The simple life….

Out here time slows down.  There aren’t the demands or the stresses we have in the city.  Priorites are closer to what they should be.  There is a singing group from WV that wrote a song titled “WV Chose Me.”  They had grown up in WV.  Some of their friends had moved away.  Some couldn’t get away fast enough.  They wondered why so many people left and a few never wanted to leave.  They came to the conclusion that WV picks certain people to stay here for life.  I would be one of those, but I would go a step further.  I hear Pocahontas County calling my name.  She’s been calling to me since Iwas a little girl.  I hope and pray I get out here some day.

We looked at a little farmhouse today.  I loved it.  It has almost two acres with it.  All I want is a little homestead with enough land for a few alpacas, sheep, goats, jersey wooley bunnies.  I want to have a spinning and weaving studio.  I have a loom in my brother’s basement.  It belonged to our paternal grandmother.  I’d love to put it to use.  I don’t think hubby would ever be happy with this.  He wants acres and acres.  He wants a working farm where we raise basically everything we need to live on.  I try to get through to him that you can’t do that anymore and that his physical condition is only deteriorating and he can’t keep up with that kind of work any more, not 24/7.  Not to mention he turned 46 yesterday….  Realistically the most we could have is a hobby farm and I would want to focus on producing fiber to be spun into yarn that I would then make into socks, caps, shawls, rugs, blankets, etc. that would be sold in a little shop on site, and our miniature animals would be a tourist attraction.  Kids love to see and pet alpacas.  If hubby gets his schooling done so he can teach, this little farmhouse is only about six miles from the local middle school.  I think it would be nice.  On our way home I think I’ll stop and try to get a picture of the place to share here.

Well, hubby has his dream meal last night.  I made his sausages and apples.   It turned out better than I thought it would. I’m not a fan of sauerkraut, but this was good. Hubby managed to find some really nice, firm apples growing wild around the place and they cooked up nicely. Hubby talked about “the perfect bite” as a comment in a movie we’d seen years ago. He declared that the perfect bite for this meal was some sauerkraut, a piece of sausage and a piece of apple. He was right.  I also made some pumpernickel bread in the bread machine.  I was guessing on settings and I set the crust too dark.  But other than a brick-like outer layer, it tasted pretty good.

hubby's birthday dinner

 
Here is a picture of the fruits of hubby’s labor.  That fruit picker came in handy.  I don’t know if he used it to get the black walnuts or not.  He wasn’t sure how to crack the walnuts.  My grandparents had a black walnut tree in their yard while I grew up and every year Mamaw harvested the nuts and took them out on the side walk with a hammer and cracked them open.  She would also make a mud pie, and every year I would find the only piece of hull in my piece of pie.   
 

harvested apples and black walnuts

apple walnut spice cake

So hubby tried the same thing.  He ended up losing a lot of the meat from what he said, but he got enough for me to add to the cake.  I used a basic box cake mix.  Life is too short to make a cake from scratch.  We chopped up the apples into small pieces, I crumbled up the walnut pieces and added it to the mix.  I used apple sauce instead of oil and apple juice instead of water.  While it was baking, oh the smell!  Hubby bit into the cake after dinner and it sounded like he was having an, ahem, fulfilling experience right there.  So needless to say, he was very pleased with his cake.  The sausage was probably enough to feed six people, so we are having leftovers for dinner tonight.

 
Hubby is sitting on the neighbor’s porch beside me attempting to submit his late essay.  The instructor hasn’t even graded the exam he took last Thursday.  I think we will need to get home on Sunday instead of Monday so he can try first thing on Monday to get this issue with his exam taken care of and hopefully get in touch with his friend who said there might be a technician position available at the Coonskin armory.  We could certainly use that job.  I might be able to get my alpaca farm!

TV, Movies and a little life….

 

We don’t have cable at our cabin, but we do have a tv and dvd player. So we always take a box of videos with us. We have an assortment of favorite movies and some episodes. About a year ago at Magic Mart I found the first season of F Troop. I had to snap that up. Hubby had never heard of it, which flabbergasted me. Hubby is a bit older than I am, so he is often more familiar with things from the sixties and seventies, where I’m a child of the eighties 😉 However, my mother and father were western fanatics, and in the eighties there was a Christian Family channel started that played only family quality shows all day. They played a lot of westerns. That channel introduced my brother and I to The Rifleman, The Virginian, Cimarron Strip, Laredo, Big Valley, Bonanza, Wagon Train and of course, F Troop. Oops, I forgot Branded. I liked the Chuck Connors westerns. Hubby had heard of most of those, but not F Troop. I introduced hubby that evening and he loved it. I loved the entire show. Ken Berry was fabulous as the hapless Captain Parmenter. Ken Berry isn’t a big name, probably practically unknown, but he ranks right up there with Dick Van Dyke. He does the same kind of over-the-top physical humor Dick Van Dyke did on the Dick Van Dyke show. Ken Berry had two or three appearances on the Dick Van Dyke show as choreographer for the Alan Brady show. I think that shows that dancers make the best physical comedians. We agreed that it was a shame that F Troop only lasted two seasons. I also had to introduce hubby to Bruce Campbell. I learned of him the short-lived tv series The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. A few years later he did some guest spots on the Hercules and Xena tv series as the King of Thieves. I loved that character. Then he did a one year half hour show called Jack of All Trades which hubby loved.

 

On this trip we brought the first season of F Troop (haven’t gotten the second season yet), the first season of Monk, the first season of The Dick Van Dyke Show, both seasons of The Addams Family, seasons 1997 and 1998 of The Red Green Show, the complete Granada series of Sherlock Holmes starring Jeremy Brett, the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie, Iron Man, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Maverick.

 

I also brought some card games. I love to play card games, but we don’t play them very often. I brought Hand and Foot, and Canasta Caliente. I’d like to try playing Head-to-Head Poker too. It’s just a two player game, but ordinary poker isn’t much fun to play with just two players. Maybe I’ll get him to play one of those games tonight. I think we’ve watched enough tv.

 

We ran into town today to find out if there were any trapping supply stores around. The local hardware store carries traps, not not dye or wax. No one knew of anything. The neighbor is in today to do lawn care and to set up some friends with a cabin for the weekend. I walked down there to check online if there was anything in Lewisburg, the closest town. All I could find was potentially a beekeeper. We can always use black walnut hulls for dye, but we need wax, and bees wax is really good if you can get it deodorized, maybe mixed with a little paraffin. Paraffin itself is not good because it tends to crack in cold weather. The neighbor gave hubby permission to trap on his property. He wants to get rid of the beaver and said there are also otter and muskrat. While in town we ran into the plumber again. He hadn’t shown up yet to finish our work. He came right out and is working on it now. I hate to think this about him, but I’m not sure he would be out here working if he hadn’t ran into him again. Hubby is down there helping him. I’m sitting in the livingroom, watching Sherlock Holmes again 🙂 I admit that when I heard Guy Ritchie was making a movie on Shelock Holmes starring Robert Downey, Jr. I was ready to boycott and protest. I was no fan of RDJ. All I’d ever heard about him was the troubled, self-destructive star who was in and out of court, rehab and jail. People like that rarely turn their lives around. Granted I hadn’t heard much about him until Iron Man. My brother is a big fan of Marvel comics so he has gone out to see every movie. He was trying to get me to watch Iron Man, but I was no fan of comics turned movies or RDJ, so I adamently refused and kept refusing. Then, we were at Circuit City at the front of the store waiting for Mom to check out and they had a movie playing on a big screen tv. It was the scene from Iron Man where he tangles with the two US jets. It’s an awesome scene. When it was over it was time to leave and walking out I turned to my brother and told him he won, I had to see the movie. I’m a sucker for action movies, especially when there is comedy included. We watched the movie at the camp over Thanksgiving break. I had to grudgingly admit that RDJ did a fantastic job, but then I pictured him personally much like the Tony Stark character. This was the problem I had — I couldn’t see Tony Stark making a good Sherlock Holmes. Also, I am quite the Sherlock snob. Once Granada did the Holmes stories with Jeremy Brett as the master detective, they ruined all other interpretations for me. To me, Jeremy Brett IS Holmes personified, no one before and no one afterwards will ever come close. Last year for my anniversary my brother got me the complete Granada series. I was in heaven. Most people who do anything Sherlock Holmes for a larger audience (larger meaning people who are only passingly familiar with the detective, not a devotee like my brother and I) ruin it. They tamper with the character because people don’t understand him. They use lame plot lines, etc. So, from the first mention of this happening I was on the warpath. I was going to boycott the movie and badmouth it to anyone who would listen. Then hubby and I went to the movies on my birthday to see New Moon. Yes, dear reader, I am a TwiFan. That story for another time, perhaps. In the previews before New Moon they had a trailer for Sherlock Holmes. The one particular scene they showed was in the dry dock where Dredger and Holmes are fighting and the ship being built there ends up in the water. It is an action scene and it peaked my morbid curiosity. I got home and told my brother, they are going to make me watch this darn movie!! I was convinced that the movie was going to be utter crap. I have seen some previews of movies in the past where the parts shown looked really good, got my hopes up and when I saw the movie realized the five scenes in the preview was the only decent parts of the movie, the rest of it was a major waste of time. Chicago comes to mind…. Anyway, we all went to see the movie the day after Christmas and from the opening my brother and I were hooked. I ended up going back and seeing the movie about four times, the last time just before it left theaters. I thought I was going to die before it came out on dvd (but I expected it to be about a six month wait like it is for Twilight movies) but fortunately it was out within the month. I was watching it at least once a week for three months afterwards…. Now the second movie is coming out in December. I’ve seen the trailer and I can’t wait. The writing is so witty. That and the fact that my favorite character from the first movie, Clarky, is back. I love Clarky, especially where he pulls Holmes’ leg in the movie and watches him squirm before letting him off the hook. My brother and I loved how they incorporated actual lines from the Holmes stories into dialogue in the movie. We also loved how they cleverly brought out that Holmes also spoke French, as he fights Dredger who only speaks French. My brother and I both said the line in French that Holmes said in response to Watson’s question: “Je ne sais pas.” My brother and I both took French in high school. The only other thing I can say about the movie is that I WANT the hat RDJ was wearing in the cemetary.

 

There was a lot of hoopla when the movie came out about Ritchie and Downey “reinventing” Sherlock Holmes. What they were particually talking about was the fact that Downey actually kicks butt in this movie as Holmes. Any Holmes devotee knows that Holmes was an expert boxer and martial artist and could hold his own in any fight. There are stories where he actually does fight, but they are very few. Typically he uses his head to outwit people and solve the crimes. However, almost all portrayals of Holmes never included his ability to fight in them, which is what made this movie so provocative to people. To those of us who are intimately familiar with Holmes, it wasn’t such a surprise. It was actually quite refreshing to see such a portrayal. RDJ does give Holmes a quirkiness that maybe is a bit of creative leeway from the character, but he pulls it off and it isn’t unfaithful to Doyle’s writing.

 

Well, seems like the plumber is done. Looks like we will be going back into town to call my brother so he can send out a check ASAP. I don’t feel like cooking today. I’m probably going to cook all day tomorrow for hubby’s birthday. I don’t think he realizes it’s his birthday tomorrow. Unless there is some reason for him to be paying attention to the date he loses all track of time. He forgets what day it is, as well as what the date is. It will be a nice surprise for him — sausage and apple casserole and apple walnut spice cake for dessert. Yum.

The great farm hunt

 

toadstool loveseat

Well, it was our first official day alone and we spent the majority of it in town. Hubby’s pay came through today so we had to go into town for groceries, and on Friday we had made an appointment with a realtor to see a couple of farmland properties at 10am today. Hubby also wanted to stop in at the court house and get a map of the property across the creek from us. There are two fields and a large pond up there that he is dying to trap on, but he wanted to make sure it was national forest and not someone’s property. In talking to the assessor to get the map he may have gotten someone in trouble. Evidently the man who lives across the creek bordering the national forest has a thirty acre dispute with them. I don’t know if they came in years ago and just claimed thirty of his acres (which, unfortunately, they can do since they are the government) or he bought the property without looking into things and thought he was buying thirty more acres than he got. But the fact remains this guy has evidently been taking down national forest signs because hubby told the assessor that there are very few signs marking the boundaries up there. The assessor found that very interesting. Hubby also said that he didn’t think the assessor was going to charge him for the print out until hubby asked him about it. We have gotten a lot of print outs in the past year from the court house because we were researching a piece of property we were very interested in. I jokingly told people that if we spent any more time there they were going to give us our own office. Evidently the assessor wasn’t going to charge him for the print out this time, but hubby knew it was their standard practice so asked about it. In talking to this realtor we found out that a lot of people had been talking about the property we had been researching and how shady things were surrounding it. It doesn’t seem to be on the market any more, and unless they found a complete idiot to buy the property they may have had to take it off the market because they were not at all being upfront about it. The owners were claiming it to be about 488 acres, but their map didn’t jive with the assessor’s map. We looked up deeds and found out that 71 acres belonged to another heir and their were lumping the two properties together. However, the maps still didn’t completely jive, thought they were a lot closer. So we did some more digging. Hubby asked the person selling this property about the discrepancies and she told hubby that the assessor’s office didn’t always get the boundaries right. Uh huh. I don’t buy that for a minute. Those maps are where the county gets it’s money through property taxes. If their map isn’t right its because someone is lying to them. We asked the seller about a survey and she told us that the owner wouldn’t do it because they feared it would lower the value. Red flag. Back to the court house we went for more digging. Finally someone discovered that the National Forestry had claimed quite a bit of that property around the edges — in fact, they had claimed the parts that had most interested us, the parts that could be used as pasture. We want to have an alpaca farm. The forestry probably owns close to 100 or more acres of that property that the seller is trying to claim in their asking price. Well, of course word is getting around at the court house about what is going on, because we are talking. The realtor selling this property is getting a bad reputation in town about being, ahem, a bit underhanded. One of the things that first caught our attention was that in the ad online it claimed the old farmhouse was a Sears mail order home. Hubby did research online, and when we went out to look at it there were no serial numbers in the rafters. In fact, the rafters were hand-hewn beams, so there was no way it was a Sears mail order home. Not to mention that the style of house was not included in any of the info hubby found on mail order homes. The style was the same as a good many other very old farmhouses in the county. So, once people were talking about it at the court house, it wouldn’t take long for it to get out into the town and then the surrounding areas. I have a feeling the property got too hot for them to handle. They wanted almost a million dollars for this property, I’m assuming because of it’s proximity to Snowshoe Resort. But on the road it was on (paved, but only one lane) and most of the property was on the side of Bald Knob and really not usable (and why the forestry department took pastures instead of FORESTED hillside, i will never know….) they were out of their ever-lovin’ minds.

 

I have to say it broke my heart to come to the conclusion we would never get that property. It was close to Cass. On a good day (good day meaning which engine happens to be running) I would have been able to listen to the steam engines blowing their whistles all day long. Once while we were looking the house over, it was snowing lightly where the house was, and you could see the Bald Knob overlook on the peak of the mountain which is the highest point the train goes to, and it was REALLY snowing up there. The mountain top was covered in snow. The sun was shining, and we heard the train whistle. Every time we went to the house, the wind was blowing. You could hear it rustling through all the trees. I had the perfect name picked out for it — Windy Hill. It was perfect because of the constant breeze, and it reminded me of the house in a story I read in grade school called The Ghost of Windy Hill. We also wanted to have it as a bed and breakfast, and I would have included a copy of that story in every room. But we gave up on that property last fall. Now hubby is looking at new properties, but my heart really isn’t in it. I can’t get my hopes up again. I don’t want to start hoping and dreaming about a piece of property until I know we have a chance of getting it.

 

Neither property we saw today was appealing to me. Neither had a house. I want an old farmhouse. I want some history. Pocahontas County is an old county with lots of history and heritage. In fact, my namesake was born and married in Pocahontas County. It was still the state of Virginia at that time, before the Civil War. I saw another farm for sale near Cass online today. We emailed the realtor and hopefully this week we will get to see it. It’s almost 200 acres and they are asking almost $900,000 for it, which I think is ridiculous. I don’t care if it is close to snowshoe, it’s a protected farm which means it can’t be developed, so it can’t expect developer pricing.

 

My dream is to have a fiber farm — alpacas, angora rabbits, angora goats, sheep. I want to learn to spin and then use my own yarn to crochet shawls, blankets and other goods. My brother has an old loom that belonged to our paternal grandmother in his basement. I want to learn to use it. I want a simpler life. Pocahontas County calls to me.

 

I have been getting some crocheting done, which is exciting. In fact, I’m working on a pattern of my own design. For over a year i’ve been looking for a perfect daisy to make something nice for my sister. She loves daisies. Well, I saw a tissue box cover my grandmother had made in the bathroom this weekend and I got some inspiration. I’m playing around and I think I’ve come up with a great design, but I need to figure out some filler design so I can turn this into a throw. Hopefully I will have it figured out this week 🙂

In the woods, so far….

 

The weekend has had its ups and downs. I called my mother on Thursday evening to tell her to have my brother bring up two cases of soda that we had forgotten. She calls me back shortly to tell me that my brother was no longer planning on coming up on Friday, he would be up on Tuesday. Well, I wasn’t too happy about that. We figured that with my brother here for the weekend hubby and he would get all the work done that needed to be done with the water line and he could leave Monday morning, then hubby and I would have the cabin all to ourselves for another week. We had plans. ‘Nuff said. So, we didn’t expect my brother to come up and we left town before she could call again. She called us a total of three times and after the first call we told her we were headed back to the cabin. Thank God for a dead zone. Well, we had slept in late Friday and were goofing off, and I look up out our bedroom window and my brother has just pulled in. So I had to get out of my pajamas and actually put clothes on. Hubby had already been up and at ’em. The dog got him up at 1am to go potty. I think he actually might have heard a critter. He then got up again at 5:45, which is normal potty time. He did some studying for his american history class and then went for a run. He said he could smell skunk outside and it was really strong up the road where he ran. He and the dog had taken a walk that morning and had found coyote scat and beaver sign. Hubby is chomping at the bit to come back here for thanksgiving and do some trapping, if we can get permission from the neighbors. Then at about 9:15am the painter showed up at the neighbor’s and hubby went down to talk to him to find out if he knew anything about our MIA plumber. My brother had asked the plumber that had been working at the neighbor’s two months ago to drill a hole in the spring box so we could run a new line to our pump house. Brother has tried calling him numerous times in the past couple of months and so far hasn’t heard a peep from him. So by the time brother showed up we had accomplished quite abit. Had already had breakfast and everything. He got there about 11am. Of course the bad news was that it started raining and rained most of Friday. We got up Saturday and it was still calling for rain off and on. It was beginning to look like my brother had wasted a trip. Hubby and I went out to the Road Kill Cookoff in Marlinton at about 2pm to check out all the vendors, to see what other handicrafts had been entered and if we won any awards. Hubby submitted his boxed chess set and got first place. I entered two baby blankets and the simpler one got first place while the more intricate one didn’t even place. I have to wonder what the thinking processes of those judges were….

intricate blanket

 
 

simple blanket

hubby’s chess box

 

Sunday morning hubby went out for a hike. He went across the creek to check out a field and a pond he desperately wants to trap. Brother and I went into town to get a couple roasts. The one I started the night before (on low heat in my crock pot) and shrunk to a third of its size, and that wasn’t about to feed all of us. The sun teased us as we went into town and back. We got back before hubby, which I kind of figured we would. Brother went up for a nap. Thirty minutes later hubby came back and then went outside. Brother heard him and went out. They did manage to fill in the ditch and cover over the trench through the middle of the road where out temporary line is at. Hurrah! Now if we could just get the plumber….

 

Well, Monday morning we went into town to get some things to try to punch the hole in the block. I went to Hudson’s Variety. It used to have a little of everything, but they have closed off half the store which they are trying to sell and the other half is pretty much just hobby supplies — quilting goods, yarn, etc. I always like to buy yarn from Sherry while I’m in town. I had a neat scarf pattern that I tried out last night in pink camo, and I wanted to try it in other colors and with a twist to the pattern. While I was picking through the yarn, my brother came in and had just found me when my hubby came up to him and told him that the plumber had just gone into the hardware store they had just come from. So they both went back to waylay him. That left me to shop yarn in peace and away from prying eyes 😉

 

With my yarn purchases in tow, I went to the hardware store and found my men in deep conversation with the plumber. The end result was that he is supposed to come out to the cabin tonight to put the hole in the box. It’s 5pm and we are still waiting. He knows we are going to be here all week…. We also picked up a fruit picker. Hubby has found several apple trees gone wild and he wants to harvest them. I have a sausage, kraut and apple bake planned for Thursday, which is hubby’s birthday.

 

Hopefully I will get down to the neighbor’s porch shortly and piggy back on their wifi to get this posted today….

Cupcake Purses

Well, I’ve been working on crochet projects for upcoming craft shows.  When hubby and I made soap and did craft shows the one thing we learned was have something that appeals to kids.  Mom and Dad or Grandma will pass on something for themselves but they will cave in and buy the little one something.  SO I make sure to try to have something that would appeal to kids (the younger the better.)

So, I have finished the cupcake purses.  I did a variety of colors:  two shades of purple, two shades of pink, two shades of orange and one yellow.  I might do a light green one, but I have plenty of other things to crochet, so we’ll see how much time I end up having.

perfect for that little girl

I kissed a college freshman….

and I liked it!

Hubby is taking an American History class online through Liberty University.  The VA is paying for it through Voc Rehab.  Poor hubby has been trying to get a degree for about twenty five years.  He went to Penn State on a Track scholarship, went one semester, got hurt, lost his scholarship and dropped out.  About a year later he enlisted in the Marine Corps and took a class here and there as he was able.  While in the Marines he hurt his back and was discharged before his contract was up so got severance pay.  With that money he came to Bradley, WV to attend Appalachian Bible College, where we met.  However, we weren’t interested in each other at the time, we were just good friends.  He was actually there a year before I was.  He was there a total of about two years, ran out of money and went back to PA.  He taught in a Christian school for two years, saved money, and then attended Edinboro University for a year.  SO, when all his transcripts are added up, he has more credit than he needs for a BA, however no one school would accept all his work and you also have to have a certain number of hours from the school that is going to award you that piece of paper.  While hubby was on active duty three years ago he found out that the Guard would pay for him to take classes through Liberty, AND they would accept almost EVERYTHING he’d ever did.  He still needed to take about 27 hours from Liberty before they would award him a degree.  His original plan was to pursue his theology degree, but with Liberty being liberal arts his degree would actually be in “religion” which he wasn’t as excited about.  However, since Voc Rehab is paying for this they want him to study something that will translate into highly employable status.  Hubby has also had an interest in teaching, so he is going to work toward a degree in secondary education.  Hardly any of the credits he has will translate, so instead of being a senior (which basically was what he was three years ago pursuing his religion degree) he is now a freshman, and will have to pursue his education up to a master’s degree before he will be eligible for a teaching certificate.  Whew.

I’m also working on some classes through a mail order ministry.  Hubby and I would like to be a part of establishing a local Bible institute, but teachers will need at least master’s degrees.  We’ve got two doctorates on board already, and they will do a little teaching but probably mostly administrative.  We are probably looking at years down the road, which is why we will have time to get our schooling done.

We picked up some halloween decorations.  We are going to have a haunted house at the community center as a fund raiser.  Hubby is out working on the car so we can get it inspected in the morning.  If all goes well, we will be leaving Thursday morning for the family cabin in the woods.  I am SOOOOO needing this vacation.  I’ve got videos packed.  We don’t have cable, but we do have a tv and a dvd player.  We will probably watch things like Hogan’s Heroes, The Red Green Show, F Troop (awesome show!), Granada Television’s Sherlock Holmes, Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock Holmes (drool), The Dick Van Dyke Show, and maybe I can hit my brother up to buy Thor — I SO want to see that movie again.  Hubby hasn’t seen it yet.  Watching tv is something I love to do while I’m crocheting.  I also want to play some games with hubby.  It’s been awhile since we played canasta.  I am really looking forward to this trip.  Hopefully we’ll take a couple walks too and I can post pics of our paradise 🙂