Supermoon: country sky

The Supermoon was spectacular last night.  Hubby and I viewed it from the front porch of our country home.  I’ll let my pictures speak for themselves.

blog014“The moon, like a flower

In heaven’s high bower,

With silent delight

Sits and smiles on the night.” ~ From Night by William Blake, English poet

blog017“Slowly, silently, now the moon

Walks the night in her silver shoon.”

From Silver by Walter de La Mare, English poet, short story writer and novelist

blog021 “Fly me to the moon

Let me play among the stars

Let me see what spring is like

On Jupiter and Mars.”

From Fly Me to the Moon, song lyrics by Bart Howard (written the year I was born)

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Stirred but not shaken

blogDSCN7367“A great wind is blowing, and that gives you either imagination or a headache.” ~ Catherine the Great

Well, so much for imagination, bring on the Tylenol.   A great wind really did blow through my neighborhood this past weekend and it didn’t leave much for our imagination.  Instead, we ended up with the headache, an expensive one.

We live in the country about six miles out of my hometown.  Our home, situated on a couple of acres of what used to be farmland on the rise of a small hill, nestles in a bit of a valley.  Sounds tranquil, doesn’t it? It’s not; it’s like living in a wind tunnel!

The wind whips up our little valley and slams into our house with such force sometimes we actually hear it hit our attached garage and whoosh around us.  We’ve grown accustomed to Christmas wreaths blowing off our windows and doors, flower pots dancing across the deck floor, patio furniture taking nose dives off the deck and even shingles flapping off the roof.

Friday night a windstorm blustered through and funneled into our valley with ferocious force.  It slammed, it banged, it whumped, it thumped.  For a minute, we thought we were hearing thunder, continuous thunder.  Then we realized the wind was savagely ripping something from our house.  Hubby opened up our deck door and a flash of white sailed by – a piece of our vinyl siding!

Hubby climbed out a second-story window onto our front porch roof which gives easier access to the garage roof than climbing up a ladder.  He hoped to salvage some of the siding and slide it back in place – in the middle of a windstorm –  but to no avail.  I felt certain he would be whacked on the head by flying siding and fall off the roof, so I fearfully yelled into the gusty gale for him to come back inside.

By the time the wind huffed and puffed its way out of our area, the upper part of our house (which faces the wind tunnel) was left naked.  Slats of siding and broken pieces of white vinyl were strewn hither and yon in both our front and back yard.  Portions of our snow fence, which helps keep our driveway from drifting shut with snow, were blown completely off the posts.  Not a pretty sight.

American author Mark Twain once said, “Our best built certainties are but sand-houses and subject to damage from any wind of doubt that blows.”

I understand what he meant.  Doubt can take down a house built on sand in no time flat.  So if you build your house on the sand or even in a wind tunnel, prepare to sustain some damage.  You might even get blown away!

That reminds me what Jesus said in Matthew 7:24-27. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his home on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Of course, Jesus was talking about more than houses here.  He was talking about putting our faith into practice, about not just being a hearer of God’s Word, but a doer.  Any building that expects to stand the test of time better have a strong foundation.  It’s the same way for faith – we must build it on the Rock, our Savior Jesus Christ.

It’s Chapter Two, page 22, in my book, Opportunity (2011) and I’m glad to say at our house we have a strong foundation, our faith in God.  There is no doubt.  We may have flying siding, flapping shingles, blown down fences and our house may be shaken, but we will stand firm in our faith.

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Wild Things

Wild turkey

Wild turkey

Every night I think there is a party going on in my yard.

It’s like the wildlife in our area borrow the line, “Let the wild rumpus begin!” from the children’s book, Where the Wild Things Areby Maurice Sendak.

I know this because I have seen wild critters roaming in our yard, I have smelled them, and our cat morphs into her security sentinel mode as evening descends. 

If we allow her to remain outside after dusk, she mans her “post,” one side or another of our deck where she watches the lawn for trespassers.

When we force her to come inside (because she has tangled with skunks one too many times and she is no longer allowed outside after dark!), she sits for hours in our upstairs bedroom window.  Her cat eyes trained on the front landscape from her lofty perch, she scans it for any perpetrators.

Skunks frequent our yard regularly.   In the summer when we sometimes sleep with our windows wide open for fresh air, I have awakened often in the middle of the night to a horrible smell.  

Our friend, Mr. Skunk.  Why he chooses to spray his offensive odor near our house,  I do not know, except I wonder if he runs into all the other party animals romping through our lawn, possibly those rowdy raccoons.

Occasionally I suffer from bouts of insomnia. I’m one of those people who can’t drink or eat anything with caffeine after 7 p.m. or I can be sure I’ll spend a mostly sleepless night and I don’t live in Seattle!

One night after tossing and turning for a couple of hours, I meandered downstairs to the family room to read around 2 a.m.  I was startled to see the motion detector light flash on our back deck and something walk past the patio door.  When I looked out, a little fearful about what I might see, a possum stared back at me.

He had climbed up several steps, walked past my open (but screened) door, sauntered across the deck, and descended down the stairs on the other side. I really can’t imagine why he took this path, since there was nothing on my deck to entice him up there!

The daytime hours reveal just as many creatures using our acreage as a thoroughfare as those nocturnal critters.  We’ve seen groundhogs, rabbits, moles and mice, muskrats, snakes, and even a snapping turtle. 

My kids also once saw a bear in our area, but I’m happy to report that’s one animal I haven’t laid eyes on yet, thankfully (except for the zoo)! Twice now I’ve seen a little fox scurry through on his way and we also have had families of wild turkeys.

Did I ever tell you about the time a turkey flew smack dab into the side of our house during a snowstorm and landed kerplunk, dead as a doornail, on our deck? Yep, that happened. 

Imagine  getting up one morning,  hearing a loud whump against your house, and finding a dead turkey covered with snow lying on your deck.  And it wasn’t even Thanksgiving!  Life in the country!

And then there are the white-tailed deer. They are abundant in our neck of the woods and every fall they seem to go berserk.   It’s the rutting season and later in the fall, hunters will stake out their tree stands in the woods, waiting for their prey.  This makes the deer crazy – literally.

Middle daughter's car

Middle daughter’s car

You never know when a sweet little Bambi is going to plow straight into your car while you are traveling 45-65 mph.  I imagine the damage done to vehicles in my home state just from deer collisions is staggering.

I speak from personal experience.   Just this morning at o’dark thirty as I was on my way to a local school, one of those wild things emerged from the thick woods and darted across the road directly in front of me.  It was dark and it was raining and I was on a country road.  I’ve had more close calls like that than I can remember.

I usually don’t worry too much about hitting the deer, I worry more about the deer hitting me because that’s what has occurred to our family twice since we’ve moved here.  The first time happened to me in my two-month old car. 

Notice deer fur

Notice deer fur

A doe literally appeared out of nowhere and slammed into the left front bumper of my car.  She fell down, scrambled dizzily to her feet, and I was certain she was going to run into me again. That one caused  $2000 in damage to my new car.

Last year, shortly after middle daughter bought herself a brand new car, she was tooling down the highway minding her own business when BAM! Bambi rammed into the driver’s back side of her car, putting a huge dent in her lovely new vehicle, and sending broken glass and deer fur raining all over daughter’s passengers and the inside of her car. She was just very fortunate that no one was injured.

I know there are a lot of animal lovers out there who think it is cruel to hunt and kill these wild creatures, but I’m not one of them. 

Hunting season will be here soon and here’s what I say – “Let the wild rumpus begin!”

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Where’s Spiderman when you need him?

blogIMG_1776 (4)We are a family not very fond of arachnids.   I still get the willies every time I think about the time,  when we lived in the Southwest, hubby and I were out driving and saw lines of tarantulas crawling in front of us – yes, on the road!

The only spider we ever got a kick out of was Spiderman in the movies. I think my kids have all of the DVDs and have watched them a zillion times.  Which makes me wonder, could Spiderman throw out some of those heavy-duty webs and catch the spiders that are infiltrating my house right now?

The thought of seeing these black hairy creatures would send my oldest daughter into orbit.  She is terrified of insects and I do mean terrified!  When she still lived here in the nest, she would scream for her dad or brother to come kill a bug in her bedroom, even if it was just the common old housefly.  I’m not sure how she manages the insects that may find their way into her apartment now, but I suspect she has a very brave roommate (she is a doctor).

The rest of us don’t hyperventilate at an insect sighting like oldest daughter does, after all, we do live out here in the country, so there is an assortment of bugs flying and crawling around.  But it does creep me out when I spot fuzzy spiders darting across my family room floor!  That’s not the kind of fuzzy that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy all over, ya know?

But that’s what happened last night.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something about the size of a quarter scurry across the floor.  In my flu-induced weakness state, I couldn’t get up fast enough to see where it went and smoosh it.  Instead I called out to hubby, “There’s a spider!”  Okay… I yelled.

He chastised me a little because by the time he came from the kitchen, we had no clue where it had gone to hide away.  Then hubby told me he has already killed four of these boogers!  Ewwww. 

Here at our house we definitely do not agree with an old American Quaker saying, “If you want to live and thrive, let the spider run alive.”  No – spiders in our house, prepare to die!

As the weather has gotten cooler and the rain has set in, these creepy crawlers have found ways to enter our house and garage.  Spiders seem to be everywhere.  They’ve even taken up residence in our mail box and you never know when you pick up the mail if you have a hitchhiker.   I’m sure anyone driving by my house when I’m standing in my driveway shaking the heck out of my mail thinks I’m nuts.  Maybe they think I’m shaking down my mail for money! Ha — finding money in the mail…that would be the day!

Today on my way home from work, I stopped to fill my car up with gas.  While I was pumping, this huge monster brown spider ran towards my car, but luckily changed its little spidey-brain and ran back from whence it came.  Thankfully!

I suspect the spiders at my house are entering around our French doors in the family room, but I don’t care where they come from, I just want them gone! And I really want the one I spotted last night to be gone.  Last time I saw him, he was headed for the computer desk.

As you may recall, I romp around my house in my bare feet.  Guess who is sitting at the computer typing her blog post and holding her feet up from the floor?  Yeah, that would be me.  Spiderman, please come save me!

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

View from my window

blogDSCN6985“All the windows of my heart I open to the day.” ~ John Greenleaf Whittier

Each morning as we awaken, I wonder how many of us look out the window.  I do.  It’s one of the first things I accomplish.

I check to see if it’s sunny, or pouring down rain, is there frost on the ground or maybe snow?  In many ways, the view outside my window sets my mood for the day. Sunshine usually makes me happy, but I can even get excited about snowflakes in the air.

Looking out my window today here are the things I observe.  The sky is brilliant blue with tufts of white puffy clouds, and the sun is radiantly beaming down on our two and a half-acre yard causing shadows here and there.

A refreshing wind blew in overnight and pushed out the heat and humidity from yesterday (it was 89 degrees).   The maple trees, which are just starting to show a hint of changing colors, are gently swaying back and forth in the gusts of wind that come along.  The leaves wave at me as if to say, “Notice us because before too long, we will be gone!”

My empty porch swing also sways back and forth in the gentle breeze.  Soon it will be time to store all the outdoor furniture away for the winter.  Our potted flowers, which once beautified the front porch and deck with spots of dazzling color, are now withered and dried, another sign of the summer season’s wane.

Occasionally, a car or pick-up truck passes by our house on the road in front of our home.   There’s never much traffic out our way because most people travel the four-lane highway to get where they’re going.

Hubby is out back burning some trash.  We live in the country where one can burn paper and cardboard, thus making our garbage load in the landfills a little lighter.  Hubby stops to take a cell phone call; it’s a long one.

He hunkers down by the compost pile and continues to talk, shielding the phone from the wind no doubt.  Suddenly, he stands up and waves his arms.  Uh-oh, I can tell he’s a little agitated by the call—must be work related.

Coming in for a cool drink of home-made iced tea, hubby tells me about his phone call.  One of the things I admire about my husband is his ability to get over anger quickly.  He’s already calmed down and goes back outside to jump on the John Deere lawn tractor and mow the lawn, a task he always seems to enjoy.

Our garden, which just a few weeks ago, was vibrantly growing and out of control, is now half bare; only the pepper plants, a few cherry tomatoes, and the Brussels sprouts remain.  The cheery sunflowers are bowing their heads lower and lower each day.

Large black crows, with their cacophonous caws, visit our yard enticed by the promise of sunflower seeds.  Their presence sends our kitty cat into a tizzy.   How dare those brazen birds enter her yard?!

Once the crows withdraw, it’s quiet except for the drone of the lawn tractor.   Many people might think it’s mundane living out here in the country without any hustle and bustle.  To us, it’s just an everyday occurrence and that’s the way we like it.  We wouldn’t want it any other way.

I lift up a thankfulness prayer to the One who gave us this blessed, peaceful life and the promise of tomorrow, when I once again will check the view from my window.

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” ~ Colossians 4:2

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

City lights or country nights?

blogDSCN6877The city beckoned to us yesterday so  we briefly joined the hustle and bustle.

From our little country plot into the city is a pretty short drive and really not horrendous considering the traffic gridlock you can find in other cities.

Our nearby city has some God-created natural land aspects that make it a little more difficult to travel around like rivers and hills which require bridges and tunnels for vehicles to negotiate.  Add some construction into the mix and traffic snarls can line up in a snake-like fashion.

Middle daughter lives in the city.  Hubby and I wanted to take her out to dinner to celebrate her birthday yesterday, so we picked her up at her apartment and headed to the another area of the city where we decided to dine.  Hubby is more adept at city driving than me because he learned to drive in the concrete jungle and he navigates the city streets daily.

Being the rural girl, I learned to drive on country roads and highways.   It’s not that I can’t drive in the city, of course I can, I lived in the suburbs of a couple large cities for years.  I just don’t like to deal with the traffic of the city.   Call me wimpy, I don’t care.  (“I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”  That’s what a character named Wimpy in old Popeye cartoons used to say.)

Middle daughter has inherited her fine sense of direction from her former city dwelling dad and she’s learning her way around the city very well.   I tend to get lost much more easily than the two of them, so in areas I’m unfamiliar with I’m not what you would call adventurous.    In other words, I like to know exactly where I am and where I am heading.

As we were meandering around the streets of our fair city, I was glad hubby was driving as he knew how to get from point A (daughter’s apartment) to point B (area where the restaurant was).   I didn’t have a clue.   But on the way back from the restaurant to daughter’s apartment, we definitely traveled the not-so-scenic route.

Clueless me foolishly asked hubby if he knew where we were.   His answer was “Yes, this should take us to (this particular area of the city).”

“Are you sure?” I replied.

And he admitted he wasn’t completely sure, but that he’d manage to figure it out on the way.  See that would freak me out if I were driving.

We arrived at our destination with no difficulty, parked our car, and started walking along the river towards the  yummy dinner that awaited us.   The scenic sights of the city though caused me to stop and haul out my camera to take a few photos.   I do love living in the country, but there is something exhilarating and exciting about being in the city from time to time.

blogbirthday dessertAfter my short photo session, we entered the restaurant and had a lovely and delicious dinner together, just middle daughter with her mama and daddy.

It was pleasant and we had some delightful conversation.  We wished daughter a happy birthday once more after her lip-smacking, delicious dessert was placed before her –  s’mores fondue, a warmed pot of chocolate ganache and marshmallow crème with glazed graham crackers and fresh strawberries for dipping.

Daughter thanked us and then paused and added this thought, “Thanks for giving me life.”

In this day and age, that statement is very thought-provoking, and I had to fight back the tears that started welling up in my eyes.    Imagining what my life would be like without middle daughter’s life, or any of my three children’s lives, is like imagining a world with no flowers.

As each of my children grew and bloomed, the Master Gardener used my being their mama to mold and shape me into the person I am today.  Looking at my beautiful daughter,  I uttered a silent prayer to my Lord who entrusted those three lives to my husband and me and I felt humbled to be so blessed.

blogDSCN6889As summer wanes, the days are getting shorter, so by the time we left the restaurant, it was already dark.

The lights of the city caught my eye and enticed me to draw my camera out of my purse once again.  The city’s landscape at night is beautiful and this picture is only a small portion of it.

I’d have to disagree with author Somerset Maugham who wrote, “In the country the darkness of night is friendly and familiar, but in a city, with its blaze of lights, it is unnatural, hostile and menacing.  It is like a monstrous vulture that hovers, biding its time.”

To me, the darkness of night in the country is comfy and comfortable.  It’s like an old friend.   But our city with its blaze of lights doesn’t seem hostile or menacing to me.  Unlike the city Maugham was describing, I wouldn’t call our city a monster.   It’s just a different kind of friend.

Nice place to visit.  But still… I wouldn’t want to live there.

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Not a Happy Camper

blogIMG_2352A friend of mine recently posted the following  status on Facebook:  “My idea of camping is when a hotel doesn’t have room service.”   Oh, how I so relate!

This weekend is an annual church camp-out for many of my friends from the other of the country where we previously lived.  I know this from their FB statuses and my friend elsiephoebe’s blog.

I tend to keep up with many of my friends via Facebook.  Now before you relegate me into the recluse department, let me explain a majority of these friends are far-away friends. 

They live in other states, are friends from past places, churches, and neighborhoods.  Because it keeps us connected, I check into my FB account every so often  just to catch up with them.

So back to the subject of camping….even though I am a born and raised country girl who after years of ‘burbing it up (living in the suburbs) is back in the saddle of country life again (so to speak),  I am not much of a camper.  When I was knee-high to a grasshopper (back when I was a kid), I didn’t really do much real camping.

My parents’ camp was a mobile home on a plot of land “up in the mountains” as we called it back then.  So we really didn’t camp in the true sense of the word, because we had beds, furniture, electricity, full kitchen, and even TV!  

In the summer time, friends and I would “camp out” meaning we slept outside in our back yards, but again that is not really considered camping.  My husband was a Boy Scout, so even though he was a city dweller, he probably had more actual camping experience than I did.

As our children grew older, they clamored for this activity, and we would oblige them in some fashion.   When I served as a Girl Scout assistant leader, I did participate in  “camping trips”  with my daughters’ troops, but even those found us staying in retreat centers, not sleeping outside in tents.  

Son was lucky enough to have his dad accompany him on Cub Scout camping trips when my hubby was an assistant Cub Scout Pack leader.  They may have actually camped in tents, I don’t remember.   I was just relieved I didn’t have take part in it!

For several years we also appeased our kids by attending our church’s annual camp-out weekends.   When we lived in the mid-west, close friends of ours managed the church campgrounds, and they convinced us to attend the district family camp always held in September.   We stayed in cabins, had running water for showers in the bathhouse, and ate our meals communal style in the dining hall.  Again, not hard-core camping.

blogIMG_2353Later we moved to the Pacific Northwest and our church there also held a family camp-out weekend at the Pacific coast.  The first couple years, we booked a motel room close to the campgrounds.  

We spent the days with our fellow church goers, helped cook meals, sat around the campfires, ate mountain pies, but when it was time to turn in for the evening, we headed back to the motel and a nice, comfy, warm bed plus our own bathroom with a hot shower. 

This was my idea of camping, not my family’s, although I think they were secretly glad when it poured down rain all night the first night and we were contentedly sleeping in our nice dry motel room!

Part of the reason we stayed at a nearby inn was because the campgrounds had no cabins, so you could only stay in a tent or in your own RV.   Since we didn’t own an RV, tenting would have been our only other option.  We do own a tent, a camp stove,  camp lantern, and we have sleeping bags.  But just let me clear up the matter on tenting.  The sheer idea of climbing in a tent, zipping yourself into a sleeping bag, and THEN zipping yourself into a tent made me hyperventilate!

I am extremely claustrophobic and while this malady has improved over the years, back in the days when our kids were young, I was a basket case at the mere mention of anything that  sounded remotely restraining.

Remember that Girl Scout camping trip I mentioned earlier?  Well, while everyone else slept in their zipped up sleeping bags in the retreat center, I slept on top of mine, with just a blanket over me for warmth because I could not zip myself into that bag!

The last couple of years before we moved back to the homeland, our church held the annual family campout at a KOA campground which offered log cabins for rent.  My husband and kids persuaded me we should stay there instead of checking into a motel, and we did have a truly wonderful time.

Of course, there were beds to sleep in and I could use blankets and sheets instead of sleeping bags and above all else, we weren’t in a tent!  We cooked outside on our camp stove and had access to the public bathhouse for showers and potty breaks, so it wasn’t roughing it too much.   My kids won’t ever forget the time we camped then and that’s as close to the real thing as they’ll ever entice me to do.

After we moved here to the country, our tent withstood a lot of usage by our kids, but I have never, ever slept in it.  Nor will I.  Instead I heartily  agree with humor columnist Dave Barry who once wrote,   “Camping is nature’s way of promoting the motel business.”

Now that our children are all adults, they can choose to camp whenever they want and they do.   Actually, I think they enjoy camping so much now because they didn’t get to engage in the activity that often as kids.   So I guess I didn’t deprive them so much after all.

As for me, I’d go camping again if I could stay in a RV like my sister and brother-in-law own – a nice huge fifth-wheeler with a queen-sized bed, fully equipped kitchen with microwave, and internet and cable TV capabilities.

Now THAT’S my idea of camping and it’s probably the only way I’d call myself a happy camper!

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Gazing into the fire

blogIMG_0200What is it about a bonfire that is so mesmerizing?

One of the advantages of living in the country is that we can build fires right in our own back yard. 

As the hot, sultry days of summer relinquish their grasp, nights here become cooler and cooler, a sure sign that the fall season is imminent.

On a chilly late summer evening, sitting around a bonfire with family and friends does more than warm our bodies; it warms our souls as well.  In the past, many nights of fun and fellowship culminated around a blazing bonfire right here at mama’s empty nest.

Last evening, hubby and I attended a corn roast hosted by friends who live even deeper in the country than we do.  The unobstructed view of rolling hills, farmers’ fields, and woods from their home is breathtaking.  When we arrived, fresh sweet corn, grown in abundance in our area, was already roasting in its husks in the bonfire’s hot coals.

A fire-roasted cob of corn, slathered in homemade butter, is deliciously finger-licking tasty.  A smorgasbord of other homemade side dishes, salads, and casseroles; grilled hamburgers and hot dogs; and a table full of enticing desserts lavishly tempted our palates as well.  A feast, fun, and fellowship with people of all ages – toddlers to those in their golden years – provided a lovely evening.

As the sun set behind the hills and the chill in the air became more pronounced, several party-goers gravitated to the crackling fire.   Lawn chairs inched closer to the comforting warmth.  Someone broke out the marshmallows, graham crackers, and Hershey chocolate bars for s’mores.

There was teasing talk, with a hint of truth, that the marshmallows might attract the bears in the area.  More laughter and marshmallow toasting and roasting ensued.  But some of us just relaxed contentedly in our chairs, participating in quiet conversations, and gazing into the flickering flames of the alluring bonfire.

Varying shades and hues of orange, yellow, red, purple, and bluish fingers of fire flickered and flashed over the wooden logs burning so steadfastly in the flames and glowing coals.  Fiery figures danced and sashayed to their own tune, switching direction as the breeze dictated, blowing woodsy smoke in our eyes.

And still we sat, eyes fastened on the fire.  And watched… entranced.   And were captivated by the blaze.

Too soon the hour grew late and party-goers started to disperse leaving with satisfied tummies, light hearts, and the distinct smell of wood smoke lodged in their hair.  Yet hubby and I lingered, fascinated by the spellbinding flames and burning embers,  somehow hesitant to leave the glow of the firelight.

We finally gathered our belongings, not wanting to “wear out our welcome”  (as my mother would say), thanked our gracious hosts, and started homeward.   As we drove in the quietness of the inky dark countryside, dodging nocturnal critters (raccoon and opossum) right and left, a Jeremy Camp song came to my mind.

“Holy Fire burn away,
my desire for anything
that is not of you and is of me.
I want more of you and less of me.
Empty me,
Empty me.
Fill, won’t you fill me,
with you, with you, Jesus.”

Today as I ponder this on a beautifully warm, sunny Sunday afternoon, I conclude that mama’s empty nest isn’t really empty.  It’s full of love – love for my husband, love for my children, love for my family, love for friends I have and friends I haven’t met yet, love for my fellow man, but completely full of utmost love for my Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sometimes gazing into the fire reveals great truth.

“Love is the only fire that is hot enough to melt the iron obstinacy of a creature’s will.” ~ Alexander MacLaren, English minister

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Garden Gone Wild!

blogDSCN6791The girls are busting out of their green tops.  Red polka dots are strewn all over the ground.  It’s literally a jungle out there.  Of course, I’m describing hubby’s garden, which really has gone wild!

Hubby’s been working a lot of hours lately, so his garden is starting to look neglected.  His garden plot is not large, but the weeds infiltrate it and threaten to overtake it.

This morning, I glanced out the kitchen window while I filled the tea kettle for my morning cup of hot tea.  The garden plot pleaded with me to come out and tidy up or at least pick the cheery cherry tomatoes that burden the plants to such a degree that they are leaning completely over their cages and fallen fruit dots the ground.

“We’re so tired of holding up this thriving throng of tomatoes.   Please come pick them,” the plants seemed to call to me.

blogDSCN6792But first, I wanted to attack the kids’ bathroom sink, or I should say under it.  Remember I’ve declared war on all the stuff that’s harboring in closets, cupboards, nooks and crannies.  So first thing this morning, I wanted to accomplish eradication of stuff from that bathroom sink cabinet.

Oh,  the items that were hiding in there!   Long ago used retainers; denture cleaner to clean those forgotten retainers (can’t imagine how old that is!); bottles with what I assume used to be lotion but now thickly gelled goo that doesn’t smell so nicely; remainders of mostly used toothpaste tubes; combs and brushes; hair pins and fancy hair accessories from proms; hair gel, pomade, and mousse; Sephora body polish and body butter (what?? — remember I raised two girls) still proudly packed in its original container; and the list goes on and on.

And that was just the girls’ side of the cabinet.  It was just as bad on son’s side.   Believe me.

I brought the discards downstairs to place in the garbage can and again I glanced out the windows.   It’s fairly difficult not to see outside in the kitchen and family room of our house because there are five windows and a set of French doors.   Again the garden beckoned me.

blogDSCN6781This time it was the lovely sunflower girls.   They have just started blooming out of their green pods at the top of their sturdy stalks and they do present a lovely sight with their happy yellow faces turned towards the sun.

Oldest daughter has always loved sunflowers..  Once her bedroom was totally bedecked with sunflower paraphernalia everywhere.   So naturally, I thought, “What a shame that oldest daughter who lives in that far-away state can’t see these beautiful sunflowers.”

Time to take pictures!  I’ll just slip on my sandals and run out to the garden to snap some photos of those perky plants to send to oldest daughter!

One hour later.  Although the temperature is a nice 72 degrees, it’s sunny and humid outside.  I trudge back to the house, dripping with sweat, thirsty for a Big Gulp sized glass of ice water, laden with a basket of garden bounty, back aching from all that bending over.

What a man needs in gardening is a cast-iron back, with a hinge in it. ~Charles Dudley Warner, My Summer in a Garden, 1871.  You said it, Charles!  Can’t agree with you more!

blogDSCN6799That was probably the last picking for green beans and cucumbers.  Broccoli and lettuce are already finished.  Brussels sprouts popping out along the base of the stalks will need picking later.

In the next couple weeks, it will be time to dig up the carrots and sweet potatoes.  Green peppers, banana peppers, and cherry tomatoes still produce.

And of course, the weeds complete the jungle.  They’ve gone wild.  I gave a few of them the heave-ho, but my back started protesting….and that stuff in my house still snickers at me.

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Dog Gone Summer Days

blogdscn0239I’m dogged by the dog days of summer, dog gone it!

Most of the month of August is behind us, yet some hot summer weather visited my neck of the woods this week.

Yesterday my trusty thermometer hanging outside my kitchen window reported it was 90 degrees at our house.

Did you ever wonder from where that term “dog days” came?  I have.  My research defines dog days of summer as the hottest, most sultry days of the season.

This period of time is supposedly when the Dog Star, Sirius, rises at the same time as the sun, at least that’s what the ancients believed.  In the northern hemisphere of the world where we live, it is the period of time between early July and early September, but in my mind I always think of dog days in August.

Apparently you can also use the term to describe “an event that is very hot or stagnant marked by dull lack of progress” or “a period marked by lethargy, inactivity, or indolence.”

That says it all about dog days to me!  When the weather is hot and humid and the air seems stagnant, I am dull, lethargic, and inactive.  I definitely have a profound lack of progress, and I wouldn’t describe myself as dogged about anything because I don’t want to exert myself.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m really not a summer person.  The heat and humidity sometimes make me feel sick as a dog.  Perhaps I should be dogmatic about summer.  If I were not so indolent and feeling a bit more creative, I’d write a funny doggerel about summer.  But I can’t, I’m lazy and too dog tired.

However, there are some aspects of this season that I do enjoy.  For a few evenings this summer, it’s been cool enough to open the windows and our French door to the deck.  I savor cool evening breezes ushering in fresh air, the kind that bestows upon you a graceful respite from air conditioning.

Sitting outside on the deck in the quietness of the evening is relaxing.  Stars glimmer in the dark summer night sky and the radiant moon “hits your eye like a big pizza pie.”  (That’s from the song “That’s Amore.”)

Breathing in the fresh evening air, I close my eyes and just listen.   No traffic noises.  No barking dogs.  No people having loud conversations.  No loud music or televisions blaring.  Just crickets serenading me with their summer song is all I hear.  I say, “Bravo!” to the free concert they provide to me.

And that, my friends, is why I love living in the country– even in the summer time.

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com