Monday, March 31, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Parade

The local St. Patrick's Day parade was a two hour affair in which I took almost 80 pictures.  I have weeded through to find a few of my favorites to share.  The boys dyed their hair green for the day, and received tons of attention.

Big angry Leprechaun?

The Vikings are always popping up randomly across town.  I've had them on the blog before.

The police department met with warm applause from the crowd.

Pierce was very impressed by the Deloreans.

We were surprised by how many Shriners were in the parade.  They amused the boys.  

Lots of bagpipes.  Pierce now declares bagpipes his favorite instrument.

Vintage firetrucks of all makes and models.  

A large group of Bolivean folklore dancers put on an impressive show.

We were fortunate to have nice weather for once.
When asked about their favorite part of the parade would you guess what the boys said? 
Catching candy, of course!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Granny Cat

1.  We recently moved our rocking chair (aka Willie's favorite chair) on the porch.  Now, instead of hunting mice all day like he used to do, he sits in the rocking chair on the porch like a little Granny Cat. 

2.  I don't eat cereal for breakfast.  I've never really liked it, probably because I don't really like milk.  But the boys do, and Paul does.  We go through so much cereal in a week. 

3.  I like toast for breakfast, particularly cinnamon toast on my homemade bread.  It holds me over fairly well, too.

4.  I used to love oatmeal for breakfast, but somehow I burned myself out on it.  Now I don't really like oatmeal either.

5.  We got 5 inches of snow on Tuesday.  Luckily, it was too warm for it to stick to the roads.  But I'm wondering when we'll stop getting snow/ice weekly?

Linked with A Rural Journal.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Francie Goes For Broke

How about an update on Francie, our little rescue horse?  She certainly has come a long way since Thanksgiving.  I'd still like to see her put more weight on, and am hoping that as the grass gets more green with spring she will. 

I have been getting on Francie lately, after her lunging session.  She gets nervous.  All we do is walk around the arena slowly.  I do lots of reassuring.  This picture is from the third time I got on her.  She wasn't having the best day.  It was very windy, and she was all hormonal from her first heat cycle.  She had spazzed out a bit when I first tried to get on.  I backed off, reassured, calmed her down and tried again.  That's my approach to training.  Slow and steady.  There are other methods that are quicker, but this is what I prefer.  As we walked around the arena, I could sense that her every nerve was on edge.  Usually she calms down from my voice, but she didn't so much on this day.  I hoped that the neighbors wouldn't go flying by on motorcycles, as they tend to do sometimes; it wouldn't have had a good outcome.  Fortunately, they didn't.  I kept the lesson short, gave her lots of praise, and hopped down.  You can see me petting her neck in this picture.

I am tall, but even so, you can see how stunted her growth is.  She probably won't grow any more at this point, and will always be pony-sized.  My hopes for Francie are to get her solidly green broke over the summer, and then find a horse-crazy preteen girl in Pony Club or 4-H who would spoil her unconditionally and finish her training.  She has a sweet temperament, and I think she'd bond well with the right person.

Isn't it awesome to see how much she has progressed from the sick and unhandled horse she was last November?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Rock Formations

In front of our house, there is a weird rock/concrete formation in the ground, right next to where our apple tree used to be.  I've always wondered about it, because it is man-made. 

It measures about 12" by 12", so it's fairly small.  What could it be for?  It seems a little small to be where an outhouse might have been once (plus, it seems strange to me that people would've put the outhouse in the front yard?).

Perhaps someday I should dig underneath?  What do you all think?  Might there be a time capsule under there?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Another picture of Shirley, our sailboat, from 2004.  We bought her from someone in Maryland off of EBay, back in EBay's heyday.  We had some good times with Shirley.  However, my parents sold their lakehouse, and now Shirley has been sitting up in the woods for the past decade or so.  She's become quite the clunker of boats.
But we sure did enjoy taking her out for a few years there.
Readers, have you ever been sailing?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Diving in to Spring

Ready for some warmer temps?  Why, yes, I am.
This picture is pre-kids, from 2004, taken at Smith Mountain Lake.  I dug it out recently when looking through some old pictures for one Paul needed of our sailboat.  I'm definitely ready for some warm sunshine, how about you?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Spikes Hurt

1.  Another picture from the 40s.  I'm not sure what kind of bird this is.  In the original picture, you can see that the beak of this bird is long and hook-shaped.
2.  A few weeks ago I took the boys for haircuts.  Normally I do this myself, but I admittedly don't do the best job, and a local hair place was offering $5.99 cuts.  While talking to the 3 different hairdressers as they were cutting the boys' hair, I suggested that Reid get his hair a little spikey on top, like his older brother.  Reid immediately got all upset and said he didn't want spikes.  I said okay, since he seemed to feel very strongly about it, and later I found out that he thought getting spikes would hurt.  Well that makes sense!

3.  We like to watch survival shows.  I have a new favorite.  Dual Survival.  We just watched the second season, and it was my favorite of any season of any survival show I've seen.  They just give really unique and creative tips for all sorts of scenarios.  Plus, they are amusing. In one of the final episodes, Cody and Dave are in Kentucky, and Dave (who refers to himself at times as a hillbilly) says that the P.C. term for hillbillies is Appalachian Americans.  Love it.

4.  The other day I picked out a Taste of Home recipe for dinner, and I didn't pay much attention to it other than that we had all the ingredients.  When I finally went to cook the "nacho cheese bake" I realized as I put it together it was quite possibly one of the most unhealthy meals I had ever made.  Ingredients included egg noodles, green olives, ground beef, nacho cheese soup, cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes, green chilis, tortilla chips, and ranch dressing.  Wouldn't you know - the kids went crazy over it.  They said it was weird, at first glance, but then they cleaned their plates.  They especially liked the green olives in it.  I have to admit - it was good.  Maybe it could be a once a year sort of treat.

5.  Now that it's spring, will it finally stop snowing?

Linked with Nancy's Random Friday.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cave Paintings Downtown

Walking back to our car while in downtown Roanoke, we were surprised to see some cave paintings on the side of a building.  They were so subtle that we almost missed them. 
We looked around carefully to try to find the cavemen, but we never saw any.  Those cavemen!  They can be elusive!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Giant Moles and the Ballet

Cort has been very interested in dancing, so recently we took him and his brothers to a special performance by the SWVA ballet, which was free at the Taubman art museum.  Afterwards, we wandered through the museum.  They had some new exhibits since we last visited, my favorite of which were some very old and gorgeous Tudor Dynasty themed paintings, but no pictures were allowed in that exhibit.

How do you like the giant mole working the computer desk?  He's a new addition. 

After a puppet show, the boys settled in to make some of their own art.  It was all fun and games until I realized I was so hungry I could eat their colored pencils, and so we moved on for the day.
Overall, it was a very fun afternoon, and the boys were all impressed by the ballet - especially the male dancer, who could lift the ladies up in the air and spin them around.  The boys are still crafting their reenactments at home.

Readers, have you had any good doses of culture lately?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Garden Progress

So the progress on the garden is slow, but steady.  We finally got the entire garden covered in layers of mulch hay, newspaper, mulch chips, and now we're working on a layer of manure.  Paul was nice enough to drive into the pasture and scoop a trailer load of manure for me. 

Of course then it got really cold, and all the manure froze.  Which makes it a challenge to break up and spread.  But we got half of the garden covered.  Maybe at some point we'll even get the other side done!  Here is a picture of it in the midst of manure-spreading:

Next year I definitely need to get started earlier!  How about you, readers?  Are your gardens ready for planting?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Dogs on Parade

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  We went to the local parade this past weekend, and I took a ton of pictures.  I thought I'd share some of the dogs we saw.  They were all so cute.  The boys wanted to pet every single one - and there were hundreds!
 Some of the dogs were part of canine organizations, like the Irish Water Spaniels.

But most of the dogs were from local pet rescues, and were up for adoption. 

I confess that poodles are not my favorite dog breed, but I was charmed by this determined toy poodle that carried her dish the entire parade.

I wanted to scoop this sweet three-legged rescue up and bring her home.  She was so happy to be hopping along in the sunshine.
There is a local greyhound rescue that walked through.  I love seeing the greyhounds.  They are such beautiful animals.
 We still miss our Scooter very much, and hope that even two months later, he might turn up somehow. 

In the meantime, we loved getting a glimpse of so many happy dogs, and hope they find their forever homes soon.

Readers, do you have a favorite dog breed?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Carrots are a Big Deal Mom

1.  Here's another vintage 1940s Appalachian photo from my grandmother's album.  I find it interesting that the horse has so much scar tissue on his shoulder and neck.  Wonder what gouged him up like that?
2.  When going through Cort's Valentine's bag, I found a big Ziploc stuffed full of candy and goodies.  I asked Cort, "Who's this one from?".  Digging through the bag, I found the card and said, "Oh, it's from Stella."  Cort said, "I WUV Stella!"  This is the first time I've heard him speak of Stella.  I guess if a girl gives you tons of candy, you might fall in love pretty fast.

3.  During the days when we had 20 inches of snow coating the ground, I was petting Willie one evening and found a tick on him.  A tick.  In 20 inches of snow.  Aren't they all dead yet?

4.  Pierce has been a little forgetful lately.  The other day I was in his room and found the shirt that he was supposed to wear to school.  Only he was at school and he wasn't wearing it.  Which means he was wearing what?  A pajama top?  Nothing?  I went through his laundry hamper and finally decided he must've gone to school wearing the same shirt he had worn the day before.  Nice.

5.  Driving back from the DMV one day, Reid said very serious, "Mom, I don't like carrots."  I said, "okay, thanks for telling me."  He said, in tears, "Mom I really don't like carrots."  And Cort chimed in, "Mom I don't like carrots either!"  Then they both started crying.  Oh my.  Who knew packing carrots in the lunchboxes was such horrible parenting?

Linked with Nancy's Random Friday

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Odyssey of the Mind

Pierce has been working on Odyssey of the Mind for the past couple of months.  His group had to do a skit about a prehistoric art fair.  Saturday before last they had their competition at the local high school.  Here's Pierce with his brothers waiting for things to start.  I asked Pierce if he was nervous, but he wasn't at all - he was just excited to perform.

Pierce had made a headdress that he had made to wear, but somehow it got didn't make it to the competition.  So he had to wear this beaded necklace around his head instead (the dialogue included a line about his headdress). 

Their song and dance was really fun.  It got a few chuckles from the audience.  And the tune was really catchy.

In fact, Paul and I found ourselves singing the song for the entire rest of the day! 
I hope Pierce gets the opportunity to do Odyssey of the Mind again next year.  I think it was a great way for him to be creative and work in a team.  I wish I could show you the video of the competition, but since there are other kids in it you'll just have to use your imagination! 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


After Valentines, Pierce brought his bag home.  He's obsessed with Wall E.  It is a really sweet movie.  I think I've watched it 5,498 times now.  Anyhow, Pierce drew Wall E and Eve on his Valentines bag. 

I thought it was sweet.  Pierce says on the playground he pretends to be Wall E and his BFF pretends to be Eve.  Sometimes she torments Pierce by telling him Wall E 2 is out in theatres.  Pierce is dying for them to make a Wall E 2. 

What do you think?  Will there be a sequel one day?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Shaving Cream

We were bored with being stuck inside.  So I got out the shaving cream, and sprayed it all over the table.
 The twins practiced writing their names.
 Everyone got a little soapy.
 But it's kind of like hiring a bunch of people to deep scrub your table.  For free. 
Can't argue with that.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Spicy Baked Potatoes Recipe

I cut this recipe from the paper recently.  It's a hearty meal, perfect for cold winter nights.  I fixed it the night we had the big snow, and while texting back and forth with a neighbor she requested I share the recipe.  So here it is.  I served it with a tossed salad on the side. 
4 8 oz. baking potatoes
1 tsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can chili beans in spicy sauce
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
pickled jalapeno peppers, to taste (I omitted this for the boys)
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Sour cream to taste
Poke holes in potatoes and wrap with foil.  Bake for 90 minutes at 400*.  Heat oil in saucepan.  Add onion, bell pepper and garlic.  Cook until softened.  Add beans and sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and jalapeno pepper if desired (or just top with jalapenos on individual potatoes like I did).  Reduce heat to low.  Simmer 5 minutes or until heated through.  Split potatoes and top with bean mixture.  Sprinkle with cheese and garnish with sour cream.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Directions to the North Pole

1.  Here's Uncle Tom with one of his hunting dogs.  He sure loved his dogs.  He took so many photos of them.  His album is full of dog and horse pictures.  We probably would've gotten along well, don't you think?
2.  Overheard in a recent conversation between Cort and Reid: 
"Where is the North Pole?"
"Really far away"
"Yes, but where"
"It's by Grady's house."
Grady is their cousin.  He lives in South Carolina.

3.  I read some excellent books last month.  My favorite was Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain.  I'm making the most of regular trips to the library.  The library is a magic place.  I walk in the doors and instantly feel calmer.

4.  I've read article after article lately about the benefits of drinking hot tea.  It seems it is all the rage.  Who knew it had so many antioxidants?  I am trying to put it to practice, but can't seem to do but one mug a day (recommendations are two or more).  I've never been much for hot drinks.  But I did find a peach/lychee flavor from Sri Lanka (Dilmah) I adore.

5.  Pierce's BFF is a little girl.  He's been crazy for her the past two years.  Recently we let the three boys take a bath in the Jacuzzi tub (one of their favorite things).  Apparently, he told his BFF about it.  Then came home and said, "Mom, L wants to come over to get in the Jacuzzi with me."  It was very interesting....explaining to Pierce why L's mom might not be so happy if he invited her over to hang in the Jacuzzi tub.....

Linked with Random Friday at A Rural Journal

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Willie on Canvas

Recently I received the most thoughtful gift from Sunnybrook Farm blog.  We met through blogging, but oddly had some real life crossing-overs that put us in some similar circles from time to time, and I realized that I already knew his wife.  At any rate, I've long admired his paintings (especially some of his cows) and he surprised me with a painting of Willie, which he did from a picture I posted on my blog a while ago. 

You all know how crazy I am over Willie anyhow, so when he gave me this painting I was thrilled.  I moved another picture so that it could hang in our hallway. 

Willie is probably going to get an ego trip now that he is immortalized in our hallway, but he's been so busy catching mice this winter that I suppose he's earned his moment of fame.

Readers, have you received any meaningful gifts lately? 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Reid's Beloved Tangy Bean Salad Recipe

It's really strange, but my pickiest eater just loves bean salad.  Luckily, it's the sort of recipe you can make when you only have pantry staples.  It's flexible and easy.

Reid's Bean Salad:
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can green beans, drained
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/3 cup. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Mix together last four ingredients and toss with beans.  Refrigerate, stirring on occasion, for four hours before serving. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Welcome March

Because I'm sooooooo over winter.
Who wants to go check out some garden seeds with me?

Monday, March 3, 2014

February 2014 Running Recap

Sick boys and 20 inches of snow were not kind to my running this month.  I fought through it all, but did have to do a rather gnarly 14 mile treadmill run one day.  Not my idea of fun, but easier, perhaps, than trying to run 14 miles in twenty inches of snow.  The following week, I chose to brave the conditions and do a 16 miler outside in pouring rain and wind gusts.  It was a long, slow run.  Also not my idea of fun.  But I was glad to be able to run it.
Needless to say, my treadmill broke the 1,000 mile mark this month.  I was happy to have the treadmill option, even if I am tired of running indoors.  Paul was kind enough to get me an Ipod Nano for Valentines, and it helped to have some new music along the way.

Total mileage = 136.
I also had quite a few "unscheduled" snow shoveling workouts which lasted a couple of hours in duration.  Fun, fun, fun.

Hooray for March!