Hello dears, do come in. There's a lovely spicy applesauce cake to go with our coffee this morning. I made a half recipe and forgot to halve the spices. Oh it was a good mistake though, don't you think? It made such a nice spice cake out of what is normally a very subtly flavored cake. It was a happy mistake, too, because I really wanted a spice cake but thought John might prefer the applesauce cake best. As it happens, every time he eats a piece he "mmmmms" his way through it. That's the nicest sort of compliment to a cook!
For all that I normally look forward to October, it's been a very tough month this year. I must say I shall be glad to see November come in! Some months just tend to be more full of difficult things than others and this year I guess it was October's turn. Just three more days and we'll be done with and yes, truly this year I shall be happy to see it go.
We worked on Monday, despite my feeling unwell. I had a list as long as my arm of things I wanted to do and about as much gumption as would fit on the tip of my little finger. Not a good balance, lol. I eventually got myself in gear. I cleared off the front porch. I'd meant to get busy and repair my little chair that sat on the front porch...that was two or three years ago. The sad little thing finally just fell apart in too many spots to even contemplate repairing. I'd had that chair, broken spindles and all for 31 years. I bought it for Amie when she was 2 and it had been used in every home we'd lived in. Sad to see it go, yes, but that is the price you pay for using and loving and neglecting things we choose to adopt and take home. I got good use from the chair over those years. It seated many and many a child at parties and family gatherings and held many a houseplant, cat and now and then a dog, too.
The chair bit the dust and so did the dumpster found table I've used on the front porch as my side table for the past two years. It was just particle board but it did well enough for something that cost me nothing to begin with. Our super wet summer did it in this year. I'll be on the lookout for a new table to use on the front porch. Clearing off the porch, led to clearing off the patio which is where everything landed as it came off the porch. From one big mess to another. Ugh.
Since I was hauling things around the yard in the wagon anyway at that point, I decided to clear up the mess of the pump house roof. Back in summer (or was it late Spring?) when we had that really strange storm with heavy winds that broke so many branches, the pump house roof flew off and went across the yard. It's done it before, mind you. The roof was actually made to lift off for ease of repair work. Unfortunately on our windy little hill, the roof spent a lot of time flying off. This time it broke it into pieces. No repair this time around. We contracted to have another built (along with the roof over the back deck, which we are still waiting on my contractor brother to come build), so the old roof was laid down on the ground beside the pump house and there it has been all along.
I've been looking at that mess for a couple of weeks now, each time I looked out the windows. It didn't bother me all summer long but lately...I said something to John about moving it and he'd said he'd take care of it but later in the morning, when I was weary and not in the best temperament, I discovered that his intent of dealing with it was a vague 'later' and I wanted it done that afternoon as I stated. Period. Well guess who had the privilege of dealing with it then?
Now truly it didn't bother me to do it, though if I had my druthers I'd have let John deal with it. John went off to town to buy gasoline for the mower and I went to work while he was gone picking up some branches and then I tackled that roof because I couldn't martyr myself enough at that point. Temperament...Oh how temperament has reared it's ugly head over and over again in me lately! Truly, all was well until I lifted one corner of the roof and saw something crawl...I screeched, I dropped the roof, I screeched again, I shuddered and I lifted it carefully one more time to see what it was. It was a toad. A gray, ugly, damp and dirty toad. Screech more, drop roof once more, shudder, dance about saying "ewww, ewww" and then I put determination on and wrenched half the thing off the ground and the toad went and hid next to a clump of grass. I almost, just almost, felt sorry for the scared old thing...and then I lifted the other half, saw another one as the roof crumbled and fell to the ground. Repeat the whole process. Times four. Yes FOUR toads. I was not happy, even though I was ridding myself of an eyesore. And did I mention the plethora of roaches and worms? No...Well it was a regular icky party under that old roof, reminder nineteen of why I hate dealing with dirt!
John mowed for the last time this year. Over the past month the yard hasn't grown any at all, but it looked slightly shabby. It looked so nice and neat after John mowed. And I guess we were just in time. We're supposed to get our first frost this week. While John mowed, I brought myself indoors to work on housework. I didn't get as much done as I'd have liked, but I worked until John came in from the yard. It was enough. The whole day was enough.
Tuesday morning we sort of poked about the house but eventually decided it was the day to go off to the mountain. We haven't been in three months or so and it felt like time once more. The day was misty and cloudy and didn't really look picnic worthy but I packed our meal, fed the dogs, showered and dressed in under an hour. I took John's advice and carried along my sweater, too. We didn't take the scenic route over as we usually do, nor the 'new' way I'd meant to show John. Instead we drove along a truck route that ran through scrub oaks, sand, gravel pits, and newly logged land. Not beautiful or exciting nor any old houses and churches as the favored route has to soothe the eye and stretch the imagination. Just two old chimneys and a ramshackle barn in the midst of a deserted sedge filled meadow for wondering over.
When we arrived we walked down a little further on the mountainside than we normally do and sat on a rock ledge. We had plenty of flat ground under our feet but were much amused when a woman approached us and then, with obvious relief in her voice, called back to her husband "Oh! They aren't sitting on the edge! There's ground under their feet!" We chuckled and assured her we weren't such brazen souls. This couple were camping in the state RV park and said they always came at the same time each year. They had the cutest Corgi with them, a lovely little red and blonde haired female. The dog was so friendly and sweet. She rubbed against me much like a cat and nuzzled my hand and leaned against me as she looked out. We had a nice chat about the mountain and where we lived and dogs.
Eventually that couple left and John and I were alone. We talked and chatted a bit, admired the views, and finally we prayed as we normally do. Such a sweet time of prayer. So sweet. There's just an atmosphere there that is positively powerful, peaceful and spirit filled, all at once. We left after about an hour and a half and drove further along the mountain range. We'd not done that in the past. Our intent was to find a place to picnic and we did come across a couple of picnic areas but they all charged a fee of $5 to park the car. That seemed silly to us since we just wanted to unpack our meal and stay perhaps 20 minutes at most. We kept heading along the range until we came to the most beautiful two story stone house with a lovely veranda across the front. It was the reservation building for the park and nearby were the cutest stone cottages. John sat on the front porch in a rustic log rocker while I went indoors to use the facilities and see if I could get a free map of the range so we'd know where we were.
These mountains are not mountains in the strictest sense, at least not to me. It is truly a lovely area, and the views are beautiful, but it's not like the Smoky Mountains or the Blue Ridge Parkway. Nevertheless it is a proper range. John and I lingered at the reservation lodge. There were tall old trees and that wonderful front veranda and that beautiful building. Nearby was a small amphitheater with stone seats and paving.
As we headed home, after eating our picnic lunch in the car at a lookout, Katie called. We had one of our first chatty phone calls in a good long while. It was lovely to hear her chatting away, talking non-stop, as she does when she feels decently well. She chatted so long that we were just 10 miles from home when she ended the call. I didn't see a single house along that lovely historic drive, but I'd miss any number of views to hear my girl sounding so well and happy.
When we got home I decided to look up the history of the park and that's when I found a little snippet of information about the area we love so. The place is called Dowdell's Knob. It is named for a man who lived in that area until 1848. He often took his household and slaves to the top of the mountain for open air church services, I believe what was once called Brush Arbor meetings, though the snippet of information didn't say so. It wouldn't have been uncommon at that time to have a gathering of several families from the surrounding areas. That the place where we've sat and prayed so many times over the past year was once a church of sorts means a great deal to me. There's good reason why we always feel it is such a special place for prayer.
It got cold Tuesday night. We snuggled under the covers, or struggled for them, lol. John likes a bit of white noise and so he turned on a tiny fan on the dresser. I told him Wednesday morning in the wee hours when we were both briefly awake at the same time that if we could just get that little fan to blow air that cold in the summer months we could shut off the AC! John chuckled and agreed. It was nice to sleep warm and nice under the quilt, regardless of personal temperature variations (can we just mumble 'hot flash' here?).
John always says the cool air makes the dogs playful...well it seems to make us energetic, too. I don't know if it was Wednesday or Thursday but I know we worked. Once I'd fed the dogs we each got busy with projects of our own. John worked on the mower, cleaning it up and doing repairs needed. I went out to the shed and began to clean and sort and move things about. I really need some more shelving out there but I managed to get the majority of the work done. I stopped about dinner time and came in to finish cooking and read my last Bible chapters for the day while John continued to work. I harvested a big bunch of lettuce and spinach before coming indoors. Of course the weather service has us slated for frost this weekend. I couldn't help but wonder if that was the only harvest I'd get to make off my little garden.
We repeated it the next day, too. Perhaps it was Friday morning that we gathered up all the trash from my shed, from the big yard cans that we keep and odds and ends here and there and took a truck load of stuff to the dump. I don't know what it is about getting rid of stuff that seems to make you feel freed up somehow but it just DOES. Mentally and physically and emotionally. Maybe that's why when Katie called with bad news we just felt peace. She was peaceful despite it all. We were peaceful when we spoke with Mama about it. We were peaceful Saturday. Hurting yes, but peaceful. Something in us has changed over this past year and something has changed in Katie, too, a deep quiet inner trusting that we'd all lacked a year ago.
We were awake very early Saturday morning, prompted by another call. I got up and lit the gas heater and crept back to bed until the deep chill was off the house. Then I got up and made breakfast because I was hungry, deeply hungry. John took the dishes to the kitchen sink and looked out the window. "There was frost last night." Good thing I moved the bulk of my potted garden to the front porch! All looked well in the sunlight and the garden gets as much sun there as it does on the patio really, now the sun has changed positions.
Nothing much to say about Shabat. I did my Bible study and then read a few extra chapters because there's no rush to do housework. Dinner was a Spaghetti Pie I'd made per Dawn's blog post and put in the freezer, using up our leftovers. I didn't take a picture of mine. We had a homegrown mixed greens salad with the meal. Then we took naps in our chairs. John went off back to work Saturday night.
These vacation days are awfully nice, but it's harder and harder for him to go back to work after them. One day shortly I hope we can find a way for him to retire. I can't see it just yet but that doesn't mean it won't happen. I couldn't see how we could possibly be debt free but we did it. And honestly? Looking back over the past almost 7 years, I couldn't see how we'd make it without a raise over all that time with prices climbing and a girl to graduate from school and home repairs to make but somehow we've managed with the blessings of God.
I've been meaning to share a photo of my 'new' dining table centerpiece. Now we're nearing November I'm ready to change it out but here's a last look at what we have on the table now:
And I wanted to show off my new to me teapot. My copper kettle leaked horribly, so I put it up for sale (as is noted on the tag and selling it off cheap), but I must have a tea kettle of some sort. This is a vintage piece I found at thrift store.
Yesterday I worked out a new housekeeping schedule which I think will work best for me. I'm doing away with deep cleaning routines and the old daily routines, too. None of them work well for me now that John's home all day every day. It's partly based upon what I've been doing and filling in the blanks of what I think I need to pay more attention to.
In brief here's how my week is laid out:
Shabat: no chores. Heat and eat sorts of meals. Dishes after sundown, then plan week's menu plan.
Sunday: Baking and Kitchen chores for week. This is a deeper cleaning day for the kitchen and will include cleaning fridge, wiping down appliances, walls etc, as well as baking for the week. As quiet work, choose new items for booth, determine which items will be markdowns.
Monday: Deep cleaning baths, tidy house, working up bill box, make out grocery list, kitchen prep day for the week ahead so that meals are easily prepared and clearing up is light. Run Vacuum.
Tuesday: Strip bed, clean bedrooms. Pay bills, run errands, thrift store shopping, tagging items for thrift. Alternate weeks: project work time.
Wednesday: Out with Mama, dusting living/dining room, run vacuum. Alternate weeks: afternoon project time.
Thursday: Grocery day. Restock booth. Plan weekend meals.
Friday: Kitchen prep for weekend, plan Sunday baking. Yard sales. Shabat cleaning ( a whole house tidy up), vacuum.
I usually blog in the evenings so this should work well for me. At least I hope so. I've felt many things were being neglected lately for all that I stay fairly busy.
Well dears I might as well get busy this morning. Bathrooms await and so do puppies who want to be fed.
See you next week!