Monday, September 1, 2014

A Very Pleasant Sunday in the Mountains

Sunday evening at the cottage...Roy and I are both reading, well actually now I am writing, but you get my drift.  He is finishing up his vacation book that has seen him through several vacations.  That means he didn't get the chance to read very much.  This morning at 7:30 Roy wakes me up to tell me I had better get up and start getting ready for church.  I reminded him we are in NC and church is 10 minutes away and it doesn't start till 11:00.  I let him sleep more but I got up to have coffee on the back porch.  Ah yes.  Soon Roy joined me and we had our breakfast together taking in the beauty of God's creation and creatures.

The pastor at New Found Baptist Church finished up his three part series on Genesis 14.  It was communion Sunday, so Mel and Abram fit very well into the picture of Jesus and the Last Supper.  Awesome sermon.  We met a few new people and were greeted by familiar faces from the last two weeks.  After church we tried a little place on down the road, Turkey Creek Cafe.  Last Sunday I passed by it and the parking lot was overflowing with vehicles.  This week we beat the crowds by a few minutes.  On Sundays it is all you can eat with the choice of three or four different meats.  So I did fried chicken and Roy had the catfish.  The sides were numerous and unlimited.  Mac and Cheese, green beans, slaw, fried apples, creamed corn, and more...and for dessert banana pudding.  Oh my word!  It was very good!  During the week there is the regular menu and I think Roy would like to get back and try breakfast or lunch.  The burgers are supposed to be some of the best.

After lunch we came back to the cottage and changed clothes.  Since Roy is not familiar with the Weaverville area we drove around the town and then we headed out around the French Broad and back to the cemetery with the big cross like a gateway to the mountains.  Vivian told us about the angel carved from a fallen tree there in the cemetery and we went to see it.  It was all done with a chainsaw.  Unbelievable details!

Later in the afternoon we went over to Bill and Vivian's because Roy and Vivian had never met.  We visited for a bit and then we left to try to find a spot to capture the sunset.  Roy didn't like the pictures he got so we will try again this week.  We realized all of the sudden we were starving.  So we made a mad dash before darkness falls on the back roads into Weaverville to pick up some burgers and get home.  We had a quiet evening as Roy is trying to finish up his book and I was keeping up with Baylor via Twitter and FB.

Our plans are in the air tomorrow but we have a few ideas where we would like to go.  Guess we will see which way the wind blows us in the morning.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

He's Baaaaccccck!

It was a dark and scary night once we exited off the freeway and began the journey on the country roads to our cottage.  I have driven these roads so many times, so many times I don't even use Google Girl to find my way to Weaverville or Future I 26.  Once we exited though, I did have her on backup because these roads look totally different in the dark.  Those easy turns in daylight are fraught with adventure at night.  You feel like you are making a blind turn off the face of the earth.  Complicating this even more was the fact I had on the wrong glasses for mountain country, back road driving.  Roy was doing my distance watching and I kept my focus directly in front of Sequisha.  There were those few times that Roy would say something rather excitedly that had nothing to do with our game of concentration of roads, that would scare me thinking I had pulled in front of a car or I had made a wrong decision. OK, there was one time on I 26 that I changed lanes and Roy thought I had gone the wrong way...no...who has been up here for a month and driving this very same freeway.  Anyway, we never had anyone directly behind us on the road and that was a blessing, a HUGE blessing.  Just as soon as we pulled into the driveway, the drops of rain predicted by the weather service began to fall ever so gently and just as soon as we were on the front porch the rain began to fall harder.  Thank you Lord for that blessing.  Dark roads with rain....oh my.  On the front porch was a bottle of sparkling Biltmore grape juice from our friends Bill and Vivian.  But you know how it is when you've been separated for a while and well you look forward to a certain time and thing together???   We were not disappointed because....Yes!  It is college football kick off weekend and LSU was on TV but here LSU was on our iPad.  What did you think I was talking about?  Haha!

The timing in picking up Roy at the airport was just pretty much darn perfect!  It is so easy to drop off and pick up at the Greenville/Spartanburg airport.  On the way home we stopped at Cracker Barrel for dinner and then headed to those back roads of darkness.

This morning my usual companions, the cows, are in the yonder pasture, so I had another breakfast companion this morning, Roy.  We had our coffee and breakfast together on the back porch talking about plans and schedules and such.  The cows had raised a high bar for being breakfast companions, but Roy accepted the challenge and surpassed the level that the cows had set.  Only in one category did he fall short.  He couldn't compete in blowing his nose verses cow snorts and snot.  For this I am thankful.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Back Porch Thoughts

My last Friday morning on the back porch.  The spider webs are back on the fences, the cows are content in the new pasture and I am beside myself full of peace and expectation for the coming week ahead.  Roy gets here tomorrow night and I think he will enjoy the short break from the heat.  Although, temps might be higher next week than what I have been experiencing.  Even yesterday, at one point when it was 90, it was bearable because of the breeze and the low humidity.  I will treasure this time and trip for many reasons but again I am the most thankful for slowing down enough to recognize God's kindness toward me.  Even the whole hurt knee was a good reminder to take in the days and not rush through them.  If my knee had felt 90%, because it hasn't felt 100% in a long time, I would have been on the run from the get go.  Thankfully, the pain has subsided and it is just the normal limp and pain.

Another benefit resulting from the time here in God's country is being able to think things through clearly and not be busied with the everyday concerns of life back at Rancho De Five.  It's funny how in just a little less than a month my preconceived ideas of what we wanted in a home up here has completely changed.  What I thought were tangibles, God has shown me were not and intangibles of my previous thinking is what is tangible.  It is a pure delight to watch God move hearts, lives and locations together in a way that could have never been guessed or arrived at.  This morning in my daily reading Ecclesiastes 11:7, "Light is sweet; how pleasant to see a new day dawning" caught my attention.  But the verses right before this one also rang a similar bell and response, "Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don't know if profit will come from one activity or another-or maybe both."

Now it is Friday evening.  It has been a relaxing day.  I was out and  about a lot this week so I decided to hang out around the cottage.  Did some laundry, got some books gathered for the trip home and went to the grocery store.  Tonight I went over to Bill and Vivian's and I also got to meet her friend Jackie this afternoon.  Lots of fun!

And it wouldn't be Monablog if we didn't have a Friday into Saturday morning end to the post.  Roy will be here tonight.  I have missed him and praying that the weather and the airlines all cooperate.  We have a lot to take care of in the next few days and we have a lot of places for him to go and take pictures for me.  I was thinking yesterday, I don't think I have been away this long from home ever in our married life but I do know that there were a couple of times he was gone on business for three weeks at a time...so it has been a while.  I will be so happy to see him.  And yet is some ways I will be sad to see him because it means that this wonderful, restful, relaxing, fun, kind trip is almost to an end.  I will be happy to be home and see Buddy and catch up with friends.  Although I have to say what a great way to turn 60.

Friday, August 29, 2014

ABC-Antiques, Biltmore and Creamery

Good evening from the back porch.  It has been a good day, came home exhausted but a good kind of exhausted.  I got a later start to the day but still was out the door around 10:30.  My first stop was a revisit to the antique district on Swannanoa street.  First stop The Tobacco Antique Barn.  My goodness, that place is huge!  I brought my little portable fan with me today, so I was able to stay longer and pretty much go up and down every aisle.  Happily, I resisted temptation and didn't buy two things that might have made the trip home a little crowded.  Saw some great pieces there and also down the way several more stores are in another warehouse type building.  Great stuff there too.  Then because I haven't spent enough time in Barnes and Noble, I went back to the one in the mall just for a quick stop.  Hey, I was in the area, so why not?  Biltmore Village is in the neighborhood too, so after a long time looking for a parking spot, I finally got to go to La Cantina and have some Mexican food.  It was delicious!  Salsa that is worthy of overeating.  After late lunch, I walked over to the craft guild shop in Biltmore Village.  They have some of the same things as the one on the Blue Ridge Parkway and they also have different items.  It was a great place to spend some time marveling at how creative people are with materials, fabric and wood.  So while I was so close to the Biltmore itself, I decided to go hang out with the sunflowers again.  The beauty of those flowers made me think I had better have some ice cream, since I was so close to the creamery.  As always I got a black cherry waffle cone and a Diet Coke to take away some of those nasty calories.

My whole Biltmore experience was nearly ruined today as I accidently got in the middle of a group that spoke German.  I was having PTS and got the heck away from them.  Yes, I ausfarted which means exit.  I exited as far as I could from the group and beat them to the line for ice cream.  I got back to the cottage a little later than usual.  The traffic was really bad in Asheville today.  I don't think it was all the extra Aggies hanging around because by that time they should have all been on the road getting to the game tonight.

Last night in the middle of the night I got up and looked at stars.  The sky is full of twinkly lights.  It was breathtaking.  I noticed a little change in the leaves today.  There are some red and golden leaves among the lush green ones.  Signs of coming fall.

Today I had a minivan encounter of the stupid kind.  Lanes clearly marked only one lane can turn left, so the lane has a long line which Mr Minivan thought he could cut into.  Ha!  He did not know he was dealing with no retreat Nancy today and apparently there were other no retreaters in the lane.  Poor minivan, made it over finally and then drove 25 mph.

I am getting excited that Roy will be here on Saturday.  We have a house sitter for Buddy.  Yea!  It will be my first time driving in the dark on these backroads.  Well, I need learn how to do that sometime.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Porch Rocker

It is a lovely evening tonight out here on the back porch.  The sun is below the mountains and the pink hue of the sky is fading.  The cows have moved on to another pasture that has lots and lots of grass.  I had such a fun day out and about and I am thinking of returning to the antique warehouse tomorrow.  I'm on a hunt for a desk.

I headed out about 10:30 and went to The Moose Cafe for lunch.  I promise you the waitress looked like Cindy Pitts!  Now Cindy, I know you read my blog from time to time, but do you have relatives up here?  She is the spittin' image of you but she is the mountain image of you.  I tried so hard to take a picture but she never turned where I could take a picture without her knowing.  Had veggies like usual today and then I went to Biltmore Park.  After that I headed back to Waynesville to go back to Robin Blu because it is such a fun store and of course if you are going out to Waynesville, one must stop at Barber's Orchard for a few necessities.  I drove all the way back to the cottage without Google Girls help.

Many years ago on a trip to Amish country south of Nashville, Dena and I with our Amish map in tow, drove through the area seeking out this and that to buy.  On the fences in front of their homes, handmade signs tell you what they sell.  When you pull into the drive they come out from house and greet you.  Well, sometimes greet would be too happy of a word, but they will sell you their products.  One home had the sign porch rocker.  Not plural but singular, porch rocker.  It might have been all the Amish poison we had consumed that day, carob covered peanuts and peanut brittle, or it could have been just a moment, but we laughed so hard about that.  I just want to be a porch rocker.  Well, I finally have a mission statement after all these years, porch rocker.  Well, I do have a real mission statement that Dena wrote for me but I will add, "and be a porch rocker" to it.

Now it is a lovely morning out on the porch.  My cow friends are in a new pasture way over yonder.  Way over wonder is a technical term used here on the farm.  Actually, there hasn't been a lot of rain the past few weeks so they needed to move the cows to a pasture with more grass.  Or maybe the cows complained about my moo-speak.  Think my plans for the day will include the antique warehouse and maybe a little walk through Biltmore Village.  Ugh, the thought of next Thursday is sneaking into my thoughts a lot because we will use that afternoon and evening getting packed up and ready to leave on Friday morning.  But, I chase out those thoughts and remain in the moment of right now.  Listening to and watching the birds, enjoying a cool breeze and contemplating my choice for breakfast.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

It Was A Noisy, Foggy Morning

Google Girl took me into Weaverville yet another way and what an enjoyable and profitable drive it was.  I was going in just to pick up Roy's shirts from the cleaners but on the way I saw this cute shop Sanctuary of Stuff.  So after getting his shirts, I stopped in to take a look.  Oh my goodness!  What a wonderful place.  Most everything in the shop is made by local artisans in the area.  There were also a few antiques.  But the store is set up like an antique mall, but it all flowed and you would think it was all one shop.  The jewelry was fabulous and they had some of the best cards.  I spent time and a little change in there.

I have met some of the friendliest people on this trip.  Yesterday in the cleaners, the lady working behind the counter and I had a wonderful conversation.  She had retired from working at the Biltmore two years ago.  She was in charge of a large portion of housekeeping and she worked with all the brides whose weddings took place on the estate.  She said she helped open the Inn but she missed being with her family on holidays, so when her husband retired, she retired.  Now she works a couple of days of the week just to get out of the house for a bit at the cleaners.   Also in Sanctuary of Stuff everyone in the shop whether they were working or shopping were just so helpful and delightful.  Conversation after conversation has confirmed we are being watched over by God and I am so thankful the other people made a stronger offer than we did on the house near Waynesville.

The ways of the cows are past understanding and finding out.  Those boogers can move when they want to.  They have been rather vocal this morning and maybe I have mooed a couple of times with them.  So I go in  to make another cup of coffee and fix toast and those cows are clear across to the right...far away field.  So, I dine alone.  No, some birds are keeping me company now.

Yesterday afternoon I went over to see Vivian.  She had knee replacement surgery the second week I was here.  She is doing great, no pain but she is ready to get out and about...you know cabin fever can do that to you.  What a delightful afternoon full of laughter, conversation and maybe even a few tears.    As we talked of our friends the other one has yet to meet, we both would say, you are going to love_____!   While I was there her brother called that just lives across the fields on the farm.  He looks like Tom Selick...sorry girls, he's married.  Anyway, last night he got out his tractor or as Roy calls it God's Tractor, meaning it is a John Deere and went about the fields.  It makes this great putt putt putt sound.

Roy and I will look at the last two houses for this trip on Tuesday afternoon.  I read a verse in Proverbs the other day that truly speaks to our quest, "Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house."  Or I might even say, before buying your house.

The fog is burning off fast and since my cow companions have moved on to another field, I should probably go get ready for the day.  I'm tempted to moo out a goodbye to my cow friends, but I bet Vivian is on her porch next door and she might think, who is that crazy lady in my cottage next door?  I would just answer, it's me Nancy....you know your new friend who likes to talk with the cows.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Story of Mountains, Sun, Biscuits, Books and Hope

The morning is a crisp 54 degrees, with little mountain fog.  The sunset was majestic last night and the sunrise this morning rivals the majesty of last night.  The sun over the distant mountain and the beams through the mist act like spotlights on the trees.  The pastures look like they are set for the play to begin.  The distant crowing of a rooster and the singing of birds welcome me to this Tuesday morning in the mountains.  These days here have been so invigorating.  Physically, I am a different person up here.  It as if I have been rebaptized into life, not only spiritually experiencing His abundance, but in the daily, ordinary ways of life.  It dawned on me this morning we might not make a home purchase on this trip.  OK, I knew that going in but it as the days wind down it is becoming a reality.  The process is on hold until Roy gets here.  So in the waiting I pray and thank God for His wisdom in this process and decision.  And what a glorious waiting room!

Along with a good cup of coffee this morning I am having my Appalachian biscuit from the Biltmore.  Oh my, delicious!  Edward even put in some of their homemade strawberry jam.  I want Roy to go back with me so he can take pictures of the sunflowers and do them justice in showing their beauty and magnificence lined along Antler Hill and on toward the mountains.  Yesterday on the walking path in front of the sunflowers I met all manner of people.  There was a professional photographer who obviously was in sunflower heaven capturing the moments of flowers and bees, with the whole pollen and honey thing going on.  She asked me the time and when I told her she could not believe the morning had passed so quickly and it was now afternoon.  There was an older gentleman and his dog.  The man set on his walker seat while his dog ran through the field of flowers.  He told me it was worth every inch of climbing back up that hill to sit there this morning, taking it all in.

I am trying to save my books whose story whether it be fiction or nonfiction, is set in this area for when I get home and I am pining for the mountains.  I truly now understand what John Muir said long ago, "The mountains are calling and I must go."  So I am slugging along in a beach read and I have just about decided to try another book.  The author is introducing so many characters in these first chapters, I am having a difficult time keeping them straight and who goes with who.  So, I'm going to look through the ever increasing stack of books to find another one that might keep my interest.  This is why I don't fly here.  I bring back way too much stuff.

Last night Dena called and it was so fun to get caught up and also discuss NC houses with someone besides Roy.  I continue to do research on the area trying to know where you want to live and where you don't want to live based on well water etc...  These things I have never thought about before in my life.  One of the houses, if it is still active when Roy arrives, has a block foundation.  So, I did my research on knowing what that means.  There are very few slab foundations up this way.   My mind keeps drifting back to the ranch home across from the farm.  With a finished out basement and a kick butt backyard....the ordinary ranch style front would mask a beautiful retreat.   Roy sends me his work safety moment each day.  We kind of have a running joke about them because his comments in the prelude to the body of the email are hilarious.  We both have noticed that these last few safety moments have had a direct impact on the decisions we are making.  Again, being more practical than is usual for me, I have to think about the year or two after all the newness of having a house up here wears out on friends back home and the trips begin to shrink.  Then we have a lot of space we aren't using.  It is also thinking of things health wise too.  So what if the bathrooms aren't huge, really how much time does one spend in a bathroom?  Well, I guess it depends on each individual.   But I think our time in Blue Ridge Ga in a home meant for guests that had lost its appeal for the owners.  It is for sale, on the rental list, with the barest of necessities.  The home we made an offer on is really a great home for guests but we are keeping in mind, the house up here is going to become our home when Roy retires. Who wants to traipse about in a big house when you can feel cozy and at home, feeling like a retreat in an ordinary ranch style home.  Heck, and if friends do come a lot, there are tons of B&B's we can put people in.  Yea!  No cooking involved for me!!!  We shall dine on the finest of pizzas from the gas station and fill up on pretzel rolls and Lusty Monk Mustard Butter at Cedric's in Antler Hill Village!  We can order chicken legs from Arby's, I mean KFC!

Nancy's Monablog