People everywhere carry dates heavy inside them, private numerals dense with meaning and worn smooth by attention.  We all walk around with a string of them waiting for their yearly turn. Some days are jubilant in announcing their arrival, but others quiet the tongue.

Oh, Dad, we miss you.
And we wait, still, with hope.

Because This Is Shotsnaps

Here are a bunch of snapshots.  They're worth a thousand words, anyway.


Scones for Breakfast

Frugal Fancy-pants: Bland* Edition

*But it does have a lingering kick at the end...

For any newcomers around these parts, here's the explanation for a recurring indulgence in vanity.

It's been a blue moon or two since the last installment of Frugal Fancy-pants.  I've intended to take pictures before now, but whenever I was fancy enough, I just didn't care enough.  The stars must align, and all that. What's funny is that I haven't felt fancy in a while, and today's featured fancy-pants outfit is rather dull.  Forgive me.

Without further ado, here's


Wear this outfit when dour November lets a smile break through, and the weather warms enough to plant fall garlic.

-New York and Company sweatshirt: rummage sale purchase; less than a nickel
-Jeans: rummage sale; less than a nickel
-Red boots: borrowed from your eldest daughter because yours gave up the ghost; under a dollar from a yard sale

Total cost of outfit: Less than a dollar.

Optional accessories: 

-Wheelbarrow: came with the house; free (if you don't count the thousands in house loan)
-Feed sack full o' horse manure; free except for some elbow grease
-Bowl full o' 200+ cloves of garlic: free from this summer's harvest
-Sturdy shovel: hand-me-down from the Purdy's; free
-Mini shovel: hand-me-down from Andy; free
-One small elephant: priceless; and under that costume, I'm sure he's also free (as a bird)

Highly recommended accessory:

-One small child in pajamas, playing in aged manure: priceless


Later that evening, I couldn't resist the opportunity to use Mt. Manure in this post.

Manure-mucking outfit: 
-same as the garlic-planting one, only with the addition of dusk.

Optional accessories:
-Old snow shovel: hand-me-down; free (but not really optional when you need a flat, sharp shovel to separate sheets of manure)
-Little boy about to lose our best flashlight: priceless (and the flashlight was a Christmas gift)



Wear this outfit to church when you can't find anything else to wear and you're sick to death of wearing all that brown and black hanging in the closet.  You won't feel fancy, and you will feel boring, but, hey, you're wearing a color! And it's frugal!

-Heeled boots: re-handed hand-me-down from a lady on Mike Jones' postal route, from her to him, from him to Mary, from Mary to me; free
-Brown polyester knit skirt: a relic from freshman year of college; under a nickel at a rummage bag sale
-Green tee: rummage bag sale; under a nickel
-Jacket: rummage bag sale; under a nickel
-Belt: rummage bag sale; under a nickel

Total cost of outfit: Under a quarter

Optional accessories:

-A fancy, little boy making Indian calls: free
-Twenty pounds of chub gained since summer's end: nearly free
-One and one half ounces of beautiful womb-baby, growing strong: gift from God; free

I normally announce pregnancies as soon as we find out, because I believe all babies deserve to be celebrated and marked, but I just never did.  I don't really know why.

So here you are.  Happy belly!  Happy baby!  Happy day!

Using Days Well

November must owe spring a favor because how else can you explain one week of balmy, southern breezes slipping in the back door?  We played hooky for three days straight, which is our privilege when sunshine beckons, worked hard to finish the last of the outdoor tasks flapping about, and rewarded ourselves with back-to-back picnics in the Big Woods.

Millie skipped out on the first picnic in favor of saddling up Cherry while the other urchins and I ventured forth.

Every Last Crumb

(Many of the following snapshots were taken by Susannah and Annika.  I only deleted a couple of dozen.)

(This made me laugh.  The Cheeky Girl Who Shall Not Be Named misspelled "Honeyduke's" and "Aidan," but she knows how to spell "fatso!")  *Update: And I just accidentally misspelled "misspelled!"  At least she comes by it honestly.

Mildred Elise joined us for Picnic in the Big Woods, Day 2, primarily because that day's picnic included thick apple cider she'd made in the juicer that morning and cake pops hand-delivered by the neighbors a few hours before.  Cake pops will lure the most ardent horse-lovers into the woods.

Even with bare branches as our only canopy, and the leaves turned to rust and crunch underfoot, a warm fall day has no rival.