Friday, June 30, 2017

Friday afternoon, I think; it's hard to tell when one is on vacation and people come and go. I know we had breakfast and then everybody took their sweet time getting ready to go different directions which just pretty much makes for a perfect "take it easy" vacation. I don't know where everybody went except I know that Ms. Kate and Karen went to Pigeon Forge to the Coach outlet. I stayed at the cabin and was very happy to do so. It's just me and Bella, Lisa's dog who is laying on the floor snoring now that I have taken her out to pee.

Karen and her two granddaughters got here last evening in time for supper. They had put in a nine hour day of driving and we're bushed and hungry. I was glad to see that they had made it safely.

Last night it was Ms. Kate's turn to cook the evening meal. So, she and I both stayed home yesterday while everyone went and did their thing. Ms. Kate had decided to do a "German" meal so we spent the afternoon boiling and peeling a bunch of potatoes for German potato salad, she also made a big pot of spatezel, a cucumber salad, sliced tomatoes, and when Jim got back, she had him cook eight kielbasa sausages. Supper was fantastic. But we have yet to have a bad meal around here. Each of the girls has taken a meal and I can honestly say that we have a family of good cooks. Even most of the husbands can handle themselves in the kitchen except Gary. I've never seen him cook anything. I saw him grill once about twenty years ago. I can "get by" in the kitchen but beyond heat up and eat --- well, I'd be a lot thinner if I had to rely on my own. I once spent eight weeks in Montgomery, AL at Squadron Officer's School and I ate Top Ramen for almost every meal. However, I had a three month tour in Naples, IT and I learned to do pretty well in the kitchen. When I'd shop in the commissary and wanted something different to eat and didn't know how to fix it; I'd just go up to a housewife and ask them. Most of them felt sorry for me and would tell me. Of course I'd also have to ask them what temperature to cook or bake it in Celsius instead of Fahrenheit because my stove had Celsius markings only.

This morning we did a lot of leftovers for breakfast in an attempt to clean up some of the leftovers from the refrigerator. Tonight, I think we are doing the same thing again for dinner, and we are going to make another freezer if ice cream. This time it will be vanilla.

Thata's my tale for today. I hope your day is as joyful as mine. I hope your souls feels as full of the Lord as mine does. Peace.
Another beautiful morning here in the Smokey mountains. It is 74 degrees, sunshine, peaceful view over the railing and across the mountain. There is the sound of family talking and sharing the love just inside the door and we try to get months worth of visiting all done in a week.

Steph and Chris left yesterday and made it home about 0100 this morning. So, we are relieved one bunch of our chickens is safely back in their own hen house. Karen and two nieces are coming today. Karen has to drive to Cincinnati first to pick up niece Miranda and then they are coming down. They will arrive very late tonight. They plan to stay until Saturday. Heather and John and Jon will leave Saturday too. The rest of us will be here until Sunday morning and then all go our separate ways. These family reunions are so wonderful. They give us a chance to strengthen family ties, for cousins to get to meet each other and for us to integrate ourselves back into each other's lives. I have said it before and I'll say it many more times, We are so fortunate that everyone in this family likes and loves one another. We are so fortunate that this family wants to be together and wants to share. The only "rule" Ms. Kate has laid down is "No Politics" because we have strong feelings on every side of the spectrum. There is no use for us as family members to argue and fuss about issues that while we may have strong feelings about --- nothing we say is going to change the actions of the boneheads we have that are supposed to be leading this country.

The one thing that continually frustrates me as we come to the Smokey Mountains and all of the other  traveling that we do is we never see bears. Now, I know there are bears in this area. All of the trash cans are put in bear proof cages. Other people report seeing bears. There are people who see them in their yards and people who have actually been attacked by bears. But, as much as we travel, I never see any bears

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Wednesday morning, breakfast is over and people are slowly taking showers and getting presentable. The plan this morning is to take pictures of the families before people start heading back home. Steph, Chris, and Caden are heading back to Oklahoma today. They have to be in Oklahoma on Friday because Chris has an important business deal he has to be home for. It has been wonderful having them here with the family. It is the first time that Chris and John ahave met each other and they have found out that they like each other and have a lot in coming to talk about.

We've been eating some fabulous food around here and have more leftover that we could ever possible eat. I'm hoping that Chris and Steph will take a cooler full of food home with them today. I know we have another three full days here but there are still meals planned and ingredients bought to do them. This morning Julie made Fritattas for breakfast and there is at least one skillet full left. Yesterday Lisa made eggs, hash brown casserole, milk gravy and bisquits. Monday morning Ms. Kate and I made pancakes and sausage. Monday night Chris did steaks on the grill and Steph made home made macaroni & cheese, and we made a six quart freezer of butter pecan ice cream. Last night we went out to a favorite restaurant called the Apple Barn and stuffed ourselves like oinkers. So, yeh, there is a lot of food around here.

Yesterday we went to Dollywood for the day. We've been there before and it is a fun place to go. Dolly Parton has done so much to make this area profitable by building that theme park. Prior to Dollywood there just wasn't much on a tourist industry here except foro there being an entrance to the Great Smokey National Park. Dollywood has provided hundreds of jobs for this area and frankly, from what I see, the people are extremely grateful to have those jobs. The park is clean, the employees go out of their way to assist you in what ever manner they can and there are smiles everywhere.

Tomorrow, my sister-in-law Karen and two of our nieces are coming to stay with us for a couple of night. They will head back home of Saturday. But it will give those two nieces a chance to meet cousins that they didn't know before.

As I sit here looking out over the rails of the porch, all I see is beauty and all I feel is peace. It is very easy to imagine this place looking just the same when Christ was walking the earth. God's planet is such a marvelous and intricate place. How anyone could think this creation was just an undersigned explosion is just beyond me. All praise to the Creator; all praise to our God. Peace.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Good afternoon from half way up a mountain in Gatlinburg, TN. I'm sittting out here on the balcony, it is 74 degrees on a partly cloudy day and there is nothing but a valley of trees and the next mountain  in my view. It is totally peaceful and beautiful. I'm glad to say that we see very little evidence of the disastrous fire that swept through less than six months ago.

All of the girls and their families arrived right on schedule on Sunday. Ms. Kate and I came down Saturday just because we were anxious to get on the road and get here. Everyone had a safe trip in getting here which was all I had asked God for and as usual, God delivers. The only detractor to the tripis for me. On Friday evening, about ten minute after all the dentist offices close in Evansville, I lost a huge filling from a tooth and have a gaping hole now in my mouth. Fortunately, the tooth is one that I have had a root canal done on so there is no Parian involved with it with the exception of the sharp spike of the edges that did not break off. That is worrying my tongue a lot, but it could have beeen a lot worse. I called my dentists office and left a message but that does no good since they would not be open until today. However, their answering machine gave me my dentists emergency number and I called that. Also had to leave a message on that --- and he never returned my call. So, we came on down. My daughter Julie worked for several years as a dental technician and she said she would pick up some "Dentemp" and put in a temp filling for me. So, after she got here yesterday afternoon, we put some of that in. We haven't had a lot of success with that either. It has all come back out. So, I've called my dentists office again and now have an appointment for after we get back from vacation.

We all went to the Aquarium this morning, (well, noonish by the time we all got moving). hen Ms. Kate, Lisa and Gary and I came back to the cabin while the others continued doing stuff down town. I think they were all going miniature golfing. But, we had to get back here so Ms. Kate could mix up the ice cream for us to freeze later. Her recipe calls for it to chill for quite a while before we freeze it. We are doing Butter Pecan this evening. We may do vanilla later in the week. Life is good!

Have a wonderful rest of your day. As I sit here and here the crows off in the distance and litle else, the view I see probably looked just like this when Christ walked the earth. It is a humbling thought. Peace.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Rain and lots of it greets us this morning. I woke up to a period of really heavy down pour around 0600. Since then it has come and gone and returned again. We are supposed to have this all day. But by this evening all of the rain is supposed to have moved on. I hope that is right. This is the weekend that we are heading out for vacation and I'd prefer not to drive in storms or have the girls flying through storms. Jules will be driving from southeast Indiana, Heather will be flying from California, Lisa will be driving from North Carolina, and Stephanie will be driving from Oklahoma and we all meet in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. This has been on the radar for exactly one year and has finally arrived. Now I simply ask God for safe travels to and from for all.

All of my bird feeders are full this morning and I indeed have a lot of guests regardless of the rain. I had a set of chimes fall this morning. The little limb they have been hanging on finally broke. I'm glad I was sitting here and saw it happen or I surely would have blamed eithe Bandit, or the squirrels. Although I did watch a squirrel knock down one of the bark butter feeders today trying to eat off of it.  Of course once it hit the ground, it was no longer interested. So, I run it off and rehung the feeder. The robin has been here twice to take a bath in the bird bath, I guess the rain doesn't clean it up enough. Last night Stripes was here again cleaning up the remains of what all the other critters knocked down during the day. He was here right on schedule at 11:15 pm. It stayed about fifteen minutes and waddled on off.

God's rain has made the area look so much more lush this morning. My flowers at this time are the lilies, the phlox, the hydrangias, and our potted geraniums.  It is a good combination and keeps the yard looking beautiful. Our handi-couple got the fence about 95% done and will finish up Monday or Tuesday. It really looks great. I mowed the backyard yesterday so that won't begin to need it again until we get back.

Today we are having lunch with our friend Bob, his daughter Brenda and a couple of Bob's great grandkids. It will our first lunch together since Ms. Georgia Ann passed away. It will be hard for all of us but it is time. I'm hoping it will be a bit therapeutic for him. Having Brenda there will help; and having those two great grandchildren there will help with the plunge.

My writing may be a bit sporadic for the next week but. Know you will appreciate the fact that we're busy doing family time. Until I get back to you, I wish you God's peace.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thursday morning and it is a partly cloudy one so far. Weather reports say that we have a couple of days of rain on the way. Well, "Que Serra, Serra", as the song says. What will be, will be.

We have been busy the past couple of days getting ready for our vacation. We been shopping and stacking aside stuff that we plan to take. I hope the car will hold it all. I suspect that as usual, we'll take far more stuff than we need. I haven't begun to try to put stuff in the car yet of course. The problem I se is that a lot of what we are taking is in boxes and boxes are often flexible. But --- this ain't my first rodeo and I'll get it all in.

We have had our "handi-couple" here for the past couple of days. They have been painting our fence, both sides with two coats. It looks beautiful. They have a bit more to do along with some other stuff I want them to do and they will finish up next week when the rain is gone and we are on vacation. They are some really hard workers and I'm so glad we found them. I'm also glad that we decided to have that fence painted instead of replacing it. I probably saved myself several thousand dollars. I'd bet it would have coast us at least $10 K to have that fence replaced and it would not have been able to be replaced where we wanted it.

We have new nocturnal friends in the backyard. We have "Bandit" the raccoon who has been here three nights this week that I know of. Bandit has a buddy that comes along but doesn't' get up next to the house like Bandit does. When I'm sitting out here at night, generally around midnight, I'll see the feeders swinging. Usually, if I go over to the door and knock on it, they will take off. Sometimes he will just sit there though and look at me, literally eye to eye because it isn't but six feet from me, sitting on a branch in the pussy willow tree. But, if I open the door, off they go acrosss the yard. My other guest is "Stripes", a young skunk. Stripes comes up here next to the back door and eats the seeds and stuff that the birds have knocked down, I can tap on the door and Stripes won't even look my way. And, I'm not going to open the door. So, since he isn't hurting anything and he's cleaning up mess from other critters, Stripes can pretty much do what it wants. It doesn't stay long.

Most of my feeders are empty this morning and I need to fill them before the storms hit today. The bird baths are pretty well empty too. The rain will most likely fill them up.

That's it for today. Time to do a bit of conversation with the One who continually fills my life with blessings. There should never be a day go by that I don't give thanks to our grace and blessings giving God. I hope you find your day fully blessed too. Peace.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

You are getting an afternoon post today. This morning we had to go to the doctor's office for one of Ms. Kate's routine appointments. It was a "fasting" appointment which means she couldn't even have her coffee this morning cause she puts cream in her coffee. I've tried to get her to "go black" but she just can't handle it. But then, it only took me 25 years to get her to drink coffee at all. But then, she can't get me to drink water either, so there you go.  So, ---- as soon as she got out of the doctor's office we went to Denny's for brunch. I had my "usual" carmel cream with banana on pancakes breakfast. Ms. Kate says I'm addicted to them and I may well be.

Our painters are here this week. They are painting the fence around the yard. Ms. Kate and I built that fence in 2006 and it still looked fair and it is still sturdy. But we had these folks come and power wash it and that improved it immensely. But, putting a couple of new coats of paint on it will make it last probably another ten years or so. By then, I won't care if there is a fence out there or not. I recall that when we built and painted that fence in the first place it was really hard work and I was over sixty then. I made the comment at the time, if this thing is still standing in another ten years or so, --- I'm not painting it! Well, it is and I'm not. LOL These folks that we have doing the work are really super people. They are excellent workers and do excellent work. They are a "Handi-couple". This is what they do for a living I guess. They have done a lot of landscaping for us and they are efficient with their time. They certainly aren't cheap; but they are worth every penny. We learned about them through my sister-in-law and her Master Gardener friends.

I still haven't pulled my suitcase out to start throwing things in it. I keep thinking about it and I keep looking at things that I have strewn around the garage and the dining room to "be sure and take along". But logistically I haven't accomplished one thing. Heck, I still have four days. I think we are going to Sam's yet today or maybe tomorrow and pick up some stuff. We keep putting it off because we don't want iti too sit around here all week in the way and making the place look junky. But, we do need to get off of our duff and get busy. The weather reports for the week have changed and now we are looking at thunderstorms on Friday and Saturday.

I think that is about it for today. God certainly provided a great day for us on this Tuesday. The heat is going up a bit but the humidity is coming down for today at least. I know my painter are glad abut that. I hope your day is fully blessed. If you are feeling down --- look up! God is holding out a hand for you to lift you back up. Peace.

Monday, June 19, 2017

We begin again with a whole new week. This one has started of magnificently. It is only seventy seven degrees this morning and the temperature is to max out at eighty three or so.  The best part is that the humidity will be dropping al day due to a cold don't moving in.

Ms. Kate and I have a few things that we need to get done this week prior to heading out on vacation on Sunday for a week. There is packing of the suitcases, packing of the car and determining what we will really need to take with us and what will just be extra stuff that we won't use anyway. Invariably when I pack for a vacation I always pack along too much unneeded stuff. I get my suitcase packed and then I see stuff that I think I might need and I throw that in too. The next thing I know the suitcase is stuffed. And with the girls and their families all bringing stuff too ---- yeh, we'll all over pack.

I had a very relaxing Father's Day, but then almost all of my days are relaxed days. We went to church at Crossroads Christian again, It was a nice service with a good message. This was the third in their series on marriage and yesterday it felt with the role of sex in the marriage and God's place in that. The church was full; partially I suspect because it was Father's Day. They claim a congregation of 3000 people and I can believe it. They do three services on a weekend and soon they will be opening up a new campus/church on the west side of town. I'm not sure how that will affect them. But --- mega-churches do that and sometimes it works, and some times they find that they have bitten off more than they can chew. I think this was our fourth visit to this church and we have enjoyed each experience. I think a person could be as involved or uninvolved in that church as they want to be. It certainly is a place where one can just go, attend a service of worship and leave without anyone asking anything of you or even knowing or caring if you are there or not. And as nice as that may seem; (and I know many people who want nothing more than that) --- I have to ask myself if that is what it is all about. I guess I would compare it to going to a buffet where everything is laid out for you  and you just pick and choose what you want to eat; ---- or having a home cooked family meal where everybody pitches in to help. You get fed either way; but I think the joy of eating and or worshipping with family adds a dimension of fullness to the soul. There is much to be said for small intimate congregations and worship. So, Ms. Kate and I will probably bounce around from church to church until we are allowed by the constraints of of our denomination to return to the two churches where I was the pastor. (What a stupid man-made rule for a church to have).

Time to do something besides watch birds; most of them have gone by now anyway. Bandit, (the raccoon) was here again last night. I run him off three times. It's cute but I don't need it tearing up and or stealing my feeders.

Have a blessed week. Shalomn.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Saturday morning and Ms. Kate and I are sitting in the sunporch together having our coffee, watching the buffet guests and watching what is going on ion the neighbor's yard. Their tree trimming crew was here bright and early this morning; (way too early for this guy) and I awoke to the sound of buzzing tree trimming apparatus. I can't say that I blame them for starting early. It is going to 93 degrees today and I woudn't want to be out there doing that kind of work in that heat either. I am going to go out this morning and do some yard work though. I still need to get out there and rake the flower bed and deadhead the knockout roses.

My buffet guests have been sporadic  and skiddish about being around with all of the noise from next door. The squirrels were here only briefly and then took off every time they work crew came back in the neighbor's yard again. I think they finally gave up. But, the workers are done so slowly the gusts are coming back to finish breakfast. We've had no one in the bird baths yet but I suspect we will soon.  They have ben there to drink but haven't started their Saturday baths yet.

Our butterfly bush is really putting blooms on now. The great thing about that is that not only ones it attract butterflies, it also brings in the hummingbirds. And, I see the first of the phlox is starting to bloom. They too will bring in the the hummingbirds in.

The day is getting warmer and the shade is getting thinner so I'm out of here for today. Have a blessed weekend. Peace.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Aaah! Friday morning has arrived once again. It is seventy nine degrees already this morning and going up to ninety three. The humidity has returned after a one day respite. So the two "M"s "muggy & Miseraable" have returned in full force.

I filled the feeders yesterday all around so my buffet guests should be happy today although I haven't had many takers so far. They generally do a 0700 round and then come back for the 0900 round. So we are in between sessions at the moment. One squirrel has found out the feeders are full but he's not sharing any information. His competition will be here soon enough and then the games will begin unless it is too hot.

Today is the 55th anniversary of my first date with Ms. Kate. It was June 16th, 1962 and she asked me to go to a 4-H hayride with her. Bless her heart, the poor girl had no idea what she was letting herself in for. She was fourteen and I was seventeen. She was at the end of her sophomore year and I was a graduating senior. The moonlight was right as we rode around Horseshoe Bend along the Ohio River and Cupid unleashed an entire quiver of arrows into my heart. The rest is fifty five years of history.

We went out for dinner and a concert last night. We went to a place called "Bru-burger's" here in town. Some enterprising guys bought the old Greyhound Bus station that had been sitting empty for years and turned it into a resturant. As per the name, the menu is burgers, fries, & milk shakes, as well as some more "foo-foo" stuff for the millennial crowd. The place is doing very well and I hope the guys keeps it going. After dinner, we went to see the Gaither Vocal Band concert at the Victory theater. We had fantastic balcony seats and the concert was really enjoyable. I listen to probably two hours of Gaither music every day and they played a lot of my favorites. It was well worth the ticket price. I bought Ms. Kate two cookbooks that were put out by the artists and I bought myself a Gaither Homecoming Friends Bible. No ---- as they said, they didn't write any new chapters to it, but it has a lot of personal faith messages from members of the Homecoming Group that I will enjoy reading. And --- one can't have too many Bibles, especially if you actually read them. This is a New King James Version and I think it is my first one of those. I have the "family Bible", a red letter, book indicator indented, King James Bible. But I guess maybe the new version has made it a bit more reader friendly.

The robin is sitting in the bird bath. He's bathing, he is just sitting there cooling his feet. There is a blackbird wanting to get in that bird bath too so we'll see how that turns out. There have been a lot of birds coming in and taking baths already this morning. They seem to be "washing up" before breakfast. How polite of them.

Time to refill the coffee cup and watch over the buffet. I pray you will have a most enjoyable day. Peace.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Good morning! I went to bed last night and woke up again this morning listening to blessed, wonderful sound of  God-given rain. It has stopped now and the radar shows that it has moved on off to the south. But, the birdbaths are full, the planters are all watered and the garden is watered. And --- the temperature has dropped into the mid-seventies. Thank you Lord God for those blessings. The yard and flowers and trees look more lush this morning and the guests at the buffet are less frantic today for what ever reason even though I didn't fill any feeders yet. Of course the blackbirds are being just as nasty to one another as they always are. But it is survival of the fittest in their world. I was up at my sister-in-law's house the other day and I'm glad I don't have her birds. I fuss about my blackbirds; ---but she has a murder of crows that empty her feeders.

This evening Ms. Kate and I have tickets for a Gaither Gospel concert. It isn't a full Gaither Homecoming show but rather the Gaither Gospel Quartet plus some of the other artists that sing with him. I'm really looking forward to it. I listen to their music every night before I go to bed as I mentally power-down. I think he has gathered together some of the best musicians in the country to sing with him and his Homecoming concerts. I've been listening to them now for a decade or more. I have one of those groups playing right now (The Hoppers) as I write this. I use the music to energize me in the morning and calm me in the evening.

I need to go out and pull off the daffodil leaves now that they have died off and fallen over. The bulbs are dormant now and that will clean up the flowerbeds. Ms. Kate says I'm not supposed to pull them off until they have gone dormant. She says they won't bloom next year if I cut them off when they are still green. I don't know, but I do what she says because she knows more about it than I do. I also still need to go deadhead the roses. They will come back in another week or so. These knockout roses seem to bloom all summer if you take care of them.

We are down to nine days until we all meet in Gatlinburg Tennessee for our family reunion and the whole family is getting excited. Each day we have planning sessions and conversations about what we are bringing, what we are going to fix to eat, what we each want to go and see or do. Some will get to stay longer than other s and and some will arrive later but it is such a blessing to be able to do this. I know I've said it before, but I still feel the real blessing is that we all love to be with each other and share in each other's lives. Maybe it is true that absence and distance does make the heart grow fonder. Perhaps if we all lived within a mile or two of each other we would not appreciate one another near as much. I just know that my heart swells each and every time Ms. Kate and I can get together with each and or all of our girls.

I think I'll go make a pan of sweet rolls. No --- of course I'm not making them from scratch. I'll get out a can of Pillsbury Orange rolls. In the mean time, I hope you have a blessed day and get to experience some personal time with the Lord God. Shalomn.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Happy mid week once again. It's still hot and humid and we are still waiting on rain. I'll need to water again this evening to make sure the garden is doing ok and not dying off.

I still have a bunch of frustrated blackbird. They are some nasty birds to one another when the food supply is low. I still haven't filled the feeders with bark butter bits and I'm not putting out any suet cakes now because it is too hot and they just melt and get yucky. So now they are trying to eat from the seed cylinders but the seed cylinders are in cages to keep them out and let the little birds in like wrens and finches. There have been two blackbirds fighting over this one smaller caged feeder for most of the morning, They chase one another round and round the rim pecking and squawking. The squirrels have emptied most of the feeders that they can easily reach and they had help with that last night around midnight. I was sitting here in the sunporch listening to music and I could see one feeder swinging when others were not. So I turned on the back yard flood lights and there were two furry bandits out there. The raccoons were up in the tree just outside the door. I knocked on the window and they went waddling off across the yard. I can tell all of the sunflower seed feeeders need filling today so I reckon I'll put that on my agenda. I also need to fill the new bark butter paste feeder. Since I let the other paste feeders run out and haven't put new easily attainable suet out --- the woodpeckers have "discovered" the new feeder. And --- they are the only ones who can eat from it because they have to hang on the bottom of it. I just had a Pilated woodpecker come in and scarf up a bunch of the food from it. And I need to fill the bird baths again. I'll tell ya, being a backyard Buffet and Spa manager is just constant busy stuff. I can't imagine what it would be like running a human B&B.

I'm offering up prayers for our country this morning once again. I just finished reading some of the news where some guys from Illinois went to a field where Repubican leadership folks were practicing for a bi-partisan baseball game and tried gunning them all down. What the heck is wrong with people these days?? Where is the value oof human life? Where is the process for rational thought. How have so many people just dismissed God and believe they and they alone are all that matter in this world? I don't know but for certain, here folks that do this kind of stuff can't possibly believe there is such a thing as hell; and if they do --- they certainly aren't afraid of it. I sometimes wonder if we of the church have so "over-sold" the concept of a loving and forgiving God that we have discarded the concept of accountability to God. The world has not changed; for white there is black. For every action, there is a consequence. So, this morning I urge you to pray for our nation, its leadership and our people.

I pray God grants you peace this day.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Man o man, it is even warmer out there this morning and more sultry. The sun shines brightly and the backyard buffet and spa is in full swing this morning. Stubby isi here with three friends and they are all munching away on sunflower seeds either from a feeder or from under the feeders. Stubby has been to the door twice right next to me, looking in. I'm not sure what he thinks he will get out of here.  The blackbirds have all been here a couple of times and have all been in the bird bath. I just filled them last night and will need to fill them again today. I also went to Wild Birds and Things and bought four more bags of bark butter bits. If I kept that one feeder filled all the time, I could easily be out of those four bags in a week.

Ms. Kate and I watched a movie last night that she bought some time ago. It was called "Spy" and starred Melissa McCarthy. It was a funny movie even though I've never been a big fan of Melissa McCarthy. The roles I've seen her in previously seem to be built around her being overweight and inept because of it. This movie alluded to that but only because people thought she would be inept but it turns out she was extremely well qualified for the job her character needed to do. My other distractor tough was the constant use of the "F-bombs", and she is known for that too. And that is my macro-soapbox for today. What has led mainstream media and society to come to believe that the use of F-bombs and other foul language is normal and acceptable? The Lord knows I have used that kind of language way too often and it used to be a part of my daily vocabulary. I still occasionally let one slip out but I have worked veruy hard to clean up my mouth. We've gotten to the point where it is even expected language from certain areas of the country. But --- when you turned on your television or you went to a movie, you didn't have to hear it  and it wasn't all up in your face. It seems as if there are no longer any boundaries as to what you can or cannot say. I grew up being told that cursing or using that kind of language was a "sin". Well, I don't know about it being a sin as long as you aren't taking the Lord's name in vain; but I just think it is rude and doesn't show a lot of social grace. Enough said on that subject from me. And I still need to watch my own lips.

I guess that is about it for this morning. The blackbirds are back for their fourth round. I haven't seen any cardinals today at all. BUt I did have two Pilated Woodpeckers here this morning so my day is made. Take it easy in this country wide heat wave. I just got a text from my son in law Jin who said he is already on his fourth gaterade bcause it so hot in the warehouse where he works.

Have a most blessed day. Take time to give glory to God today. Peace.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Yikes! Early morning and already 81 degrees and sultry. That's an Evansville summer morning for sure. But, ---- on the other hand, you can almost hear the corn growing in the fields. It is perfect weather for that. So, --- as always, God sends blessings on every level. Some we recognize and some we don't. Sone we appreciate, some we miss totally.

Ms. Kate and I had a nice weekend and I hope you did too. Yesterday we headed out to church at our home church and got there just as the service should have been starting. (We really need to start moving faster on Sunday morning.) However, when I pulled on the church door, it was locked. We realized that they were having an outdoor service in what is called The Woodland Chapel. It is an open air chapel they built on land that was dedicated and donated by the Henze family in honor of their son Randy who was killed in Vietnam. It sits in a beautiful wooded hillside area on the other side of the cemetery. We knew that we would really be late by the time we walked over to it so we left and went to another church, (Crossroads Christian) that we knew started in another half an hour. We got to Crossroads Christian just as the praise band started playing. It was a good Holy Spirit filled service.

Ms. Kate and I made home made ice cream this weekend. We intend to take the freezer with us to Tennessee and make some down there and we wanted to try a couple of recipes out before we go. First we made some strawberry/banana and it was pretty tasty. Then we made some butter pecan and I think I referred to it as Franken-licious because it was monstrously good. But, I was so overloaded with ice cream that I told Ms. Kate; "Please don't make me eat any more ice cream today!" It was so rich that it literally coated my tongue. But wow, was it good. We have lots in the freezer now.

My buffet guests are not happy this morning and it is their fault. They have stripped the feeders of all of their favorite treats and are now left to eat just sunflower seeds. They have cleaned out all of the suet feeders and the bark butter paste and pellet feeders. And it is the gang of blackbirds that have eaten almost all of it. I am out of their favorites so they will just have to deal with it. Maybe when they finish cleaning up all of their residual that they throw on the ground, then I'll go to Wild Birds and restock. In the mean time they can just go beg on the streets. When I was a kid, the rule always was; eat what is on the table or do without. The same rule applies to this bunch of flying pigs. LOL.

We held off doing laundry on Saturday so guess what we are going to do today! We also have shopping to do for the vacation so I reckon, I better give up the recliner and get busy.

God has provided yet another week of opportunities for us to be grateful servants and to serve our fellowman. Let's all try to do that this week even if that service is only keeping one another in prayer. I'm a firm believer in the power of prayer because I have seen it work so very often in so very many ways. And --- you can take comfort in knowing that this morning I have prayed for you. May God grant you a week of peace in your soul. Shalomn.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Welcome to the weekend; welcome to a beautiful Saturday. It's 80 degrees and going up another nine degrees possibly. But all of the shade I have back here in the backyard and the bit of breeze that is blowing makes it rather pleasant.

The spa and buffet have been busy all morning. I've had birds of all varieties in and out of the bird baths; black birds, cardinals, sparrows, finches, and robins have all been here to take a dip and do their Saturday bath. Yesterday I put out the last of the barkl butter bit and it only filled about thre fourths of that feeder. But between the black birds and the starlings, they have ravished at least half of what I put out there and they have also eaten most of four suet cakes  that I have in one feeder. It seeem that everytime I look out there, there is either a red-winged black bird or a starling on them. Stiubby has been busy this morning but has mostly been frustrated. It has been in and out of this tree so many times going from one feeder to the next and not being able to reach them. It's only recourse is to either do the horizontal stretch to the one feeder and try to grab a sunflower seed or he can get on the ground and eat leftovers and spillage. It's fun to watch though.

I've spent most of my morning on my IPad talking by messenger to the girls and doing planning etc for our vacation. We are now two weeks away so it is time to get some more serious planning done. One of the "planning" things that Ms. Kate and I are going to do today is to make a couple of batches of home made ice cream. Yes, I know that sounds like an excuse --- but we have some recipes we want to try before we go because I intend to take my ice cream freezer with me. So today we might try some strawberry/banana and then maybe a batch of butter pecan. We'll just make small batches today and put some in the freezer if we have leftovers. It does make for great evening treats.

So, that is about it for today. I'm just sitting here being grateful to God for the blessed life I lead. I have a family that I love and I have peace in my soul with my relationship to Christ. What else can a fellow wat or need. I hope that is what you are experiencing today too. If you are having a rough day --- remember that I have said a prayer for you today. Maybe it will help. Peace.

Friday, June 9, 2017

It's a warm and beautiful morning once again. It is Friday, the 9th of June, end of another work week for some folks and I'm sure millions of people are looking forward to some exciting plans for the weekend. I can't say that is the case around our house. We have no plans for the weekend although we should do something with today. It will be our last "cooler" day for at least a week as the temperatures and the humidity are both supposed to rise starting tomorrow.

Only one of my squirrel friends have shown up this morning. I guesss the others will be along soon enough. I've had robins and blackbirds, and finches of several colors, as well as cardinals and two varieties of woodpeckers here this morning. It has been a busy landing zone out there. Right now I have a half dozen starling fighting over a single feeder. With nineteen bird feeders hanging out there one would think they could spread out a little. But they are so territorial that if one is getting something, they all want to eat at that same place. It reminds me of times I have gone fishing. If I caught a fish in a certain spot, suddenly I have a lot of company with lines dangling in the same spot. Never mind that the fish are also in the rest of the pond. LOL

I mowed the yard yesterday and I also waters the garden last night. The garden is growing well and I have at least a half dozen tomatoes on. They are a long way from ripe and ready but they are there. I keep watching the farm stands to see who has what already. I saw that one place was advertising peaches. That seems a bit soon to me. They must have been brought up from down south someplace. And places that are advertising fresh tomatoes are wanting an arm and a leg for them. I think we missed strawberry season due to the rain. I never saw anyone advertising strawberries. I was hoping that we could get some and maybe make up a few jars of jelly this year. Ms. Kate has a recipe that she uses that is just wonderful, and I do like my jelly on my toast or my biscuit. But, we will be watching the farm stands closer as we get ready to head out to our vacation. We'll want to take some home grown veggies down to the cabin for the family.

I did go to the doctor yesterday and the place I was worried about turned out to be just a scar tissue. Doctor Jackson shot some steroid in it that will help disolve some of it. It's no biggie.

That's it for this Friday morning. Time for me to get off of my duff and do something. Have a most wonderful day. Do something fun this weekend and throw your cares to the wind. God will catch them and work them for you. Shalomn!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Good morning! The squirrels are in a riot this morning already including Stubby who has been wiggling his stubby little tail like crazy at me and everything else. I don't know what's up in squirrel world but they are fighting, chasing, running, jumping and carrying on like crazy. Stubby is trying to eat from a feeder that is just almost out of reach, so it is hanging on to the side of a branch and is literally holding itself horizontally out to the feeder to just grab a sunflower seed or two, then it sits on the branch to eat it. I can't imagine the muscles it takes to do that. But ---- he tried going to another feeder and two other squirrels jumped him. What can I say; --- it sucks to be stubby this morning, and watching him shake that stubby little tail because he is mad is hilarious. I wonder if the other squirrels call him "Chipmunk" because that is what he reminds me of.

The hummingbird has been here several times this morning. It not only has a new feeder to come to but the butterfly bush is starting to bloom and they go to them routinely. The bird baths are in full use too this morning. Ms. Kate refilled them yesterday afternoon and the blackbirds are lining up to bathe this morning. Yesterday morning I had four of them in the bath all at once. There was water going everywhere. At the moment there are two bathing and one drinking  from their favorite of my two birdbaths. I'm not sure why they really use the one over the other. I think though it is because that one is flat on the bottom instead of slanted and the water isn't as deep.

I may mow the yards today. They don't look "bad" but they could use a mowing. I through a bunch of the weeds and stuff that I pulled out of the flowerbeds out in the yard so I need to mow over that, and they look a little "fuzzy". I did a lot of string trimmer trimming yesterday so mowing would just make it look complete for the weekend.

I also have a doctor's appointment today. About six months ago I went in to have a spot looked at on the back of my arm. The doctor did a biopsy on it and the results came back fine. However, the wound from the biopsy healed really weird. I don't know if it is just a weird scar or what but it is raised and changes all the time. Some times it feels like I have a bunch of needles sticking in my arm and it hurts all the way up and down my arm. Other times it will swell and get crimson like it was a big blood blister. Other times it gives me no problem at all. So, I'm having Dr. J check it out again. I guess the worst he can do it biopsy it again. I hate to think of that because it's a bloody mess.

That's about this morning. It's time to give God my prayers of gratefulness for providing another beautiful day. It is cool and clear and sunny out there today. Tomorrow it is supposed to start heating up again but these past few days have been a special blessing. I hope they have been a special blessing for you too. Peace.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

It's Wednesday already??? I wasn't quite done with Tuesday yet. But --- time is like a wild horse; you can throw a bridle on it but you'll never control it. (Man, thinking deep already this morning. It's too early for that.)

It's bright, it's sunny, it's cool, and it's beautiful outside this morning. I have a couple of extremely bright yellow goldfinches sitting here on the bird bath and the sun is just glistening off of their yellow. What a wonderful sight. It's just another blessing sent my way to help me enjoy this day. Between them and the cardinals, dashing around here and there, it is very enjoyable sitting here watching the buffet activities. I need to fill a couple of the feeders again today though. So far today, only Stubby has come through the yard and it didn't stay. So my feeders are squirrel free --- at the moment. I know they will all be coming around shortly.

I did get some yard work done yesterday. I got the beans hoed and cleaned out the weeds. I think that the package of beans we got must have had some "mistake" beans in it. A couple of the bean plants have long tendrils on them and they have found their way over to the tomato cages like they were pole beans or something. It isn't a big deal, but it is strange. My tomato plants have several tomatoes on them.  They are still green and only about as big as a ping pong ball but they are there. The squash have a lot of blooms on them too. I should have a good crop of summer squash. I'll need to water the garden again tonight. We aren't predicted for any rain for any time soon. I also pulled a lot of plants out of the flower bed next to the patio and sunporch. We allow the phlox to grow there but there is also a second kind of plant that grows as big as the phlox but is a weed of some sort. I try to keep it under control because I don't know what it is.  But it will cover and crowd out anything else that I want in that bed. It doesn't bloom and therefore it is a nuisance. The phlox is greater for attracting the hummingbirds alongside of the butterfly bush I have planted out there.

The family is all busy planning for the family vacation at the end of this month. Ms. Kate and I have rented a six bedroom place up on the mountains of Gatlingburg, TN for a week and the girls are coming in with their families. This is our third time to do this and it is such a wonderful week, and it goes so very fast. But, I want to do this as long as we are able and can afford it. With our family being spread from coast to coast --- it is important that we can all get together at least every two years. Thank goodness for social media because we all get together on Facebook Messenger two or three times a week and talk. I well remember the days of super expensive "long-distance" telephone calls. You just didn't make a call except in an emergency. Now, I can sit here with my IPad and hit a button and see and talk to any and all of the girls instantly if they are available. The "wrist-radio" of the 1940's Dick Tracey comic strip has become a reality.

Time to refill the coffee cup and get busy. I pray you will have a blessed day filled with all of the joy your soul can handle. Peace.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Good morning to ya! It is a fine morning for waking up, smelling the coffee, and enjoying yet another day of life here on God's earth. It is a breezy morning out there and already 70 degrees. The sun is beginning to break through the clouds and light up my back yard, and I have several guests at the buffet. Of course the blackbirds are here early. They are rapidly depleting the supply of bark butter bits out there. That is definitely a favorite of almost all of my birds. Next would be the bark butter paste. From there I guess it is a toss up between the sunflower seeds, and the suet, or the various seed and nut "cakes" and cylinders that I put out. I've seen one or two downy woodpeckers use the new horizontal bark butter paste feeder but that is all. I think it was a great theory, --- but lacks in practicality. But, I'll leave it out there.

There is interesting watching going on across the street on the other side of Ms. Margaret's house. The moving trucks have been there yesterday and are here again early today. Ms. Kate and I recognize that routine well. Yesterday would have been the packing day and today will be the load out day. Moving is such a hectic process and we have done it so very often. The boxing up and loading out is bad enough ---- the arrival and carrying in to the new house is hell. First of all you are moving into a house and only have "an idea" of where furniture might go. Some times you're right, other times it isn't close. Then come the boxes, and boxes, and boxes, none of which do the packers unpack. So imagine being in your new home and being surrounded by as many as 400 boxes of "stuff" and not really knowing where anything is. If you are lucky, the boxes were properly marked as to which room they came from and then are put back into the corresponding room on this end. But --- I will tell you that Ms. Kate is the master of it all. When we returned from the Philippines, we received four truck loads in four days. Three fourths of it we had not seen in two years because it was in overseas storage. But --- Ms, Kate had it not only all put away by the end of the week, we had company for the weekend visiting. Just one of the many reasons why she's my hero!

The lilies and the hydrangeas are both blooming nicely now adding a lot of orange and white color to the back yard. My guests at the buffet this week have included one or maybe two brown thrush. It might just be one but it is in and out so often that I'm not sure. It darts back and forth and eats strictly from the ground. I'm not really sure what it's diet is but I suspect maybe bugs although I also see it under the feeders sometimes. But there again it could be eating bugs. I don't know, but it is a welcome addition to the mix. It/they come every year for a couple of weeks early in the summer and then again in the fall.

The coffee cup is empty and I suspect that Ms. Kate might be ready for a refill too. I hope you take time to enjoy the blessings of the day that God is bestowing upon you. Peace.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Happy Monday! Let's welcome a whole new week together shall we? Seven brand new days in which we can decide whether to be useful to society and kind to our fellowman or just walk around like a bunch of grumpy people interested only in ourself. You know, we literally make that decision everyday either consciously or subconsciously.

This morning God has presented us with a cloudy sky and there is a possibility that we may get a few more rain showers. I give thanks for the rain we did get because the yard and the garden needed it. It is muggy outside though this morning. The temperature is around 74 and the dew point about matches it. That makes for muggy uncomfortable conditions. I planted a couple of cucumbers and four okra plants on Saturday afternoon so a little rain on them would be good. You might recall from my posts last year that my okra plants got to over nine feet tall. I bought the same variety again this year so I am anxious to see what they are going to do. Last year had to be a fluke; but I reckon we will see. Last year looked like I had planted Jack's magic beans out there.

Yesterday was Pentecost in the Christian world. If you are not familiar, Pentecost is the birthday of the Christian Church  because it it is the day that God layed the Holy Spirit on the gathered disciples in Jerusalem, fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. From there, the disciples scattered throughout several countries preaching the gospel in the language of the country to which they went. It was an ability they received through the Holy Spirit. We went to our home church for worship and Pastor Art gave a good Pentecost sermon and then we celebrated through the taking of Holy Communion.  There was one thing that Pastor Art said though that I need to do some research on. I understood him to say that the disciples were gathered there to celebrate Pentecost which alludes that Pentecost may have already been a Jewish celebration. I've never heard that before so it is time to do some research. If you have any knowledge of this, feel free to comment on it; I'd love to hear your thoughts. It is always possible that I simply misunderstood what he was saying.

My Google calendar says I have nothing on my calendar for today. But, that isn't exactly true. I need to take Ms. Kate to the Apple Store to have her IPad looked at, and I need to take my laptop computer to Office Depot and have it looked at. And we need to stop and pick up some cases of water for Ms. Kate. Her IPad has quit giving her sound when she plays her computer games. It does fine when playing music etc., just when she plays her couple of games like Criminal Case and Bingo. So, it needs to be looked at or we need to change some setting. My laptop keyboard of is giving me trouble because the space bar doesn't always work and I end up running multiples of words together before I realize it. It may be that I hit the space bar too hard or too quickly; I don't know. What I do know is that it is aggravating to have to go back through a document and re-do my work.

I guess that is it for today. My buffet guests are here and are enjoying their breakfast. Maybe it is time for me to do the same. I pray God will surround you with His grace and love today and that you will then share what you have received with someone else. Have a blessed day.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Happy Saturday morning. It is a warm on; -- 70 degrees and going up to 90 today or so it says on my Accuweather app. I have lots of small birds here this morning; sparrows, house finches, and gold finches. A robin came in and took a bath in one of the bird. Baths while a blackbird sat in the other taking its bath. I run a good hotel/spa and buffet here. They still haven't finished off the sunflower feeders so I'm just waiting until they do to refill them.

I got the mulberry bushes cut down to ground level yesterday out there in the raspberry patch. When the raspberries are done putting on berries, I'll cut them back some and then maybe I'll be able to take a grubbing hoe to those mulberry bushes. It's not terribly pleasant work because the black raspberry, as opposed to the red raspberry has a lot of tiny thorns that snag you when you work in the bushes. It's not that it hurts all that much, but rather that they cling to you. However, they aren't nearly as bad as a berry that we grew when I was a kid. It was called a "Heath Berry". My father started them from somebody. They must have been a hybrid because I've never heard of anybody else raising them.  They grow into enormous bush and have terrible half inch thorns on them. The thorns grow back toward the bush so that they entangle you when you reach in. The berries are large and delicious but you definitely pay a price in skin picking them. To top it off, the wasps love them. So you not only get your arms torn up picking the berries, but you had to constantly watch for big red wasps. I love a good heathberry cobbler with some ice cream on it; ---- But I'm not sure it was worth the trouble. My sister and brother-n-law took several starts of them when they got married and put up with them but I never would have.

I think the only thing on our agenda today is to go to Sam's Club. I don't like going on a Saturday because it is "Sample Day" and old farts go there and clog up the aisle waiting on a free bite of food sample, knowing they aren't going to buy the product. But it's "free" and I swear they go there and make that their lunch.

Tomorrow is Pentecost Sunday and we need to pick a church to attend. My two former churches begin their summer combined church schedule tomorrow and just maybe we'll defy the "rules" and sneak in the back door and worship there. Isn't that a terrible thing to have to do --- sneak into a worship service because of some set of artificial man made "rules"? Ms. Kate and I will have to talk about it.

I have about a half dozen cardinals here now eating and bathing and they bright red shining in the sun is beautiful. It's time to refill my cup and have a word or two with the creator of that Cardinal and give thanks for a world of blessings that are coming my way again today. I hope you will take time to do the same thing. Peace.

Friday, June 2, 2017

The weekend is here! I remember when that was really a thing to look forward to but since I'm retired it seems a bit anti-climatic. Friday kind of looks just like Thursday, which looks like Wednesday etc. etc. .  But the joy is that it is a beautiful day outside and the rain that we were supposed to get has stalled out to the west and is moving slowly this way. It shouldn't get here until Monday. That should make a lot of people happy because I heard last night about a whole lot of the local churches that are having festivals of one kind or another this weekend. Maybe they will make a lot of money for their charities etc.

I'm slowly getting around to finishing up the jobs I've set out for myself. The main one I still have not finished up is cutting out that mulberry bush from the raspberries. That will get done today. My raspberries have come along nicely but the mulberry bush makes it hard to get to them. I really need to reconfigure what I want to do with that patch. Last year we put stakes around it  and strung some thin wire to kind of hold up the raspberry canes but they have just gone their own way and my efforts seem to have failed. So, I need to drop back and punt. We also need to go to the Coop today and see if we can get three or four okra plants.

The buffet is busy this morning. I bought a new hummingbird feeder yesterday and I also picked up a replacement for one of the other feeders that I had for a long time. It has deteriorated over the years so I picked up a new one. But -- i have a few squirrels here this morning including Stubby and BT, and woodpeckers, goldfinches, cardinals, wrens, robins, sparrows, and cardinals. So, the gang is all here. I didn't fill the sunflower feeders yesterday because I want them to finish off what is out there. That keeps it from getting moldy. I did go get another 40# bag of seed though.

Ms. kate and I went to visit our friend Bob yesterday. It was the first time we have seen him since Ms. Georgia Ann's funeral. He is hanging in there as well as his grief will let him. What else would one expect? They were married for 65 years so he has virtually lost half of himself. It was strange to sit there with him and Ms. Georgia Ann not be there. It was also sad to see the area where he has always had a big garden, sitting there empty. But with her illness and hospitalization, he certainly didn't have time to worry about garden. But, we had a good visit and we'll make sure that we keep that relationship going.

Time to refill the coffee cup and go check on the mail. I hope your day is as bright as the sunshine that is making this such a beautiful day. As the song says; "Let the Sun Shine In". Peace

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Thank you Lord God for a beautiful start to a brand new month. The sun is shining, there is no breeze to speak of and the humidity is low. So, I'm sitting here with my second cup of coffee, listening to the Talley Trio, looking out at the lilies blooming in my backyard, and watching my buffet guests. So far it is mostly a few cardinals and downy woodpeckers, and one squirrel.

Yesterday I layed out a list of things I wanted to get accomplished and I did get some of it done. The lawns are mowed and I got the azelias trimmed back in front of the house. They were starting to cover the windows and get out of control so I took a pair of snippers and went to work on them. Now we can see clearly out the front windows.

What I didn't get done was cutting back that mulberry bush in my raspberries, nor did I get the bird feeders filled or the bird bath cleaned out. Nor did I get up to see my buddy Bob. I called him and talked to him but he had appointments to take care of so we are going up there this afternoon and visit with him for awhile.

I bought a new bark butter feeder last week at Wild Birds and Things and so far the woodpeckers haven't figured it out. It hangs horizontally instead of vertically. The concept is that the woodpecker can eat off of it because they hang upside down and under limbs when they eat because they can cling so well while other birds like the starlings can't cling. But, so far there have been no takers. I guess I have to set up a projector and do a training class or something. LOL  We also have to get a new hummingbird feeder today while we are out. The one I have out there has gotten so dirty on the inside and I can't seem to get it clean, so I'll get a new one today. And maybe I'll go to Pet Foods and pick up a 40# bag of sunflower seed. The can is half empty. While I'm there I'll also get some suet cakes. They have cleaned out all of the suet feeders  and I generally put out eight at a time. So yes, we'll spend some money on maintaining the backyard buffet today.

In twenty four days our daughters and husbands and most of the grandchildren will be meeting down in Gatlingburg TN for a week of vacation and family reunion. We are all excited about it but nobody more than me. I just love having all my girls around me, listening to them chatter and visit and laugh together. We all live so far apart and cousins hardly know each other. This year my oldest grandson and his family can't make it because of work, and my second oldest granddaughter can't make it because she has a professional motocross race to race in. As old as the grandchildren are getting, I fully realize this is going to be the pattern more and more. And, Ms. Kate and I are getting older too. But --- God has blessed us as a family and thanks to the use of social media, we do all talk almost daily even if we don't see each other. And I'm blessed that I have a family that truly loves to stay in constant contact with one another whether physically or by social media. I thank God for that.

I've set here long enough. I got get on with my day. I've had my prayers and I've had my meditation so I'm prepped for the day. I hope your day is filled with the love of the Holy Spirit and the peace that comes with a firm relationship with the God who fills your life with blessings. Peace.