Saturday, April 30, 2011

Happy days in the moment

Someone once said, "I don't mind losing years, but I always want to keep the moments." I am beginning to understand this as I get older. Special moments conjure up memories that take us through life so that we can handle moments that aren't so special.

All this time I have now that I've retired has allowed me to start putting the important things in my life at the top of the list. My children, my relatives and my friends are now going to be able to see that I do have time for them. As a lot of people do when they are working, the necessities the job requires, sometimes starts to push the important things farther down the list. Most of us need the jobs but we have to also realize that if we lose everything and everyone else to our workplace, that in the end, what was it all for.  I know survival is the first word to come to mind. Scaling down, stocking up and saving enough for an emergency should be the goal everyone strives for.

I live in a cute little cottage, drive an older car given to me when my car was wrecked, have lots of food in the cupboards, planted a garden for produce. have enough flowers started to have a nursery and I am the happiest I've been in many years.  My house and car does not define me. My heart and my treatment of others defines me.

 Believe me, sometime in life the discovery that you can live without all the shiny things will bring you to a place of peace.

My sister would say that this blog is just running on but she also knows that I really don't have to worry now about what anyone says.  I just have to smile and say, "yes, I know."

Mary Beth

Friday, April 29, 2011

Just a few pictures of progress.

 I am so happy to be able to share some of the new pictures of my gardens.
Hopefully soon we will be eating out of the garden.

A wonderful tip for getting rid of pests in the garden is to plant marigold flowers. Also bees will be attracted to pollinate all the new growth.  Hot water and vinegar mixed will rid the weeds after a couple of days.
Also bird suet in different areas outside of the garden keep the birds happy enough to leave the vegetables alone. Peppermint oil sprayed around the perimeter seems to keep the squirrels on their own territory. I hear the rain coming so tomorrow should be a day to have the garden smiling at me.


Monday, April 25, 2011

The simple life was the good life.

This picture of my Grandfather who worked so hard on his crops brings back a lot of memories.

Cattle troughs, an outhouse with a real Sears catalogue, a smokehouse with meat curing, and a family sitting down to breakfast, lunch and dinner.

My grandparents had a big dining room table that at holidays was used to make the most fruitcake I have seen ouside of a store.  The same table was used to pull taffy, make peanut brittle and have tea or coffee when guests came over.

Two large families from the same town, each producing one of my grandparents, gave me different perspectives of different lives of people.
I learned appreciation for hard work, loving the earth and all its bounty, respecting the creatures that had a job to do and staying true to myself.

The county fair was always attended even though the trek was by horse and cart for over 13 miles.  The blueberry jam that was made was worth the trip for the first prize.

It was a simple life that produced some of the most wonderful people I have ever known. Hopefully the younger generation will look back on our family and have the same comfort of being a part of something worth remembering.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes

A good Southern dish is to pull a tomato right at the stage before the red starts to show. A lot of people say, oh, no. No one wants the tomato to ripen on the counter."
I always laugh because I have no intention of the tomato turning red and ripening.
One of the most classic of Southern cuisine is to stem and wash a green tomato, slice it into thin slices, flour and fry after adding salt and pepper.

A quick splash in a egg wash will help the flour stick to the tomato.  A dash of cornmeal added  to the flour also give it a hint of a flavor that everyone will comment on. A slice of fried green tomatoes and your friends will be hooked.

You can also use sliced green tomato as a substitute for eggplant in Eggplant Parmesan.

Vegetable lasagna, chow chow, green tomato jelly with hot peppers added are other variations of this luxury treat.

Call a tomato a fruit or a vegetable and the response will always be the same. Delicious!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sister Week

"Treat your family like friends, and your friends like family." How true this is in my life. Sometimes it seems like my friends are front and center.

I try to keep in touch, say the right things and be what I think my sisters need.

Wrong!  I don't need to be anyone but myself with my sisters.  There is something about the power of family that no matter what, an unconditional love exists. We may not always like each other and we may totally disagree about one anothers choices. Stll we have that bond that even in the trying times seems to bind us together.

My one sister is strong, opinionated, and needs to know everything happening in life. We have such similar traits that sometimes we butt heads and with stubborn pride refuse to admit the other one might be right.  One sister has some of the same traits but has just always decided her sisters are the best no matter what.  Yes, she's the youngest and most forgiving.

No matter what though, we have each other's back and no matter what we do or say that may be hurtful to the other one, don't be a stranger and try the same thing!

Sister's week should be celebrated .

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Landscaping on a budget

My garden is evolving into so many different things. From planting vegetables and flowers to making an attempt at landscaping.

Tree branches had to be trimmed to allow sunlight to reach some of newly planted grass.  White rock was brought in to distinguish my different beds. I found some old rock in the back to use as a fence for the smaller  flower bed.

All my cactus plants and aloe vera plants were move to a separate bed.  With the white rock as a border; I now have a cactus garden that I love.

Stepping stones that use to lead to the mailbox are now in a square to form a small patio.
 With my wrought iron bench and the plant stand my son made, I have an actual place to just sit and look at the amazing transformation.

 It took a lot of physical work but not very much money as I recycled a lot of things I already had.
Looking around,  at all we have  accomplished,  brings  pleasant surprises.

Of course pictures will be posted so you can see I have been busy.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

This is a video that my son and sister put on utube. My son had taken an old riding lawn mower, took the blades off, hooked and old wheelbarrow to it and made me a garden tractor.  Enjoy their silliness.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Flower Lady

Sometimes little gestures in life can come back to us many times over.  That obnoxious neighbor that never smiles could perhaps use a little wave or maybe a friendly hello. My neighbor from years back use to be in her yard working with her flowers all the time.  She would spend hours just raking, pulling weeds and keeping the flowers thriving with all the attention.

Because of her coldness, the neighborhood children would sometimes taunt her.  When I would see that happpening, I would rush to the fence separating our property and scold them firmly.  She would just bow her head and continue to stroke the dirt around her flowers.

One day after many years of watching her little body bend more with age and noticing that she wasn't as zealous in her gardening as she had been, I threw up my hand and waved.  Lo and behold, she walked to the fence and her face actually smiled at me.  Flustered, I apologized for the way the children and some of the neighbors had treated her and she shushed me by telling her story.

Many, many years earlier, she had escaped from a hard life in a war torn country and made her way to America. She had worked so hard to be able to have a little yard in which to grow flowers.  She said the children taunting her by calling her " Flower Lady" never bothered her because they were children and knew no better. She was content with her life and wasn't lonely because her flowers were friends of hers.

As she walked away, it looked like the flowers had bowed their head to say goodbye to the little lady that had so tenderly cared for them.