May 19
by Maryclaire Mayes

About Our Daughter

nell (1)

This is our daughter and her family.  Our daughter was always quiet, kind of shy, compliant and easy going as a child; for the most part even into her teen years. She was never the most popular girl, but I had heard many of her friends say “everybody loves Nell”. Her nickname was Angel. I’m amazed now as I watch her raising and homeschooling her own children.

She has really come into her own. She has a quiet strength and inner beauty about her. Being a wife and mom suits her perfectly. She is much more patient than I was, but still correcting her children as needed and training them in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). And now they will soon be welcoming a new baby into their family and we couldn’t be more proud of our daughter and son in law. Their life isn’t perfect, they have weathered some hard times.  Their kids misbehave and are unkind to each. Their house is getting smaller everyday. But there is plenty of love to go around.

May 19
by Maryclaire Mayes

Cucumber Skin Care

cucumber peelCucumber skin care? Yes! I always plant cucumbers in my garden. We like to eat this wonderful veggie (actually a fruit) all summer . It is full of good nutrients for your face from the inside and out. It is very low in calories and a good source of Vitamin C and Molybdenum; both nutrients can help detoxify your skin and make it smooth and beautiful. But don’t stop there cucumber has topical skincare benefits too. It contains caffeic acid, to help to reduce inflamed or irritated skin, and it also hydrates due to its high water content. Don’t by pass the peel, most of the nutrients are residing just under the peel. The peel has silica, which can help firm up sagging skin. Even people with the most sensitive skin types can use cucumber.

A quick fix for puffy eyes: place chilled cucumber slices over your eyes. You’ve probably seen this before—because it really works!  Enjoy the cooling effect that helps relieve puffy eyes, and shrink dilated blood vessels. Cucumbers also have flavonoids and antioxidants that decrease swelling, redness and irritation

Redness: Cucumbers have natural anti-inflamatory properties like water, potassium, Vit A and sulfate that calm and soothe your skin. You can place thin sliced cucumbers anywhere there is redness. Great to soothe sunburn, rash or rosacea flare ups. Keep the slices on for at least 15 minutes. Remove and apply a light moisturizer like Replenish.

Spa Facial: Lightly puree 1/2 cup of cucumber and mix 1 to 2 tablespoons plain yogurt (look for one with active cultures). If it is too runny you can add a little oatmeal. Gently apply to clean dry face and neck. Relax for 15 to 20 minutes and rinse and enjoy your new glowing skin.


Apr 19
by Maryclaire Mayes

So Many Sweet Memories



I have so many sweet memories of my mom. She had a reputation of being a great cook and was always feeding everyone. I’m not too bad in the kitchen, but mom never liked us to help her much except to do dishes. We did shared a love for gardening, but my mom really excelled at house plants, me not so much.

She had several different kinds of plants. I think orchids were her favorite but mine was her gardenia. When it was in bloom she would often let me pick a flower and wear it in my hair to school. It is a real treat for your sense of smell and sight. They say fragrance plays an important role in memories and the smell of the gardenia is sweet and intoxicating. It also has beautiful creamy white petals that slowly unfold like a graceful dance into a beautiful rose-like flower.

Unfortunately I’m not as good as my mom in growing them. But every so often, in the Spring when they are in the stores, I can’t resist bringing one home. So this one was so beautiful and it was begging me to take it home, so of course I did. The sight and smell of the pretty white blossoms always bring back happy memories of my childhood and my mom.

Mar 19
by Maryclaire Mayes

Canine-ality – Dog Personality

Cora riding in truckDoes a dog have a personality or is it a canine-ality? Anyway, last year at this time we were mourning the passing of our dog Chia. She had a wonderful personality, actually she pretty much thought she was a person. We had the impression that she thought she was above associating with our cats or even other dogs. She preferred our company and usually tried to figure out what we wanted and do it.

Last June we brought home another standard poodle puppy, Cora. We wanted a white small standard and were fortunate to be able to find a runt of a littler of 10 pups. The breeder thought she would probably be small but no guarantees. We decided on a white dog this time to make it easier to spot ticks. We have lots of ticks here. Chia had been infected with tick born diseases more than once, even though we treated her with tick preventatives.

So it turns out that color is not the only difference from Chia. Cora is very high energy and much more playful. At first we keep thinking getting her was a huge mistake. She is so much more affectionate with us than Chia was and eventually she won us over. She thinks she is a lap dog, which was our first mistake. Not that we mind sharing our lap with her but it reenforced the idea that she could do anything she wanted. She is coming along in many areas, but still has a strong desire to play using her mouth and her paws. She has finally learned that it is not ok to chase the chickens and guinea hens. She still chases the barn cats, but thats ok, they chase her too and they seem to love wrestling together.

I grew up with dogs and I always thought I knew how to train them, but Cora was not responding to my soft approach. Dean and I ( especially Dean) had to learn that we need to teach her she is a dog and we are in charge. I could see she had a presumptuous attitude. She thought anything she wanted to do was good. After Cora scratched a grandchild’s face by being overly playful we decided we needed to take her training much more seriously. While we still allow her to be a lap dog, it is only when we invite her. We had to learn that we needed to be her leader which means we needed to be tougher. We had to learn to balance affection with discipline, so Cora would learn our rules and consequences. Once we started implementing rules and consequences we saw an immediate change in her attitude. We never thought we would get a standard poodle that didn’t have a compliant easy to train personality. The good news is we realized she needed more structure and training and she is becoming the a really good dog.

Feb 19
by Maryclaire Mayes

It’s Ice and it’s Cold; Brrrrr

A IceYes, I know it’s technically still Winter but I’m wishing the ice would go away already. I’m really hoping that more Spring-like weather will be just around the corner. I’m not usually one to complain about the Winter. I enjoy winter activities The snow and low temps don’t bother me.  But this Winter, with all the freezing rain, snow and freeze and thaw, thick ice has built up all around our place. It is especially treacherous on my path out to the barn which I carefully tread at least twice a day. The worst patch of ice right in front of the heavy sliding barn door, which makes pushing open the barn door a challenge. Then there is taking the dog out several times a day. Cora doesn’t seem to mind sliding around on the ice, Dean and I not so much.

Cora is sorely missing her daily walks out in the woods with me. To say she is a little stir crazy is an understatement. Caddy and Midnight don’t have it any easier, Caddy only ventures out a few feet and Midnight hardly at all. Earlier in the winter we were able to clear the light fluffy snow from the top of the paddock and a wide path down to the bottom of the hill that way they have a chance to walk a little outside the barn. The thick ice on the snow made that impossible to make anything more than a small area just outside the barn.The grandkids did get a little sledding and x-country skiing in but since the ice and really cold temps set in, they don’t even venture out. Still I love living in the Northeast and get to experience the dramatic change of seasons. I don’t think I will ever move south. I’m sure the ice it will be gone soon enough and then it will be mud season, I’m looking forward to it this year!