Saturday, December 10, 2005

Return of the Wind

When we moved here 9 years ago we had terrific winds. The first winter we lost 3 apple trees and the noise was terrific. The wind would come down from the mountain and fill our part of the holler with whistles, moans, groans and a few screams. The people who built our house installed a huge lightening rod that would shake the house with every burst. Once I got used to it I loved it (except when trying to harden off the vegetable plants and I would have to creat fortresses around them to buffer them from the wind). I think we had winds like that the first two winters and then they virtually dissappeared. They had been gone so long I thought maybe those winters were flukes. This winter the wind has returned with a vengeance. I had forgotten how thrilling it is to hear the winter wind. Some people hate wind tho it makes me feel safe and secure in the house. Yes, it brings trouble like broken greenhouse windows (on the protected side no less!) and downed trees. The last tree that went down crossed the driveway. A friend was here who needed to get home and DH had not returned from work yet. Now anyone that knows me knows I like to do things myself. Except for the computer and the crazed water system I like to think I can handle any farm chore. No problem about the tree, I can use a chain saw. The one thing I can't do is start the damn thing! It has some affliction that stops it dead in its tracks after each use. You have to open it up, use 'the tool', close it back up every time you want to restart it. This time was no different. Not only was there no DH to call I couldn't even find the tool. Nothing makes me madder than have to call for help when I know I can do it myself. Good thing I can curse as loud as I want out here and good thing I have great neighbors with working saws!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Wonders of Nature

We took a hike up on Beauty Spot yesterday. Even though it was warm and sunny there was still a smattering of snow up there. Even tho it blooms August thru October who would have guessed that a closed gentian would survive snow and ice and winter temperatures!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Wonderful Thanksgiving

I give great thanks for this group of people. We had a wonderfully, relaxing day full of sharing, music, cooking, and, of course, eating. We are spending today at home with a fire, playing games, reading and (me) knitting. Later a hike up the mountain.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

First Snow

The first snow fall of the year! Since our farm sits right above the snow line we tend to get snow many times when town doesn't. Sometimes even neighbors just down the road don't get what as much as we do. I think it makes for a nice winter as we can enjoy the snow and then not have too much trouble getting to town. Yesterday the boys and I got out and winterized the blueberry bushes. This is one chore I don't always get to so this year we did it right. Its funny, living with a mountain full of pine trees and it being challenging to gather needles. When we were in Nashville visiting the grandparents the boys helped clean off the driveway. We brought home 3 huge bags stuffed with pine needles. So down they went around the bushes. On top of that we put down a layer of wet leaves to keep the needles from blowing away. Then, a small gift of rain came down and today - snow! Couldn't ask for a better chain of events. We even got the bunny cages cleaned today while there was a break in the weather.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Farm Stats

A few farm statistics. We have 18.66 acres. We are about 2 miles from the North Carolina state line. Taking the gravel road behind our house up to the top of the mountain the Appalachian Trail is accessible in about a mile through some lovely old apple orchards. When we first saw the place people asked what it was like. I went on about the grape vines, blueberry bushes, apple trees, greenhouse and lovely garden and animal spaces. The husband went on about the huge shop. 'Yeah, but what about the house?'. Well its the oddest built thing. Two stories of long skinny rooms. The youngest son's bedroom is 15 feet long and 6 feet wide. There are routed, yes routed, press board kitchen cabinets. I swore those would be the first things to go yet they are still there 9 years later. This is a picture of the house as you come up the drive past the barn. The flower and herb gardens are in the foreground, the vegetable garden to the left. the little house behind/next to the house is my studio.

The Vortex

With fall (and spring!) always comes my love of the farm. I have spent a few too many late night hours reading other farm/homesteading/homeschooling blogs and thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn't realize I was such a voyeur! Anyway, this prompted me to tell a little of our farm history and I have had a couple of requests for pictures. The boys and I took a hike around the farm this afternoon to do just that tho there wasn't enough sun for any good ones. Like Darrell Scott says 'the sun comes up at 10 in the morning and sets at 3 in the day'. Well, we get a little more sun than that tho not much. This time of year is great because you can see the lay of the land. We got a couple of decent shots. They might not show off the beauty of the place but at least it gives the idea of what it could be!

One pic that turned out was one of the vortex. This farm has a few interesting stories in its past. Our house was built in 1979 by a Florida couple (and his brother - more about Bert later!). Two years later, as the story goes, the husband apparently had a bad day. He had a doctor's appointment and maybe he received bad news. He came home and the cows had gotten out. I guess it was just too much and his one-shot Derringer he carried in his front overall pocket was just too convenient. Well, I don't have to go into detalis. Luckily, for me, this happened outside. I am not superstitious tho I am not sure how I would have felt if it had occured in the house. (Of course there is an alternate theory that the wife was just tired of having him around and did it herself.) Regardless, that was the end of him. Fast foward 20 or so years and my metalsmith husband is working for a store in Asheville. Now Asheville is a mecca for new age thinkers. Husband has always been interested in dowsing and meets a local dowser who agrees to come out to the house. Not to dows for water - we have tons of that all over the place - but for spirits. He claims, and you will have to use your own experiences and ideas here to see if you believe, that we had 2 'unnamed ' entities living here as well as the dead owner's spirit. He asked them all to move on to a place where they would be accepted. He also found a 'vortex of power' on one end of the farm. I waffle back and forth on how much of this type of thing I believe in. I can say I haven't experienced anything better or worse since his visit. (I can say however, we had many household and vehicle problems while husband worked in Asheville and once he left that particularly stressful workplace we have had no unusual occurences in either of those areas!)

Friday, November 18, 2005

Museum Tour

The boys and I just finished a whirlwind museum tour. We visited the grandparents in Nashville. The first day we visited Andrew Jackson's home, the Hermitage. What a mix of a man. The historic association there has managed to aquire most of the original 2,200 acres. It was a beautiful day to wander the grounds. Our next museum stop was a drive down to Huntsville to the Space Museum. We all agreed this was our favorite stop of the trip. Next, was the Nashville Science Museum. Last was a stop on the way home at the Oak Ridge Science Museum. Other stops were dragon park, Ken's Sushi Bar and Davis Kidd bookstore.

Last Gasp of Fall

The wind and rain have finally taken the last of the fall colors. Winter temperatures have finally come to the mountains. 15 degrees last night. Brrrrrr.....

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Straight A Student

What does it truly mean to be a straight A student? There were report cards I brought home that were straight A's. Did that necessarily mean I had thoroughly learned the subject? No. It meant I had learned how to answer that teacher's questions or how to regurgitate. Yet most people are still tied into the idea of an A and B student being somehow better or smarter than a kid that doesn't make A's and B's. The arguement is that rewarding someone for good grades makes them strive harder. Yes, I suppose it does. I am sure there are people who buckle down and learn something to get that recognition. Then there are others who strive hard enough to get the A and then let all the information go. Here inlies one of the reasons we home school. I want the boys to be excited about learning something just because its interesting to them. In C's karate class, Mr. B. (who, by the way, I think is terrific!) gives stripes to the children who get straight A's or all A's and B's. When the subject came up C was curious what that meant for him. I told him he makes all A's. I could go on and on (and might have to someday to some 'authority' figure) about how his reading and math skills are far above his age level. He knows many things about so many things. How many 2nd graders pass by a Picasso and say 'That looks like a Picasso' and can tell you why, can raise the sails on a sailboat and tell you where Madagascar is? And all because he was interested not because some teacher told him he had to learn it. However, all C needs to know is that as long as he strives to be the best he can be that is enough for me. When the boys were younger the librarians would ask why don't you sign the boys up for summer reading I would go through my explanation of how they loved to read anyway so why get stickers to prove it. Now I see its just easier at times to go with the majority

Sunday, November 06, 2005


A beautiful sorceress, Gandalf the Grey and Leonardo.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Time to Sleep

I am a little behind in the farm chores so it felt good to get out today and start preparing the farm for winter. I did the final mow. M likes the grass high. I, on the other hand, like it to look a little more cared for. (Maybe because so many other areas of our farm look so...full?) After months of ignoring the few strawberries that survived the early spring frost I finally gave them some attention. After pulling away the dying weeds I found lots of survivors and lots of runners! Maybe we will have strawberry pie next year after all! We also started cleaning up all the summer toys and trash that have accumulated with the various projects. Also, I have finally gotten around to taking a picture of our first honey harvest! That's it folks. 5 quart jars. Being the first full year I am surprised we got such a nice amount and boy! does it taste good! M calls it the $118 a jar honey after the amount we spent to start up this project.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Animal Cravings

So I should have known this would happen. Here I had decided to cut out all extra curricular distractions in my life, concentrate on home school and work and then ONLY put the MOST important things back in. I was reserving judgement on what those things might be until a later date. So to start things off I decided to sell the bunnies. I sold one a couple of weeks ago. I have finished all my yarn work before the show with every intention of not doing any more (except for gifts and myself). I have taken care of most of those commitments that were hanging around. OK, good start. Just hang out with the boys til spring. Easy, I can do that. Then I went to SAFF, the fiber show. And of course being around all the wonderful animals got me thinking about the farm again. Which lead me to reading tons of stuff on farming, gardening, goats, chickens...... Which, of course, got me thinking of doing those things again. OK, OK, before anyone rolls their eyes I haven't done anything but THINK about it. I am still holding out til spring before even beginning to think of doing anything about it. By that time, the wanderlust will have kicked in again. Its a hard line to walk when you realize your two loves are farming and sailing. Its hard to travel when you have daily farm chores.

The Pond

Friday, October 28, 2005

Winter Warmth

The weather had been so mild I had hoped we could make it until November 1st before we began heating the house. We made it until October 26th. Not bad. There is something so satisfying about having that huge stack of firewood just outside the door. Now if I could split those few ash and locust rounds that are refusing to separate.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Trials, Tribulations and Manna

The crush of the last few weeks is ebbing, tho not over. I actually have a few moments to sit and catch up on what's going on around here (if I can remember it all!). Mostly I have been getting ready for the big fiber show. Many trips from bunnies to spinning wheel to dye pot and back again. If I do say so myself I came up with some gorgeous yarn (and the obligatory ugly ones). However, like all things artistic there are bad years and good years. This was a bad one. Not many buyers for yarn this year. At least (unfortunately) it seemed to be a universal problem around the show, not just my little corner. After all the craziness before hand it was pretty discouraging at the show tho now I am home it is on to other things. Maybe next year will be a yarn year - after all I have baskets full now.

We finally have the water system put back together and thats a plus.

Some of my other little jobs came up in the middle of all this so a little extra income coming in. My most challenging role as of yet in the SP program was a battered wife. I went in with trepidation as I had nothing to draw from tho I was quite pleased that I pulled it off. The nursing student that was interviewing me had tears in her eyes! I also gave a yoga demo for the homeschool group.

This weekend has to be the weekend to get the boat out of the water. We would wait until it turned cold. Our friend who was fixing the brakes on the trailer discovered the brakes are completely shot so we will be pulling the boat sans brakes. He assures me it will be fine (it is his truck pulling it afterall).

Thru all of this the boys have been great. Working away at their projects and entertaining themselves a great deal. We also had a little snow yesterday. Not that I am really ready for winter tho it was a nice, wintery sort of day and it was somewhat exciting to look out and see frozen stuff blowing around. We also received a surprise Boomerang in the mail. For those of you who haven't discovered this great kids audio magazine it is a compilation of biographies, history, good stories, weird items and funny things kids say. The boys have really enjoyed this in years past tho its a little out of price range right now. So where this copy came from I have no idea but thanks to David anyway!

Well, that is it in a nutshell. I am sure I have forgotten things. Maybe now we can get back to a semi-regular life.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Happy Dance!

We have water! There is still a leak somewhere but at least we can bathe again!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

False Faces

The boys have been into native Americans these days. Their latest is making Iroquios masks. The Iroquios would wear the masks to scare away the evil spirits.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Gray Days

I love gray days especially in the fall. There is a crispness to the air with a underlying layer of moistness here in the mountains. We don't get alot of fog because of where the farm sits in the hollow tho I can see it hanging around down the way. I think of driving up on the Blue Ridge Parkway on days like today. I love just getting out and walking around the farm and the neighborhood. It is a great time to take pics as the mass amounts of weeds are dying down tho there are still tons of colors. I find myself out wandering around with the camera shooting things I would never shoot with a film camera. Why? I have no idea tho I do like seeing pics on blogs. Yesterday I went looking for the sang found in the spring. No luck tho I did find the golden seal. I am sure the sang is still there it is just so elusive. I did manage a nice pic of the boys' garden. It started out with a nice combo of annuals tho as you can see the nasturtiums have taken over. We purposefully didn't plant any this year as last year they were the ONLY plant in the bed. They have won out once again!

In every bucket of muck...

I believe in knowing your environment. That's not to say I don't love surprises and this farm continually does that. I now can say I have seen the inside of a burial vault, that is to say our cistern. Great place to live if you are a salamander or a crawdaddy. Some crustaceans can change their color. Never knew that about these little fellows but he was very blue/green when I took him out of the cistern. Already he is loosing the brightness tho I think the difference still shows. After cleaning the muck out of the bottom we ought to be good for a few more years. That mountain silt just seeps in no matter what you do. So now we just sit back and wait. The cistern ought to be full by tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed that there aren't any leaks!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Time Capsule

Here we are one week later and still no water. Everyday takes us one step closer, one more trip to town for yet the another fitting. Hopefully we will have water by tomorrow. The boys decided to make a time capsule to bury next to the little house where the new pipes are. They hand copied a Yu-gi-oh card, wrote their favorite things, what they wanted to be when they grew up, date and added some little plastic odds-and-ends. All encapsulated in a 2 liter drink bottle. I'd like to be around when it was opened. On the other hand, guess that would mean we had to fix the water and I think once is enough for me, thank you.

Red Spotted Newt

This time of year is a great time to learn the flora and fauna around the farm. One of our plentiful favorites is the red spotted newt. I like it because it is so versatile. It starts out its life near the water and then wanders for a year or two as the red eft. Those little orange creatures with red spots down its back. Then as it completely matures it turns back into the red spotted newt, a green newt with same red spots, returns to the water, lays its eggs and the cycle starts all over. I feel somewhat like the newt by loving the mountains and the ocean equally. We have also been searching for fall flowers tho most are spent. You can still glimpse a late blooming iron weed or fleabane.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


It has been a challenging week here on the farm. We have this list of things that need doing before winter sets in. I have been splitting wood like crazy. Hopefully those high heating bills won't affect us. We filled the propane tank before prices skyrocketed and we have at least a cord of wood. (If anyone hears of an oak tree in want of a good home....) And just when you think the list is filled out unexpected things throw themselves onto it. M's truck breaks down, and of course the easy, do-it-yourself fix turns into a bear. So we have a truck in several pieces in the garage. My work as an standardized patient is going well. This week is a challenging role as I am a battered wife, eye-shadow bruise and all. Today I find out the woman that runs the program, and who is EXCELLENT at the job, has been replaced. We emotional actors need our support systems! And replacing that water line turns into a few days with no water. However,and here's where the thankful part comes in, we have no lack of water in the system its just getting it to the house that isn't working right now. So many of our neighbors are hauling water because it has been so dry. I just checked in on a good friend's blog and they are rationing water as well. Thankfully, our system has always been full. We had to drain the entire cistern last night and by this morning the water is pouring out the overflow once again. Now if we could just get the water to the shower....

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Top of the List

The boys enjoying their favorite vacation past time.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Life's A Beach

Ah, well rested and tan. What a way to be. Life should be more like a vacation than the stressful thing most of us turn it into. St. Augustine, what a great beach town. A nice mix of laid-back ocean living and history. First ingredient to a relaxing vacation, find a nice place to stay. We found a house on the ICW (Inter Coastal Waterway) that housed the Butler clan quite nicely. It was the old home place of the people who owned it. While the houses around it were big, newer homes with no shade this place kept its big trees. A nice breeze blew through constantly which made it a joy to be outside any time of day. Next ingredient (at least for me) add lots of water. Having the ICW right out the back door made it easy to get some paddling in most days. The beach was a short drive away. The sand is so highly packed here cars can drive on the beach and also wheelchairs. My SIL was plain tickled that she could roll right up to the ocean's edge. We spent a great deal of time on the beach swimming, boogie boarding and shelling. Co's find was a complete conch shell. Both boys fell in love with riding the boogie board and ranked it as first on both of their lists. Throw in good seafood, sightseeing and perfect weather and you have a lovely mix for one great vacation.

Some of the highlights other than the ocean were Castillo de San Marco, Ripley's Believe It or Not, a walking Ghost Tour, putt-putt and a boat ride where Guthrie saw a sea turtle and dolphins.

Saturday, August 13, 2005


One of Co's first words was bazzies. It was also his first food, blueberries. There is something so satisfying about home-grown fruit. I didn't put in much of a garden this year as we have so many other farm things that need doing (not to mention all the sailing!). Amazingly, I haven't missed it much. I do miss harvesting tho and the berries have helped. In contrast to a garden that requires constant work year after year the fruit trees and bushes require very little. The first few years they need extra nourishment and care. Then once established they just give and give. Most of the berry bushes were here when we bought the farm. This year I have dried approximately 10 gallons of blueberries and frozen around 7. And it was a bumper year for raspberries. There are several gallons in the freezer and one batch of dried waiting for winter granolas. Not to mention all the pies and cobblers that were eaten. A nice reward for not much effort.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Old Stomping Ground

Well, there I was missing all the old stuff and low and behold my old elementary school has kept a few of the oldies. The jungle gym and other climbing things are gone. However, the old slides and swings are still there. This metal slide is one of the fastest. With no step at the top its just one quick trip down. And the nice, tall old swings are still intact. The school itself has been added to and updated. Wonder how the equipment slipped through. Glad it did. Maybe the chances of getting hurt are greater on the old stuff, tho I don't remember anyone getting seriously hurt. But taking away those risks also took away the rush of finally being big enough to feel confident on the big slide or jumping out of the swing. If all the risks are taken away at an early age how will the kids face the more risky challenges as they grow?

Dragon Park

Another good thing about the big city is there are more creative minds and resources to draw from. Most of those old playgrounds we grew up with have gone the way of modernization. Back then, each playground had something unusual, unique. I would get excited about certain things around the city. There was a stand-up merry-go-round over on Nolensville. There was some sort of tether thing you grabbed on to and swung around below the resevoir and giant concrete tubes over at Sevier. Now everything is generic. No matter where we go it is pretty much the same plastic thing. Luckily, one Nashville playground has kept a piece of its history. Fannie Mae Dees Park, more commonly known as Dragon Park kept its piece de resistance. Twenty-five or so years ago the community got together and built one huge concrete dragon. They then covered it in broken tiles creating wonderful mosaics. If you look carefully you can find local people and celebrities. I have no idea how much it cost tho it seems a group of enthusiastic parents and interested people could create similiar items in their own communities. What a way to bring people together. Finding donated items, building structures... The possibilities could be endless.

The Dragon Itself

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

You Can't Go Home Again

Every time I go to Nashville I am amazed at the changes. The traffic, the new buildings, the prices. Someone has bought my grandmother's house. The house was in our family for 61 years. The man who bought it is 'remodeling' it for his family. in my grandmother's day it was a 3 bedroom house. Across one side of the house was my grandmother's dining room and living room. She loved those rooms as they were combined into one huge room. All that is left of her house is the foundation, 3/4 of the wall of the front of the house and 1/4 of the back wall. Why these smatterings wereleft I have no idea. Apparently he is planning on making the original single story house into 3 stories. It is rumored to be a $1,000,000.00 house when it is finished. When I heard about the possibility of her house being torn down I thought I might be more upset when I saw it. I wasn't. The memories I hold for that place is in my heart, always will be. What was upsetting is that the neighborhoods I grew up in are changing from middle-class, one family homes to $1,000,000 hulks that leave no yards, no places for children to run around in. And how many parents will actually grow to know their children in those places if they have a several thousand dollar a month mortgage? Glad I left the big city a long time ago.

On the other hand the big city is a nice place to visit once and awhile. The boys and I had a great time visiting some old haunts. We headed out to Cheekwood the first day. The Cheeks were one of those old, big money families that left their mansion to the city. It houses a nice art gallery and is surrounded by lovely gardens. We were drawn this time because there were 6 large, outdoor mazes to ponder. Two years ago Cheekwood had had treehouses. That was a great exhibit. Unfortunately, the mazes did not fare as well. The mazes were too simple in some cases, non-existent in others. We did enjoy walking the grounds tho.

The second day we made a visit to Ellington Agricultural Center where the International Tree Climbing Competition was being held. They had several large trees 'roped up'. Part of the competition seemed to include the ringing of cow bells far out on some of the higher limbs and dropping foam rods into targets on the ground. While we were there they didn't have any announcers so it was hard to tell what was going on. Looked like fun tho, I'd like to give it a try. The equipment looked mostly like what we use when rock climbing. Another walk thru some beautiful gardens was a nice ending to that trip.

And of course no trip to Nashville would be complete without a stop at Dragon Park and the Cumberland Science Museum.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The Boys in the Hood

I don't suppose anyone could ever say that we have too few interests. I do suppose I could say we have too many. That is one way to find out your likes and dislikes. the boys have been wanting to learn archery for over a year now. We found a very inexpensive beginner bow, so what the heck. It has always been one of those sports that looked easy to me (tho I knew it wasn't). Now I know. It doesn't take long to get the action down tho trying to hit the target - that is another thing entirely! Both boys did very well. Guthrie jumped right in there and hit the straw bale second arrow out of the quiver. Nice strength and concentration, that boy. Co, as always with anything new, was a little hesitant. He never backs off in the end tho and produced several strong shots. They will split the sheriff's arrow soon enough....

Saturday, July 30, 2005

What Are You Reading?

As usual I have several books going at once tho fewer at the moment than normal. The one that has captured my fancy the most is Gipsy Moth Sails the World. In 1967 Francis Chichester sailed his sailboat around cape Horn and around the world to capture the fastest solo time of 221 days. This trip prompted The Times to sponser a race the following year to see who could sail the world fastest without stopping. Peter Nichols excellent book A Voyage for Madmen tells of this race. Back to Chichester, in his book he opens up his soul to the readers of the ups and downs of such a venture. Also on the bedside table is Guevara Also Known as Che. The biography of the Latin American revolutionary. Tho well written its a slower read. I just finished Deception Point by Dan Brown (of The DaVince Code fame). The older I get I like a mystery novel where unbelievable coincidences save the heros' lives. Not true to life tho a nice escape. Also, in preparation for the tour guide job, friend, Jennifer Bauer's Roan Mountain A Passage of Time. And of course, a couple of sailing manuals. What are you reading?

The Half-full Cup

Lately I have noticed I am thinking of crusing more and more. Thru my readings the last couple of years I have thought I would like to cruise for an extended amount of time tho never thought I would think of it permanently. Amazing myself, lately I have thinking of just that. Which leads my brain down all sorts of avenues.... Could I really sell the farm and sail away? I guess not as I want the boys to have a safe place, a nest egg if you will. With the political turnings you never now what the future holds and I feel better nowing there is a piece of ground with my/their name on it as a haven. That being said all else about living on a boat intrigues me. Being on the water is soul-feeding. The challenges are invigorating. There are a few things here on the farm that have never held my interest. Mostly mechanical things, the water system, fixing the computer. I now find that I want to learn how to fix motors as I am sure that will come in handy on the Big Blue. Since my quilting days the sewing machine has held little interest and now I find myself thinking of cushions and covers to sew. I want to learn how to navigate by the stars. I have a friend who lived in a camper for several years and I remember her saying she could have her home spotless in an hour. She was so right. When you compare how long it takes to make the house (not to mention the whole farm) spotless, well, its just incomparable. Even those irrating things can create a challenge. Like yesterday. M needed to check a bolt size. He removed the plate at the bottom of the mast to do so and watched as the plate left his hand, bounced down the deck, into the water and lazily sank out of site. Frustrating? Exceedingly. Tho now it poses the puzzle of how to make another one. I haven't even touched on all the places I could go, the people I would meet. The world would be a nice classroom for the boys, and me too! I remember as a child telling my mother I wanted to live at the ocean. She said she did too when she was my age but she outgrew that. Guess I never did....

Sliver of rainbow

Whew, it has been a couple of busy days. Michael came back from the marina after a wind storm had blown thru. Blew our dock off the main dock and the girl, along with 20 other boats, was inaccessible. Luckily the dock is attached to the bottom of the lake so it didn't go too far. The owner of the marina, who used to own King Pharmecuticals, doesn't know much about the marina business yet. There was no emergency number so the dock workers didn't know about the problems til they arrived for work the next morning. Cove Ridge is the cleanest and quietest marina on the lake tho if they don't get a few things straightened out we will take the boat somewhere else come spring.

Co had a karate demo at the old folks home today. He looked very confident and crisp up there. You could tell he was enjoying showing his new skills.

We headed to the boat after the demo. I decided to paddle my kayak for a little exercise and solitude. The lake was still as glass and very quiet. I caught a glimpse of a rainbow. It was a lovely late afternoon. The boys took the sailboat to a cove and I paddled over to meet them. We did a little fishing and chatted with a marina neighbor. We all felt the urge to stay longer tho M has to work in the morning. All in all a good day.

Friday, July 29, 2005

A Day at the River

What more could you ask for than good friends, sun and water?!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Lots of sun and a little wind

This weekend was spent almost entirely on the boat, either at the marina on out on the lake. She is now pretty clean and we are starting to inventory all the lines (ropes) that need replacing. Our first line broke today tho at this point it was not an important one. We were far out so good thing it wasn't a main one! I am quickly finding out that this time of year in our part of the world there is not much wind. If we were on the ocean we would have been in the doldrums today. We managed to sail a little but mostly used the motor. The boys are becoming so comfortable in the water, especially Guthrie. He just loves being in the water. It won't be long before he is swimming without his life jacket. Watauga Lake has many lovely coves to investigate and so far not many people investingating them. The most unsettling thing today was going under the Butler Bridge. Last weekend the WLSC had a sleep out where the Elk River empties into the lake. The Commodore, who went on the sleep out, has a boat like ours and so we knew our Chrysler would make it under OK. I don't know how high the bridge is and I don't know how high the water was today but our mast is approxiamately 34 feet off the water. It was odd watching the mast go under. Surely, there was 10 feet to spare but it sure didn't look like it from my perspective. Even coming back thru was a breath-holder even tho, of course, if we made it under the first time we'd make it back, still...

Friday, July 22, 2005

'The Wataugans'

I got the call last night that I was needed at 'The Wataugans' to be Bonnie Kate. Even tho the part has very few lines it was fun to play. I was chased by an Indian and had to scale the fort wall. It wasn't too hard as there were nice footholds. According to other cast members the girl who normally plays the role is not too much of an actor. Many people said they were glad I was there to bring some life to the part. It is nice to be appreciated. Even with such a small role the adrenaline rush of acting is fantastic. Wish I could make a living at this. Maybe some acting/sailing job is out there somewhere???

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Ship Shape

The boys and I headed out to the boat today. I am actually finding myself missing it already on days we don't go out. The boys enjoyed floating around the boat as I got started on cleaning her. It didn't take long before both boys were up on the deck helping haul buckets of water and dumping it on the clean spots. With her almond color it is hard to see much difference tho now all those black spots are gone. Then it was back in the water for all of us. It won't be long before Guthrie is swimming without aid. Hopefully, Coburn won't be long behind. Both boys are enjoying the environment and exploring lots tho they have to have an eye peeled for other boats. During the week its not much of a problem as we are practically the only people at the marina. Cove Ridge, even on the weekends, is rather quiet. Funny how some people own boats are never take them out. There are only 3 other sail boats at Cove Ridge. According to the people on the docks two boats have never been seen going out and the third rarely goes out. Its unfathomable on two counts. My sea-faring side can't understand not using one's boat and my practical side can't understand having the expense of an unused toy. Guess we all have our own reasons.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Roan Mountain

Last week it was water falls. This week we are starting out with views. However, it was cloudy up on the Roan so the views weren't as spectacular as they can be. We headed out to Jenny's Bald but only got as far as Engine Gap. A huge, black cloud came over and we barely made it back to the pine forest before it let loose. I love a walk in the summer rain tho i don't think the new camera would have loved it quite as much! Although the rhodie blossoms were about gone we did see spring beauty, cow parsnip, yarrow and one of my favorites, bluets.

Movin' Up!

Saturday Coburn was tested forhis next belt. He did very well and indeed did earn his belt. He received his belt tonight in class.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Fair Winds

Twenty or so years ago 19 year old Tania Abei's father told her she had two choices. Either go to school or try to obtain the world record of being the youngest and first female to sail around the world solo. She chose sailing. Now no one said her father was smart as Tania did not have enough knowledge to attempt such a trip but luck was on her side and she made it. She actually didn't get the world record for going solo as she picked up a 'hitchhiker' on one short leg of the trip. Regardless, she had a great adventure and eventually wrote a book about her travels. It was that book that turned me onto sailing. Ever since I have read everything sailing oriented I could get my hands on. Two years after reading Abei's book I finally own my first sailboat! It is a 1977, 26' Chrysler named 'Tiller Time II'. Which, by the way, is a very STUPID name. So she will become 'Wonderlust'. Its actually supposed to be bad luck to rename a boat tho George, the man who sold us the boat, said there are ways to keep that cat from crossing our path. We have spent all weekend teaching ourselves to sail. We have done fairly well, no mishaps. We can actually get the boat to go where we want, albeit slowly. It sleeps 6 and we have been making our lists of how to prepare the boat for future trips. Guess for the rest of the summer if you need me look me up at Cove Ridge!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Blue Hole

We have been taking all these trips this week because we are caring for some friends' cats. We thought we'd do some things in their neck of the woods. Today we went to Blue Hole Falls. I think this must of been one of the first places we visited when we moved here 15 years ago. I had not been back since. Why? Who knows because it is a wonderful spot. It is right off the road and a great place to swim. The 'hole' is deep and cold. I can't touch bottom with my head out of water. We also drove up the road to the top of the ridge. We found a marker that told about two pilots who crashed and died on the mountain there. I asked the boys what their favorite trip was of the week. Coburn said Blue hole because he could do human cannonballs there. Guthrie liked Laurel Creek Falls the best because of the neat bridge. We all agreed tho that Blue Hole was the prettiest. All in all a good day. Stay tuned for this weekend's happenings as we christen in the newest addition. (Hint: it has sails!)

Elves? Sprites?

Has the river been visited by water sprites? No, just boys who love playing in the rocks. We headed towards Mt. Rogers this morning with the idea of a long, all day hike. However, before we could get away I received an emergency call saying they needed me to play a role in the Wataugans. And tonight was dress rehearsal! Even tho the day's plans had changed somewhat we decided to go ahead towards Mt. Rogers for a modified hike. We stopped here at Backbone to play and to show the boys some nice climbs we plan on making in the near future. Backbone is a great place to laern how to climb. Great handholes, near the car, nice water to play in. The weather was overcast so again, we pretty much had the place to ourselves. We went in to Damascus for a snack and the rain clouds joined us. We drove awhile towards Grayson Highlands in the rain but finally decided the rain was not going to let up so we turned around and headed home.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Laurel Fork Falls

Seems like we have been spending our summer running here and there and not doing many 'summer' things. Time to change that as these hot days drift by. We took a hike yesterday to Laurel Fork Falls. An easy 1 mile hike in from the upper parking area in Dennis Cove. We pretty much had the place to ourselves. Two hikers came through but didn't stay long. Had that determined 'got to get somewhere' look. The water was wonderful tho I need to remember to pack my swimming things. The boys couldn't understand why, if they could, I couldn't take off my clothes when we got back to the car! Trips like these give an easy reminder why I love these mountains. This defintely has all of us eager to revisit some old haunts and find some new ones.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Why blog?

So I thought I would see what this blog thing is all about. I have never been one to keep a journal tho I always wanted to be. I start journals and swear I will keep up with them and don't. I do however, keep random notes throughout everything. Great quotes written on my calendar, thoughts about backpacking trips in the margins of guide books, poetry written here and there, scraps of songs or ideas stuffed into places on my desk or my shelves. I suppose its very cathartic tho I often 'loose' these thoughts for years then come across them and wonder what in the hell did I mean by that. I do enjoy reading other people's blogs. I can keep up with what is going on in friend's lives (tho wouldn't a phone call be better?), I read some very interesting ideas from all sorts of people, I get new knitting patterns or great links to helpful sites. So that is why I started my own. This way family and friends from far away can see what is going on in our lives. The test will be to see if I actually use it. Will I sit at the computer even more when I should be doing stuff with the boys or chores around the farm? Will I get less sleep? Keep your eyes open...