Cutting the garden down to size
Well, I finally did it this year. I bit off more than I could chew, planted too much garden for this crusty old body to keep up with. Even so, it has been a great growing year. So far, I have harvested two gallons of green beans; a quart of garden peas; a quart of pinto beans; about a pint of black beans; 25 garlic bulbs; at least that many large onions, and that many again to still come out of the ground, even though I have been pulling them salad sized pretty regularly as well; a gallon of carrots; 15 cucumbers (I pulled the vines after I was finished with my pickle canning); and about a dozen squash.. ...
I support a single courthouse, but...
I found the write up of the Tuesday Quorum Court meeting very interesting and not a little disturbing. As with everything, there is a right and a wrong way to go about this courthouse consolidation thing, and from that article alone it appears the Quorum Court is going about it exactly the wrong way...
Little flashers in the summer night
As a kid, we would rush outside on a late spring or early summer night armed with pickle jars from the kitchen trash can in anticipation of catching fireflies. This always turned into a group activity. I grew up in the late fifties and sixties, when parents still allowed their kids to run the neighborhood together way past dark on warm summer nights, because they knew every parent on the block was watching out for all of us. ...
Hollyhocks: The jewel of the garden
I grew up in a town the size of Dell. We had an acre and a half fenced beside and behind our house, and every year my grandmother and I grew a one acre garden for the entire family (and most of the rest of the town). Along the back fence, which was the east side of the yard, my mother had cultivated several mulberry trees. ...
Making your own is very satisfying
I discovered a few years back, after some urging from my dear friend Anne, to start an herb garden. I now consider this the best decision I ever made. I have added enough annual and perennial herbs to my garden that I can not only provide most of the individual herbs I use in my cooking, but also most of the seasoning blends, such as chili powder, taco seasoning, and Italian seasoning...
Why adopting a senior dog makes more sense
We are a German shepherd dog family, which is something everyone who knows us also knows. I cannot even imagine living without a canine companion to let me know when something is about to happen (storm, earthquake); alert me when something is not right, like a car pulling off into our yard or driveway; or to just sit with their head on my feet when I am reading...
The lazy days of summer are a thing of the past
I remember when I was a kid, waking up that first day after school got out for the summer and thinking about how wonderful it was that there was absolutely nothing I had to do.
With the rains come the weeds
Every couple of days or so for the past three weeks I have been lugging out the garden hose and moving the sprinkler around my garden. So I have been overjoyed the past several days by all the rain we have been getting.
Dispelling myths about spaying and neutering
What I really want to talk about today is the newly passed law out here in the county requiring the spaying and neutering of pets unless the owner has a breeders license.
Nature provides: Edible weeds in your back yard
Well, it seems I have created a monster. Last week I finally found the time to try out a recipe I had been saving for several weeks, waiting for the dandelions to reach their peak. I made the dandelion fritters.
Nat Geo writer got it all wrong
I don't know how many of you even noticed the article in last Thursday's paper about the National Geographic writer and Lincoln's Tomb.
Unexpected visitor threatens noses
I was fixing lunch after church on Sunday when hubby Steve came into the kitchen. "You have to come out and look at this," he said.
Alternate dating system doesn't make sense
One of my biggest pet peeves when reading a book is when the author uses the metric system of measurement. It's not that I think there is anything wrong with anyone using that system.
Holy Week promises many worship opportunities
It's hard to believe Easter is less than a week away, until you drive through town and see all the spring flowers and flowering trees in full bloom.
Signs of spring are all around
I was bringing my German Shepherd puppy Jingle inside for the last time Friday night when I heard something I had not heard since November: the frogs were singing in the rain-flooded ditches.
Fires: Another distinction we don't want
It is no surprise to anyone that house fires increase during the winter months, and particularly January through March in Mississippi County.
Movies, and a real movie star
I was one of the 16 percent fewer folks who watched the Oscars this year, and there is a question I just have to ask. Does anyone remember when the good movies won the major awards?
Bright red visitors on a snowy day
The grocery stores have had a very good week here in the frozen Deep South. Prior to each of the several winter storms that have passed through this area, people ventured out of their homes in droves to stock up on necessities, most including milk and bread.
From a busy weekend, into a busy week
What a busy weekend this has been, and what a busy week this continues to be.
A saint we all know, but know nothing about
Well, it's almost here again, that holiday you either anticipate with great longing, or with great dread, depending upon you current situation in the amore department. But did you ever wonder where St. Valentine's Day came from, or for whom it was named?
Goodbye to an old friend, as winter slips away
As you are reading this, a good man and good friend is being laid to rest. Joe Gurley was a farmer and a public servant for his entire life.
Solving the great grape dilemma
If you follow my column, you know I have grown grapes for a number of years.
So of course I am going to read the books
Hubby Steve and I don't get off the old Lendennie Homestead very much, we are old school homebodies and happy that way.
A couple of things to remember about diets
Since this is the first week of the year 2015, we are all thinking about our New Year's resolutions. Many of us are setting some sort of goal involving our diet.
Some last thoughts on 2014
As you are reading this, I am celebrating my 61st birthday. Well, celebrating may be a little strong. I am recovering from surgery, so there won't be much partying.
Christmas customs around the world
We here in America tend to think that the way we celebrate all holidays is the same as the holiday traditions of everyone around the world.
Giving is so much easier with the Internet
I have always loved shopping for kids, first my own kids, and now my grands. But shopping has become so much more fun and interesting with the Internet.
Celebrating Christmas in a Christian community
Here we are in the second full week of advent, and the worship opportunities are almost endless.
You can still have flowers in the winter
While most people have tilled their gardens under and cleared out their flower beds by now, a few of us hard-core gardeners are still pulling fresh veggies of one type or another out of our well-mulched plots.
Making some sense of Net Neutrality
Those of us who spend a lot of time on Facebook, and who have "liked" more news outlet pages than we can count or even remember, get bombarded with posts concerning this news item or that current event.
Musings on a winter morning
I woke up this morning and realized we are passing from fall into winter. The leaves are falling quickly, and there is more brown in the landscape than any other color. The first snow of the season was a little bit of a disappointment, though.
A couple of facts about the Farm Bill
Like a couple of thousand of you folks, I was at the Bill Clinton Get-Out-The-Vote rally in front of That Bookstore in Blytheville this weekend, and what fun that was!
Sitting on the porch swing with Dancing Drac
Halloween is right around the corner, and we are ready for the little ghosties and ghoulies here at the Lendennie Homestead.
Nature's time for slowing down
Things are finally starting to slow down here at the Lendennie Homestead, and it is about time. While all the activity of the past several months has been fun and rewarding, there comes a time when everything needs to slow down and reset.
Celebrating a non-existent event
Some of you may just be coming out of the three-day weekend created by the celebration of the "discovery" of America by Christopher Columbus.
Autumn odds and ends
Hubby Steve and I were out walking around the garden here at the Lendennie Homestead, when he turned to me and said "Can I go ahead and put out my lighted pumpkins?"
Burning ruts up and down the road
I have had the horrible, sinking feeling all week that I was not getting anything done. The fact is, I have been accomplishing quite a lot, just not at home. Hubby Steve and I have been running up and down the road, either together or separately, pretty much all week.
A few comments on the critter twitter
There have been a couple of stories that have come through the various news agencies over the past couple of weeks about caterpillars.
Fall is the time to plant trees and shrubs
Hubby and I spent most of the morning Sunday moving a peach tree. This particular tree is a super-dwarf, self-pollinating peach tree.
Attracting butterflies takes a little planning
One of the most beautiful visitors to any garden is the butterfly. The Mississippi County Master Gardeners have planted a butterfly garden next to the Extension Office for the sole purpose of attracting these lovely insects.
Another week bites the dust
The fact that I totally forgot until 6 a.m. Monday before my Tuesday column that I had a column to write at all this week should be a clue as to how this week has gone. The main culprit has been, of course, the Mississippi County Fair.
It's time for an intelligent dialogue about mental illness
I was already researching this column when Andy Weld's column about Robin Williams was published last week. I usually try very hard not to write on topics that have recently been covered. This time, I just felt it was too important to let it go.
Book Review: "Deeply Odd"
While the books by Dean Koontz, one of my top five authors, are loosely described as suspense thrillers, I would call them sci-fi/horror books. Whatever genre you consider them, they are not for the faint of heart, and that is one of the reasons I love them.
Getting up on the wrong side of the bed
Some days just start out wrong, you know? And then they just go downhill from there. I got up this morning determined to get my flower beds weeded and the mums pruned back. I have been so busy trying to keep the 4-H garden going I have totally ignored the flower beds, which are as a result totally overgrown with weeds.
Mississippi County Fair is just around the corner
August is almost here, and with it, one of my favorite events of the entire year, the Mississippi County Fair. The grands and I are scrambling to finish up projects to be entered in the various categories in the exhibit building.
Thaddeus Stevens: an unsung hero
There are many things about the Steven Spielberg movie "Lincoln" that are worthy of praise. It is a quality film accurately depicting one of the worst times in this country's history. But the thing about the film that stuck with me was one of the characters, Thaddeus Stevens, of whom I had never heard before.
The invasion of the squash bugs
This gardening season has been plagued with more problems than usual. First, it was the fact that there was ice on the ground in large amounts when we should have been planting potatoes, onions and peas.
American Revolution about more than July 4
In a couple of days we will all be lighting our barbecue grills, pulling the steaks and burgers out of the fridge, spraying on the insect repellant, putting the pontoons into the lake, and sitting back to enjoy the fireworks displays as we celebrate Independence Day.
Gone in the blink of an eye
Well, I did it again. I blinked, and another week went by. And it went so fast, I did not have time to finish any of the books I am reading in order to do a book review. So here I am again posting random thoughts about a busy week.
Violence is a learned behavior
I was driving through Walker Park the other day with my grandchildren, and we were looking at the geese, of course. Suddenly several geese came running/flying across the road in front of us.
A really high maintenance kinda bird
I was beginning to think the power would not stay on long enough for me to write a column this week. What a wild week this has been!
Finally out of the deep freeze
It is strange to be saying this so late in the season, but it has been a couple of weeks since we had freezing temperatures, so I guess we are finally well into gardening season.
Book review: "The Quarry"
"The Quarry," the final novel by author Iain Banks, is the perfect example of why you should not purchase a book based solely on its online reviews.
A little obscure history lesson
I have become addicted to a series on the History Channel called "Vikings," and the name of one of the characters in the series caught my attention early on.
Good people, great shops in Blytheville
Our 4-H rummage sale fundraiser was a success this Saturday, and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped us in any way.
Nobody likes me, guess I'll eat a worm
Remember that old school yard song, the one where you were going to eat worms because everybody hates you? The fact of the matter is, children, and I mean all children, are fascinated with earthworms.
The wrong pet can make life miserable
While sharing my trials involving raising a German Shepherd puppy with others on Facebook, I received a comment from one of my friends concerning a rescue dog she took in some time back.
Easter week was filled with blessings
I hope everyone had a wonderful and blessed Easter. We certainly did. And that was due in no small part to the wonderful services presented for the entire community by the Blytheville Ministerial Alliance.
Book Review: "Flight of the Butterflies"
In my search for reading material for the grandkids, I sometimes stumble upon a jewel. Such a find was "Flight of the Butterflies" by Roberta Edwards.
Eagles, grandkids and dog pens make for a busy week
My son is on his way back to Seattle as you are reading this, but we got to spend just over a week with him and it was really nice.
Getting too old for April Fools' pranks
It was really hard to resist the urge to write this column as an April Fool's prank. Almost impossible, but lately I have been making an effort to keep my grown-up self in charge of things here at the Lendennie homestead.
"Custer": A great topic, but a disappointing read
The book "Custer" by Pulitzer-prize winning author Larry McMurtry and published by Simon and Schuster, should have been a great read on a very interesting topic, but it wasn't.
What if it wasn't easy to be a Christian?
As I visit with my Facebook friends in my writers' groups and book club, I have come to a very sad realization. Most of the people with whom I speak are not only not Christians, but have no problem stating this fact to the world.
This is supposed to be gardening season
Well the weather has officially gone crazy. I am sitting here in my office as I write this watching the ice storm and listening to the rolling thunder. And reminding myself that I live in Arkansas.
Puppies and kittens make strange BFFs
A couple of weeks ago we welcomed another new baby to the family here at the Lendennie homestead. Jingle, a 6-week-old German shepherd puppy, came home with us right in the middle of the coldest, iciest week of this historically cold and icy winter.
Book Review: "A Thousand Splendid Suns"
The book I am reviewing this month was recommended to me by my friend Jay Ziolko at the Blytheville Public Library. I tend to forget to mention the library in these book reviews, and I shouldn't, because the library is the place many of us learned to love reading.
Bird count is a worthwhile activity for everyone
One of my favorite events will take place again this weekend: the Great Backyard Bird Count
This year's crop of movies disappointing
Doesn't it seem that some years, the movies released are all good, and others, they are pretty much not. This year, in my opinion, has been one of those "not" years.
Grandma's secret for a cold winter day
Well, here we are back in the deep freeze. There are not many things you can look forward to when the temperature drops below freezing and stays there for several days.
Book Review:` "The Long Ships"
Every now and again I have the good fortune to stumble upon a great novel entirely by accident, and that is how I came to read "The Long Ships."
The Ice Man Cometh, and Refuseth to Go-eth
There is a reason most of us live in the South. As a native Northerner (I was born and raised in north-central Illinois), I came here as a military wife and ended up staying. You know what they call people like me, don't you?
Looking ahead to gardening season
Once again, we have survived a sneak attack by old man winter. And although the ground is frozen and the air is frigid, the time has come to start planning your garden for the coming summer.
Some thoughts on the old year, hopes for the new
As you are reading this, there are just a few hours left of the year 2013, before the arrival of Baby 2014. And I find myself reflecting on the past 12 months, while at the same time looking forward to the things I hope for in the coming months.
The greatest gift ever given
As you are reading this, you are most likely putting the finishing touches on your Christmas list, sticking the turkey or ham or roast into the oven, and maybe even preparing to receive family into your home.
Book Review: Wuthering Heights
It is becoming my custom to review one of the great classic works of fiction in December. I do this as my Christmas gift to that one reader out there who has not read this particular piece of literature, but who, as a result of reading this review, will pick it up and read it.
Do angels really get wings when a bell rings?
The Christmas tree is up and decorated at the Lendennie homestead, topped off, as it always is, by an angel. Of all the stories, accounts and legends surrounding Christmas, those involving angels have always been the most special to me.
Holiday season comes in with a bang
The holiday season literally came crashing in this weekend. I was watching a movie, getting ready to get in bed, when what sounded like an explosion rattled the house.
Thanksgiving list gets longer with age
As the time I have spent on this earth gets longer, I find there is so much more for which I am extremely thankful. With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, I feel it is appropriate for me to express my thanks for at least some of them.
Book Review: "Dear Life"
As is becoming my custom, my book review for this month is also my recommendation as a Christmas gift for the reader on you list.
Yes, Virginia, Great Britain does have a Thanksgiving Day
A couple of weeks ago I noticed several of my Facebook friends from Great Britain complaining about folks around them setting off fireworks.
It's writing frenzy time again!
As the leaves on the trees change colors and fall, the landscape empties out as fields and gardens are harvested and plowed under, and the days grow shorter, our efforts change from those of sunny weather activities to the more intensive activities that come with being stuck indoors for longer periods of time.
Book review: "After Visiting Friends"
"All along, I have told myself, 'So long as you are in pursuit of the truth, you can be doing no wrong. ... It's quite another (thing) to be the truth bearer. There's a reason people don't like revisionist historians.'"
The holidays are not joyous for everyone
My mother always hated Christmas. That fact about my childhood always stands out in my mind.
State, federal laws protect birds, feathers and nests
I was sitting on my porch swing one day last week, watching a bald eagle hunt for mice and other small creatures in a nearby milo field that had been harvested shortly before, and thinking how lucky we are here in the Mississippi River Valley.
Carney: Just changing gears, not direction
I spent a big part of the past weekend, along with my friends and fellow church members, at the Blytheville First Christian (Disciples of Christ) Church saying goodbye to our pastor of the last 20 years or so, the Rev. Tommy Carney.
Book Review: The Orphan Train
Listed by Amazon.com as one of the top new novels of 2013, Christina Baker Kline's newest work, "The Orphan Train," combines the plight of foster children in today's society, and that of orphans and other homeless children in the early part of the 20th century, to create a powerful, poignant and beautiful tale of hope, survival and the triumph of the human spirit against all odds.
Activities gear up as year winds down
Several people have stopped me and asked me how the grandkids did at the county fair. So for those of you wondering, here is a quick rundown:
Dead bugs falling from the sky
With all the activity we have had with the grandchildren here at the end of the summer, the weeds in my flower beds had pretty much taken over.
Adjusting our lives around a new kitten
Back when we had that two-week period where there were torrential downpours every day, I went out during a brief break in the clouds to walk my dog. We had stepped into the garden to see how deep the water was standing, when I heard something crying.
Keeping your child safe at school
When I was a child back in the Jurassic Period, going back to school meant you got to see your friends again after a long summer of not seeing or hearing from most of them at all.
What's in a name; or, mosquitoes as big as birds?
Those of you who are on my Facebook friends list have been seeing my posts about these huge mosquitoes we have this year.
Television stations need to remember their viewers
Remember the good old days, when school started after Labor Day and ended at Memorial Day? And so did the new television season. These days, I could not tell you when the seasons for the various shows begin and end.
Moving towards the autumn months
If you are a gardener, a farmer or just outdoors a lot, about this time of year you start to notice a subtle shift in the things around us.
The bittersweet story of Little Bird
It is strange how some of God's tiniest creatures can make the biggest impact on our lives. This is the tale of one of them.
Total Failure, Inc.: the tale of an eternal optimist
For the second month in a row I have had the great accidental privilege of reading a book that was a joy to read and whose last page I was saddened to finish. And this one was written specifically for readers ages 9-12.
Gardening and cooking in a fried tater world
This has been a whole lot better year for gardening than the last several years. For one thing, we are finally getting enough rain at just the right times. And for another thing, the temperatures have been much cooler.
Patriots come in all forms and viewpoints
With Independence Day only a couple of days away, we are being besieged with quotes and misquotes from John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Ben Franklin, the most notable of the Founding Fathers of this country.
Handicap accessibility needs to be a lot better
It's one of those things you don't think about until you need it; at least, I never really thought about the availability of accessibility aids for the handicapped until I lost most of my mobility. And now I think about it a lot.
Book Review: "Phobos: Mayan Fear"
Once again, I find myself trying very hard to like a book, but just not quite getting there. And in this case that should not be the case, since this book combines archeology, historical fiction, disaster and good old science fiction, ALL of my very favorite genres.
And it rears its ugly head again ...
Well, it's that time of year again, when flowers bloom, gardens grow, kids get out of school for the summer ... and people start taking drives out into the country to dump their unwanted pets.
Ivey is a former staff writer of the Courier News.