Category Archives: Reflections

Dog Days Of Summer

According to the dog days of summer run from July 3 through August 11 which is normally the hottest and most humid time of year in the northern hemisphere. Around here every day is a dog day. Just ask Ranger and Trooper. But, yes, the HEAT IS ON and it is accompanied by a dry spell so keeping the gardens watered has been the main focus for the past week or so. If you are curious about how we manage that on our off-grid farm you can check out our off-grid irrigation system here.

In the mean time I put together a collection of pictures that I’ve taken over about the past few weeks to share with you.

This is how Ranger cools off on these hot days. (Did you know beagles can swim?)

and Trooper enjoys laying on the beach after a swim in the pond.

The grandbabies love the water as much as the dogs do.

Dragonflies are yet another creature that appreciate the pond.

This one is drinking water from the sand. Check out the honey bee (on the left) that photo bombed this shot. She too was coming to the beach for a drink of water.

This beauty hung out with us on the beach, for a couple of hour yesterday evening, fluttering about and pausing now and then to rest or perhaps get a sip of water.

One last pond picture because we can never have too much cuteness. LOL.

Speaking of cuteness, here is a double dose – twins.

The lavender is gorgeous this year and the bees and butterflies are all over it.

We have transitioned from strawberry season to blueberry season. On the same day that my husband, and (daughter) Kara, picked the last of the strawberries, I took (daughter) Tina, and Jackson and Addy into the blueberry patch to pick the first ripe berries. While Kara took her 3/4 of a basket of strawberries home. Addy couldn’t wait, so she ate all of the blueberries we picked while they were still at the farm.

Start them off young – that’s my motto. They posed for a group photo then dad took Jackson and Addy, one at a time, for a ride on the tractor.

The garden is flourishing. I have harvested basil and calendula flowers twice so far.

We have green tomatoes, peppers starting to develop, blossoms on the eggplant,

blossoms on the green beans and the corn is knee high.

We cut garlic scapes (check out this post to learn more about scapes) about two weeks ago and will be digging garlic soon.

It seems that every summer our back field is dominated by different plants. This year it is full of clover and birdsfoot trefoil and I think it is just gorgeous. It’s also great bee food.

I’ll leave you with one last photo of this pair who stopped by our deck for a short visit last week. They were kind enough to stay so I could get a photo then they hurried on their way.

Thanks for visiting and remember – stay hydrated, breathe deep and stay well.

Are you having a heat wave?

55 Things # 26 – Real Stories

Click here to learn more about my “55 Things” and here to view previous posts in this series.

Last week while listening to one of the local talk radio programs I heard mention of a collection of stories told by former slaves about their lives. The collection was said to be housed in the U.S. Library of Congress. I love stories about history especially ones told by those who lived it so I decided to see if I could access these stories. Since an internet search produced positive results I thought I would share this treasure for others who might be curious about this part of U.S. history.

Thus far I’ve read just a few of the 2300 stories. I try to read one or two of these short stories each day. I am finding it interesting to read what these individuals experienced while living as slaves; during the civil war; and life after slavery ended.

The link below includes 17 volumes, organized by state in which the person lived, that can be downloaded in PDF format.

About this Collection

Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938 contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves.  These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) of the Works Progress Administration, later renamed Work Projects Administration (WPA).  At the conclusion of the Slave Narrative project, a set of edited transcripts was assembled and microfilmed in 1941 as the seventeen-volume Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. In 2000-2001, with major support from the Citigroup Foundation, the Library digitized the narratives from the microfilm edition and scanned from the originals 500 photographs, including more than 200 that had never been microfilmed or made publicly available.  This online collection is a joint presentation of the Manuscript and Prints and Photographs divisions of the Library of Congress.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

Jury Duty

In May I received a summons for jury duty in the mail. It listed my term of service beginning June 30th and to run for two consecutive weeks. I followed the instructions which were to go online to the county court website, enter my juror number and fill out the questionnaire which would determine my eligibility to serve as a juror. When filling out the questionnaire I answered the question about disability and accommodations by explaining that I had left side deafness and would need to be seated so that my right ear was toward the person who was speaking. Also that any background noise might interfere with my ability to hear what was being said. I swore that I had answered all questions honestly and hit the submit button.

From there my instruction were to either go to the website or call the phone number given, after 5:00 PM on the evening before my first day of service, to see if I needed to report the following day for duty or to receive further instructions (when to call again).

It wasn’t until about two weeks ago that it occurred to me that I should have reported my having Parkinson’s Disease. I am not sure why I didn’t think of it at the time. It’s likely because I have not really let PD stop me from doing anything that I normally do, but perhaps it’s because PD is making me more forgetful. (LOL) I am not sure that the PD would effect my ability to serve as a juror but the tremors, that make me look like I am shaking my head, could be misinterpreted by others as some type of response rather than the involuntary movement that they are. The other thing that might become an issue while serving on a jury is that prolonged sitting causes my leg muscles to tighten up, so standing and walking become difficult after sitting for too long.

At this point I decided not to bother contacting them with the additional information, but just to wait to see how things played out. I imagined the worst thing that could happen was that I could be charged with perjury for lying on my questionnaire but I figured the PD might be an acceptable defense.

The other thing that had been on my mind since receiving the summons, of course, is the pandemic. Are the courts really holding jury trails and if so how are they practicing social distancing? I had hoped they would let me know ahead of time what would be expected of me. Last Wednesday they did – I received an email with the following message.


No jurors will be called for your entire jury term. Therfore, you are excused from jury service. Your jury service is complete, we thank you for your service.

Thank you,
St. Clair County Jury Clerk”

Although I’m not really sure if the courts in our county are holding jury trails at this time, I am thankful that I will not have appear and explain myself.

I have never served on a jury and have only been summoned one other time in my life. I do feel that, while I may have some difficulties that would prevent me from serving, if selected I would have been an impartial juror and been able to perform this civic duty well.

Have you ever served on a jury? Feel free to share your experience.

55 Things # 25 – For Tina

Click here to learn more about my “55 Things” and here to view previous posts in this series.

Today my oldest daughter, Tina, turns 32. I didn’t give birth to Tina. She was just over a year old when her father and I married. That didn’t matter; I have always been her mom and she has always been my daughter. She was about 11 years old when we divorced, but again that didn’t matter; Tina was still my daughter and I was still her mom. (NO STEPS)

The song I selected as my Disney dedication for Tina isn’t because it was her favorite song or movie – for that I probably would have selected something from Beauty and the Beast. Instead it is a song that reminds me of our relationship.

Life hasn’t always been easy for Tina and the second song I selected reminds me of Tina and the struggles that she has overcome.

Happy Birthday Kiddo! I love you!

Fruit Salad Recipe

We are still picking and eating fresh strawberries and I wanted to share one of my favorite fruit salad recipes that uses strawberries. Not only is it delicious it is simple to make (which makes it even better).

It’s not really important to have a specifics amounts of any of any of the ingredients but I’m going to give the amounts that I used to make it for our family picnic.


1 quart fresh strawberries cored and sliced

2 cans mandarin oranges drained

4 bananas peeled and sliced

4 cups mini marshmallows

Mix all four ingredients in a bowl. Chill until ready to serve.

We had some left over from the picnic on Saturday so my husband took a waffle (left over from breakfast) and topped it with this fruit salad. He said it was DELICIOUS!