Thursday, August 13, 2020

Casting On

Gopher Flats
Moab, UT
August 13, 2020

The attic in the Georgia house was full...33 years worth of living.  Most everything was either trashed or taken to Goodwill.  We did find a few being at the top of the list.  We packed them up and sent them to Felix (our grandson who just turned 4).  I'm not sure who was most excited, Felix or his dad (our youngest son).

It’s still hot!  Cooking  inside isn’t a good idea this time of year in Moab so Joe has been busy at the grill... 

homemade fresh veggie pizza , fresh asparagus, sweet Olathe corn on the cob  (from Olathe, CO not too far from here), chicken, salmon and bacon burgers just to name a few of the things that have satisfied our taste buds.  We were especially thrilled to find a huge tub of Olathe corn at City Market...5 ears for $1.00. We have bought it on two different stops there.

Three of us have sparkly, clean chompers. Sally was mad at me and refused to look up and smile.

Joe and I also had our pearly whites cleaned.  I always dread teeth cleaning day.  I am always happy when it is done!

So yesterday while running errands, we stopped at Desert Thread. 

It was obvious that upon entering the small store, I wasn’t expecting what I saw.  The colors, the textures, and the hand-made sweaters, scarves, hats and bags were amazingly gorgeous. 

 Many of the yarns in the store are local. And what ever felting is, I really want to learn how.  It sure makes for some beautiful pieces.  

But, first things first...knitting!  My grandma crocheted, my mom knitted, and I enjoyed countless hours in years past doing counted cross stitch. I’ve had a hankering to learn how to knit for the past several months.  I had done some internet research and Kathy, the owner of Desert Thread, agreed with my findings.  She guided me on choices for needles and yarn.  She is so friendly, helpful and passionate about wanting folks like me to be successful.   It will take much practice to get a "rhythm" and "feel" for working the yarn and probably several more stops at Desert Thread for help.  

I spent yesterday afternoon casting on and this morning while Joe was in the dentist chair, I added a second row.
I'm telling myself this is progress !  I have size 8 birch needles and a light color wool blend yarn.  

Practice  makes perfect.  But then I read once that Vince Lombardi said, "Practice does not make perfect.  Only perfect practice makes perfect."  I might in trouble !

I'll close with the prettiest sunset photo of the week...

Until next time...
Photo taken January 2019 in LaJolla, CA


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

A New Chapter Begins

Gopher Flats
Moab, UT
August  4, 2020

All our hard work paid off...Nicole listed our home on June 24. We accepted a contract on the 27th.  

We closed on July 20th.  We packed and moved the RV to   R Shaefer Heard campground ( just 8 miles from our home) on the 21st. The movers came on the 22nd.  The 23rd was spent buying groceries and doing last minute errands and on the 24th we headed west.   

Our good friends Libby and Corky live in Hot Springs Village, AR so we routed our trip to include a two night stop over at The Village to see them. 
I had never been to Hot Springs so Libby and I masked up and enjoyed a walk on Bathhouse Row.  Corky took Joe to an off road park to play.

 It never ceases to amaze us how months turn into years since you have seen friends, but you always pick right up where you left off as if no time at all had passed.   Their home is beautiful with a stunning view of the mountains from the deck.  

I didn't get any pictures of the pups, but we met their newest addition to the family, a very playful and happy Gracie Mae, and enjoyed snuggles from Rebel.    

Somewhere on 84 N between Santa Fe and is good !

We arrived in Moab on July 30th and are still settling in at Gopher Flats. 

 It is rather warm...OK, its hot as blue blazes ( a phrase I heard my grandma say many times) !  No worries though because we are here to chill out.  Having no agenda is the agenda !

It's nice early in the morning and near dusk...the perfect time to play, explore, or just sit in the cool grass and wait for grasshoppers.   

We got WileE out of the storage unit last Friday.  It cranked right up on the first try as if it had only been parked over night and not nine months.  The oil is changed (Joe has it done right before we leave and when we return.), tools packed, tires inspected, fluids checked, and early Monday morning we did a quick run on Steelbender with Dee.  

 And so a new chapter in our lives begins.  Until next time...


Thursday, May 21, 2020

Our Version...

LaGrange, GA
May 18, 2020

Remember the movie Caddyshack from way back in 1980?  Ye gads, that was 40 years ago!  Joe and I are starring in our own version of the movie.    Dover, Sally and Jack are co-stars in the not so hilariously funny episodes.  No, we don’t have gophers that have declared war.  Instead, we have the cutest,  little Timber Tigers...better known as eastern chipmunks that are driving us crazy.  Did I mention how cute they are?  

Heads up...

Every morning at breakfast we see them emerging from their burrow to greet the day...first one, then another, and another...each one taking his time and double checking to make sure it is safe before scampering off to the woods, the flower bed, or to eat spilled seeds from the bird feeder.  Did I mention how cute they are?

Heads down...
They are a nuisance eating flower bulbs and roots, digging up the flowers, tormenting the pups, and creating what seems to be miles of underground burrows in the front yard, the back yard and the side yard.   Killing them is not an option for us.

We’ve tried towers of rocks and flagstone over the holes...that doesn’t work.  Our latest attempt is traps with peanut butter to catch them and take them far away to relocate them.  So far, nothing!

For 10 months Joe and I have had no television service.  Televison time at our house is enjoying music that Joe plays from his I Pad thru the tv speakers or a movie from Redbox.  We do keep up with the stock market, the weather, and other current events from reading The Wall Street Journal.   I like to peruse the Life and Arts section in the W S J.  A recent article “Forget the Sourdough” reported that according to Google  banana bread beat out pancakes, brownies, and pizza dough as the number 1 search-for recipe in the U.S. and world wide in the past month.  Growing up, pound cake and banana bread were staples in our home...freshly baked every weekend. 

I haven’t had either in so many years that I couldn’t resist using up some very ripe bananas to make a loaf...always with chopped pecans.  Growing up there was only one way to eat both...a thin piece with slices of “real” butter toasted in the oven until the edges are brown and crispy and served warm.  Joe had never had it toasted.  Of course butter has a way of making anything tase good. but this was breakfast for several days.  Not on the diet and so unhealthy, but oh sooooo good!  

The magnolia trees are in full bloom.  The trees here grow to be 80 feet tall and 40 feet wide, are evergreens and can live more than 100 years.

The white blooms are quite large (up to 12 inches across when open) and fragrant.  I grew up thinking magnolias were a "southern" thing and we can claim Magnolia Grandiflora as native, but reading tells me there are other species in Asia, Central America, South America and South America. 

Magnolias are ancient plants. They have existed on the planet at least 95 million years.  Since they appeared before bees, magnolias slowly changed their flowers to become more attractive to bees.  Instead of nectar, they produce lots of pollen enriched with protein which bees use as food.  

Every week we add more birds to the "first sighting of the year" list.  The feeders and birdbath stay busy as do we to keep them full and clean.  One of this weeks visitors was a pair  Red-bellied Woodpeckers.  

The Mr. and Mrs. look the same and we hope they are here to stay for awhile as they love the suet.  The males have longer, wide-tipped tongues and will visit hummingbird feeders as well, but we haven't seen him drinking any nectar.     

 I'll close for now.  Life is good...hope it is for you as well.


Monday, May 11, 2020

Five Months...

LaGrange, GA
May 11, 2020

Our last stop as full-time RVers was Freeport, FL.  We stayed at Live Oak Landing (Nov.19-Dec.11, 2019) and had a great time exploring beautiful Florida State Parks on the Gulf and enjoyed some very yummy seafood.

Five months ago today, we backed into the driveway of our Georgia home.  It was a mixed bag of emotions...sad, happy and anxious.  We were sad to be cancelling reservations in Arizona with its beautiful winter weather and adventures, happy to have space to call our own again and a yard for the puppies to enjoy, and uncertain as to what the future would unfold.  

Winters here are rainy, chilly and down right yucky!  In fact I am pretty sure we had record rainfall amounts for January and March.  Good for us the "Must Do" list quickly filled a sheet of legal size paper and our work began. 

So, when the pandemic with its "stay in place" and "social distancing" rules were put into place, it was life as usual for us.   Painting seemed never ending, the list kept growing, and we kept busy.  Today, after all these months, we are beginning to slow down and take the time to enjoy the fruits of our labor.   The downstairs is mostly's roomy (well any space is roomy after living in a bus for 8 years) and cozy, warm and bright, colorful and peaceful, and we have settled into a different way of living than we had when living in Belle. 

Some highlights :
1) The most difficult project was taking out the efficiency kitchen that Joe built when his Mom moved in with us in 1995.  He inclosed the existing garage and made her the neatest little apartment...a MIL suite.  Today, that space is our bedroom-hobby room.
The kitchen counter with sink, under counter cabinets, and overhead cabinets were removed.  In its place, I have a few shelves in the nook and Joe has a hobby space.  

2) The most frustrating project was installing a floating floor in the den, 1/2 bath and small hall floor that leads to our bedroom.  

We chose a ProCore Tudor Oak.  The color is great. But, it didn't float very good and it didn't help that our subfloor was not level.  Live and learn and thank goodness for big rugs !  

3) The most time consuming project for me...painting !  3 bi-fold doors and a glass paned door, 8 ceiling to floor windows, 6 doors and casings, banisters, floor moulding in the foyer, living room, kitchen, den, bedroom, laundry room and on and on. 

I thought it would never end and Joe quickly got the not ask me what I am doing today !

4) The project I am most proud of is the dining room table.  Joe made it !  

I asked for a farm table...simple and plain and he delivered.  

The table gets prettier and has been lightly sanded and varnished at least half a dozen times.  

5) My favorite project was/is the porch.  I primed and painted new screen molding.  

Off with the old...

on with the new.

I painted the floor red...

and voila !  I can't wait for warmer mornings (It is still in the mid 40s when we get up.) and coffee time in the rocker.

The most fun we have had  was taking a few days off and heading in the bus to Gaffney KOA to see this little guy.

That's right, Felix lives in Greenville, SC with his mom (Jena) and his dad (Joe).  It was a great visit the end of February before the pandemic.  We wandered around downtown Greenville and had lunch at Joe and Jena's favorite place to eat.  We went hiking at Paris Mountain State Park and hung out at Felix's house and played.  

Sometimes you just have to show your "Must Do" list who is boss and sneak in a fun project from the "Wish" list.  This past week-end, we added a little comfort and color in the kitchen.  Our $15.00 kitchen chairs were not padded.  We wanted the comfort of some padding so Joe cut seats out of luan, then cut foam to fit the seats and we covered them with fabric.  We had enough fabric left over to use on the window.  Since we left the sewing machine in the storage room in Moab, Joe built a cornice board.   We covered it with batting first and then the material.  What a difference a little color makes.

We were quite proud of the way we matched the pattern on the end pieces.  

It's a ritual to raise the shades every morning...just ask Sally.  

Tah dah...
April has been a good weather month...still cool in the mornings and warming nicely throughout the day.  Perfect combo for getting things done in the yard.  A few days ago we decided to clean the woodsy area on the side of the house.  It was messy with lots of fallen limbs, some downed trees and nasty vines.  It took right at 7 hours to go from the street to the fence (which is on the back corner of the house).  Joe will be able use the weed eater now...whew! 

Yes, I was covered from head to toe and even stuffed my jeans inside my socks.  And yes, I still got poison ivy on my arm. 

We did take Belle for a drive through town to get new front tires last week.  We are hopeful !  And missing Dee and all our friends in Moab.  

I'll close with some more pics.
I planted cone flowers in the backyard...yellow, orange and purple.

Sally says "What? Isn't this vinca here for me?"

Cardinals are the most frequent users of the bird bath so far.

Dover enjoying a sunny day in the middle of all the rainy weather. 

The bottle is under the eve outside the kitchen window.  Carolina Wrens make the best breakfast entertainment.

Our little champion...

I have new front porch on each side of the door.  I planted pink begonias and creeping jenny.  It's the first time I have ever planted pink, but they are very pretty next to the black door.   

Gaffney KOA...a great and much needed get away.

Until next time...