Friday, November 03, 2006

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy Hallooooooweeeeeen!

It has been a couple of busy, fun days. A good friend and excellent teacher brought over a cloud chamber for the boys to see the visual of radioactive particles. DH brought home some radioactive items from the job in PA an dit was interesting to be able to see the trails left by the different particles. Very cool.

Then the rest of the time has been devoted to costumes, candy, friends and pumpkins. C is still on a Lord of the Rings kick (if you remember he was Gandlaf last year) and was Legolas and G was an alien. They hauled home tons of candy. We had the get together at a friend's house. I made a blood colored punch and floated a frozen ice hand (rubber gloves are great!) in it while dry ice bubbled from beneath. Most ghostly.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Sit, have a cuppa'

Saunter on over and have a cup of Tea with Ren. She has some wonderful comments on community.

ALL are Welcome!

We spent a lovely morning with our homeschool group. It was games day. Everyone brought their favorite games. I'd say there were somewhere between 20 and 25 children playing happily all morning. Even tho the group has had its ups and downs the last little bit I still feel so good when we have days like that. As I have said before I haven't had too many problems with 'others' about homeschooling. Whether with the 'schooling' world or other facets of the homeschooling world. I knew early on a group like SOFH would be the only way to go so I never tried the religious groups. I have too many faults with 'religion'. Religion is so different from spirit. I was reminded yesterday of how lucky we are to have SOFH. Every now and then a new member will join us from another group. Yesterday, I met a lovely woman who had been a member of one of those religious groups. She left because the 'Christians' of the group were arguing about who should be allowed in their group. Catholics shouldn't be allowed because they aren't Christians. Episcoplaians weren't Christians and so on. In my book no one can decide who is or isn't Christian. My brand of 'Christianity' is so far different from most tho that doesn't make me any less of a good person. Being a 'Christian' is being honest and kind and loving. Guess what folks Catholics and Episcopalians can be all these things - just like Muslims, Buddists, Native Americans, Atheists.... I am so glad I have found a group where it doesn't matter your religion, or your ethniticity, creed or even educational ideas. Here's to more great gatherings!


It is somewhat hard to tell from the pic due to the light but those two creatures are a frog and a dragon. The boys have been taking a theater class the last few weeks. Their last gathering was Wednesday and they put on a small play. The boys enjoyed it so much they want to take the next set of classes.

I found it very odd that out of the 10 children only 2 parents showed up to see the fruits of their labor. I see this as an example of the blessings of homeschooling. I am not saying those parents don't care about their children, I am sure they do, tho living the 'schooled' life sure does get them used to letting someone else raise their children. I can't say that all those missing parents didn't have valid reasons for not attending but 7 out of 10 children didn't get big mamma/papa hugs after their hard work!

As for a little more Thespian work I am back at ETSU this fall as a standardized patient. I am enjoying the work. This group is so different from last year. Last year's group, with some exceptions, did not start out as communicators - hence the importance of the program. This year it seems like most have excellent skills which makes the scenerios go quicker.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bit o' Frost

We have had a bit of frost the last couple of mornings. The idea is settling in that winter is on its way. I have been putting off the idea of a fire or turning on the heat tho soon I will have to do one or the other. This morning it was 61 degrees in the house tho it has quickly warmed up with the sun. Now most folks would question why we haven't turned on the heat yet. Tho I do have at least one friend who would say "61? Yep, thats about right." The obvious answer would be why turn on the heat when it is cold, while we are sleeping, just for a few hours. I do have to think that it is partly that wonderful, crisp feeling I get when I get up in the morning and think about a hot cup of coffee and the wonders of fall. Mostly our woods are full of tulip populars. If the combination of cold and water isn't just right the leaves turn brown and fall before much beauty is seen. We do have a few hard woods that brighten the landscape and we got an eyeful of beauty fall while in Pennsylvania. So, with more wood than I can burn in a season out back and a full tank of propane bring on whatever winter has to offer. I will be glad to put up the mower for a few months!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Little Devils Enjoying Their Den

Take You Ridin' in My Car, Car

I love to travel! I love being home too tho there is just something exilireating about being on the open road. Since M is now a travelin' man we have some nice opportunities to get out and see what the world has to offer. This past weekend we headed off to Bloomsburg, PA. Bloomsburg is northeast of Harrisburg and pretty much out in the middle of nowhere (no offense to the middle of nowhere as we live there too!). A nice little college town that was full of wonderful weather and pleasant people. We intended to see lots of historical things over the weekend as we had our pick of places that were close: Philadelphia, New York City, D.C. We chose Gettysburg for our first day. Another lovely little town. It was somewhat cold and overcast and, as in everything, we were on a budget so we purchased a '2 hour tour' CD and had quite a nice afternoon driving the battlefields and stopping at our leisure. The boys liked Devil's Den the best. Pretty much just a big boulder field where the southern snipers kept the nearby union forces at bay til the end of the battle.

We decided to head to Philly for the weekend. Here we saw once again how Homeland Security is wasting our tax dollars! After standing in line for 1 1/2 hours to see the Liberty Bell we realized the hold up was for security! Big signs everywhere about what is not allowed inside. Now I am all for watching out for suspicious characters and such but the process by which they do this is ridiculous. Of course, it hadn't crossed our mind we would have to be searched and M always travels with a pocket knife - or in this case 3! So while we are busily stripping off jackets and going through the metal detector our backpack sails right through without a hint of knives traveling inside. No, the security people spend an extra five minutes patting M down because the buttons on his overalls sent their detectors up a wall. But we finally did get to see the Liberty Bell and went from there to Independence Hall, Ben Franklin's musuem and Elfreth's Alley. We had planned on stopping for the evening in New Hope. In the 1920's many artists fled conservative Philly to a community more in tune to their own needs. Near here is also where Washington crossed the Deleware. We were unaware there are NO HOTELS in any of these small areas and our search for lodging for the night took us quite awys away from New Hope. Which causes us to look for other attractions the next day. We headed to Reading and found Goggleworks - a wonderful community co-op of artists. A couple of glass artists were in the glass studio and all of us were fascinated for an hour watching them make glass mugs. Definitely worth missing our planned stops. Another place we stopped in on the way home was Centralia. About 40 years ago, due to some trash catching fire, the coal mines under the town caught fire and as they were unable to put the fire out it is still burning today. The roads and driveways are still there tho most of the houses are gone. I would expect it would seem like an eerie, surreal step into the Twilight Zone if one didn't know the history of the 'town'. If you follow the link you will see a picture of the town 'today'. I am not sure when 'today' was tho I can say not even that little bit is left now.

Monday we the boys and I headed off to see a few covered bridges. Being that we have one covered bridge near us I had always assumed there were few left. Guess maybe that is only around here as there are 24 just in the county where M was working! We managed to see a handful including the only twin covered bridges left in the country. I should say they 'were' as one had been demolished in a flood this past summer. The county is in the process of deciding if the million dollar price tag to rebuild is worth it. The coutryside is lovely there. Very neat, lots of small bedroom communities. Reminds me a little of home tho without the bigger mountains.

A couple of odd things about the area. Tho the weather was perfect all weekend we rarely saw people out and about in the small communities. No one sitting on their front porch, no one fishing on the many lakes or the rivers, no bikers. We are used to seeing people walking all over the place on beautiful fall weekends. Surely they didn't all go to the Eagles game. Another strange thing were the signs on the highways. Huge signs warning you of aggressive drivers and drunks. Everywhere you looked there was signage about these two groups of people. Made it look like PA has a corner on the market of bad drivers and one was going to jump out at you on every corner. We didn't see one.

Friday, September 29, 2006

We're here, we're here, we're here

As all who finally heard what Horton heard we are still here! I'm not sure when my blogging fell by the wayside tho I will try to catch everyone up to date. I have continued taking pictures this summer so I will try to remember what we have been up to and post appropriate pics. Hmmm, lets see where to begin. Well, DH is STILL on strike with no end in sight. He has taken to the road to keep our bodies and souls connected to our abode. He worked a month in Texas and now is off in PA. He was home for a month in the middle tho and we were able to have a wonderful camping trip over near Brevard, NC. There is a natural 80' (or so) waterslide there in the river and we did not let the fact that the water was 62 degrees slow us down one bit - tho in all honesty we didn't stay in all afternoon! Even tho it is odd for M to be gone for long periods of time we have all adjusted pretty well. If the traveling thing continues to work out he will keep at it and not return to the local gig. Most people he has met doing these types of jobs work 6-8 months of the year and take the rest of the time off. We could enjoy a lot of our activities this way, from getting more farm chores accomplished to doing a bit of traveling and sailing. For the most part the past few months have been spent close to home. There are advantages to having no money as we have enjoyed the down time immensely.

For those of you keeping up with the boat saga it has been a fine camper this summer. The mast is still down as we need to make some electrical/lighting repairs before it goes back up. And when you have no money to do so well.... We have still enjoyed the lake and our 'neighbors' there. The boys made a great friend two boats down. We hate to see the summer end and will look forward to next year.

I am back on my yoga house kick and will keep you posted on the progression. I had decided on cob (tho still need to test my soil for the viability of this). Since I have been given a few trees so it may become a hybrid. Someone asked me the other week why in the world would I try something like cob. One, the materials are taken right there from the land. Two, when it is built it is immediately usable - no waiting for drywall etc. They just shook their head at my backwardness. Just wait til its done, maybe they will change their minds?!

The boys are still enjoying being at home and learning and growing. C is still into his karate and earned his yellow belt this summer. G has decided he is ready to start karate as well since our search for fencing classes ended up nowhere. They are both taking art class from a wonderful, creative woman who retired from teaching public school because she pretty much hated the whole system there. C's newest project is creating his own 'Yu-gi-oh/Pokemon' like cards. He is really involved with the whole process.

For those of you checking on the process of my father we had to move him to a nursing home recently. The assisted living folks could do no more for him. In one way the move was better as now he is eating very well - one thing he was not doing before. Tho the move to a nursing home is obviously a step down. Even tho it is far better than most it is still a cold, sad place. Pop spends most of his time sleeping in a chair and I am hard pressed to get him to even communicate with me. He was still communicating, albeit in one word responses, well at the assisted living. I suppose it is just the next step.

I am sure there is tons more like that the garden produced well in some areas and not in others, that we have enjoyed many wonderful hours with friends, that I have the wood in for the winter, plus some, that we have nice, new neighbors tho I just can't think of anything more at the moment. Its just nice to be up and blogging again.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Lovin' those Berries!

Camo Extraordinaire

The boys have been identifying moths and butterflies the last couple of weeks. Here is a pic G took of an exceptionally cool one.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Bazzy Parfaits on the 4th

I love summer holiday weekends. Everyone you run into is happy and laid back. We have had a very relaxing, fun few days. Sister D had another shower, this one at the groom's cousin's house. Very nice and traditional. The boys spent that day at Sycamore Shoals enjoying an 18th century Independence. They 'made' gunpowder packets (actually coal dust and marbles), danced with pretty girls and brooms - they didn't 'jump' the broom, just danced with it - played some games, went to a tea and generally had fun. Then we headed to the marina for swimming and fireworks. We enjoy our marina as it is the cleanest, quietess on the lake. However, since it is owned by a man with much more money than sense we may be priced out of there eventually. We'll enjoy it while we can. The next day we enjoyed bike riding and again, swimming at the marina. That evening we enjoyed some neighbors foreworks. We are actually taking it easy today, the 4th. Having a quiet supper with friends and a bonfire and marshmallows later. Hope everyone has a safe holiday!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Morning Harvest

This mornings harvest provided these wonderful brunch crepes.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

How We Spent the Soltice

Ok, Ok, so this picture would have been much more meaningful (and less boring) if I had remembered to take it yesterday! Then you would have seen our wonderful friends who, called on the spur of the moment, came over and helped us put this roof on. This is one of those projects that had to be done this year. So yesterday morning we decided that the first 90 degree day was the perfect day to get on the hot roof. We didn't start til after lunch and since the space isn't big it took less than an hour to take off the old shingles. Then of course a trip to town to get plywood to fix the rotten place. And mostly done by supper time. A soltice well spent tho we never did get to the bonfire.

Father's Day

We celebrated Father's Day by taking a camping/climbing trip. We headed out to Linville Falls where we camped at the campground. Not a spectacular campground tho very quiet. Since it was Sunday we managed to get a site by the river so we had lots of water time. Monday we headed off to Grandfather Mountain as we had heard about a great climbing area for learning. Sure enough, the area was fantastic. Lots of wall to play on, lots of traversing so no need for a rope. We did rope up a couple of climbs tho as G wanted to go to the top. Of course he took to climbing like a spider, getting to the top in no time. C had a little trouble with the height issue tho one of his great strengths is perseverance. He attemted both climbs. We all enjoyed the weekend and ready to go again.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Girls at Work

Two things I have noticed this strike has brought. Boughts of lethargy for all of us mixed with boughts of action. If we could just harness the action we would have the farm whipped into shape in no time! We did manage to get rid of one junk car last week which enabled us to buy a 55 gallon drum of ethanol. Bio-diesel is in full swing. And the garden and grounds look good.

We finally got into the bees yesterday. All the rain we have had held us back to a certain extent tho can't blame it all on the weather. The bees have been busy, busy, busy. Since we hadn't added any supers they just filled every hole they could find with gorgeous honey. The girls were so busy working that our presence didn't seem to bother them one bit. I love the fact that you can tell when they are angry just by their sounds. I am not sure tho I don't think I have seen a hive this full of bees before. I am a bit sad we missed the locust honey. Locust honey is rare up our way as many years the locust trees don't bloom. Our inactivity means we won't have any locust honey tho I look forward to all the other flavors of summer.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Feed Me!

Wildlife Abounds

For years some industrious bird has built a nest on the same corner of our carport under the eaves. Several times the nest is built, end of story. Some years the momma gets eaten by a cat leaving lonely eggs. This year, finally, the eggs produced 5 babies. We have watched their progress from eggs to babies. Everyday we have watched the birds fly in and out providing goodies. Two days ago we found bird remnants on the step, curtesy of the cat. Unsure if this was a parent we watched and waited. One bird appeared to continue feeding. The next day we found more bird remnants. Again we waited. We waited all day and didn't see any activity. We heard 5 little beaks complaining all day of their hunger. By dusk we were sure momma and daddy were gone. We scrounged around for worms and even managed to get a few down a throat or two. After awhile we realized the futility of our endeavors. Even if we fed them how would we teach them to fly. We went to bed that night thinking of the poor little birds. Thankfully, momma - or daddy - must have just taken a break as he/she was back yesterday!

Then today, while I was at the greenhouse (Yes! Thankfully, I picked up a few hours of work) the boys were upstairs. They heard a crash downstairs. They went down to see and there was a 4 foot black snake on our kitchen table! They would have gotten a picture but the camera was on the other side of the snake. M went and got two ski poles and carried it out of the house. Later, they were sitting out on the carport. M said he kept feeling there was another snake around. Suddenly the dog started growling. When M turned back towards the house out the door came a second snake! Now my question was if they went in together where was the second snake all that time and what was it doing?!?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Fritters and Thankfulness

I was over visiting my good friend, the Contrary Goddess's blog and saw her recipe for Locust Blossom Fritters. Now I am a great one for eating off the land. We make sure we get our yearly dose of branch lettuce, ramps, morel mushrooms, red bud blossoms and so on tho I had never heard of Locust Blossom Fritters. I was glad to find a new 'of the land' food and glad for the extra knowledge of making do with what one has. You see, I happened on this the same day my husband's company went on strike. Now, one should be prepared for anything however, in this instance we were not. No one expected this strike but when the contract came back it was too bad to sign so as of 11 pm Monday night we have no income and come the first of June no insurance. Yes, we should have prepared better and normally we do. The last little bit tho we had forgotten how tenuous work can be. We were lulled into that idea of safety from a 'sure' paycheck. This is a harsh way to be reminded of what is what but if harsh is needed so be it. We are much better off than most folks tho. Because we garden and raise bees and buy in bulk we have a good deal of food laid by. Because we do save money we have enough set aside to pay the mortgage, the phone, lights for a couple of months. We will have biodeisel to put in the car so we can get to town occassionally. We also don't live the rat race life that most folks do so we can step back from it all and be OK. Several people I have talked to don't know how they will pay next months bills much less the month after that. The last strike was 11 months. No one knows what this one holds. Course the lack of insurance bothers me a bit. We have lived a lot of years off and on without it but I sure was glad we had it a few months ago when M had a $5,000 kidney stone. And if things continue we will have to get work. But for now at least we'll get some extra chores done!

Oh, and we fried up a batch of fritters too!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day

I love this day! My boys are very good about telling me they love me and passing out hugs and kisses on a regular basis. However, it sure is nice to get a little extra attention. Their plan was to fix me breakfast in bed. However, with all the packing and moving and doings of getting N on the road to Colorado it seeped over into today. She was completely ready to go last night tho we talked her into starting fresh this morning so she stayed with us last night. Putting off the inevitable a few more hours. She finally headed out around 10 a.m. amoung many tears. I will miss her terribly. She is a great woman and is a great friend. We're already planning a trip to see her next year. So instead of breakfast in bed the boys took me out to lunch at Fatz. There we were in all our moving grubs amoung the church dressed folks. It was great - and good food. Later, the boys were determined to fix me food in bed so for supper G fixed chips and cheese and C fixed me an egg - over easy (this is C's newest food skill, he does it well - and often) along with a good beer - and fed me in bed! They also got me this great mushroom chair for outdoors although at the moment we are dragging it around inside the house as it is so comfortable.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Last night I shot an elephant in my Pajamas...

...and how he got in my pajamas I'll never know.

I have no pictures of the progress of the garden today tho lots of work has been done. As we have so many other chores that need doing around the house I did not put in a full garden this year. We are down to the last few jars of beans so many beds will be devoted to beans this year. The first has been planted. The raspberry patch has been worked in as well as the strawberry patch. I may need to trim some branches over the strawberries as they seem to be getting less sun than in the past. The squash, pumpkin, cabbage and okra is in the ground. I potted up many herbs as the herb garden has slowly been taken over by spreading perennial flowers. Let's see, lots of weeding has been going on. I have the honor of throwing my best friend's bridal shower here so I want those weedy beds to be pretty this year! Only thing left to go in the ground are the tomatoes. Last year we had snow on the ground on May 15th so I will wait a few more days.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Tis the Season

We have been spending a lot of time at the pond the past few days. Watching the wildlife, catching newts, salamanders and tadpoles. The frogs hang out along the edge of the pond and as you walk towards them the jump in. Yesterday one didn't jump. It just hung out. G touched it and it hopped a few inches away and again stopped. Not much later we realized a second had joined her. Again, if touched they didn't go far. The call of spring mating must be strong to pretty much ignore boy children and their antics.

Tank Sitting

What an unusual place to pick to open presents...that's G!

Monkey Cake

G decided he wanted a monkey cake - not a Curious George - just a monkey. As an after thought he said it should be a banana cake. So this is what I came up with.

G is 6 (almost)

G had his birthday party Friday night. Nothing fancy, just his friends over to play and a cookout. Luckily we are good friends with the parents of most of the boys' friends so when we have a party we all have a good time. The kids had a scavenger hunt and one of their prizes was a wildlife collector. So off to the pond they went with the net and caught red spotted newts and tadpoles. Once it got dark we had a bonfire and several of the children took a flashlight hike up into the woods. All in all a great time had by all.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I sat down to write about my father's move here. However, I can't quite get my thoughts together. The basic information is he is safely at the assisited living home. The first part of the move was easier than I expected. Later, finding out the reasons for the initial ease, was tough. It has been a stressful week. My way to get through stress is to put my head down and get through it. I think this has been the toughest stress to get through tho we are all hanging in there. So, instead of getting serious I played on the computer and came up with one of those silly

Your Aura Colour is Orange.

Oranges are daredevils. They are individualistic, fearless, physical, cunning, conquerors, danger-lovers and thrill-seekers. They have been known to tilt at windmills.

Find out what colour your aura is.

quizzes. I say silly because the answer to this one is not me at all. Yes, I am individualistic and physical. I try physically challenging things but when it comes to major decisions I never jump and rarely even step. So does that mean this is the hidden me or is just totally off. I admire people who are devil-may-care. Sometimes I try to be that way but rarely make it. Maybe I got my catergories mixed up, who knows.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Finally getting these loaded.


Monday, April 17, 2006


What a wonderful day. One of the reasons I love living here is the moistness of the woods. It is not as moist on our side of the mountain as it is over in NC tho now and again we are blessed. This morning began with a nice, misty, fog. It then continued on to a cloudy, rainy day. On my late afternoon walk I startled deer from above the pond and took pictures of lots of new growth. I saw ramps, branch lettuce, trillium, bloodroot, larkspur, foam flower, comfrey. The rain really made some of the apple trees bloosom out and the lilac bush. I also found a huge, strange lump of hosta out under a tree. I have lived here 10 years and those hosta have never showed their heads til now. Besides that they are not near any of the spots we think old homesteads were, just at the base of a tree. They almost looked dumped but that makes no sense. I'll have to do a little research to see if hosta grow wild.

We will finish out the day with a bowl of chili, a glass of wine and some Van Morrison outside with the setting sun.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The secret is out

C has been working so hard the last few weeks. His karate class has been working towards their spring demo. They have been working partly in secret. G and I take C to class and then go do something else as it is pretty boring to sit and stare at an empty room. Last night we finally got to see it all come together. Most of what they did was what they have been doing on a weekely basis: workouts, kicks, punches, kadas. What they were doing in secret was a stick kada put to music. C looked so confident and sure of himself out there. He really did enjoy himeself. We all did. The older class also performed their kadas, some including 'weapons' and some pretty fancy kicks. Two older teens in particular are a joy to watch. Their strenght and fluidity are so well balanced. C admires both boys and hopes to be able to do what they do some day. I like that he sees what hard work can do.

C also tested for his next level belt. He is now an orange/purple belt!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Tulips are bloomin'

I knew this blogging thing would take back seat to spring chores. I miss reading about what is going on in my on-line friends lives tho it is grand to be outside working on these glorious days. We really haven't spent all our time working we have done a fair bit of hiking and playing as well. The boys managed to paint the bottom of the greenhouse and were big helps in getting that pile of mulch out of the truck. We have done a goodly amount of cleaning up around the farm. Cleaning up the wood splitting place, getting all the wood stacked for next winter, making trips to the dump. I added strawberries last year and tho many succumbed to various things the survivors sent out shoots and the bed is half full of plants. Both bee hives survived the winter tho we are behind in their care. Guess they didn't like that as our strongest hive left us. Hopefully we can split the second hive.

DH has had success in the bio-diesel department. He ran his first batch through an engine and it started first time. He is also proud of his new toy - a front end loader. I am the saver in the family and any big outlay of savings gives me pause but it was a great deal. A neighbor broke the frame on his tractor and needed to sell the loader to fix the tractor. We could never have afforded even a regularly priced used one so this was a bargain. M went to move some dirt by the pond and discovered the water is spilling over the dam so it has almost paid for itself already.

We heard this week that an apartment has opened up for my father in the assissted living place. We will go get him next Friday. I think about myself at that age (hope I live that long -87) and wonder how I will react to moving off the land. My father doesn't have the same connection to the land tho he has lived in his house for over 40 years. Not surprisingly he doesn't want to move. He seems resigned to it tho. All in all I think it will be good for him. Other men to talk WWII with will be the biggest plus. He is not one for traveling, never was. Hopefully he will agree to at least travel to our farm. G's birthday party the next week seems like a good time to try. We have lived on this farm 10 years and in east TN 15. He is such a non-traveler he has never visited us before. I think coming to the farm will remind him some of his youth growing up in a small farming community in Kentucky. I think once he makes the trip he will be glad he did. After all now we are just a 30 minute trip as opposed to a 5 hour one!

Monday, March 27, 2006

A Little Success and a Lot of Snow

I am not sure how people keep up with their blogs so regularly. I can see between planting time and harvesting time there won't be as many days inside to post. I'll do the best I can.

After temperatures in the 70's we hit a normal March spell and then we had three days of snow. All in all I think we had somewhere between 8-10 inches fall. Pretty good for 'spring'. The first day of winter here was around 70 so it is only fitting the first day of spring should be 30.

We finally were able to get out and start the repairs on the boat. M successfully dove under and 'fixed' the keel. I say fixed as that is exactly what he did in that he removed the bolt and we put the new cable in. I had driven the boat into shore and in so doing the keel touched bottom. The point of a swing keel is that it should 'swing' when it encounters an obstacle. Unfortunately we discovered ours does not swing. So, yes, even though our repairs were successful it really doesn't matter because as it stands the keel is now 'fixed'. In the grand scheme of things it is not that big a deal. Most boats have a fixed keel. Problem will be in ever getting it out of the lake. Our trailer is for a swing keel boat and there is no lift on the lake. So for now its just do our repairs on the mast, get it back up and start sailing!

The boys are excited about the possibility of chickens. C has decided he would like to to do most of the work and sell the eggs to the neighbors. M came up with a great idea for a geodesic chicken coop tho I think for now we will start with them being in the barn.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Beautiful Birth Day

What a day! Much different from C's birth day. It was the coldest night of the year! Not that we cared. We were warm and snug in the bed. M's parents cared tho. They drove from west TN in a van with no heat! Today tho is beautiful. It might have reached 70. C has been playing his new GB game and G has been drawing cartoons from C's new drawing book. I have begun the spring chores. I cleaned up 3 of the 4 flower beds. We walked around the farm looking for more orchard space. Now that the bees have taken over part of the old orchard we need more space. We decided there are two spots on the farm that might work. One we will need to wait til summer to check out the coverage. Both places will need a few trees removed. Mostly tulip poplars that we can use in the treehouse or for firewood. What started this new idea was someone gave us 2 pawpaw trees. We also want to plant more cherry trees. I also cleared branches from the paths. Not a lot accomplished tho a good start.

Where Does the Time Go?

C is 8! He has had three days of celebration. Thursday we took him to the local outfitter to pick out a pocket knife. M has toldthe boys as they grew that 8 was the magic number for a pocket knife. C picked out a nice Swiss Army. M told him he could have any one he wanted. C was very thoughtful in his choice. Being 8 he wanted some tools. Being wise he didn't want too many knowing it would be hard to carry. He finally settled on one with a couple of blades, saw, scissors, bottle and can openers and a few other 'standard' Swiss army items. He and M had the 'how to handle the knife' discussion. M got a 'you are the best Dad ever' for the day!

Yesterday we had a party. We had it at a local art gallery. They made sculpey necklaces and had a nice time. I remembered everything, down to the matches - except the camera!

This morning we had the family birthday breakfast. All in all I think he will sleep well tonight.

The Grotto

I'm still trying to catch up! I didn't take too many pictures on our trip. Here is one of a strange place somewhere in Iowa (I think). This was the boys favorite.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Back on the Mountain

The mountains looked so wonderful Friday as we cruised back into east Tennessee. I love to travel (especially when you have a friend with a hybrid!). Tho I love coming home more. The girl trip was a great success. We pretty much ate and drank our way across Minneapolis and St. Paul. We met many of S's friends and enjoyed the hospitality of her niece. The main reason for the trip was for N to have a meeting with the medical school as she was hoping to go to U of M in the fall. Unfortunatley it is not going to work out. Gladly, tho, N is a person of possibilities. Don't you love people like that (and I hope I am like that!)? Although disappointed she saw that that one closed door meant several others would open.

The boys had a nice time with their grandparents. It is amazing how missing someone can become a physical thing. About day 5. I am glad we could make the trip and be support for N but if there is another trip sans boys it will have to be shorter!

Driving across Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin brought to mind how long some of those stretches are up in that area. As we are planning a summer trip to Wyoming I will have to think double hard on activities to keep the boys happy. They are excellent travellers and rarely complain on long trips tho it would benice to have some extra diversions.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

And another from C

So now G has gotten into the anime act. Pretty proud of the 5 year old as well.

Excuse a little bragging

C never was one for coloring books. He has always been much more into math and science. When G got old enough to draw and color C started to draw a little as well. His drawings were similiar to most 7 year olds I suppose. Then he discovered cartooning and anime. Like most artists not all his attempts turn out tho each is a great learning stage. Last night he created the 'karate man' you see below. I think it is pretty darn good myself.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Here's C's.


So I was digging around in the back of the closet and found some of my art work from college. One of the things that caught the boys' eyes were some perspective drawings. They decided they wanted to try and they came up with some nice ones.

Here's G's.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Snow Day #3!

As we were sledding yesterday a neighbor came and bull dozed the road the county. That brought to mind snow days as a kid. We didn't get a lot of snow in Nashville but we had a few days every year. One of the reasons we would have several was they didn't plow the side roads back then. They would just clear naturally. Now if we lived in a place that had constant snow I would understand the need to plow. Life must go on. But why must the roads be clear as soon as the snow hits? I know the fire and other emergency people need access tho I suppose 30 years ago people were helped. Maybe it is just because the cities and counties have the equipment (tho it must be a big salt/gravel bill). Or is it because so many people can't take a day off to enjoy themselves? I know so many people are driven by that almighty dollar but come on folks how many days do you get an excuse to stay home and be a kid again - and to play with your kids!? Leave the snow plows at home a day. Save some $$$. At least around here it will warm up quickly enough that you can get back to the grind soon enough.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

At last count we had 11 1/2"!


Flashbacks of 1998. That is what was going though my head last night as I was out on top of the carport sweeping off the snow. The span is really too large for any extra weight so after the first 6 inches or so I thought I'd better clean it off. The last time this had to be done was the great snow storm of 1998. Except that time it was M out there at midnight. The trees were crashing and popping by the second. He said every minute or so something would crack and he would run for the house thinking the carport was giving way. Luckily he made it home that evening to take care of the animals and house. I, on the other hand, did not make it home. I had been training my replacement as I was 8 months pregnant with C. We had gone to Kingsport where the snowfall was insignificant. By the time we got back to the greenhouse it was coming down pretty good. I tried to make it home but was turned back on a steep hill as someone had slid off the road. The weather report kept saying it would all turn to rain. I called M at work and told him I'd stay at work (my boss lives on the property) and I would come home the next day. Little did we know it would be three days before I finally made it. M headed home and was the last person to make it into the hollow. A huge tree fell across the road soon after he arrived.

Back at work the transformers were popping and an eerie green glow came from JC. The bosses were crazy busy putting supports up in the greenhouse. The power went out, the phone went out. It was beautiful tho I sure wished I had made it home. Three days later the roads were semi-cleared in town and I was going home. If I had to walk from the highway, by God, I was going home. Luckily, I have wonderful neighbors who owned a business in Elizabethton. They had come to town for an hour or so and I was lucky enough to catch them there. I rode home to their house. Our road was still impassable. So there I am in my street shoes and not much coat headed up the hollow when I see M out skiing! It was so good to be home. It ended up we had about 2 feet of snow. The power was out for 11 days. All in all a great adventure. Its good to see a good snow fall again and I am thankful I was here for it.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Catch Up

This past week I have gotten so much done I just couldn't help myself and decided to plant a (small) garden this year after all. Just the basics. We are almost out of the last run of home canned green beans so it seems a good year to plant more. We are out of tomatoes as well. So those along with the obligatory squashes will be a nice, easy summer.

As for the things done the best thing was we sold the Pathfinder! Then, the neighbors got their stuff out of our barn! That all started about 2 1/2 years ago. They didn't have any room for the granddad's things and could we keep them for 6 months. Now with all the moving of the boys I needed the space for the extra mattresses. The boys have also expressed a great interest in having a club house until the treehouse is finished. So the upsatirs of the barn is now straightened, cleaned and some space for the boys to hang out. Their bedroom is also finished. The playroom is finished. I got rid of my old, naugahyde chairs and brought the wooden ones back down to the kitchen table. I rehung the pictures that have been down due to the painting (some of this paiting was a couple of years ago!).

M spent some time cutting the branches off the hemlock do it can be cut into lumber. He also started on the other tree for firewood.

The boys gathered tons of trash that was blowing around the farm after all the high winds we have had lately.

All in all a very productive week. And best of all I have this momentum going that I hope will carry us through the new roofs and other much needed chores.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Growing up

On a day to day basis I don't really think about my boys growing up. After all, I see them everyday and they don't seem much different from yesterday. Every now and again they have a growth spurt and I say 'I think you grew last night'. As they master new skills or do something cool I think 'Wow, they are growing up so fast.' Once and awhile they bring tears to my eyes as they do something an older boy might do. Of course,there is always the pile of clothes they have out grown that used to look so big to me. And looking at old photos.... And then there are the times that something is permantly changed that brings on that weepy feeling. Today is one of those days. G's bedroom was the nursery. Tho it has been a boys' room since we moved the crib out is still looked the same. Now it has a new coat of 'grown up boy' blue and G and C are talking of hanging up 'big boy' sorts of things. There is nothing left in the house that is remotely babyish. G is only 5! Seems like there ought to be some baby things left or at least toddler stuff. At least in the morning when he wakes up G still curls up on my tummy for good morning hugs.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Is it really still January???

What a wonderful, beautiful weekend. These type of days usually prompt me to get out on the farm and get some spring chores done before spring. This weekend however was too pretty to work. I mostly just wandered around the farm and made lists of things that need doing. We did get a few small chores done. We have been planning on building bunk beds for G's room. Instead we decided to buy a used set from a neighbor. We're still not sure where they will be in his room. His room, strange as it is, is 15' x 6' 6". The idea was to put the beds at the end of the room leaving more usable space. The beds measure 6' 6 1/2". The consensus is the drywall will give enough to squeeze in the bed. We'll see. Of course, the room needs painting too. The boys have decided to share G's room and use C's room for a play room. Now they can create Lego/Playmobile world and not have to take it down.

We climbed up to inspect the downed hemlock. It is big enough to cut into lumber and hopefully will be the supports for the treehouse! The hemlock also took down a hardwood tree so we'll have a decent start on next year's wood.

We met the new neighbors. They seem like a wonderful couple and we let them know what a great, close knit neighborhood they have moved into.

Sister D's kids came for a sleepover and all had a great time. I had a few friends drop in too so we all had too much fun to go to bed at a reasonable hour.

The boys and I spent a lazy hour or two hanging out on the trampoline. The black mesh just draws in the warmth.

M worked on a couple of jewelry jobs.

The bees were out working.

And of course, I made a nice looong list.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Glorious Wood!

What is it about an afternoon at the woodpile? I know there are more satisfying things out there tho today I can't think of any. I have a good friend who admiringly (at least I like to think so) tells people how much I love to split wood and that I am pretty dang good at it. Tho I think he really thinks its a little strange. Girls aren't supposed to be so taken with a maul and a sweet round of oak. I had about 30 big rounds of ash and oak that were just too big for me to split. I have a nice neighbor who brought his wood splitter over yesterday and split them for me. So I spent this afternoon moving the drier wood forward, filling the ring at the house and generally having a good time. Seems the boys are taken with wood too. They rarely turn down a request to lend a hand transporting the stuff. And of course,I love the warmth of that fire on a cold night like tonight. Stay warm everyone.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Perfect Snow Day

As a kid Iwould pray for snow. I loved being out in it all day with my friends but I think the biggest reason was because I wouldn't have to go to school. My boys just want snow because its fun. No ulterior motives! It snowed here all day Saturday and we took a nice hike, enjoying the snowfall and the quietness. Yesterday the sun came out and after trying our hand at making root beer we headed out to our one sledding slope. You would think living up here in the mountains we would have plenty of sledding opportunities but we have so many trees its hard to find a long run on the property. We do have a steep gravel road behind us but we haven't tried it yet. C, the cautious one, has really not enjoyed sledding much until now. He has always loved to watch and cheer tho he felt sledding was too fast. Not so this time. It took him a while to warm up to it tho once he did he took the fastest sled down - backwards was his style of choice. G, of course, jumped right in. Once his "Mommy look!" was because he had discovered he could slide his feet into the handles and 'snowboard' down. As a mom I suck in breath every time he does something like that as I can see the future. The climber/boater/sailor in me says "Yeah!".

Friday, January 13, 2006

A Walk in the Rain

For those of you keeping up with the boat saga, NO, it is not out of the water yet. M has decided to dive it himself. In order to do this he needs new gaskets on his wetsuit. Instead of shipping it we decided to use the money to drive down to NOC (and they will ship it). What a beautiful morning. The forcast was for showers all day tho they held off until mid afternoon. We had decided to take the boys to Joyce Kilmer, the largest stand of virgin forest left in the southeast. Since the temperature held in the 50's we headed on down. I love walking in the rain and doing it in January is an extra bonus. The boys loved it. We found several trees the four of us could not reach around. Part of the trail was closed. A friend had been recently and seen the same sign and said there was no reason for it being closed. So off we went. I guess she didn't go far enough because we found the reason - a washed out bridge. Since I had been the smart one to leave my hiking boots on the doorstep I hiked in Crocs. I knew we were pretty close to the car and since my feet were already soaked I decided it would be easier to ford the stream than hike all the way back round. G climbed on my back and off we went. The current was a little stronger than I thought so I thought it unsafe to carry C as he is heavier. M had on real boots so he and C went back around. Of course, (except for my shoes!) we were all dressed appropriately tho even so I was proud that the boys had such a good time. Now bring on that winter before these warm temps spoil us all!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Adventure to the ER

What is it homeschoolers say about using every unusual events as learning experiences? How a trip to the doctor can be fun? Not so yesterday. DH was having major pain and after talking with our doc/friend it sounded like he had a kidney stone. Poor thing. He looked like I felt when I was in labor. From what people told us yesterday having a baby is easier! So off to the ER we went. Knowing what our job would be, waiting, I told the boys maybe we could see some cool equipment at work. That kept them from going stir crazy about 20 minutes. When we went back to see how Dad was doing he had already had a CT scan so the cool equipment ploy was out. So there we were on a day when no one else seemed to be at the ER and still we had to wait three hours. Seems they lost his test results. Luckily, when they finally found them, it did show M had a kidney stone tho it was small - for a kidney stone! The worst of the pain was over and now all he had to do was wait. Today he is feeling much better. He is guessing he has already passed it but I teased him about making a piece of jewelry with the stone.

Friday, January 06, 2006

New Year's List

I try not to 'do' resolutions. Too easy to break. Besides, a lot of times people say be nicer to people or spend more time with my family or loose weight. Now granted during the holidays I ate and drank more than usual and didn't exercise much tho I'll get back to normal life and all will fall into place. As for the others those are things that are ingrained in me. I was brought up to show respect, to be nice, to work hard etc. so I see those as a life style not as something to do for a couple of months because it is a resolution and then NOT do those things when spring has
arrived. So I thought this year I would create the 'things I'd like to do' list. Keeping in mind that my lists are ALWAYS bigger than my capabilities. Last year I didn't garden so I would get that long 'to do list' done. What happened? Well, we bought the sailboat and you can guess what the rest of the summer held for us. Once again I have decided not to garden (well except for the new strawberries and asparagus I put in last year and of course taking care of all the existing fruit and herbs. Oh and probably will add a few tomato plants but really, no garden!) My dear friend S is putting in a big garden and I will help her some as well as can with her so there will be a little homegrown stuff in the larder. So here goes:

The short list (and I would be happy with this):
take more field trips
finish upstairs bathroom
finish boys' bunkbed
new roof on carport
new roof on little house
keep track of bees better
start on treehouse!!
fix electronics on boat
garage sale!!
mulch herb garden/flower beds

The long list:
still thinking of the goats and chickens
re-do herb garden
paint greenhouse
plant more fruit trees
fix hole in back path
help M with diesel fuel
get rid of those dead vehichles
re-do lettuce bed
re-do downstairs bathroom
new bookshelves in living room
call a chimney sweep
do another play

Beginings of a Bud

It is so exciting to see your children blossom. Sometimes it sneaks up on you. As a homeschooling parent it has always been dauting to me to try to help my boys find friends. That old 'socialization' thing. My boys have no problem talking to people from 1 -99. However, they are our boys and since we both make friends slowly it doesn't surprise me that maybe the boys will be that way too. Maybe not G. I think he will be the outgoing one. They have good friends in the children of my friends, neighborhood friends (which way up here on the mountain is 2) and in their homeschool group. Yet I long for them to make friends 'on their own', an important skill to learn. Last night, after C's karate class we went across the street to the local 'burrito house'. One of C's classmates came in with his family. Suddenly they are hanging around our table together. Looking at their heads bent over a game I felt myself hoping that this would be a blossoming friendship. Even if it is not maybe I see they will be OK and the friendships will come in time.

Next Stage

Searching for assisted living places would never rank high on my list. Yet that is what I spent yesterday doing and I was pleasantly surprised. The search has officially begun for my father's next home. After living 45 years in the house I grew up in with my mother it is becoming evident that my father needs more care. So I began the trek in JC as it seems a better idea to have him here as my mother has eventual plans of moving here. I have these memories of where my grandfather spent his last years and they are of the typical nursing home. Dismal, smelly, sad. Of the 3 places I visited yesterday 2 were outstanding assisted living homes. Except for the price (which, BTW, is exorbitant. I am not usually one to extol the virtues of all the ways insurance companies make money, however, thank god my parent's have it or I guess my Pop would end up like my grandfather!) they were very similiar. Both were warm, active places. They encourage the residents to do for themselves. My father, recently being diagnosed with alzheimer's, has had day people coming in while my mother goes out. While these ladies are very nice and pleasant their care has taken away my father's chores, such as dish washing and coffee making. In the last 15 years or so my father has not exactly been what you would call active tho I believe the lose of these daily items has diminished his capacity. Talking with the experts at the facilities gives me great hope that once he is there he will regain some of those old routines and he will blossom. One extraordinary thing about one place in particular is only in extreme cases do they suggest they move on to a nursing home. They try their best to keep them there. Of course, I know all this could just be salesmanship but the atmosphere definitely was one of warmth seeing how the residents react to the caregivers. This process is never an easy one tho I do feel somewhat better after my visits.

Monday, January 02, 2006

The Beauty I Live In

Well, like most people, I have been crazy busy the last few weeks. I would think of things I wanted to post about such as the blessings that my Mom had surgery and came through with flying colors, the wonders of the holiday season, the many friends I was able to sit down and visit with.... However, I kept putting it all off and now I think I should just keep up with now and enjoy the New Year. One interesting thing we did last week was to go to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. M and I had been years ago and were excited to take the boys. The first thing that struck me as we entered the Tennessee part was the same thing that struck me 10 or so years ago. That I was walking in my own stomping grounds. For a moment I wondered why we had come since we could walk out our own door to experience the same thing. That I could have spent the day going to Linville, or Laurel Creek Falls or any number of places and been much happier. So I then had to think of another way of looking at it. Looking at the place through the eyes of someone from anywhere but the Appalachians this was a beautiful environment they had created. They had captured a little of the moistness of the woods, the sounds of the birds and the water, the largness of the mountains. All in all I was glad we went as the boys enjoyed it and the Ocean Aquarium was worth the ticket price. I could imagine diving from the sailboat someday and seeing some of those wonderful creatures. And once again I am thankful for living in this place with the mountains and the waters right there to reach out and touch. Happy New Year!