Thursday, May 29, 2014

Seven A.M. Text, You're Home!, About Time

1. I got to work a full day today! Notice I write that with an exclamation point. My voice does not sound like Eyore's, but more like Tigger's because I really like my job.
2. Henri was so happy to see me that he was all wiggly, floppy, and running around. Dog greetings are the best.
3. Tess and I watched an absolutely beautiful movie called, About Time. It enters my top five, all-time favorite movies. Warning: If you're anything like me you will bawl your eyes out.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Teacher of One Sort or Another, Must Be Bedtime

1. He looked a bit like Santa Claus with his white beard and belly. And just like Santa, he came bearing a gift. Only his gift was the gift of knowledge which will potentially save  Hive #2 from going down. I asked him how long he had been beekeeping and he said, "Since 1964." Trust is such a good feeling.
1a. He only wore a T-shirt while handling the bees. He paused for a moment to brush one from going up his sleeve.
2. The restaurant's patio was filled with elementary school teachers who were celebrating the end of the year. Just inside, at a table near the window, a little girl was having dinner with her family. She watched with an expression of amused awe as she began to recognize all the teachers from her very own school. 
3. The birds are quiet this evening. Or maybe I'm just tired and this is how they always sound, like a slow song lulling me to sleep.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hollywood's, Breath In, Summer Evening

1. Once in a while some lady friends meet up for dinner. Because it's once in a while, we anticipate it as a highly special event.
2. Sara is first to notice the wonderful scent of honeysuckle in the air. It grows tumbling down one side of the parking lot. The warm evening breeze is laden with the aroma. It brushes across my skin.
3. From the driveway I can see that the patio lights are on around the porch. Steve must be out there tonight.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Three Days, One Post

We had a most excellent weekend! We took a little getaway without leaving home. It was spontaneous and it was exactly the refreshment we needed.

I found two of these old, rusty enameled pots in the woods. They're fun to use in the garden.

1. We spent Saturday in the garden. I enjoy co-laboring with my husband (when I can get him outside) and he was amazingly helpful this weekend. I said, please dig here and he did. I asked, please move this over there and he did. We paced ourselves to enjoy the work and it was all good. The reward of relaxation at the end of the day was worth every minute spent in labor.
2. On Sunday, we sat in the shade of the tree on the hill and watched the mockingbirds chase the bluebirds. We read on the porch, I baked a little, and we went to check on B.'s bees. Our goal was to find the queen in Hive #2 and we did!
B. is allowing her bees to lay a natural foundation which is very pretty.
This photo shows pre-laid foundation on one of the nuc frames.

3. Monday brought us to the Appalachian Trail where we were looking forward to providing Trail Magic for thru-hikers. We wanted to celebrate Chelsea's continued success by passing it along to others, so we went big- time and brought the grill. Our menu: Hamburgers, hot dogs, watermelon, chips, tubs of soda on ice, pudding, and carrot cake. Audrey and Bella-the-Dog joined us along with Tess. We enjoyed hanging out on the Parkway, sitting in the shade and chatting with passing visitors.
3a. One man, who was recovering from a knee replacement, sat with us a while. We chatted a long time before he introduced himself as David Horton. If you click his name it will link you to some of his amazing feats of endurance as an ultra runner. He was humble and I had no idea of his extensive accomplishments until I came home and Googled him. You never know who you might meet on the trail. We met several other thru-hikers who all partook and were extremely grateful for the food. One young man had been worried because he was running low on supplies before his next re-stock. This meal bought him some time until he came to the next convenient town.
3b. A college grad and his petite mom stopped for a soda. They were hiking from one college in Virginia to his next college in Georgia. They were S. Korean and his mom did not speak English. However, Steve listed all the Korean sagas he's been watching and the mom knew every one of them. I will have now have to stop teasing Steve about watching his Korean chick flicks. After all, they provided common ground for him to connect ever so briefly with these total strangers.

"AT Trail Magic brought to you by the family of Sunrise"

This is the trail, looking south.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Winding Down, In Honor, Natural Light

1. Our school calendar will change next year with school ending on May 22nd. I'm in favor for finishing early to be free to play during this beautiful time of year. All day I think, "Next year this will be the first day of vacation!".
2. For as long as I can remember, veterans have handed out poppies over Memorial Day. I appreciate  this simple reminder of those whose service and sacrifice we are honoring.
3. Reading in a comfortable chair near the window for light. The bonus of an open window and Friend Mockingbird's serenade.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pleasant Chore, All in One Day, Coming Home

The valley just before sunset

The vineyard

Greg mowed down the waves
1. This evening I had time for one of my favorite pastimes, mowing the lawn. While Greg went around and around on his tractor, cutting his hay field, I went around and around my yard on my mower : ). We waved to one another. The view from the back hill was so beautiful, I rode the mower down to the house to get the camera.
2. The girls all called me today. #1, "How do you defrost a freezer?", #2 "I'm ready to be done with Pennsylvania." #3, "We are thinking of coming to visit tonight."
2a. Poor #4  is home sick with a cold. She already had chicken soup for lunch, so it was a banana milkshake for dinner and the movie, "Frozen".
3. One last call before I headed off to bed. This one I made to Steve who was traveling home and not due in until 1:00AM. "I'll leave the light on for you."

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Different Kind of Busy, Taking My Chances, For Love

1. I have a daily appointment to feed B.'s bees and it has been my counterweight for an exceptionally busy week. I walk into her quiet garden and I hear the humming of the hives. All of the business swirling in my mind stops while I watch the bees come and go, come and go. I take a seat and just keep watching for a while.
2. I could turn the sprinkler off in order to adjust it but, no. I'd rather dart into the spray, turn the knob and dart back out again.
3. My non-cooking daughter calls me for a chocolate cake recipe to bake from scratch for her husband's birthday. I picture her hands holding the electric mixer.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Good Form, Bunny!, Paradise, Reading...

1. A bunny scampers across the road, then takes a flying leap across the ditch into the tall grass.
2. Today is our last long Monday for the summer! Tess and I kick back and celebrate by eating French Toast and blueberries for dinner while we watch a movie.
3. I finished reading The Tall Woman by Wilma Dykeman. It's hard to find reviews written about this novel which was written in 1962. It's a simple story of a woman's difficult but rewarding life in post civil war Appalachia. I enjoyed it because of the author's beautiful writing style and for her ability to write about loving others despite hate and pain. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Ocean Views, Clear Views, and Big Views

1. Strong winds wave the field grass and their seed heads glitter like the crests of waves on a choppy sea.
2. Tess and I methodically go around and clean the inside and outside of every window in the house. It's great to have a partner in the chore. It's really great to look out of clean windows after we're done.
3. We carried some coolers of fresh fruit and sandwiches up to the trail to leave for Trail Magic. We met two hikers on the way in who partook of our offering. They sat down right where they stopped and ate immediately even though there was a picnic table only a few yards ahead. Later, when I went to retrieve the empty coolers, it appeared everyone did the same thing. They stopped and ate right on the spot, not bothering to walk ahead to the picnic table. I keep thinking about that and wondering if that's what it's like to live in the moment.
3a. I went back to the trail alone at dusk. This section is on a ridge of the Blue Ridge Parkway with breathtaking views. To the west is Purgatory Mountain, as shown here. To the east would be the Peaks of Otter. I sat on a ridge in the center, in solitude.
3b. I can't say enough about how much I love living here. My first view of these mountains is etched in my memory when we drove through in 2000 from New York to Alabama. I remember gazing out the window at these mountains, feeling homesick for New York, and thinking, "This is beautiful. If I ever couldn't go back home then I think I could accept living here." None of us had any idea that we would move here two years later.

Purgatory Mountain photo courtesy

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Am I There Yet?, Safe and Happy, Tropical

Begin at the beginning and go on
till you come to the end; then stop.
--Lewis Carroll
1. Chelsea passed three AT half-way points this week. She called me from the second (and official 2014 halfway point) and I asked her how the spot was marked. She said there was a piece of paper nailed to a tree. Seriously? I expected fireworks. I like this photo of her at the third marker which was the halfway mileage in 2011.
2. I'm waiting my turn in a boring waiting room in a guarded building. Down the hall and unseen, I hear the guards conversing and teasing each other about sharing cookies or something. They sound like a happy group and it makes the whole place feel happier.
3. It rained and poured and the wind blew incessantly. It remained warm and humid throughout, so it  felt tropical.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Time Travel Messes with Your Head, Summer Attire, Cleaning Up an Act

1. A dream reaches deep into the past and relives a memory. I'm standing there and it feels, and smells, and looks so real. I wasn't just seeing it; I was feeling it as though time never existed and decades ago is right now. I was safe and happy and my father was nearby.
2. Loose linen pants, a tank top, and bare feet. These have got to be the most comfortable clothes for a hot day.
3. For several days in a row, there is a young man picking up trash on our road. I thought his good deed should not go unnoticed so I stopped a few days ago and asked him if he was a good-hearted volunteer. He smiled a guilty smile and said he had gotten into trouble. "Ah, Community Service" I nodded. "Well, I appreciate that you're cleaning up our road. Thank you!", I said and drove off. Now we wave to each other every morning. He's doing a fantastic job. If this is his work ethic and it holds true, he should succeed in life. I pray that for him; he seems like a fine young man.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Two Really Goods and One Bad

1. Tess gave me a paper Bird CD. I love every song on it.

2. I can't stop laughing at the card Claire sent. She explains, "I wanted to give you a card that said something like "wishing you a great day filled with fun, relaxation and all the things you enjoy most. However, Mari begged for a music card because she thought you would like that best".
So, my card has Ninja cats on it and plays the song, "Kung Foo Fighting".
3. OK. Aside from the above two things, it was honestly a crappy day. It was really hot, I had miles and miles of driving to do after work (but not before I went to the dentist and found out my bill is going to be BIG), and then I got a ticket for going through a yellow light that turned red when I was under it...during rush the truck stop intersection...with Tess in the car. How embarrassing.
It's one of those days when I just can't wait to go to bed and be done with it.
"Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?"
Anne of Green Gables

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day: Our Daughters and the Rivers I've Cried

1. My children have blessed me beyond anything I could ever deserve. I am not perfect and they are not perfect, but love seems to smooth out all those imperfections. Whatever would we do without unconditional love?
2. Sitting on the porch, recounting stories of the horrid teenage years, one daughter reminded us of her sister's nighttime-sneaking out-escapades in Birmingham. "The police called in the middle of the night!" I recall. Steve adds, "He asked me if I knew where my daughter was. I answered, 'Apparently not.'"
Now we can laugh!
3. We don't go for fancy things or large gestures on Mother's Day. In fact, I traditionally cook for my family on this day. This year we had Audrey and Jared, Jared's mother, and Tess here. One vision that stands out in my mind from today is when Audrey held up her fork with a few asparagus spears flopping on the tines. She waved it slightly and announced, "This asparagus from the garden is really good!" It was classic. She was no different from herself at five years old.
4. A simple text from Chad at the end of the day read, "Happy Mother's Day! Chelsea is proof that you are a magnificent mother!" Aaand that's when I cried.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

I'm Calling Them "B.'s Bees", B is also for Baking and Bunting

1. This morning we made the first hive inspection of B.'s bees. How excited and anxious we were to see how her new colonies were faring. I joked that it took three of us (and a tiny bit of fumbling) to inspect a hive but, we are still new at this.
1a. The pine needles in the smoker smelled really good.
2. On and off light rain showers gave me a good excuse to play inside for the rest of the day. I made Dreamsicle Cake Cupcakes, but I layered them in canning jars as shown HERE. While I baked I kept thinking, "I'm having too much fun!" 
3. We spotted a male and female Indigo Bunting on the compost fence this morning. His feathers were a hypnotizing blue. It reminded me of the blue glazes on John's and B.s pottery. Even though the female was a light brown, she was still very pretty. Steve identified them right off.

photo credit:

Friday, May 9, 2014

Bright Smile, A Visitor, I Don't Like the Word "Congealed"

1. You know the graduation drill: long, boring ceremonies, sitting for hours on hard seats, families behaving badly...I took all the typical photos of handshakes and ceremonial pinnings, but this photo represents the way I remember the day best. Audrey was beaming.
2. A young friend came to school to preview Kindergarten today. I tugged her little ponytail so she would turn around and see me. Instead, she turned the other way and gave an angry scowl to the little boy behind her. My first thought was, "Uh oh, what have I done?" My second thought was, "She's going to be just fine."
3.  I found this very pretty recipe in my archives and made it for dessert tonight, in glasses just like this. : )

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Father-Daughter Time, It's the Little Things, Sidewalks, Bigger Family = Bigger House

1. Chelsea called and said, "I'm gonna see Dad tonight!" I knew he was away on business near D.C. but he never said a peep about meeting Chelsea off the trail. That rascal.
2. Steve left a note for me on my bathroom mirror. It stated that my sink was now unclogged. He knows my love language.
3. The days are longer, warmer, and sunnier, leading to beautiful evenings. Tess and I drove the country roads to Buchanan on such an evening to see a movie at the little antique theater.
4. Claire phoned while she and the kids were driving around, wasting time while someone looked at their house (for sale). Oh, I remember those days. An hour later she texted that they had an offer! I'm deeply thankful to be able to watch good things unfold for our children and to be part of it.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Under a Kitchen Window, Calgon..., At the End

1. Deep purple irises bloom at the end of a neighbor's lane. They're such an old-fashioned flower and I admire their beauty.
2. Those moments when the school doorbell buzzes, two phone lines ring, and a child or two comes into the office, all simultaneously. My first reaction has been to laugh.
3. We've taken walks these past few evenings right around 7:30. The air is still and the birds have settled down for the night; everything sounds quiet. It's a nice way to end the day.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Planting, Fixing, Preventing

1. I often try to remember when my love for planting things began. It goes back as far as I can recall, to dandelions and wild violets. I discovered for myself that I could dig up a plant by its roots, bring it home and replant it. My poor mother was constantly challenged when I would ask where to put them in her garden.
1a. Thus my thoughts wandered while I planted the vegetable garden today, moving plants from their little containers into our soil.
2. Steve surrounded the raised beds with an electrified wire fence. Aesthetically, it's almost invisible and only needs to be in place for three months of the year. The deer may have the rest of the fields and forest but not our tiny little patch.
3. Steve was my hero this weekend. He ran to the rescue with mallet and stake when I cried, "The crab apple tree is blowing over!" He dug holes in clay where I directed for new shrubs. He balanced the lawnmower deck, after installing new blades and belts, then he mowed the neighbor's alley. Lastly, he declared war on the wood boring bees with a badminton racquet. He spoke remorse over having to do that (the Korean chick flicks he watches are overwhelming him with feelings), but they are destroying our horse shed, fence posts and pergola.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Weekend!, Dinner Party, Out on the Town

1. Steve is home from his week long trip, it's Saturday, the weather is pretty, and we have no major commitments. Perfect!
2. I attended the nicest dinner at a friend's house along with four other lady friends last night. The salad was stand-out gorgeous for its vibrant color. The base was baby spinach leaves and it was covered with strawberries, blueberries, walnuts, and pineapple. I drizzled mine with a raspberry vinaigrette. Three ladies teamed up to prepare the meal and I wasn't one of them- yay! Everything was delicious, but the coconut cake was also to die for. Four layers of moist vanilla cake with a custardy filling, frosted with a fluffy whipped coconut cream frosting, and dusted with flaked coconut. Purple and yellow pansies decorated the top.

3. Tess was very pretty for prom. Her gallant date carried her backpack and opened the car door for her, just as he should. Good man!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May Day, Shearing, Claire! Guess What?

1. Hearing the word, "April" brought a hopeful lift to our winter-weary spirits. Today we said, "May"! Can it already be? The sun shone and the word, "May" appears to hold many promises.
2. The grass and me; we both got a haircut.
3. I phoned Daughter #1. She's my go-to person who always appreciates hearing about a good sale. What good is a good sale if you can't share your conquest with someone? : )