October 29, 2008

Old Man Winter has come aknocking at the door.

Local news headline "Winter weather ties record low temperature". We had our first dusting of snow yesterday, it was enough to close down school for the day but not much else. I do not mind cold weather - actually walking in a light snow is wonderful- but the winds that we have been getting are gusting up to 40 mph and are just a bit to brisk for me.

I am doing a series of photos of the back side of Grandfather Mountain - I have one from earlier fall with more color on the trees. So I decided to drive down the parkway on my way to work today and take one. I did think that there would be more snow left but..

I was not the only person who was out taking photos. There was another lady and I have to admit I had camera envy. Not that I know much about cameras but hers was bigger then mine.

October 24, 2008

Photo for friday

I took this a couple weeks ago- I call it toad home. I was playing on Picnik.com today using some of there gizmos and this is what I ended up with.

October 17, 2008

Fall Color

Each year I take a new photo of Grandfather Mountain. This year it is from the deck of a house on the other side of Foscoe. The colors were not peak yet but I do like the little bit of wispy mist.

My favorite way to view the fall colors is to stand in the middle of a forest and look up. With the sun shinning through the leaves it is like being inside a stained glass window.

September 26, 2008

Feeling like fall

I took this photo on Monday but have just had the time to look at it. I love the way the mountain seems to float in a sea of mist. This is one of the best times to get good long valley shots up here. The humidity is usually down - today excluded- and most of the hayes is gone.

Mom and I went to Grandfather Mountain a couple weeks ago to a photo seminar and I had a chance to see some of my favorite animals - Otters! I am completely envious of the sleek way they move through the water, how they seem to always be entertaining each other - and any one who happens to be watching. Even in captivity they seem ...I want to say content but I am not sure that is the it.

September 12, 2008

Summer is ending

Well, summer is slowly winding down, a feeling of fall is in the morning air and I seem to have taken a long hiatus from writing (although I have been reading others). I had family visiting, which has just been a whole lot of fun. D & M had a place up in Fleetwood Falls for 2 weeks. Lovely Sister #2 was even here for a week! Having them all so close was great. We got together for meals, both at D & M’s rental and at Shatly Springs. If you have never been to Shatly springs, in Ashe County NC, then you should really try to make it. You have two choices when you get there, order a la cart or go family style. I suggest you go family style. You get fried chicken, ham, biscuits, mashed taters, 2 gravies, stewed apples, at least 2 other veggies and if you still have room dessert. If you can manage to finish the first round they will bring a second! Then, if you can walk, you can take a stroll around the trout pond and sample the healing mineral waters. – If you go on a weekend be prepared to wait to be seated.

I have been busy both in the kitchen and garden the last couple of weeks. I canned some salsa with maters, onions and hot peppers out of my garden. It was a new recipe and I am not sure I like it. Hope it grows on me as I have around a dozen pints left.

They say you should not plant more then zucchini plants then you have people in the house. At my place we have truly had our fill of all this wonderful fresh zucchini – fried, stewed, muffins, bread, in soup… You get the idea. I think that our plants are finally reaching the end.

I don’t usually get into politics here but, well, it is that time. I won’t actually talk about the candidates – even though those who know me know I am very clear on where I stand. – I just want to bring this little song to attention, first recorded in 2006 it is still very relevant.. Don't Be Afraid of the Neo-Cons by Norman and Nancy Blake. I heard this first on WETS 89.5fm - ETSUs public radio station and liked it so much I just had to find a copy to download for myself. Ok, my folks were just a little bit on the hippy side during the 60s and I do know a good folksy/ old-time/ activist song. (No, I don’t think I am being biased, really ;-) )

Here is a link to the actual song and if you are interested in the words or want to know more about the Blake’s try this one.

July 30, 2008

Here chick,chick, chicken...

With the raising cost of food, gas, and just about everything else I am thinking of getting some chickens. I love fresh eggs and love to watch hens. I also know that they are not that cheap.
I have been doing lots of "research". I know that I am zoned rural/ agricultural and that even though I technically live in a subdivision we have no POA.
This also means that I will have to build a coop and a good run, one that will withstand both little and big dogs. Little dogs- Charlie just loves to chase birds, especially the wild turkeys so undoubtedly he will want to worry the chickens. Big dogs - neighbor below has a big lab something. I have gone to Lowe's to price what I will need, I have looked on the web and at several books to get ideas for coops and I have been talking to everyone I know who has chickens.
Ok to be honest it will be next spring before I will have everything together- ie will have enough $$ for the coop materials- but I already have just the spot picked out in the yard.
While I have been doing my "research" I have come across some really great chicken websites, and news stories. If you want some really cute chicken stories check out Farmgirl_dk.

July 11, 2008

Rain drops keep falling on my head- Please!!

Looking at Rays weather I see that we have had 2+ inches of badly needed rain this month. It kinda feels like it did when I was little- beautiful in the am and showers in the afternoon. All this rain has been great for my veggies. The maters are coming along just fine and I will have my first zucchini this weekend! I also pulled my first red onions and letting them dry some. (I have read that this is what you do) This is the first year that I have actually grown full size ones, usually I just have the little green spring onions.

I have some of the most beautiful Lemon Balm this year. I also have it coming up all over my herb garden. I made the classic mistake of letting it go to seed last year. The upside of this is that I have many, many plants to give to friends, neighbors, acquaintances...

I'm adding this picture just because I like it.

June 26, 2008

Summer Sunshine

I’m afraid that I have been unfaithful, again, in updating this blog. Last weekend I went to a wonderful get together to celebrate solstice. We cooked hamburgers (no hormone, free range), Kielbasa (nothing good for you in them) and marinated veggies on the grill. There was potato salad, 3 bean salad, all kinds of other sides, and of course beer and wine.

The setting could not have been more perfect..a quiet pond, crackling fire, tree frogs and mad deer. – A little side note- when deer are getting ready to have their babies little dogs should not chase them, they chase (and stomp) back!-- It was a perfect night, we started our fire, found more wood to burn, laughed, drank and danced naked around the flames....just seeing if your paying attention.

If you look closely at the picture of the tomato flowers you can see our first little green nubs. These are our Cherokee purples. Yummy! I know I have said it before but I love my maters! Green fried, just picked, on a sammie...

Below it is one of our almost ripe rasberries. As good as they taste, the plants are a pain in the a**. The canes are trying to take over the garden. I have pulled them out of the potatoes, the horseraddish and the onions. This fall we are going to have to do a major overhaul of this area. Anyone that wants some just let me know.

June 18, 2008

Something is fishy here

OK, so have you ever run across an online survey (or the like) that you just have to try? Then did you think that maybe is was just wrong?

I did one today (Yes, I should have been working I know) that Initially I was curious about but now know that it is just plain wrong. If it is right then I do not exist.

LogoThere are
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

It did say that there are over 6000 people with my first name and none with my last. Hummm. Guess I should tell the family that the 1990 Census did not count us.

June 9, 2008

gotta see it to believe it!

We are finally getting some rain! yeah! I am at work and ALL of my house windows are open. not yeah. oh well.

I came across this story- Couple gets IRS check for $250,000. If they had not called the IRS how long do you think it would have taken the IRS to catch on? IRS spokesman Eric Smith said mistakes “can happen from time to time.” Bet if I sent in a check for the wrong amount they would not let me get away with saying that.

They should be able to keep some as a reward for being honest.

P.S. In the time it has taken me to write this it has stopped raining and the sun is back out.

May 29, 2008

Peas, Glorious Peas

Spring is moving toward summer. I have iris's blooming, birds singing, and peas a growing. Fresh sugar snaps are hard to beat..unless it is fresh from the garden tomatoes.

One of my favorite childhood memories is sitting on the porch steps eating fresh picked perfectly ripe tomatoes with salt. All the juices running down chins, hands and arms, making little pools between our feet. Now that was like eating a little piece of heaven.

over Memorial day weekend I had some company- Dad and M came to see Sirs "graduate" from Mary's school, and it was Zigs first birthday. Sister number #1 had his party at home in Todd. The look on his face when he saw the cake was classic. MINE! That kid loves to eat. He is getting so mobile, soon he will be running everywhere.

Dad and M cut down a tree (sister #1's OM helped) that had broken a couple of weeks ago during one of our wind storms. It is so nice to look out and see that tree gone!

I also got to go to P&M's in Todd for a cookout on Sunday. They have a pond stocked with trout. Yuuuummy! There is a fish in this picture, but it is a Bass. I also had one of the best peach daiquiris ever- I think it had something to do with the GA shine in it. Needless to say a good time was had by all!

May 20, 2008

Rain and shine

The weather has been so mixed the last couple of days. Rain, sunshine, rain, sunshine, wind. I know that my little garden is enjoying the rain and the sunshine but the wind...enough already. The wind broke 2 of my iris's the other day. I can't really complain because I just brought them in and have had a wonderful time watching them open.

I have been mulching my plants recently with some great compost from friends but I have decided that I need to put down some actual mulch. I put down a ton of pine mulch last year and have heard that you need to change each time you do this. Well, now of course I can't find where I read this to find out what I should use next. (Maybe I just had a delusional gardening moment. ) I might go with crypress, but I might be able to get some free wood chips. I'm just not sure if you should put down "green" wood chips - last thing I want is to bring in bugs. I know we have a master gardener hotline up here, as soon as I find the number I will call.

Of course, I will just have to sit back, and wait for the weather to figure out what it is doing. This is really not such a bad thing. Really.

May 15, 2008


"'Tis like the birthday of the world,
When earth was born in bloom;
The light is made of many dyes,
The air is all perfume: There's crimson buds, and white and blue,
The very rainbow showers Have turned to blossoms where they fell,
And sown the earth with flowers."
- Thomas Hood

May 5, 2008

On a Sunday afternoon...

This has been one of the best weekends I have had in a long time..first the Herb Fest then a beautiful Sunday. I can tell when it is really feels like spring to me...the yard art comes out. I get the gnomes and shrooms out, hang the wind chimes and geraniums, and put out my very home made bird bath. Indy and Fiona took up residence under the bird bath, just waiting. I can hear their little kitty mantra..They do not see us, be one with the bird bath, they will not see us, be one with the bird bath...

I do not put out all the gnomes that I have - my neighbors would think I might be a bit off. I save most of them for when lovely sister #2 comes to visit. It drives her nuts to see the gnomes in the yard.

I also hung my hummingbird feeder and had my first visitor within minutes! One of the pretty green ones, also had a black and white later. They are so much fun to watch. I would have had several others (or the same one several times) but I was putting poly on my new address sign on a table under the feeder. Once I quit and moved away I heard several but did not get over there fast enough to see them.

Next week I will be planting all the veggies I got in Asheville along with the seedlings I grew. Yeah!!

May 3, 2008

Asheville Herb Festival

If anyone wants to know how to make me smile just take me to a nursery and let me drool over the plants. Yesterday, I went with Moms, MS & PS to the Asheville Herb Festival. Oh.My.Gawd. I was in heaven. There were vendors from all over the state there with everything you can think of - including gensing! I took one large basket thinking that when it was full I would be done. Nope that did not happen. I filled up the basket and two bags! I came home with a couple of herbs that I have been looking for forever - wormwood and southerwood, I also have 3 kinds of basil, a really nice rosemary (in a kool biodegradable pot that is actually hard), lime thyme, and OK, so I did get some tomatoes and hot peppers for the garden and some fresh veggies for me.

As an added bonus I got to meet another Blogger - Faerie Made. Her Soaps and lotions are incredible!! If you are anywhere near Asheville you should try to stop by! The Asheville Herb Festival is May 2-4,2008

May 1, 2008

State troopers stop using their dogs.

I just found this story on the Charlotte Observer site. Patrol stops using its dogs
Official: K-9 training program to be reviewed
Reading that "troopers in the canine program said dogs have been shocked with a stun gun, kicked and suspended until they are nearly unconscious." I am appalled! These are NC State Highway Patrol. They are suppost to uphold the law. To me this is animal cruelty not the way you train an expensive dog.

Further on it says "an international consulting firm hired to conduct an in-depth review of the N.C. Highway Patrol said the agency needs to improve its management -- particularly in ethical training.." Well no shit.

I am now ashamed of my state.

April 29, 2008

What happened to Spring?

Luckily I took this photo a couple days ago. We had a light freeze last night. ugg. Well, it looked like most of my plants made it.

A fellow bloggers friend lost his home to a rather hateful fire. If anyone is able to help him replace any of the simple necessities of life please let Rosie know.

April 24, 2008

Thoughful Thursday

Another week seems to be flying by and have to ask myself just what have I done with my time? Well, besides work, play in the garden, and visit friends, I have thought a lot about Earth day. What does earth day mean? The answer for me is, a day to remember our earth, the one who supports, nourishes and enchants us.

If you have not had a chance to read Why Bother? by MICHAEL POLLAN in last Saturdays “Green Issue” of the Washington Post you should. It is a long article but worth the read.

There are several things that he says that I know I will quote one being– “
The Big Problem is nothing more or less than the sum total of countless little
everyday choices, most of them made by us (consumer spending represents 70
percent of our economy), and most of the rest of them made in the name of our
needs and desires and preferences. For us to wait for legislation or technology
to solve the problem of how we’re living our lives suggests we’re not really
serious about changing — something our politicians cannot fail to notice. They
will not move until we do.”
Another is
-"If enough other people bother, each one influencing yet another in a chain
reaction of behavioral change, markets for all manner of green products and
alternative technologies will prosper and expand. (Just look at the market for
hybrid cars.) "

Yes, we can vote with our money, if we do it as a nation.

He also talks about the “energy crisis” of the 70’s. Ok, so I might not remember the cost of food or waiting in line to buy gas, I do remember my folks going “back to the land”. Yep, we did have chickens, 2 large gardens, a compost pile and not so many clothes or toys (Hey, even then college professors did not rake in the big bucks). Moms baked bread, Dad cut wood and we kids seemed to do a lot of weeding in the summer. My folks were not the only ones doing this, it was big then. Of course after a couple of years a lot of the couples/ families decided that it was just too much and moved back to the cities. Just think were we would be today if everyone had just kept going “back to the land”, even if it was just a small spot in the yard.

I am going to try to celebrate earth day every day. If I try to conscientiously change one thing I do each day, even if it a small thing like take my own reusable bags to the grocery, then in my own little world I will have made a difference.

April 21, 2008

How long did it last

Well, the manicure only lasted until saturday. It was looking rough and just had to go. Guess I am just not a girl to keep her nails painted. Besides I did start wondering just how "green" the polish was.

April 17, 2008

What you can get for free on ladies day

While many women may be used to getting a periodic manicure I am not one of them. In fact I have only had 3 in my lifetime. Yesterday I had my most recent and the best part of it was it was free. Yes free, not as in paid for by some one else but as in gratis- no charge.

The Toyota dealership in Hickory has this great marketing item. Ladies day on Wednesdays. All ladies that bring their car in for any kind of maintenance can have a free manicure. Need an oil change, have a manicure. I went with Moms in her prius and we both had manicures. The young lady doing the manicures was great and fast. She was also very busy. I have not seen that many women getting their cars worked on in one place in a long time, maybe ever. I think I will have to suggest this to my Honda dealership.

Now the hard part for me; keeping my nails looking good for over 2 days. As long as I don’t work in the yard, wash the dog or look at them too much they may last.

April 10, 2008

Outdoor eating best in the spring

There is something to be said about Spring Fever. After a long winter the first few warm days of spring are absolutely the best! Flowers begin blooming, trees start to bud, animals begin building homes for their coming young and it is finally warm enough to grill out*. Yes, break out the grill, get the charcoal, brings the burgers, it has begun!

I am lucky enough to have some friends that have the perfect grilling spot. Right beside their pond. I took my three pooches and let them romp with their 3 while we enjoyed some organic local beef burgers. Lordy did they taste good!

After we grilled we took the dogs on a walk up the creek above the lake. I would have loved to get a picture of Smokey but…he was not going to hold still long enough. He went up the hills, he went down, he went through the creek, he even managed to figure out how to splash Fergus! He was soaked.
All the running and playing the dogs did worn them out. They slept the whole way home.

*I feel that I need to differentiate between grilling and BBQ. We take these things seriously here. Grilling – cooking food outside on a grille. BBQ- generally pig, slow cooked for hours with a sauce. Here in NC you find vinegar sauce used primarily in the piedmont and eastern part of the state, in the western part we use a tomato based.

April 4, 2008

Daffies, Daffies Everywhere!

Finally we have Daffodils! Well, at least some of mine are blooming. The tulips are taking their sweet time about it and the forsythia (in my yard) is just starting to bud out.

Here is a photo I took trying to be all arstsy →
I have a couple of others but they are a bit blury - the wind was of course not helping me. I took these the other day when I actually managed to get home before dark. That was only because I was going to a bee keepers club meeting.

Speaking of Bees. I would love to keep a hive or two but they do actually take a bit of work and dedication. I am hoping to work with a friend and his bees some this summer to see if I am actually up for this.

March 31, 2008

Lonesome foggy sunday

Yesterday was a foggy, dreamy sort of day. The type of day that makes it easy to believe in a lot of the old ghost stories. The mist swirled between the trees and the birds seemed to materialize from nowhere. On our evening walk I kept expecting to see some lights like the Brown Mountain lights or perhaps to hear the rattling of coins (see #120).

March 28, 2008

a funny for Friday

Two older ladies were sitting on a park bench outside the local town hall where a flower show was in progress.

One leaned over and said, "Life is so boring. We never have any fun anymore. For $5.00 I'd take my clothes off right now and streak through that stupid flower show!" "You're on!" said the other old lady, holding up a $5.00 bill.

As fast as she could, the first little old lady fumbled her way out of her clothes and, completely naked, streaked through the front door of the flower show.

Waiting outside, her friend soon heard a huge commotion inside the hall, followed by loud applause. The naked lady burst out through the door surrounded by a cheering crowd.

"What happened?" asked her waiting friend.

"Why, I won first prize for Best Dried Arrangement."

Ok, so its not politically correct but it is thanks to David Hobson's Garden Humor.

March 18, 2008

I want flowers!

Each morning I tell myself not to run outside to see if the daffodils have bloomed. I know it will be another couple of weeks. But I Want It Now! Patients – one quality that is needed by anyone with a garden. One I am lacking in at this time of year.

I did make some great little newspaper seed pots – that’s to Seeded – and started some gourds, pumpkins, Scotch bonnets, Thai peppers, basil (to go in pots on the porch) and snapdragons. Now I will need that quality I am lacking in- patients.

I went to a very good friends house last week and had a wonderful play date with them and there 3 little dogs. I also managed to came home with several tubs of a beautifully composted manure. As all 6 dogs were the same size it was wonderful - 4 of them are terriers. We sat by their pond watching a pair of mallards watch us and watching the dogs try to figure out just how they could get to the ducks without actually getting in the water. Smokey did manage to get mud up to his belly, which required human help washing off, Charlie thought the chickens were particularly fascinating ( I was waiting for him to get just a little to close to the rooster and maybe learn a lesson) and Monty, well, Monty smelled deer and was determined to find them. Charlie, Monty and Smokey slept like the dead on the way home.

Incase I have not mentioned it, I love my Honda Element. You can just fold the seats up out of the way, sweep out any dirt and worst case scenario give a quick wash – inside and out- with the hose.

March 6, 2008

Thoughts for Thursday

"Did you ever notice when you blow in a dog's face he gets mad at you? But when you take him in a car he sticks his head out the window."
Steve Bluestone

March 4, 2008

In like a lamb..

Last week we had snow, ice, rain, mush and beautiful days with temps in the 50's. I not sure if I can say that March came in like a lamb or if February went out like a lion.

We has a little false spring on Sunday which I took total advantage of and worked in the yard. I planted some bulbs that were given to me last week - and a couple that I had missed last fall when I was planting. I also began an all out war on the little brambles that I have in my yard. I have some really nice Black berry bushes but I also have these little prone briars that are just horrible. You don't see them until you step on them or they grab your jeans and they are slowly trying to invade the little grassy area I have! I spent a good 2 hours just pulling these up and only covered about 30 sq feet. I admit that it was fun to try and pull them and see how much of the roots I could get.

I fully admit I am addicted to reading - I read gardening blogs, general blogs, herb blogs and even manage to sneak in an old fashioned book or two. I used to think that I was a little weird for the amount of books that I have but in my family having boxes of books is not so unusual. Every member of my family has several good sized boxes of books, bookshelves full of books and more scattered around the house- we claim it is genetic. Why I bring this up - I have my first I-pod (yes, I am a little slow). I also have my first subscription to Audible.com. WOW! I was impressed by the vast number of books. I am also worried. Will the easy availability of downloadable audio books bring an end to beautifully printed hardback books?

February 15, 2008

Winter morning

I took this yesterday on my way to work. As the sun was just starting to touch the tops of the winter white trees.

With all the warm weather we have been having I am just itching to get the seeds out and start the garden. In a couple of weeks I will actually start some of the longer growing seeds, but for now I just have to contend myself with getting out the calendar, seed packs and a lovely green marker.

Mom and I are going to share a garden at her house as well as the one I will have at home. I am already thinking that in hers we will plant the pumpkins, some squash, hot peppers, onions, kohlrabi, lettuces, and tomatoes. Before that can happen I have to spend some time digging up the raspberry suckers and transplanting them to my yard. I have always thought that I wanted lots of berries in my yard. However, with the reading I have been doing on their care - prune some the first year, others the second, and, oh yes, got to build a trellis. Like that is going to happen. I am going to just go with the lazy farmer way - plant them and see what happens.

February 11, 2008

Newused Car

My poor old car, Bessie, was really getting worn out - the door did not close correctly, needed new upper and lower ball joints, the back hatch did not open, and the list goes on. I finally decided that I really needed a new car - a new to me car. I did the whole search the internet, read articles and get blown away by price thing.

What I discovered is that I wanted a Honda Element. They are better on gas then Bessie was, They have a ton of room inside, good accident rating, and the best part - after going to the nursery I can just sweep out the big clumps of dirt then take a hose and wash it out. Yes! the inside is a sealed vinyl that I can just hose it out! No more vacuuming for hours trying to get all the dirt and dog hair!

I have been lucky enough to find one! Right here in Boone. The long and short of the story is that I have some wonderful friends here who were looking to trade there 2004 Element in and I was lucky enough to get it! I am now the proud owner of an orange 2004 element.

I really need to name her...I have thought of punkin - to normal, OJ – unfortunately there is a person that carries that name that I just can't stand, Main squeeze - cute but to long, Matilda- Matty for short, hmm...Anyone have a suggestion?On another note.

On Sunday we had just a bit of wind up here...Gust up to 70MPH. I was lucky that no trees came down on my house - or the new element but the wind did tip over my composter. I have an older metal compost tumbler on a metal frame that was bunged with 3 bungees to 2 trees that the wind pushed sideways then tipped over. Luckily there was a large old grape vine that caught the tumbler before it went too far. I will have to wait till the weekend when I can get some friends over to help put the tumbler back up

January 31, 2008

Winter in the Blue Ridge

I have lived here for close to half of my life and I am still amazed that I can drive down a road I've traveled many time and see a view that just takes my breath away.

Winter for me is one of the hardest times of year. Not much to do in the garden, lots of grey days, and the wind. The wind may be the worst. Even if it is a beautiful day, like yesterday, the wind just make it impossible (for me anyway) to be out for more then a little while. I find myself standing by the windows looking at my garden and mentally planning what to do this spring. My list is growing ever longer and I am now trying to sort it into some sort of priority.
Make raised beds at the foot of the bank,
have more trees taken out,
plant fruit trees,
rent a chipper,
pray that all the flowers and herbs I planted last year come back..... You get the idea.

One good thing about winter is sitting on the sofa wrapped in a cozy blanket, hot coco beside me, idly flipping pages of my newest seed catalog. My seed and garden catalogs have the place of honor on my coffee table - right next to the gardening books and the tv remote.

There is another side of winter that I like. Watching the dogs play in the snow. Last week we had a nice snow then it sleeted giving us a not so nice layer of ice on top. It took Smokey awhile to figure out that running down hill was not a good idea. He would just keep sliding and sliding! I will admit that I got a good giggle from the look of amazement on his face.

January 24, 2008

Thoughtful Thursday

If you talk to animals, they will talk with you and you will know each other.
If you do not talk to them you will not know them, and what you do not know you will fear.
What one fears one destroys.

~Chief Dan George
July 24, 1899 - September 23, 1981