Monday, July 28, 2014

Operation Sort And Toss Underway

I was so happy to see my candy stripe zinnias blooming this year.
They were planted from seeds I'd saved from last year's crop.  
This one is one of my favorites.

How was your weekend?  We worked outside Saturday in some 
flower beds and trimmed back a few lilac bushes and removed 
stuff that was past it's prime in the garden.  I watered all 
the flowers thoroughly including the perennials and our few fruit 
trees.  As soon as I finished it clouded up and rained a 
little.  We didn't get much, less than a half inch.  We need more.

  I'm going underground this week.  Ha!  Actually, I'm going to 
dive into something I've put off far too long.  The unfinished 
part of the basement is where we store things and I need to go 
through boxes and totes and get rid of stuff no longer needed.  

All this means I may be away from blog land for a few days.
Depends on how much time I devote to this project. 
If you don't see me for a week, send help.  Okay?  And wish
me luck.  I tend to want to keep everything.  

Happy Monday to you!
xo Cheryl

Friday, July 25, 2014

My Friday Random 5

I had to make a little run to the city yesterday.  While there I made a quick walk through Shelter Gardens to see how their flowers were looking this summer.  I practiced some macro shooting on this hibiscus, and I still need lots more practice but shooting in the very bright sun makes seeing your camera kind of difficult.  It was a beautiful day but the sun seemed exceptionally bright, probably because I was taking photos.

This old water pump in the gardens always brings back thoughts of the farm where I grew up.  In the summer, I was often given the job of pumping water for whatever livestock happened to be in the lot by the barn.  The pump was very similar to this one.  It wasn't a hard job, but it took some time to fill the tank under the spout if it was very low in water.  I had many different chores living on the farm.  I'll tell about some others another time.  What was a chore you were given to do when you were a youngster?

I also stopped by the resale shop yesterday.  I'd forgotten they were having their Christmas in July things out.  I don't know about you, but I'm just not ready to look at Christmas stuff in July!!  I only bought a cookbook written by a woman who used to write articles and share recipes in the old Kitchen Klatter magazines.  Anyone remember those?  Yeah, I know, I'm really telling my age here.  My grandmother used to subscribe to this little magazine and would pass them on to me.  Bottles of Kitchen Klatter flavorings used to be on the grocery shelves, but I haven't seen them in years.  I should have done a Google search to see if they were still in business.

My little buddy, Stormy, helping me shuck corn for dinner last night.  I shuck the corn and put it into a kettle of boiling water and boil 4 minutes.  Perfecto!  My aunt tells me I should just put the corn, husks and all, in the microwave and I've heard other people do this but old habits die hard.  I still prefer to do it this way.  I know it will be good!  How do you prepare your corn on the cob?  

I just can't resist sharing another photo of my sunflowers.  If you were following me last year, you know I had a thing for zinnias and showed them nearly every day, or so it seemed.  I still love zinnias but haven't taken many photos of them this year.  No worries!  You'll get to see some of them before summer is over.  :)    

Linking to Tanya's Willy Nilly Friday 5

Happy Friday to you!
xo Cheryl 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Good Fences And Good Food

This simple white fence section on either side of the lane leading to a country home adds a nice touch, I think.  It is so good to see the corn crops looking so well this year.  

BG and I went to dinner last night in a nearby town and I took these shots after I got him to pull over to the shoulder of the highway.  What really caught my eye on our little drive through the rural countryside on our way to dinner was how tall the corn crops are and how good they look this year.  We are needing more rain now, but I think the corn is already "made".  

We had dinner at a little restaurant in the little river town and I, of course, had to get a shot of the unusual little fence in front of the building.  Or whatever it is, I call it a fence.  :)

After a hot and busy afternoon, I was glad to get out of cooking!  So what did I have to eat?  BBQ pork steak and BG had the special which was BBQ brisket with bleu cheese potatoes.  I love cheese, but am not fond of bleu cheese.  I had a baked potato.  I couldn't eat all of my steak and got a box to take it home, but when I got up to leave we stopped to talk to some folks there and I forgot all about it and left it on the table.  So there went my midnight snack.  We were too full to have some of their wonderful strawberry cake.

We walked just a little ways down the street after dinner where there is a very small park in between the buildings.  This was the fence next to the sidewalk.  There are some beautiful hydrangeas in this little park.  I wish mine did so well!  The one I planted is barely hanging in there.  For some reason, I just don't have good luck with hydrangeas. 

Linking to Theresa's Good Fences

Happy Thursday to you!
xo Cheryl

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Few FLowers And A Nest

I was going to make this a wordless Wednesday post, but do you know how hard it is for me to remain wordless?  Especially when I have a pretty and new-to-me sunflower to show.  I have shown this one before, but this shot is a little better than the last one.  I'm loving this color!  But, I'm sad to report, something is getting into my sunflowers and has broken some of them.  It's sad to see those pretty heads wilting and dying.

Here is my repurposed planter for flowers that I mentioned back in the spring.  We had an old fire pit that was too dilapidated to use, so we discarded the top part and took out the grate.  I had BG drill some holes in the bottom for drainage and I used some spray paint I had left over from last year and I now have a new and different planter.

I've been meaning to show this nest.  As you can see in the photo on the left, the tree is dead and the nest is very near the top.  See the ear of corn hanging from a branch that the bird appears to be looking at?

And what's amazing about the nest is that after the storm that went through the area a couple of weeks ago, that took down a number of trees, the nest is still there!  I'm always amazed at a bird's handiwork in fashioning a nest that withstands high winds and rain and hail.

I believe this is a hawk in the nest, but I'm not sure what kind.  Maybe a Red-tailed Hawk?  I would see him or her sitting in the nest nearly each time I drove by this tree.

That's it for this Wednesday.  It's been a busy week thus far and a very hot one, too.  Hope your week is going well!

Happy Wednesday to you!
xo Cheryl         

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Good Weekend And A List

We will be eating apples soon from our new little orchard!  We have both peach and apples on 7 trees.  This first tree is a very slim dwarf tree but is just loaded with apples, as you can see.

Our son came home Friday evening for the weekend.  We had a little family conference and set some goals that we want to accomplish.  I do believe we are among the biggest procrastinators around.  We made it into a little contest to make it interesting and to spur us on to accomplish said goals.  One major job on our end is to be done by the end of August.  I'll talk more about it later, but I can say that it involves sheetrock and paint.  

I may have mentioned this before, but I love to make lists.  Here are a few things that I love:
1.  A beautiful weekend with all my family.

2.  A happy, loving kitty...Stormy had developed some matted fur on her back and it has been very hard to get her to hold still long enough to get it cut off.  I told BG that I probably would be making an appointment with the vet to get the job done.  I think she understands most things I say!  Between the both of us, we managed to get the offending fur cut away just recently.  She is very happy and feels so much better now!
3.  Animals...there is a very wonderful story that made me cry about a rescued 50 year old elephant in the news.  Here is the link if you haven't seen the story.

4.  Fresh veggies from the garden...I gathered more cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and zucchini from the garden yesterday.  What is your favorite garden vegetable? 
5.  A good pasta salad...I made a pasta salad with cheese-filled tortellini and added some of the cukes and cherry tomatoes from the garden.  I also added some red onion and poured a bit of Paul Newman's Olive Oil and Vinegar salad dressing over it, with an extra shake or two of olive oil, and tossed and served.  Yum!  I try to change up my salads as we eat them fairly often in the summer.  What is your favorite pasta salad?

After enjoying a week of wonderful weather and cooler temps, it is getting HOT again.  Hope you are enjoying your summer wherever you are!

Note:  I'm still having a problem with some of my comments not showing up, as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago.  Anyone else still having this problem, too?

Happy Monday to you!
xo Cheryl

Friday, July 18, 2014

Willy Nilly Friday 5

It's Friday!  And time for my Random 5.  I love sunsets.  I thought I might catch a nice one the other evening, so I grabbed the cameras and hopped in the truck and took off for the lake.  My daughter went along and snapped this first one with my little ELPH.  I liked the reflection in the hood of the truck (or pickup).  The next photos are from the same evening. 

I was just browsing through a few blogs this morning and one of the bloggers had mentioned that she thought dangling earrings weren't usually a good idea for a woman of a certain age.  I LOVE to wear dangling earrings and I'm a..cough, cough...certain age.  They aren't overly large or flashy, as I do like tasteful jewelry.  But they dangle.  What do you gals think?  Do you like dangling earrings and does age really matter?  I say wear what you like!

There are some things about my small town that I don't particularly like, but I do love our lakes.  I'm fortunate in that it only takes me a few minutes to drive to them from my house.  What is the best feature in or near where you live in your town/city/country?

The news is too depressing lately and I refuse to watch it on tv and hear the same things repeated over and over again or listen to pundits expressing their opinions.  I do read just enough to stay informed.  Yesterday, I saw that the risk for earthquakes has increased for about half of the US.  I was glad to see that my area is in the lower half on the risk scale.  Those that live in the boot heel area of MO are in the greatest risk.  I'm happy I don't live there.   Do you worry about earthquakes where you are? 

The summer is almost half over if you consider that school starts for most next month.  Where does the time go?  We have gotten the date of our vacation this fall nailed down.  And I'm 95 percent sure where we're going and I'll tell you when I'm 100 percent.  In the meantime, we have a gazillion things we want to get done before then.  

I'm linking to Tanya's Willy Nilly Friday 5.  Join the party and share 5 random things/thoughts about you or your family or pets or whatever floats your boat!

Happy Friday to you!
xo Cheryl

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Good Fences

I was looking through my photos and found some more fence shots taken in Branson on our last visit.  I will share these today at Good Fences   hosted by Theresa aka TexWisGirl.

All of the fences here were inside the park at Silver Dollar City.

I love the color of this fence! 

I'm taking my aunt to see her husband today.  He has been moved to a nursing home but was walking (with help) in the halls yesterday.  That is good news!  Thank you for your prayers.

Linking with Good Fences.  Thanks, Theresa, for hosting this fun party!

Happy Thursday to you!
xo Cheryl 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Since Last Time

~a volunteer sunflower growing near the bird feeder~

It's been a busy time since I saw you last.  Some of it a good 
busy and some not so good.

~an unedited photo of a new variety I tried this year, taken facing the sun~

My uncle fell and broke his hip Wednesday evening.  His 
surgery was on Friday as they had to get his blood
thickened before surgery.  He was moved to a skilled care
facility yesterday for therapy and to recuperate.  He is 86 years
of age and such a dear man.  I hope he will be able to walk again.
 My sweet aunt is not very well herself, and is trying
to visit him and is just worn out.  Some decisions will soon
need to be made for the future, I'm sure.  It's not easy to think
about for either one of them, as they have been independent 
for so long.  

~yet another variety of sunflower I planted this year~

  I had lunch with an old friend that I haven't seen in quite 
a while Saturday.  We spent probably 3 hours visiting and that was
not enough time to catch up as we never run out of things to
talk about.

We got together with several of BG's cousins Saturday evening.  
One of the cousins lives in Kansas and we hadn't seen her in quite a while.  We enjoyed a nice meal and heard some funny stories.  

The past several days have just flown by in a busy blur and 
Sunday was one of those days where I just crashed and 
said that I wasn't going to do anything but rest.  And
that is what I did.

~I cropped this photo and that's when I noticed the butterfly~ 
Our weather is going to be wonderful the next few days with
the temps in the 70's!  My aunt doesn't need me today as
she has a ride to visit her husband, so I'm going to take 
advantage of this cooler weather and pull weeds in my flower
gardens.  How they manage to grow through the black mat 
and mulch is beyond me!

Hope your week is off to a good start.  I'll be visiting blogs
when I can, I have some catching up to do.  

Happy Tuesday to you!
xo Cheryl

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

In The Dark

We were in the middle of a big thunderstorm last night and I had one eye on the weather radar screen while reading blogs.  I was just about to hit the publish button on a comment I had written to a blogger whose name I won't mention, but it starts with the letter Vee, when all of a sudden the electricity went out. 

The electric was out for several hours and we sat by candlelight until we decided the raging storm had quieted down enough and we could sleep.  BG was called to work around 3:30 am, so he didn't get much sleep.

I will be busy the rest of the week and have decided this might be a good time for a blog break since I'm already behind on reading and commenting. 

Hope you have a wonderful week and I'll see you Monday if not before!

Edited to add:  I've been having a problem with some of my comments not showing up lately.  Anyone else having that problem or is it just me?

Happy Tuesday (even though it's almost Wednesday now) to you!
xo Cheryl

Monday, July 7, 2014

Weekend Snaps

Did you have a nice weekend?  I didn't take many photos over the last few days, but I'll share a few of the ones I did no particular order.

Do you see the Hummingbird Clearwing Moth hovering over the flowers above? 

I can tell you that when they buzz right in front of your face, they sound like a small jet flying by!  They look very similar to the hummingbirds until you notice the antenna in front.

We saw a nice fireworks display at the blufftop winery, Les Bourgeois, which over looks the Missouri River.  The people-watching was fun, too!

Lots of bacon and orange-iced cinnabons were eaten over our holiday weekend.  I love weekend breakfasts!

A summer thunderstorm woke me up around 5 am Sunday morning.  We got close to 2 inches of rain.

It seems lately that when there is even just a tiny cell of rain in our state, it will be over our town.

A few of the birds that visited the backyard yesterday.  I'm not sure what the bird in the upper right corner is...maybe Theresa will know.  They are a bit too far away to get a good shot.  The bird on the left is an Eastern Kingbird and the bottom right bird is a Swallow.

Poor Mr. Cardinal has met with some trouble from the way his head looks.  Whatever happened to him didn't affect his singing at all.  

Thank you, Mr. Cardinal, for your pretty song this afternoon while I was relaxing in the shade! 

I hope you had an enjoyable weekend.  BG has taken the day off work today, so I'll be busy with him.  I'll get by to see what you've been up to as soon as I can.

Happy Monday to you!
xo Cheryl

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July

So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

          ~Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address, 1863

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Good Fences

I saved a couple of fence photos from our last Branson trip for this  special week as we prepare to celebrate the 4th of July in the USA. 

The fences seen here are at Silver Dollar City, a theme park that we always love to visit in Branson.  Happy 4th to my friends here in America!   

Linking to Theresa's Good Fences at Run*A*Round Ranch.

Happy Thursday to you!
xo Cheryl 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

What's Growing In The Garden

Just before the rain began yesterday, I took a little stroll through the garden to see what was blooming and if I could find anything that needed harvesting from the veggie patch.  

Most of the zinnias that came up are blooming now and this is a new one that I tried.  I don't remember what it is called, but I kind of like it.  

I have a few different colored sunflowers that I planted this year.  I can't
wait to see what this one will look like in full bloom!

If I can keep the deer away, I might have a nice garden this year.  Everything is growing by leaps and bounds, especially the zucchini!


This is what I gathered out of the garden before the rain.  The yellow squash isn't quite as prolific as zucchini.  Some of these big boys got away from me.  I think they grow a foot overnight.  I will peel and cut these up into chunks and freeze to put into vegetable soup.

Some of the zucchini will be shredded and put into freezer bags for bread.  I made 2 loaves of zucchini and 1 loaf of banana bread Saturday.  We love a slice of bread with a little cream cheese spread over the top with our morning coffee.  Yum, Yum! 

 Spicy Zucchini Bread

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
*1 teaspoon nutmeg 
1 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups unpeeled, shredded zucchini

Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl.  Make a well
in the center of mixture.  Combine oil, eggs, sugar and
vanilla.  Mix well then stir in the zucchini.  Add mixture
to the dry ingredients stirring just until moistened.  
Spoon mixture into 2 greased and floured loaf pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Cool 10 minutes and remove to wire rack and
cool completely.  Yield - 2 loaves of deliciousness!
*I omit the nutmeg

Happy Tuesday to you!
xo Cheryl