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This is a pen and ink drawing John did of me picking through the carrot harvest in October.  It was close to my birthday I think.  I’m ready to take this stance any day now for planting season.  It was spitting some snow today though, after a glorious weekend.  Deladis can’t seem to get over our “family time”, and honestly her mother can’t either.

It seems like our “family time” is too here and there.  This weekend I think we were all ready just to be there for each other, and it felt perfect.  Saturday we went to the Mexican restaurant to eat, then to play with some ferrets at the pet store.  After that, we went to the Isom Vendor’s Mall where I found a book that I had checked out from the library, hadn’t finished, and was hoping to buy at some point, for two dollars.  It was one of those things where the Creator is putting things and people in my path to show me that this new path I have come across is ok and worth exploring.  I now own a copy of the book.  Then, we went to an ice cream shop in Vicco where Deladis got chocolate chip cookie dough, and Ivy birthday cake ice cream.  Deladis said, “This ice cream sure tastes fresh.”  Next, we went to a music store for John some strings.

Sunday, we went to church, came home, had supper, then walked up on the cemetary hill for a sweet snack.  Lars and Lucky followed us as always.  We sat, talked, and enjoyed the moss and the view.  Deladis said, “I just love our family time.”

While it seems so simple, it isn’t.  It feels new.  It feels good.  John and I both got a little more regular paying/scheduled jobs after Christmas this year, and this has allowed days like this weekend.  This change has put us both to thinking, as change can often do, about what is possible, and what our priorities are.

Family and faith should receive most of my time.  One day I’ll be eye to eye with two grown women, and I don’t want to wonder where those days in between went.  I can scramble and fight, and try to do my thing, but if the thing isn’t the right fit at the right time, no amount of scrambling or fighting will get me anywhere.  The time I gave to that goal, will be for naught because I was too set in my ways to think of an alternative route.  Or a more favorable goal.

I’m excited about the days ahead.  The possibilities and even getting out of this tight coat I’ve been wearing for far too long.  Spring has sprung.  The bushes outside have buds.  There are more activities to be found.  And we are renewing ourselves – as a family.

One new thing I’m doing is offering online Lamaze Childbirth Preparation classes and Early Pregnancy classes for any woman anywhere with any schedule. 🙂  Thinking outside the box.  For more information http://birthtrue.wordpress.com/online-classes-e-courses

I know… corny title, but hey, I have a fog machine in my brain and it is good at pointing out the obvious and that’s about it right now.  I have two things to write about today and I can’t decide between the two, so I’m writing about both.

First, I have to share this website with you.  Why Don’t You Look Like a Fitness Model? I have been seriously thinking about what a naturally capable and fit woman’s body should look like since I wrote the post on A Woman’s Perfect Body and Paleo women.  I found this website and article via a discussion forum I frequent and was really amazed by what this woman wrote and the pictures she posted on the site.  The pictures are of a variety of women athletes who competed in the Olympics.  As she states, you’re at the top of your game physically if you are competing at that level.  Their bodies were as varied as fingerprints and all ranges of gorgeous.  I highly suggest reading the article and looking at the pictures.  It isn’t about trying to achieve the look of someone from a magazine, but the look that is right for you.  There are a lot of factors that go into that.

And now… da ta ta ta… I present to you a new work of art by a blossoming new talent in the world of painting… Deladis Rose.

paintingShe is so happy when her daddy lets her have a piece of water color paper and turns her loose.  She will sit for hours, so focused and poised.  I’m amazed at how involved in her work that she becomes.  I’m thankful for her having the gift of focus.  I can’t wait to see what she does with that.  I’m a proud mama.

painter

The sky threatened rain all Thursday, Friday, and today, but it didn’t come.  A gray sky and a humid breeze carried a warm hope that the seeds I planted Thursday would get some water.   I got the garden planted from top to bottom and side to side.  We have onions, carrots, potatoes, corn, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, cabbage, lettuce, sunflowers, and tomatoes in the ground and sprouting.  I took walks with the girls, watched them play in the sandbox, read them stories.

planted

The warm seasons are bittersweet for us.  Bittersweet, as a word, has become cliche, but appropriate here.  With a break from the cold and a promise of days spent in warmth and light, also comes a fact of life.  Daddy will often be on the road.  This is the season for artists and musicians to share their talents with the public.  To bring forth the work of the winter like the trees bring forth their fresh leaves.  As the leaves filter the sun and feed the trees, so the festivals, shows, and opportunities allow us to make a living.  This weekend was one of those.

Eastern Hemlock

Eastern Hemlock

John is traveling for music this weekend.  After Ivy was born, I stopped trying to go with him on the long overnight trips.  Taking both of the girls was a bit much as we often slept in the truck or camped.  The heat can get miserable, and being confined to a booth much of the time is no fun for little ones.  We notice when Daddy is not with us.  Deladis makes it known when she is ready for him to come home.

He came home last night on his way back from Roanoke, Virginia and on through to Morehead, Kentucky where he is recording with Brett Ratliff and The Blind Tiger Band.  He had the band with him and Deladis braved a walk alone to be with her daddy on George Gibson’s front porch and hear the band play.  I was cooking spicy stuffed cabbage for our guests, and thought it would be good for her to try the short walk on her own.  It is funny what missing someone bad enough will allow us to do.  It was her first time going it alone.

todaddy

She sat with them last night as they played in the kitchen after supper, playing some on her little banjo.  She sat there until she was bone tired, falling out of her chair with sleep, her head slumping into her daddy’s lap.  Then, this morning, we ate oats and waved bye-bye as John and Brett set out again.

I’m looking forward to our upcoming trip to New Echota, Georgia and Dayton, Tenneesee (Walden’s Ridge) to research for my novel based on the life of Arizona Webb Walker my Cherokee great-great grandmother.  I want to spend some time – just us, not trying to get ready to work, working, or thinking about work.  I want to enjoy the warmth for awhile before it gets so hot we can’t breathe.  I want to walk with my man and watch our girls enjoy the outdoors.  To be filled with the light the Creator blesses us with each spring.  There will be some time for that on our trip.

blackberries

The wild blackberry bushes have bloomed like they tend to do when Mother Nature can’t decide whether it should be chilly or warm.  I wanted to show John, and encourage him to remind us to take time to nuture the bushes and pick the berries at the first signs of ripeness.  I’ll try to make blackberry dumplings this season.

promise

Today the sky still can’t decide what it wants to do.  Our seeds wait in the ground, covered and warm, to be soaked with the sprouting rain.  Today, we are waiting for daddy to come home.  We’ll take a rest in his warm arms until the time comes for us to miss him again.

Every year in April the mountain city of Pikeville, that holds a ton of millionaires supposedly, hosts Hillbilly Days.  It is a celebration of all things hillbilly – especially music.  One older fella, who was attending for his 33rd year in a row, said it was next only to the Kentucky Derby Festival.  It is also an excuse to cut a rug, and that is just what the Haywoods did.

streetThe city street and Daddy on his first mission of the weekend – a hot dog for Deladis.

snakegalAfter said hot dog, Deladis had to see the extreme reptiles.  Notice the hot dog still in her hand.  I think she enjoyed the snakes as much as the hot dog.

backpackIvy would have loved to walk in the crowd, but she was just as happy to ride Mama’s back in the mei-tai.  Mama was happy to give her a ride too.

2hillbilliesHere are two of my hillbillies in front of a hillbilly car that was one of many on display there.  These people have “clans” from all over the mountain states and come to show their cars at the festival.

bigroytandcrewWe went to promote traditional music and mountain art.  This rowdy bunch of folks are our good friends and wonderful old time musicians on the main stage at Hillbilly Days.

Deladis with her elders.

Deladis with her elders.

There was no shortage of lovely ladies to teach our young gals how to dance the old time way.  Deladis got in on the action after several tries and cold feet.  She’s a bit reserved like her mama, but it’s in both our souls and we have to do it anyway.

balancing-act

Ivy takes another approach altogether.  She’s always ready for action, and has no qualms about going for it.  First, a balancing act on a guitar case, then finding her way on stage to help the bass player, J.T. Cure.

onstage

togetherAnd sometimes, when the time is right… Mama will dance too. 🙂

Even living in rural Appalachia, we get comments about choosing to live where we have.  Some folks seem impressed, some think we are weird or crazy, others worry about us.  But, we have found home.  It is here off-grid, in solitude.  It is near to perfect.

My mother’s and step-father’s preacher worries about us up here.  He wonders if I will be happy, or stay happy.  My mother worries about the boogey man.  I do sometimes half expect to look out my picture window and see Bigfoot, but it wouldn’t shock me at all.  That would be great.  I am more likely to see a deer or some other wild animal roaming in our yard than another human.  Animals don’t scare me.

John’s parents don’t like the road.  We don’t either really, but it is what it is.  It is not a permanent situation us driving in the creek.  Hopefully, by next winter we’ll have a better way.  If not, we’ll survive it.  My Dad says we’ve got the best place in the world for Armageddon, or when our country falls to anarchy, socialism, or whatever else he might equate with chaos.  He says we can sit up in here and”pick ’em off” as they come up the holler.  Leave it too a dad to find good his daughter’s decisions when no one else does.  He’s right.  It is a pretty cool place to be and I feel very safe.  I feel safer in God’s creation than in man’s.

A man from the gas company came to check on a gas leak a few days ago.  He said, “I don’t reckon many girls would live up in here.”  I said, “I really like it.”  “It’s nice here, peaceful,” he said.  I’ve never been like many other girls.  John played a show last night here in Knott County.  A man asked where he lived, said he was glad someone who could play the banjo like he could lived in the old homeplace.  That made John proud.

Our cabin was built in 1900 by a man named Uncle Ed Thomas.  I believe you can find mention of him in the Foxfire books and there may be a picture of him.  He was a dulcimer maker.  He put some fancy into this little place, as you can see in the work over the front porch.  I love a house with history.  There are several other older cabins on the property, but only 2 are finished enough to live in.

Our Cabin - Winterized front porch's is my husband's winter studio.  Talk about dedication!

Our Cabin - Winterized front porch's is my husband's winter studio. Talk about dedication!

We don’t own this property, but I hope we are here a good long time.  Moving off-grid is something I feel good about.  Being in my mountains is like nothing else.

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About Me

An Appalachian woman born and raised, mothering two little girls in a place that is non-existent to AT&T or UPS. Happily working toward a sustainable lifestyle and writing on the demand of a loud muse.

December 2021
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