Thursday, February 19, 2009

Catching Up

This week has been flying by! Going back to work makes the days rather short. So far, all I have done at work is get my teaching space ready. To make room for three extra teachers, they moved the custodians out of their trailer, and we inherited a room that is not in very good condition. Yesterday I brought in some quilts, tablecloths, and artwork to make my third a little softer and prettier. The lead custodian at this school remembers me from when I was the computer teacher at the middle school. I taught the custodians how to use e-mail, Internet, and Word over a period of time when I was there. I guess that kindness is being repaid, because Mr. Watkins has been going out of his way to move things around, find me tables and chairs, adjust furniture heights, and has promised to shampoo the carpet before the kids arrive.

Anyway, here is a wrap-up of our trip to the mountains last weekend. Last Friday, Charlie and I spent the whole day in West Jefferson and Boone. One of the first things we noticed on our drive was a new Quilt Barn at the N.C.Mountain Research farm near our home.

Charlie paid some client visits, we ate lunch with my brother John in Boone, and then we spent a couple of hours with my father at his apartment in a retirement community. He needed help with a few things on his computer. Before I left, he had a shortcut to my blog on his desktop, and we got him into Facebook! It looks like he is having fun with that already.

And here is my Valentine, which is a watercolor painting of our house here in Wake Forest. He did it during a craft night at the retirement center. I can just see all of those elderly ladies cutting out doilies and pink foil hearts, and my father producing this beautiful painting! (He is a retired commercial artist.)

It is actually 3-D. The house sticks out from the background because of a bit of foam core behind it. You know I love this picture!

Once again we had beautiful weather to begin the weekend, which started out rather mild, and ended up with snow on Sunday night. On Saturday and Sunday, we spent almost all our time outdoors. I love it when hunting season is over and we can roam the woods without fear of being mistaken for a deer or wild turkey. Usually, we ride the same route on the Gator as we go to the top of the mountain on my brother-in-law and sister's land, then ride down through the Christmas tree farms and neighbor's property with permission. This time, no one was up there, and we did a little more exploring.

I may have mentioned before that there used to be a mine at the top of the mountain, called "Ore Knob." It produced mostly copper, but also silver and gold. The two shafts have been filled in now, but the damage to the environment from the mine lives on. Apparently sulphur was a by-product of the mining process. On the "other side of the mountain" there is a vast wasteland called the "Sulphur Flats." This has typically been a place to ride 4-wheelers and hunt. One of my fondest memories was of riding horses with Charlie, Katy, and Kenny across the mountain and the sulphur flats when we were in our twenties. But, below the flats, the run-off stream is full of sulphur.

It has poisoned Big Peak Creek at the point (well below our place) where the run-off stream flows in. No fish there. Finally, the federal government has provided a grant to clean up this toxic waste area. They are digging down, piling clean soil and mulch on top, and changing the terrain. It was interesting to watch this going on after decades of no activity in this area.

Then we followed the logging trails around and spent a long time hiking along the creek. It was absolutely gorgeous.

Here are Charlie and Ricky (and Maggy) on one of the big rocks near the creek, probably picturing themselves bow-hunting there next fall. Mary and I were wowed by the scenic locations and were picturing picnics with the grandkids.

And here is one more picture of a strange sight. You never know what you are going to see going down our road. On our way back from breakfast at the cafe, we ran across this big fella who had escaped from his pasture. He was about twice as big as my Subaru and enjoying a leisurely stroll down the street!


Feeling Simply Quilty said...

No wonder you are an artist. Your father is a wonderful painter. We live in KY and the stories of mines are not so good also. I'd be curious to know if they are repairing any of the damage here on the east side of our state. At least your state is trying to undo.

Unknown said...

That valentine your father painted is lovely! What a beautiful thing! The are you live is is lovely. That horse is huge! I hope he got home okay.