Friday, June 29, 2012

Online Image Mapper: A Shout Out

Y'all, when someone makes my life easier, and does it for free with no strings attached, I like to give proper thanks. Now, I'm fairly techy, but HTML scares me to death. Enter Online Image Mapper. I wasn't happy with my social networking buttons because I  only knew how to link the icons if they were separate images. This made it necessary to have the buttons spread out rather than close together in a nice tight space.

Along came Online Image Mapper. This nifty tool allowed me to put all my icons into one tight group,and then link each section to its social network. Yay! It was SO EASY! Now I'm looking for other images I can map. I don't have any particular reason to map any images, but it's so easy that it's fun. I might just redo my networking icons just because I can!

What's remarkable is that this tool is free to use! Thanks, guys! 

Full disclosure: I'm not receiving anything at all for this post. In fact, I made a small donation because I recognize that this tool is something that could have (and probably should have) cost me money to use. I just want to share this really cool tool with my readers and give credit where credit is due.

If you want to try mapping an image of your own, click the link below:
Online Image Map Tool - Upload your image, map it, get your code! 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

And the Baby's Name Is...

It's been a while since I mentioned the grandchildren, and I'm starting to feel like a bad grandma. So I got to thinking what to tell you about them, and I realized that you still don't know the baby's name! I"m sure you recall that our newest was born in January, and I wrote a post about that. You do recall that, right? You're not just going on about your life forgetting about my grandchildren are you?

At that time, I hadn't given her a blog name yet. I'm keeping the children incognito, but you know them all by their blog names:

The Princess

The Model

The  Athlete

The Monster (I know! You just have to trust me!)
So I had to come up with a name for the newest one. She's a little sweetie:

With her big sister, The Athlete

At Easter

Ready for summer!

And I shall name her: Smiley!

Unless you've got a better idea. I mean all the other kids got a THE in front of their names. It's just that her smile is her outstanding characteristic. She is one happy baby! Any ideas? Help me out here.

Update: After everyone's feedback I've decided her name will be Miss Sunshine!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

This is Cynthia's Blog

Back in October, 2011 when I started blogging, I needed a name. I mean a name for the blog...I already have a name. I've had a name for as long as I can remember. Anyway, the blog needed a name. My first choice was "Life's Little Absurdities," but it was taken. It doesn't seem to be currently taken. I suppose it's too late to change it? Yeah, probably.

So I went to my blogging guru, Alyssa at Near Normalcy, who is also my daughter. She sent me a list of suggestions. Sadly, I no longer have the list and can't remember the non-winning ideas. I know that they were all alliterative and dealt with insanity, absurdity, or stupidity in some form or other. I immediately seized on Commonplace Crazy, and the rest is history.
Pyramid and sphinx Giza
History..get it? Okay, never mind.
But truthfully, I've never liked it as well as my original choice. I know it's too late to change the name of my little corner of the blogosphere, but for the sake of coming up with a  blog post creativity, let's imagine what other names might work.

First there's Cynthia's Blog.  I wish I'd thought of it before that other Cynthia did, but she's been blogging a lot longer than I have, so I guess she's entitled to it. Another appropriate name that has already been taken is Grammar Girl (Do NOT click that link! You can get all the grammar help you need right here!).

With the way my husband has recently taken over my blog, I could have named it The Hillbilly's Wife or Mrs. Hillbilly.  There actually is a Hillbilly Housewife who offers low cost recipes for home cooking from scratch and other frugal tips. There is also a blog called The Hillbilly Wife that has been inactive since July 2010.


Anyway, when I started Commonplace Crazy, I had no idea that The Hillbilly was going to start writing out all of his stories. I've got to tell you that his stories are much more concise when he writes them than when he tells them. When he tells stories, they go something like this:

I remember one time when my cousin Bob and I got lost on a hunting trip. Bob is the one who married Beth Ann. They have two kids? Their boy got a football scholarship. You know Beth Ann. She's that tall blonde who always dresses so nice. Her whole family is like that. So Bob and I were hunting down on Floyd. (Cynthia's note: It's never "on Floyd's property." It's always "on Floyd.") You know how Floyd's farm sits down on that river bottom with the big bluffs across the river. That's where I took Joe and Don on that fishing trip when that old guy tried to chase us off. Scared Don to death, but my dad just got right in the old guy's face and hollered back...

The story of when Bob and The Hillbilly got lost on the hunting trip will eventually be told, but you'd better be willing to wait for it. A. Long. Time.

My sister-in-law started telling about something happening one day, and I just busted out laughing when I realized that she told stories the same way. No telling how many generations it goes back.

Oh, yeah. We were talking about other names for my blog. I got sidetracked.

Actually, I can't think of anymore good ones. For the sake of having a lot of comments creativity, why don't you share your ideas? What would have been a good name for this blog? Besides Commonplace Crazy, I mean, because, well, really, crazy is kind of commonplace around here.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hillbilly Vacations

 This really is my blog, not his, but here he is. The Hillbilly that I love wants to tell you about why a hillbilly needs to be tough for family vacations.

About three weeks ago, I wrote a blog posting that my wife entitled "The Hillbilly Knows No Fear".  This was to have begun a series of posts that wound up being interrupted by my cherry picking and what I called the Cherry Chronicles.  So now I am once again back on subject.  Hurrah!

As you may have realized from many of my posts, being raised in the country left me with major periods of time that were unsupervised.  Due to that and my upbringing, I became a little tougher, less fearful, and I experienced some strange things.  Boys will be boys!

For instance, I made myself a trapeze in the barn loft.  I did all kinds of neat tricks and exercises on that -- unsupervised!

 My friends and I would make forts in the hay and have corn cob fights.  These were large field corn cobs, not those wimpy sweet corn cobs.  They could really skin your head.  I know this from personal head wounds.  But if it was raining or cool weather, it was something to do and was a lot of fun.  Of course it was more fun when you were the one doing the head skinning!  Kind of makes you wonder what other parents were thinking by letting their kids come visit.

After school (country school –1 room), while waiting on my dad to pick me up, two other boys and I were playing cowboy and Indians.  One of the kids had a real bow and arrows.  I got shot with a target arrow, right below my eyebrow.  Since it bled fairly heavy, that stopped the game.  Being afraid of getting in trouble with our parents, the arrow became a stick upon which I fell and hit my head.  Hey, it was wrong; I lied, but I was only six or seven years old and I eventually told them.  Okay, it was years later!

 At any rate, in looking back, I realize these experiences helped make me tough, and I had to be tough to survive vacation with my parents.  And that is what the next few postings will be about.

The first two vacations that I recall were at Lake of the Ozarks at a place called either Red Arrow Lodge or Red Feather Lodge.  Forgive me for not being precise.  I was 16 months old the first time and about 3 1/3 years old the second time.  I have mostly images.  One of them is climbing up and down steps going from the lodge to the lake.  Apparently that was particularly entertaining to me the first time we were there, and I kept my sisters busy and apparently somewhat entertained while doing so.

Another memory is of my family and others being on a dock fishing with cane poles and me wondering why everyone was catching fish but me.  But according to my mom, I caught my first fish at 16 months of age --- Eat your heart out Roland Martin!  She said I kept saying "Got a fis. Got a fis."  She said I sure enough had one.

Another memory is being in a boat with the family, and the other lasting memory was of the owners’ daughter.  She was about my sisters' age and spent a lot of time with them while we were there.  I distinctly remembered her as being blonde, slender, and pretty. Hey, I am a guy and apparently was even a guy at that age!  I, by the way, have talked to my sisters about this to see if my recollection of her was correct.  They said yes, she was blonde, petite, and pretty. I guess that some things just stick in your mind!

The next vacation I remember was down around Thayer, Arkansas when I was about six.  My mom gave me one swimming lesson there.  She held me in her arms on top of the water and had me perform swimming movements.  After a short time, she basically declared me a swimmer.  Go forth and swim!  In retrospect, it seems like a formula for failure.

However, at about the age of 7, I fell off a bridge into deep water.  I thrashed around and went under a few times as I drifted downstream.  I was screaming  for help!  People were stopping their cars on the bridge! People were panicking and running around wondering what to do!

Everyone was wringing their hands and crying out what to do, --- except for my mom.  She never got up from her seat!  She didn’t even quit fishing!  But, after this went on for what seemed like hours, (probably 30 seconds), she called out,“Swim," and I thought, "Oh yeah –I was once pronounced as being a swimmer."  And so I did!  I swam back upstream, against the current, over the deepest and most dangerous section of the water to my dad. He, at least, was kind enough to look frightened and sympathetic.  I suspect that my mom was smirking!  So, I guess the swimming lesson worked -- kinda! Everyone who had panicked then laughed either in relief or at me.  Who knows!

I’ll end by saying teach your children to swim!  And let me suggest more than one short lesson.  Swimming has saved my life more than once and let me save my younger cousin who didn’t yet know how to swim.  Those are stories of their own that will eventually be told.

Vacation stories that are still coming are "The Island," and "Bears and Photography"!

From the Hillbilly’s Corner!      

 I guess hillbilly swim lessons are different from other swim lessons. My dad, who also was born in Missouri, said he learned to swim when he fell off the rope swing over the river at the wrong spot. His brothers hollered, "Swim!" So he did. Sure would have saved me a bundle on my kids' swim lessons if I'd known that was all there was to it. 

So...does anything in your childhood resemble The Hillbilly's childhood? Anything at all?

What do you think of hillbilly swim lessons? How did you learn to swim? I had a few lessons, and then I kind of taught myself in the shallow part of the public pool.

  Hanging out at Yeah Write this week.      

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My Favorite Lesson: Who or Whom

Years ago I wrote this lesson as part of a teacher preparation class. I had to teach it to my classmates, and it was very popular with them. I always loved it, but it disappeared quite a few years ago. I always meant to try to recreate it, but I never felt I'd be able to get it right. Today I found it again! I want to share it with you. It's my favorite lesson of all the lessons I've ever written.


Who or Whom and Gilligan's Island!


While not commonly used in everyday speech, "whom" is still considered important in serious writing. Not using "whom" when you should shows a lack of formal writing skills; using it when you shouldn't is even worse. But have no fear. "Who" and "whom" are very easy to learn, and you'll be using them freely in no time at all.

Let's take it one step at a time, starting with a review.

1. We know that sentences generally contain a subject and a verb:
                     Gilligan  sneezed.
                      subject       verb
See? I told you this would be easy.

2. Some sentences also contain objects--either objects of the verb:
                    Gilligan dropped the coconut.
                     subject    verb         object of the verb
Or objects of the preposition:
                    The coconut fell on The Skipper.
                        subject      verb         object of the preposition

3. All of the subjects and objects above are expressed by nouns. The nouns can be replaced by pronouns:
                   He sneezed.
                   sub.   vb.

                   He dropped it.
                     sub.   vb.     obj. of vb.

                   It fell on him.
               sub.   vb.      obj. of prep.

4. Many pronouns use one form to express subjects an another former to express objects:
Subject          Object
I                  Me
He                 Him
She                Her
We                  Us
They                Them

           The Skipper was angry at Gilligan. He chased him around the tree. They didn't see the headhunter. He was watching them.
5. "Who" and "whom" are pronouns too. "Who" is used for subjects, and "whom" is used for objects:
Who sneezed?
On whom did the coconut drop?
6. What if  you're not sure if the word is a subject or an object? Replace the mystery word with "he" or "him" (yes, even if you're talking about Mary Ann or Ginger). If you use "he," your word is a subject; if you use "him," it's an object.

He is the one (who, whom) dropped the coconut.
He dropped the coconut. (Substitute "he" or "him" for the mystery word.)
He is the one who dropped the coconut.
 He is the one (who, whom) The Skipper chased.
The Skipper chased him.
He is the one whom The Skipper chased.
7. If you're asking a question and aren't sure whether to use "who" or "whom," answer the question using "he" or "him." 

(Who, Whom) did the headhunter watch?
The headhunter watched him.
Whom did the headhunter watch?
 Notice that "him" and "whom" both end in the letter M. This will help you remember that they belong in the same category--pronouns used to  express objects.

8. Poor "whom"! All these years of neglect have really left the lonely pronoun feeling insecure. However,  "whom" has its own little security blanket. When whom is the object of a preposition, it insists on keeping that preposition rght by its side no matter where it is in the sentence: 

Mary Ann baked a pie for the skipper with the coconut that had cracked open on his head.
For whom did Mary Ann bake the pie?
The Skipper is the person for whom Mary Ann baked the pie.
9. Let's review:
  • Use "who" to express subjects.
  • Use "whom" to express objects of verbs or objects of prepositions.
  • If you're not sure whether you're dealing with a subject or an object, put "he" or "him" in the mystery word's place. Remember that "him" and "whom" are both used as  objects.
  • If "whom" is the object of a preposition, keep the preposition with "whom."

Ready for a quiz?

Choose "who" or "whom" in each of these sentences. Answers are at the end of this post.

1. Gilligan, (who, whom) is the world's biggest goof ball, is always getting into trouble.
2. Do you know (who, whom) threw the anchor overboard?
3. Gilligan is the one (who, whom) The Skipper blamed.
4. The only person on the island (who, whom) can cook is Mary Ann.
5. (Who, Whom) doesn't wish to be as rich as the Howells?
6. The castaway (who, whom) I most admire is the professor.

 Well, wasn't that fun and easy? What can I clear up for you?

And here are the answers:
1. who
2. who
3. whom
4. who
5. who
6. whom

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Another Blogger Award!

My friend Trish from the blog Contemplating Happiness was kind enough to award me the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Unlike real-world awards that come with gifts, prizes, and possibly cash, blogosphere awards come with chores. In this case I have to share seven things about myself, and then pass the award on to 15 other bloggers. It's the blog-world version of the chain letter. We do it because we love each other. Honest.

 Seven Confessions

 I'll try to tell you things I haven't told you yet. I'm sure I can think of something.

1.   I like shiny stuff. When I get my nails done, if Debbie puts two colors in front of me, and they're both the exact same color except one of them is full of sparkle, I'll always take the sparkle. I will say, "Let's go with a nice cream this time." She'll put a creamy pink in front of me, and I'll say, "Oh, that's pretty! I like that." Then she'll put the same pink in a metallic version, and the creamy version becomes suddenly invisible. Can't help it.
Really me
2.   I was voted the shyest girl in the Manteca High School graduating class of 1977. Have I already told you that? I may have already told you that. Well, that's okay. It would be presumptuous of me to assume that you've read every post I ever wrote. I don't want to be pushy. Just never mind. I'm sorry I said anything.

3.   I was president of my 5th grade class. I was everybody's friend. Somewhere in the next 7 years I became the shyest girl in class. Go figure. Truthfully, to be voted shyest means everybody knows who you are. Whoever the shyest girl really was, no one knew her. At least that's my take on the whole thing.

4.   My nose is the first thing to get cold. I think this means I'm a healthy puppy.
Not really me

5.    I'm a night person. I have to be a day person during the school year, but as soon as school's out, I'm up into the wee hours and sleeping until noon.
Also not really me
6. I frequently don't finish what I start.

    Monday, June 18, 2012

    The Superfluous Apostrophe

    Today's English Class Pop Quiz:Which of these sentences contains an error in 
    apostrophe usage?
    1. John's brothers are named Floyd and Herman.
    2. We are eating pickle's and turnip's for supper tonight.
    3. All of these jars' expiration dates have passed.
    The answer is at the end of this post. Now read this:

    Friends, there is an epidemic. It's been going on for years and shows no signs of getting better. It is found  in our elementary schools, secondary schools, and on our college campuses. It's even more prevalent in our grocery stores! You've seen signs of it everywhere. Some of you don't even recognize this dread plague when you see it, but others of you are working desperately to stamp it out:

    Used with permission from Debbie Ridpath Ohi at
    Yes, dear readers, it is the dreaded Superfluous Apostrophe, and it is associated with dead and dying brain cells all over our land. And Canada too!

    For those of you unfamiliar with this condition, let me start with a couple definitions:
    Superfluous: (adjective) extra; unnecessary
    Superfluous Apostrophe: WRONG!!! Stop using apostrophes all over the place, willy-nilly!

     That's right; the apostrophe is critically overused. There is a correct way to use the apostrophe and throwing one in front of every final 's' in a word is not it.

    First, let's discuss the correct usage of the apostrophe. There are two really good places to use one. Use an apostrophe to help form a contraction, or use an apostrophe to show possession/ownership. Here come the examples:

    Using apostrophes to form contractions:

     In speaking and informal writing we often shorten (contract) words. Usually we make one word out of two. For example "I am" is shortened to "I'm" or "is not" becomes "isn't." Those shortened forms are called contractions. There are three steps in the process of making a contraction:
    1.  Remove a letter or letters (the a in am)
    2. Replace the missing  letter(s) with an apostrophe
    3. Slam the two words together! 
    I am
    I 'm
    Notice that the apostrophe is taking the place of one or more missing letters. Many of my students think that the apostrophe goes where the two words are joined. It would appear so in the example of "I am," but in the case of "is not," we can see that the apostrophe goes between the n and the t where the o was removed. It does NOT go between the s and the n at the joining of the two words.

    Is not
    Is n't

    So that's use number one. What about use number two?

    Using an apostrophe to show possession/ownership

    I think this usage is the one that causes the most confusion. We show possession by adding an apostrophe followed by the letter 's' to a singular noun. Because of this, people seem to want to always add an apostrophe any time they add an 's' to the end of a word. THIS is what drives literary types insane because it's just so simple to see the difference. Let's see if I can explain.

    1. I have a dog. 
    2. My dog's name is Rover. 
    3. You have two dogs
    4. Your dogs' names are Harvey and Jake.                                                       
    Notice that in sentence 3 I am talking about more than one dog, so I've added an 's' to make 'dog' plural: dogs. There is no apostrophe necessary. An apostrophe here would be wrong!

    Sentences 2 and 4, on the other hand, are showing that the dog or dogs in question possess something-- their names. Sentence number two is about the name possessed by one dog; all I had to do was add an apostrophe + s. 

    Sentence number 4 is a little different because I want to make it clear we're talking about something belonging to more than one dog. Because of that, I add the 's' to show it's a plural (two dogs), and then I add the apostrophe to show possession. 

    That's the simplest explanation of correct apostrophe use. There are some trickier things to learn, but I think this is good for now.

    Pop Quiz Answer: Sentence #2 is incorrect. There is no need for an apostrophe anywhere in that sentence. Not only is the punctuation incorrect, the whole idea is incorrect! Pickles and turnips for dinner? I may be ill.

    So, how'd you do? Did everything make sense? Clear as mud? What can I clarify? Trust me; we're not finished with apostrophes in only one post!

    Hanging out with the excellent writers at Yeah Write!

    Friday, June 15, 2012

    The Final Chapter of the Cherry Chronicles

    Once again The Hillbilly has survived another cherry-picking season with most of his body parts intact. Here he is to tell you about it:

     Well today, I decided that my post will be an end to the cherry tree chronicles. After having picked about 65 gallons of cherries, (not counting the three or four gallons I ate to, ahem, test to make sure that what I was picking was ripe), I called it good.  There are probably  six gallons still in the trees but they are either unreachable or almost unreachable.

    The Athlete and The Princess in the cherry tree.
    In fact, I had decided I was done when my granddaughter The Princess asked, "Can you fill up my purse with cherries?"  I answered her by saying “Sure. Bring me the purse”. That was a mistake! I looked the tree over and decided to use the 6’ ladder unopened and wedged against the tree.  

    That's the 6-foot ladder on the left.

    I proceeded to climb up on to the top (not a step) and stretch out as far as I could. I had picked just enough to fill her purse when the ladder decided to drop out from under me.  Fortunately, with nary a cherry lost, I was able to grab a limb with my right arm and dangle on it until I could walk myself down. I calmly told The Princess, "The ladder fell, didn’t it? Can you come get this purse?" I then jumped off the opposite side of the tree. Another successful season! No major injuries and only sore fingers and limb scratches. Yes!!!

    Now for the aftermath, my yard looks like it is the mythical place where cherries go to die.  Oh wait, that refers to elephants doesn’t it? No, elephants don’t come to my yard to die.  That would be a mess. Literally! They would probably all have to poop, which would require a huge pooper scooper. Neighbors would frown! Flies would be everywhere! The government would be after me because of all the ivory bans and so on!  It would just be silly! So instead, I have little cherry skeletons and cherry pits lying everywhere. It is messy, but not elephant graveyard messy.

    Not like this.
    I made obvious in my last post that my wife made me a wonderful cherry pie. I am more of a cookie baker.  I bake tons of cookies. In fact, we babysat The Princess and The Monster the other day, and The Monster, now 17 months old, when he heard they were coming to our house, says, "Grandpa ---cookie." Oh how the mighty have fallen!  Instead of the macho, strong, suave redneck hillbilly, I am now Grandpa ---cookie!  

    The Monster (just trust me)
    Oh well, I am now trying to figure out how I can make a good bread out of some of these cherries. Cynthia or I will let you know how that turns out.

    Have a cherry of a weekend!
    From the Hillbilly’s Corner!

    I tweeted about my 61-year-old Hillbilly standing on the "not a step" of a 10-foot ladder which caused a friend to ask her husband of the same age, "Do you ever stand on the 'not a step'?" His answer? "Every day." We are in agreement that men all think they're 16 and invincible. 

    How about your man? Is he 16 and invincible? Men, are you that way? Why, why why??

    Tuesday, June 12, 2012

    This is STILL Not a Cooking Blog, But...

     Hi, everyone. I've been promising for a while now that I would talk about apostrophes. Apostrophes are a major problem threatening our very way of life...wait. The apostrophes aren't threatening our way of life; it's the people abusing the apostrophes. Anyway, I was going to talk about them, but I'm just not in the mood. So let's talk about pie. Pie is always a good topic!

    I made a cherry pie last week....out of real cherries and everything. It was good, and The Hillbilly and I didn't share it with a single soul. I don't feel guilty though because we shared bags of cherries with every single individual we came in contact with for the last two weeks.  You read all about the cherries in The Hillbilly's post, right?

    The cherry pie, which was the most exciting thing in his post except for the death-defying, ladder climbing, old guy, looked like this:


    Now, I did something unusual when I baked this pie; I took pictures. This is very unusual because I am not a food blogger. This will never be a recipe blog, but today I just feel like discussing the process of making a cherry pie. So this is a discussion, not a recipe, got it?

    Okay then. If you wanted to make a cherry pie out of fresh cherries, first you would have to pit the cherries. (I'm like Amelia Bedilia--shouldn't I unpit the cherries?) Now I have unpitted cherries in many different ways, some slow and laborious, others slightly quicker. Last year I finally found the most wonderful cherry pitter on earth! I was so happy! It has taken me up to an hour to pit enough cherries for one pie in the past. With this device, it took me SEVEN minutes!

    I pitted one quart of cherries in 7 minutes with this baby!

     So you get your fantastic cherry pitter, and you pit yourself 4 cups of cherries.
    Put the cherries in a bowl and gather your ingredients.
     Now I'll tell you the amounts that I use. You may have to experiment because your cherries may be different: sweeter or less sweet; juicier or less juicy, etc. These amounts are a good starting place though.

    For a nine-inch pie I use 3/8 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons corn starch. Mix this stuff all together and then dump it on top of the cherries:

    Stir it all up. You'll probably have dry ingredients at the bottom of the bowl. That's fine.

    Now set that bowl aside while you prepare your pie crust. As you may recall, I've already shared the recipe for THE WORLD'S GREATEST PIE CRUST. You can click on over there to get the recipe. I didn't share any pictures of the process, so I'll do that here.

    Use your pastry cutter to mix your shortening and flour so it looks like this.

    A pastry mat is handy but not necessary to help you roll your dough to the right size and shape.

    After you roll your circle, fold it in quarters to make it easy to move into your pie dish.
    Unfold your dough and gently (GENTLY!) arrange it in the dish. Then pour in your filling. Be sure to get all the dry ingredients that settled to the bottom of the bowl.

    Use 2 tablespoons of butter to dot the top of the filling. I always cook with real butter.
    Now it's time to roll out your second crust for the top. 

    I've crimped the edges, cut some holes in the top to vent the steam, and sprinkled on a little cinnamon and sugar.
    When it's all ready, put the pie in the middle of your preheated oven. Yes, I forgot to tell you to preheat the oven, but that's why you should always read the entire recipe before you begin cooking something. My mama taught me that, and now I'm teaching you. You're welcome.

    Anyway, cook it at 425 degrees for 35-45 minutes until it's all golden brown and bubbly. You might want to cover the edges for the last 15 minutes if they're looking too brown. Use a little foil, but be careful you don't burn yourself.

    So that's it. I'm glad we had this little discussion. I expect you each to run right out and bake your own cherry pie; then come back and let me know how it turned out in the comments...Sorry. School's been out a couple weeks, but it takes a while for the old habits to settle down.

    If you actually DO intend to bake a cherry pie (which I fully expect) and you have any questions, I'd love to answer them. 

    How many people actually bake pies these days? Any of you? What's your favorite? If you're not a pie eater, what kind of dessert do you prefer? Let me know in the comments!

    Hanging out with the great writers at Yeah Write.

    Sunday, June 10, 2012

    Of Hillbillies and Cherry Trees

    My regular readers know that I am married to My Hillbilly who is the love of my life and the most wonderful man in the world. The Hillbilly likes to tell stories and is slowly taking over my blog. Here he is again:

    My last post, which Cynthia named "The Hillbilly Knows No Fear", was actually the lead-in of what will probably be 3 or 4 posts (Cynthia's note: See what I mean?), and I should have had at least one of them done.  However, my week did not go as planned.  

    You see, I have these two cherry trees in my back yard that I take care of. I trim them to make them pretty.  I fertilize, water, and care for them, but are they as considerate of me?  Not even close!  Do they have their cherries ripen when I have some time off to pick them? No!  So, instead of having a couple of days where I have 10 to 12 hours each day to harvest, I have only 3 hours or so per day.  And, it became apparent to both Cynthia and me, that I was in trouble. 

     After having harvested 18 gallons of cherries we couldn’t tell that I had yet begun.  Now, after picking about 45 gallons, eating a few gallons as I picked, which definitely has troubling effects, there are still probably 25 gallons in the tree.  

    The following pictorial and comments are kind of a breakdown of my rushed week:

    This is a picture of one of my trees after having picked the aforementioned 18 gallons of cherries.

    Yes, for you who don’t know, this is a handful of cherries.  I don’t know exactly what kind they are.  I have heard them called Queen Annes, Royal Annes, Blondies, and Rainiers.  All I know is that they are the best and juiciest cherries I have ever eaten.  I give most of them away.  People practically fight over them.

    Who is the old man on the 10’ ladder?  Oh, It’s me...I mean that young, nice looking man on that ladder!  Babe, do those jeans make my butt look big?  They are faded nicely, have a hole in one knee – hey, I be styling! Unless of course they make my butt look big.  Oh, and yes I am on the top of the ladder that plainly states "not a step."  My theory is that if they don’t want you to stand on it, then they shouldn’t put it there!

    Cynthia's Note: It's okay; the life insurance is all paid up.
    Yes, this is me on the (not a step), on my 6’ ladder on the second tree.

    This picture of the beautiful bowl of cherries is one our friend sent to us thanking us for the cherries.  She basically said that she was admiring them prior to devouring them. 

    Besides the joy of making a whole lot of people happy by giving them these cherries, (maybe these should be called happy trees), I now reap the reward of my labor.  

    This is a picture of a beautiful cherry pie made by my beautiful wife.  

    Wait!  Does that pie look nervous to you?  Yes, I saw a quiver of fear!  Instincts of ancient man are stirring in my soul.  Predatory instincts are coming to life!  Arghh, you cannot escape me little pie!  Rending, tearing, cherry juice dripping, gulp!  

    Hey, gorgeous, best cherry pie ever!

    From the Hillbilly’s Corner


    What's your favorite summer fruit? Do you grow any of your own produce? Do you think I should increase the amount of The Hillbilly's life insurance policy?