Published in the Rains County Leader on June 26, 2018:
One of the first things I learned about living in the country is that there is no shortage of critters – four-legged, winged, large, small, and in-between. Many of my columns have been devoted to my issues with gophers and moles, wild pigs, and bugs of all sorts.
During the years when I planted a garden, my most successful crop was garlic. My neighbor Dirk, who I long ago christened the Garlic King of Rains County, grows garlic that is both huge and delicious, and he generously shares bulbs for planting. With his expert advice, all my bulbs sprouted, grew tall, and put out buds that promised beautiful, orchid-like blooms. Unfortunately, in order to produce the healthiest crop, I had to clip off the buds, but the mild, tasty results were worth it. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on September 26, 2017:
Okra had no place in our home when I was a kid. I don’t know if it was because nobody liked it or because it didn’t come in a can. Mom and Dad both worked long hours, and I began cooking dinner for the family when I was eleven, so there wasn’t much time or skill for preparing fresh veggies.
Okra wasn’t one of those dishes that made a regular appearance at church or family potlucks either. Fried okra doesn’t travel well or keep well like fried chicken, and boiled okra is – well, it’s boiled okra. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on June 20, 2017:
To say that I decided not to plant a garden this year wouldn’t really be accurate. What really happened was that I procrastinated. Taking it one day at a time, I told myself that I would begin the tilling, the preparation, and the planting tomorrow or next weekend. I told myself there was still plenty of time until now it’s almost time to begin thinking about a Fall garden. The amazing thing is, after all that dawdling, I’ve discovered that I don’t need a garden after all. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on May 9, 2017:
When I sat down to write this week’s column, it was one of those times when I stared at the blank screen while the cursor blinked at me saying, “Well, write something.” Several hours later, I was still staring and it was still blinking, so I stopped and fixed dinner.
While I was staring, and while I was cooking, I was also thinking. I was thinking about all the stories I heard this past week about how our community has come together to help their neighbors in need. The stories were really good ones, but there are problems. First, many of the stories have already been reported and second, the people involved in the other stories are friends of mine. Most of my friends have, at one time or another, been the subject of one of my columns. Now when they tell me a story, they look at me with a grin and say, “Don’t you write about this.” (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on December 20, 2016:
The Rains County Leader always closes for the last week of the year, so this will be the last issue of the paper until 2017. Following the example of many of news programs and talk shows, I did a quick review of my columns from the last year. Here is a brief overview of what I shared with your during 2016. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on November 22, 2016:
I developed the habit of keeping a gratitude journal years ago when Mom and Dad lived with us. Caring for two people with Alzheimer’s, regardless of how much you love them, is enough to change the most positive person into a grouch. When I realized how negative I had become, I bought a small notebook and resolved to write down at least three things each day for which I was grateful. Finding three things proved to be more difficult on some days than others, but after months of practice and discipline, my attitude began to change. I learned to look for and appreciate the small joys and to overlook the less joyful moments. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on April 12, 2016:
The gophers will not be happy!
The big garden news this years is that there’s not much garden, at least so far. The gophers will be disappointed to know that I missed the fall garlic planting altogether. About eight or ten volunteer plants sprouted in the garden area, and about that many came up around the back porch where Kitty knocked them off the drying rack last summer. Aside from that, my little underground friends will have to go elsewhere to find seasoning for their Italian meals, and the squirrels will have to do without early tomatoes for their salads. (more…)
Kitty weighs 6 pounds now.
For those who have asked recently, Kitty is doing fine. She is still in residence at the Brendle home and is still an outside cat except on days when it is extremely hot or rainy. On those days she is invited into the laundry room where she enjoys lazing on the cool tile floor, playing with the work boots and shoes lined up in front of the washer and dryer, and occasionally turning over the trash can. (more…)
This is what I wrote for my City Girl column in the Rains County Leader this week:
I may be in danger of losing my identity as a city girl. Last week David and I drove into the city, and I didn’t like it very much – at least the city part of it.
In February, the winter weather prevented some of our friends from the Dallas area from coming to Emory for my first book signing. Two absentees were Peggy and James, the former neighbors and motorcycle buddies who play several pivotal roles in my book. Even though we hadn’t seen each other since 2007 when we came through the Metroplex in our RV, Peggy and I have kept in touch by email and Facebook. Disappointed by the lost opportunity to reconnect at the signing, we devised another plan – she invited me to speak at an upcoming Sunday school dinner. As the time drew closer, James suggested that we spend the night so we could have more time to catch up. (more…)
Thankfully, our fallen limbs weren’t nearly this big…
Friday night’s storm left its mark on the Brendle homestead. When we looked out the windows Saturday morning, we saw several fallen limbs and more standing water than most Texas homeowners see unless a water line has sprung a leak. After breakfast, David went to check out the damage. A few minutes later he stuck his head in the front door. (more…)