Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Simple Pleasures: A Green Cornfield







We have "corn-front" property.
For this season.


We are not the farmers, but we sure do enjoy this crop...this might be the fourth time in twenty years that we're going to be completely surrounded by corn.

Corn.

Corn.

Corn.

Corn.

Corn to the south.
Corn to the north.
Corn to the east.
Corn to the west.

It's beautiful!

And we love it.

The contrast of the rich green against the blue sky...is the best.






Ain't nothin' like corn all 'rowed up'!  

This corn is a little behind in height because it got planted so late in the season.  (Lots and lots of rain.)














The cornfields are like my ocean.  I can watch as it changes, from a new green, to a mature green.  I can see the sunset fall on the horizon of the corn, lighting up the tops of the waving crop in its glow.


The corn changes like the ocean.


First...


It's new young green vibrance.


When it tosses and the straw-colored tips appear.


When it grows ears, and matures.


When it dries out and is ready to go to the grain bin, then is when it is a beautiful backdrop to our life, with its pungent and beautiful smell that I associate with the smell of fall and of harvest.


What surrounds you this year?



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Shadow Shots: In the Summertime...



Since Jamie and Levi have been home, her daddy and I have been sleeping upstairs and we let her have the Master with the bathroom.  


She is six months along now, and it's too much for her to be trudging up and down those steep farmhouse steps several times each night.







So, I've been waking up in a different bedroom, our old room upstairs under the old silver maple tree, and the largest window in the room faces east.   


It's nice to have the sun awaken you, and lay in the bed and watch from the bed, the shadows from the waving maple branches move on the ceiling and walls...the movement and the sound of the rustling branches, well, it's  just mesmerizing.








The summer sun is higher in the sky at 7:30 on a summer morning than it is on a winter morning, so I shot some shadows for you this morning, quickly, before they went away.  


Shadows are something that is a normally only reserved as a subject for my restless winter camera trigger finger, and is something new for summer light....I kind of like it.



When I went downstairs to make coffee, I saw even more shadows, and though they're a little more mellow they're still pretty.

(I kind of enjoy coming downstairs to make coffee.)



(Are you a picture tucker?  I have noticed something about myself recently, I tuck small pictures everywhere!)






I hope you have a pleasant summer morning as well, with a nice cuppa somethin' and some beautiful light bouncing around your eastern windows to savor and enjoy, too.

***

And, I've been meaning to ask, what do you call your parents?  A bunch of us "kids" were together on Sunday and it occurred to me that all adults might not call their mothers "mama" like my family.  We all range in ages from mid-thirties to almost sixty.

My kids call me mom or ma....mama was when they were little and somehow they transitioned it to MOM themselves at some point.

One of my friends calls her mother "mum" which sounds English, but they're not!  My mom called her mother "mum" because her mother was from an English family, first generation.

But when I grew up it was Mama, Daddy was daddy, and we never transitioned calling them anything else.  But, when I speak to any others except my siblings of them, it's "my mom" or "my dad"....weird, huh?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Moore! Of Mooresville, Alabama



Mooresville, Alabama, post office.
Circa 1840









These are the original mailboxes, and are still in use today and some have been used by the same families for several generations.










The town post office, which I'd shown earlier this spring, but I got inside this time, we were in town during business hours!  

I can tell you this:  it's tiny (and adorable), the inside of the post office is so tiny, you can hardly take pictures in there!

The postmistress was a friendly and informative gal, who really appreciates her job in the oldest functioning post office around.  We bought some postcards of old line drawings of the post office and other historical buildings in the town.

After visiting and signing the guest registry, we strolled through the town's streets we'd missed walking earlier this year.

Won't you come along for a gander at some more of the beautiful old homes?








I appreciate that the folks that live in this tiny town care enough to keep maintaining the buildings and keeping them so beautiful for us to look at.

This is "Stagecoach Inn and Tavern", dating back before 1825.  This building was a necessity when Mooresville was linked to a road from Huntsville.

Notice the trim on this front porch at the top just under the eaves.  It's gorgeous!  The trim is called "sawtooth".  







And there's an old hitching post out front...


























What you notice most about this and other old neighborhoods:  no cookie cutter houses!

In a hundred years, will anyone be wandering the streets of modern developments where each house is uniform in size, and boring and all the same, and be exclaiming about their beauty?

I doubt it!










This town, and especially this church were seen in the 1995 movie "Tom and Huck"...









Thanks for walking along today, I hope you enjoyed yet another visit to this quaint, historic little town in the state of Alabama.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Happy Things: A Sweet Gift...


My sister Mary, of Pine Hollow Lodge, sent me a package a couple weeks back, and in it was the sweetest little gift she stitched up and I just had to show my bloggy friends.





It's a little cloth bag she made for my mixer accessories, to keep them safe and keep them together when they're in the kitchen drawer.  

It's sewn out of the sweetest kitchen border print fabric--so perfect for the job--isn't it?  Have you ever seen anything so adorable?






This sweet thang is so cute, I don't want to hide it in a drawer!  


Thanks so much, Mary!
XOXO
Joni



And this was in the envelope, too, how cute is that?!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Beef Brisket: My Way





Is THIS making your mouth water?  Brisket is delicious, and I'm not talking corned beef, I'm talking a savory marinated brisket that's better than steak!

I first had this in a restaurant about ten years ago, and I fell in love, and hoped someday, to be able to make it just as well as I'd tasted that day.

This recipe has seen me reach that goal made so long ago.




This would be wonderful served with slaw, baked sweet potato, or garlic mashed potatoes, with corn muffins.


I had tried the recipe posted a few years back by Pioneer Woman--it's the one in her cookbook, and it's good, but it's way more than I could take in the salt department--and I modified her recipe to make it our own, and to serve our tastes and my husband and sons rave about this whenever we enjoy it for a special holiday or birthday.


I serve it with several kinds of bbq sauce:  including a mayo-based sauce that has a heavy vinegar influence.  YUM!

If necessary, ask the butcher in your local grocery store to get you one that is ten pounds, which is what this recipe is configured for.  If you have to, take a five pounder and halve the recipe.  

I truly hope you have success with it, remember the longer it mariates, the better, but usually marinate no more that the maximum time called for the in the recipe.










1-10 lb. beef brisket


2 cans Campbell's beef consomme'


1 c. Teriyaki sauce


1/2 c. lemon juice


five cloves garlic or the equivalent of jarred minced garlic


2 T. hickory smoke flavor


Mix together in foil pan, or if you have an enamelware roaster in the right size, I actually prefer that as it adds a better finish to the meat. Add meat to the liquid fat side up, ladle liquid over brisket and marinate from 25-48 hours.  When ready, bake at 300 degrees for at least 7 hours, or about 40 minutes per pound, until FORK TENDER in all areas.


When you remove from oven allow to sit for a little bit, and then, slice straight across the top of the brisket, just under the fat that was on top, to remove all that, don't worry about taking a bit of the meat with it, this is necessary.  


Once the fat has been removed from the top of the brisket, using a sharp knife, slice meat against the grain and serve with au jus.


Please let me know how you like it if you try it!





To store to serve leftover or to freeze, leave meat in au jus, does just fine to freeze and re-serve.


Oh, and it's Flag Day, and I hope yours is a'flyin'!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Time With My Papa...







Papas are good for the simple kind of fun...



  

Like helping me splash in puddles after a summer rain...









And for making manly artwork on the driveway...






and for giving me for rides in my first little car he and Nana got me for my first birthday after he put it together...


















Papa just plain LOVES me.













Papas are strong and no matter how tired they are after work...






They like helping you walk through the soft, still damp grass as the sun sets.




And he even let me play in the dirt!!






And for showing you the beautiful and good things that grow up from the ground...




And toting you back to the house, because it's almost supper time, and you just can't make it to the back door on your own.

Papas are just good like that.
Love,
Levi

Monday, June 20, 2011

A MishMash of Bloggy Hash!



We need to talk, got a minute?  
Got a cuppa somethin?  Okay, good.  Nothin' heavy, just need to catch up with you.


Where have I been?  To Alabama...to see my grandson, my first, celebrate his first birthday!  He didn't know what was up but he had fun anyway, and NO MELTDOWN!  


I was so proud of him, he was so good that day...what with having a houseful of people and all, and they sang to him and cheered and clapped for him and watched him make a mess of perfectly good cake!  


I love it when one-year-olds look at you like you've lost your mind, because they're right.  First birthday parties make absolutely NO sense!  But what fun it was, I will have proof I was there with pictures. . . soon.


And we stayed a week and played and then...


Mommy and Levi came home with US to spend some time!  I'm plum worn out but having a blast.  You know what I mean, right?  Being a Nana is so much fun and so is sitting on the floor and playing--that is until it's time to get up!   I don't think I've plucked my eyebrows in a couple weeks--what with getting ready to go and being gone, now I'm home and I'm still too busy to look at myself in the mirror!  Ha!


It was hard for Jamie to pack Levi up and leave home, but, a girl needs time at home with family.  Home calls, in fact right now as I speak, Levi is asleep, and I am blogging and Jamie is in the family room watching old westerns with her daddy and they're having a nice visit, and their muted conversation is the background music as I write.  I love it, daddy and daughter having their time together yapping.  






Where have YOU been?


I heard from a pretty reliable source that comments have been extremely aggravating on Blogger lately.  Is that the case?  Have you tried to comment and had a problem?   Or, is it just because summer is so busy and you don't have time to comment!  


Am I all alone here, talking to myself in blogland?  


I hope I haven't lost my followers, because it's taken me four years to work it up to 479 of you friends and readers, and I don't want to lose all of you!  Stick with me until Blogger gets this worked out, okay?








Is the year REALLY half over?!?!??!?!? 

So...the photos in the post are random, but I seem to have selected some from the long, trying winter we had --and now in the throes of summer it seems somehow so, so, so, so far away.  


I had to check to make sure these really WERE taken in 2011.  They were, and somehow, my head suddenly feels all fuzzy and whirly and woozy because this year is flying by so fast, that my head is just swimming.  (I don't swim, but my head does sometimes.  I know, not swimming is yet another weird thing about me.)





I am Joni, and I have a Blog Problem.


Yes, I am ashamed, so ashamed.  I got addicted to starting blogs.  I mean it was so EASY!  I hang my head in shame.


Intervention has come.


In the form of....life.  Busy.  Life.

It seems to me that I started too many blogs in my blog life and my enthusiasm was overactive compared to the realities of my life.  So, all that to say a few of my blogs will be permanently closed and the one where I'm trying to post all the postcards and letters on "DEAR DORELY" will be a late fall and winter project.  


I apologize for what seems to have been a sad case of severe and morbidly obese blog ambitions.  I have to get healthier and cut some of this belly fat out, if not for anything else, just because I need to clear the clutter of my blog life.  


I have already begun to incorporate the RESTLESS PATRIOT into this blog and its own category.  I just could NOT keep up.





Dearest Dorely is something I really, really want to do, but time constraints just don't allow much posting on that blog right now, as sorting, photographing, and then translating is necessary.  I will keep that one open, as well as my recipe blog and my blog of blogs that I like to read.


Some of the letters to Dorely are in a foreign language, and some of the English is written so that it takes much time to sit and type out the text of the correspondence:  a perfect project for winter, it started out with a bang, and I feel so guilty for neglecting it now. To any of you that have followed, thank you--and please stick with me.  


What I plan to do is first to publish the letters on my main blog here, and then I will post all those over on the blog dedicated to Dearest Dorely.  This approach has worked well with my recipe blog, also.  Just a category all its own, where all the recipes are kept.  





I AM GETTING OLD.


Did you know that in less than a month I will begin the fifth decade of my life?  Yes.  It's true.  And I am feeling older at fifty like I didn't at forty.   But I ain't gonna let this birthday get to me, because the alternative is NOT what I want.  No.  I'm having too much fun!


Also, I have determined to get at least one book started....to start to work it out of myself in the fiftieth year.   Does that sound weird?  Well, I've learned to look at book-writing like labor.  It's really hard and it hurts.

But unlike labor, a definite presentation of something happens ONLY if I do the HARD WORK....there is no Cesarean section that they can do to get this book out of me!!



I have a couple books in me.  I think I do anyway.



Home seems to be a hard place for serious writing.  If any of you have advice, I'd love to hear it.  Also, if you have a book idea for me, tell me!  I'll see if it matches the ideas I have for myself.






Are you still with me?  
Now I know it's no fun to have a friend who does ALL the talking, sooooo.....






Please, won't you do a little yapping yourself, and jabber on a little bit in the comments and let me see if that feature is working these days?  Oh, how I've missed you!




And I'd really like to know what you've been up to...and what you think about what all I've been up to,  and....






Exactly how you feel about looking at snow pictures in the beautiful month of June?   Does it disturb you deeply?

Sincerely,
Your weird, nutty, blabbering friend,
JONI

PS:  Oh, and one more thing, for those of you mourning that you can't hear my music, just turn it on, girlfriends!  Hit the LARGE ROUND BUTTON (the one with the ARROW!) on the blue play list up top on the left hand side and you'll hear it.  

It's pretty easy to do and it doesn't disrupt the lives of the gals who read me at work and the music suddenly blares and gives away the fact that they're blog-hopping on the job~and then they're in all kinds of hot water....  ha~!

No, I'm just kidding, I don't have any readers that would do that!!

PPS:  I am going to admit this to you, just this once:  I feel very unsure of myself when posting recipes.  I don't know if I should continue it.  Please tell me what you think.  Peonies, I have no problem with, but pork bbq, I DO.  I am always afraid you won't like them and then be mad at me for wasting your time and money.