Monday, March 22, 2021

Just Another Day On Three Acres


So, we bought a tractor this year.  Not the huge $40,000 kind of tractor, and yet quite a bit larger than our lawn tractor.

We finally had to face up to the fact that we are now older, let's just say around the 70's when it comes to birthdays, and our muscles simply won't cooperate when it comes to arm strength as it has in the past.  The small lawnmower sized tractor works well for small jobs, but if you want to move a large boulder, or a tree stump, it just doesn't cut it.  

We have a snow blower for the lawn tractor and that's great for the upper driveway which is flat, but our back driveway .... it just wouldn't make it up the hill when there was snow coverage, even with weights and chains.  So it was time to break out into something a bit larger.  Not with bells, whistles, a cab, or any other fancy stuff.  Just a Plain Jane tractor that will do the work that we need it to.

My husband is elated since he's the drive of this green machine. 

I wish him years of happiness with his new green mistress.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, my Dear!

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Our Brother's Obituary - John David Poppen


John David Poppen

October 22, 1952 - February 4, 2021

John David Poppen was the second of four children born to Harold W. Poppen and Elaine Ellen Green Poppen.  John was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa on October 22, 1952.  The family lived on a few different farmsteads where John and his siblings played outdoors with family pets and climbed to the top of barns where the hay lofts provided much room for fun swinging from ropes and landing in the bales of hay below.  Sundays were often spent at his grandparents' homes for dinner followed by afternoons of laughter playing with his many cousins.  

In 1959 John's parents purchased a feed store in Whittemore, Iowa, and a home on 7th Street.  An idyllic small town childhood when it came to always having neighborhood friends and classmates to play with.  At the age of 10 John and his siblings lost their oldest brother to Hodgkins Lymphoma, a huge loss to John especially due to sharing a bedroom with his older brother.

John was a good student throughout his grade school years, even taking a few weeks of classes from his hospital bed which had been set up in the family's living room.  He would connect to the classroom over a radio system so that he did not fall behind on his learning during his days at home recovering from rheumatic fever.  John transferred to the Algona School District in 4th grade attending Lucia Wallace and then Algona Jr. High and High School where he graduated in 1971.  John moved to Arizona in the late 1970's and then on to Long Beach, California, where he fell in love with sailing and fishing while working for cabinet companies finishing kitchen cabinets as well as cabinets on boats.  It kept him near the ocean that he loved so dearly.

John never married, but for the past 20 years enjoyed life with his partner, Sharon Brushwiller.  They retired and moved out of the city in 2019, to Cedar Glen, California.  He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2019 cutting the enjoyment of his retirement years short.

John is preceded in death by both his father and his mother and his brother Gary.  He is survived by his two sisters, Diane Cayton-Hakey and brother in law David Hakey of Fincastle, Virginia, and his sister Denise Groom and her partner, Erik Hanson of Templeton, California; niece Kelly Cayton of Garner, Iowa,  and grand nieces and nephew Anthony Hinz, Meredith Hinz and Malia Hinz also of Garner, Iowa; and grand niece Madeline Hinz of Cedar Falls, Iowa.  Also step-mother Janet Schlesselman (Rich) of Casa Grande, Arizona, and step-sisters Carrie (Eric) Oblinger of Texas, and Angela Worthley (Lee) of Orange City, Iowa.  

Our forever-loved brother John's ashes will remain in California with his partner Sharon, and freed at an undisclosed site of her choosing.  Thank you to those who loved our brother as much as we did.  May he rest in peace.

Monday, June 22, 2020

The Heat Of Summer Has Arrived

It's that time of year when sultry skies break into afternoon thunderstorms and my husband can sometimes find it difficult to find just an hour or two of time when the lawn is dry enough for mowing. It's always a mad dash for him to get out there and git-er done before another storm pops up. I appreciate his tenacity.
 This summer seems to be a bit difficult for our dear Rowdy who had his tenth birthday on the tenth of June.  His breathing just seems for labored and I worry about him no only because of his breathing issue, but because he has suffered two seizures this year.  Horribly painful for us to watch, and when the seizure is over he is confused and stumbles around for nearly an hour afterwards.  Please keep him in your thoughts as he ages.  He's such a dear heart.

We put a trail cam on one of our trees in the front yard a few weeks ago and have had some fun visitors.  LOTS of deer, a possum, this raccoon,
and a somewhat young bear.
I look forward to seeing what's on the cam's card every morning.
My husband has placed two bird feeders in the front yard which has drawn numerous species of birds, some of which have become very territorial of this area of the yard.  The house finches.  There are many times 10-20 of them on the feeders not leaving much room for the other songbirds, although they are not shy about eating any seeds that have been tossed to the ground by the finches. The birds are fun to watch and it usually sends me Googling for information on each species.
Recently this red-bellied woodpecker has been paying us a visit and he tosses so many seeds to the ground that we have to shoo him away.  Woodpeckers generally prefer eating suet, but so do bears, so we will not be putting any suet out for him, he'll just have to rely on finding bugs on dead trees in our forest.
The cardinals enjoy the rusty bench beneath our arbor where they wait to snag seeds from the ground now that the woodpecker is hogging their share at the feeders.
 I could only find three African Blue Basil this year.  They are getting harder and harder to come by since they are a 100% propagated basil due to being a non-seeding plant.  Some years the businesses that propagate them either don't do enough for sale or are having a difficult time getting propagation to work well.  We may try to propagate a few ourselves this fall and see if we can do better than the businesses.

 Sunset on the solstice was pretty awesome, and by 9:15pm we were still awaiting the sun to completely disappear. Mother Nature, Science, Astronomy, the Earth, it can all be quite breathtaking.

 The following morning the sunrise was blocked out by fog.  Such a significant change from last night.
 This is the deer that will not and would not go away.  She showed up in the front yard and began nibbling at my wisteria, so I opened the door and she bolted up the berm and into the wood.... but I watched her closely as she snuck around to the other side of the house......
 and she thought I couldn't see her behind this butterfly bush.  BUT, when she realized that I am smarter than the average bear and I raised my arms into the air to make myself appear quite large, she once again disappeared into the woods. 
 So the butterfly bushes are in bloom and with that event comes the appearance of butterflies in the yard.
The heat of summer has truly arrived, and we are spending it for the most part here at home unless groceries or doctor appointments require us to don a mask and head to town.  
Life is simple and sweet for us here in the Virginia countryside.
Thanks for stopping by today.
We wish you well.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Trying To Look Forward

It's been a while, right?  
I mean, since I've posted anything here, right?

But even with all of the madness around us these past few month this year, the world has not stopped spinning.
I shake my head daily.
Try not to look at the gloomy news, but let's be honest, it's too hard not to look when they are all important issues.  It's overwhelming, and that's putting it mildly.
I try to look ahead to a positive future.

A future where my brown skinned grandchildren won't even have to consider the color or their skin when they step out of their door to go play a game of basketball at the local rec. center.  Take a bike ride to play at a friend's house, walk to school(should that ever be allowed again), have a picnic or go bird watching in a park without being harassed.  These simple pleasures are what I wish for them.

And how about a former President who can't even get his portrait hung on a White House wall without it being an issue for the current man who lives there??

Our eldest grandchild can't even experience a normal high school graduation this year or make a memory of her senior prom.  Will she even have a normal university experience?  Will that learning be online as well?

My husband and I are still staying away from other people, due to our age and some health issues, but we will get through all of this madness much better off than many others, but still.... it does not stop us from worrying about others.

To take my mind away from dwelling on all of the negative, my husband helped me hang drop cloth curtains in our screened porch.  He'll tell you that he got 'Huckleberry'd into it'.  AND he's right.  He did.  I am guilty of making him do much of the work, but he is totally enjoying that the porch is a bit cooler temperature-wise this year and sits out there much more than he has in previous years.  If your porch is hot due to late afternoon sun from the west beating in, then I highly recommend doing this to your porch.  Get your husband to help you!  LOL

 We celebrated Memorial Day in a quiet way.  Hung some red, white and blue buntings on the porch and stuck small flags in all of the planters on the porch.  It looked festive, but it was for our eyes only since Covid kept us from inviting friends.  BUT, my husband is a veteran, so it's his day and I make it special for him despite not having any guests. We grilled burgers and hot dogs and I made potato salad, which was plenty of summertime food for the two of us to enjoy.

(Buntings are from Plow and Hearth and they are superb quality)

Our wisteria on the trellis has bloomed, a sight that always takes my breath away, and I am already looking forward to seeing them again next year.
Next year.  Yes, we always have that to look forward to, don't we?

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Don't Forget The Baskets!

Fall decor can look just as lovely in a traditional fashion as a not so traditional look.
 I like to give a little twist to my pumpkins, gourds and mums on the back porch by adding a couple of colorful baskts.
 Baskets from our local veggie market (Ikenberrys) come in enough colors to boggle your mind when it comes to making a choice of just one or two.
 I'd love having half a dozen or so, but the prices of these baskets limited me, only because I didn't want them to cut into my decorating budget too deeply.
 I've already used them for transporting baked goods and a bottle of wine to the neighbors' grilled ham dinner a couple of weeks ago, and we have another dinner to attend next week where these gorgeous creations will see a usefulness once again.
 I love their misshapen look, but here's the thing. if you want that 'perfect look' in a basket, all you have to do is dampen them and bend them to the shape that suits you better.

 Put some pretty fall Indian corn it it!
 Set your bright potted yellow mums in it!
 Baskets ALWAYS have multiple uses, so spend the money and get some super nice ones that will last a long time.

 And if you are wondering where all of my pretty seasonal pillows are that I usually have on the porch, well, it's sort of a damp day, ready to rain any minute, so they are stacked inside the door on the table.  LOL  They will be coming back to their home on the porch as soon as the sun shines.  We eat at the kitchen island, so their temporary place on the table is not an issue.
Happy fall, ya'll.  Now go get creative with your baskets!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

And......Five Months Later.....

 Summertime is beginning to close it's doors and autumn is peeking in the windows.

I can't begin to express how happy this makes me, considering that #1, I don't enjoy heat, humidity, bugs and the sheer discomfort of it all.
Some will beg to differ with me, those who live for summer, but we all have different souls with different loves, and autumn just happens to be MY love.

 Our pups enjoy the lushness of the lawn and rolling down the hill that we refer to as our 'backyard', but after only five minutes of enjoyment they are panting and ready to head back inside.... especially THIS particular summer which has had extreme temperatures for weeks and also months on end. Enough is enough Global Warming!
Mankind, or Manevil rather, has caused much of this and it's an issue that I highly doubt will be solved.  It's just sad.
 As happens every year, August and now the past couple of days in September brings foggy early mornings and spider webs. Makes for some nice camera shots, but OH those spider webs that string from tree to bush, bush to house, and across sidewalks at face height!  LOL  You should see us swat at them as they surprise us walking down our own sidewalk.
 Our garden did a great job of growing tomatoes, bell peppers and jalapenos once the early summer lettuce was done.  One or two years ago we had tomatoes up through Thanksgiving.... the plants that just kept on giving I guess you could say,
but this year that's not happening.... no rain other than just a few sprinkles here and there which is really not enough to sustain the garden, or the lawn for that matter.  We took what we could get because each year is different when you garden.  Ask any gardener and they will agree.

 And so, not enough time was spent on the deck and porch, other than the evening dinner grilling.  Autumn always pushes us to spend more quality time out there, and most days no one needs to twist my arm to get me to have my morning coffee there.

 July saw us with eleven inches of rain!
Less in August, and halfway through September and the lawn is crunchy, brown and dry with only 8 tenths of an inch so far.
These photos of the crepe myrtle were taken in August, and the intense heat for weeks on end caused a not so beautiful bush this year.  It gave it it's best shot, but it certainly was not as pretty as most years.

So, in summary, summer has had us dragging our feets and heads a little bit closer to the ground.  Just ask Izzy and Rowdy!

We had a lot of old and broken items piling up around the place, mostly in the basement, so we rented a large rollaway dumpster and filled it up.  We feel a bit lighter having some of the 'junk' gone.

 Here's the last tomato on the vine which my husband picked yesterday.
Game over, Garden!  See ya next year!!
We always have a lot of wildlife in the yard, but this year there seems to be a lot more deer than in years past.  They poop everywhere and eat everything.... except for the garden which is fenced, and the hosta, which we planted basil around and also used a deer spray, so they left those alone.
 It's not like I can't see you!!!
Stop pretending you are invisible and SHOO!

So, now that temperatures are beginning to drop in the evenings, we have taken back ownership of our screened porch and even taken a few naps as the sun goes down.
I paid a shopping visit to Marshalls, where the pillows and throws as well as other autumn decorations were in abundance.
I had purchased two fall pillows last year and added to my collection.

Ikenberys, about five miles from home, had tables filled with orange pumpkins, of which I need to go back and buy a few for the front porch,
 but for the back porch I chose three heirloom pumpkins, for which they charge you a bazillion dollars as well as an arm and a leg and your first born child.
Are these things that rare that they need to charge the price of gold for them?

I dug Mr. Scarecrow out of the basement closet.
See him?  Just his feet I guess.
Oh, THERE YOU ARE, you silly scarecrow.
I adopted him way back in our years between 2000-2004 when we lived in Maryland.
He's gone everywhere we have moved and is still in great physical condition.
I think I'll keep him around forever.

 Here's a bigger view of the porch.  Lots of black and white gingham and buffalo check happening here this year.  A casual fall look that reflects our lifestyle.
So, a few more days of temperatures in the 80's and summer will be history, as we fall into fall and once again take big breaths of cooler air before the really cold air of winter arrives.
Thanks to any of you who are still here and still read blogs.
I'm on Instagram as well under the name dianehakey.
Stop by and pay me a visit!

Love ya!