Category Archives: Spring

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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In a recent article, I read about someone who designed a “Pizza

Garden.” This inspired me to suggest you grow a vegetable garden

focusing on your children’s favorite foods.They will be more likely

interested in the garden’s outcome, if they enjoy the idea of what

it will end up in, in a prepared dish.

Since today we are celebrating Cinco de Mayo, I thought of some

vegetables that would be wonderful to include in a Mexican dish.

For next year’s Cinco de Mayo, grow a “Tacos Garden!”

In my son’s garden, he grew red, yellow, and green peppers, hot

red chili peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, potatoes, onions,

corn, watermelons and pumpkins.

Last year, my son and his wife ‘canned’ the red, green and yellow

peppers and onions by being given small batches a quick dunk in

boiling hot water. Waiting for them to cool and then, freeze them in

large freezer quart Zip Lock bags, pressing them to remove all the

air bubbles.

I call this process, ‘flash freezing,’ but not sure if they told me this

or if it is really the correct label.

There may be a more accurate way of describing and naming this

process. My son and daughter-in-law chose to chop onions and

put them in freezer bags. They also used the method of scraping

the kernels off their ears of corn, where they could then boil them,

cool them and pack in freezer bags.

I think you may find how many seconds you boil each food item on

the internet, since they said you don’t want to boil any of the items

too much or they will be ‘mushy,’ when you defrost them.

For a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta meal, you could defrost onions, corn,

and choose your favorite peppers. While waiting to get olive oil,

in a skillet, nice and hot, finely chop up onions and the peppers.

When you have lightly browned the vegetables, set them aside.

If you use a pre-packaged taco seasoning, I recommend the

lower salt ones available.

If you already have a natural pack, or spice jar, prepared with

your favorite taco seasonings, add some of this to the skillet

with the appropriate amount of hot water.

The oil from the onions and peppers will be fine, if you don’t

get it too brown, or black. (Yikes!)

I like to use 80% lean beef, but have used cooked chicken cubes

or ground turkey.

If you are a vegan, you may find some recipes for using other

thickening agents.

On one of my last year’s comments, Celeste had added a link

which will help you out.

Some suggestions were to use tofu, eggplant, kidney beans and

other kinds of beans. If you do this, you may wish to use a soft

shell taco or tortilla.

I like to also top the meat with sliced tomatoes, but if you have

canned diced tomatoes, you may wish to use these.

Drain, of course, and add to the meat, once it has been cooked.

I usually make guacamole, purchase sour cream and low salt salsa

to add for extra spices.

You may vary this informal recipe, but the main focus I wished to

impart was,

This is the time to start planning your vegetable garden!

Having children get involved, is so much more fun and easily

done, when you call the garden, a “Pizza” or “Tacos” garden!

This idea was used in a public area by the Delaware Community

Market. There was a nifty, helpful article called,

“Growing Pizza in Delaware,” by Deena Kloss, in the July, 2013

edition of the free magazine, “Natural Awakenings.”

Here is a list of spices, that the children in the Delaware

gardening “Kids’ Club” planted last year, in the early part

of June:

1. basil

2. parsley

3. tomatoes

4. peppers

5. onions

The “Kids’ Club” was led by garden volunteers, Bob Sullivan-Neer

and Master Gardeners, Regina Grywalski and Diane Gelinas.

They also produced radishes, snap peas and arugula in raised

garden beds.

An amusing sight in the community gardens is a pink painted

step ladder, that got too ‘rickety’ to be used as a ladder. Some

purple morning glory vines were flowering last summer. They are

such a lovely sight!

Another interesting and fun way to ‘recyle’ old and no longer

useful household items included a wooden head- and footboard,

painted bright yellow. Some old wooden pallets, buried partially in

the ground, then, filled with dirt became literally a “flower bed!”

Brightly colored zinnias were popping out, making the kids happy,

last year, to pick bouquets for their parents. I like portulaca, since

you can pinch the dying seed pods and save to plant again the

following summer. They are quite hardy and colorful.

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I have added updates throughout this post about children’s

input in gardening.

I babysat my four grandchildren last Saturday night while their

parents had a much needed dinner out and a movie. The kids

were put in ‘charge’ of drawing or listing, foods that would be

ones they would like to grow in their garden.

My son had used individual art pads, using a ruler to add some

lines under the area their drawings would go.

I thought of another way of doing a garden art project, could be

to give the kids old gardening catalogs, scissors, glue sticks and

allow them to practice their cutting and gluing skills.

The grandchildren were excited about the project, which did help

me to keep them occupied for almost an hour. The littlest one,

age 4, Makyah decided that her scribbling free form vegetable

garden was rather hard to explain. I asked her if she would like

me to write her special vegetables, fruits and flowers down on

the lines provided. I also praised (of course!) her lovely use of

colors and designs.

I asked Kyah what the yellow swirls were and she labeled them,

“Corn.”

I wondered what the big bushes of green were and she said,

“Lettuce.”

She had purple stuff, which I asked if they were purple cabbage

and I remembered, too late, a valuable lesson:

**Note:  Never, ever try to guess what children’s drawings are!!

Kyah looked quite impatient and annoyed at me, scolding me,

“No, Nana! Can’t you tell those are flowers?!”

I asked if she knew what kind they were and in a rather superior

tone she said,

“Daddy will know what kind!”

Both Lara, age 10 1/2, and Landen, age 9, drew beautiful and

elaborate gardens with details. They needed some help with

spelling, but the finished projects were awesome.

Marley, age 6 1/2, was very excited about her drawing, stayed

the longest at the table, with her hands covering some of her

drawings, too.

Children will get excited as the plants grow and change. My

older grandchildren say their very favorite ones that came out

of last year’s garden were:

Corn on the cob, watermelon, cucumbers and potatoes.

They mentioned having fried potatoes with onions and since

their mother doesn’t like onions, they told me,

“Daddy makes Mommy her own ‘batch’ of fried potatoes for her

breakfast!

Last but not least, you may remember that their garden produced

a ‘minor miracle’ last Fall!

Exactly 6 pumpkins, just in time for Halloween!

(One for each member of the family, parents included.)

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“Yo espero que tengan a muy bueno dia y hasta la luego!”

Sorry, I am not sure why the ’tilda’ on the 2 “n’s” did not appear!

I am not positive but I tried to say in my ‘rusty’ Spanish,

“I hope you had a very good day and see you when we meet again.”

Abrazos y besos.

Is It Too Soon?

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Really, is it too soon?

 

Can we all laugh and joke about the subject a bit?

 

We are in the midst of it. . .

In the thick of it. . .

Knee deep, chin deep and over our head in it. . .

 

Yes, right.

Snow.

Chilly Weather.

Sub-zero temperatures.

Relief on the horizon.

 

I enjoy wordplays and this one just jumped right at me.

In the middle of the night, literally.

 

When the snow plow was noisily scraping the ice off the

Ohio Wesleyan Parking lot, when a big chunk somehow

bounced off my bedroom window pane.

 

Wish that chunk were like my good middle school friends,

ones who would break out of their houses, give a ‘chink’ or

‘clunk’ at my window on the second floor of my house.

 

Wish it were my Romeo, who would make me fly to the

window and ask,

“Why are you Romeo?”

(Aside: You do know that the words,

“Whereforth art you Romeo?

Means,  “Why are you a Capulet?”

or “Why are you my enemy?”

Right?)

 

Know this is not so esoteric or meaningful. It was written

as the hour passed three a.m. and I was to get up at 5 a.m.

 

It is all about “Chill.”

 

Hope you enjoy the way my mind played with the letters

and the meaning of this word.

 

Fog can give me a chill.

 

It produces an icy thought.

 

Chills going up and down my spine are both thrilling and

frightening. It can be eerie and baffling, too. Some things

create emotions which give one person chills, while another

one won’t react or show stimulation in their fear zones.

 

definition of “acrostic” is given to mean a poem or other form

of writing in which the first letter, syllable or word of each line

spells out a word or name.

 

Acrostics of alphabet using the theme of Winter, drew a wide

collection from my mind.

 

I numbered each one so I could ask you if you liked any of

these, you may refer to them by number.

Or feel free to use another word as a “springboard” and make

up one of your own.

I chose to use the singular letters adding up to the word:

 

C

H

I

L

L.

 

Let me know if any of these give you ‘chills.’

 

1.

Clouds

Hasten

Icy,

Lacy

Lakes.

 

2.

Clouds

Help

Icicles

Linger

Longer.

 

3. This one I doubled the letters, “CCHHIILLLL!”

(Br-r-r!!)

 

Creeping cold,

Heaping helpings,

Icy igloos,

Latticework licks,

Liquid lightning.

 

4. Again, double the letters, double the challenge:

 

Crisp crystals,

Intricate Icicles,

Lightly laced,

Lazy liquids,

Hilly heaps.

 

5. This one was one that uses a slang meaning of “ice”

or “to be iced.”

(Just in case this doesn’t translate to another language; it means

‘kill’ or ‘to murder.’)

I like to think of it as a dramatic, yet simple way of expressing

ending a love affair:

 

Cold

Heart

Iced

Love

Lost.

 

*The above five little playful uses of “chill” letters are my

own creations. Please give me credit for the silly word

sets of acrostic poems, if you should wish to use them.

~reocochran thanks you!

 

When my kids were going through middle school, they used

this often expressed combination of two words. It is a friendly

and caring expression, using the word, “chill,” in it:

 

“Did you forget to take your ‘chill pill?'”

“Boy, that man needs to take a ‘chill pill!'”

 

In the seventies, we probably didn’t create or originate the way

my friends and I would use this word:

“Hey, ‘chill’ out!”

“You need to ‘chill,’ man!”

This meant to let the other person know in a non-threatening

manner, to calm down or relax.

 

Isn’t it funny how we may ask someone to “refrigerate something”

for us, but if we have something special, we may ask them to “Put

it on ice” or “This needs to be chilled before serving.”

I sometimes forget that red wines are supposed to be served at

room temperature, while leftover wine usually is placed in the fridge.

 

When you think of an icy situation, you may wish to handle it in

a different manner than a chilly situation. I feel that “icy” people

are very much frozen and cannot change. Somehow, though, I

feel there is more ‘lee- way’  in ‘chilly’ people. Any thoughts on

why?

 

When it is really cold outside, we all wish to bundle up. We

may wish to serve warm soup or sip on a hot drink.

Why do we love to make big pots or Crock Pots of something

that is hot, sometimes meaty and nutritious? This is due to

wishing to create warmth throughout our body.

But, wait. . .

Tell me this. . .

Why is one of our favorite toasty warm meals called, “Chili?”

 

When my grandchildren, who I nickname and often call my

“Grandies” whisper in my ear, it tickles my fancy. It gives me

little goosebumps and it makes me warm all over. This gives

me sweet and innocent ‘chills,’ too.

 

When a man is wishing to be romantic, or is a special part of

my life, he may whisper in a theater, the ‘chills’ are more of

a sensual and arousing kind. Maybe it is due to Pavlov’s

theory of using an impetus and an outcome. It is like such a

wonderful prelude, beginning to what may come later on.

 

My favorite middle of the night thought about “chill” was this

funny one. It is a ‘great rhyming word for First Graders.’

 

Have I got you thinking about “chill” or “chills?”

 

Did you think of a five or six word collection that creates

an acrostic for either of these words?

 

Last but not least, do you forgive me for bringing up this

‘touchy’ subject while Winter may circle back and freeze

us out?

 

I saved it until I saw Spring was just around the corner.

 

We are going to have a “Heat Wave” this week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

March to Your Own Drummer

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As a child you may have made wooly lambs and snarling lions to

represent the calm way we wish to exit the month of March and

the wild, windy month we usually start with. I remember using

a large paper plate and cutting out eyes and gluing cotton balls

all over the plate for a lamb. I also remember having made a form

for my preschool students, the shape of a lamb out of brown or

tan construction paper. They loved using the glue and adding the

cotton balls that ultimately got stuck to their fingers, clothes and

everywhere except where they ‘belonged.’

Making lambs and lions with children, as an artistic endeavor,

spurs my desire to share Vincent Van Gogh’s thought:

“Great things do not just happen by impulse but as a succession

of small things linked together.”

Did you know Vincent Van Gogh lived a short and productive

life of only 37 years? He shared and created beauty through his

post- Impressionistic paintbrush strokes. You may wish to check

out this trio of sweet Spring flowering paintings. Van Gogh did

these in his final three years of his short life.

1.  “Cherry Tree,” (1888).

2.  “View of Arles, Flowering Orchards, (1889).

3.  “Almond Blossoms, (1890).

Hope this may inspire you to dabble with paint, chalk, crayons

or start a craft project.

Let’s hope the month starts as a roaring Lion and leaves as a

peaceful Lamb.

Here is a word from Thomas Kinkade, (2001):

“Prayer or simple meditation will nurture your spiritual connection

vital to evolving a focus that is truly personal and intrinsic to

your life.”

MARCH

Gemstone: Aquamarine

Flower: Jonquils

March 1st-

Sunday of Orthodoxy.

There is a complicated explanation about the meaning of this Sunday.

It meant that there was a movement or change among some faiths,

where icons or representations of various important elements could

be produced. This was in the 700’s, Jesus Christ and Mother Mary,

for examples could be depicted through artwork. This is considered

the first Sunday of Lent, 2015.

2nd-

Texas Independence Day.

Would it qualify for celebrating if I had some chocolate Texas sheet cake?

3rd- Town Meeting Day

Vermont likes to have their town meetings.

4- (Sundown) Purim begins. This lasts two days and ends on March

6th. This Jewish holiday celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish

people into the Persian Empire, saving them from a plot to kill

them. This day is one which includes feasting and rejoicing.

5-

Full Worm Moon-

“Add compost to your soil to invite beneficial earthworms into your

garden.”

(2015’s “Old Farmer’s Almanac.)

To make compost, we used to use the parings of our potatoes, fruits

and vegetables. These days, you consume so much of these, so scraps

of the rinds, stems and inedible parts of your food can be put into a

raised garden. You can till it from time to time, creating a rich place

for worms to thrive.

8- Daylight Savings Time (2:00 a.m.)

“Spring ahead. Fall behind.” This little saying helps me remember

the direction of setting my clocks each Spring and Autumn.

I think many of us will be joyous once the season gets warmer. I

hope this will be a season of renewal and ignite new passions and

interests.

“As we turn the pages of time,

we discover hidden mysteries

and triumphs in each chapter.”

(Flavia, 2003).

9- Commonwealth Day in Canada.

Friday the 13th- 2nd one ‘down,’ only one more to go this year.

This is not a big deal to most, except the superstitious ones.

15- Andrew Jackson Day (Tennessee)

17- Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

“Place stems of fresh white carnations into water with green food

coloring to dye the flowers green.” (2015’s “Old Farmer’s Almanac.”)

Do you pinch people who don’t wear green today?

Did you know the Episcopalians usually wear orange today?

Also, on the 17th- Evacuation Day (Suffolk Co., Mass.)

19- St. Joseph’s Day

“If it’s on St. Joseph’s Day clear,

So follows a fertile year.”

(Country  saying or Folklore)

20- New Moon

Vernal Equinox

Spring Begins.

“The fiddlehead, which looks like the tuning end of a fiddle

is the top of a young ostrich fern, tightly curled and sheathed

in a brown coating.”

2015’s “Old Farmer’s Almanac” uses ferns in March’s report.

29- Palm Sunday

Most palm trees require year-round temperatures above 40 degrees

outdoors.

30- Seward’s Day (Alaska)

Shall we have a slice of Baked Alaska, in your honor?

2015’s “Old Farmer’s Almanac” mentions a plant that is native to

Alaska and Canada,

“Tall Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium acutiflorum) tolerates drought

and creates a ground cover, commonly with blue flowers.”

Words to Live By:

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable

combination.”

~Nelson Mandela

The Smithsonian Backyard series of books came with a

sweet stuffed bird. When I received this gift, my book’s

subject was inevitably about a robin, along with my toy

being a robin.

This book begins with a lovely Spring message and ends

with a helpful glossary of words and description of the

habits of each bird in the series.

“Robin at Hickory Street,” (1995) was written by Dana

Meachen Rau and illustrated by Joel Snyder. Read this

and it will give you a beautiful picture of the changing

of the seasons in nature.

“Winter’s song fills the backyard of the blue stone house

on Hickory Street. A honeysuckle branch taps a beat on

the kitchen window.  Wind whistles through swaying

spruces. Rhythmic drips of melting ice dot the snow.

Soon this chorus will be replaced by Spring’s. The sweet

murmur of honey bees, the rustling of chipmunks behind

the shed and the cheerful melody of a robin who will call

this yard his own.”

The book is 32 pages and in the description of the robin’s

song, it is given as: “Cheerily, cheer-up, cheerio.”

And on that note. . .

“Cheerio!”

Aside

These four simple quotes are meant to bring you some bright thoughts along with

your daily walk in life. Finding meaning in any one of these will make me feel good,

passing on some gems I found.

Please let me know what is bringing you special smiles around where you live lately.

 

~* There are 1440 minutes in  a day. Remember to use them wisely. *~

 

~* “How beautiful the leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.” *~

(John Burroughs)

 

~* “Every leaf speaks bliss to me,

fluttering from the autumn tree.” *~

(Emily Bronte)

 

~* “Winter is an etching.

~* Spring a watercolor.

~* Summer an oil painting.

~* Autumn a mosaic of them all.” *~

(Stanley Horowitz)

 

This just reminds me of James Taylor’s song that begins with those memorable lyrics:

“Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall,

All you have to do is call. . .”

“You’ve Got A Friend.”

 

Simplicity While Seasons Change

Healthy Everything!

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I will be throwing a surprise healthy note in amongst a few recipes and

hope you will enjoy this simple post.

I used several sources, including “Prevention” magazine (April, 2014 and

December, 2013) and “Natural Awakenings” (May, 2014 edition of our local

free “magazine.”

First of all, seasonal allergies are the worst! I hear several of my friends and

coworkers who have these problems and wished to share a few suggestions,

using natural and healthy choices.

A moderate intensity workout, a ‘jog,’ can actually help your symptoms!

Who would have thought, since you will need to be outdoors to jog around?

Thailand did this study, exercise may decrease the body’s release of irritating

histamines and other biological mediators. So, this means you can’t use the

allergies as an ‘excuse’ until you have seen if this helps your symptoms!

Another way to naturally ‘cure’ your allergies is a traditional Chinese way

of handling many ailments: Acupuncture has been known to decrease

patients’ dependence on medications, even with allergies. I always like

the way the Chinese say, “Acupuncture brings the body into balance.”

Checking out your intake of fruits can actually help you. Your diet can be

making your allergies worse.  1/3 of patients with seasonal allergies, have

immune systems that react to the proteins in foods, in a similar fashion as

the grass, dust and other things that set you off. People with ragweed

allergies typically have reactions to watermelons, cantaloupe and honey

dew melons. People who have found to be allergic to ‘birch tree pollen’

(pretty specific, huh?!) have been found to react to kiwifruit, apples, pears,

peaches, plums, coriander, fennel, parsley, celery, cherries, carrots, hazel-

nuts and almonds. My mother is allergic to grass and some weeds, but liked

gardening so much she would try so hard to just use the next method of

handling her allergies.

Pollen clings to clothes, our shoes, skin surfaces, hair, even eyelashes.

When you have hiked or worked in the yard, your common sense may

tell you to go ‘rinse off,’ but you may dilly dally, sit and have a drink of

pop, water or iced tea. By sitting down, you have created a pollen transfer

to your furniture. This is so fascinating and an easy way to picture this!

So, this is described in the April, ’14 “Prevention,” like this:

“Taking a shower at night, in addition to in the morning washes the stuff

away and helps you avoid allergen torture while you sleep. Gross but

true: Pollen also clings to the mucus in your nasal passages, so you should

rinse your nose.”

The “Neti Pot” is known for helping people stave off colds and also, to clear

mucus passages, with a saline solution. This is another ‘new’ cure, that I

thought some of you had not tried with allergies.

I liked another passage’s descriptive powers, in the same magazine:

“One route to relief is to treat pollen like a nighttime bandit. Keep your

windows and doors shut tight.”

You may already know about the ‘magical’ powers of ‘butterbur’ as a potent

herb, which contains compounds that block the chemicals released when

you are getting an allergic reaction. A Swiss trial was conducted, using the

amount of 8 mg. tablets of butterbur extract 4 times a day did relieve

the allergic symptoms, just as well as the antihistamine cetrizine. You

can find this in “Zyrtec” and other products similar in its content.

Other natural plant-based treatments include stinging nettle, quercetin

that is found in a number of foods, like grapes, tea, onions and tomatoes,

along with spirulina. This is a nutty tasting nutrient rich, type of algae.

You can take this as a supplement or throw it into a smoothie, as it

can be purchased in powder form, one scoop will do the ‘cure!’

Probiotics have become a popular topic, but even while fighting

allergies, guarding your gut, can really help your system manage

better. Scientists and researchers feel that by regulating your immune

system, through the use of probiotics, found in some food products,

like Activia yogurt and you can also purchase in a supplement form.

They have been found to counteract the inflammation in your body,

that causes allergic symptoms.

I hope some of these natural ways to handle your seasonal allergies

will help you or your family members.

 

I found out that you can use oil from your pantry as a ‘cure’ for

vaginal dryness. Plant-based oils are safe and non-irritating to

use as lubricants, if needed in a ‘pinch.’ This is from Dr. Mary Jane

Minkin. For longer term relief, use a gel or cream moisturizer. An

alternative is coconut oil, but check on a small surface, just in case

of allergies.

 

Now, for some simple ‘cures’ for stomach stress!

If your stomach is in ‘knots:’

Try valerian root extract.

If you are feeling ‘bloated:’

Drink hot water with lime.

(I have tried this, since I read it, and it works!)

If you have an upset stomach and/or

indigestion:

Chew a handful of fennel seeds.

(But not if you have ‘birch tree’ allergies. See above!

I cannot eat foods with fennel seeds, I have found, but

as far as I know am not allergic to any trees! Smile!)

If you feel nauseated:

Try ginger slices.

(I like to drink ginger ale or ginger tea.)

If you ate too much:

Sip fresh lemon balm tea.

(I like to include a slice of lemon, often with just

hot water, if I feel like I am ‘too full’ and need to

get my tummy feeling better, or the lime slice.)

 

Here are just a few simple recipes I culled for this post:

Strawberry Peanut Butter Toast

Top 2 slices of multigrain or whole wheat toast with 2 T.

(tablespoons) of peanut butter. I have recently been liking

the Natural Peanut Butter, with simply peanuts and a little

bit of salt in the recipe. The recipe suggests you try an Organic

Peanut Butter.

Layer with sliced strawberries and for a ‘twist’ add chia seeds

(1 tsp. teaspoonful)

The “Healthy Elvis” Sandwich

This serves 2 people.

4 slices of multigrain or whole wheat bread

3 T. (tablespoons) of almond butter

4 tsp. (teaspoonsful) of crumbled crisp bacon

(about 2 slices were used, the brand given, “Applegate.”)

1 T. (tablespoon) of honey

1/2 tsp. (teaspoon) cinnamon

1 lg. banana

1. Arrange bread in even layer on a clean work surface.

2. Stir together almond butter, bacon, honey and cinnamon

in a small bowl.

3. Spread this concoction on bread, dividing it evenly on the

4 slices.

4. Slice banana and put on top of two of the slices of bread.

5. Put sandwiches together, the ones with bananas make the

bottom of each sandwich, (don’t want to tip them over!)

6. Put the two sandwiches on a heated grill, I used a little olive oil

or you could splurge with a touch of butter on this! Grilling this

will make amazing sandwiches. Scrumptious!

(If you must know the calorie count is 418 calories for just one

of the sandwiches.)

And, I really missed the idea of marshmallow fluff, which my Dad

always included in his pretend “Elvis” sammies.

 

 

 

 

 

Creek Walk: Blue Limestone Park

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My only three granddaughters and I went on a special Creek Walk at Blue Limestone

Park on Saturday afternoon on June 14, 2014. Why note the date? It is the one where

I truly felt I changed their sweet, little lives. I asked if they would prefer, as we drove

past the beautiful new Big Toy, gym equipment installed at this ‘ancient park’ to play

there?

The unified answer was, “No, Nana!” The M & M girls, who are only 3 and 5 years old,

sang those lovely words out loudly. As they finished, their soon (next week) to be 10

year old sister, said these heart-warming words to this humble, nature-loving ‘hippie’

from the seventies,

“Nana, we look forward every year to being able to explore along the creek, cross over

the rocks and go under the train tunnel!”

Lara made me burst in pride, looking in my rearview mirror at her, my little step-

granddaughter, who is mine as well as others’. I said in reply,

“Thank you, Lara! This means so much to me!”

She came back instantly,

“You are the ONLY one who does this with us!”

Landen had gone off to be with the other two grandsons, Micah and Skyler, into the

land of video games and boys’ interests at my oldest daughter’s house. I was having

a good time, this day, with the ‘promise’ given at the onset to get ice cream cones

for three out of four of us, while Marley, whose ‘tummy hurts’ when she eats dairy

foods, will either choose a sherbet or a cookie, at our local place.

What did we find on our walk?

We found the light shining so brightly through the train trestle that I could not

capture through my camera lens, the brightly lit yellowish green still Spring like

branches and silhouettes up ahead of our journey. I took pictures of Lara, carefully

placing each foot upon the next rock, one by one, telling us behind her, of which

ones were ‘wobbly’ or ‘rocking back and forth.’

I helped my other two, sometimes having to hold their hand, putting my foot in

a simple sneaker, down into the clear and rushing creek water. They were filled

with a different kind of trepidation, I sensed a change in their development from

last year’s walk. They were more aware of the ‘danger’ of falling onto rocks and

the sense of imbalance to the stones. They had had more recent bumps and bruises,

evidenced on Marley’s shin and Makyah’s cheek. Little light bluish bruises, which

each carried their own story.

When we reached the place where they have to lean on the cold, damp wall of the

trestle, built of blue limestone rock, the oldest, Lara, was in the lead. She asked

why there would be mud up here, on the ‘shelf?’

I told her that sometimes the waters must have been higher or the wind roaring

through the tunnel, had brought mud upon the place we were walking. I also

told her the truth,

“Nana doesn’t really know the answer to that question, just a guess!”

When we got to the other side of the tunnel, to me, it is like a ‘fairy land.’ We saw

birds swooping, cheerily greeting our arrival here I saw so many branches of trees

leaning in, roots rising up and then arches created by low slung trees, bent into

bows. When they were under an arch, I asked the trio of girls to turn around.

They immediately did, knowing my camera was ready to capture this moment.

Lara, placing her arms around both the girls, showing the living definition of

‘sisterhood.’ The light filtering through the combination of hues of deep green,

light yellowish green and shadows made an entrancing photograph.

Mentally, I noted, three copies need to be made.

You see, I may not share the photos of my adventures with you, but I make

miniature albums of 36 pictures for each of the six grandchildren. They come

and take one of the recently made ones, sit and look them over. Their parents

make cd’s and videos on their cell phones, while I make the picture books that

let them know what seasonal adventures ensued during the past months.

Once in awhile, lately, the five year old, Marley has been curious about my first

husband, their “Poppi” who they did not realize was married to me, ‘once upon

a time.’ She asks to see photographs of our wedding, our days of young parent-

hood, raising her Daddy and her Aunt Carrie. Marley was thoughtful, again,

yesterday. She asked,

“Did you bring my Daddy here, when he was a little boy?”

I told her,

“Yes! In those days, there were tons of tadpoles or pollywogs, in these little

ponds that are back here, behind the big lake. The kids would bring buckets,

even ones I babysat, and we would all explore this area. Your Daddy, when

he was in 6th grade was allowed to come here on his bicycle and fish in the

Blue Limestone ‘lake’ that really is a ‘quarry.'”

I asked, as we climbed over a fallen tree, the little ones studying a spider,

bright, almost ‘neon’ green moss, and some little toadstools growing on the

side of it:

“Do you want to know what a quarry is?”

They all three listened as I explained how the Ohio Wesleyan University and

other buildings around their hometown had blue limestone that had been

‘mined’ from first the big ‘lake’ and then, later the smaller holes that became

other ‘lakes’ surrounding where we were walking beside.

We reached a ‘break’ in the trees, walked to the edge of the creek, finding in

the dirt, hoof marks of deer and also the smaller prints of raccoons and one

set of bunny tracks. I gathered them together and we all ducked under a low

slung branch, pointing across the creek, the separated undergrowth, the

path where the deer ran through the woods. We also could see, with a little

turn of our head, an opening where you could see the blue-green, almost

turquoise colored water of one of the more shallow quarries. I pointed this

out, saying:

“Your Daddy, Aunts Felicia and Carrie liked to swim in that ‘pond.'”

Oh boy! What a “can of worms” I did not foresee opening, with that remark!

I am sure you can guess, they wanted to go right across that creek and jump

into that smaller quarry!

I reminded them that their parents had bought a YMCA pass to the pools,

both indoors and outdoors. That, in those days, the possibility of algae and

other more dangerous bacteria were not so common. After all, this would

have been over 20 years ago!

They are such respectful children, allowing me to side track them, letting

them to think about taking off their shoes to dangle them in the creek

water.

I had them wipe their faces first, arms next, systematically going from

the top of their bodies to their feet, when we got back to the car. Then,

we carefully placed their special little mementos of their creek walk on

the passenger seat of the car:  wild lilac flower branches, three hickory

nuts that had been cracked open, halved neatly to reveal an inner design

that Lara found fascinating, the other younger ones chiming in that they

also “needed one of those!” and the wild daisies for their mother.

Then, having cleaned up, we ran down or rolled down, depending on

our age, the hill leading to the place where we would cross the parking

lot and play on the Big Toy!

Later, while sitting and savoring our treats, we were gazing, all four of

us, westward. There were first appearing, cotton candy blend of pink

and azure blue billowing clouds, then an orange-ish golden hue, and

finally a fire igniting across the sky.

When we got home, we all looked up at the waning Full Strawberry Moon,

the clear dark sky lit up with its presence. I said out loud, “Thank you,

God for this beautifully perfect day!”

Lara, who attends church more often than not, with her local father’s

mother, (Grandma) exclaimed: (I am not making this up!)

“Amen!!”

 

 

 

Just Another Monday

Standard

I absolutely love the Bangles’ song, “Just Another Manic

Monday!”

It may not be raining, as it was last week, but I have

heard from a few family members and friends on the

subject of “Rain” and am adding another post to

complete or complement the first story.

It may rain later tonight, but if not, hope you had a

great time out in the pleasant weather!

Here are more ways you hear different variations of

the word rain and other close subjects.

When it is an early morning rain, you may already

think of Gordon Lightfoot’s song,

“Early Morning Rain.”

There were several people who gave great additions

to my first list, including Mike Lince’s one of

“A Hard Rain’s A’gonna Fall.” Bob Dylan wrote and

sang this in 1962.

When we all got together and came up with some more

suggestions on this very subject, we were:

“Brainstorming.”

The words, ‘rain’ and ‘storm’ are included in this!

My baseball-loving brothers and Mom, dislike when it

rains, and there are:

Rain Delays!

When I had a nice, long list that included songs with

storms or rain in them, my Mom came up with wonderful

musical production numbers and made a double contribution

to the list!

1. “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” sung by Barbra Streisand

in “Hello Dolly” musical play.

2. “The Rain in Spain (Falls Mainly on the Plain)” sung

by Julie Andrews in the Broadway production of “My Fair

Lady.”

My sister in law, who is also interested in Native Americans

reminded me of the importance of the custom of “Rain Dances.”

Then, once that subject was brought up over dinner as a

family, Mom said,

“It is lucky to have rain on your wedding day.”

When I was reflecting after I had pushed that final “Publish”

button on wordpress.com last Monday, I remembered a simple

nursery chant:

“Rain, rain

Go away!

Come again,

Another day!”

Then, when you have a surplus of problems, or if you are

advertising for the Morton Salt company:

“When it rains…

It pours.”

Can you believe this famous slogan, accompanied by the

Morton Salt Umbrella Girl, originated in 1911? This must

be one of the longest lasting advertising tools in the

history of sales! The woman responsible is Joy Morton,

the head of the sales team that designed the logo.

One valuable symbolism of rain is~ it is like a cleansing

of the spirits. It could be considered a ‘renewal of life.’

The barren, dry parched land’s cycle includes its period

of freezing cold. Almost like a hibernation.

Then from the ground, once drops of rain fall upon the Earth,

plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables seeds start to sprout.

Spring really gets our attention!

If you ate too much Easter candy and were a little ‘sluggish’

as a result today, I can relate to that! I needed extra

caffeine, at first break, lunch and second break, too.

It is interesting to note, our new D.C. #23’s “CEO,” named

Joe, has implemented, “Free Small Coffee’s (or Hot Cocoa’s)

out of the vending machine on Mondays!

Hope this finds you well, happy and enjoying a wonderful

Monday!