It is the small simple things of life that bring us peace.

Monday, April 28, 2014

If you stare at something long enough

I was trying to get the camera situated on the tripod and totally unprepared to make a picture when I realized that Bentley had been intently staring at the television for quite a while.  Baylee briefly joined him, then left.  I was not really surprised when several minutes later Shadow walked out from behind the television.  Then they had an eyeball to eyeball stare off. 

So, how did it end?  The spell was broken when I knocked over the tripod and they both scrambled for cover. No winner, no loser.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Nasty oak trees

I have five big, beautiful live oak trees around my house, plus a struggling Monterey oak.  I love the shade from the trees; the first time I walked out into the backyard, I fell in love with the trees.   So cool and shady on a hot summer afternoon, I knew I wanted this house.  But little did I know about live oak trees and their nasty habit.
The leaves seem to fall year around, but in early March they go into a major drop.  Some years are worse than others, this has been a moderate year.  Some years I've come home to a carpet of leaves that have accumulated in just a few hours.  I haven't decided if it is better to clean them up frequently or just let them fall and then have a major back-breaking clean-up day.  In early April (later this year) this stuff starts to fall along with the leaves.  It is pollen, ugh!  Not only does it make you sick, but it turns everything a sick yellow.  Like the leaves, it falls for weeks and some years are worse than others.
That's bad enough, but add in four long-haired dogs that bring this stuff inside the house.  No matter how often I clean the deck, this nasty stuff comes right back.  Same thing with vacuuming inside the house.  If fact, I almost think vacuuming is making it worse because it seems to explode into tiny little dots.  It is almost impossible to get off the dogs; I've had to resort to using a "flea" comb that has teeth that are very close together and even then it just seems to explode and then the little dots are impossible to get out of their fur. 

So, what is the dogs' favorite thing to do right now?  They go outside and roll in the stuff until they are covered!  Ugh, nasty oak trees hurry up and finish doing your thing.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter 2014

Easter Blessings to all! 
Sadly, I only made one picture this Easter weekend and that was a chalk drawing done on my driveway that I posted on Instagram (mysmallthings if you want to follow).  But I still had a blessed day.  Church in the morning, an afternoon of cooking/prepping for family, and family time tonight around the table.  God is good, and I am blessed.  I hope you are, too.
Although I have no pictures from today, I did think of several past pictures that are appropriate to share on Easter night.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It's over, done finished, until next year

I'm eternally thankful tonight that April 15th is almost done.  Yes, another tax season has come and gone.  Every year I swear up and down that I'm not going through this again, but here I am proclaiming that I have survived another season.  No, I'm not an accountant, but still closely involved in the process.

This year was brutal.  The guy I work for was busy and I had many things to do, but our business is orderly and we head off problems before they start.  I will not discuss here the others in the office that contributed to the chaos today.  Instead I want to focus on why people procrastinate and why they don't keep up with their affairs.

Now, granted I didn't finish my own taxes until Sunday.  I had them almost done, and had other priorities until I knew on Sunday that it was time to get it done.  But I had everything I needed to do my taxes.  Even in the years that I paid someone I took him an envelope that contained everything he needed and that information was complete.  I know it is human nature to procrastinate, but please people don't wait until the last minute and then expect me to be a miracle worker and produce what you need immediately.  Or fix what you messed up during the last year. 

And, for Pete's sake, people why can't you keep up with your affairs.  We send you statements and tax forms, where are they?  Don't tell me you didn't get them, I know you did.  They come in a big, clearly marked envelope, have you ever thought about setting up a place to put all that stuff so it is together when you need it?  Or, wait, did you just throw it in the trash because you knew you could call me and I would reproduce it for you and then send it wherever it needed to be?  Remember the drill from last year that I need your authorization in writing, with your signature, to send it to a 3rd party. And, why are you calling me?  You can pull them up online now, and don't tell me you don't know how as you are standing there with your cell phone in your hand.  If you can work a smart phone, then you can figure out how to get into your account on line. There are no excuses in my book for waiting to the very last minute and for not having your documents.  So, listen up for next year my fellow Americans!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A nice surprise

What happened while I was gone to work today?  Well, the amaryllis did its thing and opened up.  What a nice surprise to greet me when I pulled into the driveway! 
this was the amaryllis yesterday
and today

Here's the real surprise - I now have 5 stalks that are growing.  These 2 and 3 more, how about that!  I think I will have amaryllis for Easter!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Bottle Trees

I've read about bottle trees and seen pictures of these captivating works of fun art, but until recently I had never seen a real live bottle tree.  The first one was discovered by total surprise, stumbling through the open doors of a business in Fredericksburg, Texas while walking around there one Saturday in early January.
This indoor tree had been created in an effort to make the public aware that Fredericksburg's glass re-cycling facility had been closed.

I don't remember how many bottles are in the tree, but it is many!
My second encounter with an actual bottle tree was on my recent road trip.  While in Jackson I visited the Mississippi Craft Center where they had various forms of art displayed outside the main entrance, including a bottle tree display.

The history behind bottle trees is as interesting as the trees themselves, going back to around 1600 B.C, shortly after hollow glass vessels first appeared in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Stories started circulating about spirits living in them, an idea that is attributed to the whistling sound made by blowing over the mouth of the bottle..

Read more here:
Legends are told that the bottles lure and trap evil spirits to keep them from entering a house; the roaming spirits are thought to be destroyed by the morning sunlight. Glass used on early bottle trees was often blue because of the color’s association with water, which was thought to repel spirits.
Along Mississippi roads you'd now and then see bottle trees; you'd see them alone or in crowds in the front yard of remote farmhouses. I photographed one - a bare crape myrtle tree with every branch of it ending in the mouth of a colored glass bottle - a blue Milk of Magnesia or an orange or green pop bottle; reflecting the light, flashing its colors in the sun, it stood as the centerpiece in a little thicket of peach trees in bloom.
Eudora Welty, One Writer's Beginnings, p.85.

Read more here:

Thursday, April 3, 2014

How many?

For the last two years (maybe three) I've chronicled the blossom of an amaryllis in front of my house.  This year will not be an exception to the continuing tale.  I started with one bulb, a Christmas gift from a co-worker.  By last spring the pot was full of amaryllis plants.  I dug them all up, divided, replanted and gave away many.  I put two large bulbs back in the original pot and scattered several others in various pots.  Over the summer, fall and winter they multiplied into many amaryllis.  I wondered if they would bloom and if I would get multiple blooms.

The speculation came to an end on Sunday afternoon when I realized that two large stalks had shot up from the large pot. If I remember correctly, last year there were four trumpet like flowers on the stalk.  What will happen this year waits to be revealed.

But wait, there's more.  After I made the pictures I got closer, just looking around to check for more blooms.  And, yes, there is one more!   There will be three this year!
This bud is still small, so I'm wondering if its bloom will coincide with Easter.