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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Promise of Things To Come

With Easter, as with spring, comes the promise of new life.  Everything around us is covered with new buds, silently maturing and waiting for mother nature to provide the perfect conditions that allow each to unfold and blossom.  May the promise of things to come for you be filled with love and light...

Happy Easter (to all of you who celebrate) and Happy Spring!   

This photo is a rhododendron bloom from last year; 
still waiting for this year's perfect conditions:)

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

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Liam's Easter Eggs

I miss my grandson Liam more than I can say.  I'm so glad technology gives me the opportunity to share the things I'm not there for in person.  Coloring Easter eggs is a tradition, and Liam is today's spotlight...

This is patience at it's best, Liam waiting to dye his eggs...
 ...now the color dye & crayons are ready...
...beginning to draw on the eggs with the crayons (he's extremely meticulous with these types of projects, keeping things tidy, clean and organized...love that about him...and notice he is a lefty!)...
...proudly working his art, good job!...
  ...dedicated to coloring every last egg, eggzactly like he wants it to be!...
 ..."Perfecteggs, want one?"...

I have tears in my eyes, missing my boy...my thoughts go out to every Grandparent who is missing their grandchild like I am....

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

Friday, March 29, 2013

Last Night Was A Knee Slapper Of A Night

Our night out yesterday was a load of fun, the grand finale being The Liars Bench entertaining performance at the Mountain Heritage Center.  Mountain Man and I totally enjoyed the show!  I kept tapping my feet and bobbing my head with the music, and at one point I laughed until I had tears in my eyes...it was a knee slapper of a night for sure!

I'm just an ordinary girl, living my log cabin life, and by no means an official reviewer, but I would like to share a little of what I saw..

This first photo is Gary Carden, who started The Liars Bench in 2010, speaking with Paul Larussi.  Paul always plays the first and last song of the show. 

Paul's authentic Appalachian folk ballads were played with mountain charisma and a style all his own (haven't ever seen him before, but I feel totally confident about my thoughts on his style)...I sure wish he would have played more! 

William Ritter, a very talented fiddler, played The Belled Buzzard, one of Mr. Carden's "whimsical, imaginary critters" after having learned it only the day before the show (I'm pretty sure I understood that correctly).  There's more about the critters on The Liars Bench site.  I would have liked to have heard more of William's artistry too...I read he's a Liars Bench regular...looking forward to more!

Marvin Cole, who usually presents a Mark Twain oratory, chose to share a comical meditation on outhouses.  He animatedly shared the escapades of a champion privy builder, giving the details of a lifetime of construction decisions stating "I'll tell ya fer why".  His monologue had me in tears more than once! 
I must admit, his soliloquy was my favorite part of the show!

Sheila Kay Adams, known as a gifted storyteller and exceptional banjo player (hope to hear her play next time) entertained us with true stories about Dr. John R Brinkley, the goat gonad doctor, his radio broadcasting and radio antenna dental fillings (eccentrically peculiar fellow, check out the link to learn more), along with a tale of a ghost story with a surprise ending.  

Mr. Carden and their mascot Bodine listen intently as Paul played the final ballad of the evening...Bodine makes a fine end table, donchathink?

The show was terrific and we will definitely go again...they have new fans in us!  In fact, they have lots of fans...the seats were filled and people were lined up along the sides of the auditorium!
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The rest of the evening was also a success...dinner at Kosta's was delicious (as usual) and we finished dinner early enough to walk through some of the Mountain Heritage Center's exhibits...more than we could see with the time we had, so we will be back!

A few non-related tidbits of information...like BTW, but a different way of saying it...

Pogo is back to his normal healthy self...he ventured up the mountain a couple times today and is eating normally now...yeah for Pogo!

We had snow flurries this afternoon!  Make me laugh out loud...it was too warm for anything to stick, but it was there, I saw it, and that's a true story!  Heard that a lot last night...had to use it!

Working on the next deck post, complications slowing the process...more to come on that. 

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

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Night Out

We are going to see The Liars Bench (an Appalachian variety show, click on the link to find out more about it) at the Western Carolina University Mountain Heritage Center.  It sounds like really great show and I am looking forward to it...this will be our first time for both the show and visiting the Mountain Heritage Center...such an adventure!  I can't wait to tell you all about it!

This photo is from their blog page.

Since we are heading down the mountain and into town, we will also be running various errands and having dinner at Kosta's Family Restaurant in Dillsboro, a favorite of ours (it's reasonably priced, they make Johny's favorite gyro platter, and they uaually have delicious fresh fish specials...yum).

With all that said, the morning's plan was to work a little more on our deck rail.  But Mountain Man realized we needed a bigger clamp than what we had, so he was going to take Big Bear (our ATV) up to Ron's wood shop to see if we could borrow one.  But Bear wouldn't start.  After some investigating, Johny called Charlie to get his expert opinion...end result?...battery (again, it's not the first time this has happened).  So now the battery is charging, and I have no deck rail update. 

But that's OK, because I'm about to get myself dolled up to go to dinner and a show!  Well, dolled up is a relative term...I'll use the curling iron on my hair and use a little hair spray (I usually just brush it and put it in a pony tail or hair clip, I believe my hair is happier for it), put makeup on (rarely use it anymore, I believe my skin is happier for it), jewelry (it usually sits in a painted wooden cup on my dresser, don't want to loose it in the woods or garden), and dress in a casual jean ensemble...love that word, sounds so fancy when you say it with a French accent...including shoes with a heel (something other than a sweatshirt, exercise pants and work boots).  I really enjoy our simple lifestyle, which doesn't require much daily preparation for our daily chores, but I am looking forward to gussying up just a bit!  Which means I am publishing this post early today; stay tuned to tomorrow's post for an update on The Liars Bench.         

Another BTW, thanks for all the well wishes for Pogo.  He is feeling somewhat better and ate a little this morning, but he's still pretty listless.  I'll be really glad when he is back to his normal self!

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

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Keeping It Simple

Pogo (our 14 year old dog) was up sick most of last night, so we're kind of tired today.  Well, not kind of, definitely, positively tired.  So we're following the KISS theory (keep it simple silly...some say stupid, but I'll say silly) today.  Don't get me wrong, you know we got some things done, but there was a lot of yawning going on!

I was mesmerized all morning by the icicles that lined the edge of the roof, watching them slowly melt as the temperature rose and the sun shone upon them. They morphed into some really interesting shapes and sparkled with the sun's reflection. They looked like molten glass...I shall call them krystcicles (crystals + icicle)! I took lots of pictures, but in keeping with my simple theme, I'm sharing two of my favorites...

Poor Pogo, he's feeling a little better, but he hasn't wanted to eat anything all day and he's been sleeping and relatively motionless.  We did call the vet this morning, who said to stop giving him the antibiotics (they were for his aural hematoma, click on the link to read more about that) because that could be upsetting his stomach.  We keep monitoring him, but he clearly still doesn't feel well. 

Kudos to all the bloggers who participate on the ABCWednesday site...today highlights "K", and there are some pretty good entries...I found "K" to be kind of challenging...click on the link if you'd like read more. 

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

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Winter Wonderland

I intended to publish this post March 26, 2013, but discovered today that it's still in draft form, even though people have seen and made comments on it.  Seeing this sure does make me wish for snow...so far, we have no signs of any.  

I've been enjoying every minute of this early spring snow.  We woke up with about 4" of snow covering everything, with more falling on and off throughout the day.  I find a peaceful easy feeling when watching snow fall, and so far, it's something I don't think I will ever grow tired of.

Since yesterday, I've continued to try to get some good snowflake pictures, and though this is still a little blurry, I like it (these are flakes that fell on my scarf when I was outside).

We decided to take a walk through our woods and then drive Big Bear (our ATV) up into the mountains to see what we could see.  Everything looked like a winter wonderland...undisturbed snow covered everything as far as we could see (except for the trail...we were not the first to venture up the mountain), and it was just stunning.  These pictures don't really do the scene justice, but imagine being surrounded by these woods, with a little snow falling and no other sounds...wonderful!

I've got a few more snow photos for you...I don't mean to bore you with them, but you can figure these are probably the last for this season!

Our deck...it really makes me want to buy a fire pit and grill something when there is snow all about!...
 ...the first icicle from our new deck rail...
...a portion of the creek...

...an interesting ice formation...

...a snow mushroom (lol, Mountain Man was excited about these)...

...and finally, a Pileated Woodpecker...we've never seen one around here before! 

I'm feeling grateful to have been able to enjoy the snow one more time this year.  I must admit that I really appreciated the heat of the wood stove as it warmed up my tingling toes and fingers after our little mountain sojourn.  And I'm appreciating more flurries as they flit about right now.  Life is good.

I decided to make us a good warm-us-up dinner, so I made Venison Stew with Beer and Paprika, a Pioneer Woman recipe that I modified simply by using venison instead of beef and adding mushrooms.  The perfect tasty ending to a snowy day!

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

Monday, March 25, 2013

Wishes Do Come True!

We woke up in a very cold cabin (we had not burned the fire during the night) but with a beautiful blanket of snow covering everything outside.  I was delighted, and have been enjoying every minute of it since.  I've been wishing to have just one more good snow that I could experience from beginning to end, and today, it is so...I must be doing something right!

It's been snowing almost all day.  Sometimes blustery gusts of flakes flying every which way.  Sometimes big huge flakes floating gently to the ground.  Sometimes tiny little flakes fluttering about never really seeming to go anywhere.  I tried to get some pictures capturing these different snow moods of the day, but the pictures all look pretty much the same.  What's amazing is that even though it's snowed all day, it hasn't accumulated much (yet anyway)Even though we were getting this snow all day, the weather radar did not indicate snow above us, so that makes me wonder if we were just getting snow that was blown to us from the clouds north of us...?

I find snowflakes to be amazingly cool (pun intended) little crystals and I love trying to see their detail.  So I kept going outside to try to capture a single snowflake, but that was really challenging to do!  This is my best shot at it, not bad...but still a little blurry.  I used a piece of black construction paper as my background; it kept the snowflake frozen and it didn't have a rough texture to distract the focus of the close up lens (while I love my camera, the macro lens isn't the best for this type of work...pics I took on different types of material showed mostly those textures and not the detail of my snowflake).

Of course, the birds flocked to the feeders, especially when I put fresh seeds in them. I like the open wing span of the bird flying away:)

We are supposed to get more snow, falling directly upon us, so I am excited to see what tomorrow morning will bring.  I can assure you that we will be stoking our wood stove tonight! 

I'll close with this quote by Ruth Stout...I've mentioned her before, she has a no till gardening theory that we have adopted...her feel for winter resonates deep within me, and perhaps explains my love of days like today...
"There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you...In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself." 
Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Family Art

Johny's Mom Irene was a very talented artist...she painted beautiful pictures that we have hanging here in the cabin as well as at our river home.  I often find myself gazing at them, lost in a scene and it's details.  I thought I would share some with you today...please forgive my photographs of them, I have gained a new respect for photographers of art, as it's not an easy thing to do!...but I've done my best to capture each piece without any refraction of light, which is why they are not always straight.

I'll start with this one, a scene close to my heart as it reflects the feel of our cabin.  Irene had no idea we would be living this log cabin life, and she never got to come see this place, but I know if she had she would have loved it!

I thought I would be telling you which picture was my favorite, but I can't.  These two have always captured my attention, and I love them, I think because of the water wheels, creeks and bridges.  I actually never noticed their similarities until right now!  

This is a street in Dudelange, Luxembourg, near where they lived and where Johny grew up.  The site actually looks just like this! 

My favorite winter painting is hanging in our river place (I figure we get to experience the real thing here, so I want my favorite snow scene down south, so I can loose myself in it, especially when the humidity is getting to me!).  But I do enjoy these.

Love her use of color and the reflections of the trees in the lake. So peaceful...

The country feel of this one draws me right in...and, well, yes, I love this one too.

Irene was a sweet and gentle woman who passed away several years ago after battling cancer.  I'm so glad I got to know and love her, as brief as that time may have been...she was a special woman!

I forgot to tell you...we woke to a dusting of snow on Thursday, so I guess changing my shower curtain from a winter to spring theme worked!  Better yet, we now have a winter storm warning that predicts snow starting tonight and falling on and off until Tuesday.  Of course I'm excited about the possibility of snow, and I think it's still early enough in the spring season that all the precious little buds will not be harmed...maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to sled a little!

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

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Graced With A Little Free Time

It's been an unexpectedly calm and quiet day today.  You see, in order to get more sunshine to our soon to be planted vegetable garden, a friend and neighbor from down the mountain was going to come help us fell six very tall (I'd say 80 feet tall or so) Tulip Poplar trees.  But the weather did not cooperate, and we had to postpone.  This was one of those moments when I do a happy dance inside and think to myself, "no worries, I know how to take advantage of some free time"!

I watched the fog roll in and out of our holler all morning...it was really beautiful.

We decided to go visit with our friends Bobby & Lisa; we enjoy chatting with them and had not seen them in a while.  As we drove up, this scene was before me, so you know I had to stop and take some pictures...I really like the wintery greyness of the day, but with the new blooms giving promise of spring's arrival. 

I smiled as I watched this plumped up Dove, just sitting and watching the world go round...
...which was exactly what I was doing today. 

Every now and then, it's good to have a day that you put aside the 'to-do' list, and take time to smell the roses...what do you do when you find you have been graced with a little extra free time?

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

Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring Coconut Macaroons

In honor of this being Spring (but feeling like Winter, and they predict more possible is snow in the next few days) , I baked coconut macaroons (coconut looks a little snowy/wintery, right?) with a spring twist...I'm adding a little zing of kaffir lime (click on the link to learn more about kaffir limes)
They look yummy and taste delicious, but I did encounter a few snags along the way.  This was an experiment and learning opportunity!  After reading today's blog, if any of you have additional suggestions or thoughts you'd like to share about how I might do things differently the next time, please leave a comment!

Spring Coconut Macaroons


2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp kaffir lime juice
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp grated kaffir lime zest
1 7oz. bags of sweetened shredded coconut

This recipe will make 1 dozen large macaroons; I believe the recipe could be doubled to increase the yield.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Beat egg whites with salt, vanilla, lime juice and zest until soft peaks form.  Here's the first thing I learned...you are correct, this picture doesn't show soft peaks...I believe the lime juice kept the egg whites from stiffening because I added them too soon...next time, I will beat everything into soft peaks before adding the lime juice, then slowly incorporate it...I think this will work.
Gradually and sugar until stiff peaks form.  Since I couldn't get soft peaks, I didn't get stiff peaks either!...another change I will make the next time I try these is adding a little corn starch, which is what helps meringue thicken and stiffen.

Gently incorporate the coconut into the mixture.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls about 2" apart onto a baking sheet lightly coated with non-stick spray.

Bake 20 - 22 minutes until lightly browned and firm to the touch.  Hmmm, not so pretty is it...because the mixture was thin, the cookies 'melted' while baking..."now what?" I say to myself, yes, out loud...
...I decided to broil them a bit to brown the tops.  I didn't want to bake them longer for fear of drying them out. 

And you know what?  It worked!  Once the cookies cooled briefly I transferred them to wire racks to cool completely.  But I had to scrape them from the sheet, because they were pretty sticky...not sure if this has to do with the sugar content...but I probably would change the other things like I mentioned before changing the amount of sugar.

How did they taste?  Though a little crumbly, they were still very moist and very tasty.  The true test?  Mountain Man...he loved them, especially the added zing from the kaffir lime's...which is a much less acidic flavor than lemon or lime, it almost tastes sweet like a Meyers lemon, only lime flavor.

You know, I love this process of learning as I bake...sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but I have fun and I like sharing what I've discovered along the way.  I'm not sure I'd recommend making all these test recipes unless you are up for a learning experience yourself, but if you do try it, and you learn something special, I'd love to hear from you!!!  You can comment to this post or reach me at liseslogcabinlife@gmail.com.  

One more thought...what to do with the egg yolks?  I cooked them briefly in the microwave, and will give them to Pogo with his breakfast tomorrow.  He deserves it, as he was poked and prodded at the Vet this morning because he had another aural hematoma on his earlobe (blood pools in a space that is formed in the ear lobe and a stint has to be inserted so it will drain and eventually heal back together) fortunately not the same ear as the last time (click on the link to read more).  Waste not, want not!

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