Waiting on Spring

Last year we were complaining … and worried … about drought. In the earliest days of Spring it was so dry that most mornings came without dew on the grass. Crops around here greatly suffered and many farmers reported a loss.

This year it’s rain. And more rain. And … well, there’s no lack of dew.

“Shoulda been a little more clear when I prayed for no drought this year,” a friend sighed.

Many of us don’t even have all of our vegetables planted yet which is a bit worrisome for these parts. It’s well into June but oh … so wet!

Rain though it may … nearly every day … there’s something pretty much everyone … even the curmudgeons in my circles are on the same page about for once …. we’re drained by the rain … but … there is a consolation.

Isn’t there always if we’ll just give it a moment?

Flowers.

The rain keeps falling … pouring …. Bucket loads.

But the flowers won’t be stopped. Thank God.

For me, Spring flowers are on par with a National holiday. After all, we wait all year for their brief appearance My husband and I may be a little goofy, but we anticipate and celebrate each bloom as if it’s having its own little birthday.

And this is just the beginning of what’s starting to bloom in our yard. All a little miraculous to us as when we moved here five summers ago there was nothing colorful in our yard except some tulips and a rogue hollyhock.

Life gives you rain … nature gives you flowers … or some saying like that. 😁

All photos are property of Sausmus Photography.

Sometimes You Just Need to See a Bird Taking a Bath

Someone in town mentioned that they haven’t seen any Robins for a very long time.

I think they’re all at my house.

There’s a pair that have taken over the rain puddles on this tarp, and then there’s a mama Robin who built her nest under the eave of our front porch.

And to think I worried that the lack of any established trees were keeping birds away from our place.

The hummingbirds are a little slow in showing up tho … probably the extra cool weather … I’m purposefully calling the weather extra .. so these Robin-antics are very welcome.

There’s a lot in the world to worry about these days. Much to give reason to stop and pray.

And then … there’s a Robin bathing on the tarp.

I love my country life.

Waiting on Spring

Spring has been flirtatious this year. Snow in early May. Only a single day that has edged to the 70 degree mark.

Now it’s a wet and cool Memorial Day weekend with my vegetable garden half planted.

About the only thing I’ve found this gloomy weather good for is a walk through the local cemetery… made me more reflective than normal, I think.

Lives willingly given to nail down the freedoms we enjoy.

Other lives gone just too soon … some by uncontrollable circumstances. Some by stupid choices.

Lives well worn … well lived.

Others that made us cringe.

Lives that started a legacy that is now our small town, still hanging on.

Lives that taught us to laugh … or hope … or to be reverent and merciful.

Lives that made us feel loved … tears well up because we miss them beyond words.

I walked away wondering what phrase or memory will someday sum up my days on the planet.

Seconds later I’m thinking about whether we’ll see weather in the 80’s before August. And will we complain when it does?

And … am I brave enough to grill our Memorial Day meal in the drizzle.

Ahhh … my thoughts are as fickle as the forecast.

Below are sweet reminders that nature won’t wait on inclement weather. Maybe I shouldn’t either.

All photos property of Sausmus Photography and cannot be used without permission.

Wordless Wednesday – Thundering Hoofbeats … No More

Saying Goodbye to the Iron Horse Arena. Once a gathering spot in our small town, its days are done. Yet can’t you still hear the thundering of hoofbeats and the shouts of cowboys?

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs.  You can find more on my “Thought Blog” at rashellbud.wordpress.com. Wishing you a beautiful day full of the Small Stuff that transforms life into BIG STUFF.

Bananas About Bandana’s

“Here. You need these.”

My SIL thrust a pile of bandanas and scarves into my hands.

“Gosh. What will I do with these?”

“They’ll make good masks. You just need them; they were Mom’s after all.”

Mom left us last March; now we were gathered in my childhood home … My Guy, my big brother, SIL, niece, and me … looking through her things.

Sophie is suspicious of this basket of cloth. As long as I don’t tie one around her neck, I guess she’ll be okay.

Mom was a collector … not a hoarder (well, I guess that depends on which member of the family you talk to) but a true collector. Her character was reflected in the fact that she had a knack for cast off things and cast off people. Simple and quiet herself (well … quiet around strangers … not so much around us or those who were subject to her teasing), she could always find a treasure behind layers of dust or underneath scarred, water-stained wood. A little dusting … a little oil and elbow grease … and a cast-off-nothing became desirable again.

Some of the things we found in the house were collections from yard sales and auctions. Some things were saved from our childhood. The bandanas fell into the second category.

In Mom’s teen years (’50’s), bandanas were fashionable as headscarves and came in any color you liked as long as it was red. They looked cute on girls with short hair. A comeback was attempted in the ’70’s, only with slightly longer hair and a full rainbow of colors. It was a look that didn’t work so well for me.

You know those memes where they show a gorgeous woman with her hair in a nice neat “messy” bun next to a Kathy-Bates-look-a-like (serial killer version) with a messy bun? The meme caption says something like, “Other women with a messy bun. Me with a messy bun.”

Well … there you go. That’s what awkward-duckling-teenage-me looked like in a bandana head scarf, compared to other girls. They all looked ready for a fashion shoot. I looked like I was going to mop floors.

Dad wore bandanas too. They were much more utilitarian in his case … around his neck to soak up sweat while laboring on one of the farms where he often hired out to make extra money … or when up on our roof in August, tearing off rolled roofing with 95 degree temperatures melting his face and his mood.

In the 50’s Dad worked on farms in central Washington … bandanas were a face covering for him to ward off the dust from temperamental windstorms. You also might see the red cloth peaking from the inside rim of his hat where he stuffed it to soak up head sweat. And he wasn’t above using one these “fashionable” pieces of fabric to honk snot into when ordinary handkerchiefs weren’t available.

While neither of my parents used handkerchiefs in the fashion of a bank robber (at least not that I know of), I’m bringing that look back to existence.

With COVID-19 overtaking our world and the recent (controversial) mask mandates, the discovery of Mom’s handkerchief collection is timely. I may look a bit suspicious when I wear them, but it is a cuter look than the cleaning-lady-aura that I rocked in the ’70’s. Most importantly, they don’t fog up my glasses as much as masks ,so I don them often.

Well … it wouldn’t be a COVID-19 pic if toilet paper wasn’t in the background.

Kudos to Mom for collecting a variety of colors (pictured above). Makes me feel like a fashionista to be all matchy matchy.

When Covid Days are behind us, I hope to find other uses. Here are some suggestions, should you have a big collection like mine:

  • Head band
  • Neck Scarf
  • Decorate the dog with an awesome neck tie
  • Ice pack (in a lunch bag or around your neck on a steaming hot day)
  • Sling (hope you never need to try this out)
  • Cleaning Rag (I have a hard time doing that unless said bandana is full of holes and ready for the rag bin itself.)
  • Dust deflector
  • Fancy handkerchief
  • Blindfold (Recommended for happy occasions only like surprise parties … nothing devious encouraged here!)
  • Instant table cloth (if you have a small table)
  • Bug zapper (If you have have speedy reflexes and stellar aim, you should be able to take out a few pesky flies with a rolled up bandana!)
  • Coffee filter (Okay, you probably have to be really desperate … but imagine that camping trip where someone forgot the coffee filter … the majority of coffee addicts I know are desperate enough that they’ll go for the bandana.)
  • And of course, a Covid mask

Here’s a complete coincidence, but I encountered my friend Danika yesterday wearing of all things … a red bandana! She had no idea that I had just written the first draft of this ever-important-bandana-post. Thankfully, I didn’t get a “you’re crazy look” when I asked for a selfie.

“It’s for something really important,” I insisted.

And see! She’s one of those beauties who makes bandana wearing fashionable again. (She does good for Covid mask wearing too.) And me? Well, you see for yourself the results above. I’ve definitely got that sneaky bank robber thing going on.

While I’ve brought Danika into all of this, let me point out that she is a fellow blogger and is in the process of creating her own business, Milk N Honey Cakery. She is an amazing cake artist and you’ll love her work. Be forewarned … hers is a dangerous blog site. The pictures are delicious and the posts will leave you hungry. I can’t guarantee that just looking at the food photos won’t add calories.

Here’s her latest post. Check it out and let her know what you think.

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs.  You can read more on my “Thought Blog” at rashellbud.wordpress.com. Wishing you a beautiful day full of the Small Stuff that transforms life into BIG STUFF.

All photos on SmallStuffLiving are the personal property of Sausmus Photography and of this blog. Please do not use without permission. Thanks!

Advertisements come with the territory but do not necessarily reflect my opinion or endorsements.

Nope. The cat did NOT like those bandanas. They are in HER favorite spot for looking out the window, and the raised ears make it clear that she is quite disgusted with me.

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs.  You can read more on my “Thought Blog” at rashellbud.wordpress.com. Wishing you a beautiful day full of the Small Stuff that transforms life into BIG STUFF.

All photos on SmallStuffLiving are the personal property of Sausmus Photography and of this blog. Please do not use without permission. Thanks!

Advertisements come with the territory but do not necessarily reflect my opinion or endorsements.

Sheep and Stuff Like That

You could say I live in cattle country. Actually, it’s wheat country … farmers proudly boast of the highway signs that announce our county as one of the largest wheat producing regions in the nation. When it comes to livestock however, you are most likely to see cows and horses in pastures … and here and there, a few sheep are scattered about… usually for County Fair or 4-H projects … rarely more than a half dozen or so. Oh, and llamas and alpaca’s … we’re seeing them around more and more as well … but this is a blog about sheep.

Large flocks of sheep are not the norm, so My Guy and I were impressed when we rounded a curve and met with this view.

The sight compelled us to let up on the gas pedal, roll to a stop, and climb out of an air-conditioned car into more-than-warm heat to watch and … even more, to listen. Listening is the key here … these guys could ratchet up some noise … bleating … bawling … noisy children vying for attention between gulps of grass.

An odd thought occurred to me …

Sheep have been maligned.

Yup. It’s those darn “sheeple.

” Sheeple”. With political tempers flaring these days, just about everyone, it seems, is labeled a “sheeple” … the dig is meant to suggest that one doesn’t have a mind of their own. I think people really mean to call their opponents “lemmings” but instead it became sheep … you know, those mindless sheep.

However … trust me … sheep have minds of their own. These guys did. It took three sheep dogs and a hawk-eyed shepherd in a golf cart to keep these baaaadies in line. They had all kinds of ideas about where they wanted to wander and several were clever enough to find a way to that greener pasture along side the road … on the wrong

My brother raised a lamb for a high school FFA (Future Farmers of America) project, and I tell you, that little lamb was clever. He found a way to unlatch the gate of his pen and wander across the street to my grandmother’s back door. I don’t know why, but she fed him cookies (may be why he made weight for the showing), and that little guy remembered those cookies. Every chance he got, he escaped and made his way back to Grandma’s house. He butted the screen door with his head until she answered. Pretty smart, if you ask me.

Sheep are clever, useful (for wool), and cute. And tasty … for those who like lamb chops … but I won’t go any further down that road!

Did you also know that sheep are loyal and tend to have friends? I grew curious and found several interesting articles about sheep. Check out this one. Looks like I’m not the only one to feel that sheep have been given a baaaad rap. (Sorry … it’s hard to resist stupid puns!)

The individual personalities of sheep stood out to me that afternoon.

“Listen to all those voices,” I said to My Guy. “They’re talking to each other.”

Sure enough, it seemed like scores of conversations were transpiring amongst the flock; melodic voices, gruff voices, pleading bleats, sharp reprimands, complaints, humored tones, bossy ones. I was certain that a group near the road was gossiping about the ewe that had slipped through the fence and was happily chomping on grass untouched by any of her comrades.

“Greedy,” her friends seemed to say.

“Just wait! That shepherd dude is about to sic one of those hyper dogs on her,” another retorted.

Sure enough, the shepherd rolled up in his cart and with the help of one of the dogs, had her hopping over the fence pronto and back to the herd.

Listening to sheep chatter, I was reminded of the Bible’s word picture … a sheep know a shepherd’s voice, especially a good shepherd’s There’s another side to that … a shepherd knows the voices of his (or her) sheep too. They are as identifiable as a room full of kindergartners would be, similar, but certainly full of individual personalities.

Modern sheep are bred to not have horns, thus they are not as well suited to protecting themselves, but there was a day that could fend off just about any enemy/predator with sharp horns. They throw a pretty vicious kick so aren’t entirely without protective instincts. Still, sheep are vulnerable, particularly to predators like wolves. They need some protection; guidance is a good thing for sheep too. They’re stubborn enough to wander off until they are in over their heads and fat pickin’s for a starving wolf.

Maybe we disdain “sheeple” because we don’t like the idea that humans might be just as vulnerable as our little, wooly friends. Humans seem pretty convinced that we don’t need anyone to tell us what to do. Not sure it works like that though … something to ponder, for sure.

Share your sheep facts and stories in the comments. I bet there are some great ones out there.

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs.  You can read more about my life experiences on my “Thought Blog” at rashellbud.wordpress.com. Wishing you a beautiful day full of the Small Stuff that transforms life into BIG STUFF.
(All photos on SmallStuffLiving is the personal property of Sausmus Photography and of this blog. Please do not use without permission. Thanks!)

Small Stuff Christmas

Our new family motto: Make memories, not injures …

The Christmas forecast played with us.

Snow.

Oops …

No … rain.

Oops … hold that.  It’ll be a cloudy, dry Christmas.

Warm (winter warm) temperatures.

I love white Christmases, but with family driving over mountain passes and flying to an airport an hour away from us, I was okay with the final forecast of a mild Christmas day.

SURPRISE …

We woke up to a dusting of snow.

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White, frosted hope … a sprinkling of all things refreshed, made new.

How appropriate for a Christmas day.

A couple of days earlier, at our little church, the pastor asked the kids why they think people like snow so much at Christmas.

After giggled answers of  “It’s fun” … “I like sledding” … “Snowmen are awesome”… a second grader piped up.

“Snow reminds us that baby Jesus came so our bad stuff can be white … like what snow does.”

Well said, little boy.

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I have to say, the fresh snow felt like a gift from above … a little reminder that in a moment, life can look fresh and hopeful once again.

Since that snow dusted Christmas morning, we’ve slipped into the new year … a whole new decade, even.  A heavy snow met us on the last day of 2019, only to be washed away with heavy rain by the bursting of New Year fireworks.  At least, I think it was all washed away …  our weary bodies didn’t last until midnight to ring in the new year or watch any fireworks on TV.

That doesn’t mean we didn’t celebrate the New Year though … well … at least half of us did.  We’d been looking forward to pot luck and Bunco Night at the town restaurant.  We had joined in last year and had a blast, making new friends, laughing over simple, silly things.

Darn …

I was smote with a nasty sinus head ache late in the afternoon, so sent My Guy to forage for pot luck food at the little market where he found chips and store-bought cookies, while I sat by the fireplace and waited for the the essential oils and pain reliever to kick in.

As I sat there, looking at the fake flames in my otherwise cozy fire place, I thought of all the small stuff that made this holiday season and the upcoming year feel so rich:

The mystery plate of cookies at the front porch.

Another plate of cookies handed to me at work by a woman I admire but rarely get to interact with. It was such an unexpected, heart-felt gesture.  (Not to mention that my family was super pleased since I haven’t taken the time to make cookies the last few years.)

An unexpected text and then exchange of photos and more texts with a friend from childhood. We grew up together just 12 miles away from where I live now, having both travelled parts of the globe, and here we are, still connected at the heart.

The festivity of our small town, including a stunning show of lights across the train trestle that is soon to be converted to a bike and walking trail. 

The kindness of the community to put together a Sharing Tree that provided gifts for families needing extra support this year … a long standing tradition in the community.

The joint effort of two churches who come together at Thanksgiving to worship and then take up donations to provide meals for families during Christmas.

Mom “willed” herself to join us on Christmas.  It was not one of her easier days, but she came, and we so enjoyed the time.

Visits with our kids. Something I know we can’t take for granted. I was very aware of the huge gift these small moments were as many around us lost family and loved ones of late or just were too far away to be with family.

Well-thought out, simple gifts from family. (We kept our budgets very low this year, and somehow, I think the gifts were far more meaningful.)

Laughter as our son-in-law ventured up a giant tree to rescue My Guy’s brand new (bargain-priced) drone that magnetically drifted to the highest limbs of a 50+ foot tree.  (Well, laughter afterwards.  I actually was at work, so wasn’t told of the hi-jinks until all were safe on the ground again.  Thus … our new family motto: Make memories, not injures. Thankfully, we were successful!)

I saw a lot of kindnesses displayed this Christmas … more than I listed here, as many of the stories are not mine to tell.

I don’t watch news much anymore because I see so much cruelty and unkindness.

But, here, in the small stuff, I’ve seen that kindness and compassion for others is still alive and well.

That’s a good note on which to end one year and start another.

 

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Wishing you a year overflowing with kindness and small-stuff possibilities!

 

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Our main street and the whole town was so pretty and festive this year.