Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I Have A Little Black Book

Cookbook that is.

When I was young I lived with my grandmother for quite some time. I remember her making cheese bread, the best cinnamon bread in the world, regular bread, pickled beets... the list was endless, but her breads where the best!  The entire time she cooked, she used her little black cookbook. When she made changes to her recipe, she noted the changes in her cookbook. I loved that book - I guess because from it came the best memories...

We had a couple of family reunions this year, you remember that story, right?

Well, just before one of the reunions, an aunt and uncle set me down and gave me some pictures that came from my Aunt Connie's house - Uncle Ed had sent them.  (I love you Uncle Ed!)  We went through them and reminisced about them, where they hung on the walls in which home, who they were and how we loved them.

Then Aunt Carol and Uncle Danny handed me a very special book.  It was *the* black book I had forever wanted and teased my aunt about.

Aunt Connie had kept the little black book in a drawer in the kitchen.  Every single time I went over there, I opened that drawer, pulled it out and admired that cookbook.  I also threatened to take it home and 'pretended' to walk towards my car with it.  We made a big deal out of it - she would tell me to bring that right back here, it was not mine yet and put it right back where I found it.  I did - and this went on for years - every single time I was there I grabbed that black book and lovingly looked it over, caressed my grandma's handwriting and "remembered when".

As I sat there with Aunt Carol and Uncle Dan, the reality of what I had in my hand hit me; years and years of my grands love, sweat and tears - and years and years of my aunt's unconditional love; both gone forever but both leaving me a part of them I will cherish forever.

I have the little black book:

And all grans love notes:

And it was wrapped in the love of two very special aunts and two very special uncles.

Thanks to each of you - it is precious to me.  I will cherish it forever.

I love you all!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Family, Family and More Family

Family reunions.

At some point in my life, I lost my mind. We all know that...

Last year, we went to a family reunion for my husband's family. Near the end of the reunion, they stated they needed someone to host it this year. I proudly held up my hand and said, "We have a big place, with lots of room - we can do it!"  Uncle Weldon, who hosted last year's reunion, said "Yep! You can do it!"

What was I thinking??

When I was doing the planning for HIS family, someone from MY family suggested that we had not had a family reunion in years - we definitely needed to have one.  I thought since I was setting up and getting ready for one family reunion, what would it hurt to have another one?  After talking with Steve and him agreeing he thought we could handle it, we planned on having a family reunion for my family the weekend following his family's reunion.

What was I thinking??

I planned.

I bought food.

I planned some more.

We made games.

I planted a garden. 

You got that, right? In the midst of all the planning, *I* had to plant a garden!

I made invitations.  

I put the family's last name on the front of the invitations.  Boy was that a mistake!  I made the same invitations for both reunions.  I had to be very careful that I sent his to his family's to his family and mine to my family. It was very difficult, but I don't *think* I messed that up, but God only knows.

I made directions.

With my sister, Shari's help, we got a newsletter out.

I made the same newsletter for his family, changed the names and pictures and sent them out.

Refer to 'Boy was that a mistake!"

I bought more food.

Steve took a two week vacation.

We sent up portable carports, borrowed picnic tables, bought food, mowed 10+ acres, cleaned out the shop, cleaned the lean-to, finished the chicken coop, got trash cans out, set up the camper for people to stay in, picked up people at the airport, got the boat ready for adventures, took it out to 'test' it... and we had a family reunion!

It was nice. People jumped in and helped, we visited, we relaxed, we laughed, we grilled and we reminisced.  Then everyone went home.

We wanted to crash.

But, no!  We had a second family reunion coming up the next weekend!

We cleaned, we washed, we changed bedding, we bought food, we took trash to the dump, we picked up people from the airport, we took the boat out because the kids wanted to hydroslide, we cooked... the people rolled in and we visited, we laughed, we grilled, they reminisced and I was a walking zombie.

What was I thinking?

I barely remember a thing about the second reunion. 

It was wonderful seeing all the family again, meeting some for the first time and getting to know everyone.  For both reunions we spent well over $1600 spent, we were extremely grateful to get about $600 in donations back, we worked our backsides off, we laughed, we talked, we met new family, we looked over documents and pictures, we ate, and when they all left...

We picked all the crap up, returned the tables, took down the temporary carport, took people to the airport, cleaned dishes, cleaned house, did laundry, washed the bedding, remade the beds, got the camper ready to store, cleaned the patio, put up lawn chairs, returned warmers, and picked up the games we made.

And then we rested... 

And rested.

And rested some more.

I am still tired!

Someone at each reunion mentioned we needed someone to host the reunions next year.

My brain found a way to function.

I ducked outta sight!

We may never get together as family again, but we had fun!

And all is right in my world now - Steve made it home from South Korea last night!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Something Very Special Happens Today

Steve comes home from South Korea!

I won't be posting anything but this today - I have things to do.   :-)

I love this man:

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Summer Time Fun :-)

I guess we have all been busy with summertime fun, but for us, it has been a bit busier than usual. We were lucky enough to have all three of our guys come out to visit us!  Sadly, their mom couldn't get away from work so we missed seeing her.  

We spent a lot of time outside on our little farm, piddling around in the pastures, playing with snakes, fishing, riding 4 wheelers (man! do we have a great trail on our property!) and they were even swinging on the swing...

 Aedan with his grass snake friend:

Marcus and Aedan talking it over... 

This darn swing, yes, it is THE swing, and it is busy once again... let's see, at least 20 years it has been busy keeping kids entertained!

And Jeff, Steve's brother, came to see us!  The guys tried like heck to catch fish in our pond. I know they are there - Uncle Weldon shows us that every single time he throws a hook in, but those fish see our hooks and run!

We celebrated Aedan's 8th (!) Birthday:

We celebrated Raelee's 10th (!) Birthday:

And Raelee finally got her horse!

That is just part of our summer!  I will tell you the 'busy' part in another post!  We have had a terrific summer.  I never thought I would say this, but I am starting to miss the traveling now. I would love to go on a trip soon, even camping!  It is difficult to have a happy medium; farms aren't exactly travel friendly, and traveling is not exactly farm friendly.  I guess we will figure it out someday.

Until then, I will just enjoy our own little corner of the world. As you can see in the pictures, we have a beautiful corner!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Like It or Not... I *Have* to Post.

I have too many people asking what is going on, why haven't I posted in so long, when am I going to start again?

Quite honestly, I didn't think anyone read or paid attention.  I no longer have '14' children, I no longer live in a far away place on the flip side, I no longer live in the swamp and do things only Cajuns do. I no longer have gators to entertain you.  I no longer do things that I will never do again.  Actually, these days, I am quite boring!  And I am back to being a 'damned Okie' - remembering all the reasons I love this land.

I still have chickens, though I have learned a lot from buying 'straight run' at the hardware store. You get 90% ROOSTERS!  In case you didn't know, they *don't* lay eggs!  I wanted all hens with maybe ONE rooster.  Ha!  Boy was I in for a surprise as they each started crowing! 

This is Lucky - he was lucky to be alive when Chelsea was learning to 'herd' chickens...


Little did I know, they also have their each individual crow! I can tell which rooster is crowing by his crow.  Well, I *could* tell each rooster - all but 2 or maybe 3 are history to me now. I gave them away. 6 hens and a dozen roosters was not working well. Let's just say the hens were not nearly as interested in extracurricular activities as the roosters were. So I Craigslisted them. One man came and got them all - well, at least I thought he did. Then two 'hens' started crowing - and I think another may be practicing.

Supposedly, this man was just getting a farm up and running. I can keep on thinking that because I would rather think that than to think they are chicken and dumplings.  They are frolicking happily on a farm far away.

This is Verne - who is obviously a rooster.  Verne started out as LA Verne, but once he started sprouting his feathers, we knew... he was definitely a roo.  I was going to keep him, but Raelee wanted to keep Frank.  So, I sold this gorgeous guy to a friend for $5.  Wish I never had, but they love him and he is in a good home so it was ok.  


We had a chicken fence next to the Taj Coop.  Yeah, that worked until they got big enough to fly over it. Once they got big enough, they sat on the fence and taunted me... "nanny, nanny chicki doo! Will hop up here and show you!"  Yeah, they didn't stay in their chicken yard!

Allie ws by far my favorite chicken.  Allie was always by my feet. Allie was like a baby to me, chatters non-stop telling me everything going on. Allie tattled on the siblings, squawked when I need to pay attention to something, raced to the door to 'tell mom' and Allie was always the first to catch the treat I throw out. Allie was also the most homely of all the chickens. Allie is a dark cornish - and we had three.  They are very tall, stand straight up (like he is in the pic) and HUGE compared to all the other chickens. They are supposed to be good eating. But now Allie frolics on that farm far, far away.  He crowed.  :-(

 I sure miss Allie.  


We tore down the fence.
Tearing down the fence gave the chickens the 'go ahead' to race anywhere on the property they wanted to!

They go from one end of the yard to the other, searching out any bug that wiggles and any worm that ventures out of the dirt. They love June bugs, race for caterpillars and eat grasshoppers.  And they eat my Katydids.  :-(

This is Frank - the one Raelee wanted to keep. He is an Easter Egger and he was supposed to lay green eggs... Roosters don't lay eggs.  He crowed.

A week after I gave Verne away, Raelee said, "Granny, I realized it was not *that* chicken I wanted to keep - it was the black and white one!"  That child was WITH me when I gave my Verne away!!  UGH!  Oh, well, Frank is gone to the green, green pastures too. I didn't really care for him - he was personality-less .  If I was going to keep one, I wanted VERNE!  I know, I didn't have to cave to my granddaughter - but have you seen those big blue eyes?


Then came the chicken poo.

All over the patio.

All over the front porch.

All over the grass.

All over the shop.

All over the driveway.

All over the lean-to.

Yeah, we are a poohy place now.

I do wash the patio, at least once a day.  Do you know how much chickens poo?

A lot.

This is Bert, he started out as Big Bertha until he crowed. He was big in comparison to the other regular chickens - even when he was a baby.  I was really sad when he crowed, 'cause he was purty!


Suffice it to say, we have a very fertilized piece of property.

And we only have 9 chickens left.

Two are roosters

And maybe one more.

I will only have a half dozen when all is said and done.

Yes, I learned my lesson on 'straight runs' from the local hardware store.

RUN STRAIGHT THE OTHER WAY when you see those adorable little chicks!

Is this chicken math, too?

Singapore Memory Project