Thursday, November 12, 2015

Today, I am giving thanks for our daughters.

I love the days we can spend time together,  whether it's one of them at a time, or both, just chatting and catching up on everything from the trivial to the deeply philosophical.

While we don't always agree, we can respect, and we can find many common interests, one of which is our love of these hills we call home.

I  watch Hannah with Oaklee and I see how she gives and gives of herself while trying to maintain a sense of herself. I know it's hard when your kids are little.

I share a sunset with Chelsea, and we soak up the beauty of it, without the need for many words.

Investing in young lives comes with a reward. I'm amazed at how our girls have "turned out," even as their lives unfold in ways I can't anticipate.

But, I think I can say with assurance, girls, you never stop "turning out."

We will forever be a work in progress, and that's okay.

Life is a journey.

What a blessing to have little girls who become friends along the way.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

“Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world where people so often either ignore or fight each other. It is a sign that we don't need a lot of money to be happy--in fact, the opposite.” 
― Jean Vanier

Estill County really is a good place to live and raise a family.  

And here are a few reasons why.  

This morning, Ravenna city officials and members of the American Legion gathered at the park to honor our veterans.  

I usually go to take pictures at this event.  Sometimes the crowds are sparse, but the faithful carry on, because it's important. 

On my way home, I pitched a few dollars to a roadblock collecting money for the volunteer rescue squad. Our community gives generously to causes such as these over and over.

Later in the day there was a prayer service/memorial for our local police officers and other first responders. The service honored Officer Daniel Ellis who was murdered in Madison County a few days ago as he attempted to investigate an armed robbery.  Some of our local policemen knew Officer Ellis personally.  His death hit too close to home.  

After that service, my hubs and I went to the American Legion for the annual oyster dinner they've been preparing for veterans for several decades. 

With full bellies, we made a final stop at the high school to watch the marching band perform for the last time this year.  

Our high school cheerleaders won at regional competition today too, and will be headed to state soon.    

I say we are fortunate to live in a big-hearted small town where people take care of their own. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Last night I attended a local art show in town where participants displayed their work and talked about it.
The stories behind the art are part of what makes it interesting.
There's such a vulnerability in sharing anything we've created, whether it's visual art, music or writing.
I'm glad the director of the program was warm and encouraging. It would be so easy to stifle the spirit with careless words.
One crafter in attendance spoke of the way the wholesale production of her art zaps her creativity even though it pays the bills.
I can relate. I went to school to earn a degree in creative writing, yet I'm now a reporter, gathering facts, and relaying information.
Constant newspaper deadlines can cause cause my creative well to run dry.   Being with like-minded individuals fans the flames though. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

I am officially old. Boring. Dull. An old fuddy-duddy.

But, this just doesn't sound like country music to me.
Most of it sounds like a racket.
I can hear the echo of my mother's voice when I played the radio louder than she liked, back before the  invention of earbuds.
"Turn that racket down," she'd say.
I thought she was boring, getting old, you know.  But I have become my mother.
Or maybe just old, like Brooks and Dunn.

Who in the world is Chris Stapleton?  Sounds like he's from Barnes Mountain.
I kinda like him.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Monday, November 2, 2015

Lawdy, lawdy, what a day. Just got home from a looooonnng one, and I still didn't get  it all done.

This week the news is full of the best and worst behavior of the people around here.

On a positive note, the marching band won the state championship on Saturday night!

Sounds like the whole county came out to welcome them home.

A meth lab was also discovered this weekend, and several alleged thieves caught up with.

Stupid thieves. Or,  under the influence ones.
How can you steal 60 pairs of Carhartt merchandise and sell them around the area and not expect to get caught?

Do you really think you can hide 40 suboxone strips in your crotch area and not be discovered when you get checked into the  Irvine Hilton?

I think I will go to bed. My brain is tired.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Newly November

"The meaning of life is to give life meaning."

I've been making an effort to think of the beginning of each month as a new start much like I do at the beginning of each New Year.  I like to take a little time to get motivated to be better and accomplish things, as well as to pause and look back.

Maybe I'm a bit weird in that marking time is so important to me.

Essentially, though, that's what I do as a newspaper editor.  I look ahead, plan ahead, and I look back. I also look around.  I observe.  I snap photos.  I take notes.

My whole life revolves around recording things.

So here I go again, only on a more personal note.

These long dark evenings are a good time to think and reflect and plan and dream.

They are a good time to find meaning and create meaning in a world gone drab for a season.

But only for a season, because spring will be here before you know it!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The gathering season...or not?
For the past five years or so, the weather has been a little on the cool side on  family reunion weekend.
A time or two it's been downright cold.
A time or two, we moved it to an indoor location.
But it's just not the same. People like coming to the old  homeplace.
I like having them here. I just don't have room inside to set up all that food and provide a place for everyone to sit.
It's chilly right now, just hours before everyone is to arrive, but all four local weather channels are promising the rain is ending and it will be 70 degrees.
I sure hope they are right.
Because it has been so cool the past few years, the husband and I have been talking  about  changing the date - to mid June.
Is it ever cold in June? It rains sometimes, but it's always warm, isn't it?
June typically isn't very humid either. Everything is green and lush, and the purple martins are nesting...great free entertainment to boot.
But there is something about this, the gathering  season, that feels like the right time of year to have a family  reunion.
We'll be hunkering down for the winter soon.
We'll need warm memories of bright days and old ham to sustain  us, won't  we?
And besides. There's the last of the garden pickins to be gathered and shared with the family.
I prepped a bucket of banana peppers I  picked this morning to fill with cream cheese and wrap in bacon.
I always do that.
Dad picked late green beans and fresh  greens from his garden, and I'm sure  he and Mom have been busy getting those ready.
I dunno if I'm willing to part with the smells and tastes of fall that seem such a natural part of the gathering  season.
Besides, would our reunion be our reunion without bouquets of goldenrod and iron weed on the tables?
Would bouquets of daisies work?
We shall see, I  s'pose.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Old ham, an old tradition

I  don't know where my parents got the recipe for sugar cured country ham, but I remember it, scribbled on a piece of brown paper.

The ingredients are simple: brown sugar, coarse salt, red pepper and back pepper.

I can still smell the pungent peppery-ness of the mixture.

Most mountaineers simply rubbed salt and black pepper into the hams and shoulders they'd carved from hogs they raised themselves.

But our family liked sugar cure. There's not a huge difference in flavor. I think what makes our old ham so good is my mom's cooking method.

She first pressure cooks the ham in a canner, then she finishes it in the oven with a  pineapple juice, mustard and brown sugar glaze. I won't mention the secret ingredient that really jazzes up the sauce. Some things should be left a secret!

Golden rod is so pretty this time of year on the farm.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Reunion=Country Ham

The annual family reunion here at the old homeplace draws nigh.
Not only do folks look forward to visiting, but everyone, I think, looks forward to the country ham that my parents always  prepare.
It's slow food at its best...local pork, rubbed with a salt/sugar seasoning back in the winter, then set aside to absorb the flavors for months, even years.
Mom's special glaze and baked til it's tender.
You can't buy this treat in a restaurant. That's why we look forward to it all year long!

Above, the cows on the farm encourage us to "Eat more pork!"  

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Sweet summer evening

"I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world." George Washington 

It was over too soon.  
A day at home, with nowhere else I had to be. 
I weeded a flower bed, planted flowers, mowed, trimmed, picked vegetables-then prepared them. Lots of good honest work. That's how I relax best.   
I even had time to sit down for an hour or so with a favorite magazine and my journal.  To top it all off, a long walk through the cow pasture where I found views like this.  The photo absolutely doesn't do the actual view justice, of course.  
Not only did my camera not catch the color in the sky, but it cannot capture the smell of summer blooms, the chorus of heat bugs, and the buzz of mosquitoes flying around my ears.  
Ah, the simple pleasures of a sweet summer evening. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Aren't these gorgeous?  After wading through the mud and muck for the past few days, these hot colors do a soul good.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Snow fog?

Note the fog rising from the coves. That's not unusual on a drizzly day, but the fog rising from the snow-covered ground is something I don't remember ever seeing before.