Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Surprises and Good to Go

At one point as we looked around this area for a home, I had hoped for a porch big enough to have a sleeping porch.  When we realized we would have to replace the front porch on the home we bought, we had it priced out for expansion.  We felt that the porch expansion cost would not be feasible to recover the cost.  Tonight, I am sitting in the bedroom across the hall from ours and the wind coming through the windows and the night sounds so close by, it feels like a sleeping porch.  In fact, I am tempted to sleep in here tonight but truthfully, I think I might get too cold.  This is better than a sleeping porch, no bugs!  I like how these little surprises show up when we least expect them.

We are learning something interesting this week.  It doesn't take one too long to become totally self absorbed when you are on your own.  There isn't anyone else to consider, you set the schedule and routine and you pretty much abide by your own rules.  We were laughing about this earlier as we sat on the front porch.  Our conversations have been more focused and deep on the phone but around here we have forgotten one another when it comes to meals or offering drinks or help.  We have come to the conclusion that this is something we must address because it is a difficult thing to unstructure all the things that contribute to being self absorbed.  Truly, we want to honor one another and prefer one another.  A good reminder that left on our own, without the Lord, we become selfish, all about us, all about our schedules and what we like and do not like to the disregard of one another.  I was telling Roy about one of the trips I made to the landfill and the gift given to me on that run to the dump.   While considering the gift and how I wanted to refuse it, the Lord reminded me we are to deny ourself and take up the cross.  It hit me then, I rarely even think about this, denying myself.  For the most part if I see something, I buy it.  But here, so many situations and things I have observed have been  used  to help me to see things differently.   Not very many times have I come face to face with real needs while grocery shopping.  Not so much at The Fresh Market, but when I go to Ingles or Wal Mart, I see it.  I've met people who work three jobs and it still doesn't fulfill the need.  We are so blessed and I do not need another top or jeans or jacket.  Now come fall and winter that might be different because the need for warmer clothes is not huge in Houston.

Well, this is an entry three days in the making.  My keyboard on my iPad is sticking and Roy has been running all the updates on the laptop.  So, while the A/C guys are here checking everything and also showing Roy how to clean the filter on our well pump, I decided to try to write a little more before running errands.  This morning we went to Turkey Creek Cafe for breakfast.  Yum!  Then we went to get strawberries and then went to the Country Junkin Girls with a bench they are going to paint to match the kitchen table.  Yesterday morning, we were out and about early since Roy had a haircut appointment at Wink.  I waited for him at Corner Kitchen.  I have seen this place and the normal line out the door but early on it is not crowded.  They serve food in an old house that is really quite cozy and I cant believe that I am going to say this but...their grits were better than the Biltmore's.  How could that be?  It be my friends!  We went over to Weaverville for Roy to look at chairs for his bonus room and a quick trip through Mast.  When we got home we got right to work in the back with mulch.  Funny, we had different ideas of how to do mulch, like there would be different ways, but I thought we would do it like we do in Racho de Five.  Roy then saw the wisdom in that and acquiesced.   There was a lot of wind and we were watching one tree in particular that has died.  Our friend Vivian called around for us and found a tree man, who came by last night.  Since we weren't too sure if it was our tree or our neighbor's tree.  Roy and John went up to talk with Jennifer.  She came down and looked at the tree.  What is strange is all these trees lining our adjoining our properties are split down the middle, half hers and half ours.  She is contributing on the removal of the dead tree and she told us that if we wanted to take the rest out we could, but she didn't want to participate.  That seems fair besides, she volunteered to clean out the brush and trash trees on the front part of the property were the mailboxes me that is a great and wonderful deal.  She asked if she could trim back one of our fir trees so their horse trailer wouldn't hit it...sure.  She and her boyfriend have all the equipment to take care of this stuff.  I think we will remove the trees one at a time and we are only removing them because the way the backyard was tiered and the gravel road behind us is killing them off.  We are also having a trash pine and several other junk kind of trees cleared by our driveway.  It is like Roy said yesterday, he doesn't think we will ever run out of things to work on here at the house.  We found out we have a hemlock, several kind of oak trees and a wild cherry tree in our backyard.  Friday John is coming back with a crew to remove the big dead tree and clear out beside the driveway.  I almost forgot the most fun surprise we had yesterday.  I took a road trying to find my way over Swannanoa Road and I just happened upon the Screen Porch or Door or whatever it is called but I had heard about this place from several friends.  We had a great time walking through it and found a few fun things to bring home.  I like those kinds of surprises.

This is a laid back day for us.  We only had to be home for the A/C guys.  We slept in or maybe it was me that slept in and eased into the day.  I think we will return to work with the mulch later in the day and we need to run to, dare I say it Wal Mart, for a few things.  I cooked dinner last night...please revive the non-believers and Roy pronounced it good.  He asked if I would make spaghetti.  Yea!  We have leftovers for tonight.  

Well, the A/C checked out and we are good to go....that is good to go on and run those errands.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Thankful For So Many Things

Roy is busy in the garage busting up boxes that are too unyielding and heavy for me.  Then we are going to the landfill or as I refer to it, the dump.  No trash pick up today but the landfill is open.  So this is how we will begin our day full of errands and getting things done.  Roy has made the watering of the apple trees more efficient and he made the modem more accessible for this one whose knees don't really want to bend that much.  He is also going to redo the plugs underneath the bed for me because once again, knees don't like to bend.  The morning might have been a disaster because the coffee maker downstairs would not brew.  Good thing the second maker is upstairs in his bonus room.  I came down here, watched a You Tube Video and fixed the coffee maker.  We all have our special gifts entrusted to each of us and thankfully, our weaknesses and our talents offset each other.  It just took several hundred years of marriage to figure out the person who is not gifted in the particular task, shouldn't be involved.  Funny how we finally get things figured out as we grow older.

Sometimes things are topsy turvey here.  I read there was no garbage pickup today, so we didn't put out the trash but we made two trips to the landfill.  Our first load $10.00 and the second load $5.00.  We passed our trash truck on the second trip as they stopped to pick up trash but no recyclables.  So after our second visit to the dump we headed over to Lowe's in Asheville.  Our closest Lowe's is out of the mulch we want.  Roy did a lot of work loading fifteen bags of mulch.  Then we stopped at Bed Bath and Beyond for a few things, but mainly the kind of coffee maker that Roy wants.  Sequisha was loaded down but she did great.  We unloaded and then headed over for another car wash and we vacuumed out the car of all the stray mulch.  Lunch at the okay Mexican place, quick stop in Ace and we made a grocery store run.  Yes, we live the exciting life.

Last night we went to the hamburger and hot dog fellowship at the picnic shelter at our church.  Churches around here all have picnic shelters but Newfound has all others beat because of the spectacular views.  At first I didn't know if I would have a good time because of worrying about getting back down the mountain, but fears soon disappeared as others showed me the other way down.  Oh yeah!  Now I could have a good time.  Our pastor and youth pastor grilled everything and all of the members brought sides, desserts and drinks.  It was a wonderful time of visiting and getting to know each other around those picnic tables.  We are so thankful to have found or should that be to have been led to Newfound.  I'm making friends, love my SS class and love being a choir member.  I told Roy today I like the person I am becoming up here.  God is doing such a good work in my heart and spirit.  It is a joy to slow down and take in all the beauty.  Traffic can be troublesome on the freeways but we get back on these country roads to our home and we are so inclined to enjoy time not race it.

Saturday, we stopped at a produce stand and got fresh peaches.  Roy threw in a couple of apples too.  There is a dish barn type place right next to it, so of course we had to drop in and peruse the place.  I found serving dishes to our dishes.  So if I ever decide you know, to serve something, I know where to get the pieces at a discount.  Lunch was at the Moose Cafe and we also stopped in at the Toyota dealership.  We were quite pleased with the extended maintenance on cars purchased from them and free oil changes for the life of the car, well as long as we own it.  Roy is looking in which car we will trade in and then we will order another Sequoia with four wheel drive for up here.

We have been having so much fun this weekend and that includes all the work we have been doing outside.  We have more to do but we will wait a little while to do more once the sun begins to set.  I don't think Roy loves the birds as much as I do, bu he appreciates the nerd part of me as I explain all the bird stuff to him.  Yes, I am telling him all the research I have done.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A Little Bit of This and That

I woke up a couple times last night thinking I heard rain but I was too tired to get up and investigate.  Sure enough, when I came downstairs this morning the evidence of rain in the backyard proved that indeed we received rain.  For a quick few minutes yesterday evening I was able to put out more plants, so I'm glad they benefited.  Today is also supposed to be cooler and for that as always, I am thankful.  The birds are eating breakfast and moving the feeders around has made a huge difference.  Less fights and not as much seed falling to the ground.  There is a new bird at the feeder and I need to look him up in the handy dandy bird reference book.  Interesting in how it scrounges through the dirt for birdseed.  It looks like he would break his beak with all that hard hitting at the ground.

Looks like we are going to have to replace the washing machine lid in Rancho De Five.  Consuela washed a huge rug, that is dry clean only, got the transmission off and there is a huge crack in the Plexiglas lid.  Roy did some research and the lid has been a known problem but the huge rug helped the problem to come sooner than later.  I know she did it to be helpful and Roy talked with her last night.  No washing anything.  He was not a happy camper but cooled off enough to call her and then he said, are you feeling tire marks on your back?  As per our agreement, we can throw one another under the bus as needed.   This is just one more thing to take care of in a very busy season of life for him.

Of course in typical Monablog style, this is a several day post.  I have started several other posts but they aren't for publishing but for me to organize my thoughts and then let the stuff that is bothering me...let it go.  I have it down.  Sometimes writing with an audience in mind is one of the best ways for me to write on difficult subjects.  Oh well.  I have had the past two days to get everything ready for the next "visitor" to The Ander House.  It is a trip into Greenville/Spartanburg, and I'm looking forward to picking them up.  The weather has been cooler so being in the house has almost been near to impossible but this cough due to cold has limited a lot of what I wanted to do.  Yes, it has been a long time since a coughing jag almost made me leave a store.  It was that ugly kind of coughing, complete with tears and dare I say snot.  At least I had a tissue with me.

We are in the middle of North Carolina strawberry season and those berries are flying off the shelves.  The produce stand nearby had their workers out in the fields for a second picking run through.  There was a group of people waiting for those strawberries.  I went ahead and ran errands and stopped at the produce stand in Weaverville.  I got a bucket of berries from SC, from same farm as where I bought before and they were very tasty.  So far I have frozen eight quarts of berries.

I haven't been too keen on the fact that a couple of crows have found our backyard but when I was doing some of my Nancy Nerdly reading, I found out they will eat mice.  So, I need those crows to keep coming to keep that little rock mouse, I know I am being optimistic thinking it is just one, in check.  The chipmunks scatter when they see the crows.  The bird that nearly bashes its beak is a brown thrasher.  Have several of those birds visiting.   This has been another Nancy Nerdly report.  Oh, and I joined a group on FB of people who live in this area and love knowing the history of the area.  I am learning so much about old buildings and churches.  Oops, I just lost several to extreme boredom.

Well, I better finish up breakfast and get ready for that all important pick up.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

We Had Fun,Fun Fun...Nobody Had a T-Bird Taken Away

These past few days with Megan and Erin have been such fun but fun can be exhausting.  So I have been rather quiet these past few days because rest dictated my schedule once I got home in the evenings.  The girls got in about 3:45 on Sunday afternoon.  After hanging out here a bit we headed over to the Inn on the Biltmore Estate which would be their home for the next three nights.  Of course they could have stayed here but they got a lot more attention and relaxation there.  This was Megan's first time to stay there and Erin showed her the ropes.  We began at Cedric's.  On Monday per Erin's request we went to Mast General Store in Waynesville.  I was able to order the new chair while I was there.  Then we went to Robin Blu and to a little coffee shop for iced coffees.  Then we drove to downtown Asheville to a gallery that Megan wanted to go to.  Parking is a premium find so we parked at Mast in Asheville, they went to the gallery while I stayed there and shopped.  We headed back to the estate for a late lunch on the veranda.  Yesterday we went to Antique Tobacco Warehouse, the River Art District and the Folk Art Center.  We ate at La Cantina and then I dropped them off at the Biltmore House and I headed back home.  I have been fighting a cold for the past two days and I was zonked.  I rested in the late afternoon and into the evening.  The only thing I did was water some plants in the back.  This morning we ate breakfast, checked out and then headed over to the winery.  They had chosen their selections the evening before but they could get additional discounts with my season pass card, so we went back to the winery before leaving the estate. On the way back home, we stopped so Megan could see and say goodbye to one of her friends from Roades who won a fellowship/grant where she gets to travel the world for research on her topic she submitted.  Got to meet her mom and we exchanged phone numbers.  They have just moved from Atlanta to Asheville.  They bought a beautiful home by the Grove Park Inn.  We made a quick stop at at a produce stand and then home,  They loaded up the car and they were on the way to TN.  I knew if I sat down for a moment, the rest of the afternoon would be lost.  So I headed out to the car wash and then to the grocery store.  Once I got home I fell asleep on the couch and I have my doubts that I will stay up late this evening.  I have not had a cold in a very long I am a bit disappointed that the symptoms rushed in on Monday morning.

Lisa P called last night and it was a blast visiting and laughing with her.  Peggy called the other day and kept me entertained with stories from her life of late.  This morning I read a little devo on why you should go to the Holy Land and why now is a good time to go.  Wayne Stiles has a new book coming out soon, he wrote the devo, and he has gone nine times there.  He talked about how the trip changes you and it does.  Although when Peggy was posting about her trip there, many would say oh I wish I was there right now.  Not me.  I want to go back when it is the New Jerusalem.  For me what I treasure is not what I saw there but what I learned and brought home with me.  The stories in the Bible become more alive and I can picture certain places when we read especially in the OT.

The thought came to me this morning as I was looking out into the back, watching the birds and chipmunks, that that back area would be a good metaphor of the last two months.  I feel like I have come back to life, I feel good, except for this cold, and I want to go and do things and not just stay around the house to conserve energy.  My life looked like that backyard, dormant.  Some of the plants looked like they were weeds several months ago and those plants have bloomed and grown all kinds of green.  I've added some color with other plants but yep, I am like a well watered garden right now. I have been able to make some good choices and truly once again I know the joy of the Lord and yes, it is my strength.

Well, it is time to think about dinner, so I better get to moving.  I have several things to catch up on and only have to wait two days for my next guest/visitor/family...the one I love.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Quiet Sunday...At Least For Now....

For being so tired last night and believing that the moment my head hit the pillow sleep would ensue, the night did not turn out that way.  It was a restless night and probably due to the fact I was so tired but a few other factors are in the equation.  After spending an hour or so relaxing, I started putting away things and starting new jobs right before going to bed.  So my brain woke up while the rest of me was begging for rest.  I also tried having the ceiling fan on high again but the noise it makes is too distracting, so I finally got up and turned down the fan.  So it was fitful sleep for awhile but finally I fell into deep sleep and awoke somewhat refreshed this morning.  There is probably a nap in the future today.

For getting a late start yesterday because easing into the day seemed to be the right thing to do, I got a lot accomplished.  I've been flattening cardboard boxes and removing packing materials and filler because cardboard disposal is free at the landfill...dump.  They ask for the cardboard to be flattened and the dumpster for cardboard was nearly overflowing.  It also involves lots of trips up and down the stairs to said dumpster.  We will have to make another trip with the filler materials etc but then I think we will have whittled down our moving boxes to nothing.  There is more and more room in the garage.  I'm glad I waited to go on a cool morning because doing recyclables is hard work.  Made a quick trip to the PO and then onto the bank.  Another flower run to Lowe's and then I stopped at the local car wash to join the car wash club.  For $14.99 a month you can run your car through the wash as many times as you want.  Vacuums are free.  That is a pretty sweet deal.  Two things, keeping Sequisha clean and being dedicated to hair styling every four weeks, hadn't been practiced here.  Thankfully, those situations were rectified this week.

We had a nice little thunderstorm with rain during the afternoon.  In fact, I had just gotten home when the clouds began to gather and turn dark.  No problem if the car got rained on because it would be back to the car wash.  But I did get everything unloaded and out on the back deck to get some of the rain on the flowers.  Later on in the early evening, I put out a few of the plants and will do the rest later today.  Peggy called me yesterday and we had lots of fun talking.  Me about my nerdly ways of watching nature and she told me about her trip to Israel and Greece.  When she called there were two bunnies, two chipmunks and two doves hanging around the bird feeder and I was looking for an ark but I think the ark must be in Katy because the sound of thunder and rain could be heard in the background on Peggy's end.  She was out in the carport.

It is now Sunday afternoon and the nieces will be here in a little bit.  Excited for their visit.  I kept quite busy yesterday taking care of little things that I have put off until the last minute.  There is always more to do but I have found my stopping point.  We had a guest preacher/speaker at church today and the choir had four altos holding down the fort.  I think the four of us did pretty good.  After our fun get together on Thursday, we all decided we should get together more often.  I am so thankful for the friends I am making in the class.  I think some Houston friends have got their visit to God's country on the calendar.  I look forward to sharing this great adventure with them.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Wednesday, Thursday and Part of Friday

I was a time traveler yesterday as Vivian and I took a day trip to Lake Lure. You feel like you have returned to the 50's and 60's with motor court motels, diners, and the downtown's of yester-year.  Lake Lure is where Dirty Dancing was filmed.  Chimney Rock and Lake Lure are quaint towns in the midst of the great outdoors.  Since we were there to admire nature and not conquer it, we didn't go up to Chimney Rock.  We heard on our boat excursion that the elevator has been out the past couple of weeks, and we didn't come to fish.  We came to admire and take in God's handiwork and creation, have lunch and take the Lake Lure boat ride.  I can heartily endorse doing all three things.  I also made a quick trip into a t-shirt shop because if you know me, I like to get a t-shirt.  The drive was beautiful, winding roads.  The flowers are everywhere and the stacked wood fences make a wonderful backdrop for photo opportunities.  We saw several shops we would like to go back to, one being a craftsman shop of woodworkers but looks like they will be open during the week once summer begins.  Vivian is the best tour guide and she knows all the stories about the area. She is quite fun too, so there is a lot of good laughing amidst the factual knowledge of places.  Since she is a native to the area, she can tell you about how places were when she was a child, just a mere few years ago.  She knew where we would stop for lunch and boy howdy she picked a great place among many good choices.  We ate at Genny's.  You know when there are a lot of cars in front of a local place, it's most likely good food and good people.  Yep!  We were there early enough to have a booth outside overlooking the river.  Nothing like the soothing sounds of a mountain river traveling over rocks and dead trees.  It can lull you into wanting nap time.  We had a delicious lunch, I won't bore you with the details of hush puppies, fried okra, handmade fries and blackberry cobbler.  Oh, I won't bore you with ice cream on the top, cobbler served warm.   We took the boat excursion on Lake Lure.  Wow, so relaxing, interesting and informative.  I did not know that pigs kill and eat snakes, like rattlesnakes and copperheads.  I was telling Roy about this last night and he mentioned he had just read in the Wall Street Journal about a family that died when they ate one of their pigs, who had happened to eat some poisonous snakes.  I don't know if anyone died after the BBQ of 300 pound pigs that had rid the island of snakes.  For our return home, we took a different way back which can be somewhat biblical because sometimes God told people to go back the way they came or go back a different way.  Before leaving though, Vivian took me to see up close a historic inn that has been there since the 1920's.  All the movie stars back in the day stayed there and it had that Hollywood stucco art deco look.  Just like our trip to A Pretty Place where we heard the history through an employment interview being conducted, we also heard history by the owner of Genny's and then our boat skipper had a trainee or someone on the boat and we heard the side stories since we sat in the back.  I love how the Lord just puts icing on the cake for our days.

To make the day even feel more retro, the internet was out here at home last night.  I could get on with my phone but only for a few seconds at a time.  So no TV which is not even a big deal to me or computer, I did what folks did back then, I watered my plants and sat on the front porch watching the cows go home and the cars and trucks drive by.  We are having cooler temps than the past few days and I was able to sleep with the windows open last night.  It was in the 40's outside and the 60's inside.  Yesterday, I also made the wonderful discovery that our back and side yards are covered with wild blackberry bushes and there are quite a few on the front part of our property.  Hallelujah!  I will let the birds have the cherries off the cherry tree but I will battle birds, bees, snakes and spiders to get some of these blackberries when these blooms turn into fruit.

The day called me away so it is now Friday morning.  I had several errands to run and I discovered the Target near the mall.  I like it much better than the Target in South Asheville.  Then I headed to Whole Foods and The Fresh Market.  On the way home I also stopped at a produce stand to get more strawberries and these strawberries were grown just down the road from us.  They are very tasty.

Last night was our Sunday School potluck gathering.  I got lost even with GPS but when one programs the GPS wrong, lost is to be expected.  I talked to a lot of Velda's neighbors and even drove way back on a driveway that as soon as I pulled in, I knew it was the wrong house.  No cars but I went to the door anyway and the lady gave me great directions and was so nice. For a few minutes I thought about making up a wild story complete with guns and disgruntled property owners but thought better of it.  I made it to the party and the food was fabulous and the fun was fantastic.  See how Baptist I am, alliteration.  We played the game where you write down one thing that is true about you and one thing that isn't.  No endorsement of lying was perpetrated at this gathering but some of us were better at it than others.  What I enjoyed the most was listening to the stories of their history and how some are interconnected by marriage.  I loved hearing the stories of how they met their husbands. This area is rich with history and how the area has grown.  Before even coming here last August, as I looked at Zillow and, I kept being drawn to Leichester but yet kept looking in Waynesville.  I am forever thankful that the Lord came to our rescue when our offer was beat out at the last minute for the home in Balsam Mountain....snow to the max in the winter and pretty far away from things really but at the time we didn't think so.  The home we bought had an offer on it but the owner and buyers could not come to an agreement.  It is the perfect home for us, close to those we love and close to church.  We have a great view and nice and quiet neighbors...except for the loud dogs next door, but that doesn't really bug me.  And by the looks of things, you don't go over there and complain about the dogs...I think by accepting the barking I am making a wise choice.

I had another bat moment this week only it was with a spider.  There are lots of spiders in this area and for the most part we have respected one another's territory.  They catch the little gnats and I stay clear of the webs.  Except the other day worlds collided.  As I walked outside the garage a spider and my glasses came into contact.  Of course the waving of arms and jumping around trying to rid my glasses of the spider looks like a wall eyed fit from the distance and my elderly neighbor was watching my wild Watusi moves across the way from her driveway.  This included ripping off my glasses, wildly messing up my hair to disengage said spider.  When I felt I had rid my person of the spider and his web, I looked across the way to see my neighbor laughing hysterically at me.  Should I approach her?  Will she think I just had a crazy moment and might have one again?  She came to the edge of her driveway and said, a spider must have attached itself to you.  Experienced it and seen it many times.  I felt so accepted at that moment.  I don't want anyone to come up with names for Texans like they have for the Floridians that have almost taken over the area, somewhat like Texans take over Colorado.  Instead of calling them Floridians, they call them Floridiots and then add they're all Yankees anyway.

The day awaits.  Megan and Erin are coming in on Sunday.  So all the things I have put off to the last minute?  Well, their time has arrived to be accomplished, so I better get busy.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Over the Village and Through the Villes

It is a beautiful Wednesday morning.  The sun is shinning and the birds are out early looking for worms or just hanging around the bird feeders.  I'm up a little earlier than usual having my first cup of coffee of the day.

I don't always live up to the older lady code but I did yesterday as I prepared to go to the new salon.  It is located in Biltmore Village and parking is a premium in that area because it is a favorite of both locals and tourists.  I would consider myself a locrist since I am a combination of the two.  So, I set out an hour before the appointment with planned stops on the way like the Post Office and Williams Sonoma.  It took just about thirty minutes so I had some time to peruse Williams Sonoma.  I am in the market for another peach slicer and that is where I found my last one.  They had a few interesting items in clearance, so it was a win/win all the way around.  By the time I took everything to the car and back, it was just the right time for my hair appointment.  Wink feels very at home for me because it has the same vibe as Emmanuel.  My stylist whose name does not escape me but spelling of it does, is from Brazil, being in the states the past twenty years.  She took time with me, complementing Stevie's brilliant handiwork and skills, although my hair was a bit grown out.  When you think you might unintentionally styling a mullet, it is time for a cut.  We suggested a shorter cut for the summer and since my hair grows quickly, I agreed and I really like it.  Hopefully I can make it look as good as yesterday when I start getting ready for the day.  After the salon, I drove back out to Waynesville for several reasons.  One was to go to Massie's Furniture and begin the search for another chair in the living room but also to stop in at Mast for new hiking sticks.  I figured since these cheap ones from Target break too easily by not holding the tightness of the desired length, I would go up to the third level and look for new hiking sticks.  This is not like Paul who went to the seventh heaven but the third level of Mast, which I have never ever ventured to.  Found just what I was looking for.  Oh, I got ahead of myself in the story.  I parallel parked right in front of Mast.  If you have ever been with me trying to park Sequisha you'll celebrate the victory with me.  Then it was a quick trip next door to the furniture store.  It is a family owned business since 1902 and it is a pleasure to do business with them.  I brought home three fabric pieces to match up with the furniture and rug and they didn't ask me for a deposit.  I took an informal poll on FB yesterday and I think I will go with the plaid and have a pillow made out of the patterned piece.  Along with manufactured goods, they also support local craftsmen and women.  The table in the front room I purchased from them is handmade and yesterday they had a cedar treasure box handmade by another local woodworker.  Such a good price and such a great combination of colors, one had to come home with me.  I don't quite know where it is going yet but it will find a home here.  I stopped at Nettie's and picked up a sandwich to go, made on homemade bread...delicious!  And then I made my way home where I got some more work done upstairs.

I also froze four quarts of strawberries last night.  I felt so much like a mountain-like-woman.  It should be about time for North Carolina strawberries, so I will go to a farmers market or produce stand in the next several days.

Well, adventure awaits so I better go get ready.  It is going to be back in the normal temp range here for this time of year, the 70's.  That is welcomed news.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Detours and Late Developing Spring Plants

I once read a quote, "The really happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour."  That's a great quote but I have to admit I've not always enjoyed the scenery of a detour.  Especially if I have planned to be somewhere by a certain time and the detour happens.  Around here there seems to be a lot of tree trimming and survey work that will bring two lanes down into one and waiting your turn to be able to get through the area slowly and without hurting anyone in the process.  Google girl took me way out of the way to my intended destination this morning of First Baptist Asheville.  The Newcomers to Asheville group meets there on the second Monday of the month.  Last month I had a delivery and couldn't come but today I pulled myself out of heavy sleep to get up, get ready and get going to the meeting today.  On the way I was a witness to one wreck only by sound because I was waiting at a light but I think a car that nearly caused me to wreck about a mile back was the same car that caused the trouble later.  We sat for a good while before proceeding on.  I made the turn at the light and another wreck was in the middle stages, police on the scene, everyone accounted for and the cars almost ready to be cleared.  By this time I was going to be more than fashionably late, so I punted and headed toward Biltmore Village to find Wink Salon.  I missed it on the first pass but I found it and a free parking spot.  I went in to check it out and schedule an appointment.  They were in the middle of a training session. It felt like Emmanuel.  Anyway, I have an appointment at 11:00 tomorrow with a senior stylist but who has only been with them for three months.  I am taking a chance with her because as Stevie explained to me about being an Oribe salon and what it takes to be able to carry the product, so I feel comfortable going there.  She asked if I wanted color because I need color but Stevie is going to take care of that for me.  I have been going to the same salon for eons and this is a wobbly step.  I am thankful my hair grows quickly.  I drove over to Biltmore Village to walk around and look at the shops.  It was getting close to 11:00 and the idea of going to La Cantina for lunch came to me.  The Mexican food there is very close to Texas quality.  Lunch was delicious and since I was right there, a trip to the Biltmore seemed to be the next thing to do on this detour of a day.  I drove through the gardens marveling at the beauty and then headed to Antler Hill Village.  I stopped in at Traditions, one of my favorite shops and one of my favorite people, Norma, was working there today.  We got caught up with each others happenings and then the big step on her part, she called me Nancy instead of Mrs. Monarch...then she asked if that was ok?  For sure!  I like her and she gave me some good suggestions of how to truly enjoy my pass holder card.  I told her about The Pretty Place, we talked about finding good churches and we are letting the Dallas/Houston thing go.  That is kind of a joke for her cause she felt it stronger than I ever have.  I made a good decision to come on home because that part of Asheville got some big storms, with lots of rain.  We got some rain too but the blessing is the rain cooled air.

Just a month ago I would have told you I was considering pulling out all the dead stuff in the backyard but wisdom from a friend, Vivian, told me to wait and see.  What looks dull and dead is really getting ready to spring into life.  And you know what?  She is so correct.  There are all kinds of flowers blooming, shrubs with flowers and a huge rose bush that is sprouting some of the most beautiful roses.  I've added a few plants here and there but if is so fun to see life popping out all over. These two things, enjoying the scenery of a detour and what looks dead is really full of life seem to describe the theme of life for me at this time.  Then our Sunday School lesson from Haggai yesterday has kind of brought a lot of my disjointed thoughts together and has caused me to consider my way. In chapter one verse five the LORD says, think carefully about what you are doing and then in verse seven He says, pay close attention to these things also...NET Bible.  The NIV says, consider your ways.  The Temple was in disrepair but the people were attending unto their own houses and lands before good ol' Haggai was told to bring this to the people's attention.  The people were to go to the mountains to get supplies to rebuild the Temple...and of course you can totally see where this is going.  It feels like Roy and I have been less committed and turned more toward us, not the Lord.  We became those "kind of people."  It happened so quickly, we didn't even notice.  We went from people totally involved at church, I had been on staff for goodness sake to the people who come every other week and then we didn't come to church for a month of Sundays from time to time. We were just supporting the park offsite initiative...we parked way offsite.  Now we were not out living a wild life, just the opposite.  Roy is involved with a Men's Bible study and mission team at local church in Rancho de Five.  I was involved with Community Bible Study.  Roy found himself not liking the drive into Houston on Sundays and he didn't like the fact that the budget was given a name for two years.  He's an accountant, he has his pocket protector/bean counter ways and this was out of his comfort zone.  There were a few other things he didn't quite like and some of those were how he perceived I was being treated.  Many Sundays it was easier to stay home than ask Roy if he please would come to First.  Truthfully, I was mainly going for the music and looked forward to the day when my health would let me rejoin choir.  When no one, this doesn't include my close friends, but when no one from my SS or LBS classes ever called to see why I hadn't been to LBS in a long time, like several years, it added fuel to his fire.  It got to where we came a little more regular but it was in for big church and out to brunch.  I went to class a couple of times but it was really tough.  You can feel the snub and know it is best just to keep a low profile with some people.  During this time we were attending church here every chance and time we came up this way and after we joined I jumped in with both feet going to SS and joined choir.  Haggai is calling me to consider other ways I have neglected His ways and life.  It is easy to have an ongoing conversation with Him here because of the beauty and wonders of creation.  I mean when you come out of Target and the view is breathtaking, how can you not praise Him!  I realize that several years of neglect takes it toll but you don't seem to notice it when you are there.  So, this detour of living in the mountains, saved me even more than just my health, it has restored my spiritual health.  We should have looked harder for a local church in Rancho de Five.  We both do better in a smaller church environment because it keeps me from living in cynical land and it keeps Roy more involved because he loves to serve and he is not counting amazings in a church service.  The things that have bugged us would be any big church, especially when you know  too much of the back story, but this is what comes with mega but a lot of really good things come with mega as well. For those things we are ever thankful for First Baptist.  It's great to have a pastor with a pastor's heart and just so happens to have great leadership skills.  He doesn't refer to himself as the leader which is what happens when you need a CEO/pastor role because of size of church.  His points aren't tweet-able and limited to 140 spaces.  There are lay people filling in different roles here because they love the Lord, they see the need and they aren't looking to launch a personal ministry and they love what they are doing.  It restores my soul.  A smaller church is concerned with the ends of the earth but works so hard in their Judea, right where we live but that also includes the greater weird Asheville vicinity.  In retrospect we were wrong, I was wrong to hang onto First Baptist when clearly we were done, actually Roy was done.  I didn't want to be done though.  It has been an interesting prayer conversation with Him...I've been doing a lot of listening and because of that listening, the result will be a lot of serving.  So, I need to quit doing comparisons all the time mentally between the past and now.  I know that every church or every ministry has issues, I am not that naive but I'm thankful for the wonderful detour through the mountains and valleys of NC.  I'm thankful for making new friends and I'm thankful for my long time friends.  Blessed by the name of the Lord.

This detour was necessary.  It is life saving!  Life is springing out of this dull and dead soul, each day is new complete with those new compassions and mercies every morning.  I'm glad I didn't get pulled too soon when there is a lot of life left in me and a lot of heart to serve the Lord. Psalm 92:14-15

  "The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road.  The life-maps of God are right, showing their way to joy." Psalm 19:7-8 MSG

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Happy Sunday All the Way Around

It is a little after 8:00 pm on Sunday night.  It's the birds and the bees and me.  The steady hum of the bees becomes background noise after a while.  These are bumble bees and they pretty much keep to themselves and don't even come near people.  Our porch remodel is delayed a little longer than we like but we understand the circumstances and the busyness of our contractor.  I have finally found the definitive book on backyard birds and I found it at Tractor Supply.  They carry more than tractor needs.  There is a whole new way of thinking about these birds and how territorial they are and how to help them get along at the bird feeders.  I got a finch feeder and filled it with what they like that way the big birds can't run them off because the big birds can't fit on the little tiny feeder.  The robins have discovered the new bird bath and are quite comical when testing it out.  They hop all around the circle of it and stop every so often and take a drink, then hop a little more and take a drink.  Now when they get into the water they have a much bigger space to play and cool off.

Today is Mother's Day and I have thought so often of my mom today.  I miss her and I wish I had been a better daughter to her.  I have more of an understanding of what her life was like with my father when her full attention wasn't directed at him.  I don't think she knew what she had signed up for with him.  Today at church our pastor came into our class and personally handed out to us, each one of us whether we be a mom or not, a gift for us.  I asked the lady next to me if I should take it and she was like, yes honey, of course you should.  I remember one year at First the Mother's Day memento was to go to ONLY mothers.  Of course who needs another book of devotions or junk like that?  Today's gift can totally be used.  It is a small zip bag for change or lipstick or things like that.  Also included was a small pack of scripture memory cards.  Not too long of verses but just right.  This Sunday also begins donations for the crisis pregnancy center here and we were given baby bottles to fill with change, dollars or checks until Father's Day.  Outstanding idea of how to keep them in mind every day.

Instead of going to out to lunch today, I came on home and grabbed lunch here and then ventured out.  I had planned on going to the Rivers Art District for the art stroll but we are experiencing warmer temps and it was just too dang hot for that.  I had a pleasant surprise on my return trip to Whole Foods.  I am getting low on two essential oils.  They only had one and they ordered the other one for me.  They even gave me a carton of peeled oranges for Mother's Day and even the customers seemed nicer than what they were last week.  Since it is Mother's Day there isn't choir practice tonight.  I was able to get out the rest of my flowers in the back.  Whew, I got really hot putting them out.  So now, I am cooling off and watching the sky turn to dusk out here on the front porch with the hum of the bees and the chirping and songs of the birds.  The cows have moved back across the far end of their pasture.  I just now noticed a neighbor across the way has built a new barn.  I'm looking at my hydrangeas and I need to pull out the dead stems.  Well, the street light has come on, so I am going inside.  Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Nah, Nah, Nah...Bat Vent!

We are experiencing the foggy morning after an evening of rain.  It was a pop up kind of shower complete with lightning and a rainbow or two.  We needed the rain and would gladly accept more.  I felt like I did my part by watering the apple trees early, thus knowing the rain would come.  I almost had my car washed yesterday but I'm glad I didn't.  Yesterday, I got out and about to just wander the countryside.  I came home with a heart shaped companion piece to our dishes and a rain gauge that I didn't get set up before the rain.  Also coming home with me tomatoes from Charleston and SC strawberries.  I'm going to freeze the strawberries for later use but they are really good.

It was such a treat to have supper with the Bill and Vivian last night.  We had hamburgers that were out of this world delicious.  Vivian made an egg custard pie that was awesome.  These friends are spoiling me but I'm not complaining at all.  We did all the fun things, sit on the porch, eat dinner, visit and laugh.  Yep, that completes a pretty fun evening in my books.  I also tried Red Rock Ginger Ale.  Oh my goodness, it is strong and ginger-y and if you inhale while you're drinking, it takes your breath away.  Insert song here.  When I told Roy about it, he said, it's kind of like kissing me isn't it, takes your breath away.  Oh my, ever the romantic one and on topic me is thinking, I'm talking about ginger ale here.  At least I just thought it.

It was a joy to see the return of the goldfinches at the bird feeder after loosing one of their own.  I went back to the Outdoor Bird Store and got the bird bath that attaches to a railing.  Now they don't have to go too far to get a drink of water after a nutritious meal of birdseed.  

I shared this little event on FB this morning and it bears repeating because it is just dang funny even at my expense.  I very rarely anymore sleep on my stomach even though it would be my sleep position of choice.  This morning as the night gave way to day, there in the semi light in our room I awoke and I was sleeping on my stomach.  As I turned to sleep on my side, I looked up and there on the ceiling was a dark object and I immediately think, oh my goodness, a bat got into the house.  With lightning quick moves, ok that part is embellished, I tried to get up and get out of the bedroom.  Only problem, when I sleep on my stomach I eventually bring my hands up and under my shoulders in a fist form.  So, they are asleep and there is no control because I can't feel a thing.  I am a wailing and a flaying at the air and in the process beating myself up badly...I am thinking stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself.  With the return of feeling to my hands, I look up to see if I have scared the bat any...only to realize, it is not a bat but the air vent over our bed.  I also put on my glasses to make the confirmation.  Yes, truly it was the vent...nothing to see here...move along.  So I did, I turned over and went back to sleep.  All the excitement must have worn me out because I slept till 8:30.

On Thursday I made the daring trek down our road and across our yard.  Now many are thinking, so what?  People do that everyday.  Well, this people hasn't in a long time.  One of the apple trees is not getting as much water as the other one, so I switched the hoses.  I must have looked like a granny out there with my hiking stick.  Roy said, you need to use two of those and I would have but one of those sticks was having a major malfunction and I didn't want to be the poster child of 'help I've fallen and I can't get up.'  One tree has little apple buds on it.  The cherry tree is also sprouting fruit but Mike the Mower Man said I would have to sleep under the tree to get to the fruit before the birds.  Besides, the ants would probably get to me there on the ground and carry me off piece by piece.

The rug for the living room came on Thursday.  Truthfully putting down the rug pad was harder than the rug.  I must be in my amber/brick red phase for floor coverings, look at me talking like a designer, because both rugs, the one for the living room and the one for the front room are both those colors.  Now I can go see about finding another chair for the living room and also finding one for our bedroom and the bonus room.

The day awaits.  Going to put my hair up in a tiny ponytail and get to work always being ever vigilant for disguised bats.  Maybe I should make a visit to Bat Cave road off of I 26 this week.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

On Watch-Birds, Beauty and Bounty

This morning I am waiting for the call...from the courier that is delivering the rug I ordered for the living room.  So while I am waiting I thought I would write about yesterday, the sad and the glad.

It might be a while before any goldfinches return to our backyard because they lost one of their beloved members yesterday.  I was sitting here at the desk when I heard the familiar bang noise that means a bird has flown into a window.  It was a loud noise so I felt sure it wasn't a good outcome for the bird.  Hesitant to look, I saw a female goldfinch lying on the ground not moving.  I tried to talk myself into thinking it was just a piece of mulch that looked like a dead bird but in my heart I knew the truth.  I went outside and verified that it was a bird and then I did something I have not done before, I prepared to bury it.  In Rancho De Five if a dove hit the window and broke it's neck, we just kind of flipped it over the fence onto the green space.  But, this little bird here in the mountains had brought so much joy these past few weeks, the right thing to do was bury it where those stupid ants couldn't tear it apart piece by piece.  Maybe I looked like a natural mountain woman, cause I dug the grave with curlers in my hair.  I gently scooted the bird onto the shovel and it was face up.  I looked at its face and little bird feet, and maybe a tear rolled down my cheek.  I gently placed her in the hole I dug and said a few words out loud thanking God for His beautiful creation and I might have added a little joke to the ceremony telling any birds in the trees that were listening, His eye is on the sparrow, not the goldfinch...tough luck and then I covered her and placed a stone on her resting place. The male cardinal sat in a branch of a tree to the left of me and sang the whole time I was taking care of little Goldie and when I finished, he finished his song.  It broke my heart to watch the male goldfinch flitting around the yard looking for her.  I hope they come back because they are such beautiful birds.  As soon as the rug is delivered I am going to go get decals for the window to keep this from happening again.

Once all those details had been taken care of, I was back into the house to finish getting ready because Vivian and I were going to The Pretty Place.  No, not a spa or hair salon but the most beautiful open air chapel you will ever see.  It is a little past Brevard and you're actually right at the South and North Carolina state lines.  First of all the drive there was beautiful and I saw a few pottery shops that I will need to take Kathleen to when she visits and I also saw a produce stand that I follow on Facebook.  Vivian and I had such a great time on the ride up there and as we neared the spot, she asked me not to look out on the right side so I would fully feel the impact of visiting for the first time. I think she thought I peeked but I told her I was looking at the wild azaleas and I really was.  If you see orange azaleas around here, they are wild azaleas.  The only other time I had seen the orange ones was when Dena and I were in Blowing Rock at a garden cafe.  I don't know how they got a wild azalea.  We pull up to the chapel and walk!  You can hardly believe your eyes and you know you are on holy ground.  Now some people didn't quite think that, but you could tell that most knew.  There are scriptures and wise sayings throughout the chapel...but no windows.  It was a bit hazy but that added to the majesty of the moment.  Vivian has been there in all the seasons, rain or shine and she says it is beautiful no matter the season and she is right.  Of course I am no expert only being there once but...I am sure this will be a return trip.  A father and daughter were sitting in the pews having a 'how is life' talk.  An employee of the Y Camp where the Pretty Place is situated interviewed a prospective employee telling him the history of the place.  That was a bonus for sure as I eavesdropped.  We stopped at a Asian Buffet on the way home.! It was huge and the food was awesome!  Even had some southern comfort food and tons of desserts.  I had the banana pudding and ice cream with sprinkles, because sprinkles are for winners.  This will be a return trip especially when I told Roy about the boiled shrimp.  Vivian then took me where she and Bill ca'mp when they want to get away from it all.  A beautiful and peaceful place.  We saw fly fishermen in the river trying their hand at catching a trout.  Then we headed back toward home.  I learned what ramps are.  Not a freeway ramp or not the catchy phrase that was in vogue a couple of years know 'ramp up' ramps are a wild mountain onion and if you want friends and family nearby, don't eat ramps.  They invade every pore of your being.  Vivian said you can't stand to be in a car or close places with a ramp eater.  So I will stay away from ramps.

There are so many more places on my list to visit and see.  There is so much!  I checked on Goldie's spot when I got home yesterday and the stone was not rolled away, nor was I thinking it would be but when robins see turned up ground, they are all over it looking for worms.  So today, while I wait, I am also on chipmunk and ground hog duty, although I have kind of given up on an all out watch.  

Monday, May 4, 2015

Joy and Wonder and The Usual

The warmth of the day is quickly turning into the cooler temperatures of evening even with a little more than an hour and a half of daylight left.  This is the first morning that the warmth could be felt in the morning instead of the chill that will give way somewhat to the sun.  I sat out on the front porch for a bit and listened to the chirps of new little birds, blue birds actually, coming from the bird house affixed to one of the porch support beams.  I was able to snap a quick picture of mom and dad resting for a moment on the fence before they get back to bringing dinner to the demanding chirping family.  The cows across the way have been a little more vocal this evening but not the sad cry of mama cow crying for its baby but just regular cow talk.  I can watch those cows traverse the pasture and how they almost have this movement down to precise time.

It almost feels like I am beginning to have a routine or pattern to life.  Of course there are those little things that need to be taken care of around here but for the most part, the house is settled in.  Coming to this routine comes at the appropriate time when I have been reading about the holy, the profound and the ordinary.  Many authors agree we miss God's hand in the ordinary.  We can see the holy and we know profound, but the mundane and repeated motions can lose the wonder and joy.  I am still overwhelmed to see the mountains when I come out of Target or Walz-Mart.  This past week the trees and grass have greened up tremendously.  Today while bringing back the trash bin up the hill and down the driveway, the scent of rain intertwined with the fragrance of cut grass.  Ragweed is in bloom and the fields along so many roads are filled with that beauty.  Although, I can think it is so beautiful because I am not allergic to ragweed.

This morning I was up early, dressed and ready to hit the road when I decided to just take time to get things done before leaving.  Since I was going by the way of the Post Office, I paid bills and then ate a leisurely breakfast.  Vivian called to report wonderful results from the essential oils I made up for her.  I learned the recipe from Belinda and now several more in Sunday School would like to give it a try.  So that was one of my errands today, a trip over to Whole Foods but I started at Barnes and Noble because I had 20% off coupons.  Then I drove over to Antique Tobacco Warehouse just to stroll through.  And that is just what I did stroll and did not buy.  I observed when I got really interested in a particular section and I would move things around, this one couple would stand nearby and as soon as I moved along, they would go through the same area where I had just been.  Then they would follow me till I found something else to go through and they'd wait and be ready to jump in when I moved on.  So, being mischievous I started going through things on a much quicker pace just to see if they could keep up.  I left them in antique dust.  Then I went to Whole Foods.  Just like all choir lofts seem to be hot, all Whole Foods have a rude and entitled clientele. It must make one cranky to eat organic and healthy and be politically correct all the time. One lady in particular who came up after I was in front of the essential oils moved my cart and then grunted, yes grunted, at me to move.  I don't believe anyone has ever grunted at me in a grocery store.  She was wearing organic cotton sweatpants and an equally "green" cotton top and she wore Toms.  I wanted to say, guess what, I drive a gas guzzler and have only recently become more concerned with my carbon footprint but haven't quite done enough about things.  I'm not proficient in the grunting language.  People ran into me with their carts and cut in front of me all while being organic and mindful of the planet.  Then it came to me as I began to remember Pastor Jeff's sermon yesterday...oh, yea, these people don't know about the narrow gate.  I need to reflect Jesus to them but on the inside I really wanted to act out...thankfully, I took the high road and the better path where there is fullness of joy.  And I know that even when I have plenty of oil and supplies, I will go there because I am lazy.  They have peeled and cut oranges...none of those little white strings or anything on them.  Yes, I can be a dilettante.  After being lectured by the clerk because I didn't bring my own bag and I had the audacity to want a paper bag, I ran a couple more errands, one of which was going to the regular and normal grocery store.  You know where "good people" shop and buy Diet Cokes.

Choir was so good last night.  For the obvious reason of worshiping God and for friends to cut up with.  When the three altos that happened to be the whole section for the first part of practice were accused of being non social, I blurt out we had put ourselves into time out cause we knew we were going to talk.  Afterwards, Velda, Lois and I gave each other friendly hard times and I accused them of hazing because no one told the new girl to park up in front of the church.  I was parked up on a hill far away.  We were laughing with that deep gut laughter and I so welcomed it.  You can only crack yourself up so many times before your observations don't make you laugh anymore.

Because of the cool, because of friendships, because my eyes and heart have been opened to how little I was living these past few years, I am experiencing the wonder and joy in the ordinary.  I love the slower pace and the simplicity of church, the simplicity of life and renewed joy of serving.  I find myself praying all throughout the day in the quiet of home and in the coming and goings on the roads.   The beauty of creation and the joy of nature, this is my Father's world.  Now if He could discourage the ground hog from hanging out in our backyard, I would be most appreciative.  I learned that a wood chuck and a ground hog are the same thing...  Oh and not that this has anything to do with ground hogs, but I met my neighbor yesterday that lives up the road a bit.  Very nice and enjoyed our conversation.  I was walking up the road after taking the trash bin down for Monday morning pick up last night before choir.

Well, that's all there is for now.  I believe I am going to eat some salad with a side of ham and settle into the evening.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sa-far-i-way, Doesn't Anybody Stay in Once Place Anymore

Hmm...I am feeling a little more rested after a refreshing Sunday afternoon nap.  And it's not like I didn't go to bed earlier last night and wake up having a full nine hours sleep.  Ah, it is all this fresh air, hill climbing and stair stepping.

It was an exciting Sunday morning.  I love my Sunday School class and I look forward to seeing everyone.  Some of those who have been out with health issues were back in class this morning and although I don't know them, I feel like I do because we have been praying for them.  The choir number was an especially fun and deeply meaningful song and we and the congregation were before the throne singing Lord, You're Holy!  Hearing about the trip to Brooklyn Tab from Pastor Jeff and his sermon on the narrow and wide gate....well, it was a very good morning at Newfound Baptist Church.  I love prayer time during the service as we voice our prayers and thanksgiving out loud or sometimes in the quietness of our hearts.

Yesterday, I enjoyed the Weaverville Art Safari.  I went to two studios and thoroughly enjoyed visiting with them and I brought home some of their handiwork.  Seeing their studios and the two I picked were up in the mountains or thick in the middle of the forest was a delight to the senses.  I didn't even think to take a couple of pictures of the scenery.  Learned a few new roads too.  The day started with breakfast at Turkey Creek Cafe, so that means it was a good start to the day.  Then there were trips to The Fresh Market and the Outdoor Bird store.  I think I have found a birdbath and it attaches to the railing on a deck.  It is easier to keep clean.  Birds are a very messy bunch, beautiful but messy.  About the time I was going to text Vivian to see what she was doing, she texted me to ask the same.  She came over later in the afternoon and we enjoyed sitting on the front porch sipping blood orange juice.  If you ever see a bottle of it in the store, get some.  You won't go wrong.  Supper was served out on the back deck, the chef salad was particularly good as the ice tea.  My dining companions in the back are birds and bunnies while dining companions on the front porch are birds and cows.  Variety is the spice of life.

Meanwhile in Katy, the pilot light on the water heater went out, so a cold shower is not what Roy had in mind before going to Bible study.  The A/C people came at 11:00 to replace the evaporation coil and thankfully, it was still under warranty, so we only had to pay labor.  That was costly but not as much as buying a new coil and bonus, they were able to relight the pilot light, so Roy was able to cancel the plumber.  We admit it, we are not handy dandy and have to outsource a lot of things.  It's good for the economy is our way of thinking.  I reminded Roy his life is way more important to me than a Saturday extra charge by a plumber.

Nothing clears out a bird feeder like a woodpecker.  Just thought y'all might like to know that little bit of trivia.  Also, since all my books are rearranged differently than they were in Rancho De Five, I can't find a particular book that I saved to read once I got here.  It's around here somewhere and it will be a great surprise when I stumble upon it.  Here is another bit of trivia, if you are in NC and someone offers you strawberry cobbler, say yes please.  I discovered this goody last year about this time and had some today at Turkey Creek.

After putting together several tables and moving them upstairs I am garnering the strength to carry a bench that I bought this afternoon at the little store across from Turkey Creek.  It will be perfect at the end of our bed.  Even the cushion they had on it came with it and it was all a really good price.  I love that store.

It has come to that time in the week where I gather up the trash and take it down to the road and it literally is down the driveway, then back up.  The last two weeks it was rainy, so I just put the trash in a big bag but since the weather is so nice today, I'm rolling, rolling on the driveway the trash container.  Which means tomorrow I will be push it, push it real good up the driveway.  Can't believe I referenced that song when I am so tired of that commercial.

As always, thanks for reading.  

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Place For This and More Work on That

The backyard looks like a wedding recessional has taken place with petals from the dogwood tree strewn all around.  We had a good bit of wind but not much rain yesterday.  Other local areas had trees down and wind damage.  The little birds have taken to the new tube feeder out back and there seems to be quite the crowd.  Guess word has got out there is good grub to be had.  I saw my first indigo bunting bird yesterday.  A darker blue than the blue bird.  I also saw my first ground hog on the property yesterday.  They like wooded or forested areas, so they live off that back gravel road but this one came into our space to eat a few greens.  I don't mind the chipmunks too much, but a ground hog?  I had to scare him away with me being in the friendly confines of the living room by tapping on the window.  From the reading I have done, they are an impossible guest to keep away.  When I told Mike the mower man yesterday about the ground hog and added I was going to buy that repellent, he gave me that look like, poor dumb city girl, it ain't going to work.

Speaking of Mike the mower man, he was here setting up the hose and splitter for the apple trees.  I told him I would go get more water hoses so he could take his back and he replied, they are just sitting in my yard, not being used.  Please, use them to help the trees.  That is really nice of him.

I went back to Waynesville yesterday to pick up the table I found last week.  After moving that PB desk upstairs on Wednesday, I knew I could get that table in the house.  They hadn't had any deliveries over this way and I was ready to get the table all set up.  Besides, it doesn't take too much encouragement for me to go there.  I love Mast General Store and Blue Ridge Books in the downtown area and love the Hazelwood shopping district.  When Barber's Orchard opens back up in August, it won't take any encouragement to go over that way.  On the way back home I drove over to Weaverville, there will be a ville test at the end of this blog post, to get a map for the Art Safari this weekend.  Different artists in every medium, open up their studios for us to come in and see where their work is done and hopefully maybe a purchase or two will be made.  Thankfully, I found a great parking spot on Main Street close to everything.  Parking can be difficult in Weaverville.  I stopped in at Mia's Gallery, Well Bread Bakery and The Shop Around the Corner.  I have always wanted to stop in the around the corner shop and so yesterday was the day.  Very cute things.  The owner Karen, is so nice and we had a great conversation on what to do with old books.  She had been given tons of sheet music and old hymnals by a friend and she was trying to think of ways to use them in her shop.  She had made a paper chain, like the kind we made with construction paper when we were kids, of sheet music.  It was so charming and I had no clue what I was going to do with it but that reveal came later in the day.  She had also taken pages out of the hymnals and rolled them up with the title showing and then tied them with decorative twine and added a little feather to it.  She had taken an old Styrofoam wig head and glued strips of music to cover the entire head and she added to this, "Ever get a song stuck in your head?"  That was so creative and it was so not for sale as it added to the decor of the store.  Her store also rents vintage pieces for weddings and events.  That is kind of a neat deal.  We bonded over books and paper but soon we learned we are also sisters in Christ.  That is always encouraging.

The other day I finally decided to take the time and clean out the 1400 emails I had on my phone.  Mainly it was junk or emails I think I need to keep when it comes to the Ander House and the prairie house.  There were a few sentimental emails to be kept and then there were those emails that had angered or hurt me in the past and just in case I wanted to re-think the whole scenario, I kept the emails for such a thing as this.  Now, that my friends, is really stupid.  So those emails went to the trash folder and then permanently deleted file.  I wish it was that easy with our mind and emotions but ridding my phone and life of their presence is a good beginning.

The backyard is just one big flash of colors.  These birds fly so fast and move and dart with the greatest of ease.  The yellow, red and blue shades of bird are the most spectacular in color as they move and glide about or fight at the feeders.  Birds are no different than us sometimes.  They think someone is getting what is rightfully theirs, so they bully them or they fly off in fear before any bullying can start.  The littlest birds are the feistiest birds.

I read an interesting article this morning about reporters and the NFL.  The NFL is not happy when a reporter scoops a draft selection by a team and tweets it out before the announcement is made from the stage.  It was likened that the reporters that follow these directives are no longer reporters but part of the marketing dept for the NFL.  Interesting comparison. I have thought that a lot about mega churches, that the thought process of information is handled more like commercial marketing than church information.  I realize that much of this happens because of the size of the church membership and not everyone would get the announcement.  It is easier to use terms or phrases that become part of the vernacular.  At the time First Baptist began to refer to the original campus as The Loop it felt kind of insulting that instead of just saying, we need to designate the different campuses by name, it was just fed to us over and over and over again and now I have a good chuckle about it and my poor attitude.  Marketing!  Like I mentioned it is probably due to size of church membership and the marketing background of staff members.  I know smaller churches have issues and the like that big churches don't have, but I am enjoying attending a smaller church yet one that is so mission minded and desiring God to take us to the next level.  It's exciting. It was decided to change the name of Wednesday night services, so they announced this is the name change and why we are changing the name to reflect our hearts and requests to God for revival.   And there you have it.  Keeps me from visiting cynical land and I'm thankful for the work God does in me to make sure I don't become a resident there in cynical land because I used to be an outstanding citizen of that land.

The lovely sheet music paper chain that I mentioned earlier found a home on the model train bridge that I bought at Antique Tobacco Warehouse.  Then I added an old hymnal and a My First Music Book from the early 1900's in the bridge with the paper chain around them.  Looks pretty good.  The library card catalog drawers have been purchased in Katy and in Asheville.  Thought it was a nice touch to the room.  I am a fan of anything that looks like a library.  I put the stationers cabinet on the top of the table and the little lamp made out of an English tea can on top of it.  It's become my favorite room, right now.  It changes daily.  I ordered a rug for the living room yesterday.  Once it arrives, then I can decide on a chair for the room.  I am having a lot of fun with all of this.

Well as usual, there is work awaiting.  Time to vacuum and continue finding a place for things and of course always, there is time to watch the birds.