30 January 2010

For Pete's sake,

I know, I should apologize for the bad pun, but I am not going to. It will make Pete smile. His birthday is coming up and this is for him. Some of you may remember a while back I wrote about my oldest brother Jimmy. Pete is my other brother. Jimmy was 20 years older than me and was seldom around so it was easy to put him on a pedestal and I did. Jimmy was my hero when I was growing up. Pete is seven years older than me and was always around. I did not know how lucky I was to have him.
When I was being born, Pete got to go stay with Uncle Jack and Aunt Jo. Uncle Jack had five daughters so Pete was probably a little spoiled. Uncle Jack also had horses (need I say more). Mom told me later that Pete refused to come home when he found out I was a girl (he already had two sisters at home, he wanted a brother). I suspect if I had been a boy, he probably still would not have wanted to come home.
I believe the girl on the left is one of my cousins but I am not sure, this is a bit before my time. Margaret is in the middle and Pete on the right. Got to love the bow tie and that smile.
Pete did not waste time worrying about me being a girl. He decided it didn't matter. I remember playing "Cowboys and Indians"(self explanatory if you consider the times) or "War" (roughly based on old World War II movies). We raced hot wheels and played cards. In other words, Pete made sure I was quite the little Tom Boy and I did not mind a bit.
Paula is half way between I and Pete, Margaret is one year older than him. They were involved in most of these games too and we had a lot of fun, but this one is for Pete. I'll get to Margaret and Paula later. This one is Pete, Margaret, Paula and me down in front. Probably after church.
Pete also did not worry about how old I was, he never talked down to me or treated me like I was any younger than him. If I wanted to do something, he assumed I was smart enough to do it. He taught me how to play chess when I was in first grade so he would have someone to practice with. I haven't played in years but I am still pretty good. We played scrabble and he tried to help me with my spelling.
Left to right again, I think that is my nephew Jerry in Margaret's arms, then me, Pete, my niece Becky, Paula, and one of the older sisters, Mary (Becky and Jerry were hers).
Pete has always been a hard worker. He had a double newspaper delivery route until he was old enough to get a regular job. I think he used money from that to by me the first bike that was mine alone. I had been riding a little red bike that had belonged to who knows how many older siblings and I left it too close to the driveway. My Dad came home from work and ran over it. I was heart broken.
On my next birthday, I got a brand new purple Schwinn with a flowered Banana seat. It was beautiful. On it was a skunk shaped balloon that said "from one little stinker to another". As a kid, I thought the bike was from my parents and the balloon from Pete. As a grown up, I think the whole thing was from Pete.
This is Pete with his Wife Lila and their son Parley.
I remember Pete babysitting us. His favorite thing to cook for dinner was zucchini in tomato sauce. He was pretty good at it too. Back then he took his eating seriously. One day in particular I remember, he ate dinner at home with us, then went to his job at Dipoma's Market. Mrs. Dipoma, who was an amazing cook, had made eggplant spaghetti and knew it was his favorite so she saved him a bowl. He ate that too. A few hours later, my Mom sent me over to the store to pick something up, and Pete with his buddy Shawn were just polishing off a whole chicken between them. Mom used to say that he ate so much, he burned it off just carrying it around.
We picked on him and he picked on us. He used to be terribly ticklish. I am not. Self defense, when you are the youngest in a big family, you have to have some way to get the big kids.
This is Pete's pride and joy, he and his wife Lila have been working on and living in this lovely old Victorian for several years now. Pete has always been good at carpentry. In his high school shop class he made a beautiful stereo cabinet and an inlaid chess table that still make me jealous. He also loves gardening. When we were kids, he used to grow "Cherry" and "Pear" tomatoes. Those were good. I remember his first little garden it was marked out with string in the back yard, up against Wind's fence. I got to help him thin the carrots.
Pete in his garden, he has carefully laid out raised beds. I can't remember what was in this one, but it was pretty impressive.
This is Pete in his kitchen. Do you see the point of this posting yet?
Jimmy might have been my hero, but Pete has had a lot more to do with who I actually am. He was there, always, and he still is if I need him. We have had our moments when we did not agree, but I am very lucky to have him for a big brother. Me, Paula, Margaret and Pete last summer. I have the best family!
Happy Birthday Pete!

29 January 2010

A little me

Remember, not long ago, I said Porches and I go way back?
Last night when I was scanning some of my Parents slides into the computer for possible restoration, I found this little gem.
This is a tiny version of me sitting on our old front porch in my Sunday best.
I love it!
Hope it makes you smile too.

26 January 2010

Just Dandy

My yard is wet, wet, wet. Everywhere you go it is sqishy. We went out to the barn to bring back some more wood for the fire.
I spotted this lovely.
I know, it is technically a weed.
It was just what I needed.
Thought I would share.
Have you had any moments of joy today?

22 January 2010

It's not always sunshine,

It is not always sunny here, but it is always lovely. I am going to put some mail in the box, want to come? It isn't actually raining right now, just misty and dripping.
My friend Linda at Are We There Yet?? loves trains. She posted some great train and covered bridge photos the other day. (Hers is another of my favorite blogs) I didn't get up early enough to catch the train going by, but I do think there is something romantic about empty tracks. These are especially atmospheric this morning. Don't you feel it? You could go anywhere from here.
This is the view from the main road. You can almost see our house from there in the winter. It disappears in the summer when all the leaves are out. You can always tell when someone goes down our road for the first time, they slow way down as they pass the house. Some even hit their brakes or back up for a better view.
This is the view on the other side of the main road. That old building has been empty for years. I wonder what it's history was.
All this damp has brought out the resurrection fern. The guardian looks as if he has put on a woolly sweater.
The old Summer Kitchen looks rather romantic in the winter mist.
Yet another view of the barn (can you tell I love it).
My Rosemary and Lavender are loving this weather too. I will plant more lavender this spring, I waited to see how well it would do.
The creek is flowing nicely. The temp this morning is a balmy 37 degrees Fahrenheit (that is about 3 degrees Celsius, Fahrenheit sounds much warmer). I don't mind the weather at all this morning. I don't have to go anywhere. My Sweet Hubby has built a fire in the fireplace and breakfast is on the table. After I eat, I have a paper to write, but for now.....
English Muffins Ala My Sweet Hubby.
Have a lovely day.

15 January 2010

It's all about the lighting, (Lots of sunshine) and an award for me

One of the secrets of good photography is lighting. It really is all about the lighting. Just look at the pink from the sunset on the side of the house. Beauty! I got this one on the way back from our walk the other evening.
This lovely old tree stands at the end of our driveway. The lighting almost makes it look spooky. It really isn't spooky at all. We call it "The Guardian".
The barn looks one way in the evening light, you can feel it is the end of a long old day. I don't think it looks tired, just relaxed. It looks different in the early morning, like it is just waking up. I feel like having a big stretch when I look at this one. I love the way the sunlight sparkles from the dew on the magnolia leaves.
The view from our front porch, with the railings back where they belong. Isn't it a lovely sunset?
Here is the same sunset from the road a few minutes earlier. How about this one for awesome? Love it!
Bright sunshine filtering through the trees in the early evening, this was taken earlier on the same evening walk.
You know I love classic cars! This is SUNSHINE! (I wonder what people think when they see the crazy lady pull over to take pictures of their cars).

What says sunshine more than a tree full of birds?

Now for the award.

Thanks to Jeanne Klaver from Daily Reflections from Atwater Pond who was kind enough to offer me this award. Apparently she enjoys looking at it (that makes me happy).
The instructions are as follows;

1. Thank the person giving the award.
2. Copy the award to this blog.
3. Place a link to their blog (so far so good, all easy stuff).
4. Name seven things people don't know about you (that is a little harder).
5. Nominate seven bloggers who you admire (this is the hardest part, I love reading your blogs).
6. Place a link to these bloggers.
7. Leave a comment on their blog notifying them of the award.
So, here goes
1. Earl Grey, hot with milk is my favorite tea but any British tea will do just fine. I am enjoying a cup of "P.G. Tips" right now.
2. My favorite incense is Egyptian Rose, I also like sandalwood and several others. Incense is much nicer than nasty chemicals from an aerosol can.
3. I do not like butterscotch and am not fond of black licorice.
4. I like to do calligraphy and illuminated letters.
5. I am just a little nuts about heraldry, (the whole "Knights in Shinning Armor" thing).
6. I have lived in Utah, Illinois, Idaho, Great Britain, New Mexico, and South Carolina (as well as two long months in Texas and a total of about three months in Italy).
7. I grew up in a big happy family. I was the youngest so my older brothers and sisters had quite a bit to do with raising me (they will tell you, I have always been spoiled, but that is OK, I deserve it).
As for the seven bloggers I admire,
7. Corner of Cat's Mind
I know I have nominated number three before, but it is such a great blog! There are several others that I read and enjoy regularly. What is your favorite?

Ok, one more picture of sunshine. Spontaneous says hello (she is even cute when she is grumpy).

I'm working on it

I'm working on the post, but I keep getting distracted.
My Sweet Hubby makes the best Banana Bread.

07 January 2010

Before and after, porches

Porches and me go way back. See the chubby little kid in pink, the one in her big Sister's arms? That is me. Margaret was holding me, Paula is beside her in red and Pete is wearing his cowboy hat. Mom lined us all up in front of the porch steps to take our photo. We were getting ready for the "Pioneer Days Parade". I think that was the year I got to ride in a "Covered Wagon" made from Pete's Radio Flyer. I actually remember that. I remember lots of fun things about that porch. I remember hiding behind the wall playing "Cowboys and Indians" I remember dressing Paula's cat Sherry up in doll clothes and sitting on that porch with him (yes, him, that is another story). I remember jumping off those pillars and I remember cracking my head open on the steps (four stitches). I remember sitting on those steps, or should I say jumping up from them constantly, waiting for my big brother Jimmy to arrive. I also remember sitting on those steps waiting for news after my Father's first heart attack. I remember when we moved, walking down those steps for the last time and I remember thinking how glad I was that our new home had a front porch too.
Fast forward 28 years to our first look at the new house, IT HAD PORCHES! Not just the front porch, but a side porch and nice steps up to the back porch. Heaven. The first porch related project took place before I could join the family up here. See the nice brick path up above? it is leading to the side porch from our parking area. This is the door that gets used the most. As you can see in this photo, we have been having a bit of work done (this is why we did not decorate the outside of the house this year). See the festive plastic and blue tape? We had to use the back door for a couple of weeks over the holidays, the weather just did not cooperate (we have to wait for it to get cool so the bees won't get so excited, a lot of the work was carried out right next to their entrance). My Sweet Hubby made the balcony livable last summer and we have really enjoyed it. Now it's time for the next step.
This is the back entrance, it got a bit of attention too. The railings that were up, were resting right on the steps and they were quite rotten. The contractors replaced the top and bottom rails but reused the posts. These steps and railings are a very late addition to the house. You can't really see it here, but they are elevated just a little so they should last a lot longer.
When we bought the house, there were no railings on the front porch and a good bit of the porch floor was rotten. About half the floor on the side porch was also in sorry shape. We had all of the front floor and the bad part of the side replaced a couple of years ago. The railings and posts sat covered in cobwebs in the barn and the smokehouse until this year. We found someone who was willing to restore them. This photo and the next show some of what they had to work with.
Here are the bits and pieces again, we think they are the originals but have no way of knowing. Our carpenter and my Sweet Hubby figured out how to repair the bad bits and combine other bits to go all the way round the porch.
This is one of the old column post holes, looks occupied.
First set is in place, looking good.
All the railings are up, now all we need is a little bit of paint.
They painted the columns too, (see the plastic is still covering my bushes).
Close up.
I am so pleased! Technically, the job is not finished yet as the porch floors still need to be painted, but you can't see that in the photos anyway and I wanted to show you what has been going on. I'm thinking we are going to have to find a couple of rocking chairs and a swing.
My lovely old house just got better.

02 January 2010

A great year!

2009 started out on the cold side. (2010 is doing the same) We did get snow in January, but not much. The Camilla's continued to bloom and Spontaneous spent lots of time rolling around on the floor in front of the fire. We do like to be cozy here.
February was cold, but here in the south we still had blossoms. My Sweet Hubby kept me warm and spoiled. Some of these photos are from blog posts, some are just my favorites.
March was a busy month, I wrote two of my favorite posts. Space cadet, after we visited NASA and Rosie & Ruth, a tribute to my Mom and Rosie the Riveter for Women's History month.

Go ahead, if you haven' t read them yet, do it now. I am quite proud of them. (Yes that is me at the controls)
April brought blossoms, a very messy storm and more blossoms. Spontaneous, as usuall, just wants to play.
May was for walks in the woods, making digital art, good food and another of my best posts, "Obsession". http://akatscorner.blogspot.com/2009/05/obsession.html
In June our trusty Toyota Corolla passed it's 100,000Th mile. Still going strong, that little car takes us all over the place. The lighthouse at Hunting Island and Beaufort for instance. I love to travel with my Sweet Hubby!
I don't know if you have ever been here for a Southern Summer or not, but everyone is just looking for a way to keep cool. Spontaneous likes the tile in the kitchen when it is hot, look at all that fur! One cool spot in the July heat is Asheville NC for Belle Chere.
In August we went back out west for a couple of weeks. I got to goof off with my sisters (Me, Margaret & Paula, left to right), then we spent some time with the wild life in Yellowstone. I got some great photos there, the bottom left is a bear. The necklace is one of my creations. It is turquoise with animal fetishes. I finished it on this trip.
September was perfect camping season here, not to hot or to cold. Our trusty old van got to come out and play. The blue car in the bottom corner is a Ford Granada, almost the same as my first car. They are not around anymore and when I saw this one, I took plenty of photos. I used the photo in a post called "Art on Wheels". (bottom right is My Sweet Hubby and I)
October is one of my favorite months and this year was no exception. We went on yet another walk up in North Carolina and found a tiny amount of snow. Decorations went up for Halloween and this dolly was made for me by a friend at http://www.randomspyder.com/ , isn't she cute?
November saw the end of Jack, a good stack of wood in for the winter and some lovely leaf colors. Here at Kat's corner, the Christmas decorations usually go up around Thanksgiving. The story behind the plate is in a post called "The Grandparents".
The year has come full circle and we are back to December. This last grouping shows some of my favorite things about the holidays. We play board games and eat homemade caramel as well as lots of other lovely treats. My Sweet Hubby has me spoiled rotten! The little bear is one I made and the top right is our church from when we lived in Charleston.
Here is hoping that 2010 is just as good for us and all of you.
With thanks to Lyn at http://lyn-everydaylife.blogspot.com/2009/12/2009.html, for letting me use her great idea.


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