Lighting bugs

Hi Everyone!

I hope you are well. If you are in the areas getting fried with the heat wave you have my utmost sympathy. We have been in the upper 80’s and 90’s (F) here and it is miserable enough. I have been getting out in the garden about an hour earlier to beat the heat, but still come in wringing wet with sweat. Though we are not as dry as out west we definitely needed some rain. Luckily last night we got some good storms and rain to keep the gardens and our farmers going.

Last week I did skip out on you. DN was away on a church trip and I took advantage of the time gained from not having to taxi around a teenager. DH took Tuesday off work and we just spent the day visiting some places we had been wanting to go and finally getting our anniversary dinner out. I worked on a couple of art projects and started setting up one corner of the attic to be functional. Today was cool enough to actually get up there and spend several hours working and discovering my long lost art supplies.

One evening last week we had a thunderstorm blowing in. I did something I have not done for years and years. DH and I went out on our porch and watched the storm. This was one of my favorite things as a kid. I would sit on our carport (no porch) and watch the wind and the lighting. We watched the storm well into the dark and when it had blown by we sat and watched the lighting bugs. If you have lighting bugs/fireflies where you live, have you noticed how few they are now? This was especially noticeable when I lived in town. It was one of the main reasons I quit using chemicals on my yard, flowers and garden.

I am happy to say that we have a gracious plenty of lighting bugs here. We only use organic products (except when eradicating poison ivy. Please let me know if you have a fool proof organic solution to poison ivy!) and we still have wild and wooly areas for bugs to live. It was just a wonderful thing to sit and watch the storm and the bugs. The older I get the simplier I want life to be. I am over the endless activities and social engagements. Here and there it is ok, but I spent many years running myself and kids to meetings, sports and other busy crazy stuff. I think I would have liked to have had more evenings on our front porch watching storms and bugs.

Last night was the opening of the juried art show that my piece was accepted into. It’s a nice show. Lots of variety of art. DH and DN went with me and then I was surprised to see my sister, brother-in-law and Mom show up. It was a nice opening. I’m going to try and get back to see everything a little slower. I felt a little rushed. It has been a long time since I entered a juried show. Like 20 years! They can be a little pricey and then if your work doesn’t get in you feel like you just flushed the money down the toliet. I am now set up on the site where the shows are announced. Maybe I will pick one or two a year to enter. I feel like my work has improved enough that my chances may be better.

That’s about it for this week…and last week. Hope you have a lovely week and find some slow time to enjoy something that brings back happy childhood memories.

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace

Christel

Photo by Kevin Wong on Unsplash

Farm, Family, Friends…and a little paint

Hi Everyone,

Hope you are well and all is good in your world. I’m slightly late, but squeezing this in finally.

This past week was the first week of summer for us. DN was officially on her first week of summer vacation because she keeps those grades high and only has excused absenses, thus no final exams to take. She did, however, have to finish the driving portion of driver’s ed. Warning for our neighbors, she gets her permit in about a month and a half.

My week has been filled mainly with gardening, yard work and exciting things like a new crown on a tooth and new glasses. I did manage to find a couple of hours to get some sketches and painting in. Nothing I’m ready to show yet, but it’s a much needed start. I pulled out the supplies and set up again in the guest bedroom. Normally as soon as I do that I can count on guests showing up. Not that I don’t want to see them, but it is sort of like Murphy’s Law. Attic work has not happened this week because of hot, dry weather. In other words, put plants in the ground and water, water, water.

Last weekend we successfully got hay in the barn. Anyone with livestock (or spoiled horses) knows just what a relief that is. I really can’t say “we”, because this year the brunt of the work fell on DH and my brother-in-law. My sister, DN and I pitched in where we could, but we got off easier than most years due to a couple of events.

DH and I had most of our potion of the hay round baled by one of my distant cousins. Much easier on older backs! My sister’s and BIL’s llamas don’t eat as much hay as our spoiled horses. I went by my cousin’s house this week to pay him and wound up spending an hour or so catching up on life with him and his wife. I have found out that catching up with family and old friends has definitely been one of the best things about being back home. It has been very hard to keep up with everyone when you have lived away for over 30 years and only got home for occasional visits to the immediate family. Now I miss seeing and catching up with friends where I lived previously. Hopefully I can start rectifing that soon. In the past couple of years I have lost family members and very dear friends in too fast a succession. When the opportunity presents itself for a visit now, I tell my little pea brain that is poking me with a To Do list to finish to just shut up. Time is short and very few chores won’t wait.

On that note, in a couple of hours we are going to the funeral for the father of two of my childhood friends. I couldn’t tell you how many hours I spent at their home or they at ours. Our parents were close friends and our moms ran a business together for several years. In my mind I have run through many, many good memories made with this family. Of course we all have so many things to do anymore, but dang, time passes so fast. Try to find some time to call someone you have lost touch with or really miss but have been “too busy” to visit. I’m very guilty of being To Do List driven but am trying hard to mend my ways.

Have a wonderful week and go visit someone special.

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace

Christel

There’s nothing like a two year old

Hi Everyone,

Yes, I was busy last week getting things ready for a visit from my favorite two year old. At least this time I didn’t have a baby and a puppy to chase.

This week is hay week. The week that everything goes on hold until the hay is safely in the barns. All our neighbors are on the same schedule I noticed as I drove around our end of the county today burning that precious gas. Yes, we live in one of the areas that was hit hard with the gas pipeline shut down. My brother-in-law has twice had to go to the next town and visit 4 gas stations to get enough diesel to run the tractor. Every trip is calculated. I even canceled a doctor appointment this week (just a check up) because it didn’t seem to be a good use of gas right now.

Just chillin’

Anyway, I thought I would share some of the pictures from our weekend. Even though they wear me out with that energy, I love a two year old. To see the world through their eyes again is pure joy. Everything is new and exciting. Brayden had to tell the horses good morning and night night every day. He’s still intimidated with the size of them, but enjoyed watching them come into and leave their stalls.

He helped me plant some veggies in the garden, ate wild strawberries until I was afraid he would be sick, blew dandelion seeds every day (I should have one heck of a crop of dandelions next year) and LOVES a tractor. He sat on my lap and we watched my bees go in and out of the hive, visited with the goats and the chickens and guineas. He liked chasing the guineas!

I got to take him to one of my favorite places on earth…the “creek” on our family farm. It’s a natural spring that flows over large rocks and has now officially been played in by 3 generations of our family. Four generations if you count my Dad playing there as a boy, long before he owned the land. I have yet to meet a two year old (or any kid) that can resist splashing and throwing stones in water. When he’s older we will see if he can be still long enough to look for minnows and crawdads.

You watch your kids and grandkids to see if any of your DNA is visible in their looks, mannerisms and personality. Time will tell on most things, but I discovered that my love of ice cream made the genetic cut. I mentioned getting some ice cream and the boy about lost his mind. I have always felt the same about ice cream. Ten years from now when he’s at that disgruntled middle school age, I bet I will still be able to cheer him up and see that mischevious grin when I mention ice cream.

If you have any two year olds in your life, don’t plop them down in front of a TV or computer game. Take them outside for a walk. I garantee you will see things you haven’t seen for decades and remember just how cool life in the wild is. Just sit with a two year old and watch ants working away or blow some dandelion seeds to watch them float away and see just how amazing it all is again when you see the smile and hear the squeal.

Have a great week!

Faith, Hope, Love and Grace

Christel

‘Tis the season

Hi Everyone,

Hope you have been well. I’m sure you have been probably busy.  It’s that time of year.  Since we have minimized the gifting this year my time has been less stressed over the whole Christmas chaos. I even had the mental capacity to face driving down one of the most congested streets in a nearby city to get to the even more congested Costco.  Normally I avoid that area at all costs until mid-January when everyone has returned all the gifts they didn’t like.

I am going to go ahead and wish you all a very Happy Holidays (whichever ones you celebrate) and a Happy New Year.  I need to take a sabbatical for awhile.  Writing this blog has been difficult this year and all the losses and changes have taken a toll.  Even though the art supplies are out and ready to go, I can’t seem to focus enough to make anything right now.  I’m pretty darn bummed about that to be honest.  My brain needs to focus and my heart needs some mending time.

So, until I can regroup, my plan is to bake some cookies, paint the walls in the house, unpack more boxes, love on the people and creatures in my little world.  Hopefully I will be back with some renewed spirit after the first of the year, but I’m going to give myself what time I need.  I have a very bad habit of pushing myself to meet unrealistic, self-imposed deadlines and projects.  If you do that too…stop it, stop it now…it’s not good for you.

Happy Holidays!  Wishing all of us a new and improved 2020!!

Christel

Wintering

Hi Everyone,

Yes, I missed last week.  No super excuse other than I was still digging out of boxes and we were getting ready for a cold spell.  New Readers, my long time readers will tell you that this is my whining season. I am not cold tolerant. You have been warned.

I did spend Halloween with my favorite grandson.  It was a quick (if you consider 4.5 hours quick) drive down, spent the night and back on the road the next day.  We have an annual family get together and of course it was that Saturday. Anyway, my daughter’s neighborhood goes all out for Halloween and we had a great time teaching Buzz how to score some candy.  He figured it out in the end, but got Goldfish crackers instead of candy. He’s a work in progress.

Our family chicken stew (for more info on that very local pot of glory go back into the October archives) was fun and relaxing thanks to one very beautiful Fall day.  Perfect for eating outside and catching up by the fire pit. It was nice to have the new place come with a ready made fire pit!

This week has been COLD, COLD, COLD by Southern standards. Lows in the 20’s don’t normally hit us until January and February.  So D. and I had to spend last week getting the four leggers situated for the cold.  We also got our FOUR chimney flues inspected and luckily one was clean enough to start using.  The rest are getting cleaned this coming week.  We are wood burning folk. No gas logs for us. Thus chimneys must be cleaned every few years.

We also found out that our frost free outdoor faucet is NOT frost free. The dang thing froze up.  Hauling water from the bathtub all the way to the barn in a five gallon bucket is not my idea of winter fun on a 20 degree morning. Then there is the fun of waiting for the water hose to thaw so you can fill the water trough or breaking the ice on the water trough. Yes, I’m officially winter whining.  Eventually there will be a water line to the barn, but it’s a toss up on whether that happens first or the automatic gate opener.  Getting in and out of the car in the cold and rain is not fun either. Whine #2.

The good news is that most of the boxes are out of the dining room…again…for the third time.  Yes, it has been filled three times and three times I have opened and sorted all those boxes.  Some just went upstairs (more on that to come). Now I just have to tackle the ones in the sunroom and pack house.  Lordy.

More good new…I FOUND MY ART SUPPLIES!!.  They have been packed up since January I think. I made a makeshift studio in the newly cleaned out dining room. Here is a photo of the future official studio.  Ain’t it purty!?  Ok, so not yet.  Imagine white bead board walls and built in shelves. That’s where we are heading…after the horses have stalls built in the barn.  Yes, I rank below the horses.  I can’t say much because the pups got this cushy new bed while our bed springs and mattress are on the floor until I get our room remodeled and buy a new bed. The last one broke in the first move of the year.

That’s the news from Lake Wobegone. Oh, wait. Wrong place, but almost as cold. Have a great week and stay warm!

Just waiting

Hi Everyone!

Thank you for your patience during my extended absences. I hope all is well in your world and for those of you in the path of Dorian, my prayers are with you.  My heart hurts for the people of the Bahamas.

Just like the Three Amigos in the picture above (aka Spark Plug, Cinder & Asher) we are just waiting right now.  They are waiting for breakfast in the photo.  We are waiting on life changes.

Since I really didn’t think you would be all that interested in the fact that I am enjoying the downtime and have been doing boring things like roasting figs, painting a lamp (80’s era brass to dark bronze), knitting and reading…I haven’t subjected you to the details.

Dad is hanging in there. He mainly sleeps most of the day. Mom has gotten more daily help for him so we are relieved that she, hopefully, is not wearing herself out so much. One kid has had tropical storm Dorian turn into a hurricane over his head, but is ok. Now the other kid is waiting to see if they need to evacuate.  I absolutely do not wish for hurricanes, but won’t turn down time with the grandbaby if the hurricane happens to send them this way!

We are in the last few weeks of renting and finalizing loan paperwork.  I’m somewhat superstitious so I don’t talk too much about our next move. I will happily fill you in when the ink is dry and the moving truck has pulled away.

I am also planning something new that is actually a very old life goal. More on that to come as well.

My apologies for being so cryptic, but details are not ironed out.  I mainly just wanted to drop in and let you know I’m still around and should be getting back on a regular schedule soon.  Until about October things will still be a little sporadic.  Stay safe, enjoy the last bits of Summer if you are on the top half of the world and rest in the waiting if that is where you are too.

 

 

 

 

Winding down summer

Hi Everyone!

I apologize for missing last week.  To be honest, everything was in a holding pattern and there wasn’t a darn thing new to talk about. I just didn’t want to bore either of us to tears.

Luckily, this week we have progress! Last Friday we FINALLY closed on our property up in the hills. We truly didn’t think it was going to happen then either.  The closing was scheduled for 9:00 am. At 8:00 pm on Thursday we were going through the closing disclosure with our realtor and caught several mistakes.  We were sitting in the attorney’s conference room Friday morning and there was STILL a mistake on the paperwork.  We signed our part of the paperwork, came home to feed the animals and had to drive back about noon to get our check after the correction had been made. Yes, we went out for a nice lunch to celebrate.  There haven’t been restaurants in our life since the beginning of June because we were paying rent and mortgage.

Our weekend was so strange. Saturday afternoon D. and I looked at each other and realized that for the first time in about six months we did normal Saturday stuff. You know, take off the trash, mow the yard, do laundry, etc.  No packing or unpacking boxes. No running to the hardware store to get supplies for repairs. No carrying furniture. IT WAS AWESOME! Just normal, mundane Saturday chores.

This week school started.  Yes, I know I’m not the only one to be doing the School Starts Happy Dance. We love the kid, but she’s 13 and comes with THE ATTITUDE now. Trying to keep a 13 year old entertained for weeks on end can be difficult at best.  We don’t believe in entertaining them as much as keeping them busy with life lesson chores.  Those come with quantities of huffing and puffing and procrastination and eye rolling. Fun stuff that.

Today brought one of the best surprises we have had in months. Dad has been in a bad state for weeks. I really haven’t wanted to discuss it or write about it.  He has been sleeping for days on end, barely getting up to eat or go to the bathroom. He has barely been eating or drinking,  We have been watching him fade away in front of our eyes. Every now and then he would sit with us for a few minutes and we would get a glimpse of our real Dad.

This morning I drop by their house to visit after feeding the horses and my bees. I’m in the kitchen when lo and behold, Dad comes rolling into the kitchen on his own, without coercion, with his walker and sits down at the kitchen table with us. I’m just amazed and so is Mom. He says something about sleeping his life away and joins us in conversation. I had planned to leave after a brief visit this morning, but it was so good to see him up and coherent and engaged I just stayed much longer than planned.

Dad has always made faces and rolled his eyes behind Mom’s back when she does something he thinks is silly or gets on his nerves. I got to see the familiar eye rolls and goofy faces this morning as she fussed about trying to help him with his hearing aids. He asked about my bees and what we had been up to recently. Before I left he rolled on into the living room and settled into his chair. When I got home, Mom called and said he sat and watched the news.  Dad has always loved the news…loved to curse at the news actually. It has been the earliest part of this year since he last sat and watched and cussed at the tv.  Dang, it’s the littlest things that can make sunshine in your heart.

I don’t know how long this will last, but I know that my Mom, my sister and I will hang onto every second of it we can get. Summer may be winding down, but this morning I got a big shot of Spring again when I saw a glimpse of my big, strong Dad again peeking out of his now very frail body.

Have a great week and soak in some sunshine.

 

 

 

On to the bread box

Hi Everyone,

I apologize for missing last week.  By the time I had time to write, I was too exhausted and escaped into YouTube and Pinterest for what little brain power I had left.

Let’s see, where did I leave off in the ongoing and going and going saga of our epic move?  As of Friday, July 26th, we had been moving for one month and 26 days! If we weren’t physically carrying boxes and furniture, we were doing repairs, sorting, trying to find things and cleaning up. Friday morning we officially packed up the last truckload of stuff, locked the doors for what we hope is the last time and drove away.  We haven’t unloaded that truckload, but it is at least in the same county with us.  We started celebrating in the afternoon.  We have not closed on the property yet though.  We are now on our FIFTH closing date.  Yes, you read that right. FIVE times the closing has been set.  Please cross your fingers, say prayers and send good vibes our way for this coming Wednesday…to actually sign the papers and have it DONE.

We started celebrating the final moving trip because it seemed like it would never end. Add to the physical exhaustion, there is always stress involved with a move and there has been even more stress with Dad’s condition, getting Miss L’s paperwork to school, arranging her 13th birthday party (yes, we officially have another teenager), having her braces put on, D. started a new job, having to go two different places to feed animals, etc. etc. etc.  I have had to apologize for a few stress induced meltdowns.  Have you noticed that everyone and everything seems to hit your last nerve when anxiety and stress lingers for a long time?  My last nerve is worn to a nub.

How did we celebrate? Well, D. saddled up his horse, KC, and went for a nice, two hour trail ride. He rarely gets to do that.  I probably should have warned the neighbors that he could possibly show up on your doorstep to say hello…with KC also standing on their doorstep. Expect it.  At least one neighbor had that happen.  She was not expecting it.

Miss L and I went to the community pool and I read and visited with my sister for awhile when she came to chill by the pool also.  We talk virtually everyday now, but it is usually a run down of how Dad and Mom are doing and what do we need to do that day. She is under the great banking cloud of doom from a merger of the bank she works for with another bank. Daily she has to face the stress of the upcoming layoffs and wondering if she will be with or without a job in the very near future.

Fun times we are having in 2019.  Our friend Alan says it all has to do with Mercury and its place in the heavens. Sounds like a good enough excuse for all this crazy.  Oh, and by the way, a HUGE thank you to our friends Alan and Sharon for helping us wrap up the last of the repairs.  They saved us another weekend or a couple of late nights finishing those.

So my little celebration was a small project that I have been wanting to do for about two years now.  Other than a knitting project I started, there have been no creative endeavors for the past month and 26 days.  If you have read any of these posts you know that I am a much saner person if I am making or gardening.  My current tiny garden is below. It is not big enough for a major stress reliever.

My celebratory project was painting this vintage bread box.  Ok, so it’s not a huge thing, but it is. It is my first project for our future selves.  Everything else we have been doing has involved trying to close out a chapter.  It has often been depressing and hard because we have been waiting to move forward but couldn’t. Now we can.

The bread box belonged to D’s Great-Grandmother and then his Grandmother according to his sister. It was a fixture in his Grandmother’s kitchen as long as he could remember.  Other members of the family may know the actual age, but my best guess is the 1920’s – 1940’s. Now before the antique/vintage purists give me grief about painting it, know that we have no intention of selling it.  We plan to use it and enjoy it as long as it holds together.  That said, it’s cute but needed a fresh coat of paint.  It is going to reside in our new, to us, kitchen that will have a vintage vibe.  I’m glad it was originally red because I have always liked cheerful pops of red in my kitchen.  I have another upcoming paint project that will be having a color change. More on that to come.

So I am happy to report we are closing out a chapter and looking forward to the new one.  If you have been reading this blog lately, you are probably pretty darn happy about that too. I know that my whining has been somewhat endless.  My next goal is to FIND MY ART SUPPLIES!

Here is our freshly painted breadbox!

Have a great week and may your future be bright!

Morning rituals

Hi Everyone!

I hope you have had a good week and your July is going well.  We are in the high, hot days of summer here. Once again more rain than we traditionally have. My rain gauge is based on how many times I have to mow the yard during the summer. In the decades that I have lived in North Carolina, most years you could count on having about a month’s break from lawn mowing.  Last year was every single week except on the weeks that the rain didn’t let up.  This year has also been every week, but so far without the never ending rains of last year.  Mainly just afternoon thunderstorms.  The one we had last night took out a huge Popular tree at my parent’s house as well as their phone and all the outlets at the barn.  The tree is still standing, but we are now faced with having it cut down, because it took a life ending hit.

This week has been challenging. Lots of time on the road trying to finish up the last bits and bobs of stuff from the house we left and the repairs before closing. Lots of time on the road running errands and a certain almost 13 year old to her social events.  There is ongoing stress over the house closing.  It seems that our buyers have unwisely decided to use a huge bank that has a reputation for NOT doing the job correctly, for their lender.  Every time we think we are almost finished some other hiccup happens.  Am I alone in wishing there was a brain switch that could turn off the overthinking section?? I had to deal with this bank when my sister-in-law passed and for an entire year the experience was nothing short of excruciating. I am suffering from PTSD as we try to get this closing done.

Today I desperately needed some nature and ritual back in my life.  Normally I have been dragging a cranky pre-teen with me to feed all the animals each morning and I can’t say that it has been a peaceful experience. So this morning I decided that my mental health was more important than the life responsibility lessons for the kid and let her sleep in while I visited with the critters and took in the soul soothing beauty of a summer morning.  Thought I would share it with you.  Enjoy the beauty without the humidity, spider webs and soggy sneakers.  Have a lovely week and hopefully I will be back next week in a more positive frame of mind.

Divine timing

Hi Everyone!

Yes, I’m back finally.  There may still be a skip or two, but I am trying to get back with the routines of life.

Today is going to be a quick update because there hasn’t been any time for creative endeavors, just endless hauling of boxes and furniture.

Status update: 7/8’s moved. We have about one carload of stuff that doesn’t fit in a box to bring to the rental and one truck bed of stuff to go to a storage unit and one trailer load of farm/yard equipment to drop off at the family farm for the time being.

There are minor repairs to finish up before closing on July 23rd of our old place and some plants that are coming with us.  The closing has been moved twice and though it caused stress and some worry, it has been a blessing in disguise.  We might have put ourselves in the hospital trying to meet the first closing date of June 28th and we get a final crop of our blueberries before it’s all done!

We are enjoying our rental house.  It has been a perfect fit. Close to my parents and our animals that are in three different places, off the road with some woods and fields behind us and the view of a corn field in front of us.  The photo is our view from the front porch where we enjoy sitting and watching the clouds and storms pass by.

I don’t think I mentioned our future plans in the past posts. One reason was because they were still a bit in limbo.  We now have a contract on a property across the road from my parents house.  The one week sale of our property surprised us and left us no time to get the financing started for either building or buying a new place.  If everything comes together we should be moving again PERMANENTLY by the end of September.  More details to come.

Dad is hanging in there. A few more treatments to go and he will be done.  They have taken a lot out of him.  He has lost weight and is very tired.  Our move happened at the right time.  Never doubt divine timing even when it is exhausting and/or frustrating.  We are back to spend what time he has left with him, to help out Mom because we don’t like to leave Dad alone anymore and to help my sister and brother-in-law keep up with the family property.  Eventually we will tackle that *&$#* kudzu!

Another plus to our move is that we are closer to our kids and grandkids. One hour closer to Charleston, SC and St. John USVI where my kids live, doesn’t seem like much in my case, but it centralizes all their family in one geographical area for ease of travel when they do get home to visit. We got to babysit one of the grands last weekend and get to know more about her 7 year old world.  Until now our time with the grands has been when there was a big family gathering and no real one-on-one time to get to know them. There are plans for a once a month Sunday lunch to see as many as possible as often as possible and keep up with their lives. It’s not easy when you have eight kids and six grandkids all going different directions.

Overall it has been a good move and we are excited to spend time with friends and family we have been too far away from.  We are looking forward to settling into the new place and making a new home to build good memories in.

Have a great week and trust the timing.