gravel road girl

Archive for the month “September, 2015”

Taking a Little Time


~Apples from my trees~

I got a few apples off of my two apple trees this year. Not very many–just a few.

Enough to make a pie and a couple of apple crisps for the freezer. 

I’m not a very good arborist. The deer gnawed off many of the lower branches this winter, the caterpillars had a heyday in the spring, and the birds enjoyed their fair share as the fruit ripened. I guess you couldn’t call me selfish.


Anyway, by the time I got around to picking them they were a little wormy and dimpled but still salvageable.

And one bite. . . well, there’s nothing better than an apple picked from your tree, shined up on your sleeve, and eaten–warm and fresh!

They tumbled into the sink for a good washing, but I knew, looking at them, that I couldn’t use my handy-dandy apple corer/peeler/slicer. It’s a nifty gadget that is a must-have if you’re going to be dealing with a lot of apples. But less-than-perfect apples don’t really work on it. It’s just a frustrating mess.


So I got out my paring knife and started in. 

One apple at a time.


Cutting away the soft spots from the ‘good apples’ picked up from the ground. 

Slicing away the worm holes.

Coring and peeling.

Just me, my paring knife, a sink full of bobbing apples, the open window, and sounds outside.


That’s all. 

Nothing else.


Sometimes half the apple went in the bowl.

It took time, but that was o.k.


It surprised me how calming this was–

to just stand at the sink and press the knife to the peel

trying not to take too much apple with the skin.

You can’t hurry the peeling of apples.


It’s a satisfactory thing–

to slush your hand around in the bowl

covering the apples with lemon water to keep them from browning.

To carefully slice and hear them–


into the bowl.IMG_0501

Beside my sink just under the cupboard I have a small picture.

It really isn’t lovely at all, and I paid all of $8 for it. 

I actually picked it up because I liked the frame. But the very

simple verse–typed and fading

actually caused me to keep it. 

It reads as follows~


May labor make me glad!

May I have eyes to see

Beauty in this plain room

Where I am called to be;

The scent of clean blue smoke,

The old pans polished bright,

The kettle’s chucking joke,

The red flames’ lovely light.

May I have wit to take

The joy that ’round me lies.

Whether I brew or bake,

May labor make me wise!

May labor make me sweet!

When twilight folds the earth

May I have grace to smile

And count the day’s good work

An old song in my soul

And quiet in my breast,

To welcome tranquilly

The night’s old gift of rest,

And gather strength to face

Tomorrow’s busy strife. 

Here in this humble place,

May labor bless my life!     

~Nancy Byrd Turne


~May labor bless your life.~

So now what. . .


I’ve retired.

At the ripe-middle-age of 51, I’ve retired.

I can no longer call myself a home-school mom. I suppose, technically, you’re always a home-school mom, but I no longer have any kids to “school.” Seth started full-time as a freshman this year. So after nineteen years of homeschooling, I’m packing up the books! Well, most of them anyway. Any homeschooler worth her salt keeps a stash of the classics, some good resource books, and all those memorable picture books!

Besides a short stint as a church secretary, I’ve been teaching since I graduated from ISU and got married. I guess there are those blurry years between birth and kindergarten when toddlers take over your life, and you’re lucky to teach anything beside potty training, Kleenex usage, and non-violent behavior among siblings.


 Look at these cherubs! Probably ranging from eleven years to one year old. At this point I had been homeschooling for six years. I’m surprised they’re all smiling and their shirts are still white. I’m sure I either threatened them or bribed them–probably both!

But now they’re off having their own adventures, and, while I’m still in the thick of band-parenting, cross country-parenting, speech/drama-parenting, did-you-do-your-homework-parenting, I’m finally taking a deep breath and figuring out what to do next.

Many people have asked me what I’m going to do with all my time now. I’m pretty sure NONE of them were homeschool moms! Are you kidding me? I have nineteen years of unfinished projects to complete, nineteen years of closets to clean, nineteen years of plans made but never attempted.

Here’s the short to-do list I’ve started: Bonnie–dog of destruction.


“Surely not!” you say.

“Look at that sweet face!” you say.

“Look at this!” I say.


Yes, this is my lovely wicker furniture on my lovely front porch. Much like toddler-proofing your home, I quickly learned I needed to puppy-proof my porch. Under that attractive duct tape are the gnawings of a teething puppy. It will stay in place until I’m sure she’s done with this stage. Then I’ll sand and repaint, but it will forever be marked with Bonnie’s youth.

But wait! That’s not all. . .


A simple stack of pillows. . .

all of which were slipcovered, plumped, and bringing beauty and comfort to my front porch. All of which (and including three more that were too gruesome to display and beyond the salvation of this seamstress) were savagely attacked, dragged through the wet and dirt, and then calmly chewed until I discovered the violence.

Bad dog! Bad, bad dog!!

Needless to say, at this point in the season, my porch will go pillowless until next spring. I hope Bonnie will be over pillow destruction by then. So I need get my sewing machine out. Speaking of sewing. . .


. . . I’m a junkie.

A fabric junkie. This is just a small (and, of course, strategically selected, folded, and color-coordinated) sample of my fabric collection. Each purchased for a specific project–which I can’t recall right now. I’m sure if I checked some of my Pinterest boards it would all come back to me.

This, on the other hand, . . .


. . . is my sewing/craft closet.

Just keepin’ it real, here folks. When I said nineteen years of closets to clean, I wasn’t kidding. I won’t even start telling you about all the nifty tools, paints, canvases, inks, rollers, chalks and pastels that are stashed in here.

Oh, and there’s this pile, too. . .


broken and soon-to-be-broken dishes that will eventually be turned into jewelry. Unfortunately (and in the end, fortunately) my hubby knocked this plate (above) and the plate (picture right) with black leaves off the wall. To his credit, not at the same time. I really thought there should be something I could do with this beautiful, old, broken china. I’d been creating the other jewelry pieces (bleeding hearts) from vintage magazines. Why not try it with china? Voila! More fun projects. . .

. . .to tuck away for another time–sigh.


Talk about procrastinated projects. . .

The glass in this office door was taken out during a high-speed pursuit: Seth (7) was pursuing Tessa (12). Finding herself cornered, she pulled the door shut behind her and Seth proceeded to put his hand through the glass.

No injuries–except the door.

Blame was tossed back and forth like a hot potato until, I’m sure, I put them both to work.

Since Tessa is almost twenty, that puts this glass-replacement project going on eight years. No rush, I guess.


Tomatoes to can. . .


An overgrown flowerbed I emptied (last spring!) that needs to be tilled and seeded. . .


The rotting playhouse whose demolition began this spring (can you tell we had high-hopes this spring?). At some point, Seth claimed it for a summer of Airsoft wars, but, it’s time. . .

That is the luxury I have now, and I do mean luxury–time.

If there’s one thing I learned in my nineteen years of homeschooling–and I truly hope I learned more than one thing–is that there will always be “another thing.” My list of must-dos and want-tos will never be completed. No matter how much TIME I have the list is always longer. So I’ll take my time plucking things off the list and enjoying the satisfaction of finally completing them. But I’ve waited this long–homeschooling breeds patience–so I’m in no hurry.

Because now I know the truth–my best time spent has been these past nineteen years.


“Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.”   ~Dr. Seuss

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