Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Forest

 It's just a long planting of marigolds. But to this little guy, it's a forest!

The weather has been swinging back into warmer temperatures.  It makes it easier to go down to the garden and resume the old watering routine.  As I began watering, I noticed movement in the marigolds and found this baby lizard.  He was perched lengthwise along a marigold flower with his head peaking up and watching insects flit around.  I crouched down and looked at his world from his vantage point and was inspired to one day paint a marigold forest.

 This shot especially reminds me of Japanese landscape paintings with their idealized mountains.  These marigolds create that same appearance of mountains.  How fun it will be to paint it!

For now, I can just muster the energy to carry out my responsibilities without adding a painting to the mix.  I envy those who have been able to rally themselves and do all they usually do along with canning their garden's bounty.  This year I had honest intentions of teaching myself to can, but alas, it wasn't meant to be this year!  Maybe next year I'll be more mentally prepared for the new venture!

 As the weather cools, I decided I will try to save my pepper plants by potting them up and bring them indoors with us.  This one is an Anaheim Pepper.  The beetles chewed it up, so it looks a little worse for wear!

A couple other peppers need transplanting before frost hits.  Until then, I've already brought in a parsley and thyme plant in case they don't survive the winter.

Things sure seem to be slowing down, including me!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Youth is like spring, an over praised season more remarkable for biting winds than genial breezes.  Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits.

Samuel Butler
The Way of All Flesh

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's Official...

 It's Fall!

As I was working on the computer, I looked up and saw the calendar.  That's when I suddenly realized that it was officially Fall yesterday.  Finally, the calendar has caught up with the weather!  It's an inspiring season!

Inspirational too for the guilt-free reading I've been doing.  I finished "Pride and Prejudice" yesterday, my first book on my Nook!  What a pleasure that was!  I was pleasantly surprised with the way the story turned out.  And like everyone else who has read the book, I started really liking Mr. Darcy!  I like how the author allows some of her characters to be so good and worth knowing!  I think I can begin to see why so many love her work.

I find it funny and without coincidence that the movie "You've Got Mail," which inspired me to read this book, was loosely based on "Pride and Prejudice!  Both characters in the movie had pride and prejudice to overcome, and like the book, they came to a happy ending!

Since I'm in the reading spirit and it's Fall, I'm going to take advantage of the timing and read "Dracula" by Bram Stoker next.  It's not a book I would be interested in reading except for the fact that it's a classic, it's coming up on that spooky time of year and it came free on my Nook!  So now while enough of my interest exists, I shall read!  Besides, it helps to divert my melancholy feelings over my garden!

Happy Fall Everyone!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Little More Autumn Magic


I love this picture!  One of the last enjoyable moments in the garden before it is all over and Winter comes!  There is a real interest in little ones to pick out the sunflower seeds, then try to open each hull to get at the seed.  These two found a high, safe spot to do just that!

My first cabbage!  It made a delicious soup!

After reading/phonics and math, and having studied the solar system, we all made our own solar system!

Little 4 year old Cody was not to be left out either!  He learns so much!

The outdoor life of Summer is nearly gone, and we are all enjoying a little more togetherness these Autumn days indoors!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Garden Wildlife, Autumn and Reading

The garden is a bit of a depressing place now.  The zinnias are setting seed.  The Black Eyed Peas are almost through setting the last batch of beans.  Tomatoes are finished, and so are the summer squash.  The pole beans were a disappointment because I hardly got a few green beans at a time, never enough to justify the hot water to steam them.  The sunflowers have long since set seed.  At least the cabbages are looking great!

A couple of them are probably ready for harvest.  The leaves are showing signs of a hungry caterpillar.  Despite its appetite, it looks like Cabbage Soup is on the menu soon!  Can't wait!

The tired zinnias are still playing a role for the wildlife....

I think Praying Mantises are very interesting.  They really look like intelligent beings because they turn their heads to look at you!

This lizard down in my garden has a beautiful blue tail!

Just outside the garden fence quail chirp and forage happily.

While Ralph was working on his truck, he found and caught this snake.  He brought it in to show the boys.  What an amazing critter... this guy was made to look and act like a rattlesnake!  This king snake, or bull snake coiled up the top half of his body and tried striking!  He even shook his tail as if he had rattles and made strong breathing sounds like hissing.  We took yet another opportunity to educate the boys about the differences between safe snakes and dangerous snakes.  We showed them how the head was small and narrow, unlike the big wide head of a rattle snake.  Also, the absence of any signs of rattles on the tail (which is not always a reliable sign for very young rattlesnakes).  We released him into the cabbage patch to do his job.  Hopefully he likes the garden and will stay!

As the weather cools, we are not getting as many eggs anymore.  But one of our young Americana hens has begun laying.  Look at those pretty green eggs!  I look forward to more eggs next year! 

Part of the joys of Autumn is the hope of another, maybe more productive year.  Each year offers chances to learn new things in order to improve the upcoming year.

Among the joys of Autumn is the chance to snuggle down with a good book!  All you readers out there know what I mean!  But to add even more excitement to the season, my dear hubby did a most unexpected thing for me.  I was on the Barnes and Noble website and on a whim checked out their Nook (eReader).  I thought I liked it, but never thought of myself as an electronic-book-reader.  Why bother having one of these?  It's a little odd, yet, there's something very exciting about it.  Well, I couldn't put my finger on what it was that intrigued me so much about it, so I went to bed without thinking of it again.  I mentioned it to Ralph the following night and asked him some technical questions I was fuzzy on.  As he answered my questions, he commented how useful it was.  I asked him what he meant.  His take on it was that it holds a great deal of books on it without taking up any shelf space.  He finds my bookcases, while a part of me, a little cumbersome.  With this, I could have all the books I could ever want to read all in one convenient location.  He told me right then and there to buy it!  What?  Just like that?  Really?  Then he said something else even sweeter, "You don't do hardly anything for yourself, you do so much around here, and since you like it so much, I want to buy it for you."   !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Can you ask for a sweeter husband?!  NO!  So here it is, my very own eReader!

One of the great things is I can download and buy classics for zero dollars to $2 a piece.  The Nook even comes with a Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

I am now reading "Pride and Prejudice."  Ever since I saw the movie, "You've Got Mail," with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, I've wanted to read this book!  Silly I know, but I'm having a great time with it!  And the dictionary is coming in handy!

I even like the characatures of classic writers as my wallpaper!

As the final touch, this tasteful case keeps it safe from bumps and scratches.

This wonderful and unexpected gift from my husband has been adding a great deal of joy to my Autumn evenings!  There is nothing better than a good book!  Not even movies!

And as the kids are doing their school work....
I see how the Fall season holds a magic all it's own!

I sincerely hope your Fall days and nights are filled with that magic too!!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


We live here in Arizona, but I still remember what I was doing on the morning of 9/11/2001.  I'm sure most of us do.  This is not about politics.  Not about race.  Nor about religion either.  It's about our country and the people who have been personally affected.  We are a country of human beings, and humans are notorious for being human.  Despite this, I love my country.  So I would like to say, I for one, will not forget those who died, all the heroes who lost their lives, all those who were injured, or those who are survivors.  I pray for you, your families, and that your memories will not die in the American consciousness.

White roses are a symbol of honor, reverence, and remembrance.
Never forget.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Little Pithiness

pith-y [pithee] superlative  adj.  brief and to the point: brief, yet forceful and to the point, often with an element of wit

As I was reading through my teacher's manual for the math curriculum at the beginning of the year, I noted that at the bottom of many pages there were included some short maxims or proverbs.  It said it was a collection of various wise and pithy sayings that deal with character.  I was not entirely sure what exactly 'pithy' really meant.  Well, my own education began before the boys'!  I have now added a new word to my vocabulary!

Today, one of those wise and pithy maxims sprang to my attention.  It said,

"There must be absolutes, else nothing can be known and no one can be trusted."

Now that sort of saying is right down my alley!  This cuts to the chase in any and all areas of life, work, and faith.  Most of us get caught up in day to day life.  We tend to forget that those absolutes have made it all possible.  And most of us do not even take the time to investigate these truths, we simply take them for granted.  Soon, we take everything for granted and before we even realize it, we are prone to taking a half-truth or even an outright lie for truth!  We have become inclined to something we don't even know is wrong!

My hairdresser of several years ago had a plaque which read, "If everyone is doing it, and it's wrong, it doesn't make it right.  If no one is doing it, and it's right, it doesn't make it wrong." 

The purpose of educating our children and ourselves is to know truth, is it not?  If truth is absolute (which it is), then we have nothing to lose (nothing to lose but our lack of knowlege) and nothing to fear if we investigate the truth!  No harm can be done if we search, seek, know and understand the facts/truth behind everything we know and believe in.  Not only do we become liberated, but we become more responsible.

"With great power, comes great responsibility." - Name that movie!  If we miss this boat, we miss out on the fullness of life, the chance to serve others.

So there you have it, your daily (perhaps yearly) dose of pithiness!!!!  My grandfather always said, "If you get an education, no one can take it away from you."

A popular figure recently said, "Only dead fish go with the flow."
So maybe with the new school year, we all would do well to set foot onto the road that leads to truth!
Oh the places we'll go, the places we'll see!

The truth shall set you free
John 8:32

Veritas Curat
(Truth Cures)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Perhaps Fall hasn't officially come according to the calendar, but it has already come in reality.  I'm experiencing mixed feelings.  I don't want Summer to end quite yet, but I'm enjoying a little less heat during the day and the cooler nights.  Yesterday a sad, yet beautiful sight presented itself to me...

The former glory of the pumpkin plant is gone.  What is left behind is the fruit of it's labor.  Six pumpkins!

The much anticipated day has finally come and each child has chosen his favorite pumpkin for himself!  What glee!  The stuff of magic to a child!

Other proof that Fall has come is that school is in session now.

The joys of learning new things, opening our minds to new frontiers, finding new skills!  Oh yes, it sounds just like Autumn.

And, we are all reading more....

As the days become shorter, I've been bitten by the reading bug as well.  All the books I could be catching up on!

Still, there is proof that Summer hasn't completely tipped it's hat farewell....

Small pockets in the garden are still reminders of Summer, like these tomatoes, onions and basil.

A couple of tired tomato vines have given me more tomatoes!  Delicious!

Even the zinnias are looking tired, but this one is still so bright and cheery.

This zinnia looks the way I feel... reaching to take in as much of the dwindling summer sun as possible.  What a beautiful year.  I learned a lot.  I give thanks and praise to the One who made it all possible!