Monthly Archives: April 2017
Filed under Reading is FUNdamental
Filed under life lessons
“From My Heart”
This is one of my all-time favorite photographs by Paul Militaru. Truly a work of art.
Garden After the Storms
The temperature right now is 58 F., and there is a gusty wind. The sun is finally shining. I’m feeling really grateful that the Greenwood area of Arkansas seems to have come through the storms pretty well. Fort Smith got some hail damage, power outages, and some wind damage, but overall, it could have been a lot worse.
I went out for the first time since Thursday to see what was left of our garden. There is no major damage. The plants are beaten up some, but seem to still be alive. I’ll be spending a lot of time out there, once it warms up a bit, trying to prune the dead parts off the plants, etc.
This is the largest of the spaghetti squash plants I started in my kitchen from one I bought from the store. It seems to be doing fine, although there is no sign of any veggie yet.
I think I’ll probably go ahead and harvest all of the radishes and plant more in other squares.
This is the largest of the celery plants I started inside, cutting the bottoms off stalks I bought at the store. I have a couple more plants to bring out to the garden. Again, I have no clue what to expect. I may just get leaves, but I’m having fun watching. :0)
I’ll need to do a LOT of pruning on the lettuce and the spinach. They both got pretty battered with all the wind and rain.
I’m going to go ahead and harvest the broccoli plants before they shoot spears up. I’m hopeful I’ll get more heads from the other parts of the plants.
Look at this! I’m delighted to see this sweet cauliflower head. I think I’m supposed to arrange for the leaves to cover the heads so the head will stay white.
As you can see, LOTS of pruning will be needed to get the plants looking the way they should, but I’m grateful that the garden seems to have come through all the severe storms okay.
Storms in Arkansas
“MAJOR FLASH FLOODING IS OCCURRING ACROSS NORTHWEST ARKANSAS WITH ADDITIONAL RAIN LIKELY ALL AFTERNOON. THE ELK RIVER, ILLINOIS RIVER, & WHITE RIVER ARE NEAR OR APPROACHING RECORD FLOOD STAGE. WATER RESCUES ARE UNDERWAY. ALL BRIDGES IN BENTON COUNTY HAVE BEEN CLOSED. ” -GARRETT
Northwest Arkansas has gotten the brunt of the latest series of storms since Friday, with over 6 inches of rain. “More than 70 percent of roads, and 90 percent of bridges across unincorporated Benton County are closed, ” and Benton County has been declared a disaster area.” They have had to do water rescues.
I’m grateful that we live in Sebastian County (west central Arkansas) and I think that most of our county has come through this barrage of storms well. My heart goes out to those in the whole Northwest Arkansas area. The rain has mostly stopped, but there will be more damage as the rivers crest, and that might be next week, with a domino effect as the water travels down throughout the state.
Filed under Challenges, Mother Nature
Sigh. It’s happened again. We DIDN’T win the Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes that ended April 28th….
(My husband had added a $63,000-$67,000 Camaro to the list of things he wanted when we won. )
I was a wonderful contestant, going through all the STUFF PCH sent me daily. I practically got carpal tunnel scrolling through all the STUFF I didn’t order – all to no avail. Oh,well.
For a couple of months I had big, quiet dreams of the people I wanted to give a boost to. Wonderful family and friends who would be delighted to enjoy a little extra. I dreamed of changing some lives for the better. Having a financial cushion frees people to think about creating, starting a new business, traveling, reaching out to others. I would love give this to people – to make a difference.
The dreams are beginning again. The current chance will be decided June 30th….
Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Dreams
Lesson Learned (Well, Almost)
Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, Encouragement
Like the forecasters said, it’s raining, and raining hard now. If they’re also correct re the AMOUNT of rain, it’s impressive – forecasting 5 to 8 inches of rain by the end of the day tomorrow.
I’m busy being thankful that we’re not getting hail, high winds, or tornadoes today – the threat last night. We lucked out, but it really gets my attention when the weather monitor says, “Take Cover! Tornado Warning! In the path, Greenwood!”
We timed our errands today just right, getting home just as the rain started to get more serious. Right now it looks like night as I glance out the window. I had to close the door to the porch because the rain was blowing into the living room. We feel lucky to have a nice, dry house. Our animals are thankful, too, though they’re not very vocal about it. As you look around the house, though, one cat is sleeping in the bed at my feet as I type. Two dogs are on the bed in the living room. The other cat is in my husband’s lap as he reads. And Sally, the fish, blows bubbles at me, begging for more food every time I pass the bowl.
We’ll curl up with books today and beef stew.
I hope you’re warm and dry today.
Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Mother Nature
Tornado Warnings Expired
We’ve had a very interesting late evening here in Greenwood, Arkansas. We were watching TV and our weather alert started making all kinds of noise in the office. I discovered we were under a tornado warning – not watch – until 11:58 pm.
I’ve told you before that my husband and I are complete opposites. I tend to get nervous when ‘tornado warning,’ ‘Fort Smith,’ and ‘Greenwood’ are all mentioned at the same time by the weather alert thingie. My husband scoffs and wants to go outside on the deck and watch the storm come in. We’ve learned to compromise over the years. I try not to freak out. He tries not to make fun of me. We take care of our animals and listen to the local TV station and stay alert until the danger – or at least most of it – passes.
The warnings have been cancelled. Whew. We had lots of lightning. We haven’t had any rain yet, but I expect a lot of it over night. The TV guys were talking about two areas of rotation reasonably close to us. One seemed to touch down in a rural area in southeastern Oklahoma, right over the state line from us. It was moving in a northeast direction, and the cone of possible travel seemed to skirt past us to the west. Then they added rotation in the Fort Smith area. I don’t think anything happened in Fort Smith, other than hail. That was happening in Oklahoma, too. In fact, they showed a piece of hail that had a measuring tape beside it – measuring 4 inches long!
We’re still under a flash flood warning through Sunday, with 5 to 8 inches of rain forecast by Sunday. That’s a LOT of rain. We have several rivers and creeks that go through the area, and a lot of those won’t crest until Monday or so.
We’ll just keep all appendages crossed that everyone comes through this weekend all right.
Filed under Arkansas, Greenwood, Mother Nature
When Did We….?
We have found – as we age – we have trouble remembering stuff. Sometimes we’re trying to remember when something happened, when we bought something, how old something is, what brand of ____ did we buy?
My husband came up with an idea that has helped us MANY, MANY times. He started a spreadsheet on the computer several years ago (maybe 15 or 20 now). When he thinks something is important, or he just wants to remember it – he goes to the spreadsheet he creatively named, “Log” :0) and types in the date and what he wanted to remember. Since it’s in spreadsheet form, it’s searchable.
For example, he wanted to know when I had my cataract surgery this morning. I had no clue, other than it was several years ago. He went to the log, typed in ‘cataracts’ and came up with September of 2012 in less time than I can type this. That got us on a discussion of other surgeries, and he could give me dates for each.
Rarely we get in a fight with someone who wants to charge us for something we didn’t order, or say we didn’t return something, or similar financial thing. It goes on the log, too. This has helped us MANY times. We can come up with the name of the person who told us – for example – my husband didn’t have to go up on our two-story roof to uninstall the dish so that it could be returned. When they wrote us they were going to charge us $99.00 next month because we hadn’t returned that part, we came up with the name of the person and a copy of the email that told us we didn’t have to.
Sometimes we want to know the name of the new rose-bush we planted. It’s in the log – what the name of it is and when we planted it. (The newest rose-bush is called “Sedona”)
You’d think it would take a long time to do this. It really doesn’t. And it’s a lifesaver for us.
Filed under Uncategorized
Sylvester and Tweetie Pie Mailbox Decoration
We took advantage of the drier weather today to change our mailbox decoration to Sylvester & Tweetie Pie. This is the back of the piece.
This is the front. We’re satisfied with this piece because you can see what it is from fairly far down the road, and we did 3-dimensional whiskers on Sylvester and some hair on Tweetie Pie.
Filed under Lewis Art, Lewis Mailbox Decorations
Rio Samba Roses
Since the rain is to start soon and will continue, according to the weather people, until Sunday, I dashed out to get a couple of pictures of our two Rio Samba rose bushes before they get beaten up by the storms.
This rose bush is just off the front porch.
And this one is just to the side of our driveway pad. We just love these, with the multi-color blooms. They’re doing really well right now. I hope the coming storms are kind to them.
Filed under Gardening
The Surgery is WHEN?
I had cataracts removed in September or so of 2012. I really lucked out on the timing. By the time I had it, the procedure is so routine it isn’t a big deal anymore, either with the surgery or the recovery. When I had mine done, I hadn’t realized that I was blind in my left eye from a completely opaque cataract! I thought I just needed new glasses. The eye exam was a real eye opener (if you’ll pardon the expression.) I couldn’t see ANYTHING when my right eye was covered. I’m still amazed that my brain adapted to that so well. I had no problems with the surgery or the recovery, and my husband took great care of me.
Now it’s my husband’s turn. His first surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, May 2nd, at 6:45 a.m. I start putting drops in his right eye four times a day tomorrow.
One of the many perks of retirement is not having to get up at a particular time. It’s a life saver that we can get sleep when we can get it, since we both seem to end up downstairs reading at all hours, rather than getting the sleep we would like.
In order to be in Fort Smith at the hospital at 6:45, we’ll need to leave the house at 6 a.m. at the LATEST. That means we’ll have to get up at 5 a.m. to get showered and dressed and the animals taken care of before we leave.
I kidded the nice lady who called with our time of surgery, asking if they provided cots so we could go on Monday night and sleep there – but it really sounds like a good thing to me. Alas, my hopes were dashed.
Hopefully my husband will do very well with the first surgery. We go back Wednesday morning to see the surgeon so he can see how my husband’s eye is doing and (we hope) schedule the second eye to be done in two weeks.
My husband has always had super good vision, so the blurriness and fogginess he’s experiencing now is really exasperating for him. I’m SO happy that hopefully soon he’ll be seeing well again.
Filed under Challenges, Changes
Friday: Potentially severe storms along the warm front after dark; Hail primary threat; tornadoes possible.
WEATHER ALERT DAY SATURDAY: Extensive Flash Flooding 5-8″ of rain likely.
Sunday: Rain ends, cooler. River flooding remains possible.
SO – we may need a boat before this is over. We live on top of a ridge line, so we don’t have to worry about flooding in the house or the shop. We may have a lot of flooding in Greenwood and Fort Smith, though, with Arkansas River flooding, plus flooding from lots of other smaller rivers throughout the state. Spring is usually rainy, but this is a little much. Our biggest danger up here is tornadoes. I’ve lived in Oklahoma and Arkansas (aka ‘Tornado Alley’) for most of my life and I’ve never actually seen a tornado. I’ll be delighted if this remains true the rest of my life.
The saddest thing is that the worst day for the rain is supposed to be tomorrow, when the 30th annual car show is scheduled on Greenwood’s square. It’s a fun event, with lots of people coming from all around to show the great work they’ve done on their cars, with some of the cars from the 1920s. They provide a fun day for lots of people, and then give a check to the city to use for community projects. I’m hoping that either the forecasters have misread their maps, or that the car show can be rescheduled.
Meanwhile, all has been planted and will appreciate the rain (I hope!) I’m a bit worried that my garden plants will get hailed on again. All appendages crossed that we’ll ONLY get the rain…
Filed under Arkansas, Greenwood, Mother Nature
Traditional Chinese Wood Carving
I found an article by Christopher Jobson on Colossal regarding traditional Chinese Dongyang Wood Carving that blew me away.
“With origins that date back as far as the Tang Dynasty (around the year ~700), the Chinese craft of Dongyang wood carving is regarded by many to be one of the most elegant forms of relief carving in the world. The craft is still practiced in a few workshops in the region of Dongyang, China, and most commonly appears as ornate decoration on ‘everyday’ objects such as cases, cabinets, stools, desks and tables.”
Filed under Creativity, When Wood Comes Alive
Filed under Awe-Inspiring Photography
Flowers – Part II
I showed you pictures of the new plants I planted on our deck. I took some pics a couple of days ago of the flowers I just planted in the rest of the yard, plus a couple of others I wanted to share with you. The planting is all finished now, with the exception of nestling some hummingbird flowers seedlings into the deck pots –
My husband’s clematis. This year they’re really giving us a nice show.
On one side of the front portch, we have fuchsia impatiens, neon orange impatiens, phlox, and some iris. We have an evergreen bush on the other side of the porch in the same kind of tall planter, the fuchsia impatiens, some phlox, etc.
I did this mosaic gazing ball a couple of years ago. This pot is on one side of our driveway. I planted some periwinkles around the edge of the pot.
One of four gerbera daisies.
Lavender stripy petunias.
‘violas’ or what I call bright happy pansy type flowers.
Periwinkles in our emu planters, plus phlox and periwinkles in the pot at the bottom of the pic.
This pot is on the other side of the driveway from the one above.
The ‘thing’ at the top of this pic is an old computer. The birds like to build nests inside. The flowers are fuchsia purslane/yubi/portalaca, and then we have phlox and periwinkles in the square planter.
Filed under Friendship
Our son lives and works in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We chat almost every day. Today he wrote –
“there’s an orange scrounger cat who lives around pansook. i call him over and pet him if he wants whenever i see him. today i saw him and his ear was pretty torn up. i started to tell the pansook doorman, but he already knew, and he brought over some gauze and some kind of disinfectant stuff. i scruffed the cat and held him still while the guy dumped the stuff on his ear. the cat didn’t like it, but tolerated it ok without going nuts. then we let him go. i said “you are a good person” (คุฌเป็นคนดีครับ) to the doorman”
Filed under kindness
Filed under life lessons
Deck Flowers are Almost Finished
Yesterday I planted the rest of the flowers on the deck and around the yard. It’s a good thing I pushed myself to get them in because, as predicted, it started storming overnight. It’s still really rainy-looking and dark outside, and more rain is forecast.
We love geraniums, and my husband likes the red ones best. We have two of these on the deck now.
Here you see two of the four pots of mandevilla, the hummingbird bird bath, and a pot with two colors of petunias.
More petunias, plus our metal flower in the background.
Petunias surround our emu planter, shovel bird feeder, and our ‘party animal’ penguin.
Petunias, geranium, and nice view.
I have some small pots of hummingbird flower seeds growing on the dining table. If they live, I’ll transplant them in several bunches out on the deck, nestled in with the other flowers to welcome the hummingbirds.
Home-grown sliced tomatoes are one of our favorite things. Each year the only thing my husband is excited about is planting tomatoes. He hounds me from WAAAAAY before we should be planting them until every space for tomatoes is planted. Last year the two plants in what we call ‘the nook’ beside the porch and behind the house got SO big that a big storm broke them off in the middle and folded them over into the yard. They never recovered. We still got some tomatoes, but the tomato orgy was over.
My husband built some stakes for the tomatoes in the nook this year. These blue stakes are about 6 feet high and made of metal. They are sunk to the bottom of the front of the planter and then lean against the brick wall behind. They’re super sturdy. I’m worried, though, that the metal will get hot and burn the plants. We’ll see. The picture above is the plant we planted three weeks after the other one in the planter, hoping to extend our tomato season as long as possible.
Here is the other plant in the nook. It’s much larger and both have yellow blossoms already!
This is the other tomato planter. It has been converted from a flower planter to a square-foot garden planter. We have fairly sturdy tomato cages that stick down to the bottom of the planter. I planted the six plants at three different times, hoping for the best. They have really grown this past week. They weren’t even touching the cages last week.
Yesterday I found two grape tomato plants at one of the stores in town. I throw these into salads, eat them with carrots, celery and dip, and love the way they give color to whatever you’re eating. I HOPE they’re happy in the garden.
As soon as the rains quit, I’ll go out and see if I can tie the plants up carefully to give them as much support as possible. We’ve been having heavy rains, lots of wind, some hail, and flying hair balls lately. I’m trying to be thankful for every drop, but I hope all this doesn’t batter my poor little plants…
Filed under Arkansas, DIET!, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds
Stained Glass Cabin
Christopher Jobson wrote a story for Colossal about Neile Cooper’s Stained Glass Sanctuary in Mohawk, New Jersey. On almost every flat space is one of Neile’s beautiful stained glass artworks.
I just can’t say enough about this. She built the cabin from recycled materials, then filled every space with a piece of stained glass.
I’m in awe of her talent. My husband and I have made some simple stained glass pieces. These are awe-inspiring, in that they are comprised of several pieces of glass with the design continuing, like a mural.
Creating the pieces shows incredible talent. THEN, putting them up in the cabin simply blows my mind.
I can only imagine how it all looks from the inside. I’m not sure I could ever leave.
Filed under Stained Glass Art
Pretending is Such Fun
We moved to Greenwood, Arkansas about 30 years ago. We wanted to build an earth-sheltered, bermed home with a Southern exposure, built right into the hillside, open to the south to take advantage of passive solar heat. My husband traveled around most every day after work, trying to find our land. He finally found this land, a parcel of about 8 acres on top of a ridge line.
When he first showed it to me, it was about 104 degrees F. There was no way up to the top of the ridge line, except for walking, which we did, through fairly dense, very rocky land. When we got to the top, I was gasping for air. Of course, we didn’t think of bringing water with us. I thought my husband had lost his mind. I could see very little difference between what we had seen at the road in front of the place and the top of the hill, where he proposed we build our home. I would eat my words when the bulldozers cleared the land for our home. My husband had much more vision than I.
We had FHA approved plans for a two-story dome into the hill-side, with a tunnel that led to a one-story dome completely underground. The top of the dome would be above ground, covered almost completely with grass, which we would mow. The south exposure would be open, looking out into the valley. It would be super efficient, cost little to cool or heat. We were really excited. After talking to everyone who built homes anywhere around here, we finally had to give up our idea. No one would seriously talk to us, and they all priced the home so high we couldn’t afford it, and THEN added a rock clause to the top of that – basically saying the estimate on the house didn’t mean anything. We started over, looking at the insides of houses, looking for the features we wanted, and built the house that fit our needs the best.
We had to BLAST for our basement, our septic system, and the pool we wanted, but never actually built. The rock clause was necessary.
I don’t really know how far we can see from our deck. I know we can watch the seasons change in the valley, watch the storms roll in, enjoy all the different colors, and even firework displays of our neighbors in the valley, pretending we own all we can see.
We’ve built our own little world here, and have already enjoyed it for 30 years. We feel we’re just getting started.
Filed under Bright Ideas
Outside – Days 2 and 3 of 3
A couple of days ago I told you I was going to use the 3 days of sunshine we had to finish planting the flowers around the yard.
Day 1/of 3 was productive.
Day 2/of 3 we bought a bunch of flowers and two grape tomato plants. Before we went to do errands and buy the plants, I wasn’t feeling up to par. By the time I got home, I was feeling BAD. Something I had eaten didn’t agree with me. I ended up asleep under my throw in the recliner most of the day.
Today is Day 3/of 3 – and it’s been a good one. I’m feeling 90% back up to par.
I just came in from getting all of the planting finished. It took me several sessions, but things are good now.
- 4 yubi/purslane/portulaca plants
- 4 gerbera daisies
- 2 geraniums
- 1 whole flat of petunias
- 1 whole flat of periwinkles
- 2 grape tomato plants in the garden
It’s almost 2:30 now – time I fixed lunch and I’ll continue to rest and re-hydrate. Then I’ll go out and take some pictures to share with you.
This is why I’ve had to hurry to get the plants in. I’m trying to be thankful for every drop.
Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Greenwood, Mother Nature
Outside – Day 1 of 3
I got in a good stroke on this, Day 1, of the three sunny days we’ll have through Tuesday.
- I harvested veggies from the garden
- I pruned and weeded in the garden
- I prepared the planters for the flowers we’ll hopefully get tomorrow: phlox, geraniums, purslane (yubi), periwinkles, and gerbera daisies (if we’re lucky. )
I’m hoping to have things pretty much under control by the end of Day 3…
I hope you’ve had a good, productive, happy day, too.
Filed under Gardening