Wednesday, August 20, 2008

He's Back!

Ryan has arrived back from the Middle East. He called last night from the Baltimore airport, and we talked for 2 hours. Man, it's good to have him back. He picked up some very interesting insights into some cultures in that area, having opportunity to speak with some locals. I really don't know how much I should say. It was just great to hear his voice. I mean, I'm so thankful for email - that meant when he was at certain places he could let me know that he was okay. But that voice - it was so satisfying to hear his voice, especially back on American soil. He said he was so glad to be home.

Oh, Fall's A-comin'!

You say you want proof? Ok, ok, give me a minute...Tomatoes are ripening. Days are getting (marginally) shorter. School shopping is completed.

But the biggest indicator that fall is coming is----both Michael and Tyler are in football! And boy, are they sore! They are finding muscles they never knew they had, and pain is the feeling. Pain! Groans, cracking joints, muffled snores - these are new sounds in the house. Well, it's new that they are heard from the teens...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Life Lately

When I'm not blogging, that usually means life is a bit too busy or there are lots of things on my mind. Here's a list, probably not complete. Unresolved: I have a weird thing going on in my throat. The doctor scoped it (not a pleasant experience - I don't recommend it to anyone I like) and says that there is an irritation at the top of my vocal cords (I think) and so I'm supposed to sleep with my head elevated, take Prilosec OTC every day and not eat for three hours before I go to bed. But it's not helping after two weeks. And sometimes it feels like I'm being choked or I will gag for not being able to swallow this thing in my throat. So that's on my mind. Resolved: There has been a decison pending about whether Tyler will go to public school for this next year, and that has been resolved as of yesterday. He is registered at Sutherlin Middle School in eighth grade. He is looking forward to it, and I feel lots of peace about this change. Resolved: Then we had to lay off our wonderful employee because we just don't have enough work to keep her in the office. So that led to me thinking about trying to get a outside job to help out and provide insurance for the family also. But the decision has been made that I will work in the office more regularly instead. Unresolved: Trying to sell our van on Craigs List because it gets bad gas mileage. Unresolved: Our house in Roseburg is back on the market, which has made our good renters give their notice (even though we still lose $500 per month), and no one is looking at it. Out of category: It's so hot! I really don't do well over 85 or under 40 degrees, and it's been over 100. At least the vegetable garden is happy, but I worry about the bunnies. We give them wet soil to lay in, but the gray bunny is really panting. What a long blog, and much too serious!

Quirks for Meggan - Better Late Than Never?

If anyone is still interested, having overthought this to death, here are five things about myself that I think are quirky, as defined by

- I have prescription trifocals (without lines) that are ooooooold, and I couldn't read with them any more, so for $20 I bought reading glasses that I wear on top of my regular glasses. Prob'ly looks funky, but it'll do for now.

- I'm a mad rinser. I really rinse to excess. My hands, the clothes, the dishes. There's a sad cross issue that we have a low producing well which sometimes runs out of water in the summer time. My clothes are suffering without their extra rinse in the washer.

- I have an obsession with cooking in cast iron. I own at least seven pieces, and use them regularly. I know they're a little more trouble to wash properly, but it's so worth it to me. They heat quickly and responsively, they sear or simmer beautifully, they move from stovetop to oven, and food tastes better from them. And yes, they must be washed properly (no soap!) and dried on the hot stovetop, well, and then oiled a bit, but they're worth it.

- You may have noticed that I'm a bit of a Lord of the Rings fan. Yeah. Ask me anything.

- I have a secret dream to be the Next Food Network Star. But not as much as I used to.

Random Pictures

A beautiful ivy geranium enlivening the view out the back door. The summers are so hot and dry here that the native flora pretty much dries up.

The angle on this picture sort of makes me queasy, but I wanted you to see the pots going up the back stairs. The brachyscome dominates the view, but there are also two pots of heliotrope that make the whole area smell like vanilla - I love to smell something pretty as I walk up the stairs.

This was the first real garden harvest - so satisfying!

Michael wanted you to see the smallest lizard ever - that's a sunflower seed beside it. The lizards are so fast I don't know how the guys catch them. They always inspect them for health and remove any ticks they find. Isn't that yucky, that ticks also suck the life out of lizards? Poor things.

Tonight's harvest. It has been beastly hot here this week and at least the cherry tomatoes are responding by ripening quickly (but not the large ones, which are developing blossom end rot unrelentingly - grrrrr!). There are also the first of the green beans - so tender and buttery! And more zucchini. Good thing we like those so much! We try to pick them when they are pretty small. That and some teriaki chicken strips and wild rice - yum yum!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Stocking the Freezer

Every year we go blueberry picking at a place alongside the North Umpqua River. The owner attends our church, and she has the best berries around.
We arrived at about 7:30 a.m. because it gets pretty hot around 10:00. We left at about 11:15, and exceeded our previous blueberry excesses by quite a bit. I thought we picked a lot last year at 130 pounds. Wrong. 217 pounds is a lot. A whole lot.
It's addictive, see? You walk by these bushes just LOADED with plump, ripe, delicious berries, and you can't just walk by.I mean, look at that!
Throw in a tad, just a tad bit of competitiveness between dad and teenage sons, and you wind up with... much as the minivan will hold. I mean, seriously, what the heck are we going to DO with all these?
Well, I'll tell you what I did until about 9:30 that night. I cleaned berries! And bagged and froze. I believe I owe Todd a real blueberry pie (thanks a lot, Karyn!), but I just can't face that quite yet.

Seriously, though, blueberry picking day is also blueberry cleaning day, and I love it because I get to watch LOTR movies! All. day. I got through the extended versions of Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and more than halfway through Return of the King before I finished.

Of course, I had helpers. But they snuck out at 3:00 to go see some Mummy movie.

Aren't blueberries beautiful?

I see cobblers, pies and plenty milkshakes in our future.

And after all, we did run out this year.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Source of the Scents... DEAD! Todd just shot a skunk, right up by the veggie garden, in the daytime, no less, and the scent is INCREDIBLE! He's going to try to neutralize the area with baking soda and Febreez. It wasn't even a full size animal, but that must be the most concentrated scent in the world. Wow. Hopefully it will be a stretch before another skunk replaces it. We knew it was living in the culvert down in the driveway under the house, because we smelled it everytime we drove in or out. And it's probably the one that nailed Annie in May while I was in Alaska. I've been a bit anxious letting her roam around since then, knowing it was still in residence. Well, it's not living any more! Whew - what a stink there is outside.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Poetry Friday

A Day

I'll tell you how the sun rose,
A ribbon at a time.
The steeples swam in amethyst,
The news like squirrels ran.
The hills untied their bonnets,
The bobolinks begun.
Then I said softly to myself,
"That must have been the sun!"
But how he set, I know not.
There seemed a purple stile
Which little yellow boys and girls
Were climbing all the while
Till when they reached the other side,
A dominie in gray
Put gently up the evening bars,
And led the flock away.
by Emily Dickinson
And now the fam is off to pick our year's supply of blueberries!