Tuesday, May 31, 2011

And The Big Deal Was??

It was obvious that the oral surgeon was not used to working with someone who had NOT taken all the drugs on the market before coming to his office. However, he quickly set to work, once he said, "Oh, well..." under his breath. He really kept asking if I were "okay" and watching my body language to be sure. I was. Really. Okay. The capper was when I asked for my teeth to put under my pillow for the tooth fairy. Surely these are worth something I kept insisting....

My wisdom teeth came out fairly simply as promised in your comments and, while I have stitches, I feel just fine. A little Tylenol and I am not even aware of anything "painful" -- whatever that is..

However, I have celebrated with a peach shake, Wendy's wasn't open yet, and a long nappie.  I could get used to this.

Oh, yeah, and, my head didn't come off.

Monday, May 30, 2011

We're Breaking Up

After 35 years together, my wisdom teeth and I are breaking up in the morning. Actually, they started breaking up about six months ago. After failing to play nicely with the fillings, my wisdom teeth pushed the boundaries of our relationship past the point of return. They have to go. As a result, I have decided to get braces ... again.... to repair the damage they did when they made their appearance 35 years ago.

While I am perfectly okay with the procedure, it seems, as with childbirth, people really want to share their Completely. Horrible. Experience.

"I threw up for a week."

"It hurt so badly I couldn't move."

"He broke the tooth off at the gum and I had to go back six times to have bone removed."

"He broke the tooth next to it."

"I bled for a month."

"My head fell off." Okay, I made that one up. But you get the picture. What is it about the human spirit that we find it challenging to be optimistic?

Personally, I am NOT going to take the Xanax (and no it isn't for sale) and I won't take the gas. He is going to numb them, remove them, and I am having a Frostie to celebrate. See? There is optimism for you!

Pray for the Mister...

Thank You

Sunday, May 29, 2011

First Day Musing --- Choices, or I Can't

For several months now we have engaged in what has seemed to be a lifelong project of clearing out someone's house and yard.

This weekend has proved nearly too much for me.

If I hear one more time, "I can't do that any longer because..." I am going to most likely pitch a fit that would do the worst two-year-old honor.

What is it that causes someone to give up on life? To give up doing the things they love, even if it means doing less of it? Why does someone just sit down?

Several folks I know deal with serious issues. One person has MS, but continues to shoot pool, ski, and hike. Another has 60% oxygen levels and is on oxygen all the time yet manages to scrape ONE window a day and paint it. And, yet another person I know has 70% heart function but continues farming, working on projects and, most of all, planning what will be done Next Year.

Why would someone who has very little health issues just quit living?

It is beyond me.

The Bible says that no matter how old we get, we all have something we can give:

Psalms 92:14a they shall still bring forth fruit in old age.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
That's what I want. I want to be fruitful till the very last minute of my life. I want to have a reason to get up and the ability to give joy to someone every day. I want to be a blessing and not a curse.

How do you envision your greying years??

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Morning Joy

Awake, my soul, and with the sun
Thy daily stage of duty run;
Shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise,
To pay thy morning sacrifice.
 ~ From Awake My Soul (the last verse is the Doxology)

This is the best part of  my summer, thus far. Each morning, nearly, I can slowly awake, heat a scone and make a cuppa coffee. Then, I can read my Grandmother's Bible and the daily entry in Streams in the Desert  (thanks to Sandy sharing her love of the devotional, I now own one as well!). A little easy peasy knitting, I am addicted to Deb's waffle dishcloths right now, and then I am ready to face whatever the day offers.

How do you like to start your morning?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

How A Beekeeper Tills A Garden

We have one very snarky hive. Very very snarky. Everytime we go out the back door, there is a girl there, waiting, who then bumps, buzzes, and chases us back into the house. Cross bees. It comes from being brought up in the country, way more in the country than we are, and not having to deal with anything or anyone other than your own kind.

These new hives, all ten of 'em, haven't been good family members, thus far. In fact, one stung Moosie right on the corner of his eye, leaving him all weepy and with hurt feelings.

After being chased, bumped, and tortured by these new gals one too many times, I ran to the house only to discover one rode into the house on me in order to continue her annoying behavoir. After she stung the Mister while he was trying to get her out of my hair (yes, again!), I happily smashed her with a fly swatter.

So there.

First Day Musings -- Beautiful, Smart, or Interesting??

Yesterday at the Farmer's Market I was introduced by someone very kind as "the most unusual woman I know." I took it as a great compliment.

All my life, I have been marked as "unusual." As a wee little Matty, I can remember my parents saying to a neighbor one time: "Missy is beautiful; Mark is smart; Matty, well, she is interesting."

At the time my feelings were crushed. After all, who doesn't want to be smart and / or beautiful? But, I adored (and still adore) my sissie, so I can't be angry with her because she is beautiful. And, my brother is still as smart as ever and that doesn't anger me either. Me? I have come to understand that being interesting doesn't fade or change. One just gets more so.

Let me explain.

Think about people you know. Don't you enjoy the ones who are unexpected -- that is to say -- different in their approach to life? Don't you find their joy infectious? Isn't being around someone who is living as they define life inspiring?

Now, I am not saying I am all these things. Far from it! However, as I reflect, I realize that I have always seen life a little differently from most. There is no memory of my learning to read; I seem to have always done so. Heck, I read Thoreau when I was seven and "Gone with the Wind" when I was in fifth grade. I published a neighborhood newspaper which I sold for a penny door-to-door when I was eight. I believed in fairies (and still do), have seen angels, and know that the hand of God has put me in a safe place when I should have been long gone. I believe in grace and mercy. And, I believe that we are all special and unique with something important to do in this world.

And, so, as we approach this coming week, isn't it time we all learned to live our lives as we should -- being true to who and what we are? Isn't it time that we show mercy, kindness, and understanding to those who seem interesting or unusual? In short, isn't it time we become more of a model of He Who Made Us?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

Armed Forces Day

Americans have honored the Armed Forces on the third Saturday of each May since 1921 when Woodrow Wilson signed this into law.

This Saturday is that special day.

If you are a steady reader of Lazy Bee Farm, you know how deeply proud we are of our special Airman. Rev. Lin, Blue Star Mothers chaplain, states:

As the mothers, fathers, family, and friends of this proud and outstanding fighting force, what better way to honor our heroes than through prayer to the Almighty?   May we stand together this Saturday, May 21, 2011, as the enduring force of strength behind our military men and women ~ lifting our voices in prayer ~ giving faithful word to the Almighty for their protection, thanksgiving for their well being, petition for their wisdom, and appreciation for their service.   God Bless the Men and Women of Our Armed Forces!!! 

My Airman
Isn't he handsome??

My Airman has made this vow:

I am an American Airman.

I am a Warrior.
I have answered my Nation’s call.
I am an American Airman.
My mission is to Fly, Fight, and Win.
I am faithful to a Proud Heritage,
A Tradition of Honor,
And a Legacy of Valor.
I am an American Airman.
Guardian of Freedom and Justice,
My Nation’s Sword and Shield,
Its Sentry and Avenger.
I defend my Country with my Life.
I am an American Airman.
Wingman, Leader, Warrior.
I will never leave an Airman behind,
I will never falter,
And I will not fail.

Will you join us this Saturday in remembering all our Service People at home and abroad -- in safety and in danger??

I have missed a few weeks of joining Amy at Verde Farms for Farm Friday. Won't you join her today? There are some amazing folks out in blogland!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

If it's Thursday...

... that means tomorrow is Friday and we are yet another week closer to the official start of summer. It is difficult to tell that here this week. Our high for the last week has been 54-degrees. And, we have had so much rain that even the ducks, George and Alfred, are fussing. We have very little in the garden, in fact, just the asparagus we have planted. It is too wet and cool for anything else.

According to mountain folklore, if there is thunder in February, then we will have our last frost on that date in May. It thundered February 28, so we are expecting our last frost May 28. After that, Katy bar the door, because summer will be full upon us.

Today I had a sweet little thing happen. Because of all the rain, there is a wet weather spring that has come up in the back of the house, on the hill, that runs through the side yard. It is making an ever-expanding 'crick' that we are now having to jump over. It is annoying because if I have on anything except my mud boots, I have wet feet. I can't jump far enough to avoid the mud! This afternoon, as I started out to feed, I could hear a steady 'buzzzzzzz' in the yard. Instinctively, I checked the bees on the hill; nopers, they were all fine. I looked into the maple for a swarm. Nothing. Then, I looked down. All along the water's edge were little bees getting a drink! They were so cunning! They were lined up, side-by-side, getting a little bit of water and then high tailing it back to their hives! I nearly fell down giggling.

If I can get a picture, I'll post it, because this is one that you have to see to believe!

What unusual things did you see today??

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I Can See Clearly

There are 21 windows in the house at Lazy Bee Farm. Each is a lovely 36 x54, which means there is plenty of light ... and dirt.

Yesterday I washed 10 of them, took down the curtains, washed them, and got them ready to rehang. Even though it was rainy, it was a lovely task. What is it about just washing a window that makes the whole room shine? To wash them I used:

Homemade Window Cleaner

1/2 c. ammonia
1/2 c. white vinegar

Add to the mixture water enough to fill the spray bottle.

Isn't that easy peasy? Now, some folks will add a one teaspoon of dish detergent to the mixture, but I don't. I have been wondering if adding a little lavendar to the mix would be nice. I do that when I add vinegar to my wash instead of using a commerical fabric softener. It works like a dream! No static!

The other thing I made was a snackie thing for the Mister. It is so good that he wants it for breakfast instead of snackie.

Cheerios Goodies

2 c. mini-marshmallows (or equal of the large would work)
1/2 c. peanut butter
5 c. Cheerios

Butter a 9 x13 pan and set aside.

Melt the marshmallows to just the soft stage. Add the peanut butter and stir quickly to mix. Then, add the Cherrios. Stir to coat. Press into a 9 x13 pan.

If you want to add any kind of candy, do it before you press into the pan. I added a handful of chocolate chips we had left from making fudge a while back. They melted Just Enough to be yummers.

The state of the loom / craft/ needlework room is dismal. I started cleaning on it, but we have decided to flip it with the Mister's music room. We are building him a studio and he won't be needing it. And, frankly, it is my favorite room of the house. It is upstairs, on the front, with three windows in a cupala. The sunlight is wonderful! So, I am very happy about that, but it means more work than I expected. Ah, who cares? I have another 88 days of break!

What will you do today??

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Home Loving

It is difficult to tell who / what is happiest today -- me, the Mister, or the house. Being home changes the texture of my life so much that it is tangible.

After picking up my Mother who lives an hour away and running my 72,000 errands with her, I got home before lunch and managed to enjoy the whole afternoon away, never once thinking, "I have to get such-and-such done." Delish...

Among the many things I did yesterday, these scones found their way in the line up. Terrific for breakfast, snacking, or indulging.

Lemon-Poppy Seed Scones

2 c. all purpose flour
3 T. granulated sugar
2 T. poppy seeds
Zest of 2 lemons
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. plus 1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 c. confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 400-degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, poppy seeds, lemon zest, baking powder, baking soda, salt.

Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Pour in the heavy cream, then add 1/4 c. lemon juice. Stir until soft ball forms.

Gather dough and pat out into an 8-inch circle. Cut into wedges.

Bake 12-14 minutes.

Mix confectioners' sugar and remaining lemon juice, stirring until smooth. Drizzle over the cooled scones.

Now, make a cuppa tea or coffee and eat!

These are fabulous and so easy to make. I like the simple ingredients. When I checked my fridge, after committing to making these, I discovered I didn't have fresh lemons or heavy cream. So, I substituted lemon juice from the bottle and yogurt. Fantastic!

I ended my very busy day of home loving by knitting one of Deb's waffle dish cloths. Have you tried one? They are superb and I adore the texture!

Today?? It is raining so I am attacking my loom / craft / needle room. If I don't show up for supper, send someone in for me, won't you??

Monday, May 16, 2011

How To Know It Is Summer...

Today is my official "first day of summer break" and I can already tell you how I know, even without looking at the calendar:

10. I ate breakfast in my jammies.
9.  Wookie didn't call for me until 6 instead of 5 a.m.
8.  I am still in my jammies.
7.  There is a list of errands THIS LONG to accomplish today.
6.  I am still in my jammies.
5.  There is a chicken in the fridge thawing for the Mister's supper. For the last two weeks, he has eaten ham sandwiches.
4. There was only one lunch to pack today.
3. I have 320 bruises from working in the yard yesterday.
2. I have poison ivy on my feet from going barefoot and on my arms from picking up hay.
1. A bee stung me on the top of my head while I was in the garden and the Mister was changing supers. Really.

Even though it looks like rain today, I am doing my happy dance. I haven't stayed home and not worked in the summer for 15 years. Yeah. It is going to be good...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

First Day Musings -- Wisdom

As my master's thesis advisor, John Higby often made me so angry that I could spit nails. In fact, frankly, the end of our relationship was not pretty. I had written no more than five drafts of my thesis (over 120 pages each time!) and at the time I had four children I was raising,  plus the farm, drove more than an hour each way to graduate school, and was working full-time teaching. And, each time I submitted a draft, he would return it with one line, "Something is missing." Well, it came down to either publish or lose my full-time position; I pitched a fit to the graduate dean and showed her my drafts. In short, I was published within three days. John and I never spoke again.

In spite of all this, I learned a great deal from him: bibliography and research methods; never, never, never use a split infinitive no matter what the handbooks say; Samuel Johnson was the funniest and smartest man of the 18th century (and maybe even today); and stop talking before you talk yourself in a hole. But, the best thing I learned from him was this:

You can't choose who you work with; you can't choose who you vote with. But, by golly, you can choose who you eat and drink with.

(Notice the sentence ends with a preposition; maybe he wasn't so hard to get along with after all...)

How true.

One of the cardinal rules in our family is never, never, never socialize with anyone you work with beyond the average meal on campus or chit-chat in the hallway. And, I mostly observe this rule. The only exception was marrying the Mister, but he works in another section of the college and we never see each other at work unless there is a problem in my classroom with the technology and I call him. Otherwise, I do not and will not socialize with my co-workers.

It makes sense. First, people you work with will not forgive or forget anything you confide about another co-worker, family, or friend. And second, people you work with will lose respect for you if they know all about you. Familiarity breds contempt and all that.

It's that simple.

John was a wise man and many times I have thought of this over the past years. Whenever an invitation comes to an after-work event, I always decline. Beyond the fact that I really look at my teaching gig as just a way to pay my bills, which doesn't mean I don't work hard, I really just don't have much in common with most folks unless they have goats or enjoy needlework. I don't gossip; I don't drink; I don't eat meat. I think that covers most social functions, don't you?

So, Dr. Higby, whereever you are, thank you for the wisdom you imparted. You have saved me more than once with these sage words!

What about you? Do you think one should mix work with one's personal life?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Trash Talk

What's your garbage like? Okay, maybe that is a little personal, but here on the farm, we are always trying to find ways to keep from having much trash. We live in a county without any public garbage collection and, while we like the folks who have a private service, there is something about paying someone to carry off our waste that we find, well, foolish.

Years ago I read Plain and Simple, a sweet little book about a woman who went to live with the Amish in hopes of finding her own inner peace. While the book itself is charming, one thing that really stuck out to me was the fact that one of the Amish families she boarded with only had one small can of trash from an entire family of ten once a week. That was awe inspiring!

Since then, I have tried to find ways to cut our waste -- less packaging, recycling, and such. Today, I had the unpleasant task of hauling away two months of trash and recycling -- built up because we have been so busy managing the fires in our lives that we couldn't get to the dump. We had 10-20 gallon garbage bags and five totes of recycling. Not really bad when you consider how much other folks have.

Here's what we do:

We keep a small bucket in the kitchen for the leavings from salads and baking. This is goes either to the worms to the compost bin. Any food scraps go right to the hens. They love any treats and often greet me at the back door and follow me like the Pied Piper to the coop. 

A small metal trash can is kept in the kitchen for recycling. When the can is full, it is taken to porch and the lidded bins. We sort as we go so it is a small task (unless the bins are knocked over) to take to the recycling center and dump each into its proper receptacle.

Truthfully, I haven't done well with the worms, but I think it is how I was managing them. I have ordered more and am going to work more diligently to keep these guys going. I love the idea of having my own fertilizer from waste, don't you?

On the way to the stable, we have two compost bins built from old 4 x4s that are NOT pressure treated. They are stacked, log cabin style, which allows the air to circulate as well as gives the hens a play pen. Having it on the way to the stable is very convenient as I can combine trips. 

Managing our trash is a simple thing, now that we have our systems in place. It hasn't been easy to figure out how to reduce our waste, but we are well on our way to having very, very little. And this makes me happy.

How do you manage your waste?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

First Day Musings -- Happy Mother's Day, Baboo!

Julia Ward Howe

When Julia Ward Howe decided we needed a "Formal Date" to remember and honor our mothers, she was only making official what most of us have always done: adored our Mothers. I know I do mine, even though, as most of us confess, our Mother was not always our favorite person.

While I could tell you about the challenges she faced as a child and young woman, I would prefer to tell you about her today. She is remarkable.

She became Baboo when I ws pregnant with the Airman. She was with me for the ultrasound and wryly commented that he "looked like a monkey" as he was so active. I replied that "every monkey has a baboon in his family tree" and thus, her nickname of Baboo was born. All the grandchildren affectionately call her that now. NO Grandma for her!

At nearly 80, she still has red hair, bright blue eyes, and can out walk her three adult children and three grandsons on any given day. Her quick Scot-Irish temper serves her well as she refuses to be "treated like an old person" and she will quickly tell my sister and me that we are not going to push her into old age. I believe her.

She works from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m., stopping only for lunch or to read a little. She and my father still work at their many rental properties every day, painting, cleaning, laying carpet, fixing plumbing or whatever needs done. They only call a "specialist" when they are stumped. That is seldom!

Mother makes the best pound cake in the world and loves to have "something baked" and on the counter when her family or friends drop by. Her cure for anything is a cuppa hot tea -- Red Rose, of course. Breakfast is her least favorite meal, which is why Daddy makes sure to always cook bacon, eggs, biscuits, and fruit. I am convinced he just likes to torture her with that --- and his rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" every morning.

"Painting with flowers" is her therapy and pulling weeds is her greatest stress relief. We will find her, hind end up, in the garden, fussin', cussin', and cryin'. Sometimes we giggle just out of her hearing as we listen to the blue streak streaming from her mouth. I learned my first swear word from her when I was six. She ran a red light in Charlotte and was ticketed for it. As we drove off, she muttered, "D---! Now your father is going to fuss!" So, obviously, the next time I spilt my milk at the table (which was EVERY meal when I was six), I muttered, "D---! Now Mother is going to fuss!" Daddy made sure I knew never to say it again and Mother and he had a "little talk" about "swearing in front of the children." Yeah. That's my Mother...

The greatest sadness in her life was when her own Mother passed over. She still weeps that "Mother isn't there for me to ask advice" and says that it scares her to think that she is "now the older generation." She doesn't like the responsibility or the implications. Personally, I think she is timeless.

Unlike my father's mother who was so mean that I decreed once that: "God doesn't want her and the Devil is afraid she'll take over", my Mother tries live her faith quietly and personally. However, that doesn't mean that she and God don't have arguments from time to time. She got into a shouting match in Sunday School a few years ago and my Father had to nearly carry her out of the room. Somehow, I was proud of her.

My Mother is one of a kind, just as yours is. I tell her this at odd times, sometimes to make her laugh, but, she knows we adore her. Happy Mother's Day, Boo!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Put a Fork in Me

Now I am going to sleep for 37 hours and start farming and being more fun to visit.

Thanks for waiting on me. Have I got some stuff to show you!


Night night.

Liar, liar, pants on fire

I hate to be lied to. I really hate it. In fact, the Airman will tell you, punishment was a mere penance for most offenses, but lying -- oh, boy!

This semester, more than any other time, I have had students send me late work, stating: "Oh, it must have gotten... here it is, again."

Do they think I am stupid?

I check the file properties which give the date, time, and even length of time revised for a document. It is there. In black and white, for crying out loud.

I don't mind working with people who may have forgotten or just didn't do it or whose kid threw up or who even those who were just was too lazy to get off facebook and do their work. But, I do mind being lied to. A lot. In fact, it enrages me to the point of being bug-eyed and eating tacks.

Honestly, the next email I open where a student starts off: "here it is again..." and the document has today's date on it, I am going to get in my car, drive to their house, and egg it. I can do that. I have chickens and a ready supply.

I still have a few more essays to grade and I am done. It is a good thing. I don't know if my patience can stand much more.

Do you think McDonald's hired enough people during their "blitz"?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Up For Air..

I miss miss miss you all! Only one more class of grading to finish and I am done done done. Did I mention that I have 175 students? Just want to be sure I did One More Time.

Best essay of the semester:

Assignment: Develop a research paper in which you persuade another reader to change their opinion about a topic. You must use three outside sources and will be evaluated on: documentation, quality of research....

Submitted: I have researched my family. ..... Grandma ran away and married Grandpa. They had my Mama six months later. My Uncle was hit by a garbage truck during the Holocaust.

Honest to goodness. This is most of her submission. I wept. Now eating leftover candy hearts from Valentines. They aren't helping, but I am pretending they are.

Back soon!