Monday, April 14, 2014

A Use For The Old Cruet Set

When Joe's mother passed away,
we inherited the old cruet set that she'd always proudly displayed in their dining room. 
There's not much need these days 
for having cruets of vinegar and jars of mustard 
placed on the table in a formal silver plate spinner. 
I doubt that it had been used in many, many years;
Joe was certain that his mother had never done anything with it besides polish and dust it!  

I took it away from her home in NY,
assuming that I'd list it on ebay. 
Then I learned that IF anyone bid on it at all, 
It might go for $10 max.

So I packed it away for a few years 
and then schlepped it up here from LA.  
It stood a pretty good chance of staying wrapped up in the drawer
until one of my crew inherited it from me
and had to deal with it!

Then Hallelulia, I was walking through an antique store and saw a use for it!!!

 We hosted a cocktail party for Joes Rotary group
and the old cruet set was the star attraction on the food table....
But not for sauces.....

With only a bare minimum of flowers 
(10 daffodils) 
It looked positively grand!

I'll never use it for its intended purpose 
but as a vase it's making me very happy.  
And now just maybe it won't be such a white elephant 
when the next family member inherits it!

A Literary Assistant

Did you know that I have an unpaid personal secretary?

Without fail, she arrives 
within minutes of my sitting at the desk.  
She doesn't have much to say in the way of constructive criticism.

For as long as it takes, she'll sit under the lamp 
and watch the action.
Of course desk work and blogging 
Isn't much of a spectator sport,
So who can blame an old lady for taking a nap?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Again?? Playing in the Snow

After a series of warm springlike days, 
we awoke this morning to a gentle steady snowfall 
that continued all day.

I knew that snow was predicted but it was so warm yesterday 
that I thought it might be a false alarm.  
So far we've only gotten 2 inches; 
 and it's been melting from the roads and driveway as soon as it falls.
I wasn't scheduled to work today, 
so I baked some muffins and sipped coffee while watching it fall this morning.  

My limited snow experience as a child was obvious last week:  
My attempt to make a snow angel turned out to be a snow bat!  

I forgot about waving my legs!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Still learning.... Two symposiums.

The snow is all gone, but nevertheless,
here are a few random snow photos to go along with this post.

I've attended two daylong conferences this month
 with topics were radically different from each other:  
I don't know if that means I'm scattered or well-rounded!  
The first was a Child Welfare Symposium 
titled "Emerging Issues in Child Welfare" held at W&L's Law School.
The topics covered dovetailed with the CASA training
that I was in the midst of completing.
It was a chance to hear acclaimed speakers from around the country,
with a variety of viewpoints and it gave me much to consider.

Crazy that such an opportunity was free and open to anyone who wanted to attend.
A tremendous wealth of information to be gained just by showing up.
Gotta love it.
On a somewhat more upbeat note and a different campus 
was the horticultural symposium titled "A Celebration of Trees" 
held at VMI's beautiful Marshall Hall.
The day included three speakers each adept and enthusiastic:
Michael Dirr, Sarah Ross Hugo and Vince Dooley.

If you're a football fan then you would know Coach Dooley from GA athletics, 
but he's also an avid plantsman 
who has become a gardening convert late in life following his retirement. 

Sarah Ross Hugo gave an inspiring presentation....
she had a gentle style of speaking 
that encouraged me see plants in new focused way:
Look for beauty in even the tiniest part of a plant!

The title of Dr. Dirr's talk was "In Praise of Noble Trees. 
In a short span of time listening to him,
I learned a lot about tree varieties ... he's a gifted educator.
Unfortunately one thing I came to realize was that our property is pretty much barren of noble trees!  
But that doesn't mean things can't change!

I was able to experience Dr. Dirr's teaching abilities twice:  
the day before he lead an educational tree walk over at W&L.

I came away motivated to work more on our woods (and maybe less on flowers and perennials?)
however, I had lots of bouts of nostalgia as I thought often of my plants left behind in LA.

What I wouldn't give for a camellia right now!

If my magic wand would ever start working, 
I'd wish that I had another 50 years to live 
to see some of my new plantings come to fruition.
However one of the quotes of the day was by Nelson Henderson:

"The true meaning of life is to plant trees,
under whose shade you do not expect to sit."

Perhaps that quote can apply literally to trees and also to volunteer projects like child welfare?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Why Complain?

We've had two more snows since I last posted.
 I'm most assuredly, 
NOT tired of it yet!

Judging from the bellyaching and complaining around town, 
I have a hunch that I might be the only one in the county 
to have such a welcoming opinion toward the white stuff!

Why??  It's undeniably beautiful and complaining won't make it go away! 
View toward Big and Little House Mountains
A routine walk down the road in the snow
changes my perspective so that it seems I've never been here before.
I can come home to an entirely new house!  

Everyday little things like a shoe print 
become tiny worlds of wonder with glittery flakes and ice crystals.

Not blogging doesn't mean there's been nothing happening,

Between the usual things like card games (bridge is still an addiction),
music (The Broadway Boys at W&L and The Honey Dewdrops at the Krantz'),
Newcomers activities (we definitely eat well!), 
and work (approx 2 days a week nowadays), 
I've found time begin and participate in plenty of new activities.  

First thing to announce is that I completed a training course to become a CASA volunteer.

CASA's are Court Appointed Special Advocates who volunteer for judges 
within in the court system and serve as voices/advocates 
for children removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect. 

For the last 7 weeks, it's been "scenarios" and simulated cases;
 yet to be seen is whether I can handle the mental/emotional challenges 
that will go along with the job in real life situations.
If I can curtail my natural urge to "fix" things and/or castigate someone I think is guilty, 
then I'm hopeful that it will be  a useful and challenging way 
to do something positive within my new community.

Stay tuned for more announcements of things past and present!
Tulip Poplar Limbs Against a Gray Snowy Sky 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Value of Snowjacks

Hmmmm, what's that covering up part of the kitchen view?  
Some sort of cloud???

No, it's 4' long sheet of snow and ice
which has been doing a sloooooooow slide and melt 
over the past two days!
 There's no danger of this landing on our heads since we never walk under here.

It's been an eyeopener to see this and makes me SO glad 
that we installed snowjacks over all of the entrances and exits!  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Crabtree Falls Hike…. Interrupted!

Joe spent Friday morning on the tractor clearing out our driveway
and the county snowplow got to our road by that afternoon.
So we're no longer homebound,
and I was easily able to get into the shop for work this morning.

There were strong blustery winds with blue skies today,
and although the snow is melting,
it's still a lovely sight.
I'm hoping to have time tomorrow for a walk in the woods

But I need to finally finish that hike description
that got interrupted
as you'll see in more ways than one!

The group was going along on the Crabtree Falls hike,

when we came to this icy section….

There were  enough patches of bare rock peeking through here and there 
and a flat spot for scooting along at the top, 
so it was crossable without being too dangerous.

I took the icy route, but a few of the group
opted for the mountain goat approach on the upper slope.
Dorothy went for a brief slide which caused a few stopped hearts, 
and John and Pat decided it was more than they wanted to chance and turned back.

We were rewarded with a few more amazing views
but as it turned out, 
John and Pat were the smart ones; 
we hadn't gone more than two tenths of a mile past the icy trail section when….
There was no getting around this patch.
Ice about 3" thick with a drop off on the left,
and  more ice and no way up and onto the uphill side.

28 people have died at Crabtree Falls; 
a college student last spring was the latest fatality.  
Most of them slip on the rocks 
trying to get closer to the water in the summer months.  

None of us old folks wanted to be 
the start of a new statistic: 
wintertime ice fatalities, 
so we turned around and headed back down the trail.

Even though I didn't get to the top of Crabtree Falls
(we did 2 miles out of 3.4), 
I did tick off something on my "first time" list…..
Eating at Gerties Country Store in Vesuvius on the way home!
And yes, there is a Gertie! 
Friendly service, hot coffee, BBQ and onion rings hit the spot!

That evening was the monthly gallery walk in town
and wine tasting at the wine shop.  

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentines Day!

You may need to squint and cross your eyes
to "see" this.  

As I was going through a small cave/rock formation 
at Crabtree Falls, 
I looked up and saw …..

A heart shaped opening in the rocks overhead!

Happy Valentines Day!