Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fling Fling

Had a suggestion from Andee...that we name this sweetie-pie "Fling Fling" :) (from Fiona Ling Ling)  any thoughts?  Andee calls me every morning on her drive to work!  We talk for about twenty minutes and cover everything from shoe size to the world's problems, and what needs to be done!!!  :)

It is hot and humid here again today, but all in all, we have had a very nice August.  I can't remember another August where it was in the 80's all month!  Well almost all month!

Not much to post about.  The herb garden, started much too late in the season, is trying to grow.  Certainly nothing to brag about...

The tiny patch of basil needs to be thinned.  The parsley is just coming through the ground, and that's mustard on the left...just happened to have a pack of mustard seed. :)  I do love this dragonfly that hangs around the herb garden...

Daddy used to call dragonflies, "snake doctors".  Poppy laughed when I called one a snake doctor.  Wikipedia says, "The Southern United States term "Snake Doctor" refers to a folk belief that dragonflies follow snakes around and stitch them back together if they are injured".    So, they are called "Snake Doctors"!  Turns out I'm right, for a change!!!

Tuesday, I spent the day with sister, the farmer.   Shelby had been wanting me to meet a friend of her's and see her amazing yard full of flowers.  So, that's what we did.  First let me show you a tree in her friend's yard...a black walnut tree.  This tree is 300 years old and the second largest black walnut tree in North Carolina.

Her yard and flowers were beautiful, and she was a very sweet and beautiful lady!  Meeting her and seeing her gardens made me want to come home and  start digging in the dirt!!

Thank you for stopping by.  Time for Poppy...better get busy.

Henny Penny

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sunny Skies and a Swing

We had that beautiful Carolina blue sky Saturday morning so I hung a load of white clothes on the line to dry.   It just feels good to go outside and hang clothes on the line.  

When Lynn was a baby we traveled home from San Antonio, Texas to spend six weeks with mama and daddy here in North Carolina.  We were in the military and Lynn's dad was on a temporary duty assignment.  Anyway, it was winter time, a very cold winter.  I would wash and hang the clothes on the clothesline and the cloth diapers ("Birdseye" diapers) would freeze as soon as the air hit them.  Funny looking...stiff white squares pinned to the line!!

A beautiful morning!   The air feels fresh and cool! 

In a "not so long ago" post I talked about how I have always wanted a rope swing hanging from a tree limb, well I think this may the tree limb I've been looking for.  This limb is plenty big enough, but it is pretty high up.  It has been right over my head every day and I didn't even notice it!  For sure, Poppy will say, "we can't put a swing there"!  Listen, as soon as I buy the rope, I will let you know !  I have a perfect board for the seat.  I may be swinging out over the goat lot before too long!

The Guineas followed me to the pond earlier today...I wanted to feed the fish and try to get the catfish to come in close enough to get a picture.  There was a news story on TV recently about catfish eating tomatoes...those catfish would actually swim in close enough to eat the tomato from someone's hand.  Well it didn't work for me.  And, the catfish didn't eat the tomato pieces I threw in the water.  They did eat the fish food...Think I can tame these catfish??

Most of these catfish weigh around seven or eight pounds, or more and have in the pond since 1996.

Mr. and Mrs. Duck paddled in for a look...

 And this is Fiona leaving the scene...

Thanks for stopping by.   Need to go now...I'm going out to stand and stare at that tree limb and do some planning!!

Henny Penny

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Home Alone

Weetie and I just got home from a ride in to town.  I couldn't help my self!!  The sky was getting darker and lonelier looking by the minute.  The thunder was getting louder and closer.  I try to tell myself that it's just a thunderstorm...that it will pass, but myself refuses to listen.  My flip-flops and the car keys were near the door so I was out of here in a flash, leaving the storm behind.  There's a cold front coming through this evening so the storms were expected.  It just happens to be Poppy's night to work late.  Never fails, does it??

When my Mother died, she was living in an assisted living facility about five miles from Poppy and me.  I would go sit with mama during a storm because she was very afraid of storms too.  We were like two peas in a pod.  For a while after mama died, when it was storming, I would drive over and park in front of the apartment where she had lived, until the storm passed.  I missed her so much.  I still miss her.

The storm left a steamy haze in the trees...

When I was sixteen or seventeen, after we had moved to the country, a terrible storm blew up one afternoon.  No one was home but mama and me.  Jackie and our younger brother Randall were out somewhere on the property, or down the road a piece.  But this terrible storm blew up.  The sky was dark, the wind blowing, there was lightening and thunder...when suddenly the pounding rain turned to hail...large hail, bouncing off everything!  Mama was standing in the guest room barely peeping out the door and I was as close behind her as I could get!!   She said, "Lord, Melba, do you think it's the end of the world"?   She was scared for the two of us and scared for Jackie and Randall.  When everything got quiet and the storm had moved past, Jackie and Randall came running in the house.  The two of them had jumped into a car that was parked in the driveway and had crouched down on the floorboard.  The mailman also had pulled into our driveway and stopped.  The windshield of his car was broken out by the hail stones!   Daddy must have pulled up immediately after the storm, and shortly thereafter, a news reporter from Robbins came out to take pictures and ask questions.  A field of tobacco, belonging to our closest neighbor, was completely destroyed by the hail.  The following day the front page of "The Robbins Record", featured a large picture of daddy, our neighbor, and little Randall in the middle of the beaten down tobacco field.  Every window in our neighbor's small, older home was broken out.  Quite a storm that was!!!

I don't have a picture of the day of the storm, but this was was along about the same time.  Jackie was telling our cousin John how to handle the pony.  Little Randall seemed very interested...I'm sure he thought his big brother Jackie knew how to do everything!!!

Have I told you what a very special little boy Randall was?  Jackie was the youngest, at eleven, when Randall was born.  We all loved Randall so much...he was just the cutest, sweetest, most loveable little boy ever...

Thank you for stopping by.  I started this post yesterday.  That cold front did come through last night!   We woke up this morning to a sunny, cool 65 degrees.  I'm giving myself one hour to straighten up this house.  Hopefully, then I am going outside and find something to do!

Henny Penny

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Drawing a Blank

Looking out this morning through an old grapevine wreath that Poppy made me when we first started clearing a spot to have a yard.  That makes me think of Aretha Franklin's song that said:

                  "Looking out on the morning rain
                   I used to feel so uninspired 
                   and when I knew I had to face another day
                   Lord, it made me feel so tired"  :)

Drawing a blank!!!  Exactly!!!    I've simply had nothing to talk about lately!!   Lynn and I met last Sunday and we enjoyed the afternoon together doing a little shopping and looking...more looking than shopping, and lots of talking and laughing!!  How fortunate I am to have two daughters who call me every day!  Two daughters who actually don't mind spending time with me, or me spending time with them!!!  How special is that!!!

 Of course, my favorite subject to talk about is growing up in the small town of Robbins, North Carolina in the 1950's.

The Robbins town sign has changed since we lived there.  Unless there is more than one  sign now.  The sign I remember said, "Welcome to Robbins, a Friendly Little City Still Growing"

Lots of mornings I wake up thinking about those days in Robbins.  Even this morning I was thinking about when my best friend Becky and I used to take our twenty five cents and walk down the hill past the mill to a small cafe run by her uncle.  We would each buy a "zero" candy bar, a pepsi, and play a song on the jukebox.  We sat together in a booth, feeling pretty grown up !!  "The Yellow Rose of Texas" must have been popular at the time because that's the song we played!  Becky's uncle hated tomatoes and told Becky that he would buy her a dress when she grew up if she would never eat a tomato!  I wonder if she ever got that dress

Jackie and I were close growing up.  He was only fourteen months younger than me.  I was bashful and shy, Jackie was not!  Jackie didn't mind asking anybody anything!!!  One Halloween...we loved Halloween...Jackie and I left our house with our sacks, going "trick-or-treating".  We walked down the hill and decided to stop at this one dark, unlit, no porch light burning house.  We walked up the front steps and Jackie knocked at the door.  No one answered.  Jackie knocked again.  No one answered.   Jackie looked around and said, "okay, we've got to play a trick".  We each picked up a chair from the front porch and started down the steps.  We were just going to set the chairs in the yard, nothing mean, but the front door opened and a voice said, "YOU PUT THOSE CHAIRS RIGHT BACK WHERE YOU FOUND THEM"!!  Well, I was scared to death!  We put the chairs back and ran.  I never liked walking past that house.  It was always cold and unfriendly looking and we never saw a human being there!  We still had lots of fun and got back home with a bag of treats! 

Halloween night in Robbins was just the most fun!!!  The street were roped off and it seemed like everybody in town came out.  There was music and dancing and all sorts of games and fun things.   There was a cake walk...I didn't know exactly what that was, but I remember mama and daddy encouraging me, "it will be fun, all you do is get in there walk around in a circle with the others until the music stops".  When the music stopped, guess who was on the right spot and won the cake!!??  I was so embarrassed, but went home with a cake!! 

 Well enough about me, and Robbins, in the 1950's!!!  I think these pictures of Jackie and me were taken while on a trip to Charlottesville, Virginia.  That was a fun trip...I remember Jackie was proud of those new dress pants he's wearing in the picture.  The pants were a very pale yellow.  Bless his heart...I spilled my pepsi and it went all in the cuff of Jackie's new pants...and I got just looked funny seeing the cuff filled with pepsi!  I'm sure I got fussed at!!!

Thank you if you're still here.  Hopefully, I will improve!  :)

Henny Penny

Thursday, August 15, 2013

76 in August!

What a gorgeous day we have here!!! 76 degrees and low humidity, in August, in North Carolina!!!  I've been outside, up at the garden and greenhouse, in fact, I've let the day get away from me.  Feeling a bit hungry I peeped in at the clock and darn's 2:00!!! 

Sorry about the suet cake...but it looks like Mr. Oak is growing a beard and eyebrows...can you see them?

Poppy noticed it yesterday...a dark spot over each eye and a beard.  He even has rosy cheeks!   Back away and it is even more evident.  We will keep an eye on this fellow.  He stands looking at the kitchen window.

Mr. Duck, Mrs. Duck, and "Shelby" were kept busy at the feed cups so "Theodore" could eat in peace...I really don't want to change Fiona's name!

Later, back at the pond...

The herb garden is beginning to look a bit better...some of the seeds are sprouting...Basil and Parsley.  Not the best looking fence I've ever seen.  It should keep the hens out.  It is probably too late in the season to be starting these herbs...but we'll see.

Chives and Parsley in pots...looks like the chickens have pecked on these chives, "good grief"!!

It is very dry here now...after all that rain, day after bone dry.  I rescued three tomato hornworms up in the garden today. :)  Is it the Braconid Wasp that lays eggs on this poor worm...I can't stand to see that...

I hope to see these become hummingbird moths.  Am I right about this??

Not much of a post, I know.  Thank you if you've stayed this long!

Henny Penny

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Update on Fiona Ling Ling

Fiona was hanging around the front door steps this morning as Poppy was leaving for work.  Didn't take long for her to learn where the food comes from.  I keep saying "her" but I'm sure now it's a "he".  When I called him Fiona, Poppy said, "that sounds like a girl's need to change his name to Theodore".   What do you think?  He is such a sweet ducky.  The way he's growing, he may soon get tired of old Mr. Duck running things and try to take over!!  Mr. Duck has been here since 2003 though and has earned his right to be in charge!!

Fiona (Theodore)...

Can you believe how he has grown!!  Must be the "Old Roy" dog food.

Poppy needed me to carry him to work this morning...his truck is is at Kevin's body shop getting "one more" special decorative touch added..."TOYOTA", in big letters across the tail gate.  Anyway, what I saw coming home just made my day...and was so worth the trip to town...a new born colt, with wobbly legs, just trying to stand.  I slowed down and got this picture...

The mother seemed to be trying to coax the baby away from the electric fence and the road.  I didn't want to add to her worries so I didn't linger too long.   Horses are such beautiful animals.  Speaking of horses...

Somewhere on my blog, I've talked about how daddy bought a place in the country in...I believe, 1956 or 1957.  Shelby, was a senior in high school, I was a freshman, and Jackie would have been in eighth grade.  Daddy wanted us to live in the country.  Work in the fields.  Ride horses.  Daddy had seven ponds build on the land, all stocked with different kinds of fish.  He went to sales and bought horses.  He bought a cow and an old sow that had baby pigs.  We got chickens, and daddy brought home some white ducks to swim on the biggest pond.  We had cats and dogs.  There was a small white house on the property which daddy had remodeled into a large brick home.  We had pastures for the horses, a garden spot,  and a field for planting corn.  Sounds perfect!!  But truth is there were problems of every sort!!  

None of us knew one thing about horseback riding!  I was scared to death of a horse, mama was more afraid of horses than me.  Shelby has never been afraid of anything.  Jackie was a little afraid but hid his fear because of daddy.  Daddy would insist that we all go horseback riding together on a dirt trail leading to "the old field's place", a few miles from our house.  My horse "Paint" was pretty.  She was a light tan and white spotted with blue Arabian eyes.  I don't remember who saddled her up for me that one Sunday afternoon, but with help, I climbed up into the saddle and we all headed toward "the old field's place"!  Mama stayed home!  My horse did fine.  She walked along with the other horses and I began to relax a little, even felt a little proud.  However!!!  When we turned around to head home, "Paint" refused to walk, she simply refused to move forward...the others were leaving me!!!  I was hollering at daddy to "WAIT, PAINT WON'T GO"!!! but they kept going, daddy saying, "she'll walk, come on"!!!  Well, she didn't walk, she stood there snorting and shuffling around...I was horrified.  The others were out of sight when "Paint" bolted!   She galloped, running at full speed, jumping the creek and passing the others like they were standing still and  galloped all the way back to our house...I had turned loose of the reins at this point and was holding around her neck for dear life!!!  When we reached home, she made an abrupt stop in the driveway and I jumped off and went in to see mama.  I'm here to tell you, that was the end of my horseback riding!!!   The entire family laughed about that episode for years, years mind you!!  That is probably why I am so self-conscience today!! :)

Shelby was injured and spent a night in the hospital when she was  thrown from her horse, "Honey".  Honey fell on Shelby.  She had a badly broken arm and was pretty scratched up, had some sand ground into her lower lip.  I'm sure Jackie was thrown a time or two also.  I remember Jackie climbing a pine tree once because of his horse...I don't remember the exact details.  There are many stories from our days on the farm!! :)

The sad thing about moving to the farm was that the 1950's were coming to an end,  and the 1960's brought too many changes.

Hard to believe that four days have passed since my last post.  The days go by too fast.  Thank you for visiting. :)

Henny Penny

Friday, August 9, 2013

Another Day

I got the beans picked this morning.  I cannot pick beans without thinking about mama.  It's not possible!   If you picked beans with mama, without fail, she would remind you to, "watch out for old snakes".  You know Shirley was picking beans one time and reached under a bean vine and there lay an old Copperhead"!  Mama used to get the beans snapped, washed, and in the pot and then put small new potatoes on top of the beans.  I can see her now adding the fried-out fat back grease.  A tablespoon at the time slowly drizzled over the potatoes so it could run down into the beans.  She put the lid on the pressure cooker and knew exactly how long to cook the beans.  Sometimes she would put pods of okra on the beans instead of potatoes.  Daddy loved okra cooked on top of green beans.  Everything mama did, be it cooking, cleaning, or raising us children, she did with love and care and most of all patience.   Even something like polishing silverware.  I can just see her picking up each piece, as if there was something special about that one piece, wiping it clean and gently putting it away again.  I wish I had more of that rule of thumb...give it a lick and a promise and move on!! 

Mama probably had been cleaning in this old picture...This was many years ago...the 1940's.  Still glamorous and beautiful...We were living in Summerville, South Carolina.  I remember the moss that hung from the trees.

Mama fussed at Shelby the most about keeping her room clean.  (late 1950's)  Sorry Shelby!!!  Remember what a mess your room was most of the time? :)  Not a dirty mess, but messy!!  Shelby loved magazines, books, and papers of all kinds...reading and studying and collecting...with (as mama used to say) her head in a book all the time!!!  That's where my head should have been instead of laying on my back on the cedar chest all day, daydreaming about being a movie star!!! :)  Arriving home from school one day (we were teenagers then), mama met us at the door and said, guess what I did today?  Shelby said, "what, blasted my room off the end of the house???  Of course we thought that was funny!!!  Mama probably didn't see the humor.  What mama was going to say was,  "I crawled around on my hands and knees today waxing these hardwood floors, so wipe your feet before you come in "!!!

Have I told you how much Shelby has always loved babies, always?  In this old picture (late 1940's) of Aunt Eva holding cousin John, you can see it in Shelby's eyes; she wanted so much to hold that baby.   Shelby seriously wanted to be a pediatrician and should have know how things have a way of not working out.  Dreams not coming true!  Shelby has the brains to be a doctor, she also has the patience.  Shelby was the smartest in school...always in the Beta Club and making straight A's!  Jackie and I barely got by.  Daddy used to try to help me in arithmetic, fractions...he would finally give up, shaking his head as he walked off. 

 Mama never learned to ride a bicycle. (late 1940's)  I remember that about her.  I also remember when this picture was taken, even though I was very second grade.   Mama was afraid the bicycle would turn over, that's why she was so close to the porch.

I keep going back and forth talking about the 1940's and 1950's.  My choking on a jawbreaker happened in the 1950's.  I was laying on the couch in the den watching The Art Linkletter show when I jumped up to say something to Shelby.  I inhaled to speak and that jawbreaker went right down and stuck in my throat.  Mama had been in the bathroom getting a bath and she rushed out in a panic and began slapping me on the back as I walked bent over around the kitchen table.  As it turns out, I had put my lipstick, my very first tube of lipstick, a little blue metal tube that costs me .15 cents at Lee's Dime Store, in my shirt pocket.  I was so bent over that the lipstick fell out of my pocket and hit the floor...mama said, "thank the Lord", thinking it was the jawbreaker that had hit the floor.  As I straightened up, holding my throat, motioning that I was still choking, I swallowed and the jawbreaker went on down!!!  Truly, thank the Lord, I could have died!!  Something from that story I think about a lot is the fact that Mama ran out of the bathroom to help me, in her slip, a full slip.  I had never seen mama in her slip before.  She was very ladylike, very modest.  She taught Shelby and me to be modest and I am very grateful for that.

Good gracious!!  Am I wound up today!!  Wonder if sitting here at this computer, enjoying this blog, (thank you, Lynn) has anything to do with more leg pain lately?

Henny Penny

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Bedtime in the Chicken House

Getting the chickens settled in just before dark is almost as hard as getting children to bed at night.  Poppy says I've got them all spoiled and he is not catering to a bunch of chickens!!  But it's my routine!  In the afternoon I let the chickens out to free range.  Just before dark they wander back into the chicken lot and begin flying up to their favorite spots on the roost.  Occasionally, a hen will decide she wants another hen's spot and an argument starts.
 The little black hen (the real Henny Penny that the sky almost fell on) wants the entire bottom roost for herself, which is fine, except the other hens need to use the bottom roost to get up to the second roost and she doesn't like them using her roost for a step ladder.  She stands guard and pecks each hen as they fly up.

The hen that roosts in the goat lot is the most stubborn of hens!!!  She flies out and then at bedtime waits for me to open the gate and let her back in!!  But she won't go in...she looks at me and walks off....I walk away and she goes back to the gate wanting in!  This goes on and on...Fried chicken has crossed my mind!!! :) Poppy shakes his head and goes inside!!!

After getting them all settled in, I head back to the house and see Fiona Ling Ling waddling up...with the other ducks not far behind.  I've learned to always carry a bucket of feed with me.  I feed Fiona and stand guard while she eats.  The old male won't let her eat with the others, so I'm thinking now that Fiona is a male.  

"Bickett" likes to play rough but then hides under the stool for protection...

Funny, I hadn't noticed how dusty and beat up these stools look until seeing this picture...the bar needs some furniture polish too.  Better get out the dust rag before going outside tomorrow.  UPS delivered the green garden fence today so I will be anxious to get busy with that.

Not much of a post.  Thank you if you're still here.  Poppy wants the computer, so I will say good night!!!

Henny Penny

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday Morning

Funny how I love Monday morning!  Back when I worked full time I dreaded Mondays!  Sunday afternoons I would start feeling sad because the weekend was about over!  We can't have it I am retired and home all the time, but I'm getting old!!!  I'm still around though and that's the important thing!!! :)

It is actually cool this morning!  Very rare for August in North Carolina!  I'm fixing to head outside and work on a small herb garden.  Pretty late in the season to start this, but after finding that one Basil plant fighting for it's life...well it's just eating at me...I want the herb garden pretty, and now!!!  It is looking rundown and bad...

At the back of the herb garden, the Rosemary, a few sprigs of Artmesia, Pineapple Sage, and Bee Balm seem to be hanging on...

Looking through the gardening basket I came across a pack of Basil and a pack of Parsley seeds.  Also dug up a sprig of Thyme trying to grow in this dust bowl.  After digging and removing the weeds; violets, monkey grass, and roots, I added compost and soil from behind the chicken lot.  Look at this pitiful Basil that came up under the monkey grass...It did have a few more leaves but I used them in the tomato vinaigrette. :) Makes me ashamed of myself, and this herb garden is right at my front steps!!  Poor little Basil!!

After adding the rich soil I sowed the Parsley and Basil.  Also replanted the Basil and Thyme plants.  Hope the seeds will sprout in 5 to10 days and I will take pictures.  Not finished but a good start.   The green garden fencing needs to go up next.  Hopefully, it will be here this week.  The chickens will have this spot torn apart!!!

I've found a good, low fat way to eat a tomato sandwich.  Instead of spreading the bread with good old Duke's mayonnaise...spread instead, good old 2% fat cottage cheese.  Then add the sliced tomato, salt, and pepper.  It's really good, especially on whole wheat bread.  An old friend down home used to say he loved going to family reunions in the summertime....he said this one lady always brought a platter stacked with tomato sandwiches.  By the time dinner was spread on the table, those tomato sandwiches would be just right...good and juicy and wrapped in wax paper.  You know, sandwiches taste better wrapped in wax paper than wrapped in plastic wrap.  Seriously!

Hope you all are having a wonderful day!!!  Thank you for stopping by.

Henny Penny

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Happy Blogger

Back in February when Lynn said, "mama, I think you would enjoy having a blog, you could post about your chickens and goats".  Imagine, me with a blog!!!  I know so little about computers...but here I am, loving it!  I was so embarrassed after my first post; I almost went back and deleted fact, I did delete one whole post.  It embarrasses me to read what I write, so thank you for reading and coming back!  I have three people following my blog and I am so excited!!!  As Poppy would say, "imagine that"!  Thank you!!!

Through my blog I met Pam, the artist, who did this most special oil painting of "Big Boy".  My photography does not show the beauty of this painting.  The flash makes a glare and without the flash, too dark.  Pam captured "big boy's" expression, his coloring, and his size perfectly!  Thank you, Pam. 

Jen, thank you for the recipe for "Fresh Tomato Vinaigrette".  Last night was salad night; Poppy's night to work late.  I mixed the tomato vinaigrette.  It was delicious!!!  There was one small Basil plant growing in what used to be the herb garden so I had the fresh Basil needed for your recipe.  I now want to work on the herb garden.  Wonder if it's too late in the season to start a few herbs?

After all my complaining, here is what the little garden gave this morning...

The squash vines are blooming again!!

Thursday evening the sky was a pretty pink and blue.   Seems to always be something man made getting in the way of the beauty God gives us...

 As I put the last clothespin on the line I noticed a cloud in the background...Looks like a sprinkle of rain coming.

Thank you for looking at my blog.

Henny Penny