Saturday, December 12, 2009

What a cutie!

My my... what a handsome kitty!

Exploring the Appalachians

Joel and I really enjoy the mountains. So we decided to take trip to the mountains with our friends Ben and Christa. We stayed at a beautiful farm house and spent 3 days exploring the Appalachian Mountains. It doesn't get much better than that!

We found some grape Nehi at an old convenience store and it was oh-so-good!

Pilot Mountain

Looking down into the valley from Pilot Mountain.

Somehow Ben managed to stay out of most of my pictures except for this one. I wonder if that was on purpose...

We went to Mangum Pottery on Turkey Knob. They have beautiful bowls and a fabulous studio. It really made me miss my days of working in the studio for hours on end.

And it just isn't North Carolina without pottery and tobacco.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is Joel's favorite place to be.

Joel took this photo of Christa and this is the look he got. :-) I love it!

We visited with some beautiful and interesting alpacas. They are so soft and cute!

This is Mabry Mill in Virginia. My parents took us here several times when we were children and this was my first return visit as an adult. Everything was just as I remember it. I promise that I did not photoshop myself into this picture!

Here is the old farmhouse that we stayed in. It was so wonderful and had tons of antiques inside.

I'm not sure I've ever had a favorite wall before (except for Wall in Midsummer Night's Dream), but I just love this one. The combination of the old photograph and the crocheted wall hanging is beautiful.

Stone Mountain State Park seemed to be the hands-down winner of the trip. The sound of the creek flowing and running over the rocks is so soothing. And I can use soothing these days.

One of my favorite pictures.

Let me just tell you about this beaver. He wreaked havoc on an entire section of forest at Stone Mountain. Evidently, he had been stopped by the park rangers because there many half-chopped trees still standing. This one, however, did not fare so well.

I'm sure that he is terrifically proud of his handiwork. I think the addition of pine branches to his dam was a delightful finishing touch. It adds a bit of color.

And last of all, Stone Mountain itself. The picture says it all.

Friday, November 20, 2009

In the beginning

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth..." Genesis 1:1

I am always in awe of the beauty that God created. These are some photos I took from my kayak.

"For the beauty of the earth,
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies:
Christ our God, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the wonder of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flow'r,
Sun and moon, and stars of light:
Christ our God, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise."

words by Folliot S. Pierpoint, 1864

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Estate Sale-ing

One of my hobbies is estate sale-ing. On occasion, it is a very bad hobby to have. Mostly when you buy old, expensive furniture (or a dish set) for your house that already has way too much furniture in it. But the little things are the most fun. Like square, metal baking pans with metal lids, mini-muffin tins, scarves, and perfume that reminds you of your Grandmother...

Below is what I got at the most recent estate sale. We did this kind of puzzle in church when I was a child. They were not, however, puzzles of Little Bo Peep and company. I'm pretty sure they were all Biblical stories, but I fell in love with these immediately anyway!

Being the bibliophile that I am, I bought these two children's books. I read Petunia and it is absolutely adorable! This duck gets in a lot of trouble by thinking that she is wise when she is not. I haven't read the second book, but it looks great too.

My favorite thing to buy is kitchen supplies. I got this antique, hardly-used cookie gun for $4.
How much would that cost from Pampered Chef? Oh, wait a minute... That would be $29.50.

My bibliophilic tendencies also include cookbooks. Old ones to be precise. They use a greater variety of ingredients and it turns out that you can make a casserole without using Campell's Cream of Chicken Soup. :-) Since I have started my gluten-free, casein-free diet, the old cookbooks have been very helpful! How much for HUNDREDS of recipes? $5.

I love these bowls!! My mother-in-law has some and loves them. Now I have some too, for $5 total. This was a steal-I have seen these sell for much higher.

I love these old cake pans because instead of greasing and flouring the cake pan (which I hate to do), you just run the bar around the outside edge and voila, your cake pops out.

Did I mention something earlier in the post about buying old, expensive chairs? Well, here it is. I am in love with a chair.

I am keeping the price to myself on this one. It is classified information. I got a couple of other small things, but I have to save something for later!

Sunday, November 8, 2009


"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." Fried, sauteed, boiled,
and stewed. Okra lovers unite! It now comes in chip form from Fresh
Market. Lee Anne and I were quite pleased with our discovery.

By the way, that first line comes from Elizabeth Barrett Browning's
sonnet "How do I love thee."
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Supermarket in California

As the last post was about fruits and vegetables,
this poem seems more than apt. It is one of my

A Supermarket in California
What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for

I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache
self-conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went
into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families
shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the
avocados, babies in the tomatoes!--and you, Garcia Lorca, what
were you doing down by the watermelons?

I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber,
poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the
pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel?
I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans
following you, and followed in my imagination by the store
We strode down the open corridors together in our
solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen
delicacy, and never passing the cashier.

Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in
an hour. Which way does your beard point tonight?
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the
supermarket and feel absurd.)
Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The
trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we'll both be

Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love
past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher,
what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and
you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat
disappear on the black waters of Lethe?

Allen Ginsberg

Summertime bounty

When Joel and I got married, I was determined to plant some fruit bearing plants and vines. I grew up in the woods with not much opportunity to foster my love of growing things. The first three things I picked were blueberry bushes, a fig tree, and blackberry vines. Notice that there are no pictures of those blueberry bushes or that fig tree. They are still there; they just never did much. The blackberries, however, exceeded our expectations this year! What a blessing! This is just a sample of what we picked-we have bags and bags in the freezer, and they are so delicious in my green drinks.

The grape vines that Joel's dad planted around the time we got married also produced abundantly this year as well. We have GALLONS of them in the fridge to make jelly with this winter when it is too cold to be outside.

These beautiful purple sweet potatoes were grown by my mother-in-law's cousin in Stokes County. You can now buy them at Whole Foods in Cary. (And probably at their other locations, I just haven't been to those lately.) I roasted them... and it was kinda like eating green ketchup. Strange, but cool.

I got these beauties at the farmers' (or is it farmer's?) market. (It is more than one farmer, after all.) The peppers were a steal at 99 cents a piece. I wanted to try quinoa for the first time so I made up a pilaf recipe in my head. It was good.

The final product:

And here is the recipe for Summer Quinoa Pilaf:
3 bell peppers-i used red, purple, and yellow, chopped

1 med. zucchini chopped

1 onion chopped

1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken broth
Cook the quinoa in the chicken broth (cook just like rice)
Meanwhile, saute chopped veggies in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook them to desired tenderness. When both are finished cooking, combine and stir well.

I love good food.

How They Roll

Lua was being such a good girl when along came a cat...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Saint Francis and the Sow

My favorite book of poetry has to be 
A New Selected Poems
by Galway Kinnell.
He gave a poetry reading when I was a
student at Meredith. He was a funny,
dry-humored old man who obviously still
delighted in his own poetry. It was
evident in the way he read it, as though
it were alive. This is one of my favorites:

Saint Francis and the Sow

The bud
stands for all things,
even those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as St. Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and
beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.
Galway Kinnell

Monday, September 28, 2009

The three stooges

The three stooges...

Here is Lua Belle with her and Cleo's Christmas gifts... Cleo is a black lab who visits every now and then, so I'm sure you'll see pictures of Cleo eventually :-) I did make her share after I took the picture. Lua will be 6 years old in January 2010.

We got Lua from a woman who said she had rescued some Golden Retriever puppies. I'm no dog breeder, but one look told me she wasn't a Golden. She is a Lab/Bird dog mix.

Here is Obi-Wan Kenobi... We got him at Papa's farm after he fell asleep in my lap while Joel was hanging Christmas lights for Papa. We left for Papa's a family of 3 and came back with the fourth. He is 5 years old. Geez... time flies!

Obi-Wan rules the roost. He keeps the dog under control by taking over her bed whenever he wants to, regardless of whether she is currently using it or not.

And now for the newest addition!! His name is Jasper Cullen* ... He currently torments Obi-Wan and tries to outsmart Lua. He's so full of energy!

I need to take some more recent pictures of him. He is growing furiously! And purrs all the time. Live action shots to come later!

*okay, so Julie reminded me that Jasper's last name was not Cullen in the book. It was Hale. I can't decide whether I want to change his middle name to Hale, something else, or just leave it Cullen... decisions, decisions!