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02 June 2021

A Little Heap of Hodgepodge

 I was sharing photos with my daughter and thought I should be posting, so here I am.

First my garden

We had despaired that cabbage and broccoli would grow much because it was already getting hot outside when we bought it. Every time cool weather came we were thankful.The plants have actually done well.

Next we whacked limbs from under another cedar tree:

It seems so strange to see under it. There were remnants of at least 4 bird nest under there! We waited until we were sure no one was "at home" before starting this project. Glad to say all the nests were old and no longer used.

Since Abby hurt herself a few weeks ago we've been trying to keep her as still as possible. We're hoping she will heal rather than need surgery. At her age it probably wouldn't be a good thing. She's already so much better!

We have to walk her on a leash and She's definitely not a fan of just walking and not running around, climbing stairs or jumping on the bed.

Last of all my little skinks are always on the lookout for bitty bugs and other tiny critters. Apparently under the porch post is a good place to hang out!

We have both the brown looking ones as well as the blue-tails. I am not scared of them, but I do jump out of my skin sometimes (especially if one gets inside the front door) and startles me!

07 May 2021

Tale of The Quail

I couldn't quite believe my ears! Then I heard it again. That sweet sound of a Bobwhite calling to another Bobwhite. I didn't imagine it! They are out there somewhere!

Hear my bobwhite

The echoing response from one to the other makes my heart sing! It has been years since this has occurred. We used to have so many that my dad used to hunt them. I remembering seeing little families of them scooting along the edge of the woods or ditch bank, babies running in spurts to catch up with the mother while the father trailed behind keeping watch.

After watching the video above I'm stunned to learn that quail populations in Virginia have dropped 80% since I was a kid. That's awful to know, that development and human greed has destroyed the habitat of such a sweet bird and other creatures like bees.

I'm blessed to hear this sound again. I don't want to lose it. It makes me want to let my front yard go to seed! 

23 April 2021

A Swing, A Miss, A Hit

I was so excited at the prospect of seeing the Lyrid meteor shower this week. I got up off and on for two nights hoping to glimpse something. All I got for my efforts was to see a a stray airplane or two and a couple of cars go by. That was a swing and a miss if ever there was one.

Then I heard that Space X was doing another rocket launch from Cape Canaveral early on April 23. (Hey, I was going to be up early looking for meteors anyway). At 5:45am SpaceX launched their 2nd six-month crew mission (Crew-2) to the International Space Station. Based on the maps I'd seen from the previous week's space train, I figured I'd be seeing this rocket about 6 minutes after launch.

I was RIGHT!

I got up, pulled some warm pants on under my nightgown, got my puffy coat and a warm hat and headed out the front door for a really good look in all directions. I wasn't sure exactly where to look. A few cars went by heading to work and I thought if they saw me standing out here like a fence post, looking all bag-lady, I'm sure I'll be named the crazy person of the neighborhood! The trees on the ditch bank were blocking my view so I headed to a clear spot under the trees to peer through the trees. And all of a sudden I could see the rocket coming up from the south and headed right for me! This was better than a meteor!

It moved slowly across across the sky towards me. Now, I'd mentioned this event to Danny the night before and he had been OK with getting up to see it with me. But I hadn't awakened him when I got up and he was still in bed. Why wake him if it didn't show up, right? Standing outside with an actual visual I now wondered if I'd have time to get back in the house, wake him up and get back out before the rocket vanished from sight. I've had both my hips replaced so moving real fast is usually not an option. I started my "fast" walk and thought it'll be Christmas before I get to the house so I hitched up my giddy-up and started running, which I never do. OMG! It was like running through mud on Pogo sticks! I didn't get far, but what little I did helped me get Danny out of the house in time!

We both watched as it crossed our front yard and went over towards the barnyard. I'd grabbed my camera on the way outside again but didn't expect to get anything with my extremely limited cheap camera. I was surprised to get images of some kind of separation from the main rocket happening before it headed off into the wild blue yonder! Wow! How cool was that?!

This was a total hit in my book of missed swings!
Now there was nothing left to do but go back to bed. and so we did.


17 April 2021

The Best Easter Ever

 We had a phenomenal Easter season this year. That was partly because our Florida gal came home for a long visit after being homesick for a way too long. We were so glad to see her again! The weather was perfect the whole time and we had lunch on the deck many days, enjoying the birds and all the flowers. On the Saturday before Easter our whole family met for lunch at Olive Garden. While we missed those who are no longer with us, our smaller group had a pretty wonderful time. A fellow diner even offered to take our picture.

On Easter Sunday Danny and I got up for early sunrise service and later picked up Sleepyhead for the 10am service. It was so nice having her there and seeing her while I was singing. We were so excited that I forgot to even suggest getting a picture there as many others did!

After church we went over to the Shop and had a fish fry. Bro had saved a big catfish for just this occasion! As we sat around after eating someone suggested we do a boat ride to see the eagle's nest. Oh my gosh! Who gets to do this on Easter Sunday?! It was so awesome! 

The eagles nest was huge! Alas, we didn't see anything flying but an osprey. But we've seen eagles from the house so they are close by.

We spent several hours out there, meandering all around. We waved to the guys fishing from the bridge as we scooted by, then we went past the boardwalk almost to the church before heading back towards home. 

By that time the fishermen were gone so we all ducked down inside the boat and went under the bridge to see the beautiful still waters behind our homes. It was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. Such peace!

Finally we headed home. We all slept so good that night!

Our adventures were not over yet though. I saw on the news one day that the Space Station was going over that evening. So I called next door to let them know and bundled myself up against the mosquitoes to watch. Knowing they were outside next door we started hooting and hollering back and forth. And all of a sudden, there it was.... gliding silently though the night sky. Through my binoculars I could see twin white orbs moving together as the thing went quickly beyond our sight. It was really cool. 

Then I found out it was coming again the next night! Everyone came to our house and while we waited Danny lit the fire pit he'd made for the inaugural fireside fun. Ah... so cool! Well done, Danny!

As it got darker we cranked our necks up to scan the sky and finally saw our target. It was even better than the night before! It went by quickly and for almost 10 minutes afterwards we chattered away, discussing our sighting when I noticed something glowing behind the trees.

We all watched as a long line of lights moved into view. It was slower than the space station and we had plenty of time to talk about the many lights we were seeing. We could only think it was some kind of meteor, but days later I did some research I found out that SpaceX had launched close to 60 satellites that same afternoon. After viewing videos and various news casts online I'm sure we witnessed the SpaceX Satellite "train!" The map shows approx 6½ minutes after launch and it was so close to our location. My theory is that if it followed the same trajectory at all, it must be what we saw hours later. We're going to keep tabs for another launch date and have a watch party and hopefully confirm the coincidence. I wish I'd had my binoculars or taken a photo, but it was so strange and exciting we never even thought about it.

I must say, this was absolutely the best Easter ever! Can't wait to see what Summer brings!

01 April 2021

And Then There Was March

Gosh! I missed March entirely! The best thing about March was that we both finally got our Covid shots! We had the Pfizer shots and absolutely no reactions whatsoever. Activity-wise, other than the shots, we pretty much did the same things we've always been doing - just chilling around the house.

Danny's been working on various projects outside as the weather has warmed, like fixing a boat trailer and cleaning out the shop. A sudden appearance of an ABS light on the truck caused a flurry of activity but I think that's on the mend now and moods are much better around here because of it ;)

I've enjoyed watching nature do it's Spring thing. This year our flowering trees were stunning! Yellow daffodils ran across the back of the yard and have even gotten into the woods now. The red Camellia was loaded to the gills this year too. The color combinations simply took my breath away! God has blessed us with a very peaceful back yard! 

Lindsey gave me a bag of gladiola bulbs from her house, saying I'd better get them while I could since she's moving to Atlanta soon. I'm happy to say that we have at least 30 bulbs that are coming up! I can't wait to see them in full color!

My walking was going well for a good while. I was doing just over 3 miles a day, but noticed that since beginning in September, my foot that was previously injured in a stair fall in February 2019 was getting worse each day. So I started lowering my daily walking goal and now have a doable 2 miles per day to aim for. I was afraid if I just stopped entirely I'd never get "back in the groove." I was finally able to get an x-ray and now have a lace-up boot on my foot. I'll see the surgeon again in a month to check progress. Originally I'd thought my foot would get better on it's own so I delayed mentioning it to my doctor. Then when I finally did he just said go see an orthopedic doctor. By then Mom was sick and shortly after she passed we went into Covid lock downs. But at least I now know it wasn't broken all this time!

My Florida daughter has finally visited us. Missy was getting so homesick. She usually comes in every 6-8 weeks or so and it's been a struggle for all of us not being able to see her. One of the first things we did when she arrived was "do Christmas!" Among other gifts, I'd made her a hat and scarf which she promptly put on! That's my crazy girl, alright!

I snagged a few more novels during a quick visit to the thrift store again. I feel so much better when I have a book to read. Kids who never pick up an actual book and only read from a screen don't know what they are missing! I think I'll be in good shape for a while as Spring turns into Summer. I enjoy reading out on my back deck with the birds singing in the background.

I've also been working on genealogy projects. In January I finally bit the bullet and bought the 2019 version of Family Tree Maker. What a difference it is from my 2009 version; it was a slight learning curve, but fairly easy to transition. I use both version now - the old one because it's easier for me to maneuver through the families and the newer one for the reports and lists it generates. It's a nice blend.

I almost forgot... we were recently visited by a bear one night! We didn't see him but he'd left his calling card in the yard by the next morning. Apparently he's not small either! We've been putting the game camera out to see if he comes again, but so far all we've managed to see is a stray cat. Needless to say, I don't do much walking that is too far from the house anymore. Oh well. Life is a challenge, right?

23 February 2021

Walking and Watching

Gosh! Just when the driveway had finally dried out it had to rain again! Grrr! It's just one long mud hole now. I have moved my walking from the back yard to the deck now. The back yard had a river running through it yesterday. But I must say, despite such setbacks, my walking is improving to the point that I'm now doing 3 miles or better each day! To say it's extremely tiring is an understatement!

On the weekend of February 12-15 the Great Backyard Bird Count took place. I was delighted to see many birds show up. My list includes: American Goldfinches, a brave Blackbird, Bluebirds, Bluejays, Black-capped Chickadees, Brown-headed Cowbird, Brown Thrasher, Cardinals, Carolina Wren, Downey Woodpecker, Grackle, Mockingbird, upside-down Nuthatches, Red-bellied Woodpecker, various kinds of Sparrows, Tufted Titmouse, and Yellow-rumped Warbler.

The Warbler was new to me or at least I'd never noticed before. He looks like an over-inflated sparrow at first glance, but then I noticed the bright yellow spot on his head; he also sported a shot of pale yellow just below his wing "elbows" and had white bands on either side of his tail fan. I find that he is rather mean like a territorial hummingbird and runs all the other birds off to sit on the top of the feeder station to keep watch. A couple of days ago he hit the glass window and addled himself. We ran outside and wrapped him in a cloth because it was so cold and after a few minutes he was able to fly off again. I haven't yet been able to determine if there is more than one around here; if so, they don't congregate.

On Sunday Danny stayed home from church and while home he saw a Red-tailed Hawk light in the back yard near the feeders. He tried to take pictures but wasn't sure if he got anything. When I looked to see what he got he had accidentally gotten a short video of the hawk flying back into the tree. What a great surprise!

09 February 2021

Special Friends

 Growing up life wasn't so filled with that kind of knowledge. My own sister died before I was born when she was just 2 years old so there was always a void in my life because of that. I often wondered what it would have been like if she had lived.

When we're young kids can be cliquish without meaning to be. In my case there were older girls who all had friends, and there were younger girls who all had friends. I wasn't included in either age group because I was not in the right age group. I always felt like a loner.There were only 4 boys in the neighborhood who were my age. No girls. The boys didn't include me in anything, of course.

When I was 12 a new girl moved into the neighborhood and I soon had a best friend who became like a sister to me. We did tons of stuff together and had so much fun. In our teens there were several other girls that we were close to and so we all grew up together. It was wonderful. We were all real close until, as the oldest, I went away to college. Then things gradually started drifting apart as they usually do. We grew up, married, etc, etc, etc.

Later I came back home, married and had two daughters. Right before my children's dad left God sent me another best friend. When she moved here I hadn't been going to church because home life wasn't going well, but once I started attending again it was just a matter of time before we met. She asked me to host a Mary Kay party and when she came to my home she asked why she had never seen my husband. I shared my story and she helped me over the hard times when my marriage dissolved. She and her family pretty much adopted us and we spent more time at their house than at home. She became my chosen sister. We both shared a love of singing at church and had a deep friendship. Eventually though, she moved away.

Now that I'm older my life is filled with my extended church family. We have a wonderful loving church family out here in our rural neck of the woods. I know I can call on any of them if I ever need help. And there are very special places in my heart for my singing sisters (Hollie, Jennifer, Nina, and Laurie) that I've been extra blessed with over the last few years. I love each one of them.

Thanks to Facebook we're not as separated as we once were. You can message someone any time. God gave me these special people during different times in my life. I am so grateful He did!

It's nice knowing people care about you, so when you take a moment to write Happy Birthday on someone's profile it really does brighten a day. It's a simple reminder that goes a long way. Just saying!

28 January 2021

YEAH! We Got Snow!

 Awaking to more than predicted snow was simply awesome! Getting snow at any time is close to miracle status around here. We got just over 3 inches. Everything was coated like I haven't seen in  a long time. The path going through the woods was outrageously beautiful. Of course I had to get outside as quick as I could and take some photos. 


Toby had a great time outside running in circles, examining everything and even photo bombing one of my photos - look for the streak as he zipped past me at 100 mph! But poor short-legged Abby! Everything was going along so nicely when we suddenly noticed that she was having difficulty walking. The snow had caked on her front legs and formed huge snow balls! When I tried to break them off I quickly discovered that they were just mashing into serious chunks of ice. We headed inside and grabbed the hair dryer. Now, she hates the hair dryer but we had to get these things off her so she had to deal with it. She took a nice nap afterwards. Ah! the stress of romping!

16 January 2021

Simple Life

I just left Twitter, cancelling an account I've had for over 10 years. It's just about all political on there now and I'm not one for getting in debates with people. Everyone has their spin on things and how the world is playing out. I hate that people I don't even know (like those in DC) are impacting my life so much. Seems like discussions and media are packed with nothing else. I prefer to focus on Jesus and His affect in my life, just saying. Like most folks, I have room to grow as a person and a need to change myself. I want to try to fulfill God's purpose in me and even if I don't exactly know what that is, I try to keep myself available to hear His gentle whispers to me. You won't ever hear Him if you don't listen for it.

I think I would leave Facebook too if it weren't for the pages and groups that I run. I really don't have much to say anymore and my simple life is far from exciting enough to share. Since Covid it's even a bit duller, but it's the life that God chose for me and I guess it's OK with me if it's OK with Him.

I admit I get jealous sometimes when I see people going places and doing things so much. But when I do get to go and do it is all the more precious and things on a smaller, more mundane scale do give me pleasure. This morning I was thrilled to see thousands of blackbirds starting their migration gatherings. They flew for at least 20 minutes, flying real low through my back yard. Huge flocks just kept coming, over and over! I don't know how one could say this was a blessing but I thought it was. It just seems miraculous that God designed them and made them all know at the same time where to go and how to fly synchronized like that! Amazing! But then again, I like simple, right?

Yesterday we got to go out for a rare change when we met my youngest daughter for lunch to celebrate her birthday which was the day before. Because she just got married 3 weeks ago and is getting ready to move to Atlanta for her job we had much to talk about. She is a talkative quick-witted ball of fire with a mind like a steel trap and just a fun person to be around. (Both my girls are - no brag, just fact)! This was such a blessing to me because I don't know when I'll next get to see her for another birthday.

Danny surprised me by making brownies last night. That's a super special blessing in simple form that I can really get my teeth into! And check out this simple delight that just landed outside my window. Life is full of blessings if you just look and listen for them! Wishing you a blessed year full of surprises!

29 December 2020

Bring on the New Year!

 Merry Christmas and on to a Happy New Year! We're all excited to put 2020 behind us, for sure, but we must remember that even in times of great turmoil and distress our great God has everything in His control!

How my holiday season played out was not exactly as planned but it was pleasant and joyful so nothing to complain about. We all missed Mom and Dad but felt their spirits with us. In fact, as Christmas got closer I started seeing Mom's birthday on random digital clocks, even to yesterday as we checked out at the chiropractor office. We also missed my Florida kids who couldn't come because of Covid mess. They had originally planned to come and even bring his parents and brother. Alas, it wasn't meant to be, but we're all looking forward to trying to get together at some point during the coming year.

We've never been a large family but we were a pared down group of seven this year. It seems so weird that our family has diminished so much after the loss of parents (my brother's and mine, my sister-in-law's, and Danny's step-mom) over the last few years.

But with joy I can say that our family increased by one new son-in-law on December 21 when my youngest daughter, Lindsey married her best friend, Lucas. Always one to live to the beat of her own drum, they were married as she wanted - at the Court House followed by a grand family party at a local Mexican restaurant. As she put it, without spending thousands of dollars on a wedding she had accomplished the same desired result without all the fuss and muss. The only family members not there were her sister and her dad's sister and her new husband's brother. Otherwise everyone was there and it was delightful! We actually had her sister on Facebook messenger so she got to "be there" for the cake cutting.

For me, Christmas is about going to church and celebrating the birth of Jesus. I was lucky enough to be able to sing at our Christmas Eve service. Our church is so beautiful, especially when decorated for Christmas.

Now with a new year starting soon my next agenda item is to clean out my email program as I do every year. Anything that is worth saving is put into a document and all the old crapola is deleted and I start fresh. It's a good way to find all the things that slipped through the cracks during the year.

We actually went into a thrift store a few days ago - the first time since the original lock-downs occurred. We didn't look at everything or even go throughout the building. I just wanted some books to read. Luckily they are at the front of the store. After a quick perusal I grabbed four and headed out. I have missed reading this year. Nothing like a good little Victorian romance to take you away from it all for a while!

I'm going to focus on getting my genealogy files updated this year. I've struggled with that ever since discovering that a bad merge ruined thousands of reference source notes. In fact, at the time of discovery, it took me a year before I even looked at it again! So this year I am really going to tackle it and hopefully at least make a dent in it. Last year I worked on several client family genealogies. It's always fun for me to have a new line to work on. It's like putting a giant puzzle together without all the pieces being in front of you. It's been my goal to get all the paperwork that was generated back in the 1960s to early 2000s scanned into my computer. I love that technology has changed so much and so many more options are available. Back then there was a lot of field work involved, visiting courthouses, libraries, and cemeteries.

But right now it will be all I can do just to get that tree in my living room taken down and put away again! Why do things never fit back in the boxes the way they came out?!

02 December 2020



A year ago this morning was one of the most catastrophic times of my life. Without speaking to the rest of my family I know they are flashing back to that morning when Mom left us forever. We had all moved to a hallway so they could take an x-ray when suddenly the ICU nurse ran towards us. He said, "Her heart stopped" and we ran back to a new world without her.

We have been so sad through our first Thanksgiving without her when we'd been so happy at our last one. The day after that Thanksgiving we took her to have surgery and had expected her recovery. God had other plans. After Covid struck we realized how fortunate we were to have been able to be with her that weekend. Had surgery been postponed we might have been barred from entry.

During my morning walk I had my good cry. I was remembering where I was and all the pain I'd felt. Ever prompt, she had left us a 9am. But during my sorrow today I suddenly heard the church bells playing "O Come, All Ye Faithful" to mark the hour. I thought about the words to the song. O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant! Mom was faithful and she went when He called her home. Those who believe in Jesus will have that same experience of responding to His call. Isn't that the whole reason for the season?

During this holiday season take a moment to remember all the families who have lost someone over the past year, so many more due to Covid. This may be their first Thanksgiving and Christmas without a loved one. In some cases several family members will be missing and nothing will ever be the same again. Pray for God to give peace and comfort to all those who are hurting and for them to reach out to Him and have a closer relationship with Him in 2021.

Appreciate those around you now in this moment. Forgive when you should and let God's blessings enrich your life.

11 November 2020

For Our Birthday Girl

 Today is Mom's first birthday in Heaven. I bet she's having a glorious time! She always loved birthdays and getting presents and surprises. In her book birthdays were right up there with Christmas. Her eyes would twinkle when she would get a gift and she'd start out being all neat and sedate about opening the box. But if it didn't open quick enough she would toss caution to the wind and rip into that sucker with utter abandon, with wrapping paper flying all which a way!

When we were little kids whoever had a birthday always got their favorite meal for supper along with their favorite homemade birthday cake. (Mine was always fried chicken, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, followed by chocolate cake). Since birthdays were special to her she always made sure it was like that for everyone on their own special day. I can remember some special birthdays even for some of the hunters who frequented our kitchen table!

Last year we didn't know it would be her last party. Luckily it turned out to be a really good one. It was at her favorite Surf Rider Restaurant and along with our family her closest friends turned out to help her celebrate.

Through the years our family birthdays would be one every month from October to March, then jump to June and July before we had another small break. Birthdays were just extra holidays on the calendar! Mom enjoyed each and every one of them too!!

Make a wish, Mom!
I wish you were here!