Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sooth

I've had a feeling of being unsettled of late. Blame has been lain on clutter due to the move and end-of-school activities. Blame laid within. I've not been meeting my own expectations of wife, mother, and homekeeper. I've been doubting my contribution again. One would think that I would have all those kinks worked out by now. I've been a full-time homemaker for 12 years, going back to work part-time only once during a brief financial crunch.

Sometimes I have a hard time giving myself credit for how far I've come because I am focused on how far I still need to go.

I still need improvements in:
keeping the budget updated
cooking/baking
keeping the house fresh and clean
homeschooling
personal care
being "green"
menu-planning
and as always (until I am judged in grace) to continue to grow closer to Christ.
Recent events (visiting with some especially judgemental family members and planning an elementary school reunion) have brought up some self-assessment. From the outside it is very easy to assume things about me and our choices. But from the inside, I know (and very close friends/family know) just how far I've come.
I have grown. I've gone through a tremendous personality change. I've gone through a spiritual journey and learned some very hard lessons. I've traded my consumer, self-centered, immature nature for a more self-relient, Christ and family centered, introspective life. I've learned to contibute in a different way that surpasses a monetary contribution. It never would've happened in another, more "normal" environment.
I'm not all the way there. I'm not even half-way there yet. But I'm still truckin'.

If I grow as much in the next 15 years as I have in the last, then I'm going to be a pretty amazing 55 year old woman.

I just needed to reassess my value as full-time homemaker. Sometimes it's too easy to believe the American opinion that you are only as good as the money you earn. But always having had a job doesn't automatically make you a respectable person or cause your children to rise up and call you blessed.

Thanks to Little Jenny Wren who posted this on her blog that was a good reminder.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Playhouse With A View

Why do kids want clubhouses or playhouses? We had one on the farm where I grew up. It had originally been the smokehouse. We used the left-over paint and carpet from Mom and Dad's newly constructed home to make it a cozy retreat. Retreat? A place where children can escape the constant reality that comes with/from living with adults. A place to imagine you were being kissed by Scott Baio or in Star Wars or just a place where there was no voice but your own. "Can I have a clubhouse?"

"When the house is finished."

"I want it as big as my room. I want it to be high up and have a trap-door."

And I want you to have a place to dream without any interference.

"Can I put my t.v. and playstation in it?"

"Absolutely not!"

"What about my Legos?"

"I guess so."

I do hope there are many quiet times in which she discovers herself in this space she can claim as her own.

I wish I could give every child this experience... to have a place in which to hear their own thoughts, even if what they had originally hoped for was a cool arcade.

Sneaky parents!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Spring "Winters"

As I grow older (don't say a word!) I realize how blessed I am to live here, in Central Kentucky, among the knob regions where a large majority of us still cut our own firewood for winter and plant vegetable gardens.

There is plenty of "old" wisdom still around. But unlike the "old days" children rarely learn it anymore, opting to enjoy their Playstation 2 instead of learning how to patiently form a proper cedar whittling-stick or working on embroidery samplers or swinging that wood maul. And we let them.

Now, the old wisdom has to be searched out, like buried treasure. And there are fewer maps left.

For instance, I can remember quite plainly hearing the old folks speak about the various "winters" that would arrive in order each Springtime. My ex's grandmother knew every one of them. She and others who could've taught me have been gone for some time now.

So, like a proper researcher, I turned to the internet. What? No one else seems to know either! I've found others who are asking the same question and some who are offering obviously muddled facts, some of them weather experts! Obviously NOT folklore experts.

And there is a discrepancy about whether things bloom during the cold snap for which it is named or immediately after the cold snap occurs. I am of the camp (as was my ex-grandmother-in-law) that a "winter" occurs immediately before a bloom, announcing the upcoming event. I back-up this arguement with the fact that sometimes one winter will hit while the previous bloom is still blooming. For instance, the redbud tree will bloom over several weeks during which Dogwood Winter will hit and the dogwoods start blooming too. Both trees will change over to their leaves at nearly the same time.

WHY do you need to know the "winters"? So you know when the danger of frost is gone and you can plant your garden!

So here we go...here is what I remember without a doubt plus what the older "experts" in this region tell me is gospel. Here are Kentucky's Spring-Winters in order:

Sarvis winter: The earliest cold-snap (usually early April) just after you have begun to think Spring has sprung! I don't have any of my own photos of the local Sarvis trees, but you can see the blooms at this link and read some interesting history of it's name here. Do check it out!

Redbud Winter: the cold-snap in mid-April immediately before the Redbud tree begins to bloom. Usually frosts.


Dogwood Winter: the cold-snap in mid to late-April immediately before the Dogwood blossoms fully open. Can still frost easily. (photo taken from the tractor during Dogwood Winter on our farm.)
I'm not sure about this next photo but I believe it may be in the same family as the dogwood.
Locust Winter: the cold-snap in late-April to early May immediately before the Locust tree bursts into bloom. Some Locust trees will bloom right before the cold-snap if they are in a sheltered area. It may frost in the low-lying areas but the ridge-top farms are usually o-kay.

Blackberry Winter: the cold-snap immediately before all the wild blackberry briars begin bursting with blossoms. (Like that little play on words?) We just had this one last week (mid-May.)

Chunk Winter or Linsey-Woolsey Britches Winter - the last cold-snap. You burn your last chunk of firewood or put on your warm pants! Usually at the end of May. This means you can plant your tomato plants now!
I don't own anything made of Linsey-Woolsey material. Marci says that it was made from both linen and wool fibers. She named two of her spring lambs Linsey and Woolsey.


With this one still to go, have you packed up your sweatpants too early? Are you almost ready to plant your garden? We live on a ridge-top so our garden is in the ground already.


I do hope you will leave a comment if you have additional information to add or feel that I need to be corrected. With what little brain I have, I did the best I could. lol!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Prom 2008

Bragging rights...my son is a handsome fellow, no? Tolerating Mom snapping photos before he leaves the house.

Thank you to our b-i-l who loaned him the car.
Like them shoes?
Arrival at the event: please ignore the crazy woman who talks in the video and my sister's head. LOL!



video

Parents line up in front of the gym just to see their kids arrive. In fact, this is such a big event in this rural county that non-related folks come just to see the pretty dresses and inventive modes of arrival.
Male teachers volunteered to valet park for the kids. I'm sure that some of them enjoyed it more than they'll admit.
This was the classiest ride, complete with a driver in a derby hat and four bodyguards.

A short-bus crammed to the brim.

Not the prettiest ride, but they roll out a red carpet from the back and 16 kids roll out covered with streamers!

Fun for the girls who rode/drove and the boys sat on the back.

O-kay, these next two photos took the cake for the best ride to the prom. It was a furniture delivery truck with decorated sides announcing "Most Outrageous Ride to Prom." But it was cool as each couple stepped out onto the platform with color-cordinated balloons. As the platform lowered to the ground, the couple released their ballons to float into the air above. 5 couples in all.
Here is son with his best friend (who just happens to be a wonderful, pretty girl.)
And here is son with his date for the night. They were an ex-couple who decided to go to the prom together as friends. Give them a hand for class.
Can you look at those photos and not reminisce? I didn't go to my prom but went to a friend's prom when I was a junior in high school. Yes, we were still into the big Southern Belle dresses.
Check out that feathered hair! I'm disappointed that this photo is so faded that my dress looks white, but it was actually pink with white lace. It included a parasol and Mom got me a white lace fan with pink roses to match. I don't know where the boy is now. The one I caught for a lifetime is the best one!

I do wish I was an expert at photoshop! Wouldn't that Miami Vice suit look perfect with my pink dress? We went to the same school for three years and never knew each other. Perfect timing, b/c we are such different people now, perfect for each other NOW and the rest of our lives. Aaawwww.......

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Near Columbia

As you know, while Son did his job-shadowing, Daughter and I were left with hours to explore the local towns and attractions. Admittedly, it was just a bit harder to find the treasures in and around Columbia but they were there. It was like a treasure-hunt. The effort to find them was well-worth the rewards.

First day, we stopped at a little collectible/antique store and browsed. Nothing too exciting. I did almost buy a manual lawnmower that was in perfect working condition.

Then we decided to have an early lunch.

This is the hidden treasure of eateries in Columbia. This little cafe right on the main square in downtown Columbia, KY is operated by a homeschooling family. I spoke with the mom for awhile (to clear it was o-kay to post these photos) and what a lovely family! They have encouraged their children to go into business for themselves. Their boys run a local construction company and the girls are running this cafe beautifully.
The inside of the cafe is just the thing for this little college-town. Homemade soup and sandwiches and baked goods. On Tuesdays, they have a larger special. The girls were so nice and I enjoyed speaking with them. You must visit here to eat if you are in the area.

Did I say "college-town?" Lindsey Wilson College is a very small campus. It was even smaller when I went there my freshman year. That's right. I revisited the campus. Sad, I know.

This is the girls' dorm. My room (which I admit I loved) was the top front corner there. It had three windows that actually opened! Imagine that on a big campus.

But there has been some changes. I had mainly come to inspect this new addition:

It is a chapel. The architect was a student of Frank Llyod Wright's. I must say that such an artistic building looked a little out-of-place on this very traditional campus, but I hear that they will soon be expanding further, so who knows what turns this little college may take with such inspiration in it's midst. The front door is immense!

Once inside the front door, you are in a round entry way that includes a table with a 3-ring binder labeled "letters to God." You are invited to leave a letter to God. I flipped through the pages and remember how terrible it felt to be a young woman who had no idea how to handle life and it's changes. It reminded me to say a prayer for the students.These doors opened to the hall which connected to the chapel. Notice the circle theme everywhere.The inside of the chapel.The ceiling of the chapel. You can see the outside arch/dome on the roof. I bet on especially sunny days when the sun is just right that the circle pattern shines all over the room.

We also visited the new cafeteria lobby which has a beautiful seashell display from all over the world.

Day two of Columbia.

We did a little shopping at the normal stores for some things we needed, ate at Sonic, then drove out toward the pottery studio again. We took Jeff's advice and drove out to the Casey House on Hwy 80. Boy, are we glad we did!Now, I'm not all that big of a history buff but this place needs to be shouted out loud!Casey House Antiques is owned and operated by the sweet and very creative Marla Shelley. She suggests that you call before visiting as she is often at auctions. I called the number because I wasn't sure if they were open, but she was so friendly and said, "come on up!"This is the front of the house. (I drove to the back and entered that way but I suspect that this is the actual business entrance.) Mrs. Shelley actually lived here before they built a home next to it and turned this into a shop. She has some great stories to tell about how hot it would be in the summer and the wood stoves going in the winter. The addition on the side is not original but old none-the-less. Would you like to see the inside? The foyer, a place where weddings and funerals took place. Notice how she used old chairs (that were minus their legs) to make shelves on the left! This picture doesn't do it justice. There were old letters and postcards on the shelves to the right.
The room to the left of the foyer was a very large room the whole width of the house with a fireplace in the middle. A ballroom for the day? All the rooms had old rugs on the floors and Casey family photos on the walls. Mrs. Shelley says there isn't a single known photo of Col. William Casey himself. To the right of the foyer is this room, set up as a dining room. A small room sits off of this one, toward the front of the house.

This photo is of the original outer wall of the house, now part of the great kitchen. Look at all the old linens! Each room is decorated with such charm. This room also houses the old toys (some of which I can remember quite well. What does that mean??!)

One terribly interesting thing Mrs. Shelley told me about Col. Wm. Casey was that he built this house during the last year of his life. He had arthritis so badly that he always slept sitting up to make it easier to get up. His last request was to be buried sitting up in his grave!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Job Shadowing part 4

This is the final chapter.

The last two days of Son's job-shadowing brought us to a studio between Columbia and Burkesville, KY. Jeff and Henrietta Scott run Highland Raku Studio and Gallery. Please check out the link to see the pottery and paintings. They are absolutely beautiful. This piece was one of several that were made using real horsehair in the design. Jeff was most generous and helpful, allowing Son to have plenty of wheel time and showing him tricks of the trade.

video

Notice that little look that Son gives me. Doting Mothers are crazy, aren't we?! LOL!

Son spent two days with Jeff who was a most warm and patient mentor. I enjoyed browsing their shop which includes other works from local artisans, and sitting in a rocking chair in front of the studio heater - reading or talking to Jeff about this-n-that.

Can I say that I was glad that the job-shadowing week was over? I was so whooped from doing all that running.

Can I say I was sad that it was over? I meet some very wonderful and creative people and explored lots of places that I would have missed otherwise.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Job Shadowing part 3

I am sorry to tell you that I forgot the camera on our third adventure, but I do have some links and I hope you will check them out!

Son job-shadowed with Sarah Culbreth at Tater Knob Pottery in Berea, KY. I have great photos of them and their studio here.

Daughter and I left them to business and headed out to visit Bill Best at the Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Center. We talked about heirloom tomatoes (as I was looking for a purple variety from Hubby's childhood). What a passion for saving the genetic diversity of tomatoes and beans this man has! Please browse the entire site. Our talk was cut short as he had to help his son convert another of their trucks to run on used vegetable oil.
Then we headed on our way to another grow shop but was disappointed with thier variety.

So, we stopped at Happy Meadows Natural Foods. I bought some dishsoap, a neti pot, and some snacks. We had lots of fun discovering new products.


Next, we headed downtown to a small gallery (Gallery 103) where we met Teresa Cole. We purchased a beautiful bowl for our fruit and a stained glass suncatcher by Diane Gilliam.


Teresa suggested we try Papa Leno's for lunch. We bought sandwiches to go. The atmosphere was great so I hope to go again when we can eat-in!

We headed back to pick-up Son. Daughter and I offered to fold some brochures for them as he was still working on a piece. Sarah offered us some lunch (which we enjoyed then saved our sandwiches for later.)

It was another good day.