Life, Interrupted.

A Look At Our Week 

It’s quite amazing how quickly life can change. At the beginning of the month my guy and I made a comment about how little we had planned for the month of September. Other than his family’s planned visit and a wedding in my family our month was wide open. The whirlwind of this past week has certainly changed that. I now find it hard to keep up with what day of the week it is and you can forget me ever coming up with a date.

Part of our drama is still around our water. Two weeks later we still have no water at our house. Last week after visiting my nephew in the hospital I returned home and found my guy quite upset after having talked to the well repairmen. The well repairman suggested that the entire well filtering system be changed to a completely different system due to the large iron content of the water. Even without changing the system, the part has to be replaced. Parts being replaced equals time without water. It took a week just to get the repairmen to look at the problem so we knew it would at least be a week before they could order and replace the part. We let our  landlord know that we were upset about the situation and that we would be staying with my family while we looked for somewhere else to live or the problem was fixed. This caused a mix of emotions for me. I love where we live and had no plans to ever leave there until we found our dream home. The thought of starting over in another temporary home isn’t something that I am looking forward to, but I do not like living without water either.

We have began looking for what we are calling a temporary home to buy. A smaller, cheaper priced house that we would live in until we found what we really want then sell the temporary home. We have a couple lined up to look at once we return home. We have also dropped some of our requirements on the real home. We have a couple of those to look at as well. We still have some hard boundaries that we are not willing to give up just yet, and I’m not sure that we ever will. Neighborhood living is one of these. We really love the concept of living out on our own with no people in sight.

Last Sunday I came to visit my family and help with my nephew being in the hospital. His condition was pretty serious and he was slowly making progress. I went to the doctor with my mom on Monday for a check-up and returned home on Tuesday. It was hard to leave with so much uncertainty still surrounding his situation. During my visit it was decided that my guy’s family would not be coming for their planned visit. There were just too many issues popping up with everyone that were conflicting with the trip. I was bummed to hear the news but saw it as an opportunity to help out with  my family. On my drive home I messaged my sister and let her know I was available to come back and I could stay with my nephew at the hospital so her and my brother-in-law could go to work. My sister was relived to hear of my offer and I made plans to return on Wednesday. My guy decided he would join me once we realized the water situation would not be improving.

Traveling Times

Tuesday night we had plans to meet friends in Asheville, N.C. for a Tuba Skinny concert. This is a group that met on the streets of New Orleans and formed a band. The music was awesome and we had a great night. It was the perfect break from my stressful week. We spent the night there and headed out early the next afternoon.

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My guy mapped out our route to Knoxville, we decided to take the scenic route and drove through Cherokee, N.C. and Gatlinburg, TN. We stopped in Cherokee and did a walk through of all the tourist shops. It was a beautiful drive.

Family Visiting 

Wednesday we arrived at the hospital around 5:30. I was set to spend the night at the hospital that night so that my sister and brother-in-law could sleep at home before working the next morning. My guy went home with my brother-in-law and I got some work done while my nephew played video games. My brother-in-law couldn’t stay away and returned early Thursday morning after checking in with work and catching up on his missed work.

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My nephew was released Thursday afternoon. He will return next Thursday for another scan to see if the mass on his kidney is indeed a pocket of infection and will be gone since the infection has been treated. You cannot imagine the sigh of relief we will all breathe once we get that news. It’s been a hard week and feeling helpless is not my strong suit.

Friday night was the homecoming game at my nephew’s school. He was able to participate in homecoming but could not play in the game. He handled this very well and worked in the press box with his dad and then joined his team on the sidelines for the second half. His team and coaches have been constantly checking up on him this week and he was happy just to be with them again.

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Saturday’s are for football in Tennessee. My dad was known for his UT football watching parties. My niece, home from college, requested a Vol party during the game Saturday afternoon. Petros, pigs in a blanket, and Vols cookie cake were must haves. It’s always great spending time with my nieces and catching up on all the ins and outs of their lives. My nephew has recovered well and is feeling good. His appetite is finally back to normal. Now just to get through the dreaded waiting.

We will return home either late Sunday evening or early Monday morning. Hopefully we will set up some house viewings for next week and make a decision for what our next step is going to be. I am ready to be settled.

I began this blog talking about how quickly life can change. It truly is incredible just how quickly everything can change. You never know what may be waiting around the corner. Embrace every moment and always live life to its fullest.

Sappy Selfies

Hopefully next week’s blog will be filled with good news and positivity. Have a great week XOXO! Selfies with my niece!

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Dig A Little Deeper in the Well

A Look At Our Week

I was reading a blog the other week and the author stated how her universe must have been out of whack because she was in a getting nothing done mode. As I read I breathed a sigh of relief that I wasn’t experiencing that … well played universe, well played.

Tuesday afternoon the recent mountain droughts finally caught up with us and our spring ran dry. I was in the middle of doing laundry and washing dishes when the water disappeared. Our house also has a well, but the well has not been used in seven years so there is maintenance and parts that must be ordered and added and tested before using.

We have been buying bottled water to use with the toilet and to wash dishes with. Our landlord has now supplies us with a 200+ gallon container of water to use.

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Luckily my guy’s sister, brother-in-law and niece had a quick trip planned to town so we were able to use their hotel shower. We also had a set of friends that were evacuated from their vacation spot due to the hurricane and ended up in the N.C. mountains. We were able to meet them for dinner and a shower in their hotel room! (It’s nice knowing people who travel!)

Hiking Adventures 

We attempted to hit the hiking tail to celebrate Labor Day. We made the mistake of choosing a highly populated trail in Blowing Rock, NC, Rough Ridge. The ride to the trailhead was a twisty and curvy mountain road. We made it almost to the top when once again I felt terrible and knew I couldn’t go any further. I ended up getting sick on the way down. I was well hydrated this time and blame it on a mixture of car sickness and the change of elevation . Time to start experimenting with motion sickness cures, an issue I have never had.

After resting I felt I could complete the hike but we decided to call it a day due to the crowds and come back another day while everyone else is at school or work. I did manage to get a couple pictures before my “incident”.

Traveling Times

Wednesday morning we headed to Knoxville, TN to meet up with my guy’s sister and her family. His niece is in the process of touring universities for her graduate studies once she exits the military next year. We toured University of Tennessee and ended up walking 6-9 miles before ending the day with  dinner on the river.

The next morning we all came to Mountain City before heading to Appalachian State in Boone, NC. Friday morning they were up bright and early to return home. We enjoyed being included in the tours and hanging with the fam! We are definitely on Team Tennessee/App State and would love to have her living close by or even with us!

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Saturday we visited our friends that are vacationing in Blowing Rock, NC and we had an excellent dinner at their resort. We enjoyed visiting and watching Gunsmoke and of course our showers.

Tomorrow I am going to visit my family. We’ve had a pretty rough day today. My nephew is in the hospital, my uncle passed away and my aunt (his wife) is in the hospital with heart troubles. Positive thoughts, prayers, good vibes etc are all appreciated. I will spend a couple of days there before returning home to prepare for my guy’s family visiting this weekend. We have developed a Plan B in case we still do not have water when they arrive.

Sappy Selfies

Have a happy week! XOXO

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Jelly Making & Festivals

A Look At Our Week

It’s been another busy week. We’ve been out and about and big work going on in the kitchen. We are looking forward to the Long Journey Home festival this weekend in our town. It’s a celebration of the musical heritage in the area. The house we are renting was built by Clint Howard, a folk singer who played with Doc Watson. The next holler over is Fred Price’s home, a fiddler who played with the group as well. Behind our house is a small house that was the family’s first home. The trio recorded an album in this house making it somewhat of a local landmark even though it’s in quite pitiful shape.

Each year as part of the festival a new mural is unveiled somewhere in town. Fred Price’s granddaughter is an artist and is responsible for most of the work along with another local artist, Temple Reece. This year there are seven murals that represent songs from the area. The little house behind our house is featured in one of the murals. One of my favorite things about downtown Mountain City is all of the murals and history that they represent.

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Homesteader Wannabe

This week has been all about the grapes. I’ve kept a close watch on the grapevines on our property. The landlord’s grandson had told us they would turn purple when ripe but the animals would probably eat them before we were able to pick them.

Well, that didn’t happen. Monday as my guy left for choir rehearsal I headed to the vine with my gathering bucket. I had a recipe for grape jelly that I was anxious to try out. I gatherered around five pounds of grapes and began the two-day jelly making process. The first day I had to mash the grapes and boil them down and then they needed to drain overnight.

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Tuesday evening I began the second part of the process. I mixed in the sugar and pectin and started boiling. I also had to sterilize my canning jars. I was most definitely in my happy place with so much going on in my kitchen.

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After boiling I filled my jars and processed them in boiling water. Then they have to sit overnight and hopefully will set. Three of the ten and a half jars I canned set the first time. So this meant more jelly making Wednesday night. I had researched the jelly making process and troubleshooting for weeks so I knew there was a chance the jelly might not set and what I would need to do.

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Wednesday I emptied my jars and added in more ingredients and started boiling again. My guy was my super hero by making the store run for more jar seals for me so I could keep boiling. This batch did perfectly. All the jars were set before we went to bed that evening. Our official taste testing happened on Thursday morning. First bite kind of threw us off but after a few more bites all was fine. It’s not Smucker’s but still has a good taste to it.

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And it’s already packaged and ready to be distributed!

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Busy Hands & Busy Mind 

It’s been a week of catching up on my works in progress pile. I was waiting on an order to arrive from Hobby Lobby. I thought I could get the items quicker if I ordered them rather than making a trip to Boone. I was wrong. I’ve been to Boone at least three times while waiting on the order to arrive, lesson learned.

I completed the pillow I was making for my niece, my scarf and several Christmas ball ornaments. I’m also working on a baby blanket but have had to stop to yet again wait for more yarn. I haven’t quite got the hang of determining how much yarn I will need before starting a project.

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My neice keeps me busy with her requests. She was wanting to try goats milk soap and asked if I could make some. I have made lotion bars before and have wanted to experiment with soap making.

For this first batch I went the easy route and just did the pour and mold type. It comes in bars and you melt it down and add smells, oatmeal, or fresh herbs to the mixture. Then you pour it into molds and allow it to set. It turned out perfect. Can’t wait to try more recipes.

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Out & About

Last Saturday we went to the High Country Beerfest in Boone, N.C. We remembered hearing about this festival last year and recall not being able to get tickets. It was a great event. My guy was in heaven. I’m not a beer drinker but there were several ciders I could have tried but I was proudly sporting my DD wristband. I did enjoy the great music and food they offered though. I also enjoyed watching my guy have so much fun. He was wearing his Bluecoats shirt and had several people strike up conversations about drum corps. He also made a friend in the port-a-potty line and shared a discussion on racial relations. It was a great way to spend an afternoon!

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The events for the Long Journey Home weekend began on Thursday with a community dinner and square dancing. Friday evening there was a Busking on Main Street with performers set up all along the street. My guy even joined in with one of the groups and sang a little bass. Saturday is an all day event with the Musical Heritage Tour. We visited four locations including the mural unveiling. Our last stop was at the Fred Price Homeplace for a group jam and Mrs. Lois always serves soup beans & cornbread and biscuits & apple butter just like her mother used to. I can’t say enough how much I love this little town we get to call home! If you enjoy Bluegrass music be sure to come visit us during Labor Day Weekend sometime. It’s an action packed entertaining weekend! We finish up the weekend tomorrow afternoon with a Sunday Singin’!

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What’s for Dinner?

We tried out a recipe this week that we will serve when my guy’s family comes to visit in a few weeks. It was a vegetable ziti. It was sooo good and rather easy to make! Adding it to the visitor rotation.

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Sappy Selfies

Have a great week! XOXO

 

Crafts, Fairs, Trains and Cars

A Look at Our Week

We had planned for this week to be our reset week back into our normal schedule and routine. I would call it a successful reset although there is plenty of room for improvement.

Traveling Times 

Last Saturday we spent the day out and about. We traveled to Erwin, TN for a craft fair. Of course we had to make a stop at Scott’s Farms for some of the most delicious homemade ice cream you’ve ever tasted! Ice cream for breakfast is highly recommendEd.

The craft show was nice and featured real artisans and their work. We had to try a doughnut from the food truck that had been recommended by a friend. It put our Kristy Kremes to shame. We explored downtown Erwin after the craft show and might have had another scoop of ice cream along the way. The owner of the ice cream shop was great to talk to and recommended two shops in town that we needed to visit.

Our first stop was an outfitters shop. They carried a line of products we had never heard of that the clerk was eager to tell us all about. It was all a bit pricey but lots of neat stuff. After this we headed across the street to an art shop that specializes in glass fusion. The shop owner was quite the conversationalist and on top of that she was from Ohio so her and my guy had plenty to talk about. I found a beautiful pair of glass earrings in her shop. I have several colors of earrings I have been searching for and pink was one of those colors.

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My guy was intrigued by the old train station that is now the public library. We went inside to inquire about its history and were disappointed when the librarian had no details to share. We even stopped by the visitor’s center across the street and had no luck there either.

Our next stop for the day was ETSU in Johnson City, TN to check out their model train museum. This is one of the activities we were checking out for when my guy’s family visits. It was an interesting yet small museum and we have taken it off our list. We headed downtown for snacks and a beverage before heading to our next destination.

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Elizabethton, TN was next on our list. They have a classic car cruise-in every Saturday night and we needed to check it out for our planning. It was a neat collection of cars all up and down Main Street and it has been added to our itenerary for the visit.

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It was a busy and apparently exhausting day for my guy.

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Hiking Adventures

Not really a hike, but Sunday we did head to Damascus, VA for a walk on the Virginia Creeper Trail. There is a small section of this walk that we may do with our visitors and wanted to confirm that it would be doable for all participants.

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Visit with The Boy

Thursday we traveled to Danville to see Cutler. Apparently his work schedule is so full he just can’t find time to come visit mom, so mom goes to him when she can. We had lunch at a Japanese restaurant with him and his girlfriend before his work day began. It was great catching up on everything with them.

After lunch we headed to one of our favorite discount stores and then met Cutler at work. They had remodeled the restaurant and we wanted to see it. They have also started serving mac and cheese so we had to check that out as well. It was very good, but not as good as mine, Cutler was sure to tell me.

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Target was our next stop before heading to our storage units for a visit with our belongings. We had dinner at our favorite restaurant in Danville, Me’s Burgers and Brews and quite the storm blew in while we were eating. The restaurant ending up losing power before we left. The food, beer and service were still great though!

What’s For Dinner?

Every night’s dinner can’t be fancy! This week we had frozen pizza with salads. We love the margherita thin crust pizzas.

We also had pork tenderloin with sweet potatoes and asparagus. I have tried several different recipes for asparagus and this time I just threw in some seasonings and popped it in the oven, my guy said it was the best asparagus he has ever had. Sure hope I can remember what all I threw in that pan next time.

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Fair Season

It’s that time of year! Friday afternoon we went to the Appalachian Fair in Gray, TN. I have discovered that our local county does not have a fair and I am determined to find out why. I have found reports of a fair here at one time and I speculate that they stopped the fair when they started their Long Journey Home weekend. This celebration is next weekend and next weeks blog will be all about it.

I was quite impressed with the fair. The livestock showings were a much bigger deal here than at the Danville fair. I might have fallen in love  with a pig or two in the petting exhibit. My guy was entertained by the water sliding ducks.

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I also enjoyed the craft exhibits. I was able to look at the crocheted enteries and identify stitches. Who knows,  I may just enter something next year.

The entertainment was Josh Turner. A country/gospel singer with a nice deep voice. Of course there was food involved and it was delicious! Can’t wait til our next fair!

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Sappy Selfies

Have a great week! XOXO

 

Time to Reset

A Look At Our Week 

We’ve had a bit of an emotional week this week. My guy has decided that this is his last year of working with championship level drum corps. He resigned from the Bluecoats when we arrived home Sunday evening. We both have mixed emotions about this decision. We will both miss the interactions with members and other staff members the most. I am sure we will end up still involved in the activity in some way or another. We shall see what the future holds. Here is a collage of my guy with lots of members and former members that I posted on his Facebook post about resigning.

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We were also sick for the first part of the week. We basically spent Monday in bed with terrible colds, runny noses and bad coughs. We were quite the pitiful pair. The coughs are still lingering but we are both feeling much better. It slowed down our back home reset a bit though and has made getting back into our normal routine rather difficult. Our plan is to reset starting Monday. Up by 9:00 a.m. and start working.

Busy Hands & Busy Mind

I have been busy perfecting a new crocheting project. I have learned that when making something new it usually takes me making it a couple times before I am satisfied with the end result. I have been making this adorable set of potholders. I am now happy with the result and am sharing them with others.

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I have also been working on a different type of crocheting called Corner 2 Corner. It is made up of boxes and you work diagonally from one corner to the other corner. I have made a dishcloth and now am working on a scarf in this design. I love the yarn I am using for the scarf. Will have to grab another skein at Hobby Lobby though to complete the project. In the meantime I am working on a pillow for my niece in a thicker yarn that she had liked.

 

Gardening Fun

The tomato, yes singular, one tomato, is still on the vine and seems to be doing well. It is beginning to turn red so hopefully we will be enjoying it soon. I do have another tomato plant that I planted from seeds after we returned home in June that appears to be doing well. We will see if it produces any fruit or not. There is also a cucumber plant that never produced that still seems to be looking good. Not holding out much hope for it but with this garden, who knows. The grapes are beginning to turn purple and should be ready soon. I guess it’s time to figure out what I’m going to do with them.

End of an Era

We have completed watching the entire series of Green Acres. We have now moved on to Little House on the Praire, which my guy says he has never watched before. He’s not a big fan, not sure how far we will make it with this one. We both do agree that we don’t think a show like this would be quite as popular in today’s time.

What’s for Dinner? 

We had barbecue chicken and corn on the cob for dinner this week. The chicken was super thick and a little difficult to get done but the corn was amazing.

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I also got to use my reusable ziploc bags that I was so excited to find recently. I go through a lot of baggies and feel bad throwing away all that trash.

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We had other dinners planned, but our spontaneous lifestyle of going out to eat seemed to get in the way of the pre-made plans (and my diet!). One of the dinners we enjoyed out was at a restaurant we have been wanting to try out for a while. One of my guy’s former students is the head chef there. The food was to die for! He’s leaving in January, so we must plan at least a couple more trips back there before he goes.

 

 

Weekend Fun

Thursday we traveled to Banner Elk, N.C. and walked along the greenway through the town. We stopped for ice cream at one of our favorite stops and ended up going to dinner as well. During our walk we stopped at the empty playground and had a little fun!

 

 

Friday evening we headed to Boone, NC for a grand opening of a brewery . We enjoyed our picnic and headed out for ice cream afterwards. Then we ended up at a live music event in the charming town of Valle Crucis, N.C.

Today we have a full day planned. We are going to Erwin, TN for a homemade craft fair. We have been to several of these types of shows in the area only to be disappointed at the commercialized items available instead of genuine homemade crafts. I did a little research about this show and asked a friend that has ties to the area.

We are also beginning to plan for a visit from my guy’s family. As part of our preparations we are checking out possible activities to see if they are visitor worthy. After the craft show we will be checking out a train museum and then a classic car show. We have to check out the local bowling alley as well but will save that for another weekend. It’s located in Boone, N.C. and it is move in weekend at App State which makes traveling through nearly impossible.

Sappy Selfies 

Have a great week! XOXO

 

 

 

Home, Home, Home

A Look At Our Week

We had a busy finals week full of back and forth traveling. The end of the week has found us tired, sick, and eager to return to our mountain home.

I achieved new big girl statuses during this trip as I drove to Akron, OH by myself and worked out my hotel reservations for the night since I had arrived a day earlier. Arriving earlier meant that I would be able to meet and pick up my guy as soon as he arrived in Akron, which happened to be at 4:00 am!

Traveling Times 

Our week began in Akron, OH for the Bluecoats home show Monday night. My cookies were a big hit with everyone!  I am always amazed at the hard work, dedication and passion that goes into each rehearsal and each show. It is such a rewarding activity to be a part of.

My guy’s sisters and great-niece came to the show. They were so excited to get to see the corps warming up and to see my guy in action.

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Tuesday was a full rehearsal day with a nice big rainstorm right in the middle of the day. The silver lining to bad weather is that while stuck inside the performers had a singing block with my guy. It was great being serenaded by Beatles tunes while I worked!

Wednesday we moved on to Marion, Indiana back to Indiana Wesleyan University. This is where we spent our three weeks in May. We had a full day of rehearsal and as soon as rehearsal was over we headed to Indianapolis to view the DCI Hall of Fame induction of our friend. Such a well-deserved award.

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Thursday was day one of Finals shows. Nerves were on edge and everyone was ready. After a quick shower and change after rehearsal we headed back to Indy again (about 1-1 1/2 hours away). Show nights are always great fun and full of excitement. Luckily, I was able to have a staff pass so I could participate in all the excitement.

Finals weekend is always filled with reunions between my guy and past members and colleagues. We can’t walk across the park without being stopped for a hug and a quick catch-up. He even had to skip a bathroom break due to being stopped en route. I love watching these mini-reunions and am always struck by the impact these instructors have on the members even if only for one summer. The bonds created are not easily or soon forgotten.

Friday was another quick rehearsal day followed by another big show. During rehearsals I sit on the sidelines and work but am easily distracted by al the activity taking place around me. I love sitting and watching as my guy interacts with the members. It’s a side of him that most people never have the opportunity to see. He presents himself with such a gruff exterior it’s a nice switch to see the soft, mushy side come out.

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A highlight of our weekend was meeting up with one of my guy’s former students that I had met about five years ago. I love hearing their stories of how my guy cried when meeting her parents while telling them what an amazing daughter they had. She is one of many of similar stories about not only the impact my guy has had on their life but the impact they have had on his as well.

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Friday night I had my nifty staff pass again and we watched the show from the field. Now when watching a show my guy prefers to sit up high so that the sound is distributed better and he can get a clear read of the hornline. But me, I love sitting up close and watching the faces of the performers and seeing their excitement and tears as they give it everything they have. I also enjoy being around other instructors and seeing and hearing the pride they have in their students.

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Finally we are up to Saturday night, the big show, the final gig, the moment everyone has worked so hard for all summer long. We had a great rehearsal time before heading off to Indy again to check into yet another hotel, our third of the week.

We knew there was a big chance I would lose my staff pass for the show as so many staff members were coming in. Sure enough on our way to Indy we got that message. We went back and forth on a new plan, one even including leaving immediately and driving back to Ohio to be with my guy’s family at their Finals Watch Party. We finally decided to purchase a cheap ticket for me to be able to get in and then we could watch the performance together. If we won then my guy would be able to join his team on the field and hopefully sweet talk the security into allowing me down as well. I don’t like plans changing at the last minute. I like having clear plans and knowing what is going to happen. My anxiety can get the best of me when plans go awry.

Needless to say it was an emotional evening. I was also reminded that in my mountain life I have minimal dealings with large groups of people. My tolerance for people and drama is at an all time low and I have to work hard when in group settings and keep my expectations of others in check. Our night ended with unexpected results and just added to our emotions. We ate through our emotions with some chocolate cake before heading back to the hotel.

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This morning we both woke up with pretty nasty colds. We are tired and ready to get back home to our daily routines. My guy says he is done, this was his last summer. I don’t put much credit into his words as I’ve heard them for several of the last six years. My hope would be that he’s not done, although the time away and the traveling gets to us both, I feel like the activity still needs my guy involved. He’s not done making a difference just yet. We shall see!

Sappy Selfies 

Drum Corps selfies are the best selfies! Have a great week! XOXO

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A Week with Mom

A Look At Our Week 

My mom and sister came into town for a visit Friday evening. My niece was attending a dance camp in Johnson City, TN so they stayed with us and we went to watch her dance on Saturday. We spent the afternoon shopping and enjoying doughnuts and then met my guy for dinner and had a fun evening with adult beverages and Yahtzee. On Sunday my sister went back to Johnson City to watch more dancing on her way home and Mom stayed with us.

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Traveling Times

Sunday we traveled to Winston-Salem, NC to drop my guy off with the drum corps. I will meet up with him again in eight days in Akron, OH. My mom is staying with me for a few days then I am hanging out with the family for a few days when I take her back home.

We dropped my guy off at work and then I took my mom to visit with her brother and sister-in-law that live in Winston-Salem. I returned to watch rehearsal and Mom and I had plans to attend the show that night. When I arrived to pick her up I learned that my aunt and uncle were going to attend as well. It was their first drum corps experience and they enjoyed it.

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We spent the night and headed back to the mountains Monday morning. After a weekend full of activity, Monday was a much needed rest and recovery day.

Gardening Fun

I am sure that this years garden will be rembered for many, many years. The year of the two piece harvest! I have one tomato that is growing nicely. No more cucumbers have surfaced and some critter thoroughly enjoyed the rest of my tomato plants. I have said from the beginning that this year was my learning year and I have learned quite a bit! Can’t wait to put my knowledge to good use next year and try again.

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Tuesday was jam making day. Mom and I made blackberry jam with the blackberries my guy and I had picked from our land. The jam is good, it might could use more sugar, but we try to avoid sugar, so it’s good for me.

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As I was eating my first serving of toast and blackberry jam, I was reminded of a scene from one of my all-time favorite movies, St. Elmo’s Fire. In the movie a young woman is living on her own for the first time. She talks about making herself a peanut butter & jelly sandwich and how it was her peanut butter and her jelly and her bread and it was the best pb&j she is ever eaten. My toast was the same type of experience. I had picked those berries with my own hands. I had stirred them in the pan. I had poured it into the jars. And I loved knowing exactly what I was eating. This is how I want to live!

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I picked an apple from the tree and cut it and tasted a bite. I tasted nothing. I’m not sure if it wasn’t quite ripe enough or if they are just an icky kind of apple. I fed it to the horses and they enjoyed. I will wait a little longer and see if things improve.

The grapes are still green with just a few beginning to turn purple. Hopefully it will be jelly making time soon.

Emotional Rant

I typed out a big, long emotional rant about a disappointment I learned of this week. It was therapeutic just typing it out and deleting it all. I try to keep my blog real and don’t want it to present my life as  perfect and flawless. There are downs that go along with all the ups! But nothing could be gained from sharing all the minute details and dwelling on the negatives in life. You live, you learn and you move on.

The life lesson from this is always try to do the right thing. It all goes back to the Golden Rule we all learned on like day one! Acting out of spite comes so easily for some. I encourage us all when faced with an opportunity to pause and make the choice to rise above and do what is right. It doesn’t matter what anyone has done to you, we don’t have control over that. The only thing we have control over is what we do and we should always do the right thing. Moving on…

What’s Cookin’? 

We had million dollar spaghetti and salad for dinner on Friday evening. I cooked a pork tenderloin with corn on the cob and a squash/asparagus medley for mom and I  to eat along with leftover spaghetti during the week.

This wekeend has been Bloo cookie baking time! Drum corps members and staff love cookies! I am making my guy’s favorite recipe that he invented, chocolate chip with peanut butter M&Ms. I’ve finished three batches and have several more to go! I can’t wait to meet up with my guy on Monday.

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Sappy Selfies 

My selfies aren’t too sappy this week! Walking selfie with my niece and sister. Love spending time with them. Have a great week XOXO

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Where’s My Hiker?

A Look At Our Week

We honored our landlord’s mother’s birthday this week by continuing their family tradition of blackberry picking on her birthday. We gathered quite a bit and I froze them to make some blackberry jam with.

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Hiking Adventures

Although I have not set foot on a trail myself this week it has still been a pretty eventful hiking week. My guy went out for a long hike on Wednesday. He had mapped out his path and was going to do 10 miles on an out and back trail. He texted me during his hike and said he was changing his plans and needed me to pick him up and drive him back to his car.

I am not great with navigating solo. When he does these types of hikes I prefer clear instructions in advance with a trial run. He did his best to describe where I needed to pick him up. For some reason the church that was to be our meeting spot would not come up on Google maps. I finally had a clear picture and a pickup time was set. He warned me that he may be later than planned.

I arrived at the church with no trouble right on time. As soon as I parked I got a text from him saying he couldn’t find the trail down to the church. Our next option was down the road at a trail we walk quite often. He let me know it would take him at least another hour. It was dinner time and I was hungry, so I used the waiting time to go to the store for a snack and then went on to the new meeting spot to wait. Once I left the church I also lost phone service and we had no way to communicate.

The hour passes and I see no sign of my guy. I start doing the math in my head, “He normally can do three miles an hour. It is 2 miles to get here and .7 miles down from mountain, and then from the trailhead to here. Okay, I’ll give him until 7:30 before I get concerned.” I try to busy my mind and keep my anxiety to a minimum by doing a word puzzle. 7:30 comes and I find myself staring at the trail in hopes of seeing him. At 7:50 I get out and walk down the trail a little ways to a straight point and see no sign of him.

“Okay, at 8:00 I will leave here and go back to where I have service and see if he has contacted me and try to contact him. Then I will come back and see if he is here. If he’s not then I’m going to have to go to the police. I have lots of information about his whereabouts. They should be able to find him quickly. He must not be able to find a way down from the mountain. I’ll have to call his family and tell them he’s lost at some point.” Anxiety is rough!

8:00 I leave and head back to town for service. Just a little bit down the road I see my tired but good looking hiker walking down the road. I pull over and am anxious to hear what has happened. I learn that immediately after finishing texting me he found the trail down to the church at our original meeting place. He tried texting me but I had already left and lost service. He started taking the trail to go to our new meeting place and quickly got discouraged by its relentless incline and decided he would just go to the church and walk on the road to the new meeting place and hopefully be able to get a ride from someone. He had no luck getting that ride as he walked  four miles down the road before I saw him. I also learn that part of his decision to not doing the return hike to his starting place was an of the signs of bear activity he has seen. He didn’t want to increase his chances of having an incident be retracting his path. As happy as I was to see him, it definitely reminded me of all that can go wrong on these hikes.

I declared Thursday as his day off from hiking. He was tired from the 14 miles he ended up doing on Wednesday so he humored my declaration. Friday he was up and ready to go though. He headed to Grandfather Mountain to do one of the more difficult trails that he had done part of before. He had a 12 mile out and back hike planned and he let me know what time I could begin to worry if he didn’t return home.

Again, mid-hike I get a text asking if I could come pick him up at the end of the trail and take him back to his car. The hike was really tough with lots of rock and boulder crossings and he wasn’t too excited about retracing his path back to his car. I researched our meeting place, this time it was a big tourist attraction so I had great information and headed on my way.

We were meeting at the Grandfather Mountain mile high swinging bridge. I got there early and checked out the gift shop and went to wait at the bridge. It looked much more stable than I had anticipated. I had a seat and continued my research to see if I would attempt it. Heights aren’t my favorite so a big no was my first response but I try to push myself out of my comfort level and face my fears.

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I was most  nervous about this sign as I saw no one counting the bridge crossers. I was told by a park official that the sign was from the old bridge and was no longer valid. (So no one has taken it down in the 19 years since you built the new bridge??!)

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My guy arrived on time and of course encouraged me to cross the bridge. I made it to the start of the bridge and maybe 5 steps onto the bridge before changing my mind. My biggest worry (well, other than plummeting to my death) was that once I cross the bridge I have to come back the same way. There’s no alternate route back so no opportunity to chicken out from the other side. I’m confident I will get across it on our next visit! The views were breathtaking though!

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Traveling Times

Last weekend we headed to see my family for our annual family reunion with my dad’s side of the family. We had a date night with my sis and her husband with dinner, adult beverages and ice cream. It was great being able to hang with them and then do some late night cooking with my sister.

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Saturday was reunion day at the lake. My dad always loved the reunions and would always be the life of the party. As much as we enjoy our time together, they just aren’t the same anymore. Lots of good food and catching up with everyone. My sis and I learned the hard lesson that we are a bit too old for tubing! My guy found two drum corps connections amongst family members and enjoyed talking band.

Sappy Selfies

We went on our last date night for awhile on Thursday night. My mom and sis will be visiting with us this weekend then my guy returns to drum corps world on Sunday. My mom will be staying with me for a few days and I will meet back up with my guy on Aug. 5th.

We also celebrated National Ice Cream day this week!

Have a great week! XOXO

Four Hikes in Four Days

A Look At Our Week

We had a visitor this week! We love having company and showing off this gorgeous place we live in. One of my guy’s friends came to visit with us from Monday until Thursday. We enjoyed catching up with her and showing her around, and of course introducing her to Stella.

She is a big hiker and had planned a six day solo hike on the A.T. after our visit. We parked her car at her ending destination and drove her to the trailhead. We hiked in with her for about two miles before sending her on her way. She’s been keeping us updated on her journey.

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Hiking Adventures

A-hiking we definitely did go! To help to prepare ourselves for our visitor we did a couple of hikes before her arrival. We hiked on Elk Knob (one of our go-to trails)  and then tackled the Taylor’s Valley Trail again. This was the 8-miler that we attempted last week.

We did Elk Knob At our own paces, my guy wanted to push himself and I wasn’t into pushing. My original plan was to do a half a mile on the trail and then do another easier trail in the park. When I reached the 1/4 mile marker I was still feeling good so I kept on going. I ended up meeting my guy at the 1.25 mike marker on his way back down.

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I was set and ready for my second 8-miler attempt. There might have even been a little jump in my step as we started out on the trail (after driving up the 1/2 mile straight up driveway this time). On our last attempt I had lost my glasses and was happy to find them right where I left them.  There was some discrepancy on the actual mileage, but we completed the trail (marked as 4 miles)  and ended at the Virginia Creeper Trail. We crossed two creeks while sharing one pair of water shoes.

We decided to go back on the Virginia Creeper Trail. My guy then had to climb back up the half mile driveway to get the car. I chose to bypass the driveway and met him at a local cafe, that had unfortunately closed. He calculated our mileage as me with 7.3 and him with 7.2. Close enough to 8 for me!

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We felt ready for the challenge of hiking with our friend now. The evening she arrived her and my guy settled at the kitchen table with maps everywhere reviewing her hike and deciding what hikes they would do. They decided on an 8.5 mile hike in Grayson Highlands as their first hike. They would need me to drop them off at one trailhead and pick them up at their ending point. I happily agreed.

I packed my book and lots of yarn and was ready for a chill day while they hiked. After I sent them on their way I visited the visitor center at the park and decided to do my own hikes. I hiked two of the smaller trails in the park for a total of about 3 miles. I then headed over to the trailhead to wait for my hikers to return. Solo hiking is a different experience and I was quite proud of myself for taking it on.

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The next day we decided on taking her to one of our favorite trails, Gentry Creek Trail. This was the trail that I had a dehydration spell on the last time we did it so I was anxious to face it again. I did great. It seemed much easier than last time. The falls were beautiful.

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Thursday was our last day together. We enjoyed an early morning ice cream stop before heading out on our final hike together. We had done this hike before as well. I remembered it as hard. We have to walk across a rock wall at one point and I remembered lots of elevation. I wasn’t too excited and may have hoped for rain just a little bit.

When we made it to the trailhead the rain had stopped so I agreed to go. We hiked about 2 miles to the falls. I scaled that rock wall in the pouring rain like a boss! We did go the less elevated path this time which helped, but again it seemed much easier. I was glad that I had went and felt accomplished. I even survived walking over a hornet’s nest and getting stung 4 times!

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Today we decided on a last minute trip to my family reunion. On our way to the family we stopped in Hampton, TN to continue our hiking spree. Time constraints kept us from making it all the way to the Watauga Lake Shelter, but we will be back. It was a nice trail around the lake.

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Local Fun

Last Saturday we set our alarms and were determined to make it to the Farmer’s Market in time to get some fresh veggies for our guest. Success! We made it! I finally got to try out my crocheted market bag, it was almost dragging the ground when we left.

After the market we headed downtown to the Sunflower Festival. I was quite impressed at all the vendors this little town put out. BBQ, pretzels and homemade ice cream were among our faves. We also enjoyed the woodworking booths and the local photographer’s booth. Oh, and of course the Republican Party booth!

A quick trip to the local yarn store ended our day out in our charming little town!

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Sappy Selfies 

Tired hiker selfies! Have a great week!! XOXO

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Home Sweet Home

A Look At Our Week 

It’s  been a great week at home! We love our days spent glancing out windows to check on cow or horse locations, and seeing the beautiful scenery. We’ve had beautiful days this week and decided we just couldn’t spend them cooped up inside working.

We’re up bright and early today to head to the Farmer’s Market to prepare for our visitor coming this week. After the Market we will attend the Sunflower Festival downtown. Sounds like a perfect Saturday to me!

Busy Hands & Busy Mind 

I finished my stuffed giraffe this week. It was quite the challenge but the second prototype will do just fine.

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I am still working on dish cloths in between each larger project. I think my  next project will be a scarf and maybe a hat to match.

Gardening Fun & Animal Antics

The one cucumber is growing good! It will be time to pick it very soon!

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While checking on my cucumber the other day I noticed some tomatoes growing as well. These are from the newer plants I planted after returning home from drum corps. The original tomato plant is still looking good but no fruit yet.

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The horses and cows are out and about and manage to keep us entertained, or me a worried wreck! One of the horses has cut his eye and it seems to be healing well and doesn’t seem to bother him. The wild horse in the pasture hung right with us while we were berry picking. The cows come down about every evening. The babies are growing and another new baby should be here soon.

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What’s Cookin’? 

Blackberries have been cooking all week! We headed out into our pasture with buckets in hand ready to forage for some blackberries. We had plans to do this last year but missed the ripe season. We made sure not to miss it this year. We found enough blackberries for a blackberry cobbler and a blackberry buckle. Pretty much the same thing, but we wanted to experiment with the two. I’m planning on trying some blackberry jam with the next batch.

 

I came home from my sister’s party with a half a bag of huge potatoes. I have been working all week to try to use all of them. One night we had baked potatoes with our sloppy joes and one night it was dijon mustard baked fish and fried taters n’ onions for dinner. 

I also tried out making a potato salad to go with our hamburger steaks. Mom is our potato salad maker so this was my first time trying it. It passed the test! My guy went back for seconds and thirds (and maybe even fourths, but I quit counting!)

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One of our all-time favorite (and easiest) meals is meat and veggies. This time it was shrimp and sausages with peppers, onions, broccoli, cauliflower and corn. So yummy and colorful!

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Hiking Adventures 

We were back on the trails again this week. We rode past one of our favorite trails the other day, Laurel Creek and noticed all the rhododendrons blooming. The next day we set out on the trail and the blossoms did not disappoint. It’s a fairly short and easy trail with two good inclines to get your juices going. One of the pics shows my guy investigating the water source. He ended up climbing up the rocks to get a clear picture.

 

The next day my guy announced he was going on a hike. It was a slow work day for me so he asked if I would like to join him. He was attempting a trail he had never done before. It makes him a bit nervous to take me on these hikes when he can’t answer my questions as we hike such as, “How much longer?” “Are we almost at the end?” “Can you show me how much farther on your phone?” “Is this the last hill???” It was an 8 mile hike. If completed it would be my highest hike yet. I was feeling adventurous and decided to join him. Our first error was not driving up the mile long up hill road to the trailhead. Instead we parked at the bottom at walked up hill after hill not realizing we could have driven up this part. 

Once we reached the top we came to a large circle with several path options but no signs. We chose what we felt was the most likely option and headed down the path. We were supposed to come to a gate and a trail sign. The trail directions we had found on the internet were 9 years old though so we weren’t sure how reliable they may be. We found a pole that may have held a gate at one time and ventured onward. Once again we came to an opening with just a couple of options. We chose one and started down. The trail was quite overgrown, but that should be expected since it is not traveled very often. We finally came to a place where we could not go any further. Well, we could have went a little further, but we would have been outside of our adventure comfort zone for sure. We turned around and headed back up again. My guy said he would come back another time and see if he could find the right trail.

Once we arrived back at the first clearing, I pointed to the road that seemed to follow our original trail and suggested we go this way for just a little bit. Well, we went around the corner and there was our gate and trail sign. We debated on just going back to the car and calling it a day or doing some of the real trail. After climbing up the driveway I was just about done for the day. We went down the trail a little way, it was gradual ups and downs as described and beautiful green scenery. The rhododendrons were everywhere. I found a seat in a little meadow clearing for a snack while my guy went ahead of me for a bit. We hadn’t really communicated when he left me if I would wait for him, catch up to him or head back to the car on my own. I decided I would head back to the car. I knew he would think that is what I was doing but I also knew he would worry the whole way down the trail too. I decided I would leave him a note on the ground. I couldn’t find enough rocks for my letters so I decided to use sticks instead. I was quite disappointed at how the sticks just kind of camouflaged into the grass. Luckily, I was just beginning my note when my guy came down the path. We ended up doing about 3 miles total. Not quite the 8 we were hoping for, but I’ll be back!

 

Sappy Selfies

Hot faced hiking selfies! Have a great week! XOXO