Monday, September 24, 2007

Butterflies are free...

I'm pretty sure its a meadow fritillary...apparently butterflies have a couple broods a year, some nesting until late October!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

My book...

In my family, Christmas is a special time of year. For my extended family I wrote this short story about one of my daughter Jennifer's escapades. The story is now in print! To buy a copy, go here:

Enjoy reading!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Richard and I are still eating dinner at Mom and Pa's because we don't yet have a fully functional kitchen. When we walk down there we usually take the dogs. Echo and Flint hang out in the fenced yard Pa made for them. It surrounds the house and encompasses the underside of the deck. On hot days the dogs hang out under the deck. Otherwise they have free run of the yard.

On nice days we generally eat on the deck. Yesterday was no exception. Any leavings from the meals are tossed over the fence to where the squirrels and raccoons gather in the late evening to feed.

So after dinner Pa tossed the corn cobs over the fence. Only he missed with one.

We were chatting about religion, death, politics and taxes when we heard this crunching noise.

Flint had found a corncob and was busily gnawing the leftover kernels off.

My dog. The nutjob.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Insect life around the homestead...

A stickbug was wandering around on the garage door. This is one of the largest I've ever seen.

The butterflies are still hanging around but the population is decreasing. Richard found this one on the side of the house.

Polygonia interrogationis or The Question Mark butterfly. Apparently on the underside of the hindwing is a small silver question mark, hence the name.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


A lot of people have asked me how I zipped through menopause virtually unscathed by any side effects. Well, about 8 years ago, a doctor told me I was in peri-menopause. I'd heard the horror stories. So I decided that since I was entering that state I'd do it as gracefully as possible. I didn't want the body tenderness, the bloating, the moodswings and the hot flashes. I began experimenting with all the herbal remedies I found from various Internet boards and my own herbal books. I tried Dong Quoi, Vitamin E, various "estro" vitamins, senior citizen vitamins, etc. Some things would get rid of a symptom or two, but none of them got rid of all of them. I kept experimenting for about 2 years before I finally hit on the formula. Every morning, take one each of these vitamins and herbs.

1 "estro" vitamin - Sam's Club sells one, but not all of them carry it. If its not there, get the bottle of senior vitamins - its excellent, too. The price is way less expensive than any drug store. Get the Member's Mark GENERIC. None of the big brand names have all the ingredients needed (unless things have changed).

1 Vitamin E - 1000 mg. Again, Sam's Club sells them pretty cheap.

1 Evening Primrose Oil - 1000mg.

1 Vitamin B-Complex - make sure ALL the B vitamins are present - Sam's Club sells a good one, as does the commissary if you are military.

2 cranberry tablets daily for feminine health

It takes about 3 weeks for ALL the symptoms to disappear. However, I noticed a difference in how I felt by the third day.

You can skip the regimen for up to THREE days but symptoms will return.

DISCLAIMER: Ask your doctor before beginning any vitamin or herbal routine. Check for any drug/herbal interactions at any of various websites and with your pharmacist. Here is a popular website for drug interactions:,4109,,00.html

I am not responsible for any side effects, discomfort or dangers you may encounter by making the decision to follow this regimen without a doctor's and a pharmacisit's recommendation or authorization.

Monday, September 10, 2007


So we took a walk yesterday morning to clean up the rocks in the road. The county grader doesn't do a good job and we needed the exercise anyway. Along the way down Mom spotted a tiny black snake. About 8 inches long and half the width of a pencil. On the way back, we saw another one the same size. This time it was dead, run over by a car.

Richard and I had shopping to do so we went off to do it. Mom asked me to pick up some Murphy's Oil Soap for her. When I came home I walked to her house. When I got to the private road between our properties Echo bounced a deer. I yelled at Echo to stop and she skidded to a halt. I was watching the deer because it had stopped, too. It was staring back to see if we would chase it.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw Echo start to edge around me. She swung in a wide arc and ended up in front and to my left. I snapped my head around to give her The Look (Which usually stops dogs, kids and husbands in their tracks).

Right below my foot as I was stepping forward was ANOTHER snake. Only this wasn't a black snake. This was the size of a pencil, but about 15 inches long...and THIS was a baby copperhead.

I stepped back and watched the snake. Echo stood in front watching me. The deer stood close to the forest watching both of us.

Being a singer has its advantages. I filled my lungs with air, pushed up my diaphragm and let loose with a nice, healthy holler. "DAD!" I screamed. I could hear his music blasting out of the garage and I was afraid he wouldn't hear me. So I screamed again. He yelled back "What?" I hollered back "COPPERHEAD!" There was this long moment of silence. Then, "I'll get a shovel."

He came up to the road and as he planted the shovel, the thing moved TOWARDS him and under his boot! He stepped back, planted the shovel again and the snake coiled and struck the shovel. Typical copperhead behavior - they are aggressive. Pa killed it with the shovel blade.

In the entire time I've lived here a year and half or so...I've seen one snake. IT was a black snake, too. It was standing between Echo's legs about two weeks ago too terrified to move. Echo had no clue it was there.

To see THREE snakes in one day is a little disconcerting. Copperheads normally have 5-10 live young in their second nesting season August to October. I shall be wearing my boots from now on.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Go, Go, Go...

I've been very busy since I got back from Houston.

We've had to hunt all over for bathroom fixtures, get paint and many other small things for the house construction.

Mom and Pa took a break from all the running around and wandered to the bridge one afternoon to check the sights. This skunk was on the side of the road. Notice his nearly white back? His head and feet are black but the rest of his body is white. Mom was able to get some good shots with Pa's new camera. This is the best one.

Saturday, September 01, 2007


The chair, which is faded, worn and torn in places, is about 25 years old. I had decided to get rid of them when Echo claimed one as her own. Flint claimed the other one. Since I didn't want my good furniture in the house until we're further along with building, the chairs were a natural choice to bring in. Echo immediately claimed hers!

Flint likes laying on the floor and staying cool. Notice my refrigerator in the background. We had the electrician run the wire and receptacle so we could plug it in. The very hot summer meant lots of cool drinks and my little camp fridge was getting overworked trying to keep the liquids cool. Hence, the big fridge came into the house. Its great because we can also store food and snacks in it.

In other news:

I zipped down to Houston to help my daughter and her boyfriend move to another apartment. It was pretty tough work, even though she hired movers to take the big stuff! I lost 7 pounds (much needed weight loss!) and toned up pretty nicely. So I am happy.

The apartment they got is much nicer, in a prettier neighborhood and bigger, too! So they are happier, too.

I took several scenic routes to get there - driving through Arkansas on Highway 71 - who KNEW the state was that pretty? I thought it was only known for those family trees that don't branch and the Hill(ary) Bill(y).

I also made note of the signs - I'm a sucker for imaginative advertising.

On a billboard with directions to a quilt shop: "Scream until your husband stops the car!"

On a church sign: "Pastor told me to change the words on the sign. So I did."

On the curving mountain highway: "Road ahead is steep and curvy, drive carefully." - NO KIDDING! The good news is that EACH curve was marked with plenty of yellow signs and the speed limit you should do as you rounded it. And the scenery! That section of the Ozark Mountains is one of the prettiest places I've ever seen!

And lest we forget - The Joy Juice Liquor Store!

There were resorts in the National Forests there. Some cute names on some of them.

Winding Stair Resort
- sounds pretty! This was also the name of a forest there.

The Last Resort - a misnomer. There were at least three other resorts on either side of it!

Bear Woods - Ummm...if there ARE bears in the woods, not sure I want to stay around for them.

Then there were the eating establishments - Arkansas restauranteurs seem enamored of names with the word "hole" in them.

The Catfish Hole Fine Family Dining - I'll take your word for it.

The Crawdad Hole - No thanks!

On the return trip I came through Oklahoma right up the state line on Highway 259. Very pretty through the Piney Woods of Texas and lower OK. I enjoyed both drives. Not a lot of traffic and some seriously beautiful scenery.

And I didn't take a single picture! I was so busy at the apartment and then wanting to get home, I just forgot!

Along about the time I crossed the state line it was getting dark and I wanted to be home. I dropped the hammer and cruised at 85 mph for a bit, then called husband to tell him I was in the state. He advised slowing down because of the deer-in-the-headlights issue. Sigh. I slowed down. I rolled in at home around 10:30 pm. 15 1/2 hours to return. It only took me 13 1/2 hours to get there! Despite the winding switchback Highway 71, its a shorter route.