Winding Roads

We live in a very rural mountain area in Southwest Virginia. Main roads are reasonably straight or at least gentle curves and more subtle elevation climbs through gaps, but if you leave the main road for a paved two lane road, those rules are tossed out the window. Our road has curves and elbows, no true switchbacks, but climbs steadily two miles to our turn off, then 4 more miles to Mountain Lake Lodge. Son 1 has said more than once, that a head on collision will occur. So far, we haven’t seen that, but have seen a two wheel drive sporty sedan slide off the wrong side on ice and stopped by a large tree from a more destructive ride or tumble down the side of the mountain. We have seen a young couple, who allegedly came up to watch the sunrise, drive straight off the road where it made a 90 degree left turn, no injuries we were told.

Today as we headed out to lunch, walk, grocery run, and a follow up hearing check on me, we stopped to pick up yesterday’s mail that we didn’t get in the rain then and turned downhill on the road. If we had been 90 seconds earlier by not stopping for our mail, we would have become the head on that son has discussed. A young man, driving a fairly new Mustang up the mountain, in spite of a sign that shows a right L turn and 25 mph speed recommendation, came around the turn too fast, off the left side of the road, and to rest at a more than 45 degree tilt, held up from the field below by a sturdy tree. He was still attempting to climb out the passenger door that he had to open up and climb over the edge and just as the neighbor who lives across the road came out to see what had happened. He was fortunate the tree was there or he would have rolled the car down into the hayfield, probably more than one roll. He was young, English was not his first language, and he didn’t know what to do. We stopped and with the neighbor, attempted to provide some guidance. His rear bumper was pulled off and I’m sure the driver side caved in, probably an air bag or two deployed. We were out for several hours and wondered if he managed to get it towed out. When we approached the curve slowly, a Sheriff’s deputy was controlling “traffic” (us) while the tow operator was trying to figure out how to remove the Mustang from it’s location. The young man was not standing there, so he must have gotten a ride from someone. He is about to learn a lesson about insurance claims, probably received a citation and will get to appear in the county seat courthouse in the near future.

We were glad we were not in the way when he sped around that corner.

The Ugly Pink Coat

Many years ago when I decided that there were to be chickens here, my wardrobe still reflected my prior life, living in a city and working in education. Yes, there were a couple pair of denim jeans, but outdoor wear was too nice to work in a dirty environment. Of course, retirement on a farm and not having to dress for a job every day changed some of that and pants became more functional than dress slacks, shirts of a fabric and style that were conducive to working in the garden and mucking out a coop, but outerwear did not really change, until the first winter that there were outdoor animals that needed care regardless of whether it was 2o degrees f or 90 degrees f.

As I was purchasing feed and bedding in Tractor Supply and the weather was beginning to take a turn for the cold, the huge center rack of the store was loaded with winter gear. For the most part, the clothing was camo. I don’t hunt, don’t want to be mistaken in the woods for a tree or a deer, so camo wouldn’t work for me. Almost year round, when I go out into the woods or walk the rural unpaved road, a blaze orange vest is part of my wardrobe. The non camo women’s options were very limited, the teal that I wanted was not available in my size, I didn’t want the Carhartt jumpsuit, so it ended up being the Ugly Pink Jacket. Now you need to understand, I don’t like pink, don’t wear pink, didn’t dress my daughter in pink, so for me to come home with a pink barn coat was a stretch, but it was cheaper than Carhartt, not camo, not a jump suit, but it was hooded and warm with lots of pockets for necessary tools (or to bring in freezing eggs).

The Ugly Pink Coat hangs on a hook in the utility room, right where it needs to be to go out to put on boots, gather feed, and deal with the feathered flock or do other chores that continue to be necessary year round. Most of the year, it just hangs there, but when it is needed, it is dragged out, zipped up, and keeps me warm. Last night, it got cold, today it stays cold, so for the first time this season, out came the Ugly Pink Coat. It looks like a few more days of use before it can be hung back on the hook for a while.

It is warm, it is faded, now at least a dozen years old, but though I am glad it is there, it is still UGLY!

A friend lost


Today I lost a friend, a fellow fiber lover, a playful, gentle soul who fought cancer for 9 years. Her loss is felt by many today, leaving her husband, an adult daughter and her husband, and many, many friends who loved her.

When attending retreats with her, a part of a small contingent that would go out to lunch together. To know her, you knew a true friend.

Through her failing health, she was always concerned about you, not herself. She was gracious and loving and fun to be around. She will be sorely missed by many.

Goodbye my sweet friend. Rest now that you are no longer suffering.