Take a walk in Blue Bell Woods listen to the sounds around you, of bird song and bees. Smell the flowers and the scent of Spring in the air. Every year is a new beginning and every day a blessing

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts." (Colossians 3:15a NIV)I would love to hear from you, if you don't have a blog you can still comment, join google it's free. I appreciate hearing from you.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Day Is Done......................

The Day is Done
NorthBarsunsetNov2010 (photo courtesy of Glen Arbor web site)
The day is done, and the darkness Falls from the wings of Night, As a feather is wafted downward From an eagle in his flight. I see the lights of the village Gleam through the rain and the mist, And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me That my soul cannot resist: A feeling of sadness and longing, That is not akin to pain, And resembles sorrow only As the mist resembles the rain. Come, read to me some poem, Some simple and heartfelt lay, That shall soothe this restless feeling, And banish the thoughts of day. Not from the grand old masters, Not from the bards sublime, Whose distant footsteps echo Through the corridors of Time, For, like strains of martial music, Their mighty thoughts suggest Life's endless toil and endeavor; And tonight I long for rest. Read from some humbler poet, Whose songs gushed from his heart, As showers from the clouds of summer, Or tears from the eyelids start; Who, through long days of labor, And nights devoid of ease, Still heard in his soul the music Of wonderful melodies. Such songs have a power to quiet The restless pulse of care, And comes like the benediction That follows after prayer. Then read from the treasured volume The poem of thy choice, And lend to the rhyme of the poet The beauty of thy voice. And the night shall be filled with music, And the cares, that infest the day, Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs, And as silently steal away.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Note: for some reason blogger no longer allows the format of a poem, it rearranges things to its own format.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Work days............

I started work just after my 15th birthday, that came in July and I started work in August. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. My art teacher wanted me to go to art school. I had no clue what I could do with art for a job. To me art hung on the wall, and how could you live on the prospect of selling a picture. No one enlightened me. No one suggested book illustration, or album covers. At barely 15 I knew nothing or the world or what was out there. I did not think career in those days, everyone got married and had a family, that was the goal of most girls. Well, at least where I came from. My best friend Margaret had started work the Christmas before and worked in a factory. I didn't want to do that, at least I knew that much, but I did want to earn money. So, rather than go on and do my GCE (General certificate of education) I opted to leave school. My aunt was the Personnel officer at A.C Delco and she came to school to do my interview. She gave me some options as to what I may be suited for. I chose to be a key punch operator. I had no clue what it was but it sounded easy enough. So it began, my life time journey into the world of computers. Starting work in those days we began at the very bottom as Office Junior. That meant getting the tea for the supervisor and washing everyone's dishes in a little sink in the corner. I was ever so happy next school leaving time when the next new girl came in. I was done with that. Her name is Sheila and we are still friends today. We punched cards by hand on a little machine. Those cards were used to tell the main computer what to do. We keyed in programs as well as all the other jobs that needed to be done. We got to be quite fast too, the cards were then verified before going to be sorted. I loved to verify and that was the next step up. There were two older ladies (older to me) that had to work on two big Hollerith machines, they were programmed by plug ins like the old telephone boards. That was fun and I soon got to try my hand at that. We would get so we were faster than the machines and have to wait for them to catch up. IBM_Key_Punch It wasn't long before the new automatic IBM machines came along. We were all reluctant to use them at first. The supervisor tried to make us key in the information in a different way, because she was told it was faster, like typing. None of us liked that. We were fast as we were and this slowed us down. We eventually found our own way of doing it and as we were not trained as typists we have probably all got our own unique way of typing now. keypunch These machines had a drum that a card fitted on, we programed the machine that way. Photobucket By flipping a switch one could verify as well as key punch. With a short amount of time we got proficient and fast. I think I did key punching all my working life until I started work at the bank. The machines there were a little different and faster still. The next step were the CRT's and keying "on line". Data Entry. I sort of liked the old IBM machines because I taught myself to fix them. It always took forever to get a tec in to fix them and so I watched him..........well that didn't go over very well, unions and all that, but I didn't care. Why waste time waiting when I can mend it myself?. I just want to get the job done. I have always been that way. Curious and wanting to do things myself. I loved computers and I should really have gone into programming but I just didn't think about it. By the time I finished my working life I had worked around and with computers through the whole evolution of the things. Back in the early days, when they talked about home computers "some day".........well who would imagine what we would even do with one. Now we can not do without one.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

My Nan wore a "pinni" and Mum wore an Apron.....

My Grandmother wore a full bodied pinafore over her clothes. It was put on and wrapped around the front. It ties on the sides, one inside and one outside. It was floral as most aprons are. The dresses that ladies wore were then protected from the stains of daily life. All laundry was done by hand and so clothes were worn for several days before washing. A pinafore was easy to wash and saved the clothes that were not so easy replaced. People didn't shop like they do now, it was not a recreational activity. So all my memories of Nan were of her wearing a Pinni more often than not. Photobucket
Grandma's Apron
The strings were tied, it was freshly washed, and maybe even pressed. For Grandma, it was everyday to choose one when she dressed. The simple apron that it was, you would never think about; the things she used it for, that made it look worn out. She may have used it to hold some wildflowers that she'd found. Or to hide a crying child's face when a stranger came around. Imagine all the little tears that were wiped with just that cloth. Or it became a potholder to serve some chicken broth. She probably carried kindling to stoke the kitchen fire. To hold a load of laundry, or to wipe the clothesline wire. When canning all her vegetables, it was used to wipe her brow . You never know, she might have used it to shoo flies from the cow. She might have carried eggs in from the chicken coop outside. Whatever chore she used it for, she did them all with pride. When Grandma went to heaven, God said she now could rest. I'm sure the apron that she chose, was her Sunday best. -by Tina Trivett-
Photobucket Some one else said it better than I could
Grandma's Apron
"I don't think our kids know what an apron is. The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven. It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears… From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven. When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids. And when the weather was cold grandma wrapped it around her arms. Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove. Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron. From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls. In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees. When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds. When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men-folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner. It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes." I dont know who wrote that but I could have said it myself. Photobucket An apron was the very first thing we learned to sew in school. It was a perfect project. We learned to gather (all this done by hand) and to sew on the waist band. We learned to put on a pocket and to hem. Then we learned to put on rick rack and embroider over it and also to do cross stitch. The fabric was check and so it was perfect for learning the cross stitch. I found this picture of one almost like what I made. I found the picture on Little Rascal blog. Photobucket Now hardly anyone wears the apron. We wash our clothes and change them several times a day if we need to. A wasteful society that misses so much of the good stuff.

God's Warrior.................

Billy Graham once said "I tell you, history could be altered and changed again if people went to their knees in believing prayer. .....Today we have learned to harness the power of the atom, but very few of us have learned how to develop fully the power of prayer. We have not yet learned that a man can be more powerful on his knees than behind the most powerful weapons that can be developed" untitled The ancients knew that there is more power in God and in our ability to communicate with our creator than we will ever know. It is mystical yes, but for those who have had answered prayer they know that its real. Even Christ himself had the human need to be in contact with the Father and would go off alone to talk with Him, how much more then do we need to pray.?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Childish Things...............

Can you remember being young? How such very small things brought wonder and pleasure. Take a piece of grass between the fingers and blow on it and make screeching bird sounds. Lay in the grass chewing on a piece of grass or hay just watching the clouds, listen to the drone of bee's and watch an airplane off to some foreign land and dream about where it might be going. The larks hovering above you, singing their hearts out. Seeing shapes in the clouds above. Being excited about a new collectable card in a packet of tea and hoping it was one you didn't have. I can smell them when I think of it, the loose tea smell. A surprise in the cereal box and even though it was a piece of valueless plastic it was free and exciting. I remember the little submarines and not being able to wait to play in the bath. I also remember a cut out bird off the back of the box that my dad helped me put together. Its wings flapped when you pulled its string and it hung from the ceiling. We don't get anything but calories these days. We would gather conkers and play the game, we made a lot of our games in those days. bethany_malcolm-conkers Most of them didn't cost a thing. Maybe a few pennies for some marbles but not the expensive toys of today. Marbles-2 Simple things like Daisy chains or as someone else said "holding a Buttercup under a friends chin" to see if they liked butter. Dandelion clocks told us the time. Girls loved to skip rope and play leapfrog. What about "Mother May I?". We made our own fun by interacting with friends and oh those summer evenings when it began to get dusk and the street lights came on. Time to go home but what fun playing Hide and seek. Then there was the hula hoop craze. No wonder we were never fat kids back then, first off who ever bothered to go home for lunch? Breakfast and outside for the day. Walk everywhere and go where ever we felt like that day. We climbed trees and for us kids we climbed the walls of the chalk pits, we looked for fossils and learned all about the wild flowers, birds and animals. Childhood was a simple time, who needed toys. Most of us didn't have shop bought toys. Even if we did those were not what we treasured. We treasured our birds egg collections and pressed flowers. We would pop the heads off plantains, make a loop of the stalk and try to hit your friend with the head. We knew if we got stung by stinging nettles to look for a Dock leaf, there would always be one near by. We knew our world and loved it. The few games we all seemed to have to play on those wet days in the summer.............Snakes and Ladders. SnakesandLadders Tiddlywinks, Mr Potato head, Blow football. Or we might save all the boxes and cans from the kitchen and play at stores....or schools. Imagination...........I never owned a bike growing up, never felt the need either. We made chassies out of old pram wheels and boxes. Back before traffic was an issue we could ride our soap box cars down Bidwell Hill and hope to arrive safe at the bottom. My dad told me he and his friend would have to babysit their sisters. Naughty boys that they were they would race the prams down the hill. He had two babies sitting in his pram, one each end. He and his friend were racing down the hill when the wheels locked and they all went in the ditch. His two sisters went home with eggs on their heads where they had banged foreheads when coming to an abrupt stop. They were always in trouble. I will have to tell some of his stories. children-1

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hanging out the clothes.................

One thing that I remember growing up is the laundry. Not an easy task for ladies back in the day. My mother and grandmother never had a washing machine and so the laundry was done by hand in the sink. Same for me when I was first married. Never knew any other way it was just how it was. Nan had a conservatory, sort of like a greenhouse attached to the back of the house. In there she had a very big table that was scrubbed and bleached. On the end was a mangle. She used that to run the sheets and things through before putting them outside on her washing line. That was strung from poles one end of the garden to the other just off the path. At my Mum's house it was up in the back garden. There would be a wooden prop to push the line up into the air to get a better breeze. A peg bag kept the wooden pegs handy. Either that or her apron that had large pockets. At Mum's house we were unfortunate to live close to the cement works and when the wind changed direction all the ladies complained because their clean washing would get cement dust on them. Photobucket Monday was usually wash day and then the ironing was done the next day. However when the lady of the house worked as most did in my day, well then it was done on the weekend. If it rained the neighbours would bring in anyone's washing that was hanging out. A mad dash to bring in yours and next doors. No one left the almost dry washing out in the rain when they could do a good turn because they knew that in time it would happen to them. On cold and frosty nights the wash would be as stiff as boards and was great fun to bring in Dad's shirt looking like it could walk on its own. In the cold days of winter many houses would be full of steam as the washing dried on lines in the kitchen or in front of the fire. Clothes horses would be in front of the fire with all the clothes on them dripping onto newspaper. We would have a bath in front of the fire too and the clothes horse stopped the drafts. The steam didn't do the wallpaper much good and in some of the really old houses that we had in the village it would peel and there would be condensation running down the walls.I suppose it was not very healthy in a lot of respects. People suffered bronchial problems due to the damp that's for sure. Still in many ways people were stronger too. They certainly wore off what they ate by walking everywhere and by the sheer physical work. Nothing like washing blankets in the tub. I remember when we were first married and living in Bedford. Laura threw up on my bed. I had to wash the blankets in the tub upstairs. Take them downstairs and outside to hang on the line to dry. Well the line broke and so I had to do it all over again. Photobucket My Mum had a gas boiler. She would boil the whites in it. It was also used to heat water for baths. The one above is similar to what she had. We had a claw foot tub but only cold running water. Well actually we could have hot if we ran a stove in the kitchen to heat the water but that was expensive to use because it used coal. Photobucket She also had a big pail like this one above that she heated water on the gas stove. We used that for washing ourselves in the mornings. Dad was first up and got it going. We would then dip in and take what we wanted. A bath was not an every day affair in those days. Top and tail was the motto. When we first came to the States in 1971 we eventually built our first home. We went to Max's service to get our appliances. I asked if they had a "boiler" and was asked what that would be. I said "you know, you use it to boil your white clothes in" the dear man said "Lady, if you boil your clothes over here there wont be much left".............apparently that was not done here. I still boiled the babies diapers,( the terry cloth ones) on the stove at that time. They came out sparkling white. Well one day someone came in and asked what I was was a big corrugated iron pan of diapers happily boiling and bubbling on the stove. I think a lot of folks wondered where I came from those early days. Clothes never come that clean now, a good soap and blue bag and boil away for a good long time and they are so white it would blind you. These days I settle for much less.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Meet a Crow..............

Laura and me went to visit Alexandra today. Well, actually we went a couple of times. We bought a nice Morning Glory to put on the grave as well as some Day lillies and Pinks. Got that all set up, it was so hot that we went back next day to water. We decided the Morning Glory was not happy I took it home because I knew it would not survive, it needed more water than it would get. SO today we took over some mulch and made it so that it will hold the water longer. I think it will work. So as we left we spotted a crow. He was sitting gasping on a stone. Well I wanted a picture of a crow so took his picture. We watched for awhile and I just wanted to give him some water. 100_0712 What a beautiful bird. I realized we keep some bowls in the car in case we need to give the poodles a drink. So I got one out and filled it with my water that I was drinking. He flew into the tree and watched us. I then threw down some crackers. I am hoping he went down when we left and found the water. 100_0709 Anyway, looks like we will be needing to get over to the cemetary more often and water the plants. We have several people to visit now. I am going to start taking care of my in laws grave now they are both there. There were some plastic flowers there and no one has moved them time we will take some new flowers, some real ones and pretty them up. 100_0702 It is so dry out there at the moment. When the Day lilies take off and get bigger it will look better. Anyway, I hope we will see friend Crow again and hope he is feeling a little better. Crows are so smart, so intelligent. They will recognize people so I hope he will know we are friends.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Day trip ...................

We had a rough week, my husbands father died. A sad occasion. He was ready to go and it had been rather a difficult time for everyone of late. Since his wife died 3 years ago he has been rather lost. He had wanted someone to stay with him all the time so the kids took it in turns. That worked out well and they got to spend some time with their dad. The last few months had been difficult though and so after the funeral we decided to have a relaxing rest of the week. We took Laura and Tristen and went off for a hike. I wanted to show her a trail I had discovered. Its a trail that goes up Alligator Hill. It's called that because of its shape. From the top of the Dunes looking out over Glen Lake the hill is shaped like an Alligator. So anyway we decided to explore. We were not really that successful because we did not find the overlook. We decided we would go alone some day so we could get in a good hike. It had turned hot by the time we turned back so even though the whole trail is only 2 1/2 miles its rather up and down hill. Tristen loves the woods. 100_0518 Here he is asking "whats this"......its the root of the tree. I said its the trees feet....... 100_0509 Gerry and Tristen had to go back before Laura and I were finished. It was getting hot and they took a break on the log and waited for us. 100_0521 I am glad we went on a little way even though we didn't find the overlook. This lovely lady popped her head out to see who we were. 100_0519 We saw loads of Chipmunks. 100_0523 After we left the woodland walk we went for lunch in Empire. Tristen was hungry and was very good in the restaurant. So we rewarded him by going to the beach. 100_0546 He loves the most small boys he loves to throw the rocks back into the water. 100_0538 After that he got to play in the park area, he promptly tried to take off his clothes. I am sure because he was now getting really warm. We did have to carry him back off to the car kicking and screaming but that was his only meltdown of the day so we were happy about that. It was a hazy day and it really got hotter as the day went on so we were home by 3pm. This is the Sleeping Bear Dune from Empire beach. 100_0531 This is the other direction, Empire Bluffs. 100_0532 We saw a whole bunch of Yellow Swallowtail butterflys flitting around the pond. 100_0581 They posed very pretty swallowtail 100_0564 There are waterlillies on the pond and fish hanging around. The ones we saw were small but I know there are bigger ones in there. People fish there all the time. 100_0549 100_0550 On the way home we passed woods full of Trillium. Mine are almost finished in my garden. They go pink as the get older. 100_0595 100_0592

Fishing, sort of....................

Today we took the kids to see the fish. I had to go to the Water Garden at Lake Ann to get some water plants and fish. Oh boy!!! things are so expensive. Water treatments and so on all cost so much. Why cant fish just live in water. Sheesh!!!! In town our water has fluoride so we have to get that neutralized. I am glad we only have a small pond. Then the plants, well they were not too bad and I only got two. One actually lived from last year. Its a floater. I do hope the water Iris lives. It should be a nice little yellow one. We have not had a lot of luck with the fish so far. Our first effort was the best and we did really well, those got eaten and since then we seem to have lost the knack. Anyway. I did give up on frogs I will just enjoy the ones we see out there. Here are a few pretty ones..........the ones that came from our frog spawn we bought last year were just plain old brown ones that didn't stick around. Not wet enough I guess, they seem to like the mud. 100_0602 They sit so still they think you wont see them. 100_0615 Seems that the green ones are the first to show up............and they are pretty don't you think? 100_0600 So while I was looking around with my camera, the kids were watching and feeding the fish 100_0604 The Koi are friendly and know they will get fed so come right up to beg. They will suck on your hand if you put it in the water. 100_0605-1 Here's Reina feeding them. 100_0607 They have wonderful gardens with fountains, waterfalls and streams all around. The owners live there so some is private but they dont seem to mind people looking around. They work hard on the gardens so I suppose its part of the "job". 100_0613 Later on in the year the gardens are fantastic and so are the fish. The Koi are big but they lost a lot a couple of winters ago when Raccoon's ate them. Some pretty flowering shrubs. 100_0611 Well I did buy 4 goldfish, spotted ones. We will see how they fare. Could be if they live I may get more but this will do to begin with and if I see the cat hanging around she will be grounded.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bluebell Time...........

One of the wonderful things about Spring in England is the Bluebells. Spring is an awesome time of year there in any case. What with blossoms and the Spring flowers and all, but when you drive down a country road, go past woodlands and hedgerows full of bluebells its just magic. The lime colour of the new green buds on the trees and that heavenly blue. Photobucket I miss walking in the woods when its Bluebell time. I remember gathering huge arms full to take home to my mum. 5598606865_f13dfca642_z I love watching movies set in England when they show the woods and streams with the bluebells growing along the banks Did you see "Fairystory"? When the girls were playing by the Beck, I loved that scene. The ferns and grass a lovely Spring green and all those magnificent Bluebells. I wanted to go home so bad. 001550x413 I have been looking for bluebells to plant in my garden here in Michigan but so far I have not found any. I will have to try a catalogue.
bluebells-8 bluebells_in_English_Delamere_Forrest Josephine Walls Bubble fairy. She is playing among the bluebells................. fairy_bubbles