Friday, June 29, 2012

Crooked Creek

One of the strange things about childhood is that we're sure we're going to live forever and ever.

As a child we embrace each day... playing the sun, splashing in the water and making the most of every single day. 

The friends we make can be for a moment, or a lifetime. 

We found out this week that we had lost a childhood friend. Sudden, unexpected, he was there and then he was gone. No one expected this to happen and as I wake each morning, he's my first thought. Even though it's been years since we've seen him, I can hear his voice plainly in my mind. 

The thing about getting older is that we are reminded that life is ticking. Like a big clock our moments here are limited. I can remember quiet moments of my childhood when I would gaze into the distance, thinking thoughts of my future. It's also good to look back along the way and remember those moments of childhood when life was carefree.

As long as I can, I'm going to run down that road with my bestest friends.
James David Hunter July 6, 1950- June 8, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hot and Dry, repeat.


Look familiar? You can blame the hot weather if your tomato plants aren't setting fruit!
It happens every year and gardeners pull their hair out, watering and watering hoping to correct the problem. There's nothing that can be done, Mother Nature will eventually cool off and you'll get tomatoes off those vines... just be patient and keep them watered! There's no reason to watch the weather forecast, it's going to be a long, hot summer no matter where you are this year. Arkansas is already facing drought conditions statewide. As bad as that sounds, it's nothing like drought plagued states face with ongoing dry conditions and no relief in sight. 


Lantana- heat lover and very drought tolerent!
My favorite way to water is hand watering, as I walk around the yard I can see the areas that need it the most and give them a little extra. We had a really dry spot at the top of the yard... I say top because our hillside is almost vertical and we all know that water runs downhill! The grass up there is sparse and in some places it's brown. A closer look after planting some purple coneflowers showed the dirt was hard as a rock, we were missing watering that area completely. A few days of hand watering and the grass looks much better. Keeping the newly planted perennials alive may be a trick in this heat.


Setcreasea or "Purple Heart" great plant for hot and dry conditions. 
How you water can prevent some common garden problems. For instance watering some plants from the top, especially beans and cucumbers can bring on mildew. Try your best to get the water to the underside of the plants and you'll save yourself a lot of headaches. One of the best ways to do that is a low flow watering wand or even better, soaker hoses that water slow and deep. You can go about your other yard work while they do the job!

Portulaca - flowers all summer and will thrive in dry hot spots along drive way or walkway, often reseeds in garden!
This time of year when it gets hot and dry, you may notice water seems to run off the top of your soil instead of soaking in. You may be shocked to see it's not went much more than a quarter or half inch deep. This is because of salts accumulating at the surface. Watering deeply will correct this problem. Set the sprinklers up for 45 minutes to flush the salts away. A little digging after you water will tell you if it's soaked in. Mulching is the answer for many areas that need the extra moisture and watering twice a day when the temps are hovering near 100 will save your plants. Watering in the morning allows the plants to dry off quickly and keeps mildew at bay but it also keeps the slugs and snails away. Newly planted seeds or transplants will need diligent watering to keep them alive. And one more thing, don't forget to WEED, they will rob your garden of moisture! 


via
As hot as it is, it's not too early to start planning for your fall garden. Even if the plants you put in early this spring haven't done so well, the heat won't last forever. If you wait until late summer to plant seeds or transplants, they just might not have enough time before Old Man Winter decides to make his first appearance! 
The first thing you need to know is the average frost date for your area. From that you can determine when to plant your seeds or plants. Start making your list now and buy your seeds. On the back of the package it gives date to maturity... just count back from the date that frost is expected, add an extra week or two if you live in the Ozarks! The only thing you can count on is that you can't count on the weather!


In the kitchen this week.... a couple of great recipes that will keep you cool! Just click on the recipe to print...
red potatoes, scrubbed and halved
1 lb. fresh green beans
large onion, cut into wedges
cups ham chunks
1 -2 can chicken broth
salt and pepper

Add all the ingredients and cook in the crockpot all day on low, 8-10 hours. Serve with fresh sliced tomatoes and cornbread and you have a delicious summer meal!

from Paula Deen's Lady and Son's Cookbook

1 pound cucumbers (about 2 cucumbers), peeled and thinly sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 Vidalia onion, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large serving bowl, toss together the cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, onion, parsley, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper, to taste. Let the salad stand for 10 minutes before serving.




Tuesday, June 26, 2012

On the Road Again...

I'd say we're a pretty close-knit family and vacationing with our kids is one of our favorite things to do. When we visit our youngest daughter and her family in Texas, we like to meet them at a cabin and spend a few days. It's a getaway for them and for us. But travelling in the same car posed some challenges on our recent trip with our oldest daughter and husband. We knew we'd be packed in like sardines since we took the Prius, there wasn't a square inch that didn't have luggage or people! 

Since we're family, we tend to like the same attractions and didn't pass up anything good along the way...

You know me, I had my camera ready for any photo op!

Once we got into Cincinnati navigation got a little tricky. We were confused, Tom Tom was completely lost several times and eventually we relied on the map reading skills of our SON-in-law! He did a great job getting us un-lost. 

The rules are different everywhere you go and we tried our best to stay out of trouble.

Some things were harder than others, we are southerners you know!

It's hard to imagine our kids not being "kids." Well... maybe they still are!


Monday, June 25, 2012

If it's not one thing, it's another....

Oh boy, do you get tired of chasing your tail fixing things? Well, I do. Something is always broke or needs to be fixed and I'm not talking about plumbing or wiring. It's the little everyday things that chip, chip, chip away at my nerves!

Yesterday when my husband logged onto Granny Mountain, Norton/Symantec said my blog/website was fraudulent and blocked it with warnings. You could bypass the message and enter, but at your own risk. That's not good... if you get that message you may just delete me thinking I've gone gangsta or become infected with a case of the crazies, in any case I wanted this fixed! 


I contacted Norton and expect to hear back soon. I have to say we stay virus free with their Internet Security Suite that we keep in place on all our computers. A little Googling and I can see that this is happening to others. Evidently this is a problem with a known issue, a "Mozilla Spike" and not a virus or anything like that. So if you think I've went over the edge just know that I'm still here and I'm still talking about coke and weed, I mean Coke and weeds!

Norton Safe Web Is Claiming That All BlogSpot Blogs Are Fraudulent

We are seeing a steadily increasing flood of reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, from people who use Norton Safe Web, and who are now seeing some distressing advice.
When I try to view any BlogSpot blog, I see
This web page is a known fraudulent web page. It is recommended that you do NOT visit this page.

For your protection, this web page has been blocked. Visit Symantec to learn more about phishing and internet security.
What is Google doing about this false alert?

Since Norton (aka Symantec) is not a part of Google, there is not a lot that Blogger or Google can do about this problem.

You have just 2 choices, with this problem.
  1. Get help from Norton.
  2. Get rid of Norton.
Norton is a third party product. Like all third party products, neither Blogger nor Google supports Norton.

Blogger does not control what accessories you run, on your personal computer. That's your choice - and that's your responsibility, to support.


(Update 20:30 PST): One blog owner claims to have had a Live Chat with an online Symantec representative, with a promising result.
This is an ongoing issue with the Symantec server and we are aware of this issue & working on it to get it fixed. I request to run the Live Update after 24 hours until all the updates are installed and check the status.
And subsequently,
I just ran live update... FOR me the problem is fixed.


Carole M. said...
I did contact Norton and the rep did say it was a known issue "a Mozilla spike" - nothing to do with virus' at all. She ran the updates, re-booted etc., and all is fine again. I've always found Norton tech. very polite and fixed any known issues like this.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Wide Spot in the Road

You just might miss it, there's not too much to see in South Lead Hill, Arkansas.... not to be confused with the larger Lead Hill, Arkansas. Between the two of them, the picturesque countryside is home to less than 300 people. Pretty little white houses dot the hills, contented cows graze in high grass and when you go as far as you can on highway 7 south... it dead ends at Bull Shoals Lake. Mom's farm lays along the road just past the Campbell's farm but before you get to the Raley's place.

I spent a lot of time in this little building as a child. Grandpa and I would go feed the cows and end up at Austin's filling station in South Lead Hill. The whole place was maybe 10'x12' inside, it had an old wooden counter along one wall and on the other side were cans of oil and a stack of tires, that was it. Grandpa would buy me a Coke and a bag of Tom's potato chips and we'd set down in old wooden chairs out front and visit Grandpa's cronies, aka lifelong friends.

I'd listen as they talked about politics and the price of gas, it was 25 cents a gallon : )

Not much has changed in that little town in the last 50 years, except the price of gas of course. The farms are still owned by the same families, just passed down to the next generation. Austin's closed years ago and now there's a bigger Country Mart up the road. You can buy gas and groceries, it even has a little Subway inside to get a sandwich. But it's still the place to see your neighbors when you pop in for milk or bread.  

Too bad I couldn't just open up the Coke box and roll back a few years...


*A special Thank You to my GRANDson who not only makes the long trip to Mom's with me, but mows when he gets there!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Aid and Attendance Pension Update

You may have noticed at the top of my blog that I have "Pass it On!" as one of my stand alone pages. This subject is near and dear to my heart since it affects my father-in-law. When he entered the VA Nursing Home at Fayetteville last year, the benefits counselor told us he was eligible for the Aid and Attendance Pension in addition to his pension he receives for his 20 year service in the Air Force. For those of you that are facing this hurdle with loved ones, this information will be invaluable. With average nursing home costs from $4,000 to $8,000 per month, it depletes a lifetime of savings in no time.


I saw in the paper this week that Congress is now considering a change to the pension. They are thinking of doing away with the clause that allows "no look-back period." They think the program should mirror Medicaid's 5 year look-back on gifting, meaning you must gift your money a full 5 years before you need nursing home care. 


The pension is available to any veteran (and their spouse) who has served at least 90 days during a period of war. The pension provides $1600-$1900 monthly that can be used for home care, assisted living or nursing care. There are guidelines, one being they must have no more than $80,000 in assets, excluding their home and cars.This VA benefit isn't new, but many never know of it's existence. It's actually been an entitlement for 60 years to veterans and their surviving spouses. Please pass this along to anyone you know that's facing these hard times. Read more about the Aid and Attendance Pension. Call or visit your Veterans Aid Benefits office for more information or an appointment.







Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Vacation


Vacations have a way of making you realize that home is the best place to be. It sure was hard saying goodbye to our GRANDson, but hopefully we'll see him later this summer.

We had a great time in Cincinnati, it's a beautiful city and we found nothing but friendly folks everywhere we went. The city is a mix of new and old, they embrace and hold onto their history. The Ohio River is the lifeblood of city, any direction you look you can see Cincinnati's past merging with their future.




The Carew Tower was the perfect place to get some our best shots of the city. The building was built in the 20's, art deco at it's best, forty-eight floors to the top in not one, but TWO ancient elevators. Whirs and clicks, it was too late to change our mind after the doors closed. We had a second chance to take the stairs instead of riding in the telephone booth size second elevator, but I never pass up life's adventures... 
we took the ride to the TOP!




The real reason for our trip was our Grandson Jackson's graduation. All the other attractions along the way paled in comparison to the feelings of pride as he sat below us on that football field. The speeches were inspiring, with praise and congratulations for 160 graduates. I looked across the rows of kids about to embark onto the next stage of their lives. For some of them, it will be staying close to home and for others their first chance to make their own rules. I remember it sounded like fun, at least that first month. Then reality set in, bills arrived in the mail, paydays didn't come often enough and there was no one to do my laundry or my cook meals~
Whatever, at this point it's the journey, not the destination!
 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Necessities of Life



 After 42 years of marriage we've accumulated. Lord help us if we ever have to move because it would kill us. In every room there are "necessities" that just would have to be packed up. Books and pictures and records... even though we don't even have a way to play them. They've made every move with us so far, a total of 19 moves. The Essential List will be different the next time around, only the things of real importance will be going, Things like Duck Tape, Super Glue and Bag Balm. Most everyone will agree with the Duck Tape and Super Glue, but do you know about the wonders of Bag Balm? After you get past the fact that it's made for cow udders and has a medicinal smell, do a little Googling and you'll find a loyal following. Nothing beats it for dry skin, in just a single application you'll realize this is magic stuff! Bikers love it for chaffing, it's a quick fix for diaper rash, dry heels and elbows. If your dog is suffering with hot spots now that summertime is here, it works better than any product that's out there. Just sharing the good stuff!

Friday, June 15, 2012

I want to ride my bicycle...


Every year about this time, I get that feeling. The same one when I was 7 and had summer by the tail with nothing but fun ahead of me! Maybe it's the sun that puts me in this state of mind, but I truly love the summer!   I plan simple meals, my shoes are nothing but flip flops and getting out on the lake is my favorite thing to do. 

I was driving through downtown Rogers yesterday and I saw a little boy and his Dad coming out of the bike shop on Walnut. I've never been in that shop, but in the window are fancy bikes meant for racing or off road. The little boy was pushing a new blue bike out the door with the biggest smile on his face. As I set at the light, I was transported back to my 7th birthday when this new red Schwinn was my present. For most of us, our bike was the first time we had wheels we could call our own. That first taste of independence was delicious, I would ride around the block and it felt like I was going around the world!. When I was older I rode it to school, it set in the bike rack waiting for me. We lived a whole half-block from school, it was no big deal, but it felt over the moon important! 

I think my bike riding days are over, but that doesn't mean I can't window shop.....


Thursday, June 14, 2012

King Corn


We love it fresh, canned or frozen and this time of year we can't get enough of it on the cob. I'm talking about "King" corn, the vegetable that America can't live without. We are corn lovers, but I'd never really thought about HOW much corn is grown until we drove through Illinois, Indiana and Ohio last week. For as far as the eye could see in any direction, there was field after field of corn. Freshly planted just-poking-out of the ground corn, knee-high corn and lots of head-high corn waiting to be picked. Good thing, because we're a nation that runs on corn products. Ethanol use has added a huge demand for farmers and there's hardly a day that families don't have corn in some form on their tables. Sweet corn is big business, in fact it adds up to a whopping $807 million per year industry. The roasting ears that end up beside your steak tonight may have been picked yesterday. Grocery stores do their best to buy local to save on shipping costs, for us it means fresher produce. Fresh corn production peaks in July, it's perishable nature makes it a strictly seasonal vege that we have to wait for and enjoy for a limited time each year. Watch the video and you'll be pretty amazed at the amount of work involved in harvesting the corn. It makes those 33 cent ears of corn a bargain, don't you think?

American farmers simply cannot grow enough to keep up with the world's demands. My husband says the corn used for feed goes through a much longer process with shipping and processing adding to the end cost. Tyson Foods uses 235 million pounds of corn in a week's time to grow out livestock. Corn is a significant factor in the final cost of the meat you choose for tonight's dinner.

Daddy in the "salad garden," 1980

My parents grew three kinds of corn each year, sweet corn, field corn and popcorn. The sweet corn was enjoyed all summer and many ears were put into the freezer for winter meals. The field corn was left to dry in the garden, then shelled and taken up to the mill in Missouri to be ground into cornmeal. Mom stored the cornmeal in the freezer and took out as she needed. The taste was superior and my parents took pride in being able to grow the food they ate. That before organic was a mainstream word! Since we are big popcorn lovers, the job of shelling the ears was shared by the whole family. I'd walk around with sore thumb muscles for weeks!

Mom and Dad's garden-1980

In the Kitchen this week, a couple of favorites...just click on the recipe to print!
3 ears of corn (husk and silk removed)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (or quartered if large)
1 avocado (cut in half, remove pit, peel and dice)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Stand corn cob in a large bowl and with a sharp knife slice off the kernels. Add tomatoes, avocado, green onions, lime juice and oil to bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and toss gently to combine. Delicious with any meal!

4 cups corn kernels (about 5 ears of fresh)
4 large eggs
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 8x8 glass baking dish. Set aside about 1/3 of the corn, then blend the remaining ingredients in a food processor until almost smooth. Stir in reserved corn kernels and pour batter into buttered dish. Bake pudding until brown and the center is set, about 45-55 minutes. Cool and serve. Makes 8 servings, but don't count on it lasting long!
*I just grate my corn off the cob with a stand up box grater and skip separating the kernels and blending in a processor. It's the perfect consistency! Don't let the small amount of flour throw you, that's all it takes to make the pudding set up perfectly.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cincinnati Fun


Well, we're back from our trip to Cincinnati, worn slap dab out! It was a long drive, but we took the whole week to do some sightseeing along the way. You know I'm going to be blabbing about it for awhile, just warning you! I love traveling though, seeing new places and if you keep your eyes open you get some great pictures...


 Three generations spitting in the Ohio River!





 Carew Tower-Downtown Cincinnati, bee was sightseeing too!



 ...and sometimes that shot that you didn't quite get turns out to be a good one- GRANDson Jackson jumping for joy at his graduation!

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