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Thursday, November 26, 2009

The good china

When Marci and Emilia moved in with me about 5 years ago I packed up some of the stuff I really didn't need. One of the things I packed up was my "good" china. It is not anything special, I got the set at Kmart around 1973 when I was still in high school for about $70. That was big money to me at the time. Back in those days a girl would build a hope chest with things they would need later when they got married. My China sat in Mom and Dad's shed for years until I moved back to Nebraska in 1985. After that it would come out for every holiday. After Marci and her family moved to Georgia, Delana and her family moved to England, I never unpacked the good china. I had no to reason to, I didn't really celebrate holidays or special occasions anymore.

Tuesday as I was driving to work thinking about my five days off I decided I would really like to unpack the tote and use the china. Yesterday I went downstairs and opened it. My first surprise was to find the birthday platter. No one remembered what happened to it. (I would have loved to use it a few weeks ago for Olivia's birthday.) My heart was full of joy ... and so many memories. I wish I knew how old it is, probably older than me.

I pulled out the dishes and Phil helped me carry them upstairs. Looking at them brought so many memories. Thanksgiving about 1988 - 89? The house was full of people, Jerry and Jackie, Aunt Dorothy, Mom and Dad, Barb and her family. I think we had about 25 people for dinner. The girls were so little .......... we were all so young. So many birthdays, Thanksgivings, happy wonderful days. The dishes are used so infrequently ........... and I wonder why. They make me smile. They make me proud to serve the meal I have prepared. What am I saving the dishes for? I think that every day should be special. Every day should be lived as if it is the last. Use the special dishes. Wear the new underwear. Kiss and hug your family tight and tell them you love them more than all the stars in the entire universe (Caelum you win AGAIN!!!). Of all the wonderful memories in my heart, my family memories are the best, the most painful, and the most joyful. I wish I could hold them all close and protect them from all harm and hurt.

Friday, November 20, 2009

More Mulch/Compost

Every gardener knows he or she must feed the soil in order to have wonderful harvests. I have been lax in doing everything I need because I can't haul in the manure I need for my gardens. Our old pickup needs a transmission so I can't use it like a pickup and go pick up the free manure available to me. This has been very frustrating to me. The first year we were here Phils friend delivered large quantities of horse manure ..... but he moved away. I found lots of hay this year at a reasonable rate, some free so I was able to get more mulch down than I did last year.
I have been collecting rabbit manure from a young woman close to my office. She puts it in a closed bucket, I pick up a new load every couple of weeks. I noticed lots of bags of leaves beside her house so I asked her if I could have them. Of course she was happy to get rid of them. I found that with the seats down the recycling bags fit very well in my SUV. This last week I have gone out every day at lunch to find bags of leaves ....... I think I have brought home over 50 huge bags for the gardens. I think I got started on it way to late, the leaves are almost all raked up and hauled off to the landfill. Next year, I am going to get started on this in the early fall. What a great way to feed my garden for FREE!!!
Hopefully I can convince Phil to get the transmission on the truck replaced before next year so we can use it like a truck. I don't mind doing some work to get free manure. I will admit it was wonderful when Jeremy needed a place to dump manure and he brought out the trailer full and left it here. Sigh.
I realize that this land has become so important to me. I want to make it better. I want to feed the soil and help it become more fertile. It is a wonderful feeling to open a jar of soup on a cold day and know that everything in that delicious bowl was grown here. I will probably never be talented enough to grow most of what we consume, but I love what we are doing now!
My niece called me a few weeks ago to ask for advice on canning. It was so exciting to be enable her to get started on this journey. I got her hooked up with a pressure caner that my sister no longer needs .......... and she is on her way!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Olivia's birthday

Olivia is 5 now. Enjoy her pictures

Can you believe those eyes?

Look at Farmer Caelums overalls.

Oh Grandpa, I love it!

Her other gift was a dance skirt. She loves to twirl and twirl

So are the days of our lives

Olivia turned 5 this week. Schedules often dont mesh, so we were not able to see her on her actual birthday. Delana said she would come out Saturday afternoon to visit and I said I would make a cake. I have been feeling very lonely for mom so asked Delana if she thought Olivia would like a Barbie doll cake like Mom used to make for her with the sticky sweet seven minute frosting. Delana thought that would be a great idea .......... I could not find an angel food cake pan in my house ............ wonder if I got rid of it when we moved? wonder if it is just in a box somewhere and I will find it in a week or two. So, I did the next best thing and went to Hyvee and bought an angel food cake. Saturday morning I got the Barbie doll out of her box and put her next to the cake. Oh man, the cake only came to her knees. I decided to try to sit her down on the plate with the cake around her ...... the cake was to high for that, and what in the world was I going to do with her feet sicking out????

Phil and I had to go into Omaha to the rental house for some maintaince ... that didn't work out so we went to Wal Mart and got some turkeys! We picked up another angel food cake while we were in Omaha (after hitting an estate sale and getting some much needed shelving). I put the two cakes together and they were STILL well below Barbie's middle where the skirt should start. WHY oh why didn't I watch Mom a little closer. I finally decided to put Barbie into a paper cup and frost the cup into the cake. The frosting was definantly not Mom's 7 minute frosting, but it was good! I managed to tint the frosting purple, one of Olivia's favorite colors.

The results were not perfect, but Olivia loved it and that is ALL that matters.

We had a wonderful afternoon. After the cake (yep, I forgot the ice cream!!) the kids and I went outside to play. They helped me dig hoseraidish then dug for treasure. Olivia found a gold rock. They played in leaves and hay and the girls rolled down the hill. That is something they never seem to tire of.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

This has been quite a week.

It feels like this week has been about a month long. Last Saturday Phil was tired, and just didn't feel well. Sunday his face was red and swollen. He would not go to the doctor but said he would go Monday after work. Monday he was just not able to stay at work for his entire shift, so left as soon as a replacement could come in and went to the emergency room. I am so glad he did because he had a skin infection, caused by a Strep of Staff infection that came into his body via a scratch or scrape of some kind (We get scraped up constantly out here!). The name is erysipelas (I still can't get it into my head how to say it). Phil called me from the hospital and told me he had been admitted. I of course told my boss I had to go, and got there as quickly as possible.
When I walked into his room (it was the same wing of the hospital that Dad spent so much time in over the last 8 years of his life) I didn't recognize the man laying in the bed. His face was beet red and swollen to twice the normal size. He spent the next 4 days in bed being pumped full of antibiotics via an IV, also taking them in pill form. He was pretty miserable! Wednesday evening he started coming around and smiled at me .... Thursday morning he joked with me on the telephone.
It wasn't until yesterday when we were talking he finally told me that the doctor said it was a good thing he came in when he did. I of course asked him why, he said if he had waited much longer his organs would have started to shut down and the swelling could make his throat close up.............. Isn't it frightening how fragile our bodies are?
On an good note. Tuesday I was talking with my boss and in a somewhat joking question asked him if I was going to loose my job over a contract that I thought I was going to loose plus the possible sale of the company. He called me into his office a little later and told me how proud he is of the work I do and told me that he had put in the paperwork for a promotion previously and had just heard an affirmation on it. Along with the promotion comes a 10% pay increase and I still keep the great commission plan I have. I was totally amazed. God is certainly watching over us in so many ways!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Remember all the beautiful trees from a week ago ......... well this is what is all looks like now. Delana and the kids came out to show off their halloween costumes and Caelum decided that the leaves were just to much fun not to play. He convinced me to come help him rake them up ......... He is so good at the Tom Sawyer tricks (painting the wall is so much fun .... you are going to LOVE it).

Maggie and Mollie like paying in the leaves as much as the kids do

Poor Olivia had leaf dust in her eyes

Caelum posed for this photo, and said the caption should be "There is nothing sweeter than a boy and his dog".
Under all that red hair is Olivia. Maggie is almost as big as Olivia now!

Can you see Caelum? He really is under all those leaves

The next day I went out to gather the leaves for the garden. I raked and moved all of these, then raked another couple of spots and pulled them to the bottom garden as well. It is wonderful. I have about 6" of leaves on one part of the garden. The soil is just going to love me next spring.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween tick or treaters

I can't seem to move any of the pictures around, so the placing doesn't make much sense.

We have almost no photos of Phil and I together