"…By what stretch of arrogance do you think a life form that looks like you is more important than a life form that doesn’t?”Joel Salatin

Nothing is more beneficial to your wellbeing than to look for and acknowledge those parts of everyday life that you enjoy.

"If you are happy where you are now, why does it matter how painful it was to get there?" -- Abraham

"It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life." -- Bilbo Baggins a.k.a. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

"And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet, and the winds long to play in your hair." -- Kahill Gibran

“And forget not

Monday, November 17, 2014

Nature's Doorway

hyacinth bean

Ronnie put a hollow core door in the entrance between the garage and the yard.  He had it secured so it wouldn't open and all the trips between the work shop and the garage came through my kitchen.  After he passed, the door began to fall apart especially on the outside.  Plus we "unstuck" it so we could use it. That didn't help the poor old thing.

I knew when I started gluing Ronnie's car pictures to the inside of it that it wasn't long for the world of "doors", but I figured that when we replaced it, I could put the car collage in Bruno's Shop.

Deidre and I had discussed whether our dogs would use a "doggie door, but we didn't really know where to put one that they would have easy access to it.

the door
The men cleaning up the rent house across the street gave us a pet door for a sliding glass door. The opening was too small for Sox, though, and some of the weather stripping needed to be replaced, so we never even tried it out.

Recently, Deidre found an interior door that had a doggie door already in it. It was the size we needed for the garage opening, so she got it and put it up. It looks pretty rough.  I decided to paint the outside of it with oil based Kilz to weather proof it to some extent.

While I painted it, I realized how much I had enjoyed looking out my kitchen window and seeing the car collage.  Thoughts began to percolate.

Deidre is an artist in her own right, so I asked if she would do something interesting on the inside of the door, and she said yes.

I decided I'd do the outside. This door is inside the privacy fence so few will ever see it but me, Deidre and Seth, but we deserve to see something fun and interesting.  I want the door to reflect my love of  nature and my first thought was to paint it to look like an old wooden gateway.

Then I discovered that ModPodge has an "outdoor" product. A whole new world of possibilities opened for my side of the door.

I want to incorporate a quote by Gregg Braden that I love, "Drink in Nature's beauty. Feel it.  Be with it.  Know it."

I printed it out on parchment paper and tore the sentences out so that -- when the weather warms up, I can arrange them on the door as the "focal point".

I found a spray of artificial ivy in my stash. I pulled the plastic stems off the leaves to see if the green leaf shapes will lay flat -- and they will --almost.  Good enough for ModPodge

I want some flowers (I may have to paint those) on it, too and some butterflies -- Monarchs, Blue Swallowtails, Tiger Swallowtails, and the smaller Yellow Sulphers that flit around this time of year. I'll be looking for pictures of Mockingbirds, Cardinals and Doves, Sparrows and Purple Finches.

I plan to incorporate different mediums in order to represent different aspects of nature.  For example, I could use a picture of my box turtles and "hide" them with the artificial foilage. Same with the squirrels and birds.

Monarch butterflies -- always a favorite
Our first major cold snap is going to last a while, so I'm going to collect the things I'll need to get started on  my "Nature's Doorway".  Then it will be easy to get started when the weather warms up.

I asked Deidre if she had any ideas for her side and she said yes, so it'll be fun to watch what she comes  up with.


In the mean time, Chamo, our feral cat, comes and goes through the pet door.  She has a toasty little house in the garage which we set on a heating pad when it's this cold.  We had been leaving the garage door open a few inches for her to come and go but now we can shut it all the way down and that helps keep the washer from freezing.

I realized after all the artistic inspiration began for this door that if I had bought a brand new door, all we would have had there would be a plain door. If I had paid for it,  I wouldn't even consider putting Modpodge on it.

A friend picked up the one for the sliding glass door and was able to use it at his house!

The car collage is out in Bruno's Shop.  I'm still clearing stuff out of there and haven't decided exactly where to put it.  But it's out of the weather now so the memories will be preserved for a long time.

Car collage

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Day with Seth and Samantha

Water in Peg and Joe's cove

Saturdays have always been "play time" in our family.  Ronnie and I both worked long, hard hours for many years in order to get to a place where we could have weekends off. We always had plans for fun stuff on Saturdays -- movies, estate sales, craft shows, car shows. Not so much anymore.  Saturdays come and go without much notice.

I slept a little later than usual this morning.  I meditated.  I worked on THE BOOK.  I had a question for my sister-in-law, Becky, so I sent her a Facebook message.  She was already on the road to Wichita Falls, so she called me instead of texting. I met her, her husband, Aubrey, and their grand daughter Alyssa, at IHOP for breakfast.  We had a nice visit, then I headed home -- wondering what I might find to do that would be fun -- and productive.

When I got home, Deidre was busy.  Andy came in with sweets from Margies.  I sat down at the computer. The house was awfully quiet, so I got up and walked to the kitchen. Deidre was still busy on her computer.  Andy was looking at his phone.  Some ninja turtle movie was on tv and Seth was trying to do headstands but he looked bored as hell.

Sami's pockets
When I returned to my room, my phone alerted me that I had a message so I checked it. My sister had sent a picture of her 2 1/2 year old great granddaughter, Samantha. I cropped it to show why my sister took the picture.  Sami had her animals stuck into the waistband of her pants because the pants don't have pockets.  They find all kinds of stuff in her britches.

I hesitated to invite myself and Seth out to play with Sami because our last "visit" hadn't turned out so well. In fact the kids got into a fight.

Seth is 4 1/2.  He loves to play with Legos.  He builds all kinds of things -- which I can't tell what they are -- but his imagination is keen.

Sami tears up his creations and it makes him so mad he could chew nails.

So I asked him if he'd like to go play with Sami, that she was out at Aunt Gigi's. His eyes lit up and he nodded.  So I reminded him how mad he got at her the last time they were together, then I talked to him again about the fact that she is younger than him, that little kids don't build things yet, they tear them up.  I suggested that if he wanted to build things with her Legos this time, he should think about building things for her to destroy.  He seemed to be open to that.

So we packed up a bowl of chicken and dumplings left over form Widder's Movie Night and headed to Lake Arrowhead.

Sami is always so excited to see Seth and it reminds me of feeling the same way when my cousins Mike and Ron would come to visit.  Ron was older and usually wouldn't play with us but that's beside the point.

We heated the chicken and dumplings as soon as we got there and had lunch, then we headed outside.

campfire just getting started

We started out on the sunny porch, but it was one of those days when the sun is still too hot and the shade too cool, so we moved over to where the fire pit was already smoking from an earlier fire.

I love the smell of a campfire.  It always reminds me of good times -- my mother cooking breakfast in McKenzie State Park in Lubbock and at Lake Texoma when I was a girl; Ronnie and I cooking breakfast at Lucy Park and roadside parks when our kids were little.

Piers no where near the water.  Sad state of affairs

Neighbors came to visit around the campfire, but the little ones were getting rambunctious, so I took them on a walk down by the water's edge.

We walked under the piers where we hope sometime soon, the big catfish will be swimming again.

We saw a flock of tiny birds moving in formation around a big pile of wood. It looked like a "murmuration".  The kids were excited about it. I thought I got some of it on video, but I didn't.

Seth and Sami

We spent a while throwing rocks and mussel shells into the water.

And drawing stick figures and smiley faces in the sand.

We carefully maneuvered around a chilly wasp and the many big fire ant hills.  I asked Peggy what would happen with the invasion of fire ants when the lake starts refilling and she said last time, they could see the ants swimming.  So I guess drowning the mean little rascals isn't going to happen.

cold wasp

After their company left, Peg and Joe joined us for the walk back to the  house.  Thanks, Joe Selder, for mowing the trail we walked on.  (It reminded me of a neat trail my friend Lanore's husband,  J, mowed on their property in Blum, Texas.  It meandered through the tall native grasses and a few trees so Lanore could have nice place to walk and study outside.)

Seth the Dino Blaster

We returned to the campfire and that's when the joy began.  Seth finally got possession of Sami's assault rifle and they turned into "Dino Blasters".  Pretending the two dogs, Ben Johnson and Sigh Beau, and the cat, Redford, were dinosaurs, they ran all over the place, blasting dinosaurs and protecting the rest of us from the dangers inherent in living with dinosaurs.

There were stickers, minor injuries and brief power struggles but all in all the kids played very well together.  They seemed to have a lot of fun.

At one point, Sami had a sticker in the end of her toe.  She wasn't crying until we started trying to get it out.  Seth put his hands between us and her, saying, "No! Don't hurt my brother!" Lol! He so cute and funny.

I hope they will continue to be close, to enjoy one another's company. It sure makes family functions more fun if the kids have a good time together. It makes life more fun to have friends -- especially when they are your cousins.

Did you know that fun, cooperation, and collaboration are all elements of love?

Setting sun at Lake Arrowhead,  November 8, 2014