Monday, December 09, 2013

To everything there is a season,


To everything there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.
~Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

King Solomon might have said it but nobody lives by it anymore.  I get seed catalogs before Christmas, two weeks after school is out they are filling the racks with back to school merchandise, before the end of December Valentines candy will flood the aisles.  This year before Thanksgiving I received the January/February issue of a magazine. 
Homemade gifts need to be started early and I totally get not waiting until the last minute to shop but we don’t get to enjoy each holiday or season before we are rushed into the next.  I know I have to prepare for the future (holiday/season) but last I knew they all fell at approximately the same date/time without fail so why do I need to have Santa eyeballing me while choosing  little Johnny’s school uniform in August?  OK done with rant…I guess I must be getting old because I am so out of sync with this fast paced world. 

So from the above you know I did not go shopping on black Friday but I did do some browsing and shopping at the Christkindlmarkt in Bethlehem when I went to visit the grandsons.  The site is beside the smokestacks of Bethlehem steel.  

 There are two tents the size of  a football field, one of which is mainly retail vendors and the other artisans/craftspeople.  Outside the tents there are booths for things such as the ice carver doing demonstrations 

and the glass works where you can make your own glass blown ornaments. 

 I would have loved it but it was freezing and the wind was blowing at about 50 miles an hour so we did not linger outside long!   

 Inside the retail vendors one of the vendors I wanted to see was Kathe Wolfahrt.  My uncle use to carve pyramids. 

 I never got one and he has passed away so I wanted to see how much they were….suffice it to say more than I would spend on myself before Christmas.  The booth was full of beer steins, 


incense burners and ornaments of all makes and sizes. 

  Ye Old Toffee shoppe operated by Heitmann’s Gourmet Nuts and Specialties greats you with one of the Royal Guard giving you free tastes of waistline busters!  Delicious!!  You can even get your picture taken with the Queen or Will and Kate (life size cardboard cutouts).  There is vendors of wine, pottery, and beautiful puzzle boxes by Turtle Creek Puzzles.  

Then we had to venture out into the cold to get to tent number two which houses all the artisans, food court and stage where school groups and various musicians entertain you.  This was by far the favorite tent as I love to see unique items people create.  We stopped to listen to the music and scarf down some food.  I tried deep fried dill pickles for the first time…

why have I not tried these before?  Yummy!!!!

There was scherenschnitte,

 jewelry made from forks

soap that smelled good enough to eat, 

woven rugs,

 things made from gourds and bottles, 

dog biscuits, must be time consuming ornaments made with seed beads, wheat weaving and more.   

Vendors can sign on for a week (Th-Su) or the full five weeks that it is open.  Santa is there and I know they do a breakfast with Santa on weekends.  I have to go back next year as they do horse drawn carriage rides and I would like to check out down town Bethlehem aka Christmas City. 

I didn't do the products justice as the picture quality  is bad due to lighting and it was the camera  phone.  And speaking of pictures...#1 daughter bought a wall hanging of alphabet art that spells wish.  

Love looking at these on pinterest, so creative.  And during this holiday frenzy I wish that I can ...

Monday, November 04, 2013


Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. 

I have had dogs my whole life.  Most of the dogs my family had were working dogs and stayed outside. 

The man and I had two dogs, one we rescued as a two year old and one the man had when we met.  Both of these dogs were outside dogs during the day.

On Mother’s Day 2008, we went to Farmer Dave’s to pick up some feeder pigs.  He just happened to have puppies for sale also.  #2 son and daughter begged for a puppy and when I said no they said it could be a mothers day gift for me…like I needed more work to do!  We were living in a 12 travel trailer at the time while finishing the house. I put my foot down and said no...until I looked and fell head over heels for a little red ball of fur with huge paws and long ears.  He would try walking, step on his ears and fall over.  That was it, he was mine.  He was a red bone coon dog.  

                                             Irresistible puppy

Then he proceeded to cry the whole ride home making me rethink my decision.  While living in the travel trailer we would put the other dogs in a shed at night.  The new puppy, Cooper, however was too tiny for that.  Of course the square footage of the trailer with four people left little room for him so someone would lift him up on the bed so he didn’t get stepped on.

Because he was raised with a cat he could never become a hunting dog.  Cats and coons have similar scents.  This fit him just fine as he was more a dog of leisure than work...he didn’t even like getting his paws dirty!  The valley however did hear plenty of his howls while playing outside.  The outside play had to be during the day since he didn’t like the dark.  The man once went out in the dark to scare #2 daughter who was walking up from my mom’s with Cooper.  The man jumped out, #2 screamed and Cooper went running toward the house and his mommy!

Seven months after his arrival we moved into the house and all the dogs moved in also.  The older two had been trained never to go on the furniture but Cooper knew no such restraints.  His two favorite spots were on the bed by my feet or if you sat on the sofa the front half of him was in your lap.  As he grew slightly large (159 lbs) this could get painful. Then we got a new sofa he wasn’t allowed on so he would push a 2 ½ foot cushioned hassock across the room and lay on top of it in front of the wood stove.  Lying on the floor was for dogs and he did not consider himself to be one.

This is because #1 daughter (she is a cat person) use to tell him that he was so ugly his mother gave him away on Mother’s Day.  This broke my heart so I would whisper in his ear that he was a big sexy man dog!  I think it went to his head!  He was my constant companion.  If I was sitting and he wanted my attention he would walk up and just lay his head on my boobs and  just stare at me.  If you stayed up late he would whine until you came to bed.  When the man came home from work and went to hug me, Cooper would bark until we broke apart and knelt down to include him in the hug.

He was a character.  If you picked up his big ears and rubbed underneath he purred like a cat.  Cooper and I use to serenade the man all the time much to the man’s dismay!  If we left home Cooper would sleep on the bed until he heard the car.  Then you could hear him whine/bark and run toward the door.  Fifteen people could walk in before me and he would ignore them all and wait for me.  No matter how close the man and I slept if Cooper wanted attention during the night he would step on us then lay down between us.  Then he would roll a little to spoon with me and “fork” (push with his paws) the man which made me giggle each time.  The man got even by teaching him to walk between your legs from behind to get his chest scratched ….I am short  and he about threw me a couple of times.  

                                With #1 son getting scratches

He would eat the Nanking cherries and thornless blackberries off the plants but would bark and wait for me to pick him the red raspberries!  Both front and kitchen gated porches had the screen doors fixed so they didn’t fully latch so he could enter and exit at his convenience.

Over the years we lost the other dogs, first Shadow (age 20) and then last October Digger (age 14) died. 

Hindsight being 20/20 I should have noticed that Cooper didn’t come outside with me as often this summer, that he tended to just stay curled up on the bottom of the bed.  I thought it was the heat. I would walk down the hall and pet/scratch him and then go on about my day.  If I had a migraine and laid down he would come curl up beside me.  But other than that I was busy… the garden, the canning, driving the kids….until he didn’t eat his breakfast one Saturday morning and then peed on the floor, something he had never done even as a puppy.  The vet was closing but called in a prescription and an appointment was made for Monday. 

Coopers urine sample stated he had a UTI and the meds continued for 10 days.  During those days and a little after he got better, played more and ate.  Then he started to go downhill again, lethargic and not eating so back to the vet we went.  A blood test was done and he was in kidney failure from lyme disease, the toxin levels were so high they were off the charts.  The man had taken him in and opted to give it the one shot we had which was to give IV’s. 

                               Waiting on the man to come home

 For over a week we would sit with Cooper 6 hours a day while we administered the IV drip.  Once he chewed the port out and another trip to the vet was made to put in a new one.  The next visit showed his toxin levels going down.  The drip was stopped with the hope that his kidneys would kick in and do their job.  If they didn’t then too much damage had already been done.  We brought him home so hopeful.  Several days passed and he was acting better but still picky about his food.  Then he started full speed downhill.  So on Thursday we held him as the vet put him to sleep.  We brought him home and buried him with his toys in the back yard.  Even the neighbors missed him and brought him bouquets of flowers for his grave.

The house feels so empty without his big butt blocking the hall way or keeping my feet warm.  I feel his loss more than I did the other dogs because he was all mine.  He had no other owner and was so in tuned to me. From the morning alarm to climbing back into bed at night he was such an integral part of our lives and he will be so sorely missed that it is physically painful. I use to think that people who cloned their pets were weird but if I could have him back exactly as he was and I had the money I would do it in a heartbeat.  #1 daughter sent me this poem and all I can do is hope to see him again someday.

 My best friend closed his eyes today,
As his head was in my hand.
The Doctors said he was in no pain,
But it was hard for him to stand.
The thoughts that scurried through my head,
As I cradled him in my arms.
Were of his young puppy years,
And OH...his many charms.
Today, there was no gentle nudge
With an intense "I love you gaze",
Only a heart that's filled with tears
Remembering our joy filled days.
But an Angel just appeared to me,
And he said, "You should cry no more,
GOD also loves our canine friends,
He's installed a 'doggy-door"!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The trees are bare

 Autumn starts to chill the air
Until the trees look sad and bear,
Time for fireside tales,you know,
Underneath the lamplight's glow.
Makes you feel you want to sigh,
Now the summer's stolen by.

The abnormally warm temperatures have now passed us by.  I finally lit a fire a week ago Monday and our first frost hit us ending my raspberry harvest

 That Wednesday we had an afternoon sleet shower which only lasted a few minutes, just a prelude of things to come.

While the mountain ridge on the other side of the river looks like this… 

Our side looks like this…

Almost all the trees are bare…

The exception being the oak trees which will hold their leaves for a long while still…


 It has been an odd fall.  Everyone is commenting on the amount of wooly bear caterpillars.  I have never seen so many and for the first time they all look alike.  This year they all have equal rows of black and brown followed by one row of black.  For all the abundance in the garden and nature I noticed the barberry bushes on the way to the barn are almost empty and the squirrels are making short work of the winterberry already. 

I have finished canning for the year.  I have put everything away.  I still have Brussels sprouts and broccoli in the garden  which we will either eat as they come or freeze. I also saved a bucket of green tomatoes that will ripen over time. 

So canning time has now become log splitting and leaf blowing time.  The screens came off the windows and the screen doors were taken down till Spring.  I love looking out the windows without the screens…now to just get them cleaned.  I guess it’s fall cleaning time also.

I have been knitting.  Most of it is for the grandsons but at least I am back to it.  I made a pumpkin hat for Baby B along with two different bee hive (skep) hats for him to wear for Halloween.  He is going as a pot of honey.  I also whipped up this shark hat for Toddler O…

I didn't take pictures but I also made a tea cozy and a pair of mittens for me.  Now I am looking through designs for a stocking for Baby B.

There is never a dull moment.  One season just quickly turns into the next.  They need to slow down so I can keep up.