Friday, July 29, 2011

Newlyweds Inspire Memories

As I sat on the patio this morning cleaning onions my mind drifted to the days when we were still young.  It was at the time of our first anniversary.  We had moved into a trailer on the farm and had a garden for the first time.  I was enthused about learning to can, and I had always loved my mother's home-canned tomato soup.  Mom gave me the recipe and I gathered up the goods to produce it.  The cans all processed well, and the glowing red contents were beckoning us to sample them.  I popped open a test jar for Sunday dinner.  The flavor knocked us back in our chairs!  It was full-bodied but hot, hot, hot.  Mom's was never like that.  I scooped up a bowl and dashed to get her opinion.  One taste and she had the diagnosis - too much onion.  Really it tasted like concentrated onion juice with a hint of tomato.

"But, Mom," I insisted, "I followed your recipe exactly."

"How much onion did you put in?" she asked.

"I put in 12 like the recipe said," I confidently replied.

"How big were they?" she chuckled.

I held up my hand to indicate softball size.  That melted her into a full-fledged guffaw.

"The onions were supposed to be no bigger than a shooter marble."

We ate every bit of that soup confident that it was a once in a lifetime experience.   That memory fled back to me today as I sat and cleaned onions.  The men had dug all the onions the first of the week.  It has been such a wet summer so far here that about 1/3 of them came out rotten to some degree.  I sat and cleaned the rotten ones.  An onion that started out the size of a tennis ball would end up the size of a shooter marble.  Those were the size I should have used 35 years ago.  Finally, I understand.  I had Laura can a batch, and she did it properly.  Human progress.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Wedding Was Beautiful

Friday, July 22 was wedding day for John Cook as he took Erin Hay to be his wife. The wedding was simple and beautiful, making it simply beautiful.  John and Erin agreed on the wedding text in advance. I just have to share it with you as it was such a great text for newlyweds and for oldie-weds too.

2 Peter 1: 5-8
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge. and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affections with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  (ESV)

I thought the wedding would be a breeze for me.  After all the mother-of-the-groom is a very minor character.     My greatest responsibility was in planning the rehearsal dinner.  We made it a no-brainer by ordering a sampling of pizza from three different pizza restaurants in Paris, Kentucky. No, the worst thirty seconds for me where spent right before I was escorted to my seat by Dallas.  I took a moment to give John a hug and to wish him well.  That was when the realization hit me - he is no longer my little boy, but rather he is Erin's man. How embarrassing to have tears streaming down my face as Dallas seated me.  But that was the end of the "water works" as I watched our family receive a tremendous blessing in adding Erin to our clan.  Realizations and additions, simply beautiful.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Quickie Update as We Run to the Wedding

Friday, July 22, John will be marrying Erin Hay in Paris, Kentucky.  Here it is Wednesday and we are dashing about to get packed and leave the house in order as we head to the rehearsal tomorrow.

With the business, we have received about 5 shipments of materials from three sources.  Richard is starting to move beyond the sample garments to some serious construction.  As he completes a new alb we are listing the original sample in his shop on Etsy, an online shopping mall.  We have one listed so far but hope to have more the week after the wedding.  We hope this will give us a little feel for the market, but at the least it helps us jointly work though the process of online sales.

I, Renee, have been selling on eBay for about 2 years so I have a little idea about working with writing a listing, shipping costs and managing Paypal. Richard had not given my eBaying much attention since I did it while he was away from home at work.  Now the slower pace of Etsy is proving a good teaching medium for his current learning style.  Here is his link if you want to take a look at his Etsy profile.  His shop items are on the right-hand side of the profile page, and you can click it for a closer look:

Meanwhile, back at the wedding, all the siblings are going to make it for John.  I have to confess to being a little excited about getting all our offspring together.  I hope we remember to get a picture.  In times past we just get so wrapped up in visiting that we forget the camera.  I'll let you know later how it comes out.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Paper Trained for Business

I, Renee, am on the edge of my seat.  Friday afternoon this document arrived in the mail.

This paper is our tax license for doing business in Missouri.  Companies across the county use this document to validate that we are a serious business worthy of receiving wholesale prices.

I hustled to Staples Friday and faxed it off to three wholesale sources.  Sadly, it was 6 pm by the time I got them off.  Since it was after business hours AND a holiday weekend, I am waiting for Wednesday to call the wholesalers to verify that we are in.  Meanwhile,  Richard and I are sorting through the websites to have our dream/shopping  list  ready to plunge right in. 

So I am on the edge of my seat to go ordering. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Call Out Our Pluck

2 AM Saturday
"So," Renee asked, "did you ever dream we would be doing this?"
"If I'd have known," Laura groaned, "I'd have gone to bed earlier."

Laura and I were standing elbow to elbow pulling pinfeathers from two little roosters we had just harvested.  You see, a raccoon inspired us to butcher these little beauties.  At about 1:30 a.m. we were all awakened by a ruckus in the yard where the chickens are penned.  Horrendous scream after horrendous blood-curdling scream exploded from the pen of the little cockerels.  The screams only briefly blotted out the flop and drumming of dozens of wings as they were fighting off the intruder.

Peter, Richard and I grabbed flashlights and ran out to find a raccoon scrambling about in the pen.  In the beams of our lights he was groping to find his exit point while we were circling the pen to find his entry point.  The areas we had feared vulnerable were still soundly fortified.  The pen still looked impenetrable but the presence of the coon was chilling testimony to our error.   We three circled and circled the pen, as the raccoon ran to the concealed roofed area of the chickens' roosts.  The poor little terrified and battle-weary cockerels cowered in the farthest corner from the raccoon.  I ran to enlist John and Emory, Peter ran to get the air rifle, and Richard continued searching the pen for the breach.

While circling the pen, Richard tried to keep an eye on the vermin, but with only one flashlight beam to illuminate the area the raccoon was able to slip out. Since Richard was near the cowering cockerels when he noted the raccoon's absence he deduced the breach in cage integrity was on the opposite side in the roofed chicken roost area.  Relaxed that the critter was gone, Peter and Richard opened the gate to the roost area.  Aha, the hole the raccoon had created - it had pushed the fencing away from where the roofing extended down.  Some clips and nails had given way letting a slit open in the construction. Emory held a flashlight while Peter wove taunt wire into the fencing to repair the slit.

As they worked Richard tallied the damage. The count yielded five casualties - one dead and four wounded. Two of the wounded needed recovery time and further assessment later at a more civil hour.  The other two were in critical condition needing immediate harvest.

In the time it took to boil water, Richard sorted out how to butcher the chickens.  He had to reach back in his vintage memories to a time when he was a young boy at his maternal grandmother's side.  For me, I discovered I had no memory of how to process a chicken.  By the time I was old enough to learn chicken butchering my grandparents were all dead, and my parents had discovered a butchery that would process home-grown chickens.  So much for being a farm girl!

Richard slaughtered, dipped in hot water and plucked the birds.  He brought the carcasses in for Laura and me to finish cleaning.  Since he plucked them by the light of a single yellow bug light on the porch many feathers were left behind.  Laura and I had our work laid out for us.  We mustered our pluck (courage) and plunged in.  A half hour later we came up for air. Together we survived our learning and grew in female bonding over the sacrificed cockerels. By 4 a.m. we all went to bed.

We relied on memories to build memories beyond our dreams.