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!