The Sound of Birds Stopping By…..

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Construction of birdhouses and bird feeders can be as simple or as complex as you wish to make it. Bird feeders can look like tiny bungalows, wooden A-frames or miniature chalets. Bird houses need no ornamentation to serve the birds using them, but an attractive design can enhance a yard. Thus, the custom built bird feeders are for the person filling them not for the birds.

My neighbor has two wood salad bowls with a wooden rod through the center. The house across the street has a large glass hanging feeder.  

A feeder could be attached to any window.   It will bring the  bird up  close for an exciting view.   The tube bird feeder,  found in any variety store,  could be fun.   One neighbor has a  bird feeder  made from old car license plates.

My  nephew  made an egg carton bird feeder in school. My Aunt Hilda has bird houses made out of gourds hanging off of her porch. My grandmother has a rustic barn creation bird feeder that has painted on the top, “See Rock City.”

Building a bird house can be purely practical or absolutely outrageous.   In   Greenwood  I have found bird house  and  feeders built to resemble a  gazebo,  a church,  a log cabin,  a totem-like housing complex,  a pagoda,  a school house,  even a little outhouse!    It was a one-holer of a different sort.

Would the blue jays, sparrows, starlings or finches that visit the feeder in my yard be more excited if I had a little deck for the feathered guests to stand on? I think not.

Bird feeder and houses are designed to bring pleasure for you and benefit our feathered friends. Where is it written that I have to build a fanciful birdhouse? It doesn’t seem to matter to the birds.

Mix together my plain and simple looking bird feeder with bird seed and it looks like a scene from the movie  The Birds  in the back yard.  Works for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Road Signs

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Have you noticed all the different signs around town? True, more than one sign is strictly advertisements — periodically they are interesting.

One can’t help but notice the flashing neon sign on Madison near the Greenwood Shopping Mall. More than a few letters are gone. It blinks “quor” instead of advertising the establishment sells Liquor.

Did you happen to see the portable marquee sign on Meridian? “Tina, I love you – please come back.”   I wonder what ever happened to Tina.

The canopy sign outside of Fazoli’s advertised: All you “care to eat for $2.99”. I took my nephews and couldn’t help but notice they took the sign down the next day.  

Within a few blocks of the Shopping Mall, there is a deer crossing sign. True, plenty of deer cross a highway causing more than one accident. But honestly, have you ever seen a deer cross at where the signs are?

More than a few banks have electronic signs giving the date, time and temperature.   However; when it is 93 degrees outside, who needs to read a sign to know it’s hot.

There is a stop sign on Main Street in Greenwood that obviously doesn’t mean stop. More often than not when the cars come up to the street they roll right through.   I got a ticket there once. Now I stop.

By far my favorite sign is the billboard on I-65. As you head south toward Columbus you can’t miss it.   “Tattoos While You Wait”   Well, I would certainly hope so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yard Sale . . . . Buy Our Stuff . . .

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In spite of the recent rain and temperatures, yard sales flourish. “One man’s trash is another one’s treasure,” is a prime definition of the yard sales held each spring. On any given weekend from about May to August, signs will appear all over town for yard sales or garage sales.

These  sales offer people a prerogative  to make a little extra cash  as  well as clean out their garages  or  attics.   For people on a fixed income,  yard sales offer an  opportunity for added cash flow.  If you are looking for a hard to find item,   when you spot a yard sale sign,   pull over,   you just might find it at a  bargain price.

My sister-in-law always brags of the great savings she finds at area sales, so I spent last Saturday going from garage sale to yard sales. From that I decided on two important factors of yard/garage sales: one is to wear comfortable shoes and two is to be prepared to see people’s useless items. A yard sale could be defined: I purchase things they no longer want, go home, and put them in my garage with things I thought I needed.

She tells me,   “You will always find a little something.”   She mentions that more than one housing addition has community yard sales.   You simply park your car at one end of the development  and  only return  when your packages  wear you down.

Don’t be surprised to see crafts, lamps, tools, boats, lawn mowers, even refrigerators in the yard. Bicycles, microwaves, high chairs, pots and pans, a fire place, even a Christmas tree, all going for a cheap price in the front yard.

With the wide variety of clothes, toys, furniture, and dishes offered for sale, you might stumble upon just the thing you’ve been looking for. Sometimes you find something you didn’t even know you wanted until you spotted it in a front yard of a house with a sign “Yard Sale.”

I found a bowling pin for less than a dollar that my nephew can use as a door stop in his room. After a year he will tire of it and then it will be time to have a garage sale of my own and recover my money. Who wants to buy a bowling pin next spring?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day

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Mothers are very special people.  My mother, is a lovely and talented lady.  Among her many talents is her ability to sew.  It’s a talent neither my sisters nor I inherited  —  whether by choice or not, I don’t really know why.

Mom made all of our clothes and some of the neighbor’s when we were growing up.  My grandmother had a treadle sewing machine she would pump away at.  My mother had an electric one that had ‘attachments’ that she would keep in the bottom drawer of the machine.

It really wouldn’t matter which sewing machine my mother used, the results were way above average.  I remember once seeing a dress in the newspaper that I wanted so much and mother just studied it.  She drew out the pattern on newspaper, cut it out, adjusted it to fit me and she was ready to go.

Placing the home-made pattern on top the dress material, she started to cut.  The scissors made a special sound as she cut through the double thickness.  She would stop many times as she sewed to fit the dress to me, all the while pressing each seam so the finished product would look professional.

I stood on a table and slowly turned while mom measured so many inches up from the table top because the last thing of course was to put in the hem.  Then the final pressing, so I would ‘look nice” at school.

My mother no longer sews dresses for me or my sister.  Her grandchildren find the clothes they need at the local department store.  She no longer sews clothing, so she make quilts. Her quilts could stand inspection from “the best of them”.

Me?  My talent is with a hot glue gun.  I can fix any hem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Touchdown . . . . ??

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My nephew is getting ready for his first big game.  He is a football player now.  When he first brought home his uniform, he wore it for most of the day. 

My little nephew  Doug,  came over and showed us  his football gear.    He looked so tiny in his football uniform.   I could almost cry when I saw how  the  mammoth equipment engulfed him.   His bright  red  jersey should intimidate any opposition team. 

He showed me his helmet.  He took special note of the face guard, chin strap and soft padding inside.  I was glad to see a plastic mouthpiece attached, leaving no emergency trip to the dentist.

Doug proudly shows a big number seven on the front and back of his jersey. He has shoulder pads under his shirt that adds a good six inches to his width.  With the hip, knee, and thigh pads in place he resembles a roly-poly about to tip over.  He waddles as he walks.  Only once did he step on my toes with his cleats.

I watched as my husband went out and showed him the right way to hold the football.  His little fingers barely covered the lacing.  When he brought up the ball so that it was just behind his ear to toss, it looked about the size of his head. 

His first lesson was to take the snap of the ball.  The football held high ready to throw then he lets his arm swing down in front.  He drops the ball more than a few times.  I yell that he should take the snap from his wrist.  One more try and then the ball sailed across the grass.

They decided to throw the football in the front yard. The little guy’s first few passes were wobbly.  I yell that my husband should move in closer.  Soon he was throwing the ball straight to his uncle.

Keeping his eyes on the ball, my nephew is ready to catch the ball with both hands.  More than once he missed it so I yell to my husband to move to the right.  Soon, the little guy caught it nearly each time.

They practiced passing the ball for a while and then started to punt it.  The instructions were simple:   Take a short step with your kicking foot, drop the ball as you step forward with the other foot, and then kick the ball with the outside of your foot.   Pow!  The nephew fell flat.   I yell that he needs to kick it before it touches the ground.    Two more attempts and my nephew kicked the football  into the air.

I was glad to be out in the front yard helping.  Each time I yell my husband rolls his eyes.  He suggests that I do NOT attend any of my nephews football practice sessions.  I wouldn’t want to embarrass him would I ?  He says it’s a “guy thing”.

Little Doug’s first football game was this week. Sitting on the bleachers I watched him play football and I did not yell.  Perhaps it was the way my husband grabbed my arm each time I tried to stand. 

They won the football game and he knows he has to practice hard for years and years to become a professional player. 

I wouldn’t save a place on the mantle for the Heisman Trophy just yet.

 

 

 

 

Holidays and the In-Laws

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Now that Christmas is drawing near, eventually the time will come when the in-laws will come for a visit.  I have a few suggestions on how to make the visit memorable.  It might make a difference if they return next year.

Think of the decorations.  When decorating your house, think more, more, and more.  A house can never be over-decorated.  Decorations should dominate the field of vision at all times.  Explain to them how you have been so busy decorating and celebrating for Christmas.

Give each child at least a dozen cookies a day.  Snickerdoodles, chocolate chip cookies, it doesn’t matter which kind as long as they are sugar coated.  The most the child should have in one day is 27.

Purchase magazines that have headlines about divorce.  Perhaps go to the library and take out a book on open marriage.  Leave it on the coffee table.

Constantly tell your in-laws how you had to buy everything that the children wanted for Christmas.  Who is to say it was not healthy to satisfy all their desires?  Tell them how your husband told you about all those gifts he wanted so badly but never received.  Those disappointments haunt him to this day.

Pick up more than one credit card application as you walk out of the department stores.  Place these half filled out applications throughout the house.  Mention that you do worry about whether you can pay off your credit cards during your lifetime.  That’s a legacy you can pass on to your children.

Purchase gifts that send them a message.  Buy them a piece of luggage and give them a book on travel.  Enclose more than one brochure about taking a cruise for the holidays.

Bring out all the Halloween treats that were never eaten and brag about the good sales on candy you found.

Lose all self-control in your eating habits.  Don’t worry about gaining weight.  You can always lose any pounds in January.  Every time your mother-in-law asks if she can help in the kitchen, be munching on food.  It is a good idea to lick any spoon, cough, and put it right back in the bowl.

Switch the local radio station to an all jazz station or try to find a rap station.  Pretend to understand the lyrics, snap your fingers or tap your foot.

Talk about how you always wanted a Saint Bernard.  If you have a dog already, wouldn’t he be an added enjoyment inside the house?

Try to telephone as many other family members or friends as you can.  So what if your in-laws are in the other room?  Hello Aunt Betty in Georgia, my husband said your pot roast was the best he ever ate.  Can I have that recipe? 

Set the goal of creating that perfect Christmas for the in-laws.  No expectations can be too high for the holiday season.  In fact, next year might be more perfect than this year.   They might actually take that cruise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grandma’s Chili is the best !

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At the dinner table my nephew said it, “I like Grandma’s chili a lot better than moms’” His honesty opened up Pandora’s Box – Whose chili is best?

Chili is something we tend to make only in winter.  It is a cross between soup and stew, only the hot spices bring out its true value.  It has zero degree of difficulty to make, and if you make a big enough pot of chili it might even taste better the next day.

My sister wouldn’t think of making chili without putting spaghetti in it.  Why do people put pasta in their chili?  My aunt loves macaroni in her chili. Doesn’t this make it more like a chili-con-carne?

My sister-in-law puts diced bacon, nutmeg and two bottles of beer (or ale) in her chili.  Now that would make my brother want two bowls.

At our house we put red  kidney beans in our chili, yet my neighbor would never  put beans in. My husband  likes three  bean chili  made with whole green chilies.chilies. I’ve also  tasted it  made  with  great chili  peppers. I’ve also dined  on white  bean  chili.

My sister is watching for low fat meals so she makes a chunky chicken chili. I’ve also had her chili when she made it with venison or pork.  She has even made chili with ostrich meat. 

My mother-in-law never eats chili if it has meat in it.  No meat?  Yes, my friend Myrna fixes a totally vegetarian chili that does taste good.  The flavor is robust and the jalapenos have been smoked.  Yes vegetarian chili can still make your eyes water. 

I add chopped tomatoes  in my chili, while my mother uses whole tomatoes and my sister uses only tomato sauce.  You can add Worcestershire  sauce, oregano, brown sugar, onion, garlic, cornmeal, even carrots.   I have heard of one woman  putting in a square of unsweetened  chocolate.  Go figure.  Every house has a different recipe for chili.

In the winter months, everyone is wild about chili.  It is a collection of fiery treats cooked up anyway you like it.  Yes and why do they call it chili, if we want it as hot and spicy as we can make it?