Tag Archives: friends

Birthday Gifts From Family

I had a birthday back in December and was blessed with some beautiful gifts from my family and friends.

My granddaughter came to see me and brought me this beautiful bouquet that lasted two weeks.   She spent over an hour with me just catching up on her very busy life!

My granddaughter came to see me and brought me this beautiful bouquet that lasted two weeks. She spent over an hour with me just catching up on her very busy life!

My son-in law came to visit with my daughter and he bought me this poinsettia and the leaves sparkled.  He included a card that made me misty and a gift card.

My son-in law came to visit with my daughter and he bought me this poinsettia and the leaves sparkled. He included a card that made me misty and a gift card.

My daughter as always overdid in the gift department and she brought me these beauties!

Scoop necked t-shirts because I've got bleach spots on all of my old ones!

Scoop necked t-shirts because I’ve got bleach spots on all of my old ones!

Another huge poinsettia and I'm going to try real hard to make them live until next December!  I know there's a trick to it but I haven't figured it out yet!

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Another huge poinsettia and I’m going to try real hard to make them live until next December! I know there’s a trick to it but I haven’t figured it out yet!

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!

Heather bought me this beautiful yard ornament for my flower beds and even though the rose garden looks horrid right now this beauty really pretty's the place up!!

Heather bought me this beautiful yard ornament for my flower beds and even though the rose garden looks horrid  now but this beauty really pretty’s the place up!!

 

Up close you can see all the detail in it and it stands about five feet tall and spins in all directions.  I was with her on a shopping trip when she got and didn't even notice!!!

Up close you can see all the detail in it and it stands about five feet tall and spins in all directions. I was with her on a shopping trip when she got and didn’t even notice!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

My brand new recliner!!!

My brand new recliner!!!

It swallows me and it's so comfortable and warm!  I just love him for shopping for it because ihe hates shopping and to get something like this is just unreal!!!

It swallows me and it’s so comfortable and warm! I just love him for shopping for it because he hates shopping and to get something like this is just unreal!!!  I look like a big bear hibernating!! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Cheryl, a Farm Bureau friend, gave me this beautiful charm and I have it on my angel tree in the guest room!

Cheryl, a Farm Bureau friend, gave me this beautiful charm and I have it on my angel tree in the guest room!

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!

 

Trip to Eastern Shore – Stockton MD

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!!!

This is as close as I wanted to get to the side of the bridge!!  :)

This is as close as I wanted to get to the side of the bridge!! 🙂

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.

Margaret's home where we spent so much time laughing, eating and catching up.

Margaret’s home where we spent so much time laughing, eating and catching up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Margaret entering the Blacksmith Shop

Margaret entering the Blacksmith Shop

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.

Map of Furnace Town

Map of Furnace Town

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

George Island Landing

George Island Landing

 

 

 

drove the area she lives in and

 

 

saw some beautiful old mansions,

One of the mansions close to where she lives

One of the mansions close to where she lives

 

 

 

 

 

 

ate in (wonderful cook), told stories, ate some more,  met her great grand-daughter, Maddie.  Maddie is a beautiful little princess!

Princess Maddie

Princess Maddie

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!

Crazy Month of May, the First Chapter

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.

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Wood cookstove in excellent  shape.

Wood cookstove in excellent shape.

Antique churn

Antique churn

Old toys

Old toys

quilts

quilts

Box after box of bottles, jars, insulators.

Box after box of bottles, jars, insulators.

Tool sharpener

Tool sharpener

Pottery

Pottery

Stoves of all sorts but we only sold two.  We still have propane, wood, wood/coal stoves.

Stoves of all sorts but we only sold two. We still have propane, wood, wood/coal stoves.

Bowl & pitcher

Bowl & pitcher

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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!!

Sugar Time at Caldwell Farms

You know spring is really on it’s way when the Caldwell family fires up the sugar house and loads the maple trees with sap buckets.  Eddie and I tapped our maple trees last week with the awesome help of our son, Shawn.  It was a spur of a moment decision because of the unpredictable weather situation.  We tapped fourteen trees with 1-5 buckets depending on the size and condition of the tree.

Sugar maple tree with tap

Sugar maple tree with tap

This is one of the sugar maples in our front yard that provides us with plenty of maple sap in the spring and glorious shade in the hot summers.

This is one of the sugar maples in our front yard that provides us with plenty of maple sap in the spring and glorious shade in the hot summers.  This tree held five buckets this spring.

We gather the sap every two hours so by the time we had all of the taps drilled, plugged and a bucket hung on them it was time for Shawn to start making the rounds to each of the trees.  The sap was running like a heavily dripping faucet and soon the buckets were running over.  We had a total of 52 buckets hung and we hauled it in milk cans from the trees back to the 210 gallon storage tank.  The tank was filled well past the holding mark giving us about 225 total gallons of sap in 2 1/2 days.  On Tuesday afternoon we pulled the taps and buckets, cleaned them and put them away for another year.

These are some of the tools we use to start the process of making maple syrup.

These are some of the tools we use to start the process of making maple syrup.

Stock water tank holds 210 gallon at the top ridge of the tank.

Stock water tank holds 210 gallon at the top ridge of the tank.

At this point we stored the tank full of sap in our garage where it would stay below 40* until we were ready to make the syrup and would be okay for 10-12 days as long as it stayed cold.  We now waited for weather that was cool, dry and not too windy to fire up the sugar house.

On Friday, Eddie hauled in the firewood to use for the fire.  It had to be dry and a sturdy wood that would stay really hot.  We had a stockpile of old locust post that came from replaced fencing on the farm so he brought in two loads and placed them on top of three other posts laid out on the ground to keep the wood dry in the event it rained again before we started the fire.

Friday night we made the decision to make the syrup while we had at least one good day.  I emailed the kids and we set the syrup vat on the fire pit. The syrup vat is a stainless steel vat with four sections.

Cooking tank has four sections. The first two on the right have a opening so that the sap runs from one side to the other. The next section is the first thickening section and the narrow section on the far left is the last section before straining off. The pain has grown dark over the last few years and each year our syrup gets a little darker and sweeter.

Cooking tank has four sections. The first two on the right have a opening so that the sap runs from one side to the other. The next section is the first thickening section and the narrow section on the far left is the last section before straining off. The pain has grown dark over the last few years and each year our syrup gets a little darker and sweeter.

We put the vat on the firepit around 9:00 p.m. Friday night and we thought we had everything ready. The sawed up fence posts were in the pit along with kindling and we don’t put the sap in until right before lighting the fire.  (Don’t want no varmints sucking up the water or worse walking through it.  The lights for working in the dark first thing in the morning were set up and ready.  The hose was hooked up to the tank, buckets in place, and all we had to do was try to get a good nights sleep because it was going to be a long day.

The next morning Eddie got up at 5:00 a.m. and got the vat filled with sap, started the fire and when I got out of bed at 6:00 I could see the steam coming out from under the sugarhouse roof.  It had been cooking good for about half an hour and Eddie was going to add more sap and the waterhose from the storage tank to the vat was froze.  We were really doing some hustling trying to unthaw it.  First he tried a small propane torch but that didn’t work and would have melted the hose.  Then we tried running hot water from the house to the hose and that didn’t work.  Finally we ran straight hot water into the hose, whipped it against the ground to beat up the slush and ice in the hose and finally after thirty minutes and almost scorching the syrup in the pans it broke free.  At this point we filled the vat sections quickly again but this time we kept the hose off the ground by placing it on several milkcans from the garage to the sugar house.

The sugar house sits down over the hill from the garage about 50 feet and it was warmer down there than it was up the hill at the garage.

The sugar house sits down over the hill from the garage about 50 feet and it was warmer down there than it was up the hill at the garage.

After this things went pretty quickly and I left him to go to Covington at 9:00 to visit my younger brother.  This was a short trip because he wouldn’t get out of bed and didn’t want to talk.  I got back home a lot sooner than I expected and our daughter, Heather, had joined her Dad around 10:30 and things were going pretty good.  Only about 75 gallons of sap had gone through the vats during my absense but I had about two gallons of syrup to strain and process.  It was beautiful and so sweet.  You have to remember though that when we collect that sap from the trees it looks and tastes like clear water.

First pot off the firepit and it's ready to strain once more, heat to boiling and put in the sterilized jars to seal.

First pot off the firepit and it’s ready to strain once more, heat to boiling and put in the sterilized jars to seal.

Cheesecloth for straining the syrup. I use about four layers of cloth when I strain the syrup and it's strained twice once it's cooked. We also use a bucket with a straining net to pour it in the storage tank.

Cheesecloth for straining the syrup. I use about four layers of cloth when I strain the syrup and it’s strained twice once it’s cooked. We also use a bucket with a straining net to strain from the tapping buckets and pour it in the storage tank.

Regular and wide mouth jar lids

Regular and wide mouth jar lids

Sterlized pint jars

Sterlized pint jars

We had a very successful day ending up with 53 pint jars and 6 quarts.  We’ll sell the pints for $8 and the quarts for $12.

Pints and quarts of heavenly fresh maple syrup.

Pints and quarts of heavenly fresh maple syrup.

Caldwell Farm labels include the date made and the ingredients.  We do not add any preservatives or other sugars.

Caldwell Farm labels include the date made and the ingredients. We do not add any preservatives or other sugars.

Here’s some of the pictures shared throughout the day.

Frosty morning started at 29* at 6:00 a.m.

Frosty morning started at 29* at 6:00 a.m.

At times the steam in the cool air made it impossible to see what was going on in the vat.

At times the steam in the cool air made it impossible to see what was going on in the vat.

Boiling maple sap to scrumptious maple syrup.

Boiling maple sap to scrumptious maple syrup.

Our daughter Heather after a steamy day of fun!

Our daughter Heather after a steamy day of fun!

Mr. Caldwell considers himself the "sugar monster" at the end of the day.

Mr. Caldwell considers himself the “sugar monster” at the end of the day.

Jared and Crystal joined in the afternoon. This was Crystals first trip to the farm and she also got to feed the baby calf, Miracle.

Jared and Crystal joined in the afternoon. This was Crystals first trip to the farm and she also got to feed the baby calf, Miracle.

Jared hanging out in the sugar house.

Jared hanging out in the sugar house.

End result!

End result!

Sassy guarding the woodpile from mice and voles.

Sassy guarding the woodpile from mice and voles.

Undescribable smell in the air!

Undescribable smell in the air!

Vats are full and boiling.

Vats are full and boiling.

Boiling sap almost maple syrup.

Boiling sap almost maple syrup.

He's stays busy during the entire process.

He’s stays busy during the entire process.

Sugar Monster fueling the fire.

Sugar Monster fueling the fire.

Crystal and Jared enjoying the day.

Crystal and Jared enjoying the day.

Jared and Eddie catching up on everything and planning their spring gobbler season.

Jared and Eddie catching up on everything and planning their spring gobbler season.

Red hot coals from old locust posts keep things hot and sap boiling from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Red hot coals from old locust posts keep things hot and sap boiling from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm.

The steam makes the whole area smell like maple syrup.

The steam makes the whole area smell like maple syrup.

Firepit in sugar house

Firepit in sugar house

Our granddaughter, Victoria, and her new beau joined at the end of the evening just in time for french toast and sausages.  Fun and hard work was had by all!

 

Beautiful Gift from Friend

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.

This is a "Linda Smith" original.

This is a “Linda Smith” original.

Handmade on her loom for my Christmas present!  It's inspiration to get mine set up!!

Handmade on her loom for my Christmas present! It’s inspiration to get mine set up!!

Linda Smith Creation

Linda Smith Creation

Linda made this for me with upholstery fabric I gave to her last year.  The pictures don't do the rug justice.

 The pictures don’t do the rug justice.  This woman is so talented and I’m very proud to call her my friend!!  The rug has taken up residence in my family room entryway so that everyone can see and enjoy as much as I am.

I’m hoping that 2016 will make me a weaver too!!

1st Annual Girl Trip

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 left to bottom) Me, Margaret, Ashley and Heather.  Ashley is holding Molly!

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.

I think this is the USS Wisconsin docked in Norfolk for repairs.

I think this is the USS Wisconsin docked in Norfolk for repairs.

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Girls Trip_Norfolk 2015 (8)

Downtown Norfolk somewhere!!  :)

Downtown Norfolk somewhere!! 🙂

Ashley's living room where we gathered in the mornings and crashed in the evenings!

Ashley’s living room where we gathered in the mornings and crashed in the evenings!

Her kitchen where we spent more time eating and laughing!  It's beautiful!

Her kitchen where we spent more time eating and laughing! It’s beautiful!

It's the perfect space for her two dogs Molly and Evan, precious Corgi's.

It’s the perfect space for her two dogs Molly and Evan, precious Corgi’s.

Ashley's backyard where we spent our evenings.  Surprised the neighbors didn't have us locked up for laughing so much!

Ashley’s backyard where we spent our evenings. Surprised the neighbors didn’t have us locked up for laughing so much!

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.

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Heather enjoying the sights at the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News.

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Ashley checking out another exhibit.  It’s a wonderful excursion and we saw so many animals and their habitats.

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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!!!

Family visit with cousins

Vada is my and her Grandpa's little duck!

Vada is my and her Grandpa’s little duck!

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!!

Dana, "Ducky" and myself

Dana, “Ducky” and myself

L J wrestling a huge bale of hay.

L J wrestling a huge bale of hay.

Lavar, Kenny, Ducky and Dana climbing the mountain.

Lavar, Kenny, Ducky and Dana climbing the mountain.

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2015-11-21 069This is Vada and her daddy, Kenny!  She never fussed the entire time she was here and took the cold on the mountain like a champ.

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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.

Keep in mind looking at this photo that my husband is not a baby person. He's always afraid they would break. I think he got a little attached to this little munchkin!

Hubby is not a great champion to babies and never was but I think he fell in love with Vada and she him!

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He doesn’t let just anyone wear his hats!!

Victoria and Heather, my granddaughter and daugher , we in on the visit too. Victoria was ready to go deer hunting.

Victoria and Heather, my granddaughter and daughter , were in on the visit too. Victoria was dressed to go deer hunting but never made it to her deer stand.

Eddie and Dana topping the mountain.

Eddie and Dana topping the mountain.

Linden and Heather on the mountain.

Linden and Heather on the mountain.  Heather has three children, two boys and a girl.

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.

Friends and orchids

Back in early May I showed everyone the beautiful orchid a friend from Greece brought to me.

Orchid from my friend in Greece who also has a beautiful daughter.

Orchid from my friend in Greece who also has a beautiful daughter.

Orchids in my kitchen.

Orchids in my kitchen.

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!!

Heather is on the left.  DUH!!!

Heather is on the left. DUH!!!

 

Thank you Heather and my beautiful friends!  I love you all!  🙂

I do hope I can keep these beauties alive.

I do hope I can keep these beauties alive.

Floridian orchids are much more abundant and less expensive.

Floridian orchids are much more abundant and less expensive.

Orchids from Florida.

Orchids from Florida.

 

Mother’s Day 2014

Mother’s Day was a whirlwind of activity.  My son and daughter came early and spent the entire day with us.  I also had friends from the office join us for lunch and we visited the babies, picked asparagus, walked a lot and thoroughly enjoyed the day.  The day started for me at 6:00 a.m. and everyone was gone by 5:30.  Then,  hubby Sassy and I enjoyed some quiet time.
Heather and Shawn bought me beautiful cards and a push mower for the yard which I’ve wanted for two years and was going to buy in June.  It’s part of my new weightloss program.
New toy from my daughter.

New toy from my daughter.

Mother's Day card from my son.

Mother’s Day card from my daughter.

Mother's Day card from my daughter.

Mother’s Day card from my son.

Eddie made me a beautiful hanging flower table out of a old wagon wheel and bought flowers to go on it.  He had to have the kids help him hang it in the yard while I was preparing lunch for our other guests.  I absolutely love it and never thought for a minute he would re-purpose something like this.  I may be rubbing off on him! 😉
Antique saw blade will be inserted in the center of the table.

Antique saw blade will be inserted in the center of the table.

Antique wagon wheel re-purposed into a hanging flower table.

Antique wagon wheel re-purposed into a hanging flower table.

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?

Trillium from the woods behind the house.

Trillium from the woods behind the house.

They adorned our kitchen table where I served our guest and my family their lunch.  We’re going to try to transplant some to my shaded flower gardens later this week or next.  Hopefully with all the shade they’ll think they’re in the woods and thrive.  He also got me a beautiful card and all of my cards made me cry!!  I am so loved.

Hubby's card for my day!!

Hubby’s card for my day!!

To top the day, one of our gielbiev cows delivered a calf which was perfect for Mother’s Day.
 
I hope your Mother’s Day was as wonderful as mine.

The Pedalboat

We have a beautiful pond in front of the yard and it’s full of fish.  It’s deepest part is about eight feet, I think.  On good days when there’s not pollen and it not cloudy you can see the fish swimming around.  We have perch, bass and blue gill in the pond.  We also have some massive carp to keep the pond clean.

Picnic table and boat house full of fishing gear.

Picnic table and boat house full of fishing gear.

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I love the gazebo but my favorite part of the pond is riding around in our pedalboat.  Hubby bought it for me for Mother’s Day a few years ago.  Last year we didn’t bring it out of storage but this year we did and I had high hopes of spending a good deal of time in it reading and relaxing.

All cleaned up and ready to float.

All cleaned up and ready to float.

It seats four comfortably and can seat three up front and two in the back.  There's cup holders built in and a cubby hole in the back for books, towels, food, drinks.

It seats four comfortably and can seat three up front and two in the back. There’s cup holders built in and a cubby hole in the back for books, towels, food, drinks.

Well, I haven’t been it but once since we brought it out of storage and that was to empty the rain water out of it so it wouldn’t sink.  It’s been horrible boating weather even on a small pond.  It has a lovely canopy that goes over the top to shade you from the rays of the sun.

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With tomorrow being the first day of August I’m hopeful that the sun will be seen more and we can play on the pond as we have in the past.

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shawn fishing IMG_0046 (2)

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Quiet weekend

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.

Balloons in place

Balloons in place

Seating for everyone.

Seating for everyone.

Yard is mowed and gazebo ready for party.

Yard is mowed and gazebo ready for party.

BIG 4 0!!!

BIG 4 0!!!

 

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!!

Spiderman throwing his web over Old Dominion University.  Spidey was Shawn superhero when growing up and he just graduated from ODU with a Masters in Civil Engineering.

Spiderman throwing his web over Old Dominion University. Spidey was Shawn superhero when growing up and he just graduated from ODU with a Masters in Civil Engineering.

 

The CAKE!

The CAKE!

 

Birthday banner.

Birthday banner.

 

Plenty of cold drinks on hand.

Plenty of cold drinks on hand.

Now, all of the guests have arrived and here’s some pictures of the birthday party, guests, games and more!

Plenty of cold drinks on hand.

Plenty of cold drinks on hand.

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Shawns 40th blowout

Volley ball was a big hit as was badminton.

Volley ball was a big hit as was badminton.

Victoiria and Jason enjoyed themselves.

Victoiria and Jason enjoyed themselves.

Keith & KIm, Matt, Tim and Jason, all friends of Shawns and work mates.

Keith & KIm, Matt, Tim and Jason, all friends of Shawns and work mates.

Shawn and Christine join Shannon and Lisa for the meal.

Shawn and Christine join Shannon and Lisa for the meal.

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Shannon and Lisa meet Christine for the first time, I think!

Shannon and Lisa meet Christine for the first time, I think!

Shawn & Christine wait for the guests and point to the parking.

Shawn & Christine wait for the guests and point to the parking.

Dad and Mom enjoy the festivities too!  Our little boy is all grown up!

Dad and Mom enjoy the festivities too! Our little boy is all grown up!

Dean, my baby brother that lives with us, even joined the festivities.  He doesn't like crowds.

Dean, my baby brother that lives with us, even joined the festivities. He doesn’t like crowds.

Vicotoria was my photographer.

Vicotoria was my photographer.

Hubby was the chef!!

Hubby was the chef!!

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And a few more pictures of the evening.

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This is a family friend that joined us.  Jimmy watched Shawn grow up right along with us!DSCN3893

 

Waiting for his guests to arrive!!

Kevin & Tim

Keith, Christine, Kevin & Tim

Off to see Annabelle

Off to see Annabelle

Kevin Shannon and Shawn

Jason, Shannon and Shawn

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!!

The CAKE!

The CAKE!

Waiting for the cake

Waiting for the cake

The cake is lit!

The cake is lit!

 

Does he have enough to blow out 40 candles???

Does he have enough to blow out 40 candles???

Keith, Kim, Matt, Tim & Ellen eating birthday cake!

Keith, Kim, Matt, Tim & Ellen eating birthday cake!

And now the end of the party grows near and Shawn HAS TO HAVE fireworks!!

 

 

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Fireworks last about 30 minutes.

Fireworks last about 30 minutes.

The sky was lit up!!

The sky was lit up!!

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The fireworks at the end of the night were awesome!!

The fireworks at the end of the night were awesome!!

 

And we couldn’t possibly end the evening without Victoria lighting up the group with sparklers!!

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Victoria with some heavy duty sparklers.

Victoria with some heavy duty sparklers.

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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!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Book Club

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.

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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.

Good friends

I have several very good friends that mean so much to me. Some are my age, some younger and some older but we all have common interests.

Tonight I want to talk about my friend Holly. She has such a giving heart, she’s a little bit “hippy”, she’s very intelligent, she gives of her time without question and she’s my friend!! We can go for two or three months without talking on the telephone or seeing each other but we always know we’re there for each other all the time. When things bother us to the point of making us nutty, sleepless, unwired, and all those other adjectives that only friends understand, we’re there for each other. Holly, I love you and so enjoyed our visit on Sunday! Forget about the cat!! 😉

Cats are wonderful people!!

Cats are wonderful people!!

Best Friend Visit

Have you ever sat with someone and you laughed so hard your face hurt? Have you got a special person in your life besides the love of your life that you can talk to about ANYTHING? Have you got a special friend that can make you laugh, think, cry, and listen to for hours on end? I do!!
My best friend (besides  hubby) came for a 10 day visit this month and we had an absolute ball!! We talked, laughed, shopped, crafted, cleaned, decorated, ate, drank, laughed, talked, and slept a little while she was with me. My husband took us to the West Virginia State Fair one evening. We shopped three or four days. We put almost 700 miles on my car. We caught up on old stuff and new stuff. We visited the mountain where her husband now resides. We sampled new wines and old.  We went on treasure hunts. We baked! We sobbed when she left to go home and we’re making plans for our next visit together!! Margaret is my MVBF!!!

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Baby quilt No. 2

I would have never  thought in a million years that a tiny baby quilt would take so long to finish.  I’ve been working on this little treasure for two months, cut to finish!!  The problem wasn’t the pattern, it was just finding the time to work on it.  Spring is not the time to start a new project!!  There are just too many things to do outside like yard cleanup, flower bed cleanup, grafting trees, starting seeds and not to mention tearing down the cattle working-pen and rebuilding again.  Well,  most of it is completed now and today I finish the little 40 x 48 fussy cut quilt.  I think it turned out pretty well and I completed it before the baby is walking.  I’m pretty proud of it though it’s not my most difficult but it is my first tied quilt. The colors were decided after a talk with the babies dad and the colors of their three year old brother’s room.   The bold blues and orange were the colors of the room with ocean animals as their theme.  I thought the fish and sea turtles pulled together fine with the bright orange from some of the fish.  I think they’ll both love it.

The Age of Loss

I realized last night and thought about it coming to work today of all the losses in my life.  I lost my youngest brother when I was six years old to pneumonia and he was eight months old.  I’ve lost my grandparents and some very special uncles. I lost both of my parents to brain cancer.  Just recently and over the last three or four years I’ve lost some very close friends.  I’m amazed at how many friends I have that are widows and they are all my age.  I worry that they may have financial difficulties if they don’t have their homes and vehicles paid for, that they may not have family close by, that they will have an empty void in their lives because that spouse is gone.  I can’t begin to imagine what they are going through.  I feel very fortunate and blessed that I have my husband and kids close to home.

I feel like I take advantage of the fact that I have a husband and close friends with me daily.  It makes me wonder, do I appreciate this man enough?  Do I tell him enough how much he means to me and how much I love him?  Do I appreciate all he does for me every day?  Do I know him well enough after forty years together?   This goes for my friends too, do I tell them or show them how much I appreciate their being a part of my life?  Maybe, maybe I need to show him and everyone more often and in better ways?  I’ll work on that.

I met my husband 40+ years ago when he dated my sister a couple times and they parted ways but he and I became close friend and six months later we married.  He gave me a home, companionship, my two beautiful children and also gave a home to my handicapped brother when my mom passed away.  Not many men I know would have taken on that burden.  He’s taught me to respect and love the outdoors and hunting.  He’s taught me so much about farming and living off the land as he was taught.  I’m not saying he’s perfect but he is a perfect fit for me!!  He is the reason, I believe, that I am the woman I am today.  I don’t think I would change a thing in my life if I could go back EXCEPT change the closeness I use to have with my siblings.

BUT,  life is good and I do love my family and friends very much!!  (Note: This photo is 10 years ago but he’s my sweetheart!!)