impossibleway: (Tulip Tree in the Hemlock)
I can't tell you how many times I've driven by this little log church, both in my years as Ranger Brandy and these that have followed.  I'd seen weddings and other celebrations numerous times, but I'd never once been inside.  Katherine and I saw the door open this past Sunday, so we stopped in.  I think it's open all the time, but I never knew that.

Laurel Valley Community Church 1

The inside is very rustic, but has a real feeling of reverence to it.  It was quite dark, but I was able to get a few pictures.  They actually came out lighter than it really was in there.

Laurel Valley Community Church 3

I thought it was interesting that you could see daylight through the chinking.  I guess this must be common for some types of cabins, with the invetible shrinking of wood.  Makes me think of the Little House books and Pa making things tight for the Winter.

Laurel Valley Community Church 4

One of the podiums has fire damage from an arson incident a number of years ago.

Laurel Valley Community Church 5

Here are the pews, set on logs.

Laurel Valley Community Church 6

It was obviously made with a lot of care and attention to detail.

Laurel Valley Community Church 2
impossibleway: (Advent Apple)
By the Shores of Silver LakeBack home from another trip to the big city down South, and it's the same as always.  I return to renewed appreciation for my own kitchen and my own bed and the simple everydayness of my own life.  I don't say that to sound high and mighty, just that I really treasure the routine and quiet life we have here.  Life in a place with endless strip malls is just not for me.  I travel often into the woods, but not down the interstate.  I see that a town not so far away, which fought it for so many years, now has a big super Voldemart and the earth is being moved for yet more development.  Willow's reaction to it all, though colored by the stress of travel, nearly brought me to tears.  Yes, why can't we just let the land be and enjoy that kind of beauty?

I've had such a hard time this year, despite trying to really focus on home and routine.  The news from the outside world is just awful.  I don't see our country becoming great again, not for little folks like us, not that it ever was.  It is so hard to know any more, and that is what is so unsettling.  Nothing feels safe any more.  After so many years of hard times, of scraping by, it's hard to keep your chin up all the time.  The weather is crazy, the news is crazy, the people in charge are extra crazy.  It's just too much.

And while it might not pay the bills, this is the year I've realized that it's perfectly acceptable to be the introverted person that I am.  It's probably my greatest strength right now.  Some people pressure us to do more, but we are not often around them, and we simply cannot afford to be dancing and scouting and fencing.  Unless that means putting a fence around the garden. ;-)  I feel glad to offer my children a picture of a slow life, maybe something they might come back to later on, when life feels too full.  I've already seen the Appalachia I knew as a child, with its shaped note singing and dinner on the grounds, change so much.  I am weary of the future, like the elders of my memory sitting on their front porch watching the cars speed by.

I spent the trip knitting and reading about Christmas traditions of a Southwest Virginia that has been gone for almost a hundred years.  We try to hold onto some of those traditions here, and to make our own, as I often share.  The world seeks to steal all meaning and add back materialism, expecting we won't notice the walls closing in on us.  It's up to us to be the filters.  I feel so glad my children are growing up in this little county with our little town.  We've got a bustling main street, a growing music scene, large natural places.  If it has to be a town in this part of the state, this one is it.  Roan wants to live in the country, and I really wish I could give him that, but it's not realistic right now.  I do think we will take to the wild places even more in the Spring and Summer, maybe nature school twice a week.

This is all pretty heavy stuff for the day before Christmas when we are all busy with preparing to make merry.  I really hated being away from home for the Solstice.  It felt almost as if it didn't happen at all.  All the wind went out of my sails.  I've got to gather things back together today and get the house in order.  We need to pick out a Yule log from under the back porch stairs.  It's raining, which is nice if it has to be in the fifties.  We've got some things stashed away for a simple celebration at home with just the five of us.

Don't you like my Christmas ornament I got?  I'll admit that I did some heavy hinting about the sweet Little House ornaments.  This one is so poignant to me.  I think, oddly, I might like parts of the Silver Lake story best of all.  That wild place they went to, that nice house full of good things to get them through the Winter (what a dream of mine!), it's just all so beautiful and bittersweet.
impossibleway: (Autumn Fern)
We went to the Big Bend yesterday, out the long and bumpy road to the place away from it all, except mosquitoes.  Oh, the mosquitoes.  Willow is wishing for frost and I am, too.  This Summer is just too much for me.  I could go on and on, but nature!  We went to see it!  The way to keep away from mosquitoes is to keep moving, so we did that.  I had a vision of leisure and sitting in the sun for a long time, but this was not a relaxing sort fo trip.

On the Secret Trail

Roan took me on his secret trail to one of the chimneys.  I am sad to report that the bags of cement from ten months ago were for a communications tower down the road.  Oh, well.

Take My Picture

Laurel asked me to take her picture (in the blazing sun) and then made this face.  I am all the time trying to figure out who she looks like.  It's either my Grandma Lois or my great-grandmother Virgie.

Mushroom on the Fallen Oak

One of the oaks in the pictures from last Fall split and fell.  It was a little disappointing (though more to the tree!).  The children were able to climb on the top of a tree that had been riding the winds not long ago.

Gnome Picnic

We had our insect-ridden picnic, though the gnomes seemed to enjoy their acorns much more.  You can see a rather wild looking fellow off to the left there.  He's the Arkansas Traveler that came to us from Stacey.  She's so good at gnome-making and I'm so excited for her etsy shop to open.  Tanya made the Three Little Gnomes and the Tomten, of course.  We are covered up in gnomes, with plans for making more.  I'm a gnome glutton.


And there's this spot. It's a little stone that stands under a tree in the softest tall grass, just on the edge of the woods. There were Indian pipes around the base of it.  I couldn't get a picture of it with the bright sun, but bury me here. Or sprinkle me. Roan says he will carve my name on the stone.  It seems like the perfect spot.

I suppose that's a little morbid, but I think of those things.  Not with sadness, but with a feeling of the passage of time.  Willow says people and things are changing.  I don't think that I have made her sentimental or nostalgic.  We do talk about old times, but I think it is interesting that she has noticed that.  All this hot, dry weather makes me feel so unsettled and really, truly concerned about climate change.  I don't know.  I try to keep that to myself and see what is now and good.
impossibleway: (Mike Panorama)
The stonebuilt farmhouse is a rough stone cottage,
Hiding close against the hillside up a winding track. . .

~"Rainbow River" :: Vashti Bunyan

Here's the place I've tried to visit several times, only to pass right by it, and end up way out in the middle of nowhere. I wondered how that could be, how one could miss such a stately cabin. Turns out, it's just off a small side road. That's how I missed it.  A quick internet search will yield interesting information about its owner, writer Sherwood Anderson, and his adventurous life.  He's buried here in town, near the top of the Round Hill Cemetery.  I took Roan and Laurel out for a drive and a playground recently, and I paused here for photos and a couple apples.  Oh, that I had a stone house by a stream and a little cabin to write in.


Bark Siding


Good Apples

Historic Landmark

We toured this home and the little writing cabin in high school. I'd like to take the children here some time, though I'm not sure how one arranges a tour. Either way, walking around the exterior is a delight, too.
impossibleway: (Mike Panorama)
Birthday in a bowl, birthday with a bowl, a birthday with berries.  All those.

I think everyone should feel special on their birthday, that their little world and community is truly glad they are here.  That's how I feel and it is so nice.  Everyone needs birthdays, even though they are bittersweet.  I'll never be thirty-two again.  Willow gave me thirty-three kisses yesterday, just like the sweet verse I say to the children.  I will hold onto that as the years pass.

Birthday Bowl

My dear friend Katherine gave me this Pyrex reproduction bowl at our Midsummer Revels last week.  I love the stooked grain and the farmer and his wife.  It is fun to have a special mixing bowl to use, since mixing bowls are such an important part of my days.  Really.  I had no idea what a big deal it would be to discover my favorite Pyrex was covered in lead paint.  I'm happier to know, of course, after the mourning period. ;-)


We took a long drive to Burke's Garden yesterday, after lunch at a sub and pizza shop.  The children burst out of the car when we got there.  This little play structure (and the camels) are the highlight for them.  Willow's memories of this place go back before Roan was born.  Every time we go, I worry a little that the play area will be too worn down or gone, but it's always been there by the old school.

Birthday Ring

Mike and I moved the picnic table into the shade, though it was hardly hot there.  It was just over seventy degrees.  Perfect!  I think I may seek out the cool places for all my birthdays.  Or maybe when I am over eighty, I will find a sunny spot to celebrate.  Time will tell.

June Birthdays

I love that the school-turned-community center had the June birthdays up.  That is community and I will say that the isolated valley was rather bustling with activity while we were there.  We're making tentative plans to attend their Fall Festival in September.

33 Candles!

Ahh, the cake.  Any time I fussed around the table, the children came running, asking if it was time for cake.  This is a vanilla sheet cake with lemon frosting.  It's a good recipe, though I used half the sugar in the frosting.  It was so windy, of course, that the candles were very hard to light.  We had to go on the school's service porch to get them lit and sing "Happy Birthday."

More Cake!

Laurel, obviously, really liked the cake and frosting and made this face when I told her she couldn't have more.  I gave her more.  She had been wanting cake since she watched me mix up the batter the day before.  The moment I poured it in the pan, she wanted a slice.

Vanilla Sheet Cake with Lemon Frosting

Here was Willow's piece.  We often joke that Roan has the best-looking food.  Yesterday, Willow's took the cake.  ;-)

Sing Through The Day

Mike cleaned up while the I played the flute and the children danced on the little festival stage.  Laurel really loves this lantern song, so I played it numerous times.  I have spent hours singing it to her in her brief time on Earth.  I sing it, "I go outside with my Laurel, my Laurel goes with me. . ."  This book is Sing Through the Day, my birthday gift to myself.  It is a treasure!

Burke's Garden

Mike had to stop to take a picture of this iconic store.  He took a photo of it several years ago and also turned it into a concert poster.  It's too bad it's not open any more, but the general store seems to be shaping up nicely.  There were sixteen loaves of homemade bread in various phases of production when we were there.


No need to worry about finding people's houses and farms.  Every street has a sign like this at the end.


There is one paved road and one gravel road leading into the valley.  We took the gravel one out.  It takes quite a bit longer, but it was worth it.  We saw a mother bear and two cubs in the woods.  Roan and Willow were able to see them, too.  I guess that counts as our Nature School for the week.  Today, it's back to the regular routine.  It's time to wash the sheets and mow the yard and eat leftover cake.

Leaving the Garden

As we were leaving Burke's Garden yesterday, Mike teased about leaving me there. Yes, please! I got back in the car, reluctantly. Oh, well. I'll take the memories.
impossibleway: (Knitting)
In the Edwardian period, there was a great shortage of iron and, in this area, a number of skills survived into the modern age.  You had iron ore, and if you wanted iron, you could actually make it in what is essentially a very primitive furnace. . . In these rural areas, skills survived for generations beyond which they were almost obsolete or extinct in cities, because what you didn't have, quite often, was money.  And if you had the raw materials, which they had down here, then you could always get yourself out of a fix.

Edwardian Farm

These words really struck me last night, as we were finishing up the series.  This was our second time watching it, and I think I got a lot more out of it this time around.  The final installment was a mix of sadness and joy--they had come to the end of year and had a good harvest, but things in the Edwardian period were about to be turned upside down with the first World War.  It was, as they said, the end of a golden age.  So, it's really only been a hundred years since things shifted in such a huge way.

Lace CuffsMy great grandmother was a child of that period, born in 1907.  She saw the world go from horse power to cars to outer space to the internet.  She never drove or used a computer, but she watched her share of television soap operas.  She died just days away from 103 years old.  Her older sister had died ten years before and always preferred her wringer washer and cooking at home.  They were like night and day--one messy and youthful, the other more mature and immaculate.  I think of them often, especially when I see Laurel Mae.  There are things about her that remind me of Virgie, along with my Grandma Lois.

The place that is being referred to by the presenter above is Morwellham Quay on the River Tamar.  The series follows the many, many directions that folks took for earning money in the area during the Edwardian period.  Really, something quite similar could be said about the place where I live.  Canning is in vogue again, but it never left our area.  Gardens, woodpiles, having your own hog, and the like have always been a visible part of life.  They are part of ours (except the hog, though Mike did call me about a cow), even though we could easily save work (and sometimes money) by just buying it all at the store.  I feel so very blessed that my children get to see these things as part of their everyday lives.

What I try to remember is that part of my task, as I see it, is to be an archetype for my children.  That means they will draw on images of our times together many years for now and I have certain things I wish to represent to them.  Part of that is, of course, the devoted mother who loved her children and gave her life to them.  For me, it suits me to have my life be fairly one dimensional (though there are many dimensions to caring for a home!).  I am very glad to be doing just this and don't long for something else.  Contentment doesn't always look like what we think it will.  I am not always happy, but I am always committed to being here.

Most of our limited television watching is spent on the BBC series with Ruth Goodman in them.  What she conveys to the viewer is someone who is joyfully interested in her work, as difficult as it often is.  She comes across as a strong woman who is just happy to be here.  She cackles when her rugs fall on her as she beats them.  She learns each new skill with excitement and enthusiasm.  That is what I wish my children to see.  I want them to be up to the task of life, to see people who are glad to do the work they have.  And what a lesson that is to me, too!  These simple, non-heroes are the very people who should be heroic to us.

Ever since I first read it, I have really loved this exchange in All Year Round:

Ann Druitt: I once overheard two small boys who were watching bricklayers at work on a new house: the one said, "Gosh!" as he watched the hod-carrier with his load, "He must be awfully strong to lift that!"  The other replied, "So what? Superman can lift a house!"

Christine Fynes-Clintion: Well that's a very good example of how, little by little, qualities which can fill out, round off--ennoble, if you like--our development as people, can be eroded.  That which lies just beyond our reach exists as a very healthy source of motivation for our personal growth.  Do you recall the deeply satisfying childhood moment when, on tiptoe you reached at last the rim of the sink, or the top shelf of the bookcase?  In just the same way we monitor our own inner growth when we find ourselves equal to some of the tasks in life perviously carried by our elders and betters.  Superman can't build our confidence--he makes us feel helpless and week--but ordinary men and women whom we look up to, can.  They help us to grow.

And with that, well, I have plenty to do here. I've been doing a lot of sewing and now it is time to tackle some deeper cleaning before the crowd gets back from Linville Falls. Happy Sunday!
impossibleway: (Ferny Mei Tai)
By the Shore


Laurel Bed Lake


Partridge Berries

Little Blueberries

Fertile Fronds


Blue Eyed Grass

I saw the first Fall leaves yesterday, as we left this special place teeming with life.  They were locust trees--they always have to do things like that.  It was only about three of them, so I am not too worried.  I blame tent caterpillars.  Nonetheless, we had a wonderful time at the lake in the sky.  It was more than ten degrees cooler up there that it was down here in the valley.  There was something to discover at every turn.  The water was full of baby fish and salamanders.  There were the tiny, ankle-high blackberries, and forthcoming strawberries (we have the mock kind in our yard).  The blueberries are shown with my fairly small finger for scale.  Roan got to see the fertile fronds of ferns and we found the twin flowers of our beloved partridgeberry.  Oh, and there was a swimming snake!

We were all a little sad to leave and a bit soaked to the skin.  Willow had packed everyone a change of clothes, so that was soon fixed.  There was gingerbread and lemonade to keep us going until we got home to a supper of leftovers.  I cooked a lot this past weekend and have yet to make a meal!  I'll have to today, though, and I think the crockpot might be in order.
impossibleway: (Warning)
The children are out in the wild sunshine enjoying a kettle corn picnic this afternoon.  It is wild out there--the winds are swift and the air is cool.  While I feel a little nervous about frost tonight, I do love this kind of weather.  I have to chuckle a little about taking great care in washing all the wool items and undershirts to store them away (and keep them safe from moths!).  Of course, we would need them again!


It was 42° F up at Whitetop for the Ramp Festival today.  Sunshine and wind and cold!  It was a happy occasion to be inside for the meal.  Mike opted to have the ramp with his meal.  Me, I passed.

Chicken Dinner

They cook a lot of chicken on a long, long grill.  Laurel loved it.
Roan loves eating things with bones.  And Willow, well, she loved the table full of cakes.

Hot Coals

For once, they were not cooking chicken while we were there!
We did enjoy a quick warm-up by the hot coals.

Potatoes and Ramps

They cook potatoes with ramps for each dinner.  I always have to go and check on them.
Sometimes, the flavor can be quite strong, but they were very good this year.

And here's our local celebrity and luthier, Wayne Henderson, and his band. I was hoping to get a picture of people dancing, but the floor was empty! I looked out at the crowd and it was a bunch of people wrapped in blankets. I can't say I blamed them, but a little flat footing would have warmed them right up.
impossibleway: (Mike Panorama)
We finally made it to The Big Bend yesterday.  I'd wanted to go in the full splendor of Autumn, or even on a terrifically windy day, but we went on a mild one and that was just perfect.  According to my records, we haven't been since 2010, but I know that's not right.  I could swear we went last Summer. . . Oh, well.


After a rough transition from naptime, we enjoyed ourselves.
There were loads of acorns and I filled my pocket for my own projects.

Oak Gall!

Lots of oak galls, too, to match all those acorn-bearing trees.

Looking into the Log

There were all kinds of things to get into and inspect.

Uh huh!

And ancient litter to remind us of old times.
This logo made its debut in 1991, which makes me think of Grandma Lois and Grandad.

Tracing School

Willow had us work at her tracing school.
Mike got snippy that my feather was the best one.

The View from Here

Here's our famous Blue Ridge or, rather, our Ridge-and-Valley Range.
We've got plenty of both.

More Views... )


Oct. 14th, 2015 06:55 am
impossibleway: (Autumn Fern)
Sunday, we took the children to see Raven Cliff Furnace. Having seen iron and lead being smelted on Tudor Monastery Farm, I thought it would be a nice sort of field trip for them.  Leave it to me to send us on field trips to forgotten fields.

Raven Cliff

Here are the cliffs.  This was the first time I'd ever seen them.
Ravens have nested in them, and so they are named.
The place is so full of cliffs, I thought they were somewhere else.


It was idyllic, in many ways, the last of the truly warm weather.
We've settled into more seasonable, windy days now.
The first killing frost will probably come at the end of this week.

Raven Cliff Furnace

Here's the furnace.  Read about how they worked in the link above.
It has trees growing inside of it, which makes me frown.
I would think the Forest Service would take care of the site a little,
though I know that they are grossly understaffed.


There were many, many sycamore trees along the creek.
The children loved tossing them off the metal bridge and looking for them on the other side.

Cripple Creek

Golden leaves, golden weather, golden times with our dear children still young and full of wonder.
impossibleway: (Owlies in the Trees)
Or, "Where We Made the Children Walk a Long Way and Then Got Ice Cream."

With a need to get out of here and go somewhere else, Mike chose the Guest River Gorge.  We hadn't been there in years and years, maybe seven or eight.  A long time.  We knew it to be flat and wide and go through an old train tunnel.  We also knew there was the Frosty Bossie nearby, so it seemed perfect.

Guest River Tunnel

When we arrived, we saw some people walking to go swimming in the river.
We never met up with a good spot to get down to the water, never.
Oh, well.  It wasn't too hot and there was the fun, drippy tunnel.

On the Trestle

We tried letting Laurel walk, but there was too much poison ivy and the bridge made us too nervous.
It was a nice view of the water.  I guess I was too busy flinching on the bridge to get a picture.

Skipping Rope

I think we walked them about three miles, which was clearly their limit.  So, we took them to the Frosty Bossie and got ice cream and milkshakes.  The milkshake flavors that place has are so creative.  Mike and I got the chocolate rice krispies to go with our bacon cheeseburgers.  It took us a good while to get home--numerous stops and a longer route, but it was fun.

Oh, we did finally see some people coming up from fishing in the river.
They were clinging to tree roots all the way up the steep cliff.
impossibleway: (Boletes on the Ground)
A mushroom hike, of sorts, around Hale Lake.

Old Man of the Woods I

There were numerous Old Men of the Woods.

Old Man of the Woods II

These were young old men, so they were prime specimens.

Old Man of the Woods III

This trail is fairly short, so it's perfect for children.
There are also numerous places to visit the water's edge.

Wetlands Plants

The children managed to catch fish in their hands.

Hale Lake

I was looking to catch blackberries or blueberries.

Roots by the Lake

The shade was the place to be, as the sun was pretty warm even at 71°.


Here's another nice one.
That's what I say about mushrooms I don't know the name of.

Willow in the Sun

I'm still experimenting with aperture priority mode.
I get mixed results.

Ground Pine

There's a nice patch of ground pine up there.

Tiny Blackberries

And blackberries!  These plants are so tiny, but the berries are so sweet.
They taste very little like the blackberries we grow or pick from roadsides.


Laurel made a friend.
This fly rode along on her hand for some time.

It's a bug!

"G'bug! It's a bug! It's a fly!"
She was sad when it took off and muttered about it for awhile.
She really loves insects.

Nice Specimen

August is prime mushroom season.
The thunderstorms and muggy weather are just right.

Curved Mushroom

We found a late-season Indian Pipe, too.

Indian Pipe

Looking at these pictures makes me want to go somewhere today, but there is plenty to do here--sheets, apple pies, navy bean soup, freezer cooking, and sewing.  It's also supposed to storm, too.  I think a big part of teaching self-control and contentment to children is simply being at home and finding joy in that.  Time to set to work!
impossibleway: (Goldenrod Trailhead)
We made a trip to Comers Rock yesterday.  The rangers have rebuilt the overlook and improved the trail.  We are into the steamy part of Summer, with frequent thunderstorms (my parents got three inches in half an hour!), so it seems sensible to look for cooler places.

Comers Rock

The children were so eager to get there.
I think they would have scaled the mountainside and skipped the trail.


Roan found a clump of dead grass and said a blessing over it.
Later, he found more grass and did the same thing again.
He is such a sweet little fellow.  I hope that never leaves him.

Grass Blessing

I found the first goldenrod.  Summer's fading, even as the days swell with heat.

The First Goldenrod

Here's Willow, climbing.  What adventurous children I have.
I wish I had been like them when I was younger.


And here's an Indian pipe, standing tall before its own end.
The woods were also full of mushrooms and a few blueberries.

Indian Pipe

It's always good to get out and even better to do it together.
We're bracing ourselves for a long week without Mike,
but Christmas in July is this weekend, so we have something to cheer us up.
impossibleway: (Mike Panorama)
I am predictable, if nothing else.  Very nearly one year later, I am back at the same place.  This time, we took a picnic to the Crockett's Cove Presbyterian Church.  The grounds were full of many kinds of mushrooms and busy moths.  All this wet weather makes things just right for mushrooms.

Crockett's Cove Presbyterian Church

Laurel was a walking baby this time.  "I walk," she said.  And that she did.
The area was fenced in, so that gave us a bit of security.  A bit.

Big Oaks

The big oaks were still there, of course, and I have yet to collect those acorns.
This Fall, then, I will come back.  I really want my grandmother to see the oldest cemetery.

Grapes in there

Willow put grapes in her cheeks and I couldn't resist a photo.
She loved our tuna salad lunch and Little Debbie cake dessert.

The Wanderer

Laurel on the move here.  Willow was right.
We shouldn't have left the rope in the car.
She kept breaking out of the cemetery
and seemed quiet intent about walking across the valley.

Cove Cemetery

This one is just across from the church.
It's not as historic, but it does have lovely views.

On the gate

And here's our climber in the shade.  He really had a wonderful time.
We saw numerous wild animals, which really pleased him.
The whole trip was a delight.

Home Again

May. 24th, 2015 06:46 am
impossibleway: (Best Resting Place)
Hamner HomeplaceWe got home Friday, just before supper time.  It was nice to have a change of scenery, though home is really the place to be with young children (and I missed my own bed, too).  We thought it would be warmer in the Other Virginia, but it was just as cool, topping out around 65° in downtown Charlottesville.  It made me glad I packed sweaters for the children and a hat for Laurel.

The Walton's Mountain Museum was waaay out in the country, near the actual Hamner homeplace.  It was a clearly a labor of love, with lots of memorabilia and local flavor.  We didn't go in actual house, since that was yet another fee, but it was enough to see the outside.  It reminded me a little of our trip to the Whistle Stop Cafe with Ginger.  The Waldorf school was very nice, very idyllic.  The ladies there were very friendly and one even knew our town and some people here.  The children enjoyed playing outside there and seeing all the rubber boots lined up by the classrooms.  Willow said, "It's just like in the video!"  We spent the rest of Friday morning in downtown Charlottesville and had lunch before heading home.  On the way, we stopped in Buchanan for a blueberry buckle break.  Mike and the children also walked on a suspension footbridge across the James River.  I walked on it only a little, as there was a limit to the number of pedestrians that could be on it.  It swayed a little, but the children weren't scared at all.

Roan had a marvellous time the whole trip and Willow just wanted to be home.  Routine is really important for her and is the main thing that keeps her in good sorts. Oh, we had our anniversary meal at Waffle House and it was really good.  The children had their first Waffle House waffles and gobbled them up.  I had a BLT and hashbrowns.  Makes me hungry thinking about it.  Better pre-heat the oven for breakfast.  Oh, and we're having Family Building Day today.  I'm so excited!


Jan. 19th, 2015 06:50 am
impossibleway: (Mike Panorama)
We've been operating with one car for some time now, almost two months.  Mike's car is just done, even after feeding lots of money into it, and we have plans to sell it for scrap very soon.  With that in mind, we just haven't been getting out very much.  Looking at pictures of hikes has made me feel this very keenly.  When Mike's travels, I can drive wherever I want, but I generally just stay home.  I have to admit that I like the super-predictable days, too.  I think it's time to put Nature Day back into the rotation.

Burke's Garden

We went to Burke's Garden yesterday, arriving mid-afternoon.  It's a short distance as the crow flies, but we don't fly.  So, it's considerably more time to cross over multiple mountains to get there.  The winds were very swift the whole time, probably around 20 mph and more.  Mike and Laurel were not fans of the breezes.  The children were dressed warmly and enjoyed playing outside a bit, but we were all happy about the hot chocolate and soup I brought.


Mike took his time driving all around the big bowl and we really saw the sights (and I cultivated my patience).  We scoped out some places to visit again when the weather warms.  We got snowed on, sunned on, and really took in the whole place.  There are many old farmhouses and I'll admit that I would love to live in such isolation.  On the way home, the sun was orange on the mountains.  No picture could have done it justice.  Grandad liked to see things without leaves on the trees, so this trip was in memory of him. 
impossibleway: (Peace & Joy)
LanternsI'm doing the clicks a little earlier this month in case you're in need of some final ideas, or encouragement for next year.

*Ten Tips to Simplify your Holiday :: Good ideas here.  Goodness knows, even as a simplified family, there is always something to subtract.  Clutter, physical and mental always creeps in.
*The toys are gone :: On really cutting back and what you learn.
*Playstands and canopy tutorial :: For the adventurous.
*Beeswax Dala Horses :: Very pretty!  Filing away for later.
*Remote Area Medical :: Part of this is filmed about 50 miles away.  I honestly had no idea such a service was offered.  And, honestly, I'm not sure that this is the most accurate depiction of conditions here.  There are plenty of ways to get healthcare afforadbly.  We go to a dental teaching facility with a sliding scale and there is a medical clinic, too.  Our town has a free clinic, as well.  I think NPR covers it better here.
*Felt paper dolls :: These are very sweet and would potentially solve some of the issues that paper dolls have.
*This is adolescence - Seventeen :: Always good to hear from someone down the road.
*101 Toy-free gift ideas :: There are many lists floating around this time of year.  I really like this one.
*When Mommy and Daddy Took the Toys Away :: A long read, but there is lots of good stuff here.
*Advent & Christmas Book Baskets :: A long list of books to look for at your library, or on my beloved Thrift Books.
*How to make a fairy with wool roving :: I want to make a mobile with angels on it.  I've got the perfect stick for it.
*Creating an Advent Spiral for the Waldorf Home :: Lots of practical advice here, along with this post from Sparkle Stories.  I really enjoyed doing this and I think it has been the most contemplative  part of our Advent so far.  As the years pass, Christmas becomes more of an inner experience for me.
impossibleway: (Autumn Fern)
I took the children on a nap drive yesterday so that Mike could work on some things.
Usually, it's the other way around.  Of course, I'm always up for a drive this time of year.
Roan was too sleepy to swing much, but Willow and Laurel had a good time.


In the sun

Community Center

In the leaves

Hill in the valley

Old Rich Valley Road
impossibleway: (Mike Panorama)
Has it really been six years since I sat at a desk and made a map? I guess it has, especially given that I get a little bit lost in Wythe County when I try to visit some of my favorite spots.  Using the hot air balloon water tower as my landmark, I did manage to find Cove Road and then Crockett's Cove Road the other day, when we just had to get out.  Pardon me a little bit of enthusiasm for history (it's not something I often have).

Crcokett's Cove 1

For local color, this is a very common sight where we live.
The tractor has moved so I can drive around him.

Crcokett's Cove 2

Roan was still a little drowsy, but my children adore granite and sitting and climbing on it.

Crcokett's Cove 3

Here are the shutters of the Crockett's Cove Presbyterian Church.
I really wish that we could have seen inside.

Crcokett's Cove 4

It sounds like a pretty busy place, as quiet and stately as it stood the day we were there.
Click to enlarge.

Crcokett's Cove 5

It is surrounded by some pretty good size oak trees.
I have plans to come back to collect acorns in the Fall and have a picnic.
The children are all over that.  I am glad they are easy to please.

Crcokett's Cove 6

We stopped by a nearby cemetery, too.  How could we not?
The thing I like about Crockett's Cove is, though portions have been subdivided, people are still keeping things nice.
This stone wall had been rebuilt since I'd been there last.

Crcokett's Cove 7

Some headstones really tug at your heart.
I don't talk about things like this with the children,
though they do know that when you die,
your body is under the ground at the cemetery.

Crcokett's Cove 8

Roan's feeling the soft flowers of the spiny thistles here.
The things my children get away with. ;-)

Crcokett's Cove 9

Vintage stuff is all the rage, right?
If I have a headstone, I want a vintage one.
This one's a tree stump with a hat and a bouquet of flowers at the bottom
And it's for a man.

Crcokett's Cove 10

Loads of Crockett's in their Cove, as you might imagine.

Crcokett's Cove 11

There are numerous Samuel Crocketts (though I know this is Louisa).
The county treasurer is one such descendent.

Crcokett's Cove 12

And look, a Revolutionary War veteran!

And so ends the history slide show.
impossibleway: (Large-Flowered Trillium)
I suppose I went to look at the trilliums today, but I didn't manage to get a good picture of them.  I think I was too busy walking and talking and having a good time.  It was breezy and sunny, warm in the valley and cool at the lake.

Wood anemone

I did see a wood anemone, though.


And a fern uncurling.

On the R rock

We discovered that the rock Roan always seems to sit on has an "R" on it.
How appropriate for our boy, due to turn three on Sunday.
This rock is the boundary marker for Russell and Smyth Counties.


Willow spent some of the time convinced we would fall off the trail,
but she did manage to integrate with her body (as the Enki people would say)
and have a fabulous time climbing the very tall rock.

Clarissa Explains it All

I call this her Clarissa Explains It All Outfit.
Mighty proud of it, she is.

Bundled up

Katherine snuggled up to Laurel on the shore of Laurel Bed Lake.
The wind was pretty strong and we were glad for extra hats, mittens and blankets.

Katherine by the lake

She's just over 29 weeks pregnant right now, due a week after my birthday.
She's my next doula client and I am honored to watch her grow, inside and out.

Partridge berries and teaberry leaf

I picked a bunch of partridge berries and one teaberry leaf
so Katherine could see how much it tasted like teaberry gum.

Downy Serviceberry

I caught a downy service berry branch in the wind and snapped its picture.
Their white flowers dot the hillsides this time of year, the first of the wild trees to bloom.

Goodness, it just occurred to me that Roan is GOING TO BE THREE ON SUNDAY.  I need to dig out my felt for a birthday crown!


impossibleway: (Default)

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