Friday, April 26, 2013

Happy Friday!

I have a lot of pics I REALLY need to download, but as of yet, that's just not happened. Perhaps tomorrow.

I am still in shock that April is almost over. We have a busy week next week, and tomorrow is the blasted Beach Music Festival (meaning every drunk within a 100 mile radius will descend on a nearby farm and any road in or out to our house will be blocked with a traffic id/sobriety checkpoint as well as drunk idiots thinking they can ride fourwheelers through our yard as a possible means of escape) and as it won't be the wisest thing to leave home this Saturday, we went shopping today. We were able to get 2 of the 3 wedding gifts we needed, so I'm thankful for that.

Tonight we started cutting grass in hopes of getting most of that done this evening. I stopped for us to make a quick trip to the nearby gas station, and upon our return, I couldn't get the blades to engage. So I guess Monday we'll be calling John Deere, which is NOT an expense we were anticipating this month. :(   I'm hoping it's something simple.

And now as I'm typing, sound checks for the beach music festival are beginning. My windows aren't rattling (yet), but I think we'll be hearing the music quiet well this year. As long as they don't play "I Love Beach Music" every thirty minutes like they did a few years ago, I should make it through the day with my sanity intact. 

I'm trying to type "count it all joy" with a non-sarcastic face, but not succeeding. Maybe I'll have a better attitude tomorrow when I don't smell like cut grass. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

dentist

I didn't go to the dentist growing up. That was a luxury for rich people, or else a crisis if Mom spotted something wrong with our teeth. And you better believe she checked them regularly. We brushed, and brushed, and sometimes brushed again.

And then in middle school two things happened that changed all that for a little bit. One, I started having nose bleeds. Two, I popped my jaw out of place (thanks to chewing gum and cheering at the same time).  My Mom took me to the doctor, who was concerned that something else was wrong and might be causing the nose bleeds. He said he could feel something hard in the roof of my mouth that didn't feel right. And, my jaw was still out of whack.

By day four of not being able to eat anything nor talk without hurting (and facing the possibility of not being able to cheer at the next basketball game), I dumbly followed a classmate's advice and took my fist and gave my jaw quite a hard hit, literally popping it back in place. I do not recommend that. But it was back in joint, though I could hear fluid moving every time I moved my jaw.

Two days later, we arrived at the office of the oral surgeon, who advised me to a) never chew gum and cheer again, b) not hit myself anymore, and c) not to tell anyone else how I got my jaw back in place or he'd be out of work.  He did some x-rays of my mouth, and I discovered that I was abnormal.

The tooth that never wanted to grow back after being pulled and when it did was 3/4 the size of the one next to it and that made all the boys laugh at me in elementary school?  Turns out that wasn't my permanent tooth after all. I simply had an extra tooth, and my permanent tooth is still in the roof of my mouth. The surgeon wanted to pull the small tooth, put me in braces, surgically attach bands to the correct tooth and pull it into place (which would take at least 6 months, followed by two years of braces). My mom refused. She informed him my tooth had served me well for many years and there was no point in having surgrey for vanity's sake. In the back of my mind, I also knew my family simply didn't have the money.

Fast forward several years. My godparents were home from Africa, and my Mom was sharing with them what all the doctor had said. Whether they realized I never opened my mouth when I smiled then or not I don't know, but they offered to pay for the procedure if I wanted it done. Mother asked me about it after I left. I knew her reasoning, but I also wanted to have a normal smile, too. I could see the pain in her eyes, and deep down I knew her reasoning for not having the surgery was valid, so I refused it.

I was reminded of all that today. We had our regular check-up with the dentist (my husband is crazy adamant about that, which I despise to no end) today. There was a new hygenist, and as always, and which I'm momentarily puzzled about, she got confused as she was cleaning my upper teeth. As I've reached adulthood, that "small tooth" has dropped lower in line and isn't as noticeable as it used to be. But it's still an incorrect tooth in the wrong place. So I gave her a brief explanation.  And when I left? She was still marveling that I do not have one cavity or filling. Never have, and I hope I never do.  But what she did say that did my inner heart good? My Mom was a wise woman and made a very smart choice. According to her, had they pulled the good little tooth and operated to pull my big tooth down, they most likely would have messed up the spacing in my mouth. She said people who pull teeth for looks (and not because of a medical reason such as a small mouth, etc) wind up having to return for touch up surgeries every 5-10 years. That wasn't the exact wording she used, but that's the summary of what she said.

So thanks, Mom. Thanks for being a good steward of not just our finances, but also of my teeth. :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Post 1000

When I realized last week I was going to hit my 1,000 post, I started to do a give-away, or a very special post. But there's was just too much happening to decide what to write about.

Boston was bombed, two attempted poisonings happened, the gun bill went for a vote on Congress, we attended an antique gun auction, we made a quick trip to Alabama for two baptisms, my quilt schedule is out of whack and exploding, we've lost several hens in the last few weeks, the incubator is out and running, AND my hometown was hosting an "open gate" of main street this past Sunday which we decided was just way too much to fit into our already very crazy schedule. Demolition began Monday morning. One side of main street and the grocery store where I had my first official paying job is now gone. And in the midst of all these crazy things, plus many others, I simply did not have the heart to minimize any of them . And so today I post the timeless words that summarize how I feel about so many things and adequately describe my rock stillness as the world rushes around me.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—
2 A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
5 A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
6 A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.

9 What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? 10 I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves.

11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

And with these words, I celebrate my 1,000th blog post.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

insanity

Every year as summer ends, I hate myself and wonder why on earth I EVER planted a garden.  The weeds have taken over, people laugh, it looks to be a mess, and I simply have no time for it.  So I spend the entire winter refusing to look at seed catalogues or other such ideas, and then... spring comes. I buy one small packet of seeds, and we're off.

Of course, this year will be different (hahahahaha).  Last year I tried straw bale gardening, which did okay. After the garden was finished, we left the fence door open and the chickens tore the remaining bales apart and kept the garden scratched up all winter. So this year, I didn't even till it. Just hoed up my rows and planted (and closed the makeshift garden back, which almost wouldn't meet the fence post). So for three days the chickens walked around the fence forlornly, peering in at one of their favorite spots to scratch.

And now?  We currently have peas sprouting, along with one cucumber and two squash plants. Time will tell about the remainder. And, I've yet to plant the okra or tomatoes, though I have reserved a row for them. Maybe next week.

So I've almost guaranteed at some point this summer you'll be hearing about how frustrated I am trying to keep weeds out of the garden. Maybe this will actually be the year that I can stay on top of it. A girl can always dream.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

a teenager

And my nephew is now the big 13!

He's an Auburn fan.
He loves to deer hunt (and isn't very happy about his Mom sharing his deer meat with others).
He enjoys basketball and baseball.
He's in the Beta Club.
He does NOT like having his picture made and if he saw this he'd be MOST unhappy with his aunt.
He likes both dogs and cats.
He enjoys exploring the woods.
I wish we lived a lot closer.

Happy happy Birthday, M.E.Weems!

Monday, April 8, 2013

espalier trees

Several years ago while on a trip (Biltmore, Tryon Palace, or somewhere else?) I saw these tiny fruit trees that were shaped and grafted and tied to a wall. And they were producing quite significantly. I was startled, curious, uncertain, but there was no one around to answer my questions.

And this last week, I found the answers, quite unexepectedly. In the last This Old House magazine I received (because I'm way behind on my reading pile and I've not renewed my subscription), there was actually an article on espalier (pronounced es-PAY-ler) trees. They came about during medieval times because people wanted fruit but didn't want to leave the safety of the walled cities. So as necessity mandated, they improvised.

You take a small tree that hasn't branched out very much (or not at all), and clip the top about 18 inches above where you want the first branches to be. You hang anchors (to attach wires to) into the wall or trellis (walls supposedly work better because the heat helps the plant/fruit develop faster) and as the limbs grow out you tie/train them to follow the path the you'd like for them to grow. Of course, this involves a lot of pruning as well. The next spring, you repeat the same process, only the top is clipped to where the second row will begin. It takes about 5 years (which is when they suggest you allow a tree to start bearing fruit anyway) before it takes the shape the gardner originally designed for it.

I've posted a few links on my pinterest page, so I'm not going to take pictures from other websites to post here. TOH did have a photo where someone had trained trees alongside a fence on a property line, but everything else I've seen has been against a wall. I don't think I want a fruit tree against my house, and unless we act upon some crazy ideas of getting miniature cattle we won't ever have a fence on a property to plant anything alongside. But it's still a concept that I'm thoroughly intrigued by.

Friday, April 5, 2013

star parties

Tonight is the night for Star parties across NC (where you can go to certain parks and meet with astronomy clubs, learn how to find certain stars and planets, etc).  And of course it is cool today, meaning it will be cold tonight. I suppose that's great for seeing stars, but it also means if I go to a party, I'll have to go alone. And seeing as we'll have yard work being done at the house in the morning (meaning an early morning for me), I don't really care to stay out very late.

There's a small part of me that is tempted to just lock the dog up this afternoon and attempt to set my telescope up in the backyard, and then see what I can find myself. I know there are supposed to be several websites telling you where to look and how to find things, so perhaps I can figure out a few things on my own. I know the star parties are supposed to be looking at Jupiter and its four moons, as well as trying to count all the stars in the Leo constellation (a way of gauging light pollution across the stae).  If I can just find Leo, I will be happy. I've never quite figured out how on earth people come up with the drawings around the stars. Even if I play dot to dot while looking at the stars, I never come up with those shapes!  Perhaps if we had studied the stars more as a kid or in school I would grasp it better. But for now, I'm just occasionally learning a thing here or there, not even enough to say I dabble.

Happy Star Watching Day!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

little by little

First, the most exciting thing of the week: I saw an owl yesterday! We were driving on the bad part of Bryan Rd (for those of you who don't live near here, I live on a road that is half-dirt/half-paved, and right before you get to the pavement, the road is VERY bad) about 6pm yesterday, still very light outside, and there was an owl perched in a tree. I strained my head backwards to watch him as we drove by, and he did the same to us! :) It made me laugh. I've seen tiny owls before but never one like this. My only regret is that I didn't have my camera charged and on me and I didn't tell Bobby to back up so we could watch him a little bit.

I am finally starting to feel like I've recouped from our trip home. I was more than a little irate when we returned. I was so tired, there was so much to do here, and my heart felt so guilty for leaving my parents at a time when they could use an extra hand or two. Of course, while we there Mom didn't want me to do too much, and yet she wanted things done, too. :)  I think the hardest thing for her is that while she is sitting, unable to be up and about, she sees and thinks of things that she wants done...and is unable to do them. We did accomplish one thing and I got some stuff for her to work on while she sits there, so hopefully that will help ease her mind some. (Though I can hear my Dad harumphing on that one, saying she'll just think up more stuff to do.)  I did have one morning/day set aside with my niece to help her organize her room, and while she declared me a "meanie" more than once, she cried when we said good-bye, which broke my heart in more ways than one.

Meanwhile I've spent the last two afternoons outside - one cutting grass and the other fertilizing fruit & nut trees. I'm a little pink in several places, and am hoping this will turn and not peel. If I burn this early with the temps not above 70, then I'm going to be in trouble when summer rolls around.

And last but most certainly not least, I let my gym membership expire. Ever since last November (early voting, elections, shingles, our family trip, christmas plays) when life got very crazy, I have had a very hard time of making it to the gym more than once a week, if at all.  I was to the point I was not enjoying it, at all, and I hated the thought of even going. When I got the notice saying I needed to update my credit card or I would lose my discount savings I had when I joined, I decided this was the perfect way to just back out. And I have exercised the last two days, without the gym. :)

And today my older sister is on spring break, so I will get to meet up with her for an  hour or two at lunch. Can't wait!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

grace

Last night I finished reading Mary Beth Chapman's book Choosing to See. I remember hearing on the radio about the death of their child several years ago, and how everytime I would hear one of his songs, especially the Cinderalla song he wrote about his daughter before her death, I would send up a quick prayer for that family. I also remember hearing a snippet of her testimony on the radio where she commented that you teach truths all your life, but it's when the hardships come that your faith is truly put into action.

As one would expect in reading a book about death and dealing with the intersection of faith and life, it was a hard, sad read. But I finished that book overwhelmed and reminded of God's grace in the midst of life's hardships.

Then this morning I heard from a friend in high school. He struggled with drugs throughout most of his teen years and then another hard fight in his mid-twenties. Someone had made a video for Easter about what Christ can do in a person's life, and he was in rehab with one of the couples and was saying he got to witness the transformation in their lives. (And I think the change in Ray is quite remarkable, too!)

And then I skimmed this month's prayer calendar for the Muslim community that a friend of mine gave me. The month of April is about grace, and today's thought was how hard people in the Islamic faith work to do good deeds and be ritually cleansed for prayer. Grace is never mentioned or offered.

I think because I grew up in a Christian home and have experienced grace so often and so much, I often tend to take it for granted. And yet, that's the last thing I should be taking for granted. For without it, I would be in deep trouble.