Saturday, January 26, 2013
Snow. We don't see much of that in Texas.
My hubby and I lived on 10 acres adjacent to a large area of Army Core of Engineers property that ringed Stillhouse Hollow Lake. This is where we raised our sons. It was a wooded area, high on a hill overlooking the headwaters of the lake. We could see the "weather" coming from the other side of the lake, long before it arrived at our house.
On the rare occasions we did have snow, it truly opened up another world. Besides all the usual beauty of snow on the ground, the trees, etc., suddenly there were hundreds of tracks all over the place! What was once invisible was now a clear picture before our eyes.
Hubby was an avid hunter all his life and a Game Warden for 25 years, so identifying the tracks was not a problem. I always knew we had deer and cottontails there, but now we saw the dance they did played out all over the open expanse we called our yard.
And we saw the fox who were drawn by the rabbits, and the deadly game played out there, which we could then track to its final destination, thanks to the snow. Well, the destination was final for the rabbit, anyway.
We found one fairly large cat print, a bobcat who had come in our back gate which opened to the hills around the lake. And racoons, of course, making pawprints everywhere as they "felt" of everything, especially near the pond. We also had a couple of ringtails. In case you've never seen one: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring-tailed_ca
I petted a caged one once and it had fur as soft as my Rosie who gets brushed every day.
This all without leaving our place. Out in the wilder areas there was more, of course, and you could follow tracks and see a story unfold before your eyes. Sometimes a joyful dance of life. Sometimes final fearful minutes for whomever was lower on the food chain.
Wow, someone mentioned snow and I guess I got lost in snowy memories of winters past.
Sunday, January 06, 2013
Small floral watercolors are a fairly new thing for me and I'm having a lot of fun with them!
Now and then I'm really happy with some of them, other times, not so much, lol.
And quite a few of them end up in the trash.
I also wish I was good at photography because these look better in person. Cheap camera, unexperienced photographer, improper lighting, and I just have no interest in taking photos.
Anyway, I had a good time. So did Rosie, who sits on the corner of my desk where I paint and, if I don't keep an eye on her, dips her paw into the wet paint. Maybe I could let her create a painting, hmm?
Friday, December 28, 2012
Well, I've made it through Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and all the baking in between with no weight gain. Just a few days to go! The solution for me to accomplish that was ATTENTION. Just staying aware of what/when/why I'm eating and spending a lot of effort to stay focused and aware.
I woke up today thinking about starting a new healthy year. I'm a little early, but it's on my mind. Last year I focused on nutrition until I found a healthy way to eat that brought all my "numbers" into really desireable, healthy ranges. My blood work verified I was on the right track.
This new year I'll be zeroing in on improving/not losing bone density. This is a challenge for me since the common most load bearing exercises result in pain for me due to a bad hip when done in any consistent, effective manner.
So I'll be searching for no or very low impact exercises that are still effective for building bone density. After an entire life of more physical activity (read that "hard labor") than your average woman, I never thought this would be an issue for me. But here I am. Not critical, but slipping some in bone density, and determined to correct that.
If you have a favorite dvd, exercise or any thoughts at all on this, feel free to pass them my way!
Saturday, December 22, 2012
NOT EVEN A MOUSE!
This is Luna, a stray cat I rescued and gave to my son. She is known locally as the Mighty Huntress!
Saturday, December 22, 2012
One year, after my sons had gone to live and work on their own and Christmas was approaching, I was looking around trying to think of what to buy my husband for Christmas. After I while I realized I was really trying hard to dream up a gift for him. I knew heíd be having an even harder time thinking of what to give me.
This got me to thinking about the whole meaning of giving and of Christmas. Iíll try not to make this terribly long, but this is the idea that came to me and what we actually did for Christmas that year -
My husband was a Game Warden. He often confiscated game killed illegally. What happens to it? We tried giving it to facilities like orphanages, but too many government and health regulations kept that from happening. So he always had a list of people he found who were down on their luck and needed food for their families. Most were country boys who could come retrieve the game and dress it and prepare it for eating. This included venison, wild duck, goose, quail, doves, sometimes fish.
Many of these people in our rural area supported their families off the land, too. They hunted and trapped and sold hides. So Jim would also stop when he saw a hide-bearing animal on the roadside - hit by a car - retrieve it and give it to someone so they could sell the hide. This little extra money made a big difference to some families.
Christmas was close and Jim found a huge raccoon that had been killed so he took it to the house of a construction worker who had hurt his back and was out of work. He knew the man would get a nice sum of money for it, enough to buy a few groceries for his wife and 5 kids. The next week Jim stopped by the manís house and the kids came running out to greet him. One little boy said, ďMr. Jim. Thanks so much for the raccoon. We havenít had meat in a long time.Ē
When Jim told me this, we were both horrified. These people were not only eating something most of us wouldnít, it was a road kill, intended for the hide sale only. But they hadnít wasted any of it! Iíve eaten roasted raccoon and itís ok, but not what I look forward to having for dinner, and certainly not when itís picked up off the roadside.
So here is the plan I put forward to my husband: This year we will not exchange gifts. We will use the money we would have spent on each other and weíll buy groceries for this manís family. The important parts of this are:
1. We are not just giving food to a poor family at Christmas. We are doing this instead of giving to each other. You and I will NOT exchange gifts.
2. We will not tell anyone about this.
A part of the Bible that has always made a huge impression on me is Matthew, Chapter 6, Vs 1-7. To put it in the vernacular - Do your good works in secret, donít blow your own horn.
There was a friend at our house when we were discussing this. He did not like the idea because this man was often arrested for one thing or another - misdemeanor crimes. Jim knew lots of people like this and helped them feed their families anyway. They knew if he caught them breaking the law, heíd take them to jail and then take some food to their families. We talked about it for a while and before he left, our friend added his own money to the contribution.
SO, on December 23rd, I left work early and went to the grocery store. I mentally prepared meals for that family of parents and 5 children - 7 days' worth, and bought everything that would be needed to prepare them all. That included a turkey dinner for Christmas day and dessert and candy for the kids. I had more than one grocery cart filled. Christmas Eve morning Jim delivered the entire load, including cash we had collected from our friend. I didnít go.
He came home crying. The gratitude of the entire family just overwhelmed him. It overwhelmed me, too. The father came to our house later to thank me himself and tell me how hard times had been and what this meant to his family. I canít tell you the deep joy that filled me that Christmas. It was THE most wonderful Christmas I ever had. It became a tradition I repeated many times, but that first time was the most awesome.
So why am I telling you about this now? I want you, most of all, to hear the SEQUEL. The very next year, this man and his family were in better shape. He came to our house again, to let us know that he and his family were doing the same thing for someone they knew that was in bad shape! He was so thankful to us, not only for the gift of food and money, but for the gift of the GIFT. Of seeing the GIFT in action. I went on to hear, in subsequent years, how the GIFT was being passed on, throughout a community of working poor, and yes, people who were often in our jail for one thing or another. Still people with families to feed and needs to be met.
Even though we didnít tell anyone what we did, the word spread around, mostly through a community of people that most good citizens ignored or wouldnít associate with. I still hear about it now and then, 25 yrs later. I certainly still reap benefits un-imagined from it. The memory of that first time still gives me chills.
Jim is long gone from this earth. We were married for 31 years. Remembering our Christmas story keeps him close to me.
Thatís my Christmas Story.
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