A FUN Birthday

Saturday, December 9, 2017

We still have snow. It was cold last night but only 28, not the 24 that was was predicted. The sun was out bright and shinny this morning, the first sun we have seen for several days. The snow was gorgeous with the bright sun. Definitely needed sunglasses. The temperature rose into the 40s by early afternoon and a lot of the snow melted. Tonight we still have 3 inches on the deck but the deck doesn’t get much sun. Tonight’s low is predicted to be 22.

Our day started with the camera and more pictures of the snow. Then Max prepared a wonderful birthday breakfast for Anne. We had sausage and cheese omelets. After breakfast Barry and Donna picked us up and we headed to Guntersville for a hike on the Honeycomb Trail from the TVA recreation area at the dam. There were geocaches along the trail so we got a little caching in today too. It’s been too long since the four of us have had time hiking and caching together. We found 14 caches.

Gunterville Dam
We stopped at the bald eagle viewing area below the Guntersville Dam and saw one eagle. Enlarge this picture and you might be able to see it, too. (It is above the trees directly above the left side of the tan building.)

Top O The RiverIt was a wonderful day that was topped off by dinner at The Top O’ The River restaurant in Guntersville. We were so hungry by the time we got there. They serve you cold slaw and cornbread while waiting on your entree. It was the best. We have always enjoyed their slaw and corn bread but today it was especially good. Our shrimp and catfish were also excellent. The hike the company, the food. All made for a really fun birthday.

Let It Snow!

Friday, December 8, 2017


Snow measurementSo we usually start with something about the weather but today that’s about all there is. It started snowing before 3:00am because when we looked out we had about ½ inch of snow. Hmm. That’s about what was predicted so we went back to sleep. It was still snowing at 5:00 and 7:00 and continued to snow until around 3:00pm. We had 5 inches here on Pine Mountain. Much more than was predicted but other places got upwards of 10 inches. Totally not what was predicted and way more snow than we usually see this far south. It was the first time in over 23 years that we both could stay home and enjoy the snow. Max just smiled because he didn’t have to worry about the safety of all the Blount County citizens. It was so pretty and 31-32 degrees with very little wind, so not too cold to be out taking pictures.

Our work plan for today was to empty Juno’s storage building. NOT! What’s that about God laughing when we make plans. I know all our northern friends laugh but we couldn’t get out our driveway – well we could if we had to get out. Our drivewayThe pine trees and privet hedge were so weighted down with snow they blocked the drive. Barry and Donna walked over and we all walked out the drive together. It was nice to have some unexpected time with them. The drive was very pretty but glad we didn’t need to go anywhere. We just relaxed and enjoyed our quiet day. It was an unexpected blessing. Another huge blessing is our uninterrupted power. There have been many outages throughout the state but so far we are fine. Of course we can always go to FRED and turn up the furnaces and stay toasty warm. Another blessing. The storm is continuing north east so hope our family and friends in Georgia, South Carolina and on up the east coast are all warm and safe. Everybody be careful out there.

Getting Ready For Cold Weather

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Deer walking across the dam
Deer walking across the dam

We are still stuck in gray, cloudy days. It was another cool, damp feeling day but we did get to see four deer crossing our dam this morning a another three in the field when we were coming in this evening.

But we are headed much colder. The low tonight is forecast to be 32, with high tomorrow of 36 and ½ inch of snow. But we aren’t expecting any problems because the ground temperature is too high. Then we will be in the twenties for a few nights. That is below average for our area. We will have to bring out the heavy coats. YUK!

Winterizing Fred
Winterizing Fred in the dark

Today we both had dental appointments for cleanings so we went into Trussville this morning. When we finished at the dentist we did some shopping and went out for an early birthday lunch and then on to more shopping. We didn’t get home until after 4:00. We checked the weather forecast again and decided we had to give in and winterize FRED. We really didn’t want to do it but today was the warmest day we will have for the next week or so. The 23 degree forecast for tomorrow night is a little below our comfort level. Of course, since this is our first winter in FRED 2, the process was a little more challenging than the last few years. But we remember the first time we winterized FRED 1 and this was easier than that. It’s all done so now it probably won’t get very cold. Hopefully we didn’t forget anything and now we won’t be checking the forecast every five minutes and will hopefully sleep better tomorrow night.

Tonight we watched a History Channel special on Pearl Harbor an it reminded us of our visit there in 2012. A very sobering experience. Thank you to all our service men and women!

USS Arizona Memorial
Rainbow over the USS Arizona Memorial. This is one of our favorite pictures from our Hawaii trip.


Another LOL Day

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Another gray day. We left home at 6:30, headed to Tuscaloosa. The the traffic was heavier than expected that early in the morning, but fortunately no wrecks so we made it to Tuscaloosa in time to get Mama Ruby to her 9:00 appointment. We have scheduled her venous ablation treatment on the right leg for next week. The cardiologist feels she needs the procedure now, before she develops another ulcer on her leg, which he is sure she will have if left untreated. We went by her house house for a few minutes to pick up some items. While we were at the doctor’s office Max got her big puzzle clock working again so Mama Ruby was a happy women. Max is her favorite (only) son-in-law. We all went to lunch then returned to the assisted living and did some online shopping, and reviewed her procedure instructions. The home health nurse came to change the dressing on her leg. It’s improving but still has a way to go. While that was going on, Max toured the halls looking for the winners of the door decorating contest. There were some nicely decorated doors. Mamma Ruby has her Christmas puzzle she and Ralph made on her door. It looks really good but she didn’t place. Oh well, maybe we will do something more elaborate next year. It was then time to head back to the mountain. We had a couple of stops to make and stopped to check on the LOLs before returning home. That’s it for today.

“Newdul’s Family”

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Forecast for today was correct. Rain. Heavy rain at times. And now the temperatures are dropping. Down into the 30’s tonight but not below freezing. Yet. Stay tuned about that.

Philip and Tabitha
Philip and Tabitha getting ready to leave

This was the day Philip and Lauren and the girls had to return to South Carolina. Something about having a job and going back to work. We had a nice, somewhat leisurely breakfast together, but then it was time for them to begin the monumental task of packing up and loading the van. It is quite a task for them to pack everything. It takes a lot of stuff for the girls. And then the actual work is hard to do since at least one of them has to be watching the girls all the time. Don’t know how they get anything done sometimes. Anyway, they left about 10:30, just ahead of some heavy rain. We have received an email and they have arrived home safely. It was wonderful to have them and very thankful that they had a safe trip home. They may be glad that they will no longer be the topic of the blog for a while. We appreciate them being a good sport about providing us material for the blog. Hope they will still return again soon.

Otter and duck update – still haven’t seen either. And in case there is any doubt, we had nothing to do with the disappearance of either. Really hope the ducks return.

After company left, we did some work around the house, froze some left overs for the next project and did some laundry. This afternoon we went to Aunt Jean’s assisted living for her family Christmas party. We had dinner with her tonight with all the other residents and their families. There was good food and entertainment. Jean seemed to enjoy herself and was very appreciative of us attending. It was nice to meet some of Jean’s friends and the newer residents, and have a chat with Santa. One lady even came up to us as said “you must be Newdul’s family”. Yep. We are the turtle’s family. Four LOLs and a turtle. Pretty funny.  Newdul is quite popular with other resident’s grandchildren as well.

Newdul's birth record
In case you are wondering why we are spelling Aunt Jean’s turtle’s name differently, we found this note in her room.

Feeling blessed that Mama Ruby’s biopsy was benign. We will be making an early trip to Tuscaloosa tomorrow for another doctor’s appointment with her. Praying for safe travel in the crazy Christmas shopping traffic. That’s it for today.

Fun Afternoon with Family

Monday, December 4, 2017

Still haven’t seen the sun. Another cloudy day. Not sure when we will see the sun now. The forecast is for 100% chance of rain tomorrow. But, we are still above freezing. Gotta love that while it lasts.

We left Philip and Lauren to fend for themselves for breakfast again this morning because we had our annual physicals today. Won’t get the results of the lab tests for several days and still have to return for additional routine tests but hopefully all will be okay. It was nice to see friends Anne used to practice with before retiring in 2015. We had to fast for labs today so we were pretty hungry by the time we returned home after 1:30.

Dorothy's deer
Dorothy’s deer

While they were getting breakfast this morning, Dorothy told Philip and Lauren she saw a goat. They thought it was another imaginary sighting but she again said she saw two goats. When they looked there were actually two deer in the woods off the back deck. They all enjoyed seeing the deer. They then packed everyone up for a visit to Aunt Jean’s. Jean really enjoyed their visit and Dorothy enjoyed feeding worms to Newdul the turtle. She was quite proud for herself for that feat. We heard more about the worms at dinner when we had spaghetti. Seems it looked like worms, and she informed us all she was eating worms. Also told us that the worm was looking at her and saying “you are not really going to eat me, are you?” Her answer to the worm was “yep.” And she did. Every last “worm”. Such fun to have a four year old around. Never a dull moment.

After lunch we all enjoyed a hike out to the star to check on it. We hadn’t heard anyone mention it lately and did not know for sure if it was still burning. Fortunately, it was still on and didn’t seem to have any new problems. It was a nice afternoon for a hike and we all enjoyed our little time in the woods. Lauren had Tabitha on her back. Dorothy walked and ran all the way to the star, but then Philip picked her up to avoid her getting too close to the edge. After that she didn’t want to walk anymore and Philip carried her on his shoulders all the way back to the van. Philip and Lauren got a lot more exercise today than we did.

Visiting with Granny and Aunt HelenAfter the hike, we visited with Juno and Helen again. Dorothy and Tabitha are good for the LOLs. They really enjoy the children and are more talkative and engaged with the kids. Sometimes they don’t say much at all when we are there, but they laugh and interact with the kids.

Christmas lightsAfter dinner we took the kids to Palisades Park for the Christmas lights display. Dorothy talked to us about the lights the entire time. We actually drove back through a second time so we could all get another look. The park and the participating businesses do a really nice job with the light display. Tabitha fell asleep before we even got to the park but Dorothy certainly enjoyed the lights. We then took her to Remlap to get a good view of the Pine Mountain star from the bottom, since she saw it from the top on our hike today. She seemed please with that little side trip as well. So we have had another wonderful day with family. Hope you are having a good start to your week.

Sunday With Family

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Today started with another dense fog advisory and it was really foggy on our mountain. It was also really foggy at the foot of our mountain, at the river, when we were driving to church. I think we have had three dense fog advisories in a row. Tonight we have a wonderful super moon with some clouds partially covering it at times. A beautiful night.

Deer by the pondWhile we were getting ready for church this morning we looked out off our bedroom deck toward the pond and there were 2 pretty does bedded down in the pine straw. We quickly got Dorothy, who was followed by Philip, Lauren and Tabitha, to the door to look out on the deer. Anne and Dorothy looking at the deer by the pondAt first she couldn’t spot them but finally did see the two of them. We all needed to quit taking pictures and watching the deer so we jiggled the door a little and they quickly got up and ran off. Dorothy also enjoyed watching them run. She also enjoyed telling Granny and Helen about the deer over lunch. We enjoyed sharing our deer with our family. God’s creation is so wonderful.

Today was the first Sunday in Advent. Advent is a season of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The church is decorated for the season, and Barry brought our message from 1 Corinthians 1:1-9, Called, Confirmed and Confident. Our services are streamed live on YouTube, both the 8:30 and 11:00 services. Once again it was great to be back at Lester and receive a message that really speaks to us and challenges us. We are gifted to serve God! As we prepare to celebrate the gift of our Savior at Christmas, lets take some time to contemplate how we will use our gifts in 2018.

Sunday lunch with the familyAfter Sunday School we went straight home to complete our dinner preparations. Juno and Helen joined the six of us for dinner after services at Lee’s Chapel. The kids were great and everyone seemed to enjoy the food. Good memories made today with the children and Granny and Helen.

It was soon time for naps all the way around, and a quiet afternoon. After naps we went to visit with Aunt Jean and help her with her bills. Philip and Lauren and the kids went into Trussville to spend the evening with Philip’s mother’s side of the family. So glad they get to visit with their cousins, aunts and uncles. With the little ones their drive from Fountain Inn is about seven hours so they only get to visit Alabama two or three times a year. We really appreciate their efforts.