Happy Birthday, Mother

Mother at Cracker Barrel
Mother’s Birthday lunch. Far left, Phyllis Barrington, center front Kathleen Swain, back center, Linda Bethea, far right, Marilyn Grisham
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Today, May 5, 2016, is Mother’s birthday. I am not permitted to say which one. Suffice it to say, she is more than eighty-five and less than ninety. She and my father were married thirty-five years and raised five children. She is a remarkable woman, goes to the gym twice a week, and walks at least a mile a day. She likes to get next to puny men at the gym so she can show off how tough she is. She works in her yard every sunny day and keeps a cooler of water out on her back steps for walkers and children in her neighborhood. She’d never worked a public job till after my dad died, but worked for many years first as a pre-school teacher, then as an office manager. I can’t imagine how it must have felt to have to seek a first job in one’s fifties. She is long retired, though never unoccupied. She is active in her church, community, family, and goes out in her car every day to her coffee group and to run errands. We are all so lucky to have her as our mother.Mother sitting in yard

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Patio Redo for Less Than $250

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October is as close to heaven as you can get in my corner of Louisiana.  The blazing heat of summer has abated, the weather has cooled, and I decide I’m going to make it, after all.  We just started pulling together a project that has been in the works for a long time,redoing and enclosing our patio.  We still intend to put down a tile floor, put glass doors across the opening, and paint the ceilings ng

All the furniture you see here is an amalgamation of Goodwill, thrift shop, repurposed, and utilization of materials on hand except for a few dollars worth of supplies.  Bud is wonderful and loves a project, so all I have to do is come up with an idea he likes and we’re on it.  The big wicker rocker to the left cost $50 at Goodwill a couple of years ago with a broken rocker.  It retailed for $650, but with wood and paint Bud had on hand, he repaired and painted it.  The rocker on the left upper center was a relative’s castoff, and was spray painted for less than $2.00.  The yellow wicker on the right cost $20 in a thrift shop, paint $2.00 for cost of $22.  One sister gave me the green chair frame, and I covered it in fabric another sister gave me.  The only thing it cost was the seat cushion, and paint on hand, so it cost less than $10.

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Now the ceramic top table took $6.24 in new tile and utilized leftover tile from another project.  We had the grout and ceramic glue on hand.  Bud also had to buy the screen-door stripping for less than $10.  He did have to buy half a sheet of plywood to make the table surface.  He built the pedestal for another table more than twenty-five years ago, so this is it’s second incarnation.  He estimates total costs of table, $80 to $100 if he had had to purchase all the materials today.

The chairs at the table are from a thrift shop.  Total cost, including purchase price of chairs, paint and pine for the seats and the polyurethane finish was less than $40 a chair.  Together the table and chair set might have cost $120, but we still have paint and polyurethane left.

A dear friend built the potting stand in the corner from a decrepit screen door and salvaged materials from a barn demo and materials she had on hand.  I love it.

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The fountain came from a friend and has been on my patio more than twenty-five years.  Best of all is the view I am so grateful for, as I sit in my patio writing.  It is priceless and free, like all the best things. I am so blessed.

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Early Thanksgiving

turkeyA week ago, I put four hundred twelve pounds of fresh beef in my freezer.  Two days ago we made sixteen pounds of homemade liverwurst and put it in the freezer.  Last week I froze quite a bit of fresh sweet corn.  In the midst of all this, I canned seven quarts of dried pinto beans and ham hocks.  Things were going so well, I was planned to start making a big batch of corned beef.  I was admiring the contents of my pantry when Bud came through saying, “What’s this big puddle of water coming from the freezer?”

We rushed out to inspect and found the packed freezer dead with the contents starting to thaw.  We shuffled the meat to my other freezer and ice chests.  Mean while, Bud starting investigating the freezer problem while I started canning and cooking.  By the end of the day, thank goodness, Bud had the freezer running again and I had canned all the thawed vegetables.  In addition to that, I had made pies  from my frozen pumpkin pie filling and frozen pie dough.  You might find a previous post on that subject.  https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/fifty-two-pies-2/

At the end of the day, everything was saved, and we sat down to a turkey dinner with fresh pumpkin pie.  I am so grateful for the bounty and the freezer that kicked back off and saved us.

Beautiful day!

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Picture 1 is Cashmere Bouquet growing next to my patio strawberry bed.  The hummingbirds prefer it to the hummingbird feeders.  I grow enough strawberries for us and the birds. Picture 2 is what I wish my baskets looked like but never have.  Picture 3 is the flower bed in back that has about half enough flowers, but I did notice eggs on my milkweed plants, so maybe in a few days, I’ll have caterpillars.  The dill, fennel, and garlic are all right there waiting for them.  Oh, it’s so hot!  I have flowers to put out, baskets to fill, flowers to water.  The day is just gorgeous but it’s 95 degrees and the humidity is 80%. I must be really looking hard for something to complain about.  Thank you, God!

 

Flowers!

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I am one happy mama.  My kids both gave me gift cards for flowers for Mother’s Day.  I loaded up today. All the crazy old ladies pushing carts around in the garden department were jealous of me.  I will be knee deep in dirt tomorrow and happy as a dead pig in the sunshine.  Now I wish I’d had a few more kids.   I might hock something and go back to get some more stuff. Thanks, kids.

Poverty, One Thing Money Can’t Buy

Old Mother HubbardLearning to get by was the best thing that ever happened to me.  Growing up on a farm, the second of five children, I learned responsibility, despite my best efforts not to.  We were all needed, just to get back.  With stock to feed, hay to make, gardens to care for, there weren’t too many idle moments.  That was before helping Mother in the house, Continue reading

If I Die Before I Wake

lilyhttp://007pandas.com/2015/03/05/httpsdailypost-wordpress-comdp_promptlast-words/

Nomadic Adventurer’s beautiful post(see link above) and conversations with Edwina’s Episodes and Erika Kind have me feeling reflective this morning  If I die this morning, I have nothing to regret.  I love and am loved.  I have a wonderful family, friends, and have done meaningful work.  I’ve have the opportunity to encounter so many people, animals, places, experiences, nature, and been given the gift of spiritual growth. All my needs are met and I know the joy of sharing.  I am thankful.

Desperate and Cold

My flight from Philadelphia was snowed out last winter.  The roads were closed, no cabs or shuttles running.  I had to catch the train to get back to New Jersey, a new and worrisome experience for me.  The trains were on a reduced scheduled,making my wait long and cold.  I had to walk a few blocks between train connections.  The entrance to the train station appeared to be locked.  It late, the snow was deep, and the streets were nearly deserted.  I was approached by a desperate young man.  He was waving at me and near tears.  Calling out , he addressed me, “Please help me.  Please don’t be mean to me.  I need help.  I just got out of jail.  I don’t have train fare to get home and have nowhere to turn.”

I knew just how he felt. “I need help,too.  Get me to an ATM at the train station and I’ll get us both home.”  He was overjoyed to help.  He carried my bag.  We walked together to the ATM in the station.  I found out he didn’t have any food at home, either.  I got twenty dollars. He got us both a ticket. I told him to keep the change and be safe.  We hugged and parted, both grateful for the help, both happy!  We needed each other that night.