Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Hard to believe it'll be 2010 in just a few hours! 2009 just flew by!

Also hard to believe it's been so long since I posted last. It's been a rough season for us healthwise. Halloween we took the kids to the Mall as usual, and as usual, two days later the "bugs" caught up with us. We swapped flue bugs back and forth for a bit, then started sharing cold bugs.

By the time Lindsay's Birthday had arrived on the 20th we were all feeling better, but still hanging on to symptoms to the point we ended up putting her special outing off. Guess we have that to look forward to in the New Year. The kids are all better now while Pa and I are slowly but surely limping our way back to our usual relatively healthy selves. I guess these things take a bit longer as a body gets older...

Still wore out it, seemed even more stressful than usual having Christmas follow so close behind a Birthday, but we managed for the most part and the kids seemed quite happy with their gifts, even though there weren't quite so many under the tree this year. I expect we weren't the only parents explaining the realities of the economy to their children this year.

One thing we miss here is Christmas snow, but there are some benefits to a warmer climate, especially when Ma Nature cooperates and holds off on the rain for Christmas day. The kids had a ball with one of their shared Christmas gifts.
Fun On Christmas Day

Doin' The Ogo Dance

The next day they played with their "OgoSports" disks some more, then Lindsay pulled out her new stilts.
She's Doin' It!

The stilts are called "Walkaroos" and their great! Designed for ease and safety in learning, they also feature a great extending design which means they'll grow with Lindsay all the way into adulthood if she's still interested by then. Who knows? Maybe I'll even get brave enough to give them a try one of these days! Now there would be a picture!

For anyone with active children I highly recommend both these items for gifting!

Tonight, as the wind and rain do their thing outside we'll be enjoying pizza, followed by oodles of popcorn as we do whatever we dream up for fun. Maybe a game, or perhaps enjoy a movie until the New Years show starts at 10. The kids are looking forward to staying up til midnight. Pa and I are figuring the kids will be giggling as we drop off sometime before the magic hour. Hopefully they'll be kind enough to toss a blanket or two over us before they head into bed! ;-)

Hope you all had a fantastic Christmas!

Best wishes for a very Happy New Year !

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The World Link : NB cops recover stolen cruiser

Seems someone in the area decided to steal a Police car! I can't help but wonder what the transmitions between officers sounded like on this one! Unfortunately, we weren't listening to the scanner at the time.

The World Link : NB cops recover stolen cruiser

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Birthday - A Movie - A Fire!

It's been another busy week in the Boondocks.

Tuesday was Nathan's 12th Birthday which meant we were busy with preparations for several days ahead of time. We like to take the kids somewhere special for their big days , which usually means an outdoor outing. Due to the uncomfortably warm weather on Tuesday, we made an exception this year.

Shortly after noon we all piled into the truck and headed for town, and proceeded to the mall, and the Cinema. The kids had never been to a movie theatre before , and it was a nice cool place to spend a hot afternoon, so we thought it would be a good choice for the special event.

Turns out we were right. Nathan and Lindsay both thoroughly enjoyed the cool air, as well as the movie we chose to treat them to. We were pleasantly surprised at the price of admission, but were quickly shocked back into the present time by the prices at the concession stand. It cost more for popcorn and sodas than admittance! It was worth it though, to see the kids eyes widen at the site of the huge bags of popcorn and the large cups of soda. We ordered small of each and they were the size of large that I remember when I went to the movies as a youngster.

The film we saw was Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. As with the first two Ice Age movies, it was an excellent film! Including us, there were maybe 15 folks watching this particular showing, and most of those were adults, in their 50's and older. Including our two, there was a total of three children, and the chuckles and outright laughing could be heard throughout the film, from both children and adults. I would highly recommend this film for the whole family!

Nathan's Birthday Cake
After the movie we headed to Albertson's where we picked up Nathan's choices for dinner, Macaroni and cheese, Broccoli and fish, and his cake, which he was tickled to note was an Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs theme.

Back at home the kids played outside for a bit while Pa and I blew up balloons and set the table up with gifts, balloons and the cake. Nathan was thrilled with his gifts, which included books (he loves to read!), archery equipment, a dissecting kit (that was the closest thing I could come to his request for something having to do with bones) and cash. The kids then headed back outside where Nathan practiced his archery skills until dinner time.
Straight As An Arrow
Bulls Eye!
Yesterday was another exciting day, which included a surprise visit from the head forester for our area. The kids were wandering around their paths in the woods on our property when they smelled smoke and investigating further they discovered a fire. They immediately ran back to the house to inform us. Pa grabbed the shovel and we followed them back up to the fire. Fortunately, it was still small enough we were able to deal with it. While Pa was busy doing what he could with the shovel, the kids and I set up a relay of sorts, to get jugs of water up to the site.

Once we got the fire out we came back down to the house and called the forestry dept, and the forester came out to take a look. He was great! He praised the kids multiple times for finding the fire, and taking the correct action, then proceeded to show his trainee, as well as the kids how to determine the cause and path of the fire. He determined it was airborne, and the most probable direction of origin. His theory was the same as ours, and once he'd finished on our property our neighbors got a visit as well.

It turns out this forester lives in the neighborhood as well so he was doubly grateful for the kids' discovery and actions. We were all shaking our heads, feeling our hearts pounding as we realized how fortunate we, and the whole neighborhood were that the kids discovered it when they did. It was just getting a good blaze going. Mere minutes, or a good gust of wind later and it would've been raging into a wildfire beyond our control with dozens of homes, including ours in it's path.

Today, we're heading to town for our weekly visit to the Library and some shopping, including a search for Nathan's last Birthday gift from us, his choice of a quiver for his archery pursuits.

Hope you all are having a safe and fun week, and that you are able to stay cool!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bouncing Back

A Boondock Hangout
Originally uploaded by boondockma
I guess it's been awhile. Time to shake off the haze and post an update.

After better than two months of trading illnesses back and forth between my family members, I was left feeling more than a little worn out. It all started with me, the last week of April. Then Lindsay caught it, followed by Nathan. Then I took another turn and the circle began all over again. Finally, Pa got his fair share, then back to me once again before it all ended. We've all got the sniffles now, but other than that we all seem to be healthy once again.

This bout with illness really has me baffled, as we are generally a healthy family unit. Sure, we have the seasonal downs, but they usually make their relatively quick rounds through our bodies and leave. We've never experienced so long a battle as this one. I'm figuring there must be a reason it was different this time but I can't figure what that reason may be with one possible exception. The day after our last trip to the beach, they posted warnings to stay out of the water due to high levels of fecal contamination. Ah well. We're just feeling grateful it's all over and done with, and looking forward to healthy, fun days ahead!

To celebrate feeling better, and taking advantage of a sunny day, the kids took me on a little stroll along one of the paths they've blazed on our property. Although it was a bit more intensive than they had let on, it was an enjoyable little hike and I enjoyed the opportunity to put the camera to good use once again. I must say, I was quite impressed with the trail they had created. A lot of work went into it's creation through the years.

Since I've been negligent in posting updates, I've missed a couple Saturday movie reviews! We've seen several good ones and want to share a couple of the best with you today.

Saturday Night At The Movies

Last Saturday evening we all sat down together and enjoyed a really fun film, Bedtime Stories, starring Adam Sandler. I wasn't too sure about this one when I first saw it, but the kids had seen previews and were quite insistent and so I gave in. What a delightful film it turned out to be! All four of us were laughing and exclaiming our "Oh No!" comments throughout the film. I would recommend this film for families with children aged 7 or 8 and older.

Three weeks ago we watched The Spiderwick Chronicles, A magical adventure filled with excitement, mystery, danger and the incredible power of family it had all four of us riveted to the screen. I will note for those who would shy away from anything hinting of "wizardry" (although I don't recall any actual "wizards"), or if your child is prone to nightmares, this film does contain some pretty scary scenes including some violence, which I suspect is the reason for the PG rating, you may want to read the more complete description and reviews before renting this one for your family. Taken in it's context as a fantasy adventure and nothing more, it's a wonderful film I would recommend to families with children age 8, or maybe 10 and above.

I will try to be a bit more diligent in posting here, and will try to get around to visiting all of you soon. As we are still playing catch-up with yhousehold chores around here, I'll have to make it a little at a time, but will make it around to all soon!

Hope you're all having a wonderful summer!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Happy Bumblebee

Sweet Clover
Originally uploaded by boondockma

Bumblebee oh so happy
In the clover field so sweet
Flowers white filled with pollen
She'll drink deep to sate her needs

Her bags full with golden nectar
From the many flowers about
Pollinating as she twitters
Between blossoms one by one

Somewhere near a hive awaits her
At days end she will return
To deposit her golden bounty
The treasure oh so dear

Bumblebees oh so busy
In their hives at end of day
Turning all collected pollen
Into waxy honey sweet

Yesterday, Pa mowed down our little field of clover. Before he did that I managed to get a couple pictures of the bees that were making the most of the pollen those flowers contained. It's no wonder there were so many bees, as walking out into the area I was almost overpowered by the sweet aroma eminating from all those flowers!

The month of June has certainly had it's ups and downs at our house.

We have enjoyed a couple trips to the beach, the memories of which we especially relished as illnesses took over. Lindsay managed to get over her illness, but not before sharing the bugs with her brother. She has always been such a generous girl. Nathan got over it with amazing speed, but that only lasted one day, before it returned with a vengeance!

Naturally, as a Mother I responded by worrying and getting less and less sleep each night. Last night I finally managed to get more than 4 hours of sleep!

Today the kids and I are all feeling much better, which is a very good thing as it means we can go to town, get more books at the library, check our mail, and stock up on groceries!

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this is the end of our family illnesses for the season and that I will continue to catch up on sleep. I've found as I've gotten older it takes me longer to recover from those sleep deprived nights than it did in years past.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tardy In The Boondocks

It's been another busy week at our house. For some reason I've been having problems sleeping long enough to keep my mind and my body happy. In addition to that, Lindsay came down with something, which meant I lost more sleep, both due to my concerns for her, and her wakefulness during the night.

Prior to all this, last Thursday we went in to the Library. It was a particularly nice visit this time! First off, I noticed Gary, the head Librarian, and admin for the library, had his photo display up in the room set aside for such events. He chose some great photos, which I had already seen on his flickr, but they were even better in person!

We had a fine chat with Gary, including some "camera talk", then we noticed the kids were all done selecting their books to check out. We headed over to the counter and were surprised when one of the Librarian's said they had some new book bags for the kids. They were really nice ones this time, and as a bonus, they gave me one too!

As a result of this latest gift from the Library, we have a surplus of book bags, several of which will be great for grocery bags! Yes! At last I will be able to go through the checkout at the Grocery store without feeling pangs of guilt over choosing between plastic and paper. I can just hand over my wonderful canvas bags and say "Fill 'em up!" :)

Today we just couldn't put it off any longer. Pa and Nathan headed into town to pick up some groceries, as well as batteries for my camera as my 4x specials had run dry and I had managed to go through all the regular AAs in the house, including those I plucked out of the flashlights!

While Pa and Nathan were gone on their little errand, I stayed home with Lindsay who is still recuperating. She was feeling better enough that I was able sneak outside and grab a few photos though. I used up the very last of the batteries from the flashlight on pictures of a squirrel that had managed to find his way past the birds that were giving him a very hard time, guarding their feeding station. He somehow climbed into the feeder and was happily munching away as I inched in closer and closer for better and better shots. I even managed a couple macros of him! The very best though was the one I snapped after he'd had enough and hopped away onto another tree and looked back at me. After cropping this picture I was quite pleased with the result! Squirrel in a tree

Finally, Pa and Nathan returned home with their purchases. The first thing I saw was Nathan happily bounding into the house with a long rectangular box. He informed me I was going to be very unhappy with this purchases, then handed me what turned out to be something I've been wanting practically since I got my camera. A tripod! Oh my! Oh my! I'm so excited! Pa helped me get it set up, and it is now sitting here, in the middle of the living room waiting for me to decide just how I am going to use it for it's maiden photo shoot! Hmmm. Wonder if the clouds will part this evening so I can give my lunar experiments another go? Hehe.

Saturday Night At The Movies

I know. I feel so guilty! Two weeks without a movie review! I'll get on that right now! Last Saturday evening we watched The Last Starfighter. The kids really enjoyed this film, which had minimal romance, and plenty of action. If your children enjoy Space adventures, and/or video games, and are a bit older (I'd say 8+) then chances are they'd enjoy this film.

This Saturday we watched Back To The Future, starring Michael J Fox, and Christopher Lloyd. I'd seen this film before, but it had been such a long time that I'd forgotten most of it. We all thoroughly enjoyed this film and I would recommend it to anyone with children in the same age group as the previous film mentioned. The difference being I think the adults in the family enjoyed this one more.

I'll try to get back later on, or early tomorrow to visit with everyone, but right now I need to run and get some jello made for Lindsay. She's hungry! Yes!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fun In The Boondocks

This has been a busy week for our family. Sunday, the kids played with the cats, and I busied myself taking pictures. My favorite of that day was the Ladybug with the Aphid Bon Appetit

Monday was a fairly sunny day, and according to the weather report, it was the only promising day of the week. In addition to that, it was also getting awful close to tourist season so we decided it would be a good day to head to the beach once again.

This time we decided to head to Sunset Bay. Since this particular location includes a fair amount of tidepools, we were able to count it as a Science Field Trip. I was tickled to manage some photos of some of the life residing within those tidepools.
Sea Anemone
Once the Science portion of our trip was done, school was over and the real fun began!
Jumping In To Action
Beach Jogging
The kids ran and jumped
Sneak Attack!
It Almost Got Me!
They played and they laughed

Up On The Cliff Top
They explored

I'm A Bay Watcher !
They stopped and said hello to the gull on watch
It's A Plane!
They waved at the floatplane that happened by
Sunset Bay
At the end of the day we all stopped and looked back for one last glance of the bay as the sun began descending.

Tuesday morning I began going through the 178 photos I had managed to take. I narrowed them down to about half that number, then went through them again. It took me all of Tuesday, then yesterday, and finally I finished loading the 40 chosen photos to load on to my flickr.

This afternoon, we're off to town. The kids are in need of more library books!

Hope this week is turning out to be as fun for you and your families as it has been for us!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Loony Moon

Lately I've been spending a lot of time trying to figure out how in the world I'm going to manage to gt a really good picture of the moon. While it seems a rather elusive dream at this point, I'm determined to push my camera to it's limits. I'm just sure there's some creative means of manipulating what I've got to realize my rather lofty goal.

Last night I headed outside with my little Powershot and began fiddling with some of the options available within my camera. While coming nowhere near my ultimate goal, I did get some interesting shots!
I Broke The Moon!

I was quite upset after seeing this one, and realizing I had somehow managed to break the moon!
Playful Moon
Fortunately, the moon recovered, and began having fun.
Angry Gremlin or Playful Teddy?
The moon then decided to start playing with different shapes!
Rockaby Moon
After a good hour of playing in the sky, the moon got tired and decided to lie down in a branch of our fir tree to take a nap

If you want to see more proof that the moon has a playful side, click on any of these pictures, for a full size view (these smaller photos really don't do them justice!), as well as access to more pictures. I even placed them all together in their own little set, called Lunar Whimsy!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rain In The Boondocks

A likely puddle
Originally uploaded by boondockma
Any time of year
If you visit here
You'll most likely find...
Clouds and
Rain in the Boondocks

When the sun comes out
Folks don't fear a drought
They know it's close behind...
Rain in the Boondocks

Don't bother waterin' the garden
It's June and so we know
The clouds, they soon will gather
and bring
Rain in the Boondocks

We make the most of the sun
But we know clouds can be fun
Anything goes in our backyard
When there's
Rain in the Boondocks

If for Oregon you're bound
Bring an umbrella along
Grab Galoshes too
'cause there's
Rain in the Boondocks

The air is fresh and clean
I hear the Robin's sing
May as well join in
It's just
Rain in the boondocks

The folks around our town
Laugh and splash their way around
All the puddles to be found
When it's
Rain in the boondocks

As the drops come falling down
Children gather round
Catching drops upon their tongues
Gotta love that
Rain in the boondocks Laughing In The Rain

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Busy In The Boondocks

Nathan had been eying some trees for quite some time now, and asked if he could cut one of them down. Since the trees he was referring to are not native to our region, reproduce at an almost alarming rate, and just happen to be an excellent source of firewood, I answered in the affirmative.

The tree Nathan chose was one of the taller ones. It was still alive but definitely showing signs of age. It was in the process of finishing it's life cycle. It was also surrounded by the offspring, either of itself, or it's neighbors, and so was an excellent choice.

Nathan grabbed the hand saw and set to work. Within about 30 minutes we all heard that satisfying crash and bang of a tree falling through neighboring branches before settling down in it's final resting place. It had lived a good life and was now awaiting it's time of service.

Nathan was quite proud of his newest accomplishment! After all, this was the largest tree he had ever cut down all by himself! Although these trees, dubbed "The Tall Skinny Trees" (as we haven't managed to properly identify them as yet), are not impressive in their diameter, they do grow quite tall!

I Cannot Tell A Lie
The seedlings you can see in the forefront are this years growth. They'll probably grow another 2 - 3 feet in the next year.

While Nathan was doing the Paul Bunyan thing, Lindsay busied herself taking care of our latest additions to the Boondock clan.

A Girl And Her Kittens
This is Snowflake and Rusty. Graystripe was off taking a nap, after a busy morning frolicking with her siblings.

After our Summery weather of last week, we've been a bit disappointed to note the cooler weather this week. However, we do rather enjoy firing up the woodstove in the evenings. It just seems more "homey" somehow, listening to the crackling wood inside as we soak in the heat radiating from within. Last night was especially nice, as we were utilizing some of the wood we'd reaped from Nathan's hard work earlier in the day.

Twas a pleasant ending to yet another fun filled, busy day in our little corner of the Boondocks.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Frugal Saturday...Dinner And A Movie!

In keeping with our attempts to further "frugalize" our life style, we're working towards cutting our food bill. In addition to economics it's important to maintain, if not improve the nutritional value of our meals as well. One of the ways we've found to fulfill both these goals is to cut back on our meat consumption.

One thing I do want to note is, cutting back does not mean cutting out. We all enjoy our meat too much for that! Last night Pa fixed dinner, and we all agreed he did a fine job of cutting back on the meat, while retaining nutritional value, and just as important, he didn't sacrifice taste!

He began by thawing two moderate size pork chops. In the past that would have been the beginning of a meal for two, but he was planning dinner for four, so he made some changes. Rather than just popping the two chops in a pan and frying them up, he cut the meat away from the bones, then into bite size pieces. He chopped up an onion,half a red bell pepper and minced some garlic, sauteing the vegetables in a small amount of olive oil til the onion was tender. Then he added the prepared meat. He quickly fried that then added rice he had cooked separately, fried it up a bit, seasoned it with a bit of soy sauce then let it warm through. (The only thing I would've done differently is I would've sauteed the dry rice a bit, then added water and let it all simmer together in the pan.)

Come dinner time we set out the Soy and Teriyaki sauces so everyone could further season their portions as desired. We all enjoyed this simple and frugal, yet quite tasty creation and we're looking forward to more variations as Pa and I take turns donning our thinking/chefs caps in the future!

After dinner we all gathered in the living room and settled in to watch this weeks family friendly film

Saturday Night At The Movies

Last nights feature was one I had watched before, but it had been so long that I really didn't remember any of the details, so it was rather like viewing it for the first time. The Bear was thoroughly enjoyed by all! It is a foreign film, but has the English language option which we utilized, rather than depending on the subtitles. Set in Canada in the late 1800s it is about an orphaned bear cub, the bear that takes him under his wing, and their struggles to survive, which includes dealing with some hunters. It is a fictional film, and includes some rather improbable situations, but is both educational and entertaining all the same. It also contains some pretty fantastic scenery! Younger children may be disturbed by a few of the scenes, especially if they are fond of dogs, so PG does seem a fair rating for this film. Older children may appreciate the note at the beginning of the film stating no animals were harmed in the making of the film. We all enjoyed this film so much we gave it a rare rating of 5 out of 5 possible.

Hope you all are having a fantastic weekend!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

What's So Special About The Dragonfly?

Wings 2
Originally uploaded by boondockma
This is for SonyaAnn's son, as well as anyone else who appreciates the uniquely beautiful being we call the dragonfly.

So, just what is it about the dragonfly that inspires awe in so many?

Perhaps it is the wings, which are almost web like, yet in many species somehow manage such a colorful state. Or maybe it is their long bodies, trailing behind them, with such a variety of colorful markings.

Then again, it could be their remarkable abilities of flight! With two sets of wings which they can work together in one direction,amazingly moving in most any direction they choose, forward, backwards, up, down, around..... or they can choose to hover by instructing the two sets of wings to move in opposite directions at the same time. It's no wonder man has chosen to study and emulate the dragonfly in our own flying machines!

As well as it's ability to maneuver in seemingly limitless flight patterns, the dragon fly is fast! It has been estimated to fly anywhere from 30 to 60 MPH. So, if you spot a dragonfly outside your car window, and you manage to outrun it, you might want to check your speed... Not only are they fast, but they really get around!. They have been known to fly a full hundred miles in one day!

The Dragonfly has been around for a very long time.The current estimate of it's existence goes back as far as 300 million years! That means the Dragonfly was buzzing around with the dinosaurs!

The largest recorded wingspan of the dragon fly is from a fossil. The wingspan of that particular fossilized beauty was a full 30 inches. That's 2 and 1/2 feet! Fast forwarding to current times, the largest known Dragonfly's wingspan measures 7 and 1/2 inches. Still pretty impressive if you ask me! That particular species is found in Costa Rica.

If you include the Damselfly in the countdown, there are just about 5,000 different species in the world today. Most of that population resides in tropical areas, although you can find them most anywhere, with the exception of Antarctica. There are approximately, 450 species known to live in the United States, which makes for some pretty good photo ops for us!
Dragonfly Profiled
The Dragonfly's diet consists of smaller insects, including that pesky mosquito, as well as gnats, ants and termites, so they're handy fellows to have around!

As we have personally observed here on our property, Dragonfly's mate in flight. It is truly an amazing sight to see! I'm keeping fingers crossed that we'll have the fortune of observing this again, hopefully when I have my camera handy ;-)

With eyes containing a full 30,000 lenses, the Dragonfly has some pretty amazing visual capabilities. For that reason, I'm rather surprised at the photo opportunities it allows. Perhaps they somehow know, and are just gracious enough to pose long enough for amateures like me to capture their images on "film".

As always, clicking on the photos will take you to full size images :)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Family Fun Day!

The Water Beckons
Originally uploaded by boondockma
The sun was out. The kids were restless. What else to do but declare it Family Fun Day and head to the beach!

The beach we chose to visit is only about 45 minutes away so we were able to finish our morning routine and still make it to our destination by fairly early in the afternoon.

The kids strolled around a bit, breathing in the refreshing salt air, enjoying the roar of the ocean, all the wonderful sensations being at the beach brings to life.

Racing The Waves They chased and were chased in turn by the waves

Tall Dark and HandsomeThey wondered at their fellow beach goers

A Boy And His Trowel They dug in the sand

Surf's Up! Pa played chicken with the tide

Rock Hunting And we all scrambled up on the jetty, in search of the resident Orcas. Pa and the kids all managed a brief peek of two of them as they sped by. I didn't quite make it up in time. Too bad I was the one in charge of the camera! Oh well. Maybe next time.

After a couple hours it was time to head home. We stopped off in Charleston on the way and picked up some fresh fish for dinner. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Attitude Of Gratitude

Tuesday, as I visited my friends at their blogs I was surprised, and tickled to note one of my newest friends had left me an award! A.Marie, at My Money Mission is a really nice gal who keeps a great blog! She's frugal, she's fun, she's full of life and, as the title of this post, and this award indicate, she possesses the true attitude of gratitude.

I am truly honored to accept this award from her, as well as to pass it on to a few folks who I feel are equally deserving.

First off SonyaAnn at A Mom Money And More
. SonyaAnn is just a fun gal. She, like A.Marie is frugal and fun. She does an incredible job of posting current events in her life interspersed with past life experiences. She has a great sense of humor, and somehow makes you shudder and laugh all at the same time.

My daughter, Kimmi at Musings Of A Pastry Case is another I'd like to pass this award on to. Kimmi has such a wonderful outlook on life. This is something she has possessed since she was a youngster, and I am so pleased to note she has held on to the Attitude of Gratitude throughout her life, in to her adult years. She meets the challenges life hands her, greets them and embraces them, manipulating them to suit her needs, and nearly always manages to turn them in to positive events. She amazes me, and makes so very proud!

Bev, at My Little Room is another amazing lady, who is more than deserving of this award! She has pushed her way through the haze the clouds of life have tossed her way, finding the sunny spots hiding within. She makes the most of the sunny times, jumping in, allowing it to pour over her, then reaching out and grabbing whatever more may be contained within. She's also incredibly talented both in the kitchen and with her knitting needles! I am so grateful I met her, and that we have stayed in touch, getting to know each other even better through time.

Marcia at HDMacs Crafty Blog And More is another good friend I've had the good fortune of knowing for quite awhile now. As with the others I've mentioned, she isn't willing to let lifes lower moments get her down. She simply shoos those clouds away, gathers her family about her, and soaks up all the warmth that magically appears from within that circle. The love and the resulting strength within that family are evident in her posts and the photos she shares. And her crafting ideas are really cool too!

Then there is Dorothy who authors a truly inspiring blog, Grammology. The first time I visited her blog I was torn between emotions. First, I felt sorrow at all she was going through. None of it seemed fair, or right. She was literally in the fight of and for her life. Her body had waged war against her, and the insurance company, with all it's political and financial greed seemed to be joining the fight against her. She wasn't about to just sit back and accept all that though. With all the cards seemingly set up against her, she rose up and she fought back. When she managed to win one battle, another rose up, and she fought against that foe. Over and over again she fought her battles. Over and over again, somehow, against all odds, she won. In doing so, not only did she reign victorious, regaining her health, but she made some big steps for the rest of us as well. Her story is as inspiring as they come, and I am truly blessed to count her as a friend.

As the rules of this award state, I am to pass this on to 10 people. However, seeing as that would be pretty much everyone I know in the blogging world, I am choosing to keep it to half that number. For to simply pass it out to everyone would somehow seem to cheapen it. There are others I feel are worthy, and it is my hope that they will be similarly awarded by those who pass it on, and that no one will feel left out. I am truly grateful to all my readers, followers, and especially those who take the time to leave comments!

Then there is another rule for this award that I really had to think about, for there is more than one person, more than one experience for which I can attribute my "attitude of gratitude."

After thinking about it awhile I realized it is life itself that has and continues to make me grateful. I was fortunate in that my life began in the late 50s, when life was simpler. Neighbors still visited over the fence. As children we were pretty much allowed the run of the neighborhood, and that neighborhood was extended to encompass most all of our town!

My family played a huge part in my ever developing view of life, as well as my friends. From my parents I learned about love and cheerful sacrifice for those you love. My Grandparents continued that theme, and added their wisdom, which is gained only through time and experience. My sister taught me patience ;-) and a special kind of love that only siblings can share. Then there were and are my own children, who have provided me with more joy than I ever thought possible. There are no words to describe the love, the joy, and yes, at times the pain that goes with parenthood.

My friends and acquaintances over the years have also helped shape my view of life. Even those I may have met oh so briefly, and those who may have been or become more negative have served to enrich my life. I have learned from them all and, in turn I am grateful for them all.

Growing up, we went to Church every Sunday, and I learned to appreciate all God's gifts, from the clouds floating by in the blue sky, to the trees, the flowers,the birds and the butterflies that greeted me each day. The sunshine, and yes, even the rain were reason to smile.

As I went through life, I realized, like the rain that must fall, to feed the plants, and provide water for our wild cohabitants as well as ourselves, and to cleanse the air, sometimes we need to shed a tear or two, to cleanse our souls,to learn from and to help us appreciate the joys of life more fully. Sometimes we need a storm to shake things up, rearrange our thoughts, and perhaps provide us with a slightly different view.

Over time, I've seen a more simple life, of the 50s and early 60s go through a lot of changes. Life is more complex now. There is a sense of loss for those simpler times. With that loss though comes some positive changes. We now know more about the world around us than ever would have seemed possible when I was a child. The dream of owning a computer is no longer a childish dream that would elicit chuckles from parents. We've made amazing strides in human rights. Life is good, and the future is bright, if only because we have hope. Hope in our children, and their children. For all that, and more, I am grateful.

Here are the rules of the Lemonade Award:

1.Put the logo on your blog or post
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs that show an attitude of gratitude
3. Link to your nominees within your post
4. Comment on their blogs to let them know they've received this award
5. Share the love and link to this post and the person who nominated you for the award
6. Tell us how you've come to have an attitude of gratitude

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A "Power-ful" Tale

A Moment Of Reflection
Originally uploaded by boondockma
I loaded so many photos onto flickr yesterday, it was difficult to choose which one to post here. I decided to go with one that included both kids. There was one picture though that really stood out, so I decided to share it today. The neat thing about this one was that it was an impulse shot, and he didn't know I'd snapped until he saw it uploaded.

Our generator developed a problem a few days ago. The starter rope broke, which meant we didn't have a way to start it! Fortunately, the last couple days our electricity was in a cooperative mood. Just the same, we knew that wasn't likely to last so Pa had planned to take our alternate power source in to the shop to get it all fixed up. It was due for a tune-up anyway.

It was nice of our power to hang in there over the weekend. However, as if it somehow knew the weekend was over and done with, and it was business as usual around town this morning, it decided to act up. It was kind enough to hold off until after the coffee was brewed, something I'm sure Pa appreciated at least as much as I did; Not so much because he needs his morning jolt of caffeine, but because he has experienced life with me when I'm deprived of my cup of steaming goodness. It really isn't a pretty picture!

Sufficiently caffeinated, I turned the computer on and proceeded to go on line. That lasted just long enough for my mail to come in. Then my UPS started beeping. I looked and noted the number going down into the low 30's. I also noted that the beeping was constant. *sigh*. Time to shut her down...

While having to shut my PC down prior to even begin to do my morning rounds was a bit annoying, it was when I noticed the UPS was still beeping merrily away as it continued it's downward numerical spiral that I became truly concerned. I shut it off and unplugged it, then proceeded to stroll around the house.

The bathroom light was barely noticeable it was so dim. Okay. Time to light the kerosene lantern in there. I then proceeded into the dining room and kitchen where I noticed the lights were nonexistent. Hmmmm. Pa got the Aladdin going in the dining room, while I proceeded to check the fridge. Huh! The light bulb was on, but it was exhibiting the same dim view as the bathroom light. Alrighty then! Time to keep our visits to the fridge to a minimum.

The one bright spot of the whole power issue was that the water pump was still working. So far as we could tell, that was the only thing that was drawing enough juice to function at an adequate level. This was something worth smiling over. Water is the one thing I dread being without more than anything else during a power outage. Most everything else can be dealt with in one way or another.

Now that we had light in the dining room, I was able to get the kids going on their school lessons for the day. Fortunately, today was pretest day for spelling so I didn't need to stress over my inability to make copies. The math I had planned for the day did require copying though, so math plans changed. I thought about it a moment and decided on one of the two more fun math books that they could work on together. Great! Two subjects down! The writing lesson of the day was journals so that wasn't a problem. I only had one other subject planned for the day which we didn't get to, but that's alright. It'll wait until tomorrow.

While we were busy with school, Pa made a phone call to the place we purchased our generator a couple years ago. Unfortunately, it turned out the repairman was on vacation this week. Naturally.... Okay, any chance we could do a trade in?....Why sure we could do that! But....not until the trade in was repaired. Uh Huh! The fellow on the other end of the phone line was sympathetic though, and he had his thinkin' cap on. He suggested perhaps we might purchase the one generator of the model we were interested in that they had in stock, then bring the used one in for repair at which point they would buy it from us. Yeah, we could do that! He placed our name on the available generator and Pa headed into town to pick it up.

By the time Pa returned with our shiny new power source, we had finished with the days lessons and were outside playing with the cats and taking pictures.

The fact that you are reading this now is proof that this little tale had a happy ending :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day In The Boondocks

Silly Siblings
Originally uploaded by boondockma
As the ATM's buzz about in the dunes a few miles away, we're looking forward to another fun day at home, enjoying the sights and sounds around us. The birds flitting about, singing their merry little songs, the cats purring as they rub against us, and trailing after the kids as they scamper about the property, working up an appetite for tonight's dinner.

Yesterday was a similar scene at our house. The biggest difference between the two days was what we dined on at the end of the day. While we did utilize the grill, last nights dinner consisted of meatloaf (another successful grill experiment!), mashed potatoes, and brussel sprouts. A bit of a comfort food meal which did a fine job of satisfying the kids' hunger pangs.

Later this afternoon, Pa will fire up the grill once again. As the cats and the kids take a break from their busy day to gather round in eager anticipation, he will carefully place the chicken which has been marinating since 8 AM on the grill. I will wash and tear the lettuce for the salad, and hopefully, by then will have decided on a second side dish for our holiday meal. I think I'm going to try something different for tonight's dessert. If successful, I'll post the results tomorrow!Of course, that depends on whether we decide we really need a dessert after the meal we'll be consuming!

Speaking of posting results...Yesterday's meatloaf may be worth posting about! Although I preferred the flavor combination in our previous meatloaf experiment, I was much happier with the consistency of our latest concoction. There were two things that I believe made a difference. First was the liquid content. This time I limited my total liquid (not counting the eggs, which I kept at 2) to 8 oz. Secondly, we tried cooking it in the loaf pan this time. It came out perfect! After letting it stand for 10-15 minutes I placed a platter over the top, and carefully turned it over. It plopped out in one perfect loaf shape, and sliced beautifully. I highly recommend this method of cooking if you want to keep the kitchen cool, or if you think you might like that hint of smoky flavor added to your masterpiece ;-)

This time I used
1 lb. grnd beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1/2 each red and green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 sleeve soda crackers, crushed
2 eggs
8 oz. tomato sauce
about 1 1/2 tsp. each oregano and basil
salt and pepper

mix it all up, pop in a loaf pan and bake in the kettle grill (covered) over indirect heat for about 1 1/2 hours, or til juices run clear.

Note: Next time I'll probably increase the basil to 2 or even 3 tsp. Also, I usually like to add shredded carrot and/or zucchini to my meatloaf, but I didn't have any on hand this time.

For another variation , refer to my East Meets West Meatloaf recipe, and vary according to your families taste preferences. That's one of the things I really like about meatloaf. The variations are endless!

We will be taking some time today to stop and reflect on the meaning of this holiday. We honor all those men and women who served our country.Our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost their loved ones during that service, as well as those who's loved ones are even now, across the sea, unable to join their families today.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Happy Weekend! ...And A Movie!

We're having some problems with our power today, so am not on as much as usual. Maybe that's not all bad, as it will give me a chance to catch up on a few things around the house....

I was so excited over the arrival of the sun this last week, and the resulting Laundry opportunities, that when the sun emerged yesterday morning I forged ahead and did up a nice heavy load of darks. I loaded up all of Pa and Nathan's jeans, and a few of Lindsay's, and set to washer to heavy duty. About an hour and a half later I frowned at the clouding over sky as I pulled my freshly laundered clothes out of the washer. At least it didn't rain. However, the sun never seemed to manage to come out again for more than a few minutes at a time. Fortunately, the humidity was low, and there was quite a breeze so by the end of the day my clothes had managed to attain at least a partial state of dryness.

As the day began waning, and the (already filtered) light faded from the sky Pa helped me bring my laundry in and I hung them on the rack in front of the woodstove. Last night things cooled down enough that we opted to fire the stove up and as a result my load of jeans managed to finish drying by this morning. Hopefully this time Nathan will choose to wear something other than his best jeans for playing around the property, saving the good jeans for our next trip to town.

Last week, the very next day after I had washed those jeans he donned them, coming in at the end of the day with a big smile on his face, and covered head to toe with dirt. *sigh* Ah well. Boys will be boys... And Mom's will keep cleanin' up after them!

Saturday Night At The Movies!

Our children are both rather fond of critters and nature. This week they spotted a movie at Netflix that they thought might fit right in with those interests. Last night we all settled in to watch their choice of the week, Escape To Grizzly Mountain, starring Dan Haggerty.Briefly, it is about a boy, who along with a couple helpers works to free a bear cub who is being abused in the circus. While I'm certain this film will never receive any awards for acting, it was an entertaining and certainly family friendly film. I enjoyed seeing Dan Haggerty again, and was surprised at the (brief) appearance of Jan Michael Vincent! At first I wasn't sure it was him. It looked like him (although a bit older than the last time I saw him) but the voice seemed much more gravely than I remembered. At the end of the film though, when they ran the credits, there was his name! There were others in this film that pushed a memory button for me, but, as with the aforementioned, they were older, and I just couldn't quite place them. The scenery in this film was nice, there was some decent acting, and the bear cub was just adorable!

While not a film I would declare a "must see", it was enjoyable for the adults, the kids really enjoyed it, and we're glad we rented it.

My UPS is talking to me again, so I need to head on for now.

Hope you all are having a good and safe Memorial Day weekend!

Our heartfelt thanks go out to all who are currently serving our country, and we remember fondly, and gratefully all who went before them.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

But The Price Was Right !

We needed to make an extra trip into town this week. Due to the long weekend, and the resulting tourist traffic in our area, we decided it would be a good idea to head in before the weekend officially started.

The bank, one of the reasons our extra trip was necessary, was our first stop and it just happens to be in the same area as The Dollar Store, so we stopped by there before heading on to The Grocery Outlet. One of the things I'd been wanting to pick up was a new fly swatter. I like to get those at The Dollar Store as I just can't bring myself to spend more than that for such a lowly item. I searched and searched, and didn't see any. Just as I was about to give up, I spotted something hanging at the end of an aisle. I'm pretty sure I'd looked right at them several times but it hadn't registered what they were.


Sometimes I think we go a bit too far in our attempts to make things aesthetically pleasing. As I grabbed my purchase, both my young'uns exclaimed their disbelief. "You aren't really going to buy that !?!!" "Are you really going to use it???" Hehe. Well, yes. I did actually buy that. And I do intend to use it. The gal who checked us out chuckled when I commented on what a pretty fly swatter it was. Honestly, I'm thinking fly swatters are one of those things we really don't need to "pretty up". At the very least they should be readily recognizeable for what they are when we go in search of them at the store.

Ah well. Now I guess I need to find a way to display my latest "art" acquisition. It will need to be an easily accessable spot though, as this object d' arte is intended to be used!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Rock Fishing...Kinda Sorta

If You Can't Go To The Lake....

Go fishin' in your driveway!

Armed with the knowledge that our weather was soon going to be changing, the kids decided to make the most of what sun they had left and have a good ol' time outside.

Lindsay had fishing on her mind, so Pa helped her get the rod and reel out, and she set out to do some serious fishing.
Cat Fish Aren't Biting

She tried cat fishing, but the catfish weren't biting.

So she decided to try rock fishing.
Casting Out
She cast out as far as she could. There were some pretty impressive casts.
What A Cast!
It looked like she might have caught a big one at one point. But, alas, it was the one that got away.

Ah well. No fish for dinner, rock or otherwise, but both our children had a fine time in the sun before we headed into town where they both scored some great books for their weeks reading.

Hopefully the weather will clear, and the wind will die down a bit before the end of the weekend.

Hope you all are having a fantastic Fun Friday!

Note: As always, you may click on photos for full size versions ;)

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Originally uploaded by boondockma
Today is library day, so I thought it fitting to feature a photo of the kids doing one of their most favorite things.

On any given morning, with the exception of Saturdays, you will find my children sitting by a window, or on the couch, under the Ott Lite, reading. Once breakfast is consumed, and morning chores taken care of, they usually spend some time outside, running off some energy before school begins.

School out of the way, weather permitting, they're back outside, making the most of all our property offers. By late afternoon, it's time to slow down and recharge the batteries. That's when the books come out once again.

During late fall, winter and early spring, that usually means we'll find them in pretty much the same position we found them first thing in the morning. This time of year though, things change.

Yesterday afternoon, as they settled down in their usual spots, Nathan glanced up and realized there was a much better booklight available, and with it, fresh air, not to mention the always welcome kitty visitors. As he announced, "I'm going outside!" both he and Lindsay grabbed their books and headed out.

By the end of the afternoon, they had followed the suns lead and changed position 3 times. In the final location, as the shadows were taking over, and the cooler air was replacing the sun's warm rays, the aroma from the kettle grill reached them. Pa was preparing the grill for dinner. Between that and the cats' not so subtle requests for attention,IMG_0430 the afternoon's reading session came to an end.

Hope your midweek day was as pleasant as ours was!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Damsel In Blue

Damsel In Blue
Originally uploaded by boondockma
Now that's what I was lookin' for!

If you get a chance, stop by my daughter, Kimmi's blog. She posted some great photos of some cakes! *

Bugs 'N Bumps

Be Ye Dragon Or Damsel?
Originally uploaded by boondockma
Yesterday, I had more fun with my camera. The birds weren't cooperating, and none of our plants or flowers were speaking to me, so I wandered around until this little fellow caught my eye. He was on the move, and I can't catch and snap so fast as he was moving through the air, so I chased him around the yard for awhile, until he finally decided to pose for me.

Unfortunately, by the time he decided to cut me a break, I had managed to stir up quite the coalition of mosquitoes! I waved them off as best I could while attempting to shoot this fellow's profile. I was just getting ready to snap what I'm sure would've been the perfect prize winning shot when a rather large mosquito landed on my arm.

I briefly considered going for a shot of the mosquito as she dug in, but my aversion to big red itchy blotches took over and I gave her a well placed swat. I watched as she tumbled off my arm, then glanced back to my original prey. Naturally he had taken off at the sound of flesh slapping flesh and so my photo shoot was done for the day.

It didn't take long for me to realize the mosquito I had managed to beat to the punch wasn't the only one who had managed to land on my body during my pursuit of the lovely blue fellow. I began to itch, and when I looked it came as no surprise to note the red bumps emerging from the itchy areas.

Fortunately, in my 50+ years on this planet I've managed to learn a couple tricks to deal with these sorts of incidents. The first I learned long ago, when my now adult children were young. That would be an ordinary tube of toothpaste! While I suppose it's possible the gel would work, I've never tried it, opting instead for the regular, good old fashioned paste. As it dries it takes the itch away and, as a bonus, if you catch it early enough, and let it dry completely, it even takes the bump away! The only drawback to this method is it can get a bit messy, depending on where and when you need to apply it. A well placed band-aide can help you out here, but, naturally this slows the drying process down. I've also found toothpaste is good for other insect bites.

Then there's the second option, which is even more fun than the first! This one I learned from my Stepmother several years ago, and has turned out to be not only an excellent, immediate source of relief for the itching, but a fun application for the kiddos! This would be good old fashioned Mrs Stewart's Bluing. Yup! You read that right. Just head to your laundry aisle at your friendly local grocers and grab a little blue bottle. When the beastly mosquitoes attack your little darlings, squeeze a bit on your applicator of choice (I ball up a square of toilet paper for this), being careful not to allow it to spill on your carpet, clothing, etc. Dab it on the bite and your young'un will be proudly sporting their itch free, blue polka dot until you wash it off.

Hope you're all having a wonderful itch free Monday!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Slugs, Copper, And A Lion Named Elsa!

My apologies for leaving you in the dark in yesterday's post regarding slugs. The two things we are planning to try this year in our attempts to keep the rather prolific beings at bay are egg shells, and hopefully copper wire.

We've used eggshells combined with slug bait with limited success in the past. This year I plan to grind them much finer before applying. For those who may not have heard of this option, the crushed eggshells act like glass for bugs and slugs. Since it is applied on the ground it doesn't affect the beneficial bees, but the slugs tend to turn the other direction when they encounter it. I've actually seen ants making a beeline for a plant and do an about face when running into the eggshell barrier!

The copper wire is an idea I came up with after Nathan informed me that slugs don't like copper. Evidently, according to a gardening book he read, it acts rather like an electrical current, giving them a shock and sending them on their way.

A while back the kids informed me they had found some copper wire, and I was thinking that would make for a fine gardening experiment, perhaps making a line around sections of garden plants, but when I inquired as to it's whereabouts yesterday, I was told they had decided it wasn't good for anything so they had tossed it. *sigh*. Now I'm daring to hope that if there was some in one place, perhaps I will find more elsewhere on the property. I'll keep you posted!

In the meantime, It is Sunday once again, which means Saturday has come and gone and it is time for my weekly....

Saturday Night At The Movies!

This week the kids were all excited to see Born Free as an option at Netflix. Last night we all sat down and enjoyed it together. What a fun blast to the past (all the way back to 1966!) for me, and I think the kids enjoyed it even more than I did! That in itself was thrilling for me, as the older films don't always appeal to them so much. This one, like the book it was based on definitely stood the test of time! Odds are you've already seen this film, and like me, more than a couple years have passed since you saw it or, unless you happened to hear the title song played on an oldies station, even thought about it. In my opinion, this is a film worthy of resurrecting for family viewing. After discussing it last night we all agreed it was a 4.5 star event (out of 5 possible). A pretty high rating for our family!

Happy Sunday! Hope the sun is shining in your neck of the woods!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sunshine Days

Yesterday was such a beautiful day! The sun was shining bright, and the thermometer was climbing, yet it never managed to climb quite to the point it was uncomfortable. The kids celebrated by spending plenty of time outside, running from one section of the property to the next, hunting for slugs,
Kids On The Prowl EEK!
climbing on whatever they could find to climb, soaking in the suns rays, even stopping to pose for the occasional picture.
Jump N Shout!
Naturally, all that beautiful sunshine, along with my smiling children caused me to grab my camera and make the most of the situation.

That took up a couple hours. Then came the photo uploads. First I had to go through the numerous shots, choosing the best of the best, then it was off to flickr for safe keeping. Since we're on dial-up, that took several hours. 2 photos at a time, then going off line so my ISP wouldn't get cranky. Back to load 2 more and repeat.... Amazingly, I managed to get them all loaded by 7:50 PM. Just enough time to get the kids all snuggered in bed and hand the keyboard over to Pa at 8.

Things did warm up quite a bit in the early afternoon, so we waited until things started to cool down just a bit, and the shade began taking over before planting our tomatoes. We didn't want them to get stressed out from too much heat.

In years past we've had some major problems with slugs. Today we plan to try some different techniques for dealing with them, in hopes that our garden will stand a better chance of actually making it to a reasonable harvest condition.

Normally we like to get an earlier start on our gardening. Last year was so disappointing though. Folks around here called it the Summer that wasn't. I think we may have managed a week's worth of summery days, and those days were not consecutive. Those days were also quite late in making their appearance, which resulted in some real sorry garden yields. We're keeping our fingers crossed that this year will be different. At least we seem to be off to a good start!

Happy weekend!

Note: Click on photos for full size