Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sunrise through the trees

We had a beautiful sunrise the other morning, and I grabbed my camera and stepped out on the porch to shoot this picture.


I have seen far more sunrises in my life than sunsets.

Sunsets always seem to catch me fixing supper – or just ‘settling in’ after a long day. Sunrises, are a different matter…………

I have always gotten up early. Growing up as the middle child and the 3rd girl, I was given the early “shift” in the bathroom on school mornings. I woke up at 5:45 am for most of my school years – getting up early enough to enjoy a cup of coffee (or coffee-milk) before taking my turn in the bathroom, showering and dressing for school.

This habit continued after I married Fred, who, for most years, would leave for work around 7am. And when the kids were little…..I would get out for a run around 5:30 or 6am (when the kids were a bit bigger, Fred would join me on these early morning runs). One of my favorite memories……rounding the corner, towards the end of our run…..and seeing the sun rise. Joy….exhilaration….and the feeling of the possibilities of the new day.

Old habits die hard, and, in retirement, we still find ourselves awake around 5:45 or 6 am. So……we get up, pre-dawn, and enjoy our coffee……on the porch in the warm weather, and, in cool weather, in front of the fire…. looking out the window at the start of a new day. This is one of our very favorite times, and a ritual that we look forward to each morning.

And as the sun rises, and the new day begins to take shape………there is that same feeling of joy…....and of possibility.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Thanks-giving 2010

This Thanksgiving, as our family was celebrating on the east coast, the west coast and places in-between…….I was struck by all that we have to be thankful for……..and in particular, all the people who have come into our lives and who have graciously shared their holidays and traditions with us, and with our kids.


This Thanksgiving, we celebrated with our son, Brian and fiancĂ©, Rebekah, and Rebekah’s family (Parents, Jim and Annette, and sisters, Rachel, Elizabeth and Mary Grace)


In Rebekah’s family, all of the kids help put together an antipasto platter to be served as a light lunch, with the traditional turkey, dressing and mashed potatoes (and, of course, green bean casserole – some things are universal : ) to be served for dinner. In the kitchen, from the left, are: Rebekah, Mary Grace, Elizabeth, Annette, and Jim.


Mary Grace eagerly awaits the antipasto (Italian for “before the meal”) which is the traditional first course of a formal Italian meal. This tradition comes from Annette’s family. Along with the antipasto, we had a baked brie and crackers. We brought some pimento-cheese spread to share (recipe from Southern Living) as well as cornbread dressing.

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In this photo: Rachael and Elizabeth await dinner.

I am also very thankful for this new age of communication, with emailing, digital photos, etc. which helps us stay connected even when we can not all be together.

Phoenix Thanksgiving 2010

Our daughter, Sarah and boyfriend, Jason stayed in Phoenix, AZ, (feeling extremely thankful for Sarah’s new accounting job) and celebrated Thanksgiving with Jason’s parents, Jim and Becky (and Sarah’s dog Lucky). Sarah and Jason helped out with the cooking, bringing the green bean cassarole.

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From left: Jason, Sarah, and Becky – I noticed that they are having Becky’s traditional pumpkin roll for dessert. Several years ago, when we visited Phoenix for Thanksgiving, we enjoyed Becky’s wonderful cooking, including her pumpkin roll. Becky shared with me her recipe, but mine never has turned out as good as hers.

Our oldest daughter, Laura and our son-in-law, Dave, flew from Emeryville, CA to spend Thanksgiving with Laura’s Aunt Pam and Uncle Mike (Fred’s brother) in Encinitas, CA. As this whole group are vegetarians, the traditional Thanksgiving turkey was deliciously replaced with salmon. Other wonderful dishes included a potato dish ( recipe from Ruth Chris’ Steak House), Brussels sprouts, and green beans among other things.

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Laura helps Pam in the kitchen. Later, Laura and Dave play cards.

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During the Thanksgiving weekend, Mike and Pam's dog, Romer, celebrated his birthday with a group of his doggie "friends" at his traditional "doggie birthday party".

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This year, we are truly blessed with family and friends, who, though we all may be spread out, remain close in spirit.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Leaving Delaware-

Yesterday morning, after saying our goodbyes the night before, we left Delaware, heading towards home. The weather was cool and rainy, but the driving was OK. Checking the weather this morning, it looks like we (rather accidentally) timed our departure just right. The South was getting blasted yesterday, while the Northeast is getting it today. I think the front passed over us during the night while we were snug in the Airstream at “Hungry Mother” State Park in southwest Virginia.

We thought “Hungry Mother” was an interesting name for a State Park. According to the legend,  during an Indian raid on a settlement south of the park area, Molly Marley and her small child were among those who were taken captive. She and the child later escaped, making their way through the wilderness. Exhausted and starving, Molly collapsed, and the child wandered down a creek bed. When the child was found by a local pioneer woman, the only words that the child could utter were “hungry” and “mother”. When a search party later found Molly at the foot of the mountains where she had collapsed, she was dead. Today, that mountain is named Molly’s Knob and the stream is named Hungry Mother Creek. When the State Park was developed in the 1930’s, the creek was dammed to form Hungry Mother Lake, giving the State Park its name.

This is a lovely State Park with a beautiful lake with boating and canoeing, hiking trails, and several nice pavilions and picnic areas as well as cabins and campgrounds. We had our pick of campsites, as we were the only campers in the park that night.


Unfortunately, the weather was just too cold and rainy for hiking or sightseeing, but we stayed warm and dry in the Airstream. And how nice it was to just pull in to a campsite and be all set up (we didn’t even bother to unhitch). And even better this morning, to be ready to go without the hassle of folding up a wet pop-up camper.    : )

Our stay at Hungry Mother was too short, since we were just ‘passing through’ and the weather - not really drawing us to linger . This park will have to join the others on my list of “places we will have to come back to”.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Staying at Lums Pond State Park, Delaware

While visiting with Brian and Rebekah, we have been staying at Lums Pond SP – just about a 15 min drive south of their apartment. This SP is quite nice with a park-like area for campsites and electric hookups.. And yes, that is another Airstream parked to the right of ours.



The pond was quiet and the water still………….


Though most of the trees have lost their leaves, those that remained were beautiful.




And the berries of this Possum Haw (or deciduous Holly) were at their peak….


Having the camper has worked out quite well. We are close enough to Brian’s, then, after a day of visiting, we can head back to the camper for the night………….

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Newark, Delaware–visiting with Brian and Rebekah

We are enjoying our week visiting with Brian and Rebekah – just hanging out…….



Though, Bekah had some schoolwork to finish Monday and Tuesday…….


Each day, we all head to a local schoolyard or park with Jade to play ball…….


Jade LOVES to play ball!


At least until the ball got thrown on top of the school’s flat roof…….


No need to fear…..when Brian is here! A quick shimmy up to the roof top…….


And, after tossing the ball….a bit of a jump down.


Then home for a rest!


We will be spending Thanksgiving with Rebekah’s family in Annapolis and are feeling thankful for all our family and friends…… who are definitely present in our hearts, if not at our table.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Heading to Delaware – 2nd night on the road

We spent last night at Dixie Caverns RV park just south of Roanoke, VA. We picked this RV park for the location – just off the interstate and about where we wanted to stop to break the trip up liked we wanted. It wasn’t much of a place, and I probably wouldn’t stay there again, but it was fine for a quick overnight.

Traveling with the Airstream makes this kind of stop much more tolerable. Being self-contained and having our own bathroom, etc means that we do not have to use the rather “nasty” bathrooms at these sorts of parks. And the tight quarters, with RV’s on either side, becomes less of an issue when you can just go inside your own camper and shut the door.

We had a “pull-through” site with full hook-ups and plenty enough room that we didn’t even have to un-hitch from the truck. (The Airstream connects to the truck fairly level, so we are able to just stay hitched up for the night.) We slept comfortably and warm, despite the rather frosty temperatures, and even had a hot shower this morning.

Today is a beautiful day to be cruising over the Blue Ridge Mountains – and we will be in Newark, Delaware this afternoon………

Saturday, November 20, 2010

On the road, again……

We are on the road, again, heading to Newark, Delaware to visit Brian and Rebekah for Thanksgiving. I guess, with kids spread across this country, we are destined to be “traveling”. Speaking of which….as we crossed into the Eastern Time Zone, we noted that our family has each of the time zones covered. Brian–Eastern, us–Central, Sarah–Mountain, Laura–Pacific. It makes it a bit hard to keep track of who is doing what / when.

We spent last night at DeSoto SP, Alabama - just south of Chattanooga, TN. The Fall colors are just beautiful and DeSoto SP is lovely, with winding roads and rock outcroppings.This is a beautiful park with lots of nifty things to do close by (pottery and craft shops, antiques, etc). We have, however, only stayed there while “passing through”. We may have to take a few days on our way home to really explore this area.

Towing the Airstream is a bit different than the pop-up, for sure, and requires a bit of a different attitude. We slow down a bit, and just enjoy the driving – this is “a good thing”. Staying in the Airstream also requires a different attitude. “This ain’t camping” – and THAT is a “good thing”, too. It is wonderful to be cozy and warm in a comfortable bed, and so self contained, with a bathroom and kitchen and storage in the camper rather than the car. A real treat on these longer trips.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sailing at Lake De Gray, Arkansas

Over this past weekend (Nov 12-14), we took a break from our work to go sailing with our friend, Bill at Lake De Gray, Arkansas - about a 3 hour drive north of Farmerville.



We took the Airstream and camped at Iron Mountain Recreational Area. This was a good trial run with the camper before we head up to Delaware for Thanksgiving.


Bill’s boat is docked at the Iron Mountain Marina.



Bill captained the boat while Fred lent a hand with the sails.



Sue tries her hand at steering.



The Arkansas woods were beautiful with the fall colors.


Saturday evening we came back to the campsite and enjoyed a nice campfire and the crisp, cool Fall weather.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Meanwhile, back at the ranch……..

This past week, the weather was beautiful – clear skies, cool in the morning and warm by afternoon. We took advantage of the nice weather to work on our next “project” . We are finishing up the siding on the cabin – covering over the older siding which was put up with the 1995 and 2004 additions and matching the newer siding on the remodeling that we did in 2007.


This project started with a quick trip to ‘Cajun Cypress’ in Baton Rouge to pick up a VERY heavy truck load of siding. Then, with the help of Fred’s tractor, the siding was unloaded and stacked.


Next, Sue stains each board (front and back) with TWP - Total Wood Preservative with Honey colored stain. This will protect the siding from insects and water and will give a bit of protection from the natural ‘graying’ due to sun exposure.


Then, Fred takes the board and nails them into place. We are using a horizontal lap pattern.


One wall finished (on the west side). The newer siding is lighter in color than the siding which was put up 2 years ago, due to the natural aging of the wood. In a few years, all the siding should blend together nicely.


Moving on to the back of the cabin…..making good progress, but a ways yet to go…..

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The upstairs will require the use of the scaffolding. That can wait until after Thanksgiving……

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Edgewood Plantation – Farmerville, La

Sun. Nov 7th- Fred and I spent this afternoon touring Edgewood Plantation in Farmerville, located on Hwy 2 (going towards Bernice) close to Lake D’Arbonne State Park. Edgewood was built in 1902 by J.D. Baughman, one of the founding families of Farmerville. This house originally sat on 3,000 acres which were farmed in timber, cotton and hogs. Since the early 1900’s, the Baughman family has owned a number of businesses in town, including a pharmacy, and one of the Baughman grandsons is currently our Mayor.

Edgewood had remained in the Baughman family since 1902, but had been unoccupied for a number of years, falling prey to looting and the weather. Last year a developer from Monroe bought Edgewood to save it from being torn down. Presently, the new owners, Pat and Kay Carroll, are in the process of renovating and restoring this old home with plans to open as a Bed & Breakfast in Feb. 2012.


Edgewood was built on elevated foundations, with magnificent porches all around.



The house sports wonderful ‘gingerbread’ detailing.


The rock foundations were made from a locally found iron ore.


This front parlor room will be used for weddings and receptions or other special occasions.


This will be one of the guest rooms when it is finished. The walls all have wood lathe that were originally painted, then wall papered over.


This is the only remaining wood fireplace mantles. Much of the original wood work had been taken, as had many of the doors and windows.


This is the ceiling of one room which has been finished… hints of the elegance that will be coming.

It is wonderful to see a part of the local history being preserved. I can’t wait until this B & B is open for business. February 2012….Hmmm…...might be a good place to celebrate those February birthdays……….    : )