Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Planting Cotton

I love to see cotton growing in the field. I like it even better when the blooms start to pop open to reveal the pure white cotton in the pod. It is just one of the prettiest things in this world to me. I guess it is because I am Southern. I enjoy reading about the things of the Civil War period and the women in that time. Parties, hoop skirts, big hats, amazing food and ladies being ladies. Everyone had been taught good manners and how to act in public. They certainly didn't wear white shoes before Easter and never after Labor Day. It wasn't "fittin".

What I would not have enjoyed during that time was no air conditioning, no washers and dryers and no stove and refrigerator. Times were harder then than I could possibly know.

I love to make wreaths out of cotton. Every year I try to find the owner of a cotton field and beg for some cotton from his field. So far, every one I have asked has let me invade their crop.
Since I have had several people wanting to buy wreaths from me and since I would feel guilty if I begged people for cotton for free and then sold it for profit, Jerry and I decided that this year we would plant our own cotton crop. Bobby Dutton, a good friend of ours, generously loaned us about 1/2 an acre of his land to plant cotton.

There were several challanges to planting this field. First, we had to have a tractor. We were blessed to turn Leah's college car into a 1959 Farmall tractor. Jerry has worked hard to get the tractor into good condition to make this crop.

Second, you have to have seed to plant. Have you priced cotton seed lately? The seed is $500.00 for 50 pounds! We were not expecting it to be so much. We asked the guy at the Co-op if there was any cotton seed that was a little cheaper. He told us about cotton lint seed. What makes cotton lint seed so cheap is that it hasn't been hulled. It is cotton seed right out of the plant. Farmers who plant large amounts of cotton use stainless steel planters to put the seed in
the ground. This cotton lint seed won't go through the planter, so it is cheap! We bought 10 pounds for $10.00!

The first round of seed came up, but we didn't get the crop we wanted. So last week, Jerry plowed under the few plants we got and we replanted.

We live in a small town and this cotton crop was been the talk at the liar's table at Dutton's Market. We were trying to get the field replanted without any one knowing but we were "caught" by Bobby Dutton in the act. We haven't been back to check on it yet because it takes it about a week to break through the ground and it is not time yet.

Planting cotton by hand is back breaking work. I am sure that using the hoe in that patch will also hurt my back. I know, however, the end result will be worth it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson

The entertainment world has suffered two great losses today, Farrah and Michael.

Every girl wanted hair like Farrah's. My hair was too fine, couldn't happen. Every boy wanted that famous poster of her hanging on their wall.

Everybody wanted to dance like the Jackson Five. They had perfect rhythm and great voices. I liked them right behind the Osmonds and my number one fav: David Cassidy. I liked Michael Jackson the best when he was young; before he started all the skin altering procedures.

Rest in peace, Farrah and Michael.

Blackberry Pickin'

Jerry and I were blessed with a three acre field so that we could plant a large garden. Our garden is on the old Donnell farm in Auburntown. It is owned by Marsha Donnell Ayers who inherited it from her dad, Jim. We only planted 2/3 of an acre.

My step-grandmother, Lillie Donnell Harris, owned a large part of this farm when I was a child. It was the farm where she was raised. Every year we would go to the farm and pick strawberries in the late spring. We would have a garden up there as well, so I spent a lot of time on that piece of ground. We would work all morning and then go to the house for lunch. Granny's sister, Aunt Mary, would always have a huge lunch cooked for us. I remember sitting at that table like it was yesterday. It was a long, walnut harvest table with a drawer at the end with a glass knob on it. Uncle Hugh would sit at the head of the table. His false teeth would rattle when he ate and it was funny to me. I got in trouble with Mama more than once about those teeth!

Since the garden spot hadn't been used in more than 30 years, Jerry had to bushhog the land before we could do anything else. After that was done, he proceeded to work up the ground to get ready for planting. Of course, I am afraid of tractors so Jerry couldn't be up there by himself (at least in my opinion). One afternoon I was bored so I got in the truck and rode around the fence line trying to find the old gate. I not only found the gate but I found that almost the whole fence line was filled with blackberry bushes! I love blackberries in cobblers and jam and they are hard to come by.

I have been watching those blackberry bushes for weeks now. Slowly, a few are getting ripe. I have picked about 2 quarts to date, but when they all get ripe, look out! Chiggers love blackberry bushes too. I found out the hard way.

I have also heard that snakes love to take up residence in those bushes as well. My mode of operation for picking blackberries is this:

1 Put on jeans, long sleeve shirt, shoes and socks, hat and gloves. (I look like an old lady)
2. Drive truck up to the fence row, leave it running (in case you see a snake and have to flee).
3. Get hoe from back of truck just in case.
4. Pick the berries that are ripe.
5. Move truck and repeat.

As crazy as this sounds, it is really fun! Work, but fun. There is something about working with your hands that is very rewarding. It is the same feeling you get when you mow the yard and then sit down in the rocker on the front porch with a cold glass of water and admire how good it looks!

Ecclesiastes 3:13 says: That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. (NIV)

I intend to find satisfaction in every cobbler and jar of jam that comes from the blackberries in that patch!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Allie and Elijah

Jerry and I had the pleasure of taking care of two of our precious grandchildren Friday night and Saturday. They love to come to Camp Grandpa/Grandma every opportunity that presents itself. We love for them to be here. Allie is almost four years old. Allie looks like her mom, Leah, who looks like her dad and his twin sister, Deanie. Allie has a very compassionate heart. She is an encourager and a comforter. She watches Elijah like a hawk. As long as Allie is around, Elijah is safe and so is everyone else.

We have a fish pond in our backyard. Before you get bent out of shape about an open body of water in the yard, I must tell you it is behind a locked gate. I even have trouble getting it open because of it's weight. I know, however, that it won't be long until they will leave me in the dust getting it open and running to the pond.

Anyway, Allie and Elijah were sitting on the rocks with their toes in the water playing with the fish. Elijah decided that the water looked fine for swimming and he jumped in, feet first. He loved it and it scared Allie so badly that she cried. She was so afraid he was hurt. Jerry and I were standing right there and I immediately grabbed him and pulled him out, soaking wet of course.

A few hours later we were back outside for another round of play time. Elijah wanted to go back to the pond, so Jerry took him over there for a minute. Allie went to Jerry and said, "Grandpa, PLEASE get Elijah away from the pond. I just know he is going to get hurt." She was so upset. Jerry quickly got Elijah and brought him back up to the deck, behind the locked gate. It took Allie several minutes to calm down and to know that Elijah was okay.

Allie would hurt someone who tried to hurt her little brother in any way. She is his protector and he is so precious to her! She doesn't hesitate to show him how much she cares. However, the two of them have their own "moments" and it is funny to watch them go at each other.

Elijah is all boy. We have never had a baby boy in my family. My dad, who is 75, was the last boy born on the Harris side of my family. Elijah's middle name is Harris to at least keep the Harris name somewhere in history.

Elijah knows no fear. He is a jumper and he will jump over/off of anything. You have to watch him very closely or he will be gone! He is a big eater and there is not much he won't eat. He has the biggest blue eyes and he will melt your heart. He has already told me that he is going to take care of me when I am old. Just ask him!

Jerry and I are so blessed to have three of the most delightful grandchildren in our lives. We are excited to see where God leads these precious children as they grow up.

Happy Father's Day everyone! I know that Jerry is a blessed dad and grandpa and that his family loves him very much.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Maggie's Birthday

Today is Maggie's fourth birthday. It is hard to believe that she could possibly be that old. It was only yesterday.......blah, blah, blah. But the truth is, it was only yesterday.

It was a Tuesday morning. Rebekah was running a fever and was in labor. She was miserable. Not only was she sick, but when her spinal block wore off, she had no epidural. Somehow they missed the spot in her back and she was feeling everything.

Leah and I had been assigned to be her assistants during the pushing and the birth. Poor Josh was in a chair in the corner looking like he wanted to run, but knew better.

Leah and I were a strange pair to be helping in the birth of a baby. Leah was five months pregnant with her first child. Despite the fact that I had two babies, I had never seen a baby born naturally (or any other way-I got knocked out for C-sections). I even faint at the sight of blood, mine or anyone else's. Not a good place for me to be. However, Rebekah invited me to witness the miracle of childbirth and Lord willing, I intended to be there.

Poor Bekah. She pushed for three hours. Leah and I hung with her until it was time for Maggie to be born. Josh joined us stationed at Rebekah's head for the event. It was amazing. We were in the presence of God. Time stood still and no one said a word. It was like nothing I had ever seen. It almost seemed like I was experiencing it in third person. I never felt faint or sick.

Someone who had witnessed childbirth shared this suggestion with me just days before Maggie's birth. "When that baby first comes out, touch it. The last person to touch that baby was God." Humbling.

So, Happy Birthday Maggie Moo! Grandma loves you!

Old Friends

Today we had "Praise in the Park" in the Barfield-Crescent Park. We joined with the Christ the King congregation for worship and fellowship. It was wonderful! The food was great, the worship was inspiring and the fellowship was sweet.

Years ago I worked for Phillips Bookstore on the campus of MTSU. Shortly after I was hired, a gentlemen names Charles Treece was hired to work overseeing the book department, etc. Charles and I developed a relationship of mutual respect. He is a Baptist and I am a member of the Church of Christ. We both acknowledged that we were brother and sister in Christ in spite of our demonationial differences. We often shared prayer requests and on a few occasions, actually had prayer time in the bookstore, while we were watching over our shoulders for the boss. We always talked about visiting each other's congregations but we never did. After I left the bookstore, we would run into Charles and his wife occasionally and have a short visit. I always regretted that we didn't get to worship together.

As we drove into the parking space before our worship this morning, we noticed that the praise team was warming up. We slowly made our way into the pavilion, our eyes having to adjust to the darkness of the structure. Low and behold, who would you guess was singing on the praise team? Charles Treece! I certainly wasn't expecting to see him and he wasn't expecting to see us either. We both had found a new church home that suited us better than our old one and today we were all meeting together! It is wonderful how God brings old friends together to worship Him.

The food wasn't bad either!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Jamie turns 50!

This week my childhood friend, Jamie, turned 50. I have lots of friends who are fifty and above. What made this one different is that I have known her my whole life. It really made me realize that I will be 51 this month. Fifty was no big deal to me, but Jamie turning 50 kind of shook me.

Jamie was the friend that I had most of the childhood experiences with: going on vacation to Gatlinburg and Florida; going to cheerleading camp (just the two of us) and being the smallest squad there; experiencing cooking in her mom's kitchen when she was at work. One time we almost set the grass on fire at the school during a cheerleading fundraiser. We were frying hamburgers under a funeral home tent using an electric skillet. It was plugged into numerous light weight extension cords. That skillet melted the cord like it was butter. Needless to say, we didn't get many burgers sold that day. We won't even talk about our Opryland advertures.

Jamie was the friend that stood at the end of my bed just after I had given birth to Leah, almost 30 years ago, and cried. She said I looked awful. That was the first and only time I have seen her cry.

We don't see each very often now, almost never. But one thing remains: If she ever needs me, I will be there.

Sick and Tired

I am sick. I have been sick since last Saturday (today is Saturday). I don't remember when I was this sick for so long a time. The Dr. says I have viral bronchitis and I am contagious. I got two inhalers to puff on several times a day. I feel better, but I am no where near well by any means.

I have accomplished a few things this week in spite of being ill. I read the first two books of the Twilight series and eagerly waiting for the second two to arrive on my doorstep from Leah.
I covered five pillows for the back porch to compliment the decor out there. I did manage to do lots of laundry and get it put away. Oh, and I monitored Martye's sweet little dog, Paige from a webcam at Safari Pet Resort. (very cool technology)!

I feel like I am wasting time being sick. There is so much to do and such a short time to get it all done. Maybe God knows I need rest and He had to let me get sick so that I would get it. Last time I needed rest, I got a Buick in my path to stop me. I will take bronchitis any day.