Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mom's Dry Creek Bed

Okay, it isn't always a "dry" creek bed. And it isn't purely landscaping. At times, it is a raging river when we get runoff from the peanut field trying to find its way to the lake.

But as a pure drainage ditch, it was kind of an eyesore. So we filled in behind the car where it used to be a hole filled with weeds, brought in sod, and dug the channel deeper.

Rock is scarce here, so we robbed as much of our drainage rock as we could spare and lined the sides of the ditch. We used some of the left over brick from Mom and Dick's house to line the stream bed, and planted bulbs and shrubs along the top edges of the ditch. It should be easy to maintain and pretty once it all settles in. It will even have a waterfall when the water is raging through.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Oyster Run to Carrabelle, FL

We are about 150 miles from the Gulf, so we make a trek down there at least once a year to pick up oysters. Yesterday the swimming pool where we swim laps in the morning was so cold that we decided it was an omen telling us this was the day to make our oyster run.

Here we are at Carrabelle beach for the first stop of our trip.

We found an oyster house that was open and that had oysters, so we picked up a dozen pints in East Point, and then headed on into Apalachicola for lunch.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Providence Canyon - Near Lumpkin, GA

Here we are blocking the view to the canyon. It was a beautiful day for winter in Georgia. Amy and Dan are heading on to Savannah, so we had one last outing with them before they continued on their way.

The canyons were formed when stabilizing trees were cleared from hillsides to create more farmland according to the Georgia parks department.

Still not finished forming....every 12 inch rain event adds to the erosion. They are truly beautiful in spite of the ecological implications of clearing hillsides in an area that gets deluges of rain on a regular basis.

The canyon was formed in the past 60 or 70 years - not thousands of years ago, also according to GA parks department.

It is possible to hike on a good trail to the bottom of the canyon and walk along the base of all the sculpted hillsides.

Rural Quitman County December 2009

What on earth? Anyone familiar with this kind of a growth? It is on a big oak tree, and is firm, but not hard to the touch. It almost looks like what we call a coral mushroom at home, but is too solid for that.

We took a walk along the peanut field when Amy and Dan were visiting this week.

Amy and I on the dock looking back toward our houses.

The brick house on the left is my parents, the cypress sided house is ours. My brother-in-law and sister came down from Alaska in 2005 to help us build both houses. The neighbors were amazed at how fast they went us, it seemed agonizingly slow at times. We were able to build both houses in 4 months with a pretty strange crew though, thanks to Scott's great supervision of an oddball crew. We all learned a lot!
Amy and Dan on the dock looking west toward the Alabama side of Lake Eufaula.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Georgia back roads and hidden places

On a side road along the Chattahoochee River on the Alabama side, we came across a female wild hog foraging for food.

The covered bridge over Coheelee Creek near Blakely, GA, is the oldest covered bridge in Georgia. The creek was just raging today.

For real southern cooking, there is no place finer than Magnolias on Main in Blakely.

My daughter, Amy, and her boyfriend, Dan, went with my folks and Ron and I so they could try the fried corn bread.

We polished off the meal with butterscotch, chocolate, pecan, cream pie. We can't even think about how many calories we took in this day.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Water, Water, Everywhere

My folks are really into the Christmas spirit in spite of being away from their home in Alaska where there is a ton of snow.

Scott, my brother-in-law from Alaska, says if they got the amount of precipitation we did last week (over 10 inches of rain) it would be equivalent of 10 FEET of snow.

Amazingly, a few hours after the rain stops, the ground dries out and you would never suspect we had been blessed with that much rain. If it rained 10 inches at our Washington home, our house would slide into the lake.

The hay in the peanut field that has been carefully rolled into bales with plastic coverings, now sits in the middle of a small lake.

The lake is really high....all the rain that hit us this past week has moved north, and the rain that falls north of us normally finds its way into the Chattahoochee River, which forms Lake Eufaula, seen here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Feeling Crafty

This morning, Mom and I made collage greeting cards. Isn't she cute....she is the most active 90 year old woman I know! Very artistic too!

Here are a couple of the cards we made. Collage is so much fun. Very forgiving, and anything goes. Our specialty is the dried flowers and weeds we collect. I think pure collage uses only paper, but the real plants add a special touch.

Martha says you need to spray this sweet gum wreath with white paint, but the colors were so beautiful that I didn't spray it. We have an abundance of Sweet Gum trees here in SW Georgia, so on this beautiful day I gathered the cones(?) - Martha calls them "Fruit" but they sure have more the consistency of cones than fruit. So in addition to a wonderful walk in the warm sunshine, I have started my Christmas decorating. :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Some Assembly Required :)

The trumpet vine was still blooming a couple of days ago, but we got our first frost yesterday and it is looking pretty sad now.

Today we tackled our Christmas present to each other....saves a lot of shopping to just order something on line, but the assembly is always a challenge!

Aah, success!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Blogging Notes from an amateur

I am new to blogging....introduced by my daughter, who is a wizard at all things internet. I have hopes that when I return to Washington in the spring I can get her to jazz up my blogspot.

In the meantime, I have been doing some exploring on my own and love the "Next Blog" feature. I have found so many interesting and incredibly innovative sites. I only recently discovered how to FOLLOW the ones that really catch my eye (mostly gardening and crafting sites). I am trying to not be too obsessive by adding every site I visit, even though most are certainly interesting enough to follow. Thanks to every blogger who shares life and ideas with us all!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Some favorite family recipes

Thumbprint Cookies
2/3 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
2 slightly beaten egg whites
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/3 cup jam
Beat first 5 ingredients together. Chill dough
Roll small balls (1 inch) in the egg whites and then in the chopped walnuts, place 1" apart on greased cookie sheet, make a dent in each with your thumb, and bake for 10-12 minutes at 375. Fill depression with jam.

Fruit Bars
Cream 1/2 cup shortening and 1 1/2 cup white sugar. Add one gee, 1/4 cup molasses, 2 TBlspoons milk and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Cream well then add dry ingredients:
2 1/2 cups flour, 1 tsp soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmet and 1/4 tsp cloves.

Mix well and add 1 cup raisins. Bake in greased 9x13 inch baking dish at 350 for 15 min. Cool and cut into squares.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

Burning off Thanksgiving Calories

I transplanted the banana plants from the drainage ditch into my big flower bed. The daffodils are starting to come up, and Bermuda grass from the lawn has slithered into the flower beds. While not totally familiar with all the local plants (or even the ones I have planted) I think I mostly removed all the weeds and left most of the good stuff.

Mom weeding her flower beds. I hope at 91 I will still be able and willing to take on such a big project.

You know you might be a Redneck if you burn your lawn instead of mowing it. :) (What telephone pole??)

Ron cleaning oak leaves out of the gutters. Many more to come. Our leaf season is just beginning.

Dick blowing oak leaves from the patios onto the lawn for mulching with the mower.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Boating on Lake Eufaula

We like to make every outing a real adventure.

Hornets had found the holds on the boat, and we spent two days getting them out and the boat cleaned. The boat hadn't been run for months and it wasn't running too good, so David was keeping it kind of close to the dock. I went down to take a picture, and they all decided to come back to the dock to see if I wanted to go with them. They were going to take the boat down to the State Park and fill the gas tank. I said "no, thanks," but then they told me no one knew how to get to the State Park, so I said I would run down there with them to show them where to turn. It was a nice sunny day and I was just in jeans and a tshirt. I didn't have any coat, but didn't think about it being colder on the water until we were well underway.

I asked David how much gas we had, and he said the gauge was reading "less than zero." We decided to stop at Pataula Creek, as it was closer than the State Park. All of us were a bit worried we could make it there without running out of gas, but we got there with the boat still running, although a bit ragged.

As soon as we came to the boat ramp, we realized there was no gas pump on the dock. We had already discussed money, and realized that only Dick had any money with him, so he and I started to walk to the gas station/convenience store and see if we could buy some gas. Of course we didn't have a can with us either. :(

It was about a quarter mile to the station, and about half way there, I realized that Dick wasn't with me. I had found a ratty old jacket in the hold and put it on when we were underway. The mud dauber wasps had made nests on it, but I had picked them off, but I still looked like a hobo.
So I presented myself with no ID, no money, and looking like a real vagrant. The station owner was very kind and agreed to loan us two 5 gallon gas cans and fill them at the station, and would even drive us back the boat. I still had to find Dick to pay for the gas, but at least we weren't going to have to paddle 6 miles home.

Meanwhile, Barb was finally convincing Dick that I might need money for the gas, so he headed up to the station. As he was leaving, Mom shouted at him, "DICK, DICK" when he looked around to see what she wanted, she said "Bring me some chips!" Mom always knows how to focus on what is really important!

By the time we reached our dock, the sun was setting and it was getting dark and cold and Ron was wondering where on earth I had disappeared to.....but I did have my pictures.

And we were back at the dock before the sun set.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Recharging Solar Batteries

It was a nice fall day here in Georgia.

My brother, David, and his wife, Barbara, are here from Washington.

Neighbors, Bobbie and Rey, came over to say "welcome back to Georgia."

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Years ago, I had the best dentist on earth. I found her quite by accident from an ad she placed in the local newspaper in Port Charlotte, FL. She was all about prevention and introduced me to the waterpik, which I have used faithfully since. Then when I went back to see her when we returned to our winter home in Punta Gorda, a very young man came in and began my examination. When I asked where Dr. Martin was, his assistant told me that she had been found murdered in her home a few months back and the new doctor had bought her office. I was still reeling from this information when the new doctor started preaching gospel to me while my mouth was full of stuff and I couldn't even protest. I canceled the appointment I had made for my husband and we again had to look for a dentist.

When we settled into our new home in Bainbridge GA, we took the recommendation of our friend and went to her dentist in Quincy, FL. Although the office was somewhat disorganized, we liked the hygienist that did our cleanings, and things went fine for a couple of years. Then we recommended this dentist to my parents when my stepfather had a dental problem. They spent several days sitting around the dentist's office to get his work done. They drove several times all the way to Quincy, which was over 100 miles one way. His plate was misordered, then made incorrectly, and they sat around the office many times for an entire day while they waited to be helped.

Two days before my annual cleaning appointment last year, I lost a filling in a molar. I called the dentist to see if I could get the molar fixed when I was in for my cleaning. I emphasized that I did not want to be left sitting in the office all day and if they couldn't do it on my cleaning day, I could make other arrangements. The office manager assured me they had plenty of time and could do all the work at once.

We got to the office and my cleaning went well.......then the dentist came in with a big scary needle and gave me three shots in the roof of my mouth and left me to wait for my mouth to get numb. I felt my mouth get numb, number, less numb, and finally not numb at all, and I was STILL waiting! Finally I told her assistant that my novacaine had worn off!! She said, "Don't worry, we have MORE!" omg! I sat there stewing for a few more minutes and then took off my bib and stormed up to the front desk saying I was leaving and to cancel any appointments she had made for me. They immediately rushed to give me another three shots, fix my molar and send me on my way.

The dentist told me it was because she had a very important phone call she had to take from an insurance company!! The fact that I have no insurance and pay immediately when I get treated apparently is worth less than when they get paid by insurance. I went home fuming determined to write the dentist, the American Dental Association, the Better Business Bureau, and spread this experience across the internet. However, after our 100 mile drive home where I thought about it, I just decided to take the high road and let it go.

Then yesterday I received a "friendly reminder" postcard from the dentist, reminding me of my appointment on December 1!! This brought back the entire experience, and caused me to toss and turn and plot most of the night, so here is my "dental blog!!"

Saturday, November 14, 2009

An Alabama Bingo Parlor

Lots of things are different down here in the South than what we see at home. For instance, does this look like a bingo parlor to you?

If you look closely at the picture on the far left, though, you will see the bingo card. :)

This "bingo parlor" is bigger than any casino I have ever seen. They just completed a huge hotel in a completely different building. The main building has four or five wings - I have never seen all of it, and I have spent a fair amount of time here. :) We started seeing billboards for it a hundred miles away showing people who have won $500,000 or more!

It is located on I-85 at Shorter, Alabama, about 20 miles East of Montgomery.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Garbage Wars

Five years ago, we found a property at the end of a county road in what is probably the most lightly populated county in Georgia. A row of summer cabins and full time homes line the road as it ends at Lake Eufaula. We rented one of these summer places while we built two homes. As part of our rental agreement we paid an adjacent county for garbage service as most of the homes on the road were on the north end of the neighboring county. Our property and about 6 or 7 others were across the county line into our county.

When our houses were finished, we went to the adjacent county to establish garbage service for our two new homes. The surly clerk told us that they were no longer providing service to our county because "those people don't pay their bills, and we are going to pick up all the cans and stop service." Since the garbage truck needs to come all the way to our property to turn around in the cul-de-sac next to our new house, we pleaded with her to let us pay for 6 months in advance, explained that we had already been paying for service at a different house that also was in our county and if she could check her records, she would see that the property we had rented was totally current with its garbage bill. However, there was no reasoning with her and she refused to even consider providing the service to us.

In the meantime, our county began to charge us for garbage service! We went to the county office and asked for our can and when that county clerk checked her records, she said that they didn't provide garbage service to our road and that we should contact the other county. We explained that we had already done that, and that we wished to at the least have the monthly charge removed from our water bill. She complied with our request and we were on our own.

We bought big garbage cans and used our utility trailer to take them to our county's dump for about 3 months. Suddenly, the dump rules changed and they no longer accepted household garbage. While we aren't big garbage patrons (we found a place 50 miles away where we could recycle aluminum and glass, we always had limbs and branches to burn, so we could burn our burnables, and we always compost the compostibles) but still, we could fill a small can in a month or so.

Meanwhile, the big garbage truck from the adjacent county continued to turn around in front of our house every Monday, and to pick up garbage from the houses with cans in front, even the ones in our county. One day when we were out on a drive, we found a county garbage can in the ditch alongside the road with no driveway to attach to it, so we picked it up.

For the next two years, we put out our illegal garbage can (did I mention that the garbage cans down here are the 90 gallon variety?) about once a month or less, and always put an envelope on the can with a $10 bill taped to the top. The garbagemen, who were probably grossly underpaid, got a little bit more for their efforts, we had a way to get rid of our trash, our conscience was clear as we paid for our garbage service, and the middleman in the county office was eliminated.

Unfortunately, nothing good ever lasts forever....last year, our county decided to send a huge garbage truck down the 3 miles of dirt road to collect garbage from about 6 houses. We now pay $12 a month (even for the 6 months we aren't here) to have garbage service. So TWO garbage trucks are adding wear and tear to the pathetic dirt road, TWO garbage trucks drive six miles round trip to service about 25 homes total, and we have the noise and odors of garbage trucks TWO days every week.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunrise in the morning

We woke up to a glow coming in the window, so I got up to investigate. This is what I found....truly worthy of getting up early!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Peanut Harvest in Georgia

It is October in Georgia, and time to bring out all the specialized equipment to harvest the peanut fields.

Amazing to watch the green field turn to brown rows as the peanut plants are uprooted and turned over by a tiller with 2 foot long prongs that lift the plants neatly and plop them over into neat cornrows to dry in the hot Georgia sun.

The next tractor accessory is a sifter/lifter/baler that sorts the peanuts from the branches and leaves, shoots the peanuts into a huge bin, and turns the leaves and stems into big bales of peanut hay.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Our exciting Day with the Motorcycle

We woke up at 5:30 this morning....still trying to adjust to the 6 hour time difference. So since Alabama is an hour later than here, I spent the morning uploading photos and blogs about our Swiss trip. The sun came up to a clear blue sky, and the temperature when we woke up was already 77 degrees. Forgetting past trips in the heat, we thought it would be a perfect day for a motorcycle ride, and we left in our shirt sleeves around 10:30 a.m.

Our plan was to stop to see our friends, Peggy and Jesse....first Peggy in Ozark at the art gallery where she works, and then at Jesse's barber shop in Dothan. We did okay while we kept moving even though the temperture was hovering around 90 degrees. When we stopped at the gallery, we discovered that J&P were gone for the weekend to celebrate their anniversary.

So since it was so hot, we headed back the way we came. We were about 5 miles out of Ozark when we noticed that the kickstand was scraping when we did the tiniest corner, so we stopped to look at the tires. We found that the back tire was nearly completely flat. We stopped on a bridge to look, and the next three cars that came by stopped to help us. We thought we would be fine as we had a can of fix a flat on board. However, we soon realized that the tire was totally shot! The next truck that stopped had a man with a phone book, and he knew the name of the motorcycle dealer in Ozark (where we got tires for the bike two years ago). He called them, and before we could even get heat stroke, they were there with a trailer and a blissfully cool pickup with a crew cab. They found a tire in stock and fixed our tire for us, and wouldn't even hear of us paying for the tow! While we waited, they insisted we take the store truck and go get lunch. Honestly, it makes me humble to see how nice everyone is down here!