Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Pumpkin Patch Birthday

Today, October 13th, is Sawyer's birthday.
Y'all, he's ten years old! I can't believe it. If I could twinkle my nose and make him stop aging, I would. I wish he could be two, again. 

Sawyer had his birthday party at a local pumpkin patch. It was a great idea.

 It was simple and there was plenty of wide open spaces for little boys to run around and play.

The theme revolved around pumpkins. 

 Sawyer didn't care, well.....yes he did. He want a pumpkin cake.
I just want some of those green heirloom pumpkins.

Emily made a pumpkin cake and it was super delicious.

 Party food.

A special mama. 
Known to her grandchildren and great grandchildren and the many, many kids she has babysat for over the years as Granny Pat. 
She is Sawyer's great-grandmother and he was happy she could be there.

 Sawyer wasted no time digging into the pumpkin birthday cake. 

A mouth full. LOL!!

 A little playing, food, cake and then it was time for the presents and cards.

I love how all the boys were so interested in what the birthday cards said. 

This next series of photos made my day. The inside story is that I tell L&S all the time that I wish they would stop growing or getting older. I wish they were still little, little and would stay that way. So....I found the perfect card.

 Reading it, and......

 ...realizing the message was what I had been asking them all along. 

The message........
"Weren't you old enough last year?"
Love it!!

It was time for the hay ride. 

 ....and corn maze. The corn maze was behind the pumpkin patch. That thing was huge, one could easily get lost in there.....and possibly panic.

And lastly, a couple of neat vignettes.

 One of the owners of the farm happened to walk by just as I was taking this picture. He said that as he was driving by this spot, the tractor had a flat tire and he thought it was as good a spot as any to let it sit. Ha! Cute! And, it makes a great backdrop for fall decorations. 

So do this old truck. Cute, cute, cute!

 In closing, I would just like to say to Sawyer that as much as I want him and his sister to stay little forever and although they refuse to stop growing and getting older, that I am so proud of him and all that he has accomplished in these ten short years.

Sawyer, you are so smart and lovable, funny and quick witted. I wouldn't trade you for anything and can not imagine life without you in it. 
Papi and I love you to Heaven and back!

Happy Birthday, Saw!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Hurricane Matthew Weekend

Before Hurricane Matthew hit South Carolina this weekend, Cliff and I were at the beach. We decided to evacuate early to avoid traffic. There were already long lines at the gas stations and gas was starting to run out.  I'm glad we did because traffic the following days was extremely heavy and mama was coming with me to the lake. I knew all that traffic would make her uneasy and nervous. 

While we waited out the storm, mama was already making plans to get back home. She is such a homebody and being away from home caused her more stress than the hurricane. Mama wanted to go home Saturday, but that clearly was not an option. Matthew came knocking on Carolina's door Saturday. Since the lake is roughly 180 miles inland, we were ok, but back home the hurricane was wreaking havoc. High winds and flooding took a toll on the low country.

Accounts from family and friends told of trees down, impassible roads, flooding and power outages. Mama's home was spared as was ours at the beach. Mama has been a good sport, but she is biting at the bits to get home. Back at home, however, there are power outages and some flooding, still. She'll get home one way or the other this week and all will be well.

I don't have pictures of the aftermath of the storm because I wasn't there, but here at the lake I took a few.

Friday....light rain.

The clouds were oddly beautiful.

 Sunset Saturday and the last of Hurricane Matthew skies. 

Saturday, while the storm was bearing down along the coast, we were at Lidia and Sawyer's Tae Kwon Do festival in the upstate. As the festival opened, Lidia and Sawyer rode their unicycles as part of the exhibition. Later came the competition. Lidia and Sawyer did very well. We are so proud of their accomplishments. 

 At the end of the day.......... 
Lidia took 2nd place in Form and 2nd place in Breaking Boards.
Sawyer took 1st place in Form and 3rd place in Breaking Boards. December, they will officially be Black Belts.

Look how beautiful !!!!!

Love my Tae Kwon Do babies !!

Sunday, we celebrated Sawyer's 10th birthday with a party at a pumpkin patch. I'll tell you all about it in a few days. For now, I'm going to see what I can do to get mama back home.


Thursday, September 29, 2016

"The Vine That Ate The South"

Kudzu......dubbed the vine that ate the south. And rightly so! It's invasive, spreads rapidly at the rate of 60 feet during summer.  If you stand in one spot long enough, I'm sure you would have tendrils climbing your legs. No one, no one in their right mind wants Kudzu growing anywhere near their property, except Cliff. 

Cliff has been talking about planting a patch of Kudzu all summer long and that scares the C-Word outta me. You know why? Because if he sets his mind to do something, you can not talk him out of it. Let's just hope that I'm not too late.  

He wants to make a man-cave out of it. He thinks climbing underneath a thick growth of Kudzu, in the shade, hidden by the outside world would be wonderful. Never mind that the stuff spreads at the rate of 60 feet during summer and will smother anything it grows on. Cliff says there's nothing that can outlive a lawnmower. Lord have mercy, y'all! He's just about crazy enough to do it. Pray for me.

Cliff did some research and found that you can eat Kudzu....the newest, most tender leaves are the best, as are the flowers. You can make jelly from them. And he's been telling me that he's gonna bring some home and that I had to cook it. HaHa!

He did....last weekend. He picked a handful of leaves and brought them home for me to cook. And I did. 

Are you gagging, yet?

I sauteed them in a little bit of bacon drippings and added a tiny bit of salt and pepper. The cooked Kudzu look similar to spinach. (Sorry, I didn't think to get a picture of that part.) 

OMG! Listen y'all.... I was just as surprised as I'm sure you are. But that danged Kudzu was delicious!! It is more delicious than Kale. Now, I'm not sure if it's better than collards, I would have to try it again before I can be so bold as to make that statement. And, I do plan to try it again. Lidia and Sawyer even liked it. I googled some recipes and found that you can make jelly from the blossoms and that they smell like grapes. So Cliff went out and brought home a good handful. It wasn't enough to make jelly, but that was all he could find. Come to find out that Kudzu blooms from July-Sept and it's just a little past peak for the blossoms. You can bet, though, that next year Cliff will be gathering Kudzu blossoms for me to make Kudzu jelly.

However, having discovered all this, I still don't want Kudzu planted in my yard!! Let's hope Cliff uses his good sense and leaves the Kudzu in the woods or on the side of the road. 


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Last of Colorado: Aug 21-25

Hey Y'all!! It's been a coon's age. How have you been? 

As if you hadn't guessed, I took a little break. 

When we came home from Colorado, I had a ton of yard/garden work to do. It was like a jungle. It's amazing how much out of control things can get in a month. I'm all caught up now...well, I've been caught up for a while, but I've just been feeling a little lazy when it comes to blogging. I guess we all need time away sometimes, don't we?

I have about three days worth of pictures I want to show you to wrap up our Colorado let's get to it.

August 21.....     Hike up Black Powder Pass (Elevation - 12,159')
3.14 miles  -  1:04 hours  -  705' elevation gain

 Mountain goats


 I'm guessing this is why it's called Black Powder Pass


August 23.....     Cliff's birthday and our 36th wedding anniversary
                     (yep, we got married on his birthday)

We spent it sailing on Lake Dillon..... Our first time ever on a sailboat.

 (L to R) Boat owner, Whitney, Jason, Cliff

 Cliff and me on our 36th wedding anniversary. 
I would marry him all over again!


August 25.....     A Plane Ride and Pike's Peak 

Early morning, Whitney took Cliff on a plane ride with her instructor. 
They flew from Denver to the mountains and back. I'm sure this was one of the highlights of the trip for him. 

Later that day....

When I was a little girl, my family lived in Colorado Springs. Daddy was in the army and stationed at Ft. Carson. We lived near the foot of Pike's Peak Mountain. I wanted to go visit the apartment that we lived while we were visiting Colorado Springs, we took the opportunity to drive up Pike's Peak. It's elevation is a little more than 14,000 feet and as you can imagine, the weather up there can be totally different than at the foot. And it sure began snowing while we were on the summit. As you can see below, the views were limited.

 Driving through the clouds was scary.

 Katherine Lee Bates was inspired to write the song
"America The Beautiful" the day after visiting Pike's Peak in 1893.

 August 25th and there's snow on the mountain. 

So, that's it. Our trip to Colorado. 

August 26.....    Home! 

Tomorrow, it's on to new stuff to talk about. 
As a matter of fact, you might gag. 


Monday, August 22, 2016

Colorado: Buffalo Mountain - Aug.15

Buffalo Mountain
One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.
~William Feather

I've been waiting to tell you about this hike. Glory B! This, no doubt, will be one of the highlights of our trip. Not because it was any prettier, but because of the physical intensity of it. Cliff and I decided, sort of spontaneously, to hike up Buffalo Mountain. We had read that there were old cabin ruins on the trail before clearing the tree line. That's what I wanted to see. We, also, learned that the hike could be broken into 3 sections. The forest up to the cabin, the boulder field, and the summit section.  And at the summit, you could see mountain goats. Round-trip length, if you went to the summit, was 5.5 miles. Well, I had no intention of going to the top. Knowing the distance would be much shorter made the decision to hike much easier.

We drove to the trailhead, gathered our backpacks and headed up the trail. The trailhead sign said there could be moose in the area, so I was on the look out. Never saw a moose. The alpine forest was so pretty and peaceful to hike through. The Colorado pines towered above us blocking most of the sunlight. In the beginning, the trail was mostly dirt....well worn and only a slight incline. The farther into the woods we got, the trail became steeper and was dotted with roots and rocks.  And in time, we came to the ruins of an old cabin. I thought I had read there were a couple, but we only saw the one. And when they said ruins, that's what they meant.

After arriving at the cabin, and talking to a few people that were on their way down, we decided that the boulder field wasn't that much farther and since I still felt pretty good, it would be a shame to go that far and not go to the boulder field.

Well y'all, the trail took a turn for the steep and rocky. Steep, rocky and rooty! At some point we were actually climbing up and over rocks. I had to stop many, many times to catch my breath and let my heart rate return to normal. The combination of thin air and steep terrain is why Whitney has not been able to get me on one of her 14'ers. My lungs just doesn't work like theirs. Ha!

Somewhere between the cabin and the boulder field, we realized that we were unprepared for that kind of hike. I had one bottle of water and Cliff had a half a bottle of Gatorade. I tried to conserve my water as much as possible. When we had made it about half way from the cabin to the boulder field, I needed fuel. All I had in my backpack was a peppermint. Cliff had an airplane size pack of cashews and a gel pack. I ate the peppermint and we shared the nuts and gel. I'm telling you that a peanut butter and jelly sandwich would have come in mighty handy at this point. But we ate what we had and journeyed on.

Cliff was not having any problems, but the closer to the boulder field we got, I began to feel nauseated and got a headache. I felt like if I breathed too deeply that I was going to throw up. I felt dizzy when we stopped to rest....which was often. My heartrate was way up and breathing was difficult. During rest stops, it didn't take long to recover, but then I could only go short distances before  having to stop again. Now, you may be asking why in the world would I continue to put myself through that. Several reasons, actually. This was an adventure of epic proportions! To be able to say that I climbed a mountain, the views...THE VIEWS....and to be able to share being outdoors and hiking with Cliff was enough.

Finally, we made it to the boulder field. I was a mess, but the views that surrounded us were so magnificent. Once my breathing and heart rate returned to normal, I was able to soak them up. Cliff explored a little bit of the boulder field and I'm sure he wanted to go to the top, but I was done. After taking lots of pictures and resting some, we headed back down. Rain was in the forecast for the afternoon and we didn't want to be on the mountain, if it started lightening.

On the way down, my breathing and heartrate were not a problem. We were gaining oxygen and I felt legs were now pretty much shot. My thighs quivered almost constantly and my toes were pushed to the front of my shoes causing lots of discomfort. There were times that my feet slid on the steep gravel/dirt areas where there were no rocks or roots to brace my foot against. I slipped and fell on my buttocks, once. Scared the bejeebies out of me. Even so, we made record time coming down.

Buffalo Cabin Trail Hike Stats (to boulder field only):
Elevation at the start: 9784.9 feet
Elevation at the end: 11,390 feet
Elevation gain of: 1377.9 feet
Total miles hiked: 3.75
Time to ascend: 2:45 hours
Time to descend: 1:30 hours
Total hours hiked: 4:15 hours
Starvation rate: Unmeasurable
Scenery: Out of this world beautiful!

Would I do this hike again? NO! Well, maybe if I were to train for these kind of conditions....steep hiking and climbing. Give me a year and then ask me again.

Starting to get steep.

 The cabin ruins.
 Literally, only a few logs left.
Getting steeper.

I took a sip from this stream. Not recommended, but I wanted to see what true mountain water tasted like. It was tasty and very cold.

 Views between cabin and boulder field.
Yes, we climbed this.

Not far from the boulder field, now.
Almost above the tree line, now.

 We made it. Views from the boulder field.
The cairn marking the way through the boulder field to the summit.

 Lake Dillon as seen from Buffalo Mountain.
Cliff surveying the boulder field....

This would be the climb up through the boulder field. But, that is not the top. It's a false summit. The true summit is over the top another mile.

 A close-up of the area we climbed to...above the tree line to the boulder field.
We climbed just above the tree line. Somewhere just right of the center of this picture.
This quote sums up my feelings for the day. I will look back on this as a great adventure. As hard as it was, I'm so glad I did it. 

I'll look back on this and smile because it was LIFE and I decided to live it.
~Author unknown