Raised in a Barn…

Day-to-Day Life of a Country Mama

Walnut Time

We’re picking up walnuts again. We have been getting cooler weather, which gets them falling. Then, Saturday night, we had a big wind storm come up. Our yard is done and I picked up the ones from the lot closest to our house. We have until Nov. 6 when the huller stops buying them. Hopefully, this will be the year we get to the ones in the hayfield too!


Catch Up 

There hasn’t been much to post about this week. We got back from observing the fall festival and I’ve been playing catch up around the house all week. Somehow I don’t think y’all want to hear about me doing mountains of laundry and other mundane chores….haha. 

I have several projects planned for next week that should be more interesting. We have had such beautiful weather this week that it was driven home to me that I need to hurry and get started on my fall yard and garden projects. I am also trying to get started back on my own scrapbooking since I have Papa’s done. (He loved it!) So I am also working in the evenings to organize my materials to make working on it easier on rainy days. 

The girls are done with breakfast so I better get them ready for the day and get busy! Hope everyone has a productive Friday. 

Threats to Marriage 

I was going through a study yesterday on what love needs. The first thing discussed was commitment. This really struck me. To think that such a basic idea to me would have to be stated astounded me, but then I thought about recent generations. I realized it was probably far from obvious anymore. 

In today’s world where we Christians are trying to stay centered in between the nuts that want to bomb and kill anyone who doesn’t agree and the nuts that want to embrace every form of evil there is, we can’t let ourselves overlook simple truths. Don’t just focus on legal trends like gay marriage; I don’t like many a legal battle we are fighting in this nation, but we can’t let it blind us to other issues. 

Divorce rates are staggering as are single parent and “significant other” households. I’m not saying that all divorce is evil, merely that much of it is self centered. Commitment issues can come in the form of trying to have a relationship without it or refusing to uphold it once it is made. Marriage takes hard work, mutual respect, and compromise. Love is an action, not a mystical feeling. If a marriage seems to be without love, it takes only one person to break the cycle and start acting out with love towards the other. It won’t fix things over night, but it will be a good step in the right direction. 

If we want to help protect traditional marriage, we will also strive against our society’s selfishness and lack of commitment. In addition to fighting the legal battles, we also need to make sure we are focusing on our family lives. Being examples to our children will go a long way to combatting this common threat to healthy marriages. Our children need to know how to choose a spouse, what it takes to remain in a committed union, and the importance of both to their and their future family’s happiness. Let us get out there and be better examples to them. 

Papa, the Writer (a tribute to my father, Ken Tate)


I don’t think I have enjoyed doing research as much as I have this past year. That is how long I have been working on the special project I have alluded to. Now, I get to fill you in. I have been working on a special scrapbook celebrating my father, which will be given to him shortly upon his surprise 65th birthday party. I started work on the scrapbook shortly after his last birthday when he and Mama announced their planned retirement. I even began planning this special blog post a few months after I began working on the scrapbook. I will post it after the party; I don’t want him to accidently see it before we surprise him.
I have learned so much more about his life. I knew that through the years he had been a reporter, teacher, computer tech, and finally editor and designer. Some facts didn’t click for me though. He started out being encouraged as a child to write short stories by my great aunt. She passed on issues of a magazine she subscribed to. Years later, it is that very magazine that he first came to edit for the company he is retiring from now. I honestly can’t begin to tell you about the incredibly full life he and Mama have shared…there is just not enough room in a simple blog post (even such a long one as this is). It spans decades (42 years of marriage), starting and ending in this area, with them living in California twice and Texas once. They moved home to stay shortly before I came around.
While putting the scrapbook together, I have come to appreciate aspects of Papa that I had never thought of before. It is amazing how off our perspective can be growing up. Growing up I thought of Mama as the photographer of the family because she was usually the one taking photos. Later, I learned it was Papa who had the degree in journalism and had worked many years off and on as a professional photographer. Now that I am older I can also see a little clearer through his eyes and understand things a little more. When I was little, I remember him working incredibly long hours out in his office building. I felt in the way at times when I needed his help with school. It was enlightening years later to read his writing from those years, which are full of references to us. He worked hard and always had our family in the forefront of his thoughts.
I would suggest anyone looking to understand and appreciate a parent more to take on a project such as this. Digging into the details of a parent’s life and even family history can speak volumes. Even though our family was so close knit, I have learned more than I could ever have dreamed. I am even more thankful now for the close relationship I have with him.
I look forward to spending even more time with Papa and Mama after their retirement. They have both been my inspiration in work ethic, faith, love, kindness, generosity, and so many other things. They are the reason I am who I am. Maybe someday I will even be able to write as well as Papa has in the pieces I have read recently. I hope that the scrapbook may be passed on to the following generations as a tribute to this outstanding and wonderful man. Goodness knows, in this society, people would say such a man couldn’t exist.

Pineapple Trial Finale

I have bad news for the end of my try at growing a pineapple. Kind of. It’s not that it has died, but it has not grown either. I think I haven’t watered it regularly enough for it to thrive. I also wonder if it needed more intense sunlight. Since we are nearing the end of our area’s growing season, I think I’m going to toss it so I have more room for plants I want to keep through the winter. I have a stevia start that will probably be the next resident of the pot. I may try growing pineapples again another time though!

Almost Done 

I haven’t had much to share this week even though it’s been a busy week. A major portion of it was spent on the surprise project I have been working on. I will be giving it to the person in a little over a week. After that, I will share what it is. It has been a lot of work, but I think it will be great. I am hoping to wrap up the majority of what’s left today. 

A Come Back

The tomatoes are still pretty, except a few bug bites! As you can see we are getting nice small to medium tomatoes from our vines. We are getting enough from our vines in addition to helping Mama and Papa with theirs that we are passing them out to friends. 

I went out this morning with the intention of picking the dried green beans for seed and pulling the vines. That was derailed due to the vines coming back green and a few blooms being present! So instead I picked the beans and watered the vines. We had a visitor that I worked around. I certainly didn’t want to run him off. 

Savannah did a great job helping me shell the beans. We now have probably around 10 oz. of seed for planting. I’ll be curious to see what the vines do, reviving as they are. 

Easy Pizza

This is the easiest from scratch pizza I have ever made, mostly because it doesn’t have a leavening agent!

For the crust: mix 1 cup flour, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, 1 tsp. salt, a dash of pepper, 2 eggs, and 2/3 cup of milk. Lightly grease and dust with flour or corn meal a 12 or 14 inch pizza pan. Spread mixture evenly over bottom of pan. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes at 425. 

After this, get the crust out. Layer your desired toppings on it and return it to the oven. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. 

I love it and it’s so simple. I found this recipe in a book my grandma left behind: Ozark Family Cooking. It’s probably the recipe I have used the most often from the whole book. I have even in a pinch used canned milk. Enjoy!

New Dog House

I have made our dog Dixon a new house. He has turned into a rather large dog so I needed something big. I’m still deciding if I like it or if I will need to do something else. 

It is a repurposed wood grocery display box. I cut an entrance to match his long legs and sealed off the bottom as a side. If it works how I want, this side will go up against our woodpile on the patio. It’s a little rough, but I hope it will work for him. 

Part of the reason I’m concerned about having a good big house for him to get into is the way winter predictions are looking for our area. It’s been several years since we had a harsh winter. This year, the persimmon seeds have a spoon indicating a lot of snow. We had a lot of foggy mornings, which is supposed to indicate the number of snows. Finally, the other day I saw a wooly worm with at least twice the fur on it as last year (if I remember right). 

All these signs together show our area having a true winter this year. Dixon has a thin, short coat and will get cold more easily than our blue healer with his double coat. I want to make sure Dixon has a solid, warm place to curl up. We’ll see if this works or I end up buying him one. 

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