Thursday, May 29, 2014

Magic

 Do you ever just accidentally do something, but for the life of you not have a clue how you did it? Technologically challenged, it doesn't prevent me from buying Smartphones and iPads to improve my life. Somewhere along the way I do learn a new trick or two, repeating it may be the problem! 

 The photos that popped on my iPad were these 3 gifs, is that what they're called? Well, I don't know how it made existing still shots move magically but I had to share! It's been a stressful 3 weeks, Mother's Day was the start of our run of bad luck when a limb fell from outer space and pierced our roof. 

It went all the way through the roof into the attic space above the garage. We're still waiting on the roofers and it's rained every. single. day. since this happened. Murphy's Law I guess.

Then Tuesday we were headed to Walmart when my car made a funny noise, kind of "chug ker-plunk." A quick call to the dealer and they sent a wrecker to come get it. One car down, but we had another in the wings to make the trip. If we'd just known a Dodge truck was going to back into us, well... we'd have stayed home.

Some days are just like that, not much you can do but smile and go on. A little lipstick on that smile doesn't hurt either!



Saturday, May 24, 2014

Confederate Cemetery Fayetteville, Arkansas



One of the few posts my husband ever wrote on the blog, definitely one of my favorites! Memorial Day weekend is time off for most of us, we gather as families and many of us visit the cemeteries of our loved ones to decorate the graves. This cemetery is located just blocks from the historic Fayetteville downtown square and the day we visited we were the only ones there. It contains the remains of men who died in the service of the Confederacy in North Arkansas. Some of the soldiers buried here died from illness in disease ridden camps or from battle in one of the most violent and desperately contested fronts of the Civil War. Their graves once dotted the hills of Northwest Arkansas until 1878 when the Southern Memorial Association of Washington County established the beautiful cemetery. The bodies of fallen soldiers were exhumed and brought here for final burial.



These pictures and the poignant words of my husband tell why we can never forget these old cemeteries...


The trees seem to watch over these soldiers,  almost as if they stand at attention to salute those who rest beneath.  These ancient trees speak to me, I wonder if they speak to each other?



Do they encourage each other to be strong?  In the face of decades of tornadoes, ice storms, wind storms, droughts, floods, and everything else that nature has offered them, they don't give up.  I saw a very large depression in the ground with the remnants of a rotten stump.  Do the trees whisper to each other that one of them has fallen?  Does this increase their resolve to remain strong until the younger trees can grow to a size to shade the soldiers?



They remind me of a photo I saw of a 92 year old World War II veteran who had the opportunity to visit the new WWII memorial in Washington, DC.  He flew out on a Honor Flight from our airport wearing his old uniform.  My company helps sponsor these flights so that the few surviving WWII vets who are able to travel have the opportunity to see it.  In the picture he made a valiant effort to stand straight and salute.

The trees here are very much like this gentleman, proud to salute those resting there but too old to stand straight anymore.
  
I wonder if they will still be there next Memorial Day?  Will any finally fall when the next storm comes or will they make it another year, just waiting for the small ones to relieve them of guard duty?

The graves in the old Confederate Cemetery honor someone's father, husband, friend. Somewhere there are family members who've never seen this cemetery. They can't imagine the beauty and the peace that surrounds their loved one. I just wish they knew that he is honored by all who call themselves Americans.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Homemade Hummingbird Nectar and Cherry-O Cheesecake


I see the Bluebirds are back and busy making their nests in all the birdhouses around the yard. My father-in-law made all of our's and they are beginning to show their age. Birds aren't too picky about the condition of the house, but it needs to be free of last years' nest and have a good roof that will keep the eggs and mama dry while she's setting. Think about location when you place a birdhouse, a secluded area at the edge of your yard is perfect. Depending on where you live, consider the sun and whether it will warm the birdhouse on chilly mornings or be too hot for the new family growing inside. We keep our feeders up year round, it's fun to watch the many beautiful birds throughout the year.

It's time to put the hummingbird feeders out again. I love watching the little hummers each morning as they crowd the feeder that hangs just outside our kitchen window! They arrive in the South as early as March. You can see where they are right now by looking at the map here.

Hummingbird Nectar:
1 part white cane sugar
4 parts water
Store unused syrup in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. This is the best recipe since it closely resembles the nectar of many wildflowers. Don't try to use honey or brown sugar and it's not necessary to use red food coloring to attact the birds. Keep the feeder clean, wash out with hot water- no soap- each time you refill.

                       In the kitchen this week, Grandson Gavin's favorite...

Cherry-O Cheesecake
from EagleBrand.com
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (8 or 9-inch) prepared graham cracker or baked pie crust
1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling, chilled
BEAT cream cheese until fluffy in large bowl. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla.
POUR into crust; chill 4 hours or until set. Top with desired amount of cherry pie filling before serving.

TOPPING VARIATIONS
BLUEBERRY: Omit cherry pie filling. Combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cornstarch in medium bowl; mix well. Add 1/2 cup water, 2 tablespoons lemon juice then 2 cup fresh or dry-pack frozen blueberries, thawed; mix well. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes or until thick and clear. Cool 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Cool 15 minutes. Spread over pie. Chill thoroughly.
CRANBERRY: Omit cherry pie filling. Combine 1/3 cups sugar and 1 tablespoon cornstarch in medium saucepan. Add 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water and 2 cups fresh or dry-pack frozen cranberries; mix well. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Spread over pie. Chill thoroughly.
FRESH FRUIT: Omit cherry pie filling. Just before serving, arrange well-drained fresh strawberries, banana slices (dipped in lemon juice and well drained) and blueberries on top of chilled pie. Brush fruit with light corn syrup if desired.
AMBROSIA: Omit cherry pie filling. Combine 1/2 cup Smucker's® Peach or Apricot Preserves, 1/4 cup flaked coconut, 2 tablespoons orange juice and 2 teaspoons cornstarch in small saucepan; cook and stir until thickened. Remove from heat. Arrange fresh orange sections over top of pie; top with coconut mixture. Chill thoroughly.




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