Our life living off the land in our log cabin, breathing fresh mountain air, and getting back to basics.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Liam, Jessi & Erin Have Left

Those of you who have been reading my blog for some time already know that I had tears in my eyes as Erin, Jessi & Liam drove away this afternoon.  Our time together was priceless, and a sure reminder of how important it is to love the ones you love!

Last night, after Liam went to bed, the girls and I enjoyed the Harvest Moon together.  We repeated our "moon dance", a little ritual we initiated some time ago.  It's our own celebration of our ability to be silly and free together while appreciating what nature offers at night...great fun and full of giggles!  And no, there are no pictures of this nor will there ever be.  It is a secret ceremony between mothers and daughters:)

Later that night, Liam kept waking up with a severe cough.  He has allergies, and it was obvious shortly after they arrived that something here was affecting him, as he starting coughing and it continued to get worse.   We both knew the cough sounded serious, Jessi thought it was croup as she had experienced this with him twice before (my brother Marc also suffered with croup as a child, the incident made me think of and miss him).  We both agreed it was better to take him to the ER and get it taken care of.  It was a long night.  It was not until today that Jessi shared all her frustrations with the ER personnel; but I agree with her that Liam was not dealt with in a fashion that would immediately and effectively resolve his issue of a deep wheezing cough.  The picture below is a pretty clear depiction of Jessi's dissatisfaction with the way things were proceeding and Liam's exhaustion.
The good news is we did get home and back to bed before the sun rose, and though Liam has continued to cough, he is much better.  Jessi will follow up with is PCP tomorrow.

When Liam and I got up this morning, he was raring to go (probably 'false energy' from the steroid injection he received last night) even though he was still coughing a bit.  He wanted to feed the pond fish...
...he wanted to blow bubbles...
...so much satisfaction in catching one...

...he wanted to catch a lizard...
...he wanted to play hide-n-seek...this is him saying "you can't find me!"...
...and he wanted to go to the river...this is Liam contemplating his star burst candy, but what I love most about this photo is the thumb in his pocket!

We had an awesome visit...too short, too fast...but filled with good times (mostly, but even the ER visit had special moments).  Sometimes little things happen that result in an 'ah ha' moment, and this weekend I saw so clearly how much Erin & Jessi are becoming their own beautiful women.  So much themselves, I really like that (and sometimes like me, I like that part too).

Life is good.  The weekend was great!

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Liam, Jessi & Erin Are Here!

Everyone arrived safely yesterday, and from that moment on, we've been having a great time! 

I love this boy, he melts me!

Concentrating on cutting, not easy to do when you are left handed but only have generic scissors...

Jessi & Erin last evening:)

Liam, in concert!

We went to the Adventure Zone at the Dinosaur Store, it was really interesting with lots of hands on activities!

Liam says, "Mémère, help me, the awigador is eating me!!!"

 Making a giant puzzle together.
Playing a ball game, and wanting to make sure he can not follow the rules and just put the ball into the basket.  4 years old!  There is a great mind in that little head of his!
Relaxing on the dock, enjoying the river. 

And now I must return to having fun together.  We still have much of the day left!

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,

Friday, September 28, 2012

Liam, Jessi & Erin Are On Their Way!

I'm trying to be patient, really I am, but time seems to be moving backwards!  I am so anxious with anticipation that I am actually giddy!  Love those girls, and my Liam (well I call him my Liam, he isn't really my Liam, but he is my Liam...you grandparents out there know what I mean)!  I can't wait until they arrive!  Well, I have to wait, but you know what I mean:)

While waiting, I'm grateful I have things to occupy my time, like telling you about how great it was to get together with my friends last evening.  This is the gang, the best picture of the all that were taken...sorry it isn't more becoming of some of you in the photo...let me assure you that it is a beautiful group of people!  The cast of characters, beginning on the left and moving clockwise:  Eric - (his wife is Dominique); we are in their clubhouse, enjoying the wonderful lamb dinner they prepared, lovely wine, yummy deserts each of us brought and best of all, each others company, Robert - (his wife is Brucie), Dick - (his wife is Ursula), Dominique (both she and Eric were born in Switzerland), Brucie, Ursula (born in Germany) and I was seated to the left of Ursula.  I only tell you where people were born because it is such an international group, I like that about us!  (And Johny was born in Luxembourg; even though he wasn't with us in person, he was with us in spirit!)

A few other things I'll share about the evening...Brucie told me I should be in more pictures that I post in the blog.  The thing is, I don't really like to be in pictures, but even more significantly, I am usually the picture taker!  I'll try Brucie:).  Eric took some pictures with my camera, and included me in them...sorry Eric, they were blurry!  Dick told me he wants to see more of peoples faces in the blog.  I'll try Dick, I'll try:)  Finally, look at this whimsical salt and pepper set, the feet have magnets!  If you look really closely, you can see them in the middle of the counter in the photo above.

We have good times together.  I do miss all my friends when I am at the cabin (but I still love being at the cabin...makes coming back to visit so much fun)!  A big thank you to Eric and Dominique for being such great hosts, and to all my friends, big hugs until I see you again! 

Keeping things green for a moment, this Cuban tree frog was hanging out on my back patio this morning...gave me a chuckle...her big eyes, the interesting pattern her back, the fact that she sat on my chime for so long, and then the lizard wall hanging behind her...all made for an amusing sight.  Why have I identified the frog as a female?  Last night, Dominique asked me why I called the spider I have been posting about a 'he', as in French spiders are feminine.  I learned today that frog is also feminine (grenouille) please correct me if I am mistaken Dominique.  I like using the French name to determine whether my subject shall be a 'he' or a 'she'.  Thanks Dominique!

Sunrise this morning, this heron really likes it here!  And yes, the spider is still on the dock, very similar spot, and yes, she spun another web!

This is a video of the Osprey I have posted photos of, perched on his (bird=oiseau, masculine) branch, as he does each day.  The video is quite shaky, and I apologize for that; once I realized I wanted to shoot it again, he was gone.  Every day, I hear him up on that branch, calling.  I really enjoy hearing this sound every afternoon!

Another thing that will occupy my time while I wait for the girls and Liam is making dinner for us this evening.  Liam and the girls are going to share in our mountain garden bounty...I am making a ground turkey stuffed acorn squash, roasted purple potatoes and carrots and steamed green beans; all the veggies are from our mountain garden!  I think they will like it:).

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Few Welcomed Guests

I really enjoy the variety of wildlife nature offers along the river. When I see a frequent visitor (like the Osprey below), I feel like they are an old friend.  Reliable.  Consistent.  Certain.  When I see something new, it is like a gift.  Uplifting.  Refreshing.  Amusing.  No matter which, I find great joy and comfort in what I see around me; here are a few pictures that I hope bring you pleasure as well...

This Osprey has been on this same branch before, and I posted a picture, but this time he sat patiently as I snapped away (for a little while anyway).

This is a beautiful Swallowtail butterfly; I've never seen one like this before.   
 I know this picture is blurry, but it is the only one if the red blue spot.  I love that little spot of color!

This interesting fellow was on the ceiling of our back patio...note the iridescent blue and red coloration, pretty cool looking!  I haven't been able to identify it yet...Mamabug, maybe you know:)

I was taking pictures of the sunrise this morning, and saw this beautiful cloud.  Funny thing is, I didn't see the line of birds flying across the sky when I took the picture!  Look at the next picture to see them more clearly (I know you can hardly see them in this one, you can click on the picture to make it larger if you'd like).
See the little specs along the bottom left quarter of the picture,?  I know they are small, but I wanted to "share the moment with you:)

This picture is a bit of a tease like the birds were, so you will have to use your imagination...but a small group of dolphin were gently feeding not too far into the river.  They were rolling about, and though every now and then I saw a fin or a backside, they pretty much stayed under the water. You can see the water disturbance in the lower left corner of the picture.  

Sunrise is one of my favorite times on the river...it is so peaceful.  And I love watching and hearing everything awakening!  I hope you have been able to "feel" it too!

By the way, the spider was there on the deck with yet another web!  Fortunately, it was not directly in my path.  Mamabug identified it as an orb weaver, thanks Mamabug! (Click on the link to see her blog with stunning nature photos.)

I am now heading out to be a welcomed guest:).  A Few of the "river rats", as some lovingly refer to we neighbors/friends, are gathering this evening for good food, good conversation, good memories in the making.  I am sure I'll have things to tell you all about tomorrow!

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Thanking My Lucky Stars

When I wake up in the morning, after taking care of the immediate morning chores, like making the bed, brushing my teeth, putting my camera out on the porch so the lens acclimates to the outdoor heat, etc., I make coffee.  Then I take my cup of java and head to the dock.  I very much enjoy the wakening of the day on the river. 

This morning, this heron sat one legged, until I disturbed his peace.

While the sunrise was not brilliant and colorful, it was serene and lovely.  But I had to overcome an obstacle before I got to enjoy this view... 

There are times when I know the universe is on my side, watching out for me, so to speak.  When I woke up this morning, I knew my time was limited if I wanted to catch the sunrise.  I raced around to get myself together.  I am grateful for the heron, because he caused me to pause.  Had I not paused, I would have barreled down the planks of the dock, likely running into this large (ok, about the size of a dime, but large enough for me) spider, whose web crossed the path to the spot on the dock I was headed for.  It just so happened that I saw the web glittering in the light of dusk, soon enough for me to stop quick in my path and gasp! 

I thanked my lucky stars, the universe, God, and the sun for keeping me from getting wound into this spiders web.  I took a fallen palm frond and gently moved the spider out of harms way (that would be me), to a new spot on the deck.  Yes, this meant he would have to spin a new web.  You can be sure I will be extremely cautious when going to watch the sunrise tomorrow!  He is kind of creepy looking, though I have not idea what type of spider it is...do you know?

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Summer Color Lingers Here

Though the temperature and humidity have certainly dropped here along the river, it still feels like summer to me.  Unlike at the cabin, many flowers are still blooming; I had almost forgotten that Florida doesn't really have obvious, clearly defined seasons.  Yes, it is true that one notices the changes as summer evolves into fall, but the changes are very subtle.  So I am enjoying the delightful array of flowers before me!


 Don't recall the name of this one...


I don't have my floral identification books here, so I am guessing on a couple of these...any corrections or updates are welcome!

It's interesting that the colors of the flowers are all in the red/purple hue...

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,

Monday, September 24, 2012

Road Trip!

I left the cabin this morning at 5:30AM; it was 36 degrees as I headed down the mountain.  I will miss my cabin life tremendously, but this is a relatively quick trip.  The best part is I get to see the girls and Liam, along with a few river friends, and I am excited about that! 

Our river home is lovely, as usual.  I believe I prefer the mountains...I am particular to cooler weather...but the river is a different life all it's own.  And I love the river too. 

This is a photo of the Indian River, a brackish river (fresh and salt water), that is frequently wavy due to "on shore winds" I will call them.  The ocean is about 7 miles to the East from where we are, so we don't get the ocean breeze, but it is a river, and we get lot's of "on shore breeze"!  The rock is Coquina,  which is basically rock made from shells (click on the link if you want to learn more).  I took this photo from our dock.  Is should not surprise you that we are naturalists here too.  We let the wild growth have it's way, nature's way:)

As I approached the dock, a blue heron sat on a piling, but flew away before I could snap the picture. You will just have to imagine him sitting on a piling on the river until I can capture him...

There is a lot of wind this afternoon, but I thought you might like to see a video of the river in action...you may want to turn down (or off) the sound...

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,

Sunday, September 23, 2012

All in a Fall Day...

It has been a perfect fall day...
...cool temp
...low humidity
...wind blowing every now and then, fluttering the leaves and causing them to fall, at the same time causing my chimes to sing:)
...blue sky with nary a cloud (don't get me wrong, I love clouds, but up here in the Smoky Mountain's, when the sky is completely blue, you know the humidity is down).

I am really glad for this because I am heading on a road trip tomorrow (Monday) to our river home.  So let me tell you how I enjoyed my day here before I leave this beloved place for a short time...

We harvested as much from the garden as we thought was ready.  Carrots, squash, corn, beans, zucchini &  salsify (the salsify was not a growing success whatsoever, but we had to try them anyway...teeny tiny bits of salsify flesh that were bitter...probably because they were too tiny to get the skin off), most of which I am taking with me on my trip...happy day for me!  Mountain Man will still have access to the garden, so he gets everything fresh:)

We went 'sang hunting today.  'Sang is Ginseng, (click on the link to learn more) a highly prized root for it's medicinal value.  We harvested it and replanted it closer to our cabin so we can watch it grow. 

The roots are interesting!

On our 'sang trek through the woods, I came across these two wildflower specimens, a nice encounter as I am seeing less and less flowering things...I believe this is Erect Goldenrod...
And I believe this is Indian Cucumber Root...

We have a new home for our front porch swing.  We like it quite a bit!

And finally, the cabin today.  As you can see, the sunlight upon the cabin is decreasing (I know, the cabin looks quite dark), but the sky is a gorgeous blue!  And what about the deck, the sun is shining on it:)!

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Welcome Fall!

I love fall.  The colors.  The decreased temperature and humidity.  The fact that the days are becoming shorter (not sure why I love this so, but I do).  The way the leaves fall from the trees in a floaty sort of way, simply drifting down in their own little dance, to brighten natures floor (I tried to capture a video of this process, but have yet to get the leaf in the screen, lol!)

Did you know that the fall equinox is the beginning of the time of year when the amount of daylight is less than the amount of night?  And this will continue through the winter solstice, which is of course the shortest day of the year.  And then the amount of daylight will continue to increase until the spring equinox, when the amount of daylight will exceed the amount of darkness through the summer solstice.  I love learning and knowing about these things...don't you?

I spotted this leaf in our driveway this morning on the way back from the garden.  I love the contrast of the colors with the stone!  No, I didn't move it, didn't enhance the color, just focused and pushed the button. Sometimes it is the simplest things...

And this is a very attractive White Breasted Nuthatch, a bird I have spotted many times in the trees, but have never been able to capture with my camera.  Today, I was on the deck, just looking around, and there he was!  Happy Fall I say!
An even closer shot so you can see him better...

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,

Friday, September 21, 2012

Little Surprises

My first awesome surprise this morning, as we were walking to the garden, was to see this beautiful raspberry on our small raspberry bush.  What was most surprising about it is that we already had a few raspberries in the spring, so we were not expecting anything more this year.  As you can see, there are a couple other buds ripening...kind of fun...if we can get enough of them to ripen at the same time, we can play "one for you, one for me"!

Another pleasant surprise, Mountain Man is in clothes without holes...this is for you Patti, as you are concerned about the need for mending...lol...this is his special 'going out' clothes!...there are probably many of you out there who have had the same thoughts, but haven't voiced them yet!  Anyway, he is holding our new hydrometer (one of two, so we have a backup).  This is a really good thing, because as he was preparing to measure the must (click on the link to learn more about wine must) today, he dropped the new hydrometer, boom, on the floor!  Good thing it hit right on the thick end of the tip, and it did not break...but you know we were both happy we ordered two!

The nice little surprise about the hydrometer was that this one is made in France...does that mean our wine will turn out something like what the French vineyards produce???  One never knows!

This is us measuring the SG of the wine with our new hydrometer today...things are moving in the right direction, as the SG indicates the  must (click on the link to learn more about wine must) is indeed fermenting.

My final little surprise, is my acorn squash dish this evening.  I was making curry shrimp with rice.  The acorn squash was harvested today from the garden.  They were small, and I was concerned they might not be ripe, but they were the most beautiful acorn squash I have ever seen.  (No, I am not exaggerating...they were firm with nicely shaped seeds that were easy to scoop out, and a delightful deep yellow color...and no, I am not being partial either!)  To compliment the curry shrimp and rice, I decided to use red curry (instead of the usual cinnamon), honey and a little butter to bake the squash.  It was delectable, with just the right bit of heat, but a lovely sweetness that balanced the somewhat spicy shrimp.  

Life it good!  We are fortunate.  This is not a surprise:)

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,