Sunday, March 30, 2014

About That Hymn Sing ...

I tell ya. What a night!! Remember how I asked your help in choosing hymns for our Fifth Sunday Sing? Thank you, thank you! The evening was an unexpected, stupendous, joyful success!
This is our sanctuary, and about 5:35, we already had quite a few visitors coming in. We were excited that a few came.
 And they came. And they came. And they kept coming! See that sanctuary? It was PACKED. Every pew. We had at least 70 lovers of hymn singing, and Oh! Did they sing!
Our hand chime choir played two pieces at the beginning, and then the poor chimers had to go find a spot to squeeze into, in the pews. Here was the chime table before service. We play in the hallway beside the sanctuary because there's not room in the sanctuary for our tables. Plus, it eases their minds that nobody is watching them play. Except me :)
 Here's Adam, chatting with Jeremiah, the Episcopal pastor. They both have excellent pastoral names.
 Look at these two darlings. Don't anybody tell me that older ladies aren't absolutely gorgeous! They both play in the chime choir, and come faithfully with cheerful, helpful hearts and hands.
 I dashed into the kitchen and snapped this photo of two ladies who helped with dishes and punch and cookies and washing and all the helpful, necessary things.
And at that point, the evening got really busy, and I forgot about my camera in the sheer excitement of playing a raucous piano with 70 people singing lustily their very favorite hymns behind me. It was such a joy! We sang: "O For a Thousand Tongues;" "It Is Well With My Soul," "Great Is Thy Faithfulness," "To God Be the Glory," "How Great Thou Art, "Holy, Holy, Holy," and "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus."
People walked into the sanctuary asking to sing solos and small groups, and we welcomed them all. The small choirs, however, never got to sing alone because as soon as they started, we'd all sing along. Such excitement and joy in singing those old songs seemed to fill everyone. And I played with such abandon because when it's that loud, nobody can hear your mistakes! Hooray!
A handful of members from our church stood and sang James Ward's "Rock of Ages." It's such a beautiful tune, and I wanted my non-Presbyterian friends to hear it since I know it's not in their hymnals. Below is a video of James Ward singing this piece alone, on the piano. He's such a gift to God's kingdom.

Friday, March 28, 2014

It's About Time!

I know, I know. I'm a bad blogger, a negligent blogger. But hey -- I've been busy! Today I went to a friend's farm. I was helping another friend collect cow manure for her farmette. We shoveled and carried and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.
And here's the proof :)
The cow owner has quite a farm. He's got a milk cow named Daisy.
And birds ... he has lots of birds.
And a goat to stand on things. They are so decorative.
Adam came along to see his bees. He has four hives.
And he's got a couple of happy yellow farm doggies.
The turkey was clearly disturbed that we were there, and exhibited himself.
Ducks and chickens all over!

Pamlico County residents occasionally find themselves the owners of a cemetery too. In this low-lying county, little cemeteries end up wherever the land is higher. Our friend has a handful of family stones in his front yard. And that's Christine, my friend for whom we were getting manure.
She brought me boots to slosh around in.
Lots of Midyettes in the cemetery, a popular old county name.
Couldn't help photographing this old building standing alone in the middle of miles of fields. There's a certain scary nobility about such structures.
Alright. So what else have I been doing, while neglecting ye olde blogge? Riding my bike, of course, and looking for vistas for my readers to view.
This morning, at the creek ~

We're exercising around town a lot these days. Here's a cute side-of-a-house, perfect for a fishin' cabin.
Spring feels real when the blooming colors begin to layer themselves!
Here's a white Bradford pear in front of ... I don't know. Red bud? Anybody know?
Its blooms look like this, close up:
I liked this mailbox topper and tried a photo that would almost make you imagine it was sailing along the river behind.
Right now, all the Bradford pears are stunning. This is a good example of an older one.

As usual, I've been busy eating good food. We almost never eat anything fried; we eat lots of green stuff, veggies. But last night Adam breaded and fried some thinly-pounded pork, and he tried his hand at Yorkshire puddings.
They were so light and puffy.
Well, that's enough for now. Life is busying up even more this weekend, so if I'm AWOL, you'll know it's just because I don't have a spare second :) Get outside! Plant something! Gaze into the sky and unwind that little coil inside!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Asking A Favor ~~

We're having a community hymn-sing at our church this Sunday night. I'm choosing hymns for us all to sing -- Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, and perhaps lots of other folks from other churches. I want to choose hymns that people will know, enjoy, and sing robustly.

From the list below, please choose 4 that are your favorites. Or 3, or 5, but just pick a few. And tell me in a comment what they are. That's all I ask!! I need help, and I don't always know which hymns are loved by other people. So here they are:

Brethren, We Have Met to Worship
Blessed Assurance
How Great Thou Art
There Shall Be Showers of Blessing
O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing
Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It
Great Is Thy Faithfulness
To God Be the Glory
Holy, Holy, Holy
This Is My Father’s World
Fairest Lord Jesus
Praise Him, Praise Him, Jesus Our Blessed Redeemer
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
Crown Him with Many Crowns
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Wonderful Grace of Jesus
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
His Eye Is on the Sparrow
Sweet Hour of Prayer
Trust and Obey
It Is Well with my Soul

Thanks ever so much. I know you all may have other favorites not found here -- sorry. And we're not a "praise song" type of church, although we do some of those also. I just need help sorting out the hymns.

Please, EVERYONE leave a comment, okay? I need your help! Thank you!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Birthday among Friends

I've mentioned before that I have some good friends from our farmers market. I had them over for dinner a while back. Well, on Thursday we gathered at Pat's house, for Kip's birthday.
That's Christine, Kip, and Pat. Dolls with hearts of gold, I tell ya.
Pat and her husband Dave have such a beautiful, relaxing, welcoming home.
Dave treated us with his chef outfit.
Pat set a gorgeous table, just for "the girls."
~ complete with flowers,
~ and balloons!
~ and champagne.
We all cook, and we have some fine men in our lives who also cook, so there's never a lack of good food in our homes! I took this photo of Pat's stove because her vent hood is about the prettiest one I've ever seen. Their whole kitchen is gorgeous that way.
We sat and nibbled on Christine's stuffed eggs with bacon on top. At the table, we started with my salad (strawberries, pecans, feta, red onion) and Pat's biscuits.
She made a delectable chicken cordon bleu for dinner. It was superb.
We finished with a light cream puff with a scoop of ice cream. Perfection! And isn't it pretty?
And we toasted Kip and our friendships and the love we have for each other. It's possible to get by in this world without deep, devoted friendship, but I'd sure hate to live that starved life.
So, to all the friends out there -- I salute you! Let us be friendly and spread the joy!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Working on Boats

On our bike rides Adam and I often drop in at a local marina to see what's going on. This time of year, there's a lot going on! The warm weather brings the sailors out of their holes to work on boats, prepping them for spring/summer water fun.
We tootled around Sailcraft Marina the other day and I finally got a pic of of this massive power boat/trawler. Some of you perhaps haven't seen many boats out of the water. They're a bit like icebergs -- more under the water line than you might expect. It dwarfs the boats around it.
The hulls of even normal-sized sailboats are overwhelming when you stand right under them.
I've shown you this contraption before, a travel-lift. This is a small one -- it handles 35 tons. They make ones that do 1000 tons. It lowers and raises boats into and out of the water.
This little darlin' is called a j-boat. It's purely for racing fast.
Here's its inside -- huge cockpit and almost no cabin because it's all about manning those sails, not taking naps. They don't even bother with a back on the cockpit because when you race, you assume you'll get wet.
Sailcraft and Deaton's Yachts yards are packed with boats right now. Everybody's getting ready for the season. They've even doubled up the boats docked in their marina.
This is where boat owners can store their dinghies ... or as Adam said, "This is where dinghies go to die." That flabby one on top sure looks dead!
Yesterday we were back at Sailcraft and noticed the travel-lift in action. I'd never seen it with a boat in the slings.
 The operator/driver, who has his controls on one of the 'legs,' steered it perfectly into the tracks that run on either side of the water well where the boat will be dropped.
 This sailboat is about 34 feet. It's just been freshly painted.
 The new paint is protected from rubbing by the slings. It rather reminds me of photos of cows being hefted by helicopters.
 All around the boat yard the whizz of saws and the thump of hammers rang. Sailors were working. This fellow is painting his hull.
 But the spots where the boat stands hold the boat up can't be painted ...
 ... until it's up in the sling. Here the owner of the 34-footer touches up those spots before she goes into the water.
 And we turned around and noticed a little speck toward the top of a tall mast.
 Yes indeed, it's a man, working on his mast. These sailors tend to their boats -- low and high.
 This year we must tend to our own little boat. It's over 40 years old, and some items need repairing as a safety issue. So today Adam brought her across to the wildlife ramp, just 3 blocks from our house. It's a free dock for daytime use.
 He removed the boom and I put it in the back of our van.
 Then he began working on the shrouds that hold up the mast.
 When they were loosened he laid the mast down.
 Then he and I together carried that mast down the street, three blocks to our house, and placed it in the side yard. I don't have a photo of the two of us carrying a boat mast down the road for obvious reasons ... but I can assure you that this is simply the kind of thing you see in Oriental that you don't see many other places!
Three pelicans enjoyed following a crab boat, hoping for a snack.
We took our de-masted sailboat for one last spin on Smith Creek, just motoring. Soon Adam will motor it over to Sailcraft and that travel-lift will pick her out of the water. The folks at Tryon Yachts will bring her over to our house, and she'll sit for a bit on four boat stands in the yard.
Adam will replace hoses, clear and repair scuppers, put lazy jacks on the mail sail, paint the hull (dark blue) and possibly the deck, putting new non-skid paint  some deck areas. He'll do small repairs and install the new fixed blocks on each side, and care for the woodwork too. I'll keep you posted. But no sailing for us, for about a month, and I'm sad about that. April is gorgeous sailing weather, while the summer is frankly outrageously hot for sailing. However, safety comes first, and Adam had become concerned about a few parts of the boat that were in imminent danger of breaking, which would result in the boat's sinking.
Sunny weather here for the past two days and hopefully through the weekend, before a cold snap hits us again, especially on Tuesday. Have a great weekend, all!