What I Love About Winter

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A cold snowy day in mid February, finds me sitting at the kitchen counter while gazing out the window. Winter….people either love it or they hate it. I tend to love winter. I prefer the cold of this season to summer’s heat and humidity. I can always put on more layers, but when it is overly hot….there is only so much one can take off….before being arrested. You see my predicament?

Here are the top 10 things that I love about winter (David Letterman Style):

#10. Snow makes the whole world look fresh and clean….and magical. The hush of a snow blanketed world is lovely!

#9. I get to wear all the scarves in my rather large collection. Having moved to Ohio from Tennessee, this is a huge deal:)

#8. Hot drinks always taste better when it is cold outside. I mean who wants to drink hot cocoa in mid-July?

#7. Being a teacher, I still and always will, love snow days. It is a thing.

#6. I get a kick out of seeing all the mailbox contraptions people around here put up to defend their boxes against the snow plow. (see story here)

#5. I don’t sweat in the winter months. At all.

#4. Icicles and glittering snow diamonds on a sunny winter morning….amazing light and clarity in nature.

#3. Winter nights are the most clear and brilliant. I am awestruck by the beauty.

#2. Being forced to be inside if it snows or ices, allows me to get more done around the house.

#1. The God who created winter, is preparing the world for spring….sometimes we all need to be quiet and dormant for awhile and wait for the new beginnings.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Old Man Winter

Considering the entire past week of school has been cancelled because of snow, ice, and below zero temperatures, I thought I’d share a poem I wrote a couple of winters ago. The poem seems to fit perfectly on this cold, icy, snowy winter morning.

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OLD MAN WINTER

Old Man Winter,

SVG line drawing, meant to simulate 1600's sty...

Image via WikipediaOld Man Winter

didn’t knock at my door.

He pounded and slammed,

left mud and snow on my floor.

He was bitter and cold

dressed all in white,

icy blue eyes

and breath with a bite.

I asked him how long

he planned to stay?

March? April?

Not longer, I pray!

“I love freezing rain,

sleet, snow.

I spread ice

wherever I go!”

I grabbed my mittens

got ready to play

If you can’t beat him, join him

and have a SNOW DAY!

By: Dawn Gibson

Christmas, Circa 1970’s

I pulled a favorite Christmas blog from my archives. It is always fun to go back in time and remember………

Maybe you too, can relate?

Christmas Nostalgia

Last night I was looking up Woolsworth online.   I remembered that store from my childhood and the Santa house that always sat in front of the store during the month of December.  Isn’t it interesting how one remembers little things?  I found out that Woolsworth closed it’s doors forever in the United States in 1997.  It had a fascinating history. There is even a book written about Woolsworth, that I believe I’d like to read. It was the best five and dime store, long before Walmart ever thought about being a discount giant!

So anyway, I was thinking about Christmas and remembering things from my childhood. I surfed the internet and found a blog that this lady had written about her childhood in the 50’s. She talked about what Christmas used to be like before all the electronic gadgets and gizmos.  I really enjoyed her story telling.  It made me nostalgic thinking of my own childhood Christmas’. (not from the 50’s though!) My childhood Christmas memories took place in the 70’s and early 80’s.

Every Christmas Eve my Mom and Dad, and my sister and I would go to my paternal grandparents house. So would all the other  relatives from that side of the family. The downstairs was decorated (which my sister and I had decorated a few weeks before —like putting a big red nose on my grandfather’s deer head that was mounted on the wall) the food was laid out as far as the eye could see! After the kids ate we’d all sneak back upstairs to the living room with the big Christmas tree. We’d “oh and ah” over all the gifts…..because we always got to open our gifts from Mammaw and Pappaw on Christmas Eve night.  Before any gift opening went on we all went to the Christmas Eve service at church.  I remember how beautiful our little stone church looked when decorated for Christmas. The stained glass windows, the greenery and candles…..and it was quiet. There was a hush over the congregation on this very special night.  I remember singing Silent Night, and Joy To The World.  Then it was back to my grandparents for more eating….and opening of presents. Woo hoo!  I remember how exciting it was as a child–the anticipation was half the fun!

Christmas morning my sister and I woke up to gifts under the family tree. There are some “interesting” pictures of us on Christmas morning, with some serious “bed head” going on.  The kind that only young children can pull off!  Pictures in front of the tree….and boy did we have some doozies of live trees. One year our tree looked like a big evergreen bush instead of a tree. The truth is that with decorations and lots of tinsel (which my mom always said needed to be “placed” and not thrown on the tree–which was my idea of how to get it done) the tree looked pretty.

I remember my mom had several big Christmas albums (were they called 78’s?). I loved it when she’d get the albums out and put them on the stereo (which was in a huge wooden cabinet). Nat King Cole and Mahalia Jackson would sing songs of Christmas. I can still hear them even all these years later.

After our gift opening—we got dressed and headed over to the houses of my mom’s side of the family. We ate breakfast at one aunt and uncles, brunch at another, lunch somewhere else and then desserts at yet another. This gave us ample opportunity to eat and visit and look at everyone’s decorated trees and gifts they had received. It was a huge day-long extravaganza. I was blessed enough to have all my extended family living near by. I loved that as a child, but oh how much more I appreciate the opportunity I had,  now that I am an adult with my own children!

I remember my Mom’s sausage and cheese on rye breakfast treats,  my Aunt D’s seafood dinner, my Aunt B’s desserts…I could go on and on, but I’m making myself hungry.Looking back over my blog I see that we did a lot of eating during the holidays.  It’s true, but man was it good stuff!

Christmas memories. Good times.

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This Is My Life

I have missed my regular blogging over the past couple of weeks. This August has been and continues to be busy! Please bear with me as my posts are hit and miss this month. The plan is to get back in my groove after Labor Day!

I’m doing (academic) diagnostic evaluations for many in my local home school group. I am trying to get all that done before school starts! I enjoy testing kids to see what they know. Just to toot our own horn a little bit, these students are rocking the tests. Those of you that know me, know that even though I was (and continue to be part time) a public school teacher….I am in love with home schooling. It has been a great experience. I enjoy the flexibility that comes with home schooling.

My son leaves for college in two weeks. There is so much to get done in that two week period. I have lists on top of my lists of things to get done before his big move. The other night my son invited me to go out with him to the movies. We had opportunity to talk, and laugh together. The times spent with him are bitter sweet, because I am acutely aware of how things are changing for us. He is no longer my little boy, but my young man. I am extremely proud of all that he has accomplished in his young life and know he will go on to great things. In the meantime I need to make sure that he has detergent and dryer sheets, extra long sheets for his dorm bed, and warm clothes since he is heading north! Sigh…..I will miss him.

On Saturday we adopted a new dog from the local shelter. Rocky is a year and a half old….and still very puppy like. The shelter said he is a Boxer/Collie mix. I am beginning to think they were wrong. I think he is a Boxer/Lab mix. Our two other dogs, Ace (senior) and Lonnie (middle aged) don’t know what to think of this young, teen, dog. He is a whirlwind. He gallops around like a horse and if one happens to be standing in his “zone” as he goes flying by he/she might be knocked over, much like getting a strike at the bowling alley! This morning while feeding our other animals, Rocky wanted to show his love for me. He jumped up and put both paws on me. (We are working on NOT doing that.) Paws that were muddy and damp from the morning dew. Paws that left two large, muddy paw prints smack dab on my……..chest. I have on a light colored tee shirt. I don’t feel like changing, because it will only happen again until we train him to not do this. So, I’m going to Wal-mart with paw prints on my chest.

This is my life.

I hope all my readers are having a peaceful and happy morning. I think of you often, scattered all across the continents. I wonder what it is that you are doing while living your lives. We are all so different, and yet so much the same.

 

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Calico Love

She landed on top of me at exactly 6:17 this morning. Thump. So much for sleeping in this Saturday morning. It won’t happen for me, since I have a calico that is in love with me. One that wants to knead her claws on my stomach and then crawl up me until we’re nose to nose. Then she bats me with her paw. Did I mention it is 6:17, or by this time, maybe 6:20ish in the morning?

She follows (stalks) me into the bathroom. She rubs up against my bare legs and meows. She never takes her eyes off of me. I am a little unsettled. She flops over at my feet, asking for a belly rub. I bend over and pet her before washing my face and brushing my teeth. She seems satisfied……for now.

Calico love runs deep….maybe even bordering on the psychotic. Just saying.

Good Saturday morning! 

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Another Day In The Life….

Day Five of the lower back pain. Ugh. I probably should go to the chiropractor but, I don’t have the time. I also don’t feel like spending money for that right now. So, I will suffer in silence, or in my case, intermittent whining. This whole thing has been a reminder to me, how in life, if one small thing is out of order, it can affect everything else. I am hoping that I will just wake up one morning (soon!) and I will be healed…and not have to walk like I am 95 years old for the first couple hours of each day!

 

 

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This morning has been great (other than the back pain). It is sunny outside, with buttery sun puddling on the kitchen and living room floors. We are having another  “cold front”….so the temps are only in the 70’s with low humidity. There is also a slight breeze, which I find very enjoyable. My heat miser friends are not happy. According to them, “July is in the middle of the summer! Summer is supposed to be hot!” I secretly, in my own mind, am thinking, “Suck it up, Buttercup!” I love weather like this and I would do the happy dance, if I could, without causing further pain in my back.

 

 

 

 

Yesterday, I spent some time rearranging things in a corner of the living room. I have a beautiful, hand crafted, oak shelf. I had various knick knacks on it and thought to myself, “I can do better than that”. So…….I decided to bring out about half of my Boyd’s Bear collection to fill up that shelf in the corner. I have a… eh…hem…..rather large bear collection, that has been growing over many years. I like to look at them, so for now some of them are at home in the corner of the living room. My daughter said I am going to grow to be an old lady with lots of teddy bears. I informed her that these are not just any teddy bears….and there are a lot worse things to collect than bears. I obviously will not be willing my sweet, cuddly collection to her! Hmmpppffff!

 

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Anyone that knows me, knows that I am an avid animal lover. My son’s dog, Lonnie, is a terrier mix. When we got him from the Humane Society three and a half years ago, I didn’t know much about terriers. All I knew was that he had the biggest brown eyes and he was looking straight at me when we took the tour to see what animal we wanted to take to our “fur-ever” home. Little did I know that “fur-ever” really meant FUR forever.  I love this dog. I mean really love this dog. He is awesome. Of course, I found out after the fact that terriers are renowned shedders. Lonnie is white with a black mask. Let me just say that I do a lot of sweeping and vacuuming at my house. White fur is abundant. I don’t mind though….he is worth it. Maybe I will knit him a sweater out of his own fur for a Christmas present. Not really. I was just kidding, people. Sheesh.

 

 

 

 

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I need to sweep and vacuum off the deck carpets today, probably wipe down the tables too. I invited a friend over for a birthday dinner tomorrow evening. We are fairly new friends (this past year), but I feel like I’ve known her a lot longer. We are close in age, and that is always nice because then the other person gets references from childhood or young adulthood that others might not get. She is also very cool when it comes to music and photography. So, in my mind, I categorize her as my cool, artsy, friend. Does anyone else do that besides me? You know, like she is my funny, awesome, always has me laughing friend. Or maybe she is my fellow bookworm, always has good quotes and facts, kind of a friend. Or this is my crazy, “I’m gonna go postal”, never a dull moment friend. Lord only knows what title I get from my friends. They probably just consider me a little weird, but lovable. I can live with that.

 

 

 

 

Well, it is off to get things done today. I know this wasn’t one of my “normal” blogs, but today I just wrote what I was feeling. I never know where that may lead!

Give Me, Ice, Ice Baby!

It is hot out today. Hot, as in it is making me uncomfortable out there, even in the shade from the deck. I saw the mail lady pull up in her vehicle with the flashing light on top. I knew I would need to go get the mail. Out in the heat. I was wishing our mailbox was closer to the house….or the postal service was more like UPS or FED EX who come right to the door. Now we’re talking.

 

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I do not like temperatures in the 90’s with high humidity. I do not like the blazing sun mercilessly beating down on me. I do not like to sweat. Ever. It is not attractive, not on me. Not on you. Not on anyone. There is no such thing as “glistening”. There is a reason that the deodorant/anti-perspirant commercials say “Never let them see you sweat.” There is some wisdom in that catchy little phrase. Just sayin’.

The dog is laying in the shade and drinking plenty of water. The cats are flung here, there and everywhere. The chickens are under the coop in the shade, and the horse stands in the shade and has her trough full of water. I prefer to be inside in the AC with the box fan blowing on me too. I like cool, that’s just how I roll.

 

 

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I never complained this winter when we, here in Ohio, were in the icy grip of the “Polar Vortex”. Sub-zero temperatures. Did I complain? No. Ice, snow, wind. Did I mutter about it? No. Regardless, of how cold it got, I did not complain about it….because I knew the hot summer days would rear their ugly, sweaty heads and then I would have plenty of opportunity to complain!  Now, I have to listen to my heat loving friends go on and on about sunny summer days. Laying near the pool, and working in the garden. Whatever people! Where are my snow boots and ear flap hat?!!!

 

A snowy month

 

Here, where I call home, in the middle of what once was a farm field, we have no trees on our property. So, that is no help in the shade department, nor does the lack of trees help in the blocking of the wind. Now, it might help to constantly have a breeze…unless it is 98 stinkin’ degrees and the wind blows hot. Then it is pretty much like being in a convection oven.

 

 

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Now, even with all the summer time heat here in Ohio it is a drop in the proverbial bucket compared to when my family and I stayed in Texas during the summer of 2007. I think that is where the Devil goes to vacation. It was like living in the Devil’s oven. When one’s shoes stick to the melting black top as one crosses the parking lot at Walmart, it is beyond hot. I was hoping my feet did not burst into flames. Honestly, if I lived in Texas or anywhere in the desert southwest, I would probably become a nudist. It would just be too hot to wear clothes. But, come to think of it, that wouldn’t work. I’d end up with a painful case of sunburn. That would be a whole other story. Let’s not go there.

 

 

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At 3 O’Clock In The Morning

Some days I just need to laugh, and what better fodder for a good laugh then my own life?

I’m currently watching the cat bat a spider around on the floor. I don’t have much any love for spiders, so I’m not feeling the need to stop her. Uh oh. The spider just went under the baseboard over near the dog’s dish. Ugh. My sweet calico is now watching the baseboard. She knows the fast little creature is under there. She will wait patiently for his return. She is pretty extremely patient for a cat. She did the same thing with the field mouse that ran through the living room and eventually found its way behind our refrigerator, a couple of years ago. You can read about that episode here.

Speaking of spiders…. I got up in the middle of the night, last night, to use the bathroom. Yes, I know I shouldn’t drink so much iced tea before bed! (it is a weakness) I didn’t turn the overhead bathroom light on because I didn’t want to be fully awake. As I was sitting there, minding my own business I noticed a black fuzzy thing on the floor near my foot. I think you know where this is going….. The spider was heading towards the hamper. This spider was the size of a quarter. In my mind it might as well have been as big as Godzilla. That is how my mind works when it comes to arachnids. In the middle of the night. Near my foot.

I did not jump up fly through the air, screaming. I had to be quiet, no sudden movements, so as not to scare the long legged fuzzy up under the hamper or baseboard. Once he made it to the “safety zone” I wouldn’t be able to get him. I stealthily grabbed an old magazine, and with the speed of lightening (or at least as much speed as I could muster at 3 o’clock in the morning) gave the misplaced spider the smack down. It was over quickly and painlessly. Well, painlessly for me, not so much for the spider. R.I.P

The cat is now laying near the baseboard. That spider doesn’t have a chance. She will wait him out.

Good kitty.

 

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I Call Fowl

The chickens were let out of the coop while my husband and I did some Spring cleaning. 102_4899

We have two dogs and three barn cats that intently watched the chickens on their adventure outside of the protective confines of wire and wood.

I kept an eye on my feathery friends and made sure they stayed in the front yard.

Well…….for the most part.

A couple of “the girls” went on a chicken run to the side of the house.

Straight for the collie!

I believe my neighbors think I’ve lost my mind after watching what ensued. I took off after the wayward hens yelling, “Stop! Stop! That big furry guy killed your kind in the big chicken massacre of 2012!!!” (out of reverence for the deceased I will not go into the gory details)

By the way, running at chickens just causes a lot more confusion and mayhem, for those who don’t know.

This did not seem to deter them…which says a lot about chickens and their overall intelligence.

I began yelling at the dog, who looked confused as to why I was yelling at him. He was just trying to nap in the shade, all the while with one eye open to see where those noisy, feathery creatures were going.

I managed to chase them back to the front with the others….all with a lot of running around and “Shoo…shoo…..move it girls!” coming from me.

Eventually, with a lot of help from my husband, the coop was ready for Mr. Rooster and his nine girlfriends to re-enter their sanctuary.

Chickens aren’t the smartest birds on the block (hmmm…maybe “on the block” is a poor choice of words when discussing chickens. Sorry.) …….and they sure aren’t good listeners.

But, they do like to be fed.

I coaxed them back in with food, and a little chicken wrangling help from hubby.

Free range chickens are great and it would be wonderful to allow that all the time, but alas our other pets just see them as a yummy chicken dinner.

So, they are locked back down. Safe and secure behind the wire.

 

 

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Today I am thankful for: 

*humor

* helping hands

* fresh eggs

* a husband I can laugh with

* sunny days

* good friends

* an ice cold glass of water

* God, who has a sense of humor

* the men and women who sacrificed  for this country

* Memorial Day–a day to remember…..

 

Living The Life

I was out in the front yard this morning, walking the dog.

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Well, if I’m truly honest, the dog runs around the yard while I stand there taking in the stillness of the morning. It was early, around 6:30am, but was already light outside. I spotted one of the neighbors jogging by on the road, with his dog. My dog barked a good morning greeting. The killdeer (noisy birds) are up and at it. The geese honked at the “pond” across the road. The llamas grazed. The rooster crowed, and I heard someone driving on the road a few miles away. It is amazing how much one can hear out in the country.

 

 

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Last night I was outside (once again, the dog and I) around 10pm. It was completely dark, and still fairly warm. I heard cows bawling. I figured it was the neighbors cows at the end of the road, or maybe the ones owned by the neighbor over the hill. I enjoy watching the black and white cows graze in the field beyond our back property. I find it peaceful. Cows don’t really get in a hurry. They mosey around, chewing their cud, meditating on the things of life…like whether or not they will walk over to the other side of the field, or just lay down where they are. Deep stuff.

 

 

I love this cow that wanted her photo taken.

I love this cow that wanted her photo taken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday (and most days, really) I throw open the back doors of the barn and let Jazz into her stall. After I get her situated with her food and water, I go back to the open doors and stare out across the pasture. I can see clear back to the end of our property where it butts up against the fence of the farmer who lives behind us. Fence posts, against a blue sky with white fluffy clouds. Space. Breathing it all in (yes, even the farm smells!).

 

 

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It’s just so beautiful to me.

I am blessed.