Archive for September, 2010

Jackpot!! The Magic FarmHouse’s Secret Doorway…

Last week I wrote a post involving several subjects.  One of which included the recent demolition of one of the downstairs rooms.  It had previously been used as a storage room & will now serve as Willis & Pickle’s new bedroom.

When I wrote the post we had gutted all of the exterior walls but not the two interior ones.  I had been pretty disappointed because one of my favorite things about opening the walls of the Magic FarmHouse is finding items of interest.  For example, when we gutted the boys’ current room located in the upstairs, we found newspapers from the 1950’s which lined the floor for insulation.  The most remarkable was an article about the first round baler.  At the time, the invention of this new implement was all the rage.  A huge step away from the typical, small family farm.

Another item we found in the wall was a piece of an old plat or description of where the property is located in our county.  Then we also found an original Play-school horse.  My personal favorite are the logs which hold up our kitchen roof, which is what we believe was the original one room cabin.  Someday I plan to do some serious research on ‘This Ol’ Place.”

So after days of disappointment in finding only old gross insulation & open holes from the wall to the outside siding we finally hit the jackpot.  My hubby pulled off the paneling on the main interior wall & there is was…..an old doorway which used to led into our current family room.  It makes me wonder if that room had at one time been a dining room.  There is a dining room on the back half of the house.  However, it’s my understanding that it was  put on as an addition to the rest of the house.

We considered opening it back up and closing the current door but we really don’t have the time for that additional work so it will be again covered up.  Love, love, love the history in this Magic FarmHouse!!!

Advertisements

The Boys of Fall

I LOVE Kenny Chesney’s new song “The Boys of Fall.”  It reminds me of times gone by at high school football games and now Pickle’s first year of JFL.  Football is one of many signatures of fall.  The title of Kenny’s song reminds me of other boys of fall.  Last year, I had a lovely time taking some of my most favorite & special pictures of ‘my boys of fall.’  I’ll include one of each…

Pickle in the leaves...My first boy of fall!

Willis playing in the leaves...My second boy of fall!

Pudder discovering the leaves...My third boy of fall!

And, it doesn’t stop there…Bow Season starts in 5 days & we’ve been watching for some other boys of fall lurking around the Magic FarmHouse.  As luck would have it we’ve been able to spot several of these ‘boys,’ as they chow on our beans & corn.  Which is nice to watch, however, not so good for our feed next year.  Do you know what kind of ‘boys’ I’m talking about yet?  Let’s see…

Another 'boy' of fall...

He’s not my favorite one or the biggest but I’d defenetly settle for him as my first kill.  This year will be my second or third time hunting deer.  Once Willis & Pudder lit up our lives, I decided to stay out of the stand and just be mama in the camper.  This year has been an epiphany for Willis who is suddenly addicted to going hunting and staying in our ‘sky cabin.’  Prior to this year he was too afraid to crawl up the 14 foot ladder – he’s been there once last month and wants to go back just as soon as possible.

And, this will hopefully be Pickle’s first year hunting.  For his birthday & early Christmas present he received his first 20 gauge.  Between my work load and school volunteer responsibilities, football, Cub Scouts, housework, the house renovation and outside work, I’ve had a shortage of time to get both of us enrolled into a hunter safety course.  Ok, simply put, I’ve not stop to take the time.  In my defense it’s been hard to schedule around football practice & games.

***Side note: How do some of these women have time to maintain successful blogs, home school, be business women and mamas all at the same time?***

Anyway, this time I may have blew it & we might not make our hunter safety coursework.  Tomorrow, I hope to know for sure.  Pickle has decided he’ll miss his last game to go through the course this coming Sat.  From what I understand the state doesn’t require the class but it’s always been my rule that the boys complete hunter safety prior to hunting.  And, I’m not budging on the rule.

So there you have it….all of **MY** Boys of Fall!!


A Gone-Fish tournament, an addition with a lesson learned, a blind, demolition and finally, a serial biter…

I normally stick to one topic per post.  Today, I have a few topics to cover.  Feel free to jump in at anytime.  I’m starting to get a complex about my low or even non-existent readership.  :0)  Is anyone out there??

Gone-Fish: Willis & I attended an annual youth fishing tournament on Sat.  Last year he walked away with a trophy for largest fish caught.  He has always been a patient and dedicated fisherboy.  For example, the Sunday before we had Pickle & Willis’ ‘friend’ birthday party at the same pond.  Some of the kids choose to fish.  He was constantly whispering “SHSHSHSH, the fish won’t bite because you are all too loud.”  Not bad for a 4-year-old huh?  They never did catch anything.  My hubby saw this as a precursor for the tournament & decided to stay at home to build a mobile deer blind.  *Stay tuned for an update on the blind.* We probably should have followed his advice because we came home empty-handed as far as fish is concerned.  Our Fire Department sponsors the event and every kids leaves with some type of gift.  Even though there weren’t any fish, it was some good bonding time for myself & Mr. Willis who suffers from a severe case of Middlechild Syndrome.

The tournament took place at the this pond.

An Addition: A week & a half ago we found ourselves unable to keep up with egg demand.  Without a product, you can’t make the sale.  So a decision was made to purchase 5 new chickens which should begin laying in 2-4 wks.  This brought our hen total up to 20…For two days.

One of our New Hampshires...a.k.a. Orington?

A day after the chickens arrived I went down early for evening chores. I wanted to see how everyone was adjusting.  My main concern was how the pecking order was coming along…especially since the chickens arrived de-pecked.  Once I finally opened the door to the ‘coop’ side of the shed I saw one of the New Hampshires (who I’m beginning to think are really Opingtons but that’s another story) hanging upside down from the roost.  With our goal of re-using & becoming innovative with what we already have, we’ve always used a piece of fencing for the roast.  My first thought was that she was dead.  I ran to her rescue to find her leg weaved in between the metal wires.  Once I had her up she wasn’t able to stand.  I took her up to the house & got her some water.  Long story short….I didn’t check her over well enough & overlooked several large scratches around her bottom area.  She stayed in the garage for the night & then I moved her outside.  Eventually she was limping around & looking great.  By the afternoon I noticed the flies & gnats which wouldn’t leave her alone.  That’s when I checked her over completely.  I found maggots in the lesions.  Several times I attempted to clean all of them out, sanitize her & cover her with triple antibiotic.  To no avail, I was unable to save her.  Not having a sick or injured chicken before I did the best I could.  I’ve assisted in a prolapse surgery on a cow before, I’ve castrated piglets…but when it comes to chickens I’m pretty green.  For two days we had 20 chickens and now we are down to 19.  Lesson learned…we are re-building the roost.

The blind: My genius hubby is always thinking & creating.  His newest creative idea is to build a mobile deer blind that can be pulled with the 4 wheeler out to the middle of one of our hunting fields.  I can only post one picture…otherwise I’d have to hunt you down & make sure you don’t try & replicate his TM idea.  Just kidding…maybe.

Invention no. 1,230,890...in progress!

The Demolition: It’s been a while since we made any major changes to the Magic FarmHouse.  That changed yesterday.  One of the best advantages to my hubby’s job is ‘dumpster diving.’  Well, not really.  He works on commercial projects which in my opinion are many times unnecessary renovations – but I’m thankful they are renovating to get him busy working!  Last week the job site where he was working was trashing some perfectly nice cabinets and plywood.  He took all of it before they could hit the dumpster.  The cabinets have been a lifesaver in our new smaller storage room/office.  And, the plywood has allowed us to begin gutting & refinishing our downstairs  bedroom (old storage room/office)…

The beginning of our newest demolition!!

My VERY favorite part about gutting a room is finding the magical treasures.  So far, there’s one wall left and we haven’t found anything!  Bummer!

The Seriel Biter:  Finally, my precious little boy who was calm & who loves to cuddle is missing.  Instead I have a little maniac who’s running around trying to bite everyone!  Where did I go wrong??  He is seriously chasing Willis around the rooms with his mouth open wide trying to bite.  This is the first time we’ve encountered this problem…any suggestions??  Oh, wait, I forgot, no one reads my blog!

‘Til tomorrow!    :o)


Conquering my fear of heights…one bolt at a time.

I spent a good portion of my childhood climbing, sitting, playing & making forts in trees.  My favorite tree, a Red Maple located in the corner of my mom’s yard, has since had its bottom branches trimmed off but there was one branch that doubled as a trapeze bar.  We would hang upside down on it and it was our main access to the top.  As I grew older, I could often be found out in the woods building forts on, under & on top of old fallen trees.

In college I lived with many athletes since my dorm was located just next to all of our sports complexes.   At the beginning of my sophomore year, the day after Labor Day to be exact,  I was ‘recruited’ to try out the university’s circus.  Let me clarify…I wasn’t trying out for it, I was trying it out.  I hung on the trapeze, acted like an acrobat on the mats and then was asked if I’d like to try the high wire.  I was very uneasy about doing it but gave it a try.  The first time I didn’t get very far, got back up & tried it again.  The second time I again fell, the fall was simultaneously followed by cracking and then a trip to the hospital.  I broke my foot in 4 places.

Can you say OUCH!!!

With that said I think I have reason to be scared of heights.  For years I’d have nightmares about it and missed out on a lot of things.  In more recent years I’ve attempted to work towards overcoming my fear.  I’ve successfully sat in my tree stand – granted they lowered it 5 feet for me.  I’ve taken my kids to the ‘big’ slide which is HUGE.  I’ve even gone on the farris wheel, once.

It was during this past Labor Day weekend that I made the most progress yet.  We are beginning to prepare for the winter and added a new shed to our operation to store supplies.  It’s just like our first shed…which is still unpainted.  Getting it built is like similar to a puzzle.  You have to put each piece in just right before you can tighten all of the bolts.  And, it’s a two-man job.  With my hubby’s ‘main man’ – my brother-in-law at home with a newborn, I had to be the wingman.  I wasn’t sure which would be worse.  Being on the top of the roof or standing on top of a ladder, holding the bolts while they are drilled in from the other side.  GULP, I choose the drilling job from the roof.

This is the bolt holding part of the process....

A Look from above….

My Profile...one of many bolts I drilled that day.

I’m proud to say that I completed the job & we now have a completed shed where we have started storing our hay and feed.  And, I did it! Me, Moi! Now we just have to keep one pesky little hen out of it so she stops laying her eggs in there.  Another project for this weekend…installing a new door.

Next up...painting!

Tomorrow Willis & I head to our first Fishing Derby of the year.  Last year he walked away with a trophy for the largest fish caught.  He’s chomping at the bit for a second win.  I’ll keep you updated!


Another Wordless Wednesday…


Have We Forgotten??

Crickets singing slowly outside, mint chocolate chip ice cream melting on my palate, flipping between the Dukes of Hazzard Marathon and A-Team Marathon, three rowdy little boys safe and snug as bugs in their beds, Mt. Washmore sitting on the love seat, waiting to be folding (job security) and sitting next to my hubby on the couch while a cool breeze floats through the winder.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

I just finished reading one of the ‘freshly pressed’ blog posts on WordPress, http://mikelamonica.wordpress.com/2010/09/10/where-we-you-on-911/.  Like many, throughout today, I’ve sat back and reflected on life since Sept. 11th, 2001.   There’s probably not a person who doesn’t remember where there were.  Where was I?  I was driving to work on Emerson St. in the city I worked in about 50 min. from here.   I could even show you the house I was passing at the time things began to unfold.  At first the news was reporting a small plane which had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers.  Once at my desk I turned my radio on for everyone to listen.  By then 10 min. had passed and co-workers were assembling around our cubicle grid.  We were hearing unconfirmed reports of a large passenger plane crashing into the first tower and flames pouring out.

There was one significant moment that I’m reminder of often.  It still angers me to this day.  One of our rather arrogant co-workers walked by and told us to sit down, we were wasting our time.  It it was merely a prop plane.  Who cares?  ‘It doesn’t affect me so I don’t care.’  My blood is boiling just replaying that moment.

Sadly this reaction resonated the attitudes and mind-set of many in our country.  The arrogant, self-absorbed, lavish and untouchable.  Much like we see in our college age generation right now….they can have what they want, when they want and for nothing.  It makes me wonder if there isn’t a connection between today’s attitudes and how they processed the events of 911 when they were in 4th, 5th or 6th grade.

As the day continued we cried when the second tower was hit, speechless and then dumbfounded when the towers tumbled to the ground.  When the Pentagon was hit, it became personal to me.  My mom’s cousin was a general in the Navy and worked in the Pentagon building.  It was a long 24 hours before we received confirmation of her safety.  She had been on the other side of the building.  Then there was a missing plane.  It’s hard to compare all of the events of that day but the loss of that plane and sacrifice each person made is so incredible heartbreaking.

The days following were probably the proudest I’ve ever been as an American.  The city where I worked came together like magnets on a refrigerator.  The Red Cross had set up temporary headquarters in one of larger grocery stores in town.  Radio stations began broadcasting and helping collect money.  Our department sold ribbons for $0.50 and raised lots of money which was given to a large Red Cross dropoff location.  When I took the money I remember vividly the large semi-trailer next to a crane where our flag hung at half mask.  The radio personalities were lined up collecting money from the longest line of cars twisted throughout the parking lot.  People driving along the highway were honking.   The whole scene put tears in my eyes.  As more days followed we watched people come together like never before.  People were strangers were now friends going out of their way to help one another.  If there was anything positive that came from that day it would have been the change in the American attitude.  Road rage became letting the other go before yourself.  The race to be first in line became a race to help the next person become the first in line.

Somewhere along the line we’ve lost that spark and energy.  We all remember the pain, the loss of so many lives, heroes but too many have forgotten that renewed union.  Too many have once again started keeping up with the Jones’ when we should be helping the Jones’.  It’s sad that such a monumental event is what it took to bring our country together.  And, devastating that we HAVE forgotten.

I challenge you and myself to stop worrying about getting to the top, putting yourself first, complaining about working, driving the store as fast as you can – for reasons you can’t remember.  I challenge us all to start taking the time to notice the simple things in life, start waving when you pass an on coming vehicle, smile more AND most importantly, remember the feeling of unity we all had following 9-11-01.

God bless all of the families who lost loved ones that horrible day.  There are all truly heroes!


The Great Grain Truck Incident of 2010

We are on a roll!  Literally!  Harvest is in full swing around Illinois.  Despite a minor break down this evening, my father-in-law anticipates being done with corn tomorrow.  He was one of the first to start in our area.  Since my husband’s uncle retired, Paw-Paw has had an extra hand.  Prior to that my hubby would always drive the combine while Paw-Paw or Granny drove the grain trucks to town.

We’ve also been on a roll when it comes to major incidents.  Two years ago, my hubby’s cousin was driving the combine.  He likes to drive and dump at the same time.  Not my cup of tea, but I’m not in charge.  Well, as he motioned Granny down with her grain truck he stopped and changed his mind…this led to a change in approach…which led to the combine backing up…which led to Granny needing to get out of the way.  The whole concept would have worked dandy.  If only his cousin knew that the grain truck had died and Granny was struggling with getting it re-started.  CRUNCH!!  He ran over the front end of the truck.  Luckily no one was hurt but the grain truck.  That was the Great Grain Truck Incident of 2008.

Then there was last year.  It was a record year.  There were several people in our area who never even harvested until spring.  The rain was awful.  Instead of planting in mid-April, we had a monsoon season which set back planting to the first week of Jun.  Even so, he had fantastic yields!  Except in one of the fields.  My hubby’s uncle was driving the combine and hadn’t noticed the smoke coming from below.  That was the least of his problems.  It was the fire that was dropping from below that had everyone’s attention.  For an entire round he was dropping corn stocks which had caught on fire.  Put two and two together and you have an 80 acre field a blaze.  The fire department was called and they were able to successfully put out the fire in the field and the fire under the combine.  Had there not been so much rain, the damage to the combine would have been much worse.  So there you have the Great Combine Incident of 2009.

It’s a new year, a new decade!  The pressure was on to top 2008 & 2009’s incidents.  I won’t forget the moment I received the text from my brother-n-law.  At first I was confused and couldn’t make sense of what I was seeing.  The scenery looked familiar but I just couldn’t place the location of the picture.  I called him for an explanation.  As my father-n-law approached town he goes down a slight slope which continues ever so gently until you reach the stop sign.  It was at the slope he realized he had a problem.  There were no brakes.  Luckily, the stop sign was a ‘T.’  Unfortunately, there was a house, telephone poles, chain linked fence, phone box, a car and a gravel driveway.  He was able to manuver between the telephone pole and car. 

Just missed the phone box and landed in the gravel and eventually into the chain linked fence.  Did I mention he was fully loaded and on his way to the elevator?  See the corn falling?

He’s thanking his lucky stars for that gravel.  The truck sunk in almost 3 feet.  The semi-tractor tow truck even had difficulty getting it out.  I’m very thankful he wasn’t hurt but even more thankful that one of the kids was riding with him.  Before the elevator closed my brother was able to drive over and fix the brake.  The rest of the load arrived safe & sound at the elevator.  It just needs a new headlight.  And, the homeowners need a new fence.

So, THAT was the Great Grain Truck incident of 2010.  I wonder what will happen next year?  Oh, and by the way, it was the same grain truck which was run over in 2008.  Poor thing, just can’t get a ‘break’!

The end.


11.7

To me, right now, THIS is a fabulous number.  It’s a number I haven’t seen in some time.  It’s a number that means energy, spunk,  motivation and celebration.  It’s such a wonderful number and for now it’s mine.

What in the world am I talking about?  Stick with me, I’ll get there.  In July, I was invited to attend a No-Toxic Zone meeting in a neighboring town.  I live next to a landfill, can’t drink my water due to high arsenic levels and have a child with asthma…it was a no brainer.  I needed to go and see what this was all about.  Although very informative, it was somewhat of a sales pitch for a company called Melaluca.  I was hesitant at first but after listening to some of the chemicals which are in our everyday products they had my attention.  They offered a $1 membership fee (which can be canceled at anytime), so I didn’t have much to lose.  I order 35 pts of products each month (roughly $60-$65 US).

I was pleasantly surprised with the company’s tranquil and easy to navigate website.  They carry a wide array of products from household cleaners to vitamins and minerals.  One of the first items that caught my eye was their Vitality Pack for Women.  They explained how many vitamin supplements are produced with synthetic materials where as these are organically bound increasing your chance for absorption.  A large portion of your inputs (food, water, supplements, etc…) are absorbed through the sigmoid portion of your colon.  Although I’ve had flare-ups and issues in other parts of my colon my disease is primarily located in the sigmoid.  So the organically bound theory, which is backed by published research, grabbed my attention.

Still there?  I’m almost to my point.  Promise.  Since my problem with anemia began I’ve been sent to a specialist who has told me to eat more high iron foods such fortified cereal.  I’ve stuck to strict time frames because iron isn’t effective when taken with calcium.  It gets a little boost when taken with Vit. C.  I’ve tried numerous supplements.  They even

Melaluca's Vitality Pack

prescribed iron infusions.  Of course, I was allergic and went into anaphylactic shock twice…an experience I do not wish to repeat.  I’ve taken iron prescriptions as well as over the counter iron.  This increases my constipation, thus causes bleeding in my diseased areas and makes the anemia worse.  It’s a vicious circle.

Needless to say, I’m very tired of being tired and am willing to try anything.  So after 3 wks. of taking the Vitality Pack (only taking 1/2 of their recommended dose for fear of constipation) I went in for a CBC.  My CBC showed my hemoglobin at 11.7!! Normal is 12 but knowing what I’ve been through my nurse practitioner called me NORMAL.  I can’t remember the last time it’s been that high.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve gotten over 10.  I’m ecstatic and thrilled.  I’m no longer in need of coffee everyday to get myself motivation.  Life is good!

If you are interested in finding out more info on Melaluca their website is simply http://www.Melaluca.com.  I can’t guarantee the same results but I can say I’m glad I gave it a try.

I hope you were able to stay awake through all of that and found the information useful!

Until next time….


Thank you Crayola and Mystery Blog!!

In the beginning of August I entered into a contest for Crayola’s new crayons made with solar power & most importantly their markers made with recycled plastic.  I won!!  Here’s the kicker…The markers and crayons came directly from Crayola so I didn’t receive any additional information as to the blog name and I can’t remember whose blog it was on!  So thank you to whoever sponsored this give-a-away.

I’m impressed with Crayola’s participation in the environmental movement they have coined “Crayola Eco-Evolution (TM).”  I’m very pleased they are using solar power but I’m thrilled that they are using recycled plastic in their markers.  Why?  One of our neighbors (abt. 1/2 mi. away) is a friendly landfill.  I’m sure people think I’m crazy but I try to recycle EVERYTHING!  Of course, I have my days when I need to get the kitchen cleaned in a jiffy and I’m a little lazy.  When you live next to your garbage’s final resting place, your eyes open up a bit about this sort of thing.   I was recently talking to my hubby’s cousin who lives in a suburb of Chicago, IL.  I was pleasantly surprised that they just put all of their recyclable materials into a tub and then the city sorts it and takes it to companies who then melt the materials down and re-use them in new products.  Living in a rural area we aren’t privy to such luxuries.  So here are a couple of ways I ‘keep it clean’ and reduce what I put next door….

  • *Try* to take my reuseable bags when grocery shopping.
  • When I do forget my reuseable bags I gather up my plastic bags & take them to Walmart where they offer a recycling bin.
  • Clean & take the following items to our town’s recycling bin: yogurt cups, grape containers, plastic drink containers, aluminum cans.
  • Clean & place misc. plastic bags from produce, bread, bagels, etc…into my plastic bag collection.
  • Fold all cardboard boxes to be burned or put into compost (always clipping my BoxTops for school)
  • Collect glass & give it to my mom…our town doesn’t offer glass pick-up.  Actually I think the nearest place is at least 15 mi away.
  • Give the kitchen scraps like the yucky grapes, vines, banana peals, cantaloupe and watermelon rinds, strawberry leaves, egg shells, etc…to the chickens to eat…LOVE THEM!

Let me know if you have any other suggestions or ways I can improve upon my Magical Eco Campaign! :0)

Until next time my friends….


Funeral Photography

If anyone has visited recently, you might notice I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks.  Please accept my apologies.  The past three weeks have been rough & although there have been some very positive & happy moments, I’ve been rather down lately.  I want this blog to be a happy place full of positive energy.  At the urging of two dear friends I considered writing the following post.  Then a post from FarmerLady-Adventures in Hinterland, came across my email.  She too has had a challenging few weeks but this statement resonated with me…

“Then I decided that part of the reason I keep this blog is so that Geoff and I can look back on this whole experiment and see how far we have come–so we would have a record of the ups, the downs, and everything in between.” ~FarmerLady

Therefore I’m from here on out giving you my hills and valleys…The beginning of August started as any other August – our county fair and preparation for State Fair.  The following week my sister-in-law’s mom was taken to the ER due to severe pain.  They found she had a tumor on her pancreas.  After two biopsies she’s been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer and has been given 6 months to 2 years to live.  While dealing of this news and attempting to manage the pain, her mom passed away (my sister-in-laws grandma).   The following week they did a procedure on my sister-in-law’s mom which numbed the nerve related to the pancreas.  It helped lower the pain & cut the pain meds in half.  They are attempting to lengthen her life by choosing radiation and chemotherapy.  Both are becoming very difficult for her.  She’s extremely tired.  The nausea due to the chemo is taking it’s toll.  Today, I believe has been worst day yet.  She’s vomited numerous times this morning.  They are trying a fourth anti-nausea med. this afternoon.

The pain my sister-in-law is enduring is testing every ounce of strength she has in her petite body.   I wish I could give her a hug and make all of this go away.   Following my ‘step-dad’s’ fatal accident, so many emotions are back.  I’m so fearful of death right now.  We are young, my sister-in-law isn’t even 30, I’m only 33.  My other sister-in-law lost her mom to breast cancer almost three years ago.  We shouldn’t have to deal with this part of life yet!!

Two years ago on show day at our State Fair, my husband’s grandma passed away (my father-in-laws mom).  I always admired her perkiness and laughter.  When Pickle was a toddler, she would play and play and play with him.  Just as though she was a child.  It was hard to watch someone with such zest for life pass.  Being away at the fair we helped load all of the equipment while my in-laws took the cows home.  We were unable to contribute to the visitation/funeral photos. 😦

Then on Halloween night, as we were driving to my hometown to trick or treat we received a call that his grandpa had passed (my father-in-laws dad).  Three days prior he was riding in the combine helping finish up for the year.  His work here was finished.  Pickle and grandpa had been very close so there were pictures of the two of them mowing or sitting together at the fair.  A couple of Willis but not nearly enough.  This was a week before Pudder was born.

Then May of ’09,  my husband’s other grandpa became very ill.  His prostate cancer had returned for the last time.  I always admired his sense of humor & his silliness which was passed down to my hubby.   Again, we searched for photos.  Fortunately, the task of displaying them was given to his cousins.  We wished there were more pics of grandpa with all three of the boys.  We buried grandpa, a veteran of ww2, just before Memorial Day.

Summer passed, fall flew by and the second Sat. of December we lost a friend in a car accident about a mile 1/2 from our house.  She had hit black ice and went into the oncoming traffic.  She was one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever known.  Her smile would light up a room.  The night before the visitation her sister & friends were going through pictures.  Each looking for a certain photo, one with so & so or one from when she did this or that.  I couldn’t bare to look.  Little did I know.

Then Christmas Day.  A day that will forever be chiseled in my memory & heart.  One moment we were all looking out of the back of my mom’s house at all of the squirrels running around in the woods.  We each ‘jokingly’ picked out which one we were going to shoot & eat.  The next moment the man who was more of a dad to me than my own,  was on the phone being briefed about a wall that was caving in on a building at the university in town.   This gracious and giving man agreed to attend to the dangerous situation, but not until we opened our gifts.  (Two days later I read a similar sentence in the local newspaper.)

The boys were tickled pink, ok, camo, with the new farm set he & mom had given them.  Pudder was given a darling, soft teddy bear that he still sleeps with at night.  Then he acted surprised as he opened mom’s gift.  A new western vest for when they go riding.  (He had tried it on in the store a few nights before)  Time rolled around and he had to leave.  I gave him a huge hug & said our final goodbyes.  In the meantime, it began to snow.  We quickly ate our Christmas brunch, packed up all of our goodies and headed west.

Once we arrived home & unpacked the truck, I laid down for a ‘eye-rest,’ pretending to be Santa can be an exhausting task after all.  Then my phone rang.  My hubby answered and as I listened my heart began to race.  Something bad had happened.  I just knew it.  He hung up from talking to my brother.  My mom’s boyfriend, a man who if they had been married (they were together 12 yrs. and our neighbor for my entire life, had been killed by fallen concrete.  These moments and events still play through my mind at least once a day.   I needed something to do so I could get through the time before the visitation.  So his daughter & I took on the task of sorting pictures.  This was one of the most difficult tasks I’ve ever had to do.  Again, I found myself looking for this one or that one.  What about when he….are there more with him and Willis, or his other grandkids?

This passed Saturday night we celebrated my niece & nephew’s birthday’s (born two days and two years apart).  Her mom helped open presents as she doze in and out of consciousness.  As I have since Christmas, I found myself preparing for a visitation and funeral.  Taking as many happy photos as possible.  I encourage you all to do so as well so that your loved ones are properly honored.

I apologize for the dark & unmagical nature of this post but I needed to get this out so that I can move on in my blogging life.  I want to thank my two dear friends who encouraged me to share this and especially to FarmerLady for inspiring courage within me.

Until next time my neighbors…