Photos of Brady

Thursday, June 30, 2005


I have been out watching Napoleon this morning. He is reaaly proud of his tail now, and is all puffed out and struttin' his stuff. I can see where the saying "Proud as a peacock" came from. He seems to be unsure how he got everything all puffed out, or how to get it back down again, but he will figure it out I guess.

Scaredy is back after being gone since I cleaned the garage over the weekend. He is bored with Napoleon, and more interested in his breakfast.

All in all, a good start to the morning here in Smalltown.

Until tomorrow,


Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Last night I found out from the neighbors that the house that was built across the street three years ago has finally sold. The man that had owned all of the big woods on that side of the road died several months ago, but his widow had actively pursed the sale of the house so that the other lots could be sold. It was a provision when the house was built that no other lots could be sold until the first house was off the market.

We have been on borrowed time. Each time I looked at the house, it was a reminder of what could be. Last night as I was walking home from Davey's house I saw a car coming down the road very slowly. It stopped just up from my house, so I walked around the garage to investigate. I was horrified to see the widow taking out red and white FOR SALE signs out of her car and putting them up along the frontal edge of the big woods. My heart sank.

I am just a month shy of being here 33 years. Before that we visited my grandparents here for vacations. The peaceful quality of this country road has many fond memories for me. It was a place of wonder and happiness as a child, refuge and healing as a young teenage mother, and for the past twenty years it has been my home.

These big woods house deer, wild turkeys, squirrels, rabbits, beautiful songbirds, foxes, and the various critters less desireable- skunks, coyotes, possums, racoons, groundhogs, and so on. Add to that our newest resident, our peacock Napoleon Leopold, who came wandering out of the back woods two weeks ago.

Before long the sound of bull dozers and brush hogs will be clearing the timber of the big woods to make room for the 80 new homes they had hoped to build there. Instead of watching the sun set over the trees, there will be houses and roads. People, noise, cars, barking dogs, and no privacy. I used to walk my dog each morning in my nightgown with a cup of coffee. No cars ever went down this road before eight o'clock in the morning when the tow truck driver at the end of our then dead end country road left for work. Now that the road has been cut through to the business route of the highway, we have a lot more traffic.

My heart grieves not only for the changes it will mean for the way of life I have come to love, but for the loss of the big woods themselves, and the birds and animals who call it home.

Sad days ahead...here on my country road.

Until tomorrow,


Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Thanks to new allergy medication I haven't been sleeping very well. Leave it to the advances in modern medicine to create more problems than I had before I began taking it. I went to the doctor last week with a recurring sloshing in my ear, an eye infection, and the always present sneezing and raw throat. She prescribed allergy medication with a decongestant in it and said to take it twice a day, morning and night.

Armed with new hope for my symptoms, I began taking it that night. She forgot to tell me that it would keep me awake. As does the nasal spray. After several hours of good rest, I woke with my heart pounding, and lay awake the rest of the night listening to the things that happen while I sleep. The cat sleeps with her paw on my foot. She snores. The trains go by every 20 to 25 minutes, and they are fond of their horns. The neighbor's horses whinny and snort in the night. Dogs bark at the moon or passing critters, but what does it matter if they're barking? The bevy of stray cats fight at night. A lot. Once I am awake, I notice the carriage clock. It chimes every fifteen minutes. Time goes by very fast in the night when you're wanting to go to sleep and can't, and you know the alarm will be going off soon. Just before the alarm does go off I sleep the best I do all night. Half an hour is not enough to keep my usually perky personality perky all day at work.

To try and combat this problem I began taking the medication only in the morning. The trouble with this strategy is the ear still sloshes, and my throat is getting raw again. However, after several nights of improved sleep I thought my body was adjusting to the meds and last night I took it before bed. I went to bed at 10:15 and slept well. Until 1:03. May I refer you to the second paragraph again for what transpired the rest of the night. The last time I heard the carriage clock chime before the alarm went off at 5:30 was at 5:00.

So. Here I am bleary eyed and awake. Again. My nose isn't running, my throat isn't scratchy, but I can only see out of one eye due to the ointment for the infection, and my ear only sloshes part of the time. I'd say that I'm good to go. Sleep is elusive, but my accelerated heartbeat should keep me awake.

Well, it is time to take my medicine, so have a great day.

Until tomorrow,


Monday, June 27, 2005


Yesterday morning I was wakened from a sound sleep by the honking and screaming of the peacock, so named Napoleon Leopold. (This is thanks to Ellen, who submitted both names.) I thought that some creature, critter, or person nabbed the poor thing off the roost and made off with him. Since it was still predawn, I couldn't tell what had happened, peace and quiet descended once more, and I returned to the warmth and comfort of my new bed. Ah, sweet slumber.

In my comings and goings Saturday, I didn't see Napoleon. His favorite perch is my porch rail, which was now occupied by Scaredy. He gives Napoleon a wide berth, but seeing the railing vacant, he took advantage of the situation and proceeded to nap there. It wasn't until I came out of the house to take some trash to the garage that I spotted Napoleon scratching at the mulch in my new woodland garden. He looked exactly like a big blue and green chicken. NOOOOO!!!!!! I waved my arms and yelled at him, but evidently peacocks aren't impressed with humans in the height of upset. He merely raised his regal head, blinked his eyes at me and returned to grazing.

Yesterday, I didn't see him in the morning, and as always I hoped that he had packed up his feathers and moved on. I had to run to Springfield to pick up a tub surround for the bathroom, and was gone several hours. When I got back Rocky and mom assisted me in getting the huge box into the house. When we rounded the corner to the door, there was Napoleon sitting on the porch rail. Scaredy was sleeping on the porch below, and everything was the picture of domestic bliss.

In the afternoon I decided to clean the garage, which has a disaster. This is always a great activity in the 90 degree heat and 90% humidity. No need for a sauna when you live in the Ozarks. Scaredy took off for quieter climes, but Napoleon jumped right into the middle of everything. He was taken with peeking at me through the garage window first, but soon came strutting around the doors and watched me carrying things out to the burn pile. We had a little pop up shower, which was great, as then I could burn what I was going to have to haul away.

I am not an animal and critter expert, but I have learned a lot about animals and nature since coming to live here in the country almost 33 years ago. One of the givens is that critters don't like fire. Once I started the burn pile in the ditch, I was busy carrying things out there so the fire didn't die. Imagine my surprise when I took some boxes out there and Napoleon was down in the ditch picking around the flames.

Some things are better left alone. I finished cleaning, sweeping and burning, and shut the garage doors. When I went into the house, Napoleon was still out there hovering around the fire. Worst case scenario? Roast peacock. In reality? The fire died down, and Napoleon is strutting around the front yard this morning, regal as you please.

Just another day....here on my country road.

Until tomorrow,


Friday, June 24, 2005


For the past half hour I have been outside enjoying nature greet the new day. After the punishing heat of the Ozark afternoons, early mornings are a wonderful contrast. There is a foggy haze hanging in the trees of the big woods, and a cool dampness that settles on your skin. I really believe that the cardinals and other songbirds have no sweeter or more beautiful song than in the early morning. After the restful night, they serenade the sun as it rises, and their melodious praise to their Creator is truly a joy unspeakable. My heart fills and soars. Oh to be able to sing so beautifully. It has always been a lesson for me to observe how nature praises God and reflects His love.

Although the peacock doesn't have a melodious song, he is beautiful in his plumage. He struts around my humble little yard like a conquering king, his brilliant iridescent blue and green feathers shimmering in the morning sunlight. His little crown feathers on top of his head always make me laugh, although he is very indignant about that.

My grass and the new garden addition are gorgeous in the early hours of the day. The dew still adorns the foliage and blooms, and the plants seemingly stand at attention in the cooler temperatures. Even though they have no voice to raise in song, they are singing. Lifting heavenward, the little plants look as though they have grown six inches overnight.

Basking in the sights and sounds of the new day, I too lift my praise to the heavens. My heart is full, my soul fed, and the day is at hand....here on my country road.

Have a wonderful Friday and an enjoyable weekend. Take time to look around and enjoy your little corner of the world.


Thursday, June 23, 2005


After one full week, the peacock shows no sign of moving on. Cassie put it right on the mark when she said he may not be my peacock, but I am definitely his person. He likes my yard, and it is quieter here than down at mom's house.

Attempts to catch him and take him to a farm didn't work, and I am torn on whether to call the Conservation agents to come get him. I was poised to do that yesterday morning when I was warned by several people that he would just be turned out into the woods to fend for himself, or worse.

As long as I keep my car in the garage, he really keeps to himself. I suppose that as long as things stay on an even keel I will just let him strut his stuff and let nature take its course. I don't know how he will survive the colder temperatures of winter, but that is a long way from now. He is working overtime to keep cool in the 95 degree Ozark heat, and he seems to enjoy the sprinkler being on when I water the grass.

Scaredy is a little unsure about the strange creature, but they seem to have come to terms with each other. The wrens aren't so sure, but they are safer with the peacock than with Scaredy. He sleeps on the porch through the day, and as soon as the parents push the little ones from the nest they will fall literally at his feet. Or paws, in this case.

Nature is a strange thing. Does anyone have ideas for a name for the peacock? I have been hesitant to name him, because that is one step closer to ownership. Just another day in the life....here on my country road.

Until tomorrow,


Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Well, the peacock story continues.
The big peacock

I found several places in my yard where the peacock has scratched up a dirt hole to lay in. Maybe he is part pig. At any rate, I am not happy about that, since I am trying to get my grass to grow. Then there are the many piles of droppings. Everywhere.

Mom called me at work yesterday to tell me "my" peacock was perched on my porch rail as if he owned the place. Great. When I came home it was as I feared. Droppings on the porch. Mom's cat Callie seems to be enthralled with the peacock. I saw her twice over the weekend up here following the big bird around. Last night Geraline called me from across the cow pasture. Bob was sitting out in their yard watching an unusually big bird in the oak tree in his cow pasture. I walked out to see, and yes, there he was, with binoculars. I waved to him, while answering Geraline's questions.

"No, it is not my pet. Yes, it is a big bird. It's a peacock. No, I didn't know it was in your big oak tree. I'm sure that the horses won't hurt it. Yes, it is a young male, and yes it is beginning to grow his long tail feathers. No, I don't know where it came from. Tell Bob I said hello."

This morning I walked out to water my garden and new grass. As soon as I turned on the water for the sprinkler, I heard the peacock fly off my roof and land at my feet. Now he is walking around in my driveway picking for grit. He likes to walk in the shower from the sprinkler.

I am sure that the little wren family about had a heart attack yesterday afternoon when the big bird flew up and perched on the porch rail. He would have been just a foot or two from their little home, and they are working constantly to feed their little ones. They scold the peacock, but are going about their business. Wrens are so little, that it makes a funny picture when you see them next to BIG BIRD.

I can hardly wait to see what unfolds today.....here on my country road.

Until tomorrow,


Monday, June 20, 2005


Well, the initial novelty with the peacock has faded. He was sitting on Rocky's old car over in my brother George's lot, but I noticed he had taken a shine to my car on Saturday. Since I got tired of washing big piles of green peacock droppings off of the hood of my car, and worried about his claws scratching the surface of the paint, I finally put it in the garage.

We had found a home for him, but catching him proved to be a problem. Rocky's daughter and son-in-law came yesterday for Father's day, and were going to take him three hours away to their farm. All afternoon we tried to catch him, but to no avail. So, we are left with the pesky thing.

I suppose that I will just relax and enjoy him for as long as he is here. He just appeared one day and he will leave the same way. Until then, I will have to leave my car in the garage. It is a light gold color, and I suppose that he thinks it is a big golden egg or something. Now if he was a goose, that analogy would make more sense. I have heard that there are certain colors they are drawn to, and gold must be on top of the list.

At any rate, we are trying to accomodate the newest resident...here on my country road.

Until tomorrow,


Saturday, June 18, 2005


We have an unexpected and unexplained visitor here on my country road.

Thursday while Matt was sitting on my garden bench reading, a peacock came strolling into my little garden and began grazing for food. We do have an abundance of songbirds and woodpeckers, an occasional migrating oddity that stays a few days and moves on, a time or two a guinea, but never a peacock. While I have often written of the strange critters that we have here, this has got to be a first.

Matt and I had a wonderful visit. He enjoyed some country air, a slower pace, and some up close and quality time with the peacock. My mom has a digital camera that she loaned him to take some pictures of it, and it is a very handsome bird. His tail feathers are missing, but they are beginning to grow again. He likes to strut around my brother George's lot, perch on top of Rocky's old car which is parked there, graze in my garden, observe activity from my garage roof, and roost in the trees behind my house.

This morning he is still with us, and enjoying the scratch corn Rocky set out for him. At least for a time, we have a new resident....here on my country road.

Until next time,


Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Good morning and happy Wednesday. I have finally arrived at the midway point to the work week, and also my Friday. When I get home this evening I will begin a little mini vacation. I'll be back at my computer in Smalltown Saturday morning, good Lord willing.

I hope that the rest of your week is a good one. Until Saturday, God bless.



Tuesday, June 14, 2005


I noticed yesterday that the second batch of wren babies has hatched out. As I was coming up the steps to the porch I could hear the peeping coming from the little bird house wind chime they call home. The parents are working hard to feed their little brood, and the demanding peeping tells me that they have several to take care of.

I am happy, as the little wren is one of my favorite songbirds. They have the most beautiful song, and are happy, industrious little birds. Since they are raising their young right at my front door, I see them each time I open the door. When I walk up the steps the mom or dad flies away from the nest, causing the windchime to tinkle and the little house to sway precariously.

If I can keep the many stray cats away from the hatchlings once the parents nudge them out of the nest, I will have a good number of wrens to enjoy all summer. Time will tell. We had several hours of severe weather in the night, and I heard the little chime even over the wind. They most likely had quite a ride.

This morning the clouds have passed and the sun is up. It promises to be a beautiful day here in the Ozarks. I hope that whatever you do, you have sunshine and blue sky.

Until tomorrow,


Monday, June 13, 2005


Good Monday morning.

Saturday Rocky and I went down to the furniture store and got my new mattress set. It wasn't an excursion without problems. We hadn't even hooked up the trailer yet when we got a huge downpour. One would think this might be considered an omen and just called it a day. However, I wanted to get the deed done, and didn't want to sleep on the old one another week. I have had worse allergies this year, and suspect the mattress was the culprit. The mattress set I had was the one I slept on as a little girl at home, and I am now 51.

The rainstorm finally abated, and Rocky and I started off. Since the store is 20 minutes away, I was afraid that we would run into more rain, but we didn't. It didn't take long to lay down on all of the mattress sets they had on display and make my choice. They were having a big blowout sale on the manufacturer that made the one I wanted. Very good news. I was able to upgrade to a better set than I was going to buy, and got what I wanted in the process. Rocky wanted to get a set for mom and himself, so we called her and she said to bring it home. With both Rocky and I purchasing a set I asked for a discount. They knocked off another 100.00 for us.

By the time we got the deal done, everything loaded and strapped down, and home, the sky was threatening rain again. We stopped here first and took out my old set and got the new one inside, and their old set moved and the new one in their house before the rain began.

Suffice to say it was an experience, but mom and Rocky love their new bed, as do I. Since the mattress is a pillow top affair, now my sheets don't fit. The only set I have that is deep enough to go over the mattress is the good set my daughter bought me for Christmas. Looks like I will be using them until I get some more.

Yesterday I cleaned house, cleaned out clutter, and took things to the neighbors or mom and Rocky I knew they could use. It is a struggle to keep ahead of things.

Last night strong storms moved through, much of the area getting 80 mile per hour wind. There was a tornado warning for the country to our north, but we escaped severe weather here in Smalltown.

Today is kick butt Monday, so I hope that you are geared up and ready to greet the day.
Until tomorrow,


Saturday, June 11, 2005


Today I have shifted my focus inside to cleaning and sorting. We have a gray overcast day, so I won't be tempted to go outside and soak up the sunshine and warmth. It is amazing how much stuff you can accumulate in so short a time. It seems that I just did spring cleaning and sorting, and here I am doing it again. Since I live alone, it is hard to blame it on anyone else.

I have also been shopping for a new mattress and boxspring for the bed. I haven't ever had a new one. The one I am using now was given to me as a child with an antique bed my piano teacher gave to me. The mattress is a horsehair affair, and the box spring is an old metal contraption that doesn't fit well in the hollywood frame I now have. As my grandmother used to say, always something. I would love to have a new pillowtop set, but I know in looking around that it won't be in my budget.

Tomorrow I will hopefully be able to get to the grocery store to stock the pantry. I have let the staples sag a bit this summer, and with company coming I need to pick up a few things to make some goodies.

Whatever your pursuits for the weekend, I hope you have a relaxing and yet productive two days. There is nothing like a little time at home to recharge.

Until Monday morning,


Friday, June 10, 2005


The sunshine is streaming through the trees of the big woods, the birds are singing, and there is a plaintive train whistle echoing across the valley below my country road. The day promises to be beautiful and it is the last day of the work week.

When rain has passed by Smalltown for the past two nights, it means having to water before I leave for work. Hopefully today we will be the recipient of a rainshower, but I am not going to hold my breath.

I heard from several of you who experienced sad episodes with babies of nature, whether it was a bunny, baby bird, kitten or puppy. There is nothing more frustrating or painful than knowing that the little creature you are trying to save will not make it. It is a wonderful commentary that so many of you have made the attempt. It buoys my belief in the goodness of human nature.

Happy Friday,


Wednesday, June 08, 2005


At long last, blessed, blessed rain.

After more than a month, we finally got much needed rain yesterday. While I was on the way to work, I saw the most beautiful rainbow stretched across the sky. Since all of the rainclouds were north of us, and we likely wouldn't receive any rain ourselves, it was still a breathtaking sight. Once at work I got busy and forgot about it. An hour later, we heard the telltale sounds of thunder. It didn't even make me mad to get wet as I dashed to and from the building giving driving tests, as we had waited so long for rain.

This morning everything looks lush and green, much revived from just yesterday morning. Even though I have been watering each day, nothing can water like mother nature. We also have a chance of heavy rain this afternoon, and I hope it is the case.

On a down side, Rocky called me last night after rescuing a baby bunny from their cat, Callie. I don't think he expected it to survive the experience, certainly not live through the night. Although pets can provide so much in some ways, they can be exasperating in others. The whole chain of nature can be so very cruel, and for soft hearted people like us, it is indeed a heartache.

I will be interested to see how the little fella made out, and I hope that should he survive this terrible experience, he will have a better life in the big woods......here on our country road.


Tuesday, June 07, 2005


After an absence of almost five weeks, little Scaredy has returned home. When I got out of my car after work last night I heard his distinctive meow. It took him a few minutes to come out from under the yew bushes by the front porch, but he did come out.

He didn't have any explanation as to where he had been or what he has been up to, but he seemed happy to be home. Who knows how long he will stay or if he will stay, but for now he seems content to have found his way here once again.

Paddy has come out of the back bedroom and is now roaming the house since Srappy has been gone. It has been two weeks, and she has stopped slinking around looking for him to pounce on her at every turn. Hopefully she will not be lonely and adjust to being an only cat in time. She plays with her little toys now, and enjoys running up and down the hallway.

They say that alls well that ends well. At least for today, I find this to be true. Never give up. The lost is always found if the heart truly believes.

Until tomorrow,


Monday, June 06, 2005


Hurray, it's Monday!

We have arrived back at Monday morning once again. This is the first day of the work week, and I am always anxious to get this one out of the way. Most people begin getting queasy on Sunday afternoon just thinking about having to go back to work Monday morning, but I changed my attitude about it years ago. I suppose you could say it is a glass half full kind of mentality, but once Monday is over, I only have four more days until the weekend. How great is that?

Actually my Monday is an easy day. After killing myself in the yard and doing house work all weekend, it is my desk day. I can sit and relax, taking care of the desk work and catching up on reading. I save my new magazines for Mondays, and between customers I can peruse those. If I don't have a magazine to look at, there is a library on the first floor and I can borrow some of theirs. All in all a good day.

Many times it is Mondays where inspiration strikes for a blog story or book idea. I have a notebook full of them, awaiting the time it takes to expand the thoughts. Actually I am struggling for the time to finish the things I have started, but my schedule is full right now.

I hope that you have a great kick butt Monday. There are great things out there that need someone to accomplish them, and I'm thinking that some of you have what it takes to get the job done.

Until tomorrow,


Sunday, June 05, 2005


We are in the midst of our summer drought already, which is not good for the new garden I put in or the several bushes I transplanted from the yard. When I got home last night they were wilted down and looked dead. In the dry summer heat and hot wind, the health they had enjoyed just yesterday was gone. There was nothing to do but water. After several good soaks, I closed the front door and hoped for the best. This morning they look much revived, but the damage they have already suffered may be permanent. Time will tell.

My new grass has been like a beacon to the bunnies in the area. I never saw any before the grass came up. Now, any time I step onto the front stoop there are bunnies happily munching the bright green shoots of baby grass. It is fun to watch them enjoying it.

The new garden is coming along. The main thing now is to keep it watered and tended against the heat. I am still thinking about the new little patio project. Right now my garden bench is sitting on the rise above the new garden and my new grass. I can watch the bunnies eat, the birds flit from tree to tree, and see the beautiful container gardens that are lush now. I haven't decided just what to do for a patio yet, but it gives me something to think about while I enjoy the yard.

This morning I am on my way down to get Davey, who is going to help me gather rocks from the yard. This is an ongoing project in Missouri. They spring up overnight while we sleep. It is a good project for an active 5 year old boy.

Later I have housework and laundry, then I can read the new Nicholas Sparks novel I got yesterday. Enjoy your day.

Until tomorrow,


Friday, June 03, 2005


Don't you just love the comfort of routine and the promise of an ordinary day? I have finally arrived at Friday, which thank goodness is the last day of my work week. All that seperates me from the weekend is an eight hour day.

I know what to expect today. I will travel the hour and a half to the town I will be working in, test applicants until midafternoon and drive back home. It is a no brainer, and surely I can coast into the weekend without much fanfare.

I have more than enough to keep me busy for the entire weekend, as the house has suffered from outside projects. There is a lot of clutter to wade through, and I am glad to get at it. One can only take so much before the heebie jeebies spur you to action.

I trust you have a low key day, an ordinary day, as well. Enjoy the last day of the work week, and I hope that before you know it you are on the way home.

Until tomorrow,


Thursday, June 02, 2005


We have arrived at the official beginning of summer. The cool mornings give way to afternoon heat in the eighties and the sun is strong and hot. I noticed over the long weekend that the sweat bees are merciless. I am covered with big lumps from the biting pests, and as I am allergic to insect bites they will hang on for days. The humidity has steadily crept up, and today it will make the day sticky.

With school out for summer, my morning drive time is greatly improved. Since there is only one intersection in Smalltown, and it being a four way stop, it takes several minutes to get through it. The school busses are usually backed up at every street, kids hanging out the windows and waving to passing motorists. Now it is blessedly quiet. No school busses, no strings of cars. The students are home, most likely still sleeping.

Normally I try to have any yard work done by June. The temperatures steadily climb, the sun gets hot, and the humidity is stifling. It is good to have either a sprinkler or a soaker hose if you work, because the rain quits coming and without watering, all of your hard efforts curl up and turn brown.

Soon I will be able to go down and swim with Davey. They are getting the pool set up this week. Although he wanted to attend summer school, he will have plenty of time to swim once he gets home.

June is a wonderful month. It is filled with family vacations and getaways, sunshine, and the promise of lazy summer days. Although for grownups life goes on much the same, I still remember the excitement of summer and the myriad of things I wanted to do.

Happy June.
Until tomorrow,


Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Well, just when you think you can't be any more stiff and sore.....

Last night I got the rest of the mulch laid down. Four yards of mulch is a lot for a simple shovel and pitch fork operation like I run. anyway, it looks like I am going to have to get another couple of yards to finish up. While I was watering last night I noticed several thin places where I could see the landscape fabric. This is the project that just won't quit.

I am very gratified that the finished project is beautiful. I have a mixed border of colorful shrubs, hostas, daylilies, dwarf conifers, ornamental grasses, and some of grandma's special rocks artfully placed. It really is pretty, and different from any other border I have ever done. I wanted something I wouldn't have to fuss with all the time, and this is a winning combination.

Well, the old clock on the wall tells me that it is time to take some motrin, fix some tea and breakfast, and get ready for another day at work. The excitement never ends....here on my country road. Have a wonderful day.

Until tomorrow,