Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back to school...

Fighting the panic today...just trying to take things a step at a time.  Stretch went back to college this morning - to start his senior year.  He has training for his on-campus job for the next couple of weeks.

I picked elderberries this morning - got a couple pounds at least I think.  Filled two cooler shopping bags mostly full.  Next step is to wash and destem them.  Will set aside enough for an elderberry pie and make the rest into jelly.  If I have enough will also try to make some syrup but need to research that first.  Many of the bushes I looked at had both ripe and completely green berries on them at the same time - not really normal.  However it gives me hope to get a few more.  Took me about an hour and a half to get what I did - and a fair bit of driving around the county.  Once I got home I cleaned up the kitchen and started working on sweet corn.  I have probably 24 cups cut off the cobs sitting in the fridge waiting for me to can.  Then I have close to a cooler full sitting in the garage that hasn't been touched yet.  I figure whatever I get ready between now and Thursday morning is what will get canned.  I already have some in the freezer frozen.  Am still processing zucchini - am so thankful I found out that it is possible to dehydrate it.  What would take lots of space in the freezer processes down to a quart size jar.  And all I have to do to use it is to mix a tablespoon or two in whatever casserole I'm making...

Squirrel finally found out that he is able to take his college level public speaking course this fall.  He's been jumping through hoops trying to get information and registered.  Last Friday evening he was told the classes were full and he wouldn't be able to take it.  That was pretty disappointing - the counselor was going to see if the professor would take him in the class.  He finally found out today he would be able to take it - and he has homework due on Thursday.  This wouldn't be an issue except he doesn't have the book yet.  However the book is ordered and should be here tomorrow.

Dipstick is also back in school - he has two English classes this semester and at least two welding classes.  Hopefully he will continue to keep up with the work in English so he does acceptably.  

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Fibro and other updates

It's been a very long time since I've written - 6 months.  I've thought about it several times but just haven't taken the time to sit down to write.  Of course part of that is due to the health issues I've been dealing with - increased depression, physical pain and dyshidrotic eczema.  Having an official diagnosis for the pain "helps" in that I'm not crazy.  (Some would say I am but whatever...)  Thankfully fibromyalgia is not life-threatening but it can be life-altering.  I don't have the excessive fatigue that many do but I do have the pain.  Some of it is an all-over achy-ness, some of it is pain in specific areas - that can move around.  I could be prescribed a controlled substance drug to deal with it but I really don't want to spend my life drugged up - not to mention that as a school bus driver I have to be careful what I take and insurance won't cover it anyway.  So...we are treating the depression - working to find an affordable drug that is effective, the eczema, and the high blood pressure that is a family inherited issue.  The pain I just live with or take OTC painkillers - that knocks it down to bearable.  I'm working on weight-loss/exercise changes as well and would like to get to eating more "whole" foods.

On a different note - I'm home this morning and thankful to be.  Played hooky from church and will be going up to the 4H fair later.  But am enjoying my peaceful morning at home.  The guys are all gone - 2 to the fair, 1 to church.  Stretch is still in Israel for most of another week.  I enjoy the fair and we usually all spend at most of at least the first 3 full days there.  This afternoon Hubby, Squirrel and Dipstick will be pulling antique tractors.  Then we will all help with making kettle corn for "sale".  The money raised is given to the 4H museum that Hubby's dad was instrumental in getting built.  I hope to get to walk through the barns at some point today - to see the animals and visit friends who raise them.  Hubby and Dipstick for sure will stay for the grandstand event truck pull this evening - I may or may not.

Yesterday I drove school bus in the morning and then went straight to the fair.  Made for a long day but mostly enjoyable.  In the afternoon I watched and took pictures of Squirrel and Hubby doing blacksmithing.  Watched the demo derby last night - one of my favorite events.  There is one more demo derby on Wednesday evening that I hope to attend.  

Thursday, January 30, 2014


Red sky in the morning...grey-blue overcast layers later... active birds at the mostly empty feeders ... I would say we are definitely going to get more snow and weather.  We have an inch or so predicted for overnight and a wintry mix for Saturday.  There is also talk of another system moving in next week mid-week.  Most of the "reliable" forecasters aren't giving amounts connected with that yet.  I'm interested to see what happens.  I don't mind the snow but actively dislike the cold. Had a feeling it would be a "long" winter this year - the crops were prolific.  Thankfully here at least we have the equipment to somewhat keep up with snow removal.

Other than that - we went on time to school for the first time in I can't remember how long today.  Was hoping things would settle into a routine again but suspect it will be awhile before that happens.  This isn't going to be much of an entry this time - main thing on my mind was a description of the weather indicators. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


This snow plow got stuck just down the road from our house.  He took out a portion of the guard rail.
Well....we are on day 2 this week of snow days.  Last week we were off Monday and Tuesday due to snow days - still don't understand why on that.  Then we also canceled on Friday.  Can't remember why - if it was cold, blowing wind or actually snowing.  This week it's been a combination of dangerously low wind chills and blowing snow.  Truthfully school tomorrow is doubtful as there are still windchill warnings active until noon tomorrow.  However today at least the Warning Level emergency is lifted and we are allowed to travel with caution. Sunday and Monday we weren't supposed to even be on the roads unless we were an emergency vehicle, plow or a emergency/public safety employee.  People didn't tend to listen - some employers still required people to come to work.  However we didn't go out until last night when B and Dipstick went to tear out a stage at church.  Today Squirrel is out with a list of things to do in town - groceries to purchase, a stop at the cell phone store and the license branch at least.  We have more snow expected and slightly warming temperatures this weekend. 
This is Lily - our new puppy.  She is about 7 months old. Behind her you can see some of the drifts - that is looking towards the road. .

I've spent the time off baking some, looking for and sorting childhood letters and trying to keep up with the cleaning.  Between the dog, somewhat grumpy family and us all being home that's been harder rather than easier.  I am very very thankful for the sunshine in spite of the cold though.  I much prefer that to the grey gloomy days we often have during the winter.
A view from the 3 season room - gives just an idea of how deep the drifts were over the weekend.  Now the snow is up touching the bottom ring .

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

New Insight

Starting off with a quote from the book "Good Morning with God" by Jennifer Rothschild.  She is talking about the days we feel like giving up on life.

"The problem, however, with giving up or giving in is that we get what we give."

That made me think.  The Scripture she referenced is Galatians 6:7 which says "Do not be deceived.  God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows."  (NIV)  The Message puts it this way: "Don't be misled:  No one makes a fool of God.  What a person plants, he will harvest."

I've never thought of this passage in regards to anything but finances -  give generously and you will receive generously.  This is even though the following verses reference actions and attitudes.  I'm not sure if that's because finances have been taught in church in reference to this verse or what.  Either way - new thought - not the right word - for me...Jennifer applies it to attitudes and actions.  If we give into depression and despair that is what we will receive - defeat and despair.  However if, in those times, we deliberately focus on praising and thankfulness God will bless.  The following verses back this up so I'm not at all sure why I've not seen it before. 

Christmas time is a time I've always struggled - think I'm much like my dad in this area.  This year has been much worse than normal - we've had several days of rainy gloomy weather, I've had chickens die, little time with friends, money is a bit tight and we are coming up on an anniversary of Mom's home-going.  Yesterday I was extremely teary.  Today I'm going to do my best to focus on the blessings and go from there. Firstly the sun is shining today! 

Monday, November 18, 2013


Grief seems to be a bigger issue today than normal...last Thursday I found out that a boy off my very first bus route for the current school district I work for had gone missing.  He had walked away from his home and not been heard from since.  Authorities were "very concerned" about his safety.  That evening I heard that his body had been found - he had committed suicide.  He was 19.  Even though I was not "friends" with him I was able to read his Facebook page - every tribute on there talked about how much he'd impacted those around him - made high school easier for others, always friendly, always smiling...I wonder how someone like that could not have one person he could go to for help.  I grieve - for a life cut short, for his sister who also rode my bus, for his older brother and for his parents.  And I grieve - while I know he occasionally attended church I don't know what his relationship with the Lord was.  It's not my place to judge but I hope that I will someday see him in heaven.  I wonder if I could have done more, impacted more - if he knew that bus driver who was so strict with all the students really did care about him.  I think about kids on my current bus route - many of whom are very anti-"christian" - some of whom are truly struggling and I wonder if there is more I can do beside be there to listen and to pray.  I wonder if they know that I really do care about them - I'm not strict just to be a "witch" but because I want them to be safe overall.

We are coming up to a year since Mom went home to heaven.  Much of my grieving for her was done before she died as she suffered through that illness - but still there is a loss.  I was out shopping one day last week and found a set of music cd's she would have loved.  I put them in the cart to consider purchasing and forgot about them until after I'd checked out.  Now I have to decide if I'm going to keep them or pass them on to someone else or what.  I miss her more as time goes on - especially when I think of a question or find something I really want to know her thoughts on.  Thankfully I have the assurance that I will someday see Mom again. 

In the last week we've lost 2 kittens - sounds like a "minor" loss.  But these were 2 of the 3 survivors from Oddball who was out of our first litter of kittens here in IN and they had been bottle-fed since she'd been killed in the road a week or so before I had knee surgery.  They were tame (almost to the point of being a nuisance) and loved to come in our feet, be petted and talked to.  It makes me sad and again I grieve.  If it weren't for major allergies and Hubby not being fond of the idea we would have in-door cats and I wouldn't face this as much.   But he is and we do and so we don't. 

I am thankful though that we didn't lose more than a few small tree limbs and 2 bird feeders during this latest storm.  Considering there were many tornadoes as a result of this storm we were blessed not to have damage.
I took this picture after the storm had gone through - taken facing west where the most of the weather comes from.  We continued to have major wind until very late into the night but no more strong rain.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Writing again...maybe

Feeling relieved this morning - have satisfied myself that if it's not already in my freezer or canned it's too late to do it this year.  There are still a HUGE amount of wild grapes I pass every day that I've been eying longingly.  However this morning I stopped and tried one - they are quite tart and a little off tasting as well as beginning to dry up.  So I concluded they are done.  Apples that are still on the trees are rather mushy - we've already had a couple of hard frosts.  So...the fruit is done.  And the garden has been done for awhile.  It's kind of a relief to know I can put the canning supplies away and start enjoying what is in the pantry.  Having said that I really stepped out of my comfort zone and tried some new things this year.  I did applesauce, apple butter, apple pie filling, grape jelly, grape juice, wild grape jelly, slice peaches, peach jam...those are all canned.  In the freezer are sliced apples, diced apples and grapes at least.  Oh yes - also raspberries and cherries.   And I canned raspberries as well...Not too much in the way of veggies except tomatoes - will have to rely on the grocery store for those at this point.  All the fruit was given to me or free for the picking.  I was abundantly blessed. 

I still feel that since the harvest was so abundant the winter may be quite a long one.  Have longed to find a persimmon to check to see what it predicts but don't know enough to recognize them on trees.  Even the farmers have commented on how excellent the harvest is. 

Now that the preserving is done, band is done (I drove the bus many Saturdays to competitions) and soccer is done I will be able focus on catching up around here...housework, bills, finishing ornaments for my route kids...scrapbooking, drawing...the list goes on.  Every Wednesday night I watch Little Bit and her baby brother (who needs a nickname) so their mom can finish up cosmetology school.  Other than that and the biweekly Sunday nights when I go to church life should slow down.  Just will need to be "strict" with myself and not spend all my "free" time on the computer.  I get to start walking for exercise again Monday - will be doing that at least 2 mornings a week.  It's a start.

The knee is about as good as it's going to get after surgery I think.  Still gets stiff easily and still catches some but not as bad.  And according to Hubby I'm walking better. 

I wanted to post some pictures but at the moment they are still on the phone so will have to wait.