Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Turkey catchup

I did not fix a turkey the entire Holiday season.  Our North Carolina kids fixed turkey for  Thanksgiving.  It was delicious and I thankfully let them take care of that part of the meal.   By the time the Colorado kids got here on New Years Eve day, turkey was not on any of my meal planning lists.

We were in Topeka the other day and I needed to stop in for a few groceries.  The Walmart near 29th and California is an easy store to run in for a few things.  (I seem to spend way too much time looking for items in the Dillon’s store nearby).  I walked by the meat counter and this caught my eye.


Here we have a nearly 15 pound turkey for $7.44—50 cents per pound.  A Grade A hen turkey at that.  Notice also the “Best If Used By” at 6-08-18.  Amazing good deal!

If I had a growing family, I think I would have had a couple of these in my cart.  Probably should have anyway—June of 2018 is a long way off.  I’m sure our neighbor would have his smoking wagon fired up at some point and we could throw one in.

  As it is, we  have some friends coming for a meal this weekend.  So, turkey it is. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Flowers in the Winter

I took these pictures last week when there was snow on the ground.  Since that time, we’ve had a 70 degree day.  Now, by this time tomorrow night we are forecast to have ice.  So, we are thankful for the flowers in our home right now:


Poinsettia flowers are at the center of the leaves—but then everyone knows that. 


I brought the geraniums in this fall.  As long as they get lots of sun, they continue to bloom. 


I have two violets that are so happy where they are located that they continually show us these beautiful flowers.  I started two by sticking leaves in a pot and gave them away at Christmas.  I think it is time to do that again.


I bought this Amaryllis after it was marked down.  So, it did not bloom for Christmas.  What a joy it has been to watch it grow.


There are several other flowers on my Lemon tree, but this lemon is much more interesting.  Right now there are three lemons.  I probably should pick all the other blooms off so this small plant can make my lemons!



The Christmas cactus has been blooming since mid November.  It too just loves where it is sitting and if I continue to put water on it, I think it will bloom all winter.


I was going to “let this Peace Lily go” last fall.  It had gotten so big.  However, I brought it in and cut the leaves all.  It is sitting here in my office in front of a north window.  Three months later and here you go.  It wants to stay with us!

Any other year, we would have a Yucca bloom by now.  However, my huge Yucca plant took a dive last summer.  It fell out of the pot and was just too unwieldy to replant.  I’ve got another nice plant going, but it won’t bloom for a while.  I still think the whole Yucca plant “falling” out of its pot was some kind of conspiracy between Dan and the kids.  They all said it was ugly.  Don’t believe them—it had beautiful curves.

So, that is our mid winter blooms.  They make us happy!

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Happy Couple

One thing that can be counted on is that a wedding will be a happy occasion.  And, it held true for Cameron and Alexa.

The ceremony was in the Church of the Resurrection, downtown.  It looks to be an old movie theater, but the pastor mentioned in his sermon that it was a bar.  At any rate, I don’t know when I’ve been to a wedding ceremony where the pastor took as much care in the bride and groom. The highlight was the reading of the letters the couple wrote to each other. 

This picture was taken in the church.   The children are cousins.  Notice the musicians in the background.  This was taken before the wedding started.  We didn’t take any during the service.


The reception was on the third floor of the Bauer at the Crossroads in downtown Kansas City Missouri.  It is a historic warehouse turned art studios and event space.  Janice’s decorations were the perfect combination of rustic/classy for the space.  There were lanterns, candles and greenery added as well.


Instead of a cake, there was this wonderful assortment of yumminess.



I guess this must the way a brother and sister dance!



Alexa Wedding

Friday, January 06, 2017

Welcome Visitors!


This year we celebrated Christmas quietly, but the New Years brought our Colorado family.  Needless to say, we always enjoy having them—and all of our family—here.  Thankfully, the temperature cooperated for a couple days so there could be ATV rides and other outdoor activities. 

Then snow and cold temperatures arrived so that called for a taffy pull (it turned out delicious—I’ll post the recipe later)



We are probably in trouble with this picture.  At the time it was taken, their family was visiting other grandparents.   Just as it is with grandkids, grandparents spoil the pets too.  We did “encourage” them to get off the furniture after this picture was taken.  They slept in the warm livingroom all night.  As far as we know, it was on their pillows….



Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016


Dan and I wish a Very Merry Christmas to all family and friends who happen by the Backroads this day.   May you be around those you find special this Christmas season. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Christmas Preparations

We were on the road for over three weeks in November.  Our visit to North Carolina and the roadtrips between were fun.  It amazed us that we found it quite comfortable to be gone so long.  Of course, that is with a big thanks to Christi for watering our newly planted landscaping.

A week after we returned, I hosted a bridal shower for our niece.  Entertaining in our home is fun, but putting up Christmas decorations can be tedious.  It helped that Dan pitched in with washing windows and hanging lights.  Actually, it was good to have the deadline.    The cheery, warm feeling of the decorations  makes me feel happy this time of year.

The warm cheery feeling has been welcome the past couple days.  Dan and I decided our Christmas present to each other would be one of those fancy indoor/outdoor temperature gauges.  Once we got it, we couldn’t wait until Christmas so its been a big deal tracking this cold weather.  Here’s what the new gadget says right now.  Notice the minus 3—it’s supposed to drop more tonight.  Looks like we have sun in the forecast, though. 


This week the winter sun will drop to its most southerly point.  Today it streamed in the south windows warming that part of the house to 80 degrees.  The thermostat wouldn’t allow it, but we talked about how funny it would be if the air conditioning would come on when the outdoor temperature barely broke zero.

We spent the day holed up, finally going out around 4:00 pm to clean off snow.  Of course, I had to take some pictures while out there. 


There are lots of visitors to a little area around the pines.  Here’s why


Christmas treats for our birds, bunnies and it looks like deer tracks as well.  Not many goodies have come out of my kitchen for us humans…yet.  This is the week!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

It has been an epic Thanksgiving this year.  It started two weeks ago when we left home for Augusta Georgia.    It can’t be easy to have two retired elders move in for that long, but we’ve had lots of fun and everyone has made us feel as though we are a part of the family.

Kim and Marc are excellent cooks—in fact all our kids are good cooks.  We had turkey, ham, Kim’s special potatoes, sweet potatoes, Dan’s oyster casserole and brussels sprouts.

IMG_9190-1It was Kim’s the chocolate cheesecake that stole the show, though


A few got sleepy after the big meal.



Jojo was sure there was a squirrel for her this Thanksgiving.

IMG_9183-1 Well, here we are getting ready to load up the PW and head west.  We think we will slip through a warm spell so that we won’t need to winterize.  A big thank you to our North Carolina family for making our visit special and to our neighbors for keeping everything watered at home so we didn’t have to worry.

Happy Thanksgiving to family and friends! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Marc and Kim have a new Cary city park just a short walk away from their house.  It has a basketball court, playground and a Pickleball court!  The little park is very popular in the neighborhood.

So, as part of our early Christmas present to the family, we gave them enough equipment to play double Pickleball. 

Pickleball was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island near Seattle Washington.  Three dads madeup the game to keep their kids occupied during the summer.  It is played with a wiffle ball and wooden paddle. 

I wondered why it is called Pickleball.  There are two theories and both are probably partly correct.  One of the wives of the founders of the game, thinking it was a combination of several sports,  thought it was like a pickleboat in crew where the rowers are drawn from extras from other boats. The other possibility is at some point one of the families got a dog and named it pickles. 

When we bought the equipment in Dicks Sporting Goods, the man at the checkout said it is becoming hugely popular in the Cary area because so many courts are being made available.  It is a fun game because it suits all ages.

Everyone is feeling better about their game.  Somehow Marc and I didn’t get a shot.


Friday, November 18, 2016

Savannah Valley Railroad Trail and Doodle Rail to Trail

We left Petersburg Campground Monday morning.  The rain and cool weather of Sunday cleared.  However, smoke from the Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina mountain wildfires lingered all day.  As we moved north and east from the Augusta area, the smoke was bad enough it made our eyes burn.

Our first stop was the Savannah Valley Trail, McCormick County, South Carolina

IMG_3793 The Savannah Valley Trail, as many of the rails to trails, are on the beds of railroads used in the 1800s and early 1900s to transport passengers and goods.   The Savannah Valley Railroad connected travelers and goods to Anderson and Charleston South Carolina.  At the lower portion of the trail where we started, the ride was rough with a lot of tree roots.  We enjoyed the trip, though.  We did not drive between the lower and upper portion—it will be nice when the trail is connected. 

This is called a Whistle Post.  They are more than 120 years old and their codes told the engineers what whistle warnings to blow and when.


This is an old spring house just off the trail.  I have to admit it was more than a little spooky with the water inside.


The Doodle Trail is a 7 and half mile rails to trail between the cities of Easley and Pickens South Carolina.  It was named “Doodle” because the Freight engine could not be turned around and had to run backwards from Easley to Pickens looking like a doodlebug.


It was built in 1898 and actually ran until 2013, hauling a wide variety of commodities between the cities.  It is a paved, well cared for trail.  Dan didn’t ride this one so he dropped me off and picked me up at the end.  Here is an example of an abandoned mill along the trail—an example of past manufacturing in the area.


One reason we like traveling in the PW is the bathroom we carry with us.  This day, we were particularly glad we didn’t have to use this roadside facility.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

“Head of the South” Augusta Georgia

Regattas are exciting, colorful and fun.  We enjoyed attending Kim and Marc’s meets when they were at KSU.  Now, we have the exciting opportunity to see Aaron and Adam row for Triange Rowing Club based here in the Cary, Raleigh area.
The trip to Augusta was uneventful other than once again encountering a massive traffic jam in Nashville.  (We have bad traffic luck in that city).  I worried about Atlanta, but with seven lanes and hitting it at nonpeak time, we sailed right through.
The regatta was Saturday but we arrived at the site on Friday late afternoon. We rode our bicycles around the area taking in all the activities.  Teams and boats were streaming in.  Amazingly, we found the boys.
The location was not on the Savannah River itself, but a side canel.  
After asking around, no one seemed to care if we just stayed where we were parked behind the dike.  So, we just closed the curtains and spent the night.
Kim, Marc and Evan found us early the next morning and we set up our little part of the hill side for the day.  I’ve posted a slideshow of pictures taken during the day.  As usual, click on this link  then on the upper right hand arrow for a full screen slide show of the pictures. 
By the way, the boys placed fifth out of 15 entries of Novice eight.  Of course, they would of liked to place higher, but felt good about how their race went. 

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Re-landscaping Phase 3

Actually, there could be a phase 4 because we only completed the painting on the front of the house.  We will need to go back and repaint some that we already completed because we decided to change the color. 


I have always like our house without shutters or trim around the windows.  I think it makes a nice back drop to the landscaping in front.  However, I  think by modern standards, it looks plain here.  And, I’m not crazy about the front door.  For now, it will not be changed. 

It also might look a little more polished without buckets scattered all along the front.  These are five gallon buckets with a tiny hole in the bottom side.  The new plants need water through the winter and these buckets make it easier for Christi, our neighbor, to take care of that chore.  Because…

There will be an interruption in any work done here for a while. We will be attending an event that involves “boats” that require rowing.  And, it will be at a place usually known for golf.  Stay tuned for that.

Happy Birthday, Carly and Kim!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Re-landscaping Phase 2

This summer, we kept looking at the front of our house.  That’s about it, we kept looking and doing nothing.

They were only home from their 4th of July visit a couple weeks when I received a call from Kim.  Kim and Evan were using some airline points and coming home the weekend of October 15th and landscaping our house.  Then, we got a call from Doug, saying he was coming home to help.  So, the crew was set up—Kim, Evan (who is on break from his year-around school year), Doug, Dan and I. 

First, we were able to get a big load of fill dirt from a neighbor.   It was essential to re-slope the dirt away from the house.  Then it was off to the store to buy plants. 


This was only the beginning.  We made two trips—one with a trailer to get the plants home.  Then there was another trip with the dump trailer just for mulch.  

Kim, Evan and Doug are crazy workers and had the metal edging down in no time.



Then digging holes to set the plants.  Once again we were grateful for young hands and muscles because we dug one hole to their three.


This tells the story:

img606 copy-1

Finally, there is what we call Evan’s Rock.  The kids hauled landscaping blocks from in front of the house and arranged them around the big granite rock in our front yard.  We hauled in dirt from our corn field.   It is entirely perennials and Evan planted all the plants.   I don’t have a picture right now but will insert it when I get it from Kim.  What that picture won’t show is that all the plants there are doing great, but there are little corn plants popping up all around the bed!

So, my job now is to keep everything watered.  It’s tedious because I try to let the water slowly flow so it soaks better with less runoff.  We have many (like a dozen) 5 gallon buckets with tiny holes at the very bottom side.  We have used them before to water new plantings.  I think we are going to set them up tomorrow.  It is much easier to fill a bucket then time the water—plus I have a better idea of how much I am putting on. 

There is a phase three.  We’ve been working on it the past two days.  It involves paint!  I won’t post a final picture until that part is done. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Re-landscaping Phase One

There has to be a beginning to this story. And, here it is:
This picture was taken in November, 1978.  We were living in an RV while building most of this house ourselves.  The black dirt in front looks good.  Dan remembers we got it from the pasture where we built a small pond.

A landscaping company in Topeka made a plan for free if we purchased our plants from them.  It wasn't too original, but the price was right.  This picture was taken last year.  Definitely the 37-year-old plants are overgrown.  Obviously the dirt has settled around the house as well.

So, last Christmas, we said goodbye.  Dan said he would not miss treating the cedars for bag worms.  I will not miss pruning.

Monday, October 10, 2016

North Carolina Family OK

Many weather people seemed to be caught off guard when hurricane Matthew dove inland in North Carolina causing severe flooding.  Maybe the coasts where alerted and prepared, but I don’t think the forecasters expected the huge amount of rain accompanying the storm to reach the Raleigh area, which is about 2½ hours inland.

Kim, Marc and family live in Cary, a suburb of Raleigh.  Their eight inch rain gauge ran over.  Most of the homes in their area do not have basements.  Kim said the rain ran off fairly well.  So, they escaped with no damage, including not losing their electricity. 

On Saturday, the Triangle Rowing Club had a regatta at the Head of the James in Virginia. It was not called off.  Kim said it rained the entire time and turned the area into a mud mess.  Still, Adam ends his race with a smile!