September 12, 2014

International CowPea Festival


South of the Gnat Line is excited to attend this year's International Cowpea Festival!! Can't wait to share the experience!




June 11, 2014

A Tribute to my Southern Sisters!




Savannah, Georgia's very own South Magazine is celebrating their 50th issue with, this, their June/July 2014 issue.

It's theme: All things "50".


Some weeks backs, the Magazine posted a request on their Facebook page seeking submissions for Fabulous Southern Women Over 50.

And I thought to myself, "Hmmmm, I know some of those."




So.

To pay tribute to, recognize and honor their unconditional love and seemingly endless years of friendship, I shared my fabulous circle of girlfriends with the Magazine.



You can well imagine my surprise when they decided to include us in a little shout-out as the lead caption to their feature for Southern women over fifty.



As an only child, these women have filled the sisterhood void in my life in many ways and for many years. These are women of strength, courage and truth.  They pick me up (and all my pieces) and refuse to let. me. fall.




No matter the time or distance, we pick up where we left off last and are forever bound by a southern sisterhood that remains undeniably close-knit, full of life and wide open. Simply put, we have a sacred bond that remains timeless.





I share them with you as a tribute not only to their physical attributes, but more so for their inner beauty that radiates in all areas of their lives and, clearly, everywhere we go.


Of the original nine girls, we have remained seven-strong since graduating high school.

Life happens.



We were all born in 1961 and are all Georgia gals. Four of us have been friends since kindergarten; the seven of us have been close friends since we were all 13 in the eighth grade.



In high school, all of us worked at the same restaurant owned by the parents of one of us. Two of us shared a hospital room, dated brothers twice and married brothers once. Four of us married our high school sweethearts. Four of us became sisters-in-law and two of us remain sisters-in-law today. Two of us are cousins-in-law while two of us have the same last name but are not related.



Combined, we have 12 marriages for more than 150 years of marriage. In fact, two were even Vegas weddings.

We’ve all experienced childbirth and, collectively, have 13 siblings, 19 children and 4 grandchildren, to date.

Among us are business owners, professionals, leaders and serve in our communities in a multitude of ways. On any given day we are seven different versions of high strung and feminine southern sass as well. (...and that's just the stuff we'll tell ~ [wink]...)


We lived across the street from one another, behind one another, around the corner from one another; we’ve been roommates in college as well as during our 20’s.



Our parents have parented all of us at one time or another; we learned to drive together while driving each other crazy as well.


We’ve been in each other’s weddings, celebrated our children, fallen together, supported one another as we’ve lost parents, picked each other up, and toasted the milestones of our lives together.

While the love is unconditional, we are, nevertheless, bold and honest with one another. Undeniable, fierce loyalty and commitment are naturally woven within the bonds of our circle. After all, these are the time-honored virtues of traditional Southern women.

Three of us remain in Rome, while the remaining four of us: one resides in N. Georgia, another in Gainesville, another in Atlanta and last but not least, the seventh one of us resides in rural, East Central Georgia. 

Despite our geographic challenges, we continue to be in one another’s lives today with lots of help from technology, girlfriend get-a-ways and, of course, showing up at one another’s house or business!



I pay tribute to and applaud these beautiful and fabulous women now over fifty who I am blessed to call my lifelong girlfriends - my Southern Sisters - who I love beyond measure.



May 20, 2014

Big Brain Moments




"Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity."
~ T.S. Eliot




"The chief enemy of creativity is 'good' sense."
~ Pablo Picasso




"For me, insanity is super sanity. The normal is psychotic. Normal means lack of imagination, lack of creativity."
~ Jean Dubuffet




"Creativity is what helps me escape a lot of my inner demons."
~ Demi Lovato




"When we are angry or depressed in our creativity, we have misplaced our power. We have allowed someone else to determine our worth, and then we are angry at being undervalued."
~ Julia Margaret Cameron




"Artistic temperament sometimes seems a battleground, a dark angel of destruction and a bright angel of creativity wrestling."
~ Madeleine L'Engle




A writer must accept that there is a certain amount of creative madness that accompanies this work of the written word.  Without the open threshold that separates the sane and logical from blissful madness, much would remain untapped from a realm that most often remains an undiscovered mystery.

It is the unexplainable push to plunge and explore - navigating deeper the foreign maze of neural folds into that pristine source of  the undiscovered allowing the vulnerability of the creative mind and its ideas to be unleashed on the page - as if emancipating declarations of thought before the reading sphere.  It is a sensory pilgrimage that often chances the risk of emotional peril revealing words that express, provoke, convey, relay, sell, hide, embellish, lift, conceal, reveal, convince, unveil, build up or tear down, expose or possibly pierce the soul..... 

Most often it is the soul of the writer laid upon the public guillotine.

Will it be read? Should it be read?

Ever.

In the end, there is only fear. How a writer harnesses that fear is the magic - unless the gift of eccentricities are woven within the gene pool. 

The eccentric have no fear.

And all the writer can do is close the eyes, allow the internal music to stream and grant passage for the words to flow.


"It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else."
~ Erma Bombeck

Recognize the risk involved for a dream to be shared. Realize the sacred trust invested in the writer's confidant. 

Guard the dreams; protect the dreamer.




"...it's hard to stay mad when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once and it's too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst. And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it. And then it flows through me like rain and I can't feel anything but gratitude......You have no idea what I'm talking about I'm sure......"



~ Lester Burnham, *American Beauty*


HKJ. South of the Gnat Line. Copyright  © 2014. All Rights Reserved.

March 25, 2014

Thank a Farmer Today!









March 9, 2014

PG or not PG - That is the Question




Buttermilk and the Girls. South of the Gnat Line. Copyright 2014








When I was a little girl, I was often scolded for pointing - especially when I observed a woman who was preggers.  My mother would just about die a thousand deaths, grab my index finger and lecture me with, "Young ladies do *NOT* point!" 

Since I am an only child (and a curious one), you can well imagine my fascination with other families who had children and their Momma was expecting [again].  My mother told me many times that when she was growing up, Nana called it being "PG" (almost in a whisper). That when any woman was "PG" she did not go out of the house after she was showing. Wide-eyed, I imagined the word pregnant - and it's condition - was something that existed in the realm of scandalous.

Fast forward to Chapter 50+ and my now life with sheep.

Last March, we acquired our first official flock of sheep (ewes).  This does not include Buttermilk; Buttermilk is my bottle baby who came home with me in November of 2012 just hours after he was born and found abandoned in the barn of his birth.  He's just my pet sheep - er, third born. (Shhhh. Please don't tell him - not only does he believe I'm his Momma, he believes he is an Ovine stud.)

Where was I?

The ewes. Right.

We borrowed a ram and hoped to successfully breed our ewes for what we have planned to be our first lambing season this Spring.  This was to be our first ever attempt at animal husbandry.

The ram arrived at the end of October.  The ram had an extended stay with the girls.  The ram departed the Dirt Road Farm in January.

It is now March.

I readily admit, I am an anxious sheep owner. Since no one bore witness to the actual "husbandry act", not only am I pondering in my head, "Did the visiting ram do his job..." I managed to reinstate my childhood bad habit: the one of pointing.  I've also been reduced to bribing them with treats so I can rub and feel their tummies - thumping them like a watermelon.  I stand and stare looking for any change in their milk stations; I even squat and crawl on all fours to try and see up underneath them for any evidence of "PG".

I've read the "What to Expect When You're Expecting" book for all things Sheep and oddly enough, there are no hints or real time information on how to know if a ewe is preggers until the lamb is basically falling out of her backside.

There's a tell-tale sign.

Since I prefer a little more heads up and "the sheep book" was of zero help, I moved on to Google where all modern-day farmer wannabes get their most up-to-date and reliable information. I must have typed forty different search versions of "How do I know if my sheep are pregnant?" Apparently, Al Gore's internet doesn't have much pregnant sheep experience or at least no one is sharing the scandalous details online. I considered searching: "How do I know that the man-ram did his job?" But I gave up instead.

As we eagerly await the first day of Spring - having survived Snowpocalypse, the ice storm that followed taking our power for some days along with it, the Valentine's Day earthquake and the on-again, off-again cold/warm days of early March, I find myself in the pasture continuing to point my index finger, now having added squatting and staring to the mix. While I have only their best interests at heart, the girls are not real big on my efforts. They all glare at me and look as if they would love to collectively scold me as my Mother often had to.

Patience, while a virtue, is not my strongest personality trait. (sigh)  However, I have no choice but to wait for Spring's official arrival and see in the weeks ahead if, in fact, the man-ram performed his gallant duty and the girls will be gifting us with our first lambing season.


HKJ
South of the Gnat Line
Copyright  © 2014
All Rights Reserved.



February 24, 2014

Daffodils: First Sign of Spring

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While less than a month away, March 20th seems only visible in the distant view of a collapsing telescope in the grimy hands of a pirate. But nothing shouts, "Spring is almost here!!!" like daffodils blooming.

Given our recent winter weather and ice storm - they are such an uplifting sight to see!

Some years back on a neighboring dirt road not too far from our own, I discovered daffodils left behind from a family farm long forgotten. The old home place no longer remains - but the annual blooming of the faithful daffodils appear year after year as if to remind us of Spring's annual return and for us to always keep hope that life cycles around to all things beautiful.

No matter how many times I make my way back to this secret spot, it never fails to surprise me. Dirt road riding is well worth the breath-taking view of thousands and thousands of daffodils.


February 21, 2014

Upcoming Backroads Events!




If you want to experience the Real South, you'll want to make plans to attend one or all of these small town festivals and events.  Spring is almost here, the weather has been calling us out to play, and the greater Augusta, Georgia region has a vast amount of geography to explore (known locally as the CSRA).

The local organizers will greatly appreciate your attendance and support as proceeds from these events largely support the hosting communities.

Be sure to follow South of the Gnat Line on Facebook, Twitter and find more backroads discoveries with SGL's little spot on the Augusta Chronicle blogs as well.






February 4, 2014

Map Skills Required


Stay away from this detour!

Can't help but love the Ziglar!