Friday, July 10, 2015

The Smoky Mountains Trip

Here are a few pictures from our trip to the Gatlinburg, Tennessee area last month. 
It really was a fun and relaxing trip. We stayed in the same cabin that we had stayed in two years ago. It is very spacious and clean, and we enjoyed it again.

We did the 8 mile craft loop one day and ate at the Wild (something?) Tea Room. I can't remember the name!  But it was delicious, and the boys were all good sports eating at a fancy tea room!

The other days we spent doing various hikes and the boys each did a blacksmithing class in Pigeon Forge one day. Well actually, Clay did a copper class, and they both had fun!

The children--they are all so tall now!

 The children and the mama

 The whole family---a nice stranger took this picture.

The brave kids on one of the skinny bridges.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

My Poor, Poor Garden

Two weeks ago when I returned home from Rustic Youth Camp, my garden was flourishing!  I picked green beans and canned three quarts (not a lot, I know, but we were traveling back and forth to Corinth frequently to check on Jimmy's daddy, and I knew that they would ruin if I did not put them up). I also had numerous tomatoes--we ate fresh tomatoes every day for a week or so, and I canned 7 pints. One morning I counted the green tomatoes that would be ripe in a week or so, and I counted over 300.


And it was basically ruined.  In about one day.  :(

This is the third year for us to put our garden in this particular spot.  We have deer that live in our woods (we see them all the time), but for some reason this is the first summer that they have discovered my garden and had themselves a little feast!  They ate every. single. pea.  They ate all the green beans. They ate most of the foliage on the tomato plants.  And they ate over half of my green tomatoes.  The ones they didn't eat, they took one bite out of and tossed it to the ground.  They trampled two of my bell pepper plants (I guess they don't like peppers, because they did not eat those plants). The only thing they have not destroyed are my squash and watermelon plants.

I cannot tell you how upset I am about the deer ruining my garden!

Clay ran fishing line at three different heights around the perimeter of the garden, and I sprayed the remaining plants with a gallon of my smelly deer repellent…..but I am afraid that it's all too late.

There are still some tomatoes on my plants, but the plants look pitiful.  Just pitiful. What green leaves the deer did not eat are turning yellow……I am not sure if the plants got too much rain last weekend when we had basically a flood, or that I waited too long to give them nitrogen. I did fertilize them just before the big rain last week….but still.  They look awful.  Not a red tomato in sight, and less than 50 green ones.  However, I did see some new growth on some of the plants this morning.  And I picked 12 green beans.

I'm glad my family is not depending on my garden for our food this winter.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Well. That's a Record

This is the longest I have ever gone without blogging since I began.

So much has been happening.  Some of it mundane. Some of it very stressful. Some of it happy and fun.

The summer is flying by.  We had a restful and enjoyable vacation to the Smoky Mountains.  We hiked almost every day, and our last hike was an 8 mile one!  It took us 6 hours, and at one point I thought I was going to fall off this skinny little board bridge into the raging river below.

Lynn and I (and Leanna too) survived another week long adventure known as Rustic Youth Camp. Lynn and I stayed at Hotel Beulah with our kids who are not old enough for the bunkhouse. Olivia stayed with us too, because she is 20 now, and she was an official teacher at camp! The week was hot and fun. I taught thirty 3rd and 4th graders with five other fabulous ladies.  Lynn tried out a new counselor position this year--cleaning crew.  She got to wipe up spills and clean bathrooms.  I am seriously thinking about signing up for something other than teaching next year.  :)

I've been diligently working on my English class plans.  I am really looking forward to teaching this class for Clay and his friends. The class will meet weekly for two hours for a total of 32 weeks.

Julie is getting ready to go off to college. That's the thing about having your kids two years apart… of them leaves home every other year.  I do have a small gap between Clay and Leah…..then just two years between Leah and Sam. So. Just nine more years of homeschooling left.

Julie is going to the same college as Olivia. They will not be roommates, but they will be living in the same dorm but on different floors.  Both girls are running XC for the school, so they will be spending time together every day. I plan to stay down there a while when I take Julie to get her settled and all. Olivia actually has to return to school one week early for a summer school class that she has been taking online this summer. (And that has been an adventure since we have no internet except for our phones!)

And yes. It will be an adjustment for our family to have both girls away from home.  But I am so happy for them and the opportunities they are having for spiritual, social, and academic growth. I cherish the time we are having all together this summer, and I will completely enjoy the times we have together when they are home for various holidays. I will also call them, text, them, email them, and write them letters on a daily basis. Jimmy and I and the other children also have a few visits planned to see them this fall. I have already bought our plane tickets!

Lynn's family and our family have a short lake house vacation together coming up soon. I am really looking forward to sitting down and doing nothing but visiting and reading a book.

I'm slowly getting my school materials organized and prepared for the upcoming year. I hope to find that Not Back To School Blog Hop and participate in August. That's always fun, and it motivates me to get my act together so I can share it with others. I like reading other people's plans too.

Last thing today.
My running has taken the back burner to life/traveling/visiting/whatever for quite a few months now. I plan to begin anew next Monday with some sort of running plan. My blogging and my running both have been in a slump, and I hope---I really am going to try---to rekindle both.