Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween! - Post 98

Decor from the church Hallowe'en Party

I spent the early part of this evening assisting with Trunk of Treats, held in our church parking lot. It was cool, but not cold, which sure helped these old bones. We had a great deal more candy than we had children to give it to, though. During the course of the two hours we were "in business" we probably had 60 visitors. The youngest was a babe in arms; the oldest (I know 'cause I asked him how old he was) was 33. He said he was getting candy for his 5 year old nephew who was sick and couldn't go Trick or Treating. If so, great; if not... we had plenty and anyone who wanted to come by for some candy was welcome!

The more affluent neighborhood about 3/4 of a mile from us must have had hundreds of children on the streets; we laugh about them being "bussed in," but they do seem to come from all over town. This was just our second year to do this in the church parking lot; perhaps the word will get around and we'll have more kids next year.

We got rained out shortly after 7 p.m., so we closed our trunks and came home.

The undistributed candy will go next week to our local Fishnet Ministries, where they will use it to fill Christmas stockings

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sky Watch - Post 97

It's a gorgeous, bright, not too chilly Autumn day today. Perfect weather! Not a cloud in the sky this afternoon, so this photo is a Sky and Tree watch. I've been keeping a close watch on our neighborhood trees, monitoring the color change daily. My neighbor has a Sycamore tree in her front yard (the brown-yellow-green leaves on the left of the photo). The tree beyond is also a Sycamore, but the leaves have a more reddish tint. I love Mother Nature!

Sky Watch was created by Dot and is now brought to you by our friends Klaus, Sandy, Fishing Guy, Ivar, and Wren. Visit the Sky Watch Friday home page anytime after 7:30 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time on Thursdays to see sky photos from around the world. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Mule Story - Post 96

Whodathunk that a sweet, gentle blog such as mine would receive an award such as the one above? My erudite and clever blogging buddy rhymeswithplague received this award back in August, and per instructions, he passed it to others, among them myself, a most unworthy recipient. But, thanks, anyway, rhymeswithplague. I've taken a long time to acknowledge my award publicly, and I apologize.

As I thought about the award's title, it called to mind an experience of my days on the farm. Our next door neighbors (if you can call almost a mile away "next door") had a huge gray mule which was used to pull whatever farming equipment needed to be pulled. Occasionally, J.D., one of the younger teenaged boys of that family, would put a bridle on the beast and ride over for a visit. As I recall, we were the only kids of their ages for about 5 miles, at least.

I once had an opportunity (I use the word jestingly) to ride this behemoth. He stood about 17 hands at the shoulder, which was about the same height I was at the time. I had to stand on a barrel in the yard to get up on his back. And, "back" it was... no saddle. Although I was tall, I was skinny. I weighed only about 90 pounds, soaking wet. The mule probably didn't even realize I was there... until I kicked him in the ribs to get him to "go."

To my remembrance, that's the only time I ever "kicked ass."

Post Script: Yes, I realize that technically this mule was not a true ass, but its donkey daddy was an ass. I suppose this mule was only half-ass.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Today's Flowers #12 - Post 95

End of Summer Hydrangea

I do love hydrangeas; when they first begin to open in late spring and are "unripe;" when they're fully mature in midsummer, and now, when they begin to dry on the bush. Each stage of their lives has its own beauty.

Today's Flowers is a weekly Meme created by Luiz Santilli, Jr. and may be found here. Please visit to see others' lovely flower photos. If you have a flower photo of your own to share, please join us.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Camera Critters #29 - Post 94

What'cha doing outside, Mom? Huh? Huh? Huh?
From the left: Squeak, Sweetie Pie, and (hiding in the shadows) Missy.

Camera Critters is the creation of Misty Dawn. Check out this week's other critters here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Woolly Hollow State Park - Post 93

This morning dawned bright and sunny, with very coolish temperatures and a brisk wind. Shortly after noon, taking advantage of the good weather, my daughter, granddaughter and I hopped in the truck and headed to Woolly Hollow State Park, located about 50 miles north of here. I hadn't been to Woolly Hollow in years, and found the site much improved from my last visit. In fact, it wasn't even a state park when I last visited, having achieved that status only in 1973.

Woolley Hollow got its name from William Riley Woolly, who moved to this Faulkner County location in 1851. He homesteaded some acreage, and while the original family home has not survived, the one room cabin built in 1882 by W.R.'s son, Martin, has been moved (about 1 mile from its original site) to the park, and has been restored. I can't imagine raising a family in this small building, but it was probably considered a very nice home in its day.

Daughter and granddaughter on porch of Woolly Cabin
There's a nice split-rail fence around the "front yard" of the cabin (not original, I'm sure) that lends to the overall ambience of the site.

In looking around the park, we saw several trees that, at first, we thought had huge fungi growing on them. Closer examination revealed that the white, bulgy stuff is some sort of wound dressing, put on the trees where good sized branches have been torn off. It looks like expandable foam insulation, but I don't really know what it actually is.

Most of the trees on the park site are Oaks, and I noticed more change in color in them than in the Oaks in my neighborhood, which are showing hardly any color at all. That may change quickly, however, since it's supposed to get quite cool tonight. The bright yellow foliage below caught my eye. I don't know why just one branch of a tree will change color and the rest stay green.

As I wrote above, there was a brisk wind this afternoon, and these scarlet leaves fell from a tree almost at my feet. There are still green leaves attached to the same small branch. It's a wonderment. Aren't they beautiful?

The park surrounds a 40-acre lake, Lake Bennett, named for the first director of the Soil Conservation Service. The dam creating the lake was built by the WPA and CCC in 1935. The lake provides swimming and fishing, and there are kayaks and paddle boats available. Power boats are not allowed. The photo below shows the fishing pier and a long, narrow dock where the paddle boats are tethered. When I took this shot, a woman and two boys were walking between the boats.

My not-quite-four-year-old granddaughter loves to fish, and her mama brought along a small fishing pole and a few worms. She didn't get even a nibble, however, although (carefully watched by Mama) she did get the bobber wet.

The shallow upper end of the lake was sporting some colorful trees which provided a frame for my photo of what I call "diamonds on the water," which were caused by the aforementioned brisk breeze.

The more protected edge of the lake was full of weedy growth, which provided some nice reflections, I thought.

I got to breathe a lot of fresh air and (as Abraham Lincoln said on one of his blogs today) "dance on sunshine." Following an active child around for a couple of hours was more exercise than I've had in a while. I should sleep well tonight.

Just about time to head for home. I got a couple of parting shots looking across the lake toward the earthen dam. It's really a pretty place this time of year, and I'll bet it's pretty in the spring, too. Another excursion may be in order.

Until next time, Woolly Hollow!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Can It Really Be Fall? - Post 92

Dogwood branch

While I was outside this morning looking for a Sky Watch photo op, I spied my neighbor's dogwood tree and was captivated by the beautiful leaves. Dogwoods and Bradford Pears are almost the only trees in our neighborhood that have begun to develop much color. The same neighbor's Sycamore tree has only a few bright gold leaves on it, and even the maples are just now beginning to display the beginnings of their fall glory. Arkansas trees can be very beautiful in the fall, but it sometimes takes a while for the color to develop. Then, with the first hard freeze, it's all gone... overnight, in most cases.

The branch pictured above hangs almost over the fence which divides our lots. The tree trunk on the right is inside my yard.

Sky Watch - Post 91

October 23 Sky

East, West and South skies here are mostly overcast today, but I did find a spot of blue looking across the street to the Northwest. We're in for some rain later this evening, I believe. It hasn't been cold enough, yet, for the leaves to show much change in color; here in central Arkansas they're still mostly green. I did spot a branch of dogwood in the back garden next door that had some beautiful color and got a photo, but no sky was showing, so that's a post for another time.

Sky Watch was created by Dot and is now brought to you by our friends Imac, Klaus, Sandy, Fishing Guy, Wren, and Tom. Visit the Sky Watch Friday home page anytime after 7:30 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time on Thursdays to see sky photos from around the world. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ecclesiates 1 - Post 90

Hi! I'm still around, but have been having some "Ecclesiastes 1" moments for the past week or so (I've been reading Eugene H. Peterson's contemporary language Bible, The Message, although I grew up on the King James Version.)

Politics (bah and double bah!), the financial markets mess (bah!), unrest in my chosen religious denomination (not at my own small church, thank you, Lord) and a variety of other disquieting goings on are bothering my brain and robbing me of my rest. I have to keep reminding myself that I need to 'let go and let God.' Also, I had let myself get involved in too many things at one time, and sort of wore myself out. While I might like to think that I'm not "old," and the Good Lord has seen fit to let me live past my three-score years and ten, I'm paying the toll for the physical mileage I've racked up.

Weekly Wamblings
(I don't want to steal rhymeswithplague's Tuesday Ramblings)
I've enrolled in a Basic Photography course hosted by a local retail camera & video establishment. The instructor is quite knowledgeable and the presentations are excellent. The students range in age from late 20's (I'm guessing -- mothers of young children who want better photos for their scrapbooks) to two of us who are over 70, and all seem as interested in learning as I am. I'm enjoying it immensely. I'm hopeful that at some point I'll be able to do more with my digital camera than just take snapshots in full "automatic" mode. The photo below is the one I submitted for my first homework -- an easy task since the only requirement was that it be the sort of photo I like to take. I photographed this group of colorful leaves outside the library where we have stamp club meetings.

This week's homework, which has to be turned in tomorrow, Wednesday, the day before class, was more complicated; not because I didn't know what to do, but finding a suitable subject to photograph was a challenge. I don't care to go off very far when I'm alone, and what I had in mind was a bit hard to find locally. I took 52 shots this afternoon, and am not completely happy with any of them, and have to turn in only one. Ah, well.... if the critique session Thursday evening doesn't beat me up too badly, I'll share it, but I can tell you ahead of time it's not nearly so colorful as the one above.

Last weekend I attended the 50th Wedding Anniversary party of a dear friend and her husband. It was a joyous occasion in a beautiful venue. Both my friend and her husband are in general good health, have a wide variety of interests and are delightful to be around. I was happy to be invited to share this occasion with them.

I've also been on a reading marathon, and while not stamping, blogging nor reading (many) blogs, I've managed to go through 10 books in the last 10 days, and I have a stack of nine more sitting on my desk ready to pick up. Most of them (all, actually) are literary bon-bons; all sugar and no substance, not mentally nourishing but mind-occupying, which is what I've needed lately.

I've picked up my crocheting, again. I finished one prayer shawl and started on another, but have only ten rows or so done, so far. Our church maintains a cabinet of prayer shawls which are available for members to give to others, such as new mothers, new brides, persons who are ill or distressed. Each shawl has been blessed at our altar with a special prayer asking God's blessings upon the recipients in whatever circumstance they may find themselves. Since this ministry started last fall, I have completed 15 shawls. I think cooler weather may be more conducive to having a lap full of yarn.

That's it for now. Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Roosters from Hell - Post 89

I was playing catch up reading my favorite blogs Friday evening, and had my "memory cells" stirred up by the post on Musings of a Ranch Wife, a fine storyteller who lives in New Mexico. So this whole post will make a little bit of sense, I invite you to first read her post, here, then come back to read my remembrance.

Not too long after we moved to Arkansas, my daddy acquired a batch of half-grown Bantam game chickens from one of his uncles. They were pretty things, and smaller than our regular chickens. "Little Mo" was the rooster, and he was a first cousin to Ranch Wife's "rooster from hell."
(Wikipedia photo -- Little Mo didn't look quite like this; he was more colorful,
 but this was the best photo I could find)

Our farm's outhouse was on the back side of the chicken yard, and you had to go through the chicken yard to use the facilities. Little Mo would attack anything that moved, and he had spurs a that were a good inch, or more, long. All of us had a few scars on our legs from being spurred at one time or another, but usually you could shoo him off before he did much damage. One morning, he jumped my mama, wouldn't "shoo," and tore up both her legs something terrible. She came in the house crying and bloody. He had made gashes in her poor legs that must have been 6" long. That was it! Unlike Ranch Wife's hero, I had no gun (probably couldn't have hit the broad side of the barn if I had one), but my brother's baseball bat was on the back porch. I grabbed it, ran to the chicken yard with hot-blooded murder on my mind and, screaming and hollering at this wicked little bird, committed rooster-cide. I do believe that is the most angry I have ever been in my whole life. I'm not proud of murdering him, though; it left me feeling pretty sick.

I remember that Daddy wasn't too happy that I had killed his game rooster, but didn't fuss at me very much after he saw Mama's legs. Mama was in her early 50's when this event occurred, and still had faint traces of the scars on her legs when she died at age 86.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A good time was had by all - Post 88

Celebrating World Card Making Day

Twelve women gathered at the home of one of my friends at 1 p.m. Saturday to make handmade greeting cards. By 5 p.m., we had created 287 cards (one card got "mis-stamped and had to be scuttled; we'll add another one so as to make an even number.) We created thirty six each of three 'thank you' cards, four Christmas cards, and one 'birthday' card. As I mentioned in my previous post, these will be divided equally between Ronald McDonald House and Cards for the Troops.

A Basket full of Greeting Cards - and a curious cat
(images copyright Stampin' Up!)

Let me hasten to say that I don't bear the entire burden of putting together a stamping project such as this. However, my half was enough to keep me busy for several days (I didn't even participate in any of my normal theme posts this past week, but I will try to get around and visit those who did.) My stamping partner Elaine and I design the cards, provide all the stamps, ink, card stock, specialty papers, ribbons, adhesive, etc., for making the cards. We cut all the card stock and papers, score and fold the base cards, cut any specialty papers to the precise dimensions required by the design, cut and pre-tie the ribbon embellishments and get everything ready for assembling the cards. The actual putting together of the cards is just fun; all the 'work' has already occurred.

Anytime we ladies get together for stamping, there is always something good to eat, and this was no exception. Our good friends Jane and her husband, David, operate a part-time catering business, and love to feed us. They prepared a table full of good things for us to eat, all at least semi-homemade: chicken salad, a wonderful cheese ball, delicious brownies, Carrot-Zucchini-Raisin Muffins (Jane's recipe follows below, along with a photo), and crispy crackers, along with soft drinks and really good coffee. You may well ask how we got 287 cards made with all those yummy things calling to us from the kitchen -- but we did!

Carrot-Zucchini-Raisin Muffins

1 package Duncan Hines Decadent Carrot Cake, mixed as directed
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
1 cup grated zucchini
1 T. vanilla

Bake at 350 degrees in a bundt pan or cupcake tins. Can also be baked in loaf pans.
* * * *
Now... it's time for me to be thinking of Hallowe'en cards, Thanksgiving cards, and Christmas cards, along with a few between-now-and-year-end other occasion cards. No rest for the weary!