Like I Said..

dog-1240645_1280It’s a good thing to keep journals when you’re a teacher. That way, when you finally do go round the bend, the docs can read your journal and say ” Ah yes, this was the exact moment she slipped over the edge.”

 

..just after New Years’ a few years back

We were discussing the concept of space in artwork (the area around, within and between objects) in a 5th grade art class. I’m using food as my example because that always gets their attention. I’m talking with one student who is obviously not getting it.

Me: “Tell me the name of a food that has a hole in it.”

Student: Nothing. Silence. Crickets chirping.

Me: “OK, I’ll give you a hint. You eat it for breakfast and you buy it at Dunkin….”

Student:  “Pancakes? ”

Really. You can’t make this stuff up.

Me: “Class, help him out.”

Class: “Donuts!”

I’m trying to make this student feel better, so I say …

Me: “Let’s switch to another art element, texture. Here’s where you can use texture in your drawing. If you want to draw your pancakes with something sticky running all over them. Great texture. What would that sticky stuff be?”

Student: “Butter?”

Me: “……OK.”

Priceless.

..just before Thanksgiving a few years back

A student in my 6th grade art class tells this story as his “one Good Thing that happened to you this weekend” story. We are talking about Thanksgiving dinner at the time and this young man says, ” My Dad likes turkey but he doesn’t like to shoot them, so he catches them in a bag.” I let that sink in for a minute and then say, “Really?”  ” Yeah,” he says.

“We have some property that’s fenced in with tin and we corner the turkeys. But this one got out and it chased me and pecked me.” Laughter fills the classroom as he is enjoying the telling and I’m thinking, “Probably so.” He goes on.” So we kept that one as a pet.” “Really , the one that pecked you?” I said. “Yep.” he says. ” I named it Speedy.”

Priceless.

 

Photo: CC0 Public Domain, Pixabay

 

Bread and Butter Pickles

With the abundance of rain we had in late May here in Weatherford, Texas, the pickling cucumbers got a little ahead of us. Really, they got huge, it seemed like overnight. My practical husband said he would save the day and whipped up a batch of bread and butter pickles with fresh garden onions.

This time around he did not let the cucumbers sit in salt to drain for an hour. They produced a little more liquid, but did not dilute the pickling broth that we could taste and were just as crunchy.

  • fresh pickling cucumbers
  • 1 sliced white onion


Heat the following items to a boil. Pour over sliced cucumbers and onion. Let cool to room temperature for an hour, then refrigerate. Good to eat in a couple of hours, better if they sit overnight. He’s made these twice now and we can’t get enough of them.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric (we did not have, so left this out)

Recipe courtesy of The Recipe Girl.

 

Signs

The strangest of color signs this morning. Our yellow lilies, which have been a frothy yellow tide this spring, suddenly added a cousin with blood-red hues.

Orange Lily

Then as I was drinking my morning coffee, the neighbor’s peacock made a haughty appearance in the yard, complete with Edward Goreyish unearthly cries. Hmmm… a mystery is afoot.

PC3

PC Beauty

The Deer Garden

potatoes160430_0005We nicknamed this sturdy enclosure the deer garden. At ten by ten wide and six foot tall, our local deer have not yet been willing to jump in to eat our vegetable garden. I love our Texas wildlife on our little farm, but I love having fresh vegetables. The thick gauge wire panels have also discouraged the rabbits, raccoons and armadillos that frequent our back yard.

My husband spent yesterday topping off the garden with sweet-smelling pine shavings to discourage the weeds and when hilled will allow more potatoes to develop. A spring garden is a wonderful thing. I am looking forward to real tomatoes (not those horrid grocery store things), onions, strawberries, cucumbers, four different types of peppers, potatoes and yellow squash.Ar14636489521

Closed Door Deer GardenYou may wonder how we came to have such an ominous looking pen as a garden enclosure. A few years back we adopted a stray dog; a full-blood Bassett Hound that we named Sweet Pea. She wandered down the street with our neighbor, who was looking for her owner. My husband, who was not prone to doing that sort of thing, said ” We can keep her.” She looked sweet. But beneath that sad-sack face lay a wounded psyche. Lord knows what mental scars happened to that dog before she came to us, but we found in a hurry that she hated thunderstorms. We had a great, warm dog house in our large back yard where she stayed during the day with our other dog. But if it thundered once, it was all over. Sweet Pea tore through every chain link fence we ever had. She’d either dig and slither under the fence or grab the thick wire and bend it up with her teeth. She’d make a bee line for our neighbor’s house, go in through their dog door and be in their house playing with their dogs. Our neighbors were very understanding. Have you ever smelled a wet Basset Hound?

So, the deer garden enclosure. Purchased at our local farm supply, they said you could keep a lion secure in this ten by ten foot enclosure. We put Sweet Pea and our Dalmatian Jasmine in the enclosure under a small shelter with their doghouses when it threatened rain. It did work, but it made me sad because she struggled so to get out. Even her strong jaws were defeated. When we finally lost Sweet Pea to old age, we buried her on our property just outside any fence. It seemed fitting. That was always where she wanted to be.

The Melon and Other Disasters

On the Move

We have a disaster happening in our back yard judging by the sounds.  The neighbor’s flock of guinea hens is moving through the tall grass at about nine in the morning while we are having our Saturday morning coffee.  Picture the scene in the first ICE AGE animated movie, where the dodos rush to save their last melon and you’ll get an idea of the scene.

RALPHThe lookout guinea has spotted  some imaginary danger and is screeching at the top of its lungs. People in the Texas countryside prize this noise. No one can sneak up on you with a flock of guineas around. We have no problem with this because each guinea hen eats its weight in voracious grasshoppers and other bugs. They also kill snakes. Come on over my friends.

These birds always seem to be in a state of panic about something. Reminds me of some people I know.

Snow White

My husband and I look at each other each time we see them and simultaneously shout, “The melon, the melon!” and laugh (is this as weird as it sounds?) We love their visits.

Donkeys

 

Poco
Poco
DSC06960
Indy
Holly and Perdita
Holly and Perdita
Pretty Perdita
Pretty Perdita

 Donkeys! (say this like Mike Myers in Shrek please.) Well then, Donkeys. My husband and I own four miniature donkeys, Perdita and Poco (jenny and jack), plus their two offspring Holly and Indy (jenny and jack). A jenny is a female donkey, a jack is a male and who knows where this terminology came from. We acquired the original donkey Poco from our neighbor down the street. Story goes that Poco was a retired actor from “The Promise” a live nativity play in Granbury, Texas. (Poco was forcibly retired because he had the bad manners to keep biting the wise men and anyone else he could reach too. Not good for creating a heavenly atmosphere.) So we fell in love with the little guy when we fed him when the neighbors were away. Bingo, first donkey. For those of you who have never seen a miniature donkey, they are about the size of a Great Dane and are the sweetest animal alive. Gentle, although stubborn, as you may have heard, and will follow you around creating the most horrific volume ever heard in an animal cry, accompanied by loud and melodic farting. Very endearing habit that. You just can’t help but laugh. We had to get a mate for Poco of course and procured Perdita, a truly lovely pinto-colored donkey. Indy and Holly followed. Poco is the traditional gray donkey with the black cross-shaped spine and shoulder stripe that earned them the name “Jerusalem” donkey from the story that they carried Mary into Bethlehem. Poco had the nasty habit of “cribbing”, which is a routine where they go up to the fence, latch onto the wire with their top teeth, open their mouth and inhale air into their tummies with a loud sucking noise. It is evidently a little donkey endorphin buzz to do so. Animals crib just like some folks eat chocolate;they are bored and it makes them feel good. We tried everything to get him to stop. We changed his feed, rubbed the fence wire with hot sauce…..nothing. He was a cribbing addict. This used to drive my husband insane. He was convinced that Poco would break the fence wire, which would have to be replaced. (True) He has mellowed over the years and no longer reacts, but in the early years……. One afternoon I heard our truck coming down the driveway. Stop. The engine roars, wheels squeal and kick up gravel as my husband aims the truck directly at the fence where Poco is merrily sucking the fence (cribbing), making a noise that sounds like someone pulling their Wellingtons out of quicksand. Screech! The truck stops inches from little Poco’s face as my sweet husband leans on the truck horn. No reaction from Poco…absolutely none, nada. I hear more sucking noises. This little vignette was repeated several more times as I watched from the garden room window. Then I slowly backed away and lowered the shade. Some battles just have to be fought alone. “How was your day hon?”, I asked as George entered the house. “Fine.” Poco is still with us, although he now no longer cribs. I think he quit when we quit reacting. Hmmmmm….reminds me of some students I have.