Saturday, December 28, 2013

Taking down and putting away

Sure looks mighty dull and plain around here with all the Christmas decorations down and stored away...




Once Christmas is over I can hardly wait to put it all behind me.  Half a day!  That's how long it has taken to put away all the ornaments and stuff!  Three days left before the new year will be here!  2014!  That sounds good to me!   

January is for thinking about spring and looking at gardening catalogs.  Then for me, February is a hard month to get through.  I'm tired of being inside.   I long to see new leaves opening on the trees and violets in bloom.

Yesterday, I cleaned out the goat's tiny barn...swept it nice and clean and added fresh hay...





They seem to enjoy the warm sun and clean floor.  I would love to have a real barn some day, with a loft, and the loft filled with sweet smelling hay.  I would love to have a larger fenced-in area.  Room for two donkeys.  Yep, that's what I want.

I remember the barn at my Grandma's house.  Their house was on one side of the dirt road and the barn was on the other side.  It was a huge barn.  An opening went right through the middle of the barn.  A wide enough opening for the mules to pull the wagon through, I suppose. Then there were stalls on either side of the barn and a loft above.



The sunshine has been nice again today but rain is in the forecast for tomorrow.  Maybe as much as two inches and maybe even a thunderstorm!  


Oh well, enough daydreaming for today.  I still have housework to finish and clothes to fold.  Thank you staying this long. :)

Love,
Henny Penny


Friday, December 27, 2013

After Christmas Blues

It takes a few days after the Christmas holiday is over for me to feel like myself again.  Maybe it's all the planning and preparations.  All the excitement and waiting...not just waiting for Santa Claus, but waiting for family.  Andee, Todd, Madison, and Bell (their dog) were driving down from Yorktown on Christmas eve.  Excited, I was constantly peeping out, hoping to see their car coming down the dirt path.  Christmas would start when the first family members arrived.  Then I hear Weetie barking that long high-pitched barking that means ...come quick!  Strange car coming in!  There is nothing better than having Lynn and Andee and their families come home.  After all, seems like the older we get the less we see of each other. 

I had a big pot of chili cooking for supper.  And there was plenty to snack on...a crock pot full of chocolate covered peanuts, the usual brown sugar chew bread, and a vegetable tray.  We would put out the real food on Christmas day!  We enjoyed having them with us on Christmas eve.

Christmas morning...I was busy in the kitchen making sausage biscuits, but Santa had definitely stopped by...


Dear Santa left Bell a Hedgehog in her stocking...


Lynn and her family came on Christmas day.  I was so busy cooking and enjoying the children and listening to everyone talk, I completely forgot to take any pictures.

Michaela said, "Grandma, have you gathered the eggs today?"  When I said "no", she and Madison left for the chicken house.  Both are 14 year old now.  Seems like just yesterday they were spending Christmas here as toddlers...picking at Grandpa...or was it the other way around...


Corn for the ducks...


A very young Madison feeding the chickens...


It was a perfectly wonderful Christmas.  The day was gone too quickly.  I felt sad as each one pulled out of the driveway.  I haven't quite recovered yet! :(

Thank you for stopping by.

Love,
Henny Penny


Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Gifts

Just had to post a quick picture and note.  The gifts are wrapped and under the tree! 


You know, they say old people, or should I say, as people get older, they begin to hoard things.  Collect stuff and hide it away for hard times! :)  Do you reckon that's my problem??

Remember my ball of string...saved from every feed bag opened since we first started buying animal feed!  Let me see if I can pull up that picture again for you.  Here we go...


Well all those packages under the Christmas tree are wrapped in brown shipping paper that I could not bring myself to throw out.   You can order a pen and it arrives in a box big enough to hold a stove...stuffed with bunches and bunches of brown paper.  I just plug in my iron, and I iron and roll all that paper.  It's fun.  I have quite the roll stored away....held tight with a rubber band on each end. :)

Maybe I shouldn't tell you this, but mama used to press her paper money.  She sure did.  She said she couldn't stand old wrinkled up money in her billfold! :)  She was a mess, let me tell you!

We have had at least 2 inches of rain today.  The yard is slick and muddy in places.  The pond is muddy and the pier is under water.  It has been warm enough to run the air conditioner for the last three days!  That's okay,  I'm happy and excited about the family coming Christmas day!

Thanks for visiting.

Love,
Henny Penny

I'm not really hoarding things....am I :/

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Clean yard and " to do" list

Shoot!  I forgot to take a picture of the "clean" front yard!  That's right!  Things are getting accomplished around here and being marked off that list! :)

Here's the picture (inserted) I forgot to take yesterday...


Thursday at 11:00 a.m.  I was in the yard raking and mowing...raking and mowing.  For five and a half hours, I raked and mowed!  At 4:30 I limped inside, brushed the dust off myself, combed my hair out of my face, shook myself off again, washed my hands, took a Tylenol, and started supper. 

When you are, as mama used to say, "simply worn out", it's hard to do anything right!  There was pain between my shoulders, my arms and hands felt weak and shaky, there was a blister on my thumb, and my toes were hurting. 

Had to get supper started!  I needed eggs for the cornbread and salmon patties.  I opened the refrigerator and no, I didn't drop the eggs, I knocked over a bowl of garden peas.  Peas rolled all the way to the kitchen sink.  Peas and juice went under the vegetable drawer, and in the bottom shelf on the refrigerator door, under all the jars and bottles, and made a puddle of peas and juice on the floor in front of the refrigerator.  Grabbing a plastic grocery bag and two pieces of cardboard I began raking up peas and juice and dumping it in the bag. Then had to mop the kitchen floor.  Why didn't we finish eating those darn peas the night before!!!

With the pea mess cleaned up, I brought out the carton of eggs.  The first egg I picked up slipped right through my fingers and splattered on the floor at my feet.  Seriously!!!

As tired as I was, supper turned out good...or maybe I was starving!  No telling how many calories were burned doing all that raking and mowing!   The salmon patties fried up nice and crisp.  The stewed cabbage, pinto beans, sliced onion, and cornbread was good too! 

Anyway, a few cards are in the mail.  Most of the shopping is done.  The decorations are up...although I keep standing and staring, wondering, "am I done here"?

Hopefully, all the family will be here Christmas day.  That excites me and makes me happy.  Lots of cooking to be done.

Thank you for visiting.

Love ,
Henny Penny




Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas stress


Could this be part of why I can't get anything done!!!  The ceiling fan simply had to be cleaned before the family comes at Christmas.  Heavy dust on the blades were beginning to wear on the motor! :)  As soon as I opened the ladder, Bickett claimed it...daring me to climb up!

How in the world all you folks with these great blogs, adding an interesting post every day, do it, is beyond me!!!  How have you done the Christmas shopping, put up lovely trees and decorations, made cookies to deliver, and batches of fudge to share, all the while caring for farms and animals and driving back and forth to work in several feet of snow!  I admire you all!

Now "me", retired since 1999.  My children grown and living in other towns.  Our cabin is not quite 1200 square feet.  I cook, clean, and wash clothes for only the two of us.  Now I do rake 5 acres of leaves, on my own, mind you! :)  I got more done when I worked 8 hours a day in the city, and was on the road 3 hours a day!!!

 (our first winter in the cabin) 

However, the Christmas shopping is not finished.  None of the baking is done.  Four Christmas cards were written last night, two cards were ripped up and thrown in the trash.  One thing I accomplished just this morning...a sheet of notebook paper filled, listing all that needs to be done before Christmas!  Whew!  Thank goodness that's done!


Hanging out waiting for me to pop the top on another can of "Fancy Feast"...always, before I can put a load of clothes in to wash!


And sweet Dumperoo never gets in the way...  during the day anyway.  He does his roaming at night.  Sometimes it feels like a race horse just crossed the foot of the bed in the middle of the night!

It is surprising how fast the baby Guineas have grown.  I never thought they would survive being hatched this time of the year.  Of course, that heat lamp burns day and night over their feed bowl and I have boards and pieces of tin enclosing one corner of the old dog lot they are in.  Only one of the babies is still not growing.  I've never seen anything like it.  It eats and drinks, but doesn't grow.


See the tiny one in front?

Thank you for stopping by.  I best get busy as I plan to mark off a few things on that notebook paper today!!!

Love,
Henny Penny


Sunday, December 15, 2013

The wreath

There is something unusual, something special, something I really like about this picture.  Maybe I spend too much time thinking and planning, moving things, admiring things, making things.


Do you ever feel lonely even when you are not alone? 


I have a cute kitty cat oil painting to show you.  Painted by my cousin Pat.  This is a small painting she did from a photograph of Bickett...


I've mentioned this before, but since I don't know if anyone reads my older posts...Pat is my first and second cousin.  Her mom and my mom were sisters.  Her dad and my dad were first cousins.  Our families were very close growing up. 

Both Pat and her husband Mike love cats.  They have two Ragdoll cats named Max and Annie, who are spoiled rotten!  :)

You may remember this painting of Bickett.  Pat did this one a few years ago.  It hangs in the dining room...


Talking about pictures made me think of my brother Randall.  Randall, like Jackie, died when he was only 49 years old.   Anyway, Randall was a lot younger than Shelby, Jackie, and Me.  He used to love to pick at mama.   One night Randall was sitting up late, supposedly watching TV, after mama had gone off to bed.   Well, he took all the pictures on the living room wall and hung them up side down.  Randall would snicker and laugh, waiting for mama to notice the next morning. Mama would say, "what's wrong with you, Randall?  What do you keep laughing at?"   Then when mama noticed what was done, she would say, "Randall, I'd be ashamed. Why do you want to do things like that?" Mama didn't really mind.  Mama thought the sun rose and set in Randall. 

This is an old picture of Randall from the 1980's.  We all loved Randall so much.  He always had that smile.  He loved to laugh.


Not much of a post.  Hope you will come back.

Love,
Henny Penny


Friday, December 13, 2013

Playing in the snow, 1940's

Busy wiping the dust off a few things on the table in the hall this morning, I noticed how cold Shelby, Jackie, and I looked out playing in the snow.


Shelby, sitting on the sled, seemed to be the only one having fun!  I remember how bundled up mama had me.  I don't think my arms would bend.  Believe me, I was never the fat child that I appear to be in this picture!  I also remember that green knit hat with the ball on top.  The ties were shaped like a beaver's tail.

Our house, in the background, is where we lived first in Robbins.  That would have been in the mid or late 1940's.  We moved from this house to Summerville, South Carolina.   

This is the house where Jackie's little friend Diane lived next door...



Jackie was such a sweet looking boy...with that worried look of his.  He looks like a little Dutch boy here...


We were living here when Shelby and I each got a Betsy Wetsy doll and a wooden doll cradle for Christmas.
 
Then we moved and I started school, first grade, in Summerville...

We moved back to Robbins as I was going into third grade...


I hung around the sewing machine watching mama make this dress.  The fabric was a combination of brown, with brown and white checks, trimmed in white eyelet lace.  I remember mama taking the leftover scraps of cloth and making my doll a matching dress.

Mama had the patience of Job!  She never tired of cleaning, cooking and taking care of us.  If she did, It never showed.  She worried over our hands getting wet and cold when we played in the snow.   She was continuously calling us in to warm our hands and feet...putting our gloves, socks and shoes on the heater to dry.  With every snow, mama made snow cream for us to enjoy.  It was soooo delicious!!!  With sugar, cream, and vanilla flavoring!  

It was when we were living in this first house in Robbins that daddy came home one night with a fishing plug hooked through his chin.  Daddy used to fish a lot.  The plug had gotten hung on something.  Daddy was pulling and jerking on the rod when the plug came loose, flew back and hooked him in the chin.  It was a big plug too!  One of those with three hooks on front and three hooks on the back!  I can still see that plug dangling from daddy's chin and the blood!  I remember the fear and excitement in the house, and daddy going to see the doctor that night.

Okay, enough of this.  I am sure this is interesting only to me...so thank you for sticking around.

Love,
Henny Penny

A note about my third grade picture...what a horrible looking ear I have showing in the picture.  Actually my ear was fine and normal. :) All of my school pictures were accidentally ripped into shreds many years ago and to make matters worse, I had scotch taped them back together.  I carried a couple of the pictures to have them restored and this was the best they could do. 


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas and The Garden



Big switch here from Christmas to gardening.  Reminds me of the Christmas movie, "The Homecoming".  I love that movie with Patricia Neal...when John, her husband makes it home for Christmas, in the blizzard.  He brings her flowers and she says, "flowers, in the dead of winter"!  

A while back I posted about collards, broccoli, and turnips growing in the garden...I was so excited, having never grown either of these.

We had collards, stewed turnips, and a pan of cornbread for supper last night!   We did!  There is nothing like cornbread baked in a cast iron frying pan.  Especially, if you have just fried out fat back.  The small amount of salt and fat left in the pan makes a brown, crunchy, salted crust on the bread...

The "real" farmers out there would probably get a good laugh at the tiny vegetables I show and talk about.  I'll be the first to admit...I like small...like in the English Fairy Tale, "the teeny-tiny woman who lived in a teeny-tiny house in a teeny-tiny village".  Here we have a teeny-tiny garden with a teeny-tiny gate and teeny-tiny vegetables inside!












Turnips...


 


The broccoli did not survive the 19 degree weather we had a week or so ago.  I was really looking forward to having fresh broccoli....I wish now that I had cut and used the small heads before the freezing weather.  Maybe next year!

I may be back later today with a bit of a post...

Love,
Henny Penny




Tuesday, December 10, 2013

More Decorating





This is another cold, rainy, day.  Just miserable outside.  In fact, when I went out to open the chicken house door this morning, I had to be careful to keep from sliding in the mud.  That problem was quickly solved with two heaping wheelbarrow loads of leaves! :)

Actually, there is not much to post.  This I do know...as long as there is a cat in the house there will always be a little something to post about!

Wanting something different this year, I thought one of those big grapevine wreaths with lights added, would look pretty.   Maybe hang it from that old cupboard on the front porch.  So, I bring one of the brittle old wreaths inside to work on...Curious cats appeared from outta nowhere!




When we moved here in 1989, the property was covered in wild grapevines.  Poppy took the time to make two really big grapevine wreaths from all that we pulled out of the trees.  These wreaths have been used on the front porch for twenty four years!   These wreaths have been covered with live cedar twigs, berries, and pine cones again and again, year after year.  Decorated, washed with the hose, and moved from place to place. 

Decorating is fun.  But the thing I have the most trouble with is the tree.  No matter how I try, how much I add or take away...the tree never looks right...especially in a photograph.  Everything looks a little off???


The problem may be, this is not a live tree!  Poppy and I used to always chop down a cedar for Christmas.  Then we worried about the trees we were killing for a mere two weeks pleasure!

A scrappy looking wreath...


Suppose you can guess who added this last bit of decor...  :)


Thank you for stopping by. 

Love,
Henny Penny


Decorations are subject to change without prior notice! :)
  





Friday, December 6, 2013

Decorating for Christmas


I can see here that the knick knacks on the mantle are a bit much.  Need to move a few elsewhere...

A very unusual day here in North Carolina!  Having pulled out all the boxes of Christmas decorations, I go to work to change our little hunting lodge into a winter wonder land.  Make everything Christmasy!  Listen to some old Christmas carols.  But truth is...it is 76 degrees here with a chance of...no, not snow, but a chance of the thermometer hitting 80 degrees!  That's right, 80 degrees!  All the windows are open!  Where the billowing curtains separate I see brown leaves blowing in the wind.  Adding yet another layer of leaves to the layer that fell yesterday on the newly cleaned side yard.  This is getting pretty tiresome!

Hopefully, Christmas will be a little different around here this year.  I don't have a lot to spend on gifts, but I want to go shopping.  Buy a little something that speaks to me...that says, "this is special to give Lynn" or "this is special to give Andee"!  Who wants a list of what everybody wants...where is the fun in shopping if you're going to buy something the person ask you buy.  When did people start telling each other what they want them to buy anyway!!  Where is the Christmas spirit in this?  Dagnabbit!

I get melancholy and go through this every year.  Then I go out shopping and realize all those special little gifts I want to buy, now costs a hundred dollars each.  So, I jump down from my soap box, call Andee and Lynn and suggest we draw names, and can you tell me something to buy the grandchildren? :)

Bickett said he was tired of hearing about it.  To just surprise him...


Dumper said his hair is beginning to grey, do whatever I want...


But both agreed that I should hang mistletoe from the ceiling fan...


Time surely flies.  Better get supper on the table.  Thanks for stopping by.

Love,
Henny Penny







Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Leaves

The yard....



Before Thanksgiving, I  got a good start on the yearly leaf raking!  Well that "good start" has long since been covered over again with leaves.  Yesterday was a new start.  If I can rake at least one hour a day,  could the yard be nice for Christmas??  Sounds like a riddle to me.  Maybe the riddle should be, if I rake every day until Christmas, will I be able to walk?  Why is this job so overwhelming this year?  Sometimes I feel like lighting a match and throwing it out the back door!  I'm kidding.  More pictures, in case anyone has forgotten how many leaves need to be raked up...I'm looking for sympathy here...






(I should have been raking instead of taking pictures)

Poppy says he will try to find someone to help me with the leaves, (yeah, I know, I thought the same thing).  It's not like me to ask for help.  But gosh, imagine me, enjoying my coffee, watching the leaves being raked and hauled away!  Maybe when they finish with the leaves, I will ask if they do windows! :)

Speaking of riddles...mama and I were out shopping together several years ago. She was lots of fun to shop with.  Mama loved looking at greeting cards, she loved sending greeting cards.  Uncle Myron's birthday was coming up and she needed a card to send.  Now mind you, mama would get tickled over anything and laugh until she would get whoever she was with tickled.  That's why she carried a tissue wadded up in her hand, to wipe her eyes, from laughing so hard.  So, there was this card with a big grasshopper on the front...the verse inside said, "if it takes a hen and a half, a day and a half, to lay an egg and a half, how long would it take a grasshopper to kick all the seeds out of a cucumber?"  Mama started laughing.  She laughed and laughed and laughed!  People were beginning to look at us.  She had me laughing too.  Mama bought that card and we got out of there. 

This post is not any good for anybody...but it did make me feel better! :)

Do come back!

Love,
Henny Penny









Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thinking of Christmas

I drove past the most beautifully decorated house on Saturday.  I actually drove around the block a second time so I could get a picture....


Nothing stresses me as much as buying Christmas gifts for people, and it is not the money!  I love giving gifts!  I am simply not a shopper.  I cannot pick out gifts to give. 

Back when I worked in Raleigh I would tell Poppy to expect me home late...that I was going to do some Christmas shopping after work.  Well I would walk and look and look and walk, and finally after wasting three hours of precious time, would go home, mad at myself and depressed.

Somehow every year though, I manage to get the gifts, as mama would say..."such as they are," get them wrapped and under the tree.  From a couple years back...



Christmas shopping used to be simple, and fun!  of course, I was a child then!  Daddy used to give each of us children a little shopping money before Christmas to buy each other presents.  There were no malls around then.  Our shopping was done simply by walking to town...the town of Robbins, in the early 1950's. 

Gift buying was exciting!  For daddy, it was a box of chocolate covered cherries, Old Spice after shave, or a pack of handkerchiefs.  And every year daddy was totally surprised, and as pleased as could be with what we had picked out for him. 

Lee's dime store was where we shopped!!!  For mama, there was so much to choose from...fingernail polish, lipstick in the little metal tubes, Jergins lotion, Pond's cream, ladies handkerchiefs, Evening in Paris perfume.  Lee's sold all sorts of lovely things!  Mama was always surprised  too, and happy with what each of us had picked out for her!  How proud we were to watch them open their presents on Christmas morning!

What Shelby, Jackie, and I got for Christmas didn't come from Lee's dime store.  Everything we wanted could be bought at Sears Roebuck.  From the time the Sears Roebuck Christmas catalog arrived until Christmas eve, one of us had a pencil and sheet of notebook paper making lists.  Everything we wanted was in that catalog and Santa Claus somehow knew that. 

There was no doubt in my mind about there being a Santa Claus either!   There was a Santa Claus!  Why would anyone even question such a thing.  Then one day Shelby was snooping around while mama and daddy were away from the house.  She found everything!  Under a bed!  Did she keep it to herself?  No!  She broke the terrible news to Jackie and me.   DRAT!

Image from Wikipedia

This is not a picture of our tree nor of our house.  Sure wish I had more old family pictures to share with you.  There used to be a box full of pictures at home, like there is in every household.  Somehow I got the short end of the stick when the family pictures were doled out.   Anyway, the old picture above reminds me a bit of how things looked when I was growing up.

One Christmas Santa Claus brought me the most beautiful baby doll.  She was dressed in pink and lace and she wore a pink bonnet over her blond hair.  She was a large doll, in a pink box.  I first saw this doll displayed in Williamson's grocery store sitting high up on a shelf.  I knew she had to be mine...I just knew it!  I remember right then telling mama and daddy, that is the doll I want for Christmas!  Mama and daddy were friends with the Williamson's and I had gone with them to the store.  Occasionally, the four of them would get together and play cards.  Their names were Dawsey and Pearl. Their small grocery store was on a street behind the grammar school in Robbins.  Dawsey and Pearl lived in a small house that was connected to the back of the store.  Friends, on Christmas morning, that very doll was under the tree with my name on it!

Thank you for visiting!

Love,
Henny Penny