Saturday, June 22, 2013

Saturday Morning

Well Friday turned to be the nicest weather day so far this year at the cabin. It was in the high 50's to start the day and may have reached the high 70's. The sun was rather warm but as soon as you got into some shade it was awesome. We decided early in the morning we would go to Sparta for some errands after our mid morning hike.

The day started around a 6:30 wake up and after my usual cup of green tea, a few quiet minutes and a smoothie for breakfast I ventured down to check on the gardens for any critter damage. Everything looked good and the peas and beans grew another couple of inches overnight as well as did the 'mater plants. They have really greened up and are now blossoming The one's that had fruit set are now ripening and look pretty in the garden. I'm hoping today to maybe set out some of the lettuce seedlings into the ground.

Nancy put in a couple loads of laundry and they were drying on the clothesline outside and all this before 10 AM. We decided that was a good time to get our hike in for the day so we set off to the top. Once again it looked lonely there as we saw no one about. We headed on back down and changed clothes and got ready to head to Sparta. We first stopped at the library for a couple of reads then headed to the Mustard Seed diner for some lunch. We saw and sat with Stacy Adams and Mechelle Dalton who were just finishing up. Stacy is the assistant states attorney and Mechelle is a parole and probation officer for the county. We shared some stories and laughs before they had to go back to work. I had the broccoli and cheese soup and half a grilled panini sandwich of cheese, bacon and tomato, yeow delicious!!! Nancy opted for the same except she wanted the pasta salad instead of the soup.

We next headed to the coffee shop just up the street where one of my pickle ball converts and his wife run a small shop. His dad is our family doctor in the mountains and also played a little pickle ball with us from time to time as well.They just opened this shop and specialize is all kinds of coffee, homemade breads, wine and wine tasting and soon will be serving lunch sandwiches. We ordered 3 different kinds of loaf breads for next weeks company and I will pick them up next Friday when I come to town for a kayaking trip on the New River with Stacy's husband Don who is the county manager. We will chaperon a group of youngsters on their outing adventure on the river.

Well after a couple stops at different grocery stores and a vegetable stand we were loaded down for another week of fine eatin' and entertaining. We are having a large group here on Saturday evening for burgers, dogs, baked beans, cole slaw and desserts. I think we are planning on about 15 for this cook out and then to teach them a new game afterwards. Well we got back out to the cabin around 2:30 and then I got ready to mow the yards which took me about 2 plus hours. Thankfully I now do it with a riding lawn mower thanks to my baby sister Dee and husband Mike who gave me their practically new mower which was too small for their large yard in Woodstock , Virginia. I thank them silently every time I start to mow this couple acres on this hill. There is a trick to mowing on a hill as well and it takes some know how which I have mastered after many trial and errors.

It was nearly 5 PM when I finished and I wanted to go look at an aerator for the yard that Joe had abandoned due to its malfunctioning. I wanted to see if I could repair it and after checking it out its beyond repair so that looks like my next purchase at Lowes. I have lots of moss in the backwoods yards and I think its because the soil is so compacted as it's not wet or damp. It does get some sunlight but when I cleared it several years ago I didn't go deep enough in getting rid of the top layer. I do have some grass but despite extra liming it's still not grassy enough for me so I think aerating will help tremendously in getting rid of the moss.

I grilled some Salmon steaks and along with some new potatoes and Brussel sprouts we had us a good feed. I loaded the Salmon with fresh dill, lemon pepper and garlic salt, Yeow was that ever good eatin'. I added fresh parsley to the taters and garnished them with fresh thyme and a hot cayenne pepper. Can't get any better than that; of course Nancy isn't into my hot peppers but they sure wake up the taste buds. Well after visiting Joe about the aerator we stopped and visited with our "mountain mom" Helen for an hour or so. She has so many rabbits at her place. She keeps catching and releasing them while trying to catch a rogue ground hog that is annoying her. He hasn't been back for a few days so she is tired of catching the rabbits and now hasn't set the trap for a couple days. We had a good visit and the tomato plant I gave her and set out from my Florida seedlings is blooming as well.

After a hot shower I read for a few minutes and then it was lights out for me by 10 with Nancy soon to follow. I did watch a little of the college baseball world series until I started falling asleep on the couch, LATER 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Morning

Well Thursday turned out to be gorgeous after a foggy start from another 1/2 inch of rain during the early morning hours. The grass stayed wet until the early afternoon when we finally got some much needed sunshine. It was so wet out instead of taking a hike up the mountain we hiked out to the mailbox which is close to a good 2 mile walk. There are a couple steep pulls which had the sweat popping out on my brow.

The morning started with a 6:30 wake up and get up after hitting the sack around 10 the night before. Up and down this yard plus the hike wears you out come night fall. I'm surprised I'm not worn thin but the good eatin' is maintaining the spare tire, Oh well!!! After my quiet time and the posting of this ramble we decided on a mountain breakfast of sausage patties, fried taters and eggs with toast and homemade strawberry freezer jam we have carried from here to Florida and back, Yeow!! No wonder I'm keeping this spare tire.

We headed to the mailbox around 10'ish and noticed that Grant and Shirley were up for the day. Grant had already mowed as he came up the night before and had gone off to acquire some parts for a leaky commode at Blevins. We visited with Shirley and the grand kids for awhile then headed on out to get the mail and the weekly newspaper. We noticed a large snapping turtle along side the road and it looked as if it had been run over slightly. There was some blood on the shell but it was still alive so I put it into the ditch which had cold water. That sort of revived the critter. Grant saw it before it was hit and noticed it trying to lay eggs in the mud by the shoulder before it was hit. There were 2 or 3 trucks that came in our road all within minutes of each other so we aren't sure which one struck the turtle.

We headed home and had a lite lunch before heading to the back road with the push mower and weed eater on the golf cart. The back road had grass a foot tall and when its well your feet get soaked as we traverse to the top on our daily hike. That kept us busy as we mowed a couple tenths of a mile. We also clipped  low hanging branches that slap us while in the golf cart. We headed on back down and the sun was delightful with temps in the middle 70's. I piddled around in the back yard picking up sticks and then managed to reach over the fence in the upper garden with a hoe to get the ground ready for some lettuce seedling that are about big enough to transplant. I want at least 4 leaves before I set them out so that could be this week end if the weather stays somewhat dry and warm.

We noticed on our ride back down the mountain the old Ray Todd residence has really been fixed up. Several of the out buildings are gone, the block work around the cabin had been covered in stone as well as the steps have been replaced. The well house is covered in stone with a roof. The place looks great and its been cleaned up of much of the trash left laying around. There is a new back porch and deck as well as guttering. It really is looking good and from what I understand a steal as it was a foreclosure.

Well after a lite supper of chicken salad on lettuce we headed out to wonder around in the yard. Nancy notice some little black beetle was making holes in her flowers so I mixed up a batch of insecticide and sprayed all of the flower beds while she pulled weeds. The soaking rain has made it easy to weed the beds as the roots come right out whereas when this clay dries out its hard as concrete. I burned household trash and once again picked up several buckets of small twigs and pine cones from the yards. This rain had really caused the grass to look good and fill in. I want to give it another coat of lime next week.

I tuned into the Rays vs the Yankees and we were winning big when I decided to call it a night around 10:30. I wasn't as tired tonight as we didn't work all that hard for the day so we read until after 11. I started a new book by Grisham THE TESTAMENT. The  first couple chapters are very intriguing, LATER

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thursday Morning

Well Wednesday turned out to be a busy day as I decided to clear out the back woods that was being taken over by Mountain Laurel, small pine seedlings, briars, Maple seedlings and an assortment of vegetation. It's been a few years since I cleared out the area up behind the cabin and with all this rain this past year or so it quickly began to grow up. I used the weed eater for some of the small stuff, a mowing scythe for some of the larger stuff and then finally cutters for the bigger stuff. I gathered a pretty good pile that now needs to be burned.

The morning started with me wide awake at 6:15 so I let Nancy sleep in and started the day with posting this ramble along with my usual cup of green tea with a little cinnamon. I don't know if I'm losing any of this belly fat as a result of that concoction but it sure does add some flavor to what is normally a boring taste. After that I did my quiet time and then had a meal replacement shake from Nutrilite for breakfast. I left some here from last year and I want to use them up before they expire. They are quite tasty and only have 140 calories but are loaded with goodies. I try to buy them when they are bogo and keep them on hand.

I headed out to the backwoods to work while Nancy did laundry. She is thrilled about how the water flows so much faster into the machine since I cleaned out that filter; what a difference that makes. Our water is so sweet and soft here in the mountains that I can't describe how good it tastes and so cold coming out of the ground. We took our hike around 10 to the top of the mountain and saw no one since Joe and Jetta are gone for a week on a vacation. We missed seeing them and Zeke on our daily walks.

We came back and I piddled until it was lunch time then I started weed eating the yards and gardens as I want to mow on Friday for the weekend. We have a gang coming for a get together of food and games. The sun was out for most of the day but there was still some moments that looked like rain. During the night it poured buckets and woke us up and this morning it's so dang foggy you can hardly see off the porch. If it stays like this we will probably head to town for some shopping, a trip to the library, etc.

Well that was about it for Wednesday as I stayed outside until nearly dark piddling around in the gardens and yards. We took a long golf cart ride after supper up to the top of the mountain and down some of the trails through the woods. It was cool with temps into the upper 60's. I picked a couple more tomato's today and have several ripening as well, LATER

Just a reminder if any of you use the Legacy of Clean(LOC) products that I distribute for Amway this month all of their LOC products are buy one get one free. We use them both here in the mountains and in Florida and when I say they are good, believe me and especially the cost is in half during this promo month. We use 1/3 of what you normally would use in a load of laundry and they are designed to be safe for the environment as well. If your interested send me an e-mail and I will put you on my preferred customer list or just go to my website an order at;

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wednesday Morning

Tuesday was another nice day for working outside with cooler temps and overcast skies most of the day with occasional showers and periods of sunshine. We had a steady rain in the early afternoon that amounted to 1/2 inch and sent us both onto the porch to read for a couple hours. Nancy donned her sweat suit and finally headed inside to close the windows. It was down into the low 60's.

The morning started around 6:15 with such stillness as I couldn't go back to sleep. I wonder if my inner clock is so use to the roosters crowing around 5'ish and then trying to get in that extra hour that when I awake around 6'ish that's it for sleeping, oh well. After my usual cup of green tea with some cinnamon I did my post for this ramble and my quiet time, then made a smoothie of a fresh peach, banana, and blue berries, yikes was that ever good and healthy. I headed outside to check on the gardens. I caught another field mouse down below the deck and I'm wondering where "blackie" the snake is as he is usually the best mouser around. This year I've already caught 3 mice all of them outside or in my red out building.

The gardens look great and no further damage and lots of new growth; my sugar peas have broken ground, the tomatoes are ripening and the cukes are blooming as well. I had to resow some of the beet seeds as the heavy rains when we first got here washed most away but a few did survive and are up plus the beets I brought from my Florida garden are sending out new leaves. We love to add beet greens to our salads and they are so good for you.

I headed up to the Browning's to pick up some fertilizer Joe didn't like as it's made from dried chicken manure and it does have a smell. Well he had stored it in a trash can outside and some how it got wet and began to rot. Yeow was that ever a smell so I just spread it by hand onto the backwoods yard and it took me forever to wash the smell away. The nice afternoon rain also washed the smell away as well. We took off on our hike just before lunch and saw no one on top of the mountain. The fog had rolled in and cut off all of our distant views but the snowy white clouds and fog was absolutely beautiful. We had to cut the hike across the top short as it began to rain.

We came back and had our favorite lunch of canned sardines with fresh sweet onion on a cracker with mustard, yeow is that ever a tasty treat we just love. After lunch we took a golf cart ride out to the mailbox then settled in as the rain fell. We got in several hours of reading before starting some supper. I fired up the grille for some marinated chicken breasts which we turned into fajitas with the last of my red and green peppers from the Florida garden. We added the leftover garlic pasta and broccoli  from last nights supper. After the clean up I headed outside to weed eat the back woods area that is starting to grow up.

Nancy whistled and said we had company coming and it turned out to be Ray and Audean on a 4 wheeler. They stayed for an hour or so as he has been real sick with an inner ear infection. He looked rather unsteady on his feet and rather puffy around the face. He suffered from a cancer that got into his ear a few years ago and we certainly hope that hasn't started again. Keep him in your thoughts and prayers. Speaking of thoughts and prayers they worked as Amy and Tyler got home a little before 9 last evening after driving 1500 miles from Kansas. Ava had picked up an intestinal bug during their overnight stay in Tennessee so they were delayed due to all of the potty stops but they made it safely which was answer to prayer, LATER

 The ripe tomato pictures are from the seedlings I brought with me from Florida that had fruit already set. I have the first ripe tomato on the vine for the year amongst my gardening buddies here in the mountains.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tuesday Morning

Monday turned out to be a nice day despite the threat of rain for most of the day. It did sprinkle occasionally between periods of sunshine, the temps stayed in the low 70's but the humidity was really on the rise during the late evening as 5 of us guys played about 2 plus hours of pickle ball at the Roaring Gap Club. We were a bunch of sweaty bushed guys by the time we decided enough around 8:45. It was a great workout and we had some really good rallies, too bad we have to take a week off as Ted will be entertaining out of town guests next week.

The morning started much the usual around a 6:15 AM wake up as I could hear a lite rain on the tin roof. That didn't last long so I had my usual cup of tea, my quiet time and then after posting this ramble I heated up the 2 left over buckwheat cakes to start the juices flowing with a little real butter and honey, Yeow they tasted as good as the day Nancy baked them.

I headed out to check on the gardens and all seemed in good order with no evident damage to the plants. I still have a critter that gets into my compost pile each night, but as long as it stays in there it's fine with me. There isn't much to eat but for banana peels, egg shells and coffee grounds and vegetable stuff. I put no meat or bones in there so it isn't getting much to munch on.

I took the water hoses to the washing machine off and checked the screen that allows the water in and it was nearly blocked with silt. That was why it was taking so long for the machine to fill. I Googled the problem and I think it has an answer for everything and sure enough after taking an ice pick and opening up the mesh screen the water flows like its supposed to. I doubt this machine's screen has ever been cleaned as we bought it used. It's like a new machine despite being ancient. I transplanted some more lettuce seedlings into individual pots and the ones I transplanted a couple days ago look as if they may make. I did some more garden work through out the day turning over the lower garden by hand with a shovel and breaking up the dirt clots for the new transplants.

Nancy put a load of laundry in and then we headed out to the top of the mountain for our daily hike. We saw Zeke as we passed the Browning's and then waved at Jetta as she was out back working in her garden. We walked on through the Cahoon's place and then checked to see what progress had been done on the addition to the Leslie house. Wow are they ever doing a great addition to their already nice place with 3 floors. The views are fantastic from their side of the mountain. We headed for home and then a lunch of salad as the morning quickly passed us by.

After lunch I took off the mower blades and sharpened them as I want to mow again before the week end. We are entertaining the Dalton's, Luffman's, Karin Hearl and her friend Roger on Saturday evening and then a game of Balderdash. Should be a fun time. I helped Nancy put together the new bed upstairs in Amy's room as we get ready for her mom, sister, niece and husband next week for about a week. We piddled around doing little odd chores until it was time to grille a couple Salmon steaks, yeow they were excellent along with garlic butter pasta and fresh broccoli. After the clean up it was time to head out for pickle ball. I picked up neighbor Gerald and we headed out a little after 6. It was after 9 before we got back to the cabin and we both were starting to feel the effects of a great workout.  Lots of ibuprofen tonight.

Amy and family are on their way back from Kansas after nearly 2 weeks of family time with Tyler folks. They left early in the morning and are planning on spending a night on the road instead of driving straight through. If you have a moment keep them in your thoughts and prayers for safe travel, LATER

Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday Morning

Sunday turned out to be just another beautiful day weather wise with a few high clouds and temps that reached the high 70's. There was a nice gentle breeze that kept it pleasant. I started the morning off around a 7 AM wake up with a cup of hot green tea while making this post then a few quiet moments before heading out to check on the gardens for damage and to my chagrin I found where some nocturnal critter had a field day in the lower garden and in the garlic patch. I found no hoof prints so it wasn't a deer but some type of critter that was digging in and under the leaves. It probably was looking for earthworms which this year I have an abundance of due to the bed of leaves I placed in the garden last fall.

This critter also ate the leaves of my sweet potato plants and dug up several tall garlic plants. I think it must be a family of skunks or 'possums as both are known to eat earthworms. I learned in the afternoon, neighbor Gerald had and overnight critter get into his chicken house and kill and nearly devoured one of his young laying hens. He thinks it was a bobcat as it pulled away some large rocks he had lining the bottom of the outside run and once inside it was able to get up through the bottom of the house and grab a hen. I think he set a baited trap to capture the varmit last night. I'm not sure if I want to set a trap to capture any skunks as it might prove difficult to get rid of it; especially if it sprayed. I can remember as a kid we had a skunk to get in our chicken house one night and Paw Paw shot it, Yikes it was my job the next day to remove the dead skunk and let me say that smell is one you never forget as it almost makes me gag now after occurring over 50 years ago.

We got ready to head out to Cornerstone for worship and the service was about the Top Gun ministry for men not only in our church but for the surrounding area. There was another church pastor and several of his men who went through the course at Cornerstone and today was the graduation day for many. It was an awesome time of testimony of the candidates as well as their spouses and children who spoke about how the difference this course had changed their family life and even marriages. There were lots of tears as well as laughter throughout the service which lasted well into the afternoon. Its a 6 month course of study with weekly get together's that bond a group of men who are dedicated to being the spiritual leader of their family and community.

We headed home afterwards to a lunch of salad then I vegetated watching baseball until it was time to head over to the Luffman house for supper. Kay and Gerald(Mechelle's folks) invited us for a Father's Day meal of barbeque ribs, salad, baked beans and Nancy brought her oven potato wedges. It was a sumptuous meal and afterwards we played our first game of Sequence for the summer. While we men were short on players we had to incorporate a gal player to play with us and if the truth be known we didn't win any games until Kaitlyn came on board. We did mange to win 3 games to the gals 6 so it wasn't a complete butt whupping but close. We had lots of laughter and bantering back and forth until it was time to head out just before dark. We set up a rematch for next Saturday at our place along with food before some of the gals head to Europe for about 2 weeks.

I set up another pickle ball match for Monday evening depending on the weather as it's calling for rain showers through the next couple of days. Please keep Amy and Tyler in your thoughts and prayers as they travel back to Florida from Kansas as I write this post. That is a long trip especially with Ava and Sam strapped in car seats. I received a beautiful card along with a gift card from daughter Amy for Father's Day so that made the day for me as well as lots of hugs from church folks, LATER 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sunday Morning

Well Saturday was pretty much a piddle around day which eventually took us to Galax, Va. for some entertainment as the city was shut down for vehicular traffic for the Leaf and String festival. The morning started with a roll out sometime after 7 to cool temps in the middle 50's, ahhh is all I can say. I did my usual routines of hot tea, posting this ramble and quiet times before having a smoothie to start the gastric juices flowing. Afterwards I headed out to check on the gardens.

I hand watered several new seedlings while the washing machine filled(I think the filter must be clogged as it takes forever to fill) so we could do some laundry. It was a great day for hanging clothes outside on the clothesline. We took off for our daily hike to the top of the mountain and saw a vehicle at one of the houses but no one was insight so we continued on across the top where we met up with Joe and Jetta. We stopped and visited with them for a spell before heading on back down the mountain to our cabin. It was close to lunch time so we indulged in a fresh chicken salad on a bed of lettuce, yeow was that ever tasty especially with my home(Florida) grown tomatoes on top. Speaking of home grown tomatoes I have several that are ripening on the vine that I set out when we first arrived here at the cabin.

We got ready and headed out to town. The day was just beautiful with a warm breeze in the 70 degree range and no humidity. The festival was competing with another festival not to far away in the Grayson Highlands Mountains. The number of exhibitors was very limited and there was only one station where music was being played whereas there is usually 4 stations. We did hear some good Blue Grass Gospel from a local band of all young gals. They were very talented and all of the instruments where represented. We watched some real good cloggers and then visited an area set off for authors from the area. I purchased a book about the spine(mountains) between W.Va. and VA. The book is much like The Charles Curalt(sic) episodes seen on PBS. He interviewed folks from the areas starting in Frederick County all along the spine down to Grayson and Carroll County(Galax).  We also spoke with an author who said our dear departed friend Ralph Payne, who was from Galax actually saved his life when he was a young man in a very bad car crash. I will post a photo of him as well as the first author.

Well we headed out around 4 PM to gas up and shop once again at Wal-Mart to stock up with goodies for the cabin and for family and friends coming in the next 2 weeks. It was late afternoon before we got back to the cabin and decided to doctor up a frozen pizza with fresh onions, peppers, oregano, basil and fresh mushrooms for supper along with a garden salad, Yikes that was some good eatin'. I headed out to the gardens once again to check on the new transplants and hand water the ones that had dried out. I did move up some lettuces into larger pots earlier in the morning and they looked great. Lettuce is so hard to grow here because of the clay soil but I'm adding lots of sphagnum moss to the mixture of compost and I think these may make.

I had a large pile of debris that needed burning so I had a good fire  going in the campfire circle and then picked up 2 more full trash cans of sticks, pine cones and limbs from the back woods yard. There is still a lot of moss there as well but the lime seems to be helping with getting some grass to grow there. It wasn't long before it turned dark

around a 8:45 so it was time to hit the showers and then curl up with the book until the sandman came calling, LATER