Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Church Changes


Since we have moved here to the Ozarks we have seen a dramatic shift in attendance not only our church but other faith churches as well. A movement away from "going to church". The older ones either die or move closer to their children away from here. Their children ages 30-50's do not go to church on any regular schedule if at all. Grand children are shuffled off to sports events, school activities or the ex- spouses. And our priests are from other countries and do not last long in the isolation and culture shock of the area. The elderly experienced patrons of the church never made any preparation for the next generation taking over after them. No one was groomed nor practiced in the church procedures/traditions. So when the old ones die, who is left to carry on with the church? Who changes the flowers, the linens, the books,the candles or the banners? Who sews the vestments and gets the mass ready? We have no head usher, no full time secretary and no cleaning service. We run only on all volunteers. Our new priests are not skilled to do anything but know theology. They can't clean, barley cook, can't fix anything. (Note: I was raised around Jesuit priests who could plant a garden, do the taxes, change a tire, play sports and shoot a gun all before breakfast and mass.)

We will be getting our next new priest at the end of June. He is the 3rd one in less than 6 months. We will try to help get him situated and taken care of, but in the end -the loneliness and lack of people and things to do is what sends them running away. We do have a handful of people keeping the candle lit and the church running. But it is very expensive to keep two buildings open with no income. I think if we installed some gas pumps out in the parking lot, we might fair better down the line.  The photo of Mary is from the May crowing. There is one lady who has make these flower crowns for the last 20 years. She sees no reason why she needs to train someone else to do this. Her house is for sale and she is moving away to live with her adult children.

May makes Green

The potting shed, flower bed and veggie garden

Constant companion, heavy rain


Our ducks love the rain and bugs. 


Clematis scaling the deck post

The trees have never been so happy.

Poppy leading me around the farm.


Inspecting his domain.

Zilla eating a cow leg, her favorite treat from the abattoirs. She loves when I come home with a five gallon bucket of bits. This gives her something to do when the rains come and the poultry goes in the coop early.









May Showers Makes What?

It has been the rainy season here in the Ozarks. So much rain that my garden has been flooded out several times a day. Hard to grow stuff that can't swim. The good news is that hay season should be great this year. Our pastures are green tall and lush for the horses. Our ducks are loving this wetness and bugs. 


9pm at night and this is a thunderhead moving in with lightening bolts and bugs.


Friday, April 27, 2018

Cotton Pickin'


Cotton is munching on the overwinter herbs in my house.


Love her green eyes. And she is very soft to pet.

A Rustic Wedding

Last weekend we were invited to share in a church wedding and then the rustic reception. It is in a rustic looking barn in the middle of nowhere with all the state of the art amenities called "Rubydoo's" in West Plains, Missouri.
It was so very Ozark on the outside but inside was very romantic. It was a very fun and simple reception with great music after the meal. 

Outside of the barn.

How cool is this cake topper?

Bride and groom.


So want this for my barn.

Soft lighting and lots of room


The sun set behind the barn that overlooks a lake. Just perfect for a springtime wedding.

Running of Ducklings


Baby Indian Runner Ducklings in one of the bathtubs. Cotton supervising this swim.

Eight 1 week old runners.

About 4 years ago we bought four assorted ducklings at a fair in the summer. It was hot, they were dehydrated and very quiet. We have raised ducks and know how to deal. They lived and are still on our farm laying eggs and thriving, except for the Indian Runner duckling.
This one was weak as a yearling, had an upper respiratory problem. We brought him into the house to clear up his breathing issues. But he never got better and then died in our recoup nest box inside our house. He was a lot of fun to have around the house. I used the duck diapers to keep my house clean. 

So this time we got older baby runners in ivory and tan. They are very afraid of us as they were older. Not much human contact before us. But they are smart. They went back into the coop after the 2nd night on their own when old enough. It usually takes 3 nights of us chasing them back into the coop. I have since become hyper vigilant about coop cleaning with ducks and chickens. I used pine shavings and clean out often. Feed and water outside the coop only.  The end result is healthy,happy poultry, bugs eaten and eggs a plenty. 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Hostile Death

I have noticed that a lot of people are hostile about death. Maybe their death, or their friends impending death, or an adult child's death. Lately death has been hard at work taking away many people we know via cancer. People my age and people in their 80's. Death comes swift for some and slowly and painfully for others. Funerals come and go, far flung family arrives, emotions are allover the place. Sometimes you are asked who you are and what are you doing here by a relative. I say, I was here when your loved one was dying. He or she asked for XYZ and I got it done. You are now here and you can carry on with your grief. I am only a friend who was there at the end. Some endings have been salvation, other endings painful questions. But the worst are the accusations from other friends about my choice to overstep their feelings and get the job done. Be it prayers, getting a priest, grocery, farm work, blanket making I get the job done. My friend is dead and I have to live with that person no longer in my life. But you do not know that as you do not know me. Your mom or dad or grandparent or uncle or aunt was my friend and they died. And I hope when I die they are waiting for me on the other side of life with the big man upstairs. I guess I am a fixer. I get the job done. Sometimes I find what was lost, a person, an object, a place, a song or a photo. I bring a moment of peace of mind to that person I got to know while here on this earth. But I am happy in my work as I work around death in all his forms. I can see when he is near and I let him do his job. But I am not hostile to it for I know one day he will come for me.

Cottonwood Books

Sometimes you have a favorite store and it is always there. You can count on the owner being there, he knows your wants, he can get you what you are looking for and tell you where to find what you need if he does not have it. Danny is that guy and his store is Cottonwood Books in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The guy is one of a kind and he has that knack for knowing just about everything published. Worth the drive to visit. Just ask Tom Hanks.

Twenty-Four Eyes

Saw a wonderful vintage Japanese film (with English subtitles) called Twenty-Four Eyes. It is based on a tale written by Sakae Tsuboi and the film directed by Keisuke Kinoshita about a rural school teacher in 1930's Japan and their lives through WWII. It was so neat to see what farm life was like, the seasons of Japan and their rural culture. It is a long movie but worth it to see how it all unfolds. The protagonist is a female teacher and a great role model even for today's times. Only wish it was in color to show the beauty of the rural panoramas

It's a Wes Wes Wes Wes Anderson World!

If you love Wes Anderson movies you will love this Honest Trailers of all his movies. What is not to love?


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Talented Photographer Phillip Haumesser

One of the neat things about living in the Ozarks is that you meet a lot of multi talented people. One is Phillip Haumesser, photographer. If you are looking for a beautiful images and a person who can deal with farm animals and children, this is your guy. He is worth a look if you want beauty in the natural wild state try this photographer.








Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Saving the humeral veil

Our church has been around for over 40 years or so and in that time no one has washed a single vestment. We have a temporary priest in house who noticed the poor condition of the vestments as the elder priest now has dementia.

So with the Adoration on  Lent Sundays the humeral veil was in the state of a mess. Tarnished clasp, smelly neckband, stains from a leaky roof onto the fabric and threadbare silk and fringe.

The fringe is falling apart.


The original rayon satin fabric is shredding and has to be replaced. Our small Ozark mission church does not have the funds to replace these vestments. So I offered to repair them as I repair and restore antique textiles

The original clasp is missing gold leaf.

Poly fringe is tattered.



My plan was to cut out the original brocade, turn under and applique to the new fabric of the veil.

But the brocade was shedding. I also was pressed for time. There are no fabrics stores nearby nor on-line that carry this brocade.

So I took it all apart and began to salvage the brocade.


Now I remove stitches and flip the brocade over to use the wrong side of the brocade for the new veil.

The wrong side looks great.

glue removal 



I used tulle to give the fibers strength.



Newly leafed clips on the new fabric next to the old ones. I have real gold leaf paint and I sealed with shellac all done outside as the fumes are combustible.

pinning on the old brocade on the new fabric.



Sewing it down

Since my studio has a wood stove and cats, I have to cover everything with muslin and clean every surface. I do not want soot and cat fur on this very ivory fabric.



hand sewing the veil clips

I was able to match the fringe.


The original brocade of the newly sewn veil.

All set to go again. All the scraps from the old humeral veil were collected and put in a bag and given to the priest to burn. These are holy things and must be treated with respect. The new veil was blessed the next day in time for the Adoration. This was the fastest restoration I have ever done.