A Surprise from My Yard

As I walked to my flower bed that sets down by the road, I saw the cutest little four petal flowers covering a large portion of my yard. I don’t remember these being here in the past. I don’t remember seeing this small flower before, which is strange because I know many cool season flowers/weeds, but do not recall this one.

No matter their name, these friendly little flowers made my day and so I thought I would share them with you, too!

This coffee cup always reminds me

On Saturdays, I often use this green coffee cup that was my Grandpa George’s. My mom made it for him and when he passed, I somehow got it. It is not very pretty, but it is one of my treasures.

I would love to have a cup of coffee with my grandpa. I was just in middle school when he passed away. He was a business owner and worked with so many farmers in our community. He raised 10 kids and was a leader in our town. He was a man’s man who loved to fish and hunt and had a great deep laugh.

This coffee cup always reminds me of my grandpa.

The Magic of an Ordinary Afternoon

Today felt more normal than the past couple of weeks. I have been so crazy trying to tie up loose ends as school closed this past week, and at the same time, I was the main organizer of the meal delivery list for our kiddos that started this week. And in the meantime, I was striving/struggling to respond to/reassure my staff. And felt guilty with my own boys getting behind in their lessons here at home. It has been a busy 8 days!

It is days like today when I am so grateful to live where I do and how we do.

I came home to a couple of very excited boys who could not wait to tell me all about Brownie, our new bottle calf. Brownie will be Judd’s 4-H bottle calf to be shown at the fair in July. He was purchased today at the cattle auction.

Judd did a great job with Brownie’s first feeding. It helps that the calf was already bottle trained, but it was still new for Judd.

After the calf got settled in the trailer, (it stays separated for a few days in quarantine as well) we went to check the cows to see if we have any new babies. We seem stuck at 5 spring calves, but the others should calve any day now. We check on a couple of our young mothers – one that did not make much milk and we had to bottle feed her calf last year, and the other that is still just a bit spooky and unpredictable. Both of those mommas and babies look good. With the sunshine today, the grass looks greener and growing – great news for cattle ranchers. Good grass makes healthy calves.

For the entire afternoon, I wasn’t worried about the distance I was from someone or about wearing rubber gloves. I was thinking about toilet paper or milk or egg shortages.

This afternoon, it was just my family, here on our farm, and everything was right with the world again, or at least right in our small world for this moment.

I hope you can get just a few moments of distraction this weekend to just feel right again.

All dressed up with no where to go . . .

When I arrived home this afternoon, I was greeted by my youngest, with a big hug, which I relish as hugs are getting rarer with each passing year.

I asked him what he was doing in his good shirt and jeans.

He said he just missed school and wanted to dress like he would if he was going to school. My little first grader takes his fashion cues and much of life’s instructions from John Wayne. Not only was he in his pearl snap shirt and cowboy boots, he had his belt, with the big buckle, on and had combed his hair, even using mousse.

‘Mom, will we get to go to school next week?’ he questions me.

‘No, Buddy. We are out until at least April 6.’ I don’t have the heart to break it to my boys that we are likely not going back this school year. Better to hold onto the hope.

‘Well, at least I can dress like I am going to school.’

‘You sure can, and your hair looks really nice. I bet Mrs. Robinett could use a smile today. Let’s send her a picture.’

We have to focus on the sunshine each day! In case you are running low, I will share mine with you. I hope his little grin brings a smile to you as well.

My Obsession with Hot Beverages

Thanks to Watching My Garden Grow for the inspiration for this slice. Day 25 of the SOL20.

Coffee or Tea?

That should be a simple answer, but instead this leads me to many stories.

First, it was tea. Living with my Gram in high school, I learned that comfort can come in a cup. Gram drinks all kinds of tea, all day long, and for all sorts of reasons or for no reason at all. Our favorites to share are Lemon Lift and Earl Grey.

I still love those old favorites, but my favorite for many years has been jasmine green tea. I first had this tea as a gift from a student during a short trip teaching English in Fuqing, China. The tea is native to this part of China. It continues to be a gift.

I also love the sleepy time or dream easy tea. It is so helpful on nights I just can’t shut my brain off.

So I was firmly a tea drinker. ‘Have electric kettle, will travel’ could be my bumper sticker.

And then I studied in Costa Rica for a semester. You just cannot turn down some of the best coffee in the world, especially when it is served at a roadside cafe from what looks like a dirty sock connected to a wire hanger bent into a holder. This original ‘pour-over’ is how each cup is made. I had to put about a third of a cup of sugar in it to drink it. But it was delicious!

When I returned to the states, that is how I would continue to drink it-very strong and very sweet. It was not until we lived in my in-laws basement for a spell that I became a regular coffee drinker. I don’t really know why, but I did.

Today, I drink my coffee black. I like to have a cup on the way to school and then the rest of the pot goes in my thermos to drink before ten. I want a real mug and have a few favorites at both home and work, but that is for another slice.

My favorite way to drinks coffee or sometimes hot chocolate is with my youngest on our front porch. He is very serious when we start our weekend on the porch watching and listening for birds and sipping our special drinks. Things I love all together, a warm drink in my hand, my sweet boys, and the view from my front porch. (The photo on my blog page is of m coffee cup on my front porch)

A difficult truth: When school is out, the hotline goes silent . . .

People questioned why we stayed in school so long with a lot of hate on social media aimed at our leaders.

If they knew you and your story, they would have begged we stay open no matter what.

When I saw you today, it was just by mistake. You are not at the address I had for you from just a few days ago.

I don’t know what you were doing. Were you taking your dog out or were your parents just getting some air? Or was it fate helping me to see you and to feed you at least for today?

I gave you and your siblings your lunches and said I would see you tomorrow. I don’t know if it was just the strawberry milk or seeing me or a little of both, but I got to see your smile.

I didn’t know what was wrong with your mom. Did something happen to her since the last time I saw her? It wasn’t until later that I understood it was the drugs.

It didn’t matter that a call went out and even that an officer came to your door, you are going to be out of sight, likely for awhile, but never, never out of my mind.

This is just one of the encounters I have had in the last couple of days delivering meals to some of our students. Our state rep once said that when school is out, the (child abuse) hotline goes silent. My greatest fear in this entire pandemic is for so many children, who may not be seen by a safe adult for many months to come, than anything to do with the virus.

An Overflowing Cart that has nothing to do with panicked shopping

As a part of my various positions, I often find myself behind an overflowing cart.

As a mom with three growing boys, I am always looking for a deal and often buy in the off-season for clothes and such. If it doesn’t fit one of my boys, I can always donate it to our closet at school.

At the grocery store, four gallons of milk makes it easy to soon have an overly full cart.

For various workshops or supplies for my agriculture teachers, I am usually buying 25-50 or more at one time. The best for this kind of shopping was at Hobby Lobby trying to get 45 of 25 different flowers. People there wanted to know what I was doing with three full carts of flowers that shared no common theme. They were likely thinking, ‘That is going to be one ugly wedding!’

And then there is shopping for our afterschool program. I am used to people giving some sideway glances when I am purchasing school supplies. When they are really huffy and impatient, I like to make comments about my slight obsession with school supplies.

On Saturday, amid the continual lack of most groceries and all toilet paper in our state, I found fleece blankets for half price that we need for summer enrichment. This deal will make the pillows just over $1 each! That is what I call a score!

As I head to the checkout, I can tell people are really wondering what I am doing with this cart full of blankets. If I was in our hometown store, they know me well enough to just ask what project I have going. I guess this poor checker has seen it all in the past few weeks. He just asks how many I have and starts ringing them up. The people behind are just too curious and have to know what I am doing, likely worried there is some other shortage they are unaware of. I told them I was just trying to get ahead for our hopefully larger summer school.

As we leave the store, my son asks, ‘Mom, why do people always ask you what you are doing with whatever is in the cart?’

‘I don’t know. I am just doing a little shopping . . .’

Mommy, I’m seven!!

‘Mommy, I’m seven! It’s my birthday!’ This was the morning greeting from my youngest son as he tried his best to whisper, when he really wanted to yell.

He decided last night that he would spend his final night, as a six-year old, sleeping with Mom and Dad.

I wish I would have woken up just a bit before him so I could watch him sleep. Seven! How can my baby be seven?

And now, he informs me, seven is definitely a big boy. Unfortunately, I think he is right!

But judging by his smile, we still have some fun, mischievous days ahead of us this year!

Daffodils and sunshine

Today was a beautiful day. It was a cool start this morning, but the sun was shining and my spirit has risen.

I was reminded yesterday, by some fellow SOLers, to renew my attitude of gratitude, and that is what I focused on today.

Grateful for my husband and my boys. Thankful for the gentle spirit of my middle son and the time we spent together today.

Thankful for meaningful work.

Thankful for spring flowers and the promise of the return of life that spring brings.

Thankful for the greening grass and the blooming trees. Thankful for the land I get to enjoy each day and the adventures that are always awaiting.

And so thankful for my many countless blessings.