A Flea Frenzy😝

Here we are engulfed in a blazing hot summer in beautiful New Hampshire. As you all know, this season brings numerous insects and creatures out. Many thrive with the intense heat, such as those annoying  fleas. I’ve heard people mention fleas on their pets nonchalantly so I never thought twice about it. Slap a flea collar on and they should be all set, right? ( at least that was my belief) Think again.

 

 

 

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I haven’t written as much as I’d like lately for my household has a lot of activity. As most of you know, our son’s getting ready and packing for college. Not only do we have that chaos of boxes and trash bags, but unwelcome visitors once again. ( see my blog in December about flying red squirrels!) This time our family had fair warning of their arrival, but we all looked passed the signs, not considering the possibility of fleas.

 

 

 

 

About 6 weeks ago our cat Smokey started itching all the time. A few weeks into it, he started losing quite a bit of hair. Patches would fall on my rug, a sure sign of something wrong. So I took him in the crowded cat carrier to a vet twenty minutes away. It was a haunting ride of terrified squeals and meows, he was a poor little fellow of ebony with uncertainty floating about him.

 

 

 

The vet thought Smokey had anxiety. Had any new changes happened to our family? Was he depressed? I laughed at this because I didn’t know cats had depression. No, no changes, the same comfty window waited for him, a scratch of love everyday, comforting talks from us, a nice bowl of water,and  two feedings a day.

 

 

 

When I got home that afternoon I noticed our other cat furiously scratching as well. Then I knew. Parting her brownish gray fur, it took a scant few seconds to spy little black bugs scurrying in there. Fleas! Yuck!  We have had cats for almost twenty years. Never, never, never had we had to deal with or even think of fleas! Now it’s our turn to suffer and fight the fight!

 

 

 

Not only did we have a good month of cats harboring fleas, but our home was simultaneously being infested. Unfortunately our livingroom diningroom, stairs and upstairs hallway is all carpeted. It’s a breeding ground for these pesky insects and really difficult to eliminate.

 

 

 

After reading much information on the Internet, we decided to buy Cat Armour Plus, similar to  Frontline topical medicine at Wal- mart. You apply it to the cats back of neck where they can’t reach. It’s supposed to work within 24 hours and last a month. Let me tell you, as a concerned mother and house wife with most of  the responsibilities of their extermination, you can’t always believe the package. 24 hours passed by, then days and finally weeks with little results. Meanwhile I started my new exercise routine of swinging the 45 pound vacuum here and there for three hours a day. I pulled out furniture and snuck in the tightest spaces to vac in cracks and crannies. I sprinkled Borax down every night and kept our pets secluded in an untreated bedroom. My son and I religiously combed their fur once a day ( sometimes twice a day for good measure) and found numerous critters.

 

 

 

Okay, so this is how Im spending my summer off from school! Most teachers and paras are lying on the beach, traveling or doing what they love and I’m inside vacuuming and picking fleas off my cats. All I can surmise is that God is teaching me patience and this is a test that I must pass to be flea free. At my lowest moment in this mess, I was feeling sorry for myself and even crying in misery when I received a phone call. It was my co worker who has fought cancer for about three years. I was telling her about my flea situation when she filled me in on her vacation…that she had just had brain surgery last week to remove a tumor. Silence. Stupidity. I was tongue tied and shocked. That’s when I knew in my heart that this was a lesson and that my God had dealt it. I guess fighting fleas wasn’t so bad or the end of the world, while this woman I know was fighting a much bigger fight. Cancer.

 

 

I won’t ramble on about outrageous flea baths, a bombing incident that lasted a day or the silly soap and water traps I left out one night. Now our kitties have Seresto  flea collars on their necks.  It’s been one day and I noticed they’re not scratching. I know this isn’t over yet….for we have to rid the house of them. So the vacuuming, spraying and paranoid drama continues. And that was my summer.

 

As I write this and lovingly watch my cats sleep with some relief, I realize there are bigger and more encompassing problems in this life. If anything ,this is a nuisance but it will pass. The fleas will die and life will carry on. If I can give any of you advice, it would be this, embrace difficulties, take them for what they are, lessons. Remember this too shall pass.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

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A CUCUMBER FOR THE AGES

 

 

 

It’s been a hot fiery summer in our state and my garden is showing it. Everything seems to be thriving from good ole Mrs. Sun. Despite this, we all know a cleansing rain shower feeds the plants as well and makes a difference in growth. The last couple of days have been cooler with the anticipated showers soaking the patch.

 

 

 

 

In past summers,  I’ve noticed that the saving rain brings forth miracles. Let me explain before you think I’m crazy…after rain showers I wait a day to dry up my crop. I really don’t mind getting my gardening clothes damp by walking through or working in a wet patch, but have found that the day off brings unexpected surprises!After a day’s wait,  I have entered my squash patch to find numerous treasures ready to pick and ripe red tomatoes bursting for my picking. Just yesterday a miracle veggie hung on my new fence, vines trailing up the lattice. When I approached this amazing wonder, there was a jaw dropping cucumber for the ages. It’s definitely the longest and  most hearty one I’ve ever grown!

 

 

 

 

Tom and I couldn’t stop laughing at this miracle and chalked it up to the fertile soil and the splash of mother nature’s juice. While taking a picture for posterity ( because you never know if this gem will ever be matched), promising thoughts of our town’s special annual day popped up …wouldn’t it be hilarious to showcase the town’s potential longest cucumber on display at the town hall? People from every corner of its borders would relish in this wonder! Saturday is the big day, a day of celebration, a firemen’s auction and community dinner and playing band to wrap up the day and my 18 inch cuke could be a part of it! Haha.

 

 

With the cuke harvest in full swing, I dream of delicious creamy cucumber salad and scrumptious cuke sandwiches! Cuke sandwiches are simple and so easy to make! Once you taste one, you may just be addicted. Here’s a warning, though, it must be made with fresh grown cucumbers, preferably from a local garden.

 

 

Simply choose your favorite bread ( I like multi grain from the store’s bakery) and spread a thin layer of mayo on both sides. I love sliced onion and tomatoes and lay them down first. Follow with sliced cukes. Sprinkle with McCormick’s Salad Seasoning, which is a delicious spice combination of paprika, poppy seeds, celery seed, black pepper,sesame seed, Romano cheese, salt, sunflower oil and a few more things. Add salt and pepper and you’re ready to eat! It’s very tasty and adds some punch to your veggie sandwich!

 

 

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Yesterday’s picking, washed and drying

 

If anyone knows wonderful cucumbers recipes, please share! I’m bombarded with cukes! I would like to give away some but my veggie table isn’t working. People are not stopping so I need to find a different way to give them away!

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

A Work in Progress

 

 

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Last September my husband, brother- in- law Chris and my son Dylan tore down a decrepit shed/ barn that was attached to the house. At first our plan was to build an adjoining garage to the house in the shed’s place. But one day I looked out our bedroom window with a charming view of our little yard overlooking the pond and suddenly I didn’t care for the idea. I tried to convince Tom but words wouldn’t make the difference, so I told him to look out that window. It didn’t take long for Tom to admire the beauty and dream, as I did about our bedroom view. ( which will be even superior with the other window we intend to install.)

 

In June Tom’s long time friend, Mike stopped by and on a whim offered to bring his tractor over. He offered to help dig and level for the post and beam garage. The dream was beginning to be reality and the first promising step taken!

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Then a few weeks later Tom hauled discarded telephone poles to the site. They would strongly be the frame for the garage. The next step was to rent a machine to dig the holes and help place the posts. Our son Dylan worked a weekend with him inserting the poles into the dug holes.

 

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A happy father and son duo

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In just a few fleeting days a frame appeared. With the use of a trusty ladder, my talented husband hoisted up boards to nail down. He was so speedy that I missed taking pictures of some steps. Here are some of the latest ones of this amazing project.

 

 

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As summer days breeze on by, the garage continues to evolve. A determined man of many skills vows to complete as much as he can before snow flies( which could very well be in October around here!) Until it’s finished and cars are parked securely in its bays, I’m keeping track of every step along the way. After all, years down the road we may forget steps or memories may fade…but pictures and journaling will be reminders of the process.

 

This is garage project/ dream just solidifies my proud feelings. This man, my husband, knows everything there is to know about cars, building, welding, electricity, plumbing and the list goes on. Not only do I love this man, but relish in his God given talents and independence of getting everything done by himself.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

It’s Not About Me

Dedicated to all Empty Nesters out there.

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Sometimes I long to turn back time to when Branden was a wee little boy.

 

 

 

Let him fly and stretch his wings, they say. Let go and live your life, they say. Empty nest, they say. There comes a crucial time in motherhood when you hear your friends and family’s thoughtful advice about your child’s departure. I guess it eases my mind that most moms do get through it and plow ahead in their life, but I won’t be free of worries. There will always be random thoughts or questions lingering, does he know what to do when he’s sick? Will he call us when he needs to? Did we raise him right in serious and difficult situations?

 

 

 

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This is about him and his hopes and dreams.

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Now we’re in crunch time, just a few weeks away from drop off in a different state 2 1/2 hours away from home. Many essentials are bought and packed. I bought new underwear and socks, against his judgement. All that’s left is to scan Amazon and rent a few text books and connect with roomies about who’s bringing what. Amid all this fantastic organization, my heart feels like it’s being shattered. I suspect that Branden will miss home and his predictable life in a small town, but I know even more that he will excel and persevere because that’s the guy he is.

 

 

 

 

Even though I dread drop off and turning away, ( just as I did in Kindergarten) I know it’s not about me. This story isn’t mine…it’s his. It’s not about my sense of loss, lack of purpose ( other empty nest moms, is this familiar?) or racing mind. It’s not about passing his bedroom down the hall and missing him on his computer. It’s not about missing interesting dinner conversations with him leading the show.

 

 

 

One important thing I will emphatically miss is knowing what he did that day or if it was good or not so good. I’m just getting used to missing that with my oldest son Dylan. I trust he’s doing okay and check in when Dylan stops by for his bowl of cereal. Maybe Branden, Tom and I will connect through FaceTime or Skype. Maybe there will be distant phone calls with my motherly longing to grill him for details, something I’ll have to deviate from.

 

There is a bright side…all these feelings are normal and part of the motherhood package. Who said I could keep him home forever? Who would want to keep their offspring from pursuing their dreams…not me. Raising children has stages and this is one of the final ones, letting go. It’s a new start, an adventure for the books and it’s his story, not mine. You see, I already know that it’s not about me.

 

 

Are there any empty nesters out there with stories or advice? I would love to hear from you!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

Green Bean Glory

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Gorgeous green bean plants early on, with not much spacing.

 

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There’s nothing fresher than picking for dinner minutes before.

 

 

Two thick rows of green bean plants stretch across my garden, very close to the middle. Every year I vow to plant with keeping ample space in mind and then the idea gets lost….so once again there’s no room between plants, which is okay because they still will produce nice beans. Yet if you are an experienced gardener you’ll know that the space is vital for drying. If you plant too close together it takes much longer to do this. It rained two days ago and yesterday was kind of cloudy so when I ventured out to the patch to pick beans, I couldn’t. They are still wet and we all know that’s taboo to pick when the leaves are wet because it will rust the rest of the beans. Sometimes I’m impatient and end up with rusty beans anyway! Even though there is a lesson to be learned, the beans look healthy when I snap them off the plant.

 

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Green rich fibrous beans, just the right size and grown in my backyard! Amazing and how gratifying! I love the fact that you can eat them raw or cooked a bit. At an early age my son Dylan would pick and eat them right from the plant. Just the other day I washed and sent some beauties home with him. They didn’t even last the trip and all Lexie found was an empty plastic bag!

 

 

Right now I’m thick in the green bean season and I share with my son and his girlfriend, friends and family and incorporate them in my menus a few times a week.Tasting them at dinner as a fresh side dish, I’ve learned over the years to hardly cook them so they snap with every bite.  Some ways I use green beans:

The other night I diced potatoes and fried them with onion and garlic. Once the potatoes were cooked, I threw the beans in just to cook for a minute or two. It was delicious!

Who doesn’t love a nice colorful healthy stirfry with fresh garden veggies? In summer I make one with green beans, squash, basil, green pepper, onion,mushrooms and broccoli. I serve it with rice pilaf or spaghetti noodles. It’s delicious!

Throw fresh green beans into a  tossed salad, with beef instead of broccoli or sautéed with olive oil and slivered almonds.

Fresh garden green beans are delicious however you prepare them. If you don’t have a garden, visit your local farmer’s market and support local growers.Now is the time to frequent these markets and veggie stands while fresh organic grown food awaits! It’s important we all do that instead of buying all our produce at a chain supermarket.

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Photo Challenge: Morning

via Photo Challenge: Morning

 

 

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As I walk silently with a purpose across the lawn, I notice sparkling sunlight welcoming me, the family gardener. Ahh…there is an enveloping cool air, a sure sign of summer in New Hampshire. Visions of digging in dirt overcome me. The growing patch bathes in glowing sun rays as little birds chirp and whistle, ” Good Morning!” Morning spent in the garden equals harmony and essential for a great day, well spent.

Happy morning to you all wherever you may be!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

People Who Cross Your Path

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Taken from Pinterest, The Things We say.com

 

 

I believe God places you in a person’s path for a reason. Maybe that’s who you needed ( and they needed you) at that time of your life. There were  a few friends who were placed in my life at the right time and then slowly faded out. When I was going through a hard time in my twenties and seemed to have no support available, a woman named Robin appeared. She worked in the produce section at the store I worked in and we started talking and discovered that we both enjoyed dancing. She was half my age, married and living in a decrepit farmhouse in a neighboring small town.

 

 

We ambitiously started hanging out, getting together for a good cup of coffee with a splash of honey and friendly conversation. Since dancing was one of  our loves, we frequented a bar dancehall on Friday and Saturday nights, dancing the night away. I know I’m not a great dancer by any means and won’t be competing in Dancing with the Stars anytime soon, but at that time I was confident and young.

 

 

 

Robin was definitely there for me as a friend, when I needed one. She went through troubles with her marriage and I saw her through it, listening for support. They ended up getting divorced and something typical happened, we grew apart.  I was working at a new store in a different location and didn’t see Robin as often. We were still friendly when we ran into each other but didn’t purposely go out to dance.

 

 

Although this happened suddenly, it was really okay for both of us! We had needed the support and council at that time and I believe God brought us together as friends for a short time. Sometimes people come into your life for a reason and go out for the same and it’s okay. At that time, they are just what we needed, yet circumstances change! When it doesn’t seem to work anymore , it truly is okay to let go.

 

 

 

 

I used to feel guilty when I stopped contact with acquaintances or friends. Now I realize through life’s experience and with wisdom, that there was an unconscious need to let go. Letting go takes real guts. Relationships that don’t serve you and end up being an emotional drain are included. Sometimes people live a  totally different life than you and have a whole different set of principles. It seems like your friendship has come to a fork in the road. Then it’s time to make a crucial decision. It’s hard to do it ,but you must do it when you feel this way.

 

 

 

God strategically places people in our path for companionship, support, or lessons. Whatever it is, sometimes there’s a season and seasons end. Learn to see these situations for what they are and move on without looking back. It’s all a part of this roller coaster called LIFE.

 

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul❤️