Monday, December 28, 2009

New Year, same old same old

****************************

It is getting close to the New Year.

We humans mark time by calendars and clocks.

I wonder if my critters care that another year has flown by?

Beau is happy as long as he can look out the bedroom window from the highest perch in the 'cat pagoda', which is so heavy it has to be moved on a dolly.He waits for us to retire at night, and then all 5 cats have their spots on the bed with us. Beau has claimed the closest to me along with Moochie lying against my ribs, while Iris tucks against my left knee. Mac splits the middle of the bed between Bob and I. Quarrie lays against Bobs knees or feet.


Iris is happy to lay on the floor during the daytime, as long as she has this pillow to snuggle into. She only has one eye, so I assume it is hard for her to judge distances like the jump from atop the cat pagoda to the floor...better to stay low for a quick scamper under the bed if a dog should enter the room..



I can see a bright red cardinal in the bush in the left window, and the platform feeder is directly in front of the right window, handy for the cats to view.


The cats are all transplants from the Florida Keys. Mac is laying on the counter in the kitchen hoping his bowl will be filled for the ump-teenth time today. I think they all dislike the cold, and even though the temptation of a bird may keep their attention, they don't venture out. They do have a cat door, which we leave open during the day. Nights they are locked in, just too many things about that could hurt them.




The dogs are Virginians. They also prefer to be indoors during this cold weather, although if I am out, then that's where they want to be. Sometimes a little tug-of-stuffed-animal is called for to break up a long night.




Outside, my mini's wait for their next feeding, which is morning and night. I call them 'furry kegs on legs'. They are as fat as barrels, and their coats are very thick.

So, do the animals mark time in any way?
Mine seem to just consider feeding time until the next. Quarrie, our big greycat... waits for Bob every day, and expects to be carried in and placed next to the dry food dispenser, which he is. I call him Bob's dog.
Do they know another year is passing?
Is it important?
Food, shelter, water and affection seems to be their driving force throughout their lives. That is the basic's for their lives.
Somehow I think we have moved too far away from those basic needs, or maybe it is just that in this stage of my life I want to get back to them.
I watch my 86 year old mother display the same traits as a toddler. She wants to do only the things that make her warm and cozy. She loves to eat, but wants the things she likes, and always wants dessert, and wants them when it suits her. She pouts when she doesn't win at cards and gets cranky if the tv program does not suit her.
So is life a full circle? From infancy through old age, is it an arc? Do we regress back to infancy?
It seems so.
What about the animals?
My cats hunt less now, and are happy to lay back and be taken care of...
I wonder...
I keep asking them, but they won't answer..
Smart animals...they won't be out celebrating a new numbered year, just have the dishes full in the morning, and clean out the cat boxes, run the dogs after they eat, and hay the horses.
Another year....
*****************************************


Thursday, December 24, 2009

The night before Christmas

Christmas Eve morning, and the sun was rising fast...

The day was busy, making ready for Christmas. Bob cooked Shrimp, and I made potatoe salad. I had made cookies yesterday, and Bob did a store run for last minute things while I dealt with Mom.
We did the evening run with the dogs, and I decided to bring a camera and snap some pictures of the snow laden creek. They are forcasting rain or sleet for Christmas, I'm hoping rain as Michele and John and Caine are coming, as well as Wayne,Trisha,True and Tess...and...the neighbors, Janine, Kevin and their 5 kids will drop by. Janine's bringing lasagna and a pie to add to the feast. I'll put the ham in the oven after breakfast tomorrow...The house will be chaos with all those kids, the dogs will be sequestered in one room and the cats will find their own hiding holes until things quiet again!
So we ran the dogs, our first day at being able to make it through the trails by the creek, and here are some pictures...

Quiet creek..reflective

Critter tracks


Belle and Penny sniffing something I can't detect



Belle's face buried under the snow intent on a mouse? Penny waits.
...Twas the night before Christmas and all through our house, all the cats are nestled in bed, Mom and Bob snore in their chairs, Belle and Penny are asleep on the floor, while a Christmas show of a choir singing, plays on the TV...I sit enjoying a few moments to blog...thinking of Christmas's past...
... I remember Mark coming down to the living room with red pj's, obviously wet and hanging at the crotch, bewildered look on his face,..our stockings hanging with the orange stuffed into the toe, and a large candy cane sticking out the top...Mom crazy with preparations for a big dinner, and us kids happy playing with whatever we got that year...I remember always being happy with the one big gift we got...I remember my baby 'kitten' doll, that looked real with floppy arms and legs...maybe that was it, we didn't get overloaded like kids now...we asked for one thing only, and if it was possible, we got it...We weren't rich but we weren't poor, either. There was always enough food, and we had a house...I being the only girl, had my own room, albeit tiny, it was mine...with pink ballerina wallpapered walls. Life was good...We were loved...
I remember red velvet slacks I received with a white turtle neck from my first serious boyfriend...I thought they were so sexy...I could wear things like that then...
now I would look like Santa, and my thighs would catch fire from the friction !!
Ah well, Christmas memories...
Merry Christmas to all my family and friends and to all...
good night.
*******************************************************************




Saturday, December 19, 2009

White Insanity

The horses don't care..

The kids up the hill ride in the kayak..

It goes down the hill fine!





The dogs had a blast untill snowballs form on their butts!!!




Bob got out the John Deere...




We ran the 4-wheelers a bit..I used Clays because it has more ground clearance..





How many times will I clean off the snowballs??









The birds have been feeding heavy..



Still spitting snow and its COLD again tonight. 27 degrees at 9:20 ...
I thought I moved here to avoid hard winters!!!!








***************************************

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cowboy Cookies

*********************************************
This is my Mom's old cookie jar. I know nothing about it except it was usually filled with our favorite cookies ! I am tickled to have it, it brings back such memories...

So here are the cookies that Mom always made for us. She called them "Cowboy Cookies".
I don't know why.. they are like 'toll house' cookies,but a bit heartier. Here is the recipe, and it is easy..


Cowboy cookies

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees

Cream

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 cup shortening ( I use Crisco)

2 eggs

add

2 cups Quaker oats (quick cook are easier to chew-you can use whole oats)

2 cups sifted flour

1 tsp. soda

1 tsp. salt

add

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup chocolate morsels

( you can add 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped..or raisens, whatever you want)

drop by teaspoon on cookie sheet, that will make each cookie about 2 inches across, and bake for about 12-15 minutes. I check each batch after 12 minutes.

Thats it!

Enjoy! We did!

*****************************************

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Grabbing minutes for me

***********************************************
Today is a pretty good day for Mom, and therefore, me.
Got her breakfast, and played a game of cards, got pills in her, then to the bathroom...washed her up with what I call a "PT" bath while she sat on the hopper...dressed her, ran a quick comb through her hair..(still curly from the pin-curls I did yesterday)..and got her to her chair under the electric blanket...her favorite place. Kinda like a giant Barbie doll.....
Then I took time for me. Got the kitchen cleaned up, started a load of wash and then I grabbed a shower. Next I trimmed my hair and dryed it, then did my nails, complete with cuticle removal and polish ! Between laundry and lunch, Mom needed a complete change of clothes..( I let her sit too long without instructing her to go to the bathroom....my bad, but I pay for it..ahh, such is caring for Mom..
But now I have fed her lunch, entertained her with pictures of her grand-kids and great-grands on the computer until she couldn't sit up anymore! She's in her chair. My wonderful hubby has run the dogs and fed the horses some hay, so I am taking a few minutes to blog before starting dinner...

Penny has not minded the cold at all, she liked the ice cap from the dog water bucket... Anything is fun when you're a puppy!

Mom prefers to be wrapped in heat, her chair is heated and her blanket is too. Bob bought a room-sized electric heater for our tv room, since it is much colder than the other parts of the house...(probably because it was added after the fact)...and that is placed facing her chair. She's snoozing happily.

This morning while playing cards at the dining room table, a goldfinch flew into the window and stunned itself. Bob and I went out and set it where it could recover its whits without the cats having it for a snack... I was glad when it flew away some time later.

We finally are getting some sun ! This afternoon is sunny, but extremely windy! Better than the snow that is piling up in NH right now, adding to their 8 inches !

My orchids are thriving, and these tiny brown and white ones shown below are chocolate orchids, and they really do give off a chocolate scent! The front spike is waning, but another has popped out in the back.

These white orchids are quite lovely, and I have several plants of them. I won't bore you all with the technical names, because I would have to look up the spelling!!
I have showy purple ones and yellow ones that look like dancing ladies.


I wanted to let everyone know that Mom got here safely.She seems to be doing well getting adjusted to this house. The transition is always hard for her, but other than thinking Mark woke her up the first morning and saying she had a lovely "visit" with Claudia, she seems to be clear about where she is now.
I will grab time when I can to catch up on my friends blogs, but if I am MIA for awhile, it's not because I don't want to read them, it's due to lack of personal time. Same for all my friends and family I call or e-mail.
I'm thinking of you always !
******************************************************




Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Angels and 'dear'

*************************************************************************
I have put my paper angel on the fireplace, as I do every Christmas.
I have angels all around me.
I have not blogged in quite awhile, I can't say why exactly, but I guess I have been busy.
My Mom will come in Sunday for the winter, and I am all ready for her visit.
I have been working with the dogs, trying to keep them from jumping up on people.
Bob's Mom was here for the week of Thanksgiving, and she was woken every morning by Penny climbing up on the bed and kissing her.That won't work with my Mom!
Did I mention I had 10 for Thanksgiving dinner?
Caine and Michele and John were part of the group, and Caine was so good, and such a ham! He kept everyone entertained.
Here is a typical picture of my two Australian Shepherds, Penny and Belle. Penny is laying on Belle as she usually does. They are resting up for their annual sleigh pulling chores.

Next is a picture of them gearing up for their chore.

........................... Oh the little dears...
..'On Dasher, on Dancer, on Penny and Belle-Belle......'
HO_HO_HO!!!
*************************************************************




Wednesday, November 18, 2009

On a clear day

**********************************************
There is mass clearing here on our land, that will ultimately end in a re-planting of Loblolly Pine.

I wonder about the violet color in this first photo.
If we were talking about the color of aura's in humans, 'violet is aligned with the psychic, emotional, and spiritual balance in operation on the planet at this time. Violets are the ones who can see the plants of tomorrow in the seeds of today.' 'The single most difficult thing for a Violet to do is to learn to live without guilt.'
The secret is to focus on the vision of the future. I am trying. I feel guilty about the turtles and the rabbits and the coons, etc., etc.


The path leading from the back of our house, is getting shorter. We will be able to see clear through to the mountains beyond the neighbors land. Which also means we will see our neighbors land.

Our little pond is so exposed. This knoll was a pine forest, very thick. It was Virginia pine.


This is just above our house at the base of the hay field in front of the wood barn.
They had to put in a crushed rock drive so the trucks wouldn't get stuck.
I can't tell you how many rocks we have taken OUT of the fields.
Now they are putting rock IN.

So, why do this?
Several reasons. 53 acres. taxes are huge, but we will receive a break for being a tree farm.
So money, the root of all evil?
We had a forester come in before we decided, and he did a complete workup, a whole portfolio on our land, and what the benefits of cutting the Virginia pine off and replanting Loblolly was. It was impressive, and made alot of sense, financially, and for the animals such as turkey and deer and bear, etc. The virginia pine is susceptible to a type of insect that Loblolly is not, and the time it takes before re-harvest, if we choose, is only 15 years. We are leaving some stands around our house, and down by the creek, that are mostly hardwoods, and also areas around the 'seasonal creeks' that run through to the main creek. We don't want to disturb anything that is near the waters.
So I know that we are doing the right thing for all reasons, but I HATE cutting trees.
I am really into natural areas, but I am told that is not always the best thing for the critters and the land.
Sometimes we can't see the forest for the trees.


Friday, November 13, 2009

*****************************
Ok, I'm back from my mental health week in Florida.
This was my favorite pool. I look alot like an aquarium in this fishy cover-up!

This is my friend Kim, she's almost as crazy as me. Ok, she might be a tad bit more crazy..

One should never let a friend have access to your camera...


In Celebration, a town built by Disney, this little gator sunbathed on the banks of a lake.


One more view of the pool, and the great artwork painted on the bath house done by the art club. This is a nice safe place for a vacation home for my single friend. It's a gated community, and you can walk around at all hours. Theres a clubhouse and tennis courts, a lake, 2 pools, a golf course and shuffle board and a playground and all the other usual amenities that Florida community's have.
It was a nice break from routine, but I am glad to be home with my guy, and all my furry critters!



Thanks Kim !
******************************************************



Thursday, November 5, 2009

Florida

Florida
I am here.
I can tell by the palm trees and the bougainvilla, and the golfcarts zipping by my friends place.
The people are grey haired and all dressed in shorts and sandals.
It's 82 and sunny with a light wind.
Yesterday I watched a chamelion skitter past me on the pool deck. The birds make Florida noises. I had forgotten all the little things about here that I loved. Went to Celebration for sushi last night.
Sat and watched kids playing in a water fountain that explodes from the flat concrete disk in synchopated time. I laughed til I cried.
Florida. I missed this.
......
Off to the pool !
Hugs, Claudia

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hallowe'en

```````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````
"Folks think a witch who has familiar spirits
She could call up to pass a winter evening,
But won't, should be burned at the stake or something..."
from THE WITCH OF COOS, by Robert Frost
****************************
Damn, I am a ham...gotta give the folks what they expect a witch to look like!

Happy Hallowe'en, and no that's not a mistake.
"This is the old Celtic feast of Samhain.
It is the feast of the dead and was Christianized as All Hallows' Eve, the eve of All Saints' Day.
It is a fire festival in recognition of the end of the summer and the beginning of winter.
In ancient Manx and Irish Tradition, Hallowmas was regarded as the beginning of a new year."

Boo....!

*******************************************************************

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My little Rider

****************************
Caine came Sunday with his Mom and Dad for his Moms 30th birthday dinner of steamed shrimp, potatoe salad and chocolate cake with buttercream frosting.
But before dinner it was a quick trim of his hair and then playing outside, in the dirt and rocks with his stash of toys that are here.



After washing his hands and face in cake, he didn't like the feel of it. What to do ? No problem with Penny in the house...

A little stretch over the high chair tray and the 'cleaning tongue' went to work.

After dinner we had a fire in the pit, Caines first campfire, and of course we had to toast marshmallows, another first for him. He was really mesmerized by the fire, but he doesn't give in, even when he's exhausted.
Below, he had to have one more sit on Grammy's machine that was put away for the night in the shed. He was so tired he could barely keep his eyes open !


RIDERS
(Robert Frost)
The surest thing there is is we are riders,
And though none too successful at it, guiders,
Through everything presented, land and tide
And now the very air, of what we ride.
What is this talked-of mystery of birth
But being mounted bareback on the earth?
We can just see the infant up astride,
His small fist buried in the bushy hide.
There is our wildest mount--a headless horse.
But though it runs unbridled off its course,
And all our blandishments would seem defired,
We have ideas yet that we haven't tried.
A busy afternoon, riding on his wonderhorse 'Tex', riding on the 4-wheeler, playing in the dirt, the fire, then it was time to go home. I sent him home with a lion halloween suit made of faux fur I got for him, and I can't wait to see the pictures his Mom has promised.
He cried.. didn't want to leave and Grammy had to carry him to the car and hand him to his Dad while he screamed and kicked and grabbed for me...broke my heart. Wish he lived closer, but I will see him soon...
************************************************




Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ferrum Folk Festival

************************************************
What started as a drizzly day, turned into a mix of sunshine and clouds and made a georgeous fall day!
Bob and I went to the Ferrum College for its annual folk festival. There were many halls in use for various venues. I found this hall first..
The quilts!!!!! These were all from a private collection, and all from the late 1800's.




And the crafts people!
Amazingly talented artisans in our part of the world! Thses bowls and rolling pins were wonderful, and this gentleman is from Wirtz.



These gourds were so cool ! I'm drying some now....aspiring to have them turn out half as pretty..



This man really could carve...
My brother Clay would have loved these walking sticks with the snakes on them!



These brooms were awesome too.


There were knife makers and demonstrations by weavers and those who dyed wool with natural colors and so many other crafts people I could never mention them all. There were musicians and flat footers and horse shoe pitching competions, and Becky, there were border collie demonstrations where these great Border Collies were herding sheep !


There were coon hound barking competions, and mule jumping competions...


and horse pulling competions...my favorite !

Bob and I walked and walked and saw people we knew, and chatted with Aussie dog owners and ate and ate at all the church stands and of course got some fresh cracklin !
We had a great day and I hope you all got a chance to go, and if not, try to make it next year!

**********************************

About Me

My photo
union hall, S.W.Virginia, United States
Loving my Grandson, Caine.I work full time as a paraprofessional at Lee M Waid elementary school in Rocky Mount Virginia,in the Kindergarten class this year, following my one-on-one child, Kris.