Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Sadly, I don't have many fond childhood memories, after a certain period of my life, but the ones that I do have I have always treasured and protected. Most of them took place during the six years that I lived with my grandmother and the respective summers thereafter.
My family originally resided in South Carolina. It was where I was born as well. I left South Carolina a few weeks before my sixth birthday and would go on to grow up in Chicago Illinois. I remember most of the happiness and safety that I felt disappearing shortly following this move.But that's another story....
In South Carolina there were cousins and aunts and uncles and grandmothers and great-grandmothers providing direction, love, and needed discipline. There were gardens and red clay dirt, and memories that were formed in the kitchen and many meals that came out of those kitchens. Neighbors still looked out for you and were considered "Extended families". You knew that even if your own grandmother didn't see you doing something she would know by the time that you got home because the "Surrogate grandmothers" made sure she got the information. It was double for me because my grandfather's sisters lived right up the lane from us, so there was no hiding for me.
There wasn't a lot of money in the beginning and I remember times when my grandmother would drink coffee so that I could have whatever there was for breakfast. I remember having a bottle fashioned out of a coca-cola bottle and a nipple, filled with coffee. I remember taking baths in the tin tubs now used for feed. There were kerosene lamps and for a while an outhouse. Those were lean times, but I still never, ever, remember feeling like I did without. I only remember being happy.
I remember my great-aunt having my cousins and I pick beans and okra and tomatoes and greens from her garden to have for dinner. I remember the chickens that ran around the yard, the big black cauldron that was used to boil water for washing clothes. I remember feeling sad when great-grandma caught a chicken and either rang his neck or chopped his neck off with her small hatchet. I remeber a pot of boiling water,and feathers all over the kitchen. I forgot my sadness when said chicken filled my stomach at dinnertime.
The sheer quality of the fresh, homemade food was a delight in and of itself. To this day I can still remember the aromas, the tastes, and the absolute love that went into the preparation of those meals.
My grandmother and her mother were maids by trade. Over time, other family members became Educators, Principals, there was a Lawyer, some worked for factories, Coca-Cola, and other trades. Most of those relatives migrated North. My grandfather was one of the first Entrepreneurs in that little town that I grew up in. Eventually, he owned a laundromat, construction company,and was part owner of a funeral home. Unfortunately, he and my grandmother did not make it as a couple and she did not share in his eventual good fortune. Still, he always made sure that if we needed anything, we received it.
As I got older, I never understood why my grandmother and great-grandmother never got upset because they had to work as maids and clean and cook for others. As I matured, I understood that they did what was required of them to take care of us. Pride had its place, but family, family was priority!!! Still, I cannot remember one time when I heard either of them complain. They were a STRONG bunch of women in those days and I always admired that.
My great-grandfather had passed on before my birth, and my great-aunt moved back to South Carolina to live and helped my great-grandmother pay for the two tract houses and the parcel of land that they sat on. This aunt was a FIERCE saver and planner. She always extoled to us the need to save and prepare ahead. She and my great-grandmother took the back house and the front house was given to my grandmother and their brother, who was paralyzed. My aunt, a cousin and myself, were the other occupants. Everyone worked together to make sure that we had a decent life. We would converge to the back house for meals and afterwards, my great-grandmother would sit in her rocking chair and smoke her pipe. My grandmother was a quilter, and my great-aunt would regale us with stories of her life in the "Big City". God, how safe I felt in those days!!! This instilled in me an INTENSE love for family and a misguided expectation that EVERYONE else would have this same love for family as well. I would learn this wasn't so.
I remember Monday morning clothes washing which has ingrained in me a love of hanging my clothes outside to dry. I remember the time that my grandmother and her mother would put into cooking which has developed in me my own love of cooking. I remember being in the kitchen with them and taking in the sights and the smells and watching how they did what they did. Just thinking about it makes me well up. It is that part of my life that shapes the "authentic" person that I am. I know that I cannot duplicate the past, nor do I want to. But I do want to take those memories and use them as the diagram for my life now. They are memories that I cherish and have always loved.
I want to take the values and the wealth of information from those times and imbed them as a part of my life today. I won't do it the same way they did, because times have changed, and we have to move on, progress. Still, those things will be my foundation and will be a huge factor in the choices that I make in my present life.
It's good to be Nostalgic from time to time, but we still have to live in the present. I know that. We have to be realistic, we have to remember ALL that was involved, not just the good things. I know that too. But deep, deep, within me lies the base of my love for the unadorned, the natural, the simple things of life. This is who I am.
For me, those things aren't just a bit of nostalgia, they are home. Till next time...
Friday, December 5, 2008
he turns his back on it and starts to wither away."
~ Gene Rodenberry~
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Today marks the first anniversary of my mother's death. It does not seem like that much time has passed, but it has. Thanksgiving will always be tied in with her passing.
I have found that regardless of the dynamics of your relationship with your parents, their passing will always leave an indelible mark.
I came on here with the intention of writing something thoughtful, something heartfelt. I even contemplated using the letter that I wrote on her birthday this year.
But instead I will mark this day with simply saying that we remembered, and we will never forget.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
So much is going on as usual. I still haven't been able to pry myself from my constant desire to cocoon. If anything, I seem to want to do so even more lately.
I am once again having trouble in math and I am beyond frustrated. Things are going "Lightning" fast in this class. Before I can grasp one subject we learn two to three more. I am falling behind. I am still trying to stay positive, but some days are harder than others.
To top that off, so many people seem to be getting ever more rude and the world that we live in today just lacks care. It is as if every man/woman is for him or her self and more and more tension is mounting out there the closer we get to the election.
I am not one to talk politics or religion and prefer to keep my thoughts and feelings to myself and am most adamant about that. But the rumblings out there are most disheartening to me.
I still feel that if my foot were only long enough I would still be kicking myself in the ass for not making the proper preparations in my life so that I wouldn't be 47 and starting all over again. Life is not like it was ten years ago. Hell, it is not what it was 5 years ago. It's hard out here.
I think that we all need to take heed, and keep our eyes open in the months ahead. Maybe I am getting more and more cynical as I get older, maybe I am just a realist. But for whatever it is worth, I think that if it is a helping hand that you are looking for, it is a surer bet to realize that it is more likely to be at the end of your forearm.
Oh, what a cheery, welcome post to christen my new blog. Peace all,
Till next time.....
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I had a completely different kind of entry prepared for this evening. I was about to hit send when I decided against it. It was full of cynicism, and doubt. It was full of more thoughts of just wanting to withdraw further and further into a shell. So instead of sending it out into the Universe, I deleted it and decided instead to work in my garden and cook. These two things are always a reminder to me of all the things that I still have to be grateful for.
I have been compiling some recipes over the last few weeks. Some of these recipes are for a change in diet that I have set up for myself. The other recipes are for the upcoming cooler days of fall and winter. It has been cool here for a few days and I pulled up a recipe for some potato soup. I have pulled up so many that I can't remember who to give credit for it. But it isn't mine. Still, I wanted to share it because I thought it was a quick and easy way to to make a favorite.
Since I am so busy, I need lots of quick and easy meals that I can make and freeze. I know that cooking from scratch is the best and the most healthy, but sometimes you have to improvise. I am all for that.
So here is the recipe that I pulled up for the soup.
* 32 oz. Frozen Potatoes O'Brien
*2 Small packets White Gravy Mix( I chose Jimmy Deans)
*1 Large Chicken Broth
I also at the suggestion of the original recipe maker added cubed smoked sausage. You can also add pieces of bacon if you are really into meat and that smoky flavor.
Pour broth and potatoes in stock pot;heat. Once broth is hot, mix in both packets of white gravy mix. Heat to boil and simmer 20-25 minutes. Add cheese,salt and pepper to taste.
That is the original recipe and it came out delicious.
This bowl was still steaming out of the pot. Someone (not me) requested some for lunch. Once it has sat for a bit the consistency is MUCH thicker and the flavor is very full.
I also baked a German Chocolate cake for the others and have some Flax Seed cookies for myself. They are quite good and quite filling.
While the cake was baking and the soup was simmering, I went outside to work in the garden a bit. I had the "wee one" water the plants inside the makeshift greenhouse, and I took care of the rest.
Pumpkin up to the "Nogoodniks" of trying to jump the fence into my garden.
More Tomato beauty. I love it!
Close-up of the trellised pumpkins.
Winter squash and sugar snap beans next to it.
My only remaining cucumber plant( in the middle) trying to grow.
I could just feel a calm pour over me and I truly needed that today.
And for all of you following the saga of "Belle and Beau", good news. There is a reconciliation in the works. After seeing the headlines of the "Three B's: The Bailout of "AIG", the Buyout of "Merrill Lynch", and the Bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, Belle decided that Beau was right about not starting a family right now. They are continuing in counseling.
Well, that is it for this "Homestead". Have a "Fabulous Friday" everyone, and I will see you next time...
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Well, today has been a pretty quiet day overall. I finished up dinner preparations, took care of the garden and have things almost ready for the upcoming week. Then it is off to take a nice hot shower, wash my hair and settle in for the night. I hate this part of Sunday because I usually dread going back to the routine. But, that being said, I consider myself fortunate to have a routine to go back to.
In the garden, I basically cleared some weeds from the aisles and raked into between them.
I watered the plants and made a few discoveries. I put a little manure around the roots of some of the first plants that were planted, and I trellised the pumpkins as they were growing into the sweet potatoes. I was about to clean out the bucket from the cantaloupes when I came across this.
It looks just like a little watermelon. The other little one that was growing fell off and I decided to just scrap the cantloupes. Now I hope to see the development of this new little find.
In my greenhouse, the plants are still growing. Not as much as I had hoped, but still growing.
The watermelons seem to have stopped growing. I was hoping that putting them in the greenhouse would help accelerate their growth but again, I think I planted too late in the season.But, I plan to grow earlier next year and more plentiful.
In the flower garden, the Hibiscus are still in bloom as are the Marigolds.
I am going toplant some mums as soon as things cool down a bit more.
Remember how these plants and how they looked when I first rescued them? They are really thriving now.
Overall, I had a very enjoyable day in the garden.
Well nothing else to see around here folks. Hope a good week is ahead for everyone and I will see you...the next time.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Greetings and Salutations.
Before I get into my usual drivel I would like to send out prayers and wishes for speedy recoveries for all those affected by Hurricane Ike in Texas, and the survivors and families of all those affected by the train crash in Los Angeles. I hope that they get the help that they need speedily and that three years from now the Hurricane victims are still not struggling to get back to some sense of normality. And for all of us not affected, may we remember how fortunate we are, just how precious life is, and how in the blink of an eye it can change forever.
Now back to the drivel....
Over my way,it has been a busy Saturday. I woke up pretty early this morning. Didn't feel too great but pushed past it to do what needed to be done today.
There was the usual Saturday fare of chores, and today "The Wee One" had to work on his science project. He did a diorama of the "Okefenokee Swamp".
I had been looking for stuff for weeks and finally we...erm...he, put it all together. Uh...yeah, that's the ticket.
Here is the finished result:
I have been slow cooking a roast since late afternoon that should be just about done now. I will make mashed potatoes and green beans to go along with it on tomorrow. There will be a baked good for them and I will more than likely subsitute asparagus for the mashed potatoes for myself. Cooking is definitely up there with gardening,and simplicity as the things that give me a sense of peace and joy. Ahhh, simplicity.
I have ironing to do for the week and the garden to water and check on for tomorrow. After that, it will be a nice hot bath and hopefully an early bedtime. I have a history test on Tuesday, so that will take up most of my attention for the next couple of days.
And speaking of the garden, there is trouble is "Paradise". Remember this happy photo?
Well today, things looked like this:
Apparently, Belle wants babies, but Beau says no because their work is seasonal and "Kid-Crows" would demand a more stable income. Seems that Beau enjoys only having to work a few months out of the year and isn't ready to give up that freedom just yet. I sure hope those two get it together because I need them to be focused....What?
Well, that's all from ye' olde Homestead today. Hope that Saturday has been kind to everyone and that Sunday is even better. Enjoy it, and make every second count. Till the next time...
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Well the test is over. I won't know how I did until Monday. I have decided not to think about it anymore. It will be what it will be and I did the very best that I could.
That being said, I came home feeling kind of out of it. I really can't explain it. I think a good word to describe it would be jaded. I just feel jaded right now. More and more each day I just want to find that little space that is calling me and go to it. Geesh.
To pacify those feelings, I went outside and walked around the "Homestead" today. I was going to take Pumpkin for a walk but couldn't find the leash. I thought she might enjoy a nice walk and I wanted to get out and clear my head. There are a lot of pitbulls in my area and sometimes the irresponsible owners just let them run free. Even my teenager warned me about going to far off the block and about the dogs. So I aborted the thought and just went into the garden instead.
I have so many trees around my house. With that comes leaves, pine straw and whatever else that comes from trees. I really need to get out and do a good raking and sweeping of the yards and driveway. It will be good mental and physical exercise. I will probably have to put it off until next weekend since the Science Project will take priority this weekend. Plus, I will have to break it down so as not to do anything to my back.
I must have been out there for at least an hour this evening. I had only planned to go out for a few minutes, but once I was there I started doing a bit of this and a bit of that. It made me feel much better just to have that bit of peace and quiet surrounded by my plants.
Each day I am surprised to find more tomatoes growing even this late in the season. Of the summer plants, here is some of what is left and the tomato plants still growing.
I also took the last measly serrano pepper off the vine.
A few more of these hot peppers are left as well.
Still a lot of green going on.
These are the peppers that I put under netting. Can you see it?
Every time that I think the Bell Pepper plants are done I find something else blooming. Guess I will just leave them alone and let them do what they will do.
Here's the little Aloe plant that I had given up for dead. I just sat it in the growing area and it was behind some of the buckets. Looks like it is trying to come back to life.
Look who else has joined the "Homestead"
Her name is "Belle". So that is why "Beau" is smiling that sheepish grin!
I have to work on "Mama's Corner" and plan to plant some Mums which were one of her favorites. I remember mums growing under the kitchen window once in the house I grew up in. I guess it is one of those things you remember when it doesn't happen often.
I have some reading to do but decided to just relax a bit tonight. I will do my reading in the morning before I head to history class. Tonight I just want to eat something, take a nice bath or shower and then head in for the night.
Well,that's it for this homestead for now. Hope that everyone had a good Wednesday. I'll look for you the next time...
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I know, I know, I am supposed to be studying. But I can't seem to sit still. I am always tense like this the night before a big math test. I just have to walk away from it every few minutes or so.
I usually feel better when I stall...erm... write so I decided to go ahead and post a bit of what would have been my next journal entry.
My garden is looking kind of ratty as I haven't been able to do the usual maintainence. There are still some veggies growing from Summer's crop.
Check out my Pumpkins spreading out. Below is a night shot of them and selected other crops.
I have netted off the remaining peppers to keep them safe from the birds and I also got this little fellow to help me protect the remaining tomatoes.
Isn't he cute? I call him "Beau". Yes, he is "Scare-Beau". What?
Ok, I know, I'm stalling. It's back to the books. Be good until the next time...