Sunday, July 31, 2016

Good Morning!

It's going to be a good day!
Just remember that.
One good thought begets another good thought 
which will help you through your day
no matter what happens.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Joy of a Farmer's Market

Today, 
after daily Mass, 
I'll be driving to one of our two local 
farmer's markets.
This market, that where I plan to shop, 
is the bigger of the two farmer's markets.
I live in a semi-rural town.
We are surrounded by farms that are getting eaten up by the city 
as it grows.
Our other farmer's market is open only on Mondays for 3 hours.
I love that market because of its size.
It's small, and I've gotten to know some of the merchants.
That market is where I buy my worm poop.
My garden has grown well because of this product.
Tomorrow, I'm looking for green beans.  
The time has come to make pickled green beans.
I plan to work on the beans tomorrow.  
I found a great recipe.
Click HERE for the recipe.
There are many others, but this one suits my needs.
Most markets do not have resellers, at least not here, and this is a danger with farmer's markets.
It's a good idea to get to know your markets and your sellers.
You want to make sure the food is what you want.
Is it organic?  They should be able to tell you about their growing process.
Do they use fertilizers or bug killers?
Listen to them.
If you like what you hear, buy your food from them.
If you don't, or if there's doubt, move on to the next stall.
In the meantime, enjoy your trip to the market.
I carry my own shopping bags.
That does help.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Three Beautiful Things This Week

Three Beautiful Things This Week was inspired by a wonderful blog that Three Beautiful Things. Everyday, Clare writes about 3 Beautiful Things that happen each day in her life. It's a wonderful blog! I can only hope to imitate her in a very small way.

1) I made more pickles this week, and it was fun! 

2) I opened one jar of pickles and I ate almost half of them at one sitting.  Dang it!  They were good!

3) The  garden is maturing, and the fruits of summer are beginning to develop.  God is good!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

This Photo Is Something that No One Else Has Ever Seen and An Entry from My Journal

7/28/16

I wonder if I should show this picture in my blog?  I'm really not sure.  The fridge is messy, but those pickles sure look good.  I guess we have to wait a week to dig into them but the other pickles should be ready now.  I'll try them tomorrow.  I also have to make the canned pickles, the kind I don't need to keep in the fridge.  I like those, too.
The veggies look so good!  I guess I'm really hungry.
Weight Watchers is happy with the pickles. Ha! Ha!
No points and few calories.
What a ramble this is.
The thing I like the best about making pickles is that I can shut out the rest of the world.  I'm so tired of the politics. 
 I'm so tired of the one sided presentations of each of the candidates.  I'm just so tired.  We all took a nap yesterday, and it helped.  Fred calmed down and quit being so aggressive with Pixie.  Pixie just slept the rest of the afternoon away.  Marvin did the same.  I even listed a few things on Facebook.
What inspiring thing can I think about today?  I think when it comes to being in the garden I think of the seasons.  The Byrds (sp?) had a popular song in the 60's, I think it was called,
"Turn. Turn. Turn."
There really is a season for everything.
Now, the season is for growing and preserving.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Worth Repeating: Summer Words

warm
hot
humid
green
red
yellow
orange
blue
leaves
garden
tomatoes
cucumbers
zucchini
lawn
mower
sunshine
shade
picnics
BBQ
grill
margaritas
ice
pool
swimming
walks
run
convertible
breeze
thunderstorms
lightning

What other words can you add to this list?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I Heard A Rumor...

This is the time,
and
this is the season,
and,
I heard a rumor that a local grocery store carries them...
What?
I bought these beautiful green chiles at our local farmers' market yesterday.
I will roast them tonight before supper.
AMAZING!
I am looking forward to devouring the flesh of these peppers!
Back to the rumor.
I'm going to go to that grocery store to see if they do,
Indeed,
carry green chiles grown in 
Hatch, New Mexico.
Oh, my goodness.
I hope that rumor is true.
This is the season.
This is the weather.
I'm ready for the green chiles to be in season.
Nummy!

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Strength of a Tendril

This tendril is holding up 3 cucumbers on the vine,  by itself.  I think of thin spaghetti.  This simple tendril, which does what it was intended to do, no larger than angel hair pasta that's been cooked, has the strength to hold up triple it's weight, or more.

The plan which was to be a part of a plant has been followed.
The plant had no choice.
The plant, the parts of the plant, do what they are supposed to do,
or,
the plant dies.

I have one cucumber plant which is strong and healthy.
I have another one,
and,
I don't know why, is half the size,
and collapses to the ground.
I can't fix it, so I let nature take it's course.

Sometimes, even though we don't like it,
we have to do what we are intended to do,
whether that be
lead an army
or take care of the children.
Sometimes, we have to do both.

It's not that we can't.
We have to choose and discern where our strength is,
like the tendril,
if it tried to be a cucumber,
it would fail and die.
The plant might also die.

The fruit of our works is peace.
No one said it would be easy.
Not everyone can be a Mother Teresa or a Dorothy Day.
Humility comes with knowing who we are supposed to be.
Humility comes with doing what we are supposed to do,
even when it is painful,
even when it is difficult.

There is a purpose for our life.
No one can do what we were supposed to do,
and,
history is changed when we refuse to follow the plan
or
when we feel we cannot.

The tendril has a job to do.
It might not be what it would choose to do, but without it's strength,
the plant could not support the fruit.

I sit in silence.
I hear the call.
Each season brings differences.
Listen to the call.
Be all you can be.
Serve as you are intended.
 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Three Beautiful Things This Week: Actually, One Amazing Thing This Week!

Three Beautiful Things This Week was inspired by a wonderful blog that Three Beautiful Things. Everyday, Clare writes about 3 Beautiful Things that happen each day in her life. It's a wonderful blog! I can only hope to imitate her in a very small way.

1) Today's is my baby's 37th birthday!  Weighing in at 9 pounds 11 ounces,
we knew that he was going to be something special, and he is!

2) He's a tall man!  The picture on the left shows him in high school when he hit 6'4" in height.  Buying him jeans was a challenge, because at that time, I needed to buy new jeans for him every 6 months!  I was glad when he quit growing.

3) Sometimes, it's hard to earn your parents' trust and know that they are proud of you!  If the boy ever doubted, his father and I have always been so proud of all that he's done and all he's accomplished in his life!  Amazing!  Yes, he is!
 


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Making Pickles

Turning off the television was a good thing.
I found the recipe for these refrigerator pickles,
and
I made them.  

If you want to make these pickles,
click
for the recipe.

It's a very tasty pickle.
You can also add other veggies and let them pickle along with the 
cucumbers.

When I turned off the TV I realized that I was also turning off the negativity of the election cycle.
I'm old,
and 
I don't remember an election that was so vicious.
I don't remember a time when issues were so violent and people were so ready to fight and kill.
Pickles were a nice respite from all of this,
even though my son teased, that
"Aunt Clara made better pickles."

Aunt Clara was my late husband's aunt.
She did make good pickles,
but,
my darling son,
My Pickles are much better than hers!

Technically, we could eat the pickles now, but I have found that the pickles taste much better after a full week of sitting in the brine.
I'll let you know what the verdict is.
I also have another recipe for pickles that I plan to make when more dill matures in my garden.
And, you know what,
Those are even better!

Aunt Clara,
I'm sorry to say
move over,
there's a new pickle queen here.
To my darling son,
my pickles aren't just good,
they are
MAGNIFICENT!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Worth Revisiting: Room

It's a mess, but with good reason.  We're getting new flooring, so everything has to be moved out, and I mean everything.  So, I'm sorting and cleaning.  That's good.  I am amazed at all the hidden treasures I have found.  It's good to clean!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

She's Getting Old Now

Pixie will be 12 in October.
I see her do this many times a day.
In human years, she's 85 years old.
Like many elderly people,
Pixie is starting to have trouble staying awake.
She tries.
She forces her eyes to stay open as long as she can,
but,
sleep wins,
and her eyes shut for another nap.
My sweet girl,
you are joy to me!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sometimes Really Bad Things Do Happen to Good People

So, today is Monday.
For most of us, that's the start of the work week,
and,
unless you love your job above all else, 
most of us cringe.
It's a season of the work week.
Our lives are full of seasons.
In my younger years, I was able to enjoy life with very little sleep.
I still don't sleep well, but my days go better if I get in a nap or two after a bad night.
That was the season of youth.
Then came marriage and children.
Those were the seasons of partnership and little sleep 
because my children were terrible sleepers.
Then came high school for my children.
That was the season of waiting up and racing to bed as soon as a car turned in the driveway and pretending to be asleep.
Then came the season of breaking away as my children graduated high school and went on to college.
Then I had every reason to sleep,  but I was out of the habit of sleep by then.
I spent many sleepless nights praying for sleep and for my children.
Do you see a theme here?
For me, sleep is a rare and precious jewel, but that is part of the journey.
Then came the season of the empty nest when both of the kids were gone and were establishing themselves in their chosen field of occupation.
That should have left time to travel, but retirement had to come first.
The season of retirement finally arrived, but with that came a diagnosis of a fatal, incurable cancer.
That season was 1 year and 20 days from diagnosis to death.
Sleep was rare in that season.
Then came the season of widowhood and being the parent to guide my adult children through the storms of grief.
The storms were fierce and we had to navigate them with just ourselves.
Sleep was difficult for all of us.
Then, as we felt the season of grief lifting away, another season came crashing down on us,
and that was the season of the same vicious cancer,
only, this time, it was the adult girl child.
That season has continued for 6 years now, and she continues to bravely fight her way through the minefield of cancer.
When this season will end, I don't know.  She's a fierce fighter, and she won't give up.
Now, the season has come where I have a roommate again, and that is the woman who won't quit.
She is unable to work, so she is now my roomie.
It's a new season of untested waters as we work to get along with each other,
and, yes,
sleep is still rare.
As in a parallel universe, it is also gardening season, and the harvest is already abundant.
I love the time I spend in that garden, in spite of the mosquito bites, in spite of the worms and bugs,
in spite of the worm poop I use to fertilize my plants.
They must love this seasoning because they are huge and are already bearing much fruit.
I buy the worm poop at the local farmer's market.
I'm in the later seasons of my life.
What comes next?
I don't know.
I just know that sometimes, really bad things do happen to good people, and, when they do, there just isn't much we can do to prevent them from happening, we can only deal with them as they unfold.
Acceptance is one of the keys.
Gratefulness, yes, that's what I said,
GRATEFULNESS.
We need to look for the good things each day, even if it's only, I'm going to sleep now.
That's a wonderful thing, sleep, that is.
Now, I'm going to work in the season of my garden.
That is the parallel universe that helps to keep me sane in the midst of our trials and struggles.
I am grateful for my garden,
and
I am most grateful for sleep.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Blessings in my Garden This Morning...

Even after the vicious storm last night, the blessings were abundant this morning when I harvested more mint in my garden.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Three Beautiful Things This Week...

Three Beautiful Things This Week was inspired by a wonderful blog that Clare writes called Three Beautiful Things. Everyday, Clare writes about 3 Beautiful Things that happen each day in her life. It's a wonderful blog! I can only hope to imitate her in a very small way. 

1) The harvests from the garden are getting bigger and more delicious!  The garden is maturing, and I love it!

2) Looks like Fred the cat likes me!

3) Weight Watchers works for me.  I'm down 7 pounds and my sugars are under control again!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Moment in Time, and Fred Gets It

They were the moment in time.
I saw them at the exercise facility today.
They were what I would have become
if
life had not taken so many turns for me.

They were both in their 60's or so...
His beard was gray and it hung below his belt.  His hair was salt and pepper, and his hair hung below his waist in the back.
He wore tattered jeans, a checkerboard shirt, and a baseball cap that didn't match.

She was the perfect partner for him.
She wore a denim skirt with a frayed hem.  The skirt ended mid-calf.  She was thin, like her husband, very thin.
She wore a cap that covered her hair completely.  Her denim jacket looked so hot for today.

I had come into the room where the zumba class was held.  In that room are cupboards and a sink.  
I was thirsty.  They couple was near the sink.  I looked at them and smiled.  Being new to the facility, I asked the couple if they knew where the plastic cups were.  The woman came up to me and reached into a cupboard and said, "Here."  She handed me a glass cup.  "Don't use plastic, ever," she said.  "Do you know that it takes 2 quarts of water to make one plastic cup?"  
I wasn't sure of what to say.  I had planned to use the cup and throw it away.  I didn't dare say that.
"People need to know," she continued.  "This is a waste.  Use this cup."
I had no choice.  I was obedient and used the cup.  I thanked her.
She smiled when she and her husband left.

I had to smile.  
I was told.  We do need to help save the environment.
This couple is doing it one person at a time.

Mother Teresa said:

“We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.” 

One person at a time.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Worth Repeating: Spike is by his tree


My dog, Spike, is 11 years old now. His birthday was May 25th. When he turned 11 I felt that he needed a special present, so I bought him a laptop computer. Since he doesn't have thumbs, I am the one who has to use his gift. I use it everywhere. I even take it outside with us when Spike is "by his tree." This seems to be his favorite place to be. When we return from our daily walks, Spike will literally lay down on the ground so that he doesn't have to come in the house, even on cold, wet rainy days. Now, never mind that he has a backyard where he can run without a leash. That doesn't seem to matter. For him, the best time of his day comes when he is by his tree. He loves the area! I don't know why. He will, literally, lay by his tree for hours, which means that when he is out by his tree, I am outside, too. That's when I use his laptop. Today, it's very warm and becoming very humid. As a senior citizen now, Spike loves the warmth more than he did before. Walking in the heat is challenging, so we are up early in the morning to go for his w-a-l-k. Since I torch early, to avoid the heat, Spike has to wait, most reluctantly, to go by his tree. His tree it is. When I take my chair over near his tree, Spike becomes annoying and whines--until I move my chair out of his space. So, I sit in the garage now, out of the heat of the sun, but not under the shade of his tree, writing this blog, so that you will know how much Spike loves his tree!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Harvesting Kale and Preserving it for later use

Growing kale is easy.
I started out with 9 plants.
I'm down to six now because I had to weed.
That's fine.
Now, the remaining kale plants are growing well.
I've also started a lot of kale seeds to use for their tender leaves in salad and for the fall kale plants.

Today, I began the process of preserving.
The dehydrated kale chips never last long enough to keep.
They are usually gone in a day!

This morning, I cut a pile of leaves. from the kale plants.
They were beautiful, too!

 
I brought them in the house, and cut them into thirds or fourths, depending on the size of the leaves. I put them in my sauce pan and brought them to a boil.


I boiled the kale leaves for 45 minutes.
There are some chemicals in the larger leaves that can cause kidney stones,
so you want to precook these leaves before you eat them.

My neighbor boils her kale for 45 minutes.
I do the same.










I let the kale cool.
I drained the kale and wadded it it up into two balls.
I put them on a plate in the freezer.

After they were frozen,
they joined the other two
kale balls in a bag in the freezer.

One day, they will go into soup or a veggie mixture.

For those of us who used to be non-gardeners, you can buy kale in the grocery store 
and do the same thing.

Happy Kaling!!

I Really do Love a Rainy Day - This Should Have Been On Friday, but I'm Writing for 5 Minutes

There really are perfect days.  For me, a perfect day is a day, when I wake up, and it's either raining or snowing.
This morning, we woke up to a vigorous thunderstorm.
The sound of the thunderstorm was more than a slight purring.
The thunder was exploding across the horizon.
I love mornings like this.
As I write this,
I am wrapped in a shawl 
and 
enjoying the quiet purring of both the cats and Pixie.
Yes, Pixie purrs.
Now, it seems that the thunder is passing,
but,
Wait!  I'm wrong.
My shoes are near.  I'm going to wait for that walk.  
Time is up.
More tomorrow.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

She turned Her Face...

The revelation was unexpected.
She had watched this flower 
bud
and bloom.
The bud was small, so when the bud developed and opened,
she was amazed at the size of the flower,
the red flower
that stared into the filtered light of the open window.

She knew she had changed,
even as she watched the flower grow.
She would sit, during her break, and read, 
avoiding her co-workers for these few, precious moments.

She didn't need them to watch the flower grow.
She only needed to watch the flower herself.

She had gone to the arboretum when the 
Corpse Flower
had bloomed.
The flower smelled of death, and when the flower died,
no one was upset.
That flower stunk.
The flower would never change.
She had changed.
She had faced death.
She was strong.
She knew she would survive, 
now.
She had heard the cries of others,
and
they told her that she was weak.
She had survived the assault.
She chose life
She was a mother.
She was strong.
Not only would she survive, 
but
her baby would, too.
 Their beauty came from strength.
They were not corpse flowers 
as others tried to convince them
they were.
She smiled when she saw the flower.
It was good.
She was strong.
She had bloomed.
She was strong!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Three Beautiful Things This Week

Three Beautiful Things This Week was inspired by a wonderful blog that Clare writes called Three Beautiful Things. Everyday, Clare writes about 3 Beautiful Things that happen each day in her life. It's a wonderful blog! I can only hope to imitate her in a very small way. 

1) I'm writing again.  The block seems to have been broken.

2) It's raining.  I do love a rainy night.

3) The fungi in this picture are AWESOME!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Today is Chocolate Day!

Did you buy your chocolate yet?
Today is the day to enjoy it,
without 
GUILT,
without
CALORIES,
without
WORRY.

So, take your time.
Find your perfect chocolate treat.
Kick your feet up,
and
ENJOY!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Worth Revisiting: How to Become a More Loving Person: 10 Ways to Begin...

I know you've heard this.
"You can't give what you don't have."
This is a truth.
Unless you have love,
you can't give it away.
In order to give love,
you must become a more loving person.
When you're empty and drained,
this is hard to do.
When you're empty and drained,
loving, as well as, opening yourself up to be loved,
is hard to do.
We all want love.
We all want to be more loving and lovable.  So, what do you do?
1) You need to take care of yourself.  We could all improve our health.  We could all improve our gifts and talents.  We could all improve our souls.  In order to do these and other self improvements, we need to take the time to be a little selfish and self centered so that when we emerge from our times of self, we can give away that which has developed in us.  Love.
This means:  eating less to loose weight, establishing self discipline, going to the doctor when we are ill, resting when we need to do so, playing when we need a break, etc. etc. etc.  The list will grow, but we need to give ourselves permission to take care of ourselves, too.
2) We need to play.  Yes, I said PLAY.  We need to have fun through play because we relax when we have fun.  I feel very strongly that play should be active.  I know that reading is very soothing for many of us, but, I also feel that this is relaxation, not play.  To me, play is doing something we consider fun, and, in that play, there is movement.  For example, going for a walk, using a hoola hoop to get our bodies moving, playing tennis, bowling.  Add to the list.  You will find something you like to do and it will be a great source of joy for you when you play.
3) We need to relax.  All right, this is where reading becomes an asset.  Write in your journal.  If you don't have one, start one.  You don't need to write much, maybe a line or two a day, but in that writing, you will be recording and expressing yourself.  Sitting by a pool relaxes us.  I prefer the ocean, but Minnesota does not have an ocean.  Watching TV, not mindlessly, but a good movie or old TV show.  These are good ways to relax.  Add to this list.  It's hard to go wrong.
4) We need to socialize.  I know it's easy to say if you want to have friends, be a friend.  Well, some of us are shy and reclusive and enjoy our time alone, but the fact is that we were made to be social, so, it's important to come out of our shells and get into the community.  Volunteer at a worthy organization.  Go to the food shelter and give some time to them.  If you love animals, go to your local vet and see if they know of volunteer opportunities where you might apply.  If you like quiet and books, go to the library.  Perhaps there you will find volunteer opportunities, even if it means shelving your beloved books.  Add to this list.  Just get out of your house and interact with others
5) Practice the art of gratitude.  It's been proven now that the people who are the most happy people are those who are most grateful.  Practice this art.  Say thank you when someone does something nice for you.  Tell a vet thank you for his service to our country.  Keep a gratitude journal.  Realize how blessed you are, even if you are poor, you are probably richer than many people in this world.  Be aware that there are those for whom a good day is finding enough food to eat or drinking clean water, even in our country.  Be grateful.  
6) Practice the art of good deeds.   Set a goal of doing 3 nice things for people a day.  Anyone can benefit from your kindness.  Sometimes, smiling at someone and saying hello is one of the kindest things you can do for them.  Open and hold a door for a mom with small children.  Let someone go ahead of you in the checkout line that has one thing versus your ten things to check out.  Pay for an order of food at a take out place, if you can afford it,  for the people behind you.  Add to this list.  You might want to keep track of what you do.  Maybe just using paperclips to mark the number or keep a journal.  That's up to you, but this is a good practice for your everyday life.
7) Practice the art of kindness.  Instead of passing on the latest gossip you've heard, don't.  So much of what we hear is not true.  If someone begins to gossip about another person, stop them.  Tell them kindly that you just don't want to hear about it.  Help someone at work who might be stuck on a project.  Do this without thought of reward.  Bring treats for the workers in a nursing home.  If you need to be at the doctor frequently, bring treats for them.  Instead of answering a question with a quick response that might be mistaken for impatience, thank the person for asking, and answer them in a kind way.
8) Practice the art of patience.  When you're driving down the street and you get stuck behind that person who is going well under the speed limit, and you can't pass them, bless them.  Be patient.  Eventually, we hope, they will turn.  Instead of sighing while waiting at the checkout because the  person in front of you has so many things and you have so few, take the extra time to breathe in and out.  Smile.  That always helps.  When you see small children at church who are driving their parents insane because they are trying to teach these children how to behave properly, but they are children, forgive the parents.  They are doing the best they can.  Be patient.  
9) Practice the art of not complaining.   When things are not going right, move yourself out of the way.  Don't complain.  If you need help, seek it.  Someone might be able to bless you with the gift of their experience and help you in your need  Remember, asking for help and not complaining are two different deeds.  
10) Practice the art of giving others the benefit of the doubt.  Do you remember when others gave you the benefit of the doubt and you were able to prove them right or wrong as the case may be?  It felt good to have someone else say, "Well, I'm not sure.  Go ahead and try it."  If no one has ever done that for you, do it for someone else.  Add to this list.  There are many other ways to practice this art, so be creative in your quest.
None of these goals can be mastered over night.  We have become a society in which there is little to no love.  The quest has become one of power and the self.  I'm not speaking about romantic love.  I'm speaking of mutual love and respect for our fellow human beings.  Wouldn't it be nice if we lived in a world where people were nice to each other all the time?  Where there were no games played?  No one had to be a winner?  No one had to be a looser?  Where power was not the name of the game?
Love is the way around this emptiness.  Become a more loving person.  Work at this and add to the list.  I know there are more creative ways to love.  Never go a day when you don't show someone that you love and appreciate them.  It takes time, but this list is doable.  Go for it!
 
 
 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Like looking at a Cat in the Window...

Life.
That's good.
Life, flows like a river that becomes 
an event, and we all stand staring at the cat in the window.
The cat looks back,
stabilizing the view 
of the cat looking back at me.

The perspective is somewhat skewed from our point of view.  I see the cat, and the cat sees me, but nothing moves
except the cat who stretches and  moves to make himself more comfortable.

The dishes still need to be washed.
A daily task.
We're blessed to have food to put on our plates, food that is good and nutritious.
The carpet needs to be cleaned, but that's the blessing of use.
The dog needs to be fed, and she's blessed that there is food for her.

I look at the cat in the window,
on his tower
in the window. 
The cat still looks out at me.

Then, there's the issue of socks.
Why should socks be an issue?
Well, they're not.
They just fill the washer and one gets lost.
Where do these socks go?
No one seems to know.
 I'd be rich if I could find the other sock again.
  
I look at the cat.
He's still in his tower looking back at me.

There is a blessing in the stability of that cat that looks at me.
 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July!

Here's a look at my garden!
What a great day!


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