Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Critter Control

Christmas 034 If you've been reading my blog for a while, you may remember that we've been having an ongoing battle with the neighborhood squirrels, who like to make their way into our attic and keep us up at night.

We've tried hiring professionals to catch them and carry them off to another zip code.  They've put traps on the roof, traps on the deck, and traps in the attic, but in the past four or five years, they've only managed to catch one squirrel.  And he died anyway, because it was on Christmas day, and by the time they were able to come carry him off, he had succumbed to nature.

12048483201-lsLast March LBeau decided to get serious about the squirrels and ordered some "real" traps from F&T Fur Harvesters.  Designed for capturing mink and muskrats, LBeau thought they would be perfect for catching squirrels.  They came in no time, but for months they sat in a box in the basement, and I was about to chalk them up to another one of those purchases that never gets used.

This fall, however, LBeau got out one of the traps and set it in a flower pot on the deck.  He placed it close to the spot right outside our bedroom where I have on numerous occasions watched a squirrel take a flying leap from the deck, scurry up the brick beside the den window, scramble onto the light fixture, and leap onto the roof, all in the span of about five seconds.

A few days later, the trap was sprung, but we failed to catch a thing.  Then one day LBeau came home from work and found the trap missing.  After a quick search of the area below the deck, we found it in a flower bed.  Something had obviously been caught but had managed to free itself.  In fact, a closer look at the trap revealed a tiny toe caught between its jaws.  At this point we decided we should probably nail the chain that's attached to the trap to the deck.

At 2:30 this morning, I was awakened by a commotion outside our bedroom.  At first I thought it was probably a squirrel running around in the gutter, but I soon decided that the trap had finally captured its prey.  Although I had to relocate to another bed to get back to sleep, I was comforted knowing we were about to be rid of the squirrel.

Not so fast.  It seems that what we had really captured was a rather large raccoon.

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When I went outside to take his picture before LBeau turned him loose, he took a flying leap, pulled the chain loose from the deck, and headed down the steps into the early morning darkness.  Fortunately, the chain caught on the deck railing, and LBeau was able to set him free.

In the meantime, during his captivity he decided that my garden hose had something to do with his predicament, and he proceeded to chew it in half.

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So we're back to square one with the squirrel.  If anyone has any suggestions, let me know.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Roll in the Hay (or the Mud, Perhaps)

When I got this picture in an email earlier this week from my sister-in-law Susie, I knew I had to share it on Pink Saturday. It makes me happy just looking at it.


It also reminds me of a saying that I have pinned to my bulletin board. I'm not sure who gave it to me, but I think about it all the time, since I'm married to an engineer. So here's my thought for the day.

"Arguing with an Engineer is like wrestling in the mud with a pig. After a while you realize that the pig enjoys it!"

bijw9y Happy Pink Saturday everyone. Be sure to stop by Beverly's place at How Sweet the Sound for more Pink Saturday posts. By the way, I just love Beverly's new fall "dress."

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Southern Belle in the Making

purplehull-peas-2008 Every good Southern girl learns things about cooking from her mother, who learned them from her mother, who learned them from her mother—things like how to fry okra or make cornbread or brew sweet tea.

Bless her heart, my daughter-in-law Katie did not learn Southern cooking from her mother.  Diane is a fabulous cook, having once owned her own catering business, but these are West Coast girls, and Katie spent most of her growing up in Los Angeles and Seattle.

So when she and Brent purchased some purple hull peas at a farmer's market in Savannah, where they now live, Katie turned to the queen of purple hull peas, my mother, for instructions on how to prepare them.  As Katie tells it, the conversation went something like this.

Katie:  Mema, I bought some purple hull peas, and I need you to tell me how to cook them.

Mema:  Well, you season them and cook them in water for about two hours.

Katie:  Two hours?!!  Oh, then I guess we won't be having them for dinner tonight.  I thought you just had to heat them up good. 

(Note: This conversation took place about 6 p.m. one evening.)

Katie:  I guess I'll just cook them and save them for tomorrow night.  So how do I season them?

Mema:  Well, you season them with a little salt.  I also used to put bacon drippings in mine, but after all the talk about cholesterol a few years ago, I started using oleo.  So just sprinkle in salt to taste and add some oleo.  Bring them to a boil, then turn down the heat, cover them and simmer for about two hours.

Katie:  So that's all you do?

Mema:  That's all.

Katie:  Just one more thing, Mema.  What's oleo?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Now That I Can Dance

Last weekend we gathered in Auburn for the wedding of Wanda's son Braxton to Catie.


A couple of years ago, Wanda's daughter Katie (now is that confusing, or what) married in Atlanta.  Here is the video of Katie's dance with her father Ralph.

Now if you knew Wanda, you would understand that she was not about to be upstaged by her husband.  So I invite you to take a look at Wanda's dance with Braxton.  Unfortunately, the camera was turned in the wrong direction for the first part of the video, so you'll just have to turn your head until it gets corrected.

I'd say that family has some serious talent!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Life Is Good

writeroval-1-1 Once again it's time for Sunday Favorites, hosted by Chari at Happy to Design.  This is one of those memes that I really ought to participate in every week, because Chari has made it so easy for us.  All you have to do is repost one of your favorite posts from the past.  And Chari even gives directions for doing just that.

This week, in honor of the Razorbacks' 44-23 victory over Auburn yesterday in Fayetteville, I have decided to share my post from exactly one year ago.  A year ago Tommy Tuberville was coaching Auburn.  This year he was predicting a three-touchdown Tiger victory.  Maybe he needs to rethink that.

Ironically, this year our weekend was also about football and weddings and Auburn and Arkansas.  Yesterday afternoon as the game was winding down in Fayetteville, we were headed to Auburn for the wedding of Ralph's and Wanda's son Braxton.

So life really is about more than football, and it's all good!

A Sunday Favorite

It just doesn't get much better than this--a football weekend in the South. Add to that a Friday night party for Ben and Claire, and you have a perfect weekend.
Friday night some of Ben's high school friends and their parents plus Allen and Areta hosted a shower complete with Southern comfort food--chicken fingers, grits, blackeyed peas, greens, biscuits and homemade ice cream with pound cake. Yummmmm. Claire's mom Marie and sister Britton were able to be here, and we enjoyed hanging out and tweaking "The Lists."
Saturday morning bright and early, LBeau and I headed to Auburn with the red F-150 loaded with grills, tables, tailgate chairs and food to set up for the Alabama Chapter of the Arkansas Alumni Association Tailgate Party. We've been doing this for at least 10 years at either Auburn or Tuscaloosa, cooking burgers and dogs for all Hog fans who stop by. The money we raise goes to our chapter scholarship fund.
Top off the weekend with a 25-22 Razorback win over Auburn, and life is good.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's a Girl!!

Score one for the Pink Team. We found out last week that Ben and Claire are having a girl.

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This will be our second granddaughter, and once she arrives in February, the Pink Team will have as many players as the Blue Team. Guess I'd better get busy rewriting my profile.

bijw9y For more Pink Saturday posts, be sure to visit Beverly at How Sweet the Sound. Looks like there's lots more pink in my future.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Boys and Girls Turn 50

I had a letter from one of my former students yesterday.  He signed it, "Your Old Student (Yes, I'm 50), Karl."  It seems like yesterday that he was one of the Boys and Girls, as Hunter liked to call them.

It was the mid-70's, and I was teaching journalism and advising the yearbook and newspaper at Fayetteville High School while LBeau was finishing a masters degree at the University of Arkansas.  Hunter was two, going on three.

At deadline time, the Boys and Girls would often come over to our house to work on layouts or write copy, and Hunter became their mascot.  His Little Tykes table and chairs doubled as a copy desk.


When he turned three in February, 1977, the Boys and Girls threw him a birthday party.  The invitation was handwritten on my classroom chalkboard.


It's hard to believe that these "kids" have hit the Big 5-0.  In fact, I ran into one of  the Girls a few weeks ago in Fayetteville.  Debbie certainly didn't look 50, so maybe that means I don't look old enough to have been their teacher.   At least I can hope.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Passing the Box

250446519406_0_ALB We had a quick turn around on the Emergency Box this week (for an explanation of the Box, go HERE).  With Glenda's daughter Anna getting married last Saturday and Wanda's son Braxton getting married this Saturday, it was time for Glenda to inscribe Wanda's name in the Box lid and pass it on.

We gathered at Pablo's Mexican Restaurant on Monday night for the ceremony, preceded by dinner and drinks.  As the mother of the groom and the honoree for the evening, Wanda was privileged to wear the lavender crown that Susie brought. 

760446519406_0_ALBAfter opening gifts of lotions, creams, scented candles and a gift certificate for a pedicure, Wanda got to examine the contents of the Emergency Box.  As you can see, she was pleased to find that the two bottles of vodka were still there, although some of us are suspicious that the vodka was long ago replaced with plain water.

870556519406_0_ALBThanks to Luna, the box now contains two plastic glasses so Wanda won't have to chug the vodka straight from the bottle.  Luna also added a pair of surgical gloves in case the mother of the bride (or anyone else in the wedding party) becomes too hard to handle.  That way she doesn't leave any fingerprint evidence.  I think we've all been watching too much CSI.

390556519406_0_ALB At the end of the evening, we persuaded another customer to take a group picture.  He was probably secretly glad that that noisy table for 12 was finally getting out of there. 

Saturday we'll be moving the party to Auburn, where we'll all be wishing Braxton and Catie a long and happy marriage.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

All Dressed Up

Back in August when I celebrated my blog anniversary, I offered to do a blog makeover for a reader who was interested in a new look.  You may recall that I designed my own blog background and header, and I was just itching to do another one.

Martha at Mid-Atlantic Martha was the winner, and I contacted her about what kind of changes she wanted to make.  She told me that her favorite colors were pink and green and that she wanted a vintage look that featured roses, butterflies and crabs.  With that in mind I set out to find elements that I could incorporate into a new look for Martha's blog.

Here's the new header design that features everything Martha wanted, except for her four granddaughters.  We settled for this beach picture, but if she comes up with a picture of the four grand girls we can always change it.

martha header real - Page 035

And here's Martha's new background.  You can visit her blog by clicking HERE to see the finished product.  We changed some of the colors for borders, titles and sidebar items to coordinate with her new look.

background 3 copy

Let me know what you think.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's Fall Y'all

Poster2009 Fall means college football, and for me and LBeau that means at least one trip to Fayetteville to watch the Razorbacks.  And there's nothing better on a cool, crisp game day than an early morning trip to the Fayetteville square for the Farmer's Market.

The Farmer's Market is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year.  We were living in Fayetteville when it opened in the spring of 1974.  Hunter was a baby, and I had bought a book with recipes for homemade baby food.  The Farmer's Market was a great source for fresh fruits and and vegetables.  I cooked everything from applesauce to carrots and green beans and froze it in ice cube trays.  When it was time for a feeding, I just popped a cube or two into the electric baby food dish for warming (those were pre-microwave days).

If it's not too early in the fall, I always like to find an unusual pumpkin or two to bring home.  In fact, it was at the Farmer's Market a few years ago that I first spotted the green Jarrahdale pumpkins.  I thought they were so pretty that I brought one home for each of my friends.

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On a recent Farmer's Market Saturday, the square was closed to all but foot traffic.  Plenty of friendly folks, most decked out in Razorback red and carrying steaming cups of coffee or hot chocolate, were milling around in search of produce…

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and handmade Ozark crafts.


Volunteers from the Humane Society walked a variety of dogs that were looking for new homes, and musicians provided amateur entertainment.

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Fall%20color Now be sure to visit Rhoda at Southern Hospitality for more autumn inspiration.  Here in Alabama fall is definitely in the air.  Time to get out the pumpkins, turkeys, witches and ghosts for the upcoming holidays.