The latest News

We are enjoying a couple of days of warm and sunny after mostly gloomy and wet earlier in the week. The windows are open with the birdsongs wafting in on the wind. Casey’s already outside tilling the Edible Garden and I’m on my out to repot the basil. All of our plants are growing strong and it looks like the weather is going to be perfect to get them planted when we return.

As I’ve Planned and Planned this trip to London, then planned some more, I have come to the conclusion that my best option is to have an outline rather than a rigid schedule, giving us flexibility for bad weather or just feeling tired. After a half-day trip to Windsor Castle on Friday, we will have no other “appointments” and we’ll buy our tickets at the door of wherever we decide we want to stop. We know that will include Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, The Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe, The Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, The National Gallery, Buckingham Palace, St. James Palace and Park, Kensington Palace and Gardens, Hyde Park, Green Park, Wildlife Park, Victoria and Albert Museum. I have mapped out several walks to see all of that and who knows what else we’ll see on our way? I am not sure if I’ll be able to write much next week, but I am going to try.

Leaving Wed. 4/27 Return Tues. 5/3

The Queen had a Birthday, her 96th, on Thursday. Of course, we had a toast to her Health. Whilst checking out the latest Royal Gossip, I came across this fascinating little clip.

It is such a Fine Day! I’m going to go outside and play.

Peace

Easter Greetings…

We had an Egg Hunt with the Jrs. yesterday…

We definitely had the best week-end day for our activities; today is gloomy and cool, better suited for Good Friday. My preferred plant place opened up on Wednesday and I stocked up on herbs… I may have to repot them before we travel… The Predictors say it will be chilly until Thursday, so we’ve got All of our pots in the laundry room.

We managed to cross everything off of our to-do list last week, moving around perennials and shrubs, so I’ve spent little time on the London Plans. This week, however, I’m free to pore over the maps and websites.

Peace

The Sunday Scoop 4-10-22

It’s been a busy week, sort of…well, it’s been a week, anyway, rainy and cold with a smattering of sunshine interspersed. We have a young pileated woodpecker showing up to the suet.. and that’s been pretty exciting…

Today, however, is sunny and warming up nicely so I am planning on attacking my Garden To-Do List.

We dug up our daylillies and daisies and I have no idea where to put them. I am not really fond of daylillies, especially where I had them, but I planned on giving them away and got no takers. For now, I think I’ll toe them in around the Big Tulip Poplar and see how they do…or maybe not. We need to plant a leftover rosebush out back and pull out the grape vine, too.

We visited Hillside Gardens on Thursday and I bought 3 Better Boy tomato plants and 6 california wonder pepper plants. I am going to repot them and wait until after our trip to plant outside. Ronnie’s fruit stand should get their first shipment in this week and that’s my place for herbs and flowers and other vegetables. They’ll look pretty out on the enclosed back porch and I’m quite grateful that my looming travel will hold me back from making my same old mistake of putting warm-weather crops in the ground too early. My cool-weather garden bed has peas a-poppin’ and tiny little beets, carrots and spinach peeking up. I’ll spare you the picture of dirt this week, but when you look real close you see them…

It should work out pretty well to have everything ready to go upon our return from London May 4–May the 4th be with me!! I couldn’t resist. I’m spending the rainy days engrossed in my planning and the Youtube has been so helpful, though a real rabbit-hole once you start watching. I watched a guy *gal? walking around London silently, just traffic sounds, etc. in the rain, for longer than I care to admit. However, it has really given me some looks at the Most Popular Sites and I get more excited every day.

Back to the Here and Now: My Irish Dancers are in Belfast, Northern Ireland, competing in the World Championships. My #2 grandie, Olivia, is on a school trip to Washington, D.C., so I’m kept busy sending out the long-distance Love. Samantha was here yesterday to play, though!

The Sun is beckoning me — lighting up the dust in the house, too — so I’m going to pretend I didn’t notice and go Outside and Play!

Even if you’re stuck inside, I hope you enjoy this Beautiful Day!

Peace

The Sunday Scoop

We got the countertop installed last Wednesday! There’s always something more to do, but we’re calling it done-for-now.

There’s more storage, more workspace, and it feels so New — something rare in this old shanty.

The Jr. girls were here Thursday and Friday and we had a blast going to the mall, the zoo, and to the Theatre to see Sing 2. Another Spring Break is behind us and I wish the time didn’t go so quickly…

I must make a decision today — tomorrow at the latest — regarding my visit to London. >sigh< Let me explain…

This trip was planned and paid for in 2019, kids, and there have been so many changes that I can’t say that I care about it much. You see, the Goal was to see The Queen at Royal Ascot; back then she attended Every Day and I was assured, veritably certain to get a glimpse of her from the Queen Anne Enclosure as she arrived in a Royal Carriage from Windsor. She was only 93 at the time and was still making all of her usual appearances. Then Covid. Three years later, she is having problems with walking and currently doesn’t want to be seen in a wheelchair. Since Prince Philip died last year she has appeared to be increasingly frail and her appearances are few and far between. She is determined to be at the Duke of Edinburgh’s Memorial Service this week and to take part in as many Platinum Jubilee events as possible, especially Trooping of the Colour in June, but her family have had to take over Most of her duties.

So here I am with a hotel reservation for The Jubilee Week, her birthday week and the week of Royal Ascot. Face it, the crowds in London that week will be insane and I’ll not get Close to Buckingham Palace to see her, though I may be able to find a spot on the Trooping the Colour parade route as her carriage goes by if I manage to get my butt on a curb the day before, but I’d be better off watching it all on the telly. I’ll be very surprised if she makes it to Royal Ascot more than one day and what day will that be?? Probably not the day I’m there!

To make matters worse, the Price of the plane tickets has Doubled for that week! When I chose those dates I underestimated the power of the Platinum Jubilee to make it all so much more expensive! What with the price of everything — Everything — inflated, I have to admit that I just can’t afford this trip…not in June, anyway.

What I can do is go at another time, if our hotel will allow us to change the reservation Again. I’m looking at late April now, just one month from now. I’m going to contact the Queens Gate today and see if they’ll cooperate. If they do, Wow, we’re going to London next month! If they don’t, I’m okay with that, as well, because I’m tired of thinking about it.

You’ll be the first to know when it’s all settled…

Peace

Poems by heart

Happy Spring to you! Today is the Equinox, when the daylight is equal to the night. Having planted peas, beets, radishes, carrots, and spinach three days ago, I’m ready for this week’s predicted rain, though I dread the gloom.

This time of year always reminds me of a poem, one that I know by heart. I’m not even googling this, so it may be off. I must have memorized it more than 50 years ago, possibly closer to 60!

The year’s at the Spring,the day’s at the morn.

The morning’s at seven, the hillside’s dew-pearled.

The lark’s on the wing, the snail’s on the thorn.

God’s in his Heaven, All’s right with the World!

Robert Browning…

Over the years I’ve often quoted that “God’s in his Heaven” line whenever I am immersed in Nature’s Beauty. The All’s right with the World, is encouraging and I look to the perennial changing of the seasons to reassure me. Just like Life, Spring is not lived in just one day, but in a succession of days spent seeking sunlight and warmth; it is a process of steady renewal that culminates in verdant color that All God’s creatures enjoy!

cardinal on the lamp

It was a busy week here at the Acres and I have acutely missed the hour we lost. I read an article that said Napping is a sign of creeping dementia, so I’ve forced myself to pull All-Dayers this entire week. Well, dozing in front of the TV doesn’t count, does it?

We’re getting our countertop put in this Wednesday, but Casey has to pull out the old one and the countertop people will pick it up and use it for a template to cut the new. This means I won’t have a kitchen sink or workplace for 2-3 days. I’m down with that and looking forward to eating out!

Olivia and Samantha aka Nova and Unicorn, will be here Thursday for a sleepover to celebrate their Spring Break Week! Last year we were at Disney with them, so we can’t top that, but we’re going to have Two Days of Fun and Feasting, an event that may become a tradition — one never knows…

One really does never know, does one? Who knew that the poems we memorized as kids would bring us such comfort and joy in our old-ish age? I believe I always knew how precious Springtime is, though we try to hurry it along when it insists on staying cloudy or cool or rains incessantly.

magnolia tree buds

Despite its whimsical nature, Spring always brings to me the desire to refresh and renew, to try again: This time my seeds will grow; this time I’ll really quit; this time I’ll really begin, this time I’ll get it right. There is Hope as the trees and shrubs bloom and we watch the birds mate and feather their nests and it seems appropriate, even necessary, to remember the poems of our past.

There is another Spring poem, or verse of it, anyway, that I quote to myself often, though it has only been lodged in the old brain for about 30 years:

sweet spring is my time, is your time, is our time, for springtime is Love time and viva sweet love…

e.e.cummings

Peace

Finally Finished

When I started researching my family tree back in 2018, I thought I’d just work on it for about a year and be done. Turns out there is enough mystery and intrigue in the research to keep me occupied for what has been 4 years now. I have taken breaks from it and I’m ready to take another, but I had set a goal of covering the paternal grandparents to 1945. Today I finished and I feel free to move on to Gardening — just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, too!

Not only do I feel the relief of moving out of the 1940s, but I’m super excited that we bought a garden cultivator/tiller.

Casey is like a kid in a candy shop and I’m very grateful that he likes this stuff as much as I do because I have Plans for that tiller!

This week’s weather is predicted to tease us with Spring. I try to plant peas on St. Patrick’s Day, so thanks again, Universe. Though our average last day of frost is April 8, my garden journal from 2021 records that we had a snow on April 24. In 2020 the temps were struggling to get above 40 in early May. I must remember that Spring is fickle.

My family story has obsessed me for a while now, but I’m ready to fill my head with garden plans. I’ll be back on Thursday for a St. Patrick’s Day Planting post. Don’t forget to wear Green or I’ll have to pinch you.

Peace

Old News, hardly a scoop…

I didn’t give enough space to our local birthday party, celebrating Samantha’s 7th and my 69th birthdays. Here’s a little montage of that day, February 19th…

I have now officially ridden Every Ride in the Walt Disney World parks, knocking out my last two at Animal Kingdom. I had put off the Rite of Passage ride when I was having some back problems several years ago and I wish I’d ridden earlier! It is now my Favorite Ride! We were pretty chill after our early mornings and spent a lot of time hanging out at pool bars (and pools) around the resort. I marked off “visit Nomad Lounge” from my must-do list, too. We had perfect weather…

Spring greeted us when we arrived back here at Sonnystone, and it was so beautiful last week that we were outside cleaning up and planning this year’s gardens. It’s time to start seeds inside, we plant our peas and potatoes on St. Patrick’s Day and I am impatient, as usual. I hope to start a Gardening Series on Thursdays and keep you up to date on how the garden is growing.

I used the nice weather as an excuse to procrastinate finishing up my Ancestry to 1945. I’m really going to get it written this week, I tell myself. I’m very ready to wind up that blog and spend more time here at the Acres providing you with plenty of Blather and Balderdash.

Peace

The Sunday Scoop

There is an upside to a sleet/ice/snow storm…the birds flock to our food. We moved the feeders to a spot under the porch so the ice couldn’t cover them and brought them in at night to dry and warm. There were never less than 30 birds in the area, lots of juncos on the ground, dozens of cardinals, finches and wrens of all sort, woodpeckers, and those damn grackles, too. One awkward pileated woodpecker showed up, too…

The kitchen has come along swimmingly! I’m never good at the “before” pictures, and we’re not done yet…

It’s a good thing you didn’t click on those Ancestry posts last week (and I Know you didn’t). Turns out I got a major part of the story Wrong and I had to un-publish and revise. It was kind of a bummer, as I rather liked the story the way I told it, but I came across some newspaper articles that contradicted it. I’ve changed the original posts, but haven’t yet gotten time to continue writing the tale.

Two weeks from today we’ll be on our way to WDW to celebrate my birthday, #69 to be exact. I’m calling this year my “Farewell to the 60s” event. Naturally, we start at Disney; naturally, we’ll end at Disney, too. That’s us.

Because of the ice, I postponed my usual visit with Grandies #2 and #4 from Saturday to Sunday (today). Lo and Behold! Samantha lost her first tooth and then her second soon after!

Peace

The Sunday Scoop

I’ve got not just 1 scoop, not just 2 scoops, but 3, maybe 4, scoops this week!

Kitchen Remodel Update: All of the cabinets have been painted (and cleaned), the glassfront cabinet has been painted (white for now because we’re almost out of blue). Everything looks clean and crisp.

Phase 2 includes moving the refrigerator, hanging some new wallboard, putting in a base cabinet (already purchased), new countertop and lots more behind-the-scenes stuff like finding a place for everything. We hope to be done in 2 weeks, but availability of countertop may affect that goal.

I had the honor of accompanying my #2 grandie in the Indiana State music competition where she sang “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme”. We’ve had a lot of fun preparing and practicing, and she was awarded a Gold medal for her efforts! #2 is an 8th-grader now, a sweet girl, and I am so proud of her…

I have been busy with genealogy research and was able to write and publish two posts last week.

The first is The Maynes of Albion 1910-1925.

The second is The Stallings Family 1910-1925.

I’d love it if you’d click on over and read those; I think you’ll enjoy the stories. Update 1/31/2022: I have unlinked those posts to edit them… I have discovered new newspaper clippings that tore holes in my timeline. I don’t have to start completely over, but there’s a lot that needs to be corrected. >sigh< I really liked the story the way I told it…

Sometimes I feel a little haunted by all these greats and grands living in my mind, but then I wonder if it’s not really me haunting them

So that’s the News from Sonnystone Acres for this week.

Next week will probably be more of the same, but you never know…

Peace

The Sunday Scoop

Any writer can relate to the current state of Mind dominating my days: wrapped up in my characters and plot, living in a different time and place from good old Sonnystone Acres. Since these characters are also my relatives, there’s another level of imagination added — putting 2plus2 together from stories and facts.

Right now, I’m living 100-years in the past, WWI, trains and automobiles, bobbed hair and suffragettes. In particular, my great-grandfather and his family moved from the farm in southern Illinois to Evansville, Indiana to work as a brakeman for the L&N Railroad in around 1914. In addition to my great-grandfather, Ed Stallings, the family included my my great-grandmother Gainsey, and their children, Vivian, Verla (my grandmother), and Maurice and they lived in Howell, a neighborhood on the edge of the train yards that had been built by L&N for its workers; it was literally surrounded by the tracks and the trainyard.

I lived in Howell in 1974 when I was pregnant with my daughter and remember that my then-mil was worried that the trains would trap me there when I needed to get quickly to the hospital. It’s true that we often waited forever when they were hooking and unhooking the train cars, but I didn’t have a problem.

There were train tracks everywhere in Evansville when I was growing up; the “highway” came right through town and the tracks impeded any kind of traffic flow going north-south. The “highway” going east-west had a train track right down the middle — I was terrified to drive on it when the trains were wobbling back and forth a foot from my car!

Since my great-grandfather worked for L&N, his family got to ride for free and the Stallings ancestors rode the trains to visit relatives in St. Louis frequently during those days. I only was able to take one trip, from Chicago to Evansville, when I was about 6 or 7. I remember my sister getting mad at me because I got the hiccups and kept saying “excuse” me after each hic…and also the conductor going down the aisle announcing “Terre Haute, next stop! Next stop, Terre Haute!”.

It wasn’t just Evansville, of course, where we were accustomed to hear and see trains. The highways often had tracks that ran parallel and I remember my uncle “outrunning” one as I rode in a 3-hole Buck packed with cousins, aunts, and grandma to visit my Aunt Almeda in West Frankfort, IL.

The sound of a train in the distance transports me to my childhood, fills me with a nostalgic yearning for “the good old days” when I was a kid. As John Prine put it…”I can hear the train tracks through the laundry on the line.”

The kitchen cabinets are looking good…

I’ve got to get back to my imaginary world and move the ancestors on to 1920s, another mind-blower…the prohibition of alcohol from January, 1920 to December, 1933. Can you imagine how people would take to Prohibition today? With all the screaming about constitutional rights and citizens united, can you imagine what would happen if the government started tearing down businesses and destroying their product? Interestingly, it was during the Prohibition years that my family began to drink! I carry on the best I can…

Peace