Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Oklahoma Bound!

We were supposed to leave right before lunch, but Gerald and our neighbor are still working on a tractor problem caused when parts for two tractors did not work on both as the salesman, who looked the part numbers up on the computer , said they would . So they are still not back from Sikeston—where they were getting new wheels or something. I hate it that Gerald will be driving late tonight.

We are going to see Erin play at the World Series and we are excited. I think Gerry’s family has probably already left. Mary Ellen and Brianna will be driving out tomorrow. Tara, Bryan, and Aidan will be driving after he gets off work Thursday night. On Saturday we will celebrate Aidan’s second birthday. (And it is also Bryan’s birthday.) Monday is Mary Ellen’s birthday. So it is going to be an exciting time.

Then we are going to Amarillo to see my sister and husband. The only fly in the ointment is missing granddaughter Leslie’s graduation festivities in Freeport. We want to do more things than we can do. I remember years ago reading an article discussing the pros and cons of big families versus small families. The writer pointed out that those with larger families have both more joys and more sorrows. That has certainly proved to be true. I realize our family is not nearly as large as many, but I still keep fully scheduled, and sometimes want to be in two places at once.. I always wondered how my cousins Kathie and Dot did so well with their families. And they are still keeping up with all of them!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Soybeans Are Planted! Spring Activities in Full Swing!

Brian planted soybeans on Monday. We had T-bones at our house that night to celebrate. I made Brian a cake, and I took the remains to our daughter’s house today to get it away from here. Granddaughter Geri Ann and her cousin Lex were graduated from 8th grade last night at Johnston City, and families of both kids were there to cheer for them. In fact the high school gym was packed with students’ admiring loved ones. Baby boy and baby girl gifts are laid out on the dining room table to be wrapped for a shower and for a welcoming visit for new babies. Spring is in full swing, and now that the rains have stopped, the weather and the scenery are delightful.

The 8th grade graduates at Johnston City were all dressed in jeans or jeans skirts with matching class T shirts. I think that was the class members’ names on back. What a great idea! Nobody had to wreck the family budget nor waste time shopping to buy new suits or dresses. The excitement of high school graduation with the robes and mortarboards will not be diluted by having worn them at the end of grade school. There were lots of awards and recognitions for these youngsters—proof that they had worked hard and achieved much.

Not only was Brian able to plant soybeans, people here were finally able to start working on their gardens, flower beds, and lawns this week. I dug up some day lilies that had almost been destroyed by grass mixing in with them. They had been mulched, but I did not know to lay down plastic beneath the mulch. Consequently, some clumps had grass come up and mix with the lily.

When the plants were young, I wasn’t able to distinguish between the lily shoots and the grass stems. By the time both plants developed, I was not strong enough to separate the grass and pull it up. This had gone on for a couple of years now, so some clumps of day lilies were in bad shape. Finally this week I dug up the invaded clumps and separated the grass and replanted the lilies. I am watering them and hoping they grow quickly to make my line of lilies uniform.

The same neighbors who gave us the day lilies also brought us iris to plant that they had dug up from a family farm up north. That flower bed is truly beautiful right now with the large purple blooms blowing in the breeze. Gerald and I planted three new rose bushes last week, and the three planted last spring are perfuming the air already.

It is a good time to work outside and get dirt under the fingernails. It is not too cold nor yet too hot. It is also refreshing to bring out the spring clothing and start putting away the heavier clothes. Spring events make us want to dress up a bit. Who cares if the bleach only partly cures my work-damaged hands?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Whoops! It's After Midnight

I was already feeling guilty that I was writing on Thursday instead of Wednesday night, and the computer just informed me that it is after midnight. So I am two days late with blogging on Woodsong Notes. Ah well.

I wrote my “Sunday night blog” on AmazonConnect on Wednesday because I was away from home until Tuesday night, and although I started the blog when I got home, I didn’t finish it until Wednesday.

Tonight Gerald and I had a stimulating evening listening to Angie Wyatt tell Southern Illinois Writers Guild about her career and about her children’s book that she is hoping to have published when she can find an economically feasible way to do so. The prototype of the canvas book she originally envisioned would cost $27 to produce—something even us book lovers wouldn’t be able to shell out for a children’s book.

It was great watching Angie on the 10 o’clock news after hearing some of her explanations as to what goes on in the news room. Her three-minute segment on John Rednour, DuQuoin’s mayor, was most interesting—and even more so because we had just learned that doing three-minute interviews is considered “in depth” on a news show. Persuading others that that amount of time would be a worthwhile use of those limited minutes was a recent achievement of hers. I look forward to future “in depth” looks at local people.

One of the topics discussed at Guild tonight was the prevalence of newsletters, news stories, and books on the computer screen. Most people still seem to prefer to hold a real live book in their hands. I feel that about newspapers. Sure I enjoy surfing and finding interesting new stories to check out on the Internet, but what I really enjoy is holding a large awkward newspaper in my hands—preferably at the breakfast table with a cup of coffee.

Right now I am trying to catch up on the two local papers that came every day I was away on my trip to my brother Jim’s at Mattoon and my daughter Jeannie’s at Freeport. Gerald carefully saved them for me, and I am carefully skimming them. I guess that is a contradiction, but I cannot carefully read them like I do when I get one paper at a time. Yet I definitely go through every page except the classifieds and advertisements, which are all out of date by now. So I skim carefully.

I strongly prefer to read a newspaper after Gerald has read it. Then I can cut out anything I want to save, but most of all, I can dissect sections at will and never mind returning anything to the correct order. Gerald does not like to read a violated newspaper; and just so I won’t think him cranky, he reminds me that our cousin Bob Morgan wants the paper left intact also.

I tried to explain to him the other day that he and Bob Morgan have longer and stronger arms than I do. Of course, they can keep all sections together and in the order it came. I need to tear those sections apart and fold them up so I can hold them easily. So I am having a good time reading, tearing, folding those dozen papers that accumulated while I was gallivanting to see my granddaughter’s musical. The messy piles are there to prove I read and enjoyed them.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

More Rain

By the time I left the farm for town to do errands and then to eventually end up at our Illinois Chapter Trail of Tears board meeting in Carbondale, it was raining again. I had two or three errands to do on the way to the meeting including recyling the trunk load of newspapers, magazines, glass, cardboard, and plastic . Carbondale has a nice drive-in facility where you take your car inside to unload it, so I knew I could do this even though it was raining.

I always run late when I try to leave the farm. There always seems to be one or two more things I need to do before I leave. Usually I just have to give it up and get into the car and go--ready or not. Fortunately, I had loaded the trunk early in the morning with all the materials needing to be cleared from the garage. Then I was almost so late that I became scared I would get to the recyling building after it had closed.

I had already passed Carterville when I remembered I had told Gerald that I'd be glad to stop and pick up a handle that a business there had phoned us about twice. It was my idea to save gas this way. I debated turning back around and doing what I had suggested. But I also knew then I would have to unload all that stuff in the trunk and put it back in the garage. So I went on. I was so grateful the building was still open that I did not even mind that despite the dry roof overhead, somehow rain was coming in and pouring across the floor and I got my feet quite wet before the meeting.

Marilyn Schild was at Parkinson Lab, where we meet, to tell us about her upcoming multi-state tour of the Trail of Tears and many of its important sites. She admitted she had not been in Parkinson since taking chemistry there some decades ago.

After Marilyn's presentation and some other necessary business, we watched the new Rich Heape DVD on the Trail of Tears, and Harvey Henson served us popcorn and soda. Joe Crabb had brought samples from the Chocolate Factory down on Route 146, so unlike the Cherokee, we had plenty to eat as we experienced the Trail via the film.

We finished up with more business, and I got home after 10. Either in the morning or sometime this weekend I am going to Freeport, so I will probably be late once again writing on AmazonConnect this week. Ah well. I hope it doesn't rain in Freeport.