Walking the Cat!

Walking the cat? Are you crazy? I can hear your surprised and amused comments and I first thought that too. Until my soon to be daughter-in-law suggested for me to start walking our cat Smokey. She walks her cat Smokey Joe outside and has been for a while.

 

 

Our two cats have always been inside cats. The reason is that we’ve lost two cats in the past, one to a coydog and one got run over in front of our house. We live on an intersection of two busy roads and don’t want to risk our cats being run over. With that said, with our cat Katie it’s always been easy. She loves being inside and secure and seems very content with her home. The few times our kids have brought her out she freaked out in fear. Our youngest cat Smokey is another story. He was born a barn cat and spent a little time outdoors with his mother before we got him. He’s always had a free spirit and would run out whenever he could.

IMG_0084

The last year or so it’s been worse. One time he got out and ran up our neighbors hill. I was afraid that he wouldn’t return and roam the nearby woods and find trouble. With both my sons’ help, we gathered him up and brought him back home. It was then that I knew we had a problem and we had to give him his outside time as he wishes for.

 

 

Branden and I bought a harness and leash in a pet store and started putting on the harness so he would get used to it. We take him on fifteen minute adventures most everyday except on rainy days. The funny thing is that he doesn’t even whine to go out on cloudy and rainy days. Must be that water thing…that cats just don’t like to get wet.

 

Smokey either wants to roll in the dirt, eat grass or hunt. The hunting aspect is a challenge and worry as I don’t want him to kill. There are little chipmunks around the yard and they know of his presence. One time I saw a poor little scared one tucked in between our fuel tank and the house. I felt so sorry for him that I immediately brought the cat inside. Who knows how long he/she would’ve been able to hide there!

 

So the “catwalk” continues…which really isn’t one as he walks in a low position and never gains ground as he stops here and there. There are many smells and textures of this outside world that Smokey has to learn. As he learns, I hope he can have some polite manners. Sometimes he growls or hisses at Branden and I if we take him in another direction from what he wants. The reason we do this is because of the birds and chipmunks and we don’t want him in the Poison Ivy.

After walking the cat I realize the differences between cats and dogs. I think dogs will follow you where you wish them to go, where cats have a mind of their own and get ticked off if they don’t get their way. Oh well, I signed up for this when we got our cats. I have no regrets as I buckle the harness for Smokey’s daily walk. Who knows what we will find but I do know he’s happier with the outside trek and that makes me happy as well.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Advertisements

Saying NO

Credits, from Facebook page Becoming minimalist

I look back upon my busy years of raising sons and keeping our family afloat during times of baseball games and commitments, appointments, school, my college classes, work and housework and I wonder how I did it all. I guess I was young enough with a never ending energy that helped me get through. Life was good but busy! Being busy isn’t always good for you, because you run through life at full speed and forget to slow down and relax.

My son’s baseball team a few years back, the Lisbon Panthers. He’s number 11 in the huddle.

I remember my schedule during baseball season. I loved going to Dylan’s baseball games, they were exciting and it was so much fun seeing him and his teammates play. But it was busy, going to baseball games three times a week and sometimes four. I didn’t have time to make supper for Tom and I know he didn’t like it. I scrambled to find time to do laundry and regular housework as well because I really was never home.

 

I don’t have regrets, believe me. I loved and still love baseball and that feeling of showing up for my son. I do have one regret though. I wish I would’ve said “No” more often to baking for fundraisers and other commitments I should’ve passed on. I was trying desperately to be the perfect mom where I should’ve just said no for my sanity and peace instead.

Warm up at the Senior game a few years ago.
Dylan at bat

I read somewhere that being busy isn’t Godly. I don’t know if I agree, but I do agree with the fact that it’s too rushed and that when you are busy(especially if you are a mother and wife), there’s no time to be quiet and still. In those silent moments a sense of tranquility grows. It’s a time to stop the thoughts and put down the to-do list and just be. If a mom can learn to settle and slow down, then her children will learn from her and reap all the benefits from it.

 

Now it’s easier to say no to events and commitments that aren’t in my heart. Sometimes we moms and wives need to take time for us, to pass on the eternal “yes”answer. For you young moms out there, give yourself permission to say no when it can’t be done or you don’t feel it in your heart. Everyone will be okay and people will respect your answer and move on. No one cares if you say yes or no and if they do, then it’s their baggage and not yours.

I hope you all are enjoying the month of June and finding time to slow down. That quiet time is great for self reflections and with that you and your family will be so much stronger and peaceful because of it.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

First Day of Summer Vacation

Hello All,

This was my first day of summer vacation and my 49th birthday! I woke to no alarm…just sun glinting in my windows and my sleeping cat Smokey at my feet. I think he thought something was wrong as it was a little later than usual. It was grand taking my time as I sipped my cup of coffee and had toast with honey and butter.

 

I spent the morning walking around our yard and weeding and working with my flowers. It took a little time clipping off gone by lilac flowers but it was great satisfaction to take care of it. My dad told me you should clip them off every year.

 

Here is my favorite bird bath my niece Michele made from re-purposed dishes and cups. The bottom piece fell and broke but we managed to re-glue it so hopefully it will be strong in the summer winds. I have yet to spy a bird land in its beautiful bath dish but look forward to that!

 

June is amazing here! Flowers have emerged everywhere, with bursting colors to brighten yards and decks. Out back we have pink and white wildflowers growing in patches here and there. Tom said that the state plants them on roadsides and so on our little country drives we get to see them.

A stand of maples shade our back yard, where soon our deck will be. Wind chimes flutter in the breeze and I hear the tinkling little music that blends in with chirping robins.

Tom and his friend Mike worked with Mike’s tractor to smooth our back yard and get rid of a huge clump of dirt. Soon we will plant grass and put up a little fence bordering the dirt road. That way we will have a little needed privacy on our deck.

That’s all for now! Summer officially begins! I look forward to waking without an alarm and to my own rhythm. My time will be spent catching up with a few household chores, working in my veggie garden and outside flower beds. I truly hope to read all of your posts and catch up as much as I can. Thanks for stopping by and check in now and then for summer posts!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Building a Strong Fence

 

I’ve gardened many years without a fence. Through the years I took my chances and shared my lot with deer, raccoon and skunks to name a few. Then when we moved our garden to our house lot, I received an early sign that a fence probably was priority. The first time we tilled the garden, within hours we had a deer investigate just a few feet away. I think he/she smelled the pungent fresh soil from the nearby woods and wished to see what all this was about…maybe hoping for fresh veggies that early.

 

Even though I knew that I needed a fence, I put it off. The last straw was when I simply left the plot to go inside to make supper. An hour and a half later upon approaching the garden, I discovered that a woodchuck had destroyed and eaten my whole row of broccoli. All that remained were forlorn roots and a green stem sadly bent beyond shape.

 

A couple of summers ago we were fortunate to have my dad give us some simple fencing and we put it up. We attached sturdy sticks to hold up the frame and believe it or not, it held up pretty well even through the rough winter weather. Last fall the wind and elements tore down some of the fence and snapped the sticks we had in place.

 

Yesterday Tom and I put the fence back up with grade stakes I bought at a local Agway farming store. I think they’ll be sturdy and last a few years. The only regret I have is that they should be a little taller, about five feet. They will do and serve the purpose but next time when I replace them I’ll be sure to buy taller stakes.

Many of you know we are renovating our house one bit at a time. Every summer we do a little bit more and eventually it will be finished to our liking. You can see Tom’s summer project in the background, the side of our house that we will continue to put cedar siding on.

This winter I bought this old post office box from Ebay pretty cheap. At first I had inside for decor, then hung it on our front door but finally I’ve decided on its true placement.  Here it hangs on my garden fence, holding all my little shovels and trowels and dowels for the plants. I’m happy with it and its rustic mint green finish. I’m always trying to incorporate antiques and unique things in my inside and outside spaces.

A sturdy fence keeps our planted veggies safe and ready for our family to eat. In these woodsy mountainous parts, a fence is essential! When we go on our local drives in the warm sun, we notice many neighbors have a sturdy fence. Must be that they don’t want to share with the deer either!

 

Do you have a fence around your home or garden? Sometimes fences serve as barriers to keep animals out. Other times they are beautiful works of art, a part of the landscape design.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

The First Step of a Garden

 

The first step of the 2018 garden

It’s Memorial Day weekend, in other words crunch time for gardeners in the north. For weeks we’ve looked at seeds, planned the annual map of where everything will be planted and waited for warmer weather and promising temperatures. Yesterday Tom tilled our lot, just the beginning of another gardening year.

 

Unfortunately swarms of pesky black flies hovered in our faces and bit our necks. The damp air signaled rain and the stirred up  soil thrust them into overdrive and there was no way to get away from them! Thankfully they are out just a few weeks and then mosquitoes will replace them.

 

I’m grateful that Tom tills our lot every year. He methodically walked up and down the space over and over to rid it of grass and already shot up weeds. The loud machine hummed and whirred as nature’s bird calls and creatures played in the background.

 

 

It’s satisfying for Tom and I to see the results of his work in a few minutes. Fresh soil awaits the seeds and plants and then the gardening season will commence for us! We both decided we would hold off on planting until next weekend, being early June. We’ve always planted then to avoid May frosts and give it a warm boost.

My future daughter-in-law Lexy asked me to plant sunflowers for her and my son’s wedding in August. Tom tilled the small bed yesterday and I planted seeds in three rows. We hope we won’t have to fence it away from the woodchucks but time will certainly tell.

 

 

I’m keeping my fingers crossed for luck to grow her beautiful sunflowers for the wedding and that they will be ready to pick in mid-August. It means very much to me, to be able to help Lexy and Dylan for their wedding day. I pray that they will grow strong and beautiful, like my daughter-in-law.

 

 

 

Here is a shot of Lexy from our little beach get away in April. She and I went to Ogunquit Maine overnight for a little adventure. I thought it was sweet that she wanted to go with me. Although the beach was freezing and we only stayed minutes, we had a fabulous time at the resort hotel in the hot tub. After we  bought a bottle of wine and sat on our deck talking and then went to a fine dinner in an Italian restaurant. I’m thankful Dylan has chosen this special young woman and our family has accepted her with open arms. We all love her and are thrilled that she will be a part of our family!

 

 

To conclude this post, I ask you what are you growing this year? Are you gardening vegetables or flowers or both?What is your favorite? Mine is growing veggies, as they feed my family and that gives me satisfaction that I”m helping Tom feed our family.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Mary

 

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cream Pies ( Cookies)

I must say so myself, these are delicious! Merely the cookie without the filling would be great too!

 

 

Recently I was thumbing through my Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies magazine. It’s been in my recipe collection for 17 years. It’s worn and torn in places, showing its age and constant use. It has been one of my favorite magazines to find cookie recipes all year. I say all year because many of the recipes are good for all through the year and why limit them to December and Christmas?

 

It was a Saturday afternoon and I wanted to whip up these peanut butter oatmeal cream pies ( cookies) for Tom and the girls at school. I try to bake for them all weekly and the weekend off is a great time to do it! I gathered my ingredients, lit my kitchen candles and away I baked!

 

Homemade Peanut Butter Oatmeal Pies

Taken from Better Homes and Garden Christmas Cookies publication

1/4 c. flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 c. butter, softened

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar, packed

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. quick cooking oats

Filling

2 tsps. hot water

1/4 tsp salt

1- 7 oz. jar marshmallow cream ( Fluff)

1/2 c. shortening

1/3 c. powdered sugar

 

My new mixer that I have used a lot!

 

 

1. Preheat oven to 350  degrees F. Grease a cookie sheet. In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. In a large bowl combine butter and peanut butter. Beat on medium until combined. ( I used my Kitchen aid mixer but you could use a hand mixer) Beat in sugars until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until just combined. Stir in flour mixture and oats.

2. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet. Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes or until edges are light brown and centers are set. Cool for one minute and then transfer to wire cooling rack.

3. In a medium bowl combine hot water and salt. Stir until dissolved. Add marshmallow cream, shortening ( I’m not crazy about shortening and may use butter next time) and powdered sugar. Beat until well combined.

4. Spread filling mixture onto flat side of half of cookies. Top each frosted cookie with another cookie. Makes 13 sandwich cookies.

I store my cookies at room temperature in my plastic cookie keeper that’s air tight. These are so much better than store-bought cream pies…look out Little Debbie’s!

 

 

Enjoy your week and take time to bake for your friends and loved ones!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

 

 

 

The Lost Art of Christmas Cards

Do you notice that every year the Christmas card pile gets smaller? Just a few years ago the card deluge would commence the last week of November and every day after you could expect cards in the mailbox. It was always fun hearing from family and friends that you aren’t in constant contact with. Sometimes pictures or annual newsletters would accompany the colorful cards.

 

I think the Internet craze and messaging has threatened snail mail and the urge to send cards. Many people decide to use Facebook or email to send Christmas wishes. This way it’s instant, easy and free. But I have a problem with this. I enjoy going to the mailbox and being showered with stacks of colorful envelopes!  After the cards are opened and read, then comes the display.

I have a little card carrier that I housed my cards in a few years but the problem was that you couldn’t see them. I saw on Pinterest a couple of years ago where someone placed thick felt ribbon down the cupboard doors with the cards stapled to them. This year I draped thick red ribbon across our doorway and stapled the cards to it. It’s simple and easy and looks good.

 

 

I admit that my Christmas card list is condensed and always changing! Many relatives and friends have passed away and new friends reappear and are added. This year I almost skipped the tradition due to a lack of time. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I didn’t want to send my holiday greetings on Facebook. This morning I worked on six cards and sent them and each day will do a few more.

 

 

 

 

 

Another Christmas card tradition of mine is to save my favorite. I strung groups together with shiny ribbon and put them in my basket. The basket is in the livingroom and now and again I browse through them. I still have some from loved ones who have passed away and so their words are preserved. 

Do you still send Christmas cards or do you use social media? 

I’m wishing many blessings for you all and your families. Hug your loved ones today!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💌