Thursday, June 30, 2011

Crisp Morning

We were pleasantly surprised by the temperature this morning when we opened the door to let Max out on the porch at 6:30......a comfortable crisp fifty-seven degrees.   Great temperature for our morning mountain walk.

Mark will be heading our way from Missouri after work today to spend the long weekend with us.  He's registered to run The Firecracker 10K Race Saturday morning here in Murphy.  We plan on watching white water rafting and kayaking at the Ocoee Gorge in TN, take in some fireworks displays, and whatever else he wants to do while he's here.

And on a more intellectual level...............

 I have been trying to outdo the squirrels from eating all my bird seeds.  Assuming I have a more complex brain than those lesser cranial varmints, I keep concocting new ways to deter them from reaching the feeders.  The latest is a thin but strong-gauge wire strung between two trees far enough apart that the squirrels can't jump from the tree trunk to the feeders.  Prematurely and with confidence, I  bragged to Cliff that I had found a way to outsmart them.  The wire is too thin and not taut enough for them to balance like a tight-rope circus act. No matter how many times the squirrels attempted to reach the feeders but fell to the ground, they got up and tried over and over.  I watched them stretch and calculate the distance.   He said snickered and told me to wait and see.   A few days went by without any squirrels reaching the feeders.  Then he stood at the porch rail and watched a squirrel manipulate its little body like a cirque du soleil performer right past the plastic dome and tin pie plate to its target.  I am defeated.........for now.  When I'm home, I keep a loaded water hose with a powerful nozzle on the porch and blast the intruders as they sit in the trees or try to approach the feeders.   Plan B.  Put the feeders on the top of metal pipes and wrap the pipes with barbed wire.  Or maybe I'll get a cat! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Things are not always as they seem.  I usually share only what I want you to see but tonight......the truth. 

 Straight and crookneck squash still thriving.  Evidently the leaves do not appeal to insect nor beast.

 Tomato plants are as tall as I am.  I pinched the plants earlier in their youth so the energy would be in the flowers and tomatoes but the plants keep growing taller. 
Used pellets when the beer didn't work and that seemed to stop the snails and slugs.  I made a miso soup and a kielbasi soup last week with the first harvesting of cabbage.  Have six red cabbage left.

 Out of 30 corn stalks, I only have 6 thriving.  Some little varmint is chomping them when I turn my back.

I think the bunnies are staying up late and visiting the garden in the dark.  
 sweet potato before
 sweet potato after
Not sure if this was a bunny nibble or a deer salad.

These used to be green and yellow beans.  Guess we'll be buying frozen beans at Ingles this fall.
fresh beets

Things that are accidents, discarded or neglected plants, and volunteer plants grow the best.  A few weeks ago the bag of beans was damp and the beans fell out into the pile of mushroom mulch which is in the shade.  I ignored them and tended to the garden.  These beans are thriving and as of this afternoon, still had leaves.  The night creatures and the insects haven't devoured the tender plants yet.  Maybe I will have a few beans.

Friday, June 24, 2011

We've been picking small summer squash because we prefer their texture and taste over the larger grainier ones.  After I marinated the half chickens and sliced squash in olive oil, fresh rosemary, and fresh thyme sprigs, Cliff said he'd grill for me.  We checked the chicken and it needed a few more minutes.  Squash was grilling nicely.  Cliff put the hood back down on the grill and came into the house.  Where's a good fireman when you need one?

When I went back out a few minutes later to recheck the chicken, flames were coming up from the drip pan, out the sides of the grill, and black smoke fill the back porch.  I think the chicken was done.
white and sweet potatoes?
chicken's ready!
 Notice what superman has on the right side of the grill for his fire extinguisher.

We peeled all the burned skin off the chicken halves and ate the meal.  Actually, the potatoes were very good, very done, but very good.  We shouldn't die of cancer after just one charred meal.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mountain mornings are foggy and warm now but we still turn off the A/C and open doors and windows when we get up.  Our temperature was 63 degrees at 6 AM but some places around Chattanooga, TN (where we get our news) stayed around 76 all night.

Last week I dropped by Twice Upon a Time to see if Shakespeare was sleeping among the books in the front window of the store or greeting customers with his skinny tail erect as a flagpole.  I found bookcases nearly emptied, boxes of merchandise staged by the door, and anything left on shelves or the counter was marked down for quick sale.   The owner opened this store about the same time we purchased our home in 2007, but with the popularity of e-books and kindle, the store struggled to keep up with the times.  For months the possibility of closing the doors haunted her.  The owner told me that she enjoyed the smell of new books as she unpacked orders and displayed them at the front of the shop, book reviews and customer conversation when they brought used books in for credit toward more books, and happy chatter from children when they headed into their book room.  Shakespeare now resides with her at home and probably wonders where all his friends have gone.

Another local business is closing its door due to the poor economy.  Grant Furniture is selling its inventory for half-price.  Last week we drove out to Marble after our almost-newly-retired friends, Pat and Larry, noticed the "going-out-of-business" sign on this family run business.  Pat and Larry recently purchased their retirement home in Marble and will homestead there as of their July retirement.  The two pieces I bought will give me more storage space.  Not sure how I want to finish them so I've been researching online and still have many months of good weather hurry. 
Maxine immediately inspected this unit for mice.  I'll be able to store my sewing projects and shoe boxes full of important "stuff" on these shelves.  In the winter, a few plants will enjoy the sun from this southern window.

Right now this piece is in the kitchen hiding stacks of recipe collections and other clutter that sat on the butcher block island making it impossible to knead bread or roll pie crusts.  I spent more time relocating projects and recipes to another spot so I could use the island whenever I wanted to cook.  We'll see how long it takes before I clutter up the island again.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day baby

  Grammy Cunha holding her first grandbaby.

Proud new father

Colby is Jill and Matthew's first baby and how exciting  for the family to experience this event on Father's Day.  Welcome little Colby Matthew Cunha.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


To make our closing for the Deltona house easier, Cliff bought a scanner which allowed us to process paperwork from here.  Now I have this new electronic gadget to play with and use for my blog.  I had a few more photos in mind to post but can't locate them at this time.  I'll come across them someday when I'm not looking for them.  These are some of my favorites. 

 HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all the wonderful caring men in our lives. 

 Dad sitting on the kitchen porch on Riverview Street

He spent many hours trimming bushes, clipping overgrown shrubs, keeping our homestead neat and trim.  When he wasn't outside gardening, you could find him in the cellar putting his tools in order, wrapping pieces of string, or sorting nails into little glass jars.  When we were kids, we would "go down cellar and bang." Dad had a box of old wood scraps that we were allowed to make things with and had specific tools we could use.  But like kids do, I didn't listen, don't remember if Chip and Retta behaved better, and I used any tools I wanted.  He always found out because his tools were placed in exact locations where he penciled the outline and I didn't place them in their assigned spots.  Eventually, he built a cabinet where he could secure the tools that were off limits. Happy Father's Day, Dad.  I know you're still watching your children.

Michael and Mike, Jr in the summer of 1997 in my parents' yard.  Happy Father's Day, Michael. 

Richard, Carolyn, John.........Chris and Matthew in Deltona, FL.  Happy Father's Day, John.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I named her Fawn Doe, instead of Fondue or Jane Doe.  The loan officer who is processing our new mortgage at our bank is Fawn Peacock so I figured a real fawn can be named Fawn.  The shots are a little blurry because the lens was focusing through the bathroom screen.  Fawn shows up daily.  These pictures  are from Friday morning.  She was nibbling on the wild blackberries that grow everywhere here.  Pat and Larry had burgers on the grill with us late Thursday afternoon and we sat out on the porch until dark waiting to see her.  She was probably out there incognito.  This morning when we went out to go to breakfast she was eating tender leaves at the path to the garden.  She let us talk to her then she turned and walked into the woods. 

We began our new mortgage process (on this house) last Monday, had the appraiser come to the house Tuesday, and we're hoping for a closing this Friday.  Our mortgage payments will be 1/3 of what we've been paying since 2007.  Only one house to insure, pay taxes on, and be free of hurricane worries every June through November.  What a relief.

Friday, June 10, 2011

House Closing

At 2:14 PM our Realtor called us with the good news that the closing is complete and 2521 Candlewick now has new owners.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Last Saturday when I called the Cherokee County Courthouse for jury duty instructions, the reporting date had been changed from Monday to Tuesday, for whatever reasons.   Years ago when I served in Florida, everyone reported to a holding room each day, (I never saw the courtroom), where we sat not knowing whether we were needed or not, then finally released on our third day. So not knowing how the day was going to go, I brought a new book to start and a half-dozen sudokus printed from a puzzle site, and my black erasable pen.  This Tuesday I reported directly into the Superior Courtroom and by 11 the jury selection was in process.  I sat next to the judge's chamber door where the bailiff  announced "All rise!"...........just like on Judge Judy.  There were about 40 people to select from to make up the jury for Wednesday's trial.  Jurors were selected randomly like a raffle drawing.  I had never seen this process and enjoyed watching both sides question the 12 jurors and one alternate.  By noon the jury had been chosen and everyone was released for the rest of the day.  I had to call the courthouse Wednesday evening for further instructions for the rest of the week.  Wednesday evening the remaining potential jurors were dismissed and we won't have to serve again for two years.  I was kind of disappointed not to be on Wednesday's jury.  It would have been interesting.

Tomorrow, Friday the 10th, by mid-afternoon if everything goes well, we will no longer be owners of Florida property.  It's not feasible to be long distance landlords.  Our Remax Realtor said this is one of the hardest sales he's had to work through in his 20 years.  Between our property manager, Total Realty, and our renters, there has been one road block after another deliberately delaying the process.  Our Remax Realtor, Lance McKinnon, sold our first house in Deltona when he first became a realtor and has survived all the economic turmoils in sales.  If it wasn't for his professionalism and constant contact with us, we'd still be struggling to get through this transaction.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Just spotted this deer outside our bedroom window which is the north side of the house.  It stayed for about 15 minutes and ate the lower level  leaves.

 As slowly and as quietly as I could, I tiptoed across the back porch with the camera already in zoom, to a spot where I could watch and snap some photos. 
 Then I went back into the house, made myself a salad for lunch, and brought the salad out to the porch to eat  while I just enjoyed watching the deer.
 By this time, the deer was grazing in a southerly direction.

It grazed on a few bean leaves, tasted the tomato leaves but didn't care for the flavor, nibbled its way through the sweet potatoes and down the hill toward the creek. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Richard Scarry

Google Doodle honors Richard Scarry today.  He was born in Boston in 1919 and authored many of my favorite children's books.  I loved his books because they were so full of details and well-known characters such as Huckle Cat, Sargent Murphy, and my favorite one-legged Lowly Worm.  Scarry's characters resided and  interacted in Busytown.  Each page was full of activity, primary colors, and happy busy characters with lessons on manners and behavior.  But, most of all, they were fun to read with children.

Lowly worm....where are you when I need you?!?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Friday Night Out

During the summer months, the John Campbell Folk School in Brasstown holds free concerts in their open barn.  They feature some local performers as well as booking many musicians from surrounding states. Last night we sat and enjoyed Curly Miller and his wife, Carol Ann Rose, as they performed their own style of great Hillbilly Fiddle music. Their banjos are 100 years old!!!

Old78s Groupphoto 580w
Curly Miller and Carole Anne Rose play "Extreme" pumped-up rowdy Old Time fiddle and clawhammer banjo, Hillbilly Fiddle Rags, Classic Banjo duets, Celtic, World, and historic music, featuring the duo's unique combination of talents.

The barn was full last night, even though the temperature was still high 80's at 7 PM.  Some listeners sat on the hay bales but most brought their own folding chairs and cold water. You couldn't help but tap your feet and pat your knees to the energetic beat of their music.  I noticed a few women were knitting while they listened to the performance.

inside the open barn

This morning I got on their homepage to read more about Curly and Carol.  They live on a beautiful 40-acre farm located at the headwaters of Sweden creek in the Ozark Mountains of northwestern Arkansas.  They grow certified organic log-grown shitake mushrooms and other edible herbs and flowers.  She is also a programmer and systems analyst and bought the old farmstead back in 1986.  They are truly amazing and talented people.  Check out their link to read about their homestead and their music. Fascinating.   

A truly relaxing and enjoyable evening.  On June 17 we'll return to the barn for The Blessed Blend, (Native American & Celtic music) our local Native American couple who share their love of drums, flute, dance, language and song and dance.