Sunday, November 5, 2017

Door to Door

I haven't been part of a door to door movement since I was a Girl Scout peddling cookies.  Something many people don't mind you coming to their door about.

Yesterday the Indivisible group my husband and I belong to, Franklin Action Network (F.A.N.), held our first door to door voter registration drive.  We went door to door asking people if they are registered to vote, and if not, did they care to.  I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised.  People were very receptive to what we had to say.  The most important being, did you know that Kansas threw out 13,717 votes in the 2016 election, beating Florida who threw out 13,461?!  And yet Florida has seven times the residents of Kansas.

Some other information that is important to remember is that most of the votes thrown out were from people who registered through state affiliated sites.  So if you need to register, make sure you are using the federal form.

If you believe you're registered but want to make sure you can check your registration at:

Of course, we all believe that everyone should vote.  Our goal is to see that everyone who wants to vote is able to vote, and that vote counts!   We want you to be ready for the next elections in 2018.

And if you're already registered, see you Tuesday!!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Projects and Parties

It's been a busy week, to say the least.  But just now looking back over the pictures, it was wonderful.  Of course if you would have asked me in the middle of it I would have said I was just a bit overwhelmed. 

From the moment we returned from the lake I used every spare moment, and even moments I should have been doing something else, sewing on Rowen's birthday book.  This was her last one, my 14th!

We then made the immediate transition from birthday party to Halloween parties.  It's no surprise on Halloween afternoon I started coming down with a cold.  While at my son and daughter-in-law's home they made me something called a flu bomb, made from holistic oils.  Wow!  I've been using essential oils around the home for sometime, but not internally!  Now I know I need to start!

The top picture is of three little dresses I just finished knitting for the three youngest granddaughters.  I'm hoping for a photo opportunity of all three of them wearing them together soon.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Farewell For Now

A few weeks ago, when the weather started to turn, people in casual conversation would ask, “Aren’t you loving this weather?”  I would make a quiet, polite reply, “it's OK”.  But the truth of it was, not really.  I was having a hard time letting go of summer.  I was sad about closing the pool, sad about the end of fresh tomatoes, peppers, and herbs just outside my door.   It took me a couple of weeks of mourning the end of summer before I could truly welcome fall.  Even though with fall comes my favorite time for camping.  

But then again, you can't stop the calendar and I have the awful feeling of wanting to dig my heels in.  Sadly, this past weekend ended our camping season for the year. 

I'm not sure when this change in me occurred.  I used to be one of those people who eagerly welcomed the next season and the experiences it held in store.  Now, when I see school supplies stocked in stores in July I get a pit in the bottom of my stomach.  Then in September, I have the urge to buy new notebooks.  I think it would be wonderful if the current in vogue reminder to be mindful, living in the current moment, would apply to store shelves.

Maybe it's age, making me want to hold on to all the moments that make the seasons meaningful.  Maybe it's because I often think of the loved ones I lost too soon and the meaningful moments they were denied.  

So for now I will need a minute to grieve the end of camping season.  But I know there's still a lot  of fall left.  I know I will start to feel my excitement build for Halloween and Thanksgiving.  And believe me, I won't rush through those holidays, or the days that surround them.  I will be holding on to them as long as I can.  

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Empty Nest Gardening

Tomatoes, peppers, and herbs potted on the deck.

Fish pond, turtle island and the cistern.

The fish tower being utilized.


Drying peppers.

The beginning of habanero salsa.

Roasted cherry tomatoes.

The original garden plot.

Now that fall is here, and this last heatwave of the summer has broken, I thought I would share how our garden made out this summer.  

In truth, we've been empty nesters now for over ten years.  The year before we tried something new and we grew some of our vegetables in pots on the deck, while keeping the original large garden we planted in 1985 and its perennials intact.  But this year when winter began to wane and we got the urge to start getting our hands dirty, we made a bold decision.  We tilled under our garden.  When spring finally did arrive the old garden plot was gorgeous.  The grape hyacinths took hold and spread and the grass filled in.

This year, our only planting was done on the deck, four tomato plants, four pepper plants, and two basil and rosemary plants.  (I have a small herb garden just outside the front door where thyme, oregano, lavender and mint come back every year and Italian parsley is planted each year.)

My husband came up with a way several years ago for us to catch and store rain water.  A fish pond, (stock tank) was put on the small patio below the deck.  The gutters feed into it and it, when it's overfull, feeds into the under ground cistern left from the original farm house that was on our property.  We then have a pump on a line we can lower into the fish pond from the deck above and water from the pond.  It's works beautifully.  It's also made for the easiest gardening I've ever done.  To make it pretty, we add floating plants, fish and a fish tower every year.  The oblong tank pictured behind the fish pond is turtle island, where my husband's turtles summer.  But that is his story to tell. :)

Anyway, as far as production goes, it was an amazing year; so many tomatoes and peppers!  I think we've found our happy gardening niche.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Welcoming Boredom

Living in the rural countryside the past 32 years I have to admit that for years I didn't understand why others, who lived surrounded by wilderness like me, wanted to spend their weekends camping.  After all, if I want to soak up nature all I have to do is step out onto my deck.

Then we became empty nesters and I began to look at RVs as a way for us to do some travelling.  So we did some shopping around and bought one.  And I have to say, it's my all-time favorite way to travel. But it wasn't until we took our camper out to the local lake that I understood fully what having an RV would truly mean to me.

This weekend we spent three days at the lake.  While we were there my daughter asked me, "what do you do all day out here?"  And I replied, "nothing, and that's the beauty of it."  

Because when you're at the lake, there's no laundry calling, no dust guilting you into taking care of it, no gardens begging to be weeded.  What little housekeeping that might need your attention is so small it takes no time to accomplish.  There's no Netflix or Amazon Fire or Tivo to steal your time.  Your calendar has been cleared. 

What there is is endless hours for reading, hours for sketching, old movies on antenna TV, board games, tiny jigsaw puzzles, and new recipes to try on a campfire, (grilled ginger peach chicken and steaks with avocado butter).

Best of all, there's mornings for staring at the lake, and afternoons, and evenings.

When Monday comes around I find I am so much more rested than on a Monday following a weekend that wasn't spent at the lake.  And I start looking ahead for the next weekend available to go again.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A Brief Encounter

On Sunday I was unloading groceries from the car when I heard, and felt, something running towards me.  When I turned around I saw this little one.  My first thought, where's mom?  He/she, practically ran right into me.

Obviously frightened, she kept trying to find places in the shade to rest.  Several times she would try to get close to me but at the last minute would startle and run.  After a while it was evident mom was no longer around.  I wanted to help.  My husband questioned whether it would be the right thing to do.  I didn't know about that but I did know the little thing wasn't going to survive long without someone looking after it.

Unfortunately she arrived only a short time before our Labor Day BBQ was to begin and our property filled with our children and grandchildren. 

Oh, how I wanted to keep her and help her!  My mom had a fawn when she was a girl, so did Audrey Hepburn.  I'm sure our rather overactive company probably drove her away.  I've been keeping my eye out for her ever since but I'm afraid she's probably gone for good.  I was really hoping for a storybook ending.

Monday, August 28, 2017

A Rabbit's Tale

Of my four children only one, my youngest, had an attachment to a favorite cuddle.  My daughter's little blue rabbit, pictured with her here, was originally a gift to her older sister.  By the time Hali came along the little rabbit had already been through two previous babyhoods, her sister and brother both loved him for a time and eventually tossed him aside.  But for Hali, Gaga (her name for him) became her constant companion.  

And as her constant companion, Gaga experienced some wear and tear.  In the beginning Gaga had a wind up key music box on his backside that played Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.   Eventually I had to remove it and patch it with a calico heart.

Fast forward to present day and my little girl has a little girl of her own.  One day not long ago she asked if I thought I could possibly knit a body cover for Gaga so that Sophie could play with him.  I made no promises but agreed to give it a try.  When she brought me the rabbit I had forgotten what a sad condition he was in.  Over time Hali had loved the fur right off of him in several spots!  

I decided to just start knitting over the top of him, figuring out how to fit him as I went along.  

During the week I spent with Gaga I started reliving Hali's childhood.  I had so many treasured memories of her and her rabbit. There was the time when Hali was younger than she is in the above picture, that he was lost and we left notes on bulletin boards all over town;  the library, dance studio, grocery story, rec-center, only to be found later in a hardly used cabinet. 

I think it was some time in the third grade when she finally stopped carrying him to school every day and leaving him with me at my desk down the hall.  At the end of her day she would collect him and wait for me to finish mine.  When she was just a little older than that her brother kidnapped him and left a clever note cut from magazine pages.  

By the time Gaga went to college he had been loved into a frightening condition.  So much so, her sorority sisters would throw a pillow or blanket over him to cover his creepiness.  After graduation and getting her own place and a new puppy Hannah, Gaga was removed from his spot on the bed to a much safer place, a box in a chest.

As I sat there knitting along I remembered not only what Gaga meant to Hali, but what he meant to me as well.  I had to preserve as much of him as I could.  I decided to knit the body cover to the neck.  I went through my embroidery threads and found one that came close to matching his fur and stitched in his bald spots.  I carefully bleached the whites of his ears and strengthened his seams.  

He was finished in time for Sophie's first birthday party.  I addressed the package to both Mommy and Sophie.  The moment Hali opened him is a moment I will always treasure.  Both of us were in tears.

And now Gaga is fit for another generation of play, with maybe just a little bit of extra care from mom.