Sunday, July 15, 2012

One Year Update:
We broke ground a year ago in June. We officially moved in after Thanksgiving and feel like the big projects have been accomplished. Here are a few of the finish up jobs and some things we have been up to in between.
Jim finished the fireplace. It came out great. He used stones from our property, gluing them to a sub-surface of mortar over metal lath and then grouting them with mortar. Jim made the mantel anchors when we were in Florida, so they made the move with us. The mantel had to be redone to fit the width of the wood burning stove.

Jim finished off the fencing with this mountain laurel arbor. It helps direct people to the front door instead of the utility room.

Jim's sister, Cindy, gave him a wood burner for his birthday and he used it on the gate to the arbor.

This is what our front "yard" looks like to date.

Jim finished his office/music studio with built-ins.

Even though I still have projects to do inside, I ventured out and started building a labyrinth in the back yard over the drain field.

The path will eventually be covered with a soft plants you can easily walk on (clover or something like it) and the lines dividing the path will be flowers. I've also been tending my herb garden which is doing great. I'm adding fresh herbs to just about every meal and making lots of pesto variations.

I found this animal print in my herb garden. Not sure if it is a bear, bobcat or the elusive cougar that has been spotted several times in our area. We have seen the bear two more times since our first encounter. Once during the evening when he was trying to get into our compost barrel, and one more time after we had gone to bed. We were awaken by banging noises. He was on the deck trying to get at the bird feeder. It is too far from the ground for him to reach and not close enough to the deck to be reached - even with a good jump! The squirrels haven't even attempted it yet.

No, these didn't come from my herb garden...We joined a local CSA (Community Assisted Agriculture). We are getting a big batch of fresh vegetables every other week until the end of October from Cane Creek Asparagus Company.

 We have also ventured out to get to know our neighbors a bit. This was a work day at Spring Mountain Community Center. We replace all the old playground mulch with a truck load of new mulch.
It was a huge truck load - see the 18 wheeler.

Spring arrived and the birds took full advantage of the feeder.

The Carolina Gold Finch, one of the birds we see all the time at the feeder with his new family.

We have a pair of Ruby Throated humming birds that visit all day long.

Jim named this squirrel Lazy Bonz. He come around each day. After staring at the feeder for a while and trying to calculate how to attack it, he finally gives out and takes a nap.
We also have a few chipmunks that pick up lots of seed from the ground but they are too quick and won't stop and pose for a photo.

Since we have accomplished a lot of the inside projects we are starting to venture out onto our property more. This beautiful moth was down by the creek.

While my brother Jay and his wife Janine were visiting, Jay spotted two owls in the trees outside our living room windows. Janine had seen something earlier fly from one tree to another during dinner. After closer observation we figured out they were two baby Barred owls. Their parents flew in very briefly to feed them in between their cries for food. They stayed for about a week and then made their way deeper into the woods. It was totally AWESOME!

This little box turtle made an appearance one day - making its way through the front yard and over the rocks near the bird bath.

 Every day feels like an episode of Wild Kingdom - maybe I should say Animal Planet. Wild Kingdom kind of dates us.

We went to our nephew's college graduation - Go Tar Heels!
Congratulations Andrew.
In June his brother graduated from High School.
Congratulations J.T.

We took a trip to Deltona to hear Jane sing in the Orlando Gay Chorus. She sings with the whole group and with a smaller ensemble called Nothing But Treble. They were so good!

Jim, Jane and I flew out to Washington to visit our friend Theresa who lives in Leavenworth with her husband Richard. We were having fun on the local theatre group's Sound of Music stage.

This shot was at Pike's Market in Seattle. Richard insisted we sit on the pig and have our picture taken because "all" tourists do it.

This is us in front of the original STARBUCKS - for all you coffee fans.

Here is a waterfall on one of the many hikes we did while visiting Theresa and Richard.

Since we are getting settled in I've started setting up and running some Fundamentals Of Barbara Brennan School of Healing workshops and my healing practice is growing.

We threw a "thank you" party for everyone who worked on our house. We invited everyone but because it was summer and lots of people were working or had conflicts only a few were able to come.

Our neighbors, Doris and Jerry Lytle, let us know that the blackberries were ripening by their barn and invited us to pick as many as we wanted. We hiked out to find them and discovered tons of berries ripening on our property as well. We picked a few and I made a peach/blackberry cobbler and some tarts - oh my goodness good!
 A few days later we were surprised to find a jar of blackberry jelly and a lot of vegetables on our utility room porch from Doris and Jerry's garden.
Yum! Yum!

I thought, "We might be able to make jelly."
We picked up all the supplies we would need and then went picking.
We picked on a rainy day, which turned out to be a smart idea. There were a lot less gnats and flies and not as hot. We could tell the bear had been there earlier because a lot of the bramble had been pressed down creating some paths for us.
We picked for 2 1/2 hours, till the weight of the berries were crushing the ones below. We measure when we got home and had about 16 cups - plenty for jelly or jam.
Jim prefers seeds so we went with jam.  

The whole process - from picking to finished jam - took about 6 hours.
We used 8 cups of berries to make jam and put the rest in the frig and freezer for smoothies and pies.

We ended up with nine 8 oz jars of blackberry jam.
We now have a great appreciation for homemade jams and jellies.

That's it for this episode of Little House on the Mountain
Good night John Boy.....

Yes, I know that is a different show!

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