You can see I haven't blogged in quite a while and you may be wondering why I haven't sent very many emails in the past month or so. There's a logical reason, of course: On August 14, Katie came home from Japan!! She has been staying with us since then (except for a week in Miami), until she decides where her next adventure will take her. Here you can see Katie, Anna, and me on the afternoon that I picked her up from the Charlotte airport.
And now I'll share with you the highlights of this past month.
September 2nd was a busy day for us. First, Weldon's granddaughter Ashley turned 7 years old!! Weldon's mom (Edith) and his sister Pat had a little birthday party for her at their house. After eating lots of good food and the cake made by Pat, Ashley had to get down to the barn to see the kittens and the new calves. This year's calves have generally been being born early and are smaller than usual. Maybe due to the hot weather?? Anyway, the little calf in the picture is named Goliath. He was born at least 5 weeks early and only weighed 33.5 pounds. (Calves usually weigh between 90 and 100 pounds at birth.)
We no sooner wrapped up the birthday party activities than it was time to go to Steve & Beth's place (Weldon's younger sister) for a party welcoming his nephew Wesley home from Iraq. Here he is with his fiancee Ashley. We arrived early so we would have a little time to visit with him before the other guests arrived. We couldn't stay for the barbecue and other goodies because we had to get home to milk the cows. Such is life on a dairy farm. Here's a link to a story in the Winston Salem Journal http://www.journalnow.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=WSJ/MGArticle/WSJ_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1173352691667
After an incredibly dry spring and summer, thinking that he might not have enough corn in his own fields, Weldon bought some standing corn from a neighbor and chopped it for silage. Then, on September 3, (at least 2 weeks earlier than usual) he and 2 friends started chopping the corn here on the farm. Weldon and I normally eat a late breakfast after morning chores and an early supper before evening chores. When the corn is being chopped, however, the guys come in for noon lunch and Weldon's mom and I take turns preparing the meals. I didn't take any pictures of the wonderful food we prepared, so we'll go straight to a few pics of the men doing their thing. Weldon does the chopping
John Leap drove the wagons back and forth from the field
and Les Collins blew the silage into the silos. Okay, so he really ran the machine that did the blowing. Picky picky.... A good time was had by all. The last field of corn, which was planted later, will be ready to chop in about 10 days. I guess I'd better start thinking about menus again.
Katie hadn't seen her one-and-only nephew since her return from Japan, so she and I decided to meet Anna and Marshall at the Dan Nicholas Park in Salisbury on Sunday, the 16th. Weldon and I had been there once while we were dating, but I guess I was more interested in Weldon than the park at that time. This is really a great place to spend a day and, after a week of rather cool weather, the day was absolutely perfect for some outdoor fun. Our first stop had to be the paddle boats, of course! Katie and Marshall kept bashing into us, but we didn't mind at all. We visited the wildlife center or whatever it was called. We road the train and were silly. Marshall dragged Katie to the playground a few times, but he couldn't convince any of us to play miniature golf. We had a wonderful picnic together, most of the "wonderful" stuff being supplied by Anna and Marshall :-)
Read all about the park: http://www.dannicholas.net/
This past Sunday, the 23rd, we drove about an hour north and west of here to Stone Mountain State Park, located on more than 13,500 acres near the Blue Ridge Parkway. The mountain itself is a 600-foot granite dome, and the park includes waterfalls, hiking trails, and a historic mountain homestead. The Loop Trail is a "strenuous" loop that climbs .75 miles to the summit of the mountain, then continues 1.25 miles to the top of Stone Mountain Falls. From the falls, the trail leads 2 miles to the meadow at the base of Stone Mountain and back to the trailhead. That sounded like too much work for a Sunday afternoon, so our goal was to make it to the top of Stone Mountain and come on back down. We hadn't been on the trail too long before Katie and I lost Weldon. He had gone ahead and we took a "wrong" turn. No problem! After a little backtracking, we got back to the main trail and continued the ascent with Weldon. Katie took the lead as I huffed and puffed bringing up the rear. Or maybe I just like taking pictures of people's butts!! Can you see the little dot that is Katie in this picture? And here is one of the fabulous views from the summit:
Don't ask me how, but as we debated how to descend the mountain, Weldon went ahead while Katie and I looked at the map for a minute. We then started down the mountain, following the way that Weldon went. The only problem: we never saw him ahead of us! But once we had started, all we could do was continue and hope that he would be waiting for us somewhere along the path. When we reached Stone Mountain Falls, we knew for sure that we were on the Mountain Loop Trail. The pictures aren't great, but they prove we walked all the way around! We knew, in spite of our tired feet and thirsty throats (Weldon had the water bottle), that we would have to continue until we got back to the base of the mountain. This sign became my favorite part of the path. It meant that we were nearing "civilization." But, when we got to the parking lot, would Weldon be there? Would the car be there? Would he have started back up the mountain or called out the National Guard?? Well, there he was, sitting on a bench next to the car. Ahh, the happy reunion and the joy of sitting on a bench and sharing a little snack and drinking some cold water. Once we were all safely together again, I was glad Katie and I had walked the loop :-) Here's their website: http://www.ils.unc.edu/parkproject/visit/stmo/home.html
We are blessed!!