Looking for Floods

 We had a lot of rain and kept seeing flood warnings on our cell phones. John opted for half a walk, because he is recovering from a sinus infection and possibly the flu. I walked on to check Jonathan Creek and brought him a photo to show him how high it was. We have lived here four and a half years and have never seen it escape from its banks. It was nowhere near flood stage this time.

Jonathan Creek

While driving in Asheville, we saw the French Broad River flooding low areas. A few vehicles and houses were wading in the water, but most were above it. David posed at a riverside picnic area to show how high the river was there.

David with the flooded French Broad River

We drove on through some small towns and stopped for lunch in one of them. The cafe catered to locals and a few travelers. It was fun to hear the speech around us. The great granddaughter of the owner, dressed in a Cinderella costume, played among the tables. She climbed into the booth with a local woman she knew and sang Puff, the Magic Dragon. You don’t expect free entertainment at a cafe in the middle of the day.

We drove along the Pigeon River that runs through the gorge connecting North Carolina and Tennessee. The river was definitely out of its banks, judging by many trees standing in the muddy, rushing water. Because it was a rather humdrum flood, I failed to take a picture to share. It rained off and on all day, and after we came home, we saw the forecast for snow in a few hours. We were highly skeptical that it would happen, but our eyes slid to the window every once in a while just to check.

War With Wicked Weeds

Call me wacky, but I was the woman who waged war with wicked weeds. Whew!! Both John and I had trimmed bushes and trees in the garden last Fall, leaving the branches on the ground. Major mistake! I intended to pick them up long before Spring had sprung. Not only were the branches covered by fallen leaves, they had been overrun by very vicious weeds. If I were naming the weed, I would tentatively call it “octopus”. Tentacles Tendrils wove themselves into a thick mat over leaves and branches. I could hardly see some of the sticks and had to tug at the mess to get them. What a mess!

041719 War with Wicked Weeks

Next year I shall trim bushes with a wheelbarrow beside me.


Flying Visit in a Car

Brother Bob and wife Beth texted from Pigeon Forge that they could drop by on their way home. How marvelous it was to have a few hours with them! Poor John had the flu, so Beth and Bob spoke to him from a distance and took David and me out to lunch.

It would have been a normal lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant, but Bob noticed a special chicken soup on the menu. It would take 20 minutes to make it. We weren’t in a hurry, so we talked until the food was ready. What a huge bowl it was! This was not a trick photo, with the bowl being near the camera. It really was that big. The waiter said some restaurants keep it on hand, but they make it only when it’s ordered. Bob said it was delicious and worth the wait.

041619 Bob with BIG bowl of soup.JPG

041619 Beth Bob.JPG

Back at our house, we sat on the porch to visit and eat Brownies until they had to leave. With long distances involved, we rarely see family on the spur of the moment. This was very special.

Kitchen Air Freshener

Quite accidentally, I discovered a delightful new air freshener for the kitchen. Grandson David and I were cleaning up after a meal one day, and we smelled a marvelous scent that we couldn’t identify at first. Pancakes and coffee came to mind. We hadn’t had pancakes recently. Son John $ was in our house while we were in New York, but he wouldn’t have had that. It finally dawned on me that I had dropped a coffee filter on the floor before we took our trip. Loose coffee was on the floor, and I used the dust buster to clean it up. The flavor of the special grind was bacon/maple. The next time we used the little machine, it dispensed that scent throughout the kitchen. Of course, this lasted only until we emptied it, but it was great until then.

Driving the Old Folks

Both John and grandson David find speed limit signs inspiring. They push to the outer edge of the legal limit no matter where they are. Because John was coming down with a cold, David drove us to visit son John $. His place is only 30 miles away, but it takes at least an hour to drive over three mountain ridges to get there. David whizzed around hairpin turns until I thought I’d get whiplash trying to see the gorgeous scenery and derelict barns, laced together with bubbling streams. He slowed down when we asked him to. After going through $’s town, David realized we were not due there for another 15 minutes. He drove slower and slower on River Road until I burst out laughing. John could have out-walked the car at five miles per hour.

“David!” I said. “People are going to look in the car and feel sorry for you, having to drive the old geezers at a walking pace!”

With that, he hunched over like a buzzard and pushed his face forward. I couldn’t quit laughing, and John joined in. It was a lovely, warm day, and people were sitting on the porches of their vacation cabins. If they noticed our pace and heard our cackles, they would have thought the inmates of the insane asylum had escaped.

We picked up $ and drove to the Iron Horse, one of our favorite places to eat. David was the first to see the headlight of the train engine as we parked. He and John jumped out to watch it pass. That was a high point of their day. I didn’t listen to them, but I’m sure they were counting the number of freight cars that passed.

041319 Train passes ub Hot Springs.JPG

Back at $’s house, we relaxed on the porch. David saw a number of butterflies. $ explained that there is a rare white butterfly found only in that area and in California. He has a friend who is an expert on butterflies, and that man brings people in to see them.

041319 $ David on $'s porch.JPG

$ took David on a quick hike, while John and I gazed at the river and listened to the water rushing over small boulders. They hoped to see a small black bear that $ has seen often this winter. He thinks it’s the same one we saw when daughter Lise came for Thanksgiving. They had a nice walk together, but they didn’t spot the bear.

041319 Pink dogwood from $'s porch.JPG

We drove up a private road for a grand view of the river valley.

Stopping by the place where John works, the fellows played a fast game of Foosball. I had never watched that game before and found it amusing.

041319 David $ Foosball.JPG

We had a lovely drive home as the sun was setting behind the mountains.  David may have been glad his chauffeuring day was over, but he didn’t say so.

How Wet??

We walked under 5% to 10% chance-of-rain clouds. When almost to the creek, the halfway point, we felt sprinkles. I persuaded John to go on to the creek with me, and right away urged him to go back home. He dislikes raindrops on his head. Bless his heart, he kept walking with me. Real rain fell from the creek all the way home.

I was wet enough that:

I took off my glasses to see the road.

My eyebrows failed to function.

My shoes squished with each step – wet from the top. John heard the squishy sounds!!

We came in via the laundry room to remove shoes.

I laid clothes out to dry before putting them in the laundry basket.

My hair needed no extra water before the application of shampoo.

John discovered his jacket was water-repellent. I was not wearing a jacket, and I found my skin was as waterproof as it ever was. Thankfully, the camera and phone were not harmed. There is no selfie. If there were one, John would frame it and silently point to it on every cloudy day.

A Retirement Monday

Grandson David had the day off, and we decided to have a short day trip after the car was serviced. Being in Asheville would give us a quick start. The car place didn’t take long, but as we drove away, David was called into work. We knew that might happen. Rain was in the forecast, anyway, so we drove home. It was a lovely drive to nowhere.

John thought perhaps we might do a little gardening, and that’s exactly what I did. He took the garbage to the trash center, while I clipped some over-zealous tendrils that were trying to invade the garage. A light drizzle fell, gradually wetting my back. This was perfect for my first day in the garden this year. Twenty minutes was enough to make me feel quite virtuous. Doing the garbage run took him longer. I enjoyed a fresh cup of mocha coffee on the porch as the drizzle turned into a downpour.

This was as good a day as any to make a Christmas pie. I promised John a Cranberry Mince Pie last December and never made it. Surely this is not as theologically askew as you might think. We wouldn’t have Easter without Christmas, and Christmas would not be celebrated without Easter. John won’t quibble, and David won’t either. Besides, it will all be gone before Palm Sunday.

040819 Cranberry Mince Pie.JPG

In case you are wondering, I will not tag grandson Nathaniel on this. Even for a family-only dish, he would strive for perfection. I should not have dumped all the filling in the shell, because I suspected it would overflow. It did, but the cookie sheet caught it. There wasn’t enough dough to make a proper lattice crust. Nathaniel would have made another batch. I didn’t and went from batch to botch. I won’t bitch about the botch, because almost any Butch would eat it.