Holiday Love

The things we do in the name of holiday love...
Diets go out the window and suddenly the urge to bake fattening goodies and pawn them off on others overwhelms us...or rather, overwhelms me... People ask "Are you writing?" And I answer "No, procrastinating...But won't you have a cookie?"


Slipping Away


The thing about moms is- there aren’t always a lot of pictures of them. They’re usually the one taking the pictures.  It was no different with my mom.  Lots of things were different about my mom- but I know she did love me- very much.

And she loved my sister and my brother.

But perhaps even more, she loved our father.

So, just a month and a day short of four years after his death, she joined him. 

While we had almost a year of saying goodbye to Dad, Mom’s final take-off seemed to collapse into a one, short week.  In a way, we’ve been saying goodbye to her for years, maybe even for all of our lives.  For some people the world is just too much- too loud, too demanding, too busy to nurture a shy, fragile, brilliant girl.

When Dad launched I knew he was happy to be on his way to a new adventure. But with Mom, I’m not so sure.  There weren’t as many signs.  She was gone before we knew it- struggling and laboring for days and then, with a small, quick, exhalation, gone.


If You Go Out in the Woods Today…


“If you go out in the woods today
You're sure of a big surprise.
If you go out in the woods today
You'd better go in disguise.
For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic.”

Lyrics from “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic”


Who knew?  I never got the memo, let alone the invite…


Country Num-Nums…


333 Is there anything better at the end of a long day in the garden than a pan full of homemade bread?

176   Steaming hot and dripping with butter and honey?

179 If there is, it may be chicken marinated all day in rosemary, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, garlic and balsamic vinegar.

166   Grilled to spicy perfection…

184  And coated in a spicy, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar glaze.


  Don’t you wish you were here?


Spring and a New Friend

It’s finally Spring up at the cabin.

035  Time to put in a garden.

008 Work until 7:30 pm and still have light…


View from the old home place.


And then, wandering along the trail and triggering the trail cam, comes my new buddy, Oswald.



Springing Forth


Finally.  The long winter eases into Spring.  Maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t it seem as if this year the colors are a bit more lush and the color palate rich with hues and tones that might not have been quite so varied had Winter not conspired to keep us all blanketed in white?

My friend, Becky the retired art teacher, came up the lane yesterday with her husband, James, the farmer.  He’d come to finish clearing some land and she’d come along to watch, bringing a picnic supper for them both.

“People don’t stop and appreciate life anymore,” she said. “They’re all multi-tasking.  Look at this…”  She waved her hand to indicate the mountainside. “When I was younger, I thought Fall had all the colors, but look at those trees and the sky.  It’s an artist’s dream.”


We watched James work his big earth mover, shaking dirt loose from tree trunks and branches and carefully piling them up into a brush pile for burning.  He was like a seven year old boy in a big man’s world.  For a moment I saw my own boys, three and five, playing in the sandbox with their toy excavator and sand pails.

Becky said “James and I are lucky.  He retired and decided to buy a few cows. Now it’s a full time job…for both of us.  We do everything together.  I feel sorry for people who don’t share.  His brother retired and now all he does is sit in his recliner and say how bored he is.  And his wife suddenly had him underfoot.  It’s bad over there.” She shook her head sadly.  “They have nothing in common and they’re not even trying to do anything new.”

Her gaze drifted back to her husband and she smiled wistfully.  “It’s really sad when people can’t learn to share.”

She said the word “share” like she was talking about children sharing toys and suddenly I saw it in that new light.  Sharing lives. Agreeing to disagree. Forgetting to compete. Enjoying the differences. Renewal. Spring.

What a concept.


Life in the Country- When Life Gives You Puny, Make Deviled Eggs


Some days you just feel puny, you know?

You’re not feeling bad but you’re not so good either. 

Days like this call for something new. Maybe even a few Something News. 

Today I added sweet potatoes to the deviled eggs and it was good.

Sometimes all it takes is a little spice to push a day from Partly Cloudy to Right Nice.


But in case that didn’t do it- I made Seven Layer Bars- only I rearranged them completely.  They’re now Landfill Bars…Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie crust (without the chocolate chips), layered with Dulce de Leche, bittersweet chocolate chips, Kraft Caramel chips, semisweet chocolate chips and topped with coconut flakes and more Dulce de Leche. 

Sometimes it takes a  little overdose of sweetness to let a bit more light into an otherwise dreary day.


That’s how we do dull, gray days here in the holler.  We sugar and spice ‘em up until they shine.





Life in the Country…Like a Bird


     “Like a bird on a wire, like a drunk in a midnight choir, I have tried, in my way, to be free…”  Leonard Cohen


Do You Speak Deer?


What do you think they were saying?


“Girl, shee-zam! Where did you get that outfit?!”


“So, I said to him, I said, boy, you don’t who you are messin’ with!”


“I’m tellin’ you, I saw her and she was prancin’ around her house on two legs, just like this! Honey, I’m tellin’ you- there is something wrong with that human!”


“Listen, I’m sayin’ if we get good at this, we could just walk right in the Ferrum Mini-Mart and nobody would ever be the wiser.  They’ve got apples and corn, just settin’ out in the open. Honey, we could eat for days!”


“You ain’t woman enough to take my man!”


Unless, of course, they are men….Then it’s more likely…

“You talkin’ to me? I said, are you talkin’ to me?!”


Snow Day


The trail back along the old hog pen was still and silent, muffled by the thick mantle of snow.


The pond is frozen over.


Everywhere the bleak gray of winter has been replaced with a pristine layer of clean white snow.  An elegant cloak.

What a Difference a Day Makes

  Quite a change from the other morning.



panosnoday2  A couple of night visitors braved the cold to investigate the flower boxes along the front porch, hoping for leftover pansies.


  By late afternoon yesterday the lane the lane was open to traffic, thanks to the kindness of neighbors. 


  Up hollar life goes on.


Scattered, Smothered and Covered


The moonshiner dropped by last night with a quart jar of his specialty, Apple Pie.  “Do you know what you’re lettin’ yourself in for?” he asked.  He looked for all the world, like a concerned father.  “Hit’s gonna be 17 inches. Seven-teen,” he repeated.  “That’s more’n last time.”

In the lane, his battered old pickup rumbled and sputtered while he stood on the porch stoop talking about the trouble I might be in.

“I’ll be fine,” I said. “Just might be here awhile, that’s all.  Guess you’ll be stuck at home, huh?” I nodded toward his old truck.

“Why that truck got me to work the morning after the last big snow,” he said, indignant. “It gits places don’t nobody git in the snow and ice.”

Clearly I’d stepped on some toes.

“Well, good,” I said, trying to soothe his ruptured ego. “I’m glad to hear it.”

Of course, it’s about noon and I hadn’t seen hide nor hair of him coming along the lane.  Surely he wouldn’t be ready to risk this snow…



Red Sky at Morning, Sailor Take Warning

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This morning the sky glowed red-orange above Lil' Sister cabin. The NWS put up a fearsome forecast of the approaching storm and expected accumulations. Across the lane, we are ready, hunkered down and snug as bugs, awaiting our first snow-in. Maggie, the dog, could care less, but I am still a kid, waiting for school cancellations and enough snow to take the Unnamed Ones' sled down Joe's side of the mountain.


Bitter Cold Outside, Toasty Inside

Yes, it is cold.  It was 16 outside when I reached the little log cabin late yesterday afternoon and below freezing inside.  But now it is warm and toasty.  Fires are going in the woodstove and fireplaces.  Cinnamon rolls are rising and almost ready to pop in the oven.  Life is good here.  Sweet and peaceful.

At least, unlike my friends below, I am not living outdoors.







The Christmas Spirit

  Before the Christmas Spirit evaporated in a swirl of dust bunnies and pine needles, we managed to eek out some truly good times.  They’ll stay like spuds in the root cellar- providing colorful memories to dine on until the gray gloom of winter gives way to warm and hopeful spring.

A few of my favorites…

The shotgun shell Christmas lights- a gift from my buddy, Ellen.


  Lovey and the Unnamed Ones sledding in the Big Snow.



  The big, fat, happy tree.


  The interpretive cookies fashioned to resemble the out of control dogs who live amongst us.


The fun and games…






  The lights…



   Maggie thinks she in no way resembles the blood-thirsty dog portrayed in the Christmas cookie and says she will honor Christmas in her heart.


  I, for one, believe her.