Saturday, May 30, 2009

Calf Tails

For those of us who spent our summers on the farm... you will understand the so called humor that I endured as a child. My Grandfather played such a huge part of my life. It seemed as though he had all the time in the world for my sister and I. I was raised by a sometimes single Mom who worked a lot, so having anyone give me one on one time made me feel special.

Now I've never been an indoors type of gal, I always loved being outdoors and it really didn't matter what I was doing, as long as it was outside. One of my favorite things to do early in the morning was to get up with Grandpa and eat breakfast and then we'd go do chores. On their farm were Beef Cattle, Horses and Chickens and various dogs. I learned early on how to saddle and ride a horse, help birth calves, look for eggs, pluck chickens (yuck!), pick cherries, pick apples and make a trip to the cider mill to have them pressed. I learned so much about hard work and the rewards it would bring.

Now there was this one morning when my Grandpa said to me, "we need to get that calf use to a rope around his neck". I thought to myself, this will be interesting... I've never seen Grandpa leash train a calf before. Little did I know that he was absolutely up to no good. So the event started at the barn with twine and me and yes the calf. Grandpa said,"I want you to start out slow and see what he does". Now if any of you are familiar with calfs, their as unpredictable as can be. But I didn't know this, I just did what Grandpa said to do. So I pulled... and the calf wouldn't move, I coached him and still nothing, even when I pulled again he seemed to lean back in defiance. I looked to Grandpa and he had the funniest look on his face. Then he said to me, "That there is a stubborn one, give him a whack on the rear". So I did and that's when things got interesting. That calf shot like a bullet out of a gun! We were on our second lap around the barn and I looked at Grandpa and said, "What do I do?!!". He said,"Whatever you do, don't let go!". So me being the trustworthy granddaughter that I was, kept hanging on for life and running this strange forced run. But about the fourth time around the barn, I noticed that Grandpa could barely stand up because of the laughing fit he was having. And then it occurred to me. HE DID THIS JUST FOR FUN. No wondered I'd never seen him leash train a calf. He made the whole thing up to see me go for the ride or run of my life. Today as I run that event through my mind, all I see is this calf tail that I was hanging onto for life and a thin piece of twine.

I think back on that man and I worshipped the ground he walk on. I loved his humor, his sense of adventure and that he always carried peanuts in his pocket. I remember when one of the beef cattle would be picked up to be slaughtered and the tears running down his face. I remember him everyday, all the time. He lived to be 94 and for this I'm grateful God let us be together for so many years.

Until Tomorrow,
Java Girl 


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sleighs, Snow, Food and Wine

I was thinking today.... what has been my best trip in the last year? And immediately I remembered our family trip to Michigan Christmas 2008. My sister planned a night out which included a sleigh ride, seven course dinner and wine tasting all in one event. 

So the trip went like this. While all the teenagers went to the movies... my sister, brother- in-law, hubby and I went on a little drive to this golf course turned winter wonderland. We arrived to find horses harnessed to sleighs.

We had an out of body experience as we rode through the woods. The snow was heavy on the trees as we glided over the snow and the bells, oh the bells, they made the night magic. But as if that wasn't enough, we then arrived at a cabin in the middle of the woods to enjoy our meal.

The smell of Michigan Cherry Coffee was in the air the minute we stepped into the cabin and it tasted so good after a cold sleigh ride. And I can't even describe how delicious the food and wine were, it was absolutely on my top 10 best meals ever eaten. 

The family who ran the business were all so cute. The Grandma told the best stories and she was also the head cook. I could have listened to her for hours.

On our way back, we loaded the sleighs and I couldn't help but feel sad that I was entering the real world again. It was so surreal, the world really did stop for me on Dec. 27. 2008 for about four hours.

Hope you remember to plan special times together with family and friends this year!

Until Later,
Java Girl

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

To Compost or not to Compost... that is the question.

I just started Composting because I would look at all my kitchen scraps and wonder why I would just throw them away. I remember my Grandparents saved every scrap of leftover food and then throwing it out to the chickens. There was nothing wasted in their home. Below is my Composting container.

You might be asking why I'm using an container. Here where we live there are so many rats that you can't leave scraps outdoors. We had this one rat that got into our garage and he wouldn't leave... we tried a sticky pad; he just dragged it around until it eventually fell off. Then we tried a trap; he just ate the cheese off from the trap. After that Mr. Rat decided to move into our daughters doll house and he had collected little bits of items that were still packed away in storage boxes. To tell you the truth it was disturbingly bold of him and I instantly became strangely afraid of him, like he had more self confidence an I and that he had bigger plans for the garage. My imagination could go on and on. But that's when Dad got out the big guns and we bought Rat Killer. We never found a trace of him after that and we believe he's in Rat heaven somewhere reflecting on his last rat days in our garage and what a bountiful time he had.

Now back to composting...sorry I trailed off like that, but it was quite eventful.

I bought a composting kit from a company in Oregon, I liked the idea of the red worms doing the composting rather then me having to keep the composting going with enzymes. But after looking at how easy it is to compost, I wish I hadn't wasted the money. And the soil is amazing, I mean really amazing, I've put it over plants that looked dead and next thing you know they're resurrected! Maybe I'm on to something..."Resurrection Soil". Would you buy any?

Now the real truth is I really do have a problem going through and sorting out the worms. I wear gloves and that works out OK for me, but I really don't like touching moldy/ furry food. Should I seek out help for this or is everyone else on the same page as me? 

Anyways, if you've never tried composting you might want to give it a try, it's been more fun than I expected.

Happy Composting,
Java Girl

My Flowers My Joy

I just love this picture I took today. I love Macro setting on my camera... it's so up close and personal

Is there anyone out there who can tell me what this tentacle looking flower is? I'm a bit puzzled by it.

I never realized that this flowers petals are rolled up and they slowly unfold, flatten and make this beautiful design. And I have no idea why the snails here love this certain flower... look at how they've chomped on it's leaves.

Hope you take time to look at the flowers today!
Java Girl

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dog Days

Our family learned very early on, that my youngest truly cannot reach her inner joy without a canine friend. She's an outdoorsy type of gal, but she doesn't like to be alone. So to fill that spot in her life she's had Chief (now deceased) and Snoop who's pictured below. 

And anywhere Andrea goes, he goes too! He loves her too death... and we know if Snoop's with her, she's safe.

We found him on the internet when we lived in Alaska. And he was in San Diego. Dad was traveling to San Diego so we planned an meeting and Dad said, "yes" but one hitch... he's not leash trained. Andrea said no problem...paid for his plane ticket, put a back pack on him and put him to work delivering newspapers. I'm not sure the old owners were too happy with the work he was doing, being that they fed him real steak everyday. But he sure did seem like he liked us.

And train him she did. He is the most well behaved and balanced dog I've ever seen. Her commitment and responsibility to him has never faltered. And in return he's allowed her to have the freedom to trek around trails, lakes, neighborhoods and beaches. 

I'm feeling like I need to name today, National Hug your Dog Day!
Until tomorrow,
Java Girl

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Friend of a Friend

I really can't believe what a small world we live in. I heard or read somewhere that in a group of seven strangers, that one of them will know someone you know. And I have found that that is so true!! For instance in our Home School group I met a wonderful gal named Darlene and she just moved to San Diego from Italy. Now that's not so amazing, but what is, is that she met a friend of mine from three moves ago and they became close friends while they both were stationed in Italy. Now Darlene and I are becoming friends. 

So the story goes like this. I had a friend that moved to Italy who made a friend who moved to San Diego and we just happened to meet. Or it could go like this... I had to leave a friend then move to Alaska then wait four years then moved to San Diego and just happen to meet a gal who just happen to know my friend. Confusing isn't it. Well it happens all the time. Especially for my husband. He's always flying somewhere and he'll call me and say, "you'll never guess who I saw in the airport." or "I was sitting next to this lady and she knew my high school shop class teacher." I could absolutely go on and on.
So my new friend (Darlene) and I walk on Wednesday nights. And I absolutely love flowers...but not necessarily the store bought, I like any flower growing in it's natural setting, just look at my iphotos and you will see. But my new friend gave me this beautiful rose and I think it seals the deal on our friendship, because it is absolutely the most awesome orange in the middle and this cool christmas red on the outer petals. I will tell you that after she cut it for me while standing in her driveway... I smiled all the way back to my own driveway. 

As you can tell... it doesn't take much to thrill me,
Java Girl

PS- Is there anyone out there who has had something similar happen to you?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

American Idol

Yesterday as daughter #2 and I were entering the Military Base, we saw an amusing sign that said, "American Idol, Cinema Entrance". It just so happens that we were driving past the Cinema, so we took a lookie lou and sure enough there was a huge line outside the Cinema and Military Police were directing traffic. I thought, it must be tryouts. It's funny what shows up on base... anything from Automobile sales, Mini Carnivals, Rug sales, Big Country Stars and the list goes on and on.

As we were leaving the Commissary (grocery store), we could hear someone Rapping (singing). Oh my goodness! Daughter #2 and I just giggled. But this leads me to another story that my husband told me about two years ago. He had a large group of military students and sometimes he would hang around after training and talk to them. It was always interesting to hear where they were from and some of their interests. One day as my husband was talking to a small group, one of the young men told my husband that he Rapped and that he just had his first CD made. My husband not usually taken back, but in this case "sort of", asked him to immediately show him how he raps. Now hubbies version was much more comical but as the story goes... this young man sang from beginning to end and went through all his moves. After he finished he looked at hubby for approval. My dear husband then said, "well I guess that's good, if that's what you're into". 

Until yesterday I had forgot the Crazy Rapper story and had to laugh as I heard a young man rapping away for all the base to hear... just like some white boy from Jersey who put a show on for his instructor.

Happy Mother's Day,
Java Girl  

Friday, May 8, 2009

Strawberries, Flowers, Plants and Water Lilies

Today my youngest daughter and I went strawberry picking in Carlsbad. And boy did we have fun! Below are the "fruits of our labor", literally!

We had such a great time together. I've taken my girls strawberry picking for as long as I can remember.

On the way home we stopped off at the Botanical Gardens. We went crazy with our cameras!

The lighting was amazing....

This gal seemed so real...

I wanted to sit by this pond all day....

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Friend Bank

My oldest daughter amazes me with her interests. She has taught me to experience life in a way that I'm sure I would have never tried. Her strengths are endurance and integrity. With some health struggles in her past she has overcome in so many ways. One of the ways is by what she refers to as "Pen Paling". Being stuck in the house posed a challenge for her and she overcame with writing to girls all over the world. With twenty two pen pals and her longest pal relationship being six years, she has been able to experience cultures in other countries without even leaving the house.

For example...when her friend in Korea had to drink this horrible bean tea because of a health problem, she sent some to my daughter to try so she would understand how awful it tasted. It was unspeakably disturbing, to say the least. 

My daughter also loves to do "swaps". What that means is that you find a common like, for instance "tea". And then your pen pal sends you tea from her country and you send her tea back. It has been so interesting to get tea from Hungary (they have the best fruit teas), Germany, Korea, Canada, Norway and the Philippines to name a few.

Also when Pen Pals travel they will usually send a postcard from where they visited. Above are just a few... at one time she had her whole closet plastered with cards. 

As a mom, it makes me so happy to hear stories of what is going on in people lives, their struggles and triumphs. It's been a blessing to pray for these gals and to see situations pan out for the good. A dear friend from our church in Alaska said something to me one time that never occurred to me, she said "Your daughter has been a missionary from her desk". And I would say that that would be the truest blessing as when your children start reaching out to others with the sole motive being to introduce others to Christ while building a relationship.

Proud Mama,
Java Girl

Monday, May 4, 2009

What a Day!

As sit here today I am so happy because this is one of those days when my pile of paperwork is done, my house is fairly clean, my errands are done and my plants are planted. I really like this feeling, I wish I could bottle it.

I've always been secretly jealous of my friends who have done tours overseas. And the reason is because they usually had a maid. Philippines and Puerto Rico are hot spots when acquiring a maid. And I always chuckle inside when they arrive back to the US and go on about having to do their own cleaning and cooking. Welcome to the REAL WORLD!

But in all honesty, I have it really good. Especially after watching Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility. All those women did was work, no wonder they died early. So I take good care of myself being careful not to over do. But like I said, it sure is nice to have a "all caught up day".

Above is a picture of the pots I planted and my lemon tree told me to tell you he's very happy in
his new home.

Until tomorrow,
Java Girl

Friday, May 1, 2009

Fur Comes in Different Packages

We've been fortunate to have had our pets move with us every time. One of our furry family members is Rascals (yes, a small child did name him). Now Rascals has an interesting past, being that his mother abandoned the litter when they were born and the family german shepherd took over the rising of the litter. The kittens were fed by bottle, but the dog took over the cleaning, transportation and crowd control, it was amazing to see. I remember the first time we visited to see if we were going to take a kitten, we sat on the floor and were playing with them. Then in comes the dog who starts licking and cleaning Rascals and I couldn't believe it, the dog was so rough... but little Rascals just looked as happy as can be. We decided that day to take him home.
Eleven years and three moves later our Rascals is as fun now as he was as a kitten. He has a little arthritis but still keeps us busy with his humor. Truly, I've never know a funnier cat. One of his great antics is he's allowed dry food and our other cat is on a special diet of moist food. Now this is how it plays out.... Rascals meows to be fed, we come to his aid and he starts to eat. Then when no one is around, our other cat comes in and Rascals lets him eat his dry food, which he is not allowed to have because he throws it up. Yuck! It's like the two get together like secret agent men and devised a scheme, except the scheme is always the same.
But I would say that the biggest reason I love Rascals so much is that he has no street smarts, is nieve and walks around with not a care in the world. For example the other night while he was getting beat up in the bushes outside my bedroom window by a neighbor cat. As I ran outside to rescue him... I found him he was waiting at the door wanting in badly, he had sticks and leaves stuck in his fur and he was all ruffled up, it was hilarious. Our other cat was absolutely furious by this time which means he stood his ground until the neighbor cat left. I've seen our other cat go after our old dog Chief and he was a doberman! 

PS-I think Rascals missed his call from the cat calendar company, don't ya think?

Until tomorrow,
Java Girl