettuce and onions. With cornbread....

Or something my mom cooked and I do, too, that I have never seen anyone else cook...well, my sister-in-law might...but she would be the only one...but not sure if she does. I think I ask her a year or two or three ago, but forget the answer. Anyway, mom would get stew beef and cook it in the pressure cooker till tender, or almost tender....then add potatoes. I get a nice chuck roast from my local IGA store...cook it till tender in the pressure cooker. While it is cooking I usually have my potatoes cooking in another pot and once the meat is tender, I add the potatoes to the beef and add water if needed and cook a while longer.

I have my cornbread baking, and green beans in another pot...then when I sit down to eat, I have an onion sliced....there just isn't much better on this earth. I don't fix it often...but when I do, I am ashamed of how much I eat.

I don't cook like that all the time, but ever since I made the spaghetti I have been craving at the least, a pone of cornbread and a slice of onion.

When a kid, and my nephews stayed/visited in the summer, if there happened to be sliced, white bread, which we called light bread, sometimes for a snack we would have a mustard and onion sandwich. I still have that once in a blue moon....

And I love onions on a hamburger.

I suppose if I could have left the bit about having a mustard and onion sandwich and having onion on a hamburger, I could have titled this post With cornbread.

But since there are some people that just cannot stand onions, I will leave it titled as is...

Monday, December 13, 2010

From the hills and hollers of Tennessee

I got this in my email yesterday from my niece, Holly...it is looking up towards the holler that was our old home place. I think she knows I long to be in Tennessee one more time when it snows. There is just something about looking out and seeing snow on the hills and the misty look of the mountains. It is home...one of these days maybe things will settle down till we can head down that way when we know they are expecting snow.
Now, Holly is Jackson's mama....and Holly's mom told me that Holly had taken a photo of Jackson and he reminded both of them of Lorelei....it was hard to imagine but being that Holly's mom and I agree about a lot of stuff, I sort of figured if they saw it I would too so I told her to have Holly send it to me and she did a few days later..so now I am showing it to you along with one of Lorelei when she was younger.
I think it is the way they hold their mouth and also their eyes when they are really happy...how they are all squinty.

And that is not the only way they are similar....Jackson loves to dance, also. But he is a toe tapper where Lorelei is a butt wiggler, head bobber. Can you just picture the two of them together!
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We got another dusting of snow yesterday...maybe an inch or so. But the wind has blown it around so much it is hard to tell. We had our first howling wind last night of the winter. It was searching for any little crack or crevice to get in. Our swing on our back porch is a glider swing...made of wood. So, in weight, it is not real light. It normally sits with the ends going east and west. I heard it being scooted around by the wind last night, and when I went to let the cats out, the ends are now pointed in the north-south direction.

The cats are getting cabin fever....they want out but only stay out a minute or two and come back in. Last night they were trying to start the game of tag, or something and racing through the house after each other...Roger was laying on the couch and Cougar came tearing through, jumped over the end that his head was on, and landed right on his solar plexus and made him about jump out of his skin!

Even Mama Cat was swatting everyone and trying to get them to play chase with her. If Lorelei had been here she would have had a ball watching them. She just giggles and laughs so hard when Otto and their cat chase each other.
As you can tell, they are absolutely the best of buddies. When we were over there just a month or so ago, we were outside. Sarah, Roger and I ended up setting in the swing...along with Lorelei. And on top of all of us, here came Otto and got up with us. It would have made the most perfect picture, but we could not have got up to get the camera without them moving.

It was so funny, Otto was sitting there between Lorelei and me. Her mom was on the other side of her. I looked down at Lorelei and she looked at Otto and scooted over as close to him as she could get. I would love to have captured that moment in time.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Birds of a feather....

I have been wanting to get out to the strip pits near sunset...so last night, I debated on going or not. I wasn't really in the mood to get out but I knew it was supposed to rain today so I forced myself got my mind/body in gear and headed out there late yesterday evening.
I had not gone even half a mile till I seen my first pheasant...he took off at a pace, too fast to get a good photo. But just little bit farther on I hit the jackpot! Except I did not get a photo of them all. Up near the road there were 6, yes SIX male ring-necked pheasants...and up the hill a bit farther were the two above.
I did not get a single picture of the group of six....they were kind of strung out and started taking off before I could get all the photos I wanted And at that none of the ones I took are very good. The only thing I wonder is where are the females...I saw several more pheasants after this bunch, but not one single female. And back during the spring and summer, I only saw one or two females...but lots and lots of males.

I know the females are harder to spot...they do not have the the beautiful colors of the male, but still you would think I would have seen one or two last night...specially with the snow on the ground.
No here we have the main reason I was wanting to go out there late in the evening...I wanted to see if any of the short-eared owls had returned. I am here to tell you they have returned and brought their relatives and neighbors, too. I have never seen so many as were out there.
I am showing three different short-eared owls....but I could not count how many I saw...I counted 5 in the sky at one time. It was not seeing one, it disappearing and seeing another...they were all within sight at the same time! They look like a bomber at certain angles in flight.

Notice the sign under the one above...apparently the owl is not reading the sign. Click the above photo and and look how intent the owl is looking at something down below. If I were a mouse, I would be afraid.
Aren't they a fine looking bird?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Feathered friends for supper....

These are just a few of the little feathered friends that have been stopping by for a bite to eat...I know the above is a woodpecker, but what type he is I don't know. I really need to study the little woodpeckers and the sparrows.
I am not sure if the above is a purple finch or a house finch...whichever it is, I like seeing them.
This here is the titmouse. Another visitor I am always glad to see.
And of course the nuthatch...we always have some of the above birds with a few more that I did not stand out there long enough to capture. We have the chickadees, the cardinals, red-bellied woodpecker...oh, and the juncos. Plus all the other sparrows. They have been flocking to our feeders...most all coming in in one big swoop, with a few stragglers following behind. I think there has to be at least 50 of them. I have never had them so thick.

Then, I have been having the wren regularly...I only see one at a time, so don't know if it is single or I just haven't looked at the right time to see the two of them. And, I had three big blue jays out there at the same time. We used to have lots of blue jays all through the summer...but the past few years, we only see one occasionally. I don't know what has changed for them to just not show up at all, and now to see them at the feeders was surprising.

One afternoon we came home...can't remember where we had been, but it was as if someone had dumped the feeder on the ground. I wondered had two or three blue jays landed on one side, but the next day the crows were out here so I sort of figured they were the culprit.

I only have two little squirrels that are coming, and I have not seen one of them attempt to get up to the food....plus even if they did, they are only a bit over half grown. Or else really small. They are not big as Mama Squirrel and she never did tip the feeder when she was getting into it.

Well, that is my bird report for now....maybe I will have success later with some of the other visitors we have.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Now showing in my part of the world...

Out at the strip pits I go to as often as I can, we saw these two whooping cranes....

Last week Mary at Faith, Fabric, and Photos went to Goose Pond which is south of me...probably just a little be farther east then me, and she came back with photos of some Whooping Cranes she shows HERE. When I heard about her trip, I immediately wanted to go out to the strip pits near here...just in case. I didn't really think there would be any there, but much to my surprise there were these two....

According to Cornell's All about Birds, the population of whooping cranes in 1987 was 100....about 250 in 1995 and in 2004 the population had reached 468.....only part of those were in the wild. You can read more about them here....

On the bird in front, I could definitely see something green when I looked through Roger's spotting scope...not thinking to look it up I told Mary and she told me they are radio transmitters used to track them.
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It is staying bitter cold here. I have my doubts of the temps even reaching 20ยบ F today...the only thing I have done is let the cats in and out a time or two. Even they are mostly just laying around, taking it easy, and sleeping away the hours.

Bubbie was up this morn and wanting to start something with the other cats; he gets bored. He is also so rough, no one likes to play with him. Of the three cats, he needs the most attention, likes to play the most, and is probably into more stuff in general. Anyway, after a short stay outside, he calmed down and welcomed a nice nap in front of the TV.

I can laugh till I cry sometimes thinking about these cats and things they and the dogs have done. When my older daughter was going to college, she worked full time here in town at a Mini-Mart. She came home to eat a quick bite about 7:30. Her dog, Shelby, always had food available. But when did she eat...she would wait till my daughter was sitting down to eat. She would get a big mouthful of food, come and drop at her feet, and then CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH!!! CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH! Which in turn got on her and my nerves both...because we were usually taking that opportunity to talk a few minutes.

After that, fast forward a few years and she is out of college, has been out on her own for a while, moved back home for a short while. In that time I had acquired two of these cats from her, and when she came back home, she brought their mom and brother. This time around she has a good job, and has to really be awake and aware of what is going on around her.

Every other night or so, soon as she went to bed, two of the kitties would go in the kitchen which is right off her bedroom. They would proceed to start some sort of game which involved the cabinet doors. This time it was rattle, rattle, rattle. Rattle, Rattle, Rattle! Sometimes it would just be one reaching and pulling a door with their paw; other times one would manage to open the door enough to get inside, then they would play with each other through the door. They would have did this right on if I did not go set something in front of the doors till they could not reach them.

And I cannot tell how Puss Puss does Roger...you would have to hear and see him tell how she comes when he is sleeping and gets right in his face and her little whiskers tickling him so bad. It is just so funny...she does not do me that way. But then, Cougar does not bother him...and Bubbie has no mercy on either one of us. He used to never jump onto the bed itself...he jumped up there but it was always to land on my back or side...now he actually jumps on the bed part of the time so that is a big improvement.

There's other stories but I will save them for another day...

Monday, December 6, 2010

More of the snowy day


I always get a slight thrill when the snow begins to fall...there is always that slight anticipation of school being canceled...or called off as we used to say. Yet how long has it been since I was a kid...longer than I want to admit. And several years since the chance of our daughters getting a snow day. But if I quit feeling that anticipation of school being called off, I will probably be dead.

When I see the snow capping everything after a fresh snowfall, I remember walking along and taking a bite of snow off everything....fence posts and heavy laden branches or anything that would hold a mound of snow. How thirsty it made me! I never understood why I could be eating what is basically frozen water, and be getting thirstier all the time.


Going through the strip pits pulls at my heartstrings even more...I want to be a kid again and take my dogs and go tramping through it all. To see if we can scare up anything. I don't ever remember us jumping a rabbit in all my times of taking them, but there was still that anticipation. I do remember finding a rabbit sitting in a feeding trough at a neighbor's barn, though but I did not show it to the dogs.

I also remember one time my niece and I were out rambling about after a new fallen snow. We were walking along the railroad, where honeysuckle grows. I think she was the one spotted this 'wad' of stuff in the vines about as big around as a softball , but more elongated than round. We got the bright idea to squeeze it. I don't recall which of us squeezed first, but each time we did, a mouse would run out....and we would jump each time even though we expected it.

After seven ran out, no more would come out. We left the nest...we didn't want to hurt them. We just wanted to see. I suppose it is a wonder we didn't try to catch one or two. That memory makes me smile after all this time....

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Oh, baby its a white world.....

The above was taken was taken at 12:58 a.m. yesterday morn...it is a handheld shot off my front porch. I like it a lot...and would love to have walked the neighborhood taking more, but it was snowing too hard to have the camera out in it.
These were taken over in Illinois...as we were driving down the road above we were thinking all kinds of titles for it but sadly I cannot remember any except something about Edge of the World and wondering if this is how Columbus felt.
You have to click this to get a better view...although you will still wonder why I posted it...it is just to show how hard it was to see. I have some I took before we were this close, and I fear you could not even see it.
These trees just a bit farther down the road, and this was actually probably not even the length of a football field away. I love the misty feel of it.
And this one was taken late yesterday evening after we got back to the house...at 3:53 pm. It snowed all day long...never hard...but the ground was warm and the snow melted all day long sidewalks and paved areas were warm, and the snow on them melted all day long....but last night I started hearing the crunch of tires as the snow and slush froze.

It is a cold, cold world out there this day...the birds are flocking to the feeders. I see my little Jenny Wren out there...she is a Carolina Wren. I always name them Jenny...I don't know where got that but I heard someone else or read someone else calling them Jenny. So I just give them that as a name. I am hoping she stays here through the summer.

It is so cold the cats are staying inside with barely a thought to going outside. If they do go, they don't stay long, they don't come to the door begging us to come outside either. They come in and are glad to stay inside for a good long while.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The boys....

I have been wanting to post pictures of the cats for a while now, but the only time they will be still is when they are sleeping. I went ahead and took a few of the boys today.
First we have Bubbie...the above picture is just typical of him. He sleeps like this at least half the time. And below he is helping Roger surf the net, taken a couple days ago.
Can you tell that he loves us? He should...remember when he broke his leg....way back here. I think he has been grateful ever since. Before his leg was broken, he was Roger and Rachel's cat....did not have the time of day for me. Unless I was feeding him..just didn't care if I gave him any type of petting or anything.
After he went through his leg being broken, he comes at least once a day for me to pet him...can be very insistent on it. And he still doesn't mind Lorelei...remember this. That seems like a lifetime ago. Just look how small Lorelei was in that post.
And this is my boy! Like his namesake, I am Cougar's favorite person. He likes everyone but I am the one he loves best!
I cannot put the skirt under the tree...any time I think about it, a cat is sleeping under it. And I don't like to disturb them. I will forever think that a cat laying sleeping in a house or store adds so much to the atmosphere.
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As I type this, we are getting snow!!!! I told Roger the other night that winter is officially here. We happened to go to bed about the same time and here came Puss Puss wanting under the cover with us. And she still insists on being between us. Roger let her under the cover on the outside edge but she just goes under and then proceeds to climb over him and snuggles down between us.

Bubbie, on the other hand does not want between us and generally does not want under the cover. He likes for one of us to scoot back from the edge of the bed and then he will snuggle in to our stomach and sleep.

Cougar comes and will come up and if my hands are under the cover, he will reach under with his paws to find my hand. He only wants to be petted a little bit and will either sleep curled up at the foot of the bed or get down completely.

And Mama Cat now comes and gets in bed occasionally to be petted and even sometimes to sleep with us. She now comes and gets in my lap and sits and sits. And she still is good with Lorelei also...if you knew her life before she came to live with us, you would understand that her attitude is basically a miracle. I have yet to see her get mad at Lorelei.
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That is it for now...I am hoping we get enough snow for it to make the world new. It is just beautiful to look out towards the streetlights now.