Sowing in the Sunshine; goodbye Summer

Harvesting Sunshine
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I Love Sunflowers!  I sowed several Sunflower seeds this year, just outside my back door off the wood deck. I wanted to be able to be greeted by the sunny brightness when I look out my kitchen window.  Only two took to root.  The first plant to bloom, grew a mere 4 feet, but what it lacked in height, it grew an abundance of flowers.  I counted about eighteen.   Its largest was about 9 inches in diameter.   I enjoyed several vases from this one stalk.  I was thrilled to bring their happy, bright bouquets into my kitchen for a few weeks.

Where flowers bloom so does hope. ~Lady Bird Johnson

Sunflower 1st bloom

Sunflower 1st bloom

He changed sunset into sunrise ~ Clement of Alexandria

Sunflower1 bunchThe second Sunflower plant to bloom grew to a massive height of over 10 feet.  It’s only flower ~ bloomed into a huge 18 inches in diameter.  That’s a large pizza pan!  Its center had a thickness of approximately 5 inches front to back.  This is the largest sunflower I have ever seen, or grown, (as of yet).  I Love it!!!  It grew in the exact location of  my sunflower last year, and the perfect place.  This giant is the first sunshine I was able to see out my kitchen window (day or night).  It grew so top heavy, that it’s weight lowered the flower head about two feet….and it still tried to reach the sun.

If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change. ~Buddha

Sunflower Giant 2014

Sunflower Giant 2014

Top heavy

Top heavy

My Tomato plant to date, has provided 19 tomatoes from one single seedling.  I planted along the backyard fence, where it received morning and early afternoon sun. It was in the shade in the later part of the day, and I presume that is the reason for it’s spindly vine, and long ripening process.  All in all, they turned out very well, and I didn’t find the need for any bug sprays etc.  I am super excited & look forward to the growing season again next year, when I will plant several Tomato plants in full sun and give them their very own garden.

The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses. ~Hanna Rion

I still have not yet dug up my first Potatoes. I shall put on my gloves and dig in the dirt over the next few days. I have my fingers crossed for them.  I won’t be surprised if they haven’t grown properly, as I mistakenly planted them in full sun.  This year was a learning experience for sure.  Next year, I will be better prepared and hopefully, more knowledgeable about potatoes! I have a lot of reading to do!

Additions to my garden this year, (Russian sage, Moonlight Coreopsis, and Black~eyed~Susan) took off, and provided many flower arrangements along with all the other seasoned perennials in my gardens.  My Rose bush however, didn’t have as many recurring blooms this year…thanks to an invasion of beetles.  It’s perking back up finally after many treatments of Sevin dust.

For the third year in a row, (for fun) I entered in the Baking and Gardening exhibits at my local Fair.  I took home 2 Blue (First), 1 Red (Second), and 2 White (Third) ribbons! A whopping $23 :D came with them….. It’s not a get rich quick scheme, but rather an little added bonus for doing something I love! You can find my recipe for the cookies here: http://countrypkin.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/cranberry-oat-squares/  Let me know if you make them!

~My Ribbons~  Fair 2014

~My Ribbons~
Fair 2014

So summer is over for another year.

 My helper "Little one" in my wheelbarrow of weeds

My helper “Little one” in my wheelbarrow of weeds

Often times, someone can help just by being near you.  They don’t even need to lift a finger; or a paw!

Wheelbarrow2As I cleanup the wilting flowers & weed out the overgrown flower beds and grasses, I am reminded that everything has its time and season.  I am thankful for the harvest of sunshine, and flowers. No need for sadness, even gardens need to rest.  I am thankful for the coming fall, and look forward to the winter season that also follows.  Christmas will be here before we know it, and the biggest celebration of all will once again be ours, to honor the Father who made ALL life possible.

Bringing in the SheavesWe faintly hear, we dimly see In differing phrase we pray; But dim or clear, we own in him; The life, the Truth, The way. ~John Greenleaf Whittier

Rose

Sunflower vase

Buzz(agent) & Beyond to the rescue!

Buzz & Beyond.....To the Rescue
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I joined the Bzz campaign for PURINA BEYOND NATURAL PET FOODS and recieved my package on June 28th.  With much anticipation, my furry canine “Blue” shared in the excitement, when I retrieved my package at the mailbox from BzzAgent. I wish I could have a twenty-four hour surveillance on this little guy, because I don’t think anyone would believe his antics as they are told.

So, with Blues’ tail a waggin, I hurried & opened the brown corrugated box to see what would be revealed inside. A generous 3 LB package sample of Purina Beyond, “Adventure” (Grain Free ~ Tuna & Egg Recipe) Natural Dog food, and two $3 money savings coupons.

Since it was late in the day, Blue had already eaten, so reluctantly, he had to wait until the following day to start the switch to Beyond. I began to slowly transition him to his new food, although, judging by his reaction, it will not be an issue. He gobbled his poultry and tuna up without hesitation. I gave him one kibble as a treat, and to let him know what was going into his bowl. Then, he started jumping up and down while I filled his bowl on my counter top.

As I read the package label, I am pleased that Beyond is thinking of the good health of my pet (and yours). Knowing that they use NO artificial flavors, NO artificial colors OR Preservatives in their dog food, makes me feel confident about feeding Beyond to my special family member…and better too, knowing that it is All Natural and Grain free. Bluey has so far made it several days without any severe issues. (No diarrhea, but does have some stinky gas….I am hoping that will subside). He remains excited as of yet to his feeding times!

#gotitfree
#PurinaBeyond
#Naturalpetfood

Let the taste take your dog to infinity....and Beyond.

Let the taste take your dog to infinity….and Beyond.

Through my window : A Poem

Through my window countrypkin.wordpress.com
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Through my window……my eyes can see
Flowers growing……blowing leaves.

Trees that reach……into the sky
Flying birds……passing by.

Cats that wander ……Dogs that bark
Children’s laughter from the park.

Mowers mowing ………Ponds that glisten
Grown kids talking……Parent’s listening.

In the distance…..I can hear
Airplane’s engines……getting near.

Sounds of silence……..No one’s home
Just you and me……The kids are grown.

Out the door……..No time for us
Grand kids one day………we have to trust.

Wishing, hoping……Time stood still
But time goes forward…………It’s God’s will.

Through my window ~ by Pamela K.

 

Beefsteak Charlie 1

My first Tomato Harvested
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Tomatoes are one of the simplest of vegetables that one can grow. Providing the right conditions, (including water, sun, soil, and enough attention from the gardener);  you will have yourself eating a BLT with your very own fresh tomatoes in about 60-90 days.  Even at my age, planting tomatoes, is a first for me…..I have a looong way to go to become an expert vegetable gardener who offers up advice. This post is purely about  my experience.

 The best place to seek God is in a garden . You can dig for him there. ~George Bernard Shaw

I planted a seedling a little over two months ago, having no idea if vegetables will work with my soil type. Tennessee has more rocks than dirt in my neck of the woods., so I did NOT take the time to prepare the soil, nor did I make a decent garden bed. \Shame on me/ I figured, if this one plant survives and produces, then next year I will make a proper garden elsewhere in my yard.

I dubbed my first seedling “Beefsteak Charlie 1“. I’ve been checking daily for it’s progress, and with each growth spurt, I have been pleasantly surprised and tickled pink. Often times I have a childlike enthusiasm and I tend to flip out over the simplest of things. (insert big cheesy grin here !) :D

About 1 week old tomato

I have been watching the leaves grow on BC1, from one leaf into three, four and so on. Seeing little yellow flowers grow on the stems and wondering what they were and if it was normal or not. I have been giddy with excitement from the first teenie tiny tomato which was about the size of a straight pin head.

There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling. ~Mirabel Osler

As BC1 matures, his shape is nice and round, but his green stalk/vine is rather leggy. Not as many leaves as I had thought, and not very bushy as I have seen in other gardens. Perhaps it is because I planted BC1 in front of a fence which gives him a bit of shade. (not smart on my part). Next year, I will hopefully remedy that mistake, and plant my tomatoes in full sun. Live and learn.

Approximately 3 weeks old

3 weeks old

One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides. ~W.E. Johns

Beefsteak Charlie1 on the rise

Turning red

Super Simple Tomato Marker made from a (recycled) plastic lid and a Twig, using Acrylic (color) Paints and Clear Krylon sealer paint.

Super Simple  Tomato Marker made from a (recycled) plastic lid and a
Twig, using Acrylic (color) Paints and Clear Krylon sealer paint.

Double Tomato

Picken my first Tomato 7-16-14

Picken my first Tomato 7-16-14

Today I harvested my very first Tomato. Although small, it must’ve been ready, because it came off in my hand as I was checking it’s firmness on the stem. It may have come off too soon. It does have a little pale (orangey) color on the backside to it yet, so I will let it sit on the window sill for a day or so to fully ripen. It should be a deeper, brighter red., in my opinion.

Beefsteak Charlie 1  debut 7-16-14 Black Eyed Susan,  Moonbeam Coreopsis, & Russian Sage  Pitcher Vase made in Italy

Beefsteak Charlie 1
Black Eyed Susan, Moonbeam Coreopsis, & Russian Sage
Pitcher Vase made in Italy

Once the tiny tomato formed from the flower, it took a little over 30 days to produce a somewhat ripened tomato ~ give or take a few days. In the mean time, BC1 gave me a chance to learn how to use a makeshift photo box, for better photos of my smaller objects. (Thank you Pinterest)! Now I just have to remember to use my good camera instead of the convenience of using my cell phone……what a difference it makes!
Happy Gardening .

My first Tomato Harvested

My first Tomato Harvested

Half the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination. ~Mrs. C.W. Earle

 

Angel. A kitten of any other name, just wouldn’t be the same.

Angel would only climb trees if I was nearby.
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I once lifted a lifeless, near frozen kitten out from under a wooden step. His mother had refused to feed him and left him trapped under our back porch deck. For several days he was under the deck. I never imagined a mother could abandon her baby like that, but she did. I only assumed, and had hoped that she had been taking care of him. I was wrong. She had left him to die.

A baby is born with a need to be loved – and never outgrows it. ~ Frank A. Clark

The tiny kitten, had somehow managed to crawl himself under the connecting porch step which was sealed in front, top and sides (basically it was like a box with a sealed lid). I heard his cries getting softer. At first, I had hoped that the mother’s intuition would kick in, and she would finally nurse her sickly sounding baby. She never did. It had gotten quiet, and I could barely hear a sound. I thought I had to be mistaken. I ran over to the step, and listened. Nothing. My heart started to race with panic. Did I wait too long? I hollered into the house, for my husband to get his crowbar. I needed him to pry the step apart.

Love unlocks doors and opens windows that weren’t even there before. ~Mignon McLaughlin

My own heart skipped a beat, as I saw the baby kitten through a tiny crack that was made from the crowbar. He wasn’t breathing. In mere seconds, the top board was off. I reached in and picked his hardening, and ice cold, lifeless body out from the step. Was I too late? Please God, no, (I prayed over and over in my head). I refused to let him pass from this life. I refused to let him die.

I carried him inside the house, and grabbed a few kitchen dish towels. I heated the towels in the microwave for 15 seconds each, and wrapped them around this kitten. I did this “every five minutes” for the next four and a half hours. I held him in my arms, while sitting on the couch (semi watching tv), and talking to him and to God. With each trip to the microwave, I hugged him close to my chest. The towels warmed my hands, while thawing his tiny body. I was determined, I wasn’t prepared to stop. That is, until slowly, a tiny, furry white arm, reached out from under a towel, as if to say ‘alright, I’m alive, stop it with the hot towels already!’

With God all things are possible. Mat. 19:26

In that moment, I felt one of the greatest feelings I have ever felt. I saved a life. I felt as if God himself had done his work, through me. It was beyond amazing. It was itself, a miracle. My eyes teared up. I was overwhelmed. with joy, with relief, and also with a sadness that I could finally let go. I no longer had to feel sorrow. I didn’t need to because he did not die. For a few minutes I felt like a hero. It was pretty cool. My micro waved towels idea – they worked. But wait, it wasn’t just me…..it was really my prayers that had been answered. That’s what worked. Ultimately, that is what healed him. Without further thought, I had found a name come rushing to my mind. I called my little kitten “Angel”.

Nursing "Angel" back to health

Nursing “Angel” back to health

Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much perfoms much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well. ~ Vincent Van Gogh

In the days following, I began to nurse him back to health. He wasn’t the ’prettiest’ to look at, at first as some might‘ve thought. He had teary eyes and looked a little sickly. He almost died after all! My “Angel” was not stunted in any way, from his moments (technically hours) of death. Over a time, he grew to a normal size. He was quite healthy, although he did have an occasional bout of lazy eye, and he was a little deaf. I would stomp on the ground when I wanted to get his attention. A couple of thumps on the sidewalk and Angel would come running from around the corner, always happy to see me. Always full of energy and spunk. He was my little pal. He was so cute. So cuddly soft, and the whitest of white thick fur with patches of orange stripe. And did I say cute? Yes, he was adorable. He really was….lazy eye and all. His lazy eye was kind of funny at times and the hubby dubbed him “Chico”!

Angel on road to recovery

Angel on road to recovery

Like a Mom, I taught Angel how to climb a tree, just as I did his brothers and sisters before him. He followed me around the yard, while I watered flowers, pulled weeds and took pictures etc. He was learning. Learning about me, as much as learning about himself. He learned what he could and could not do. He also made friends with his once estranged brothers and sisters. Angel and his Mom bonded once he was well again. His Mom, Callie, tended to give Angel the cold shoulder, but on so many occasions I caught her tenderly grooming him, and then holding/hugging him during naps. If Angel happened to “ignore” his mom, she would taunt him with her tail, until he played with her.

omma Callie & Angel taking a nap

Momma Callie & Angel taking a nap

He became best buds with our outside yellow Lab. Angel and Jake routinely slept together…..that is, Jake, (often reluctantly), allowed Angel to sleep on top of him. (I had many photos of the two, but as of this writing, I sadly cannot locate them on my computer. If I find them later on, I will edit and add them).

Angel would only climb trees if I was nearby.

Angel would only climb trees if I was nearby.

Angel and a Thistle. (She loved to pose!)

Angel and a Thistle. (She loved to pose!)

Angel was always rubbing into our Labs’ face…somewhat annoying him, perhaps getting fur on his nose…..getting Jake to stand up and move…..over and over again. It was Angels’ little game. Angel was a very active, and playful two year old. He paled around with me, Jake (and the other cats) for about 2 years. That is, until one day, he just disappeared.

Angel

Angel

Angel was never one to leave my yard. He was always here. He ’never’ went beyond the fence he sat on…..unless I carried him. He would always stop short, as if there was an imaginary boundary telling him to stay put. It has been over a year now since he disappeared. I like to believe, that a traveling salesman picked Angel up and kept him to be his own pet, because the guy thought our cat was cool (that was the last time I saw him). I am hoping also, that he is still playing with someone else’s dog and sleeping on them too, like he had done with our lab. It is a much better thought, than the alternative.

I loved that little kitten that I rescued from under the wooden step, and I love & will remember the fun, happy, playful cat that he grew to be. I also know that I will see him again to, after all…. he is my little “Angel”

In Remembrance.

In  Remembrance of you Angel, wherever you are. <3

In Remembrance of you Angel, wherever you are. <3

If we deny love that is given to us, if we refuse to give love because we fear pain or loss, then our lives will be empty, our loss greater.

A few childhood memories (of Mom)

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A few early childhood memories (of Mom)

I’m nearing the half-century mark, and I am very fortunate and happy to say my mother is still with me.  In light of Mother’s day (a few weeks ago),  I wanted to share a few early memories I have of my Mom, that are special to me.

Being a mother means that your heart is no longer yours; it wanders wherever your children do. ~Author Unknown

I am the youngest of four and the baby of the family.  I like to think I had a special little bond that my older brothers and sister didn’t have.  I know growing up, there wasn’t any favoritism, but I can’t recall ever seeing the others off by themselves with mom……ever.  Although, what would I know.  It may just well have been that they were busy with their friends while I sat at home, and she might just had been accommodating the poor little lonely kid!

Mom and baby Me!

Mom and baby Me!

We lived on a “non working” farm.  We had lots of chickens and roosters, numerous cats, 2 family dogs (Rusty and Shane), a horse (Buck) and a mean pony, (appropriately named) “Sassy”.   I hated that pony.  Well, I guess I was more ‘afraid’ of him than anything.  He chased me a lot and bit me one time. From then on I hated to be in the fields even remotely close to him.  I loved Buck.  He was beautiful.  He nudged me all the time to pet him.   He was super friendly.  Except for the egg bearing chickens, and a few nasty roosters, the rest were all pets.

I remember Mom planting vegetable gardens over the years, and I always enjoyed eating carrots and leafy lettuce fresh out of the ground.  I cannot recall ever washing them before I ate them.  We didn’t plant corn, because the neighbor farmer had fields of corn.  We helped ourselves to it! Our garden was pretty far from the house, and if memory serves me correctly, there wasn’t a water spicket nearby, so mom had to lug lots watering cans one by one to the garden everyday.  Without a doubt, us kids helped too; especially me.  I was moms shadow.   I followed mom wherever she went.

Mom in a garden

Mom in a garden

The garden sat between a huge white barn, that became an “off limits” two story garage.  Eventually, at some point, all us kids snuck in there.  At the other end of the garden, was a small shack, in which my sister and I made our play house.  We kept our girly toys and things there and played house with each other and our friends.  Eventually, our older brothers crashed the place and turned it into their fort.  So, when I wasn’t pulling carrots or listening to mom singing while she worked in the garden, I was in the play house decorating with found treasures from the other barns, or that we picked up from the abandoned railroad tracks on our property.   I remember Mom sewed us some. curtains for the windows to dress the place up.  I remember having tea parties and making mud pies with old tin pans that mom had given us, always remembering to “add the cup of love” into every pie!
After my brothers “took over” our playhouse, we moved into one of the corncribs.  Tucked way into the back end. We had a lot of cat visitors in our new place.  I still snuck into my brothers fort whenever mom was in the garden, and while they were at school.

Mom

Mom

We had a small electric organ in our dining room.  It had a dark wood color and the matching bench had a bright red fabric seat.   After turning the little brown knob on, on the organ, it had to heat up for a few minutes.   Once it was ready, to make the notes last, you had to pump the peddle with your foot.  I would always sit on the organ bench alongside mom and listen to her play.  She taught me how to play Mary had a little lamb, and My Country tis of thee, and chop sticks! Mom sang to me.   I loved hearing her voice.   She sounded like a country singer.   One song that really stood out was one that I thought she made up about her Daddy (who lived pretty far away in Newfoundland, Canada).   It was called “How far is Heaven”.   Later in life, I learned it was an old Kitty Wells song.  One of moms favorite country and western singers.
Through the years, I often found myself singing that song, only I never really knew the exact words.  I made them up.   With the great technology we have now, it is stuck on my playlist on my smartphone.   With no disrespect to the late Miss Wells, I still think mom sang the song so sweetly.  I wish I could have her record herself singing it, but knowing her own father is in heaven now, I think it would make her sad.

http://youtu.be/m-VRaNye-lo

My Mom, the Country singer =)

My Mom, the Country singer =)

My father used to be away a lot.   Being a child, I always assumed it was for his work.  He was Chief of Police for our small town.  Turned out, all his late nights were spent cheating on my mother.  (Rotten s.o.b.)  I never really cared when he was gone, other than knowing it made my mom sad.  I didn’t care, because it meant, I could have late nights with mom.   I always snuck down in the middle of the night and mom would make me warm milk and toast which she cut up into little tiny pieces.  She made herself tea, and I would also occasionally take sips of it.  Looking back, I think that may have been when I developed my strong love for hot tea! Back then, she drank Salada tea, with the little quotes or sayings on the tags.  I often thought how cool that was.  Smart tea.  Such words of wisdom.  Later on, she switched to Red Rose tea, which to this day, is my favorite.  Sitting alongside mom at the kitchen table in the wee hours made me feel like a princess.   Sitting on her lap when I could tell she was upset, made me feel like I was comforting her…..I may have been small, but I deep down knew something was troubling her.  I think she needed me to sneak downstairs every night.  A few times Dad surprised us and came home before I could run upstairs.  He got mad and I think jealous that I had such quality time with my mom.  He would make up stories that I was found on our porch in a roasting pan, and that they “adopted” me. What a horrible person would try to have their little child believe they were left in a pan or that they were adopted when they weren’t.

Mom and Me

Mom and Me

I went on walks with my mom around the property, picking raspberries and black berries.  Mom also planted wild rhubarb (Burdock) in a flower garden near the house, and we would share the bitter stalk while flower picking.  I remember there was an old cow skull in the center of that flower bed, that always gave me the creeps.  In the twelve room house, there was only one bathroom.  Mom told me if I ever had to go number two, and someone was in the bathroom, I could use the wild rhubarb leaves as natures toilet paper. I used her little trick a couple of times.  Brushing past that creepy, boney, cows head and dashing into the tall overgrown fields to do my business.  We had paths made in the cornfields, and also in the tall grass fields so no one could ever see.  To this day, I’m not really sure if any of the others went to the bathroom outside. Hey, don’t judge……it was the early 70’s. Even princesses gotta poop, even if it has to be without a throne! =)

Wild Rhubarb (Burdock)

Wild Rhubarb (Burdock)

I think I was in 3rd grade when mom took a job at a laundromat.  She had to walk several miles to get to work.  (Back in the day, many years ago, when I was a small lass lol).  Sometimes I would go with her.  We would have to walk a railroad bed along the way and behind the old Acme was where some unused trains were parked, off the tracks.  They looked abandoned.  We always felt like we were being followed.  Turned out, we were.  He was a rather tall, gangly looking man who wore all green clothing.  We called him “The Green man”. (Yeah, we came up with good names didn’t we? Lol) In retrospect, I can’t believe how dangerous it could have been.  That guy knew where my mom worked.  He knew our paths we took.  He was always behind us when we walked, or sometimes waiting up ahead.  It was creepy.  Mom pushed me in the huge canvas laundry carts all the time, when I went to work with her. I watched her greet customers all day long and tag and bag their clothes, and work the cash register.  I really admired my mom.  I saw her as being a pretty, strong and very smart lady.  I looked up to her.  She not only took care of us four kids, cleaned our whole house, cooked three meals a day, always had time for me and my brothers and sister….but, She also took care of three foster kids.  Whenever my Dad brought home patrolmen that worked for him…which he did often (and without warning).  She would drop everything and prepare a meal for everyone and/or coffee and desserts etc.

Vintage Industrial laundry cart similar to the one Mom pushed me in as a child.

Vintage Industrial laundry cart similar to the one Mom pushed me in as a child.

Off the kitchen, we had a washroom.  It had a big farm sink and a washing machine.  And also an always broken machine next to it. Under the window was a small table that held the house phone.  (Remember the phone number 6591 for a later post).  Do you believe in those days we got by with only one phone? We didn’t have an answering machine.  We had a notepad and a pencil next to the phone for messages.  We kept our shoes and coats in the washroom too. Before dinner we always “washed” up in the washroom.  We also filled jugs with water in the big sink.  After the clothes were washed in the machine, I would follow mom outside, where she would hang the clothes on the clothesline.  (We had two).  I helped mom, by handing her the clothespins.   I loved those clothespins.  They were all wood.  I hated when occasionally, I would pick up one with a metal clip.  I didn’t like those.  (I still don’t! But worse yet, are the cheap plastic ones now, with the metal clip).  Mom had a nice homemade clothespin bag that she kept on the line, and two long wooden posts that she rose the clotheslines up off the ground with.  At one end of the post there was a small slit where the clothesline would sit between.   I remember doing the laundry with mom all the time.  I remember helping to take the clothes off the line too.  I watched her closely, and she taught me how to fold clothes.  They always smelled so fresh, clean and crisp.

Clothespin

Clothespin

Sometimes I would go to my parents bedroom.  Only when my Dad wasn’t at home.  He wouldn’t allow anyone in his room.  Mom always let me in.  I would sit on the edge of their bed, when mom would be picking out her clothes for the day, or if she was putting my dads clothes in his dresser or closet.  We would have little talks.  I would look forward to it when she brought her jewelry box over and we would look through it together.  Even later in life, we still do this whenever I get the chance to visit her (she lives in Florida).  Mom still has the same jewelry box.  A black box with a colorful Chinese (floral) type design on it.  Inside it has a two-door tray with tassels for the handles and an open section underneath.  I’m pretty sure it played music.  A Doctor Chivago type melody. (If memory serves me).

Mom

Mom

After watching my mom pick out her clothes, I would wait patiently outside the bathroom, for her to bathe.  Once she opened the bathroom, and was dressed, I would sit on the toilet and watch her in the bathroom mirror.  I was captivated by her, the way she put on her makeup.  I can remember she used Maybelline mascara in a bright red tray with a tiny brush.  She would wet the brush and rub it across the caked mascara tray and then comb it up and down her top and bottom lashes.  That little tray seemed to last forever.  Orange or coral toned lipsticks were her usual lip colors. On her eyes she wore purple or blue with a light frost just below her brows.  Back in the day, a kerchief was always worn around her neck. My mom never felt comfortable with low cut shirts or blouses, and the kerchiefs made her feel more secure I guess….in addition to hiding her red neck when she would get hot flashes.  I don’t think I have ever seen my mother in a pair of jeans….ever. She has always lived in polyester pants or shorts or shin length dresses. I can picture her in the garden many years ago, wearing a floppy hat…. good times!

vintage maybelline mascara like Mom used

vintage maybelline mascara like Mom used

I remember going with my mom all the time to a little thrift store in town. It was run by our church.  I can’t remember the name of it, but as a kid, I really, really loved going there. I know that just has to be the reason I love antiquing and thrift store shopping so much. Mom influenced me in so many ways. A funny memory of one of our jaunts to that thrift store when I was a little older…..We parked in the parking lot away from the store. Did some shopping and lunch  etc. and we got back into the car, and mom put the car in drive, and drove right over the parking meter. You know the kind, they were about 4 feet tall, and you had to put a quarter, nickle or dime in and it allowed you to park for so many minutes. This thing was huge. It was buried in the ground by about 3 feet of cement, but mom took it completely out of the ground. One of those moments when you just look at each other in disbelief  and start cracking up! It was hysterical!!!

Memories from my childhood are few and far between, but those that I have almost always include my mom. Whether she knows it or not, my mom has had a huge impact on me, and the kind of mother I am today. My childhood with mom in my early years is a memory I hold very dearly in my heart. She is truly an inspiration to me.

Mom and Me May 28, 2012

Mom and Me
May 28, 2012

While going through photos for this story, I came across a photo of Mom on her bicycle. As I looked closely to her picture,  I realized, that I ride a bicycle that is almost identical to hers. Same color, style, and even a basket with flowers!  I  bought mine when I was on vacation in Carolina beach with my husband about 15 yrs ago.  I fell in love with it the moment I saw it…..it never dawned on me before, but now I know why!

Mom and Pam on their bikes

Mom and Pam on their bikes

For Mom, ILY

A mother’s happiness is like a beacon, lighting up the future but reflected also on the past in the guise of fond memories. ~Honoré de Balzac

Roses from the Garden

Rose cuttings in wicker
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A great pleasure of mine is time spent in my garden.  Sitting, walking, daydreaming and yes, even weeding.  I could spend all my waking hours just meandering outside.  Stopping along the way to pull a weed, sniff a flower, or to gaze at the blue clear sky.  Watching occasional puffy white clouds slowly moving by as they take the shape in an array of made up creatures and faces.

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow” Audrey Hepburn

Recognizing the gift of hearing, I Listen to the many voices of the chirping birds. the buzzing of the bees and the croaking of the frogs. Hearing single-engine planes off in the distance of neighboring skies, while a few doors away a lawn mower clips some grass. Laughter fills the air, as the young children next door play gleefully; chasing puppy dogs and being silly.

“The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings”. – Eric Hoffer

I awoke yesterday morning, to my (un-prunned) rosebush in full bloom. Wow, what a sight! With pruning sheers in hand, I headed out of doors, and into my backyard. I delighted in the sweet scent of my fittingly named “Knockout Roses”.  I snipped my first rose of the season, and as I closed my eyes I took a deep but gentle breath in through my nose. The beautiful smell took me away to a place of pure enjoyment. A scent I can only describe as…….. Heavenly.  I cannot begin to tell you, how thankful to God I am, for my sense of smell & the gift of sight; to see such beauty.  How very thankful I am also, to my husband, for buying that first young rosebush several years ago. I love roses so much, that I named my cottage “La Vie en Rose” which means, “life in pink” or “living life through rose colored glasses”!  I will write about my cottage in a future post (coming soon).

Rose cuttings in wicker

“The fragrance always remains on the hand that gives the rose”. – Gandhi

Roses in the garden are for me, like butter is to toast. You just have to have them. Toast without butter would be dry and tasteless. A garden without roses would be, well, I just couldn’t imagine having a garden anymore without roses.  I need them.  They bring a lot of happiness to me!

Roses n wicker

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say, ‘Thank you?’ – William Ward

In light of Mother’s day coming up in just three days, might I recommend getting a live “Knockout Rose” if you don’t already have one, for your wife or mothers garden? It truly is the gift that keeps on giving.  It is very low maintenance.  I think it even grows out of neglect.  Virtually failproof I guess you could say.  I sadly, have not given mine a proper “cut back” since it was planted about 4 years ago.  It still is thriving! I do trim it however, to fill an abundance of vases all spring and summer long; even well into fall here in middle Tennessee.  The more you cut, the more it blooms.  I snip flowers just about every day. I am noticing, as the older my rose bush gets, the thorns are getting larger, and stronger.

From a bush of thorns bears a fragrant rose…….

“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears”. – Anthony Robbins

Happy gardening!