Meandering Thoughts

Meandering Thoughts

Friday, December 21, 2012

I Live With Santa

My wonderful hubby looks like Santa.  He has the most beautiful white beard and moustache.  When he puts on a Santa hat, everyone comments.  Being a man with an easy smile and a true gift of gab, he will certainly visit with you if just say "hello".

We have often been places that little children point and try to alert their parents that Santa is eating at the table nearby.  I have been witness to waitresses flirting and people smile when he walks past them.  He has the most fun wearing his Santa hat and driving his old model A Ford Truck and going through Tim Horton's drive through.  I wonder though, is he playing a part or have I watched waaaay too many Christmas Hallmark movies!!!!

As I look back on the years, I have to wonder exactly what he does with all his time since retirement.  He might actually have a workshop in our other barn.  I have never really snooped through that barn, it's usually too messy.  And yet, I remember how shocked he was one day when I just "happened" to open the doors while he was in there working.  Nothing looked especially different......, but then I didn't check the "back room".

Now I am seriously wondering about his trip to Florida in December for the last three years.  He is supposedly "helping a friend drive to Florida".  He then spends the next ten days doing exactly what?   I don't really know.  He tells me that he is getting a little R&R, relaxing at the pool, going to a car show, kayaking in the gulf, checking out the Harley shops and enjoying time with his friend.  I have to wonder about all of this, there are no pictures, no real evidence to prove he is in Florida!!!!

Meanwhile, I am at home.  Taking care of elderly dogs, Christmas shopping, wrapping gifts, planning Christmas dinner with the kids, checking and re-checking my lists, making sure packages are mailed to far off places, creating and writing Christmas cards and even trying not to make a mess of the house!!!  And  I ask, who is the real Santa?????

Mr. Claus is due back from his ten day trip today.  I am rushing around, picking up the house, chasing porch cushions that blew away last night from the mighty winter wind, running snacks to Village Artisans open house this evening, bring in the trash cans from the curb, trying to finish the last minute handmade gifts in the studio and all before I have to pick him up at the airport this afternoon. 

I hope he is well rested for his journey on Christmas Eve.  I'm not quite sure how he does that, he is always snoring away when I finally finish the morning homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast and climb into bed.   I might just keep an eye open this year and make sure he isn't secretly leaving after I've fallen asleep.  Oh heck, who cares, I'm worn out and need my sleep............

Merry Christmas friends!  Remember it isn't the gifts, it's family near and far and the love they share every day.  Blessings and Joy and Love to you all!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Traditions

As time moves along, changes in traditions occur.  The changes don't come easily, I guess it wouldn't be a tradition if it kept changing too quickly. 

In times past (when our children were small), Christmas day was a whirlwind of rushing.  The day ended with total exhaustion and normally sweet children were upset and melting down quickly. 

Our children were always up at the break of dawn to see if Santa had come.  (We their parents, often didn't get to bed much before 1am.) Gifts were torn open with excitement from under our tree and breakfast, usually homemade sweet rolls, were eaten.  We then headed to my Mom and Dads, more gifts.  Then we would all rush off to Springfield and be with my Grandmother for Christmas dinner and more gifts.  Late afternoon/evening we headed to my wonderful husbands mothers house for another big meal and more gifts.  After 12 hours of gifts, eating and picking up paper, we were CRAZY!

No one ever wanted to change, some of this could have taken place Christmas Eve.  Everyone wanted Christmas Day!   As our children married and started having families, the house began to shrink, we moved to buffet style dining, on paper plates and people sitting at tables placed anywhere possible.  It was difficult to hold a conversation, things seem to be in constant movement.  Those who went through the line first were done and moving to deserts while others were just sitting down to eat their meal.  It was crazy but it worked and I am grateful that we still gather.

Again changes came, after loosing Richard's sister, we decided to just do one holiday gathering, taking the pressure off eating two or three Thanksgiving dinners on Thanksgiving day and the same with Christmas day.  Slowly the girls (our daughters and nieces) were beginning to host the events.  It was nice to see them taking a turn with the family traditions.  This year I decided to jump in and take another turn!

Being the now oldest in the family line, I haven't forgotten the "old" way.  Our parents set the table with their finest china, grace was said, serving dishes were passed around the table.  People talked while the food was being passed, laughter heard at the kids table and everyone was a part of all conversations.  It seemed slower and less hectic with everyone sitting at once.

This year at our house we went back to that tradition.  We had a sit down meal with all the trimmings.  I wanted to honor the china that has been carefully treasured through the years.  I wanted my girls to understand how important this china is to family traditions, mostly because of what it represents to me.  The twelve place setting of white Noritake with a silver band around the edge came as a wedding gift from my birth father, over forty-three years ago and the ten piece flowered place setting came from my husbands wonderful mother in 1989.  Both of these people are no longer with us, but I hope they joined us for a few minutes as we gathered together and remembered them this year in 2012.

Our living room was cleared of extra furniture, the dining room table was moved to the living room.  All eight leaves were put in the old oak table. (I purchased this table at an auction before we married for sixteen dollars.)  I cloaked it with Christmas table cloths, and pulled out the china and cloth napkins.  We also set up another pair of tables and covered them as well.  We had a place for twenty six people to sit together in one room and the Christmas tree was brightly glowing in the background.

A most recent tradition (of at least twenty years) was to cook the turkey donated by our adopted family friend.  This turkey is always the Greene County Fair Grand Champion bird.  I think every year it has gotten bigger.  This year it weighted in at 31.5 lbs!  As you can see by the picture I wasn't totally prepared!  After acquiring the proper size pan, things went more smoothly.

Yes, it is a lot of work, getting ready for a family holiday sit down dinner.  And yes, it was worth every moment.  I have wonderful children and nieces who did the total clean up.  Before the evening was gone and my feet were up, they had everything back in its place and it looked as if nothing of any note had happened.

A few pictures and this blog will allow the memory to live on.  I again feel blessed and gratitude is overflowing.  Merry Christmas to all that shared the table, to all who read my stories and to all of our ancestors who led the way and started our family traditions.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sitting At The Laundromat

Having just returned home from a ten day vacation from Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, it became clear that I would have to do laundry immediately.  I also found that our washer is not properly working and waiting on it to be fixed immediately was only a dream.  The washer was going to need new parts.

So I decided to go to the laundromat.  I haven't been to a laundromat in twenty years and only then because the kids were in 4-H and needed jeans washed and returned to them for the next event or show that called for clean clothes.

Nothing much has changed in those twenty years.  I find myself there with others my age, wearing sweat pants and a baggy sweatshirt because all the clothes needed washed.  Glamor shots at the laundromat are not taken here!

I started my line of washing machines, six washers all together, the tubs aren't as big as my washer at home.  I add the detergent and the quarters and looked for a chair to wait.  There are no chairs, so I go to the car and get my folding chair, left in the car from the last pow wow and bring it inside.

As I sit and wait 25 minutes for the washers to run, I have time to observe my surroundings.  People watching is always a great way to spend time.  These are the things I found amusing............

..... Children find laundry carts on wheels to be the most fun.  No matter how many times their grandma threatens them.

..... Men seem totally out of place in a laundromat.

..... People can't really hear the TV because of all the noise from the washers and dryers and children squabbling.

..... Magazines are tattered and torn, unreadable and outdated.

..... No one seems to be any happier than I am to be there!

..... NO ONE here is interested in the OSU/Michigan game on TV.

..... Wondering if I should be wearing a watch to see if the dryer times are what I'm actually paying for, they seem somewhat off!

..... Kids think the empty laundry baskets turned upside down make great drums!
(my kind of kids, wondering if they are connecting their heartbeat to that of the Mother Earth when they drum........)

..... "MOMMA?"  "WHERE ARE YOU?"  (I pray she didn't leave!!!)

..... It's somewhat embarrassing to fold your unmentionables in front of strangers.

..... Rule #1, Don't drop clean clothes on the laundromat floor.

..... Rule #2,  don't bring your leftover turkey sandwich with you to eat for lunch.   Those of us who are hungry might just throw you in a large dryer and consume your lunch for you!

..... Leaving the laundromat is the best thing in the world!  Ten days of laundry done in 1 1/2 hours!!!!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Talk............

Last weekend I was ask to speak about my tipi experiences.  I agreed to do this a couple weeks prior to the engagement.  As soon as I agreed I became nervous, I really don't like speaking before a group.  I know, I know.......  I would be among friends and like minded people and yet it still causes butterflies in the pit of my stomach.

I was to speak before a group of people that gather for a Mending Medicine Retreat every fall in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  Our teacher is a very special Lakota man, John Two-Hawks.  And I am going to talk about my tipi!!!  Serious reason to have some doubts about my decision to speak, I claim no connection to the indigenous people, at the same time I am VERY drawn to their customs and culture.  However, I know John and he is not a person who judges anothers journey.  I have shared my concerns about doing things that are not from my culture, it makes me uneasy and I tread here lightly.

So the day came and I often thought of backing out and yet I love talking about the tipi and the gifts it has brought my way.  By evening I was sure it would be okay to talk......... until the introduction began.  Fear crept into my very soul!  I was being called to the podium.

The beginning was a little shaky, I was trying to explain my need for a tipi began as an idea that I needed a place away from everyday things.  At that time I was working hard to get my gourd art out into the world, doing two or three fine art shows a month.  I was not taking time for myself, I was loosing my connection to nature and it was beginning to wear on me.   I have always been out in nature, riding horses, camping and often just sitting in a woods.  I was really missing that in my life.

 A tipi would be my vacation at home, it began as such seven years ago.  What causes me to become emotional is the fact it has become so much more.  It has taught me many things about myself and how I want to live my life.  That is what I wanted to translate to my friends sitting before me.  I have written blogs on my tipi lodge in the past, the most important part is what I want to share today. 

The lodge poles of a tipi are it's bones, they sit on our Mother Earth in a circle, the poles reach for the sky.  The door faces east, the place of the rising sun.
The bones of the tipi are covered in canvas (in the old days buffalo skins).
The most important part came to me several years down the road.  A fire inside the tipi is the heart, the center, the very soul of the tipi lodge.  The fire gave my tipi lodge life.

All of these things about the tipi are also us..........  We are a frame of bones, covered with skin.  We walk on this earth and reach for the sky.   The "fire" that lives inside our frame is our heart, our passion and our soul. 

Feed your heart when the fire goes low, fill yourself up, lighten the world around you.  Warmly embrace your friends and loved ones.  Feed your passions.  Listen to what your soul needs.

I wished I'd remembered all those points when I spoke, I write them now while I am alone with my spirit self, I can hear clearly now and I listen.  I comes easily in this quiet place, unlike when I am speaking. 

To finish my talk, I read what was written on the back of the painting I placed in this blog.  The painting is done on the canvas of my first tipi lodge.  After several years of sun, rain and wind it became frayed and worn, Hurricane Ike finished her off four years ago and I couldn't bring myself to throw the canvas away.  And so it was finally revealed to me, I must cut it into circles and paint stories upon the canvas.  And I did. 

The back of the canvas/painting reads;
                      This canvas is filled with dreams, visions and ceremonies
                  from all who came and sat under its lodge poles and canvas
                  of white.  Campfires brought warmth and comfort, the smoke
                  carried prayers to the Creator.
                       The smoke stains are the prayers that yet ripple through
                  eternity.  May you feel the prayers and the great honor I feel
                  when creating a humble painting to share with you.
                                   Many Blessings...............

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Today is the first day of fall, 2012.  Another season has passed and a new one begins as we move around the circle of seasons.  Even this day is uncertain of what it wants to be.  Clouds come and go, the sun is out from behind those clouds and lights the day with the promise of warmth and a little summer.  And yet, there is a chill in the air at the same time. 

The trees are showing color and I am eager to see more of the patchwork quilt of color when I look towards the wooded forests.  The birds are quieter, days of seeing the hummingbirds from the porch will soon be gone.  The wrens that chattered endlessly this summer are no longer heard.  Large groups of birds are gathering and migration has begin. 

I am often a little melancholy with changes, it can happen with seasons, birthdays, or even a change in what I once perceived about truth, faith, love or friendships.  It happens when I hurt from the loss of a person or animal that shared time in my life. 

My solution is to get back to nature.  Go outside, inhale the fresh crisp air, feel the last rays of sun on my shoulders.  Play my flute with prayers that the next season will be gentle and healing.  And as much as I long for solitude, I must find people to spend time with.  Sharing the energy with others is powerful and good for the soul too.

Being creative during my most melancholy times is often an outlet.  Last year I wrote poems, I have never written poetry before.  From the end of spring into the summer, everything was a poem.  Then I became more content and settled with life and it all stopped.  I have only written on poem this year.  It came during another change in my life.  It woke me up in the middle of sleep and the words came out and had to be recorded. 

      Oh what must he think I am thinking......
          As we travel down this dark country road,
              My eyes are closed, my face to the wind and
                     My arms are outstretched in the darkness.
     Oh what must he think I am thinking......
            I am think I have learned to fly again.

This came one night we were coming home on our Harley Davidson Trike.  This was a change in our lives that no one saw coming.  Not even my wonderful husband or I.  It happened when I rode a Harley with my brother in Texas.  I found that it was like riding horses, something I spent most of my life enjoying.   The horses are gone now, that change that was very difficult for me.  They too were a part of my poetry last year. 

Coming home and talking to my wonderful husband we decided to go on a test drive.  The rest is history.........  We have spent time together, stealing away on a summer afternoon, headed to some wooded forest to feel the cool breeze in our faces.  We have found another tribe of friends that also ride bikes.  It has become a passion.  I find myself a little unsettled if we haven't been out for a few days.  I used to get that same feeling if I hadn't ridden horses for awhile.

Funny, my highs and lows are so extreme, no easy way for me to get through this world, no middle road.  I have felt these extremes all my life, why would it change now?  So here I am, the day of the equinox, reflecting on changes, yet again.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Awake at Dawn

The sun is just breaking the horizon.  I try to remember where I am, my eyes don't want to open.  I can smell the earthy scents of damp ground.  I hear the quiet of a morning when the night insects become silent and the birds tentatively sing a note or two.

I am still struggling to open my eyes, as I snuggle deeper into my sleeping bag, hoping to drift back off into sweet dream land.  The fire still has hot coals from the last logs added hours ago. 

As I squint to look under my tipi lodge of canvas, I wonder if I am still dreaming or perhaps visiting a past life.  I suddenly feel like I am out on the western prairie, two hundred years ago.  The earthy smells fill my nose, the campfire ready for morning cooking and the quiet village not yet awake.   My heart soars as I see the black lumps in the distance.  "What is that?" my mind is asking?  It looks like buffalo grazing with the sunlight barely lighting the grasses on the plain.

local herd of buffalo, 2009
I struggle now, finding my bearings between something from the past and something that is happening in September 2012.  Unfortunately my logical brain has made the adjustment, I have found my glasses and I can see what looked like buffalo are my neighbors black Angus cattle grazing in a fenced field across the road. 

I am reluctant to return, so few glimpses of the past are shown.  I will not forget that moment, the sounds, the lodge, the fire, sleeping on the ground.  Were the long gone ancestors that roam our land giving me a picture of what was two hundred years ago?  I thank them this morning as I awake at dawn.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Flea Bitten Kitten

Our youngest grandchild, Tatum Mary Adeline, is three years old.  A milestone in her young life.  She will be giving up her pacifier on this day.  It has been her constant companion for three years, giving her comfort in the night when the lights go out.  When injury's occurred and crying couldn't be stopped with hugs and kisses, everyone was running to find the "pacie".

It has healed hurt feelings when her brothers tease her and when her big sister picks on her.  All these are normal sibling things and certainly the pacifier wasn't always there when needed, if it was close it was used.  Giving it up will be a challenge for little Tatum and the rest at the family too!

Tatum and Sally, 2012
For her birthday it was decided to get Tatum a kitten.  The extended family gathered for the Birthday Party and while everyone was distracted, Tatum's mother and aunt left the party to pick up the kitten from a neighbor with barn kittens.  Coming home with the little black and white kitten they realized they were also bringing home a whole lot of fleas!  This poor flea bitten kitten was going to have to have a flea bath before being presented to it's three year old lover and hugger. 

Little Tatum realized her mom, her aunt and grandma were locked in the bathroom and she was locked out.  Tears and loud crying finally opened the door to show Miss Tatum her birthday surprise.  The still flea bitten kitten was being held for 5 minutes to allow the shampoo to work.  It's little head was spiked with wet hair, her little feet were reaching out with claws bared to grab anything close enough to save it from this horrible wet experience.  We were all saying Happy Birthday Tatum and the kitten let out a pitiful yeow.  Tatum took one look and started backing away in fear of that strange wet flea bitten creature.  Tatum was terrified of her special birthday present!

Not the response her mom had hoped and had anyone had dry hands, a camera should have been used to capture the expression of "I don't want anything to do with THAT!" 

We soon finished with bathing the flea bitten kitten.   It soon dried it off and it began to look like a more like a soft and furry little kitten that could be held and loved on.   This photo is of Tatum and new kitten, Sally. 

P. S.  Tatum is doing fine without the pacifier, not so sure about the family.....


Monday, September 3, 2012

Summers End

Summers end has come, a bittersweet time........... 

It has been a hard summer, drought has cracked the earth, crops and gardens dry from lack of rain.  Flowers blooms were brief, if at all.  We longed for rain, prayed for rain and listened to weather forecasters predict rain and still it didn't come.

It took Hurricane Issac to change our weather pattern and at last some rain has come to our little place on the map in southwest Ohio.  As I write this the sky is heavy and grey, I hope for more rain because we are so parched.  Although it is fall the trees are still thirsty, the ground stores are in need of filling.  Ponds and streams have shriveled in size.  Wild critters adapt by coming closer to our watered plants or bird baths.


Chives in bloom and honey bees are
so happy!

I have hope that the cycle has been broken, rain patterns, cooler temperatures will be more normal.  I hope all people who watch the hummingbird migration will keep their feeders out for an extended period, the flowers they depend on for their energy source may not be blooming this year, you may very well be providing their energy source to make the long trip south. 

I say thanks today for the grey, gloomy and rainy day.  Grateful for summers end and another season coming.  The circle continues and even with the hardships we have been blessed.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Gone to the Birds

Today is one of those days when things happen to get in the way of "the best laid plans".  I am having company, as I type this I know I should be cleaning house.  The story is just begging to come out and so I will share my morning that has gone to the birds!

I went outside to use the leaf blower on the studio porch, leaves are actually falling and blowing onto the porch, I don't know if it is due to the drought or the first sign of fall, however slight it starts with dry falling leaves.

I somehow was "called" into the studio and to a project I'm working on, burning sage and listening to music and organizing my mind about what I should be doing.  I finally got to a point on the project I decide to do what my original plan was and that was to blow off the porch. 

Carolina wren baby
saved from the cat!
Just as I finished and in the nick of time, I hear a distressed bird screaming for help, then I see my studio cat slinking away.  Now I know the habits of cats and birds are often their prey, but something made me go have a look.  The cat ran under the car and dropped her catch.  You'll never guess!!!!  It was a baby wren!!!!  I have been stalking these wrens for weeks!

feeding babies.....

  The stalking began in earnest four days ago when we found them nesting in the padding of an old side saddle hanging from the studio porch ceiling.  What a treat watching the parents come in to feed them on a regular basis.

And now today, the babies are leaving the nest and I have cats ready to capture the yet unskilled little flyers.  I caught the little bird that the cat didn't kill and checked it for injury.  It actually seemed fine, but I couldn't release it until I caught the cat.  The cat knew I was trying to catch her and kept a safe distance. 

saved baby and the adult
on a pine tree branch
Finally the cat went into hiding and I released the little wren on a branch where I'd watched adults land before coming in to feed the babies.  They were so excited to find this little baby, making quite a bit of noise, trying to get him to move from that branch.  Finally the little guy took the plunge into some over grown vegetation and they seemed much happier.  Meanwhile I am taking photos of the entire event, getting great shots to identify the Bewick's wren!  Along with photos of the little baby wren I saved from a sure breakfast this morning.

I have spent hours waiting on the cat to appear so I can put her in the studio for a few days.  While waiting I have been watching the adult wrens trying to coach more baby wrens to leave the nest.  The adults are not feeding them today, the babies are hungry and all but fall from the nest trying to reach the adult that surely has a morsel to eat.   Then the adult fly's away.  I know they are all going to fledge today.  The bird field book I have says there could be five to seven eggs laid.  I've seen two on the verge of falling out, plus the one I saved from the cat.  There could be more, there could be some that left eariler.  I'm so excited to have been in the right place, at the right time.  Isn't it Amazing?

Seriously, I have to clean house or maybe take a shower before company comes!!!!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Messages From Dreams

The in-between time....
I often dream, many dreams are as random as my Meandering Thoughts. I never know where they will take me and have little control of their direction.  Sometimes they offer me messages that become important lessons and those dreams are pondered as to their meaning when I wake up.  My dreams often come at the in-between time, just before night becomes day.

  I would like to share a couple that have made an impact on my journey through life.  One of the first came to me during a particularly hard time.  My oldest daughter was moving into a college dorm and would no longer be at home.  At the same time my dear friend was moving across the country.  My heart was so heavy, I thought my entire world was upside down and I couldn't keep them from moving on, although I wanted to.

The forest has many messages.....
The dream started with the three of us going to an endurance ride together.  We made camp in a forest with the other riders.  Soon after setting up camp, we smelled smoke, there was a forest fire approaching.  Everyone was afraid and the camp was in a panic. We knew we had to get out of there and all three of us offered ideas.  I thought we should all come back to our house, it was the safest place to go.  My friend said, "No, I must go home to my house, it will be safe there."  My daughter said, "No, I can't go home, I have to go back to college, it will be safe there."  As much as I argued they would not come with me.  We parted, going our own direction. 

I woke up and realized the dream had an important message.  I cannot control the lives and beliefs of others.  They had their life to live and I had mine.  I have always remembered that dream when I tried to "plan" what others should be doing and where they might be going.  This was a big lesson and  I am a happier person for listening to my dream and understanding the message given to me.

Another dream deals with FEAR.  I don't think I'm particularly fearful, never the less it was a good lesson.  Maybe the time of the dream I was having some "fear" about something.

Buffalo came calling...........
The dream took me a retreat, people were familiar to me in this dream, very much like real life.  During one of the breaks, I went outside with three others to sit at a picnic table.  We were in a forest, (I seem to like the forests, maybe this is a clue, "out of the darkness of the forest a lesson will be learned") while we were sitting at the table a buffalo came walking through the trees toward our picnic table.  I was terrified, really terrified.  (I'm not sure I would have been that afraid if this had been real.)  My friend, who was sitting on the same side of the table I was, kept saying, "Don't show your fear and he will go away."  "Don't show your fear and he will go away."  I still was terrified and tried to hide by laying down on the seat.  I couldn't stop being afraid and suddenly the buffalo was behind me.  I could feel his breath on the back of my head, it was warm and loud.  Suddenly, my friend across the table stood up and said, "Read this!!" and she handed me a piece of paper with writing on it.  As quickly as I started reading her note my fear was gone and so was the buffalo. 

I felt the lesson here was, if you dwell on the fear in your life it will remain and keep you terrified.  If you think of something else, you have let the fear go........ and so it is no longer there causing fear. 

Lessons come to us in many ways, dreams are just one way.  I love when I get messages from my dreams.  I often have to write them down to remember.  These two were so real, I couldn't forget them.  The smell of smoke, the breath of the buffalo........... and yes, I also dream in color.  I wonder what that means....... 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Old Recipes

Some memories from the recipe box......
I was invited to a wedding shower and the invitation said to bring a recipe to share.  To pick the perfect recipe is harder that it might seem.  I don't cook like I did when the kids were all home.  Richard and I just eat differently now.  I don't have a garden, which is where much of our food came from when our children were growing up.  I did can tomatoes, tomato sauces, green beans, apple sauce and even jellies.  I loved freezing my own corn and other veggies.  It was hard work, but when winter came, it was so worth it!!!

 I love that this generation of young brides want to cook.  They seem excited about organic vegetables and making things from scratch.  Our sweet young bride to-be seemed delighted at all the kitchen things she received for gifts.  

As for the recipes she received, I don't know if she will try them or not.  What I most loved about the idea,  she has a little piece of who we are on that recipe card.  Lovingly hand written.  One recipe was hand written, it belonged to her Grandmother, who passed long ago.  Just having her handwriting on a recipe card is a special gift.  I also have in my recipe box hand written cards that were shared at my bridal shower forty three years ago.  These recipe cards remind me of Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners as a family long ago.  They remind me of people who are no longer with us.   They remind me of family times together, sitting around a big table, laughing and talking.   Little memory jogs are kept in my old recipe box.

Emily and Trisha baking
cookies, 80's
I shared two recipes, the first was our favorite baked cheesecake recipe when my kids were growing up.  The second was from when I was growing up.  It became a favorite in our family as well.   It was a cake I learned to bake when I was a young girl.  The cake recipe came from an old pamphlet cookbook that was printed during WWII.  It was called the Wartime Cake.  This cake was great because it was egg less, butter less and milk less.  Supplies for cooking were scarce and certain items took ration cards during the war.  (I found a few of these ration books in my Grandmothers things.)  The shortening of choice was lard during that time.  Do kids today even know what lard is?  In my day we used Crisco, I think my kids use butter to make this cake now.

The funny story about this cake and me learning to bake was shared on the back of the recipe card too.  When I was learning to cook, everything required salt and pepper.  Well, why would it be different for a cake?  Haha!  I invented what the family called the "Pepper Cake"!  Oh, I only made it once, but it didn't go to waste, I'm sure my brother Brian was the only one who finished the first ever Pepper Cake. 

WARTIME CAKE  - 300* oven    -  50 to 60 min.  (don't over bake)
     1 cup of raisins
     1 cup brown sugar (packed)
     1 cup water
     1/2 cup shortening
     1 tsp. cinnamon
     1 tsp. nutmeg
     1 tsp. cloves
Combine these ingredients in a saucepan, heat to boil, simmer 2 min.  Cool

Sift together
     2 cups of all purpose flour
     1 tsp. soda
     1 tsp. salt

Add dry ingredients to cool raisin mixture.  Pour into greased 9" cake pan and bake 300* for 50 to 60 minutes.  Test with tooth pick for doneness, do not over bake.

From kitchen of  -  Cynthia (DeRemer) McDonald

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Heat Wave

We seem to be in the middle of a heat wave in Ohio.  Of course, it isn't just Ohio, all the mid-west and eastern states seem to be in the same oven.  Our temperatures have been hovering in the near 100's for more than a week now.

Storms have torn through towns across the country.  Taking down trees and electric lines.  Power has been lost and it give us cause to rethink the dependency we have on electricity.  No air conditioning, no lights, no water, food in the freezer thawing and no showers. 

Oh some of us may have generators, but they will only run if there is gas to feed them.  What happens when there is no gas?  What about farms with animals to feed and water. 

I don't want to cause alarm, but don't you wonder if you could survive without all the modern conveniences of electric and gas?  I haven't watched all the survivor shows on TV for nothing, I might be able to make fire or build a little dry structure if necessary.   I wonder if I could continue to survive without all the modern conveniences?  Scares me a little to think about. 

A favorite book.........
I haven't had a garden in awhile, only growing a tomato plant or two.  Certainly not enough to live on.  I used to can tomatoes and green beans and corn.  I could do it again if I had to.  The thing is, you never know when the crisis will come, I wouldn't be ready to start today!!!! 

I'd love to have my own chickens and even a cow or goat to milk.  Not that I drink milk, but it can be used in cooking and making butter.  I am angered to the point of no return when I see government telling us we can't have home gardens and medicinal herbs growing around our yards.  It isn't neat and tidy like yards with sprinkler systems that get mowed on a weekly basis, most lawns can survive drought conditions.  Heaven forbid a family would have chickens or a goat!!!  I know of some housing areas that won't even allow a clothes line for wet laundry. 

Back in the 70's we were more conscious about wasting.   Before that, the great depression taught our elders to use and reuse everything!   Today we live in a throw away society and I get angry when an appliance has a life expectancy of only 10 years.  My kitchen range was twenty-five years old when we got married, I can still get it fixed today, at 50 years old it's considered an antique now.  I love that stove, no smooth cooktop for me, no self cleaning oven and it still works beautifully! 

Okay, meandering again, just saying, I think we all need to be more self sufficient.  It is a matter of survival.   Back in the 70's there was a softbound book I bought, Carla Emery's "An Encyclopedia of Country Living, Old Fashioned Recipe Book".  It talks about everything you could possibly want to know about surviving as a homesteader.  I will still look for something in this book now and then.   There is a book similar, if not the same, maybe an updated version on book shelves today.  Years ago, when my children were moving into their own places, they got a copy of this book, I wonder if they still have that book ...........  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fourth of July

Grandpa, Ralph DeRemer
Today is July 4th, 2012.  As a kid it was just another day, my parents never made it much of a big deal.  I do remember my Grandmother Rankin coming down and she always brought some sparklers and some firecrackers and a few cherry bombs.  Otherwise it wasn't much of a flag raising day.

I didn't know then that my paternal grandfather was a soldier in World War I.  I didn't know my birth father made a career with the Air Force.  I still know little about his life and his service to our country.  I found that two of my brothers served.  I am so proud to know this, I honor them and thank them for their sacrifices.

My youngest brother, Mitch just retired, he did three tours in Afghanistan.  He flew the Blackhawk helicopter and was awarded with the Distinguished Flying Cross.   I think that kind of service changes a man.  I pray now for him to be able to go on and live a life that gives him peace and happiness. 

Red, White and Blue
Since discovering my fathers family, I have discovered two other young men, second cousins who are in the service, I ponder how brave they must be and honor their dedication to keep us free and protect our country.

Today I have my flags raised in the front yard.  I, at last, feel connected to those who have helped protect our rights and freedoms.  

One of the coolest things that happened this summer was when I took my brother Mike and his wife Jeanne to their first pow wow.  I have always been moved by the thanks and honor that go to the Veterans at pow wows and this year was no different.  They carry flags for each branch of the military and honored ALL who have served, the Veterans walk the sacred circle as we stood and saluted them, there were men and women, old and young.  This year they honored anyone who served in the military and had taken their final sacred journey in the past year.  Mike gave them our fathers name and it was read aloud with all the other names.  I felt proud to hear our fathers name, Stephen Guy DeRemer, read among the others.  Tears fall now as I write this blog, for our Dad and all others who have given so much.

Independence day for these
fledged barn swallows too.
It is a sad thing to be 63 years old and finally learn and feel the importance of this day.  I guess it is never too late to learn lessons in this life, I am glad to know my family is a part of the reason for this celebration.  My Blessings to you all.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Road Farming

Summer evening in June.......
Long time ago, before children and other oblgations in life, such as being adults and endless things that needed to be done,  Richard and I used to go for rides around the countryside.  We would just enjoy time together in our little pickup truck.  My wonderful husband would take me on roads I'd never traveled, we were on his home ground, where he grew up.  He would point out homes of classmates and families we might know in common.  We had no air conditioning in our little yellow '67 Chevy truck, the windows were rolled down and the wind cooled us on hot summer evenings.

We named this aimless way of traveling, road farming.  Since my wonderful husband and I were from farm backgrounds it was fun to see fields being plowed and disc.  Rowing (watching it sprout in fields) corn and beans in late May was a sign crops were well on their way and planted on time.  Corn that was knee high by the fourth of July were sure to make ears and have time to dry on the stalk by late September.

This year, 2012, Richard and I are road farming again, this time from the top of a Harley Trike.  We are traveling roads that are unfamiliar to me, he names owners of houses we both know, identifies classmates homes from the class of 1965 and he now tells me where his past students live.  Names are familiar and stories are remembered. 

Tasseling corn June 30, 2012
We have watched the corn and beans grow this spring.   We have smelled the sweet aroma of hay that had be cut and was being baled.  We saw the wheat ripen and be combined and then baled for straw.  The sweet smell of wheat being harvested took me back to our dairy barn with straw bedding and the Greene County Fair when clean newly baled straw was used to bed the animals.  Today animals are bedded down with cedar shavings, a different smell and one our grandchildren will recall someday when they visit their own memories of the Greene County Fair.

On the last day of June 2012 we went for a cool ride on our Iron Horse, Blue.  We rode back country roads and saw corn that was starting to tassle, the smell of those tassles and the silks of newly form ears of corn was intoxicating.  What happened to "knee high by the fourth of July?", I ask Richard.  He said that all the crops were planted unusually early this year, no till planting began in April.  (Farmers no longer plow the earth and disc it smooth, it hopefully will save the fields from wind erosion.)

Wild flowers on the hillside...
Everything seems to be month early this year.  Already the two cuttings of hay have been taken from most fields and the July wheat was harvested in June.  Pastures are eaten down, cattle and horses are resting in the shade of lone trees in their pastures, it looks like late July.  The earth is thirsty for rain and summer storms come with high humidity and hot temperatures.  Summer seems to have come early in every respect. 

I have enjoyed Road Farming again, a time when things stop, you are living "in the moment" "taking time to smell the roses" and remember the way things were.  As much as things change, they remain the same.  We still enjoy the cool air on a hot summer evening.  Life is good............

Friday, June 15, 2012

It's Not The Destination, It's The Ride

"It's not the denstination, it's the ride."  A common statement in regard to riding a Harley.  I will also say the same about being married to my wonderful husband of forty three years.  We are always a little shocked at the amount of time that has rushed past and brought us to this point.   Certainly we don't feel much different than we did in our twenties.

We dated in high school, I was sixteen and head over heels, a "teenager in love".  Hummm, wasn't that a song title?  We went to football games, drove around the local Friches and ordered sandwiches from the outdoor speaker, food came and a tray was placed on the window by an outdoor waitress.  We went to school dances and 4H camp together.  I always had a curfew and we never parked, I was too afraid of those Urban legends that we talked about at slumber parties being true!   Laugh if you want...........  :D

We married and did all the usual things, had our family, worked hard and played when we had the money.  I never felt rich, I never felt poor.......... we just were living the life and enjoying each phase as it came to us.  It's been a great journey.

Now, here we are.  Still living life as it comes to us, enjoying our children and our grandchildren, they are the best thing about our life!   We are finding joy in my additional family that is just new to us.   We both have found working and playing is harder than it used to be!  We still do it, it just takes longer than it used to.

Yesterday, our anniversary of forty-three years, June 14th, also Flag Day, we celebrated by taking our month old Harley Davidson Trike for a ride.  The day was cool and sunny and we rode around 150 miles, with a stop for lunch and a couple other stops along the way.  I love riding, the smell of ripening wheat, the scent of the cows as we pass a dairy farm, the aroma of pine trees, the shade of riding a wooded back road, the brightness of open flat farmland, and the air in my face.  It is a little peace of heaven when we are out on our bike.

Then it happened, we were about thirty minutes from home when it hit us both, we were not used to this and our butt bones were suffering!!!!  Holy cow, maybe we really need to spend more time conditioning before we ride this long.  When we got home we both found a comfortable spot to take a little nap and recover!  What a wonderful day!  Happy Anniversary Honey!

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Stars and Moon Aligned

Super Moon, May 5, 2012.......
Well, it seems that stars are aligned and the "super moon" is causing people to do things that they might not consider under normal conditions.  It has different effects on each of us, it becomes important when know the profound effect on us personally and go with the flow.

As the moon started rounding out and getting brighter with each night that passed this last week, I knew it was a of sign powers beyond, helping to pull us along a path.  Our little demo ride on the Harley Trike made the light shine brighter and knew we had to just go for one more test ride!

It was a last minute decision, to try the Trike out again on Wednesday night.  Ryan met us there on his bike and we went for a nice long ride in the country.  The feelings I had were ones of freedom, living the moment, drinking in the world around me and being outside in nature.   I didn't know how much I missed that feeling, it is much like riding a horse down a wooded trail.  An adventure with different perspective from riding inside a car.  No one ever told me what it felt like, no one ever expressed why they liked to ride their bikes.  Now I understand and am totally addicted!

Before our ride we walked into the Harley dealership and saw the same fellow we'd talked to the day of the demo ride.  Of course Richard knew him, he'd been in shop class when Richard was an Ag teacher.  As we chatted he said, "Did you see the "used" trike we just got in today?"  We hadn't and he took us in the showroom where it was on display.  He said the guy bought it a week ago and decided he didn't like it.  The Trike only had 44 miles on it!  We found out that Harley Trikes are in high demand and to find a used one is very rare!  And to find one that is my favorite color, blue...........  well, I knew the stars were in alignment! 

goin' for a ride...
Decisions like this are usually lingered over for awhile, the pro and cons considered.  We had talked for awhile before we ever test rode one.  We were both excited about the possibility of spending time together, sharing a common interest.  After 43 years of marriage we found hobbies and interests that keep us busy and happy, also took us in different directions.  It wasn't that we didn't come together again, we did have our family times with the children and grandchildren, we just didn't have as much together time.  Plus, it is very relaxing, Richard doesn't take time to relax very often, he always finds work that needs done.  A trike would change all of that. 

So we made the plunge and joined the world of Harley Davidson owners.  We have a "used" blue HD Trike in our barn.  Our first night out we were initiated by rain, we'll be getting some rainwear soon!   I just can't wait for Richard to come home and we can go for a ride again.  Just too much fun!!!  I love when the stars and moon are aligned and we are showered with it's blessings!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Baby Boomers

demo ride on a Harley Davidson Tri-Glide
I guess my husband and I fall into the baby boomer, generation.  Scary to even admit that out loud or in written form.  It wasn't so bad, knowing this twenty years ago.  Now, it reminds me of being in the older generation.  I am fighting as hard as I can not to become old!!!  It will be a fight all the way to the end, I promise!

My wonderful husband feels the same way.  He is still very active and even since he retired from teaching Vocational Agriculture after 36 years, he still works.  He is a caretaker for a farm in our rural community, mowing the yard, keeping the house ready for the owners to come and visit at their whim.  He has so many hobbies, I have lost count of them. 

I enjoy my art studio, gourds and paintings can keep me happy for hours and hours.  I have my Native American flutes to play, they keep me balanced and provide my heart song.  I love when the tipi goes up and friends come to enjoy it with me.  I also love to drum, something very powerful and at the same time very meditative about drumming. 

So you see we are very happy and active, and even "young".   I think being young means trying new things, keeping the possibilities open and learning something new.  So it shouldn't be a surprise, if something else catches our eye or interest, who knows, we might give it some consideration.  When visiting my brother in Texas this past March, I was treated with a ride on his Harley.  Oh my gosh, it was the most fun!  Took me back to my horse riding days!  Freedom, fresh air and power!

My wonderful husband had a bike a long time ago.  A small bike, he rode it often during the summer, that all ended when a truck turned in front of him.  We were lucky he was wearing a helmet, his head hit the mirror of the truck.  He had many facial injuries and was in the hospital for awhile.  We haven't thought about bikes, although our son had some and we thought it was a phase he'd outgrow.  Then a couple years ago he got a Harley and then I find my brother has been riding for forty years. 

Today, at our son's nudging encouragement, we went to our local Harley Davidson dealership for demo days and took a ride on the baby boomer model! A beautiful red Tri-Glide!  Oh My Gosh!  Too much fun!  We walked away, talking about taking another ride on a nice warm sunny day in the future.  Honestly, youth is still in our eyes and our hearts, go BABY BOOMERS go!!!!!!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sometimes It's Hard To Say.........

Okay, this is one of those things that is on my mind today and I feel the need to explore it.  For me writing about something is a way of my own self-discovery.  Sometimes that isn't easy, this journey of self-discovery.

I spoke with a friend this morning.  I have many friends that I share a common bond, many are women friends and there are some that are men friends.  The friendship with men is not to be taken in any way, shape or form more than a friendship or I think of them like I would a "brother".   

This friend means the world to me, I enjoy our conversations, many times our talks are fun and just catching up.  Sometimes they explore our deep feelings about the world around us and why things are the way they are.  Usually nothing is resolved, but it was talked about and shared.  We share our frustrations with things that can't be easily changed, sometimes it is about the path we choose to walk and how difficult our choice or how wonderful our choice.   He can say things in a way that cause me to explore my inner self a little and I would like to think that I in some way have helped him too.

As we were closing our conversation, that was rather deep and meaningful, I wanted to tell him how much it means to me that he listens and gives me his "take" on something.  Sometimes it's hard to say, "I love you",  I certainly don't want to be inappropriate.  So I pondered this while working in the studio today.

Why is it so difficult to tell someone you love them?  I can say it to my children and grandchildren and of course my wonderful husband.  But to say it, when your whole heart feels it and you hesitate because you are afraid of being inappropriate, it is often left unsaid. 

I have spent the last year discovering my fathers family, one that was kept from me my entire life.  My heart swells with so much emotion when I think of them, I can hardly see what I type for the tears.  These tears come for so many reasons.  The joy in finding them and being accepted by them.  The sadness for missing time with my Father, finding him and then loosing him forever.  Hurt that the time has been lost and fear that I'll never get enough, now that I have found this family.  This family that I love!  Can anyone even understand this unless they have been there and felt the same feelings? I truly love them and find it impossible not to tell them how I feel.  Afraid to leave it unsaid because so much was unsaid in my life.

My new brother and I spoke of this, last July, sitting in our fathers hospital room.  I shared that I can't recall the last time my Mother told me she loved me.  I'm sure she did, once, long ago.   And yet I haven't felt or heard it from her in a long time.  Then I find my father and will never hear it from him.  I do know when his mind cleared the last day I was at his bedside and I told him that I loved him, he knew I meant it and our eyes spoke the truth to one another with love that words would never express.  Why did I wait so long to find him, would we have been able to speak of "love" if he'd been healthy and well?  Probably not, sometimes it's hard to say, "I love you".

One thing I have learned in this last year.....  I can say "I love you".  I don't say it easily, when I say it I mean it with all my being.   My whole self realizes how important it is to share your heart.  My whole self knows this could be my last day on this earth.  Did I tell everyone who matters to me, men or women, brothers or sisters, children or even my husband that I love them?  Sometimes it's hard to say............   everyday it gets easier, "I love you!"

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Remembering Easter

When I was a kid I remember Easter morning.  It would start off as a normal day, get out of bed, go out and do the chores.  Which I remember would be gathering eggs, feeding rabbits and maybe bottle feeding the new orphan lamb.  As we dressed to go outside, pulling on our boots or grabbing a jacket, we would sometimes find a treat the Easter Bunny left hiding there.  A big ole peanut butter egg with rock hard colorful icing was always the biggest treat, seems like our name might have even been on the egg.  That was to avoid one person collecting all three peanut butter eggs as my brother might have done!!!  Ha!
Cindy in her Easter dress.....

I also remember my Grandmother coming down and my Uncle Billy for Easter dinner.  Ham and deviled eggs, mashed potatoes and gravy and an array of veggies and a jello salad.  It always ended with homemade pies, my grandmother and mom were the best pie bakers!!!!

I also remember having Easter Egg Hunts outside in our forest of trees.  We dressed up for the day in our pretty frilly dresses.  I can't imagine we wore those dresses very long or even putting them on after that Easter.  We didn't go to fancy places or even to church.  A strange custom as I look back on it now.

Whitey our Easter Bunny......
My grandmother always brought us big Easter baskets covered with colored plastic and pretty bows.  My favorite Easter memory was the rabbits she gave us.  Oh, did I love those rabbits.  After that Easter it wasn't long before we had baby bunnies running everywhere.  It was a good present for me who loved the critters. 

This spring I took my girls back to the home I was raised.  They never remembered being there.  I tried painting a picture for them about where our tree house was, pointed to a place in the trees that the chicken houses sat.  And told them where the rabbit cages were.  Their biggest shock was the fact that we had an outhouse!!!  

I think of my grandmother today, all the changes she must have seen in her life time.  She lived and raised a family during the depression, it was a hard time.  To have a convenience of indoor plumbing must have been major.  My children can't imagine running to the outhouse on a cold winter day!  They are shocked by this and look at me like I'm really old.  I haven't felt old, until that moment, when they looked at me with such disbelief.

Thelma Gladys Coak, Rankin
my grandmother
It was my grandmother (I assume) who instilled the survival lessons my mother needed to raise her family.  We had really big gardens.  We canned and sold our produce from those gardens.  We raised chickens and sold eggs.  We raised turkeys and rabbits and dressed them out for sale to people who placed orders.  It was a lot of work, I remember helping, even as a little kid, we picked green beans and pulled weeds.  I remember setting onions in the garden, a nice straight row and covering them up. 

I remember the pantry we kept along the cool outside wall of our kitchen.  All of our canned tomatoes, green beans, peaches and apple sauce were kept there.  I didn't even mention blackberry and raspberry picking and making jellies and jams.  When winter came we were prepared with the summer harvest.

So I am meandering again.........  going from Easter to summer gardens and surviving when times were hard and money was earned in many different ways.  It brings me back to my Easter bunnies, they weren't just a gift for me to play with, they also had their job in the big scheme of life during the time I grew up.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday

Yesterday I spent a wonderful afternoon with a friend that I haven't seen in years.  Lynn and I have known each other for nearly forty years, our story began when our husbands taught school together.

Life happened and they moved on to other places and we each had families to raise and homes to keep going.  Of course the guys would run into each other now and again and were able to keep up on farm things.  Lynn and I kept in touch through Christmas cards.  A year or so ago I found my friend on Facebook and we have been connected by the internet.

Out of the blue she calls me on our house phone a couple weeks ago.  I rarely answer the house phone, I figure if someone needs me, they know my cell phone number.  But on this day, in the middle of the afternoon, our house phone rings and something tells me to answer.  It was my friend Lynn.  I, of course, was a little surprised to hear from her and she was wondering if  I would be interested in putting some of my artwork in her little gift shop and greenhouse.  I thought is sounded like a fun idea and we got together, the four of us. 

After driving a couple hours we arrived at their beautiful country home sitting in the middle of Ohio's rich farmland.  Farmers on big tractors, pulling hugh discs were working in the fields, spring was certainly showing all signs of planting season in this flat farm country.  The guys immedately headed outside to do "farm" stuff.

Lynn and I were quickly catching up on years of family information, finding a common bond immediately.  We weren't together for thiry minutes before we discovered our other connection.  We were totally on the same page about the things many people don't talk about........  that would be the spiritual part of living on this earth.  We know that "accidents" don't just happen.  We know that things have happend that we could never have planned.  We know there are reasons and perfect timing for all things to happen, we call that Devine timing. We understand that our thoughts are the first action to bringing whatever it is we want into our lives.  We know there is a heaven above, that spirits live, angels surround us and they communicate with us on a daily basis, if we listen.  We know we have the power within ourselves to create what we want to happen.  We know that all things are connected!  We know it and shared our stories, our proof these things are true.  Our goosebump stories went back and forth for hours.  Who does this with someone they haven't seen and only shared Christmas cards with for forty years?

I don't often just put this out there for the world to see, because there are those that would tell me I am wrong or think I have an active imagination.  I have nothing to hide.  I have many stories of moments and happenings that have made me a believer in a higher power.  I have seen and experienced things that I couldn't make up, I have shared some of those "stories" in other blogs. 

Thanks Lynn for a wonderful day, I know we will be connecting soon,  there is much more we have to share with one another!  And so today, this Good Friday, 2012, I wish nothing but blessings and peace to all who come and read about my life.  It is real and amazing and I am filled with gratitude.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spring And The Doors Are Open

Japanese Iris just starting to bloom, 2012
It is truly spring in Ohio.  Only a few days into April and flowers are blooming throughout the gardens.  I have been checking Bluebird boxes and two nests are started by bluebirds and sparrows have claimed several other boxes, even laid eggs.  Of course, sparrow nests are removed from the Bluebird boxes.  Of the seven boxes, two have bluebird nests and I'm so excited about that!

The frogs in my frog pond are too many to count, they slowly push their eyes above the water edge and watch me watching them.  Some sit bravely on the old decayed leaves and soak up the sunshine.  The water Iris are growing strong in the corner of this rather unsightly frog pond.  This used to be my fish pond, before a branch fell and punched a hole through the liner.  The pump was turned off and the quiet water was perfect for frogs to lay eggs.  Now I don't exactly know what to do with it, I don't want to upset the balance of this pond for the frogs.  So the fall leaves rot in the water and become the perfect place to raise frogs.  I have to let go of the idea of clean sparkeling water that the fish used live in before the hole.

front flower bed, 2012

I have already had to mow the yard several times and that started on my birthday on March 19th.  Never have I mowed the yard in March.  Records were set this year for temperatures above eighty degrees and the number of days in a row it has been that warm for the month of March.

The redbud trees have already bloomed and the tulip trees were stunning this year.  Forsythia have also bloomed their sunshine yellow flowers and the yellows are now fading away, the red and purple phase of the garden in taking over, with wild violets as well as tulips, lilacs and iris are blooming.

bluebird box.....
I love when it is warm enough to throw open the windows and doors.  Most of you will find this highly irregular, but I stopped putting screens in the windows and we have no screen/storm doors.  I find the there is only a brief time between the furnace running and when we turn on the air conditioning and screens are just not necessary.  I haven't used them for years and love that the views are not altered by screens, it's like being outside when I'm in the house.

I also love when the cleaning fairy comes and starts my spring house cleaning.  She climbs the step stool and cleans shelves above the windows, gets the nooks and crannies free of winter dust bunnies and whatever else lurks in those places.  She was just here and the house sparkled.  Everything dusted and swept and cleaned. 

So when I took a moment to sit in the back room that looks out to the barn, past the blooming flowers and the fresh mowed yard, I was content to just relax with a little coffee.  It was then that I notice a white spot of something on the table where the TV sits.  I was a little far away to determine what it was, but it looked like a paper had be laid down on a wet spot and when picked up, some of the white page was left behind.  I stopped worrying about it and made a mental note to check it out.  Of course I forgot and went on with my day. 

The next day, sitting in the same chair, still basking in how nice everything looked inside and outside and sipping my coffee, I again noticed the white stuff on the table.  This time I dragged myself from my comfy chair and forced my still new knees to get me up, yet again, and went to seriously look at the white stuff on the table. 

I was rather shocked to discover it was bird poop.  No doubt about it, a white splat of bird poop was on the table that was just cleaned a few days ago by the cleaning fairy.  I conclude that a bird came calling through my open door into the house.  He obviously found his way out of the maze and went back outside, but not before bringing me back to reality and noting why other people must use screens on their doors and windows.