End of the Garden

Our garden was a decent success this year.  We got plenty of cucumbers and pickled them.  Too bad no one will eat them.  We got lots of tomatoes and made some Ketchup… too bad no one will eat that.  The ketchup, however, was great in the chili last week.   🙂

We had fun success with the pumpkins.  None large enough to carve, but lots of little ones.

The peppers… eh… not so good, but they did get over shadowed by the tomatoes, that could have been their problem.

The sunflowers!  Yeah!  We have cut them and are contemplating how to dry them so we can roast the seeds.  Worth a shot, right?

The marigolds did fabulous as well (and won several ribbons at the fair) and are still going strong.

Here is the garden at the end October before cleaning it up:


After we pulled out everything, we are left with some yellow pear tomatoes (there were more of those than we could deal with) that will replant themselves.  The marigolds still blooming away.  And in the far left corner we have planted one of the pumpkins that was rotten in hopes that it will grow fabulously next summer.


All-in-all a successful gardening summer.  We will have to contemplate what to plant next summer.  I’m for skipping the cucumbers and peppers and maybe the tomatoes.  It seems that more got wasted than used.  Sunflowers will be a go and pumpkins.  Maybe beans?  Peas?  I’ll worry about it in May.   🙂


Pumpkin Carving

I’m a few days late on this since we had trick-or-treat yesterday afternoon, but here are the results of our pumpkin carving.  🙂

IMG_1231Esther was the only one that was interested in carving while I photographed.

Her pumpkin with battery powered eyes.


My pumpkin in homage to all the cats outside.


The front stoop:  IMG_1256The first pumpkin in one that Esther carved over a week ago at a party – it is soft and moldy already.  The little pumpkins are the ones we grew in are garden. IMG_1257The last pumpkin with a moon and star is the one Lydia did at the last minute before trick-or-treaters.


I miss the days when we would all carve and the girls would sit by the pumpkins in their costumes so I could get photos…. no photos this year because the ones that went out (Esther and Liz) did so with friends in other neighborhoods.

Good Old Days, 2008!3halloween

Everyone carved a pumpkin, 2009.birthday-halloween 019

Do You Knit?

Do You Knit?  Unless you have been living under a rock, you should know that I do.  I also crochet, if I have to.  I have been known to make some beautiful cross-stitch items as well.  But, knitting….


When I was in college, I learned to knit.  I taught myself.  My Grandma could knit.  She knit fabulous sweaters and afghans for us as children.  I still have many of those sweaters and my children have worn them (somewhat reluctantly).  I also have some of her afghans that we use regularly.  But… Grandma was left handed.   So while it would be fabulous to say that my grandma taught me to knit, the truth is, I bought a book, I bought a kit to make a Christmas stocking and I taught myself to knit.    That first Christmas stocking went to a former boyfriend – still good friend.  This past Christmas I made his wife one.   🙂    My technique and ability have improved alot in the past 3 decades.  As has the pattern for the stocking.  The original made the foot portion toooooo long.


I have knit just about anything.  I could knit just about anything given a pattern.  I’ve made sweaters, and vest, and mittens, and scarves, and hats, and slippers, and afghans, and stockings, and laptop covers.   I have not ventured into the sock realm.  I have some good friends who knit socks by the dozens (it seems) but I haven’t tried that.


I am not picky about yarn.  Mostly I just use the cheapy stuff.  Especially for the afghans that will be graduation presents, because it will wash up easy.  I did make some hats and scarves with wool this last Christmas.  They turned out fabulous.


I have boxes and boxes and totes and totes and bags and baskets of yarn in my garage.  And still… tomorrow I have to go to Joann Fabrics to get a couple skeins of yarn to complete the graduation afghan I am working on.  Go figure.    A good portion of the yarn I have in my garage has come from “box lots” at auctions for $1 or $2.  No one wants old used yarn.  I’ll use it or at least attempt to.


Tonight was one of those times I got to use up some of the misc. yarn.   I was teaching the Girl Scouts how to knit.  Honestly, they did fabulous.  This is the 4th time I’ve tried to teach a troop to knit.  The first one was almost a fiasco.  The second troop wasn’t much better.  The third only slightly better – mainly because they were older.  This time, however, I think I finally figured it out.  I had several helpers and found a very easy way to teach them to cast on.  It is not the way I do it and not the best but it works for 11 year olds.  Of the 12 girls there tonight most of them figured it out.  They got the cast-on portion down.  They attempted knitting.  Some of it was messy and loose.  Some of it was too tight they couldn’t get their needles through the loops.  A few of them really caught on and did a fabulous job.  I’d call it a success.


We will be moving on to the looms later this year, and I know they will love those – so much easier to do.    I will again get to use some of the yarn.


I will also use some for Christmas presents… can’t tell you what those will be yet because I want that to be a surprise.   😉



Zen Garden

Have you ever seen a zen garden?  Had a zen garden?  Been to a zen garden?


A Zen garden is a Japanese Rock Garden.  Usually with sand or gravel as the base and then rocks, trees, plants, shells, etc in it as decoration or to symbolize living things.  A zen garden is usually raked to show “waves” in the sand/gravel.  The act of raking is supposed to help you relax and/or concentrate.  At the least it helps you be creative.


A traditional home zen garden would look like this:

Zen Garden DIY Curbly



For our Girl Scout Gardener badge we were to create zen gardens.  I have seen them made in aluminum pie tins.  However, they seem “floppy” to me.  So I went to Goodwill and found glass candy bowls.  Which was a better option for our zen gardens since I was using colored sand I had left over from some VBS in my garage.    I had some rocks in the garage too.  I couldn’t find the seashells so I bought a bag of those and a bag of farm animials for decoration as well.

Here is what our zen gardens turned out like;
IMG_1180 IMG_1181 IMG_1182 IMG_1183


The “rakes” were a small ceramics spatula I found… guess where… in a container in my garage.   🙂


I think they turned out fabulous.  There are no more candy dishes at the Goodwill in Canton on Tusc.   😉

Date Night?

When was the last time you had a date night?

CarouselHouseWe used to have regularly scheduled date nights – 6 per year – child free – for 15 years.  But then, Carousel Dinner Theater closed its doors and our season tickets were no longer valid.   😦    That made us very, very sad.  We had held those tickets through 4 moves and 4 children.    We saw countless musicals.  We saw Joel Grey in Music Man.  We saw Robert Reed in Life with Father.   We saw some duds (one was like an operetta – I could go to the “save pile” and dig for the playbill, but it’s not worth it).  We saw many, many wonderful musicals.  We took our children to see Cats.   We took them to see Joseph… Dreamcoat.   We took them to see Wizard of Oz.   We were going to take them to see High School Musical  at least until the theater closed.    Row 3 – center stage!  Best seats in the house.

After that, we never really had date nights.  For a time in Westfield we tried.  But our free nights didn’t correspond anymore thanks to kids schedules and church activities.  Also, there isn’t anything to do in Westfield.  You have to travel at minimum to Wadsworth but for better options you had to travel about 1/2 an hour to Fairlawn.  So we just didn’t do very well with it.

After we moved… well… see previous posts… things were messy and messed up.  We went on a movie date last year but I can no longer watch movies on the “big screen” without getting motion sick.  It wasn’t even an action movie it was I bought a Zoo but I still was ill through most of the movie.

So…. what do we do tonight?  2 girls are with the band at a competition and won’t be home till midnight.  The other was invited to an overnight at a friend’s house.  (If your counting, that leaves one – at college – but I think she really is in Cincinnati at Kings Island with her boyfriend.)  We went out to dinner.  We went to Red Lobster – not overly exciting but we had a gift card and the girls never want to go there.   For $10 over the gift card we had dinner.  We toyed with a movie – I guess I could take dramamine.   Instead we decided to just come home and watch some shows we have taped.

We watched 1 episode of Parenthood and started the second.  I was knitting.  Wayne was sleeping.  So I stopped the 2nd episode and just watched Love it or List it.     Now he has gone to bed and I’m on the computer waiting for the band girls to get home.

We lead exciting lives, don’t we????

Expounding on it…

I started to write a long comment on Facebook (well, actually I did) and then had more thoughts so brought it back here.


We are not searching for a new church to attend. I just wanted to share something that was on my heart (in response to the door slamming shut comment a couple days ago). It seems that some people just don’t understand how this process has affected me and how it has changed our lives completely without hope of reconciliation. How everything I had imagined and dreamed and planned for has been destroyed because Wayne has been removed from pulpit ministry. Yes, of course, dreams change over time and you have to “roll with the punches” (I don’t do that well) but when the cause was needless, it is harder to overcome. Everything is based on 2 people’s statements and then lies and no grace extended nor even rebuttal allowed. I don’t think the “average Joe” really comprehends how much of a pastor’s life and his family’s life is wrapped up in church ministry. How everything you do is based on the church and when that is forcibly removed how you have a hard time even figuring out how to go on and you have no clue what you are to do with yourself. It has been 3 years (since the removal), 4 years since the mess began. We are making it through most days just fine. The impact damage on our lives and our children’s lives will never be overcome. It is NOT the same as a secular job loss, was my main point. Unless you have been involuntarily removed from your ministry position and thrown out like the garbage and not given a chance to restore yourself and no longer permitted to continue in the ministry roles you have held for decades, then you can never truly understand.


I do have a grasp on the loss of dreams based on a secular/non-religious loss.  My father.  My father became ill when I was in college.  By the time I got married he was either no longer working or only working very part time (I cannot remember).  His health continued to decline until he lost the battle with Multiple Sclerosis in 1993 just 6 short weeks before his first grandchild was to be born.


Of course, that threw my mother’s life into tailspin.  Did she ever imagine that she would be a widow at 51?  Of course not.  Did she ever imagine that she would be the sole grandparent (on one side) to her children’s children?  Certainly not.  She imagined (I can only assume) the same things I imagined.  2 loving grandparents, camping, boating, playing, loving, showering with time and gifts, someone to travel with, sit with and watch TV with, someone to keep you warm on a cold night (OK, I didn’t imagine that one, but I assume she did).    Is it right?  Not even slightly.  Should such a great tragedy happen to our family (any family)?  Never.  But it did.  Her life was turned upside down.  She could do nothing to stop it.  My life was turned upside down.  My daddy is gone.


So, yes.  I’ve had that experience too (loss of dreams/future based on a non-religious event).  However, my point remains, there was no loss of a church family.  I had the churches we were part of at the time to encourage and support us.  I had people to minister with and to.  I’m not a public griever so I can’t really say that I had people to comfort me in the churches but I’m sure they would have.  My mother had her church family as well.  She had to continue on and finish raising “the boys” without a father.  I’m certain that was tough (they turned out fine).  She had a church family to worship with.  They supported her and encouraged her and prayed for her.  And she has her ministry there and always did.  It was never taken away from her.  She is not a public griever either (guess I learned it?) but I’m sure they offered her comfort in the ways they could as she got through that time – and still does.  It helped alot, I think that we had Abi so soon after dad’s death.  It gave us something good to hold on to, to look forward to.  In fact we had a baby shower just a week after the funeral.  They wanted to cancel it but we wanted to move on, life didn’t come to an end just because our world was upturned.


Can you imagine if during that time of great grief we had been told that we could no longer attend church.  That we were no longer allowed to worship with the people we had been with.  The ones who had been supporting us?  That would be unheard of.  You would not send  a grieving family away from a community of faith just because someone died.

Yes, we have a church we are attending.  I’ve said that.  The people there are and would be supportive of us.  But it is not an active congregation for us to get involved in the types of ministry that we enjoy.  No we are not looking to change.  As I said before.  We are there because of family.  We will stay because of family.  The family aspect, right now, is more important to us.  We are sitting, we are trying to heal, it is hard – especially this week when all the atrocities of the politics of the church are thrown back at us in hurtful ways.    We will get through it.  We are definitely scathed.   (auto-correct tells me scathed is not a word that it is only unscathed – what is the opposite then?)    At this point it is too painful to try and re-imagine our future without the church and activities that I believed were always going to be there.  Someday I will be able to do that.


One dream I always had was that our children would get married in whatever church we were serving, surrounded by that community of faith and Wayne would help with the service.  Of course, I don’t have any child preparing to marry right now, but that is one of those long held dreams. I have started to re-imagine that one.   🙂     Now that dreams includes children getting married at Wanake.  I wanted to but because of the age and health concerns of relatives and my father, I did not.  If my daughters were to choose that, I will do everything in my power to make that happen.    See… I’m trying to re-imagine.  I’ll get there… eventually.