Archives for January 2015

Drone Down in the Fork – Help Solve the Mystery!

Update on 1/26/15 – Drone Down…Drone Found. The downed drone belonged to Adam Barker and was lost June 2013 and found in 2014 by Dustin Reedy. Adam and Dustin have now hooked up!!

Dustin Reedy was fishing on the North Fork of the Holson on “the Mendota section” on Swinging Bridge Road.   In the waters below the Swinging Bridge, he caught something big, but it wasn’t a fish.

It was this:

Dustin Reedy's Drone

Someone was having a great day with their drone and GoPro sometime around January 12. Dustin knows what the owner looks like because he was able to pull the SD card from the GoPro. He’s asked around but, to date, who owned the downed drone and GoPro remains a mystery.

Can you help us out? Not that many people have drones, so if you know someone who does, please ask them if their drone has “gone AWOL.” Email me and I’ll give you information on how to contact Dustin.

(964)

Chicken Houses of Mendota Part II

Today’s tour of how Mendota’s spoiled chickens live took place at the Holbrook Farm on Barnrock Road.  Five fat, fluffy Rhode Island Reds live and lay here.   Helene’s set up is totally different from Jim and Lynn Otis which was the first chicken house I blogged about here.

The Holbrook hen house is…rather roomy.  Rather than build another structure on the farm, Helene used stalls in the barn and converted them into areas for the hens.   As you approach the barn, you begin to hear the peeping and chirping sounds of the hens as they interact with each other.  It’s so restful.

Holbrook Barn

It’s dark and cozy in their enclosed area…all lined with hay… but you will have to take my word for it because it was too dark for pictures, although I did take one of their perch.  I’ve noticed that chicken owners always point out their perches.    It must be a status symbol!   “How big is your perch? ….or “My perch is bigger than  your perch!”

Chicken Perch 

When they go out, they have a little exit area with a ramp.    Here’s one of the girls going down her ramp.   She looks so self assured.

Chicken on the ramp

These five hens have been together all of their lives and they get along well.   Rhode Island Reds are the state bird of Rhode Island.  I also learned when I googled them tonight that hens lay approximately 312 eggs in their first laying season and 223 in the second.

That is a lot of eggs!   Since Helene has only one breed of chicken, she has only brown eggs.   This egg was so fresh that it was warm.    It is a magnificent, perfect work of art.   Nutritious and beautiful.

Brown Eggs

So here they are outside in their chicken run.    That sunshine makes them lay more eggs!   It has wire on the sides and the top…not only to keep them in but to keep predators…like hawks…out!

Chicken Run 1

 She left the little trees inside the run.  The little trees will give them shade and some interest this summer when they’re out scratching.   There will not be a bug or flea or tick around this chicken run.   

Chicken Run 2

I tried to get a good picture of one of the girls…this was the best I could do.  I’m sorry!

Rhode Island Red

And here’s what Helene’s Rhode Island Reds give her for the warm barn, the roomy chicken run and  the organic feed she buys them.    It’s a sweet deal.

Brown Eggs on Sill

We have three more chicken houses to visit in Mendota.  One is the Hen Hilton, one is the Holy Hen House (a preacher’s chickens) and the last is the Ultimate Pallet Hen House.

 

(421)

Plan Your Garden in the Kitchen

Looking at any seed catalogs or starting to drive a little slower past garden centers?   Are you thinking of planting a garden?  Of course you are.   Don’t wait until you’re walking around your yard thinking about where you’ll plant things to start planning your garden.  Start in the kitchen with the foods that you eat.  Here’s the perfect setting for planning your garden.

Counter Top Cookie Scene

I started thinking seriously about the garden Sunday while I prepared 11 freezer meals.   If you work full-time, you know how wonderful it is to come home and not have to cook.   Mike and I split the cooking.   I cook three nights.  He cooks three nights.  We go out one night.  I didn’t go back to work to eat up all of my hard-earned money!! He’s good at grilling and making salads.  I’m a soup, stew and casserole kind of gal.   Soups, stews and casseroles all do well in the freezer.   They make great freezer meals; and on Sunday afternoon I was an onion-chopping, tater-chopping, soup-slopping fool resulting in 11 meals that stacked so sweetly into the freezer.   I made vegetable beef soup in the crockpot, ziti casserole and lasagna rollups.

Freezer meals make you feel good.  You’re ahead of the curve.  On your game.   You’re Martha!  Takin’ butt and kickin’ names.   Or something like that.    Organize your ingredients and get to work chopping and stirring!     You can see from what I’ve got laid out on the counter, I lean toward tomato-based soups and pasta frozen dinners.  I love lining my ingredients up before I start.  It makes me feel organized.

Ingredients

If you’ve ever grown any food, you know why I am so proud of that picture.   I grew those potatoes and grew and canned those tomatoes.  Too mah toes!!  I like saying that.   If you’re thinking…even thinking a little about a garden…even though it’s January– now is the time to plan what goes in that garden.     Even a little garden is so rewarding, and preserving the food that comes from that garden is just as rewarding.   Please make a garden!

Canned Tomatoes

So pretty!!   I eat those tomatoes right out of the jar.   And look what we have below…how gorgeous is that?

Lsagna Sauce

$1 per seed pack results in fresh basil all summer

Basil from seed

And dried basil in the winter (which I’m running out of so I bought fresh basil for Sunday’s freezathon.)

Basil Dried

So…if you’re even thinking about a garden whether it’s raised beds, a few pots here and there, or a traditional garden, add #1 “buy basil seeds” to your list.   No….make that “buy basil and parsley seeds”.  I threw parsley in, too.  Anyone can grow those two things–even if they’re on a pot in a windowsill.

I put onions in everything Mike and I eat.  We never raise enough, but we always try.     This year, in addition to hanging them up to cure and using them that way, I dried onions.

Onions on Dehydrator

#2   Put out onions…you’ll cry if you don’t!  Hang them up and use them later, and if they look like they are starting to rot, they are just telling you that it’s time to dry yourself some onions.    Root crops such as onions and potatoes can be high in pesticides when commercially grown.  Grow your own and you’ll know that there’s nothing but water, compost, sunshine and your amazing green thumb in those onions.

Onions look so pretty and curly when they’re dried!

Onion Flakes

#3 Don’t be a a tater hater!   Potatoes are super easy to grow.  Plant them on Good Friday and watch them grow!!    These are a little dirty.   I swear I scrubbed these before I put them in the soup. 

Taters

I want to show you the lasagna rollups.    I’m sure they are low calorie.   Right.  Here’s how they look when they’re nested in their pan lying on a bed of sauce.  I found the recipe from the Pioneer Woman’s site, so I know this is good.    Okay…I licked the spoon a little, too; that’s another reason I know they’re good.     Here’s the link. 

Lasagna Rollups Without Sauce

The picture above was when I was using a wider aluminum pan.  I quickly discovered that these little loaf pans work better.   I loaded on the Parmesean and mozzarella cheese.  This is a perfect meal size for two.

Lasagna Rollups

And the true secret to freezer meal success?   Wrap your creations like crazy so that your creation doesn’t get freezer burn.   Swaddle them!  I wrapped these in foil and also shrink wrapped them in the vacuum sealer.   It pulled so hard that it pulled the center of the pan in.    I got better at this by the 6th one.  This was the first.

Sealed Lasagna

I realized from looking at my recipes and thinking about my garden that I will need to grow some garlic this fall.   I’m excited!

I have about $40 in my 11 meals.   The stew meat, Italian sausage, and ground round were about $18.    I also bought the pasta, the cheeses,  tomato paste, frozen vegetables, etc.  I could reduce that by making vegetarian lasagna, and I think Mike and I would be fine with that, too.

$40 seemed like a lot until I realized that it’s less than $4 for the entree in 11 meals for two people.   Plus, I made four lunch-size portions of the above that I didn’t mention.     I’m actually starting to feel like a genius.   

Do you have any great freezer recipes?   Please send one to me!!

Pssst….if you have a second…hop over to Adventure Mendota and say hi.  Our marketing expert, Ms. Kitty Barker, said a blog really helps search engine optimization with websites, so…heck I can do that.       Here’s the  River Blog. 

 

 

(466)

Chicken Houses Of Mendota Part I

Did you know that Mendota has the largest dairy farm in Washington County?   Yep…Steve and Mary’s River Gate Farm.     We have the fire tower.  We have the North Fork and small mouth bass.  Soon we’ll be known as as “that place where those old people rent you a kayak!”    We’re quickly becoming  known as a wedding destination.   But there’s more.    Here’s something else.  We have the coolest chicken houses in the world.   Seriously.  

Take Jim and Lynn Otis…let’s look at their chicken house.  Hidden behind the trees, surrounded by the North Fork and guarded by a pack of dogs is one of Mendota’s best chicken houses.  We are so proud! 

Chicken House Overall

This is Jim and Lynn’s Coupe DeVille!       Built to last with a slate roof.   Do you have a slate roof on your house?     

Chicken House Slate Roof

I don’t have a slate roof either, but Miss Georgia does.   She shares it with five other girls.   Just to be clear, Miss Georgia is the chicken.   Ms. Lynn is her human.   Every chicken needs a good human.  

Georgia

Georgia invited me into her lovely home.    She has special boxes where she leaves her eggs, and when she’s done with those sort of “necessary things,” she flies up and perches on one of her perches.     Why be a queen if you don’t take time to sit on your throne?     How does one fly when one is so fat?   Hmm..not sure.   

Chicken House Interior

Inside the nesting box…look what I found!   This is a little different than picking up that green syrofoam thing with white eggs in it in the dairy case at Food City,  isn’t it?

Chickens Lay 3 Eggs

The girls get to roam around outside of the fenced area of their home.   They are free ranging.   They have work to do on the spring garden.    If there is a bug, it must be found.

Chickens in the Field

And beyond that fence and row of brush and trees…they have a pretty sweet view.    They see a bit of this. I could not find the picture I took today, so I substituted this one.  Wrong picture.  Right River.  Who cares?

Tressel View River

People think we’re crazy to live 17 miles from a grocery store, but we think they’re crazy to live anywhere else.    Back to the chicken house…

If the girls do have to stay in the enclosure, they need shade, so Jim built them a little cabana of sorts.   I wonder how they order their drinks?

Chicken Shade

The girls work so hard to repay Jim and Lynn.    They know they’ve got a really good thing.  Here’s a small down payment.

Eggs Four

Hmm…did you notice that one egg is a different color than the others?   Mendota eggs are not boring.

Chicken Eggs 2

These girls are well fed Look at them eat!   Look at the little, pert tail feathers of the girl the furtherst away in the picture.  Happy!

Chickens Straining to Eat

Lynn says that one of their favorite meals is fried potatoes and sliced cherry tomatoes.  Wow…the girls and I have more in common than I thought.

Chicken Feed

When she’s gathering the eggs, Lynn showed me how she goes to the back side of the chicken house and opens a hatch.  I like adore this chicken house.   Mike has offered to make me one, but now that I’m working, it would be something else for him to take care of.   Still…..I would like to have one.

.Lynn and the Egg Hatch

Hello…do you see something strange in the picture above?   No…it’s not Sarah the Dog.  It’s not Lynn the Chicken Lady.   It’s to the right.   Is that a heat pump?

Here’s another look…it is truly a heat pump!

Heat Pump

Let me introduce you to Jim and Lynn’s other babies.     I do not know all of their names.   This beautiful creature pictured below is Sarah.  (Sarah..do you spell your name with an “h” at the end?) She takes her job of guarding her girls seriously.   Better not mess with Sarah’s chickens.    Don’t you just love doggies?

Sarah the Dog

I think this one is Colby?  This is a very sweet dog.  He is a rescue as well…carried to safety in a hunter’s pocket as a puppy, and he ended up with Jim and Lynn.    He is black as a piece of coal.  I wonder if that’s how he got his name?

Black Nose

Here’s another of this pretty black dog.   What kind of dog do you think he is?  He looks like a Gordon Setter.   We weren’t paying any attention to him, and he ran and got a toy.  He’s a bit of a show off!  Notice me!!

Colby Notice Me

Here’s Mikey.  I think Mikey may be the pack leader.   Mikey is also, apparently, a good eater.

Mikey Peeks in the Fence

And I can’t remember this little fur ball’s name.  Cute, though.

Puppy

And check out Jim and Lynn’s license plate…

Plate

I started this blog to answer the question “you live where?  and why???”    It’s hard to articulate the answer; it’s easier to show you.    Come see us in Mendota, Virginia.

Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage.

But there’s more…see Chicken Houses of Mendota Part II here!

 

 

(832)

Icy North Fork January 10 2015

The past three days have had evenings in the single digits.   As a result, the North Fork looks a little different.     My brother in law, Gerald, took these pictures.

Ice 1

The water looks “shiny” in the picture below.  That’s not shine!  That’s ice!

Icy 2

She’s got freckles in this one!

Icy 3

This is right in front of Adventure Mendota!   Woo hoo!  Float the Fork in 2015.   (Disclaimer..when it’s a little warmer!)

Icy 4

Up in front of Jewell’s house.  Jewell is gone to Glory but her place will always be know as “Jewell’s house.”  Anywhere the river curves, the ice starts to back up.

Icy 5

Now, all we need is a little snow to fall.   Don’t you agree?

 

(299)

My Favorite Posts

I’ve been blogging for a little under three years.    I started out working on projects around the house.   I moved away from that and started driving around taking pictures and talking about those honey bees.   I had a thought one time that I’d write what everyone liked and try to monetize my blog.   Then…I realized I loved blogging in the same manner as speaking with a trusted friend and accepting money would mean I’d have to write about things that were relevant to sponsors.     I’d have to check closer for typos.     I couldn’t say things like “titches wit” or “kiss my trass” or “what a thitty day.”    Oh what’da ya mean, Eva, all the days are good! There are no thitty days.

I am going to start working around the house again and blogging about projects but it will be in the fall of 2015.    You should see my list.    Mike says he wants me to wait until he dies to get started.  Can you believe the lack of enthusiasm?    This summer, I am going to drive everyone crazy talking about Adventure Mendota.    I might take you along to some of my secret life…like showing you how I get Botox…the befores and after.     I might take you to my work life and, when I finally go into a coal mine–something that I’ll get to do in the next six months–maybe you can come along.   I’ll have to ask!  Truly, you are some of my best friends.

Here’s some posts from when I was channeling my high school Home Economics teachers.  Martha Stewart was just a wannabe in that day.   Yes, I took Home Ec.  I’m that old!!

Best post on creating something with almost no budget.    I  redid my laundry room  with very little money.   I wanted baskets on top of the cabinets but ended up spray painting Sam’s Club Little Debbie boxes.  Ribbons that were already here at the house, canning lids for ID tags…it was very  rewarding thinking outside of the box while spray painting the box!!  Necessity is the mother of invention.   This sweet little room has been Pinned over 300 times on Pinterest, viewed over 18,000 times on Hometalk and peeked at about 1800 times on this blog.   That was one busy day for me because if you look outside, you’ll see rockers on my front sidewalk.  That means that I was also scrubbing the porch that day.    I must have been drinking too much Pal’s tea.   Whew!

LR Larger Pix

Best Christmas-related post.   I preserved boxwoods for the Christmas holiday in 2013.   I’ve gotten so many emails on this post…most trying to find the Absorbit Dye.   It was a challenge for me, too.  I actually bought it for someone and mailed it to them and they paid me back.    It’s that hard to find, and I pretty much turned green from that stuff.     Still, I’ll be doing more boxwod preservation.  Here’s a picture of one of the boxwood wreaths and a link to that post.     Simple elegance.   So what if it had dropped a few leaves on the floor?

Wreath on Table Runner

Most useful organization post for me personally began with organizing my garage.     I dreaded this job, but I got out of the car one day and could not take it.    I sorted, painted, cleaned and labeled.   I added a bulletin board trimmed with yardsticks.    Hometalk saw the post where I (actually Mike under my very astute direction)  made the  chalkboard for our garage trimmed out in yardsticks amd asked me to curate a post on using yardsticks.   I had to ask them what “curate” meant; they never asked me back.    My garage does not look as neat today but the organization has held up well.  I’ll tweak it this summer (between those kayak runs).   Right now, that board today says Cracker, my white Prius, needs a major tuneup at 25,000;  this was an old picture.

Chalkboard 1The other most useful project also involved chalkpaint spray.  I redid my pantry and decided to make a spice drawer.  I’d been pricing one and wanting it, but never got around to making the purchase.   Too many twitty days.   Finally, I went this route (below) and   thought I was a genius until I Googled and found this was a common household organization thing.   Can’t I be first at anything?  I am going to redo my pantry again, but this spice drawer will stay exactly as it is.

drawer of spice jars

2013 was an amazing year for me.  2014 was just so blah.  2015 is started out to be another amazing year.    Life is good here at RiverCliff Cottage.

Thank you for reading.   It’s Friday night.  Are many of you like me and clean the house on Friday night just so you’ll have the weekend free?   I’ll be exhausted but happy at 11 pm tonight.

Have a wonderful weekend.   Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage.

 

 

(317)

And The Cold In Mendota Arrives

Well, the blast of cold air has arrived. Just walking from my office to the car tonight was brutal. I had planned to get my nails done on the way home, but I was driven by a higher power to do something else.   I wanted to check on my bees.   Again.

This is the scene that met me.   Brrrr….winter in Mendota.   Gray.  Dreary.  Cold.   The trees behind the house make a swooshing sound all winter, and even though I’m almost 60, I am afraid of the dark during the winter months because of this sound.   Seriously.   Vampires, zombies, walkers..what if they’re out there?   

Behind Our House

Hard to believe that the picture above is this same place…I guess the earth has to rest, but I do miss seeing the lushness of spring.

Vegetable Garden June 24
Back to the bees that keep interrupting my thoughts at night or while at work.   I was worried that the bubble wrap was not enough.    Here’s the link to that post.    And what if I’m not doing my part to ensure we have honeybees?   It’s an awful thought.   This picture came from Pinterest and I do not know where it originated.  Someone did some very nice work.

bees

Mike is retired, and while my butt jumped in the car in the dark this morning, he grumbled something about wanting to sleep a little while longer. So…he woke up to a list!! The list said important things like  “get cat litter; get mulch.” Without asking, he knew what that mulch request meant — he  knew I was thinking about those bees again.   All of his work getting the hives wrapped yesterday was wonderful…but it wasn’t enough.  No, I’m sorry, Michael, you must work harder on those bees you dislike.    A bag of mulch on top of the hive is, in my opinion–and my bees did survive last winter when lots of others lost their bees–extra insultation.

Of course, I didn’t want just any mulch. I like buying the mulch at Southern States. Mike said “have you tried to buy mulch on the coldest day of the year? No one is mulching right now!” So, where do you think he went to finally find some mulch? Did you guess Walmart? Yep! And…it was frozen. He said he and a Walmart employee like to have NEVER loosened up the six bags to get them on the truck.

But they did….and here they are on top of the tarp.

Mulch on Hives

Even though I almost froze my rear off, I went out to check things out.   And guess what I did? I have these little welcome mats in front of the hives that have carpet tacks sticking up from them. They are to keep the skunks from standing in front of the hives eating my bees. I stepped on one. Ouch! They are still working real fine.

Ouchy

So, the bees are okay for the moment.  I’m in the house where it’s warm.  What is a fun January thing to do?   Did you say “seed catalogs?”     Oh yeah.

header-homepage

 

Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage and following us on our journey of living well on less, starting a small business when everyone else is retiring, and living 17 miles from a grocery store.    We are living abundantly and hope you are, too.

 

 

(350)

Bubble Wrap Those Bees Bubba!

Today on NPR, I learned that the phrase “polar vortex” was not  a cool word.   Apparently, we misused it all last winter.   So, how do I give a dramatic explanation of how cold it is…how about “it is as cold as a titches wit!”    Forgive me, memories of my mother and her wicked personality seem to pop up more regularly as I get older.

I’ve been sitting working at my desk today fretting about my bees.  I had meant to go out at lunch and buy duct tape so that I could wrap them tonight.  Instead, I slugged through payroll and ate at my desk.    So….at about 4:30 pm today, I stuck my head in my bosses’ office — his name is Ken — and asked “do you mind if I leave 10 or 15 minutes early, I need to work with my bees.”    He looked at me like I was crazy…who works with bees when it’s freezing out outside?     I’m sure he thought I said “do you mind if I leave 10 or 15 minutes early, I need to learn my ABC’s” or something. At any rate, he turned me loose.

I got home just in time to start working with the bees before it got dark, but a miracle occurred and Mike had already done it.   Obviously, he found the duct tape that we lost.   And look…he wrapped my beehives.    Mike must want something, because he is not a beekeeper or bee lover.   He reminds me of a word that NPR says word people want returned to our English dialect…he’s a rapscallion.    

Hive 2

I inspected his work.  I checked to make sure he left an air hole at the top…it’s important to maintain ventillation.   Check!  A+!    If air gets trapped in the hive with no exit point, condensation can occur which turns into icey drips on the bees.

Hive Upper Vent

And they must have a small opening to do their housekeeping duties..like remove waste, dead bees, etc. A+ again!

Hive Exit Vent

Compared to my set up last year…this looks quite neat!!  I’ll go out tomorrow and make sure that plastic has not slid down.   Here’s last year’s set up.  Shanty town — but remember, it was -8 degrees and my bees lived.

Wintering Bees 1

This plastic bubblewrap should really help.   I have not always lived in this pretty yellow house on the hill.  I’ve lived in mobile homes at different times in my life, and I remember the difference in the inside after I put plastic on the windows.  It was pretty dramatic.  I’m hoping this extra bit of insulation during the nights when we’re in the single digits with windchills that are even colder will help the bee team inside keep their queen comfortable at about 90 degrees.   They cluster around her to keep her warm.

Likewise, Mike knows how much I value living in a warm house.   The Central Boiler woodboiler heats both our house and the guest house.   He keeps it at about 180 degrees at all times.   This queen–that would be me–likes a toasty 70-71 degrees, and I have no guilt washing with hot water.    It also is so much quieter than the heat pump which truly sounds like a train.

Central Boiler

Are you staying warm during this Polar Vortex cold spot?

(591)

Chalkboard Window Project For Winter

A long, long time ago, I saw what looked like a window with chalkboard on it.  It was in Pottery Barn a few Christmases ago.

Pottery Barn Chalkboard Window

I am appreciative to the creative folks at Pottery Barn because their Christmas chalkboard project inspired me to go out and hunt an old window.  I found one in Church Hill, Tennessee for $5 or $7 — I really can’t remember.

The first time out, it looked like this:

Holiday Window With Chalk Ink

It began to evolve…it later looked like this on a day when I was channeling Mary Engerbreit.

Happy Window Pane

Spring rolled around…

Spring NoTalent Chalkboard Window

It got hot….I made the discovery that the seasons could all be spelled with six letters, and guess what?  I had six panes.    There was “winter, spring, summer and autumn.”

Summer 2

Apparently, though, I changed my mind, because autumn no showed.   I must have been having a bad spelling day.  I went for simpler words like “fall.”

Fall Mantle 1

And today I heard that an “Artic Blast” was headed our way.  Brr….. or it that Grr?

BRRR

And, there a possibility of snow in the coming weeks!I hope!   (Just so long as it is one of those “all employees must stay home..stay in your beds…don’t get out!” kinda snows after midnight on Thursday!)

Millions of unique, one of a kind snowflakes….(higher art this isn’t).

Artwork It Is Not

And today… there’s my winter chalkboard window to brighten an otherwise dreary day when the Christmas decorations are coming down and there’s a bareness to the room.

Snow Chalkboard Window 1

It’s so easy.   This project requires only four things, and you can change it seasonally or whenever you want to.

1)   Your window which may be purchased at flea markets or antique stores.   $5-$10 is the going rate.

2)   Some tape to tape around the edges.

Window Taped Up

3.  Chalkboard spray (or the brush on).

Chalk Paint Can

4.  Chalk.  I prefer Chalk Ink.  It doesn’t run like the cheaper kinds.

5.  Your imagination which, of course, is priceless.

 

(709)

2014 in Review at RiverCliff Cottage

When I think of 2014, I think “what the heck happaned?”    I feel like a loser except in weight loss!!   I didn’t do the things that I wanted to do, and my blogging wasn’t really very good.    However, 35,912 times many of you took a peek at what was going on at RiverCliff Cottage, and each month, the number edges up–in spite of my lack of attention.   Thank you!!   

Here’s January 2014!      The North Fork was faareezin, and I could not stop talking about it and taking pictures.    I’d slap a picture up on the blog and the views came in pretty quickly.   You were like me…wanting to look at our river.   It was cold as a titches wit.  

River Road Again

I didn’t do anything crafty in January outside of making a diaper cake.   Here she is:

Shabby Chic Diaper Cake

And February, which is really my least favorite month of the year, I opted not to blog.  I posted three times and one was to tell everyone I was on a Bloggy Vacation.   What was really happening was that I wasn’t doing anything except spending time with my Gracie.     So here comes March…and I was glad that I’d spent all those days and evenings near my girl.  She left me on March 10.    She was almost 15.

Gracie Stretching

I threw myself into being busy.   I made another diaper cake.

Diaper Cake Sea Turtle

Worked on the Dale Jett & Hello Stranger concert which was held in April and that brings us around to April.

Dale_Jett_Hello_Stanger_1-page-001

One post that month received a lot of views  — about 4000.    It was a ridiculous conversation I had about wienies. 

I get lots of questions and messages about my bees, and in April, we all breathed a collective sigh of relief that they were doing well.  And then…you were with Gerald and me when we caught the swarm.  We climbed a steep bank like two billy goats and caught the bees.  It was exciting!

Bees 042714

I started feeling pretty good by the end of April.   Spring!!

Spring NoTalent Chalkboard Window

So May rolls around, and I took you with me to Mt. Vernon UMC for a birthday party and we ran into the BBC filming a documentary which will be a part of the first episode of the American Roots Music series on PBS.     I think that show is in May 2015–watch for it!!   Except that they all wore black and we all wore denim,  and they talked weirdly different than us, they were definitely kin.   Here’s Dale Jett and one of the directors.

Dale and Friend 2

I planted my garden.   It breathed life into me.

Potatoes and Blueberries

May was really about the outside for me.    I planted flowers everywhere, and of course, I honored Mike’s most important flower…the television satellite dish.   Ugh.

Side Garden

I took pictures of this spot all summer…in a short while it looked like this.    Mike could not have been more proud of his Dish flower.   

Side Garden with Dish

June rolled around, and I made some wonderful strawberry lavender jam and strawberry rhubarb jam.   I’m going to make 150 of these next year.  I’m serious.   If you’re on my Christmas list for 2015, you’ll get one.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

and there was a wedding…

Wedding Bells Wreath on Pole

Helene’s daughter got married.   It was lovely.

Delaney

I also painted our master bedroom.   I will be working further in this room after Luckie is no longer with us.  I’m back to where I was in February….holding off on doing things while I say goodbye.

Master Bedroom 1

I enjoy the “restful retreat” feeling.

Master Bedroom 5

Oh my gosh…July is here!!  July was a blur for me as I made countless trips to the garden to remove Japanese beetles.    My neighbors were not touched, but I was covered up with beetles.  I hated them but refused to spray.    I dreamed about them, and it’s the first creature that I actually enjoyed killing.   “Struggling for breath in soapy water Mr. Beetle?  Tell someone who cares.”    I learned that they are very sexual and had orgies on my Mountaineer Half Runner Green Beans.

 I made the easiest wreath one could imagine.   I recycled the wedding wreath I’d made.

Wreath 1

The JSB Class of 1974.    This was an important reunion because we realized it didn’t matter who was fatter, who was grayer, balder, thinner, richer,  etc.   We were just happy to be there.    God bless the JSB Class of 1974.   We’ve lost so many.

Group Picture 1

August was beautiful.   My cottage garden which is primarily perennials was looking very sunny.

Flowers

Lots of my favorite flower…and the beautiful mountain in the background.  Sumthin’ special!!

Sunflowersrs

Those flower seeds had blossomed into beautiful flowers.   Another seed was being planted.   Mike and I looked out on the muddy river and saw this…

Floaters 5

“We sure see a lot of kayakers on the river.”

“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”   was a question asked later that weekend.    Floating the Fork was the title of that post and it is our “go to” phrase when we talk about Adventure Mendota.

September’s here, and I reworked the wreath a third time.

Fall Wreath Chair

For crying out loud, can somone take all of these darn diapers away from here?   Here’s ANOTHER diaper cake.

Diaper Cake

It was defnitely fall because I drug out the chalkboard spray and redid the window.

Fall Mantle 1

More things were going on behind the blog.   Mike and I were talking about money.   If we did the Adventure Mendota thing, it would not take a lot of money, but we would have to buy kayaks, buy liability insurance, buy something to transport people, a trailer to haul the kayaks, plus numerous other expenses, etc.    With any business there is risk–what if it failed–and we knew the money would come from our savings.    Mike was retired,  and I worked about 10 hours per week.    I was totally uncomfortable with more money going out,  so I told Mike “I’m going back to work full time, and I’m going to work for quite a while–maybe five years or so.”

October, November and December came.  We were busy working on things behind the scenes.  There was a lot to do.  We bought a used MEOC van from Terri and Brock and Clinch River Adventures.

Fork Taxi

I learned to kayak.

Kayak Hard

The bees were “put to bed” for the winter.  Lord, please keep my bees alive.

Bees 1111

I knew I was going to work soon, so I worked nonstop on things for Adventure Mendota.

Technology Rocks

Mike went before the Washington County Planning Commission and then before the Washington County Board of Supervisors.   Adventure Mendota was approved unaminously.

And on November 24th, I returned to work at my new job, and I continued to work on the social media for About Face.

We really scaled down our activities which weren’t really that high energy to start with!!   We’ve stayed very close to home with Luckie.    She’s the last of three dogs that captured our hearts.   She’s been a true friend for 15 years, and I want to be with her during these last days.    Luckie was left by the road when she was about 6 months old.  She’s been with us since that time and brought so much joy to our lives.    She’s had a large tumor removed when she was 3, her left ACL replaced when she was 7 and her right ACL replaced when she was 9.    We can fight what we can fight, but her hips and legs are extremely arthritic and she’s stumbling more often.   Her time is now measured in weeks.

Luckie in the Truck

I’m thankful that we can spend this quality time with her, but I’m also recalling a time that Mike and I used to enjoy traveling.   We’ve got lots of plans for long weekends here and there in the spring and fall surrounding Adventure Mendota.  We’re planning on some upgrades to the house…and there will be other dogs who need us.  We’re planning for the next season in our lives.   The one that will begin sometime in 2015.

And, of course, we’re going to Float the Fork in 2015.

Happy New Year.

 

 

 

(2510)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...