Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving, Friends

I want to wish all of you a  Happy Thanksgiving.  May your day be filled with good food, good friends, loving family and warm memories.  

Y'all take care.  

Monday, November 10, 2014

My Private Kingdom

I've finally gotten my studio set up and gotten the necessary furniture to make it both comfortable and efficient.  Maybe one of these days I'll have a larger cutting station, but this is just fine for now.  Besides, I've used this for years now and somehow I've managed. 
Its a long, narrow room but I love it down here.  There's still some changing to do.  I'd like to remove a large bar that is here, taking up space as far as I'm concerned and of absolutely no use to me.  

I finally have room to store all my stash provided, of course, that I don't keep buying! 
All the fabric in this green cabinet was stashed in a chest in a guest bedroom before I moved. 
I spend a lot of time down here sewing, watching TV, reading or on the computer.   It's my domain. 
And here's the view from my ironing board.  A whole bunch of the leaves have already fallen now but the colors this year have been just magnificent.  There's lots of birds outside, too. 
With this cool fall weather, I'm really enjoying have a fireplace down here.

I am working on a quilt top and the blocks are sewn together awaiting the setting triangles. 

Y'all take care. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Growing Up Fast but Hanging On

I don't know about the rest of you, but it is very hard for me to accept the fact that I'm now part of the "older" folks.  Many years ago, a friend and I were talking and we agreed that with the problems going on, it was time for the grown ups to step up and make some decisions.  Then, I reminded him that in our mid 30's, we were supposed to be grownups!  He and I both agreed that we could be in trouble. 

I was reminded of that recently when my 92 year old Aunt Mildred passed away.  She was the last of my mother's siblings.  
Aunt Mildred and Aunt Dean
I lost Aunt Dean, the other lady in this picture, back in April.  There are no more aunts and uncles for me on either side of the family.   What I've discovered is that you always feel like one of the kids if there's a parent or an aunt or uncle around.  They are the "grown ups".    All the cousins were together for Aunt Mildred's  memorial and we're all feeling a bit adrift.  And we're realizing that not only are we now the grown ups, we're fast approaching or already are some of the "old folks".  

I stayed with my brother while I was down in Florida.  He's been the caretaker of a farm (other than his own, of course) for years but I'd never been over to it.  This trip I told him I wanted a tour.  Before heading to the farm, we had to go check on a few things.  We had to go by our family's old farm to check the traps for feral hogs.  Nothing there.  Then we headed off to check on some of my brother's cows that were pastured a number of miles away.   Got there and luckily the cows were close to the fence.  One of the cows had been limping and he wanted to check her hoof again.  He discovered that she had undoubtedly stepped on something and gotten cut.  He'll have to move her back to the house so he can doctor on her and keep an eye on her.   

Then, he decided he wanted to go see a man about a check.  The guy bought some hay from my brother and he had called wanting to exchange cash for the check.  Fine with brother but he could never catch him at home.  Didn't find him home this trip either because he was with his daughter who was competing in a rodeo about 70 miles away.  Oh well, I got a tour of places I hadn't seen in many years, including the grist mill where we always got our corn meal ground.  I have that ticking sack that was used only for the corn kernels and then the ground meal.   Oh my, the smell of freshly ground, warm corn meal!  

After riding over what felt like half the county, we finally went over to the farm so I could see where he spends an inordinate amount of time and energy.   As we drove around, he showed me all the projects he's working on, including the new fences he has put in this year and the watering system so that all the pastures have well water.  He's got part of the pasture land plowed up and ready for rye and clover to be planted. 

And, I had to see some of his cows that were in those pastures. 

After visiting the bovines, we headed off through the woods to the old pond.  (Yes, there is a new pond also.)   I thought we'd gone most everywhere but he assured me that there were other places to go but they required the Purple Onion (the old battered 4 wheel drive Tracker) or the 4x4 buggy.  Since we were on the "good" truck, he wouldn't take it those places!
We stopped and he checked the fish feeder.  The second he touched it, the water was suddenly splashing with fish wanting food.    There's a small floating dock there for fishing or just hanging out.  Brother says he'll just sit there sometimes, taking it all in for a while. 

I headed back north on Sunday.   Somehow, these weeks just keep flying by. 

Y'all take care. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fall in the Air

The skies, they are a changin'.  It truly feels like fall is fast approaching here in the hills.  We woke to 50 degrees this morning and it was glorious.  We're being blessed with dry, sunny days with temps in the mid 70's.  I am just so tickled about this wonderful weather. 

Hubby and I took a ride up to Brasstown Bald the other day.  It had been years since we were last there.  There's been some "improvements" made such as a general store, bigger restrooms and more parking areas.   

The Bald is the highest point in Georgia and from up there you can see four states from the 360 degree view.  Supposedly, in the fall and winter when the weather has cleared out the haze, you can actually see the skyline of Atlanta over 80 something miles away.  

Also depending on which direction you look, you can see a couple of small towns and Lake Chatuge and Lake Nottley.   It sure is pretty up there and I figure we'll make the trek back up there in about to a month to take in the colors from that perspective. 

I'm excited to see what the colors look like from our house, since we are surrounded by trees on all sides and we have long range views of mountains in two directions.  

The trees have been home to lots of little birds these days.  Every morning brings a new batch of migrants of some sort.  Some of them I can identify and some I can't.  Where's my Birdlady friend when I need her?  These little guys just don't stay still long enough for me to get a good look, note important markings and then dig out the bird books to identify them!!!   

Any time you have windows you are likely to have bird strikes.  A week or so ago I was sitting here and heard this "whump".  At first, I thought it was upstairs but realized it was too loud.  Went over to the other side of the fireplace and looked out that door and there on the deck was this little guy, totally stunned from his smack into the glass door. 
He sat there at least 10 minutes before he was able to fly away. 

Every day we are treated to hummers jostling for their feeding territory at one of the seven feeders outside.  They are constantly buzzing around out there.  We're enjoying them immensely, knowing that it won't be too long before they're gone for the winter. 

I'll do my best to be back much more regularly.  I do enjoy reading everyone else's blogs, so I guess I need to return the courtesy by posting something for you guys to read, huh? 

Y'all take care. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning

Oh, what a beautiful morning!   Oh, what a beautiful day!

Can't you just hear that song now?   And the bluebirds singing??

Its another gorgeous day here in the mountains.  There's lots of foggy mornings, but it usually burns off very quickly.  I just came in from replenishing a hummer feeder.  The little buggers eat voraciously.  

I've been hoping to see critters here and a few nights ago I got my wish. 

We had just finished dinner when I happened to look outside and this is what we saw.  I've seen does with twins before, but this is the first time I've seen triplets.
Pileated Woodpecker 
A week or so ago, I was sitting outside with my coffee and taking in the the morning when I heard pecking.  I got up and looked around the end of the house into the trees and saw a pileated woodpecker.  What a treat.  Then, to my amazement there was movement a few feet away from that bird and there was another one!!!!  Obviously a pair, or at least I hope so.   I've heard them frequently and seen them flying but that's the only time I've seen them so close up.  Just thrills me to know that they're in the neighborhood. 

I feel like I'm living in a tree house.  There's trees all around, except for my wonderful views, and up here on the main level I don't see tree trunks much.  It's all branches and leaves of all kinds.  I haven't unearthed my tree book yet so that I can start identifying the ones I don't know.  Hmmmm....wonder what box that thing is in?

Anyway, I'm one happy camper right now.  Hope all of you are the same. 

Y'all take care. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

New Digs

Hello dear blogger pals.  It has been a whirlwind, let me tell you. 

From June 25 to July 26, we went under contract on a new house, negotiated the sale of our old house, closed on the purchase of the new place, packed up our 15 years of accumulation and MOVED 450 miles.

Needless to say, this has consumed all our time and energy. 
Somehow, the pile of boxes doesn't look so big in this picture.  Maybe that's because we were busy unpacking the ones in the kitchen at the time. 
On Friday we finally got all the boxes out of the living room and got the furniture arranged.  My great niece and her family were stopping in for a short visit yesterday, so it was a great incentive to get it done.  

I know that as time goes by I will be rearranging things all over the house.  I haven't even begun the process of putting the downstairs half of the house in order.  

My stepdaughter and her husband (who helped us move) started the repainting project down there but just didn't have time to finish it before they had to leave.  Hubby will be finishing it up this week. 

When the company was here, I snared the two young men to move some of the furniture around downstairs and give me a head start when I finally get to the unpacking down there. 

I'm sitting on my front porch right now listening to the raindrops dripping from the many trees nearby.  The clouds are forming, changing and disappearing over the mountains in a never ending dance.  Try as I might, I haven't gotten a good shot of the view.   Yet. 
cloud/fog layer in the distance
There are tons of ruby-throated hummingbirds coming to the feeders.  The other small birds are around but haven't quite gotten used to the feeders yet.  The prior owners left in October for the winter and due to circumstances, never came back, so the birds have to learn the routine again.

I have longed to live with hardwood trees, rolling hills and four seasons for nearly twenty years.  Even when we built the house in Florida, it was a stopgap measure until a later date  Then, when the agreed upon date came and went, health issues for hubby cropped up and delayed the move for a few more years.  Finally, it was just time to do it or forever relinquish that dream.  I couldn't give it up, so here we are.  

I sure hope all of you are having a wonderful summer.

Y'all take care 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Still Here

I'm still here.  LOTS of big changes happening and too busy.  I'm thoroughly pooped and I'll be along one of these days with the details. 

Meanwhile, hope everyone is enjoying their summer. 

Y'all take care

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Just Checking In

Oh, me.  Where to start.  There's lots going on here.  Won't go into details until later but let's just say there's lots of boxes involved.  

When I was at quilting retreat, I worked on a pattern called Falling Charms.  It was SO easy.  Its one of those things you can do and still talk til your heart's content.  My kind of pattern.  This lousy picture does not do it justice.  I really like this one. 

It's a very large throw size, or nearly a twin size.  

Also, had a real treat this year gardening wise.  I've had this plant for many years and mostly because I neglected it, it has bloomed only once before.  It was given to me by a lady I dearly adored when she moved to Virginia to be near her daughter in her last years.  This year I paid attention to it and was rewarded grandly.  I don't remember the exact number of blossoms it finally put out, but was between 15 and 20.  

Each of these blossoms is bigger than my outstretched hand, so probably about 8 inches across. 

I also had the girls over for lunch one day.  Figured we'd do a lot more talking here than out at some restaurant.  And I was right about that!!   Can you imagine four women talking a lot??? 

Lots to do around here, so I'm off to get the day started.  

Y'all take care.  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Uh Huh, a Post at Last

Hey, everybody.  I've missed all of you.   We've had a busy time lately.  Shortly after the quilting retreat, my stepson and his family came.  They love being at the beach so they rented a condo over there and we just saw them frequently.   The girls (4 & 5 year olds) are growing like weeds. 
Fun with Uncle D and Buster last year
 Their older sister has just finished her freshman year at Iowa State.  Can't believe that kid is nearly 19 already.  It was a really nice visit. 

This was the first trip they've made where they drove from Iowa to Florida.  We knew they were in for a surprise and just about the first words out of Andy's mouth were that he had a whole new appreciation for all the trips his Dad and I have made to Iowa.  I think they've always just figured that since we were retired and "didn't have anything better to do" we could just drive up to Iowa.  Now, he knows its not quite so easy or so much fun.  

Andy helped his Dad with some tree trimming and cleaning which was a good thing.  I'm not fond of hubby being up on the roof these days. 
Up on the roof..........
I've been terribly remiss in that my camera has stayed in the bag way too much.

Anyway, after they left we spent time working around the yard and house and preparing to come to the North Georgia mountains for the summer.  Very shortly after we arrived, my stepdaughter flew down to spend a few days with us.  I think curiosity got the best of her in that she wanted to know what the area looked like, since we are looking at cabins up here. Her visit gave us our first opportunity to see the Atlanta airport from the land side instead of being a passenger on the way through.  It's a totally different experience.

Y'all take care.  

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Quilts Full of Love

Since I'm behind times anyway, I might as well just carry on. 

In addition to the birding trip in April, I also had my semi-annual quilting retreat.  I was the coordinator for this one and there was a learning curve.  I think I've about got it figured out now.  

Just after our last retreat, we decided that the two ladies in the group who are veterans needed their own Quilt of Valor.  The owner of our retreat center, Elizabeth Mathews, is the Alabama coordinator for Quilts of Valor.  So, all sneaky like the word went out for blocks.  They were collected and put together by two different members of our group and were presented to Sara and Char at our retreat.  Boy, did we pull a good one on them. 

Sara's Quilt of Valor

Char's Quilt of Valor
These ladies never suspected a thing beforehand.  

In addition to these two special quilts, another quilt was presented to one of our girls who lost her husband back in February.  The call was put out on our online forum (not just our retreat group) and over 80 blocks were hurriedly made and sent to Char who put it together and quilted it.  Then she came over to present our gift to Margot. 

Margot's quilt 
By the time all three quilts were presented, there wasn't a dry eye in the building!!!   We love these girls so much.  

Aw, heck, I might as well go on and tell it.  In addition to Margot losing her husband in February, another local quilty friend Nancy lost her husband on March 20.  Then, to top it off, yet another local  friend Winnie (who is also a friend of Nancy) lost her husband suddenly on April 12.  She was working at the quilt show when he had a massive heart attack.  All that would be bad enough, but then I lost one of my favorite aunts on April 26.  All those losses together in so short a time just about did me in.  I still don't think the loss of my aunt has really sunk in just yet.  I know that these events have surely gotten my husband's and my attention. 

Here's my Aunt Dean and the king sized quilt I made for her three years ago.  These were the colors she wanted (batiks)and she was thrilled when I gave it to her.  She used it on her king sized bed all the time. 

I guess what I've had reaffirmed for me is that we should never take a day for granted.  We should cherish each one of them and cherish our friends and family.  

Okay, enough for now. 

Y'all take care.  

Friday, May 9, 2014

Texas Birding Trip, Spring 2014

Oh, how do I begin?  It's been a long time and as each day goes by, I seem to be more intimidated.   Anyway, here goes. 

The last few weeks have been very full.  I traveled to High Island, Texas in mid-April for my annual bird migration trip.  Had a great time, as usual.  After a few trips, you get familiar with the area and terrain and its like going home.  You never know what you'll see on these trips and that is the thrill of it.  
Male Red-Winged Black Bird showing off for the ladies 
Besides, catching migrant birds as they just reach the shore after their trans-gulf flight allows to seeing things you might not ever get to see at home.   

Male Scarlet Tanager (with leaf in the way!)
Male Rose Breasted Grosbeak
I have to admit that I like being in the presence of so many other birders.  It's the same among anyone with a shared passion, I suppose, whether its birding, painting, or baseball.
Heck, you don't even have to get out of the car to see good birds, as evidenced above.  

Anybody care to count how many birds are in this next photo?
Rookery at Smith's Woods, High Island, Texas 
In addition to the obvious birds, there was lots of other interesting and gorgeous scenery to take in. 
This was the only patch of bluebonnets anywhere around, but there was fields and fields of Mexican primroses.

Thistle in bloom

I'll quit boring you for the moment.    Y'all take care. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Yard Work and Stuff

This is one of those days when you can't sit inside.  I mean, the sun is shining, there's the tiniest of breezes and its about 70 degrees outside.  The yard calls.   Hubby helped and we trimmed up some plants and shrubs that had been neglected.    My fatsia bush has been overtaken by sooty mold and was looking quite ragged, thanks to old age and disease.  I whacked it down to the ground where new shoots are already appearing.  I also thinned out the ragged cast iron plants next to it.  Now, I have to treat both areas with some kind of horticultural oil in hopes of killing whatever is attracting the mold.
The fatsia is the big plant right behind the tree.  Didn't look like that now, though.  This picture is from May 2010.   I love those plants.  The stand up to our heat and humidity well and to our cold weather, too.  Although I think the extra cold we had this winter helped speed along its demise.  But, the thing is about 13 years old, so I'm not complaining.  And the little ones are sprouting up already.    I'd recommend both the fatsia and the cast iron plant because they thrive on neglect and in shade.   Once a year or so, I'll do a clean up and throw a handful of fertilizer of some kind on them and forget about them.  My kind of gardening.   

We're trying to empty out the garden house and use up the bits and pieces, but I ran out of fertilizer, so had to make a dash out to get some more so I could finish feeding all the plants outside.   I am so lazy.  Shoulda put out some kind of organic compost during the winter but didn't do it.  I have access to free horse manure and I'd bet he'd even haul it down here, provided I took a truck load.  But then, what the heck am I gonna do with a truck load of manure?!?!?   (Oh, he's my brother, so he could be called on for that kinda thing.)  I don't know if he still has these two horses or not.  You know how horse traders are.   But, he'll have horses till his dying day. His wife, too.  

The oak leaves are falling like rain.  We've already raked the west side of the yard about four times and it may need another one to finish them off.  The trees don't lose their leaves at the same pace, so we're raking leaves in the spring for a good two or three months.   I sure hope the oak blossoms hurry up and finish doing their thing.  Hubby has a real problem with them.  He's wearing a surgical mask for the first time this year and it is really helping.  

I have absolutely no pictures to fit in here but what the heck.  Here's an oldie that I like. 
This child (oldest granddaughter) is now a freshman in college!!

Y'all take care and I hope spring gets to your house real soon if it hasn't shown up already!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Utter Chaos

You oughta see my garage!!  Looks like a junk shop, albeit what I'd call a high class junk shop.  Finally getting around to that garage sale I first mentioned back in October.  I'm committed now, so no backing out.  Most everything is priced, unless I find more stuff to add.  

The bad thing is that you have to gather everything up, put it on tables and price it.  Then, on the morning of the sale (in the wee hours, I might add), you have to put empty tables out on the driveway and then move every-little-piece out to those tables, and then move those tables out to the driveway and move more little pieces to them!   Whew.  Makes me tired to just think about it.  Got friends coming the afternoon before and staying over so they'll be here to help with the stepping and fetching the day of the sale.  Thank goodness. 

We've decided we're going to keep the stained glass window.

This is the very first garage sale I've ever had so it ought to be a real learning experience.  Wish me good luck. 

Y'all take care.