Do you remember the story, "The Little Red Hen"? There is another version of it in a Disney storybook, called "Mrs. Cackle's Corn". Let me retell it for you, briefly, here.

Mrs. Cackle needed to get her corn planted. She asked her friend, Mrs. Duck to help, but Mrs. Duck was too busy to help. So she asked her neighbor, Mr. Pig, but he, too, had an ironclad excuse for why he could not help.

Her little chicks were anxious to help, and they convinced Mrs. Cackle that all of them together could be as much help as one Mrs. Duck or Mr. Pig. Mrs. Cackle agreed and she and her little chicks plowed and planted and hoed and worked, until it was harvest time.

Again, Mrs. Cackle asked her friends if they could help her harvest her corn, and again they begged off. Mrs. Cackle and her little chicks harvest all that corn, all by themselves.

And when Mrs. Cackle's corn was neatly stored, and when she had a harvest table full of good cornbread, and roasted ears and other yummy corn treats, who did she invite to share the bounty?

Her little chicks, naturally. Mrs. Duck and Mr. Pig would have to find their own harvest feast, for as you sow, so shall you reap.

Wine to Try - Fetzer Gewurtztraminer

It's another very-affordable and charming white! Oh, please, right out, buy six beautifully ripe peaches, a bit of really good dark chocolate, some nice Edam cheese and a bottle of Fetzer Gewurtztraminer!

Gewurtztraminer is a sweet white wine and a very difficult word to type. There is a distinct advantage in serving it, though, because you sound exactly the same when you pronounce the name, whether you haven't opened the bottle yet or if you've already polished off one and are starting a second. (Purely speculation, of course...)

I'd consider this a full Guzzle. Sweet without making me feel like diabetes is tapping me on the shoulder with every sip, I think it's a wonderful wine for anytime and ideal for autumn. Maybe if I start drinking it now, I can hurry the autumn and be done with the hot summer?

My disclaimer:
Bear in mind that no one connected with any of the wineries I might mention here knows who I am. Of course, if they appreciate what I have to say and want to forward along cases of wine, I won't mind. I won't hold my breath, waiting for that day, either. :-)

My rating system:
Sip: a nice wine, goes deliciously with (or IN) food. I enjoyed it.
Guzzle: my idea of a nice sociable wine. The kind of thing I am happy to drink out of cheap plastic cups, sitting around the campfire, or out of a cool stemless glass while enjoying the company of someone I care about.
White Elephant: it isn't like drinking kerosene, exactly, but does not suit my taste. I'll pass it along to someone who might like it. This rating will mean more to you if you agree with my Sip and Guzzle ratings!
Drain-O: this stuff could hurt someone, so I'll send it to the wastewater treatment plant, via the kitchen drain. Maybe it will disinfect the p-trap, while it's in there

My 24-Hour Plate

Like you, I sometimes complain that my plate is too full.

But like you, my plate is 24 hours. No more, no less.

When I really think about it, I am content with the way I'm filling my plate.

A walk in the morning before the sun comes up. Some time to enjoy a cup of coffee with my Sweet Hubs before he leaves for work. And then some time to myself to get ready for my work day. A job I like, most days. :-) A team I am immensely grateful for, and a job that allows me to make a small difference, at least in their lives.

A quick drive home, and a dog that is so happy to see me when I get there. Time at day's end with my dearest. I have time to read and time to write. I goof around on DuoLingo, playing at Spanish. I might putter in the garden or throw together a casual dinner for the two of us. Or I might just sit in the driveway and drink beer like a redneck.

It's a simple plate, the one I keep fairly full. Just a little, countrified, rustic plate of living.

Give and Take

My parents had always told me that it was more blessed to give than to receive, and I believed them. But I didn't FEEL it. Even though I always enjoyed giving someone a gift, I didn't really get what they were saying.

Maybe it finally hit me when my oldest child came into the world. I don't know when it was, really, but at some point, I finally realized that I am happiest when I am giving something.

Caring for someone.

Creating something.

Making something better.

Solving a problem.

Lifting someone.

Encouraging someone.

Calming someone.

Feeding someone.

The things I do for myself are important, and they charge me for doing all the other things that must happen every day. But the things I do for other people or the world around me are the things that make me smile.

Even if all I am doing is feeding the incredible swarm of hummingbirds that hangs around my back porch, it pleases me to give.