Tuesday, February 25, 2020

July 2019: Extreme heat and Endless Work

Posted:   February 25, 2020                                    Most Recent Posts:
About:  July 2019                                      June 2019 at Greenfield Mountain Farm
                                                                                    May 2019 Back in Virginia

I didn’t take many pictures of all the work I did this month so most of these are from my visit to Carrie and her family.  With many thanks to my wonderful friend Pam for locating the journal that details the things in this blog and many more boring details of this month of solid work.

IMG_9885I spent much of July cleaning both inside the house and cleaning out papers of all kinds.  Seemingly never ending papers.  Shredding things with David’s social security number on them.  SO many medical statements and bills.  He kept everything for all 7 years of his illness. 

The table above me is in what we called the west porch where we had the computer, many reference books for school work and where I’ve taken to doing puzzles to while away the long evening hours here without David when I am too tired to do anything else.


It is so amazingly hot here, very unusually hot here – mid to upper 90’s and as high as 100 degrees for much of the month.  I’ve been keeping track of the weather in other places.  Like Bar Harbor, Maine where it is in the low 70’s and even Flagler Beach Florida where it is 10 degrees cooler than here in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  What is going on?  It sure makes getting things done outside very difficult.  With a heat index of 110 it is becoming scary.  I’ve never experienced anything like this in over  40 years of living here.

With the heat here, I can barely keep up with the mowing of the grass in the yard and weed whacking the fence line.  I’m having a great deal of trouble with the riding mower which is old and has been badly abused.  David was very hard on mowers asking them to do things better suited to a tractor.  

In the cool  of the evening when I did most of the outside mowing and trimming, several times I saw this mother and her baby along the newly graveled farm road.

During June I got several estimates to paint the house and the shop in the yard which David always did every 7 or 8 years.   Our previous blog shows us doing one side of the house each year we came back to Virginia but nothing has been done since and it is over due. 

I think I’ve found someone to do it but the price is high.  Not the highest estimate, not the lowest and  not necessarily unreasonable given that it is a VERY old house and needs scraping and painting with multiple shades and there are porch railings.  

David only had a small life insurance policy as it was through his work with the University and after you retire, it decreases by about 50% every year until it gets to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 10% of what it was when you were employed and there it stays.  So for me it’s about enough to pay to have the tree and road work done and the house painted and then it will be gone.  Not sure what I’ll do 8 years from now but I’ll worry about that then.

IMG_9770I rewarded myself for all this work with a trip to Maryland to see Carrie and her family. 

I took a Little People School House that had been Carries after sewing a bag for it and its pieces.  Celia loved it.  Colin, at 10 months, was more interested in the ribbon on the box 


I was happy to see Celia using what I guess is now an heirloom dolly cradle.  It was mine when I was her age and Carrie used it and now Celia.  That’s Amanda Claire in the cradle.  She was Carrie’s baby doll.


It’s hot there too but they has a pool in her backyard where we could all keep cool.




Celia and Nana read books and did puzzles.  Colin wanted to help too but as you can see, Celia thought she’d better not let him have the puzzle pieces.  Notice she’s looking at me while she has her hand on the puzzle he has.   As if to say, can I do this without getting in trouble?

And all too soon the week-end was over and it was time for all the adults to go back to work.

When I returned, a new problem showed up in the form of 6 fraud charges on my Discover Card which they graciously took care of, cancelling my card and sending me a new one.  That of course means that I have to change all my automatic charges for cell phones, utilities at the farm, auto and homeowners insurance and on and on. 

Still taking things to Goodwill, the local hospital donation shop and the library book sale.  I don’t think I’m ready to sell the farm but it needs to be cleaned out while I am here for so long this year.  It gives me something to do to keep my mind occupied and when the temperature is so amazingly hot.

Carrie and I have decided to have the Memorial for David here at the farm for mid September so that I will have time to finish getting the house painted and other things fixed but I sent out the invitations to his family and very close friends so that they can plan for it.  It will be a very hard day for me but I know this is where David should be remembered.  He spent nearly all of his adult life here loving and caring for this place and for us

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

June 2019 at Greenfield Mountain Farm

Posted: February 19, 2020                                          Most Recent Posts
About: June 2019                                                            Back in Virginia
                                                                                         Last Days In Florida

Unfortunately for me, I have just discovered that I must have left my journal covering June-Mid September of 2019 at the farm when I got back on the road.  So I really do not have the information I need to write these catch up posts.

I have a few pictures but I am in such a fog, I really was not recording my life with
a camera.  I am very sorry about this because the blog was supposed to be my best record of those very very difficult months after David’s death.  But I don’t want to wait until I return to Virginia to get beyond this point.  So know that this is a very skimmed view.

JUNE 2019

IMG_9714Early in June I got a small power washing machine to try and clean up Winnona since I cannot find anyone in the city of Charlottesville or nearby who will wash and wax Winnona.   I got her reasonably clean though she really needs more attention to detail and I ran out of time for waxing which of course in not too very long made all my efforts at washing moot.   Not sure about the smile.  I didn’t have  much to smile about.

But then the first week-end in June, Carrie and Colin came to help with the house clean out.


I love this picture of them.


Finally about 20 years after leaving home, Carrie is cleaning out her childhood room.  I think she takes after her father in keeping “momentos”

Colin and I are hanging out on the kitchen floor having some toast.

Carrie relaxes at the piano.  Before she went to  law school, she was a very fine award winning musician on both piano and flute.  It was wonderful having the house full of her music while she was growing up.   Both her father and I missed it when she went off to college.


Our family of 3 loved games and we have a HUGE collection of them.  Whenever Carrie comes, we have always played one or two.


In addition to cleaning out the inside of the house, there was a lot of necessary work on the property that had been put off in order to allow us to keep constantly  traveling which is what David wanted to do.

In mid June, I used the money from a small life insurance policy that David had left to have some necessary tree and road work done.

There are really 3 trees that need work around the house and in the barnyard but on this day only two of them got attention.

The one behind the shed had been growing into the building for years.  Sentimental David didn’t want to cut it down because it was such a large and beautiful tree.  But over this winter, limbs had come down and put holes in the roof of the shed which also will have to be repaired.  The tree in question is shading the shed and undermining its foundation which can be seen in the picture above.

The young man who did the tree work was the nephew of the man who did the work on the driveway with his sons.  That’s usually how it works in the country.  It’s a family affair.

I wish I had pictures of “before”.  It was a huge tree as you can see from the base.

Such a shame to have to lose such a giant tree.  Breaks my heart but it was that or the building..

The tree work was done in one day, while the road work took many days.
This is just the start of the ditching and grading and then there was gravel.


The second tree is a pecan and needed to have dead and broken limbs taken out.  I had been working inside the house when the young man climbed up in the big tree and limbed it before taking it down.  I had no idea it could happen so fast.  He really knew what he was doing.   But when I found out, I stayed outside to watch how he did the second tree.  He sets up pulleys to pull himself up into the tree.

With the larger tree gone, the pecan to its left is more clearly visible. You can see the ropes he put on the limbs he was going to cut in order to make sure they would fall where he wanted them to.

He started with the lower limbs but the whole thing made me very nervous to watch.

Safe back on the ground I took this picture with all the gear he had all over himself.

While the tree work was finished in a day, the road work went on for many days.  It is a 3/4 of a mile drive back off of a small country road into this little hidden valley we live in.  

Out the upstairs master bedroom window this is the view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the farm road.


Also out that window was a family of Carolina Wrens one morning enjoying the porch rockers.

I spent many days of June clearing the fence line around the house so that it could eventually be repaired and painted.  I didn’t think to take a picture until I’d hauled off most of what I had cut.


A lot more work went on in June but I didn’t take pictures of much of it.  I didn’t think about it and was too busy.  But being forced to do the work did keep me putting one foot in front of the other.

These views toward the mountains from down on the ground.



At the end of June, Carrie sent me these pictures after we had been talking on the phone.  Apparently Celia was talking too on an old cell phone, not sure to whom.  Love the crossed legs while she’s “chatting”. 

Immitating her Mama

This picture just brings a smile to my face.  Something apparently didn’t quite go her way.  What an expressive child she is.  It breaks my heart that her Papa will never get to see all these great expressions.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Back in Virginia

Posted: February 14, 2020                                      Previous Posts:
About:  May 2019          Last Days in Florida: Rainbow Springs and Gamble Rogers
                                                                         March and Early April 2019

I’ve heard that readers have been getting confused about the posts I’ve put up since I resumed blogging.  I began this new blog, On My Own, at the end of my old one, Direction of Our Dreams, when my husband David died of Multiple Myeloma after a 7 year battle.  Each subsequent post on this blog has been about the months following that.  At some point I hope to be posting in real time.  This post talks about the month of May 2019. 3 months after David’s death.  I hope this isn’t too confusing.

May 2019:

Back in Virginia I began the dozens of telephone calls to deal with the medical bills I have received for David’s treatment his last few months of life.  I’ve learned not to bother with them for months until the insurance company works it all out and sends me at least two notices that they have paid all they are going to pay.  My vehicle registration stickers have never shown up so I have to call about those.  There is so much “business” and I hate every bit of it.

Lucky me, in early May Carrie, Celia and Colin came to visit so Carrie could attend her high school reunion.  We had a wonderful time as always but Carrie and I were both really missing David.

This was the first time we’d been back at the house without him.  No more cherry pie, no more BIG farm breakfasts, no more fun playing games together.

It makes me very sad that his grandchildren may not even remember him.  Colin certainly won’t and Celia will only be 3 later this month.


The internet signal is extremely weak here and the temperatures in the mid 80’s in the middle of May are unusually hot and humid. 


We keep a car and a truck at the farm as well as a riding lawn mower.  All 3 batteries were dead when I returned.  That has never happened in 9 years on the road now.  OF course it hasn’t.  This makes getting the nearly knee high grass mown very difficult.  I have someone who is supposed to mow it.  Looks like he’s not very reliable.  Although the buttercup filled yard is very sweet and  Celia and I can make out the brick walk as we bring in boxes to use in the clearing out Carrie has come to help me do.

Colin helps by being his cute self although he is quite the distraction and interruption in the progress.


My musical family at play.



I wait until they have gone home to clean out the RV. I don’t want to ask Carrie to have to help me with her Dad’s clothes, hats, medicine.  It’s all very very difficult.  And so incredibly sad.  He was so alive, so young really when I think of my 99 year old father.

His favorite hats


So much medicine.  How he kept it all straight was amazing.  Taking some in the morning, some mid day, some at night.  I return it all to UVa Hospital where they dispose of it for me.  Not sorry to see it go but very sad all the same.  He tried so hard to fight this terrible disease even knowing it was ultimately a losing battle.

David was a well known pack rat which was another reason we didn’t sell the farm at first when we went fulltime.  First we weren’t sure we would like RVing having been serious and rather snooty tent campers for years.   When we loved it, luckily we didn’t come back and take the time necessary to clean everything out and sell it.  It would cut severely into the time David was able to spend traveling.  We were always going to clean out and sell “next time”.   Then came the diagnosis and we were afraid to sell in case he could not continue to travel at some point.  His doctors had said he had three to five years. 

He wanted to stay on the road as long as he could which turned out to be forever.   But now I’m left with all the “stuff”.  David’s sister Robin comes to help with some clean out and takes these wonderful old metal toys from their family with her.

Among a myriad of other boxes and drawers we went through, we found this match collection.  The matches too old too strike having been kept in humid Virginia.  I later learn there is a market for these.  I don’t have the energy to deal with it even if I’d known before throwing them out.  He had several clear mushroom shaped jars full of these old matchbooks. 

I get the yard mowed finally after having days of trouble with the mower.  I took this picture as a “before” shot as I started to use the weed eater to get the grass off of the brick walkway.  

I take another shot some days later when I am “almost” finished with the walk clean up.

David also keep filing cabinetS full of papers.   Two in the house and two in a shed outside.   My friend Pam graciously spent an afternoon going through them to take out anything with social security numbers on it so I could shred those papers and recycle the rest.  What we found was just amazing and she kept me laughing rather than crying with her wry comments. 

Thank you Pam for making a tedious chore actual fun.  What a great friend you are!

I think even David would have had to laugh at some of what we found.  Like parking tickets from 1988 and a hospital bill for physical therapy he had for his back in 1971 before I even knew him.   How could these possibly be needed?   I’d give anything to be able to ask him and hear what funny response he would give.  

I miss you so David, packrat and all!!