Friday, April 1, 2011

Farm Activities

Everyone is all abuzz about what we are doing and going to do at the farm. It's a very exciting time of the year and there is certainly a lot going on around here. There has been a considerable amount of planting already accomplished. My husband has set up a semi-temporary, small greenhouse for using now as he continues to work toward getting the larger 26 X 36 greenhouse assembled. I planted some veggies and herbs in flats about 2 weeks ago and Denise planted a bunch of flowers in flats today. Galen and Madelyn had previously planted some things that are stored in the "chuck-wagon" while others are stored under cold frames up by the permaculture garden Galen has been leading the charge on since last year. There are potatos and onions in the ground, both up the hill, and in the Kitchen Garden, and today I picked up 2 dozen heads of garlic. They should produce over 240 heads of garlic sometime this fall. The employees at the greenhouse where we picked them up think I must have an awful lot of vampires hanging around to need THAT much garlic. ;) Denise got a bunch of vidalia onions, and she already managed to plant them in the Kitchen Garden today. We are expecting kittens and we are soon to be the proud owners of rabbit "kits." They are due just in time to be ready to go around Easter...I don't know that that's what will happen to them or not. The plan is really that we raise them as a food crop. There are also several hens sitting on eggs out in the barn...the cutest thing: Two little bantam hens are sharing a single nest, each of them is sitting on about three little bantam eggs, which is about all each of them can handle. It's very cute to see them sitting in the nest, side by side, with room to spare. Anyway, the main point is that we are having a blast out here at Gateway, and it's going to get nothing but better. Happy gardening!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Not Sleeping

I can remember many nights, back when, that I would not be able to sleep and so would get up and sit at the computer and write something for either JackeHammer or this blog. Tonight it isn't that I wasn't able to sleep, it's that I didn't go to bed yet and just felt like updating a bit on this "sequel" to JackeHammer, meant to be a landing place for my personal thoughts.

It's a quieter place here. Not much traffic, not that there's much traffic on either of my blogs right now, after being sick and posting very little for over a year now, it's surprising that I get any traffic anywhere.

My life has changed so much I don't really expect it will ever be the same as it used to be and I wouldn't really want it to be.

I'm a farm girl now. Caretaking a Well Fed Neighbor Gateway Farm. Sound simple? Nothing is simple anymore. Not even living on a farm.

We have some chickens, over 25...not sure the exact count though and a few rabbits, along with a few pot-bellied pigs that are mostly on their way out.

Today, my husband and I spent the better part of the day preparing for the blizzard coming in over night tonight. There's always a chance out here we could lose power so we drew some water and I did a little baking and cooking. I thought it would be best to have some things on hand that could be warmed on the wood stove, and I made some black raspberry muffins.

It's been a long day and I think the time is now right for NOT being an insomniac.


Friday, September 25, 2009

"Do you Means it?"

On Sunday, you would be 74 years old

On Sunday we would be eating fried chicken legs, mashed potatos and gravy and a birthday cake, just like we did for your birthday every year

I know you loved my fried chicken, Mama

We would sing happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Mama, happy birthday to you

and you

You would read your birthday cards, pausing after each one to ask, "Do you means it?"

and each of us did

We meant it, Mama, every sweet verse and every hand scrawled word, every I love you

For a while, I thought each day of how I thought of you each day

I don't think anymore about how many days I've thought of you, Mama

I just know I think of you

I just know

we all think of you


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Very Cherry Dog Days of Summer

Scooter, my Boston Terrier with a pinched nerve in his neck, can't play right now. He's all drugged up on pain killers and muscle relaxants. It isn't a very exciting life for him at the moment.

He still enjoys the pleasures of life to some extent though, like hearing the news, "Daddy's coming home" or being asked, "do you want a cookie?"

His favorite food of all time, so far, has been Angel Food Cake. He takes that after the alpha dog of the house, I guess. Today, I learned he likes Maraschino Mini Muffins about as well as Angel Food Cake. He's been following me around like a little, well... puppy dog, ever since I gave him the first one. He's had two.

He is now positioned at the kitchen door to make sure I don't get near the muffins and leave him unawares.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Tonight, I thought of something I hadn't thought of in years, or rather someone I hadn't thought of in years, someone who caused me to end up grounded for a while when I was, oh, probably about 13 or 14 years old....

I happened to think about it because I picked up a book at our church some time back, it was a book that had belonged to my pastor. Tucked inside the pages of the book, "Heaven The Last Frontier," was a little slip of paper that, I assume, my pastor had written on. It read, "angels, chapter 11, page 143." So, I skipped to page 143 and began to read about angels.

The author, Grant R. Jeffrey, told how angels have names but, we only know the names of five angels: Satan, Apollyon, Michael, Gabriel and Palomi.

And that's when I thought of Gabriel. The unfamiliar, blonde, curly haired young man who asked me to help him catch a ride from one end of Harrison, Arkansas back down to the square. For some crazy reason, I had gotten the idea to walk all the way across town, myself, that day, something I had never done before and never did again. I really wasn't cherishing the idea of walking all the way back but, it never occured to me to thumb a ride, and it never would have, if it hadn't been for Gabriel.

As we stood there with our thumbs out we got to know a little bit about each other, and I ended up telling him about a piece of property that belonged to one of my family members, where I went to get away from the crowd (as if there was one in Harrison, Arkansas at the time). Gabriel was looking for just such a place and I offered to take him there to show him my secret place on the other side of the creek.

That was back when the creek was known as the creek, "Crooked Creek" was what it had always been called when I was growing up there. It's been known as Lake Harrison for years, now. But, we were headed to the other side. Not the side of the creek that bordered what was Harrison High School, at the time.

I can't remember the name of the road with the big hill we had to climb. My Grandma and Grandpa's house sat on the corner, on Walnut Street, about a third of the way there. Later, we would dip down the street to the right, the one that my Aunt Betty and Uncle Kenneth lived on for years. Right across the street from the house my step-brother built, was the entry onto the property. I think it belonged to my Uncle Kenneth then.

It was beautiful that day. The dirt paths, the green grass, cutting through the weeds to find the spot with the big branch hanging across the creek.

Gabriel said he used to live in some kind of a community. The girls and boys weren't really even supposed to hold hands like he and I did on the way down to the creek bank.

We talked. He talked about what it was like growing up in that community and I don't even remember what I talked about. Then we walked back out, went our separate ways at the fork in the road, I headed back to my house up on Birch Street and Gabriel headed to the downtown area.

I never saw Gabriel again, which made the mystery that much more intriguing to teenage girl. I even wondered if he was an angel, just like his name suggested. He was very nice, older than me, and I caught what for when I got back home and was so elated about my new friend, not even considering I might have done anything, did I get an ear full. And rightly so, I mean, anything could have happened to me in that secret place down by the creek, there was no one around and no one would have come around. And what was I doing helping him hitch hike???

I was a really lucky girl that day. Really lucky (or blessed, with an angel watching over me).

One thing was sure, I had plenty of time to fantasize about whether Gabriel was an angel or a boy. It was quite the inspiration for a shy, introverted young girl, grounded at home, to lay home on her bed with her notebook and pen and write poetry. Somewhere, out in that awful mess of a garage there's a notebook....

Funny, I should find myself, all these years later, writing about Gabriel again.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Maybe it was the coffee I drank too late in the evening. Maybe it was the ongoing prayer for a miracle. Maybe it was the latest issue of Imprimis I couldn't get out of my mind [Mark Steyn]. Maybe it was the great fun I had making a shadow box today and all the ideas I have for making the next one, and the one after that. Maybe it was the plants I'd like to plant at the church. Maybe it was the thinking about getting a job and not knowing where to start anymore. Maybe it was that PBS "Religion and Ethics" program I watched after church on Sunday afternoon. Maybe it was that I need to get final awards ready for my AWANA Sparks club and I need to call or email the secretary before I know where to start. Maybe it was the thoughts about my favorite Anne Sexton poem, "everything here is yellow and green, listen to it's throat, it's earth skin." Maybe it was upcoming graduations, and weddings, and overdue bills. Maybe it was

all of the above but, I can't sleep tonight. Could you?

So, I'll think about lace and stick frames. Paper flowers, pearls, beads. Scripture. Where I'll go tomorrow, if anywhere.... One thing is sure, I'll think about something. I'll think about Tish! On the roof with strong coffee and hand rolled cigarettes. So many choices...and that, that makes me think again of Mark Steyn's column:

"....It's ridiculous for grown men and women to say: I want to be able to choose from hundreds of cereals at the supermarket, thousands of movies from Netflix, millions of songs to play on my iPod---but I want the government to choose for me when it comes to my health care. A nation that demands the government take care of all the grown-up stuff is a nation turning into the world's wrinkliest adolescent, free only to choose its record collection...." Mark Steyn adapted from a lecture delivered at Hillsdale College on March 9, 2009 [link above].

I believe the man has a point but, I'm off to try to sleep once more.


Monday, May 11, 2009

New Look for JackeHammer

I started to create a new blog with a new title, but decided I could just build on the old blog with a link to the old "JackeHammer" referring people to this, eventually, new site.

This entry is just a test entry [ RealClearPolitics - Opinion, News, Analysis, Videos and Polls] so that I can work on the new look until ready to start using it. If you happen by, it's a work in progress that I'll announce at a later date.

Leave a note to tell me what you think of the new look as it evolves.

-Jackie Melton