Friday, October 16, 2020

October 2020-Fall Arrives Finally

October 16, 2020                                                               Most Recent Posts
Quarantined in Virginia                                      September:  Finally the Heat Breaks
                                                                                               August 2020

After last month’s way too long post, I promised to divide October into two so here is the first installment. 

I don’t think I talked in my last post about my absolutely horrible experience of taking Winnona to Truck Enterprises in Harrisonburg to have her cleaned up.  There is no where within 60 or 70 miles of me that does anything with RVs and no RV detailers further than that.  The closest Mobile Technician has to come from 70 miles away.  I thought this might change as the numbers of RVs on the road skyrocketed but it doesn’t seem to have.

mrs-rowe-s-restaurantI spent from March to August trying to find places to get some work done on her while I was stuck here.  The only place I could find that said they could check the frame to see if all the rust created by too many weeks over 9 winters on the ocean front had weakened it and if not, remediate the rust and wash and wax her.  So on August 11 I took her up and the Body Shop manager, Frank, told me two weeks.  Fine. 

Since 1947

My friend Mary went with me and drove me back.  So nice of her since I could have towed Ruby up.  But we stopped at Mrs. Rowe’s famous restaurant in Staunton which has been there for my entire life.  This is old fashioned southern cooking with fantastic rolls, cornbread, pies and well, here’s the menu.   All the pictures in this rant are from Mrs. Rowe’s because it was a pleasant experience.

Mrs. Rowe’s cookbook is quite popular around here.

cookbookThere are no pictures of Winnona at Truck Enterprises since it is an experience I don’t want to re-visualize.  For sure, I will never return.   After two weeks I called about picking her up.  Frank said they needed a little more time.  After 3 weeks I called.  They needed a few more days.  After 4 weeks. . .you get the picture.  Finally on September 30, a full SEVEN weeks and 1 day Mary and I went up to get her.  I looked under the rig, Frank showed me two of the bins. The sides looked nice and clean.  I asked him if they had washed the roof, he assured me they had.  Everything seemed fine though it had taken over 7 weeks to do approximately 5 days of work.  I just wanted out of there so I paid the bill and put them in my rear view mirror.

Mrs Rowe insideImagine my surprise when I looked out of the windows at home where I could see the roof and it hadn’t been touched.  Any IDIOT knows that if you wash and wax an RV you do the roof first so the dirt doesn’t run all over your clean sides.  I called Frank.  I was furious.  He had specifically told me they had done the roof.  He apologized for his worker and told me to “drop it by” and they’d fix it up.  SURE.  Drop it 60 miles one way?  I don’t think so.  This resulted in my insisting that I would get someone else to do the work and he would pay for it.  He said he’d call me back.  Not likely since in 7 weeks I think he called me once.  The next day I opened two other bins to find that the weather stripping had not been reattached after they had gotten rid of the rust and painted the bins.  I called again and Frank wasn’t answering.  At this point I’ll cut to the chase.  After talking with the office manager and being even more furious, she had the general manager call me and he agreed to my demands.  I will have to drive to Richmond to get that done and new awning fabric.  What a horrid experience with Truck Enterprises and Frank.

But my wonderful friend Mary drove me up and back twice so I got to take her to lunch at Mrs. Rowe’s and didn’t get a picture.  Still, I did get to have pie at Mrs. Rowe’s twice and the second time Mary and I brought pieces home which I shared with Pam.

It continued to be hot enough the first week of October that walking for 10000 steps had to be done as the run rose


Carrie, Colin and Celia came for a visit in early October.  They stopped in Charlottesville for lunch before heading out to the farm.


They’d been in the car for nearly 3 hours so it was time for a walk before going another half hour to the final destination.  The first picture here reminds me of Goldilocks in the too big bears chairs.



Celia sleeps in her Mama’s former bedroom and it has all the toys and games on the shelves.  Hard to tell who is more excited about playing with Carrie’s old duplos.  Clearly a great product to have lasted 40 years.


Colin is sitting on Carrie’s bed with stuffed animals.  I should have taken a picture of the bed from a distance as it is an “alcove” bed, built into the wall and has a trundle bed under it for friends to visit.  When they are a bit older, they can both sleep in this room but for now, there wouldn’t be any sleeping if Colin wasn’t in a separate room.


Many homes have the TV as the focal point of the living room.  In ours it was the piano and every day of their stay they were playing it.  First day, Carrie and Celia.  Should have pulled down those window shades


Then time to get outside and do a little farming with the wheel barrow.  And off for a walk, another thing we did each day.



Second day of their stay, they are playing a duet.  HA!

And we’re out for another walk.  I love this picture.  It was beautiful weather.  My bushog man was having trouble with his equipment.  The fields need mowing.


Now that we have no horses, or burros, or chickens or anything, we walk 1/2 mile to the neighbors to visit their horses.   Celia stands back but Colin was quite interested if Nana would hold him.


One of the nice things about growing up on the farm is that Carrie went to the same school from Kindergarten through graduation.  She met Niels in the 4th grade, and they have been friends ever since.  He lives in Richmond now and is a doctoral student at VCU but came over for a visit.


Colin trades the wheelbarrow for the little red wagon.


Siblings on the porch swing.  Until I got up to take this picture I was sitting beside Colin and pushing us all with my feet.


Nana chased Celia around the house to delighted shrieks.  Then she wanted to chase me so as you can see, with my hair flying, I was running fast. HA!  Notice that we both had our socks up over our pant legs since we had just come back from a walk through the fields and woods to “picnic rock”, a favorite spot of Carrie and her friends.  I left my camera behind – darn.

More sibling piano while dinner is being made.  What a great memory for me.  Every evening Carrie would practice while I made dinner.  I really missed that when she went to college.  Notice that both of them are playing with two hands just like they saw their mommy do.

IMG_20201004_084829397Colin is in the kitchen pushing Pooh Bear in the Strawberry Shortcake stroller.  Celia and I are in the west porch stringing beads.


And too soon it’s the last day of their visit. Back to work for Carrie. Seems like the only things I took pictures of were the piano playing and the walks.  We played a lot of games, ate a lot of meals, but somehow no pictures of those.   Here Celia and I are playing together


Colin is having lunch in his mom’s wooden high chair that actually can be turned into a desk and chair very easily.  Great idea.  Don’t know why they don’t make them like that anymore. 


Last walk at the farm was a great one.  Leaves everywhere.


Ring Around the Rosie 


and then they all fall down.


Time to head back and for them to get on their way.  In today’s pictures, Carrie and I are both wearing coats of David’s that I kept.  They are way too big for us both but they keep us close to him and this place we all loved


But Colin is thinking not time to go.  He’s in his own dream world.


I persuade him to come along and catch up with Celia.  .


Celia and Carrie drop back and Carrie takes these pictures of Colin and me.  The last pictures of their visit. 


Always sad when they go.


Right after they left, a group of 4 flickers  flew into the recently mowed back yard as if to keep me company.  They were after something in the grass which I’ve never seen before.  Usually they are make a ring of holes all around the pecan and hickory trees hunting for bugs.  Look closely, there are 3 of them in the first picture but two have their heads in the ground.


Sorry the kids were not here to see them.


The next day, the flickers came back and there was activity of a different sort down by the pond.

I often wonder how they know which trees have the bugs they want. Perhaps they can hear them. 



Since I included pictures of my favorite outside sitting spots in my last post, I thought I’d include a couple of pictures of the farm house kitchen and the west porch off to the right behind the glass doors.  Celia and I were stringing beads in there in an earlier picture.

In the mornings, it is chilly enough for a wood fire but I haven’t had the chimneys cleaned, nor do I have any split firewood.  Too bad as I love love the warmth of wood heat.

The above picture is looking from the back of the woodstove toward the front of the house.  The one below is looking from in front of that same stove.  The two cupboards on the left and right are known as Hoosier Cabinets.  Most of the pictures in the article are not of original non painted oak wooden cabinets but I was shocked when I google the term to find how expensive they are to buy now.  There were ads for cabinets like ours for over $2000 and $3000.  The one on the right that you can barely see has a tin work surface and the one on the left has enamel.

Since my next blog will most likely not be posted until after the election, I’m going to show some political signs I’ve seen on my walks that made me smile.  These were all in people’s yards and posted before Mr. Trump got the corona virus.

Remember the Access Hollywood tape?

  By the ballot box




I’ll be back on the road the last week of this month and headed for Congaree National park in South Carolina.  Until then, looking forward to your comments.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

September: Finally-the heat breaks

September 7, 2020                                                                  Most Recent Posts:
Quarantined at Greenfield Mountain Farm                           August 2020
                                                                                             July 2020: The Heat Goes On

I’m happy to say that I have lived through my second summer in a row in Virginia since beginning full timing.  Last year it was David’s memorial that kept me here and this year it is the pandemic.

With nearly constant 90 degree heat from mid May until mid September, I was wilting.  As we all seem to be saying amid the heat and the fires, the hurricanes and the floods,  we’ve never seen anything like this before.

And of course the pandemic too is a kind of natural disaster.

I saw this “poem” about the quarantine
At the end of COVID,
you’ll either be
a monk,
a hunk,
a drunk
or a chunk.

I know which one I’ll be.  How about you?

As with most folks, I suspect, I haven’t done much this month.  Time seems to DRAG.  My neighbors drop by in the mornings and evenings but they don’t have much to say.  This young buck is a frequent visitor. 
Today with two ladies.

Isn’t he handsome? 


And what velvet antlers he has.


These girls gather each morning for what looks to all the world like a coffee klatch.  Not sure what they are looking at here  Maybe their guy is over there out of my sight.

As it gets cooler in the mornings FINALLY, I’m able to wear some of my farm dresses.  I’ve had them and many long skirts through all the years of organic gardening and canning, freezing, drying food and caring for farm animals.  I like long dresses and the feel of earlier times.  But they don’t work well on the road hiking, biking and kayaking.  It’s nice to have two different personas.   Like most of us I suspect, there are many sides to my personality and interests in my life.

You can probably understand why my long time friends were shocked when we bought an RV and totally changed our life.

On my hikes around the property, I’ve encountered some fungi neighbors as well.  The one on the left is a shelf mushroom of some sort and on the right a puffball.  Puffballs are  named that because clouds of brown dust-like spores are emitted when the mature fruitbody bursts or is impacted 



Puffball a couple of days later.  Flattened out and larger.  Fun to be able to see the same fungi day after day and watch as it goes through its lifecycle.  Are you hiking?


A couple of the books I’ve been reading.  What are you reading?

I’ve been here so long I’m forced to redo puzzles.  Here’s Noah’s ark take 2.

The young buck and his family are getting quite brazen.  On this day I’m looking out the bathroom window and they are in the yard.


And then one heads over the fence.


View from the bathroom shows nobody there but then . . .


As I start to leave, the young buck and fawn walk into my view.


Howdy neighbors!


The full moon view from my second story bedroom.


Full moon every month of course but complete dark shows me a halo out my window. 


Since I’ve gone to monthly posts, Every one seems to have the same things in it during this covid 19 pandemic, full moon, neighbors, food, puzzles, books.

One thing is different this month.  It’s Colin’s 2nd birthday and I go up to Maryland to help him celebrate.

Here he comes with his sister Celia hot on his trail.   This is an 18 second video of the chase.




He’d sure like to ride  his sister’s bike but it’s a little too big for him.



Few things more special than reading bedtime stories.

Celia and Nana

Colin Celia and Nana reading

Children never think Nanas bring too many presents but sometimes parents do.  So I’m a sneaky Nana.  I give some presents each of the 3 days of my visit.


Happy 2nd Birthday Colin.  Celia tries hard not to help open the present while Mommy reads the birthday card.


A train, and a book about a train.


Party time – cake and cupcakes and friend Caleb.

Mommy poses with the birthday boy.


Big sister has a lot of that cupcake on her face and hands.


Mommy’s turn to read.


I think Colin likes his train.  He had been playing with his Papa David’s  wooden train but this one is easier to keep the cars attached. 


He’s his Papa’s grandson – checking out how this thing works.  How we wish Papa was here.


The next day we go on a birthday hike to Oregon Ridge Park.  Who says a birthday can’t actually be 2 or 3 days?

The park is known for the 50 painted trees which have created quite a controversy.   Here is a 2018 article from the Baltimore Sun.



Personally, I’m opposed.  A forest is enough of an art gallery without painting the bark of the trees.


Celia poses to show the size of the paintings.

Back at home, it’s time for sun screen and a pool party.


Mommy, Celia and I think Auntie Jess.


She’ll always be my baby even with two children of her own.


Matt grabs the raft!  Dig Daddy’s sun hat, isn’t it great!


Birthday boy in his water wings.


I’m sure his dad appreciates the help in cleaning the pool.


I distract Colin from his card game with Daddy.


Last day of presents from Nana.  Mommy and Daddy get peanut butter M&Ms.  Lucky for Mommy, Daddy lets her have them all.  He’s given up sweets.  How does he do it?  More will power than I have, that’s for sure.

This time there is a present for big sister too.


It’s a book titled Little Miss Big Sis


And then we’re off to the play ground.  Where the Celia goes down the big slide with caution.


Birthday boy loves steps – up and down, up and down, over and over.


He goes down the middle size slide.  Wish I could have gotten them both going down the double slide on on each side.


Big sis lets little brother drive.


This newly minted 2 year old takes on the big slide and does that over and over and over as well.


My three loves having a snack after all that hard playing.


And then it’s time for Nana to leave and back to work for everyone else.  I LOVE BEING RETIRED!!

Back at the farm, it’s business as usual.  Puzzles and food.  I’m making progress on Noah’s ark after taking a grandchildren break.  These are the windows out of which I often see the deer in the yard while I’m puzzling.


Vegetable bean soup and sweet and sour tofu in the 2nd picture.


It’s difficult to cook anything for one without having leftovers FOREVER.


Noah’s ark gets finished.


IMG_0348More pictures of the deer in the yard.  I love his antlers.  I allow Shannon to hunt on the farm in exchange for keeping a watch on the house.  There are too many deer here and with no predators, they will starve if somehow the populations aren’t kept in check.   I hope my little buck is still here when I return next.  If so, he won’t be so little any more.

There are many beautiful sunsets at the farm.  This one occurred around the time of the new moon.

I can see as I write this that I had a lot more pictures than I thought and should have broken it into two posts.  But it’s too late now. 

The hay in the fields is ripe and awaiting cutting.  I love the red tops.  It’s Fall Equinox and harvest is underway in the country.


Now what is she thinking she wants on that tree?  I’ve seen them do this at our apple trees but there’s no fruit here.


There are a few more jobs I needed done at the farm after last year’s house painting and road work.  These are smaller.  Shannon’s son and a friend are clearing the bank of an infestation of yucca plants.  Pulling them out by the roots won’t get rid of them but will slow them down more than just cutting them.



My neighbors take an extended week-end trip to the beach and I feed their horses.  It’s fun to be back with equines.  We had two horses and two burros and only went on the road after they all had died.


They also feed a feral cat with a snazzy set up.


She hops up on the platform and crawls in through the opening in the partially shut window.  That’s what she’s doing in this picture.  Inside is a box with a drop down door into which I have put cat food in a dish. 


IMG_0405The bank clearing was all in preparation for having the trees in the yard and around it pruned up for my safety and their health.   I’m so sorry I neglected to get a before picture of the huge maple in the yard.  I can now see the barnyard from the house but it will take a year or so to have the same amount of shade in the yard.

The bank has dogwoods and crepe myrtle.  With the clearing of the yucca and other growth, they can now actually reach them for trimming.

First you survey the situation.


Then you get into amazingly awkward situations to prune.




A crew of 7 spent an entire day taking down 2 trees and pruning up 20 trees including those mentioned already as well as apple, cedar, redbud, sycamore, mulberry.  They hauled all the prunings to a chipper and left me the firewood.  The clean up job they did of chippings, leaves, and twigs was fantastic.  It was an overall amazing job which won’t have to be done again for quite a while.

In the meantime, this is the final picture of one of the puffballs.  You can see how big it is.  The next day, it was gone.  Not a sign of it.


The month ended with the same old, same old.  Food and puzzles.  In this case beans and rice with cherry salsa.

An Ireland puzzle in progress that reminds me of our trip there when Carrie was an exchange student.  Was it really 18 years ago?  How can that be?


All finished.


The last puzzle for this month was very appropriate.  Carrie got it for me and it’s this size “RV” that I should probably have now that I’m alone.  But there’s no way I could let Winnona go.   So she and I struggle along together as we both get older.


Only one more month until she and I are on the road again.  I’ll try to make October’s post much shorter than this one.   Thanks for sticking with me.

It’s lonely out here in the pandemic and without David.  Your comments make me feel connected and  mean a lot!