Tag Archives: Road trip

6/3/2017 Beautiful late spring

The past few days have been perfect weather.  Cool, crisp nights, warm clear days, some wind but dry for a change.  We have a rainy Sunday evening and night, but next week is to return to nice weather.

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This is just in time for Jim’s participation in the 5 state Harley Davidson Bike rally to be hosted by his chapter of HOG.  He is scheduled to lead 3 rides, two back to our area for a tour and lunch at Mountain Lake Lodge, the third a very long day ride from Roanoke to the Back of the Dragon, along that 32 mile winding road, and looping back to Roanoke, a total of 275 miles.  He road it on his bike yesterday with his sweeper and got home exhausted last night, having questions that he thought of, so today we repeated it only in the car so that I could be his spotter, looking for things he can’t look for while focusing on the technical ride.

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It is a beautiful area, with a lunch stop at a wonderful little restaurant in Tazewell, Virginia.  By the time we were home, I was tired of being in the car, put away the morning purchases from the Farmers’ Market that had travelled with us in a cooler.  Lamb chops had been part of the purchase and Jim enjoyed 4 small rib chops for his dinner with fresh sugar snap peas.

After our dinner, I took a brisk walk on our hilly road, climbing beyond the state maintained part, farther than I have climbed before.

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You can get some idea of the steepness of this section of road by looking left above the halfway divide of the photo, you can see the lower end of this road.  A walk back down this steep and then back up the other side of this hollow on another steep road, then up into the woods to the top of the hill above our house.  This allowed for a photo of our house down in the next hollow as the sun was setting.   That photo is the heading above.  Though this walk is only a bit more than 2 miles, it was done briskly and is a lot of extreme elevation change, with minimal stopping to allow my heart rate to recover.  I am still hopeful that my efforts will help me be prepared for the upcoming backpacking trip with eldest son and his family.

 

Nice days

The beautiful weather has encouraged outdoor time. The peach tree that needed pruning was done.

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But what a mess is there to clean up now.  This tree won’t produce this year, but when it does next year, we will be able to reach the fruit.

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The help

 

The help wasn’t too helpful, though they did seem to enjoy the supervised free range time, foraging for bugs and seeds around the outside of the gardens and under where branches were falling.

Yesterday again dawned a near summer day, laundry was started with the idea of hanging it out on the drying rack, but hubby suggested a day trip to recalculate the mileage on a circuit that he had submitted as a potential ride for the regional Harley Davidson rally in June.  He also wanted to check for restaurants at the near halfway point that would accommodate parking a dozen motorcycles and seating their riders plus some passengers.  Though the day was nice enough for a ride, this passenger is only in a closed vehicle on 4 wheels, so the day trip was taken in the car. Restaurants other than fast food were hard to come by, a local pizza place, a Mexican place, and a Chinese place.  The Mexican was a possibility, the Chinese place didn’t look like it could handle that many folks.  We tried the pizza place and ate their pizza and salad bar buffet.  It wasn’t great by any means and costs about $8 each, so for what we ate, was fairly expensive. The halfway point town is an example of how humanity can take a beautiful spot and make it ugly.  Generally, the old downtown areas of the small towns are nice, not so this one.  The focus of the ride is a road of steep switchbacks called the Back of the Dragon and even with the bare trees, or maybe because of them, the views were stunning, watching the ridge undulate ahead and behind us and looking down into the valley farms.  Though this is only 80 road miles from us, much closer as the crow flies, the contouring of the slopes is much different than here.  Perhaps due to heavier glacial activity?

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Needless to say, the laundry ended up in the dryer, but did get done before the sheets and quilt were needed last night.  The daytime temperatures have been in the upper 60’s, yesterday in the 70’s, but it is clear and cooling back to the 30’s at night.  Today is another beautiful day, the peach tree mess is still calling for attention.  The lopers and saw will be hauled back out and the branches cut into woodstove lengths to use for kindling next winter.

 

Watching paint dry

As I have posted recently, we are trying to get our log house re-stained before winter. This either a tough or expensive task as the front of the house has 3 dormers on the upper floor, though the front of the house walks out onto a ground level porch but the roof is metal and steep.  The back of the house that originally was designed to have french doors that walked out to a ground level deck ended up on a walk out basement, not in the original plans and the french doors walk out onto a narrow part of the deck one story up and the deck itself sitting about 4 feet off the ground with a serious stone retaining wall under the west edge.  This makes the dog run dormer on the back of the main house on the 3rd story.  As we have set and moved scaffolding and Son #1 tries to figure out how to set up enough on the deck and in the breezeway garden to go over the breezeway roof to stain the east end of the house, we have discussed the dogrun dormer and its steep sides.

He reminded me that when he was designing and building the deck and walkout that he suggested we extend the walkout the full length of the back of the house to accommodate an extension ladder so he could get up there.  At that point, our building funds were running low.  The painting contractor who did the house 4 years ago sent two young men up on ladders set precariously on the roof to do it, and charged us an arm and a leg for it.  There is no way we are going to let our son do that.  We will get as much as we can done then hire someone brave or fool enough to do that part.  If we come into a windfall of funds (not likely since we don’t play the lottery and don’t have any known rich relatives), we will extend that deck walkout.

The stain we use, recommends it be applied between certain temperatures and with humidity at or below 40%.  This is Virginia, the humidity is never that low, so we have to pick the driest days with a string of expected dry days following it to get sections done and then we sit and watch the paint dry.  The stain should dry overnight, it is taking days.  Days of being careful not to brush up against it.  Days of hoping the cats and dogs stay away from it.  Days and days of waiting.

The plan was to stain the front of the house on Monday.  It absolutely poured rain on Sunday, so we needed a drying out day.  Instead of painting, we made our annual jaunt to Mabry Mill (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mabry_Mill) for the winter supply of grits and cornmeal.  Though it is not ground there anymore, it is locally ground especially for them, it is wonderful and I like supporting the Parkway, the Mill and having local grains in the house.

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The view from one of the overlooks on the Parkway.  A beautiful place indeed.

This morning I was going to start early.  Nope, this is what I am waiting for the sun to dispatch.

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Fog is definitely not low humidity.  Though the temperature last night fell to the low 40’s for the first time, when I awoke, I couldn’t see past the window panes.  Chicken chores were done by feel.

The Rainbow Rangers are huge now, they look like chicks in the bodies of adults.  Some have combs and wattles that are red, though they still behave and sound like chicks.  Their heavy bodies and thick legs make their movement amusing.  If they want to move quickly, they flap their wings and run awkwardly like they are trying to take off. They have 3 1/2 more weeks to feed and fill out before I will be back to only 12 hens and Romeo.  Just as all of the hens are finally laying, it is getting on to molting season and the two older hens will molt this year for sure.  The March hatches probably won’t molt until next year.

I know I said I was done canning, but I can’t resist making one more batch of applesauce so that Son #1’s family can have some this winter too.  And of course, I will continue to make Tomatillo Salsa and XXX sauce until the Tomatillos and peppers quit producing.  Guess I’m going to need more jars after all.

Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.

Olio – September 19, 2014

Olio:  a miscellaneous collection of things

Today’s sun turned to rain, 40% that rained off and on all day, so no staining could be done.  We had an appointment to get one of the cars serviced in a nearby town, the same town in which the Sherman Williams Store is located.  After the car servicing this morning, we went to Sherman Williams as the Assistant Manager had told me on Wednesday night at the coffee shop where our Knit Night group meets, that the stain I needed would be 40% off this weekend.  When we got there, the Manager said that his Assistant was incorrect that it was only their products, but since I had been told and their sign was ambiguous, he honored the discount for us this one time only.  We came home with the 10 gallons that will be needed to finish our log home staining.

Last night, Son #2 called to give us an update on their house renovation progress in preparation for selling their home and asked if we would check for property of about 10 acres, preferably with some sort of dwelling on it within their price range.  A bit of internet research, we came up with a list and set about today to check out some of our finds.  As we live in the mountains, in a rural county, this sent us on a 3 hour road trip.

On our return home, we took an less than direct route to check out the address of a house on land that we had seen before and came around a curve to see a beautiful gaited dark bay riderless horse headed right down the road toward us.  He turned and trotted back around the fence, past his owner’s home to a poorly attached gate, then back to where we had first encountered him.  I got out and knocked on the house door, but no one was home, so I opened the gate and he went right in, but was quite agitated that he couldn’t get past the next gate to the other horses.  Unsure how he got out, and due to his agitation, we opened the other gate and let him join the other horses.  There was a bit of tussling between them, but we figured it was better than having him run up and down the road.  This is the second time Mountaingdad has encountered a loose horse at that farm, the first time, he and a FedEx man got him back in the fence.  Perhaps that guy should do something about his fencing.  We can never catch anyone there to let him know about his escape artist.

This is the season that pork is less expensive and though I prefer to buy from someone I know, I couldn’t pass up the 10+ pound shoulder roast for under $2 a pound at the local grocer.  I had it cut in half and today put half in the crock pot with a mixture of raw cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and crushed red pepper and slow cooked it into Barbecue, 3 1/2 pounds worth.  It has been packaged in 1 pound packages and frozen, the remaining 1/2 pound set aside for lunch in the next day or two.  The other half is frozen for now and it too will be turned into Barbecue soon.  It is nice to have such a quick meal ready in the freezer.

Tomorrow, I will can my last batch of salsa and a batch of Green Tomato Chutney at the suggestion of a blogger friend, http://familyfaithfoodfabric.wordpress.com/, if you have never read her blog, you should.

Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.