Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Still not standing on the rug... but I may have a toe or two gripping it!

How many times since we moved from our house in Central High, Oklahoma, have we been "fixing to" buy a house? I used to post and revel in each one. Time after time, one thing after another- the rug got pulled from under me. We continued to rent. It has been twelve and a half years since we moved from our home in Central High. It was my very first home to own.
So very much life (and death) has happened. I now have eight and three quarters more grand babies than I had back then. My jobs have come and gone. We (almost?) moved to Ohio. All my kids are out of school (out of homeschool, anyway) if not out of the nest. Tom has retirement thoughts starting to creep into his mind.
The house we rented in the Decatur countryside for more than ten years was sold, and we had to move to a leased house, as we didn't find the *right* place in the allotted time between the Decatur rental selling and our enforced moving date. Tom said we would begin looking seriously for a place to buy, come  August, when we moved to Gravette. True to his word, he started seriously looking.
And we found a place. Beyond what *I* had imagined, property wise. The house is *just* a double wide mobile home, 30 years old. However, it is in immaculate condition. It was "over built", with extra insulation and 2x6 walls. Located on 30 acres, across the state line into Oklahoma. The location has quite a number of advantages. For one thing, the tax rate is about 1/10th what a similar place would be in Benton county, AR. It has a buried storm shelter, poured in place. (As opposed to being a pre-built unit buried in the ground.) The acreage is heavily wooded. Which I could translate to actuality: 29.5 acres of trees that have NEVER been harvested. Oak, hickory, walnut, pecan, and many more.
I still hardly dare to hope we are closing on this deal. Everything is going along PERFECTLY. The place came onto the market as we began looking. The home loan has been approved, the inspection didn't reveal any major flaws. The property has been in the seller's family for generations. I am optimistic about it. The banker said we may be able to close by the first week of October.
 Still, I am not standing on the rug. Not investing my hopes in it just yet.
Keep us in your prayers!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Coping with Life...

Daniel and I had a nice drive to Texas this past weekend. It was a quick trip, down and back, for me. On the way, we stopped by a left a book for Nickole with her Grammy. Grammy Lynn remains in a nursing home in Marlow. I had forgotten to take phone numbers, and wasn't sure Nickole and Glenn would be up- or if they would even be home. It seemed most expedient to drop the book off with Lynn.
Having gotten quite an early start, we arrived in San Angelo in the early afternoon. I was scheduled to fly out on a plane leaving at 5:00 am the next morning. Ben was working until 7:00am, so we went to see Ben at the Fire Station. Becky and kids met us there- it was a first time for her kids to get to see the fire trucks up close! After the Fire Station, we made a quick trip to WalMart, and then just visited with Becky at Ben and Paula's house. Still being summer, it was getting (relatively) late when Becky headed home about dusk. Dan and Paula and I visited briefly, then all headed for bed early. Paula had brewed us an herbal night time tea. It was tasty and did a great job putting Dan and I right to sleep. I asked her for the recipe.
3:00 am arrived all too quickly. Dan and I dressed, and arrived at the San Angelo Airport just before 4:00 am. Dan dropped me off and drove away. I went to the kiosk to check in... and learned the flight had been delayed until 10:00 am. I waited in line a good 10 minutes to ask where a pay phone might be located. Finally, a young man with a cell phone joined the line behind me, and called Dan to come back and get me.
I went back to Ben and Paula's house, and Dan and I went back to sleep. A couple of hours later, Paula entered the bedroom where I was sleeping to turn off the fan. When I sat up, it really startled her! She said "You're still HERE! " As previously suggested by Dan, I asked, "Did we oversleep?" He is out on his couch, cracking up.
Ben arrived home a short while later, and we got to visit again! EVERYONE came along to take me back to the airport. The flight crew that had been missing that morning finally arrived on the first flight IN to San Angelo. (Even flight crews can are subject to cancelled flights!) We were loaded and then delayed a bit as the crew had to do all the routine pre-flight checks. I got to DFW in time to RUN to another terminal (making use of the Sky-Tram as well) and narrowly miss the flight to XNA.
I am convinced the gate personnel are trained to not make eye contact with passengers and to blatantly ignore their presence. I remained pointedly invisible even after the flight departed. Eventually, I walked away and happened on a gate crew person-in-training. She met my gaze and offered to assist me. I was set up for a 2:35 departure back at the other end of the terminal. THAT flight also kept getting pushed later and later. It was about 3:40 when I finally boarded (LAST SEAT!), and almost 4:30 when I arrived at XNA.
Monday was a trial to me. I just have to leave it at that for now.
Before bed, I attempted to make some of the tea for Tom and Sam, that Paula had made for Dan and I. I need to consult Paula again for the proportions- both Tom and Sam gagged, but bravely chugged down the tea. It was nothing at all like hers!

Althea, the cutest baby triceratops ever!


Today I have been full of misery and gripes from yesterday. I walked the dog- and while out saw a good stand of elderberries. After the walk, I put my buckets and scissors in the car, and drove the countryside for almost two hours, foraging for elderberries. Once back at the house, I washed them and removed them from the stems. I put two trays on to dehydrate, and made what I expected to be a small batch of elderberry 'syrup'. I read a number of recipes, and virtually all of the ones using the syrup for flu and respiratory relief used the same ingredients. I had all those ingredients on hand.
I wish you could see the lovely deep color! As I harvested the berries, I noted that I was in ragweed higher than my head. It wasn't yet in full bloom. My brain put these thoughts together... The ragweed and the elderberries are growing side by side. Ragweed causes respiratory distress, elderberry helps. Is elderberry the best relief for ragweed allergies? Is it really so simple that God provides the cure right along side of the problem?
***** A note on my beautiful "elderberry" syrup. After taking it for a week, God put an article in my face that may have saved several lives. The article had a picture of deadly poke berries among other plants to avoid... guess what my syrup was actually made from? Yep. I had cooked up a batch of deadly syrup. If you forage for wild growing foods, please be 100% certain of your harvest. There are images of the poke berry plant mixed in with images of the elderberry plant in the online searches- don't go by searching images alone! *****
*** In doing some research on poke berries, I have found they are used for some medicinal purposes, in VERY diluted amounts for short terms. However, making a concentrated syrup from them is NOT a good thing.***

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Nice weather we're having...

The weather guesser for the primary local station in this area says we won't even hit the 90's in his 'foreseeable future'. While days have been much cooler, we have still turned on the air most nights, as it is a damp, sticky 'cool', which made sleep difficult. It has been quite lovely in the mornings though.
   Sam is back to school this week, his second year as an electrical princess. (Electricians apprentice.) Tommy (Stephen!) also went back to school this week, at Christ For The Nations International. This is his third year, I believe. He worked full time over the summer, plus was involved in six weeks of Children's Camp ministries, (one in Mexico).
Dan is working hard in landscaping, as yet undecided about which path his future will take. He is currently considering being an adventurer as a career. He leaves for his annual Trek to the mountains in New Mexico this weekend, and has the cross country bike ride planned for next summer.
I will probably ride down with him this weekend, to assist in navigation. Fly back Sunday, then fly back down next weekend to assist on the drive home. Not that he couldn't do it on his own, mind you. But it gives me a brief chance to see the other kids,and grandkids, if only for a few hours. Mr C and Samwell can hold down the fort without me for a few days.
The Taylor Family Reunion is right around the corner! End of September, last Saturday of the month. In Broken Bow, as always.
Then a couple of weeks later, The First Ever Coder / Jones Family Vacation is planned. Dan and Sam won't get to come along, nor Tommy. But Becky and Stephen, and Ben and Paula, as well as half a dozen grandkids are headed to Ohio for a week.
It is shaping up to be a very busy October. (There is more going on that I am unable to share at this time.)
So, have a blessed day.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Gusts of Auuuugh!

August continues. It has been a trying month,  a slow month. I keep thinking it is half over, and we aren't yet a third of the way into it.
My mom's cousin Ruth's grand daughter passed away. She wasn't yet 30 years old. I'm not sure how the second/ third cousins and once/ twice / thrice removed actually works out. Amanda was a sweet young woman whose life saw too much personal tragedy. I learned a day or two ago that a long time friend (acquaintance) from when I was growing up, passed away. Renee (Norwood) Stovall was my sister Lalani's best friend all during Jr. high, even after we were moved from Peaster. Renee and I reconnected about four years ago. She died of a brain aneurysm. Now, my friend Cindi is in hospice care. I went to see her today, and will try to be a better friend in her remaining days.
The two houses we went to see from my last blog, have both already sold. Yes, even the one with the unintentional indoor waterfall. Seems we need only go and LOOK at a house with a realtor, in order for it to sell. Tom and I both liked one we looked at yesterday. It is a mobile home, but does have outbuildings and a storm shelter.
The house is back to chaos after our weekend. I haven't cleaned much today, after having driven over to the hospice and gone to the grocery store, and a few other errands. I have 'from scratch' spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove top.Still need to make a salad and such.
I MIGHT ride along to Texas with Daniel, when he travels down for the Jones' / Coder Trek. (The annual  Zesch Trek had to divide into two groups. The second one consists primarily of Coder's and Jones'.) Anyway, Dan needed a navigator. I figured I can ride down with him, and fly back. I can even park at the airport... unless they changed their free parking policy in San Angelo. I can return the following weekend, and ride back with him. :) (Since Dan is my regular go-to person to cover the job when I need off work, I have to come back!)
I will get to see my Mom (I hope) Saturday when I travel to central Arkansas for Amanda's funeral.
The garden is beginning to produce a goodly amount of tomatoes, and quite a few peppers. I MAY even have a couple of bell peppers successfully ripen on the plant! We pretty well have to bring all the tomatoes in as they start to turn, as the bunnies and birds and bugs like them all nice and ripe. My window sill remains full... and I make lots of fresh salsa. This year's pepper crop- plain jalapenos- with no HOT hot peppers to cross pollinate with... are VERY hot. In a gallon sized batch of salsa, two jalapenos is enough. Three is too many. (One is plenty for me!) The guys say these are too hot for poppers. I made some jelly anyway!
Have a blessed evening. I need to go stir my spaghetti sauce.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

August "Two-th"

It is August. It is hot, as one might expect. Nothing to report on house hunting, other than it must really be stressing me out, despite my efforts to remain calm. I say this, because I was awakened from a dream this morning, in which I was trying to find my way home. I knew I no longer lived at 601 Something or another street SW... I couldn't recall the address of where I currently lived, nor the name of the street where I had formerly lived. I wandered about in a strange city, trying various doors, only to find someone living in what I had thought MIGHT be my house. I went into one house, and the residents confronted me. I explained I was looking for MY house, and thanked them for not shooting me. Back out I went into the dark streets, trying to remember which way I had come and where I needed to go. Needless to say, I was glad at being awakened!
I am still ping pong cleaning. I am expecting my Mom and Ralph any day, as one of our family members has passed away. Amanda, my Mom's cousin Ruth's grand daughter, passed away a few days ago.  I don't think Amanda was yet 30. She'd had a difficult life; paralyzed in a drunken driving accident when she was 14. She was sweet and funny, and dearly loved Jesus. Amanda lived most, if not all, of her life here in Arkansas.
I sat down here to type this, multi-tasking as I ate my lunch. A big bite of filling fell out, onto the carpet, where ever vigilant Jaffa was waiting to gobble it down. However, he has an amazingly discriminating tongue. It was egg and black olive, mixed with a very small amount of miracle whip and mustard. Jaffa spit out every tiny speck of black olive.
So far, in my cleaning today, I have the trash taken out. kitchen, front bath, and foyer floors swept and mopped. The dishwasher emptied, and filled with a small load of the morning detritus. I added Jaffa's dishes to the load, as there was room and they needed cleaning.
I glued a chair rung back into place, and emptied the shredder. The course of action was more like this:
I need to get this place cleaned up. What is the best place to start? A load of laundry! That can be washing while I work on other things.  I better get the dish cloth from the kitchen sink, and the towel from the drain board. Oh, look, the sink is full of dishes. At least Tom and the boys put their morning messes away. I better put these into the dishwasher. The dishwasher is full of last night's load of clean dishes. I better empty it out! I started emptying the dishwasher. Oh, here is the pan I cooked my oatmeal in yesterday. I better eat breakfast- have some oatmeal again today to try and get that cholesterol down. I got the oatmeal started. It is boiling on the stove, and I turned to the refrigerator to get out the "swill" Tom uses- a combination of ground seeds and fiber- to add to the oats. I barked my shin on the opened dishwasher. Oh yeah, I was putting up the dishes. I can do that while the oatmeal cooks. The oatmeal began to scorch as I ignored it in favor of emptying the dishwasher. I sat down to eat my oatmeal, here in front of the computer. Oh yeah, I need to write a couple of letters. I can do that while I eat... Would you look at that? There are several empty yogurt containers on the floor under the desk. (Jaffa's retreat with his ice cream and yogurt bits people leave for him.) I fished out the trash, finding several more bits of debris and paperwork that can be tossed. (Am I the only one who picks up trash around here?) (That's an inside joke, Mr C says it ALL the TIME!) I head to the trash can, and realize one of the papers ought to be shredded, not just tossed into the garbage. Over to the shredder... it is too full to run. I empty the shredder into the trash, which fills the can. I take the trash out. Where was I? Oh yeah... I was going to run a load of clothes. Off I go to the bathroom to gather dirty clothes... would you look at these trash cans? They need to be emptied too!
Oh yeah... I need a small grocery bag for the shredder. And the bathroom trash cans. Nope, no used grocery bags, guess they all got tossed this week. Wait, there are a couple in the pantry... with yesterday's non-perishables in them. Put up the non-perishables. Put a bag into the shredder. Shred the paper I picked up off the floor while finishing my oatmeal.  Oh my... the oatmeal seems to be... YIKES- run for the bathroom.  Oh, yeah, I never did pick up the dirty clothes I came back here after.  I carry the clothes out to the laundry room. I am distracted by the still opened, but now empty dishwasher. I load up the dishes from the sink. It isn't full enough to run, so I added the dog's dishes. What a mess the floor is... I better sweep. Oh yeah, put a liner in the trash can. Look, the toaster didn't get put away... PUT THE LINER IN THE CAN! (Okay already, I don't have to yell at me!) Then put up the toaster. Wait, it is filthy and full of crumbs. Spray it out, and set it on the back patio to dry. (Where it was forgotten until after I started typing this). Sweep.. as long as I am sweeping the kitchen, may as well do the foyer and bathroom. Why are the bathroom trashcans set out in the hall? Oh, they need grocery bag liners...  NO! NO! NO! you are SWEEPING! So, I got swept and mopped. The dishwasher going, but still no laundry. Trash cans all emptied... but some still unlined. Lunchtime came, and I had lunch... here at the computer, where I typed this. Now it's high time I finished up some of these tasks. Have a blessed day!