Friday, October 30, 2009

This week's Food Friday - Hearty Pumpkin Stew:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jethro Tull vs. The Eagles

Did you know The Eagles wrote "Hotel California" in 1976. Ironically, they used to open for Jethro Tull in the early '70's and Jethro Tull has a song called "We Used To Know" (from the album STAND UP) which was writen in 1969. If you listen to "We Used to Know" you will see how much like "Hotel California" it sounds. I love Jethro Tull and I also love the Eagles - but it makes me wonder ....

Check it out for yourself!

It's not too late to buy a pumpkin for Halloween - check out these different varieties:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I'm a Great-Aunt

My niece, Ashley, just had her baby tonight - 6:14 pm. Desiree Carter weighs 7 pounds and 10 ounces and is 21 inches long. She has a head full of hair and a great set of lungs.

Because of the flu precautions at the hospital, we are not able to visit with me niece or my great niece, so I'll post pictures as soon as I can.

It's going to be so exciting - the first baby in our family for several years. The 2 youngest grandchildren are 16 and 17. We'll have a baby again for Christmas - it will be so fun. Next year, with the addition of my new grandbaby, we'll have 2 little ones for Christmas!


I have the most fantastic, wonderful news ...


My middle daughter, Marie, just told me last night and I am totally overjoyed, over-the-moon! I am so ready for grandchildren and I am looking forward to being a granny.

Of course, the baby isn't due until late June, but now I have all this time to plan. I need to get my knitting needles out and sharpened up - I'll be a knitting fool this winter!
What's growing around the Bluegrass? Amur Honeysuckle is aggressively invasive:

The Diary of Horace Wimp

This is for Christine - one of her favorite ELO songs. Thanks for all the help the past few days! I love you bunches! Mom ...

The Diary of Horace Wimp
Electric Light Orchestra - 1979
Written by Jeff Lynne

Monday - late again, today, he'd be in trouble though
He'd say he was sorry, he'd have to hurry out the bus.

Tuesday - Horace was so sad, he'd never had a girl that he
Could care for, and if he was late once more, he'd be out.


Don't be afraid, just knock on the door,
Well he just stood there mumblin' and fumblin'.
Then a voice from above said -
Horace wimp, this is your life,
Go out and find yourself a wife.
Make a stand and be a man,
And you will have a great life plan.

Wednesday - Horace met a girl, she was small and she
Was very pretty, he thought he was in love, he was afraid.

Thursday - asks her for a date, the cafe down the street
Tomorrow evening, his head was reeling,
When she said yes o.k.

Repeat chorus

Friday- Horace, this is it, he asks the girl if maybe they
Could marry, when she says gladly. Horace cries.

Sunday - everybodys at the church, when Horace
Rushes in and says now here come my wife,
For the rest of my life. and she did.

Repeat chorus

Monday, October 26, 2009

Note Taking

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about note taking:
Do you take notes while reading – either for your reviews or for yourself? How/where do you make these notes (on the page, post-its, scrap paper, notebooks etc)?

I am a notorious note taker when it comes to reading books, but it's because I want to remember so many things. Although I always read for pleasure, almost all the books I read end up being reviewed. I have a separate notebook I keep all the notes from books I'm reviewing. I also am a huge fan of "sticky notes" so my books are usually crammed full of them. This helps me when I'm looking for a specific passage I want to use in a review.

When I started my book review blog over 2 years ago, it was mainly going to be a way for me to keep track of the 100s of books I read every year. However, about 6 months into blogging, the book reviews began to take on a life of their own and before long, I was receiving review books in the mail. You don't know what a rush it is for a book whore like me to come home from work and find a box of books on my doorstep!

For many, many months I accepted any and all offers to read and review books, but I quickly learned this was not going to work for me. I was getting such a wide variety of books I was overwhelmed. Although I occasionally enjoy a self-help book on certain topics, many of the books I received were just that. I was also receiving many self-published books, which there is nothing wrong with, but many of these books could do with a good editor.

I finally realized I had bitten off more than I could chew - or read - so I quit requesting every new book that came down the pipeway. Now I only review books I think I will truly be interested in and my life is much happier and not as hectic.

I am currently still on a young adult book kick - mainly series books - so I was thrilled to receive a huge shipment of books last week from Candlewick Press. I did not know about this publishing house until I read Silas House's new book, ELI THE GOOD. Out of courtesy, I always send the publisher a copy of any book reviews I do, but when I check out their website, I was amazed at the collection of books I was interested in. Now I'm like a kid on Christmas morning wading through book about glorious book, so stayed tuned for many upcoming reviews.

I also have a keen interest in Kentucky authors and I try to read all I can get my hands on. The Kentucky Book Fair is coming up November 7th and I have already started making my list of which authors I want to meet and which books I want to buy. It should be very exciting.
Many Halloween traditions started in the garden:

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wood and Pixels

If you haven't checked out my friend, Dan Felstead's, photography blog - Wood and Pixels Narratives - you really should take the time. Dan takes some of the most unusual and beautiful photographs. I like him so much because he always takes pictures of the things I enjoy looking at. Leave him a comment and tell him what you think - and check out his archive of older photos. He has never failed to inspire my muse to writing projects!

While fall pears are in season, try out this yummy Country Pear Cobbler:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kentucky pears are ripening all over the Bluegrass:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Oh, I'm so excited I may wet myself!! I was just contacted by KENTUCKY MONTHLY magazine to do a freelance article for the December/January issue! I'm on a tight deadline - 2 weeks - but I am so excited. I'll be doing an article on homemade gifts to have for unexpected gift giving. I'm going to to my Fireside Coffee, Turkey Noodle Soup in a jar, Cookies in a jar, Sugar Body Scrub and Bath Salts. I just wanted to spread the joy around!
Fall care of ornamental grasses:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dear World

I wanted to share this with you - it is written by my 17 year old daughter. Several months ago, an 20 month old baby from Kentucky swallowed chemicals from a meth lab and eventually died a horrible death. This is my daughter's interpretation - from the point of view of the meth lab. Chilling ...

Dear World
by Christine Rightmyer

I killed a little boy last night. In the emergency room, he kicked, and screamed, and then he just...died. Like he didn't even think about it - it was not a big deal to him. He swallowed my liquid fire from a tea cup sitting on the stove, surrounded by disinfectants and old Bic lighters. It wasn't my fault he was twenty months old. He didn't know any better and neither did I.

I can only imagine what it felt like for him, the flames traveling down his esophagus, settling in his stomach. Caress the ribcage, tap the sternum. I wonder if his heart began to beat a little bit faster before the fire hit his small intestine. The temperature began to rise, a boil starting to turn. I'll bet he started to choke and cry, spit bubbling out of his tiny pink mouth. He starts to quake, flailing against cold linoleum. Grandfather notices, before it dawns on him what exactly he has done. He stares at the tea cup face down on the floor, then at his grandson, who is no longer shaking.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Rabbit Whistle

(Photo by Dan Felstead of Wood and Pixel Narratives)

Rabbit Whistle

She brushed the tears from her eyes and pretended to be busy sweeping the floor, trying hard to concentrate on the dust bunnies always hiding under the coffee counter. She knew she should be used to the gossip by now, but it still stabbed at her heart when others talked in hush tones about her “tragedy.”

April Sue Higgins was from a small town on the outskirts of Lexington, Kentucky. Rabbit Whistle was just a dirt spot in the road with only one stoplight and if you blinked going through downtown, you would miss the entire place. April had grown up in Rabbit Whistle and had lived 17 of her 18 years in a junk heap of a house near the L & N Railroad crossing and the Sack and Go Feed Store.

April’s father had died when she was a baby, so her only memories of him were a few black and white photos her mom kept in an old Whitman’s Sampler candy box. Candy Higgins had been a pretty young thing in her youth, but hard years spent working the tobacco fields and becoming a widow before the age of 20 had left her with the haunted looks of someone twice her age.

When April was barely three years old, her mother took up with Roy Stevens and within two months he had moved into the tiny house with Candy. At one time April thought there had to be some good in Roy Stevens, after all, her mother had taught her there was good in everyone. But years of unspeakable abuse at the hands of a cruel monster leave no room for offering the benefit of a doubt.

Finally, after graduating high school, April escaped the confines of Rabbit Whistle and moved to Lexington to attend college. She hated leaving her mother behind, but whatever compassion April had for her mother had finally evaporated when Candy had chosen Roy over April.

Thinking she was finally saved from the gossip of her hometown, April busied herself in schoolwork and her afternoon job at a local diner. The L & N Diner was built to look like a railway dining car, her last little reminder of home. Little did she know, but her life was going to be changed forever ... be continued.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pumpkin bread also makes a great holiday gift:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Weeding Out Books

This is a me-me I did on my book review blog, but I thought maybe you would like to read this.

This will be my first entry for Booking Through Thursday
When’s the last time you weeded out your library? Do you regularly keep it pared down to your reading essentials? Or does it blossom into something out of control the minute you turn your back, like a garden after a Spring rain?

Or do you simply not get rid of books? At all? (This would have described me for most of my life, by the way.)

And–when you DO weed out books from your collection (assuming that you do) …what do you do with them? Throw them away (gasp)? Donate them to a charity or used bookstore? SELL them to a used bookstore? Trade them on Paperback Book Swap or some other exchange program?

When was the last time I weeded out my library? I must admit, I am a book whore and I have trouble getting rid of any of my books - hence the reason books are taking over my house. Currently, my book collection is overflowing into every aspect of my life - my bookshelves (crammed full and covering the top and floor space in front), my living room (my desk and numerous little piles), the kitchen (one cupboard and encroaching on the counter space), the bathroom (an overflowing bookcase next to the toilet), the hallway (more little piles), and the bedroom (is there really supposed to be a bed in here?).

The books I have parted with in the recent past has usually been review books that I did not enjoy reading - of course, this doesn't happen often because I try to be careful of what types of books I request. Most of my give aways have been self-published books, mainly because the editing job was done poorly, making the book difficult to read. When I do give away a book, it is typically a donation to the public library. I will occasionally give children's books to the elementary school library, but I don't get as many of these any more. Of course, when I finally have grandchildren, I sure I will be holding on to my children's books!

As you can see, I am a book-o-holic and I have been my entire life. You should also take into consideration I am married to a book lover, so his collection is merging with mine. And did I mention my 17 year old daughter? With 2 parents who love books, there was no hope for her. It has been months since I was able to enter her room because her collection is actually growing faster than mine.

So many books, so little time and space ...
Learn how to save pumpkin seeds to plant for next year:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

When Keith Changed My Life

When Keith Changed My Life

How do I tell you just how much I love you?
You are the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me.
You make my life complete.

It’s hard to believe we’ve been married for almost 20 years.
It seems just like yesterday when we first met.

You have given my life meaning.
You have given me a wonderful daughter
and been a terrific step-father.

You are considerate, kind and caring.
You are loveable, huggable and kissable.
You are sexy, romantic and sensual.
You are also funny, predictable, and always dependable.

I don’t know how I got so lucky for you to choose me,
But I thank God above every day that you did.
I want to grow old with you and experience all life has to offer.

Thank you so much for loving me.

What's blooming around the Bluegrass - Oriental Bittersweet:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Tidbit of Life

(Photo copyright Simply Heather)

A Tidbit of Life

An acrorn falls from above,
a tidbit,
a choice morsel of food
as hungry squirrels charge about
collecting in pouches crammed full.

An acorn lies on the ground,
a tidbit,
a pleasing bite or taste,
a guarantee of fruitful stores
to last the winter through.

An acorn is often overlooked
by humans too busy to see
but a tasty mouthful fits the bill
as squirrels immerge from trees.

An acorn holds the key of life,
a tidbit,
ambrosia from above,
it holds the key to oaken life
or supplies the drey with food.

Upcoming events at the Lexington Arboretum:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Best Sellers List

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about books on your top book lists…
This past week, Borders re-released it’s 100 Favorite Books of All Times. Do you vote in these kinds of polls when they arise? Do you look through the list, or seek out books featured?

Unless it is a local poll, I don't normally take part in these types of things, but I do love looking through lists of favorite books. I always check out the New York Times Best Sellers to see what everyone else is reading. Sometimes I'll choose a books from this list, sometimes I don't - I just like being up to date with current books.

One list I do read a lot of books from is the Entertainment Weekly list. I am totally into pop culture, so many times I will read books recommended by EW. Many times I will have already read a book recommended by EW and this is really cool as well.

I also like looking at the book review section of the Lexington Herald Leader - this is a "local" paper printed in a town 35 miles from my hometown. It's interesting to see what books make their list compared to other lists. I really love books by Kentucky authors, so this is a great way to find new authors.

But I don't rely on list to make my books choices - I like to think I'm an independent person and I have eclectic tastes in books. Right now, I'm going through a young adult phase - actually, it's been going on for several years, but I still enjoy it. I like finding new YA books that interest me and then telling friends and school age kids about my finds. I do the same thing for Kentucky authors - I'm always happy to spread the love around.

I believe "lists" are an important part of the book industry - it's a great way to spread the word on great books. I just think most people should go beyond the lists and find other great books that are worthy of reading.
Preparing perennials and biennials for winter:

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Howling Moon

The Howling Moon

They say the moon can't howl,
but I swear it isn't so.
I've heard the moon, its painful wails
and it chills me to the bone.

On the night of a very full moon,
when lightness colors the dark,
the animals become restless
and serenade the night with ghostly howls.
But when the animals are all cried out
and settling down to rest,
that's when the moon really comes alive.

It whispers and caresses with promises of joy.
It cajoles and teases with promises of more.
It argues and pleads for your promised love and loyalty.
It finally guarantees your very wildest dream,
promising to always be there,
but running away with sun's first light.
Food Friday - Cushaw Pie:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Check out what's happening at the Salato Wildlife Refuge in Frankfort, Kentucky:
There is still plenty to do in the garden - now is the best time to prepare for fall:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Check out my newest article on Chrysanthemums -

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Check out this great article on storing fall vegetables and fruit -

Jade on the Run

(Photo copyright by Dan Felstead of Wood and Pixels Narratives)


Jade had been on the run for several days. After the invasion started in San Francisco, she had fled to the moutains, hoping to hid until the violence had settled. Stumbly through the woods she was exhausted, having only slept in short bursts and never anywhere comfortable. On the fourth day of her escape, she came upon a small wooden cabin in the woods. She observed the cabin for many hours, but there seemed to be on life in or around the cabin. Swallowing her fear, she finally approached the cabin.

As Jade slowly creaked the wooden door open, she felt like she had stepped through a portal in time, back to another century, another day, another era. The one-room log cabin was small, barely big enough to hold the diminutive bed in one corner and a straight back chair in the other, next to the rock fireplace.

The cabin smelled musty from lack of air circulation - there were no windows, only an occasional hole in the wall, supposedly to aim a rifle through. Jade had studied about the early history of American since beginning her mission on Earth. The sunlight from the doorway cast just enough light to see the bed and what few meager possessions were on or around it.

The first thing Jade noted was the worn and faded nine-patch quilt covering the bed, neatly tucked in around the sparse mattress and pillow. At first glance, she assumed the occupant of the cabin must be a woman because the bed was made, but on closer inspection, she noticed the worn hunting boots hanging on a peg from the wall. There was also a pale leather coat draped over a bottom post of the bed; like looked like it was made from a tanned deer hide.

"It could be a woman," she thought, "but my intuition says it's a man."

Hanging from several other pegs around the bed were several different herbs gathered in small bundles along with several small willow branches. She smiled to herself, "He's pretty smart." Jade knew from her own learnings, willow branches will help bring down a fever and calm minor aches and pains. She also noticed camphor leaves to ease inflammed joints, yarrow for cuts and scrapes, and plantain for burns.

"He has some first aid knowledge, I'll give him that."

Two handwoven baskets sat on a raised wooden trunk at the foot of the bed. One basket was full of wool that had already been spun into yarn. She walked over and fingered the course fiber. "Fairly clean, he must know how to clean and card wool." The second basket held a pair of crude knitting needles, carved from ash wood by the looks. The needles had been smoothed down with no rough edges or gouges to snag the wool. There were also a pair of socks, although one was slightly larger than the other.

Jade sat down on the edge of the bed and ran her fingers over the quilt. She marveled at the fine even stitches and knew this kind of work took a steady hand. As she adjusted herself on the bed, she realized the mattress was probably stuffed with prairies grass because she could hear the crinkling even through the ticking and the quilt. She turned to read the small plaque hanging on the wall.
"But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?" Job 28:12
A religious man, understandable in this godforsaken place.

She stood up and walked to the dresser on the far wall. A small basket help a few knick-knacks; a wooden thimble, a couple of hickory nuts, two smooth river rocks and a dull coin, too dull to make out what kind. A shaving razor, strap and a broken metal comb rested in a used metal can. A pair of mittens and a knitted scarf lay atop a mirror fashioned from a scrape of wood and a flattened piece of metal. She picked up the mirror and looked at her warped reflection, finding this one bit of vanity a rare oddity in this meager cabin.

There was a old, faded photo hanging above the dresser. The black and white image showed a vital, handsome young man with his arms around a very pregnant woman. They were both smiling - they looked happy. Tucked into the edge of the wooden frame was a dried daisy, brown with age and missing a few petals.

"Wonder who this is?" she thought. "Could this be the man who lives in this cabin? Maybe that's his wife ... maybe there are two people living here ..." Jade looked around the cabin, but she could only sense the presence of one person living here. "Maybe the woman died," she looked at the picture again, focusing on the woman's pregnant belly. "Maybe she died in childbirth?"

Suddenly, she saw a shadow looming in the doorway of the cabin and as she turned to see what it was, the door to the cabin slammed shut ... be continued ...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Musing Monday - Book Wishlist

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about books on your wish list… Last week we talked about keeping a wish list. Why not pull out that list and show us some of the books you’ve been eyeing off? (Last week's prompt: Do you keep a book wish list, either on paper, Amazon/etc, or via a book database site (Shelfari, GoodReads, LibraryThing)? If yes, do you share this list with others (especially coming up to Christmas)?)

Here is a sampling of my book wish list:

I have read THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO and THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, but I checked them out of the library. This is a compelling story I know I am going to want to read again. I would like to own the hardcovers for my home library.

2.) DIVINE MISDEMEANORS (Book #8 of the Merry Gentry series) by Laurell K. Hamilton
This one is a must have for my collection. I love the Merry Gentry series (and Anita Blake), so this is tops on my Christmas wish list. It is no secret that Hamilton is one of my favorite fictional authors. Her books are such great escapist fun that I catch myself re-reading the other books in both her series before the newest book is released. Needless to say, I own all her books.

3.) UNDER THE DOME by Stephen King
I am a huge Stephen King fan, so this is a must-have! THE STAND is one of my favorite books and this new one is supposed to have elements silimar to this classic. I can't wait to find out what's under the dome.

4.) THE SCARPETTA FACTOR by Patricia Cornwell
Kay Scarpetta is one of my favorite fictional characters. She is a strong woman in a demanding career as a medical examiner and the stories of her life are always thrilling and highly entertaining. This is the 17th book in the Scarpetta series.

5.) AMERICAN ON PURPOSE by Craig Ferguson
I LOVE Craig Ferguson!! He is hands down the funniest person on late night television. This is his second book (the first being the novel, Between the Bridge and the River), but this is a memoir. I can't wait to get my hands on this one and read it from cover to cover. I think Ferguson is a fascinating man and this book will be full of humor and interesting tales from his life.

I love the works of A. A. Milne and I'm not sure if anyone else can ever really capture the innocence and style of Winnie-the-Pooh, but I want to give this book a try. It has been 80 years since the last Pooh book (The House at Pooh Corner) was written and for the first time a new book has been approved by the Trustees of the Pooh Properties.

7.) DEXTER BY DESIGN (Book #4 of the Dexter series) by Jeff Lindsay
This is the deliciously, evil series that sparked the hit Showtime series DEXTER. Like most book series, this one is different from the TV show and delves more in-depth into the dark character of Dexter Morgan.

8.) FIRE by Kristen Cashore
This is a prequel to Cashore's wonderful young adult book, GRACELING. A young girl "graced" with the power of ultimate survival, I was totally mesmerized by the first book and can't wait to read this newest one.

9.) SHADOWLAND (Book #3 of the Immortals series) by Alyson Noel
Not your typical young adult book, although this one deals with immortals, the main characters are definitely immortals. It's not fair to compare this series to the TWILIGHT series, because this series is a great read all by itself and it is worth checking out.

10.) U IS FOR UNDERTOW (Kinsey Millhone Mysteries) by Sue Grafton
I've waited a long time for this installment in the Kinsey Millhone series. Perpetually stuck in the 1980s (like myself), the Millhone mysteries are always a pleasure to escape to. Sadly, we are getting near the end of this series with only 5 more letters of the alphabet to go.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mother Flossie Comes to Town

From My Muse and Me

Mother Flossie Comes to Town

We gather in the parking lot
to begin the festival parade;
not sure what to do to secure our place in line
we figure we can't go wrong with a wagon full of kids
so we slide in from behind.
Cheerleader moms with cheerleader spawn
Football studs and sons
A lumberjack man in his bright red flannel
Harleys the envy of all
Beauty contestants with pretty faces
Horses too skittish and spooked
The Bulldog mascot is way too scary
with protruding teeth and nappy gray fur,
he hops up on the float to show the way
and lead our rag-tag story.
And there she is, ladies and gents
the Queen of the ball
Mother Flossie in all her glory.
Vivid blue dress with her "granny" shawl
Her multi-colored feathered hat
atop her lovely silver curls
accents her smiling face for all the waving crowd.
My gosh, is that a rocking chair?
I hope she don't fall out
"I'm a home town girl from Gravel Switch!"
"It sure is nice to see ya!"
And don't be fooled and think we're wishy-washy
'cause we're really part of Mother Flossie's posse.

Thursday, October 1, 2009



She had given up on life long ago
and quit trying to meet the status quo.
Was it really worth it
all this hustle and bustle of life?
Did it really matter if the dishes weren't washed
or the bed not made?
Would it really matter in 10 years
or 20
or 100?
So she turns to her head
a raging volcano of thoughts,
and gently teases each word
to make a coherent sentence.
The words begin to stack
the sentences are mounting
and before the blink of an eye
she is lost again
in her own little world
of feelings and stance.
No, it doesn't matter,
the mundane will always be around,
but the fleeting glimpse of the elusive muse
calls to the soul and must be followed.

Thoughts of Autumn

Thoughts of Autumn

Dainty spiderwebs glistening with dew
Weathered corn shocks waving in the breeze
Piles of leaves littering the walkways and roads
Fat, orange pumpkins all aglow
Apple trees heavy with fruit
Hay bales dotting the field
Harvest moon hanging high in the sky
Chrysanthemums nodding their multicolored heads
Scarecrows lining the city lamp posts
Yellowing tobacco hanging in the barn
A kaleidoscope of leaves as trees prepare to rest
Frost asters and goldenrod brigthening the fields
The smell of firewood on the air
Ooey, gooey carmel apples
The early hint of twilight