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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Another Visitor

 Before the mother of all heat waves captured and tortured the midwest, there was a day where it was nice enough to open the windows. No, really, there was......... I know it is hard to believe........... I am serious!

Willie and I went through the house and happily opened windows to let the air come through. Our house has about 20 windows in it and with the shade trees outside, it ventilates and cools very well, even when the temperatures reach into the eighties. I sleep much better with the windows open, we open them every chance we get.

 This last time we had a chance to open the windows we found a little visitor hanging out on one, literally, hanging out. He was on the outside of the screen. He seemed to have his feet tangled in the screen.  At first it took us a while to figure out if he was even alive. We poked at the screen and he didn't budge. We wiggled the screen more and still he held perfectly still. Willie said he thought he saw him move. I thought it was just jiggling with the movement of the screen. We watched him for a little while and he didn't move a muscle. I decided, as much as we had banged on the screen, and he hadn't flown off, he must be dead.
Then suddenly a wing moved. Did it move voluntarily, or did it just fall? We watched carefully again. We saw no other real movement. About this time, we started trying to figure out how we were going to get a dead bat off of the outside of the window screen. Then his head popped up. He started looking around. He was alive! I was so happy!

Turns out he was a sleeping baby. He was not stuck at all. Once he was fully awake he started moving around on the screen. He moved down the screen and over to the side. I was captivated. I sat on my knees watching him until my knees screamed in agony. Then I went and got a pillow and watched some more. Every once in a while a much bigger bat would come to check on him. Finding him fine, she would fly off to eat more bugs and mosquitoes. I kept watching. I must have watched this little guy for two hours. The sun was still bright in the sky when we found him and it was dark night when I finally left him alone.

The next morning, as excited as a giddy child on Christmas,  I went to see if he was still there. His mother must have come to get him in the night because he was gone. I was disappointed, but glad he was being taken care of. A few days later we saw a bat climbing up the side of the house. As long as they don't decide to live in my house they are welcome to stay. We have more than enough mosquitoes for them, and I am happy to let them devour as many as they can.

Best Weekend

 The weekend before last was a great one. Why was it so great? What made it so special? Valerie, Alyssa, Shane, and Kahlen came to visit. The only thing that could have made it better would have been if Josh and Caitlin had been able to make it, too. It had been two months since I had seen any of them. I was so happy to see them pull up!

Kahlen had changed so much since the last time I had seen her. She has so many words now. She can tell you exactly what she wants, and you can understand her! She has gotten so tall. I have a spot in the kitchen where I measure her. It is where the family that lived here before us had theirs. I decided to leave theirs and add Kahlen to it. Kind of a little history of the house. Since we moved in here in November, Kahlen has grown 3 inches. Amazing!

The weekend was spent going to favorite restaurants, talking wedding and spending time together. We went to Heron Park one afternoon. Kahlen got to see swans and listen to bullfrogs. There are many, many bullfrogs to be heard there. She saw big carp plowing their way through the algae in the water. But I think her favorite part was riding on Daddy's shoulders and bossing everyone around.

My favorite part was just having all of us together. It is what I miss most being so far away. I even miss my kids arguing and yelling at each other, well, a little anyway. Maybe for my birthday I'll ask Alyssa to get mad at Josh and throw something at him...... Nah.
Of course the weekend went much too fast. It just feels a little more like home when the house is full. Knowing the rooms aren't empty. Having laughter fill the air. Saying goodbye is always so hard!

The one consolation was that Kahlen was staying with us for a week and a half. I know how hard it is on Alyssa and Shane when she is here with us, but I am so very, very grateful that they let us have her now and again. She just brings a sparkle and energy to the house. Days with Kahlen are always an adventure!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Under Stimulated Brain

I was wondering today, why does sausage thaw faster than hamburger? Is it the higher fat content? Is there more water in sausage? What is it about sausage that it that it defrosts faster? Does it make a difference if it is pork or turkey sausage? Sausage tastes better than hamburger. You would think that it would, for that reason, thaw slower, in an attempt to not get eaten. This particular sausage is Italian sausage and  fated to become meatloaf with the hamburger.

So, that is but one strange question that has entered my under stimulated brain cells today. Since getting my iPhone I find myself googling things more and more. It is just so handy. Is Redd Foxx still alive? Google. How old is John Cusack? Google. What is Jeremiah Weed? Google. Why does my spell check not like "Foxx"with two X's but "Redd" with two D's is ok? And why doesn't it like "ok"? You know the important questions in life. Oh, and why did I use a picture of a flower for this post? Well, you won't find the answer for that on google. I just thought it was pretty and the grass hopper is cute.

I said my brain was under stimulated, you were warned.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hot Summer Drive

Bazinga and I took a long drive through rural Illinois today. It was hot and sticky, the air conditioning in my car doesn't work. Bazinga didn't seem to mind, he spent most of the first part of the drive with his head out the window. He'd turn to look at me, with a wind blown face and seemed to smile. He was enjoying being a dog on a hot summer day.

As we drove along I noticed how the fields that just a few months ago were full of roaring water and absent of life, were now flourishing. There was green everywhere. Fields of soy beans for miles and miles. Rows of corn seemed to turn the county highway into a tunnel, with a sweet smell that made me wonder when sweet corn stands would start popping up.
 There was a thick humid haze in the air. The corn was thriving in it. You could almost see it grow right before your eyes. The wildflowers lined the edge of the road like sentries protecting  the corn from the sparse traffic that drove swiftly by without a second glance.

There is so much beauty in rural areas. Life renewing itself. Life that sustains other life. Without the bounty of these fields there would be no life as we know it. Without the acres of soybeans there would be no tofu for the city dwellers that look down their noses at the people who produce every scrap of food they eat.

The Midwest quite often gets dismissed by those who live on the coasts as a place they fly over to get to the important places. New York City seems to like to believe that the world, and the universe orbits around it alone. If you don't live there, surely you must want to. Do they realize how quickly their city would fall into collapse if the American farmer decided to quit feeding them? But they won't. The hard working farmer continues the American tradition of feeding, not just New York City, but the world in general. Happy he lives in the quiet countryside that others just fly over. Glad that the snobby high society is away in the city where such folk belong.  He feels sorry for them, they will never know the joy of a sweet smelling breeze on a hot summer day. They will never experience the beauty that he sees all around him. A fleeting beauty that must be experienced day to day to be appreciated fully. They will always look past such mundane things in search of something they can't attain. He is sad for them, but very happy they aren't here to spoil it for him.

And, on a different note.... This weeks pumpkin patch pictures. It seems to be slowing down on its pursuit of the yard and is using its strength to produce pumpkins!
This looks like a white pumpkin, but it's getting pretty darn big already.

Looks like I have some gourds too.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Great Mowing Adventure as Retold by Bazinga the Brave as Dictated to Becky the Great, (he made me write that)

Today was yard work day. That big fat lazy Mia, was no help at all. Willie, Becky and I had a lot to do. (No, I don't call Willie and Becky, Mom and Dad. My mom's name was Izzy and my dad's name was Pig, they look nothing like them. Besides, why would I call my pets, mom and dad?)

One of my jobs, being the most important, of course, is to chase the horrible and terrifying creatures from the back yard. The humans call these, squirrels and birds. I call them natures excrement and devil spawn. My names don't seem to translate well, that must be why they call them their weird names. I am very efficient at my job. One day I will catch one and show them that this is my yard, they must stay out!

Another of my jobs, is to eat all of the sticks in the yard. If I don't do this the big grass eating machine with tear them up and throw them away. This is a huge waste of a perfectly good stick.

 That is when the big noisy grass eating machine comes out. I am not a fan of the grass eating machine. It not only eats the grass, but also eats all of my puffball sticks and sweet clover pops as well. When it is done it takes days for my puffball sticks to come back. These are my most favorite treats, that greedy grass eating machine shouldn't take them all.
The the other noisy thing that always comes out is the scary rock throwing thingy. This is something that only Willie the Strong is ever allowed to use. It starts up and pulls him all along the fence and trees throwing rocks and sticks and dirt all over the place while it does. Willie seems to be the only one that has any control over this beast. He seems to be its lead dog. He controls it well, though it often throws  rocks at his ankles in protest.

Becky uses the grass eating machine. She does not seem to have the same control over it as Willie has over the scary rock throwing thingy. It pulls her all over the yard. It takes her around in circles. It pulls her through the jungles, and the dog eating trees. She tries very hard to control it but I see her struggle. Though, it looks like she is having fun.... I think she is just putting on a brave face. I try to rescue her from the grass eating machine, but for some strange reason, she ties me to the deck. I think this is very stupid of her. I would be very useful.

 Finally, Becky stops for a break and Willie the Strong comes in and rescues her. He has much more control over the grass eating machine. He is able to make it go exactly when he wants it to. He makes it go in straight precise lines. Maybe that's why he does the front yard. That's what people can see. His part always looks so much better.
Then, as a finishing touch, I come back in and polish the cut grass. This is the very most critical part and I do it well. I roll and roll and roll in the grass. It is exhausting, but if I didn't do it everything else would be for not!  (Besides, and don't tell Willie and Becky this, it is fun! And the best part! I don't want them to know, because I don't want them to do it instead. I LOVE this part!)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wedding Flowers

I've been working on wedding stuff for Alyssa's wedding. She is getting married in the fall and has decided on orange and brown for her colors. She loves star gazer lilies, so I've been trying to use as many as I can.

I haven't been making all of the arrangements the same though. They are all different, I hope she is ok with that. This is the first time I have ever done anything like this.  My biggest fear is that we will get them to the reception hall and they will have fallen apart. I think looks wise I am doing ok, I send Alyssa a picture of each one when I'm done, so far all's good. She will get to see them in person in ten days. Not that I'm counting.

 Valerie, Alyssa, Shane and Kahlen are coming for a visit on the 15th. I am not only counting the days, but the hours and minutes as well. I cant wait! I haven't seen any of them since May. I am definitely in severe withdraw!

We get to have Kahlen for almost a whole week too! I may just let her help with an arrangement too. They can put it on a very special table. A Kahlen table. I think a Kahlen table is a very good idea.

I'm having a lot of fun making these. My hand is sore and swollen from the wire cutters, but it has been so worth it. I feel so removed from the plans, this way I feel a little more involved. I just hope I get to help out with Josh's wedding to somehow.
Still have so much to do! I need more tiger lilies!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!!!!

 A parade went down my street this morning. I forgot to take any pictures. It was full of firetrucks and old cars and kids on four wheelers. There was candy thrown and kids with bags to catch it. People stood for the flag and watched kids do tricks on bikes. It was a typical small town 4th of July parade celebrating the birth of our country. It was fun to watch and made me glad to live in a small town that takes pride in our country.

I spent a little time in the garden this morning before the parade. I'm still trying to figure out what these strange bird looking flowers are. The point their "beaks" at the sun. They almost look graceful in the evening as they all point toward the garage.

It seems there are seeds inside the little white pouches. They are starting to split open. It has taken quite a while to get to this stage. I just wish I knew what they are.

I am anxiously awaiting the ripening of the first tomatoes. I can't wait for my first bacon and tomato sandwich, or tomato and cucumber sandwich, or tomato and tomato sandwich, YUM! I am very impatient this year. While I don't want summer to be over, I definitely want to devour some red ripe tomatoes.

 These little guys are just not growing fast enough. Perhaps they know their future. Perhaps they are aware that they will soon be on a sandwich, or salad, or just sliced on a plate with a little salt, (Shhhh, don't tell my cardiologist.)

My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I'll have to get some fresh mozzarella cheese, and pick some basil from the garden, and slice the tomatoes. I can't spell the word for the kind of salad that is. I can't even come close enough for spell check to be able to figure it out. My mouth doesn't care though. It still tastes good!
 Of course the one thing that is growing very quickly is the pumpkin patch. Here are this weeks pictures. We should have plenty of pumpkins for the wedding.

Have a great 4th!