The locksmith eyed this birdfeeder and mentioned it might attract more bears than birds...oops.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

And then there was one....

The year was 1993 and I can still remember checking out the book from the library. "Rare Breeds". I wanted to find a dog that wasn't a typical neighborhood cookie cutter breed, but a brilliant, rare breed that still had undiluted personality traits. At the time, Australian Shepherds were still pretty unknown, and I liked what I read about the almost uncanny high intelligence, and tendency to herd children away from the street.

I picked out a darling little merle with blue eyes but prayed, while sitting on the breeder's deck, asking God which dog was 'ours'. The little merle promptly got up, walked off and a stunning black-tri climbed into my lap and licked me on the cheek. That was all I needed. We named her Bell and brought her home.

Her first day home, she woke up from a nap, walked to the back door, rang the little bell hanging on a string, and sat, waiting for us to open the door. She was eight weeks old. The intelligence, initiative, ability to reason constantly stunned me. Bell was unlike any animal I had ever known, or even heard of.

Bell would walk at a heel, without a leash at 5 months. Even if a dog approached, she would stare straight ahead at my command and ignore the dog. Once we went to a nursery to select flowers and she sat, watching my every move. The store owner approached and spoke to Bell and she never took her eyes off of me. The man kissed and clucked but she never flinched or even looked at him. "What kind of dog IS that?!"

She watched the children play, pulling them away from the street's edge. Their tee-shirts were full of little holes along the back edge, proof she saw them as her lambs, her charge. Even when we camped, she slept about ten feet back, facing our tent, staring, watching just in case we were ever in danger. Nothing was ever chewed, there wasn't even one accident in the house. Indeed, what kind of dog was this?

We decided Bell would enjoy a doggie friend, so we started looking around for a red aussie. By this time, numerous friends had acquired an aussie, hoping they too could find a 'Bell', and one friend's dog had had a litter of pups. Sassy came to live with us in 1995. She was a red-head in every sense of the word.

Once, the phone man came to work on a line and she layed between him and me staring at him without moving muscle, and growling the entire time. "Lady, does that dog bite?" I looked up from my book, "She hasn't so far..." Ha..I never felt safer. Bell was watching too, but had probably just called the FBI and done a background check and deemed the man safe.

Sassy was the keeper of the rules. If a dog came to visit, she'd growl if they neared the off-limit stairs. Once, the wind blew the back door open, and when we came home, Sassy was lying across the doorway and our kitty, Abby, was sitting a foot away, longingly staring at the outdoors that was now just beyond her reach. Sassy could have run inside and jumped on the sofa or played in the trash, but she saw the cat's opportunity to escape and guarded the door until we came home. Sassy wasn't perfect, though.

Once, my dad-in-law, JW was helping me with firewood and I had baked him an apple pie. When I came back in the kitchen, the plate was licked clean and Sassy had little piecrust crumbs around her mouth. She at least had the good sense to look guilty. Bell was standing off to the side, shaking her head in disgust. Sassy was such a good girl, though. When we got the kitties, she was the first to make friends and would lick Abby clean from her fuzzy kitty head down to her fuzzy kitty hiney.

We chose to breed Sassy girl and she had a beautiful litter in 1997. From this litter, we were blessed with sweet Annie Fannie. Annie Fannie was special, quiet, more fearful and unsure of herself. We had to love her a little extra.

Bell, Sassy and Annie Fannie. We had a houseful of aussies! Once, when Annie Fannie was a pup, a severe thunderstorm rolled in and Bell and Sassy ran to the doghouse. Annie Fannie, however, layed in the rain, chewing on her new bone. Bell ran back out into the rain, barked and nipped at Annie Fannie, trying to get her to come in from the storm, but she wouldn't budge. Bell ran back to the house.
About 30 seconds later, Bell ran back out and circled Annie Fannie, barking, nipping and insisting she come to the doghouse...but Annie wasn't moving. Bell ran back to the house. About ten seconds passed and Bell darted back out, ran straight to Annie, grabbed the bone away from her and ran full speed to the doghouse...with Annie Fannie close on her heels. All three stayed dry and safe as I'm sure Sassy stood guard by the door keeping her wayward pup inside.

One afternoon, I drove up to see Bell walking methodically backwards, step by step, slowly tugging Annie Fannie's lampshade over and off of her head. Annie was forever getting into situations that required a trip to the vet and a lampshade to protect a wound. Apparently, this time Bell had had enough of Annie Fannie getting trapped in this thing and she decided it had to come off.

We lost our precious Bell in 2000 at the early age of 7. She hung on to the very last minute, waiting for everyone to join together in the room to say goodbye. When the last of the family walked in the door, she breathed her last breath. No needles, no heart-stopping medicines. Bell gave me the gift of not having to make that choice.

In 2003, we welcomed Savannah into our family. She was all lab, a bundle of energy, and then some. For five months we worked on house-training, all the while replacing chewed up hoses, and rugs. Sweet as pie, but oh, what a different puppy experience this was! The puppy phase lasted about five years. Highly intelligent, focused and trained...sweet, sweet girl. But oh MY, those first five years!

In 2009, we lost our Sassy. Then this past month, Annie Fannie passed on. All of my dear aussie girls were gone. Savannah was all alone. I thought it would be an enjoyable time of bonding and special attention, but she has spent her days pressed against the back door, waiting to be let in, not wanting to be outside alone. She was turning into a house poodle. It was time for a new friend.

I remembered about English Shepherds and how they were like aussies, but more rare, healthier, long-living, protective, and almost freakishly intelligent. I set my sights on a January puppy, thinking that would give me time to get ready. But, a different breeder was posting pictures on her facebook page and this little black and white puppy kept catching my eye.

I'd go back time and time again, thinking "What is it about this puppy?!" I was about to put a deposit down to hold a January pup, but felt a check. Hadn't I been praying, asking God to choose a pup for us, telling him I wanted to experience a dog just like Bell? And here was this pup that I couldn't stop thinking about... The timing was all wrong, and it was a BOY pup, not at all what I had planned. But there he was, and I knew he was meant to be with us.

So come November 11th, I fly up to get our next baby dog. Savannah will have a playmate, and I get to experience the keen early intelligence of a herding dog. I know this dog will be special. Several friends have already announced just that very thing. I can't wait to meet this little buddy!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


My favorite time of year has arrived...Fall! So many wonderful things happen in the fall. We have our first crackling warm fire of the year, pull out the hoodies, sleep with the windows cracked letting in the crisp, night air and start cooking with acorn squash, caramelized apples, and pumpkins. I love pumpkin in anything...pies, muffins, lattes, ice cream. It's the only flavor that is an entire season's mascot!

I decided this year, I would get some of those tiny pie pumpkins that I normally pass in the store thinking, "who actually buys these tiny things!" and cook my very own pumpkin mush. The stores ran out of pumpkin last year, so I'll be stocked up and ready for any pumpkin emergency that comes my way!

First thing was getting three nice sized pie pumpkins at Publix. The guy had to pull one off a decoration display. They got washed and my newly sharpened knife (thanks Beau!) was ready..

Wash your hands, roll up your sleeves and get to work!

Wow, it's a little difficult cutting through these little buggers. At this point, I was actually stuck. Anyway, the point is to cut them in half. Watch those fingers! (anna, you might want to read that twice)

Here they are, nicely cut in half. There were a couple of suspicious places, so those will be cut off and thrown away. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Next, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff.

Place them skin up on a pan. Some folks mentioned covering with foil, but I left them out.

After about an hour, test with a fork and make sure the flesh is soft as butter.

The skin pulls away quite easily. They were browned and very human-like which reminded me of some slides I saw just this morning about tans-gone-bad. There was this one woman the color of a walnut dresser who should have stopped wearing a bikini twenty years ago. It was fascinating and gross all at the same time. back to the pumpkin skins that look like old ladies in bikinis....take them off and scoop out the flesh.

Put all the pumpkin mush in a food sieve and turn and turn and turn. And turn. And turn and turn and turn. Good heavens above, no wonder the food processor was invented!

This is the end product. A plate full of pumpkin! And none of that weird gritty stuff you find in canned pumpkin. I have no inkling what that sandy stuff is. All I know is I left the sand out of this particular batch. I think I heard mocking laughter from that Libby's can about twenty minutes into the turning. One thing I noticed is the smell reminds me more of squash, so I'll have to bake a pie for the final test. That will be coming up next week!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oh, no you don't!

This morning I awoke to a new day and new strength to resist. Resist what, you may ask. Well now, let's add up the clues. My children are all growed up and it's been years since I had to run to CVS at 8:30 p.m. for poster board, there's been a lot of loss lately...(.I can't even seem to see life in the $1.99 basil plant I bought down at Publix) and my last aussie, Annie Fannie passed on.

That's right, you guessed it, a puppy. A tiny, soft, squeaky, doe-eyed puppy. I truly thought I was stronger than this. Hadn't I been complaining about how our house was a suburban Noah's ark? I guess it was seeing Savannah, now alone outside, with her face pressed against the glass, waiting to be let in for the 16th time, or maybe it was the sympathy card from our long-time vet saying what a sweet girl Annie Fannie was.

 Regardless, I found myself looking at litter advertisements and saying to Dirk, "I need you to go get me that puppy!!"

I actually filled out some puppy applications. It's quite the thing now, you have to apply to own a puppy, get interviewed wearing your nicest suit, and put down a non-refundable deposit. The litter owner may also require to be a co-owner of the dog.

Dog breeders are an interesting bunch. I've found they rarely have a good word to say about one another. When a miniature aussie breeder was asked what standard aussie breeders thought of them, she said, "Oh, they hate us." Indeed.
I found most breeders shared that sentiment for one another and were all too happy to share. It was a little bit sad.

But it's a new day, with many responsibilities and loads of schoolwork to do. This just isn't the time to add that sort of demand to my day. After my coffee, I plan to adhere a patch to my upper arm with a seven-week old English Shepherd looking woefully at the camera. That should take care of any withdrawals for a bit.

One day soon, though, one day soon.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Critters in the Hills

Last week, I had a nice adventure in the mountains with Mama and Daddy. We met up at the cottage on Thursday, around lunchtime, with a sack full of BBQ sandwiches and some homemade carrot cake. I couldn't hardly wait to get everything settled in so I could relax on the swing and just sit and stare off at the high mountains.

There's always a flurry of activity upon the blinds, turn on the air, turn on the water heater and turn on the water at the well house. As the summer has come on, I've started hesitating before venturing into the well house. Actually, I don't go inside the well house, good heavens no. I just gingerly lean in, checking for snakes, spiders, rats, bees, wasps, hornets, mice, bats, bobcats, foxes, bears or any other godforsaken critter, and quickly turn the water valve.

So as I went to turn on the water, I first picked up five rocks from the road and systematically threw them about every foot as I walked towards the door of the little wooden shed. I figured if there was a snake, the rock would rouse it from it's snake nap, or whatever it is snakes do as they lie-in-wait. I removed the yellow wire from the door latch and swung open the door.....and out flies a huge spider carcass on a trapeze! I jumped out of the way, screaming, and my right elbow got bumped by the door trying to swing shut. To my horror, I saw the inside of the door was covered in three of the largest spiders I have ever seen! They had huge thighs and were easily the size of a small tarantula! Oh my GOSH I screamed and ran from that dang well house as fast as I could!

Look at the SIZE of these spiders!

THIS is what has bred in the walls of the well house. It was sorta hard holding it while taking a picture, but I'm brave like that...

Hopefully, Dirk will be able to come up with at attack plan and rid that place of unwanted guests. In the meantime: Attention all you gargantuous tarantulous spiders, that well house is not Motel 6 and Tom Bodett did not leave the light on for you!

The evening ended well with some pickin' and some fiddlin' down at the senior center.

Later that evening, back at the cottage, I was letting Savannah and Annie Fannie out to tee-tee one last time and I noticed a slew of huge bees on the porch, quite agitated and flying up against the windows...apparently trying to get inside the house.

 These weren't just regular bees, no, these were like something you'd see on an Alfred Hitchcock movie, and good heavens above they were congregating on my porch at night no less, and were dang-near about to bust down my door. What in the heck is it with these freakishly large critters!

 I googled grotesquely huge bees and found out we were experiencing the little-known phenomena of the European hornet-lighted-window-attraction. Apparently, these hornets move about at night and are attracted to lit house windows. I'm wondering if they'd also be attracted to one of those lighted hanging zappers. Zzzzzt!!! Enough large creature drama for me in one day! Next time I'm bringing the .410 and a box of shells!

Friday, August 13, 2010


Some thoughtful musings today....

This morning I contributed to a church yard sale by setting up a table with odds and ends I no longer used. It's fascinating how we readily hand over hard-earned money to buy these things and two years or so later, they're sharing a table with other no-longer-wanted items, the honeymoon being long over.

 But, sooner or later, along comes a new owner happy to start a relationship with the item and I get to pocket a crisp, new dollar bill.

Funny how fast kids tire of their toys. The next table, make that tables down, there was ton-o-toys bought for a whirlwind of a three-year-old named Jackson. He was running, leaping, climbing, jumping....everything but giving even one iota of interest to the hundreds of bright, shiny toys that surely couldn't be that old on his mom's tables.

 In fact, the only thing that truly kept his interest was a dusty pile of hay. That's right. Hay. About a bucketful. He would gather the hay in a pile, sweep it, throw it, put in on the stage, jump in it, kick it....just about everything but lay in it.

Just think of all the money that mom could have saved. Forget the tigers, zebras, noise makers, ride on horsies....just buy that kid a pile of hay. Life can be simple, if we just let it.

So I got new contacts today. "No, no," I told the doctor, "don't give me the bi-focal contacts. I'll just wear my reading glasses when I need them." I gathered my little plastic bag of bottles and boxes and came home, excited to finally see sharpened images in the distance. It was no time before I had those slippery lenses in my eyes and I glanced around the bathroom, ready to be amazed. The strangest thing though.....sure I could see the specks of dust on the table in my neighbor's backyard, but anything closer than five feet was s total BLUR. I couldn't even lean in to the mirror to see myself, couldn't dial a phone, read my email....nothing....unless I wore the reading glasses. What the heck!?

So, after 20 minutes of this ridiculousness, I decided to take the contacts out but there's a problem when you're over 40 and are wearing contacts for near-sightedness. I needed my reading glasses to see how to take out my contacts! So Dirk helped hold my reading glasses half on and half off all cock-eyed so I could see my own face. Good GRIEF. Guess I'll be getting those bi-focal contacts after all.

Is anyone old enough to remember the movie "If it's Tuesday, this must be Belgium"? Well, if it's been two weeks, this needs to be Ellijay. I saw it's gonna be 84 on Sunday and nearly cried. Fall is missing us, I'm quite sure. Can't you just taste the pumpkin ice cream, apple fritters and sweet potato fried pies? Oh, do hurry!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Food, Trees and other disappearing things

This has been an interesting week. First, we decided to do some pruning up in the mountains. The wintertime view is stunning. But once the leaves showed up, the view pretty much disappeared. Which was alright, I suppose, but sitting on the swing and staring off into the distance ended up being sitting in the swing and staring at the backyard trees. So we call a recommended fella and he sent three gentlemen with chain saws and long ropes. They climbed and pruned and I kept the lemonade coming, using my google translator to say, "Aqui es mas limonada" At 9:30am the view looked like this:

And at 4:30, after much sweat and hard work it looked like this! I couldn't believe it! This was just after pruning a bunch of trees. They only had to cut down a few small ones and one leaning Cyprus. Who knew that forever really goes on forever!

I decided to leave that one tall oak in case we wanted to have a dog party! Big dogs, little dogs, black dogs, white dogs! Our very own Dr. Seuss dog party tree!

So after a week in the mountains, we returned back to the hot city and discovered a new kid on the block was dishing up some interesting pasta. My appetizer was bruschetta and salad.

Dinner was gnocchi with crab, olive oil and garlic.

Then tonight, Ev and I ate at the Georgia Shrimp Co. My sandwich was Magnificent! Lightly sauteed Basa fish with shredded gouda cheese, honey mustard, lettuce, tomatoes and avocados on a kaiser bun with tender sweet potato fries. I ate it up before there was time to get a pic.

And dessert! Oh my! It was a native South African dish called Malva. There was a cake all fruity and spicy and tender all in a wash of sweet cream. It was sooo good and spoon-licking (no, plate licking!) delicious that I didn't want to drink my water and rinse away the flavor. Sorry about the picture. Again, the fork was quicker than the flash.

Monday, July 26, 2010

There's Adventure in Them Thar Hills

Today began with an an adventure up into the hills to search out a man using Mr. Tom's most wonderful directions: Drive up Boardtown a-ways and turn on Bushy Head right by a car shop and go on up a-ways till you see a firewood for sale sign. So I'm driving and looking for Bushy Head and come up upon Mr. Turtle moseying down the highway. "No, no, Mr. Turtle! You're gonna go and get yourself runned over!"

Silly turtle.

I drove and drove till finally, there was Bushy Head Rd. I stopped and took this picture just as the farmer on a tractor had his back to me. Folks in shiny Japanese cars taking pictures are eyed with suspicion around these parts.

 (Note to self: drive the dodge truck next time)

I'd stuck a Red Rock ginger-ale in my purse in case I needed a prop to convince any local folk I could be trusted. You just can't be too careful in the mountains.

There isn't a picture to show what happened next. It's not that I didn't want to take a picture... I did.

 Truly I did.

 When I pulled into the gravel drive and saw the folks on the trailer's front porch, smoking cigarettes and wearing John Deer caps, as the chickens rooted around in the bushes and the little goat kicked up his heels, I reaaally wanted to take a picture.

 But all conversation had stopped when me and my import car pulled in so the timing was a bit off.

I helloed the house, again no conversations..just stares, and asked if someone named Claude lived there. The distinguished older gentleman with the one tooth right smack in the front leaned forward and said that would be he.

 Again, the other four folks on the porch just stared at me and I'm quite certain the chickens were also staring too. "I, uh, um, well....I, um..TOM BALLEW sent me!!" Whew, thank the good Lord for folks like Tom who have lived in these hills all his life and knows everybody's uncle.

 The whole porch seemed to settle a bit after that and I explained I was looking for some tree work.

We talked trees, chickens, firewood, goats, horses.... copperheads, rattlesnakes ... I was disappointed he had seen more rattlers than copperheads, didn't like that news.

 He went on to tell about all the deer in this here parts and got up, opened the squeaky screen door and said "Come on in and look at all the deer I got me mounted on the wall!" Now, let me just say that as I followed him into his house, every cell of my body was fully aware I had no business casually walking into a stranger's house to see his dead deer.

 I mean, didn't my daddy raise me better than that? But, no...I just walked right in after him like nobody's business. Honestly, though, I was impressed by the virtual herd of deer on the wall. He was right proud and I could see why. They probably hadn't eaten beef in five years for all the venison.

I went back out onto the porch talking about all the guns my husband had and figured it was safe to make a polite exit. I'd not even had to pull out the Red Rock. They had welcomed me, showed off the house-o-deer, and treated me like a regular local. I said my goodbyes, and walked to my car, aware of the five folks staring at my back.

 All I had to do was put in the key and drive away. And I'd have liked to have done that...but when I went to pull out my car key, it wouldn't come out of my pocket. The ring was somehow tightly wrapped around the threads deep in my pocket!

 I stayed calm, smiling and waving...closed the door behind me, still tugging with all my might at the key. But it wasn't budging. "Bye now! Bye!" Come ON key! "Bye-bye!"

 They were all just sitting still and staring by now. I finally had to meticulously move the threads through the rings of the key chain and rip it off. I drove out of the drive feeling sooo embarrassed!

Next, on to the hardware store. Hardware stores in the mountains carry different things. You can buy all your clothes, shoes, furniture...just about anything you'd need.

I asked the gal working what folks put in these barrels and she kinda smiled with a twinkle in her eye.

Look at these beautiful bowls!

And walking sticks! I always wish I had a stick when I walk up here in case there's a dog, or snake or bear.

I think I've seen this exact china pattern. It was the size of a dinner plate!

Late in the day, I stopped to meet a neighbor who lives on the corner. A sweet dear lady named Billie Jean. She's caring for her husband, Clint, who has Alzheimers. She said it was the hardest thing she's ever done.

 When I knocked on the door, she hollered out, "Let me git my clothes on!" Oh dear. They have a fresh and fast-growing vegetable garden being farmed by another man. Billie Jean said Clint thinks she planted it and he keeps wanting to cut it all down. I got to pray for her back which had been broken years ago and left her in pain. I'll be back to sit on the porch with Billie Jean soon.

One thing Anna and I noticed about this town is there are no pretentions. No one puts on airs. Just look at this menu. They're actually advertising Campbell's soup. No airs at all...

And although it's not on the menu, I asked if I could have some corn hoecakes. After my dinner, I sat on the porch while an evening thunderstorm rolled through and felt the temps fall so much that I needed a sweater. In fact, it got so cold, I had to go inside and watch the Bachelorette. I love the mountains!

My, How Boys Have Changed...

Today I talked with my Ellijay neighbor, Jack, about his boyhood. After his daddy passed on, he worked to earn money for the family by getting up each morning at 4 am, that's right 4am...the time when many teens are just getting off their cell phone nowadays....and riding his bike out to the country to walk the creek and check his muskrat traps. Then he would ride back, skin the animals and sell the pelts.

He also had a paper route. He was just a lad but he did what needed to be done to take care of his family. I know my own husband also got up at 5:30am on the weekend mornings to deliver papers and during the week, worked every afternoon after school.

All the kids who grew up on farms had to feed the chickens early in the morning...

Work in the garden, pulling weeds and harvesting vegetables and I'm sure hulling peas and shucking corn...

And every boy was responsible for providing the family with ample kindling. They had to know how to handle an axe, knife and .22 rifle by the time they were five.

This was also back in the day when all young men...that was ALL young men joined the Navy, Air Force, Army, Marines or Coast Guard after high school or even dropped out of high school to join the forces to help support their family. My own daddy joined after his junior year and sent all his pay back home to his mama and five siblings.

So...that brings us to the youth of today. Who stay busy. In fact, quite busy. They trap and kill things too....

And stay involved with the family food supply...

And deliver news....

All this work wears them out...

Our nation was built with hard work, sweat, tears, long hours and sometimes spilt blood. It was called sacrifice and it didn't always feel good. Our parents had character, integrity and a faith they'd die for. We're consuming the fruit of our parents' labor. It will sustain us a little while longer and then it's time for the youth of today to step up as the leaders. They probably think they can do a better job. Every generation believes that. I hope to God they're right.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Miss Bumble!

Today I was browsing in Miss Bumble's Shop on Etsy. With a name like Miss Bumble you know there will be wonderful, creative tiny things that you must take home! Why just look at these little cutesy pies!

What a different morning you would have if you woke up with these tiny felted friends perched on your bedside table!

This little renaissance bunny is obviously about to pen a romantic poem... And doesn't it look like he crafted his pen from a dried carrot? Smart bunny!

And this little green-eyed kitty has a tiny cream mouse tied up in rope. Naughty kitty...

And I'm quite sure when Wooley Lamb stands up, her sweet little pink dress won't even begin to cover her fuzzy little bottom. Don't stand up in the garden Wooley Lamb! Those taters have eyes!

And just look how Cocky Rooster is lifting up a sharp clawed foot! Reminds me of when Beau went in the chicken coop and tried to make friends with mean rooster. Run for your life!

I think I would carry all these little felt friends with me everywhere I went. The doctor would come in to see me, and I'd have to gather them all off of the examination table. Or the teller would say, "Next?" and in a flurry they'd be lined up like new customers waiting to deposit their shiny pennies. There's probably a new droid application that makes peeping little clucks, moos, baaas, and mews from deep inside my purse. Come to think of it, I'm quite certain I heard a rooster crowing in Anna's room just the other day. She must have found that very thing!
Oh, the possibilites!

Friday, July 16, 2010


Today, Fed Ex was delivering my much-feared (by me) Droid X cell phone. I was to stay in the house all day waiting for the knock on the door. However, an unexpected emergency came up in the form of hearing Mama and Daddy were eating at Matthews Cafeteria today because it was catfish day and "would I like to join them?"

Matthews Cafeteria.

 Just saying the name makes me sigh, and want to loosen my britches to make room for more vittles This family-owned establishment has been nourishing me and my kin for as long back as I can remember.

 In fact, the very first outing my son went on was to Matthews. He was all tucked in a snuggli like a papoose and I kept dropping fried chicken crumbs on his head. Not much has changed at Matthews. Ever since Diners, Drive-ins and Dives featured it, the crowds have increased, but the food is still the same. Fried chicken, green beans, macaroni and cheese, catfish, black-eyed peas, biscuits and tea, oh the ecstasy!

They always have a big ol' mess of fried chicken! Becky, if you're reading this, can you even count how many times we took the kids here for a big night of eating out?

And when you're done with supper, you can do a little produce shopping. Tomatoes, $1.75 a pound.

I found a tomato that was bigger than a man's fist. It was almost two pounds! I remember reading about a couple who ate tomato sandwiches for a month. The husband lost 15 pounds.

 Mmmm....a bacon, tomato, and lettuce sandwich with mayo on white bread. That's right...white bread. There are just some things better left alone.