Friday, November 28, 2014

We Love Lucy

The new fireplace is finished and we love it.  I am pleased to tell you that Lucy does not mind at all that her eight-inch hearth as been taken down and the new hearth (actually the top of the old hearth) is a mere two inches high.  She finds it very comfortable indeed.  And it doesn't stretch her neck so much.

Please don't make me get up.  This is so cozy.

We will be repeating Thanksgiving dinner for some days to come.  Dear husband brought home a fresh turkey.  A 15-pound fresh turkey.  The man will happily eat turkey until the turkey is all gone.  We had a quiet dinner and a lovely day.

French novelist Marcel Proust gives us our quote for the week:
"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy.  They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."

There is no better person than the one who makes us happy.  In times of trouble and stress, we turn to these people and we are so grateful to them.  I hope you have these wonderful gardeners in your own life.  Tell them just how important they are to you and how grateful you are to know them.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Through the Cullasaja Gorge

US 64 runs the length of North Carolina, from the Tennessee mountains to the Outer Banks.  It runs through our town and some of its most beautiful areas are not far away.

Our favorite section of 64 runs from Brevard to Franklin, NC, past Cashiers and Highlands.  The route from Highlands to Franklin runs through the Cullasasa Gorge and features many waterfalls as the elevation changes.  We love to drive it in spring and fall.

The largest waterfall is called Dry Falls, although it is far from dry.  Stairs descend to the base of the falls and one can actually walk behind the waterfall if you don't mind a bit of mist.

Click to enlarge and you can see the walkway behind the falls

 Along the route are some beautiful cascade falls

 Some smaller than others

 Because we were meandering we took a different road.  Just to see where it took us.  We came upon a nursery and enjoyed the pumpkin farmer they had on display.

While we do not have the highest mountains in the country, we have the oldest and some of the most beautiful areas to appreciate.  We spend a lot of time wandering the mountain roads.  Well, except during the summers and leaf season when the tourists take over.

Friday, November 21, 2014

We Love Lucy

This has been a rather stressful week for our Lucy.  A creature of habit, she does not like changes in routine.  With the workers still working on our new fireplace she has been limited to the den while they are working.  She loves people and is certain they are here for her to entertain.  So she is better off away from the workers and in the den with either me or my husband.

I think she is looking for new items to use as pillows.  In this instance, it is one of my husband's shoes.  She seems quite comfortable.

 Her hearth is gone completely.  When it is rebuilt it will be only 2 inches high.  Until then she decided to just let her head drop off the bed to the floor.  If she intended to make a statement, it was totally missed as she fell fast asleep.  You can see the outline of the old hearth.  It seems the builders finished the floor before installing the hearth.

It has been a rather chilly week for us but it is finally beginning to warm up to normal for the date.  (I do not use the word "cold" out of deference to our daughter who lives in Milwaukee.)

I will be so happy when the new fireplace is finished and our great room is back in order.  Might as well not have decorated for Thanksgiving this year since most everything is either moved or covered with a drop cloth.  Can it really be?  Is Thanksgiving next Thursday?

Our quote for today is by Franklin Delano Roosevelt:
“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” 



Monday, November 17, 2014

iPod Photos

The first day of our daughter's visit, she and I drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway to the East.  I had my usual Nikon SLR with me and also my latest generation iPod.  I took photographs with both cameras and I must admit I was quite surprised at the quality of the iPod photographs.  So all of these pictures were taken with it.  How easy it is to stick in one's pocket, pull it out and shoot.  Makes me wish all the more that we had cell phone service at our house so I could have an iPhone.  But we are in a tiny "no bar" reception area.

Our first stop was at Craggy Gardens, best known for the gorgeous rhododendrons blooming profusely in the early summer.  At this elevation, most of the color was gone from the trees.  But it was one of the most clear days we have seen in quite a while.  And we were enjoying almost record-high temperatures.

Across the road from the visitor's center

We continued our drive, going higher and higher in elevation all the while.

 The distant mountains were gorgeous

 We arrived at Mt. Mitchell, highest point in NC
In fact, the highest point east of the Rockies

 We stopped for lunch at the restaurant near the top of Mt. Mitchell.  The food was good and our waiter was hilarious.  He called us "doll babies" and if you could have seen him and his drag-queen mannerisms you wouldn't have minded it either.  Daughter felt like a teenager among the old folks.  Most unfortunately, I felt right at home.

 Filled with a delicious lunch and enjoying the rockers in the warm sun.
The lady standing behind was breathing hard and leaning heavily on her cane.
But not one of those old farts was about to give up a seat.

 Descending a few thousand feet in elevation, we found plenty of color.  Gorgeous color.  That's one of the best things about living in the mountains...a twenty mile drive makes a huge difference in the Autumn color.

We spent every driving on mountain roads.  And the weather was perfect.  I still sort of miss my old (ten years old in fact) car, but my new one really does love the mountains even more than the old one did.  It has four turbo modes and goes effortlessly up the mountain inclines.  The more I drive it, the better I like it.

Friday, November 14, 2014

We Love Lucy

Much cooler air has swept through the South as it has over much of the US.  Our daytime highs are lower than our typical lows.  At least we did not get snow and the sun is shining.

Poor little Lucy has had a rather bad week.  She had a hot spot and the assistant who shaved the area knicked her skin in several places.  Our veterinarian gave us Prednisone and a topical cream.  The area improved.  Then my husband and I washed the area with Softsoap.  We failed to notice that it was anti-bacterial.  Apparently something in the soap irritated the skin and the next morning the area looked much worse with evidence that she had been scratching and biting it during the night.  We applied topical Benadryl and it seemed to calm things down.  Then, after a romp in the park she developed severe itching.  Back to the veterinarian.  We started her on an antibiotic and oral anti-itch medication along with the ointment and she is improving rapidly.  She hates to be scolded so when we stop her from scratching, she is very sad for a while.  But I try to tell her it's better than a cone.

A very sad pup after being gently scolded
She looks as sad as Harlow   (here)

 A creature of habit, Lucy does not like for things to be disturbed.  She doesn't like it when we decorate the house for holidays, especially if we move any furniture.  And today we have workers pulling off shingles on the outside of the chimney.  They have moved several pieces of furniture and put down mats to protect the floor and rug as they will begin dismantling the hearth in preparation for  a new fireplace insert.

 After today, there will be no hearth for Lucy's head.
Only the large stones covering the hearth will remain and they will be at floor level, making a two-inch hearth.
No longer suitable for a pillow.

Lucy's skin is nearly healed and she is no longer itching.  She really looks forward to her pill sammiches...Laughing Cow cheese spread on little pieces of bread and folded over the pills.  She will be glad (and so will I) when the project is completed, hopefully by next Friday.  I hope she won't miss the taller hearth too much.

The following quote is anonymous but rings true.  It reminds me of the divisive politicians  who now want us to all "come together."  The new Senator who unseated Kay Hagan in the most expensive senatorial race in history is pleased that the threats of ISIL and Ebola kept voters from looking at his dispicable performance as leader of our General Assembly.  [And yes, I AM TOO trying to get over it.]

A man may smile and bid you hail
Yet wish you to the devil.
But when a good dog wags his tail
You know he's on the level.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Celebrating the Life of Ellie

I had a wonderful blogging break.  Our daughter and I traveled the mountains and had perfect weather.  Until the day she went home in a terrible early snowstorm.  More about that later.

Today marks one year since our beloved Ellie died suddenly.  While we still miss her every single day, the pain is less and we spend more time reflecting on her life than on her death.

 Ellie's first day as part of our family

 Her favorite little yellow duck which she carried with her constantly.

 She loved the Wisconsin snow

 She was a perfect dog.  Friendly, amusing, and loyal

My favorite picture of Ellie.  Standing in the hall entrance pleading with me to come out of my study and spend some time with her.

I've been lucky enough to have two "heart dogs."  My first heart dog, an English Springer Spaniel named Tipsy Pudding was with us for sixteen years.  Our next Springer Spaniel (my husband's heart dog) was named Penny Lane and was with us for 15 years.  Our Ellie was gone too soon, barely ten.

Dichi Sirius Eleanor Rose, we were so very fortunate to have you in our lives and you will never leave our hearts.  Dear sweet Ellie:  June 21, 2003 to November 10, 2013.