Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Joy of Art

Standard

Last weekend I took a short trip with a friend to Crystal Bridges Art Museum in Northwest Arkansas. It was a fantastic trip.

The exhibit was Georgia O’Keefe and her pieces truly were amazing. Lots of flowers.

Mixed among them were contemporary artists who found inspiration from Ms. O’Keefe’s work. They were different and varied, but they didn’t hold our attention or our fascination as this did….

Tucked at the end of the exhibit was a three sided nook, fairly large in size, covered with 360 small oil painted scenes of pieces of Americana. This was breathtaking and fascinating. It is called Light Atlas by Cynthia Daignault. It is absolutely astounding; the detail and perfection of each piece.

IMG_2298IMG_2303IMG_2308IMG_2306

 

I know you can see what I mean. Amazing isn’t it? I love it when art moves my soul. Even something as simplistic as isolated thumbnails of American life.

 

IMG_2300

After we rolled our tongues back into our mouths and started breathing normally again , we toured the Frank Lloyd Wright house the museum had acquired. This really is a work of art. We all know the name of America’s most famous architect. The man was a genius and many “modern” features we see in houses today were pioneered by FLW. He put floating shelves into this house. Radiant heat warmed all the floors. The living space opened up to the patio through large glass doors. (This was all in the 5o’s.) He was a minimalist to the highest order. I didn’t take any pictures of the inside. Lots of people in the way to get a true feel.

 

After a beautiful walk through the woods. Another encounter with deer, a rather common occurence with us, we finished the day at the Hive in Bentonville. I, apparently, was dressed appropriately for the restaurant’s themed icons. Fairly good color match.

IMG_2327

Thank you for spending a little part of your day in my little piece of heaven. I hope you experience yours today.

 

Jeannene

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome Back, Jeannene!

Standard

Hello again, sweet blog!

It has been a whopping three years since I last posted on this little piece of heaven. In that span of time so much has transpired. Where to begin?

My sweet grandson turns 5 this year!! Can you believe it? The time goes by far to quickly. In this time, Riley has started to school. He is becoming such an interesting little boy. He is still fascinated with all the superheros. He loves books. When he isn’t being read to, he likes to “read” himself. Mind you, though, if he hooks you into reading him a story, you aren’t off the hook for just one read through. He’ll do his darnedest to sucker you into another reading.

He keeps his mom and dad busy as they pursue their careers. Riley is still the center of their worlds.

(picture of riley)

In this massive span of time, Ben started his studies at University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. It has been a struggle for him as he embarks on the last semester of his undergraduate career. The last three years he has supported himself by working almost full time at Walmart. All this while being enrolled in a very demanding engineering program. He has managed to keep his head above water. Last summer he took a 7 month internship at a local paper mill and loved every exhausting minute of the experience. I am so proud of how much this young man has matured. He worked with some amazing gentlemen who imparted a great deal of wisdom, both intellectual as well as spiritual. He was given the opportunity to earn enough money to put him through his last year of school without having to work. He found his GPA rise with the extra time he could apply to his studies. I am so proud of you, kiddo.

He graduated this May and is adulting as we speak. Life is so much easier when you aren’t hampered by all those senior projects.

Kelly has spent the last year as an executive officer of her sorority, an exhausting and thankless duty that has taught her immeasurable details of managing people. She still works at the hospital as she puts herself through her junior year of college. Last summer she spent 5 weeks in Florence, Italy taking a foreign studies class through UCA. It was the experience of a lifetime. Truly. She learned how to navigate the Italien train system and learned how the rest of the world lives. Invaluable. She spent another week and a half Germany. Another experience she loved, as she meet relatives and discovered how Germans live and work.

Aaron is doing great. He has found a beautiful young lady to share special life moments with, who has brought a stability and normalcy to his sometime chaotic life. Thank you, Lea.

To conclude this post, I must report that my life, as well those of my children, was changed forever a couple years ago. My husband past away. It was unexpected. I sold the farm last summer and found a beautiful home in town. The decision was so hard to make and the move was brutal to expedite. I could not have done it without Benjamin. He was my sounding board and the muscle behind it all. I truly could not have accomplished any of it without him. Thank you sweet boy for taking care me through it all. I cried every day as I stuffed the accumilation of the past 13 years into boxes. Lots of boxes. On the other side  of it all, it was the best decision I made in years. I found strength inside of me I had forgotten existed.

My house is the perfect place place for me. It provides the ideal refuge from the world in the most optimal amount of space (twice the space of the house on the farm).

Yehovah is good.

 

 

 

Riley’s Birthday

Standard

March 20th was Riley’s 2nd birthday! This year we made the trip to Memphis to his birthday party.

Rileybd1

He can’t figure out who I am. The absent grandma.

The weather was beautiful, breezy but beautiful.

Rileybd2

We all came to celebrate, Grandma Sheila and Ben too!

Rileybd3

And of course… Kelly.

Rileybd6

Just an impromptu family picture.

Rileybd5

Rileybd4

Riley’s favorite super hero is Spiderman. He calls him “Parker” because Spiderman’s real name is Peter Parker. His mama and daddy had an all Spidey birthday party.

He’s licking the frosting off Spiderman.

Rileybd7

RIleybd8

He loved that spidey thing.

Rileybd9

Dad unpacked a lot of clothes. This got Riley’s attention because it looks like a light saber. It’s really a tube of bubbles!

Rileybd15

The little frog captured his attention too. It’s the simple things in life.

Rileybd16

The most fun of all is this Spiderman shirt!! Now he can be the hero!

Rileybd14

Rileybd13

The life-size Darth Vader stole the show, though. Totally cool. It struck Dad’s fancy, on the nose.

Rileybd17

Then Kelly pulled out the bubbles had all the kids chasing those shiny, iridescent globes floating through the air. You know how toddlers are. Shiny… floaty… They chased bubbles with such unfailing energy. I had a blast watching it all.

Rileybd19

Rileybd18

It seems Kelly didn’t get enough of creek wading when she was little. So in she went. She never ceases to surprise me. I thought she was past this stage. (rolls eyes)

Rileybd12

Nice picturesque little stream inside the city.

Rileybd10

We had a blast topped off with cake and ice cream. It was a great visit with our son and daughter-in law after the birthday boy conked out. Great way to end a great day.

Hope you all enjoy your families in every way.

Thanks for sharing in a little slice of my heaven.

Love,
Jeannene

Welcome Our New Baby!

Standard

It has finally arrived! We have a new colt. After four days of intense watching for the tell-tale signs of labor she finally had the little rascal.

Her projected due date was Apr 18. By that day her udder sac was full and her teets started waxing over. That is a thin film of milk that leaks out and forms a dry layer resembling wax. The wax thickens and eventually gives way to dripping the closer we get to foaling. Well, after four nights of checking her every couple of hours, we were wiped. I should state that my husband did most of the checking and was thus more exhausted than me.

We put her up in the birthing stall every night and took her out during the day. No change at all. Just an extremely large mare standing quietly in place for a few days. That last day, by the end of the day, the sun sinking into the west, the mare started pacing. Not a normal behavior for this mare over the past few days. Then she would stand perfectly still and stare at the house. Then she’d pace again. Then stop and stare again.

After checking her all day and seeing no further progress, I was doubtful she’d have the little guy that night. She walked to the gate leading to the stall, looked at us, looked at the stall. My husband knew she needed to be put up. Seconds after she entered that stall she started the delivery. It took all of fifteen minutes!

Here is the first sight of the little fellow. His legs aren’t out of mama yet. He was trying to stand even!! This horse is a strong one.

Here he is when we went back out after twenty minutes. By this time the sun has set and that is the spot light shining on him.

Then the next morning we can make out his coloring with clarity. This is our second dark-haired foal after grays, and chestnuts.

Awww and very foal-like.

They had their first foray into the world last night. Mama took her time getting baby out of the safety of the stall to the hard pack of the turnout pen.

As you can see, he is all spindly legs.

He stays close to mama as she eats. She doesn’t let him out of her sight.

After only fifteen minutes, this little fellow starts falling asleep! His head is bowing and his eyes are really shut.

We are so happy our little horse is well and beautiful. Thank you for sharing in our joy. I’ll keep you all posted

That is today’s nugget from this piece of heaven.

Love,
Jeannene

A Day at the Races

Standard

We took a well deserved trip to the races a couple of weeks ago. It must be said, my hubby and I bred thoroughbreds and have raced a couple of horses. Going to the races for us puts us on the pulse of the industry.

I just love to see the horses run.

This time we took Catboy’s girl friend with us. She’d never been to the track. It was so much fun watch her enthusiasm at the new sights.

We started our visit to Hot Springs in our favorite place, The Arlington. Arriving still early in the day, we enjoyed a Starbuck’s and checked out the racing form.

Remarkably, we arrived at the track long before the throngs of people did. This is the inside of the building. Ordinarily it is wall to wall bodies in this space. I felt like a free bird in here!

We ate at the restaurant inside, ordering their famous corned beef sandwiches. Those babies were fantastic.

This is MY corner outside. It is the perfect spot to capture every horse as it goes by and watch all the pony horses and their riders. The race itself is only a 2 minute thrill. It’s the interaction of the race officials and the people who work there everyday that holds my attention. I’m kinda goofy I guess, but I watch everything around me. All of it has a story.

My kids are always the center of attention, as you well know.

Isn’t CB’s girl friend lovely?

This is the trek from the backside where the stalls are, to the paddock inside. The trainers, in this case, the grooms, lead the horses to the paddock. At Oak Lawn, there is an indoor paddock. It is so crowded in there, I don’t find all the jostling a pleasurable experience at all. I love the outdoors.We had some awesome weather this day.

These tractors condition the track for the race.

After the actual race contestants emerge, the pony riders come out. These men and women take each race horse around the track to warm up before the race starts. I know we are here for the thoroughbreds, but I love these hard-working, devoted equines. The pony horses and their riders are on the track for the entire day. They endure those high-strung, sassy race horses that bob and nip before they load in the gate. It always makes me wonder who the real athletes are.

I really like the look of this horse. That all white face. Not your usual look for any horse.

This is MY corner. A wonderful view of the horses leaving the paddock. Here we have a bird’s-eye view of each horse as it goes by. From here I make my judgment of the field and give our kids (now 18 yo) money for the bet. It’s very nice having kids doing the goferring for us. There is a crowd of people at those betting windows.

This is the field for the first race being ponied by the pony horses on their way to the gate. The lead horse is one of the race stewards. Stewards watch the race and participants for any illegal actions. They are the eyes of the race laws.

First race just out of the gate.

On the back stretch.

And here they are at the eighth pole. This is where the race really takes place.

They are in the final stretch.

Just a final word… the horse winning this race was our pick for the win! Our kids had a blast cashing in the ticket. And CB’s girl friend had a grand time in it all. Cashing those winnings, small as they were, gave her a charge.

This is the first installment of the races. I took so many pictures I refuse to allow them to wallow on my computer. They will be sent out into cyber space for the sheer joy of it all. Horses are always well worth it.

Until the next chapter,

Love,
Jeannene

Tomatoes… need I say more?

Standard

I have to do a tomato update. Last week I picked all the tomatoes left on our plants. The weather man predicted a plunge in the morning temps, inciting my last surge to denude the plants. Of course, this had been anticipated. Tomatoes can’t stay on the vine much farther into the fall. But still, November 29 is an outstandingly long time to keep fruit on the plants… you have to admit.

So… last Tuesday, before my work nap, I spent an unexpected two and a half hours picking tomatoes off all of six, mind you only six, plants. I kid you not when I say I pulled at least sixty pounds of tomatoes off those darned things. And my muscles felt every one of them the next day.

At first I filled a five gallon bucket.

After trudging that thing back to the house, I decided empty feed bags would work well. I filled the bottom of one of those.

And another…

After almost breaking my back to drag those two back to the house, I smartened up and pulled out my garden wagon and filled the remaining two bags.

These held the largest tomatoes.

Thank goodness for that cart. After bending to the task for two hours, my strength waned. I barely pulled that heavy cart back to the house. But I had a mother load of tomatoes.

Some of those ripened and I canned them this weekend.

Don’t pay any attention to the blemishes… please. They are cut off before I cook them.

These few tomatoes filled six quarts!! They don’t look like that many, but boy do they multiply.

One last look at the bounty. Now picture all those tomatoes in those bags as red and juicy. I estimate a couple dozen quarts before the winter is through. Not too bad for a fruitless summer.

That is my little piece of heaven today. Thank you for stopping by. I’d love to hear what came out of your garden this year.

Love,
Jeannene

It’s Time for Comfort Food

Standard

Today, in an effort to avoid doing some real writerly stuff, I opted to do a long over due food blog. Any blog is long overdue lately as it is. Between work and life, I find myself falling miserably short of my goal of blogging at least once a week. Had I taken my camera in tow this weekend I would have been able to share a charming piece of Americana, but sadly those moments were lost to posterity and embedded only in my memories.

Anyway… now on to the FOOD.

I’m making Chicken Pot Pie. Who doesn’t love this dish? My family loves it.

I start this by boiling chicken in a pot. This gives me broth as well as cooked meat for the dish. I used a couple of leg/thigh pieces for today’s meal.

Start my chopping 4 celery stalks, 1 medium onion and 3 large carrots.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in the bottom of dutch oven on medium heat and add the veggies to them. Cook until they are translucent.

To this add a small bag of frozen peas and cook for 4 or 5 minutes.

To this add 3 cups of diced chicken meat. This is dark meat, but you can use whatever you want.

Stir together and sprinkle 1 cup of flour over the mixture.

Pour over that 4 cups of chicken broth and cook at medium heat. The flour will thicken as the mixture heats. Add the 2 bullion cubes to the mixture.

Sprinkle in 1 tsp thyme and 1 tsp salt and pepper to taste.

Then pour in a cup of heavy cream. I know it’s fattening, but it really adds to the flavor. Substitute at will if you must, though.

Let this heat for about 15 mins. It’ll thicken nicely.

At this point I pull out a pie crust from the fridge, or as I did today, made crust from scratch. Scratch crust rates by the way. There is no comparison to the store-bought crust.

Take that rich brew and pour it into a large dish. This is a 15×11 pan. I reserve the largest dish for the best food.

Lay a thick covering of pie crust over the mixture.

As you can see, the crust isn’t perfect but it doesn’t have to be when you taste it.

Pop that puppy in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 mins. The crust will brown nicely and the inside should be bubbling.

Then, of course, enjoy.

Here is the recipe in toto:

3 cups diced cooked chicken
4 celery sticks
3 lg carrots
1 med onion
8oz package frozen peas
4 cups chicken broth
2 chicken bullion cubes
1 cup flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 pie crust

This is my little piece of heaven today. Thank you for letting me share it with you.

I’d love to hear what your comfort foods are. Drop by and leave a note.

Love,
Jeannene

Today

Happenings Around the Farm

Standard

Well we’ve had a quiet week since the kids headed back home. Quiet stills means the horses get feed every morning and evening and the chickens still get grain in the afternoon and fresh water. The goats continue to eat their grain and hay and all the cats and dogs still need attention. So life goes on.

This week our hummingbird made a return. It helped that I refreshed the sugar-water in the feeder. I have wanted to take some in-flight shots, but this is all I have at the moment.

We also have an unusual visitor. I haven’t seen this sort of crane before so he found his way into my camera.

Then…. there is Cooper. Cooper had a spa day yesterday. I’m not saying he was looking forward to it, but he got one any way. All you have to do is take a long look at that hair and you will understand perfectly why it is sooooo necessary.

Don’t you think that looks like one heck of a mop? He can’t see out of those little peepers!

If that shot doesn’t convince you, then have a gander at this one.

Come on now! That is hilarious. He looks like a hippy Shitsu. And forlorn. But he weathered the clipping admirably and came looking like this.

What a class act. Trim and proper and just take a look at those chocolate-brown eyes. That short cut makes him so incredibly soft. Who doesn’t want to grab him up and rub him to pieces?

Then, this is what a day at the spa will do for a little dog.

He couldn’t wait to get home before passing out in the truck. I just love little puppies. Except this fellow is almost full growed at this point.

So much for my little piece of heaven. Hope you had as much fun as I had.

Love,
Jeannene

Cuties at Home

Standard

Just jotting down a few quick thoughts. This week has been a sweeping whirlwind of summer activity. I am happy to get to this one and only blog (when my goal is to do two at least). I seem to have only enough time for this one.

Monday we bugged out of our house early to station our little selves outside the driver’s license testing center in the next town. The goal: let the youngest in our family take the written test. She passed it first go!! What do you say to that boys? She finished in record time compared to those fellows in our family.

We spent the day running errands after our early start. Then C-Man came home early and we went out for an afternoon drive and didn’t return until almost 5pm! Our trek took us into the Ozark hills where we found a couple of treasures along the way. We had great fun.

Tuesday it rained here. Yay!! We needed rain so desperately. No outside work day, but my kids scoured their rooms. I didn’t even have to twist an arm!

I really just wanted to post some pictures of a couple of our babies. This kitten loves to sleep on things. This is a month ago.

We found her on this sponge almost every day.

She obviously knows a comfy bed when she sees one. She is also very good at draping.

She still drapes. Today it happens to be her mama.

But mama doesn’t mind at all.

This was on our rainy day. I couldn’t get a really great shot unfortunately. It was raining cats and dogs when I took this. There are three goats inside this igloo. The baby is out of sight, tucked against the far right side.

I found it humorous how well they fit when they have to.

Annnnnd….. I couldn’t forget on last look at our favorite little guy.

Just had to share a couple glimpses into my little piece of heaven. We have so many wonderful things to keep us entertained.

Love,
Jeannene