Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Potent Wizard

The boy made it home from football camp.  Can you tell? 

"Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived."  

Helen Keller 

Sunday, July 28, 2013


I have a mild weakness for antiques.  Actually, I have a  mild weakness for anything old and/or historical.  This drives the husband crazy as he would prefer a more austere appearance in our home and I seem to pick up anything that peaks my interest. 

 Take, for example, this wall of silhouettes.  

I acquired the large piece at the top on Friday.  A vintage cross stitch piece that I just couldn't resist bringing home with me.  It doesn't help matters when you  are friends with the lady at the antique mall and she likes to walk you around, pointing out just the things you are looking for.  

Before photography became available, silhouettes were the cheapest way to record a person's appearance. Traditionally they show the profile of the subject.   If it is a scene that is recorded in silhouette form, it is then referred to as a, "paper cut".  The height of their popularity was between 1740-1890.  Though I wasn't around back then, my first grade teacher had each student sit while she traced our silhouette.  She affixed it to white paper, which we then presented to our parents for Christmas.  

Seriously, I think my mother still has mine.  

So my friends, what do you like to collect? 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Random Five Friday

My son's trap team won 2nd place during their national competition in Illinois.  Seriously a big deal as they competed with 111 teams in their division.  You can read about their accomplishments here

Mick Jagger is 70 years young today.   I had the pleasure of seeing The Rolling Stones in concert at Churchill Downs, a few years ago.  My dad totally one ups me on this one as he saw them in concert at Hyde Park in London, England.  But, that was more than just a few years ago :) 

In even more exciting news, a slug has been making tracks on my semi-historic reproduction screen door.  I think he must be going for artistic expression.  If it were a female, I am sure she would have written a message.  

Several have asked, so I will clarify that I teach 2nd grade at a primary school in my small town.  I completed my graduate work in Learning and Behavior Disorders, so I have also taught children with special needs.  

My son left for football camp early this morning.  The instructions were to bring enough clothes for 9 practices.  I am already imagining the horrible stench that will waft out of his bag Sunday night.  

Now it is your turn!  Pay Nancy a visit at A Rural Journal and join in the fun!  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Thoughtful Thursday

A sidewalk along the historic town square here in Smalltownland.  

This morning I will leave the farmette to meet with the group of ladies in my, "teaching team".  This truly marks the end of summer for me.  A bit of sadness yes, but it has been a great time of reading, relaxing, sleeping late, growing things, reading, softball, trap shooting, and more reading.  What more could I ask for? 

"Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience:  this is the ideal life." 

Mark Twain     

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Reality Corn

This year I didn't even plant corn.  I know....I know...it really is a staple of summertime, but it just didn't make it into, what I will now refer to as my, "Jungle Garden".  

Lucky for me there was a lovely, older gentleman selling bags of sweet corn, on the side of the road.  Here in Smalltownland, Amish folks and gentleman farmers like to sell their produce here and there.  And so, I slammed on the breaks and bought about fifty ears of corn.  

 The weather was quite poor when I got home, so I shucked the corn in the kitchen.  

I won't do that again.  

There was corn silk everywhere.  

Here is the reality of cleaning, cooking, and cutting fresh corn off of the cob.  

It was a big mess.  

But, it was totally worth it.  


Sunday, July 21, 2013

A New Queen in Town

On Friday I took a road trip to The Kelley Bee Company, to pick up a new Italian queen been.  After taking a peek at my hives, a few days ago, I noticed that one seemed not quite right.  I couldn't find the queen, but that is not so unusual.  However, there were no eggs, no larvae, and no capped brood.  

I felt a little panicky at that point because some bees were suspiciously flying around in our garage.  I should say there were a lot of bees flying around and landing in small clumps.  It really wasn't swarming behavior, but obviously something was wrong.  

Here we have the new queen in her cage.  Not a very good shot, but she is the one on the left with the white dot on her back.  Often times locating the queen, while doing a hive inspection, can get tricky.  There are so many bees and they will also try to hide/protect her.  Thus, marking her helps me tremendously.  On the left is the candy, "food", for her and the, "attendants", in this small cage.  They take car of all her needs, as her only role in life is to lay eggs in the hive.  

I removed the small cork, at the end of the wooden cage, and replaced it with a marshmallow.  This gives the worker bees a chance to, "get to know her", before she flies out into the hive.  The workers will eat away the marshmallow and thus welcome her into the hive.  In this photo you can barely make out the marshmallow topped queen cage at the rear bottom of the frames.  I moved the frames together to make the queen cage stable during her release.  

This photo shows the beginning of a queen cup.  Bees will create this cup like structure to rear a new queen for their hive.  In order for this to work viable eggs must be present in the comb, and I didn't see any of this.  If an egg can be used, the cup is closed and a new queen can be reared in this way.  However, bees will sometimes make theses structures in the frames.  One piece of literature I read described these cups as, "furniture", in the hive.  

Lastly I noticed that the bees were still creating new comb on the frames.  Making me feel like they totally haven't given up on their hive home.  

Hopefully this new queen will be healthy and keep her royal subjects in line :)  

I will check on her in a couple more days.  

Friday, July 19, 2013

Random Five Friday

An area of land, just down the road from our farm, is being cleared.  This house has been left standing right out in the middle of things.  I have no doubt that it will soon be demolished.  Sad, but true.  

I am off, in a bit, to pick up a new Italian Queen for one of my bee hives.  A hive check revealed no brood, larvae or signs of eggs.  *sigh*  Beekeeping is a challenge. 

My son is shooting in national trapshooting competition today in Illinois.  Send him your best vibes for luck.  

My daughter and I are off early in the morning for a travel team softball tournament.  Secret Agent Man and I, "divided and conquered", this weekend's activities.  Whew.    

A woman, in the grocery check out line, gave me a, "full on, squeeze me tight, head on the shoulder", type of hug yesterday for letting her in front of me.  I must have really looked shocked by this because she said in the loudest voice ever imagined, "Don't you like hugging people?"  And then the kicker, "Do you want to hug again?" Did I mention that I do not know her?   Altogether now, on the count of three let's say, 


Linking up with Nancy today at A Rural Journal.  Pay her a visit!  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thoughtful Thursday

"The first choice we make each and every day is, "Will we act upon life, or will we merely be acted upon?"  

Stephen Covey 

This week my days have been full of Stephen Covey's, "The Seven Habits of High Effective People".  The school district where I teach has adopted  this model for all students and, as a consequence, all teachers are receiving formal training in Mr. Covey's design.  

Informative, why yes it is.  It is also inspiring, thought provoking, and influential. 

So, all of you, get out there and be proactive, begin with the end in mind, and put first things first! 

Because, as the teacher, I said so.  

Have a great Thursday my friends.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Blackberry Jam

 Lately my son has been very diligent about picking blackberries.  Now, mind you, most of them are not ripe yet, but some are coming due.  He has been leaving jars full of them around the kitchen.  I got the hint.  

After a good rinsing the berries were mashed and cooked with some pectin and sugar.   

Jars, lids, and 

rings were resting on the counter clean, sterile, and ready. 

Emptying the pot left me with.....

beautiful half-pint jars of goodness.  

After ten minutes in a hot water bath I set them on a marble counter to cool.  

They sealed perfectly and are awaiting a date with a hot biscuit.  

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Standing Tall

I ran across this lovely fellow while walking along a fishing pier jetting out into the Gulf of Mexico.  Still as a statue it stood, no matter the activity around it.

Perhaps he was waiting for just the right snack to be brought up on the pier.

"In matters of style, swim with the current;  in matters of principle, stand like a rock." 

Thomas Jefferson  

Friday, July 12, 2013

Random Five Friday

Where is July going?  Summer always races by, but the month of July is especially quick.  

My Playlist has disappeared yet again.  I wish the company would make up their mind.  

Our mail lady has been the only visitor on our small, country road lately.  I like it.  

I still haven't painted the master bathroom.  Yes, I have it prepped.  Dread....that is the word of the day.  

If I make a shrimp-n-grits casserole this weekend, will the family eat it?  I might just have to see. 

Linking up with Nancy today.  Go say hello!  

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thoughtful Thursday

Though I have missed all of you, it was a glorious week on the Gulf of Mexico.  Visits with my parents, being lazy on the beach, taking in the sights, and hanging out with the kids filled my time.   

We even managed to squeeze in some time with a starfish.  

We had to watch out for shark attacks.  

We found some humor here and there......

Our time with the dolphins won't soon be forgotten.  

I even learned that a pirate needs coffee just like me.  

Looking forward to visiting all of you today. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

July's Golden Haze

"O so drowsy!  In a daze
Sweating 'mid the golden haze."  

Robert Buchanan

*I have been absent from the blog-o-sphere lately,while spending some time with family.   But I shall return this Thursday.**

Friday, July 5, 2013

Random Five Friday

Built shortly after 1816, this photo is just one of many Federal style houses that grace the area known as, Smalltownland.  

If you follow me on Pinterest, then you should check out the recipe for Reece's Peanut Butter Bars on my recipe board.  My, oh my, oh my......

I finally took the plunge and made the homemade laundry detergent using Dawn.  Recipe here, if you are interested.  Yes, I like it and it does clean farm and football clothes.  And, yes it works just fine in my front loader washing machine. I do prefer using it in the concentrated form, though 

One day I will miss my kids yelling, "SHOTGUN!", as they run out to the family suburban.  Sometimes they even try and scuffle it out right there in the front seat, all while laughing and wacking each other.  That's real love right there, I tell ya.  

Next year it is straw bale gardening all the way.  No more of this dirt/weed business.  Yuck.

Linking up with Nancy at Rural Journal.  

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July

This fine lady was standing guard in front of a very old antique shop.  Though she seems a bit kitsch, she still stands mighty and proud.  

"You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4th, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness.  You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism."  

Erma Bombeck  

Enjoy the 4th and stay safe my friends!  

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Rainbows Follow the Rain

Rain and storms of all sorts in Smalltownland yesterday afternoon.  Including lightening strikes on our historic main street and flash flooding throughout our county.  Though scary and inconvenient, this weather is nothing compared the the high heat in the western parts of our country and the terrible loss of the nineteen firefighters.  

"It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light."  

Aristotle Onassis