December 31, 2008

Shot Of The Year

As we get ready to bid adieu to 2008.  I narrowed this years blog pictures to my three favorites.  
The worlds most photogenic JRT....Clarice

My adorable little Niece

My most beloved....Obligato

Lets put it to a vote.  Which of the three do you like best?  Do you have a favorite photo from this year on your blog?  Please link it.

See you all next year!

December 29, 2008

Flamin' Wallet

I needed this little guy on the 24th by about 2 pm. To put out the fire of my hard earned cash going up in smoke. YIKES! 

I do love to give to my family...that's what makes the whole Christmas season so expensive.  The little Niece and Nephew are so cute....and when you know that there going to love something it's just so hard to walk away from.  Did you burn a whole through your wallet?

Christmas was fun...there are still a couple presents and cards under my tree that are yet to be distributed to family.  I'm always shocked that the Christmas music comes to such an abrupt halt after the 25th.  For me the Christmas season is just starting.  Oh well.  I have my tree and it will be up for a couple weeks.  And the church will stay decorated till after Epiphany (Jan 6).  So at least the Christmas spirit is alive and well somewhere!

Hope all my new friends had a wonderful Christmas!  I can not wait to catch up on every one's blogs.

December 22, 2008

Woodland Shopping

Christmas Tally:
Gifts Bought 0
Cards to Family 0
Nativity Set Dusted 1
Wreaths 0
Garland 0
Trees Chopped 1
Light Strands 3
Cheeseballs Made 0
Toes Picked 10
Toes Polished 6
Dogs Bathed 1.5
Angels Placed 1

Hours to start of Christmas festivities....48.

Gray hairs to be sprouted in that time.....hundreds.

I like natural trees.  The more Charlie Brown the better.  About 6 years ago we planted 5 Concolor firs along the woods to grow as Christmas trees.  Yesterday I loaded up the four wheeler with dogs and a saw and drove out and cut this one.  (note to self....due to extreme difficulty of holding 2 JRT's and a 10' tree and successfully manuvering around tree holes and ruts....the dogs are to stay home on next years tree cutting excursion) 

Do you have pictures of your Christmas trees posted on your blogs?  Link them below (trying Mister Linky for the first time so if it doesnt work out let me know).  If not tell us whether you like your trees.....fat or skinny....full or natural......big or little.  Lady Claudia likes 'em tall and fat, what do you like?

December 19, 2008

Quitting Time

We have had a couple of atypical sunsets here on the farm over the last couple of weeks.  December in Western Pennsylvania is usually gloomy and overcast with the sun rarely making an appearance.  Who am I to question Mother Nature when she offers up displays like this for the end of the day dog walk?

December 17, 2008

In The Summertime...

When the weather is yucky like this and there is no riding to be done other than bareback around the field. I think of summer and I can not wait to ride my boy. He will be 17 this year...but he is mostly retired so really hard work is out of the question but he has a big heart and enjoys carting me around and around and around.  And he enjoys getting out of the barn and is sound as can be for 'light' duty.

On a totally separate note...this picture was taken with a 35MM film.  I scanned it in to my computer but the image is not good.  Any tips on scanning?  I have a LOT of picture to get scanned in....and would like the clarity to be better than this?

December 15, 2008

The Many Colors Of Smoke

12:59:19 PM
First let me say....this is an abandoned trailer at a farm.
DVM's Wife wrote a post last week.  And because of it I remembered to get two new smoke detectors.  (So thank you DVM's Wife).  While perusing the instructions for the proper place to hang the new ones.  I noticed the strange fact that Mobile Homes need about two to three times the amount of detectors as stick built homes.  Interesting I thought.
Come Saturday I got a lesson in why.  I went to my Mum's to help her make x-mas cookies... I'll leave that experience to another blog.  But afterward we walked over to a farm that they purchased where clean up is in progress.  
The boys had pushed this trailer off of it's foundation and were in the process of lighting it up.  This fire was lite w/out an accelerant.  The first couple of pictures were taken about 1 1/2 minutes before the top one.
I totally 100% get why mobile homes need so many smoke detectors now.
1:01:39 PM
Black, Dark Gray, Light Gray, White....smoke comes in many colors.  All represented here. 

1:02:16 PM

1:07:36 PM

Test and change batteries on smoke detectors folks....and if you have a travel trailer or mobile home.  YOU NEED AT LEAST ONE IN EVERY ROOM.  Were talking seconds to get to safety.  When it was all said and done this thing went from first flame to on the ground in a matter of about 9 minutes give or take a few seconds....along with several trees.  And Ohhhh...the poor trees are being cleared to make room for more farmland. all know how I love I was feeling a bit bad for them while all this was going on.

December 11, 2008

I Miss Narnia

I miss Narnia.  I really do.  As a child I could sit and read these books over and over.  I wore a set completely out.  It was so real to me a place of talking beasts, walking trees, Fauns, Satyrs, wardrobes, lamp posts and magic rings. 

I often wander whether I love trees and animals because of Narnia or whether I loved Narnia because I loved trees and animals.  Either way the thought that a place existed through a wardrobe where animals and trees were our friends kept me enthralled for years.

When the new Disney movie came out for the Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe .... I immediately went and saw it.  And I loved it.  I somehow missed Prince Caspian in the theatre.  But Arctic Fox mentioned that he watched it and thought it was so-so.  So I rented it last night and though I didn't think it was as good a LW&W... Liam Neeson is still the voice of Aslan and the kids were the same.  And seeing the talking animals ... whose portrayal is so majectic.  Lets say LW&W was 5 stars for me and Caspian was only 4.5 stars.  

It's been at least 20 years since I last read any of the Narnia tales. It's high time that I spend a little time with C.S. Lewis and read them as an adult.

Did you read Narnia as a child?  As an adult?  Have you seen either of the Disney movies? 

December 9, 2008



I didn't know what to do with this photo.  And lo and behold I found this A-Z Photo Challenge that Far Side takes part in.  So I'm joining in this week.

Clarice loves to sit squashed in between me and the arm of the chair next to the fireplace.  Well actually in the winter she cuddles in on my right hip because it's by the fireplace and in the summer she wedges herself on my left hip because it's by the fan.  She a canny wee bugger.

I was determined to get a photo of her with the fireplace going in the me I have all sorts of random ideas after two glasses of red at 11 in the evening.  After many interesting attempts I finally decided to use the laptop as a base for the camera and screwed around with the setting on the camera....took about 20 shots with differing settings and never did get the shot I wanted.  But this one is interesting.
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December 8, 2008

Russian Navy


Do you bother with your nails?

File, clip, buff, paint, ponder, pick, bite. Do you do anything with them? Or do you let someone else take care of them for know a professional. A manicurist .... not your dog using them as a chew toy.

A couple weeks ago I posted a picture of my working hands. I have farm girl hands. Dry, scaly, calloused, cuticles messy...unkempt. And they have been that way since...well forever I guess. I remember at a high school sleepover all us girls sitting around giving each other mani's and one of the girls saying 'Oh my gosh your hands are so rough!'  I was shocked...until she preceded to have everyone feel my hands and mine theirs. She was right. I didn't have girly girl hands. I had farm hand hands.

But every so often I shape my fingernails with a file, buff, push cuticle, and slap a couple coats of paint this picture (I didn't mean to take a picture of my hand....I meant to take a picture of a wildflower whilst brush hogging). Yeah I go for the shocking colors too! That's OPI 'Russian Navy'. I have four bottles of nail polish. Blue, Red, Pink, and a weird clearish pinkish whitish color.

The paint never lasts though. Because I work with my hands. So in a couple days they are completely chipped and a mess.

So ....... Fess up!

December 5, 2008


Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday Sisterella......Happy Birthday to you!

Love you! XOXO

December 4, 2008

What is Love?

A couple weeks ago I finished The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons (it was excellent by the way if you didn't see the mini review in the sidebar).  Although there were many outstanding scenes within, one has stayed with me these following weeks (besides the horrors of starvation and basic survival in WW2).  

Dimitri ask's a question to a group on a picnic "What do you think love is?"  Our heroine, Tatia, after much ribbing and thinking responds "Love is...when he is hungry and you feed him.  Love is knowing when he is hungry."  Within the context of the book this is profound.  Within my own life this is an equally profound question and response.  My Grandmother feed her family and husband.  My Mum takes great pride is caring and cooking for her husband.  I too love to cook for my loved ones.  Knowing what another persons needs are and being able to provide a powerful thing.  And not something that I really considered 'love'...until now.

So....Gentle Readers....I ask you "What do you think love is?"

December 2, 2008

Amish Country Letters

I took this picture this fall.  I had to wait till he was well enough past me.  Amish do not have mirrors nor photos.  No images of themselves are allowed.  So you can only take a picture from behind.  
In our small town published weekly newspaper.  There is a section that always occupies the very last page called 'Amish Country'.  The paper runs letters written by Amish community members and sent in to keep there extended family and friends filled in on important news.
I'm going to provide you a few snippets from some of these letters, the comments is parenthesis are mine.

From Mrs. Barbara Byler of Punxsutawney, PA:

Mrs. Elmer Byler, Rachel & Cora Byler were to Atlee Weavers on Tuesday had gone to help Martha pack & were planning to move next week & when we got there we found out they will not be moving so soon as someone was living in the house they were moving into.  So they can't move until the other family moves out.

(now...I found this vastly amusing.  Because what a pain in the rear that would be.  They hitch up the horse, load up the buggy in the freezing cold, go for God knows how far.  Just to find out that there will be no packing.  And what about the people who were did they find out.....a letter?  Because there is no phones, no Internet, no telegraph.  And who is the 'someone' who is living in the new house?)

she continues to write:

Yesterday was the funeral in Smicksburg for Roman Schalbach age 13. (gives family lineage)  A lot of people of this area were viewing and yesterday was the funeral.  He was kicked in head by a horse 2 wks. ago today.

(and that's the end of the letter, nothing more.  Poor little Roman.  Kicked in head.  The End.)

Miss Clara Byler of New Wilmington, PA writes:

Come on I miss your letters.

Rudy M. Byler had a little accident on Fri. coming down a big hill on Means Rd. A piece of harness came lose & his spring wagon went for the ditch & his brand new stove fell off & received some scratches & finally got it loaded up again & went on his way.

(now come on.....surely Mrs. Rudy M. Byler was not happy about her stove.....we want the real scoop here.  And Clara your still signing Miss so....maybe it's not a good idea to put humiliating misfortunes of the neighboring men folk in the newspaper.)

Its starting to sprinkle, so the ladies wash might get wet.

(folks the temperature was 20 F out max on the day she wrote this.  Can you imagine using a tub and wash board and hanging up your cloths on an outside line?)

The globe prints all letters as they are received with no editing.  They are shall we say always blogging but in black and white. so different considering I blog in black and white.  Whatever.

December 1, 2008

Stalker Mode!

Clarice in 'stalker mode!' which apparently must be in the Irish Jack Russell Terrier Puppy Manuel that she was issued when born.....because she has been doin' it since I brought her home as a puppy. She stalks Charlotte all over the lawn. Like a cat stalks a mouse. It's funny and she looks so cute. She crouches down shifting her weight over her back legs and creeps ever so slowly forward on suspended steps.

Charlotte pretends like she doesn't see her until Clarice is close enough then she takes off and the chase is on. Eventually she doubles around so that Clarice can catch her and the tumbling and sparing begin.  Having two Jack Russell Terriers is better than one....they burn twice the energy in half the time.

November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Rainbow

Shall it rain,
Shall it snow,
or shall the sun come out?
Maybe Mother Nature will give us all 3...
and throw in a rainbow for good measure.

November 25, 2008

My Tale of Love

My "love" story is about my lovely little niece and nephew.  This summer on a camping trip.  We loaded up the kids in the car and went on an ice run.  While we were waiting for ice.  We decided to get my nephew (age 3 1/2) an vanilla ice cream on a stick w/a chocolate coating on the outside.  My niece  (age 1 1/2) was happily sucking on a lolly-pop.  So we didn't bother with get her an ice cream.  We give the nephew his treat and drive back to the camp.

When we get back to the camp I turn around in my seat and there they are both of them covered in melting ice cream and chocolate there car seats covered and the seat in between them an melted ice cream chocolaty mess.  As I sat and watched my nephew take a lick then pass it to my niece and she would take a lick and pass it back.  So forth and so on. Dripping, slurping and laughing.

My heart was filled with love for them both.  My little nephew loves ice cream.  And without even being asked he decided to share with his sister.  He loves her and she loves him.

November 24, 2008

Love Actually

Friday night I wandered into the living room, plopped down in front of the TV and started to channel surf.  And much to my surprise and delight 'Love Actually' was on.

A favorite.  I saw it in the theater and have seen it on DVD a couple times.  And every time I watch it I 'notice' a new relationship.   Another example of love.  

The opening is Hugh Grants voice and shows the arrivals gate at the airport.  People hugging and kissing and happy to see loved ones.  The last line he speaks before the movie starts is this.

"If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is....all around."

How true and yet how easy is it to close our hearts and minds to it.  If you haven't seen it.  Make a pot of hot cocoa with whip cream.  And sit down and watch it.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.  How have you seen or demonstrated love recently?

November 22, 2008

Silent, Soft, and Slow

Out of the bosom of the Air,
  Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
    Over the woodlands brown and bare,
      Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
        Silent, and soft, and slow
          Descends the snow.
      - Henry Wadsworth LongfellowSnow-Flakes 

Bit early for snow storms like this for Western Pennsylania.  3" more over night and 17F when I got out of bed this morning. Brrrrrrrr.....

November 20, 2008

Happy Girl

Oh how I love Jack Russell Terriers...

She just has the absolutely happiest disposition.

And she is just so cute and cuddly.

November 19, 2008


Panicum v. 'Heavy Metal'
So last year I designed a beautiful wall project.  Last week I took some pictures of the job.  These grass are blue in the summer.  But the fall/early winter color is the best.  By next year they should be all grown in.  So it will just be a seamless wave dancing in the wind.  
Ornamental grasses can add life and movement to a hardscape.  Do you like ornamental grass in a landscape design?

November 18, 2008

Holiday Mail for Heroes

Do you send out Christmas cards?  Do you have one extra one?  Now, no matter how you feel about war (present or past).  Our Veterans and Soldiers deserve our respect, thoughts and prayers.  Please be so kind as to mail a holiday card to:

Cards must be postmarked by the 10th of December.  For more information on this Red Cross project click the above address.

A little added incentive.....for every person that leaves a comment that they mailed a card....I will mail an additional card.  In other words...if 10 people leave comments that they mailed a card.  I will mail my original card plus 10 more.

Help make the holidays a bit more joyful for someone.

November 17, 2008

James Bond

Weekend Recap......

Daniel Craig makes for a delicious James Bond.

Scrambled eggs, toast & tea is good for lunch.  Especially if you just got out of bed.

Eeking out a book (The Bronze Horseman) a couple pages at a time because your afraid it will end badly for the characters...

Getting an award always makes one feel so lovely.  I got the Superior Scribbler from Gizzards & Calf Fries.   I'm going to spread the love over the next couple of weeks.  The award itself is over to the right. 
Next year Obie gets a new winter blanket... at $105 for repairs and cleaning a new one would have been cheaper, unless the patches hold.

Does anyone have any ideas on what I could do with a huge pile of leftover mashed potatoes?

November 16, 2008

Sleeping Angels

The Jack Russell's enjoying a little down time before creating havoc.

In the Sea of Green post I asked if your dog(s) could go off leash.  And got lots of responses.

Neas Nuttiness asked if they were good with kids.  My girls are.  Though they are not really interested in interacting with kids.  But they will sit for pats and don't snip when hands get a little rough.  But Charlotte is interested in being with the kids because I'm with them....not because she really wants to be with them.  Charlotte is very attached to me.  And only me.  But of course.....I'm very attached to her.  Jack Russell Terriers are notoriously known to become attached to one person in a household.
Far Sid of Fifty asked how much off leash work I do with them.  Charlotte has had extensive (and ongoing) off leash training.  And although she has a 'pretty good' recall.  I would not bet her life on it.  She does work undergound.  And has a HUGE prey drive.  So I would not bet her life on a recall.  Clarice on the other hand.....not so much of a prey drive.....but would follow Charlotte.  And Jack Russells are also well known for 'same sex aggression'.  So two female terriers in one house can be a bit of a management nightmare.  Charlotte is 7 and Clarice is 2.  Charlotte is definitely all terrier.....she exhibits every single terrier characteristic in spades.  Clarice is a little softie and though a terrier....she was picked to be a pet more than a worker....she is bred differently, and though still a terrier.  Has a more lovable personality.  And not so aggressive.  So I trust Clarice to comeback....but I don't trust Charlotte enough not to get really 'ticked' off at her constant intrusion into 'business' not to thump her good enough to seriously hurt her.
Dog Geek mentioned that she always carries cheese along with her hiking.  That is a wonderful idea.  Clarice is very motivated by food.  Cheese is amongst her favorite.  And I use it for a jackpot for her.  Charlotte.  Not motivated by food at all.  Being with me and working underground are her motivators.  And it's hard to say which is more important on any given day.
Want to see if a Jack Russell Terrier is for you?  Try the JRTCA Interactive Profiler.
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November 13, 2008

Pearson Park & The Garden Club 1

There is a right place to plant Junipers and a wrong place.  The above pictures show the wrong place.  These poor plants got to be to big and had to be hacked back into submissions yearly.  Therefor became.....welllll......ugly.  I understand that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  But I really do think that the natural shape of yesterdays Junipers is FAR superior to the ones pictured above and below.

The Garden Club sought out Moi for some advice in regards to what to plant in the Junipers place.  I came up with three options and crossed my fingers that they would pick my favorite of the three.  And they did.  So the next few posts will show the evolution of a small Garden Club landscape project with big results.

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Pearson Park & The Garden Club 2

You remember my hubby's girlfriend right?  The Stihl Farm Boss.....well Hubby always finds a way to get a little action for her.  When Hubby volunteers for a job it's always for projects that involve machinery of some sort....or action for his girl.

All the Junipers are removed from both sides of the walk.  And the roots are dug out.  Now Junipers do not have a really extensive root system.  So you don't have to dig that deep, even for really big plants.

Pearson Park & The Garden Club 3

I take the time to check the PH in a few places along the walk.  Yikes....those hands, scaly skin and gross cuticles.  Farm Girl hands...there is just no helping them.  Anyway...we're looking for PH between 4.5 & 6 for what were going to plant in this area.  PH was a little low here....but when I moved it over a 1' we were right at 5.5 so I was happy overall with the site.

Next step....marking for plant placement.  Now Plants don't grow at the same speed.  And we are going to put in a whole row of the same type of plants (what? really? we just took a row of the same thing out? are you losing it? .... your going to have to trust'll be okay).  My point is that you don't need to agonize over plant placement.  Cause no two are exactly the same even when they are the same species (in other words you don't need engineering specs).  When I measure a job out I use a weird combination of measuring tapes....but it does the trick every time.
We use the water soluble marking paint.  And it's a good thing, cause no matter how careful I am with the can.....I get the stuff everywhere.  On my boots, hands, tape measures, walking wheels.  Everywhere....nothing is sacred.

Orange dots get replaced by holes.
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Pearson Park & The Garden Club 4

Ta-Da!  Azeleas are beautiful.  I gave the Garden Club a choice of Boxwood (Buxus) and two forms of Azalea.  They chose.  A hybrid of R. nakhari (The R. standing for Rhododendron....meaning Azeales are a form of Rhodys which is interesting.) developed by Mrs. Polly Hill of Martha's Vineyard, MA who has been messin' around with Japanese azaleas since the 1950's.
The one used here is North Tisbury Alexander.  Which was the one I hoped the Garden Club picked.  It's flowers are a lovely salmon-red blooming late into June.  And it has the most amazing prostrate growing characteristics getting a maximum of 18" high and about 3' wide.  Cold hardy to -10F.
After getting all the Alexander Azalea out of there pots and into the ground.  We then took a spade and edged along the side walk so that when the mulch was put in it would look nice and tidy and most importantly stay put.

See how the mulch lays right up to the sidewalk nice and tidy.

Next to the tools of the trade was this big guy.  And he just was sticking out like a sore thumb.  He had to go.  He was blocking the view of the fallen fire fighters memorial on the other side of the walk.  

That's better.
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