Monday, August 31, 2009

Barbies, Sisters, and Other Feverish Musings

Thursday night I went to bed clearing my throat a little and thinking that I must be getting a cold. Friday morning I woke up in a pool of water with a 102 fever. I called off of work, even though I've no sick time to do it. There was absolutely no way I could even get out of bed, let alone take care of customers. I flat out didn't care if I lost my job. Calling off without accrued time is a 'no no'. Saturday morning was the same scenario. Another call off. Another 'I don't care'. I don't even remember Friday or Saturday. I remember sweating. Calling Glenco's name alot, and requesting things like pretzels, rootbeer, popsicles and canned cinnamon rolls. He obliged, he's good like that. I don't get all that crap without a lecture though. You really outta be taking some vitamins and drinking juice. He sounds alot like the voice of the adults on the Peanuts cartoons.....'waa waa wa wa'. Bring on the popsicles.

I was in a fevered delirium. I wanted to know who was going to milk the cow? I haven't got a cow yet if you remember correctly! I didn't know day from night, or night from day. I remember Glenco walking in the bedroom at some point and showing me two brown eggs. The chickens have started laying! Sunday late afternoon when I finally woke up, feeling human, I double checked. Sure enough. Two pretty brown eggs. It begins.

Something that really thought about as I lie there sweating, Barbies. Barbies ring true to life. Listen to my story, and tell me what YOU think.

I'm the youngest of four girls. No brothers. My oldest sister Vivian was 14 years older than me, so she doesn't sorta count. She didn't play Barbies anyway. She just tormented us, and called us 'rat feefs' when we'd try to take the perfectly good purse out of the garbage that she'd just thrown away. We'd torment her back saying we'd light the 'stove match'. I'm laughing now, cause I don't even know what the 'stove match' was, but it made Viv mad, and that is the result we were looking for. Good times on Ewing Avenue. My poor mother.

Glenda is the next in line. She is four years my elder. Cindy, (Aaron's mom) is two years older, and then there is me. Maybe it was just our ages, maybe it was just my sisters growing out of Barbie love...but this was the scenario.

Glenda ALWAYS, and I'm not joking, made her Barbie pregnant and on welfare. She actually made little welfare checks out to Mary Scot, the name she'd given her Barbie. She dressed in the rattiest doll clothes she could find, and wore a bandana on her head. She would literally play as if she was poor, on welfare and about to deliver an illegitimate child. What in the world?

Cindy...Cindy just didn't give a hoot. Her Barbies were a tangled mess. I would sit and cry, as I hung all her doll clothes back up, organized by color or item, and rematched all of her little go go boots and shoes. How I would pray she would keep them like that! She was too much of a tomboy to really care about Barbies.

My Barbies were socialites. They held parties, and dressed fabulously. Their 'houses' were made up of what ever I could find around the house to make furniture. A checkerboard made a lovely kitchen floor. A discarded tin from the top of Hershey's cocoa made a lovely platter to serve Barbie drinks in. I would even take my dad's shaving cream and make 'pies', sprinkled with paprika for garnish, and Barbie would walk about 'serving' her guests. An old sifter made a great washing machine. I loved Barbies! The Country Camper was a dream come true.

Fast forward about 40 years. I'm not saying anything about anyone....but life has mirrored our Barbie role play. I'm not a socialite, nor do I dress fabulously....but I make a heck of a pie. I still help Cindy with her closets. Glenda hasn't had any children out of wedlock, but she has had her share of struggles. They are both two fantastic sisters though. Love them with all my heart.

What's your favorite Barbie memory?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Crazy Chicken Lady Goes to Chicago

One of the things to do on our 'Before Summer Ends' list was to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. So I packed up Aaron and my pincurls and headed out. I didn't take too many pics today girls, just cause. Cause they didn't want any photography in the exhibits, and it was raining all day in Chicago, and I just plum 'twernt in the mood. K?

Our trip to the big city was as smooth as a hot knife cutting butter. I didn't tear any gas pumps apart or anything.

The museum was quite inspiring. Here's a pic of Aaron at the main exhibit. Aaron loves anything and everything that is modern, contemporary or stark. I love watching his eyes as he sees something that moves him. He wants to be an architect. I will do anything and take him anywhere to fuel his passion.

I even felt artsy as I went to the bathroom. Snapped this pic. My gallery showing is next week. Ha!

Recognize those Rocketdog shoes? I'm thinking they'll be in every shot now.

I did not take the following pictures. Photography wasn't allowed in the exhibits.

This is a tunnel of mirrors and light. It was like the portal to heaven. We spent a lot of time in there. I was awed by how long it must have taken this artist to create this.

I'm ashamed to tell you that my first thought when I saw this was "What the heck is wrong with you can't even paint your house trim and this guy is building stainless steel abstract art".

This room was hard to describe. It was completely black, with a light hanging down, and a small mist of water. I kept waiting for Count Dracula to come out and scare us. It was ethereal. Beautiful. Inspiring. Really was delightful.

The rest of the museum was 'ahem' interesting. Not really my style of art, but I did feel inspired, challenged, confused, confounded and like I was on Candid Camera at times. I mean, come ON....seriously? Art? THAT? Why a 2 year old could paint that......

Had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. Visited Crate and Barrel. Oh how I hankered for so many things in that store. Actually purchased a few little things. Went to the Apple Store and a few little funky boutiques. Got a Green Tea Smoothie and threw it in the trash. Gak.

As we were leaving Chicago, I stopped at my old neighborhood. I sat in the alley behind my old house for a long time, looking, remembering. Those were the sidewalks I'd learned to walk on. My diapers hung on a clothesline there. So many thoughts went through my head. My mom worked so hard making that yard a little showplace. There was no evidence of her hard work now.

Stopped at the Physical Therapist on the way home for my torture session. Illiotic Band Syndrome. I call it the Idiotic Band Syndrome. It's the muscle that runs down the side of your leg. They use a rolling pin on me....a rolling pin! It's beyond excruciating. I cry. I sweat. I plead for them to stop.

Came home to all of your fun comments.

Thanks so much!

Night night.

Just A Lil' More Summer

Once I was done blogging about summer's last hurrah, I promptly went out in the yard to find a shady spot to break beans. It was beautiful out. I'm already mourning the end of days like these. Like everything else in life, summer seems so short. Life seems so short. I sure hope I live a good long life. There's so much I want to do! I'll be REALLY ticked off if I die young. Seriously.

After reading all your comments the last couple of days, it appears that the majority of you are more than ready for fall. Hmm. I'm still torn. I'm so torn. I guess it's because we've had an unseasonably cool summer. I could live with this weather all year long! The heat didn't really hit our area til the first week in August. The heat and humidity ravaged the garden. Things look spent. But the tomatoes, oh the tomatoes are in their glory.

Can you think of anything better than a BLT with a fresh tomato?

Hello lover.

If there is one thing you take away from my blog, ever, it would be to start baking your bacon.
Bacon and I have a long history. A love hate relationship. Love eating it, hate cooking it. I'm embarrassed to tell you that the last time I fried bacon I acted like a two year old. After being splattered with hot grease for the 19th time, and seeing bacon grease on the walls, I turned the burner off, and walked away, declaring I would never cook bacon again. I could hear the bacon laughing in the pan. It knew better. Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) had baked bacon on her show one day, and it looked so lovely. She even glazed it with maple syrup. Oh my. Iced Bacon. Yum! BUT, she cooked it up on a cooling rack. I did that, and the bacon just didn't taste right to me, and there was still a HUGE mess to clean up. Found out about making bacon like this, on parchment paper, in the oven. The bacon still cooks in it's own fat, which seems to make it super tasty like frying, but NO MESS GIRLS. No mess. Simply let the drippings harden, and throw the whole shebang away.

Thought you might like to see a little behind the scenes photo of the Coop Keeper. Glamorous, no? I'm playing around, trying to learn some vintage hair styles with pin curls. Aaron took this pic, laughing his head off as the breeze was blowing my bandana around. I was too busy breaking beans to look up.

Please please please keep me posted with your summer doings. I know we are all looking forward to fall, but don't diss summer. He'll be gone before you know it.

Love your comments! You've no idea how excited I get when I see them. Keep 'em comin'.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Summer's Last Hurrah

You know how I can tell summer is almost over? I buy new shoes. It's instinctual. It's getting ready for a new year. I like to buy clothes and sharpen pencils too. I love the smell of freshly sharpened pencils. It's full of hope and the promise of learning and discovery. I heart these shoes. They make my stomach hurt I love them so much. Rocketdogs. Such a cool name for shoes.

30 actual days of the summer solstice left, 16 days of 'traditional' summer left before Labor Day. How does this make you feel? I feel bittersweet about it. The thoughts of crisp apples, warm sweaters and pumpkins makes me positively swoon. It's almost too much to bear really, it's so glorious. On the other hand, I feel a bit of woe and regret. I just feel that there was so much of summer that I didn't embrace.

It was an unseasonably cool summer here in NW Indiana, and I'm not one to complain. Loved the weather.

The past few mornings have been so fall like. I used to be able to be out in the yard working at 5. Now it's 6. It's dark at 8pm now. The days are definitely getting shorter.

It's hard to see the garden declining, and at the same time a sense of relief! Fall is all about nesting and squirrelling away things, preparing for the cold, stark winter. Preparing for rest. Preparing for stews and books and quilts and more time. Old movies and blogging, Christmas and hopes and plans for a new year..................

Ok...back to NOW. I'm feeling the need to cram some more summery activities into whats left of the summer. I want to ride my bike more. I need to go to the beach just a few more times. I need to drink lots more iced tea, and eat more melons and corn. I need to float somewhere on an inner tube. I need to go fishing fortheloveofGod.

Can you name three summer things that you'd like to do before this summer ends?

Friday, August 21, 2009

BBQ, Cemeteries and MoonPies

I'm back and somewhat settled in from my little trip to Southwest Missouri. I'm weird about leaving and weird about coming home. I have to clean things, even if they don't need cleaning (which is RARE). It's like I have to 'nest' in order to feel at home. I can't stand leaving a mess. I never come home to a mess, cause Glenco is a pretty tidy guy. I still feel the need to 'nest' by moving things about, wiping things and putzing in general. Pity the fool that gets in my way of putzing.

There is such a large part of my heart in Missouri. I go there and I feel like I've gone home. I'm not from Missouri, neither are my parents. I guess there are just things I love down there, and how can your heart not feel at home where there is love.

My parents are buried at the Arnhart Cemetery in Purdy, Missouri. (A very very long story) So is my beloved Aunt Jean and her husband Johnny. I suppose it's true when I say I visit more dead family in Missouri than live. It's been seven years now since my parents passed and I can say with confidence that the cemetery brings me more peace and comfort than grief. My mom is from Tennessee, and Dad is from North Carolina. I remember childhood trips south, and the cemetery was always such a big part of our vacations. I can still hear the locusts screaming, and smell the hot vinyl in the old station wagon as we would meander up the red clay roads to the old cemeteries. The grass burnt from the summer heat, crunching under our feet as I looked at graves of people I'd never met. I understand it all now.

Can you really take a trip south and not eat Moon Pies? Maybe you can, but I can't. I just can't, I mean it's not American.

Here's a peek at some of the treasures I got while visiting the great state of Missouri.

A cute new apron from the Antique Mall in Monett, MO. A few new cooking sheets, a new whisk, pastry bag and silpat from a restaurant supply house in Springfield. A couple of new books "The Farm Chicks in the Kitchen" (I really needed to sit down after finding this book, I needed smelling salts), and a beautiful little book on blogging called "Blogging for Bliss". I can't wait til I can find the time to actually read them!

This goober is the main reason I go to Missouri. My cousin Jim. He is my best friend in the whole world. He wakes me up the first morning I'm there by putting a plate of bacon on my belly. What's not to love? We have porkfests all the time, we even have a little pig mascot that we put on the dashboard of the car as we search out smoked foods. Oh do we find them. We had bacon every morning I was there. Ribs, pulled pork and smoked sausage for lunch one day. Pork chops for dinner that night. I feel like a bloated tick now. It's at the point of being comical now. He's my partner in pork. He's also the kindest and funniest person that I know. He truly taught me what friendship is. I'm so thankful for him. He is a fantastic cook and enjoys shopping for housewares as much as I do.

Had a little incident on the way home. It's a 600+ mile trip. I allow myself ONE stop on the way there and back. I don't know why, but I get really miffed if I have to stop twice. I don't drink much on the trip, and I can make it with one stop for gas. I pull over in Eureka, pop my debit card in the pump, get the gas flowing and go in for coffee and a bathroom break. I pay for my coffee, walk back to the car, get in the car, get adjusted, seat belt, and start driving. What in the HECK was THAT noise?? Ohmagosh, I forgot to take the gas nozzle out of the car. Ya, I'm one of those people! I get out...the car is fine, the nozzle is hanging there, still dangling out of my car, and the end of the hose is off of the pump. In a panic, I try to 'plug' it back in the gas pump, but I can't reach where it goes. It looked like there was a quick release mechanism, and it just pulled free. I'm sure I'm not the only one that has ever done anything like this, right? They probably manufacture the pumps now with people like me in mind.

I took off. I did. I left. I was mortified, scared, etc. About a half an hour away, I decided to turn back around and go and make it right. Then I changed my mind again. I asked God to forgive me. I truly feel horrible that I just left. It feels so wrong. If you don't hear from me again, you'll know the law caught up with me. :-/

A tornado chased me the rest of the way home, and I barely made it in the house without soiling my pants.

Good times.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Somebody Stop Me.....Here's Helen

Some of you may remember poor Helen. If you are a new reader, you might want to look in the June archives and read about little Helen. She's truly a miracle bird. A coon attacked her in the middle of the night, biting her head. I do think she may be blind in one eye.

Poor little Helen is on the bottom of the pecking order. Thankfully, she's not physically picked on, but psychologically, the other girls put her through the wringer. Do you think that just once, they could let her be the first one out of the coop, or the fourth for that matter? Absolutely not. The other girls have practically broken their necks to make sure that wouldn't happen!

Unlike Mrs. Puffington and Mother Plumtree, Helen isn't much of a stitcher. She finds it a foolish waste of time. She spends most of her days in reflection and prayer. Seems to be, after the coon attack, Helen's tasted a bit of the afterlife and she aims for everyone to 'know the way'. It also could have been the fact that I did take her in a grocery store when she was ailing, and well, I didn't want to tell you this, but I did go to the meat section. I tried to shield her one good eye from the bagged chickens there, but I think she saw them. I often hear her quoting Scriptures to the other girls. Just yesterday as they were breaking up their meeting, I heard her tell Stubs 'Consider the lilies of the fields...'. I don't know about you all, but to me, a sweet meditative chicken is hard to come by.

Helen has quite a ministry actually. Last night she ventured out to the prisons. She'd die if I told you this, but her sister is actually incarcerated. She won't tell me why. It couldn't be for anything too terrible, could it?

Helen told me that she had two conversions last night. She felt it a smashing success.

Pictured above is Harry 'The Black Spur' Australorp. He'd been wanted in these parts for years. He's a bad seed. Always looking for a fight, and one night he found one. It wasn't pretty. We don't talk of it here anymore. He's on death row. Scheduled for the deep fryer on August 30th. Helen feels she got to him just in time.

Kids these days. That's all I can say about this one. Natasha is in for a short stint due to a DUI, public indecency, and resisting arrest. Acts like she was raised in a barn. I know her parents and they are beside themselves. They gave her too much too soon if you ask me. She needs a good hard days work in the yard. If Helen can't talk some sense in her head, I don't hold out much hope for her.

Well dear've still to meet five more hens. Are you up for it?? I'll be flying the coop for a few days. I'm leaving for Missouri this afternoon and will be back in town on Wednesday night. Tune back in for more silly stories....

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Early Bird Gets The Worm....

The Coop Keeper felt the need to sleep in until 7 today. The girls weren't too happy. Unbeknownst to me, they had this big meeting planned. I wasn't invited. Apparently they do this every morning. I guess I must be blogging or something when it happens.

I was weeding nearby, trying to nonchalantly eavesdrop. Stubs was leading the meeting, and assigning the daily tasks. Fifi LeFew was to be on cat patrol. What was Stubs thinking? She's much too anxious for that! Maybe I should put a bit of Xanax in her mash. Mother Plumtree was to monitor the southeast corner of the yard, looking for grasshoppers. Scarlett was to take the northwest corner, gleaning for leftover mulberries that had fallen. I could tell by the expression on her beak, she was none to happy about it. Common work for a glorious red hen. Helen was to scout the entire yard looking for freshly mulched areas to destroy and prepare for dust baths. They always take advantage of Helen! The whole yard? Really Stubs? Isn't that a bit much? By now I could tell they knew I was listening, so they broke it up.

Off they went.....Stubs leading the flock. I rolled my eyes at her as she passed. She shot me a look that could kill. "Hey, wait a minute there Stubs'......she kept walking. Acting like a rooster I must say. Cocky. She must be the top hen. "I'm the Coop Keeper baby" I said, pointing my trowel at my chest "....ya, ME". She pooped and kept walking.

The Peep Show will continue tomorrow........

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It Continues....Mother Plumtree

Let me just preface this post by saying that chickens are hard to photograph! Period.

This is Mother Plumtree. She is another Buff Orpington. I have two. Looks just like Mrs. Puffington, no? Well, almost. When you see them next to each other, Mother Plumtree is much lighter.

Another gentle bird. Mother Plumtree lives in the shadow of Mrs. Puffington. She knits as well, but drops a lot of stitches and gets frustrated easily. She can embroider beautifully. She's a bit shy.

Her turn on's: Tomato worms, the shady spot under the daylilies and cantaloupe rinds.

Her turn off's: Loud noises, the neighbor's dog and people that knit well.

I'll give you a break tomorrow with the birds and talk about something completely different!

I have six more hens to go.................

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Introducing....Mrs. Puffington

Allow me to introduce you to Mrs. Puffington. She's a Buff Orpington, one of my favorite breeds. She's considered a dual purpose bird, meat and eggs. Of course, she shan't ever be meat. Mrs. Puffington is quite lady-like. She's rather quiet, very gentle. If chickens could knit, I'm sure she would be an expert at it. She seems to have the disposition for stitching. I usually have to track her down every night and put her up. She seems to get tangled up in the woodpile for some reason, and has a hard time getting home. Just like me! No sense of direction. When she does go up to roost, she's always kinda hanging half way out of the coop, and I have to poke her plumpness into the coop in order to shut the door. She's accustomed to me picking her up, and almost seems to enjoy it. Her goodness is hard to describe.

Her turn on's are: bugs, leftover rice, and nice dirt piles.

Her turn offs are: mites and raccoons.

*Just a random note....if you leave a comment, I'm doing my best to respond to them, so always double check the comments. Thanks!*

Monday, August 10, 2009

Udderly Obsessed

It's official. I'm cow crazy. I've got a powerful hankering that can't be denied. I need me a cow.

Not just any cow. A Minature Jersey Cow. Oh, you've no idea the longing I have for one of these. Much like I hankered for a child in my 30's, I think a cow will be the hankering of my 50's. I close my eyes and imagine how warm she would feel to the touch, and what she would smell like, and how we would frolic in the field while the soundtrack 'people let me tell you 'bout my beeeesssttt friend' is playing in the background. I would lay on her belly and read her poetry under a shade tree in the summer. Oh how we'd laugh and bond. I'd be the best milker in this county, I would.

I mean, seriously, look at these little things. I can't bear it! The only problem with getting a cow, is that I don't know what the heck I'm doing....and these little sweeties are between $3000 and $5000. I keep telling Glenco that this could be a wonderful new business venture for us......but he's not buyin'. He said 'I don't see it in the cards for you dear'.

Last night as the sun was setting I went out and shook my fists at the sky and declared "As God is my witness, I won't go without a cow long!!".

I've no idea who this lady is, but I want to be her. Yep, that's gonna be me in another 10 years. You mark my words!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Meet Fifi LeFew

Remember Fifi? She was Helen's faithful companion during the Raccoon Raid of June 2009. One of only two survivors from that nights fateful attack. She didn't get much blog time since Helen was so ill, and Fifi escaped unscathed. Fifi, named after an imaginary anxious French woman, has become of my favorite birds. She is the most animated, loudest of all the girls. She squawks the most when I pick her up. I've never quite seen a bird move so fast, and in fact, I'm sure that's what saved her life! She probably ran circles around that coon.

She's an Easter Egger. She should be laying some bluish green eggs before the first snowfall. I got her the end of May, the cutest little chick you'd ever seen. I've not figured out the birds pecking order just yet, but I'm sure she's near the top.

I'll introduce you to the girls one by one.

Sunday Musings and Misc. Thoughts

A sign I saw at the County just cracked me up. This will be a random, somewhat useless post! Just touching base with you all, since I've been a bit AWOL.

It's Sunday morning at 9:12am CST and all I've accomplished today is feeding the fish, drinking coffee and skimming the Sunday paper. It's an usual day for sure. I went to bed last night feeling rather lost. Why? It's too hot to be outside today, so now what the heck?? Even the chickens are walking around with their beaks open it's so humid. I've been so accustomed to spending every waking moment in the yard that I don't know what to do now that it's not an option. I've no inside projects that I can start and finish today, and I know myself well enough to not start anything I can't finish. So now what??

There are PLENTY of things I could/should do. We still need to find a home church. I need to deal with the two gallons of refrigerator pickles I made. I have a pile of sewing that needs doing. I still need to order Aaron's curriculum for this year!! A definite priority. I really want to make some cheese. I bought everything to do many recipes I'd like to try. Lots of emails to catch up on. The pantry and fridge need a good cleaning. That stack of books from the library.....well, you get my drift.

Why is it as soon as I feel no real pressure of chores, that I just fall apart? Anyone else feel like that? Where does this need to be productive every nano-second of the day come from? I should relish in the fact that there is really nothing that needs to be done today and go float in the blue lagoon....oh well....

Other bits of news, and I'm hoping for a little feedback here. In case you didn't know, I'm a borderline hypochondriac. In a good way. :-) I don't dismiss what I consider symptoms. This week I start physical therapy for bilateral hip bursitis and illiotic band tendonitis. Girls, I've been hurtin'. It's hard to do yard work, and ride my bike, and do things I like to do. I'm on some anti-inflammatory pills, and gack...they make me feel like crap.

Now, the real thing I'd love some input on.....and then I promise to go back to happy things like flowers and recipes and chicken birds.....

I'm having some 'female' troubles. I'm almost 48. I can't seem to get an answer from a Dr. that gives me peace. A couple of years ago I had some pre-cancerous cells that they removed from my cervix. All of my pap smears since then have been normal. For the last couple of years, my periods have been terribly painful and erratic. I bleed consistently between my periods. Pain in what seems to be my ovaries wakes me up in the middle of the night. I'm always bloated feeling and cramping. I've had an ultrasound recently that showed nothing. I went in for an endometrial biopsy and was traumatized because the Dr. couldn't get IN my uterus!!! She wanted me to come back and be packed with get the drift.

I'm thinking of going to a Dr. at the University of Chicago to see if I can't find some answers. Do you all have any words of wisdom for me? Anyone around my age or older that went through anything like this?? Is this just the change starting?

Ok...I promise the next post will be all happy sunshine things.

Thanks for listening.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Farmgirl Saturday Cake

After yesterdays creepy topic, I thought we could all use a nice change of pace!

I know it's only Thursday, and I'm posting a cake called 'Saturday', but I wanted you to have this in time to make it this Saturday. :-) I've no idea why it's called a Saturday cake. Maybe cause it's so quick and easy, you don't mind making it on the weekend?

This cake was quite delicious. The recipe called for blueberries, but I used raspberries, because I'd just picked some. It lasted for a few days and tasted delicious even on the last day.


This recipe is from 'Lovin' the Farmgirl Life' by MaryJane Butters

2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
t teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
1 cup of buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup of butter, melted
2 cups blueberries (or any other fresh or partially frozen berry)

1/2 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon of butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9 x 13 pan and set aside.

Mix all dry ingredients together. (except topping ingredients). In a separate bowl, mix melted butter, buttermilk, vanilla and the egg together.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry, and stir until blended. Fold in the berries.

Mix topping ingredients together with a pastry blender (or your fingers!) and sprinkle on top of the batter.

Bake about 30 -35 minutes.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Let Me Tell You a 'Lil Story 'bout a Man Named Schlong....

It was a muggy afternoon in the summer of 2004. I had been asked to be on the town garden walk and I was knee deep in preparation for it. I'd just returned home with a truck full of plants, and I was busying myself with unloading them.

Let me preface this by saying that we live in a semi-rural area. When we first moved out here, we were only one of two houses for about a mile stretch. Now, there is a house across the road, and one on each side of me, each about a quarter of a mile away. I'm quite used to people stopping because they've broken down or run out of gas or.....

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a car slowing down and stopping. I didn't turn around to look, cause so often people are just using the driveway to turn around in. Next thing I hear is a door shut. 'Crap' I thought to myself. If you are in your 40's or older, perhaps you'll remember a character from 'All My Children' named Billy Clyde Tuggle. This guy looked just like him!

'Excuse me', he asked, 'can you tell me how to get to Lowell?' Being the kind, generous person I am, I put my flowers down and started giving directions, verbally and physically, arms flailing about.

'Can I borrow a tree?' he asked. I would have loved to seen the look on my face when he asked that. I didn't know what the heck he was talking about. It then dawned on me that he had to go to the bathroom. For a fleeting moment I thought of offering him the house bathroom, and realized that wasn't smart. Bewildered I replied 'ok'. He walked off through the yard and behind the chicken coop, to the back section that is now my chicken run.

I continued to unload flowers, and unload flowers. I'm thinking to myself....what the heck is this guy doing?? How long does it take to pee? 'You'd better not be pooing in my yard!' I thought. After what seemed like forever, Glen came out of the back door, walked through the yard, down the little brick sidewalk that this 'Billy Clyde Tuggle' walked down, and then Glen turned to the left. I don't know how in the world he didn't notice a strange man behind the chicken coop. That alone is enough to give ya chills isn't it?

Finally, out of the other corner of my eye :-) I notice him coming out from behind the chicken coop. It didn't take me long to realize 'it' was 'out'. IT WAS OUT YA'LL. I quickly averted my eyes back to the trunk of the car and he is standing there next to me with 'it' 'out', and talking to me saying 'Oh, sorry, I didn't know that guy was here'. I never took my eyes off of the trunk of the car, and he walked away, the whole time with 'it' 'out'.

As soon as he left, I fell down in laughter, running to go get Glenco to tell him 'omagod, Glen, Glen, Glen.....didn't you see that guy?? He forgot to put it away!' I'm laughing my head off. Glen wasn't amused, and tells me 'Jaym, you never forget to put 'it' away.'

I ran in the house and proceeded to call my cousin, and a few friends and laugh about the guy who forgot to put 'it' away in my yard.

I called my sister. "Cindy, omagod, (through laughing) this guy.....he came in the yard....he forgot to put it away." My sister didn't think it was funny at all, and scolded me telling me to call the police straightway. 'Seriously?' I replied.

I called the State Police and reported Schlong Man. The police officer was livid that I'd allow a stranger on my property, and asked me "Exactly how naive are you? He was probably casing the joint, you're lucky your husband was home." "I was born in raised in the streets of Chicago mister......" I replied. Well, obviously I hadn't learned my lesson.

I felt pretty creeped out by this time, and still get the heebie jeebies when I think of what he could have been doing behind my chicken coop, and what his ulterior motives were.

Gosh, this reminds me of the time I met ConMan at the beach................

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hiking, Serial Killers, E Coli ....Oh My!

Had a WONDERFUL time at Cowles Bog Trail yesterday. Where to begin. At the beginning perhaps?

Got there about 10:45. It was a bit drizzly, but not raining. There was only one other car parked at the trail head. It was an Envoy with Wisconsin plates. Why do I take note of these things? I work at the license branch, but this is the thought that went through my head: Call home and give these plate numbers, this may be the last thing you ever do.

WHY do I think that hiking trails are a buffet for serial killers? I don't know. I just do. I get awfully spooked. I would never do one alone, and that is just a rotten shame. It's such a beautiful place to spend time alone.


We started walking the trail and noticing all the birds and the wildflowers. There wasn't a soul around. It was so peaceful.

We'd not heard that many birds chirping in one place in a very long time. Every little critter was so active.

Also hadn't felt a mosquito bite in a long time! There just hasn't been any around the house all summer. We got our share on the trail.

Certain places were so incredible to look at. Almost a prehistoric feel to them. I LOVE it so.

A couple of places were flooded out, with twig bridges to cross and ropes to hold on to. I have good balance, so I found these places extra fun. All the while I kept waiting to get ambushed by Ted Bundy. He never showed up. Thank you God. We never saw another human.

The woodsy trails started giving way to sand. Despite what the people at the Treadclimber would like to say 'it's's like walking on sand''s NOT easy!

A couple of miles later, the trail opened up to this. This. This makes my heart sing. This makes me burst out in song....literally.

Our own private beach. We'd not planned on swimming, this was supposed to be a hiking trip, and I didn't want to carry in a bunch of gear for two miles. Like, we didn't even carry snacks or water. I know...I lecture needed.

We found this cool structure. Look to the lower left hand side of the pic above. See that? What is that? A fish head or something.....?

Here...have a closer look!

Standing here for a few minutes, we could take it no more. I know Rhonda...the whole E coli thing in the lake right was warm out...there was no one there.....we went swimming! I in my jeans and t shirt, and Aaron down to his little briefs. It was glorious! The water was beautiful!!!! The first gas pain I have, I'm sure I'll think I have E Coli now.

We hung around for quite some time, soaking up the gloriousity of it. (I'm making up new words now). Hiking back, I was pretty worn out feeling and just plugging along. My serial killer fears subsided just in time for a MAN to pop out of what seemed like no where. I'm certain that I've lost a few good years of life due to this scare. He had a back pack on (which I'm sure was filled with cutlery, rope and duck tape). Let me tell you this scared me straight and I started walking faster and faster and being VERY alert! I just wanted out of the woods at that point. Of course, with my internal GPS being what it is, we got turned around and ended up walking another mile. Five miles all together. No water. No food. We were like ravenous maniacs when we got in the car and drove to the first gas stations for rations.

I just seem to attract crazy people. I'll have to tell you about Schlong Man sometime. Oh, now that was creepy.

Fears of death, germs and mosquitoes aside. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. It's beautiful. If you get a chance, you really should go and experience it. Just bring mace, mosquito repellent and stay out of the water.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

My First Photoshop Attempt....

Just a wee lil' post tonight. Been so busy today working around the house and yard so that I can go hiking tomorrow and not think of house chores. Going to hike the Cowles Bog Trailat the Indiana Dunes Lakeshore with Aaron tomorrow. I can't wait to share it with you.....

I have a whole week of pictures to show you! I'm hoping to get the majority of them up in the morning. I have had an interesting week.

For now, I just wanted to share this photo with you. It's an old barn down the road.

Do you like it? Is it too 'predictable'? 'Cliche'? 'Boring'? Please be honest. I need some critiquing here. I love barns. I photoshopped the heck out of it. Do you see the 'face' on it? I love when barns have faces.

This could be quite addicting.......

*added Monday morning* Jennifer suggested that I add the 'original' photo before it was photoshopped! Great idea. I like the warmth of the original, and will probably do something with it again, going toward warm tones instead of the coolness of this one.