They come into your life as young children and grow with you. They live in your hometown. They live in your state of residence, close by or hours away. They live in New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland, Colorado and Georgia. They live in Canada or Australia. They’re there to make you smile or you make them smile. They’re always a phone call or message away but you don’t have to talk to them everyday. You would let them move in with you in a heartbeat or I could show up on their doorstep and know I was welcome any time day or night!! You learn from each other and teach each other. Every second, minute, hour or day together is immeasurable in my heart! You can talk to them about anything and everything. You share anything and everything! They’re not your family, they’re your friend, mate, alter-ego, confidante, soulmate, pal, buddy, ally, chum, cohort, hobnobber, partner, comedian, peer, accomplice, collaborator, supporter, sympathizer. They are the people you don’t ever want to leave you and I would be so sad if they were not here as my support system. I have a wonderful family support system but my treasured friends are all knowing and understanding! You know who you are and I love you all dearly!!
One Friday in the middle of May and very dear friend and I took a one day road trip all by ourselves and had a ball during the entire trip.
We had been planning for it a few months and when the day finally came it started with fierce thunderstorms and rain. I don’t like to drive in the rain especially to areas I’m not familiar with and I was the designated driver on this trip. When Carol got to my house it was a little later than we had planned and with the storms I thought maybe we would just head to Roanoke and spend the day looking in some of my favorite shops. She was disappointed but understood why I didn’t want to drive further. When we got to Salem we had breakfast at Denny’s and by the time we came out from breakfast the skies had cleared and we decided to head on to Staunton.
The main reason we wanted to go here is because several times a year there is a wonderful book fair and we are both avid readers and I had been here twice with my daughter Carol had never been and boy was she in for a special treat! We were headed to the Green Valley Book Fair.
The Green Valley Book Fair is a discount book outlet store featuring over 500,000 new books at incredible bargain prices.
We spent about two hours there and both came out loaded with books, audio-books and more.
My daughter, the traveler, had prepared us a itinerary for the day and so our next stop was The Cheese Shop in Stuart’s Draft. By the time we came out of here it was 3:30 p.m. and we had a two hour drive back home. Loaded up with all kinds of baking goods, snacks, cheese and the famous cake donuts we headed home. We had not eaten breakfast and we dug into the dozen donuts I picked up before we left the store. Stuffed and loaded with sugar we got back home safely after a wonderful day of catching up and decided we would take the trip again later in the summer so we could hit some more of the shops we missed on this trip!
Carol, I love you, and thank you for making it such a special day for me since I don’t leave the farm very often!!
On October 27th I had a very special lunch date with a very special guy in my life and he’s not my husband!!! This lunch date was to celebrate his 5th birthday!
LOVE YOU, MICAH!!
My daughters very good friend from Norfolk VA came to visit over the weekend for her birthday. Ashley and Heather grew up together in elementary school and only recently have they found each other again and I’m so glad they did! Ashley loves it here as much we do and as much as most of our visitors do. I thought I would share with you our farm through Ashley’s eyes.
I had a wonderful visit from a girlfriend earlier this month and I haven’t seen her for several months. Carol and I worked together at Virginia Tech and I love her dearly.
We always have so much to talk about including our kids, grandkids, her work and my part-time work and home. We both love to read and we started a book club soon after we met at VT.
She bought me a new book and a wonderful tin of cookies for Christmas. I’m hoping we’ll have more visits like this in the near future. I fixed lunch for us and we talked and laughed for several hours. We talked about gardening, her work, my work, families, and of course, our cohort in crime that she still works with, Gwen. I miss you guys so much!
Carol, I hope we can get together for lunch really soon because we have a lot to catch up on! I’ll call you soon, I promise!
I had a birthday back in December and was blessed with some beautiful gifts from my family and friends.
My daughter as always overdid in the gift department and she brought me these beauties!
She has a real knack for finding cards that make me weepy and they mean so much because I know she meant every word the card had printed!
My son took us out to eat for my birthday a few days later at a new restaurant in New Castle call Bibo’s and I had the most wonderful calzone I’ve ever eaten.
Hubby never forgets my birthday and he had my gift hidden for a few days at the other farm but it arrived the night before so I could help him get it in the house where I wanted it!
I got beautiful cards from friends, hand-knitted wash cloths from Margaret (early gift) , birthday wishes from email and blogging friends and this beautiful charm from a special friend that I used to work with!
All of these are given with love and make me realize how blessed I am to have them all in my life! I never regret birthdays and getting older, I cherish them and thank God above that he still allows me to be on this earth with my loving family and friends another year!
Last year my daughter, Heather, and I started our 1st Annual Girls Trip but this year Heather’s trip was a week before mine and that was good so Dad wouldn’t worry about both of us on different roads at the same time but it did spread the worry out a tad but we both made it just fine.
On September 23rd, I went on my very first long distance trip alone to visit Margaret who lives in Maryland. Margaret has been my best friend for more years than we can count and started sometime in the teenage years of my children. We have so many like interests and have each other in tears catching up on our daily lives. You have to know we “talk” almost daily by email but it’s just not the same as being in person. I almost lost her last year and had to go to her to reassure myself that my friend is working really hard to stay in this mad world to keep me sane and out of trouble. I love her to death!!
She lives in Stockton Maryland which is 408 miles from my home and about 7 1/2 hours including potty breaks along the way. To get to her I crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge which was awesome, astounding, long, and surrounded by water!!!
I get seasick quite easily and there had been a week of storms prior to my going to see her and the water was very high and choppy and I could feel an uneasy feeling coming so I made myself have tunnel vision to make it across and back without throwing up my innards!! That I must say was the only bad part of the trip.
While there she took me to a place called “Furnace Town” and if you are ever over there you must go to this little town museum! Margaret used to make costumes for their annual events. It was set up as a self walking tour or you could get someone to go with you to explain what you were seeing.
We met a very educated gentleman that was the tender of the gardens and he told us so much about the heirloom garden he tended himself and then took us into the school-house which was awesome. After that we took the tour on our own and it was definitely like walking back into another era. The Furnace Town church on the property was absolutely gorgeous. What a spot for a wedding and they were setting up for an evening wedding at the site the day we were there.
While there I bought a wonderful book called “The Weaver’s Girl” by Gracie Ayers which is based on this town. Great read!!
While in Stockton, we also went shopping at all (some) of her favorites spots which are now mine!! We ate out, drove to the waterways that are close to her home.
drove the area she lives in and
saw some beautiful old mansions,
ate in (wonderful cook), told stories, ate some more, met her great grand-daughter, Maddie. Maddie is a beautiful little princess!
We got caught up on most everything in four days, laughed, cried, watched “chick flicks”, considered the problems of the world and what we think needs to be done to fix it (HA) and had a most awesome visit. Then I had to come home but we promised to get together again next year either at her place or someplace in between with Heather and Ashley!
I just finished this new book while sitting in my deer stand last week. The book is by Gracie Ayers and I was given the book by my best friend, Margaret Tongue, when I was visiting her a couple weeks ago.
Margaret took me to visit a museum in Maryland that she used to make costumes for. It was wonderful and the name of it is “Furnace Town”. The book is based around this museum and begins with a young woman taken back in time after an upset with her boyfriend. It’s a heartwarming adventure in this small village on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Gracie Ayers has written three other books about the area and I can’t wait to get my hands on them too!
I want to thank my best friend, Margaret, for a delightful visit to her home and we are both looking forward to getting together again real soon for more laughter, tears, good food and more adventures in her world!
I’ll post more about Furnace Town in a future blog post.
Love you, Margaret!!
I don’t even know where to begin. My daughter and I decided to have an Estate/Yard sale and for the entire month, we gathered, took pictures, priced, organized and prepared for the largest yard sale I’ve ever seen that was for one family. Of course, it was four generations of collections of one family, the Caldwells. It was a history of the Caldwell family that was taking up too much space and after watching my daughter dealing with my mother-in-laws estate and the clean-out of her house, I decided I would not do that to my children after I’m gone.
We cleaned out my house, the Mansion, and the remains of what Heather and her Dad cleaned out of her grandmother’s “stuff” and had our sale on Saturday. It included, antiques from three or four generations ago, household items from our home, Heather’s home, my husband’s grandmother and aunt & uncle, and his grandfather and great-grandfather, tools, and we filled three entire rooms of the Mansion, the front porch and the yard.
We advertised on Facebook, our personal email contacts and asked everyone to share the details. We did really well and I was blessed to see so many old friends and acquaintances including my Dad’s best friend, Bobby Rose. What a treat to have him here on the farm. There’s a wonderful family story behind this which I will share at a later date.
We worked the sale with the help of a very special friend, JoAnn, my granddaughter and one of her best friends. We were too busy to take pictures during the day but I will share a few pictures of the treasures that left the farm.
This is just a teeny-tiny bit of what left the farm. The rooms of the house were as full as we could get them. It was a beautiful day and the cleanup has begun!!
My very special friend in Maryland sent me a wonderful gift a few weeks ago and I wanted to share it with you. She has sent me several surprises over the last few years and everyone has been wonderful. She knows me so well!!
Margaret is a knitter and I want to be. For years she has been making my favorite dish cloths. I recently got a package from her and this is what was in it.
The day they arrived the last one she made me about four years ago fell apart and I just about had a heart attack. My beautiful friend made these for me when she was recovering from a blood clot or two that normally kills people. This happened right after we had come back from our “First Annual Girls Trip”. Margaret is a miracle and my best friend. I’m so glad that God has allowed her to stick around so she can keep me straight and make me laugh until my jaws hurt.
Margaret, thank you and I love you, ladybug!!
I have a friend that lives down the road from me about a mile and she is the sweetest lady you would ever want to meet. I’ve known Linda for years and her boys and their families live close by to. Linda is also retired from Virginia Tech and we both have so many interests and hobbies alike. She is so talented and is willing to help anyone at the drop of a hat! We need more people like her in our lives everyday!!
Linda has, I think, two looms in her home and she weaves rugs, beautiful rugs. I have a loom that I bought at a yard sale for $25 but have never sit it up. Linda has told me that when I’m ready she and her husband Gene will help me and figure out if all the parts are with it. This is one of my resolutions for 2016 but first I have to clean out a room in the mansion to set it up. Looms take up a lot of room. She said she would teach me how to sit it up and give me all the basics to learn how to complete this old craft.
Last year when I was doing some “cleaning out” I found several totes full of upholstery fabric that was taking up too much space in my storage room. I gave Linda the fabric and she said she would make me a rug which was not necessary since she was helping me out by adopting all the fabric that I needed to do something with.
For Christmas, Linda made me this beautiful rug from some of the fabric I shared with her.
I’m hoping that 2016 will make me a weaver too!!
This post is a little late but so worth writing!! My daughter and I took our first annual girls trip this year and I so hope we continue to do from now on. We met up with our best friends forever in Norfolk, Virginia, where our Ashley lives and my best friend forever, Margaret met us at Ashley’s home for a long weekend in October. We had a blast!!
The Girls (top to bottom)
Me, Margaret, Ashley and Heather. Ashley is holding Molly!
We lazed around in Ashley’s beautiful home in a historic district, we shopped, we toured some historic areas of Norfolk, we ate (no gorged) on wonderful food and laughed until we cried!
Ashley is a childhood friend of my daughter’s that just re-connected this summer and Margaret is my best friend in the whole wide world. We’ve been through a lot together and she’s always there for me.
Here are a few of the pictures we took while on our 1st Annual Girls Trip.
We visited the Virginia Living Museum while there and it’s home to more than 250 species of animals found in Virginia including reptiles, mammals, birds and fish. They provide a sanctuary for orphaned, non-releasable or injured animals.
Heather enjoying the sights at the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News.
Ashley checking out another exhibit. It’s a wonderful excursion and we saw so many animals and their habitats.
I can’t remember exactly what this part was but it was gorgeous stone work.
We talked and laughed so much that I forgot to take a lot of pictures but believe me it was a wonderful trip!
We all cried when we parted but promised to make it a regular visit and our hostess was the “mostess”!! She introduced us to a lovely new friend Sally Haynes who joined us along with Ashley at the farm for Thanksgiving.
It was such a wonderful trip for me and my daughter to spend special time together and to be with such special friends. I’m really looking forward to next years 2nd Annual Girl Trip!!!
What a very blessed Saturday I experienced with some cousins of my hubby! On May 15, 2014, his only surviving paternal aunt passed away. Peggy Ann was such a beautiful woman and I considered her a friend because she welcomed me into the family with open arms the first time I ever met her as did her husband, Dickie. Peggy Ann and Dickie lived in Lanexa, Virginia and have two children, Stuart III and Teresa. I’ve never met Teresa unfortunately but Stuart and his beautiful wife, Debra, have become very special to me and have been to the farm previously. They have a 28-year-old son, Stuart IV, and daughters, Heather, Dana and Brianne. Heather and Dana had not been here before and were anxious to meet us and see where they’re grandmother was raised along with four other generations.
On Saturday, all of the family except for Teresa and Bri, but including two special son-in-laws and four grandchildren, caravan to Craig County to memorialize Peggy Ann and spread her ashes on her beloved mountain on the family farm which connects to our farm. This was the first time that me and Eddie had met Heather and Dana and their children. Our daughter and granddaughter joined us shortly after they arrived.
We spent the day with four of the most adorable kids and one being a seven month (I think) little girl by the name of Vada but I’ve nicknamed Ducky. I was in heaven!!
Cousin Stuart was thrilled to be able to share the farm with his kids, son-in-laws, and grandchildren and they all visited the house that his mom grew up in. It’s still standing and they’re hoping to fix it up a little and be able to come and camp out whenever they want.
Hubby is not a great champion to babies and never was but I think he fell in love with Vada and she him!
He doesn’t let just anyone wear his hats!!
Before they trekked to the mountain in the cold to spread Aunt Peggy’s ashes they all got to visit the animals, check out the cellar, hives and sugar house after we had a small lunch.
This was a day I will never forget and am so looking forward to a return visit very soon.
In the spring I met a very precious new friend that works down the hall from my office and she’s from China and working on her PhD at Virginia Tech. She misses her family in China (husband, father and mother) very much and has her daughter with her. I love learning about her country and lifestyle and she mine. I recently invited Janet, her daughter and some of her close friends over to the farm. It was such a treat to share our life with them and be able to actually show her things we do on the farm. The following is a picture album of our day.
Janet and her daughter plan to come back with their friends to a weekend campout at the pond one more time before they all return to China in late July and August.
I am so blessed to have friends all over the world. I’m hoping they enjoyed the trip as much as we did.
They also brought us a charm of peace which I will keep at my home’s entrance as long as it lasts.
Thank you all so much for your charm, lessons of life and friendship!! I’ll never forget you!
Sassy enjoyed our new friends too and the little girls couldn’t get enough of her.
For all my friends, whether close or casual, just because. One of the shortest posts I will ever do.. and the most real, too. Everyone will go through some hard times at some point. Life isn’t easy. Just something to think about…did you know that people who are the strongest are usually the most sensitive?
Did you know the people who exhibit the most kindness are the first to get mistreated?
Did you know the ones who take care of others all the time are usually the ones who ……need it the most? Did you know the three hardest things to say are I love you, I’m sorry, and Help me?
Sometimes just because a person looks happy, you have to look past their smile and see how much pain they may be in. To all my friends who are going through some issues now, I may not always email, call or write to you but I am thinking about you and praying for you.
The revelation of all of the wonderful family and friends that I have, came to realization this past year and I want to make a concerted effort to reach out to all of you in a letter or card in the coming months. I gave up Facebook because of all the whining, politics and “just bad news” posted on there. I want to get back to that one on one friendship that everyone needs. SO, be on the look out for the card or note that lets you know that I am thinking about you!!
Back in early May I showed everyone the beautiful orchid a friend from Greece brought to me.
I do love these fragile flowers and a friend of my that lives in Craig and has a winter/summer home in Florida gifted me these because of my beautiful daughter. My daughter is the orchid of my life but these try to out bloom her. My friend and daughter’s best friend, Martha just came back to the country and these beauties traveled very well on the ride back so they could reside in my kitchen. Martha you have made my month and brightened my life more than it already is, if that’s possible.
This is my beautiful orchid, Heather! She doesn’t sit still long enough to get a picture of her alone but I’ll take what I can get!!
Thank you Heather and my beautiful friends! I love you all! 🙂
I work at Virginia Tech and have met some truly wonderful people and made lots of new friends since coming here in April of 2011. There are some truly lovely young ladies that work in my office and I think we’ve become good friends. One is from Oklahoma, one is from Greece, one is from Turkey and one is from Illinois. Today I would like to tell you about the one from Greece. She is/was a graduate student and has just defended for her PHD. She is vibrant, cute as a button, and very lively. She will be leaving us soon and I’m going to miss her very much but will miss her Mom too! Her Mom has come over from Greece on two occasions since I’ve been here and you will never meet a more humble, attractive and sweet lady. She believes that have been her daughter’s second mother and knows how much I love her. On this trip she presented me with this beautiful orchid which now adorns my west kitchen window. I hope that I can keep it alive for a very long time in my very cold area since it’s a tropical plant.
Her daughter brought her mom and two other friends to the farm on Mother’s Day for lunch and a much awaited visit. I had been trying to get them to the farm since I met her daughter. We had a wonderful visit, big lunch in which her mother bought some “to-die-for” cheese pastries and we took a short hike around the farm to meet the babies and enjoy the gorgeous day! Ladies, I will miss you both when “my funny face” graduates this week!! I hope you know that you are always welcome at the farm!
Not only did he build the table for me but he loaded it with plants that I’ll repot as soon as the cold snap passes this weekend. He also went to the woods and brought me this beautiful bouquet of trillium. The blossoms are so delicate and elegant, don’t you think?
This time last Saturday we were all preparing for a 40th birthday for my baby boy! First there was the outside preparation of mowing, setting up games, cleaning up the paddle boat, most of which my hubby and my daughter did while I was at work.
Saturday arrives and we’re doing last minute things at the farm. Heather goes to Roanoke to pick up the birthday cake and pick up the hotdog and hamburger buns I forgot the day before. The cake is designed to show the past and the present. Shawn had so many superheroes when he was growing up and it was appropriate that the new Superman movie opened this year the week of his birthday. He just graduated with a Masters in Civil Engineering from Old Dominion University in Norfolk Virginia. He’s had his associate’s degree for quite some time and finally decided it was time to work on the other. We are all so very proud of him!!
Now, all of the guests have arrived and here’s some pictures of the birthday party, guests, games and more!
And a few more pictures of the evening.
Waiting for his guests to arrive!!
Now it’s time for the wonderful slide show that Christine prepared. She used 155 photos I sent her along with some of her own and made a history of Shawn’s life from birth to the present. I got so emotional watching him grow up all over again. Shawn and I both cried at the end and ended up in hugging each other so tight and crying like babies. Christine did a wonderful job and Tim set up the movie screen for us. I’ll never forget the show for the rest of my life and am tearing up now just talking about it. It’s just so hard to believe he’s 40 years old. On with the cake!!
And now the end of the party grows near and Shawn HAS TO HAVE fireworks!!
And we couldn’t possibly end the evening without Victoria lighting up the group with sparklers!!
At 10:30 everyone started helping clean up the aftermath, hugging and promising to come back to the farm real soon and going home!! I think it’s a party/birthday that Shawn will never forget!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY BOY!!! Mama loves you!!
In the heat of the summer day, we spend time on the front porch. We welcome neighbors and friends and sit around and talk. I’ve tried to make the porch an enjoyable place to visit with young and old alike. This year I added a antiques bench on one end of the porch and a game board on the other end with plenty of seating in between.
First I want to show one of my new chairs that I added to the decor and fun!
An old blue stool and a tractor seat = this:
Then I added a game corner for the porch. I took a vinegar barrel and added a checker board for all too enjoy! A couple of tall stools on both sides makes for some friendly competition for old and young alike. Right now the checkboard clother is draped over the barrel but hubby is making me a flat service to fit the checkerboard and the fun begins.
I can’t wait to challenge my granddaughter to game of checkers or Life on the Farm game!
Life on the Farm is much like Monopoly but based to farm life instead of city life!
And the last of the porch makeover is this assortment of antique tools we’ve found on the farm which we’ll add to as time goes on!
Wouldn’t you love to come visit on the porch for awhile?!?!?!
Eight ladies that I work with have become members of a newly organized book club about a two months ago and we will have our second meeting the second week of May. I’ll be expanding friendship with some of the girls, getting to know some ladies that I’ve met but don’t know well, and meeting ladies I don’t know but hope to add to my friends group.
When we first met we each were to bring a list of books that we would like to read. Those books were put on slips of paper, folded and put in a hat to draw the name of the first book to read. The first book in my opinion was fantastic and the name of it is “Love Lies Bleeding” by Jess McConkey. I highly recommend it for all women!! It has a great story line, not too many characters and a strong woman as the main character.
I’ll blog each month about the books we read and hope it’ll give you some choices for your reading enjoyment. My list of books to read is constantly growing as you can tell if you hook up to the “GoodReads” link on my blog page. I love to read and have a very hard time finding the time to do it.
Now that Annabelle has a new Mom, I thought I would share a few pictures of her and Gyp at play. They won’t be able to do this anymore because the new Mom doesn’t like any other animals near her baby. Annabelle minds her Mom really well though she will still let her come to me for a good rub down. Here’s the babes at play before the final adoption.
Hubby collected the sap three days and stored the tank in the garage to keep it chilled. He and our friend from Giles county worked on it from 10:30 Friday morning until 12:30 that night and started again at 6:30 on Saturday morning.
Several of the neighbors came to visit and watch the creation and some friends from Blacksburg came on Saturday afternoon but not in time to watch the procedure. They were fascinated with the results and the education they received about Mother Nature and maple syrup.
I’ve decided to complete this post with the pictures I have of the event which my daughter took. I was under the weather and banned to the house and a very special friend stayed in with me so we could catch up while I filtered the syrup and canned it. All in all, everyone had a good time and there were lots of smiles throughout the day!
I have a gentle soul waiting on me every morning when I leave the house for work! She waits for me every afternoon at the front gate to come home from work. She goes with me every day I get to gather eggs and waits outside the henhouse until I’m done feeding and gathering. She walks beside me back to the house occasionally grabbing at my ankle to stop and pet her. She was orphaned at the farm a few years before we moved there and walked the roads from building to building finding food for herself and outwitting the coyotes and other critters that like cats. She had been spayed at some point and it amazes me that someone didn’t claim her. I started calling for her when I would see her close to the house and leave little treats to try to coax her in. I started leaving her a water bowl and food bowl in the corncrib where I saw her frequent once she got used to the treats. Finally, we became friends and after about a year she became friendly with hubby and my kids but only them. When company arrives, she disappears. She is definitely my cat and we’ve great comfort to each other. I would like for you all to meet “Miss Fuzzy”. Isn’t she beautiful?!?!?
According to our vet she should be about eleven years old now and she’s a good hunter. She doesn’t stay under your feet. She loves keeping my lap warm when we’re sitting on the porch!