Friday, November 7, 2014

THE CHICKEN AND THE EGG


I have been thinking a lot about chickens and their owners lately.

I love the looks of a chicken.  I could collect chicken photos on Pinterest forever, they're so beautiful.

My co-mother-in-law's chicken



I get excited about chicken houses too, and the different ways you can protect your chickens while gleaning all of their benefits.



But purchasing good eggs on a regular basis seems to be a very difficult thing to do.  There was a time whereby an egg owner would give eggs to a friend at her church, and then I'd have to stop by the friend's house to pick them up, but that eventually chickened out.



Then someone in our church appeared to want to regularly bring eggs to OUR church, but that turned out to be a one-time deal.  Then there was a patron of the library who brought them once.  Then there were a couple of families who said they would bring regularly, but they keep forgetting....you get the picture. These folks seem to be...well...so flighty.

It has set me to wondering if there's a certain type of folk who raise chickens.

My brother and his family recently began to raise chickens.  They have been very methodical about it, doing research, building things.

My niece and the one my brother built.


It sounds like such fun!  I haven't heard much news since the chicks arrived, but eggs have started coming.  He lives far away, so I'll probably never partake. But now I'm wondering what kind of person he REALLY is.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

LOVE MY LIBRARY


I'm working at a new job now--or I should say, SECOND job.



My first love.

My love of reading began when I was a child, in our very small town library.  I won top prize for the Most Books Read every summer for a while.  My mom and I always had to have something to read.

My love of libraries began in the 7th grade, when I became a volunteer in the school library.  The librarian encouraged me in that art, having me read to the kindergarten children (that's how I contracted the chickenpox--me and the little ones) and even taking me to a librarian's conference.

I got my master's degree and was a school and public librarian before the boys were born.

Now I'm back, and glad to be so!  It's interesting how someone who loves libraries just can't stay away.  "Now you know the part-time job we're hiring you for doesn't make full use of your librarian degree, right?" the director asked me during the interview.  Our library actually has several people with a degree who volunteer or are part-time, just checking out books or shelving them.

And HECK YEAH, WE LOVE IT!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

HEM IT ALL IN


I am starting to wonder if sewing is becoming a lost art.  And I don't mean sewing A DRESS; I'm talking about the simple work of hemming and mending.

I have the unfortunate circumstance of not only being short of stature, but short of waist and narrow of shoulders too.  It truly is not possible for me to buy slacks without plans to shorten them.  I take the previous statement as an OF COURSE comment, but lately I've met sales clerks who seem not to have heard of hand-sewing store-bought clothes.  One lady in a "high end" store was bereft that she couldn't find slacks that were my right height and she showed surprise, horror (and a bit of awed interest) that I was purchasing some with the intention of hemming them when I got home.

This summer a clerk didn't want me to try on a blouse.  "That's going to be far too long," she said.  I chuckled and said something along the lines of "Oh, that's life...that's the way it is...no getting around it!"

Later she saw me and asked how THAT all went for me.  There was a bit of snidefulness in her tone as if to say "I was right, wasn't I?"

I told her the sleeves were too tight.

Anyhow, I suppose it never entered her mind that hemming is an art some people HAVE to do.

Otherwise, it could go one of three ways:

1.  Wear the one piece of clothing that fits over and over again as the years go by.

My dad, 1989

2.  Wear them as is.



3.  Go naked (sorry, no photos).

I hemmed a new pair of capris today.






Monday, November 3, 2014

CAN'T MAKE PANCAKES IN THE FALL


I don't flip over too well.  



Time changes don't agree with me anymore; I'm quite happy to stay up even later in the night, but still I wake up early in the morning--TOO early.  That adds up to quite a lack of sleep.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

DANCE LIKE NOBODY'S WATCHING


Recently a Facebook friend posted this encouragement:



Yes, I had done that very thing just hours earlier!

It was dark, getting colder,  and raining very hard.  Not a kind night to be away from home, but I was to meet church friends for coffee and chat, and I wouldn't want to miss that.  So I drove to the outlet stores and hoped for a parking place near the doors.

Busy place that it is, there were no spaces very close.  But wait!  What did I just drive past?  A series of parking signs set up just for the month of October*.



Car in reverse---back up, back up, back up.  AND PARK.  

With triumph!


It was raining, dark, and no one saw me do a victory dance outside my car.  But I did, and I wish it had been daylight so that people could see.


*Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Saturday, November 1, 2014

GREAT JOB!


"Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up..."  ~1st Thessalonions 5:11

Today I met a man who is an encourager.  He praised and uplifted in me in many ways, telling me what good things I do for others and why it matters so much.  He looked kindly into my eyes to make sure I accepted the truth of what he said.

He is the husband of a co-worker, and I see that she is an encourager too.  They have been together from their youth, and I can imagine them drawing strength from one another through the years as they have learned to do this.



I've been thinking a lot about praise and encouragement lately, because of my workplace and because of the TV show Madame Secretary.  It features a high-positioned woman working in an environment where all her assistants do not like her decisions--and they tell her so.

How can one work under conditions such as this?  Well, I suppose a lot of people do, both at work and at home.  How sad.  Quit that!  My personality and background hasn't taught me much of this art, but I wish and hope I can do better.

Get out there and click those Facebook "LIKE" buttons, people!  And throw a little face-time with sincere words in there too while you're at it.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

THE SMELL OF HOME


Zucchini bread is one of the few foods that immediately takes me back to my childhood.  The smell of it reminds me of summer at home, breezes in the heat, and Mrs. White, our neighbor.

We children visited Mr. and Mrs. White ten times a day, I believe, as we rode our bikes up and down the country road.  It seemed there was always something interesting going on there, in an old-fashioned way--rug-beating, bunny petting, gooseberry cleaning, hand-milking of the cows.  One day, Mrs. White offered me some zucchini to take home.

What would we do with it--how should we eat it?  I asked.

You can make bread with it, she said.  And she gave me this recipe:

Mrs. White's Zucchini Bread
3 eggs--beat until foamy
1 C. oil (yep, you read it right!)
2 C. sugar (yes, this is correct too!)
2 C. grated zucchini--include the rind
2 tsp. vanilla

Mix these lightly but well.  Add:
3 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 C. nuts

Bake at 325 for 1 hour in two greased loaf pans.  Remove from the pans at once.



Then I'll never forget what came next.  In my young ignorance, I asked her what it meant to grate the zucchini and she told me that you just use the grinder, ya know.  No, I didn't know...so she showed me.

The Whites had two porches.  The winter porch was glassed in, and you could put things out there in the winter, such as food you had no room for in your refrigerator.  But the summer porch was an addition to the house used for all those hot tasks when you didn't want heat in the house.  It was open to the breezes.  It was like a wonderful workshop just for ladies, all set up for serious work--the ironing board with heatable flat irons, the canning supplies, and THE GRINDER clamped to the old wooden table, all ready to go.




She grabbed that zucchini and ran it through the grinder before I could blink.  I was so very impressed. But I was also sad, because I knew that we did not have a porch with a device attached to the table like that.

Nowadays I reach for the hand grater from my cupboard when I make this bread, but I almost always remember Mrs. White when I do it.