Friday, December 07, 2007

Time flies, doesn't it? Seems like just 12 months ago we were out hunting for the perfect Christmas tree :-) You remember what we found, don't you? Our Charlie Brown tree, the most adorable tree ever.

Actually, most of you called it pathetic, and your votes in WBFJ's contest "That Christmas Tree Thing" made us the winner of a beautiful 7-and-a-half-foot Christmas tree from Michael W. Smith, along with a copy of his new Christmas cd, "It's a Wonderful Christmas."

On Thursday, December 6, Darren, Tami, and Verne (the hosts of WBFJ's Morning Show) delivered the tree and the fun began. After putting the new Christmas cd in the player, Darren and Verne got the tree out of the box and then the three sections were easily put together. We started "fluffing" the branches, but ... hmmmm. One small problem: the lights on five limbs didn't work! We wiggled and jiggled wires, plugged and unplugged cords, and even read the directions. About an hour later we decided it was time for refreshments! When we spoke on the air on the day the winner of the contest was announced, Tami told me that she had never had raw milk before. So - Christmas goodies and fresh milk it was!

And back to the tree.... After more attempts to get the lights burning on those 5 branches , Weldon even replacing fuses , there was nothing to be done except call customer service. Their solution? They would send us a new string of lights which we would receive in 7 to 10 days, and we would have to take off the offending lights and replace them with the new string. Well, that was rather discouraging, but that's the way the Christmas cookie crumbles.

The Morning Show had also brought along some decorations: The Twelve Days of Christmas and a Spode spoon picturing a tree and the year 2007. For the sake of photo ops, we each hung an ornament and then called it a day.

The next day, I turned the tree so the offending branches were toward the window and finished fluffing the tree. I sent an email to the Morning Show hosts thanking them for all they had done and for the wonderful, fun time we had had together. (They really are a great bunch. Verne had come to deliver the tree, in spite of the fact that he was on vacation!!) Tami insisted that she would come and get the tree and return it to Home Depot and bring us back a new tree. Could she actually do that? You see, Michael W. Smith (in Nashville) had ordered the tree through a company that supplied and shipped the tree through There was a big flyer in the box that said the tree could not be returned to Home Depot. Well, go for it, Tami!

And go for it, she did! After explaining the whole thing to Home Depot, they gave her a new tree, she delivered it Sunday night, and we set it up to make sure all the lights worked (they did). KUDOS to Home Depot and more thanks to Tami and WBFJ.

I finally got it all fluffed and decorated, and the tree is beautiful!!

See the "maid-a-milking" in the lower left and the spoon in the upper right corner? I'll post another picture of the tree in a day or two so you can see all the lights.

Thank you, Darren, Tami, and Verne. Thank you WBFJ 89.3fm. Thank you, Michael W. Smith. Thank you, Home Depot! Thank you, all you who voted. Thank you, God, for Christmas :-)

SETTING: Friday morning in the milk parlor,
following a crap-fest of Fear Factoresque proportions.

: One day I will take you away from all this, babe.

CINDY: Yes, but will you be able to afford the coffin?


Thursday, November 15, 2007

After breakfast this morning, Weldon and I were playing with our cameras, taking some pictures outside to compare the "normal" and "vivid" (or "rich" on my camera) settings. Suddenly he said, "Let's go for a drive and see some real colors." So off we went, still in our crap-splattered barn clothes. (I'm not kidding.)
We started with a few pictures on the farm

and then headed towards Pinnacle. We decided we should go up the Pilot Mountain.

Let me tell you, with the temp in the low 50s and the wind blowing, it was MIGHTY COLD up there.

Weldon said we were a day late, because it rained last night and the wind was whipping and half the leaves were on the ground. But the colors were beautiful and definitely worth a little discomfort. Arizona and Florida family and friends, eat your heart out :-)

It's almost like being in Japan - everywhere you look is a picture!

Then back to the farm, all dressed up in God's wrapping paper.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Some people wonder how I could have moved from Charlotte ("big city life") to Tobaccoville - on a dairy farm, no less! What you may not know is that not only did I get a wonderful husband, I "got" his older sister Pat who also lives here on the farm. She has become my "social director," taking me to new restaurants, keeping me in touch with the arts, and including me when there are local cultural events taking place. One such recent event was The Mountain Foliage Festival in Independence, VA. We went on Saturday,October13, specifically to see the Grand Privy Races! Here is Pat, looking for all the world like this is going to be good, but that mischievous grin made me a little uneasy.
The streets were filled with all manner of people from all walks of life. We thought perhaps these two young ladies had been contestants in the Potty Princess Pageant the night before, but no ... just a couple of good-looking chicks talking with the menfolk! I was beginning to have serious doubts about the merits of this festival, but then I saw that channel WXII12 was there from Winston-Salem. Hey! They wouldn't be here filming and interviewing the crowd unless this were important, right??

We found a good place to stand so I could get plenty of photos. It was time for the races to begin and, yes, the town stopped traffic on the main north/south and east/west roads for this amazing race. I'd let the pictures speak for themselves, but they don't have much to say. First of all, I've been in quite a few outhouses in my lifetime, and these were definitely not outhouses. Maybe "privy" is a poor southern excuse for an outhouse. I was expecting to see big old outhouses barreling down the street, maybe pushing back the crowds with the smell. But instead, these races were very civilized. Two privys raced at a time, making two quick stops during which the team members had to rotate their positions. Then the winning teams raced against each other, resulting in one team winning the big bucks.
Perhaps Pat was feeling guilty about this less-than-stellar event, so we headed to the old courthouse and saw that there were many interesting historical articles and artifacts to study. We didn't have time to peruse them, though. There were local crafts for sale in some of the rooms and outside on the lawn, by golly! We looked everywhere for the Potty Princess, but it turns out he got too cold in his dress so he had changed into his regular street clothes. Someone pointed him out to us as he stood across the street.
There was time for one more event before we headed back to the farm: the Toilet Paper Tossing Contest! I got excited thinking about the wonderful photos I would take. I could just imagine the white streamers of toilet paper floating against the background of a Carolina blue sky. Wait! Forget the Carolina part! We were in Virginia. I took quite a few pictures and the sky truly was a beautiful blue, but the rolls of toilet paper were either fake or were somehow sealed ... no streaming paper - just a hokey contest. The back of this guy's tee shirt had contestants playing horseshoes with toilet seats. Sort of summed up the whole experience.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

September Blog!
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

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:

This past Sunday, the 23rd, we drove about an hour north and west of here to Stone Mountain State Park, located on more than 13,5
00 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:

And now it's today, September 25, 2007 - Weldon's and my third anniversary!
We are blessed!!