Three Resets!

Three big resets fell on the same day. So far, the outcomes are good.

My brother Bob had a pacemaker implanted, and Beth let the family know he was doing well. It was only two hours from the time they took him until he was back in his room. He will spend one night in the hospital, have an x-ray, and if all is well, he should be home by noon.

Daughter Lise waited for weeks to find out if she would be hired by the company that bought the one for which she worked. She was one of the first to find out that she will be working for a former boss that she liked.

The first reset could have been a life-or-death matter. The second was a life matter. The third was just a major annoyance. My tiny laptop did not have enough storage space from day one. The final notice came that in two weeks the laptop would no longer be supported because the operating system was out of date. Knowing it would be more vulnerable to hacking, I took the drastic step of resetting it. Everything was removed, and the original system was restored. There ensued hours of updating, and the verdict isn’t in yet.

I took a ghostly photo that might have been a major reset for some bird. Having washed the glass only yesterday, I knew a bird smashed into the door today. There was probably a loud thud, but I wasn’t in the room to hear it. Golly Pete! What if it was a bird-sized angel????

041918 Bird imprint.JPG

There was more activity at the hummingbird feeder. The tiny birds needed to stock up if the temperature went below freezing, as forecast. This was the first day I saw a hummer successfully sip from the new feeder. For days he hovered over it, not knowing what to do. I thought there was just one bird, but toward dusk there was a high-speed chase as one bird hurled itself at another. In the picture, can you see the bird’s feet curled up in the air as his wings made a blur?

041918 Hummingbird hovers.JPG

15-Hour Spring Break

We set off for South Carolina, seeing snow on the mountain tops around us. There were even a few cars coming down from higher elevations that had snow icing on their tops. The further south we drove, the more advanced the evidence of Spring. I was shedding layers all along the way. We met John’s sister Chris and husband Steve for lunch to celebrate all our birthdays. As we went into the restaurant, I noticed bushes were laden with Spring blooms.

After lunch we went back to Chris and Steve’s house for birthday cake. I asked them to pose with the cakes, keeping in mind that one friend thinks I stalk people with my camera. Can you tell if they are cringing?

041618 Steve Chris birthday cakes.JPG

We were delighted to visit with their daughter Barbara. We hadn’t seen her for perhaps a year. I am not good with time or numbers, but it seems to have been quite a while. The time flew by, and we left a couple of hours later than we had intended. As we were leaving, I included myself in the punishment by asking for a selfie. Chris’ face was photo-bombed by my hair. Barbara was tending to dogs inside and managed to escape being photographed. One of these days I might learn to leave that camera in my pocket.

041618  Summerville selfie JC AM Chris Steve.JPG

The drive home was uneventful until we began seeing snow in the headlights in Asheville. We reminded ourselves to bring in the hummingbird feeders. The sugar water had not frozen, but the ant moats above them were solid ice. If ants discover your feeder, there will be a steady stream of marauders the rest of the summer. To stop them, hang a moat filled with water so that they drown on the way down.

The next morning neighbor Joyce stopped her car to speak to us, as we were walking and she was going to work. She had not taken in her hummingbird feeder. The water was still moving, although there was ice on top. The first thing we did when we got home was to put the feeders out again. Before we finished breakfast, one little bird had his first sip of the day beyond the porch. I took a picture of my deck, with the usual squirrel raiding the bird seed under the hummingbird feeder. The snow will melt when the sun reaches it. The birds have not yet learned how to use this new type of feeder. Perhaps they will be desperate enough to try it.

041718 Squirrel and new hummingbird feeder.JPG

We are again waiting for Spring to come to stay.

Post Announcement – Spring!

I think John said it was 49F (9.4C) degrees when we went out to walk. All I know for sure is that my spring jacket had to come off. The neighbors near the stop sign had given me permission to borrow their mail post until I came back from the creek. What life-savers they are! After picking up the jacket, I shed the light windbreaker, too. We may still have a few more cold days, but the post has officially declared it is now springtime.

041318 Spring warmer for Marla's post.JPG

Just ten days before, Marla took a photo of my heaviest sweatshirt and knit hat on their post. She had a slightly different angle from the one I took. Many people viewed it on her Facebook page.

040318 Marla's take on my jacket warming her mailbox.jpg

As we ate breakfast, I saw a hummingbird hover by the red crystal in a garden wind-spinner. I jumped up and put sugar water in the microwave to boil. It didn’t take long to cool. When we sat in the same chairs for lunch, a hummingbird stayed on the feeder long enough for me to tell John to look. We both saw it. I also saw one check out the feeder on the deck near my computer. Within an hour, he was back, tasting nectar from all three flowers on the feeder. The flowers share the same well of sugar water. I’d love to ask that bird if it tasted better from one flower than another.

April? Where are You?

We had instantly-melting snow last night, so I didn’t expect to see anything unusual today. The mountains are trying to teach me to take nothing for granted. We set out for Tennessee on the interstate highway. There was rime ice on some of the steeper mountains. It was a bit late in the season to see it, but you can’t argue with wind, moisture, and low temperatures.

We easily found the church in Sevierville that John had discovered on line. We were skipping church in Asheville in cheerful protest. They were having a bluegrass concert instead of a formal worship service. We heard the group last year, and it was excellent. Our complaint was not against the band, but about calling a service “liturgical worship” when there was no liturgy. We were welcomed as we walked in. Glancing at the bulletin, we could see that every part of the service was there. Most surprising was hearing the pastor and congregation chant it. Wow! What a reward for our drive over there!

Neighbor Marla, who used to live in that area, suggested several restaurants we might like. She knows we prefer locally-owned eateries. Holston’s Kitchen was excellent. We ate leisurely and headed home on the back roads through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This was now mid-afternoon, when you’d expect all traces of yesterday’s weather to be erased. We could see whiteness on a distant mountain, wreathed in clouds.

040818 (1) Ice at higher elevations.JPG

As we drove upwards, ice from the trees began falling on the car.

040818 (2) Ice began hitting our car.JPG

Traffic came to a halt, and we soon saw there were three small bears playing in the woods. Every car paused as a hand extended, holding a cell phone. John dutifully waited for me to aim my camera. Although I had zoomed in, you can’t really distinguish bears from the black spot in the picture. They were very cute, paying not a bit of attention to the big disruption on the road.

040818 (3) Traffic halted for three black bears_LI.jpg

We were heading for Newfound Gap. John drove into a pull-off area so that I could get a photo of the wintry scene. Icicles were hanging from the road sign.

040818 (4) Icicles on sign.JPG

The last picture was taken from our moving car, showing more of the ice and snow.

040818 (5) Ice on trees.JPG

We had not expected a winter’s drive on the 8th of April, but we enjoyed the beauty all around us. As we came to lower ground, we saw little white wild flowers by the road and clumps of lavender blooms at the edge of the woods. Soon we were again surrounded by blooming red bud trees, tulips, and late daffodils. Spring is coming, as the weather takes two steps forward and one step back.

Free Lunch with my Best Friend

You could have a free lunch with your best friend, too. Here is what happened to me.

One of my best friends and I were texting each other, just chatting really. We talked about enjoying being alone in our houses for short periods, why I examined the meat from the nearest BBQ restaurant, cleaning house (she does, I don’t), cooking meals (I like it, she doesn’t), and eating out with our husbands on Sunday afternoon. John was away for the day, and I had had a very light breakfast. I asked where she would like to go for lunch at that moment. She deferred to me. I chose a restaurant I had read about but not been to. It was The Chef’s Table in Waynesville ( I sent her the link and looked at the menu. I chose the yellowfin tuna for myself and lamb for John, who doesn’t get it nearly as often as he would like. My friend was also reading the menu.

About that time I discovered the place is closed on Sundays and open at 5 pm other days. So you see, technically we met for lunch. It was free because we didn’t eat it. I want to do it again, taking turns choosing a restaurant. Oh, there is one other point. She lives 800 miles away.

Humans Shed Too

As I got out of bed, John warned me it was 41 F (5 C). He clarified it by saying, “You know, not far from freezing.”

I need this kind of clue to know what to put on for walking outside. With the Spring temperatures changing from hour to hour, it’s a wonder we don’t get whiplash. It was just a day or so before that I wore a cotton top with no sweater or jacket. I adjusted my mental outlook before choosing my warmest sweatshirt and lighter windbreaker.

Ten minutes into the walk, I knew something had to go. I was burning up. We stopped at neighbors Connie, Dave, and Marla’s place near the stop sign. To keep us from being totally embarrassed, I asked John to hold the hem of my top so it wouldn’t ride up when I pulled off the sweatshirt. I would never be in the mood to flash half my midriff to any hapless onlooker. I put the windbreaker back on, and we continued walking to the creek.

When we came back, I laughed at the scene. Our friends’ mailbox holder was also my shedding post. John held the sweatshirt while I pushed my lovely hat into the kangaroo pocket. He had a funny look on his face when I said, “You’ve been my lady’s maid today.”

040318 My shedding post.JPG

Easter Fringes

I took photos at the beginning and ending of Easter, with nothing between. I kept an eye on the moon, only one day after it was full. It was fairly dramatic in person, not so much in the picture. I happened to be looking as it slipped behind the mountain with amazing speed.

040118 Easter moon set.JPG

From the sliding door, I saw the cows lying in the pasture, all facing East. They must have been waiting for the sun to peek over the mountain for their own sunrise service.

040118 Easter cows look toward sunrise.JPG

In the middle of the afternoon, John and I saw horse DW running around the pasture, as frisky as could be. He tried to interest Vixen, who treated him like an exuberant child. DW stamped a hind foot, nudged Vixen, pawed with a front hoof, and took off again. He did that three or four times before wandering to the middle of the pasture to graze, as if nothing had gone on before.

After all the activities had quieted down for neighbor Logan (7), he came over to visit us. I found that it is easier to find non-chocolate items for Easter than for Halloween. He and I had difficulty opening the large egg, but as soon as the jigsaw puzzle tumbled to the floor, he was putting the pieces together. It was a bit too simple for him, but it did keep him occupied for a while. The flash worked for this shot.

040118 Logan works Easter puzzle.JPG

I asked him to pose with the finished puzzle as the late afternoon sun streamed in the window. Bless his heart, he was so patient. The flash was not working as it should have. He waited through six shots taken as I fumbled with two cameras. He didn’t get up until I said I was through. Some day, a long time from now, his family and friends will owe me gratitude for instilling him with photo patience.

040118 Logan finished Easter puzzle.JPG