Suzy & Spice

a pinch of this, a dash of that

Archive for the ‘nature’ Category

Surprised by lilies

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on August 2, 2010

Someone planted lilies in my flower bed while I wasn’t looking.

A few minutes ago, I went out to water the flowers on the front porch, and when I was finished I looked down at the flower bed below and could not believe my eyes.

Two beautiful, pale pink lilies were standing tall next to the nandinas. We left town Thursday morning and didn’t return until Sunday night, so I’m not sure when these beauties sprouted. (Mom watered for me a couple of times while we were gone, but she obviously didn’t see them.)

This was the best photo I could take of my delicate new friends. The rest of the shots are quite foggy; a huge humidity pod has taken over the South, and my camera lens is one of its more sensitive victims. When the temp reaches more than 100 degrees and the humidity is, like, a zillion percent, what chance does a cold little piece of glass have when it meets up with the big bad, moist hot air outside? I just could not keep that foggy lens clear while I took pictures, so I decided to take some through the fog. Those will be known as the “art” shots, although you probably will never see them here because they are SO foggy.

I try not to complain too much about the weather, but I have done my share of whining this year. The humidity makes me cranky. I LOVE our new home in Batesville, but I’ve spent a lot more time in the yard here than I had at the North Little Rock house the past couple of summers. This means more hair washing (sweaty, yucky hair), more showers, more mosquito bites – but in the end, more joy, too.

Have I mentioned I love digging in the dirt? Why, I believe I have mentioned it a couple of times (click here and  here to see my older posts about flowers and gardening).

It’s still true.

Gardening is one of life’s profound and simple pleasures, and if a little humidity (and by that you know I mean a LOT of humidity) is the price I have to pay, it’s worth it.

It’s worth the mosquito bites, the ant hills, the chipped fingernails – even the sweat trickling down places you shouldn’t mention in public.

And every once in a while you get a sweet surprise.

Pale pink lilies.

Posted in flowers, gardening, nature | 1 Comment »

The good Earth

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on April 19, 2009

The Certified Arkansas Farmers Market (Sixth & Main streets in North Little Rock’s Argenta neighboorhood) opened yesterday for the 2009 season. I really hated to miss it, but Bruce and I went to Batesville for the annual Scottish festival at Lyon College (more on that later). But I’m so excited that it’s finally open! Saturday, April 25, is Basket-A-Month pickup day, so I can’t wait for the fresh eggs, milk, cheese, pasta, STRAWBERRIES and other goodies that will be in the basket. Maybe I’ll make strawberry cake or muffins next weekend!

Come on down Saturday for fresh, Arkansas-grown produce, dairy, beefalo, honey, homemade pasta and much more. Support your local farmer. Maybe you’ll see us there. Bruce and I will be volunteering during the basket pickup.

After that, walk down to Riverfront Park for the Arkansas Earth Day Festival. The festival is on the North Little Rock side of the river between the Main Street and Broadway bridges. Maybe you’ll see me there. I’ll be volunteering at the Basket-A-Month booth.

The festival is on the 25th, although Earth Day is Wednesday, April 22. Poke around the official Earth Day site and find out little ways you can make a difference. Support your local planet.

Posted in environment, food, inspiration, nature, reaching out, volunteering | 2 Comments »

Random thoughts

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on March 22, 2009

My fans (all three of you people who read my blog) have been admonishing me to publish something. I haven’t posted in a while, but not for lack of wanting to. I’ve just been extremely laz — err, busy.

So, while I wait for my mom’s tax return to finish printing, I’ll grace you with some of the fascinating things I have been doing, thinking or saying lately:

  • After two weeks of working on it in spurts, I have finally finished Mom’s tax return. No, you cannot borrow money from her. Because she helped her children so much last year, there is nothing left to loan. Thanks, Mom. We owe you.
  • I chopped off my fingernails the other day to get better at the little game on my new cell phone that I am obsessed with (the game, not the phone), and it didn’t make one bit of difference. Even with nails cut to the nub, I am still pitiful at batting a little ball with a paddle at a bunch of electronic bricks.
  • I make up little songs, sometimes to amuse Bruce, sometimes to amuse myself. Frequently these little ditties are about the dogs. Almost all of them are about what I happen to be doing at the time I sing them. If Bruce isn’t amused, he doesn’t let me know it. He makes up random funny songs, too. We’re weird together.
  • I would love to be in a musical. Like South Pacific, The Music Man, Oklahoma! or my favorite, Camelot. Or how about The Sound of Music II: Suzl, the Forgotten von Trapp? I would be great in that! Not that I can sing.
  • Although Saturday night was an exception (I went to bed at 7:30), I have been staying up until nearly 10:30 lately! (I don’t think I’ve adjusted to daylight saving time yet.) Still, unless you’re my mother, my brother or my husband, or you’re bleeding from both eyes, don’t call me after 9 p.m., even on weekends. I will be mad at you.
  • It’s spring! And I pulled weeds this weekend (both days). And when I got tired of pulling the little suckers, there were still a BUNCH of them left. Today after I got tired and decided not to pull any more weeds, two neighbor boys rode their bikes up to my driveway and asked me if I had any work for them. Now I’m $10 poorer, but my rose bed looks a lot better. They want to come and mow the lawn in a few days. I think I’ll let them. (Note to self: Restock the Popsicle stash.)
  • I LOVE seeing kids take some initiative and get out and earn some money instead of sitting on their bee-hinds in front of the TV or a computer.
  • The dogs finally got baths today. This hadn’t happened since (don’t tell anyone) November. Salsa didn’t like it, but she didn’t bite me once!
  • My friend Lynn, whom I wrote about a few weeks ago (yikes, it’s been nearly three months!), is going to share the Basket-A-Month with me this year. Next weekend is the pickup. SPRING VEGETABLES! FARM-FRESH EGGS, HOMEMADE PASTA! SOURDOUGH BREAD! I’M YELLING BECAUSE I’M DELIRIOUSLY HAPPY!!!!! And Lynn said she’d bring me some of her asparagus and a couple of good recipes. Double happiness!
  • Baseball season is almost upon us, and I’m thinking of Travelers and sunshine. And hot dogs, which absolutely must be consumed at baseball games, no matter what.
  • I’m reading Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, which I started reading in college but never finished. My favorite journalism professor recommended it, although it was not required reading. I didn’t do a lot of extracurricular reading in college. I was too busy with the school newspaper and reading for classes. But I’m enjoying this book once again, and I’m determined to finish it this time.
  • I have new flip-flops. They’re black. Well, they’re sort of brown now, because of the weed-pulling.
  • I’m supposed to be making a blackberry-jam cake for my neighbor, who’s going to pay me for it, but she didn’t give me a deadline and I keep putting it off. It’s the pressure. She had one at a friend’s out of town, and it was to-die-for delicious, and I’ve had to Google to find a recipe that seems to approximate what she had. So, pressure. Which makes me procrastinate.
  • More pressure: My church is doing a 25th-anniversary cookbook, and I’m supposed to provide a recipe for my “signature” dish, and I can’t decide whether to share my recipe for carrot cake, which I make money from, or be selfish and keep it to myself. My other cake recipe that gets rave reviews is from Paula Deen, and I want to make sure we won’t be violating any copyrights before I share it. It’s called White Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Filling. It’s lick-the-bottom-of-the-pan good. I don’t think I’ve shared photos of it that I took when I was making business cards year before last. So let’s end this on a happy foodnote:

white_chocolate_cake1

Click the comment button to share some of your own random thoughts.

Posted in baking, baseball, books, dogs, flowers, food, friends, fun, home, nature | 4 Comments »

Happy birthday, Dad

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on July 11, 2008

Bennie Lee Taylor was born July 11, 1938, in Izard County, Arkansas, the second of four children born to Joseph Benjamin and Tressie Lee Hinson Taylor. He died Dec. 23, 1997.
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He would have been 70 years old today.
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I had in mind to write a long, glowing tribute to my dad, but time (and my eyesight) has gotten away from me today. So I’m going to try to capture some of his life in pictures and not write all the things that are in my heart (it would take too long this evening).

First up, some photos from when he was a boy. (Descriptions below.)

Dad as a boy with family, 1930s and 1940s.

Dad as a boy with family, 1930s and 1940s.

In the photo at top left, he’s the baby, with his mother and his brother Tom. Top right, he’s the boy on the left. That’s his mom behind him; the other woman is one of Grandma’s three sisters, Retha. In the middle is dad’s sister Joan (pronounced JoAnn), and on the right is brother Tom. In this photo, it seems Grandma is pregnant with Uncle Carlos. Below left is Tom, Joan and Dad. In the last photo, below right, is Grandma, Aunt Ednora (another sister), Uncle Tom, Aunt Joan and Dad. (And, gosh, after staring at this picture for hours, I just noticed two babies in the arms of their mothers. I was so focused on Dad and his siblings! Grandma is probably holding Uncle Carlos, and Aunt Ednora — or “Aunt Gobb” — is probably holding her first born, Janice.) I assume all of these photos were taken in Izard County.

The next phase of his life shown here is high school. Here’s his senior portrait. Wasn’t he handsome?

Dad senior portrait

Dad senior portrait

Dad was VP of his and Mom's senior class

In this photo of the Class of 1957, Cave City, Arkansas, he’s in the bottom row, third from the left (he was class vice president). My mother (with the same last name, coincidentally — they weren’t married yet) is the first person in the second row (Dorothy Taylor). They got married on Nov. 7, 1958, and she didn’t even have to change her name.

Dad loved his family, and here are a couple of photos of us with him.

Mom, Dad and J.T., Christmas 1960

First is Mom and Dad with J.T. on my big brother’s first Christmas, 1960. J.T. would have been just under 3 months old. And the next one is quite possibly my all-time-favorite picture, because …

Dad and me in his favorite chair

Dad and me in his favorite chair

… it reminds me of one of my favorite memories of Dad. I inherited my chocoholism from him, and when I was little (OK, even when I was big), Mom would serve us chocolate ice cream. I would hurry and gobble up mine out of my little blue plastic bowl, then climb into Dad’s chair with him and, ever the little helper, join him in finishing his ice cream. We don’t have photo evidence of this nightly ritual, but this is the place where it all happened.

A big part of Dad’s life was cars. He was a mechanic but also knew how to restore classic cars inside and out.

The photo above is dated June 1963 (when I was 6 to 7 months old), but we have lots of photos with dad and cars. I simply didn’t have time to go through all of them last weekend when we were at Mom’s. This photo was probably taken in Coalinga, California, where we lived then.

As for the two photos above, Dad built this car from a kit just a few months before he died. I’m going out on a limb here, because it’s a little too late too call my mom tonight (and even too late to call Uncle Carlos in California), but I think it’s a 1929 Mercedes Gazelle. I had it in my head that it was a 1937, but I found a 1929 one online that looks just like this one, and 1929 now rings a certain bell in my head. I typically wouldn’t publish something until I was sure, but I want to post this on his birthday. I will straighten out the details as soon as I can. (You would think that after watching Dad and Uncle Carlos work on so many cars in my lifetime I would be better at identifying them.)

I probably should have showed you the shop first. He built it (with the help of older brother Tom — and me, on one of my trips home from California) specifically for working on cars and puttering on his many projects. He had “retired” in his 50s because of a 30-year-old injury and heart problems, but he certainly couldn’t sit idle inside the house. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, he loved to be outdoors when he could. The shop was out back behind our house in Batesville. Dad could fix anything — from a broken record player to an old lamp. Besides mechanical stuff, he could do carpentry and electrical. A Renaissance man. His mind never seemed to stop, and he could answer almost any question I had for him, whether it pertained to politics, the economy, agriculture, the Bible, sports, physics or just about any subject you could name (except maybe pop culture). Most of it was self-taught.

These three pictures show three phases of construction of Dad’s shop:

Barely started …

… well under way …

.. and complete.

I mentioned in a previous post all the work Dad put into the piece of land where we lived. Below is a segment of it. This was the best picture I could come up with in a short time.

I can’t close this without mentioning Dad and our dogs.

In the photo above is Dad with my dog Mesa (a mix of four breeds) and his dog Chance, a miniature Pinscher (a larger version of our Pepper). Chance, named by my nieces after some cartoon character in 1994, was Dad’s little buddy (mine, too). That photo was taken by Barney Sellers in Barney’s yard across from my parents’ house in Batesville. The bottom photo is of Dad and Chance on the deck that he built in the 1970s. My sweet Mesa and little buddy Chance have been gone from us for years now, but you know you will be reading more about them whenever I write my dog tribute post.

This last picture was taken on the deck of my Uncle Tom and Aunt Willa’s house in Batesville when Uncle Carlos and Aunt Judy were visiting from California. (I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it, but Uncle Tom was a carpenter. Of course he built the deck).

Front row: Ben Taylor, Bruce Oakley, Suzy Taylor. Back: Tom Taylor, Dorothy Taylor, Carlos Taylor, Debbie (?), Willa Taylor and Pam Taylor. Not pictured: Photographer Judy Taylor.

The photo was taken on Oct. 4, 1997, the day Bruce and I put our wedding rings on layaway, and less than three months before Dad died.

For now, this is all I can share in pictures, although the memories of my dad are still fresh. For those of you who didn’t know him, I know you would have liked him, and he probably would have liked you.

He was my hero.

Posted in dogs, family, inspiration, nature, work | 5 Comments »

The power of a flower

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on June 14, 2008

hydrangea in June 2007

I have always loved flowers but never appreciated them to the extent I appreciate them now until I became a gardener in the spring of 1995, a few months after I bought my first little house.

I had just moved back to Arkansas from California, where I shared a house with a woman who hired people to landscape her yard, clean the house and tend the pool (I always secretly enjoyed cleaning the pool myself, but once a week a guy she paid would come and add chemicals and make sure the skimmer was working). Someone mowed, someone edged, someone pulled weeds – things I always hated doing when I was a teenager (except for the riding lawnmower – that part was fun. But my dad’s version of an edger, at least in those days, was a pair of garden shears. Oy!). And I was glad I didn’t have to do those things at the house I shared with my roommate.

So I never knew much about flowers except that they were pretty. I knew that my grandmother had a green thumb and my mother did not. I knew that my few attempts at planting seeds resulted in disappointments. Because the other thing I knew was that you couldn’t merely plant them and forget about them – at least with most flowers. I planted zinnias once when I was a little girl in California, and I have absolutely no memory that anything ever came up. Had I lived in Arkansas then, close to my grandmother, that little seed packet might have produced different results.

But, just like I wished in regard to quilting after Nanny died, I wished I had asked her for her gardening secrets and techniques (I have no doubt many of them would be different from what you see in books, on the Internet and on HGTV today). Or asked my dad about growing tomatoes, or how, when I would point to a tree of any kind, he could tell me exactly what it was.

So, in 1995, I began acquainting myself with gardening. I read and read, asked questions of other enthusiasts and paid attention when people talked about it. I learned quite a bit, although there is still much to learn.

And my appreciation for plant life has grown. I no longer appreciate a specimen merely for its beauty, but for its hardiness, its fragility, its complexity. I love the names of flowers, both the botanical and the common names. I love the colors, textures and varieties. I love the smell of dirt, the feel of it under my fingernails.

I love pulling weeds.

And over the years I have grown to love hydrangeas more and more. So when my mother sold the house I grew up in, after she could no longer bear to stay there after Dad died, I knew I wanted to take with me part of the hydrangea that grew in the front flower bed.

I had watched my dad spend countless hours taking our yard, in 1973, from a lumpy, scraggly, sloped lot to a lush, green, squirrel’s paradise. He landscaped, he planted and he watered. He established pine trees along the property lines and hung birdhouses. The first year we were there, he planted a large garden (he made my brother and me pick the large rocks out of the soil to prepare it, although J.T. threw more rocks at me than he did onto the pile!). When the weather was warm and he wasn’t at work, Dad was outside, enjoying God’s creation and tending to our little corner of it.

After I grew up and became a homeowner, Dad told me I should get a cutting of the hydrangea to plant at my own little house, after the heat of summer had passed. But I never got around to it.

So, after he died in December 1997 and Mom sold the house a few years later, she asked the new owners if we could take a hydrangea cutting with us. They said sure.

But it was April, and I wanted to wait until September or so. Then, after we got Mom settled in at her new little house and life got back to normal, the hydrangea plans got pushed aside by all the other clutter in my mind.

When I finally remembered, and drove back by the old house, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The hydrangea – this beautiful lush plant that had lasted so many years with so little tending – was gone.

Gone. Dug up. Chopped down.

Disrespected.

(That last description is unfair, I know. The hydrangea – indeed, the land itself – didn’t mean the same to them as it meant to me. To them, it was just a flower. But how could such a beautiful flower be just a flower?)

So in 2002, when Dad’s brother Tom died, I got a second chance.

After the funeral, my aunt offered me one of the potted flowers that had been taken back to the house. I was so honored that she invited me to take one.

I chose the hydrangea.

I brought it home and planted it in the back yard, on the north side of the house, because my mom’s (or should I say Dad’s?) hydrangea was on the north side of our house, and it seemed to do fine even though no one ever seemed to tend it.

Each year with this new hydrangea, this one that seemed to rise out of the ashes of my disappointment, I have looked forward to its beautiful blossoms.

And every spring as I look at it, I think of Dad and Uncle Tom, who will never know how much their hydrangeas have meant to me.

For most of the year I would forget about the bush and be surprised when, one day without warning, it would stun me with its beauty. I haven’t deserved how well it has turned out; I have never tended the back flower bed like I have the front ones.

And I knew I had neglected it more than usual this past year. I had not pruned it, watered it – had barely noticed it – in the 15 months since Bruce started getting sick again. With three hospital stays between May and December, he has needed my tending more than my flower beds have. My roses have never looked worse, but my focus has been on my sweetheart, not on my flowers.

But this hydrangea has seemed to be a metaphor for never giving up, for persevering amid adversity.

A month ago I started looking at it with an anticipation that I hadn’t devoted to it in the past.

I noticed when the brown stems began to sprout tiny green leaves, then bigger leaves, then tiny buds. I even tried to take pictures of the blooms in their early stages, because I had lots of photos of the full blossoms but had none of them when they were still greenish white. (But my camera was acting up, and the photos didn’t turn out.)

I began getting excited for the day the blossoms would bloom out big, but I noticed and appreciated every little step along the way. I would say to the dogs in the stillness of daybreak, “It won’t be long, girls.”

It grew and grew.

And last night I went outside to stand in the back yard for a few minutes and enjoy the weather, which was finally cooling off for the day. I said to myself, “I surely should have pruned that thing back a little better last time. It’s really getting big and bushy.”

Later, when Bruce came to bed, I woke up to rain and lightning. I told him he probably should unplug the electronics, so he did. The storm wasn’t going to die down for a while.

And this morning at daybreak, when I let the dogs out, I saw my beloved hydrangea leaning over onto the ground.

Shaken, a bit stirred, fortunately not dead, but wounded nonetheless.

It was time for tough love. (As if that’s not what it already had received under my watch.)

I never have looked up “hydrangea care” on the Internet or in books. The “experts” may tell me that it’s the wrong time of year to be pruning a hydrangea, that you should never do it while it’s blooming or while the weather is this hot.

But I did it anyway. This afternoon I pruned it almost to the nub. It hurt to have to do it, but I’m just going to have to trust it to be strong and survive, as Bruce and I ourselves are trying to do this year.

All I have to go on is instinct.

And my instinct tells me I haven’t seen the last of this loyal friend.

Posted in family, flowers, inspiration, nature | 3 Comments »

Argenta farmers market

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on June 5, 2008

Don’t forget, locavores, Saturday is the grand opening of the Certified Arkansas Farmers Market in downtown North Little Rock (the 400 block of Main Street). The market has been open since May 3, but this weekend will have more hoopla, complete with a ribbon cutting, a live bluegrass band (no canned music for these fine folks), free beefalo burgers (free food — who could resist that?) and maybe even a few juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes. And all kinds of berries and other delicacies are expected. (If you didn’t see my article on Page 5A of today’s NLR Times, rush out and buy a copy now!)

Jody Hardin, Barbara Armstrong and the other farmers have been working hard to bring us fresh, locally grown, pesticide free, healthy produce and other items. One woman sells organic dog biscuits and a natural potion that stopped her dog’s itchies. It wasn’t in my budget the day I talked to her (and my dogs haven’t been scratching too much lately), so I haven’t bought any yet, but as soon as itchy season hits us, I’m all over that booth.

Do your part this weekend. Come out and say hey to your neighbors, support your local farmers and have a beefalo burger on the house (donations accepted, of course).

See ya there!

Posted in food, friends, fun, health, nature | 3 Comments »

Traveling vicariously

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on June 2, 2008

If you haven’t been following the Chinos’ trip north toward British Columbia via Alison’s blog, you are missing a treat.

Go now! Hurry!

You’ll swear you can smell the pine trees.

Posted in friends, God, inspiration, nature | Leave a Comment »

Random things I say to my dogs

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on May 18, 2008

In any given week, you might hear one or all of these things uttered at my house, either to or about the furchildren.

“Poop!” (After finding a deposit on the carpet, five minutes after they’ve been outside to potty. This is our most frequent exclamation.)

“Who peed in the office?”

“Time to rassle!”

“Pepper, move over.” (In the middle of the night.)

“Salsa, calm down!!”

“Go potty. Go potty. Go potty. Go potty. Go potty, and I’ll give you a treat. … Pepper, please go potty. Go potty. Go potty. Go potty. Go potty. Please potty. Go potty. Go potty. Go potty. Go potty. Hurry up. It’s cold [or hot] out here. Go potty. Go potty. Go potty. … Good potty!”

“Don’t lick me on the mouth!”

“But we like the mailman!”

“Who turned over the trash can?”

“Poop!”

“Who peed on the bathroom rug?”

“Don’t snatch! Be gentle.” (To Pepper, who likes to snatch her treats out of your hand.)

“That’s not very ladylike.” (To Salsa, when she flops onto her back to ask for a belly rub.)

“Dry your feet.” (Salsa’s signal to stop and wait for me when she comes in from the rain. They do have a little training.)

“Don’t bite me.” (To Salsa, who always bites my right index finger after I dry her feet.)

“Who peed in the laundry room?”

“Salsa, down!” (When someone arrives.)

“Who peed in the guest bedroom?”

“Salsa, chillax!”

“Pepper, you’re tiny.”

“Salsa, you’re pretty.”

(Whispering to Bruce) “Where’s the camera?”

“Salsa, you’re going to put my eye out with your tail.”

“Don’t bite me! I’m gonna bite you!” (During a rasslin’ match.)

“You have bad breath.”

“Don’t lick the window!”

“You stink!”

“Who needs a bath?”

“Anybody hungry?” (Just to see their joy as they race to the kitchen.)

(To both) “I love you.”

Posted in dogs, family, fun, humor, inspiration, nature | 5 Comments »

It makes a difference

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on May 12, 2008

Many of the people in my circle don’t understand why I care so much about recycling, conserving water and other resources or how we use plastic and toss it away without a thought.

Why does it matter that sea life is harmed by the things we use and carelessly get rid of? For one thing, they’re all God’s creatures, just as we are. They may not have the “higher intelligence” that we humans possess, but He did create them, and He cares about each of His creatures. In fact, sometimes I’m not so sure just how much smarter we really are, when we can disregard another life just because we don’t understand it.

We are all part of the circle.

Click here to read how one woman changed her little corner of the world and how that small change started sending ripples throughout the world.

Go, Rebecca.

Posted in health, inspiration, nature, uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Can’t wait to share

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on May 3, 2008

Bruce and DJ at farmers market, May 3, 2008.

I cannot share with you the abundance of what Bruce and I experienced this morning — until next week.

You see, we went to the new farmers market in Argenta, but I was taking photos for The North Little Rock Times, because our reporter, Jeremy, had another assignment. He knew I was planning to be at the market anyway, so he asked me to take pics in his place.

Mayor Hays rang the opening bell, and, even though it was windy and quite chilly at 7 a.m., there was a good little crowd to christen the event.

It was wonderful, but I can’t tell you how wonderful for a few days, for two reasons: 1) Technically, any photos we publish in The Times will belong to my employer, so the ones I use for this blog will have to be ones we choose not to publish in the May 8 edition; and 2) Bruce says I have to do my homework first (my online accounting class, and I’m way behind). But I told him I at least have to write a paragraph! And, of course, I got carried away and have written much more than that.

But I had to tell you two things about my experience: 1) The Chudy Farms people got me to like honey. That’s huge! My dislike of honey goes back to some childhood memories of being force fed the stuff when I had the croup. But the Chudy Farms people offered me a sample of their honey on a biscuit, and I became an instant fan. 2) There’s a New Clean Plate Club started by nutritionist Penny Rudder that you’re going to love! I hope to write a sidebar for The Times about that, but I definitely will be talking to her in the next couple of days to get more details, whether it’s for the paper or the blog (I hope to do both).

Can’t wait to tell you more — and share more pics — next weekend.

Oh, and in the photo above is of Bruce (you know him) and D.J., former NLR Times reporter who’s about to start writing for an NLR blog in a couple of weeks.

Off to do my homework …

Posted in family, food, fun, inspiration, nature | 6 Comments »