Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Puppy photos.... finally!

Well y'all, I broke down and bought a new camera cord to replace the missing one. I have to say I am really irritated by the whole thing... I took the original cord out of the camera case when Tom and kids took it to the beach over spring break, thinking "If I leave this in the case they will lose it," and of course, I can't remember where I put the silly thing. Grrrrrr!
Anyway, we have 7 puppies - brown, black, golden (like mama), and white. They are now 3.5 weeks old, but most of these photos were taken 1-2 weeks ago.

This photo was taken right after the puppies were born. What a proud mama!

This was taken last week... I think Goldie doesn't look quite so happy as she did in the previous photo. I think it is having seven puppies crawling over you day and night; it would do me in! *grin*

Monday, March 30, 2009

Scenes from the farm...

Here are a few photos taken at our farm in the last 2 weeks....
Spring is here!

I don't know the name of these white flowers, or if indeed they are even flowers at all. I think they may be leftover from blossoms or seed pods last year. I just thought they were so pretty.

Peach trees in bloom!

And the honeybees are out working the peach blossoms....

James with his best friend, our border collie, Missy!

James on the tractor. Can you tell he wants to drive it???


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Winding down...

It's been a BUSY weekend, even though by all rights, since our Girl Scout camping trip was canceled, I should have had nothing to do since I had planned on being gone all weekend....

Yesterday was a strange day - wet and soggy, but in the afternoon we had blue skies and a gentle breeze, and I began to feel foolish, second-guessing our decision on Thursday to cancel the camping trip due to predictions of bad weather. But around 9pm we had severe storm warnings, tornado warnings, and I thought how hideous it would have been to be up there with the girls on the mountain at camp in platform tents, with no real shelter. Ugh... So yes, we made the right decision. We popped a big bowl of popcorn and played cards, listening to the wind howl outside.
Thankfully we didn't get any really nasty winds or weather at our house.

Church today was wonderful. Rachel and I went early to work in the church library. We spent an hour pulling all the children's books off the shelves and resorting them. Truth be told I did most of the sorting because Rachel kept opening books and reading them..... The shelves looked lovely when we were finished, and just in time too, because after Sunday School several kids came in to check out books. It was great to actually see what we have, and what we don't, so I am much better prepared when I visit second-hand book sales. Our church libary has a pretty good selection of children's books. Sadly we have no Winnie the Pooh books (yes, I was shocked!) so I will be looking for some of those, but I want to get the original ones, with the illustrations by E.H. Shepherd, not the newer "cartoon" books. We also have no Frances books - do you remember the Frances the Badger books? And we have no Max and Ruby or Curious George books! These are all books I loved reading to Rachel and James when they were young. Next week I'll be tackling the youth book section...

The sermon today was wonderful, and we had the Lord's Supper, and then we sang "I'm so glad, I'm a part, of the Family of God..." for closing. Just perfect.

After church Rachel and I and Jane (Granny) drove in to Chattanooga to get Rachel some new jeans and shirts; she has outgrown everything we bought at the beginning of the school year. And although I generally detest shopping for clothes, it was a successful trip! Yeah!


Friday, March 27, 2009

Camping Update.... and Something Extra

Well, here is the latest "Weather Alert" for us this weekend:


So needless to say, we have canceled our plans for taking our troop to Girl Scout Camp this weekend. I will be hunkered down at home with my family!

Hey, friends, my friend, and seamstress-extraordinaire, Judy Iserman, is leaving this weekend to go to Nairobi for a short-term missions trip. She will be there for three weeks, working with ladies at the Amani Ya Juu project and providing them instruction and sewing workshops. You can read about her trip here. I know she would appreciate your prayers for her trip and for this project..... Thanks!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Soggy s'mores anyone??

Well, we are supposed to be heading to Girl Scout Camp this weekend, but the weather forecast is calling for a 70% chance of severe thunderstorms. Folks, this is bad!

Our troop went to camp last Spring, and it rained and drizzled for two solid days. Sadly, I found out I am too much a creature of comforts to enjoy camping in the rain. Last year the rain resulted in cancellation of most of the planned activities: ziplining, canoeing, archery and horseback riding, leaving the girls with nothing to do but activities like “poking your eye with a stick”, “futility in firebuilding”, “the wet sock toss”, “finding 100 ways to annoy your troop leader” and my all time favorite, “the bad weather whining contest”….. When I went up to the camp lodge to see if there might be some board games, cards, ANYTHING TO KEEP THE GIRLS OCCUPIED IN THEIR TENTS, (duct tape perhaps?) I was told that "... perhaps you can take them for a nature hike?" I am NOT kidding! Now who would suggest taking a group of 9 to 11 year-old city kids for a hike in the rain? Seriously. Those people scare me....

Plus, adding insult to injury, it's really hard to enjoy a fire and make s'mores in a downpour... and what is Girl Scout camp without s'mores? I need prayers y'all!


Puppy photos are coming...!

...as soon as I can find the cord for my camera... Sorry Melana!

Monday, March 9, 2009

I'm a grandma...!!!!

Well, kind of..... Our hound dog Goldie had 11 puppies on Friday night. Sadly, four of them did not survive, so we have seven. Four boys, three girls, and a mixture of colors - black, brown, golden (like momma) and one white puppy. I'll post photos later.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Favorite Books and Authors

Siesta Mama Beth had a great post on the LPM blog yesterday, asking the siestas to post the title and author of a book they love, along with a brief description and reason for the selection. What a fabulous topic!

I love to read, and even in those periods when I have no free time for any of my other hobbies, I still manage to read. There are some days where I just keep going, slogging through the day so I can get to the time at night when I can curl up in my favorite chair and read. I tend to read lots of fiction, and I like historical fiction, epic sagas spanning multiple generations. I don’t generally like romance novels, science fiction, or fantasy, although I absolutely love books that explore time travel. I don’t know why that is; perhaps I have some deep subconscious longing to go back in time and change my past, I really don’t know. *Grin*

So, I have lots of favorite books and authors, and I thought I would summarize a few here.

A few of my Favorite Authors (in no particular order):

Mark Helprin – His writing is just lyrical; he tells a story lush with details, rich in thoughts and emotions of the characters, and the imagery and the story just sucks you in. My favorite of his books is “A Soldier of the Great War”. I took this on a plane trip years ago when I was flying overseas, and I think I read for 12 hours straight. Just couldn’t stop…. I’ve also read “Winter’s Tale”, which has some of the most lyrical and magical descriptions and images, but the actual story was quite strange.

Ivan Doig – He wrote a fabulous trilogy set in the mountains of Montana. The books are “Dancing at the Rascal Fair”, “English Creek” and “Ride with Me, Mariah Montana”. Dancing at the Rascal Fair, which tells the story of early Scottish immigrants, is (IMHO) the best of the three. The story in itself is wonderful, but I especially loved how the interplay of the characters changes over time – friends become enemies, people reconcile, people change and grow apart; these characters with all their quirks and difficulties felt so real to me.

Jodi Picoult – I don’t agree with the worldview she portrays in her books, and I think some of her plots are simply too far-fetched, but she is such a talented writer, and when she writes in first person, you really get to understand the character’s thoughts. She seems to have great insight into what teenagers are thinking, feeling, and actually doing. My favorite of her books is “My Sister’s Keeper”, but I would also recommend “Mercy” and “The Pact”. I just finished reading her new book, “Handle with Care”, and it is excellent too.

John Steinbeck - Another fabulous story teller, who doesn’t rush to tell the story but just lets it unfold and makes you feel you are really there, in that time period, seeing the story happen. “East of Eden” is my favorite, but I also loved “Cannery Row” and “Pastures of Heaven”. “Grapes of Wrath” is one of those books that everyone should read….

Jan Karon - Doesn't everyone want to live in Mitford? The entire Mitford series is magical. It's like a comfortable, soft fleecy blanket that you want to curl up with on the couch. Cozy, happy, and reminds you that life and people are good.

James Herriot - I almost wanted to become a vet after reading his memoirs of his years as a rural vet in England. Hysterically funny moments!

Top Ten Favorite Novels (again, in no particular order):

* A Soldier of the Great War – Mark Helprin (see above)
* Dancing at the Rascal Fair – Ivan Doig (see above)
* East of Eden – John Steinbeck (see above)
* Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop CafĂ© – Fannie Flagg. I have read this many times, and I still laugh out loud at Towanda and the car crash incident in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot, and I still cry when Ruth dies. I simply like the characters in this book.
* A Marriage Made at Woodstock – Cathie Pelletier. I have never laughed so much when reading a book! This is the story of Frederick and Chandra Stone, who fell in love at Woodstock. Years later, Frederick has become a stuffy accountant, and Chandra is still a hippie-type animal activist. The book, told from Frederick’s point of view, details their break-up and his attempts to win Chandra back. It is just hilarious! I think it is out of print and hard to find, but so worth it…
* Time and Again – Jack Finney. A tale of time travel, so of course, I love this! This tells the story of Simon Morley, who is chosen to participate in an experiment to go back in time to 1890’s New York. The premise of the experiment is that if a person immerses themselves in the details and objects of a particular time period, they can return to that time. This is such a fun story and mystery, and I love the rich descriptions of New York in the 1890’s… Jack Finney also wrote a similar book, “From Time to Time” and a book of short stories, “About Time” that also deal with time travel, and they’re great reads too.
* The Time Traveler’s Wife – by Audrey Niffenegger. Yes, another time travel book, but from a totally different point of view. This is such a clever and intricate weaving of the past and present times of the two main characters, Henry and Claire. Brilliant storytelling.
* Trilogy by Ole Rolvaag – “Giants in the Earth”, “Peder Victorious” and “Their Father’s God”. This is the best series of books I have ever read on the American immigrant experience. It details the story of Norwegian immigrants to the Dakota plains in the late 1890’s, and it gave me an appreciation for the work, sacrifice, and cost required to establish this country.
* Far Pavilions – M.M. Kaye – A saga set in India during time when British influence there was beginning to crumble. I read it years ago and the suttee scene still haunts me.
* Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell. Just classic.

I think I could easily list another 20 books, but I’ll stop here!
How about you? What are your favorites?