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...............Two Chicks On A Farm......Our New Blog

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Nature is my medicine. ~Sara Moss-Wolfe

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. 
~John Burroughs
Hi ya'll.  Harmony Acres is working her magic and I have begun my mental and emotional journey back to the land of the  living.  Nature gently embraces me in an invisible healing hug. I find inspiration everywhere I look.  My friends and family have been incredibly understanding as I attempt to find my way back to "my normal" (which was different than everyone else's to start with).  The tragedy has forever changed my perception of life but I cannot and will not allow fear to control me. I was born strong willed (stubborn some would say).  Every journey begins with one step.  Baby steps, baby steps.  Just take it moment by moment until I conquer all my new found phobias.(Driving the car, seeing a motorcycle, any approaching traffic, people treating me different because I act different, crying unexpectedly, shaking uncontrollably and on and on). 

 My Simple Living odyssey that I had been on has given me a strength that I was unaware that I possessed.  Don't get me wrong, I am still frail at times (the meds help and you know how bad I hate pills), but I will find my way back (Beck won't allow anything less from her mom).  
My goals are:
  1. Daily yoga and meditation to relieve the anxiety and panic attacks. (many friends urge professional counseling.  Me?  I'll do it my way, thank you very much.) Besides, this is as close as I can get to an herbal remedy for my soul and I don't want some stranger poking around inside my head and messing with the junk in my attic.
  2. By the end of the week I will drive myself to Warner (this will take me through the crash area). Just the thought of it  makes me sick at my stomach.
  3. Go back to work next weekend. Why? Cause I want to be normal again.
  4. In two weeks I will no longer need the anxiety pills (I hate pills).
  5. In one month I will be able to drive my car without my hands shaking uncontrollably.
  6. In two months my comfort zone will once again be anywhere I can drive my car and not just the five acres that Harmony Acres sits on.
As I have told you before, Harmony Acres is a place for healing.  Harmony restores that which is broken.  As God uses broken vessels for his divine purpose, so he uses nature to heal broken spirits and soothe the anguished soul.  So it is. 

Back on May 25, a freak wind storm came through.  None of the light weight lawn ornaments were moved or turned over.  However, our beloved willow tree (planted it in the early 90's) was laying flat on the ground.  After the initial shock of the loss, I decided to try to salvage parts of it for furniture.  Many people told me that willow was too weak to be useful for any purpose.  So I waited.  It is now July 30th and this weak, damaged tree is still alive.  Even though a freak incident knocked it down, it is still firmly grounded by it's roots.  It is still thriving and surviving.  I can certainly relate to this. 
My willow was knocked down by a freak accident but it refuses to surrender to it's circumstances.
Life can be like that.

           God has made me a promise in 2 Timothy 1:7:
 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
This is his promise to me and this will get me through this fire storm of life.  I can only speak to my pain because I cannot even imagine the sufferings of the others touched by this tragedy.  Please know, you are never far from my thoughts and are in my prayers continually.  

Another famous quote that I love and gives me cause for hope:
"I know God won't give me anything I can't handle. I just wish he didn't trust me so much." Mother Teresa

Thursday, July 21, 2011

In The Blink Of An Eye..................Unspeakable Tragedy

We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival.  ~Winston Churchill

Isn't it strange how quickly one moment (July 19, 2011 a few minutes before noon. it was a tuesday), frozen in time, can be a defining moment in one's life.  It's a moment I can't forget but a moment I don't completely remember every detail either.  All I have are fragments that I am slowly piecing  together.  The horrifying images haunt me every moment.  Witnessing such a traumatic event; I am emotionally and mentally broken at this time but I will heal eventually.  My heart breaks for those involved in this tragic accident and their families.  Prayer is something we can all do.

One moment, I am a little old lady driving down the road (a trip I had made thousands of times on a road I had traveled all my life) on my way home from the grocery store in Warner.  Suddenly, my understanding of reality is lost in confusion and terror.  My brain cannot process the information and images coming at it, even though it seemed, at the time,  like slow motion.  I keep using the word  "moment" because that's all it took.

I would like to say "Thank You" to the countless strangers, friends, neighbors and family who comforted me at the scene of the accident (it was evident that I was in total shock).  Steve Wright, Muskogee County Commissioner and a lifetime friend, as well as John Smith, stayed with me until my brother David and his wife Vicky arrived.  The Warner Volunteer Fire Department, the Chaplin for their department prayed with me and my guys, the Keefeton Volunteer Fire Department, Raymond and Jake were very compassionate and kind.  The Highway Patrol Troopers offered comfort and support.  The many friends and neighbors who have called and stopped by the house to offer words of comfort.  To Brother Danny Barks, the pastor at my sometimes Church, who always knows the right thing to say to help me.  Country folks taking care of one of their own.  I am grateful to one and all.

And to my beloved daughter, Becky, who knows my heart.  You have always been the true joy of my life and you have given me more comfort and strength than you can possibly imagine.  Without you I would just be a shattered little ole lady. You have been and continue to be  infinitely patient and understanding as I try to put into words the horrifying images trapped in my memory.  My heart loves your heart.

And last, but certainly not least, I give "Thanks" to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Now I truly understand that every breath is a precious gift to be spent wisely and lovingly.  Thank you Lord for extending your hand of protection to me.  Your mercy and grace are unlimited.

Before I leave you for a couple of weeks to begin the healing process, I just want to say one more thing.  Every day, all day long, the news is bombarding us with new and sensational stories.  Their information is not always correct. The rumor mill creates more pain than you can imagine.  Also, for every story told,  there remains broken lives and shattered people, who are left trying to pick up the pieces.  Be compassionate, kind and non-judgemental because that  "moment in time" could happen to you, even though I pray it does not. 

Ecclesiastes 3

 1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
 2A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
 3A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
 4A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
 5A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
 6A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
 7A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
 8A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance. ~Jane Austen

Well, well, well!  I asked for rain and I got it (if you can call 3/8 inch a rain).  Then it was back to humid and hot. What I did not ask for was the electric to go out for two hours.  I promised that I would not whine so we will call this "just stating the facts". 

The power went out about 9:30 p.m. last night.  We are at the end of the line (where else would we be, huh?) so I felt compelled to call the electric company and let them know I'm in the dark with no fans or air conditioner (we talked about this yesterday).  She asked me if there was an emergency situation (if I have no cool air or fans and I am a middle age woman, yeah, I'd say that is an emergency. no, that is a crisis of monumental proportions. they would probably say no it's not).  Then she told me to check my breaker box (under normal circumstances, this would be a logical request).  So I kindly reply "Honey, unless my breaker box controls the whole neighborhood, I don't think that's the problem."  We both had a good laugh before she patiently took my address and other information needed to get me some cool air.

This is a new day and new frontiers to conquer.  I tried a new recipe from my favorite cookbook, Taste of Home, 356 Guilt Free Recipes.  This is definitely a quick and easy  recipe that I would make again and again.  It is a great snack or fast light breakfast (well, light for me.  146 calories per muffin).
Prep: 15 min.  Bake:  15 min.  Yield: 1 dozen

Ham 'n' Cheese Muffins
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1 and 1/2 cups reduced-fat biscuit/baking mix
1/2 cup fat-free mild
1 egg, beaten
1 cup finely chopped fully cooked ham
  1. In a nonstick skillet, saute the onion in butter until tender;  set aside.  In a bowl, combine the cheese and biscuit mix.  Stir in the milk and egg just until moistened.  Fold in the ham and onion.
  2. Coat muffin cups with cooking spray or use paper liners;  fill three-fourths full with batter.  Bake at 425 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.  Serve warm.
Now, going back to my sister killing a rattlesnake with a garden hoe (that still freaks me out).  Here is the proof of what happens when you mess with my sis and her flower gardens.
In this battle of biblical proportions; Eve (sister Joyce) won.
The serpent (rattlesnake) lost.
As I've told you many times, I live in my own personal  menopausal hell.  I'm always looking for ways to stay cool.  Trying to sleep at night is almost impossible because of the hot flashes.  I stumbled upon this website that offers some interesting ideas that I am going to try tonight.  I also found something called a Bedfan at http://www.bedfan.com/.  but first here are some cool ideas for folks like me.

  • 1
    A suspension-type bed lets cooling air reach you and even flow through from underneath. Try a hammock or a cot, also known as a camp bed. A cot, supported on all sides, stands free, won't tip, and sags less than a hammock.

  • 2
    Consider using the "Egyptian Method": wet a sheet or bath towel that is large enough to cover you with cool or cold water, and wring it or run it through the spin cycle on a washing machine until the sheet is quite damp but not dripping wet. You can also use a spray bottle of water to spray the top sheet until it is damp but not soaking. Place the dry towel or sheet on your bed underneath your body and use the wet sheet as your blanket. The damp blanket will keep you cool and if you add a fan at the foot of your bed the cooling effect is even greater. Or, during an extreme heat wave, take a light t-shirt, wet it, wring it out and wear it. Evaporation from the shirt will help to keep you cool enough to sleep for a few hours. This is a very simple and environment friendly method of staying cool.

  • 3
    Buy a straw or bamboo mat. These don't retain body heat and are cool all night long. They are found cheap at Chinatown or any Asian supermarket near you.

  • 4
    Take a pair of cotton socks, rinse them in cold water, wring them until they are damp and put them on. Cooling your feet lowers the overall temperature of your skin and body.

  • 5
    Try buckwheat pillows or futons. These don't retain body heat and feel cool all night long.

  • 6
    Get a few blocks of "blue ice," normally sold in supermarkets. This is a rectangular plastic block containing a non-toxic chemical that freezes at lower temperatures than ice, and stays cold longer. If possible, get the larger blocks. Freeze them in the freezer during the day and take them to bed with you at night. They don't get damp when they melt -- the chemical stays inside. Put each block inside a sock or something, so it won't feel so cold, and it will melt more slowly. If you feel warm, put a hand or foot on a block, or curl up next to a few. You'll soon feel cooler.

    • Or, just chill or freeze a plastic bottle of water.

  • 7
    Dampen a hand towel and lie in bed with it on your forehead. Turn it over and dampen again when needed.

  • 8
    Bring a soft ice pack to bed You can buy "sinus packs" or "thermal sleeves" in most grocery stores. These are much softer than the blue ice compresses and don't get quite as cold (the blue gel ones can give you ice-burn). Slip a cold sinus pack under your neck or a cold thermal sleeve over your arm. Cooling down the back of your neck helps cool the rest of your body down as well.

  • 9
    Chill your pillowcase. Put your sheets,blanket,and pillowcases into freezer bags and put in the freezer all day. This may also help you fall asleep faster, further reducing your exposure to the uncomfortable heat.

  • 10
    Make a Rice Sock. When you turn in, bring the bag with you to use as a cool compress. Try placing it under your pillow so it's nice and cool when you flip it over. You can also place it within the pillow cover or inside your pillow if it has a zippered opening.
    and place it in the freezer and leave it there for at least two hours

  • 11
    Make a Cold pack. Place some GREEN dish soap in a sealable bag style container. Only fill approximately 1/4 of the bag space with soap,(the green tends to work much better) and place it in the freezer. The soap doesn't harden but holds the cold temperature longer than ice and/or the blue ice containers. Once you are ready to use, place in a pillow case or fold in a towel. This allows several options for placement. Because the pack is not solid, it allows for versatility and comfort. This can also be used as an "Ice Pack" for muscle aches and pains. This is a much cheaper option to the store bought "Soft Packs" and works in the same way.

  • I am going to try every one of these tonight that I possibly can.  Me naked under a damp sheet with a fan blowing may not be pretty but if it keeps me cool and lets me sleep, who gives a care.  Will report back to you as soon as possible. 

    Until then remember:
    Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain. 
    ~Author Unknown

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    Middle age is the awkward period when Father Time starts catching up with Mother Nature. ~Harold Coffin

    Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.
    Charles Dudley Warner

    Good Morning from Harmony Acres! Guess what?  It's only 96 degrees at 11:00 a.m. this morning!  Muskogee County is under another excessive heat warning!  I've decided not to whine about it today cause it is what it is.  Instead, I will just sit here under my ceiling fan, oscillating fan, wind tunnel fan and window air conditioner (Becky stays wrapped up in a blanket and a heavy robe while I fry).  At my age (closer to 60 than 55) anything over 76 degrees is like living in an inferno (I expect to see Daniel and the Lions at any moment).  Lord, please send rain.  And lots of it.  I won't whine.  I promise.
    Water colored memories from April........
    Let me tell you, post menopausal is a life stage all it's own!  I live in my personal climate zone (nothing is cool enough. that weird thing Mom used to do with a wet washcloth hanging on her neck year round , now makes perfect sense to me), stuff that used to be flat and taunt is now fluffy and flabby (say goodbye to bathing suits and short shorts) and to add insult to injury, my attitude can go from sweet and nice to psycho in the blink of an eye.  It ain't easy being me but it is what it is.  Anyone spending any length of time with me had better have a sense of humor and an emergency exit strategy!
    The BIG M
    It's funny til it happens to you! Real Women! Real Issues!
    Anyway, having said all that, let's get down to the business of Simple Living.  I have found that my wants no longer exceed my needs.  I enjoy the slimmed down, new, improved version of life as I know it.  We spend our lives chasing after a material rainbow only to discover it is all an illusion.  Stuff cannot make us happy.  Stuff becomes a burden.  Stuff requires extreme security measures.  In the end, stuff is just stuff.  If it has no practical use or sentimental value (something of Mom's or Dad's), it is just taking up space. My Stuff (or lack of it) does not define me as a person and if that is the measuring stick you use then I feel sorry for you.  The best things in life do not have a price tag attached.  It is what it is.
    Here is a list of ten things that I can do without to live a frugal and simple life:
    1. A new car before the old one wears out. (the last one was running on 3 cylinders before I surrendered it to scrap)
    2. A big screen T.V. (the one we have now, has a blue stripe down the middle.  i don't even notice it anymore)
    3. A Zero Turn Lawn Mower (the mower I have still runs, sort of)
    4. A new wardrobe for every season (I have boxes and boxes and boxes of clothes that I don't wear. why add more to the chaus?)
    5. A matching pair of shoes for every outfit I own. (how many pairs of shoes do I really need? I only have two feet) 
    6. Matching jewelry for every outfit I own. (how many necks, arms and fingers do I have?)
    7. A haircut every month. (at my age growing hair on my head ain't that easy)
    8. A manicure and pedicure. (really, I work with my hands in dirt, pooh and other unspeakable stuff. a chipped nail doesn't bother me)
    9. Eating out cause I'm too lazy or too busy to cook (not going to happen)
    10. A week at a spa and resort. (O.K. I would really like to have this one but it ain't gonna happen).
    Well, thats all I have to say today.  Well, there is one more thing.  I know. I know. Yada, yada, yada.  Just shut up.

    Ordinary riches can be stolen; real riches cannot.  In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you. 
     ~Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man under Socialism, 1891

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    The "Dog Days Of Summer" are...............

    dog days
    periods of exceptionally hot and humid weather that often occur in July, August, and early September in the northern temperate latitudes. The name originated with the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians; they believed that Sirius, the dog star, which rises simultaneously with the Sun during this time of the year, added its heat to the Sun's and thereby caused the hot weather. Their belief that dogs were subject to spells of madness at this time also may have contributed to the name. Because people tended to become listless during the dog days, Sirius was held to have a detrimental effect on human activities
    Gypsy can tell you all about the dog days.
    Gypsy staying close to her pool.
    Hey, ya'll.  106 degrees again? Really?  I am definitely listless! And maybe suffering from a touch of madness (depends on who you ask). Can I take my skin off and just sit under the air conditioner in my bones? When the low nighttime temperature is 82 degrees, you know you're in trouble!  You might as well get ready for it cause I'm going to whine about the heat again.  It's so dry that you could sneeze and set a fire.  

    Everyone and everything is suffering.  The farmers and ranchers trying to cut their hay pastures are engulfed in a cloud of dust that travels for miles.  Some of them have come down with pneumonia from breathing the dust and they were the lucky ones!  Others have had a small spark from a loose cable set the hay and their tractors on fire!

    You know my love of animals, so I would be remiss if I did not include some tips for keeping them safe in the hot weather.
    Veterinarians at the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania offer the following tips to keep pets healthy and cool during the hot days ahead:
    • Do not leave your pet alone in your car - vehicles heat quickly in the sun, and animals left in them can succumb to heat stroke in a very short time. Heatstroke is life threatening for both dogs and cats. Signs to watch for are: heavy, loud breathing, a staggering gait, and a bright red tongue or gum tissue. If heat stroke is suspected, get the animal to a cool place, put cold compresses on his belly, or in severe cases completely wet him down so that his hair is soaked. This is a medical emergency - take him to your veterinarian as quickly as possible.
    • To prevent him from overheating, don't let your dog exercise in hot weather. If you want to run with your dog, do it in the cool hours of the early morning or late evening.
    • Dogs and cats need a cool, shady place to sleep during hot weather, as well as plenty of clean, fresh water, accessible at all times. Feed your dog or cat in the cooler hours of the day. Older animals have a hard time in hot weather, so be extra sensitive to their needs during the hottest hours of the day.
    • Be sure that your pet's vaccinations are up to date. Parvovirus, an illness that flourishes in hot weather, can be fatal to dogs that have not received their vaccinations. Also, be sure your pet's rabies vaccinations are current. During the summer months, pets often spend more time outdoors, and the chances of encounters with wildlife (possible rabies carriers) increase.
    • It's heartworm medication time. If your dog hasn't been tested for heartworm this year, see your veterinarian. Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes, but it can be prevented by administering a monthly preventive between June and November.
    • Keep your pet well groomed. Daily brushing or combing lets you check for fleas and ticks. Fleas can cause allergic reactions and "hot spots" in dogs. Hot spots are large, wet skin sores that appear suddenly in areas where the dog has scratched. See your veterinarian for flea and tick preventives or if a "hot spot" appears.
    • Play with your pet instead of stroking him to fend off fear of thunder or loud noise. Playing a game with your pet when he shows early signs of anxiety, like pacing or trembling, can distract him from the stressor.  In the long term, it teaches him to associate that same stressor with positive things such as play and treats. Petting him is likely to make no difference - and, in fact, it may reinforce the attention-seeking that comes with nervousness.
    • Keep dogs away from picnic garbage. Ingesting corncobs and chicken and other bones can be life-threatening by obstructing or perforating the stomach. Also, according to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, the peels, fruit, and seeds of citrus plants such as lemons, oranges, limes, and grapefruits contain varying amounts of citric acid, limonin, and volatile oils that can cause gastrointestinal irritation and result in vomiting and diarrhea. The stems, leaves, and seeds of apples, cherries, peaches, and apricots contain cyanogenic glycosides that can cause vomiting and loss of appetite when eaten in large amounts. In severe cases, weakness, difficulty breathing, hyperventilation, shock, and even death can occur. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs.  All forms of onion can be a problem including dehydrated onions, raw onions, cooked onions and table scraps containing cooked onions and/or garlic. Left over pizza, Chinese dishes and commercial baby food containing onion, sometimes fed as a supplement to young pets, can cause illness.
    • If you have a swimming pool, do not leave your dog unattended in the pool area. Not all dogs can swim - they can drown if they fall into the water.
    • Use a heavy screen on windows or keep them closed if you have cats. During the summer, the number of cats suffering from "high rise" syndrome, or falling from windows, increases dramatically. Contrary to myth, cats do not land on their feet when falling from heights. The most severe injuries occur when cats fall from second- or third-floor windows.

     I am very fortunate to be able to check on Gypsy and the boys throughout the day because I am home. Not only do we provide two small swimming pools  for them but there are two very large water buckets.  Many times it just comes down to common sense.  Common Sense and Simple Living go hand in hand.   
    Pickle and Mischief know how to beat the heat of the dog days of summer!
     It is so dry that even snakes have gone looking for water.   Unfortunately (for the snake), it sought refuge in my sister Joyce's flower bed.  She called me at 6:45 a.m. one morning to see if my "do no harm" rule applied to snakes.  I explained that snakes, spiders and other creepy, crawly things that will hurt you are not included.  In the background, I could hear dogs barking like crazy and Joyce seemed a little overly excited for that early in the morning.  Then the story came tumbling out.  She had seen a  five or six foot rattlesnake crawl into her main flower bed and she had killed it with a garden hoe!  A garden hoe?  A garden hoe? What were you thinking?  Get the gun, sis.  Get the gun.  Such bravery deserves some reward!  Maybe a tee shirt that says "Armed and Dangerous" with a picture of her holding a garden hoe?  Country girls can take care of themselves, I'm telling ya.  Anything can become a weapon in our hands! 

    Garden Tool Women's Tank Top
    Lovin' the lifestyle choice, thank you very much!
    Light Green Farmer T-Shirt
    Country Girls Get R Done! You Go Big Sister!
    The Rooster May Crow... Tee
    Need I say more?

    I Run Like A Girl Just Try t Women's Tank Top
    This one is for you, Becky!

    I love tee-shirts so this site can entertain me for hours.  Click above and enjoy!  It's much more fun than being outside in this heat.  I am going to hibernate inside the house until December when I can then whine about how cold it is.

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    The Ripple Effect

    I expect to pass through life but once.  If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.
    William Penn
    If I could turn back time.......1958?
    A five year old me and Mom.
    Good Morning from Harmony Acres, ya'll.  It's a cool morning (84 degrees is cool for summer in Oklahoma).  I've already hauled the trash, mowed some on the yard, given Maggie a bath. I had everything set up outside to paint on my kitchen cabinet doors.  However; between my lingering bronchitis and never ending allergy attacks, that project has been moved inside the house for the day.  Yes, I know that paint fumes in the house aren't safe but my left brained, right handed logic says go for it.

    Warning: Graphic Description Follows 
    I was going to tell you about my cucumber salad, my kitchen cabinet doors and other mundane things occurring at Harmony Acres.  However; after the "not guilty" verdict in the Casey Anthony trial, I want to address the criminal justice system in our country. 

    It is probably safe to say the 90% of the people in our country think she caused the death of her child and lied and partied for 31 days  knowing the child was dead in a swamp (with three pieces of duct tape placed over the mouth and nose holding the little skull together) 15 houses down from where she resided with her parents.  The other 10% are "reasonable doubt" defense lawyers.  I found this verdict deeply disturbing and egregious on so many levels!

    As a mother, I would gladly lay down my life for my daughter (as would have my mother and every mother I know) so the actions of Casey Anthony escape my understanding.  Actually, it is beyond my comprehension!  We watched a family that should have lived at "dysfunction junction" come apart on live television (we all have some type of dysfunction but rarely do we have it broadcast live around the world). 

    These are the facts as I understand them (apparently, the jury was watching a different trial than I was):
    1. Caylee Anthony (almost three years old) was last seen in the company of her mother, Casey Anthony.
    2. For one month no one saw Caylee while her mother partied and got a new tattoo (Beautiful Life).
    3. When Cindy (Casey's mother) tracked her down in July, Casey claimed the babysitter kidnapped Caylee (when in fact, the child was decomposing in a swampy area).
    4. Casey's car had been towed and when her parents reclaimed the car, the trunk had the distinctive odor of human decomposition in it.
    5. Casey continued to lie to everyone and did everything possible to prevent the remains of her child from being found (6 months later, the skeletonized remains were located by a meter reader in an area that had been under water.  most of the unusable  forensic evidence had been destroyed).
    6. Casey continued to lie about Caylee's death until in opening statements her lawyer stated that Caylee died on June 16th in an accidental drowning in the family swimming pool (there was no evidence of this, or anything else he claimed in opening statements, presented at the trial ).
    She was tried by a jury of her peers (I have reasonable doubt about the "peer" part. who were these people?) and found not guilty of any charges related to the death of her child.  Apparently, common sense took a vacation.  The circumstantial evidence in this trial was overwhelming.  According to the verdict, no one killed Caylee.  So why isn't she still in the loving arms of her grandparents? 

    I can understand her lawyers wanting to celebrate their unlikely victory, but I feel so public a display (champagne toast in a restaurant close to the courthouse) was inappropriate to say the least.  I am disgusted by their actions during the trial and afterward.  How can there be such a celebration when a child is dead?  Does no one remember the reason for this trial?

    The ripple effect of this case will continue for years to come.  It seems that almost everyone whose lives intersected with Casey Anthony are in some way forever changed (and not for the better).  If she had only taken responsibility for whatever may have happened, in all likelihood, her family would have welcomed her back with open arms.  Instead, she told terrible lies that will always haunt and hurt her family.  She has destroyed much.  There is a very real possibility that she will walk out of that courthouse tomorrow a free woman.  How will she live in a world that believes she got away with murdering her child? 

    Whether you believe in God (reap what you sow), Karma (as she has planted, so does she harvest) or just good old common sense (what goes around comes around), there is a reckoning.  She may be legally exonerated but she is not morally exonerated!  Time will take care of this!  The ripple effect!  If you ever think that one life cannot impact others, take a look at this case.  The ripple effect!  Law enforcement, hundreds and hundreds of people who traveled hundreds of miles to help search for a live missing child, her family, jurors, lawyers, the judge and countless others who were vested in finding this child.  At the end of the day, there are many unanswered questions and no answers, which disturb all of us. How could this have happened?

    Our legal system, such as it is, worked but truth and justice were not present in that courtroom in my humble opinion.  Something is broke and I am saddened by this! 

    Sunday, July 3, 2011

    Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.

    Happy 4th of July, ya'll.  Sometimes the celebration of a holiday becomes so routine that we forget why the tradition ever started.  This should not be one of them!  We live in a country where freedom truly means everything to us.  We, as a nation, have sacrificed sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and many other loved ones to this cause which is as much a part of our being as the heart that beats in our body.  We are Americans and proud of it! 
    History Lesson: Part 1 

    First 4th of July

    It was in the year 1776 that representatives from the thirteen colonies met together in Philadelphia, to sign the final declaration to England of our independence. After decades of mistreatment, over taxation and living under a tyrannical government, the colonists had had enough.
    They came here as British citizens and were being governed as property instead of as British citizens. They weren’t going to stand for any further abuses of power by a King and Parliament that appeared to not care for them. The early founding fathers banded together and brought arms to bear against the military of the King to drive them out of this country and back to England. By expelling the British from our shores, we became a self-ruled country.
    The war waged for almost a decade to secure our freedom from the British. Often ill equipped and hungry, the revolutionary soldiers were determined that they possess a country of free men and women. Their struggles and hardships were given so that we might live in a country without the tyranny of a monarch thousands of miles away.
    The fight for freedom has touched all our lives throughout the years.  My beloved brother, David, fought in a foreign country.  As a teenager, this was the most agonizing time of my life.  The evening news only intensified my fear for his safety.  It still brings tears to my eyes as I remember the raw emotion of realizing that he was on American soil again and coming home. 

    Many times as I watch popular and successful entertainers on T.V. distort and forget the lyrics to our National Anthem, I just want to scream!  How can you live in a country, that has allowed you to become rich and famous, and not be respectful enough to know the words to the most important song?  Well, let me remind you how it goes.  Don't just read the words!  Feel the words! 

    Here we have another history lesson (part 2), thank you very much.

     In 1813 the commander of Ft. McHenry asked for a flag so big that "the British have no trouble seeing it from a distance." He asked Mary Young Pickersgill to make the flag for him. Her thirteen year old daughter Caroline helped her. She used 400 yards of fine wool. They cut 15 stars that were two feet across. There were
    8 red and 7 white stripes. The stripes were each two feet wide. When it was finished it measured 30 by 42 feet and cost $405.90.

    During this time Francis Scott Key was a lawyer in Georgetown, just a few miles from Washington D.C. He and his wife Mary had 6 sons and 5 daughters.

    In 1814, the British captured Washington and set the Capitol on fire. President James Madison and his wife Dolley had to leave the White House and run to a safer place.

    After this attack, the Americans knew that Baltimore would be attacked next. The British had captured Mr. Key's friend. His name was William Beanes and he was a doctor. Key and another man set out to try to save Dr. Beanes' life. They told the British the doctor had helped to save British soldiers who had been wounded. They agreed to free him, but they wouldn't let them leave because the three men had overheard the British making plans to attack. So they were placed under guard on a British ship.

    It was from this ship Francis Scott Key watched the bombing of Ft. McHenry. There was a lot of smoke and haze, but when daylight came, he could see the flag was still waving.

    Put yourself there with Francis Scott Key when he penned these words:

    The Star-Spangled Banner
    Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
    What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
    Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
    O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
    And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
    Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
    Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
    O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
    On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
    Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
    What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
    As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
    Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
    In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
    'Tis the star-spangled banner!  Oh long may it wave
    O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
    And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
    That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
    A home and a country should leave us no more!
    Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
    No refuge could save the hireling and slave
    From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
    O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
    Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
    Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
    Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
    Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
    Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
    And this be our motto:  "In God is our trust."
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
    O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

    The flag which flew over Ft. McHenry is now at the Smithsonian in the Museum of American History. The flag is very fragile and they keep a curtain in front of it to protect it from the light and dust. They show the flag for a few moments once every hour when the museum is open to the public.
    A spectacular view looking down from the ceiling of the National Museum of American History at the Star Spangled Banner and Foucault Pendulum exhibits just inside the museum's Mall entrance.

    (Smithsonian photo #95-1155/4 by Eric Long)

    The Star Spangled Banner, America's most famous flag and a highlight of any visit, is the flag that inspired the national anthem. The Foucault Pendulum, which seems to rotate as it swings, demonstrates the rotation of the earth.

    God Bless all those who are in service to our country, at home and abroad.  Thank you from a grateful American!  God Bless all the families who love them.  Thank you for your sacrifice.  God Bless America and the freedom we represent.

    Saturday, July 2, 2011

    Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability***Sam Keen

    You can never appreciate the shade of a tree unless you sweat in the sun.
     Author Unknown

    Hi ya'll.  Who knew that 80 degrees under the air conditioner could feel so good!  When it's a 100 degrees actual temperature outside and the air feels like you are breathing in liquid flames, you know that you are living in Hell's kissin cousin, Oklahoma.  Nothing is moving outside this afternoon.  Not birds, not animals, not leaves on trees, not humans (if they can help it).  The shade trees offer little relief.  Hello, summer!!!
    I don't know about you, but as a very feminine lady (yes, I clean up pretty good when I want to), I find summer very challenging.  It's hard to look good when your make-up is dripping off your chin (lookin like something that should be in a wax museum, no doubt) and sweat is pooling between your boobs (yes, I said boobs).  The fragrance you are wearing goes sour in a matter of minutes and you smell worse than if you were wearing none at all.  Pantyhose are out of the question!  Your clothes seem to cling to every unsightly bulge you have and your panties settle in some very uncomfortable places.  I think it should be perfectly legal and morally acceptable to go naked in the heat of an Oklahoma summer.  Well, that just what I think bout it. 
    Gypsy is hot!

    Pushka is hot!

    And my tomato plants are hot!
    The guys (father, son and friend) came yesterday and unplugged the sewer line and put in a clean out line (A sewer cleanout is a point of access where the sewer lateral can be serviced. It usually is 4” in diameter and has a tight-fitting steel or plastic cap over it.).  The cost was more than reasonable and I found out that they are general contractors (that means they can do anything). 

    I was a curious spectator and watched them work.  The hairball (it was the size of a small state) they removed looked like we had scalped at least ten people and flushed them down the toilet bowl (it wasn't pretty).  The look the father gave me when he removed said hairball, spoke volumes.  His tip of the day was to pour one cup of bleach down the bathroom sink and bathtub once a week to prevent this sort of thing from happening again (kinda figured out he thought a little common sense would have prevented this problem).  Anyway, they are coming back next week to hang a new storm door for me.
    Ground level view of my new clean out line (box?)
    After living here for 18 years, I got a clue.
    One of my neighbors stopped by the store today while I was working and left me this gift that keeps on giving.  I love Simple Living  and everything that comes with it.  You never have to stand alone when you live in the country. 
    Bless my bloomers!  It's new potatoes and yukon gold!
    Thank you for dropping in today.  I gotta go and cook some taters.  Have a wonderful evening and I will see you again soon.
    Dirty hands, iced tea, garden fragrances thick in the air and a blanket of color before me, who could ask for more?Bev Adams

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