Monday, June 22, 2009

Pickin' in the Park?

Is that what I said I was going to try to do last Thursday... attend Pickin' in the Park at Horseshoe Bend Park?

Well, it was more like Pickin' in the Yard!

Check it out!

I was wandering around in the yard with my camera seeing what new flowers were blooming, when I spotted this!

Could it be...

Yes, it is! I have some ripe blackberries!! I didn't expect this. I thought the blueberries would be ready first since someone told me that the blackberries usually ripen in August.

Ah well, it wasn't Mountain Man Bob who shared the info with me, so... next time I'll confirm it with him!

Whoo hoo!! I dashed in the house to get my little berry bucket and started picking! Darn those thorny thorns... my arms got all scratched up. Oh well, I didn't care. I picked and plucked furiously (because dinner was on the stove... oh bother. I had to stop midway and get eating out of the way.)

By the time I was done, I had filled my little plastic 1lb. berry container that I had washed and saved when my store-bought strawberries were gone.

And you know what? I have discovered that I can make a decent size batch? of blackberry preserves with one pound of berries!

I can trust that I have succeeded in picking one pound of berries since they fill my 1lb. container, right?

The exciting part is that was only a small percentage of what was ripe. I still have days' worth of picking to do!

UPDATE: I picked two more pounds of berries last night!! Oh, are we gonna have preserves!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Horseshoe Bend Park

in McCayesville, Georgia; it's another one of our recent discoveries.

It's a lovely park situated on the Toccoa River where people enjoy fly fishing.

It's also a popular drop-in for tubing, which we're going to do as soon as it gets warm enough. Since we're told the water never reaches more than 60 degrees (typically it's high 50's year-round), it has to be really hot outside or it would be unbearably chilly for our Florida-bred bodies! Maybe this will be the weekend to give it a go since we're forecasted to have temperatures in the mid 90's!!

This young man - 10 years old - has only been fly fishing for one week! His uncle taught him the weekend prior and he's already hooked! We visited with him and his dad for a while when they were done fishing. Dad says he can't get enough of it.

The park is also a beautiful place to gather with friends for a picnic barbeque. Our church (at least it looks like it will be our church) is going to have a picnic here on July 5th after the morning service. They'll provide meat, drinks and utensils... we just have to bring a dish to share. Community - that's what I'm talking about. Should be fun!

Joe and I sat on one these benches by the river for quite awhile just enjoying the fresh air, sunshine, and observing that little boy practicing his fly fishing.

It surprised us when this little family of ducks came up to our feet. The babies didn't care a bit that we were there - they just wanted to find yummy morsels. Mama, however, was a little leary.

It was a nice, relaxing place to be... one we'll visit often.

...Maybe even tonight for their weekly Pickin' in the Park concert. ;-)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Lord Have Mercy

on me and my stinkin' dog obsession!

Would you just look at this....

Here's another that would have come home with me if our dog-seams weren't busting! I'm so infatuated with this little munchkin I could about faint.

Seriously... have you ever seen anything so captivating ?!

(Okay, aside from your own babies... whether they be human, canine, feline...)

I can't stop looking at this picture. I'm completely mesmerized.

What an unusually beautiful dog!

He looks like he belongs in this dog family (which is my dog family - taken 2 summers ago)...

...except that the Lord was just getting started painting his beautiful coat when the little guy made his big appearance.

Oh, goodness-gracious... I'm a wreck. Just a hopeless, dog-lovin' mess!

He and his three siblings (who, like our four, look nothing alike) were at the Arts in the Park festival in Blue Ridge a couple of weeks ago hoping to be adopted. Having been found at the side of a road, they were being cared for and fostered by Second Chance, a rescue organization, until they find their permanent homes.

Incidently, when I told Joe how nuts I am about him, he said, "Why didn't you bring him home?" The funny part is, he was only half kidding. He's got it bad, too! It really takes restraint on both our parts... we have to be strong for each other! When I come across a little pup like this one that makes me go weak in the knees, he tells me, "No, no..." and vice versa.

Well, thankfully we both agree (that is, we're both fanatical)! Wouldn't it be awful if only one of us were afflicted with this dog-craze, and the other was all prudish about dog hair , dog kisses, dog antics, etc.?!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cherries and Berries

They're our latest anticipation.

Well, not the cherries anymore. Those are gone... eaten!

Mountain-Man Bob came over last week to check on the cherries for me. He said I could go ahead and pick the really red ones and probably have enough for a pie, then come back in a couple of days and the lighter ones should be ready to pick.

Mmmm. I grabbed a little bucket and started picking! I plucked and stretched and reached; I yanked on limbs to pull them closer, I even got the step stool but that was a bad idea since the tree is situated on a steep slope. I didn't fall, but my little bucket of cherries did. {groan}

By the time I picked every ripe cherry I could possibly reach, I only had a medium-sized bowlful. (Mountain-Man Bob is 6' tall... he may have been able to reach enough for a pie! Actually, so is Joe... but he wasn't around when I was picking...)

Don't they look pretty in my little blue bowl? That's handmade pottery from Barbados Earthworks. We picked it up in Barbados when we celebrated our Silver Anniversary there in '06. Over on the side there's a Flickr Badge of pics from the trip. But I digress.

Actually, let me digress again. My pics just don't look crisp to me. They seem to when I'm looking through my lens, but then I see them big on the computer screen and I'm disappointed. Is it my poor eyesight that causes me to be unable to get a perfectly clear photo? I'm frustrated.

Okay, so anyway, I went back out in 2-3 days as instructed by MM Bob, but I was too late. All that was left on the tree were pits. The birds had already eaten them clean! Ah, well... our cherries were delicious (a little tart, but I like that) straight out of the bowl.

As for what's yet to come...

Look at these beautiful blueberries! We have three bushes like this one, full of berries.

Wouldn't these have looked even more appetising if I had sprayed them with water and given them a lustrous sheen? Mmmm...

I can't wait to pick them and have blueberry preserves, blueberry ice cream, blueberry cobbler, a bowlful of blueberries while watching TV, blueberries stirred into my vanilla yogurt...

The thing is, I'm not sure when to pick them (I'm new at this, you know). You'd think it would be obvious from their color; I think I'll give them a try once they get deep purple, and when it appears the birds are showing an interest in them! I think that's what MM Bob would do. I'll ask him.

Then, next up will be our blackberries!

These were delicate white flowers just a few weeks ago; and this shot was taken last week. I'm excited.

Look at what just one week of sunshine does! We have tons of these scattered here and there. I just wish they didn't have thorns. It's gonna be tricky picking them without bloodshed!

Lastly, my sweet little tomato plant (one of eight). It's just about 14 inches tall, but it has a little tomato on it!

Ummm, all that green in the background... that's telltale evidence that my tomato bed desperately needs weeding!

The thing is... we like going to see the sights so much better than staying home to do the chores!

Okay, okay. Giving my tomatoe plants a little breathing room is on my list for Saturday. Promise.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Can You Do This?

That's all.

I was just wondering...

(This is Wiz. We met him ...and his people... at an overlook on one of our adventures.)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Say Hello to Tahra!

The garage is still her domain, but she has finally come down out of the rafters!

She loves to sit here on this little scrap of carpet and watch the outside activities from the safety of her little garage-home.

Sometimes she even likes to stick her head out a little bit and smell the fresh air. Pretty brazen of her, wouldn't you say?! (Yes, I'm being facetious.)

I was truly surprised when I saw this!

That's what I thought... she's outta here!


What's this? She's chasing after Dexter! Dexter, who (because he's special and doesn't let us forget it) gets to go do his business out front instead of out back with the others. The thing is, he's a senior and can barely tolerate puppy antics.

Anyway, she must really crave company if she's chasing after Dexter. That is soooo out of character for her. I just wish Dex would give her the time of day. "C'mon, Dex, be nice, at least offer a mere sniff." Eh, he can't be bothered.

Well, I'm thankful then, that this handsome boy has adopted us. He's a stray that thinks he hit the jackpot when he discovered he can not only find shelter in this garage, but there's free food and a pretty girl there, too!

Tahra seems to be happy with him, as well. We call him Tom... or Tom-Tom... or Tommy Boy... or Tommy-Tom-Tom... or Handsome Fella...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Hiking Goforth Creek

Well, this post is just a big photo album of the day Joe and I hiked Goforth Creek a couple of weeks ago.

Hopefully on your screen, they're not too dark. They look one way on my computer at home, and much different on my computer at the office...

Anyway... come hike with us:

The first 3 or 4 hundred yards we were rock hopping up the river...

...until we finally crossed over on got on a trail.

A couple of miles up the trail, we crossed the river again.
Doesn't this look like two pictures stitched together? It's not. The right is lush and green and the left is barren and woody. Weird.

The creek got really gentle at this point.

Look at that forest floor covered in fern!

I wish I had also taken this shot with the fern in focus - I think I would have like it better than having the trees in focus. Next time.

Hmmm, wonder what he's looking at...

I like this one - we're headed back down the trail where the falls are rushing.

Pretty mountain ivy (somestimes called mountain laurel).

We both really enjoyed that hike!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Exploding Rhodies

Remember the other day... I was whining about how quickly Spring passed? Let me just show you why.

I posted this picture to reveal those tired, spent Rhododendron...

Well, can you imagine that the following picture was taken just a week prior?

This was taken from the balcony. Besides the rhodies, we have climbing rose on the left, and blooming peonies on the right (behind the wall, in front of the rhodies), and you can see just a little bit of the lilac shrub on the far right behind the chair.
This was all gone by the time the girls arrived. Boohoo. (Well, the roses were - and are - still blooming.)

Check out this succession...

This was mid-March. Look at those big, pointy buds (on the right).

Then this happened the first week of April! I thought I'd never see those beautiful buds open.

But lo and behold... this is mid-May!

(Why, oh why did Mrs. Smith plant pink on the right and nearly lavendar on the left? It jangles my senses. What could have been delightful symetry is now tainted. {sigh} )

We enjoyed these phenomenal, colorful shrubs for about 10 days.

Well, I'll know what to expect next year and be prepared to relish it even more!

About Me

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I'm a wife, mom, and grandma living in rural Vermont. I spend 40 hours of my week working outside my home and away from my garden, but am nevertheless passionate about healthy eating and sustainable living. By sourcing nutrient-dense food from local farms and avoiding processed foods, we are realizing how our over health is being impacted for the better. I’m excited to have you join me as I share what we’re learning and invite you to offer your insights in the comments. “…giving thanks in all circumstances…” 1 Thess 5:16-18