Saturday, February 29, 2020

August 2019: Painting, More HEAT, Carrie, Colin & Puzzles

Posted:   February 29, 2020                                    Most Recent Posts:
About:  August 2019                                July 2019: Extreme Heat and Endless Work
                                                                      June 2019 at Greenfield Mountain Farm

Most of the month of August was given over to arranging the monumental task of painting the farm house and David’s shop.  I was lucky enough to have Shannon Wilber respond to my search for a painter.

  He turned out to able to do absolutely anything and around an old farmhouse, that is the man you need.  I never dreamed I would find someone as handy and knowledgeable as David.  He was the best thing of the entire summer.  I only wish David could have known him and he David.  They have a great deal in common.  Shannon so reminds me of David at Shannon’s age.  A quiet, calm capable man.

The roof was first  and it must have been horrid up there in the extreme heat on that metal.

The painting of this old house with 4 different colors was made, as I said, so much more difficult by the extreme heat this summer where it was in the mid to upper 90’s for weeks on end with heat indexes over 100 degrees and 110 at one point.   I wondered why I left Florida where it was in the low 80’s in Flagler Beach.

I’ve lived in Virginia since 1968 and I have never ever seen heat like this even when I lived in Virginia Beach rather than here in the foothills of the Blue Ridge where one would expect it to be cooler.

DGB International Driver's License 1966In addition to getting the painting done, I was working on putting together a slide show for David’s memorial in September.  I went through all the thousands of pictures we had taken of our Full Timing Life and as many as I had time for of his life prior to that.

These pictures were among my favorites.  First is David before I knew him.  This picture is from 1966 while he was in college and I found it in his first International Driver’s License.  Remember he was a pack rat and kept EVERYTHING.  Guess he was trying out the beard.  Glad he decided against it.

The second is also from an International Driver’s License in 1997 when he was the respectable father of  teenager about to leave for college herself.

DGB International Driver's License 1997

More painting.


Ah, the young and foolish, painting without a shirt in this blazing heat.  Frying his skin to a light golden brown.  But in his defense, it was SO hot his shirt would have been dripping and needed to be wrung out.  No joke.   I hope he had sunscreen on though


Before painting the house had to be scraped and on this side in particular, repair work done to replace boards.  I wish I had taken more pictures of all the work Shannon did just to get the house ready to paint.



Carrie came again to continue cleaning out her room.   This time she only brought Colin so she could get more done.  Unlike Celia, he is not walking yet and easier to watch.   Yes, if you put him in one place he can crawl off but at least he can’t run off.  He also naps more than a 3 year old.


During those naps Carrie continued going through the collections of things in her room.  The tuxedo dress was worn for many piano and flute recitals and competitions.

How about those Cabbage Patch dolls?  An almost empty closet!

Like all active toddlers, Colin sometimes wears his food.  I love this picture.  He seems totally unconcerned.  No idea how he got those cheerios stuck to his forehead.  Hope he gets a kick out of this picture when he’s a teenager.

Colin is 11 months old and cruising around the furniture or whatever he can pull up on.  He enjoyed seeing himself in the mirror of the oak wardrobe David had turned into a stereo cabinet.


He caught me taking pictures of him.  I wonder what he thought about seeing me in the mirror too.


David’s shop is the  last building to be painted, including the roof.  Inside he kept a Shopsmith and tons and tons of other tools, nails, files and things I have no idea about or what to do with.

This grape arbor is to the left of the shop  and led out the gate and toward the 10 100 square foot raised bed gardens and potato, and corn patches we had during the 30+ years we were organic gardeners.  We grew vegetables and every fruit tree and berry that grew in Virginia.  And grapes of course.

Here is an example  of what will happen to an arbor of Scuppernong Grapes that is not pruned for 8 years.


Still producing in spite of it all.   The pruning or at least a sever cut back will happen this year.  Hopefully a repair of the arbor as well.


IMG_9955Among the other things Shannon did was to trim the fence line coming up the driveway and take the piles of brush away back in the woods before he mowed the fields around the house so that people might park their cars for the memorial in this area behind the house. 

Shannon is a one stop shop.  It was so wonderful to ask him if he knew anyone who could do X and have him smile that cute grin and say yes, me.  He turned out to be such a wonderful help.  Having only one person to arrange with was just fabulous.   He reminds me so of David in that he can do anything. 

In addition to the painting and repairs and mowing and clearing of this summer, during August he put in a new breaker for the water heater when it quit working, found a leak in the well  line going to our former garden and repaired it when I had no water, got the lawn tractors working so I could mow the grass and in general was there whenever I needed him.   I can NEVER thank him enough for showing up in my life at the perfect time.   I hope he will stay forever and ever as my go to handy can do anything man. 

He hauled off all my cuttings around the house fence as well and his assistant Maria can handle a big weed whacker with the best of them.  She trimmed the fence line after I cut it and did much of the trim painting on the house.


By the end of August we were in very good shape.  Only a few things remained to be done to the property.  Now all the arrangements for the Memorial have to be taken care of.

The internet at the farm is sketchy to say the least so there is definitely no streaming. The farm still has a land line since cell service is undependable.  I’m lucky to be able to do email and some things on the web. There is no TV reception without a lot of cost and contracts as the house sits in what is locally known as a “holler” surrounded by the mountains.  So to keep myself from worrying hours away in the evenings about all the things still to do, I’ve taken to doing puzzles.   Here are some of what I worked on in September.  Some easier than others.  Nothing over 750 pieces.  I don’t want to work hard at night too.

Wish I were here this summer.  Wherever it is.


I’ll save this one for Colin and Celia


I’m working on this red rock country as August comes to an end.


The beautiful view out the west porch window where I am using the big desk to do my puzzles.   This is also the reason I have weak internet and no TV.  The internet is an extremely irritating story best left for another post.


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.