On Leap Day I leaped into gardening. This must be a harbinger of Spring. Note this jump was just a baby step into gardening, because I’m at least one notch below novice. Neighbors Amy and Shawn, as well as sister Beth, encouraged and advised me through the past year. There is still a lot to learn.

I walked straight through the house after walking, picking up shears on my way to the garden. The tall clump of ornamental grass stalks has been cut down, ready for the new growth. I left a mess, though, which should be raked up.

On the bright side, we picked up some flower seeds the other day. Great patience will be required, waiting for the soil to warm up. Maybe we should hold the packets up near the window when the snow flurries come later in the week.

022916 Flower seeds.JPG

Fierce Winds

There were warnings of strong winds, but we rarely get what is promised. I finished my shower. John got caught in the bathroom without windows or lights. I opened the door so he could see to get out. The generator kicked in, giving us electricity for the water pump, the microwave, and lights in several rooms. I ran out in the rain to check the gauge on the propane tank. We had no idea how much could be used if the power were out a long time.

Meanwhile, the wind roared and whistled. John left to keep two doctors’ appointments. I found the wind very unsettling. It was hard to think of anything but the sound of the wind. There was a crash on the screened porch as a glass candle holder exploded when it hit the floor. I picked up the pieces, not that they would be blown about like shrapnel. The bird feeder crashed on the bedroom deck. I put on a raincoat and rigged it up at a lower level, and the birds flocked to it. Stripping and remaking the guest bed seemed a good idea in case anyone needed to stay with us. I almost slipped on the kitchen floor and found water there. Somehow the fountain pump reversed itself, pumping water out of the container instead of inside it. What a mess! It seemed prudent to fill wastebaskets with water for the toilet and pitchers with drinking water. Back in the bedroom, I glanced out and saw the most brilliant rainbow I’d ever seen. An hour later there was another one, not so bright, but lying under the mountain. Only one photo showed a semblance of its brilliance.

022416 Rainbow during windstorm.JPG

The wind continued its blustery mayhem. I pricked up my ears at sounds from the garage area. I was about to investigate when I heard a greeting from son $. He was here to visit before keeping an appointment in town.

We thought there would be rain all day. Instead, there was blue sky with white clouds scudding to the northeast. The shadows on the mountain slithered up and down the slopes, making a landscape that changed second by second. Sometimes it looked like dinosaurs chasing each other.

Downton Abbey-itis

With the finale coming up for the TV series of Downton Abbey, neighbor Amy borrowed the first season from the library. She and I watched seven episodes in two days while John was driving Nathaniel to New Jersey. John wanted to review the first ones, too, so Amy let us have the disks. We watched two last night and will probably see two more each day. I catch nuances that I missed each time I see one.

It was raining at morning walk time, and I longed to snuggle back in my warm bed. I told John I had Downton Abbey-itis after watching a scene with Lady Cora having her routine breakfast in bed. Now, the last thing I’d want is food near my bed, but oh! what luxury it would be to loll about when others are scurrying to get ready for the day!

We decided to do our walking at the rec center for the first time. We went swimming there while grandson David was with us for Christmas, but we had never seen the indoor walking track. It was on the second floor overlooking basketball courts, two other game courts, and the swimming pool off to one side. I took a position next to the wall, figuring other people might pass me. And pass me, they did! The track was sprinkled with old geezers and geezettes, every one of them speeding by me. They all looked older and more frail than I did. I could have gotten dizzy watching those silver heads whizzing by. If I’d had a superiority complex, it would have taken a severe beating. As it was, I tried to look proud while slinking back to the car.

Higher Elevations

Many weather forecasts for mountain weather include the phrase “higher elevations.” Mountain weather is not only regional, it’s perpendicular, too. We’ve seen rain fall in the valley while watching the top of a mountain turn white with snow. Nathaniel noticed white covering the top of a mountain in Maggie Valley, and he wanted to see if it were rime ice. This weather phenomenon was new to us when we moved to North Carolina. That day, though, the white turned out to be snow. John stopped the car so that Nathaniel and I could get a few photos. I wanted to show how the snow stopped abruptly, and I included the grandson who lives at a higher elevation from me when we are in the same house.

021716 N at higher elevation.JPG

We continued to my favorite waterfall. I’ve seen it in winter before, but it seemed rather bleak that day. We rushed on to church, enjoying the play of the setting sun on the mountain tops.

021716 Favorite waterfall in winter.JPG


A Balanced Life

As we began our walk, I told John that I was having difficulty leading a balanced life. I tied my shoes as usual, left first. When I walked a few steps, I realized the left was quite loose compared to the right. Having blooded an ankle the first time I wore those sneakers, I went right back and retied it. Two miles of botheration would be entirely too much. Wouldn’t you know it? The right one then felt loose. I could have spent all day trying to get them balanced.

A mile later, the view would have drawn my attention away from my feet if simply walking hadn’t done the trick. There was rime ice on top of the mountain. The toy camera gave equal billing to the sun on the clouds, so you’ll have to imagine how dramatic the ice appeared.

021716  Rime ice on the mountain.JPG

Coining a Word

You never know when something is going to be so funny that you laugh until tears run down your face. We’d had 24 hours to get used to having grandson Nathaniel here for winter break. One of the first things I did was take his picture with the birthday balloon John bought him. His birthday was the week before, but we will celebrate with him later.

021316 N with birthday balloon.JPG
Nathaniel is so tall that the house seems to shrink when he stands up.


The day began as any ordinary Sunday. We went to church in Asheville, had a brief discussion about where to eat lunch, and settled in our booth at Fatz. Conversation never lagged. We must have talked about people who did strange things, but that was erased from my memory by what followed.

In an ordinary sentence, Nathaniel made a statement with a straight face, fully expecting us to continue talking. John and I looked at each other with disbelief. Had we really heard what we thought we had?

“Say that again, Nathaniel.”

He repeated, “We all have our quirbels.”

We burst out laughing and couldn’t stop repeating the word in every other sentence. He took it with grace. It seems things come out of his mouth that people have never heard before, and his classmates accept them. They even compliment him on his huge vocabulary. His newly coined words are certainly out of their range.

We decided the new word was a combo of quirks and foibles. Just remember, if you notice someone doing an unusual thing today, we all have our quirbels.

A Balloon that Knew When to Quit

I love balloons, helium balloons to be exact. As long as there is any lift left in one, it stays in the house. My birthday comes just before Christmas. Until the day was over, the balloon John bought me stayed in the kitchen where I could interact with it. I moved it to the bedroom to make way for Christmas, and I could continue my celebration in private. It was almost two months after my birthday when the balloon took matters into its own hands. It had floated proudly beside the computer until it lost its oomph. Where did it come to rest? On top of the waste basket!!!! This has to be the smartest balloon I ever had, knowing when and where to call it quits.

021316 Balloon dies on waste basket.JPG