Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hurry Spring!

What is there to do on a rainy day in February? It's much too damp and dreary to ride around looking for subjects to shoot. It's still too early for flowers to be blooming in the yard. I did, however, find these snowdrops in the back yard. They're the earliest to bloom here and I'm afraid they might get covered with snow overnight. Freezing rain and snow flurries are in the forecast. I'll be so glad when Spring finally arrives.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Seed Sower

Millions of alfalfa, fescue, and lespedeza seeds have flowed through this device. It was made by the Cyclone Seeder Co., Inc. of Urbana, Indiana. My dad has been using it for over 50 years. Before that, it belonged to my Papaw Hargraves. It has been patched, undoubtedly by my mother, and repaired in several places. My dad would walk through the fields with the strap around his neck, turning the crank which broadcasts the seeds. Walking is something that doesn't come easily for him nowadays so he drives his truck through the field while spreading the seeds out the open door. However, not all the seeds end up on the ground. We had to take his truck to the carwash today to vacuum it. We bought another bag of seeds, too.

I posted the above paragraph yesterday, February 14. I got a call this morning that Daddy had fallen and broken his hip. He is currently in the hospital and will undergo surgery on Tuesday. Please keep him in your prayers.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I Took a Spill

Keith and I went out yesterday to take pictures since the weather was sunny and warm. We headed over to Miller Yard, an old railroad yard near Dungannon. We had to walk up the trail since there was a gate across the gravel road. We ducked under the gate and headed up to the tracks. Between the trail and the tracks was a berm of fine coal and gravel. I climbed the slope, reached the top, and put my foot on the apex. The fine, moist coal gave way and the gravel slid under my foot. Usually when I slip, I can stumble around and regain my balance. This time, however, my foot was going downhill and I had to way to stay erect. I fell "face fomest" (as the older generation would say) to the ground. It wasn't in slow motion either; it was a split second crash. First my knees, then my hands, and then my face landed in the side of the gravel railroad bed.

The pain was indescribable. I felt like I was going to pass out, but I never lost consciousness. By the time I raised my face off the ground, Keith was beside me. He helped me roll over to my back. My first thought was that I had knocked out my teeth. I ran my tongue across my teeth and found that none were missing or chipped. My next thought was that my camera had broken. I couldn't open my eyes because the sun was shining right in my face. I felt Keith dab my upper lip with something. I mumbled, "Is it bad?" "Not too bad," was his reply. I wasn't sure what this meant. He kept telling me to lie still. There was no problem there. I couldn't move my hands or legs.

I remained on the ground for a few minutes then Keith asked me if I could sit up. He helped me raise my head and torso to a semi-sitting position. He gave me the handkerchief he had been using to wipe my lip and told me he was going to take my camera to the car and be right back. I turned my head to see the camera on the ground, still intact. While he was gone to the car, I looked at the handkerchief and saw several spots of blood but I couldn't tell if it was my nose or lip that was bleeding. I looked at my hands and my left one was cut in two places. It was the hand that had my camera cupped in it so, when I fell, the back of my hand hit the gravel. I felt of my sunglasses, that had somehow managed to stay on my face, to see if they were broken or imbedded in my face but they were neither. I started feeling weak again so I laid my head back onto the ground. I tried to find a comfortable spot on the gravel but that wasn't possible. I had excruciating pain in my face.

When Keith came back, he helped me to my feet and lead me carefully down the embankment. I saw my footprint in the coal and the long slick spot made by my shoe as it had slid downward. I could feel Keith was shaking and I knew it had scared him. He later told me that, when I didn't move after falling, he thought I had broken my neck. He said there was nothing graceful about the scene and that I "fell ugly."

We made it back to the car but my shoes and the seat of my pants were covered with mud and coal. I keep a blanket in the car during winter so he threw it across the seat before I got in. Once settled, I looked in the mirror and saw the cut underneath my nose. The inside of my nose was swollen but the pain in my face was subsiding and a sort of numbness was setting in. Keith told me to keep my wits about me for a few more minutes so I could tell him how to get out of there because I had driven in and he wasn't sure which turns to take. I assured him I was alert and got him back on the main road.

My knees are skinned but didn't bleed. I have cuts and bruises on my elbow and wrist. My right upper arm is sore - I can't figure that one out. My nose is so sore that just touching it causes pain. I am really surprised it isn't broken. I slept restlessly last night. Keith had to work today and he made me promise not to get out to take pictures so I've been walking around in the yard until he gets home.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Mildred's Dishes

There were only a few unbroken pieces left when my mother-in-law passed away - three plates, a little bowl, a platter, and a couple of cups and saucers. I knew the story of how she purchased them, piece by piece, at the A&P back in the late 1950s. Now that she was gone, each dish became even more treasured.

While browsing through an antique store one day, the familiar pattern caught my eye. I wondered how many other housewives on a budget had purchased the same set of dishes years ago. I decided to do some research. I discovered the pattern had a name - Currier & Ives - and had been manufactured by the Royal China Company. The number of pieces that had been available seemed endless. In addition to the teacups, there were coffee mugs and cocoa cups. I learned the little bowl was called a berry bowl. I also found cereal bowls, soup bowls, vegetable bowls, sugar bowls, creamers, gravy boats - it was almost overwhelming. The prices were as varied as the dishes. The more common pieces were reasonable but items like the teapot and covered casserole were expensive.

The more I saw of the beautiful pattern - each depicting a different scene from a Currier & Ives painting - the more I felt compelled to try to finish the set she had started nearly fifty years earlier. I began buying a few pieces at a time. I purchased some at local antique stores. I won the more rare pieces on eBay auctions. Finally, after several years, I put my acquisitions, along with her original pieces, on display in her antique china cabinet. Even though I don't have every piece available, I think she would be proud of this collection.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I've Got Cabin Fever!

Along about this time of year, I start getting the urge to travel. Actually I have the urge to travel all the time, but during winter I get stir crazy. I'm counting down the days until I can hit the road. I've got one big trip planned for early summer (more details about that later) and then the rest will probably be long weekenders. Until then, I'll have to just put up with the cold, occasional snow, and being stuck at home. :-(