Saturday, November 28, 2009

Am I Ready For a Job with CSI...

... or at the Jeffersonian?

Those of you who are squeamish may not wish to read much further, although I've tried to be "gentle." Those intrepid souls who may watch, or be addicted to crime scene and forensic investigation TV shows, as I am, know what I'm talking about.

Background: On Thanksgiving evening, after dark (which comes much too early these days), I ventured outside to the small shed in my back yard to retrieve a shovel with which to dig up some tender plants in my front garden, since below-freezing temperatures were forecast for that night.  As I got to within about 6 feet of the shed, my nostrils picked up the unmistakable scent of decomposition -- and it wasn't moldy leaves.  Some creature of the Animal Kingdom had died within close proximity and was making its remains known in natural, but most foul, manner.  It was too dark to look for a body, and I hoped it was just some bird, or perhaps a squirrel which had met its Maker on my property.  I didn't want to be walking around in the dark and go ankle-deep into something I'd much rather not step on.

Yesterday afternoon, I ventured out with gloves,  a rake, and anvil pruners (unfortunately there is quite a bit of undergrowth behind my shed.)  Even with my nose in full operational mode, I did not locate the object of my search by the time the light was waning, and so put off further investigation until today.

A more aggressive investigation, with more snipping and raking, and again using my olfactory sense, led me to believe that whatever was decomposing was in a spot underneath the back side of the shed, which is only about 6 inches off the ground.  I could see nothing, even with bending as far as I could and peering underneath.  I finally used a long-handled two-pronged hoe for a probe. I initially pulled out a few small pieces of fur, which I took to be that of a squirrel.  I thought to myself that a creature as small as a squirrel would rapidly disintegrate and the odor would soon fade. "Let Nature take its course," I thought.

However, the next probe encountered something much more substantial than a squirrel.  I pulled gently on the object and there quickly was revealed a large and very dead raccoon.  It had been dead for some time, as insect and larval activity had reduced its mass by about one-third.

After a quick call to Gardening Daughter, who advised me to dig a hole and bury the creature, the remains were interred with minimal ceremony.  "From Earth you came, to Earth you are returned. Rest in Peace."

I managed all the activity quite well, I thought, but quickly came to the conclusion that I definitely am not ready for a job that would require dealing with human remains. I know that, unfortunately, that is a job which must be done, and the people who deal with such things on an all-too-frequent basis are to be commended.  

Later, with more pleasant things, I trust.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Has any reader heard from or had other contact with our dear Jeannelle, of Midlife by Farmlight?  She has been missing in action for three weeks, or so,  and several of us are quite concerned.

Any information would be gratefully received.

Thank you.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to All

 At the time of this writing, my home is redolent with the fragrance of freshly baked pecan pie and the magnificent (in my opinion) fragrance of cornbread dressing (or stuffing, if you prefer that term).  Yesterday, I cooked the celery and onions for the stuffing, and baked a loaf of bread, and the house smelled good, too.  Thank you, Lord, for the sense of smell... and taste.

My daughters'  and son's homes are redolent with the fragrance of baked turkey, sweet baked ham, yeast rolls, sweet potato pies, and all the foods our family tradition requires on this Day of Thanksgiving.  I throwing in a "ringer" this year by also bringing one of my favorite food memories of my younger days -- mashed turnips, sweet, and seasoned with black pepper and a bit of bacon drippings. My mama used to make this often, and I've not had turnips many times over the past 30 years.  This extra contribution can be blamed on Jim Sullivan, or Suldog, who gave me the idea in one of his blog posts.

Although the family numbers have decreased somewhat over the years, we'll have 18 folks for dinner today, each one bringing his/her specialty.  My daughter-in-law (the only one I have since I have only one son) makes an incredibly delicious carrot cake, and that will be one of their family's contributions to the dinner.

Gardening Daughter and her husband bought the home in which my husband and I raised the children, and which I occupied until about 18 months after his death.  It's a large home and has been remodeled to be even more open and accommodating of large gatherings. I warned my son-in-law when they bought the home that they were also obligating themselves to hosting large family gatherings, and thus it has been for the past several years, with smaller gatherings held in the homes of my other near-by daughter and my son.

It's time to check the stuffing to see if it's done.  

I leave you with one of my favorite seasonal quotations.:

Give us thankful hearts...
in this season of Thy Thanksgiving.
May we be thankful for health and strength,
for sun and rain and peace.
Let us seize the day and the opportunity
and strive for that greatness of spirit
that measures life not by its disappointments
but by its possibilities,
and let us ever remember that true gratitude
and appreciation shows itself neither
in independence nor satisfaction
but passes the gift joyfully on

in larger and better form.

~ W.E.B. Du Bois

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Monday, November 16, 2009

It's a Bit More Like November Today

Gone are the balmy 70+ degree temperature, blue skies, open windows and the pure pleasure of walking around on a fall day that we had yesterday. I awoke to light rain, brisk winds, and considerably cooler temperatures.  Going outside without a jacket is for those with a bit more padding than I have, and I have plenty, thank you, since the wind chill is at the 40 degree mark.
The temperature is not supposed to fall into the freezing range this week, but I really should have already begun to think about moving a few plants inside (all I have room for), and taking cuttings from those that can be carried over to spring in that way.

Since we've returned to "regular" time, I've been enjoying the earlier light, but I don't like the early darkness. As I write this, it's not quite 5:30 p.m., and it's already time to close the drapes and turn on the lights.

The early darkness also seems to make me sleepy, and I'm sometimes ready to turn in for the night at an unreasonably early hour. Yawn!   I haven't had supper yet, and I have a stamp club meeting at 7, so I can't go to bed now, but I'll bet it won't be long after I get back home before I'm tucked in.

I hope you're enjoying your mid-November weather, where ever you may be.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Where, Oh, Where is My Roll of Ribbon?

Posted by Picasa

This knot of ribbon, which is, in real life, only 2" across, is an integral part of the design for a card that is to be made at the Christmas "Stamp-a-Stack" I'm co-hosting on November 13 and November 14. I need to make 160, yes, one hundred sixty, of these knots, ready to apply to the cards. However, I have a problem!

When I left to go to Virginia, a full roll of this polka-dot ribbon (the only one I had in my stash), was on my stamping table. Safe enough, I thought. But, oh, no! Sometime during my absence, the entire roll of ribbon disappeared. I spent the better part of a day looking for it. I've cleared everything from the stamp table, piece by piece, looked on the floor and under cabinets, moved boxes and bags and so on and so on. I've looked under the kitchen table, in the living room under the sofa, under the chairs, under my bed. No ribbon!

I suspect that one or more of the cats, trying to get even for my prolonged absence, knocked the roll of ribbon off the table and batted it around to who knows where! Missy, my black mama cat, has been known to carry entire rolls of ribbon from the stamp room into other parts of the house, but I've always spotted them in plain view. The culprit might even have pushed the roll off the table into the large trash bin that I keep nearby, and which Gardening Daughter thoughtfully emptied during my absence. (Note to self: move trash bin to another location.) If that's the case, my brand new roll of ribbon is now residing under a pile of yuck at Mount Trashmore, the local landfill.

All is not lost -- except the time I've spent looking for it, and even that had a benefit: my stamping table and environs are neater than they've been for some time. My stamping partner and co-host of the Stamp-a-Stack has some of this particular ribbon on hand which I can use for the project, since I don't have time to order and receive it in time to prepare for the stamping event. I'll just have to order two rolls, one for me and one to replace the one I will "borrow."

Off now to cut paper and create kits for the other cards -- which fortunately don't require red polka-dot ribbon.

More, later.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Home Again, Home Again

Northern Virginia Countryside

I've been away for a couple of weeks, visiting my sister and her husband, who live just outside Washington, D.C., in northern Virginia. I don't get up there very often; my last trip was about two years ago. I usually go alone, and drive the almost 1,000 miles each way; it's a long and physically taxing trip, but I very much enjoy the scenery through Tennessee and Virginia.

This time, I was afforded the luxury of flying, courtesy of my brother-in-law, and the trip took just over 6 hours. Airline routes being what they are, I had to fly from Little Rock to Houston, then Houston to Washington, D.C.

While Arkansas was experiencing downpours (October, 2009, was the wettest October on record, with over 16" of rain during the month), there were only light showers in Virginia -- just enough to prevent us from getting out and enjoying the fall scenery -- until the last day of my visit, when the sun came out and things dried out enough to let us to go out to lunch at my sister's favorite restaurant, Heart in Hand, in Clifton, VA, and for a short drive in the surrounding countryside, where I took the photo shown above.

The area around Clifton is "horse country" and there are literally hundreds of miles of fence similar to the one shown in the photo above. There's some serious money in "them thar hills!"

I think my cats were glad to see me come home; I can't sit down without having one cat in my lap and another yowling around my ankles. I was glad to see them, too.

More, later.

P.S. The Kairos card count is now almost 1,400. The ladies have been busy since I've been away.