Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Say it again...

Our darling Speedbump has always been a talker. She started popping her jaws to get attention and she tells us when she wants to go outside. It's very convenient and entertaining, but now that it's cold outside she likes to go outside enjoy the north wind blow so she's talking all the time! This past summer, I was inspired by MAXMOM to teach Bumpy a hand signal for her to "speak." I touch my mouth and she woofs! It's funny, sometimes she stomps her foot if I happen to ignore her. Charlie is also a talker but your eardrums wouldn't survive the video :O) So, I took this video this past summer and wanted to share it with you. Oh, in the background is Sweet Violet picking on Charlie, she's just a typical little sister.

Blessings from the holler...

Friday, December 24, 2010

How did they do that?...

It's amazing to me how they got all these dogs to "stay!" We have a hard time getting a picture of our pack without costumes!
Merry Christmas, again, from all of us in the holler...

Monday, December 20, 2010

What shall I give Him?...

Last year I got to sing in our local town's Christmas choir and it was so much fun. We sang this song, In the Bleak Midwinter, which was a new one for me but it soon became my favorite and I could barely make it through the song because the words are so beautiful it made me cry (happy tears.) You can hear it at the link below. This girl sings like she's just standing there having a beautiful conversation...so effortless. Enjoy.

In the Bleak Midwinter - Christina Rosetti 1872.

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss,
Worshiped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.

We are so thankful for the gift God gave us of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Christmas blessings to you all from the holler...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Where have we been?...

Actually, no where! But we had our granddaughter here for a few days while her Dad and Mom went skiing. So we did crafts, decorated the house, made cookies, watched Christmas movies and played in the snow. She left yesterday and I'm still recovering but it was fun and worth every memory we made.

OH, it snowed and snowed. We had only about 4-6 inches but it was enough for the dogs to enjoy and of course we got out and played in it too.
Our snow angels...

The dogs had fun, of course...

And lastly, Violet has adopted the Christmas tree as her very own.

Blessings from us in the holler to you...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Let's get in the mood, shall we?...

This was sent to me in an e-mail and I just had to share. Enjoy!

A Nativity scene was built in a church yard.

During the night the people came across this scene.

The abandoned dog was looking for a comfortable, protected place to sleep. He chose baby Jesus cradle as his comfort. No one had the heart to send him away so he stayed there all night.

We should all have the good sense of this dog and curl up in Jesus' lap for comfort in this weary world.

Okay, that was the e-mail. Nice, warm fuzzy thoughts. I wouldn't have left the dog out all night but that's probably why we have six!! In my imagination, someone took him home and he's living happily ever after. I hope that in this month you will relax and not let the busyness of the time distract you from the really important things. As always, blessings to you all from the holler.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thankful here in the holler...

I'm thankful for my wonderful husband. JP has put up with me for 25+ years. He is a wonderful father and provider, he loves me. You know, he doesn't even mind when the house is messy! Plus, you all know he's a great cook.
I'm thankful for my family. We all get along great, I even am blessed with wonderful in-laws. I like to call them in-loves because that is what they are to me :O)

Thankful for our church family--they're just great!
The grace and mercy of God towards me is astounding. He has protected me from serious harm and, to be honest, from myself. The lesson I'm learning (it's hard to learn lessons) is that I can trust Him for the outcome of my and my family's life. He cares about each detail!
Also, I find it amazing that I can be thankful for people that I've never met but we share our lives here in blogland. So, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours and, as always, blessings from the holler

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We don't need words...

It's true, we don't need words today, the picture says it all...BUT
We are cone free!
Scrappy is healthy and happy!
Mom's legs can finally heal from those bruises from when Scrappy would run into her!
All is well and balanced in the pack.
We are thankful and blessed in the holler.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Great day in the holler...

We had a glorious day today. The weather was warm so I walked all six dogs (not at once) and then they played in the back yard. Of course, the game is "stick game." Charlie grabbed this little stick and he and Daisy went at it.

Then he brought out his latest toy.....the monster stick! I have no idea how he got such a big stick but he loves it and so does Daisy. He must be trimming the tree line for us.

Scrappy is doing so much better and is a menace with that cone. She uses it like a weapon and I have bruises on the back of my legs from her running into me! She runs like nothing is wrong.

In this picture I'm holding up a dead mouse that I took away from her! She thinks she's getting it back,,,,she's wrong.
Dogs adjust so well to whatever circumstances they happen to be in (most anyway.) I could learn a lesson there for sure.
Here's the rest of the gang, just chillin'.

Charlie didn't want to go inside, he was just starting to have fun with his new stick. Doesn't he look like he's saying...."Five more minutes,,,PLEASE!!!!

Have a blessed weekend from all of us in the holler.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Poor Little Thing...

Last Friday, Corrie was out sunning in the yard by herself as she loves to do. THEN something caused all the other dogs to want to be outside at once - they saw a deer or something had their interest. Scrappy is ALWAYS the first out of the door. Corrie met her and attacked her. Corrie is stocky and outweighs Scrappy by at least 20 lbs. I was yelling at the top of my lungs and had a small shovel that I was trying to use to separate them. It seemed like it took forever but it was probably only a minute or two. Never the less, the damage was done and Scrappy was bleeding. She had one very small puncture wound on her chest so I gave her a bath to make double sure that there were no lacerations. Corrie was fine except for a nip on top of her nose and, needless to say, has been under extra-close supervision. She simply can't be allowed to be in the yard alone because she claims it as hers and will fight for it. We can not allow this behavior!!

I was sure that Scrappy was sore so I started her on an anti-inflammatory and was sure she'd just need a few days to recover since she never bled after I brought her inside. On Saturday she started licking her wound occasionally and then we noticed she was obsessing. At least that's what I thought she was doing. By Sunday she had licked a raw spot all around the wound so I got Charlie's cone from when he was neutered and cut it down to fit her. Problem solved, right? NOT! This foul odor was coming from her. I didn't know where but it was definitely her.

So we decided that on Monday morning she would be the first to the vet since it's about time for their annual check ups anyway. He shaved the area and oh my, it was disgusting. That smell was coming from her wound!!! They put her on antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory and has to wear that cone until she heals. We decided to leave her with the vet for a couple of days so that they could keep a close watch on the wound and take care of her. Poor little thing...

Now she's home and in good spirits. We are thankful that God made warning signs like foul odors because if it hadn't been for that the infection would have gone much longer undetected. So, for a while, we will hand feed her and baby her until she's back to her scrappy self. We are still so very blessed and thankful in the holler. Blessings to you all.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Harvest musings...

Wow, all of a sudden I just have all kinds of things to post on here! You know how it is. Anyway, a couple of days ago we had some fierce rain which is great for all the plants and to decrease the pollen. The down side to rainy weather, and something which I brace myself for each year, MUD and more mud! Scrappy likes to get me ready for the muddy days to come by giving me a little taste of how they will all be trotting in soon. She usually runs in full out and I try to intercept her before she makes many tracks around the house. Notice the dirty nose too! The other day she killed a mouse and brought it to me. I really appreciate the effort but hate picking up those little buggers.

Anyway, Scrappy came in full of herself and wanted to play. It looks like Violet was telling her that she's got dirty feet and doesn't want to play but that's only half true, as soon as this picture was snapped Violet pounced and the games were on.

Charlie is so handsome. It's hard to get a picture of him because as soon as I get anywhere near his level he's in motion my way--he's such a momma's boy!

Daisy and Speedbump usually come in and lay right down. I like that because their mud tracks are shorter!

I've been working on the last of the canning this week. I made a batch of elderberry jelly and have one more batch to make (these are Christmas gifts.) We had a less than average harvest this year in our garden because I let "end rot" get the first of our tomato crop. But I know to nip that in the bud next year because I've got two new favorite tomatoes, the Cherokee Purple and Big Mama Roma. The Cherokee Purple was a good slicing tomato and Big Mama was great for processing into marinara because it has so few seeds. How did your garden grow this year and what were your favorites? Here's some oregano I dried.

This is what time JP gets home! He's been so busy at work lately, he comes home when the harvest moon is up. Well, I'm off to get my carpet scraps out to strategically place around the back door for muddy paws!

Harvest blessings to you all from the holler.

Monday, October 25, 2010

True Love Story...

I visit a blog called "What matters most is kindness" and this story just blew me away today. It beats any "chick flick" I've seen all to pieces. It's about a couple that has been married for 71 years - I really go for the "true love" stories. So here's the link,,,please go read and be blessed.

I'm here in the holler with hearts popping above my head like Olive Oyl for Popeye.

Friday, October 22, 2010

News from the holler...

Really, the news is that we are so busy these days that I only sit at the computer to get the weather. I don't watch the news so I jump on here and find out what to wear, should we have the windows open, etc. It's been lovely here. The temperatures are mild and kinda cool at night; it's my perfect weather (JP's too.) The whole pack is in good health and happy.

The picture above was taken at my parents house. That's our two grandbabes taking a little fall walk a couple of years ago. It's one of my favorites.

One bit of very important news to us is that our soldier is home and with his family. Praise the Lord! Blessings to you all from the holler.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Now, I can tell you that the minute JP sees the title of this post he will think that I'm reporting one of my many stumbles. I am a klutz and there's no help for it. He always says that he thinks I should be wrapped in bubble wrap when he's away. He's a funny guy.

No, this post is celebrating this season of change in the weather. The temperatures are mild, the trees are changing color and I love it. One of the showiest trees we have as far as fall color is this maple.

The dogwoods are beautiful too.

This is a different kind of dogwood and it has these little red balls. Does anyone know what kind of dogwood this is. It's the one that has flowers after it's put on its leaves in the spring.

Guess what! As I walked around taking these pictures I noticed that there were strawberries still on the plant. Uh, sorry honey, I kind of ate them as I went along. Trust me, they weren't that good...
Our Purple Thai Basil is beautiful now as it goes to seed.

The gang was so interested in the cat and I as we walked around the front yard. Well, most everyone was interested.....

Speedbump started getting sleepy sitting there in the sun and I left her alone for her little nap after I snapped this yawn.

Happy fall blessings to all of you from all of us in the holler.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Elderberry Wine...

I know Elton John did a song about it, but frankly, I grew tired of ol' Elton decades ago, so let's just leave that song out of it for now.  If it's stuck in your head, maybe try singing Amazing Grace to the tune of the Gilligan's Island Theme Song.  I've heard that helps.

JP here.  Yes, I think it's probably been over a year since I posted much of anything on here, so don't faint.

We managed to gather quite the wild elderberry harvest this year, much more than what Mrs. JP needs to do a couple of batches of her elderberry jelly, and being the curious and adventurous foodie that I am, I decided that this year I would put that excess of berries to good use and learn the skill of wine making.  I read and read information about it, and it is clearly an art that could take years to master, but I found some good information, a good recipe, got the equipment needed and last weekend we set about wine making.

I won't bore you with all of the details.  A large part of wine making involves getting the right animate and inanimate things into it and keeping the bad animate and inanimate things out.  There is good yeasts and bad yeasts, good acids and bad acids, and on and on.  The process of sterilizing gloves, spoons, etc. has become a part of our days.

As we collected elderberries this year, we would freeze them, and then Mrs. JP would go through them to take out any bugs and large stems, put them in a freezer bag and back into the freezer they went.  So Friday evening, we put all of the berries into a nylon straining bag, dropped it into a primary fermentor, known in common parlance as a clean, sterilized plastic bucket, boiled some spring water and dissolved the required amount of sugar into it, poured that over the bag of berries in the primary, pressed the berry bag to release juices, then proceeded to add the necessary chemicals.

Day two, more chemicals went in.  Day three we woke the wine yeast up by re-hydrating it and encouraging it to procreate and multiply, by feeding it, of all things (hmmmmm?  haha).  Then, when it had been spurred into all kinds of activity by small additions of must (that's the stuff that is in the primary fermentation bucket, all of that stuff we mixed, the water, the sugar, the berries, the chemicals, whatever, it's all collectively called the must), and was bubbling away happily, we added it into the primary fermentor.  Now, we have what's called an S-type air lock on the bucket lid that keeps the oxygen out and lets the excess carbon dioxide out; it kind of burps on a regular basis.  I never realized how active the fermentation process is.  The must is fizzing like some champagne or old fashioned grape soda pop, and it really bubbles up when we have to stir it.

Once a day, we take the lid off, squeeze the berry bag gently and stir the must.  It's supposed to ferment like this for fourteen days, then it gets put into a large carboy bottle to continue to ferment and clarify for six months, at which time we stabilize it, make any minor taste adjustments necessary, bottle it and let it age for a year before we get to try it.  Hopefully, we will get some good wine and not some vinegar or cooking wine.

If we do this all over after next year's elderberry harvest, about the time we bottle up the second batch of wine, the first one should be aged and ready to taste.  Delayed gratification, I hope!

I have no idea how I'm going to keep twenty some odd bottles of wine sitting on a wine rack at an ideal 55° Fahrenheit for months on end, through spring, summer, fall and winter.  I guess I'll have a little over six months to figure that one out.  I really hope the temperature thing is an ideal, and not a requirement, because I can't afford a walk in refrigerator right now.

Anyway, as my dearly beloved says at the end of her posts, "Blessings from the holler, y'all!"

Monday, September 27, 2010

My Birthday...

Today is my birthday. I've been thinking about how blessed I am and am just so thankful for my wonderful life. It really is wonderful! I have a great family that I love--I even have great in-laws, both mom-in-law and daughter-in-law are dear to me. I've been pretty spoiled all my life. God has blessed me with a wonderful husband and son, not to mention grandbabies. I can worship without fear or oppression. I do not know what it is to starve. I've never been rich by the standards of most people but I certainly count myself as rich in every way that counts.

Yesterday, my mom made a wonderful lunch for all of us and she made my favorite birthday cake. I got to talk to my son who is on the other side of the world doing his thing and hopefully will be home in a month. My daughter-in-love bought me a cool musical birthday card (James Brown singing.......I FEEL GOOD) and some sweet University of Tennessee pajama pants. My brother and sister-in-law gave me a Starbucks gift bag, kitchen towels and a recipe book. JP gave me some lovely sapphire earrings and some other stuff he doesn't know he bought!! LOL. He's so great. Speaking of JP, he out did himself on birthday cards--he got me two. I have to share them with you, so here goes.

First one says: (he gave me this one at my parents yesterday)
Front of the card......... I really hope you like this birthday card...
Inside........ Somebody farted in the card shop and I could only hold my breath long enough to grab this one!
Happy Birthday and many more.
(I told him he was probably the inspiration for the card)

And this one I got this morning: Ready???
For My Wife with Love
A Birthday Poem for You

When I kiss ya
When I miss ya
When I'm feeling
tired or lazy,
When we're busy,
In a tizzy,
When I drive you Kinda crazy

When we're romantic
or almost frantic,
When we're apart or we're together
One thing's certain
(And I'm not just flirtin')
I love you with all my heart, forever.

Okay,,,everybody say "aaaawwwwwww." Wasn't that nice? See, I told you, I really have a wonderful life. I'm having a great birthday and hoping that you are as blessed as I am...here in the holler.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Two weeks ago we had Homecoming Day at our church. It was a great time, we honored three of our members who are over 90 years old and had grown up going to this little church. Our church building was built in the late 1800's and the cemetery on the property has graves from before the civil war, some dated as far back as the early 1800s and late 1700s.

I didn't mean to get off on that rabbit trail but the history of our church and the surrounding area is so interesting to me.

Anyway, we had volunteered to bring smoked pork and Barbecue sauce for our part of the meal, and what a meal it was. Everyone liked the Barbecue and we sent plates home with lots of people.

The Thursday before, we bought a case of pork butts at Sam's and let them sit in the refrigerator overnight with dry rub on them (we put two in a 2 gallon plastic bag and stack them up that way).

Then we got up super early on Friday morning and got them smoking. Notice that it's still dark outside in the picture.

They smoked all day and into the night --18 hours total. After they reach the proper internal temperature, they go in plastic bags to rest and cool. Then the next morning, we pulled the meat and JP chopped it up some to make it easier to serve.

Here are the cooked butts after resting for a while, ready to be pulled apart.


(JP here: It's especially delicious piled high on a soft hamburger bun, with some of the barbecue sauce poured over it and a large dollop of cole slaw to finish it off..... yum, yum.)

Also, we didn't want to waste all of those smoky bones, so JP made stock with them. We froze the stock and can use it to make soups when the weather is cold, or to flavor rice dishes, etc.

It's always a lot of work to crank out a case of pulled pork barbecue,  but it's worth it. We still have some in the freezer and gave some to my Mom and Dad.

JP again: We can have barbecue sammiches, barbecue potatoes, barbecue fried rice, barbecue pizza.... I'll quit now because I'm starting to sound like Bubba from the Forrest Gump movie.