Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Alexander & Martha (or Martan) Upton great-grandparents

Did you know that I have Brown blood coursing through my veins?

There is no way of denying that this red-blooded, Boone County born,

Missouri raised, now a Hoosier grandma-is a Brown!

And just last summer, I found another branch.

Alex & Martha with 5 of their children...

Joseph Leslie being my grandfather-right end, second row

& Maudie (Brown) Toliver being cousin Karen's grandmother-right end, first row

Late last summer, we made a trip to central Missouri & had a weekend of visiting with cousins on both sides of my family. In spite of it being a time of sadness after a cousin's death, we enjoyed getting re-acquainted with Brown & Fulkerson cousins. And with blog material galore, I did a post about our visit. Not long after posting, I received an email from a lady who was full of all kinds of Brown information I would never have found--a not so distant cousin that I had never met!

Cousin Karen

For some reason, my grandparents moved away from the Warsaw, Missouri community where the Brown's had finally settled. My grandparents were poor people & I don't ever remember them owning a car. And perhaps for that reason, they seldom returned to Warsaw & somehow the families lost contact.

Both Karen & I were searching for seemingly unobtainable family information.

I gave up quickly...thinking, who would ever be able to trace someone with the very common name of "Brown".

I struck a gold mine of genealogy information that Karen very generously shared.

She had even written a book about her Grandma & Grandpa & it was full of family history, included tales she remembered Grandma Maudie telling. I too shared my "Leslie" side of the story, information she had no idea where to search for. Together, I think we have this branch of the family tree almost complete!

Just last week, Karen, daughter Kanetra, & granddaughter Heather, made a trip to Ohio & Indiana to tie up some loose ends of their family tree. They came to spend most of the day with me last Friday & it was as if we were already family & old friends. Maybe it's a Brown thing...but neither of us lacked for anything to say!

Karen came bringing a gift

one that I love & treasure...

a collage of my Brown family!

Lunch time at Zaharakos--downtown Columbus

Kanetra, Heather, Karen & me

Who would ever have dreamed only a few years ago how small our world would become! The Internet has made the impossible happen. If used in the right way, it can be a wonderful thing. Without it, I would never have met my Missouri Brown cousins, from Aunt Maudie's branch. And I wouldn't have wanted to miss meeting these sweet ladies. Their visit just wasn't long enough. Maybe another time we can get better acquainted & share more family memories.

Cousins...Karen from Missouri & me

I have learned a hard lesson in the past few years while working on both sides of my family genealogy. Ask questions while you can. Some of the family stories will mean a lot when passed on to younger generations. Many of those stories are locked in the memories of our grandparents, parents, aunts & uncles. And once those loved ones are gone, those stories are forever lost. So rev up those computers, buy some sort of family tree program, join a website such as, & find your genealogy gems before it is too late! You never know where a branch might sprout.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Farmer's Market

I almost talked myself out of going
as it was a typical sticky, hot, humid Indiana Saturday morning
& it would have been nice to just stay home.
But I had been waiting all week to go to the local farmer's market
to check out the vendor's wares.
I hope to make it a weekly summer tradition.
Our town had never had a very successful farmer's market
until a young lady decided to make this her Senior project a few years ago.
The first 2 or 3 years, the market was held on Thursday afternoons,
on a city street that was blocked off for the vendors.
Then construction in the area forced a change
& the market is now held on Saturday mornings
in a downtown parking lot
& is quite the success.
The one stipulation is that there not be any flea market type sales
& that all plants, produce & handmade goods,
be Hoosier products.
We all know that the Lemon Shake-Up is an Indiana tradition
on a hot summer day! The line was long.

The crowd was good, a steady stream of people coming
with intentions of taking something home,
whether it was a beautiful wildflower bouquet,
a basket of tomatoes, corn on the cob, a box of berries,
a one of a kind handmade piece of jewelry,
or maybe a loaf of freshly baked Amish bread.

The tomatoes turned out to be delicious!

Each week there is live entertainment
& this Saturday brought a group of guitar pickers & banjo players
that made left-footed me want to do a little toe tapping!

It was good to see that people came to buy.
The produce tents were especially busy.
Who wouldn't want a dozen ears of Hoosier grown corn?

Sweet corn for Sunday dinner.

Beautiful hydrangea bouquets...

Pots of marigolds & black-eyed susans...

Reason to get up early on Saturday mornings
now thru' the end of August...
until 12:30 each Saturday.

I know it must be hard work to load up your truck or van each week
& head downtown to sit in the heat or very possibly a thunder storm.
Let's get out & support our local producers.
Besides...Hoosier grown guarantees goodness!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Blooms, blossoms & 4 tons of mulch!

If it only would look like this all of the time!
Last week Mr. Hubby took his dump truck to the mulch mountain
& came home with almost 4 tons of mulch!
We chose a steaming hot morning (they all are anymore!)
& began hauling.
Thank goodness we had help & by early afternoon the pile on my driveway was gone
& my flower beds looked weedless!

The stellas were spreading their yellow sunshine
& for the life of me, I can't remember the name of that purple flower.

The bed along the sidewalk just off of the back courtyard.
Just a few years ago this was lined with overgrown burning bush
& then planted with a beautiful baptisia that took over & had to be dug out.
I tend to over-plant & in a few years the beds are way too crowded.

The purple flowers in front are
Jolly Bee perennial geraniums.
They bloom all summer & take the afternoon heat.

Right now the courtyard needs some attention...
so no close up shots there.

Oakleaf hydrangea
planted near the back wooded area.
Last week they were at their peak.
Our recent 6 inches of rain has beaten off a lot of the petals.

So you can get an idea of how huge the blooms are

3 oakleafs were planted within the last 3 or 4 years
surrounded with yet to bloom daylilies

and they have a sweet fragrance

The north garage wall
We took out 2 red-twigged dogwoods as they were sprawling towards the driveway
& right in the way when loading the car trailer.
I like it better without them!
Endless Summer hydrangeas
& impatients
I'm not sure who my little iron lady is supposed to be.
Every year I think I won't use her...but there she is!
I like the small leafed hostas so have used a few of them along this wall.

I've learned to not prune my hydrangeas back until they leaf out in the spring.
Hydrangeas bloom on last years wood so never severely prune them in the late summer.

The blues are pretty
but I love the pinks!

More little hostas

The bed between my neighbor & me...
& the little chair Dad made for me one summer
My shade garden.
About the only shade we have, except for late afternoon.
I bought plants last Saturday & they are waiting to be put in the dirt.
It has been steamy, stormy & rainy here all week.
Today there was finally a break in the humidity
but it's supposedly headed our way again.
So, this non-early riser is going to have to drag herself out of bed in the morning & try to beat the heat to do some more gardening.
I love it...but sure don't move as fast as I used to!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Big Sixty Two!

This weekend we celebrated Bob's 62nd birthday!
It is hard to believe that we are getting that old...
but then we take a peek in the mirror
& realize that our golden years have arrived.
(I prefer to refer to them as the "rusty" years!)
Notice that he is posing by his favorite car...
his 1962 Chevy!
I had festival attending plans on Saturday
so called up Karen & asked her to pick up a cake for me.
She did better than that...
she baked one!
Thanks so much for the delicious German Chocolate cake, Karen!
(I may have to try that trick again.)
Our day turned out so busy, we didn't even get to go out for our traditional Texas Roadhouse dinner. We ended up at Culver's & devoured our burgers & fries before it was time for the gang to show up.

Bob had plenty of help blowing out his candles.

Posing with his passel of grandchildren...
Carter, Peyton, Brycen, Paige, & Parker
Can't you just see the mischief spilling out of those boys eyes?
We caught those little stinkers having the time of their life
riding their bikes threw a huge water puddle on our driveway.
They got soaked!
And now our new life begins.
Bob has already filed for his monthly checks & considers himself "retired".
I consider him on temporary leave!
But with the economy like it is, we have decided that it isn't wise to continue
building "speculative" homes at this time.
Maybe later...
For now Bob is having a ball.
He loves sleeping in a little later,
seems to enjoy taking over the lawn mowing duties,
gets lots of eBay time in each day,
was able to go to a 409 Chevy drag shoot out,
attended the Chevelle Show in Tennessee,
has plans to go to two other car show events,
& just likes doing what he wants to do.
I'm trying to get used to having him around the house 24/7...
and that might be a story for another day.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lunch at Streamcliff Farm

Pearl & Nancy finally made it to Columbus!
We had been trying to juggle our schedules for a couple of summers
wanting to get together for lunch.
Pearl lives in Fishers & Nancy lives in Greenwood.
We met many moons ago because our husbands are all Chevy nuts.
Over the years we have become very good friends.
Since my lady friends didn't have a preference for lunch,
I decided to take them to one of my very favorite places...
Stream Cliff Farm.
It is located about 40 miles south of here & I decided if I didn't take them,
they would never get to experience Twigs & Sprigs.
They loved it!
Nancy is a "red hatter" & said she would be back with a car load of Indy friends.
Twigs & Sprigs Tea Room
has the most wonderful lemon verbena lemonade. Mmmmm...
Nancy had a flavored tea
& Pearl missed out by having a Diet Coke!
Birdseed Pasta Salad topped with Chicken
served with pita chips
My lunch---Deeeelicious!

After lunch we browsed the quaint shops & walked through the garden area.
It was a hot, steamy day & I think for the first time ever,
I walked out of there without buying a single plant.
But I'll be back...

I love to go to Stream Cliff several times a season
as the gardens are ever changing.
With our spring rains & warm weather,
the gardens were lush & full of color.

The 3 little shops are bursting with garden style decor.
They have beautiful floral stems & nice greenery,
different than you can find locally.

It always amazes me that we can drive miles & miles down State Road 3,
seeing nothing but farms & some ramshackle houses,
turn off at a huge grain elevator, drive past an elementary school,
& arrive an seemingly just someones farm,
to find a delightful place to spend a sunny summer morning,
& have a delicious lunch.

If you see me heading south on Hwy 7...
you know where I'm headed!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Living Room Re-do

You may remember a post about my living room a few months ago.
It was in desperate need of a make-over & it is finally basically done.
I may still do a little spiffing & re-arranging...but it's almost like I envisioned it.
Some of the pieces I thought would be garage sale items, ended up working out.
Some things I thought would be part of the living room forever, ended up out the door.
The couch went on to a family member,
the blue chair ended up in a bedroom
the floral arrangement became garage sale junk
but I kept the Longaberger woven vase...
& I caught a couple of grandsons using the plastic protector as a ball catcher!
The coffee table is being passed on
& the dust encrusted wreath went out to the trash can.
And then the paint went on!
My favorite paint salesman helped me choose a color-
Benjamin Moore "Aberdeen Green"-
the lightest shade on the chart we chose.
After the first wall was done, I knew I had made the right choice.
It was the color I was looking for!
It is hard to capture the exact color on the camera lens
but it looks very pretty with my dark woodwork...
both complement each other.
The two wooden boxes are hiding 2 stuffed file boxes, full of sheet music.
The plastic carpet protector under the piano bench is there to stay--until I can talk Bob into picking up the piano a few inches so I can yank it out! (I thought about taking my Exacto knife to it...but then thought again...Wonder if a rug would hide it?)
This curio cabinet was supposed to leave the premises...
but it fit perfectly in an opposite corner
and minus all of the Holy Land olive wood collectibles,
knick-knack souvenirs, & vases from the Middle East,
it changed into something that I wanted to keep.
It now holds more sentimental pieces that I want to display,
along with a few Gene Stratton Porter books.
Cream colored silk draperies & new wrought iron rods
replace the very outdated lace curtains & valances.
You should see the sun shine in!
I'm in search of a table to replace this one,
something a bit taller, & maybe wrought iron.

This large bowl came from Hebron, Israel on a trip we made in 1983.
It was never one of my favorites & I was ready to get rid of it
but the colors seem to pop now & I decided to hang on to least until I run on to something else I have forgotten about.
I found this print in the shop where Kylie works & knew it had the colors in it that I wanted.
It is a heavy piece, but was reasonably priced
& Kylie surprised me with her discount!
Half of my grandkids on display...
with a matching frame waiting for the other 3!

After weeks of waiting, my chairs finally arrived.
Did I tell you that they originally came a few weeks ago--
in the wrong fabric?
I was so disappointed as it was going to take another 6 to 8 weeks to get them.
They actually came in about 3 weeks earlier than expected & I'm so glad I waited for them.
I'm very happy with them, especially since I chose this fabric from about a 8 x 10 inch swatch!

These chairs are about the color of the dining room top wall.
And the walls in the living room are about the color of the sideboard in the dining room,
so both rooms work together.

This inexpensive little table came from "Country Door" catalog.
It holds more music books than you can imagine.
(I couldn't talk Bob into putting any of his things in the garage sale!)
The table isn't as blue as it appears to be in this picture.
And this is what started the living room re-do.
This china cabinet/book case/catch all has always been in an upstairs bedroom.
I've always loved this piece & with the suggestion of my friend Mary Ann,
decided it was time to move it downstairs.
It still holds basically the same things it did upstairs, minus a few books.

The two vases came from Egypt, the largest from a trip made in 1979.
They missed being packed away with the rest of our Holy Land "stuff"
& I realized how pretty they looked, bringing out the color of my new chairs.
Isn't it funny how you think some things won't work, or a piece goes unnoticed
until you move it or change something around?
The vases are made of alabaster & Bob actually brought the small one to me from his first trip in 1977.

This is supposed to be my hideaway, a place where I can go read a book, look at my gardening magazines, or take a quick nap. I envisioned Karen & me sneaking in here on Sunday afternoons, getting away from the rest of the gang & having some time to ourselves.
I should have known better!

The very first Sunday found the whole gaggle of geese gathering in around the piano for practice of songs to be sung at church, & somehow my son-in-law thought I had bought the chairs for him!
It didn't do me a bit of good to try to run him out...he just stretched out & started snoring!
Next week I'll have to beat him to it!

It's been done about a week now & I haven't found time to sit in there yet.
But I have a new book & a few magazines ready,
just in case I can find a few spare minutes.

So for now I'm putting the rest of the re-decorating on hold.
My flower gardens are calling out to be weeded, mulched & fed.
But it won't be long until you might hear the steaming of flocked wallpaper...
wallpaper that was put on 31 years ago, without sizing, but it has to come down!
Don't you think that would be a good job for a hubby that is getting ready to draw his social security? He definitely is going to have to do the 2 story entryway--or hire some help!

Stay tuned...