Another year gone by

Seventy Three years ago today, I was born not far from where we now live in retirement. I didn’t grow up here, and visited only once until we bought our farm acreage here in the mountains. My maternal grandfather was born a few miles from our farm and grew up in this county. There is a community that bears his family name. He grew up to become a physician and opened and worked in a hospital a little farther west in West Virginia, where my mother was raised.

I woke this morning to a beautiful fall day that will warm to almost springtime temperatures later and my dear hubby is doing all he can to make this a great day in spite of the isolation from family. As it was getting light outside and doggie and chicken chores were being done, I saw our little deer herd that has been staying near the house as they moved into the thicket to hunker down in safety from the hunters. I will be glad when hunting season is over.

Knowing that I love the Jenkin’s Turkish spindles, he reached out to them and purchased me a gorgeous Ambrosia Maple spindle as a gift. The Jenkins make beautiful spinning equipment and every spindle comes wrapped in fiber from various vendors, many near them. This is my birthday gift from him, a very loving offering.

As Saturday mornings are Farmer’s Market mornings, he got up early and we were at the market as it opened to pick up our pre-ordered goodies. He sits in the car safely as I masked and dash through gathering the vegetables, meats, breads, cheese and butter to add more to the freezer and for the week’s sustenance.

Every year since our first year together in 1977, we have purchased an ornament for our Christmas tree. In years that we had a new child, there would be a baby’s first ornament to add as well. Early years, they were usually a dated Hallmark ornament, but in recent years, we have purchased ones on a vacation or at a craft show. This year with no craft shows, but with the Holiday Markets, I did a quick stop at her stand, and added another one from my potter friend, Bethany, at Dashing Dog Studio.

After it warms a bit more, we will go to my favorite hiking spot and take a walk in the woods together, and later this evening, a curbside pick up of dinner from a restaurant we like, though this year’s birthday dinner will be eaten in the car.

I am fortunate to enter this year still in good health and good physical condition. I hope to see many more, still healthy and young at heart.


During the harvest season, canning jars and especially lids were impossible to locate. Yesterday when we went to meet up with Son 1 and Grandson 1, part of the exchange was taking them 16 pint jars of pickles and salsas, 6 quart jars of Tomatillos, plus two of the chickens from our freezer, along with some herbs grown here and dried, and strings of the drying Thai peppers. I had asked if they could return a similar number of pint jars from prior years.

The day before we left, our curbside grocery pick up did not have the soft drink brand and style that hubby enjoys, so we went to the other larger grocer in town and I masked and slipped in to see if I could purchase them and came out also with a flat of a dozen new pint jars with lids and bands.

When we were preparing to end our visit yesterday and head home, we made the exchange of goods, their filled jars, their old pressure canner that has resided here for 15 years but needs parts available at Rural King, and a few other items, and son loaded a huge box of empty jars in our car, including a brand new still sealed flat of half pint jars, my other go to size. Though the pantry shelves look less full, the jars were filled for them with love and goodness, but the supply for next year is great.

I have 3 dozen empty pint jars, 2 1/2 dozen empty half pint jars and since about half the jars have brand new lids and rings, they can be used for the goodies I can for them for next year. The reusable lids will go on jars that are destined for out use.

The afternoon was gorgeous. After making the lining for the Christmas stocking, blocking the stocking and sewing in the lining and tag, I gathered the dried pepper plants that were hanging in the utility room and carried them with a basket out to sit in the sun on the back deck and clip all of the peppers off of the branches. They will be strung to finish drying, it appears like another couple strings, and the tiniest ones will be infused in vinegar for winter greens.

A walk as the day was fading was added to the day then home for dinner, left in a delayed start oven.

Part of my sadness yesterday was notification that a young member of our extended family has passed away. It isn’t my place to share more, but my thoughts and heart are with the family.

Happiness and sadness

I am happy for the most part today. Last night I finished the knitting and cross stitched tag for the newest grandson’s Christmas stocking. It needs to be steam blocked and the lining made and sewn in.

I’m happy today because we drove a couple hours to the Skyline Drive and met up with Son 1 and Grandson 1 and had a socially distanced, masked visit, and picnic in the woods. We hadn’t seen them in person since last Christmas and miss them terribly. The grandson is now 15 and taller than his 6’1.5″ tall Granddad, but he hasn’t caught up with his Dad yet. It was a chance to take them some of the pickles and salsas that I canned for them and to deliver part of their Christmas gift that we couldn’t mail. We are going to try again in about a month and do another meet up. The time on the road was so worth it.

The drive to and from gave me some spindle spinning time as hubby drove the interstates and while we sat on picnic tables to visit.

Sadness, because we are approaching two holidays where our family tries to gather and won’t this year. We learned today that DIL’s 90some year old grandmother had passed during this pandemic with Covid but we just found out today. I will have to send her Mom a note.

Slowly, through local artisan shopping and online shopping, gifts are being gathered to be wrapped for family members for local delivery to daughter and her kiddos, mailed to the sons and their families. What a different year this will be. Son 1 and his family got me a native bee house to put up in the spring. I enjoyed watching the native bees in the garden this year and look forward to seeing if they occupy the house and produce baby bee families to enjoy the flowers in the gardens. More flowers will be planted in the new walled garden bed next year to expand the options for them. The more flowers available will bring more bees and butterflies.