Saturday, June 15, 2013

Crazy Wind Storm

We had a blast of extreme weather in ESNC on Thursday afternoon. The boys were helping me plant a row of tomatoes and we started seeing clouds brewing to the NW.


I took a look at my weather app and saw that a storm was coming our way. We doubled down with manuring and composting the ground, trying to get through before the rain.

However, it wasn't to be! Very quickly, things got darker. Then, all of a sudden, the wind struck. We ran from the garden to the chicken coop where I left the boys. I was too worried about the cedars to stay though, so I made a run for my truck which was in front of the green barn. Halfway there and a huge gust. Crack! A large pine snapped and fell towards the green barn and truck. At the same time, the roof blew off the beehive. I made a 180 degree turn back for the coop, before quickly realizing that I did not want to be there either. Sprinted to the truck and shot off to pick up the boys. Once in, started toward our house. Crazy wind!

Then the bottom fell out. That's when I realized that I had left my iPhone lying in the garden! If you know me, you know that I went after it! I retrieved it in a torrential downpour. Dried it off and put it in a bag of rice (per Hunter's recommendation). Left it overnight and turned it on. Good as new (I'm typing this on it😊).

So now, I have a big job ahead moving the debris out of the way. Gonna have to be cut up and pulled off with the tractor.


Location:Eagle Springs, NC


Monday, June 10, 2013

My Newest Hobby

I have started a new hobby this year.  Seems like it may stick as I just finished my third batch.  It is all grain brewing - making homebrew from malt yeast and hops.  As in all of my favorite hobbies, brewing requires a significant amount of specialized equipment, terminology, ingredients and knowledge, so it fulfills my need to spend hours of time researching equipment, ideas and recipes.  There is a widely dispersed group of suppliers, aficionados and online sites to peruse, books and bulletin boards to read.

Most people who homebrew use a product called an extract which is malt that has already been condensed down to a concentrated product ready to boil with hops and ferment with yeast.  The alternative is to take malted barley and mix with hot water and create your own extract.  Kind of like making a cake from scratch as opposed to making one from a box kit.  Of course, I elected to go with scratch!

To make a batch of homebrew, to go from malt to fermenting wort (one of those terms I told you about), takes about 5 hours.  Half a workday.   Then, your wort has to ferment for 2 weeks before being ready to bottle.  And once it is bottled, it takes anywhere from 2 - 4 weeks to "bottle condition",  which is basically aging and carbonation.  Then you finally have beer, of some unknown quality and character.

Yesterday was the day to bottle batch # 3 which was an English Special Bitter.  I got Hunter to help me with this step.  Basically, you add a little sugar to create the carbonation, transfer the fermented wort to the bottles aseptically, and cap the bottles.  You can see Hunter and I doing this in the following photos.

So now, just a few more weeks and I will be able to see how it all turns out.   Until then, I have another batch or two of malt that needs to be started!  

Friday, June 07, 2013

Sweet Pea Hostel

Hunter and I are staying at the Sweet Pea Hostel in Asheville. My home here in Asheville! (Thanks to Brittney for introducing me). Had a great time yesterday and hit all the normal spots including Dobra Tea, Rosetta's Kitchen and Malaprop's Book Store. Also went to the LAB last night for the first time to watch the NBA finals with Hunter. Good game.

Asheville was very tame last night. I guess because it was a Thursday. Streets were quiet and all businesses were unfilled. Even was relatively quiet at bedtime here at the Sweet Pea. I didn't sleep with earplugs! The one downside to the Sweet Pea is that it is located above a very loud bar with live music.

Hunter at the Sweet Pea

Hunter is fun to be with. Always pleasant and kind. Always agreeable. Loves discussion and debate. Can talk about anything with insight. Never boring. Traveling with Hunter makes the day go fast.

Has been a good trip and always good to be with Hunter. I saw the following ad for an app yesterday that reminded me again of what I always know: These times are fleeting and priceless. Once they are gone they won't come back, even though there would be no limit to what I would do to have them back. Thanks for spending your time with me, Hunter!

We will be leaving later today for home. Can't wait to do it again!

Location:N Lexington Ave,Asheville,United States

Thursday, June 06, 2013

End of School Mountain Trip with Hunter

Morning of day #2 on our short mountain trip. We spent the night in Burnsville, NC. This was a new destination for me and don't remember ever being here before. Yancey County seat and a very nice town in a lovely location. We stayed at the Carolina Country Inn on recommendations from Google and I must say that they were spot on! The place was clean, nice, well located and reasonable!

Now, what we've done so far.
In eventful drive to Morganton with Hunter sleeping much of the the way. Went to Mountain Burrito there, a traditional favorite of my western trips.

No disappointments this time! Great Burrito. May get the nachos next time for a change up.

It's been a tradition for Hunter and I to drive up the blue ridge on back roads that are unsaved and crooked. Well this trip was no exception. We are up the back roads from Adako in Caldwell county to Blowing Rock in Watauga. At least 20 miles of switchbacks and slow driving and then, poof, you drive out onto Main Street in Blowing Rock. Very disorienting experience.

On our way up the mountain, and miles from anywhere, we came upon a motorcycle accident. An older Florida couple had been riding the curvy road and wiped out on turn. The lady had badly broken her right ankle and was in the ditch in great pain. We helped her stabilize it with a belt and a paperback book, then we went further up the hill to get cell signal and call 911. Because of our location, it was 30 minutes before they arrived. I gave her some ibuprofen for pain and Hunter gave her his pillow to prop her leg up on. The road was so narrow that when EMS arrived, they had to continue down the mountain as they could not turn around or one other car came by the entire hour we were there. Glad we showed up!

After that excitement, we went on up and into Blowing Rock. Cool town but the weather was against us as it was extremely foggy. So we soon went further on to Boone. I went to a brewshop and got some bottle caps. Next, we drove south toward Asheville. We were going to stay in Spruce Pine, but the motels there were uninspiring, so looked on google maps and found a highly rated motel in Burnsville, 20 miles further on.
Good choice!

I had been trying to get Hunter to watch Austin Powers for awhile, so last night we rented the movie from Amazon and watched it on the iPad. Just the kind of humor we both like!
Good nights sleep later and we are ready to mosey on into Asheville for an interesting time with the hippies! Sweet Pea Hostel, here we come!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Snow Day with Walker

Saturday, February 16th turned out to be remarkably different than I had expected.  Joy and Hunter were in Boston for the debate tourney and Walker and I were home alone for the weekend.   I was full of plans for farm work for the day, and as the day before had been a crisp mid winter day, I did not even check the weather before making plans about what I wanted Walker and I to do that day.  There was pruning to be done on the apple trees, piles of mulch to be moved and repiled with Charles's front end loader and a garden to ready.

But as it turned out, none of my plans were to be.  I woke up early and as soon as I walked into the living room, I saw that it was overcast and snowing!  Not expected.  I thought that as this was the only snow of the year so far, I had better wake Walker to see it.  Sure enough, he was excited wanted it to stick.  But the thermometer said 34 degrees, so that wasn't happening.  So I made a quick check of the weather and soon realized that, snow or rain, we were going to see precipitation all day.

Well, the precip was most definitely snow, and it never ceased for the entire day.  It snowed constantly for the entire daylight period, sometimes quite hard, and yet never did it stick even a little.  Such a day I had never seen before.  It was beautiful, but as for getting work done, it was deadly.  Walker and I sat in the sun room nearly the entire day, watching it snow, and watching the birds eat from the feeder, playing and talking and reading.
Snow Day

So, no trees pruned or compost piled, yet a beautiful day shared with my just 7 year old boy, who is on the cusp of loosing a front tooth.  Another day I would love to hold onto tightly, to stick in a bottle so that I might relive it again and again as I watch my little boy turn into a big boy.  A perfect day to experience over and over, to try and improve on each time as in "Groundhog Day"!
Walker as a 7 year old!

Children are the blessing of life.  They teach you things that you could never learn on your own.  They show you how to love and how to feel in ways you didn't know were possible.  They make you strive to be better than you would ever otherwise be.  And for me, they make me wish that this snowy day would never end.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

WEE Fall Festival

e\Enjoying the simple things in life helps us truly enjoy life! Although it was not planned, Walker, Hunter and I stopped at the West End Elementary Fall Festival last night. This is not the elementary school that Walker attends, but it has been the one all the other three kids have gone to. Some weird change in the zoning placed Walker at West Pine Elementary, about 6 miles down the road. Nonetheless, the festival is filled with so many people from the community. A lot has changed since I helped with the  PTA and this activity. 20 tickets later, Walker is off to have some fun. Hunter just wants money and food. We throw squeezy, gushy frogs into pumpkin buckets. Next was using a water squirt foam tube gun to spray off the eyeballs sitting on top of different bottles. Searching through the hay to find treats is also fun. Unbeknownst to us, each child was to get 3 prizes. Walker found about 8. when he discovered the rules, he was quick to be honest and only kept three pieces of candy. Sweeping the pumpkin around the witches hats was not as easy as it looked. Knocking down the orange cones with a tiny pumpkin was done twice. A basketball hoop with a timer was probably the most expensive with a 3 ticket charge, but he seemed to like it the best.
There was the silent auction for nicely created baskets/boxes. Purchasing cupcakes took the place of a cake walk. There was a kids cake walk, but the prize if you landed on the correct number was a prize rather than a cake. There was the bouncy house and the pony rides, face painting and hair spraying. Pizza and hot dogs and popcorn was dinner for many to include my boys.
The work that went into creating this event was amazing. Everyone seemed to have fun playing the simple games. It was spread out and outside this year. Nice. Weather was perfect for it. We were not there but 45 minutes, but it was a delightful time. I enjoy the small community activities. Something our kids will remember too.

It's been awhile! + B-Day parties still happen?

Wow! Has it really been 2 and 1/2 years since I blogged? I knew it had been awhile, but not this long.
Well, hopefully I'm back for more consistent writing. I have recently changed jobs and with that came some soul searching and considering "hobbies" that I enjoy. I have just not taken time in the past to make time for those things. New job - new chance to "redo" some priorities.

As with so many things, are kids birthday parties a dying tradition? Much like sewing, writing a letter or home phone lines? I ponder this today as I watched Walker and many of his 1st grade classmates run and play at the park. The invitation to her birthday party came 2 weeks in advance. The invitation had all the routine info on it. The RSVP was to an email address which was new, but I did probably for the first time ever actually RSVP. :)  As with kids, the days until the party seem forever away. Walker bought her a card game (UNO), a girlie baton, some princess/barbie nail polish stuff and a package of balloons. The balloons were a special touch that he thought she would really like. He picked out the gift bag too. Wrapping presents should be added to my list of dying traditions too. A gift bag is cute, just as cheap and so much quicker! Nonetheless, he signed the card "From Walker", placed all the items in the bag and then the red tissue paper was placed.
We arrive at the park to find about 7 girls from his class and perhaps 2 other boys. As we walk up, the girls scream and giggle, "Walker is here!" Immediately they all take off running as if chasing after a balloon. The parents - about 6 of us - hang back and chit chat and watch the festivities. We enjoy hot dogs and hamburgers. The wind is blowing - not too hard, but enough to whip under the princess theme tablecloths and continuously blow them off. An attempt to use tape to hold them in place is to no avail.
The cake was adorable. Made in the shape of a Princess castle! Walker did not much like the dark chocolate cake with purple icing, but someone did take a lot of time to make it look like a masterpiece.
Gifts were opened with the highlight being her new bright pink bike! The surprised and elated look on her face was priceless. Goody bags and then the pinata! Everyone took a few swings and eventually the prizes from within the lavendar colored castle box came tumbling out. Shortly thereafter, we left headed to town.
I can remember Brittney having several b-day parties with friends and activities. That of course lead to many slumber parties in her teenage years. Those were something! Only a couple came to mind with Danielle. Her birthday usually fell when school was out. Hunter was  never much on parties. I think we may have done one at the movie theater or perhaps the bowling alley? I'm only 45 and already I can't remember things. Walker's b-day parties have mainly consisted of family dinners, cupcakes usually at his school with his classmates, but no big party like today's for his friend. Perhaps Jan 2013 will bring a one.
Perhaps I ponder this question because it has been so long since Hunter thought a b-day party was cool and that's why it seems to be a dying fad. The other piece is that I'm not sure we are in the mind set to spend gobs of money on the event. Having family and a few friends and having fun is really the purpose of a bday celebration.
We had a good time today and the weather was perfect. He enjoyed it and thats what matters.
To add to today's party, I would like to note that Walker has a friend named Kaylie. She and he became good friends when they were in the same class at the Child Development Center. We have pictures of him and her chasing each other at the pre-school graduation. Kindergarten found them in different classrooms but still playground buddies at school. This year they are in the same room. They are only in the 1st grade and already there is the "giddiness" between the two of them. They will act silly when it comes to pictures together. It seems as though they think the other has coodies, yet chasing and giving the "aww shucks" fist to the shoulder seems exciting and fun. Her parents are great and we sit back and grin as we see a 'sweet' childhood crush seems to be evolving. Wonder what 2nd grade will bring? 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ocracoke Shark Attack Victim

Tradewinds Tackle (@fishtradewinds)

6-year-old bitten by shark at Ocracoke recovering well