Archives for May 2013

Garage Cleaning and Organization – Day One

When someone comes to my house, they usually don’t come through the front door or the side door.  They come through the garage and then onto the back porch.   Here’s the welcome I give them as they trek through the garage….sweet, isn’t it?

Unorganized Garage 1

Our longer-term plans to address the garage mess include painting the garage, but that’s not going to happen this week or this month. Still, something had to happen — the garage was a wreck! So, I started working on it — the hardest part was getting started. Since it was 90 degrees today, I didn’t stay out there all day, but I spent about three hours. It will take a day or two because I’m cleaning, sorting, deciding what stays and what goes. I started in the right hand corner and put everything on the table…can you believe all this junk?

Garage Organization First Step

I went over to Sam’s Club and got some boxes. I’ll spray paint them with chalkboard paint and use them to categorize and label things. These were great boxes!!

Garage Organization Boxes

After a few hours of working, I stopped as Gracie decided that “enough was enough” and it was time for her to get attention.

Garage Supervisor

I’ll get back on it tomorrow. It’s fun cleaning up this mess.


The Return of The Honeybees

Look at me…I am in the “loft” in Mike’s shop…right up at the ceiling.   If you look near my feet, you’ll see that I have white square things…they are components of our beehives.

Beekeeper in the Loft

On Wednesday or Thursday, our honeybees are arriving by the U.S. Postal Service.   I love it that bees and chicks can arrive by mail.    Gerald and I loaded his golf cart down with two hives to go set up my apiary. He’ll also have two hives in his apiary.

Bee Wagon 2

“Eat Sleep Go Fishing” …and raise honeybees!

Bee Wagon

Here’s my apiary. Only two hives in each apiary to start with this year. We’re not taking honey this year.  We’re babying our bees.  We’re going to treat them as our prized mean pets. In this picture, there are  rocks under the lids to allow the hive to air out. Everything needs to be fresh and clean for the new bees.

Apiary in May

They’ll be here soon!


A Summer Sunflower Wreath…Evolving

Happy Sunday evening! This is about a wreath but before that…check out my daughter-in-law, Mary, and me taking a break from the Virginia Creeper Trail Saturday. This was so fun!!

Mary and Eva

Now..about that wreath! Candace Powers Bennett is a distant cousin on my father’s side, and she is the great granddaughter of my mother’s best friend. That is all a lead-in to say that I recently copied her idea for a summertime wreath. She is a busy mom of two boys, great wife, and a very crafty lady. She is also a daughter of the King. 🙂 I love her. She posted a wreath on Facebook that she whipped out last week. Shortly thereafter, a very similar wreath appeared on my backdoor.

Wreath Without A B

Such a sweet, simple summertime welcome at the back door!  Thank you Candace for letting me steal your idea.   BUT WAIT…I think Candace’s had something else. Didn’t she have a “B” dangling somewhere? I, of course, needed a “B” too! Nevermind that I now notice I wired mine on upside down.

Wreath With a B

I had this grapevine wreath. It’s got some miles on it.  It changes its look every little bit.  Kind of like Madonna.    Here it was in it’s “Snowman Phase.”

Mr. Snowman

I really liked it in its “Christmas Phase”, but the birds kept flying over and pooping on my window in this phase.

Grapevine Wreath

And…lest we forget, here it was during its “Fall Phase” or, if you look closely, its “Women’s Lib Phase” when it went braless.

Autumn Wreath

Other things this weekend…buying that 30 feet of wired burlap ribbon at Hobby Lobby for $4.99 (1/2 price) made me literally dance with excitement. I’m thinking Christmas wreaths!


Insightful View

I’ve heard you can tell a lot about people by looking at their clothesline. If that is the case, what does this say about Mike and me?

Clothesline Dirty



Changes In Mendota May 2013

I haven’t taken you to the  Barnrock Road project for a while.   It’s raining outside, and it’s a mess up there.    There is muddy water everywhere. I can’t leave the house and turn right in my new car because Snowball the Dog might bite my car again, and I don’t want to go on Barnrock because it is just a mess.  I’m going to park the car and start swimming the North Fork of the Holston River to go anywhere. If you see me floating by, I’m headed to the Rally Mart in Hiltons for a BLT.

By the way,  if you don’t believe me when I tell you my new car suffered a dog bite that pulled a piece of it loose, read about it here.

Here’s some progress on the road….Granny Bott’s house earlier this year.

Granny Bott's House

The site today for the new road taken a few days ago when I was up that way. Hard to believe it’s the same place, isn’t it?

Barnrock May 23

Let’s look at something infinitely better! It quit raining for a few minutes and I went out and took some pictures! What is the name of this flower? Is it mandevilla?

Florida Vine

Here’s the border with the mandevilla or whatever it is called in it.   Where the topiary thing stands is a “crossing” point for the cats, and every plant I put there is trampled and dies.  I’m hoping that this will not be the case this time. I was weeding while the ground was damp so if you look closely, you’ll see weeds thrown in the grass. 

Garden Border

I’ve never had luck with clematis, but I’m trying again in a new place.   I’m hoping that this one doesn’t “wilt”.    I put this in just before it rained today.  Those are green pepper plants and flowers from plant class that I stuck in around the clematis.   Hope they all do okay.     I was hurrying because it was starting to sprinkle and I didn’t even bother to brush the dirt off the rock.


Oh yeah…how about those taters? A picture is worth a thousand words. Besides bragging isn’t polite.

Taterhead May 23

And 20+ rows of green beans that are in the garden are gettng extremely weedy. We’ll rototill them when it dries.

Weedy Green Beans

Ahh…writing about the garden made me feel better.


Snowball Bites My Car

Have you ever had a day that you are in such a bad mood that you could spit nails? This must have been the kind of day Snowball the Dog was having on Sunday. Here’s Snowball on a happier day leading his goat parade up and down Swinging Bridge Road. These goats know no boundaries. They must drive Snowball crazy.

Goat Parade

It was a less organized scene when I drove into the goats on Sunday. They were scattered and stressing Snowball.     I stopped, and Snowball walked up and lunged at the back of my car. I heard a noise like I’d run over a limb. I thought, “Did I run over Snowball’s paw?”  However,  Snowball was standing there smirking and giving me the stink eye.  He even strutted a little. Paws looked fine.  While I still did not know where the noise came from, Snowball appeared in fine health and all of the goats appeared fine.  I started to move the car forward again–this time with Snowball’s approval.

I got home and noticed this.  HOW DID THIS HAPPEN????


Prius 1

Mike was out of town, so I took the car down to my brother-in-law’s for a look-see.    He said…”see the scraping followed by the puncture marks?  Snowball has bit your car and then yanked this piece out.”

Snowball's Teeth Marks

So as my car which I’ve affectionately named Cracker and treated so well (no eating inside this car) has her first wound, and it was a dog bite!!



Up On The Hill In Mendota

I took my camera out today and decided to take you to the Mendota Cemetery. Over a century ago, the Hamilton family donated this land as a cemetery for our community.    I love this place. My father died when I was barely 16, and I found peace walking up the hill to visit with him. When I got my driver’s license, it was one of the first places I visited…on foot.  I could not wait to show him my license. The Mendota Cemetery sits on a hill, and as you top the hill you’re greeted by a magnificant tree. I can see mother and daddy’s graves in this picture.

Mendota Cemetery Tree

Old boxwoods planted generations ago…

Mendota Cemetery 1

A restful place.

Mendota Cemetery 2

The road goes in a circle.  The grass is tall today, because we have been receiving so much rain.

Ahh…there’s our mountain in the horizon.   Are you a mountain person or a water person?  I’m a mountain person.  I never feel safe unless Clinch Mountain is at my back.

Mendota Cemetery 4

Here’s my car, Cracker, recovering from her dog bite which you can learn about here.  (A dog actually bit my car and pulled the back fender out before she was two weeks old. Crazy.)

Mendota Cemetery 5

And look at this…James Stickley. James was in the Virginia Infantry for the Confederate States of America. He survived that war, and it looks like he lived to be about 80. The Civil War…what I was taught to call “the late unpleasantness” by a teacher in the little school at at the bottom of this hill.

Confederate Stickley

Maintaining this cemetery is important. It’s a cemetery that continues to serve the families in the Mendota area with our time-honored practice of never charing a family in need.   It’s not just a Southern thing.  It’s a Mendota thing.  It’s a Poor Valley thing…an Appalachian thing.   We respect our heritage and those who rest in this quiet place on the hill.


Needing Your Help With The Quilt

I’ve blogged about the 2013 Mendota Cemetery Quilt several times. Here’s one. It’s called “I’ll Fly Away.” I believe this quilt is a girl. I picked “her” up at the post office today to take “her’ picture. She loves lying around on my porch. She’s a queen! I’ll get better pictures in a few days.

Quilt 4

The talented Mendota women worked so hard on this quilt…many thanks to Chris, Linda, Margie, Lisa, Nancy and others who put in the required time. I pinned a few pieces. Once. My job is to help sell the quilt. I’m not sure how I got this job except that I don’t sew very well. I did get to sign it though.

Quilt 2

We’ve sold 550 tickets and have about 1000 remaining. It’s a beautiful quilt, but we’ve got to sell tickets to a lot of people, so I started thinking about a way to get more people interested. I prayed about it. So much trouble in the world, and there’s me…”excuse me…God…I know there is a lot going on…but can You give me some insight on how to sell 950 tickets for a really good cause?” No lightening…no thunder…so I went to sleep. When I work up this morning, I had an idea. God is not just a god of big things…I believe He’s interested in small things, too. Don’t you? Here’s the idea that I woke up with this morning.

I’m asking everyone on the my blog to support the quilt and buy tickets. All proceeds benefit the historic Mendota Cemetery — a lovely place that has never turned a family away in need nor charged a family. It relies on your love and support. However, this is not the idea. The idea is that in addition to asking you to purchase tickets…I’m asking you to help me in ensuring that every state in the United States has someone who purchases at least two tickets for a chance at winning this quilt. I’ve got Wyoming and Minnesota locked up and it’s not even 5:00!! Who do you know that lives away from here who might help us out? Who would love to own this quilt? Who loves rural America where we have to work really hard to get our mowing paid for because we want to continue honoring a tradition of helping families in need? Who wants to help because it’s the nice thing to do? I’m not beneath begging!

I’m having pictures developed of the quilt..better ones than what I’ve posted here. If you reach out to a family member or friend in another state and ask them to purchase a quilt ticket (actually at least two…I really wish for five), let me know how many tickets and what their address is, and I’ll send the tickets directly to them with a self-addressed, stamped envelope so they can easily return the completed stubs and their check. Easy as sitting in a rocking chair..

Quilt 3

Think about it and reply back to me on the blog or email directly to address. I love it that you take the time to read my blog. I’m sorry I must try and sell you tickets, but it’s important.

Here “she” is on the swing. She’d love to be swinging with you.

Quilt 1


Planting Seeds of Optimism

I have gone crazy planting seeds today. I planted another 9 rows of green beans putting us up to 20 rows. About half are bush beans and the other half are half runners. I hope I planted enough for the bugs, the weeds, my friends and me.

I also planted corn. Lots of corn. Let’s say another 15 rows of corn, which, if it germinates and the deer, the crows and the raccoons leave it alone, will all come in at the same time. That should be interesting. If it does germinate, you can bet there will be an electric fence surrounding it this year.

Here’s what I planted both my green beans and corn with–and probably why I have so many rows. It was so easy rolling this along!

Garden Seeder

Mike gave my rows which were not quite straight the stink eye, but who cares? There is a round attachment that you swap out for different seeds. I noticed there was one for chard. Who in their right might would want so much chard that they needed this seeder? Chard seeds are tiny — same with radish seeds which is also in the picture below. Someone lost his or her mind when they invented the chard and radish wheel.

Garden Seeder Wheels

I saw a similar garden seeder in Lehman’s for $54.95. Mine is better. It was a gift from Paul Baker.

On another front…the bees arrive on May 26. They arrive by mail. Will Patsy ever be surprised!


The Apartment / Guesthouse

A couple of people wanted to stay in our apartment/guest house recently, and Mike was hunting for a post describing it.    I know there was one, but we could not find it.  So, for the person who was wanting to stay at the apartment, here is a post that will take care of that!

We call this the guesthouse but it’s really a garage apartment located very close to our house.    Here’s the exterior.

Apartment Outside

As you enter, you have to go up the stairs. For safety reasons, we’ve kept the carpet on these stairs. There’s a security system that was recently updated in the apartment and garage. I always feel safe there as well as in the house.

Apt Up The Stairs

Once you are up the stairs, you’re in the eating area. Mike made the table. The chairs are Goodwill recycles that a neighbor found and I painted.

Apt Kitchen Table

It’s a fully equipped kitchen. I made the curtains. Mike put in the hardwood.

Apt Kitchen Overall

It’s got dishes, pots and pans, blender, coffee maker, etc. I opened the cabinet which is not overly organized.

Apt Kitchen Cabinets

You can walk out onto the deck from the French doors. You’ll have a view of Clinch Mountain or my back yard.

Apt Deck Table

Here’s the back yard. Wanna hoe my garden? Help yourself.

Apt Garden

When we have guests stay over, I always make sure that the sheets are washed and dried on the clothesline. There is no smell as sweet as sheets dried in the country wind and sun!

Apt Sheets

Back in the house, I try and keep fresh greenery or flowers for guests. I can usually find something in the yard like the rhododendrum and iris in this picture. Usually I use a Mason jar, but this one is in a milk jar I got at Lehman’s.

Apt Flowers

The kitchen is open to the living room which has a sofabed — it can sleep up to four if you include the sofabed.

Apt Living Room

And there’s a comfy chair to watch tv in. We have Direct TV running over here.

Apt Living Room 2

There’s a bedroom with a large closet. Mike recently put hardwood in the bedroom. I use 400/500 count sheets in here. The quilt is made by Mrs. Toby Sproles of Mendota. I love it.

Apt Bedroom

Laundry room and half bath…

Apt Washer

Very cute bathroom with lots of angles. That’s a trash dump chair in the picture.

Apt Bathroom 1

Here’s the other part of that bathroom…

Apt Bathroom 3

We are not sure how we’re going to proceed with the guesthouse. We’re either going to rent it as a weekend/weekly cottage for a little business for me or we’re going to find a special person or couple who would like to rent it. What do you think? Which way should we go?


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