Tuesday, July 9, 2024

What a July 4th Week!

 No, we didn't do fireworks, but yes, we did go to the beach! Mostly we did LOTS of work in the pasture. Without further ado, here are some photos of the week, complete with great-grandmas and babies and good food!












NO MORE metal in the ground! The raised beds are gone, phew! Also, you'll note there was time to relax (a little). My son made me a wonderful new potting bench/table, which makes me happy every time I look at it. Adam finished upholstering the blue chair (a roadside find) with his mother's help. Our pear tree seems to be producing a bit this year too. Maybe some pear butter this year?


Monday, June 24, 2024

A Mountain Trip and More Pirate Ships


Hello, all! Adam and I have been on a wonderful anniversary trip in June. We started at a KOA in Fancy Gap, Virginia, just north of Pilot Mtn. It was a very nice campground with a comfy "cabin."


We spent some time on the Blue Ridge Parkway, such a lovely, calm drive. We visited Mabry Mill, and we ate some pretty yummy food.

Adam sewed and I painted.




I'm in West Virginia visiting my mother and brother/sister-in-law. It's very relaxing here, although rather hot for WVa in June. We spend time on the front porch in the early evenings.


 I have been painting these fun (rather silly) "pirate maps" of Oriental, a cute little village near us on the Neuse River, full of boats and tourists in summer.

Aren't they fun? I hope they will sell at the market. The place names on the maps are taken from locations in the village. But no -- Oriental is NOT an island.

Thanks for stopping by! Stay cool out there!

Sunday, June 9, 2024

June, Glorious June!

I made a very simple berry tart with a store-bought crust, last summer's frozen blueberries from my brother and sister-in-law's farm, and fresh blackberries and strawberries from a local produce market. The blackberries were huge and so yummy! I was pleasantly surprised that the tart turned out so well -- not too sweet.

Here's another healthy dinner that Adam made recently, a stir fry.


I finally finished knitting this simple shawl -- just a shoulder shawl where you increase one stitch on both the beginning and the end of each row. I used yarn I'd spun from Malabrigo Nube fiber. Not an easy spin, at all! But the finished shawl is just fine.

And below are two bobbins of yarn (singles). The first is from some delicious red batts that I buy from a local fiber studio. They are just luscious to spin! The second bobbin is full. It's various wool dyed with soft natural dyes from plants in our yard. With both these bobbins, I'll spin a second bobbin much like it, and then ply the matching bobbins together to get finished yarn.


Then I should have enough yarn to knit a shoulder shawl with each one, or whatever else I want to use the yarn for. I should have quite a bit more of the red yarn, and may eventually knit a sweater with it.

For my birthday I had a lovely lunch in Beaufort, right on the waterfront. We saw a touristy pirate ship go by!


 Today is our first really HOT day with a high of 93 degrees F. Ugh. I'm inside in the A/C for the duration!

Happy summer, all you friends out there!

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Blooming in May

May has flown by, hasn't it? It's one of my favorite months, before summer's heat hits and I melt into a hibernating puddle of misery! Here's a photo of the gardenia bush just a few minutes ago:


It always performs well, but this year it's really blooming its heart out!

Just across the driveway is my long herb bed. It's bursting at the seams. I just added 2 small chamomile plants.



I keep telling myself that I can't put one more thing in that bed.

Here's our back deck, on the north side of the house.



That's a shade sail that we drape over it to make some shade. I believe in the value of impatiens each summer, so I pot lots of them. Here's my little potting area:



Last week we finally -- finally -- after years of staring at it, cut up and removed the Terrible Dead Hot Tub. Now I have an empty place to fill!



Right now I just have some cherry tomatoes in pots, and a struggling lavender. Eventually it will come to me, what I want to have there.

Have any of you spinners ever tried to spin Malabrigo Nube fiber? It's hard! It's soft as silk, and oh-so beautiful, but it's quite compact and difficult to separate and draft out, before spinning. Anyway, I spun up two hanks of it last year, and at last I'm knitting with it. 


It's lumpy and bumpy, but I'm having a go anyway. I'm turning it into a long triangular shawl to go around the neck. Not a big shawl to cover the back, but one designed to hug the neck and shoulders, cross over the chest, and perhaps tie behind. 


I'm alternating between garter stitch and stockinette. It's 100% wool, so it will be warm in winter, and very soft merino around the neck. I'll show you when it's done.

Happy nearly-summer, friends! If you live in the  U.S. South, you know it's pretty much here already, right?

Saturday, May 18, 2024

The Latest Happenings:

 Hi, all. I noticed that Henny Penny posted (twice!) and figured I should come say hello also. 

I've had a busy week. Traveled out of the state for a few days, and then played catch-up for a couple of days ... and then the week is over! I've missed my studio and the quiet creative hours there. The two dogs love to come in too, and sleep under the desk.

I'll post a few photos here, and if I have anything else to say, I'll do that too.

Adam and me:


A painting I did, using a friend's photo as inspiration:

I sewed some bunting for the first time ever! I will do more because it was fun and turned out quite well.
Today I noticed that our gardenia bush is starting to bloom.
Lucy. Sigh! She has not settled down quite yet.
Elderberry bloom heads, from over a week ago. Soon ... berries!
I made this skirt recently from scraps of Batik fabric that a friend gave me. It was a fun project, but I was lucky that it did fit when I was done.

That's all for now! I hope you're having a lovely weekend. We've had spotty, heavy rain today, really soaking the ground. We needed it. Probably the last of the cool weather also.

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Intermittent Fasting: 20 Months In

 June 2022: I think this is around the time that I discovered that my AIC levels were high -- creeping above 6.0. At this time I decided to cut sugar out of my diet, and make some reasonable attempt to curb my bad carbohydrate intake. I cut out sweets, desserts, and ice cream. I'd stopped drinking sodas several years before. I didn't think it was doable to stop eating carbs altogether, but I switched to wheat bread with zero added sugars. Otherwise, however, I did not change my eating. I continued to have breakfast as soon as I got up in the morning, and I usually had a snack of popcorn in the evenings.

September, 2022: My AIC was 6.3. My doctor informed me that my diet changes were not working. She strongly advised me to start on pre-diabetic medications. I did not want to do this. I asked for more time.

Previously, Adam had used intermittent fasting for weight loss in 2014 with very good success. He did long fasts -- 2 or 3 days. It didn't last, and when he stopped fasting, he regained the weight. But intermittent fasting stuck in my mind. Adam had read Dr. Jason Fung's book and watched his videos on Youtube. Fung is a real doctor, a kidney specialist, from Toronto. He did not seem like a quack, and he'd had good success getting his obese patients to lose weight and regain health with intermittent fasting.

I've never found weight-loss to be a sufficient motivator for dieting, much less fasting. But avoiding daily diabetic medications? Metformin? Insulin injections? Finger pricks? YIKES! I'd watched my daddy battle that for 50 years, and I was determined -- very determined -- to avoid that road if I could. I resisted my doctor, who called intermittent fasting a "crazy diet." I started intermittent fasting in September, 2022. That was 20 months ago.

First, weight loss. I lost a little over 30 pounds and have kept it off. That's nice, but wasn't my goal.

Second, intermittent fasting is not easy. It requires a significant change to how most Americans eat -- WHEN we eat. We're used to focusing on WHAT we eat (which is also important, of course), but our attitude to our eating schedule is: when you want to eat, eat.

December, 2022: My AIC was 6.2.

July, 2023: My AIC was 6.1. The reversal of my pre-diabetes was slow, but it was happening!

I do a 16 hour fast every day. I eat dinner at about 4:00 pm, and I don't have anything except water until about 8:00 am the next morning. I'm not perfectly consistent, I occasionally cheat, but not often, and if I do jump off-wagon over a holiday or a vacation, I immediately resume my schedule when I get back home.

Third, no you're not hungry. I thought I was starving at first. I desperately wanted snacks in the evening. I craved chocolate. I wanted to put something in my mouth. But it's all in the mind, and not in the stomach. After about a year of intermittent fasting, I no longer craved anything, and I no longer wanted food outside of my eating window. I remind myself, during my eating window, to eat! Enjoy food! I still don't eat sweets, but I do enjoy carbs and other things. I don't crave sweets much at all. I eat more fruit than I used to. 

Then, during my fasting window, I remind myself that my body is healing, it's getting rid of all those calories and quieting the sugar down. Now, when I'm fasting, I feel very good. I don't want big meals. I never want to stuff myself. Fasting really does make your body -- your gut especially -- feel good.

January, 2024: My AIC was 6.2 again, and my doctor is not pleased. However, that was after Thanksgiving and Christmas, traveling and celebrating. I'm not too worried.

I know I can control my AIC with intermittent fasting. I know I can successfully do fasting for the rest of my life without much trouble. It feels normal now to eat on this schedule. If, one evening, I can't eat dinner early and I eat at 6:00 pm, then the next morning I delay breakfast until 10:00 am. It's not that hard. I just had to overcome my mindset about eating whenever I wanted. 

I can't guarantee success for anybody else, but I can recommend that you read and research for yourself. It takes commitment, probably a commitment for the rest of your life. That's hard. But I know that diabetic meds are rough on the body, and I want to be healthy, not medicated -- if possible.  

Monday, April 29, 2024

Sacrament

As the twilight cools to evening

He will lead me through the garden, 

Past the angels, who will bow,

Past the other trees aplenty 

To the one with heavy boughs.


For this tree we've all been hung'ring,

For its fruit our bodies long.

But before we reach its shade

He kneels with me beside a brook

Of crystal water shimmering.


We cup our hands together there -

His old scars are faint and healed -

And dip, and then together sip.

He takes this sacrament with me

As we were always meant to do.


The rivulet of life begins

A transformation within me.

Then we stand before the tree,

Its fearful fruit will soon become

Flesh of my flesh, bone of bone.


He reaches out and picks the fruit,

He breaks its flesh and gives to me

The sacred life. We eat together

Of the Tree of Life at last!

Now the sacrament is done.


I will live within the garden,

I will sleep within its shade.

I will dance among its flowers,

I will speak among the trees,

I will live eternally.



- Jesus said, "Today you will be with me in Paradise." from Luke 23:43

- "And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost." from Revelation 22:17

- "and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever ” from Genesis 3:22


Bayboro, NC 2024

Copyright by the author



Saturday, April 20, 2024

Honeysuckle

 I smelt it yesterday in a viney hedge.

Today I see its blooms, white and yellow.

It pulls me into childhood, into memory.

So I pick a yellow one, squeeze its tip,

And pull gently, waiting for the drip.

Ah, honey dew! One perfect nectar!

When I was five, my brother

Whom I adored, showed me how

To harvest honeysuckle.

We spent a golden hour in the backyard

Sipping to our hearts' content.

I asked if we could fill a bucket

one drop at a time, and he said

technically, yes. Magic, I thought.

He lifted me on his shoulders and

I was taller than I'll ever be.

Neither of us learned the secret of the honeysuckle,

Neither gathered a bucket drop by drop.

I have lost that brother to the pain of life,

But today I tasted honey dew and remember him.


Bayboro, NC, 2024

copyright by the author

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Williamsburg in Spring

The Governor's Palace Gardens



The John Whythe House


The Shoemaker's Shop


A view from the 2nd floor of the Capitol, looking down the Duke of Glouchester Street


The Weaver's and Spinner's Shop

Bruton Parish Church



 Twice, Adam and I have bought annual passes to Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. We may do it again in a few years because it's one of our favorite places to go. I never tire of touring a few of the homes or important buildings. Last time I spent lots of time in the museums. I always visit the weaver's shop and the herb gardens. This time I toured the Capitol (a favorite), the Whythe house, and the Raleigh Tavern. I tried to arrive in time for the Wednesday service at Bruton Parish Church, but missed it. We take Beau and Tricky with us, so Adam spends his time sitting outside (while I go inside), which suits him fine. He chats with people and talks about dogs. He enjoys going inside the Tailor's Shop, and we often visit the brickyard if they are putting together or taking apart their free-standing kiln. We stay overnight at Anvil Campground, which offers 3 small cabins for sleeping, for those without an R.V. It's less than 10 minutes' drive to Colonial Williamsburg.