Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hump Day ...

It's Wednesday already. I had to look at the computer calendar to make sure of it. I've had some aggravation this week ... it seems to be pouring down on me lately more so than normal ... my dryer went out or the breaker went bad. A friend said he'd stop by this evening to look at it. I'll probably have to call someone from the nearby city to do any repairs. After my uncle passed away last year ... there is no one to call on who knows much about electricity or dryers or any appliances, for that matter. I don't mind hanging most of my clothing to dry but I cannot tolerate the towels. ha Good grief. Line-dried towels are like rubbing a dried up corn cob on your skin. It's just not a good thing.

This little ball of fuzz is a Silkie chick. My friends have a few dozen of these and a number of other breeds. This baby will grow up to look like this Silkie, except she'll be black ...

The strawberries I transplanted are blooming. A few still look a little peaked but I'm hoping they'll perk up. I love those strawberries. I love feeding them to my Quaker parrot. I usually do that outside. He slings bits all over the place when he eats them. He loves fresh fruit and vegetables ... and pizza and chips and just about anything I hand him.

There is no grass growing in the strawberry patch ... I got too close to the bed when I was cutting grass. :-/ I'm thinking if I leave it there til it dies, it'll turn brown and won't even be noticeable. Maybe? haha

I finally found a spindle that I felt good about purchasing. I'm not sure why this one was any different from the hundred others I looked at but it was. I purchased it from Spindler's Cottage at etsy. In addition to the spindle, he sent 2 oz of Brown Sheep Wool Company wool. I didn't have a proper carrier for this one so I'm using a bunny basket. It works for now. I've been spinning ...

... and spinning ...

It's such a relaxing craft. And after I complete that relaxing craft, I can knit with it. Which is another relaxing craft. I don't wanna do anything too stressful on purpose.  haha

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday ...

this day has meaning ... 

think about it ...


... your eternity depends on it ...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sourdough starter and strawberries ...

Before I start with the title topics, I've a Samson update: he is one step away from being completely healed. He has a slight infection in the groin area wound and is on antibiotics. Here he is, anxiously awaiting the vet to removed his stitches. He had 20 stitches, total. He did very well with the removal, although the ones in the groin area caused pain. He's such a good dog, I don't think I could ever have another. He does exactly as I ask, for the most part. He adores me as much as I adore him. Thank you all for the posts and emails checking up on him. It means so much to me to know there are people who care.


A friend of mine always has Easter dinner the weekend after Easter so all of her grandchildren and children can attend. I plan to attend this year. I've missed the last few years and always regret it. I have a huge 17-pound tavern ham in my freezer that I will never be able eat. I have to limit how much ham I consume because too much always results in urinary tract infections for me. It had the same effect on my Granny. And I love ham as much as she did. I remember we'd be at the holiday dinner tables with ham on our plates and sheepishly look at each other as if to say, "do you have the pills?" haha We knew we'd suffer in the next days but it was just too good to pass up.

In addition to ham, I plan to make sourdough dinner rolls. I don't have starter so I got online and came across a blog post with her experience of sourdough starter. Mindie has an interesting blog in case you're looking for another spot to visit. :-) I will not leave my starter outside day and night, but I have it outside right now. I don't have porch roofs, unfortunately, so leaving it outdoors is not a good idea.

Look at the beautiful sky and bright sunshine we're having today! It's about 55 degrees. What a lovely, peaceful day.

Mine is a little lumpy. Not too many lumps but there are some. Have you made the sourdough starter? Do you think a few lumps (very small ones, I'll add) will cause a problem? Do you have any tips, tricks or experiences with sourdough starter? Recipes? I came across this recipe for a dinner roll that is soft. Generally sourdough bread is crusty and a bit tough. Although I do like heavy breads, I think I'd like to try this recipe because the photo looks mouthwatering. Yeah! I'd love any advice you can give because I'm totally new to this. I have a breadmaker I've not used in years. I'd like to dust it off and use it again, too.


We had wonderful, HOT, sunshiny weather last week. Yesterday the snow fell all day long. It had a great deal of rain with it so it did not accumulate but it was nasty and cold. Last night, the temperature dropped to 26 degrees. Not good on the strawberries that I dug and separated and moved to a new location on Saturday. Samson and I went out early afternoon and checked on them. They seem to be healthy even though they're not as perky as they were on Monday. I prayed they'd be safe from the cold because I couldn't get out there in the wet snow and rain to cover them last evening. The Lord kept watch on them for me and I'm grateful. 

I've given away about 30 plants and as you can see ... I have many more to find homes for ...

I hope your Holy Week is a fantastic one!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

April Soap Giveaway

Nancy at A Rural Journal is having an April Soap Giveaway! I think you should hop on over there an enter for a chance to win this wonderful healing soap with aloe. This is the time of year where hands are awakened to grit, grime and dirt, resulting in dry, cracked, damaged skin. Whether you're Spring cleaning with a variety of harsh detergents and cleaners or outside digging up Mother Earth for your gardens and landscaping, you can benefit from visiting A Rural Journal. While you're entering the April Soap Giveaway ... read on ... she has some great photos and blog posts. Doesn't this soap look great?! It makes me want to clean my bathroom and decorate it to fit the soap. haha This soap (although I'd happily put it in my own bathroom) belongs in a magazine-styled bathroom. Good luck in the drawing ... I hope you win!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My poor pooch ...

(Please forgive my grainy photos. Not sure what is going on with my phone camera.)

Samson had surgery on Tuesday morning.

I didn't feel that great about him having it but it had to be done. Everything that could go wrong that morning did, including a snow storm. (I would have cancelled but I'd already rescheduled twice due to snow and, since there was only a few inches, I felt I could push my way through it. I hook Samson to my wheelchair and he can pull me. That's a big help at times. He's 50 pounds of muscle.) He had two large, deep tumors; one in the chest and a larger one in the groin. I stayed there for the surgery. The technician came out and said the tumors had been removed easier than anticipated and since they had some extra time allotted to him, they'd give me a 40% discount on a teeth cleaning. He really needed that and I'd planned having it done at a later date. I considered the savings and decided I could spare the $65 now with the benefit being elimination of future anesthesia. At his age of almost 11 years, I am mindful with his health and age. Since the teeth cleaning was all that was left to do, I went home. I returned at 5 PM for pick up and was given quite a shock ... both sticker and surgical results. The technician told me Samson had one tooth with an exposed root and "I think two others", she said, with decay at the gum line. She'd removed teeth without my knowledge although I would have approved it. I knew there had to be a reason his breath was occasionally rancid. I just didn't like the idea of her making that assumption. Maybe I'm too possessive of control over my dog. ha The bill was like a punch in the gut. I was expecting about $250 but ended up with $549. I asked for her visual opinion on the tumors. She said they appeared to be fatty tumors. The other six have all been fatty tumors so I decided not to send these off for analysis. That saved $120. I looked at the itemized bill and saw she'd given me discounts on almost everything other than the medications and anesthesia. She charged for pulling two teeth instead of FIVE and various other discounts. I am appreciative but would have preferred to hold off til I could save the money. Now I've got too much month and not enough money. haha But, my dog is healthy and that really is my main concern. There are few days left anyway.

It's been a mess. Had I known how substantial this surgery was, I would have left him at the vet's office overnight. I didn't realize the extent of it all until he was lifted into the car and I saw stitches and drainage tubes and blood and swelling and rolled back eyes. I couldn't get him out of the car on my own. My friend, Jamie, came here in, literally, a blizzard and helped me get him into the house and onto the couch bed. He has a drainage tube on both sides of the groin incision. It drips blood all over the place. I'm trying to keep a pad under him so I don't have to change the sheets so much. Samson wants to be with me in every room I go to and that was making a mess.  I parked myself on the couch bed (there is a plastic cover under the sheet) and have been on the computer along with knitting most of the day. Not what I wanted to do but I'm getting quite a bit accomplished. What I knit will be sold in October at a festival. I need to get as many items as I can completed. This is an opportunity to get that stash well on its way.

Miss Cleo usually sleeps beside Samson. She's been very concerned with what's going on with him. She sits by him and occasionally taps his head with her paw for just a second. He looks up at her as she continues her gaze. She finally did lay down to sleep but frequently checks on him and taps him on his head. She's worried about her buddy. 

He was prescribed antibiotics and a pain medication. He's not eaten much. I can tell he misses his teeth. I'm not sure yet which ones are gone. He tried to eat his dry food but either didn't have the energy or it hurt his gums. I prepared for him a small amount of chicken; about one-half cup. He seemed satisfied. He's sleeping most of the time, as long as I'm beside him. I don't mind. He's certainly spent many hours by my side while I've been ill or down in the dumps. It's the least I can do for a spirit who loves me as much as he does.

We will return to the vet on Saturday for removal of the drainage tube. After that, I won't have to watch him as closely. The stitches will be removed in 10-14 days. Even though the vet disappointed me ... and I will discuss that with her when I see her on Saturday, I will continue taking my animals to her. I take into consideration that maybe she was having an off-day or felt she knew I would approve or even somehow, via a receptionist who should have called, a misunderstanding occurred. Whatever the reason, I feel sure it won't happen a second time. 

The sun is shining brightly today with rather gusty winds and temperature high of 39 degrees. It's about 20 degrees below normal but I know in my heart that Spring weather will soon join its rightful season and Samson and I will soon be out digging in the dirt.

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Bandit ... without Smoky

I've been quite busy for the past few weeks. So much so, that I've not been online to read even one blog post.

For the past six months or so, my smoke detector has gone off (mostly in the middle of the night) and scared a few years off my life each time. There is no smoke to cause it, so I'm assuming it's either dust in there setting it off, or it needs replaced. It is, in addition to being powered with a battery, also powered by electricity. I read online that these systems need replaced every 8-10 years. My house is just now 10 years old. Since I cannot get to the detector battery, I called upon a dear friend, who makes my life much easier. He switched the electrical breaker off and removed the batteries; purchased an individual detector and hung it in a proper place. I can again sleep without being on edge. It disturbed Samson as well which bothered me more than anything. Now, he's sleeping soundly too.

That very evening, near dusk, I heard an unusual sound that seemed to be coming from under the house. Suddenly, Samson was in defense mode and headed to the heat register and began barking wildly; cats hissing and sniffing. I'm thinking, "Good grief, all this over a mouse (I'm sure of it!)?" I decided I'd turn the furnace on and that little critter would run back out. So ... turned on the heat ... and instantly knew it was NOT a mouse! It lumbered and galloped and thundered around. I feared it would break the duct work so I turned the furnace off. I listened and gasped! I heard a familiar chatter and a dog-like panting. No way! I'm thinking I've lost my mind and NO ONE will believe this. I went to the kitchen register ... looked into it ... and there ... staring back at me through a black mask was a raccoon!!! How in this world did that happen?! I called my friend, Jamie, to come back. (Fortunately, I've been close with his wife since the day she was born so she doesn't mind to loan him out.) He came back and we waited for it to rear its little head again. Never showed. Jamie sat here with me for almost an hour but the little fellow found his outlet to a cooler spot. I'm sure he was quite warm and thirsty after the heat from the furnace blowing on him.

The next morning I went to my car and saw little muddy 'coon prints on top of the frozen snow, heading from under the back porch to the stream just a few feet away. He needed a drink. :-)

A few days later, I was preparing to crawl under the porch to find out how this chubby little varmint was entering the crawl space. A friend stopped by at that exact time and insisted she do it for me. She said someone had cut one-half of a cinder block out and left a clear opening under the vented block. (I'm assuming the fellow who built the back porch did this when I wasn't looking. Why?) She took a few cinder blocks and blocked for me. I've had no more bandit visits but I fear the bandit left a little destruction behind. I can feel a slight cool breeze at the registers when the heat is not on. I'll have to get someone under the house this summer to check the duct work out. I hate the thoughts of sending someone under there because it's very tight. But, it must be done.

The weather is beginning to feel like Spring. Still a bit nippy but the sun is shining and that makes me joyful.

Wishing you a joyful weekend!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Random 5 Friday

It's Random 5 Friday with Nancy at A Rural Journal! Click on over there and join in.

1. I miss seeing this flock of wild turkeys roaming around the yard. There is a pack of coyotes that has taken up homestead in the hollow behind my house. I'm afraid most of the turkeys ended up being coyote dinner.

2. Today's temps are 65 degrees F, winds are high and the sun is bright. Yesterday was 73 degrees F and perfect in every way. No. It's not predicted to last but I'm thanking God for this much needed Winter break.

3. I've enjoyed watching the Olympics but I'm ready to get back to normal evening television viewing.

4. Some years ago, I didn't mind at all to sit in a beautician's chair for 4 hours monthly getting my hair and nails done. Now, if I get to the beautician's chair one a year ... I've a feeling of accomplishment. It's almost time for visit. {{sigh}}

5. I plan to spend a few hours online today ordering a yarn spinning spindle and Spring flowering bulbs.

Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Same day ... different craft

Yesterday's sunshine melted most of the snow. Then it began to rain near midnight. This morning ... yep ... same ol' snow. This is where I plant cucumbers, tomatoes, morning glories, moon flowers ... {{sigh}} ... soon ... I pray, I will be doing that again. I usually clean up the area at the end of each season but just couldn't do it this past fall. It looks a mess and I apologize for that. It will look beautiful ... as soon as I can get out there to it.

It may be the same ol' weather but I have decided to spend the day on a different craft. I finished the copper wrap; it is now in a bath of cool, soapy water having a rest. My cousin is a freshman in college. Being a social butterfly, she has anxiously joined a sorority. I know nothing about that life. She is extremely excited and feels quite "grown up" now. I read many Facebook postings from young girls who are now "sisters" and "big sisters" saying "so glad you ran our way little turtle." I had no idea of the meaning of what they were saying but it made me laugh. I later realized the mascot is a turtle and the colors are pink, green and white. I've not made anything for this beautiful girl with the kindest heart of all for a while. I decided I'd get a set of white pillow cases and make a memorable something to her becoming a turtle. I looked at her photos of the girls at their initiation (I'm guessing that's what it was). Dots on their faces. A "flower child" headband with a pink flower. Decor everywhere. I came up with this sketch as an idea: 

I'm going to crochet a tiny pink flower to put on the braided headband. The dots on her face will be opalescent seed beads. I'll have different shades of pink flowers on the shell with the DZ worked in there somewhere. The second pillow case will have the symbol and initiation date with college name on it. I put the turtle in the lower right corner of the case. If she wants to use it, nothing will rub against her face at night. Below is all I need today: coffee, roll on Biofreeze, my Ott-light and of course, the embroidery tools.

I apologize for my photos today. I just can't get my eyes "unblurry". I've used drops already but I fear it's time for prescription glasses. I can't keep up with the $2 pairs from Walmart. I just hate the thought of purchasing real glasses.

I hope your day is as nice and peaceful and productive as I think mine will be.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Forecast ...

WRONG FORECAST: "not more than an inch", said the weatherman. Woke up to over 2 inches and now before 10:30 AM there is more than 4 inches of snow. That silly storm took a left turn and headed straight for us! This is the type of snow that downs power lines and trees. There has been no road treatment for some reason. I've cleared an eating space of snow twice so far so the birds can eat without having to dig through it. The cats are having their usual intense bird watching sessions.

RIGHT FORECAST: 100% chance of knitting.

And snoozing ... 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Here we go again ...

It began to snow about 4 AM after a many hours of heavy rain. The snows we've had this season have been very dry and fluffy. This snow, however, is quite heavy and wet. This snow concerns me. It builds up on the power lines and the next thing you know, you're in the dark and cold. So far, we've had about 2" of snow. But the temperatures are in the mid-30s so it should not be too bad. 

I've filled the bird feeders. The cats are sitting by the door watching ... waiting ... hoping to figure out how to get through that clear glass and grab one of our feathered friends. This is a photo from last week when Mister was hiding from the Mourning Dove on the other side of the door. Poor fellow. I've had to close the door when the temptation gets too great and he knocks himself silly trying to jump through the glass.

I finished some scarves for Christmas gifts. Here is a picture of one I crocheted for a friend:

This one I knitted for a friend. The green is a dark pine green but it didn't photograph well.

And one more crocheted Queen Anne's Lace scarf for another friend.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Hello February ...

Wow! Wow! Wow! What a day!! I'm spending time on the porch basking in the bright sun with Samson by my side. There is a wren in the bird bath washing off that winter goo. The wind chimes are dancing in the warm breeze. The sky is pale blue with a few fluffy white clouds. I'm just sitting here thank God for this day and the enjoyment of it. I'm thinking about what I'll plant and where. I'd like to make a troll house out of the tree stump in my front yard. All kinds of plans ... dreamin' in the sun ... lovin' every minute.

Is the month of January really gone? I'm happy to have survived it and, although the winter weather is not sleeping just yet, I'm grateful for this day.

I look so forward to seeing Plum Hollow once again look like this:

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Grow Your Blog - Part 2

For the first part of the Grow Your Blog post, go HERE.

I've blogged off and on over the last 8 years or so. I enjoy it but I'm not consistent with it. Maybe that will change with being a part of Vicki's Grow Your Blog event from 2 Bags Full.

It snowed again last night here in West Virginia. There is about 7" still on the ground. The temperature today has shot up to 48 degrees! That's so exciting. The sun is melting the snow from my car. Two friends stopped by yesterday to shovel my porch and a path to my car. I've a few appointments this week that I hope to fulfill. One is on Tuesday, when the daytime high is predicted to be 9 degrees. Doubt I'll make that one. We, as so many in the country, have been on a weather roller coaster this year of 2014.

I love to watch the birds. Especially in winter. I feed them daily and try to keep water available but in these frigid temps, it's difficult. I looked out the back door last evening and counted 14 deer eating my hemlocks. Eating what they could reach anyway. The trees are about 60 feet high. The deer stand on their hind legs to get to the tips of the branches. I really wanted to feed the deer but I researched it on the internet and it is not recommended. It throws their natural instinct off or some such scientific reason. I certainly don't want to upset the balance of nature so until I have proof otherwise, I'll follow that recommendation. I have seen them feast on the dry cat and dog foods I put out for the occasional stray passersby. They get into the sunflower seeds if they can reach the feeder.

I "craft" just about anything that can be. I cross stitch, crewel, embroider, knit, crochet, spindle spin, redo furniture, macrame, flower arranging and wreaths, took a class in stained glass (and hope to take more!). I've done weaving but don't have my own loom. I post photos of much of what I make. I have not yet posted my Christmas gifts. They'll show up later. Here is a hat I made for my aunt for Christmas a couple years ago. It's crocheted in wool and felted in the washing machine. It was my first time doing this and I was pleased.

I hope you're enjoying the trail of the Grow Your Blog party. It seems like 25 January arrived before I realized. I didn't have time to make one post for everything. I hope you will stop by again. Follow me. If I don't offer your preference, please leave me a comment and I will make that change. I'm going to add Google Friend Connect, as requested by one commenter, as soon as I figure it out.

Thank you again for visiting. I will visit you in the next few days if I know you've stopped by.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Grow Your Blog Party

I'm participating in the Grow Your Blog Party hosted by Vicki at 2 Bags Full.

My name is LesleyAnn. I've lived in southwestern West Virginia for 51 years ... all my life.  I live with a dog, Samson (10-1/2 years); two cats, Miss Cleo (11 years) and Mister (10 years); and a Quaker parrot (14 years) named Baby. We're all AARP-eligible in this house.

While riding a motorcycle in 1981, I was hit by a drunk driver. I have a traumatic hemipelvectomy amputation. I was comatose and semi-comatose for almost three months in ICU and total hospital stay for ten months. Plus four months in rehab. All before I ever saw 19 years of age. My mother had been killed in an automobile accident in August 1980, buried on her 48th birthday. It's been a stressful life but I've honestly done the best I can. My maternal Granny dedicated the last years of her life to make sure I healed and lead as normal a life as possible. She always said I could do anything anyone else could. I did for the most part. Whitewater rafting. Hiking. I loved the outdoors activities. Still do. I'm just a spectator now for most of it. I use a wheelchair 100% now.

I worked as a cartographic technician for the US Army Corps of Engineers before I took disability retirement in 2001. I loved my job. It was difficult, emotionally, to leave. I was the only person I knew who never wanted to retire. My plan was to work until I died.

I own my home on the property I grew up on in Plum Hollow. I moved back here in 2004. I live independently for the most part. I do have a friend stop by every now and again to replace a ceiling lightbulb or the batteries in the smoke detectors. I like where I live but it's lonely. I rarely see people and in this age of electronics, I only hear the voices of the people on television or radio. Texting is as close as I get to people. Unless, of course, I take a trip to the local Walmart or vets office. It's difficult during winter months when I get snowed in ... like now. But, when the weather is warm ... I'm going to the local lake or friends' houses or just sitting on my porch admiring my flower and vegetable gardens.

Thank you for stopping by. I'll be having a giveaway posted in the next few days. I do hope you stop by again.

Random 5 Friday

1. Miss Cleo did not like being disturbed for a photo. I have the camera on silent mode. I can move around and do whatever in the room and no pet moves. I point a camera at any of them and get the stink-eye! I don't understand how they know. ha

2. It's still bitter cold here. I've left the water dripping for the past two nights and will probably do so the next few. Many around me have gone without power due to automobile wrecks.

3. There is about 7 inches of snow on the ground. Supposed to snow tonight with an additional 1 to 3 inches by morning.

4.  As cold as it is, the sun is as bright as if I were on an exotic island. It's simply beautiful. I actually laid on the floor in a sun puddle with Miss Cleo, Samson and Mister. I had a nice nap.

5.  FIFTY-FIVE days until Spring. I keep saying, "I think I can. I think I can."

I'm joining Nancy at A Rural Journal for Random 5 Friday.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


It began to snow about 6:30 this morning. Hasn't let up since ...

The snow is too deep for me to get out in it so I took some shots from the windows.

The snowflakes have been beautiful. Big. Light. Fluffy. Lazy.


The poor birds are having a hard time getting to the food. I put some out that isn't snowbound.

Mister loves watching the birds feed. Sometimes, he tries to jump through the glass to get one.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Random 5 Friday

 I'm joining Nancy at A Rural Journal for Random 5 Friday ...

1. This is about all we've done for a while. That lump under the comforter is Samson. Miss Cleo and Mister like the heat he emits. I like it too on these cold nights. No electric blanket necessary.

2. I've had an aggravating time trying to post for a few weeks. So I haven't posted. My IE11 seems to be the problem. Google likes IE9 and IE10 but not IE11. I downloaded Firefox browser; had to do a few adjustments and finally it works. I don't like Google Chrome and don't want to use it if I don't have to.

3. I spoke too soon with Samson being in the clear for surgeries. About two weeks ago, I noticed the right side of his groin area swollen quite a bit. I got him an appointment to see the vet yesterday. Seems he has a palm-sized tumor that suddenly popped up. He has had four tumors removed in the last three years. This Thursday, he will have four (possibly five) more removed. I hate that he has to go through this. Poor baby. He's almost as scarred up as I am.

4. The SERVICE ENGINE SOON light illuminated on my Blazer dashboard. I stopped by the mechanic's shop on the way home. He checked it out for me. He says to have the spark plugs and wires changed at the next oil change. I hope that is the answer. I get very nervous at the thought of breaking down.

 Frozen windows ... ICE on INSIDE

5. Mother Nature is riding the roller coaster in West Virginia. We had bitter, bitter cold the first week of January. Down to -13 degrees. The second week was quite mild and even reached 64 degrees one day. This week has been up and down. Rain. Snow. Beautiful sunshine. Today it's snowing. It actually hailed little snowballs.