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Tennessee Adventure

I’m not a big sports fan. I like individual sports teams, usually local or college teams.  Wooooo Pig. Sooooie!  Goo Lady Bears!   It wasn’t until the day before we left for Nashville that I found out the NFL draft was in Nashville the same time we would be.  Oops.  Fortunately we’d made reservations for the hotel and had our tickets to the Gatlin Brothers at the Ryman.  The only real issue would be traffic and parking.

It was raining when we left Willard (cue country music background).  Uneventful trip and check in at motel.  Wednesday we toured the Carnton house and the adjoining Confederate cemetery, as well as the Carter houses.  This battle could have been avoided and included a charge even larger than Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg. After all the touring and listening to stories of the families involved during and after the battle we ate at South 55. I had their Memphis hot chicken sandwich.  It was almost too spicy but I managed to eat it all. My dad said it was the best chicken sandwich he ever had.

Thursday morning we headed to Nashville  the area around the Nissan Arena was blocked to traffic   We found a parking garage near the Ryman and paid the $30 event fee to be there all day.  We checked out the Johnny Cash museum.  Did you know Leonard Nimoy sang “walk the line” ?    You can check it out on you tube  we are a sandwich and for dessert Dennis and I shared a GooGoo Cluster.   They were advertised on the Grand Ole Opry.  They are also good   Then we went to the Patsy Cline Museum   Also fun   Then spent several hours at the Country Music Hall of fame before ending the evening at the Ryman   Gatlin brothers were good  but Ashley Campbell was amazing.   Daughter of Glen Campbell.   The night opened with Tony Jackson in his first time at the Ryman.   I’d never heard of him before but I bet everyone will soon know his name.

We finished up the backstage tour just as the fireworks were going off over the Nissan Arena.  Crazy traffic but we made it to the hotel without incident


Heat Index

91* and 53% humidity = feels like 100*. This morning was marathon weeding before the sun sent me crawling back to the house. This evening I’ll do the final picking of the peas before pulling up the plants. The eggplants are ready to be set out. We have a combination of black beauty and a Japanese variety. We are having to water everything. Monday is our first chance for rain. Ironic after so much soggy weather.

I found 8.5″x8.5″ square aluminum “cake pans” at Dollar General. At 2 for $1.00, I bought all they had. It’s the perfect size for freezing fresh vegetable casseroles that I’ll be happy to have next winter.

Last week Dennis bought a dark roast coffee, just to check it out. I find it bitter when drinking it hot, but iced and with a splash of half n half it’s declicious.

Brenda and I adjusted our walking route because it doesn’t cool off enough at night to have even a brief “cool” time in the morning. If we go east and then north, we can get in almost 1.5 miles along a road that goes through a wooded area. We have to walk back the same way, but it gives us our 3 miles. The down side to walking in the shade is the trees block any breeze.

Last night the coyotes woke me up. First was a single coyote, then I heard the train whistle in the distance, followed by Aaron’s dogs howling. Then more coyotes joined in. It was quite a cacophony for a while. The sound of coyotes must trigger a primal reflex because the hairs on my arms always stand up.

Constant Vigilance

All was good in the hood when we did final perimeter patrol last night. This morning Dennis and Khloe discovered something dug a hole and pushed up the fence along the back corner of the chicken pasture. Dennis filled it in with rocks. Fortunately the digging occured after the chickens were safely locked inside their palace. There weren’t any clumps of feathers or blood to suggest anything violent happened to anyone. We’ll have to count everyone tonight when we lock them up. Since this happened along the edge of Aaron’s property and his dogs have killed neighbors chickens and rabbits, they are our #1 suspect. Guess I’ll have to rig up a holster to wear on the outside of my global warming dresses.

It was 66* at 7 AM when Brenda and I walked this morning. The trees along parts of the road gave us some shade, so it was pleasant. Most of the farmers mowed their fields over the weekend. We heard several cows bawling for their babies, so someone must be weaning calves.

After lunch I took a cabbage over to my parents. When I got home I discovered Khloe had started the Roomba. I guess she felt bad for knocking it off the charger a few days ago. When I pushed the button to run it Saturday morning, the red light came on, saying the battery was not charged. I had to Swiffer the the living room and bedrooms by hand. I hadn’t planned to run the Roomba today, but who am I to contradict a dog’s wisdom?

Return of the global warming dresses

The heat is here to stay. No rain predicted for a week. Dennis got the garden tilled up enough that the ground is finally drying out. We hope to have everything planted in the next day or two. Then we’ll have to figure out the watering schedule. That’s assuming there won’t be rain in the near future. This afternoon I traded in my sweat soaked shorts and t-shirt for a loose sleeveless “shift”. It’s what I call my global warming dresses. They touch at the shoulders and nowhere else. The only flaw in the ones I currently own is lack of pockets. I have 100% cotton fabric and a pattern with pockets to remedy that problem. Just as soon as I sit down and sew.

Friday night we had a medium Hawaiian pizza paired with Mother’s Brewing Co. (Springfield microbrewery) Stepdude. It was a good combination and the perfect way to start the weekend. Pizano’s was a bit more crowded than on previous Fridays. We’re starting to notice “regulars” and wonder if they are just there on Fridays like we are, or if they come in more frequently.

Saturday afternoon Matt, Sara, Jax & Zane stopped by. It was too hot to be outside so we played board games and enjoyed air conditioned conversation.

Today I noticed the yellow climbing rose and zinnias are blooming, along with the purple cone flowers (aka echinacea). Something was eating the leaves earlier in the spring, but it’s coming back strong. So far I haven’t noticed any butterflies, although the cabbage moths are still hanging out around the cabbages that I haven’t picked yet. I toss the outer leaves to the chickens so they will take care of any eggs or caterpillars that might be planning to set up housekeeping in the cabbage patch.

The baby wrens finally left the nest so I could clean their mess out of my airplane plant. It doesn’t look much worse for the wear.

I mowed all the yards this afternoon. I’m hoping that the upcoming dry spell will slow down the grass growing and I can get a break from what feels like constant mowing.

Return of the Heat Index

Yesterday the thermometer said 89* but according to the weather people, the humidity made it feel like 94*. Today is predicted to be a “real scorcher”.

Wednesday I went to Rolla/St. James to meet up with a friend I hadn’t seen in 5 years because she and her husband moved to CT. She was in Rolla arranging for her mom to go into an assisted living facility in Rolla, where she still has family. I drove over and we spent the afternoon and evening together. She got 2 beds in her hotel room, so we had a sleepover. We did a lot of talking and laughing. There might have been some almost hysterical laughing after a bit of wine & beer at Public House. Even though it rained earlier in the day, it was comfortable sitting out in their garden. We also ate some of their amazing wood fired oven pizza. It was sad to get up the next morning and head our seperate ways. Hopefully we’ll get together again when she returns with her mom in July. She plans to spend a few days, getting her mom settled into her new “home”.

I’m still picking peas but the plants have stopped blooming. It’s too hot for them. It’s time to pick the larger cabbages. I plan to make stuffed cabbage casseroles and freeze them. We’ll have plenty of coleslaw as well. The garden is still too wet to plant anything. Even though it is hot, the humidity keeps things from drying out.

I haven’t had much time to read, but the first pages of The Dictionary of Lost Words got my attention. The difference in meaning of words and what is important to men vs women. The main character Esme sits under the table where her father and other men decide what words will go into their new dictionary. She collects the scraps of paper with the words they deem not suitable to go into the dictionary for whatever reason.

It’s Friday. We’ll go to the Willard Farmer’s market about 5 PM. Then we’ll have pizza and a beer at Pizano’s to officially start the weekend.

Sudden (and unexpected) chicken death

It’s a real thing. Sunday at noon, all our chickens were healthy and happy. At 4 PM there was a dead hen in the middle of the chicken palace. She was still warm, just dead. No sign of injury. She hadn’t been acting sick. It looked like she just fell over, and died. After much research and reading other tales of finding a chicken dead for no apparent reason, I’m going with the common thread…it just happens. So now we have 21 hens and 1 rooster.

Yesterday evening the garden was dry enough that Dennis could till up an area to plant the extra hot hatch chili peppers. He got 39 into the ground with a few left over, in case some of the transplants don’t make it. Hatch chilis are our hope for income at the end of summer. So far, no one has been selling hatch chilis at the local farmer’s markets. We also have quite a few “word of mouth” people wanting to buy them once they are ripe. We haven’t figured out a way to roast them as we sell them, but we have a couple months to figure it out.

Dennis got up early this morning and tilled up another section of the garden. He planted the corn but then he had to come in and clean up. We volunteered to work at the Willard Food Pantry from 10-2 today. It wasn’t that busy and the people who showed up for food were very nice. It was all moms and a couple of them carpooled. Covid cases are on the rise in this area so the Food Pantry isn’t letting the people in to shop. Instead, we follow a list of staples to go in the bags, then ask if there is anything special their family likes. We then put the bags into the trunk of the car. Most just take what goes in the bags, but I did put in an extra cake mix and frosting for a mom who had a kid having a birthday next week. Our last customer arrived about 1:45, just as it was starting to rain. We got soaked carrying out the bags. It was still raining after we did the closing up routine. We got soaked again going to the van, and then coming into the house once we got home. When it finally stopped, there was 1.75″ in the gauge. No more gardening today.

Pea pickin’

Yesterday I picked peas for the first time this season. I picked more today and I plan to steam them with a bit of melted butter and a sprinkle of fresh dill for supper tonight. Ravioli and a salad to go along with the peas. The peas will be the star of the meal.

While I was picking peas, I noticed a couple of those pesky white cabbage moths flitting around. Fortunately the cabbage is almost ready to pick, so maybe they won’t have a chance be a pest this year. Cabbage will be picked and eaten before any eggs they might lay will have a chance to hatch.

We had 3 days of partial to full sun but the garden remains too wet to do anything. It sprinkled earlier and thunderstorms are predicted for later this afternoon. I managed to get all the yards mowed yesterday afternoon.

I finished What’s Yours and Mine. It was a more complex plot than I was expecting. The ending wasn’t as happy and neatly tied up as I expected, but I definitely liked the book. My thoughts keep returning to it and wondering how a couple of the characters might move forward in the “future” beyond the ending of the book.

Thursday evening we went to a Springfield Cardinals baseball game. Individuals and businesses near Hammonds Field raised the price to park in their lots to $20, which is more than the game tickets. We met up with 3 other couples from St. James. We parked for free at the Price Cutter parking lot (they had announced that they’d allow baseball fans to park in their lot for free) and had a beer at a nearby bar called The Dugout. We got our dollar brats at the stadium and enjoyed $3 off beer, which made it cheap enough to enjoy. The weather was perfect and our seats near first base. The Cardinals scored the first run, but ended up losing the game. We honestly didn’t care who won. We were happy to be at a ball game with friends.

Friday night we watched “Bandolero” on GRIT. We expected it to be good based on the actors, George Kennedy, Jimmy Stewart, Dean Martin and Raquel Welch. The best part was Jimmy Stewart masquerading as a hangman to save his brother (Dean Martin) and gang from hanging after a botched bank robbery. Then with everyone in town chasing the escaped gang, Jimmy Stewart sucessfully robs the bank. Unfortunately the rest of the movie drags on and on, then ends badly.


are right up there with chocolate and wine. Thursday afternoon we had a combination of all 3 to celebrate Christa’s birthday. We had a great time and whatever happened, remains a secret among the six of us.

There was a lot of stormy weather Thursday, but it didn’t put a damper on anyone’s spirits. This morning I emptied 3″ from the rain gauge.

This afternoon I went to Plaza Shoes in Springfield. My walking shoes are holding up just fine but I needed a pair of good tennis shoes for every day “out and about” adventures. I’ve got worn out tennis shoes for around the house and in the garden, but nothing I care to wear in public. It took a while, but I found the perfect tennis shoes. I tried on several different brands and styles without anything looking or feeling right, but as soon as I put on these Dansko shoes, I knew they were the ones. I’d never tried on Dansko shoes before, but the person assissting me brought them out for me to try. I like getting shoes at Plaza Shoes because of their large selection and sales people who actually assist you and know pros and cons of different brands & styles. Their regular prices are not any more than ordering online or at other stores, plus they were having a big Memorial Day Weekend sale.

I started reading Dusk, Night, Dawn by Anne Lamott. It’s got humor and insight into dealing with the world, politics, religion and relationships while trying to age as gracefully as possible.

While coming home from buying my wonderful tennis shoes, I heard a segment about a new music release on NPR. Rachael and Vilray sing songs they’ve written in the style of the 1930’s & 40’s as well as singing lesser known or unknown songs from the same era. I found them on Spotify and am listening to them as I type. I may have to stop typing so I can get up and dance…

Can it get more wetter?

At 8:30 Monday morning, Brenda and I walked for the first time in about a week. It was already getting steamy by the time we got back home.

Monday afternoon I had to mow through standing water in parts of our back yard and a corner of my parents back yard. We weren’t able to do any work in the garden. We had our first shower for Monday about 6 PM. It rained off and on most of the night and today. Our weather person said there are some serious storms in Kansas and they are headed this way.

Morgan at Kritter Kare gave Khloe a shampoo and summer haircut Monday. It’s a little shorter than I was expecting but she’s evenly cut and smells good. Khloe wasn’t stressed when we dropped her off and Morgan took her inside. Khloe wasn’t stressed when we picked her up. I went ahead and made an appointment for another grooming in 6 weeks. Kritter Kare is out in the country, about 6 miles from where we live. I hope Morgan turns out to be Khloe’s forever groomer.

This morning I went to the quilting group at church to find only a couple other women there. One headed off to a Food Pantry meeting. Elizabeth and I weren’t in the mood to quilt, so we ended up taking down the Spring entry table decorations, bulletin board and altar decor. We replaced them with red/white/blue decorations in honor of Memorial Day. They can remain in place for Flag Day in June and 4th of July. It felt good to get that accomplished. In August we’ll do a back-to-school theme.

I finished Tantalizing Twenty-seven by J. Evanovich and started Later by S. King. Since it’s too wet to do anything outside, I’ve dedicated most of my afternoons to reading.


Ants have invaded. I didn’t notice them until the rain stopped yesterday afternoon. Not only are they in the guest bedroom, both upstairs bathrooms and kitchen, they are even in the mailbox. Fortunately I had some Terro to put out immediately.

After the rain stopped, the temperature immediately started rising. When the sun started peaking out, things got steamy. I came inside and turned on the AC before I started cooking supper. Things felt a lot better when the temperature got down to 74 and 60% humidity inside. It’s 81 and 93% humidity outside this afternoon. I pulled some weeds and planted a few more seeds in the butterfly flower raised bed. I planted some purple hyacinth bean seeds that a member of our church gave me. The seeds looked like little oreo cookies. He and his wife just grow them for the pretty flowers but they are edible.

My 2 year old red climbing rose is magnificent. A friend who lives in Portland has amazing roses, so I guess our cool, cloudy, rainy spring was just what the rose wanted. It has lots of buds, so it will be blooming for a while. On the other hand, my ancient yellow climbing rose is just leafing out. For a while I was worried my extreme pruning last year had killed it.

Our broccoli flowered without making heads. I’m over trying to grow broccoli. The cabbages are starting to make heads. Tomatoes are alive but not looking happy. We’ll be eating green peas soon. The potatoes and onions look good. Monday we’re going to try to plant/mud in more of the garden if possible. I’ll also be mowing on Monday. Tuesday we’ll be back to our “rainy pattern”.

Last night we watched the 1967 “King Kong Escapes”. It was worth it just to see the outfits & hair styles Madam X wears in different scenes. Love me some 60’s fashions.

During all the rain, Dennis built 2 cold frames using mostly scrap lumber and 2 old aluminum storm doors. I’m looking forward to using them this fall…or am I? Do I really want to extend the garden work into late fall and winter?

And still it rains

After lunch I emptied 4.25″ from the rain gauge–about 24 hours of rain. The water was up near the edges of the road in several places when we went to Senior Exercise this morning. There were 14 of us there, which is about the most there usually is. On Fridays we do some of the exercises with our 1 or 2 pound weights weights. A couple people have ankle weights, but most don’t. I don’t.

After days of getting wet and muddy every time she goes out, Khloe smells and looks like a swamp dog. She has a grooming appointment with a different (and local) groomer Monday afternoon. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this will be our “forever groomer”.

I finished Joyland by Stephen King. Even though it was written for the Hard Crime series, there was some supernatural/ghost in it. I finally get to start Tantalizing Twenty-seven by Evanovich after supper.