Hammock - an elevated tract of land rising above the general level of a marsh region. Or in other words, where we call home. This is a record of our life, or the "tracks" we leave there. We are the parents of four children. We home school and do other crazy things like raise rabbits, garden, fish, hunt and spend a lot of time together. Just as animals leave tracks in the marsh near our home, we leave tracks here for you to read and hopefully enjoy. Hammock Track Tales is updated almost daily.
Nothing makes a cuter photo than a baby or young child, and since they can be very time consuming and exhausting to care for, I see this as a redeeming feature. My niece came to visit us last week and I got so excited because I knew that a photo opportunity had arrived.
Her mother won extra browny points because she came bearing props. Check out this witch hat.
She didn't think it was nearly as cute as we did. It was a constant battle...on...off...
Once the hat was gone, she set about to explore the plastic pumpkin and the turban gourd.
She now has six teeth...look out pumpkin.
How about this for a jack-o-lantern?
It won't fit in the bucket.
Do you have some shameless bragging photos on your page? Add the link in the comment section below.
Last week I listed the 22 things I had never done. Here are 22 things I have done.
1. Been married for over two decades.
2. Worn the 80s big hair.
3. Had my wisdom teeth removed.
4. Outside of the eight years we lived in New Orleans, always lived in either Florida or Georgia.
5. Grown to love Thanksgiving as my favorite holiday.
6. Been to Europe and I want to go back.
7. Hiked in the Appalachian Mountains for four days and three nights.
8. Been on a Greek Cruise in the Mediterranean Sea.
9. Been the youngest, middle and oldest child. My siblings are spread way out. For five years I was the youngest, and then I was the middle, and then the older two sisters moved out and I became the oldest.
10. Ran a 5k, and beat people half my age...pacing is everything. They had me for the first mile and then I smiled and waved. :)
11. Sold Tupperware.
12. Taken two kids under the age of five on a plane, by myself. I wouldn't recommend it but it is the 2nd best form of birth control. The first is riding with the same two kids in the car for ten hours.
13. Shopped in the wee hours of a Black Friday Sale and had things stolen from my cart. Its a good thing I am a morning person. My daughter's response would not have been nearly as kind.
14. Enjoyed playing with the following toys when I was a child: Star Wars Legos, Mandy Dolls, Holly Hobby, small Matchbox cars, Lite Brite, various Fisher Price Towns, (but the Elevated Garage was my favorite) and a beloved blue bike. I can still see it sitting under the Christmas tree.
15. Stayed up all night on a certain holiday, cursing the creator of a child like item, all the while trying to stay jolly.
16. Always thought that french fries were the perfect food. I've never met one I didn't like and I can rate all those sold at major restaurants.
17. Given up any hope of ever wearing a bikini again.
18. Taught one child to read, graduated another from home school and will graduate the next one in the spring. That's two down and two to go. My home school commitment will be complete in the year '22.
19. Always told everyone in my family that when the last child leaves for college I am buying a red Mustang convertible.
20. Now come to realize that I may look a bit odd driving that car as I will be 53 years old...but it is a chance I am willing to take.
21. A bike that I adore riding and I dream of taking a long cross country trip on it.
22. Four of the cutest and most wonderful children, and I am very proud of them.
On another note...
I recently received an award - The Versatile Blogger Award. I and honored that Elizabeth at Yes, They're All Ours chose me and I need to pass this along to fifteen twelve new bloggers. So here are my choices:
Tonight I began reading the intriguing thriller by Ray Bardbury, "Something Wicked this Way Comes," and it got me to thinking about how many horror stories I've read. I thought I would share that list here, and allow you the opportunity to add your own favorites.
I read these when I was young and they had an impact on my thinking...
The Tell Tale Heart by Poe The Monkey's Paw by WW Jacobs The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Irving Washington
I could relate to "The Tell-Tale Heart" as I remember doing something wrong and when a parent came close to making the discovery my heart seemed to pound through my chest. The other two just spooked me and for days every scratch or bump in the night, set my heart to pounding.
I read these two in high school and they upset my peace of mind because I figured that since they weren't new stories, maybe there was some merit to them.
Dracula Bram Soker Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury
And these I read as an adult. They sent a thrill down my spine and made me wonder when I would sleep through the night again.
Lightning by Dean Koontz Watchers by Dean Koontz Interview With a Vampire by Anne Rice Lasher by Anne Rice Carrie by Stephen King
What about you? What are your top ten favorite horror stories? This post is linked at Oh Amanda.
While I completely enjoyed traveling to Washington DC with the younger children, it was at times a trying experience. Our hotel was in Vienna, Virginia and our day started with the hotel shuttle delivering us to the train station. From there we rode into the city and we wouldn't return until the sun was setting that night. Needless to say when you are shlepping two kids through multiple museums in the rain, which had been coming down all day, things can get kinda tense and Mom can get a wee bit testy.
After running through the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the Air and Space Museum, and the American Indian Museum we were at the footstep of the U.S. Capital. The sun was beginning to drop in the sky and we watched a motor cade travel down the mall. Everything seemed perfect and we approached the tidal basin in front of the capital. My son, who had experienced his first marsh hen hunt the morning we left on vacation, was suddenly transfixed with the mallard population that was happily bobbing in the water. He pointed them out to me between deep breaths that allowed him to play the flute he had purchased at the last museum. The wee girl was delighted that there were lots of shallow stone steps to hop up and down.
And so the following dialogue ensued...
"Oh, kids look it is the capital."
"Toot, toot, toot, Mom! Mom! Mom! Look at that duck."
"Isn't it cool that we are finally here? This is the building where our legislatures meet to discuss laws."
"Toot Mom...get a picture of that duck!"
"Are you looking at the capital son?"
"Toot Toot Toot, We don't have Mallards like this in Georgia. Take a picture so Dad can see it!"
"That's it, son! I don't want to hear anymore about the ducks! I got a picture so that you can show Daddy, now come look at this building we've driven 650 miles to see."
At this point he began to sulk around and no longer tooted as loud on his flute. I decided to enjoy the quieter boy and we changed our course and headed down the long walk that would return us to the subway station. It was going to be a long hike and the pied piper had returned to full volume.
About one third of the way there the wee girl experienced a jabbing pain in her right food. We stopped on the side walk and I removed her sock and shoe, and couldn't discover the source of her discomfort. So we returned to our trek. About half way there the sensation returned and I was forced to carry her the remaining way. At nearly fifty pounds this was an exhausting experience and I was pleased to finally arrive at the top of the escalator that provides access to the train.
Now I need to tell you that my son lives in a very rural part of the country and riding the escalator is one of his biggest joys. All day long I had told him not to play tricks and I had caught him numerous times, trying to jump steps.
While I was heaving at the top of the steps and massaging my aching and jiggling arm muscle, he scooted down a few steps. Somehow, without me knowing it, he had decided to ride sitting and suddenly I heard a large bang as my camera hit the landing and he smacked the ground on his rear. I called out to him and ran down to help him up. At this point the subway police came running over and informed me, in a not too friendly voice, that I shouldn't allow him to ride in a sitting position, as he could lose a finger.
Since I was unaware that he had been sitting all the way down, I assured her that I realized that this was a danger, and I informed her that he had fallen. At this point my son, in a very small and shameful voice, admitted that he had not fallen, but rather had been sitting the entire time. With this realization and the stress of the day, my attention turned fully to my boy. "You were doing what? I've told you all day - Don't do anything but ride!"
I truly don't know what happened to the police officer. I don't know if she decided to step away so that my eyes, which were intently focused on my child's pitiful face, wouldn't bore a hole in her, or if she just had other things to do.
After finally buying our train fare, and climbing aboard we slumped in a seat. In my more relaxed state I reviewed the day and was not pleased with how I had hurt his feelings in regard to the ducks. So, I turned to him and quietly said, "I am sorry I snapped at you about the Mallards."
His reply sent me into peals of laughter.
"I'm sorry I got you in trouble with the police."
For the next twenty minutes the rhythm of the train relaxed our bodies. We ended the night at an Indian Restaurant with my sister, and the next day we headed back into the city.
1. I guess it is my luck that while visiting the capital for the first time in my life I would find the following...The reflecting pool at Lincoln's memorial was drained. The Washington Monument is closed due to the earth quake. The Jefferson Memorial can on be entered from one side. It would rain for most of my visit.
2. My daughter's first ride on the subway was painful. She gripped the door with her hands and screamed, "Does it go under ground?"
3. Food is expensive in D.C. We bought two pieces of pizza, a hamburger, and three drinks for lunch. The final cost? $30
4. The Korean War monument is poignant.
5. The Franklin Delano Roosevelt monument is exquisit - a moving dedication to this incredible man's life.
6. Viewing the city from Arlington House is something you don't want to miss.
7. If it is raining and your visit is a short one, the Old Town Trolley is worth every cent of the admission.
8. Joggers are everywhere.
9. As are police, surveillance cameras, barricades and ducks.
10. The American Indian Museum is nice but not easily enjoyed by children.
11. The maximum number of museums that we could fly through in one day? Three
12 Monuments are different...we explored six, on Friday.
13. And last but not least...I was reminded of how much I love being in a big city. It was with great reluctance that I climbed on the train to return home.
While traveling, yesterday, to Richmond bill boards advertising for "South of the Border" began popping up along side the road. At first I was confused as to what kind of facility this was. It seemed to be a restaurant and then maybe a hotel. Then I saw a leather shop, Reptile Lagoon - the largest indoor reptile exhibit, Pedro Land Amusement Park, import gift shop, and Sombrero Tower, signs. I was very confused about this South of the Border, but based on the signs I was fairly certain that I was about to visit tacky central with a touch of mexican flavor.
This kids were weary from traveling so we decided that we should stretch our legs at the this tourist trap. After checking out the plaster animals we walked into the gift shop. Upon opening the door the smell took me back in time to my childhood in the 70's, when smoking inside of a building was the norm.
Little Mexico Hat shop...how unusual, I thought.
While the kids enjoyed the hats I was quite sure we had entered the Twilight Zone, as we were the only ones shopping or even visiting this amusement-park-like place. It was odd.
Oh my! The selection of shiny brightly colored clay animals they had for sale!
Since visiting, I have looked up South of The Border online. It was originally built in 1949 and was a place that people from North Carolina could cross, just south of the border, and purchase liquor. From there it grew into its present day form and is known as an institution in South Carolina.
This is Pedro and he is 97 feet tall and weighs 77 tons.
The Reptile Lagoon...
The only question that remains is this....Have you been to South of the Border?
Many years ago when I had only been married to Bloodhound a short while, I had an encounter with livestock that was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. Having been raised in Miami I wasn't accustomed to how farm animals sometimes escape. On this Sunday morning I was driving down the long road that leads to our house, when off in the distance I could see a small herd of animals tip-toeing across the street. I slowed Bloodhound's beloved Bronco II, and tried to focus and figure out what kind of animal I was watching sneak off into the marsh. It was a momma pig and her babies.
Now I knew I couldn't just let them go free but I also wasn't willing to herd them myself. Plus, I didn't know where they belonged. There weren't any obvious open pens and all I could see was a house surrounded by woods and the marsh. Where had these creatures come from? My city girl visions of farms consisted of rolling hills, white fences, and red barns. I've since learned that the coastal regions of the south have a much different farm look.
I parked the car and approached the small country house knowing that I was going to be received with trepidation. My lack of a southern accent was not going to help endear me to the person who opened the door, but I persevered anyway. Sure enough I knocked and a small crack developed in the frame of the front door. The voice was kind but very distrustful of the young stranger on the front porch. "Uh, are those your pigs?" I asked, as I pointed toward the rear end of the last animal still in view. I was not expecting the reaction that produced.
She jerked open the front door and burst out on the front porch in a flurry of aggrevation and general displeasure. She was wearing slippers, a faded floral robe with buttons down the front and her hair was up in white curlers. I didn't understand every word she muttered but I did hear her say, "Every time he leaves them creatures escape." She was waving her hands and screeching at them. I didn't know if I should leave or try and help her. At this point the pigs had crossed over to the marsh on the other side of the road and they were happily rooting away. Getting down into the soft mud would be a waste of our time and we'd just end up stinky and covered in marsh muck.
As I contemplated what to do I spied the pig corral that they had escaped from. Down over the edge of the yard where the yard grass met the marsh grass there was a gate. And as I looked closely I could see the fence that ran through the marsh. So this was what a coastal farm looked like. No white fence, rather sapling posts connected with wire fencing. She realized that getting them out of the marsh and back in their pen was not going to happen before church. She kindly thanked me and I went on home to read the Sunday paper that had sent me on my ride that morning.
That was twenty years ago and the generation that raised a few hogs in the marsh has almost passed. Most of them are too old to raise livestock, and their children buy their pork from the grocery store. The road I speak of, is now becoming developed as people new to the area want to build their house on the marsh.
Since this encounter with the pigs and their owner, I have started to ride my bike for exercise, and when I see these lonely fences running through the marsh I feel a bit of sadness in my heart. The girl who grew up with under the blue skies and played in the crystal clear water of south Florida, has come to love the dark waters of the marsh and the sprawling oaks, heavy laden with spanish moss. Yet, it saddens me to see the end of an era and I wonder if these new home owners will truly appreciate the history and the people who lived here when the road was a dirt one, and dinner came from the pen in the marsh and deer that were hunted in the woods.
As much as I like decorating my house for the holidays, I refuse to buy the festive goodies before a holiday. They are so overpriced and usually quite flimsy. I am known to clean up clearance sales, though. One year in early January I bought a little over $1000 worth of Christmas decorations, wrapping paper and four artificial trees for $100. I timed my clearance check at Target really well and they were just marking everything 90% off.
Last year I strolled into the same Target after Halloween and found another 90% mark down. Only this time the discount was on costumes and decorations. Since I cannot sew or make costumes look very realistic, a costume sale is a real find! I can skip buying Christmas decorations but the kids have to get Halloween costumes. At a minimum of $20 a piece it really chafes me to spend that. So, I was elated when I purchased three star wars costumes, a unicorn costume, three pair of Halloween socks, three Halloween t-shirts, two mask kits, and three dog costumes for $34!
For the record...normally the dogs would just have to wear their birthday suits.
As Halloween approached and the kids began discussing what they were going to be this year, I thought of my stash in the attic. On the 1st of this month we pulled down the boxes and decorated the house. The mask kit was a big hit, although, not at all worth it's original price of $10.
It was a great $1 activity, though.
This is Trankenstein as my wee one calls it.
And the boy says he thinks this looks like a Native American ghost.
I'm not sure if I will luck out and hit another after Halloween Clearance, but I'll be looking for one. What about you? Do you shop after the holidays? What is your best clearance find?
My gardening mantra is, "If it thrives without regular watering, weeding or spraying it can stay." Recently a lovely little vine with white dainty flowers took up residence on the edge of my pond. Not only does it meet all of my gardening requirements, but it is also self planting. What a plus. It is mounded and blooming as if I tried to create this lush green look on purpose.
I'm not the only one who likes this vine. It is crawling with many varieties of insects, and you can hear it humming as you approach. I'm not sure what kind of wasp this is but he was very willing to "sit" for my photo. I wish my kids would cooperate like this.
I am fascinated with how each white pedal is frayed on the edge. It gives the plant a very lacy appearance.
I've brought my other plant mysteries to this blog and you have always helped me solve them. Does anyone know what vine this is?
Oh and if you need an image for a hallmark card, what do you think of this one?
A few years ago, before the day had begun or the sun was up, I was awake and knocking out a lot of my chores for the day. I had started some breakfast and a load of laundry. A morning walk was still on my agenda but I wanted to get some meat out of the freezer to defrost for dinner. So, I got on my walking clothes and headed out to our detached garage.
I pulled open the large tin garage door and lifted the lid on my chest freezer. Of course, the food I am looking for is never on the top of the pile, so I proceeded to move stuff around and search for the package I wanted. My hands were getting cold and I was creating an avalanche of food on one side of the freezer when I heard my neighbor call out to me. "Hey!" he said, in a chipper and friendly voice. I remember thinking, "Oh my gosh! Can't I even sneak out to my garage at 5:30 am without someone trying to talk to me." I smothered my resentful feelings and answered with a friendly, "Hello."
Suddenly I had a real cold feeling, and it wasn't coming from the freezer. I knew without a doubt that my neighbor was not outside talking to me. The fact that my response was greeted with a deafening silence confirmed my fears, and although my eyes strained as they searched the darkness, I couldn't find anyone. With both hands I crammed all the stacked food back into the freezer, slammed the lid down and bolted for the house. I waited until daylight before I struck out on my walk.
I'm still not sure who spoke to me that morning but I am positive that they were very friendly and that they were only there for a fleeting moment. I'm not sure how I know this...but I do.
Have you ever experienced a spooky moment?
In the spirit of Halloween I've created this link up. Many of us have had some hard to explain occasions in our lives. These were times when we were never able to pin point what took place, but something unusual definitely transpired.
This link-up will last for the entire month of October.
1. Please link back to this page.
2. Leave a comment in the comment section.
3. Any stories about a spooking event are welcome.
4. It is not mandatory but I would appreciate it if you would follow me on Facebook.
Betty Marie at Seven Steps Up has posted this cute handmade turtle with a removal vest. I am so impressed with her creative talents that I had to share it with you. Make sure and check out all the pictures on her blog and leave her a comment.
Yesterday, while leaving the house on an errand, a momma 'coon (thats what they call them around here) and her two babies scooted across the dirt road, in front of the car. We were traveling very slowly and I was able to get a few shots of them before they scampered up into the oak trees.
Once they reached the first fork in the tree they stopped to watch us.