Thursday, August 31, 2006


Joycie got a new 'do today. Isn't she beautiful?!!!

For comparison, this was her early in August:

She wanted to get her hair cut and colored, but I wanted her to have her senior photos taken first. Before her photo shoot, Joycie and I picked out a bunch of outfits and I took some photos, then we narrowed down the list. It was fun... and I took a ton of photos. I went through them looking for a good "before" shot, but instead I found these 2...

This is Joycie and Sam fooling around when Joycie had what I called her "forest nymph" dress on... all together now, awwww...

Joycie decided to take her acoustic guitar with her and have some photos with it. This is my guitar girl...

Mouse Piss Reborn

This post is about a couple of things. First of all, Sammy decided that our gardens/landscaping areas don't have enough "character"... we don't have statues of angels or ceramic toads or frogs or turtles... or much of anything else. I like those things when I see them in my sisters' or friends' gardens, and I have a couple of things myself... but mostly I'd have to say that it's just not my style. Today, anyway. That could change at any time.

So I have found myself checking out homes and businesses, etc. in town when I drive by them to see what kind of statuary others have decided to plant in their front lawns and gardens. I've seen a few truly unique pieces that are very cool. And probably cost a small fortune.

And the other day, I forget exactly why, I was out in our small, red polebarn. This is the polebarn that used to hold all the hay, feed and tack when I had my 2 horses, Candy & Angel. Now it holds Kevin's Kubota and a variety of stuff, outside-type stuff, and some pots and other garden stuff.

When Candy & Angel were still alive, we were out in that red barn twice a day at least. There were always mice, I'm sure, but the barn was an active spot. It always smelled like hay and horses... a very, very good smell.

Now that it's basically a tractor garage and storage facility, with a sand floor, it is a mice haven. It seems that anything that has been out there for more than a short time smells like mouse piss.

So anyway, I'm out there, thinking to myself, as I always do, how much it stinks there, and I see some things I haven't thought of in a good long while. A stack of square ceramic tiles that I believe are antiques, or at least really, really old. My mom gave them to me years ago. I've kept them because they're pretty; I like how old-fashioned they seem. I also saw a stack of old, rusty saw blades. Round ones, like for a table saw. Plus some other "stuff" (Kev would say "junk").

And those things kept niggling at my mind. So I made myself a statue. The plan was to have Sammy help me, and he did, at first... but then it kind of became a one-person job. Sammy helped a lot with cleaning stuff and moving stuff. Boy oh boy, did that stuff stink.

I finished it this afternoon. I'm still not sure about it. I had Kev cut 3 of the saw blades in half to use them at the top, but the only adhesive I could find strong enough was white... I would have preferred clear. I like the colors... but I haven't decided if it's a keeper or not. I wanted to love it. But so far, I simply like it. Maybe.

I call it "Mouse Piss Reborn"...

Right now, it's sitting among hostas, but Kev suggested moving it to the middle of the grasses. He thought it would look pretty with the grasses billowing around it. I think that's a good idea, but I think we need to wait about a week for all the adhesive to cure well before we attempt moving it. It is quite stable, and quite heavy. And though it perhaps doesn't look it... it is completely level (because I used a level when I assembled it). I put a crystal at the top; here's a closeup.

I like that little detail. And I love the blue pots with those old-fashioned tiles. And I also like the contrast between the dainty ceramics and the rusty blades.

Up close, it stills smells like mouse piss. And after working with that stuff, I feel like I can still smell it. It's in my nose memory. Lovely.

I wasn't lying...

Mr. No-Butt-Cheeks, Himself

Now ain't that a cute no-butt?!!!
Oh, yeah.


Whenever I post photos, I always run them through MS Paint and save them as .jpg files because it drastically reduces their file size while still maintaining good enough quality. I have only dial-up Internet access, so uploading smaller files is a strong preference of mine. (I have checked into high speed, DSL, etc., but so far the only one available to us is by putting a little dish on our house roof and paying about $600 for them to do that, then paying about $150 per month. Ummm... no.)

Sometimes I decide to put a border on the photo, like with the mushroom photo below. That's when I like to use the MS Paint eyedropper tool. I like to pick a shade in the photo itself to use as the border color. I'm easily amused. I can play with that eyedropper for a long while, trying shade after shade after shade... So pleasantly enjoyable. With color.


Found this pretty pair near our pond.

The doleful look

This is Barney telling me with his gorgeous, sad eyes: "You went for a walk around the pond and you didn't take me."


Another photo of a Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillar. I now notice them on milkweed plants everywhere. This little guy was crawling all over & wouldn't hold still for his photo shoot. After I took photos of the first one I found, I spent quite a bit of time trying to find out what kind of caterpillar he was. Finally found a web site from the U.K. that allowed me to easily identify this one. As for the moth, I found several photos on the 'net and it must be there are several kinds of Milkweed Tussock moths... all different colors and shapes and sizes. The first caterpillar I found has moved on. I found this one 3 days ago, and he was only about 1/4 inch long then... so tiny. Today he was well over 1/2 inch long. I've checked on him each day, and it's amazing how fast he's growing.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Monday mornings

Every Monday morning should include a good breakfast. Ahhh... now I'm ready to face all those files containing all those pleasant communications from the IRS. (You're totally wishing you were me right now, ain'tcha?!) And... as an added bonus, our voice mail system is down. Whoo-hoo!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

One long post for August...

Go on, get yourself a fresh cup of coffee or something equally nice to drink, sit back, get comfortable... coz this is gonna be a long post.


Sam and his friend, Cody, after a tiring game of badminton... and the geese in the background had kept them company most of the day, but all left a few days later.

Sam and his friend, Zack, spent a fun day at the county fair.

I have been spending a little bit of time over at my folks' on the West 20, where the plant life is lush and the wildlife abundant. They have something like 3 doe that have twin fawns and a couple of doe with single fawns. The kids and I came across this doe & her twins.

We also came across some beautiful wild flowers. Like this cardinal flower that stands out in all the greenery.


There are a lot of clumps of wild delphiniums this year, too.

The fungi have been loving this hot, humid August weather. This is a photo of something my Mom said she thought is called "Devil's Angels" and it's a very poisonous fungi. It was there one day and gone the next... there wasn't even any remains of it... like it turned to dust and was gone. My photos all turned out imperfect, so I wanted to get another shot... too late. So here's the best of what I took.

My sister, Janet's, pole barn has a beautiful flower border.

I tried to get photos of some of the beautiful hummingbirds at my folks' but none worthy of posting. Will try again... But I did get this shot of one of my very favorite birds, a Mourning Dove.

And while shooting photos of the hummingbirds, I saw this guy. I remember as a kid trying to catch these little lizards, and the first time one's tail came off, I freaked. They grow back. Or so I'm told.

The apple trees are producing well... here's one of our winesaps.

And the peach trees I planted last year are giving us peaches, too.

Tons of wild blackberries.

And one big spider made a home near my front porch. The web was very large, about 18 inches wide and over 2 feet long.

There was a weird extra heavy duty weaving down the middle... I don't think I've ever seen a spider web with that in it before. I wonder what it's about, why the spider did that...

I think spider webs are beautiful. Though, I would be the first to admit that I am not a fan of spiders... they kind of give me the creeps. I see no reason to change that opinion.

But I like catepillars. I found this guy on the bottom of a chewed-upon milkweed leaf.

Oh, so many more photos I could share... I've taken about 800 photos this month alone, and that doesn't count the "Annual Homes & Gardens Tour" photos.


My Uncle Joe, my Dad's younger brother, died this month. It was unexpected. He had surgery a while ago and was recovering slowly, but his death did not seem eminent. Uncle Joe died peacefully in his sleep at home of heart failure. He was 74 years old.

I haven't seen very much of Uncle Joe for quite some time. I remember more times with Uncle Joe and Aunt Lorene from when I was a kid. I also remember when I saw him a few years ago, after not seeing him for a very long time, and I was surprised at how much he looked and sounded like my daddy. My Dad is the middle brother, and he's 76; Uncle Don is 78.

Uncle Joe was, and his family are, very fervent Baptists. That was some funeral. Long and lots of Amens and pounding on the pulpit and shouts of Hellfire threats. I have to say it wasn't to my taste. Don't care much for being threatened. I'm sure the pastor is a good person and all that, but really... I feel that such judgmental attitudes just don't seem very Christian. The pastor told some story about just being in NYC and seeing 3 teenagers on the subway "dressed in the way of the world" (which I'm pretty sure was Not Good), and then he went on to say they were "be-bopping" (yes, he used that word) to music plugged into their ears, and how it was Such a Shame those teenagers are so unaware of God and Christ in their world. WTF?!! He saw them on a subway, and by this he somehow was able to ascertain the 3 "worldly" teenagers are destined for Hell. For all he knew, they may have just come from volunteering at the local homeless shelter. But they were dressed in a manner of which he did not approve and they were dancing, so thus, they deserve damnation. What an asshole.

It was so bizarre... feeling so sad and mournful about the loss of Uncle Joe, but feeling so disgusted by the sermon and all the congregation there agreeing with their outspoken, "Amen, Brother" and "Yes, Pastor, Amen" etc etc etc... ad naseum.

Those of you who are fortunate enough, like me, to have a Dad who is wonderful and lovable, go now, and hug your Dad or call him and tell him you love him. If you, like my cousins, have lost your Dad, tell him you love him anyway.


Can't not mention football! August starts the football season. Practices are in full swing, and Sam's new, white practice football pants are no longer, and never will be again, that white.

My 11-year-old son needed new cleats... and we had to buy him size 11.5! Men's size 11.5... our big-footed boy.


We've been finishing up some landscaping around the homestead. Well, really, it's been mostly Kev. Lots of new hostas. Love those plants. We also tore everything off my rock garden, and I once again can actually see the rocks. Looks so nice. The ajuga had covered it like a green carpet. I got some half-dead marigolds for next to nothing ($2 a flat), and once I put them in the dirt, they perked right up. I bought some cardinal flowers to plant near our pond, and some Russian Sage, and other perennials. And I recently stopped by Lowe's again and got quart-size potted perennials, many kinds, for forty-nine cents each. Forty-nine cents. Wowza. Home Depot had some beautiful plants, same size, on sale for $2.50 each... but I got them to match Lowe's price, so I bought some at each place & drove home with 120 plants. Yessiree.

And now, do yourself a big favor and click the link to Chelle Belle and read her "Welcome Back!" post.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

From one extreme...

I have been trying a few different hair products in an effort to reduce or eliminate the frizz city that this humid summer weather has made of my head of hair. Today I am apparently doing my best to impersonate a greaser.

Pantene, you are not my friend.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Hey, palynologist, pollen me this

Joycie's garden is giving us produce. We've gotten tomatoes, green peppers, green onions, potatoes, cucumbers... of course, zucchini... the green beans are ready for picking, too. We planted a row of all different kinds of sunflowers. This is one I picked yesterday. They are so pretty, all in a row, yellows, golds, oranges, reds & in all shades.

This evening we went over and visited with my folks. Mom and Dad have a couple of bird feeders right in front of a large window, including a hummingbird feeder. There were at least 6 hummingbirds all around it, with 3 or 4 feeding at once. They were sparring with each other. The sun was starting to set, so it was shining on them, and they glowed. So beautiful. Mom said they have lots of hummingbirds all the time. And while we watched, a pair of Baltimore orioles came up and landed on the hummingbird feeder... first the female, then the male. Made me itch to have my camera... which I'd left at home.

I don't know if it's because we're so much more in the woods than my folks' or my sisters' homes, but we just don't get that variety of birds at our feeders. And ever since the influx of turkeys, we get less birds at our feeders. Damn turkeys.

I left work early today to meet Sammy and Joyce at the orthodontist's office. Sammy had an appointment where they put in new wires and bands on his braces. They also decided he has to wear a rubberband on his right side. The technician assistant that was showing him how to put the little rubberband on wasn't doing a very good job, and Sam had to basically figure it out for himself. She got the rubberband on, and then she told him she wanted him to take it off and put it on again there, so that she could make sure he could do it. So she handed him a mirror... and Sammy instantly and firstly fixed his hair. Cracked me up. Put a mirror near that boy and he's gonna fix the hair.

He is such a complex boy... he loves the dirty, sweaty work and play outside, with the dogs, sports, 4-wheeler, all that rough stuff, helping Kev cut, split and stack wood, but he also likes to shop, and he pays attention to how he dresses, if his clothes are clean and not stained, and how his hair looks. And how he smells. Which is nice, actually, since I live with him... it's very nice.

My friends, Carla, Debi & Renee, and I had our 2nd Annual Homes & Gardens Tour last Friday. Joycie drove us, and we had a blast. It was so fun. I took almost 350 photos, but most of them didn't turn out. Too blurry, mostly. I think it was a combination of everyone moving around so much and me laughing too much to focus the shot. And, the weather cooperated nicely. It wasn't raining or thunderstorming, and it wasn't too hot and humid like so many of the days were lately. It was a great day. See the photo blog here.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The root

Today was my very last Grand Jury session, and the 18-month term is finally over.

We passed a few more unanimous true bills today, and then the AUSAs (Assistant U.S. Attorneys) went over the past term's indictments. They gave us a bit of info on the status of each case. That was kind of a let-down, in a way. So many of the cases are still in limbo; very few bad guys in the group are behind bars.

I was glad to be able to do my duty, but I'm more glad it's over. It's like the same reason I don't like to watch that TV show, "Cops"... watching that show is like letting the dregs of society into your living room. I know all that shit's out there, but I'm glad I don't have to hear the explicit details about once or twice a month any longer.

On the drive over to the Federal court this morning, I saw this vehicle come up behind me on M-20. I shot this photo from my car window with my cell.

I thought it was appropriate. All morning the phrase "money is the root of all evil" kept running through my head. With few exceptions, all the crimes covered in the Grand Jury sessions basically came down to money. Who has it and who wants it and how badly.

More congratulations are in order...

My niece, Sara, called me about a month ago to tell us that she's engaged. She and her fiance, Derrick, had went on a trip to Colorado the weekend after July 4th, and Derrick chose that weekend to pop the question. He took her up into the mountains, where he had already picked out a spot on State property, got down on his knee and asked Sara to marry him. And, now they can return to that spot whenever they want, not having to worry that someone has built a house on it or something. Very romantic.

And the beautiful ring...

I'm so happy for them.

And I was really happy to see these photos on her mom's camera (Janet), because I never did get the photos by e-mail that Sara was supposed to send...

My other recently-engaged niece, Susan, is Sara's older sister. The men did not coordinate their actions... what a wonderful surprise. A couple of happy sisters. And a couple of lucky men!

Janet's photos

My sister, Janet, let me unload the photos she took that were on her camera onto my computer. We did this mostly so we could see the ones of the boys from this past weekend, which were really cute. But Janet had a bunch of great photos on there that she's taken recently... I just had to post some here.

Tons of photos of her grandson, Rogan. Can't tell she adores him or anything!

And some of her new cat, with the beautiful blue eyes. This is the stray she got from my sister, Kathy's, yard. She's an adorable cat, and she just gave birth to 4 kittens a week ago.

Some beautiful bird photos, too. Janet took this one of a barred owl, which is really cool. Unusual to get a photo of one of these.

This photo Janet took of an indigo bunting is a great shot, too. It's like the bird was looking at her while she was taking his photo.

Janet has an area where she feeds the birds, and it attracts so many, many birds. Lots of gorgeous goldfinches.

And cardinals.

And other critters, too.