Monday, December 11, 2017

Bare Trees and Squirrels' Nests

There are so many gorgeous Autumn and Winter sunsets. The dark silhouettes of the naked trees make a dramatic statement. I'm especially fond of that one, perfectly shaped, tree up on the ridge above the pond.

I went out yesterday morning for pictures of the pink clouds and started noticing how many squirrels nests there are around us.

What is that old saying? "If the squirrels build their nests high in the tree, the winter will be cold."

Uh, oh; couldn't get much higher than this one.

Or this one.

All around us; high in the tree tops.

I wish at least one of these nests had some black squirrels like we had on the farm.

If that old saying is true and we have a cold winter, our Arizona family and friends just might see us in January or February. 🙂

I haven't put the feeders out yet this year, but, I'm sure, as soon as I do, I'll be seeing a lot of squirrels right outside my window - just like last year.

"That tree" in last night's purpling shadows.

"Bare tree and pink sky writing."

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Another Blogspot Photo Request

Remember almost two years ago when I had a request from the American Cleaning Institute to use this photo they found on my blog in one of their newsletters? Well, it's happened again.

About six weeks ago, I received an e-mail from a Historian at History Associates Inc., asking for permission to use this 1940 photo of Grandma Bessie holding Ronald on the front porch of Mom & Dad's house.
Someone from the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience had found the photo on my blog. According to the Historian who is working with The MAX, "They really like the picture."

I don't know how this photo will figure into the story of Mississippi's entertainment legends, but the person requesting it said they are trying to create a sense of home by using atmospheric and historic images as full sized murals. Grandma and Ron as a full sized mural? I'd like to see that.

The museum is still under construction in downtown Meridian, MS. It is scheduled to open April 28, 2018.
I've asked the Historian who contacted me to let me know if/when/how the photo is used. I've also signed up for the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience's newsletter so I'll have updates about the Museum that way.

If interested about their project, you can go here:

Saturday, December 9, 2017

An Expression Of Admiration

When I first met my future daughter-in-law twenty-six years ago, she was already volunteering as an EMT with plans to become a nurse. But when they started a family soon after marrying, I was afraid Shalea might never realize her dream.

Especially when one turned into two, three, four, five! (I don't remember if I ever read any of 'The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew' books, but I often thought about the Peppers in relation to these five.)

Often working nights and weekends as a CNA, she stayed in the health field, constantly learning by doing.

Once the children were old enough, she started taking classes at Mercy College of Health Sciences. Two years ago she graduated as an RN. Here being pinned by her husband, Preston. Right away, she made plans to go for her BSN.

She finished her course work last month and this week, she received her degree. I am in awe of her dedication, hard work and perseverance. I'm also very, very happy for her.
Along the way, she not only achieved her goals, she has been a super role model for her children. All three daughters and one son are pursuing careers in the health field. (Eldest daughter has already completed her degree and works in Cedar Rapids. Earlier this year she was nominated for, and received The Daisy Award.) (Eldest son works in law enforcement. Youngest son is an army medic.)

Shalea, RN, BSN, has another title, too; Grandma to these sweet boys. Lucky they are to have her for a Grandma, just as lucky as all the patients who have and will have Shalea as their nurse.
With love and admiration, dear. Mom R

Friday, December 8, 2017

About That 'Final Resting Place'

As you can tell from the flag, Tuesday was a very windy day. Lots of memories come to mind when I visit this cemetery, like how many years I have been decorating graves here. My first thought was, "ever since I was a child", but then I stopped to really think. If that is true, whose grave was I visiting?

Even though we had friends and neighbors interred there, we didn't have any close family members buried there when I was a child. It wasn't until Dad became ill in the early 60's that he bought a lot and picked out a stone. I remember he wanted a flat one so it couldn't or wouldn't be tipped over.
Until then, I had always assumed Dad would want to buried where his parents, grandparents and little sister were - at Oakland (Quincy). But he chose the cemetery two miles from where he and Mom had lived and farmed their entire married lives. And he wanted space next to them, just in case, because my younger brother was still at home.

It wasn't Dad but my younger sister who was the first of our family buried here. Even though Dad had bought a full lot (four places), my little brother was still single when she died, so Betty's husband and I bought a lot as close to Dad & Mom's as we could; each of us owning two plots. When Betty's son died, his cremains were placed in the same plot with his Mom, so the plot to the right is still empty and owned by her husband.
The two plots to the left are mine. As my husband and I plan to be cremated with the ashes scattered, my kids can use or sell these two plots. I suppose my brothers and I should discuss what to do with the two plots to the left of Mom.
So take note, Doug, Kari and Preston. Unlike my parents, I don't have a deed for my plots in our safe. (I also don't know where Mom's and Dad's deed is, maybe with Ron, as he kept their safe.)

I couldn't help but notice all the corn shucks that had been blown into the fence. As hard as it was blowing, those fake poinsettias probably blew away before I got home.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Two Surprise Visits

We don't have a lot of company, so having two granddaughters surprise us in less than twenty four hours was very unusual.

Tuesday evening I heard a vehicle and then saw car lights out front. My first thought was it was UPS because they often come late this time of year. I knew all the stuff I'd ordered had arrived, but Bud has some things on order. But it wasn't UPS.

It was Deise and her boyfriend, Trevor. From this picture she posted, they'd been out shooting and then decided to come visit us. Nice surprise.

Then late yesterday morning there was a knock on the door. I was back here, in the 'office' but I could hear Bud talking to a woman. Again, I assumed it was a neighbor or someone canvassing.

I was really taken aback to see Katrina and Brynley. They drove down from the Big City to see us.

The little ones grow and change so fast. I loved Brynley's tights. It looks like she has red ballerina shoes on, but they are the feet of her tights. So cute.

Katrina and Brynley had lunch with us before they had to head home. It was an hour or more after they left that I realized this:

Our first snow of the season! I hope they got home before it started. Even though it didn't last long, visibility wasn't good.
The holiday season is the time of giving and the gift of time with grandchildren is the best gift of all!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Sense of Place

A 'sense of place' - an internal compass - a map made of memory - a feeling of home.

I was meeting a friend for lunch yesterday in my old home town. I decided to take some seasonal decorations to the cemetery while I was down there.

I looked around the lunch time crowd in the cafe and saw hardly anyone I recognized. Then a former neighbor came in. I spoke to her by name and she responded. But a few minutes later she came over and said she hadn't recognized me at first.

As I turned off the highway and headed toward the cemetery, a very strong sense of place came over me. It wasn't just the familiarity of the countryside, it was the knowledge of all the people who once lived in our neighborhood. People, and places, long gone, but whose names, faces and homes I could easily recall.

When I thought about it, I realized that my feelings went back to the beginnings of my awareness - that the sense of place went back to the first neighbors who lived around me - not later ones who may actually have lived there longer.
They were the ones who became part of my internal compass; my map made of memories.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Before The Weather Changed

There were two new record highs for December this past week, both in the upper 60's, and we've had no snow yet.
Sunday Bud asked how my knee was. I thought he was just being nice, but when I said it was feeling pretty good, he suggested we drive out to Green Valley State Park and walk part of the path out there.

It was such a nice day. There were a number of small birds and these two robins, all flitting around. A couple fishermen had a boat on the lake. There were other walkers and bicyclists using the paths.

As we meandered along I noticed muddy footprints here and there, then the above; a very obvious path made by some critter(s) going back and forth from the woods to the lakeside.

Bud started off with a walking stick.

While I went looking for one about half way through our walk. Found a stick and a bunch of beggar's lice.

There is so much good habitat around the lake. We guessed about what all might be living in the area.

I can't identify this pretty weed, but I like its colors.

When we got back to the parking lot, we left our walking sticks for the next amblers.

And when we got home, Bud put the heart shaped rock I found with our collection - a memento of the nice afternoon - before the weather changed!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Under the Cover of Clouds

I knew the forecast for Sunday night was overcast clouds which is why, as I took sunset pictures Saturday, I was waiting for moonrise - a super moon rise.

Maybe a night too soon, but pretty awesome, never-the-less.

My best moon shots are early morning before it sets.

One name for December's full moon is Cold Moon. 

Wolf Moon is another name it is given.

As this full moon is the last before the Winter Solstice, it is also, my favorite, the Mourning Moon.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Into The Wild Blue Yonder

"Off we go into the wild blue yonder, climbing high into the sun..."

"Off we go into the wild blue yonder...."

"Souls of men dreaming of skies to conquer..."

"Into the wild blue yonder....."