I’m In A Pickle

This year my husband and I decided to try a having a garden. We have had a garden in the past, but it didn’t end well. The reason for that, we live on twelve acres in what used to be a farm field. No trees. We have no wind breaks when the wind comes from the west. Wind can be pretty fierce here in rural Ohio. Whenever I know a storm is brewing, I go around our property and batten down the hatches, so to speak. If I don’t do this, a bunch of our stuff is down in the llama field. Anyway, wind has ruined gardens of the past, flattening new plants. This year we tried the garden in a different place, and it has done much better. One of the garden all-stars is the cucumber! I have never seen so many cucumbers! We decided we were going to pickle our cucumbers (we still have plenty to munch with some ranch dressing, or enough to chop up for salads, believe me) and this afternoon will be the day. I have a suspicion that I am going to be smelling like brine, and pickle spices.

We also have so much, oh so much, yellow squash and zucchini. I have tried so many squash and zucchini recipes! Those of you that are in the know, can I just chop these up, put in freezer bags, stack them in the freezer, and call it a day?

Being Seen

Last week there was a knock at my door. The dogs were going crazy. I glanced out the kitchen window and saw an orange jeep in the driveway. I don’t know anyone with an orange jeep. I figured I’d find out, as I walked to the laundry room door, keeping my barking, maniac dog at bay.

“Are you Dawn?”, a kind face asked. “Yes”, I replied. The woman introduced herself as she handed me a container full of cookies. “You like cookies, I hope?”. “Yes, I do”.

“I left my husband doing yard work at home”, she said with a smile. “I told him I was going to meet Dawn”. I felt humbled. Truth is, it was nice to meet her.

This woman standing on my porch, is the bus driver on my rural road. Even though I no longer have school age children, I would always be outside feeding the horse and chickens in the early morning hours when she went by. She would cheerily honk the bus horn at me and I would wave. I never saw her face. I didn’t know her name. I did know that she made me smile each morning as we both participated in our regular morning routine.

As the school year was drawing to an end, and summer break was awaiting, I decided to send her a card through the school transportation department. I just wanted her to know I appreciated her. I wanted her to know that something as simple as a friendly bus horn honk each morning made me happy. It made me glad to live on a country road.

I am trying to be more mindful of my interactions with people. A smile to someone, a genuine compliment, an act of kindness. We are all in this life together, and sometimes it is just the simple act of “seeing” someone else that can have a profound effect.

Quiet Has Never Sounded So Good

It is half past four in the afternoon. The sunlight is mellowing  into a golden glaze, with only a few short hours left, until twilight. A time when light loosens it grip on the day, as it slides into night. There is something about this time of day that settles me. Most of my busyness is done, by this point. This time, for me, brings questions of what’s for dinner? I don’t mind being in the kitchen. The paint on the walls of my kitchen and dining room is at its most beautiful during this time of the day. I knew when I picked the soft yellow, called Evening Glow, that it would be perfect.

After dinner, I’ll take a walk around the property. I’ll check out my flowers that are budding, feed my chickens a snack of meal worms and watch them scratch the ground in a frenzy. I’ll go talk with Jazz, the horse, and ask her about her day. Although I am not a horse whisperer, I am becoming more fluent in horse.

The evening is a time to decompress from the fast pace of the day. A time to breathe slowly, to admire fully, and dream big. The rush has slowed to a crawl and the quiet has never sounded so good.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”  Psalm 46:10 NIV











A Country Girl

A country girl at heart….











































































































Enjoying the wide open spaces and quiet places…..

Saturdays are meant for slowing down and letting time pass, laying in a hammock with a glass of iced tea.


Today is my son’s 17th birthday. Seventeen years ago today, he came into my life, and changed my life forever. Happy Birthday, Kendrick!

They’re Coming To Take Me Away…

horse fly, Diptera family Tabanidae, Tabanus s...

Image via Wikipedia

On this incredibly stinkin’ hot day in the rural Midwest, I thought we could all use a good dose of humor. I will allow you to laugh at my expense. Dawn vs. Nature. It is not a pretty sight.

I thought that we had moved to a picturesque setting in the rural farmland of Ohio. Actually, this turned out to be true, although I had no idea the other critters that had also chose to live alongside us on our little slice of land. In the Spring we had a raccoon under the deck. This visitor caused our dogs to nearly go berserk. At 3 am in the morning. The dogs couldn’t get to the “scared out of his wits” raccoon, and the raccoon was NOT coming out with two “Cujo‘s” on the loose. There was not much sleeping going on that night for anyone in a five mile radius of our house.

We have a ground hog that has a vacation home down where our property meets the road. He is quiet and keeps to himself. Every time I see him, The Wind and The Willows comes to mind.

We have Bambi and family that trek across our side yard on a fairly regular basis. Fun to watch, unless one decides to jump out directly in front of the the family van….then it is a little scary. The other night my husband laid some rubber on the road when he braked hard not to hit a deer that literally came out of nowhere, directly in front of us. My heart was hammering in my chest during that little moment, as I was nearly decapitated by the stupid shoulder strap safety belt. Are there any statistics on death by shoulder strap?

In August and September we have the gnat plague. Where in the world do gnats come from? Honestly, there is no food sitting out, nothing like that….they just appear like clockwork. In August. They stay for two months and the family chases them around with the bug zapper before they disappear, or are inadvertently eaten, as they are always in my way while fixing dinner. Um…they look like pepper. Sorry. I looked gnats up on the internet. They are a nuisance, but harmless and will not kill anyone if eaten. I don’t know why they come here. It’s one of life’s mysteries.

In late Fall and early winter the field mice decide that it is time for them to head toward their winter retreat. The retreat happens to be our garage, and if they are slick enough….the main living quarters. This does not set well with me. At all. I hate mice with a white hot passion. They mock me, as they scratch around in the walls. I find myself yelling at them ….and I know I am not imagining that I hear the faint sound of laughter. Go ahead and laugh! It’s all fun and games until I start laying out glue traps. Stinkin’ little fur balls. Then who will be laughing? I digress…….mice put me in a precarious mental state.

We are currently battling a horse fly population that has reached biblical proportions. Now, before I moved to Ohio I thought I had seen horse flies. I was wrong….at least not like these. These flies are the huge. Their heads are the size of my thumb nail. I am not kidding. One has to make a run for it when leaving or entering the house. If one should linger too long on the deck, there is a great possibility that said person could possibly be carried off by the mutant horse fly gang. They dive bomb anyone on the deck, like miniature Kamikaze pilots.

I better go. I’m heading out to the deck.

I think I’ll take the electric bug zapper with me. It reminds me of a lightsaber.

Just call me Luke Skywalker.

Down Home Blessings

Picking Strawberries Again

Image by CaptPiper via Flickr

Wow. It’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon and I am just getting around to blogging today. I’ve been busy…Mondays are always crazy.

I have my good days and bad days just like every other human being on the face of the Earth. And yet, I have so much good in my life…I am one of the blessed. Sometimes I forget that. In the grind of the every day, it is easy to overlook the best parts. The timeless, the priceless, the small moments. It occurred to me today that, hey, it’s summertime in the country!!! There is a lot to be thankful for……and you know what? There always is.

*My Country Living magazine came in the mail

*The breezy day blowing the curtains away from the windows

*Purple toenail polish

*Sweet Tea

*A new Daytimer/Organizer

*Favorite Dinner

*Kids that are healthy and happy (most of the time)

*Hearing my husband’s voice on the phone

*Traveling safety

*Family ties



*Small town yard sale days

*For the friendly man in the truck that waved back at me

*Ice cream cones

*My son chatting with me online

*Hearing “I love you”

*The smell of lavender plants

*The air before a storm

*Running bare foot

*Sticky watermelon and juicy berries

*Waving flags

*Parades and fireworks

*Pick up trucks

*Riding with the windows down

*Hair blowing in the wind

*Country roads

*Walks in the evening

*Playing with the dogs



*Crisp Sheets

*And sleepy nights.

Yeah. It’s good. Really good.

Fighting With The Mailbox

A winter service vehicle clearing roads near T...

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As I have mentioned on more than one occasion, I happen to love getting mail.

This afternoon I decided that I would brave the cold temperature and go out and get the mail. I could have sent one of the kids, I suppose…but, getting the mail is kind of my thing.  I live such an exciting, adventuresome life. At this point it was snowing and the wind was blowing and I was thinking I should have pulled on a coat instead of just wearing a sweatshirt. Oh well, I live. I learn. And I freeze to death. It’s all in a days work.

After dutifully looking both ways before crossing the road at the end of our driveway, I made my way to the mailbox. Woo hoo! I got mail! After perusing my mail, I went to close the mailbox lid. It would not close. I slammed it. It fell back open. I jiggled the lid then slammed it. It fell back open. I gingerly closed it. Still not working. Now, I was becoming annoyed with my big, black, plenty of room for packages, mailbox. One more time I jiggled, slammed, pushed the door shut. It stuck. Finally, I was half way back up the driveway when I heard the mailbox door fall open. Again. I gave up…and just continued up the driveway.

The mailbox will no doubt be filled with snow or ice in the morning. Sigh.

I’ll have you know that I totally and completely blame the snow plow guy for this whole mailbox fiasco. Earlier this year, he bent our lovely mailbox in one of his plowing ventures. This is part of my blog entry from February 8th of this year….

I just heard scraping out on the road. It’s the snow plow. Probably plowing our driveway shut. Again. Oh no. This time the snow avalanche hit our mailbox and popped the door of the mailbox open. Great. So now snow can get in and make our mail nice and wet. Lovely. At least our mailbox is still in one piece. Living out here in rural America one sees a lot of mailboxes that have seen the bad end of a snow plow. My friend, who grew up here, informed me that winter mailboxes are attached to the post with a myriad number of things. Duct tape, bungee cords, an old belt….whatever one can find to hold the mailbox together. After all, who wants to spend money on a new mailbox if the plow is just going to destroy it again? Makes sense to me. Our mailbox used to have a fancy piece on top, that had our family name on it. It lasted all of 2 seconds. We found it laying in the ditch last winter. A victim of the plow.


An American Quarter Horse in winter.

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve always appreciated horses. I check them out at the fair. Love watching a good rodeo. Went on the occasional trail ride growing up. Loved watching the cowboys in westerns…who doesn’t love Trigger? Scout? Silver?  How about Black Beauty? Sea Biscuit? Secretariat?  Who doesn’t know about Belmont? Preakness? The Kentucky Derby? Hello. It’s all about the horses.

When I married Scott I sort of got a more up close and personal experience with horses. My (adult) daughter, Jessica knows all about horses. She even went to school to get educated about horses. She’s my go to girl if I have any horse questions. Well, Breanna my youngest daughter, she has Jazz. Jazz has been boarded at 3 different places since Scott and I got married almost 5 years ago. We had Jazz transported all the way from Texas to Ohio. Then she stayed with a horse trainer, and finally with some friends before settling (FINALLY!) here at our house. We brought her home on Sunday afternoon. She seems happy as a clam. I’m looking at her through the window now, as I blog. She cuts quite a beautiful country scene as she grazes in the early morning light.

1. I really don’t know much about horses.

2. But I am willing to learn.

3. Horses have really furry ears.

4. I noticed that yesterday while talking to Jazz.

5. Jazz likes to be pet.

6. She watches me with her big brown eyes.

7. Breanna brushed her.

8. She started to close her eyes.

9. I think the horse thought it was a massage.

10. She was being pampered.

11. Horses have big teeth.

12. I noticed these while she was eating.

13. Note to self: Don’t get your hands near her food. A chomp from those teeth would probably hurt.

14. If Jazz is not in the mood for you…you get “the butt”.

15. I think that is sort of like a person giving someone “the hand”. Like, whatever.

16. Hmmppppfff.

17. Also, I’ve learned in a short amount of time that one should not stand near the back of a horse.

18. Jazz hasn’t kicked.

19. But she could if she felt like it.

20. Also, horse poo is not something one wants on them.

21. Just sayin’.

22. Jazz is part Quarter horse and part Welsh pony.

23. Pretty, pretty girl.

24. Having a horse(s) will be fun.

25. The llamas across the road stand at the fence and watch Jazz.

26. The new kid on the block.

27. Let’s stare at her.

28. I still love llamas.

29. If you think about it they are sort of like long necked, sheep horses. Kinda.

30. I do love living in the the country.

Take Me Home Country Roads

There is something deeply satisfying about living in the country. I grew up in the country but, had a seventeen year sabbatical in urban living. Now, don’t get me wrong…I enjoyed my time in the city. The convenience of having everything within five minutes of me was so nice. Choosing from a plethora of restaurants was  ultra-convenient.  Yet, the peacefulness of the country lured me back.

Yesterday I stood in the side yard, looking out over the land. I was reminded how nice it is to not be smack up against one’s neighbors. There is a certain freedom when living out “in the middle of nowhere”. There is something to be said for being able to walk down the road looking at views that could be on a picture postcard. Bright red barns in the distance, llamas across the road, crooked fence posts securing the property lines. Being able to breathe.

My neighbors in and around the small village, that I live outside of, are the best. Really. I am happy we picked this little piece of the country to call home.

“Take me home country roads….to the place I belong.” They might be John Denver’s words but, they ring true in my heart too.