Monday, July 17, 2017

My Little Town - Sharing Thoughts


Hello, Dear Friends, thank you for joining me on a 
beautiful, summer day. 

I am sitting here on my deck (that needs its rails re-stained :)
with Whitey Bear and Kai, looking out at the very top
of majestic Mt. Rainier, listening to the birds twittering, 
and the occasional buzzing of a hummingbird or wasp, 
or small plane from the local airport. 

Mt. Rainier looks more like this to my naked eyes -
the camera does distort distance and narrows the views. 

The Mr. and I have tried to guess how far away it is, 
'as the crow flies', and we think it might be about 
30-40 miles. I know it is 60 miles by road, up the 
two-lane state route, that sees nearly a million visitors a year. 

There are several ways to drive to 'The Mountain' as it's called, 
and we live a mere 2 miles from one of  these roads,
which is the only traffic in town. 

It slows down to a crawl with 3 stop-lights, now, 
after many years of only having one, 
and a new mini-mart/gas station, 
when you come past the town.


Here it is, on a very hot, week-day morning, recently, 
when I drove through town to check the mail at our 
pretty brick post-office. Every pole, lining the main streets, 
 has a huge basket of flowers xx

I've lived here for longer than anywhere else in my whole
 entire life - I came here quite by chance, 
 after growing up in rural New England......... 
and settled here to build a home with my high-school sweetheart, 
and raise our four children 'in the shadow of the Mountain'. 

The town was incorporated close to the turn of the last 
century - when this area of the country (The Pacific Northwest)
was just getting established. 


We don't live 'in town' - we live in the County - 
tucked up in the foothills that form the back-drop of the town.  
The little town is on a high plateau formed by 
a large mud-flow from one of Mt. Rainier's 
'geological events' several thousand years ago. 

In many ways, we are all fairly rugged, independent
individuals, to live so far from the mainstream, 
 with an active volcano hovering over us. 


The town was founded by loggers and coal miners, 
farmers and railroad men, and all forms of  
dependent and independent entrepreneurs. 


At the entrance to my driveway, we have the 
remains of the once, old-growth forest that 
filled this area with centuries-old trees. 

This enormous cedar stump is starting to fall apart
and is propped on one side, but it still has the ax marks
that loggers, at the turn of the century, 
 made to construct the scaffolding it took 
to cut it down. 

I try to imagine what the forest was like, 
and I say a little prayer of reverence when I walk 
by the last witness to all of that splendor. 

There was once a big saw-mill and a train trestle
down on the banks of the glacial river that runs
along the border of town and between two counties. 


The historic houses and buildings are modest, but 
charming, and life is very sleepy, except for 
'Friday Night Lights' and Saturday morning 
little league, high school car washes, plant and garage sales,
and once a year, a fairly rowdy event called 
'The Logger's Rodeo', where the most skilled 
of the forestry trades put on a hair-raising display
of chain-saw Olympics. 


The town comes to life with a vintage car show, 
tents of crafts and food, 
a parade, and of course, a kiddie carnival, with 
spinning tea-cups, a carousel, a fairly impressive Ferris wheel
and all sorts of colorful booths filled with prizes, cotton candy, 
fried 'elephant' ears, burgers and spicy, curly fries.


And when the kiddies go home, the taverns and pubs,
and restored 50's 'burger and shake drive-in',
 (this is a tourist town, now) come 
to life with a city-wide street dance, complete with 
beer gardens, food tents and live country music where
my kids like to go to connect with their old friends. 
All four of my children went through 12 years of school
here, and grew up with all of their mates. 

To put things in perspective, though, my son is celebrating
 his 20th class reunion this month :) 
Time just keeps flying. 


Here he is, over the weekend, visiting with my little grandson - his son. 

xoxo


I couldn't resist one more......

Helping 'G-nana' 
(rhymes with banana)
with the watering. 

Melts my heart <3

xoxo


Other than the old car shows and logger's rodeo, 
the town remains pretty quiet. 

Here, daisies grow on the corner of 'Cottage Street'. 


Clematis vine growing near a hand-made gate 
across from the library. 

We lost our last and only IGA grocery store 
not too long ago, and most business's come and go, 
but the library, post-office, funeral home, 
old drugstore, laundro-mat, and the pubs and diners
 seem to stick around, along with 
a scattering of antique stores where I always spend 
too much time and money, when I dare to venture inside.

We almost lost the feed store, and it shut down forlornly
for a time, but someone stepped up and gave it their all, 
and now it is up and running again, to the delight 
of all those who love to feed their livestock and dogs.  

And they have a great selection of gardening supplies
and galvanized stock tanks - something I want to
invest in for planters someday soon. 

Last count, they had 6 or 7 churches of every denomination, 
that is the bed-rock of society around here. 


Ramblin' Man and I live on the outskirts, tucked up in the hills, 
part of the town, but not actually, because we belong to 
County laws and jurisdictions. 

We live near what was once an old coal mining town,
complete with a hotel and bridge across the glacial creek,
  now completely gone, except for history books and street names.


I have some local artifacts found at the old town-site -
a few bleach bottles and cold-cream jars, 
revealing hints of the women who once lived here, too. 
There was an old rose bush and plum tree 
near the bottles that we found, one summer day 
when my children were young.



They came across the old stone foundation off the trail, 
on their way to swim in the creek, and came back 
home to take me there.   
We even found some perfume bottles.
xoxo
My kids grew up swimming in that creek
and taking the forest trail down to the end of the road
 where the bridge once stood, so long ago, before our time. 
One day when I was at the bottom of my little mountain, 
 parked and waiting for my children's school bus,
an elderly couple driving by, stopped and asked me
if the bridge was still there. 

 The man told me he used to live 
near here and would cross the bridge to get to the 
next town up towards the mountain. 

I didn't know there was a bridge...... 
 Then off they went. 

I wish I had asked them a lot more questions.....


My son found an iron coal cart wheel in the 
glacial silt along the creek bank, and it took my two sons, 
their Father, and a sturdy pole to haul it home. 

And that, apart from a bare mention in some local history books
 that I found at the library, is all I know
about this little mountain that I live on. 



I do know that it is riddled with coal mines,
and the Dept. of Interior
came to our door and that of our few neighbors,
back in the late eighties, 
to ask us if we knew of any mine openings, 
and promptly came to fill them in. 

With truck loads of cement.......
but there are one or two, still in the forest, 
that could not be reached and drop down for hundreds of feet. 
My Father, who lived down the lane with my Mother, 
covered one on his property, with a huge industrial grate
that he found at a salvage yard, 
after a dog fell in and cried for weeks. 
There was no way to get it out. 
It was the only reason, tragically,
 that they knew the mine was there :(

My Father, who was not one to believe in anything 
unless it was clearly in front of his eyes, 
finally conceded there might be ghosts, 
when one appeared at the foot of his bed 
when I had my Mother away one weekend
 to visit my sister in Oregon.

It was the ghost of a miner, complete with a sooty,
  kerchief covered face and dark, sad eyes. 
My Father was prone to telling tall tales, 
but when he told this story, there were no crinkles 
around his eyes, a tell-tale sign of blarney, only 
sadness to think of the men who gave their lives. 


Now these hills are farmed for timber and you can see the 
edges of the clear-cuts when you zoom in to the shadows. 

They are introducing Fischers,
 an endangered relative of the Wolverine,
 to the forests around Mt. Rainier, and the day I come across 
one on top of the woodpile, is the day I adopt a Mastiff. 
Haha. 


Seriously, though, this is wild country,
and not for the faint of heart, 
because you never know what is going
to show up in your back yard. 

I finally had to admit that feeding the birds was an ill-advised 
pursuit when the dogs got sprayed by a skunk lured to the feeder.
Due to the feeder, we have been visited
by everything from bears to cougars
 (hunting the raccoons who were eating the seed), 
and were contributing to the increase in the rodent populations
and feeding the hawks, too. 


When my children were young, we had two or three 
big dogs at all times. Those dogs have a special place in 
my heart for guarding my precious children so diligently
and loyally through the years. 

We had a couple of fierce ponies, too, that 
would drive off stray dogs and coyotes, and rub off 
the occasional visiting child against a tree,  if they so rudely demanded a ride  :0



Now I have a third generation of dogs to guard 
this little clearing in the forest. 


And the occasional 'visitor'. 
This is Charley, a long-haired dachshund, 
whom I am pet-sitting for a friend,  
while his owner travels cross-country to visit family. 

Weenie-Baby, my daughter's dachshund, 
 will join the fun next week, 
and I am watching a friend's cat, too. 


She likes to help me sew :) 

I have the cutest little project I will show you next time......


This is what Maggie thinks of the whole thing.....

The new dog chased her off the deck....
the new cat took her favorite bedroom, 
and now she can't relax on her favorite deck 
chair, curled up on the pillows with the 
occasional drink from the water fountain. 

She's holed up on the 'west wing' which 
consists of our bedroom with the unfinished loft,
and the laundry room with all the clean laundry
to lie on. And she hogs the whole bed. 


When I am not pet-sitting, I am at my daughter's house, 
baby-sitting two afternoons a week for this little guy......



He's snacking on this very handy little thing - 
I have no idea what it is called, 
but it opens up to fill with frozen cut fruit, 
perfect for a teething baby! 


I can't resist those cheeks!
I'm so enjoying being a 'Gamma' or 
G-Nana :) 

xoxo

In between I am doing a little of this and a little of that, 
read a couple of great books (which I will share soon)
and doing a lot of watering and taking care of plants. 
I even gave the dogs a nice bath. 
We haven't had rain in nearly a month. 

We have 9 mos. of rain and then, boom! 
Nothing. 


It's been so lovely, but I do hope we have some rain soon. 
The plants are still very green and the weeds have gone wild
due to our very, very wet spring, but forest fire danger is starting 
to rise and there is a burn ban in our area. 

I've been showing you some unedited 
photos of last night's sunset on the hills.
Mt. Rainier was hidden in the clouds.  

The sunsets are very long this time of year, 
here on the West coast. They last for about 30 minutes-
long into evening.  
This is between 9 and 9:30 at night. 
It's my favorite time of day. 
The forest sounds stop and there is complete 
silence . 


The atmosphere changes - there is an electricity 
in the air. You can hear the creek far below, as it 
rushes and gurgles - sometimes sounding like 
lost voices in time. 

Then you  hear the birds. 

They gather on the highest tree tops, where 
the sun sends her last, golden rays - 
and they sing. 

They sing the best songs of their day, 
sitting on those golden tree-tops, 
and watching as the day fades away. 



I hope that you are enjoying these long summer days, 
my friends, and making time for some relaxation, 
even if it is only at the end of a long day. 

xoxo













45 comments:

  1. Dear Karen ... I loved hearing about your neck of the woods. I loved the pictures that you shared. Hugs ♥ Teri

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  2. Karen, your words took me to your little town. What a fun adventure reading about the miners and the loggers, the town's festivities, and the wonders of the woods. The mountain looks so far away (and there is snow on the top in July!!!). Thank you for taking us on this journey with you. xo

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  3. Looks like a beautiful place to live. By the looks of things there are so many photo ops there. I think I could just sit and stare at the mountains for days. Gorgeous photos! Thanks for taking us on a tour.

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  4. This is a wonderful post, Karen. I was enlightened by so many of the facts about your area, town, Mount Rainer, and that you and your husband actually relocated from New England. How did that come about? You sound like a seasoned PNW lady!

    In many ways your town sounds like mine in Michigan. Slow...very few stores. The antique shops enticing. And the wildlife around my cottage, lately coyotes, mink, raccoons, groundhogs, muskrats...in and out of the water and where my smallish dogs hang out. Nothing like yours, but we worry like they are our babies.

    And speaking of babies, you have the grandmother gifts, too! Yours are precious! Isn't it heavenly? I had Miss Madelyn at the grocery store today now that she can sit up. No less than 10 people stopped to fuss over her and chat. I was beaming!!!

    Thank you for a great glimpse into your life. This makes blogging so fun---sharing. And this is a post your kids will love to read many times over. I've had my posts printed in books. If you are interested I'll give you the info.

    Jane xxx

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  5. Hi Karen,
    thank you for this wonderful and lovely post, from your Home, your nature, your Childds and grandhcilds and all your sweet pets!
    Have a wonderful time, take care, and enjoy every single day!
    Sending much Love and hugs and blessings, my dear friend, Claudia xo

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  6. What a lovely post, so interesting. x

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  7. Such a joy to visit and see an area of the world that I will probably never be able to visit through your eyes. You certainly live in a beautiful area although I think I would be a little apprehensive about the wildlife. My eldest daughter and the boys arrive today, I am beyond excited.

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  8. You really do live in a beautiful and magical place! Thank you for sharing it with us in this and all of your other beautiful posts, it is always a delight to visit!

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  9. Hi Karen, this was such a beautifully written post. I so loved seeing all the photos, too. I think Washington is the most beautiful place in the world. And, your little grandchildren are so adorable! How lucky you are to be near them. Wishing you all the best. Hugs, Pat

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  10. Oh Karen, what a truly beautiful post. You are very lucky to live in such a stunning part of the World. What a sleepy little town and very little traffic!!! It is hard to believe that Mt Rainier is a 60 mile drive from your home. London is a 60 mile drive for me!!
    I love your pets and your family snaps.
    Your memoirs need to have a very special place in the Town's libary for future generations to read.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Have a truly magical week with hugs from us xx

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  11. Oh I couldn't resist those sweet cheeks either! What a doll. And your garden helper is a charmer too.

    If I were 40 years younger...well, maybe 30? Your son would be a 'catch'...very handsome he is.

    Okay, now...the town. How beautiful, what eye catching scenic views for the backdrop of this quaint, quiet, and lovely area of your world!! I'd like the 'quiet', but I'd get bored probably 'cause I like the amenities of a larger city.

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  12. Hello, I enjoyed reading about your little town. I hope it continues to thrive, the tourist season may help the small businesses. Your grandchildren are cuties, what a nice little garden helper. The views of Mt. Rainier are gorgeous. I love the cute furbabies too. Great post and photos. Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day and the week ahead!

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  13. Oh, dear Karen - you have such a wonderful way with words - what a treat this post was to read! I feel as if we just had a nice long visit.

    Your writing is amazing. And your world so very different from my own - thank you for the trip to your world. Hugs. ♥

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  14. Just fascinating! What a rich environment you live in, and what tales to tell. I really got a sense of your surroundings and life there. So very beautiful. I could relate to the trouble with feeding birds, and we live only semi rural! Raccoons! Skunks! Coyotes! Lovely post!

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  15. Oh, my sweet friend. what a JOY to visit you this morning. While I have been away I have greatly missed you and your beautiful posts. You are such an inspiration to me.

    Thank you for sharing such gorgeous pictures of your home. The mountains that surrouned you always take my breath away.

    Thinking of you and sending love and hugs your way!

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  16. You live in such a lovely area. I like the quaintness and the peace that surrounds you. A Blessing.

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  17. Wow Karen. You are truly blessed living where you do. So much beauty, history and memories. Thanks for sharing. This is my 3rd virtual mini vacation for today. :-)

    Happy Summer ~ FlowerLady

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  18. A wonderful informative post about your corner of our state. I just bought some of those mesh sucking thingies for our baby granddaughter. They really are a great invention to introduce littles to fruit. Your little grandson helper is so cute. So much great sunshine we are enjoying but it's too bad about the fire danger because of our wet Spring and now all the dry grasses. We keep checking on the fires in northeastern Washington and hope they don't creep close to our son's home. Have a great week.

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  19. Thank you for telling and showing us the history of your sweet town. I will only know it through you, so it is special. Also, it is always nice to get to know you better through your family pictures and what you've been up to. Sweet post!

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  20. I always enjoy seeing pics and reading about your neck of the woods Karen. Aren't your little grandsons so adorable? Don't they fill your heart with such joy? What a beautiful area that you and your hubby decided to make a home, those years ago! xo

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  21. Oh my... what a beautiful place you in. And I love the phrase about living "In the Shadow of the Mountain". It reminds me of the similar line from Psalm 91. // Your little watering helper is a heart-stealer, I can tell. His name for you is so adorable.

    Thanks for an enjoyable, relaxing visit, Karen.

    Hugs,
    Brenda
    xox

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  22. Such a lovely post Karen! I love seeing your pretty slice of heaven. I didn't know you had once lived in New Englamd. Do tell...where?

    Your town sounds like the quintessential America town. A few mainstay stores and simple pleasures. All in all, a great place to grow up and live.

    Your son is so handsome, and your grandson with those cheeks is too adorable for words! What a cute name you have g-nana ;).

    xxx

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  23. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading and gazing at the photos of your little town "in the shadow of the mountain". What a pretty little town, truly a magical place.

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  24. Oh I enjoyed seeing the area you live and how the little town looks. I grew up in a small town in Michigan and after we moved away for the Air Force, every time we come back it seems more has grown and changes, some things are sad like they tore down the home my hubby grew up in, the neighbors next door bought the lane so they have more yard. Such gorgeous picutres of the mountain side with all those trees, I can only imagine how much wildlife must be all around, and the lovely memories you have of when the kids were growing up. I am sad my daughter couldn't have that life of growing up in the same town, we moved every 4 years and she had many great experiences that's for sure but there is just something about having a place you can call home. Oh my goodness those pictures of your grandbabies are just too cute, love him with the watering can. I have never seen those fruit teething rings, they just keep coming up with more new things for babies don't they.
    Wishing you a lovely remainder of your week!

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  25. Karen, thanks so much for taking the time to show us around your northwest paradise. I was especially interested in your little town and how someone brought the feed store back! It was good to know things can get better. Your view is stunning. Lucky you!

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  26. Thank you for taking me on a ride and showing me the scenery. It's always a time for me to sit and reflect. Fonda

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  27. Your grandson is so precious and adorable!! :-) I really enjoyed this post filled with all the lovely photos and history! How interesting it was to me :-) Thank you! Have a wonderful evening!

    Blessings,
    Jill

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  28. Karen, I so enjoyed this post. Like watching a beloved TV series that gives one a glimpse of a whole different way of life.

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  29. Dear Karen, thank you so much for taking time to sit and write this wonderful post. You have provided a wealth of interesting details and your photographs are so lovely. I liked them all, but your grandchildren stole my heart too - just adorable.
    My good wishes to you and your lovely family.

    All the best Jan

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  30. I like small towns. We live in a town of 100 people. Whau, that area is full of history and it has a magnificent beauty! The air must be very clean with all the trees nearby. Ohhh you have sweet grandkids!!! So adorable! I have been praying for grandkids. The daughter doesn't have a child yet and the son had no luck so far finding the "right" one. He is in law school, a sweet man with Christian values but now a days this isn't valued it seems. Thank you so much for sharing!! We have a drought here so fingers closed we get rain to look nice and green soon.

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  31. I've enjoyed seeing your part of the world, so full of small town charm with the beauty of nature all around you. And one adorable grandson.
    Amalia
    xo

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  32. Your little town is charming. Interesting history and you told it so well. It's evident you love your corner of the world, as you should, and I can see why. Washington looks amazing.
    xx Beca

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  33. Such a wonderful tour of your town and neighborhood. When i lived in the mountains of New Mexico we got our first traffic light between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, a momentous event. Visiting the coastal northwest i was so impressed by the baskets of flowers hanging from the street light poles-- I think even into colder weather.

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  34. You live in a very beautiful area dear Karen!

    Your words have poetic touch and images go so well along your description.
    Thank you for lettings us know lot about you county.
    I can sense the peace while sitting on deck looking at snowy peek and inhaling the natural beauty around you.
    Spending life with lives one is a huge blessing which drops undefineable serenity to soul.
    Your son and grandson are very handsome and cute!
    Living near volcano isquoe scarry for me though it looks like piece of heaven.

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  35. I am so enamored of your lovely place in the world, Karen...such a beautiful place to live and experience God's wonderful creation. Lovely photos!

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  36. Liebe Karen,
    obwohl es eine "Kohlestadt" ist, in der Du wohnst, ist soooo viel Natur und Wald drum herum. Das gefällt mir sehr gut! Die Häuser, die du gezeigt hast sehen so romantisch aus! Aber Deine 2 Enkelkinder sind allerliebst. Genieße Deine Zeit mit ihnen!
    Alles Liebe
    Heidi

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  37. Hi Karen, I love how charming and pretty it is where you live. I love your gorgeous mountain too. Thanks for sharing about the history of your area where you live. It sounds like you are having a nice summer. Take care and enjoy the week and weekend.
    Julie

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  38. It was very interesting to read about your town's history.

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  39. HI Karen...
    This was a very nice visit to your lovely small town.
    You always carry me away with your story telling...so soothing and warm.
    Your grandsons are just too cute...guess what?
    My son and DIL are expecting in Dec...so excited...miss V will have a cousin.
    Enjoy the rest of your week...
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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  40. Dearest Karen,
    Well, I sure enjoy finally doing some catching up on blogs and this was a lovely read.
    We never have long summer evenings because we're closer to the equator and thus the days are shorter. THAT I often miss, we had in The Netherlands and when I worked in northern Germany in the 80s doing consulting, we had daylight in midsummer till 11:00 PM.
    But there's always a pro and a con to wherever you live.
    Your area is of such a pristine beauty and indeed one wonders about life for those miners back than. Poor dog that fell into an old mine opening, how awful to hear the cries for that long.
    Safety is something we must head and watch out for little kids and pets!
    Can't believe you already do have a walking and helping little grandson! Time is going scaringly fast don't you agree?!
    This is a milestone week for me as I finally won the seven-year old battle with Pieter for having a yard man doing the heavy work. After his quadruple bypass that is... He was way too stubborn and too macho and thought he could do it all alone and forever.
    It is so hard to watch him age and even harder for him not admitting that he's aging... WHY?! I love him the way he is, not as he was.
    But so glad that he finally gave in and let some younger man carry on and for me a good thing that IF something will happen, I already do have a trusted and good person taking care of that part instead of finding someone at a time of grief.
    Well, like you, I've lived now 27 years in this house! Longer than any place before and I do hope we can add many more of living here together.
    We love to bike but the weather is so tricky, I hate the tropical thunderstorms that make the rain pour down so hard. Day before yesterday we rode our bike on the trail next to the hospital. Only 600 m one circle but we managed to do 4 km and than the rain came but to escape to the car is only 300 m so that is no big deal!
    Today I did some cleaning as I took it easy on the weekend after having had a German guest for B&B for 4 nights. It was fun doing this and also a stress as you have to get up early for making breakfast which he wanted to take at 7:00 AM. Especially Pieter needs a low stress, no rush schedule. He usually goes downstairs to feed the cats and he unloads the dishwasher and than we have breakfast. No rush, just taking our time.
    I'd continued to crochet once again at high speed and I've completed the largest window's curtain for our kitchen bay window. Had found at Ikea the perfect roller shades in white for replacing our worn 27-year old Dutch ones. On June 27 we picked them up in Atlanta but they had not the size for the center window. Wonder why? So I had to order it from The Netherlands and had it shipped c/o to my youngest brother and he mailed it to me, using the original order form on the outside showing value, photo and name and address. So for customs this went smooth as you are allowed to send yourself a parcel FREE. It worked and got here straight in a week time with tracking.
    Pieter finally hung them all on Monday and I did sew on my Etsy find of 925 silver jump rings to hang them onto the tiny brass nails that we painted white. The roller shades have aluminum so that's why I searched for a matching ring. I didn't want to have the cotton stained either when washing it.
    This worked out fine and I got them for a good deal.
    Very happy with them, I now only have to crochet the side window's curtains and that means about 8 hours each instead of the 16 I just did.
    Always some project to do in our home. Gardens also request a lot of attention but I will do mine better next year. Too many other things needed to be taken care of this year.
    Sending you hugs,
    Mariette

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  41. What a beautiful place to live and your post is heartwarming. Family is everything and the photos show love and happiness. Thanks for sharing and warm greetings!

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  42. What an absolutely wonderful post!! I didn't want it to end!! Your neighborhoods look similar to ours. Small town U.S.A. : ) The beauty of the mountain can't be put into words. You have a little slice of heaven in your backyard. Thank you for sharing all of these wonderful photos. Have a beautiful weekend!! xo

    ~ Wendy
    http://Crickleberrycottage.blogspot.com/

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  43. Haha! We used the same teether! It's irreplaceable! How old is this little boy? :)

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  44. Wow-ee it is always such a pleasure to visit your little corner of the world which you bring alive so well on your blog. It is such a contrast to the places I live. You certainly have this deep connection with the land, and the seasons - may you have rain soon! How fascinating to think of those before you working in the mines, and the ladies at the time with their perfume bottles. I can imagine you're never really alone there with constant visits from family or friends dropping off extra animals for a holiday or grandchildren for a visit. That teether is a great invention!
    Happy days!
    Wren x

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Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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